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1.  High Reproducibility of Adhesion Formation in Rat with Meso-Stitch Approximation of Injured Cecum and Abdominal Wall 
Objective: Peritoneal adhesions following surgery are a common, serious pathology with severe complications. Appropriate animal adhesion models are essential for the assessment of adhesion preventing medical devices. This study introduces a variation of an established rat model in which highest degree adhesions are induced with excellent reproducibility (OPAM = optimized peritoneal adhesion model). Thus, this model seems to be eligible to study effects of adhesion preventing devices.
Methods: 24 Lewis male rats were divided into four groups (OPAM, WSFX, sham-OPAM, sham-WSFX). The OPAM technique comprised cecal abrasion, creation of an abdominal wall defect plus approximation of injured areas by a suture, which was compared to a setting of lesions without suture fixation (WSFX). All rats were sacrificed at day 7. Macroscopic and histopathological evaluations were performed. Results were statistically analyzed using ANOVA and Dunnett's test.
Results: In OPAM rats macroscopic analyses revealed a 90% incidence adhesion of cecum to the abdominal wall, all adhesions imposing as complete agglutination. In WSFX animals incidence of adhesions formation was 75%, while in both sham groups there were no adhesions at all. Histology showed the structure of adhesions with merged smooth muscle of colon and skeletal muscle of abdominal wall in all cases.
Conclusion: OPAM technique provides adhesions of injured areas with a better probability than with conventional methods. All OPAM adhesions impressed as highest degree adhesions, i.e. agglutination. Due to high reproducibility in incidence and extend of adhesion formation, the OPAM is recommended for testing of adhesion prevention medical devices.
PMCID: PMC4278869  PMID: 25552912
Adhesion; Prevention; Rat; Cecal Abrasion; OPAM.
2.  The Expression Levels of Transcription Factors T-bet, GATA-3, RORγt and FOXP3 in Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte (PBL) of Patients with Liver Cancer and their Significance 
Objectives: To investigate the expression of transcriptional factors (TFs) T-bet, GATA-3, RORγt and FOXP in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to evaluate the correlation between the imbalances of Th1/Th2, Th17/Treg at the expression levels and liver cancer
Methods: The peripheral venous blood was drawn from 20 HCC-patients (HCC-group) and 20 health participants (C-group). The expression levels of Th1, Th2 and Th17 and the major Treg-specific TFs T-bet, GATA-3, RORγt and FOXP3 in the PBMC were measured with quantitative real-time PCR(RT-qPCR).
Results: The mRNA level of Th1-specific TF T-bet in HCC-group was significantly lower than that of C-group (52.34±34.07 VS 104.01±56.00, P<0.01); the mRNA level of Th2-specifc TF, GATA-3, in HCC group was significantly higher than that in C-group (1.38±1.15 VS 0.58±0.65, P<0.05) and T-bet mRNA/GATA-3 mRNA ratio was significantly lower in HCC-group than in C-group (86.01±116.71 VS 461.88±708.81, P<0.05). The mRNA level of Th17-specific TF RORγt in HCC-group was significantly higher than that of C-group (72.32±32.82 VS 33.07±22.86, P<0.01). Treg-specific TF FOXP3 mRNA level was significant higher in HCC-group than in C-group (3.17±1.59 VS 1.39±1.13, P<0.01)
Conclusion: T-bet mRNA level was reduced whereas GATA-3 mRNA level was increased and T-bet/GATA-3 ratio was significantly reduced in PBMC, indicating that Th1/Th2 ratio was of imbalance at TF levels in PBMC of HCC, displaying Th2 thrift phenomena. The mRNA levels of RORγt and FOXP3 in PBMC of HCC were significantly increased, indicating the existence of a predominant phenomenon of Th17- and Treg-expressing PBMC in HCC.
PMCID: PMC4278870  PMID: 25552913
RORγt; Th1; Th2; Th17; Treg; Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
3.  Quantitative Detection of Circulating Nucleophosmin Mutations DNA in the Plasma of Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify the copies of circulating nucleophosmin (NPM) mutations DNA in the plasma of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and to explore the association of circulating NPM mutation levels with clinical characteristics.
Design and Methods: The presence of NPM mutations in 100 Chinese patients newly diagnosed with AML were identified by RT-PCR and sequencing analysis. Copies of circulating NPM mutation A (NPM mut.A) DNA in the plasma of mutation-positive cases were quantified by real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). Furthermore, the association of circulating NPM mutation levels and clinical characteristics was analyzed.
Results: NPM mutations were identified in 37 of the 100 patients and all cases were NPM mut.A. The circulating NPM mut.A levels ranged from 0.35×108 copies/ml to 6.0×108 copies/ml in the 37 mutation-positive cases. The medium and quartile M (P25, P75) of the circulating NPM mut.A levels in patients classified as M2, M4 and M5 morphological subtypes were 1.35×108 (0.76×108, 1.91×108) copies/ml, 1.81×108 (1.47×108, 2.2×108) copies/ml and 2.50×108 (2.42×108, 3.05×108) copies/ml, respectively. Circulating NPM mut.A levels were significantly higher in patients with the M5 subtype of AML compared to patients with the M2 and M4 subtypes (p=0.000, p=0.046). In addition, circulating NPM mut.A copies were significantly associated with a higher white blood cell count, platelet count and bone marrow blast percentage (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that circulating NPM mutations DNA assay serves as a complementary to the routine investigative protocol of NPM-mutated leukemia.
