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1.  Compartmental and Data-Based Modeling of Cerebral Hemodynamics: Linear Analysis 
Compartmental and data-based modeling of cerebral hemodynamics are alternative approaches that utilize distinct model forms and have been employed in the quantitative study of cerebral hemodynamics. This paper examines the relation between a compartmental equivalent-circuit and a data-based input-output model of dynamic cerebral autoregulation (DCA) and CO2-vasomotor reactivity (DVR). The compartmental model is constructed as an equivalent-circuit utilizing putative first principles and previously proposed hypothesis-based models. The linear input-output dynamics of this compartmental model are compared with data-based estimates of the DCA-DVR process. This comparative study indicates that there are some qualitative similarities between the two-input compartmental model and experimental results.
PMCID: PMC4756910  PMID: 26900535
Cerebral autoregulation; compartmental modeling; nonparametric modeling; vasomotor reactivity
2.  Misfit Strain Relaxation of Ferroelectric PbTiO3/LaAlO3 (111) Thin Film System 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35172.
Ferroelectric thin films grown on high index substrates show unusual structural and switching dynamics due to their special strain states. Understanding the misfit relaxation behavior is crucial to facilitate the high index thin film growth with improved quality. In this paper, ferroelectric PbTiO3 thin films were grown on LaAlO3 (111) substrates by pulsed laser deposition technique. The microstructures were investigated by combinations of conventional and aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. Diffraction contrast analysis and high resolution imaging reveal that high density interfacial dislocations were distributed at the interfaces. These dislocations have mixed character with Burgers vectors of a <110> and line directions of <112>. The edge components of the dislocations, with the Burgers vectors parallel to the interface, accommodate the lattice mismatch and are the main contributor to the misfit relaxation of this system. The formation mechanism of these dislocations is proposed and discussed to elucidate the novel mismatch relaxation behavior of <111> oriented perovskite films.
PMCID: PMC5057106  PMID: 27725752
3.  Selective Sparing of Human Tregs by Pharmacologic Inhibitors of the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase and MEK Pathways 
Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated (MEK) signaling are central to the survival and proliferation of many cell types. Multiple lines of investigation in murine models have shown that control of the PI3K pathway is particularly important for regulatory T cell (Treg) stability and function. PI3K and MEK inhibitors are being introduced into the clinic, and we hypothesized that pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K, and possibly MEK, in mixed cultures of human mononuclear cells would preferentially affect CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes compared with Tregs. We tested this hypothesis using four readouts: proliferation, activation, functional suppression, and signaling. Results showed that Tregs were less susceptible to inhibition by both δ and α isoform–specific PI3K inhibitors and by an MEK inhibitor compared with their conventional CD4+ and CD8+ counterparts. These studies suggest less functional reliance on PI3K and MEK signaling in Tregs compared with conventional CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. Therefore, the PI3K and MEK pathways are attractive pharmacologic targets for transplantation and treatment of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC5007157  PMID: 27017850
4.  Frequency Up-Conversion Photon-Type Terahertz Imager 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:25383.
Terahertz imaging has many important potential applications. Due to the failure of Si readout integrated circuits (ROICs) and the thermal mismatch between the photo-detector arrays and the ROICs at temperatures below 40 K, there are big technical challenges to construct terahertz photo-type focal plane arrays. In this work, we report pixel-less photo-type terahertz imagers based on the frequency up-conversion technique. The devices are composed of terahertz quantum-well photo-detectors (QWPs) and near-infrared (NIR) light emitting diodes (LEDs) which are grown in sequence on the same substrates using molecular beam epitaxy. In such an integrated QWP-LED device, photocurrent in the QWP drives the LED to emit NIR light. By optimizing the structural parameters of the QWP-LED, the QWP part and the LED part both work well. The maximum values of the internal and external energy up-conversion efficiencies are around 20% and 0.5%. A laser spot of a homemade terahertz quantum cascade laser is imaged by the QWP-LED together with a commercial Si camera. The pixel-less imaging results show that the image blurring induced by the transverse spreading of photocurrent is negligible. The demonstrated pixel-less imaging opens a new way to realize high performance terahertz imaging devices.
