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1.  Exome Sequencing of Normal and Isogenic Transformed Human Colonic Epithelial Cells (HCECs) Reveals Novel Genes Potentially Involved in the Early Stages of Colorectal Tumorigenesis 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(Suppl 1):S8.
We have generated a series of isogenically derived immortalized human colonic epithelial cell (HCEC 1CT and HCEC 2CT) lines, including parental un-immortalized normal cell strains. The CDK4 and hTERT immortalized colonic epithelial cell line (HCEC 1CT) is initially karyotypically normal diploid and expresses a series of epithelial cell markers including stem cell markers. Under stressful tissue culture conditions, a spontaneous aneuploidy event occurred in the HCEC 1CT line, resulting in a single chromosomal change leading to a stable trisomy 7 cell line (1CT7). Trisomy 7 occurs in about 40% of all benign human adenomas (polyps) and thus this specific chromosomal change in diploid HCEC 1CT cells appears to be non random. In addition, we have partially transformed the HCEC 1CT line by introducing stable knockdown of wild type APC and TP53, and ectopically introducing a mutant Krasv12 and a mutant version of APC (A1309), all commonly found mutations in colorectal cancer (CRC).
Whole exome sequencing and bioinformatic analyses were performed to comprehensively examine the genetic background of these isogenic cell lines.
Exome sequencing of these experimentally progressed cell lines recapitulates a list of genes previously reported to be involved in CRC tumorigenesis. In addition, sequencing revealed a collection of novel genes specifically detected in 1CT7 and A1309 cells but not normal diploid 1CT cells.
This study demonstrates the utility of using isogenic experimentally derived HCEC lines as a model to recapitulate CRC initiation and progression. Exome sequencing reveals a collection of novel genes that may play important roles in CRC tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC4315167
2.  Comprehensive utilization of waste hemicelluloses during ethanol production to increase lactic acid yield: from pretreatment to fermentation 
Reducing the cost of producing cellulosic ethanol is essential for the industrialization of biorefinery. Several processes are currently under investigation, but few of these techniques are entirely satisfactory in terms of competitive cost or environmental impact. In this study, a new ethanol and lactic acid (LA) coproduction is proposed. The technique involved addition of waste alkaline peroxide pretreated hydrolysate (mainly LA and hemicelluloses) to the reaction mixture after ethanol fermentation (mainly LA and xylose) to reduce the ethanol production cost.
The following processes were investigated to optimize LA production: no addition of hemicelluloses or hydrolysate, addition of recycled hemicelluloses, and addition of concentrated hydrolysate. The addition of concentrated hydrolysate at 48 hours, which resulted in a maximum LA concentration of 22.3 g/L, was the most environment-friendly and cost-effective process. After the improved fermentation, 361 mg LA and 132 mg ethanol were produced from 1 g of raw poplar wood. That is, the production of one gallon of ethanol produced $9 worth of LA.
The amount of LA produced from the pretreated hydrolysate and reaction mixture after ethanol fermentation cannot be underestimated. The recovery of hydrolysate rich in LA and hemicelluloses (or xylose) significantly improved LA yield and further reduced the ethanol production cost.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13068-014-0189-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4300168  PMID: 25606053
Alkaline peroxide pretreatment; Hemicelluloses; Ethanol; Lactic acid; Cost-effective
3.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled comparator study of LY2140023 monohydrate in patients with schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14(1):351.
Pomaglumetad methionil (LY2140023 monohydrate) is a potent and highly selective agonist for the metabotropic glutamate mGluR2 and mGluR3 receptors. We present results of a pivotal clinical study H8Y-MC-HBBM assessing the efficacy of LY2140023 in improving symptoms as a monotherapy in patients with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.
Enrolled adult patients (ages 18–65) with schizophrenia who had experienced an exacerbation of symptoms within 2 weeks prior to study entry. Patients (N = 1013) were randomized 2:2:2:1 to treatment with placebo, LY40 mg twice daily (BID), LY80 mg BID, or risperidone (RIS) 2 mg BID for 6 weeks after a one-week blinded placebo lead-in. The primary outcome assessed change from baseline in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score in an overall schizophrenia population and a predefined subpopulation which excluded non-Hispanic white patients with the A/A genotype at the HTR2A SNP rs7330461.
Neither LY2140023 dose showed significant improvement compared to placebo on PANSS total in either population (1-sided p-value [significance level], overall: LY40, p = .154 [0.01]; LY80, p = .698 [0.01], subpopulation: LY40, p = .033 [0.0025]; LY80, p = .659 [0.0025], MMRM analysis). RIS statistically separated from placebo in both populations (p < .001 [0.05]). There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of serious adverse events, and no seizures on LY2140023.
LY2140023 treatment did not demonstrate efficacy in populations studied. Overall, LY2140023 treatment was generally well tolerated with no new adverse safety findings compared to previous trials. Further understanding of the role of glutamate as a therapeutic target in schizophrenia is needed.
