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1.  Dehydroandrographolide enhances innate immunity of intestinal tract through up-regulation the expression of hBD-2 
Dehydroandrographolide (DA) is one of major active components in the well-known oriental herbal medicine Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f) Nees which belongs to the Acanthaceae family. DA is used for the treatment of infections in China. However, DA has not been found to significantly inhibit bacterial and viral growth directly. The current study investigates the effect of DA on the expression of human β –defensin-2 (hBD-2) in human intestinal epithelial cells and the possible signaling pathways.
Human intestinal epithelial HCT-116 cells were incubated with 1–100 μM DA for 2–24 h. RT–PCR and Western blot were used to assess the expression of hBD-2. The specific inhibitors were used and the levels of phosphorylation of signaling molecules were detected for dissecting the signaling pathways leading to the induction of hBD-2.
MTT assay showed there was no obvious cytotoxicity for HCT-116 cells by 1–100 μM DA treatment. RT-PCR and Western blot assays showed that DA (1–100 μM) could up-regulate the expression of hBD-2, and the effect lasted longer than 24 h. By using SB203580 and SB202190 (inhibitors of p38), the enhancement of hBD-2 expression were significantly attenuated. However, inhibitor of ERK and inhibitor of JNK could not block the effect of DA. Furthermore, Western blot found activation of p38 but not ERK and JNK in DA-treated HCT-116 cells.
The results suggested that DA enhanced innate immunity of intestinal tract by up-regulating the expression of hBD-2 through the p38 MAPK pathways.
PMCID: PMC4520058
Innate immunity; Dehydroandrographolide; hBD-2; Antimicrobial peptide; defensin; p38 MAPK
3.  Changes in Mitochondrial Toxicity in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells During Four-Year Administration of Entecavir Monotherapy in Chinese Patients with Chronic Hepatitis B 
This study aimed to assess whether long-term entecavir monotherapy induces mitochondrial toxicity in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB).
This was a prospective study in 34 antiviral treatment-naïve patients with CHB who received entecavir monotherapy and were followed up for 4 years. Blood samples were collected after 0, 2, 3, and 4 years of entecavir (ETC) monotherapy (ETC0, ETC2, ETC3, and ETC4, respectively). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) contents were determined using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and mtDNA4977 depletions were detected using nested PCR. Levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, alanine aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), creatine kinase, urea nitrogen, and serum creatinine were recorded.
mtDNA contents at ETC0 (9.6±6.3) and ETC4 (10.3±6.2) were markedly higher than at ETC2 (0.8±0.5, P<0.01) and ETC3 (1.3±0.9, P<0.01), but there were no differences between ETC2 and ETC3 or between ETC0 and ETC4. MtDNA4977 depletion appeared in 79.4% cases at ETC2 and in 70.6% at ETC3, which were much higher than at ETC0 (32.4%, P<0.01) and ETC4 (8.8%, P<0.01), but there were no differences in mtDNA4977 depletion ratio between ETC2 and ETC3, or between ETC0 and ETC4. mtDNA content was negatively correlated to mtDNA4977 depletion (partial regression coefficient of −4.555, P<0.001, R2=0.315). mtDNA content was positively correlated with age (partial regression coefficient of 0.131, P=0.045).
Results suggest that during 4-year entecavir monotherapy for CHB, the mtDNA contents initially decreased and then increased, while the mtDNA4977 depletion rates first increased and then decreased.
PMCID: PMC4515935  PMID: 26176539
Hepatitis, Chronic; Mitochondria, Liver; Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation
4.  Liver lobe-based magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging using multiple b values in patients with hepatitis B-related liver cirrhosis: association with the liver disease severity according to the Child-Pugh class 
Clinics  2015;70(7):486-492.
To determine the associations of liver lobe-based magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging findings using multiple b values with the presence and Child-Pugh class of cirrhosis in patients with hepatitis B.
Seventy-four cirrhotic patients with hepatitis B and 25 healthy volunteers underwent diffusion-weighted imaging using b values of 0, 500, 800 and 1000 sec/mm2. The apparent diffusion coefficients of individual liver lobes for b(0,500), b(0,800) and b(0,1000) were derived from the signal intensity averaged across images obtained using b values of 0 and 500 sec/mm2, 0 and 800 sec/mm2, or 0 and 1000 sec/mm2, respectively, and were statistically analyzed to evaluate cirrhosis.
