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1.  Association between daily cigarette consumption and hypertension moderated by CYP2A6 genotypes in Chinese male current smokers 
Journal of human hypertension  2012;27(1):24-30.
The purpose of this study was to assess whether cytochrome P450 enzyme 2A6 (CYP2A6) genotypes moderate the association between smoking and hypertension. In this study, 954 Chinese male current smokers from a community-based chronic disease screening project in Guangzhou were interviewed with a structured questionnaire about socio-demographic status, smoking and other health-related behaviors. Blood was collected for DNA extraction and CYP2A6 genotyping. Hypertension was defined according to 2007 ESH-ESC Practice Guidelines. A multivariate logistic regression was performed to examine the interaction between smoking quantity and CYP2A6 genotypes on hypertension after adjusting for age, education level and other potential confounders. Multivariate analyses indicated that smoking more than 15 cigarettes per day significantly increased the risk of hypertension (odds ratio (OR)=1.59, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.21-2.10) compared with smoking 1-15 cigarettes per day, and further suggested that smoking interacted with normal CYP2A6 metabolizer genotype to increase the risk of hypertension. Smokers consuming more than 15 cigarettes per day with normal CYP2A6 metabolizer genotypes had the highest risk of hypertension (OR=2.04, 95% CI=1.11-3.75) compared with those consuming 1-15 cigarettes per day with slower CYP2A6 metabolizer genotypes. These findings demonstrated that smoking quantity was positively associated with hypertension and that CYP2A6 genotypes may moderate this relationship.
PMCID: PMC4128783  PMID: 22217675
cigarette smoking; CYP2A6; genetic polymorphisms; interaction
2.  Serum C-reactive protein predicts poor prognosis in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with chemoradiotherapy 
Current Oncology  2015;22(1):20-24.
We aimed to evaluate the association of serum C-reactive protein (crp) with prognosis in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with chemoradiotherapy.
We retrospectively reviewed 79 patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (cT3–4N0–3M0) treated with chemoradiotherapy. Chemoradiotherapy consisted of external-beam radiotherapy to the nasopharynx (70–80 Gy), the lymph node–positive area (60–70 Gy), and the lymph node–negative area (50–60 Gy) combined with 3 cycles of various platinum-based regimens delivered at 3-week intervals. Elevated crp was defined as more than 8 mg/L. The survival rate was calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method, and univariate and multivariate analyses (Cox proportional hazards model) were used to identify factors significantly associated with prognosis.
During the median follow-up of 3.9 years (range: 1–5.5 years), 23 patients died from nasopharyngeal cancer. The 5-year cancer-specific survival (css) rate was 62.90%. Before chemoradiotherapy, 18 patients had high serum crp; the css rate in that subgroup was significantly worse than the rate in the remaining patients (p = 0.0002). Multivariate analysis showed that crp was an independent prognostic indicator of css, with a hazard ratio of 3.04 (95% confidence interval: 1.22 to 7.55; p = 0.017). Among the 18 patients with elevated serum crp, 9 achieved normal serum crp after chemoradiotherapy, of whom 5 remained living with no evidence of recurrence or metastasis during follow-up. By contrast, the remaining 9 patients in whom serum crp did not normalize after chemoradiotherapy died within 4.2 years.
Elevated serum crp before treatment predicts poor prognosis in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with chemoradiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4324340
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; C-reactive protein; chemoradiotherapy; cancer-specific survival
3.  Synthesis of conjugated linoleic acid by the linoleate isomerase complex in food-derived lactobacilli 
Journal of applied microbiology  2014;117(2):430-439.
To assess strains of lactobacilli for their capacity to produce functional fatty acid-conjugated linoleic acid. To assess the linoleate isomerase for CLA production in the most efficient CLA producer.
Methods and Results
In this study, strains of food-derived lactobacilli were cultured in media with linoleic acid and CLA production was assessed. Most of the selected strains produced CLA at different levels, with Lactobacillus plantarum ZS2058 being the most efficient CLA producer converting over 50% of linoleic acid to c9, t11-CLA and t9, t11-CLA. Some intermediates 10-hydroxy-cis-12-octadecenoic acid, 10-oxo-cis-12-octadecenoic acid and 10-oxo-trans-11-octadecenoic acid were determined via GC-MS. The genes coding the multicomponent linoleate isomerase containing myosin-cross-reactive antigen, short-chain dehydrogenase/oxidoreductase and acetoacetate decarboxylase for CLA production in Lact. plantarum ZS2058 were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. With the mixture of recombinant E. coli, c9, t11-CLA and three kinds of intermediates were produced from linoleic acid, which were in line with those in the lactobacilli.
