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author:("Ge, shaofu")
1.  Integrin Alpha 9 Blockade Suppresses Lymphatic Valve Formation and Promotes Transplant Survival 
The lymphatic pathway mediates transplant rejection. We recently reported that lymphatic vessels develop luminal valves in the cornea during lymphangiogenesis, and these valves express integrin alpha 9 (Itga-9) and play a critical role in directing lymph flow. In this study, we used an allogeneic corneal transplantation model to investigate whether Itga-9 blockade could suppress valvulogenesis after transplantation, and how this effect would influence the outcomes of the transplants.
Orthotopic corneal transplantation was performed between fully mismatched C57BL/6 (donor) and BALB/c (recipient) mice. The recipients were randomized to receive subconjunctival injections of either Itga-9 blocking antibody or isotype control twice a week for 8 weeks. Corneal grafts were assessed in vivo by ophthalmic slit-lamp biomicroscopy and analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival curves. Additionally, whole-mount full-thickness corneas were evaluated ex vivo by immunofluorescent microscopy on both lymphatic vessels and valves.
Anti–Itga-9 treatment suppressed lymphatic valvulogenesis after transplantation. Our treatment did not affect lymphatic vessel formation or their nasal polarized distribution in the cornea. More importantly, Itga-9 blockade led to a significant promotion of graft survival.
Lymphatic valvulogenesis is critically involved in transplant rejection. Itga-9 targeting may offer a new and effective strategy to interfere with the immune responses and promote graft survival.
PMCID: PMC5096415  PMID: 27806381
lymphatic valve; lymphangiogenesis; transplantation; integrin alpha 9
2.  Reduced Levels of Tear Lacritin Are Associated With Corneal Neuropathy in Patients With the Ocular Component of Sjögren's Syndrome 
To determine whether levels of endogenous tear protein, lacritin, are linked to altered corneal innervation and dry eye severity in patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS).
Clinical data were obtained from 10 SS and 10 age-matched controls. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to assess total tear lacritin extracted from Schirmer strips. Western blot was used to detect active lacritin monomer (∼25 kDa), active lacritin fragment (∼12–15 kDa), and inactive tissue transglutaminase–generated lacritin (≥40 kDa). In vivo confocal microscopy was used to assess nerve fiber density (NFD) and length (NFL). Relationships between nerve morphology and tear lacritin were examined by Spearman correlation. Diagnostic performance of tear lacritin was analyzed using receiver operating characteristic.
Active tear lacritin was significantly reduced in SS patients (3.72 ± 5.62 [SS] versus 18.17 ± 4.57 ng/100 ng total tear protein [controls]; P < 0.001), while inactive lacritin was increased (84.99% ± 11.15% [SS] versus 51.04% ± 12.03% [controls]; P < 0.001). Nerve fiber density (21.70 ± 18.93 vs. 31.80 ± 9.35; P = 0.03) and NFL (4.18 ± 3.44 vs. 6.54 ± 2.47; P < 0.05) were significantly decreased in SS patients compared to controls. Reduced NFL (r = 0.74, P < 0.01) and NFD (r = 0.70, P < 0.01) were highly correlated with reduced tear lacritin. Similarly, total tear lacritin was highly correlated with Schirmers (r = 0.77, P < 0.01), ocular staining (r = −0.80, P < 0.01), and corneal sensitivity (r = 0.81, P < 0.01). Tear lacritin showed equivalent or better diagnostic performance compared to traditional clinical measures for SS (100.00% sensitivity, 85.71% specificity, cutoff = 14.50 ng/100 ng tear protein).
Reduced tear lacritin levels in SS patients are highly correlated with clinical signs of dry eye, as well as decreased NFD and NFL. Lacritin and its components provide excellent diagnostic sensitivity and specificity in SS.
PMCID: PMC5063056  PMID: 27711909
lacritin; corneal innervation; Sjögren's syndrome; dry eyes
3.  Definitive Characterization of CA 19-9 in Resectable Pancreatic Cancer Using a Reference Set of Serum and Plasma Specimens 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139049.
The validation of candidate biomarkers often is hampered by the lack of a reliable means of assessing and comparing performance. We present here a reference set of serum and plasma samples to facilitate the validation of biomarkers for resectable pancreatic cancer. The reference set includes a large cohort of stage I-II pancreatic cancer patients, recruited from 5 different institutions, and relevant control groups. We characterized the performance of the current best serological biomarker for pancreatic cancer, CA 19–9, using plasma samples from the reference set to provide a benchmark for future biomarker studies and to further our knowledge of CA 19–9 in early-stage pancreatic cancer and the control groups. CA 19–9 distinguished pancreatic cancers from the healthy and chronic pancreatitis groups with an average sensitivity and specificity of 70–74%, similar to previous studies using all stages of pancreatic cancer. Chronic pancreatitis patients did not show CA 19–9 elevations, but patients with benign biliary obstruction had elevations nearly as high as the cancer patients. We gained additional information about the biomarker by comparing two distinct assays. The two CA 9–9 assays agreed well in overall performance but diverged in measurements of individual samples, potentially due to subtle differences in antibody specificity as revealed by glycan array analysis. Thus, the reference set promises be a valuable resource for biomarker validation and comparison, and the CA 19–9 data presented here will be useful for benchmarking and for exploring relationships to CA 19–9.
