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1.  Admission hypoxia-inducible factor 1α levels and in-hospital mortality in patients with acute decompensated heart failure 
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a critical regulator for cellular oxygen balance. Myocardial hypoxia can induce the increased expression of HIF-1α. Our goals were to evaluate the value of HIF-1α in predicting death of patients with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) and describe the in vivo relationship between serum HIF-1α and N-terminal–pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels.
We included 296 patients who were consecutively admitted to the emergency department for ADHF. The primary end point was in-hospital death. The patients were categorized as HFrEF (patients with reduced systolic function) and HFpEF (patients with preserved systolic function) groups.
In our patients, the median admission HIF-1α level was 2.95 ± 0.85 ng/ml. The HIF-1α level was elevated significantly in HFrEF patients and deceased patients compared with HFpEF patients and patients who survived. The HIF-1α level was positively correlated with NT-proBNP and cardiac troponin T levels, and negatively correlated with left ventricular ejection fraction and systolic blood pressure. Kaplan–Meier curves revealed a significant increase in in-hospital mortality in ADHF patients with higher HIF-1α levels. Multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that HIF-1α levels were not correlated with the short-term prognosis of ADHF patients.
This is the first study to evaluate the circulating levels of HIF-1α in ADHF patients. Serum HIF-1α levels may reflect a serious state in patients with ADHF. Due to the limitations of the study, serum HIF-1α levels were not correlated with the in-hospital mortality based on regression analysis. Further studies are needed to demonstrate the diagnostic and/or prognostic role of HIF-1α as a risk biomarker in patients with ADHF.
PMCID: PMC4518524
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α; Acute decompensated heart failure; N-terminal–pro-brain natriuretic peptide; In-hospital mortality
2.  Evidence of liquid–liquid transition in glass-forming La50Al35Ni15 melt above liquidus temperature 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7696.
Liquid–liquid transition, a phase transition of one liquid phase to another with the same composition, provides a key opportunity for investigating the relationship between liquid structures and dynamics. Here we report experimental evidences of a liquid–liquid transition in glass-forming La50Al35Ni15 melt above its liquidus temperature by 27Al nuclear magnetic resonance including the temperature dependence of cage volume fluctuations and atomic diffusion. The observed dependence of the incubation time on the degree of undercooling is consistent with a first-order phase transition. Simulation results indicate that such transition is accompanied by the change of bond-orientational order without noticeable change in density. The temperature dependence of atomic diffusion revealed by simulations is also in agreement with experiments. These observations indicate the need of two-order parameters in describing phase transitions of liquids.
Non-density driven liquid-liquid transition has been predicted in theories, but direct experimental verification is challenging because liquid often remains metastable at transition temperature. Here, Xu et al. provide evidence in a lanthanum-based metallic glass above its liquidus temperature.
PMCID: PMC4510689  PMID: 26165855
3.  P2Y2 Receptor and EGFR Cooperate to Promote Prostate Cancer Cell Invasion via ERK1/2 Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0133165.
As one member of G protein-coupled P2Y receptors, P2Y2 receptor can be equally activated by extracellular ATP and UTP. Our previous studies have proved that activation of P2Y2 receptor by extracellular ATP could promote prostate cancer cell invasion and metastasis in vitro and in vivo via regulating the expressions of some epithelial-mesenchymal transition/invasion-related genes (including IL-8, E-cadherin, Snail and Claudin-1), and the most significant change in expression of IL-8 was observed after P2Y2 receptor activation. However, the signaling pathway downstream of P2Y2 receptor and the role of IL-8 in P2Y2-mediated prostate cancer cell invasion remain unclear. Here, we found that extracellular ATP/UTP induced activation of EGFR and ERK1/2. After knockdown of P2Y2 receptor, the ATP -stimulated phosphorylation of EGFR and ERK1/2 was significantly suppressed. Further experiments showed that inactivation of EGFR and ERK1/2 attenuated ATP-induced invasion and migration, and suppressed ATP-mediated IL-8 production. In addition, knockdown of IL-8 inhibited ATP-mediated invasion and migration of prostate cancer cells. These findings suggest that P2Y2 receptor and EGFR cooperate to upregulate IL-8 production via ERK1/2 pathway, thereby promoting prostate cancer cell invasion and migration. Thus blocking of the P2Y2-EGFR-ERK1/2 pathway may provide effective therapeutic interventions for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4504672  PMID: 26182292
4.  Severe disturbance of glucose metabolism in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of schizophrenia patients: a targeted metabolomic study 
Schizophrenia is a widespread and debilitating mental disorder. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of schizophrenia remains largely unknown and no objective laboratory tests are available to diagnose this disorder. The aim of the present study was to characterize the alternations of glucose metabolites and identify potential diagnostic biomarkers for schizophrenia.
Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry based targeted metabolomic method was used to quantify the levels of 13 glucose metabolites in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) derived from healthy controls, schizophrenia and major depression subjects (n = 55 for each group).
