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1.  Antioxidant activities of saponins extracted from Radix Trichosanthis: an in vivo and in vitro evaluation 
Background
Radix Trichosanthis (RT), the dry root tuber of Trichosanthis kirilowii Maxim (Cucurbitaceae), is a traditional Chinese medicine. Although a wide range of saponin pharmacological properties has been identified, to our knowledge, this may be the first report to investigate the crude saponins from RT. The purpose of this study was to delineate the antioxidant activity both in vitro and in vivo by using ethyl acetate (EtOAc), n-butanol, and the mixture of n-butanol and EtOAc fractions.
Methods
In vitro antioxidant activity was detected by using DPPH free radical, hydrogen peroxide scavenging, and reducing power assays. After pretreatment with different fractions saponins at 2 mg/kg/d and 3 mg/kg/d of crude drug, respectively, an established CCl4 induced acute cytotoxicity model was used to evaluate the in vivo antioxidant potential by detection of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malonaldehyde (MDA), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) levels.
Results
The in vitro assay showed that the antioxidant activity of all the three fractions was promising. The reducing power of the EtOAc and the mixture of n-butanol and EtOAc extracts increased in a dose dependent manner. However, both the n-butanol and the mixture of n-butanol and EtOAc fractions in low dose exhibited in a time dependent manner with prolonged reaction time. As for hydrogen peroxide scavenging capability, the n-butanol fraction mainly demonstrated a time dependent manner, whereas EtOAc fraction showed a dose dependent manner. However, in case of in vivo assay, an increase of SOD and T-AOC and decrease of MDA and LDH levels were only observed in n-butanol (2 mg/kg/d of crude drug) extracts pretreatment group.
Conclusions
RT saponins in n-butanol fraction might be a potential antioxidant candidate, as CCl4-induced oxidative stress has been found to be alleviated, which may be associated with the time dependent manner of n-butanol saponins in a low dose. Further studies will be needed to investigate the active individual components in n-butanol extract, in vivo antioxidant activities and antioxidant mechanisms.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-86
PMCID: PMC3973866  PMID: 24597831
Antioxidant; Liver; Radix trichosanthis; Radical scavenger; Saponins
2.  Pharmacological characteristics and efficacy of a novel anti-angiogenic antibody FD006 in corneal neovascularization 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14:17.
Background
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key angiogenic factors. It plays an important role in both physiologic and pathologic angiogenesis and increases permeability across the vessels. Using antibody phage display technology, we obtained a novel anti-VEGFA IgG, named as FD006. In this study, the pharmacological characteristics and efficacy of FD006 in corneal neovascularization (CoNV) were evaluated.
Results
FD006 was predicted to have similar binding mode to bevacizumab. Experimental analysis showed that the binding ability of FD006 seemed a little stronger than bevacizumab, for the EC50 of FD006 to bind VEGF analyzed by ELISA was about 0.037 μg/mL while that of bevacizumab was 0.18 μg/mL. Binding kinetics assays showed similar results that FD006 possessed 2-fold higher affinity to bind VEGF than bevacizumab due to slower dissociation rate of FD006; meanwhile, FD006 inhibited the VEGF-induced proliferation of HUVEC with an IC50 value of 0.031 ± 0.0064 μg/ml, which seemed similar or a litter better than bevacizumab (0.047 ± 0.0081 μg/ml). The subconjunctival administration of FD006, bevacizumab or dexamethasone could significantly inhibit the growth of CoNV contrasting to N.S (p < 0.01). At the early stage, FD006 showed better inhibitory effect on the growth of CoNV compared with bevacizumab (p < 0.05). Western blot analysis showed that FD006 could inhibit the expression of VEGF, VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, MMP-9 and ICAM-1, which could explain its favorable anti-angiogenic activity.
