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1.  Magneto-Fluorescent Carbon Nanotube–Mediated siRNA for Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Receptor Silencing in Neuroblastoma 
RSC advances  2013;3(14):4544-4551.
We demonstrate a newly-developed magneto-fluorescent carbon nanotube (CNT) mediated siRNA (CNT-siRNA) delivery system, which significantly silences our target of interest, gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRP-R), in neuroblastoma. CNT-siGRP-R resulted in a 50% silencing efficiency and a sustained efficacy of 9 days for one-time siRNA treatment in vitro, whereas siRNA delivered by the commercial transfection reagent couldn’t knockdown GRP-R expression. We further show that CNT-siRNA efficiently inhibits the growth of subcutaneous xenograft tumors in vivo. This system allows us to track the CNT-siRNA distribution via both near-infrared fluorescence and magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, our delivery system can be used to knockdown GRP-R expression in other cancer cell types, such as human breast cancer cells. The high efficiency and sustained efficacy may indicate that the natural stacking interactions between CNTs and siRNAs can protect siRNAs from degradation and enhance their stability during the delivery process.
doi:10.1039/C3RA23023F
PMCID: PMC4315500
CNT; siRNA; Fluorescence; MRI; Neuroblastoma; GRP-R
2.  Secoemestrin D, A Cytotoxic Epitetrathiodioxopiperizine and Emericellenes A–E, Five Sesterterpenoids from Emericella sp. AST0036, a Fungal Endophyte of Astragalus lentiginosus 
Journal of natural products  2013;76(12):2330-2336.
A new epitetrathiodioxopiperizine, secoemestrin D (1), five sesterterpenoids bearing a new carbon skeleton, emericellenes A–E (2–6), together with previously known fungal metabolites, sterigmatocystin (7), arugosin C (8), and epiisoshamixanthone (9), were obtained from the endophytic fungal strain Emericella sp. AST0036 isolated from a healthy leaf tissue of Astragalus lentiginosus. The planar structures and relative configurations of the new metabolites 1–6 were elucidated using MS, 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopic data. All compounds were evaluated for their potential anticancer activity using a panel of six tumor cell lines and normal human fibroblast cells. Only metabolites 1 and 7 showed cytotoxic activity. More importantly, secoemestrin D (1) exhibited significant cytotoxicity with IC50s ranging from 0.06–0.24 µM and moderate selectivity to human glioma (SF-268) and metastatic breast adenocarcinoma (MDA-MB-231) cell lines.
doi:10.1021/np400762k
PMCID: PMC3946369  PMID: 24251417
3.  ER-mitochondria associations are regulated by the VAPB-PTPIP51 interaction and are disrupted by ALS/FTD-associated TDP-43 
Nature communications  2014;5:3996.
Mitochondria and the ER form tight structural associations and these facilitate a number of cellular functions. However, the mechanisms by which regions of the ER become tethered to mitochondria are not properly known. Understanding these mechanisms is not just important for comprehending fundamental physiological processes but also for understanding pathogenic processes in some disease states. In particular, disruption to ER-mitochondria associations is linked to some neurodegenerative diseases. Here we show that the ER-resident protein VAPB interacts with the mitochondrial protein PTPIP51 to regulate ER-mitochondria associations. Moreover, we demonstrate that TDP-43, a protein pathologically linked to ALS and FTD perturbs ER-mitochondria interactions and that this is associated with disruption to the VAPB-PTPIP51 interaction and cellular Ca2+ homeostasis. Finally, we show that overexpression of TDP-43 leads to activation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) and that GSK-3β regulates the VAPB-PTPIP51 interaction. Our results describe a new pathogenic mechanism for TDP-43.
doi:10.1038/ncomms4996
PMCID: PMC4046113  PMID: 24893131
4.  Glytan decreases portal pressure via mesentery vasoconstriction in portal hypertensive rats 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(44):16674-16682.
AIM: To investigate the effects of Glytan on splanchnic hemodynamics and its reduction of portal pressure in portal hypertensive rats.
METHODS: Glytan (Ganluotong in Chinese), is composed of salvianolic acid B and diammonium glycyrrhizinate. Portal hypertension (PHT) was induced in the rats by common bile duct ligation (BDL). Hemodynamic studies were performed using the colored microsphere method. Radioimmunoassay (RIA) was used to determine endothelin (ET)-1 levels in the mesenteric circulation. Western blotting methods were used to investigate the effect of Glytan on ET A receptor (ETAR), ET B receptor (ETBR), endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), G-protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK)2, and β-arrestin 2 expression in the mesentery. The mRNA of ETAR and ETBR was determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: Treatment with Glytan reduced portal pressure (PP) and portal territory blood flow (PTBF) and increased both mean arterial pressure (MAP) and splanchnic vascular resistance (SVR). Especially at 4 wk, PP decreased by about 40%, while MAP increased by 13%, SVR increased by 12%, and PTBF decreased by about 21%. The effect of blood flow reduction was greatest in the mesentery (about 33%) at 4 wk. The mesenteric circulation ET-1 levels of BDL rats were lower and negatively correlated with PP at 4 wk. Glytan can increase mesenteric ET-1 content and inhibit ETBR, eNOS, GRK2, and β-arrestin 2 expression in the mesentery. Moreover, Glytan showed no effect on the expression of ETAR protein and mRNA.
