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1.  PGC TagSNP and Its Interaction with H. pylori and Relation with Gene Expression in Susceptibility to Gastric Carcinogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115955.
Pepsinogen C (PGC) plays an important role in sustaining the cellular differentiation during the process of gastric carcinogenesis. This study aimed to assess the role of PGC tagSNPs and their interactions with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the development of gastric cancer and its precursor, atrophic gastritis.
Four PGC tagSNPs (rs6941539, rs6912200, rs3789210 and rs6939861) were genotyped by Sequenom MassARRAY platform in a total of 2311 subjects consisting of 642 gastric cancer, 774 atrophic gastritis, and 895 healthy control subjects. The mRNA and protein expression levels of PGC in gastric tissues and in serum were respectively measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, and Eenzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA).
We found associations between PGC rs3789210 CG/GG genotypes and reduced gastric cancer risk and between PGC rs6939861 A variant allele and increased risks of both gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis. As for the haplotypes of PGC rs6941539-rs6912200-rs3789210-rs6939861 loci, the TTCA and TTGG haplotypes were respectively associated with increased and reduced risks of both gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis; additionally, the CTCA haplotype was associated with increased atrophic gastritis risk. Very interestingly, rs6912200 CT/TT genotypes had a positive interaction with H. pylori, synergistically elevating the gastric cancer risk. Moreover, healthy subjects who carried rs6912200 CT, TT and CT/TT variant genotypes had lower histological and serum expression levels of PGC protein.
Our findings highlight an important role of PGC rs3789210 and rs6939861 in altering susceptibility to atrophic gastritis and/or gastric cancer. Moreover, people who carry rs6912200 variant genotypes exhibit higher gastric cancer risk in case of getting H. pylori infection, which strongly suggest a necessity of preventing and/or eliminating H. pylori infection in those individuals.
PMCID: PMC4281127  PMID: 25551587
2.  Intramuscular nerve distribution in bladder and the relationship between intramuscular ganglia and bladder function in man and dog 
In clinical, the relationship between bladder intramuscular nerve and function is also elusive. This study aims to compare the bladder intramuscular nerve distribution and its characteristics and significance in human and dog. Eleven dogs’ bladders were stained by Sihler’s and HE techniques. Fifteen human bladders were adopted by Sihler’s staining, using 10% formaldehyde to fix 12 weeks, 7 by HE dyeing fixes 24 hours. Results indicated that man’s bladder was triangularpyramid-shaped. While dog’s bladder was spherical-shaped and its muscle fibers arrange were irregularly shaped. Longitudinal muscle of the outer layer is fleshy, the terminal is at the bladder neck without exception, and vesical trigone has relatively obvious three layers of structure. After dyeing dog’s bladder was transparent jelly, the nerve was purple color, enter bladder at the ureter-bladder junction with different forms. Man’s bladder nerves, no ganglion, were more trivial than that of dogs, and with smaller branches, the large nerve ganglion. The links with the nerve fibers and forms the network on the dog’s bladder wall, and the nerve fibers crosses comparatively little on both the left and right sides in the midline. The right nerve branch gains advantage on the man’s bladder wall, the situations is opposite on the dog’s. In conclusion, bladder nerves which scatter to the bladder wall have branches to lower ureter at the ureter-bladder junction, the structure and distribution of intramuscular nerves are different, the existence of intramuscular ganglia is relating to the bladder function both in man and dog.
PMCID: PMC4307455  PMID: 25664008
Intramuscular nerve; bladder function; relationship; intramuscular ganglion
3.  Serum OPN Expression for Identification of Gastric Cancer and Atrophic Gastritis and Its Influencing Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114005.
Most studies have found that osteopontin (OPN) expression level is related to the poor prognosis of gastric cancer. However, few studies have examined the relationship between OPN expression and gastric precancerous diseases, and the potential role of OPN in the formation and development of GC. We investigated the relationships between serum OPN levels and the risks of gastric cancer (GC) and its precancerous disease, to explore the diagnostic efficacy of serum OPN level for GC and atrophic gastritis and its influencing factors.
A total of 1,452 patients were enrolled, including 609 with mild superficial gastritis (SG), 594 with atrophic gastritis (AG) and 249 with GC. The levels of serum OPN and serum Helicobacter pylori IgG antibody were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Serum OPN levels increased from mild SG (1.99±1.91 ng/ml) to AG (2.37±2.27 ng/ml) to GC (5.94±4.52 ng/ml) (P≤0.002), along with increasing severity of gastric disease. OPN levels were significantly higher in patients with GC compared with the non-cancer population (2.17±2.10, P<0.0001). Serum OPN level was positively correlated with age and was higher in men than women, but was not correlated with H. pylori infection status. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.805, the optimal cutoff was 2.56 ng/ml and the sensitivity and specificity were 74.3% and 71.8%, respectively, for the ability of serum OPN to discriminate GC.
Serum OPN expression was closely related to the risks of GC and AG, and it might be a useful marker for the discrimination of GC. OPN level was positively correlated with age and male sex, but was not affected by H. pylori infection, and it was promoted by smoking and drinking, in patients with mild SG.
