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1.  Evaluation of corneal cell growth on tissue engineering materials as artificial cornea scaffolds 
The keratoprosthesis (KPro; artificial cornea) is a special refractive device to replace human cornea by using heterogeneous forming materials for the implantation into the damaged eyes in order to obtain a certain vision. The main problems of artificial cornea are the biocompatibility and stability of the tissue particularly in penetrating keratoplasty. The current studies of tissue-engineered scaffold materials through comprising composites of natural and synthetic biopolymers together have developed a new way to artificial cornea. Although a wide agreement that the long-term stability of these devices would be greatly improved by the presence of cornea cells, modification of keratoprosthesis to support cornea cells remains elusive. Most of the studies on corneal substrate materials and surface modification of composites have tried to improve the growth and biocompatibility of cornea cells which can not only reduce the stimulus of heterogeneous materials, but also more importantly continuous and stable cornea cells can prevent the destruction of collagenase. The necrosis of stroma and spontaneous extrusion of the device, allow for maintenance of a precorneal tear layer, and play the role of ensuring a good optical surface and resisting bacterial infection. As a result, improvement in corneal cells has been the main aim of several recent investigations; some effort has focused on biomaterial for its well biological properties such as promoting the growth of cornea cells. The purpose of this review is to summary the growth status of the corneal cells after the implantation of several artificial corneas.
PMCID: PMC3874531  PMID: 24392340
artificial cornea; keratoprosthesis; tissue-engineered scaffold; corneal cells collagen; fibrin; amniotic membrane; biomaterial
2.  Level of proinsulin in association with cardiovascular risk factors and sleep snoring 
AIM: To explore the relationship between the level of proinsulin with cardiovascular risk factors and sleep snoring.
METHODS: Based on the random stratified sampling principle, 1 193 Chinese residents in Pizhou City, Jiangsu Province (530 males and 663 females, aged 35-59 years with an average age of 46.69 years) were recruited. Their sleep snoring habits were investigated. Biotin-avidin based double mAbs ELISA was used to detect specific insulin and proinsulin, and a risk factor score was established to evaluate the individuals according to the number of their risk factors.
RESULTS: The results of Spearman correlation analysis and covariate ANOVA analysis after age and sex were controlled, indicated that not only the level of proinsulin (r = 0.156, P = 0.000, F = 5.980 P = 0.000), but also cardiovascular risk factors score (r = 0.194, P = 0.000, F = 11.135, P = 0.000) significantly associated with the frequency of sleep snoring, and the significant relationship between true insulin and frequency of sleep snoring was only shown in the covariate ANOVA analysis (F = 2.868, P = 0.022). The result of multivariate stepwise logistic regression after age, sex, body mass index, waist circumference and true insulin were controlled showed that proinsulin (division by interval of quartile) was an independent risk factor for sleep snoring (OR = 1.220, 95%CI: 1.085-1.373, P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The interaction of cardiovascular risk factors clustering, high proinsulin level and sleep breathing disorder may be a syndrome, which has not been recognized in human beings so far.
PMCID: PMC4321928  PMID: 16124064
True insulin; Proinsulin; Snoring; Epidemiology
3.  Significant association of insulin and proinsulin with clustering of cardiovascular risk factors 
AIM: To investigate the association between true insulin and proinsulin and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors.
METHODS: Based on the random stratified sampling principles, 1196 Chinese people (533 males and 663 females, aged 35-59 years with an average age of 46.69 years) were recruited. Biotin-avidin based double monoclonal antibody ELISA method was used to detect the true insulin and proinsulin, and a risk factor score was set to evaluate individuals according to the number of risk factors.
RESULTS: The median (quartile range) of true insulin and proinsulin was 4.91 mIu/L (3.01-7.09 mIu/L) and 3.49 pmol/L (2.14-5.68 pmol/L) respectively, and the true insulin level of female subjects was significantly higher than that of male subjects (P = 0.000), but the level of proinsulin displayed no significant difference between males and females (P = 0.566). The results of covariate ANOVA after age and sex were controlled showed that subjects with any of the risk factors had a significantly higher true insulin level (P = 0.002 for hypercholesterolemia, P = 0.021 for high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, P = 0.003 for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and P = 0.000 for other risk factors) and proinsulin level (P = 0.001 for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and P = 0.000 for other risk factors) than those with no risk factors. Furthermore, subjects with higher risk factor scores had a higher true insulin and proinsulin level than those with lower risk factor scores (P = 0.000). The multiple linear regression models showed that true insulin and proinsulin were significantly related to cardiovascular risk factor scores respectively (P = 0.000).
