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1.  Rosuvastatin attenuates contrast-induced nephropathy through modulation of nitric oxide, inflammatory responses, oxidative stress and apoptosis in diabetic male rats 
Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) is an important cause of acute renal failure. We observe the effect of rosuvastatin on preventing CIN in diabetic rats in current study.
Diabetic rats were then divided into five groups: 1 diabetic rats (D), 2 diabetic rats + contrast media (DCM), 3 diabetic rats + rosuvastatin (DR), 4 diabetic rats + contrast media + rosuvastatin (DRCM), 5 non-diabetic rat control (NDCM). Contrast-induced nephropathy was induced by intravenous injection a single dose of indomethacin (10 mg/kg), double doses of N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (10 mg/kg) and a single dose of high-osmolar contrast medium meglumine amidotrizoate (6 ml/kg). DR and DRCM group rats were treated with rosuvastatin (10 mg/kg/day) by gavage for 5 days. At the end of treatment, the experimental groups were sacrificed, and their renal tissues were investigated histopathologically beside assessments of functional activities, nitric oxide metabolites, and oxidative stress and apoptic markers.
After 6 days, serum creatinine and urine microprotein were increased, and creatinine clearance, kidney nitrite were decreased in DCM rats compared with NDCM, D, DR and DRCM groups. Histopathology scores in group DCM were increased compared with groups NDCM, D and DR, but lower in group DRCM than in group DCM (p < 0.01). Kidney thiobarbituric acid-reacting substances (TBARS), serum malondialdehyde (MDA), and serum protein carbonyl content (PCC) were increased, and serum thiol was decreased in the DCM group compared with groups NDCM, D and DR; however, these results were reversed in group DRCM compared with group DCM. Both expression of IL-6, TNF-α and the percentage of apoptotic cells were increased in group DCM than in groups NDCM, D and DR, but they were decreased in group DRCM than in group DCM. The expression of phospho-p38, cleaved capase-3, and the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, were increased in group DCM than in groups NDCM, D and DR, but were decreased in group DRCM than in group DCM.
Our study demonstrated that rosuvastatin treatment attenuated both inflammatory processes and apoptosis and inhibited oxidative stress and the p38 MAPK pathway in a diabetic rat model in the setting of CIN.
PMCID: PMC4329210
Diabetic; Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN); Rosuvastatin
2.  A phenylalanine rotameric switch for signal-state control in bacterial chemoreceptors 
Nature communications  2013;4:2881.
Bacterial chemoreceptors are widely used as a model system for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of transmembrane signaling and have provided a detailed understanding of how ligand binding by the receptor modulates the activity of its associated kinase CheA. However, the mechanisms by which conformational signals move between signaling elements within a receptor dimer and how they control kinase activity remain unknown. Here, using long molecular dynamics simulations, we show that the kinase-activating cytoplasmic tip of the chemoreceptor fluctuates between two stable conformations in a signal-dependent manner. A highly conserved residue, Phe396, appears to serve as the conformational switch, because flipping of the stacked aromatic rings of an interacting F396-F396' pair in the receptor homodimer takes place concomitantly with the signal-related conformational changes. We suggest that interacting aromatic residues, which are common stabilizers of protein tertiary structure, might serve as rotameric molecular switches in other biological processes as well.
PMCID: PMC4310728  PMID: 24335957
3.  When does Subliminal Affective Image Priming Influence the Ability of Schizophrenic Patients to Perceive Face Emotions? 
Deficits in face emotion perception are among the most pervasive aspects of schizophrenia impairments which strongly affects interpersonal communication and social skills.
Schizophrenic patients (PSZ) and healthy control subjects (HCS) performed 2 psychophysical tasks. One, the SAFFIMAP test, was designed to determine the impact of subliminally presented affective or neutral images on the accuracy of face-expression (angry or neutral) perception. In the second test, FEP, subjects saw pictures of face-expression and were asked to rate them as angry, happy, or neutral. The following clinical scales were used to determine the acute symptoms in PSZ: Positive and Negative Syndrome (PANSS), Young Mania Rating (YMRS), Hamilton Depression (HAM-D), and Hamilton Anxiety (HAM-A).
