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1.  MiR-21/RASA1 axis affects malignancy of colon cancer cells via RAS pathways 
AIM: To determine how the oncogene miR-21 regulates the RAS signaling pathways and affects colon cancer cell behaviors.
METHODS: RAS p21 GTPase activating protein 1 (RASA1) protein expression in six colon cancer cell lines was assessed by Western blot. Colon cancer RKO cells were chosen for transfection because they are KRAS wild type colon cancer cells whose RASA1 expression is significantly decreased. RKO cells were transfected with vectors overexpressing or down-regulating either miR-21 or RASA1. Furthermore, a luciferase reporter assay was used to determine whether RASA1 is a gene target of miR-21. Then, changes in mRNA and protein levels of RASA1, RAS-GTP, and other components of the RAS signaling pathways were assessed in transfected RKO cells by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot and immunoprecipitation. Finally, cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion, and tumor formation ability were assessed by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide dye assay, flow cytometry, transwell assay, and animal experiment, respectively.
RESULTS: RASA1 protein levels were significantly decreased in RKO cells compared with the other 5 colon cancer cell lines, and RASA1 was confirmed as a target gene of miR-21. Interestingly, RASA1 mRNA and protein levels in pre-miR-21-LV (up-regulation of miR-21) cells were lower than those in anti-miR-21-LV (down-regulation of miR-21) cells (P < 0.05). In addition, pre-miR-21-LV or siRASA1 (down-regulation of RASA1) cells showed higher cell proliferation, reduced apoptosis, increased expression of RAS-GTP, p-AKT, Raf-1, KRAS, and p-ERK1/2, and higher invasion and tumor formation ability, compared with control, anti-miR-21-LV or pcDNA3.1-RASA1 (up-regulation of RASA1) cells (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: RASA1 is a target gene of miR-21, which promotes malignant behaviors of RKO cells through regulation of RASA1 expression.
PMCID: PMC4316091  PMID: 25663768
Colon cancer; miR-21; RAS; RASA1; RAS signaling pathways
Toxicology letters  2013;224(2):10.1016/j.toxlet.2013.10.030.
Osteopontin (OPN) is a chemotactic factor which can be cleaved to the pro-inflammatory form by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). To test the hypothesis that OPN can modulate inflammatory liver injury during cholestasis, wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 and OPN knockout (OPN-KO) mice underwent bile duct ligation (BDL). OPN-KO mice showed significant reduction in liver injury (plasma ALT and necrosis) and neutrophil recruitment compared with WT animals at 24h but not 72h after BDL. In WT mice, a 4-fold increase in hepatic MMP-3 mRNA and elevated MMP activities and cleaved OPN levels were observed in bile. WT mice subjected to BDL in the presence of the MMP inhibitor BB-94 showed reduced liver injury, less neutrophil extravasation and diminished levels of cleaved OPN in bile. Thus, during obstructive cholestasis, OPN released from biliary epithelial cells could be cleaved by MMPs in bile. When the biliary system leaks, cleaved OPN enters the parenchyma and attracts neutrophils. In the absence of OPN, other chemoattractants, e.g. chemokines, mediate a delayed inflammatory response and injury. Taken together, our data suggest that OPN is the pro-inflammatory mediator that initiates the early neutrophil-mediated injury phase during obstructive cholestasis in mice.
PMCID: PMC3875222  PMID: 24188933
Inflammatory Liver Injury; Cholestasis; Bile duct ligation; Osteopontin; Neutrophils
3.  Evaluation of Healthcare Use Trends of High-Risk Female Intimate Partner Violence Victims 
Practitioners need more information about intimate partner violence (IPV) victims’ healthcare use trends. We used a novel data-linkage method and complaint categorization allowing us to evaluate IPV victims healthcare use trends compared to the date of their victimization.
This was a retrospective case series using data-linking techniques cross-referencing databases of Medicaid-eligible women between the ages of 16 and 55 years, an IPV Case Database for 2007 and the Florida State Agency for Healthcare Administration, which tracks hospital inpatient, ambulatory and emergency department (ED) use within the State of Florida. We analyzed resulting healthcare visits 1.5 years before and 1.5 years after the women’s reported IPV offense. Using all available claims data a ‘complaint category’ representing categories of presenting chief complaints was assigned to each healthcare visit. Analysis included descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients between time of offense and visits, and a logistic regression analysis.
The 695 victims were linked with 4,344 healthcare visits in the four-year study period. The victims were young (46% in the 16–25 age group and 79% were younger than 35). Healthcare visits were in the ED (83%) rather than other healthcare sites. In the ED, IPV victims mostly had complaint categories of obstetrics and gynaecology-related visits (28.7%), infection-related visits (18.9%), and trauma-related visits (16.3%). ED use escalated approaching the victim’s date of offense (r=0.59, p<0.0001) compared to use of non-ED sites of healthcare use (r=0.07, p=0.5817). ED use deescalated significantly after date of reported offense for ED visits (r=0.50, p<0.0001) versus non-ED use (r=0.00, p=0.9958). The victims’ age group more likely to use the ED than any other age group was the 36–45 age group (OR 4.67, CI [3.26–6.68]).
