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1.  Twice-weekly pegylated interferon-α-2a and ribavirin results in superior viral kinetics in HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infected patients compared to standard therapy 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(9):1179-1187.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV co-infected patients have more rapid progression of liver fibrosis and only modest cure rates (sustained virologic responses, SVRs) when compared to HCV monoinfected patients.
Method
We compared the virologic responses of either twice-weekly peginterferon-α-2a 180 µg/week (for 4 weeks, followed by weekly dosing) or weekly peginterferon-α-2a 180 µg/week, and weight-based ribavirin (1–1.2 g/day), among HIV/HCV co-infected genotype-1 individuals.
Results
Patients receiving the investigational dosing had lower levels of HCV RNA at all time points after initiation of therapy. More patients on this arm achieved clinically relevant early virological responses at weeks 1, 2, 4, 12, and 24. The enhanced early virologic response observed with the investigational arm was associated with a higher induction of interferon-stimulated genes. This early double dose regimen also resulted in a rapid normalization of liver enzymes. Twice-weekly peginterferon-α-2a was associated with more frequent early virological responses with similar safety profiles when compared with standard therapy.
Conclusion
Our results, when confirmed in larger randomized clinical trials, may provide a novel therapeutic approach to improve SVR among HIV/HCV co-infected patients, especially African–American patients.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283471d53
PMCID: PMC4104474  PMID: 21593619
hepatitis C virus; HIV; sustained virologic response; twice-weekly interferon; viral kinetics
2.  Statistical parametric mapping applied to an autoradiographic study of cerebral activation during treadmill walking in rats 
NeuroImage  2004;23(1):252-259.
Autoradiographs are conventionally analyzed by a region-of-interest (ROI) analysis. However, definition of ROIs on an image set is labor intensive, is subject to potential inter-rater bias, and is not well suited for anatomically variable structures that may not consistently correspond to specific ROIs. Most importantly, the ROI method is poorly suited for whole-brain analysis, where one wishes to detect all activations resulting from an experimental paradigm. A system developed for analysis of imaging data in humans, Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM), avoids some of these limitations but has not previously been adapted as a tool for the analysis of autoradiographs. Here, we describe the application of SPM to an autoradiographic data set mapping cerebral activation in rats during treadmill walking. We studied freely moving, non-tethered rats that received injections of the cerebral blood flow tracer [14C]-iodoantipyrine, while they were performing a treadmill task (n = 7) or during a quiescent control condition (n = 6). Results obtained with SPM were compared to those previously reported using a standard ROI-based method of analysis [J. Cereb. Blood Flow Metab. 23(2003) 925]. The SPM method confirmed most areas detected as significant using the ROI approach. However, in the subcortex, SPM detected additional significant regions that, because of their irregular structures, fell short of statistical significance when analyzed by ROI. The SPM approach offers the ability to perform a semi-automated whole-brain analysis, and coupled with autoradiography, provides an effective means to globally localize functional activity in small animals.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.05.014
PMCID: PMC4103584  PMID: 15325372
Statistical parametric mapping; Autoradiography; Cerebral blood flow; Rats
3.  Characterization of MORE AXILLARY GROWTH Genes in Populus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102757.
Background
Strigolactones are a new class of plant hormones that play a key role in regulating shoot branching. Studies of branching mutants in Arabidopsis, pea, rice and petunia have identified several key genes involved in strigolactone biosynthesis or signaling pathway. In the model plant Arabidopsis, MORE AXILLARY GROWTH1 (MAX1), MAX2, MAX3 and MAX4 are four founding members of strigolactone pathway genes. However, little is known about the strigolactone pathway genes in the woody perennial plants.
Methodology/Principal Finding
Here we report the identification of MAX homologues in the woody model plant Populus trichocarpa. We identified the sequence homologues for each MAX protein in P. trichocarpa. Gene expression analysis revealed that Populus MAX paralogous genes are differentially expressed across various tissues and organs. Furthermore, we showed that Populus MAX genes could complement or partially complement the shoot branching phenotypes of the corresponding Arabidopsis max mutants.
Conclusion/Significance
This study provides genetic evidence that strigolactone pathway genes are likely conserved in the woody perennial plants and lays a foundation for further characterization of strigolactone pathway and its functions in the woody perennial plants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102757
PMCID: PMC4103879  PMID: 25036388
4.  In vivo quantitative assessment of catheter patency in rats 
Laboratory animals  2005;39(3):259-268.
