Longquan City, Zhejiang province, China, has been seriously affected by hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) since the first cases were registered in 1974. To understand the epidemiology and emergence of HFRS in Longquan, which may be indicative of large parts of rural China, we studied long-term incidence patterns and performed a molecular epidemiological investigation of the causative hantaviruses in human and rodent populations.
During 1974–2011, 1866 cases of HFRS were recorded in Longquan, including 20 deaths. In 2011, the incidence of HFRS remained high, with 19.61 cases/100,000 population, despite the onset of vaccination in 1997. During 1974–1998, HFRS cases in Longquan occurred mainly in winter, while in the past decade the peak of HFRS has shifted to the spring. Notably, the concurrent prevalence of rodent-borne hantaviruses in the region was also high. Phylogenetic analyses of viral sequences recovered from rodents in Longquan revealed the presence of novel genetic variants of Gou virus (GOUV) in Rattus sp. rats and Hantaan virus (HTNV) in the stripe field mice, respectively. Strikingly, viral sequences sampled from infected humans were very closely related to those from rodents.
HFRS represents an important public health problem in Longquan even after years of preventive measures. Our data suggest that continual spillover of the novel genetic variant of GOUV and the new genetic lineage of HTNV are responsible for the high prevalence of HFRS in humans. In addition, this is the first report of GOUV associated with human HFRS cases, and our data suggest that GOUV is now the major cause of HFRS in this region.
Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a major public health problem in China despite human vaccination. We investigated the epidemiology and emergence of HFRS in Longquan (Zhejiang Province), a rural area with a high incidence of HFRS. During 1974–2011, a total of 1866 cases of HFRS were recorded in Longquan, including 20 deaths. Strikingly, phylogenetic analyses of viral sequences sampled from local rodents in Longquan revealed the presence of novel variants of Gou virus (GOUV) in Rattus sp. rats and Hantaan virus (HTNV) in the stripe field mice, respectively. Moreover, viral sequences sampled from infected humans in Longquan were very closely related to those from rodents. Overall, these data indicate that there is a continual spillover GOUV and HTNV from rodents to humans in Longquan, and this might be responsible for the high prevalence of HFRS. As well as highlighting the importance of the human-animal interface, these data also suggest that GOUV is now the major cause of HFRS in this region.
Mitofusin-2 (Mfn2) is a mitochondrial outer membrane protein involved in mitochondrial fusion. Its mutation can cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Recent studies of Mfn2 in cancer research have not included gastric cancer. We confirmed that Mfn2 expression was lower in tumor tissue than in normal gastric mucosal tissue and that it was negatively correlated with tumor size, indicating an anti-tumor role for Mfn2. In vitro experiments showed that Mfn2 overexpression suppressed gastric cancer cell proliferation and colony formation, weakened the invasion and migratory ability of cancer cells by downregulating MMP-2 and MMP-9, halted the cell cycle and induced apoptosis. Western blotting indicated the likely involvement of P21 and PI3K/Akt signaling. Therefore, Mfn2 is a potential anti-tumor gene and a potential therapeutic target for treating gastric cancer. The progress of gastric cancer may be delayed by controlling Mfn2 expression.
gastric cancer; Mfn2; biomarker; anti-tumor gene
Hepatic fibrosis, as a major medical problem, is characterized with significant morbidity and mortality. Acupuncture has potential advantages in treating hepatic fibrosis as acupuncture functions well to reduce Qi and Blood stagnation, resolve stasis and enhance body immunity, which are important factors in treating hepatic fibrosis. The aim of this review was to appraise the current limited evidence of acupuncture in treating hepatic fibrosis from both animal experiments and clinical trials by using both Chinese and western databases and to provide recommendations for future studies.