IPV victims use the ED increasingly approaching their date of offense. Presenting complaints were varied and did not reveal unique identifiers of IPV victims. This novel method of database matching between claims data and government records has been shown to be a valid way to evaluate healthcare utilization of at-risk populations.
PMCID: PMC4307692
4.  Coffee and caffeine potentiate the antiamyloidogenic activity of melatonin via inhibition of Aβ oligomerization and modulation of the Tau-mediated pathway in N2a/APP cells 
There is an increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which has become a public health issue. However, the underlying mechanisms for the pathogenesis of AD are not fully understood, and the current therapeutic drugs cannot produce acceptable efficacy in AD patients. Previous animal studies have shown that coffee (Coff), caffeine (Caff), and melatonin (Mel) have beneficial effects on AD. Disturbed circadian rhythms are observed in AD, and chronotherapy has shown promising effects on AD. In this study, we examined whether a combination of Coff or Caff plus Mel produced a synergistic/additive effect on amyloid-β (Aβ) generation in Neuro-2a (N2a)/amyloid precursor protein (APP) cells and the possible mechanisms involved. Cells were treated with Coff or Caff, with or without combined Mel, with three different chronological regimens. In regimen 1, cells were treated with Coff or Caff for 12 hours in the day, followed by Mel for 12 hours in the night. For regimen 2, cells were treated with Coff or Caff plus Mel for 24 hours, from 7 am to 7 am the next day. In regimen 3, cells were treated with Coff or Caff plus Mel with regimen 1 or 2 for 5 consecutive days. The extracellular Aβ40/42 and Aβ oligomer levels were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. The expression and/or phosphorylation levels of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), Erk1/2, PI3K, Akt, Tau, Wnt3α, β-catenin, and Nrf2 were detected by Western blot assay. The results showed that regimen 1 produced an additive antiamyloidogenic effect with significantly reduced extracellular levels of Aβ40/42 and Aβ42 oligomers. Regimen 2 did not result in remarkable effects, and regimen 3 showed a less antiamyloidogenic effect compared to regimen 1. Coff or Caff, plus Mel reduced oxidative stress in N2a/APP cells via the Nrf2 pathway. Coff or Caff, plus Mel inhibited GSK3β, Akt, PI3K p55, and Tau phosphorylation but enhanced PI3K p85 and Erk1/2 phosphorylation in N2a/APP cells. Coff or Caff, plus Mel downregulated Wnt3α expression but upregulated β-catenin. However, Coff or Caff plus Mel did not significantly alter the production of T helper cell (Th)1-related interleukin (IL)-12 and interferon (IFN)-γ and Th2-related IL-4 and IL-10 in N2a/APP cells. The autophagy of cells was not affected by the combinations. Taken together, combination of Caff or Coff, before treatment with Mel elicits an additive antiamyloidogenic effects in N2a/APP cells, probably through inhibition of Aβ oligomerization and modulation of the Akt/GSK3β/Tau signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4284031  PMID: 25565776
Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ oligomer; coffee; caffeine; melatonin; Tau; Nrf2; chronotherapy; Akt
5.  The potential risk factors for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas: clinical series of 1,239 cases 
Background: Determining factors that could accurately predict pathological features of meningiomas before histological diagnosis would help surgeons to proper balance the risk of operation and the resection grade. The aim of this study was to explore the potential risk factors for atypical (WHO Grade II) and anaplastic (WHO Grade III) meningiomas. Methods: Records of 1,239 patients between January 2009 and January 2013 were included in this research. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry with Ki67 was analysed in 368 samples. Results: The Pearson’s chi-square test showed an increased risk for male gender for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas (P < 0.001) and an increased risk for cerebral convexity for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas (P < 0.001). However, significant differences in the terms of falx/sagittal sinus and intraventricular were not found. Patients with a Ki67 index ≥ 5% were significantly more likely to have atypical and anaplastic meningiomas than those patients with a Ki67 index < 5% (P < 0.001). In addition, the percentage of patients with a Ki67 index ≥ 5% in cerebral convexity meningiomas was higher than in non-cerebral convexity location (P = 0.006). Conclusions: The results indicate that male gender, cerebral convexity are significant risk factors for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas.
PMCID: PMC4307540  PMID: 25664093
Cerebral convexity; risk factor; meningiomas
6.  miR-281, an abundant midgut-specific miRNA of the vector mosquito Aedes albopictus enhances dengue virus replication 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):488.
Emerging evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in host-virus interaction. We previously reported that some miRNAs were differentially expressed in sugar-fed and blood-fed females of Aedes albopictus (Ae. albopictus). Here, we analysis the role in the host-virus system of an abundant midgut-specific miRNA in the mosquito Ae. albopictus.
