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1.  Glycemic Control and Radiographic Manifestations of Tuberculosis in Diabetic Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93397.
Radiographic manifestations of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) have previously been reported, with inconsistent results. We conducted a study to investigate whether glycemic control has an impact on radiographic manifestations of pulmonary TB.
Consecutive patients with culture-positive pulmonary TB who had DM in three tertiary care hospitals from 2005–2010 were selected for review and compared with a similar number without DM. Glycemic control was assessed by glycated haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C). A pre-treatment chest radiograph was read independently by two qualified pulmonologists blinded to patients’ diabetic status. Films with any discordant reading were read by a third reader.
1209 culture positive pulmonary TB patients (581 with DM and 628 without DM) were enrolled. Compared with those without DM, TB patients with DM were significantly more likely to have opacity over lower lung fields, extensive parenchymal lesions, any cavity, multiple cavities and large cavities (>3 cm). The relative risk of lower lung field opacities was 0.80 (95% CI 0.46–1.42) for those with DM with A1C<7%, 2.32 (95% CI 1.36 - 3.98) for A1C 7%–9%, and 1.62 (95% CI 1.12–2.36) for A1C>9%; and that of any cavity over no cavity was 0.87 (95% CI 0.46–1.62) for patients with DM with A1C<7%, 1.84 (95% CI 1.20–2.84) for A1C 7%–9%, and 3.71 (95% CI 2.64–5.22) for A1C>9%, relative to patients without DM.
Glycemic control significantly influenced radiographic manifestations of pulmonary TB in patients with DM.
PMCID: PMC3974751  PMID: 24699457
2.  In Vitro Evaluation of the Inhibitory Potential of Pharmaceutical Excipients on Human Carboxylesterase 1A and 2 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93819.
Two major forms of human carboxylesterase (CES), CES1A and CES2, dominate the pharmacokinetics of most prodrugs such as imidapril and irinotecan (CPT-11). Excipients, largely used as insert vehicles in formulation, have been recently reported to affect drug enzyme activity. The influence of excipients on the activity of CES remains undefined. In this study, the inhibitory effects of 25 excipients on the activities of CES1A1 and CES2 were evaluated. Imidapril and CPT-11 were used as substrates and cultured with liver microsomes in vitro. Imidapril hydrolase activities of recombinant CES1A1 and human liver microsomes (HLM) were strongly inhibited by sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and polyoxyl 40 hydrogenated castor oil (RH40) [Inhibition constant (Ki) = 0.04±0.01 μg/ml and 0.20±0.09 μg/ml for CES1A1, and 0.12±0.03 μg/ml and 0.76±0.33 μg/ml, respectively, for HLM]. The enzyme hydrolase activity of recombinant CES2 was substantially inhibited by Tween 20 and polyoxyl 35 castor oil (EL35) (Ki = 0.93±0.36 μg/ml and 4.4±1.24 μg/ml, respectively). Thus, these results demonstrate that surfactants such as SLS, RH40, Tween 20 and EL35 may attenuate the CES activity; such inhibition should be taken into consideration during drug administration.
PMCID: PMC3974814  PMID: 24699684
3.  Bile Salt Export Pump is Dysregulated with Altered Farnesoid X Receptor Isoform Expression in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;57(4):1530-1541.
As a canalicular bile acid effluxer, bile salt export pump (BSEP) plays a vital role in maintaining bile acid homeostasis. BSEP deficiency leads to severe cholestasis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in young children. Regardless of the etiology, chronic inflammation is the common pathological process for HCC development. Clinical studies showed that bile acid homeostasis is disrupted in HCC patients with elevated serum bile acid level as a proposed marker for HCC. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we found that BSEP expression was severely diminished in HCC tissues and markedly reduced in adjacent non-tumor tissues. In contrast to mouse, human BSEP was regulated by farnesoid x receptor (FXR) in an isoform-dependent manner. FXRα2 exhibited a much more potent activity than FXRα1 in transactivating human BSEP in vitro and in vivo. The decreased BSEP expression in HCC was associated with altered relative expression of FXRα1 and FXRα2. The FXRα1/FXRα2 ratios were significantly increased with undetectable FXRα2 expression in one third of the HCC tumor samples. Similar correlation between BSEP and FXR isoform expression was confirmed in hepatoma Huh 7 and HepG2 cells. Further studies showed that intrahepatic proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) were significantly elevated in HCC tissues. Treatment of Huh 7 cells with IL-6 and TNF-α resulted in a marked increase in the FXRα1/FXRα2 ratio concurrent with a significant decrease in BSEP expression. In conclusion, BSEP expression was severely diminished in HCC patients associated with alteration of FXR isoform expression induced by inflammation, and the restoration of BSEP expression through suppressing inflammation in the liver may re-establish the bile acid homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3608797  PMID: 23213087
BSEP; FXR; HCC; Bile acids; Gene regulation
4.  Palmitoyl Acyltransferase, Zdhhc13, Facilitates Bone Mass Acquisition by Regulating Postnatal Epiphyseal Development and Endochondral Ossification: A Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92194.
