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1.  Dysbiosis gut microbiota associated with inflammation and impaired mucosal immune function in intestine of humans with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8096.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has recently been considered to be under the influence of the gut microbiota, which might exert toxic effects on the human host after intestinal absorption and delivery to the liver via the portal vein. In this study, the composition of the gut microbiota in NAFLD patients and healthy subjects was determined via 16S ribosomal RNA Illumina next-generation sequencing. Among those taxa displaying greater than 0.1% average abundance in all samples, five genera, including Alistipes and Prevotella, were significantly more abundant in the gut microbiota of healthy subjects compared to NAFLD patients. Alternatively, Escherichia, Anaerobacter, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus were increased in the gut microbiota of NAFLD patients compared to healthy subjects. In addition, decreased numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes and increased levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and IFN-γ were detected in the NAFLD group compared to the healthy group. Furthermore, irregularly arranged microvilli and widened tight junctions were observed in the gut mucosa of the NAFLD patients via transmission electron microscopy. We postulate that aside from dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, gut microbiota-mediated inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and the related impairment in mucosal immune function play an important role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.
PMCID: PMC4314632  PMID: 25644696
2.  Facile synthesis of fluorescent Au/Ce nanoclusters for high-sensitive bioimaging 
Tumor-target fluorescence bioimaging is an important means of early diagnosis, metal nanoclusters have been used as an excellent fluorescent probe for marking tumor cells due to their targeted absorption. We have developed a new strategy for facile synthesis of Au/Ce nanoclusters (NCs) by doping trivalent cerium ion into seed crystal growth process of gold. Au/Ce NCs have bright fluorescence which could be used as fluorescent probe for bioimaging.
In this study, we synthesized fluorescent Au/Ce NCs through two-step hydrothermal reaction. The concentration range of 25–350 μM, Au/Ce NCs have no obvious cell cytotoxicity effect on HeLa, HepG2 and L02 cells. Furthermore, normal cells (L02) have no obvious absorption of Au/Ce NCs. Characterization of synthesized Au/Ce NCs was done by using TEM, EDS and XPS. Then these prepared Au/Ce NCs were applied for in vitro/in vivo tumor-target bioimaging due to its prolonged fluorescence lifetime and bright luminescence properties.
The glutathione stabilized Au/Ce NCs synthesized through hydrothermal reaction possess stable and bright fluorescence that can be readily utilized for high sensitive fluorescence probe. Our results suggest that Au/Ce NCs are useful candidate for in vitro/in vivo tumor bioimaging in potential clinical application.
PMCID: PMC4320607  PMID: 25643754
Fluorescence bioimaging; Au/Ce nanoclusters; Probe; Tumor
3.  Genetic variants in antigen presentation-related genes influence susceptibility to hepatitis C virus and viral clearance: a case control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):3837.
Genes related to antigen presentation pathway, which are in the non-classical class-II region of human leukocyte antigen (HLA), play a vital role during the infection of hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The current study determined the genotypes of 34 tagging-SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) from 9 candidate genes (HLA-DMA, HLA-DMB, HLA-DOA, HLA-DOB, TAP1, TAP2, LMP2, LMP7, and tapasin) in a Chinese population of paid blood donors with high risk of HCV infection. The distributions of those SNPs were compared among the 1207 former paid blood donors with different HCV infection outcomes.
HLA-DMA rs1063478 and HLA-DOA rs2284191 were independent factors of acquiring HCV infection. Carrying three favorable alleles of rs1063478-T and rs2284191-G offered the highest protective effect (odds ratio = 0.46, 95% confidence intervals = 0.27-0.78). HLA-DOB rs7383287 and LMP2 rs17587 were independent factors of infection chronicity. Subjects carrying two favorable alleles of rs7383287-G and rs17587-A had a decreased risk of HCV chronicity (odds ratio = 0.42, 95% confidence intervals = 0.26-0.66). The interaction analysis showed that experience of plasma donation interacted with the combined effects of rs1063478 and rs2284191 for HCV susceptibility, and the experience of whole blood donation interacted with the association of rs7383287 with HCV clearance.
Our results suggested that genetic variants in antigen presentation pathway had influence on susceptibility to HCV infection and viral clearance. HLA-DMA rs1063478, HLA-DOA rs2284191, and HLA-DOB rs7383287 were identified as novel loci in Chinese population that were involved in HCV infection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0716-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4279674  PMID: 25528575
Hepatitis C; Genetic polymorphism; Human leukocyte antigen; Infection outcomes; Chinese population
4.  The changes of vaccinia related kinase 1 in grafted heart after rat heart transplantation 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(12):1742-1750.
To assess the expression and significance of vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1) after rat heart transplantation.