The expression profiles of miR-281 in different body parts of Ae. albopictus and following dengue virus infection were determined using RT-qPCR and Northern blot. miR-281 mimics, antagomiRs and corresponding negative controls were designed and their overexpression and knock-down efficiency were analyzed by qRT-PCR after transfecting the mosquito cell lines C6/36, and also by injecting female mosquitoes. Dengue virus serotype-2 (DENV-2) viral genomic RNA abundance was determined by RT-qPCR. The levels of DENV-2 E protein were detected using Western blot. Virus titers were tested using TCID50. RNAhybrid was used to predict targets of miR-281 in the DENV-2 genome. The EGFP plasmid-based reporter system was used to investigate the interaction between miR-281 and the predicted binding site in the C6/36 cell line.
miR-281 is specifically expressed in the female midgut where dengue virus first invades. After DENV-2 infection, this miRNA is up-regulated in response to viral infection. Functional intervention analyses in vitro with specifically designed miR-281 mimics and corresponding antagomiRs indicated that miR-281 enhances DENV-2 viral replication. Further depletion of miR-281 in female mosquitoes by injection of its specific antagomiRs led to a significant reduction in DENV-2 abundance. The interaction between miR-281 and its predicted target sequence, the DENV-2 genomic 5'-untranslated region (UTR), is confirmed in the context of a plasmid-based reporter system.
These findings confirm that miR-281, an abundant midgut-specific miRNA, facilitates DENV-2 replication.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0488-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4212107  PMID: 25331963
Aedes albopictus; miRNA; Dengue virus; Pathogen-host interaction
7.  Biosynthesis of Taxadiene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae : Selection of Geranylgeranyl Diphosphate Synthase Directed by a Computer-Aided Docking Strategy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109348.
Identification of efficient key enzymes in biosynthesis pathway and optimization of the fitness between functional modules and chassis are important for improving the production of target compounds. In this study, the taxadiene biosynthesis pathway was firstly constructed in yeast by transforming ts gene and overexpressing erg20 and thmgr. Then, the catalytic capabilities of six different geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthases (GGPPS), the key enzyme in mevalonic acid (MVA) pathway catalyzing famesyl diphosphate (FPP) to geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP), were predicted using enzyme-substrate docking strategy. GGPPSs from Taxus baccata x Taxus cuspidate (GGPPSbc), Erwinia herbicola (GGPPSeh), and S. cerevisiae (GGPPSsc) which ranked 1st, 4th and 6th in docking with FPP were selected for construction. The experimental results were consistent with the computer prediction that the engineered yeast with GGPPSbc exhibited the highest production. In addition, two chassis YSG50 and W303-1A were chosen, and the titer of taxadiene reached 72.8 mg/L in chassis YSG50 with GGPPSbc. Metabolomic study revealed that the contents of tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediates and their precursor amino acids in chassis YSG50 was lower than those in W303-1A, indicating less carbon flux was divided into TCA cycle. Furthermore, the levels of TCA intermediates in the taxadiene producing yeasts were lower than those in chassis YSG50. Thus, it may result in more carbon flux in MVA pathway in chassis YSG50, which suggested that YSG50 was more suitable for engineering the taxadiene producing yeast. These results indicated that computer-aided protein modeling directed isoenzyme selection strategy and metabolomic study could guide the rational design of terpenes biosynthetic cells.
PMCID: PMC4190181  PMID: 25295588
8.  Regulation of T cell proliferation by JMJD6 and PDGF-BB during chronic hepatitis B infection 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6359.
T cell functional exhaustion during chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may contribute to the failed viral clearance; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that jumonji domain-containing protein 6 (JMJD6) is a potential regulator of T cell proliferation during chronic HBV infection. The expression of JMJD6 was reduced in T lymphocytes in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients, and this reduction in JMJD6 expression was associated with impaired T cell proliferation. Moreover, silencing JMJD6 expression in primary human T cells impaired T cell proliferation. We found that JMJD6 promotes T cell proliferation by suppressing the mRNA expression of CDKN3. Furthermore, we have identified platelet derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) as a regulator of JMJD6 expression. PDGF-BB downregulates JMJD6 expression and inhibits the proliferation of human primary T cells. Importantly, the expression levels of JMJD6 and PDGF-BB in lymphocytes from CHB patients were correlated with the degree of liver damage and the outcome of chronic HBV infection treatment. Our results demonstrate that PDGF-BB and JMJD6 regulate T cell function during chronic HBV infection and may provide insights for the treatment strategies for CHB patients.
PMCID: PMC4163673  PMID: 25219359
9.  Enhancing protein-vitamin binding residues prediction by multiple heterogeneous subspace SVMs ensemble 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(1):297.
