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1.  Reactivation of the homeotic tumor suppressor gene CDX2 by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine-induced demethylation inhibits cell proliferation and induces caspase-independent apoptosis in gastric cancer cells 
The DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR) is widely used as an anticancer drug for the treatment of leukemia and solid tumors. Gastric cancer (GC) patients who were positive for caudal type homeobox transcription factor 2 (CDX2) expression showed a higher survival rate compared with those who were CDX2 negative, which suggests that CDX2 performs a tumor suppressor role. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to the inactivation of CDX2 remain unclear. In the present study we demonstrated that the expression levels of CDX2 and DNA methyltransferase enzyme 1 (DNMT1) mRNA were significantly higher in GC compared with distal non-cancerous tissue. The expression of CDX2 mRNA was significantly correlated with Lauren classification, TNM stage and lymph node metastasis. DNMT1 mRNA expression was significantly correlated with TNM stage, pathological differentiation and lymph node metastasis. The expression of CDX2 mRNA was inversely correlated with that of DNMT1 mRNA in GC. Hypermethylation of the CDX2 gene promoter region, extremely low expression levels of CDX2 mRNA and no expression of CDX2 protein were the characteristics observed in MKN-45 and SGC-7901 GC cell lines. Following the treatment of MKN-45 cells with 5-aza-CdR, the hypermethylated CDX2 gene promoter region was demethylated and expression of CDX2 was upregulated, while DNMT1 expression was downregulated. Furthermore, a concentration- and time-dependent growth inhibition as well as increased apoptosis were observed. Caspase-3, −8 and −9 activities increased in a concentration-dependent manner following exposure to different concentrations of 5-aza-CdR. Therefore, our data show that the overexpression of DNMT1 and methylation of the CDX2 gene promoter region is likely to be responsible for CDX2 silencing in GC. 5-Aza-CdR may effectively induce re-expression of the CDX2 gene, inhibit cell proliferation and enhance the caspase-independent apoptosis of MKN-45 cells in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3570199  PMID: 23408490
gastric neoplasms; caudal type homeobox transcription factor 2; DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase enzyme 1; proliferation; apoptosis
2.  Dissociation of Regional Activity in Default Mode Network in Medication-Naive, First-Episode Somatization Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e99273.
Patients with somatization disorder (SD) have altered neural activity in the brain regions of the default mode network (DMN). However, the regional alteration of the DMN in SD remains unknown. The present study was designed to investigate the regional alterations of the DMN in patients with SD at rest.
Twenty-five first-episode, medication-naive patients with SD and 28 age-, sex-, education- matched healthy controls underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan. The fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) was applied to analyze the data.
Patients with SD showed a dissociation pattern of resting-state fALFF in the DMN, with increased fALFF in the bilateral superior medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC, BA8, 9) and decreased fALFF in the left precuneus (PCu, BA7). Furthermore, significantly positive correlation was observed between the z values of the voxels within the bilateral superior MPFC and somatization subscale scores of the Symptom Check List (SCL-90) in patients with SD.
Our findings indicate that there is a dissociation pattern of the anterior and posterior DMN in first-episode, treatment-naive patients with SD. The results provide new insight for the importance of the DMN in the pathophysiology of SD.
PMCID: PMC4077566  PMID: 24983962
3.  Disorganized vascular structures in sporadic venous malformations: a possible correlation with balancing effect between Tie2 and TGF-β 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5457.
Venous malformations (VMs) are among the most common slow-flow vascular malformations characterized by irregular venous channels, luminal thrombi, and phleboliths. To systematically manifest the disorganized vascular structures in sporadic VMs, we initially evaluated histopathological characteristics, perivascular cell coverage, adhesion molecules expression and vascular ultrastructures. Then, the expression of Tie2 and TGF-β in VMs was detected. Meanwhile, the in vitro studies were performed for mechanism investigation. Our data showed that the perivascular α-SMA+ cell coverage and expression of adhesion molecules in VMs were significantly decreased compared with those in the normal skin tissues. We also found that the expression and phosphorylation levels of Tie2 were upregulated, whereas TGF-β was downregulated in VMs, and they were negatively correlated. Moreover, the in vitro results also revealed a possible balancing effect between Tie2 and TGF-β, as demonstrated by the findings that Ang-1 (agonist of Tie2) treatment significantly downregulated TGF-β expression, and treatment with recombinant TGF-β could also suppress Tie2 expression and phosphorylation. This study provided strong evidence supporting the disorganized vascular structures and dysregulation of related molecules in sporadic VMs, and demonstrated a possible balancing effect between Tie2 and TGF-β, which might help to develop novel therapeutics for vascular disorganization-related disorders.
