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1.  The mechanism underlying alpinetin-mediated alleviation of pancreatitis-associated lung injury through upregulating aquaporin-1 
Characterized by its acute onset, critical condition, poor prognosis, and high mortality rate, severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) can cause multiple organ failure at its early stage, particularly acute lung injury (ALI). The pathogenesis of ALI is diffuse alveolar damage, including an increase in pulmonary microvascular permeability, a decrease in compliance, and invasion of many inflammatory cells. Corticosteroids are the main treatment method for ALI; however, the associated high toxicity and side effects induce pain in patients. Recent studies show that the effective components in many traditional Chinese medicines can effectively inhibit inflammation with few side effects, which can decrease the complications caused by steroid consumption. Based on these observations, the main objective of the current study is to investigate the effect of alpinetin, which is a flavonoid extracted from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, on treating lung injury induced by SAP and to explore the mechanism underlying the alpinetin-mediated decrease in the extent of ALI. In this study, we have shown through in vitro experiments that a therapeutic dose of alpinetin can promote human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell proliferation. We have also shown via in vitro and in vivo experiments that alpinetin upregulates aquaporin-1 and, thereby, inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α expression as well as reduces the degree of lung injury. Overall, our study shows that alpinetin alleviates SAP-induced ALI. The likely molecular mechanism includes upregulated aquaporin expression, which inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α and, thus, alleviates SAP-induced ALI.
PMCID: PMC4771394  PMID: 26966354
alpinetin; aquaporin-1; severe acute pancreatitis; acute lung injury; HPMVEC; tumor necrosis factor-α
2.  hTERT mediates gastric cancer metastasis partially through the indirect targeting of ITGB1 by microRNA-29a 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:21955.
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) plays a key role in tumor invasion and metastasis, but the mechanism of its involvement in these processes is not clear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possible molecular mechanism of hTERT in the promotion of gastric cancer (GC) metastasis. We found that the up-regulation of hTERT in gastric cancer cells could inhibit the expression of miR-29a and enhance the expression of Integrin β1 (ITGB1). In addition, the invasive capacity of gastric cancer cells was also highly increased after hTERT overexpression. Our study also found that the restoration of miR-29a suppressed the expression of ITGB1 and inhibited GC cell metastasis both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our results suggested that hTERT may promote GC metastasis through the hTERT-miR-29a-ITGB1 regulatory pathway.
PMCID: PMC4763288  PMID: 26903137
3.  Conformational Flexibility of a Short Loop near the Active Site of the SARS-3CLpro is Essential to Maintain Catalytic Activity 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:20918.
The SARS 3C-like proteinase (SARS-3CLpro), which is the main proteinase of the SARS coronavirus, is essential to the virus life cycle. This enzyme has been shown to be active as a dimer in which only one protomer is active. However, it remains unknown how the dimer structure maintains an active monomer conformation. It has been observed that the Ser139-Leu141 loop forms a short 310-helix that disrupts the catalytic machinery in the inactive monomer structure. We have tried to disrupt this helical conformation by mutating L141 to T in the stable inactive monomer G11A/R298A/Q299A. The resulting tetra-mutant G11A/L141T/R298A/Q299A is indeed enzymatically active as a monomer. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the L141T mutation disrupts the 310-helix and helps to stabilize the active conformation. The coil-310-helix conformational transition of the Ser139-Leu141 loop serves as an enzyme activity switch. Our study therefore indicates that the dimer structure can stabilize the active conformation but is not a required structure in the evolution of the active enzyme, which can also arise through simple mutations.
PMCID: PMC4754693  PMID: 26879383
4.  An hTERT/ZEB1 complex directly regulates E-cadherin to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in colorectal cancer 
Oncotarget  2015;7(1):351-361.
