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1.  Cardioprotective effects of angiotensin III against ischemic injury via the AT2 receptor and KATP channels 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(6):e00151.
Angiotensin III (Ang III) has similar effects on blood pressure and aldosterone secretion as Ang II, but cardioprotective effects are also proposed. In this study, we investigated whether Ang III protects the heart against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. After sacrificing Sprague-Dawley rats, the hearts were perfused with Krebs–Henseleit buffer for a 20 min preischemic period with and without Ang III followed by 20-min global ischemia and 50-min reperfusion. Pretreatment with Ang III (1 μmol/L) improved an increased postischemic left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) and a decreased postischemic left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) induced by reperfusion compared to untreated hearts. Ang III markedly decreased infarct size and lactate dehydrogenase levels in effluent during reperfusion. Ang III increased coronary flow and the concentrations of atrial natriuretic peptide in coronary effluent during reperfusion. Pretreatment with Ang II type 2 receptor (AT2R) antagonist or ATP-sensitive K+ channel (KATP) blocker for 15 min before ischemia attenuated the improvement of LVEDP, LVDP, and ±dP/dt induced by Ang III. Ang III treatment increased Mn-superoxide dismutase, catalase, and heme oxygenase-1 protein levels, which was attenuated by pretreatment with AT2R antagonist or KATP blocker. Ang III treatment also decreased Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9 protein levels, and increased Bcl-2 protein level, which were attenuated by pretreatment with AT2R antagonist or KATP blocker. These results suggest that the cardioprotective effects of Ang III against I/R injury may be partly related to activating antioxidant and antiapoptotic enzymes via AT2R and KATP channels.
PMCID: PMC3871466  PMID: 24400153
Angiotensin III; apoptosis; atrial natriuretic peptide; Bax; Bcl-2; caspase-3; caspase-9; catalase; heart; heme oxygenase-1; ischemia; KATP channel; superoxide dismutase
2.  Epigenetic Changes of Serotonin Transporter in the Patients with Alcohol Dependence: Methylation of an Serotonin Transporter Promoter CpG Island 
Psychiatry Investigation  2010;8(2):130-133.
Psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and alcohol dependence are associated with serotonin metabolism. We assessed the methylation level of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) promoter region in control and alcohol dependent patients.
Twenty seven male patients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder IV (DSM-IV) criteria for alcohol dependence were compared with fifteen controls. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays of bisulfate-modified DNA were designed to amplify a part of the CpG island in the 5HTT gene. Pyrosequencing was performed and the methylation level at seven CpG island sites was measured.
We found no differences in the methylation patterns of the serotonin transporter linked promoter region (5-HTTLPR) between alcohol-dependent and control subjects.
Our negative finding may be because 5-HTT epigenetic variation may not affect the expression for 5-HTT or there may be other methylation site critical for its expression. To find out more conclusive result, repeating the study in more methylation sites with a larger number of samples in a well-controlled setting is needed.
PMCID: PMC3149107  PMID: 21852989
Serotonin transporter region (5-HTTLPR); Methylation; Alcohol dependence
3.  Prevalence and Predictors of Polypharmacy among Korean Elderly 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98043.
Polypharmacy is widespread in the elderly because of their multiple chronic health problems. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors associated with polypharmacy in a nationally representative sample of Korean elderly individuals.
We used the Korea Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service – National Patient Sample (HIRA-NPS) data from 2010 and 2011. We used information on 319,185 elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011 from the HIRA-NPS database. We defined ‘polypharmacy’ as the concurrent use of 6 medications or more per person, ‘major polypharmacy’ as 11 medications or more, and ‘excessive polypharmacy’ as 21 medications or more. The frequency and proportion (%) and their 95% confidence intervals were presented according to the polypharmacy definition. Polypharmacy was visualized by the Quantum Geographic Information Systems (QGIS) program to describe regional differences in patterns of drug use. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression was performed to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) to investigate the risk factors for polypharmacy.
Of the Korean elderly studied, 86.4% had polypharmacy, 44.9% had major polypharmacy and 3.0% had excessive polypharmacy. Polypharmacy was found to be primarily concentrated in the Southwest region of the country. Significant associations between polypharmacy and the lower-income Medical Aid population (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.47, 1.56) compared with National Health Insurance patients was observed.