PMCID: PMC4278871  PMID: 25552914
nucleophosmin; mutation; acute myeloid leukemia; circulating DNA; real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
4.  Genome-based Proteomic Analysis of Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden Sclerotium 
Lignosus rhinocerotis (Cooke) Ryvarden (Polyporales, Basidiomycota), also known as the tiger milk mushroom, has received much interest in recent years owing to its wide-range ethnobotanical uses and the recent success in its domestication. The sclerotium is the part with medicinal value. Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry analysis, a total of 16 non-redundant, major proteins were identified with high confidence level in L. rhinocerotis sclerotium based on its genome as custom mapping database. Some of these proteins, such as the putative lectins, immunomodulatory proteins, superoxide dismutase, and aegerolysin may have pharmaceutical potential; while others are involved in nutrient mobilization and the protective antioxidant mechanism in the sclerotium. The findings from this study provide a molecular basis for future research on potential pharmacologically active proteins of L. rhinocerotis.
PMCID: PMC4278872  PMID: 25552915
Lignosus rhinocerotis; proteomic analysis; LC-MS; MALDI-MS; proteins.
5.  A Microsatellite Polymorphism in IGF1 Gene Promoter and Timing of Natural Menopause in Caucasian Women 
Background: Genes involved in the IGF-1 aging pathways in the human ovary can be considered strong candidates for predictors of the natural menopause timing. This study evaluates the association between a cytosine-adenine (CA) microsatellite polymorphism in the IGF1 gene promoter P1 and age at natural menopause.
Methods: Genomic DNA was extracted from the peripheral blood, PCR was performed using primers designed to amplify the polymorphic (CA)n repeat of the human IGF1 gene, an allele dose effect for the most common (CA)19 repeats allele, Cox proportional hazard regression models and the Kaplan-Meier cumulative survivorship method with the log-rank test were used to determine statistical significance of studied associations in a sample of 257 Polish women aged 40-58 years.
Results: Crude Cox proportional hazard regression analysis confirmed the association between the IGF1 gene polymorphism and the menopause timing (p=0.038). This relationship remained statistically significant after controlling for other menopause confounders in multivariate modelling. Out of the input variables, the (CA)n polymorphism in the IGF1 gene promoter, age at menarche and smoking status were independent covariates of the natural menopause timing (χ2 =12.845; df=3; p=0.034). The onset of menopause at a younger age was likely associated with the IGF1 genotype variant not carrying the (CA)19 repeats allele, menarche before the age of 12 and a current cigarette smoker status (HR=1.6).
Conclusion: This study provides evidence that a common cytosine-adenine (CA) microsatellite repeat polymorphism in the P1 promoter region of the IGF1 gene is an independent predictive factor for age at natural menopause in Caucasian women also after adjusting for other menopause covariates.
PMCID: PMC4278873  PMID: 25552916
candidate gene approach; cytosine-adenine (CA) microsatellite polymorphism; IGF1 gene; age at natural menopause; age at menarche; smoking status
6.  Effect of Helixor A on Natural Killer Cell Activity in Endometriosis 
Background and Aim: NK cells are one of the major immune cells in endometriosis pathogenesis. While previous clinical studies have shown that helixor A to be an effective treatment for endometriosis, little is known about its mechanism of action, or its relationship with immune cells. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of helixor A on Natural killer cell (NK cell) cytotoxicity in endometriosis
Materials and Methods: We performed an experimental study. Samples of peritoneal fluid were obtained from January 2011 to December 2011 from 50 women with endometriosis and 50 women with other benign ovarian cysts (control). Peritoneal fluid of normal control group and endometriosis group was collected during laparoscopy. Baseline cytotoxicity levels of NK cells were measured with the peritoneal fluid of control group and endometriosis group. Next, cytotoxicity of NK cells was evaluated before and after treatment with helixor A. NK-cell activity was determined based upon the expression of CD107a, as an activation marker.
Results: NK cells cytotoxicity was 79.38±2.13% in control cells, 75.55±2.89% in the control peritoneal fluid, 69.59±4.96% in endometriosis stage I/II endometriosis, and 63.88±5.75% in stage III/IV endometriosis. A significant difference in cytotoxicity was observed between the control cells and stage III/IV endometriosis, consistent with a significant decrease in the cytotoxicity of NK cells in advanced stages of endometriosis; these levels increased significantly after treatment with helixor A; 78.30% vs. 86.40% (p = 0.003) in stage I/II endometriosis, and 73.67% vs. 84.54% (p = 0.024) in stage III/IV. The percentage of cells expressing CD107a was increased significantly in each group after helixor A treatment; 0.59% vs. 1.10% (p = 0.002) in stage I/II endometriosis, and 0.79% vs. 1.40% (p = 0.014) in stage III/IV.
