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1.  Comparison of clinical characteristics between neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders with and without spinal cord atrophy 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):246.
Spinal cord lesions is one of the predominant characteristics in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD). Interestingly, mounting evidence indicates that spinal cord atrophy (SCA) is one of common clinical features in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and correlates closely with the neurological disability. However, Clinical studies related to the SCA aspects of NMOSD are still scarce.
We retrospectively analyzed 185 patients with NMOSD, including 23 patients with SCA and 162 patients without SCA. Data were collected regarding clinical characteristics, laboratory tests, and magnetic resonance imaging findings.
12.4% of patients had SCA in NMOSD. Patients with SCA had a longer disease duration and higher EDSS at clinical onset and last visit. More importantly, SCA patients were more prone to reach disability milestones (EDSS ≥ 6.0). Bowel or bladder dysfunction, movement disorders, and sensory disturbances symptoms were more common in patients with SCA. ESR and CRP were significantly higher in patients with SCA than those without SCA. Patients with SCA were more frequently complicated with cervical cord lesions. However, the ARR, progression index, seropositive rate of NMO-IgG and OCB were similar in the two groups. Futhermore, LETM did not differ significantly between patients with SCA and without SCA in NMOSD patients.
Patients with SCA might have longer disease duration, more severe clinical disability, and more frequently complicated with cervical spinal cord lesions. SCA might be predictive of the more severe neurologic dysfunction and worse prognosis in NMOSD. Inflammation contributes to the development of SCA in NMOSD.
PMCID: PMC4302083  PMID: 25526927
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders; Spinal cord atrophy; Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis; Magnetic resonance imaging
2.  The Association between Executive Function and Mortality in Homebound Elders 
To determine the association between executive function and mortality in homebound elders.
Longitudinal study
Four homecare agencies in the Boston area.
One thousand one hundred and seventy-two homebound elders aged 60 and older and with 8 year follow-up for mortality.
Different cognitive domains including executive, memory, and language functions were evaluated at baseline. Executive function was measured by the Trail-making Test B (Trails B), and the subjects were divided into 4 subgroups from the lowest to highest Trails B scores. The second cross-group analyses were used to compare those who were alive and those were deceased. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to determine whether there was an association between the level of Trails B scores and mortality.
At baseline, 436 (37.2%) homebound elders had the maximum Trails B scores (≥ 300), which indicated slowest performance. At the 8-year follow up, we found that 381 (32.5%) participants had died. The elderly with the highest Trails B scores were more than twice as likely to die when compared to those with the lowest scores (0–99) (OR = 2.39, 95% CI, 1.27–4.52, p = .003) after adjusting for the confounders including medical comorbidities related to death. In contrast, the other cognitive domains including memory and language were not associated with mortality in the same model.
Many homebound elderly have multiple medical conditions, and executive function may be crucial for the elderly to take care of their medical conditions and affect the outcome of death.
PMCID: PMC3919053  PMID: 24479144
homebound elders; executive function; mortality
3.  Characterization of a novel orthoreovirus isolated from fruit bat, China 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14(1):293.
In recent years novel human respiratory disease agents have been described for Southeast Asia and Australia. The causative pathogens were classified as pteropine orthoreoviruses with a strong phylogenetic relationship to orthoreoviruses of bat origin.
In this report, we isolated a novel Melaka-like reovirus (named “Cangyuan virus”) from intestinal content samples of one fruit bat residing in China’s Yunnan province. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole Cangyuan virus genome sequences of segments L, M and S demonstrated the genetic diversity of the Cangyuan virus. In contrast to the L and M segments, the phylogenetic trees for the S segments of Cangyuan virus demonstrated a greater degree of heterogeneity.
Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Cangyuan virus was a novel orthoreovirus and substantially different from currently known members of Pteropine orthoreovirus (PRV) species group.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12866-014-0293-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4264558  PMID: 25433675
Bat Orthoreovirus; Prevalence; Viral genome reassortment
4.  Post-infectious myositis ossificans in medial, lateral pterygoid muscles: A case report and review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(2):920-926.
Myositis ossificans (MO) is a disease where heterotropic bone forms within a muscle or other type of soft tissue. MO is classified into two groups, MO progressiva and post-traumatic MO. It rarely occurs in the masticatory muscles and thus, only 20 cases involving the masticatory muscles have been reported since 2001. The majority of the reported cases occurred due to trauma, repeated injury or surgical manipulation. However, in a small number of cases, no specific traumatic event was identified as the cause of MO. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of post-infectious MO to be reported in the medial and lateral pterygoid muscles.
