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1.  Genetic variants in DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(7):1536-1542.
The DNA repair pathways help to maintain genomic integrity and therefore genetic variation in the pathways could affect the propensity to develop cancer. Selected germline single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the pathways have been associated with esophageal cancer and gastric cancer (GC) but few studies have comprehensively examined the pathway genes. We aimed to investigate associations between DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and GC, using data from a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population where ESCC and GC are the predominant cancers. In sum, 1942 ESCC cases, 1758 GC cases and 2111 controls from the Shanxi Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Project (discovery set) and the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials (replication set) were genotyped for 1675 SNPs in 170 DNA repair-related genes. Logistic regression models were applied to evaluate SNP-level associations. Gene- and pathway-level associations were determined using the resampling-based adaptive rank-truncated product approach. The DNA repair pathways overall were significantly associated with risk of ESCC (P = 6.37 × 10− 4), but not with GC (P = 0.20). The most significant gene in ESCC was CHEK2 (P = 2.00 × 10− 6) and in GC was CLK2 (P = 3.02 × 10− 4). We observed several other genes significantly associated with either ESCC (SMUG1, TDG, TP53, GTF2H3, FEN1, POLQ, HEL308, RAD54B, MPG, FANCE and BRCA1) or GC risk (MRE11A, RAD54L and POLE) (P < 0.05). We provide evidence for an association between specific genes in the DNA repair pathways and the risk of ESCC and GC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3697889  PMID: 23504502
2.  Hyperoside, a Flavonoid Compound, Inhibits Proliferation and Stimulates Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Osteosarcoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e98973.
Osteosarcoma, one of the most common malignant bone tumours, is generally considered a differentiation disease caused by genetic and epigenetic disruptions in the terminal differentiation of osteoblasts. Novel therapies based on the non-cytotoxic induction of cell differentiation-responsive pathways could represent a significant advance in treating osteosarcoma; however, effective pharmaceuticals to induce differentiation are lacking. In the present study, we investigated the effect of hyperoside, a flavonoid compound, on the osteoblastic differentiation of U2OS and MG63 osteosarcoma cells in vitro. Our results demonstrated that hyperoside inhibits the proliferation of osteosarcoma cells by inducing G0/G1 arrest in the cell cycle, without causing obvious cell death. Cell migration assay further suggested that hyperoside could inhibit the invasion potential of osteosarcoma cells. Additionally, osteopontin and runt-related transcription factor 2 protein levels and osteocalcin activation were upregulated dramatically in hyperoside-treated osteosarcoma cells, suggesting that hyperoside may stimulates osteoblastic differentiation in osteosarcoma cells. This differentiation was accompanied by the activation of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and bone morphogenetic protein-2, suggesting that the hyperoside-induced differentiation involves the TGF-β signalling pathway. To our knowledge, this study is the first to evaluate the differentiation effect of hyperoside in osteosarcoma cells and assess the possible potential for hyperoside treatment as a future therapeutic approach for osteosarcoma differentiation therapy.
PMCID: PMC4077650  PMID: 24983940
3.  Membrane phospholipid redistribution in cancer micro-particles and implications in the recruitment of cationic protein factors 
Journal of Extracellular Vesicles  2014;3:10.3402/jev.v3.22653.
Cancer cell-derived micro-particles (MPs) play important regulatory roles on cellular and system levels. These activities are attributed in part to protein factors carried by MPs. However, recruitment strategies for sequestering certain protein factors in MPs are poorly understood. In the current study, using exogenous and endogenously expressed phospholipid-binding probes, we investigated the distribution of membrane phospholipids in MPs as a potential mechanism for electrostatically enriching cationic protein factors in MPs. We detected a significant level of externalised phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) at the outer surface of MPs. This was accompanied, in the inner leaflet of the MP membrane, by a greater density of negatively charged phospholipids, particularly phosphatidylserine (PS). The local enrichment of PS in the inner surface of MPs was correlated with an elevated presence of small GTPases in a polybasic region (PBR)-dependent fashion. By employing a series of RhoA derivatives, including constitutively active and RhoA derivatives lacking a PBR, we could demonstrate that the congregation of RhoA in MPs was dependent on the presence of the PBR. A chimer with the fusion of PBR sequence alone to GFP significantly enhanced GFP localisation in MPs, indicative of a positive contribution of electrostatic interactions in RhoA recruitment to MPs. Using in silico thermodynamic simulations, we characterised the electrostatic interactions between PBR and anionic lipid membrane surface. In summary, the redistribution of membrane phospholipids in MPs has an impact on the local ionic density, and is likely a contributing factor in the electrostatic recruitment of membrane-associated proteins to MPs in a PBR-dependent fashion.