PMCID: PMC4257596  PMID: 25479069
4.  NPY1R is a novel peripheral blood marker predictive of metastasis and prognosis in breast cancer patients 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):891-896.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate a novel tumor marker, neuropeptide Y receptor Y1 (NPY1R), for the detection of circulating cancer cells and to investigate its clinical significance in breast cancer patients. The Digital Gene Expression Displayer tool of the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project was used to identify the marker gene NPY1R, which is able to detect circulating cancer cells. Nested quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to correlate the NPY1R expression levels with the clinicopathological features of 142 breast cancer patients. A follow-up study of 131 of the breast cancer patients was conducted for 38 months. Compared with the 60 normal control individuals, NPY1R was highly expressed in the cancer patients (P<0.01). These high levels of NPY1R expression were positively correlated with the clinical stage and lymph node metastasis status of the disease, as well as with the status of the estrogen and progesterone receptors (P<0.05). Breast cancer patients with circulating cancer cells that expressed NPY1R exhibited shorter tumor-specific survival when compared with those with no NPY1R expression (P<0.01). Additionally, the mortality rate was associated with HER2 expression in the NPY1R positive and negative groups. These results indicate that NPY1R may serve as a useful marker to predict breast cancer metastasis and to evaluate the prognosis of breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4301529  PMID: 25624911
breast cancer; neuropeptide Y receptor Y1; tumor marker; circulating cancer cells
5.  Tolerance develops to the antiallodynic effects of the peripherally acting opioid loperamide hydrochloride in nerve-injured rats 
Pain  2013;154(11):10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.023.
Peripherally acting opioids are potentially attractive drugs for the clinical management of certain chronic pain states due to the lack of centrally mediated adverse effects. However, it remains unclear whether tolerance develops to peripheral opioid analgesic effects under neuropathic pain conditions. We subjected rats to L5 spinal nerve ligation (SNL) and examined the analgesic effects of repetitive systemic and local administration of loperamide hydrochloride, a peripherally acting opioid agonist. We found that the inhibition of mechanical hypersensitivity, an important manifestation of neuropathic pain, by systemic loperamide (1.5 mg/kg subcutaneously) decreased after repetitive drug treatment (tolerance-inducing dose: 0.75 to 6.0 mg/kg subcutaneously). Similarly, repeated intraplantar injection of loperamide (150 µg/50 µL intraplantarly) and D-Ala2-MePhe4-Glyol5 enkephalin (300 µg/50 µL), a highly selective mu-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist, also resulted in decreased inhibition of mechanical hypersensitivity. Pretreatment with naltrexone hydrochloride (5 mg/kg intraperitoneally) and MK-801 (0.2 mg/kg intraperitoneally) attenuated systemic loperamide tolerance. Western blot analysis showed that repetitive systemic administration of morphine (3 mg/kg subcutaneously), but not loperamide (3 mg/kg subcutaneously) or saline, significantly increased MOR phosphorylation in the spinal cord of SNL rats. In cultured rat dorsal root ganglion neurons, loperamide dose-dependently inhibited KCl-induced increases in [Ca2+]i. However, this drug effect significantly decreased in cells pretreated with loperamide (3 µM, 72 hours). Intriguingly, in loperamide-tolerant cells, the delta-opioid receptor antagonist naltrindole restored loperamide’s inhibition of KCl-elicited [Ca2+]i increase. Our findings indicate that animals with neuropathic pain may develop acute tolerance to the antiallodynic effects of peripherally acting opioids after repetitive systemic and local drug administration.
PMCID: PMC3863910  PMID: 23880055
Nerve injury; Neuropathic pain; Peripheral opioid receptor; Rats; Tolerance
6.  Expression of XPG Protein in the Development, Progression and Prognosis of Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108704.
Xeroderma pigmentosum group G (XPG) plays a critical role in preventing cells from oxidative DNA damage. This study aimed to investigate XPG protein expression in different gastric tissues and in patients with diverse prognoses, thus providing insights into its role in the development, progression and prognosis of gastric cancer (GC).
A total of 176 GC, 131 adjacent non-tumour tissues, 53 atrophic gastritis (AG) and 49 superficial gastritis (SG) samples were included. Immunohistochemical staining was used to detect XPG protein expression.
XPG expression was significantly higher in GC tissues compared with adjacent non-tumour tissues. In the progressive disease sequence SG→AG→GC, XPG expression was significantly higher in AG and GC compared with SG. Analysis of clinicopathological parameters and survival in GC patients demonstrated a significant association between XPG expression level and depth of tumour invasion, macroscopic type, Lauren’s classification, smoking, Helicobacter pylori infection and family history. Cox multivariate survival analysis indicated that patients with positive XPG expression had significantly longer overall survival (P = 0.020, HR = 0.394, 95%CI 0.179–0.866), especially in aged younger than 60 years (P = 0.027, HR = 0.361, 95%CI 0.147–0.888) and male patients (P = 0.002, HR = 0.209, 95%CI 0.077–0.571).
