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1.  Depression Increases Sympathetic Activity and Exacerbates Myocardial Remodeling after Myocardial Infarction: Evidence from an Animal Experiment 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101734.
Depression is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with myocardial infarction (MI). Excessive sympathetic activation and serious myocardial remodeling may contribute to this association. The aim of this study was to discuss the effect of depression on sympathetic activity and myocardial remodeling after MI. Wild-type (WT) rats were divided into a sham group (Sham), a myocardial infarction group (MI), a depression group (D), and a myocardial infarction plus depression group (MI+D). Compared with controls, the MI+D animals displayed depression-like behaviors and attenuated body weight gain. The evaluation of sympathetic activity showed an increased level in plasma concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine and higher expression of myocardial tyrosine hydroxylase in the MI+D group than the control groups (p<0.05 for all). Cardiac function and morphologic analyses revealed a decreased fractional shortening accompanied by increased left ventricular dimensions, thinning myocardium wall, and reduced collagen repair in the MI+D group compared with the MI group (p<0.05 for all). Frequent premature ventricular contractions, prolonged QT duration and ventricular repolarization duration, shorted effective refractory period, and increased susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmia were displayed in MI+D rats. These results indicate that sympathetic hyperactivation and exacerbated myocardial remodeling may be a plausible mechanism linking depression to an adverse prognosis after MI.
PMCID: PMC4103791  PMID: 25036781
2.  Targeted quantification of low ng/mL level proteins in human serum without immunoaffinity depletion 
Journal of proteome research  2013;12(7):3353-3361.
We recently reported an antibody-free targeted protein quantification strategy, termed high-pressure, high-resolution separations with intelligent selection and multiplexing (PRISM) for achieving significantly enhanced sensitivity using selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mass spectrometry. Integrating PRISM with front-end IgY14 immunoaffinity depletion, sensitive detection of targeted proteins at 50–100 pg/mL levels in human blood plasma/serum was demonstrated. However, immunoaffinity depletion is often associated with undesired losses of target proteins of interest. Herein we report further evaluation of PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance serum proteins without immunoaffinity depletion. Limits of quantification (LOQ) at low ng/mL levels with a median coefficient of variation (CV) of ~12% were achieved for proteins spiked into human female serum. PRISM-SRM provided >100-fold improvement in the LOQ when compared to conventional LC-SRM measurements. PRISM-SRM was then applied to measure several low-abundance endogenous serum proteins, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA), in clinical prostate cancer patient sera. PRISM-SRM enabled confident detection of all target endogenous serum proteins except the low pg/mL-level cardiac troponin T. A correlation coefficient >0.99 was observed for PSA between the results from PRISM-SRM and immunoassays. Our results demonstrate that PRISM-SRM can successful quantify low ng/mL proteins in human plasma or serum without depletion. We anticipate broad applications for PRISM-SRM quantification of low-abundance proteins in candidate biomarker verification and systems biology studies.
PMCID: PMC3733379  PMID: 23763644
SRM; PRISM; targeted quantification; low-abundance protein; human serum; sensitivity; reproducibility
3.  Inhibition of MDM2 by Nilotinib Contributes to Cytotoxicity in Both Philadelphia-Positive and Negative Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100960.
Nilotinib is a selective BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitor related to imatinib that is more potent than imatinib. Nilotinib is widely used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The present study identifies Mouse double minute 2 homolog (MDM2) as a target of nilotinib. In studying ALL cell lines, we found that the expression of MDM2 in both Philadelphia positive (Ph+) and Philadelphia negative (Ph-) ALL cells was remarkably inhibited by nilotinib, in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Further studies demonstrated that nilotinib inhibited MDM2 at the post-translational level by inducing MDM2 self-ubiquitination and degradation. Nilotinib-mediated MDM2 downregulation did not result in accumulation and activation of p53. Inhibition of MDM2 in nilotinib-treated ALL cells led to downregulation of the anti-apoptotic protein X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a translational target of MDM2, resulting in activation of caspases. Inhibition of XIAP following nilotinib-mediated downregulation of MDM2 resulted in apoptosis of MDM2-expressing ALL; however, similar nilotinib treatment induced stronger apoptosis in Ph+/MDM2+ ALL than in Ph-/MDM2+ or Ph+/MDM2- ALL. The ALL cells that were Ph-/MDM2- were totally resistant to nilotinib. These results suggested that nilotinib can inhibit MDM2 and induce a p53-independent apoptosis pathway by downregulating XIAP; thus, nilotinib can treat not only Ph+, but also Ph- ALL patients whose cancer cells overexpress MDM2.
