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1.  Genome-wide alteration of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in a mouse model of fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(4):1095-1107.
Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder in which patients carry premutation alleles of 55–200 CGG repeats in the FMR1 gene. To date, whether alterations in epigenetic regulation modulate FXTAS has gone unexplored. 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) converted from 5-methylcytosine (5mC) by the ten-eleven translocation (TET) family of proteins has been found recently to play key roles in neuronal functions. Here, we undertook genome-wide profiling of cerebellar 5hmC in a FXTAS mouse model (rCGG mice) and found that rCGG mice at 16 weeks showed overall reduced 5hmC levels genome-wide compared with age-matched wild-type littermates. However, we also observed gain-of-5hmC regions in repetitive elements, as well as in cerebellum-specific enhancers, but not in general enhancers. Genomic annotation and motif prediction of wild-type- and rCGG-specific differential 5-hydroxymethylated regions (DhMRs) revealed their high correlation with genes and transcription factors that are important in neuronal developmental and functional pathways. DhMR-associated genes partially overlapped with genes that were differentially associated with ribosomes in CGG mice identified by bacTRAP ribosomal profiling. Taken together, our data strongly indicate a functional role for 5hmC-mediated epigenetic modulation in the etiology of FXTAS, possibly through the regulation of transcription.
PMCID: PMC3900112  PMID: 24108107
2.  Molecular characterization and copy number of SMN1, SMN2 and NAIP in Chinese patients with spinal muscular atrophy and unrelated healthy controls 
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by SMN1 dysfunction, and the copy number of SMN2 and NAIP can modify the phenotype of SMA. The aim of this study was to analyze the copy numbers and gene structures of SMA-related genes in Chinese SMA patients and unrelated healthy controls.
Forty-two Chinese SMA patients and two hundred and twelve unrelated healthy Chinese individuals were enrolled in our study. The copy numbers and gene structures of SMA-related genes were measured by MLPA assay.
We identified a homozygous deletion of SMN1 in exons 7 and 8 in 37 of 42 patients (88.1%); the other 5 SMA patients (11.9%) had a single copy of SMN1 exon 8. The proportions of the 212 unrelated healthy controls with different copy numbers for the normal SMN1 gene were 1 copy in 4 individuals (1.9%), 2 copies in 203 (95.7%) and 3 copies in 5 (2.4%). Three hybrid SMN genes and five genes that lack partial sequences were found in SMA patients and healthy controls. Distributions of copy numbers for normal SMN2 and NAIP were significantly different (P < 0.001) in people with and without SMA.
The copy numbers and gene structures of SMA-related genes were different in Chinese SMA patients and healthy controls.
PMCID: PMC4328246
Chinese; MLPA; SMA; Gene copy number
3.  Matrix softness regulates plasticity of tumor-repopulating cells via H3K9 demethylation and Sox2 expression 
Nature communications  2014;5:4619.
Tumor-repopulating cells (TRCs) are a self-renewing, tumorigenic subpopulation of cancer cells critical in cancer progression. However, the underlying mechanisms of how TRCs maintain their self-renewing capability remain elusive. Here we show that relatively undifferentiated melanoma TRCs exhibit plasticity in Cdc42-mediated mechanical stiffening, histone 3 lysine residue 9 (H3K9) methylation, Sox2 expression, and self-renewal capability. In contrast to differentiated melanoma cells, TRCs have a low level of H3K9 methylation that is unresponsive to matrix stiffness or applied forces. Silencing H3K9 methyltransferase G9a or SUV39h1 elevates the self-renewal capability of differentiated melanoma cells in a Sox2-dependent manner. Mechanistically, H3K9 methylation at the Sox2 promoter region inhibits Sox2 expression that is essential in maintaining self-renewal and tumorigenicity of TRCs both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our data suggest that 3D soft–fibrin-matrix-mediated cell softening, H3K9 demethylation, and Sox2 gene expression are essential in regulating TRC self-renewal.
PMCID: PMC4133791  PMID: 25099074
4.  Integrating transcriptomics and proteomics to show that tanshinone IIA suppresses cell growth by blocking glucose metabolism in gastric cancer cells 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):41.
Tanshinone IIA (TIIA) is a diterpene quinone extracted from the plant Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. It has been reported to have anti-tumor potential against several kinds of cancer, including gastric cancer. In most solid tumors, a metabolic switch to glucose is a hallmark of cancer cells, which do this to provide nutrients for cell proliferation. However, the mechanism associated with glucose metabolism by which TIIA acts on gastric cancer cells remains to be elucidated.