Acupuncture; hepatic fibrosis; review
Pandemic H1N1/2009 viruses have been stabilized in swine herds, and some strains display higher pathogenicity than the human-origin isolates. In this study, high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is applied to explore the systemic transcriptome responses of the mouse lungs infected by swine (Jia6/10) and human (LN/09) H1N1/2009 viruses. The transcriptome data show that Jia6/10 activates stronger virus-sensing signals, such as the toll-like receptor, RIG-I like receptor and NOD-like receptor signalings, as well as a stronger NF-κB and JAK-STAT singals, which play significant roles in inducing innate immunity. Most cytokines and interferon-stimulated genes show higher expression lever in Jia/06 infected groups. Meanwhile, virus Jia6/10 activates stronger production of reactive oxygen species, which might further promote higher mutation rate of the virus genome. Collectively, our data reveal that the swine-origin pandemic H1N1/2009 virus elicits a stronger innate immune reaction and pro-oxidation stimulation, which might relate closely to the increasing pathogenicity.
To gain more insight into the phylogeny of Dabieshan virus (DBSV), carried by Niviventer confucianus and other Murinae-associated hantaviruses, genome sequences of novel variants of DBSV were recovered from Niviventer rats trapped in the mountainous areas of Wenzhou, China. Genetic analyses show that all known genetic variants of DBSV, including the ones identified in this study, are distinct from other Murinae-associated hantaviruses. DBSV variants show geographic clustering and high intraspecies diversity. The data suggest that DBSV is a distinct species in the genus Hantavirus. Interestingly, DBSV shows the highest sequence identity to Hantaan virus (HTNV), with a >7% difference in the sequences of the N, GPC, and L proteins, while N. confucianus is more closely related to Rattus norvegicus (the host of Seoul virus [SEOV]) than to Apodemus agrarius (the host of HTNV and Saaremaa virus [SAAV]). Further genetic analyses of all known Murinae-associated hantaviruses (both established and tentative species) show that many of them, including DBSV, may have originated from host switching. The estimation of evolutionary rates and divergence time supports the role of cross-species transmission in the evolution of Murinae-associated hantaviruses. The detection of positive selection suggests that genetic drift may contribute to the speciation of Murinae-associated hantaviruses and that adaptation has a role as well.
Hantaviruses are among the most important zoonotic pathogens of humans and the subject of heightened global attention. Despite the importance of hantaviruses for public health, there is no consensus on their evolutionary history and especially the frequency of virus-host co-divergence versus cross-species virus transmission. Documenting the extent of hantavirus biodiversity, and particularly their range of mammalian hosts, is critical to resolving this issue. Here, we describe four novel hantaviruses (Huangpi virus, Lianghe virus, Longquan virus, and Yakeshi virus) sampled from bats and shrews in China, and which are distinct from other known hantaviruses. Huangpi virus was found in Pipistrellus abramus, Lianghe virus in Anourosorex squamipes, Longquan virus in Rhinolophus affinis, Rhinolophus sinicus, and Rhinolophus monoceros, and Yakeshi virus in Sorex isodon, respectively. A phylogenetic analysis of the available diversity of hantaviruses reveals the existence of four phylogroups that infect a range of mammalian hosts, as well as the occurrence of ancient reassortment events between the phylogroups. Notably, the phylogenetic histories of the viruses are not always congruent with those of their hosts, suggesting that cross-species transmission has played a major role during hantavirus evolution and at all taxonomic levels, although we also noted some evidence for virus-host co-divergence. Our phylogenetic analysis also suggests that hantaviruses might have first appeared in Chiroptera (bats) or Soricomorpha (moles and shrews), before emerging in rodent species. Overall, these data indicate that bats are likely to be important natural reservoir hosts of hantaviruses.
Hantaviruses are important human pathogens, occasionally emerging from animal reservoirs. However, both the biodiversity of hantaviruses in nature, as well as the frequency with which they have jumped species barriers in the past, are unclear. Here, we describe four novel hantaviruses (Huangpi virus, Lianghe virus, Longquan virus, and Yakeshi virus) that were sampled from bats and shrews in China. These viruses are different from known hantaviruses, with each representing a novel species. An evolutionary analysis of all known hantaviruses including the novel viruses described here reveals the existence of four distinct phylogenetic groups of viruses that infect a range of mammalian hosts, and which have sometimes exchanged genes through segment reassortment. Our analysis also suggests that hantaviruses might have first appeared in bats or insectivores, before spreading to rodents, even though rodents are currently the best documented hosts of hantaviruses. Because the phylogenetic trees of the hantaviruses do not always match those of their mammalian hosts, we conclude that both host-jumping and co-divergence have played important roles in hantavirus evolution. Overall, our study shows that bats are likely to be important natural reservoir hosts of hantaviruses from which novel hantaviruses may emerge in the future.
