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1.  MiR-124 governs glioma growth and angiogenesis and enhances chemosensitivity by targeting R-Ras and N-Ras 
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(10):1341-1353.
Glioma is one of the most aggressive and lethal human brain tumors. Accumulating evidence shows that microRNAs play important roles in cancers, including glioma. Previous studies reported that miR-124 levels were downregulated in glioma specimens. Here, we further investigate the potential role of miR-124 in glioma.
The expression levels of miR-124 were detected in glioma specimens by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. The direct targets of miR-124 were identified by bioinformatics analysis and were further validated by immunoblotting and luciferase reporter assay. The effects of miR-124 on glioma cell proliferation and chemosensitivity to temozolomide were analyzed by Cell-Counting Kit 8 assay. Apoptosis was evaluated by fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis. A xenograft model was used to study the effect of miR-124 on tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Expression levels of miR-124 were greatly downregulated in glioma specimens. related Ras viral oncogene homolog (R-Ras) and neuroblastoma Ras viral oncogene homolog (N-Ras) were identified as direct targets of miR-124. MiR-124 inhibited glioma cell growth, invasion, angiogenesis, and tumor growth and increased chemosensitivity to temozolomide treatment by negatively regulating the Ras family and its downstream signaling pathways: phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt and Raf/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. Furthermore, overexpression of R-Ras rescued the inhibitory effects of miR-124. Meanwhile, overexpression of R-Ras and N-Ras restored miR-124–inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) transcription activation. In clinical glioma specimens, protein levels of R-Ras and N-Ras were upregulated and inversely correlated with miR-124 expression levels.
Taken together, these results revealed that miR-124 levels in tumor tissues are associated with glioma occurrence, angiogenesis, and chemoresistance and that miR-124 may be used as a new diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for glioma in the future.
PMCID: PMC4165420  PMID: 24861879
carcinogenesis; glioma; miR-124; N-Ras; R-Ras
2.  A Curcumin Derivative That Inhibits Vinyl Carbamate-Induced Lung Carcinogenesis via Activation of the Nrf2 Protective Response 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2015;23(8):651-664.
Aims: Lung cancer has a high worldwide morbidity and mortality. The employment of chemopreventive agents is effective to reduce lung cancer. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) mitigates insults from both exogenous and endogenous sources and thus has been verified as a target for chemoprevention. Curcumin has long been recognized as a chemopreventive agent, but poor bioavailability and weak Nrf2 induction have prohibited clinical application. Thus, we have developed new curcumin derivatives and tested their Nrf2 induction. Results: Based on curcumin, we synthesized curcumin analogs with five carbon linkages and established a structure–activity relationship for Nrf2 induction. Among these derivatives, bis[2-hydroxybenzylidene]acetone (BHBA) was one of the most potent Nrf2 inducers with minimal toxicity and improved pharmacological properties and was thus selected for further investigation. BHBA activated the Nrf2 pathway in the canonical Keap1-Cys151-dependent manner. Furthermore, BHBA was able to protect human lung epithelial cells against sodium arsenite [As(III)]-induced cytotoxicity. More importantly, in an in vivo vinyl carbamate-induced lung cancer model in A/J mice, preadministration of BHBA significantly reduced lung adenocarcinoma, while curcumin failed to show any effects even at high doses. Innovation: The curcumin derivative, BHBA, is a potent inducer of Nrf2. It was demonstrated to protect against As(III) toxicity in lung epithelial cells in an Nrf2-dependent manner. Furthermore, compared with curcumin, BHBA displayed improved chemopreventive activities in a carcinogen-induced lung cancer model. Conclusion: Taken together, our results demonstrate that BHBA, a curcumin analog with improved Nrf2-activating and chemopreventive activities both in vitro and in vivo, could be developed into a chemoprotective pharmacological agent. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 23, 651–664.
PMCID: PMC4560850  PMID: 25891177
3.  Some Rare Earth Elements Analysis by Microwave Plasma Torch Coupled with the Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry 
A sensitive mass spectrometric analysis method based on the microwave plasma technique is developed for the fast detection of trace rare earth elements (REEs) in aqueous solution. The plasma was produced from a microwave plasma torch (MPT) under atmospheric pressure and was used as ambient ion source of a linear ion trap mass spectrometer (LTQ). Water samples were directly pneumatically nebulized to flow into the plasma through the central tube of MPT. For some REEs, the generated composite ions were detected in both positive and negative ion modes and further characterized in tandem mass spectrometry. Under the optimized conditions, the limit of detection (LOD) was at the level 0.1 ng/mL using MS2 procedure in negative mode. A single REE analysis can be completed within 2~3 minutes with the relative standard deviation ranging between 2.4% and 21.2% (six repeated measurements) for the 5 experimental runs. Moreover, the recovery rates of these REEs are between the range of 97.6%–122.1%. Two real samples have also been analyzed, including well and orange juice. These experimental data demonstrated that this method is a useful tool for the field analysis of REEs in water and can be used as an alternative supplement of ICP-MS.
