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1.  The Role of Oxygen during Fracture Healing 
Bone  2012;52(1):220-229.
Oxygen affects the activity of multiple skeletogenic cells and is involved in many processes that are important for fracture healing. However, the role of oxygen in fracture healing has not been fully studied. Here we systematically examine the effects of oxygen tension on fracture healing and test the ability of hyperoxia to rescue healing defects in a mouse model of ischemic fracture healing. Mice with tibia fracture were housed in custom-built gas chambers and groups breathed a constant atmosphere of 13% oxygen (hypoxia), 21% oxygen (normoxia), or 50% oxygen (hyperoxia). The influx of inflammatory cells to the fracture site, stem cell differentiation, tissue vascularization, and fracture healing were analyzed. In addition, the efficacy of hyperoxia (50% breathing oxygen) as a treatment regimen for fracture nonunion was tested. Hypoxic animals had decreased tissue vascularity, decreased bone formation, and delayed callus remodeling. Hyperoxia increased tissue vascularization, altered fracture healing in un-complicated fractures, and improved bone repair in ischemia-induced delayed fracture union. However, neither hypoxia nor hyperoxia significantly altered chondrogenesis or osteogenesis during early stages of fracture healing, and infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils was not affected by environmental oxygen after bone injury. In conclusion, our results indicate that environmental oxygen levels affect tissue vascularization and fracture healing, and that providing oxygen to patients with fractures accompanied by ischemia may be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC4827706  PMID: 23063782
fracture; oxygen; hypoxia; hyperoxia; angiogenesis
2.  Quantitative trait loci analysis and genome-wide comparison for silique related traits in Brassica napus 
BMC Plant Biology  2016;16:71.
Yield of rapeseed is determined by three components: silique number, seed number per silique and thousand seed weight. Seed number per silique and thousand seed weight are influenced by silique length, seed density, silique breadth, silique thickness and silique volume. Some QTLs for silique traits have been reported in B. napus, however, no studies have focused on the six agronomic traits (seed number per silique, silique length, silique breadth, silique thickness, seed density and silique volume) simultaneously, and the genetic determinism of such complex traits have not been fully elucidated.
In this study, the six silique traits were evaluated using 348 lines of a doubled haploid population, the KN population. The results showed that 2, 4, 1, 1 and 2 QTLs explaining > 10 % of phenotypic variation were obtained for silique length, silique breadth, silique thickness, seed number per silique and silique volume, respectively. Notably, three major effect QTLs (cqSB-C6-1, cqSB-C6-2 and cqSV-C6-3) were identified in at least three environments, and 17 unique QTLs controlling at least two traits were obtained. A high-density consensus map containing 1225 markers was constructed for QTL comparison by combining the KN map with other five published maps. The comparative results revealed that 14, 13 and 11 QTLs for silique breadth, silique thickness and silique volume might be the potential new QTLs because few QTLs for these traits were reported in B. napus. In addition, potential new QTLs for silique length (11), seed number per silique (6) and seed density (5) were also identified. Twenty-five candidate genes underlying 27 QTLs for silique related traits were obtained.
This study constructed QTL analysis in B. napus, and obtained 60 consensus QTLs for six silique related traits. The potential new QTLs will enhance our understanding of the genetic control of silique traits, and the stable QTLs provided the targets for improving seed yield in future. These findings provided comprehensive insights into the genetic network affecting silique traits at QTL level in B. napus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-016-0759-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4802616  PMID: 27000872
Brassica napus; Silique traits; QTL; Comparative mapping; Candidate genes
3.  Integrative analyses reveal a long noncoding RNA-mediated sponge regulatory network in prostate cancer 
Nature Communications  2016;7:10982.
Mounting evidence suggests that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) can function as microRNA sponges and compete for microRNA binding to protein-coding transcripts. However, the prevalence, functional significance and targets of lncRNA-mediated sponge regulation of cancer are mostly unknown. Here we identify a lncRNA-mediated sponge regulatory network that affects the expression of many protein-coding prostate cancer driver genes, by integrating analysis of sequence features and gene expression profiles of both lncRNAs and protein-coding genes in tumours. We confirm the tumour-suppressive function of two lncRNAs (TUG1 and CTB-89H12.4) and their regulation of PTEN expression in prostate cancer. Surprisingly, one of the two lncRNAs, TUG1, was previously known for its function in polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2)-mediated transcriptional regulation, suggesting its sub-cellular localization-dependent function. Our findings not only suggest an important role of lncRNA-mediated sponge regulation in cancer, but also underscore the critical influence of cytoplasmic localization on the efficacy of a sponge lncRNA.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA; >200 base pair nucleic acids with little protein-coding capacity) are emerging as potentially important regulators of oncogenesis. Here the authors show tumour suppressive lncRNA sponge function for the protein products of prostate cancer driver genes.