On the SAFFIMAP test, different from the HCS group, the PSZ group tended to categorize the neutral expression of test faces as angry and their response to the test-face expression was not influenced by the affective content of the primes. In PSZ, the PANSS-positive score was significantly correlated with correct perception of angry faces for aggressive or pleasant primes. YMRS scores were strongly correlated with PSZ’s tendency to recognize angry face expressions when the prime was a pleasant or a neutral image. The HAM-D score was positively correlated with categorizing the test-faces as neutral, regardless of the affective content of the prime or of the test-face expression (angry or neutral).
Despite its exploratory nature, this study provides the first evidence that conscious perception and categorization of facial emotions (neutral or angry) in PSZ is directly affected by their positive or negative symptoms of the disease as defined by their individual scores on the clinical diagnostic scales.
PMCID: PMC4282928  PMID: 25537115
Affective Symptoms; Schizophrenia; Subliminal Stimulation
5.  Resolution and measurement of heteronuclear dipolar couplings of a noncrystalline protein immobilized in a biological supramolecular assembly by proton-detected MAS solid-state NMR spectroscopy 
Two-dimensional 15N chemical shift/1H chemical shift and three-dimensional 1H-15N dipolar coupling/15N chemical shift/1H chemical shift MAS solid-state NMR correlation spectra of the filamentous bacteriophage Pf1 major coat protein show single-site resolution in noncrystalline, intact-phage preparations. The high sensitivity and resolution result from 1H detection at 600 MHz under 50 kHz magic angle spinning using ~ 0.5 mg of perdeuterated and uniformly 15N-labeled protein in which the exchangeable amide sites are partially or completely back-exchanged (reprotonated). Notably, the heteronuclear 1H-15N dipolar coupling frequency dimension is shown to select among 15N resonances, which will be useful in structural studies of larger proteins where the resonances exhibit a high degree of overlap in multidimensional chemical shift correlation spectra.
PMCID: PMC3915937  PMID: 24225529
perdeuteration; proton detection; variable contact time cross-polarization; Pf1 bacteriophage; separated local field spectroscopy; two-dimensional NMR; three-dimensional NMR; fast MAS
6.  Genetic Analysis of Loop Sequences in the Let-7 Gene Family Reveal a Relationship between Loop Evolution and Multiple IsomiRs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113042.
While mature miRNAs have been widely studied, the terminal loop sequences are rarely examined despite regulating both primary and mature miRNA functions. Herein, we attempted to understand the evolutionary pattern of loop sequences by analyzing loops in the let-7 gene family. Compared to the stable miRNA length distributions seen in most metazoans, higher metazoan species exhibit a longer length distribution. Examination of these loop sequence length distributions, in addition to phylogenetic tree construction, implicated loop sequences as the main evolutionary drivers in miRNA genes. Moreover, loops from relevant clustered miRNA gene families showed varying length distributions and higher levels of nucleotide divergence, even between homologous pre-miRNA loops. Furthermore, we found that specific nucleotides were dominantly distributed in the 5′ and 3′ terminal loop ends, which may contribute to the relatively precise cleavage that leads to a stable isomiR expression profile. Overall, this study provides further insight into miRNA processing and maturation and further enriches our understanding of miRNA biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4232593  PMID: 25397967
7.  Efficacy of Acupuncture for Psychological Symptoms Associated with Opioid Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
This review systematically assessed the clinical evidence for and against acupuncture as a treatment for psychological symptoms associated with opioid addiction. The database was accessed from MEDLINE and China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database. We included all randomized clinical trials published in Chinese and English regardless of their controls. Meta-analysis was performed using the RevMan software, version 5.2. We conducted a literature search of 16 databases from their inception to January 2014. Four studies from Western countries did not report any clinical gains in the treatment of psychological symptoms associated with opioid addiction. 10 of 12 studies from China have reported positive findings regarding the use of acupuncture to treat the psychological symptoms associated with opioid addiction. The methodological quality of the included studies was poor. The meta-analysis indicated that there was a significant difference between the treatment group and the control group for anxiety and depression associated with opioid addiction, although groups did not differ on opioid craving. This review and meta-analysis could not confirm that acupuncture was an effective treatment for psychological symptoms associated with opioid addiction. However, considering the potential of acupuncture demonstrated in the included studies, further rigorous randomized controlled trials with long followup are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4235186  PMID: 25530779