PMCID: PMC4072773  PMID: 24968304
4.  Genome-wide Map of Nuclear Protein Degradation Shows NCoR1 Turnover as a Key to Mitochondrial Gene Regulation 
Cell  2013;155(6):1380-1395.
Transcription factor activity and turnover are functionally linked, but the global patterns by which DNA-bound regulators are eliminated remain poorly understood. We established an assay to define the chromosomal location of DNA-associated proteins that are slated for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The genome-wide map described here ties proteolysis in mammalian cells to active enhancers and to promoters of specific gene families. Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes in particular correlate with protein elimination, which positively affects their transcription. We show that the nuclear receptor corepressor NCoR1 is a key target of proteolysis and physically interacts with the transcription factor CREB. Proteasome inhibition stabilizes NCoR1 in a site-specific manner and restrains mitochondrial activity by repressing CREB-sensitive genes. In conclusion, this functional map of nuclear proteolysis links chromatin architecture with local protein stability and identifies proteolytic derepression as highly dynamic in regulating the transcription of genes involved in energy metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4068507  PMID: 24315104
5.  Analysis of the Transcriptome of Erigeron breviscapus Uncovers Putative Scutellarin and Chlorogenic Acids Biosynthetic Genes and Genetic Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100357.
Erigeron breviscapus (Vant.) Hand-Mazz. is a famous medicinal plant. Scutellarin and chlorogenic acids are the primary active components in this herb. However, the mechanisms of biosynthesis and regulation for scutellarin and chlorogenic acids in E. breviscapus are considerably unknown. In addition, genomic information of this herb is also unavailable.
Principal Findings
Using Illumina sequencing on GAIIx platform, a total of 64,605,972 raw sequencing reads were generated and assembled into 73,092 non-redundant unigenes. Among them, 44,855 unigenes (61.37%) were annotated in the public databases Nr, Swiss-Prot, KEGG, and COG. The transcripts encoding the known enzymes involved in flavonoids and in chlorogenic acids biosynthesis were discovered in the Illumina dataset. Three candidate cytochrome P450 genes were discovered which might encode flavone 6-hydroase converting apigenin to scutellarein. Furthermore, 4 unigenes encoding the homologues of maize P1 (R2R3-MYB transcription factors) were defined, which might regulate the biosynthesis of scutellarin. Additionally, a total of 11,077 simple sequence repeat (SSR) were identified from 9,255 unigenes. Of SSRs, tri-nucleotide motifs were the most abundant motif. Thirty-six primer pairs for SSRs were randomly selected for validation of the amplification and polymorphism. The result revealed that 34 (94.40%) primer pairs were successfully amplified and 19 (52.78%) primer pairs exhibited polymorphisms.
Using next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, this study firstly provides abundant genomic data for E. breviscapus. The candidate genes involved in the biosynthesis and transcriptional regulation of scutellarin and chlorogenic acids were obtained in this study. Additionally, a plenty of genetic makers were generated by identification of SSRs, which is a powerful tool for molecular breeding and genetics applications in this herb.
PMCID: PMC4067309  PMID: 24956277
6.  Protective effect of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in intestinal barrier permeability after heterotopic intestinal transplantation 
AIM: To explore the protective effect of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM MSCs) in the small intestinal mucosal barrier following heterotopic intestinal transplantation (HIT) in a rat model.
METHODS: BM MSCs were isolated from male Lewis rats by density gradient centrifugation, cultured, and analyzed by flow cytometry. The HIT models were divided into a non-rejection group, saline-treated rejection group (via penile vein), and BM MSC–treated group (via penile vein). Intestinal mucosal barrier injury was estimated by diamine oxidase (DAO) and D-lactic acid (D-LA) expression levels. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (INF-γ), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Ultrastructural change of tight junctions (TJs) was observed under transmission electron microscope. Expression levels of the TJ proteins occludin and zona occludens (ZO)-1, affected by the inflammatory factors, were measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting.