The ability for CLA production by lactobacilli exhibited variation. Lactobacillus plantarum and Lact. bulgaricus were the most efficient producers in the selected strains. Lact. plantarum ZS2058 converted linoleic acid to CLAs with 10-hydroxy-cis-12-octadecenoic acid, 10-oxo-cis-12-octadecenoic acid and 10-oxo-trans-11-octadecenoic acid as intermediates. The multiple-step reactions for CLA production catalysed by multicomponent linoleate isomerase in Lact. plantarum ZS2058 were confirmed successfully.
Significance and Impact of the study
Multicomponent linoleate isomerase provides important results for the illustration of the mechanism for CLA production in lactic acid bacteria. Food-derived lactobacilli with CLA production ability offers novel opportunities for functional foods development.
PMCID: PMC4306591  PMID: 24750362
conjugated linoleic acid; lactic acid bacteria; Lactobacillus plantarum; linoleate isomerase
4.  MicroRNA-29a promotes colorectal cancer metastasis by regulating matrix metalloproteinase 2 and E-cadherin via KLF4 
Tang, W | Zhu, Y | Gao, J | Fu, J | Liu, C | Liu, Y | Song, C | Zhu, S | Leng, Y | Wang, G | Chen, W | Du, P | Huang, S | Zhou, X | Kang, J | Cui, L
British Journal of Cancer  2013;110(2):450-458.
Growing evidence suggests that miR-29a has an important role in regulating tumourigenesis and development of various types of cancer. However, the role and the underlying mechanism of miR-29a in colorectal cancer (CRC) remain largely unknown.
MiR-29a targeted gene was identified by the luciferase assay and western blot. MiR-29a function was analysed by invasion assays and the orthotopic transplantation mouse model. The miR-29a pathway was assayed by real-time PCR, western blot and chip analysis.
KLF4 was identified as a direct target gene of miR-29a. MiR-29a promoted CRC cell invasion, which was blocked by re-expression of KLF4. In addition, MMP2 was identified as a novel direct target of KLF4. Both miR-29a overexpression and KLF4 knockdown promoted MMP2 expression but inhibited E-cadherin expression. Furthermore, clinical data indicated that both miR-29a high expression and KLF4 mRNA low expression were associated with metastasis and poor prognosis in CRC patients, and KLF4 protein expression was inversely correlated with MMP2 but positively correlated with E-cad protein expression.
Increased expression of miR-29a promoted CRC metastasis by regulating MMP2/E-cad through direct targeting KLF4, which highlights the potential of the miR-29a inhibitor as a novel agent against CRC metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3899762  PMID: 24281002
miR-29a; colorectal cancer; metastasis; KLF4
5.  Evidence For The Role Of EPHX2 Gene Variants In Anorexia Nervosa 
Molecular psychiatry  2013;19(6):724-732.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) and related eating disorders are complex, multifactorial neuropsychiatric conditions with likely rare and common genetic and environmental determinants. To identify genetic variants associated with AN, we pursued a series of sequencing and genotyping studies focusing on the coding regions and upstream sequence of 152 candidate genes in a total of 1205 AN cases and 1948 controls. We identified individual variant associations in the Estrogen Receptor-ß (ESR2) gene, as well as a set of rare and common variants in the Epoxide Hydrolase 2 (EPHX2) gene, in an initial sequencing study of 261 early-onset severe AN cases and 73 controls (p=0.0004). The association of EPHX2 variants was further delineated in: 1. a pooling-based replication study involving an additional 500 AN patients and 500 controls (replication set p=0.00000016); 2. Single locus studies in a cohort of 386 previously genotyped broadly-defined AN cases and 295 female population controls from the Bogalusa Heart Study (BHS) and a cohort of 58 individuals with self-reported eating disturbances and 851 controls (combined smallest single locus p<0.01). Since EPHX2 is known to influence cholesterol metabolism, and AN is often associated with elevated cholesterol levels, we also investigated the association of EPHX2 variants and longitudinal body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol in BHS females and males (N = 229) and found evidence for a modifying effect of a subset of variants on the relationship between cholesterol and BMI (p<0.01). These findings suggest a novel association of gene variants within EPHX2 to susceptibility to AN, and provide a foundation for future study of this important yet poorly understood condition.