PMCID: PMC4056184  PMID: 24959330
phosphatidylethanolamine; phosphatidylserine; membrane asymmetry; micro-particles; Rho GTPase
4.  Thioridazine lacks bactericidal activity in an animal model of extracellular tuberculosis 
The antipsychotic drug thioridazine is active in the murine model of tuberculosis infection, which is predominantly intracellular in nature. Recent clinical reports suggest that thioridazine may play a role in the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. We studied the tuberculocidal activity of thioridazine in guinea pigs, which develop necrotic lung granulomas histologically resembling their human counterparts.
Pharmacokinetic studies were performed in guinea pigs to establish human-equivalent doses of thioridazine. Guinea pigs were aerosol-infected with ∼100 bacilli of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and single-drug treatment was started 4 weeks later with a range of thioridazine doses daily (5 days/week) for up to 4 weeks. Control animals received no treatment or 60 mg/kg isoniazid.
The human-equivalent dose of thioridazine was determined to be 5 mg/kg with saturable absorption noted above 50 mg/kg. At the start of treatment, the lung bacterial burden was ∼6.2 log10 cfu. Although isoniazid reduced bacillary counts more than 10-fold, thioridazine monotherapy showed limited killing over the range of doses tested, reducing lung bacillary counts by 0.3–0.5 log10 following 1 month of treatment. Thioridazine was tolerated up to 40 mg/kg.
Thioridazine has limited bactericidal activity against extracellular bacilli within necrotic granulomas. Its contribution to the sterilizing activity of combination regimens against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3654222  PMID: 23463208
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; phenothiazine; isoniazid; chemotherapy; toxicity; guinea pigs
5.  Yiqihuoxuejiedu Formula Inhibits Vascular Remodeling by Reducing Proliferation and Secretion of Adventitial Fibroblast after Balloon Injury 
Vascular remodeling occurs in atherosclerosis, hypertension, and restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention. Adventitial remodeling may be a potential therapeutic target. Yiqihuoxuejiedu formula uses therapeutic principles from Chinese medicine to supplement Qi, activate blood circulation, and resolve toxin and it has been shown to inhibit vascular stenosis. To investigate effects and mechanisms of the formula on inhibiting vascular remodeling, especially adventitial remodeling, rats with a balloon injury to their common carotid artery were used and were treated for 7 or 28 days after injury. The adventitial area and α-SMA expression increased at 7 days after injury, which indicated activation and proliferation of adventitial fibroblasts. Yiqihuoxuejiedu formula reduced the adventitial areas at 7 days, attenuated the neointima and vessel wall area, stenosis percent, and α-SMA expression in the neointima, and reduced collagen content and type I/III collagen ratio in the adventitia at 28 days. Yiqihuoxuejiedu formula had more positive effects than Captopril in reducing intimal proliferation and diminishing stenosis, although Captopril lowered neointimal α-SMA expression and reduced the collagen content at 28 days. Yiqihuoxuejiedu formula has inhibitory effects on positive and negative remodeling by reducing adventitial and neointimal proliferation, reducing content, and elevating adventitial compliance.
PMCID: PMC4058465  PMID: 24987435
6.  Pyranoflavones: A Group of Small-molecule Probes for Exploring the Active Site Cavities of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes 1A1, 1A2, and 1B1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(10):4082-4092.
Selective inhibition of P450 enzymes is the key to block the conversion of environmental procarcinogens to their carcinogenic metabolites in both animals and humans. To discover highly potent and selective inhibitors of P450s 1A1, 1A2, and 1B1, as well as to investigate active site cavities of these enzymes, 14 novel flavone derivatives were prepared as chemical probes. Fluorimetric enzyme inhibition assays were used to determine the inhibitory activities of these probes towards P450s 1A1, 1A2, 1B1, 2A6, and 2B1. A highly selective P450 1B1 inhibitor, 5-hydroxy-4′-propargyloxyflavone (5H4′FPE) was discovered. Some tested compounds also showed selectivity between P450s 1A1 and 1A2. Alpha-naphthoflavone-like and 5-hydroxyflavone derivatives preferentially inhibited P450 1A2, while beta-naphthoflavone-like flavone derivatives showed selective inhibition of P450 1A1. On the basis of structural analysis, the active site cavity models of P450 enzymes 1A1 and 1A2 were generated, demonstrating a planar long strip cavity and a planar triangular cavity, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3685175  PMID: 23600958
7.  Prostate specific antigen detection in patient sera by fluorescence-free BioCD protein array 
Biosensors & bioelectronics  2010;26(5):1871-1875.