RESULTS: The pathological score at each time point after surgery indicated significantly less serious injury in the BM MSCs-treated group than in the rejection group (P < 0.05). In the former, graft levels of DAO and D-LA were reduced, and TNF-α and INF-γ production was inhibited (at day 7: 10.6473 ± 0.0710 vs 17.2128 ± 0.4991, P < 0.05; 545.1506 ± 31.9416 vs 810.2637 ± 25.1175, P < 0.05). IL-10 and TGF-β production was increased greatly (at day 7: 125.7773 ± 4.7719 vs 80.3756 ± 2.5866, P < 0.05; 234.5273 ± 9.3980 vs 545.1506 ± 31.9416, P < 0.05). There was increased expression of occludin and ZO-1 protein (at day 7: 0.2674 ± 0.0128 vs 0.1352 ± 0.0142, P < 0.05; at day 5: 0.7189 ± 0.0289 vs 0.4556 ± 0.0242, P < 0.05) and mRNA (at day 7: 0.3860 ± 0.0254 vs 0.1673 ± 0.0369, P < 0.05; at day 5: 0.5727 ± 0.0419 vs 0.3598 ± 0.0242, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: BM MSCs can improve intestinal barrier permeability, repair TJs, and increase occludin and ZO-1 protein expression. With altered cytokine levels, they can protect the intestinal mucosa after transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4064089  PMID: 24966614
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; Small intestinal transplantation; Intestinal mucosal barrier; Occludin; Zona occludens-1
7.  Determination of burn patient outcome by large-scale quantitative discovery proteomics 
Critical care medicine  2013;41(6):1421-1434.
Emerging proteomics techniques can be used to establish proteomic outcome signatures and to identify candidate biomarkers for survival following traumatic injury. We applied high-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and multiplex cytokine analysis to profile the plasma proteome of survivors and non-survivors of massive burn injury to determine the proteomic survival signature following a major burn injury.
Proteomic discovery study.
Five burn hospitals across the U.S.
Thirty-two burn patients (16 non-survivors and 16 survivors), 19–89 years of age, were admitted within 96 h of injury to the participating hospitals with burns covering >20% of the total body surface area and required at least one surgical intervention.
Measurements and Main Results
We found differences in circulating levels of 43 proteins involved in the acute phase response, hepatic signaling, the complement cascade, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Thirty-two of the proteins identified were not previously known to play a role in the response to burn. IL-4, IL-8, GM-CSF, MCP-1, and β2-microglobulin correlated well with survival and may serve as clinical biomarkers.
These results demonstrate the utility of these techniques for establishing proteomic survival signatures and for use as a discovery tool to identify candidate biomarkers for survival. This is the first clinical application of a high-throughput, large-scale LC-MS-based quantitative plasma proteomic approach for biomarker discovery for the prediction of patient outcome following burn, trauma or critical illness.
PMCID: PMC3660437  PMID: 23507713
burn; inflammation; proteomic profiling; plasma proteins; LC-MS; biomarker
8.  Germ-Line–Competent Embryonic Stem Cells of the Chinese Kunming Mouse Strain with Long-Term Self-Renewal Ability 
Cellular Reprogramming  2013;15(3):179-184.
Kunming (KM) mice are the most widely used strain in China. However, authentic embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from KM mice have never been available, and this hampers the genetic manipulation of this valuable mice strain. In this study, we show that KM ESCs can be efficiently derived and maintained in chemically defined N2B27 medium with the presence of two small molecules PD0325901 and CHIR99021 (2i medium). These KM ESCs exhibit all features of ESCs, including long-term self-renewal ability, expression of key molecular markers (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2), the ability to form teratomas, and the capacity to incorporate into the developing embryo and then transmit through the germ line.
PMCID: PMC3666247  PMID: 23713430
9.  Resin-assisted enrichment of thiols as a general strategy for proteomic profiling of cysteine-based reversible modifications 
Nature protocols  2013;9(1):64-75.
Reversible modifications of cysteine thiols play a significant role in redox signaling and regulation. A number of reversible redox modifications, including disulfide formation, S-nitrosylation, and S-glutathionylation, have been recognized for their significance in various physiological and pathological processes. Here we describe a procedure for the enrichment of peptides containing reversible cysteine modifications. Starting with tissue or cell lysate samples, all of the unmodified free thiols are blocked using N-ethylmaleimide (NEM). This is followed by the selective reduction of those cysteines bearing the reversible modification(s) of interest. The reduction is achieved by using different reducing reagents that react specifically with each type of cysteine modification (e.g., ascorbate for S-nitrosylation). This protocol serves as a general approach for enrichment of thiol-containing proteins or peptides derived from reversibly modified proteins. The approach utilizes a commercially available thiol-affinity resin (Thiopropyl Sepharose 6B) to directly capture free thiol-containing proteins through a disulfide exchange reaction followed by on-resin protein digestion and multiplexed isobaric labeling to facilitate LC–MS/MS based quantitative site-specific analysis of cysteine-based reversible modifications. The overall approach requires a simpler workflow with increased specificity compared to the commonly used biotinylation-based assays. The procedure for selective enrichment and analyses of S-nitrosylation and the level of total reversible cysteine modifications (or total oxidation) is presented to demonstrate the utility of this general strategy. The entire protocol requires approximately 3 days for sample processing with an additional day for LC-MS/MS and data analysis.