This study demonstrated that XPG protein expression was related to the development, progression and prognosis of GC, and might thus serve as a potential biomarker for its diagnosis and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4182552  PMID: 25268735
7.  Evaluation of immuno-efficacy of a novel DNA vaccine encoding Toxoplasma gondii rhoptry protein 38 (TgROP38) against chronic toxoplasmosis in a murine model 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):525.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite which can infect almost all mammalian animals, leading to toxoplasmosis. T. gondii rhoptry protein 38 (TgROP38) is an active rhoptry protein kinase which is involved in the inhibitory effect on host cell transcription by down-regulating the MAPK signaling track.
TgROP38 gene was amplified and inserted into eukaryotic vector pVAX I and formed the DNA vaccine pVAX-ROP38. Mice in the experimental group were intramuscularly immunized with pVAX-ROP38 and those injected with pVAX I, PBS or nothing were treated as controls. After three injections at two week intervals, all mouse groups were challenged intraperitoneally with 1000 tachyzoites of the virulent T. gondii RH strain (Type I, ToxoDB #10) and 10 cysts of the PRU strain (Type II, ToxoDB #1), respectively.
Mice inoculated with pVAX-ROP38 vaccine had a higher level of IgG antibodies (P < 0.01) and T lymphoproliferative response. The high ratio of IgG2a/IgG1 and the increasing levels of IFN-γ and IL-2 (P < 0.05) indicated an activated Th1 cell-mediated immune responses. Furthermore, the CD4+ and CD8+ proportions in vaccinated mice were also increased significantly compared with that in mice of the three control groups (P < 0.01). In the model of acute infection, the average survival time of mice in the pVAX-ROP38 group (8.1 days ± 0.75) was no statistically different compared to that in the PBS, pVAX I and blank control groups which died within 7 days. However, in the model of chronic infection, the brain cyst reduction in the pVAX-ROP38 group reached 76.6%, compared to controls (P < 0.01).
The present study revealed that the pVAX-ROP38 vaccine could elicit strong humoral and cell immunity response against chronic T. gondii infection in mice, resulting in the reduction of the brain cyst formation effectively, which suggests that TgROP38 is a desirable vaccine candidate against chronic T. gondii infection.
PMCID: PMC4261603  PMID: 25267356
Toxoplasma gondii; Toxoplasmosis; TgROP38; DNA vaccine; Protective immunity; Mouse
8.  Relationships between tumor microenvironment and clinicopathological parameters in meningioma 
Objective: To evaluate the relationship between the subtype of cells/cellular constituents (the density of T lymphocyte subsets, B lymphocyte, macrophages, and FOXP3 positive cells in 93 patients with meningioma, WHO grades I and II) in the tumor microenvironment and clinicopathological parameters (gender, age, tumor location, size, recurrence and pathological type) of meningioma. Methods: Immunohistochemical demonstrations of CD20 and CD4 lymphocytes, CD68, and FOXP3 expression were performed. In order to assess the densities of CD4, CD20, CD68 and FOXP3 positive cells in 93 meningioma patients, the results were derived from independent reviews by two pathologists. Chi-square test was used for independent samples. Results: There were no relationships between the CD4+, CD68+ cell subsets and patients’ age, sex, tumor size, grade and the recurrence of tumor. However, patients with recurrence had a significantly higher density of CD20+ B cells compared to patients with no recurrence (P = 0.003). For the Foxp3+ cell subset, results showed us that more female patients had high density of Foxp3+ cells compared with male patients, while the opposite results were observed in the low density group (P = 0.009). Furthermore, the density of Foxp3+ cells was significantly correlated with the tumor size (P = 0.004) and the pathological types (P = 0.004). Conclusion: Results in this study demonstrate that higher CD20+ B cell density in the tumor is associated with lower tumor recurrence and the density of Foxp3+ cells is significantly correlated with the patients’ sex, tumor size and the pathological types. The results also suggest that understanding of the cellular constituents of tumors and the tumor microenvironment may help investigate the tumor pathogenesis and immunotherapies in meningioma.
PMCID: PMC4230127  PMID: 25400783
Meningioma; tumor microenvironment; cell subsets; immunotherapies
9.  Effects of transforming growth factor-β1 on the proliferation and invasion of the HTR-8/SVneo cell line 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(5):2187-2192.
Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is involved in the regulation of trophoblast cell proliferation and invasion. However, the mechanism underlying this process remains unknown, which is predominantly due to the difficulty in obtaining and maintaining primary trophoblast cells in culture over a long period of time. The HTR-8/SVneo cell line is an immortalized trophoblast cell line, which has been reported to exhibit a number of similar characteristics to those of parental trophoblast cells. Therefore, the cell line has been a useful tool for the investigation of placental function and tumor progression. In the present study, the HTR-8/SVneo cell line was used as a model to investigate the TGF-β1/SMAD signaling pathway in the proliferation and invasion of trophoblast cells. The proliferation and invasion ability of HTR-8/SVneo cells was determined using the MTT and Transwell assays, respectively. In addition, reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions were performed to detect the mRNA expression of a panel of known downstream mediators of TGF-β1, including TGF-β receptor I (TβRI), SMAD4, SMAD3, SMAD7 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1). The results indicated that TGF-β1 promotes the proliferation and invasion of the HTR-8/SVneo cell line at passage 90. Furthermore, the expression of TβRI, SMAD3 and SMAD4 were reduced following treatment with TGF-β1, while the expression of SMAD7 was increased and the expression of TIMP-1 remained unchanged following TGF-β1 treatment. These observations indicated that the effects of TGF-β1 on the proliferation and invasion of the HTR-8/SVneo cell line at passage 90 were different from those of parental trophoblasts, which is in contrast to the results of previous studies. It was concluded that the HTR-8/SVneo cell lines, which have been grown for over 90 passages, do not accurately represent parental trophoblast cells in studies of the TGF-β/SMAD signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4186589  PMID: 25295107
HTR-8/SVneo; transforming growth factor-β1; trophoblast cell; proliferation; invasion; change
10.  Mu-opioidergic modulation differs in deep and superficial wide-dynamic range dorsal horn neurons in mice 
Neuroscience letters  2013;549:157-162.
The spinal cord dorsal horn is an important action site for morphine analgesia. Wide-dynamic range (WDR) neurons in the dorsal horn are essential to spinal pain transmission and show increased excitability after repetitive noxious drive (windup). In light of differences in mu-opioid receptor distribution and neurophysiological properties of WDR neurons between deep and superficial dorsal horn, we recorded extracellular single-unit activity of WDR neurons from deep (350–700 μm) and superficial (<350 μm) dorsal horn in C57BL/6 mice and compared their responses to spinal superfusion of morphine (0.5 mM, 30 μl) and naloxone (1 mM, 30 μl). The windup level to repetitive electrical stimulation of 1.0 Hz (16 pulses, suprathreshold for C-fiber activation, 2.0 ms) was significantly decreased by morphine in deep (n=8), but not superficial (n=11), WDR neurons. However, the steady C-component response to graded intra-cutaneous electrical stimuli (0.01–5.0 mA, 2 ms) was significantly depressed by morphine only in superficial neurons. In separate experiments, spinal administration of naloxone facilitated the development of windup to 0.2 Hz stimulation in deep (n=10), but not superficial (n=8), WDR neurons. Accordingly, morphine and naloxone modulation of neuronal activity may be related to a specific effect on neuronal sensitization/plasticity in deep WDR neurons, whereas morphine inhibition may depress acute noxious inputs to superficial WDR neurons. Our study suggests that mu-opioidergic modulation may be different in deep and superficial WDR neurons.
PMCID: PMC3749299  PMID: 23748039
mu-opioid receptor; windup; wide-dynamic range neurons; mice
11.  Conventional and Kilohertz-frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation Produces Intensity- and Frequency-dependent Inhibition of Mechanical Hypersensitivity in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain 
Anesthesiology  2013;119(2):422-432.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a useful neuromodulatory technique for treatment of certain neuropathic pain conditions. However, the optimal stimulation parameters remain unclear.
In rats after L5 spinal nerve ligation, we compared the inhibitory effects on mechanical hypersensitivity from bipolar SCS of different intensities (20%, 40%, 80% motor threshold) and frequencies (50-Hz, 1-kHz, and 10-kHz). We then compared the effects of 1-kHz and 50-Hz dorsal column stimulation at high and low stimulus intensities on conduction properties of afferent Aα/β-fibers and spinal wide-dynamic-range neuronal excitability.
Three consecutive daily SCS at different frequencies progressively inhibited mechanical hypersensitivity in an intensity-dependent manner. At 80% motor threshold, the ipsilateral paw withdrawal threshold (%preinjury) increased significantly from pre-SCS measures, beginning with the first day of SCS at the frequencies of 1-kHz (50.2 ± 5.7% from 23.9 ± 2.6%, n = 19, mean ± SEM) and 10-kHz (50.8 ± 4.4 % from 27.9 ± 2.3%, n = 17), while it was significantly increased beginning on the second day in the 50-Hz group (38.9 ± 4.6% from 23.8 ± 2.1%, n = 17). At high intensity, both 1-kHz and 50-Hz dorsal column stimulation reduced Aα/β-compound action potential size recorded at the sciatic nerve, but only 1-kHz stimulation was partially effective at the lower intensity. The number of actions potentials in C-fiber component of wide-dynamic-range neuronal response to windup-inducing stimulation was significantly decreased after 50-Hz (147.4 ± 23.6 from 228.1 ± 39.0, n = 13), but not 1-kHz (n = 15), dorsal column stimulation.