PMCID: PMC4857121  PMID: 27147281
5.  Crystal Field Splitting is Limiting the Stability and Strength of Ultra-incompressible Orthorhombic Transition Metal Tetraborides 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:23088.
The lattice stability and mechanical strengths of the supposedly superhard transition metal tetraborides (TmB4, Tm = Cr, Mn and Fe) evoked recently much attention from the scientific community due to the potential applications of these materials, as well as because of general scientific interests. In the present study, we show that the surprising stabilization of these compounds from a high symmetry to a low symmetry structure is accomplished by an in-plane rotation of the boron network, which maximizes the in-plane hybridization by crystal field splitting between d orbitals of Tm and p orbitals of B. Studies of mechanical and electronic properties of TmB4 suggest that these tetraborides cannot be intrinsically superhard. The mechanical instability is facilitated by a unique in-plane or out-of-plane weakening of the three-dimensional covalent bond network of boron along different shear deformation paths. These results shed a novel view on the origin of the stability and strength of orthorhombic TmB4, highlighting the importance of combinational analysis of a variety of parameters related to plastic deformation of the crystalline materials when attempting to design new ultra-incompressible, and potentially strong and hard solids.
PMCID: PMC4791561  PMID: 26976479
6.  Cytomegalovirus disease in African-American kidney transplant patients 
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease is a serious infection after kidney transplantation. The risk factors and the impact of CMV disease in African-American (AA) kidney transplant patients have not been well characterized.
We performed a retrospective analysis on 448 AA patients transplanted between 1996 and 2005. A 3-month universal chemoprophylaxis with ganciclovir or valganciclovir was administered to CMV donor-positive/recipient-negative (D+/R−) patients and to those treated with anti-thymocyte globulin for rejection, but not routinely to patients with other D/R serostatus.
A total of 31 AA patients (7%) developed clinical CMV disease. Compared to other D/R serostatus, the D+/R− group had the highest 3-year cumulative incidence of CMV disease (16.9% vs. 6.3% in D+/R+, 4.9% in D−/R+, and 2.4% in D−/R−). The D+/R− group had the worst 3-year death-censored graft survival by Kaplan-Meier methods (75% vs. 92% in D+/R+, 94% in D−/R+, and 96% in D−/R−, P=0.01). Multivariate analysis found that D+/R− serostatus (odds ratio [OR] 5.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.6-48.2, P=0.003) and donor age > 60 years (OR 9.1, 95% CI 1.3-65, P=0.03) were independent risk factors for CMV disease.
The D+/R− group has the highest incidence of CMV disease and the worst 3-year renal graft survival, in spite of the 3-month universal prophylaxis. Prolonged chemoprophylaxis may be needed to prevent the late development of CMV disease and to improve graft survival in the high-risk group of AA kidney transplant recipients.
PMCID: PMC4765915  PMID: 23228184
cytomegalovirus; graft survival; CMV prophylaxis; kidney transplant; African-American
7.  Dysregulation of Bmi1 promotes malignant transformation of hepatic progenitor cells 
Oncogenesis  2016;5(2):e203-.