8.  Long-Observation-Window Band-Selective Homonuclear Decoupling: Increased Sensitivity and Resolution in Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy of Proteins 
Sensitivity and resolution are the two fundamental obstacles to extending solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to even larger protein systems. Here, a novel long-observation-window band-selective homonuclear decoupling (LOW BASHD) scheme is introduced that increases resolution up to a factor of 3 and sensitivity up to 1.8 by decoupling backbone alpha-carbon (Cα) and carbonyl (C′) nuclei in U-13C-labeled proteins during direct 13C acquisition. This approach introduces short (<200 μs) pulse breaks into much longer (~8 ms) sampling windows to efficiently refocus the J-coupling interaction during detection while avoiding the deleterious effects on sensitivity inherent in rapid stroboscopic band-selective homonuclear decoupling techniques. A significant advantage of LOW BASHD detection is that it can be directly incorporated into existing correlation methods, as illustrated here for 2D CACO, NCO, and NCA correlation spectroscopy applied to the β1 immunoglobulin binding domain of protein G and 3D CBCACO correlation spectroscopy applied to the α-subunit of tryptophan synthase.
PMCID: PMC4017862  PMID: 24095840
9.  Acetylation of Metabolic Enzymes Coordinates Carbon Source Utilization and Metabolic Flux 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;327(5968):1004-1007.
Lysine acetylation regulates many eukaryotic cellular processes, but its function in prokaryotes is largely unknown. We demonstrated that central metabolism enzymes in Salmonella were acetylated extensively and differentially in response to different carbon sources, concomitantly with changes in cell growth and metabolic flux. The relative activities of key enzymes controlling the direction of glycolysis versus gluconeogenesis and the branching between citrate cycle and glyoxylate bypass were all regulated by acetylation. This modulation is mainly controlled by a pair of lysine acetyltransferase and deacetylase, whose expressions are coordinated with growth status. Reversible acetylation of metabolic enzymes ensure that cells respond environmental changes via promptly sensing cellular energy status and flexibly altering reaction rates or directions. It represents a metabolic regulatory mechanism conserved from bacteria to mammals.
PMCID: PMC4183141  PMID: 20167787
10.  Full Text Clustering and Relationship Network Analysis of Biomedical Publications 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108847.
Rapid developments in the biomedical sciences have increased the demand for automatic clustering of biomedical publications. In contrast to current approaches to text clustering, which focus exclusively on the contents of abstracts, a novel method is proposed for clustering and analysis of complete biomedical article texts. To reduce dimensionality, Cosine Coefficient is used on a sub-space of only two vectors, instead of computing the Euclidean distance within the space of all vectors. Then a strategy and algorithm is introduced for Semi-supervised Affinity Propagation (SSAP) to improve analysis efficiency, using biomedical journal names as an evaluation background. Experimental results show that by avoiding high-dimensional sparse matrix computations, SSAP outperforms conventional k-means methods and improves upon the standard Affinity Propagation algorithm. In constructing a directed relationship network and distribution matrix for the clustering results, it can be noted that overlaps in scope and interests among BioMed publications can be easily identified, providing a valuable analytical tool for editors, authors and readers.
PMCID: PMC4177555  PMID: 25250864
11.  Remote Dose-Dependent Effects of Dry Needling at Distant Myofascial Trigger Spots of Rabbit Skeletal Muscles on Reduction of Substance P Levels of Proximal Muscle and Spinal Cords 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:982121.