In human cancer, high telomerase expression is correlated with tumor aggressiveness and metastatic potential. Telomerase activation occurs through telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) induction, which contributes to malignant transformation by stabilizing telomeres. Previous studies have shown that hTERT can promote tumor invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer, liver cancer and esophageal cancer. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a requirement for tumor invasion and metastasis, plays a key role in cancer progression. Although hTERT promotes EMT through Wnt signaling in several cancers, it is unknown if other signaling pathways are involved. In the present study, we found that hTERT and ZEB1 form a complex, which directly binds to the E-cadherin promoter, and then inhibits E-cadherin expression and promots EMT in colorectal cancer cells. hTERT overexpression in HCT116 and SW480 cells could induce E-cadherin down-regulation. However, E-cadherin expression was recovered when ZEB1 function was impaired even during hTERT overexpression. Taken together, our findings suggest that hTERT can promote cancer metastasis by stimulating EMT through the ZEB1 pathway and therefore inhibiting them may prevent cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC4808003  PMID: 26540342
5.  miR-149 represses metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting actin-regulatory proteins PPM1F 
Oncotarget  2015;6(35):37808-37823.
microRNAs have been implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) metastasis, which is predominant cause of high mortality in these patients. Although an increasing body of evidence indicates that miR-149 plays an important role in the growth and metastasis of multiple types of cancers, its role in the progression of HCC remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated that miR-149 was significantly down-regulated in HCC, which was correlated with distant metastasis and TNM stage with statistical significance. A survival analysis showed that decreased miR-149 expression was correlated with a poor prognosis of HCC as well. We found that over-expression of miR-149 suppressed migration and invasion of HCC cells in vitro. In addition, we identified PPM1F (protein phosphatase, Mg2+/Mn2+-dependent, 1F) as a direct target of miR-149 whose expression was negatively correlated with the expression of miR-149 in HCC tissues. The re-expression of PPM1F rescued the miR-149-mediated inhibition of cell migration and invasion. miR-149 regulated formation of stress fibers to inhibit migration, and re-expression of PPM1F reverted the miR-149-mediated loss of stress fibers. Moreover, we demonstrated that over-expression of miR-149 reduced pMLC2, a downstream effector of PPM1F, in MHCC-97H cells. In vivo studies confirm inhibition of HCC metastasis by miR-149. Taken together, our findings indicates that miR-149 is a potential prognostic biomarker of HCC and that the miR-149/PPM1F regulatory axis represents a novel therapeutic target for HCC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4741967  PMID: 26498692
hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-149; metastasis; PPM1F; microRNA
6.  Downregulation of δ opioid receptor by RNA interference enhances the sensitivity of BEL/FU drug-resistant human hepatocellular carcinoma cells to 5-FU 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;13(1):59-66.
δ opioid receptor (DOR) was the first opioid receptor of the G protein-coupled receptor family to be cloned. Our previous studies demonstrated that DOR is involved in regulating the development and progression of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and is involved in the regulation of the processes of invasion and metastasis of HCC cells. However, whether DOR is involved in the development and progression of drug resistance in HCC has not been reported and requires further elucidation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression levels of DOR in the drug-resistant HCC BEL-7402/5-fluorouracil (BEL/FU) cell line, and its effects on drug resistance, in order to preliminarily elucidate the effects of DOR in HCC drug resistance. The results of the present study demonstrated that DOR was expressed at high levels in the BEL/FU cells, and the expression levels were higher, compared with those in normal liver cells. When the expression of DOR was silenced, the proliferation of the drug-resistant HCC cells were unaffected. However, when the cells were co-treated with a therapeutic dose of 5-FU, the proliferation rate of the BEL/FU cells was significantly inhibited, a large number of cells underwent apoptosis, cell cycle progression was arrested and changes in the expression levels of drug-resistant proteins were observed. Overall, the expression of DOR was upregulated in the drug-resistant HCC cells, and its functional status was closely associated with drug resistance in HCC. Therefore, DOR may become a recognized target molecule with important roles in the clinical treatment of drug-resistant HCC.
PMCID: PMC4686084  PMID: 26549838
δ opioid receptor; multiple-drug resistance; hepatocellular carcinoma
7.  Inhibition of tribbles protein-1 attenuates radioresistance in human glioma cells 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:15961.