The majority (84.6%) of glucose metabolites were significantly disturbed in schizophrenia subjects, while only two (15.4%) glucose metabolites were differently expressed in depression subjects relative to healthy controls in both training set (n = 35/group) and test set (n = 20/group). Antipsychotics had only a subtle effect on glucose metabolism pathway. Moreover, ribose 5-phosphate in PBMCs showed a high diagnostic performance for first-episode drug-naïve schizophrenia subjects.
These findings suggested disturbance of glucose metabolism may be implicated in onset of schizophrenia and could aid in development of diagnostic tool for this disorder.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0540-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4501123  PMID: 26169624
Schizophrenia; Major depression; Glucose metabolism; GC–MS
5.  Increased RIPK4 expression is associated with progression and poor prognosis in cervical squamous cell carcinoma patients 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11955.
Aberrant expression of receptor interacting protein kinase 4 (RIPK4), a crucial regulatory protein of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, has recently been reported to be involved in several cancers. Here, we report the potential clinical implication and biological functions of RIPK4 in cervical squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). One hundred and ninety-eight CSCC cases, 109 low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSILs), 141 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs) and 63 chronic cervicitis were collected. The expression of RIPK4 was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC), and its clinical value and oncogenic functions were further assessed. RIPK4 expression increased significantly with disease progression from 3.2% in chronic cervicitis, 19.3% in LSILs and 85.1% in HSILs to 94.4% in CSCCs (P < 0.001). Moreover, RIPK4 may serve as a useful biomarker to distinguish HSIL from chronic cervicitis/LSIL, which are two different clinical types for therapeutic procedures, with a high sensitivity and specificity (85.1% and 86.6%, respectively) and the performance improved when combined with p16INK4a. Further, RIPK4 overexpression was associated with overall (HR = 2.085, P = 0.038) and disease-free survival (HR = 1.742, P = 0.037). Knockdown of RIPK4 reduced cell migration and invasion via inhibition of Vimentin, MMP2 and Fibronectin expression in cervical cancer cells. RIPK4 might act as a potential diagnostic and independent prognostic biomarker for CSCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4493702  PMID: 26148476
6.  Elastin Based Cell-laden Injectable Hydrogels with Tunable Gelation, Mechanical and Biodegradation Properties 
Biomaterials  2014;35(21):5425-5435.
Injectable hydrogels made from extracellular matrix proteins such as elastin show great promise for various biomedical applications. Use of cytotoxic reagents, fixed gelling behavior, and lack of mechanical strength in these hydrogels are the main associated drawbacks. The aim of this study was to develop highly cytocompatible and injectable elastin-based hydrogels with alterable gelation characteristics, favorable mechanical properties and structural stability for load bearing applications. A thermoresponsive copolymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-polylactide-2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-oligo(ethylene glycol)monomethyl ether methacrylate, was functionalized with succinimide ester groups by incorporating N-acryloxysuccinimide monomer. These ester groups were exploited to covalently bond this polymer, denoted as PNPHO, to different proteins with primary amine groups such as α-elastin in aqueous media. The incorporation of elastin through covalent bond formation with PNPHO promotes the structural stability, mechanical properties and live cell proliferation within the structure of hydrogels. Our results demonstrated that elastin-co-PNPHO solutions were injectable through fine gauge needles and converted to hydrogels in situ at 37 °C in the absence of any crosslinking reagent. By altering PNPHO content, the gelling time of these hydrogels can be finely tuned within the range of 2 to 15 min to ensure compatibility with surgical requirements. In addition, these hydrogels exhibited compression moduli in the range of 40 to 145 kPa, which are substantially higher than those of previously developed elastin-based hydrogels. These hydrogels were highly stable in the physiological environment with the evidence of 10 wt% mass loss in 30 days of incubation in a simulated environment. This class of hydrogels is in vivo bioabsorbable due to the gradual increase of the lower critical solution temperature of the copolymer to above 37 °C due to the cleavage of polylactide from the PNPHO copolymer. Moreover, our results demonstrated that more than 80% of cells encapsulated in these hydrogels remained viable, and the number of encapsulated cells increased for at least 5 days. These unique properties mark elastin-co-PNHPO hydrogels as favorable candidates for a broad range of tissue engineering applications.
PMCID: PMC4419780  PMID: 24731705
Thermally responsive material; Elastin; Hydrogel; Injectable
7.  Application of next-generation sequencing for 24-chromosome aneuploidy screening of human preimplantation embryos 
Aneuploidy is a leading cause of repeat implantation failure and recurrent miscarriages. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) enables the assessment of the numeral and structural chromosomal errors of embryos before transfer in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) has been demonstrated to be an accurate PGS method and in present thought to be the gold standard, but new technologies, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), continue to emerge. Validation of the new comprehensive NGS-based 24-chromosome aneuploidy screening technology is still needed to determine the preclinical accuracy before it might be considered as an alternative method for human PGS.
