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1.  Clinical implications of high NQO1 expression in breast cancers 
NAD (P) H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) is a xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme that detoxifies chemical stressors and antioxidants, providing cytoprotection in normal tissues. However, high-level expression of NQO1 has been correlated with numerous human malignancies, suggesting a role in carcinogenesis and tumor progression. This study aimed to explore the clinicopathological significance of NQO1 and as a prognostic determinant in breast cancer.
A total of 176 breast cancer patients with strict follow-up, 45 ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), 22 hyperplasia and 52 adjacent non-tumor breast tissues were selected for immunohistochemical staining of NQO1 protein. Immunofluorescence staining was also performed to detect the subcellular localization of NQO1 protein in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Eight fresh breast cancers paired with adjacent non-tumor tissues were quantified using real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blot. The correlations between NQO1 overexpression and the clinical features of breast cancer were evaluated using chi-square test and Fisher’s exact tests. The survival rate was calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method, and the relationship between prognostic factors and patient survival was also analyzed by the Cox proportional hazards models.
NQO1 protein showed a mainly cytoplasmic staining pattern in breast cancer. The strongly positive rate of NQO1 protein was 61.9% (109/176) in breast cancer, and was significantly higher than in DCIS (31.1%, 14/45), hyperplasia tissues (13.6%, 3/22) and adjacent non-tumor tissues (13.5%, 7/52). High-level expression of NQO1 protein was correlated with late clinical stage, poor differentiation, lymph node metastasis, Her2 expression and disease-free and 10-year overall survival rates in breast cancer. Moreover, multivariate analysis suggested that NQO1 emerged as a significant independent prognostic factor along with clinical stage and Her2 expression status in patients with breast cancer.
High-level expression of NQO1 appears to be associated with breast cancer progression, and may be a potential biomarker for poor prognostic evaluation of breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC3944477  PMID: 24499631
Breast cancer; NQO1; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis
2.  High Expression of Leucine Zipper-EF-Hand Containing Transmembrane Protein 1 Predicts Poor Prognosis in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:850316.
Leucine zipper-EF-hand containing transmembrane protein 1 (LETM1) is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein and plays an important role in mitochondrial ATP production and biogenesis. High expression levels of LETM1 have been correlated with numerous human malignancies. This study explored the clinicopathological significance of LETM1 expression as a prognostic determinant in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). HNSCC samples from 176 patients were selected for immunohistochemical staining of LETM1 protein. Correlations between LETM1 overexpression and clinicopathological features of HNSCC were evaluated by Chi-squared tests and Fisher's exact tests, and relationships between prognostic factors and patient survival were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models. Our results demonstrated that the strongly positive rate of LETM1 protein was 65.3% in HNSCC, which was significantly higher than in either adjacent nontumor tissue (25.0%) or normal squamous epithelia (6.7%). LETM1 overexpression correlated with poor differentiation, presence of lymph node metastasis, advanced stage, absence of chemoradiotherapy, and 5-year disease-free survival and overall survival rates in HNSCC. Further analysis showed that high LETM1 expression, advanced stage, and nonchemoradiotherapy were significant independent risk factors for mortality in HNSCC. In conclusion, LETM1 plays an important role in the progression of HNSCC and is an independent poor prognostic factor for HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC3933037  PMID: 24689060
3.  Detection of Urinary Metabolomics before and after Pringle Maneuver-Induced Liver Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury in Rats Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry 
Disease markers  2013;35(5):345-351.
Background. Metabolomics studies can quantitatively detect the dynamic metabolic response of living systems. Objective. To detect urinary metabolomics after hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury induced by the Pringle maneuver using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Methods. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 80) were randomly divided into 4 groups (n = 20/group): sham operation, day 1, day 3, and day 5. Rats in the day 1, day 3, and day 5 groups underwent the Pringle maneuver. Serum alanine transaminase (ALT) and total bilirubin (TBIL) were measured, and hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining of the liver tissue was performed. GC-MS was used to detect urinary metabolomics. Results. Compared with the sham group, the serum ALT and TBIL levels at day 1 were significantly elevated (P < 0.01) and then decreased and reached close to normal levels at day 5. GC-MS detected 7 metabolites which had similar changes as those of liver tissue revealed by histological examination. Significant differences in lactic acid, pyruvic acid, alanine, serine, and glycerol-3-phosphate were found among the groups (P < 0.001). Principle component analysis showed that 7 metabolites distinguished the day 1 and day 3 groups from the sham group. Conclusions. Noninvasive urinary metabolomic analysis is a potential means for the early detection and diagnosis of hepatic I/R injury.
PMCID: PMC3794546  PMID: 24191128
4.  Re-Challenge with Ovalbumin Failed to Induce Bronchial Asthma in Mice with Eosinophilic Bronchitis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75195.
To investigate whether eosinophilic bronchitis without airway hyperresponsiveness will develop bronchial asthma in allergic mice.