Conclusions
The pharmacological characteristics of FD006 were similar or even a little better than bevacizumab in inhibiting corneal neovascularization.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-17
PMCID: PMC3942068  PMID: 24575750
Neovascularization; Cornea; Bevacizumab; Angiogenesis; Anti-angiogenic treatment
3.  Implicit Self-Esteem Decreases in Adolescence: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89988.
Implicit self-esteem has remained an active research topic in both the areas of implicit social cognition and self-esteem in recent decades. The purpose of this study is to explore the development of implicit self-esteem in adolescents. A total of 599 adolescents from junior and senior high schools in East China participated in the study. They ranged in age from 11 to 18 years with a mean age of 14.10 (SD = 2.16). The degree of implicit self-esteem was assessed using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) with the improved D score as the index. Participants also completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (α = 0.77). For all surveyed ages, implicit self-esteem was positively biased, all ts>8.59, all ps<0.001. The simple correlation between implicit self-esteem and age was significant, r = −.25, p = 1.0×10−10. A regression with implicit self-esteem as the criterion variable, and age, gender, and age × gender interaction as predictors further revealed the significant negative linear relationship between age and implicit self-esteem, β = −0.19, t = −3.20, p = 0.001. However, explicit self-esteem manifested a reverse “U” shape throughout adolescence. Implicit self-esteem in adolescence manifests a declining trend with increasing age, suggesting that it is sensitive to developmental or age-related changes. This finding enriches our understanding of the development of implicit social cognition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089988
PMCID: PMC3934976  PMID: 24587169
4.  Alterations in the endometrium of rats, rabbits, and Macaca mulatta that received an implantation of copper/low-density polyethylene nanocomposite 
A copper/low-density polyethylene nanocomposite (nano-Cu/LDPE), a potential intrauterine device component material, has been developed from our research. A logical extension of our previous work, this study was conducted to investigate the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), substance P (SP), and substance P receptor (SP-R) in the endometrium of Sprague Dawley rats, New Zealand White rabbits, and Macaca mulatta implanted with nano-Cu/LDPE composite. The influence of the nano-Cu/LDPE composite on the morphology of the endometrium was also investigated. Animals were randomly divided into five groups: the sham-operated control group (SO group), bulk copper group (Cu group), LDPE group, and nano-Cu/LDPE groups I and II. An expression of PAI-1, SP, and SP-R in the endometrial tissues was examined by immunohistochemistry at day 30, 60, 90, and 180 postimplantation. The significant difference for PAI-1, SP, and SP-R between the nano-Cu/LDPE groups and the SO group (P<0.05) was identified when the observation period was terminated, and the changes of nano-Cu/LDPE on these parameters were less remarkable than those of the Cu group (P<0.05). The damage to the endometrial morphology caused by the nano-Cu/LDPE composite was much less than that caused by bulk copper. The nano-Cu/LDPE composite might be a potential substitute for conventional materials for intrauterine devices in the future because of its decreased adverse effects on the endometrial microenvironment.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S56756
PMCID: PMC3940689  PMID: 24596465
copper/low-density polyethylene nanocomposite; intrauterine device; side effects; endometrium
5.  Mapping of the complement C9 binding domain on Trichinella spiralis paramyosin 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:80.
Background
Trichinellosis is an important foodborne zoonosis that is distributed worldwide. Trichinella spiralis may evade host complement-mediated attack by expressing complement inhibitory proteins, such as paramyosin (Pmy). Previous studies have shown that Trichinella spiralis paramyosin (Ts-Pmy) is able to bind to the human complement component C9 to inhibit the complement activation and protect the parasite from complement-mediated attack. Further determination of the complement-binding domain on Ts-pmy will enable us to better understand the Ts-Pmy’s biofunction in the immune evasion and provide feasible approach to develop epitope-based subunit vaccine against trichinellosis.
