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1.  Placental transfer and concentrations of cadmium, mercury, lead, and selenium in mothers, newborns, and young children 
There is an emerging hypothesis that exposure to cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), and selenium (Se) in utero and early childhood could have long-term health consequences. However, there are sparse data on early life exposures to these elements in US populations, particularly in urban minority samples. This study measured levels of Cd, Hg, Pb, and Se in 50 paired maternal, umbilical cord, and postnatal blood samples from the Boston Birth Cohort (BBC). Maternal exposure to Cd, Hg, Pb, and Se was 100% detectable in red blood cells (RBCs), and there was a high degree of maternal–fetal transfer of Hg, Pb, and Se. In particular, we found that Hg levels in cord RBCs were 1.5 times higher than those found in the mothers. This study also investigated changes in concentrations of Cd, Hg, Pb, and Se during the first few years of life. We found decreased levels of Hg and Se but elevated Pb levels in early childhood. Finally, this study investigated the association between metal burden and preterm birth and low birthweight. We found significantly higher levels of Hg in maternal and cord plasma and RBCs in preterm or low birthweight births, compared with term or normal birthweight births. In conclusion, this study showed that maternal exposure to these elements was widespread in the BBC, and maternal–fetal transfer was a major source of early life exposure to Hg, Pb, and Se. Our results also suggest that RBCs are better than plasma at reflecting the trans-placental transfer of Hg, Pb, and Se from the mother to the fetus. Our study findings remain to be confirmed in larger studies, and the implications for early screening and interventions of preconception and pregnant mothers and newborns warrant further investigation.
doi:10.1038/jes.2014.26
PMCID: PMC4329243  PMID: 24756102
cadmium (Cd); mercury (Hg); lead (Pb) and selenium (Se); maternal–fetal transfer; early life exposure
2.  Distribution and Determinants of Plasma Homocysteine Levels in Rural Chinese Twins across the Lifespan 
Nutrients  2014;6(12):5900-5914.
Plasma homocysteine (Hcy) is a modifiable, independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is affected by both environmental and genetic factors. This study aimed to describe the gender- and age-specific distribution of Hcy concentration for 1117 subjects aged 10–66 years, a subset of a community-based rural Chinese twin cohort. In addition, we examined environmental and genetic contributions to variances in Hcy concentration by gender and age groups. We found that the distribution pattern for Hcy varied by both age and gender. Males had higher Hcy than females across all ages. Elevated Hcy was found in 43% of male adults and 13% of female adults. Moreover, nearly one fifth of children had elevated Hcy. Genetic factors could explain 52%, 36% and 69% of the variation in Hcy concentration among children, male adults and female adults, respectively. The MTHFR C677T variant was significantly associated with Hcy concentrations. Smokers with the TT genotype had the highest Hcy levels. Overall, our results indicate that elevated Hcy is prevalent in the children and adults in this rural Chinese population. The early identification of elevated Hcy will offer a window of opportunity for the primary prevention of CVD and metabolic syndrome.
doi:10.3390/nu6125900
PMCID: PMC4277006  PMID: 25529062
homocysteine; Chinese twins; heritability; gender difference; smoking
3.  The IQD Gene Family in Soybean: Structure, Phylogeny, Evolution and Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110896.
