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1.  Association of MICA gene polymorphisms with liver fibrosis in schistosomiasis patients in the Dongting Lake region 
Major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related A (MICA) is a highly polymorphic gene located within the MHC class I region of the human genome. Expressed as a cell surface glycoprotein, MICA modulates immune surveillance by binding to its cognate receptor on natural killer cells, NKG2D, and its genetic polymorphisms have been recently associated with susceptibility to some infectious diseases. We determined whether MICA polymorphisms were associated with the high rate of Schistosoma parasitic worm infection or severity of disease outcome in the Dongting Lake region of Hunan Province, China. Polymerase chain reaction-sequence specific priming (PCR-SSP) and sequencing-based typing (SBT) were applied for high-resolution allele typing of schistosomiasis cases (N = 103, age range = 36.2-80.5 years, 64 males and 39 females) and healthy controls (N = 141, age range = 28.6-73.3 years, 73 males and 68 females). Fourteen MICA alleles and five short-tandem repeat (STR) alleles were identified among the two populations. Three (MICA*012:01/02, MICA*017 and MICA*027) showed a higher frequency in healthy controls than in schistosomiasis patients, but the difference was not significantly correlated with susceptibility to S. japonicum infection (Pc > 0.05). In contrast, higher MICA*A5 allele frequency was significantly correlated with advanced liver fibrosis (Pc < 0.05). Furthermore, the distribution profile of MICA alleles in this Hunan Han population was significantly different from those published for Korean, Thai, American-Caucasian, and Afro-American populations (P < 0.01), but similar to other Han populations within China (P > 0.05). This study provides the initial evidence that MICA genetic polymorphisms may underlie the severity of liver fibrosis occurring in schistosomiasis patients from the Dongting Lake region.
PMCID: PMC3854198  PMID: 22370708
Schistosoma japonicum; MICA; NKG2D; Gene polymorphism; Liver fibrosis
3.  Correspondence between fMRI and SNP data by group sparse canonical correlation analysis 
Medical image analysis  2013;18(6):891-902.
Both genetic variants and brain region abnormalities are recognized as important factors for complex diseases (e.g., schizophrenia). In this paper, we investigated the correspondence between single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and brain activity measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand how genetic variation influences the brain activity. A group sparse canonical correlation analysis method (group sparse CCA) was developed to explore the correlation between these two datasets which are high dimensional-the number of SNPs/voxels is far greater than the number of samples. Different from the existing sparse CCA methods (sCCA), our approach can exploit structural information in the correlation analysis by introducing group constraints. A simulation study demonstrates that it outperforms the existing sCCA. We applied this method to the real data analysis and identified two pairs of significant canonical variates with average correlations of 0.4527 and 0.4292 respectively, which were used to identify genes and voxels associated with schizophrenia. The selected genes are mostly from 5 schizophrenia (SZ)-related signalling pathways. The brain mappings of the selected voxles also indicate the abnormal brain regions susceptible to schizophrenia. A gene and brain region of interest (ROI) correlation analysis was further performed to confirm the significant correlations between genes and ROIs.
PMCID: PMC4007390  PMID: 24247004
Group sparse CCA; SNP; fMRI; Feature selection; Imaging genetics
4.  The circular RNA Cdr1as, via miR-7 and its targets, regulates insulin transcription and secretion in islet cells 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12453.
Among the identified thousands of circular RNAs (circRNA) in humans and animals, Cdr1as (also known as CiRS-7) was recently demonstrated to act as a powerful miR-7 sponge/inhibitor in developing midbrain of zebrafish, suggesting a novel mechanism for regulating microRNA functions. MiR-7 is abundantly expressed in islet cells, but overexpressing miR-7 in transgenic mouse β cells causes diabetes. Therefore, we infer that Cdr1as expression may inhibit miR-7 function in islet cells, which in turn improves insulin secretion. Here, we show the first characterization of Cdr1as expression in islet cells, which was upregulated by long-term forskolin and PMA stimulation, but not high glucose, indicating the involvement of cAMP and PKC pathways. Remarkably, both insulin content and secretion were significantly increased by overexpression of Cdr1as in islet cells. We further identified a new target Myrip in the Cdr1as/miR-7 pathway that regulates insulin granule secretion, and also another target Pax6 that enhances insulin transcription. Taken together, our findings revealed the effects of the strongly interacting pair of Cdr1as/miR-7 on insulin secretion, which may become a new target for improving β cell function in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4515639  PMID: 26211738
5.  Population clustering based on copy number variations detected from next generation sequencing data 
Copy number variations (CNVs) can be used as significant bio-markers and next generation sequencing (NGS) provides a high resolution detection of these CNVs. But how to extract features from CNVs and further apply them to genomic studies such as population clustering have become a big challenge. In this paper, we propose a novel method for population clustering based on CNVs from NGS. First, CNVs are extracted from each sample to form a feature matrix. Then, this feature matrix is decomposed into the source matrix and weight matrix with non-negative matrix factorization (NMF). The source matrix consists of common CNVs that are shared by all the samples from the same group, and the weight matrix indicates the corresponding level of CNVs from each sample. Therefore, using NMF of CNVs one can differentiate samples from different ethnic groups, i.e. population clustering. To validate the approach, we applied it to the analysis of both simulation data and two real data set from the 1000 Genomes Project. The results on simulation data demonstrate that the proposed method can recover the true common CNVs with high quality. The results on the first real data analysis show that the proposed method can cluster two family trio with different ancestries into two ethnic groups and the results on the second real data analysis show that the proposed method can be applied to the whole-genome with large sample size consisting of multiple groups. Both results demonstrate the potential of the proposed method for population clustering.