Kilohertz SCS attenuated mechanical hypersensitivity in a time course and amplitude that differed from conventional 50-Hz SCS, and may involve different peripheral and spinal segmental mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3763697  PMID: 23880991
12.  Self-assembled nanoparticles based on the c(RGDfk) peptide for the delivery of siRNA targeting the VEGFR2 gene for tumor therapy 
The clinical application of small interfering RNA (siRNA) has been restricted by their poor intracellular uptake, low serum stability, and inability to target specific cells. During the last several decades, a great deal of effort has been devoted to exploring materials for siRNA delivery. In this study, biodegradable, tumor-targeted, self-assembled peptide nanoparticles consisting of cyclo(Arg–Gly–Asp–d–Phe–Lys)-8–amino–3,6–dioxaoctanoic acid–β–maleimidopropionic acid (hereafter referred to as RPM) were found to be an effective siRNA carrier both in vitro and in vivo. The nanoparticles were characterized based on transmission electron microscopy, circular dichroism spectra, and dynamic light scattering. In vitro analyses showed that the RPM/VEGFR2-siRNA exhibited negligible cytotoxicity and induced effective gene silencing. Delivery of the RPM/VEGFR2 (zebrafish)-siRNA into zebrafish embryos resulted in inhibition of neovascularization. Administration of RPM/VEGFR2 (mouse)-siRNA to tumor-bearing nude mice led to a significant inhibition of tumor growth, a marked reduction of vessels, and a down-regulation of VEGFR2 (messenger RNA and protein) in tumor tissue. Furthermore, the levels of IFN-α, IFN-γ, IL-12, and IL-6 in mouse serum, assayed via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, did not indicate any immunogenicity of the RPM/VEGFR2 (mouse)-siRNA in vivo. In conclusion, RPM may provide a safe and effective delivery vector for the clinical application of siRNAs in tumor therapy.
PMCID: PMC4122582  PMID: 25114522
siRNA delivery; self-assembly nanoparticles; gene silencing; tumor targeting
13.  A Hadoop-Based Method to Predict Potential Effective Drug Combination 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:196858.
Combination drugs that impact multiple targets simultaneously are promising candidates for combating complex diseases due to their improved efficacy and reduced side effects. However, exhaustive screening of all possible drug combinations is extremely time-consuming and impractical. Here, we present a novel Hadoop-based approach to predict drug combinations by taking advantage of the MapReduce programming model, which leads to an improvement of scalability of the prediction algorithm. By integrating the gene expression data of multiple drugs, we constructed data preprocessing and the support vector machines and naïve Bayesian classifiers on Hadoop for prediction of drug combinations. The experimental results suggest that our Hadoop-based model achieves much higher efficiency in the big data processing steps with satisfactory performance. We believed that our proposed approach can help accelerate the prediction of potential effective drugs with the increasing of the combination number at an exponential rate in future. The source code and datasets are available upon request.
PMCID: PMC4134802  PMID: 25147789
14.  Nylon 6 electrospun nanofibers mat as effective sorbent for the removal of estrogens: kinetic and thermodynamic studies 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):353.
Nylon 6 electrospun nanofibers mat was prepared via electrospinning for the removal of three estrogens, namely, diethylstilbestrol (DES), dienestrol (DS), and hexestrol (HEX) from aqueous solution. Static adsorption as well as the dynamic adsorption was evaluated by means of batch and dynamic disk flow mode, respectively. The kinetic study indicated that the adsorption of the target compounds could be well fitted by the pseudo-second-order equation, suggesting the intra-particle/membrane diffusion process as the rate-limiting step of the adsorption process. The adsorption equilibrium data were all fitted well to the Freundlich isotherm models, with a maximum adsorption capacity values in the range of 97.71 to 208.95 mg/g, which can be compared to or moderately higher than other sorbents published in the literatures. The dynamic disk mode studies indicated that the mean removal yields of three model estrogens were over 95% with a notable smaller amount of adsorbent (4 mg). Thermodynamic study revealed that the adsorption process was exothermic and spontaneous in nature. Desorption results showed that the adsorption capacity can remain up to 80% after seven times usage. It was suggested that Nylon 6 electrospun nanofibers mat has great potential as a novel effective sorbent material for estrogens removal.
PMCID: PMC4112980  PMID: 25114645
Nylon 6 electrospun nanofibers mat; Adsorption; Estrogens; Kinetics; Thermodynamics
15.  Nanoscale Obstacle Arrays Frustrate Transport of EphA2 – Ephrin-A1 Clusters in Cancer Cell Lines 
Nano letters  2013;13(7):3059-3064.
Juxtacrine signaling interactions between the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase and its ephrin-A1 ligand contribute to healthy tissue maintenance and misregulation of this system is observed in at least 40% of human breast cancer. Hybrid live cell – supported membrane experiments, in which membrane-linked ephrin-A1 displayed in supported membranes interacts with EphA2 in living cells, have revealed large scale clustering of EphA2:ephrin-A1 complexes as well as their lateral transport across the cell surface during triggering. Here, we utilize 100nm spaced hexagonally ordered arrays of gold nanodots embedded within supported membranes to present defined obstacles to the movement and assembly of EphA2 clusters. By functionalizing both the supported membrane and the nanodots with ephrin-A1, we perform a type of affinity chromatography on EphA2 signaling clusters in live cell membranes. Analysis of ten different breast cancer cell lines reveals that EphA2 transport is most frustrated by nanodot arrays in the most diseased cell lines. These observations suggest that strong physical association among EphA2 receptors, as well as their assembly into larger clusters, correlates with and may contribute to the pathological misregulation of the EphA2:ephrin-A1 pathway in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4007685  PMID: 23668885
EphA2; nanoparticles; supported membranes; breast cancer cells; receptor clustering
16.  Transgenic Tobacco Plants Overexpressing a Grass PpEXP1 Gene Exhibit Enhanced Tolerance to Heat Stress 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100792.
