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1.  Circulating miRNAs in cancer: from detection to therapy 
Since the discovery of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in body fluids, an increasing number of studies have focused on their potential as non-invasive biomarkers and as therapeutic targets or tools for many diseases, particularly for cancers. Because of their stability, miRNAs are easily detectable in body fluids. Extracellular miRNAs have potential as biomarkers for the prediction and prognosis of cancer. Moreover, they also enable communication between cells within the tumor microenvironment, thereby influencing tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize the progresses made over the past decade regarding circulating miRNAs, from the development of detection methods to their clinical application as biomarkers and therapeutic tools for cancer. We also discuss the advantages and limitations of different detection methods and the pathways of circulating miRNAs in cell-cell communication, in addition to their clinical pharmacokinetics and toxicity in human organs. Finally, we highlight the potential of circulating miRNAs in clinical applications for cancer.
PMCID: PMC4269921  PMID: 25476853
2.  Specific-detection of clinical samples, systematic functional investigations, and transcriptome analysis reveals that splice variant MUC4/Y contributes to the malignant progression of pancreatic cancer by triggering malignancy-related positive feedback loops signaling 
MUC4 plays important roles in the malignant progression of human pancreatic cancer. But the huge length of MUC4 gene fragment restricts its functional and mechanism research. As one of its splice variants, MUC4/Y with coding sequence is most similar to that of the full-length MUC4 (FL-MUC4), together with alternative splicing of the MUC4 transcript has been observed in pancreatic carcinomas but not in normal pancreas. So we speculated that MUC4/Y might be involved in malignant progression similarly to FL-MUC4, and as a research model of MUC4 in pancreatic cancer. The conjecture was confirmed in the present study.
MUC4/Y expression was detected by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using gene-specific probe in the clinic samples. The effects of MUC4/Y were observed by serial in vitro and in vivo experiments based on stable over-expressed cell model. The underlying mechanisms were investigated by sequence-based transcriptome analysis and verified by qRT-PCR, Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.
The detection of clinical samples indicates that MUC4/Y is significantly positive-correlated with tumor invasion and distant metastases. Based on stable forced-expressed pancreatic cancer PANC-1 cell model, functional studies show that MUC4/Y enhances malignant activity in vitro and in vivo, including proliferation under low-nutritional-pressure, resistance to apoptosis, motility, invasiveness, angiogenesis, and distant metastasis. Mechanism studies indicate the novel finding that MUC4/Y triggers malignancy-related positive feedback loops for concomitantly up-regulating the expression of survival factors to resist adverse microenvironment and increasing the expression of an array of cytokines and adhesion molecules to affect the tumor milieu.
In light of the enormity of the potential regulatory circuitry in cancer afforded by MUC4 and/or MUC4/Y, repressing MUC4 transcription, inhibiting post-transcriptional regulation, including alternative splicing, or blocking various pathways simultaneously may be helpful for controlling malignant progression. MUC4/Y- expression model is proven to a valuable tool for the further dissection of MUC4-mediated functions and mechanisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0309-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4236435  PMID: 25367394
MUC4/Y; Alternative splicing; Pancreatic neoplasms; Cell movement; Angiogenesis; Neoplasm metastasis; Gene expression regulation; Signal transduction
3.  Effects of Ixeris Chinensis (Thunb.) Nakai Boiling Water Extract on Hepatitis B Viral Activity and Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and hepatocellular carcinoma are major diseases that affect the Taiwanese population. Therefore, the development of an alternative herbal medicine that can effectively treat these diseases is a research target. In this study, we tested Ixeris Chinensis (Thunb.) Nakai boiling water extract (ICTN BWE) in vitro and analysed its effects on the HBV and liver cancer.
Materials and Methods
We used a human liver cancer cell line (Hep3B, a cell line that continuously secretes HBV particles into a medium) as an experimental model for the screening of various ICTN BWE concentrations and their effects on the HBV in vitro.
Our results showed that 75 µg/mL ICTN BWE downregulated the relative expression of the hepatitis B virus surface antigens (HBsAg) to 77.1%. Using the human liver cancer cell lines HuH-7 and HepG2, and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-zyl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and tumour clonogenic assays, we then showed that ICTN BWE inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma growth.
Fluorescent microscopy of DAPI(4′,6-Diamidino-2-phenylindole)-stained nuclei and DNA fragmentation assays confirmed the inhibitory effects of ICTN BWE on liver tumour cell growth through induction of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3957264  PMID: 24653576
herbal medicine; Ixeris Chinensis (Thunb.) Nakai; antihepatocellular carcinoma; apoptosis; antihepatitis B virus
4.  Elevation of MMP-9 and IDO induced by pancreatic cancer cells mediates natural killer cell dysfunction 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):738.
Natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in non-specific immune response in different cancers, including pancreatic cancer. However the anti-tumor effect of NK cells decreases during pancreatic cancer progression. The regulatory pathways by which NK cells facilitate tumor immune escape are unclear, therefore our purpose was to investigate the roles of the contributory factors.
NK cells isolated from fresh healthy peripheral blood were co-cultured with normal human pancreatic ductal cells hTERT-HPNE and human pancreatic cancer cell lines SW1990 and BxPc-3 in vitro. Then NK cell function was determined by Flow cytometric analysis of surface receptors and cytotoxic granules in NK cells, NK cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity, and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of cytokines. Expression level of MMP-9, IDO and COX-2 in hTERT-HPNE and SW1990 cells were detected by quantitative RT-PCR. Statistical differences between data groups were determined by independent t-tests using SPSS 19.0 software.
