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1.  Development of a rabbit corneal equivalent using an acellular corneal matrix of a porcine substrate 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:2180-2189.
The tissue equivalent that mimics the structure and function of normal tissue is a major bioengineering challenge. Tissue engineered replacement of diseased or damaged tissue has become a reality for some types of tissue such as skin and cartilage. The tissue engineered corneal epithelium, stroma, and endothelium scaffold are promising concepts in overcoming the current limitations of a cornea replacement with an allograft.
The acellular corneal matrix from porcine (ACMP) was examined as a potential corneal cell sheet frame. The physical and mechanical properties of strength, expansion, transparency, and water content of the ACMP were measured. The major antigens of the cell components were completely removed with series of extraction methods, the major antigens of the cell components were identified by hematoxylin and eosin (HE), immunofluorescence staining, and scanning electron microscopy. The structural properties were investigated by HE stain and scanning electron microscopy. The three types of rabbit corneal cells were cultured in vitro, and characteristics were investigated by colony formation efficiency (CFE), BrdU staining, immunofluorescence staining, and western blot assay of keratin 3 (K3), vimentin, and aquaporin A. The biocompatibility of the ACMP was investigated for one month using rabbit corneal stroma and three types of cultured corneal cells both in vivo and in vitro. The three types of cultured rabbit corneal cells were seeded onto ACMP of each side at a cell density of 5.0×103 cells/mm2.
The optical and mechanical properties of the ACMP were similar to the normal porcine cornea. The collagen fiber interconnected to the network, formed regular collagen bundles of the ACMP, and was parallel to the corneal surface. The ACMP was transferred to the rabbit cornea stroma, which showed an intact epithelium and keratocytes in the implant region. There were no inflamed cells or new vessel invasion one month after transplantation. The three types of cultured rabbit corneal cells were positive for K3, vimentin, and aquaporin A. CFE and BrdU (5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine) staining showed no statistical difference. The cultured rabbit corneal limbal epithelial cells, keratocyte cells, and endothelial cells formed a confluent cell sheet on the ACMP, which consisted of one to two cell layers. Immunofluorescence and scanning electron microscopy examination showed that the cells steadily adhered to the surface of the ACMP and maintained their conformation and special molecule expression such as K3, vimentin, and aquaporin A. Rabbit corneal epithelium-ACMP, keratocytes-ACMP, and endothelium-ACMP scaffold was built in vitro.
The rabbit corneal scaffold was made by the ACMP as a frame with three types of allogeneic rabbit corneal cells. This is a new concept in treating injured corneas.
PMCID: PMC2592998  PMID: 19052652
2.  Microcantilever-Based Label-Free Characterization of Temperature-Dependent Biomolecular Affinity Binding 
This paper presents label-free characterization of temperature-dependent biomolecular affinity binding on solid surfaces using a microcantilever-based device. The device consists of a Parylene cantilever one side of which is coated with a gold film and functionalized with molecules as an affinity receptor to a target analyte. The cantilever is located in a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microfluidic chamber that is integrated with a transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) resistive temperature sensor on the underlying substrate. The ITO sensor allows for real-time measurements of the chamber temperature, as well as unobstructed optical access for reflection-based optical detection of the cantilever deflection. To test the temperature-dependent binding between the target and receptor, the temperature of the chamber is maintained at a constant setpoint, while a solution of unlabeled analyte molecules is continuously infused through the chamber. The measured cantilever deflection is used to determine the target-receptor binding characteristics. We demonstrate label-free characterization of temperature-dependent binding kinetics of the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) protein with an aptamer receptor. Affinity binding properties including the association and dissociation rate constants as well as equilibrium dissociation constant are obtained, and shown to exhibit significant dependencies on temperature.
PMCID: PMC3979549  PMID: 24723743
aptamer; affinity binding; microcantilever; label-free detection; temperature dependence
3.  Clinical Analysis of Thyroid Carcinoma Showing Thymus-Like Differentiation: Report of 8 Cases 
International Surgery  2013;98(2):95-100.