Conclusions: Helixor A directly influenced NK-cell cytotoxicity through direct induction of CD107a expression. Our results open new role of helixor A as an imune modulation therapy, or in combination with hormonal agents, for the treatment of endometriosis.
PMCID: PMC4278874  PMID: 25552917
Endometriosis; Natural Killer cells; Cytotoxicity; Helixor
7.  Astrocytes Protect Neurons from Aβ1-42 Peptide-Induced Neurotoxicity Increasing TFAM and PGC-1 and Decreasing PPAR-γ and SIRT-1 
One of the earliest neuropathological events in Alzheimer's disease is accumulation of astrocytes at sites of Aβ1-42 depositions. Our results indicate that Aβ1-42 toxic peptide increases lipid peroxidation, apoptosis and cell death in neurons but not in astrocytes in primary culture. Aβ1-42-induced deleterious neuronal effects are not present when neurons and astrocytes are mixed cultured. Stimulation of astrocytes with toxic Aβ1-42 peptide increased p-65 and decreased IκB resulting in inflammatory process. In astrocytes Aβ1-42 decreases protein expressions of sirtuin 1 (SIRT-1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPAR-γ) and over-expresses peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1 (PGC-1) and mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), protecting mitochondria against Aβ1-42-induced damage and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis.
In summary our data suggest that astrocytes may have a key role in protecting neurons, increasing neural viability and mitochondrial biogenesis, acquiring better oxidative stress protection and perhaps modulating inflammatory processes against Aβ1-42 toxic peptide. This might be a sign of a complex epigenetic process in Alzheimer's disease development.
PMCID: PMC4278875  PMID: 25552918
Alzheimer's Disease; MnSOD; PPAR-γ; TFAM; PGC-1; NF-κB.
8.  The Effect of Single Embryo Transfer on Perinatal Outcomes in Japan 
Objective: In 2007 and 2008, the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued a recommendation for single embryo transfer (SET). Thereafter, SET was implemented in 73% of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cases in Japan. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of compliance with the SET recommendation on perinatal outcomes.
Methods: An electronic audit of the perinatal database of the Japanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology was conducted from 2001 through 2010. The database comprised data of 610,726 women. Totally, 20,923 women conceived through IVF. To compare perinatal outcomes, these women were categorized into two study groups depending on whether they conceived before (2004-2005, n = 3,865) or after (2009-2010, n = 6,842) the SET recommendation statement was issued.
Results: The proportion of women who conceived through IVF increased from 1.3% in 2001 to 4.8% in 2010. Compliance with the SET recommendation led to a decrease in the incidence of twin pregnancies (33.9% versus 13%, p < 0.01), incidence of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR]: 0.54, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.50-0.59), low birth weight (OR: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.39-0.45), and neonatal intensive care unit admission (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.65-0.76), but an increase in the incidence of monochorionic twins (1.6% versus 2.5%, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Compliance with the SET recommendation improved perinatal outcomes by reducing the incidence of twin pregnancies.
PMCID: PMC4278876  PMID: 25552919
in vitro fertilization; twin pregnancy; monochorionic twin; obstetric outcome; perinatal outcome.
9.  Berberine Inhibits the Metastatic Ability of Prostate Cancer Cells by Suppressing Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)-Associated Genes with Predictive and Prognostic Relevance 
Background: Over 70% of cancer metastasis from prostate cancer develops bone metastases that are not sensitive to hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) genetic program is implicated as a significant contributor to prostate cancer progression. As such, targeting the EMT represents an important therapeutic strategy for preventing or treating prostate cancer metastasis. Berberine is a natural alkaloid with significant antitumor activities against many types of cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism by which berberine represses the metastatic potential of prostate cancer.
Methods: The effects of berberine on cell migration and invasion were determined by transwell migration assay and Matrigel invasion assay. Expressions of EMT-related genes were determined by an EMT PCR Array and a quantitative RT-PCR. The prognostic relevance of berberine's modulation of EMT-related genes in prostate cancer was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.
Results: Berberine exerted inhibitory effects on the migratory and invasive abilities of highly metastatic prostate cancer cells. These inhibitory effects of berberine resulted in significant repression of a panel of mesenchymal genes that regulate the developmental EMT. Among EMT-related genes downregulated by berberine, high BMP7, NODAL and Snail gene expressions of metastatic prostate cancer tissues were associated with shorter survival of prostate cancer patients and provide potential therapeutic interventions.
Conclusions: We concluded that berberine should be developed as a pharmacological agent for use in combination with other anticancer drug for treating metastatic prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4278877  PMID: 25552920
Berberine; EMT; Prostate cancer.
10.  The Regenerative Medicine in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: The Most Important Innovations in the Clinical Application of Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Regenerative medicine is an emerging field of biotechnology that combines various aspects of medicine, cell and molecular biology, materials science and bioengineering in order to regenerate, repair or replace tissues.