Our results showed that NK cell function was significantly downregulated following exposure to pancreatic cancer cells compared to normal pancreatic cells, as demonstrated by lower expressions of activating surface receptors (NKG2D, DNAM-1, NKp30 and NKp46) and cytotoxic granules (Perforin and Granzyme B); decreased secretion of cytokines (TNF-α and IFN-γ); and reduced cytotoxicity against myelogenous leukemia K562 cells. Further investigations revealed that MMP-9 and IDO may be implicated in SW1990 cell-induced NK cell dysfunction by facilitating tumor immune evasion. Blockade by TIMP-1 and/or 1-MT could partially restore NK function.
Taken together, elevation of MMP-9 and IDO induced by pancreatic cancer cells mediates NK cell dysfunction. Our findings could contribute to the development of NK cell-based immunotherapy in patients with pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4287420  PMID: 25274283
Pancreatic cancer; Natural killer cell dysfunction; MMP-9; IDO
5.  Low immediate postoperative platelet count is associated with hepatic insufficiency after hepatectomy 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(33):11871-11877.
AIM: To investigate the relationship between low immediate postoperative platelet count and perioperative outcome after liver resection in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: In a cohort of 565 consecutive hepatitis B-related HCC patients who underwent major liver resection, the characteristics and clinical outcomes after liver resection were compared between patients with immediate postoperative platelet count < 100 × 109/L and patients with platelet count ≥ 100 × 109/L. Risk factors for postoperative hepatic insufficiency were evaluated by multivariate analysis.
RESULTS: Patients with a low immediate postoperative platelet count (< 100 × 109/L) had more grade III-V complications (20.5% vs 12.4%, P = 0.016), and higher rates of postoperative liver failure (6.8% vs 2.6%, P = 0.02), hepatic insufficiency (31.5% vs 21.2%, P < 0.001) and mortality (6.8% vs 0.5%, P < 0.001), compared to patients with a platelet count ≥ 100 × 109/L. The alanine aminotransferase levels on postoperative days 3 and 5, and bilirubin on postoperative days 1, 3 and 5 were higher in patients with immediate postoperative low platelet count. Multivariate analysis revealed that immediate postoperative low platelet count, rather than preoperative low platelet count, was a significant independent risk factor for hepatic insufficiency.
CONCLUSION: A low immediate postoperative platelet count is an independent risk factor for hepatic insufficiency. Platelets can mediate liver regeneration in the cirrhotic liver.
PMCID: PMC4155380  PMID: 25206294
Thrombocytopenia; Hepatic insufficiency; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatectomy; Hepatitis B
6.  AAV-Mediated Lysophosphatidylcholine Acyltransferase 1 (Lpcat1) Gene Replacement Therapy Rescues Retinal Degeneration in rd11 Mice 
The retinal degeneration 11 (rd11) mouse is a newly discovered, naturally occurring animal model with early photoreceptor dysfunction and rapid rod photoreceptor degeneration followed by cone degeneration. The rd11 mice carry a spontaneous mutation in the lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 (Lpcat1) gene. Here, we evaluate whether gene replacement therapy using the fast-acting tyrosine-capsid mutant AAV8 (Y733F) can arrest retinal degeneration and restore retinal function in this model.
The AAV8 (Y733F)-smCBA-Lpcat1 was delivered subretinally to postnatal day 14 (P14) rd11 mice in one eye only. At 10 weeks after injection, treated rd11 mice were examined by visually-guided behavior, electroretinography (ERG) and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), and then killed for morphologic and biochemical examination.
Substantial scotopic and photopic ERG signals were maintained in treated rd11 eyes, whereas untreated eyes in the same animals showed extinguished signals. The SD-OCT (in vivo) and light microscopy (in vitro) showed a substantial preservation of the outer nuclear layer in most parts of the treated retina only. Almost wild-type LPCAT1 expression in photoreceptors with strong rod rhodopsin and M/S cone opsin staining, and normal visually-guided water maze behavioral performances were observed in treated rd11 mice.
The results demonstrate that the tyrosine-capsid mutant AAV8 (Y733F) vector is effective for treating rapidly degenerating models of retinal degeneration and, moreover, is more therapeutically effective than AAV2 (Y444, 500, 730F) vector with the same promoter-cDNA payload. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of phenotypic rescue by gene therapy in an animal model of retinal degeneration caused by Lpcat1 mutation.
This is a comprehensive morphologic, biochemical, electrophysiologic and behavioral analysis of tyrosine capsid mutant AAV8 (Y733F) or triple mutant AAV2 (Y444, 500, 730F)-mediated photoreceptor rescue in rd11 mice, a naturally occurring retinal degeneration model caused by Lpcat1 mutation.
PMCID: PMC3968931  PMID: 24557352
rd11; gene therapy; mice; Lpcat1; AAV
7.  Effect of low-dose tacrolimus with mycophenolate mofetil on renal function following liver transplantation 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(32):11356-11362.
AIM: To determine whether low-dose tacrolimus (TAC) combined with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is a safe approach to decrease the incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in liver transplantation (LT) recipients.
METHODS: We analyzed the medical records of 689 patients who underwent LT between March 1999 and December 2012 in a single Chinese center. Immunosuppression was initiated with a calcineurin inhibitor (TAC or CSA) and prednisone with or without MMF. CKD is defined by the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), estimated by an abbreviated Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula, < 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2 for at least 3 consecutive months after LT. Individuals with TAC trough concentrations ≤ 8 ng/mL at 3 mo after LT were defined as the low-dose group. The incidence of CKD within 5 years was compared between the TAC group and the CSA group, as well as between four subgroups (low-dose and high-dose TAC groups with or without MMF).