Members of the plant-specific IQ67-domain (IQD) protein family are involved in plant development and the basal defense response. Although systematic characterization of this family has been carried out in Arabidopsis, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), Brachypodium distachyon and rice (Oryza sativa), systematic analysis and expression profiling of this gene family in soybean (Glycine max) have not previously been reported. In this study, we identified and structurally characterized IQD genes in the soybean genome. A complete set of 67 soybean IQD genes (GmIQD1–67) was identified using Blast search tools, and the genes were clustered into four subfamilies (IQD I–IV) based on phylogeny. These soybean IQD genes are distributed unevenly across all 20 chromosomes, with 30 segmental duplication events, suggesting that segmental duplication has played a major role in the expansion of the soybean IQD gene family. Analysis of the Ka/Ks ratios showed that the duplicated genes of the GmIQD family primarily underwent purifying selection. Microsynteny was detected in most pairs: genes in clade 1–3 might be present in genome regions that were inverted, expanded or contracted after the divergence; most gene pairs in clade 4 showed high conservation with little rearrangement among these gene-residing regions. Of the soybean IQD genes examined, six were most highly expressed in young leaves, six in flowers, one in roots and two in nodules. Our qRT-PCR analysis of 24 soybean IQD III genes confirmed that these genes are regulated by MeJA stress. Our findings present a comprehensive overview of the soybean IQD gene family and provide insights into the evolution of this family. In addition, this work lays a solid foundation for further experiments aimed at determining the biological functions of soybean IQD genes in growth and development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110896
PMCID: PMC4208818  PMID: 25343341
4.  Inhibitory Effect of Hydroxysafflor Yellow A on Mouse Skin Photoaging Induced by Ultraviolet Irradiation 
Rejuvenation Research  2013;16(5):404-413.
Abstract
Chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation is believed to be the major cause of skin damage that results in premature aging of the skin, so called photoaging, characterized by increases in skin thickness, formation of wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity. UV induces damage to skin mainly by oxidative stress and collagen degradation. In this study, we examined the photo-protective effect of hydroxysafflor yellow A (HSYA), a major active chemical component isolated from Carthamus tinctorius L., by topical application on the skin of mice. Exposure of the dorsal depilated skin of mice to UV radiation four times a week for 10 weeks induced epidermal hyperplasia, elastin accumulation, collagen degradation, etc. HSYA at the doses of 50, 100, and 200 μg/mouse was topically applied immediately following each UV exposure. The effects of HSYA were evaluated by a series of tests, including macroscopic and histopathological evaluation of skin, pinch test, and redox homeostasis of skin homogenates. Results showed that the UV-induced skin damage was significantly improved after HSYA treatment, especially at doses of 100 and 200 μg/mouse. This protective effect is possibly related to the anti-oxidative property of HSYA and mediated by promoting endogenous collagen synthesis. This is the first study providing preclinical evidence for the protective effect of HSYA against photoaging.
doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1433
PMCID: PMC3804320  PMID: 23822553
5.  EAF2 Suppresses Hypoxia-Induced Factor 1α Transcriptional Activity by Disrupting Its Interaction with Coactivator CBP/p300 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(6):1085-1099.
Previous studies revealed that the potential tumor suppressor EAF2 binds to and stabilizes pVHL, suggesting that EAF2 may function by disturbing the hypoxia signaling pathway. However, the extent to which EAF2 affects hypoxia and the mechanisms underlying this activity remain largely unknown. In this study, we found that EAF2 is a hypoxia response gene harboring the hypoxia response element (HRE) in its promoter. By taking advantage of the pVHL-null cell lines RCC4 and 786-O, we demonstrated that hypoxia-induced factor 1α (HIF-1α), but not HIF-2α, induced EAF2 under hypoxia. Subsequent experiments showed that EAF2 bound to and suppressed HIF-1α but not HIF-2α transactivity. In addition, we observed that EAF2 inhibition of HIF-1α activity resulted from the disruption of p300 recruitment and that this occurred independently of FIH-1 (factor inhibiting HIF-1) and Sirt1. Furthermore, we found that EAF2 protected cells against hypoxia-induced cell death and inhibited cellular uptake of glucose under hypoxic conditions, suggesting that EAF2 indeed may act by modulating the hypoxia-signaling pathway. Our findings not only uncover a unique feedback regulation loop between EAF2 and HIF-1α but also provide a novel insight into the mechanism of EAF2 tumor suppression.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00718-13
PMCID: PMC3958035  PMID: 24421387
6.  The DNA Binding Property of PML/RARA but Not the Integrity of PML Nuclear Bodies Is Indispensable for Leukemic Transformation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104906.