Thyroid carcinoma showing thymus-like differentiation (CASTLE) is a kind of rare neoplasm of the thyroid gland. Because thyroid CASTLE is rare and difficult to diagnose, its clinicopathologic features have not been well defined, and no universally accepted treatment recommendation is available. We analyzed retrospectively the clinicopathologic data of 8 patients with thyroid CASTLE who underwent surgery and radiotherapy at the Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University between December 2008 and June 2012. All patients accepted radical surgery. All patients accepted postoperative radiotherapy, except one 79-year-old patient. There was no evidence of recurrence or metastasis during the follow-up period. The pattern of immunohistochemical staining was similar to that of thymic carcinoma. Six of 8 CASTLE cases expressed CD5. All 8 CASTLE patients were negatively expressed in thyroglobulin, thyroid transcription factor 1, and calcitonin. Patients with thyroid CASTLE have good outcomes after radical resection and postoperative radiotherapy. Positive CD5 immunoreactivity can contribute to diagnosis of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3723174  PMID: 23701142
CASTLE; Thyroid neoplasms; CD5; Thymus
4.  FUsed in Sarcoma Is a Novel Regulator of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase Gene Transcription 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;20(10):1550-1566.
Aims: FUsed in sarcoma (FUS) is a multifunctional DNA/RNA-binding protein that possesses diverse roles, such as RNA splicing, RNA transport, DNA repair, translation, and transcription. The network of enzymes and processes regulated by FUS is far from being fully described. In this study, we have focused on the mechanisms of FUS-regulated manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) gene transcription. Results: Here we demonstrate that FUS is a component of the transcription complex that regulates the expression of MnSOD. Overexpression of FUS increased MnSOD expression in a dose-dependent manner and knockdown of FUS by siRNA led to the inhibition of MnSOD gene transcription. Reporter analyses, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, electrophoretic mobility shift assay, affinity chromatography, and surface plasmon resonance analyses revealed the far upstream region of MnSOD promoter as an important target of FUS-mediated MnSOD transcription and confirmed that FUS binds to the MnSOD promoter and interacts with specificity protein 1 (Sp1). Importantly, overexpression of familial amyotropic lateral sclerosis (fALS)-linked R521G mutant FUS resulted in a significantly reduced level of MnSOD expression and activity, which is consistent with the decline in MnSOD activity observed in fibroblasts from fALS patients with the R521G mutation. R521G-mutant FUS abrogates MnSOD promoter-binding activity and interaction with Sp1. Innovation and Conclusion: This study identifies FUS as playing a critical role in MnSOD gene transcription and reveals a previously unrecognized relationship between MnSOD and mutant FUS in fALS. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 1550–1566.
PMCID: PMC3942683  PMID: 23834335
6.  Gastric foreign body granuloma caused by an embedded fishbone: A case report 
Fishbones are the most commonly ingested foreign bodies that cause gastrointestinal tract penetration. However, fishbones embedded in the gastrointestinal tract that lead to foreign body granulomas that mimic submucosal tumors are rare. Herein, we describe a 56-year-old woman who presented with a 20-day-history of upper abdominal pain. Endoscopy revealed an elevated lesion in the gastric antrum. An abdominal computed tomography scan showed a mass in the gastric antrum and a linear calcified lesion in the mass. An endoscopic ultrasonography examination revealed a 3.9 cm × 2.2 cm, irregular, hypoechoic mass with indistinct margins in the muscularis propria layer. The patient was initially diagnosed as having a submucosal tumor, and subsequent surgical resection showed that the lesion was a foreign body granuloma caused by an embedded fishbone. Our case indicated that the differential diagnosis of a foreign body granuloma should be considered in cases of elevated lesions in the gastrointestinal tract.
PMCID: PMC3964412
Gastric; Foreign body granuloma; Fishbone; Endoscopic ultrasonography; Computed tomography
7.  Microarray Profiling and Co-Expression Network Analysis of Circulating lncRNAs and mRNAs Associated with Major Depressive Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93388.
LncRNAs, which represent one of the most highly expressed classes of ncRNAs in the brain, are becoming increasingly interesting with regard to brain functions and disorders. However, changes in the expression of regulatory lncRNAs in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) have not yet been reported. Using microarrays, we profiled the expression of 34834 lncRNAs and 39224 mRNAs in peripheral blood sampled from MDD patients as well as demographically-matched controls. Among these, we found that 2007 lncRNAs and 1667 mRNAs were differentially expressed, 17 of which were documented as depression-related gene in previous studies. Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway analyses indicated that the biological functions of differentially expressed mRNAs were related to fundamental metabolic processes and neurodevelopment diseases. To investigate the potential regulatory roles of the differentially expressed lncRNAs on the mRNAs, we also constructed co-expression networks composed of the lncRNAs and mRNAs, which shows significant correlated patterns of expression. In the MDD-derived network, there were a greater number of nodes and connections than that in the control-derived network. The lncRNAs located at chr10:874695-874794, chr10:75873456-75873642, and chr3:47048304-47048512 may be important factors regulating the expression of mRNAs as they have previously been reported associations with MDD. This study is the first to explore genome-wide lncRNA expression and co-expression with mRNA patterns in MDD using microarray technology. We identified circulating lncRNAs that are aberrantly expressed in MDD and the results suggest that lncRNAs may contribute to the molecular pathogenesis of MDD.