Methods
The complement C9 binding region on Ts-Pmy was determined by expression of overlapped fragments of Ts-Pmy and their binding activities to C9. The exact binding site was further narrowed-down to a 14-amino acid peptide at C-terminus using synthesized peptides with different size of amino acid sequence. The C9 complement-binding of the 14-amino acid peptide and its interference in the C9 polymerization and the complement-mediated lysis of rabbit erythrocytes was investigated.
Results
The protein interaction between human C9 and native Ts-Pmy was further confirmed by immunoprecipitation with T. spiralis lysates. The fragmental expression and C9 binding assays identified that the binding region of Ts-Pmy to C9 is located within 831–885 of Ts-Pmy C-terminus. The exact binding site on Ts-Pmy to C9 was narrowed down to 14 amino acid residues (866Val-879Met) by using different sizes of synthesized peptides. In the presence of the synthesized 14-amino acid peptide, human C9 polymerization and the hemolytic activity of the human complement was inhibited.
Conclusions
Our results revealed the precise molecular basis for T. spiralis to produce Ts-Pmy as an immunomodulator to evade the attack of the host complement system as a survival mechanism.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-80
PMCID: PMC3937825  PMID: 24564979
Trichinella spiralis; Paramyosin; Immune evasion; Complement C9; Binding domain
6.  Changed trends of major causes of visual impairment in Sichuan, China from 1987 to 2006 
AIM
To study the trends of major causes of visual impairment (VI) in adults in Sichuan, China and evaluate the effect of aging on the trends.
METHODS
We used data from the National Sample Survey on Disabilities (NSSD) in Sichuan province conducted in 1987 and 2006. The age-adjusted prevalence of major causes of VI and the prevalence stratified by age in each cause were calculated and compared. The association between age and each cause of VI was also analyzed.
RESULTS
Retinal disease increased and became the second leading cause of VI in 2006 while blinding trachoma decreased markedly. Cataract and non-trachomatous corneal diseases were among the leading causes of VI in both years. We found associations between age and causes of VI, with age showing the strongest association with cataract and relatively lower associations with other causes.
CONCLUSION
In the last two decades, dramatic changes occurred in the major causes of VI with significantly increased retinal disease and decreased blinding trachoma. Aging of the population might be an important factor accounting for the changed trends of VI. Understanding the prevalence of VI, its major causes and trends over time can assist in prioritizing and developing effective interventional strategies and monitoring their impact.
doi:10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2014.01.26
PMCID: PMC3949475  PMID: 24634880
visual impairment; prevalence; trachoma; non-trachomatous corneal disease; cataract; retinal disease; glaucoma; eye trauma
7.  Evidence of a Role for CD44 and Cell Adhesion in Mediating Resistance to Lenalidomide in Multiple Myeloma: Therapeutic Implications 
Leukemia  2013;28(2):373-383.
Resistance of myeloma to lenalidomide is an emerging clinical problem, and though it has been associated in part with activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, the mediators of this phenotype remained undefined. Lenalidomide-resistant models were found to overexpress the hyaluronan (HA)-binding protein CD44, a downstream Wnt/β-catenin transcriptional target. Consistent with a role of CD44 in cell adhesion-mediated drug-resistance (CAM-DR), lenalidomide-resistant myeloma cells were more adhesive to bone marrow stroma and HA-coated plates. Blockade of CD44 with monoclonal antibodies, free HA, or CD44 knockdown reduced adhesion and sensitized to lenalidomide. Wnt/β-catenin suppression by FH535 enhanced the activity of lenalidomide, as did interleukin-6 neutralization with siltuximab. Notably, all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) down-regulated total β-catenin, cell-surface and total CD44, reduced adhesion of lenalidomide-resistant myeloma cells, and enhanced the activity of lenalidomide in a lenalidomide-resistant in vivo murine xenograft model. Finally, ATRA sensitized primary myeloma samples from patients that had relapsed and/or refractory disease after lenalidomide therapy to this immunomodulatory agent ex vivo. Taken together, our findings support the hypotheses that CD44 and CAM-DR contribute to lenalidomide-resistance in multiple myeloma, that CD44 should be evaluated as a putative biomarker of sensitivity to lenalidomide, and that ATRA or other approaches that target CD44 may overcome clinical lenalidomide resistance.
doi:10.1038/leu.2013.174
PMCID: PMC3874423  PMID: 23760401
CD44; ATRA; lenalidomide; drug-resistance
8.  CE-SELEX selection of catalytic DNA aptamers for a small molecule porphyrin target 
Analytical chemistry  2013;85(3):1525-1530.