Vitamins are typical ligands that play critical roles in various metabolic processes. The accurate identification of the vitamin-binding residues solely based on a protein sequence is of significant importance for the functional annotation of proteins, especially in the post-genomic era, when large volumes of protein sequences are accumulating quickly without being functionally annotated.
In this paper, a new predictor called TargetVita is designed and implemented for predicting protein-vitamin binding residues using protein sequences. In TargetVita, features derived from the position-specific scoring matrix (PSSM), predicted protein secondary structure, and vitamin binding propensity are combined to form the original feature space; then, several feature subspaces are selected by performing different feature selection methods. Finally, based on the selected feature subspaces, heterogeneous SVMs are trained and then ensembled for performing prediction.
The experimental results obtained with four separate vitamin-binding benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed TargetVita is superior to the state-of-the-art vitamin-specific predictor, and an average improvement of 10% in terms of the Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) was achieved over independent validation tests. The TargetVita web server and the datasets used are freely available for academic use at or
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-297) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4261549  PMID: 25189131
Protein-vitamin binding residue; Feature subspace; Heterogeneous SVM; Classifier ensemble
10.  MYC Expression in Concert with BCL2 and BCL6 Expression Predicts Outcome in Chinese Patients with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, Not Otherwise Specified 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104068.
Recent studies provide convincing evidence that a combined immunohistochemical or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) score of MYC, BCL2, BCL6 proteins and MYC translocations predicted outcome in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients treated with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP). However, by far, all these researches are based on Western populations. Therefore, we investigate the prognostic relevance of MYC-, BCL2- and BCL6-rearrangements and protein expression by immunohistochemistry and FISH from 336 de novo DLBCL, NOS treated with CHOP or R-CHOP. Breaks in MYC and BCL6, and fusion in IGH/BCL2 were detected in 9.7%, 20.0%, and 11.1% of the cases, respectively, and were not significantly associated with clinical outcomes. Protein overexpression of MYC (≥40%), BCL2 (≥70%) and BCL6 (≥50%) was encountered in 51%, 51% and 36% of the tumors, respectively. On the basis of MYC, BCL2 and BCL6 expression, double-hit scores (DHSs) and triple-hit score (THS) were assigned to all patients with DLBCL. Patients with high MYC/BCL2 DHS, high MYC/BCL6 DHS and high THS had multiple adverse prognostic factors including high LDH level, poor performance status, advanced clinical stage, high International Prognostic Index (IPI) score, and non-germinal center B-cell. In univariate analysis, high MYC/BCL2 DHS, high MYC/BCL6 DHS and high THS were associated with inferior OS and PFS in both CHOP and R-CHOP cohorts (P<0.05). The highly significant correlations with OS and PFS were maintained in multivariate models that controlled for IPI (P<0.05). DLBCLs with high DHSs and high THS share the clinical features and poor prognosis of double-hit lymphoma (P>0.05). These data together suggest that the immunohistochemical DHSs and THS defined a large subset of DLBCLs with double-hit biology and was strongly associated with poor outcome in patients treated with R-CHOP or CHOP.
PMCID: PMC4121314  PMID: 25090026
11.  β-arrestin2/miR-155/GSK3β regulates transition of 5′-azacytizine-induced Sca-1-positive cells to cardiomyocytes 
Stem-cell antigen 1–positive (Sca-1+) cardiac stem cells (CSCs), a vital kind of CSCs in humans, promote cardiac repair in vivo and can differentiate to cardiomyocytes with 5′-azacytizine treatment in vitro. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. β-arrestin2 is an important scaffold protein and highly expressed in the heart. To explore the function of β-arrestin2 in Sca-1+ CSC differentiation, we used β-arrestin2–knockout mice and overexpression strategies. Real-time PCR revealed that β-arrestin2 promoted 5′-azacytizine-induced Sca-1+ CSC differentiation in vitro. Because the microRNA 155 (miR-155) may regulate β-arrestin2 expression, we detected its role and relationship with β-arrestin2 and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3β), another probable target of miR-155. Real-time PCR revealed that miR-155, inhibited by β-arrestin2, impaired 5′-azacytizine-induced Sca-1+ CSC differentiation. On luciferase report assay, miR-155 could inhibit the activity of β-arrestin2 and GSK3β, which suggests a loop pathway between miR-155 and β-arrestin2. Furthermore, β-arrestin2-knockout inhibited the activity of GSK3β. Akt, the upstream inhibitor of GSK3β, was inhibited in β-arrestin2-Knockout mice, so the activity of GSK3β was regulated by β-arrestin2 not Akt. We transplanted Sca-1+ CSCs from β-arrestin2-knockout mice to mice with myocardial infarction and found similar protective functions as in wild-type mice but impaired arterial elastance. Furthermore, low level of β-arrestin2 agreed with decreased phosphorylation of AKT and increased phophorylation of GSK3β, similar to in vitro findings. The β-arrestin2/miR-155/GSK3β pathway may be a new mechanism with implications for treatment of heart disease.