We found that TIIA treatment is able to significantly inhibit cell growth and the proliferation of gastric cancer in a dose-dependent manner. Using next-generation sequencing-based RNA-seq transcriptomics and quantitative proteomics-isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ), we characterized the mechanism of TIIA regulation in gastric cancer cell line AGS. In total, 16,603 unique transcripts and 102 proteins were identified. After enrichment analysis, we found that TIIA regulated genes are involved in carbohydrate metabolism, the cell cycle, apoptosis, DNA damage and cytoskeleton reorganization. Our proteomics data revealed the downregulation of intracellular ATP levels, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase and L-lactate dehydrogenase B chains by TIIA, which might work with disorders of glucose metabolism and extracellular lactate levels to suppress cell proliferation. The up-regulation of p53 and down-regulation of AKT was shown in TIIA- treated cells, which indicates the transformation of oncogenes. Severe DNA damage, cell cycle arrest at the G2/M transition and apoptosis with cytoskeleton reorganization were detected in TIIA-treated gastric cancer cells.
Combining transcriptomics and proteomics results, we propose that TIIA treatment could lead cell stresses, including nutrient deficiency and DNA damage, by inhibiting the glucose metabolism of cancer cells. This study provides an insight into how the TIIA regulatory metabolism in gastric cancer cells suppresses cell growth, and may help improve the development of cancer therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1230-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4328042  PMID: 25652794
Tanshinone IIA; Gastric cancer; Glycolysis; Isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification; Next generation sequencing
5.  The Impact of Family Intactness on Family Functioning, Parental Control, and Parent–Child Relational Qualities in a Chinese Context 
The current study investigated the differences between intact and non-intact families in family processes, including systematic family functioning, parental behavioral control, parental psychological control, and parent–child relational qualities. The participants were 3,328 Secondary One students, with a mean age of 12.59 years, recruited from 28 secondary schools in Hong Kong. Four validated scales were used to assess family processes. Results showed that adolescents in non-intact families perceived relatively poorer family functioning, lower level of paternal and maternal behavioral control, lower level of paternal psychological control, and poorer parent–child relational qualities than did adolescents in intact families. This generally indicated that family processes were poorer in non-intact families, compared with those in intact families. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings were discussed.
PMCID: PMC4310289
family intactness; parenting process; family functioning; behavioral control; psychological control; parent–child relational qualities
6.  Long-Term Treatment of Clonidine, Atenolol, Amlodipine and Dihydrochlorothiazide, but Not Enalapril, Impairs the Sexual Function in Male Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116155.
This study was designed to investigate the impact of representative antihypertensive drugs of 5 classes on the sexual function in male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) at doses that achieved similar blood pressure (BP) reduction. The experiment was performed in 6 groups of male SHR. The dose are 20 μg/kg/day for clonidine, 3 mg/kg/day for enalapril, 20 mg/kg/day for atenolol, 2 mg/kg/day for amlodipine, and 10 mg/kg/day for dihydrochlorothiazide. SHR were treated for 3 months, and then the penile erection and sexual behavior were detected. After BP recording, SHR were killed to evaluate the organ-damage, weight of accessory sex organs and levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone in serum. Five drugs had the similar efficacy on BP reduction. All drugs except of enalapril, significantly prolonged the mount latency, and decreased the mount frequency (P<0.05). Clonidine also reduced the conception rate (45% vs. 80% in control group, P<0.05). Amlodipine and dihydrochlorothiazide significantly increased the testosterone level (0.79±0.30, 0.80±0.34 vs. 0.49±0.20 in control group, unit: ng/dl, P<0.05). Enalapril, atenolol and amlodipine also significantly decreased the BP variability (systolic, 8.2±2.5, 7.6±1.8, 8.9±2.0 vs. 12.2±3.8 in control group, unit: mm Hg). All these drugs significantly decreased the organ-damage (P<0.05). In conclusion, long-term treatment with 5 common antihypertensive drugs possessed obvious organ protection in SHR. Clonidine, atenolol, amlodipine and dihydrochlorothiazide, but not enalapril, impair sexual function.