PMCID: PMC4796315  PMID: 26975529
4.  Ion-Beam-Directed Self-Ordering of Ga Nanodroplets on GaAs Surfaces 
Ordered nanodroplet arrays and aligned nanodroplet chains are fabricated using ion-beam-directed self-organization. The morphological evolution of nanodroplets formed on GaAs (100) substrates under ion beam bombardment is characterized by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Ordered Ga nanodroplets are self-assembled under ion beam bombardment at off-normal incidence angles. The uniformity, size, and density of Ga nanodroplets can be tuned by the incident angles of ion beam. The ion beam current also plays a critical role in the self-ordering of Ga nanodroplets, and it is found that the droplets exhibit a similar droplet size but higher density and better uniformity with increasing the ion beam current. In addition, more complex arrangements of nanodroplets are achieved via in situ patterning and ion-beam-directed migration of Ga atoms. Particularly, compared to the destructive formation of nanodroplets through direct ion beam bombardment, the controllable assembly of nanodroplets on intact surfaces can be used as templates for fabrication of ordered semiconductor nanostructures by droplet epitaxy.
PMCID: PMC4729756  PMID: 26815607
Focused ion beam; Nanofabrication; Self-assembly; Droplet epitaxy
5.  MicroRNA-17-5p-activated Wnt/β-catenin pathway contributes to the progression of liver fibrosis 
Oncotarget  2015;7(1):81-93.
Aberrant Wnt/β-catenin pathway contributes to the development of liver fibrosis. MicroRNAs (MiRNAs) are found to act as regulators of the activation of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) in liver fibrosis. However, whether miRNAs activate Wnt/β-catenin pathway in activated HSCs during liver fibrosis is largely unknown. In this study, we found that Salvianolic acid B (Sal B) treatment significantly inhibited liver fibrosis in CCl4-treated rats, HSC-T6 cells and rat primary HSCs, resulting in the suppression of type I collagen and alpha-smooth muscle actin. Also, Sal B suppressed HSC activation and cell proliferation in vitro. Interestingly, Sal B treatment induced the inactivation of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, with an increase in P-β-catenin and Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF1). We demonstrated that the anti-fibrotic effects caused by Sal B were, at least in part, via WIF1. Moreover, our study revealed that miR-17-5p was reduced in vivo and in vitro after Sal B treatment. As confirmed by luciferase activity assays, WIF1 was a direct target of miR-17-5p. Notably, the suppression of HSCs induced by Sal B was almost inhibited by miR-17-5p mimics. Collectively, we demonstrated that miR-17-5p activates Wnt/β-catenin pathway to result in HSC activation through inhibiting WIF1 expression.
PMCID: PMC4807984  PMID: 26637809
microRNA-17-5p; Wnt/β-catenin pathway; hepatic stellate cells; Salvianolic acid B; Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF1); Pathology Section
6.  Genome-Wide Identification of QTL for Seed Yield and Yield-Related Traits and Construction of a High-Density Consensus Map for QTL Comparison in Brassica napus 
Seed yield (SY) is the most important trait in rapeseed, is determined by multiple seed yield-related traits (SYRTs) and is also easily subject to environmental influence. Many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for SY and SYRTs have been reported in Brassica napus; however, no studies have focused on seven agronomic traits simultaneously affecting SY. Genome-wide QTL analysis for SY and seven SYRTs in eight environments was conducted in a doubled haploid population containing 348 lines. Totally, 18 and 208 QTLs for SY and SYRTs were observed, respectively, and then these QTLs were integrated into 144 consensus QTLs using a meta-analysis. Three major QTLs for SY were observed, including cqSY-C6-2 and cqSY-C6-3 that were expressed stably in winter cultivation area for 3 years and cqSY-A2-2 only expressed in spring rapeseed area. Trait-by-trait meta-analysis revealed that the 144 consensus QTLs were integrated into 72 pleiotropic unique QTLs. Among them, all the unique QTLs affected SY, except for uq.A6-1, including uq.A2-3, uq.C1-2, uq.C1-3, uq.C6-1, uq.C6-5, and uq.C6-6 could also affect more than two SYRTs. According to the constructed high-density consensus map and QTL comparison from literatures, 36 QTLs from five populations were co-localized with QTLs identified in this study. In addition, 13 orthologous genes were observed, including five each gene for SY and thousand seed weight, and one gene each for biomass yield, branch height, and plant height. The genomic information of these QTLs will be valuable in hybrid cultivar breeding and in analyzing QTL expression in different environments.