PMCID: PMC4190902  PMID: 24974728
stem cell antigen-1; cardiac stem cells; β-arrestin2; MiR-155; GSK3β; cardiomyocytes
12.  Insight into PreImplantation Factor (PIF*) Mechanism for Embryo Protection and Development: Target Oxidative Stress and Protein Misfolding (PDI and HSP) through Essential RIPK Binding Site 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100263.
Endogenous PIF, upon which embryo development is dependent, is secreted only by viable mammalian embryos, and absent in non-viable ones. Synthetic PIF (sPIF) administration promotes singly cultured embryos development and protects against their demise caused by embryo-toxic serum. To identify and characterize critical sPIF-embryo protein interactions novel biochemical and bio-analytical methods were specifically devised.
FITC-PIF uptake/binding by cultured murine and equine embryos was examined and compared with scrambled FITC-PIF (control). Murine embryo (d10) lysates were fractionated by reversed-phase HPLC, fractions printed onto microarray slides and probed with Biotin-PIF, IDE and Kv1.3 antibodies, using fluorescence detection. sPIF-based affinity column was developed to extract and identify PIF-protein interactions from lysates using peptide mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). In silico evaluation examined binding of PIF to critical targets, using mutation analysis.
PIF directly targets viable cultured embryos as compared with control peptide, which failed to bind. Multistep Biotin-PIF targets were confirmed by single-step PIF-affinity column based isolation. PIF binds protein disulfide isomerases a prolyl-4-hydroxylase β-subunit, (PDI, PDIA4, PDIA6-like) containing the antioxidant thioredoxin domain. PIF also binds protective heat shock proteins (70&90), co-chaperone, BAG-3. Remarkably, PIF targets a common RIPK site in PDI and HSP proteins. Further, single PIF amino acid mutation significantly reduced peptide-protein target bonding. PIF binds promiscuous tubulins, neuron backbones and ACTA-1,2 visceral proteins. Significant anti-IDE, while limited anti-Kv1.3b antibody-binding to Biotin-PIF positive lysates HPLC fractions were documented.
Collectively, data identifies PIF shared targets on PDI and HSP in the embryo. Such are known to play a critical role in protecting against oxidative stress and protein misfolding. PIF-affinity-column is a novel utilitarian method for small molecule targets direct identification. Data reveals and completes the understanding of mechanisms involved in PIF-induced autotrophic and protective effects on the embryo.
PMCID: PMC4077574  PMID: 24983882
13.  Early Public Response to Influenza A(H7N9) Virus, Guangzhou, China, May 30–June 7, 2013 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(7):1238-1240.
PMCID: PMC4073867  PMID: 24964006
public; influenza; influenza virus; influenza A(H7N9) virus; subtype H7N9; live poultry markets; China; Guangzhou; behaviors; attitudes; urban; semirural; viruses; chickens
14.  A rapid identification of four medicinal chrysanthemum varieties with near infrared spectroscopy 
Pharmacognosy Magazine  2014;10(39):353-358.
For genuine medicinal material in Chinese herbs; the efficient, rapid, and precise identification is the focus and difficulty in the filed studying Chinese herbal medicines. Chrysanthemum morifolium as herbs has a long planting history in China, culturing high quality ones and different varieties. Different chrysanthemum varieties differ in quality, chemical composition, functions, and application. Therefore, chrysanthemum varieties in the market demands precise identification to provide reference for reasonable and correct application as genuine medicinal material.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 244 batches of chrysanthemum samples were randomly divided into calibration set (160 batches) and prediction set (84 batches). The near infrared diffuses reflectance spectra of chrysanthemum varieties were preprocessed by first order derivative (D1) and autoscaling and was built model with partial least squares (PLS).
In this study of four chrysanthemum varieties identification, the accuracy rates in calibration sets of Boju, Chuju, Hangju, and Gongju are respectively 100, 100, 98.65, and 96.67%; while the accuracy rates in prediction sets are 100% except for 99.1% of Hangju.
The research results demonstrate that the qualitative analysis can be conducted by machine learning combined with near infrared spectroscopy (NIR), which provides a new method for rapid and noninvasive identification of chrysanthemum varieties.
PMCID: PMC4159931  PMID: 25210325
Chrysanthemum morifolium; near infrared spectroscopy; rapid detection
15.  MicroRNA-21 Regulates hTERT via PTEN in Hypertrophic Scar Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97114.