CONCLUSION: The decreased PP and PTBF observed after Glytan treatment were related to increased mesenteric vasoconstriction and increased receptor sensitivity to vasoconstrictor.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i44.16674
PMCID: PMC4248211  PMID: 25469036
Glytan; Portal hypertension; Hemodynamics; Mesentery; Endothelin-1; Receptor; Sensitivity
5.  Clinical significance of gefitinib antitumor activity in patients with lung adenocarcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(1):257-261.
Non-small cell lung cancer is a subtype of adenocarcinoma, which has previously shown positive responses to gefitinib. The aim of the current study was to determine a clinical profile of gefitinib-induced disease controls for patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Retrospective evaluation of the clinical characteristics of 52 lung adenocarcinoma patients, enrolled at the Zhejiang Cancer Hospital (Hangzhou, China) between October 2004 and August 2008, was undertaken. All patients received gefitinib (250 mg/day orally) until disease progression or until an unacceptable toxicity was observed. Of the 52 patients, complete response (CR) and partial response (PR) rates were 23.1% (12/52) and 57.7% (30/52), respectively. An additional 19.2% (10/52) of patients demonstrated stable disease (SD) after three months of treatment with gefitinib. Disease control was observed in the primary lesion, and tumor metastasis to the lungs, brain, adrenal glands, pleura, peritoneum, pericardium, bone and lymph nodes was identified. The one-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 74.8 and 78.0%, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that female patients were associated with significantly longer survival times when compared with males (hazard ratio, 0.077; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.007–0.083; P=0.035). One-year PFS and OS rates in CR, PR and SD patients were 77.8, 73.9 and 33.3%, and 89.2, 79.8 and 33.7%, respectively, although neither difference was identified to be statistically significant. In addition, the median OS of SD patients was 12 months (95% CI, 7.2–16.8 months). Brain metastasis was the major site of disease progression (23.1%). Gefitinib treatment for patients with lung adenocarcinoma showed a marked long-term survival benefit, even in SD patients. However, further studies are required to analyze the efficacy of gefitinib in penetrating the blood-brain barrier in order to prolong PFS in patients with lung adenocarcinoma.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2664
PMCID: PMC4246704  PMID: 25435970
non-small cell lung cancer; gefitinib; targeted therapy
6.  FXR agonist GW4064 alleviates endotoxin-induced hepatic inflammation by repressing macrophage activation 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(39):14430-14441.
AIM: To examine the effect of farnesoid X receptor (FXR) activation by GW4064 on endotoxin-induced hepatic inflammation in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the underlying mechanism.
METHODS: Six-week-old male C57BL/6 mice were fed a normal diet or a high-fat (HF) diet for 8 wk. HF diet-fed mice were intraperitoneally injected with GW4064 (30 mg/kg) or DMSO (vehicle) once daily for a week and then sacrificed after lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 50 μg/mouse) administration. Hepatic inflammation, levels of the macrophage marker F4/80, and apoptosis were measured at the end of the study. Additionally, the expression of proinflammatory genes involved in NAFLD (interleukin-6, interleukin-1β, interferon-γ, MCP-1) were analyzed by real-time PCR in the murine macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 cultured with or without GW4064 (2 μmol/L) before treatment with LPS.
RESULTS: In patients with NAFLD, the expression of FXR was detected by immunohistochemical staining and the relation between FXR expression and NAFLD activity score (NAS) was analyzed. Activation of FXR by GW4064 alleviated hepatic inflammation induced by endotoxin in a murine NAFLD model fed an HF diet as reflected by reduced serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase. Apoptosis and proinflammatory cytokine levels in liver tissues were also reduced by GW4064, and GW4064 could reduce induction of proinflammatory cytokines by LPS in vitro. FXR levels were reduced in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis compared with healthy controls and were negatively correlated with NAS.
CONCLUSION: FXR activation attenuates LPS-induced hepatic inflammation in murine NAFLD by reducing expression of proinflammatory cytokines in macrophages.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i39.14430
PMCID: PMC4202371  PMID: 25339829
Farnesoid X receptor; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; GW4064; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score; Lipopolysaccharide-induced hepatic inflammation; Macrophage activation
7.  ALS-Linked Mutations Enlarge TDP-43-Enriched Neuronal RNA Granules in the Dendritic Arbor 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(12):4167-4174.