The apparent diffusion coefficients for b(0,500), b(0,800) and b(0,1000) inversely correlated with the Child-Pugh class in the left lateral liver lobe, the left medial liver lobe, the right liver lobe and the caudate lobe (r=–0.35 to –0.60, all p<0.05), except for the apparent diffusion coefficient for b(0,1000) in the left medial liver lobe (r=–0.17, p>0.05). Among these parameters, the apparent diffusion coefficient for b(0,500) in the left lateral liver lobe best differentiated normal from cirrhotic liver, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.989. The apparent diffusion coefficient for b(0,800) in the right liver lobe best distinguished Child-Pugh class A from B–C and A–B from C, with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.732 and 0.747, respectively.
Liver lobe-based apparent diffusion coefficients for b(0,500) and b(0,800) appear to be associated with the presence and Child-Pugh class of liver cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC4496756  PMID: 26222818
Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Liver Cirrhosis; Hepatitis B; Chronic
5.  Genome-wide association analysis identifies three new risk loci for gout arthritis in Han Chinese 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7041.
Gout is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis, caused by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in and around the joints. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified many genetic loci associated with raised serum urate concentrations. However, hyperuricemia alone is not sufficient for the development of gout arthritis. Here we conduct a multistage GWAS in Han Chinese using 4,275 male gout patients and 6,272 normal male controls (1,255 cases and 1,848 controls were genome-wide genotyped), with an additional 1,644 hyperuricemic controls. We discover three new risk loci, 17q23.2 (rs11653176, P=1.36 × 10−13, BCAS3), 9p24.2 (rs12236871, P=1.48 × 10−10, RFX3) and 11p15.5 (rs179785, P=1.28 × 10−8, KCNQ1), which contain inflammatory candidate genes. Our results suggest that these loci are most likely related to the progression from hyperuricemia to inflammatory gout, which will provide new insights into the pathogenesis of gout arthritis.
Raised serum urate levels are a risk factor for gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis. Here Li et al. conduct a multistage genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population and identify three novel loci likely associated with the progression from hyperuricemia to gout.
PMCID: PMC4479022  PMID: 25967671
6.  A chromatin activity based chemoproteomic approach reveals a transcriptional repressome for gene-specific silencing 
Nature communications  2014;5:5733.
Immune cells develop endotoxin tolerance (ET) after prolonged stimulation. ET increases the level of a repression mark H3K9me2 in the transcriptional-silent chromatin specifically associated with pro-inflammatory genes. However, it is not clear what proteins are functionally involved in this process. Here we show that a novel chromatin activity based chemoproteomic (ChaC) approach can dissect the functional chromatin protein complexes that regulate ET-associated inflammation. Using UNC0638 that binds the enzymatically active H3K9-specific methyltransferase G9a/GLP, ChaC reveals that G9a is constitutively active at a G9a-dependent mega-dalton repressome in primary endotoxin-tolerant macrophages. G9a/GLP broadly impacts the ET-specific reprogramming of the histone code landscape, chromatin remodeling, and the activities of select transcription factors. We discover that the G9a-dependent epigenetic environment promotes the transcriptional repression activity of c-Myc for gene-specific co-regulation of chronic inflammation. ChaC may be also applicable to dissect other functional protein complexes in the context of phenotypic chromatin architectures.
PMCID: PMC4360912  PMID: 25502336
7.  Esomeprazole regimens for reflux symptoms in Chinese patients with chronic gastritis 
AIM: To compare symptom control with esomeprazole regimens for non-erosive reflux disease and chronic gastritis in patients with a negative endoscopy.
METHODS: This randomized, open-label study was designed in line with clinical practice in China. Patients with typical reflux symptoms for ≥ 3 mo and a negative endoscopy who had a Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Questionnaire score ≥ 8 were randomized to initial treatment with esomeprazole 20 mg once daily either for 8 wk or for 2 wk. Patients with symptom relief could enter another 24 wk of maintenance/on-demand treatment, where further courses of esomeprazole 20 mg once daily were given if symptoms recurred. The primary endpoint was the symptom control rate at week 24 of the maintenance/on-demand treatment period. Secondary endpoints were symptom relief rate, success rate (defined as patients who had symptom relief after initial treatment and after 24 wk of maintenance treatment), time-to-first-relapse and satisfaction rate.