PMCID: PMC4304790  PMID: 25615941
7.  Synthesis and activity of substituted heteroaromatics as positive allosteric modulators for α4β2α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors 
The design and synthesis of a series of substituted heteroaromatic α4β2α5 positive allosteric modulators is reported. The optimization and development of the heteroaromatic series was carried out from NS9283, and several potent analogues, such as 3-(5-(pyridin-3-yl)-2H-tetrazol-2-yl)benzonitrile (5k) and 3,3'-(2H-tetrazole-2,5-diyl)dipyridine (12h) with good in vitro efficacy were discovered.
PMCID: PMC3929235  PMID: 24365158
Substituted heteroaromatics; α4β2α5; Positive allosteric modulators
8.  KRAS mutations in tumor tissue and plasma by different assays predict survival of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer 
The optimal laboratory assay for detecting KRAS mutations in different biospecimens from patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), and the clinical relevance of these gene alterations is still in question. We analyzed the prognostic–predictive relevance of KRAS status, determined in tumor and plasma DNA by two different assays, in a large mono-institutional series of mCRC patients.
DNA sequencing and peptide-nucleic-acid-mediated-polymerase chain reaction clamping (PNA-PCR) were used to determine KRAS status in 416 tumor and 242 matched plasma DNA samples from mCRC patients who received chemotherapy only. Relationships with outcomes were analyzed with respect to the different assays and tissue types.
PNA-PCR was significantly more sensitive in detecting KRAS mutations than sequencing (41% vs. 30%, p < 0.001). KRAS mutations were more frequent in tumor tissue than in plasma (sequencing, 38% vs. 17%, p < 0.001; PNA-PCR, 47% vs. 31%, p < 0.001). Median OS was consistently shorter in KRAS-mutated patients than KRAS wild-type patients, independent from the assay and tissue tested; the largest difference was in plasma samples analyzed by PNA-PCR (KRAS mutated vs. wild-type: 15.7 vs. 19.1 months, p = 0.009). No association was observed between KRAS status and other outcomes. When tumor and plasma results were considered together, median OS in patients categorized as tissue/plasma KRAS negative/negative, tissue/plasma KRAS discordant, and tissue/plasma KRAS positive/positive were 21.0, 16.9 and 15.4 months, respectively (p = 0.008).
KRAS mutation status is of prognostic relevance in patients with mCRC. KRAS mutations in both tumor tissue and plasma are a strong prognostic marker for poor outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13046-014-0104-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4272803  PMID: 25491325
Kras; Colorectal cancer; Prognosis
9.  Characterization of Zebrafish Abcc4 as an Efflux Transporter of Organochlorine Pesticides 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111664.
DDT and lindane are highly toxic organochlorine pesticides and posing adverse effects on the environment and public health due to their frequent usage in developing countries. ABCC4/MRP4 is an organic anion transporter that mediates cellular efflux of a wide range of exogenous and endogenous compounds such as cyclic nucleotides and anti-cancer drugs; however, it remains unclear whether ABCC4 and its orthologs function in the detoxification of organochlorine pesticides. Here, we demonstrated the roles of zebrafish Abcc4 in cellular efflux of DDT and lindane. Zebrafish abcc4 was maternally expressed in the oocytes and its transcripts were detected in the lens, pancreas, gills, liver, intestine and bladder of developing embryos and in adult tissues examined. DDT and lindane were able to induce the expression of abcc4 gene and overexpression of Abcc4 significantly decreased the cytotoxicity and accumulation of DDT and lindane in LLC-PK1 cells and developing embryos. In contrast, overexpression of an Abcc4-G1188D mutant abolished its transporter function without effects on its substrate binding activity, and sensitized LLC-PK1 cells and developing embryos to toxic pesticides. Moreover, glutathione (GSH) was involved in the efflux of cellular pesticides and ATPase activity in developing embryos can be induced by DDT or lindane. Thus, zebrafish Abcc4 plays crucial roles in cellular efflux of organochlorine pesticides and can be used a potential molecular marker for the monitor of DDT and lindane contamination in the aquatic environment.
PMCID: PMC4257548  PMID: 25478949
10.  The N-Glycoform of sRAGE is the Key Determinant for Its Therapeutic Efficacy to Attenuate Injury-elicited Arterial Inflammation and Neointimal Growth 
Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)  2013;91(12):10.1007/s00109-013-1091-4.