Nationwide efforts are needed for managing polypharmacy among Korean elderly patients. In particular, a national campaign and education to promote appropriate use of medicines for the Medical Aid population is needed.
PMCID: PMC4051604  PMID: 24915073
4.  Huge Intrathoracic Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor in an Adolescent with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 
Case Reports in Pediatrics  2014;2014:951252.
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a rare soft tissue malignancy usually found in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) with a poor outcome. Although MPNST can be found in any part of the body including head and neck or extremities, intrathoracic MPNST with or without NF1 is uncommon, especially in children or adolescents. Reported herein is a case of huge intrathoracic MPNST in a 16-year-old girl with NF1, and a brief review of the literature.
PMCID: PMC4058178  PMID: 24971186
5.  FIZZ2/RELM-β Induction and Role in Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Found in inflammatory zone (FIZZ) 2, also known as resistin-like molecule (RELM)-β, belongs to a novel cysteine-rich secreted protein family named FIZZ/RELM. Its function is unclear, but a closely related family member, FIZZ1, has profibrotic activities. The human ortholog of rodent FIZZ1 has not been identified, but human FIZZ2 has significant sequence homology to both rodent FIZZ2 (59%) and FIZZ1 (50%). Given the greater homology to rodent FIZZ2, analyzing the role of FIZZ2 in a rodent model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis would be of greater potential relevance to human fibrotic lung disease. The results showed that FIZZ2 was highly induced in lungs of rodents with bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis and of human patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. FIZZ2 expression was induced in rodent and human lung epithelial cells by Th2 cytokines, which was mediated via STAT6 signaling. The FIZZ2 induction in murine lungs was found to be essential for pulmonary fibrosis, as FIZZ2 deficiency significantly suppressed pulmonary fibrosis and associated enhanced extracellular matrix and cytokine gene expression. In vitro analysis indicated that FIZZ2 could stimulate type I collagen and α-smooth muscle actin expression in lung fibroblasts. Furthermore, FIZZ2 was shown to have chemoattractant activity for bone marrow (BM) cells, especially BM-derived CD11c+ dendritic cells. Notably, lung recruitment of BM-derived cells was impaired in FIZZ2 knockout mice. These findings suggest that FIZZ2 is a Th2-associated multifunctional mediator with potentially important roles in the pathogenesis of fibrotic lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC4030639  PMID: 21602491
6.  KNOW-CKD (KoreaN cohort study for Outcome in patients With Chronic Kidney Disease): design and methods 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:80.
The progression and complications of chronic kidney disease should differ depending on the cause (C), glomerular filtration rate category (G), and albuminuria (A). The KNOW-CKD (KoreaN Cohort Study for Outcome in Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease), which is a prospective cohort study, enrolls subjects with chronic kidney disease stages 1 to 5 (predialysis).
Nine nephrology centers in major university hospitals throughout Korea will enroll approximately 2,450 adults with chronic kidney disease over a 5-year period from 2011 to 2015. The participating individuals will be monitored for approximately 10 years until death or until end-stage renal disease occurs. The subjects will be classified into subgroups based on the following specific causes of chronic kidney disease: glomerulonephritis, diabetic nephropathy, hypertensive nephropathy, polycystic kidney disease, and others. The eligible subjects will be evaluated at baseline for socio-demographic information, detailed personal/family history, office BP, quality of life, and health behaviors. After enrollment in the study, thorough assessments, including laboratory tests, cardiac evaluation and radiologic imaging, will be performed according to the standardized protocol. The biospecimen samples will be collected regularly. A renal event is defined by >50% decrease in estimated GFR (eGFR) from the baseline values, doubling of serum creatinine, or end-stage renal disease. The primary composite outcome consists of renal events, cardiovascular events, and death. As of September 2013, 1,470 adult chronic kidney disease subjects were enrolled in the study, including 543 subjects with glomerulonephritis, 317 with diabetic nephropathy, 294 with hypertensive nephropathy and 249 with polycystic kidney disease.
As the first large-scale chronic kidney disease cohort study to be established and maintained longitudinally for up to 10 years, the KNOW-CKD will help to clarify the natural course, complication profiles, and risk factors of Asian populations with chronic kidney disease.