RESULTS: Based on the data collected in the modified intention-to-treat population (MITT; patients in the ITT population with symptom relief after initial esomeprazole treatment, n = 262), the symptom control rate showed a small but statistically significant difference in favor of the 8-wk regimen (94.9% vs 87.3%, P = 0.0473). Among the secondary endpoints, based on the data collected in the ITT population (n = 305), the 8-wk group presented marginally better results in symptom relief after initial esomeprazole treatment (88.3% vs 83.4%, P = 0.2513) and success rate over the whole study (83.8% vs 72.8%, P = 0.0258). The 8-wk regimen was found to provide a 46% reduction in risk of relapse vs the 2-wk regimen (HR = 0.543; 95%CI: 0.388-0.761). In addition, fewer unscheduled visits and higher patient satisfaction supported the therapeutic benefits of the 8-wk regimen over the 2-wk regimen. Safety was comparable between the two groups, with both regimens being well tolerated.
CONCLUSION: Chinese patients diagnosed with chronic gastritis achieved marginally better control of reflux symptoms with an 8-wk vs a 2-wk esomeprazole regimen, with a similar safety profile.
PMCID: PMC4462738  PMID: 26078574
Esomeprazole; Non-erosive reflux disease regimen; Chronic gastritis regimen; Symptom control rate
8.  Biomimetic Intrafibrillar Mineralization of Type I Collagen with Intermediate Precursors-loaded Mesoporous Carriers 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11199.
Limited continuous replenishment of the mineralization medium is a restriction for in-situ solution-based remineralization of hypomineralized body tissues. Here, we report a process that generated amine-functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles for sustained release of biomimetic analog-stabilized amorphous calcium phosphate precursors. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional collagen models can be intrafibrillarly mineralized with these released fluidic intermediate precursors. This represents an important advance in the translation of biomineralization concepts into regimes for in-situ remineralization of bone and teeth.
PMCID: PMC4459175  PMID: 26053330
9.  The Melanogenesis-Inhibitory Effect and the Percutaneous Formulation of Ginsenoside Rb1 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2014;15(5):1252-1262.
Ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1) is the most predominant ginsenoside isolated from the roots of ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer). This compound is active in various human biological pathways that are involved in human collagen synthesis and inhibition of cell apoptosis. In this study, the skin-whitening effects of Rb1 were investigated in B16 melanoma cells. Our results showed that Rb1 inhibited melanogenesis in α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-stimulated B16 cells in a dose-dependent manner, which collectively indicated that Rb1 may have skin-whitening effects and may be formulated into skin-whitening products for skin care. Accordingly, a ginsenoside collagen transdermal patch was developed as a vehicle to topically deliver Rb1 into pig skin. The percutaneous permeation, retention within skin, and release in vitro of Rb1 from seven transdermal patch formulas were studied. It was determined that the best formula for ginsenoside collagen transdermal patch is made of protein collagen hydrolysate powder (PCHP) 2.0% (w/w), methyl cellulose (MC) 0.5% (w/w), polyethyleneglycol 6000 (PEG6000) 0.5% (w/w), ginsenoside 0.036% (w/w), azone 0.4% (v/w), menthol 0.20% (w/w), and water.
PMCID: PMC4179673  PMID: 24895076
ginsenoside rb1; melanin; permeation; skin whitening; transdermal patch
10.  Meiosis completion and various sperm responses lead to unisexual and sexual reproduction modes in one clone of polyploid Carassius gibelio 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10898.
