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1.  Distinct different sensitivity of Treg and Th17 cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis signaling in patients with acute coronary syndrome 
Objective: An imbalance in CD4+CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells and Th17 cells has been found to correlate to occurrence of acute coronary syndrome [ACS, including unstable angina (UA) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI)]. However, the mechanisms of Th17/Treg imbalance in ACS patients are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate the possibility of differences in sensitivity of Th17 and Tregs to Fas-mediated apoptosis which could lead to Th17/Treg imbalance in ACS patients. Methods: We examined the apoptosis of Th17 and Treg cells, apoptosis-related Fas/Fas ligand(FasL) pathway, and inflammatory markers in patients with AMI, UA, stable angina (SA) and controls by Flow cytometry and ELISA. Then we analysed the correlation of inflammatory markers and sFasL to Treg apoptosis, and the effect of anti-FasL antibody on Treg apoptois in vitro. Results: Our study demonstrated that apoptotic Tregs, Fas and FasL expression, Caspase-3 activity of Tregs were significantly higher in ACS patients than those in NCA and SA patients (all P < 0.05). The percentage of apoptotic Tregs is positively correlated with the levels of inflammatory markers and sFasL. In vitro incubation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from ACS patients with anti-FasL antibody resulted in a markedly reduction of apoptotic Treg cells. However, there were no significant differences in apoptotic Th17 cells and in Fas and FasL expression for Th17 cells between the four groups (all P >0.05). Conclusions: Tregs, but not Th17 cells, become apoptotic through Fas/FasL pathway, which contributed to reduction of Tregs leading to an imbalance between Th17 and Treg cells. This could be the mechanism underlying Th17/Treg imbalance and occurrence of ACS.
PMCID: PMC3544239  PMID: 23330016
Apoptosis; Fas; Fas ligand; T helper 17; regulatory T cells; acute coronary syndrome
2.  Characteristics of upper digestive tract diseases in Bohai Bay fishermen 
AIM: To study the characteristics of upper digestive tract diseases (UDTDs) in fishermen who live in Bohai Bay.
METHODS: An investigation was carried out in 1488 fishermen with symptoms of UDTDs (aside from liver, biliary and pancreatic diseases) during the time period between December 1991 and February 1995. This investigation included medical history evaluations, physical, gastroscopic and pathological examinations, tests for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, and analysis of the nitrate content in their drinking water.
RESULTS: Among the 1488 subjects investigated, 1467 suffered from one or more of the 14 UDTD diseases, most of which were chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG, 1103 cases), peptic ulcers (268 cases), and cancer of the upper digestive tract (25 cases).
CONCLUSION: The incidence rate of UDTDs tends to be high among fishermen due to their particular living habits, the high nitrate content of their drinking water, etc. In addition, the clinical manifestations of UDTDs in fishermen are significantly different from those of the inland residents.
PMCID: PMC4842881  PMID: 27239140
Digestive tract disease; Gastroscopy; nitrate; Helicobacter pylori; Gastritis, atrophic; Peptic ulcer; Digestive system neoplasms
3.  Design, Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and X-ray Structural Studies of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors Containing Substituted Fused-Tetrahydropyranyl Tetrahydrofuran as P2-Ligands 
Organic & biomolecular chemistry  2015;13(48):11607-11621.
Design, synthesis, biological and X-ray crystallographic studies of a series of potent HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. Various polar functionalities have been incorporated on the tetrahydropyranyl-tetrahydrofuran-derived P2 ligand to interact with the backbone atoms in the S2 subsite. The majority of the inhibitors showed very potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Two high-resolution X-ray structures of 30b- and 30j-bound HIV-1 protease provide insight into ligand-binding site interactions. In particular, the polar functionalities on the P2 ligand appear to form unique hydrogen bonds with Gly48 amide NH and amide carbonyl groups in the flap region.
PMCID: PMC4666783  PMID: 26462551
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; antiviral; darunavir; multidrug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray crystal structure; backbone binding
4.  Overexpression of Poplar Pyrabactin Resistance-Like Abscisic Acid Receptors Promotes Abscisic Acid Sensitivity and Drought Resistance in Transgenic Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(12):e0168040.