Summary
Formation of fibrin sleeves around catheter tips is a central factor in catheter failure during chronic implantation, and such tissue growth can occur despite administration of anticoagulants. We developed a novel method for monitoring catheter patency. This method recognizes the progressive nature of catheter occlusion, and tracks this process over time through measurement of changes in catheter resistance to a standardized 1 mL bolus infusion from a pressurized reservoir. Two indirect measures of catheter patency were used: (a) reservoir residual pressure and (b) reservoir discharge time. This method was applied to the study of catheter patency in rats comparing the effect of catheter material (silastic, polyurethane, Microrenathane™), lock solution (heparin, heparin/dexamethasone) and two different cannulation sites (superior vena cava via the external jugular vein, inferior vena cava via the femoral vein). Our findings reveal that application of flexible smaller-size silastic catheters and a dexamethasone lock solution resulted in prolonged catheter patency. Patency could be maintained over nine weeks with the femoral vein catheters, compared with five weeks with the external jugular vein catheters. The current method for measuring catheter patency provides a useful index for the assessment of tissue growth around the catheter tip. The method also provides an objective and quantitative way of comparing changes in catheter patency for different surgical methods and catheter types. Our method improves on the conventional method of assessing catheter occlusion by judging the ability to aspirate from the catheter.
PMCID: PMC4100546  PMID: 16004684
Indwelling catheters; catheter patency; fibrosis; steroids
5.  Primary intrathoracic liposarcoma: a clinicopathologic study and prognostic analysis of 23 cases 
Background
Primary intrathoracic liposarcoma is an extremely rare malignancy as well as a rare histologic subtype of intrathoracic sarcoma. Relatively few reports appear in the world literatures. We explored the clinicopathologic features and prognostic factors of this tumor in this study.
Methods
We retrospectively analyzed the clinicopathological data of 23 patients with primary intrathoracic liposarcoma who were treated in Shanghai chest Hospital affiliated to Jiao Tong University, from January 2003 to March 2013. These patients were classified into three groups according to the distinct tumor locations, including mediastinum, pleura and lung liposarcoma. Also, these patients could be divided into four types, including well-differentiated, myxoid, dedifferentiated and pleomorphic liposarcoma. The influences of age, sex, tumor size, tumor location, tumor histologic type and therapy on the prognosis of the patients were analyzed.
Results
There were no significant difference for survival among distinct liposarcoma locations. However, significant difference for survival among distinct liposarcoma types were observed. Poor disease-free survival (DFS) was observed in the myxoid, pleomorphic and dedifferentiated types as compared to well-differentiated type (P = 0.038). Inferior overall-survival (OS) was observed in dedifferentiated, pleomorphic and myxoid types relative to well-differentiated type (P = 0.027). The radical surgery was a favorable prognostic factor for OS, as demonstrated by the better OS of the radical surgery group as compared to that of the non-radical surgery group ( P = 0.029). Notably, there were no significant differences for DFS and OS in other clinical parameters including tumor size, gender and age. In addition, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy could not improve the prognosis of the patients receiving non-radical surgery or suffering from relapse.
Conclusions
The histological type and the radical surgery are the factors that influence the behavior and prognosis of liposarcoma. In general, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are believed to be ineffective therapeutic modalities for survival. So it is essential to completely resect the primary intrathoracic liposarcoma as radical cure of the disease.
doi:10.1186/1749-8090-9-119
PMCID: PMC4088306  PMID: 24993036
Intrathoracic liposarcoma; Histological type; Radical surgery; Overall survival; Disease-free survival
6.  Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Chlorophyll-a Are Significant Factors Controlling Ciliate Communities in Summer in the Northern Beibu Gulf, South China Sea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101121.
Ciliates (protozoa) are ubiquitous components of plankton community and play important roles in aquatic ecosystems in regards of their abundance, biomass, diversity and energy turnover. Based on the stratified samples collected from the northern Beibu Gulf in August 2011, species composition, abundance, biomass, diversity and spatial pattern of planktonic ciliates were studied. Furthermore the main environmental factors controlling ciliate communities were determined. A total of 101 species belonging to 44 genera and 7 orders (i.e., Oligotrichida, Haptorida, Euplotida, Sessilida, Pleurostomatida, Scuticociliatida and Tintinnida) were identified. The variation of ciliate communities was significant at horizontal level, but that was not at vertical level. Based on cluster analysis, ciliate communities were divided into three main groups. Redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that Group A, existing in the waters with higher concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen, was dominated by Tintinnidium primitivum. Group B in the waters with lower temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration, was dominated by Leegaardiella ovalis. Group C, existing in the waters with higher temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration, was dominated by large Strombidium spp. and Mesodinium rubrum. Combining multiple analytic methods, our results strongly supported that phosphorus, nitrogen and chlorophyll-a were the most significant factors affecting the ciliate communities in the northern Beibu Gulf in summer. Concentration of phosphorus and nitrogen primarily influenced ciliate biomass, implying a potential impact of eutrophication on ciliate growth. The correlation with chlorophyll-a concentration, on one hand indicate the response of ciliates to the food availability, and on the other hand, the ciliates containing chloroplasts or endosymbionts may contribute greatly to the chlorophyll-a.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101121
PMCID: PMC4079230  PMID: 24987960
7.  Hemodynamic Effects of Combined Focal Cerebral Ischemia and Amyloid Protein Toxicity in a Rat Model: A Functional CT Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100575.