PMCID: PMC3968145  PMID: 24676134
8.  Overexpression of LAPTM4B-35: A Novel Marker of Poor Prognosis of Prostate Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91069.
Lysosome-associated protein transmembrane 4b-35 (LAPTM4B-35) is a member of the mammalian 4-tetratransmembrane spanning protein superfamily, which is overexpressed in several solid malignancies. However, the expression of LAPTM4B-35 and its role in the progression of prostate cancer (PCa) is unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the LAPTM4B-35 expression in PCa and its potential relevance to clinicopathological variables and prognosis.
Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the expression of LAPTM4B-35 protein in 180 PCa tissues in comparison with 180 normal benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) specimens. The correlation between the expression of the LAPTM4B-35 protein and the clinicopathologic characteristics of patients with PCa was analyzed.
Statistical analysis showed that LAPTM4B-35 expression was significantly elevated in PCa compared with the BPH controls. High LAPTM4B-35 staining was present in 71.11% of all the cases with PCa. The overexpression of LAPTM4B-35 was significantly associated with the lymph node metastasis, seminal vesicle invasion, PCa stage, higher Gleason score, higher preoperative PSA, and biochemical recurrence (BCR). The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the high expression of LAPTM4B-35 was related to the poor overall survival and BCR-free survival of patients with PCa. Multivariate Cox analysis showed that LAPTM4B-35 was an independent prognostic factor for both overall survival and BCR-free survival of patients with PCa.
Overexpression of LAPTM4B-35 may be associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis in PCa and thus may serve as a new molecular marker to predict the prognosis of PCa patients.
PMCID: PMC3961215  PMID: 24651764
9.  Megakaryocytic Leukemia 1 (MKL1) Regulates Hypoxia Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e83895.
Hypoxia induced pulmonary hypertension (HPH) represents a complex pathology that involves active vascular remodeling, loss of vascular tone, enhanced pulmonary inflammation, and increased deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. Megakaryocytic leukemia 1 (MKL1) is a transcriptional regulator known to influence cellular response to stress signals in the vasculature. We report here that in response to chronic hypobaric hypoxia, MKL1 expression was up-regulated in the lungs in rats. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) mediated depletion of MKL1 significantly ameliorated the elevation of pulmonary arterial pressure in vivo with a marked alleviation of vascular remodeling. MKL1 silencing also restored the expression of NO, a key vasoactive molecule necessary for the maintenance of vascular tone. In addition, hypoxia induced pulmonary inflammation was dampened in the absence of MKL1 as evidenced by normalized levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines as well as reduced infiltration of pro-inflammatory immune cells in the lungs. Of note, MKL1 knockdown attenuated fibrogenesis in the lungs as indicated by picrosirius red staining. Finally, we demonstrate that MKL1 mediated transcriptional activation of type I collagen genes in smooth muscle cells under hypoxic conditions. In conclusion, we data highlight a previously unidentified role for MKL1 in the pathogenesis of HPH and as such lay down groundwork for future investigation and drug development.
PMCID: PMC3960100  PMID: 24647044
10.  Cancer cell-oriented migration of mesenchymal stem cells engineered with an anticancer gene (PTEN): an imaging demonstration 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:441-446.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been considered to hold great potential as ideal carriers for the delivery of anticancer agents since the discovery of their tumor tropism. This study was performed to demonstrate the effects of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) engineering on MSCs’ capacity for cancer cell-oriented migration.
MSCs were engineered with a PTEN-bearing plasmid and the expression was confirmed with Western blotting. A human glioma cell line (DBTRG) was used as the target cell; DBTRG cell-oriented migration of MSCs was monitored with a micro speed photographic system.
The expression of transfected PTEN in MSCs was identified by immunoblotting analysis and confirmed with cell viability assessment of target cells. The DBTRG cell-oriented migration of PTEN-engineered MSCs was demonstrated by a real-time dynamic monitoring system, and a phagocytosis-like action of MSCs was also observed.
MSCs maintained their capacity for cancer cell-directed migration after they were engineered with anticancer genes. This study provides the first direct evidence of MSCs’ tropism post-anticancer gene engineering.
