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1.  Plasmid-based Survivin shRNA and GRIM-19 carried by attenuated Salmonella suppresses tumor cell growth 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2012;14(4):536-545.
Persistent activation of Survivin and its overexpression contribute to the formation, progression and metastasis of several different tumor types. Therefore, Survivin is an ideal target for RNA interference mediated-growth inhibition. Blockade of Survivin using specific short hairpin RNAs (shRNA) can significantly reduce prostate tumor growth. RNA interference does not fully ablate target gene expression, owing to the idiosyncrasies associated with shRNAs and their targets. To enhance the therapeutic efficacy of Survivin-specific shRNA, we employed a combinatorial expression of Survivin-specific shRNA and gene associated with retinoid-interferon-induced mortality-19 (GRIM-19). Then, the GRIM-19 coding sequences and Survivin-specific shRNAs were used to create a dual expression plasmid vector and were carried by an attenuated strain of Salmonella enteric serovar typhimurium (S. typhimurium) to treat prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. We found that the co-expressed Survivin-specific shRNA and GRIM-19 synergistically and more effectively inhibited prostate tumor proliferation and survival, when compared with treatment with either single agent alone in vitro and in vivo. This study has provided a novel cancer gene therapeutic approach for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3720080  PMID: 22580637
GRIM-19; prostate cancer; RNAi; Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium; Survivin; tumor cell growth
2.  Next-generation sequencing-based molecular diagnosis of 82 retinitis pigmentosa probands from Northern Ireland 
Human genetics  2014;134(2):217-230.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal disorders characterized by progressive photoreceptor degeneration. An accurate molecular diagnosis is essential for disease characterization and clinical prognoses. A retinal capture panel that enriches 186 known retinal disease genes, including 55 known RP genes, was developed. Targeted next-generation sequencing was performed for a cohort of 82 unrelated RP cases from Northern Ireland, including 46 simplex cases and 36 familial cases. Disease-causing mutations were identified in 49 probands, including 28 simplex cases and 21 familial cases, achieving a solving rate of 60 %. In total, 65 pathogenic mutations were found, and 29 of these were novel. Interestingly, the molecular information of 12 probands was neither consistent with their initial inheritance pattern nor clinical diagnosis. Further clinical reassessment resulted in a refinement of the clinical diagnosis in 11 patients. This is the first study to apply next-generation sequencing-based, comprehensive molecular diagnoses to a large number of RP probands from Northern Ireland. Our study shows that molecular information can aid clinical diagnosis, potentially changing treatment options, current family counseling and management.
PMCID: PMC4347882  PMID: 25472526
3.  Blockade of 2-arachidonoylglycerol hydrolysis produces antidepressant-like effects and enhances adult hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity 
Hippocampus  2014;25(1):16-26.
The endocannabinoid ligand 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is inactivated primarily by monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). We have shown recently that chronic treatments with MAGL inhibitor JZL184 produce antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects in a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) model of depression in mice. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been implicated in animal models of anxiety and depression and behavioral effects of antidepressants. We tested whether CUS and chronic JZL184 treatments affected adult neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus (DG) of mouse hippocampus. We report that CUS induced depressive-like behaviors and decreased the number of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled neural progenitor cells and doublecortin-positive immature neurons in the DG, while chronic JZL184 treatments prevented these behavioral and cellular deficits. We also investigated the effects of CUS and chronic JZL184 on a form long-term potentiation (LTP) in the DG known to be neurogenesis-dependent. CUS impaired LTP induction, whereas chronic JZL184 treatments restored LTP in CUS-exposed mice. These results suggest that enhanced adult neurogenesis and long-term synaptic plasticity in the DG of the hippocampus might contribute to antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like behavioral effects of JZL184.
PMCID: PMC4517601  PMID: 25131612
chronic unpredictable stress; endocannabinoid; CB1 receptor; neurogenesis; depression
4.  Ethanol extract of propolis protects macrophages from oxidized low density lipoprotein-induced apoptosis by inhibiting CD36 expression and endoplasmic reticulum stress-C/EBP homologous protein pathway 
Ethanol extract of propolis (EEP), rich in flavones, has been known for various biological activities including antioxidant, antiinflammatory and antibiotic activities. Our previous studies have shown that EEP protects endothelial cells from oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL)-induced apoptosis and inhibits atherosclerotic lesion development. In this present study, we explored the protective effect of EEP on ox-LDL-induced cytotoxicity in macrophages and specifically the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) pathway-mediated apoptosis.