Capillary electrophoresis-SELEX (CE-SELEX) has previously been used to select aptamers for large molecule targets such as proteins, lipopolysaccharides and peptides. For the first time, we have performed CE-SELEX selection for a small molecule target, N-methyl mesoporphyrin (NMM), with a molecular weight of only 580 g/mol. DNA aptamers with high nanomolar to low micromolar dissociation constants were achieved after only three rounds of selection. This corresponds to an >50-fold improvement in affinity over the random library. Two out of eight randomly chosen aptamers were found to catalyze the metal insertion reaction of mesoporphyrin with 1.7 and 2.0-fold rate enhancements, respectively.
doi:10.1021/ac302721j
PMCID: PMC3568998  PMID: 23234289
9.  Three-Dimensional Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography for the Diagnosis of Biliary Atresia in Infants and Neonates 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88268.
Background and Objective
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is widely accepted for visualization of the biliary system. However, the sensitivity and specificity of MRCP for the diagnosis of biliary atresia (BA) are still not fully elucidated. This study aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of three-dimensional MRCP (3D-MRCP) for BA in a large cohort of cholestatic infants and neonates.
Methods
One hundred ninety patients with infant jaundice underwent 3D-MRCP and one or more of the following: (1) intraoperative cholangiography, (2) laparoscopic exploration and pathological examination, or/and (3) clinical therapy. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the diagnostic accuracy of 3D-MRCP for BA.
Results
Our study demonstrated that 158 of 190 patients were interpreted as having BA by 3D-MRCP; of those, 103 patients were confirmed as having BA, whereas 55 patients did not have BA. Of the 32 patients interpreted as non-BA cases by 3D-MRCP, one patient was misdiagnosed. The diagnostic accuracy for 3D-MRCP was 70.53% (134 of 190), the sensitivity was 99.04% (103 of 104), the specificity was 36.05% (31 of 86), the negative predictive value was 96.88% (31 of 32), the positive predictive value was 65.19% (103 of 158), the positive likelihood ratio was 2.7473, the negative likelihood ratio was 0.0267, and the Youden index was 0.3509.
Conclusions
The sensitivity of 3D-MRCP in diagnosing BA was excellent, but the specificity was not as high as described in previous reports. 3D-MRCP can be an effective screening method but should be combined with other modalities to identify BA and distinguish it from other causes of infant jaundice.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088268
PMCID: PMC3914942  PMID: 24505457
10.  The Relationship between Drug User Stigma and Depression among Inner-City Drug Users in Baltimore, MD 
There is growing awareness of the role of stigma and discrimination in HIV prevention, testing, and medical care. Yet, few studies have examined the stigma associated with using illicit drugs. In the present study, we examined the relationship between social network characteristics, drug user stigma, and depression. Study participants were comprised of 340 individuals who reported cocaine, crack, and/or heroin use in the prior 6 months and were involved in an HIV prevention study. They were recruited through street outreach, referrals, and word of mouth in inner-city Baltimore, MD, USA. The stigma scale was comprised of eight items, such as “how much do you feel ashamed of using drugs?” Depression was assessed with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, using cutoffs of 16 and 20 or greater. In the bivariate analyses, gender, homelessness in the past 6 months, drug user stigma, larger size of drug network, and current use of heroin, cocaine, and crack were all significantly associated with high levels of depression, whereas in the multivariate analyses, only drug user stigma remained significantly associated with depression. The results of this study suggest that drug treatment providers and other professionals who provide services to drug users should consider developing trainings to address drug user stigma. These programs should focus on the attitudes and behaviors of health and service providers toward drug users, among drug users themselves, and among family members and others who provide social support to drug users.
doi:10.1007/s11524-012-9753-z
PMCID: PMC3579309  PMID: 22918839
Stigma; Depression; Drug use; Social networks; Heroin; Crack cocaine
11.  Pretreatment of Mice with Oligonucleotide prop5 Protects Them from Influenza Virus Infections 
Viruses  2014;6(2):573-581.