RESULTS: No difference regarding the occurrence of pre-LT renal dysfunction or that of post-LT rejection was found between the TAC and CSA groups or between the four subgroups. With a definition of GFR < 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2, the overall incidence of CKD was significantly higher in the CSA group than in the TAC group. The incidence of CKD in the low-dose TAC + MMF group (7.7%) was significantly lower than that observed in the low-dose TAC group (15.9%), high-dose TAC group (24.6%) and high-dose TAC + MMF group (18.5%). The cumulative 1-, 3- and 5-year incidence rates of CKD were 12.7%, 14.5% and 16.7%, respectively. The cumulative 5-year survival rates were 61.7% and 82.2% in patients with or without CKD, respectively.
CONCLUSION: In LT patients, the choice of immunosuppressive therapy appears to affect renal function and patient survival.
PMCID: PMC4145776  PMID: 25170222
Liver transplantation; Chronic kidney disease; Calcineurin inhibitor; Mycophenolate mofetil
8.  Clinical study on postoperative recurrence in patients with pN0 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Despite increasingly radical surgery for esophageal carcinoma, many patients still develop tumor recurrence after operation. This study was designed to analyze the clinical and pathologic influencing factors of early recurrence in patients with histological node-negative (pN0 stage) esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) after radical esophagectomy.
A retrospective study on 112 consecutive pN0 stage ESCC patients who underwent esophagectomy with lymphadenectomy by the same surgical team from January 2004 to December 2010. There were 92 male and 20 female patients, aging from 36 to 80 years with a mean age of 60.3 years. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the independent risk factors for recurrence within 3 years after the operation.
Recurrence was recognized in 45 patients (40.2%) within 3 years after operation. The median time to tumor recurrence was 17.4 months. Locoregional recurrence was found in 38 patients (33.9%) and hematogenous metastasis in 7 patients (6.3%). However, locoregional recurrence accounted for 84.4% of all relapse patients. Recurrence closely correlated with tumor location, grade of differentiation, primary tumor stage (pT) and pathologic stage (χ2 = 6.380 to 18.837, p < 0.05). The Cox multivariate analysis showed that upper/middle thoracic location (OR = 1.092, p = 0.049) and pT3-4a stage (OR = 3.296, p = 0.017) were independent risk factors for postoperative locoregional recurrence.
Locoregional recurrence was the most common recurrence pattern of patients with pN0 ESCC within 3 years after operation. Upper/middle thoracic location and pT3-4a stage were independent risk factors for locoregional recurrence of pN0 ESCC after radical esophagectomy.
PMCID: PMC4200175  PMID: 25164541
Esophagus neoplasms; Lymph node dissection; Recurrence and metastasis
9.  Risk factors associated with early and late HAT after adult liver transplantation 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(30):10545-10552.
AIM: To identify risk factors that might contribute to hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT) after liver transplantation (LT).
METHODS: The perioperative and follow-up data of a total of 744 liver transplants, performed from February 1999 to July 2010, were retrospectively reviewed. HAT developed in 20 patients (2.7%). HAT was classified as early (occurring in fewer than 30 d post LT) or late (occurring more than 30 d post LT). Early HAT developed in 14 patients (1.9%). Late HAT developed in 6 patients (0.8%). Risk factors associated with HAT were analysed using the χ2 test for univariate analysis and logistic regression for multivariate analysis.
RESULTS: Lack of ABO compatibility, recipient/donor weight ratio ≥ 1.15, complex arterial reconstruction, duration time of hepatic artery anastomosis > 80 min, duration time of operation > 10 h, dual grafts, number of units of blood received intraoperatively ≥ 7, number of units of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) received intraoperatively ≥ 6, postoperative blood transfusion and postoperative FFP use were significantly associated with early HAT in the univariate analysis (P < 0.1). After logistic regression, independent risk factors associated with early HAT were recipient/donor weight ratio ≥ 1.15 (OR = 4.499), duration of hepatic artery anastomosis > 80 min (OR = 5.429), number of units of blood received intraoperatively ≥ 7 (OR = 4.059) and postoperative blood transfusion (OR = 6.898). Graft type (whole/living-donor/split), duration of operation > 10 h, retransplantation, rejection reaction, recipients with diabetes preoperatively and recipients with a high level of blood glucose or diabetes postoperatively were significantly associated with late HAT in the univariate analysis (P < 0.1). After logistic regression, the independent risk factors associated with early HAT were duration of operation > 10 h (OR = 6.394), retransplantation (OR = 21.793) and rejection reactions (OR = 16.936).
CONCLUSION: Early detection of these risk factors, strict surveillance protocols by Doppler ultrasound and prophylactic anticoagulation for recipients at risk might be determined prospectively.
PMCID: PMC4130865  PMID: 25132774
Liver transplantation; Hepatic artery thrombosis; Risk factors; Complication; Blood transfusion
10.  MicroRNA-122 Triggers Mesenchymal-Epithelial Transition and Suppresses Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Motility and Invasion by Targeting RhoA 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101330.