PMCID: PMC4572474  PMID: 26421013
4.  JAK2/STAT3 targeted therapy suppresses tumor invasion via disruption of the EGFRvIII/JAK2/STAT3 axis and associated focal adhesion in EGFRvIII-expressing glioblastoma 
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(9):1229-1243.
As a commonly mutated form of the epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFRvIII strongly promotes glioblastoma (GBM) tumor invasion and progression, but the mechanisms underlying this promotion are not fully understood.
Through gene manipulation, we established EGFRvIII-, wild-type EGFR-, and vector-expressing GBM cells. We used cDNA microarrays, bioinformatics analysis, target-blocking migration and invasion assays, Western blotting, and an orthotopic U87MG GBM model to examine the phenotypic shifts and treatment effects of EGFRvIII expression in vitro and in vivo. Confocal imaging, co-immunoprecipitation, and siRNA assays detected the focal adhesion-associated complex and their relationships to the EGFRvIII/JAK2/STAT3 axis in GBM cells.
The activation of JAK2/STAT3 signaling is vital for promoting migration and invasion in EGFRvIII-GBM cells. AG490 or WP1066, the JAK2/STAT3 inhibitors, specifically destroyed EGFRvIII/JAK2/STAT3-related focal adhesions and depleted the activation of EGFR/Akt/FAK and JAK2/STAT3 signaling, thereby abolishing the ability of EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells to migrate and invade. Furthermore, the RNAi silencing of JAK2 in EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells significantly attenuated their ability to migrate and invade; however, as a result of a potential EGFRvIII-JAK2-STAT3 activation loop, neither EGFR nor STAT3 knockdown yielded the same effects. Moreover, AG490 or JAK2 gene knockdown greatly suppressed tumor invasion and progression in the U87MG-EGFRvIII orthotopic models.
Taken together, our data demonstrate that JAK2/STAT3 signaling is essential for EGFRvIII-driven migration and invasion by promoting focal adhesion and stabilizing the EGFRvIII/JAK2/STAT3 axis. Targeting JAK2/STAT3 therapy, such as AG490, may have potential clinical implications for the tailored treatment of GBM patients bearing EGFRvIII-positive tumors.
PMCID: PMC4136898  PMID: 24861878
EGFRvIII; focal adhesion; glioblastoma; invasion; JAK2/STAT3
5.  Peripheral neurolymphomatosis with tracheal asphyxia: a case report and literature review 
BMC Neurology  2015;15:149.
Neurolymphomatosis (NL) is an extremely rare disease and tracheal asphyxia due to NL has not been previously reported.
Case Presentation
A 54-year-old Chinese woman with a history of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in her first complete remission developed peripheral neuropathy and tracheal asphyxia. Neurolymphomatosis involving the right brachial plexus and the right vagus nerve was demonstrated by PET/CT, but not by MRI. She underwent urgent tracheotomy and impact chemotherapy using rituximab combined with high dose methotrexate and involved field radiotherapy. She achieved a second complete remission.
PET/CT plays valuable role in differentiating NL from other neuropathies in patients with lymphoma. Complete remission can be achieved in NL due to large B-cell lymphoma.
PMCID: PMC4546308  PMID: 26298453
Neurolymphomatosis; Brachial plexus; Vagus nerve; Tracheal asphyxia
6.  Primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumors: comparing CT and MRI features with pathology 
Cancer Imaging  2015;15(1):13.
Primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumors (PHNET) are extremely rare and difficult to distinguish from primary and metastatic liver cancers since PHNETs blood supply comes from the liver artery. This study aims to investigate CT and MR imaging findings of primary hepatic neuroendocrine tumor (PHNET) and correlation with the 2010 WHO pathological classification.
We examined CT and MRI scans from 29 patients who were diagnosed with PHNET and correlated the data with the 2010 WHO classification of neuroendocrine tumors.