Drought stress is an important environmental factor limiting productivity of plants, especially fast growing species with high water consumption like poplar. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a phytohormone that positively regulates seed dormancy and drought resistance. The PYR1 (Pyrabactin Resistance 1)/ PYRL (PYR-Like)/ RCAR (Regulatory Component of ABA Receptor) (PYR/PYL/RCAR) ABA receptor family has been identified and widely characterized in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, their functions in poplars remain unknown. Here, we report that 2 of 14 PYR/PYL/RCAR orthologues in poplar (Populus trichocarpa) (PtPYRLs) function as a positive regulator of the ABA signal transduction pathway. The Arabidopsis transient expression and yeast two-hybrid assays showed the interaction among PtPYRL1 and PtPYRL5, a clade A protein phosphatase 2C, and a SnRK2, suggesting that a core signalling complex for ABA signaling pathway exists in poplars. Phenotypic analysis of PtPYRL1 and PtPYRL5 transgenic Arabidopsis showed that these two genes positively regulated the ABA responses during the seed germination. More importantly, the overexpression of PtPYRL1 and PtPYRL5 substantially improved ABA sensitivity and drought stress tolerance in transgenic plants. In summary, we comprehensively uncovered the properties of PtPYRL1 and PtPYRL5, which might be good target genes to genetically engineer drought-Resistant plants.
PMCID: PMC5167274  PMID: 27992471
5.  Ginsenoside Rg1 attenuates ultraviolet B-induced glucocortisides resistance in keratinocytes via Nrf2/HDAC2 signalling 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:39336.
Oxidative stress, which occurs after ultraviolet (UV) radiation, usually results in Glucocorticoid (GC) resistance and the subsequent development of skin inflammation. One approach to protecting the skin against UV radiation is the use of antioxidants. The ginsenoside Rg1 is a novel natural antioxidant isolated from the medicinal plant Panax ginseng C.A. Mey. We demonstrated that UVB exposure exacerbated inflammation and reduced both the level of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and the efficacy of dexamethasone (Dex) in human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells). Pretreatment with Rg1 increased the expression of GR and restored Dex responsiveness to inflammation in UVB-irradiated HaCaT cells. Mechanistically, Rg1 rescued UVB-induced HDAC2 degradation. HDAC2 knockdown partially abolished the Rg1-induced up-regulation of GR and the enhancement of GC sensitivity. In addition, Rg1 reduced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which preceded the up-regulation of HDAC2, and consequent sensitization of cells to Dex. Moreover, Rg1 treatment promoted the translocation and activation of Nrf2. Nrf2 knockdown partially abolished the Rg1-induced decrease of ROS production and increase of HDAC2. Rg1 also potentiated the anti-inflammatory effects of Dex in UVB-irradiated mouse skin. In conclusion, we demonstrated that Rg1 attenuated UVB-induced GC insensitivity. Notably, these effects were partially mediated by the Nrf2/HDAC2 pathway.
PMCID: PMC5159887  PMID: 27982079
6.  Probing the role of cation-π interaction in the thermotolerance and catalytic performance of endo-polygalacturonases 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:38413.
Understanding the dynamics of the key pectinase, polygalacturonase, and improving its thermotolerance and catalytic efficiency are of importance for the cost-competitive bioconversion of pectic materials. By combining structure analysis and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, eight mutagenesis sites having the potential to form cation-π interactions were identified in the widely used fungal endo-polygalacturonase PG63. In comparison to the wild-type, three single mutants H58Y, T71Y and T304Y showed improved thermostability (the apparent Tms increased by 0.6−3.9 °C) and catalytic efficiency (by up to 32-fold). Chromatogram analysis of the hydrolysis products indicated that a larger amount of shorter sugars were released from the polygalacturonic acid by these three mutants than by the wild-type. MD analysis of the enzyme-substrate complexes illustrated that the mutants with introduced cation-π interaction have modified conformations of catalytic crevice, which provide an enviable environment for the catalytic process. Moreover, the lower plasticity of T3 loop 2 at the edge of the subsite tunnel appears to recruit the reducing ends of oligogalacturonide into the active site tunnel and initiates new hydrolysis reactions. This study demonstrates the importance of cation-π interaction in protein conformation and provides a realistic strategy to enhance the thermotolerance and catalytic performance of endo-polygalacturonases.
PMCID: PMC5143973  PMID: 27929074
7.  First report of Rickettsia raoultii and R. slovaca in Melophagus ovinus, the sheep ked 
Parasites & Vectors  2016;9:600.
Melophagus ovinus (Diptera: Hippoboscidae), a hematophagous ectoparasite, is mainly found in Europe, Northwestern Africa, and Asia. This wingless fly infests sheep, rabbits, and red foxes, and causes inflammation, wool loss and skin damage. Furthermore, this parasite has been shown to transmit diseases, and plays a role as a vector. Herein, we investigated the presence of various Rickettsia species in M. ovinus.