α-synuclein(α-syn) plays a prominent role in the degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons in Parkinson disease (PD). However, only a few studies on α-syn have been carried out in the mDA neurons in vivo, which may be attributed to a lack of α-syn transgenic mice that develop PD-like severe degeneration of mDA neurons. To gain mechanistic insights into the α-syn-induced mDA neurodegeneration, we generated a new line of tetracycline-regulated inducible transgenic mice that overexpressed the PD-related α-syn A53T missense mutation in the mDA neurons. Here we show that the mutant mice developed profound motor disabilities and robust mDA neurodegeneration, resembling some key motor and pathological phenotypes of PD. We further systematically examined the subcellular abnormalities appeared in the mDA neurons of mutant mice, and observed a profound decrease of dopamine release, the fragmentation of Golgi apparatus, and impairments of autophagy/lysosome degradation pathways in these neurons. To further understand the specific molecular events leading to the α-syn-dependent degeneration of mDA neurons, we found that over-expression of α-syn promoted a proteasome-dependent degradation of nuclear receptor related 1 protein (Nurr1); while inhibition of Nurr1 degradation ameliorated the α-syn-induced loss of mDA neurons. Given that Nurr1 plays an essential role in maintaining the normal function and survival of mDA neurons, our studies suggest that the α-syn-mediated suppression of Nurr1 protein expression may contribute to the preferential vulnerability of mDA neurons in the pathogenesis of PD.
Since the emergence of the 2009 pandemic (H1N1) virus (2009/H1N1) in April 2009, cases of transmission from humans to pigs have been reported frequently. In our previous studies, four 2009/H1N1 variants were isolated from pigs. To better understand the phenotypic differences of the pig isolates compared with the human isolate, in this study mice were inoculated intranasally with different 2009/H1N1 viruses, and monitored for morbidity, mortality, and viral replication, cytokine production and pathological changes in the lungs. The results show that all isolates show effective replication in lungs, but varying in their ability to cause morbidity. In particular, the strains of A/swine/Nanchang/3/2010 (H1N1) and A/swine/Nanchang/F9/2010 (H1N1) show the greatest virulence with a persisting replication in lungs and high lethality for mice, compared with the human isolate A/Liaoning /14/2009 (H1N1), which shows low virulence in mice. Furthermore, the lethal strains could induce more severe lung pathological changes and higher production of cytokines than that of other strains at an early stage. Amino acid sequence analysis illustrates prominent differences in viral surface glycoproteins and polymerase subunits between pig isolates and human strains that might correlate with their phenotypic differences. These studies demonstrate that the 2009/H1N1 pig isolates exhibit heterogeneous infectivity and pathogencity in mice, and some strains possess an enhanced pathogenicity compared with the human isolate.
Background and Objectives
Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity is the most common tool for the assessment of liver diseases. However, it is not clear whether the current normal ALT range really discriminate patients with or without liver diseases. The present study was to establish a new normal range of ALT and examine its ability to identify patients with hepatitis B or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in Chinese Han population.
53037 adults were included in this study from January 1st 2008 to August 31st 2010. The 95th percentile of ALT in population with relative low risk factors for liver diseases was set as the new upper limits of normal ALT in gender-specific manner.
The 95th percentile levels at low risk factors for liver diseases were achieved at 35 U/L for men and 23 U/L for women. The concordance statistics for detection were 0.873 (95%CI: 0.865–0.881) for HBV and 0.932 (95%CI: 0.927–0.937) for NAFLD in men while 0.857 (95%CI: 0.850–0.864) for HBV and 0.909 (95%CI: 0.903–0.915) for NAFLD in women. The median sensitivity of the current used ALT upper limit (40 U/L) was 6.6% for HBV and 29.7% for NAFLD and median specificity was 98.7% for men and 99.4% for women. Using our new-derived thresholds, the sensitivities ranged from 35.3% to 61.1% and the specificities were 94.8% for men and 94.6% for women.