Trial registration
No. NCT01630486 at
PMCID: PMC4050398  PMID: 24884708
KNOW-CKD; Chronic kidney disease; Cohort; Etiology; Progression; Complication; Natural course
7.  KNOW-KT (KoreaN cohort study for outcome in patients with kidney transplantation: a 9-year longitudinal cohort study): study rationale and methodology 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:77.
Asian patients undergoing kidney transplantation (KT) generally have better renal allograft survival and a lower burden of cardiovascular disease than those of other racial groups. The KNOW-KT aims to explore allograft survival rate, cardiovascular events, and metabolic profiles and to elucidate the risk factors in Korean KT patients.
KNOW-KT is a multicenter, observational cohort study encompassing 8 transplant centers in the Republic of Korea. KNOW-KT will enroll 1,000 KT recipients between 2012 and 2015 and follow them up to 9 years. At the time of KT and at pre-specified intervals, clinical information, laboratory test results, and functional and imaging studies on cardiovascular disease and metabolic complications will be recorded. Comorbid status will be assessed by the age-adjusted Charlson co-morbidity index. Medication adherence and information on quality of life (QoL) will be monitored periodically. The QoL will be assessed by the Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form. Donors will include both living donors and deceased donors whose status will be assessed by the Kidney Donor Risk Index. Primary endpoints include graft loss and patient mortality. Secondary endpoints include renal functional deterioration (a decrease in eGFR to <30 mL/min/1.73 m2), acute rejection, cardiovascular event, albuminuria, new-onset diabetes after transplant, and QoL. Data on other adverse outcomes including episodes of infection, malignancy, recurrence of original renal disease, fracture, and hospitalization will also be collected. A bio-bank has been established for the acquisition of DNA, RNA, and protein from serum and urine samples of recipients at regular intervals. Bio-samples from donors will also be collected at the time of KT. KNOW-KT was registered in an international clinical trial registry (NCT02042963 at on January 20th, 2014.
The KNOW-KT, the first large-scale cohort study in Asian KT patients, is expected to represent the Asian KT population and provide information on their natural course, complications, and risk factors for complications.
PMCID: PMC4022441  PMID: 24884405
Cohort study; Complication; Kidney transplantation; KNOW-KT; Risk factor
8.  Genome-Wide Analysis of T Cell Responses during Acute and Latent Simian Varicella Virus Infections in Rhesus Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(21):11751-11761.
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is the etiological agent of varicella (chickenpox) and herpes zoster (HZ [shingles]). Clinical observations suggest that VZV-specific T cell immunity plays a more critical role than humoral immunity in the prevention of VZV reactivation and development of herpes zoster. Although numerous studies have characterized T cell responses directed against select VZV open reading frames (ORFs), a comprehensive analysis of the T cell response to the entire VZV genome has not yet been conducted. We have recently shown that intrabronchial inoculation of young rhesus macaques with simian varicella virus (SVV), a homolog of VZV, recapitulates the hallmarks of acute and latent VZV infection in humans. In this study, we characterized the specificity of T cell responses during acute and latent SVV infection. Animals generated a robust and broad T cell response directed against both structural and nonstructural viral proteins during acute infection in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and peripheral blood. During latency, T cell responses were detected only in the BAL fluid and were lower and more restricted than those observed during acute infection. Interestingly, we identified a small set of ORFs that were immunogenic during both acute and latent infection in the BAL fluid. Given the close genome relatedness of SVV and VZV, our studies highlight immunogenic ORFs that may be further investigated as potential components of novel VZV vaccines that specifically boost T cell immunity.
PMCID: PMC3807353  PMID: 23986583
9.  Evaluation of Propidium Monoazide Real-Time PCR for Early Detection of Viable Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Clinical Respiratory Specimens 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2014;34(3):203-209.
Conventional acid-fast bacilli (AFB) staining cannot differentiate viable from dead cells. Propidium monoazide (PMA) is a photoreactive DNA-binding dye that inhibits PCR amplification by DNA modification. We evaluated whether PMA real-time PCR is suitable for the early detection of viable Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in clinical respiratory specimens.