Adult hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) are involved in a wide range of human liver diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Bmi1 has been reported to have vital roles in stem cell self-renewal and carcinogenesis. We have previously demonstrated that Bmi1 is upregulated in HCC with bile duct tumor thrombi, a subtype of HCC characterized by profuse expression of hepatic stem cell markers. However, the function of Bmi1 in HPCs has not yet been well elucidated. The current study was designed to investigate the effects of Bmi1 on the biological properties of rat HPCs. To accomplish this, Bmi1 was silenced or enhanced in two HPC cell lines (WB-F344 and OC3) by, respectively, using either small interfering RNA against Bmi1 or a forced Bmi1 expression retroviral vector. The biological functions of Bmi1 in HPCs were investigated through cell proliferation assays, colony-formation assays, cell cycle analysis and invasion assays, as well as through xenograft-formation assays. In this study, genetic depletion of Bmi1 repressed cell proliferation, colony formation and invasion in both assessed HPC cell lines relative to controls. Conversely, forced expression of Bmi1 in two HPCs cell lines promoted cell proliferation, colony formation and invasion in vitro. Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) assay revealed a significant increase in the number of ALDH-positive cells following the forced expression of Bmi1 in HPCs. Most importantly, transplantation of forced Bmi1 expression HPCs into nude mice resulted in the formation of tumors with histological features of poorly differentiated HCC. Taken together, our findings indicate that forced expression of Bmi1 promotes the malignant transformation of HPCs, suggesting Bmi1 might be a potential molecular target for the treatment of HCC.
PMCID: PMC5154353  PMID: 26926789
8.  Porous VOxNy nanoribbons supported on CNTs as efficient and stable non-noble electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:17385.
Novel nanocomposites of carbon nanotubes supported porous VOxNy nonoribbons (VOxNy-CNTs) have been synthesized by the annealing of the sol-gel mixture of CNTs and V2O5 under NH3 atmosphere as well as the ageing process in air. Besides the morphological and structural characterizations revealed by TEM, SEAD, EDS, XRD and XPS measurements, typical electrochemical tests including cyclic voltammetry (CV), rotating disk electrode (RDE) and chronoamperometry have been employed to determine the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) performance of VOxNy-CNTs. Inspiringly, the results indicate that VOxNy-CNTs catalyst exhibits a 0.4 mA/cm2 larger diffusion-limited current density, a 0.10  V smaller onset potential value, a 10.73% less of ORR current decay and an excellent methanol-tolerance compared with commercial Pt/C catalyst. Therefore, we have reasonable grounds to believe that this new VOxNy-CNTs nanocomposites can be regarded as a promising non-precious methanol-tolerant ORR catalyst candidate for alkaline fuel cells.
PMCID: PMC4663630  PMID: 26616719
9.  Graphite Carbon-Supported Mo2C Nanocomposites by a Single-Step Solid State Reaction for Electrochemical Oxygen Reduction 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0138330.
Novel graphite-molybdenum carbide nanocomposites (G-Mo2C) are synthesized by a typical solid state reaction with melamine and MoO3 as precursors under inert atmosphere. The characterization results indicate that G-Mo2C composites are composed of high crystallization and purity of Mo2C and few layers of graphite carbon. Mo2C nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 5 to 50 nm are uniformly supported by surrounding graphite layers. It is believed that Mo atom resulting from the reduction of MoO3 is beneficial to the immobilization of graphite carbon. Moreover, the electrocatalytic performances of G-Mo2C for ORR in alkaline medium are investigated by cyclic voltammetry (CV), rotating disk electrode (RDE) and chronoamperometry test with 3M methanol. The results show that G-Mo2C has a considerable catalytic activity and superior methanol tolerance performance for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) benefiting from the chemical interaction between the carbide nanoparticles and graphite carbon.
PMCID: PMC4575164  PMID: 26381266
10.  Fast, high-throughput measurement of collective behaviour in a bacterial population 
Swimming bacteria explore their environment by performing a random walk, which is biased in response to, for example, chemical stimuli, resulting in a collective drift of bacterial populations towards ‘a better life’. This phenomenon, called chemotaxis, is one of the best known forms of collective behaviour in bacteria, crucial for bacterial survival and virulence. Both single-cell and macroscopic assays have investigated bacterial behaviours. However, theories that relate the two scales have previously been difficult to test directly. We present an image analysis method, inspired by light scattering, which measures the average collective motion of thousands of bacteria simultaneously. Using this method, a time-varying collective drift as small as 50 nm s−1 can be measured. The method, validated using simulations, was applied to chemotactic Escherichia coli bacteria in linear gradients of the attractant α-methylaspartate. This enabled us to test a coarse-grained minimal model of chemotaxis. Our results clearly map the onset of receptor methylation, and the transition from linear to logarithmic sensing in the bacterial response to an external chemoeffector. Our method is broadly applicable to problems involving the measurement of collective drift with high time resolution, such as cell migration and fluid flows measurements, and enables fast screening of tactic behaviours.