Signaling of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) has been implicated in the development of injury-elicited vascular complications. Soluble RAGE (sRAGE) acts as a decoy of RAGE, and has been used to treat pathological vascular conditions in animal models. However, previous studies using sRAGE produced in insect Sf9 cells (sRAGESf9) used a high dose and multiple injections to achieve the therapeutic outcome. Here, we explore whether modulation of sRAGE N-glycoform impacts its bioactivity and augments its therapeutic efficacy. We first profiled carbohydrate components of sRAGECHO to show that a majority of its N-glycans belong to sialylated complex-types that are not shared by sRAGESf9. In cell-based NF-κB activation and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration assays, sRAGECHO exhibited a significantly higher bioactivity relative to sRAGESf9 to inhibit RAGE alarmin ligand-induced NF-κB activation and VSMC migration. We next studied whether this N-glycoform-associated bioactivity of sRAGECHO is translated to higher in vivo therapeutic efficacy in a rat carotid artery balloon injury model. Consistent with the observed higher bioactivity in cell assays, sRAGECHO significantly reduced injury-induced neointimal growth and the expression of inflammatory markers in injured vasculature. Specifically, a single dose of 3 ng/g of sRAGECHO reduced neointimal hyperplasia by over 70%, whereas the same dose of sRAGESf9 showed no effect. The administered sRAGECHO is rapidly and specifically recruited to the injured arterial locus, suggesting that early intervention of arterial injury with sRAGECHO may offset an inflammatory circuit and reduce the ensuing tissue remodeling. Our findings showed that the N-glycoform of sRAGE is the key determinant underlying its bioactivity, and thus is an important glycobioengineering target to develop a highly potent therapeutic sRAGE for future clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3846495  PMID: 24132651
sRAGE; N-glycoform; arterial injury; arterial inflammation; neointimal hyperplasia; therapeutic window
11.  Temperature-Dependent Variations in Sulfate-Reducing Communities Associated with a Terrestrial Hydrocarbon Seep 
Microbes and Environments  2014;29(4):377-387.
Terrestrial hydrocarbon seeps are an important source of naturally emitted methane over geological time. The exact community compositions responsible for carbon cycling beneath these surface features remain obscure. As sulfate reduction represents an essential process for anoxic organic mineralization, this study collected muddy fluids from a high-temperature hydrocarbon seep in Taiwan and analyzed community structures of sulfate-supplemented sediment slurries incubated anoxically at elevated temperatures. The results obtained demonstrated that sulfate consumption occurred between 40°C and 80°C. Dominant potential sulfate reducers included Desulfovibrio spp., Desulfonatronum spp., Desulforhabdus spp., and Desulfotomaculum spp. at 40°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. at 50°C, Thermodesulfovibrio spp. and Thermacetogenium spp. at 60°C, Thermacetogenium spp. and Archaeoglobus spp. at 70°C, and Archaeoglobus spp. at 80°C. None of these potential sulfate reducers exceeded 7% of the community in the untreated sample. Since no exogenous electron donor was provided during incubation, these sulfate reducers appeared to rely on the degradation of organic matter inherited from porewater and sediments. Aqueous chemistry indicated that fluids discharged in the region represented a mixture of saline formation water and low-salinity surface water; therefore, these lines of evidence suggest that deeply-sourced, thermophilic and surface-input, mesophilic sulfate-reducing populations entrapped along the subsurface fluid transport could respond rapidly once the ambient temperature is adjusted to a range close to their individual optima.
PMCID: PMC4262361
sulfate reduction; thermophile; organic mineralization; hydrocarbon seep
12.  Fibroblast growth factor 1attenuates 6-hydroxydopamine-induced neurotoxicity: an in vitro and in vivo investigation in experimental models of parkinson’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system and is characterized by motor system disorders resulting in loss of dopamine producing brain cells. Acidic fibroblast growth factor, also called FGF1, promotes the survival of neurons. The aims of the present study were to confirm FGF1 could protect neurons cultures from 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) toxicity in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrated FGF1 administration improved the motor function recovery, increased the TH-positive neurons survival and up-regulated the levels of neurotransmitters in PD rats. Meanwhile, FGF1 prevents the death of DA neuron at least in part by reducing the levels of α-synuclein and ER stress. The administration of FGF1 activated downstream signals PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2. In conclusion, FGF1 diminished α-synuclein neurotoxicity by down regulating ER stress mediators and the level of apoptosis, and these effects may underlying the activation of the PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2 signal pathway.