Clinical trials registration
A Phase 2, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Comparator Study of 2 Doses of LY2140023 Versus Placebo in Patients With DSM-IV-TR Schizophrenia identifier: NCT01086748.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0351-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4276262  PMID: 25539791
Pomaglumetad methionil; Glutamate; Schizophrenia; Placebo; Risperidone; Pharmacology
4.  Inhibition of Survivin Reduces HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3 in Salivary Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114051.
In the present study, we explored the expression and correlation of survivin with HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3 in adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC). The expression of survivin, HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3 was assessed by immunohistochemical staining of a tissue microarray containing tissue samples of normal salivary gland (NSG), pleomorphic adenoma (PA) and AdCC. Correlation analysis of these proteins revealed that increased survivin expression was associated with the overexpression of HIF-1α (P<0.001, r = 0.5599), TGF-β1 (P<0.001, r = 0.6616) and TFE3 (P<0.001, r = 0.7747). The expression of survivin, HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3 was not correlated with the pathological type of human AdCC (P>0.05). Selective inhibition of survivin by YM155 and siRNA significantly reduced human SACC-83 cell proliferation, with the corresponding decrease in expression of HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3. The data indicate that the overexpression of survivin in AdCC is related to HIF-1α, TGF-β1 and TFE3. We hypothesize from these findings that the inhibition of survivin may be a novel strategy for neoadjuvant chemotherapeutic and radiosensitive treatment of AdCC.
PMCID: PMC4259474  PMID: 25485635
5.  The impact of smoking on the clinical outcome of locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma after chemoradiotherapy 
Cigarette smoking is a common risk factor for developing nasopharyngeal carcinoma. However, the relationship between smoking and clinical outcomes remains uncertain.
The patients who participated in this study were drawn from a randomized clinical trial, for which the purpose was to compare the efficacy of induction chemotherapy plus concurrent chemoradiotherapy with that of induction chemotherapy plus radiotherapy in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The patients who ever smoked were divided into the following categories of cumulative smoking exposure based on the duration of smoking and the quantity of cigarettes smoked: light, short-term smokers; light, long-term smokers; heavy, short-term smokers; and heavy, long-term smokers. A log-rank test and Cox models were used to assess the association between smoking and the clinical outcomes of overall survival (OS), failure-free survival (FFS), locoregional recurrence failure-free survival (LRFFS) and distant failure-free survival (DFFS).
We found that ever-smokers experienced significantly shorter LRFFS times than never-smokers (5-year LRFFS rates: 85.8% vs. 88.5%, P = 0.022). The amount of smoking was significantly associated with FFS (P = 0.046) and LRFFS (P = 0.001) in the different ever-smoker groups. The amount of smoking was associated with LRFFS [P = 0.002, HR = 2.069 (95% confident interval (CI), 1.298-3.299)] even after a multivariable adjustment.
Smoking increases the risk of locoregional recurrence. Furthermore, the amount of smoking influences the prognosis of smokers, and these effects are dose-dependent.
PMCID: PMC4251838  PMID: 25424191
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Prognostic factor; Radiotherapy; Smoking
6.  Inhibition of mTOR reduce Stat3 and PAI related angiogenesis in salivary gland adenoid cystic carcinoma 
Angiogenesis is a complex biological process, which is involved in tumorigenesis and progression. However, the molecular mechanism of underlying angiogenesis remains largely unknown. In this study, we accessed the expression of proteins related angiogenesis by immunohistochemical staining of human tissue microarray which contains 72 adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC), 12 pleomorphic adenoma (PMA) and 18 normal salivary gland (NSG) using digital pathological scanner and scoring system. We found that the expression of p-S6S235/236 (a downstream molecule of mTOR), p-Stat3T705, PAI, EGFR, and HIF-1α was significantly increased in AdCC as compared with PMA and (or) NSG (p < 0.05). While, the expression of these proteins was not associated with pathological type of human AdCC (p > 0.05). Correlation analysis of these proteins revealed that p-S6S235/236 up-regulates the expression of EGFR/p-Stat3T705 (p < 0.05) and HIF-1α/PAI (p < 0.05). Moreover, the activation of p-S6S235/236, EGFR/p-Stat3T705 and HIF-1α/PAI associated with angiogenesis (CD34) and proliferation (Ki-67). In vitro, Rapamycin suppressed the expression of p-S6S235/236, EGFR, p-Stat3T705, HIF-1α and PAI. Further more, target inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin effectively reduced tumor growth of SACC-83 cells line nude mice xenograft and decreased the expression of p-S6S235/236, EGFR/p-Stat3T705 and HIF-1α/PAI. Taken together, these data revealed that mTOR signaling pathway regulates tumor angiogenesis by EGFR/p-Stat3T705 and HIF-1α/PAI. Inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin could effectively reduced tumor growth. It is likely that mTOR inhibitors may be a potential candidate for treatment of AdCC.