ZDHHC13 is a member of DHHC-containing palmitoyl acyltransferases (PATs) family of enzymes. It functions by post-translationally adding 16-carbon palmitate to proteins through a thioester linkage. We have previously shown that mice carrying a recessive Zdhhc13 nonsense mutation causing a Zdhcc13 deficiency develop alopecia, amyloidosis and osteoporosis. Our goal was to investigate the pathogenic mechanism of osteoporosis in the context of this mutation in mice. Body size, skeletal structure and trabecular bone were similar in Zdhhc13 WT and mutant mice at birth. Growth retardation and delayed secondary ossification center formation were first observed at day 10 and at 4 weeks of age, disorganization in growth plate structure and osteoporosis became evident in mutant mice. Serial microCT from 4-20 week-olds revealed that Zdhhc13 mutant mice had reduced bone mineral density. Through co-immunoprecipitation and acyl-biotin exchange, MT1-MMP was identified as a direct substrate of ZDHHC13. In cells, reduction of MT1-MMP palmitoylation affected its subcellular distribution and was associated with decreased VEGF and osteocalcin expression in chondrocytes and osteoblasts. In Zdhhc13 mutant mice epiphysis where MT1-MMP was under palmitoylated, VEGF in hypertrophic chondrocytes and osteocalcin at the cartilage-bone interface were reduced based on immunohistochemical analyses. Our results suggest that Zdhhc13 is a novel regulator of postnatal skeletal development and bone mass acquisition. To our knowledge, these are the first data to suggest that ZDHHC13-mediated MT1-MMP palmitoylation is a key modulator of bone homeostasis. These data may provide novel insights into the role of palmitoylation in the pathogenesis of human osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3956893  PMID: 24637783
5.  The impact of antibodies on clinical outcomes in diseases treated with therapeutic protein: Lessons learned from infantile Pompe disease 
Enzyme replacement therapy with rhGAA (Myozyme®) has lead to improved survival, which is largely attributable to improvements in cardiomyopathy and skeletal muscle function. However, crossreactive immunologic material-negative patients have a poor clinical response to enzyme replacement therapy secondary to high sustained antibody titers. Furthermore, although the majority of crossreactive immunologic material-positive patients tolerize or experience a downtrend in anti-rhGAA antibody titers, antibody response is variable with some crossreactive immunologic material-positive infants also mounting high sustained antibody titers.
We retrospectively analyzed 34 infants with Pompe disease: 11 crossreactive immunologic material-negative patients, nine high-titer crossreactive immunologic material-positive patients, and 14 low-titer crossreactive immunologic material-positive patients. Clinical outcome measures were overall survival, ventilator-free survival, left ventricular mass index, Alberta Infant Motor Scale score, and urine Glc4 levels.
Clinical outcomes in the high-titer crossreactive immunologic material-positive group were poor across all areas evaluated relative to the low-titer crossreactive immunologic material-positive group. For the crossreactive immunologic material-negative and high-titer crossreactive immunologic material-positive groups, no statistically significant differences were observed for any outcome measures, and both patient groups did poorly.
Our data indicate that, irrespective of crossreactive immunologic material status, patients with infantile Pompe disease with high sustained antibody titer have an attenuated therapeutic response to enzyme replacement therapy. With the advent of immunomodulation therapies, identification of patients at risk for developing high sustained antibody titer is critical.
PMCID: PMC3954622  PMID: 21637107
Pompe disease; enzyme replacement therapy (ERT); crossreactive immunologic material (CRIM); CRIM negative (CN); high sustained antibody titers (HSAT); high-titer CRIM-positive (HTCP); low-titer CRIM-positive (LTCP); therapeutic proteins
6.  Patient and heath system delays in the diagnosis and treatment of new and retreatment pulmonary tuberculosis cases in Malawi 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:132.
Tuberculosis (TB) control remains a challenge in Malawi despite the National TB Control Program since 1984. This study aimed at measuring patient and health system delays and identifying factors associated with these delays.
A cross-sectional survey of 588 pulmonary TB patients was conducted in three TB centres in Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu, between July and December 2011 using a semi-structured questionnaire. Patient delay was defined as the time interval between the onset of TB symptom(s) (a common symptom being coughing) to the first visit to any health provider. Health system delay was the interval from the first care-seeking visit at any health provider to the initiation of anti-tuberculosis treatment. Participants were invited to participate in the study during intensive phase of treatment. The characteristics associated with patient and health system delays were analyzed.
The median patient delay was 14 days for both new and retreatment TB cases (interquartile range [IQR] 14 – 28 and 7 – 21, respectively). The median health system delay was 59 days (IQR 26 – 108) for new and 40.5 days (IQR 21–90) for retreatment cases. Factors associated with longer patient delay in new cases included primary education (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.2, 95% CI 1.3 – 3.9) and knowledge that more than three weeks of coughing is a sign of TB (AOR 1.9, 1.1 – 3.3). In retreatment cases, distance >10 Km (AOR 3.3, 1.1 – 9.6) and knowledge that more than three weeks of coughing is a sign of TB (AOR 3.7, 1.3 – 10.7; p < 0.05) were significant factors. Making the first visit to a health centre (OR 1.9, 0.9 – 3.8) or a drug store/ traditional healer (OR 5.1, 1.1 – 21.7) in new TB cases were associated with a longer health system delay (p < 0.05) while smear negative (OR 6.4, 1.5 – 28.3), and smear unknown or not done (OR 6.1, 1.3 – 26.9) among retreatment cases were associated with a longer health system delay (p < 0.05).
