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1.  The Effects of Altitude Training on the AMPK-Related Glucose Transport Pathway in the Red Skeletal Muscle of Both Lean and Obese Zucker Rats 
High Altitude Medicine & Biology  2011;12(4):371-378.
Chen, Yu-Ching, Shin-Da Lee, Cha-Hua Kuo, and Low-Tone Ho. The effects of altitude training on the AMPK-related glucose transport pathway in the red skeletal muscle of both lean and obese Zucker rats. High Alt. Med. Biol. 12:371–378.—Introduction: The skeletal muscle AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-related glucose transport pathway is involved in glucose homeostasis. Aim: In this study, we examined whether obese control Zucker rats had abnormal expression of proteins in the LKB1-AMPK-AS160-GLUT4 pathway in red gastrocnemius muscle compared to that in lean (normal) control Zucker rats. We also compared the chronic training effects of exercise, hypoxia, and altitude training on this pathway in lean and obese rats. Methods: At sea level, lean and obese rats were divided into 4 groups for 6 weeks training as follows: 1) control; 2) exercise (progressive daily swimming-exercise training with comparable exercise signals between the two groups); 3) hypoxia (8 hours of daily 14% O2 exposure); and 4) exercise plus hypoxia (also called altitude training). Seven animals were used for each group. Results: The obese rats in the control group had higher body weights, elevated fasting insulin and glucose levels, and higher baseline levels of muscle AMPK and AS160 phosphorylation compared with those of lean control rats. For obese Zucker rats in the exercise or hypoxia groups, the muscle AMPK phosphorylation level was significantly decreased compared with that of the control group. For obese Zucker rats in the altitude training group, the levels of AMPK, AS160 phosphorylation, fasting insulin, and fasting glucose were decreased concomitant with an approximate 50% increase in the muscle GLUT4 protein level compared with those of the control group. In lean rats, the altitude training efficiently lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels and increased muscle AMPK and AS160 phosphorylation as well as GLUT4 protein levels. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that long-term altitude training may be a potentially effective nonpharmacological strategy for treating and preventing insulin resistance based on its effects on the skeletal muscle AMPK-AS160-GLUT4 pathway.
PMCID: PMC3248611  PMID: 22206563
altitude training; glucose uptake; skeletal muscle; obese; insulin resistance; AMPK
3.  Endothelin Type A Receptor Genotype is a Determinant of Quantitative Traits of Metabolic Syndrome in Asian Hypertensive Families: A SAPPHIRe Study 
Co-heritability of hypertension and insulin resistance (IR) within families not only implies genetic susceptibility may be responsible for these complex traits but also suggests a rational that biological candidate genes for hypertension may serve as markers for features of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Thus we determined whether the T323C polymorphism (rs5333) of endothelin type A (ETA) receptor, a predominant receptor evoking potent vasoconstrictive action of endothelin-1, contributes to susceptibility to IR-associated hypertension in 1694 subjects of Chinese and Japanese origins. Blood pressures (BPs) and biochemistries were measured. Fasting insulin level, insulin-resistance homeostasis model assessment (HOMAIR) score, and area under curve of insulin concentration (AUCINS) were selected for assessing insulin sensitivity. Genotypes were obtained by methods of polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Foremost findings were that minor allele frequency of the T323C polymorphism was noticeable lower in our overall Asian subjects compared to multi-national population reported in gene database; moreover both the genotypic and allelic frequencies of the polymorphism were significantly different between the two ethnic groups we studied. The genotype distributions at TT/TC/CC were 65, 31, 4% in Chinese and 51, 41, 8% in Japanese, respectively (p < 0.0001). Additionally, carriers of the C homozygote revealed characteristics of IR, namely significantly higher levels of fasting insulin, HOMAIR score, and AUCINS at 29.3, 35.3, and 39.3%, respectively, when compared to their counterparts with TT/TC genotypes in Chinese. Meanwhile, the CC genotype was associated with a higher level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol in Japanese. No association of the polymorphism with BP was observed. This study demonstrated for the first time that T323C polymorphism of ETA receptor gene was associated with an adverse insulin response in Chinese and a favorite atherogenic index in Japanese.
PMCID: PMC3842518  PMID: 24348460
ETA receptor; T323C polymorphism; metabolic syndrome; hypertension
5.  Perspectives of CB1 Antagonist in Treatment of Obesity: Experience of RIO-Asia 
Journal of Obesity  2010;2011:957268.