CONCLUSION: True insulin and proinsulin are significantly associated with the clustering of cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC4205375  PMID: 15609415
True insulin; Proinsulin; Cardiovascular diseases
4.  Rs1800625 in the receptor for advanced glycation end products gene predisposes to sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in patients with major trauma 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):6.
The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is a transmembrane receptor of the immunoglobulin superfamily, it plays pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of sepsis in several ways. Our previous study showed that rs1800625 (−429T/C) revealed a strong clinical relevance with sepsis morbidity rate and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in patients with major trauma. In this study, we enlarged the sample size, added two validation populations and examined the expression of RAGE on the surface of peripheral leukocytes to ex vivo lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation in subjects with different genotypes.
Rs1800625 was genotyped using pyrosequencing in 837 Chinese Han patients with major trauma in Chongqing. We then validated the clinical relevance in 340 Zhejiang and 347 Yunnan patients. The expression of RAGE on the surface of peripheral blood mononuclear cells was measured by flow cytometric analysis.
The results indicated that rs1800625 was significantly associated with sepsis morbidity rate and MODS in patients with major trauma in the Chongqing, Zhejiang and Yunnan districts. Patients with CC genotype had lower sepsis morbidity rate and MODS after major trauma. Furthermore, patients with CC genotype had significantly higher RAGE expression (P = 0.009).
The rs1800625 polymorphism is a functional single nucleotide polymorphism and confers host susceptibility to sepsis and MODS in patients with major trauma.
PMCID: PMC4310192  PMID: 25572180
5.  Evaluation of the CKD-EPI Equation in Multiple Races and Ethnicities 
Kidney international  2010;79(5):555-562.
The CKD-EPI equation reduces bias and improves accuracy for GFR estimation compared to the MDRD Study equation. Creatinine generation differs among racial-ethnic groups but both equations only consider Blacks vs other. We developed and validated a GFR-estimating equation that includes a 4-level race variable.
Equations were developed in pooled data from 10 studies (N=8254) and validated in 17 additional studies from the US and Europe [CKD-EPI validation database (N=4014)], and in studies from China (N=675), Japan (N=248) and South Africa (N=99). Race was defined as a 2-level variable (Black vs other) and a 4-level variable (Black, Asian, Native American and Hispanic vs other).
Coefficients for Black, Asian and Native American and Hispanic resulted in 15%, 5% and 1% higherlevels of estimated GFR, respectively, compared to others. The 2-level race equation had minimal bias in Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics and others [−0.8 (−2.0,0.6), 2.3 (−2.1,5.1), and 2.8 (2.4,3.2) ml/min/1.73 m2, respectively) in the CKD-EPI validation database. The 4-level race equation improved bias in CKD-EPI Asians (0.8 (−2.2,2.6) vs 2.1 (0.3,4.4) ml/min/1.73 m2) and in Chinese (1.3 (0.6,2.2) vs 2.7 (1.9,3.7) ml/min/1.73 m2). Both equations had a large bias in Japanese [−17.8 (−0.1,−14.7) and −21.4 (−23.2,−18.2) ml/min/1.73 m2)] and South Africans [−12.4 (−18.3,−7.6) and −12.5 (−18.3,−7.6) ml/min/1.73 m2.
A multilevel variable for race developed in one geographic region may not be applicable in other regions. The 2-level race variable in the CKD-EPI equation can be used for all racial-ethnic groups in the US and Europe.
PMCID: PMC4220293  PMID: 21107446
6.  Processing and characterisation of a novel electropolymerized silk fibroin hydrogel membrane 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6182.