Our results suggest that upper limits of ALT 35 U/L for men and 23 U/L for women in Chinese Han population. Re-consideration of normal limits of ALT should be recommended.
Ceramidase plays an important role in regulating the metabolism of sphingolipids, such as ceramide, sphingosine (SPH), and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), by controlling the hydrolysis of ceramide. Here we report the cloning and biochemical characterization of a neutral ceramidase from the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum which is an important storage pest. The Tribolium castaneum neutral ceramidase (Tncer) is a protein of 696 amino acids. It shares a high degree of similarity in protein sequence to neutral ceramidases from various species. Tncer mRNA levels are higher in the adult stage than in pre-adult stages, and they are higher in the reproductive organs than in head, thorax, and midgut. The mature ovary has higher mRNA levels than the immature ovary. Tncer is localized to the plasma membrane. It uses various ceramides (D-erythro-C6, C12, C16, C18:1, and C24:1-ceramide) as substrates and has an abroad pH optimum for its in vitro activity. Tncer has an optimal temperature of 37 °C for its in vitro activity. Its activity is inhibited by Fe2+. These results suggest that Tncer has distinct biochemical properties from neutral ceramidases from other species.
ceramidase; Tncer; activity; biochemical properties; plasma membrane; mRNA levels
Despite the worldwide distribution, most of the known Seoul viruses (SEOV) are closely related to each other. In this study, the M and the S segment sequences of SEOV were recovered from 130 lung tissue samples (mostly of Norway rats) and from six patient serum samples by reverse transcription-PCR. Genetic analysis revealed that all sequences belong to SEOV and represent 136 novel strains. Phylogenetic analysis of all available M and S segment sequences of SEOV, including 136 novel Chinese strains, revealed four distinct groups. All non-Chinese SEOV strains and most of the Chinese variants fell into the phylogroup A, while the Chinese strains originating from mountainous areas clustered into three other distinct groups (B, C, and D). We estimated that phylogroup A viruses may have arisen only within the last several centuries. All non-Chinese variants appeared to be directly originated from China. Thus, phylogroup A viruses distributed worldwide may share a recent ancestor, whereas SEOV seems to be as diversified genetically as other hantaviruses. In addition, all available mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of Norway rats, including our 44 newly recovered mtDNA sequences, were divided into two phylogenetic groups. The first group, which is associated with the group A SEOV variants, included most of rats from China and also all non-Chinese rats, while the second group consisted of a few rats originating only from mountain areas in China. We hypothesize that an ancestor of phylogroup A SEOV variants was first exported from China to Europe and then spread through the New World following the migration of Norway rats.
Nitrogen (N) management is a promising agronomic strategy to minimize cadmium (Cd) contamination in crops. However, it is unclear how N affects Cd uptake by plants. Wild-type and iron uptake-inefficient tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) mutant (T3238fer) plants were grown in pH-buffered hydroponic culture to investigate the direct effect of N-form on Cd uptake. Wild-type plants fed NO3− accumulated more Cd than plants fed NH4+. Iron uptake and LeIRT1 expression in roots were also greater in plants fed NO3−. However, in mutant T3238fer which loses FER function, LeIRT1 expression in roots was almost completely terminated, and the difference between NO3− and NH4+ treatments vanished. As a result, the N-form had no effect on Cd uptake in this mutant. Furthermore, suppression of LeIRT1 expression by NO synthesis inhibition with either tungstate or L-NAME, also substantially inhibited Cd uptake in roots, and the difference between N-form treatments was diminished. Considering all of these findings, it was concluded that the up-regulation of the Fe uptake system was responsible for NO3− -facilitated Cd accumulation in plants.