PMCID: PMC4504183  PMID: 25152046
Next generation sequencing; copy number variations; non-negative matrix factorization; 1000 Genomes Project
6.  FISH: fast and accurate diploid genotype imputation via segmental hidden Markov model 
Bioinformatics  2014;30(13):1876-1883.
Motivation: Fast and accurate genotype imputation is necessary for facilitating gene-mapping studies, especially with the ever increasing numbers of both common and rare variants generated by high-throughput-sequencing experiments. However, most of the existing imputation approaches suffer from either inaccurate results or heavy computational demand.
Results: In this article, aiming to perform fast and accurate genotype-imputation analysis, we propose a novel, fast and yet accurate method to impute diploid genotypes. Specifically, we extend a hidden Markov model that is widely used to describe haplotype structures. But we model hidden states onto single reference haplotypes rather than onto pairs of haplotypes. Consequently the computational complexity is linear to size of reference haplotypes. We further develop an algorithm ‘merge-and-recover (MAR)’ to speed up the calculation. Working on compact representation of segmental reference haplotypes, the MAR algorithm always calculates an exact form of transition probabilities regardless of partition of segments. Both simulation studies and real-data analyses demonstrated that our proposed method was comparable to most of the existing popular methods in terms of imputation accuracy, but was much more efficient in terms of computation. The MAR algorithm can further speed up the calculation by several folds without loss of accuracy. The proposed method will be useful in large-scale imputation studies with a large number of reference subjects.
Availability: The implemented multi-threading software FISH is freely available for academic use at
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC4071209  PMID: 24618466
7.  Lymph node ratio-based staging system for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
AIM: To analyze a modified staging system utilizing lymph node ratio (LNR) in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
METHODS: Clinical data of 2011 patients with ESCC who underwent surgical resection alone between January 1995 and June 2010 at the Cancer Hospital of Shantou University Medical College were reviewed. The LNR, or node ratio (Nr) was defined as the ratio of metastatic LNs ompared to the total number of resected LNs. Overall survival between groups was compared with the log-rank test. The cutoff point of LNR was established by grouping patients with 10% increment in Nr, and then combining the neighborhood survival curves using the log-rank test. A new TNrM staging system, was constructed by replacing the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) N categories with the Nr categories in the new TNM staging system. The time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curves were used to evaluate the predictive performance of the seventh edition AJCC staging system and the TNrM staging system.
RESULTS: The median number of resected LNs was 12 (range: 4-44), and 25% and 75% interquartile rangeswere8 and 16. Patients were classified into four Nr categories with distinctive survival differences (Nr0: LNR = 0; Nr1: 0% < LNR ≤ 10%; Nr2: 10% < LNR ≤ 20%; and Nr3: LNR > 20%). From N categories to Nr categories, 557 patients changed their LN stage. The median survival time (MST) for the four Nr categories (Nr0-Nr3) was 155.0 mo, 39.0 mo, 28.0 mo, and 19.0 mo, respectively, and the 5-year overall survival was 61.1%, 41.1%, 33.0%, and 22.9%, respectively (P < 0.001). Overall survival was significantly different for the AJCC N categories when patients were subgrouped into 15 or more vs fewer than 15 examined nodes, except for the N3 category (P = 0.292). However, overall survival was similar when the patients in all four Nr categories were subgrouped into 15 or more vs fewer than 15 nodes. Using the time-dependent receiver operating characteristic, we found that the Nr category and TNrM stage had higher accuracy in predicting survival than the AJCC N category and TNM stage.
CONCLUSION: A staging system based on LNR may have better prognostic stratification of patients with ESCC than the current TNM system, especially for those undergoing limited lymphadenectomy.
PMCID: PMC4481447  PMID: 26139998
Cancer staging; Esophagectomy; Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Lymph node ratio; Prognosis
8.  Corneal endothelial cell density and morphology and central corneal thickness in Guangxi Maonan and Han adolescent students of China 
To investigate the corneal endothelial cell density and morphology and central corneal thickness in the Guangxi Maonan and Han adolescent students of China.