PMCID: PMC4233697  PMID: 25030384
collective motion; Fourier image analysis; bacterial chemotaxis
11.  MicroRNA-26a supports mammalian axon regeneration in vivo by suppressing GSK3β expression 
Cell Death & Disease  2015;6(8):e1865-.
MicroRNAs are emerging to be important epigenetic factors that control axon regeneration. Here, we report that microRNA-26a (miR-26a) is a physiological regulator of mammalian axon regeneration in vivo. We demonstrated that endogenous miR-26a acted to target specifically glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) in adult mouse sensory neurons in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of endogenous miR-26a in sensory neurons impaired axon regeneration in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the regulatory effect of miR-26a was mediated by increased expression of GSK3β because downregulation or pharmacological inhibition of GSK3β fully rescued axon regeneration. Our results also suggested that the miR-26a-GSK3β pathway regulated axon regeneration at the neuronal soma by controlling gene expression. We provided biochemical and functional evidences that the regeneration-associated transcription factor Smad1 acted downstream of miR-26a and GSK3β to control sensory axon regeneration. Our study reveals a novel miR-26a-GSK3β-Smad1 signaling pathway in the regulation of mammalian axon regeneration. Moreover, we provide the first evidence that, in addition to inhibition of GSK3β kinase activity, maintaining a lower protein level of GSK3β in neurons by the microRNA is necessary for efficient axon regeneration.
PMCID: PMC4558520  PMID: 26313916
12.  Landau levels and magneto-transport property of monolayer phosphorene 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12295.
We investigate theoretically the Landau levels (LLs) and magneto-transport properties of phosphorene under a perpendicular magnetic field within the framework of the effective k·p Hamiltonian and tight-binding (TB) model. At low field regime, we find that the LLs linearly depend both on the LL index n and magnetic field B, which is similar with that of conventional semiconductor two-dimensional electron gas. The Landau splittings of conduction and valence band are different and the wavefunctions corresponding to the LLs are strongly anisotropic due to the different anisotropic effective masses. An analytical expression for the LLs in low energy regime is obtained via solving the decoupled Hamiltonian, which agrees well with the numerical calculations. At high magnetic regime, a self-similar Hofstadter butterfly (HB) spectrum is obtained by using the TB model. The HB spectrum is consistent with the LL fan calculated from the effective k·p theory in a wide regime of magnetic fields. We find the LLs of phosphorene nanoribbon depend strongly on the ribbon orientation due to the anisotropic hopping parameters. The Hall and the longitudinal conductances (resistances) clearly reveal the structure of LLs.
PMCID: PMC4498330  PMID: 26159856
13.  Atomic-Scale Interfacial Magnetism in Fe/Graphene Heterojunction 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11911.
Successful spin injection into graphene makes it a competitive contender in the race to become a key material for quantum computation, or the spin-operation-based data processing and sensing. Engineering ferromagnetic metal (FM)/graphene heterojunctions is one of the most promising avenues to realise it, however, their interface magnetism remains an open question up to this day. In any proposed FM/graphene spintronic devices, the best opportunity for spin transport could only be achieved where no magnetic dead layer exists at the FM/graphene interface. Here we present a comprehensive study of the epitaxial Fe/graphene interface by means of X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The experiment has been performed using a specially designed FM1/FM2/graphene structure that to a large extent restores the realistic case of the proposed graphene-based transistors. We have quantitatively observed a reduced but still sizable magnetic moments of the epitaxial Fe ML on graphene, which is well resembled by simulations and can be attributed to the strong hybridization between the Fe 3dz2 and the C 2pz orbitals and the sp-orbital-like behavior of the Fe 3d electrons due to the presence of graphene.