PMCID: PMC4038159  PMID: 24336471
Mass spectrometry; post-translational modification; cysteine modification; redox modification; cysteine derivatisation; on-resin digestion; on-resin reaction; thiol enrichment; S-nitrosylation; reversibly oxidized cysteines; S-glutathionylation; S-acylation; iTRAQ; isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification; tandem mass tags; TMT; MASIC
10.  Chinese medicinal formula, Qinggan Huoxue Recipe protects rats from alcoholic liver disease via the lipopolysaccharide-Kupffer cell signal conduction pathway 
The Chinese medicinal formula, Qinggan (QG) Huoxue (HX) Recipe (R) exerts a range of pharmacological effects, including reversible steatosis, decreased levels of inflammatory cytokines and lipid peroxidation resistance. The aim of the present study was to determine the specific mechanisms of QGHXR hepatoprotection through the lipopolysaccharide-Kupffer cell (LPS-KC) signal conduction pathway in rats with alcoholic liver disease (ALD). ALD rats were exposed to the compound factors, QGR and HXR. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was conducted to evaluate the pathological changes in the liver following QGHXR treatment and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed to measure the content of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the plasma. Immunohistochemical staining was conducted to examine the expression of cell differentiation antigen (CD) 68 and 14. In addition, western blot analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction were used to measure the expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), phosphorylated-extracellular regulated protein kinases (p-ERK), nuclear factor (NF)-κB, CD14 and TNF-α. Following stimulation with the compound factors, the rats exhibited increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, as well as marked pathological changes. Furthermore, the related molecules in the LPS-KC pathway were upregulated and QGHXR was identified to be effective in the LPS-KC signal conduction pathway in the ALD rats. QGHXR was superior to QGR and HXR in reducing the serum ALT and AST levels, regulating CD14, TLR4, NF-κB, ERK and TNF-α as well as improving the pathological changes. The results indicated that QGHXR therapy may provide a novel strategy for treating ALD via regulation of the related molecules in the LPS-KC signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4079449  PMID: 25009584
Qinggan Huoxue Recipe; alcoholic liver disease; lipopolysaccharide; Kupffer cells
11.  Inhibitory Effect of Cinobufagin on L-Type Ca2+ Currents, Contractility, and Ca2+ Homeostasis of Isolated Adult Rat Ventricular Myocytes 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:496705.
Cinobufagin (CBG), a major bioactive ingredient of the bufanolide steroid compounds of Chan Su, has been widely used to treat coronary heart disease. At present, the effect of CBG on the L-type Ca2+ current (ICa-L) of ventricular myocytes remains undefined. The aim of the present study was to characterize the effect of CBG on intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) handling and cell contractility in rat ventricular myocytes. CBG was investigated by determining its influence on ICa-L, Ca2+ transient, and contractility in rat ventricular myocytes using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique and video-based edge-detection and dual-excitation fluorescence photomultiplier systems. The dose of CBG (10−8 M) decreased the maximal inhibition of CBG by 47.93%. CBG reduced ICa-L in a concentration-dependent manner with an IC50 of 4 × 10−10 M, upshifted the current-voltage curve of ICa-L, and shifted the activation and inactivation curves of ICa-L leftward. Moreover, CBG diminished the amplitude of the cell shortening and Ca2+ transients with a decrease in the time to peak (Tp) and the time to 50% of the baseline (Tr). CBG inhibited L-type Ca2+ channels, and reduced [Ca2+]i and contractility in adult rat ventricular myocytes. These findings contribute to the understanding of the cardioprotective efficacy of CBG.
PMCID: PMC4058228  PMID: 24977199
12.  Association of Hepatitis B Virus Pre-S Deletions with the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Qidong, China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98257.
To investigate the roles of mutations in pre-S and S regions of hepatitis B virus (HBV) on the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Qidong, China.
We conducted an age matched case-control study within a cohort of 2387 male HBV carriers who were recruited from August, 1996. The HBV DNA sequence in pre-S/S regions was successfully determined in 96 HCC cases and 97 control subjects. In addition, a consecutive series of samples from 11 HCC cases were employed to evaluate the pre-S deletion patterns before and after the occurrence of HCC.