Effective management and new diagnostic techniques are needed especially among retreatment cases. It is also needed to address geographic barriers to accessing care and increasing TB awareness in the community.
PMCID: PMC3976046  PMID: 24606967
Patient delay; Health system delay; Tuberculosis; Case detection
7.  Integrative Annotation of Variants from 1092 Humans: Application to Cancer Genomics 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6154):1235587.
Interpreting variants, especially noncoding ones, in the increasing number of personal genomes is challenging. We used patterns of polymorphisms in functionally annotated regions in 1092 humans to identify deleterious variants; then we experimentally validated candidates. We analyzed both coding and noncoding regions, with the former corroborating the latter. We found regions particularly sensitive to mutations (“ultrasensitive”) and variants that are disruptive because of mechanistic effects on transcription-factor binding (that is, “motif-breakers”). We also found variants in regions with higher network centrality tend to be deleterious. Insertions and deletions followed a similar pattern to single-nucleotide variants, with some notable exceptions (e.g., certain deletions and enhancers). On the basis of these patterns, we developed a computational tool (FunSeq), whose application to ~90 cancer genomes reveals nearly a hundred candidate noncoding drivers.
PMCID: PMC3947637  PMID: 24092746
8.  Direct Assessment of Articular Cartilage and Underlying Subchondral Bone Reveals a Progressive Gene Expression Change in Human Osteoarthritic Knees 
To evaluate the interaction of articular cartilage (AC) and subchondral bone (SB) through analysis of osteoarthritis (OA)-related genes of site-matched tissue.
We developed a novel method for isolating site-matched overlying AC and underlying SB from three and four regions of interest respectively from the human knee tibial plateau (n=50). For each site, the severity of cartilage changes of OA were assessed histologically, and the severity of bone abnormalities were assessed by microcomputed tomography. An RNA isolation procedure was optimized that yielded high quality RNA from site-matched AC and SB tibial regions. Q-PCR analysis was performed to evaluate gene expression of 61 OA-associated genes for correlation with cartilage integrity and bone structure parameters.
A total of 27 (44%) genes were coordinately up or down regulated in both tissues. The expression levels of 19 genes were statistically significantly correlated with the severity of AC degeneration and changes of SB structure; these included: ADAMTS1, ASPN, BMP6, BMPER, CCL2, CCL8, COL5A1, COL6A3, COL7A1, COL16A1, FRZB, GDF10, MMP3, OGN, OMD, POSTN, PTGES, TNFSF11 and WNT1.
These results provide a strategy for identifying targets whose modification may have the potential to ameliorate pathological alterations and progression of disease in both AC and SB simultaneously. In addition, this is the first study, to our knowledge, to overcome the major difficulties related to isolation of high quality RNA from site-matched joint tissues. We expect this method to facilitate advances in our understanding of the coordinated molecular responses of the whole joint organ.
PMCID: PMC3593157  PMID: 23220557
Subchondral bone; cartilage; RNA isolation; Gene expression; Bone sectioning and grinding; Osteoarthritis
9.  Change of Body Weight and Macrophage Inhibitory Cytokine-1 during Chemotherapy in Advanced Gastric Cancer: What Is Their Clinical Significance? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88553.
Weight loss in advanced gastric cancer (GC) has been widely acknowledged to be a predictor for poor survival. However, very few studies have investigated the weight loss that occurs during chemotherapy. Therefore, we focused on weight loss during chemotherapy in patients with advanced GC and investigated the concentrations of macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1), which has been recognized as a probable etiological factor in anorexia and weight loss.
We analyzed 384 patients with inoperable locally advanced or metastatic GC receiving first-line chemotherapy. Patients were assigned to one of two groups on the basis of their weight change during chemotherapy: >3% weight loss and ≤3% weight loss. Serum MIC-1 and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were also assessed in these patients.
The >3% weight loss group had shorter overall survival (OS; 12.0 months vs. 17.5 months, P = 0.000) than the ≤3% weight loss group, and the survival rates improved if the weight loss was reversed during chemotherapy. Although the MIC-1 concentrations were not correlated with weight loss before (P = 0.156) or during chemotherapy (P = 0.164), it correlated significantly with the CRP concentration (P = 0.001). Furthermore, elevated MIC-1 concentrations before chemotherapy (P = 0.017) and increased MIC-1 concentrations during chemotherapy (P = 0.001) were both found to be predictors of poor OS.
Changes in the body weight during chemotherapy could influence the prognosis in patients with advanced GC, and the MIC-1 might be a potential predictive and prognostic biomarker in those patients.
PMCID: PMC3938426  PMID: 24586342
10.  Systematic Review of Evidence-Based Guidelines on Medication Therapy for Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Children with AGREE Instrument 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87711.
To summarize recommendations of existing guidelines on the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in children, and to assess the methodological quality of these guidelines.
We searched seven databases and web sites of relevant academic agencies. Evidence-based guidelines on pediatric URTIs were included. AGREE II was used to assess the quality of these guidelines. Two researchers selected guidelines independently and extracted information on publication years, institutions, target populations, recommendations, quality of evidence, and strength of recommendations. We compared the similarities and differences of recommendations and their strength. We also analyzed the reasons for variation.