In the present study, 43 human trophectoderm (TE) biopsy samples and 5 cytogenetically characterized cell lines (Coriell Cell Repositories) were tested. The same whole genome amplified product of each sample was blindly assessed with Veriseq NGS and Agilent aCGH to identify the aneuploidy status. The result showed that the NGS identified all abnormalities identified in aCGH including the numeral chromosomal abnormalities (again or loss) in the embryo samples and the structural (partial deletion and duplication) in the Coriell cell lines. Both technologies can identify a segmental imbalance as small as 1.8 Mb in size. Among the 41 TE samples with abnormal karyotypes in this study, eight (19.5 %) samples presented as multiple chromosome abnormalities. The abnormalities occurred to almost all chromosomes, except chromosome 6, 7, 17 and Y chromosome.
Given its reliability and high level of consistency with an established aCGH methodology, NGS has demonstrated a robust high-throughput methodology ready for extensive clinical application in reproductive medicine, with potential advantages of reduced costs and enhanced precision. Then, a randomized controlled clinical trial confirming its clinical effectiveness is advisable to obtain a larger sequencing dataset and more evidence for the extensive use of NGS-based PGS.
PMCID: PMC4469409  PMID: 26085841
Preimplantation genetic screening; Next-generation sequencing; Aneuploidy screening; Array comparative genomic hybridization; Blastocyst
8.  Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Human Enterocyte Tolerance to Cytokine-Mediated Interleukin-8 Production May Occur Independently of TLR-4/MD-2 Signaling 
Pediatric research  2005;59(1):89-95.
Intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) are constantly exposed to bacterial components, such as LPS, without triggering proinflammatory immune responses. This study demonstrates that chronic exposure of human-derived IEC to LPS induces tolerance to an endogenous inflammatory cytokine (IL-1β) activated IL-8 response that occurs independently of TLR-4/MD-2 signaling. IL-8 production in response to activation by unrelated TNF-α and PMA signaling pathways is also inhibited, indicating a broad-spanning tolerance. Quantitative rtPCR and IL-8 promoter-luciferase assays demonstrate that tolerance is regulated at the transcriptional level and occurs independently of IEC cytodifferentiation. By contrast, LPS does not significantly alter other proinflammatory signaling cascades in IEC that function independently of IL-8 production, e.g., IL-6 secretion and PEEC (Hepoxilin A3)-induced neutrophil transepithelial migration in response to invasive Salmonella typhimurium. Human IEC have therefore developed LPS-induced signaling cascades that promote an IL-8 hyporesponsiveness to proinflammatory cytokines while LPS exposure does not compromise the ability of IEC to mount other proinflammatory immune responses to invasive enteropathogens.
PMCID: PMC4465784  PMID: 16326999
9.  Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. (Du-Zhong) Lignans Inhibit Angiotensin II-Stimulated Proliferation by Affecting P21, P27, and Bax Expression in Rat Mesangial Cells 
Cortex Eucommiae (Du-zhong) is the dried bark of the Eucommia ulmoides Oliv. The natural products identified from Du-zhong include lignans, iridoids, flavonoids, polysaccharides, terpenes, and proteins, Liu et al. (2012). Lignans, the main bioactive components, were protective against hypertensive renal injury in spontaneous hypertensive rats in our previous study, Li et al. (2012). Moreover, Eucommia lignans also diminished aldose reductase (AR) overexpression in the kidney, Li et al. (2012). However, the pathological mechanism underlying the protective effects of Eucommia lignans remains unknown. Cellular proliferation was reported to contribute to important pathological changes in hypertensive renal injuries, and increased angiotensin II (Ang II) expression was reported to be essential for target-organ damage during hypertension. Ang II is the main effective peptide in the renin-angiotensin system and is considered to be a key mediator in the development of hypertensive nephropathy, Rüster and Wolf (2011). Our preliminary results showed that Eucommia lignans had inhibitory effects on Ang II-induced proliferation of rat mesangial cells. In the present study, we investigated the effects of Eucommia ulmoides on Ang II-induced proliferation and apoptosis of rat mesangial cells. Cell cycle-related genes P21 and P27, and cell apoptosis-related genes Bax and Bcl-2, were determined.
PMCID: PMC4478362  PMID: 26170892
10.  Role of antioxidant enzymes in redox regulation of NMDAR function and memory in middle-age rats 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;35(6):1459-1468.