As an important oncogenic miRNA, microRNA-21 (miR-21) is associated with various malignant diseases. However, the precise biological function of miR-21 and its molecular mechanism in hypertrophic scar fibroblast cells has not been fully elucidated.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed significant upregulation of miR-21 in hypertrophic scar fibroblast cells compared with that in normal skin fibroblast cells. The effects of miR-21 were then assessed in MTT and apoptosis assays through in vitro transfection with a miR-21 mimic or inhibitor. Next, PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten) was identified as a target gene of miR-21 in hypertrophic scar fibroblast cells. Furthermore, Western-blot and qRT-PCR analyses revealed that miR-21 increased the expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) via the PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathway. Introduction of PTEN cDNA led to a remarkable depletion of hTERT and PI3K/AKT at the protein level as well as inhibition of miR-21-induced proliferation. In addition, Western-blot and qRT-PCR analyses confirmed that hTERT was the downstream target of PTEN. Finally, miR-21 and PTEN RNA expression levels in hypertrophic scar tissue samples were examined. Immunohistochemistry assays revealed an inverse correlation between PTEN and hTERT levels in high miR-21 RNA expressing-hypertrophic scar tissues.
These data indicate that miR-21 regulates hTERT expression via the PTEN/PI3K/AKT signaling pathway by directly targeting PTEN, therefore controlling hypertrophic scar fibroblast cell growth. MiR-21 may be a potential novel molecular target for the treatment of hypertrophic scarring.
PMCID: PMC4016251  PMID: 24817011
16.  Avanafil for male erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2014;16(3):472-477.
Avanafil, a potent new selective phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, has been developed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy and safety of this drug for the treatment of ED. A literature review was performed to identify all published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of avanafil for the treatment of ED. The search included the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. The reference lists of the retrieved studies were also investigated. Four publications, involving a total of 1381 patients, were used in the analysis, including four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared avanafil with a placebo. Among the co-primary efficacy end points indicating that avanafil 100 mg was more effective than a placebo were successful vaginal penetration (SEP2) (the odds ratio (OR) =5.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) =3.29–7.78, P< 0.00001) and successful intercourse (SEP3) (OR = 3.99, 95% CI = 2.80–5.67, P< 0.00001). Men randomized to receive avanafil were less likely than those receiving the placebo to drop out due to an adverse event (AE) (OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 0.54–4.08, P = 0.44). Specific AEs with avanafil included headache and flushing, which were significantly less likely to occur with placebo. This meta-analysis indicates that avanafil 100 or 200 mg is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for ED. Compared with avanafil 100 mg, patients who take avanafil 200 mg are more likely to experience headaches.
PMCID: PMC4023381  PMID: 24589460
avanafil; erectile dysfunction; meta-analysis; randomized controlled trial
17.  Lysine-5 Acetylation Negatively Regulates Lactate Dehydrogenase A and Is Decreased in Pancreatic Cancer 
Cancer cell  2013;23(4):10.1016/j.ccr.2013.02.005.
Tumor cells commonly have increased glucose uptake and lactate accumulation. Lactate is produced from pyruvate by lactate dehydrogenase A (LDH-A), which is frequently overexpressed in tumor cells and is important for cell growth. Elevated transcription by c-Myc or HIF1α may contribute to increased LDH-A in some cancer types. Here, we show that LDH-A is acetylated at lysine 5 (K5) and that this acetylation inhibits LDH-A activity. Furthermore, the K5-acetylated LDH-A is recognized by the HSC70 chaperone and delivered to lysosomes for degradation. Replacement of endogenous LDH-A with an acetylation mimetic mutant decreases cell proliferation and migration. Importantly, K5 acetylation of LDH-A is reduced in human pancreatic cancers. Our study reveals a mechanism of LDH-A upregulation in pancreatic cancers.
PMCID: PMC3885615  PMID: 23523103
18.  Knockdown of GRP78 Promotes Apoptosis in Pancreatic Acinar Cells and Attenuates the Severity of Cerulein and LPS Induced Pancreatic Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92389.
Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a potentially lethal disease characterized by inflammation and parenchymal cell death; also, the severity of AP correlates directly with necrosis and inversely with apoptosis. However, mechanisms of regulating cell death in AP remain unclear. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone protein GRP78 has anti-apoptotic properties, in addition to modulating ER stress responses. This study used RNA interference (RNAi) approach to investigate the potential role of GRP78 in regulating apoptosis during AP. In vitro models of AP were successfully developed by treating AR42J cells with cerulein or cerulein plus lipoplysaccharide (LPS). There was more pancreatic inflammation and less apoptosis with the cerulein plus LPS treatment. Furthermore, knockdown of GRP78 expression markedly promoted apoptosis and reduced necrosis in pancreatic acinar cells. This was accomplished by enhancing the activation of caspases and inhibiting the activity of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), as well as a receptor interacting protein kinase-1(RIPK1), which is a key mediator of necrosis. This attenuated the severity of pancreatic inflammation, especially after cerulein plus LPS treatment. In conclusion, these findings indicate that GRP78 plays an anti-apoptotic role in regulating the cell death response during AP. Therefore, GRP78 is a potential therapeutic target for AP.