The oral surgery and maxillofacial surgery have a role in the treatment of traumatic or degenerative diseases that lead to a tissue loss: frequently, to rehabilitate these minuses, you should use techniques that have been improved over time. Since 1990, we started with the use of growth factors and platelet concentrates in oral and maxillofacial surgery; in the following period we start to use biomaterials, as well as several type of scaffolds and autologous tissues. The frontier of regenerative medicine nowadays is represented by the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs): overcoming the ethical problems thanks to the use of mesenchymal stem cells from adult patient, and with the increasingly sophisticated technology to support their manipulation, MSCs are undoubtedly the future of medicine regenerative and they are showing perspectives unimaginable just a few years ago. Most recent studies are aimed to tissues regeneration using MSCs taken from sites that are even more accessible and rich in stem cells: the oral cavity turned out to be an important source of MSCs with the advantage to be easily accessible to the surgeon, thus avoiding to increase the morbidity of the patient.
The future is the regeneration of whole organs or biological systems consisting of many different tissues, starting from an initial stem cell line, perhaps using innovative scaffolds together with the nano-engineering of biological tissues.
PMCID: PMC4278878  PMID: 25552921
Regenerative medicine; Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Bone regeneration; Dental Pulp Stem Cells; human Periapical Cysts Mesenchymal Stem Cells; hPCy-MSCs.
11.  Combination Analysis in Genetic Polymorphisms of Drug-Metabolizing Enzymes CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 and CYP3A5 in the Japanese Population 
The Cytochrome P450 is the major enzyme involved in drug metabolism. CYP enzymes are responsible for the metabolism of most clinically used drugs. Individual variability in CYP activity is one important factor that contributes to drug therapy failure. We have developed a new straightforward TaqMan PCR genotyping assay to investigate the prevalence of the most common allelic variants of polymorphic CYP enzymes CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 and CYP3A5 in the Japanese population. Moreover, we focused on the combination of each genotype for clinical treatment. The genotype analysis identified a total of 139 out of 483 genotype combinations of five genes in the 1,003 Japanese subjects. According to our results, most of subjects seemed to require dose modification during clinical treatment. In the near future, modifications should be considered based on the individual patient genotype of each treatment.
PMCID: PMC4278879  PMID: 25552922
Cytochrome P450; TaqMan-PCR; dried saliva; Japanese population; Genetic analysis.
12.  Nerve Growth Factor Protects the Ischemic Heart via Attenuation of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Induced Apoptosis by Activation of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase 
Background: Increased expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) has been found in the myocardium suffered from ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). The pro-survival activity of NGF on ischemic heart has been supposed to be mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/Akt) signaling pathway. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which is activated initially as a defensive response to eliminate the accumulated unfolded proteins, has shown a critical involvement in the ischemia induced myocardial apoptosis. This study was aimed to investigate whether NGF induced heart protection against I/R injury includes a mechanism of attenuation of ER stress-induced myocardial apoptosis by activation of PI3K/Akt pathway.
Methods: Isolated adult rat hearts were perfused with a Langendörff perfusion system. Hearts in the Sham group were subjected to 225 min of continuous Krebs-Henseleit buffer (KHB) perfusion without ischemia. Hearts in I/R group were perfused with KHB for a 75-min of equilibration period followed by 30 min of global ischemia and 120 min of KHB reperfusion. Hearts in the NGF group accepted 45 min of euilibration perfusion and 30 min of NGF pretreatment (with a final concentration of 100 ng/ml in the KHB) before 30 min of global ischemia and 120 min of reperfusion. Hearts in K252a and LY294002 groups were pretreated with either a TrkA inhibitor, K252a or a phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002 for 30 min before NGF (100 ng/ml) administration. Cardiac hemodynamics were measured from the beginning of the perfusion. Cardiac enzymes and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) were assayed before ischemia and at the end of reperfusion. Myocardial apoptosis rate was measured by TUNEL staining, and expression of glucose-related protein 78 (GRP78), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), caspase-12, total- and phospho-(Ser473)-Akt were assessed by Western blot analyses.
Results: NGF pretreatment significantly improved the recovery of post-ischemia cardiac hemodynamics. Reduced creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and cTnI levels, as well as decreased myocardial apoptosis ratio were observed in the NGF group. The improvement of NGF on recovery of cardiac function and alleviation of myocardial injury were completely abolished by K252a or LY294002. GRP78, caspase-12 and CHOP were highly expressed in ischemic myocardium, while NGF significantly inhibited the overexpression of these proteins which were involved in ER stress-induced myocardial apoptosis. NGF pretreatment also induced phosphorylation of Akt. When the activation of PI3K/Akt pathway is blocked by LY294002, the NGF induced suppression of the apoptosis-related proteins expression was reversed.
Conclusions: NGF pretreatment may protect the ischemic heart via inhibition of the ER stress-induced apoptosis; this pro-survival effect is mediated by PI3K/Akt pathway.
PMCID: PMC4278880  PMID: 25552923
ischemia/reperfusion injury; nerve growth factor; endoplasmic reticulum; apoptosis.
13.  Association between Statin Use and Cancer: Data Mining of a Spontaneous Reporting Database and a Claims Database 
Purpose: In recent years, the potential risk of cancer associated with statin use has been a focus of much interest. However, it remains uncertain whether statin therapy is associated with cancer risk. To examine the association between statin use and the risk of cancer, we conducted data mining using the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) and a large organized database of claims constructed by a database vendor (The Japan Medical Data Center Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan [JMDC]).