Materials and methods
Lewis and Wistar rats weighing 250 to 300 g were used as donors and recipients. Allografts were from Wistar transplanted into Lewis, and isografts were transplanted from Lewis into Lewis. Grafts were harvested at 1, 3, 5, and 7 days after transplantation. We performed Western Blot of heart tissues after cardiac transplantation. To analyze VRK1 express between the isografts and allografts for immunohistochemical staining. At 5th day after heart transplantation use related cytokines VRK1 for immunohistochemical. We used double immunofluorescent staining on transverse cryosections of graft tissues by co-labeling with different markers, including those for VRK1, activate caspase-3, α-actinin, VCAM-1, CD4.
Compared with rare expression in syngeneic Lewis rat hearts, VRK1 protein level in allogeneic hearts were detected at various survival times after heterotopic heart transplantation, which observably expressed on day 5 postoperative. In addition, we examined the expression of activate caspase-3 in allogeneic hearts, which has a similar expression with VRK1. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent method displayed that VRK1 was widely expressed in cytoplasm of cardiac tissue and activate caspase-3 was also expressed in cardiomyocytes. However, the VRK1 wasn’t express in inflammation.
The VRK1 expression has increased after heart transplantation in allograft and isograft, and VRK1 may play a significant role in myocardial apoptosis after heterotopic heart transplantation in rats.
PMCID: PMC4283318  PMID: 25589968
Vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1); apoptosis; heterotopic heart transplantation; rat
5.  Different expression of NOD2 in decidual stromal cells between normal and unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion women during first trimester gestation 
The NOD2 gene, encoding intracellular paternal recognition receptor (PRR) also called caspase activation and recruitment domain 15 (CARD15), is mutated in Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune-disorder. Unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (URSA) involved in complex auto-immune disorder. However, little is known about the expression of NOD2 protein at maternal-fetal interface with URSA patients. Our aim was to compare the expression levels of NOD2 in the decidual stromal cells (DSCs) from patients with normal pregnancy to those with unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (URSA) during first trimester pregnancy. Tissues and DSCs were collected from 12 patients with URSA and 26 patients with normal pregnancies that required abortion. DSCs in the normal pregnancy group showed significantly higher mRNA and protein levels of NOD2 than those isolated from the URSA group using real time PCR and in cell western. The appropriate expression of NOD2 in normal DSCs suggests that this protein may be required to sustain normal pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4313978
NOD2; decidual stromal cells (DSCs); unexplained spontaneous recurrent abortion
6.  Transcriptome Analysis on the Inflammatory Cell Infiltration of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis in Bama Minipigs Induced by a Long-Term High-Fat, High-Sucrose Diet 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113724.
Long-term adherence to a high-fat, high-calorie diet influences human health and causes obesity, metabolic syndrome and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Inflammation plays a key role in the development of NASH; however, the mechanism of inflammation induced by over-nutrition remains largely unknown. In this study, we fed Bama minipigs a high-fat, high-sucrose diet (HFHSD) for 23 months. The pigs exhibited characteristics of metabolic syndrome and developed steatohepatitis with greatly increased numbers of inflammatory cells, such as lymphocytes (2.27-fold, P<0.05), Kupffer cells (2.59-fold, P<0.05), eosinophils (1.42-fold, P<0.05) and neutrophils (2.77-fold, P<0.05). High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed to explore the systemic transcriptome of the pig liver during inflammation. Approximately 18.2 gigabases of raw sequence data were generated, and over 303 million high-quality reads were assembled into 21,126 unigenes. RNA-seq data analysis showed that 822 genes were differentially expressed in liver (P<0.05) between the HFHSD and control groups. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis showed that the process of inflammation involved the inflammatory signal transduction-related toll-like receptor, MAPK, and PPAR signaling pathways; the cytokine-related chemokine signaling, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, and IL2, IL4, IL6, and IL12 signaling pathways; the leukocyte receptor signaling-related T cell, B cell, and natural killer cell signaling pathways; inflammatory cell migration and invasion- related pathways; and other pathways. Moreover, we identified several differentially expressed inflammation-related genes between the two groups, including FOS, JUN, TLR7, MYC, PIK3CD, VAV3, IL2RB and IL4R, that could be potential targets for further investigation. Our study suggested that long-term HFHSD induced obesity and liver inflammation, providing basic insight into the molecular mechanism of this condition and laying the groundwork for further studies on obesity and steatohepatitis.
PMCID: PMC4240652  PMID: 25415189
7.  Urine-derived stem cells: A novel and versatile progenitor source for cell-based therapy and regenerative medicine 
Genes & diseases  2014;1(1):8-17.