PMCID: PMC4071312  PMID: 24966004
4.  Mangiferin Attenuates Th1/Th2 Cytokine Imbalance in an Ovalbumin-Induced Asthmatic Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100394.
Mangiferin is a major bioactive ingredient in Mangifera indica Linn. (Anacardiaceae) leaves. Aqueous extract of such leaves have been used as an indigenous remedy for respiratory diseases like asthma and coughing in traditional Chinese medicine. However, underlying molecular mechanisms of mangiferin on anti-asthma remain unclear. In our present study, we investigated the anti-asthmatic effect of mangiferin on Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles and explored its underlying immunoregulatory mechanism in mouse model of allergic asthma. Mangiferin significantly reduced the total inflammatory cell counts and eosinophil infiltration, decreased the production of ovalbumin-specific IgE in serum and PGD2 in BALF. The antibody array analysis showed that mangiferin down-regulated the levels of one group of cytokines/chemokines including Th2-related IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and others IL-3, IL-9, IL-17, RANTES, TNF-α, but simultaneously up-regulated Th1-related IFN-γ, IL-2 and IL-10 and IL-12 expression in serum. Thus it attenuates the imbalance of Th1/Th2 cells ratio by diminishing the abnormal mRNA levels of Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-12) and Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13). Finally, mangiferin substantially inhibited the activation and expression of STAT-6 and GATA-3 in excised lung tissues. Our results suggest that mangiferin can exert anti-asthmatic effect. The underlying mechanism may attribute to the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokine imbalance via inhibiting the STAT6 signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4067356  PMID: 24955743
5.  Prevalence and associated factors of corneal blindness in Ningxia in northwest China 
To describe the prevalence and demographic characteristics of corneal blindness in an urban and rural region of Ningxia, located in the northwest part of China.
A stratified, randomized sampling procedure was employed in the study, including urban and rural area of all age group. Visual acuity, anterior segment and ocular fundus were checked. Related factor of corneal disease, including age, gender, education status, ethnic group, location and occupation, were identified according to uniform customized protocol. An eye was defined to be corneal blindness if the visual acuity was <20/400 due to a corneal disease.
Three thousand individuals (1290 from urban area and 1710 from rural area) participated in the investigation, with a response rate of 80.380%. The prevalence of corneal blindness was 0.023% in both eyes and 0.733% in at least one eye. The blindness in at least one eye with varied causes was present in 106 participants (3.533%) and in bilateral eyes in 34 participants (1.133%). The corneal diseases accounted for 20.754% of blindness in at least one eye and 20.588% of bilateral blindness. The prevalence of corneal disease was higher in older and Han ethnic group, especially those who occupied in agriculture and outdoor work. People with corneal blindness were more likely to be older and lower education. Rural population were more likely to suffer from bilateral corneal blindness than the urban population in ≥59-year group (χ2=6.716, P=0.019). Infectious, trauma and immune corneal disease were the three leading causes of corneal disease. Trauma corneal disease was more likely leading to blindness in one eye. However, infectious and immune corneal diseases make more contribution to the bilateral corneal blindness.
Corneal blindness is a significant burden of in Ningxia population, encompassing a variety of corneal infections and trauma; the majority of those were avoidable. Health promotion strategies and good hygienic conditions have to be developed.
PMCID: PMC4067676  PMID: 24967208
corneal disease; epidemiology; blindness; infectious keratitis; trauma
6.  Expression and Functional Characterization of NOD2 in Decidual Stromal Cells Isolated during the First Trimester of Pregnancy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99612.
NOD2, one of the cytosolic proteins that contain a nuclear oligomerization domain (NOD), is a pattern recognition receptor (PRR) involved in innate immune responses to intracellular pathogens. Little is known, however, about the effect of NOD2 expression on the maternal–fetal relationship. Our aim was to elucidate the functions of NOD2 in normal decidual stromal cells (DSCs) from the first trimester. Tissues and DSCs were isolated from 26 patients with normal pregnancies that required abortion. The expression of NOD2 in deciduas/decidual stromal cells (DSCs) was examined by real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry, and In-cell western. DSCs containing NOD2 were stimulated by its ligand, muramyl dipeptide (MDP). The secretion of various cytokines and chemokines were measured by ELISA and the apoptotic rate was determined by flow cytometry. Treatment with MDP significantly elevated the expression of both NOD2 mRNA and protein levels in DSCs. In addition, MDP activation of NOD2 significantly increased IL-1β and MCP-1 cytokine expression in a dose dependent manner but had no effect on IL-12 expression. IL-1β and TNF-α also significantly increased the expression of NOD2 in DSCs, suggesting a positive feedback loop mechanism. Moreover, MDP stimulation augmented DSC apoptosis. In summary, the results suggest that NOD2 expression in DSCs plays an important role in protecting the embryo and preventing infection in the maternal-fetal interface.