The loss of microRNA-122 (miR-122) expression is strongly associated with increased invasion and metastasis, and poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In the present study, we observed that miR-122 over-expression in HCC cell lines Sk-hep-1 and Bel-7402 triggered the mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), as demonstrated by epithelial-like morphological changes, up-regulated epithelial proteins (E-cadherin, ZO-1, α-catenin, occludin, BVES, and MST4), and down-regulated mesenchymal proteins (vimentin and fibronectin). The over-expression of miRNA-122 also caused cytoskeleton disruption, RhoA/Rock pathway inactivation, enhanced cell adhesion, and suppression of migration and invasion of Sk-hep-1 and Bel-7402 cells, whereas, these effects could be reversed through miR-122 inhibition. Additional studies demonstrated that the inhibition of wild-type RhoA function induced MET and inhibited cell migration and invasion, while RhoA over-expression reversed miR-122-induced MET and inhibition of migration and invasion of HCC cells, suggesting that miR-122 induced MET and suppressed the migration and invasion of HCC cells by targeting RhoA. Moreover, our results demonstrated that HNF4α up-regulated its target gene miR-122 that subsequently induced MET and inhibited cell migration and invasion, whereas miR-122 inhibition reversed these HNF4α-induced phenotypes. These results revealed functional and mechanistic links among the tumor suppressors HNF4α, miR-122, and RhoA in EMT and invasive and metastatic phenotypes of HCC. Taken together, our study provides the first evidence that the HNF4α/miR-122/RhoA axis negatively regulates EMT and the migration and invasion of HCC cells.
PMCID: PMC4081555  PMID: 24992599
11.  Utility of diffusion-weighted imaging to assess hepatocellular carcinoma viability following transarterial chemoembolization 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(2):831-836.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can be used to assess hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) viability following transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). A total of 41 consecutive patients were treated according to chemoembolization protocols. The follow-up was performed between six and eight weeks post-chemoembolization by multidetector computed tomography [or enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] and DW-MRI on the same day. The presence of any residual tumor and the extent of tumor necrosis were evaluated according to the European Association for the Study of the Liver. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of the entire area of the treated mass and the vital and necrotic tumor tissues were recorded. Correlation coefficients were also calculated to compare the percentage of necrosis with ADC values. The mean ADC values of the necrotic and vital tumor tissues were 2.22±0.31×10−3 mm2/sec and 1.42±0.25×10−3 mm2/sec, respectively (Mann-Whitney U test, P<0.001). The results from the receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the threshold ADC value was 1.84×10−3 mm2/sec with 92.3% sensitivity and 100% specificity for identifying the necrotic tumor tissues. A significant linear regression correlation was identified between the ADC value of the entire area of the treated mass and the extent of tumor necrosis (r=0.58; P<0.001). In conclusion, DWI can be used to assess HCC viability following TACE.
PMCID: PMC4081130  PMID: 25013505
hepatocellular carcinoma; chemoembolization; diffusion-weighted imaging; magnetic resonance imaging
12.  HSPC117 Is Regulated by Epigenetic Modification and Is Involved in the Migration of JEG-3 Cells 
The human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell 117 (HSPC117) protein is an essential component of protein complexes and has been identified to be involved in many important functions. However, how this gene expression is regulated and whether the HSPC117 gene affects cell migration is still unknown. The aim of this study was to identify whether HSPC117 mRNA expression is regulated by epigenetic modification and whether HSPC117 expression level affects the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP 2), matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MMP 14), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 2 (TIMP 2), and further affects human placenta choriocarcinoma cell (JEG-3) migration speed. In our epigenetic modification experiment, JEG-3 cells were cultured in medium with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC), the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA), or both inhibitors. Then, the HSPC117 mRNA and protein expressions were assessed using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and Western blot assay. The results showed that, compared to the control, HSPC117 mRNA expression was increased by TSA or 5-aza-dC. The highest HSPC117 expression level was found after treatment with both 5-aza-dC and TSA. Further, in order to investigate the effect of HSPC117 on MMP 2, MMP 14, and TIMP 2 mRNA expressions, pEGFP-C1-HSPC117 plasmids were transfected into JEG-3 cells to improve the expression of HSPC117 in the JEG-3 cells. Then, the mRNA expression levels of MMP 2, MMP 14, TIMP 2, and the speed of cell migration were assessed using the scratch wound assay. The results showed that over-expression of HSPC117 mRNA reduced MMP 2 and MMP 14 mRNA expression, while TIMP 2 mRNA expression was up-regulated. The scratch wound assay showed that the migration speed of JEG-3 cells was slower than the non-transfected group and the C1-transfected group. All of these results indicate that HSPC117 mRNA expression is regulated by epigenetic modification; over-expression of HSPC117 decreases MMP 2 and MMP 14 transcription, reduces cell migration speed, and increases TIMP 2 transcription.
PMCID: PMC4100190  PMID: 24941254
HSPC117; epigenetic modification; cell migration
13.  Yin Yang-1 suppresses invasion and metastasis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma by downregulating MMP10 in a MUC4/ErbB2/p38/MEF2C-dependent mechanism 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:130.
Increasing evidence indicates an important role of transcription factor Yin Yang-1 (YY1) in human tumorigenesis. However, its function in cancer remains controversial and the relevance of YY1 to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains to be clarified.
In this study, we detected YY1 expression in clinical PDAC tissue samples and cell lines using quantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and western blotting. We also detected MUC4 and MMP10 mRNA levels in 108 PDAC samples using qRT-PCR and analyzed the correlations between YY1 and MUC4 or MMP10 expression. The role of YY1 in the proliferation, invasion and metastatic abilities of PDAC cells in vitro was studied by CCK-8 assay, cell migration and invasion assays. In vivo pancreatic tumor growth and metastasis was studied by a xenogenous subcutaneously implant model and a tail vein metastasis model. The potential mechanisms underlying YY1 mediated tumor progression in PDAC were explored by digital gene expression (DGE) sequencing, signal transduction pathways blockage experiments and luciferase assays. Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS 15.0 software.