Radiotherapy is one of the remedies in the treatment of glioma. The radioresistance is a major drawback, of which the mechanism is unclear. Tribble protein and histone deacetylase are involved in the cancer pathogenesis. This study aims to test a hypothesis that the histone deacetylase inhibitors attenuate the radioresistance in human glioma cells. In this study, human glioma cells were cultured. The cells were treated with irradiation with or without a histone deacetylase inhibitor, butyrate. Apoptosis of the glioma cells was assessed by flow cytometry. The results showed that human glioma cells expressed a low level of Trib1, which was significantly up regulated by exposure to small doses (2 Gy/day for 4 days) of irradiation. Trib1-deficient glioma cells showed an enhanced response to irradiation-induced apoptosis. Exposure to small doses of irradiation, Trib1 formed a complex with pHDAC1 (phosphor histone deacetylase-1) to inhibit p53 expression in glioma cells. The presence of HDAC1 inhibitor, butyrate or parthenolide, significantly enforced irradiation-induced glioma cell apoptosis. In conclusion, the Trib1 plays a critical role in the development of radioresistance of glioma cells. The data suggest that inhibition of Trib1 or HDAC1 has the potential to prevent or attenuate the radioresistance.
PMCID: PMC4629151  PMID: 26521947
8.  Dihydroartemisinin targets VEGFR2 via the NF-κB pathway in endothelial cells to inhibit angiogenesis 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2014;15(11):1479-1488.
The anti-malarial agent dihydroartemisinin (DHA) has strong anti-angiogenic activity. This study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanism underlying this effect of DHA on angiogenesis. We found that DHA shows a dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation and migration of in HUVECs. DHA specifically down-regulates the mRNA and protein expression of VEGFR2 in endothelial cells. Treatment with DHA increases IκB-α protein and blocks nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65. In addition, DHA directly regulates VEGFR2 promoter activity through p65 binding motif, and decreases the binding activity of p65 and VEGFR2 promoter, suggesting defective NF-κB signaling may underlie the observed effects of DHA on VEGFR2 expression. In the presence of the NF-κB inhibitor PDTC, DHA could not further repress VEGFR2. Co-treatment with PDTC and DHA produced minimal changes compared to the effects of either drug alone in in vitro angiogenesis assays. Similar findings were found in vivo through a mouse retinal neovascularization model examining the effects of PDTC and DHA. Our data suggested that DHA inhibits angiogenesis largely through repression of the NF-κB pathway. DHA is well tolerated, and therefore may be an ideal candidate to use clinically as an angiogenesis inhibitor for cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC4623302  PMID: 25482945
angiogenesis; dihydroartemisinin; endothelial cells; NF-κB; VEGFR2
9.  MicroRNA-506 suppresses tumor proliferation and metastasis in colon cancer by directly targeting the oncogene EZH2 
Oncotarget  2015;6(32):32586-32601.
Increasing evidence reveals that aberrant expression of microRNA contributes to the development and progression of colon cancer, but the roles of microRNA-506 (miR-506) in colon cancer remain elusive. Here, we demonstrated that miR-506 was down-regulated in colon cancer tissue and cells and that miR-506 expression was inversely correlated with EZH2 expression, tumor size, lymph node invasion, TNM stage and metastasis. A high level of miR-506 identified patients with a favorable prognosis. In vitro and in vivo experiments confirmed that miR-506 inhibits the proliferation and metastasis of colon cancer, and a luciferase reporter assay confirmed that EZH2 is a direct and functional target of miR-506 via the 3′UTR of EZH2. The restoration of EZH2 expression partially reversed the proliferation and invasion of miR-506-overexpressing colon cancer cells. Moreover, we confirmed that the miR-506-EZH2 axis inhibits proliferation and metastasis by activating/suppressing specific downstream tumor-associated genes and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Taking together, our study sheds light on the role of miR-506 as a suppressor for tumor growth and metastasis and raises the intriguing possibility that miR-506 may serve as a new potential marker for monitoring and treating colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC4741714  PMID: 26452129
miR-506; EZH2; proliferation; metastasis; colon cancer
10.  Peptide-Based Treatment: A Promising Cancer Therapy 
Journal of Immunology Research  2015;2015:761820.
Many new therapies are currently being used to treat cancer. Among these new methods, chemotherapy based on peptides has been of great interest due to the unique advantages of peptides, such as a low molecular weight, the ability to specifically target tumor cells, and low toxicity in normal tissues. In treating cancer, peptide-based chemotherapy can be mainly divided into three types, peptide-alone therapy, peptide vaccines, and peptide-conjugated nanomaterials. Peptide-alone therapy may specifically enhance the immune system's response to kill tumor cells. Peptide-based vaccines have been used in advanced cancers to improve patients' overall survival. Additionally, the combination of peptides with nanomaterials expands the therapeutic ability of peptides to treat cancer by enhancing drug delivery and sensitivity. In this review, we mainly focus on the new advances in the application of peptides in treating cancer in recent years, including diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4629048  PMID: 26568964
11.  GOLPH3 is a potential therapeutic target and a prognostic indicatior of poor survival in bladder cancer treated by cystectomy 
Oncotarget  2015;6(31):32177-32192.
