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1.  Longitudinal wave function control in single quantum dots with an applied magnetic field 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8041.
Controlling single-particle wave functions in single semiconductor quantum dots is in demand to implement solid-state quantum information processing and spintronics. Normally, particle wave functions can be tuned transversely by an perpendicular magnetic field. We report a longitudinal wave function control in single quantum dots with a magnetic field. For a pure InAs quantum dot with a shape of pyramid or truncated pyramid, the hole wave function always occupies the base because of the less confinement at base, which induces a permanent dipole oriented from base to apex. With applying magnetic field along the base-apex direction, the hole wave function shrinks in the base plane. Because of the linear changing of the confinement for hole wave function from base to apex, the center of effective mass moves up during shrinking process. Due to the uniform confine potential for electrons, the center of effective mass of electrons does not move much, which results in a permanent dipole moment change and an inverted electron-hole alignment along the magnetic field direction. Manipulating the wave function longitudinally not only provides an alternative way to control the charge distribution with magnetic field but also a new method to tune electron-hole interaction in single quantum dots.
PMCID: PMC4306960  PMID: 25624018
2.  Cross-border collaboration between China and Myanmar for emergency response to imported vaccine derived poliovirus case 
This report describes emergency response following an imported vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV) case from Myanmar to Yunnan Province, China and the cross-border collaboration between China and Myanmar. Immediately after confirmation of the VDPV case, China disseminated related information to Myanmar with the assistance of the World Health Organization.
A series of epidemiological investigations were conducted, both in China and Myanmar, including retrospective searches of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases, oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) coverage assessment, and investigation of contacts and healthy children.
All children <2 years of age had not been vaccinated in the village where the VDPV case had lived in the past 2 years. Moreover, most areas were not covered for routine immunization in this township due to vaccine shortages and lack of operational funds for the past 2 years.
Cross-border collaboration may have prevented a potential outbreak of VDPV in Myanmar. It is necessary to reinforce cross-border collaboration with neighboring countries in order to maximize the leverage of limited resources.
PMCID: PMC4308939  PMID: 25595618
Vaccine derived poliovirus; Importation; Cross-border collaboration; China; Myanmar
3.  Effects of Pyridoxine on Growth Performance and Plasma Aminotransferases and Homocysteine of White Pekin Ducks 
A dose-response experiment with seven supplemental pyridoxine levels (0, 0.66, 1.32, 1.98, 2.64, 3.30, and 3.96 mg/kg) was conducted to investigate the effects of pyridoxine on growth performance and plasma aminotransferases and homocysteine of White Pekin ducks and to estimate pyridoxine requirement for these birds. A total of 336 one-day-old male White Pekin ducks were divided to 7 experimental treatments and each treatment contained 8 replicate pens with 6 birds per pen. Ducks were reared in raised wire-floor pens from hatch to 28 d of age. At 28 d of age, the weight gain, feed intake, feed/gain, and the aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and homocysteine in plasma of ducks from each pen were all measured. In our study, the pyridoxine deficiency of ducks was characterized by growth depression, decreasing plasma aspartate aminotransferase activity and increasing plasma homocysteine. The ducks fed vitamin B6-deficient basal diets had the worst weight gain and feed/gain among all birds and this growth depression was alleviated (p<0.05) when pyridoxine was supplemented to basal diets. On the other hand, plasma aspartate aminotransferase and homocysteine may be the sensitive indicators for vitamin B6 status of ducks. The ducks fed basal diets had much lower aspartate aminotransferase activity and higher homocysteine level in plasma compared with other birds fed pyridoxine-supplemented diets (p<0.05). According to quadratic regression, the supplemental pyridoxine requirements of Pekin ducks from hatch to 28 days of age was 2.44 mg/kg for feed/gain and 2.08 mg/kg for plasma aspartate aminotransferase and the corresponding total requirements of this vitamin for these two criteria were 4.37 and 4.01 mg/kg when the pyridoxine concentration of basal diets was included, respectively. All data suggested that pyridoxine deficiency could cause growth retardation in ducks and the deficiency of this vitamin could be indicated by decreasing plasma aspartate aminotransferase activity and increasing plasma homocysteine.
PMCID: PMC4213686  PMID: 25358368
Duck; Pyridoxine; Vitamin; Aminotransferase; Homocysteine
4.  Forward Genetic Screening for Regulators Involved in Cholesterol Synthesis Using Validation-Based Insertional Mutagenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112632.