Ammonium; cadmium; iron uptake; nitrate
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is an important public health problem with high rates of mortality, morbidity, and disability, but no clinically proven treatment strategy is available to date. Scalp acupuncture (SA) refers to a therapy for treating diseases by needling and stimulating the specific areas of the scalp. The evidence from clinical studies suggested that SA therapy may produce significant benefits for patients with acute ICH. However, the therapeutic mechanisms are yet not well addressed. Therefore, in this paper, we provide a comprehensive overview on the history and mechanisms of SA therapy on acute ICH. Although SA has been practiced for thousands of years in China and could date back to 5 BC, SA therapy for acute ICH develops only in the recent 30 years. The possible mechanisms associated with the therapeutic effects of SA on ICH include the influence on hematoma, brain edema, and blood brain barrier, the products released from haematoma, the immune and inflammatory reaction, focal perihemorrhagic hypoperfusion and hemorheology, neuroelectrophysiology, and so on. At last, the existence of instant effect of SA on acute ICH and its possible mechanisms are presented.
AIM: To study the metabolic profiling of serum samples from compensated and decompensated cirrhosis patients.
METHODS: A pilot metabolic profiling study was conducted using three groups: compensated cirrhosis patients (n = 30), decompensated cirrhosis patients (n = 30) and healthy controls (n = 30). A 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabonomics approach was used to obtain the serum metabolic profiles of the samples. The acquired data were processed by multivariate principal component analysis and orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA).
RESULTS: The OPLS-DA model was capable of distinguishing between decompensated and compensated cirrhosis patients, with an R2Y of 0.784 and a Q2Y of 0.598. Twelve metabolites, such as pyruvate, phenylalanine and succinate, were identified as the most influential factors for the difference between the two groups. The validation of the diagnosis prediction showed that the accuracy of the OPLS-DA model was 85% (17/20).
CONCLUSION: 1H NMR spectra combined with pattern recognition analysis techniques offer a new way to diagnose compensated and decompensated cirrhosis in the future.
Liver cirrhosis; Metabolic profiling; Orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis
Crystals of recombinant RpfF from S. maltophilia are tetragonal, space group P41212 or P43212, with unit-cell parameters a = 148.51, c = 122.82 Å, and diffract to 2.25 Å resolution.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia has emerged as a critical nosocomial opportunistic pathogen in the last few years. It is resistant to many clinically useful antibiotics; hence, new ways of combatting this bacterium are essential. Diffusible signal factor (DSF) dependent quorum sensing is a major mechanism of virulence induction in S. maltophilia, with RpfF playing a key role in DSF biosynthesis. Inhibiting S. maltophilia RpfF (SmRpfF) function via small-molecule interference may constitute a new way of treating S. maltophilia infection. SmRpfF was therefore overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals belonged to the tetragonal space group P41212 or P43212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 148.51, c = 122.82 Å, and diffracted to a resolution of 2.25 Å.
DFS synthase; RpfF; Stenotrophomonas maltophilia; structural genomics
The objective of this work was to evaluate whether postnatal hepatitis B immunization failure in children is caused by prenatal infections. A prospective study was conducted from October 2006 to September 2008. Fetal samples from HBsAg-positive mothers were retrieved by either amniocentesis or cordocentesis (percutaneous umbilical blood sampling [PUBS]). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) serologic markers (HBVM) and quantitative HBV DNA assays were performed to assess prenatal infection. All neonates were given combined HBV immunoprophylaxis after delivery. The newborns were followed up with HBV serologic testing at 1 year old. For the 252 pregnant women recruited, 16 fetuses were found to be HBV DNA positive, with all HBV DNA levels under 104 copies/ml. HBsAg and HBV DNA detected in the uterus were uncommon and were expressed at low levels. In contract to the case with prenatal statuses, neonatal serologies were more similar to their mothers'. The response rate of vaccination was 95%. Six children for whom immunoprophylaxis failed were born to HBeAg-positive mothers with high HBV DNA levels (>108 copies/ml), but only one of them was found to be positive for intrauterine HBV DNA (8.5 × 102 copies/ml). The presence of intrauterine hepatitis B antigen and DNA does not indicate postnatal HBV infection and vaccination failure.