PMCID: PMC4059701  PMID: 24932916
7.  Enhanced and selective delivery of enzyme therapy to 9L-glioma tumor via magnetic targeting of PEG-modified, β-glucosidase-conjugated iron oxide nanoparticles 
The stability of enzyme-conjugated magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in plasma is of great importance for in vivo delivery of the conjugated enzyme. In this study, β-glucosidase was conjugated on aminated magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles using the glutaraldehyde method (β-Glu-MNP), and further PEGylated via N-hydroxysuccinimide chemistry. The PEG-modified, β-glucosidase-immobilized magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (PEG-β-Glu-MNPs) were characterized by hydrodynamic diameter distribution, zeta potential, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and a superconducting quantum interference device. The results showed that the multidomain structure and magnetization properties of these nanoparticles were conserved well throughout the synthesis steps, with an expected diameter increase and zeta potential shifts. The Michaelis constant was calculated to evaluate the activity of conjugated β-glucosidase on the magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, indicating 73.0% and 65.4% of enzyme activity remaining for β-Glu-MNP and PEG-β-Glu-MNP, respectively. Both magnetophoretic mobility analysis and pharmacokinetics showed improved in vitro/in vivo stability of PEG-β-Glu-MNP compared with β-Glu-MNP. In vivo magnetic targeting of PEG-β-Glu-MNP was confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging and electron spin resonance analysis in a mouse model of subcutaneous 9L-glioma. Satisfactory accumulation of PEG-β-Glu-MNP in tumor tissue was successfully achieved, with an iron content of 627±45 nmol Fe/g tissue and β-glucosidase activity of 32.2±8.0 mU/g tissue.
PMCID: PMC4061166  PMID: 24959078
β-glucosidase; enzyme/prodrug therapy; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic targeting; 9L-glioma
8.  Investigation of cholecystokinin receptors in the human lower esophageal sphincter 
AIM: To compare the binding of cholecystokinin (CCK)-8 to CCK receptors in sling and clasp fibers of the human lower esophageal sphincter.
METHODS: Esophageal sling and clasp fibers were isolated from eight esophagectomy specimens, resected for squamous cell carcinoma in the upper two thirds of the esophagus, which had been maintained in oxygenated Kreb’s solution. Western blot was used to measure CCK-A and CCK-B receptor subtypes in the two muscles. A radioligand binding assay was used to determine the binding parameters of 3H-CCK-8S to the CCK receptor subtypes. The specificity of binding was determined by the addition of proglumide, which blocks the binding of CCK to both receptor subtypes.
RESULTS: There was no significant difference between the sling and clasp fibers of the human lower esophageal sphincter in the amount of CCK-A [integrated optical density (IOD) value: 22.65 ± 0.642 vs 22.328 ± 1.042, P = 0.806] or CCK-B receptor protein (IOD value: 13.20 ± 0.423 vs 12.45 ± 0.294, P = 0.224) as measured by Western blot. The maximum binding of radio-labeled CCK-8S was higher in the sling fibers than in the clasp fibers (595.75 ± 3.231 cpm vs 500.000 ± 10.087 cpm, P < 0.001) and dissociation constant was lower (Kd: 1.437 ± 0.024 nmol/L vs 1.671 ± 0.024 nmol/L, P < 0.001). The IC50 of the receptor specific antagonists were lower for the CCK-A receptors than for the CCK-B (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: CCK binding modulates the contractile function of the lower esophageal sphincter through differential binding to the CCK-A receptor on the sling and clasp fibers.
PMCID: PMC4047341  PMID: 24914377
Cholecystokinins; Cholecystokinins-A receptor; Cholecystokinins-B receptor; Radioligand binding; Lower esophageal sphincter; Sling fibers; Clasp fibers
9.  Histone Deacetylase HDAC4 Promotes Gastric Cancer SGC-7901 Cells Progression via p21 Repression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98894.
Gastric cancer (GC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the world. The role of histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) in specific cell and tissue types has been identified. However, its biological roles in the development of gastric cancer remain largely unexplored. Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blot were used to analyze the expression of HDAC4 in the clinical samples. siRNA and overexpression of HDAC4 and siRNA p21 were used to study functional effects in a proliferation, a colony formation, a adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) assay and reactive oxygen species(ROS) generation, cell cycle, cell apoptosis rates, and autophagy assays. HDAC4 was up-regulated in gastric cancer tissues and several gastric cancer cell lines. The proliferation, colony formation ability and ATP level were enhanced in HDAC4 overexpression SGC-7901 cells, but inhibited in HDAC4 knockdown SGC-7901 cells. HDAC4 knockdown led to G0/G1 phase cell arrest and caused apoptosis and ROS increase. Moreover, HDAC4 was found to inhibit p21 expression in gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells. p21 knockdown dramatically attenuated cell proliferation inhibition, cell cycle arrest, cell apoptosis promotion and autophagy up-regulation in HDAC4-siRNA SGC-7901 cells. We demonstrated that HDAC4 promotes gastric cancer cell progression mediated through the repression of p21. Our results provide an experimental basis for understanding the pro-tumor mechanism of HDAC4 as treatment for gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4045860  PMID: 24896240
10.  Expression of Chemerin and Its Receptors in Rat Testes and Its Action on Testosterone Secretion 
The Journal of endocrinology  2014;220(2):155-163.