Engineered functional organs or tissues, created with autologous somatic cells and seeded on biodegradable or hydrogel scaffolds, have been developed for use in individuals with tissue damage suffered from congenital disorders, infection, irradiation, or cancer. However, in those patients, abnormal cells obtained by biopsy from the compromised tissue could potentially contaminate the engineered tissues. Thus, an alternative cell source for construction of the neo-organ or functional recovery of the injured or diseased tissues would be useful. Recently, we have found stem cells existing in the urine. These cells are highly expandable, and have self-renewal capacity, paracrine properties, and multi-differentiation potential. As a novel cell source, urine-derived stem cells (USCs) provide advantages for cell therapy and tissue engineering applications in regeneration of various tissues, particularly in the genitourinary tract, because they originate from the urinary tract system. Importantly, USCs can be obtained via a non-invasive, simple, and low-cost approach and induced with high efficiency to differentiate into three dermal cell lineages.
PMCID: PMC4234168  PMID: 25411659
Cell therapy; Genitourinary tract; Stem cells; Tissue regeneration; Urine
8.  G-Bean: an ontology-graph based web tool for biomedical literature retrieval 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(Suppl 12):S1.
Currently, most people use NCBI's PubMed to search the MEDLINE database, an important bibliographical information source for life science and biomedical information. However, PubMed has some drawbacks that make it difficult to find relevant publications pertaining to users' individual intentions, especially for non-expert users. To ameliorate the disadvantages of PubMed, we developed G-Bean, a graph based biomedical search engine, to search biomedical articles in MEDLINE database more efficiently.
G-Bean addresses PubMed's limitations with three innovations: (1) Parallel document index creation: a multithreaded index creation strategy is employed to generate the document index for G-Bean in parallel; (2) Ontology-graph based query expansion: an ontology graph is constructed by merging four major UMLS (Version 2013AA) vocabularies, MeSH, SNOMEDCT, CSP and AOD, to cover all concepts in National Library of Medicine (NLM) database; a Personalized PageRank algorithm is used to compute concept relevance in this ontology graph and the Term Frequency - Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) weighting scheme is used to re-rank the concepts. The top 500 ranked concepts are selected for expanding the initial query to retrieve more accurate and relevant information; (3) Retrieval and re-ranking of documents based on user's search intention: after the user selects any article from the existing search results, G-Bean analyzes user's selections to determine his/her true search intention and then uses more relevant and more specific terms to retrieve additional related articles. The new articles are presented to the user in the order of their relevance to the already selected articles.
Performance evaluation with 106 OHSUMED benchmark queries shows that G-Bean returns more relevant results than PubMed does when using these queries to search the MEDLINE database. PubMed could not even return any search result for some OHSUMED queries because it failed to form the appropriate Boolean query statement automatically from the natural language query strings. G-Bean is available at
G-Bean addresses PubMed's limitations with ontology-graph based query expansion, automatic document indexing, and user search intention discovery. It shows significant advantages in finding relevant articles from the MEDLINE database to meet the information need of the user.
PMCID: PMC4243180  PMID: 25474588
9.  Host genetic variations are associated with virological response to interferon therapy of chronic HCV in Han Chinese patients 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2014;28(6):476-483.
Previous studies have suggested that host genetic polymorphisms may affect virological response to pegylated-interferon and ribavirin (PEG-IFN/ ribavirin) therapy in chronic HCV infection. IL28B and MxA are the most intensively studied genes in Chinese Han population. The current research is to summarize published data and evaluate the overall association of meaningful SNPs in these two genes with virological response to interferon-based therapy. Literature search was performed in online database and a systematic review was conducted based on the search results. Meaningful single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were summarized and analyzed for odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Data manipulation and statistical analyses were performed by using STATA 12.0 and Review Manager version 5.1. Eighteen papers were included for final data analysis. Three SNPs of IL28B and two SNPs of MxA were found to be associated with higher sustained virological response (SVR) to interferon therapy. The ORs and 95% CIs of each variant were: IL28B rs8099917 TT (OR: 4.35, 95% CI: 3.10∼6.12), IL28B rs12979860 CC (OR: 5.37, 95% CI: 3.95∼7.31), IL28B rs7248668 CC (OR: 3.50, 95% CI: 2.30∼5.35), MxA rs2071430 GT (OR: 2.03, 95% CI: 1.31∼3.13), and MxA rs17000900 AC/AA (OR: 1.82, 95% CI: 1.17∼2.83). The genotypes of IL28B rs8099917, rs12979860, rs7248668, MxA rs2071430, and MxA rs17000900 were strong SVR predictors for PEG-IFN/ ribavirin -treated HCV patients in Han Chinese population. Our findings suggest that host genetic variations are associated with virological response to interferon therapy of chronic HCV in Han Chinese patients.