Somatic cell genetics is a powerful approach for unraveling the regulatory mechanism of cholesterol metabolism. However, it is difficult to identify the mutant gene(s) due to cells are usually mutagenized chemically or physically. To identify important genes controlling cholesterol biosynthesis, an unbiased forward genetics approach named validation-based insertional mutagenesis (VBIM) system was used to isolate and characterize the 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC)-resistant and SR-12813-resisitant mutants. Here we report that five mutant cell lines were isolated. Among which, four sterol-resistant mutants either contain a truncated NH2-terminal domain of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-2 terminating at amino acids (aa) 400, or harbor an overexpressed SREBP cleavage-activating protein (SCAP). Besides, one SR-12813 resistant mutant was identified to contain a truncated COOH-terminal catalytic domain of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase). This study demonstrates that the VBIM system can be a powerful tool to screen novel regulatory genes in cholesterol biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC4245081  PMID: 25426949
5.  Copy number variation of the Lipoprotein(a) (LPA) gene is associated with coronary artery disease in a southern Han Chinese population 
Copy number variations (CNVs), genomic duplication or deletion events occurring at larger than 1 kb scale, contribute to the complex diseases substantially. Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is a major inherited risk factor for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (CAD). We investigated the association between a CNV of the Lp(a) (LPA) gene and CAD. The case-control study included 271 CAD patients and 207 controls diagnosed by coronary angiography. A taqman real-time fluorescence PCR based technique was developed according to the 2 × 2-ΔΔCt±SD calculation method. We detected LPA CNVs with a range of 1, 2 and 3. The 1 copy number carriers had a significantly reduced risk of CAD compared with those with 2 copy number after adjusting for the confounding factors (P < 0.001, OR = 0.38, 95% CI 0.23-0.64). Further stratified analyses suggested a significant protective effect of the 1 copy number in the elderly population (P = 0.008), females (P = 0.007) as well as in populations with non-hyperlipidemia (P = 0.003), hypertension (P = 0.001), non-smoking (P < 0.001) and high Lp(a) (≥ 0.3 g/L) levels (P = 0.001). The 1 copy number of the LPA gene may be an independent protective factor of CAD in a southern Han Chinese population, particularly in females and the elderly.
PMCID: PMC4238520  PMID: 25419416
Lipoprotein(a); copy number variation; coronary artery disease
6.  PRAK Interacts with DJ-1 and Prevents Oxidative Stress-Induced Cell Death 
As a core member of p38 MAPK signal transduction pathway, p38 regulated/activated kinase (PRAK) is activated by cellular stresses. However, the function of PRAK and its downstream interacting partner remain undefined. Using a yeast two-hybrid system, we identified DJ-1 as a potential PRAK interacting protein. We further verified that DJ-1 bound to PRAK in vitro and in vivo and colocalized with PRAK in the nuclei of NIH3T3 cells. Furthermore, following H2O2 stimulation the majority of endogenous DJ-1 in PRAK+/+ cells still remained in the nucleus, whereas most DJ-1 in PRAK−/− cells translocated from the nucleus into the cytoplasm, indicating that PRAK is essential for DJ-1 to localize in the nucleus. In addition, PRAK-associated phosphorylation of DJ-1 was observed in vitro and in vivo of H2O2-challenged PRAK+/+ cells. Cytoplasmic translocation of DJ-1 in H2O2-treated PRAK−/− cells lost its ability to sequester Daxx, a death protein, in the nucleus, and as a result, Daxx gained access to the cytoplasm and triggered cell death. These data highlight that DJ-1 is the downstream interacting target for PRAK, and in response to oxidative stress PRAK may exert a cytoprotective effect by facilitating DJ-1 to sequester Daxx in the nucleus, thus preventing cell death.
PMCID: PMC4212658  PMID: 25383140
7.  Noise propagation in resolution modeled PET imaging and its impact on detectability 
Physics in medicine and biology  2013;58(19):10.1088/0031-9155/58/19/6945.