Heat stress is a detrimental abiotic stress limiting the growth of many plant species and is associated with various cellular and physiological damages. Expansins are a family of proteins which are known to play roles in regulating cell wall elongation and expansion, as well as other growth and developmental processes. The in vitro roles of expansins regulating plant heat tolerance are not well understood. The objectives of this study were to isolate and clone an expansin gene in a perennial grass species (Poa pratensis) and to determine whether over-expression of expansin may improve plant heat tolerance. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) was used as the model plant for gene transformation and an expansin gene PpEXP1 from Poa pratensis was cloned. Sequence analysis showed PpEXP1 belonged to α-expansins and was closely related to two expansin genes in other perennial grass species (Festuca pratensis and Agrostis stolonifera) as well as Triticum aestivum, Oryza sativa, and Brachypodium distachyon. Transgenic tobacco plants over-expressing PpEXP1 were generated through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Under heat stress (42°C) in growth chambers, transgenic tobacco plants over-expressing the PpEXP1 gene exhibited a less structural damage to cells, lower electrolyte leakage, lower levels of membrane lipid peroxidation, and lower content of hydrogen peroxide, as well as higher chlorophyll content, net photosynthetic rate, relative water content, activity of antioxidant enzyme, and seed germination rates, compared to the wild-type plants. These results demonstrated the positive roles of PpEXP1 in enhancing plant tolerance to heat stress and the possibility of using expansins for genetic modification of cool-season perennial grasses in the development of heat-tolerant germplasm and cultivars.
PMCID: PMC4086929  PMID: 25003197
17.  Acupuncture Mechanism and Redox Equilibrium 
Oxidative stress participates in the pathological process of various diseases. Acupuncture is a component of the health care system in China that can be traced back for at least 3000 years. Recently, increased evidences indicate that acupuncture stimulation could reduce oxidative damage in organisms under pathological state, but the exact mechanism remains unclear. This review focuses on the emerging links between acupuncture and redox modulation in various disorders, such as vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease, and hypertension, ranging from redox system, antioxidant system, anti-inflammatory system, and nervous system to signaling pathway. Although the molecular and cellular pathways studies of acupuncture effect on oxidative stress are preliminary, they represent an important step forward in the research of acupuncture antioxidative effect.
PMCID: PMC4109597  PMID: 25097658
18.  Characterization of an Avian Influenza Virus H9N2 Strain Isolated from a Wild Bird in Southern China 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(3):e00600-14.
We isolated an avian influenza virus H9N2 strain from a wild bird in the Guangxi Province of southern China in 2013 named A/turtledove/Guangxi/49B6/2013(H9N2) (GX49B6). We aimed to understand the genetic characters of the GX49B6 strain by analyzing the complete genome sequence. The results showed that our isolated strain has features of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses and viruses that infect humans. The discovery of the complete genome sequence of the GX49B6 strain may be helpful to further the understanding of the epidemiology and surveillance of avian influenza viruses in the field.
PMCID: PMC4064032  PMID: 24948768
19.  Crosstalk between the p38 and TGF-β signaling pathways through TβRI, TβRII and Smad3 expression in plancental choriocarcinoma JEG-3 cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(3):1307-1311.