PMCID: PMC3962313  PMID: 24669193
gene therapy; mesenchymal stem cells; phosphatase and tensin homolog; cancer
11.  Surface-Based Regional Homogeneity in First-Episode, Drug-Naïve Major Depression: A Resting-State fMRI Study 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:374828.
Background. Previous volume-based regional homogeneity (ReHo) studies neglected the intersubject variability in cortical folding patterns. Recently, surface-based ReHo was developed to reduce the intersubject variability and to increase statistical power. The present study used this novel surface-based ReHo approach to explore the brain functional activity differences between first-episode, drug-naïve MDD patients and healthy controls. Methods. Thirty-three first-episode, drug-naïve MDD patients and 32 healthy controls participated in structural and resting-state fMRI scans. MDD patients were rated with a 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression prior to the scan. Results. In comparison with the healthy controls, MDD patients showed reduced surface-based ReHo in the left insula. There was no increase in surface-based ReHo in MDD patients. The surface-based ReHo value in the left insula was not significantly correlated with the clinical information or the depressive scores in the MDD group. Conclusions. The decreased surface-based ReHo in the left insula in MDD may lead to the abnormal top-down cortical-limbic regulation of emotional and cognitive information. The surface-based ReHo may be a useful index to explore the pathophysiological mechanism of MDD.
PMCID: PMC3955658  PMID: 24719857
12.  Baicalin Protects the Cardiomyocytes from ER Stress-Induced Apoptosis: Inhibition of CHOP through Induction of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88389.
Baicalin, the main active ingredient of the Scutellaria root, exerts anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic effects in cardiovascular diseases. However, the therapeutic mechanism of baicalin remains unknown. Cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were pre-treated with baicalin (0–50 µM) for 24 h, and subsequently treated with tunicamycin (100 ng/ml). Cell viability was detected by MTT assay, and cell damage was determined by LDH release and TUNEL assay. The expression of CHOP, JNK, caspase-3, eNOS was analyzed by western blot. NO was measured by DAF-FM staining. As a result, treatment with baicalin significantly reduced apoptosis induced by ER stress inducer tunicamycin in cardiomyocytes. Molecularly, baicalin ameliorated tunicamycin-induced ER stress by downregulation of CHOP. In addition, baicalin inverted tunicamycin-induced decreases of eNOS mRNA and protein levels, phospho eNOS and NO production through CHOP pathway. However, the protective effects of baicalin were significantly decreased in cardiomyocytes treated with L-NAME, which suppressed activation of nitric oxide synthase. In conclusion, our results implicate that baicalin could protect cardiomyocytes from ER stress-induced apoptosis via CHOP/eNOS/NO pathway, and suggest the therapeutic values of baicalin against ER stress-associated cardiomyocyte apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3919764  PMID: 24520378
13.  Hydrolysis of green tea residue protein using proteolytic enzyme derived from Aspergillus oryzae 
Free amino acids are important chemical components which impact the taste of green tea infusion. The hydrolysis of water-insoluble protein in the green tea residue helps to increase the contents of free amino acids components except theanine. Studies indicate that the hydrolysis of the tea protein could be restricted due to interaction of polyphenols with protein. The experiment indicates that the hydrolysis of tea protein by protease is the main trend when the polyphenols concentration is lower than 5 mg ml−1, however, the proteins (including tea protein and protease) would interact with polyphenoles instead of hydrolysis when the concentration of polyphenols is higher than 5 mg ml−1. The hydrolysis of tea protein is absolutely restrained when concentration comes to 10 mg ml−1.
PMCID: PMC3550956  PMID: 24425904
Free amino acids; Protease; Tea protein; Green tea residue; Hydrolysis
14.  An integrated genetic map based on four mapping populations and quantitative trait loci associated with economically important traits in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:33.
Modern watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) cultivars share a narrow genetic base due to many years of selection for desirable horticultural qualities. Wild subspecies within C. lanatus are important potential sources of novel alleles for watermelon breeding, but successful trait introgression into elite cultivars has had limited success. The application of marker assisted selection (MAS) in watermelon is yet to be realized, mainly due to the past lack of high quality genetic maps. Recently, a number of useful maps have become available, however these maps have few common markers, and were constructed using different marker sets, thus, making integration and comparative analysis among maps difficult. The objective of this research was to use single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) anchor markers to construct an integrated genetic map for C. lanatus.