A simple and controllable layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly method was proposed for the construction of reagentless biosensors based on electrostatic interaction between functional multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and enzyme-mediator biocomposites. The carboxylated MWNTs were wrapped with polycations poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) and the resulting PAH-MWNTs were well dispersed and positively charged. As a water-soluble dye methylene blue (MB) could mix well with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) to form a biocompatible and negatively-charged HRP-MB biocomposite. A (PAH-MWNTs/HRP-MB)n bionanomultilayer was then prepared by electrostatic LBL assembly of PAH-MWNTs and HRP-MB on a polyelectrolyte precursor film-modified Au electrode. Due to the excellent biocompatibility of HRP-MB biocomposite and the uniform LBL assembly, the immobilized HRP could retain its natural bioactivity and MB could efficiently shuttle electrons between HRP and the electrode. The incorporation of MWNTs in the bionanomultilayer enhanced the surface coverage concentration of the electroactive enzyme and increased the catalytic current response of the electrode. The proposed biosensor displayed a fast response (2 s) to hydrogen peroxide with a low detection limit of 2.0×10−7 mol/L (S/N=3). This work provided a versatile platform in the further development of reagentless biosensors.
Reagentless biosensor; Layer-by-layer assembly; Horseradish peroxidase-methylene blue (HRP-MB) biocomposite; Functional multiwall carbon nanotubes; Hydrogen peroxide
In response to Fe-deficiency, various dicots increase their root branching which contributes to the enhancement of ferric-chelate reductase activity. Whether this Fe-deficiency-induced response eventually enhances the ability of the plant to tolerate Fe-deficiency or not is still unclear and evidence is also scarce about the signals triggering it. In this study, it was found that the SPAD-chlorophyll meter values of newly developed leaves of four tomato (Solanum lycocarpum) lines, namely line227/1 and Roza and their two reciprocal F1 hybrid lines, were positively correlated with their root branching under Fe-deficient conditions. It indicates that Fe-deficiency-induced root branching is critical for plant tolerance to Fe-deficiency. In another tomato line, Micro-Tom, the increased root branching in Fe-deficient plants was accompanied by the elevation of endogenous auxin and nitric oxide (NO) levels, and was suppressed either by the auxin transport inhibitors NPA and TIBA or the NO scavenger cPTIO. On the other hand, root branching in Fe-sufficient plants was induced either by the auxin analogues NAA and 2,4-D or the NO donors NONOate or SNP. Further, in Fe-deficient plants, NONOate restored the NPA-terminated root branching, but NAA did not affect the cPTIO-terminated root branching. Fe-deficiency-induced root branching was inhibited by the NO-synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NAME, but was not affected by the nitrate reductase (NR) inhibitor NH4+, tungstate or glycine. Taking all of these findings together, a novel function and signalling pathway of Fe-deficiency-induced root branching is presented where NOS-generated rather than NR-generated NO acts downstream of auxin in regulating this Fe-deficiency-induced response, which enhances the plant tolerance to Fe-deficiency.
Auxin; Fe-deficiency; nitric oxide; nitrate reductase; NO synthase; root branching
Mutations in α-synuclein and Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are linked to autosomal dominant forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, little is known about any potential pathophysiological interplay between these two PD-related genes. Here we show in transgenic mice that although over-expression of LRRK2 alone did not cause neurodegeneration, the presence of excess LRRK2 greatly accelerated the progression of neuropathological abnormalities developed in PD-related A53T α-synuclein transgenic mice. Moreover, we found that LRRK2 promoted the abnormal aggregation and somatic accumulation of α-synuclein in A53T mice, likely resulted from the impairment of microtubule dynamics, Golgi organization, and ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Conversely, genetic ablation of LRRK2 preserved the Golgi structure, suppressed the aggregation and somatic accumulation of α-synuclein, and thereby delayed the progression of neuropathology in A53T mice. These findings demonstrate that over-expression of LRRK2 enhances α-synuclein-mediated cytotoxicity and suggest inhibition of LRRK2 expression as a potential therapeutic option for ameliorating α-synuclein-induced neurodegeneration.