PMCID: PMC4592020  PMID: 26431551
4.  Health Beliefs Associated with Cervical Cancer Screening Among Vietnamese Americans 
Journal of Women's Health  2013;22(3):276-288.
Vietnamese American women represent one of the ethnic subgroups at great risk for cervical cancer in the United States. The underutilization of cervical cancer screening and the vulnerability of Vietnamese American women to cervical cancer may be compounded by their health beliefs.
The objective of this study was to explore the associations between factors of the Health Belief Model (HBM) and cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese American women.
Vietnamese American women (n=1,450) were enrolled into the randomized controlled trial (RCT) study who were recruited from 30 Vietnamese community-based organizations located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Participants completed baseline assessments of demographic and acculturation variables, health care access factors, and constructs of the HBM, as well as health behaviors in either English or Vietnamese.
The rate of those who had ever undergone cervical cancer screening was 53% (769/1450) among the participants. After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, the significant associated factors from HBM included: believing themselves at risk and more likely than average women to get cervical cancer; believing that cervical cancer changes life; believing a Pap test is important for staying healthy, not understanding what is done during a Pap test, being scared to know having cervical cancer; taking a Pap test is embarrassing; not being available by doctors at convenient times; having too much time for a test; believing no need for a Pap test when feeling well; and being confident in getting a test.
Understanding how health beliefs may be associated with cervical cancer screening among underserved Vietnamese American women is essential for identifying the subgroup of women who are most at risk for cervical cancer and would benefit from intervention programs to increase screening rates.
PMCID: PMC3601630  PMID: 23428284
5.  Identification of Osteopontin as a Novel Marker for Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2011;55(2):483-490.
This study was to identify a biomarker that could improve α-fetoprotein (AFP) performance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) surveillance among patients with cirrhosis. We performed proteomic profiling of plasma from patients with cirrhosis or HCC and validated selected candidate HCC biomarkers in two geographically distinct cohorts in order to include HCC of different etiologies. Mass spectrometry profiling of highly fractionated plasma from 18 cirrhosis and 17 HCC patients identified osteopontin (OPN) as significantly upregulated in HCC cases compared to cirrhosis controls. OPN levels were subsequently measured in 312 plasma samples collected from 131 HCC patients, 76 cirrhosis patients, 52 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and B (CHB) patients and 53 healthy controls, in two independent cohorts. OPN plasma levels were significantly elevated in HCC patients compared to cirrhosis, CHC, CHB or healthy controls, in both cohorts. OPN alone or in combination with AFP had significantly better area under the receiver operating characteristic curve compared to AFP in comparing cirrhosis and HCC in both cohorts. OPN overall performance remained higher than AFP in comparing cirrhosis and the following HCC groups: HCV-related HCC, HBV-associated HCC and early HCC. OPN had also a good sensitivity in AFP negative HCC. In a pilot prospective study including 22 patients who developed HCC during follow-up, OPN was already elevated a year prior to diagnosis. Conclusion: OPN was more sensitive than AFP for the diagnosis of HCC in all studied HCC groups. In addition, OPN performance remained intact in samples collected a year prior to diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3914762  PMID: 21953299
biomarker; HCC; early detection; OPN
6.  Correlates of Cervical Cancer Screening among Vietnamese American Women 
Objective. Vietnamese American women are at the greatest risk for cervical cancer but have the lowest cervical cancer screening rates. This study was to determine whether demographic and acculturation, healthcare access, and knowledge and beliefs are associated with a prior history of cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese women. Methods. Vietnamese women (n = 1450) from 30 Vietnamese community-based organizations located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey participated in the study and completed baseline assessments. Logistic regression analyses were performed. Results. Overall levels of knowledge about cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) are low. Factors in knowledge, attitude, and beliefs domains were significantly associated with Pap test behavior. In multivariate analyses, physician recommendation for screening and having health insurance were positively associated with prior screening. Conclusion. Understanding the factors that are associated with cervical cancer screening will inform the development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies that would potentially lead to increasing cervical cancer screening rates among Vietnamese women.
PMCID: PMC3449126  PMID: 23008526

Results 1-6 (6)