In this study, a total of 95 sheep keds were collected in Kuqa County and Alaer City southern region of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwestern China. First, collected sheep keds were identified on the species level using morphological keys and molecular methods based on a fragment of the 18S ribosomal DNA gene (18S rDNA). Thereafter, to assess the presence of rickettsial DNA in sheep keds, the DNA of individual samples was screened by PCR based on six Rickettsia-specific gene fragments originating from six genes: the 17-kilodalton antigen gene (17-kDa), 16S rRNA gene (rrs), surface cell antigen 4 gene (sca4), citrate synthase gene (gltA), and outer membrane protein A and B genes (ompA and ompB). The amplified products were confirmed by sequencing and BLAST analysis (
According to its morphology and results of molecular analysis, the species was identified as Melophagus ovinus, with 100% identity to M. ovinus from St. Kilda, Australia (FN666411). DNA of Rickettsia spp. were found in 12 M. ovinus samples (12.63%, 12/95). Rickettsia raoultii and R. slovaca were confirmed based on phylogenetic analysis, although the genetic markers of these two rickettsial agents amplified in this study showed molecular diversity.
This is the first report of R. raoultii and R. slovaca DNA in M. ovinus. Rickettsia slovaca was found for the first time around the Taklimakan Desert located in China. This finding extends the geographical range of spotted fever group rickettsiae.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1885-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5123371  PMID: 27884170
Melophagus ovinus; Rickettsia raoultii; Rickettsia slovaca; China
8.  miR-375 induces docetaxel resistance in prostate cancer by targeting SEC23A and YAP1 
Molecular Cancer  2016;15:70.
Treatment options for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) are limited and typically are centered on docetaxel-based chemotherapy. We previously reported that elevated miR-375 levels were significantly associated with poor overall survival of mCRPC patients. In this study, we evaluated if miR-375 induced chemo-resistance to docetaxel through regulating target genes associated with drug resistance.
We first compared miR-375 expression level between prostate cancer tissues and normal prostate tissues using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). To examine the role of miR-375 in docetaxel resistance, we transfected miR-375 using a pre-miRNA lentiviral vector and examined the effects of exogenously overexpressed miR-375 on cell growth in two prostate cancer cell lines, DU145 and PC-3. To determine the effect of overexpressed miR-375 on tumor growth and chemo-resistance in vivo, we injected prostate cancer cells overexpressing miR-375 into nude mice subcutaneously and evaluated tumor growth rate during docetaxel treatment. Lastly, we utilized qRT-PCR and Western blot assay to examine two miR-375 target genes, SEC23A and YAP1, for their expression changes after miR-375 transfection.
By examining 495 tumor tissues and 52 normal tissues from TCGA data, we found that compared to normal prostate, miR-375 was significantly overexpressed in prostate cancer tissues (8.45-fold increase, p value = 1.98E-23). Docetaxel treatment induced higher expression of miR-375 with 5.83- and 3.02-fold increases in DU145 and PC-3 cells, respectively. Interestingly, miR-375 appeared to play a dual role in prostate cancer proliferation. While miR-375 overexpression caused cell growth inhibition and cell apoptosis, elevated miR-375 also significantly reduced cell sensitivity to docetaxel treatment in vitro, as evidenced by decreased apoptotic cells. In vivo xenograft mouse study showed that tumors with increased miR-375 expression were more tolerant to docetaxel treatment, demonstrated by greater tumor weight and less apoptotic cells in miR-375 transfected group when compared to empty vector control group. In addition, we examined expression levels of the two miR-375 target genes (SEC23A and YAP1) and observed significant reduction in the expression at both protein and mRNA levels in miR-375 transfected prostate cancer cell lines. TCGA dataset analysis further confirmed the negative correlations between miR-375 and the two target genes (r = −0.62 and −0.56 for SEC23A and YAP1, respectively; p < 0.0001).
miR-375 is involved in development of chemo-resistance to docetaxel through regulating SEC23A and YAP1 expression. Our results suggest that miR-375 or its target genes, SEC23A or YAP1, might serve as potential predictive biomarkers to docetaxel-based chemotherapy and/or therapeutic targets to overcome chemo-resistance in mCRPC stage.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12943-016-0556-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5105253  PMID: 27832783
Prostate cancer; miR-375; Docetaxel resistance; SEC23A; YAP1
9.  Sleep Complaints as Risk Factor for Suicidal Behavior in Severely Depressed Children and Adolescents 
CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics  2016;22(11):915-920.