Background/Objective
Clinical evidence indicates that cerebral ischemia (CI) and a pathological factor of Alzheimer's disease, the β-amyloid (Aβ) protein, can increase the rate of cognitive impairment in the ageing population. Using the CT Perfusion (CTP) functional imaging, we sought to investigate the interaction between CI and the Aβ protein on cerebral hemodynamics.
Methods
A previously established rat model of CI and Aβ was used for the CTP study. Iodinated contrast was given intravenously, while serial CT images of sixteen axial slices were acquired. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood volume (CBV) parametric maps were co-registered to a rat brain atlas and regions of interest were drawn on the maps. Microvascular alteration was investigated with histopathology.
Results
CTP results revealed that ipsilateral striatum of Aβ+CI and CI groups showed significantly lower CBF and CBV than control at the acute phase. Striatal CBF and CBV increased significantly at week 1 in the CI and Aβ+CI groups, but not in the Aβ alone or control group. Histopathology showed that average density of dilated microvessels in the ipsilateral striatum in CI and Aβ+CI groups was significantly higher than control at week 1, indicating this could be associated with hyperperfusion and hypervolemia observed from CTP results.
Conclusion
These results demonstrate that CTP can quantitatively measure the hemodynamic disturbance on CBF and CBV functional maps in a rat model of CI interacting with Aβ.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100575
PMCID: PMC4074060  PMID: 24971942
8.  Polymorphisms in CISH Gene Are Associated with Persistent Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Han Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100826.
Background and Aim
Cytokine-inducible SRC homology 2 domain protein (CISH) is the first member of the suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) protein family. An association between multiple CISH polymorphisms and susceptibility to infectious diseases has been reported. This study aimed to investigate the possible association of these single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CISH gene with different outcomes of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
Methods
1019 unrelated Chinese Han subjects, including 240 persistent asymptomatic HBV carriers, 217 chronic hepatitis B patients, 137 HBV-related liver cirrhosis patients, and 425 cases of spontaneously recovered HBV as controls, were studied. Four SNPs (rs622502, rs2239751, rs414171 and rs6768300) in CISH gene were genotyped with the snapshot technique. Transcriptional activity of the CISH promoter was assayed in vitro using the dual-luciferase reporter assay system.
Results
At position rs414171, A allele and AA genotype frequencies were significantly higher in the HBV-resolved group as compared to the persistent HBV infection group. At position rs2239751, TT genotype was further observed in the HBV-resolved group. Using asymptomatic HBV carriers as controls, our results indicated that the rs414171 and rs2239751 polymorphisms were unrelated to HBV progression. The other two SNPs (rs622502 and rs6768300) showed no association with persistent HBV infection. Haplotype analysis revealed that the GGCA haplotype was associated with spontaneous clearance of HBV in this population. Moreover, luciferase activity was significantly higher in the PGL3-Basic-rs414171T construct as compared to the PGL3-Basic-rs414171A construct (p<0.001).
Conclusion
Two SNPs (rs414171 and rs2239751) in the CISH gene were associated with persistent HBV infection in Han Chinese population, but not with HBV progression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100826
PMCID: PMC4071005  PMID: 24964072
9.  Does hyoscine butylbromide really improve polyp detection during colonoscopy? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
AIM: To investigate the benefits of hyoscine butylbromide in polyp detection during colonoscopy by a meta-analysis of available randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
METHODS: Databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the Science Citation Index up to September 2013, were searched. The primary outcome was polyp detection rate, and the secondary outcome was adenoma detection rate. The meta-analysis was performed using the free software Review Manager. Differences observed between the treated and the control groups were expressed as odds ratio (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). A fixed-effects model was used to pool data when statistical heterogeneity was absent. If statistical heterogeneity was present (P < 0.05), a random-effects model was used.