PMCID: PMC4301508  PMID: 25621069
myositis ossificans; infection; pterygoid muscle; computed tomography
5.  Dietary Glutamate Supplementation Ameliorates Mycotoxin-Induced Abnormalities in the Intestinal Structure and Expression of Amino Acid Transporters in Young Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112357.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that dietary supplementation with glutamic acid has beneficial effects on growth performance, antioxidant system, intestinal morphology, serum amino acid profile and the gene expression of intestinal amino acid transporters in growing swine fed mold-contaminated feed. Fifteen pigs (Landrace×Large White) with a mean body weight (BW) of 55 kg were randomly divided into control group (basal feed), mycotoxin group (contaminated feed) and glutamate group (2% glutamate+contaminated feed). Compared with control group, mold-contaminated feed decreased average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed conversion rate (FCR). Meanwhile, fed mold-contaminated feed impaired anti-oxidative system and intestinal morphology, as well as modified the serum amino acid profile in growing pigs. However, supplementation with glutamate exhibited potential positive effects on growth performance of pigs fed mold-contaminated feed, ameliorated the imbalance antioxidant system and abnormalities of intestinal structure caused by mycotoxins. In addition, dietary glutamate supplementation to some extent restored changed serum amino acid profile caused by mold-contaminated feed. In conclusion, glutamic acid may be act as a nutritional regulating factor to ameliorate the adverse effects induced by mycotoxins.
PMCID: PMC4236086  PMID: 25405987
6.  Gastrointestinal stromal tumor: 15-years’ experience in a single center 
BMC Surgery  2014;14(1):93.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is known for its wide variability in biological behaviors and it is difficult to predict its malignant potential. The aim of this study is to explore the characteristics and prognostic factors of GIST.
Clinical and pathological data of 497 GIST patients in our center between 1997 and 2012 were reviewed.
Patients were categorized into very low-, low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups according to modified National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus classification system. Among the 401 patients untreated with imatinib mesylate (IM), 5-year overall survival (OS) in very low-, low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups was 100%, 100%, 89.6% and 65.9%; and 5-year relapse-free survival (RFS) was 100%, 98.1%, 90.9% and 44.5%, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed that sex, tumor size, mitotic rate, risk grade, CD34 expression, and adjacent involvement were predictors of OS or RFS. COX hazard proportional model (Forward LR) showed that large tumor size, high mitotic rate, and high risk grade were independent risk factors to OS, whereas high mitotic rate, high risk grade and adjacent organ involvement were independent risk factors to RFS. The intermediate-high risk patients who received IM adjuvant therapy (n = 87) had better 5-year OS and RFS than those who did not (n = 188) (94.9% vs. 72.1; 82.3% vs. 56.3%, respectively). Similarly, advanced GIST patients underwent IM therapy (n = 45) had better 3-year OS and 1-year progression-free survival (PFS) than those who didn’t (n = 42) (75.6% vs. 6.8%; 87.6% vs. 12.4%, respectively).
Very low- and low-risk GISTs can be treated with surgery alone. Large tumor size, high mitotic rate, high risk grade, and adjacent organ involvement contribute to the poor outcome. IM therapy significantly improves the survival of intermediate-high risk or advanced GIST patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2482-14-93) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4254179  PMID: 25403624
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor; Survival; Imatinib
7.  Insights into the binding of PARP inhibitors to the catalytic domain of human tankyrase-2 
The high-resolution crystal structures of the human tankyrase 2 poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) domain in complex with 16 various PARP inhibitors are reported, including the compounds BSI-201, AZD-2281 and ABT-888, which are currently in Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials.
The poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) family represents a new class of therapeutic targets with diverse potential disease indications. PARP1 and PARP2 inhibitors have been developed for breast and ovarian tumors manifesting double-stranded DNA-repair defects, whereas tankyrase 1 and 2 (TNKS1 and TNKS2, also known as PARP5a and PARP5b, respectively) inhibitors have been developed for tumors with elevated β-catenin activity. As the clinical relevance of PARP inhibitors continues to be actively explored, there is heightened interest in the design of selective inhibitors based on the detailed structural features of how small-molecule inhibitors bind to each of the PARP family members. Here, the high-resolution crystal structures of the human TNKS2 PARP domain in complex with 16 various PARP inhibitors are reported, including the compounds BSI-201, AZD-2281 and ABT-888, which are currently in Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials. These structures provide insight into the inhibitor-binding modes for the tankyrase PARP domain and valuable information to guide the rational design of future tankyrase-specific inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4188013  PMID: 25286857
cancer; poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; TNKS2; structure-based drug discovery; structural biology
8.  Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders without and with autoimmune diseases 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:162.