To investigate the association between sleep complaints and suicidal behaviors among severely depressed children and adolescents.
The sample was 214 youths (56.1% males, mean age 12.5 years) with diagnosis of DSM‐IV major depressive disorder consecutively recruited from a university‐based outpatient clinic specialized in mood disorders. The structured interview for children and adolescents was applied to participants. The Children's Depression Rating Scale—revised version—scored the severity of depression, and the Children's Global Assessment Scale assessed the global functioning. Subgroups of patients were compared for psychopathological association by means of logistic regression, in accordance with presence and absence of sleep complaints and suicidality.
The frequency of sleep complaints and suicidal behaviors was, respectively, 66.4% and 52.3%, and both symptoms were observed in 37.9% of patients. Initial insomnia was the most frequent manifestation (58%), followed by night awakening (36%), daytime sleepiness (31%), and early awakening (29.9%). Significant association between sleep disturbance and suicidal behavior was found (odds ratio range of 2.3–10.8).
Sleep disturbances are potential warning manifestations of suicidal behaviors in depressed youth. Possibly, the severity of the active affective episode likely underlies in both sleep complaints and suicidal behaviors among depressed underage patients.
PMCID: PMC5096249  PMID: 27534369
Affective disorder; Children; Sleep; Suicide
10.  Structure-based design, synthesis, X-ray studies, and biological evaluation of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors containing isophthalamide-derived P2-ligands 
We describe the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of a series of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors bearing isophthalamide derivatives as the P2–P3 ligands. We have investigated a range of acyclic and heterocyclic amides as the extended P2–P3 ligands. These inhibitors displayed good to excellent HIV-1 protease inhibitory activity. Also, a number of inhibitors showed very good antiviral activity in MT cells. Compound 5n has shown an enzyme Ki of 0.17 nM and antiviral IC50 of 14 nM. An X-ray crystal structure of inhibitor 5o-bound to HIV-1 protease was determined at 1.11 Å resolution. This structure revealed important molecular insight into the inhibitor-HIV-1 protease interactions in the active site.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC4607586  PMID: 26096678
HIV-1 Protease; Inhibitors; Design; Synthesis; Antiviral; Isophthalamide
12.  Upregulated MicroRNA-25 Mediates the Migration of Melanoma Cells by Targeting DKK3 through the WNT/β-Catenin Pathway 
Previous research indicates that microRNA-25 (miR-25) regulates carcinogenesis and the progression of various cancers, but the role of miR-25 in melanoma remains unclear. We observed that miR-25 was significantly upregulated in melanoma cell lines and tissue samples. Downregulation of miR-25 markedly suppressed invasion and proliferation of melanoma cells in vitro; however, overexpression of miR-25 markedly increased melanoma cell invasion and proliferation. Moreover, we observed Dickkopf-related protein 3 (DKK3) as a direct target of miR-25 in vitro. Upregulation of DKK3 partially attenuated the oncogenic effect of miR-25 on melanoma cells. Ectopic expression of miR-25 in melanoma cells induced β-catenin accumulation in nuclear and inhibited TCF4 (T cell factor 4) activity, as well as the expression of c-Myc and Cyclin D1. In a nude xenograft model, miR-25 upregulation significantly increased A375 melanoma growth. In summary, miR-25 is upregulated in melanoma and promotes melanoma cell proliferation and invasion, partially by targeting DKK3. These results were indicated that miR-25 may serve as a potential target for the treatment of melanoma in the future.
PMCID: PMC5133768  PMID: 27801786
miR-25; DKK3; melanoma
13.  An Integrated Wireless Wearable Sensor System for Posture Recognition and Indoor Localization 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2016;16(11):1825.
In order to provide better monitoring for the elderly or patients, we developed an integrated wireless wearable sensor system that can realize posture recognition and indoor localization in real time. Five designed sensor nodes which are respectively fixed on lower limbs and a standard Kalman filter are used to acquire basic attitude data. After the attitude angles of five body segments (two thighs, two shanks and the waist) are obtained, the pitch angles of the left thigh and waist are used to realize posture recognition. Based on all these attitude angles of body segments, we can also calculate the coordinates of six lower limb joints (two hip joints, two knee joints and two ankle joints). Then, a novel relative localization algorithm based on step length is proposed to realize the indoor localization of the user. Several sparsely distributed active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are used to correct the accumulative error in the relative localization algorithm and a set-membership filter is applied to realize the data fusion. The experimental results verify the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms.