Background. Dry needling at distant myofascial trigger points is an effective pain management in patients with myofascial pain. However, the biochemical effects of remote dry needling are not well understood. This study evaluates the remote effects of dry needling with different dosages on the expressions of substance P (SP) in the proximal muscle, spinal dorsal horns of rabbits. Methods. Male New Zealand rabbits (2.5–3.0 kg) received dry needling at myofascial trigger spots of a gastrocnemius (distant muscle) in one (1D) or five sessions (5D). Bilateral biceps femoris (proximal muscles) and superficial laminaes of L5-S2, T2-T5, and C2-C5 were sampled immediately and 5 days after dry needling to determine the levels of SP using immunohistochemistry and western blot. Results. Immediately after dry needling for 1D and 5D, the expressions of SP were significantly decreased in ipsilateral biceps femoris and bilateral spinal superficial laminaes (P < .05). Five days after dry needling, these reduced immunoactivities of SP were found only in animals receiving 5D dry needling (P < .05). Conclusions. This remote effect of dry needling involves the reduction of SP levels in proximal muscle and spinal superficial laminaes, which may be closely associated with the control of myofascial pain.
PMCID: PMC4168154  PMID: 25276839
12.  A case of accidental intrathecal injection of a large dose of ropivacaine during cesarean section 
Continuous spinal anesthesia may provide excellent labor analgesia. The incidence of accidental intrathecal injection of megadose of ropivacaine, as one of the possible complications during cesarean section, is very rare. Present case report provides reference to clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4161603  PMID: 25232443
Total spinal anesthesia; ropivacaine; continuous spinal analgesia; labor analgesic
13.  Is hyperuricemia an independent risk factor for new-onset chronic kidney disease?: a systematic review and meta-analysis based on observational cohort studies 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:122.
Hyperuricemia has been reported to be associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However whether an elevated serum uric acid level is an independent risk factor for new-onset CKD remained controversial.
A systematic review and meta-analysis using a literature search of online databases including PubMed, Embase, Ovid and ISI Web/Web of Science was conducted. Summary adjusted odds ratios with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated to evaluate the risk estimates of hyperuricemia for new-onset CKD.
Thirteen studies containing 190,718 participants were included. A significant positive association was found between elevated serum uric acid levels and new-onset CKD at follow-up (summary OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.05–1.25). Hyperuricemia was found be an independent predictor for the development of newly diagnosed CKD in non-CKD patients (summary OR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.59–3.46). This association increased with increasing length of follow-up. No significant differences were found for risk estimates of the associations between elevated serum uric acid levels and developing CKD between males and females.
With long-term follow-up of non-CKD individuals, elevated serum uric acid levels showed an increased risk for the development of chronic renal dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4132278  PMID: 25064611
Chronic kidney disease; Hyperuricemia; Uric acid
14.  Robot-assisted nephroureterectomy for upper tract urothelial carcinoma: the Taiwan Robot Urological Surgery Team (TRUST) experience 
To report Taiwan’s experience in robot-assisted laparoscopic nephroureterectomy (RANU) for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC).
Twenty patients with a diagnosis of renal pelvic or ureteral urothelial carcinoma underwent RANU at three medical centers. We performed RANU by re-docking the robot after the nephrectomy with or without repositioning for excision of the distal ureter and bladder cuff.
From November 2010 to July 2013, a total of 20 patients with a mean age of 70.1 +/- 9.9 years (range 43 to 92 years) and mean body mass index (BMI) of 22.9 +/-3.8 kg/m2 underwent RANU for renal pelvic or ureteral urothelial carcinoma. Mean operative time was 251.6 +/- 126.7 minutes (range 110 to 540 minutes), estimated blood loss was 50.0 +/- 42.9 mL (range 10 to 200 mL), and mean length of hospital stay was 6.7 +/- 2.4 days (range 4 to 12 days). Pathology data revealed 19 high and one low-grade urothelial carcinoma and staged Ta for three, T1 for five, T2 for five and T3 for seven. With a mean follow-up of 14.7 months (range 2 to 34 months), three intravesical recurrences developed in the bladder, and four of them also developed metastatic disease.