Silk fibroin can be made into various forms of biocompatible medical materials, including hydrogel due to its excellent properties. Here, we report a novel method for the preparation of electropolymerized silk fibroin hydrogel membrane (ESFHM), which is formed on a nanoporous film as a barrier using a homemade device at a higher DC voltage. Regenerated silk fibroin solution in Tris buffer (pH 6.55–7.55) was added into a reservoir with a negative charge, and the silk molecules migrated toward the positive charge at 80VDC, resulting in the formation of the ESFHM on the barrier film. Barrier film with a MWCO of 10 kDa is favourable to the formation of the ESFHM. Semi-transparent ESFHM with a swelling ratio of 1056.4% predominantly consisted of a mixture of β-sheets and α-helix crystalline structures. SEM studies revealed that the ESFHM consisted of a 3D mesh structure woven by a chain of silk fibroin nanoparticles with a size of approximately 30 nanometres, similar to a pearl necklace. In vitro studies indicated that the ESFHM was degradable and was sufficient for cell adhesion and growth. Thus, ESFHM is a promising candidate for loading bioactive protein and appropriate cells, as artificial skin or for use in transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4143793  PMID: 25154713
7.  Features and Risk Factors of Nonfatal Injury among the Rural Children: A Survey of Seven Schools in a Mountain Area in Southwest China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102099.
We aimed to investigate the patterns and risk factors of nonfatal injuries among rural mountain-area children in southwest China.
A stratified sampling method was used to recruit rural children aged 8 to 17 years (mainly 9–14 years) from 7 schools. Self-reported injuries during the past 12 months and relevant concerns were collected from June to December 2012 by using a structured questionnaire in a class interview.
The mean age of the 2,854 children was 12.2±1.5 years. The probability of annual injury was 16.7% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 15.3–18.1%), with slightly higher injury risk for boys than girls (17.7% vs. 16.0%; P>0.05). The top 3 causes of injuries were falls (37.3%), animal-related incidents (20.6%), and burns (14.9%). The main injury risk factors included being involved in a violent episode (odds ratio [OR] 1.34, 95% CI 1.08–1.66, P = 0.007), maltreatment by parents or guardians (1.42, 1.17–1.72, P<0.001), and being from a single-child family (1.30, 1.10–1.66, P = 0.039). Older age was a protective factor (0.81, 0.76–0.87, P<0.001).
The incidence of nonfatal injury among rural children was high, and falls were the leading cause. Younger children and boys from poor-care and poor-living environments were at increased risk of injury, which requires urgent attention. Injury prevention programs targeting these issues are needed in this mountain area and similar rural regions of China.
PMCID: PMC4092098  PMID: 25010712
8.  Pancreatic Insulin-Producing Cells Differentiated from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Correct Hyperglycemia in SCID/NOD Mice, an Animal Model of Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102198.
Human pancreatic islet transplantation is a prospective curative treatment for diabetes. However, the lack of donor pancreases greatly limits this approach. One approach to overcome the limited supply of donor pancreases is to generate functional islets from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), a cell line with unlimited proliferative capacity, through rapid directed differentiation. This study investigated whether pancreatic insulin-producing cells (IPCs) differentiated from hESCs could correct hyperglycemia in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)/non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice, an animal model of diabetes.
We generated pancreatic IPCs from two hESC lines, YT1 and YT2, using an optimized four-stage differentiation protocol in a chemically defined culture system. Then, about 5–7×106 differentiated cells were transplanted into the epididymal fat pad of SCID/NOD mice (n = 20). The control group were transplanted with undifferentiated hESCs (n = 6). Graft survival and function were assessed using immunohistochemistry, and measuring serum human C-peptide and blood glucose levels.
The pancreatic IPCs were generated by the four-stage differentiation protocol using hESCs. About 17.1% of differentiated cells expressed insulin, as determined by flow cytometry. These cells secreted insulin/C-peptide following glucose stimulation, similarly to adult human islets. Most of these IPCs co-expressed mature β cell-specific markers, including human C-peptide, GLUT2, PDX1, insulin, and glucagon. After implantation into the epididymal fat pad of SCID/NOD mice, the hESC-derived pancreatic IPCs corrected hyperglycemia for ≥8 weeks. None of the animals transplanted with pancreatic IPCs developed tumors during the time. The mean survival of recipients was increased by implanted IPCs as compared to implanted undifferentiated hESCs (P<0.0001).
The results of this study confirmed that human terminally differentiated pancreatic IPCs derived from hESCs can correct hyperglycemia in SCID/NOD mice for ≥8 weeks.
PMCID: PMC4092102  PMID: 25009980
10.  ALADIN: wish granted in inherited polycystic kidney disease? 
Lancet  2013;382(9903):1469-1471.
PMCID: PMC4054814  PMID: 23972262
11.  Exploring the Polyadenylated RNA Virome of Sweet Potato through High-Throughput Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98884.