Trans-activating response region (TAR) DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) is an RNA-binding protein that is mutated in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Disease-linked mutations in TDP-43 increase the tendency of TDP-43 to aggregate, leading to a corresponding increase in formation of stress granules, cytoplasmic protein/RNA complexes that form in response to stress. Although the field has focused on stress granules, TDP-43 also forms other types of RNA granules. For example, TDP-43 is associated with RNA granules that are prevalent throughout the dendritic arbor in neurons. Because aggregation of TDP-43 is also important for the formation of these neuronal RNA granules, we hypothesized that disease-linked mutations might alter granule formation even in the absence of stress. We now report that ALS-linked mutations in TDP-43 (A315T and Q343R) increase the size of neuronal TDP-43 granules in the dendritic arbor of rat hippocampal neurons. The mutations correspondingly reduce the granule density, movement, and mobility of TDP-43 granules. Depolarization of rat hippocampal neurons with KCl stimulates TDP-43 granule migration into dendrites, but A315T and Q343R TDP-43 granules migrate shorter distances and into fewer dendrites than wild-type TDP-43. These findings highlight novel elements of TDP-43 biology that are affected by disease-linked mutations and suggest a neuronally selective mechanism through which TDP-43 mutations might elicit neuronal dysfunction.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2350-13.2014
PMCID: PMC3960463  PMID: 24647938
G3BP; induced pluripotent stem cells; stress granule; TIA-1; trafficking; translation
8.  Aggregation-prone c9FTD/ALS poly(GA) RAN-translated proteins cause neurotoxicity by inducing ER stress 
Acta Neuropathologica  2014;128(4):505-524.
The occurrence of repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation, an atypical form of translation of expanded repeats that results in the synthesis of homopolymeric expansion proteins, is becoming more widely appreciated among microsatellite expansion disorders. Such disorders include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia caused by a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene (c9FTD/ALS). We and others have recently shown that this bidirectionally transcribed repeat is RAN translated, and the “c9RAN proteins” thusly produced form neuronal inclusions throughout the central nervous system of c9FTD/ALS patients. Nonetheless, the potential contribution of c9RAN proteins to disease pathogenesis remains poorly understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that poly(GA) c9RAN proteins are neurotoxic and may be implicated in the neurodegenerative processes of c9FTD/ALS. Specifically, we show that expression of poly(GA) proteins in cultured cells and primary neurons leads to the formation of soluble and insoluble high molecular weight species, as well as inclusions composed of filaments similar to those observed in c9FTD/ALS brain tissues. The expression of poly(GA) proteins is accompanied by caspase-3 activation, impaired neurite outgrowth, inhibition of proteasome activity, and evidence of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Of importance, ER stress inhibitors, salubrinal and TUDCA, provide protection against poly(GA)-induced toxicity. Taken together, our data provide compelling evidence towards establishing RAN translation as a pathogenic mechanism of c9FTD/ALS, and suggest that targeting the ER using small molecules may be a promising therapeutic approach for these devastating diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-014-1336-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-014-1336-5
PMCID: PMC4159567  PMID: 25173361
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72; Expanded repeat; Frontotemporal dementia; Repeat-associated non-ATG translation; Poly(GA) proteins; Proteasome activity; ER stress
9.  Path Analysis to Identify Factors Influencing Health Skills and Behaviors in Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Survey 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104406.
Background
Studies conducted in the past mostly rely on models of functional health literacy in adult populations. However, such models do not satisfy the need for health intervention in adolescents. The identification of key factors influencing adolescents' health literacy is essential in developing effective prevention and intervention measures. This study aimed to test a theoretical model of predictors on health skills and health behaviors in adolescents.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Guangdong using a multi-stage stratified cluster sample design. A representative random sample of 3821 students aged 13–25 years was selected using multi-stage stratified cluster sampling. The path analysis was used to test a hypothesized model of health literacy.
Results
The path analysis showed that knowledge of infectious disease (β = 0.26), health skills (β = 0.22), health concept (β = 0.20), general health knowledge (β = 0.15), gender (β = 0.12), and school performance (β = 0.06) had positive direct effect on health behaviors in adolescents. The explanatory variables accounted for 43% of the variance in explaining health behaviors. Knowledge of infectious disease (β = 0.30), health concept (β = 0.17), general health knowledge (β = 0.13), and school performance (β = 0.05) had positive indirect effect on health behaviors through the impacts on health skills.
Conclusion
This study identified several direct and indirect factors influencing health skills and health behaviors in adolescents. These findings will assist health professionals designing effective health interventions that aim to improve health skills and health behaviors in adolescents.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104406
PMCID: PMC4126710  PMID: 25105974
10.  Anaphylaxis-related deaths in Ontario: a retrospective review of cases from 1986 to 2011 
Background
Examining deaths caused by anaphylaxis may help identify factors that may decrease the risk of these unfortunate events. However, information on fatal anaphylaxis is limited. The objectives of our study were to examine all cases of fatal anaphylaxis in Ontario to determine cause of death, associated features, co factors and trends in mortality. The identification of these factors is important for developing effective strategies to overcome gaps in monitoring and treatment of patients with food allergies and risk for anaphylaxis.
Methods
This was a retrospective case-series analysis of all causes of anaphylaxis-related deaths using data from the Ontario Coroner’s database between 1986 and 2011. Quantitative data (e.g. demographic) were analyzed using descriptive statistics and frequency analysis using SPSS. Qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis of grounded theory methodology.