PMCID: PMC3852189  PMID: 23999524
genomics; sequencing; hyperlipidemia; pooling; EPHX2; anorexia nervosa
6.  Association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D, incident liver cancer and chronic liver disease mortality in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials: a nested case–control study 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;109(7):1997-2004.
Although vitamin D deficiency has been noted in cross-sectional studies of chronic liver disease and laboratory studies suggest possible benefits of vitamin D in preventing liver cancer, little epidemiologic data are available.
We performed a nested case–control study in the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials on participants developing incident liver cancer or dying from chronic liver disease over 22 years of follow-up. Baseline serum 25(OH) vitamin D was measured for 226 incident liver cancer cases, 282 chronic liver disease deaths and 1063 age-, sex- and trial-matched controls. Unconditional logistical regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
The median serum vitamin D level in controls was low (20 nmol l–1). Compared with the lowest quartile, subjects in the fourth quartile had lower risk of chronic liver disease death (OR=0.34, 95% CI=0.21–0.55). For liver cancer incidence, risk estimates were below one, but were not statistically significant. Associations, however, were significant among participants with higher serum calcium levels (Q4 vs Q1, OR=0.43, 95% CI=0.21–0.89). Results for chronic liver disease did not vary by serum calcium level.
In a low vitamin D population, higher serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations were associated with significantly lower risk of chronic liver disease deaths, and among those with higher serum calcium, incident liver cancer. Our results suggest a possible protective role for vitamin D in these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3790191  PMID: 24008664
serum vitamin D; chronic liver disease; liver cancer; a nested case–control study
7.  Correlation of endogenous hormonal levels, fibroglandular tissue volume and percent density measured using 3D MRI during one menstrual cycle 
Annals of Oncology  2013;24(9):2329-2335.
We measured breast density (BD) on MRI and correlated with endogenous hormonal levels.
Patients and methods
Twenty-four premenopausal women received four weekly breast MRI. A blood sample was collected on the same day of MRI. BD was measured using a computer-based algorithm. The generalized estimation equation method was applied to model mean fibroglandular tissue volume (FV) and mean percent density (PD) from predictor variables including estradiol, progesterone, and week during a cycle.
In week 3, a borderline significant correlation between estradiol and PD (r = 0.43, P = 0.04), estradiol and FV (r = 0.40, P = 0.05) and between progesterone and FV (r = 0.42, P = 0.04) was noted. The FV and PD measured in weeks 4 and 1 were higher than in weeks 2 and 3, adjusted for variation in endogenous estradiol and progesterone, indicating that the hormone change could not account for the changes in density. No lag effect of endogenous hormone on the change of FV or PD was noted (all P-values > 0.05).
Our results showed that BD is not strongly associated with the endogenous hormone. Their association with breast cancer risk was likely coming from different mechanisms, and they should be considered as independent risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3755325  PMID: 23661294
breast density; endogenous hormone; fibroglandular tissue volume; lag effect; MRI; percent density
8.  Clinical features and treatment outcome in newly diagnosed Chinese patients with multiple myeloma: results of a multicenter analysis 
Lu, J | Lu, J | Chen, W | Huo, Y | Huang, X | Hou, J
Blood Cancer Journal  2014;4(8):e239-.
The aim of this study was to understand the clinical features and treatment outcome of Chinese patients with multiple myeloma (MM). This retrospective study enrolled 940 newly diagnosed inpatients (median age, 59 years; immunoglobulin (Ig)D isotype, 6.5%) with complete follow-up data at three centers. In all, 85.8% of patients were of Durie-Salmon stage III and 48.3% were of International Staging System (ISS) stage III at diagnosis. Also, 9.6% of patients had extramedullary plasmacytoma. Compared with IgG, IgD-type patients were diagnosed at a younger age, and more patients were of ISS stage III, with hypercalcemia, elevated levels of lactate dehydrogenase, hyperuricemia, renal dysfunction and 1q21 amplification (P=0.03). The overall survival (OS) benefit was more prominent in IgG than in IgD when patients received bortezomib; however, they showed no significant difference when they received older therapies such as melphalan combined with prednisone or vincristine combined with adriamycin and dexamethasone. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) results showed that 17.6% had 17p13 deletion. Conventional cytogenetics revealed that 13.3% were hypodiploid and those cases had the worst survival, but hyperdiploid cases (9.3%) did not show any survival benefit compared with those with a normal karyotype (77.4%). Median OS and progression-free survival for all patients were 54 and 26 months, respectively. Significant factors for survival by multivariate analysis were gender, ISS stage, number of FISH abnormalities and extramedullary disease. MM in mainland China presents with different features, with patients being of younger age and having higher risk and more survival benefit in IgG patients receiving bortezomib.