The TRUST early experience showed that RANU is a safe and feasible minimally invasive procedure for UTUC.
PMCID: PMC4118608  PMID: 25031072
Urothelial carcinoma; Kidney; Ureter; Robot; Laparoscopy
15.  Expression of SATB1 Promotes the Growth and Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100413.
Special AT-rich sequence-binding protein-1 (SATB1) has been identified as a genome organizer that reprograms chromatin organization and transcription profiles. SATB1 promotes tumor growth and metastasis in breast cancer and is associated with poor prognosis in several cancer types. The association between SATB1 and colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been studied intensively. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of SATB1 on CRC growth and metastasis in vitro and in vivo and its correlation with overall survival and clinicopathological factors in CRC patients. Stable SATB1 knockdown and SATB1-overexpressing cell lines were established. SATB1 knockdown decreased cell growth, colony formation, migration, and invasion and increased apoptosis in CRC cells in vitro (p<0.05), whereas SATB1 overexpression had the opposite effect. SATB1 overexpression increased tumor growth and metastasis to lung and liver in vivo by using xenograft animal models (p<0.05). Thus, SATB1 promoted an aggressive CRC phenotype in vitro and in vivo. Immunohistochemical analysis of 560 CRC specimens showed that SATB1 expression was significantly higher in CRC tissues than in matched non-tumor mucosa (p<0.001). In addition, SATB1 expression was significantly higher in patients with poorly differentiated tumors, higher invasion depth, distant metastasis, and advanced TNM stage. SATB1-positive patients had a poorer prognosis than SATB1-negative patients, and SATB1 was identified as an independent prognostic factor for CRC (p = 0.009). Strikingly, we also evaluated SATB2 expression in CRC and found that SATB2 was more abundantly expressed in non-cancerous mucosa compared to colorectal cancer tissues (p<0.001). However, SATB2 expression had no influence on prognosis of CRC patients (p = 0.836). SATB1 expression was significantly associated with shorter survival time either in SATB2-positive patients or in SATB2-negative patients (p<0.001). In conclusion, our findings indicated an important role for SATB1 in CRC tumorigenesis and metastasis. Therefore, SATB1 may represent an important prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target for CRC.
PMCID: PMC4074063  PMID: 24971456
16.  Applications of RNA interference high-throughput screening technology in cancer biology and virology 
Protein & Cell  2014;5(11):805-815.
RNA interference (RNAi) is an ancient intra-cellular mechanism that regulates gene expression and cell function. Large-scale gene silencing using RNAi high-throughput screening (HTS) has opened an exciting frontier to systematically study gene function in mammalian cells. This approach enables researchers to identify gene function in a given biological context and will provide considerable novel insight. Here, we review RNAi HTS strategies and applications using case studies in cancer biology and virology.
PMCID: PMC4225462  PMID: 24952721
RNA interference (RNAi); short interfering RNA (siRNA); short hairpin RNA (shRNA); high-throughput screening; cancer; virology
17.  Applications of RNA interference high-throughput screening technology in cancer biology and virology 
Protein & Cell  2014;5(11):805-815.
RNA interference (RNAi) is an ancient intra-cellular mechanism that regulates gene expression and cell function. Large-scale gene silencing using RNAi high-throughput screening (HTS) has opened an exciting frontier to systematically study gene function in mammalian cells. This approach enables researchers to identify gene function in a given biological context and will provide considerable novel insight. Here, we review RNAi HTS strategies and applications using case studies in cancer biology and virology.