The novel adipokine chemerin plays a role in regulating lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and recent reports of elevated chemerin levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome elevated chemerin levels with polycystic ovary syndrome and preeclampsia point to an emerging role for chemerin in reproduction. We hypothesized that chemerin, like other adipokines, may function to regulate male gonadal steroidogenesis. Here we show that chemerin and its three receptors chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1), G-protein coupled receptor 1 (GPR1) and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) were expressed in male reproductive tracts, liver and white adipose tissue. CMKLR1 and GPR1 protein were localized specifically in the Leydig cells of human and rat testes by immunohistochemistry. The expression of chemerin and its receptors in rat testes was developmentally regulated and highly expressed in Leydig cells. In vitro treatment with chemerin suppressed the human chorinoic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced testosterone production from primary Leydig cells, which was accompanied by the inhibition of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) gene and protein expression. The hCG-activated p44/42 mitogen-activated-protein kinase (MAPK) (Erk1/2) pathway in Leydig cells was also inhibited by chemerin co-treatment. Together, these data suggest chemerin is a novel regulator of male gonadal steroidogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3932185  PMID: 24301613
chemerin; steroidogenesis; testosterone; adipokine; Leydig cell
11.  Blueberry consumption prevents loss of collagen in bone matrix and inhibits senescence pathways in osteoblastic cells 
Age  2012;35(3):807-820.
Ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss has been linked to increased bone turnover and higher bone matrix collagen degradation as the result of osteoclast activation. However, the role of degraded collagen matrix in the fate of resident bone-forming cells is unclear. In this report, we show that OVX-induced bone loss is associated with profound decreases in collagen 1 and Sirt1. This was accompanied by increases in expression and activity of the senescence marker collagenase and expression of p16/p21 in bone. Feeding a diet supplemented with blueberries (BB) to pre-pubertal rats throughout development or only prior to puberty [postnatal day 21 (PND21) to PND34] prevents OVX-induced effects on expression of these molecules at PND68. In order to provide more evidence and gain a better understanding on the association between bone collagen matrix and resident bone cell fate, in vitro studies on the cellular senescence pathway using primary calvarial cells and three cell lines (ST2 cells, OB6, and MLO-Y4) were conducted. We found that senescence was inhibited by collagen in a dose–response manner. Treatment of cells with serum from OVX rats accelerated osteoblastic cell senescence pathways, but serum from BB-fed OVX rats had no effect. In the presence of low collagen or treatment with OVX rat serum, ST2 cells exhibited higher potential to differentiate into adipocytes. Finally, we demonstrated that bone cell senescence is associated with decreased Sirt1 expression and activated p53, p16, and p21. These results suggest that (1) a significant prevention of OVX-induced bone cell senescence from adult rats can occur after only 14 days consumption of a BB-containing diet immediately prior to puberty, and (2) the molecular mechanisms underlying this effect involves, at least in part, prevention of collagen degradation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9412-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3636388  PMID: 22555620
Blueberry; Diet; Bone loss; Osteoblast; Senescence
12.  Translational regulation of RPA2 via internal ribosomal entry site and by eIF3a 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(6):1224-1231.
RPA2 is a subunit of a trimeric replication protein A (RPA) complex important for DNA repair and replication. Although it is known that RPA activity is regulated by post-translational modification, whether RPA expression is regulated and the mechanism therein is currently unknown. eIF3a, the largest subunit of eIF3, is an important player in translational control and has been suggested to regulate translation of a subset of messenger RNAs important for tumorigenesis, metastasis, cell cycle progression, drug response and DNA repair. In the present study, we show that RPA2 expression is regulated at translational level via internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated initiation in response to DNA damage. We also found that eIF3a suppresses RPA2 synthesis and inhibits its cellular IRES activity by directly binding to the IRES element of RPA2 located at −50 to −150 bases upstream of the translation start site. Taken together, we conclude that RPA2 expression is translationally regulated via IRES and by eIF3a and that this regulation is partly accountable for cellular response to DNA damage and survival.