Fluorescence-free biosensor arrays for protein detection directly measure the protein surface density, and do not require a fluorophore or enzyme label, and provide quantitative and consistent signals. However, few fluorescence-free biosensor protein arrays have demonstrated successful application in high-background samples, such as serum, due to non-specific binding. We tested the BioCD as a fluorescence-free biosensor based on optical interferometry, and used it to detect prostate specific antigen (PSA, a biomarker of prostate cancer) in patient sera in a 96-well anti-PSA microarray. We have attained a 4 ng/ml detection limit in serum and have measured PSA concentrations in patient sera. The measured concentrations correlated well with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) results. The measurement of PSA concentrations in high-level protein backgrounds suggests that the BioCD has a potential for clinical applications by removing the restriction of fluorescence-free biosensors from high-background applications.
PMCID: PMC4030240  PMID: 20236816
BioCD; Label-free; Interferometry; Antibody microarray; Prostate specific antigen; Cancer biomarker; Serum; Optical biosensor
8.  Molecular Layer Detection on a Diffractive Optical Balance 
Optics letters  2012;37(19):4098-4100.
Diffraction-based molecular detection is achieved by etching optical gratings into thermal oxide on silicon. The gratings perform as a stable common-path diffractive optical balance (DOB) designed to operate around a missing diffraction order. The biosensor is operated in an off-null condition with a phase bias to produce a high-contrast responsivity that is linear in accumulated molecules, but with a low background. The DOB linear responsivity is a factor of 20 larger than the reflectometric responsivity of planar thermal oxide.
PMCID: PMC4028713  PMID: 23027291
9.  Urinary soluble urokinase receptor levels are elevated and pathogenic in patients with primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:81.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a major cause of end-stage renal disease. Recent studies have proposed that plasma soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR) might be a causative circulating factor but this proposal has caused controversy. This study aimed to measure urinary suPAR levels in patients with primary FSGS and its significance in the pathogenesis of FSGS.
Sixty-two patients with primary FSGS, diagnosed between January 2006 and January 2012, with complete clinical and pathologic data were enrolled, together with disease and normal controls. Urinary suPAR levels were measured using commercial ELISA kits and were corrected by urinary creatinine (Cr). The associations between urinary suPAR levels and clinical data at presentation and during follow up were analyzed. Conditionally immortalized human podocytes were used to study the effect of urinary suPAR on activating β3 integrin detected by AP5 staining.
The urinary suPAR level of patients with primary FSGS (500.56, IQR 262.78 to 1,059.44 pg/μmol Cr) was significantly higher than that of patients with minimal change disease (307.86, IQR 216.54 to 480.18 pg/μmol Cr, P = 0.033), membranous nephropathy (250.23, IQR 170.37 to 357.59 pg/μmol Cr, P <0.001), secondary FSGS (220.45, IQR 149.38 to 335.54 pg/μmol Cr, P <0.001) and normal subjects (183.59, IQR 103.92 to 228.78 pg/μmol Cr, P <0.001). The urinary suPAR level of patients with cellular variant was significantly higher than that of patients with tip variant. The urinary suPAR level in the patients with primary FSGS was positively correlated with 24-hour urine protein (r = 0.287, P = 0.024). During follow up, the urinary suPAR level of patients with complete remission decreased significantly (661.19, IQR 224.32 to 1,115.29 pg/μmol Cr versus 217.68, IQR 121.77 to 415.55 pg/μmol Cr, P = 0.017). The AP5 signal was strongly induced along the cell membrane when human differentiated podocytes were incubated with the urine of patients with FSGS at presentation, and the signal could be reduced by a blocking antibody specific to uPAR.
Urinary suPAR was specifically elevated in patients with primary FSGS and was associated with disease severity. The elevated urinary suPAR could activate β3 integrin on human podocytes.
Please see related article
PMCID: PMC4064821  PMID: 24884842
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; Urinary soluble urokinase receptor; Podocyte
10.  Coagulation and Fibrinolysis Index Profile in Patients with ANCA-Associated Vasculitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97843.
Previous studies observed the high prevalence of venous thromboembolism in patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV). The current study analyzed the coagulation and fibrinolysis index profile in AAV patients.
The current study recruited 321 AAV patients in active stage and 78 AAV patients in quiescent stage. Coagulation and fibrinolysis index profiles in these AAV patients were analysed, and their associations with various clinical and pathological parameters were further investigated.