PMCID: PMC4219472  PMID: 25127393
9.  A phase II study of ixabepilone and trastuzumab for metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer 
Annals of Oncology  2013;24(7):1841-1847.
A multicenter NCI-sponsored phase II study was conducted to analyze the safety and efficacy of the combination of ixabepilone with trastuzumab in patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.
Patients and methods
Two cohorts were enrolled: cohort 1 had received no prior chemotherapy or trastuzumab for metastatic disease and cohort 2 had received 1–2 prior trastuzumab-containing regimens for metastatic disease. Patients in both cohorts received ixabepilone 40 mg/m2 as a 3-h infusion and trastuzumab on day 1 of a 21-day cycle. Tumor biomarkers that may predict response to trastuzumab were explored.
Thirty-nine women entered the study with 15 patients in cohort 1 and 24 patients in cohort 2. Across both cohorts, the overall RR was 44%, with a clinical benefit rate (CR + PR + SD for at least 24 weeks) of 56%. Treatment-related toxic effects included neuropathy (grade ≥2, 56%), leukopenia (grade ≥2, 26%), myalgias (grade ≥2, 21%), neutropenia (grade ≥2, 23%), and anemia (grade ≥2, 18%).
This represents the first study of the combination of ixabepilone with trastuzumab for the treatment of metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. These results suggest that the combination has encouraging activity as first and subsequent line therapy for metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3690910  PMID: 23559151
breast; cancer; HER2; ixabepilone; trastuzumab
11.  Effect of Mechanical Loads on Stability of Nanodomains in Ferroelectric Ultrathin Films: Towards Flexible Erasing of the Non-Volatile Memories 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5339.
Intensive investigations have been drawn on nanoscale ferroelectrics for their prospective applications such as developing memory devices. In contrast with the commonly used electrical means to process (i.e., read, write or erase) the information carried by ferroelectric domains, at present, mechanisms of non-electrical processing ferroelectric domains are relatively lacking. Here we make a systematical investigation on the stability of 180° cylindrical domains in ferroelectric nanofilms subjected to macroscopic mechanical loads, and explore the possibility of mechanical erasing. Effects of domain size, film thickness, temperature and different mechanical loads, including uniform strain, cylindrical bending and wavy bending, have been revealed. It is found that the stability of a cylindrical domain depends on its radius, temperature and film thickness. More importantly, mechanical loads have great controllability on the stability of cylindrical domains, with the critical radius nonlinearly sensitive to both strain and strain gradient. This indicates that erasing cylindrical domain can be achieved by changing the strain state of nanofilm. Based on the calculated phase diagrams, we successfully simulate several mechanical erasing processes on 4 × 4 bits memory devices. Our study sheds light on prospective device applications of ferroelectrics involving mechanical loads, such as flexible memory devices and other micro-electromechanical systems.
PMCID: PMC4061556  PMID: 24938187
12.  Regional Variation in T1ρ and T2 Times in Osteoarthritic Human Menisci: Correlation with Mechanical Properties and Matrix Composition 
Changes in T1ρ and T2 magnetic resonance relaxation times have been associated with articular cartilage degeneration, but similar relationships for meniscal tissue have not been extensively investigated. This work examined relationships between T1ρ and T2 measurements and biochemical and mechanical properties across regions of degenerate human menisci.
Average T1ρ and T2 relaxation times were determined for nine regions each of seven medial and thirteen lateral menisci from fourteen total knee replacement patients. Sulfated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG), collagen and water contents were measured for each region. Biomechanical measurements of equilibrium compressive, dynamic compressive and dynamic shear moduli were made for anterior, central and posterior regions.
T1ρ and T2 times showed similar regional patterns, with longer relaxation times in the middle region compared to the inner and outer region. Pooled over all regions, T1ρ and T2 times showed strong correlations both with one another and with water content. Correlations with biochemical content varied depending on normalization to wet or dry mass, and both imaging parameters showed stronger correlations with collagen compared to sGAG content. Mechanical properties displayed moderate inverse correlations with increasing T1ρ and T2 times and water content.