PMCID: PMC4297335  PMID: 25628778
ER stress; α-synuclein; parkinson’s disease; FGF1
13.  Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage after erlotinib combined with concurrent chemoradiotherapy in a patient with esophageal carcinoma 
Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) is a life-threatening clinical pathologic syndrome caused by a variety of diseases. We report a case of DAH related to combination therapy of chemoradiotherapy and erlotinib. As to know, DAH following chemoradiotherapy was only reported among hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients with hematologic malignancies till now. DAH associated with chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal carcinoma has not been reported. This is the first DAH report on erlotinib-combined chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer. The authors believe epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib increased the lung injury. Molecular targeted drugs are gradually applied to be combined with chemoradiation, whether this combination will cause the increase of serious adverse reactions need further study. This case can provide certain reference for erlotinib in the treatment. Meanwhile, after long term hormone therapy for DAH, the patient was diagnosed with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. It reminds us to attach importance to the immunosuppressive diseases after long-term hormone treatment.
PMCID: PMC4276233  PMID: 25550975
Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage; chemoradiotherapy; erlotinib; esophageal carcinoma
14.  Vessel Ultrasound Sonographic Assessment of Soluble Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products Efficacy in a Rat Balloon Injury Model 
We aimed to assess the therapeutic efficacy of differentially modified soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE) in vivo using vessel ultrasound sonography and to compare the sonography data with those from postmortem histomorphologic analyses to have a practical reference for future clinical applications.
Vessel ultrasound sonography was performed in a sRAGE-treated rat carotid artery balloon injury model at different time points after the surgery, and therapeutic efficacy of different doses of sRAGE produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells and with different N-glycoform modifications were assessed.
Vessel ultrasound sonography found that sRAGE produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells with complex N-glycoform modifications is highly effective, and is consistent with our recent findings in the same model assessed with histology. We also found that sonography is less sensitive than histology when a higher dose of sRAGE is administered.
Sonograph results are consistent with those obtained from histology; that is, sRAGE produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells has significantly higher efficacy than insect cell-originated sRAGE cells.
PMCID: PMC4229510  PMID: 25408789
neointima; N-glycosylationl; soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products; vascular injury; vessel sonography
15.  A hybrid absorption–adsorption method to efficiently capture carbon 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5147.
Removal of carbon dioxide is an essential step in many energy-related processes. Here we report a novel slurry concept that combines specific advantages of metal-organic frameworks, ion liquids, amines and membranes by suspending zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 in glycol-2-methylimidazole solution. We show that this approach may give a more efficient technology to capture carbon dioxide compared to conventional technologies. The carbon dioxide sorption capacity of our slurry reaches 1.25 mol l−1 at 1 bar and the selectivity of carbon dioxide/hydrogen, carbon dioxide/nitrogen and carbon dioxide/methane achieves 951, 394 and 144, respectively. We demonstrate that the slurry can efficiently remove carbon dioxide from gas mixtures at normal pressure/temperature through breakthrough experiments. Most importantly, the sorption enthalpy is only −29 kJ mol−1, indicating that significantly less energy is required for sorbent regeneration. In addition, from a technological point of view, unlike solid adsorbents slurries can flow and be pumped. This allows us to use a continuous separation process with heat integration.
Common approaches for carbon dioxide capture include absorption in amine solutions or adsorption in porous materials. Here, the authors combine these two strategies and report carbon dioxide capture in a slurry of metal-organic frameworks in glycol-2-methylimidazole, which has advantages of both techniques.
PMCID: PMC4214418  PMID: 25296559
16.  miRNA-130b is required for the ERK/FOXM1 pathway activation-mediated protective effects of isosorbide dinitrate against mesenchymal stem cell senescence induced by high glucose 
The present study was carried out to investigate the hypothesis that organic nitrates can attenuate the senescence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a superior cell source involved in the regeneration and repair of damaged tissue. MSCs were treated with high glucose (HG) in order to induce senescence, which was markedly attenuated by pre-treatment with isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN), a commonly used nitrate, as indicated by senescence-associated galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity, p21 expression, as well as by the mRNA levels of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and differentiated embryo chondrocyte expressed gene 1 (DEC1), which are senescence-related biomarkers. It was also found that the senescent MSCs (induced by HG glucose) exhibited a marked downregulation in ERK activity and forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) expression, which was reversed by ISDN preconditioning. Of note, the inhibition of ERK phosphorylation or the downregulation of FOXM1 statistically abolished the favourable effects of ISDN. In addition, the investigation of the senescence-associated miR-130 family suggested that miR-130b mediates the beneficial effects of ISDN; it was found that the protective effects of ISDN against the senescence of MSCs were prominently reversed by the knockdown of miR-130b. Furthermore, the downregulation of ERK phosphorylation or FOXM1 expression decreased the miR-130b expression level; however, the suppression of miR-130b demonstrated no significant impact on ERK phosphorylation or FOXM1 expression. Taken together, to the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate the favourable effects of ISDN against HG-induced MSC senescence, which are mediated through the activation of the ERK/FOXM1 pathway and the upregulation of miR-130b.