PMCID: PMC4266710  PMID: 25520866
Adenoid cystic carcinoma; angiogenesis; mTOR; Stat3; PAI; rapamycin
7.  Expression and significance of DOK2 in colorectal cancer 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(1):241-244.
A reduction in the levels of docking protein 2 (DOK2) expression has previously been reported in lung adenocarcinoma and gastric cancer, indicating that this protein acts as a tumor suppressor in solid tumors. The aim of the current study was to determine the significance of DOK2 in colorectal cancer. The study consisted of 102 patients who underwent curative surgery for colorectal cancer. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analysis of DOK2 protein expression levels was performed in issue samples, and univariate and multivariate analyses were used to investigate the correlation between prognosis and the clinicopathological parameters. DOK2 expression was confirmed in the normal colorectal mucosa tissues, which is consistent with the literature, whereas 34 out of 102 (33.3%) tumor specimens were negative. The results revealed that recurrence was more likely to develop in DOK2(−) patients compared with DOK2(+) patients. The DOK2(−) patients also exhibited a poorer five-year overall survival rate (59.1%) compared with the DOK2(+) group (76.4%; P=0.0328). These results indicate that DOK2 may potentially be used as a marker of poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer following curative resection.
PMCID: PMC4246696  PMID: 25435967
colorectal cancer; DOK2; biomarker
8.  Quantitative Assessment of Murine Articular Cartilage and Bone Using X-Ray Phase-Contrast Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111939.
Murine models for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) research can provide important insights for understanding RA pathogenesis and evaluating the efficacy of novel treatments. However, simultaneously imaging both murine articular cartilage and subchondral bone using conventional techniques is challenging because of low spatial resolution and poor soft tissue contrast. X-ray phase-contrast imaging (XPCI) is a new technique that offers high spatial resolution for the visualisation of cartilage and skeletal tissues. The purpose of this study was to utilise XPCI to observe articular cartilage and subchondral bone in a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) murine model and quantitatively assess changes in the joint microstructure. XPCI was performed on the two treatment groups (the control group and CIA group, n = 9 per group) to monitor the progression of damage to the femur from the knee joint in a longitudinal study (at 0, 4 and 8 weeks after primary injection). For quantitative assessment, morphologic parameters were measured in three-dimensional (3D) images using appropriate image analysis software. Our results showed that the average femoral cartilage volume, surface area and thickness were significantly decreased (P<0.05) in the CIA group compared to the control group. Meanwhile, these decreases were accompanied by obvious destruction of the surface of subchondral bone and a loss of trabecular bone in the CIA group. This study confirms that XPCI technology has the ability to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate microstructural changes in mouse joints. This technique has the potential to become a routine analysis method for accurately monitoring joint damage and comprehensively assessing treatment efficacy.
PMCID: PMC4219817  PMID: 25369528
9.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of an acidic phospholipase A2 with vasoconstrictor activity from Agkistrodon halys pallas venom 
A vasoconstrictor PLA2 was purified from Agkistrodon halys pallas venom and the preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis had been described.
Phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are the major component of snake venoms and exert a variety of relevant toxic actions such as neurotoxicity and myotoxicity, amongst others. An acidic PLA2, here named AhV_aPA, was purified from Agkistrodon halys pallas venom by means of a three-step chromatographic procedure. AhV_aPA migrated as a single band on SDS–PAGE gels, with a molecular weight of about 14 kDa. Like other acidic aPLA2s, AhV_aPA has high enzymatic activity. Tension measurements of mouse thoracic aortic rings remarkably indicated that AhV_aPA could induce a further contractile response on the 60 mM K+-induced contraction, with an EC50 of 369 nmol l−1. Rod-shaped crystals were obtained by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method and diffracted to a resolution limit of 2.30 Å. The crystals belonged to space group P222, with unit-cell parameters a = 44.27, b = 68.39, c = 81.54 Å.
PMCID: PMC3515374  PMID: 23143242
phospholipases A2; Agkistrodon halys pallas; snake venoms
10.  The Association of HMGB1 Expression with Clinicopathological Significance and Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Meta-Analysis and Literature Review 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110626.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer, and it is the second most common cancer-related mortality globally. The prognostic value of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) remains controversial. The purpose of this study is to conduct a meta-analysis and literature review to evaluate the association of HMGB1 expression with the prognosis of patients with HCC.
A detailed literature search was made in Medline, Google Scholar and others for related research publications. The data were extracted and assessed by two reviewers independently. Analysis of pooled data were performed, Hazard Ratio (HR) and mean difference with corresponding confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and summarized respectively.
