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1.  Diacylglycerol lipase regulates lifespan and oxidative stress response by inversely modulating TOR signaling in Drosophila and C. elegans 
Aging Cell  2014;13(4):755-764.
Target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling is a nutrient-sensing pathway controlling metabolism and lifespan. Although TOR signaling can be activated by a metabolite of diacylglycerol (DAG), phosphatidic acid (PA), the precise genetic mechanism through which DAG metabolism influences lifespan remains unknown. DAG is metabolized to either PA via the action of DAG kinase or 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol by diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). Here, we report that in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans, overexpression of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL/inaE/dagl-1) or knockdown of diacylglycerol kinase (DGK/rdgA/dgk-5) extends lifespan and enhances response to oxidative stress. Phosphorylated S6 kinase (p-S6K) levels are reduced following these manipulations, implying the involvement of TOR signaling. Conversely, DAGL/inaE/dagl-1 mutants exhibit shortened lifespan, reduced tolerance to oxidative stress, and elevated levels of p-S6K. Additional results from genetic interaction studies are consistent with the hypothesis that DAG metabolism interacts with TOR and S6K signaling to affect longevity and oxidative stress resistance. These findings highlight conserved metabolic and genetic pathways that regulate aging.
doi:10.1111/acel.12232
PMCID: PMC4116436  PMID: 24889782
aging; diacylglycerol; diacylglycerol kinase; metabolism; phosphatidic acid; S6 kinase
2.  NP-59 SPECT/CT Imaging in Stage 1 Hypertensive and Atypical Primary Aldosteronism: A 5-Year Retrospective Analysis of Clinicolaboratory and Imaging Features 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:317934.
Objective. We retrospectively analyzed all primary aldosteronism (PA) patients undergoing NP-59 SPECT/CT imaging with regard to their clinicolaboratory and imaging features, investigation, and outcomes. Material and Methods. 11 PA patients who presented to our hospital for NP-59 SPECT/CT imaging between April 2007 and March 2012 and managed here were analyzed. Results. Among 11 PA patients, eight (73%) had stage 1 hypertension, three (27%) stage 2 hypertension, four (36%) normal plasma aldosterone concentration, nine (82%) nonsuppressed plasma renin activity (PRA), six (55%) normal aldosterone-renin-ratio (ARR), eight (73%) serum potassium ≧3 mEq/L, seven (64%) subclinical presentation, seven (64%) negative confirmatory testing, and four (36%) inconclusive results on CT scan and seven (64%) on planar NP-59 scan. All 11 (100%) patients had positive results on NP-59 SPECT/CT scan. Two (18%) met typical triad and nine (82%) atypical triad. Among nine atypical PA patients, three (33%) had clinical presentation, six (67%) subclinical presentation, six (67%) negative confirmatory testing, and four (44%) inconclusive results on CT scan and six (67%) on planar NP-59 scan. All patients had improved outcomes. Significant differences between typical and atypical PA existed in PRA and ARR. Conclusions. NP-59 SPECT/CT may provide diagnostic potential in stage 1 hypertensive and atypical PA.
doi:10.1155/2013/317934
PMCID: PMC3818974  PMID: 24235884
3.  Diagnostic Value of I-131 NP-59 SPECT/CT Scintigraphy in Patients with Subclinical or Atypical Features of Primary Aldosteronism 
Accumulating evidence has shown the adverse effect of long-term hyperaldosteronism on cardiovascular morbidity that is independent of blood pressure. However, the diagnosis of primary aldosteronism (PA) remains a challenge for patients who present with subtle or atypical features or have chronic kidney disease (CKD). SPECT/CT has proven valuable in the diagnosis of a number of conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the usefulness of I-131 NP-59 SPECT/CT in patients with atypical presentations of PA and in those with CKD. The records of 15 patients with PA were retrospectively analyzed. NP-59 SPECT/CT was able to identify adrenal lesion(s) in CKD patients with suspected PA. Patients using NP-59 SPECT/CT imaging, compared with those not performing this procedure, significantly featured nearly normal serum potassium levels, normal aldosterone-renin ratio, and smaller adrenal size on CT and pathological examination and tended to feature stage 1 hypertension and non-suppressed plasma renin activity. These findings show that noninvasive NP-59 SPECT/CT is a useful tool for diagnosis in patients with subclinical or atypical features of PA and those with CKD.
doi:10.1155/2011/209787
PMCID: PMC3085291  PMID: 21541242
4.  The HMG-CoA reductase gene and lipid and lipoprotein levels: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Lipids  2009;44(8):733-743.
HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) is an enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis. To investigate the contribution of the HMGCR gene to lipids and lipoprotein subfraction in different ethnicities, we performed an association study in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Totally, 2444 MESA subjects (597 African-Americans (AA), 627 Chinese-Americans (CHA), 612 European-Americans (EA), and 608 Hispanic-Americans (HA)) without statin use were included. Participants had measurements of blood pressure, anthropometry, and fasting blood samples. Subjects were genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). After excluding SNPs with minor allele frequency <5%, a single block was constructed. The most frequent haplotype was H1 (41-56%) in all ethnic groups except AA (H2a, 44.9%). Lower triglyceride level was associated with the H2a haplotype in AA and H2 in HA. In HA, H4 carriers had higher levels of triglyceride and small low-density lipoprotein (s-LDL), and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), while carriers with H7 or H8 had associations with these traits in the opposite direction. No significant association was discovered in both CHA and EA. The total variation for triglyceride that could be explained by H2 alone was 2.6% in HA and 1.4% in AA. In conclusion, HMGCR gene variation is associated with multiple lipid/lipoprotein traits, especially with triglyceride, s-LDL, and HDL-c. The impact of the genetic variance is modest and differs greatly between ethnicities.
doi:10.1007/s11745-009-3314-6
PMCID: PMC2760058  PMID: 19554360
hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA reductases; association study; cholesterol; triglyceride; low density lipoprotein size
5.  Interaction of hepatitis C virus envelope glycoprotein E2 with the large extracellular loop of tupaia CD81 
AIM: To further analyze the interaction of tupaia CD81 with hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope protein E2.
METHODS: A tupaia CD81 large extracellular loop (CD81 LEL), which binds to HCV E2 protein, was cloned and expressed as a GST-fusion protein, and interaction of HCV E2 protein with a tupaia CD81 LEL was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EIA).
RESULTS: Although tupaia and human CD81 LEL differed in 6 amino acid changes, tupaia CD81 LEL was strongly recognized by anti-CD81 antibodies against human CD81 LEL conformation-dependent epitopes. Investigating LEL CD81-E2 interactions by EIA, we demonstrated that binding of tupaia CD81 LEL GST fusion protein to recombinant HCV E2 protein was markedly reduced compared to binding of human CD81 LEL GST fusion protein to recombinant HCV E2 protein.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the structural differences in-between the tupaia and human CD81 may alter the interaction of the large extracellular loop with HCV envelope glycoprotein E2. These findings may be important for the understanding of the mechanisms of binding and entry of HCV to PTHs.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.240
PMCID: PMC2653318  PMID: 19132776
Hepatitis C virus E2 protein; Tupaia; CD81, Bind; Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
6.  Revealing the flexoelectricity in the mixed-phase regions of epitaxial BiFeO3 thin films 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8091.
Understanding the elastic response on the nanoscale phase boundaries of multiferroics is an essential issue in order to explain their exotic behaviour. Mixed-phase BiFeO3 films, epitaxially grown on LaAlO3 (001) substrates, have been investigated by means of scanning probe microscopy to characterize the elastic and piezoelectric responses in the mixed-phase region of rhombohedral-like monoclinic (MI) and tilted tetragonal-like monoclinic (MII,tilt) phases. Ultrasonic force microscopy reveal that the regions with low/high stiffness values topologically coincide with the MI/MII,tilt phases. X-ray diffraction strain analysis confirms that the MI phase is more compliant than the MII,tilt one. Significantly, the correlation between elastic modulation and piezoresponse across the mixed-phase regions manifests that the flexoelectric effect results in the enhancement of the piezoresponse at the phase boundaries and in the MI regions. This accounts for the giant electromechanical effect in strained mixed-phase BiFeO3 films.
doi:10.1038/srep08091
PMCID: PMC4308693  PMID: 25627445
7.  TLR4/NF-κB-Responsive MicroRNAs and Their Potential Target Genes: A Mouse Model of Skeletal Muscle Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:410721.
Background. The aim of this study was to profile TLR4/NF-κB-responsive microRNAs (miRNAs) and their potential target genes in the skeletal muscles of mice following ischemia-reperfusion injury. Methods. Thigh skeletal muscles of C57BL/6, Tlr4−/−, and NF-κB−/− mice isolated based on femoral artery perfusion were subjected to ischemia for 2 h and reperfusion for 0 h, 4 h, 1 d, and 7 d. The muscle specimens were analyzed with miRNA arrays. Immunoprecipitation with an argonaute 2- (Ago2-) specific monoclonal antibody followed by whole genome microarray was performed to identify mRNA associated with the RNA-silencing machinery. The potential targets of each upregulated miRNA were identified by combined analysis involving the bioinformatics algorithm miRanda and whole genome expression. Results. Three TLR4/NF-κB-responsive miRNAs (miR-15a, miR-744, and miR-1196) were significantly upregulated in the muscles following ischemia-reperfusion injury. The combined in silico and whole genome microarray approaches identified 5, 4, and 20 potential target genes for miR-15a, miR-744, and miR-1196, respectively. Among the 3 genes (Zbed4, Lrsam1, and Ddx21) regulated by at least 2 of the 3 upregulated miRNAs, Lrsam1 and Ddx21 are known to be associated with the innate immunity pathway. Conclusions. This study profiled TLR4/NF-κB-responsive miRNAs and their potential target genes in mouse skeletal muscle subjected to ischemia-reperfusion injury.
doi:10.1155/2015/410721
PMCID: PMC4321099
8.  Profiling the circulating miRNAs in mice exposed to gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria by Illumina small RNA deep sequencing 
Background
We profiled the expression of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in mice using Illumina small RNA deep sequencing in order to identify the miRNAs that may potentially be used as biomarkers to distinguish between gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial infections.