A total of 15 diluted suspensions from 5 clinical MTB isolates were quadruplicated and subjected to PMA treatment and/or heat inactivation. Eighty-three AFB-positive sputum samples were also tested to compare the ΔCT values (CT value in PMA-treated sputum samples-CT value in non-PMA-treated sputum samples) between culture-positive and culture-negative specimens. Real-time PCR was performed using Anyplex MTB/NTM Real-Time Detection (Seegene, Korea), and the CT value changes after PMA treatment were compared between culture-positive and culture-negative groups.
In MTB suspensions, the increase in the CT value after PMA treatment was significant in dead cells (P=0.0001) but not in live cells (P=0.1070). In 14 culture-negative sputum samples, the median ΔCT value was 5.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1-8.2; P<0.0001), whereas that in 69 culture-positive sputum samples was 1.1 (95% CI, 0.7-2.0). In the ROC curve analysis, the cutoff ΔCT value for maximum sensitivity (89.9%) and specificity (85.7%) for differentiating dead from live cells was 3.4.
PMA real-time PCR is a useful approach for differentiating dead from live bacilli in AFB smear-positive sputum samples.
PMCID: PMC3999318  PMID: 24790907
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Propidium monoazide; Real-time PCR
10.  Cancer Incidence and Survival among Adolescents and Young Adults in Korea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96088.
In Korea, cancer is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults (AYAs). However, cancer incidence and survival trends among AYAs (15–29 years) have never been studied in Korea. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the incidence and relative survival rates and their trends among AYAs in Korea.
Materials and Methods
Cancer incidence data from 1999–2010 were obtained from the Korea Central Cancer Registry (KCCR). Each cancer was classified into subgroups according to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) AYA site recode. Percent distributions, age-specific incidence rates, age-standardized incidence rates per million, and annual percent changes (APCs) were calculated for AYAs according to sex. Five-year relative survival rates were estimated for cases diagnosed between 1993 and 2010 and followed up to 2011.
The age-standardized incidence rates of all cancers combined were 196.4 and 367.8 per million for males and females, respectively (male-to-female (M/F) ratio: 0.5). The age-standardized incidence rates increased from 208.7 per million in 1999 to 396.4 per million in 2010, and the APC was 6.3% (P<0.001). The five most common cancers among AYAs were thyroid carcinoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach carcinoma, breast carcinoma, and acute myeloid leukemia. In males, the 5-year relative survival rate improved, from 46.5% in 1993–1995 to 75.9% in 2006–2010. In females, the 5-year relative survival rate also improved, from 66.7% in 1993–1995 to 89.1% in 2006–2010.
Our study showed increases in cancer incidence and improvements in the 5-year relative survival rate among Korean AYAs. This study also provides additional data regarding temporal and geographic trends in cancer that may enhance future efforts to identify factors affecting cancer incidence and responses to treatment among AYAs.
PMCID: PMC4006908  PMID: 24789075
11.  Transplantation of betacellulin-transduced islets improves glucose intolerance in diabetic mice 
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by permanent destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells and requires lifelong exogenous insulin therapy. Recently, islet transplantation has been developed, and although there have been significant advances, this approach is not widely used clinically due to the poor survival rate of the engrafted islets. We hypothesized that improving survival of engrafted islets through ex vivo genetic engineering could be a novel strategy for successful islet transplantation. We transduced islets with adenoviruses expressing betacellulin, an epidermal growth factor receptor ligand, which promotes β-cell growth and differentiation, and transplanted these islets under the renal capsule of streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Transplantation with betacellulin-transduced islets resulted in prolonged normoglycemia and improved glucose tolerance compared with those of control virus-transduced islets. In addition, increased microvascular density was evident in the implanted islets, concomitant with increased endothelial von Willebrand factor immunoreactivity. Finally, cultured islets transduced with betacellulin displayed increased proliferation, reduced apoptosis and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in the presence of cytokines. These experiments suggest that transplantation with betacellulin-transduced islets extends islet survival and preserves functional islet mass, leading to a therapeutic benefit in type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4044676  PMID: 24875130
angiogenesis; betacellulin; gene therapy; islets transplantation
12.  Morphological Examination of the Obturator Notch and Canal in Cervidae 
The purpose of this study was to investigate gross findings of the obturator notch (ON) and obturator canal (OC) in Cervidae. A total of 183 pelvic girdles from 26 species of deer were examined, and the obturator canal (OC) was classified into 4 types based on the degree of separation from the obturator foramen (OF). The deep ON was observed primarily in the subfamily Capreolinae (telemetacarpal deer). The small bony OC was frequently observed in Hydropotes inermis, Mazama gouazoubira and Ozotoceros bezoarticus. A canal without a tubercle or bony bridge structure was mainly observed in the subfamily Cervinae (plesiometacarpal deer). These results suggest that the deep ONs or the OCs separated by bony structures are more common in telemetacarpal rather than plesiometacarpal deer.