PMCID: PMC4250526  PMID: 25469117
hepatitis C virus; therapy; virological response; IL28B; MxA; meta-analysis
10.  A Microdeletion of Chromosome 9q33.3 Encompasses the Entire LMX1B Gene in a Chinese Family with Nail Patella Syndrome 
Nail patella syndrome (NPS) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by nail malformations, patellar apoplasia, or patellar hypoplasia. Mutations within the LMX1B gene are found in 85% of families with NPS; thus, this gene has been characterized as the causative gene of NPS. In this study, we identified a heterozygous microdeletion of the entire LMX1B gene using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in a Chinese family with NPS. The determination of the deletion breakpoints by Illumina genome-wide DNA analysis beadchip showed that the deletion was located in chromosome 9q33.3 and spanned about 0.66 Mb in size. This heterozygous deletion provides strong evidence for haploinsufficiency as the pathogenic mechanism of NPS.
PMCID: PMC4264161  PMID: 25380522
gene deletion; LMX1B; MLPA; nail patella syndrome
11.  PLK1 and β-TrCP-Dependent Ubiquitination and Degradation of Rap1GAP Controls Cell Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110296.
Rap1GAP is a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) that specifically stimulates the GTP hydrolysis of Rap1 GTPase. Although Rap1GAP is recognized as a tumor suppressor gene and downregulated in various cancers, little is known regarding the regulation of Rap1GAP ubiquitination and degradation under physiological conditions. Here, we demonstrated that Rap1GAP is ubiquitinated and degraded through proteasome pathway in mitosis. Proteolysis of Rap1GAP requires the PLK1 kinase and β-TrCP ubiquitin ligase complex. We revealed that PLK1 interacts with Rap1GAP in vivo through recognition of an SSP motif within Rap1GAP. PLK1 phosphorylates Ser525 in conserved 524DSGHVS529 degron of Rap1GAP and promotes its interaction with β-TrCP. We also showed that Rap1GAP was a cell cycle regulator and that tight regulation of the Rap1GAP degradation in mitosis is required for cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4201484  PMID: 25329897
12.  TRPV1 Activation Exacerbates Hypoxia/Reoxygenation-Induced Apoptosis in H9C2 Cells via Calcium Overload and Mitochondrial Dysfunction 
Transient potential receptor vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channels, which are expressed on sensory neurons, elicit cardioprotective effects during ischemia reperfusion injury by stimulating the release of neuropeptides, namely calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P (SP). Recent studies show that TRPV1 channels are also expressed on cardiomyocytes and can exacerbate air pollutant-induced apoptosis. However, whether these channels present on cardiomyocytes directly modulate cell death and survival pathways during hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) injury remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the role of TRPV1 in H/R induced apoptosis of H9C2 cardiomyocytes. We demonstrated that TRPV1 was indeed expressed in H9C2 cells, and activated by H/R injury. Although neuropeptide release caused by TRPV1 activation on sensory neurons elicits a cardioprotective effect, we found that capsaicin (CAP; a TRPV1 agonist) treatment of H9C2 cells paradoxically enhanced the level of apoptosis by increasing intracellular calcium and mitochondrial superoxide levels, attenuating mitochondrial membrane potential, and inhibiting mitochondrial biogenesis (measured by the expression of ATP synthase β). In contrast, treatment of cells with capsazepine (CPZ; a TRPV1 antagonist) or TRPV1 siRNA attenuated H/R induced-apoptosis. Furthermore, CAP and CPZ treatment revealed a similar effect on cell viability and mitochondrial superoxide production in primary cardiomyocytes. Finally, using both CGRP8–37 (a CGRP receptor antagonist) and RP67580 (a SP receptor antagonist) to exclude the confounding effects of neuropeptides, we confirmed aforementioned detrimental effects as TRPV1−/− mouse hearts exhibited improved cardiac function during ischemia/reperfusion. In summary, direct activation of TRPV1 in myocytes exacerbates H/R-induced apoptosis, likely through calcium overload and associated mitochondrial dysfunction. Our study provides a novel understanding of the role of myocyte TRPV1 channels in ischemia/reperfusion injury that sharply contrasts with its known extracardiac neuronal effects.
PMCID: PMC4227220  PMID: 25314299
ischemia; apoptosis; calcium; mitochondrial; TRPV1 protein; rat
13.  Toxic Effects of Maternal Zearalenone Exposure on Intestinal Oxidative Stress, Barrier Function, Immunological and Morphological Changes in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106412.