Under the framework of the high density genetic map, an integrated genetic map was constructed by merging data from four independent mapping experiments using a genetically diverse array of parental lines, which included three subspecies of watermelon. The 698 simple sequence repeat (SSR), 219 insertion-deletion (InDel), 36 structure variation (SV) and 386 SNP markers from the four maps were used to construct an integrated map. This integrated map contained 1339 markers, spanning 798 cM with an average marker interval of 0.6 cM. Fifty-eight previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) for 12 traits in these populations were also integrated into the map. In addition, new QTL identified for brix, fructose, glucose and sucrose were added. Some QTL associated with economically important traits detected in different genetic backgrounds mapped to similar genomic regions of the integrated map, suggesting that such QTL are responsible for the phenotypic variability observed in a broad array of watermelon germplasm.
The integrated map described herein enhances the utility of genomic tools over previous watermelon genetic maps. A large proportion of the markers in the integrated map are SSRs, InDels and SNPs, which are easily transferable across laboratories. Moreover, the populations used to construct the integrated map include all three watermelon subspecies, making this integrated map useful for the selection of breeding traits, identification of QTL, MAS, analysis of germplasm and commercial hybrid seed detection.
PMCID: PMC3898567  PMID: 24443961
Watermelon; Integrated genetic map; QTL; Sugar content
15.  A Two-Stage Association Study Suggests BRAP as a Susceptibility Gene for Schizophrenia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86037.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which altered immune function typically plays an important role in mediating the effect of environmental insults and regulation of inflammation. The breast cancer suppressor protein associated protein (BRAP) is suggested to exert vital effects in neurodevelopment by modulating the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade and inflammation signaling. To explore the possible role of BRAP in SZ, we conducted a two-stage study to examine the association of BRAP polymorphisms with SZ in the Han Chinese population. In stage one, we screened SNPs in BRAP from our GWAS data, which detected three associated SNPs, with rs3782886 being the most significant one (P  =  2.31E-6, OR  =  0.67). In stage two, we validated these three SNPs in an independently collected population including 1957 patients and 1509 controls, supporting the association of rs3782886 with SZ (P  =  1.43E-6, OR  =  0.73). Furthermore, cis-eQTL analysis indicates that rs3782886 genotypes are associated with mRNA levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 family (ALDH2) (P  =  0.0039) and myosin regulatory light chain 2 (MYL2) (P < 1.0E-4). Our data suggest that the BRAP gene may confer vulnerability for SZ in Han Chinese population, adding further evidence for the involvement of developmental and/or neuroinflammatory cascades in the illness.
PMCID: PMC3893271  PMID: 24454952
16.  Urinary cytology with acridine orange fluorescence is highly valuable for predicting high-grade upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma 
Objectives: To evaluate the clinical value of acridine orange fluorescent staining in urinary cytology for the diagnosis of upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma. Methods and materials: A retrospective analysis was conducted with 510 cases of upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) in terms of the results of acridine orange fluorescence (AO-F) staining of the exfoliated cells in urine. The percentage of positive AO-F result and the positive predictive value of AO-F for high-grade and muscle invasive urothelial carcinoma were calculated and analyzed in terms of clinical characteristics. Results: The overall percentage of positive AO-F result was 49% in the 510 patients, 54.1% for males and 40.6% for females. AO-F was positive in 51.9% of the patients with hematuria and 36.2% of the patients without hematuria. AO-F was positive in 56.4% of the patients with renal pelvis carcinoma and 42.8% of the patients with ureteral cancer; in 44.6% of the patients with non-muscle invasive carcinoma and 53.5% of the patients with muscle-invasive carcinoma. AO-F was positive in 26.8% of the cases with low-grade carcinoma and 55.3% of the patients with high-grade carcinoma. The positive predictive value of AO-F was 88% for high-grade cancer, and only 53.6% for muscle invasive carcinoma. Conclusions: Acridine orange fluorescence microscopy cannot increase the sensitivity of urine exfoliative cytology in the diagnosis of UTUC. It may be used as a predictor of high-grade UTUC. Acridine orange fluorescence microscopy in urinary cytodiagnosis does not show high value in predicting muscle invasive UTUC.
PMCID: PMC3925926  PMID: 24551302
Urothelial carcinoma; upper urinary tract; acridine orange fluorescence; cytodiagnosis
17.  MG132 Ameliorates Kidney Lesions by Inhibiting the Degradation of Smad7 in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Nephropathy 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:918396.