Golgi phosphoprotein 3 (GOLPH3) has been reported to be involved in the development of several human cancers. However, its clinical significance and biological role in bladder cancer remains unclear. In this study, we sought to analyze the GOLPH3 expression in bladder cancer samples and cells, and explore its clinical significance and biological role. We found that GOLPH3 was significantly increased in bladder cancer tissues and cells. Overexpression of GOLPH3 had significant correlation with poorer survival for bladder cancer patients treated by cystectomy. Knockdown of GOLPH3 inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of cancer cells, and tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model. GOLPH3 silencing inhibited AKT/m-TOR signaling, increased the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27 and decreased the CDK regulator cyclin D1 and matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9). Thus, GOLPH3 is likely to play important roles in bladder cancer progression via modulating AKT/mTOR signaling, and it is a novel prognostic biomarker and promising therapeutic target for bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC4741668  PMID: 26375441
bladder cancer; GOLPH3; AKT/mTOR signalling; prognosis; survival
12.  Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 Inhibits Osteogenic Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Impairs Bio-Scaffold-Mediated Bone Regeneration In Vivo 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2014;20(19-20):2768-2782.
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) loaded bio-scaffold transplantation is a promising therapeutic approach for bone regeneration and repair. However, growing evidence shows that pro-inflammatory mediators from injured tissues suppress osteogenic differentiation and impair bone formation. To improve MSC-based bone regeneration, it is important to understand the mechanism of inflammation mediated osteogenic suppression. In the present study, we found that synovial fluid from rheumatoid arthritis patients and pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1α, interleukin-1β, and tumor necrosis factor α, stimulated intercellular adhesion molecule-1(ICAM-1) expression and impaired osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. Interestingly, overexpression of ICAM-1 in MSCs using a genetic approach also inhibited osteogenesis. In contrast, ICAM-1 knockdown significantly reversed the osteogenic suppression. In addition, after transplanting a traceable MSC-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) construct in rat calvarial defects, we found that ICAM-1 suppressed MSC osteogenic differentiation and matrix mineralization in vivo. Mechanistically, we found that ICAM-1 enhances MSC proliferation but causes stem cell marker loss. Furthermore, overexpression of ICAM-1 stably activated the MAPK and NF-κB pathways but suppressed the PI3K/AKT pathway in MSCs. More importantly, specific inhibition of the ERK/MAPK and NF-κB pathways or activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway partially rescued osteogenic differentiation, while inhibition of the p38/MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway caused more serious osteogenic suppression. In summary, our findings reveal a novel function of ICAM-1 in osteogenesis and suggest a new molecular target to improve bone regeneration and repair in inflammatory microenvironments.
PMCID: PMC4195481  PMID: 24702024
13.  Modulation of AMPA receptor mediated current by nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in layer I neurons of rat prefrontal cortex 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:14099.
Layer I neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) exhibit extensive synaptic connections with deep layer neurons, implying their important role in the neural circuit. Study demonstrates that activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) increases excitatory neurotransmission in this layer. Here we found that nicotine selectively increased the amplitude of AMPA receptor (AMPAR)-mediated current and AMPA/NMDA ratio, while without effect on NMDA receptor-mediated current. The augmentation of AMPAR current by nicotine was inhibited by a selective α7-nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA) and intracellular calcium chelator BAPTA. In addition, nicotinic effect on mEPSC or paired-pulse ratio was also prevented by MLA. Moreover, an enhanced inward rectification of AMPAR current by nicotine suggested a functional role of calcium permeable and GluA1 containing AMPAR. Consistently, nicotine enhancement of AMPAR current was inhibited by a selective calcium-permeable AMPAR inhibitor IEM-1460. Finally, the intracellular inclusion of synthetic peptide designed to block GluA1 subunit of AMPAR at CAMKII, PKC or PKA phosphorylation site, as well as corresponding kinase inhibitor, blocked nicotinic augmentation of AMPA/NMDA ratio. These results have revealed that nicotine increases AMPAR current by modulating the phosphorylation state of GluA1 which is dependent on α7-nAChR and intracellular calcium.