10 relevant articles were included for this meta-analysis study. HMGB1 mRNA levels in HCC were significantly higher than those in normal (p<0.00001) and para-tumor tissues (p = 0.002) respectively. The protein levels of HMGB1 in HCC were significantly higher than those in para-tumor tissues (p = 0.005). Two studies reported the serum HMGB1 levels in patients with HCC of TNM stages, and indicating significantly different between stage I and II, stage II and III, as well as stage III and IV (two studies showed p<0.01 and p<0.001 respectively). The overall survival (OS) was significantly shorter in HCC patients with high HMGB1 expression compared those with low HMGB1 expression and the pooled HR was 1.31 with 95% CI 1.20–1.44, Z = 5.82, p<0.0001. Two additional studies showed that there were higher serum HMGB1 levels in patients with chronic hepatitis than those in healthy people (p<0.05).
The results of this meta-analysis suggest that HMGB1 mRNA and protein tissue levels in the patients with HCC are significantly higher than those in para-tumor and normal liver tissues respectively. Tissue HMGB1 overexpression is a potential biomarker for HCC diagnosis, and it is significantly associated with the prognosis of patients with HCC.
PMCID: PMC4214718  PMID: 25356587
11.  Schlafen 1 Inhibits the Proliferation and Tube Formation of Endothelial Progenitor Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109711.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are the major source of cells that restore the endothelium during reendothelialization. This study was designed to investigate whether Schlafen 1 (Slfn1) has an effect on the proliferation and tube formation of EPCs in vivo. Slfn1 was expressed in rat EPCs. The overexpression of Slfn1 suppressed the proliferation and tube formation of EPCs; conversely, the knockdown of Slfn1 by shRNA promoted the proliferation and tube formation of EPCs. Furthermore, when Slfn1 was overexpressed, the EPCs were arrested in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. In contrast, when Slfn1 was knocked down, the EPCs progressed into the S phase of the cell cycle. Additionally, the overexpression of Slfn1 decreased the expression of Cyclin D1, whereas the knockdown of Slfn1 increased the expression of Cyclin D1; these findings suggest that Cyclin D1 is downstream of Slfn1 in Slfn1-mediated EPC proliferation. Taken together, these results indicate a key role for Slfn1 in the regulation of EPC biological behavior, which may provide a new target for the use of EPCs during reendothelialization.
PMCID: PMC4199616  PMID: 25329797
12.  Effect of Acute, Slightly Increased Intra-Abdominal Pressure on Intestinal Permeability and Oxidative Stress in a Rat Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109350.
Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) is known as a common, serious complication in critically ill patients. Bacterial translocation and permeability changes are considered the pathophysiological bases for IAH-induced enterogenic endotoxemia and subsequent multiorgan failure. Nevertheless, the effects of slightly elevated intra-abdominal pressures (IAPs) on the intestinal mucosa and the associated mechanisms remain unclear.
To investigate the acute effects of different nitrogen pneumoperitoneum grades on colonic mucosa, male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to six groups with different IAPs (0 [control], 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 mmHg, n = 6/group). During 90 min of exposure, we dynamically monitored the heart rate and noninvasive hemodynamic parameters. After gradual decompression, arterial blood gas analyses were conducted. Thereafter, structural injuries to the colonic mucosa were identified using light microscopy. Colon permeability was determined using the expression of tight junction proteins, combined with fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran (FD-4) absorption. The pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance was determined based on the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant enzymes.
IAH significantly affected the histological scores of the colonic mucosa, tight junction protein expression, mucosal permeability, and pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance. Interestingly, elevations of IAP that were lower than the threshold for IAH also showed a similar, undesirable effect. In the 8 mmHg group, mild hyponatremia, hypocalcemia, and hypoxemia occurred, accompanied by reduced blood and abdominal perfusion pressures. Mild microscopic inflammatory infiltration and increased MDA levels were also detected. Moreover, an 8-mm Hg IAP markedly inhibited the expression of tight junction proteins, although no significant differences in FD-4 permeability were observed between the 0- and 8-mmHg groups.
Acute exposure to slightly elevated IAP may result in adverse effects on intestinal permeability and the pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance. Therefore, in patients with critical illnesses, IAP should be dynamically monitored and corrected, as soon as possible, to prevent intestinal mucosal injury and subsequent gut-derived sepsis.