PMCID: PMC4073350  PMID: 24430657
deer; obturator canal; obturator foramen; obturator notch
13.  Functional polymorphism in aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 gene associated with risk of tuberculosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:40.
The well-known genetic polymorphisms in ADH1B(His47Arg) and ALDH2(Glu487Lys) have dramatic effects on the rate of metabolizing alcohol and acetaldehyde. We investigated possible involvement of these functional polymorphisms in other common complex-trait diseases.
The genetic effects of these two polymorphisms on hepatitis, asthma, type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and tuberculosis (TB) were examined in a Korean population.
We demonstrated that the well-known functional polymorphism of a primary alcohol-metabolizing enzyme (ALDH2 Glu487Lys) has a strong genetic association with the risk of TB. The frequency of the minor allele (ALDH2*487Lys) was found to be much lower in TB patients (freq. = 0.099/n = 477) than among controls (freq. = 0.162/n = 796) (P = 0.00001, OR (95% confidential interval) = 0.57 (0.45-0.74)). Our data may indicate that TB was once an endemic disease, which exerted selection pressure for higher frequencies of ALDH2*487Lys in Asian populations. In addition, the calculated attributable fraction (AF) indicates that 39.5% of TB patients can attribute their disease to the detrimental effects of ALDH2Glu487Glu.
Our results suggest that this polymorphism is one of the genetic components of TB, at least in the Korean population.
PMCID: PMC3975138  PMID: 24690209
Aldehyde dehydrogenase; Tuberculosis; Polymorphism
14.  Effects of aged garlic extract and endurance exercise on skeletal muscle FNDC-5 and circulating irisin in high-fat-diet rat models 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2014;8(2):177-182.
Irisin, a newly identified hormone, is associated with energy homeostasis. We investigated whether aged garlic extract (AGE) and exercise training intervention could improve body weight, insulin sensitivity, skeletal muscle fibronectin domain containing protein 5 (FNDC-5) levels, and plasma irisin in high-fat diet (HFD).
Male Sprague Dawley rats were fed a ND (normal diet, n = 5) or HFD (n = 28) for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, all rats were divided into 5 groups for the next 4 weeks: ND, (normal diet, n = 5), HFD (high-fat diet, n = 7), HFDA (high-fat diet + aged garlic extract, n = 7), HFDE (high-fat diet + exercise, n = 7), and HFDEA (high-fat diet + exercise + aged garlic extract, n = 7). Exercise groups performed treadmill exercises for 15-60 min, 5 days/week, and AGE groups received AGE (2.86 g/kg, orally injected) for 4 weeks.
Significant decreases in body weight were observed in the ND, HFDE, and HFDEA groups, as compared with the HFD group. Neither intervention affected the masses of the gastrocnemius muscle or liver. There were no significant differences in glucose levels across the groups. The homeostatic model assessments of insulin resistance were significantly higher in the HFD group, as compared with the ND, HFDA, HFDE, and HFDEA groups. However, skeletal muscle FNDC-5 levels and plasma irisin concentrations were unaffected by AGE or exercise in obese rats. AGE supplementation and exercise training did not affect skeletal muscle FNDC-5 or plasma irisin, which are associated with insulin sensitivity in obese rats.
Our results suggest that the protection against HFD-induced increases in body fat/weight and insulin resistance that are provided by AGE supplementation and exercise training may not be mediated by the regulation of FNDC-5 or irisin.
PMCID: PMC3988507  PMID: 24741402
Myokine; Muscle metabolism; Insulin resistance; Combined treatment
15.  Neuroradiological and Neurophysiological Characteristics of Patients With Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2014;38(2):189-199.