EEP was prepared and the total flavonoids content of EEP was determined by the colorimetric method of Chinese Standard (GB/T 20574-2006). The effects of EEP on lipid accumulation, cytotoxicity and apoptosis in RAW264.7 cells induced by ox-LDL or tunicamycin (TM, an ER stress inducer) were assayed using oil red O staining, MTT assay, flow cytometric analysis and so on. Immunofluorescence, Western blot and real time-PCR analysis were then used to further investigate the molecular mechanisms by which EEP protects macrophages from ox-LDL-induced apoptosis. 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA), an ER stress inhibitor, was used as a positive control.
EEP (7.5, 15 and 30 mg/L) not only attenuated ox-LDL-induced lipid accumulation in RAW264.7 macrophages in a dose-dependent manner but also inhibited the decreased cell viability and the increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage, caspase-3 activation and apoptosis induced by ox-LDL or tunicamycin (TM, a classical ER stress inducer), which were similar to 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA, an inhibitor of ER stress) treatment. In addition, like PBA, EEP significantly suppressed the ox-LDL- or TM-induced activation of ER stress signaling pathway including the phosphorylation of double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase-like ER kinase (PERK) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) as well as upregulation of glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and the pro-apoptotic protein CHOP. Furthermore, EEP significantly suppressed ox-LDL intake by macrophages and the upregulation of CD36 induced by ox-LDL.
These data indicate that EEP may protect macrophages from ox-LDL-induced apoptosis and the mechanism at least partially involves its ability to suppress the CD36-mediated ox-LDL intake and subsequent activation of ER stress-CHOP signalling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4501110  PMID: 26169264
Ethanol extract of propolis; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; C/EBP homologous protein; Oxidized low density lipoprotein; Macrophage; Apoptosis
5.  Severe disturbance of glucose metabolism in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of schizophrenia patients: a targeted metabolomic study 
Schizophrenia is a widespread and debilitating mental disorder. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of schizophrenia remains largely unknown and no objective laboratory tests are available to diagnose this disorder. The aim of the present study was to characterize the alternations of glucose metabolites and identify potential diagnostic biomarkers for schizophrenia.
Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry based targeted metabolomic method was used to quantify the levels of 13 glucose metabolites in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) derived from healthy controls, schizophrenia and major depression subjects (n = 55 for each group).
The majority (84.6%) of glucose metabolites were significantly disturbed in schizophrenia subjects, while only two (15.4%) glucose metabolites were differently expressed in depression subjects relative to healthy controls in both training set (n = 35/group) and test set (n = 20/group). Antipsychotics had only a subtle effect on glucose metabolism pathway. Moreover, ribose 5-phosphate in PBMCs showed a high diagnostic performance for first-episode drug-naïve schizophrenia subjects.
These findings suggested disturbance of glucose metabolism may be implicated in onset of schizophrenia and could aid in development of diagnostic tool for this disorder.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0540-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4501123  PMID: 26169624
Schizophrenia; Major depression; Glucose metabolism; GC–MS
6.  A Homozygous Missense Mutation in NEUROD1 Is Associated With Nonsyndromic Autosomal Recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa 
Mutations in the same gene can lead to different clinical phenotypes. In this study, we aim to identify novel genotype–phenotype correlations and novel disease genes by analyzing an unsolved autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (ARRP) Han Chinese family.
Whole exome sequencing was performed for one proband from the consanguineous ARRP family. Stringent variants filtering and prioritizations were applied to identify the causative mutation.
A homozygous missense variant, c.724G>A; p.V242I, in NEUROD1 was identified as the most likely cause of disease. This allele perfectly segregates in the family and affects an amino acid, which is highly conserved among mammals. A previous study showed that a homozygous null allele in NEUROD1 causes severe syndromic disease with neonatal diabetes, systematic neurological abnormalities, and early-onset retinal dystrophy. Consistent with these results, our patients who are homozygous for a less severe missense allele presented only late-onset retinal degeneration without any syndromic symptoms.