PML/RARA is the oncoprotein driving acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). It suppresses genes expression by recruitment of a number of transcriptional repressors, resulting in differentiation block and malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells. Here, we found that mice primary hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), transduced by DNA-binding-defective PML/RARA mutants, were deficient in colony formation. Further experiments showed that DNA-binding-defective PML/RARA mutants could not repress the transcription of retinoic acid regulated genes. Intriguingly, there were no significant differences of the micro-speckled intracellular distribution between the mutants and wild-type PML/RARA. Some retinoic acid target genes regulated by PML/RARA are involved in not only differentiation block but also hematopoietic cell self-renewal. Altogether, our data demonstrate that direct DNA-binding is essential for PML/RARA to immortalize hematopoietic cells, while disruption of PML-nuclear body does not seem to be a prerequisite for hematopoietic cell transformation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104906
PMCID: PMC4131979  PMID: 25119106
7.  Regulatory T Cells Protect Fine Particulate Matter-Induced Inflammatory Responses in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:869148.
Objective. To investigate the role of CD4+CD25+ T cells (Tregs) in protecting fine particulate matter (PM-) induced inflammatory responses, and its potential mechanisms. Methods. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with graded concentrations (2, 5, 10, 20, and 40 µg/cm2) of suspension of fine particles for 24h. For coculture experiment, HUVECs were incubated alone, with CD4+CD25− T cells (Teff), or with Tregs in the presence of anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies for 48 hours, and then were stimulated with or without suspension of fine particles for 24 hours. The expression of adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines was examined. Results. Adhesion molecules, including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL-) 6 and IL-8, were increased in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, the adhesion of human acute monocytic leukemia cells (THP-1) to endothelial cells was increased and NF-κB activity was upregulated in HUVECs after treatment with fine particles. However, after Tregs treatment, fine particles-induced inflammatory responses and NF-κB activation were significantly alleviated. Transwell experiments showed that Treg-mediated suppression of HUVECs inflammatory responses impaired by fine particles required cell contact and soluble factors. Conclusions. Tregs could attenuate fine particles-induced inflammatory responses and NF-κB activation in HUVECs.
doi:10.1155/2014/869148
PMCID: PMC4060066  PMID: 24987196
8.  Iqcg Is Essential for Sperm Flagellum Formation in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98053.
Mammalian spermatogenesis comprises three successive phases: mitosis phase, meiosis phase, and spermiogenesis. During spermiogenesis, round spermatid undergoes dramatic morphogenesis to give rise to mature spermatozoon, including the condensation and elongation of nucleus, development of acrosome, formation of flagellum, and removal of excessive cytoplasm. Although these transformations are well defined at the morphological level, the mechanisms underlying these intricate processes are largely unknown. Here, we report that Iqcg, which was previously characterized to be involved in a chromosome translocation of human leukemia, is highly expressed in the spermatogenesis of mice and localized to the manchette in developing spermatids. Iqcg knockout causes male infertility, due to severe defects of spermiogenesis and resultant total immobility of spermatozoa. The axoneme in the Iqcg knockout sperm flagellum is disorganized and hardly any typical (“9+2”) pattern of microtubule arrangement could be found in Iqcg knockout spermatids. Iqcg interacts with calmodulin in a calcium dependent manner in the testis, suggesting that Iqcg may play a role through calcium signaling. Furthermore, cilia structures in the trachea and oviduct, as well as histological appearances of other major tissues, remain unchanged in the Iqcg knockout mice, suggesting that Iqcg is specifically required for spermiogenesis in mammals. These results might also provide new insights into the genetic causes of human infertility.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098053
PMCID: PMC4029791  PMID: 24849454
9.  Genome-Wide Analysis of Soybean HD-Zip Gene Family and Expression Profiling under Salinity and Drought Treatments 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87156.
Background
Homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-Zip) proteins, a group of homeobox transcription factors, participate in various aspects of normal plant growth and developmental processes as well as environmental responses. To date, no overall analysis or expression profiling of the HD-Zip gene family in soybean (Glycine max) has been reported.
