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1.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 -1171 5A/6A Polymorphism (rs35068180) is Associated with Risk of Periodontitis 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11667.
Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) plays a key role in tissue degradation in periodontitis. The relationship between the MMP3 -1171 5A/6A polymorphism (rs35068180) and periodontitis has been widely studied. However, existing studies have yielded contradictory results. We therefore conducted a meta-analysis to comprehensively investigate these inconclusive findings. Several electronic databases were searched for eligible articles. Seven case-control studies from 6 articles were searched without any language restrictions. Pooled estimates indicated that MMP3 -1171 5A/6A polymorphism is associated with a decreased risk of periodontitis (allelic genetic model: OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.62–0.80, Pheterogeneity = 0.315; heterozygous model: OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.39–0.65, Pheterogeneity = 0.221; homozygous model: OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.25–0.69, Pheterogeneity = 0.265; dominant model: OR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.38–0.62, Pheterogeneity = 0.238, respectively). Similar results were also found in chronic periodontitis (CP), Asian, Asian&CP, and non-smokers subgroups. Moreover, MMP3 rs35068180 polymorphism might be associated with a lower risk of aggressive periodontitis (AgP) in Asians (allelic genetic model: OR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48–0.91, Pheterogeneity = 0.945), and CP in Caucasians and Brazilians. In conclusion, this meta-analysis demonstrates that MMP3 -1171 5A/6A polymorphism may be associated with decreased risk of both CP and AgP in Asians. Large independent studies to replicate these results are necessary to validate these associations in other populations.
PMCID: PMC4485030  PMID: 26123623
2.  Mutagenetic study of a novel inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and its possible application in guanosine production 
In this study, the amino acid sequence of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) from a guanosine-overproducing strain Bacillus amyloliquefaciens TA208 was found to be highly conserved comparing to its analogue in B. amyloliquefaciens FZB42, only with two substitutions of serine 166 to proline and glutamic acid 481 to lysine. To speculate on the effects of these variation sites, two reverse site-directed mutants P166S and K481E, as well as one deletion mutant IMPDHΔCBS, were characterised. According to the kinetic analysis of these enzymes, site-481 is a key mutation site to affect the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) affinity, which accounted for the higher catalytic efficiency of IMPDH. On the contrary, mutants P166S and IMPDHΔCBS did not show better catalytic activity compared to normal IMPDH. Moreover, the overexpression of IMPDH-encoding gene guaB in B. amyloliquefaciens TA208 could improve the total production of guanosine up to 13.5 g L−1, which was 20.02% higher than that of the original strain.
PMCID: PMC4434139  PMID: 26019494
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens; inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase; site-directed/deletion mutation; enzymatic characterisation; genetic engineering
3.  High-level production of L-threonine by recombinant Escherichia coli with combined feeding strategies 
The process of L-threonine production using Escherichia coli TRFC was investigated, and the result showed that there was a large amount of acetic acid in the broth. The effects of acetic acid, which is a known inhibitory metabolite in E. coli cultivation, on L-threonine production by recombinant E. coli TRFC were evaluated, and the result indicated that the growth of E. coli TRFC and L-threonine formation were significantly inhibited in the presence of acetic acid. Two combined feeding strategies were applied to L-threonine fed-batch fermentation in order to investigate the effects of the feeding strategy on L-threonine fermentation. The results showed that using the combined feeding strategy of pseudo-exponential feeding and glucose-stat feeding resulted in high cell density (36.67 g L−1) and L-threonine production (124.57 g L−1) as well as low accumulation of by-products. This work provides a useful approach for large-scale production of L-threonine.
PMCID: PMC4433798  PMID: 26019535
Escherichia coli; L-threonine; acetic acid; combined feeding strategy
4.  Optimization of carbon source and glucose feeding strategy for improvement of L-isoleucine production by Escherichia coli  
Fed-batch cultivations of L-isoleucine-producing Escherichia coli TRFP (SGr, α-ABAr, with a pTHR101 plasmid containing a thr operon and ilvA) were carried out on different carbon sources: glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose and glycerol. The results indicated that sucrose was the best initial carbon source for L-isoleucine production and then sucrose concentration of 30 g·L−1 was determined in the production medium. The results of different carbon sources feeding showed that the glucose solution was the most suitable feeding media. The dissolved oxygen (DO) of L-isoleucine fermentation was maintained at 5%, 15% and 30% with DO-stat feeding, respectively. The results indicated that when the DO level was maintained at 30%, the highest biomass and L-isoleucine production were obtained. The accumulation of acetate was decreased and the production of L-isoleucine was increased markedly, when the glucose concentration was maintained at 0.15 g·L−1 by using glucose-stat feeding. Finally, the glucose concentration was maintained at 0.10 g·L−1 and the DO level was controlled at approximately 30% during the whole fermentation period, using the combined feeding strategy of glucose-stat feeding and DO feedback feeding. The acetate accumulation was decreased to 7.23 g·L−1, and biomass and production of L-isoleucine were increased to 46.8 and 11.95 g·L−1, respectively.