Noncontact specular microscope (Topcon SP3000P, Tokyo, Japan) was performed in 133 adolescent students of Maonan nationality (M:F 54:79) and 105 adolescent students of Han nationality (M:F 50:55), 5 to 20y of age, who were randomly selected from 3 schools in Huanjiang Maonan Autonomous County of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. Parameters studied included endothelial cell density, mean cell area, coefficient of variation in cell size, percentage hexagonality and central corneal thickness.
Endothelial cell density, mean cell area, coefficient of variation in cell size, percentage hexagonality and central corneal thickness in the study population were (2969.50±253.93) cells/mm2, (339.23±29.44) µm2, (29.96±4.07) %, (64.58±9.41) % and (523.71±32.82) µm in Maonan and (2998.26±262.65) cells/mm2, (336.11±30.07) µm2, (29.89±5.03) %, (64.91±11.64) % and (524.39±33.15) µm in Han, respectively. No significant differences were observed in endothelial cell density, mean cell area, coefficient of variation in cell size, percentage hexagonality and central corneal thickness between Maonan and Han (P=0.615, 0.659, 0.528, 0.551, 0.999). In Maonan and Han, we found age was negatively correlated with endothelial cell density and percentage hexagonality and positively correlated with mean cell area and coefficient of variation in cell size. Negative correlation was also found between central corneal thickness and age in Han, whereas no correlation was found in Maonan.
There were no differences between Maonan and Han in corneal endothelial cell density and morphology and central corneal thickness. In these two nationalities, there were statistically significant decrease in endothelial cell density and percentage hexagonality with increasing age and statistically significant increase in cell area and coefficient of variation in cell size with increasing age. Central corneal thinned with increasing age in Han, whereas difference did not attain statistical significance in Maonan.
PMCID: PMC4458672  PMID: 26086017
endothelial cell density; morphology; central corneal thickness; Maonan
9.  Prognostic Model Based on Systemic Inflammatory Response and Clinicopathological Factors to Predict Outcome of Patients with Node-Negative Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128540.
Prognostic models are generally used to predict gastric cancer outcomes. However, no model combining patient-, tumor- and host-related factors has been established to predict outcomes after radical gastrectomy, especially outcomes of patients without nodal involvement. The aim of this study was to develop a prognostic model based on the systemic inflammatory response and clinicopathological factors of resectable gastric cancer and determine whether the model can improve prognostic accuracy in node-negative patients. We reviewed the clinical, laboratory, histopathological and survival data of 1397 patients who underwent radical gastrectomy between 2007 and 2013. Patients were split into development and validation sets of 1123 and 274 patients, respectively. Among all 1397 patients, 545 had node-negative gastric cancer; 440 were included in the development set, 105 were included in the validation set. A prognostic model was constructed from the development set. The scoring system was based on hazard ratios in a Cox proportional hazard model. In the multivariate analysis, age, tumor size, Lauren type, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, and the neutrophil—lymphocyte ratio were independent prognostic indicators of overall survival. A prognostic model was then established based on the significant factors. Patients were categorized into five groups according to their scores. The 3-year survival rates for the low- to high-risk groups were 98.9%, 92.8%, 82.4%, 58.4%, and 36.9%, respectively (P < 0.001). The prognostic model clearly discriminated patients with stage pT1-4N0M0 tumor into four risk groups with significant differences in the 3-year survival rates (P < 0.001). Compared with the pathological T stage, the model improved the predictive accuracy of the 3-year survival rate by 5% for node-negative patients. The prognostic scores also stratified the patients with stage pT4aN0M0 tumor into significantly different risk groups (P = 0.004). Furthermore, the predictive value of this model was validated in an independent set of 274 patients. This model, which included the systemic inflammatory markers and clinicopathological factors, is more effective in predicting the prognosis of node-negative gastric cancer than traditional staging systems. Patients in the high-risk group might be good candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4468084  PMID: 26075713
10.  Staphylococcus aureus bacteremias following liver transplantation: a clinical analysis of 20 cases 
To describe the incidence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia after liver transplantation and investigate the drug resistance of S. aureus to frequently used antibiotics to provide evidence for clinical prevention and therapy.
Materials and methods
In a double-center retrospective study, blood cultures positive for S. aureus were obtained from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2014. The BACTEC 9120 blood culture system and the Vitek-2 system were used to process blood samples and identify species, respectively. We also collected these patients’ data to confirm clinical and laboratory characteristics.
Twenty of 275 (7.3%) liver recipients developed S. aureus bacteremia during the study period. The median time to the onset of S. aureus bacteremias was 6 days after liver transplantation and all episodes of bacteremias were early onset. The lung was the most common source of primary infection, followed by the intra-abdominal/biliary tract. A total of nine (45%) liver recipients died due to S. aureus bacteremias. Of these 20 S. aureus cases, 80% were methicillin-resistant. S. aureus was highly resistant to erythromycin and penicillin (resistance rate >90%). No S. aureus resistant to glycopeptides and oxazolidone antibiotics was observed. There were seven (35%) liver recipients with an inappropriate antibiotic therapy. Between the periods of 2001–2007 and 2008–2014, the distribution of methicillin-resistant S. aureus was not significantly different (P=1.000). Pneumonia as a predominant primary source, a high body temperature, abnormal blood pressure, and decreased platelets, which occurred in the early period after liver transplantation, as well as high morbidity and mortality, were the main characteristics of S. aureus bacteremias.