According to the 2010 WHO classification system, PHNETs are divided into three grades based on histological criteria. Grade 1 tumors are singular, solid nodules with enhancement at the arterial phase on CT and MRI scans. In grade 1 tumors, the dynamic-contrast enhancement curve shows rapid wash-in in the arterial phase. Grade 2 tumors can have a singular or multiple distribution pattern, necrosis, and nodule or marginal ring-like enhancements. Grade 3 tumors have multiple lesions, internal necrosis, and evidence of hemorrhage. Portal venous tumor thrombus was seen in one case. As tumor grades increase, the capsule begins to lose integrity and tumor apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values decrease(grade 1: 1.39 ± 0.20× 10−3 mm2/s versus grade 2: 1.26 ± 0.23× 10−3 mm2/s versus grade 3: 1.14 ± 0.17× 10−3 mm2/s).
CT and MRI can reflect tumor grade and pathological features of PHNETs, which are helpful in accurately diagnosing PHNETs.
PMCID: PMC4536757  PMID: 26272674
Liver neoplasms; Neuroendocrine tumor; Computed tomography; Magnetic resonance imaging
7.  A potent broad-spectrum protective human monoclonal antibody crosslinking two haemagglutinin monomers of influenza A virus 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7708.
Effective annual influenza vaccination requires frequent changes in vaccine composition due to both antigenic shift for different subtype hemagglutinins (HAs) and antigenic drift in a particular HA. Here we present a broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibody with an unusual binding modality. The antibody, designated CT149, was isolated from convalescent patients infected with pandemic H1N1 in 2009. CT149 is found to neutralize all tested group 2 and some group 1 influenza A viruses by inhibiting low pH-induced, HA-mediated membrane fusion. It promotes killing of infected cells by Fc-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity. X-ray crystallographic data reveal that CT149 binds primarily to the fusion domain in HA2, and the light chain is also largely involved in binding. The epitope recognized by this antibody comprises amino-acid residues from two adjacent protomers of HA. This binding characteristic of CT149 will provide more information to support the design of more potent influenza vaccines.
Monoclonal antibodies with broadly neutralizing activity are being developed as potential treatment of influenza infections. Here, the authors describe a broadly neutralizing antibody with an unusual mode of binding to viral haemagglutinin, which has been isolated from patients convalescent from pandemic H1N1 influenza infection.
PMCID: PMC4518248  PMID: 26196962
8.  Mitochondrial CB1 receptor is involved in ACEA-induced protective effects on neurons and mitochondrial functions 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12440.
Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to cell death after cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Cannabinoid CB1 receptor is expressed in neuronal mitochondrial membranes (mtCB1R) and involved in regulating mitochondrial functions under physiological conditions. However, whether mtCB1R affords neuroprotection against I/R injury remains unknown. We used mouse models of cerebral I/R, primary cultured hippocampal neurons exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) and Ca2+-induced injury in purified neuronal mitochondria to investigate the role of mtCB1R in neuroprotection. Our results showed selective cell-permeant CB1 receptor agonist, arachidonyl-2-chloroethylamide (ACEA), significantly up-regulated the expression of mtCB1R protein in hippocampal neurons and tissue. In vitro, ACEA restored cell viability, inhibited generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), decreased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and reduced apoptosis, improved mitochondrial function. In vivo, ACEA ameliorated neurological scores, diminished the number of TUNEL-positive neurons and decreased the expression of cleaved caspase-3. However, ACEA-induced benefits were blocked by the selective cell-permeant CB1 receptor antagonist AM251, but just partially by the selective cell-impermeant CB1 receptor antagonist hemopressin. In purified neuronal mitochondria, mtCB1R activation attenuated Ca2+-induced mitochondrial injury. In conclusion, mtCB1R is involved in ACEA-induced protective effects on neurons and mitochondrial functions, suggesting mtCB1R may be a potential novel target for the treatment of brain ischemic injury.
PMCID: PMC4516969  PMID: 26215450
9.  Elevated Serum Gas6 Is a Novel Prognostic Biomarker in Patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133940.
This study explored the level and clinical significance of serum Gas6 in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).
A total of 128 OSCC patients and 145 normal controls were selected. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect Gas6 concentration in sera from the OSCC patients and controls. The correlations of serum Gas6 concentration and clinicopathological characteristics of OSCC patients were assessed, and the prognostic significance of serum Gas6 was evaluated with a Kaplan–Meier curve and log-rank test.