We found that the expression of YY1 in PDACs was higher compared with their adjacent non-tumorous tissues and normal pancreas tissues. However, PDAC patients with high level overexpression of YY1 had better outcome than those with low level overexpression. YY1 expression levels were statistically negatively correlated with MMP10 expression levels, but not correlated with MUC4 expression levels. YY1 overexpression suppressed, whereas YY1 knockdown enhanced, the proliferation, invasion and metastatic properties of BXPC-3 cells, both in vitro and in vivo. YY1 suppresses invasion and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells by downregulating MMP10 in a MUC4/ErbB2/p38/MEF2C-dependent mechanism.
The present study suggested that YY1 plays a negative role, i.e. is a tumor suppressor, in PDAC, and may become a valuable diagnostic and prognostic marker of PDAC.
PMCID: PMC4047260  PMID: 24884523
Yin Yang-1; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Metastasis; MMP10; MUC4; MEF2C
14.  N-Acetyl-Heparin Attenuates Acute Lung Injury Caused by Acid Aspiration Mainly by Antagonizing Histones in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97074.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is the leading cause of death in intensive care units. Extracellular histones have recently been recognized to be pivotal inflammatory mediators. Heparin and its derivatives can bind histones through electrostatic interaction. The purpose of this study was to investigate 1) the role of extracellular histones in the pathogenesis of ALI caused by acid aspiration and 2) whether N-acetyl-heparin (NAH) provides more protection than heparin against histones at the high dose. ALI was induced in mice via intratracheal instillation of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Lethality rate, blood gas, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, lung edema and pathological changes were used to evaluate the degree of ALI. Heparin/NAH was administered intraperitoneally, twice a day, for 3 days or until death. Acid aspiration caused an obvious increase in extracellular histones. A significant correlation existed between the concentration of HCl aspirated and the circulating histones. Heparin/NAH (10 mg/kg) improved the lethality rate, blood gas, MPO activity, lung edema and pathological score. At a dose of 20 mg/kg, NAH still provided protection, however heparin tended to aggravate the injury due to hemorrhagic complications. The specific interaction between heparin and histones was verified by the binding assay. In summary, high levels of extracellular histones can be pathogenic in ALI caused by acid aspiration. By neutralizing extracellular histones, heparin/NAH can offer similar protection at the moderate doses. At the high dose, NAH provides better protection than heparin.
PMCID: PMC4016230  PMID: 24816808
15.  Human rabies surveillance and control in China, 2005–2012 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:212.
Rabies reemerged in China during the 1990s with a gradual increase in the number and geographical dispersion of cases. As a consequence, a national surveillance program was introduced in 2005 to investigate the outbreak in terms of vaccination coverage, PEP treatment, and geographical and social composition.
The surveillance program was coordinated at the national level by the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC) with data collected by regional health centres and provincial CCDCs, and from other official sources. Various statistical and multivariate analysis techniques were then used to evaluate the role and significance of implemented policies and strategies related to rabies prevention and control over this period.
From 2005–2012, 19,221 cases were reported across 30 provinces, but these primarily occurred in rural areas of southern and eastern China, and were predominantly associated with farmers, students and preschool children. In particular, detailed analysis of fatalities reported from 2010 to 2011 shows they were associated with very low rates of post exposure treatment compared to the cases with standard PEP. Nevertheless, regulation of post-exposure prophylaxis quality, together with improved management and vaccination of domesticated animals, has improved prevention and control of rabies.
The various control policies implemented by the government has played a key role in reducing rabies incidences in China. However, level of PEP treatment varies according to sex, age, degree and site of exposure, as well as the source of infection. Regulation of PEP quality together with improved management and vaccination of domesticated animals have also helped to improve prevention and control of rabies.
PMCID: PMC4004447  PMID: 24742224
Rabies; Surveillance; Prevention and control; Policies
16.  Multiple methods of surgical treatment combined with primary IOL implantation on traumatic lens subluxation/dislocation in patients with secondary glaucoma 
To describe clinical findings and complications from cases of traumatic lens subluxation/dislocation in patients with secondary glaucoma, and discuss the multiple treating methods of operation combined with primary intraocular lens (IOL) implantation.
Non-comparative retrospective observational case series. Participants: 30 cases (30 eyes) of lens subluxation/dislocation in patients with secondary glaucoma were investigated which accepted the surgical treatment by author in the Ophthalmology of Xi'an No.4 Hospital from 2007 to 2011. According to the different situations of lens subluxation/dislocation, various surgical procedures were performed such as crystalline lens phacoemulsification, crystalline lens phacoemulsification combined anterior vitrectomy, intracapsular cataract extraction combined anterior vitrectomy, lensectomy combined anterior vitrectomy though peripheral transparent cornea incision, pars plana lensectomy combined pars plana vitrectomy, and intravitreal cavity crystalline lens phacofragmentation combined pars plana vitrectomy. And whether to implement trabeculectomy depended on the different situations of secondary glaucoma. The posterior chamber intraocular lenses (PC-IOLs) were implanted in the capsular-bag or trassclerally sutured in the sulus decided by whether the capsular were present. Main outcome measures: visual acuity, intraocular pressure, the situation of intraocular lens and complications after the operations.
