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1.  The Creation of Cybrids Harboring Mitochondrial Haplogroups in the Taiwanese Population of Ethnic Chinese Background: An Extensive In Vitro Tool for the Study of Mitochondrial Genomic Variations 
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups may contribute to the development of aging-related diseases. A reliable in vitro cellular system for investigating the physiologic significance of mtDNA haplogroups is essential. This study aims to construct and characterize a series of cybrid cell lines harboring variant mtDNA haplogroups collected from healthy Taiwanese volunteers. Cybrid cells harboring different mtDNA haplogroups like B4a, B4b, B4c, B4d, B5, R, F1a, F2, D4e, D4a, D5b, D5a, E, M8, C, and N9a were prepared. Luminex 1000 and full-length mtDNA sequencing were used to confirm that mtDNA haplogroups of transmitochondrial cybrids were identical to their original donors. Cybrid B4b had a significantly lower oxygen consumption rate and higher mitochondrial membrane potential compared to F1a, B5, D5a, D4a, and N9a but had more susceptibility to H2O2-induced oxidative stress than cybrid F1a, D4a, and N9a. Cybrid N9a had better oxygen consumption and H2O2-challenged viability compared to B4b, F1a, B5, D5a, and D4a. A series of cybrid cells harboring the main haplogroups of the Taiwanese population with ethnic Chinese background has been developed in vitro. With this mtDNA haplogroup population, the underlying mechanisms of aging-related diseases may be better understood, and therapeutic interventions can be accelerated.
PMCID: PMC3523582  PMID: 23304256
2.  High frequency of SPG4 in Taiwanese families with autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):216.
Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower limbs. SPG4, SPG3A and SPG31 are the three leading causes of autosomal dominant (AD) HSPs.
A total of 20 unrelated AD-HSP families were recruited for clinical and genetic assessment. Detection of mutations in SPG4, SPG3A and SPG31 genes was conducted according to a standard protocol. Genotype-phenotype correlations and determinants for disease severity and progression were analyzed.
Mutations in the SPG4 gene (SPAST) were detected in 18 (90%) of the AD-HSP families. Mutations in SPG4, SPG3A and SPG31 genes were not detected in the remaining two families. Considerable variations in clinical features were noted, even for mutation carriers from the same family. Mutations causing complete loss of the spastin AAA cassette were associated with earlier onset of disease (20 ± 18 years) compared with those with preservation of partial or total AAA cassette (32 ± 19 years, p = 0.041). For those with SPG4 mutations, disease severity was related to the patients’ current age, and the progression rate of disease was positively correlated with age at onset.
SPG4 accounts for most of the AD-HSP cases in Taiwanese, with a frequency significantly higher than in other populations. SPAST mutations which predict complete loss of the spastin AAA cassette were associated with an earlier onset of disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0216-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4254010  PMID: 25421405
Hereditary spastic paraplegia; SPG4; SPAST; Spastin; AAA cassette
3.  The Prognostic Values of Leukocyte Rho Kinase Activity in Acute Ischemic Stroke 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:214587.
Objective. It has been reported that leukocyte ROCK activity is elevated in patients after ischemic stroke, but it is unclear whether leukocyte ROCK activity is associated with clinical outcomes following acute stroke events. The objective of this study is to investigate if leukocyte ROCK activity can predict the outcomes in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Materials and Methods. We enrolled 110 patients of acute ischemic stroke and measured the leukocyte ROCK activity and plasma level of inflammatory cytokines to correlate the clinical outcomes of these patients. Results. The leukocyte ROCK activity at 48 hours after admission in acute ischemic stroke patients was higher as compared to a risk-matched population. The leukocyte ROCK activity significantly correlated with National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) difference between admission and 90 days after stroke event. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates showed lower stroke-free survival during follow-up period in patients with high leukocyte ROCK activity or plasma hsCRP level. Leukocyte ROCK activity independently predicted the recurrent stroke in patients with atherosclerotic stroke. Conclusions. This study shows elevated leukocyte ROCK activity in patients with ischemic stroke as compared to risk-matched subjects and is an independent predictor for recurrent stroke.