PMCID: PMC5134484  PMID: 27809230
indoor localization; posture recognition; wireless sensor system; set-membership filter
14.  GhABF2, a bZIP transcription factor, confers drought and salinity tolerance in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35040.
The bZIP transcription factor (TF) act as an important regulator for the abscisic acid (ABA) mediated abiotic stresses signaling pathways in plants. Here, we reported the cloning and characterization of GhABF2, encoding for typical cotton bZIP TF. Overexpression of GhABF2 significantly improved drought and salt stress tolerance both in Arabidopsis and cotton. However, silencing of GhABF2 made transgenic cotton sensitive to PEG osmotic and salt stress. Expression of GhABF2 was induced by drought and ABA treatments but repressed by high salinity. Transcriptome analysis indicated that GhABF2 increases drought and salt tolerance by regulating genes related to ABA, drought and salt response. The proline contents, activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were also significantly increased in GhABF2-overexpression cottons in comparison to wild type after drought and salt treatment. Further, an increase in fiber yield under drought and saline-alkali wetland exhibited the important role of GhABF2 in enhancing the drought and salt tolerance in transgenic lines. In conclusion, manipulation of GhABF2 by biotechnological tools could be a sustainable strategy to deploy drought and salt tolerance in cotton.
PMCID: PMC5054369  PMID: 27713524
15.  Sleep duration, daytime napping, markers of obstructive sleep apnea and stroke in a population of southern China 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:34689.
Sleep habits are associated with stroke in western populations, but this relation has been rarely investigated in China. Moreover, the differences among stroke subtypes remain unclear. This study aimed to explore the associations of total stroke, including ischemic and hemorrhagic type, with sleep habits of a population in southern China. We performed a case-control study in patients admitted to the hospital with first stroke and community control subjects. A total of 333 patients (n = 223, 67.0%, with ischemic stroke; n = 110, 23.0%, with hemorrhagic stroke) and 547 controls were enrolled in the study. Participants completed a structured questionnaire to identify sleep habits and other stroke risk factors. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (Lasso) and multiple logistic regression were performed to identify risk factors of disease. Incidence of stroke, and its subtypes, was significantly associated with snorting/gasping, snoring, sleep duration, and daytime napping. Snorting/gasping was identified as an important risk factor in the Lasso logistic regression model (Lasso’ β = 0.84), and the result was proven to be robust. This study showed the association between stroke and sleep habits in the southern Chinese population and might help in better detecting important sleep-related factors for stroke risk.
PMCID: PMC5048149  PMID: 27698374
16.  Preparation and evaluation of a self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery system loaded with Akebia saponin D–phospholipid complex 
Akebia saponin D (ASD) exerts various pharmacological activities but with poor oral bioavailability. In this study, a self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery system (SNEDDS) based on the drug–phospholipid complex technique was developed to improve the oral absorption of ASD.
ASD–phospholipid complex (APC) was prepared using a solvent-evaporation method and characterized by infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, morphology observation, and solubility test. Oil and cosurfactant were selected according to their ability to dissolve APC, while surfactant was chosen based on its emulsification efficiency in SNEDDS. Pseudoternary phase diagrams were constructed to determine the optimized APC-SNEDDS formulation, which was characterized by droplet size determination, zeta potential determination, and morphology observation. Robustness to dilution and thermodynamic stability of optimized formulation were also evaluated. Subsequently, pharmacokinetic parameters and oral bioavailability of ASD, APC, and APC-SNEDDS were investigated in rats.
The liposolubility significantly increased 11.4-fold after formation of APC, which was verified by the solubility test in n-octanol. Peceol (Glyceryl monooleate [type 40]), Cremophor® EL (Polyoxyl 35 castor oil), and Transcutol HP (Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether) were selected as oil, surfactant, and cosurfactant, respectively. The optimal formulation was composed of Glyceryl monooleate (type 40), Polyoxyl 35 castor oil, Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether, and APC (1:4.5:4.5:1.74, w/w/w/w), which showed a particle size of 148.0±2.7 nm and a zeta potential of −13.7±0.92 mV after dilution with distilled water at a ratio of 1:100 (w/w) and good colloidal stability. Pharmacokinetic studies showed that APC-SNEDDS exhibited a significantly greater Cmax1 (733.4±203.8 ng/mL) than ASD (437.2±174.2 ng/mL), and a greater Cmax2 (985.8±366.6 ng/mL) than ASD (180.5±75.1 ng/mL) and APC (549.7±113.5 ng/mL). Compared with ASD, Tmax1 and Tmax2 were both remarkably shortened by APC-SNEDDS. The oral bioavailability in rats was enhanced significantly to 183.8% and 431.8% by APC and APC-SNEDDS, respectively.