Choriocarcinoma is a highly aggressive tumor that develops from germ cells. Some choriocarcinomas originate in the testes or ovaries, while others may develop in the uterus after a normal pregnancy or after miscarriage. The tumor is characterized by early hematogenous spread to distal organs, such as the lung and brain. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is key in regulating tumor cell proliferation and invasion through a variety of Smad-dependent and -independent pathways, including the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. There appears to be crosstalk between the TGF-β/Smad and p38 MAPK pathways; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying the crosstalk are not fully understood. The present study validated the role of TGF-β signaling in cancer progression and explored the interaction between Smad and p38 MAPK signaling on transduction mediators in choriocarcinoma using the JEG-3 cell line. MTT assay was used to detect the effect of TGF-β1 on JEG-3 cell proliferation. Cells were treated with p38 MAPK inhibitor and TGF-β receptor inhibitor, followed by TGF-β1, and reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to examine the transcriptional levels of Smad3 and TGF-β receptors. The data demonstrated that TGF-β can enhance the viability of JEG-3 cells. Blockade of the TGF-β and p38 MAPK pathways attenuated the expression of Smad3, TGF-β receptor type I (TβRI) and TβRII, and inhibited their expression in a dose-dependent manner. Analysis revealed that p38 MAPK is involved in and contributes to the TGF-β pathway, dependent on the regulation of TβRI, TβRII and Smad3. Further investigation of the interactions between the TGF-β and p38 MAPK pathways may offer potential venues for therapeutic intervention for choriocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4114612  PMID: 25120713
p38 MAPK; TGF-β; TβRI; TβRII; Smad3; choriocarcinoma
20.  Xanthoceraside Ameliorates Mitochondrial Dysfunction Contributing to the Improvement of Learning and Memory Impairment in Mice with Intracerebroventricular Injection of Aβ1-42 
The effects of xanthoceraside on learning and memory impairment were investigated and the possible mechanism associated with the protection of mitochondria was also preliminarily explored in Alzheimer's disease (AD) mice model induced by intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of Aβ1-42. The results indicated that xanthoceraside (0.08–0.32 mg/kg) significantly improved learning and memory impairment in Morris water maze test and Y-maze test. Xanthoceraside significantly reversed the aberrant decrease of ATP levels and attenuated the abnormal increase of ROS levels both in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus in mice injected with Aβ1-42. Moreover, xanthoceraside dose dependently reversed the decrease of COX, PDHC, and KGDHC activity in isolated cerebral cortex mitochondria of the mice compared with Aβ1-42 injected model mice. In conclusion, xanthoceraside could improve learning and memory impairment, promote the function of mitochondria, decrease the production of ROS, and inhibit oxidative stress. The improvement effects on mitochondria may be through withstanding the damage of Aβ to mitochondrial respiratory chain and the key enzymes in Kreb's cycle. Therefore, the results from present study and previous study indicate that xanthoceraside could be a competitive candidate for the treatment of AD.
PMCID: PMC4058193  PMID: 24976855
21.  Activator- and repressor-type MYB transcription factors are involved in chilling injury induced flesh lignification in loquat via their interactions with the phenylpropanoid pathway 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(15):4349-4359.
Two novel MYB transcription factors are involved in lignin biosynthesis and flesh lignification in loquat fruit, which are manipulated by temperature condition and treatments.
Lignin biosynthesis and its transcriptional regulatory networks have been studied in model plants and woody trees. However, lignification also occurs in some fleshy fruit and has rarely been considered in this way. Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is one such convenient tissue for exploring the transcription factors involved in regulating fruit flesh lignification. Firmness and lignin content of ‘Luoyangqing’ loquat were fund to increase during low-temperature storage as a typical symptom of chilling injury, while heat treatment (HT) and low-temperature conditioning (LTC) effectively alleviated them. Two novel EjMYB genes, EjMYB1 and EjMYB2, were isolated and were found to be localized in the nucleus. These genes responded differently to low temperature, with EjMYB1 induced and EjMYB2 inhibited at 0 °C. They also showed different temperature responses under HT and LTC conditions, and may be responsible for different regulation of flesh lignification at the transcriptional level. Transactivation assays indicated that EjMYB1 and EjMYB2 are a transcriptional activator and repressor, respectively. EjMYB1 activated promoters of both Arabidopsis and loquat lignin biosynthesis genes, while EjMYB2 countered the inductive effects of EjMYB1. This finding was also supported by transient overexpression in tobacco. Regulation of lignification by EjMYB1 and EjMYB2 is likely to be achieved via their competitive interaction with AC elements in the promoter region of lignin biosynthesis genes such as Ej4CL1.
PMCID: PMC4112638  PMID: 24860186
Chilling injury; flesh lignification; heat treatment; Loquat; low-temperature condition; MYB; transcriptional regulation.
22.  A New Polymorphism Biomarker rs629367 Associated with Increased Risk and Poor Survival of Gastric Cancer in Chinese by Up-Regulated miRNA-let-7a Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95249.
Variant in pri-miRNA could affect miRNA expression and mature process or splicing efficiency, thus altering the hereditary susceptibility and prognosis of cancer. We aimed to assess miRNA-let-7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with the risk and prognosis of gastric cancer (GC) as predicting biomarkers, and furthermore, its possible mechanisms.
A two-stage case-control study was designed to screen four miRNA SNPs (pri-let-7a-2 rs629367 and rs1143770, pri-let-7a-1 rs10739971, pri-let-7f-2 rs17276588) in 107 GC patients, 107 atrophic gastritis (AG), and matched 124 controls using PCR-RFLP. Two promising SNPs were validated in another independent 1949 samples (including 579 gastric cancer patients, 649 atrophic gastritis and 721 controls) using Sequenom MassARRAY platform and sequencing.