PET imaging is affected by a number of resolution degrading phenomena, including positron range, photon non-collinearity and inter-crystal blurring. An approach to this issue is to model some or all of these effects within the image reconstruction task, referred to as resolution modeling (RM). This approach is commonly observed to yield images of higher resolution and subsequently contrast, and can be thought of as improving the modulation transfer function (MTF). Nonetheless, RM can substantially alter the noise distribution. In this work, we utilize noise propagation models in order to accurately characterize the noise texture of reconstructed images in the presence of RM. Furthermore we consider the task of lesion or defect detection, which is highly determined by the noise distribution as quantified using the noise power spectrum (NPS). Ultimately, we use this framework to demonstrate why conventional trade-off analyses (e.g. contrast vs. noise, using simplistic noise metrics) do not provide a complete picture of the impact of RM and that improved performance of RM according to such analyses does not necessarily translate to the superiority of RM in detection task performance.”
PMCID: PMC3866837  PMID: 24029682
8.  Propofol Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Expression and Myocardial Depression through Decreasing the Generation of Superoxide Anion in Cardiomyocytes 
TNF-α has been shown to be a major factor responsible for myocardial depression in sepsis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of an anesthetic, propofol, on TNF-α expression in cardiomyocytes treated with LPS both in vivo and in vitro. In cultured cardiomyocytes, compared with control group, propofol significantly reduced protein expression of gp91phox and phosphorylation of extracellular regulated protein kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) and p38 MAPK, which associates with reduced TNF-α production. In in vivo mice studies, propofol significantly improved myocardial depression and increased survival rate of mice after LPS treatment or during endotoxemia, which associates with reduced myocardial TNF-α production, gp91phox, ERK1/2, and p38 MAPK. It is concluded that propofol abrogates LPS-induced TNF-α production and alleviates cardiac depression through gp91phox/ERK1/2 or p38 MAPK signal pathway. These findings have great clinical importance in the application of propofol for patients enduring sepsis.
PMCID: PMC4144395  PMID: 25180066
9.  Autophagy activation aggravates neuronal injury in the hippocampus of vascular dementia rats 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(13):1288-1296.
It remains unclear whether autophagy affects hippocampal neuronal injury in vascular dementia. In the present study, we investigated the effects of autophagy blockade on hippocampal neuronal injury in a rat model of vascular dementia. In model rats, hippocampal CA1 neurons were severely damaged, and expression of the autophagy-related proteins beclin-1, cathepsin B and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 was elevated compared with that in sham-operated animals. These responses were suppressed in animals that received a single intraperitoneal injection of wortmannin, an autophagy inhibitor, prior to model establishment. The present results confirm that autophagy and autophagy-related proteins are involved in the pathological changes of vascular dementia, and that inhibition of autophagy has neuroprotective effects.
PMCID: PMC4160855  PMID: 25221581
nerve regeneration; vascular dementia; autophagy; beclin-1; cathepsin B; microtbuleassociated protein 1 light chain 3; autophagosomes; lysosomes; wortmannin; neural regeneration
10.  Prenatal Ultrasound Screening for External Ear Abnormality in the Fetuses 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:357564.
Objectives. To investigate the best time of examination and section chosen of routine prenatal ultrasound screening for external ear abnormalities and evaluate the feasibility of examining the fetal external ear with ultrasonography. Methods. From July 2010 until August 2011, 42118 pregnant women with single fetus during 16–40 weeks of pregnancy were enrolled in the study. Fetal auricles and external auditory canal in the second trimester of pregnancy were evaluated by routine color Doppler ultrasound screening and systematic screening. Ultrasound images of fetal external ears were obtained on transverse-incline view at cervical vertebra level and mandible level and on parasagittal view and coronal view at external ear level. Results. Five fetuses had anomalous ears including bilateral malformed auricles with malformed external auditory canal, unilateral deformed external ear, and unilateral microtia. The detection rate of both auricles was negatively correlated with gestational age. Of the 5843 fetuses undergoing a routine ultrasound screening, 5797 (99.21%) had bilateral auricles. Of the 4955 fetuses following systematic screening, all fetuses (100%) had bilateral auricles. The best time for fetal auricles observation with ultrasonography is 20–24 weeks of pregnancy. Conclusions. Detection of external ear abnormalities may assist in the diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC4094846  PMID: 25050343
11.  A Small Peptide with Potential Ability to Promote Wound Healing 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92082.