Overexpression of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) in the hippocampus results in age-dependent impaired cognition and altered synaptic plasticity suggesting a possible model for examining the role of oxidative stress in senescent neurophysiology. However, it is unclear if SOD1 overexpression involves an altered redox environment and a decrease in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) synaptic function reported for aging animals. Viral vectors were used to express SOD1 and green fluorescent protein (SOD1+GFP), SOD1 and catalase (SOD1+CAT), or GFP alone in the hippocampus of middle-age (17 mo) male Fischer 344 rats. We confirm that SOD1+GFP and SOD1+CAT reduced lipid peroxidation indicating superoxide metabolites were primarily responsible for lipid peroxidation. SOD1+GFP impaired learning, decreased glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, decreased glutathione (GSH) levels, decreased NMDAR-mediated synaptic responses, and impaired long-term potentiation (LTP). Co-expression of SOD1+CAT rescued the effects of SOD1 expression on learning, redox measures, and synaptic function suggesting the effects were mediated by excess hydrogen peroxide. Application of the reducing agent dithiolthreitol (DTT) to hippocampal slices increased the NMDAR-mediated component of the synaptic response in SOD1+GFP animals relative to animals that overexpress SOD1+CAT indicating that the effect of antioxidant enzyme expression on NMDAR function was due to a shift in the redox environment. The results suggest that overexpression of neuronal SOD1 and CAT in middle-age may provide a model for examining the role of oxidative stress in senescent physiology and the progression of age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3961498  PMID: 24388786
Aging; superoxide dismutase; catalase; glutathione peroxidase; learning and memory; NMDAR; synaptic plasticity
11.  A comparative study of mechanical strain, icariin and combination stimulations on improving osteoinductive potential via NF-kappaB activation in osteoblast-like cells 
The combination of drugs and exercise was the effective treatment in bone injure and rebuilding in clinic. As mechanical strain has potential in inducing the differentiation of osteoblasts in our previous study, the further research to investigate the combination of mechanical strain and icariin stimulation on inducing osteoblast proliferation, differentiation and the possible mechanism in MC3T3-E1 cell line.
A whole cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that detects the bromodeoxyuridine incorporation during DNA synthesis was applied to evaluate the proliferation. The mRNA expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN), type I collagen (Col I), bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and BMP-4 was detected by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. The activity of ALP was analyzed by ELISA and the protein expression of OCN, Col I and BMP-2 was assessed by western blot. Moreover, the activity of nuclear transcription factor kappa-B (NF-κB) signaling pathway was investigated with the expression of inhibitor of κB (IκB) α, phosphorylation of IκB-α (P-IκB-α), p65, P-p65 by western blot.
We observed that compared to single mechanical strain or icariin stimulation, the mRNA and protein expressions of ALP (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01), OCN (P < 0.01) and Col I (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01) were increased significantly by the combination of mechanical strain and icariin stimulation. Moreover, the combination of mechanical strain and icariin stimulation could up-regulate the expression of BMP-2 (P < 0.01) and BMP-4 compared to single mechanical strain or icariin stimulation. The combination of mechanical strain and icariin stimulation could activate NF-κB signaling pathway by increasing the expression of IκB α, P-IκB-α, p65, P-p65 (P < 0.01).
The combination of mechanical strain and icariin stimulation could activate the NF-κB pathway to improve the proliferation, differentiation of osteoblast-like cells.
PMCID: PMC4455701  PMID: 25994935
Mechanical strain; Icariin; BMP-2; NF-κB; Bone remodeling
12.  Escherichia coli Maltose-Binding Protein Induces M1 Polarity of RAW264.7 Macrophage Cells via a TLR2- and TLR4-Dependent Manner 
Maltose-binding protein (MBP) is a critical player of the maltose/maltodextrin transport system in Escherichia coli. Our previous studies have revealed that MBP nonspecifically induces T helper type 1 (Th1) cell activation and activates peritoneal macrophages obtained from mouse. In the present study, we reported a direct stimulatory effect of MBP on RAW264.7 cells, a murine macrophage cell line. When stimulated with MBP, the production of nitric oxide (NO), IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-12p70, and the expressions of CD80, MHC class II and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were all increased in RAW264.7 cells, indicating the activation and polarization of RAW264.7 cells into M1 macrophages induced by MBP. Further study showed that MBP stimulation upregulated the expression of TLR2 and TLR4 on RAW264.7 cells, which was accompanied by subsequent phosphorylation of IκB-α and p38 MAPK. Pretreatment with anti-TLR2 or anti-TLR4 antibodies largely inhibited the phosphorylation of IκB-α and p38 MAPK, and greatly reduced MBP-induced NO and IL-12p70 production, suggesting that the MBP-induced macrophage activation and polarization were mediated by TLR2 and TLR4 signaling pathways. The observed results were independent of lipopolysaccharide contamination. Our study provides a new insight into a mechanism by which MBP enhances immune responses and warrants the potential application of MBP as an immune adjuvant in immune therapies.
PMCID: PMC4463623  PMID: 25941931
maltose-binding protein; classically activated macrophages; toll-like receptor 2; toll-like receptor 4
13.  High expression of Talin-1 is associated with poor prognosis in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:332.
Talin-1 is a cytoskeletal protein that plays an important role in tumourgenesis, migration and metastasis in several malignant tumors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression and prognostic value of Talin-1 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Talin-1 mRNA and protein expression were examined in NPC cell lines and clinical nasopharyngeal tissues by quantitative RT-PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis and western blotting. The expression of Talin-1 was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining in 233 paraffin-embedded NPC specimens with clinical follow-up data and cox regression analysis was used to identify independent prognostic factors. The functional role of Talin-1 in NPC cell lines was evaluated by small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of the protein followed by the wound healing and transwell invasion assays.