Unisexual polyploid vertebrates are commonly known to reproduce by gynogenesis, parthenogenesis, or hybridogenesis. One clone of polyploid Carassius gibelio has been revealed to possess multiple modes of unisexual gynogenesis and sexual reproduction, but the cytological and developmental mechanisms have remained unknown. In this study, normal meiosis completion was firstly confirmed by spindle co-localization of β-tubulin and Spindlin. Moreover, three types of various nuclear events and development behaviors were revealed by DAPI staining and BrdU-incorporated immunofluorescence detection during the first mitosis in the fertilized eggs by three kinds of different sperms. They include normal sexual reproduction in response to sperm from the same clone male, typical unisexual gynogenesis in response to sperm from the male of another species Cyprinus carpio, and an unusual hybrid-similar development mode in response to sperm from another different clone male. Based on these findings, we have discussed cytological and developmental mechanisms on multiple reproduction modes in the polyploid fish, and highlighted evolutionary significance of meiosis completion and evolutionary consequences of reproduction mode diversity in polyploid vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC4455247  PMID: 26042995
11.  Enhanced risk profiling of implanted defibrillator shocks with circulating SCN5A mRNA splicing variants: a pilot trial 
The aim of this study was to determine the association of SCN5A cardiac sodium (Na+) channel mRNA splice variants in white blood cells (WBCs) with risk of arrhythmias in heart failure (HF).
HF is associated with upregulation of two cardiac SCN5A mRNA splice variants. that encode prematurely truncated, nonfunctional Na+ channels. Since circulating WBCs demonstrate similar SCN5A splicing patterns, we hypothesized that these WBC-derived splice variants might further stratify HF patients at risk for arrhythmias.
Simultaneously obtained myocardial core samples and WBCs were compared for SCN5A variants C (VC) and D (VD). Circulating variant levels were compared between HF patients divided into three groups: HF without an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), HF with an ICD without appropriate intervention, and HF with an ICD with appropriate intervention.
Myocardial tissue-derived SCN5A variant expression levels strongly correlated with circulating WBC samples for both VC and VD variants (r = 0.78 and 0.75, respectively). After controlling for covariates, HF patients who had received an appropriate ICD intervention had higher expression levels of both WBC-derived SCN5A variants compared to HF patients with ICDs who had not (OR= 3.25 (95% CI 1.64–6.45; p=0.001)). Receiver operating characteristics analysis revealed that circulating SCN5A variants levels were highly associated with the risk for appropriate ICD intervention (area under the curve ≥ 0.97).
Circulating expression levels of SCN5A variants were strongly associated with myocardial tissue levels. Furthermore, circulating variant levels were correlative with arrhythmic risk as measured by ICD events in a HF population within one year.
PMCID: PMC4096784  PMID: 24703920
sudden death; sodium channel; blood test
12.  Ultra-flexible nonvolatile memory based on donor-acceptor diketopyrrolopyrrole polymer blends 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10683.
Flexible memory cell array based on high mobility donor-acceptor diketopyrrolopyrrole polymer has been demonstrated. The memory cell exhibits low read voltage, high cell-to-cell uniformity and good mechanical flexibility, and has reliable retention and endurance memory performance. The electrical properties of the memory devices are systematically investigated and modeled. Our results suggest that the polymer blends provide an important step towards high-density flexible nonvolatile memory devices.
PMCID: PMC4450595  PMID: 26029856
13.  Heroin Use Promotes HCV Infection and Dysregulates HCV-Related Circulating microRNAs 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common among injection drug users (IDUs). There is accumulating evidence that circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are associated with HCV infection and disease progression. The present study was undertaken to determine the in vivo impact of heroin use on HCV infection and HCV-related circulating miRNA expression. Using the blood specimens from four groups of the study subjects (HCV-infected individuals, heroin users with/without HCV infection, and healthy volunteers), we found that HCV-infected heroin users had significantly higher viral load than HCV-infected non-heroin users (p = 0.0004). Measurement of HCV-related circulating miRNAs in plasma showed that miRs-122, 141, 29a, 29b, and 29c were significantly increased in the heroin users with HCV infection, whereas miR-351, an HCV inhibitory miRNA, was significantly decreased in heroin users as compared to control subjects. Further investigation identified a negative correlation between the plasma levels of miR-29 family members and severity of HCV infection based on aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI). In addition, heroin use and/or HCV infection also dysregulated a panel of plasma miRNAs. Taken together, these data for the first time revealed in vivo evidence that heroin use and/or HCV infection alter circulating miRNAs, which provides a novel mechanism for the impaired innate anti-HCV immunity among IDUs.
PMCID: PMC4444785  PMID: 25572448
Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Injection drug users (IDUs); Circulating microRNAs
14.  Evaluation of Avulsion-Induced Neuropathology in Rat Spinal Cords with 18F-FDG Micro-PET/CT 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127685.