After adjustment for age, history of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, HBeAg positivity, pre-S deletions, pre-S2 start codon mutations, and T53C mutation were significantly associated with HCC, showing adjusted odds ratios (ORs) from 1.914 to 3.199. HCC patients also had a lower frequency of T31C mutation in pre-S2 gene, compared with control subjects (0.524; 95% CI 0.280-0.982). HBV pre-S deletions were clustered mainly in the 5′ end of pre-S2 region. Multivariate analysis showed that pre-S deletions and pre-S2 start codon mutations were independent risk factors for HCC. The OR (95% CI) were 2.434 (1.063–5.573) and 3.065 (1.099–8.547), respectively. The longitudinal observation indicated that the pre-S deletion mutations were not acquired at the beginning of HBV infection, but that the mutations occurred during the long course of liver disease.
Pre-S deletions and pre-S2 start codon mutations were independently associated with the development of HCC. The results also provided direct evidence that pre-S deletion mutations were not acquired from the beginning of infection but arose de novo during the progression of liver disease.
PMCID: PMC4029943  PMID: 24849936
13.  CistromeFinder for ChIP-seq and DNase-seq data reuse 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(10):1352-1354.
Summary: Chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNase I hypersensitivity assays with high-throughput sequencing have greatly accelerated the understanding of transcriptional and epigenetic regulation, although data reuse for the community of experimental biologists has been challenging. We created a data portal CistromeFinder that can help query, evaluate and visualize publicly available Chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNase I hypersensitivity assays with high-throughput sequencing data in human and mouse. The database currently contains 6378 samples over 4391 datasets, 313 factors and 102 cell lines or cell populations. Each dataset has gone through a consistent analysis and quality control pipeline; therefore, users could evaluate the overall quality of each dataset before examining binding sites near their genes of interest. CistromeFinder is integrated with UCSC genome browser for visualization, Primer3Plus for ChIP-qPCR primer design and CistromeMap for submitting newly available datasets. It also allows users to leave comments to facilitate data evaluation and update.
Contact: or
PMCID: PMC3654708  PMID: 23508969
14.  Central circuits regulating the sympathetic outflow to lumbar muscles in spinally transected mice by retrograde transsynaptic transport 
Despite considerable interest in the mechanisms that control the hyperalgesia associated with muscle inflammation, the CNS descending pathways that coordinate autonomic circuits regulating lumbar muscles are not adequately understood. Here we used both pseudorabies virus (PRV)-614 retrograde transsynaptic tracing and spinally transected method in 33 C57BL/6J mice to map the polysynaptic pathways between lumbar muscle and CNS. Tissues were processed for dual-label immunocytochemical detection between PRV-614 and tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-expressing neurons in CNS. In intact mice, PRV-614 was transported to the intermediolateral column (IML) and ventral horn (VH) of spinal cord, with subsequent transport to many brain regions, including the medullary raphe nuclei, rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), A5 cell group regions (A5), locus coeruleus (LC), the medullary and pontine reticular formation nucleus (MRN and PRN), paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), and other central sites. However, PRV-614 in spinally transected mice produced retrograde infection of IML, with subsequent transport to main brain regions that have been shown to contribute to regulating sympathetic circuits, including RVLM, Lateral paragigantocellular reticular nucleus (LPGi), A5, LC, and PVN, whereas PRV-614 labeling in VH and MRN was eliminated in almost every case. In above five brain regions, dual-labeling immunocytochemistry showed coexpression of PRV-614/TPH and PRV-614/TH immunoreactive (IR) neurons involved in these regulatory circuits. Our results reveal a hierarchical organization of central autonomic circuits controlling the lumbar muscles, thus providing neuroanatomical substrates for the central catecholaminergic and serotonergic system to regulate the lumbar muscles.
PMCID: PMC4097212  PMID: 25031717
Lumbar muscles; spinal transection; pseudorabies virus; tryptophan hydroxylase; tyrosine hydroxylase
15.  Analysis of gene expression changes in Trichophyton rubrum after skin interaction 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2014;63(Pt 5):642-648.
Trichophyton rubrum, an anthropophilic and cosmopolitan fungus, is the most common agent of superficial mycoses. In this study, T. rubrum infection was modelled by adding human skin sections to a limited medium containing glucose and cDNA microarrays were used to monitor T. rubrum gene expression patterns on a global level. We observed that exposure to human skin resulted in upregulation of the expression levels of T. rubrum genes related to many cellular and biological processes, including transcription and translation, metabolism and secondary transport, the stress response, and signalling pathways. These results provide a reference set of T. rubrum genes whose expression patterns change upon infection and reveal previously unknown genes that most likely correspond to proteins that should be considered as virulence factor candidates and potential new drug targets for T. rubrum infection.