PMCID: PMC4491707  PMID: 26145155
14.  Gas Sensing Properties of Epitaxial LaBaCo2O5.5+δ Thin Films 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10784.
Chemical reactivity and stability of highly epitaxial mixed-conductive LaBaCo2O5.5+δ (LBCO) thin films on (001) LaAlO3 (LAO) single-crystalline substrates, fabricated by using pulsed laser deposition system, were systematically investigated. Microstructure studies from x-ray diffraction indicate that the films are c-axis oriented with the interface relationship of [100]LBCO//[100]LAO and (001)LBCO//(001)LAO. LBCO thin films can detect the ethanol vapor concentration as low as 10ppm and the response of LBCO thin film to various ethanol vapor concentrations is very reliable and reproducible with the switch between air and ethanol vapor. Moreover, the fast response of the LBCO thin film, as the p-type gas sensor, is better than some n-type oxide semiconductor thin films and comparable with some nanorods and nanowires. These findings indicate that the LBCO thin films have great potential for the development of gas sensors in reducing/oxidizing environments.
PMCID: PMC4491845  PMID: 26146369
15.  Novel VN/C nanocomposites as methanol-tolerant oxygen reduction electrocatalyst in alkaline electrolyte 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11351.
A novel VN/C nanostructure consisting of VN nanoparticles and graphite-dominant carbon layers is synthesized by nitridation of V2O5 using melamine as reductant under inert atmosphere. High crystalline VN nanoparticles are observed to be uniformly distributed in carbon layers with an average size of ca13.45 nm. Moreover, the electrocatalytic performance of VN/C towards oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in alkaline electrolyte is fascinating. The results show that VN/C has a considerable ORR activity, including a 75 percent value of the diffusion-limited current density and a 0.11 V smaller value about the onset potential with respect to Pt/C catalyst. Moreover, the excellent methanol-tolerance performance of VN/C has also been verified with 3 M methanol. Combined with the competitive prices, this VN/C nanocomposite can serve as an appropriate non-precious methanol-tolerant ORR catalyst for alkaline fuel cells.
PMCID: PMC4477409  PMID: 26100367
16.  Model-based Physiomarkers of Cerebral Hemodynamics in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Medical engineering & physics  2014;36(5):628-637.
In our previous studies, we have introduced model-based "unctional biomarkers"or "hysiomarkers"of cerebral hemodynamics that hold promise for improved diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The advocated methodology utilizes subject-specific data-based dynamic nonlinear models of cerebral hemodynamics to compute indices (serving as possible diagnostic physiomarkers) that quantify the state of cerebral blood flow autoregulation to pressure-changes (CFAP) and cerebral CO2 vasomotor reactivity (CVMR) in each subject. The model is estimated from beat-to-beat measurements of mean arterial blood pressure, mean cerebral blood flow velocity and end18 tidal CO2, which can be made reliably and non-invasively under resting conditions. In a previous study, it was found that a CVMR index quantifying the impairment in CO2 vasomotor reactivity correlates with clinical indications of early AD, offering the prospect of a potentially useful diagnostic tool. In this paper, we explore the use of the same model-based indices for patients with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a preclinical stage of AD, relative to a control subjects and clinical cognitive assessments. It was found that the model-based CVMR values were lower for MCI patients relative to the control subjects.
PMCID: PMC4076301  PMID: 24698010
17.  Use of lectins to in situ visualize glycoconjugates of extracellular polymeric substances in acidophilic archaeal biofilms 
Microbial Biotechnology  2014;8(3):448-461.