Methods: Relevant reports in the FAERS, which included data from the first quarter of 2004 through the end of 2012, were identified and analyzed. The reporting odds ratio (ROR) was used to detect spontaneous report signals and was calculated using the case/non-case method. Additionally, signals were detected via the information component (IC) using the IC025 metric. Furthermore, event sequence symmetry analysis (ESSA) was applied to identify the risk of cancer following treatment with statins over the period January 2005 to July 2013.
Results: In the FAERS database analyses, significant signals for colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer were found for statins as a class. In the ESSA, significant associations between statin use and colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer were found, with adjusted sequence ratios (95% confidence intervals) of 1.20 (1.08-1.34) and 1.31 (1.13-1.53), respectively, at an interval of 48 months.
Conclusions: Multi-methodological approaches using different algorithms and databases suggest that statin use is associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4323360  PMID: 25678839
statin use; cancer risk; FAERS database
14.  New Developments in the Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Targeting of the IDH1 Mutation in Glioma 
In the last five years, IDH1 mutations in human malignancies have significantly shaped the diagnosis and management of cancer patients. Ongoing intense research efforts continue to alter our understanding of the role of the IDH1 mutation in tumor formation. Currently, evidence suggests the IDH1 mutation to be an early event in tumorigenesis with multiple downstream oncogenic consequences including maintenance of a hypermethylator phenotype, alterations in HIF signalling, and disruption of collagen maturation contributing to a cancer-promoting extracellular matrix. The most recent reports elucidating these mechanisms is described in this review with an emphasis on the pathogenesis of the IDH1 mutation in glioma. Conflicting findings from various studies are discussed, in order to highlight areas warranting further research. Finally, the latest progress in developing novel therapies against the IDH1 mutation is presented, including recent findings from ongoing phase 1 clinical trials and the exciting prospect of vaccine immunotherapy targeting the IDH1 mutant protein.
PMCID: PMC4323358  PMID: 25678837
IDH1 protein; glioma; DNA methylation; HIF1A protein; molecular targeted therapy; review
15.  Analysis of Efficacy Differences between Caudal and Lumbar Interlaminar Epidural Injections in Chronic Lumbar Axial Discogenic Pain: Local Anesthetic Alone vs. Local Combined with Steroids 
Study Design: Comparative assessment of randomized controlled trials of caudal and lumbar interlaminar epidural injections in chronic lumbar discogenic pain.
Objective: To assess the comparative efficacy of caudal and lumbar interlaminar approaches of epidural injections in managing axial or discogenic low back pain.
Summary of Background Data: Epidural injections are commonly performed utilizing either a caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach to treat chronic lumbar axial or discogenic pain, which is pain exclusive of that associated with a herniated intervertebral disc, or that is due to degeneration of the zygapophyseal joints, or due to dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints, respectively. The literature on the efficacy of epidural injections in managing chronic axial lumbar pain of presumed discogenic origin is limited.
Methods: The present analysis is based on 2 randomized controlled trials of chronic axial low back pain not caused by disc herniation, radiculitis, or facet joint pain, utilizing either a caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach, with a total of 240 patients studied, and a 24-month follow-up. Patients were assigned to receive either local anesthetic only or local anesthetic with a steroid in each 60 patient group.
Results: The primary outcome measure was significant improvement, defined as pain relief and functional status improvement of at least 50% from baseline, which was reported at 24-month follow-ups in 72% who received local anesthetic only with a lumbar interlaminar approach and 54% who received local anesthetic only with a caudal approach. In patients receiving local anesthetic with a steroid, the response rate was 67% for those who had a lumbar interlaminar approach and 68% for those who had a caudal approach at 12 months. The response was significantly better in the lumbar interlaminar group who received local anesthetic only, 77% versus 56% at 12 months and 72% versus 54% at 24 months.
Conclusion: This assessment shows that in patients with axial or discogenic pain in the lumbar spine after excluding facet joint and SI Joint pain, epidural injections of local anesthetic by the caudal or lumbar interlaminar approach may be effective in managing chronic low back pain with a potential superiority for a lumbar interlaminar approach over a caudal approach.
PMCID: PMC4323359  PMID: 25678838
Chronic low back pain; axial low back pain; lumbar discogenic pain; caudal epidural injections; lumbar interlaminar epidural injections.
16.  Treatment Strategies for Aneurysms Associated with Moyamoya Disease 
The treatment of aneurysms associated with moyamoya disease (MMD) is difficult for neurosurgeons, and little is known of strategy options. This report constitutes a comprehensive review of the literature. We summarize the known treatments and their clinical outcomes according to the site of the aneurysm: in major arteries, peripheral arteries, moyamoya vessels, meningeal arteries, or at the site of anastomosis. The literature review indicates that the treatment of MMD-associated aneurysms varies according to the site of the aneurysm and its hemodynamic characteristics. In particular, the treatment for basilar tip aneurysms remains challenging, since both endovascular embolization and direct clipping are difficult. The potential risk for ischemia should be considered in selecting endovascular or surgical approaches. Revascularization surgery, which is important for the treatment of MMD, also determines the clinical treatment outcome of aneurysms associated with MMD.