The expression of Talin-1 was significantly upregulated in most NPC cell lines and clinical tissues at both the mRNA and protein levels. High expression of Talin-1 was significantly associated with distant metastasis (P = 0.001) and patient death (P = 0.001). In addition, high expression of Talin-1 was associated with significantly poorer overall survival (OS: HR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.28-3.63; P = 0.003) and poorer distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS: HR, 2.39; 95% CI, 1.38-4.15; P = 0.001). Cox regression analysis indicated that high expression of Talin-1 and TNM stage were independent prognostic indicators (both P < 0.05). Stratified analysis demonstrated that high expression of Talin-1 was associated with significantly poorer survival in patients with advanced stage disease (stage III-IV, HR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.09-3.35; P = 0.02 for OS and HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.24-3.99; P = 0.006 for DMFS). Furthermore, the depletion of Talin-1 suppressed the migratory and invasive ability of NPC cells in vitro.
Our data demonstrate that high expression of Talin-1 is associated with significantly poorer OS and poorer DMFS in NPC and depletion of Talin-1 expression inhibited NPC cell migration and invasion. Talin-1 may serve as novel prognostic biomarker in NPC.
PMCID: PMC4424526  PMID: 25925041
Talin-1; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Prognosis; Biomarker
14.  Prognostic Value of Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-2 Expression in Patients with Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0124230.
Background and Objectives
Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) is a small secretory glycoprotein with anti–matrix metalloproteinase activity. Data on the value of TIMP-2 as a prognostic factor in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are discordant and remain controversial. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to explore this issue.
We identified the relevant literature by searching the PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, SinoMed, and Wanfang Data databases (search terms: “non-small cell lung cancer” or “NSCLC” or “Lung Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell”, “Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase-2” or “TIMP-2”, and “prognosis” or “prognostic” or “survive”) for updates prior to March 1, 2014. The pooled hazard ratio (HR) of overall survival with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) was used to evaluate the strength of the association between positive TIMP-2 expression and survival in patients with NSCLC.
We included 12 studies in our systematic review; five studies involving 399 patients with NSCLC were meta-analyzed. The pooled HR of all included patients was 0.57 (95% CI: 0.43–0.77), and the HRs of subgroup analysis according to stage (I–IV), testing method (immunohistochemistry) and high TIMP-2 expression percentage (<50%) were 0.63 (95% CI: 0.43–0.92), 0.55 (95% CI: 0.41–0.74), and 0.50 (95% CI: 0.28–0.88), respectively. These data suggested that high TIMP-2 expression is associated with favorable prognosis in NSCLC. The meta-analysis did not reveal heterogeneity or publication bias.
TIMP-2 expression indicates favorable prognosis in patients with NSCLC; as a protective factor, it could help predict outcome and may guide clinical therapy in the future.
PMCID: PMC4408055  PMID: 25905787
15.  Uremic Retention Solute Indoxyl Sulfate Level Is Associated with Prolonged QTc Interval in Early CKD Patients 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0119545.
Total mortality and sudden cardiac death is highly prevalent in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In CKD patients, the protein-bound uremic retention solute indoxyl sulfate (IS) is independently associated with cardiovascular disease. However, the underlying mechanisms of this association have yet to be elucidated. The relationship between IS and cardiac electrocardiographic parameters was investigated in a prospective observational study among early CKD patients. IS arrhythmogenic effect was evaluated by in vitro cardiomyocyte electrophysiological study and mathematical computer simulation. In a cohort of 100 early CKD patients, patients with corrected QT (QTc) prolongation had higher IS levels. Furthermore, serum IS level was independently associated with prolonged QTc interval. In vitro, the delay rectifier potassium current (IK) was found to be significantly decreased after the treatment of IS in a dose-dependent manner. The modulation of IS to the IK was through the regulation of the major potassium ion channel protein Kv 2.1 phosphorylation. In a computer simulation, the decrease of IK by IS could prolong the action potential duration (APD) and induce early afterdepolarization, which is known to be a trigger mechanism of lethal ventricular arrhythmias. In conclusion, serum IS level is independently associated with the prolonged QTc interval in early CKD patients. IS down-regulated IK channel protein phosphorylation and the IK current activity that in turn increased the cardiomyocyte APD and QTc interval in vitro and in the computer ORd model. These findings suggest that IS may play a role in the development of arrhythmogenesis in CKD patients.
PMCID: PMC4403985  PMID: 25893644
16.  P15 gene methylation in hepatocellular carcinomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objective: This study was performed to investigate the correlation between P15 methylation and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatocirrhosis using a meta-analysis of available case control studies. Methods: Previous studies have primarily evaluated the incidence of P15 methylation in HCC and corresponding control groups, and compared the incidence of P15 methylation in liver cirrhosis and control groups. Data regarding publication information, study characteristics, and incidence of P15 methylation in both groups were collected from these studies and summarized. Results: Ten studies that assessed P15 gene methylation in 824 HCC tumour tissues and five studies analyzing P15 methylation in 155 liver cirrhosis tissues met our inclusion criteria. Our meta-analysis revealed that the rate of P15 methylation was significantly higher in HCCs than in adjacent non-tumour tissues (OR 9.04, 95% CI 5.80-14.09, P < 0.00001). Moreover, P15 methylation was significantly higher in liver cirrhosis tissues than in control tissues (OR 7.82, 95% CI 3.58-17.07, P < 0.00001). Conclusions: we found that P15 methylation was associated with an increased risk of HCC and liver cirrhosis. P15 hypermethylation induced the inactivation of the P15 gene, which played an important role in hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4483910  PMID: 26131050
P15 methylation; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver cirrhosis; meta-analysis
17.  MiR-21/miR-375 ratio is an independent prognostic factor in patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma 
American Journal of Cancer Research  2015;5(5):1775-1785.