S. aureus led to severe bacteremias in liver recipients, with high morbidity and mortality, and the majority of them comprised methicillin-resistant S. aureus.
PMCID: PMC4472026  PMID: 26109863
liver transplantation; Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; drug resistance
11.  A long-term, observational cohort study on the safety of low-dose glucocorticoids in ankylosing spondylitis: adverse events and effects on bone mineral density, blood lipid and glucose levels and body mass index 
BMJ Open  2015;5(6):e006957.
This study aimed to investigate the risk of adverse events and effects on bone mineral density (BMD), blood lipid and glucose levels and body mass index (BMI) of low-dose glucocorticoid (GC) treatment in ankylosing spondylitis.
We performed a retrospective, observational cohort study. Adverse effects were compared between GC users and non-GC users, and we analysed differences in the duration of GC exposure (no GC exposure, <6 months, 6 months to 2 years and >2 years).
Outpatient clinic in a tertiary general hospital in China, rheumatology follow-up visits over the past 30 years.
We included 830 patients with ankylosing spondylitis who were followed up for at least 6 months without a previous history or current complications of active gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, psychiatric or mental problems, diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis and hepatitis. The median follow-up time was 1.6 years (range 0.5–15 years, a total of 1801 patient-years).
A total of 555 (66.9%) patients were treated with low-dose GCs, and the median cumulative duration of GC therapy was 1.3 years (range 0.1–8.5 years). Dermatological incidents, including acne, bruisability and cutaneous infections, were the most common adverse events, with a cumulative incidence rate of 5.4% (22.2 events per 1000 patient-years), followed by a puffy and rounded face (1.6%), symptoms of weight gain (1.1%) and serious infections (1.0%). The rates of all other types of adverse events were less than 1%. The GC groups (GC users and non-GC users) and the duration of GC therapy were not associated with the frequency of low BMD, dyslipidaemia, hyperglycaemia or obesity (p<0.05).
Adverse events during long-term treatment of low-dose GCs are limited. Low-dose GCs do not have an adverse effect on BMD, blood lipid and glucose levels and BMI.
PMCID: PMC4458632  PMID: 26041488
ankylosing spondylitis; Glucocorticoids; bone density; lipids
12.  Concordance analysis of methylation biomarkers detection in self-collected and physician-collected samples in cervical neoplasm 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:418.
Non-attendance at gynecological clinics is a major limitation of cervical cancer screening and self-collection of samples may improve this situation. Although HPV testing of self-collected vaginal samples is acceptable, the specificity is inadequate. The current focus is increasing self-collection of vaginal samples to minimize clinic visits. In this study, we analyzed the concordance and clinical performance of DNA methylation biomarker (PAX1, SOX1, and ZNF582) detection in self-collected vaginal samples and physician-collected cervical samples for the identification of cervical neoplasm.
We enrolled 136 cases with paired methylation data identified from abnormal Pap smears (n = 126) and normal controls (n = 10) regardless of HPV status at gynecological clinics. The study group comprised 37 cervical intraepithelial neoplasm I (CIN1), 23 cervical intraepithelial neoplasm II (CIN2), 16 cervical intraepithelial neoplasm III (CIN3), 30 carcinoma in situ (CIS), 13 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and seven adenocarcinomas (ACs)/adenosquamous carcinomas (ASCs). PAX1, SOX1 and ZNF582 methylation in study samples was assessed by real-time quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction analysis. We generated methylation index cutoff values for the detection of CIN3+ in physician-collected cervical samples for analysis of the self-collected group. Concordance between the physician-collected and self-collected groups was evaluated by Cohen’s Kappa. Sensitivity, specificity and area under curve (AUC) were calculated for detection of CIN3+ lesions. Finally, we produced an optimal cutoff value with the best sensitivity from the self-collected groups.
We generated a methylation index cutoff value from physician-collected samples for detection of CIN3+. There were no significant differences in sensitivity, specificity of PAX1, SOX1 and ZNF582 between the self-collected and physician-collected groups. The methylation status of all three genes in the normal control samples, and the CIN 1, CIN2, CIN3, CIS, ACs/ASCs and SCC samples showed reasonable to good concordance between the two groups (κ = 0.443, 0.427, and 0.609 for PAX1, SOX1, and ZNF582, respectively). In determining the optimal cutoff values from the self-collected group, ZNF582 showed the highest sensitivity (0.77; 95%CI, 0.65–0.87) using a cutoff value of 0.0204.