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) can coexist with non-organ-specific or organ-specific autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the features between NMOSD without and with autoimmune diseases, and NMOSD with non-organ-specific and organ-specific autoimmune diseases.
One hundred and fifty five NMOSD patients without autoimmune diseases (n = 115) and with autoimmune diseases (n = 40) were enrolled. NMOSD with autoimmune diseases were divided by organ-specific autoimmune diseases. The clinical, laboratory and magnetic resonance imaging features between two groups were assessed.
Motor deficit was less frequent in NMOSD patients with non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases (p = 0.024). Cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell and protein, serum C-reactive protein and immunoglobulin G were lower in NMOSD patients without autoimmune diseases, while several autoantibodies seropositivity and thyroid indexes were significantly higher in NMOSD patients with autoimmune diseases (p < 0.05). No difference was found in other clinical and laboratory characteristics between different NMOSD subtypes (p > 0.05). NMOSD patients with autoimmune diseases had higher brain abnormalities than NMOSD without autoimmune diseases (p < 0.001).
The characteristics between NMOSD without and with autoimmune diseases were similar. NMOSD with autoimmune diseases have high frequency of brain abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC4236652  PMID: 25135481
Neuromyelitis optica; Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder; Non-organ-specific autoimmune diseases; Organ-specific autoimmune diseases; Autoantibodies; Magnetic resonance imaging
9.  Effects of Chitosan on Intestinal Inflammation in Weaned Pigs Challenged by Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104192.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether supplementation with chitosan (COS) could reduce diarrhea and to explore how COS alleviates intestinal inflammation in weaned pigs. Thirty pigs (Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire, initial BW of 5.65±0.27) weaned at age 21 d were challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli during a preliminary trial period, and then divided into three treatment groups. Pigs in individual pens were fed a corn-soybean meal diet, that contained either 0 (control), 50 mg/kg chlortetracycline, or 300 mg/kg COS for 21 days. The post-weaning diarrhea frequency, calprotectin levels and TLR4 protein expression were decreased (P<0.05) in both the COS and chlortetracycline groups compared with control. Simultaneously, supplemental COS and chlortetracycline had no effect on the mRNA expression of TNF-α in the jejunal mucosa, or on the concentrations of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in serum. However, COS supplementation improved (P<0.05) the mRNA expression of IL-1β and IL-6 in the jejunal mucosa. The results indicate that supplementation with COS at 300 mg/kg was effective for alleviating intestinal inflammation and enhancing the cell-mediated immune response. As feed additives, chitosan and chlortetracycline may influence different mechanisms for alleviating inflammation in piglets.
PMCID: PMC4121323  PMID: 25090447
10.  BorreliaBase: a phylogeny-centered browser of Borrelia genomes 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15:233.
The bacterial genus Borrelia (phylum Spirochaetes) consists of two groups of pathogens represented respectively by B. burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme borreliosis, and B. hermsii, the agent of tick-borne relapsing fever. The number of publicly available Borrelia genomic sequences is growing rapidly with the discovery and sequencing of Borrelia strains worldwide. There is however a lack of dedicated online databases to facilitate comparative analyses of Borrelia genomes.
We have developed BorreliaBase, an online database for comparative browsing of Borrelia genomes. The database is currently populated with sequences from 35 genomes of eight Lyme-borreliosis (LB) group Borrelia species and 7 Relapsing-fever (RF) group Borrelia species. Distinct from genome repositories and aggregator databases, BorreliaBase serves manually curated comparative-genomic data including genome-based phylogeny, genome synteny, and sequence alignments of orthologous genes and intergenic spacers.
With a genome phylogeny at its center, BorreliaBase allows online identification of hypervariable lipoprotein genes, potential regulatory elements, and recombination footprints by providing evolution-based expectations of sequence variability at each genomic locus. The phylo-centric design of BorreliaBase ( is a novel model for interactive browsing and comparative analysis of bacterial genomes online.