PMCID: PMC3670257  PMID: 23393223
13.  Deep 16S rRNA Pyrosequencing Reveals a Bacterial Community Associated with Banana Fusarium Wilt Disease Suppression Induced by Bio-Organic Fertilizer Application 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98420.
Our previous work demonstrated that application of a bio-organic fertilizer (BIO) to a banana mono-culture orchard with serious Fusarium wilt disease effectively decreased the number of soil Fusarium sp. and controlled the soil-borne disease. Because bacteria are an abundant and diverse group of soil organisms that responds to soil health, deep 16 S rRNA pyrosequencing was employed to characterize the composition of the bacterial community to investigate how it responded to BIO or the application of other common composts and to explore the potential correlation between bacterial community, BIO application and Fusarium wilt disease suppression. After basal quality control, 137,646 sequences and 9,388 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were obtained from the 15 soil samples. Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes and Actinobacteria were the most frequent phyla and comprised up to 75.3% of the total sequences. Compared to the other soil samples, BIO-treated soil revealed higher abundances of Gemmatimonadetes and Acidobacteria, while Bacteroidetes were found in lower abundance. Meanwhile, on genus level, higher abundances compared to other treatments were observed for Gemmatimonas and Gp4. Correlation and redundancy analysis showed that the abundance of Gemmatimonas and Sphingomonas and the soil total nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen content were higher after BIO application, and they were all positively correlated with disease suppression. Cumulatively, the reduced Fusarium wilt disease incidence that was seen after BIO was applied for 1-year might be attributed to the general suppression based on a shift within the bacteria soil community, including specific enrichment of Gemmatimonas and Sphingomonas.
PMCID: PMC4037203  PMID: 24871319
14.  CEUS Helps to Rerate Small Breast Tumors of BI-RADS Category 3 and Category 4 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:572532.
Purpose. The primary aim of this study was to explore if classification, whether using the BI-RADS categories based on CEUS or conventional ultrasound, was conducive to the identification of benign and malignant category 3 or 4 small breast lesions. Material and Methods. We evaluated 30 malignant and 77 benign small breast lesions using CEUS. The range of enhancement, type of enhancement strength, intensity of enhancement, and enhancement patterns were independent factors included to assess the BI-RADS categories. Results. Of the nonenhanced breast lesions, 97.8% (44/45) were malignant, while, of the hyperplasic nodules, 96.8% (30/31) showed no enhancement in our study. Category changes of the lesions were made according to the features determined using CEUS. The results showed that these features could improve diagnostic sensitivity (from 70.0 to 80.0, 80.0, 90.0, and 90.0%), reduce the negative likelihood ratio (from 0.33 to 0.22, 0.25, 0.11, and 0.12), and improve the NPV (from 88.8 to 92.2, 91.2, 96.2, and 95.5%). However, this was not conducive to improve diagnostic specificity or the PPV. Conclusion. The vast majority of nonenhanced small breast lesions were malignant and most of the hyperplasic nodules showed no contrast enhancement. As a reference, CEUS was helpful in identifying BI-RADS category 3 or 4 small breast lesions.
PMCID: PMC4055582  PMID: 24967380
15.  Antigenic Profiling of Glioma Cells to Generate Allogeneic Vaccines or Dendritic Cell – Based Therapeutics 
Allogeneic glioma cell lines that are partially matched to the patient at class I human leukocyte antigen (HLA) loci and that display tumor-associated antigens (TAA) or antigenic precursors [tumor antigen precursor proteins (TAPP)] could be used for generating whole tumor cell vaccines or, alternatively, for extraction of TAA peptides to make autologous dendritic cell vaccines.
Experimental Design
Twenty human glioma cell lines were characterized by molecular phenotyping and by flow cytometry for HLA class I antigen expression. Twelve of the 20 cell lines, as well as analyses of freshly resected glioma tissues, were further characterized for protein and/or mRNA expression of 16 tumor antigen precursor proteins or TAA.
These 20 human glioma cell lines potentially cover 77%, 85%, and 78% of the U.S. Caucasian population at HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-C alleles, respectively. All cells exhibited multiple TAA expressions. Most glioma cells expressed antigen isolated from immunoselected melanoma-2 (Aim-2), B-cyclin, EphA2, GP100, β1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V), IL13Rα2, Her2/neu, hTert, Mage, Mart-1, Sart-1, and survivin. Real-time PCR technology showed that glioblastoma specimens expressed most of the TAA as well. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and CD8+ CTL killedT2 cells when loaded with specific HLA-A2+ restricted TAA, or gliomas that were both HLA-A2+ and also positive for specific TAA (Mart-1, GP100, Her2/neu, and tyrosinase) but not those cells negative for HLA-A2 and/or lacking the specific epitope.
These data provide proof-in-principle for the use of allogeneic, partially HLA patient – matched glioma cells for vaccine generation or for peptide pulsing with allogeneic glioma cell extracts of autologous patient dendritic cells to induce endogenous CTL in brain tumor patients.