PMCID: PMC4323361  PMID: 25678840
Moyamoya disease; aneurysms; treatment
17.  Genetic Interaction Analysis of TCF7L2 for Biochemical Recurrence after Radical Prostatectomy in Localized Prostate Cancer 
Backgroud: Accumulated evidence has demonstrated a significant role of the Wnt pathway in human prostate cancer. We hypothesize that genetic variants in the Wnt pathway effector, Transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2), may influence clinical outcomes in prostate cancer.
Methods: We comprehensively selected 12 tagged single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to capture majority of common variants across TCF7L2, and genotyped in 458 localized prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy (RP). Kaplan-Meier analysis, Cox proportional hazard model, and survival tree analyses were performed to identify significant SNPs that correlated with biochemical recurrence (BCR) after surgery.
Results: A higher-order SNP-SNP interaction profile consisting of TCF7L2 rs7094463, rs10749127, and rs11196224 was significantly associated with BCR (Ptrend = 0.001). After adjusting for possible confounders, the genetic profile remained significant (Ptrend = 0.007). None of the studied SNPs were individually associated with BCR.
Conclusions: Our results support a genetic interaction in the TCF7L2 SNPs as a predictor of disease recurrence after curative RP in localized prostate cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4323362  PMID: 25678841
biochemical recurrence; prostate cancer; radical prostatectomy; single-nucleotide polymorphism; TCF7L2; Wnt pathway
18.  Establishment and Characterization of an Immortalized Human Hepatic Stellate Cell Line for Applications in Co-Culturing with Immortalized Human Hepatocytes 
Background and objective. The liver-specific functions of hepatocytes are improved by co-culturing hepatocytes with primary hepatic stellate cells (HSC). However, primary HSC have a short lifespan in vitro, which is considered a major limitation for their use in various applications. This study aimed to establish immortalized human HSC using the simian virus 40 large T antigen (SV40LT) for applications in co-culturing with hepatocytes and HSC in vitro.
Methods. Primary human HSC were transfected with a recombinant retrovirus containing SV40LT. The immortalized human HSC were characterized by analyzing their gene expression and functional characteristics. The liver-specific functions of hepatocytes were evaluated in a co-culture system incorporating immortalized human hepatocytes with HSC-Li cells.
Results. The immortalized HSC line, HSC-Li, was obtained after infection with a recombinant retrovirus containing SV40LT. The HSC-Li cells were longitudinally spindle-like and had numerous fat droplets in their cytoplasm as shown using electron microscopy. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), VEGF Receptor 1(Flt-1), collagen type Iα1 and Iα2 mRNA expression levels were observed in the HSC-Li cells by RT-PCR. Immunofluorescence staining showed that the HSC-Li cells were positive for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta (PDGFR-β), vimentin, and SV40LT protein expression. The HSC-Li cells produced both HGF and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1) in a time-dependent manner. Real-time PCR showed that albumin, CYP3A5, CYP2E1, and UGT2B7 mRNA expression generally increased in the co-culture system. The enzymatic activity of CYP1A2 under the co-culture conditions also generally increased as compared to the monoculture of immortalized human hepatocytes.
Conclusions. We successfully established the immortalized human HSC cell line HSC-Li. It has the specific phenotypic and functional characteristics of primary human HSC, which would be a useful tool to develop anti-fibrotic therapies. Co-culturing with the HSC-Li cells improved the liver-specific functions of hepatocytes, which may be valuable and applicable for bioartificial liver systems.
PMCID: PMC4323363  PMID: 25678842
human hepatic stellate cells; simian virus 40 large T antigen; immortalization; immortalized human hepatocytes; co-culture; bioartificial liver
19.  Upregulation of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPA12A, HSP90B1, HSPA4, HSPA5 and HSPA6) in Tumour Tissues Is Associated with Poor Outcomes from HBV-Related Early-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Background: Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue and correlate with aggressiveness and prognosis of HCC.
Methods: Using the GSE14520 microarray expression profile from Gene Expression Omnibus, we compared HSP gene expression between tumour and non-tumour tissues and correlated this with outcomes in HCC patients.
Results: We analysed 220 hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related HCC patients and 25 HSPs in this study. With the exception of HSPA4L, HSPA12A and HSPB8, members of the HSP family, including HSPH1, HSPBP1, HSPA1A, HSPA1B, HSPA1L, HSPA2, HSPA4, HSPA5, HSPA8, HSPA9, HSPAA1, HSPAB1, HSPA14, HSPB11, HSPA13, HSP90B1 and HSPBAP1, were all overexpressed in tumour tissues (all P < 0.001). In contrast, HSPB6, HSPB7, HSPA6, HSPB2 and HSPB3 were upregulated in non-tumour tissues (all P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that cirrhosis (HR = 5.282, 95% CI = 1.294-21.555, P = 0.02), Barcelona Clinic liver cancer (BCLC) staging (HR = 2.151, 95% CI = 1.682-2.750, P < 0.001), HSPA12A (HR = 1.042, 95% CI = 1.003-1.082, P = 0.033) and HSP90B1 (HR = 1.001, 95% CI = 1.000-1.001, P = 0.011) were negatively associated with survival of HBV-related HCC patients. Furthermore, advanced BCLC staging (HR = 1.797, 95% CI = 1.439-2.244, P < 0.001) was also associated with earlier recurrence of HCC. The high expression of HSPA4 (HR = 1.002, 95% CI = 1.000-1.004, P = 0.019), HSPA5 (HR = 1.0, 95% CI = 1.0-1.0, P = 0.046) and HSPA6 (HR = 1.008, 95% CI = 1.001-1.015, P = 0.021) was similarly associated with HCC recurrence.