Methylation biomarker analysis of the three genes for detection of CIN3+ lesions shows reasonable to good concordance between the self-collected and physician-collected samples. Therefore, self-collection of samples could be adopted to decrease non-attendance and improve cervical screening.
PMCID: PMC4448302  PMID: 25985991
Cervical cancer; DNA methylation; Biomarker; Self-collected; Physician-collected; Real-time quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (QMSP)
13.  Cordycepin Decreases Compound Action Potential Conduction of Frog Sciatic Nerve In Vitro Involving Ca2+-Dependent Mechanisms 
Neural Plasticity  2015;2015:927817.
Cordycepin has been widely used in oriental countries to maintain health and improve physical performance. Compound nerve action potential (CNAP), which is critical in signal conduction in the peripheral nervous system, is necessary to regulate physical performance, including motor system physiological and pathological processes. Therefore, regulatory effects of cordycepin on CNAP conduction should be elucidated. In this study, the conduction ability of CNAP in isolated frog sciatic nerves was investigated. Results revealed that cordycepin significantly decreased CNAP amplitude and conductive velocity in a reversible and concentration-dependent manner. At 50 mg/L cordycepin, CNAP amplitude and conductive velocity decreased by 62.18 ± 8.06% and 57.34% ± 6.14% compared with the control amplitude and conductive velocity, respectively. However, the depressive action of cordycepin on amplitude and conductive velocity was not observed in Ca2+-free medium or in the presence of Ca2+ channel blockers (CdCl2/LaCl3). Pretreatment with L-type Ca2+ channel antagonist (nifedipine/deltiazem) also blocked cordycepin-induced responses; by contrast, T-type and P-type Ca2+ channel antagonists (Ni2+) failed to block such responses. Therefore, cordycepin decreased the conduction ability of CNAP in isolated frog sciatic nerves via L-type Ca2+ channel-dependent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4452462  PMID: 26078886
14.  Altered expression of connexin43 and phosphorylation connexin43 in glioma tumors 
In this study, we aim to evaluate the connexin (Cx43) and phosphorylation Cx43 (p-Cx43) expression of human glioma tumors and correlate their expression with degrees of malignancy and proliferation, apoptosis, and migration activity of tumors. Cx43 and p-Cx43 expression were examined by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining. The U251 cell viability was measured by MTT analysis. The apoptosis and migration were also evaluated by flow cytometric analysis and fluoroblok transwell chambers, respectively. We found that the Cx43 expression were significantly downregulated in in malignant glioma (WHO grade III and IV), compared to the malignant glioma (WHO grade I and II) and the p-Cx43 expression levels of malignant glioma (WHO grade III and IV) were significantly increased (P<0.05), compared to the malignant glioma (WHO grade I and II) at immunohistochemical analysis. After treatment of cells with a specific inhibitor of PKC, MAPK, and PTK inhibitors, the cell viability and migration were significantly decreased, while the apoptosis was slightly induced. In conclusion, the Cx43 expression level is inversely correlated with the tumor grade and proliferation and migration activity of tumor. Higher p-Cx43 expression level in high tumor grade suggests that a complex mechanism is involved in the suppression of tumor growth by connexins.
PMCID: PMC4502994  PMID: 26191122
Connexin43; phosphorylation; malignant glioma; U251
15.  Interleukin-6 (IL-6) mediated the increased contraction of distal colon in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats via IL-6 receptor pathway 
Colonic dysmotility occurs in diabetes and blood plasma interleukin (IL)-6 levels are significantly elevated in type 1 diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to investigate whether IL-6 and the IL-6 receptor pathway mediates colonic dysfunction in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Male SD rats were treated with a single intraperitoneally injected dose of streptozotocin (STZ), and those displaying sustained high blood glucose were selected as diabetes mellitus models. Longitudinal muscle strips of colon were prepared to monitor colonic contraction in vitro. Contractile responses of strips of colon were recorded following treatment with IL-6 in control animals, and following anti IL-6 antibody treatment in STZ-induced diabetes in rats. Concentration of IL-6 in plasma and colon were determined by ELISA. Expressions of IL-6 α-receptor and IL-6 β-receptor in colon tissues were determined by immunohistochemistry or Western blot analysis. The non-diabetes rats treated with IL-6 and the untreated diabetes rats showed increased contraction of distal colon, whereas the diabetes rats treated with anti-IL-6 antibody showed decreased contraction of distal colon compared with the untreated diabetes rats. The IL-6 levels of plasma but not colon increased in diabetes rats. The expression of IL-6 α-receptor increased in diabetes rats. These results indicate that diabetes rats show an increase in the contractions of distal colon partly via the IL-6-IL-6 receptor pathway.
PMCID: PMC4503013  PMID: 26191141
Diabetes mellitus; colon motility; IL-6; IL-6 receptor
16.  Epidemiology of childhood enterovirus infections in Hangzhou, China 
Virology Journal  2015;12:58.