Brachial plexus root avulsion (BPRA) leads to dramatic motoneuron death and glial reactions in the corresponding spinal segments at the late stage of injury. To protect spinal motoneurons, assessment of the affected spinal segments should be done at an earlier stage of the injury. In this study, we employed 18F-FDG small-animal PET/CT to assess the severity of BPRA-induced cervical spinal cord injuries. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly treated and divided into three groups: Av+NS (brachial plexus root avulsion (Av) treated with normal saline), Av+GM1 (treated with monosialoganglioside), and control. At time points of 3 day (d), 1 week (w), 2 w, 4 w and 8 w post-injury, 18F-FDG micro-PET/CT scans and neuropathology assessments of the injured spinal roots, as well as the spinal cord, were performed. The outcomes of the different treatments were compared. The results showed that BPRA induced local bleeding and typical Wallerian degeneration of the avulsed roots accompanied by 18F-FDG accumulations at the ipsilateral cervical intervertebral foramen. BPRA-induced astrocyte reactions and overexpression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the motoneurons correlated with higher 18F-FDG uptake in the ipsilateral cervical spinal cord during the first 2 w post-injury. The GM1 treatment reduced BPRA-induced astrocyte reactions and inhibited the de novo nNOS expressions in spinal motoneurons. The GM1 treatment also protected spinal motoneurons from avulsion within the first 4 w post-injury. The data from this study suggest that 18F-FDG PET/CT could be used to assess the severity of BPRA-induced primary and secondary injuries in the spinal cord. Furthermore, GM1 is an effective drug for reducing primary and secondary spinal cord injuries following BPRA.
PMCID: PMC4444271  PMID: 26010770
15.  Smad7 protects against chronic aristolochic acid nephropathy in mice 
Oncotarget  2015;6(14):11930-11944.
Chronic Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy (AAN) is a progressive chronic kidney disease related to herb medicine. However, treatment for chronic AAN remains ineffective. We report here that Smad7 is protective and has therapeutic potential for chronic AAN. In a mouse model of chronic AAN, progressive renal injury was associated with a loss of renal Smad7 and disruption of Smad7 largely aggravated the severity of chronic AAN as demonstrated by a significant increase in levels of 24-hour urinary protein excretion, serum creatinine, and progressive renal fibrosis and inflammation. In contrast, restored Smad7 locally in the kidneys of Smad7 knockout mice prevented the progression of chronic AAN. Further studies revealed that worsen chronic AAN in Smad7 knockout mice was associated with enhanced activation of TGF-β/Smad3 and NF-κB signaling pathways, which was reversed when renal Smad7 was restored. Importantly, we also found that overexpression of Smad7 locally in the kidneys with established chronic AAN was capable of attenuating progressive chronic AAN by inactivating TGF-β/Smad3-medated renal fibrosis and NF-κB-driven renal inflammation. In conclusion, Smad7 plays a protective role in the pathogenesis of chronic AAN and overexpression of Smad7 may represent a novel therapeutic potential for chronic AAN.
PMCID: PMC4494914  PMID: 25883225
chronic aristolochic acid nephropathy; Smad7; renal fibrosis; renal inflammation
16.  Association study of genetic variants at newly identified lipid gene TRIB1 with coronary heart disease in Chinese Han population 
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified the variants near TRIB1 gene affecting blood lipid levels. However, the association between the reported variants and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) was not confirmed.
We conducted two independent case–control studies. The first study consisted of 300 CHD patients and 300 controls and the second study had 1,332 CHD patients and 2,811 controls. The genotypes of two variants rs3201475 and rs17321515 in TRIB1 were determined by TaqMan assay. The dual-luciferase reporter assay was performed for evaluating the function of the SNP rs3201475.
The statistical analysis indicated that single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs17321515 was replicated to be associated with triglyceride (TG) level, which was also significantly associated with CHD risk when using the stratified analysis after adjusting for conventional risk factors. Compared with GG genotype, AA carriers of SNP rs17321515 had higher risk in males (odds ratio (OR) = 1.28, 95 %CI = 1.01–1.61; P = 0.03) and smokers (OR = 1.41, 95%CI = 1.09–1.88; P = 0.01). We did not find significantly association between genotypes of rs3201475 and CHD risk. In addition, no significant difference was found in the luciferase activity assay of SNP rs3201475.