PMCID: PMC4030524  PMID: 17255279
16.  Competitive Exclusion among Fig Wasps Achieved via Entrainment of Host Plant Flowering Phenology 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97783.
Molecular techniques are revealing increasing numbers of morphologically similar but co-existing cryptic species, challenging the niche theory. To understand the co-existence mechanism, we studied phenologies of morphologically similar species of fig wasps that pollinate the creeping fig (F. pumila) in eastern China. We compared phenologies of fig wasp emergence and host flowering at sites where one or both pollinators were present. At the site where both pollinators were present, we used sticky traps to capture the emerged fig wasps and identified species identity using mitochondrial DNA COI gene. We also genotyped F. pumila individuals of the three sites using polymorphic microsatellites to detect whether the host populations were differentiated. Male F. pumila produced two major crops annually, with figs receptive in spring and summer. A small partial third crop of receptive figs occurred in the autumn, but few of the second crop figs matured at that time. Hence, few pollinators were available to enter third crop figs and they mostly aborted, resulting in two generations of pollinating wasps each year, plus a partial third generation. Receptive figs were produced on male plants in spring and summer, timed to coincide with the release of short-lived adult pollinators from the same individual plants. Most plants were pollinated by a single species. Plants pollinated by Wiebesia sp. 1 released wasps earlier than those pollinated by Wiebesia sp. 3, with little overlap. Plants occupied by different pollinators were not spatially separated, nor genetically distinct. Our findings show that these differences created mismatches with the flight periods of the other Wiebesia species, largely ‘reserving’ individual plants for the resident pollinator species. This pre-emptive competitive displacement may prevent long term co-existence of the two pollinators.
PMCID: PMC4029822  PMID: 24849458
17.  1-Deacet­oxy-1-oxocaesalmin 
The title compound, C24H30O7, is a diterpenoid isolated from the seeds of Caesalpinia minax. It consists of two cyclo­hexane rings (A and B), one unsaturated six-membered ring (C) and one furan ring (D). The stereochemistry of the ring junctures is A/B trans and B/C trans. Rings A and B have normal chair conformations while C adopts a twisted half-chair conformation due to fusion to the furan ring which is planar [r.m.s. deviation = 0.0009 (2) Å]. In the crystal, hydroxyl O—H⋯Ocarbon­yl hydrogen bonds link the mol­ecules into a chain structure extending along the a-axis direction.
PMCID: PMC4051044  PMID: 24940245
18.  The Mechanism of Allosteric Inhibition of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97668.
As the prototypical member of the PTP family, protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) is an attractive target for therapeutic interventions in type 2 diabetes. The extremely conserved catalytic site of PTP1B renders the design of selective PTP1B inhibitors intractable. Although discovered allosteric inhibitors containing a benzofuran sulfonamide scaffold offer fascinating opportunities to overcome selectivity issues, the allosteric inhibitory mechanism of PTP1B has remained elusive. Here, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, coupled with a dynamic weighted community analysis, were performed to unveil the potential allosteric signal propagation pathway from the allosteric site to the catalytic site in PTP1B. This result revealed that the allosteric inhibitor compound-3 induces a conformational rearrangement in helix α7, disrupting the triangular interaction among helix α7, helix α3, and loop11. Helix α7 then produces a force, pulling helix α3 outward, and promotes Ser190 to interact with Tyr176. As a result, the deviation of Tyr176 abrogates the hydrophobic interactions with Trp179 and leads to the downward movement of the WPD loop, which forms an H-bond between Asp181 and Glu115. The formation of this H-bond constrains the WPD loop to its open conformation and thus inactivates PTP1B. The discovery of this allosteric mechanism provides an overall view of the regulation of PTP1B, which is an important insight for the design of potent allosteric PTP1B inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4022711  PMID: 24831294
19.  Successful treatment of posttraumatic phlegmasia cerulea dolens by reconstructing the external iliac vein: a case report 
Phlegmasia cerulea dolens is a rare condition caused by complete venous occlusion leading to impaired arterial flow. To prevent progression to limb gangrene, prompt diagnosis and treatment initiation are paramount. Here we report a rare case of posttraumatic phlegmasia cerulea dolens after ligation of the iliac vein to save the patient's life, with successful treatment by reconstructing the external iliac vein. This is the first report of posttraumatic phlegmasia cerulea dolens induced by iliac vein ligation.