PMCID: PMC4729939  PMID: 26858737
Brassica napus; seed yield; seed yield-related traits; quantitative trait loci; map comparsion; candidate genes
7.  WormBase 2016: expanding to enable helminth genomic research 
Nucleic Acids Research  2015;44(Database issue):D774-D780.
WormBase ( is a central repository for research data on the biology, genetics and genomics of Caenorhabditis elegans and other nematodes. The project has evolved from its original remit to collect and integrate all data for a single species, and now extends to numerous nematodes, ranging from evolutionary comparators of C. elegans to parasitic species that threaten plant, animal and human health. Research activity using C. elegans as a model system is as vibrant as ever, and we have created new tools for community curation in response to the ever-increasing volume and complexity of data. To better allow users to navigate their way through these data, we have made a number of improvements to our main website, including new tools for browsing genomic features and ontology annotations. Finally, we have developed a new portal for parasitic worm genomes. WormBase ParaSite ( contains all publicly available nematode and platyhelminth annotated genome sequences, and is designed specifically to support helminth genomic research.
PMCID: PMC4702863  PMID: 26578572
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(Suppl 5):v166-v167.
Glioma-associated macrophages and microglia (GIM) are infiltrating immune cells that modulate the glioblastoma (GBM) micro-environment. Pharmacological targeting of GIM represents a promising therapeutic strategy. MerTK receptor tyrosine kinase triggers macrophage ingestion of apoptotic material and polarizes macrophages to an M2-like, immunosuppressive phenotype that promotes tumor growth. In addition, aberrant MerTK expression in GBM tumor cells can provide pro-survival, pro-invasion and chemo-resistance signals. We examined MerTK expression by double immunofluorescence (IF) in 40 human GBM. Both GFAP+ tumor cells and CD68+ GIM expressed MerTK. Quantification in 12 matched pairs of newly-diagnosed and recurrent GBM showed a 5.5-fold increase in MerTK/CD68+ macrophages (p = 0.002), but no consistent changes in MerTK/GFAP+ tumor cells upon recurrence. Next, we examined the efficacy of a novel UNC-developed small molecule MerTK inhibitor (MerTKI) in a genetically engineered orthotopic allograft model of GBM (TRP). GBM were established for 7 days upon stereotactic injection of luciferase-expressing TRP cells into syngeneic, immune-competent mice. Mice (N = 10-12/group) were then randomized to receive no treatment, daily MerTKI (65mg/kg p.o.), or MerTKI plus fractionated radiation (XRT, 5 Gy q.o.d x3). Median survival was 24, 22, and 41.5 days, respectively (p = 0.003), while historical survival of TRP allograft mice treated with XRT alone was 30 days. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) showed a significant growth delay in MerTKI + XRT-treated mice (doubling time 14 versus 4-4.5 days, p < 0.0001). Two mice remain alive after 50 days of combination treatment and tumor growth remains stable with 90-99% reduction in pre-treatment BLI. Post-mortem histology and IF are pending. These results suggest that both human GBM tumor cells and GIM express MerTK and that MerTK+ GIM may increase upon disease recurrence. MerTK inhibition in an immune-competent pre-clinical model may potentiate XRT response, providing a rationale for future studies of novel MerTK inhibitors in the treatment of GBM patients.
PMCID: PMC4218447
9.  Maximizing Information Diffusion in the Cyber-physical Integrated Network † 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2015;15(11):28513-28530.
Nowadays, our living environment has been embedded with smart objects, such as smart sensors, smart watches and smart phones. They make cyberspace and physical space integrated by their abundant abilities of sensing, communication and computation, forming a cyber-physical integrated network. In order to maximize information diffusion in such a network, a group of objects are selected as the forwarding points. To optimize the selection, a minimum connected dominating set (CDS) strategy is adopted. However, existing approaches focus on minimizing the size of the CDS, neglecting an important factor: the weight of links. In this paper, we propose a distributed maximizing the probability of information diffusion (DMPID) algorithm in the cyber-physical integrated network. Unlike previous approaches that only consider the size of CDS selection, DMPID also considers the information spread probability that depends on the weight of links. To weaken the effects of excessively-weighted links, we also present an optimization strategy that can properly balance the two factors. The results of extensive simulation show that DMPID can nearly double the information diffusion probability, while keeping a reasonable size of selection with low overhead in different distributed networks.