The circulating levels of D-dimer, fibrin degradation products and platelet count were significantly higher in AAV patients in active stage compared with those in remission [0.8 (0.4, 1.5) mg/L vs. 0.28 (0.2, 0.55) mg/L, P<0.05; 5.6 (5.0, 10.0) mg/L vs. 1.9 (1.2, 2.8) mg/L, P<0.05; 269±127×109/L vs. 227±80×109/L, P<0.05, respectively]. Among the 321 AAV patients in active stage, compared with patients with normal levels of D-dimer, patients with elevated D-dimer levels had significantly higher levels of initial serum creatinine, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C reactive protein and the Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Scores (P = 0.014, P<0.001, P<0.001, P = 0.002, respectively). Moreover, correlation analysis showed that the levels of D-dimer correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C reactive protein levels (r = 0.384, P<0.001; r = 0.380, P<0.001, respectively).
Patients with active AAV are in hypercoagulable states, and circulating levels of D-dimer are associated with disease activity of AAV.
PMCID: PMC4026389  PMID: 24842719
11.  Wnt stabilization of β-catenin reveals principles for morphogen receptor-scaffold assemblies 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;340(6134):867-870.
Wnt signaling stabilizes β-catenin through the LRP6 receptor signaling complex, which antagonizes the β-catenin destruction complex. The Axin scaffold and associated glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) have central roles in both assemblies, but the transduction mechanism from the receptor to the destruction complex is contentious. We report that Wnt signaling is governed by phosphorylation regulation of Axin scaffolding function. Phosphorylation by GSK3 kept Axin activated (“open”) for β-catenin interaction and poised for engagement of LRP6. Formation of the Wnt-induced LRP6-Axin signaling complex promoted Axin dephosphorylation by protein phosphatase-1, and inactivated (“closed”) Axin through an intra-molecular interaction. Inactivation of Axin diminished its association with β-catenin and LRP6, thereby inhibiting β-catenin phosphorylation and enabling activated LRP6 to selectively recruit active Axin for inactivation reiteratively. Our findings reveal mechanisms for scaffold regulation and morphogen signaling.
PMCID: PMC3788643  PMID: 23579495
12.  Folded Conformation, Cyclic Pentamer, Nano-Structure and PAD4 Binding Mode of YW3-56 
The physical and chemical mechanisms of small molecules with pharmacological activity forming nano-structures are developing into a new field of nano-medicine. By using ROESY 2D NMR spectroscopy, trandem mass spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and computer-assisted molecular modeling, this paper demonstrated the contribution of the folded conformation, the intra- and intermolecular π-π stacking, the intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonds, and the receptor binding free energy of 6-dimethylaminonaph-2-yl-{N-S-[1-benzylcarba-moyl-4-(2-chloroacetamidobutyl)]-carboxamide (YW3-56) to the rapid formation of nano-rings and the slow formation of nano-capsules. Thus we have developed a strategy that makes it possible to elucidate the physical and chemical mechanisms of bioactive small molecules forming nano-structures.
PMCID: PMC3685498  PMID: 23795230
Mechanism; Nano-structure; Nano-medicine; Conformation; PAD4; Anti-cancer
13.  Cellular Uptake and Antitumor Activity of DOX-hyd-PEG-FA Nanoparticles 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97358.
A PEG-based, folate mediated, active tumor targeting drug delivery system using DOX-hyd-PEG-FA nanoparticles (NPs) were prepared. DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs showed a significantly faster DOX release in pH 5.0 medium than in pH 7.4 medium. Compared with DOX-hyd-PEG NPs, DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs increased the intracellular accumulation of DOX and showed a DOX translocation from lysosomes to nucleus. The cytotoxicity of DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs on KB cells was much higher than that of free DOX, DOX-ami-PEG-FA NPs and DOX-hyd-PEG NPs. The cytotoxicity of DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs on KB cells was attenuated in the presence of exogenous folic acid. The IC50 of DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs and DOX-hyd-PEG NPs on A549 cells showed no significant difference. After DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs were intravenously administered, the amount of DOX distributed in tumor tissue was significantly increased, while the amount of DOX distributed in heart was greatly decreased as compared with free DOX. Compared with free DOX, NPs yielded improved survival rate, prolonged life span, delayed tumor growth and reduced the cardiotoxicity in tumor bearing mice model. These results indicated that the acid sensitivity, passive and active tumor targeting abilities were likely to act synergistically to enhance the drug delivery efficiency of DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs. Therefore, DOX-hyd-PEG-FA NPs are a promising drug delivery system for targeted cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4020841  PMID: 24828815
14.  Effect of Low-Magnitude Whole-Body Vibration Combined with Alendronate in Ovariectomized Rats: A Random Controlled Osteoporosis Prevention Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96181.