We identified a potential novel genotype–phenotype correlation between NEUROD1 and nonsyndromic ARRP. Our study supports the idea that NEUROD1 is important for maintenance of the retina function and partial loss-of-function mutation in NEUROD1 is likely a rare cause of nonsyndromic ARRP.
We identified a potential novel genotype–phenotype correlation between NEUROD1 and nonsyndromic ARRP.
PMCID: PMC4290556  PMID: 25477324
retinitis pigmentosa; NEUROD1; genotype–phenotype correlation; next-generation sequencing; retina
7.  Spiral-based 3D MR thermometry 
Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound  2015;3(Suppl 1):P18.
PMCID: PMC4489592
9.  Prognostic role of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor in gastric and colorectal cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:1503-1509.
Although the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is expressed in gastric cancer (GC) and colorectal cancer (CRC), its evaluation as a prognostic biomarker remains controversial. In this study, we performed a literature review and meta-analysis to evaluate the association of uPAR expression with the prognosis of patients with GC and CRC.
The PubMed database was searched for material published in English, and data were then extracted and assessed by two reviewers independently. Correlations between uPAR expression and clinicopathological features and overall survival (OS) of patients with GC or CRC were analyzed.
A total of 2,082 patients with GC and CRC from ten studies were included. The results of the meta-analysis showed that the uPAR expression rate in GC and CRC tissues was higher than that in normal tissues (odds ratio [OR] =3.385; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.605–4.400; P=0.000). Our meta-analysis also revealed a significant association between uPAR expression and lymph node metastasis (OR =1.366; 95% CI =1.086–1.718; P=0.008) and tumor stage (OR =3.076; 95% CI =2.330–4.061; P=0.000). Furthermore, we found that high uPAR expression correlated with poor OS (OR =1.937; 95% CI =1.570–2.930; P=0.000).
The uPAR expression may serve as a novel disease marker in GC and CRC, as well as a therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC4480592  PMID: 26150727
uPAR; gastric cancer; colorectal cancer; meta-analysis
10.  Genome-Wide Expression Profiling of Anoxia/Reoxygenation in Rat Cardiomyocytes Uncovers the Role of MitoKATP in Energy Homeostasis 
Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel (mitoKATP) is a common end effector of many protective stimuli in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (MIRI). However, the specific molecular mechanism underlying its myocardial protective effect is not well elucidated. We characterized an anoxia/reoxygenation (A/R) model using freshly isolated adult rat cardiomyocytes. MitoKATP status was interfered with its specific opener diazoxide (DZ) or blocker 5-hydroxydecanote (5-HD). Digital gene expression (DGE) and bioinformatic analysis were deployed. Three energy metabolism related genes (MT-ND6, Idh2, and Acadl) were upregulated when mitoKATP opened. In addition, as many as 20 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were significantly enriched in five energy homeostasis correlated pathways (PPAR, TCA cycle, fatty acid metabolism, and peroxisome). These findings indicated that mitoKATP opening in MIRI resulted in energy mobilization, which was confirmed by measuring ATP content in cardiomyocytes. These causal outcomes could be a molecular mechanism of myocardial protection of mitoKATP and suggested that the mitoKATP opening plays a physiologic role in triggering cardiomyocytes' energy homeostasis during MIRI. Strategies of modulating energy expenditure during myocardial ischemia-reperfusion may be promising approaches to reduce MIRI.
PMCID: PMC4485557  PMID: 26171116
11.  The Clinical Features and Bacteriological Characterizations of Bone and Joint Tuberculosis in China 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11084.
Bone and Joint tuberculosis (BJTB) constitutes about 10% of total extra-pulmonary TB cases. Since the BJTB is a paucibacillary condition, there has been no systematic study on the bacterial characterization, especially the epidemiological feature. Here we collected the mycobacterial clinical isolates, analyzed the clinical features and the bacteriological characteristics from 113 BJTB cases reported in China. The mean age of the cases was 40.33 years while most of the patients fell into the 20–29 year age group; local pain was the most common onset symptom of BJTB cases; mean time from symptom onset to BJTB diagnosis was 13.16 months. 31 isolates were defined as drug resistant, including 15 multidrug resistant (MDR) and 2 extensively drug resistant (XDR) isolates according to the drug susceptibility test outcomes; after spoligotyping, 87.6% (99/113) isolates were categorized as Beijing family. In contrast to the isolates from pulmonary tuberculosis patients, here the MIRU-VNTR assay did not find anything significant. A prolonged time span for BJTB diagnosis highlights the requirement of paying further attention to BJTB infection in China. This study provides essential insights into the demographic and microbial characteristics of BJTB cases in China.