Rimonabant, a selective cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor antagonist, has been shown to reduce weight and enhance improvements in cardiometabolic risk parameters in Western populations. This study assessed these effects of rimonabant in Asian population. A total of 643 patients (BMI 25 kg/m2 or greater without diabetes) from China, Republic of Korea, and Taiwan were prescribed a hypocaloric diet (600 kcal/day deficit) and randomized to rimonabant 20 mg (n = 318) or placebo (n = 325) for 9months. The primary efficacy variable was weight change from baseline after 9 months of treatment. Results showed that rimonabant group lost more weight than placebo, (LSM ± SEM of −4.7 ± 0.3 kg vs. −1.7 ± 0.3 kg, P < .0001). The 5% and 10% responders were 2 or 3 folds more in the rimonabant group (53.0% vs. 20.0% and 21.5% vs. 5.7%, resp.) (P < .0001). Rimonabant also significantly increased HDL-cholesterol, decreased triglycerides and waist circumference,by 7.1%, 10.6%, and 2.8 cm, respectively (P < .0001). This study confirmed the comparable efficacy and safety profile of rimonabant in Asian population to Caucasians. Owing to the recent suspension of all the CB1 antagonists off the pharmaceutical market for weight reduction in Europe and USA, a perspective in drug discovery for intervening peripheral CB1 receptor in the management of obesity is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3021887  PMID: 21253513
6.  Correction: Generation and Analysis of the Expressed Sequence Tags from the Mycelium of Ganoderma lucidum 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):10.1371/annotation/d3ee6fb1-5239-4a09-b197-379d22f27163.
PMCID: PMC3776884
7.  Trans-Ethnic Fine-Mapping of Lipid Loci Identifies Population-Specific Signals and Allelic Heterogeneity That Increases the Trait Variance Explained 
Wu, Ying | Waite, Lindsay L. | Jackson, Anne U. | Sheu, Wayne H-H. | Buyske, Steven | Absher, Devin | Arnett, Donna K. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Carty, Cara L. | Cheng, Iona | Cochran, Barbara | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Dumitrescu, Logan | Eaton, Charles B. | Franceschini, Nora | Guo, Xiuqing | Henderson, Brian E. | Hindorff, Lucia A. | Kim, Eric | Kinnunen, Leena | Komulainen, Pirjo | Lee, Wen-Jane | Le Marchand, Loic | Lin, Yi | Lindström, Jaana | Lingaas-Holmen, Oddgeir | Mitchell, Sabrina L. | Narisu, Narisu | Robinson, Jennifer G. | Schumacher, Fred | Stančáková, Alena | Sundvall, Jouko | Sung, Yun-Ju | Swift, Amy J. | Wang, Wen-Chang | Wilkens, Lynne | Wilsgaard, Tom | Young, Alicia M. | Adair, Linda S. | Ballantyne, Christie M. | Bůžková, Petra | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Collins, Francis S. | Duggan, David | Feranil, Alan B. | Ho, Low-Tone | Hung, Yi-Jen | Hunt, Steven C. | Hveem, Kristian | Juang, Jyh-Ming J. | Kesäniemi, Antero Y. | Kuusisto, Johanna | Laakso, Markku | Lakka, Timo A. | Lee, I-Te | Leppert, Mark F. | Matise, Tara C. | Moilanen, Leena | Njølstad, Inger | Peters, Ulrike | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rotter, Jerome I. | Saramies, Jouko | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | Wang, Tzung-Dau | Boehnke, Michael | Haiman, Christopher A. | Chen, Yii-Der I. | Kooperberg, Charles | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Crawford, Dana C. | Hsiung, Chao A. | North, Kari E. | Mohlke, Karen L.
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003379.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified ∼100 loci associated with blood lipid levels, but much of the trait heritability remains unexplained, and at most loci the identities of the trait-influencing variants remain unknown. We conducted a trans-ethnic fine-mapping study at 18, 22, and 18 GWAS loci on the Metabochip for their association with triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), respectively, in individuals of African American (n = 6,832), East Asian (n = 9,449), and European (n = 10,829) ancestry. We aimed to identify the variants with strongest association at each locus, identify additional and population-specific signals, refine association signals, and assess the relative significance of previously described functional variants. Among the 58 loci, 33 exhibited evidence of association at P<1×10−4 in at least one ancestry group. Sequential conditional analyses revealed that ten, nine, and four loci in African Americans, Europeans, and East Asians, respectively, exhibited two or more signals. At these loci, accounting for all signals led to a 1.3- to 1.8-fold increase in the explained phenotypic variance compared to the strongest signals. Distinct signals across ancestry groups were identified at PCSK9 and APOA5. Trans-ethnic analyses narrowed the signals to smaller sets of variants at GCKR, PPP1R3B, ABO, LCAT, and ABCA1. Of 27 variants reported previously to have functional effects, 74% exhibited the strongest association at the respective signal. In conclusion, trans-ethnic high-density genotyping and analysis confirm the presence of allelic heterogeneity, allow the identification of population-specific variants, and limit the number of candidate SNPs for functional studies.