There are over 100 serotypes of enterovirus species A-D, which are the common cause of various symptoms in infants, such as meningitis, encephalitis and hand foot mouth disease (HFMD). This study aims to investigate the epidemiological characteristics of enteroviruses in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, and to provide relevant information to guide public health responses and interventions.
Systematic surveillance was conducted on enterovirus infections. Samples were collected from children admitted to the inpatient wards and outpatient departments between January 2010 and December 2012 in the Children’s Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine. Enteroviruses from all specimens were detected by RT-PCR using a commercialized detection kit.
From 13026 samples collected and examined, 2673 (21.21%) were found positive for enteroviruses. The annual enterovirus-positive rate decreased from 32.78% in 2010 to 14.23% in 2012. Positivity rate for enteroviruses was highest among children aged less than 5 years. The monthly positivity rate for enterovirus infection ranged from 2.6% to 34.83%, with a peak in June and July. Serotypes causing severe symptoms such as HFMD including EV71 and CA16 were decreasing, while the proportion of unidentified EV serotypes causing herpangina and viral encephalitis were on the rise.
EV infection is highly prevalent among young children in Hangzhou, as it is in the most other parts of the world. Further surveillance using methods that can subtype all EVs is warranted to better monitor these infections and their etiology.
PMCID: PMC4403759  PMID: 25884568
Enterovirus; Epidemiology; Children
17.  Association of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphisms with risk of primary hyperuricemia in Uygur men, Xinjiang, China 
Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) participates in lipoprotein metabolism and immune regulation. This study assessed association between ApoE polymorphisms with hyperuricemia and uric acid metabolism in Uygur men, Xinjiang, China.
A total of 474 hyperuricemia patients and 518 healthy male controls were recruited from the Health Screening Center, Uygur region of Xinjiang, China and subjected to ApoE genotyping using a multiplex amplification refractory mutation system PCR.
Apolipoprotein E3/3 genotype was the predominant type with a frequency of 67.7%, while E2/2 was lower than E4/4 in Uygur males. The frequencies of ApoE2, E3, and E4 alleles were 8.5%, 80.1% and 11.4%, respectively. Distribution of ApoE genotypes was significantly different in hyperuricemia patients from the healthy controls (p < 0.001). Particularly, the frequency of ApoE E3/3 was 71.7%, E2/3 9.3%, E3/4 9.3%, E4/4 3.2%, E2/4 2.3%, and E2/2 0.2% in patients vs. 68.1%, 4.6%, 2.9%, 12%, 0.6%, and 4.6% in controls, respectively. Moreover, frequency of ApoE E2 allele was greater in the healthy controls than in patients (p < 0.001) and the highest level of uric acid occurred in those with ApoE2/4 and E3/4 genotypes, whereas the lowest uric acid level occurred in those with ApoE E2/2 genotype. In addition, the subjects with the ApoE2 allele had a lower uric acid and LDL-C level than those with the ApoE3 allele and ApoE4 allele (p < 0.05). The risk of developing hyperuricemia in subjects without the ApoE2 allele was 1.7 fold higher than those subjects with the ApoE2 allele.
This study revealed frequencies and distributions of ApoE alleles and genotypes in Uygur males, which are different from Han Chinese. ApoE E4 was associated with a slightly higher risk of primary hyperuricemia, whereas ApoE E2 was associated with reduced risk of primary hyperuricemia and LDL-C level.
PMCID: PMC4446952  PMID: 25890021
Apolipoprotein E; Polymorphisms; Primary hyperuricemia; Uygur
18.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Mutation of Seoul Virus Isolated from Suncus murinus in the Fujian Province of China 
Genome Announcements  2015;3(2):e00075-15.
Suncus murinus has been identified as the host for Seoul virus (SEOV). Here, we report the complete genome sequence of SEOV strain Fj372/2013, which was isolated from the lung tissue of Suncus murinus in the Fujian Province of China. A mutation A38C was observed in an open reading fragment of the middle segment.
PMCID: PMC4384476  PMID: 25838472
19.  A New and Practical Synthetic Method for the Synthesis of 6-O-Methyl-scutellarein: One Metabolite of Scutellarin in Vivo 
Scutellarin (1) has been used for the treatment of angina pectoris, cerebral infarction and coronary heart disease with a large market share in China. Pharmacokinetic studies on scutellarin showed that scutellarin (1) is readily converted into its metabolites in vivo. In this paper, a new and practical synthetic method for the synthesis of 6-O-methyl-scutellarein (3) (one metabolite of scutellarin in vivo) is reported. The benzyl bromide was firstly used to selectively replace the acetyl group at C-7 in 7, and was then used to protect the hydroxy groups at C-4' in 10, 6-O-methyl-scutellarein (3) is obtained in high yield through these methods.