Thirteen guidelines meeting our inclusion criteria were included. Huge differences existed among these 13 guidelines concerning the categorization of evidence and recommendations. Nearly all of these guidelines lacked the sufficient involvement of stake holders. Further, the applicability of these guidelines still needs to be improved. In terms of recommendations, penicillin and amoxicillin were suggested for group A streptococcal pharyngitis. Amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanate were recommended for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS). An observation of 2–3 days prior to antibiotic therapy initiation for mild acute otitis media (AOM) was recommended with amoxicillin as the suggested first choice agent. Direct evidence to support strong recommendations on the therapy for influenza is still lacking. In addition, the antimicrobial durations for pharyngitis and ABRS were still controversial. No consensus was reached for the onset of antibiotics for ABRS in children.
Future guidelines should use a consistent grading system for the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations. More effort needs to be paid to seek the preference of stake holders and to improve the applicability of guidelines. Further, there are still areas in pediatric URTIs that need more research.
PMCID: PMC3930557  PMID: 24586287
11.  Common Handling Procedures Conducted in Preclinical Safety Studies Result in Minimal Hepatic Gene Expression Changes in Sprague-Dawley Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88750.
Gene expression profiling is a tool to gain mechanistic understanding of adverse effects in response to compound exposure. However, little is known about how the common handling procedures of experimental animals during a preclinical study alter baseline gene expression. We report gene expression changes in the livers of female Sprague-Dawley rats following common handling procedures. Baseline gene expression changes identified in this study provide insight on how these changes may affect interpretation of gene expression profiles following compound exposure. Rats were divided into three groups. One group was not subjected to handling procedures and served as controls for both handled groups. Animals in the other two groups were weighed, subjected to restraint in Broome restrainers, and administered water via oral gavage daily for 1 or 4 days with tail vein blood collections at 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours postdose on days 1 and 4. Significantly altered genes were identified in livers of animals following 1 or 4 days of handling when compared to the unhandled animals. Gene changes in animals handled for 4 days were similar to those handled for 1 day, suggesting a lack of habituation. The altered genes were primarily immune function related genes. These findings, along with a correlating increase in corticosterone levels suggest that common handling procedures may cause a minor immune system perturbance.
PMCID: PMC3925150  PMID: 24551150
12.  Expansion of Anti-Mesothelin Specific CD4+ and CD8+ T Cell Responses in Patients with Pancreatic Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88133.
We aimed to assess the status of naturally occurring CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses to a tumour associated antigen, Mesothelin, in patients with pancreatic carcinoma and study the effects of elevated IL-10 on Mesothelin-specific T cell responses. For that sake, short term T cell lines were generated from PBMCs of 16 healthy controls, 15 patients with benign pancreatic diseases and 25 patients with pancreatic carcinoma and Mesothelin-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were analysed using intracellular cytokine assays for IFN-γ. Plasma levels of IL-10 and Mesothelin were measured using cytometric bead array and ELISA assay, respectively. The blocking assays were performed to assess the effects of IL-10 on Mesothelin-specific T cell responses. Here, we demonstrate that the plasma levels of Mesothelin and IL-10 are significantly increased in patients with pancreatic carcinoma. Additionally, we found that (a) Mesothelin-specific T cell responses are significantly expanded in cancer patients (p = 0.0053), (b) the multifunctional CD4+ T cell response is directed toward a broad repertoire of epitopes within the Mesothelin protein. (c) Mesothelin-specific CD4+ T cell response is directly inhibited by elevated IL-10 in cancer patients. These data provides evidence for the use of Mesothelin as an immunogen for tumour-specific T cell response.
PMCID: PMC3919833  PMID: 24520352
13.  The Cryptococcus neoformans Transcriptome at the Site of Human Meningitis 
mBio  2014;5(1):e01087-13.
Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. Previous studies have characterized the cryptococcal transcriptome under various stress conditions, but a comprehensive profile of the C. neoformans transcriptome in the human host has not been attempted. Here, we extracted RNA from yeast cells taken directly from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of two AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis prior to antifungal therapy. The patients were infected with strains of C. neoformans var. grubii of molecular type VNI and VNII. Using RNA-seq, we compared the transcriptional profiles of these strains under three environmental conditions (in vivo CSF, ex vivo CSF, and yeast extract-peptone-dextrose [YPD]). Although we identified a number of differentially expressed genes, single nucleotide variants, and novel genes that were unique to each strain, the overall expression patterns of the two strains were similar under the same environmental conditions. Specifically, yeast cells obtained directly from each patient’s CSF were more metabolically active than cells that were incubated ex vivo in CSF. Compared with growth in YPD, some genes were identified as significantly upregulated in both in vivo and ex vivo CSF, and they were associated with genes previously recognized for contributing to pathogenicity. For example, genes with known stress response functions, such as RIM101, ENA1, and CFO1, were regulated similarly in the two clinical strains. Conversely, many genes that were differentially regulated between the two strains appeared to be transporters. These findings establish a platform for further studies of how this yeast survives and produces disease.
Cryptococcus neoformans, an environmental, opportunistic yeast, is annually responsible for an estimated million cases of meningitis and over 600,000 deaths, mostly among HIV-infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Using RNA-seq, we analyzed the gene expression of two strains of C. neoformans obtained from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of infected patients, thus creating a comprehensive snapshot of the yeasts’ genetic responses within the human body. By comparing the gene expression of each clinical strain under three conditions (in vivo CSF, ex vivo CSF, and laboratory culture), we identified genes and pathways that were uniquely regulated by exposure to CSF and likely crucial for the survival of C. neoformans in the central nervous system. Further analyses revealed genetic diversity between the strains, providing evidence for cryptococcal evolution and strain specificity. This ability to characterize transcription in vivo enables the elucidation of specific genetic responses that promote disease production and progression.