RESULTS: The initial search identified nine articles. After screening, five RCTs with a total of 1998 patients were included in this meta-analysis. Of the five studies, all described a comparison of baseline patient characteristics and showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Among the 1998 patients, 1006 received hyoscine butylbromide and 992 were allocated to the control group, and the polyp detection rate was reported. There were no significant differences between the treated and the control group (OR = 1.09, 95%CI: 0.91-1.31, P = 0.33). Four RCTs included 1882 patients, of whom 948 received hyoscine butylbromide, and the adenoma detection rate was reported. There were no significant differences between the treated and the control group (OR = 1.13, 95%CI: 0.92-1.38, P = 0.24).
CONCLUSION: The use of hyoscine butylbromide did not significantly improve the polyp detection rate during colonoscopy.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.7034
PMCID: PMC4051948  PMID: 24944499
Hyoscine butylbromide; Polyp detection; Adenoma detection; Colonoscopy
10.  HIV-1 gp120 impairs B cell proliferation by inducing TGF-β1 production and FcRL4 expression 
Nature immunology  2013;14(12):10.1038/ni.2746.
The humoral immune response following acute HIV-1 infection is delayed and ineffective. The HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 binds to and signals through α4β7 on T cells. We show that gp120 also binds and signals through α4β7 on naïve B cells, resulting in an abortive proliferative response. In primary B cells gp120 signaling through α4β7 resulted in increased expression of the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-β1 and the B cell inhibitory receptor FcRL4. Co-culture of B cells with HIV-1-infected autologous CD4+ T cells also increased B cell FcRL4 expression. These findings indicate that, in addition to mediating chronic immune activation, viral proteins can contribute directly to HIV-1-associated B cell dysfunction. Our studies provide a mechanism whereby the virus may subvert the early HIV-1-specific humoral immune response.
doi:10.1038/ni.2746
PMCID: PMC3870659  PMID: 24162774
11.  Inherited GATA3 variants are associated with Ph-like childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and risk of relapse 
Nature genetics  2013;45(12):1494-1498.
Recent genomic profiling of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) identified a novel high-risk subtype with a gene expression signature resembling Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL and a poor prognosis (Ph-like ALL). However, the role of inherited genetic variation in Ph-like ALL pathogenesis remains unknown. In a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 511 ALL cases and 6,661 non-ALL controls, we identified a single susceptibility locus for Ph-like ALL (GATA3, rs3824662, P=2.17×10−14, odds ratio [OR]=3.85, for Ph-like ALL vs. non-ALL; P=1.05×10−8, OR=3.25, for Ph-like ALL vs. non-Ph-like ALL) that was independently validated. The rs3824662 risk allele was associated with somatic lesions underlying Ph-like ALL (i.e., CRLF2 rearrangement, JAK mutation, and IKZF1 deletion) and directly influenced GATA3 transcription. Finally, GATA3 SNP genotype was also associated with early treatment response and the risk of ALL relapse. Our results provide insights into interactions between host and tumor genomes and their importance in ALL pathogenesis and prognosis.
doi:10.1038/ng.2803
PMCID: PMC4039076  PMID: 24141364
12.  Heterogeneity of Radiological Spectrum in Tacrolimus-Associated Encephalopathy after Lung Transplantation 
Behavioural Neurology  2014;2014:931808.
Background. Tacrolimus-associated encephalopathy (TAC-E) is usually described under the term of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). However, a large amount of data has suggested that TAC-E is not a homogenous entity: indeed, TAC-E which is often presented with atypical and potentially misleading imaging characteristics does not always correspond to PRES. Objective. We aimed to identify the spectrum of brain MR imaging of TAC-E and discuss the underlying pathophysiological features. Methods. From September 2008 to October 2010, the neurological statuses of 45 patients, who underwent lung transplantation with TAC as posttransplantation immunosuppressive therapy, were regularly assessed in a prospective study. MRI was repeatedly performed, until recovery, in patients who developed central neurological symptoms. Results. Symptoms suggestive of encephalopathy occurred in five out of 45 patients (11.1%). According to our MRI study, two patients presented with reversible bilateral and relatively symmetric subcortical white matter edema with proximal vasospasms on MRA; however, three other patients were characterized by coexistence of two different lesions including laminar cortical infarcts with hemorrhagic transformation not typically found in PRES and reversible deep white matter edema, associated with distal vasospasms on MRA. Conclusions. It is considered that the mechanism of TAC-E would be more heterogenous than commonly perceived.
doi:10.1155/2014/931808
PMCID: PMC4058267  PMID: 24970980
13.  Identification of novel driver mutations of the discoidin domain receptor 2 (DDR2) gene in squamous cell lung cancer of Chinese patients 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:369.