PMCID: PMC4459174  PMID: 26053666
12.  LZ-207, a Newly Synthesized Flavonoid, Induces Apoptosis and Suppresses Inflammation-Related Colon Cancer by Inhibiting the NF-κB Signaling Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127282.
Flavonoids and flavonoid derivatives, which have significant biological and pharmacological activities, including antitumor and anti-inflammatory activities, have been widely used in human healthcare. To design a more effective flavonoid antitumor agent, we altered the flavonoid backbone with substitutions of piperazine and methoxy groups to synthesize a novel flavonoid derivative, LZ-207. The anticancer effect of LZ-207 against HCT116 colon cancer cells and the underlying mechanism of this effect were explored in this study. Specifically, LZ-207 exhibited inhibitory effects on growth and viability in several human colon cancer cell lines and induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells both in vitro and in vivo. LZ-207 treatment also suppressed the nuclear translocation of NF-κB and the phosphorylation of IκB and IKKα/β in a dose-dependent manner in both HCT116 cells and human acute monocytic leukemia THP-1 cells. Moreover, LZ-207 also reduced the secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in LPS-induced THP-1 cells, and this effect was confirmed at the transcriptional level. Furthermore, LZ-207 significantly inhibited HCT116 cell proliferation that was elicited by LPS-induced THP-1 cells in a co-culture system. These findings elucidated some potential molecular mechanisms for preventing inflammation-driven colon cancer using the newly synthesized flavonoid LZ-207 and suggested the possibility of further developing novel therapeutic agents derived from flavonoids.
PMCID: PMC4449173  PMID: 26023926
13.  Electronic Band Structure and Sub-band-gap Absorption of Nitrogen Hyperdoped Silicon 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10513.
We investigated the atomic geometry, electronic band structure, and optical absorption of nitrogen hyperdoped silicon based on first-principles calculations. The results show that all the paired nitrogen defects we studied do not introduce intermediate band, while most of single nitrogen defects can introduce intermediate band in the gap. Considering the stability of the single defects and the rapid resolidification following the laser melting process in our sample preparation method, we conclude that the substitutional nitrogen defect, whose fraction was tiny and could be neglected before, should have considerable fraction in the hyperdoped silicon and results in the visible sub-band-gap absorption as observed in the experiment. Furthermore, our calculations show that the substitutional nitrogen defect has good stability, which could be one of the reasons why the sub-band-gap absorptance remains almost unchanged after annealing.
PMCID: PMC4444955  PMID: 26012369
14.  Roles of ERβ and GPR30 in Proliferative Response of Human Bladder Cancer Cell to Estrogen 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:251780.
Bladder cancer belongs to one of the most common cancers and is a leading cause of deaths in our society. Urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) is the main type of this cancer, and the estrogen receptors in UCB remain to be studied. Our experiment aimed to investigate the possible biological effect of 17β-estradiol on human bladder-derived T24 carcinoma cells and to indicate its related mechanisms. T24 cells were treated with various doses of 17β-estradiol, and cell proliferation was detected using MTT assays. 17β-estradiol promoted T24 cell proliferation independent of ERβ/GPR30-regulated EGFR-MAPK pathway, while it inhibited cell growth via GPR30. Furthermore, the expression levels of downstream genes (c-FOS, BCL-2, and CYCLIN D1) were increased by 17β-estradiol and this effect was independently associated with activity of the EGFR-MAPK pathway. The two estrogen receptors might be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC4450232  PMID: 26090392
15.  Improvement of Spatial Memory Disorder and Hippocampal Damage by Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields in an Alzheimer’s Disease Rat Model 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126963.