PMCID: PMC4042497  PMID: 24586032
16.  Gr-1+CD11b+ cells facilitate Lewis lung cancer recurrence by enhancing neovasculature after local irradiation 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4833.
Studies have shown that bone marrow-derived cells play an important role in tumor recurrence after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In this study, we examined the relationship between the accumulation of Gr-1+CD11b+ cells and tumor recurrence after irradiation in tumor-bearing mice. By transplanting bone marrow cells into whole body-irradiated mice depleted of bone marrow, we assessed the role of Gr-1+CD11b+ cells in lung carcinoma models after local irradiation (LI). 20 Gy local irradiation could recruit CD11b+CXCR4+ cells into the irradiated tissues, and the recruited CD11b+CXCR4+ cells could promote tumor recurrence. Further 6 Gy whole body irradiation (WBI6Gy) could decrease tumor recurrence by inhibiting the accumulation of Gr-1+CD11b+ cells and then suppressing tumor vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Our results suggest that the accumulation of CD11b+Gr-1+ cells promote tumor re-growth after local irradiation by enhancing tumor neovascularization, and low dose of whole body irradiation or irradiation of enlarged spleen may provide a new alternative for anti-angiogenesis therapies.
PMCID: PMC4003474  PMID: 24776637
17.  The MLH1 c.1852_1853delinsGC (p.K618A) Variant in Colorectal Cancer: Genetic Association Study in 18,723 Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95022.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most frequent neoplasms and an important cause of mortality in the developed world. Mendelian syndromes account for about 5% of the total burden of CRC, being Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis the most common forms. Lynch syndrome tumors develop mainly as a consequence of defective DNA mismatch repair associated with germline mutations in MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2. A significant proportion of variants identified by screening these genes correspond to missense or noncoding changes without a clear pathogenic consequence, and they are designated as “variants of uncertain significance”, being the c.1852_1853delinsGC (p.K618A) variant in the MLH1 gene a clear example. The implication of this variant as a low-penetrance risk variant for CRC was assessed in the present study by performing a case-control study within a large cohort from the COGENT consortium-COST Action BM1206 including 18,723 individuals (8,055 colorectal cancer cases and 10,668 controls) and a case-only genotype-phenotype correlation with several clinical and pathological characteristics restricted to the Epicolon cohort. Our results showed no involvement of this variant as a low-penetrance variant for colorectal cancer genetic susceptibility and no association with any clinical and pathological characteristics including family history for this neoplasm or Lynch syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3990597  PMID: 24743384
18.  The histone demethylase JMJD1A induces cell migration and invasion by up-regulating the expression of the long noncoding RNA MALAT1 
Oncotarget  2014;5(7):1793-1804.
Patients with neuroblastoma due to N-Myc oncogene amplification have a high frequency of tumor metastasis. However, it is not clear how N-Myc induces cell migration, invasion and metastasis. The histone demethylase JMJD1A activates gene transcription by demethylating the lysine 9 residue of histone H3 (H3K9) at target gene promoters. The long noncoding RNA MALAT1 induces lung cancer cell migration and plays a pivotal role in lung cancer metastasis. Here we demonstrated that N-Myc up-regulated the expression of JMJD1A in N-Myc oncogene-amplified human neuroblastoma cells by directly binding to the JMJD1A gene promoter. Affymetrix microarray studies revealed that the gene second most significantly up-regulated by JMJD1A was MALAT1. Consistent with this finding, RT-PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that JMJD1A bound to the MALAT1 gene promoter and demethylated histone H3K9 at the MALAT1 gene promoter. Moreover, JMJD1A and MALAT1 induced, while the small molecule JMJD1A inhibitor DMOG suppressed, neuroblastoma cell migration and invasion. Taken together, our data identify a novel pathway through which N-Myc causes neuroblastoma cell migration and invasion, and provide important evidence for further development of more potent JMJD1A/MALAT1 inhibitors for the prevention of tumor metastasis.
PMCID: PMC4039110  PMID: 24742640
neuroblastoma; N-Myc; JMJD1A; histone demethylation; MALAT1
19.  Use of probiotics in the treatment of severe acute pancreatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):R57.
Necrotic tissue infection can worsen the prognosis of severe acute pancreatitis (SAP), and probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in reducing the infection rate in animal experiments and primary clinical trials. However, the results of multicenter randomized clinical trials have been contradictory. Our aim in this study was to systematically review and quantitatively analyze all randomized controlled trials with regard to important outcomes in patients with predicted SAP who received probiotics.