PMCID: PMC4572933  PMID: 26370265
14.  Clinicopathological Significance of CDKN2A Promoter Hypermethylation Frequency with Pancreatic Cancer 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:13563.
The prognosis of pancreatic cancer patients is very poor, with a 5-year survival of less than 6%. Previous studies demonstrated that the loss of function of CDKN2A is mainly caused by the hypermethylation of CDKN2A gene promoter; however, whether or not it is associated with the incidence of pancreatic cancer still remains unclear. In this study, we systematically reviewed the association between CDKN2A promoter methylation and pancreatic cancer using meta-analysis methods. The pooled data were analyzed by Review Manager 5.2. Fourteen studies eligible studies, including 418 pancreatic cancer, 155 pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs) and 45 chronic pancreatitis (CP) patients were analyzed. We observed that the frequency of CDKN2A methylation was significantly higher in pancreatic cancer patients than in normal healthy controls, the pooled OR = 17.19, 95% CI = 8.72–33.86, P < 0.00001. The frequency of CDKN2A methylation was also significantly higher in PanINs patients than that in normal individual controls, OR = 12.35, 95% CI = 1.70–89.89, P = 0.01. In addition, CDKN2A methylation was associated with worse survival in pancreatic cancer, HR = 4.46, 95% CI = 1.37–14.53, P = 0.01. The results strongly suggest that CDKN2A methylation is correlated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. CDKN2A methylation plays a critical role in pancreatic carcinogenesis and may serve as a prognostic marker.
PMCID: PMC4642558  PMID: 26338139
15.  MicroRNA-1908 functions as a glioblastoma oncogene by suppressing PTEN tumor suppressor pathway 
Molecular Cancer  2015;14:154.
We aimed to investigate whether miRNA-1908 is an oncogene in human glioblastoma and find the possible mechanism of miR-1908.
We investigated the growth potentials of miRNA-1908-overexpressing SW-1783 cells in vitro and in vivo. In order to identify the target molecule of miRNA-1908, a luciferase reporter assay was performed, and the corresponding downstream signaling pathway was examined using immunohistochemistry of human glioblastoma tissues. We also investigated the miRNA-1908 expression in 34 patients according to the postoperative risk of recurrence.
The overexpression of miRNA-1908 significantly promoted anchorage-independent growth in vitro and significantly increased the tumor forming potential in vivo. MiRNA-1908 significantly suppressed the luciferase activity of mRNA combined with the PTEN 3’-UTR. Furthermore, the expression levels of miRNA-1908 were significantly increased in the patients with a high risk of recurrence compared to that observed in the low-risk patients, and this higher expression correlated with a poor survival.
miRNA-1908 functions as an oncogene in glioblastoma by repressing the PTEN pathway. MiR-1908 is a potential new molecular marker for predicting the risk of recurrence and prognosis of glioblastoma.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12943-015-0423-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4534015  PMID: 26265437
16.  SDF-1/CXCR4 Axis Promotes MSCs to Repair Liver Injury Partially through Trans-Differentiation and Fusion with Hepatocytes 
Stem Cells International  2015;2015:960387.
MSCs have become a popular target for developing end-stage liver therapies. In this study, two models of bone marrow chimeric mice were used to construct the liver failure models. Then it was found that MSCs can transdifferentiate into hepatocyte-like cells and these hepatocyte-like cells can significantly express albumin. Furthermore it was also found that MSCs can fuse with the hepatocytes and these cells had the proliferation activity. However, the percentage of transdifferentiation was significantly higher than fusion. So it was considered that MSCs which transdifferentiated into hepatocyte-likes cells played important roles for repairing the injuring liver function.