Both T1ρ and T2 relaxation times correlated strongly with water content and moderately with mechanical properties in osteoarthritic menisci, but not as strongly with sGAG or collagen contents alone. While the ability of MRI to detect early osteoarthritic changes remains the subject of investigation, these results suggest that T1ρ and T2 relaxation times have limited ability to detect compositional variations in degenerate menisci.
PMCID: PMC3909565  PMID: 23499673
Meniscus; T1ρ; T2; biomechanics; osteoarthritis; degeneration
14.  AIB1 predicts bladder cancer outcome and promotes bladder cancer cell proliferation through AKT and E2F1 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(7):1470-1479.
We previously demonstrated that AIB1 overexpression is an independent molecular marker for shortened survival of bladder cancer (BC) patients. In this study, we characterised the role and molecular mechanisms of AIB1 in BC tumorigenicity.
AIB1 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry in non-muscle-invasive BC tissue and adjacent normal bladder tissue. In addition, the tumorigenicity of AIB1 was assessed with in vitro and in vivo functional assays.
Overexpression of AIB1 was observed in tissues from 46 out of 146 patients with non-muscle-invasive BC and was an independent predictor for poor progression-free survival. Lentivirus-mediated AIB1 knockdown inhibited cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo, whereas AIB1 overexpression promoted cell proliferation in vitro. The growth-inhibitory effect induced by AIB1 knockdown was mediated by G1 arrest, which was caused by reduced expression of key cell-cycle regulatory proteins through the AKT pathway and E2F1.
Our results suggest that AIB1 promotes BC cell proliferation through the AKT pathway and E2F1. Furthermore, AIB1 overexpression predicts tumour progression in patients with non-muscle-invasive BC.
PMCID: PMC3629431  PMID: 23511556
bladder cancer; AIB1; AKT; E2F1; proliferation
15.  Synergistic effects of glycated chitosan with high-intensity focused ultrasound on suppression of metastases in a syngeneic breast tumor model 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(4):e1178-.
Stimulation of the host immune system is crucial in cancer treatment. In particular, nonspecific immunotherapies, when combined with other traditional therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy, may induce immunity against primary and metastatic tumors. In this study, we demonstrate that a novel, non-toxic immunoadjuvant, glycated chitosan (GC), decreases the motility and invasion of mammalian breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Lung metastatic ratios were reduced in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice when intratumoral GC injection was combined with local high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment. We postulate that this treatment modality stimulates the host immune system to combat cancer cells, as macrophage accumulation in tumor lesions was detected after GC-HIFU treatment. In addition, plasma collected from GC-HIFU-treated tumor-bearing mice exhibited tumor-specific cytotoxicity. We also investigated the effect of GC on epithelial–mesenchymal transition-related markers. Our results showed that GC decreased the expression of Twist-1 and Slug, proto-oncogenes commonly implicated in metastasis. Epithelial-cadherin, which is regulated by these genes, was also upregulated. Taken together, our current data suggest that GC alone can reduce cancer cell motility and invasion, whereas GC-HIFU treatment can induce immune responses to suppress tumor metastasis in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4001313  PMID: 24743733
immunoadjuvant; high-intensity focused ultrasound; lung metastasis; breast cancer; epithelial–mesenchymal transition
16.  IL-1α Stimulates Cathepsin K Expression in Osteoclasts via the Tyrosine Kinase-NF-κB Pathway 
Journal of dental research  2004;83(10):791-796.
Interleukin-1α(IL-1α) is a powerful activator of osteoclast cells. However, the underlying mechanism for this activation is unknown. In this study, we reveal that IL-1α up-regulates the expression of cathepsin K protein, a key protease in bone resorption, by five-fold. Northern blot analysis and promoter analysis show that this induction occurs at the transcriptional level, in a dose-responsive and time-dependent manner. No increase in expression occurs in the presence of either pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), a selective inhibitor of NF-κB, or Genistein, a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor, suggesting that IL-1α up-regulation may be via the tyrosine kinase-NF-κB pathway to regulate cathepsin K expression. Antisense oligonucleotides to p65, but not the p50 subunit of NF-κB, suppress the IL-1α-induced expression of cathepsin K. We therefore conclude that IL-1α up-regulates cathepsin K gene expression at the transcription level, and this regulation may be via the tyrosine-kinase-NF-κB pathway.
PMCID: PMC3966556  PMID: 15381721
interleukin-1alpha; cathepsin K; osteoclast; NF-κB; tyrosine kinase
17.  A surrogate-based metaheuristic global search method for beam angle selection in radiation treatment planning 
Physics in medicine and biology  2013;58(6):10.1088/0031-9155/58/6/1933.