Background. Smad7 is the main negative regulatory protein in the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) downstream signaling pathway, which plays an important role in diabetic nephropathy (DN) and may be related to the ubiquitin proteasome pathway (UPP). Aim. We investigated the role of UPP in regulating TGF-β/SMAD signaling and explored the therapeutic effect of the ubiquitin proteasome inhibitor MG132 on DN. Methods. Wistar rats were randomly divided into a diabetes group and a normal control group. Rats in the diabetes group were injected intraperitoneally with streptozotocin. Diabetic rats were then randomly divided into a diabetic nephropathy group (DN group), an MG132 high concentration (MH) group, and an MG132 low concentration (ML) group. After 8 weeks of treatment, 24-hour urinary microalbumin (UAlb), urinary protein/urinary creatinine (Up/Ucr) values, ALT, AST, Bcr, kidney damage, TGF-β, Smad7, fibronectin (FN), and Smurf2 were detected. Results. The body mass and Smad7 protein expression decreased in DN group, but kidney weight, kidney weight index, UAlb, Up/Ucr, FN and Smurf2 mRNA expression, and TGF-β protein expression increased. However, these changes diminished following treatment with MG132, and a more pronounced effect was evident in MH group compared to ML group. Conclusion. MG132 alleviates kidney damage by inhibiting Smad7 ubiquitin degradation and TGF-β activation in DN.
PMCID: PMC3913347  PMID: 24511554
18.  A Novel Germline Mutation in HOXB13 Is Associated With Prostate Cancer Risk in Chinese Men 
The Prostate  2012;73(2):169-175.
A rare mutation G84E in HOXB13 was recently identified to be associated with prostate cancer (PCa) in Caucasians. The goal of this study is to test association between HOXB13 genetic variants and PCa risk in Chinese men.
All study subjects were part of the Chinese Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (China PCa). In the first stage, we screened for mutations by sequencing the HOXB13 coding region in 96 unrelated PCa patients. In stage 2, G84E and novel mutations found in stage 1 were genotyped in 671 PCa patients and 1,536 controls. In stage 3, mutation status in 751 additional PCa patients was imputed via haplotype.
The G84E mutation was not detected in this study. However, a novel mutation, G135E, was identified among 96 patients in stage 1. It was also observed twice in 575 additional PCa patients but not in 1,536 control subjects of stage 2. The frequency of G135E was significantly different between cases and controls, with a P-value of 0.027, based on Fisher’s exact test. Haplotype estimation showed that G135E mutation carriers shared a unique haplotype that was not observed in other subjects. In stage 3, two more PCa patients were predicted to carry the G135E mutation.
We identified a novel rare mutation in the HOXB13 gene, G135E, which appears to be a founder mutation. This mutation is associated with increased PCa risk in Chinese men. Consistent with a previous report, our findings provide further evidence that rare mutations in HOXB13 contribute to PCa risk. Prostate 73: 169–175, 2013.
PMCID: PMC3755486  PMID: 22718278
HOXB13; G135E; G84E; prostate cancer; Chinese; rare mutation
19.  Transcriptional regulation of endothelial dysfunction in atherosclerosis: an epigenetic perspective 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2013;28(1):47-52.
Atherosclerosis is a progressive human pathology that encompasses several stages of development. Endothelial dysfunction represents an early sign of lesion within the vasculature. A number of risk factors for atherosclerosis, including hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and hypertension, target the vascular endothelium by re-programming its transcriptome. These profound alterations taking place on the chromatin rely on the interplay between sequence specific transcription factors and the epigenetic machinery. The epigenetic machinery, in turn, tailor individual transcription events key to atherogenesis to intrinsic and extrinsic insults dictating the development of atherosclerotic lesions. This review summarizes our current understanding of the involvement of the epigenetic machinery in endothelial injury during atherogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3904174  PMID: 24474963
Atherosclerosis; transcriptional regulation; endothelial injury; epigenetics
20.  ZIP4, a Novel Determinant of Tumor Invasion in Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Contributes to Tumor Recurrence after Liver Transplantation 
Background and purpose: Recently, evidence that Zinc transporter ZRT/IRT-like protein 4 (ZIP4) is involved in invasiveness and apoptosis has emerged in pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. Our aim was to assess the role of ZIP4 in invasiveness, migration and apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The prognostic value of ZIP4 in HCC after liver transplantation was evaluated.
Methods: The role of ZIP4 in HCC was investigated by overexpressing ZIP4 in BEL7402 and HepG2 cells and inhibiting ZIP4 in HuH-7 and HepG2 cells, using overexpression and shRNA plasmids in vitro studies. Immunohistochemical analysis was used to evaluate ZIP4 expression in HCC tissues from 60 patients undergoing liver transplantation, 36 cirrhotic tissue samples, and 6 normal tissue samples. Prognostic significance was assessed using the Kaplan-Meier method and the log-rank test.