Background
Although many of the recently approved genomically targeted therapies have improved outcomes for patients in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with lung adenocarcinoma, little is known about the genomic alterations that drive lung squamous cell cancer (SCC) and development of effective targeted therapies in lung SCC is a promising area to be further investigated. Discoidin domain receptor 2 (DDR2), is a novel receptor tyrosine kinases that respond to several collagens and involved in tissue repair, primary and metastatic cancer progression.
Methods
Expression of DDR2 mRNA was analyzed in 54 lung SCC tissues by qRT-PCR. Over-expression approaches were used to investigate the biological functions of DDR2 and its’ mutations in lung SCC cells. Conventional Sanger sequencing was used to investigate the mutations of DDR2 gene in 86 samples. The effect of DDR2 and its’ mutations on proliferation was evaluated by MTT and colony formation assays; cell migration and invasion was evaluated by trasnwell assays. Lung SCC cells stably transfected with pEGFP-DDR2 WT, pEGFP-DDR2-S131C or empty vector were injection into nude mice to study the effect of DDR2 and its’ mutation on tumorigenesis in vivo. Protein and mRNA expression levels of E-cadherin and MMP2 were determined by qRT-PCR and western blot analysis. Differences between groups were tested for significance using Student’s t-test (two-tailed).
Results
In this study, we found that DDR2 mRNA levels were significantly decreased in 54 lung SCC tissues compared with normal lung tissues. Moreover, there were 3 novel DDR2 mutations (G531V, S131C, T681I) in 4 patients and provide the mutation rate of 4.6% in the 86 patients with lung SCC. The mutation of S131C in DDR2 could promote lung SCC cells proliferation, migration and invasion via inducing MMP-2, but reducing E-cadherin expression.
Conclusions
These data indicated that the novel DDR2 mutation may contribute to the development and progression of lung SCC and this effect may be associated with increased proliferation and invasiveness, at least in part, via regulating E-cadherin expression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-369
PMCID: PMC4039546  PMID: 24885564
Squamous cell lung cancer; DDR2 mutation; Proliferation; Invasion; E-cadherin
14.  Novel Susceptibility Variants at 10p12.31-12.2 for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Ethnically Diverse Populations 
Background
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children and the incidence of ALL varies by ethnicity. Although accumulating evidence indicates inherited predisposition to ALL, the genetic basis of ALL susceptibility in diverse ancestry has not been comprehensively examined.
Methods
We performed a multiethnic genome-wide association study in 1605 children with ALL and 6661 control subjects after adjusting for population structure, with validation in three replication series of 845 case subjects and 4316 control subjects. Association was tested by two-sided logistic regression.
Results
A novel ALL susceptibility locus at 10p12.31-12.2 (BMI1-PIP4K2A, rs7088318, P = 1.1×10−11) was identified in the genome-wide association study, with independent replication in European Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans (P = .001, .009, and .04, respectively). Association was also validated at four known ALL susceptibility loci: ARID5B, IKZF1, CEBPE, and CDKN2A/2B. Associations at ARID5B, IKZF1, and BMI1-PIP4K2A variants were consistent across ethnicity, with multiple independent signals at IKZF1 and BMI1-PIP4K2A loci. The frequency of ARID5B and BMI1-PIP4K2A variants differed by ethnicity, in parallel with ethnic differences in ALL incidence. Suggestive evidence for modifying effects of age on genetic predisposition to ALL was also observed. ARID5B, IKZF1, CEBPE, and BMI1-PIP4K2A variants cumulatively conferred strong predisposition to ALL, with children carrying six to eight copies of risk alleles at a ninefold (95% confidence interval = 6.9 to 11.8) higher ALL risk relative to those carrying zero to one risk allele at these four single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Conclusions
These findings indicate strong associations between inherited genetic variation and ALL susceptibility in children and shed new light on ALL molecular etiology in diverse ancestry.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djt042
PMCID: PMC3691938  PMID: 23512250
15.  Paraspeckle Protein 1 (PSPC1) Is Involved in the Cisplatin Induced DNA Damage Response—Role in G1/S Checkpoint 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97174.