We sought to identify microRNAs that exhibit altered expression in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and to determine whether microRNA expression is predictive of disease. This study was divided into three steps: (1) The expression of six miRNAs, such as up-regulated miR-223, miR-142-3p, miR-21, miR-16, miR-23a and down-regulated miR-375, was evaluated using total RNA isolated from freshly-frozen primary tumors and non-cancerous laryngeal squamous epithelial tissues and analyzed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). (2) We also investigated the mRNA expression levels of processing elements (RNASEN, DGCR8, and DICER1) that participate in miRNA-biogenesis pathway. (3) We analyzed the relationships between the expression levels of these miRNAs and the clinicopathologic parameters of laryngeal SCC patients. In this study, we found that: (1) A marked difference in the microRNA expression pattern was observed between tumors and non-cancerous tissue. With regard to miRNA-processing elements, the expression level of RNASEN was higher in laryngeal SCC than in normal epithelium (P<0.01). (2) The miR-21/miR-375 expression ratio was highly sensitive and specific for disease prediction. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significant association between high expression of miR-21/miR-375 in cancerous tissue and a worse prognosis (p=0.032). (3) Furthermore, the expression ratio of miR-21/mir-375 in patients with stage (III-IV) tumors was significantly higher than that in those with stage (I-II) tumors (p=0.006). These data suggest that the pattern of microRNA expression in primary laryngeal SCC tissues is exhibiting strong predictive potential.
PMCID: PMC4497443  PMID: 26175945
microRNA; microarray; laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma; biomarker; prognosis
18.  Bacteria detected after instrumentation surgery for pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis in a canine model 
European Spine Journal  2013;23(4):838-845.
This study was designed to identify the presence, type and origin of bacteria adjacent to the metal implant in the infected region in a canine model of pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis treated with single-stage anterior autogenous bone grafting and instrumentation.
Dogs with pyogenic spondylodiscitis underwent one-stage debridement, autogenous bone grafting and titanium plate instrumentation and perioperative antibiotic therapy. The implants and adjacent vertebral bones were removed surgically at various postoperative time points (4, 8, 12 and 24 weeks) for bacteria detection. Bacteria were detected from retrieved spinal implants as well as surrounding bones by culture and/or pyrosequencing methods in 17 (85 %) of all 20 animals. The positive rate for bacteria presence was 45 % by culture and 80 % by pyrosequencing method.
Radiological or macroscopic examination showed no signs for infection recurrence in any animal regardless of bacteria presence at the surgical site. However, organism identical with the causative bacterium for spinal infection was found in only two of nine culture-positive animals.
Within the confines of the study, the use of metallic implants in an infected area did not lead to a clinically relevant infection although bacteria may exist at the surgical site. The use of metallic implants in an infected area of the spine is safe. The metallic implants may not be the “culprit” for the persistence or recurrence of infection.
PMCID: PMC3960409  PMID: 24121752
Spinal infection; Animal model; Canine; Staphylococcus aureus; Titanium implant
19.  Significance of tumour cell HLA-G5/-G6 isoform expression in discrimination for adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma in lung cancer patients 
Human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-G has seven isoforms, of which HLA-G1-G4 are membrane-bound and HLA-G5-G7 are soluble. Previous studies reinforced HLA-G expression was strongly related to poor prognosis in different types of cancers. Among these studies, the monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4H84 was used which detects all HLA-G isoform heavy chain; unfortunately, leaves the specific types of isoforms expressed in lesions undistinguished and its clinical significance needs to be clarified. To explore clinical significance of lesion soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), mAb 5A6G7 recognizing HLA-G5/-G6 molecules was used. Tumour cell sHLA-G expression in 131 primary NSCLC lesions (66 squamous cell carcinoma, 55 adenocarcinoma and 10 adenosquamous carcinoma) were analysed with immunohistochemistry. Data showed that sHLA-G expression was observed in 34.0% (45/131) of the NSCLC lesions, which was unrelated to patient age, sex, lymph nodal status, tumour–node–metastasis stage and patient survival. However, tumour cell sHLA-G expression in lesions was predominately observed in adenocarcinoma lesions (73.0%, 40/55) which was significantly higher than that in squamous cell carcinoma (6.0%, 4/66) and adenosquamous carcinoma lesions (10.0%, 1/10, P < 0.001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for lesion sHLA-G was 0.833 (95% CI: 0.754–0.912, P < 0.001) for adenocarcinoma versus squamous cell carcinoma. Our findings for the first time showed that tumour cell sHLA-G was predominately expressed in lung adenocarcinoma, which could be a useful biomarker to discriminate adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma in NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC4395192  PMID: 25689063