Viral diseases are the second most significant biotic stress for sweet potato, with yield losses reaching 20% to 40%. Over 30 viruses have been reported to infect sweet potato around the world, and 11 of these have been detected in China. Most of these viruses were detected by traditional detection approaches that show disadvantages in detection throughput. Next-generation sequencing technology provides a novel, high sensitive method for virus detection and diagnosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report the polyadenylated RNA virome of three sweet potato cultivars using a high throughput RNA sequencing approach. Transcripts of 15 different viruses were detected, 11 of which were detected in cultivar Xushu18, whilst 11 and 4 viruses were detected in Guangshu 87 and Jingshu 6, respectively. Four were detected in sweet potato for the first time, and 4 were found for the first time in China. The most prevalent virus was SPFMV, which constituted 88% of the total viral sequence reads. Virus transcripts with extremely low expression levels were also detected, such as transcripts of SPLCV, CMV and CymMV. Digital gene expression (DGE) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses showed that the highest viral transcript expression levels were found in fibrous and tuberous roots, which suggest that these tissues should be optimum samples for virus detection.
A total of 15 viruses were presumed to present in three sweet potato cultivars growing in China. This is the first insight into the sweet potato polyadenylated RNA virome. These results can serve as a basis for further work to investigate whether some of the 'new' viruses infecting sweet potato are pathogenic.
PMCID: PMC4047073  PMID: 24901789
12.  The Associations between the Family Education and Mortality of Patients on Peritoneal Dialysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95894.
To investigate whether education level of family members predicts all-cause and cardiovascular death and initial-episode peritonitis in patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD).
A total of 2264 patients on chronic PD were collected from seven centers affiliated with the Socioeconomic Status on the Outcome of Peritoneal Dialysis (SSOP) Study. All demographic, socioeconomic and laboratory data of patients and the education level of all family members were recorded at baseline. Multivariate Cox regression was used to calculate the hazard ratio (HR) of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, and initial-episode peritonitis with adjustments for recognized traditional factors.
There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between patients with (n = 1752) and without (n = 512) complete education information. According to the highest education level of patients' family, included 1752 patients were divided into four groups, i.e. elementary or lower (15%), middle (27%), high (24%) and more than high school (34%). The family highest education (using elementary school or lower group as reference, hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval of middle school group, high school group and more than high school group was 0.68[0.48–0.96], 0.64[0.45–0.91], 0.66[0.48–0.91], respectively) rather than their average education level or patients' or spouse's education was significantly associated with the higher mortality. Neither patients' nor family education level did correlate to the risk for cardiovascular death or initial-episode peritonitis.
Family members' education level was found to be a novel predictor of PD outcome. Family, as the main source of health care providers, should be paid more attention in our practice.
PMCID: PMC4010396  PMID: 24797080
13.  Population Genetic Structure and Demographic History of Atrina pectinata Based on Mitochondrial DNA and Microsatellite Markers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95436.
The pen shell, Atrina pectinata, is one of the commercial bivalves in East Asia and thought to be recently affected by anthropogenic pressure (habitat destruction and/or fishing pressure). Information on its population genetic structure is crucial for the conservation of A. pectinata. Considering its long pelagic larval duration and iteroparity with high fecundity, the genetic structure for A. pectinata could be expected to be weak at a fine scale. However, the unusual oceanography in the coasts of China and Korea suggests potential for restricted dispersal of pelagic larvae and geographical differentiation. In addition, environmental changes associated with Pleistocene sea level fluctuations on the East China Sea continental shelf may also have strongly influenced historical population demography and genetic diversity of marine organisms. Here, partial sequences of the mitochondrial Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and seven microsatellite loci were used to estimate population genetic structure and demographic history of seven samples from Northern China coast and one sample from North Korea coast. Despite high levels of genetic diversity within samples, there was no genetic differentiation among samples from Northern China coast and low but significant genetic differentiation between some of the Chinese samples and the North Korean sample. A late Pleistocene population expansion, probably after the Last Glacial Maximum, was also demonstrated for A. pectinata samples. No recent genetic bottleneck was detected in any of the eight samples. We concluded that both historical recolonization (through population range expansion and demographic expansion in the late Pleistocene) and current gene flow (through larval dispersal) were responsible for the weak level of genetic structure detected in A. pectinata.