Author Summary
Lipid traits are heritable, but many of the DNA variants that influence lipid levels remain unknown. In a genomic region, more than one variant may affect gene expression or function, and the frequencies of these variants can differ across populations. Genotyping densely spaced variants in individuals with different ancestries may increase the chance of identifying variants that affect gene expression or function. We analyzed high-density genotyped variants for association with TG, HDL-C, and LDL-C in African Americans, East Asians, and Europeans. At several genomic regions, we provide evidence that two or more variants can influence lipid traits; across loci, these additional signals increase the proportion of trait variation that can be explained by genes. At some association signals shared across populations, combining data from individuals of different ancestries narrowed the set of likely functional variants. At PCSK9 and APOA5, the data suggest that different variants influence trait levels in different populations. Variants previously reported to alter gene expression or function frequently exhibited the strongest association at those signals. The multiple signals and population-specific characteristics of the loci described here may be shared by genetic loci for other complex traits.
PMCID: PMC3605054  PMID: 23555291
8.  Common ALDH2 genetic variants predict development of hypertension in the SAPPHIRe prospective cohort: Gene-environmental interaction with alcohol consumption 
Genetic variants near/within the ALDH2 gene encoding the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 have been associated with blood pressure and hypertension in several case–control association studies in East Asian populations.
Three common tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNP) in the ALDH2 gene were genotyped in 1,134 subjects of Chinese origin from the Stanford Asia-Pacific Program for Hypertension and Insulin Resistance (SAPPHIRe) family cohort. We examined whether the ALDH2 SNP genotypes predicted the development of hypertension in the prospective SAPPHIRe cohort.
Over an average follow-up period of 5.7 years, carriers homozygous for the rs2238152 T allele in the ALDH2 gene were more likely to progress to hypertension than were non-carriers (hazard ratio [HR], 2.88, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-7.84, P = 0.03), corresponding to a population attributable risk of ~7.1%. The risk associated with the rs2238152 T allele were strongest in heavy/moderate alcohol drinkers and was reduced in non-drinkers, indicating an interaction between ALDH2 genetic variants and alcohol intake on the risk of hypertension (P for interaction = 0.04). The risk allele was associated with significantly lower ALDH2 gene expression levels in human adipose tissue.
ALDH2 genetic variants were associated with progression to hypertension in a prospective Chinese cohort. The association was modified by alcohol consumption.
PMCID: PMC3476438  PMID: 22839215
ALDH2; Hypertension; SNP; Chinese
9.  Whether to report diabetes as the underlying cause-of-death? a survey of internists of different sub-specialties 
Cause-specific mortality is a commonly used endpoint of clinical trials or prospective studies. However, it is sometimes difficult for physician to determine the underlying-cause-of-death (UCD), especially for diabetic patients coexisted with cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The aim of this survey was to examine whether internists with different specialties have different opinions on the reporting of diabetes as the UCD.
A total of 549 physicians completed the questionnaire in Taiwan, which comprised seven hypothetical case scenarios, each indicating a different level of contribution of diabetes in initiating the chain of events leading to death.
As a whole, endocrinologists were more likely than cardiologists and nephrologists to report diabetes as the UCD. The differences were more prominent when the diabetic patient had a coexisting CVD. In scenario 3 (a diabetic patient with hypertension who died from acute myocardial infarction), the percentage was 56% in endocrinologists, which was significantly higher than in cardiologists (42%) and nephrologists (41%). In scenario 4 (a diabetic patient with hypertension who died from cerebrovascular infarction), the percentage was 45% in endocrinologists, and only 31% in cardiologists and 36% in nephrologists.
Internists of different sub-specialties do have different opinions on the reporting of diabetes as the UCD, especially when the diabetic patient has a coexisting CVD.
PMCID: PMC2912904  PMID: 20653939
10.  Different central manifestations in response to electroacupuncture at analgesic and nonanalgesic acupoints in rats: a manganese-enhanced functional magnetic resonance imaging study 
Acupuncture analgesia is an important issue in veterinary medicine. This study was designed to elucidate central modulation effects in response to electroacupuncture (EA) at different acupoints. Manganese-enhanced functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed in Sprague-Dawley rats after sham acupuncture, sham EA, or true EA at somatic acupoints. The acupoints were divided into 3 groups: group 1, analgesic acupoints commonly used for pain relief, such as Hegu (LI 4); group 2, nonanalgesic acupoints rarely used for analgesic effect, such as Neiguan (PC 6); and group 3, acupoints occasionally used for analgesia, such as Zusanli (ST 36). Image acquisition was performed on a 1.5-T superconductive clinical scanner with a circular polarized extremity coil. The results showed that there was no neural activation caused by EA at a true acupoint with shallow needling and no electric current (sham acupuncture). When EA at a true acupoint was applied with true needling but no electric current (sham EA), there was only a slight increase in brain activity at the hypothalamus; when EA was applied at a true acupoint with true needling and an electric current (true EA), the primary response at the hypothalamus was enhanced. Also, there was a tendency for the early activation of pain-modulation areas to be prominent after EA at analgesic acupoints as compared with nonanalgesic acupoints. In conclusion, understanding the linkage between peripheral acupoint stimulation and central neural pathways provides not only an evidence-based approach for veterinary acupuncture but also a useful guide for clinical applications of acupuncture.
PMCID: PMC227035  PMID: 12760473

Results 1-10 (10)