The results showed that serum Gas6 concentration was significantly higher in OSCC patients than in controls (P < 0.05). OSCC patients with late TNM stage (III, IV) had a relatively high serum Gas6 concentration compared with those with early stage (I, II) (P < 0.01) and patients with poorly differentiated tumors had a higher level of serum Gas6 than those with well-differentiated tumors (P < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that high serum Gas6 was an independent risk factor for lymph nodal metastases in OSCC patients (OR = 2.79, 95% CI: 1.72–4.48). For predicting OSCC development, ROC curve analysis showed a sensitivity of 0.63 with a specificity of 0.92 (AUC = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.74–0.85). Cox analysis revealed that high serum Gas6 was an independent biomarker for predicting poor overall survival in OSCC patients (HR = 2.07, 95% CI: 1.79–3.62). In addition, we found that Gas6 expression was increased in OSCC tissues and it may significantly decrease E-cadherin expression, and increase P-cadherin and N-cadherin expression, in OSCC cells. Further, Gas6 could promote the migratory and invasive ability of OSCC cells in vitro.
Taken together, these results suggest that Gas6 increases the metastatic capacity of OSCC cells and serum Gas6 could be a candidate biomarker for diagnostic and prognostic use in OSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4514879  PMID: 26207647
10.  AJAP1 is Dysregulated at an Early Stage of Gliomagenesis and Suppresses Invasion Through Cytoskeleton Reorganization 
CNS neuroscience & therapeutics  2014;20(5):429-437.
Down-regulation of AJAP1 in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has been reported. However, the expression profiles of AJAP1 in gliomas and the underlying mechanisms of AJAP1 function on invasion are still poorly understood.
The gene profiles of AJAP1 in glioma patients were studied among four independent cohorts. Confocal imaging was used to analyze the AJAP1 localization. After AJAP1 overexpression in GBM cell lines, cellular polarity, cytoskeleton distribution, and antitumor effect were investigated in vitro and in vivo.
AJAP1 expression was significantly decreased in gliomas compared with normal brain in REMBRANDT and CGCA cohorts. Additionally, low AJAP1 expression was associated with worse survival in GBMs in REMBRANDT and TCGA U133A cohorts and was significantly associated with classical and mesenchymal subtypes of GBMs among four cohorts. Confocal imaging indicated AJAP1 localized in cell membranes in low-grade gliomas and AJAP1-overexpressing GBM cells, but difficult to assess in high-grade gliomas due to its absence. AJAP1 overexpression altered the cytoskeleton and cellular polarity in vitro and inhibited the tumor growth in vivo.
AJAP1 is dysregulated at an early stage of gliomagenesis and may suppress glioma cell invasion and proliferation, which suggests that AJAP1 may be a potential diagnostic and prognostic marker for gliomas.
PMCID: PMC4511491  PMID: 24483339
AJAP1; Cytoskeleton; Glioma; Invasion; Proliferation
11.  iCut: an Integrative Cut Algorithm Enables Accurate Segmentation of Touching Cells 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12089.
Individual cells play essential roles in the biological processes of the brain. The number of neurons changes during both normal development and disease progression. High-resolution imaging has made it possible to directly count cells. However, the automatic and precise segmentation of touching cells continues to be a major challenge for massive and highly complex datasets. Thus, an integrative cut (iCut) algorithm, which combines information regarding spatial location and intervening and concave contours with the established normalized cut, has been developed. iCut involves two key steps: (1) a weighting matrix is first constructed with the abovementioned information regarding the touching cells and (2) a normalized cut algorithm that uses the weighting matrix is implemented to separate the touching cells into isolated cells. This novel algorithm was evaluated using two types of data: the open SIMCEP benchmark dataset and our micro-optical imaging dataset from a Nissl-stained mouse brain. It has achieved a promising recall/precision of 91.2 ± 2.1%/94.1 ± 1.8% and 86.8 ± 4.1%/87.5 ± 5.7%, respectively, for the two datasets. As quantified using the harmonic mean of recall and precision, the accuracy of iCut is higher than that of some state-of-the-art algorithms. The better performance of this fully automated algorithm can benefit studies of brain cytoarchitecture.
PMCID: PMC4501004  PMID: 26168908
12.  Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 Gene Mutation Is Associated with Prognosis in Clinical Low-Grade Gliomas 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130872.
Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 gene mutations are found in most World Health Organization grade II and III gliomas and secondary glioblastomas. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutations are known to have prognostic value in high-grade gliomas. However, their prognostic significance in low-grade gliomas remains controversial. We determined the predictive and prognostic value of isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 status in low-grade gliomas. The association of isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 status with clinicopathological and genetic factors was also evaluated. Clinical information and genetic data including isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation, O 6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase promoter methylation, 1p/19q chromosome loss, and TP53 mutation of 417 low-grade gliomas were collected from the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas database. Kaplan–Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were performed to evaluate the prognostic effect of clinical characteristics and molecular biomarkers. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation was identified as an independent prognostic factor for overall, but not progression-free, survival. Notably, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation was found to be a significant prognostic factor in patients with oligodendrogliomas, but not in patients with astrocytomas. Furthermore, O 6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase promoter methylation (p = 0.017) and TP53 mutation (p < 0.001), but not 1p/19q loss (p = 0.834), occurred at a higher frequency in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1-mutated tumors than in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 wild-type tumors. Younger patient age (p = 0.041) and frontal lobe location (p = 0.010) were significantly correlated with isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation. Chemotherapy did not provide a survival benefit in patients with isocitrate dehydrogenase 1-mutated tumors. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation was an independent prognostic factor in low-grade gliomas, whereas it showed no predictive value for chemotherapy response. Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation was highly associated with O 6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase promoter methylation and TP53 mutation.
PMCID: PMC4482584  PMID: 26115094
13.  The past, present and future of immunotherapy against tumor 
Tumor is one of the most common lethal diseases in the world. Current progress of therapy remains insufficient survival benefit. Tumor immunotherapies have been proposed for more than a century. With the improvement in the understanding of the role of the immune system in the tumorigenesis and immune response to tumor, immunotherapy has obtained a rapid development and plays the significant role in tumor therapy nowadays. This review designs to provide a general overview of immunotherapy in tumors. We will introduce the landmark events in the past research of immunotherapy and elaborate a range of strategies using different immune response mechanism, which have been demonstrated successfully and even some of them have been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certain tumor therapy. Finally, we will discuss the future direction of immunotherapy so that we can predict the possible and valuable strategies for future tumor therapy.
PMCID: PMC4483476  PMID: 26207213
Immunotherapy; cytokines; vaccine; T-cell; immune checkpoints
15.  Effects of Ivabradine on Cardiac Electrophysiology in Dogs with Age-Related Atrial Fibrillation 
Ivabradine is an inhibitor of mixed Na+-K+ current that could combine with HCN channels to reduce the transmembrane velocity of funny current (If), heart rate, and cardiac efficiency, and thus be used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as chronic heart failure. As an ion channel blocker, Ivabradine is also a potential antiarrhythmic agent.
Twelve aging dogs (8–10 years old) underwent rapid atrial pacing for 2 months to induce age-related AF in this study. The dogs were randomly divided into the Ivabradine group and aging-AF group. The effects of Ivabradine on the electrophysiological parameters, including the effective refractory period (ERP) of the pulmonary veins and atrium, duration of AF, and inducing rate of AF, were investigated.
As compared to the aging-AF group, the ERPs of the left superior pulmonary vein (139.00±4.18 ms vs. 129.00±4.08 ms, P=0.005) and left auricle (135.00±3.53 ms vs. 122.00±4.47 ms, P=0.001) were significantly increased, while the duration of AF (46.60±5.07 s vs. 205.40±1.14 s, P=0.001) and inducing rate of AF (25% vs. 60%, P=0.001) were significantly decreased.
Ivabradine could effectively reduce the inducing rate of AF, and thus be used as an upstream drug for the prevention of age-related AF.
PMCID: PMC4444168  PMID: 25982136
Aging; Arrhythmias, Cardiac; Atrial Fibrillation; Ivabradine
16.  Identification of a 6-Cytokine Prognostic Signature in Patients with Primary Glioblastoma Harboring M2 Microglia/Macrophage Phenotype Relevance 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126022.
Glioblastomas (GBM) are comprised of a heterogeneous population of tumor cells, immune cells, and extracellular matrix. Interactions among these different cell types and pro-/anti-inflammatory cytokines may promote tumor development and progression.
The objective of this study was to develop a cytokine-related gene signature to improve outcome prediction for patients with primary GBM.
Here, we used Cox regression and risk-score analysis to develop a cytokine-related gene signature in primary GBMs from the whole transcriptome sequencing profile of the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (CGGA) database (n=105). We also examined differences in immune cell phenotype and immune factor expression between the high-risk and low-risk groups.
Cytokine-related genes were ranked based on their ability to predict survival in the CGGA database. The six genes showing the strongest predictive value were CXCL10, IL17R, CCR2, IL17B, IL10RB, and CCL2. Patients with a high-risk score had poor overall survival and progression-free survival. Additionally, the high-risk group was characterized by increased mRNA expression of M2 microglia/macrophage markers and elevated levels of IL10 and TGFβ1.