LRRK2; G2019S; α-synuclein; A53T; Golgi apparatus; microtubule; ubiquitin; mitochondria; aggregation; transgenic; knockout; Parkinson’s disease
Objective: Uric acid (UA) is considered to be a powerful predictor of cardiovascular risk and hyperuricemia might be involved in the metabolic syndrome (MS). This study aims to investigate the relation between UA levels and aortic root dilatation. Methods: A total of 348 hypertensive patients [age (67.5±9.8) years] with or without MS were included in the study. The aortic root diameters at the aortic annulus, the sinuses of Valsalva, the sinotubular junction, and the proximal part of the ascending aorta were measured using a two-dimensional (2D) echocardiography. Serum UA levels were also measured for all patients. Results: A high UA level is independently associated with aortic root diameters at the sinuses of Valsalva (P=0.001) and the proximal ascending aorta (P<0.0001) in the hypertensive patients without MS. In contrast, aortic root diameters were not significantly related to UA levels in the hypertensive patients with MS. Furthermore, increased UA levels were associated with an increased risk for aortic root dilatation in the patients without MS (sex-adjusted hazard ratio 1.75, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.27–2.41), but not in those with MS. Conclusions: This study demonstrated an independent relationship between the aortic root dimensions and increased levels of serum UA in the hypertensive patients without MS. Further understanding of the mechanisms underlying these associations may allow a clearer interpretation of the potential value of specific urate-lowering treatment on cardiovascular disease.
Aortic root; Uric acid; Hypertension; Metabolic syndrome
Background and Aims
Nitric oxide (NO) has been demonstrated to stimulate the activity of nitrate reductase (NR) in plant roots supplied with a low level of nitrate, and to affect proteins differently, depending on the ratio of NO to the level of protein. Nitrate has been suggested to regulate the level of NO in plants. This present study examined interactive effects of NO and nitrate level on NR activity in roots of tomato (Solanum lycocarpum).
NR activity, mRNA level of NR gene and concentration of NR protein in roots fed with 0·5 mm or 5 mm nitrate and treated with the NO donors, sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and diethylamine NONOate sodium (NONOate), and the NO scavenger, 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethyl-imidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (cPTIO), were measured in 25-d-old seedlings.
Addition of SNP and NONOate enhanced but cPTIO decreased NR activity in the roots fed with 0·5 mm nitrate. The opposite was true for the roots fed with 5 mm nitrate. However, the mRNA level of the NR gene and the protein concentration of NR enzyme in the roots were not affected by SNP treatment, irrespective of nitrate pre-treatment. Nevertheless, a low rate of NO gas increased while cPTIO decreased the NR activities of the enzyme extracts from the roots at both nitrate levels. Increasing the rate of NO gas further increased NR activity in the enzyme extracts of the roots fed with 0·5 mm nitrate but decreased it when 5 mm nitrate was supplied. Interestingly, the stimulative effect of NO gas on NR activity could be reversed by NO removal through N2 flushing in the enzyme extracts from the roots fed with 0·5 mm nitrate but not from those with 5 mm nitrate.
The effects of NO on NR activity in tomato roots depend on levels of nitrate supply, and probably result from direct interactions between NO and NR protein.
Nitric oxide; nitrate; nitrate reductase; post-translational regulation; tomato; Solanum lycocarpum
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) functions as a putative protein kinase of ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM) family proteins. A Parkinson's disease-related G2019S substitution in the kinase domain of LRRK2 further enhances the phosphorylation of ERM proteins. The phosphorylated ERM proteins (pERM) are restricted to the filopodia of growing neurites where they tether filamentous actin (F-actin) to the cytoplasmic membrane and regulate the dynamics of filopodia protrusion. Here, we show that in cultured neurons derived from LRRK2 G2019S transgenic mice, the number of pERM-positive and F-actin-enriched filopodia was significantly increased, and this correlates with the retardation of neurite outgrowth. Conversely, deletion of LRRK2, which lowered the pERM and F-actin contents in filopodia, promoted neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, inhibition of ERM phosphorylation or actin polymerization rescued the G2019S-dependent neuronal growth defects. These data support a model in which the G2019S mutation of LRRK2 causes a gain of function effect that perturbs the homeostasis of pERM and F-actin in sprouting neurites critical for neuronal morphogenesis.
LRRK2; G2019S; ERM; phosphorylation; filamentous actin; neuronal morphogenesis; Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder. While neuronal deposition of α-synuclein serves as a pathological hallmark of PD and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, α-synuclein-positive protein aggregates are also present in astrocytes. The pathological consequence of astrocytic accumulation of α-synuclein, however, is unclear.