PMCID: PMC4537768  PMID: 26300925
17.  Helicobacter pylori virulence factor CagA promotes tumorigenesis of gastric cancer via multiple signaling pathways 
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is strongly associated with the development of gastric diseases but also with several extragastric diseases. The clinical outcomes caused by H. pylori infection are considered to be associated with a complex combination of host susceptibility, environmental factors and bacterial isolates. Infections involving H. pylori strains that possess the virulence factor CagA have a worse clinical outcome than those involving CagA-negative strains. It is remarkable that CagA-positive H. pylori increase the risk for gastric cancer over the risk associated with H. pylori infection alone. CagA behaves as a bacterial oncoprotein playing a key role in H. pylori-induced gastric cancer. Activation of oncogenic signaling pathways and inactivation of tumor suppressor pathways are two crucial events in the development of gastric cancer. CagA shows the ability to affect the expression or function of vital protein in oncogenic or tumor suppressor signaling pathways via several molecular mechanisms, such as direct binding or interaction, phosphorylation of vital signaling proteins and methylation of tumor suppressor genes. As a result, CagA continuously dysregulates of these signaling pathways and promotes tumorigenesis. Recent research has enriched our understanding of how CagA effects on these signaling pathways. This review summarizes the results of the most relevant studies, discusses the complex molecular mechanism involved and attempts to delineate the entire signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4702319  PMID: 26160167
Helicobacter pylori CagA; Wnt/β-catenin; PI3K/Akt; p53
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(Suppl 3):iii16.
BACKGROUND: The nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) family of transcriptional regulators are central mediators of the cellular inflammatory response. Although constitutive NF-kB signaling is present in most human tumours, mutations in pathway members are rare, complicating efforts to understand and block aberrant NF-kB activity in cancer. METHODS: To identify additional genetic alterations that drive ependymoma, we sequenced the whole genomes (WGS) of 41 tumours and matched normal blood, and the transcriptomes (RNAseq) of 77 tumours. The transforming significance of alterations were tested in mouse NSCs that we showed previously to be cells of origin of ependymoma. RESULTS: Here, we show that more than two thirds of supratentorial ependymomas contain oncogenic fusions between RELA, the principal effector of canonical NF-kB signalling, and an uncharacterized gene, C11orf95. In each case, C11orf95-RELA fusions resulted from chromothripsis involving chromosome 11q13.1. C11orf95-RELA fusion proteins translocated spontaneously to the nucleus to activate NF-kB target genes, and rapidly transformed neural stem cells—the cell of origin of ependymoma—to form these tumours in mice. CONCLUSIONS: Our data identify the first highly recurrent genetic alteration of RELA in human cancer, and the C11orf95-RELA fusion protein as a potential therapeutic target in supratentorial ependymoma. SECONDARY CATEGORY: Neuropathology & Tumor Biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC4144525
19.  Protection of rat intestinal epithelial cells from ischemia/reperfusion injury by (D-Ala2, D-Leu5)-enkephalin through inhibition of the MKK7-JNK signaling pathway 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;12(3):4079-4088.
Previous studies have demonstrated that (D-Ala2, D-Leu5)-enkephalin (DADLE) protects rats from hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In the present study, DADLE was also observed to alleviate IR-induced intestinal epithelial cell injury in rats by inhibiting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 7 (MKK7)-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway signaling. To investigate the protective effect of DADLE on hypoxia/reoxygenation injury in rat intestinal epithelial cells, rat intestinal epithelial cells were treated with different concentrations of DADLE, following which the cell survival rate was determined using a tetrazolium (MTT) colorimetric assay, and apoptosis was determined using flow cytometry. To confirm whether the protective effect of DADLE was due to its effect on MKK7-JNK signaling, the phosphorylation levels of MKK7 and JNK were analyzed using western blot analysis following treatment with different concentrations of DADLE. The results demonstrated that, following treatment with DADLE, the survival rate of the rat intestinal cells subjected to I/R-induced injury increased significantly and the apoptotic rate decreased in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, the levels of phosphorylated MKK7 and JNK decreased in a concentration-dependent manner following treatment with DADLE. Silencing the gene expression of MKK7 using small interfering RNA prior to DADLE treatment resulted in a reduction in the protective effects of DADLE on the rat intestinal epithelial cells subjected to I/R injury. Collectively, the results of the present study demonstrated that the protective effects of DADLE in I/R injury in rat intestinal cells occurred through inhibition of the MKK7-JNK pathway.