PMCID: PMC4006771  PMID: 24789175
14.  The Associations of Uric Acid, Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e82342.
To investigate whether uric acid (UA) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular (CV) and all-cause mortality in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients after controlling for recognized CV risk factors.
A total of 2264 patients on chronic PD were collected from seven centers affiliated with the Socioeconomic Status on the Outcome of Peritoneal Dialysis (SSOP) Study. All demographic and laboratory data were recorded at baseline. Multivariate Cox regression was used to calculate the hazard ratio (HR) of CV and all-cause mortality with adjustments for recognized traditional and uremia-related CV factors.
There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between patients with (n = 2193) and without (n = 71) UA measured. Each 1 mg/dL of increase in UA was associated with higher all-cause mortality with 1.05(1.00∼1.10) of HR and higher CV mortality with 1.12 (1.05∼1.20) of HR after adjusting for age, gender and center size. The highest gender-specific tertile of UA predicted higher all-cause mortality with 1.23(1.00∼1.52) of HR and higher CV mortality with 1.69 (1.21∼2.38) of HR after adjusting for age, gender and center size. The predictive value of UA was stronger in patients younger than 65 years without CV disease or diabetes at baseline. The prognostic value of UA as both continuous and categorical variable weakened or disappeared after further adjusted for uremia-related and traditional CV risk factors.
The prognostic value of UA in CV and all-cause mortality was weak in PD patients generally, which was confounded by uremia-related and traditional CV risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3885378  PMID: 24416142
15.  Characterisation of Lyzls in mice and antibacterial properties of human LYZL6 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2013;15(6):824-830.
C-type lysozyme genes (Lyzls) belong to the class of lysozymes and are highly expressed in the testis and epididymis. The members Lyzl4 and Spaca3 have been reported to play a role in sperm–egg binding and fertilisation in mice. However, the function of the remaining two mouse c-type lysozyme genes, Lyzl1 and Lyzl6, is still not clear. In the present study, we analysed the tissue expression and androgen-dependent expression of mouse c-type lysozyme genes and the possible contribution of human recombinant LYZL6 (rLYZL6) to immunity. The expression of Lyzls was detected by RT-PCR, Western blots, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. The bacteriolytic activity of rLYZL6 was analysed by a colony-forming assay. In mice, the expression of Lyzl genes was mainly in the testis and epididymis in a developmentally regulated manner and androgen- or testicular factor-regulated manner. Immunodetection revealed the presence of LYZL6 protein in primary spermatocytes and round spermatids of the testis and on the post-acrosomal area and midpiece of mature epididymal spermatozoa. The rLYZL6 protein exhibited antibacterial activity. From the results, Lyzls may play a role in mitochondrial function of spermatozoa and LYZL6 may contribute to the innate immunity of the male genital tract.
PMCID: PMC3854060  PMID: 24013621
antibacterial properties; c-type lysozyme genes (Lyzls); expression characterisation; human LYZL6; testosterone
16.  Low Concentrations of Corticosterone Exert Stimulatory Effects on Macrophage Function in a Manner Dependent on Glucocorticoid Receptors 
Endogenous glucocorticoids (GCs) have both stimulatory and suppressive effects on immune cells depending on the concentration. However, the mechanisms underlying the stimulatory effects of GCs remain elusive. Rat peritoneal macrophages were treated with different concentrations of corticosterone (0, 30 nM, 150 nM, and 3 μM). To inhibit the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activity, macrophages were preincubated with the GR antagonist RU486 (mifepristone, 10 μM) for 30 min before treatment with corticosterone (150 nM). In the absence of immune stimuli, the chemotactic and phagocytic activities of macrophages were markedly enhanced by low concentrations of corticosterone (30 and 150 nM) when compared with vehicle-treated controls. However, these effects were not observed at a high concentration of corticosterone (3 μM). Furthermore, blocking GR activity inhibited 150 nM corticosterone-enhanced chemotaxis and phagocytosis of macrophages. Meanwhile, after treatment with corticosterone (150 nM) for 1 h and 3 h, GR protein expression increased to 1.4- and 2.2-fold, respectively, compared to untreated macrophages. These effects were inhibited by RU486. However, mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) protein expression was not influenced by 150 nM corticosterone. These results demonstrate that low concentrations of corticosterone exert stimulatory effects on macrophage function in the absence of immune stimuli, and GR is at least partially responsible for these effects.
PMCID: PMC3806411  PMID: 24194757
17.  Association between CD14 Promoter -159C/T Polymorphism and the Risk of Sepsis and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71237.