The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of maternal zearalenone (ZEN) exposure on the intestine of pregnant Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats and its offspring. Ninety-six pregnant SD rats were randomly divided into four groups and were fed with diets containing ZEN at concentrations of 0.3 mg/kg, 48.5 mg/kg, 97.6 mg/kg or 146.0 mg/kg from gestation days (GD) 1 to 7. All rats were fed with mycotoxin-free diet until their offspring were weaned at three weeks of age. The small intestinal fragments from pregnant rats at GD8, weaned dams and pups were collected and studied for toxic effects of ZEN on antioxidant status, immune response, expression of junction proteins, and morphology. The results showed that ZEN induced oxidative stress, affected the villous structure and reduced the expression of junction proteins claudin-4, occludin and connexin43 (Cx43) in a dose-dependent manner in pregnant rats. Different effects on the expression of cytokines were also observed both in mRNA and protein levels in these pregnant groups. Ingestion of high levels of ZEN caused irreversible damage in weaned dams, such as oxidative stress, decreased villi hight and low expression of junction proteins and cytokines. Decreased expression of jejunal interleukin-8 (IL-8) and increased expression of gastrointestinal glutathione peroxidase (GPx2) mRNA were detected in weaned offspring, indicating long-term damage caused by maternal ZEN. We also found that the Nrf2 expression both in mRNA and protein levels were up-regulated in the ZEN-treated groups of pregnant dams and the high-dose of ZEN group of weaned dams. The data indicate that modulation of Nrf2-mediated pathway is one of mechanism via which ZEN affects gut wall antioxidant and inflammatory responses.
PMCID: PMC4152245  PMID: 25180673
14.  More Complications Occur in Macrolide-Resistant than in Macrolide-Sensitive Mycoplasma pneumoniae Pneumonia 
We sought to understand the situation of macrolide-resistant genotypes of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and analyze the relationship between macrolide-resistant genotypes and clinical manifestations of Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP). Full-length sequencing of the 23S rRNA gene of M. pneumoniae was performed in 235 nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) from children with MPP. We also retrospectively compared the clinical characteristics of macrolide-resistant (MR) M. pneumoniae infections and macrolide-sensitive (MS) M. pneumoniae infections. A total of 206 patients had point mutations in the M. pneumoniae 23S rRNA gene, and these patients are referred to as MR patients. The remaining 29 patients without point mutations are referred to as MS patients. Among 206 MR patients, 199 (96.6%) had A2063G mutations, 6 had A2063T mutations, and the remaining patients had an A2064G mutation. Among the clinical manifestations, we found that the median fever durations were 8 days (range, 0 to 42 days) and 6 days (0 to 14 days) (P < 0.01), the median hospitalization durations were 8 days (2 to 45 days) and 6 days (3 to 16 days) (P < 0.01), and the median fever durations after macrolide therapy were 5 days (0 to 42 days) and 3 days (0 to 10 days) (P < 0.01), respectively, in the MR and MS groups. We also found that the incidence of extrapulmonary complications in the MR group was significantly higher than that in the MS group (P < 0.05). Moreover, the radiological findings were more serious in the MR group than in the MS group (P < 0.05). The increasing prevalence of MR M. pneumoniae has become a significant clinical issue in the pediatric patients, which may lead to more extrapulmonary complications and severe clinical features and radiological manifestations.
PMCID: PMC3910883  PMID: 24277047
15.  Potential Spermatogenesis Recovery with Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells in an Azoospermic Rat Model 
Non-obstructive azoospermia is the most challenging type of male infertility. Stem cell based therapy provides the potential to enhance the recovery of spermatogenesis following cancer therapy. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) possess the potential to differentiate or trans-differentiate into multi-lineage cells, secrete paracrine factors to recruit the resident stem cells to participate in tissue regeneration, or fuse with the local cells in the affected region. In this study, we tested whether spermatogenically-induced BMSCs can restore spermatogenesis after administration of an anticancer drug. Allogeneic BMSCs were co-cultured in conditioned media derived from cultured testicular Sertoli cells in vitro, and then induced stem cells were transplanted into the seminiferous tubules of a busulfan-induced azoospermatic rat model for 8 weeks. The in vitro induced BMSCs exhibited specific spermatogonic gene and protein markers, and after implantation the donor cells survived and located at the basement membranes of the recipient seminiferous tubules, in accordance with what are considered the unique biological characteristics of spermatogenic stem cells. Molecular markers of spermatogonial stem cells and spermatogonia (Vasa, Stella, SMAD1, Dazl, GCNF, HSP90α, integrinβ1, and c-kit) were expressed in the recipient testis tissue. No tumor mass, immune response, or inflammatory reaction developed. In conclusion, BMSCs might provide the potential to trans-differentiate into spermatogenic-like-cells, enhancing endogenous fertility recovery. The present study indicates that BMSCs might offer alternative treatment for the patients with azoospermatic infertility after cancer chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4159785  PMID: 25062349
mesenchymal stem cell; germ cell; spermatogonial stem cell; transplantation; differentiation
16.  OsNRAMP5 contributes to manganese translocation and distribution in rice shoots 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(17):4849-4861.