PMCID: PMC4249746  PMID: 25355277
mesenchymal stem cell; senescence; hyperglycemia; nitrate; mechanism
17.  Advanced Cu chemical displacement technique for SiO2-based electrochemical metallization ReRAM application 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):592.
This study investigates an advanced copper (Cu) chemical displacement technique (CDT) with varying the chemical displacement time for fabricating Cu/SiO2-stacked resistive random-access memory (ReRAM). Compared with other Cu deposition methods, this CDT easily controls the interface of the Cu-insulator, the switching layer thickness, and the immunity of the Cu etching process, assisting the 1-transistor-1-ReRAM (1T-1R) structure and system-on-chip integration. The modulated shape of the Cu-SiO2 interface and the thickness of the SiO2 layer obtained by CDT-based Cu deposition on SiO2 were confirmed by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The CDT-fabricated Cu/SiO2-stacked ReRAM exhibited lower operation voltages and more stable data retention characteristics than the control Cu/SiO2-stacked sample. As the Cu CDT processing time increased, the forming and set voltages of the CDT-fabricated Cu/SiO2-stacked ReRAM decreased. Conversely, decreasing the processing time reduced the on-state current and reset voltage while increasing the endurance switching cycle time. Therefore, the switching characteristics were easily modulated by Cu CDT, yielding a high performance electrochemical metallization (ECM)-type ReRAM.
PMCID: PMC4214826  PMID: 25364318
18.  Genomewide Analysis of Rat Periaqueductal Gray-Dorsal Horn Reveals Time-, Region- and Frequency-Specific mRNA Expression Changes in Response to Electroacupuncture Stimulation 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6713.
Electroacupuncture (EA) has been widely applied for illness prevention, treatment or rehabilitation in the clinic, especially for pain management. However, the molecular events that induce these changes remain largely uncharacterized. The periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the spinal dorsal horn (DH) have been verified as two critical regions in the response to EA stimulation in EA analgesia. In this study, a genetic screen was conducted to delineate the gene expression profile in the PAG-DH regions of rats to explore the molecular events of the analgesic effect induced by low-frequency (2-Hz) and high-frequency (100-Hz) EAs. Microarray analysis at two different time points after EA stimulation revealed time-, region- and frequency-specific gene expression changes. These expression differences suggested that modulation of neural-immune interaction in the central nervous system played an important role during EA analgesia. Furthermore, low-frequency EA could regulate gene expression to a greater degree than high-frequency EA. Altogether, the present study offers, for the first time, a characterized transcriptional response pattern in the PAG-DH regions followed by EA stimulation and, thus, provides a solid experimental framework for future in-depth analysis of the mechanisms underlying EA-induced effects.
PMCID: PMC4209446  PMID: 25346229
19.  Transcriptome analysis of epithelioma papulosum cyprini cells after SVCV infection 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):935.
Spring viraemia of carp virus (SVCV) has been identified as the causative agent of spring viraemia of carp (SVC) and it has caused significant losses in the cultured common carp (Cyprinus carpio) industry. The molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of the disease remain poorly understood. In this study, deep RNA sequencing was used to analyse the transcriptome and gene expression profile of EPC cells at progressive times after SVCV infection. This study addressed the complexity of virus–cell interactions and added knowledge that may help to understand SVCV.
A total of 33,849,764 clean data from 36,000,000 sequence reads, with a mean read length 100 bp, were obtained. These raw data were assembled into 88,772 contigs. Of these contigs, 19,642 and 25,966 had significant hits to the NR and Uniprot databases where they matched 17,642 and 13,351 unique protein accessions, respectively. At 24 h post SVCV infection (1.0 MOI), a total of 623 genes were differentially expressed in EPC cells compared to non-infected cells, including 288 up-regulated genes and 335 down-regulated genes. These regulated genes were primarily involved in pathways of apoptosis, oxidative stress and the interferon system, all of which may be involved in viral pathogenesis. In addition, 8 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were validated by quantitative PCR.