PMCID: PMC4433842  PMID: 26019655
L-isoleucine; E. coli; carbon source; feeding strategy; acetate
5.  Diffuse alveolar damage associated mortality in selected acute respiratory distress syndrome patients with open lung biopsy 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):228.
Diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) is the pathological hallmark of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), however, the presence of DAD in the clinical criteria of ARDS patients by Berlin definition is little known. This study is designed to investigate the role of DAD in ARDS patients who underwent open lung biopsy.
We retrospectively reviewed all ARDS patients who met the Berlin definition and underwent open lung biopsy from January 1999 to January 2014 in a referred medical center. DAD is characterized by hyaline membrane formation, lung edema, inflammation, hemorrhage and alveolar epithelial cell injury. Clinical data including baseline characteristics, severity of ARDS, clinical and pathological diagnoses, and survival outcomes were analyzed.
A total of 1838 patients with ARDS were identified and open lung biopsies were performed on 101 patients (5.5 %) during the study period. Of these 101 patients, the severity of ARDS on diagnosis was mild of 16.8 %, moderate of 56.5 % and severe of 26.7 %. The hospital mortality rate was not significant difference between the three groups (64.7 % vs 61.4 % vs 55.6 %, p = 0.81). Of the 101 clinical ARDS patients with open lung biopsies, 56.4 % (57/101) patients had DAD according to biopsy results. The proportion of DAD were 76.5 % (13/17) in mild, 56.1 % (32/57) in moderate and 44.4 % (12/27) in severe ARDS and there is no significant difference between the three groups (p = 0.113). Pathological findings of DAD patients had a higher hospital mortality rate than non-DAD patients (71.9 % vs 45.5 %, p = 0.007). Pathological findings of DAD (odds ratio: 3.554, 95 % CI, 1.385–9.12; p = 0.008) and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score on the biopsy day (odds ratio: 1.424, 95 % CI, 1.187–1.707; p<0.001) were significantly and independently associated with hospital mortality. The baseline demographics and clinical characteristics were not significantly different between DAD and non-DAD patients.
The correlation of pathological findings of DAD and ARDS diagnosed by Berlin definition is modest. A pathological finding of DAD in ARDS patients is associated with hospital mortality and there are no clinical characteristics that could identify DAD patients before open lung biopsy.
PMCID: PMC4449559  PMID: 25981598
6.  Procalcitonin and C-reactive protein cannot differentiate bacterial or viral infection in COPD exacerbation requiring emergency department visits 
Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. Whether serum inflammatory markers can differentiate bacterial from virus infection in patients with COPD exacerbation requiring emergency department (ED) visits remains controversial.
Viral culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to identify the viruses in the oropharynx of patients with COPD exacerbations. The bacteria were identified by the semiquantitative culture of the expectorated sputum. The peripheral blood white blood cell (WBC) counts, serum C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), and clinical symptoms were compared among patients with different types of infections.
Viruses were isolated from 16 (22.2%) of the 72 patients enrolled. The most commonly identified viruses were parainfluenza type 3, influenza A, and rhinovirus. A total of 30 (41.7%) patients had positive bacterial cultures, with the most commonly found bacteria being Haemophilus influenzae and Haemophilus parainfluenzae. Five patients (6.9%) had both positive sputum cultures and virus identification. The WBC, CRP, and PCT levels of the bacteria-positive and bacteria-negative groups were not statistically different. Multivariate analysis showed that patients with increased sputum volumes during the COPD exacerbations had higher risks of recurrent exacerbations in the 1-year period following the first exacerbation.
WBC, CRP, or PCT could not differentiate between bacterial and viral infections in patients with COPD exacerbation requiring ED visits. Those with increased sputum during a COPD exacerbation had higher risks for recurrent exacerbations.
PMCID: PMC4403815  PMID: 25926728
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; bacterial infection; virus; CRP
7.  Reducing lactate secretion by ldhA Deletion in L-glutamate- producing strain Corynebacterium glutamicum GDK-9 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2015;45(4):1477-1483.
L-lactate is one of main byproducts excreted in to the fermentation medium. To improve L-glutamate production and reduce L-lactate accumulation, L-lactate dehydrogenase-encoding gene ldhA was knocked out from L-glutamate producing strain Corynebacterium glutamicum GDK-9, designated GDK-9ΔldhA. GDK-9ΔldhA produced approximately 10.1% more L-glutamate than the GDK-9, and yielded lower levels of such by-products as α-ketoglutarate, L-lactate and L-alanine. Since dissolved oxygen (DO) is one of main factors affecting L-lactate formation during L-glutamate fermentation, we investigated the effect of ldhA deletion from GDK-9 under different DO conditions. Under both oxygen-deficient and high oxygen conditions, L-glutamate production by GDK-9ΔldhA was not higher than that of the GDK-9. However, under micro-aerobic conditions, GDK-9ΔldhA exhibited 11.61% higher L-glutamate and 58.50% lower L-alanine production than GDK-9. Taken together, it is demonstrated that deletion of ldhA can enhance L-glutamate production and lower the unwanted by-products concentration, especially under micro-aerobic conditions.