PMCID: PMC3958537  PMID: 24643222
19.  Activin A induces growth arrest through a SMAD- dependent pathway in hepatic progenitor cells 
Activin A, an important member of transforming growth factor-β superfamily, is reported to inhibit proliferation of mature hepatocyte. However, the effect of activin A on growth of hepatic progenitor cells is not fully understood. To that end, we attempted to evaluate the potential role of activin A in the regulation of hepatic progenitor cell proliferation.
Using the 2-acetaminofluorene/partial hepatectomy model, activin A expression decreased immediately after partial hepatectomy and then increased from the 9th to 15th day post surgery, which is associated with the attenuation of oval cell proliferation. Activin A inhibited oval cell line LE6 growth via activating the SMAD signaling pathway, which manifested as the phosphorylation of SMAD2/3, the inhibition of Rb phosphorylation, the suppression of cyclinD1 and cyclinE, and the promotion of p21WAF1/Cip1 and p15INK4B expression. Treatment with activin A antagonist follistatin or blocking SMAD signaling could diminish the anti-proliferative effect of activin A. By contrast, inhibition of the MAPK pathway did not contribute to this effect. Antagonizing activin A activity by follistatin administration enhanced oval cell proliferation in the 2-acetylaminofluorene/partial hepatectomy model.
Activin A, acting through the SMAD pathway, negatively regulates the proliferation of hepatic progenitor cells.
PMCID: PMC3995548  PMID: 24628936
Hepatic progenitor cell; Activin A; follistatin; Proliferation; Smads protein
20.  PTEN Regulates BCRP/ABCG2 and the Side Population through the PI3K/Akt Pathway in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e88298.
A small population of cancer stem cells named the “side population” (SP) has been demonstrated to be responsible for the persistence of many solid tumors. However, the role of the SP in leukemic pathogenesis remains controversial. The resistance of leukemic stem cells to targeted therapies, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), results in therapeutic failure or refractory/relapsed disease in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The drug pump, ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 2 (ABCG2), is well known as a specific marker of the SP and could be controlled by several pathways, including the PI3K/Akt pathway. Our data demonstrated that compared with wild-type K562 cells, the higher percentage of ABCG2+ cells corresponded to the higher SP fraction in K562/ABCG2 (ABCG2 overexpressing) and K562/IMR (resistance to imatinib) cells, which exhibited enhanced drug resistance along with downregulated phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome -10 (PTEN) and activated phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt). PTEN and p-Akt downregulation could be abrogated by both the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. Moreover, in CML patients in the accelerated phase/blastic phase (AP/BP), increased SP phenotype rather than ABCG2 expression was accompanied by the loss of PTEN protein and the up-regulation of p-Akt expression. These results suggested that the expression of ABCG2 and the SP may be regulated by PTEN through the PI3K/Akt pathway, which would be a potentially effective strategy for targeting CML stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3945754  PMID: 24603487
21.  Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89304.
Although some studies evaluated the effectiveness of massage therapy for fibromyalgia (FM), the role of massage therapy in the management of FM remained controversial.
The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the evidence of massage therapy for patients with FM.
Electronic databases (up to June 2013) were searched to identify relevant studies. The main outcome measures were pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. Two reviewers independently abstracted data and appraised risk of bias. The risk of bias of eligible studies was assessed based on Cochrane tools. Standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by more conservative random-effects model. And heterogeneity was assessed based on the I2 statistic.
Nine randomized controlled trials involving 404 patients met the inclusion criteria. The meta-analyses showed that massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks significantly improved pain (SMD, 0.62; 95% CI 0.05 to 1.20; p = 0.03), anxiety (SMD, 0.44; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.78; p = 0.01), and depression (SMD, 0.49; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.84; p = 0.005) in patients with FM, but not on sleep disturbance (SMD, 0.19; 95% CI −0.38 to 0.75; p = 0.52).
Massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks had beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with FM. Massage therapy should be one of the viable complementary and alternative treatments for FM. However, given fewer eligible studies in subgroup meta-analyses and no evidence on follow-up effects, large-scale randomized controlled trials with long follow-up are warrant to confirm the current findings.
PMCID: PMC3930706  PMID: 24586677
22.  Association study of angiotensin converting enzyme gene polymorphism with elderly diabetic hypertension and lipids levels 
To investigate the relationship between angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) gene insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism and diabetic essential hypertension in elderly population.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique was used in 260 elderly normal control patients, 205 elderly hypertensive patients and 138 elderly diabetic hypertensive patients to detect the I/D polymorphism in ACE gene.
DD genotype frequency (0.352) and D allele frequency (0.543) in elderly hypertensive patients were higher than those in the normal control patients. DD genotype (0.421) and D allele frequency (0.579) in elderly diabetic hypertensive patients were significantly higher than those in the control patients (0.133 and 0.250). The differences of DD genotype and D allele frequency between the elderly hypertensive patients and the elderly diabetic hypertensive patients were not significant (P > 0.05).