Our findings indicated that SNP rs17321515 is significantly associated with plasma TG level and the increasing risk of CHD among males and smokers in Chinese, whereas there is no positive association between SNP rs3201475 and CHD risk. Smoking could modify the effects of TRIB1 on CHD risk.
PMCID: PMC4457977  PMID: 25986010
Genetic variant; Lipid; Coronary heart disease
17.  Progesterone and Src Family Inhibitor PP1 Synergistically Inhibit Cell Migration and Invasion of Human Basal Phenotype Breast Cancer Cells 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:426429.
Basal phenotype breast cancer is one of the most aggressive breast cancers that frequently metastasize to brain. The role of sex hormones and their receptors in development of this disease is largely unclear. We demonstrated that mPRα was expressed at a moderate level in a brain metastatic BPBC cell line MB231Br, which was derived from the parent mPRα undetectable MB231 cells. It functioned as an essential mediator for progesterone induced inhibitory effects on cell migration of MB231Br and, when coincubated with PP1, synergistically enhanced the progesterone's inhibitory effect on cell migration and invasion in vitro. Progesterone and PP1 cotreatment induced a cascade of molecular signaling events, such as dephosphorylation of FAK, downregulation of MMP9, VEGF, and KCNMA1 expressions. Our in vitro study demonstrated that mPRα was expressed and functioned as an essential mediator for progesterone induced inhibitory effects on cell migration and invasion in BPBC cells. This inhibitory effect was enhanced by PP1 via FAK dephosphorylation, MMP9, VEGF, and KCNMA1 downregulation mechanisms. Our study provides a new clue toward the development of novel promising agents and pathways for inhibiting nuclear hormonal receptor-negative and endocrine-resistant breast cancers.
PMCID: PMC4449873  PMID: 26075237
18.  Downregulation of rho-associated protein kinase 1 by miR-124 in colorectal cancer 
AIM: To investigate the roles and interactions of rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK)1 and miR-124 in human colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Expression of ROCK1 protein was examined by Western blotting, and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR was performed to measure expression of ROCK1 mRNA and miR-124. Two cancer cell lines were transfected with pre-miR-124 (mimic) and anti-miR-124 (inhibitor) and the effects on ROCK1 protein and mRNA expression were observed. In addition, cell proliferation was assessed via a 5-ethynyl-2′ deoxyuridine assay. Soft agar formation assay, and cell migration and invasion assays were used to determine the effect of survivin on the transformation and invasion activity of CRC cells.
RESULTS: miR-124 was significantly downregulated in CRC compared to normal specimens (0.603 ± 0.092 vs 1.147 ± 0.286, P = 0.016) and in metastatic compared to nonmetastatic CRC specimens (0.416 ± 0.047 vs 0.696 ± 0.089, P = 0.020). Expression of miR-124 was significantly associated with CRC metastasis, tumor T and N stages, and tumor grade (all P < 0.05). ROCK1 protein was significantly increased in CRC compared to normal tissues (1.896 ± 0.258 vs 0.866 ± 0.136, P = 0.026), whereas ROCK1 mRNA expression was unaltered (2.613 ± 0.251 vs 2.325 ± 0.246). miR-124 and ROCK1 were inversely expressed in CRC tissues and cell lines. ROCK1 mRNA was unaltered in cells transfected with miR-124 mimic and miR-124 inhibitor, compared to normal controls. There was a significant reduction in ROCK1 protein in cells transfected with miR-124 mimic and a significant increase in cells transfected with miR-124 inhibitor (Ps < 0.05). Transformation and invasion of cells transfected with miR-124 inhibitor were significantly increased compared to those in normal controls (P < 0.05). Cells transfected with miR-124 inhibitor showed increased cell proliferation.
CONCLUSION: miR-124 promotes hyperplasia and contributes to invasion of CRC cells, but downregulates ROCK1. ROCK1 and miR-124 may play important roles in CRC.
PMCID: PMC4427666  PMID: 25987767
Cell invasion; Colorectal cancer; miR-124; Rho-associated protein kinase
19.  Low-Cost, Disposable, Flexible and Highly Reproducible Screen Printed SERS Substrates for the Detection of Various Chemicals 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10208.