A systematic literature search of the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases was conducted using specific search terms. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials that compared the effects of probiotic with placebo treatment in patients with predicted SAP. Mean difference (MD), risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated using the Mantel-Haenszel fixed- and random-effects models. A meta-analysis on the use of probiotics in the treatment of critically ill patients was also performed to serve as a reference.
In this study, 6 trials comprising an aggregate total of 536 patients were analyzed. Significant heterogeneities were observed in the type, dose, treatment duration and clinical effects of probiotics in these trials. Systematic analysis showed that probiotics did not significantly affect the pancreatic infection rate (RR = 1.19, 95% CI = 0.74 to 1.93; P = 0.47), total infections (RR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.80 to 1.48; P = 0.57), operation rate (RR = 1.42, 95% CI = 0.43 to 3.47; P = 0.71), length of hospital stay (MD = 2.45, 95% CI = −2.71 to 7.60; P = 0.35) or mortality (RR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.42 to 1.45; P = 0.25).
Probiotics showed neither beneficial nor adverse effects on the clinical outcomes of patients with predicted SAP. However, significant heterogeneity was noted between the trials reviewed with regard to the type, dose and treatment duration of probiotics, which may have contributed to the heterogeneity of the clinical outcomes. The current data are not sufficient to draw a conclusion regarding the effects of probiotics on patients with predicted SAP. Carefully designed clinical trials are needed to validate the effects of particular probiotics given at specific dosages and for specific treatment durations.
PMCID: PMC4056604  PMID: 24684832
20.  Optimal Allocation of Gold Standard Testing under Constrained Availability: Application to Assessment of HIV Treatment Failure 
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for monitoring the effectiveness of HIV treatment in resource-limited settings (RLS) are mostly based on clinical and immunological markers (e.g., CD4 cell counts). Recent research indicates that the guidelines are inadequate and can result in high error rates. Viral load (VL) is considered the “gold standard”, yet its widespread use is limited by cost and infrastructure. In this paper, we propose a diagnostic algorithm that uses information from routinely-collected clinical and immunological markers to guide a selective use of VL testing for diagnosing HIV treatment failure, under the assumption that VL testing is available only at a certain portion of patient visits. Our algorithm identifies the patient sub-population, such that the use of limited VL testing on them minimizes a pre-defined risk (e.g., misdiagnosis error rate). Diagnostic properties of our proposal algorithm are assessed by simulations. For illustration, data from the Miriam Hospital Immunology Clinic (RI, USA) are analyzed.
PMCID: PMC3963362  PMID: 24672142
Antiretroviral failure; constrained optimization; HIV/AIDS; resource limited; ROC; tripartite classification
21.  Berberine represses DAXX gene transcription and induces cancer cell apoptosis 
DAXX is a multifunctional protein that regulates a wide range of cellular signaling pathways for both cell survival and apoptosis. Regulation of DAXX gene expression remains largely obscure. We recently reported that berberine (BBR), a natural product derived from a plant used in Chinese herbal medicine, downregulates DAXX expression at the transcriptional level. Here, we further investigate the mechanisms underlying the transcriptional suppression of DAXX by BBR. By analyzing and mapping the putative DAXX gene promoter, we identified the core promoter region (from −161 to −1), which contains consensus sequences for the transcriptional factors Sp1 and Ets1. We confirmed that Sp1 and Ets1 bound to the core promoter region of DAXX and stimulated DAXX transcriptional activity. In contrast, BBR bound to the DAXX core promoter region and suppressed its transcriptional activity. Following studies demonstrated a possible mechanism that BBR inhibited the DAXX promoter activity through blocking or disrupting the association of Sp1 or Ets1 and their consensus sequences in the promoter. Downregulation of DAXX by BBR resulted in inhibition of MDM2 and subsequently, activation of p53, leading to cancer cell death. Our results reveal a novel possible mechanism: by competitively binding to the Sp1 and Ets1 consensus sequences, BBR inhibits the transcription of DAXX, thus inducing cancer cell apoptosis through a p53-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC3961588  PMID: 23295648
DAXX; Sp1; Ets1; BBR; neuroblastoma
22.  Discovery of a Strongly-Interrelated Gene Network in Corals under Constant Darkness by Correlation Analysis after Wavelet Transform on Complex Network Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92434.