PMCID: PMC4323326  PMID: 25763057
Corynebacterium glutamicum; L-glutamate; L-lactate dehydrogenase; gene knockout; fermentation
8.  A meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometric studies on migraine 
Purpose: To identify consistent results of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies in migraine. Methods: Whole-brain VBM studies comparing migraine patients with healthy controls (HC) were systematically searched in PubMed, ISI Web of Science, Embase, and Medline databases from January 1990 to Dec 2014. Coordinates were extracted from clusters with significant difference in gray matter volume (GMV) between migraine patients with healthy controls (HC). Meta-analysis was performed using activation likelihood estimation (ALE). Results: A total of 5 studies, comprising 126 migraineurs, including 23 migraine with aura, 41migraine without aura, 11 epidemic migraine and 16 chronic migraine as well as 19 Mm and 16 nmM, and 134 HC, were enrolled. The included studies report GMV reduction at 84 coordinates in migraine, as well as GMV increase at 2 coordinate in migraine. However, due to only two included studies have classified patients into these two phenotypes and one stated they included only migraine with aura patients , we were not able to perform a subgroup analysis and separate meta-analyses on each phenotype. Conclusion: There were significant reductions in Middle frontal cortex (BA6, 9) structures and the Inferior frontal cortex (BA44) in migraine. These changes of GMV may indicate the mechanisms of the associated symptoms such as cognitive dysfunction, emotion problems and autonomic dysfunction. But whether this is the characteristics of the subtypes of migraine or can distinguish the types of migraine or primary headache, further studies examining larger samples may better elucidate the changes related to the illness and highlight its pathological mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4443181  PMID: 26064347
Migraine; voxel-based morphometry (VBM); voxel; voxel-wise; voxel-based or morphometry; meta-analysis
9.  PPARD +294C overrepresentation in general and long-lived population in China Bama longevity area and unique relationships between PPARD +294T/C polymorphism and serum lipid profiles 
The +294T/C polymorphism in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARD) gene is associated with hyperlipidemia in several younger populations, but results are still inconsistence across ethnic groups and its possible impact on the lipid profiles of long-lived individuals remains unexploited. Here, we aimed to evaluate the possible correlation between PPARD +294T/C and serum lipid levels in a long-lived population in Bama, a region known for longevity situated in Guangxi, China.
Genotyping of PPARD +294T/C polymorphism was conducted in 505 long-lived inhabitants (aged 90 and above, long-lived group, LG) and 468 healthy controls (aged 60–75, non-long-lived group, non-LG) recruited from Bama area.
No difference in allelic and genotypic frequencies was found between the two groups (P > 0.05). However, C-allele and C-genotype (TC and CC) were significantly more frequent in the females of non-LG than were LG after sex stratification. CC carriers exhibited higher LDL-C level in LG (P < 0.05) but lower TC, TG and LDL-C in non-LG (P < 0.05 for each) than TT carriers; C allele carriers (TC/CC) in LG exhibited higher TC, TG, and LDL-C levels as compared with the same genotype and the same lipid parameter in non-LG (P < 0.05 for each). LDL-C in LG was correlated with genotypes while TC, TG, and LDL-C in non-LG were correlated with genotypes (P < 0.05-0.001).
Our results suggest that there were different impact patterns of PPARD +294T/C polymorphism on lipid profiles between long-lived cohort and average population in Bama area and this may be one of the genetic bases of its longevity.
PMCID: PMC4356147  PMID: 25873088
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARD); Longevity; Lipoprotein; Polymorphism; Association study
10.  Lunasin Inhibits Cell Proliferation via Apoptosis and Reduces the Production of Proinflammatory Cytokines in Cultured Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:346839.
Lunasin, a peptide with 43 amino acid residues and initially isolated and identified in soybean cotyledon, has gained extensive attention due to its anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, its treatment efficacy on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and corresponding mechanisms have not been reported. Herein, the synovial fibroblasts harvested and isolated from patients with RA were treated with lunasin at various concentrations to examine the proliferation, apoptosis status, and corresponding cell cycle of cultured RA synovial fibroblasts. Meanwhile, the underlying mechanisms of lunasin for RA treatment are explored through Western blot, real-time PCR, ELISA, and luciferase reporter assays. Lunasin significantly inhibited the proliferation and induced the apoptosis of cultured RA synovial fibroblasts. In addition, lunasin reduced the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) and suppressed the activation of NF-κB in cultured RA synovial fibroblasts but did not reveal obvious modulation on the secretion and gene expression of MMP-1. Therefore, lunasin will have promising potential as a novel nutritional supplement or drug candidate for RA due to its potency of suppressing synovial cell proliferation and decreasing the production of proinflammatory cytokines and MMPs in synovial cells.