Conclusions: The expression of most HSPs was higher in tumour tissues than in non-tumour tissues. High BCLC staging scores, advanced cirrhosis and the overexpression of HSPA12A and HSP90B1 might be associated with poor survival from HCC, whereas high levels of HSPA4, HSPA5 and HSPA6 might be associated with earlier recurrence of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4366630  PMID: 25798051
heat shock proteins; carcinoma, hepatocellular; survival; recurrence; BCLC stage; cirrhosis; HSPA12A; HSP90B1; HSPA4; HSPA5; HSPA6; HSP70.
20.  Industrial Noise and Tooth Wear - Experimental Study 
Tooth wear is a complex multifactorial process that involves the loss of hard dental tissue. Parafunctional habits have been mentioned as a self-destructive process caused by stress, which results in hyperactivity of masticatory muscles. Stress manifests itself through teeth grinding, leading to progressive teeth wear. The effects of continuous exposure to industrial noise, a “stressor” agent, cannot be ignored and its effects on the teeth must be evaluated.
Aims: The aim of this study was to ascertain the effects of industrial noise on dental wear over time, by identifying and quantifying crown area loss.
Material and Methods: 39 Wistar rats were used. Thirty rats were divided in 3 experimental groups of 10 animals each. Animals were exposed to industrial noise, rich in LFN components, for 1, 4 and 7 months, with an average weekly exposure of 40 hours (8h/day, 5 days/week with the weekends in silence). The remaining 9 animals were kept in silence. The areas of the three main cusps of the molars were measured under light microscopy.
Statistical analysis used: A two-way ANOVA model was applied at significance level of 5%.
Results: The average area of the molar cusps was significantly different between exposed and non-exposed animals. The most remarkable differences occurred between month 1 and 4. The total crown loss from month 1 to month 7 was 17.3% in the control group, and 46.5% in the exposed group, and the differences between these variations were significant (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that industrial noise is an important factor in the pathogenesis of tooth wear.
PMCID: PMC4366631  PMID: 25798052
tooth wear; industrial noise; low frequency noise; stress; parafunctional habits; bruxism.
21.  Paradoxical Response to Mechanical Unloading in Bone Loss, Microarchitecture, and Bone Turnover Markers 
Background: Sclerostin, encoded by the SOST gene, has been implicated in the response to mechanical loading in bone. Some studies demonstrated that unloading leads to up-regulated SOST expression, which may induce bone loss.
Purpose: Most reported studies regarding the changes caused by mechanical unloading were only based on a single site. Considering that the longitudinal bone growth leads to cells of different age with different sensitivity to unloading, we hypothesized that bone turnover in response to unloading is site specific.
Methods: We established a disuse rat model by sciatic neurectomy in tibia. In various regions at two time-points, we evaluated the bone mass and microarchitecture in surgically-operated rats and control rats by micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) and histology, sclerostin/SOST by immunohistochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), tartrate resistant acid phosphatase 5b (TRAP 5b) by ELISA and TRAP staining, and other bone markers by ELISA. Results: Micro-CT and histological analysis confirmed bone volume in the disuse rats was significantly decreased compared with those in the time-matched control rats, and microarchitecture also changed 2 and 8 weeks after surgery. Compared with the control groups, SOST mRNA expression in the diaphysis was down-regulated at both week 2 and 8. On the contrary, the percentage of sclerostin-positive osteocytes showed an up-regulated response in the 5 - 6 mm region away from the growth plate, while in the 2.5 - 3.5 mm region, the percentage was no significant difference. Nevertheless, in 0.5 - 1.5 mm region, the percentage of sclerostin-positive osteocytes decreased after 8 weeks, consistent with serum SOST level. Besides, the results of TRAP also suggested that the expression in response to unloading may be opposite in different sites or system.
Conclusion: Our data indicated that unloading-induced changes in bone turnover are probably site specific. This implies a more complex response pattern to unloading and unpredictable therapeutics which target SOST or TRAP 5b.
PMCID: PMC4366632  PMID: 25798053
micro-CT; bone loss; bone microarchitecture; sclerostin; TRAP
22.  No Significant Detectable Anti-infection Effects of Aspirin and Statins in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Background: Past studies have shown that aspirin and statins decrease the rate and severity of exacerbation, the rate of hospitalization, and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although these studies are relatively new, there is evidence that new therapeutic strategies could prevent exacerbation of COPD.
Trial design: This article examines retrospectively the possibility of using aspirin and statins to prevent exacerbation and infection in patients with COPD.