The follow-up time was 11-36mo (21.4±7.13). Postoperative visual acuity of all eyes were improved; 28 cases maintained IOP below 21 mm Hg; 2 cases had slightly IOL subluxation, 4 cases had slightly tilted lens optical area; 1 case had postoperative choroidal detachment; 4 cases had postoperative corneal edema more than 1wk, but eventually recovered transparent; 2 cases had mild postoperative vitreous hemorrhage, and absorbed 4wk later. There was no postoperative retinal detachment, IOL dislocation, and endophthalmitis.
To take early treatment of traumatic lens subluxation/dislocation in patients with secondary glaucoma by individual surgical plan based on the different eye conditions would be safe and effective, which can effectively control the intraocular pressure and restore some vision.
PMCID: PMC4003080  PMID: 24790868
crystalline lens; subluxation; dislocation; secondary glaucoma; surgical treatment
17.  A Clinicopathological Study of Early-Stage Synchronous Bilateral Breast Cancer: A Retrospective Evaluation and Prospective Validation of Potential Risk Factors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95185.
The aim of the present study was to investigate potential risk factors for synchronous bilateral breast cancer sBBC).
A retrospective analysis was performed of patients diagnosed and treated with operable bilateral breast cancer (BBC) between June 2007 and December 2011. Risk factors for sBBC were evaluated in this cohort and further validated in a prospective observational validation analysis of patients between January 2012 and December 2012. Patients treated with operable unilateral breast cancer during the same period were used as a control group.
A total of 11,247 patients with primary breast cancer underwent operations at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center between June 2007 and December 2012. The incidence of sBBC was 1.6%. The age at diagnosis (HR = 2.4, 95% C.I.: 1.4–4.0, p = 0.001), presence of sclerosing adenosis (HR = 11.8, 95% C.I.: 5.3–26.3, p<0.001), lobular carcinoma component involvement (HR = 5.6, 95% C.I.: 2.6–12.1, p<0.001), and family history of first-degree relatives with breast cancer (HR = 2.0, 95% C.I.: 1.1–3.4, p<0.001) were independent risk factors for sBBC. A subsequent validation study failed to confirm the significance of family history. No significant difference on survival was found between patients with early-stage sBBC and control cases.
Patients with the presence of sclerosing in the affected breast, and lobular carcinoma component involvement may be at high risk for developing sBBC. This study supports the hypothesis that the host-carcinoma biological relationship, especially for the tumor microenvironment, played a critical role in the carcinogenesis of sBBC.
PMCID: PMC3988153  PMID: 24736632
18.  The enforced expression of c-Myc in pig fibroblasts triggers mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) via F-actin reorganization and RhoA/Rock pathway inactivation 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(7):1119-1127.
In previous studies from other labs it has been well demonstrated that the ectopic expression of c-Myc in mammary epithelial cells can induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), whereas in our pilot experiment, epithelial-like morphological changes were unexpectedly observed in c-Myc-expressing pig fibroblasts [i.e., porcine embryonic fibroblasts (PEFs) and porcine dermal fibroblasts (PDFs)] and pig mesenchymal stem cells, suggesting that the same c-Myc gene is entitled to trigger EMT in epithelial cells and mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) in fibroblasts. This prompted us to characterize the existence of a MET in c-Myc-expressing PEFs and PDFs at the molecular level. qRT-PCR, immunofluorescence and western blot analysis illustrated that epithelial-like morphological changes were accompanied by the increased expression of epithelial markers [such as cell adhesion proteins (E-cadherin, α-catenin and Bves), tight junction protein occludin and cytokeratins (Krt8 and Krt18)], the reduced expression of mesenchymal markers [vimentin, fibronectin 1 (FN1), snail1, collagen family of proteins (COL1A1, COL5A2) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family (MMP12 and MMP14)] and the decreased cell motility and increased cell adhesion in c-Myc-expressing PEFs and PDFs. Furthermore, the ectopic expression of c-Myc in pig fibroblasts disrupted the stress fiber network, suppressed the formation of filopodia and lamellipodia, and resulted in RhoA/Rock pathway inactivation, which finally participates in epithelial-like morphological conversion. Taken together, these findings demonstrate, for the first time, that the enforced expression of c-Myc in fibroblasts can trigger MET, to which cytoskeleton depolymerization and RhoA/Rock pathway inactivation contribute.
PMCID: PMC3646867  PMID: 23466707
RhoA/Rock pathway; Tibetan miniature pigs; c-Myc; cytoskeleton reorganization; dermal fibroblasts; embryonic fibroblasts; mesenchymal stem cells; mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET)
19.  Preclinical Potency and Safety Studies of an AAV2-Mediated Gene Therapy Vector for the Treatment of MERTK Associated Retinitis Pigmentosa 
Proof of concept for MERTK gene replacement therapy has been demonstrated using different viral vectors in the Royal College of Surgeon (RCS) rat, a well characterized model of recessive retinitis pigmentosa that contains a mutation in the Mertk gene. MERTK plays a key role in renewal of photoreceptor outer segments (OS) by phagocytosis of shed OS tips. Mutations in MERTK cause impaired phagocytic activity and accumulation of OS debris in the interphotoreceptor space that ultimately leads to photoreceptor cell death. In the present study, we conducted a series of preclinical potency and GLP-compliant safety evaluations of an adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) vector expressing human MERTK cDNA driven by the retinal pigment epithelium–specific, VMD2 promoter. We demonstrate the potency of the vector in RCS rats by improved electroretinogram (ERG) responses in treated eyes compared with contralateral untreated controls. Toxicology and biodistribution studies were performed in Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats injected with two different doses of AAV vectors and buffer control. Delivery of vector in SD rats did not result in a change in ERG amplitudes of rod and cone responses relative to balanced salt solution control–injected eyes, indicating that administration of AAV vector did not adversely affect normal retinal function. In vivo fundoscopic analysis and postmortem retinal morphology of the vector-injected eyes were normal compared with controls. Evaluation of blood smears showed the lack of transformed cells in the treated eyes. All injected eyes and day 1 blood samples were positive for vector genomes, and all peripheral tissues were negative. Our results demonstrate the potency and safety of the AAV2-VMD2-hMERTK vector in animal models tested. A GMP vector has been manufactured and is presently in clinical trial.