Results
We found 92 deaths in the last 26 years related to anaphylaxis. Causes of death, in order of decreasing frequency, included food (40 cases), insect venom (30 cases), iatrogenic (16 cases), and idiopathic (6 cases). Overall, there appears to be a decline in the frequency of food related deaths, but an increase in iatrogenic causes of fatalities. We found factors associated with fatal anaphylaxis included: delayed epinephrine administration, asthma, allergy to peanut, food ingestion outside the home, and teenagers with food allergies.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate the need to improve epinephrine auto-injector use in acute reactions, particularly for teens and asthmatics with food allergies. In addition, education can be improved among food service workers and food industry in order to help food allergic patients avoid potentially fatal allergens. The increasing trend in iatrogenic related anaphylaxis is concerning, and requires monitoring and more investigation.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-10-38
PMCID: PMC4322510  PMID: 25670935
Anaphylaxis; Severe allergic reaction; Anaphylaxis mortality; Food allergy; Medication allergy; Adverse drug reaction; Venom allergy; Insect sting allergy; Iatrogenic anaphylaxis
11.  Regional Myocardial Blood Volume and Flow: First-Pass MR Imaging with Polylysine-Gd-DTPA 
The authors investigated the utility of an intravascular magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agent, poly-L-lysine-gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA), for differentiating acutely ischemic from normally perfused myocardium with first-pass MR imaging. Hypoperfused regions, identified with microspheres, on the first-pass images displayed significantly decreased signal intensities compared with normally perfused myocardium (P < .0007). Estimates of regional myocardial blood content, obtained by measuring the ratio of areas under the signal intensity-versus-time curves in tissue regions and the left ventricular chamber, averaged 0.12 mL/g ± 0.04 (n = 35), compared with a value of 0.11 mL/g ± 0.05 measured with radiolabeled albumin in the same tissue regions. To obtain MR estimates of regional myocardial blood flow, in situ calibration curves were used to transform first-pass intensity-time curves into content-time curves for analysis with a multiple-pathway, axially distributed model. Flow estimates, obtained by automated parameter optimization, averaged 1.2 mL/min/g ± 0.5 [n = 29), compared with 1.3 mL/min/g ± 0.3 obtained with tracer microspheres in the same tissue specimens at the same time. The results represent a combination of T1-weighted first-pass imaging, intravascular relaxation agents, and a spatially distributed perfusion model to obtain absolute regional myocardial blood flow and volume.
PMCID: PMC4037321  PMID: 7766986
Contrast agent, blood pool; Contrast enhancement; Coronary vessels, diseases, 54.76; Heart, flow dynamics; Heart, MR, 51.12143; Model, mathematical; Myocardium, blood supply, 511.12143; Myocardium, MR, 511.12143; Perfusion studies
12.  Overexpression of CIP2A is an independent prognostic indicator in nasopharyngeal carcinoma and its depletion suppresses cell proliferation and tumor growth 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:111.
Background
Cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) is an oncoprotein that acts as a prognostic marker for several human malignancies. In this study, we investigated the clinical significance of CIP2A and its function in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Methods
Quantitative RT-PCR, western blot, and immunohistochemistry analyses were used to quantify CIP2A expression in NPC cell lines and clinical samples. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to estimate the association between CIP2A expression and patient survival. The functional role of CIP2A in NPC cell lines was evaluated by small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of the protein followed by analyses of cell proliferation and xenograft growth.
Results
CIP2A levels were upregulated in NPC cell lines and clinical samples at both the mRNA and protein levels (P < 0.01). Patients with high CIP2A expression had poorer overall survival (HR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.16-3.34; P = 0.01) and poorer disease-free survival (HR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.07-2.62; P = 0.02) rates than patients with low CIP2A expression. In addition, CIP2A expression status was an independent prognostic indicator for NPC patients. The depletion of CIP2A expression inhibited c-Myc protein expression in NPC cell lines, suppressed cell viability, colony formation, and anchorage-independent growth in vitro, and inhibited xenograft tumor growth in vivo.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrate that high CIP2A expression in patients was associated with poor survival in NPC, and depletion of CIP2A expression inhibited NPC cell proliferation and tumor growth. Thus, these results warrant further investigation of CIP2A as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of NPC.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-111
PMCID: PMC4046003  PMID: 24884612
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; CIP2A; Proliferation; Cell growth; Survival
13.  Combined transcatheter managements of a huge spontaneous iliac pseudoaneurysm presenting with fever of unknown origin: a case report 
Introduction
We present a successful combined endovascular repair of a rare huge spontaneous pseudoaneurysm in a patient troubled solely with fever of unknown origin.
Case presentation
A 79-year-old Chinese man complained of repeated episodes of fever for 10 days. His medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests were not significant. Routine antibiotics were given for suspected sepsis lasting 4 weeks without clinical improvement. Finally, an 81.9×61.6mm iliac pseudoaneurysm was found. The pseudoaneurysm originated from his left iliac arteries and covered the bifurcation of the left common iliac artery and proximal ends of both internal and external iliac arteries. A combination of endovascular repair with coil embolization and stent graft implantation was successfully performed. He underwent an uneventful recovery.
Conclusions
Spontaneous pseudoaneurysm with fever of unknown origin should not be ignored, especially for patients with a high risk for atherosclerosis. Combined transcatheter managements might be an alternative approach to deal with complex pseudoaneurysms, effectively and safely.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-8-118
PMCID: PMC4234985  PMID: 24708630
14.  5-Azacytidine Enhances the Radiosensitivity of CNE2 and SUNE1 Cells In Vitro and In Vivo Possibly by Altering DNA Methylation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93273.