PMCID: PMC4190173  PMID: 25295715
13.  Human leukocyte antigen-haploidentical donor-derived cytokine-induced killer cells are safe and prolong the survival of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(6):2727-2733.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of administering cytokine-induced killer cells (termed allogeneic CIKs), obtained from the blood of the offspring of patients, for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Symptoms, signs and laboratory assessment results for 303 cancer patients were collected prior to and following treatment with autologous or allogeneic CIKs. In addition, 54 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were enrolled and divided into allogeneic CIK and optimal support groups (n=27 per group) according to gender, age, Karnofsky performance status score, TNM stage and histological type. In addition, overall survival (OS) was compared between the two groups. A total of 303 patients were treated with CIKs for 647 cycles, with 308 and 339 cycles in the autologous and allogeneic CIK groups, respectively. The mean number of CIKs in the autologous and allogeneic groups was 2.11±0.32×1010 and 2.29±0.36×1010, respectively, with no marked differences identified between the two groups (t=1.147; P>0.05). The predominant adverse events included insomnia, fever, nausea, vomiting and mild abdominal pain, which were found, respectively, in nine (6.8%), eight (6.0%), two (1.5%) and one (0.8%) patients receiving autologous CIKs and 11 (6.5%), 10 (5.9%), one (0.6%) and one (0.6%) patients receiving allogeneic CIKs, with no marked differences identified between the two groups (P>0.05). Adverse events were not associated with cell count, frequency or duration of treatment. Following CIK treatment, the outcomes of routine blood tests, and liver and kidney function tests, as well as immune function and electrocardiogram examinations remained unchanged (P>0.05). The median OS was 11.0 months (95% confidence interval (CI), 8.6–13.4 months) and 8.0 months (95% CI, 5.3–10.7 months) for NSCLC patients receiving allogeneic CIKs and optimal support, respectively; a statistically significant difference was identified (χ2=5.618; P=0.018). The present study demonstrated that CIKs from human leukocyte antigen haploidentical donors are safe and prolong the survival of NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC4214449  PMID: 25364456
cytokine-induced killer cells; immunotherapy; adoptive; allogeneic; malignant tumor; carcinoma; non-small cell lung
14.  Proline Mechanisms of Stress Survival 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(9):998-1011.
Significance: The imino acid proline is utilized by different organisms to offset cellular imbalances caused by environmental stress. The wide use in nature of proline as a stress adaptor molecule indicates that proline has a fundamental biological role in stress response. Understanding the mechanisms by which proline enhances abiotic/biotic stress response will facilitate agricultural crop research and improve human health. Recent Advances: It is now recognized that proline metabolism propels cellular signaling processes that promote cellular apoptosis or survival. Studies have shown that proline metabolism influences signaling pathways by increasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in the mitochondria via the electron transport chain. Enhanced ROS production due to proline metabolism has been implicated in the hypersensitive response in plants, lifespan extension in worms, and apoptosis, tumor suppression, and cell survival in animals. Critical Issues: The ability of proline to influence disparate cellular outcomes may be governed by ROS levels generated in the mitochondria. Defining the threshold at which proline metabolic enzyme expression switches from inducing survival pathways to cellular apoptosis would provide molecular insights into cellular redox regulation by proline. Are ROS the only mediators of proline metabolic signaling or are other factors involved? Future Directions: New evidence suggests that proline biosynthesis enzymes interact with redox proteins such as thioredoxin. An important future pursuit will be to identify other interacting partners of proline metabolic enzymes to uncover novel regulatory and signaling networks of cellular stress response. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 998–1011.
PMCID: PMC3763223  PMID: 23581681
15.  Impact of p73 gene polymorphism on cancer susceptibility: a meta analysis 
Previous studies examining the association between p73 G4A and gastric cancer risk have produced inconsistent results. The objective of this study was to clarify whether p73 G4A plays a major role in the development of gastric cancer. Studies that had examined the association between p73 G4A and gastric cancer risk were identified through PubMed, Science Direct, and CNKI. We selected eligible studies based on inclusion criteria. Odds ratios were estimated using distinct genetic models, and the heterogeneity between studies was explored using Cochran’s Q statistic along with the I2 statistic. Overall, we found no evidence of a significant association between p73 G4A and risk of gastric cancer. A same trend was also indicated in subgroup analysis by ethnicity. The heterogeneity tests revealed that there was no significant heterogeneity across studies. Our meta-analysis indicates that p73 G4A might not have a major effect on risk of gastric cancer. A much larger study is required to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC4230064  PMID: 25400764
p73; polymorphism; gastric cancer
16.  miR-107 regulates cisplatin chemosensitivity of A549 non small cell lung cancer cell line by targeting cyclin dependent kinase 8 
Previous studies demonstrated that the acquired drug resistance of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was related to deregulation of miRNAs. However, the effects of miR-107 and the mechanism through which miR-107 affects the cisplatin chemoresistance in NSCLC have not been reported. TaqMan RT-PCR or Western blot assay was performed to detect the expression of mature miR-107 and cyclin dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) protein. The viabilities of treated cells were analyzed using MTT assay. We found that the expression level of miR-107 in A549 cells was significantly lower than that in normal human bronchial epithelial cells (0.45 ± 0.26 vs. 1.00 ± 0.29, P = 0.032). The MTT assay showed that the A549 cells transfected with miR-107 mimics were significantly more sensitive to the therapy of cisplatin than control cells. A549 cells transfected with miR-107 mimics showed a decreased CDK8 protein expression. Downregulation of CDK8 expression by siRNAs, A549 cells became more sensitive to the therapy of cisplatin. In addition, the enhanced growth-inhibitory effect by the miR-107 mimic transfection was enhanced after the addition of CDK8 siRNA. In conclusion, the present study provides the first evidence that miR-107 plays a key role in cisplatin resistance by targeting the CDK8 protein in NSCLC cell lines, suggesting that miR-107 can be used to predict a patient’s response to chemotherapy as well as serve as a novel potential maker for NSCLC therapy.