PMCID: PMC4322854  PMID: 25692134
11.  Glycyrrhetinic acid induces G1-phase cell cycle arrest in human non-small cell lung cancer cells through endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway 
International Journal of Oncology  2015;46(3):981-988.
Glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) is a natural compound extracted from liquorice, which is often used in traditional Chinese medicine. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the antitumor effect of GA in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and its underlying mechanisms in vitro. We have shown that GA suppressed the proliferation of A549 and NCI-H460 cells. Flow cytometric analysis showed that GA arrested cell cycle in G0/G1 phase without inducing apoptosis. Western blot analysis indicated that GA mediated G1-phase cell cycle arrest by upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs) (p18, p16, p27 and p21) and inhibition of cyclins (cyclin-D1, -D3 and -E) and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) (CDK4, 6 and 2). GA also maintained pRb phosphorylation status, and inhibited E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F-1) in both cell lines. GA upregulated the unfolded proteins, Bip, PERK and ERP72. Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) triggered the unfolded protein response (UPR), which could be the mechanism by which GA inhibited cell proliferation in NSCLC cells. GA then coordinated the induction of ER chaperones, which decreased protein synthesis and induced cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase. This study provides experimental evidence to support the development of GA as a chemotherapeutic agent for NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4324580  PMID: 25573651
glycyrrhetinic acid; cell cycle arrest; ER stress; NSCLC
12.  Increased C-C Chemokine Receptor 2 Gene Expression in Monocytes of Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patients and under Intermittent Hypoxia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113304.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is known to be a risk factor of coronary artery disease. The chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes to the endothelium in the early atherosclerosis is important. This study aimed to investigate the effect of intermittent hypoxia, the hallmark of OSA, on the chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes.
Peripheral blood was sampled from 54 adults enrolled for suspected OSA. RNA was prepared from the isolated monocytes for the analysis of C-C chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2). The effect of intermittent hypoxia on the regulation and function of CCR2 was investigated on THP-1 monocytic cells and monocytes. The mRNA and protein expression levels were investigated by RT/real-time PCR and western blot analysis, respectively. Transwell filter migration assay and cell adhesion assay were performed to study the chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes.
Monocytic CCR2 gene expression was found to be increased in severe OSA patients and higher levels were detected after sleep. Intermittent hypoxia increased the CCR2 expression in THP-1 monocytic cells even in the presence of TNF-α and CRP. Intermittent hypoxia also promoted the MCP-1-mediated chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes to endothelial cells. Furthermore, inhibitor for p42/44 MAPK or p38 MAPK suppressed the activation of monocytic CCR2 expression by intermittent hypoxia.
This is the first study to demonstrate the increase of CCR2 gene expression in monocytes of severe OSA patients. Monocytic CCR2 gene expression can be induced under intermittent hypoxia which contributes to the chemotaxis and adhesion of monocytes.
PMCID: PMC4239065  PMID: 25411969
13.  Cone beam computed tomographic analyses of alveolar bone anatomy at the maxillary anterior region in Chinese adults 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2013;28(6):498-505.
To provide an anatomical basis for clinical implant esthetics, we evaluated the morphology of the nasopalatine canal (NPC) and analyzed labial and interproximal bone anatomy at the maxillary anterior region. We sought to investigate the effect of maxillary protrusion and tooth labiolingual inclination on labial bone anatomy in Chinese adults. Three dimensional (3D) images were reconstructed using cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images from 80 Chinese subjects and by SimPlant 11.04. The dimensions of the NPC, the thickness and profile of the labial bone, the width and height of the interproximal bone, angle sella-nasion-subspinale (SNA) and angle upper central incisor-nasion,subspinale (U1-NA) were measured. The incisive foramen of the NPC was markedly wider than its nasal foramen. The dimension of its labial bone wall demonstrated an increasing width from the crestal to apical measurements. The labial bone at the maxillary anterior region was rather thin, especially at 3 mm below the cemento-enamel junction (CEJ) and the mid-root level; the profile of the labial bone was more curved at the central incisor, and the interproximal bone became wider and shorter posteriorly. There were significant relationships between maxillary protrusion and labial bone profile, tooth labiolingual inclination and labial bone thickness (P < 0.02). To achieve optimal esthetic outcome of implant, bone augmentation is necessary at the maxillary anterior region. For immediate or early placement at the maxillary anterior region, the implant should be located palatally to reduce labial bone resorption and marginal recession; its apex should be angulated palatally to avoid labial perforation at the apical region. To protect the NPC, implants at the central incisor region should be placed away from NPC.
PMCID: PMC4250963  PMID: 25469120
cone beam computed tomography (CBCT); nasopalatine canal (NPC); alveolar bone; maxillary anterior region; implant esthetics
14.  Development of a Finite Element Head Model for the Study of Impact Head Injury 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:408278.