PMCID: PMC4094996  PMID: 24994456
Lyme disease; Vector-borne relapsing fever; Genome browser; Recombination; Population genomics
11.  Prognostic significance of heart rate turbulence parameters in patients with chronic heart failure 
This study is aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of heart rate turbulence (HRT) parameters in predicting the prognosis in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).
From June 2011 to December 2012, a total of 104 CHF patients and 30 healthy controls were enrolled in this study. We obtained a 24-hour Holter ECG recording to assess the HRT parameters, included turbulence onset (TO), turbulence slope (TS), standard deviation of N-N intervals (SDNN), and resting heart rate (RHR). The relationships between HRT parameters and the prognosis of CHF patients were determined.
The assessment follow-up period lasted until January 31, 2013. The overall mortality of CHF patients was 9.6% (10/104). Our results revealed that CHF patients had higher levels of TO than those of healthy subjects, but the TS levels of CHF patients were lower than that of the control group. CHF patients with NYHA grade IV had higher HRT1/2 rate than those with NYHA grade II/III. There were statistical differences in TS, LVEF, SDNN and RHR between the non-deteriorating group and the non-survivor group. Significant differences in TS among the three groups were also found. Furthermore, CHF patients in the non-survivor group had lower levels of TS than those in the deteriorating group. Correlation analyses indicated that TO negatively correlate with SDNN, while TS positively correlated with SDNN and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). We also observed negative correlations between TS and left ventricular end-diastolic cavity dimension (LVEDD), RHR, homocysteine (Hcy) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Multivariate Cox regression analysis further confirmed that LVEF (≤30%), HRT2, SDNN and RHR were independent risk factors which can indicate poor prognosis in CHF patients.
Our findings indicate that HRT may have good clinical predictive value in patients with CHF. Thus, quantifying HRT parameters could be a useful tool for predicting mortality in CHF patients.
PMCID: PMC3996196  PMID: 24725657
Heart rate turbulence; Chronic heart failure; Prognosis
12.  Raloxifene Suppresses Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and NF-κB-Dependent CCL20 Expression in Reactive Astrocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94320.
Recent clinical data have led to the consideration of sexual steroids as new potential therapeutic tools for multiple sclerosis. Selective estrogen receptor modulators can exhibit neuroprotective effects like estrogen, with fewer systemic estrogen side effects than estrogen, offering a more promising therapeutic modality for multiple sclerosis. The important role of astrocytes in a proinflammatory effect mediated by CCL20 signaling on inflammatory cells has been documented. Their potential contribution to selective estrogen receptor modulator-mediated protection is still unknown. Using a mouse model of chronic neuroinflammation, we report that raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, alleviated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis–an animal model of multiple sclerosis–and decreased astrocytic production of CCL20. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunohistochemistry imaging and transwell migration assays revealed that reactive astrocytes express CCL20, which promotes Th17 cell migration. In cultured rodent astrocytes, raloxifene inhibited IL-1β-induced CCL20 expression and chemotaxis ability for Th17 migration, whereas the estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780 blocked this effect. Western blotting further indicated that raloxifene suppresses IL-1β-induced NF-κB activation (phosphorylation of p65) and translocation but does not affect phosphorylation of IκB. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that raloxifene provides robust neuroprotection against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, partially via an inhibitory action on CCL20 expression and NF-κB pathways in reactive astrocytes. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the critical roles of raloxifene in treating experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and uncover reactive astrocytes as a new target for the inhibitory action of estrogen receptors on chemokine CCL20 expression.
PMCID: PMC3983123  PMID: 24722370
13.  Interfacial Micromechanics in Fibrous Composites: Design, Evaluation, and Models 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:282436.
Recent advances of interfacial micromechanics in fiber reinforced composites using micro-Raman spectroscopy are given. The faced mechanical problems for interface design in fibrous composites are elaborated from three optimization ways: material, interface, and computation. Some reasons are depicted that the interfacial evaluation methods are difficult to guarantee the integrity, repeatability, and consistency. Micro-Raman study on the fiber interface failure behavior and the main interface mechanical problems in fibrous composites are summarized, including interfacial stress transfer, strength criterion of interface debonding and failure, fiber bridging, frictional slip, slip transition, and friction reloading. The theoretical models of above interface mechanical problems are given.