PMCID: PMC4225462  PMID: 24952721
RNA interference (RNAi); short interfering RNA (siRNA); short hairpin RNA (shRNA); high-throughput screening; cancer; virology
18.  The Proteasome Inhibitor, MG132, Attenuates Diabetic Nephropathy by Inhibiting SnoN Degradation In Vivo and In Vitro 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:684765.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) has been shown to be involved in diabetic nephropathy (DN). The SnoN protein can regulate TGF-β signaling through interaction with Smad proteins. Recent studies have shown that SnoN is mainly degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. However, the role of SnoN in the regulation of TGF-β/Smad signaling in DN is still unclear. In this study, diabetic rats were randomly divided into a diabetic control group (DC group) and a proteasome inhibitor (MG132) diabetes therapy group (DT group). Kidney damage parameters and the expression of SnoN, Smurf2, and TGF-β were observed. Simultaneously, we cultured rat glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) stimulated with high glucose, and SnoN and Arkadia expression were measured. Results demonstrated that 24-hour urine protein, ACR, BUN, and the expression of Smurf2 and TGF-β were significantly increased (P < 0.05), whereas SnoN was significantly decreased in the DC group (P < 0.05). However, these changes diminished after treatment with MG132. SnoN expression in GMCs decreased significantly (P < 0.05), but Arkadia expression gradually increased due to high glucose stimulation (P < 0.05), which could be almost completely reversed by MG132 (P < 0.05). The present results support the hypothesis that MG132 may alleviate kidney damage by inhibiting SnoN degradation and TGF-β activation, suggesting that the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway may become a new therapeutic target for DN.
PMCID: PMC4070544  PMID: 25003128
19.  Rare giant cell tumor involvement of the olecranon bone 
Giant cell tumor (GCT) of bone is a relatively common benign bone lesion and is usually located in long bones, but involvement of the olecranon is extremely rare. Here, we present a case of solitary GCT of bone in the olecranon that was confirmed by preoperative needle biopsy and postoperative histological examination. The treatment included intralesional curettage, allogeneic bone grafting, and plating. At 26 months follow-up, the patient had no local recurrence.
PMCID: PMC4155716  PMID: 25197303
Bone; giant cell tumor; olecranon
20.  Focus on vulnerable populations and promoting equity in health service utilization ––an analysis of visitor characteristics and service utilization of the Chinese community health service 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:503.
Community health service in China is designed to provide a convenient and affordable primary health service for the city residents, and to promote health equity. Based on data from a large national study of 35 cities across China, we examined the characteristics of the patients and the utilization of community health institutions (CHIs), and assessed the role of community health service in promoting equity in health service utilization for community residents.
Multistage sampling method was applied to select 35 cities in China. Four CHIs were randomly chosen in every district of the 35 cities. A total of 88,482 visitors to the selected CHIs were investigated by using intercept survey method at the exit of the CHIs in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Descriptive analyses were used to analyze the main characteristics (gender, age, and income) of the CHI visitors, and the results were compared with that from the National Health Services Survey (NHSS, including CHIs and higher levels of hospitals). We also analyzed the service utilization and the satisfactions of the CHI visitors.
The proportions of the children (2.4%) and the elderly (about 22.7%) were lower in our survey than those in NHSS (9.8% and 38.8% respectively). The proportion of the low-income group (26.4%) was apparently higher than that in NHSS (12.5%). The children group had the lowest satisfaction with the CHIs than other age groups. The satisfaction of the low-income visitors was slightly higher than that of the higher-income visitors. The utilization rate of public health services was low in CHIs.
The CHIs in China appears to fulfill the public health target of uptake by vulnerable populations, and may play an important role in promoting equity in health service utilization. However, services for children and the elderly should be strengthened.
PMCID: PMC4037411  PMID: 24884542
Equity in health service utilization; Community health service; Visitor characteristics; Satisfaction
21.  Social Determinants of Community Health Services Utilization among the Users in China: A 4-Year Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98095.
To identify social factors determining the frequency of community health service (CHS) utilization among CHS users in China.