PMCID: PMC4425036  PMID: 25854429
6-O-methyl-scutellarein; scutellarin; scutellarein; metabolite; synthesis
20.  Multistage genome-wide association meta-analyses identified two new loci for bone mineral density 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(7):1923-1933.
Aiming to identify novel genetic variants and to confirm previously identified genetic variants associated with bone mineral density (BMD), we conducted a three-stage genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis in 27 061 study subjects. Stage 1 meta-analyzed seven GWA samples and 11 140 subjects for BMDs at the lumbar spine, hip and femoral neck, followed by a Stage 2 in silico replication of 33 SNPs in 9258 subjects, and by a Stage 3 de novo validation of three SNPs in 6663 subjects. Combining evidence from all the stages, we have identified two novel loci that have not been reported previously at the genome-wide significance (GWS; 5.0 × 10−8) level: 14q24.2 (rs227425, P-value 3.98 × 10−13, SMOC1) in the combined sample of males and females and 21q22.13 (rs170183, P-value 4.15 × 10−9, CLDN14) in the female-specific sample. The two newly identified SNPs were also significant in the GEnetic Factors for OSteoporosis consortium (GEFOS, n = 32 960) summary results. We have also independently confirmed 13 previously reported loci at the GWS level: 1p36.12 (ZBTB40), 1p31.3 (GPR177), 4p16.3 (FGFRL1), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 5q14.3 (MEF2C), 6q25.1 (C6orf97, ESR1), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280, SHFM1), 7q31.31 (FAM3C, WNT16), 8q24.12 (TNFRSF11B), 11p15.3 (SOX6), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 13q14.11 (AKAP11) and 16q24 (FOXL1). Gene expression analysis in osteogenic cells implied potential functional association of the two candidate genes (SMOC1 and CLDN14) in bone metabolism. Our findings independently confirm previously identified biological pathways underlying bone metabolism and contribute to the discovery of novel pathways, thus providing valuable insights into the intervention and treatment of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3943521  PMID: 24249740
21.  Hypomethylation signature of tumor-initiating cells predicts poor prognosis of ovarian cancer patients 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(7):1894-1906.
DNA methylation contributes to tumor formation, development and metastasis. Epigenetic dysregulation of stem cells is thought to predispose to malignant development. The clinical significance of DNA methylation in ovarian tumor-initiating cells (OTICs) remains unexplored. We analyzed the methylomic profiles of OTICs (CP70sps) and their derived progeny using a human methylation array. qRT–PCR, quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMSP) and pyrosequencing were used to verify gene expression and DNA methylation in cancer cell lines. The methylation status of genes was validated quantitatively in cancer tissues and correlated with clinicopathological factors. ATG4A and HIST1H2BN were hypomethylated in OTICs. Methylation analysis of ATG4A and HIST1H2BN by qMSP in 168 tissue samples from patients with ovarian cancer showed that HIST1H2BN methylation was a significant and independent predictor of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that patients with a low level of HIST1H2BN methylation had poor PFS (hazard ratio (HR), 4.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4–14.8) and OS (HR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.3–14.0). Hypomethylation of both ATG4A and HIST1H2BN predicted a poor PFS (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0–3.6; median, 21 months) and OS (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0–3.0; median, 40 months). In an independent cohort of ovarian tumors, hypomethylation predicted early disease recurrence (HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1–2.5) and death (HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0–1.9). The demonstration that expression of ATG4A in cells increased their stem properties provided an indication of its biological function. Hypomethylation of ATG4A and HIST1H2BN in OTICs predicts a poor prognosis for ovarian cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3943526  PMID: 24256813
22.  Association between EML4-ALK fusion gene and thymidylate synthase mRNA expression in non-small cell lung cancer tissues 
This study aimed to investigate the association of the mRNA expression of the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion gene with that of thymidylate synthase (TYMS) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tissues. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the expression of EML4-ALK fusion gene and TYMS mRNA in 257 cases of NSCLC. The positive rate of EML4-ALK fusion gene was 4.28% in the NSCLC tissues (11/257), and was higher in nonsmokers than in smokers (P<0.05); TYMS mRNA expression was detected in 63.42% (163/257) of cases. An association of the EML4-ALK fusion gene with TYMS expression was detected; a low expression level of TYMS mRNA was observed more frequently when the EML4-ALK fusion gene was present than when it was not detected (P<0.05). In conclusion, patients positive for the EML4-ALK fusion gene in NSCLC tissues are likely to have a low expression level of TYMS, and may benefit from the first-line chemotherapy drug pemetrexed.