PMCID: PMC3950508  PMID: 24496797
14.  Effects of Y27632 on Aqueous Humor Outflow Facility With Changes in Hydrodynamic Pattern and Morphology in Human Eyes 
To determine the effect of Y27632, a Rho-kinase inhibitor on aqueous outflow facility, flow pattern, and juxtacanalicular tissue (JCT)/trabecular meshwork (TM) morphology in human eyes.
Sixteen enucleated human eyes were perfused with PBS plus glucose (GPBS) at 15 mm Hg to establish the baseline outflow facility. Six eyes were perfused for short-duration (30 minute) with either 50 μM Y27632 or GPBS (n = 3 per group). Ten eyes were perfused for long duration (3 hours) with either 50 μM Y27632 or GPBS (n = 5 per group). Outflow pattern was labeled using fluorescent microspheres, and effective filtration length (EFL) was measured. Morphologic changes and their relationship to EFL and facility were analyzed.
Outflow facility significantly increased after short-duration perfusion with Y27632 compared with its own baseline (P = 0.03), but did not reach statistical significance compared with its controls (P = 0.07). Outflow facility (P = 0.01) and EFL (P < 0.05) were significantly increased after long-duration perfusion with Y27632 compared with its controls. Increases in outflow facility and EFL demonstrated a positive correlation. Morphologically, the TM and JCT of high-tracer regions were more expanded compared with low-tracer regions. A significant increase in JCT thickness was found in the long-duration Y27632 group compared with its control group (10.0 vs. 8.0 μm, P < 0.01).
Y27632 increases outflow facility in human eyes. This increase correlates positively with an increase in EFL, which is associated with an increased expansion in the JCT. Our data suggest that EFL could serve as a novel parameter to correlate with outflow facility.
This study demonstrated that Y27632, a Rho-kinase inhibitor, increases aqueous outflow facility in human eyes is associated with increases in effective filtration length, which is associated with an increased expansion in the juxtacanalicular tissue.
PMCID: PMC3757907  PMID: 23920374
trabecular meshwork; rho-kinase inhibitor; Y27632; outflow facility; effective filtration area; morphology; light; confocal and electron microscopy
15.  Amantadine Ameliorates Dopamine-Releasing Deficits and Behavioral Deficits in Rats after Fluid Percussion Injury 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86354.
To investigate the role of dopamine in cognitive and motor learning skill deficits after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), we investigated dopamine release and behavioral changes at a series of time points after fluid percussion injury, and explored the potential of amantadine hydrochloride as a chronic treatment to provide behavioral recovery.
Materials and Methods
In this study, we sequentially investigated dopamine release at the striatum and behavioral changes at 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after fluid percussion injury. Rats subjected to 6-Pa cerebral cortical fluid percussion injury were treated by using subcutaneous infusion pumps filled with either saline (sham group) or amantadine hydrochloride, with a releasing rate of 3.6mg/kg/hour for 8 weeks. The dopamine-releasing conditions and metabolism were analyzed sequentially by fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) and high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Novel object recognition (NOR) and fixed-speed rotarod (FSRR) behavioral tests were used to determine treatment effects on cognitive and motor deficits after injury.
Sequential dopamine-release deficits were revealed in 6-Pa-fluid-percussion cerebral cortical injured animals. The reuptake rate (tau value) of dopamine in injured animals was prolonged, but the tau value became close to the value for the control group after amantadine therapy. Cognitive and motor learning impairments were shown evidenced by the NOR and FSRR behavioral tests after injury. Chronic amantadine therapy reversed dopamine-release deficits, and behavioral impairment after fluid percussion injuries were ameliorated in the rats treated by using amantadine-pumping infusion.
Chronic treatment with amantadine hydrochloride can ameliorate dopamine-release deficits as well as cognitive and motor deficits caused by cerebral fluid-percussion injury.
PMCID: PMC3907421  PMID: 24497943
16.  Selective intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 with chemotherapy for advanced oral cancer: a randomized clinical trial 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:16.
In this study, a combination of recombinant adenoviral p53 (rAd-p53) gene therapy and intra-arterial delivery of chemotherapeutic agents for treatment of oral squamous cell carcinoma was evaluated.
In total, 99 patients with stage III or IV oral carcinoma who had refused or were ineligible for surgery were enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase III clinical trial. They were randomly assigned to group I (n = 35; intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 plus chemotherapy), group II (n = 33; intra-arterial infusion of rAd-p53 plus placebo chemotherapy), or group III (n = 31; intra-arterial infusion of placebo rAd-p53 plus chemotherapy).