The radioresistance of tumor cells remains a major cause of treatment failure in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Recently, several reports have highlighted the importance of epigenetic changes in radiation-induced responses. Here, we investigated whether the demethylating agent 5-azacytidine (5-azaC) enhances the radiosensitivity of NPC cells. The NPC cell lines CNE2 and SUNE1 were treated with 1 μmol/L 5-azaC for 24 h before irradiation (IR); clonogenic survival was then assessed. Tumor growth was investigated in a mouse xenograft model in vivo. The apoptosis, cell cycle progression and DNA damage repair were examined using flow cytometry, immunofluorescent staining and western blotting. Promoter methylation and the expression of four genes epigenetically silenced during the development of NPC were evaluated by pyrosequencing and real-time PCR. We found that pretreatment with 5-azaC significantly decreased clonogenic survival after IR compared to IR alone; the sensitivity-enhancement ratio of 5-azaC was 1.4 and 1.2 for CNE2 and SUNE1 cells, respectively. The combined administration of 5-azaC and IR significantly inhibited tumor growth in the mouse xenograft model, and enhanced radiation-induced apoptosis in vitro compared to 5-azaC alone or IR alone. 5-AzaC also decreased promoter methylation and upregulated the expression of genes which are epigenetically silenced both in vitro and in vivo in NPC. Thus, 5-azaC enhance the radiosensitivity of both the CNE2 and SUNE1 cell lines, possibly by altering DNA methylation levels and increasing the ability of irradiated cells to undergo apoptosis. The use of 5-azaC combined with IR maybe represent an attractive strategy for the treatment of NPC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093273
PMCID: PMC3972231  PMID: 24691157
15.  The Origin of Novel Avian Influenza A (H7N9) and Mutation Dynamics for Its Human-To-Human Transmissible Capacity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93094.
In February 2013, H7N9 (A/H7N9/2013_China), a novel avian influenza virus, broke out in eastern China and caused human death. It is a global priority to discover its origin and the point in time at which it will become transmittable between humans. We present here an interdisciplinary method to track the origin of H7N9 virus in China and to establish an evolutionary dynamics model for its human-to-human transmission via mutations. After comparing influenza viruses from China since 1983, we established an A/H7N9/2013_China virus evolutionary phylogenetic tree and found that the human instances of virus infection were of avian origin and clustered into an independent line. Comparing hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) gene sequences of A/H7N9/2013_China viruses with all human-to-human, avian, and swine influenza viruses in China in the past 30 years, we found that A/H7N9/2013_China viruses originated from Baer’s Pochard H7N1 virus of Hu Nan Province 2010 (HA gene, EPI: 370846, similarity with H7N9 is 95.5%) and duck influenza viruses of Nanchang city 2000 (NA gene, EPI: 387555, similarity with H7N9 is 97%) through genetic re-assortment. HA and NA gene sequence comparison indicated that A/H7N9/2013_China virus was not similar to human-to-human transmittable influenza viruses. To simulate the evolution dynamics required for human-to-human transmission mutations of H7N9 virus, we employed the Markov model. The result of this calculation indicated that the virus would acquire properties for human-to-human transmission in 11.3 years (95% confidence interval (CI): 11.2–11.3, HA gene).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093094
PMCID: PMC3966860  PMID: 24671138
16.  Second-hand smoke exposure in different types of venues: before and after the implementation of smoke-free legislation in Guangzhou, China 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e004273.
Objectives
Smoke-free legislation was implemented in Guangzhou on 1 September 2010. However, the smoke-free policy did not cover all indoor areas and smoking rooms can be set in some public places. This study aimed to assess changes in self-reported second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure in different types of venues and in homes, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of smoke-free legislation.
Methods/design
A repeated cross-sectional survey of representative participants was conducted in Guangzhou before and after the smoke-free legislation. Logistic regression models were used to examine the effectiveness of smoke-free legislation.
Main outcome measures
Self-reported exposure to SHS,antitobacco advertisements and tobacco advertisements.
Participants
A total of 4900 participants before the ban and 5135 participants after the ban were selected using a multistage stratified design.
Results
In full smoking ban places, overall self-reported SHS exposure has declined significantly from 58.8% to 50.3% (p<0.05) with greater drops in cultural venues, government offices and commercial venues. The smoke-free policy did not alter SHS exposure in smokers’ homes (39.6% in 2009 vs 40.0% in 2011; p=0.454). Although a slight decrease in SHS exposure was observed in smoking rooms in hotels, workplaces, restaurants, cafes/bars/nightclubs and amusement parks, SHS continued to be high in those areas. The implementation of smoke-free legislation was accompanied by an increase in antitobacco advertisements.