This study is aimed at developing a high quality, validated finite element (FE) human head model for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) prediction and prevention during vehicle collisions. The geometry of the FE model was based on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of a volunteer close to the anthropometry of a 50th percentile male. The material and structural properties were selected based on a synthesis of current knowledge of the constitutive models for each tissue. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was simulated explicitly as a hydrostatic fluid by using a surface-based fluid modeling method. The model was validated in the loading condition observed in frontal impact vehicle collision. These validations include the intracranial pressure (ICP), brain motion, impact force and intracranial acceleration response, maximum von Mises stress in the brain, and maximum principal stress in the skull. Overall results obtained in the validation indicated improved biofidelity relative to previous FE models, and the change in the maximum von Mises in the brain is mainly caused by the improvement of the CSF simulation. The model may be used for improving the current injury criteria of the brain and anthropometric test devices.
PMCID: PMC4227498  PMID: 25405201
15.  Adenosine promotes vascular barrier function in hyperoxic lung injury 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(9):e12155.
Hyperoxic lung injury is characterized by cellular damage from high oxygen concentrations that lead to an inflammatory response in the lung with cellular infiltration and pulmonary edema. Adenosine is a signaling molecule that is generated extracellularly by CD73 in response to injury. Extracellular adenosine signals through cell surface receptors and has been found to be elevated and plays a protective role in acute injury situations. In particular, ADORA2B activation is protective in acute lung injury. However, little is known about the role of adenosine signaling in hyperoxic lung injury. We hypothesized that hyperoxia‐induced lung injury leads to CD73‐mediated increases in extracellular adenosine, which is protective through ADORA2B signaling pathways. To test this hypothesis, we exposed C57BL6, CD73−/−, and Adora2B−/− mice to 95% oxygen or room air and examined markers of pulmonary inflammation, edema, and monitored lung histology. Hyperoxic exposure caused pulmonary inflammation and edema in association with elevations in lung adenosine levels. Loss of CD73‐mediated extracellular adenosine production exacerbated pulmonary edema without affecting inflammatory cell counts. Furthermore, loss of the ADORA2B had similar results with worsening of pulmonary edema following hyperoxia exposure without affecting inflammatory cell infiltration. This loss of barrier function correlated with a decrease in occludin in pulmonary vasculature in CD73−/− and Adora2B−/− mice following hyperoxia exposure. These results demonstrate that exposure to a hyperoxic environment causes lung injury associated with an increase in adenosine concentration, and elevated adenosine levels protect vascular barrier function in hyperoxic lung injury through the ADORA2B‐dependent regulation of occludin.
Hyperoxic lung injury is characterized by cellular damage from high oxygen concentrations that lead to an inflammatory response in the lung with cellular infiltration and pulmonary edema, and extracellular adenosine has been found to be elevated and plays a protective role in acute injury situations; however, little is known about the role of adenosine signaling in hyperoxic lung injury. We hypothesized that hyperoxia‐induced lung injury leads to CD73‐mediated increases in extracellular adenosine, which is protective through ADORA2B signaling pathways. Our results demonstrate that exposure to a hyperoxic environment causes lung injury associated with an increase in adenosine concentration, and elevated adenosine levels protect vascular barrier function in hyperoxic lung injury through the ADORA2B‐dependent regulation of occludin.
PMCID: PMC4270235  PMID: 25263205
Adenosine; hyperoxic lung injury; vascular barrier function
16.  Blockade of IL-6 Trans Signaling Attenuates Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal lung disease with progressive fibrosis and death within 2–3 y of diagnosis. IPF incidence and prevalence rates are increasing annually with few effective treatments available. Inhibition of IL-6 results in the attenuation of pulmonary fibrosis in mice. It is unclear whether this is due to blockade of classical signaling, mediated by membrane-bound IL-6Rα, or trans signaling, mediated by soluble IL-6Rα (sIL-6Rα). Our study assessed the role of sIL-6Rα in IPF. We demonstrated elevations of sIL-6Rα in IPF patients and in mice during the onset and progression of fibrosis. We demonstrated that protease-mediated cleavage from lung macrophages was important in production of sIL-6Rα. In vivo neutralization of sIL-6Rα attenuated pulmonary fibrosis in mice as seen by reductions in myofibroblasts, fibronectin, and collagen in the lung. In vitro activation of IL-6 trans signaling enhanced fibroblast proliferation and extracellular matrix protein production, effects relevant in the progression of pulmonary fibrosis. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that the production of sIL-6Rα from macrophages in the diseased lung contributes to IL-6 trans signaling that in turn influences events crucial in pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4169999  PMID: 25172494
17.  Dose of Incorporated Immunodominant Antigen in Recombinant BCG Impacts Modestly on Th1 Immune Response and Protective Efficiency against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Mice 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:196124.