PMCID: PMC4230114  PMID: 25400821
Non small cell lung cancer; miR-107; CDK8; cisplatin; chemosensitivity
17.  Genome-wide sequencing of small RNAs reveals a tissue-specific loss of conserved microRNA families in Echinococcus granulosus 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):736.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important post-transcriptional regulators which control growth and development in eukaryotes. The cestode Echinococcus granulosus has a complex life-cycle involving different development stages but the mechanisms underpinning this development, including the involvement of miRNAs, remain unknown.
Using Illumina next generation sequencing technology, we sequenced at the genome-wide level three small RNA populations from the adult, protoscolex and cyst membrane of E. granulosus. A total of 94 pre-miRNA candidates (coding 91 mature miRNAs and 39 miRNA stars) were in silico predicted. Through comparison of expression profiles, we found 42 mature miRNAs and 23 miRNA stars expressed with different patterns in the three life stages examined. Furthermore, considering both the previously reported and newly predicted miRNAs, 25 conserved miRNAs families were identified in the E. granulosus genome. Comparing the presence or absence of these miRNA families with the free-living Schmidtea mediterranea, we found 13 conserved miRNAs are lost in E. granulosus, most of which are tissue-specific and involved in the development of ciliated cells, the gut and sensory organs. Finally, GO enrichment analysis of the differentially expressed miRNAs and their potential targets indicated that they may be involved in bi-directional development, nutrient metabolism and nervous system development in E. granulosus.
This study has, for the first time, provided a comprehensive description of the different expression patterns of miRNAs in three distinct life cycle stages of E. granulosus. The analysis supports earlier suggestions that the loss of miRNAs in the Platyhelminths might be related to morphological simplification. These results may help in the exploration of the mechanism of interaction between this parasitic worm and its definitive and intermediate hosts, providing information that can be used to develop new interventions and therapeutics for the control of cystic echinococcosis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-736) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4156656  PMID: 25168356
Echinococcus granulosus; microRNA; Deep sequencing; Differential expression; Life cycle stage development
18.  Muscovite is protective against non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced small bowel injury 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(31):11012-11018.
AIM: To evaluate the effect of muscovite in preventing small bowel injury induced by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
METHODS: We recruited and screened thirty-two healthy volunteers who were randomly allocated equally into two groups: an NSAID control group, who received 75 mg slow-release diclofenac, twice daily for 14 d; and an NSAID-muscovite group, who received 3 g of muscovite in addition to the 75 mg of slow-release diclofenac, twice daily for 14 d. For gastroprotection, both groups were administered 20 mg/d of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole. All eligible subjects underwent video capsule endoscopy (CE) prior to and 14 d after treatment.
RESULTS: Thirty subjects (NSAID-muscovite group, n =16; NSAID control group, n =14) finally completed the whole trail. At the baseline CE examination, no statistically significant differences between the two groups have been observed. However, after 14 d of drug treatment, a significant difference was observed in the percentage of subjects with mucosal breaks when comparing the NSAID-muscovite group with the NSAID control group. While 71.4% (10/14) of subjects in the NSAID control group had at least one mucosal break, co-administration of muscovite in the NSAID-muscovite group reduced the rate to 31.3% (5/16) (P = 0.028). Moreover, higher number of mucosal breaks was found in the NSAID control group vs that in the NSAID-muscovite group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Muscovite co-therapy reduced the incidence of small intestinal injury after 14 d of diclofenac administration.
PMCID: PMC4138482  PMID: 25152605
Muscovite; Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Small intestinal injury; Video capsule endoscopy
19.  Smad4 Regulates Ureteral Smooth Muscle Cell Differentiation during Mouse Embryogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104503.
Proper formation of ureteral smooth muscle cells (SMCs) during embryogenesis is essential for ureter peristalsis that propels urine from the kidney to the bladder in mammals. Currently the molecular factors that regulate differentiation of ureteral mesenchymal cells into SMCs are incompletely understood. A recent study has reported that Smad4 deficiency reduces the number of ureteral SMCs. However, its precise role in the ureteral smooth muscle development remains largely unknown. Here, we used Tbx18:Cre knock-in mouse line to delete Smad4 to examine its requirement in the development of ureteral mesenchyme and SMC differentiation. We found that mice with specific deletion of Smad4 in Tbx18-expressing ureteral mesenchyme exhibited hydroureter and hydronephrosis at embryonic day (E) 16.5, and the mutant mesenchymal cells failed to differentiate into SMCs with increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation. Molecular markers for SMCs including alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC) were absent in the mutant ureters. Moreover, disruption of Smad4 significantly reduced the expression of genes, including Sox9, Tbx18 and Myocardin associated with SMC differentiation. These findings suggest that Smad4 is essential for initiating the SMC differentiation program during ureter development.