Results: Specific suppression of ZIP4 reduced cell migration and invasiveness, whereas ZIP4 overexpression caused increases in cell migration and invasiveness. Furthermore, overexpression of ZIP4 resulted in increased expression of pro-metastatic genes (MMP-2, MMP-9) and decreased expression of pro-apoptotic genes (caspase-3, caspase-9, Bax). In contrast, suppression of ZIP4 resulted in an opposite effect. ZIP4 was more highly expressed in tumor tissues than non-tumor tissues (P < 0.0001). ZIP4 expression was significantly associated with tumor recurrence (P = 0.002), tumor node metastasis stage (P = 0.044), Child-Turcotte-Pugh score (P = 0.042), and tumor size (P = 0.022). Univariate analysis showed that ZIP4 expression was significantly associated with overall survival (P = 0.020) and tumor-free survival (P = 0.049). Multivariate analysis revealed that ZIP4 was an independent predictor of overall survival (P = 0.037) after liver transplantation.
Conclusions: ZIP4 could promote migration, invasiveness, and suppress apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma, and represent a novel predictor of poor prognosis and therapeutic target for patients with HCC who undergo liver transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3957080  PMID: 24643086
ZIP4; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver transplantation
21.  Continuation of immunosuppressive treatment may be necessary in IgA nephropathy patients with remission of proteinuria: Evaluation by repeat renal biopsy 
The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of an individualized, low-dose multi-drug immunosuppressive regimen for the treatment of immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN). A preliminary investigation of the course of IgAN following immunosuppressive treatment was conducted based on repeat renal biopsies. Clinical and pathological data of 17 patients with IgAN who received repeat renal biopsies were analyzed retrospectively. In addition to basic treatment, 16 patients regularly received an individualized low-dose immunosuppressive regimen according to their clinical manifestations and pathological patterns following the first biopsy. Clinical parameters, including 24-h urinary protein excretion and levels of serum albumin, uric acid and total cholesterol were collected. Glomerular deposits of IgA and C3, as well as the activity and chronicity indexes of renal lesions were evaluated by semi-quantitative methods. The 24-h urinary protein excretion of the patients decreased significantly from the first biopsy (2.53±2.17 g/day) to the repeated biopsy (0.26±0.55 g/day) (P<0.001). Deposits of IgA and C3 in the glomerulus were persistent, but were reduced in quantity at the second biopsy. Although active renal lesions were observed in the majority of patients, the activity index decreased significantly from 3.18±1.33 prior to therapy to 2.47±0.80 following therapy (P<0.05), while the chronicity index did not change significantly (2.59±2.00 versus 2.76±1.89, respectively). The individualized, low-dose multi-drug immunosuppressive regimen used in the present study significantly minimized proteinuria, stabilized renal function and alleviated histological lesions in patients with IgAN without causing overt adverse effects during the short-term follow-up. In addition to proteinuria, renal pathological changes should be appraised when considering the withdrawal of immunosuppressants from IgAN treatment.
PMCID: PMC3919854  PMID: 24520244
course of treatment; immunoglobulin A nephropathy; immunosuppressive treatment; proteinuria; renal pathology
22.  Central Leptin Regulation of Obesity and Fertility 
Current obesity reports  2012;1(4):236-244.
The current obesity epidemic and lack of efficient therapeutics demand a clear understanding of the mechanism underlying body weight regulation. The cloning of leptin, a key body weight regulating adipokine released in proportion to the adipose tissue mass, has revolutionized our understanding of the mechanism by which the body weight is controlled. It is now well established that the brain, especially the hypothalamus, maintains body weight homeostasis by effectively adjusting food intake and energy expenditure in response to changes in levels of various nutritional status indicators, including leptin. In addition, one major defect in physiology associated with obesity is reduced fertility. Defects in leptin action result in both obesity and infertility, suggesting that leptin may serve as a link between nutrition supply and reproduction. This review reports recent research advance in neural pathways underlying leptin action on body weight and fertility, and discusses the remaining outstanding challenges.