PMCID: PMC3955656  PMID: 24716192
4.  Resveratrol Partially Prevents Rotenone-Induced Neurotoxicity in Dopaminergic SH-SY5Y Cells through Induction of Heme Oxygenase-1 Dependent Autophagy 
Parkinson disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons. Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress or protein misfolding and aggregation may underlie this process. Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic mechanism responsible for protein degradation and recycling of damaged proteins and cytoplasmic organelles. Autophagic dysfunction may hasten the progression of neuronal degeneration. In this study, resveratrol promoted autophagic flux and protected dopaminergic neurons against rotenone-induced apoptosis. In an in vivo PD model, rotenone induced loss of dopaminergic neurons, increased oxidation of mitochondrial proteins and promoted autophagic vesicle development in brain tissue. The natural phytoalexin resveratrol prevented rotenone-induced neuronal apoptosis in vitro, and this pro-survival effect was abolished by an autophagic inhibitor. Although both rotenone and resveratrol promoted LC3-II accumulation, autophagic flux was inhibited by rotenone and augmented by resveratrol. Further, rotenone reduced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression, whereas resveratrol increased HO-1 expression. Pharmacological inhibition of HO-1 abolished resveratrol-mediated autophagy and neuroprotection. Notably, the effects of a pharmacological inducer of HO-1 were similar to those of resveratrol, and protected against rotenone-induced cell death in an autophagy-dependent manner, validating the hypothesis of HO-1 dependent autophagy in preventing neuronal death in the in vitro PD model. Collectively, our findings suggest that resveratrol induces HO-1 expression and prevents dopaminergic cell death by regulating autophagic flux; thus protecting against rotenone-induced neuronal apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3907890  PMID: 24451142
Parkinson’s disease; oxidative stress; mitochondrial dysfunction; autophagy; apoptosis; resveratrol; heme oxygenase-1
5.  Mitochondrial DNA Coding and Control Region Variants as Genetic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2012;61(10):2642-2651.
Both the coding and control regions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) play roles in the generation of diabetes; however, no studies have thoroughly reported on the combined diabetogenic effects of variants in the two regions. We determined the mitochondrial haplogroup and the mtDNA sequence of the control region in 859 subjects with diabetes and 1,151 normoglycemic control subjects. Full-length mtDNA sequences were conducted in 40 subjects harboring specific diabetes-related haplogroups. Multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, sex, and BMI revealed that subjects harboring the mitochondrial haplogroup B4 have significant association with diabetes (DM) (odds ratio [OR], 1.54 [95% CI 1.18–2.02]; P < 0.001), whereas subjects harboring D4 have borderline resistance against DM generation (0.68 [0.49–0.94]; P = 0.02). Upon further study, we identified an mtDNA composite group susceptible to DM generation consisting of a 10398A allele at the coding region and a polycytosine variant at nucleotide pair 16184–16193 of the control region, as well as a resistant group consisting of C5178A, A10398G, and T152C variants. The OR for susceptible group is 1.31 (95% CI 1.04–1.67; P = 0.024) and for the resistant group is 0.48 (0.31–0.75; P = 0.001). Our study found that mtDNA variants in the coding and control regions can have combined effects influencing diabetes generation.
PMCID: PMC3447893  PMID: 22891220
6.  Associations of Mitochondrial Haplogroups B4 and E with Biliary Atresia and Differential Susceptibility to Hydrophobic Bile Acid 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(8):e1003696.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia (BA). This study aimed to determine whether a specific mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is implicated in the pathogenesis and prognosis of BA. We determined 40 mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms in 15 major mitochondrial haplogroups by the use of 24-plex PCR and fluorescent beads combined with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes in 71 patients with BA and in 200 controls in the Taiwanese population of ethnic Chinese background. The haplogroup B4 and E prevalence were significantly lower and higher respectively, in the patients with BA than in the controls (odds ratios, 0.82 [p = 0.007] and 7.36 [p = 0.032] respectively) in multivariate logistic-regression analysis. The 3-year survival rate with native liver was significantly lower in haplogroup E than the other haplogroups (P = 0.037). A cytoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) was obtained from human 143B osteosarcoma cells devoid of mtDNA (ρ0 cell) and was fused with specific mtDNA bearing E and B4 haplogroups donated by healthy Taiwanese subjects. Chenodeoxycholic acid treatment resulted in significantly lower free radical production, higher mitochondrial membrane potential, more viable cells, and fewer apoptotic cybrid B4 cells than parental 143B and cybrid E cells. Bile acid treatment resulted in a significantly greater protective mitochondrial reaction with significantly higher mitochondrial DNA copy number and mitofusin 1 and 2 concentrations in cybrid B4 and parental cells than in cybrid E cells. The results of the study suggested that the specific mitochondrial DNA haplogroups B4 and E were not only associated with lower and higher prevalence of BA respectively, in the study population, but also with differential susceptibility to hydrophobic bile acid in the cybrid harboring different haplogroups.