ACE gene deletion is a risk factor for hypertension but is not a risk factor for diabetes in elderly population.
PMCID: PMC3896767  PMID: 24354906
Angiotensin converting enzyme gene; Insertion/deletion polymorphism; Elderly; Hypertension; Diabetic hypertension
23.  Perirenal space blocking restores gastrointestinal function in patients with severe acute pancreatitis 
AIM: To investigate effects of perirenal space blocking (PSB) on gastrointestinal function in patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP).
METHODS: Forty patients with SAP were randomly allocated to receive PSB or no PSB (NPSB). All the SAP patients received specialized medical therapy (SMT). Patients in the PSB group received PSB + SMT when hospitalized and after diagnosis, whereas patients in the NPSB group only received SMT. A modified gastrointestinal failure (GIF) scoring system was used to assess the gastrointestinal function in SAP patients after admission. Pain severity (visual analog scale, 0 to 100) was monitored every 24 h for 72 h.
RESULTS: Modified GIF score decreased in both groups during the 10-d study period. The median score decrease was initially significantly greater in the PSB group than in the NPSB group after PSB was performed. During the 72-h study period, pain intensity decreased in both groups. The median pain decrease was significantly greater in the PSB group than in the NPSB group at single time points. Patients in the PSB group had significantly lower incidences of hospital mortality, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and pancreatic infection, and stayed in the intensive care unit for a shorter duration. However, no difference in terms of operation incidence was found between the two groups.
CONCLUSION: PSB could ameliorate gastrointestinal dysfunction or failure during the early stage of SAP. Moreover, PSB administration could improve prognosis and decrease the mortality of SAP patients.
PMCID: PMC3870524  PMID: 24379596
Perirenal space blocking; Therapeutics; Severe acute pancreatitis; Gastrointestinal function; Prognosis
24.  VEGF165 expressing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into hepatocytes under HGF and EGF induction in vitro 
Cytotechnology  2012;64(6):635-647.
A short half-life and low levels of growth factors in an injured microenvironment necessitates the sustainable delivery of growth factors and stem cells to augment the regeneration of injured tissues. Our aim was to investigate the ability of VEGF165 expressing bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) to differentiate into hepatocytes when cultured with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in vitro. We isolated, cultured and identified rabbit BMMSCs, then electroporated the BMMSCs with VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid. G418 was used to select transfected cells and the efficiency was up to 70%. The groups were then divided as follows: Group A was electroporated with pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid + HGF + EGF and Group B was electroporated with VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid +HGF + EGF. After 14 days, BMMSCs were induced into short spindle and polygonal cells. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was positive and albumin (ALB) was negative in Group A, while both AFP and ALB were positive in group B on day 10. AFP and ALB in both groups were positive on day 20, but the quantity of AFP in group B decreased with prolonged time and was about 43.5% less than group A. The quantity of the ALB gene was increased with prolonged time in both groups. However, there was no significant difference between group A and B on day 10 and 20. Our results demonstrated that VEGF165-pCMV6-AC-GFP plasmid modified BMMSCs still had the ability to differentiate into hepatocytes. The VEGF165 gene promoted BMMSCs to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells under the induction of HGF and EGF, and reduced the differentiation time. These results have implications for cell therapies.
PMCID: PMC3488366  PMID: 22476563
Stem cells; Differentiation; VEGF165; Hepatocyte growth factor; Epidermal growth factor
Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is currently the most frequent cause of drug-induced liver failure in the United States. Recently, it was shown that lysosomal iron translocates to mitochondria where it contributes to collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate if cathepsin B, a lysosomal protease, is involved in APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Cathepsin B activity was measured in subcellular liver fractions of C57Bl/6 mice 3 hr after 300 mg/kg APAP treatment. There was a significant increase in cytoplasmic cathepsin activity, concurrent with a decrease in microsomal activity, indicative of lysosomal cathepsin B release. To investigate the effect of cathepsin B on hepatotoxicity, the cathepsin inhibitor AC-LVK-CHO was given 1 hr prior to 300 mg/kg APAP treatment along with vehicle control. There was no difference between groups in serum ALT values, or by histological evaluation of necrosis, although cathepsin B activity was inhibited by 70–80% compared to controls. These findings were confirmed with a different inhibitor (z-FA-fmk) in vivo and in vitro. Hepatocytes were exposed to 5 mM acetaminophen. Lysotracker staining confirmed lysosomal instability, and cathepsin B release, but there was no reduction in cell death after treatment with cathepsin B inhibitors. Finally, cathepsin B release was measured in clinical samples from patients with APAP-induced liver injury. Low levels of cathepsin B were released into plasma from overdose patients.
APAP overdose causes lysosomal instability and release of cathepsin B into the cytosol but does not contribute to liver injury under these conditions.
PMCID: PMC3501614  PMID: 22900545

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