Paraspeckle protein 1 (PSPC1) was first identified as a structural protein of the subnuclear structure termed paraspeckle. However, the exact physiological functions of PSPC1 are still largely unknown. Previously, using a proteomic approach, we have shown that exposure to cisplatin can induce PSPC1 expression in HeLa cells, indicating the possible involvement for PSPC1 in the DNA damage response (DDR). In the current study, the role of PSPC1 in DDR was examined. First, it was found that cisplatin treatment could indeed induce the expression of PSPC1 protein. Abolishing PSPC1 expression by siRNA significantly inhibited cell growth, caused spontaneous cell death, and increased DNA damage. However, PSPC1 did not co-localize with γH2AX, 53BP1, or Rad51, indicating no direct involvement in DNA repair pathways mediated by these molecules. Interestingly, knockdown of PSPC1 disrupted the normal cell cycle distribution, with more cells entering the G2/M phase. Furthermore, while cisplatin induced G1/S arrest in HeLa cells, knockdown of PSPC1 caused cells to escape the G1/S checkpoint and enter mitosis, and resulted in more cell death. Taken together, these observations indicate a new role for PSPC1 in maintaining genome integrity during the DDR, particularly in the G1/S checkpoint.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097174
PMCID: PMC4018278  PMID: 24819514
16.  Prolonged Repeated Acupuncture Stimulation Induces Habituation Effects in Pain-Related Brain Areas: An fMRI Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97502.
Most previous studies of brain responses to acupuncture were designed to investigate the acupuncture instant effect while the cumulative effect that should be more important in clinical practice has seldom been discussed. In this study, the neural basis of the acupuncture cumulative effect was analyzed. For this experiment, forty healthy volunteers were recruited, in which more than 40 minutes of repeated acupuncture stimulation was implemented at acupoint Zhusanli (ST36). Three runs of acupuncture fMRI datasets were acquired, with each run consisting of two blocks of acupuncture stimulation. Besides general linear model (GLM) analysis, the cumulative effects of acupuncture were analyzed with analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to find the association between the brain response and the cumulative duration of acupuncture stimulation in each stimulation block. The experimental results showed that the brain response in the initial stage was the strongest although the brain response to acupuncture was time-variant. In particular, the brain areas that were activated in the first block and the brain areas that demonstrated cumulative effects in the course of repeated acupuncture stimulation overlapped in the pain-related areas, including the bilateral middle cingulate cortex, the bilateral paracentral lobule, the SII, and the right thalamus. Furthermore, the cumulative effects demonstrated bimodal characteristics, i.e. the brain response was positive at the beginning, and became negative at the end. It was suggested that the cumulative effect of repeated acupuncture stimulation was consistent with the characteristic of habituation effects. This finding may explain the neurophysiologic mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097502
PMCID: PMC4018444  PMID: 24821143
17.  Association between esophageal cancer risk and EPHX1 polymorphisms: A meta-analysis 
AIM: To summarize the relationship between p.Tyr113His and p.His139Arg polymorphisms in microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1) and risk for esophageal cancer (EC).
METHODS: The MEDLINE/PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched for studies of the association between EPHX1 polymorphisms and EC risk that were published from the database inception date to April 2013. A total of seven case-control studies, including seven on p.Tyr113His (cases, n = 1118; controls, n = 1823) and six on p.His139Arg (cases, n = 861; controls, n = 1571), were included in the meta-analysis. After data extraction by two investigators working independently, the meta-analyses were carried out with STATA 11.0 software. Pooled odds ratios and 95%CI were calculated using a fixed-effects model or a random-effects model, as appropriate.
RESULTS: The pooled EPHX1 p.Tyr113His polymorphism data showed no significant association with EC in any of the genetic models (OR = 1.00, 95%CI: 0.70-1.48 for Tyr/His vs Tyr/Tyr; OR = 1.10, 95%CI: 0.77-1.57 for His/His vs Tyr/Tyr; OR = 1.06, 95%CI: 0.75-1.49 for a dominant model; OR = 1.09, 95%CI: 0.89-1.34 for a recessive model). Similar results were obtained from the p.His139Arg polymorphism analysis (Arg/His vs His/His: OR = 1.02, 95%CI: 0.84-1.23; Arg/Arg vs His/His: OR = 0.96, 95%CI: 0.60-1.54; OR = 1.03, 95%CI: 0.78-1.37 for the dominant model; OR = 0.97, 95%CI: 0.61-1.56 for the recessive model). Subgroup analyses for ethnicity, subtype of EC, and source of controls (population-based or hospital-based) showed trends that were consistent with the pooled analysis (reported above), with no significant associations found.
CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis suggests that the p.Tyr113His and p.His139Arg polymorphisms in EPHX1 may not be associated with EC development.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i17.5124
PMCID: PMC4009551  PMID: 24803829
Esophageal cancer; Squamous cell carcinoma; Adenocarcinoma; EPHX1; Polymorphism; Meta-analysis
18.  Fluorescent Live-Cell Imaging of Metabolically Incorporated Unnatural Cyclopropene-Mannosamine Derivatives 
doi:10.1002/cbic.201200719
PMCID: PMC4010072  PMID: 23292753
bioorthogonal reactions; cycloaddition; fluorescence; imaging agents; sugars
19.  Interleukin-27 treated human macrophages induce the expression of novel microRNAs which may mediate anti-viral properties 
Interleukin-27 (IL-27) is a pleiotropic cytokine which plays important and diverse roles in the immune system. We have previously demonstrated that IL-27 induces potent anti-viral effects against HIV-1, HIV-2, SIV, HSV-2, KSHV and influenza viruses in macrophages. This induction occurred in an Interferon (IFN) independent manner and involved down regulation of SPTBN1. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical regulators of mRNA translation and turnover. There have been reports that some miRNAs inhibit viral replication. In this study, we hypothesized that IL-27 could induce the expression of novel miRNAs in macrophages which may have functional relevance in terms of anti-viral activity and primary monocytes were differentiated into macrophages using either M-CSF (M-Mac) or a combination of M-CSF and IL-27 (I-Mac) for seven days. Following this, total RNA was extracted from these cells and deep sequencing was performed, in parallel with gene expression microarrays. Using the novel miRNA discovery software, miRDeep, seven novel miRNAs were discovered in these macrophages. Four of which were preferentially expressed in I-Mac (miR-SX1, -SX2, -SX3 and -SX6) whilst three were detected in both M-Mac and I-Mac (miR-SX4, -SX5 and -SX7). The expression of six of the seven novel miRNAs was highly correlated with qRT-PCR using specific primer/probes designed for the novel miRNAs. Gene expression microarray further demonstrated that a number of genes were potentially targeted by these differentially expressed novel miRNAs. Finally, several of these novel miRNAs (miR-SX1, -SX4, -SX5, -SX6 and -SX7) were shown to target the open reading frames of a number of viruses (including HSV-1, HSV-2 and HHV-8) which may partially explain the anti-viral properties observed.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.03.046
PMCID: PMC3700531  PMID: 23535375
Interleukin-27; macrophages; MicroRNAs; HIV; HSV-1; HSV-2; HHV-8
21.  Two DHH Subfamily 1 Proteins in Streptococcus pneumoniae Possess Cyclic Di-AMP Phosphodiesterase Activity and Affect Bacterial Growth and Virulence 
Journal of Bacteriology  2013;195(22):5123-5132.
Cyclic di-AMP (c-di-AMP) and cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) are signaling molecules that play important roles in bacterial biology and pathogenesis. However, these nucleotides have not been explored in Streptococcus pneumoniae, an important bacterial pathogen. In this study, we characterized the c-di-AMP-associated genes of S. pneumoniae. The results showed that SPD_1392 (DacA) is a diadenylate cyclase that converts ATP to c-di-AMP. Both SPD_2032 (Pde1) and SPD_1153 (Pde2), which belong to the DHH subfamily 1 proteins, displayed c-di-AMP phosphodiesterase activity. Pde1 cleaved c-di-AMP into phosphoadenylyl adenosine (pApA), whereas Pde2 directly hydrolyzed c-di-AMP into AMP. Additionally, Pde2, but not Pde1, degraded pApA into AMP. Our results also demonstrated that both Pde1 and Pde2 played roles in bacterial growth, resistance to UV treatment, and virulence in a mouse pneumonia model. These results indicate that c-di-AMP homeostasis is essential for pneumococcal biology and disease.
doi:10.1128/JB.00769-13
PMCID: PMC3811582  PMID: 24013631
22.  Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor expression in peripheral blood of patients with pregnancy induced hypertension syndrome and its clinical significance 
Objective: This study was conducted was to detect vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in peripheral blood of patients with pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) syndrome and to investigate VEGF correlation with PIH occurrence.
Methods: Double-antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and fluorescent quantitative polymerase chain reaction were used to detect VEGF levels in the peripheral blood of non-pregnant women (normal group, 30 cases), normal pregnant women (pregnancy group, 30 cases) and PIH patients (PIH group, 30 cases).
Results: VEGF level in the pregnancy group was significantly higher than in the normal group, and the difference between these two groups was significant (P < 0.001). In the pregnancy group, VEGF reached the maximum level at the metaphase stage of pregnancy and started to decrease at advanced pregnancy. VEGF level in the PIH group was significantly lower than in the pregnancy group at advanced pregnancy (P < 0.01), and VEGF level significantly and gradually decreased with PIH aggravation (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: The significant decrease of VEGF level after pregnancy was possibly an important factor of PIH pathogenesis.
doi:10.12669/pjms.303.4558
PMCID: PMC4048521  PMID: 24948994
Cardiovascular; Hypertension; Pregnancy complications; Vascular endothelial growth factor
23.  Biomechanical and Histological Evaluation of Roughened Surface Titanium Screws Fabricated by Electron Beam Melting 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e96179.