PMCID: PMC3997872  PMID: 24977189
14.  Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and the Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in the Absence of Apolipoprotein E4 Allele 
Our cross-sectional study showed that the interaction between apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors was associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of this longitudinal study was to differentiate whether ACE inhibitors accelerate or reduce the risk of AD in the context of ApoE alleles. Using the longitudinal data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC) with ApoE genotyping and documentation of ACE inhibitors use, we found that in the absence of ApoE4, subjects who had been taking central ACE inhibitor use (χ2 test: 21% versus 27%, p = 0.0002) or peripheral ACE inhibitor use (χ2 test: 13% versus 27%, p < 0.0001) had lower incidence of AD compared with those who had not been taking an ACE inhibitor. In contrast, in the presence of ApoE4, there was no such association between ACE inhibitor use and the risk of AD. After adjusting for the confounders, central ACE inhibitor use (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.55, 0.83, p = 0.0002) or peripheral ACE inhibitor use (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.33, 0.68, p < 0.0001) still remained inversely associated with a risk of developing AD in ApoE4 non-carriers. In conclusion, ACE inhibitors, especially peripherally acting ones, were associated with a reduced risk of AD in the absence of ApoE4, but had no such effect in those carrying the ApoE4 allele. A double-blind clinical trial should be considered to determine the effect of ACE inhibitors on prevention of AD in the context of ApoE genotype.
PMCID: PMC3972060  PMID: 23948883
Alzheimer’s disease; apolipoprotein E4 allele (ApoE4); angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor
15.  Structural insights into Noonan/LEOPARD syndrome-related mutants of protein-tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 (PTPN11) 
The ubiquitous non-receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 (encoded by PTPN11) plays a key role in RAS/ERK signaling downstream of most, if not all growth factors, cytokines and integrins, although its major substrates remain controversial. Mutations in PTPN11 lead to several distinct human diseases. Germ-line PTPN11 mutations cause about 50% of Noonan Syndrome (NS), which is among the most common autosomal dominant disorders. LEOPARD Syndrome (LS) is an acronym for its major syndromic manifestations: multiple Lentigines, Electrocardiographic abnormalities, Ocular hypertelorism, Pulmonary stenosis, Abnormalities of genitalia, Retardation of growth, and sensorineural Deafness. Frequently, LS patients have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and they might also have an increased risk of neuroblastoma (NS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Consistent with the distinct pathogenesis of NS and LS, different types of PTPN11 mutations cause these disorders.
Although multiple studies have reported the biochemical and biological consequences of NS- and LS-associated PTPN11 mutations, their structural consequences have not been analyzed fully. Here we report the crystal structures of WT SHP2 and five NS/LS-associated SHP2 mutants. These findings enable direct structural comparisons of the local conformational changes caused by each mutation.
Our structural analysis agrees with, and provides additional mechanistic insight into, the previously reported catalytic properties of these mutants. The results of our research provide new information regarding the structure-function relationship of this medically important target, and should serve as a solid foundation for structure-based drug discovery programs.
PMCID: PMC4007598  PMID: 24628801
16.  Immunoglobulin E and mast cell proteases are potential risk factors of impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance in humans 
Annals of medicine  2012;45(3):220-229.
Mast cells are important in experimental diabetes. Plasma levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), tryptases, and chymases are inflammatory markers of human diabetes. Whether they also correlate with the risk of pre-diabetes, however, remains unknown.
Methods and results
A total of 260 subjects 55–75 years of age were grouped as normal glucose tolerance (NGT), isolated impaired fasting glucose (I-IFG), isolated impaired glucose tolerance (I-IGT), and mixed IFG/IGT. There were significant differences in plasma levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) (P < 0.001) and IgE (P=0.003) among all subgroups of pre-diabetes, and chymase in I-IGT (P=0.043) and mixed IFG/IGT (P=0.037) subgroups compared with NGT group. High-sensitivity CRP was a risk factor in all subgroups of pre-diabetes; IgE was a risk factor of mixed IFG/IGT; and chymase was a risk factor of I-IGT and mixed IFG/IGT. Interactions between hsCRP and high waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), or HOMA-β index, and interactions between IgE and high WC or tryptase levels all increased further the risk of developing I-IFG, I-IGT, or mixed IFG/IGT.