The six cytokine-related gene signature is sufficient to predict survival and to identify a subgroup of primary GBM exhibiting the M2 cell phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4433225  PMID: 25978454
17.  Preoperative serum CA125: a useful marker for surgical management of endometrial cancer 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:396.
Surgery plays an important role in the management of endometrial cancer at all stages, particularly early clinical stage. There are still many unanswered questions regarding optimal surgical management of endometrial cancer, particularly regarding which patients should undergo lymphadenectomy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of preoperative cancer antigen 125 (CA125) serum levels for surgical management in endometrial cancer patients.
A total of 995 patients with endometrial cancer, according to inclusion criteria of a preoperative serum level of CA125, were selected. The association between clinicopathological factors and CA125 were analyzed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to evaluate the role of preoperative serum CA125 in predicting lymph node metastasis, adnexal involement, cervical stromal invasion in all patients, especially patients with clinical stage I. Survival analyses were also performed according to the four groups of preoperative CA125 serum levels.
Elevated CA125 level was significantly associated with all clinicopathological parameters, including age and menopause, but not histology type. ROC curve analysis results showed the CA125 serum level of 25 U/mL was the best cutoff to predict the lymph node metastasis. It was with 78% of sensitivity, 78% of specificity, 77.6% of false positive rate, 2.3% of false negative rate in all patients. In patients with clinical stage I, it was with 71.7% of sensitivity, 77.6% of specificity, 83.3% of false positive rate, 2.2% of false negative rate. The best cutoff to evaluate adnexal involement in patients with clinical stage I was 30U/ml, with 81% sensitivity, and 78.4% specificity. Survival analysis revealed CA125, FIGO stage, histology grade, and positive peritoneal cytology as independent prognostic factors of endometrial cancer.
Preoperative serum CA125 is an important predictor for patients with endometrial cancer and it should be taken into consideration when surgical management is determined, especially if a lymphadenectomy should be undertaken in patients with clinical stage I.
PMCID: PMC4438478  PMID: 25964114
CA125; Endometrial cancer; Surgical management
18.  Hierarchical Nanostructures Self-Assembled from a Mixture System Containing Rod-Coil Block Copolymers and Rigid Homopolymers 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10137.
Self-assembly behavior of a mixture system containing rod-coil block copolymers and rigid homopolymers was investigated by using Brownian dynamics simulations. The morphologies of formed hierarchical self-assemblies were found to be dependent on the Lennard-Jones (LJ) interaction εRR between rod blocks, lengths of rod and coil blocks in copolymer, and mixture ratio of block copolymers to homopolymers. As the εRR value decreases, the self-assembled structures of mixtures are transformed from an abacus-like structure to a helical structure, to a plain fiber, and finally are broken into unimers. The order parameter of rod blocks was calculated to confirm the structure transition. Through varying the length of rod and coil blocks, the regions of thermodynamic stability of abacus, helix, plain fiber, and unimers were mapped. Moreover, it was discovered that two levels of rod block ordering exist in the helices. The block copolymers are helically wrapped on the homopolymer bundles to form helical string, while the rod blocks are twistingly packed inside the string. In addition, the simulation results are in good agreement with experimental observations. The present work reveals the mechanism behind the formation of helical (experimentally super-helical) structures and may provide useful information for design and preparation of the complex structures.
PMCID: PMC4428031  PMID: 25965726
19.  MicroRNA profiling of Chinese primary glioblastoma reveals a temozolomide-chemoresistant subtype 
Oncotarget  2015;6(13):11676-11682.
Accumulating evidence demonstrates that defining molecular subtypes based on objective genetic alterations may permit a more rational, patient-specific approach to molecular targeted therapy across various cancers. The objective of this study was to subtype primary glioblastoma (pGBM) based on MicroRNA (miRNA) profiling in Chinese population. Here, miRNA expression profiles from 82 pGBM samples were analyzed and 78 independent pGBM samples were used for qRT-PCR validation. We found that two distinct subgroups with different prognosis and chemosensitivities to temozolomide (TMZ) in Chinese pGBM samples. One subtype is TMZ chemoresistant (termed the TCR subtype) and confers a poor prognosis. The other subtype is TMZ-chemosensitive (termed the TCS subtype) and confers a relatively better prognosis compared with the TCR subtype. A classifier consisting of seven miRNAs was then identified (miR-1280, miR-1238, miR-938 and miR-423-5p (overexpressed in the TCR subtype); and let-7i, miR-151-3p and miR-93 (downregulated in the TCR subtype)), which could be used to assign pGBM samples to the corresponding subtype. The classifier was validated using both internal and external samples. Meanwhile, the genetic alterations of the TCR and TCS subtypes were also analyzed. The TCR subtype was characterized by no IDH1 mutation, and EGFR and Ki-67 overexpression. The TCS subtype displayed the opposite situation. Taken together, the results indicate a distinct subgroup with poor prognosis and TMZ-chemoresistance.