These results indicated that APC-SNEDDS was a promising drug delivery system to enhance the oral bioavailability of ASD.
PMCID: PMC5045231  PMID: 27713630
Akebia saponin D; phospholipid complex; self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery systems; oral bioavailability
17.  A Hiatus of the Greenhouse Effect 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:33315.
The rate at which the global average surface temperature is increasing has slowed down since the end of the last century. This study investigates whether this warming hiatus results from a change in the well-known greenhouse effect. Using long-term, reliable, and consistent observational data from the Earth’s surface and the top of the atmosphere (TOA), two monthly gridded atmospheric and surface greenhouse effect parameters (Ga and Gs) are estimated to represent the radiative warming effects of the atmosphere and the surface in the infrared range from 1979 to 2014. The atmospheric and surface greenhouse effect over the tropical monsoon-prone regions is found to contribute substantially to the global total. Furthermore, the downward tendency of cloud activity leads to a greenhouse effect hiatus after the early 1990 s, prior to the warming pause. Additionally, this pause in the greenhouse effect is mostly caused by the high number of La Niña events between 1991 and 2014. A strong La Niña indicates suppressed convection in the tropical central Pacific that reduces atmospheric water vapor content and cloud volume. This significantly weakened regional greenhouse effect offsets the enhanced warming influence in other places and decelerates the rising global greenhouse effect. This work suggests that the greenhouse effect hiatus can be served as an additional factor to cause the recent global warming slowdown.
PMCID: PMC5018860  PMID: 27616203
18.  A novel ethanol gas sensor based on TiO2/Ag0.35V2O5 branched nanoheterostructures 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:33092.
Much greater surface-to-volume ratio of hierarchical nanostructures renders them attract considerable interest as prototypical gas sensors. In this work, a novel resistive gas sensor based on TiO2/Ag0.35V2O5 branched nanoheterostructures is fabricated by a facile one-step synthetic process and the ethanol sensing performance of this device is characterized systematically, which shows faster response/recovery behavior, better selectivity, and higher sensitivity of about 9 times as compared to the pure TiO2 nanofibers. The enhanced sensitivity of the TiO2/Ag0.35V2O5 branched nanoheterostructures should be attributed to the extraordinary branched hierarchical structures and TiO2/Ag0.35V2O5 heterojunctions, which can eventually result in an obvious change of resistance upon ethanol exposure. This study not only indicates the gas sensing mechanism for performance enhancement of branched nanoheterostructures, but also proposes a rational approach to design nanostructure based chemical sensors with desirable performance.
PMCID: PMC5018879  PMID: 27615429
19.  Mercury in forest mushrooms and topsoil from the Yunnan highlands and the subalpine region of the Minya Konka summit in the Eastern Tibetan Plateau 
This study aimed to investigate and discuss the occurrence and accumulation of mercury in the fruiting bodies of wild-growing fungi (Macromycetes) collected from montane forests in two regions of southwestern China with differences in soil geochemistry, climate and geographical conditions. Fungal mycelia in soils of the subalpine region of the Minya Konka (Gongga Mountain) in Sichuan and in the highlands of Yunnan efficiently accumulated mercury in fruiting bodies (mushrooms). The examined sites in Yunnan with highly mineralized red and yellow soils showed Hg contents ranging from 0.066 to 0.28 mg kg−1 dry biomass (db) which is roughly similar to the results obtained for samples collected from sites with dark soils relatively rich in organic matter from a remote, the subalpine region of Minya Konka. Due to the remoteness of the subalpine section of Minya Konka, as well as its elevation and climate, airborne mercury from long-range transport could be deposited preferentially on the topsoil and the Hg levels determined in soil samples taken beneath the fruiting bodies were up to 0.48 mg kg−1 dry matter. In Yunnan, with polymetallic soils (Circum-Pacific Mercuriferous Belt), Amanita mushrooms showed mercury in caps of fruiting bodies of up to 7.3 mg kg−1 dry biomass. Geogenic Hg from the mercuriferous belt seems to be the overriding source of mercury accumulated in mushrooms foraged in the regions of Yunnan, while long-range atmospheric transport and subsequent deposition are the mercury sources for specimens foraged in the region of Minya Konka.
PMCID: PMC5110602  PMID: 27619375
Asia; Foraging; Heavy metals; Mushrooms; China; Yunnan
20.  Design of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors with Amino-bis-tetrahydrofuran Derivatives as P2-Ligands to Enhance Backbone-Binding Interactions: Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and Protein-ligand X-ray Studies 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2015;58(17):6994-7006.