Conclusions
SHS exposure declines more significantly in full smoking ban places than in partial smoking ban places. The smoke-free policy in public places does not lead to more SHS exposure in homes. Therefore, it is recommended that Guangzhou should implement a 100% smoke-free policy in all public places and workplaces in the future.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004273
PMCID: PMC3927996  PMID: 24534259
Epidemiology; Public Health
17.  S-1-based combination therapy vs S-1 monotherapy in advanced gastric cancer: A meta-analysis 
AIM: To assess the efficacy and safety of combination therapy based on S-1, a novel oral fluoropyrimidine, vs S-1 monotherapy in advanced gastric cancer (AGC).
METHODS: We searched PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library for eligible studies published before March 2013. Our analysis identified four randomized controlled trials involving 790 participants with AGC. The outcome measures were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), overall response rate (ORR) and grade 3-4 adverse events.
RESULTS: Meta-analysis showed that S-1-based combination therapy significantly improved OS (HR = 0.77, 95%CI: 0.66-0.91, P = 0.002), PFS (HR = 0.58, 95%CI: 0.46-0.72, P = 0.000) and ORR (OR = 2.23, 95%CI: 1.54-3.21, P = 0.000). Sensitivity analysis further confirmed this association. Lower incidence of grade 3-4 leucopenia (OR = 4.06, 95%CI: 2.11-7.81), neutropenia (OR = 3.94, 95%CI: 2.1-7.81) and diarrhea (OR = 2.41, 95%CI: 1.31-4.44) was observed in patients with S-1 monotherapy.
CONCLUSION: S-1-based combination therapy is superior to S-1 monotherapy in terms of OS, PFS and ORR. S-1 monotherapy is associated with less toxicity.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i1.310
PMCID: PMC3886025  PMID: 24415887
S-1; Advanced gastric cancer; Meta-analysis; Overall survival; Chemotherapy
18.  Gene Expression Profiling of Human Kidneys Undergoing Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy 
These data suggest an altered renal transcriptome induced by CO2 pneumoperitoneum and laparoscopic surgery characterized by up-regulation of genes associated with acute inflammation, apoptosis, and immune injury.
Background and Objectives:
The objective was to compare gene expression profiles of 6 kidneys from open donor nephrectomy with 6 kidneys removed after laparoscopic donor nephrectomy and several hours of carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum with DNA microarrays and identify small-molecule drugs.
Methods:
The gene expression profile GSE3297 was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database, and the differentially expressed genes were identified by a bioinformatics approach. First, Osprey software was used to construct a differentially expressed gene associated network. Then, DAVID (Database for Annotation, Visualization, and Integrated Discovery) and FuncAssociate were used to perform functional analyses. Finally, the Connectivity Map was used to screen for small-molecule drugs.
Results:
A total of 285 differentially expressed genes were identified, including 148 down-regulated genes and 137 up-regulated genes. In addition, the differentially expressed genes in the most significant Gene Ontology term were CASP6, KRAS, SOCS1, ESR1, TSHB, COL1A1, and MMP14. Furthermore, several differentially expressed genes, including STAT1, STAT6, SOS2, and SOCS1, participated in the most remarkable Janus kinase–signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling pathway. Finally, luteolin—with the highest score (0.887)—was identified as the small-molecule drug.
Conclusions:
Our data show an altered renal transcriptome induced by several hours of carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum and laparoscopic surgery characterized by up-regulation of genes associated with acute inflammation, apoptosis, and immune injury, which could potentially result in renal injury and an enhanced immune response in the recipient after transplant.
doi:10.4293/108680813X13693422519154
PMCID: PMC3939323  PMID: 24680151
Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (LDN); Interaction network; Differentially expressed genes (DEGs); Functional analysis; Small-molecule drugs
19.  Colonization and plant growth promoting characterization of endophytic Pseudomonas chlororaphis strain Zong1 isolated from Sophora alopecuroides root nodules 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2013;44(2):623-631.
The endophytic strain Zong1 isolated from root nodules of the legume Sophora alopecuroides was characterized by conducting physiological and biochemical tests employing gfp-marking, observing their plant growth promoting characteristics (PGPC) and detecting plant growth parameters of inoculation assays under greenhouse conditions. Results showed that strain Zong1 had an effective growth at 28 ºC after placed at 4–60 ºC for 15 min, had a wide range pH tolerance of 6.0–11.0 and salt tolerance up to 5% of NaCl. Zong1 was resistant to the following antibiotics (μg/mL): Phosphonomycin (100), Penicillin (100) and Ampicillin (100). It could grow in the medium supplemented with 1.2 mmol/L Cu, 0.1% (w/v) methylene blue and 0.1–0.2% (w/v) methyl red, respectively. Zong1 is closely related to Pseudomonas chlororaphis based on analysis the sequence of 16S rRNA gene. Its expression of the gfp gene indicated that strain Zong1 may colonize in root or root nodules and verified by microscopic observation. Furthermore, co-inoculation with Zong1 and SQ1 (Mesorhizobium sp.) showed significant effects compared to single inoculation for the following PGPC parameters: siderophore production, phosphate solubilization, organic acid production, IAA production and antifungal activity in vitro. These results suggest strains P. chlororaphi Zong1 and Mesorhizobium sp. SQ1 have better synergistic or addictive effect. It was noteworthy that each growth index of co-inoculated Zong1+SQ1 in growth assays under greenhouse conditions is higher than those of single inoculation, and showed a significant difference (p < 0.05) when compared to a negative control. Therefore, as an endophyte P. chlororaphis Zong1 may play important roles as a potential plant-growth promoting agent.
doi:10.1590/S1517-83822013000200043
PMCID: PMC3833168  PMID: 24294262
PGPC; endophyte; the gpf-marker; colonization; co-inoculation
20.  Exogenous Nucleotides Antagonize the Developmental Toxicity of Ethanol In Vitro 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:204187.