We found that pri-let-7a-2 rs629367 CC variant genotype was associated with increased risks of gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis by 1.83-fold and 1.86-fold, respectively. For gastric cancer prognosis, patients with rs629367 CC genotype had significantly poorer survival than patients with AA genotype (log-rank P = 0.004). We further investigated the let-7a expression levels in serum and found that let-7a expression elevated gradually for rs629367 AA, CA, CC genotype in the atrophic gastritis group (P = 0.043). Furthermore, we confirmed these findings in vitro study by overexpressing let-7a carrying pri-let-7a-2 wild-type A or polymorphic-type C allele (P<0.001).
pri-let-7a-2 rs629367 CC genotype could increase the risks of gastric cancer as well as atrophic gastritis and was also associated with poor survival of gastric cancer, which possibly by affecting the mature let-7a expression, and could serve as a predicting biomarker for high-risk and poor prognosis of gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3997364  PMID: 24760009
23.  Translation and validation of the Chinese version of the quality of life radiation therapy instrument and the head & neck module (QOL-RTI/H&N) 
To translate and validate the Chinese version of the Quality Of Life Radiation Therapy Instrument and the Head & Neck Module (QOL-RTI/H&N), a disease-specific scale to measure quality of life (QOL) for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) who received radiotherapy.
The QOL-RTI/H&N was translated and validated according to the standard process: a translation and back-translation procedure, pilot testing and a validation study. HNC patients were enrolled from the Cancer Center of Sun Yat-sen University and assessed using the QOL-RTI/H&N, QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N35. Reliability (internal consistency reliability, split-half reliability and test-retest reliability), validity (content validity, construct validity, criterion validity and discriminant validity), and responsiveness analysis were performed to evaluate the psychometric characteristics of the QOL-RTI/H&N.
A total of 238 patients (99.2%) completed the questionnaire. Item RTI23 had 16.0% missing data. Other items had low percentages of missing data (0.4% or 0.8%) or no missing data. The average time to finish the scale was 9.8 minutes. Cronbach's alpha of the domains ranged from 0.41 to 0.77. The split-half reliability coefficients ranged from 0.43 to 0.77. All of the intra-class correlation coefficients were equal to or greater than 0.8. All of the item-own domain correlation coefficients were greater than those of the item-other domain. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that Comparative Fit Index, Normed Fit Index and Non-Normed Fit Index were equal to 1.00. Root Mean Square Error of Approximation was 0.01, with 90% CI (0.00, 0.10). The domain scores of the QOL-RTI/H&N were significantly correlated with those of the QLQ-C30 or QLQ-H&N3. All domain scores of patients in different radiotherapy stages were statistically significant (P < 0.05), apart from the speech domain.
The Chinese version of the QOL-RTI/H&N is a valid, reliable and responsive scale to measure QOL in HNC patients and can be used to assess the effects of radiotherapy treatment on these patients.
PMCID: PMC4022371  PMID: 24731442
Head and neck cancer; Quality of Life; QOL-RTI/H&N; Translation; Validation
24.  A rapid nested polymerase chain reaction method to detect circulating cancer cells in breast cancer patients using multiple marker genes 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(6):2192-2198.
The aim of the present study was to develop a simple and rapid method for the detection of circulating cancer cells using multiple tumor markers and to investigate the clinical significance of circulating cancer cells in breast cancer patients. A novel rapid nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, with high sensitivity and specificity, was evaluated, which was considered to be suitable for clinical application. The rapid nested PCR method was used to detect the circulating cancer cells of 142 breast cancer patients, using a panel of marker genes (FAM83A, NPY1R and KRT19), which were identified by the Digital Gene Expression Displayer Tool of the National Cancer Institute-Cancer Genome Anatomy Project. In total, 79.6% of the 142 breast cancer patient blood samples were found to express at least one tumor marker. In addition, the number of positive markers was found to significantly correlate with the disease stage and presence of distant metastasis. Furthermore, positivity for more than one tumor marker appeared to predict a reduced survival time in breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4049700  PMID: 24932314
breast cancer; tumor marker; circulating cancer cells; nested polymerase chain reaction
25.  Excavation of Pid3 Orthologs with Differential Resistance Spectra to Magnaporthe oryzae in Rice Resource 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93275.
Twenty-six orthologs of the rice blast resistance gene Pid3 from cultivated varieties and wild rice accessions distributed in different areas were cloned by allele mining. Sequence analysis showed that while each of the orthologous genes from indica varieties and most wild accessions encodes a complete NBS-LRR protein, each of the proteins encoded by those from japonica varieties and few wild rice accessions presents a premature termination. Eleven of the 26 orthologs were selected for blast resistance testing by transforming into the blast susceptible rice variety TP309, respectively. Inoculation of 23 M. oryzae strains collected from diverse regions of China to the respective transgenic plants revealed that 6 Pid3 orthologs showed susceptible to all the tested strains, while the other 5 orthologs showed differential resistance spectra in a gradually spectrum-widen order as Pid3-W3, Pid3-W4, Pid3-I3, Pid3-W5 and Pid3-I1. Amino acid sequences alignment of these orthologs indicated that the sequence diversities between the blast resistance orthologs were mostly located in the LRR domain such as the substitutions of Q694H,D856H,Q896R,D899E etc. However, the differences between the resistance orthologs and the susceptible ones were mostly located in the NBS domain. The present experiments provide an example of that the ortholog evaluation of plant R genes could be an efficient way to expand the rice blast resistance and some other plant disease resistance as well for breeding.
PMCID: PMC3969318  PMID: 24681716

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