Author Summary
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia (BA). We determined 40 mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms in different mitochondrial haplogroups in BA patients and controls. The prevalence of haplogroup B4 and E was significantly lower and higher respectively, in the patients with BA than in the controls. The survival rate with native liver was significantly lower in haplogroup E than the other haplogroups. The in vitro study using cybrid cells revealed significantly lower free radical production, higher mitochondrial membrane potential, higher mitochondrial DNA copy number and fewer apoptotic in cybrid B4 cells than cybrid E cells. The study provides a novel insight into the etiopathogenesis and the predictive value of mitochondrial haplogroups in BA.
PMCID: PMC3744426  PMID: 23966875
7.  Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors γ/mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 signaling protects against seizure-induced neuronal cell death in the hippocampus following experimental status epilepticus 
Status epilepticus induces subcellular changes that may lead to neuronal cell death in the hippocampus. However, the mechanism of seizure-induced neuronal cell death remains unclear. The mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is expressed in selected regions of the brain and is emerged as an endogenous neuroprotective molecule in many neurological disorders. We evaluated the neuroprotective role of UCP2 against seizure-induced hippocampal neuronal cell death under experimental status epilepticus.
In Sprague–Dawley rats, kainic acid (KA) was microinjected unilaterally into the hippocampal CA3 subfield to induce prolonged bilateral seizure activity. Oxidized protein level, translocation of Bcl-2, Bax and cytochrome c between cytosol and mitochondria, and expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors γ (PPARγ) and UCP2 were examined in the hippocampal CA3 subfield following KA-induced status epilepticus. The effects of microinjection bilaterally into CA3 area of a PPARγ agonist, rosiglitazone or a PPARγ antagonist, GW9662 on UCP2 expression, induced superoxide anion (O2· -) production, oxidized protein level, mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme activities, translocation of Bcl-2, Bax and cytochrome c, and DNA fragmentation in bilateral CA3 subfields were examined.
Increased oxidized proteins and mitochondrial or cytosol translocation of Bax or cytochrome c in the hippocampal CA3 subfield was observed 3–48 h after experimental status epilepticus. Expression of PPARγ and UCP2 increased 12–48 h after KA-induced status epilepticus. Pretreatment with rosiglitazone increased UCP2 expression, reduced protein oxidation, O2· - overproduction and dysfunction of mitochondrial Complex I, hindered the translocation of Bax and cytochrome c, and reduced DNA fragmentation in the CA3 subfield. Pretreatment with GW9662 produced opposite effects.
Activation of PPARγ upregulated mitochondrial UCP2 expression, which decreased overproduction of reactive oxygen species, improved mitochondrial Complex I dysfunction, inhibited mitochondrial translocation of Bax and prevented cytosolic release of cytochrome c by stabilizing the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, leading to amelioration of apoptotic neuronal cell death in the hippocampus following status epilepticus.
PMCID: PMC3444895  PMID: 22849356
Status epilepticus; Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors γ; Hippocampal neuronal cell death; Oxidative stress
8.  Sequence-Based Polymorphisms in the Mitochondrial D-Loop and Potential SNP Predictors for Chronic Dialysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41125.