PMCID: PMC4701293  PMID: 26569254
cyber-physical network; information diffusion; relationship; dominating set; probabilistic links
11.  A Plug Release Mechanism for Membrane Permeation by MLKL 
Structure (London, England : 1993)  2014;22(10):1489-1500.
MLKL is crucial for necroptosis, permeabilizing membranes through its N-terminal region upon phosphorylation of its kinase-like domain by RIP3. However, the mechanism underlying membrane permeabilization is unknown. The solution structure of the MLKL N-terminal region determined by NMR spectroscopy reveals a four-helix bundle with an additional helix at the top that is likely key for MLKL function, and a sixth, C-terminal helix that interacts with the top helix and with a poorly packed interface within the four-helix bundle. Fluorescence spectroscopy measurements indicate that much of the four-helix bundle inserts into membranes, but not the C-terminal helix. Moreover, we find that the four-helix bundle is sufficient to induce liposome leakage and that the C-terminal helix inhibits this activity. These results suggest that the four-helix bundle mediates membrane breakdown during necroptosis and that the sixth helix acts as a plug that prevents opening of the bundle and is released upon RIP3 phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC4192069  PMID: 25220470
12.  Utilization of Cessation Resources Among HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative Men Who Smoke and Who Have Sex With Men in Chengdu, China 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2014;16(10):1283-1288.
Given the implications for smoking among individuals living with HIV and the high rates of smoking and HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China, we examined differences in prior use of and future interest in various cessation resources among MSM smokers with or without HIV.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 381 MSM; HIV status was provided by 350 MSM, and complete data was provided by a total of 344 (188 HIV-positive and 156 HIV-negative) current smokers (past 30 days) recruited by a nongovernmental organization in Chengdu in 2012–2013. Participants reported tobacco and alcohol use; psychosocial factors; past-year quit attempts; health care provider interactions on smoking; and prior use of and interest in cessation resources.
Smokers living with HIV were more likely to have used behavioral interventions (p < .001) and pharmacotherapy (p = .033). Those who were HIV-positive were also more interested in behavioral interventions (p = .002) and pharmacotherapy (p = .008). Correlates of interest in behavioral interventions in the regression model included lower cigarette consumption (p = .011), higher confidence in quitting (p = .035), greater likelihood of attempting to quit in the past year (p = .026), and being HIV-positive (p = .008). Correlates of interest in pharmacotherapy included greater depressive symptoms (p = .047) and being HIV-positive (p = .015).
Smokers living with HIV were more likely to have ever attempted to quit smoking, to have used cessation resources, and to be interested in using cessation aids. These findings indicate the promise of greater dissemination of cessation resources, particularly if Chinese clinical practices are strengthened to offer cessation support.
PMCID: PMC4168294  PMID: 24827789
13.  Fault Diagnosis of Demountable Disk-Drum Aero-Engine Rotor Using Customized Multiwavelet Method 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2015;15(10):26997-27020.
The demountable disk-drum aero-engine rotor is an important piece of equipment that greatly impacts the safe operation of aircraft. However, assembly looseness or crack fault has led to several unscheduled breakdowns and serious accidents. Thus, condition monitoring and fault diagnosis technique are required for identifying abnormal conditions. Customized ensemble multiwavelet method for aero-engine rotor condition identification, using measured vibration data, is developed in this paper. First, customized multiwavelet basis function with strong adaptivity is constructed via symmetric multiwavelet lifting scheme. Then vibration signal is processed by customized ensemble multiwavelet transform. Next, normalized information entropy of multiwavelet decomposition coefficients is computed to directly reflect and evaluate the condition. The proposed approach is first applied to fault detection of an experimental aero-engine rotor. Finally, the proposed approach is used in an engineering application, where it successfully identified the crack fault of a demountable disk-drum aero-engine rotor. The results show that the proposed method possesses excellent performance in fault detection of aero-engine rotor. Moreover, the robustness of the multiwavelet method against noise is also tested and verified by simulation and field experiments.