Coral reefs occupy a relatively small portion of sea area, yet serve as a crucial source of biodiversity by establishing harmonious ecosystems with marine plants and animals. Previous researches mainly focused on screening several key genes induced by stress. Here we proposed a novel method—correlation analysis after wavelet transform of complex network model, to explore the effect of light on gene expression in the coral Acropora millepora based on microarray data. In this method, wavelet transform and the conception of complex network were adopted, and 50 key genes with large differences were finally captured, including both annotated genes and novel genes without accurate annotation. These results shed light on our understanding of coral's response toward light changes and the genome-wide interaction among genes under the control of biorhythm, and hence help us to better protect the coral reef ecosystems. Further studies are needed to explore how functional connections are related to structural connections, and how connectivity arises from the interactions within and between different systems. The method introduced in this study for analyzing microarray data will allow researchers to explore genome-wide interaction network with their own dataset and understand the relevant biological processes.
PMCID: PMC3961355  PMID: 24651851
23.  Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Use of Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors for Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction following Bilateral Nerve-Sparing Radical Prostatectomy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91327.
Prostate cancer is relatively common cancer occurring in males. Radical prostatectomy (RP) is the most effective treatment for a localized tumor but erectile dysfunction (ED) is common complication, even when bilateral nerve-sparing RP (BNSRP) is performed. Clinical trials have shown varied effectiveness of phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE5-Is) for treatment of post-BNSRP ED, but there remains controversy over the application of this treatment and no formal systematic review and meta-analysis for the use of PDE5-Is for this condition has been conducted. This review was to systematically assess the efficacy and safety of oral PDE5-Is for post-BNSRP ED. A database search was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The comparative efficacy of treatments was analyzed by fixed or random effect modeling. Erectile function was measured using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), Sexual Encounter Profile (SEP) question-2, 3 and the Global Assessment Question (GAQ). The rate and incidence of adverse events (AEs) were determined. The quality of included studies was appraised using the Cochrane Collaboration bias appraisal tool. Eight RCTs were included in the analyses. PDE5-Is were effective for treating post-BNSRP ED compared to placebo when erectile function was determined using the IIEF score [mean difference (MD) 5.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) (4.26–6.99)], SEP-2 [relative risk (RR) 1.63, 95% CI (1.18–2.25) ], SEP-3 [RR 2.00, 95% CI (1.27–3.15) ] and GAQ [RR 3.35, 95% CI (2.68–4.67) ]. The subgroup analysis could find a trend that longer treatment duration, higher dosage, on-demand dosing, sildenafil and mild ED are associated with more responsiveness to PDE5-Is. PDE5-Is were overall well tolerated with headache being the most commonly reported AE. Our data provides compelling evidence for the use of PDE5-Is as a primary treatment for post-BNSRP ED. However, further studies are required to optomize usage parameters (such as dosage and duration of treatment).
PMCID: PMC3949994  PMID: 24618671
24.  High Expression of Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen 1 Correlates with Poor Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90955.
Neuro-oncological ventral antigen 1 (Nova1) is a neuron-specific RNA-binding protein in human paraneoplastic opsoclonus-myoclonus ataxia accompanying with malignant tumors, but its role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains elusive. In this study, we found that overexpressed intratumoral Nova1 was associated with poor survival rate and increased recurrence rate of HCC, especially early recurrence, and was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival rate and tumor recurrence. HCC cell lines over-expressing Nova1 exhibited greater potentials in cell proliferation, invasion and migration, while knockdown of Nova1 had the opposite effects. All these findings indicate that Nova1 may act as a prognostic marker for poor outcome and high recurrence in HCC.
PMCID: PMC3946567  PMID: 24608171
25.  Germline Transmission of an Embryonic Stem Cell Line Derived from BALB/c Cataract Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90707.
Mice embryonic stem (ES) cells have enabled the generation of mouse strains with defined mutation(s) in their genome for putative disease loci analysis. In the study of cataract, the complex genetic background of this disease and lack of long-term self-renewal ES cells have hampered the functional researches of cataract-related genes. In this study, we aimed to establish ES cells from inherited cataract mice (BALB/CCat/Cat). Embryos of cataract mice were cultured in chemical-defined N2B27 medium with the presence of two small molecules PD0325901 and CHIR99021 (2i) and an ES cell line (named EH-BES) was successfully established. EH-BES showed long-term self-renewal in 2i medium and maintained capacity of germline transmission. Most importantly, the produced chimera and offspring developed congenital cataract as well. Flow cytometry assay revealed that EH-BES are homogeneous in expression of Oct4 and Rex1in 2i medium, which may account for their self-renewal ability. With long-term self-renewal ability and germline-competent, EH-BES cell line can facilitate genetic and functional researches of cataract-related genes and better address mechanisms of cataract.
PMCID: PMC3942454  PMID: 24595217

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