Biofilm formation and the production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) by meso- and thermoacidophilic metal-oxidizing archaea on relevant substrates have been studied to a limited extent. In order to investigate glycoconjugates, a major part of the EPS, during biofilm formation/bioleaching by archaea on pyrite, a screening with 75 commercially available lectins by fluorescence lectin-binding analysis (FLBA) has been performed. Three representative archaeal species, Ferroplasma acidiphilum DSM 28986, Sulfolobus metallicus DSM 6482T and a novel isolate Acidianus sp. DSM 29099 were used. In addition, Acidianus sp. DSM 29099 biofilms on elemental sulfur were studied. The results of FLBA indicate (i) 22 lectins bound to archaeal biofilms on pyrite and 21 lectins were binding to Acidianus sp. DSM 29099 biofilms on elemental sulfur; (ii) major binding patterns, e.g. tightly bound EPS and loosely bound EPS, were detected on both substrates; (iii) the three archaeal species produced various EPS glycoconjugates on pyrite surfaces. Additionally, the substratum induced different EPS glycoconjugates and biofilm structures of cells of Acidianus sp. DSM 29099. Our data provide new insights into interactions between acidophilic archaea on relevant surfaces and also indicate that FLBA is a valuable tool for in situ investigations on archaeal biofilms.
PMCID: PMC4408177  PMID: 25488256
18.  Local structure order in Pd78Cu6Si16 liquid 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8277.
The short-range order (SRO) in Pd78Cu6Si16 liquid was studied by high energy x-ray diffraction and ab initio molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The calculated pair correlation functions at different temperatures agree well with the experimental results. The partial pair correlation functions from ab intio MD simulations indicate that Si atoms prefer to be uniformly distributed while Cu atoms tend to aggregate. By performing structure analysis using Honeycutt-Andersen index, Voronoi tessellation, and atomic cluster alignment method, we show that the icosahedron and face-centered cubic SRO increase upon cooling. The dominant SRO is the Pd-centered Pd9Si2 motif, namely the structure of which motif is similar to the structure of Pd-centered clusters in the Pd9Si2 crystal. The study further confirms the existence of trigonal prism capped with three half-octahedra that is reported as a structural unit in Pd-based amorphous alloys. The majority of Cu-centered clusters are icosahedra, suggesting that the presence of Cu is benefit to promote the glass forming ability.
PMCID: PMC4317692  PMID: 25652079
19.  MicroRNA-141 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis in gastric cancer by directly targeting transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif, TAZ 
Cell Death & Disease  2015;6(1):e1623-.
Gastric cancer (GC) is a biologically heterogeneous disease accompanying various genetic and epigenetic alterations, and the molecular mechanisms underlying this disease are complex and not completely understood. Increasing evidence shows that abnormal microRNA (miRNA) expression is involved in GC tumorigenesis, but the role of specific miRNAs involved in this disease remains elusive. MiR-141 was previously reported to act as tumor suppressors or oncogenes in diverse cancers. However, their accurate expression, function and mechanism in GC are largely unclear. Here we found that the expression of miR-141 was significantly reduced in GC compared with paired adjacent normal tissues and was significantly correlated with a more aggressive phenotype of GC in patients. Ectopic expression of miR-141 mimics in GC cell lines resulted in reduced proliferation, invasion and migration, and inhibition of miR-141 in GC cell lines promoted cell proliferation, invasion and migration in vitro. We further demonstrated that miR-141 acted as tumor suppressors through targeting transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) in GC. Moreover, the inverse relationship between miR-141 and its target was verified in patients and xenograft mice. Finally, overexpression of miR-141 suppressed tumor growth and pulmonary metastasis in nude mice. Take together, we identified that miR-141 is a potent tumor suppressor in the stomach, and its growth inhibitory effects are, in part, mediated through its downstream target gene, TAZ. These findings implied that miR-141 might be employed as novel prognostic markers and therapeutic targets of GC.
PMCID: PMC4669771  PMID: 25633292
20.  JWA reverses cisplatin resistance via the CK2—XRCC1 pathway in human gastric cancer cells 
Xu, W | Chen, Q | Wang, Q | Sun, Y | Wang, S | Li, A | Xu, S | Røe, O D | Wang, M | Zhang, R | Yang, L | Zhou, J
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(12):e1551-.