Results
Recombinant-specific gram-negative pathogen Escherichia coli (Xen14) and gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (Xen29) were used to induce bacterial infection in mice at a concentration of 1 × 108 bacteria/100 μL of phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Small RNA libraries generated from the serum of mice after exposure to PBS, Xen14, Xen29, and Xen14 + Xen29 via the routes of subcutaneous injection (I), cut wound (C), or under grafted skin (S) were analyzed using an Illumina HiSeq2000 Sequencer. Following exposure to gram-negative bacteria alone, no differentially expressed miRNA was found in the injection, cut, or skin graft models. Exposure to mixed bacteria induced a similar expression pattern of the circulating miRNAs to that induced by gram-positive bacterial infection. Upon gram-positive bacterial infection, 9 miRNAs (mir-193b-3p, mir-133a-1-3p, mir-133a-2-3p, mir-133a-1-5p, mir-133b-3p, mir-434-3p, mir-127-3p, mir-676-3p, mir-215-5p) showed upregulation greater than 4-fold with a p-value < 0.01. Among them, mir-193b-3p, mir-133a-1-3p, and mir-133a-2-3p presented the most common miRNA targets expressed in the mice exposed to gram-positive bacterial infection.
Conclusions
This study identified mir-193b-3p, mir-133a-1-3p, and mir-133a-2-3p as potential circulating miRNAs for gram-positive bacterial infections.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12929-014-0106-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12929-014-0106-y
PMCID: PMC4300083  PMID: 25563241
microRNAs (miRNAs); Circulating microRNAs; Gram-positive bacteria; Gram-negative bacteria; Small RNA deep sequencing
9.  Differences in Iris Thickness Among African Americans, Caucasian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Chinese Americans, and Filipino-Americans 
Journal of glaucoma  2013;22(9):10.1097/IJG.0b013e318264ba68.
Purpose
To evaluate the capability of iris thickness parameters to explain the difference in primary angle closure glaucoma prevalence among the different racial groups.
Methods
In this prospective study, 436 patients with open- and narrow-angles that met inclusion criteria were consecutively recruited from the UCSF general ophthalmology and glaucoma clinics to receive anterior segment optical coherence tomography imaging under standardized dark conditions. Images from 11 patients were removed due to poor visibility of the scleral spurs and the remaining images were analyzed using the Zhongshan Angle Assessment Program to assess the following measurements for the nasal and temporal angle of the anterior chamber: iris thickness at 750 μm and 2000 μm from the scleral spurs and the maximum iris thickness at middle one third of the iris. Iris thickness parameters were compared among and within the following five different racial groups: African-, Caucasian-, Hispanic-, Chinese-, and Filipino-Americans.
Results
In comparing iris parameters among the open-angle racial groups, significant differences were found for nasal iris thickness at 750 and 2000 μm from the scleral spurs in which Chinese-Americans displayed the highest mean value (p=0.01, p<0.0001). Among the narrow-angle racial groups, significant difference was found for nasal iris thickness at 2000 μm from the scleral in which Chinese-Americans showed the highest mean value (p<0.0001). Significant difference was also found for temporal maximum iris thickness at middle one third of the iris in which African-Americans exhibited the highest mean value (p=0.021). Iris thickness was modeled as a function of angle status using linear mixed-effects regression, adjusting for age, gender, pupil diameter, spherical equivalent, ethnicity, and the use of both eyes in patients. The iris thickness difference between the narrow-angle and open-angle groups was significant (p=0.0007).
Conclusion
Racial groups that historically showed higher prevalence of primary angle closure glaucoma possess thicker irides.
doi:10.1097/IJG.0b013e318264ba68
PMCID: PMC3825747  PMID: 22828003
narrow-angle; open-angle; primary angle closure glaucoma; iris thickness; anterior segment optical coherence tomography; Zhongshan Angle Assessment Program
10.  All-Cause Mortality in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes in Association with Achieved Hemoglobin A1c, Systolic Blood Pressure, and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109501.
Background
To identify the ranges of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels which are associated with the lowest all-cause mortality.
Methods
A retrospective cohort of 12,643 type 2 diabetic patients (aged ≥18 years) were generated from 2002 to 2010, in Far-Eastern Memorial Hospital, New Taipei city, Taiwan. Patients were identified to include any outpatient diabetes diagnosis (ICD-9: 250), and drug prescriptions that included any oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin prescribed during the 6 months following their first outpatient visit for diabetes. HbA1c, SBP, and LDL-C levels were assessed by the mean value of all available data, from index date to death or censor date. Deaths were ascertained by matching patient records with the Taiwan National Register of Deaths.