PMCID: PMC4526098  PMID: 26126577
opioid receptor; small intestine; ischemia-reperfusion injury; protection; signal transduction pathways
20.  High USP22 expression indicates poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2015;6(14):12654-12667.
Ubiquitin-specific protease 22 (USP22) removes ubiquitin from histones, thus regulating gene transcription. The expression frequency and expression levels of USP22 were significantly higher in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than in normal liver tissues. High USP22 expression in HCC was significantly correlated with clinical stage and tumor grade. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that elevated USP22 expression predicted poorer overall survival and recurrence-free survival. High USP22 expression was also associated with shortened survival time in patients at advanced tumor stages and with high grade HCC. Multivariate analyses revealed that USP22 expression is an independent prognostic parameter in HCC. These findings provide evidence that high USP22 expression might be important in tumor progression and serves as an independent molecular marker for poor HCC prognosis. Thus, USP22 overexpression identifies patients at high risk and represents a novel therapeutic molecular target for this tumor.
PMCID: PMC4494964  PMID: 25909224
hepatocellular carcinoma; ubiquitin-specific protease 22; prognosis; cancer biomarker
21.  JARID1B promotes metastasis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition via PTEN/AKT signaling in hepatocellular carcinoma cells 
Oncotarget  2015;6(14):12723-12739.
JARID1B is a member of the family of JmjC domain-containing proteins that removes methyl residues from methylated lysine 4 on histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4). JARID1B has been proposed as an oncogene in many types of tumors; however, its role and underlying mechanisms in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unknown. Here we show that JARID1B is elevated in HCC and its expression level is positively correlated with metastasis. In addition Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that high expression of JARID1B was associated with decreased overall survival of HCC patients. Overexpression of JARID1B in HCC cells increased proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration and invasion in vitro, and enhanced tumorigenic and metastatic capacities in vivo. In contrast, silencing JARID1B in aggressive and invasive HCC cells inhibited these processes. Mechanistically, we found JARID1B exerts its function through modulation of H3K4me3 at the PTEN gene promoter, which was associated with inactive PTEN transcription. PTEN overexpression blocked JARID1B-driven proliferation, EMT, and metastasis. Our results, for the first time, portray a pivotal role of JARID1B in stimulating metastatic behaviors of HCC cells. Targeting JARID1B may thus be a useful strategy to impede HCC cell invasion and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4494969  PMID: 25909289
JARID1B; metastasis; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; invasion; PTEN
22.  Daytime Land Surface Temperature Extraction from MODIS Thermal Infrared Data under Cirrus Clouds 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2015;15(5):9942-9961.
Simulated data showed that cirrus clouds could lead to a maximum land surface temperature (LST) retrieval error of 11.0 K when using the generalized split-window (GSW) algorithm with a cirrus optical depth (COD) at 0.55 μm of 0.4 and in nadir view. A correction term in the COD linear function was added to the GSW algorithm to extend the GSW algorithm to cirrus cloudy conditions. The COD was acquired by a look up table of the isolated cirrus bidirectional reflectance at 0.55 μm. Additionally, the slope k of the linear function was expressed as a multiple linear model of the top of the atmospheric brightness temperatures of MODIS channels 31–34 and as the difference between split-window channel emissivities. The simulated data showed that the LST error could be reduced from 11.0 to 2.2 K. The sensitivity analysis indicated that the total errors from all the uncertainties of input parameters, extension algorithm accuracy, and GSW algorithm accuracy were less than 2.5 K in nadir view. Finally, the Great Lakes surface water temperatures measured by buoys showed that the retrieval accuracy of the GSW algorithm was improved by at least 1.5 K using the proposed extension algorithm for cirrus skies.