Wound-healing represents a major health burden, such as diabetes-induced skin ulcers and burning. Many works are being tried to find ideal clinical wound-healing biomaterials. Especially, small molecules with low cost and function to promote production of endogenous wound healing agents (i.e. transforming growth factor beta, TGF-β) are excellent candidates. In this study, a small peptide (tiger17, c[WCKPKPKPRCH-NH2]) containing only 11 amino acid residues was designed and proved to be a potent wound healer. It showed strong wound healing-promoting activity in a murine model of full thickness dermal wound. Tiger17 exerted significant effects on three stages of wound healing progresses including (1) the induction of macrophages recruitment to wound site at inflammatory reaction stage; (2) the promotion of the migration and proliferation both keratinocytes and fibroblasts, leading to reepithelialization and granulation tissue formation; and (3) tissue remodeling phase, by promoting the release of transforming TGF-β1 and interleukin 6 (IL-6) in murine macrophages and activating mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) signaling pathways. Considering its easy production, store and transfer and function to promote production of endogenous wound healing agents (TGF-β), tiger17 might be an exciting biomaterial or template for the development of novel wound-healing agents.
PMCID: PMC3960170  PMID: 24647450
12.  Proteomic profiling of the phosphoproteins in the rat thalamus, hippocampus and frontal lobe after propofol anesthesia 
BMC Anesthesiology  2014;14:3.
Propofol is a safe and effective intravenous anesthetic that is widely used for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia during surgery. However, the mechanism by which propofol exerts its anesthetic effect remains unknown. The rapid onset of phosphorylation modifications coincides with that of propofol anesthesia.
Propofol-anesthetized rat models were built and phosphorylated proteins in the thalamus, hippocampus and frontal lobe were enriched the to analyze the changes in these phosphoproteins after propofol anesthesia.
Sixteen of these phosphoprotein spots were successfully identified using MALDI-TOF MS and a subsequent comparative sequence search in the Mascot database. Of these proteins, keratin 18 and the tubulin 2c chain are cytoskeletal proteins; keratin 18 and gelsolin are relevant to alcohol drowsiness. Based on Western blot analysis, we also confirmed that the phosphorylation of these proteins is directly induced by propofol, indicating that propofol anesthesia may be relevant to cytoskeletal proteins and alcohol drowsiness.
These identified propofol-induced phosphorylations of proteins provide meaningful contributions for further studying the anesthetic mechanism of propofol.
PMCID: PMC3922749  PMID: 24410762
2D-gel electrophoresis; Anesthesia; Phosphorylation; Propofol; Rats
13.  Up and down: stamen movements in Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae) enhance both outcrossing and delayed selfing 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(5):1017-1025.
Background and Aims
Stamen movements directly determine pollen fates and mating patterns by altering positions of female and male organs. However, the implications of such movements in terms of pollination are not well understood. Recently, complex patterns of stamen movements have been identified in Loasaceae, Parnassiaceae, Rutaceae and Tropaeolaceae. In this study the stamen movements in Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae) and their impact on pollination are determined.
Pollination effects of stamen movements were studied in Ruta graveolens, in which one-by-one uplifting and falling back is followed by simultaneous movement of all stamens in some flowers. Using 30 flowers, one stamen was manipulated either to be immobilized or to be allowed to move freely towards the centre of the flower but be prevented from falling back. Pollen loads on stigmas and ovule fertilization in flowers with or without simultaneous stamen movement were determined.
Pollen removal decreased dramatically (P < 0·001) when the stamen was stopped from uplifting because its anther was seldom contacted by pollinators. When a stamen stayed at the flower's centre, pollen removal of the next freely moved anther decreased significantly (P < 0·005) because of fewer touches by pollinators and quick leaving of pollinators that were discouraged by the empty anther. Simultaneous stamen movement occurred only in flowers with low pollen load on the stigma and the remaining pollen in anthers dropped onto stigma surfaces after stamens moved to the flower's centre.
In R. graveolens pollen removal is promoted through one-by-one movement of the stamen, which presents pollen in doses to pollinators by successive uplifting of the stamen and avoids interference of two consecutively dehisced anthers by falling back of the former stamen before the next one moves into the flower's centre. Simultaneous stamen movement at the end of anthesis probably reflects an adaptation for late-acting self-pollination.
PMCID: PMC3448434  PMID: 22875813
Dichogamy; experimental manipulation; pollen presentation; pollen removal; pollination; reproductive assurance; Ruta graveolens; stamen movement
14.  MnO Nanoparticle@Mesoporous Carbon Composites Grown on Conducting Substrates Featuring High-performance Lithium-ion Battery, Supercapacitor and Sensor 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2693.