One approach for improving BCG efficacy is to utilize BCG as vehicle to develop recombinant BCG (rBCG) strains overexpressing Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) antigens. Also expression level of a candidate antigen should impact the final T cell responses conferred by rBCG. In this study, based on our previously constructed differential expression system, we developed two rBCG strains overexpressing M. tb chimeric antigen Ag856A2 (coding a recombinant ag85a with 2 copies of esat-6 inserted at Acc I site of ag85a) at differential levels under the control of the subtly modified furA promoters. These two rBCG strains were used to vaccinate C57BL/6 mice and exploit dose of incorporated antigen in rBCG to optimize immune response and protective efficiency against M. tb challenge in mouse model. The results showed that rBCG strains overexpressing Ag856A2 at differential levels induced different antigen-specific IFN-γ production and comparable number of M. tb-specific CD4 T cells expressing IL-2. M. tb challenge experiment showed that rBCG strains afforded enhanced but comparable immune protection characterized by reduced bacillary load, lung pathology, and inflammation. These results suggested that the dose of antigens incorporated in rBCG can impact T cell immune responses but imposed no significantly differential protective efficacies.
PMCID: PMC4134796  PMID: 25152895
18.  Identifying and Quantifying Heterogeneity in High Content Analysis: Application of Heterogeneity Indices to Drug Discovery 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102678.
One of the greatest challenges in biomedical research, drug discovery and diagnostics is understanding how seemingly identical cells can respond differently to perturbagens including drugs for disease treatment. Although heterogeneity has become an accepted characteristic of a population of cells, in drug discovery it is not routinely evaluated or reported. The standard practice for cell-based, high content assays has been to assume a normal distribution and to report a well-to-well average value with a standard deviation. To address this important issue we sought to define a method that could be readily implemented to identify, quantify and characterize heterogeneity in cellular and small organism assays to guide decisions during drug discovery and experimental cell/tissue profiling. Our study revealed that heterogeneity can be effectively identified and quantified with three indices that indicate diversity, non-normality and percent outliers. The indices were evaluated using the induction and inhibition of STAT3 activation in five cell lines where the systems response including sample preparation and instrument performance were well characterized and controlled. These heterogeneity indices provide a standardized method that can easily be integrated into small and large scale screening or profiling projects to guide interpretation of the biology, as well as the development of therapeutics and diagnostics. Understanding the heterogeneity in the response to perturbagens will become a critical factor in designing strategies for the development of therapeutics including targeted polypharmacology.
PMCID: PMC4103836  PMID: 25036749
19.  Enrichment of MTHFR 677 T in a Chinese long-lived cohort and its association with lipid modulation 
Variants in the Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene may result in a lowered catalytic activity and associate with subsequent elevated serum homocysteine (Hcy) concentration, abnormal DNA synthesis and methylation, cardiovascular risk, and unhealthy aging. Several investigations on the relationship of MTHFR C677T polymorphism with serum lipid profile and longevity have been conducted in some populations, but the findings remain mixed. Herein, we sought to look at the association between MTHFR C677T and lipid profile in a longevous cohort in Bama, a well-known home of longevity in China.
Genotyping of MTHFR C677T was undertaken in 516 long-lived inhabitants (aged 90 and older, long-lived group, LG) and 493 healthy controls (aged 60–75, non-long-lived group, non-LG) recruited from Bama area. Correlation between MTHFR genotypes and lipids was then evaluated.
T allele and TT genotype were significantly more prevalent in LG (P = 0.001 and 0.002, respectively), especially in females, than in non-LG. No difference in the tested lipid measures among MTHFR C677T genotypes was observed in LG, non-LG and total population (P > 0.05 for all). However, female but not male T carriers exhibited higher TC and LDL-C levels than did T noncarriers in the total population and in LG after stratification by sex (P < 0.05 for each). These differences did not however remain through further subdivision by hyperlipidemia and normolipidemia.
The higher prevalence of MTHFR 677 T genotypes and its modest unfavorable impact on lipids in Bama long-lived individuals may imply an existence of other protective genotypes which require further determination.
PMCID: PMC4092207  PMID: 24968810
20.  Comparative Effects of Snoring Sound between Two Minimally Invasive Surgeries in the Treatment of Snoring: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97186.
Minimally invasive surgeries of the soft palate have emerged as a less-invasive treatment for habitual snoring. To date, there is only limited information available comparing the effects of snoring sound between different minimally invasive surgeries in the treatment of habitual snoring.
To compare the efficacy of palatal implant and radiofrequency surgery, in the reduction of snoring through subjective evaluation of snoring and objective snoring sound analysis.
Patients and Method
Thirty patients with habitual snoring due to palatal obstruction (apnea-hypopnea index ≤15, body max index ≤30) were prospectively enrolled and randomized to undergo a single session of palatal implant or temperature-controlled radiofrequency surgery of the soft palate under local anesthesia. Snoring was primarily evaluated by the patient with a 10 cm visual analogue scale (VAS) at baseline and at a 3-month follow-up visit and the change in VAS was the primary outcome. Moreover, life qualities, measured by snore outcomes survey, and full-night snoring sounds, analyzed by a sound analytic program (Snore Map), were also investigated at the same time.