To investigate neuroradiological and neurophysiological characteristics of patients with dyskinetic cerebral palsy (CP), by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), voxel-based morphometry (VBM), diffusion tensor tractography (DTT), and motor evoked potential (MEP).
Twenty-three patients with dyskinetic CP (13 males, 10 females; mean age 34 years, range 16-50 years) were participated in this study. Functional evaluation was assessed by the Gross Motor Functional Classification System (GMFCS) and Barry-Albright Dystonia Scale (BADS). Brain imaging was performed on 3.0 Tesla MRI, and volume change of the grey matter was assessed using VBM. The corticospinal tract (CST) and superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) were analyzed by DTT. MEPs were recorded in the first dorsal interossei, the biceps brachii and the deltoid muscles.
Mean BADS was 16.4±5.0 in ambulatory group (GMFCS levels I, II, and III; n=11) and 21.3±3.9 in non-ambulatory group (GMFCS levels IV and V; n=12). Twelve patients showed normal MRI findings, and eleven patients showed abnormal MRI findings (grade I, n=5; grade II, n=2; grade III, n=4). About half of patients with dyskinetic CP showed putamen and thalamus lesions on MRI. Mean BADS was 20.3±5.7 in normal MRI group and 17.5±4.0 in abnormal MRI group. VBM showed reduced volume of the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus. In DTT, no abnormality was observed in CST, but not in SLF. In MEPs, most patients showed normal central motor conduction time.
These results support that extrapyramidal tract, related with basal ganglia circuitry, may be responsible for the pathophysiology of dyskinetic CP rather than CST abnormality.
PMCID: PMC4026605  PMID: 24855613
Cerebral palsy; Diffusion tensor imaging; Motor evoked potentials; Magnetic resonance imaging
17.  Vaccination against Endogenous Retrotransposable Element Consensus Sequences Does Not Protect Rhesus Macaques from SIVsmE660 Infection and Replication 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92012.
The enormous sequence diversity of HIV remains a major roadblock to the development of a prophylactic vaccine and new approaches to induce protective immunity are needed. Endogenous retrotransposable elements (ERE) such as endogenous retrovirus K (ERV)-K and long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) are activated during HIV-1-infection and could represent stable, surrogate targets to eliminate HIV-1-infected cells. Here, we explored the hypothesis that vaccination against ERE would protect macaques from acquisition and replication of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Following vaccination with antigens derived from LINE-1 and ERV-K consensus sequences, animals mounted immune responses that failed to delay acquisition of SIVsmE660. We observed no differences in acute or set point viral loads between ERE-vaccinated and control animals suggesting that ERE-specific responses were not protective. Indeed, ERE-specific T cells failed to expand anamnestically in vivo following infection with SIVsmE660 and did not recognize SIV-infected targets in vitro, in agreement with no significant induction of targeted ERE mRNA by SIV in macaque CD4+ T cells. Instead, lower infection rates and viral loads correlated significantly to protective TRIM5α alleles. Cumulatively, these data demonstrate that vaccination against the selected ERE consensus sequences in macaques did not lead to immune-mediated recognition and killing of SIV-infected cells, as has been shown for HIV-infected human cells using patient-derived HERV-K-specific T cells. Thus, further research is required to identify the specific nonhuman primate EREs and retroviruses that recapitulate the activity of HIV-1 in human cells. These results also highlight the complexity in translating observations of the interplay between HIV-1 and human EREs to animal models.
PMCID: PMC3961289  PMID: 24651676
18.  β-Lapachone Ameliorates Lipotoxic Cardiomyopathy in Acyl CoA Synthase Transgenic Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91039.
Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy is caused by myocardial lipid accumulation and often occurs in patients with diabetes and obesity. This study investigated the effects of β-lapachone (β-lap), a natural compound that activates Sirt1 through elevation of the intracellular NAD+ level, on acyl CoA synthase (ACS) transgenic (Tg) mice, which have lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. Oral administration of β-lap to ACS Tg mice significantly attenuated heart failure and inhibited myocardial accumulation of triacylglycerol. Electron microscopy and measurement of mitochondrial complex II protein and mitochondrial DNA revealed that administration of β-lap restored mitochondrial integrity and biogenesis in ACS Tg hearts. Accordingly, β-lap administration significantly increased the expression of genes associated with mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid metabolism that were down-regulated in ACS Tg hearts. β-lap also restored the activities of Sirt1 and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the two key regulators of metabolism, which were suppressed in ACS Tg hearts. In H9C2 cells, β-lap-mediated elevation of AMPK activity was retarded when the level of Sirt1 was reduced by transfection of siRNA against Sirt1. Taken together, these results indicate that β-lap exerts cardioprotective effects against cardiac lipotoxicity through the activation of Sirt1 and AMPK. β-lap may be a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of lipotoxic cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3948739  PMID: 24614171
19.  Quantitative Electromyographic Analysis of Reaction Time to External Auditory Stimuli in Drug-Naïve Parkinson's Disease 
Parkinson's Disease  2014;2014:848035.
Evaluation of motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) is still based on clinical rating scales by clinicians. Reaction time (RT) is the time interval between a specific stimulus and the start of muscle response. The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics of RT responses in PD patients using electromyography (EMG) and to elucidate the relationship between RT and clinical features of PD. The EMG activity of 31 PD patients was recorded during isometric muscle contraction. RT was defined as the time latency between an auditory beep and responsive EMG activity. PD patients demonstrated significant delays in both initiation and termination of muscle contraction compared with controls. Cardinal motor symptoms of PD were closely correlated with RT. RT was longer in more-affected side and in more-advanced PD stages. Frontal cognitive function, which is indicative of motor programming and movement regulation and perseveration, was also closely related with RT. In conclusion, greater RT is the characteristic motor features of PD and it could be used as a sensitive tool for motor function assessment in PD patients. Further investigations are required to clarify the clinical impact of the RT on the activity of daily living of patients with PD.
PMCID: PMC3958792  PMID: 24724037
20.  Polymorphisms of ATF6B Are Potentially Associated With FEV1 Decline by Aspirin Provocation in Asthmatics 
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has recently been observed to activate NF-kappaB and induce inflammatory responses such as asthma. Activating transcription factor 6β (ATF6B) is known to regulate ATFα-mediated ER stress response. The aim of this study is to investigate the associations of ATF6B genetic variants with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) and its major phenotype, % decline of FEV1 by aspirin provocation.
Four common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of ATF6B were genotyped and statistically analyzed in 93 AERD patients and 96 aspirin-tolerant asthma (ATA) as controls.
Logistic analysis revealed that 2 SNPs (rs2228628 and rs8111, P=0.008; corrected P=0.03) and 1 haplotype (ATF6B-ht4, P=0.005; corrected P=0.02) were significantly associated with % decline of FEV1 by aspirin provocation, whereas ATF6B polymorphisms and haplotypes were not associated with the risk of AERD.
Although further functional and replication studies are needed, our preliminary findings suggest that ATF6B may be related to obstructive phenotypes in response to aspirin exposure in adult asthmatics.
PMCID: PMC3936043  PMID: 24587951
ATF6B; aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD); single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); haplotype
21.  Myeloid Deletion of SIRT1 Aggravates Serum Transfer Arthritis in Mice via Nuclear Factor-κB Activation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87733.
SIRT1 modulates the acetylation of the p65 subunit of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and plays a pivotal role in the inflammatory response. This study sought to assess the role of SIRT1 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using a myeloid cell-specific SIRT1 knockout (mSIRT1 KO) mouse.
mSIRT1 KO mice were generated using the loxP/Cre recombinase system. K/BxN serum transfer arthritis was induced in mSIRT1 KO mice and age-matched littermate loxP control mice. Arthritis severity was assessed by clinical and pathological scoring. The levels of inflammatory cytokines in the serum and joints were measured by ELISA. Migration, M1 polarization, cytokine production, osteoclastogenesis, and p65 acetylation were assessed in bone marrow-derived monocytes/macrophages (BMMs).
mSIRT1 KO mice showed more severe inflammatory arthritis and aggravated pathological findings than control mice. These effects were paralleled by increases in IL-1, TNF-α, TRAP-positive osteoclasts, and F4/80+ macrophages in the ankles of mSIRT1 KO mice. In addition, BMMs from mSIRT1 KO mice displayed hyperacetylated p65 and increased NF-κB binding activity when compared to control mice, which resulted in increased M1 polarization, migration, pro-inflammatory cytokine production, and osteoclastogenesis.