Nationwide cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. A total of 86,116 CHS visitors selected from 35 cities were interviewed. Descriptive analysis and multinomial logistic regression analysis were employed to analyze characteristics of CHS users, frequency of CHS utilization, and the socio-demographic and socio-economic factors influencing frequency of CHS utilization.
Female and senior CHS clients were more likely to make 3–5 and ≥6 CHS visits (as opposed to 1–2 visits) than male and young clients, respectively. CHS clients with higher education were less frequent users than individuals with primary education or less in 2008 and 2009; in later surveys, CHS clients with higher education were the more frequent users. The association between frequent CHS visits and family income has changed significantly between 2008 and 2011. In 2011, income status did not have a discernible effect on the likelihood of making ≥6 CHS visits, and it only had a slight effect on making 3–5 CHS visits.
CHS may play an important role in providing primary health care to meet the demands of vulnerable populations in China. Over time, individuals with higher education are increasingly likely to make frequent CHS visits than individuals with primary school education or below. The gap in frequency of CHS utilization among different economic income groups decreased from 2008 to 2011.
PMCID: PMC4031144  PMID: 24854502
22.  Actinomycetes from Red Sea Sponges: Sources for Chemical and Phylogenetic Diversity 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(5):2771-2789.
The diversity of actinomycetes associated with marine sponges collected off Fsar Reef (Saudi Arabia) was investigated in the present study. Forty-seven actinomycetes were cultivated and phylogenetically identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing and were assigned to 10 different actinomycete genera. Eight putatively novel species belonging to genera Kocuria, Mycobacterium, Nocardia, and Rhodococcus were identified based on sequence similarity values below 98.2% to other 16S rRNA gene sequences available in the NCBI database. PCR-based screening for biosynthetic genes including type I and type II polyketide synthases (PKS-I, PKS-II) as well as nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) showed that 20 actinomycete isolates encoded each at least one type of biosynthetic gene. The organic extracts of nine isolates displayed bioactivity against at least one of the test pathogens, which were Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, human parasites, as well as in a West Nile Virus protease enzymatic assay. These results emphasize that marine sponges are a prolific resource for novel bioactive actinomycetes with potential for drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC4052315  PMID: 24824024
PKS I; PKS II; NRPS; Red Sea; sponges; actinomycetes; bioactivity
23.  Dual Effect of a Polymorphism in the Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Gene Is Associated with New-Onset Graves Disease in a Taiwanese Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92849.
Graves disease (GD) is an autoimmune disease. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a potent cytokine that plays an important role in the regulation of immune responses. Two polymorphisms in the promoter region of MIF, rs5844572 and rs755622, are known to affect MIF expression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between polymorphisms in the MIF gene promoter and the severity of GD. A total of 677 individuals, including 481 GD patients and 196 ethnically matched healthy controls, were genotyped to identify differences in the distribution of the MIF polymorphisms rs5844572 and rs755622. Although there were no significant differences in the allele or genotype distributions among patients with different grades of goiter in GD and healthy controls, the distribution of the C allele, especially C/C genotype, of the rs755622 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in MIF, may be as a risk factor for goiter initiation whereas a protector against development of severe goiter in patients with untreated GD (p<0.05). A goiter-developmental model incorporating genetic (MIF SNP rs755622) and environmental risk factors (gender, radioiodine treatment, thyroid gland surgery and vitiligo) significantly increased the prediction accuracy. Further studies are required to address the role of MIF polymorphisms, as well as their association with other candidate genes, in GD.