Results
Our results showed general U-shaped associations, where the lowest hazard ratios occurred at HbA1c 7.0–8.0%, SBP 130–140 mmHg, and LDL-C 100–130 mg/dL. The risk of mortality gradually increases if the patient's mean HbA1c, SBP, or LDL-C during the follow-up period was higher or lower than these ranges. In comparison to the whole population, the adjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) for patients with HbA1c 7.0–8.0%, SBP 130–140 mmHg, and LDL-C 100–130 mg/dL were 0.69 (0.62–0.77), 0.80 (0.72–0.90), and 0.68 (0.61–0.75), respectively.
Conclusions
In our type 2 diabetic cohort, the patients with HbA1c 7.0–8.0%, SBP 130–140 mmHg, or LDL-C 100–130 mg/dL had the lowest all-cause mortality. Additional research is needed to confirm these associations and to further investigate their detailed mechanisms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109501
PMCID: PMC4210124  PMID: 25347712
11.  Interactive Effects of Dietary Fat/Carbohydrate Ratio and Body Mass Index on Iron Deficiency Anemia among Taiwanese Women 
Nutrients  2014;6(9):3929-3941.
Whether being overweight or obese is associated with increased risk of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) remains controversial. We evaluated the dietary intakes and risk for IDA in relation to body mass index (BMI). One thousand two hundred and seventy-four females aged ≥19 years, enrolled in the third Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) 2005–2008, were selected. Half of the women were either overweight (24.0%) or obese (25.3%). The overall prevalence of anemia, iron deficiency and IDA among adult women was 19.5%, 8.6% and 6.2%. BMI showed a protective effect on IDA: overweight (odds ratio, OR: 0.365 (0.181–0.736)) and obese (OR: 0.480 (0.259–0.891)) when compared with normal weight. Univariate analysis identified increased IDA risk for overweight/obese women who consumed higher dietary fat but lower carbohydrate (CHO) (OR: 10.119 (1.267–80.79)). No such relationship was found in IDA women with normal weight (OR: 0.375 (0.036–4.022)). Analysis of interaction(s) showed individuals within the highest BMI tertile (T3) had the lowest risk for IDA and the risk increased with increasing tertile groups of fat/CHO ratio; OR 0.381 (0.144–1.008; p = 0.051), 0.370 (0.133–1.026; p = 0.056) and 0.748 (0.314–1.783; p = 0.513); for T1, T2 and T3, respectively. In conclusion, a protective effect of BMI on IDA may be attenuated in women who had increased fat/CHO ratio.
doi:10.3390/nu6093929
PMCID: PMC4179196  PMID: 25255383
iron deficiency anemia; dietary fat and carbohydrate; overweight and obesity; Taiwanese female
13.  FBXO7 Y52C Polymorphism as a Potential Protective Factor in Parkinson's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101392.
Mutations in the F-box only protein 7 gene (FBXO7), the substrate-specifying subunit of SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, cause Parkinson's disease (PD)-15 (PARK15). To identify new variants, we sequenced FBXO7 cDNA in 80 Taiwanese early onset PD patients (age at onset ≤50) and only two known variants, Y52C (c.155A>G) and M115I (c.345G>A), were found. To assess the association of Y52C and M115I with the risk of PD, we conducted a case–control study in a cohort of PD and ethnically matched controls. There was a nominal difference in the Y52C G allele frequency between PD and controls (p = 0.045). After combining data from China [1], significant difference in the Y52C G allele frequency between PD and controls (p = 0.012) and significant association of G allele with decreased PD risk (p = 0.017) can be demonstrated. Upon expressing EGFP-tagged Cys52 FBXO7 in cells, a significantly reduced rate of FBXO7 protein decay was observed when compared with cells expressing Tyr52 FBXO7. In silico modeling of Cys52 exhibited a more stable feature than Tyr52. In cells expressing Cys52 FBXO7, the level of TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) was significantly reduced. Moreover, Cys52 FBXO7 showed stronger interaction with TRAF2 and promoted TRAF2 ubiquitination, which may be responsible for the reduced TRAF2 expression in Cys52 cells. After induced differentiation, SH-SY5Y cells expressing Cys52 FBXO7 displayed increased neuronal outgrowth. We therefore hypothesize that Cys52 variant of FBXO7 may contribute to reduced PD susceptibility in Chinese.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101392
PMCID: PMC4100735  PMID: 25029497
14.  Generalization and discrimination tasks yield concordant measures of perceived distance between odours and their binary mixtures in larval Drosophila 
The Journal of Experimental Biology  2014;217(12):2071-2077.