An important element of radiation treatment planning for cancer therapy is the selection of beam angles (out of all possible coplanar and non-coplanar angles in relation to the patient) in order to maximize the delivery of radiation to the tumor site and minimize radiation damage to nearby organs-at-risk. This category of combinatorial optimization problem is particularly difficult because direct evaluation of the quality of treatment corresponding to any proposed selection of beams requires the solution of a large-scale dose optimization problem involving many thousands of variables that represent doses delivered to volume elements (voxels) in the patient. However, if the quality of angle sets can be accurately estimated without expensive computation, a large number of angle sets can be considered, increasing the likelihood of identifying a very high quality set. Using a computationally efficient surrogate beam set evaluation procedure based on single-beam data extracted from plans employing equally-spaced beams (eplans), we have developed a global search metaheuristic process based on the Nested Partitions framework for this combinatorial optimization problem. The surrogate scoring mechanism allows us to assess thousands of beam set samples within a clinically acceptable time frame. Tests on difficult clinical cases demonstrate that the beam sets obtained via our method are superior quality.
PMCID: PMC3652383  PMID: 23459411
18.  Taiwan Aneurysm Registry: Multivariate Analysis of Two-Month, One-Year, and Two-Year Outcomes after Endovascular and Microsurgical Treatment of Ruptured Aneurysms 
Interventional Neuroradiology  2013;19(1):35-42.
We compared the outcomes of endovascular coiling with microsurgical clipping of aneurysms in a Taiwanese population.
In an ambi-directional cohort design, patient baseline characteristics and clinical course after treatment for ruptured subarachnoid aneurysm were abstracted from medical records from three hospitals to examine and compare differences in post-operative outcomes between those treated with endovascular coiling and those treated with microsurgical clipping. Outcomes were measured, using the modified Rankin scale, two months, one year and two years postoperatively.
Of the 642 patients enrolled in the study, 281 underwent endovascular treatment and 361 underwent neurosurgery. The demographics and baseline characteristics of two groups were comparable except for a larger maximum target aneurysm lumen size (p=0.02) in the endovascular group. Patients who underwent the endovascular procedure tended to have a better quality of life than those who had neurosurgery (p<0.01). When the severity of symptom data was pooled into two groups (Rankin values 0-2 and 3-6) a statistically significant relationship was found between the severity of symptoms and age, Hunt and Hess grade, number of target aneurysms detected, and log of maximum target aneurysm lumen size (all p≤0.01). After controlling for potential confounding factors and using the lumped Rankin outcome data, no significant difference in outcome was found between the two procedures at either time point.
Our study indicated that endovascular coiling achieves results comparable to surgical clipping for patients with ruptured subarachnoid aneurysms in a Taiwanese population.
PMCID: PMC3601615  PMID: 23472721
aneurysm, hemorrhage, microsurgery, endovascular coiling, size, outcome, quality of life
19.  Common genetic variation near the connexin-43 gene is associated with resting heart rate in African Americans: A genome-wide association study of 13,372 participants 
Genome-wide association studies have identified several genetic loci associated with variation in resting heart rate in European and Asian populations. No study has evaluated genetic variants associated with heart rate in African Americans.
To identify novel genetic variants associated with resting heart rate in African Americans.
Ten cohort studies participating in the Candidate-gene Association Resource and Continental Origins and Genetic Epidemiology Network consortia performed genome-wide genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and imputed 2,954,965 SNPs using HapMap YRI and CEU panels in 13,372 participants of African ancestry. Each study measured the RR interval (ms) from 10-second resting 12-lead electrocardiograms and estimated RR-SNP associations using covariate-adjusted linear regression. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to combine cohort-specific measures of association and identify genome-wide significant loci (P ≤ 2.5 × 10−8).
Fourteen SNPs on chromosome 6q22 exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold. The most significant association was for rs9320841 (+13 ms per minor allele; P = 4.98 × 10−15). This SNP was approximately 350 kb downstream of GJA1, a locus previously identified as harboring SNPs associated with heart rate in Europeans. Adjustment for rs9320841 also attenuated the association between the remaining 13 SNPs in this region and heart rate. In addition, SNPs in MYH6, which have been identified in European genome-wide association study, were associated with similar changes in the resting heart rate as this population of African Americans.