Ideal SERS substrates for sensing applications should exhibit strong signal enhancement, generate a reproducible and uniform response, and should be able to fabricate in large-scale and low-cost. Herein, we demonstrate low-cost, highly sensitive, disposable and reproducible SERS substrates by means of screen printing Ag nanoparticles (NPs) on a plastic PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) substrates. While there are many complex methods for the fabrication of SERS substrates, screen printing is suitable for large-area fabrication and overcomes the uneven radial distribution. Using as-printed Ag substrates as the SERS platform, detection of various commonly known chemicals have been done. The SERS detection limit of Rhodamine 6G (R6G) is higher than the concentration of 1 × 10−10 M. The relative standard deviation (RSD) value for 784 points on the detection of R6G and Malachite green (MG) is less than 20% revealing a homogeneous SERS distribution and high reproducibility. Moreover, melamine (MA) is detected in fresh liquid-milk without additional pretreatment, which may accelerate the application of rapid on-line detection of MA in liquid milk. Our screen printing method highlights the use of large-scale printing strategies for the fabrication of well-defined functional nanostructures with applications well beyond the field of SERS sensing.
PMCID: PMC4431467  PMID: 25974125
20.  Mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its receptor TrkB are upregulated in human glioma tissues 
Oncology Letters  2015;10(1):223-227.
There are two forms of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), precursor of BDNF (proBDNF) and mature BDNF, which each exert opposing effects through two different transmembrane receptor signaling systems, consisting of p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) and tyrosine receptor kinase B (TrkB). Previous studies have demonstrated that proBDNF promotes cell death and inhibits the growth and migration of C6 glioma cells through p75NTR in vitro, while mature BDNF has opposite effects on C6 glioma cells. It is hypothesized that mature BDNF is essential in the development of malignancy in gliomas. However, histological data obtained in previous studies were unable distinguish mature BDNF from proBDNF due to the lack of specific antibodies. The present study investigated the expression of mature BDNF using a specific sheep monoclonal anti-mature BDNF antibody in 42 human glioma tissues of different grades and 10 control tissues. The correlation between mature BDNF and TrkB was analyzed. Mature BDNF expression was significantly increased in high-grade gliomas, and was positively correlated with the malignancy of the tumor and TrkB receptor expression. The present data have demonstrated that increased levels of mature BDNF contribute markedly to the development of malignancy of human gliomas through the primary BDNF receptor TrkB.
PMCID: PMC4487187  PMID: 26171003
brain-derived neurotrophic factor; glioma; human; tyrosine receptor kinase B
21.  Comparative Analysis of Anther Transcriptome Profiles of Two Different Rice Male Sterile Lines Genotypes under Cold Stress 
Rice is highly sensitive to cold stress during reproductive developmental stages, and little is known about the mechanisms of cold responses in rice anther. Using the HiSeq™ 2000 sequencing platform, the anther transcriptome of photo thermo sensitive genic male sterile lines (PTGMS) rice Y58S and P64S (Pei’ai64S) were analyzed at the fertility sensitive stage under cold stress. Approximately 243 million clean reads were obtained from four libraries and aligned against the oryza indica genome and 1497 and 5652 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in P64S and Y58S, respectively. Both gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses were conducted for these DEGs. Functional classification of DEGs was also carried out. The DEGs common to both genotypes were mainly involved in signal transduction, metabolism, transport, and transcriptional regulation. Most of the DEGs were unique for each comparison group. We observed that there were more differentially expressed MYB (Myeloblastosis) and zinc finger family transcription factors and signal transduction components such as calmodulin/calcium dependent protein kinases in the Y58S comparison group. It was also found that ribosome-related DEGs may play key roles in cold stress signal transduction. These results presented here would be particularly useful for further studies on investigating the molecular mechanisms of rice responses to cold stress.
PMCID: PMC4463707  PMID: 25993302
cold stress; transcriptome; RNA-Seq; anther; PTGMS rice
22.  Largely Enhanced Saturable Absorption of a Complex of Plasmonic and Molecular-Like Au Nanocrystals 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9735.