Similarity between odours is notoriously difficult to measure. Widely used behavioural approaches in insect olfaction research are cross-adaptation, masking, as well as associative tasks based on olfactory learning and the subsequent testing for how specific the established memory is. A concern with such memory-based approaches is that the learning process required to establish an odour memory may alter the way the odour is processed, such that measures of perception taken at the test are distorted. The present study was therefore designed to see whether behavioural judgements of perceptual distance are different for two different memory-based tasks, namely generalization and discrimination. We used odour–reward learning in larval Drosophila as a study case. In order to challenge the larvae's olfactory system, we chose to work with binary mixtures and their elements (1-octanol, n-amyl acetate, 3-octanol, benzaldehyde and hexyl acetate). We determined the perceptual distance between each mixture and its elements, first in a generalization task, and then in a discrimination task. It turns out that scores of perceptual distance are correlated between both tasks. A re-analysis of published studies looking at element-to-element perceptual distances in larval reward learning and in adult punishment learning confirms this result. We therefore suggest that across a given set of olfactory stimuli, associative training does not grossly alter the pattern of perceptual distances.
doi:10.1242/jeb.100966
PMCID: PMC4191342  PMID: 24920835
Drosophila melanogaster; Memory; Olfaction; Perception; Generalization; Discrimination
15.  Oxidative Stress of Office Workers Relevant to Tobacco Smoking and Inner Air Quality 
Studies have used 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as a biomarker to detect systemic oxidative DNA damage associated with oxidative stress. However, studies on the association between exposure to tobacco smoking and urinary 8-OHdgG give inconsistent results. Limited studies have estimated the oxidative stress among office workers. This study assessed the association between urinary 8-OHdG and cotinine for office workers. Workers (389) including smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers from 87 offices at high-rise buildings in Taipei participated in this study with informed consent. Each participant completed a questionnaire and provided a spot urine specimen at the end of work day for measuring urinary 8-OHdG and cotinine. The carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in workers’ offices were also measured. The questionnaire reported socio-demographic characteristics, life styles and allergic history. The urinary 8-OHdG level increased with the cotinine level among participants (Spearmans’ rho = 0.543, p < 0.001). The mean of urinary 8-OHdG and cotinine was 5.81 ± 3.53 μg/g creatinine and 3.76 ± 4.06 μg/g creatinine, respectively. Comparing with non-smokers, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) of having urinary 8-OHdG greater than the median level of 4.99 μg/g creatinine was 5.30 (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.30–21.5) for current smokers and 0.91 (95% CI = 0.34–2.43) for former smokers. We also found workers exposed to 1,000 ppm of CO2 at offices had an adjusted OR of 4.28 (95% CI = 1.12–16.4) to have urinary 8-OHdG greater than 4.99 μg/g creatinine, compared to those exposed to indoor CO2 under 600 ppm. In conclusion, urinary 8-OHdG could represent a suitable marker for measuring smoking and CO2 exposure for office workers.
doi:10.3390/ijerph110605586
PMCID: PMC4078535  PMID: 24865395
carbon dioxide; cotinine; 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine; office worker; tobacco smoking
16.  Universal Ferroelectric Switching Dynamics of Vinylidene Fluoride-trifluoroethylene Copolymer Films 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4772.
In this work, switching dynamics of poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) [P(VDF-TrFE)] copolymer films are investigated over unprecedentedly wide ranges of temperature and electric field. Remarkably, domain switching of copolymer films obeys well the classical domain nucleation and growth model although the origin of ferroelectricity in organic ferroelectric materials inherently differs from the inorganic counterparts. A lower coercivity limit of 50 MV/m and 180° domain wall energy of 60 mJ/m2 are determined for P(VDF-TrFE) films. Furthermore, we discover in copolymer films an anomalous temperature-dependent crossover behavior between two power-law scaling regimes of frequency-dependent coercivity, which is attributed to the transition between flow and creep motions of domain walls. Our observations shed new light on the switching dynamics of semi-crystalline ferroelectric polymers, and such understandings are critical for realizing their reliable applications.
doi:10.1038/srep04772
PMCID: PMC3998015  PMID: 24759786
17.  High Incidence of Ischemic Stroke Occurrence in Irradiated Lung Cancer Patients: A Population-Based Surgical Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94377.
Background and Purpose
A high risk of stroke occurrence has been reported in several types of irradiated cancer patients. However, clinical data are lacking in irradiated lung cancer patients. The present study intended to explore a risk level of ischemic stroke occurrence in irradiated lung cancer patients.
Methods
A nationwide population-based database obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance was analyzed. Between 2003 and 2006, we recruited 560 resected lung cancer patients into two study groups: surgery-plus-irradiation (n = 112) and surgery-alone (n = 448). Patients treated with chemotherapy were excluded. Propensity score match was used for pairing cases with a ratio of 1∶4. Two-year ischemic-stroke-free survival was defined as the primary endpoint.
Results
Three observations supported a high risk of ischemic stroke occurrence in patients with postoperative irradiation when compared with those patients with surgery alone: first, a high incidence per 1,000 person-year (22.3 versus 11.2, 1.99 folds); second, a low two-year ischemic-stroke-free survival rate (92.2% versus 98.1%, P = 0.019); and third, a high adjusted hazard ratio (HR, 4.19; 95% CI, 1.44–12.22; P = 0.009). More notably, the highest risk of ischemic stroke occurrence was found in irradiated patients who had diabetes mellitus (HR, 34.74; 95% CI, 6.35->100; P<0.0001).