The mitochondrial (mt) displacement loop (D-loop) is known to accumulate structural alterations and mutations. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the D-loop among chronic dialysis patients and healthy controls.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We enrolled 193 chronic dialysis patients and 704 healthy controls. SNPs were identified by large scale D-loop sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Chronic dialysis patients had lower body mass index, blood thiols, and cholesterol levels than controls. A total of 77 SNPs matched with the positions in reference of the Revised Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS) were found in the study population. Chronic dialysis patients had a significantly higher incidence of 9 SNPs compared to controls. These include SNP5 (16108Y), SNP17 (16172Y), SNP21 (16223Y), SNP34 (16274R), SNP35 (16278Y), SNP55 (16463R), SNP56 (16519Y), SNP64 (185R), and SNP65 (189R) in D-loop of CRS. Among these SNPs with genotypes, SNP55-G, SNP56-C, and SNP64-A were 4.78, 1.47, and 5.15 times more frequent in dialysis patients compared to controls (P<0.05), respectively. When adjusting the covariates of demographics and comorbidities, SNP64-A was 5.13 times more frequent in dialysis patients compared to controls (P<0.01). Furthermore, SNP64-A was found to be 35.80, 3.48, 4.69, 5,55, and 4.67 times higher in female patients and in patients without diabetes, coronary artery disease, smoking, and hypertension in an independent significance manner (P<0.05), respectively. In patients older than 50 years or with hypertension, SNP34-A and SNP17-C were found to be 7.97 and 3.71 times more frequent (P<0.05) compared to patients younger than 50 years or those without hypertension, respectively.
Conclusions and Significance
The results of large-scale sequencing suggest that specific SNPs in the mtDNA D-loop are significantly associated with chronic dialysis. These SNPs can be considered as potential predictors for chronic dialysis.
PMCID: PMC3399812  PMID: 22815937
9.  Phyllanthus urinaria Induces Apoptosis in Human Osteosarcoma 143B Cells via Activation of Fas/FasL- and Mitochondria-Mediated Pathways 
Phyllanthus urinaria (P. urinaria), in this study, was used for the treatment of human osteosarcoma cells, which is one of the tough malignancies with few therapeutic modalities. Herein, we demonstrated that P. urinaria inhibited human osteosarcoma 143B cells growth through an apoptotic extrinsic pathway to activate Fas receptor/ligand expression. Both intracellular and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species were increased to lead to alterations of mitochondrial membrane permeability and Bcl-2 family including upregulation of Bid, tBid, and Bax and downregulation of Bcl-2. P. urinaria triggered an intrinsic pathway and amplified the caspase cascade to induce apoptosis of 143B cells. However, upregulation of both intracellular and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and the sequential membrane potential change were less pronounced in the mitochondrial respiratory-defective 143Bρ0 cells compared with the 143B cells. This study offers the evidence that mitochondria are essential for the anticancer mechanism induced by P. urinaria through both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3291129  PMID: 22454688
10.  Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Stress Promote Apoptotic Cell Death in the Striatum via Cytochrome c/Caspase-3 Signaling Cascade Following Chronic Rotenone Intoxication in Rats 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder marked by nigrostriatal dopaminergic degeneration. Evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may be linked to PD through a variety of different pathways, including free-radical generation and dysfunction of the mitochondrial Complex I activity. In Lewis rats, chronic systemic administration of a specific mitochondrial Complex I inhibitor, rotenone (3 mg/kg/day) produced parkinsonism-like symptoms. Increased oxidized proteins and peroxynitrite, and mitochondrial or cytosol translocation of Bim, Bax or cytochrome c in the striatum was observed after 2–4 weeks of rotenone infusion. After 28 days of systemic rotenone exposure, imunohistochemical staining for tyrosine hydroxylase indicated nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal cell degeneration. Characteristic histochemical (TUNEL or activated caspase-3 staining) or ultrastructural (electron microscopy) features of apoptotic cell death were present in the striatal neuronal cell after chronic rotenone intoxication. We conclude that chronic rotenone intoxication may enhance oxidative and nitrosative stress that induces mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural damage, resulting in translocation of Bim and Bax from cytosol to mitochondria that contributes to apoptotic cell death in the striatum via cytochrome c/caspase-3 signaling cascade.
PMCID: PMC3430261  PMID: 22942730
rotenone; Parkinson’s disease; mitochondria; complex I; apoptotic cell death; striatum
11.  Effect of erythropoietin on level of circulating endothelial progenitor cells and outcome in patients after acute ischemic stroke 
Critical Care  2011;15(1):R40.
Erythropoietin (EPO) enhances the circulating level of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which has been reported to be associated with prognostic outcome in ischemic stroke (IS) patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the time course of circulating EPC level and the impact of EPO therapy on EPC level and clinical outcome in patients after acute IS.