Alendronate (ALE) is a conventional drug used to treat osteoporosis. Low-magnitude whole-body vibration (WBV) exercise has been developed as a potential treatment for osteoporosis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether low-magnitude WBV could enhance the protective effect of ALE on bone properties in ovariectomized rats.
A total of 128 Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into five groups (SHAM, OVX+VEH, OVX+WBV, OVX + ALE, OVX+WBV+ALE). The level of WBV applied was 0.3 g at 45–55 Hz for 20 min/day, 5 day/week and for 3 months. ALE was administered in dose of 1 mg/Kg once a week. Every four weeks eight rats from each group were sacrificed and their blood and both tibiae were harvested. The expression of osteocalcin and CTX in serum was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the tibiae were subjected to metaphyseal three-point bending and μCT analysis.
Osteocalcin rose after ovariectomy and was not appreciably changed by either alendronate or WBV alone or in combination. Alendronate treatment significantly prevented an increase in CTX. WBV alone treatment did not alter this effect. Compared with the OVX+WBV group, nearly all tested indices such as the BV/TV, TV apparent, Tb.N, Tb.Th, and Conn.D were higher in the OVX+ALE group at week 12.Compared with the OVX+WBV group, certain tested indices such as BV/TV, TV apparent, Tb.N, and Con.D, were higher in the OVX+WBV+ALE group at week 12. At week 12, tibiae treated with WBV+ALE exhibited a significantly higher Fmax compared to the OVX+VEH group, and a significant difference was also found in energy absorption between the OVX+WBV+ALE and OVX+VEH groups.
Compared with the WBV, ALE was more effective at preventing bone loss and improved the trabecular architecture. However, WBV enhanced the effect of alendronate in ovariectomized rats by inducing further improvements in trabecular architecture.
PMCID: PMC4010456  PMID: 24796785
15.  Fixed dose capecitabine is feasible: results from a pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic study in metastatic breast cancer 
The pro-drug capecitabine is approved for treatment of anthracycline- and paclitaxel-resistant metastatic breast cancer. However, toxicity and large interpatient pharmacokinetic variability occur despite body surface area (BSA)-dosing. We hypothesized that a fixed-dose schedule would simplify dosing and provide an effective and safe alternative to BSA-based dosing.
Patients and Methods
We conducted an open label, single-arm, two-stage study of oral capecitabine with fixed starting dose (3,000 mg total daily dose in two divided doses × 14days q21days) in patients with metastatic breast cancer. We correlated pharmacodynamic endpoints (e.g., efficacy [response] per RECIST and toxicity), adherence and pharmacokinetics/pharmacogenetics. Sample size of 45 patients was required to detect a 25% response rate from null response rate of 10% using a Simon two-stage design.
Twenty six patients were enrolled in the first-stage and 21 were evaluable after a median of 4 cycles of capecitabine. Two thirds of patients received either the same dose or a dose 500 mg lower than what would have been administered with a commonly used 2,000 mg/m2 BSA-dosing schedule. Eight patients had stable disease but progressed after a median of 7 cycles. Despite a clinical benefit rate of 19%, no RECIST responses were observed following the first stage and the study was closed. Dose-reductions were required for grade 2 hand-foot syndrome (28%) and vomiting (5%). Adherence was similar when using both patient-reported and Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS) methods. High interpatient variability was observed for capecitabine and metabolite pharmacokinetics, but was not attributed to observed pharmacogenetic or BSA differences.
Single agent activity of capecitabine was modest in our patients with estrogen receptor-positive or -negative metastatic breast cancer and comparable to recent studies. BSA was not the main source of pharmacokinetic variability. Fixed-dose capecitabine is feasible, and simplifies dosing.
PMCID: PMC3673300  PMID: 23588952
breast cancer; capecitabine; pharmacokinetics; pharmacogenetics
16.  (R)-[(R)-3-Benzyl-2-oxooxazolidin-4-yl][4-(methyl­sulfon­yl)phen­yl]methyl acetate 
The structure of the title compound, C20H21NO6S, is of inter­est with respect to its anti­bacterial properties. The oxazolidine ring makes dihedral angles of 79.63 (14) and 56.16 (12)° with the phenyl and benzene rings, respectively, while the phenyl and benzene rings make a dihedral angle of 64.37 (13)°. In the crystal, non-classical C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds link adjacent mol­ecules along the c axis.
PMCID: PMC4011233  PMID: 24860399
17.  Gene–Gene Interaction of BLK, TNFSF4, TRAF1, TNFAIP3, and REL in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(1):222-231.