We demonstrate a facile, two-step coating/calcination approach to grow a uniform MnO nanoparticle@mesoporous carbon (MnO@C) composite on conducting substrates, by direct coating of the Mn-oleate precursor solution without any conducting/binding reagents, and subsequent thermal calcination. The monodispersed, sub-10 nm MnO nanoparticles offer high theoretical energy storage capacities and catalytic properties, and the mesoporous carbon coating allows for enhanced electrolyte transport and charge transfer towards/from MnO surface. In addition, the direct growth and attachment of the MnO@C nanocomposite in the supporting conductive substrates provide much reduced contact resistances and efficient charge transfer. These excellent features allow the use of MnO@C nanocomposites as lithium-ion battery and supercapacitor electrodes for energy storage, with high reversible capacity at large current densities, as well as excellent cycling and mechanical stabilities. Moreover, this MnO@C nanocomposite has also demonstrated a high sensitivity for H2O2 detection, and also exhibited attractive potential for the tumor cell analysis.
PMCID: PMC3776197  PMID: 24045767
15.  Target Inhibition Networks: Predicting Selective Combinations of Druggable Targets to Block Cancer Survival Pathways 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(9):e1003226.
A recent trend in drug development is to identify drug combinations or multi-target agents that effectively modify multiple nodes of disease-associated networks. Such polypharmacological effects may reduce the risk of emerging drug resistance by means of attacking the disease networks through synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions. However, due to the exponentially increasing number of potential drug and target combinations, systematic approaches are needed for prioritizing the most potent multi-target alternatives on a global network level. We took a functional systems pharmacology approach toward the identification of selective target combinations for specific cancer cells by combining large-scale screening data on drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities. Our model-based prediction approach, named TIMMA, takes advantage of the polypharmacological effects of drugs and infers combinatorial drug efficacies through system-level target inhibition networks. Case studies in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells demonstrated how the target inhibition modeling allows systematic exploration of functional interactions between drugs and their targets to maximally inhibit multiple survival pathways in a given cancer type. The TIMMA prediction results were experimentally validated by means of systematic siRNA-mediated silencing of the selected targets and their pairwise combinations, showing increased ability to identify not only such druggable kinase targets that are essential for cancer survival either individually or in combination, but also synergistic interactions indicative of non-additive drug efficacies. These system-level analyses were enabled by a novel model construction method utilizing maximization and minimization rules, as well as a model selection algorithm based on sequential forward floating search. Compared with an existing computational solution, TIMMA showed both enhanced prediction accuracies in cross validation as well as significant reduction in computation times. Such cost-effective computational-experimental design strategies have the potential to greatly speed-up the drug testing efforts by prioritizing those interventions and interactions warranting further study in individual cancer cases.
Author Summary
Selective inhibition of specific panels of multiple protein targets provides an unprecedented potential for improving therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents. We introduce a computational systems pharmacology strategy, which uses the concept of target inhibition networks to predict effective multi-target combinations for treating specific cancer types. The strategy is based on integration of two complementary information sources, drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities, which are readily available in drug screening labs. Compared to the cancer sequencing efforts, which often result in a huge number of non-targetable genetic alterations, the target combinations from our strategy are druggable, by definition, hence enabling more straightforward translation toward clinically actionable treatment strategies. The model predictions were experimentally validated using siRNA-mediated target silencing screens in three case studies involving MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells. In more general terms, the cancer cell-specific target inhibition networks provided additional insights into the drugs' mechanisms of action, for instance, how the cancer cell survival pathways can be targeted by synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions through multi–target perturbations. These results demonstrate that the principles introduced here offer the possibilities to move toward more systematic prediction and evaluation of the most effective drug target combinations.
PMCID: PMC3772058  PMID: 24068907
16.  A Small Peptide with Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72923.
A designed peptide named LZ1 with 15 amino acid residues containing strong antimicrobial activity against bacteria pathogens of acne vulgaris including Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus. Especially, it exerted strong anti-P. acnes ability. The minimal inhibitory concentration against three strains of P. acnes was only 0.6 µg/ml, which is 4 times lower than that of clindamycin. In experimental mice skin colonization model, LZ1 significantly reduced the number of P. acnes colonized on the ear, P. acnes-induced ear swelling, and inflammatory cell infiltration. It ameliorated inflammation induced by P. acnes by inhibiting the secretion of inflammatory factors including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL)-1β. LZ1 showed little cytotoxicity on human keratinocyte and hemolytic activity on human blood red cells. Furthermore, LZ1 was very stable in human plasma. Combined with its potential bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties, simple structure and high stability, LZ1 might be an ideal candidate for the treatment of acne.