Methods and Findings
An investigation of the soybean genome revealed 88 putative HD-Zip genes. These genes were classified into four subfamilies, I to IV, based on phylogenetic analysis. In each subfamily, the constituent parts of gene structure and motif were relatively conserved. A total of 87 out of 88 genes were distributed unequally on 20 chromosomes with 36 segmental duplication events, indicating that segmental duplication is important for the expansion of the HD-Zip family. Analysis of the Ka/Ks ratios showed that the duplicated genes of the HD-Zip family basically underwent purifying selection with restrictive functional divergence after the duplication events. Analysis of expression profiles showed that 80 genes differentially expressed across 14 tissues, and 59 HD-Zip genes are differentially expressed under salinity and drought stress, with 20 paralogous pairs showing nearly identical expression patterns and three paralogous pairs diversifying significantly under drought stress. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis of six paralogous pairs of 12 selected soybean HD-Zip genes under both drought and salinity stress confirmed their stress-inducible expression patterns.
Conclusions
This study presents a thorough overview of the soybean HD-Zip gene family and provides a new perspective on the evolution of this gene family. The results indicate that HD-Zip family genes may be involved in many plant responses to stress conditions. Additionally, this study provides a solid foundation for uncovering the biological roles of HD-Zip genes in soybean growth and development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087156
PMCID: PMC3911943  PMID: 24498296
10.  Imaging and pathological features of primary hepatic neuroendocrine carcinoma: An analysis of nine cases and review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(4):956-962.
The present study aimed to analyze the imaging features and pathological basis of primary hepatic neuroendocrine carcinoma (PHNEC). A retrospective analysis of the imaging and pathological features of nine PHNEC cases was carried out at The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University (Changsha, China). The nine patients were subjected to dynamic contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) scanning of the liver and pathological diagnosis of the tissue samples. In addition, two patients were subjected to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT scanning revealed the presence of single or multiple masses in the liver with a maximum diameter of 1–10 cm. These hepatic masses were of low density as showed by plain CT. These masses showed uneven or annular enhancement at their margins in the arterial phase. The venous portal phase showed consistent or declined enhancement and the delayed phase showed light enhancement in these masses. In addition, multiple intrahepatic nodules with long T1 and T2 signal intensities and obvious enhancement were observed by MRI in one patient, while intrahepatic lesions with moderate length T2 signal intensities and light enhancement not visible on the T1 image were observed in another patient. Pathological analysis revealed that the tumor cells exhibited morphological diversity. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that the tumor cells were chromogranin A- and synaptophysin-positive, and carcinoembryonic antigen-, hepatocytic antigen- and α-fetoprotein-negative. Imaging methods, including CT and MRI, are useful for the diagnosis of PHNEC; however, pathological examination is required for a final, definite diagnosis.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.1844
PMCID: PMC3961293  PMID: 24944650
primary hepatic neuroendocrine carcinoma; computed tomography; magnetic resonance imaging; pathology
11.  VEGF165 expressing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into hepatocytes under HGF and EGF induction in vitro 
Cytotechnology  2012;64(6):635-647.
A short half-life and low levels of growth factors in an injured microenvironment necessitates the sustainable delivery of growth factors and stem cells to augment the regeneration of injured tissues. Our aim was to investigate the ability of VEGF165 expressing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) to differentiate into hepatocytes when cultured with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in vitro. We isolated, cultured and identified rabbit BMMSCs, then electroporated the BMMSCs with VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid. G418 was used to select transfected cells and the efficiency was up to 70%. The groups were then divided as follows: Group A was electroporated with pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid + HGF + EGF and Group B was electroporated with VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid +HGF + EGF. After 14 days, BMMSCs were induced into short spindle and polygonal cells. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was positive and albumin (ALB) was negative in Group A, while both AFP and ALB were positive in group B on day 10. AFP and ALB in both groups were positive on day 20, but the quantity of AFP in group B decreased with prolonged time and was about 43.5% less than group A. The quantity of the ALB gene was increased with prolonged time in both groups. However, there was no significant difference between group A and B on day 10 and 20. Our results demonstrated that VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid modified BMMSCs still had the ability to differentiate into hepatocytes. The VEGF165 gene promoted BMMSCs to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells under the induction of HGF and EGF, and reduced the differentiation time. These results have implications for cell therapies.