PMCID: PMC4484485  PMID: 25869098
glioblastoma; microRNA; IDH1 mutation; temozolomide
20.  Molecular Signatures of Major Depression 
Current Biology  2015;25(9):1146-1156.
Adversity, particularly in early life, can cause illness. Clues to the responsible mechanisms may lie with the discovery of molecular signatures of stress, some of which include alterations to an individual’s somatic genome. Here, using genome sequences from 11,670 women, we observed a highly significant association between a stress-related disease, major depression, and the amount of mtDNA (p = 9.00 × 10−42, odds ratio 1.33 [95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.29–1.37]) and telomere length (p = 2.84 × 10−14, odds ratio 0.85 [95% CI = 0.81–0.89]). While both telomere length and mtDNA amount were associated with adverse life events, conditional regression analyses showed the molecular changes were contingent on the depressed state. We tested this hypothesis with experiments in mice, demonstrating that stress causes both molecular changes, which are partly reversible and can be elicited by the administration of corticosterone. Together, these results demonstrate that changes in the amount of mtDNA and telomere length are consequences of stress and entering a depressed state. These findings identify increased amounts of mtDNA as a molecular marker of MD and have important implications for understanding how stress causes the disease.
•Amount of mtDNA is increased, and telomeric DNA is shortened in major depression•Both changes can be induced with stress but are contingent on the depressed state•Changes are tissue specific and in part due to glucocorticoid secretion•Changes are in part reversible and represent switches in metabolic strategy
Cai et al. found increases in mtDNA and a reduction in telomeric DNA in cases of major depression using whole-genome sequencing. Both changes are depression state dependent. Mice exposed to chronic stress or glucorticoids showed that these changes reflect switches in metabolic strategy and are tissue specific and partial reversible.
PMCID: PMC4425463  PMID: 25913401
21.  Occurrence and Reassortment of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Viruses Derived from Coinfected Birds in China 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(22):13344-13351.
Over the course of two waves of infection, H7N9 avian influenza A virus has caused 436 human infections and claimed 170 lives in China as of July 2014. To investigate the prevalence and genetic diversity of H7N9, we surveyed avian influenza viruses in poultry in Jiangsu province within the outbreak epicenter. We found frequent occurrence of H7N9/H9N2 coinfection in chickens. Molecular clock phylogenetic analysis confirms coinfection by H7N9/H9N2 viruses and also reveals that the identity of the H7N9 outbreak lineage is confounded by ongoing reassortment between outbreak viruses and diverse H9N2 viruses in domestic birds. Experimental inoculation of a coinfected sample in cell culture yielded two reassortant H7N9 strains with polymerase segments from the original H9N2 strain. Ongoing reassortment between the H7N9 outbreak lineage and diverse H9N2 viruses may generate new strains with the potential to infect humans, highlighting the need for continued viral surveillance in poultry and humans.
IMPORTANCE We found frequent occurrence of H7N9/H9N2 coinfection in chickens. The H7N9 outbreak lineage is confounded by ongoing reassortment between H7N9 and H9N2 viruses. The importance of H9N2 viruses as the source of novel avian influenza virus infections in humans requires continuous attention.
PMCID: PMC4249101  PMID: 25210174
22.  Effective components of Chinese herbs reduce central nervous system function decline induced by iron overload 
Neural Regeneration Research  2015;10(5):778-785.