The median length of follow-up was 36 months (range, 3 to 86 months). During follow-up, 16 patients in group I, 20 in group II, and 22 in group III died. Group I (48.5%) had a higher complete response rate than groups II (16.7%) and III (17.2%) (P = 0.006). The rate of non-responders in group I was significantly lower than that in groups II and III (P < 0.020). A log-rank test for survival rate indicated that group I had a significantly higher survival rate than group III (P = 0.019). The survival rate of patients with stage III but not stage IV oral cancer was significantly higher in group I than in group III (P = 0.015, P = 0.200, respectively). The survival rate of patients with stage IV did not differ significantly among the three groups. Or the 99 patients, 63 patients experienced adverse events of either transient flu-like symptoms or bone marrow suppression, while 13 patients had both these conditions together. No replication-deficient virus was detected in patient serum, urine, or sputum. rAd-p53 treatment increased Bax expression in the primary tumor of 80% of patients, as shown by immunohistochemical staining.
Intra-arterial infusion of combined rAd-p53 and chemotherapy significantly increased the survival rate of patients with stage III but not stage IV oral cancer, compared with intra-arterial chemotherapy. Intra-arterial infusion of combined rAd-p53 and chemotherapy may represent a promising alternative treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Trial registration
ChiCTR-TRC-09000392 (Date of registration: 2009-05-18).
PMCID: PMC3922639  PMID: 24479409
Oral carcinoma; Gene therapy; Chemotherapy; Intra-arterial infusion; p53
17.  Predicting HLA genotypes using unphased and flanking single-nucleotide polymorphisms in Han Chinese population 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:81.
Genetic variation associated with human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes has immunological functions and is associated with autoimmune diseases. To date, large-scale studies involving classical HLA genes have been limited by time-consuming and expensive HLA-typing technologies. To reduce these costs, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been used to predict HLA-allele types. Although HLA allelic distributions differ among populations, most prediction model of HLA genes are based on Caucasian samples, with few reported studies involving non-Caucasians.
Our sample consisted of 437 Han Chinese with Affymetrix 5.0 and Illumina 550 K SNPs, of whom 214 also had data on Affymetrix 6.0 SNPs. All individuals had HLA typings at a 4-digit resolution. Using these data, we have built prediction model of HLA genes that are specific for a Han Chinese population. To optimize our prediction model of HLA genes, we analyzed a number of critical parameters, including flanking-region size, genotyping platform, and imputation. Predictive accuracies generally increased both with sample size and SNP density.
SNP data from the HapMap Project are about five times more dense than commercially available genotype chip data. Using chips to genotype our samples, however, only reduced the accuracy of our HLA predictions by only ~3%, while saving a great deal of time and expense. We demonstrated that classical HLA alleles can be predicted from SNP genotype data with a high level of accuracy (80.37% (HLA-B) ~95.79% (HLA-DQB1)) in a Han Chinese population. This finding offers new opportunities for researchers in obtaining HLA genotypes via prediction using their already existing chip datasets. Since the genetic variation structure (e.g. SNP, HLA, Linkage disequilibrium) is different between Han Chinese and Caucasians, and has strong impact in building prediction models for HLA genes, our findings emphasize the importance of building ethnic-specific models when analyzing human populations.
PMCID: PMC3909910  PMID: 24476119
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC); Human leukocyte antigen (HLA); Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
18.  Loss of B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells leads to expansion of infiltrating donor CD8+ T cells and persistence of GVHD 
Previous experimental studies have shown that acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is associated with two waves of donor CD8+ T cell expansion. In the current studies, we used in vivo bioluminescent imaging (BLI), in vivo BrdU-labeling, and three different experimental GVHD systems to show that B7-H1 expression by recipient parenchymal cells controls the second wave of alloreactive donor CD8+ T cell expansion and the associated second phase of GVHD. Loss of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal cells during the course of GVHD was associated with persistent proliferation of donor CD8+ T cells in GVHD target tissues and continued tissue injury, whereas persistent expression of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal cells led to reduced proliferation of donor CD8+ T cells in GVHD target tissues and resolution of GVHD. These studies demonstrate that parenchymal cell expression of B7-H1 is required for tolerizing infiltrating T cells and preventing the persistence of GVHD. Our results suggest that therapies designed to preserve or restore expression of B7-H1 expression by parenchymal tissues in the recipient could prevent or ameliorate GVHD in humans.
PMCID: PMC3891913  PMID: 22156590
Hematopoietic cell transplantation; Graft versus host disease; Co-inhibitory molecule B7-H1; Anti-CD3; Lymphopenia
19.  Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of “Silent” and “Non-Silent” Peritonitis in Patients on Peritoneal Dialysis 
♦ Objectives: We compared the clinical characteristics and outcomes of “silent” peritonitis (meaning episodes without fever and abdominal pain) and “non-silent” peritonitis in patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD).
♦ Methods: Our cohort study collected data about all peritonitis episodes occurring between January 2008 and April 2010. Disease severity score, demographics, and biochemistry and nutrition data were recorded at baseline. Effluent cell counts were examined at regular intervals, and the organisms cultured were examined. Treatment failure was defined as peritonitis-associated death or transfer to hemodialysis.
♦ Results: Of 248 episodes of peritonitis occurring in 161 PD patients, 20.9% led to treatment failure. Of the 248 episodes, 51 (20.6%) were not accompanied by fever and abdominal pain. Patients with these silent peritonitis episodes tended to be older (p = 0.003). The baseline values for body mass index, triglycerides, and daily energy intake were significantly lower before silent peritonitis episodes than before non-silent episodes (p = 0.01, 0.003, and 0.001 respectively). Although silent peritonitis episodes were more often culture-negative and less often caused by gram-negative organisms, and although they presented with low effluent white cell counts on days 1 and 3, the risk for treatment failure in those episodes was not lower (adjusted odds ratio: 1.33; 95% confidence interval: 0.75 to 2.36; p = 0.33).