doi:10.1007/s10616-012-9439-0
PMCID: PMC3488366  PMID: 22476563
Stem cells; Differentiation; VEGF165; Hepatocyte growth factor; Epidermal growth factor
12.  Lack of association between lipoprotein(a) genetic variants and subsequent cardiovascular events in Chinese Han patients with coronary artery disease after percutaneous coronary intervention 
Background
Elevated lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels predict cardiovascular events incidence in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Genetic variants in the rs3798220, rs10455872 and rs6415084 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Lp(a) gene (LPA) correlate with elevated Lp(a) levels, but whether these SNPs have prognostic value for CAD patients is unknown. The present study evaluated the association of LPA SNPs with incidence of subsequent cardiovascular events in CAD patients after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
Methods
TaqMan SNP genotyping assays were performed to detect the rs6415084, rs3798220 and rs10455872 genotypes in 517 Chinese Han patients with CAD after PCI. We later assessed whether there was an association of these SNPs with incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE: cardiac death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and coronary revascularization). Serum lipid profiles were also determined using biochemical methods.
Results
Only the rs6415084 variant allele was associated with higher Lp(a) levels [41.3 (20.8, 74.6) vs. 18.6 (10.3, 40.9) mg/dl, p < 0.001]. During a 2-year follow-up period, 102 patients suffered MACE, and Cox regression analysis demonstrated that elevated Lp(a) (≥30 mg/dl) levels correlated with increased MACE (adjusted HR, 1.69; 95% CI 1.13-2.53), but there was no association between LPA genetic variants (rs6415084 and rs3798220) and MACE incidence (p > 0.05).
Conclusions
Our data did not support a relationship between genetic LPA variants (rs6415084 and rs3798220) and subsequent cardiovascular events after PCI in Chinese Han CAD patients.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-127
PMCID: PMC3766040  PMID: 23978127
Coronary artery disease; Lipoprotein(a); Major adverse cardiovascular events; Percutaneous coronary intervention; Single-nucleotide polymorphism
13.  The Schistosoma japonicum genome reveals features of host-parasite interplay 
Nature  2009;460(7253):345-351.
Schistosoma japonicum is a parasitic flatworm that causes human schistosomiasis, a significant cause of morbidity in China and the Philippines. Here we present a draft genomic sequence for the worm, which is the first reported for any flatworm, indeed for the superphylum Lophotrochozoa. The genome provides a global insight into the molecular architecture and host interaction of this complex metazoan pathogen, revealing that it can exploit host nutrients, neuroendocrine hormones and signaling pathways for growth, development and maturation. Having a complex nervous system and a well developed sensory system, S. japonicum can accept stimulation of the corresponding ligands as a physiological response to different environments, such as fresh water or the tissues of its intermediate and mammalian hosts. Numerous proteinases, including cercarial elastase, are implicated in mammalian skin penetration and haemoglobin degradation. The genomic information will serve as a valuable platform to facilitate development of new interventions for schistosomiasis control.
doi:10.1038/nature08140
PMCID: PMC3747554  PMID: 19606140
14.  Peripheral Coding of Sex Pheromone Blends with Reverse Ratios in Two Helicoverpa Species 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70078.