Although some epidemiological investigations showed a potential association between long-term exposure of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), no reasonable mechanism can explain this association, and the related animal experiments are rare. In this study, ELF-EMF exposure (50Hz 400µT 60d) combined with D-galactose intraperitoneal (50mg/kg, q.d., 42d) and Aβ25–35 hippocampal (5μl/unilateral, bilateral, single-dose) injection was implemented to establish a complex rat model. Then the effects of ELF-EMF exposure on AD development was studied by using the Morris water maze, pathological analysis, and comparative proteomics. The results showed that ELF-EMF exposure delayed the weight gain of rats, and partially improved cognitive and clinicopathologic symptoms of AD rats. The differential proteomic analysis results suggest that synaptic transmission, oxidative stress, protein degradation, energy metabolism, Tau aggregation, and inflammation involved in the effects mentioned above. Therefore, our findings indicate that certain conditions of ELF-EMF exposure could delay the development of AD in rats.
PMCID: PMC4433192  PMID: 25978363
16.  Schisandrin B inhibits the proliferation of human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells by inducing cycle arrest and apoptosis 
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the world. Schizandrin B (Sch B) is one of the main dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans present in the fruit of Schisandra chinensis (Schisandraceae). Sch B has multiple functions against cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Sch B on the proliferation, cell cycling, apoptosis and invasion of lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells by MTT, flow cytometry, wound healing and transwell invasion assays. Treatment with Sch B inhibited the proliferation of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Sch B induced cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase by down-regulating the expression of cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)4, and CDK6, but up-regulating p53 and p21 expression in A549 cells. Furthermore, Sch B triggered A549 cell apoptosis by increasing Bax, cleaved caspase-3, 9, Cyto C, but decreasing Bcl-2 and PCNA expression. In addition, Sch B inhibited the invasion and migration of A549 cells by down-regulating the expressions of HIF-1, VEGF, MMP-9 and MMP-2. Therefore, Sch B has potent anti-tumor activity and may be a promising traditional Chinese medicine for human lung carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4509174  PMID: 26221229
Schizandrin B; proliferation; cell cycling; invasion; migration; A549 cells
17.  Intrathecal SRT1720, a SIRT1 agonist, exerts anti-hyperalgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on chronic constriction injury-induced neuropathic pain in rats 
Neuropathic pain is caused by lesion or inflammation of the nervous system and characterized by the symptoms of allodynia, hyperalgesia and spontaneous pain. SIRT1 (Sir2) is a NAD-dependent deacetylase and is reported to regulate a wide variety of cellular processes including inflammation, aging and lifespan extension. Nevertheless, the role of SIRT1 in neuropathic pain is not fully understood. The present study was intended to detect the effect of intrathecal SRT1720, a SIRT1 agonist, using quantitative real-time PCR and western blot analysis over time in rats following chronic constriction injury (CCI) or sham surgery. In addition, the effect of intrathecal injection of SRT1720 on thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia was evaluated in CCI rats. It was found that daily intrathecal injection of SRT1720 before and 1, 3, 5, 7 days after CCI surgery produced a transient inhibitory effect on thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in CCI rats. In addition, an intrathecal injection of STR1-siRNA before SRT1720 administration reversed the anti-nociceptive effect of SRT1720. Furthermore, intrathecal injection of SRT1720 significantly down-regulated the expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mROT), NF-κB and inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, TNF-α and iNOS mRNA. These data indicate that intrathecal SRT1720 may be an alternative strategy for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Our findings suggest that intrathecal SRT1720, a SIRT1 agonist, exerts antihyperalgesic and antiinflammatory effects on CCI-induced neuropathic pain in rats.
PMCID: PMC4509198  PMID: 26221253
SRT1720; chronic constriction injury; neuropathic pain; antihyperalgesic; antiinflammatory; SIRT1
18.  Long-term oncologic outcomes of laparoscopic vs open surgery for stages II and III rectal cancer: A retrospective cohort study 
AIM: To evaluate the 5-year survival after laparoscopic surgery vs open surgery for stages II and III rectal cancer.
METHODS: This study enrolled 406 consecutive patients who underwent curative resection for stages II and III rectal cancer between January 2000 and December 2009 [laparoscopic rectal resection (LRR), n = 152; open rectal resection (ORR), n = 254]. Clinical characteristics, operative outcomes, pathological outcomes, postoperative recovery, and 5-year survival outcomes were compared between the two groups.