♦ Conclusions: Silent peritonitis is not a rare phenomenon, especially in older patients on PD. Although these episodes were more often culture-negative, silent presentation was not associated with a better outcome.
PMCID: PMC3598251  PMID: 22855888
Peritonitis; outcomes
20.  Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Nemonoxacin against Streptococcus pneumoniae in an In Vitro Infection Model 
The aim of this paper was to investigate the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of nemonoxacin, a novel nonfluorinated quinolone, against Streptococcus pneumoniae in vitro. A modified infection model was used to simulate the pharmacokinetics of nemonoxacin following scaling of single oral doses and multiple oral dosing. Four S. pneumoniae strains with different penicillin sensitivities were selected, and the drug efficacy was quantified by the change in log colony counts within 24 h. A sigmoid maximum-effect (Emax) model was used to analyze the relationship between PK/PD parameters and drug effect. Analysis indicated that the killing pattern of nemonoxacin shows a dualism which is mainly concentration dependent when the MIC is low and that the better PK/PD index should be the area under the concentration-time curve for the free, unbound fraction of the drug divided by the MIC (fAUC0–24/MIC), which means that giving the total daily amount of drug as one dose is appropriate under those conditions. When the MIC is high, the time (T) dependency is important and the valid PK/PD index should be the cumulative percentage of a 24-h period in which the drug concentration exceeds the MIC under steady-state pharmacokinetic conditions (f%T>MIC), which means that to split the maximum daily dose into several separate doses will benefit the eradication of the bacteria. To obtain a 3-log10-unit decrease, the target values of fAUC0–24/MIC and f%T>MIC are 47.05 and 53.4%, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3697386  PMID: 23587953
21.  Genome-Wide and Differential Proteomic Analysis of Hepatitis B Virus and Aflatoxin B1 Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Guangxi, China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83465.
Both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure can cause liver damage as well as increase the probability of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To investigate the underlying genetic changes that may influence development of HCC associated with HBV infection and AFB1 exposure, HCC patients were subdivided into 4 groups depending upon HBV and AFB1 exposure status: (HBV(+)/AFB1(+), HBV(+)/AFB1(-), HBV(-)/AFB1(+), HBV(-)/AFB1(-)). Genetic abnormalities and protein expression profiles were analyzed by array-based comparative genomic hybridization and isobaric tagging for quantitation. A total of 573 chromosomal aberrations (CNAs) including 184 increased and 389 decreased were detected in our study population. Twenty-five recurrently altered regions (RARs; chromosomal alterations observed in ≥10 patients) in chromosomes were identified. Loss of 4q13.3-q35.2, 13q12.1-q21.2 and gain of 7q11.2-q35 were observed with a higher frequency in the HBV(+)/AFB1(+), HBV(+)/AFB1(-) and HBV(-)/AFB1(+) groups compared to the HBV(-)/AFB(-) group. Loss of 8p12-p23.2 was associated with high TNM stage tumors (P = 0.038) and was an unfavorable prognostic factor for tumor-free survival (P =0.045). A total of 133 differentially expressed proteins were identified in iTRAQ proteomics analysis, 69 (51.8%) of which mapped within identified RARs. The most common biological processes affected by HBV and AFB1 status in HCC tumorigenesis were detoxification and drug metabolism pathways, antigen processing and anti-apoptosis pathways. Expression of AKR1B10 was increased significantly in the HBV(+)/AFB1(+) and HBV(-)/AFB1(+) groups. A significant correlation between the expression of AKR1B10 mRNA and protein levels as well as AKR1B10 copy number was observered, which suggest that AKR1B10 may play a role in AFB1-related hepatocarcinogenesis. In summary, a number of genetic and gene expression alterations were found to be associated with HBV and AFB1- related HCC. The possible synergistic effects of HBV and AFB1 in hepatocarcinogenesis warrant further investigations.
PMCID: PMC3877066  PMID: 24391771
22.  In Vitro Screening for Antihepatic Steatosis Active Components within Coptidis Rhizoma Alkaloids Extract Using Liver Cell Extraction with HPLC Analysis and a Free Fatty Acid-Induced Hepatic Steatosis HepG2 Cell Assay 
A high-throughput method was developed and applied to screen for the active antihepatic steatosis components within Coptidis Rhizoma Alkaloids Extract (CAE). This method was a combination of two previously described assays: HepG2 cell extraction with HPLC analysis and a free fatty acid-induced (FFA) hepatic steatosis HepG2 cell assay. Two alkaloids within CAE, berberine and coptisine, were identified by HepG2 cell extraction with HPLC analysis as high affinity components for HepG2. These alkaloids were also determined to be active and potent compounds capable of lowering triglyceride (TG) accumulation in the FFA-induced hepatic steatosis HepG2 cell assay. This remarkable inhibition of TG accumulation (P < 0.01) by berberine and coptisine occurred at concentrations of 0.2 μg/mL and 5.0 μg/mL, respectively. At these concentrations, the effect seen was similar to that of a CAE at 100.0 μg/mL. Another five alkaloids within CAE, palmatine, epiberberine, jateorhizine, columbamine, and magnoline, were found to have a lower affinity for cellular components from HepG2 cells and a lower inhibition of TG accumulation. The finding of two potent and active compounds within CAE indicates that the screening method we developed is a feasible, rapid, and useful tool for studying traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) in treating hepatic steatosis.