Gastric cancer is the third most common malignancy in China, with a median 5-year survival of only 20%. Cisplatin has been used in first-line cancer treatment for several types of cancer including gastric cancer. However, patients are often primary resistant or develop acquired resistance resulting in relapse of the cancer and reduced survival. Recently, we demonstrated that the reduced expression of base excision repair protein XRCC1 and its upstream regulator JWA in gastric cancerous tissues correlated with a significant survival benefit of adjuvant first-line platinum-based chemotherapy as well as XRCC1 playing an important role in the DNA repair of cisplatin-resistant gastric cancer cells. In the present study, we demonstrated the role of JWA in cisplatin-induced DNA lesions and aquired cisplatin resistance in five cell-culture models: gastric epithelial cells GES-1, cisplatin-sensitive gastric cancer cell lines BGC823 and SGC7901, and the cisplatin-resistant gastric cancer cell lines BGC823/DDP and SGC7901/DDP. Our results indicated that JWA is required for DNA repair following cisplatin-induced double-strand breaks (DSBs) via XRCC1 in normal gastric epithelial cells. However, in gastric cancer cells, JWA enhanced cisplatin-induced cell death through regulation of DNA damage-induced apoptosis. The protein expression of JWA was significantly decreased in cisplatin-resistant cells and contributed to cisplatin resistance. Interestingly, as JWA upregulated XRCC1 expression in normal cells, JWA downregulated XRCC1 expression through promoting the degradation of XRCC1 in cisplatin-resistant gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, the negative regulation of JWA to XRCC1 was blocked due to the mutation of 518S/519T/523T residues of XRCC1, and indicating that the CK2 activated 518S/519T/523T phosphorylation is a key point in the regulation of JWA to XRCC1. In conclusion, we report for the first time that JWA regulated cisplatin-induced DNA damage and apoptosis through the CK2—P-XRCC1—XRCC1 pathway, indicating a putative drug target for reversing cisplatin resistance in gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4649833  PMID: 25476899
21.  White Matter Integrity in Physically Fit Older Adults 
NeuroImage  2013;0:510-516.
White matter (WM) integrity declines with normal aging. Physical activity may attenuate age-related WM integrity changes and improve cognitive function. This study examined brain WM integrity in Masters athletes who have engaged in life-long aerobic exercise training. We tested the hypothesis that life-long aerobic training is associated with improved brain WM integrity in older adults.
Ten Masters athletes (3 females, age=72.2±5.3yrs, endurance training>15yrs) and 10 sedentary older adults similar in age and educational level (2 females, age=74.5±4.3yrs) participated. MRI fluid-attenuated-inversion-recovery (FLAIR) images were acquired to assess white matter hyper intensities (WMH) volume. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed to evaluate the WM microstructural integrity with a DTI-derived metric, fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD).
After normalization to whole-brain volume, Masters athletes showed an 83% reduction in deep WMH volume relative to their sedentary counterparts (0.05 ± 0.05% vs. 0.29 ± 0.29%, p<0.05). In addition, we found an inverse relationship between aerobic fitness (VO2max) and deep WMH volume (r=−0.78, p<0.001). Using TBSS, Masters athletes showed higher FA values in the right superior corona radiata (SCR), both sides of superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFO), and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). In addition, Masters athletes also showed lower MD values in the left posterior thalamic radiation (PTR) and left cingulum hippocampus.
These findings suggest that life-long exercise is associated with reduced WMH and may preserve WM fiber microstructural integrity related to motor control and coordination in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3759589  PMID: 23769914
Aging; white matter disease; MRI; exercise; plasticity
22.  Model-based Quantification of Cerebral Hemodynamics as a Physiomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease? 
Annals of biomedical engineering  2013;41(11):2296-2317.