PMCID: PMC3755965  PMID: 24013774
17.  3.5D dynamic PET image reconstruction incorporating kinetics-based clusters 
Physics in medicine and biology  2012;57(15):5035-5055.
Standard 3D dynamic PET imaging consists of independent image reconstructions of individual frames followed by application of appropriate kinetic model to the time activity curves (TACs) at the voxel or region-of-interest. The emerging field of 4D PET reconstruction, by contrast, seeks to move beyond this scheme and incorporate information from multiple frames within the image reconstruction task. Here we propose a novel reconstruction framework aiming to enhance quantitative accuracy of parametric images via introduction of priors based on voxel kinetics, as generated via clustering of preliminary reconstructed dynamic images to define clustered neighborhoods of voxels with similar kinetics. This is then followed by straightforward maximum a posterior (MAP) 3D PET reconstruction as applied to individual frames; and as such the method is labeled “3.5D” image reconstruction. The use of cluster-based priors has the advantage of further enhancing quantitative performance in dynamic PET imaging, because: (a) there are typically more voxels in clusters than in conventional local neighborhoods, and (b) neighboring voxels with distinct kinetics are less likely to be clustered together. Using realistic simulated 11C-raclopride dynamic PET data, the quantitative performance of the proposed method was investigated. Parametric distribution-volume (DV) and DV ratio (DVR) images were estimated from dynamic image reconstructions using (a) MLEM, and MAP reconstructions using (b) the quadratic prior (QP-MAP), (c) the Green prior (GP-MAP) and (d, e) two proposed cluster-based priors (CP-U-MAP and CP-W-MAP), followed by graphical modeling, and were qualitatively and quantitatively compared for 11 regions-of-interest (ROIs). Overall, the proposed dynamic PET reconstruction methodology resulted in substantial visual as well as quantitative accuracy improvements (in terms of noise vs. bias performance) for parametric DV and DVR images. The method was also tested on a 90 min 11C-raclopride patient study performed on the high-resolution research tomography. The proposed method was shown to outperform the conventional method in visual as well as quantitative accuracy improvements (in terms of noise vs. regional DVR value performance).
PMCID: PMC3445711  PMID: 22805318
18.  Direct 4D parametric imaging for linearized models of reversibly binding PET tracers using generalized AB-EM reconstruction 
Physics in medicine and biology  2012;57(3):733-755.
Due to high noise levels in the voxel kinetics, development of reliable parametric imaging algorithms remains as one of most active areas in dynamic brain PET imaging, which in the vast majority of cases involves receptor/transporter studies with reversibly binding tracers. As such, the focus of this work has been to develop a novel direct 4D parametric image reconstruction scheme for such tracers. Based on a relative equilibrium (RE) graphical analysis formulation (Zhou et al., 2009b), we developed a closed-form 4D EM algorithm to directly reconstruct distribution volume (DV) parametric images within a plasma input model, as well as DV ratio (DVR) images within a reference tissue model scheme (wherein an initial reconstruction was used to estimate the reference tissue time-activity-curves). A particular challenge with the direct 4D EM formulation is that the intercept parameters in graphical (linearized) analysis of reversible tracers (e.g. Logan or RE analysis) are commonly negative (unlike for irreversible tracers; e.g. using Patlak analysis). Subsequently, we focused our attention on the AB-EM algorithm, derived by Byrne (1998) to allow inclusion of prior information about the lower (A) and upper (B) bounds for image values. We then generalized this algorithm to the 4D EM framework thus allowing negative intercept parameters. Furthermore, our 4D AB-EM algorithm incorporated, and emphasized the use of spatially varying lower bounds to achieve enhanced performance. As validation, the means of parameters estimated from 55 human 11C-raclopride dynamic PET studies were used for extensive simulations using a mathematical brain phantom. Images were reconstructed using conventional indirect as well as proposed direct parametric imaging methods. Noise vs. bias quantitative measurements were performed in various regions of the brain. Direct 4D EM reconstruction resulted in notable qualitative and quantitative accuracy improvements (over 35% noise reduction, with matched bias, in both plasma and reference-tissue input models). Similar improvements were also observed in the coefficient of variation (COV) of the estimated DV and DVR values even for relatively low uptake cortical regions, suggesting the enhanced ability for robust parameter estimation. The method was also tested on a 90-minute 11C- raclopride patient study performed on the high resolution research tomograph (HRRT) wherein the proposed method was shown across a variety of regions to outperform the conventional method in the sense that for a given DVR value improved noise levels were observed.