Conclusions
A high incidence of ischemic stroke was observed in irradiated lung cancer patients, especially in those with diabetes mellitus. For these patients, close clinical surveillance and strict diabetes control should be considered. Further studies to define detail biological mechanisms are encouraged.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094377
PMCID: PMC3978039  PMID: 24709837
18.  Inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway decreases innate resistance to lipopolysaccharide toxicity in TLR4 deficient mice 
Background
Upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, activation of both the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways serves to balance proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses. Although the antagonist to TLR4 represents an emerging promising target for the treatment of sepsis; however, the role of the PI3K pathway under TLR4-null conditions is not well understood. This goal of this study was to investigate the effect of inhibition of PI3K on innate resistance to LPS toxicity in a murine model.
Results
The overall survival of the cohorts receiving intraperitoneal injections of 100, 500, or 1000 μg LPS from Escherichia coli serotype 026:B6 after 7 d was 100%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. In contrast, no mortality was noted after 500-μg LPS injection in Tlr4-/- mice. When the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 was injected (1 mg/25 g body weight) 1 h prior to the administration of LPS, the overall survival of the Tlr4-/- mice was 30%. In the Tlr4-/- mice, the LPS injection induced no NF-κB activation but an increased Akt phosphorylation in the lung and liver, when compared to that of the C57BL/6 mice. Injection of 500 μg LPS led to a significant induction in O2- detected by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spin trapping spectroscopy in the lung and liver at 3 and 6 h in C57BL/6 but not Tlr4-/- mice. Addition of LY294002 only significantly increased the O2- level in the lung and liver of the Tlr4-/- mice but not in the C57BL/6 mice following 500-μg LPS injection. In addition, the serum IL-1β and IL-2 levels were more elevated in C57BL/6 mice than in Tlr4-/- mice. Notably, IL-1β and IL-2 were significantly increased in Tlr4-/- mice but not in the C57BL/6 mice when the PI3K pathway was inhibited by LY294002 prior to LPS injection.
Conclusions
In this study, we demonstrate that innate resistance to LPS toxicity in Tlr4-/- mice is impaired by inhibition of the PI3K pathway, with a corresponding increase in mortality and production of tissue O2- and inflammatory cytokines.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-21-20
PMCID: PMC3995796  PMID: 24618279
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS); Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4); Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)
19.  Genetic Variants of LRRK2 in Taiwanese Parkinson’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82001.
Genetic variants of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) were reported to alter the risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the genetic spectrum of LRRK2 variants has not been clearly disclosed yet in Taiwanese population. Herein, we sequenced LRRK2 coding region in 70 Taiwanese early onset PD patients (age at onset ≤ 50), and found six amino acid-changing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, N551K, R1398H, R1628P, S1647T, G2385R and M2397T), one reported (R1441H) and 2 novel missense (R767H and S885N) mutations. We examined the frequency of identified LRRK2 variants by genotyping 573 Taiwanese patients with PD and 503 age-matched control subjects. The results showed that PD patients demonstrated a higher frequency of G2385R A allele (4.6%) than control subjects (2.1%; odds ratio = 2.27, 95% confidence interval: 1.38–3.88, P = 0.0017). Fewer PD patients (27.7%) carried the 1647T-2397T haplotype as compared with the control subjects (33.0%; odds ratio = 0.80, 95% confidence interval: 0.65–0.97, P = 0.0215). However, the frequency of 1647T-2385R-2397T haplotype (4.3%) in PD patients was still higher than in control subjects (1.9%, odds ratio: 2.15, 95% confidence interval: 1.27–3.78, P = 0.0058). While no additional subject was found to carry R767H and R1441H, one more patient was observed to carry the S885N variant. Our results indicate a robust risk association regarding G2385R and a new possible protective haplotype (1647T-2397T). Gene-environmental interaction and a larger cohort study are warranted to validate our findings. Additionally, two new missense mutations (R767H and S885N) regarding LRRK2 in PD patients were identified. Functional studies are needed to elucidate the effects of these LRRK2 variants on protein function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082001
PMCID: PMC3855417  PMID: 24339985
20.  Profiling Circulating MicroRNA Expression in Experimental Sepsis Using Cecal Ligation and Puncture 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77936.