PMCID: PMC3965479  PMID: 24667663
24.  Tetrandrine protects mouse retinal ganglion cells from ischemic injury 
This study aimed to determine the protective effects of tetrandrine (Tet) on murine ischemia-injured retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). For this, we used serum deprivation cell model, glutamate and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced RGC-5 cell death models, and staurosporine-differentiated neuron-like RGC-5 in vitro. We also investigated cell survival of purified primary-cultured RGCs treated with Tet. An in vivo retinal ischemia/reperfusion model was used to examine RGC survival after Tet administration 1 day before ischemia. We found that Tet affected RGC-5 survival in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Compared to dimethyl sulfoxide treatment, Tet increased the numbers of RGC-5 cells by 30% at 72 hours. After 48 hours, Tet protected staurosporine-induced RGC-5 cells from serum deprivation-induced cell death and significantly increased the relative number of cells cultured with 1 mM H2O2 (P<0.01). Several concentrations of Tet significantly prevented 25-mM-glutamate-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner. Tet also increased primary RGC survival after 72 and 96 hours. Tet administration (10 μM, 2 μL) 1 day before retinal ischemia showed RGC layer loss (greater survival), which was less than those in groups with phosphate-buffered saline intravitreal injection plus ischemia in the central (P=0.005, n=6), middle (P=0.018, n=6), and peripheral (P=0.017, n=6) parts of the retina. Thus, Tet conferred protective effects on serum deprivation models of staurosporine-differentiated neuron-like RGC-5 cells and primary cultured murine RGCs. Furthermore, Tet showed greater in vivo protective effects on RGCs 1 day after ischemia. Tet and ciliary neurotrophic factor maintained the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) of primary cultured RGCs and inhibited the expression of activated caspase-3 and bcl-2 in ischemia/reperfusion-insult retinas.
PMCID: PMC3968085  PMID: 24711693
RGC-5; serum deprivation; glaucoma; mitochondrial membrane potential; apoptosis
25.  Metabolic flux responses to genetic modification for shikimic acid production by Bacillus subtilis strains 
Shikimic acid (SA) is a key chiral starting molecule for the synthesis of the neuramidase inhibitor GS4104 against viral influenza. Microbial production of SA has been extensively investigated in Escherichia coli, and to a less extent in Bacillus subtilis. However, metabolic flux of the high SA-producing strains has not been explored. In this study, we constructed with genetic manipulation and further determined metabolic flux with 13C-labeling test of high SA-producing B. subtilis strains.
B. subtilis 1A474 had a mutation in SA kinase gene (aroI) and accumulated 1.5 g/L of SA. Overexpression of plasmid-encoded aroA, aroB, aroC or aroD in B. subtilis revealed that aroD had the most significantly positive effects on SA production. Simultaneous overexpression of genes for 3-deoxy-D-arabinoheptulosonate-7-phosphate synthase (aroA) and SA dehydrogenase (aroD) in B. subtilis BSSA/pSAAroA/pDGSAAroD resulted in SA production of 3.2 g/L. 13C-Metabolic flux assay (MFA) on the two strains BSSA/pHCMC04/pDG148-stu and BSSA/pSAAroA/pDGSAAroD indicated the carbon flux from glucose to SA increased to 4.6% in BSSA/pSAAroA/pDGSAAroD from 1.9% in strain BSSA/pHCMC04/pDG148-stu. The carbon flux through tricarboxylic acid cycle significantly reduced, while responses of the pentose phosphate pathway and the glycolysis to high SA production were rather weak, in the strain BSSA/pSAAroA/pDGSAAroD. Based on the results from MFA, two potential targets for further optimization of SA production were identified. Experiments on genetic deletion of phosphoenoylpyruvate kinase gene confirmed its positive influence on SA production, while the overexpression of the transketolase gene did not lead to increase in SA production.
Of the genes involved in shikimate pathway in B. subtilis, aroD exerted most significant influence on SA accumulation. Overexpression of plasmid-encoded aroA and aroD doubled SA production than its parent strain. MFA revealed metabolic flux redistribution among phosphate pentose pathway, glycolysis, TCA cycle in the low and high SA-producing B. subtilis strains. The high SA producing strain BSSA/pSAAroA/pDGSAAroD had increased carbon flux into shikimate pathway and reduced flux into TCA cycle.
PMCID: PMC4003833  PMID: 24628944
Shikimic acid production; Shikimate pathway; Bacillus subtilis; Metabolic flux assay (MFA); aroA; aroD; tkt; pyk

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