The relative proportions of components in a pheromone blend play a major role in sexual recognition in moths. Two sympatric species, Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa assulta, use (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11–16: Ald) and (Z)-9-hexadecenal (Z9–16: Ald) as essential sex pheromone components but in very different ratios, 97∶3 and 7∶93 respectively. Using wind tunnel tests, single sensillum recording and in vivo calcium imaging, we comparatively studied behavioral responses and physiological activities at the level of antennal sensilla and antennal lobe (AL) in males of the two species to blends of the two pheromone components in different ratios (100∶0, 97∶3, 50∶50, 7∶93, 0∶100). Z11–16: Ald and Z9–16: Ald were recognized by two populations of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) in different trichoid sensilla on antennae of both species. The ratios of OSNs responding to Z11–16:Ald and Z9–16:Ald OSNs were 100∶28.9 and 21.9∶100 in H. armigera and H. assulta, respectively. The Z11–16:Ald OSNs in H. armigera exhibited higher sensitivity and efficacy than those in H. assulta, while the Z9–16:Ald OSNs in H. armigera had the same sensitivity but lower efficacy than those in H. assulta. At the dosage of 10 µg, Z11–16: Ald and Z9–16: Ald evoked calcium activity in 8.5% and 3.0% of the AL surface in H. armigera, while 5.4% and 8.6% of AL in H. assulta, respectively. The calcium activities in the AL reflected the peripheral input signals of the binary pheromone mixtures and correlated with the behavioral output. These results demonstrate that the binary pheromone blends were precisely coded by the firing frequency of individual OSNs tuned to Z11–16: Ald or Z9–16: Ald, as well as their population sizes. Such information was then accurately reported to ALs of H. armigera and H. assulta, eventually producing different behaviors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070078
PMCID: PMC3720945  PMID: 23894593
15.  A Lysine at the C-Terminus of an Odorant-Binding Protein is Involved in Binding Aldehyde Pheromone Components in Two Helicoverpa Species 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e55132.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are soluble proteins, whose role in olfaction of insects is being recognized as more and more important. We have cloned, expressed and purified an OBP (HarmOBP7) from the antennae of the moth Helicoverpa armigera. Western blot experiments indicate specific expression of this protein in the antennae of adults. HarmOBP7 binds both pheromone components Z-11-hexadecenal and Z-9-hexadecenal with good affinity. We have also performed a series of binding experiments with linear aldehydes, alcohols and esters, as well as with other compounds and found a requirement of medium size for best affinity. The affinity of OBP7, as well as that of a mutant lacking the last 6 residues does not substantially decrease in acidic conditions, but increases at basic pH values with no significant differences between wild-type and mutant. Binding to both pheromone components, instead, is negatively affected by the lack of the C-terminus. A second mutant, where one of the three lysine residues in the C-terminus (Lys123) was replaced by methionine showed reduced affinity to both pheromone components, as well as to their analogues, thus indicating that Lys123 is involved in binding these compounds, likely forming hydrogen bonds with the functional groups of the ligands.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055132
PMCID: PMC3555816  PMID: 23372826
16.  Sulodexide Decreases Albuminuria and Regulates Matrix Protein Accumulation in C57BL/6 Mice with Streptozotocin-Induced Type I Diabetic Nephropathy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54501.
Objective
Sulodexide is a mixture of glycosaminoglycans that may reduce proteinuria in diabetic nephropathy (DN), but its mechanism of action and effect on renal histology is not known. We investigated the effect of sulodexide on disease manifestations in a murine model of type I DN.
Methods
Male C57BL/6 mice were rendered diabetic with streptozotocin. After the onset of proteinuria, mice were randomized to receive sulodexide (1 mg/kg/day) or saline for up to 12 weeks and renal function, histology and fibrosis were examined. The effect of sulodexide on fibrogenesis in murine mesangial cells (MMC) was also investigated.
Results
Mice with DN showed progressive albuminuria and renal deterioration over time, accompanied by mesangial expansion, PKC and ERK activation, increased renal expression of TGF-β1, fibronectin and collagen type I, III and IV, but decreased glomerular perlecan expression. Sulodexide treatment significantly reduced albuminuria, improved renal function, increased glomerular perlecan expression and reduced collagen type I and IV expression and ERK activation. Intra-glomerular PKC-α activation was not affected by sulodexide treatment whereas glomerular expression of fibronectin and collagen type III was increased. MMC stimulated with 30 mM D-glucose showed increased PKC and ERK mediated fibronectin and collagen type III synthesis. Sulodexide alone significantly increased fibronectin and collagen type III synthesis in a dose-dependent manner in MMC and this increase was further enhanced in the presence of 30 mM D-glucose. Sulodexide showed a dose-dependent inhibition of 30 mM D-glucose-induced PKC-βII and ERK phosphorylation, but had no effect on PKC-α or PKC-βI phosphorylation.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrated that while sulodexide treatment reduced proteinuria and improved renal function, it had differential effects on signaling pathways and matrix protein synthesis in the kidney of C57BL/6 mice with DN.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054501
PMCID: PMC3551764  PMID: 23349910
18.  Bis{2,4-dibromo-6-[(E)-(4-fluoro­benz­yl)imino­meth­yl]phenolato-κ2 N,O}cobalt(II) 
The complete mol­ecule of the title complex, [Co(C14H9Br2FNO)2], is generated by crystallographic twofold symmetry, with the CoII atom lying on the rotation axis. The coordination of the metal atom by the two N,O-bidentate ligands results in a squashed CoN2O2 tetra­hedron. The six-membered chelate ring is an envelope, with the metal atom as the flap. The dihedral angle between the planes of the aromatic rings within each ligand is 84.1 (6)°.