The levels of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in mice with experimental sepsis induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) were determined using whole blood samples obtained from C57BL/6 mice at 4, 8, and 24 h after CLP; miRNA expression analysis was performed in these samples using an miRNA array. Microarray analysis revealed upregulation of 10 miRNA targets (miR-16, miR-17, miR-20a, miR-20b, miR-26a, miR-26b, miR-106a, miR-106b, miR-195, and miR-451). The expression of these miRNA targets in the whole blood, serum, and white blood cells (WBCs) of CLP mice was quantified using quantitative real-time PCR; these values were compared to those in sham-operated C57BL/6 mice, and the results indicated that these miRNA targets were significantly up-regulated in the whole blood and serum but not in the WBCs. In addition, the levels of these 10 miRNA targets in the serum of Tlr2−/−, Tlr4−/−, and NF-κB−/− mice at 8 h after CLP did not decrease significantly., which indicated that the transcription of these miRNAs was not directly mediated by the TLR2/NF-κB or TLR4/NF-κB pathway, and pathways induced by exposure to the gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria. Immunoprecipitation with the Argonaute 2 ribonucleoprotein complex revealed significantly increased expression of the 10 miRNA targets in the serum of mice after CLP, and the levels of 6 (miR-16, miR-17, miR-20a, miR-20b, miR-26a, and miR-26b) of these 10 miRNA targets increased significantly in exosomes isolated using ExoQuick precipitation solution. In this study, we identified circulating miRNAs that were up-regulated after CLP and determined the increase in the levels of these miRNAs, and our results suggest that circulating Ago2 complexes and exosomes may be responsible for the stability of miRNAs in the serum.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077936
PMCID: PMC3813489  PMID: 24205035
21.  Autotaxin through lysophosphatidic acid stimulates polarization, motility, and transendothelial migration of naïve T cells 
Blood-borne lymphocytes home to lymph nodes by interacting with and crossing high endothelial venules (HEVs). The transendothelial migration (TEM) step is poorly understood. Autotaxin (ATX) is an ecto-enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a bioactive lipid and a close relative of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). HEVs produce and secrete ATX into the blood. A prior study has implicated ATX in the overall homing process but the step in which it functions and its mechanism of action have not been defined. Here, we show that HA130, an inhibitor of the enzymatic activity of ATX, slows T cell migration across lymph node HEVs in vivo. Ex vivo, ATX plus LPC or LPA itself induces the polarization of mouse naïve T cells and stimulates their motility on an ICAM-1 substratum. Under physiologic shear conditions in a flow chamber, LPA or ATX/LPC strongly enhances TEM of integrin-arrested T cells across an endothelial monolayer. HA130 blunts the TEM-promoting activity of ATX, paralleling its in vivo effects. T cells possess Mn+2-activatable receptors for ATX, which are localized at the leading edge of polarized cells. ATX must bind to these receptors in order to elicit a maximal TEM response, providing a mechanism to focus the action of LPA onto arrested lymphocytes in flowing blood. Our results indicate that LPA produced via ATX facilitates T cell entry into lymph nodes by stimulating TEM, substantiating an additional step in the homing cascade. This entry role for LPA complements the efflux function of S1P.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1201604
PMCID: PMC3509168  PMID: 22962684
22.  Hepatitis C virus itself is a causal risk factor for chronic kidney disease beyond traditional risk factors: a 6-year nationwide cohort study across Taiwan 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:187.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and chronic kidney disease (CKD) have high prevalences in Taiwan and worldwide, but the role of HCV infection in causing CKD remains uncertain. This cohort study aimed to explore this association.
Methods
This nationwide cohort study examined the association of HCV with CKD by analysis of sampled claims data from Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database from 1998 to 2004. ICD-9 diagnosis codes were used to identify diseases. We extracted data of 3182 subjects who had newly identified HCV infection and no traditional CKD risk factors and data of randomly selected 12728 matched HCV-uninfected control subjects. Each subject was tracked for 6 years from the index date to identify incident CKD cases. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to determine the risk of CKD in the HCV-infected and control groups.
Results
The mean follow-up durations were 5.88 years and 5.92 years for the HCV-infected and control groups, respectively. Among the sample of 15910 subjects, 251 subjects (1.6%) developed CKD during the 6-year follow-up period, 64 subjects (2.0%) from the HCV-infected group and 187 subjects (1.5%) from the control group. The incidence rate of CKD was significantly higher in the HCV-infected group than in the control group (3.42 vs. 2.48 per 1000 person-years, p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis indicated that the HCV-infected group had significantly greater risk for CKD (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.75, 95% CI: 1.25-2.43, p = 0.0009). This relationship also held for a comparison of HCV-infected and HCV-uninfected subjects who were younger than 70 years and had none of traditional CKD risk factors.
Conclusions
HCV infection is associated with increased risk for CKD beyond the well-known traditional CKD risk factors. HCV patients should be informed of their increased risk for development of CKD and should be more closely monitored.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-187
PMCID: PMC3846916  PMID: 24011024
Hepatitis C virus; Chronic kidney disease; Taiwan national health insurance research database; Cohort study
23.  Profiling circulating microRNA expression in a mouse model of nerve allotransplantation 
Background
The lack of noninvasive biomarkers of rejection remains a challenge in the accurate monitoring of deeply buried nerve allografts and precludes optimization of therapeutic intervention. This study aimed to establish the expression profile of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) during nerve allotransplantation with or without immunosuppression.