Twenty-eight patients completed the study; 14 received palatal implant surgery and 14 underwent radiofrequency surgery. The VAS and snore outcomes survey scores were significantly improved in both groups. However, the good response (postoperative VAS ≤3 or postoperative VAS ≤5 plus snore outcomes survey score ≥60) rate of the palatal implant group was significantly higher than that of the radiofrequency group (79% vs. 29%, P = 0.021). The maximal loudness of low-frequency (40–300 Hz) snores was reduced significantly in the palatal implant group. In addition, the snoring index was significantly reduced in the radiofrequency group.
Both palatal implants and a single-stage radiofrequency surgery improve subjective snoring outcomes, but palatal implants have a greater effect on most measures of subjective and objective snoring. Multi-stage radiofrequency surgery was not tested.
Trial Registration NCT01955083
PMCID: PMC4016275  PMID: 24816691
21.  Emergency Department Crowding and the Use of Nontraditional Beds 
Background and Objectives
In an effort to compensate for crowding, many emergency departments (EDs) evaluate and treat patients in nontraditional settings such as gurneys in hallways and conference rooms. The impact of this practice on ED evaluation time is unknown.
Research Design and Subjects
An historical cohort of adult ED visits to an academic hospital between 8/1/2009 and 8/1/2010 was used to evaluate the relationship between ED bed assignment (traditional, hallway, or conference room bed) and mean ED evaluation time, defined as the time spent in an ED bed before admission or discharge. Chief complaints were categorized into the five most frequent categories: abdominal/genitourinary, joint/muscle, general (fever, malaise), head/neck, and other. Multiple linear regression and marginal prediction were used to calculate mean ED evaluation times for each bed type, overall and by chief complaint category.
During the study period, 15,073 patient visits met inclusion criteria. After adjustment for patient and ED factors, assignments to hallway and conference room beds were associated with increases in mean ED evaluation time of 13.3 minutes (95% confidence interval 13.2, 13.3) and 10.9 minutes (95% CI 10.8, 10.9), respectively, compared to the traditional bed ED evaluation time. This varied by chief complaint category.
Use of nontraditional beds is associated with increases in mean ED evaluation time; however, these increases are small and may be further minimized by restricting use of nontraditional beds to patients with specific chief complaints. Nontraditional beds may have a role in improving ED throughput during times of crowding.
PMCID: PMC3888805  PMID: 22386355
emergency department; throughput; hallway bed; conference room bed
22.  Asthmatic Airway Neutrophilia after Allergen Challenge Is Associated with the Glutathione S-Transferase M1 Genotype 
Rationale: Asthma is a heterogeneous lung disorder characterized by airway inflammation and airway dysfunction, manifesting as hyperresponsiveness and obstruction. Glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) is a multifunctional phase II enzyme and regulator of stress-activated cellular signaling relevant to asthma pathobiology. A common homozygous deletion polymorphism of the GSTM1 gene eliminates enzyme activity.
Objectives: To determine the effect of GSTM1 on airway inflammation and reactivity in adults with established atopic asthma in vivo.
Methods: Nineteen GSTM1 wild-type and eighteen GSTM1-null individuals with mild atopic asthma underwent methacholine and inhaled allergen challenges, and endobronchial allergen provocations through a bronchoscope.
Measurements and Main Results: The influx of inflammatory cells, panels of cytokines and chemokines linked to asthmatic inflammation, F2-isoprostanes (markers of oxidative stress), and IgE were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at baseline and 24 hours after allergen instillation. Individuals with asthma with the GSTM1 wild-type genotype had greater baseline and allergen-provoked airway neutrophilia and concentrations of myeloperoxidase than GSTM1-null patients. In contrast, the eosinophilic inflammation was unaffected by GSTM1. The allergen-stimulated generation of acute-stress and proneutrophilic mediators, tumor necrosis factor-α, CXCL-8, IL-1β, and IL-6, was also greater in the GSTM1 wild-type patients. Moreover, post-allergen airway concentrations of IgE and neutrophil-generated mediators, matrix metalloproteinase-9, B-cell activating factor, transforming growth factor-β1, and elastase were higher in GSTM1 wild-type individuals with asthma. Total airway IgE correlated with B-cell activating factor concentrations. In contrast, levels of F2-isoprostane were comparable in both groups. Finally, GSTM1 wild-type individuals with asthma required lower threshold concentrations of allergen to produce bronchoconstriction.
Conclusions: The functional GSTM1 genotype promotes neutrophilic airway inflammation in humans with atopic asthma in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3570644  PMID: 23204253
atopic asthma; GSTM1 polymorphism; inflammatory asthma phenotypes; neutrophilic airway inflammation
23.  Research on the relationship between fibrinogen level and subtypes of the TOAST criteria in the acute ischemic stroke 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:207.
Cerebral infarction caused by different reasons seems differ in fibrinogen levels, so the current work intends to explore the relationship between the fibrinogen level and subtypes of the TOAST criteria in the acute stage of ischemic stroke.