PMCID: PMC4134214  PMID: 25127126
20.  Elevated levels of plasma D-dimer predict a worse outcome in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):583.
Hemostatic alterations occur during the development of cancer. Plasma D-dimer is a hypercoagulability and fibrinolytic system marker that is increased in patients with various solid tumours. The aim of this study was to evaluate the hemostatic status of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients by assessing plasma D-dimer levels to investigate its value as a prognostic marker.
We retrospectively analysed 717 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and we applied Cox regression and log-rank tests to assess the association of D-dimer levels with disease-free survival (DFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and overall survival (OS). D-dimer levels were measured using a quantitative D-dimer latex agglutination assay.
Using the 3rd quartile values (0.8 μg/L) as the optimal cut-offs, we found that patients with high D-dimer levels have a shorter 3-year DFS, (79%, 95%CI (73.1–84.9)) vs. (69%, 95%CI (59.2–78.8)), DMFS (87%, 95%CI (83.1–90.9)) vs. (77%, 95%CI (69.2–84.8)), and overall survival (82%, 95%CI (76.1–87.9)) vs. (76%, 95%CI (66.2–85.8)). Multivariate analysis revealed that pre-treatment D-dimer levels and EBV DNA were significant independent factors for DFS, DMFS, and OS in NPC patients. Subgroup analyses indicated that the plasma D-dimer levels could effectively stratify patient prognosis for early cancer, advanced stage cancer, and patients with EBV DNA ≥4000 copies/ml.
High D-dimer levels were associated with poor disease-free survival, distant metastasis-free survival, overall survival, and increased risk of mortality in NPC patients. Prospective trials are required to assess the prognostic value of D-dimer levels.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-583) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4242497  PMID: 25109220
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; D-dimer; Survival
21.  Discovery of novel aromatase inhibitors using a homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence assay 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2014;35(8):1082-1092.
Aromatase is an important target for drugs to treat hormone-dependent diseases, including breast cancer. The aim of this study was to develop a homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence (HTRF) aromatase assay suitable for high-throughput screening (HTS).
A 384-well aromatase HTRF assay was established, and used to screen about 7000 compounds from a compound library. Anti-proliferation activity of the hit was evaluated using alamarBlue(R) assay in a hormone-dependent breast cancer cell line T47D. Molecular docking was conducted to elucidate the binding mode of the hit using the Discovery Studio program.
The Z′ value and signal to background (S/B) ratio were 0.74 and 5.4, respectively. Among the 7000 compounds, 4 hits (XHN22, XHN26, XHN27 and triptoquinone A) were found to inhibit aromatase with IC50 values of 1.60±0.07, 2.76±0.24, 0.81±0.08 and 45.8±11.3 μmol /L, respectively. The hits XHN22, XHN26 and XHN27 shared the same chemical scaffold of 4-imidazolyl quinoline. Moreover, the most potent hit XHN27 at 10 and 50 μmol/L inhibited the proliferation of T47D cells by 45.3% and 35.2%, respectively. The docking study revealed that XHN27 docked within the active site of aromatase and might form a hydrogen bond and had a π-cation interaction with amino acid residues of the protein.
XHN27, an imidazolyl quinoline derivative of flavonoid, is a potent aromatase inhibitor with anti-proliferation activity against breast cancer in vitro. The established assay can be used in HTS for discovering novel aromatase inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC4125720  PMID: 25047514
aromatase; breast cancer; imidazolyl quinoline; triptoquinone A; homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence assay; high-throughput screening; molecular docking; drug discovery
22.  Non-invasive remote limb ischemic postconditioning protects rats against focal cerebral ischemia by upregulating STAT3 and reducing apoptosis 
The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling pathway has been implicated in cell apoptosis and inflammatory processes. Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) and ischemic postconditioning (IPTC) inhibit both of these processes. In the present study, we investigated the role of phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3)-mediated apoptosis and inflammation following non-invasive remote limb IPTC (NRIPoC) using a classic rat model of focal cerebral ischemia. Forty-five adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided randomly into 3 groups (n=15 per group): the sham-operated, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) and NRIPoC groups. NRIPoC was implemented at the beginning of reperfusion. At 24 h after cerebral reperfusion, we evaluated the neurological deficit score (NDS), assessed the cerebral infarct size and tissue morphology, and evaluated neuronal apoptosis. The protein expression levels of Bcl-2, Bax, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and p-STAT3 in the penumbra region were assessed by western blot analysis. The cerebral infarct volume, the number of apoptotic cells and the protein expression levels of Bcl-2, Bax, NF-κB and TNF-α were all found to be increased in the I/R group compared with the sham-operated group. However, these levels were decreased in the NRIPoC group compared with the I/R group. The number of apoptotic cells in the penumbra in the I/R group was increased compared with that in the NRIPoC and sham-operated groups. The protein expression of p-STAT3 was increased in the NRIPoC group compared with the sham-operated and I/R groups. These results indicate that the protective effects of NRIPoC against cerebral I/R injury may be related to the attenuation of neuronal apoptosis and inflammation through the activation of STAT3.