A saturable absorber is a nonlinear functional material widely used in laser and photonic nanodevices. Metallic nanostructures have prominent saturable absorption (SA) at the plasmon resonance frequency owing to largely enhanced ground state absorption. However, the SA of plasmonic metal nanostructures is hampered by excited-state absorption processes at very high excitation power, which usually leads to a changeover from SA to reversed SA (SA→RSA). Here, we demonstrate tunable nonlinear absorption behaviours of a nanocomplex of plasmonic and molecular-like Au nanocrystals. The SA→RSA process is efficiently suppressed, and the stepwise SA→SA process is fulfilled owing to energy transfer in the nanocomplex. Our observations offer a strategy for preparation of the saturable absorber complex and have prospective applications in liquid lasers as well as one-photon nonlinear nanodevices.
PMCID: PMC4398047  PMID: 25875139
23.  Inhibition of type I insulin-like growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase by picropodophyllin induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2014;55(8):1876-1883.
It has been recently shown that IGF-IR contributes significantly to the survival of T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-LBL) cells, and it was therefore suggested that IGF-IR could represent a legitimate therapeutic target in this aggressive disease. Picropodphyllin (PPP) is a potent, selective inhibitor of IGF-IR that is currently used with notable success in clinical trials that include patients with aggressive types of epithelial tumors. In the present study, we tested the effects of PPP on Jurkat and Molt-3 cells; two prototype T-LBL cell lines. Our results demonstrate that PPP efficiently induced apoptotic cell death and cell cycle arrest of these two cells. These effects were attributable to alterations of downstream target proteins. By using proteomic analysis, 7 different proteins were found to be affected by PPP treatment of Jurkat cells. These proteins are involved in various aspects of cellular metabolism, cytoskeleton organization, and signal transduction pathways. The results suggest that PPP affects multiple signaling molecules and inhibits fundamental pathways that control cell growth and survival. Our study also provides novel evidence that PPP could be potentially utilized for the treatment of the aggressive T-LBL.
PMCID: PMC4386890  PMID: 24206093
IGF-IR; T lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma; picropodophyllin; Jurkat cells; Molt-3 cells; proteomics
24.  Molecular Characterization of Sec2 Loci in Wheat—Secale africanum Derivatives Demonstrates Genomic Divergence of Secale Species 
The unique 75 K γ-secalins encoded by Sec2 loci in Secale species is composed of almost half rye storage proteins. The chromosomal location of Sec2 loci in wild Secale species, Secale africanum, was carried out by the wheat—S. africanum derivatives, which were identified by genomic in situ hybridization and multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization. The Sec2 gene-specific PCR analysis indicated that the S. cereale Sec2 was located onchromosome 2R, while the S. africanum Sec2 was localized on chromosome 6Rafr of S. africanum. A total of 38 Sec2 gene sequences were isolated from S. africanum, S. cereale and S. sylvestre by PCR-based cloning. Phylogenetic analysis showed that S. africanum Sec2 diverged from S. cereale Sec2 approximately 2–3 million years ago. The illegitimate recombination of chromosome 2R–6R involving the Sec2 loci region may accelerate sequence variation during evolutionary process from wild to cultivated Secale species.
PMCID: PMC4425083  PMID: 25874759
wheat; Secale africanum; genome evolution; Sec2; fluorescence in situ hybridization
25.  Efficient labeling in vitro with non-ionic gadolinium magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent and fluorescent transfection agent in bone marrow stromal cells of neonatal rats 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2015;12(1):913-920.
Although studies have been undertaken on gadolinium labeling-based molecular imaging in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the use of non-ionic gadolinium in the tracking of stem cells remains uncommon. To investigate the efficiency in tracking of stem cells with non-ionic gadolinium as an MRI contrast agent, a rhodamine-conjugated fluorescent reagent was used to label bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) of neonatal rats in vitro, and MRI scanning was undertaken. The fluorescent-conjugated cell uptake reagents were able to deliver gadodiamide into BMSCs, and cell uptake was verified using flow cytometry. In addition, the labeled stem cells with paramagnetic contrast medium remained detectable by an MRI monitor for a minimum of 28 days. The present study suggested that this method can be applied efficiently and safely for the labeling and tracking of bone marrow stromal cells in neonatal rats.
PMCID: PMC4438951  PMID: 25816076
gadodiamide; magnetic resonance imaging; bone marrow stromal cells

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