Structure-based design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of a series of very potent HIV-1 protease inhibitors are described. In an effort to improve backbone ligand-binding site interactions, we have incorporated basic-amines at the C4 position of the bis-tetrahydrofuran (bis-THF) ring. We speculated that these substituents would make hydrogen bonding interactions in the flap region of HIV-1 protease. Synthesis of these inhibitors was performed diastereoselectively. A number of inhibitors displayed very potent enzyme inhibitory and antiviral activity. Inhibitors 25f, 25i, and 25j were evaluated against a number of highly-PI-resistant HIV-1 strains and they exhibited improved antiviral activity over darunavir. Two high resolution X-ray structures of 25f and 25g-bound HIV-1 protease revealed unique hydrogen bonding interactions with the backbone carbonyl group of Gly48 as well as with the backbone NH of Gly48 in the flap region of the enzyme active site. These ligand-binding site interactions are possibly responsible for their potent activity.
TOC Image
PMCID: PMC4765732  PMID: 26306007
HIV-1 protease inhibitors; Darunavir; amino-bis-THF; multidrug-resistant; design; synthesis; X-ray crystal structure; backbone binding
21.  Predictive Classification of Correlated Targets with Application to Detection of Metastatic Cancer using Functional CT Imaging 
Biometrics  2015;71(3):792-802.
Perfusion computed tomography (CTp) is an emerging functional imaging modality that uses physiological models to quantify characteristics pertaining to the passage of fluid through blood vessels. Perfusion characteristics provide physiological correlates for neovascularization induced by tumor angiogenesis. Thus CTp offers promise as a non-invasive quantitative functional imaging tool for cancer detection, prognostication, and treatment monitoring. In this paper, we develop a Bayesian probabilistic framework for simultaneous supervised classification of multivariate correlated objects using separable covariance. The classification approach is applied to discriminate between regions of liver that contain pathologically verified metastases from normal liver tissue using five perfusion characteristics. The hepatic regions tend to be highly correlated due to common vasculature. We demonstrate that simultaneous Bayesian classification yields dramatic improvements in performance in the presence of strong correlation among intra-subject units, yet remains competitive with classical methods in the presence of weak or no correlation.
PMCID: PMC4575264  PMID: 25851056
Bayesian decision analysis; cancer detection; metastatic liver cancer; perfusion imaging; spatial correlation
22.  Alliin Attenuated RANKL-Induced Osteoclastogenesis by Scavenging Reactive Oxygen Species through Inhibiting Nox1 
The healthy skeleton requires a perfect coordination of the formation and degradation of bone. Metabolic bone disease like osteoporosis is resulted from the imbalance of bone formation and/or bone resorption. Osteoporosis also reflects lower level of bone matrix, which is contributed by up-regulated osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. It is reported that monocytes/macrophage progenitor cells or either hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) gave rise to multinucleated osteoclasts. Thus, inhibition of osteoclastic bone resorption generally seems to be a predominant therapy for treating osteoporosis. Recently, more and more natural compounds have been discovered, which have the ability of inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and fusion. Alliin (S-allyl-l-cysteine sulfoxides, SACSO) is the major component of aged garlic extract (AGE), bearing broad-spectrum natural antioxidant properties. However, its effects on bone health have not yet been explored. Hence, we designed the current study to explore its effects and role in receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclast fusion and differentiation. It was revealed that alliin had an inhibitory effect in osteoclasteogenesis with a dose-dependent manner via blocking the c-Fos-NFATc1 signaling pathway. In addition, alliin decreased the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and down-regulated the expression of NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1). The overall results revealed that alliin could be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC5037793  PMID: 27657047
alliin; osteoclast; reactive oxygen species; Nox1
23.  Using Custom Fiber Bragg Grating-Based Sensors to Monitor Artificial Landslides 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2016;16(9):1417.