Recent studies on the association between CD14-159C/T polymorphism and sepsis showed inconclusive results. Accordingly, we conducted a comprehensive literature search and a meta-analysis to determine whether the CD14-159C/T polymorphism conferred susceptibility to sepsis or was associated with increased risk of death from sepsis.
Data were collected from the following electronic databases: PubMed, Embase, Medline, Web of Knowledge, and HuGE Navigator, with the last report up to June 15, 2012. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to assess the strength of association. We summarized the data on the association between CD14-159C/T polymorphism and sepsis in the overall population and subgroup by ethnicity and sepsis subtype.
Principal Findings
A total of 16 studies on sepsis morbidity (1369 cases and 2382 controls) and 4 studies on sepsis mortality (731 sepsis patients) met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. Overall analysis showed no strong evidences of association with sepsis susceptibility under any genetic model. However, slight associations were found in Asian populations (dominant model: OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 0.96–1.98, P = 0.08) and septic shock patients (dominant model: OR = 1.72, 95%CI 1.05–2.83, P = 0.03; allelic model: OR = 1.52, 95%CI 1.09–2.12, P = 0.01) in the stratified analysis. Moreover, there was borderline association between CD14-159C/T and sepsis mortality under the dominant genetic model (OR = 1.44, 95%CI = 0.98–2.11, P = 0.06).
This meta-analysis suggests that the CD14-159C/T polymorphism may not be a significant susceptibility factor in the risk of sepsis and mortality. Only weak associations were observed in Asian populations and septic shock patients. More studies based on larger sample sizes and homogeneous sepsis patients are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3747171  PMID: 23990939
18.  Draft Genome Sequence of Bacillus pumilus BA06, a Producer of Alkaline Serine Protease with Leather-Dehairing Function 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(23):6668-6669.
Bacillus pumilus BA06 was isolated from the proteinaceous soil and produced an extracellular alkaline protease with leather-dehairing function. The genome of BA06 was sequenced. The comparative genome analysis indicated that strain BA06 is different in genome from the other B. pumilus strains, with limited insertions, deletions, and rearrangements.
PMCID: PMC3497469  PMID: 23144411
19.  Comparative transcriptome analysis to investigate the high starch accumulation of duckweed (Landoltia punctata) under nutrient starvation 
Duckweed can thrive on anthropogenic wastewater and produce tremendous biomass production. Due to its relatively high starch and low lignin percentage, duckweed is a good candidate for bioethanol fermentation. Previous studies have observed that water devoid of nutrients is good for starch accumulation, but its molecular mechanism remains unrevealed.
This study globally analyzed the response to nutrient starvation in order to investigate the starch accumulation in duckweed (Landoltia punctata). L. punctata was transferred from nutrient-rich solution to distilled water and sampled at different time points. Physiological measurements demonstrated that the activity of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, the key enzyme of starch synthesis, as well as the starch percentage in duckweed, increased continuously under nutrient starvation. Samples collected at 0 h, 2 h and 24 h time points respectively were used for comparative gene expression analysis using RNA-Seq. A comprehensive transcriptome, comprising of 74,797 contigs, was constructed by a de novo assembly of the RNA-Seq reads. Gene expression profiling results showed that the expression of some transcripts encoding key enzymes involved in starch biosynthesis was up-regulated, while the expression of transcripts encoding enzymes involved in starch consumption were down-regulated, the expression of some photosynthesis-related transcripts were down-regulated during the first 24 h, and the expression of some transporter transcripts were up-regulated within the first 2 h. Very interestingly, most transcripts encoding key enzymes involved in flavonoid biosynthesis were highly expressed regardless of starvation, while transcripts encoding laccase, the last rate-limiting enzyme of lignifications, exhibited very low expression abundance in all three samples.
Our study provides a comprehensive expression profiling of L. punctata under nutrient starvation, which indicates that nutrient starvation down-regulated the global metabolic status, redirects metabolic flux of fixed CO2 into starch synthesis branch resulting in starch accumulation in L. punctata.
PMCID: PMC3654882  PMID: 23651472
Duckweed; Transcriptome; Bioethanol; Nutrient starvation; Starch accumulation; Metabolic flux
20.  κ-Opioid Receptor Stimulation Improves Endothelial Function in Hypoxic Pulmonary Hypertension 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e60850.