A total of 577 case research objects were treated acute ischemic stroke patients in our hospital from December 2008 to December 2010, and blood samples within 72 hours of the onset were processed with the fibrinogen (PT-der) measurement. Classification of selected patients according to the TOAST Criteria was conducted to study the distribution of fibrinogen levels in the stroke subtypes.
The distribution of fibrinogen levels in the subtypes was observed to be statistically insignificant.
In the acute stage of ischemic stroke, fibrinogen level was not related to the subtypes of the TOAST criteria.
PMCID: PMC3878231  PMID: 24354692
Fibrinogen; Ischemic stroke; Subtypes of stroke; TOAST Criteria; Correlation
24.  High-Frequency Stimulation of Nucleus Accumbens Changes in Dopaminergic Reward Circuit 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79318.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a potential remedial therapy for drug craving and relapse, but the mechanism is poorly understood. We investigated changes in neurotransmitter levels during high frequency stimulation (HFS) of the unilateral NAc on morphine-induced rats. Sixty adult Wistar rats were randomized into five groups: the control group (administration of saline), the morphine-only group (systematic administration of morphine without electrode implantation), the morphine-sham-stimulation group (systematic administration of morphine with electrode implantation but not given stimulation), the morphine-stimulation group (systematic administration of morphine with electrode implantation and stimulation) and the saline-stimulation group (administration of saline with electrode implantation and stimulation). The stimulation electrode was stereotaxically implanted into the core of unilateral NAc and microdialysis probes were unilaterally lowered into the ipsilateral ventral tegmental area (VTA), NAc, and ventral pallidum (VP). Samples from microdialysis probes in the ipsilateral VTA, NAc, and VP were analyzed for glutamate (Glu) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The levels of Glu were increased in the ipsilateral NAc and VP of morphine-only group versus control group, whereas Glu levels were not significantly changed in the ipsilateral VTA. Furthermore, the levels of GABA decreased significantly in the ipsilateral NAc, VP, and VTA of morphine-only group when compared with control group. The profiles of increased Glu and reduced GABA in morphine-induced rats suggest that the presence of increased excitatory neurotransmission in these brain regions. The concentrations of the Glu significantly decreased while the levels of GABA increased in ipsilateral VTA, NAc, and VP in the morphine-stimulation group compared with the morphine-only group. No significant changes were seen in the morphine-sham stimulation group compared with the morphine-only group. These findings indicated that unilateral NAc stimulation inhibits the morphine-induced rats associated hyperactivation of excitatory neurotransmission in the mesocorticolimbic reward circuit.
PMCID: PMC3828386  PMID: 24244479
25.  Human cancer cell line microRNAs associated with in vitro sensitivity to paclitaxel 
Oncology Reports  2013;31(1):376-383.
Paclitaxel is a mainstay of treatment for many solid tumors, and frequently, clinical outcome is influenced by paclitaxel sensitivity. Despite this, our understanding of the molecular basis of paclitaxel response is incomplete. Recently, it has been shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) influence messenger RNA (mRNA) transcriptional control and can contribute to human carcinogenesis. In the present study, our objective was to identify miRNAs associated with cancer cell line response to paclitaxel and to evaluate these miRNAs as therapeutic targets to increase paclitaxel sensitivity. We measured the expression of 335 unique miRNAs in 40 human cancer cell lines selected from the NCI panel. We then integrated miRNA expression data with publicly available paclitaxel-sensitivity (GI50) data for each of the 40 cell lines to identify miRNAs associated with paclitaxel sensitivity. Ovarian cancer cell lines with differential miRNA expression and paclitaxel sensitivity were transiently transfected with miRNA precursors and inhibitors, and the effects on in vitro cell paclitaxel sensitivity were evaluated. Pearson’s correlation identified 2 miRNAs (miR-367 and miR-30a-5p) associated with the NCI40 cell line in vitro paclitaxel response (P<0.0003). Ovarian cancer cells were selected based on the association between paclitaxel sensitivity and miR-367/miR-30a-5p expression. Overexpression of miR-367 in the paclitaxel-sensitive cells [PA1; IC50, 1.69 nM, high miR-367 (2.997), low miR-30a-5p (−0.323)] further increased paclitaxel sensitivity, whereas miR-367 depletion decreased paclitaxel sensitivity. In contrast, overexpression and depletion of miR-30a-5p in the paclitaxel-resistant cells [OVCAR4; IC50, 17.8 nM, low miR-367 (−0.640), high miR-30a-5p (3.270)] decreased and increased paclitaxel sensitivity, respectively. We identified and successfully targeted miRNAs associated with human cancer cell line response to paclitaxel. Our strategy of integrating in vitro miRNA expression and drug sensitivity data may not only aid in the characterization of determinants of drug response but also in the identification of novel therapeutic targets to increase activity of existing therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3981115  PMID: 24220856
cancer; chemosensitivity; microRNA; NCI60

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