Background
Various fabrication methods are used to improve the stability and osseointegration of screws within the host bone. The aim of this study was to investigate whether roughened surface titanium screws fabricated by electron beam melting can provide better stability and osseointegration as compared with smooth titanium screws in sheep cervical vertebrae.
Methods
Roughened surface titanium screws, fabricated by electron beam melting, and conventional smooth surface titanium screws were implanted into sheep for 6 or 12 weeks (groups A and B, respectively). Bone ingrowth and implant stability were assessed with three-dimensional imaging and reconstruction, as well as histological and biomechanical tests.
Results
No screws in either group showed signs of loosening. Fibrous tissue formation could be seen around the screws at 6 weeks, which was replaced with bone at 12 weeks. Bone volume/total volume, bone surface area/bone volume, and the trabecular number were significantly higher for a define region of interest surrounding the roughened screws than that surrounding the smooth screws at 12 weeks. Indeed, for roughened screws, trabecular number was significantly higher at 12 weeks than at 6 weeks. On mechanical testing, the maximum pullout strength was significantly higher at 12 weeks than at 6 weeks, as expected; however, no significant differences were found between smooth and roughened screws at either time point. The maximum torque to extract the roughened screws was higher than that required for the smooth screws.
Conclusions
Electron beam melting is a simple and effective method for producing a roughened surface on titanium screws. After 12 weeks, roughened titanium screws demonstrated a high degree of osseointegration and increased torsional resistance to extraction over smooth titanium screws.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096179
PMCID: PMC4005762  PMID: 24788866
24.  Combined probiotic bacteria promotes intestinal epithelial barrier function in interleukin-10-gene-deficient mice 
AIM: To investigate the protective effects of combinations of probiotic (Bifico) on interleukin (IL)-10-gene-deficient (IL-10 KO) mice and Caco-2 cell monolayers.
METHODS: IL-10 KO mice were used to assess the benefits of Bifico in vivo. IL-10 KO and control mice received approximately 1.5 × 108 cfu/d of Bifico for 4 wk. Colons were then removed and analyzed for epithelial barrier function by Ussing Chamber, while an ELISA was used to evaluate proinflammatory cytokines. The colon epithelial cell line, Caco-2, was used to test the benefit of Bifico in vitro. Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) and the probiotic mixture Bifico, or single probiotic strains, were applied to cultured Caco-2 monolayers. Barrier function was determined by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance and tight junction protein expression.
RESULTS: Treatment of IL-10 KO mice with Bifico partially restored body weight, colon length, and epithelial barrier integrity to wild-type levels. In addition, IL-10 KO mice receiving Bifico treatment had reduced mucosal secretion of tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ, and attenuated colonic disease. Moreover, treatment of Caco-2 monolayers with Bifico or single-strain probiotics in vitro inhibited EIEC invasion and reduced the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.
CONCLUSION: Bifico reduced colon inflammation in IL-10 KO mice, and promoted and improved epithelial-barrier function, enhanced resistance to EIEC invasion, and decreased proinflammatory cytokine secretion.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i16.4636
PMCID: PMC4000500  PMID: 24782616
Probiotic bacteria; Intestinal barrier function; Tight junction proteins; Interleukin-10 gene-deficient mice; Caco-2 monolayers
25.  AKAP12 Mediates Barrier Functions of Fibrotic Scars during CNS Repair 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94695.
The repair process after CNS injury shows a well-organized cascade of three distinct stages: inflammation, new tissue formation, and remodeling. In the new tissue formation stage, various cells migrate and form the fibrotic scar surrounding the lesion site. The fibrotic scar is known as an obstacle for axonal regeneration in the remodeling stage. However, the role of the fibrotic scar in the new tissue formation stage remains largely unknown. We found that the number of A-kinase anchoring protein 12 (AKAP12)-positive cells in the fibrotic scar was increased over time, and the cells formed a structure which traps various immune cells. Furthermore, the AKAP12-positive cells strongly express junction proteins which enable the structure to function as a physical barrier. In in vivo validation, AKAP12 knock-out (KO) mice showed leakage from a lesion, resulting from an impaired structure with the loss of the junction complex. Consistently, focal brain injury in the AKAP12 KO mice led to extended inflammation and more severe tissue damage compared to the wild type (WT) mice. Accordingly, our results suggest that AKAP12-positive cells in the fibrotic scar may restrict excessive inflammation, demonstrating certain mechanisms that could underlie the beneficial actions of the fibrotic scar in the new tissue formation stage during the CNS repair process.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094695
PMCID: PMC3997571  PMID: 24760034

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