The present study was designed to investigate the effect of κ-opioid receptor stimulation with U50,488H on endothelial function and underlying mechanism in rats with hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (HPH). Chronic hypoxia-induced HPH was simulated by exposing the rats to 10% oxygen for 2 wk. After hypoxia, mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP), right ventricular pressure (RVP) and right ventricular hypertrophy index (RVHI) were measured. Relaxation of pulmonary artery in response to acetylcholine (ACh) was determined. Expression and activity of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS) and inducible NO synthase (iNOS) with NO production, total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), gp91phox expression and nitrotyrosine content were measured. The effect of U50,488H administration during chronic hypoxia was investigated. Administration of U50,488H significantly decreased mPAP and right ventricular hypertrophy as evidenced by reduction in RVP and RVHI. These effects were mediated by κ-opioid receptor. In the meantime, treatment with U50,488H significantly improved endothelial function as evidenced by enhanced relaxation in response to ACh. Moreover, U50,488H resulted in a significant increase in eNOS phosphorylation, NO content in serum, and T-AOC in pulmonary artery of HPH rats. In addition, the activity of eNOS was enhanced, but the activity of iNOS was attenuated in the pulmonary artery of chronic hypoxic rats treated with U50,488H. On the other hand, U50,488H markedly blunted HPH-induced elevation of gp91phox expression and nitrotyrosine content in pulmonary artery, and these effects were blocked by nor-BNI, a selective κ-opioid receptor antagonist. These data suggest that κ-opioid receptor stimulation with U50,488H improves endothelial function in rats with HPH. The mechanism of action might be attributed to the preservation of eNOS activity, enhancement of eNOS phosphorylation, downregulation of iNOS activity and its antioxidative/nitrative effect.
PMCID: PMC3646880  PMID: 23667430
21.  Predictors of visual outcome in eyes with choroidal neovascularization secondary to age related macular degeneration treated with intravitreal bevacizumab monotherapy 
To evaluate the predictors of visual improvement in eyes with naive choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration (CNV -AMD) treated with intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) monotherapy.
Fifty eyes with naive CNV- AMD with pretreatment best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) better than 20/200 and treated with IVB monotherapy were evaluated. Several variables including age, sex, pre-treatment BCVA, CNV type and lesion size on fluorescein angiogram as well as SD-OCT parameters including pre-treatment central macular thickness (CMT), inner-segment/outer-segment (IS/OS) junction integrity, and external limiting membrane (ELM) integrity were analyzed to predict visual outcome.
On univariate regression, pretreatment ELM damage was associated with less visual improvement after treatment (P=0.0145). However, ELM damage predicted only 10% of the visual outcome. On multivariate regression, pretreatment BCVA, IS/OS junction, and ELM integrity on SD-OCT were the significant predictors for the treatment effect and together predicted 37% of visual improvement.
Pretreatment BCVA, ELM and IS/OS junction integrity on SD-OCT are of significant value in predicting the visual improvement in naive wet AMD patients treated with IVB monotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3580252  PMID: 23549041
external limiting membrane; age-related macular degeneration; choroidal neovascularization; avastin
22.  Impact of Individual and Environmental Socioeconomic Status on Peritoneal Dialysis Outcomes: A Retrospective Multicenter Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50766.
We aimed to explore the impacts of individual and environmental socioeconomic status (SES) on the outcome of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in regions with significant SES disparity, through a retrospective multicenter cohort in China.
Overall, 2,171 incident patients from seven PD centers were included. Individual SES was evaluated from yearly household income per person and education level. Environmental SES was represented by regional gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and medical resources. Undeveloped regions were defined as those with regional GDP lower than the median. All-cause and cardiovascular death and initial peritonitis were recorded as outcome events.
Poorer PD patients or those who lived in undeveloped areas were younger and less-educated and bore a heavier burden of medical expenses. They had lower hemoglobin and serum albumin at baseline. Low income independently predicted the highest risks for all-cause or cardiovascular death and initial peritonitis compared with medium and high income. The interaction effect between individual education and regional GDP was determined. In undeveloped regions, patients with an elementary school education or lower were at significantly higher risk for all-cause death but not cardiovascular death or initial peritonitis compared with those who attended high school or had a higher diploma. Regional GDP was not associated with any outcome events.