RESULTS: Most of the clinical characteristics were similar except age (59 years vs 55 years, P = 0.033) between the LRR group and ORR group. The proportion of anterior resection was higher in the LRR group than that in the ORR group (81.6% vs 66.1%, P = 0.001). The LRR group had less estimated blood loss (50 mL vs 200 mL, P < 0.001) and a lower rate of blood transfusion (4.6% vs 11.8%, P = 0.019) compared to the ORR group. The pathological outcomes of the two groups were comparable. The LRR group was associated with faster recovery of bowel function (2.8 d vs 3.7 d, P < 0.001) and shorter postoperative hospital stay (11.7 d vs 13.7 d, P < 0.001). The median follow-up time was 63 mo in the LRR group and 65 mo in the ORR group. As for the survival outcomes, the 5-year local recurrence rate (16.0% vs 16.4%, P = 0.753), 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) rate (63.0% vs 63.1%, P = 0.589), and 5-year overall survival (OS) rate (68.1% vs 63.5%, P = 0.682) were comparable between the LRR group and the ORR group. Stage by stage, there were also no statistical differences between the LRR group and the ORR group in terms of the 5-year local recurrence rate (stage II: 6.3% vs 8.7%, P = 0.623; stage III: 26.4% vs 23.2%, P = 0.747), 5-year DFS rate (stage II: 77.5% vs 77.6%, P = 0.462; stage III: 46.5% vs 50.9%, P = 0.738), and 5-year OS rate (stage II: 81.4% vs 74.3%, P = 0.242; stage III: 53.9% vs 54.1%, P = 0.459).
CONCLUSION: LRR for stages II and III rectal cancer can yield comparable long-term survival while achieving short-term benefits compared to open surgery.
PMCID: PMC4427672  PMID: 25987773
Laparoscopic surgery; Locally advanced rectal cancer; Oncologic outcomes
19.  Parallel Gene Expression Differences between Low and High Latitude Populations of Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(5):e1005184.
Gene expression variation within species is relatively common, however, the role of natural selection in the maintenance of this variation is poorly understood. Here we investigate low and high latitude populations of Drosophila melanogaster and its sister species, D. simulans, to determine whether the two species show similar patterns of population differentiation, consistent with a role for spatially varying selection in maintaining gene expression variation. We compared at two temperatures the whole male transcriptome of D. melanogaster and D. simulans sampled from Panama City (Panama) and Maine (USA). We observed a significant excess of genes exhibiting differential expression in both species, consistent with parallel adaptation to heterogeneous environments. Moreover, the majority of genes showing parallel expression differentiation showed the same direction of differential expression in the two species and the magnitudes of expression differences between high and low latitude populations were correlated across species, further bolstering the conclusion that parallelism for expression phenotypes results from spatially varying selection. However, the species also exhibited important differences in expression phenotypes. For example, the genomic extent of genotype × environment interaction was much more common in D. melanogaster. Highly differentiated SNPs between low and high latitudes were enriched in the 3’ UTRs and CDS of the geographically differently expressed genes in both species, consistent with an important role for cis-acting variants in driving local adaptation for expression-related phenotypes.
Author Summary
While gene expression variation in natural populations is common, the population genetic processes responsible for the maintenance of this variation remain obscure. Here we study geographic differences in gene expression in recently established low and high latitude populations of two closely related species of Drosophila. We observe substantial parallelism in expression differences and expression plasticity between populations, which supports the idea that spatially varying selection correlated with latitude contributes to the maintenance of gene expression variation in these species. Comparison of inter-population sequence differentiation and expression differentiation suggests that cis-acting variants play a role in geographic expression differentiation.
PMCID: PMC4423912  PMID: 25950438
20.  A comparison between a hinged plate and screw system and a conventional tension-band plate and screw system used for correction of an angular deformity of the lower limb: an animal study 
The purpose of the animal study is to introduce a newly designed hinged plate and screw system for correction of angular deformities of the lower limbs. The technique was compared with the use of a conventional tension-band plate and screw system.