Although the number of convincingly established genetic associations with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has increased sharply over the last few years, refinement of these associations is required, and their potential roles in gene–gene interactions need to be further investigated. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in SLE have produced renewed interest in B cell/T cell responses and the NF-κB signaling pathway. The aim of this study was to search for possible gene–gene interactions based on identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in using an approach based on the role of signaling pathways.
The SNPs in BLK, TNFSF4, TRAF1, TNFAIP3, and REL were replicated in order to evaluate genetic associations with SLE. TaqMan genotyping was conducted in 804 Chinese patients with SLE and 722 matched control subjects. A multiple logistic regression model was used to estimate the multiplicative interaction effect of the SNPs, and additive interactions were analyzed by 2 × 2 factorial designs. Data from a previously published GWAS conducted by the International Consortium on the Genetics of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus were derived for comparison and validation.
Single-marker analysis validated the association of BLK rs2736340 (P = 4.25 × 10–6) as well as TNFSF4 rs2205960 (P = 2.82 × 10–5) and TNFAIP3 rs5029939 (P = 1.92 × 10–3) with SLE susceptibility in Chinese. Multiplicative interaction analysis indicated that BLK had an interactive effect with TNFSF4 in Chinese patients with SLE (P = 6.57 × 10–4). Additive interaction analysis revealed interactions between TRAF1 and TNFAIP3 in both Chinese (P = 2.18 × 10–3) and Caucasians (P = 2.86 × 10–4). In addition, multiple tendencies toward interactions were observed, and an additive effect was observed as the number of risk genotypes increased.
The results of this study provide evidence of the possible gene–gene interactions of BLK, TNFSF4, TRAF1, TNFAIP3, and REL in SLE, which may represent a synergic effect of T cells and B cells through the NF-κB pathway in determining immunologic aberration.
PMCID: PMC3994469  PMID: 21905002
18.  Yiqi Huoxue Recipe Improves Heart Function through Inhibiting Apoptosis Related to Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Myocardial Infarction Model of Rats 
Objective. To explore the mechanism of cardioprotective effects of Chinese medicine, Yiqi Huoxue recipe, in rats with myocardial infarction- (MI-) induced heart failure. Methods. Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent left anterior descending artery (LAD) ligation or sham operation. The surviving MI rats were divided randomly into three groups: MI (5 mL/kg/d NS by gavage), MI + Metoprolol Tartrate (MT) (12 mg/kg/d MT by gavage), and MI + Yiqi Huoxue (5 mL/kg recipe by gavage). And the sham operation rats were given 5 mL/kg/d normal saline. Treatments were given on the day following surgery for 4 weeks. Then rats were detected for heart structure and function by transthoracic echocardiography. Apoptosis in heart tissues was detected by TUNEL staining. To determine whether the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response pathway is included in the cardioprotective function of the recipe, ER stress related proteins such as GRP78 and caspase-12 were examined. Results. Yiqi Huoxue recipe attenuated heart function injury, reversed histopathological damage, alleviated myocardial apoptosis and inhibited ER stress in MI rats. Conclusion. All the results suggest that Yiqi Huoxue recipe improves the injured heart function maybe through inhibition of ER stress response pathway, which is a promising target in therapy for heart failure.
PMCID: PMC4016842  PMID: 24864159
19.  A New Chiral Pyrrolyl α-Nitronyl Nitroxide Radical Attenuates β-Amyloid Deposition and Rescues Memory Deficits in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer Disease 
Neurotherapeutics  2012;10(2):340-353.
The generation of reactive oxygen species causes cellular oxidative damage, and has been implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). L-NNNBP, a new chiral pyrrolyl α-nitronyl nitroxide radical synthesized in our department, shows potential antioxidant effects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the protective effects of L-NNNBP on β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition and memory deficits in an AD model of APP/PS1 mice. In cultured cortical neurons, L-NNNBP acted as an antioxidant by quenching reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipid peroxidation, nitrosative stress, and stimulating cellular antioxidant defenses. L-NNNBP inhibited cell apoptosis induced by Aβ exposure. In vivo treatment with L-NNNBP for 1 month induced a marked decrease in brain Aβ deposition and tau phosphorylation in the blinded study on APP/PS1 transgenic mice (1 mM in drinking water, initiated when the mice were 6 months old). The L-NNNBP-treated APP/PS1 mice showed decreased astrocyte activation and improved spatial learning and memory compared with the vehicle-treated APP/PS1 mice. These actions were more potent compared with that of curcumin, a natural product, and TEMPO, a nitroxide radical, which are used as free radical scavengers in clinics. These results proved that the newly synthesized L-NNNBP was an effective therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of AD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-012-0168-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3625382  PMID: 23212232
Reactive oxygen species; Alzheimer disease; Nitroxide radical; L-NNNBP; β-amyloid
20.  Phase I Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Study of Cetuximab, Irinotecan and Sorafenib in Advanced Colorectal Cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2012;31(2):345-354.