Mice were sensitized with OVA on days 0, 7, and 14, challenged on days 21 to 23 (1st OVA challenge), and re-challenged on days 46 to 48 (2nd OVA challenge), intranasally with 10 (the EB group) and 200 (the AS group) μg OVA. Lung resistance (RL) was assessed 24 h after each challenge and on day 45 followed by analysis of leukocyte distribution in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and histological examination.
Twenty-four hours after the 1st OVA challenge, aerosolized methacholine caused a dose-dependent increase in RL in all groups. At doses ≥1.56 mg/mL, RL in the AS group was significantly higher than that of the NS-1 group (P<0.01 or 0.05) and at doses ≥12.5 mg/mL, RL was markedly higher in the AS group than that of the EB group (P<0.01). The percentage of eosinophils in both the EB group and the AS group was markedly higher than that of the control group. Twenty-four hours after the 2nd OVA challenge, at doses ≤12.5 mg/mL, there was no significant difference in RL among all groups (P>0.05). At doses ≥12.5 mg/mL, RL in the AS group was significantly higher than that of the control group and EB group (P<0.01 or 0.05). The percentage of eosinophils in the AS group was noticeably higher than that of the EB group(P<0.05). Furthermore, there was apparent infiltration by inflammatory cells, predominantly eosinophils, into the sub-epithelial region of the bronchus and the bronchioles and around the vessels in the EB and AS group.
Re-challenge with low doses of ovalbumin did not increase airway reactivity and failed to induce bronchial asthma in mice with ovalbumin-induced EB.
PMCID: PMC3779187  PMID: 24073252
5.  Detection of Mouse Cough Based on Sound Monitoring and Respiratory Airflow Waveforms 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59263.
Detection for cough in mice has never yielded clearly audible sounds, so there is still a great deal of debates as to whether mice can cough in response to tussive stimuli. Here we introduce an approach for detection of mouse cough based on sound monitoring and airflow signals. 40 Female BALB/c mice were pretreated with normal saline, codeine, capasazepine or desensitized with capsaicin. Single mouse was put in a plethysmograph, exposed to aerosolized 100 µmol/L capsaicin for 3 min, followed by continuous observation for 3 min. Airflow signals of total 6 min were recorded and analyzed to detect coughs. Simultaneously, mouse cough sounds were sensed by a mini-microphone, monitored manually by an operator. When manual and automatic detection coincided, the cough was positively identified. Sound and sound waveforms were also recorded and filtered for further analysis. Body movements were observed by operator. Manual versus automated counts were compared. Seven types of airflow signals were identified by integrating manual and automated monitoring. Observation of mouse movements and analysis of sound waveforms alone did not produce meaningful data. Mouse cough numbers decreased significantly after all above drugs treatment. The Bland-Altman and consistency analysis between automatic and manual counts was 0.968 and 0.956. The study suggests that the mouse is able to present with cough, which could be detected by sound monitoring and respiratory airflow waveform changes.
PMCID: PMC3605448  PMID: 23555643
6.  Inhibition of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β Ameliorates D-GalN/LPS-Induced Liver Injury by Reducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Triggered Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45202.
Glycogen synthase kinase 3β(GSK3β) is a ubiquitous serine-threonine protein kinase that participates in numerous cellular processes and disease pathophysiology. We aimed to determine therapeutic potential of GSK3β inhibition and its mechanism in a well-characterized model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced model of acute liver failure (ALF).
In a murine ALF model induced by D-GalN(700 mg/kg)/LPS(10 µg/kg), we analyzed GSK3β mechanisms using a specific chemical inhibitor, SB216763, and detected the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Mice were administered SB216763 at 2 h before or after D-GalN/LPS injection, respectively, and then sacrificed 6 h after D-GalN/LPS treatment to evaluate its prophylactic and therapeutic function. The lethality rate, liver damage, ERS, cytokine expression, MAP kinase, hepatocyte apoptosis and expression of TLR 4 were evaluated, respectively. Whether the inhibition of GSK3β activation protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced apoptosis was investigated in vitro.
Principal Findings
GSK3β became quickly activated (dephosphorylated) upon D-GalN/LPS exposure. Administration of SB216763 not only ameliorated liver injury, as evidenced by reduced transaminase levels, and well-preserved liver architecture, but also decreased lethality. Moreover, GSK3β inhibition resulted in down-regulation of pro-apoptotic proteins C/EBP–homologous protein(CHOP) and caspase-12, which are related to ERS. To further demonstrate the role of ERS, we found that GSK3β inhibition protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced cell death. GSK3β inhibition down-regulated the MAPK pathways, reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and decreased expression of TLR4.
Our findings demonstrate the key function of GSK3β signaling in the pathophysiology of ALF, especially in regulating the ERS, and provide a rationale for targeting GSK3β as a potential therapeutic strategy to ameliorate ALF.
PMCID: PMC3461002  PMID: 23028846

Results 1-6 (6)