PMCID: PMC4152138  PMID: 25092271
ischemic postconditioning; cerebral ischemia; apoptosis; inflammation
23.  The Associations between Two Vital GSTs Genetic Polymorphisms and Lung Cancer Risk in the Chinese Population: Evidence from 71 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102372.
The genetic polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferase (GSTs) have been suspected to be related to the development of lung cancer while the current results are conflicting, especially in the Chinese population.
Data on genetic polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferase Mu 1 (GSTM1) from 68 studies, glutathione S-transferase theta 1 (GSTT1) from 17 studies and GSTM1-GSTT1 from 8 studies in the Chinese population were reanalyzed on their association with lung cancer risk. Odds ratios (OR) were pooled using forest plots. 9 subgroups were all or partly performed in the subgroup analyses. The Galbraith plot was used to identify the heterogeneous records. Potential publication biases were detected by Begg's and Egger's tests.
71 eligible studies were identified after screening of 1608 articles. The increased association between two vital GSTs genetic polymorphisms and lung cancer risk was detected by random-effects model based on a comparable heterogeneity. Subgroup analysis showed a significant relationship between squamous carcinoma (SC), adenocarcinoma (AC) or small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and GSTM1 null genotype, as well as SC or AC and GSTT1 null genotype. Additionally, smokers with GSTM1 null genotype had a higher lung cancer risk than non-smokers. Our cumulative meta-analysis demonstrated a stable and reliable result of the relationship between GSTM1 null genotype and lung cancer risk. After the possible heterogeneous articles were omitted, the adjusted risk of GSTs and lung cancer susceptibility increased (fixed-effects model: ORGSTM1 = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.27, P<0.001; ORGSTT1 = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.26, P<0.001; ORGSTM1-GSTT1 = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.61, P = 0.004).
An increased risk of lung cancer with GSTM1 and GSTT1 null genotype, especially with dual null genotype, was found in the Chinese population. In addition, special histopathological classification of lung cancers and a wide range of gene-environment and gene-gene interaction analysis should be taken into consideration in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4103841  PMID: 25036724
24.  Fatty acid-induced NLRP3-PYCARD inflammasome activation interferes with insulin signaling 
Nature immunology  2011;12(5):408-415.
High-fat diet (HFD) and inflammation are key contributors to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Interleukin (IL)-1β plays a role in insulin resistance; yet, how IL-1β is induced by fatty acid with HFD, and how this alters insulin signaling is unclear. We show that the saturated fatty acid, palmitate, but not unsaturated oleate, induces the activation of NLRP3-PYCARD inflammasome, causing caspase-1, IL-1β, and IL-18 production. This involves mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and the AMP-activated protein kinase and ULK1 autophagy signaling cascade. Inflammasome activation in hematopoietic cells impairs insulin signaling in several target tissues to reduce glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, IL-1β affects insulin sensitivity via TNF-independent and dependent pathways. These findings provide insights into the association of inflammation, diet and T2D.
PMCID: PMC4090391  PMID: 21478880
25.  Profiles of Acute Cytokine and Antibody Responses in Patients Infected with Avian Influenza A H7N9 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101788.
The influenza A H7N9 virus outbreak in Eastern China in the spring of 2013 represented a novel, emerging avian influenza transmission to humans. While clinical and microbiological features of H7N9 infection have been reported in the literature, the current study investigated acute cytokine and antibody responses in acute H7N9 infection. Between March 27, 2013 and April 23, 2013, six patients with confirmed H7N9 influenza infection were admitted to Drum Tower Hospital, Nanjing, China. Acute phase serum cytokine profiles were determined using a high-throughput multiplex assay. Daily H7 hemagglutinin (HA)-specific IgG, IgM, and IgA responses were monitored by ELISA. Neutralizing antibodies specific for H7N9 viruses were determined against a pseudotyped virus expressing the novel H7 subtype HA antigen. Five cytokines (IL-6, IP-10, IL-10, IFNγ, and TNFα) were significantly elevated in H7N9-infected patients when compared to healthy volunteers. Serum H7 HA-specific IgG, as well as IgM and IgA responses, were detected within 8 days of disease onset and increased in a similar pattern during acute infection. Neutralizing antibodies developed shortly after the appearance of binding antibody responses and showed similar kinetics as a fraction of the total H7 HA-specific IgG responses. H7N9 infection resulted in hallmark serum cytokine increases, which correlated with fever and disease persistence. The novel finding of simultaneous development of IgG, IgM, and IgA responses in acute H7N9 infection points to the potential for live influenza viruses to elicit fast and potent protective antibodies to limit the infection.
PMCID: PMC4086936  PMID: 25003343

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