doi:10.1107/S1600536812043929
PMCID: PMC3515158  PMID: 23284385
19.  Variability of glomerular filtration rate estimation equations in elderly Chinese patients with chronic kidney disease 
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is recognized worldwide as a public health problem, and its prevalence increases as the population ages. However, the applicability of formulas for estimating the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on serum creatinine (SC) levels in elderly Chinese patients with CKD is limited.
Materials and methods
Based on values obtained with the technetium-99m diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (99mTc-DTPA) renal dynamic imaging method, 319 elderly Chinese patients with CKD were enrolled in this study. Serum creatinine was determined by the enzymatic method. The GFR was estimated using the Cockroft–Gault (CG) equation, the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equations, the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation, the Jelliffe-1973 equation, and the Hull equation.
Results
The median of difference ranged from −0.3–4.3 mL/min/1.73 m2. The interquartile range (IQR) of differences ranged from 13.9–17.6 mL/min/1.73 m2. Accuracy with a deviation less than 15% ranged from 27.6%–32.9%. Accuracy with a deviation less than 30% ranged from 53.6%–57.7%. Accuracy with a deviation less than 50% ranged from 74.9%–81.5%. None of the equations had accuracy up to the 70% level with a deviation less than 30% from the standard glomerular filtration rate (sGFR). Bland–Altman analysis demonstrated that the mean difference ranged from −3.0–2.4 mL/min/1.73 m2. However, the agreement limits of all the equations, except the CG equation, exceeded the prior acceptable tolerances defined as 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. When the overall performance and accuracy were compared in different stages of CKD, GFR estimated using the CG equation showed promising results.
Conclusions
Our study indicated that none of these equations were suitable for estimating GFR in the elderly Chinese population investigated. At present, based on overall performance, as well as performance in different CKD stages, the CG equation may be the most accurate for estimating GFR in elderly Chinese patients with CKD.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S36152
PMCID: PMC3474145  PMID: 23091374
elderly; equation; glomerular filtration rate; serum creatinine; Chinese
20.  Colorectal Cancer Linkage on Chromosomes 4q21, 8q13, 12q24, and 15q22 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38175.
A substantial proportion of familial colorectal cancer (CRC) is not a consequence of known susceptibility loci, such as mismatch repair (MMR) genes, supporting the existence of additional loci. To identify novel CRC loci, we conducted a genome-wide linkage scan in 356 white families with no evidence of defective MMR (i.e., no loss of tumor expression of MMR proteins, no microsatellite instability (MSI)-high tumors, or no evidence of linkage to MMR genes). Families were ascertained via the Colon Cancer Family Registry multi-site NCI-supported consortium (Colon CFR), the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. A total of 1,612 individuals (average 5.0 per family including 2.2 affected) were genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism linkage arrays; parametric and non-parametric linkage analysis used MERLIN in a priori-defined family groups. Five lod scores greater than 3.0 were observed assuming heterogeneity. The greatest were among families with mean age of diagnosis less than 50 years at 4q21.1 (dominant HLOD = 4.51, α = 0.84, 145.40 cM, rs10518142) and among all families at 12q24.32 (dominant HLOD = 3.60, α = 0.48, 285.15 cM, rs952093). Among families with four or more affected individuals and among clinic-based families, a common peak was observed at 15q22.31 (101.40 cM, rs1477798; dominant HLOD = 3.07, α = 0.29; dominant HLOD = 3.03, α = 0.32, respectively). Analysis of families with only two affected individuals yielded a peak at 8q13.2 (recessive HLOD = 3.02, α = 0.51, 132.52 cM, rs1319036). These previously unreported linkage peaks demonstrate the continued utility of family-based data in complex traits and suggest that new CRC risk alleles remain to be elucidated.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038175
PMCID: PMC3364975  PMID: 22675446