HLA-G; non-small-cell lung cancer; ROC
20.  Chromosomal imbalances revealed in primary renal cell carcinomas by comparative genomic hybridization 
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for approximately 3% of all new cancer cases. Although the classification of RCC is based mainly on histology, this method is not always accurate. We applied comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to determine genomic alterations in 46 cases of different RCC histological subtypes [10 cases of clear cell RCC (CCRCC), 13 cases of papillary RCC (PRCC), 12 cases of chromophobe RCC (CRCC), 9 cases of Xp11.2 translocation RCC (Xp11.2RCC), 2 cases of undifferentiated RCC (unRCC)], and investigated the relationships between clinical parameters and genomic aberrations. Changes involving one or more regions of the genome were seen in all RCC patients; DNA sequence gains were most frequently (>30%) seen in chromosomes 7q, 16p, and 20q; losses from 1p, 3p, 13q, 14q, and 8p. We conclude CGH is a useful complementary method for differential diagnosis of RCC. Loss of 3p21-25, 15q, and gain of 16p11-13 are relatively particular to CCRCC vs. other types of RCC. Gain of 7p13-22, 8q21-24, and loss of 18q12-ter, 14q13-24, and Xp11-q13/Y are more apparent in PRCC, and gain of 8q21-24 is characteristic of type 2 PRCC vs. type 1 PRCC. Loss of 2q12-32, 10p12-15, and 11p11-15, 13p are characteristic of CRCC, and gain of 3p and loss of 11p11-15 and 13p are significant differentiators between common CRCC and CRCC accompanied by sarcomatous change groups. Gain of Xp11-12 is characteristic of the Xp11.2RCC group. Based on Multivariate Cox regression analysis, aberration in 5 chromosome regions were poor prognostic markers of RCC, and include the gain of chromosome 12p12-ter (P = 0.034, RR = 3.502, 95% CI 1.097-11.182), 12q14-ter (P = 0.002, RR = 5.115, 95% CI 1.847-14.170), 16q21-24 (P = 0.044, RR = 2.629, 95% CI 1.027-6.731), 17p12-ter (P = 0.017, RR = 3.643, 95% CI 1.262-10.512) and the loss of 18q12-23 (P = 0.049, RR = 2.911, 95% CI 1.006-8.425), which may provide clues of new genes involved in RCC tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC4466932  PMID: 26097545
Renal cell carcinoma; comparative genomic hybridization; chromosomal change
21.  Biflavone Ginkgetin, a Novel Wnt Inhibitor, Suppresses the Growth of Medulloblastoma 
Medulloblastoma (MB) is a form of malignant brain tumor that predominantly arises in infants and children, of which approximately 25 % is due to upregulation of canonical Wnt pathway with mainly mutations in CTNNB1. Therefore, Wnt inhibitors could offer rational therapeutic strategies and chemoprevention for this malignant cancer. In our present study, we undertook a screening for antagonists of Wnt signaling from 600 natural compounds, and identified Ginkgetin, a biflavone isolated from Cephalotaxus fortunei var. alpina. Ginkgetin inhibited Wnt pathway with an IC50 value around 5.92 μM and structure–activity relationship analysis suggested the methoxy group in Ginkgetin as a functional group. Biflavone Ginkgetin showed obvious cytotoxicity in Daoy and D283 MB cells. Cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry showed that Ginkgetin induced efficiently G2/M phase arrest in Daoy cells. Further mechanism studies showed that Ginkgetin reduced the expression of Wnt target genes, including Axin2, cyclinD1 and survivin in MB cells. The phosphorylation level of β-catenin also decreased in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Collectively, our data suggest that Ginkgetin is a novel inhibitor of Wnt signaling, and as such warrants further exploration as a promising anti-medulloblastoma candidate.
PMCID: PMC4402583  PMID: 25821199
Wnt signaling; Medulloblastoma; Inhibitor; Biflavone; Ginkgetin
22.  Biflavone Ginkgetin, a Novel Wnt Inhibitor, Suppresses the Growth of Medulloblastoma 
Medulloblastoma (MB) is a form of malignant brain tumor that predominantly arises in infants and children, of which approximately 25 % is due to upregulation of canonical Wnt pathway with mainly mutations in CTNNB1. Therefore, Wnt inhibitors could offer rational therapeutic strategies and chemoprevention for this malignant cancer. In our present study, we undertook a screening for antagonists of Wnt signaling from 600 natural compounds, and identified Ginkgetin, a biflavone isolated from Cephalotaxus fortunei var. alpina. Ginkgetin inhibited Wnt pathway with an IC50 value around 5.92 μM and structure–activity relationship analysis suggested the methoxy group in Ginkgetin as a functional group. Biflavone Ginkgetin showed obvious cytotoxicity in Daoy and D283 MB cells. Cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry showed that Ginkgetin induced efficiently G2/M phase arrest in Daoy cells. Further mechanism studies showed that Ginkgetin reduced the expression of Wnt target genes, including Axin2, cyclinD1 and survivin in MB cells. The phosphorylation level of β-catenin also decreased in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Collectively, our data suggest that Ginkgetin is a novel inhibitor of Wnt signaling, and as such warrants further exploration as a promising anti-medulloblastoma candidate.