Abnormally increased levels of iron in the brain trigger cascade amplification in Alzheimer’s disease patients, resulting in neuronal death. This study investigated whether components extracted from the Chinese herbs epimedium herb, milkvetch root and kudzuvine root could relieve the abnormal expression of iron metabolism-related protein in Alzheimer’s disease patients. An APPswe/PS1ΔE9 double transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease was used. The intragastric administration of compounds from epimedium herb, milkvetch root and kudzuvine root improved pathological alterations such as neuronal edema, increased the number of neurons, downregulated divalent metal transporter 1 expression, upregulated ferroportin 1 expression, and inhibited iron overload in the cerebral cortex of mice with Alzheimer’s disease. These compounds reduced iron overload-induced impairment of the central nervous system, indicating a new strategy for developing novel drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
PMCID: PMC4468770  PMID: 26109953
nerve regeneration; neurodegenerative diseases; Alzheimer's disease; transgenic animal models; mice; epimedium herb; milkvetch root; kudzuvine root; divalent metal transporter 1; ferroportin 1; neural regeneration
23.  miR-107 promotes hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation by targeting Axin2 
Background: A large number of studies demonstrated that microRNAs play important roles in the progression and development of human cancers. However, the expression level of miR-107 and its biological function in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear. Method: Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to evaluate the expression level of miR-107 in HCC tissues and cell lines. Then, we explored the function of miR-107 to determine its potential roles on HCC cell proliferation in vitro. Luciferase reporter assay was used to confirm the target gene of miR-107, and the results were validated in cell lines. Results: miR-107 was significantly up-regulated in HCC tissues and cell lines. The enforced expression of miR-107 was able to promote cell proliferation in HepG2 cells. At the molecular level, our results suggested that expression of Axin2 was negatively regulated by miR-107. Conclusion: Our observations suggested that miR-107 could promote HCC cells proliferation via targeting Axin2 and might represent a potential therapeutic target for HCC.
PMCID: PMC4503085  PMID: 26191213
Hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-107; Axin2; proliferation
24.  G6PD Deficiency and Hemoglobinopathies: Molecular Epidemiological Characteristics and Healthy Effects on Malaria Endemic Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123991.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and hemoglobinopathies were the inherited conditions found mostly in African. However, few epidemiological data of these disorders was reported in Equatorial Guinea (EQG). This study aimed to assess the prevalence and healthy effects of G6PD deficiency and hemoglobinopathies among the people on malaria endemic Bioko Island, EQG.
Materials and Methods
Blood samples from 4,144 unrelated subjects were analyzed for G6PD deficieny by fluorescence spot test (FST), high-resolution melting assay and PCR-DNA sequencing. In addition, 1,186 samples were randomly selected from the 4,144 subjects for detection of hemoglobin S (HbS), HbC, and α-thalassemia deletion by complete blood count, PCR-DNA sequencing and reverse dot blot (RDB).
The prevalence of malaria and anemia was 12.6% (522/4,144) and 32.8% (389/1,186), respectively. Overall, 8.7% subjects (359/4,144) were G6PD-deficient by FST, including 9.0% (249/2,758) males and 7.9% (110/1,386) females. Among the 359 G6PD-deficient individuals molecularly studied, the G6PD A- (G202A/A376G) were detected in 356 cases (99.2%), G6PD Betica (T968C/A376G) in 3 cases. Among the 1,186 subjects, 201 cases were HbS heterozygotes, 35 cases were HbC heterozygotes, and 2 cases were HbCS double heterozygotes; 452 cases showed heterozygous α-thalassemia 3.7 kb deletion (-α3.7 kb deletion) and 85 homozygous - α3.7 kb deletion. The overall allele frequencies were HbS 17.1% (203/1186); HbC, 3.1% (37/1186); and –α3.7 kb deletion 52.4% (622/1186), respectively.
High G6PD deficiency in this population indicate that diagnosis and management of G6PD deficiency is necessary on Bioko Island. Obligatory newborn screening, prenatal screening and counseling for these genetic disorders, especially HbS, are needed on the island.
PMCID: PMC4411145  PMID: 25915902
25.  HOTAIR is a therapeutic target in glioblastoma 
Oncotarget  2015;6(10):8353-8365.
HOTAIR is a negative prognostic factor and is overexpressed in multiple human cancers including glioblastoma multiform (GBM). Survival analysis of Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (CGGA) patient data indicated that high HOTAIR expression was associated with poor outcome in GBM patients. NLK (Nemo-like kinase), a negative regulator of the β-catenin pathway, was negatively correlated with HOTAIR expression. When the β-catenin pathway was inhibited, GBM cells became susceptible to cell cycle arrest and inhibition of invasion. Introduction of the HOTAIR 5′ domain in human glioma-derived astrocytoma induced β-catenin. An intracranial animal model was used to confirm that HOTAIR depletion inhibited GBM cell migration/invasion. In the orthotopic model, HOTAIR was required for GBM formation in vivo. In summary, HOTAIR is a potential therapeutic target in GBM.
PMCID: PMC4480757  PMID: 25823657
HOTAIR; NLK (Nemo-like kinase); β-catenin; PRC2 (Polycomb repressive complex 2); Glioblastoma

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