PMCID: PMC4481960  PMID: 25928059
cirrus clouds; error correction; generalized split-window algorithm; land surface temperature retrieval; MODIS
23.  Comparison of two self-assembled macromolecular prodrug micelles with different conjugate positions of SN38 for enhancing antitumor activity 
7-Ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN38), an active metabolite of irinotecan (CPT-11), is a remarkably potent antitumor agent. The clinical application of SN38 has been extremely restricted by its insolubility in water. In this study, we successfully synthesized two macromolecular prodrugs of SN38 with different conjugate positions (chitosan-(C10-OH)SN38 and chitosan-(C20-OH)SN38) to improve the water solubility and antitumor activity of SN38. These prodrugs can self-assemble into micelles in aqueous medium. The particle size, morphology, zeta potential, and in vitro drug release of SN38 and its derivatives, as well as their cytotoxicity, pharmacokinetics, and in vivo antitumor activity in a xenograft BALB/c mouse model were studied. In vitro, chitosan-(C10-OH)SN38 (CS-(10s)SN38) and chitosan-(C20-OH) SN38 (CS-(20s)SN38) were 13.3- and 25.9-fold more potent than CPT-11 in the murine colon adenocarcinoma cell line CT26, respectively. The area under the curve (AUC)0–24 of SN38 after intravenously administering CS-(10s)SN38 and CS-(20s)SN38 to Sprague Dawley rats was greatly improved when compared with CPT-11 (both P<0.01). A larger AUC0–24 of CS-(20s)SN38 was observed when compared to CS-(10s)SN38 (P<0.05). Both of the novel self-assembled chitosan-SN38 prodrugs demonstrated superior anticancer activity to CPT-11 in the CT26 xenograft BALB/c mouse model. We have also investigated the differences between these macromolecular prodrug micelles with regards to enhancing the antitumor activity of SN38. CS-(20s)SN38 exhibited better in vivo antitumor activity than CS-(10s)SN38 at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg (P<0.05). In conclusion, both macromolecular prodrug micelles improved the in vivo conversion rate and antitumor activity of SN38, but the prodrug in which C20-OH was conjugated to macromolecular materials could be a more promising platform for SN38 delivery.
PMCID: PMC4376263  PMID: 25848251
self-assembled prodrug micelles; in vitro cytotoxicity; pharmacokinetics; in vivo antitumor activity
24.  Relationship Between Female Hormonal and Menstrual Factors and Pancreatic Cancer 
Medicine  2015;94(7):e177.
The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between female hormone and menstrual factors and pancreatic cancer (PC) through a meta-analysis of observational studies.
We undertook a systematic literature search up to July 10, 2014 in PubMed and EMBASE databases. Combined relative risks (RRs) were estimated by random-effects models. Subgroup analysis was performed by study design, source of control, and geographic regions. Sensitivity analyses and publication bias were utilized to evaluate the robustness of our results.
A total of 27 case–control and cohort studies were retrieved for this meta-analysis. No significant associations were observed between the risk of PC and age at menarche (RR = 0.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.83–1.07), age at menopause (RR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.85–1.13), hysterectomy (RR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.84–1.11), oophorectomy (RR = 1.02, 95% CI 0.82–1.26), hormone replacement therapy (RR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.87–1.08), and oral contraceptives (RR = 1.09, 95% CI 0.96–1.23).
This meta-analysis of observational studies does not support the hypothesis that exogenous hormone use and menstrual factors are associated with PC.
PMCID: PMC4554173  PMID: 25700305
25.  Effects of high-fat diet on 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced aberrant crypt foci and colorectal tumours in rats 
Biomedical Reports  2015;3(3):289-294.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of numerous types of cancer. The present study investigated the impact of a high-fat diet on 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced colorectal cancer (CRC) in F344 rats. A total of 16 male F344 rats aged 4 weeks were randomly divided into two groups (8 rats/group). Rats in group A were fed a basal diet with a moderate fat (MF) content, while rats in group B were fed a high-fat diet. Upon reaching 5 weeks of age, the rats were injected subcutaneously with DMH (20 mg/kg body weight). DMH was administered once a week for 8 consecutive weeks. All the rats were sacrificed 34 weeks after the first DMH injection and dissected to obtain samples of colorectal tissues. The tissues were examined under a microscope for the presence of aberrant crypt foci (ACFs) and subjected to histopathological analysis. The results showed that at the end of the 34-week experiment, body weights and visceral fat levels were significantly higher in the high-fat diet group compared to the basal diet group. In addition, the incidences of colorectal ACF, adenoma and adenocarcinoma were markedly elevated in the high-fat diet group compared to the basal diet group. These results indicate that the consumption of a high-fat diet promotes the development and progression of CRC and the control of fat intake may prevent CRC.
PMCID: PMC4467215  PMID: 26137224
high-fat diet; antitumour; colorectal cancer; F344 rats

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