The objective of this study was to assess whether nucleotides supplementation in vitro could suppress ethanol-induced developmental toxicity in mouse. The models of whole embryo culture (WEC) and midbrain (MB) cell micromass culture were used in this study. In WEC system, exposure to 4.0 mg/mL ethanol for 48 h yielded various developmental malformations of the mice embryos. Nucleotides supplementation (0.16, 0.80, 4.00, 20.00, and 100.00 mg/L) improved the growth parameters to some extent, and the protective effects peaked at 4.00 mg/L. In MB cell micromass culture system, exposure to 4.0 mg/mL ethanol for 5 days resulted in suppression of proliferation and differentiation. Supplementation of nucleotides (0.16, 0.80, 4.00, 20.00, and 100.00 mg/L) showed some protective effects, which peaked at 4.00 mg/L, too. The present research indicated that nucleotides supplementation might be of some benefit in the prevention of ethanol-induced birth defects; however, appropriate dosage requires attention.
doi:10.1155/2013/204187
PMCID: PMC3844198  PMID: 24319676
21.  MiR-451 inhibits cell growth and invasion by targeting MIF and is associated with survival in nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:123.
Background
MiRNAs play important roles in diverse biological processes including tumorigenesis. However, little is known about the function and mechanism of miR-451 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Methods
Quantitative RT-PCR was used to quantify miR-451 expression in NPC cell lines and clinical tissues. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to estimate the association between miR-451 expression and survival. The MTT, colony formation, Transwell migration and invasion assays, and a xenograft model were performed. A miR-451 target was confirmed using luciferase reporter assays, quantitative RT-PCR, and Western blotting.
Results
MiR-451 was significantly downregulated in NPC cell lines and clinical tissues (P < 0.01). Patients with low expression of miR-451 had poorer overall survival (HR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.16-3.34; P = 0.01) and disease-free survival (HR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.07-2.62; P = 0.02) than patients with high expression. MiR-451 was an independent prognostic factor in NPC in multivariate Cox regression analysis. Ectopic expression of miR-451 suppressed cell viability, colony formation, and cell migration and invasion in vitro, and inhibited xenograft tumor growth in vivo. MIF was verified as a direct target of miR-451, and MIF regulated NPC cell growth and invasion.
Conclusions
The newly identified miR-451/MIF pathway provides insight into NPC initiation and progression, and may represent a novel therapeutic target.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-12-123
PMCID: PMC3853142  PMID: 24138931
miR-451; MIF; Cell growth; Invasion; Survival; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
22.  Characterization of the Biosynthetic Genes for 10,11-Dehydrocurvularin, a Heat Shock Response-Modulating Anticancer Fungal Polyketide from Aspergillus terreus 
10,11-Dehydrocurvularin is a prevalent fungal phytotoxin with heat shock response and immune-modulatory activities. It features a dihydroxyphenylacetic acid lactone polyketide framework with structural similarities to resorcylic acid lactones like radicicol or zearalenone. A genomic locus was identified from the dehydrocurvularin producer strain Aspergillus terreus AH-02-30-F7 to reveal genes encoding a pair of iterative polyketide synthases (A. terreus CURS1 [AtCURS1] and AtCURS2) that are predicted to collaborate in the biosynthesis of 10,11-dehydrocurvularin. Additional genes in this locus encode putative proteins that may be involved in the export of the compound from the cell and in the transcriptional regulation of the cluster. 10,11-Dehydrocurvularin biosynthesis was reconstituted in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by heterologous expression of the polyketide synthases. Bioinformatic analysis of the highly reducing polyketide synthase AtCURS1 and the nonreducing polyketide synthase AtCURS2 highlights crucial biosynthetic programming differences compared to similar synthases involved in resorcylic acid lactone biosynthesis. These differences lead to the synthesis of a predicted tetraketide starter unit that forms part of the 12-membered lactone ring of dehydrocurvularin, as opposed to the penta- or hexaketide starters in the 14-membered rings of resorcylic acid lactones. Tetraketide N-acetylcysteamine thioester analogues of the starter unit were shown to support the biosynthesis of dehydrocurvularin and its analogues, with yeast expressing AtCURS2 alone. Differential programming of the product template domain of the nonreducing polyketide synthase AtCURS2 results in an aldol condensation with a different regiospecificity than that of resorcylic acid lactones, yielding the dihydroxyphenylacetic acid scaffold characterized by an S-type cyclization pattern atypical for fungal polyketides.
doi:10.1128/AEM.03334-12
PMCID: PMC3592213  PMID: 23335766
23.  The Pathological Phenotypes of Human TDP-43 Transgenic Mouse Models Are Independent of Downregulation of Mouse Tdp-43 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69864.