PMCID: PMC4634489  PMID: 26512668
fault diagnosis; vibration signal analysis; customized ensemble multiwavelet; aero-engine rotor
14.  Molecular biological characteristics of the recruitment of hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow niche in chronic myeloid leukemia 
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can be contextualized as a disease of unregulated self-renewal of stem cells which exist in a quiescent state and are instructed to differentiate and mobilize to circulation under pathologic circumstances leading to tumor invasion and metastasis. Here we found that matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), induced by TGF-β1, upregulated s-KitL and s-ICAM-1, permitting the transfer of c-kit+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the quiescent to proliferative niche in CML. Further study showed that this MMP-9 production was raised by CML specific BCR/ABL+ oncogene mediated TGF-β1. Besides, phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt/nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling pathway was evidenced to govern this stem cell recruitment in CML pathogenesis. Overall, our observations defined a novel critical role for TGF-β1 induced PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway in the recruitment of the malignant cells in CML by releasing s-KitL and s-ICAM-1 and this was through a distinct PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4680395  PMID: 26722450
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML); mesenchymal stem cell (MSC); hematopoietic stem cell (HSC); matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9); TGF-β1; s-KitL; s-ICAM-1
15.  Reconstruction of novel transcription factor regulons through inference of their binding sites 
BMC Bioinformatics  2015;16(1):299.
In most sequenced organisms the number of known regulatory genes (e.g., transcription factors (TFs)) vastly exceeds the number of experimentally-verified regulons that could be associated with them. At present, identification of TF regulons is mostly done through comparative genomics approaches. Such methods could miss organism-specific regulatory interactions and often require expensive and time-consuming experimental techniques to generate the underlying data.
In this work, we present an efficient algorithm that aims to identify a given transcription factor’s regulon through inference of its unknown binding sites, based on the discovery of its binding motif. The proposed approach relies on computational methods that utilize gene expression data sets and knockout fitness data sets which are available or may be straightforwardly obtained for many organisms. We computationally constructed the profiles of putative regulons for the TFs LexA, PurR and Fur in E. coli K12 and identified their binding motifs. Comparisons with an experimentally-verified database showed high recovery rates of the known regulon members, and indicated good predictions for the newly found genes with high biological significance. The proposed approach is also applicable to novel organisms for predicting unknown regulons of the transcriptional regulators. Results for the hypothetical protein Dde0289 in D. alaskensis include the discovery of a Fis-type TF binding motif.
The proposed motif-based regulon inference approach can discover the organism-specific regulatory interactions on a single genome, which may be missed by current comparative genomics techniques due to their limitations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-015-0685-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4576408  PMID: 26388177
Transcription factor; Regulon identification; Motif discovery; Sequential Monte Carlo filtering
16.  UNC2025, a Potent and Orally Bioavailable MER/FLT3 Dual Inhibitor 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(16):7031-7041.
We previously reported a potent small molecule Mer tyrosine kinase inhibitor UNC1062. However, its poor PK properties prevented further assessment in vivo. We report here the sequential modification of UNC1062 to address DMPK properties and yield a new potent and highly orally bioavailable Mer inhibitor, 11, capable of inhibiting Mer phosphorylation in vivo, following oral dosing as demonstrated by pharmaco-dynamic (PD) studies examining phospho-Mer in leukemic blasts from mouse bone marrow. Kinome profiling versus more than 300 kinases in vitro and cellular selectivity assessments demonstrate that 11 has similar subnanomolar activity against Flt3, an additional important target in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), with pharmacologically useful selectivity versus other kinases examined.
PMCID: PMC4148167  PMID: 25068800
17.  Allocation Costs Associated with Induced Defense in Phaeocystis globosa (Prymnesiophyceae): the Effects of Nutrient Availability 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10850.
Colony enlargement in Phaeocystis globosa has been considered as an induced defense strategy that reduces its susceptibility to grazers, but allocation costs inflicted by this plastic morphological defense are poorly understood. We conducted experiments in which P. globosa cultures were exposed to chemical cues from copepods, ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates, respectively, under nutrient sufficient and deficient conditions to evaluate allocation costs associated with induced defense. Phaeocystis globosa responded to chemical cues from grazers by increasing colony diameter irrespective of nutrient conditions. We did not find trade-offs between induced defense and growth rate under nutrient sufficient conditions. Instead, induced defensive P. globosa had higher growth rates than non-induced P. globosa. When nutrient became limited, P. globosa exposed to grazing cues from copepods and dinoflagellates had significantly decreased growth rates when compared with non-induced P. globosa. We suggested that the decreased growth revealed allocation costs associated with induced defense that may influence on the trophic interactions between Phaeocystis and consumers.