22.  Expression in Antennae and Reproductive Organs Suggests a Dual Role of an Odorant-Binding Protein in Two Sibling Helicoverpa Species 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30040.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) mediate both perception and release of semiochemicals in insects. These proteins are the ideal targets for understanding the olfactory code of insects as well as for interfering with their communication system in order to control pest species. The two sibling Lepidopteran species Helicoverpa armigera and H. assulta are two major agricultural pests. As part of our aim to characterize the OBP repertoire of these two species, here we focus our attention on a member of this family, OBP10, particularly interesting for its expression pattern. The protein is specifically expressed in the antennae of both sexes, being absent from other sensory organs. However, it is highly abundant in seminal fluid, is transferred to females during mating and is eventually found on the surface of fertilised eggs. Among the several different volatile compounds present in reproductive organs, OBP10 binds 1-dodecene, a compound reported as an insect repellent. These results have been verified in both H. armigera and H. assulta with no apparent differences between the two species. The recombinant OBP10 binds, besides 1-dodecene, some linear alcohols and several aromatic compounds. The structural similarity of OBP10 with OBP1 of the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, a protein reported to bind an oviposition pheromone, and its affinity with 1-dodecene suggest that OBP10 could be a carrier for oviposition deterrents, favouring spreading of the eggs in these species where cannibalism is active among larvae.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030040
PMCID: PMC3264552  PMID: 22291900
23.  STGC3 inhibits xenograft tumor growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells by altering the expression of proteins associated with apoptosis 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2012;35(1):18-26.
STGC3 is a potential tumor suppressor that inhibits the growth of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line CNE2; the expression of this protein is reduced in nasopharyngeal carcinoma compared with normal nasopharyngeal tissue. In this study, we investigated the tumor-suppressing activity of STGC3 in nude mice injected subcutaneously with Tet/pTRE-STGC3/CNE2 cells. STGC3 expression was induced by the intraperitoneal injection of doxycycline (Dox). The volume mean of Tet/pTRE-STGC3/CNE2+Dox xenografts was smaller than that of Tet/pTRE/CNE2+Dox xenografts. In addition, Tet/pTRE-STGC3/CNE2+Dox xenografts showed an increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells, a decrease in Bcl-2 protein expression and an increase in Bax protein expression. A proteomic approach was used to assess the protein expression profile associated with STGC3-mediated apoptosis. Western blotting confirmed the differential up-regulation of prohibitin seen in proteomic analysis. These results indicate that overexpression of STGC3 inhibits xenograft growth in nude mice by enhancing apoptotic cell death through altered expression of apoptosis-related proteins such as Bcl-2, Bax and prohibitin. These data contribute to our understanding of the function of STGC3 in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma and provide new clues for investigating other STGC3-associated tumors.
PMCID: PMC3313509  PMID: 22481869
CNE2 cell line; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; nude mouse; STGC3; Tet-on; two-dimensional electrophoresis
25.  Systems medicine and integrated care to combat chronic noncommunicable diseases 
Genome Medicine  2011;3(7):43.
We propose an innovative, integrated, cost-effective health system to combat major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, metabolic, rheumatologic and neurologic disorders and cancers, which together are the predominant health problem of the 21st century. This proposed holistic strategy involves comprehensive patient-centered integrated care and multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-level systems approaches to tackle NCDs as a common group of diseases. Rather than studying each disease individually, it will take into account their intertwined gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. It will implement a road map for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine based on a robust and extensive knowledge management infrastructure that contains individual patient information. It will be supported by strategic partnerships involving all stakeholders, including general practitioners associated with patient-centered care. This systems medicine strategy, which will take a holistic approach to disease, is designed to allow the results to be used globally, taking into account the needs and specificities of local economies and health systems.
doi:10.1186/gm259
PMCID: PMC3221551  PMID: 21745417

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