This is a randomized controlled animal trial. Eight 3-month-old Bama miniature pigs were used to establish animal models. In each animal, one leg was randomly allocated into study group and another leg into control group. Legs of the study group were corrected with a hinged plate and screw system, and legs of the control group were corrected with a conventional tension-band plate and screw system. The corrective rates of medial slope angle, medial proximal tibial angle, and angle of the two arms of the hinged plate were measured. Residual stress on the implants was also evaluated. A P < 0.05 was statistical significant.
At the final measurements of 18 weeks, the mean corrective rates of medial slope angle, medial proximal tibial angle, and angle of the two arms of the study group were 0.71°/week, 0.85°/week, and 2.18°/week, respectively; the data in the control group were 0.84°/week, 0.89°/week, and 2.13°/week, respectively. No significant difference was found between the groups regarding the mean corrective rates of the angles (P < 0.05). The mean residual stress in the study group was 643.35 MPa, and measurement in the control group was 1,273.63 MPa, with a significant difference (P < 0.05).
Compared to the conventional tension-band plate and screw system, the hinged plate and screw system may be more reliable for correction of angular deformities of the lower limb.
PMCID: PMC4419467  PMID: 25935152
Temporary hemiepiphysiodesis; Tension-band plate and screw system; Staple; Hinged plate and screw system; Angular deformity
21.  The oldest ionoscopiform from China sheds new light on the early evolution of halecomorph fishes 
Biology Letters  2014;10(5):20140204.
The Halecomorphi are a major subdivision of the ray-finned fishes. Although living halecomorphs are represented solely by the freshwater bowfin, Amia calva, this clade has a rich fossil history, and the resolution of interrelationships among extinct members is central to the problem of understanding the origin of the Teleostei, the largest clade of extant vertebrates. The Ionoscopiformes are extinct marine halecomorphs that were inferred to have originated in the Late Jurassic of Europe, and subsequently dispersed to the Early Cretaceous of the New World. Here, we report the discovery of a new ionoscopiform, Robustichthys luopingensis gen. et sp. nov., based on eight well-preserved specimens from the Anisian (242–247 Ma), Middle Triassic marine deposits of Luoping, eastern Yunnan Province, China. The new species documents the oldest known ionoscopiform, extending the stratigraphic range of this group by approximately 90 Ma, and the geographical distribution of this group into the Middle Triassic of South China, a part of eastern Palaeotethys Ocean. These new data provide a minimum estimate for the split of Ionoscopiformes from its sister clade Amiiformes and shed new light on the origin of ionoscopiform fishes.
PMCID: PMC4046378  PMID: 24872460
phylogeny; Ionoscopiformes; Halecomorphi; Triassic; Luoping Biota
22.  A Missense Mutation in HK1 Leads to Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa 
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetically heterogeneous disease with over 60 causative genes known to date. Nevertheless, approximately 40% of RP cases remain genetically unsolved, suggesting that many novel disease-causing genes are yet to be identified. In this study, we aimed to identify the causative mutation for a large autosomal dominant RP (adRP) family with negative results from known retinal disease gene screening.
Linkage analysis followed by whole-exome sequencing was performed. Stringent variant filtering and prioritization was carried out to identify the causative mutation.
Linkage analysis identified a minimal disease region of 8 Mb on chromosome 10 with a peak parametric logarithm (base 10) of odds (LOD) score of 3.500. Further whole-exome sequencing identified a heterozygous missense mutation (NM_000188.2:c.2539G>A, p.E847K) in hexokinase 1 (HK1) that segregated with the disease phenotype in the family. Biochemical assays showed that the E847K mutation does not affect hexokinase enzymatic activity or the protein stability, suggesting that the mutation may impact other uncharacterized function or result in a gain of function of HK1.
Here, we identified HK1 as a novel causative gene for adRP. This is the first report that associates the glucose metabolic pathway with human retinal degenerative disease, suggesting a potential new disease mechanism.