OsNRAMP5 plays an important role in the translocation and distribution of Mn in rice plants in addition to its role in Mn uptake.
Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient for plants playing an important role in many physiological functions. OsNRAMP5 is a major transporter responsible for Mn and cadmium uptake in rice, but whether it is involved in the root-to-shoot translocation and distribution of these metals is unknown. In this work, OsNRAMP5 was found to be highly expressed in hulls. It was also expressed in leaves but the expression level decreased with leaf age. High-magnification observations revealed that OsNRAMP5 was enriched in the vascular bundles of roots and shoots especially in the parenchyma cells surrounding the xylem. The osnramp5 mutant accumulated significantly less Mn in shoots than the wild-type plants even at high levels of Mn supply. Furthermore, a high supply of Mn could compensate for the loss in the root uptake ability in the mutant, but not in the root-to-shoot translocation of Mn, suggesting that the absence of OsNRAMP5 reduces the transport of Mn from roots to shoots. The results suggest that OsNRAMP5 plays an important role in the translocation and distribution of Mn in rice plants in addition to its role in Mn uptake.
PMCID: PMC4144776  PMID: 24963001
Cadmium; manganese; OsNRAMP5; rice; root-to-shoot translocation; transporter.
17.  First Insight into the Genotypic Diversity of Clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis Isolates from Gansu Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99357.
Investigations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis genetic diversity in China have indicated a significant regional distribution. The aim of this study was to characterize the genotypes of clinical M. tuberculosis isolates obtained from Gansu, which has a special geographic location in China.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 467 clinical M. tuberculosis strains isolated in Gansu Province were genotyped by 15-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units–variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) and spoligotyping. The results showed that 445 isolates belonged to six known spoligotype lineages, whereas 22 isolates were unknown. The Beijing genotype was the most prevalent (87.58%, n = 409), while the shared type 1 was the dominant genotype (80.94%, n = 378). The second most common lineage was the T lineage, with 25 isolates (5.35%), followed by the H lineage with 5 isolates (1.07%), the MANU family (0.64%, 3 isolates), the U family (0.43%, 2 isolates) and the CAS lineage with 1 isolate (0.21%). By using the VNTR15China method, we observed 15 groups and 228 genotypes among the 467 isolates. We found no association between the five larger groups (including the Beijing genotype) and sex, age, or treatment status, and there was no noticeable difference in the group analysis in different areas. In the present study, seven of the 15 MIRU-VNTR loci were highly or moderately discriminative according to their Hunter-Gaston discriminatory index.
The Beijing genotype is the predominant genotype in Gansu province. We confirm that VNTR15China is suitable for typing Beijing strains in China and that it has a better discriminatory power than spoligotyping. Therefore, the use of both methods is the most suitable for genotyping analysis of M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC4049826  PMID: 24911588
18.  Preparation of phosphorylated starch by dry-heating in the presence of pyrophosphate and its calcium-phosphate solubilizing ability 
Starch was phosphorylated through dry-heating in the presence of pyrophosphate at various conditions, and the characteristics of phosphorylated starch (PS) were examined. Starch phosphorylation increases as the pH increases from 3 to 6, but diminishes at pH 7. Increased temperatures enhance phosphorylation. Data from 31P NMR suggests that starch phosphorylation occurs mainly at the C3-OH and C6-OH of the glucose residue. The phosphate linkage is mainly due to monostarch monophosphate. Although starch had almost no calcium phosphate-solubilising capacity, this capacity was markedly enhanced by phosphorylation. X-ray diffraction analysis indicates that the crystal structure of hydroxyapatite was not present in the calcium phosphate-PS complex.
PMCID: PMC3602575  PMID: 24425953
Phosphorylation; Starch; Dry-heating; Phosphate linkage; Calcium-phosphate solubilising capacity
19.  Estrogen suppresses adipogenesis by inhibiting S100A16 expression 
The aim of this study is to determine the effects of E2 on metabolic syndrome and the molecular mechanisms involving S100A16. Ovariectomized (OVX) rat models and mouse embryonic fibroblasts cell models were used. E2 loss in OVX rats induced body weight gain and central abdominal fat accumulation, which were ameliorated by E2 treatment under chow and high-fat diet (HFD) conditions. E2 decreased the expression of the adipocyte marker genes PPAR γ, aP2, C/EBP α, and S100A16. E2 inhibited adipogenesis. Overexpression of S100A16 reversed the E2-induced adipogenesis effect. A luciferase assay showed that E2 inhibited the expression of S100A16. E2 treatment decreased body weight gain and central abdominal fat accumulation under both chow and HFD conditions. Also, E2 suppressed adipogenesis by inhibiting S100A16 expression.