In total, 167 patients were prospectively randomized to receive either EPO therapy (group 1) (5,000 IU each time, subcutaneously) at 48 h and 72 h after acute IS, or serve as placebo (group 2). The circulating level of EPCs (double-stained markers: CD31/CD34 (E1), CD62E/CD34 (E2) and KDR/CD34 (E3)) was determined using flow cytometry at 48 h and on days 7 and 21 after IS. EPC level was also evaluated once in 60 healthy volunteers.
Circulating EPC (E1 to E3) level at 48 h after IS was remarkably higher in patients than in control subjects (P < 0.02). At 48 h and on Day 7 after IS, EPC (E1 to E3) level did not differ between groups 1 and 2 (all P > 0.1). However, by Day 21, EPC (E1 to E3) level was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (all P < 0.03). Additionally, 90-day recurrent stroke rate was notably lower in group 1 compared with group 2 (P = 0.022). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that EPO therapy (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.153 to 0.730; P = 0.006) and EPC (E3) (95% CI, 0.341 to 0.997; P = 0.049) levels were significantly and independently predictive of a reduced 90-day major adverse neurological event (MANE) (defined as recurrent stroke, National Institutes of Health Stroke scale ≥8, or death).
EPO therapy significantly improved circulating EPC level and 90-day MANE.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3221969  PMID: 21269484
12.  Roles of Oxidative Stress, Apoptosis, PGC-1α and Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Cerebral Ischemia 
The primary physiological function of mitochondria is to generate adenosine triphosphate through oxidative phosphorylation via the electron transport chain. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as byproducts generated from mitochondria have been implicated in acute brain injuries such as stroke from cerebral ischemia. It was well-documented that mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway involves pro- and anti-apoptotic protein binding, release of cytochrome c, leading ultimately to neuronal death. On the other hand, mitochondria also play a role to counteract the detrimental effects elicited by excessive oxidative stress. Recent studies have revealed that oxidative stress and the redox state of ischemic neurons are also implicated in the signaling pathway that involves peroxisome proliferative activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) co-activator 1α (PGC1-α). PGC1-α is a master regulator of ROS scavenging enzymes including manganese superoxide dismutase 2 and the uncoupling protein 2, both are mitochondrial proteins, and may contribute to neuronal survival. PGC1-α is also involved in mitochondrial biogenesis that is vital for cell survival. Experimental evidence supports the roles of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress as determinants of neuronal death as well as endogenous protective mechanisms after stroke. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying cerebral ischemia involving ROS, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, mitochondrial proteins capable of ROS scavenging, and mitochondrial biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3211033  PMID: 22072942
ischemia; oxidative stress; apoptosis; peroxisome proliferative activated receptor-γ co-activator 1α; antioxidant enzyme; mitochondrial biogenesis
13.  Lack of association between mutations of gene-encoding mitochondrial D310 (displacement loop) mononucleotide repeat and oxidative stress in chronic dialysis patients in Taiwan 
Mitochondria (mt) are highly susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we investigated the association between a region within the displacement loop (D-loop) in mtDNA that is highly susceptible to ROS and oxidative stress markers in chronic dialysis patients. We enrolled 184 chronic dialysis patients and 213 age-matched healthy subjects for comparison. Blood levels of oxidative stress markers, such as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and free thiol, and the mtDNA copy number were determined. A mononucleotide repeat sequence (CCCC...CCCTCCCCCC) between nucleotides 303 and 316-318 (D310) was identified in mtDNA.
Depending on alterations in the D310 mononucleotide repeat, subjects were categorized into 4 subgroups: 7-C, 8-C, 9 or 10-C, and T-to-C transition. Oxidative stress was higher in chronic dialysis patients, evidenced by higher levels of TBARS and mtDNA copy number, and a lower level of free thiol. The distribution of 7-C, 8-C, and 9-10C in dialysis and control subjects was as follows: 7-C (38% vs. 31.5%), 8-C (35.3% vs. 43.2%), and 9-10C (24.5% vs. 22.1%). Although there were significant differences in levels of TBARS, free thiol, and the mtDNA copy number in the D310 repeat subgroups (except T-to-C transition) between dialysis patients and control subjects, post hoc analyses within the same study cohort revealed no significant differences.
Although oxidative stress was elevated in chronic dialysis patients and resulted in a compensatory increase in the mtDNA copy number, homopolymeric C repeats in the mtDNA region (D310), susceptible to ROS, were not associated with oxidative stress markers in these patients.
PMCID: PMC2777840  PMID: 19889239

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