In this study, we identified for the first time HK1 as a novel disease-causing gene for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa, implying the importance of glucose metabolic pathway in human retinal degenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC4224578  PMID: 25316723
HK1; hexokinase; autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP); novel disease-causing gene; next-generation sequencing (NGS)
23.  EGCG Blocked Phenylephrin-Induced Hypertrophy in H9C2 Cardiomyocytes, by Activating AMPK-Dependent Pathway 
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key regulator of energy metabolism. Previous studies have shown that activation of AMPK results in suppression of cardiac myocyte hypertrophy via inhibition of the p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) and eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF2) signaling pathways. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major polyphenol found in green tea, possesses multiple protective effects on the cardiovascular system including cardiac hypertrophy. However, the molecular mechanisms has not been well investigated. In this study, we found that EGCG could significantly reduce natriuretic peptides type A (Nppa), brain natriuretic polypeptide (BNP) mRNA expression and decrease cell surface area in H9C2 cardiomyocytes stimulated with phenylephrine (PE). Moreover, we showed that AMPK is activated in H9C2 cardiomyocytes by EGCG, and AMPK-dependent pathway participates in the inhibitory effects of EGCG on cardiac hypertrophy. Taken together, our findings provide the first evidence that the effect of EGCG against cardiac hypertrophy may be attributed to its activation on AMPK-dependent signaling pathway, suggesting the therapeutic potential of EGCG on the prevention of cardiac remodeling in patients with pressure overload hypertrophy.
PMCID: PMC4422959  PMID: 25954124
AMP-activated protein kinase; Epigallocatechin-3-gallate; H9C2 cardiomyocytes; Phenylephrine
24.  High-dose thalidomide increases the risk of peripheral neuropathy in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis 
Neural Regeneration Research  2015;10(5):814-818.
Thalidomide is an effective drug for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis but might induce peripheral neuropathy. This major adverse reaction has attracted much concern. The current study aimed to observe the incidence of thalidomide-induced peripheral neuropathy among ankylosing spondylitis patients for 1 year after treatment. In this study, 207 ankylosing spondylitis cases received thalidomide treatment, while 116 ankylosing spondylitis cases received other treatments. Results showed that the incidence of thalidomide-induced peripheral neuropathy in the thalidomide group was higher than that in the non-thalidomide group. There was no significant difference in the incidence of neuropathy between the < 6 months medication and ≥ 6 months medication groups. There were no differences in the mean age, gender, or daily dose between the two groups. The incidence of peripheral neuropathy among patients receiving 25, 50, 75, or 100 mg thalidomide per day was 4.6%, 8.5%, 17.1%, 21.7%, respectively. The incidence was significantly different between the groups receiving 25 mg and 100 mg thalidomide. In conclusion, thalidomide can induce peripheral neuropathy within 1 year after treatment of ankylosing spondylitis; however, age and gender have no obvious impact on the incidence of peripheral neuropathy. The incidence of peripheral neuropathy is associated with increasing daily doses of thalidomide.
PMCID: PMC4468777  PMID: 26109960
nerve regeneration; peripheral nerve injury; thalidomide; ankylosing spondylitis; adverse reactions; peripheral neuropathy; prospective study; treatment; dose; treatment time; age; sex; neural regeneration
25.  Inhibition of tobacco smoke-induced bladder MAPK activation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in mice by curcumin 
Tobacco smoke (TS) has been shown to cause bladder cancer. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial pathophysiological process in cancer development. MAPK pathways play central roles in tumorigenesis including EMT process. Curcumin is a promising chemopreventive agent for several types of cancers. In the present study we investigated the effects of TS on MAPK pathway activation and EMT alterations in the bladder of mice, and the preventive effect of curcumin was further examined. Results showed that exposure of mice to TS for 12 weeks resulted in activation of ERK1/2, JNK, p38 and ERK5 MAPK pathways as well as AP-1 proteins in bladder. TS reduced mRNA and protein expression levels of epithelial markers E-cadherin and ZO-1, while mRNA and protein expression levels of the mesenchymal markers vimentin and N-cadherin were increased. Curcumin treatment effectively attenuated TS-triggered activation of ERK1/2, JNK and p38 MAPK pathways, AP-1 proteins and EMT alterations in bladder tissue. These results suggest the protective effects of curcumin in TS-induced MAPK activation and EMT, thus providing new insights into the chemoprevention of TS-associated bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC4503012  PMID: 26191140
Tobacco smoke; curcumin; bladder cancer; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; MAPK pathways

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