PMCID: PMC3434225  PMID: 22252120
19.  Involvement of the Wnt signaling pathway and cell apoptosis in the rat hippocampus following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury★ 
Neural Regeneration Research  2013;8(1):70-75.
We investigated the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury by examining β-catenin and glycogen synthase kinase-3β protein expression in the rat hippocampal CA1 region following acute cerebral ischemia/reperfusion. Our results demonstrate that cell apoptosis increases in the CA1 region following ischemia/reperfusion. In addition, β-catenin and glycogen synthase kinase-3β protein expression gradually increases, peaking at 48 hours following reperfusion. Dickkopf-1 administration, after cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury, results in decreased cell apoptosis, and β-catenin and glycogen synthase kinase-3β expression, in the CA1 region. This suggests that β-catenin and glycogen synthase kinase-3β, both components of the Wnt signaling pathway, participate in cell apoptosis following cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury.
PMCID: PMC4107493  PMID: 25206374
neural regeneration; brain injury; Dickkopf-1; Wnt signaling pathway; cell apoptosis; β-catenin; glycogen synthase kinase-3β protein; cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury; grant-supported paper; neuroregeneration
20.  Malakoplakia of the esophagus caused by human papillomavirus infection 
Malakoplakia is a rare granulomatous disease probably caused by infection and characterized histologically by Michaelis-Gutmann bodies. We report a more rarely seen case esophageal malakoplakia in a 54-year-old woman. She presented with coughing while eating and drinking. Gastroscopy showed yellow nodules in the esophagus, and endoscopic ultrasonography showed a space-occupying lesion in the substratum of the esophageal mucosa. All findings highly resembled esophageal cancer. Histopathological examination finally indentified this space-occupying lesion as malakoplakia and not cancer. Immunohistochemistry showed that she had human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in the esophagus, which indicates that infection was responsible for the malakoplakia. This is believed to be the first case of malakoplakia in the esophagus, and more importantly, we established that HPV infection was the initiator of esophageal malakoplakia.
PMCID: PMC3516212  PMID: 23236248
Malakoplakia; Esophagus; Michaelis-Gutmann bodies; Human papillomavirus infection
21.  Effects of Buyang Huanwu Decoction on Ventricular Remodeling and Differential Protein Profile in a Rat Model of Myocardial Infarction 
Buyang Huanwu decoction (BYHWD) is a well-known and canonical Chinese medicine formula from “Correction on Errors in Medical Classics” in Qing dynasty. Here, we show that BYHWD could alleviate the ventricular remodeling induced by left anterior descending (LAD) artery ligation in rats. BYHWD treatment (18 g/kg/day) decreased heart weight/body weight (HW/BW), left ventricle (LV) dimension at end diastole (LVDd) and increased LV ejection fraction (LVEF) and LV fractional shortening (LVFS) significantly compared to model group at the end of 12 weeks. The collagen volume of BYHWD group was more significantly decreased than that of model group. Proteomic analysis showed that atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) was downregulated; heat shock protein beta-6 (HSPB6) and peroxiredoxin-6 (PRDX6) were upregulated in BYHWD-treated group among successfully identified proteins. The apoptotic index (AI) was reduced by BYHWD accompanied by decreased expression of Bax and caspase 3 activity, increased Bcl-2/Bax ratio, and phosphorylation of HSPB6 compared to that of model group. Taken together, these results suggest that BYHWD can alleviate ventricular remodeling induced by LAD artery ligation. The antiremodeling effects of BYHWD are conferred by decreasing AI through affecting multiple targets including increased Bcl-2/Bax ratio and decreased caspase 3 activity that might be via upregulated PRDX6, phosphorylation of HSPB6 and subsequently reduction of ANF.
PMCID: PMC3459299  PMID: 23049607
22.  Increased apelin serum levels and expression in human chondrocytes in osteoarthritic patients 
International Orthopaedics  2010;35(9):1421-1426.