PMCID: PMC3519445  PMID: 23243628
leptin; obesity; reproduction; neurotransmitter; neuropeptide; hypothalamus; fertility; Regulation
23.  Possible Association of the GSK3β Gene with the Anxiety Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and P300 Waveform 
Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) may play an important role in the brain of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD); therefore, we investigated whether the GSK3β gene is involved in the etiology of MDD and whether it affects MDD endophenotypes. Three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs6438552, rs7633279, and rs334558) were genotyped in 559 MDD patients and 486 healthy controls. To explore quantitative traits of MDD, we analyzed the association of these SNPs with the factor scores of the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA). We also determined the effects of these SNPs on the measurement of the P300 wave. Although no significant association between GSK3β SNPs and MDD was found, some genotypes and haplotypes were associated with anxiety symptoms in MDD. The three SNPs were associated with the HAMA total score and with the HAMD anxiety and somatization factor score (p<0.05). Three-locus haplotype analysis showed the C-T-G carriers to have a strong association with the HAMA total score (p=0.032). Moreover, the P300 latency and amplitude were also associated with GSK3β genotypes. The individuals with the T allele genotype, both in rs6438552 and rs7633279, have a longer P300 latency than those carrying the C/C (p=0.04) and A/A genotype (p=0.013). The individuals with the G/G genotype in rs334558 have a lower amplitude than those carrying the A allele genotype (p=0.007). Our findings show, for the first time, that GSK3β polymorphisms may play an important role in MDD endophenotypes, especially in anxiety symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3501115  PMID: 23030648
24.  Bmal1 and β-Cell Clock Are Required for Adaptation to Circadian Disruption, and Their Loss of Function Leads to Oxidative Stress-Induced β-Cell Failure in Mice 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(11):2327-2338.
Circadian disruption has deleterious effects on metabolism. Global deletion of Bmal1, a core clock gene, results in β-cell dysfunction and diabetes. However, it is unknown if this is due to loss of cell-autonomous function of Bmal1 in β cells. To address this, we generated mice with β-cell clock disruption by deleting Bmal1 in β cells (β-Bmal1−/−). β-Bmal1−/− mice develop diabetes due to loss of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). This loss of GSIS is due to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and consequent mitochondrial uncoupling, as it is fully rescued by scavenging of the ROS or by inhibition of uncoupling protein 2. The expression of the master antioxidant regulatory factor Nrf2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) and its targets, Sesn2, Prdx3, Gclc, and Gclm, was decreased in β-Bmal1−/− islets, which may contribute to the observed increase in ROS accumulation. In addition, by chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, we show that Nrf2 is a direct transcriptional target of Bmal1. Interestingly, simulation of shift work-induced circadian misalignment in mice recapitulates many of the defects seen in Bmal1-deficient islets. Thus, the cell-autonomous function of Bmal1 is required for normal β-cell function by mitigating oxidative stress and serves to preserve β-cell function in the face of circadian misalignment.
PMCID: PMC3648066  PMID: 23547261
25.  Single-layer continuous suture contributes to the reduction of surgical complications in digestive tract anastomosis involving special anatomical locations 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;2(1):159-165.
The key point of digestive cancer surgery is reconstruction and anastomosis of the digestive tract. Traditional anastomoses involve double-layer interrupted suturing, manually or using a surgical stapler. In special anatomical locations, however, suturing may become increasingly difficult and the complication rate increases accordingly. In this study, we aimed to investigate the feasibility and safety of a new manual suturing method, the single-layer continuous suture in the posterior wall of the anastomosis. Between January, 2007 and August, 2012, 101 patients with digestive cancer underwent surgery in Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital. Of those patients, 27 underwent surgery with the new manual method and the remaining 74 underwent surgery using traditional methods of anastomosis of the digestive tract. Surgical time, intraoperative blood loss, drainage duration, complications, blood tests, postoperative quality of life (QOL) and overall expenditure were recorded and analyzed. No significant differences were observed in surgical time, intraoperative blood loss, temperature, blood tests and postoperative QOL between the two groups. However, compared with the control group, the new manual suture group exhibited a lower surgical complication rate (7.40 vs. 31.08%; P=0.018), lower blood transfusion volume (274.07±419.33 vs. 646.67±1,146.06 ml; P=0.053), shorter postoperative hospital stay (14.60±4.19 vs. 17.60±6.29 days; P=0.038) and lower overall expenditure (3,509.85±768.68 vs. 6,141.83±308.90 renminbi; P=0.001). Our results suggested that single-layer continuous suturing for the anastomosis of the digestive tract is feasible and safe and may contribute to the reduction of surgical complications and overall expenditure.
PMCID: PMC3916195  PMID: 24649327
anastomosis; gastric cancer; rectal cancer; single-layer; continuous suture

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