Conlon and colleagues report results from a series of preclinical potency and safety evaluations of an AAV2 vector expressing human mer proto-oncogene tyrosine kinase (MERTK) cDNA driven by a retinal pigment epithelium-specific VMD2 promoter (AAV2-VMD2-hMERTK). They demonstrate that a single injection of this vector is effective in a rat model of recessive retinitis pigmentosa, whereas biodistribution studies indicate that vector is not spread outside the eye.
PMCID: PMC3856558  PMID: 23692380
20.  Inhibited bacterial biofilm formation and improved osteogenic activity on gentamicin-loaded titania nanotubes with various diameters 
Titania nanotubes loaded with antibiotics can deliver a high concentration of antibiotics locally at a specific site, thereby providing a promising strategy to prevent implant-associated infections. In this study we have fabricated titania nanotubes with various diameters (80, 120, 160, and 200 nm) and 200 nm length via electrochemical anodization. These nanotubes were loaded with 2 mg of gentamicin using a lyophilization method and vacuum drying. A standard strain, Staphylococcus epidermidis (American Type Culture Collection 35984), and two clinical isolates, S. aureus 376 and S. epidermidis 389, were selected to investigate the anti-infective ability of the gentamicin-loaded nanotubes (NT-G). Flat titanium (FlatTi) and nanotubes with no drug loading (NT) were also investigated and compared. We found that NT-G could significantly inhibit bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation compared to FlatTi or NT, and the NT-G with 160 nm and 200 nm diameters had stronger antibacterial activity because of the extended drug release time of NT-G with larger diameters. The NT also exhibited greater antibacterial ability than the FlatTi, while nanotubes with 80 nm or 120 nm diameters had better effects. Furthermore, human marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells were used to evaluate the effect of nanotubular topographies on the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Our results showed that NT-G and NT, especially those with 80 nm diameters, significantly promoted cell attachment, proliferation, spreading, and osteogenic differentiation when compared to FlatTi, and there was no significant difference between NT-G and NT with the same diameter. Therefore, nanotube modification and gentamicin loading can significantly improve the antibacterial ability and osteogenic activity of orthopedic implants.
PMCID: PMC3952900  PMID: 24634583
titania nanotubes; gentamicin; bacteria adhesion; biofilm formation; osteogenic activity
21.  Comparison between Chinese Herbal Medicines and Conventional Therapy in the Treatment of Severe Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Background. This study was made to evaluate the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicines, Reduning injection, and a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) granule, in patients with severe hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) by conducting a prospective, controlled, and randomized trial. Methods. 355 severe HFMD patients were randomly assigned to receive conventional therapy alone, Reduning injection plus conventional therapy, or TCM enema plus conventional therapy for 7–10 days. Results. There was no significant difference in the incidence of major complications between the groups. Median time to fever clearance was 20 hours (95% CI: 6.0–25.0) for conventional therapy recipients, 18 hours (95% CI: 4.0–24.0) for Reduning combination-treated patients, and 6 hours (95% CI: 4.0–16.0) for TCM combination-treated patients. Only the difference in time to fever clearance between TCM combination group and conventional group reached statistical significance (P = 0.048). Reduning combination group showed a significant reduction in sedative administration compared with conventional therapy group (P = 0.008). No HFMD-related death and no important adverse events were observed. Conclusions. Reduning injection plus conventional therapy significantly reduced the concomitant use of sedatives, which may help decrease HFMD-related neurologic complications in children. TCM effectively reduced time to fever clearance and may become a complementary therapy for relieving the symptoms of severe HFMD.
PMCID: PMC3955630  PMID: 24719639
22.  Oxidative stress promotes d-GalN/LPS-induced acute hepatotoxicity by increasing glycogen synthase kinase 3β activity 
Inflammation Research  2014;63(6):485-494.
Our previous studies have demonstrated that glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) activity is increased in the progression of acute liver failure (ALF), which aggravates liver injury, while its regulatory mechanism remains elusive. This study is designated to address whether oxidative stress activates GSK3β to promote ALF.
In a murine model induced by d-galactosamine (d-GalN) (700 mg/kg) and LPS (10 μg/kg), N-acetylcysteine (300 mg/kg) or SB216763 (25 mg/kg) was used to inhibit oxidative stress or GSK3β activity, respectively. Serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels were assessed. The parameters of oxidative stress were evaluated in liver tissue. Whether GSK3β inhibition protects hepatocytes from oxidative stress-induced cell apoptosis was investigated in vitro. Moreover, the activity of GSK3β was measured in the liver of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients and ALF patients.
In vivo, N-acetylcysteine ameliorated the d-GalN/LPS-induced hepatotoxicity and reduced GSK3β activity; GSK3β inhibition increased hepatic superoxide dismutase activity and the glutathione content, decreased malondialdehyde production in the liver tissues; while GSK3β inhibition suppressed the JNK activation in the liver and decreased cytochrome c release from mitochondria. In vitro, GSK3β inhibition lessened hepatocytes apoptosis induced by H2O2 or Antimycin A, as demonstrated by decreased LDH activity, and reduced cleavage of caspase-3 expression. Furthermore, GSK3β activity in the CHB patients was increased in the phase of ALF.