PMCID: PMC4402583  PMID: 25821199
Wnt signaling; Medulloblastoma; Inhibitor; Biflavone; Ginkgetin
23.  Laryngoscope and a New Tracheal Tube Assist Lightwand Intubation in Difficult Airways due to Unstable Cervical Spine 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120231.
The WEI Jet Endotracheal Tube (WEI JET) is a new tracheal tube that facilitates both oxygenation and ventilation during the process of intubation and assists tracheal intubation in patients with difficult airway. We evaluated the effectiveness and usefulness of the WEI JET in combination with lightwand under direct laryngoscopy in difficult tracheal intubation due to unstable cervical spine.
Ninety patients with unstable cervical spine disorders (ASA I-III) with general anaesthesia were included and randomly assigned to three groups, based on the device used for intubation: lightwand only, lightwand under direct laryngoscopy, lightwand with WEI JET under direct laryngoscopy.
No statistically significant differences were detected among three groups with respect to demographic characteristics and C/L grade. There were statistically significant differences between three groups for overall intubation success rate (p = 0.015) and first attempt success rate (p = 0.000). The intubation time was significantly longer in the WEI group (110.8±18.3 s) than in the LW group (63.3±27.5 s, p = 0.000) and DL group (66.7±29.4 s, p = 0.000), but the lowest SpO2 in WEI group was significantly higher than other two groups (p<0.01). The WEI JET significantly reduced successful tracheal intubation attempts compared to the LW group (p = 0.043). The severity of sore throat was similar in three groups (p = 0.185).
The combined use of WEI JET under direct laryngoscopy helps to assist tracheal intubation and improves oxygenation during intubation in patients with difficult airway secondary to unstable spine disorders.
Trial Registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-TRC-14005141
PMCID: PMC4372550  PMID: 25803435
24.  Treatment of Congenital Neurotransmitter Deficiencies by Intracerebral Ventricular Injection of an Adeno-Associated Virus Serotype 9 Vector 
Human Gene Therapy  2013;25(3):189-198.
Dopamine and serotonin are produced by distinct groups of neurons in the brain, and gene therapies other than direct injection have not been attempted to correct congenital deficiencies in such neurotransmitters. In this study, we performed gene therapy to treat knock-in mice with dopamine and serotonin deficiencies caused by a mutation in the aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) gene (DdcKI mice). Intracerebral ventricular injection of neonatal mice with an adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9 (AAV9) vector expressing the human AADC gene (AAV9-hAADC) resulted in widespread AADC expression in the brain. Without treatment, 4-week-old DdcKI mice exhibited whole-brain homogenate dopamine and serotonin levels of 25% and 15% of normal, respectively. After gene therapy, the levels rose to 100% and 40% of normal, respectively. The gene therapy improved the growth rate and survival of DdcKI mice and normalized their hindlimb clasping and cardiovascular dysfunctions. The behavioral abnormalities of the DdcKI mice were partially corrected, and the treated DdcKI mice were slightly more active than normal mice. No immune reactions resulted from the treatment. Therefore, a congenital neurotransmitter deficiency can be treated safely through inducing widespread expression of the deficient gene in neonatal mice.
PMCID: PMC3955971  PMID: 24251946
25.  A De Novo Transcriptome and Valid Reference Genes for Quantitative Real-Time PCR in Colaphellus bowringi 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0118693.
The cabbage beetle Colaphellus bowringi Baly is a serious insect pest of crucifers and undergoes reproductive diapause in soil. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms of diapause regulation, insecticide resistance, and other physiological processes is helpful for developing new management strategies for this beetle. However, the lack of genomic information and valid reference genes limits knowledge on the molecular bases of these physiological processes in this species.
Using Illumina sequencing, we obtained more than 57 million sequence reads derived from C. bowringi, which were assembled into 39,390 unique sequences. A Clusters of Orthologous Groups classification was obtained for 9,048 of these sequences, covering 25 categories, and 16,951 were assigned to 255 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways. Eleven candidate reference gene sequences from the transcriptome were then identified through reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Among these candidate genes, EF1α, ACT1, and RPL19 proved to be the most stable reference genes for different reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction experiments in C. bowringi. Conversely, aTUB and GAPDH were the least stable reference genes.
The abundant putative C. bowringi transcript sequences reported enrich the genomic resources of this beetle. Importantly, the larger number of gene sequences and valid reference genes provide a valuable platform for future gene expression studies, especially with regard to exploring the molecular mechanisms of different physiological processes in this species.
PMCID: PMC4334893  PMID: 25692689

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