Previous studies have found that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) impairs cerebral vascular function, even at early stages of the disease. This offers the prospect of a useful diagnostic method for AD, if cerebral vascular dysfunction can be quantified reliably within practical clinical constraints. We present a recently developed methodology that utilizes a data-based dynamic nonlinear closed-loop model of cerebral hemodynamics to compute “physiomarkers” quantifying the state of cerebral flow autoregulation to pressure-changes (CA) and cerebral CO2 vasomotor reactivity (CVMR) in each subject. This model is estimated from beat-to-beat measurements of mean arterial blood pressure, mean cerebral blood flow velocity and end-tidal CO2, which can be made reliably and non-invasively under resting conditions. This model may also take an open-loop form and comparisons are made with the closed-loop counterpart. The proposed model-based physiomarkers take the form of two indices that quantify the gain of the CA and CVMR processes in each subject. It was found in an initial set of clinical data that the CVMR index delineates AD patients from control subjects and, therefore, may prove useful in the improved diagnosis of early-stage AD.
PMCID: PMC3992829  PMID: 23771298
Alzheimer’s disease; Physiomarkers; Modeling cerebral hemodynamics; Closed-loop modeling; Cerebral flow autoregulation; Cerebral vasomotor reactivity
23.  Neurodegenerative diseases in a dish: the promise of iPSC technology in disease modeling and therapeutic discovery 
Neurological Sciences  2014;36:21-27.
The study of stem-cell biology has been a flourishing research area because of its multi-differentiation potential. The emergence of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) open up the possibility of addressing obstructs, such as the limited cell source, inherent complexity of the human brain, and ethical constrains. Though still at its infancy phase, reprogramming of somatic cells has been demonstrating the ability to enhance in vitro study of neurodegenerative diseases and potential treatment. However, iPSCs would not thoroughly translate to the clinic before limitations are addressed. In this review, by summarizing the recent development of iPSC-based models, we will discuss the feasibility of iPSC technology on relevant diseases depth and illustrate how this new tool applies to drug screening and celluar therapy.
PMCID: PMC4282683  PMID: 25354658
Induced pluripotent stem cells; IPSCs; Neurodegenerative disease; Disease modeling; Drug screening; Cell therapy
24.  A high-content screening assay for small molecule modulators of oncogene-induced senescence 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2013;18(9):10.1177/1087057113491827.
Cellular senescence is a state of stable cell growth arrest. Activation of oncogenes such as RAS in mammalian cells typically triggers cellular senescence. Oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is an important tumor suppression mechanism, and suppression of OIS contributes to cell transformation. Oncogenes trigger senescence through a multitude of incompletely understood downstream signaling events that frequently involve protein kinases. To identify target proteins required for RAS-induced senescence, we developed a small molecule screen in primary human fibroblasts undergoing senescence induced by oncogenic RAS (H-RasG12V). Using a high-content imaging system to monitor two hallmarks of senescence, senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity expression and inhibition of proliferation, we screened a library of known small molecule kinase inhibitors for those that suppressed OIS. Identified compounds were subsequently validated and confirmed using a third marker of senescence, senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. In summary, we have established a novel high-content screening platform that may be useful for elucidating signaling pathways mediating OIS by targeting critical pathway components.
PMCID: PMC3870888  PMID: 23733845
25.  TRAF1 is a key mediator for hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(10):e1467-.
Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 1 (TRAF1), an adapter in signal transduction, is involved in immunity and in apoptotic processes in various cell types. However, little is known about its function and the molecular mechanism of its activation during liver injury. This study tested the hypothesis that TRAF1 is a mediator of cell injury after hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R). In a mouse hepatic I/R injury model, we found that TRAF1 expression was highly induced. TRAF1 deficiency was liver protective, whereas sustained TRAF1 overexpression aggravated liver injury in response to hepatic I/R injury. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that a deficiency of TRAF1 in cultured hepatocytes led to the inhibition of NF-κB-mediated inflammatory responses, suppression of the ASK/JNK pro-death pathway and promotion of cellular regeneration capacity. In contrast, the converse occurred in hepatocyte-specific TRAF1 transgenic mice. TRAF1 activated the ASK1/JNK pathway and promoted hepatic injury. Our study demonstrates that TRAF1 is a crucial early mediator of hepatic I/R injury and suggests that TRAF1 may be a potential gene therapy target for the treatment of liver injury.
PMCID: PMC4649517  PMID: 25321474

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