Here we show that PD-related A53T mutant α-synuclein, when selectively expressed in astrocytes, induced rapidly progressed paralysis in mice. Increasing accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates was found in presymptomatic and symptomatic mouse brains and correlated with the expansion of reactive astrogliosis. The normal function of astrocytes was compromised as evidenced by cerebral microhemorrhage and down-regulation of astrocytic glutamate transporters, which also led to increased inflammatory responses and microglial activation. Interestingly, the activation of microglia was mainly detected in the midbrain, brainstem and spinal cord, where a significant loss of dopaminergic and motor neurons was observed. Consistent with the activation of microglia, the expression level of cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) was significantly up-regulated in the brain of symptomatic mice and in cultured microglia treated with conditioned medium derived from astrocytes over-expressing A53T α-synuclein. Consequently, the suppression of COX-1 activities extended the survival of mutant mice, suggesting that excess inflammatory responses elicited by reactive astrocytes may contribute to the degeneration of neurons.
Our findings demonstrate a critical involvement of astrocytic α-synuclein in initiating the non-cell autonomous killing of neurons, suggesting the viability of reactive astrocytes and microglia as potential therapeutic targets for PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The effects of CO2 enrichment on the growth and glucosinolate (GS) concentrations in the bolting stem of Chinese kale (Brassica alboglabra L.) treated with three nitrogen (N) concentrations (5, 10, and 20 mmol/L) were investigated. Height, stem thickness, and dry weights of the total aerial parts, bolting stems, and roots, as well as the root to shoot ratio, significantly increased as CO2 concentration was elevated from 350 to 800 μl/L at each N concentration. In the edible part of the bolting stem, 11 individual GSs were identified, including 7 aliphatic and 4 indolyl GSs. GS concentration was affected by the elevated CO2 concentration, N concentration, and CO2×N interaction. At 5 and 10 mmol N/L, the concentrations of aliphatic GSs and total GSs significantly increased, whereas those of indolyl GSs were not affected, by elevated atmospheric CO2. However, at 20 mmol N/L, elevated CO2 had no significant effects on the concentrations of total GSs and total indolyl GSs, but the concentrations of total aliphatic GSs significantly increased. Moreover, the bolting stem carbon (C) content increased, whereas the N and sulfur (S) contents decreased under elevated CO2 concentration in the three N treatments, resulting in changes in the C/N and N/S ratios. Also the C/N ratio is not a reliable predictor of change of GS concentration, while the changes in N and S contents and the N/S ratio at the elevated CO2 concentration may influence the GS concentration in Chinese kale bolting stems. The results demonstrate that high nitrogen supply is beneficial for the growth of Chinese kale, but not for the GS concentration in bolting stems, under elevated CO2 condition.
Carbon dioxide (CO2); Brassica alboglabra; Nitrogen (N); Growth; Bolting stem; Aliphatic glucosinolates; Indolyl glucosinolates; Carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N); Nitrogen/sulfur ratio (N/S)
Loss-of-function mutations in the DJ-1 gene account for an autosomal recessive form of Parkinson’s disease (PD). To investigate the physiological functions of DJ-1 in vivo, we generated DJ-1 knockout (DJ-1-/-) mice. Younger (< 1year) DJ-1 -/- mice were hypoactive and had mild gait abnormalities. Older DJ-1-/-, however, showed decreased bodyweight and grip strength, and more severe gait irregularities compared to wild-type littermates. The basal level of extracellular dopamine, evoked dopamine release and dopamine receptor D2 sensitivity appeared normal in the striatum of DJ-1-/- mice, which was consistent with similar results between DJ-1-/- and controls in behavioral paradigms specific for the dopaminergic system. An examination of spinal cord, nerve and muscle tissues failed to identify any pathological changes that were consistent with the noted motor deficits. Taken together, our findings suggest that loss of DJ-1 leads to progressive behavioral changes without significant alterations in nigrostriatal dopaminergic and spinal motor systems.
DJ-1; knockout mouse; Parkinson’s disease; dopamine; striatum; spinal cord; muscle; motor behavior