Plasma hsCRP, IgE, and chymase levels associate with pre-diabetes status. While hsCRP, IgE, and chymase are individual risk factors of pre-diabetes, interactions with metabolic parameters increased further the risk of pre-diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3934348  PMID: 23110545
Chymase; C-reactive protein; immunoglobulin E; pre-diabetes; tryptase
17.  Association between neuromyelitis optica and tuberculosis in a Chinese population 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:33.
A number of reports have described the presence of tuberculosis (TB) in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) patients. However, a definite association between the two conditions has not been conclusively demonstrated.
To investigate the association between NMO and TB in a Chinese population, we performed a retrospective review of hospital records of NMO patients, control patients and tuberculosis meningitis (TBM) patients from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2011.
The frequency of preceding/simultaneous active pulmonary TB (PTB) was not significantly different between NMO patients (1.1%) and control groups (2.3% in myasthenia gravis, 1.1% in polymyositis or dermatomyositis, zero in idiopathic facial palsy and viral meningitis/meningoencephalitis). NMO cases differed from TBM cases in terms of demographics, course (recurrent or monophasic), cerebrospinal fluid analysis and magnetic resonance images. Two TBM patients shared partial clinical features with NMO (one of the TBM patients had a longitudinal extensive spinal cord lesion involving the holocord, and the other had optic neuritis before anti-tuberculosis treatment). NMO antibodies were only detected in NMO patients and not in TBM patients with myelitis or optic neuritis.
We could not confirm previous suggestions of the association between PTB and NMO. Direct infection of the central nervous system by TB may mimic NMO in some respects, but whether NMO-like symptoms that develop during the course of TB should be considered and diagnosed as NMO is open to discussion.
PMCID: PMC3938476  PMID: 24555792
Neuromyelitis optica; Tuberculosis; NMO-IgG
18.  Association between Amylin and Amyloid-β Peptides in Plasma in the Context of Apolipoprotein E4 Allele 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88063.
Amylin, a pancreatic peptide that readily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB), and amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ), the main component of amyloid plaques and a major component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology in the brain, share several features. These include having similar β-sheet secondary structures, binding to the same receptor, and being degraded by the same protease. Thus, amylin may be associated with Aβ, but the nature of their relationship remains unclear. In this study, we used human samples to study the relationship between plasma amylin and Aβ in the context of the apolipoprotein E alleles (ApoE). We found that concentrations of Aβ1-42 (P<0.0001) and Aβ1-40 (P<0.0001) increased with each quartile increase of amylin. Using multivariate regression analysis, the study sample showed that plasma amylin was associated with Aβ1-42 (β = +0.149, SE = 0.025, P<0.0001) and Aβ1-40 (β = +0.034, SE = 0.016, P = 0.04) as an outcome after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, ApoE4, BMI, diabetes, stroke, kidney function and lipid profile. This positive association between amylin and Aβ1-42 in plasma was found regardless of the ApoE genotype. In contrast, the relationship between amylin and Aβ1-40 in plasma seen in ApoE4 non-carriers disappeared in the presence of ApoE4. Using AD mouse models, our recent study demonstrates that intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of synthetic amylin enhances the removal of Aβ from the brain into blood, thus resulting in increased blood levels of both amylin and Aβ. The positive association between amylin and Aβ, especially Aβ1-42, in human blood samples is probably relevant to the findings in the AD mouse models. The presence of ApoE4 may attenuate amylin's capacity to remove Aβ, especially Aβ1-40, from the AD brain.
PMCID: PMC3919737  PMID: 24520345
19.  Strain Sensor of Carbon Nanotubes in Microscale: From Model to Metrology 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:406154.
A strain sensor composed of carbon nanotubes with Raman spectroscopy can achieve measurement of the three in-plane strain components in microscale. Based on previous work on the mathematic model of carbon nanotube strain sensors, this paper presents a detailed study on the optimization, diversification, and standardization of a CNT strain sensor from the viewpoint of metrology. A new miniaccessory for polarization control is designed, and two different preparing methods for CNT films as sensing media are introduced to provide diversified choices for applications. Then, the standard procedure of creating CNT strain sensors is proposed. Application experiments confirmed the effectiveness of the above improvement, which is helpful in developing this method for convenient metrology.