Results indicate that GSK3β activation contributes to liver injury by participating in oxidative stress response in ALF and is, therefore, a potential therapeutic target for ALF.
PMCID: PMC4018480  PMID: 24531650
GSK3β; SB216763; Acute liver failure; Oxidative stress; N-acetylcysteine
23.  Clinical outcomes and prediction of survival following percutaneous biliary drainage for malignant obstructive jaundice 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(4):1185-1190.
The present study aimed to investigate the clinical outcomes of percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage in patients with obstructive jaundice and identify potential predictors of patient survival. Clinical data from 102 patients (66 males and 36 females; median age, 63.50 years; range, 29–84 years) with a mean (± standard deviation) pre-drainage serum bilirubin level of 285.4 (±136.7 μmol/l), were retrospectively studied. Technical and clinical success, complications and survival time were recorded and their relationship with clinical factors, including age, obstruction level, liver metastases, serum bilirubin level and subsequent treatments following drainage, were analyzed by Fisher’s exact test. Patient survival rate and other predictors were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox’s proportional hazard model. The technical and clinical success rates were 100 and 76.5%, respectively. The presence of liver metastases was associated with reduced successful drainage. The overall complication rate was 7.8% and the overall median survival time was 185 days [95% confidence interval (CI), 159–211 days]. A log-rank test showed that age (χ2, 4.003; P=0.04), bilirubin levels following procedure (χ2, 5.139; P=0.02) and subsequent therapy (χ2, 15.459; P=0.00) affected survival time. However, Cox’s regression analysis revealed no administration of additional treatments to be a risk factor of survival (odds ratio, 2.323; 95% CI, 1.465–3.685; P=0.000). Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage for malignant biliary obstruction was found to be a safe and effective method to relieve jaundice caused by progressive neoplasms. Subsequent radical therapy following drainage, including surgery, chemotherapy and other local treatment types, are likely to increase patient survival.
PMCID: PMC3961454  PMID: 24944690
malignant obstructive jaundice; percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage; survival
24.  Cone Phosphodiesterase-6α′ Restores Rod Function and Confers Distinct Physiological Properties in the Rod Phosphodiesterase-6β-Deficient rd10 Mouse 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(29):11745-11753.
Phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6) is the key effector enzyme of the vertebrate phototransduction pathway in rods and cones. Rod PDE6 catalytic core is composed of two distinct subunits, PDE6α and PDE6β, whereas two identical PDE6α′ subunits form the cone PDE6 catalytic core. It is not known whether this difference in PDE6 catalytic subunit identity contributes to the functional differences between rods and cones. To address this question, we expressed cone PDE6α′ in the photoreceptor cells of the retinal degeneration 10 (rd10) mouse that carries a mutation in rod PDEβ subunit. We show that adeno-associated virus-mediated subretinal delivery of PDE6α′ rescues rod electroretinogram responses and preserves retinal structure, indicating that cone PDE6α′ can couple effectively to the rod phototransduction pathway. We also show that restoration of light sensitivity in rd10 rods is attributable to assembly of PDE6α′ with rod PDE6γ. Single-cell recordings revealed that, surprisingly, rods expressing cone PDE6α′ are twofold more sensitive to light than wild-type rods, most likely because of the slower shutoff of their light responses. Unlike in wild-type rods, the response kinetics in PDE6α′-treated rd10 rods accelerated with increasing flash intensity, indicating a possible direct feedback modulation of cone PDE6α′ activity. Together, these results demonstrate that cone PDE6α′ can functionally substitute for rod PDEαβ in vivo, conferring treated rods with distinct physiological properties.
PMCID: PMC3713718  PMID: 23864662
25.  Differentially expressed microRNAs in the serum of cervical squamous cell carcinoma patients before and after surgery 
The purpose of this study was to detect the serum microRNAs (miRNAs) that are differentially expressed in cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) patients and negative controls, with a focus on the miRNA profiles of the patients before and after surgery. The aim of the study is to evaluate the potential of these miRNAs as novel markers for the post-therapeutic monitoring of cervical SCC patients.
A total of 765 serum miRNAs from 10 cervical SCC patients before surgery, 10 cervical SCC patients after surgery, and 10 negative controls were profiled using a TaqMan MicroRNA Array. A set of selected differentially expressed miRNAs were further analyzed in the patients at different perioperative periods, including preoperative, 1 week postoperative, and one month postoperative. The results showed that several serum miRNAs were differentially expressed in the cervical SCC patients compared with the negative controls, including miR-646, miR-141* and miR-542-3p. More importantly, we found that levels of specific serum miRNAs were deregulated in the pre- and postoperative stages, and these miRNAs could be useful for post-therapeutic monitoring of disease progression. Finally, we depicted a regulatory network of differentially expressed serum miRNAs, and many possible target genes were predicted in the estrogen-mediated signal pathways, supporting the hypothesis that cervical SCC is a hormone-associated gynecological disease.
Our study demonstrated that the circulating miRNAs miR-646, miR-141* and miR-542-3p could potentially serve as non-invasive biomarkers for cervical SCC. The levels of these specific miRNAs might be useful for the post-therapeutic monitoring of disease progression. This is the first report showing that circulating miRNAs could serve as biomarkers for the therapeutic intervention of cervical SCC.
PMCID: PMC3892020  PMID: 24405714
Circulating microRNA; Cervical SCC; Serum; Tumor biomarkers; Post-therapeutic monitoring

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