PMCID: PMC4045221  PMID: 24501224
estrogen; metabolic syndrome; S100A16
20.  Erythropoietin Action in Stress Response, Tissue Maintenance and Metabolism 
Erythropoietin (EPO) regulation of red blood cell production and its induction at reduced oxygen tension provides for the important erythropoietic response to ischemic stress. The cloning and production of recombinant human EPO has led to its clinical use in patients with anemia for two and half decades and has facilitated studies of EPO action. Reports of animal and cell models of ischemic stress in vitro and injury suggest potential EPO benefit beyond red blood cell production including vascular endothelial response to increase nitric oxide production, which facilitates oxygen delivery to brain, heart and other non-hematopoietic tissues. This review discusses these and other reports of EPO action beyond red blood cell production, including EPO response affecting metabolism and obesity in animal models. Observations of EPO activity in cell and animal model systems, including mice with tissue specific deletion of EPO receptor (EpoR), suggest the potential for EPO response in metabolism and disease.
PMCID: PMC4100153  PMID: 24918289
erythropoietin; erythropoietin receptor; signal transduction; stress response; wound healing; endothelial; brain; cardiovascular; inflammation; metabolism; obesity
21.  Regulatory mechanism of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate is mediated by nuclear factor-κB and inhibits neutrophil accumulation in ARDS mice 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the regulatory mechanism of nuclear factor (NF)-κB on polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) accumulation and the inflammatory response in lung tissues with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), as well as the therapeutic effect of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC). Mouse models of ARDS were established by intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). BALB/c mice were divided into control, LPS and PDTC + LPS groups. The expression of PMN adhesion molecules, CD11b/CD18 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), were detected by immunohistochemistry, while the protein expression levels of NF-κB p65 in the lung tissue were analyzed by western blot analysis. In addition, flow cytometry was used to investigate the apoptosis rate of PMNs in the bronchoalveolar fluid, and the expression levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity were also determined. Following an intraperitoneal injection of LPS, alveolar septum rupture, pulmonary interstitial hyperemia and PMN infiltration in the alveolar was observed. The protein expression of p65 in the pulmonary cytoplasm decreased, while the expression of p65 in the nucleus increased. The levels of IL-8, IL-1β and TNF-α increased and the high expression status was maintained for 24 h. As the time increased, CD11b/CD18 and ICAM-1 expression increased, as well as MPO activity, while the apoptosis of PMNs was delayed. Compared with the LPS group, the expression of p65 in the pulmonary cytoplasm and the PMN apoptosis rate increased following PDTC intervention, while the expression of p65 in the nucleus decreased, as well as the expression levels of the cytokines and MPO activity. Therefore, PDTC reduced the production of inflammatory cytokines via the NF-κB pathway, which reduced the activation of PMNs in the lung tissue and promoted PMN apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4079437  PMID: 25009629
acute respiratory distress syndrome; CD11b/CD18; intercellular adhesion molecule-1; nuclear factor-κB; pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate
22.  Proteomic Approach to Reveal the Proteins Associated with Encystment of the Ciliate Euplotes encysticus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97362.
In order to identify and reveal the proteins related to encystment of the ciliate Euplotes encysticus, we analyzed variation in the abundance of the proteins isolated from the resting cyst comparing with proteins in the vegetative cell. 2-D electrophoresis, MALDI-TOF MS techniques and Bioinformatics were used for proteome separation, quantification and identification. The comparative proteomics studies revealed 26 proteins with changes on the expression in the resting cysts, including 12 specific proteins and 14 differential proteins. 12 specific proteins and 10 out of the 14 differential proteins were selected and identified by MALDI-TOF MS. The identified specific proteins with known functions included type II cytoskeletal 1, keratin, Nop16 domain containing protein, protein arginine n-methyltransferase, epsilon-trimethyllysine hydroxylase and calpain-like protein. The identified differential proteins with known functions included Lysozyme C, keratinocyte growth factor, lysozyme homolog AT-2, formate acetyltransferase, alpha S1 casein and cold-shock protein. We discussed the functions of these proteins as well as their contribution in the process of encystment. These identified proteins covered a wide range of molecular functions, including gene regulation, RNA regulation, proteins degradation and oxidation resistance, stress response, material transport and cytoskeleton organization. Therefore, differential expression of these proteins was essential for cell morphological and physiological changes during encystment. This suggested that the peculiar proteins and differential proteins might play important roles in the process of the vegetative cells transforming into the resting cysts. These observations may be novel findings that bring new insights into the detailed mechanisms of dormancy.