This phase Ib study was designed to determine the maximum tolerated doses (MTD) and dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) of irinotecan and cetuximab with sorafenib. Secondary objectives included characterizing the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and evaluating preliminary antitumor activity in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC).
Patients with metastatic, pretreated CRC were treated at five dose levels.
Eighteen patients were recruited with median age 56.5 years. In the first five patients treated, 2 irinotecan related DLTs were observed. With reduced dose intensity irinotecan, there were no further DLTs. The most common toxicities were diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, anorexia and rash. DLTs included neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Two patients had partial responses (one with a KRAS mutation) and 8 had stable disease (8–36 weeks). The median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 2.5 and 4.7 months respectively. Pharmacokinetic analyses suggest sorafenib and metabolite exposure correlate with OS and DLTs.
The recommended phase II dose (RP2D) is irinotecan 100mg/m2 i.v. days 1, 8; cetuximab 400mg/m2 i.v. days 1 and 250mg/m2 i.v. weekly; and sorafenib 400mg orally twice daily in advanced, pretreated CRC. The combination resulted in a modest response rate.
PMCID: PMC3674958  PMID: 22615057
sorafenib; cetuximab; irinotecan; pharmacokinetics; colorectal cancer
21.  Interactions of the Vaccinia Virus A19 Protein 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(19):10710-10720.
The A19 protein of vaccinia virus (VACV) is conserved among chordopoxviruses, expressed late in infection, packaged in the virus core, and required for a late step in morphogenesis. Multiple-sequence alignments of A19 homologs indicated conservation of a series of lysines and arginines, which could represent a nuclear localization or nucleic acid binding motif, and a pair of CXXC motifs that suggested a zinc finger or redox active sites. The importance of the CXXC motif was confirmed by cysteine-to-serine substitutions, which rendered the altered protein unable to trans-complement infectivity of a null mutant. Nevertheless, the cysteines were not required for function of the poxvirus-specific redox pathway. Epitope-tagged A19 proteins were detected in the nucleus and cytoplasm in both infected and uninfected cells, but this distribution was unaffected by alanine substitutions of the arginine residues, which only partially reduced the ability of the mutated protein to trans-complement infectivity. Viral proteins specifically associated with affinity-purified A19 were identified by mass spectrometry as components of the transcription complex, including RNA polymerase subunits, RAP94 (RNA polymerase-associated protein 94), early transcription factors, capping enzyme, and nucleoside triphosphate phosphohydrolase I, and two core proteins required for morphogenesis. Further studies suggested that the interaction of A19 with the RNA polymerase did not require RAP94 or other intermediate or late viral proteins but was reduced by mutation of cysteines in the putative zinc finger domain. Although A19 was not required for incorporation of the transcription complex in virus particles, the transcriptional activity of A19-deficient virus particles was severely reduced.
PMCID: PMC3807377  PMID: 23885084
22.  Symbiotic Adaptation Drives Genome Streamlining of the Cyanobacterial Sponge Symbiont “Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” 
mBio  2014;5(2):e00079-14.
“Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” is a cyanobacterial symbiont widely distributed in sponges, but its functions at the genome level remain unknown. Here, we obtained the draft genome (1.66 Mbp, 90% estimated genome recovery) of “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” strain SH4 inhabiting the Red Sea sponge Carteriospongia foliascens. Phylogenomic analysis revealed a high dissimilarity between SH4 and free-living cyanobacterial strains. Essential functions, such as photosynthesis, the citric acid cycle, and DNA replication, were detected in SH4. Eukaryoticlike domains that play important roles in sponge-symbiont interactions were identified exclusively in the symbiont. However, SH4 could not biosynthesize methionine and polyamines and had lost partial genes encoding low-molecular-weight peptides of the photosynthesis complex, antioxidant enzymes, DNA repair enzymes, and proteins involved in resistance to environmental toxins and in biosynthesis of capsular and extracellular polysaccharides. These genetic modifications imply that “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” SH4 represents a low-light-adapted cyanobacterial symbiont and has undergone genome streamlining to adapt to the sponge’s mild intercellular environment.
Although the diversity of sponge-associated microbes has been widely studied, genome-level research on sponge symbionts and their symbiotic mechanisms is rare because they are unculturable. “Candidatus Synechococcus spongiarum” is a widely distributed uncultivated cyanobacterial sponge symbiont. The genome of this symbiont will help to characterize its evolutionary relationship and functional dissimilarity to closely related free-living cyanobacterial strains. Knowledge of its adaptive mechanism to the sponge host also depends on the genome-level research. The data presented here provided an alternative strategy to obtain the draft genome of “Ca. Synechococcus spongiarum” strain SH4 and provide insight into its evolutionary and functional features.