Results
Balb/c mice were randomized into 3 experimental groups, that is, (1) untreated isograft (Balb/c → Balb/c), (2) untreated allograft (C57BL/6 → Balb/c), and (3) allograft (C57BL/6 → Balb/c) with FK506 immunosuppression. A 1-cm Balb/c or C57BL/6 donor sciatic nerve graft was transplanted into sciatic nerve gaps created in recipient mice. At 1, 3, 7, 10, and 14 d after nerve transplantation, nerve grafts, whole blood, and sera were obtained for miRNA expression analysis with an miRNA array and subsequent validation with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Three circulating miRNAs (miR-320, miR-762, and miR-423-5p) were identified in the whole blood and serum of the mice receiving an allograft with FK506 immunosuppression, within 2 weeks after nerve allotransplantation. However, these 3 circulating miRNAs were not expressed in the nerve grafts. The expression of all these 3 upregulated circulating miRNAs significantly decreased at 2, 4, and 6 d after discontinuation of FK506 immunosuppression. In the nerve graft, miR-125-3b and miR-672 were significantly upregulated in the mice that received an allograft with FK506 only at 7 d after nerve allotransplantation.
Conclusions
We identified the circulating miR-320, miR-762, and miR-423-5p as potential biomarkers for monitoring the immunosuppression status of the nerve allograft. However, further research is required to investigate the mechanism behind the dysregulation of these markers and to evaluate their prognostic value in nerve allotransplantation.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-20-64
PMCID: PMC3844622  PMID: 24011263
microRNAs (miRNAs); Circulating microRNAs; Nerve allotransplantation; FK506
24.  Knockout of TLR4 and TLR2 impair the nerve regeneration by delayed demyelination but not remyelination 
Background
Knockout of either toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) or 2 (TLR2) had been reported to delay the Wallerian degeneration after peripheral nerve injury by deterring the recruitment of the macrophages and clearance of myelin debris. However, the impact on the remyelination process is poorly understood. In this study, the effect of TLR2 and TLR4 knockout on the nerve regeneration and on the remyelination process was studied in a mouse model of sciatic nerve crush injury.
Results
A standard sciatic nerve crush injury by a No. 5 Jeweler forcep for consistent 30 seconds was performed in Tlr4−/− (B6.B10ScN-Tlr4lps-del/JthJ), Tlr2−/− (B6.129-Tlr2tm1Kir/J) and C57BL/6 mice. One centimeter of nerve segment distal to the crushed site was harvested for western blot analysis of the myelin structure protein myelin protein zero (Mpz) and the remyelination transcription factors Oct6 and Sox10 at day 0, 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 28. Nerve segment 5-mm distal to injured site from additional groups of mice at day 10 after crush injury were subjected to semi-thin section and toluidine blue stain for a quantitative histomorphometric analysis. With less remyelinated nerves and more nerve debris, the histomorphometric analysis revealed a worse nerve regeneration following the sciatic nerve crush injury in both Tlr4−/− and Tlr2−/− mice than the C57BL/6 mice. Although there was a delayed expression of Sox10 but not Oct6 during remyelination, with an average 4-day delay in the demyelination process, the subsequent complete formation of Mpz during remyelination was also delayed for 4 days, implying that the impaired nerve regeneration was mainly attributed to the delayed demyelination process.
Conclusions
Both TLR4 and TLR2 are crucial for nerve regeneration after nerve crush injury mainly by delaying the demyelination but not the remyelination process.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-20-62
PMCID: PMC3765918  PMID: 23984978
Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4); Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2); Peripheral nerve regeneration; Sciatic nerve crush injury
25.  A digital microfluidic droplet generator produces self-assembled supramolecular nanoparticles for targeted cell imaging 
Nanotechnology  2010;21(44):445603.
Controlling the size distribution of polymer-based nanoparticles is a challenging task due to their flexible core and surface structures. To accomplish such as task requires a very precise control at the molecular level. Here, we demonstrate a new approach whereby uniform-sized supramolecular nanoparticles (SNPs) can be reliably generated using a digital microfluidic droplet generator (DMDG) chip. A microfluidic environment enabled precise control over the processing parameters and, therefore, high batch-to-batch reproducibility and robust production of SNPs with a very narrow size distribution could be realized. Digitally adjusting the mixing ratios of the building blocks on the DMDG chip allowed us to rapidly scan a variety of synthesis conditions without consuming significant amounts of reagents. Nearly uniform SNPs with sizes ranging from 35 to 350 nm were obtained and characterized by transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering. In addition, we could fine-tune the surface chemistry of the SNPs by incorporating an additional building block functionalized with specific ligands for targeting cells. The sizes and surface properties of these SNPs correlated strongly with their cell uptake efficiencies. This study showed a feasible microfluidic-assisted SNP production and provided a great means for preparing size-controlled SNP with desired surface ligand coverage.
doi:10.1088/0957-4484/21/44/445603
PMCID: PMC3744236  PMID: 20935351

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