Our findings demonstrate previously unrecognised changes in gene transcription that are associated with SVCV infection in vitro, and many potential cascades identified in the study clearly warrant further experimental investigation. Our data provide new clues to the mechanism of viral susceptibility in EPC cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-935) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4221675  PMID: 25344771
20.  Comparison of Long-Term Survival and Toxicity of Cisplatin Delivered Weekly versus Every Three Weeks Concurrently with Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110765.
We aimed to compare the long-term survival outcomes and acute toxicity of cisplatin administered weekly versus every three weeks concurrently with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
This was a retrospective review of 154 patients with histologically proven, non-disseminated NPC who were treated using IMRT between January 2003 and December 2007. Seventy-three patients (47.4%) received 5–7 weeks of 30–40 mg/m2 cisplatin weekly; 81 patients (52.6%) received two or three cycles of 80 mg/m2 cisplatin every three weeks. IMRT was delivered at 68 Gy/30 fractions to the nasopharyngeal gross target volume and 60–66 Gy to the involved neck area.
The clinical characteristics and treatment factors of the two groups were well-balanced. The median follow-up was 74 months (range, 6–123 months), and the 5-year overall survival, disease-free survival, locoregional relapse-free survival, and distant metastasis–free survival rates were 85.2% vs. 78.9% (P = 0.318), 71.6% vs. 71.0% (P = 0.847), 93.5% vs. 92.6% (P = 0.904), and 80.9% vs. 80.1% (P = 0.925) for the group treated every three weeks and weekly, respectively. Subgroup analyses indicated no significant differences in the survival rates of the two groups among patients with early- or advanced-stage disease. The incidence of acute toxicities was similar between groups.
IMRT with concurrent cisplatin administered weekly or every three weeks leads to similar long-term survival outcomes and acute toxicity in NPC regardless of whether patients have early- or advanced-stage disease.
PMCID: PMC4199726  PMID: 25329593
21.  Mast cell exosomes promote lung adenocarcinoma cell proliferation – role of KIT-stem cell factor signaling 
Human cells release nano-sized vesicles called exosomes, containing mRNA, miRNA and specific proteins. Exosomes from one cell can be taken up by another cell, which is a recently discovered cell-to-cell communication mechanism. Also, exosomes can be taken up by different types of cancer cells, but the potential functional effects of mast cell exosomes on tumor cells remain unknown.
Methods and results
Exosomes were isolated from the human mast cell line, HMC-1, and uptake of PKH67-labelled exosomes by the lung epithelial cell line, A549, was examined using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. The RNA cargo of the exosomes was analyzed with a Bioanalyzer and absence or presence of the c-KIT mRNA was determined by RT-PCR. The cell proliferation was determined in a BrdU incorporation assay, and proteins in the KIT-SCF signaling pathway were detected by Western blot. Our result demonstrates that exosomes from mast cells can be taken up by lung cancer cells. Furthermore, HMC-1 exosomes contain and transfer KIT protein, but not the c-KIT mRNA to A549 cells and subsequently activate KIT-SCF signal transduction, which increase cyclin D1 expression and accelerate the proliferation in the human lung adenocarcinoma cells.
Our results indicate that exosomes can transfer KIT as a protein to tumor cells, which can affect recipient cell signaling events through receptor-ligand interactions.
PMCID: PMC4206705  PMID: 25311367
Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; KIT; Lung cancer; Mast cell; Transfer
22.  JPEG2000 Still Image Coding Quality 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2013;26(5):866-874.
This work demonstrates the image qualities between two popular JPEG2000 programs. Two medical image compression algorithms are both coded using JPEG2000, but they are different regarding the interface, convenience, speed of computation, and their characteristic options influenced by the encoder, quantization, tiling, etc. The differences in image quality and compression ratio are also affected by the modality and compression algorithm implementation. Do they provide the same quality? The qualities of compressed medical images from two image compression programs named Apollo and JJ2000 were evaluated extensively using objective metrics. These algorithms were applied to three medical image modalities at various compression ratios ranging from 10:1 to 100:1. Following that, the quality of the reconstructed images was evaluated using five objective metrics. The Spearman rank correlation coefficients were measured under every metric in the two programs. We found that JJ2000 and Apollo exhibited indistinguishable image quality for all images evaluated using the above five metrics (r > 0.98, p < 0.001). It can be concluded that the image quality of the JJ2000 and Apollo algorithms is statistically equivalent for medical image compression.