PMCID: PMC4455181  PMID: 26040243
18.  Combinatorial Photothermal and Immuno Cancer Therapy Using Chitosan-Coated Hollow Copper Sulfide Nanoparticles 
ACS Nano  2014;8(6):5670-5681.
Near-infrared light-responsive inorganic nanoparticles have been shown to enhance the efficacy of cancer photothermal ablation therapy. However, current nanoparticle-mediated photothermal ablation is more effective in treating local cancer at the primary site than metastatic cancer. Here, we report the design of a near-infrared light-induced transformative nanoparticle platform that combines photothermal ablation with immunotherapy. The design is based on chitosan-coated hollow CuS nanoparticles that assemble the immunoadjuvants oligodeoxynucleotides containing the cytosine-guanine (CpG) motifs. Interestingly, these structures break down after laser excitation, reassemble, and transform into polymer complexes that improve tumor retention of the immunotherapy. In this “photothermal immunotherapy” approach, photothermal ablation-induced tumor cell death reduces tumor growth and releases tumor antigens into the surrounding milieu, while the immunoadjuvants potentiate host antitumor immunity. Our results indicated that combined photothermal immunotherapy is more effective than either immunotherapy or photothermal therapy alone against primary treated and distant untreated tumors in a mouse breast cancer model. These hollow CuS nanoparticles are biodegradable and can be eliminated from the body after laser excitation.
PMCID: PMC4072412  PMID: 24801008
hollow CuS nanoparticle; photothermal; immunotherapy; cancer; cytosine-guanine
19.  Correlation between acute myeloid leukemia and IL-17A, IL-17F, and IL-23R gene polymorphism 
Recent studies have shown that Th17 cells may be involved in the pathological process of acute myeloid leukemia. This CD4+ cell subgroup secretes highly homologous interleukin (IL)-17A and IL-17F, and also expresses IL-23 receptor (IL-23R) on the cell surface. Our study aims to investigate the relationship of IL-17A, IL-17F, and IL23R with disease susceptibility, and clarify the relationship between gene polymorphism variation and serum IL-17 level. 62 acute myeloid leukemia patients and 125 healthy controls were included in this study. Restriction fragment length polymorphism polymerase chain reaction (PCR-RFLP) was applied to analyze IL-17A (rs2275913; G-197A), IL17F (rs763780; A7488G; His161Arg), and IL-23R (rs11209026, G1142A; Arg381Gln) alleles. At the same time, enzyme-linked immunoassay analysis (ELISA) was used to test serum IL-17 level in patients. Acute myeloid leukemia patients presented higher rate of IL-17F G single mutant (RR = 4.75, P < 0.001) and GG mutation homozygote (RR = 23.01, P < 0.005). While IL-17A, IL-23R A single mutant and purified AA mutation homozygote showed no correlation with acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility. In addition, ELISA showed that serum IL-17 exhibited no significant difference between acute myeloid leukemia patients and healthy controls had (8.8 ± 7.19 pg/ml vs. 1.4 ± 0.2 pg/ml, P > 0.05). IL-17F G single mutant and GG mutation homozygote were correlated with acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility, while IL-17 gene polymorphism and serum IL-17 level were not. Furthermore, IL-17A and IL-23R gene polymorphism were not associated with acute myeloid leukemia susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4503161  PMID: 26191290
Interleukin-17; gene polymorphism; correlation; acute myeloid leukemia
20.  Pattern of Retained Contrast on Immediate Postprocedure Computed tomography (CT) After Particle Embolization of Liver Tumors Predicts Subsequent Treatment Response 
To determine if the pattern of retained contrast on immediate postprocedure computed tomography (CT) after particle embolization of hepatic tumors predicts modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (mRECIST) response.
Materials and Methods
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board with a waiver of authorization. One hundred four liver tumors were embolized with spherical embolic agents (Embospheres, Bead Block, LC Bead) and polyvinyl alcohol. Noncontrast CT was performed immediately after embolization to assess contrast retention in the targeted tumors, and treatment response was assessed by mRECIST criteria on follow-up CT (average time 9.0 ± 7.7 weeks after embolization). Tumor contrast retention (TCR) was determined based on change in Hounsfield units (HUs) of the index tumors between the preprocedure and immediate postprocedure scans; vascular contrast retention (VCR) was rated; and defects in contrast retention (DCR) were also documented. The morphology of residual enhancing tumor on follow-up CT was described as partial, circumferential, or total. Association between TCR variables and tumor response were assessed using multivariate logistic regression.