Case presentation
A 49-year-old Chinese man was admitted to a local hospital for severe knife trauma with massive intraperitoneal bleeding. During exploratory laparotomy, he was diagnosed with traumatic rupture of his left external iliac vein without injury to the iliac artery. The proximal and distal parts of his injured external iliac vein were ligated to control the bleeding and rescue him, but his left leg quickly became severe swollen, cyanotic and pulseless. He was diagnosed with posttraumatic phlegmasia cerulea dolens after being transferred to our university hospital. After a retrievable filter was placed in his inferior vena cava via his right femoral vein, he underwent reopening of his abdomen followed by successful surgical reconstruction of his left iliac vein. He was treated with anticoagulation therapy postoperatively and his signs and symptoms improved markedly. He was discharged in a stable condition, with nearly full resolution of symptoms, 35 days after the operation.
Our case demonstrates that ligation of an injured iliac vein may induce phlegmasia cerulea dolens in a posttraumatic scenario; prompt reconstruction of the iliac vein to restore the venous drainage is an effective treatment for phlegmasia cerulea dolens with impending gangrene.
PMCID: PMC4048049  PMID: 24885801
Phlegmasia cerulea dolens; Posttraumatic; Reconstruction; Trauma; Iliac vein
20.  Autoantibody Response to Murine Double Minute 2 Protein in Immunodiagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:906532.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy worldwide. Although new therapeutic strategies have been continuously developed and applied to clinical treatment for HCC, the prognosis is still very poor. Thus, early detection of HCC may enhance effective and curative management. In this study, autoantibody responses to MDM2 protein in HCC patient's serum were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and part sera were evaluated by Western blotting and indirect immunofluorescence assay. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) over tissue array slides was also performed to analyze protein expression of MDM2 in HCC and control tissues. The prevalence of autoantibodies against MDM2 was significantly higher than that in liver cirrhosis (LC), chronic hepatitis (CH), and normal human sera (NHS). The average titer of autoantibodies against MDM2 in HCC serum was higher compared to that in LC, CH, and NHS. A high titer of autoantibodies against MDM2 in ELISA could be observed in the serum in 6 to 9 months before the clinical diagnosis of HCC in the serum of several HCC patients with serial bleeding samples. Our preliminary data indicate that MDM2 and anti-MDM2 system may be a potential biomarker for early stage HCC screening and immunodiagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4053260  PMID: 24955377
21.  Diagnosis and treatment of carcinosarcoma of the renal pelvis: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):467-469.
Carcinosarcoma is a rare type of renal pelvis malignancy, the diagnosis of which requires the presence of malignant epithelial and mesenchymal components. The prognosis of this disease is extremely poor due to its rapid progression and widespread metastases. The present study describes a case of carcinosarcoma involving the right renal pelvis in a 73-year-old female who presented with intermittent hematuria and right-flank pain that had persisted for one month. Computed tomography revealed a 2.4×2.5 cm mass in the right renal pelvis, which was diagnosed as a right renal pelvic tumor. Laparoscopic radical resection of the right kidney and ureter was performed. Following surgery, immunohistochemical analysis showed positive reactions for epithelial and mesenchymal markers. Based on these findings, the patient was diagnosed with carcinosarcoma. Thus, immunohistochemical analysis is a critical method for the accurate diagnosis of carcinosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC4063624  PMID: 24959298
carcinosarcoma; renal pelvis; squamous cell carcinoma; fibrosarcoma
22.  Megakaryocytic Differentiation of K562 Cells Induced by PMA Reduced the Activity of Respiratory Chain Complex IV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96246.
Mitochondria are involved in the regulation of cell differentiation processes, but its function changes and molecular mechanisms are not yet clear. In this study, we found that mitochondrial functions changed obviously when K562 cells were induced to megakaryocytic differentiation by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). During the cell differentiation, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was increased, mitochondrial membrane potential declined and respiratory chain complex IV activity was decreased. Treatment with specific inhibitor of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV led to a significant inhibition in mitochondrial membrane potential and reduction of PMA-induced cell differentiation. However, treatment with cyclosporine A, a stabilization reagent of mitochondrial membrane potential, did not improve the down-regulation of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV induced by PMA. Furthermore, we found that the level of the complex IV core subunit COX3 and mitochondrial transport-related proteins Tim9 and Tim10 were decreased during the differentiation of K562 cells induced by PMA, suggesting an important role of these factors in mitochondrial functional changes. Our results suggest that changes in mitochondrial functions are involved in the PMA-induced K562 cell differentiation process, and the maintenance of the steady-state of mitochondrial functions plays a critical role in the regulation of cell differentiation.
PMCID: PMC4015910  PMID: 24817082
23.  Transcriptome differences between two sister desert poplar species under salt stress 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):337.