PMCID: PMC3977351  PMID: 24692632
23.  The Association of Mitochondrial Potential and Copy Number with Pig Oocyte Maturation and Developmental Potential 
ATP is critical for oocyte maturation, fertilization, and subsequent embryo development. Both mitochondrial membrane potential and copy number expand during oocyte maturation. In order to differentiate the roles of mitochondrial metabolic activity and mtDNA copy number during oocyte maturation, we used two inhibitors, FCCP (carbonyl cyanide p-(tri-fluromethoxy)phenyl-hydrazone) and ddC (2’3-dideoxycytidine), to deplete the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δφm) and mitochondrial copy number, respectively. FCCP (2000 nM) reduced ATP production by affecting mitochondrial Δφm, decreased the mRNA expression of Bmp15 (bone morphogenetic protein 15), and shortened the poly(A) tails of Bmp15, Gdf9 (growth differentiation factor 9), and Cyclin B1 transcripts. FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) also affected p34cdc2 kinase activity. By contrast, ddC did not alter ATP production. Instead, ddC significantly decreased mtDNA copy number (P < 0.05). FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) also decreased extrusion of the first polar body, whereas ddC at all concentrations did not affect the ability of immature oocytes to reach metaphase II. Both FCCP (200 and 2000 nM) and ddC (200 and 2000 µM) reduced parthenogenetic blastocyst formation compared with untreated oocytes. However, these inhibitors did not affect total cell number and apoptosis. These findings suggest that mitochondrial metabolic activity is critical for oocyte maturation and that both mitochondrial metabolic activity and replication contribute to the developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
PMCID: PMC3999391  PMID: 24492657
Mitochondrial metabolic activity; Mitochondrial replication; Oocyte maturation; Porcine
24.  Cellular imaging of deep organ using two-photon Bessel light-sheet nonlinear structured illumination microscopy 
Biomedical Optics Express  2014;5(5):1296-1308.
In vivo fluorescent cellular imaging of deep internal organs is highly challenging, because the excitation needs to penetrate through strong scattering tissue and the emission signal is degraded significantly by photon diffusion induced by tissue-scattering. We report that by combining two-photon Bessel light-sheet microscopy with nonlinear structured illumination microscopy (SIM), live samples up to 600 microns wide can be imaged by light-sheet microscopy with 500 microns penetration depth, and diffused background in deep tissue light-sheet imaging can be reduced to obtain clear images at cellular resolution in depth beyond 200 microns. We demonstrate in vivo two-color imaging of pronephric glomeruli and vasculature of zebrafish kidney, whose cellular structures located at the center of the fish body are revealed in high clarity by two-color two-photon Bessel light-sheet SIM.
PMCID: PMC4026892  PMID: 24876996
(170.2520) Fluorescence microscopy; (170.6900) Three-dimensional microscopy
25.  The Alternative Pathway of Complement Activation May Be Involved in the Renal Damage of Human Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91250.
Linear deposition of IgG and complement 3 (C3) along glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is generally revealed in the kidneys of human anti-GBM disease. Our recent studies demonstrated the pathogenic role of complement activation in renal damage of this disease. However, the pathways of complement activation were still paradoxical. In this study, renal biopsy tissues from 10 patients with anti-GBM disease were used to investigate the pathways of complement activation by detecting the deposition of various complement components, including C1q, factor B, factor P (properdin), mannose-binding lectin (MBL), C3d, C4d and C5b-9, using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. We found that C1q, factor B, properdin, C3d, C4d and C5b-9 were detected in all the glomeruli of our patients, along GBM with a linear and/or granular staining pattern. Furthermore, C1q, factor B and properdin co-localized well with C5b-9. The properdin also co-localized well with C3d. However, the deposition of MBL was diffusive in mesangium, GBM, Bowman's capsule and within crescents and was not co-localized with C5b-9 but partially co-localized with C4d. The intensity of factor B deposition (3.3 vs. 1.2, P<0.001) and C5b-9 deposition (3.2 vs. 1.6, P<0.001) was significantly stronger in the glomeruli with crescent formation, compared with the glomeruli without crescents. The complement system is overall activated via both the alternative pathway and classical pathway in the kidneys of human anti-GBM disease. The alternative pathway might play an important role in complement activation induced renal damage.
PMCID: PMC3962356  PMID: 24658070

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