PMCID: PMC3934622  PMID: 24683338
20.  Amylin and its analogs: a friend or foe for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease? 
Amylin, a gut-brain axis hormone, and amyloid-beta peptides (Aβ), a major component of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, share several features, including similar β-sheet secondary structures, binding to the same receptor and being degraded by the same protease, insulin degrading enzyme (IDE). However, while amylin readily crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) and mediates several activities including improving glucose metabolism, relaxing cerebrovascular structure, modulating inflammatory reaction and perhaps enhancing neural regeneration, Aβ has no known physiological functions. Thus, abundant Aβ in the AD brain could block or interfere with the binding of amylin to its receptor and hinder its functions. Recent studies using animal models for AD demonstrate that amylin and its analog reduce the AD pathology in the brain and improve cognitive impairment in AD. Given that, in addition to amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, perturbed cerebral glucose metabolism and cerebrovascular damage are the hallmarks of the AD brain, we propose that giving exogenous amylin type peptides have the potential to become a new avenue for the diagnosis and therapeutic of AD. Although amylin's property of self-aggregation may be a limitation to developing it as a therapeutic for AD, its clinical analog, pramlintide containing 3 amino acid differences from amylin, does not aggregate like human amylin, but more potently mediates amylin's activities in the brain. Pramlintide is an effective drug for diabetes with a favorable profile of safety. Thus a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial should be conducted to examine the efficacy of pramlintide for AD. This review summarizes the knowledge and findings on amylin type peptides and discuss pros and cons for their potential for AD.
PMCID: PMC4114192  PMID: 25120481
amylin; amylin analogs; Alzheimer's disease; treatment; diagnosis; animal models; humans
21.  Skeletal Muscle-Specific CPT1 Deficiency Elevates Lipotoxic Intermediates but Preserves Insulin Sensitivity 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:163062.
Objective. By specific knockout of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1b (CPT1b) in skeletal muscles, we explored the effect of CPT1b deficiency on lipids and insulin sensitivity. Methods. Mice with specific knockout of CPT1b in skeletal muscles (CPT1b M−/−) were used for the experiment group, with littermate C57BL/6 as controls (CPT1b). General and metabolic profiles were measured and compared between groups. mRNA expression and CPT1 activity were measured in skeletal muscle tissues and compared between groups. Mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO), triglycerides (TAGs), diglycerides (DAGs), and ceramides were examined in skeletal muscles in two groups. Phosphorylated AKT (pAkt) and glucose transporter 4 (Glut4) were determined with real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Insulin tolerance test, glucose tolerance test, and pyruvate oxidation were performed in both groups. Results. CPT1b M−/− model was successfully established, with impaired muscle CPT1 activity. Compared with CPT1b mice, CPT1b M−/− mice had similar food intake but lower body weight or fat mass and higher lipids but similar glucose or insulin levels. Their mitochondrial FAO of skeletal muscles was impaired. There were lipids accumulations (TAGs, DAGs, and ceramides) in skeletal muscle. However, pAkt and Glut4, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and pyruvate oxidation were preserved. Conclusion. Skeletal muscle-specific CPT1 deficiency elevates lipotoxic intermediates but preserves insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3844227  PMID: 24319696
22.  The Association Between Small Vessel Infarcts and the Activities of Amyloid-β Peptide Degrading Proteases in Apolipoprotein E4 AlleleCarriers 
Angiology  2012;64(8):614-620.
Small vessel (SV) and large vessel (LV) brain infarcts are distinct pathologies. Using a homebound elderly sample, the numbers of either infarct subtypes were similar between those apolipoprotein E4 allele (ApoE4) carriers (n = 80) and noncarriers (n = 243). We found that the higher the number of SV infarcts, but not LV infarcts, a participant had, the higher the activity of substrate V degradation in serum especially among ApoE4 carriers (β=+0.154, SE = 0.031, P < .0001) after adjusting for the confounders. Since substrate V degradation could be mediated by insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) or/and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), but no relationship was found between SV infarcts and specific ACE activities, blood IDE may be a useful biomarker to distinguish the brain infarct subtypes. Insulin-degrading enzyme in blood may also imply an important biomarker and a pathological event in Alzheimer disease through SV infarcts in the presence of ApoE4.