Of 104 hepatic tumors, 51 (49 %) tumors had complete response (CR) by mRECIST criteria; 23 (22.1 %) had partial response (PR); 21 (20.2 %) had stable disease (SD); and 9 (8.7 %) had progressive disease (PD). By multivariate analysis, TCR, VCR, and tumor size are independent predictors of CR (p = 0.02, 0.05, and 0.005 respectively). In 75 tumors, DCR was found to be an independent predictor of failure to achieve complete response (p <0.0001) by imaging criteria.
TCR, VCR, and DCR on immediate post-treatment CT are independent predictors of CR by mRECIST criteria.
PMCID: PMC4394653  PMID: 23152036
Clinical practice; Embolization; Embolotherapy; Liver; Hepatic
21.  Efficacy of a Mer and Flt3 tyrosine kinase small molecule inhibitor, UNC1666, in acute myeloid leukemia 
Oncotarget  2015;6(9):6722-6736.
Mer and Flt3 receptor tyrosine kinases have been implicated as therapeutic targets in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this manuscript we describe UNC1666, a novel ATP-competitive small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which potently diminishes Mer and Flt3 phosphorylation in AML. Treatment with UNC1666 mediated biochemical and functional effects in AML cell lines expressing Mer or Flt3 internal tandem duplication (ITD), including decreased phosphorylation of Mer, Flt3 and downstream effectors Stat, Akt and Erk, induction of apoptosis in up to 98% of cells, and reduction of colony formation by greater than 90%, compared to treatment with vehicle. These effects were dose-dependent, with inhibition of downstream signaling and functional effects correlating with the degree of Mer or Flt3 kinase inhibition. Treatment of primary AML patient samples expressing Mer and/or Flt3-ITD with UNC1666 also inhibited Mer and Flt3 intracellular signaling, induced apoptosis, and inhibited colony formation. In summary, UNC1666 is a novel potent small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that decreases oncogenic signaling and myeloblast survival, thereby validating dual Mer/Flt3 inhibition as an attractive treatment strategy for AML.
PMCID: PMC4466645  PMID: 25762638
Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; acute myeloid leukemia; TAM receptors
22.  New insights into the genetic networks affecting seed fatty acid concentrations in Brassica napus 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:91.
Rapeseed (B. napus, AACC, 2n = 38) is one of the most important oil seed crops in the world, it is also one of the most common oil for production of biodiesel. Its oil is a mixture of various fatty acids and dissection of the genetic network for fatty acids biosynthesis is of great importance for improving seed quality.
The genetic basis of fatty acid biosynthesis in B. napus was investigated via quantitative trail locus (QTL) analysis using a doubled haploid (DH) population with 202 lines. A total of 72 individual QTLs and a large number pairs of epistatic interactions associated with the content of 10 different fatty acids were detected. A total of 234 homologous genes of Arabidopsis thaliana that are involved in fatty acid metabolism were found within the confidence intervals (CIs) of 47 QTLs. Among them, 47 and 15 genes homologous to those of B. rapa and B. oleracea were detected, respectively. After the QTL mapping, the epistatic and the candidate gene interaction analysis, a potential regulatory pathway controlling fatty acid biosynthesis in B. napus was constructed, including 50 enzymes encoded genes and five regulatory factors (LEC1, LEC2, FUS3, WRI1 and ABI3). Subsequently, the interaction between these five regulatory factors and the genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were analyzed.
In this study, a potential regulatory pathway controlling the fatty acid was constructed by QTL analysis and in silico mapping analysis. These results enriched our knowledge of QTLs for fatty acids metabolism and provided a new clue for genetic engineering fatty acids composition in B. napus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-015-0475-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4377205  PMID: 25888376
Brassica napus; Fatty acid composition; QTL; Epistatic interaction; Regulatory pathway
23.  Integration of BOLD-fMRI and DTI into radiation treatment planning for high-grade gliomas located near the primary motor cortexes and corticospinal tracts 
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of integrating the blood oxygen level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data into radiation treatment planning for high-grade gliomas located near the primary motor cortexes (PMCs) and corticospinal tracts (CSTs).
A total of 20 patients with high-grade gliomas adjacent to PMCs and CSTs between 2012 and 2014 were recruited. The bilateral PMCs and CSTs were located in the normal regions without any overlapping with target volume of the lesions. BOLD-fMRI, DTI and conventional MRI were performed on patients (Karnofsky performance score ≥ 70) before radical radiotherapy treatment. Four different imaging studies were conducted in each patient: a planning computed tomography (CT), an anatomical MRI, a DTI and a BOLD-fMRI. For each case, three treatment plans (3DCRT, IMRT and IMRT_PMC&CST) were developed by 3 different physicists using the Pinnacle planning system.