Four custom fiber Bragg grating (FBG)-based sensors are developed to monitor an artificial landslide located in Nanjing, China. The sensors are composed of a rod and two FBGs. Based on the strength of the rods, two sensors are referred to as “hard sensors” (Sensor 1 and Sensor 2), the other two are referred to as “soft sensors” (Sensor 3 and Sensor 4). The two FBGs are fixed on each sensor rod at distances of 50 cm and 100 cm from the top of the rod (an upper FBG and a lower FBG). In the experiment presented in this paper, the sensors are installed on a slope on which an artificial landslide is generated through both machine-based and manual excavation. The fiber sensing system consists of the four custom FBG-based sensors, optical fiber, a static fiber grating demodulation instrument (SM125), and a PC with the necessary software. Experimental data was collected in the presence of an artificial landslide, and the results show that the lower FBGs are more sensitive than the upper FBGs for all four of the custom sensors. It was also found that Sensor 2 and Sensor 4 are more capable of monitoring small-scale landslides than Sensor 1 and Sensor 3, and this is mainly due to their placement location with respect to the landslide. The stronger rods used in the hard sensors make them more adaptable to the harsh environments of large landslides. Thus, hard sensors should be fixed near the landslide, while soft sensors should be placed farther away from the landslide. In addition, a clear tendency of strain variation can be detected by the soft sensors, which can be used to predict landslides and raise a hazard alarm.
PMCID: PMC5038695  PMID: 27598163
artificial landslide; FBG; sensors; monitor
24.  Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid attenuates paraquat-induced pulmonary fibrosis by preventing Smad7 from deacetylation in rats 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2016;8(9):2485-2494.
Recent evidence suggests that a histone deacetylase inhibitor, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), has anti-fibrotic effect. However, the exact mechanism of its anti-fibrotic potential remains is unclear. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism of SAHA in attenuating pulmonary fibrosis by regulating stability of Smad7 in paraquat (PQ)-induced lung fibrosis animal model and cultured pulmonary fibroblasts.
Rats with paraquat-induced lung fibrosis were fed with a SAHA solution (15 mg/kg) by gastric gavage. Human pulmonary fibroblasts (HFL1) pre-treated with TGF-β1 (5 ng/mL) were treated with SAHA (5 µM).
SAHA (histone deacetylase inhibitor, HDACi) suppressed PQ-induced lung fibrosis in rats by stabilizing Smad7 level, thus attenuating Smad3 activity, resulting in the inhibition of fibroblast differentiation and collagen expression. In vitro study showed that SAHA suppressed TGF-β1-induced fibroblast differentiation into myofibroblasts. SAHA exerted its antifibrotic effect through preventing Smad7 from deacetylation most maybe by inhibiting TGF-β1-induced HDAC1 activity.
SAHA repressed PQ-induced lung fibrosis via preventing Smad7 from deacetylation.
PMCID: PMC5059239  PMID: 27747000
Pulmonary fibrosis; suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA); TGF-β1; histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1); Smad7 acetylation
25.  Rapid generation of functional hepatocyte-like cells from human adipose-derived stem cells 
Liver disease is a major cause of death worldwide. Orthotropic liver transplantation (OLT) represents the only effective treatment for patients with liver failure, but the increasing demand for organs is unfortunately so great that its application is limited. Hepatocyte transplantation is a promising alternative to OLT for the treatment of some liver-based metabolic disorders or acute liver failure. Unfortunately, the lack of donor livers also makes it difficult to obtain enough viable hepatocytes for hepatocyte-based therapies. Currently, a fundamental solution to this key problem is still lacking. Here we show a novel non-transgenic protocol that facilitates the rapid generation of functional induced hepatocytes (iHeps) from human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs), providing a source of available cells for autologous hepatocytes to treat liver disease.
We used collagenase digestion to isolate hADSCs. The surface marker was detected by flow cytometry. The multipotential differentiation potency was detected by induction into adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes. Passage 3–7 hADSCs were induced into iHeps using an induction culture system composed of small molecule compounds and cell factors.
Primary cultured hADSCs presented a fusiform or polygon appearance that became fibroblast-like after passage 3. More than 95 % of the cells expressed the mesenchymal cell markers CD29, CD44, CD166, CD105, and CD90. hADSCs possessed multipotential differentiation towards adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes. We rapidly induced hADSCs into iHeps within 10 days in vitro; the cellular morphology changed from fusiform to close-connected cubiform, which was similar to hepatocytes. After induction, most of the iHeps co-expressed albumin and alpha-1 antitrypsin; they also expressed mature hepatocyte special genes and achieved the basic functions of hepatocyte. Moreover, iHep transplantation could improve the liver function of acute liver-injured NPG mice and prolong life.
We isolated highly purified hADSCs and rapidly induced them into functional hepatocyte-like cells within 10 days. These results provide a source of available cells for autologous hepatocytes to treat liver disease.
PMCID: PMC4974756  PMID: 27495937
Human adipose derived stem cells; Hepatogenic differentiation; Acute fulminant liver failure; Liver regeneration

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