PMCID: PMC3788834  PMID: 23076436
small vessel brain infarct; apolipoprotein E4 allele; substrate V degradation
23.  Kaempferol Promotes Apoptosis in Human Bladder Cancer Cells by Inducing the Tumor Suppressor, PTEN 
Kaempferol (Kae), a natural flavonoid, is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. Previous studies have identified Kae as a possible cancer preventive and therapeutic agent. We found Kae to exhibit potent antiproliferation and anti-migration effects in human bladder cancer EJ cells. Kaempferol robustly induced apoptosis in EJ cells in a dose-dependent manner, as evidenced by increased cleavage of caspase-3. Furthermore, we found Kae-induced apoptosis in EJ cells to be associated with phosphatase and the tensin homolog deleted on the chromosome 10 (PTEN)/PI3K/Akt pathway. Kae significantly increased PTEN and decreased Akt phosphorylation. Kae-induced apoptosis was partially attenuated in PTEN-knockdown cells. Our findings indicate that Kae could be an alternative medicine for bladder cancer, based on a PTEN activation mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3856000  PMID: 24284390
kaempferol; bladder cancer; apoptosis; PTEN; Akt
24.  Mitochondrial ABC transporters function: the role of ABCB10 (ABC-me) as a novel player in cellular handling of reactive oxygen species 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2012;1823(10):10.1016/j.bbamcr.2012.07.013.
Mitochondria are one of the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cell. When exceeding the capacity of antioxidant mechanisms, ROS production may lead to different pathologies, such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, neurodegeneration, anemia and ageing. As a consequence of the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria, eukaryotic cells have developed different transport mechanisms that coordinate mitochondrial function with other cellular compartments. Four mitochondrial ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters have been described to date in mammals: ABCB6, ABCB8, ABCB7 and ABCB10. ABCB10 is located in the inner mitochondrial membrane forming homodimers, with the ATP binding domain facing the mitochondrial matrix. ABCB10 expression is highly induced during erythroid differentiation and its overexpression increases hemoglobin synthesis in erythroid cells. However, ABCB10 is also expressed in nonerythroid tissues, suggesting a role not directly related to hemoglobin synthesis. Recent evidence points toward ABCB10 as an important player in the protection from oxidative stress in mammals. In this regard, ABCB10 is required for normal erythropoiesis and cardiac recovery after ischemia-reperfusion, processes intimately related to mitochondrial ROS generation. Here, we review the current knowledge on mitochondrial ABC transporters and ABCB10 and discuss the potential mechanisms by which ABCB10 and its transport activity may regulate oxidative stress. We discuss ABCB10 as a potential therapeutic target for diseases in which increased mitochondrial ROS production and oxidative stress play a major role.
PMCID: PMC3808996  PMID: 22884976
mitochondria; oxidative stress; ABCB10; ABC-me; erythropoiesis; ischemia-reperfusion
25.  Inter- and intra-specific pan-genomes of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato: genome stability and adaptive radiation 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:693.
Lyme disease is caused by spirochete bacteria from the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (B. burgdorferi s.l.) species complex. To reconstruct the evolution of B. burgdorferi s.l. and identify the genomic basis of its human virulence, we compared the genomes of 23 B. burgdorferi s.l. isolates from Europe and the United States, including B. burgdorferi sensu stricto (B. burgdorferi s.s., 14 isolates), B. afzelii (2), B. garinii (2), B. “bavariensis” (1), B. spielmanii (1), B. valaisiana (1), B. bissettii (1), and B. “finlandensis” (1).
Robust B. burgdorferi s.s. and B. burgdorferi s.l. phylogenies were obtained using genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms, despite recombination. Phylogeny-based pan-genome analysis showed that the rate of gene acquisition was higher between species than within species, suggesting adaptive speciation. Strong positive natural selection drives the sequence evolution of lipoproteins, including chromosomally-encoded genes 0102 and 0404, cp26-encoded ospC and b08, and lp54-encoded dbpA, a07, a22, a33, a53, a65. Computer simulations predicted rapid adaptive radiation of genomic groups as population size increases.
Intra- and inter-specific pan-genome sizes of B. burgdorferi s.l. expand linearly with phylogenetic diversity. Yet gene-acquisition rates in B. burgdorferi s.l. are among the lowest in bacterial pathogens, resulting in high genome stability and few lineage-specific genes. Genome adaptation of B. burgdorferi s.l. is driven predominantly by copy-number and sequence variations of lipoprotein genes. New genomic groups are likely to emerge if the current trend of B. burgdorferi s.l. population expansion continues.
PMCID: PMC3833655  PMID: 24112474
Borrelia burgdorferi; Lyme borreliosis; Pan-genome; Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; Phylogenetic tree; Genome evolution simulation

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