Apelin is a recently discovered hormone secreted by adipocytes. The aim of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the distribution of apelin in paired serum and synovial fluid (SF) of osteoarthritis (OA) patients, as compared to that in healthy controls, and to characterise the expression profile of apelin and its cognate receptor APJ in human chondrocytes. Apelin levels in serum and SF were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Expression of apelin and APJ in human chondrocytes was determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Apelin was found to be present in OA SF, and concentrations were positively correlated with the severity of OA. OA serum exhibited significantly elevated levels of apelin (2.18 ± 0.22 ng/ml) as compared to normal serum (1.31 ± 0.12 ng/ml) (p < 0.05), and serum apelin levels exceeded those in paired SF (p < 0.001). The apelin and APJ transcripts were identified in chondrocytes, and levels were significantly higher in OA cartilage than in healthy donors. These findings suggest that apelin may contribute to the onset and/or progression of OA, and may provide new insights into the pathophysiology of OA.
PMCID: PMC3167451  PMID: 20652246
23.  Correction: Research on the Stability of a Rabbit Dry Eye Model Induced by Topical Application of the Preservative Benzalkonium Chloride 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):10.1371/annotation/f2df1a21-1df3-4c2d-a99a-b054dfbc6443.
PMCID: PMC3393760
24.  Quantitative study of cardiac motion estimation and abnormality classification in emission computed tomography 
Medical engineering & physics  2011;33(5):563-572.
Quantitative description of cardiac motion is desirable to assist in detecting myocardial abnormalities from gated myocardial perfusion (GMP) emission computed tomography (ECT) images. While “optical flow” type of cardiac motion estimation (ME) techniques have been developed in the past, there has been no quantitative evaluation of their performance. Moreover, no investigation has been performed in terms of applying an ME technique to quantify cardiac motion abnormalities. Using the four-dimensional NCAT beating heart phantom with known built-in motion, the current work aimed at addressing the aforementioned two issues. A three-dimensional cardiac ME technique was developed to search for a motion vector field (MVF) that establishes voxel-by-voxel correspondence between two GMP ECT images. The weighted myocardial strain energy served as the constraint in the process to minimize the difference between one intensity image and the MVF warped other. We studied the convergence of the ME technique using different initial estimates and cost functions. The dependence of estimated MVF on the initialization was attributed to the tangential motion that is undetectable while not suppressed by the strain energy constraint. We optimized the strain energy constraint weighting using noise-free phantom images and noisy reconstructed images, the former against the known MVF and the later in the task of regional motion classification. While the results from the above two studies well coincide with each other, we also demonstrated that upon appropriate optimization the ME method has the capability of serving as a computer motion observer in separating simulated noisy reconstructed GMP SPECT images corresponding to hearts with and without regional motion abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3095733  PMID: 21269868
25.  A Novel Inhibitor of Human La Protein with Anti-HBV Activity Discovered by Structure-Based Virtual Screening and In Vitro Evaluation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36363.
Over 350 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), a major cause of liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma. Current therapeutic agents are highly effective, but are also associated with development of viral resistance. Therefore, strategies for identifying other anti-HBV agents with specific, but distinctive mechanisms of action are needed. The human La (hLa) protein, which forms a stabilizing complex with HBV RNA ribonucleoprotein to promote HBV replication, is a promising target of molecular therapy.
This study aimed to discover novel inhibitors of hLa that could inhibit HBV replication and expression.
A multistage molecular docking approach was used to screen a Specs database and an in-house library against hLa binding sites. Sequential in vitro evaluations were performed to detect potential compounds with high scores in HepG2.2.15 cells.
Of the 26 potential compounds with high scores chosen for experimental verification, 12 had HBV DNA inhibition ratios of less than 50% with P<0.05. Six had significant inhibition of HBV e antigen (HBeAg) levels, and 13 had significant inhibition of HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) levels by in vitro assays. Compounds HBSC-11, HBSC-15 and HBSC-34 (HBSC is system prefix for active compounds screened by the library) were selected for evaluation. HBSC-11 was found to have an obvious inhibitory effect on hLa transcription and expression.
Our findings suggest that anti-HBV activity of HBSC-11 may be mediated by a reduction in hLa levels. In addition, our data suggest the potential clinical use of hLa inhibitors, such as HBSC-11, for treating HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3338670  PMID: 22558448

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