An intergenic region downstream of GJA1 (the gene encoding connexin 43, the major protein of the human myocardial gap junction) and an intragenic region within MYH6 are associated with variation in resting heart rate in African Americans as well as in populations of European and Asian origin.
PMCID: PMC3718037  PMID: 23183192
African Americans; Heart rate; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Meta-analysis
20.  Genome-wide transcriptional analysis of differentially expressed genes in flagellin-pretreated mouse corneal epithelial cells in response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa: involvement of S100A8/A9 
Mucosal immunology  2013;6(5):993-1005.
We previously showed that pre-exposure of the cornea to Toll-like receptor 5 ligand flagellin induces profound mucosal innate protection against infections by modifying gene expression. Taking advantage of easily procurable epithelial cell population, this study is the first report to use genome-wide cDNA microarray approach to document genes associated with flagellin-induced protection against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in corneal epithelial cells (CECs). Infection altered the expression of 675 genes (497 up and 178 down), while flagellin pretreatment followed by infection resulted in a great increase in 890 gene upregulated and 37 genes downregulated. Comparing these two groups showed 209 differentially expressed genes (157 up, 52 down). Notably, among 114 genes categorized as defense related, S100A8/A9 are the two most highly induced genes by flagellin, and their expression in the corneal was confirmed by realtime PCR and immunohistochemistry. Neutralization of S100A8 and, to a less extent, A9, resulted in significantly increased bacterial burden and severe keratitis. Collectively, our study identifies many differentially expressed genes by flagellin in CECs in response to Pseudomonas. These novel gene expression signatures provide new insights and clues into the nature of protective mechanisms established by flagellin and new therapeutic targets for reducing inflammation and for controlling microbial infection.
PMCID: PMC3722258  PMID: 23340821
21.  Activation of Sonic hedgehog signaling in neural progenitor cells promotes glioma development in the zebrafish optic pathway 
Oncogenesis  2014;3(3):e96-.
Dysregulation of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling has been implicated in glioma pathogenesis. Yet, the role of this pathway in gliomagenesis remains controversial because of the lack of relevant animal models. Using the cytokeratin 5 promoter, we ectopically expressed a constitutively active zebrafish Smoothened (Smoa1) in neural progenitor cells and analyzed tumorigenic capacity of activated Shh signaling in both transient and stable transgenic fish. Transient transgenic fish overexpressing Smoa1 developed retinal and brain tumors, suggesting smoa1 is oncogenic in the zebrafish central nervous system (CNS). We further established stable transgenic lines that simultaneously developed optic pathway glioma (OPG) and various retinal tumors. In one of these lines, up to 80% of F1 and F2 fish developed tumors within 1 year of age. Microarray analysis of tumor samples showed upregulated expression of genes involved in the cell cycle, cancer signaling and Shh downstream targets ptc1, gli1 and gli2a. Tumors also exhibited specific gene signatures characteristic of radial glia and progenitor cells as transcriptions of radial glia genes cyp19a1b, s100β, blbp, gfap and the stem/progenitor genes nestin and sox2 were significantly upregulated. Overexpression of GFAP, S100β, BLBP and Sox2 was confirmed by immunofluorescence. We also detected overexpression of Mdm2 throughout the optic pathway in fish with OPG, therefore implicating the Mdm2–Tp53 pathway in glioma pathogenesis. In conclusion, we demonstrate that activated Shh signaling initiates tumorigenesis in the zebrafish CNS and provide the first OPG model not associated with neurofibromatosis 1.
PMCID: PMC4038393  PMID: 24686726
zebrafish; Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway; activated Smoothened (Smoa1); optic pathway glioma (OPG)
22.  Controllability of Vortex Domain Structure in Ferroelectric Nanodot: Fruitful Domain Patterns and Transformation Paths 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3946.
Ferroelectric vortex domain structure which exists in low-dimensional ferroelectrics is being intensively researched for future applications in functional nanodevices. Here we demonstrate that adjusting surface charge screening in combination with temperature can provide an efficient way to gain control of vortex domain structure in ferroelectric nanodot. Systematical simulating experiments have been conducted to reveal the stability and evolution mechanisms of domain structure in ferroelectric nanodot under various conditions, including processes of cooling-down/heating-up under different surface charge screening conditions, and increasing/decreasing surface charge screening at different temperatures. Fruitful phase diagrams as functions of surface screening and temperature are presented, together with evolution paths of various domain patterns. Calculations discover up to 25 different kinds of domain patterns and 22 typical evolution paths of phase transitions. The fruitful controllability of vortex domain structure by surface charge screening in combination with temperature should shed light on prospective nanodevice applications of low-dimensional ferroelectric nanostructures.