PMCID: PMC4473652  PMID: 26136951
non-small cell lung cancer; EML4-ALK; thymidylate synthase; molecular detection; individual treatment
23.  Differences in caspase-8 and -9 activity and sperm motility in infertile males of Li nationality in China 
This study’s objectives are to assess the efficacy of detecting apoptotic caspase-3, -8, and -9 in human sperm and plasma using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and to compare these levels between fertile and infertile patient groups of Li nationality in China. This study offers a non-invasive, alternative strategy to analyzing sperm parameters in infertile males. Fifty-six infertile males were investigated; asthenospermia (n = 19), oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (n = 20), azoospermia (n = 17) compared with 20 healthy fertile controls. They were subjected to semen analysis by computer-assisted sperm assay (CASA). We found that caspase-3, -8, -9 existed in all specimens in both sperms and plasma. The level of caspase-3 and caspase-8 in plasma were both significantly higher than in sperm. Levels of caspase-8 and caspase-9 in sperm and plasma were significantly negatively correlated with sperm concentration, motility and A % (motility grade A). The level of caspase-8 in plasma was significantly negatively correlated with sperm concentration. However, only in healthy fertile controls sperm concentration was significantly negatively correlated with caspase-9 in sperm. Compared with the healthy fertile controls, only the OAT group exhibited significantly increased level of caspase-8 in sperm (P < 0.05). It is concluded that caspase-8 and caspase-9 in sperm and plasma are correlated with sperm motility, and can reflect the quality of sperm in vitro.
PMCID: PMC4443246  PMID: 26064412
Sperm; apoptosis; caspase; Li nationality
24.  Brain endogenous angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AT2-R) protects against DOCA/salt-induced hypertension in female rats 
Recent studies demonstrate that there are sex differences in the expression of angiotensin receptor type 2 (AT2-R) in the kidney and that AT2-R plays an enhanced role in regulating blood pressure (BP) in females. Also, brain AT2-R activation has been reported to negatively modulate BP and sympathetic outflow. The present study investigated whether the central blockade of endogenous AT2-R augments deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)/salt-induced hypertension in both male and female rats.
All rats were subcutaneously infused with DOCA combined with 1% NaCl solution as the sole drinking fluid. BP and heart rate (HR) were recorded by telemetric transmitters. To determine the effect of central AT2-R on DOCA/salt-induced hypertension, male and female rats were intracerebroventricularly (icv) infused with AT2-R antagonist, PD123,319, during DOCA/salt treatment. Subsequently, the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, a key cardiovascular regulatory region of the brain, was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot.
DOCA/salt treatment elicited a greater increase in BP in male rats than that in females. Icv infusions of the AT2-R antagonist significantly augmented DOCA/salt pressor effects in females. However, this same treatment had no enhanced effect on DOCA/salt-induced increase in the BP in males. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis of the female brain revealed that DOCA/salt treatment enhanced the mRNA and protein expression for both antihypertensive components including AT2-R, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2, and interleukin (IL)-10 and hypertensive components including angiotensin receptor type 1 (AT1-R), ACE-1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and IL-1β, but decreased mRNA expression of renin in the PVN. The central blockade of AT2-R reversed the changes in mRNA and protein expressions of ACE-2, IL-10, and renin, further increased the expressions of TNF-α and IL-1β, and kept higher the expressions of AT1-R, ACE-1, and AT2-R.
These results indicate that endogenous AT2-R activation in the brain plays an important protective role in the development of DOCA/salt-induced hypertension in females, but not in males. The protective effect of AT2-R in females involves regulating the expression of brain renin-angiotensin system components and proinflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC4355980  PMID: 25885968
Blood pressure; Central nervous system; AT2-R; RAAS; Proinflammatory cytokines
25.  Oncolytic Vaccinia Virotherapy for Endometrial Cancer 
Gynecologic oncology  2014;132(3):722-729.
Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising modality in endometrial cancer (EC) therapy. In this study, we compared the efficacy of the Copenhagen and Wyeth strains of oncolytic vaccinia virus (VV) incorporating the human thyroidal sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) as a reporter gene (VVNIS-C and VVNIS-W) in EC.
Infectivity of VVNIS-C and VVNIS-W in type I (HEC1A, Ishikawa, KLE, RL95-2, and AN3 CA) and type II (ARK-1, ARK-2, and SPEC-2) human EC cell lines was evaluated. Athymic mice with ARK-2 or AN3 CA xenografts were treated with one intravenous dose of VVNIS-C or VVNIS-W. Tumor regression and in vivo infectivity were monitored via NIS expression using SPECT-CT imaging.
All EC cell lines except KLE were susceptible to infection and killing by VVNIS-C and VVNIS-W in vitro. VVNIS-C had higher infectivity and oncolytic activity than VVNIS-W in all cell lines, most notably in AN3 CA. Intravenous VVNIS-C was more effective at controlling AN3 CA xenograft growth than VVNIS-W, while both VVNIS-C and VVNIS-W ceased tumor growth and induced tumor regression in 100% of mice bearing ARK-2 xenografts.
Overall, VVNIS-C has more potent oncolytic viral activity than VVSIN-W in EC. VV appears to be most active in type II EC. Novel therapies are needed for the highly lethal type II EC histologies and further development of a VV clinical trial in type II EC is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3977925  PMID: 24434058

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