Tar DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is the major component of pathological deposits in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP) and in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It has been reported that TDP-43 transgenic mouse models expressing human TDP-43 wild-type or ALS-associated mutations recapitulate certain ALS and FTLD pathological phenotypes. Of note, expression of human TDP-43 (hTDP-43) reduces the levels of mouse Tdp-43 (mTdp-43). However, it remained unclear whether the mechanisms through which TDP-43 induces ALS or FTLD-like pathologies resulted from a reduction in mTdp-43, an increase in hTDP-43, or a combination of both. In elucidating the role of mTdp-43 and hTDP-43 in hTDP-43 transgenic mice, we observed that reduction of mTdp-43 in non-transgenic mice by intraventricular brain injection of AAV1-shTardbp leads to a dramatic increase in the levels of splicing variants of mouse sortilin 1 and translin. However, the levels of these two abnormal splicing variants are not increased in hTDP-43 transgenic mice despite significant downregulation of mTdp-43 in these mice. Moreover, further downregulation of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 hemizygous mice, which are asymptomatic, to the levels equivalent to that of mTdp-43 in hTDP-43 homozygous mice does not induce the pathological phenotypes observed in the homozygous mice. Lastly, the number of dendritic spines and the RNA levels of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for synapse formation and function are significantly decreased in symptomatic homozygous mice. Together, our findings indicate that mTdp-43 downregulation does not lead to a loss of function mechanism or account for the pathological phenotypes observed in hTDP-43 homozygous mice because hTDP-43 compensates for the reduction, and associated functions of mTdp-43. Rather, expression of hTDP-43 beyond a certain threshold leads to abnormal metabolism of TDP-43 RNA targets critical for neuronal structure and function, which might be responsible for the ALS or FTLD-like pathologies observed in homozygous hTDP-43 transgenic mice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069864
PMCID: PMC3724736  PMID: 23922830
24.  Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae improves learning and memory capabilities in ovariectomized rats☆ 
Neural Regeneration Research  2013;8(18):1644-1654.
Kidney-tonifying recipe can reduce the accumulation of advanced glycation end products, prevent neuronal degeneration and improve cognitive functions in ovariectomized rats. Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae alcohol extracts may dose-dependently inhibit non-enzymatic saccharification in vitro. This study aimed to examine the effect of Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae on advanced glycation end products and on learning and memory capabilities in ovariectomized rats. Ovariectomized rats were treated with Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae alcohol extracts (containing 1.5 g/kg crude drug) or 0.1% aminoguanidine for 12 weeks and behavioral testing was performed with the Y-electrical maze. This test revealed that Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae and aminoguanidine could improve the learning and memory capabilities of ovariectomized rats. Results of competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that treatment with Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae or aminoguanidine reduced the accumulation of advanced glycation end products in the frontal cortex of ovariectomized rats, while increasing content in the blood and urine. Biochemical tests showed that treatment with Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae or aminoguanidine decreased superoxide dismutase activity in the serum and frontal cortex, and increased serum levels of glutathione peroxidase in ovariectomized rats. In addition, there was no apparent effect on malondialdehyde levels. These experimental findings indicate that Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae inhibits production of advanced glycation end products and its accumulation in brain tissue, and improves learning and memory capabilities in ovariectomized rats. These effects may be associated with an anti-oxidative action of the extract.
doi:10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.18.002
PMCID: PMC4145912  PMID: 25206461
neural regeneration; traditional Chinese medicine; Alzheimer's disease; Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae; ovariectomy; advanced glycation end products; cognition; learning and memory; oxidative stress; grants-supported paper; neuroregeneration
25.  The 2002 AJCC TNM classification is a better predictor of primary small cell esophageal carcinoma outcome than the VALSG staging system 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2013;32(6):342-352.
Small cell carcinoma of the esophagus (SCCE) is a rare and aggressive malignant tumor with a poor prognosis. The optimal disease staging system and treatment approaches have not yet been defined. This study aimed to evaluate the prediction of different staging systems for prognosis and treatment options of SCCE. We retrospectively accessed the clinicopathologic characteristics, treatment strategy, and prognosis of 76 patients diagnosed with primary SCCE between 2001 and 2011. The 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 58%, 31%, 19%, and 13%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that the 2002 American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) classification (P = 0.002), Veterans Administration Lung Study Group (VALSG) stage (P = 0.001), predisposing factors (P < 0.001), T category (P = 0.023), and M category (P < 0.001) were prognostic factors for overall survival. Multivariate analysis showed that the 2002 AJCC TNM stage (P < 0.001) was the only independent prognostic factor for survival. The value of the area under the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) of the 2002 AJCC TNM staging system was larger than that of VALSG staging system with regard to predicting overall survival (0.774 vs. 0.620). None of the single treatment regimens showed any benefit for survival by Cox regression analysis. Thus, the 2002 AJCC TMN staging system improved the prediction of SCCE prognosis; however, the optimal treatment regimen for SCCE remains unclear.
doi:10.5732/cjc.012.10161
PMCID: PMC3845624  PMID: 23114087
Small cell carcinoma; esophagus; TNM staging; chemotherapy; radiotherapy; esophagectomy

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