PMCID: PMC3782606  PMID: 23589187
Image compression; JPEG2000; Image quality
23.  Enalapril inhibits tubulointerstitial inflammation and NLRP3 inflammasome expression in BSA-overload nephropathy of rats 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(10):1293-1301.
Proteinuria is not only a common marker of renal disease, but also involved in renal tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying the protective effects of enalapril, an ACEI, against nephropathy in rats.
Wistar rats underwent unilateral right nephrectomy, and then were treated with BSA (5 g·kg−1·d−1, ip), or BSA plus enalapril (0.5 g·kg−1·d−1, po) for 9 weeks. The renal lesions were evaluated using histology and immunohistochemistry. The expression of NLRP3, caspase-1, IL-1β and IL-18 was analyzed using immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and Western blot.
BSA-overload resulted in severe proteinuria, which peaked at week 7, and interstitial inflammation with prominent infiltration of CD68+ cells (macrophages) and CD3+ cells (T lymphocytes), particularly of CD20+ cells (B lymphocytes). BSA-overload markedly increased the expression of NLRP3, caspase-1, IL-1β and IL-18 in the proximal tubular epithelial cells, and in inflammatory cells as well. Furthermore, the expression of IL-1β or IL-18 was significantly correlated with proteinuria (IL-1β: r=0.757; IL-18: r=0.834). These abnormalities in BSA-overload rats were significantly attenuated by concurrent administration of enalapril.
Enalapril exerts protective effects against BSA-overload nephropathy in rats via suppressing NLRP3 inflammasome expression and tubulointerstitial inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4186985  PMID: 25152022
proteinuria; tubulointerstitial inflammation; NLRP3 inflammasome; enalapril
24.  S-1 as Monotherapy or in Combination With Leucovorin as Second-Line Treatment in Gemcitabine-Refractory Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A Randomized, Open-Label, Multicenter, Phase II Study 
The Oncologist  2014;19(11):1133-1134.
In this study, we compared the efficacy and safety of the oral fluoropyrimidine S-1 as monotherapy or in combination with leucovorin as the second-line treatment for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer whose disease had progressed on gemcitabine treatment.
The study was a randomized, open-label, controlled study. Patients randomly received S-1 or S-1 in combination with leucovorin (SL arm) in 21-day cycles. The primary endpoint was the 6-month survival rate.
A total of 92 patients were randomized to S-1 (n = 47) and SL (n = 45). No statistically significant differences were observed between the two arms with regard to 6-month survival rates (40% vs. 49%), median overall survival (5.5 vs. 6.3 months), median progression-free survival (1.9 vs. 3.0 months), and overall response rate (4.7% vs. 8.3%). The rate of major grade 3–4 adverse events of digestive toxicity was significantly higher in the SL arm than in the S-1 arm.
Compared with S-1, SL did not improve the survival of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who had failed to benefit from prior gemcitabine treatment, but SL had a higher adverse event rate.
PMCID: PMC4221373  PMID: 25273077
25.  Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Activity of Enoki Mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:352385.
According to the literatures, Flammulina velutipes contains biologically active components such as dietary fiber, polysaccharide, and mycosterol, whose effects in reducing blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol have been proven. This study used the active components extracted from Flammulina velutipes powder (FVP) and Flammulina velutipes extract (FVE) to investigate the impact of these active components on lipid metabolism of hamsters. The results show that the total dietary fiber content in FVP and FVE is 29.34 mg/100 g and 15.08 mg/100 g, respectively. The total mycosterol content is 46.57 ± 0.37 mg/100 g and 9.01 ± 0.17 mg/100 g, respectively. The male hamsters were subjected to lipid metabolism monitoring by adding 1, 2, and 3% FVP or FVE into their diets for a period of 8 weeks. The animal assay results show that the 3% FVP and FVE groups have the lowest concentration of TC (total cholesterol), TG (triacylglycerol), LDL (low density lipoprotein cholesterol), and LDL/HDL (high density lipoprotein cholesterol) in the serum and liver (P < 0.05). Our results demonstrate that the addition of 3% FVP or FVE has a significant effect on the lipid metabolism in hamsters whose increased level of HDL in the serum was induced by high fat diet.
PMCID: PMC4164374  PMID: 25250317

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