Low personal income independently influenced all-cause and cardiovascular death, and initial peritonitis in PD patients. Education level predicted all-cause death only for patients in undeveloped regions. For PD patients in these high risk situations, integrated care before dialysis and well-constructed PD training programs might be helpful.
PMCID: PMC3511320  PMID: 23226378
23.  Hyperglycaemia Exacerbates Choroidal Neovascularisation in Mice via the Oxidative Stress-Induced Activation of STAT3 Signalling in RPE Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47600.
Choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) that occurs as a result of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes severe vision loss among elderly patients. The relationship between diabetes and CNV remains controversial. However, oxidative stress plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of both AMD and diabetes. In the present study, we investigated the influence of diabetes on experimentally induced CNV and on the underlying molecular mechanisms of CNV. CNV was induced via photocoagulation in the ocular fundi of mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. The effect of diabetes on the severity of CNV was measured. An immunofluorescence technique was used to determine the levels of oxidative DNA damage by anti-8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) antibody, the protein expression of phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (p-STAT3) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in mice with CNV. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells that had been cultured under high glucose was quantitated using the 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) method. p-STAT3 expression was examined using Western blot analysis. RT-PCR and ELISA processes were used to detect VEGF expression. Hyperglycaemia exacerbated the development of CNV in mice. Oxidative stress levels and the expression of p-STAT3 and VEGF were highly elevated both in mice and in cultured RPE cells. Treatment with the antioxidant compound N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) rescued the severity of CNV in diabetic mice. NAC also inhibited the overexpression of p-STAT3 and VEGF in CNV and in RPE cells. The JAK-2/STAT3 pathway inhibitor AG490 blocked VEGF expression but had no effect on the production of ROS in vitro. These results suggest that hyperglycaemia promotes the development of CNV by inducing oxidative stress, which in turn activates STAT3 signalling in RPE cells. Antioxidant supplementation helped attenuate the development of CNV. Thus, our results reveal a potential strategy for the treatment and prevention of diseases involving CNV.
PMCID: PMC3477109  PMID: 23094067
24.  Identification of haplotype tag single nucleotide polymorphisms within the receptor for advanced glycation end products gene and their clinical relevance in patients with major trauma 
Critical Care  2012;16(4):R131.
The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) has been considered as one of the major pattern recognition receptors and plays an important role in the development of sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction in critical illnesses. Although genetic variants of the RAGE gene have been shown to be well associated with susceptibility to some inflammatory diseases, little is known about their clinical relevance in the development of sepsis in critical ill patients.
Four genetic variants were selected from the entire RAGE gene and genotyped using pyrosequencing and polymerase chain reaction-length polymorphism methods. Association studies were performed in two independent Chinese Han populations.
Among the four genetic variants, only the rs1800625 polymorphism was significantly associated with sepsis morbidity rate and multiple organ dysfunction (MOD) scores in patients with major trauma both in Chongqing (n = 496) and Zhejiang (n = 232) districts, respectively. Results from ex vivo responsiveness of peripheral blood leukocytes indicated that the rs1800625 polymorphism was well associated with decreased production of TNFα. In addition, the rs1800625 polymorphism could significantly inhibit the promoter activities of the RAGE gene.
The rs1800625 polymorphism is a functional variant, which might be used as a relevant risk estimate for the development of sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in patients with major trauma.
PMCID: PMC3580716  PMID: 22827914
25.  Dual roles of Atg8−PE deconjugation by Atg4 in autophagy 
Autophagy  2012;8(6):883-892.
Modification of target molecules by ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like (Ubl) proteins is generally reversible. Little is known, however, about the physiological function of the reverse reaction, deconjugation. Atg8 is a unique Ubl protein whose conjugation target is the lipid phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). Atg8 functions in the formation of double-membrane autophagosomes, a central step in the well-conserved intracellular degradation pathway of macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy). Here we show that the deconjugation of Atg8−PE by the cysteine protease Atg4 plays dual roles in the formation of autophagosomes. During the early stage of autophagosome formation, deconjugation releases Atg8 from non-autophagosomal membranes to maintain a proper supply of Atg8. At a later stage, the release of Atg8 from intermediate autophagosomal membranes facilitates the maturation of these structures into fusion-capable autophagosomes. These results provide new insights into the functions of Atg8−PE and its deconjugation.
PMCID: PMC3427254  PMID: 22652539
autophagy; ubiquitin-like proteins; deconjugation; Atg4; Atg8

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