Our study has shown that there was no significant difference between the 3DCRT and IMRT plans in terms of dose homogeneity, but IMRT displayed better planning target volume (PTV) dose conformity. In addition, we have found that the Dmax and Dmean to the ipsilateral and contralateral PMC and CST regions were considerably decreased in IMRT_PMC&CST group (p < 0.001).
In conclusion, integration of BOLD-fMRI and DTI into radiation treatment planning is feasible and beneficial. With the assistance of the above-described techniques, the bilateral PMCs and CSTs adjacent to the target volume could be clearly marked as OARs and spared during treatment.
PMCID: PMC4357178  PMID: 25884395
High-grade gliomas; Blood oxygen level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI); Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); Three-dimensional conformal radiation treatment (3DCRT); Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT); Radiation treatment planning
24.  Healthcare provider intervention on smoking and quit attempts among HIV-positive versus HIV-negative MSM smokers in Chengdu, China 
AIDS care  2014;26(9):1201-1207.
Given the implications for smoking among HIV-positive individuals and high smoking and HIV rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China, we examined sociodemographic, smoking-related, psychosocial, and substance use factors in relation to HIV status; receiving some sort of healthcare provider intervention regarding smoking; and having made a quit attempt in the past year in a sample of MSM smokers in Chengdu. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 381 MSM smokers recruited by a nongovernmental organization in Chengdu in 2012–2013. Of these, 350 disclosed their HIV status and 344 (188 HIV-positive and 156 HIV-negative) provided completed data. Half (50.0%) reported at least one quit attempt in their lifetime; 30.5% reported a quit attempt in the past year. The majority (59.4%) reported that a healthcare provider had intervened in some way (assessed smoking, advised quitting, provided assistance), most commonly by assessing smoking status (50.0%). HIV-positive individuals were more likely to report a healthcare provider intervening on their smoking (p < .001). Those who received provider intervention were more likely to have attempted to quit ever (p = .009) and in the past year (p < .001). Those HIV-positive were more likely to have attempted to quit since diagnosis if a provider had intervened (p = .001). Multivariate regression documented that being HIV-positive (p < .001), greater cigarette consumption (p = .02), less frequent drinking (p = .03), and greater depressive symptoms (p = .003) were significant correlates of healthcare provider intervention. Multivariate regression also found that healthcare provider intervention (p = .003), older age (p = .01), and higher autonomous motivation (p = .007) were significant correlates of attempting to quit in the past year. Given the impact of healthcare provider intervention regarding smoking on quit attempts among MSM, greater training and support is needed to promote consistent intervention on smoking in the clinical setting among HIV-positive and HIV-negative MSM smokers.
PMCID: PMC4303341  PMID: 24601710
HIV; men who have sex with men; smoking; smoking cessation; healthcare provider
25.  Fluorapatite Enhances Mineralization of Mesenchymal/Endothelial Cocultures 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2013;20(1-2):12-22.
In addition to the widely used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), endothelial cells appear to be a favorable cell source for hard tissue regeneration. Previously, fluorapatite was shown to stimulate and enhance mineralization of MSCs. This study aims to investigate the growth of endothelial cells on synthesized ordered fluorapatite surfaces and their effect on the mineralization of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) through coculture. Endothelial cells were grown on fluorapatite surfaces and characterized by cell counting, flow cytometry, scanning electron microscopy, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Cells were then cocultured with ASCs and stained for alkaline phosphatase and mineral formation. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) pathway perturbation and basic FGF (bFGF) treatment of the ASCs were also conducted to observe their effects on differentiation and mineralization of these cells. Fluorapatite surfaces showed good biocompatibility in supporting endothelial cells. Without a mineralization supplement, coculture with endothelial cells induced osteogenic differentiation of ASCs, which was further enhanced by the fluorapatite surfaces. This suggested a combined stimulating effect of endothelial cells and fluorapatite surfaces on the enhanced mineralization of ASCs. Greater amounts of bFGF release by endothelial cells alone or cocultures with ASCs stimulated by fluorapatite surfaces, together with FGF pathway perturbation and bFGF treatment results, suggested that the FGF signaling pathway may function in this process.
PMCID: PMC3875212  PMID: 23859365

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