PMCID: PMC4023950  PMID: 24837719
23.  Effects of vitamin D on renal fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy model rats 
This study is to investigate the effects of vitamin D on renal fibrosis in rat diabetic nephropathy models, as well as the changes and interactions in the expressions of renal fibrogenesis- and inflammation-related genes. Rat diabetic nephropathy models were established by high-fat diets, which were subjected to TGF-β1 manipulation, as well as vitamin D treatment. H&E staining, Masson staining, and TEM detection were performed to assess the effects of vitamin D treatment and/or TGF-β1 manipulation on pathological changes in the renal tissues in these rat diabetic nephropathy models. Immunohistology and real-time PCR were used to evaluate the expressions of TGF-β1, MCP-1, CTGF, and VDR. Histological staining and TEM detection showed that, in both TGF-β1 over-expressed and interfered groups, vitamin D administration alleviated the renal fibrosis, compared with the vehicle treatment. Similar results were observed with the immunohistological staining. Real-time PCR analysis indicated that, when TGF-β1 was over-expressed in diabetic nephropathy, the expressions of MCP-1 and CTGF were also up-regulated, which would be decreased by the treatment of vitamin D. On the other hand, when TGF-β1 was interfered in DN, the expressions of MCP-1 and CTGF were relatively down-regulated, which would be further lowered by vitamin D administration. The mRNA expression of VDR was elevated by vitamin D treatment in these diabetic nephropathy models. Active vitamin D3 and lentivirus-mediated TGF-β1 interference could effectively reduce the renal fibrosis and protect the renal function in diabetic nephropathy rat models, which makes a promising therapeutic strategy for the disease.
PMCID: PMC4097221  PMID: 25031721
Diabetic nephropathy; vitamin D; TGF-β1; CTGF; MCP-1; VDR
24.  Lipocalin 2 Expression and Secretion Is Highly Regulated by Metabolic Stress, Cytokines, and Nutrients in Adipocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96997.
Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2) has been recently characterized as a new adipokine having a role in innate immunity and energy metabolism. Nonetheless, the metabolic regulation of Lcn2 production in adipocytes has not been comprehensively studied. To better understand the Lcn2 biology, we investigated the regulation of Lcn2 expression in adipose tissue in response to metabolic stress in mice as well as the control of Lcn2 expression and secretion by cytokines and nutrients in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Our results showed that the mRNA expression of Lcn2 was upregulated in white and brown adipose tissues as well as liver during fasting and cold stress in mice. Among pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6, IL-1β showed most profound effect on Lcn2 expression and secretion in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Insulin stimulated Lcn2 expression and secretion in a dose-dependent manner; this insulin effect was significantly abolished in the presence of low concentration of glucose. Moreover, insulin-stimulated Lcn2 expression and secretion was also attenuated when glucose was replaced by 3-O-methyl-d-glucose or by blocking NFκB pathway activation. Additionally, we showed that palmitate and oleate induced Lcn2 expression and secretion more significantly than EPA, while phytanic acid reduced Lcn2 production. Our results demonstrated that Lcn2 production in adipocytes is highly responsive to metabolic stress, cytokines, and nutrient signals, suggesting an important role of Lcn2 in adipocyte metabolism and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4018437  PMID: 24818605
25.  Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound Stimulation Facilitates Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Periodontal Ligament Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95168.
Human periodontal ligament cells (hPDLCs) possess stem cell properties, which play a key role in periodontal regeneration. Physical stimulation at appropriate intensities such as low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) enhances cell proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of mesechymal stem cells. However, the impacts of LIPUS on osteogenic differentiation of hPDLCs in vitro and its molecular mechanism are unknown. This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of LIPUS on osteogenic differentiation of hPDLCs. HPDLCs were isolated from premolars of adolescents for orthodontic reasons, and exposed to LIPUS at different intensities to determine an optimal LIPUS treatment dosage. Dynamic changes of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities in the cultured cells and supernatants, and osteocalcin production in the supernatants after treatment were analyzed. Runx2 and integrin β1 mRNA levels were assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis after LIPUS stimulation. Blocking antibody against integrinβ1 was used to assess the effects of integrinβ1 inhibitor on LIPUS-induced ALP activity, osteocalcin production as well as calcium deposition. Our data showed that LIPUS at the intensity of 90 mW/cm2 with 20 min/day was more effective. The ALP activities in lysates and supernatants of LIPUS-treated cells started to increase at days 3 and 7, respectively, and peaked at day 11. LIPUS treatment significantly augmented the production of osteocalcin after day 5. LIPUS caused a significant increase in the mRNA expression of Runx2 and integrin β1, while a significant decline when the integrinβ1 inhibitor was used. Moreover, ALP activity, osteocalcin production as well as calcium nodules of cells treated with both daily LIPUS stimulation and integrinβ1 antibody were less than those in the LIPUS-treated group. In conclusion, LIPUS promotes osteogenic differentiation of hPDLCs, which is associated with upregulation of Runx2 and integrin β1, which may thus provide therapeutic benefits in periodontal tissue regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3990585  PMID: 24743551

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