PMCID: PMC3878276  PMID: 24454495
23.  Deep Sequencing-Based Transcriptional Analysis of Bovine Mammary Epithelial Cells Gene Expression in Response to In Vitro Infection with Staphylococcus aureus Stains 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82117.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is an important etiological organism in chronic and subclinical mastitis in lactating cows. Given the fundamental role the primary bovine mammary epithelial cells (pBMECs) play as a major first line of defense against invading pathogens, their interactions with S. aureus was hypothesized to be crucial to the establishment of the latter’s infection process. This hypothesis was tested by investigating the global transcriptional responses of pBMECs to three S. aureus strains (S56,S178 and S36) with different virulent factors, using a tag-based high-throughput transcriptome sequencing technique. Approximately 4.9 million total sequence tags were obtained from each of the three S. aureus-infected libraries and the control library. Referenced to the control, 1720, 219, and 427 differentially expressed unique genes were identified in the pBMECs infected with S56, S178 and S36 S. aureus strains respectively. Gene ontology (GO) and pathway analysis of the S56-infected pBMECs referenced to those of the control revealed that the differentially expressed genes in S56-infected pBMECs were significantly involved in inflammatory response, cell signalling pathways and apoptosis. In the same vein, the clustered GO terms of the differentially expressed genes of the S178-infected pBMECs were found to comprise immune responses, metabolism transformation, and apoptosis, while those of the S36-infected pBMECs were primarily involved in cell cycle progression and immune responses. Furthermore, fundamental differences were observed in the levels of expression of immune-related genes in response to treatments with the three S. aureus strains. These differences were especially noted for the expression of important pro-inflammatory molecules, including IL-1α, TNF, EFNB1, IL-8, and EGR1. The transcriptional changes associated with cellular signaling and the inflammatory response in this study may reflect different immunomodulatory mechanisms that underlie the interaction between pBMECs and S. aureus strains during infection by the latter.
PMCID: PMC3864865  PMID: 24358144
24.  Folic Acid Protects against Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Preterm Delivery and Intrauterine Growth Restriction through Its Anti-Inflammatory Effect in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82713.
Increasing evidence demonstrates that maternal folic acid (FA) supplementation during pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects, but whether FA prevents preterm delivery and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) remains obscure. Previous studies showed that maternal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure induces preterm delivery, fetal death and IUGR in rodent animals. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of FA on LPS-induced preterm delivery, fetal death and IUGR in mice. Some pregnant mice were orally administered with FA (0.6, 3 or 15 mg/kg) 1 h before LPS injection. As expected, a high dose of LPS (300 μg/kg, i.p.) on gestational day 15 (GD15) caused 100% of dams to deliver before GD18 and 89.3% of fetuses dead. A low dose of LPS (75 μg/kg, i.p.) daily from GD15 to GD17 resulted in IUGR. Interestingly, pretreatment with FA prevented LPS-induced preterm delivery and fetal death. In addition, FA significantly attenuated LPS-induced IUGR. Further experiments showed that FA inhibited LPS-induced activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) in mouse placentas. Moreover, FA suppressed LPS-induced NF-κB activation in human trophoblast cell line JEG-3. Correspondingly, FA significantly attenuated LPS-induced upregulation of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 in mouse placentas. In addition, FA significantly reduced the levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and keratinocyte-derived cytokine (KC) in amniotic fluid of LPS-treated mice. Collectively, maternal FA supplementation during pregnancy protects against LPS-induced preterm delivery, fetal death and IUGR through its anti-inflammatory effects.
PMCID: PMC3855776  PMID: 24324824
25.  Genome-wide expression profiles of subchondral bone in osteoarthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R190.
The aim of this study was to evaluate, for the first time, the differences in gene expression profiles of normal and osteoarthritic (OA) subchondral bone in human subjects.
Following histological assessment of the integrity of overlying cartilage and the severity of bone abnormality by micro-computed tomography, we isolated total RNA from regions of interest from human OA (n = 20) and non-OA (n = 5) knee lateral tibial (LT) and medial tibial (MT) plateaus. A whole-genome profiling study was performed on an Agilent microarray platform and analyzed using Agilent GeneSpring GX11.5. Confirmatory quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis was performed on samples from 9 OA individuals to confirm differential expression of 85 genes identified by microarray. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used to investigate canonical pathways and immunohistochemical staining was performed to validate protein expression levels in samples.
A total of 972 differentially expressed genes were identified (fold change ≥ ± 2, P ≤0.05) between LT (minimal degeneration) and MT (significant degeneration) regions from OA samples; these data implicated 279 canonical pathways in IPA. The qRT-PCR data strongly confirmed the accuracy of microarray results (R2 = 0.58, P <0.0001). Novel pathways were identified in this study including Periostin (POSTN) and Leptin (LEP), which are implicated in bone remodeling by osteoblasts.
To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the most comprehensive direct assessment to date of gene expression profiling in OA subchondral bone. This study provides insights that could contribute to the development of new biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for OA.
PMCID: PMC3979015  PMID: 24229462

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