Populus euphratica Oliv and P. pruinosa Schrenk (Salicaceae) both grow in dry desert areas with high summer temperatures. However, P. euphratica is distributed in dry deserts with deep underground water whereas P. pruinosa occurs in deserts in which there is underground water close to the surface. We therefore hypothesized that these two sister species may have evolved divergent regulatory and metabolic pathways during their interaction with different salt habitats and other stresses. To test this hypothesis, we compared transcriptomes from callus exposed to 24 h of salt stress and control callus samples from both species and identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and alternative splicing (AS) events that had occurred under salt stress.
A total of 36,144 transcripts were identified and 1430 genes were found to be differentially expressed in at least one species in response to salt stress. Of these DEGs, 884 and 860 were identified in P. euphratica and P. pruinosa, respectively, while 314 DEGs were common to both species. On the basis of parametric analysis of gene set enrichment, GO enrichment in P. euphratica was found to be significantly different from that in P. pruinosa. Numerous genes involved in hormone biosynthesis, transporters and transcription factors showed clear differences between the two species in response to salt stress. We also identified 26,560 AS events which were mapped to 8380 poplar genomic loci from four libraries. GO enrichments for genes undergoing AS events in P. euphratica differed significantly from those in P. pruinosa.
A number of salt-responsive genes in both P. euphratica and P. pruinosa were identified and candidate genes with potential roles in the salinity adaptation were proposed. Transcriptome comparisons of two sister desert poplar species under salt stress suggest that these two species may have developed different genetic pathways in order to adapt to different desert salt habitats. The DEGs that were found to be common to both species under salt stress may be especially important for future genetic improvement of cultivated poplars or other crops through transgenic approaches in order to increase tolerance of saline soil conditions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-337) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4035067  PMID: 24886148
P. euphratica; P. pruinosa; Salt tolerance; Salinity stress; Transcriptome; Differentially expressed genes; Alternative splicing
24.  Prednisolone has a positive effect on the kidney but not on the liver of brain dead rats: a potencial role in complement activation 
Contradictory evidence has been published on the effects of steroid treatments on the outcomes of kidney and liver transplantation from brain dead (BD) donors. Our study aimed to evaluate this disparity by investigating the effect of prednisolone administration on BD rats.
BD induction was performed in ventilated rats by inflating a Fogarty catheter placed in the epidural space. Prednisolone (22.5 mg/kg) was administered 30 min prior to BD induction. After four hours of determination of BD: serum, kidney and liver tissues samples were collected and stored. RT-qPCR, routine biochemistry and immunohistochemistry were performed.
Prednisolone treatment reduced circulating IL-6 and creatinine plasma levels but not serum AST, ALT or LDH. Polymorphonuclear influx assessed by histology, and inflammatory gene expression were reduced in the kidney and liver. However, complement component 3 (C3) expression was decreased in kidney but not in liver. Gene expression of HSP-70, a cytoprotective protein, was down-regulated in the liver after treatment.
This study shows that prednisolone decreases inflammation and improves renal function, whilst not reducing liver injury. The persistence of complement activation and the negative effect on protective cellular mechanisms in the liver may explain the disparity between the effects of prednisolone on the kidney and liver of BD rats. The difference in the molecular and cellular responses to prednisolone administration may explain the contradictory evidence of the effects of prednisolone on different organ types from brain dead organ donors.
PMCID: PMC4018938  PMID: 24884924
Brain death; Organ donation; Steroids; Prednisolone; Kidney transplantation; Liver transplantation
25.  IL-33 levels differentiate tuberculous pleurisy from malignant pleural effusions 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):449-453.
Tuberculous pleural effusions (TPEs) and malignant pleural effusions (MPEs) are difficult to differentiate between in certain clinical situations. Interleukin (IL)-33 is a cytokine that participates in inflammatory responses and may have a role in pleural effusions. The present study aimed to investigate the concentrations and potential differential significance of IL-33 in patients with TPE and MPE. IL-33 levels in pleural effusion and serum samples were detected using sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 23 patients with TPE and 21 patients with MPE. The concentration of IL-33 (mean ± standard deviation) in the TPE patients (22.962±0.976 ng/l) was significantly higher than that in the MPE patients (12.603±5.153 ng/l; P<0.001; z=−4.572); however, there was no significant difference in the serum level of IL-33 in the patients with TPE compared with those with MPE (P>0.05). The concentration of IL-33 in the pleural effusions was positively correlated with that in the serum samples in each group (TPE: r=0.563, P=0.05; MPE: r=0.535, P<0.05). The cut-off value of pleural IL-33 for TPE was 19.86 ng/l, which yielded a sensitivity of 0.869, a specificity of 0.905 and an area under the corresponding receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.903. The present study identified that the level of pleural IL-33 is significantly increased in TPEs and may serve as a novel biomarker to differentiate between patients with TPE and MPE.
PMCID: PMC4063658  PMID: 24959294
interleukin-33; pleural effusion; peripheral blood; tuberculous pleurisy; malignant pleural effusion

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