Methods: All patients with COPD were identified from hospital charts in the Department of Internal Medicine, Saarland University Medical Center, Germany, between 2004 and 2014.
Results: The study examined 514 medical reports and secured a study population of 300 with COPD. The mean age was 69 ± 10 years (206 men, 68.7%, 95% CI, 63.4‒73.9; 94 women, 31.3%, 95% CI, 26.1‒36.6). The study results did not show a causal relationship between aspirin and statins and prevention of exacerbation and infection in patients with COPD.
Conclusion: In contrast, in this study, the exacerbation and infection rates increased under medication with aspirin and statins (p = 0.008).
PMCID: PMC4366633  PMID: 25798054
aspirin; statins; infection; exacerbation; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; pneumonia.
23.  FDG-PET and NeuN-GFAP Immunohistochemistry of Hippocampus at Different Phases of the Pilocarpine Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy 
Purpose: Hippocampal glucose hypometabolism has been implicated in the pathogenesis of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). However, the underlying pathophysiological basis for this hypometabolism remains elusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between hippocampal hypometabolism and the histological changes seen in rats after systemic pilocarpine treatment.
Methods: 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) small-animal positron emission tomography (microPET) was performed on day zero (untreated), day seven (latent) and day sixty (chronic phase) after the initial status epilepticus. The microPET imaging data were correlated with the immunoreactivity of neuron-specific nuclear protein (NeuN) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the hippocampus at each time point.
Results: 18F-FDG-microPET images showed the hippocampus presented with persistent hypometabolism during epileptogenesis and partly recovered in the chronic phase. Hippocampal glucose uptake defects correlate with NeuN immunoreactivity in the latent phase and GFAP immunoreactivity in the chronic phase.
Conclusions: Severe glucose hypometabolism in the hippocampus during the latent phase correlates with neuronal cell loss. The partial recovery of hippocampal glucose uptake in the chronic phase may be due to astrogliosis.
PMCID: PMC4366634  PMID: 25798055
Temporal lobe epilepsy; Pilocarpine; Neurons; Astrocytes; Glucose uptake; microPET.
24.  The Effects of Antenatal Corticosteroids on Short- and Long-Term Outcomes in Small-for-Gestational-Age Infants 
Aim: To evaluate the effect of antenatal corticosteroids (ANS) on short- and long-term outcomes in small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants.
Methods: A retrospective database analysis was performed. A total of 1,931 single infants (birth weight <1,500 g) born at a gestational age between 22 weeks and 33 weeks 6 days who were determined to be SGA registered in the Neonatal Research Network Database in Japan between 2003 and 2007 were evaluated for short-term outcome and long-term outcome.
Results: ANS was administered to a total of 719 infants (37%) in the short-term outcome evaluation group and 344 infants (36%) in the long-term outcome evaluation group. There were no significant differences between the ANS group and the no-ANS group for primary short-term outcome (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45-1.20; P-value 0.22) or primary long-term outcome (adjusted OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.40-1.17; P-value 0.17).
Conclusions: Our results show that ANS does not affect short- or long-term outcome in SGA infants when the birth weight is less than 1500 g. This study strongly suggests that administration of ANS resulted in few benefits for preterm FGR fetuses.
PMCID: PMC4402431  PMID: 25897289
fetal growth restriction; glucocorticoids; infant; infant mortality; premature birth; small for gestational age
25.  Fetal/Placental Weight Ratio in Term Japanese Pregnancy: Its Difference Among Gender, Parity, and Infant Growth 
Purpose: The “inappropriately heavy placenta” has been considered to be associated with various pregnancy disorders; however, data is scarce what factors affect it. To determine whether the following three affect it; (1) infant gender and mother's parity, (2) growth restriction, and (3) preeclampsia.
Methods: We employed fetal/placental weight ratio (F/P). Subjects consisted of 53,650 infants and their placentas from women who vaginally delivered singleton live term infants. First, we examined whether F/P differs among the infant's gender or mother's parity. We classified the population into 4 categories according to gender and parity: male, nulliparous (n=7,431), male, multiparous (n=7,859), female, nulliparous (n=7,559), female, multiparous (n=7,800), and, compared F/P among the four groups. Next, we determined whether F/P differs in “small” or “large” for gestational age (SGA or LGA) infants, compared with appropriate for gestational age infants. Last, we determined whether preeclampsia (representative disorder of SGA) affects F/P.
Results: (1) F/P significantly differed according to infant gender and parity: female and nulliparity had significantly smaller F/P. F/P was significantly smaller in (2) SGA infants, and (3) infants from preeclamptic mothers.
Conclusion: We for the first time showed that in Japanese term vaginally-delivered singleton population, the following three had significantly smaller F/P than controls thus had “inappropriately heavy placenta”: (1) female gender and nulliparity, (2) SGA infants, and (3) infants from preeclamptic mothers. We recommend that these factors should be taken into account in evaluating placental weight. These data may also be useful for further clarifying the fetal-placental pathophysiology in these conditions.
PMCID: PMC4402432  PMID: 25897290
fetal/placental weight (F/P) ratio; placental weight; preeclampsia; small for gestational age

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