Our study provides in vivo evidence that myeloid cell-specific deletion of SIRT1 exacerbates inflammatory arthritis via the hyperactivation of NF-κB signaling, which suggests that SIRT1 activation may be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3912001  PMID: 24498364
22.  Age and Immune Status of Rhesus Macaques Impact Simian Varicella Virus Gene Expression in Sensory Ganglia 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(15):8294-8306.
Simian varicella virus (SVV) infection of rhesus macaques (RMs) recapitulates the hallmarks of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection of humans, including the establishment of latency within the sensory ganglia. Various factors, including age and immune fitness, influence the outcome of primary VZV infection, as well as reactivation resulting in herpes zoster (HZ). To increase our understanding of the role of lymphocyte subsets in the establishment of viral latency, we analyzed the latent SVV transcriptome in juvenile RMs depleted of CD4 T, CD8 T, or CD20 B lymphocytes during acute infection. We have previously shown that SVV latency in sensory ganglia of nondepleted juvenile RMs is associated with a limited transcriptional profile. In contrast, CD4 depletion during primary infection resulted in the failure to establish a characteristic latent viral transcription profile in sensory ganglia, where we detected 68 out of 69 SVV-encoded open reading frames (ORFs). CD-depleted RMs displayed a latent transcriptional profile that included additional viral transcripts within the core region of the genome not detected in control RMs. The latent transcriptome of CD20-depleted RMs was comparable to the latent transcription in the sensory ganglia of control RMs. Lastly, we investigated the impact of age on the establishment of SVV latency. SVV gene expression was more active in ganglia from two aged RMs than in ganglia from juvenile RMs, with 25 of 69 SVV transcripts detected. Therefore, immune fitness at the time of infection modulates the establishment and/or maintenance of SVV latency.
PMCID: PMC3719833  PMID: 23698305
23.  Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism, 2nd Edition: Korean Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2014;29(2):164-171.
In 2010, we proposed the first Korean Guidelines for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). It was applicable to Korean patients, by modifying the contents of the second edition of the Japanese guidelines for the prevention of VTE and the 8th edition of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. From 2007 to 2011, we conducted a nationwide study regarding the incidence of VTE after major surgery using the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) database. In addition, we have considered the 9th edition of the ACCP Evidenced-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines, published in 2012. It emphasized the importance of clinically relevant events as opposed to asymptomatic outcomes with preferences for both thrombotic and bleeding outcomes. Thus, in the development of the new Korean guidelines, three major points were addressed: 1) the new guidelines stratify patients into 4 risk groups (very low, low, moderate, and high) according to the actual incidence of symptomatic VTE from the HIRA databases; 2) the recommended optimal VTE prophylaxis for each group was modified according to condition-specific thrombotic and bleeding risks; 3) guidelines are intended for general information only, are not medical advice, and do not replace professional medical care and/or physician advice.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC3923992  PMID: 24550640
Guideline; Prevention; Venous Thromboembolism; Bleeding
24.  Utilization Patterns of Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs in Elderly Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2014;29(2):210-216.
This study was conducted to investigate disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) utilization in Korean elderly patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We used data from January 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service claims database. The study subjects were defined as patients aged 65 yr or older with at least two claims with a diagnosis of RA. DMARD use was compared by the patients' age-group, gender, medical service, and geographic divisions. The patterns of DMARD use in mono- and combination therapy were calculated. RA medication use was calculated by the number of defined daily doses (DDD)/1,000 patients/day. A total of 166,388 patients were identified during the study period. DMARD use in RA patients was 12.0%. The proportion of DMARD use was higher in the younger elderly, females, and patients treated in big cities. Hydroxychloroquine was the most commonly used DMARD in monotherapy, and most of the combination therapies prescribed it with methotrexate. DMARD use in elderly RA patients was noticeably low, although drug prescriptions showed an increasing trend during the study period, clinicians may need to pay more attention to elderly RA patients.
PMCID: PMC3923999  PMID: 24550647
Utilization; Antirheumatic Agents; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Database

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