PMCID: PMC3912473  PMID: 24492764
23.  Inhibiting Periapical Lesions through AAV-RNAi Silencing of Cathepsin K 
Journal of Dental Research  2013;92(2):180-186.
Dental caries, one of the most prevalent infectious diseases worldwide, affects approximately 80% of children and the majority of adults. Dental caries may result in endodontic disease, leading to dental pulp necrosis, periapical inflammation and bone resorption, severe pain, and tooth loss. Periapical inflammation may also increase inflammation in other parts of the body. Although many studies have attempted to develop therapies for this disease, there is still an urgent need for effective treatments. In this study, we applied a novel gene therapeutic approach using recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated RNAi knockdown of Cathepsin K (Ctsk) gene expression, to target osteoclasts and periapical bone resorption in a mouse model. We found that AAV-sh-Cathepsin K (AAV-sh-Ctsk) impaired osteoclast function in vivo and furthermore reduced bacterial infection-stimulated bone resorption by 88%. Reduced periapical lesion size was accompanied by decreases in mononuclear leukocyte infiltration and inflammatory cytokine expression. Our study shows that AAV-RNAi silencing of Cathepsin K in periapical tissues can significantly reduce endodontic disease development, bone destruction, and inflammation in the periapical lesion. This is the first demonstration that AAV-mediated RNAi knockdown gene therapy may significantly reduce the severity of endodontic disease.
PMCID: PMC3545691  PMID: 23166044
endodontic disease; inflammation; bone resorption; dental caries; osteoclast; gene therapy
24.  A common functional promoter variant links CNR1 gene expression to HDL cholesterol level 
Nature communications  2013;4:10.1038/ncomms2973.
CB1 receptor blockers increase HDL-C levels. Although genetic variation in the CB1 receptor – encoded by the CNR1 gene – is known to influence HDL-C level as well, human studies conducted to date have been limited to genetic markers such as haplotype tagging SNPs. Here we identify rs806371 in the CNR1 promoter as the causal variant. We resequenced the CNR1 gene and genotype all variants in a DNA biobank linked to comprehensive electronic medical records. By testing each variant for association with HDL-C level in a clinical practice-based setting, we localize a putative functional allele to a 100bp window in the 5′-flanking region. Assessment of variants in this window for functional impact on electrophoretic mobility shift assay identified rs806371 as a novel regulatory binding element. Reporter gene assays confirm that rs806371 reduces HDL-C gene expression, thereby linking CNR1 gene variation to HDL-C level in humans.
PMCID: PMC3873874  PMID: 23748922
25.  Epigenetic silencing of miR-34a in human prostate cancer cells and tumor tissue specimens can be reversed by BR-DIM treatment 
Androgen Receptor (AR) signaling is critically important during the development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa). The AR signaling is also important in the development of castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) where AR is functional even after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT); however, little is known regarding the transcriptional and functional regulation of AR in PCa. Moreover, treatment options for primary PCa for preventing the occurrence of CRPC is limited; therefore, novel strategy for direct inactivation of AR is urgently needed. In this study, we found loss of miR-34a, which targets AR, in PCa tissue specimens, especially in patients with higher Gleason grade tumors, consistent with increased expression of AR. Forced over-expression of miR-34a in PCa cell lines led to decreased expression of AR and prostate specific antigen (PSA) as well as the expression of Notch-1, another important target of miR-34a. Most importantly, BR-DIM intervention in PCa patients prior to radical prostatectomy showed reexpression of miR-34a, which was consistent with decreased expression of AR, PSA and Notch-1 in PCa tissue specimens. Moreover, BR-DIM intervention led to nuclear exclusion both in PCa cell lines and in tumor tissues. PCa cells treated with BR-DIM and 5-aza-dC resulted in the demethylation of miR-34a promoter concomitant with inhibition of AR and PSA expression in LNCaP and C4-2B cells. These results suggest, for the first time, epigenetic silencing of miR-34a in PCa, which could be reversed by BR-DIM treatment and, thus BR-DIM could be useful for the inactivation of AR in the treatment of PCa.
PMCID: PMC3853430  PMID: 24349627
BR-DIM; miR-34a; androgen receptor (AR); PSA; methylation

Results 1-25 (191)