Influenza A virus is a successful parasite and requires host factors to complete its life cycle. Prop5 is an antisense oligonucleotide, targeting programmed cell death protein 5 (PDCD5). In this study, we tested the antiviral activity of prop5 against mouse-adapted A/FM/1/47 strain of influenza A virus in a mouse model. Prop5 intranasally administered the mice at dosages of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d at 24 h and 30 min before infection, provided 80% and 100% survival rates and prolonged mean survival days in comparison with influenza virus-infected mice (both p < 0.01). Moreover, viral titres in mice pretreated with prop5, at dose of 10 and 20 mg/kg/d, had declined significantly on day two, four, and six post-infection compared with the yields in infected mice (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01); lung index in mice pretreated with prop5 (20 mg/kg/d) had been inhibited on day six post-infection (p < 0.05). Western blotting and immunohistochemistry showed that prop5 could down-regulate the PDCD5 protein expression levels in lung tissues of infected mice. These data indicate that antisense oligonucleotide prop5 is a promising drug for prophylaxis and control influenza virus infections and provides an insight into the host-pathogen interaction.
doi:10.3390/v6020573
PMCID: PMC3939472  PMID: 24509810
influenza A virus; host factor; antisense oligonucleotide; prop5
12.  Terahertz imaging with sub-wavelength resolution by femtosecond laser filament in air 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3880.
Terahertz (THz) imaging provides cutting edge technique in biology, medical sciences and non-destructive evaluation. However, due to the long wavelength of the THz wave, the obtained resolution of THz imaging is normally a few hundred microns and is much lower than that of the traditional optical imaging. We introduce a sub-wavelength resolution THz imaging technique which uses the THz radiation generated by a femtosecond laser filament in air as the probe. This method is based on the fact that the femtosecond laser filament forms a waveguide for the THz wave in air. The diameter of the THz beam, which propagates inside the filament, varies from 20 μm to 50 μm, which is significantly smaller than the wavelength of the THz wave. Using this highly spatially confined THz beam as the probe, THz imaging with resolution as high as 20 μm (~λ/38 at 0.4 THz) can be realized.
doi:10.1038/srep03880
PMCID: PMC3900924  PMID: 24457525
13.  Prion disease tempo determined by host-dependent substrate reduction 
The symptoms of prion infection can take years or decades to manifest following the initial exposure. Molecular markers of prion disease include accumulation of the misfolded prion protein (PrPSc), which is derived from its cellular precursor (PrPC), as well as downregulation of the PrP-like Shadoo (Sho) glycoprotein. Given the overlapping cellular environments for PrPC and Sho, we inferred that PrPC levels might also be altered as part of a host response during prion infection. Using rodent models, we found that, in addition to changes in PrPC glycosylation and proteolytic processing, net reductions in PrPC occur in a wide range of prion diseases, including sheep scrapie, human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and cervid chronic wasting disease. The reduction in PrPC results in decreased prion replication, as measured by the protein misfolding cyclic amplification technique for generating PrPSc in vitro. While PrPC downregulation is not discernible in animals with unusually short incubation periods and high PrPC expression, slowly evolving prion infections exhibit downregulation of the PrPC substrate required for new PrPSc synthesis and as a receptor for pathogenic signaling. Our data reveal PrPC downregulation as a previously unappreciated element of disease pathogenesis that defines the extensive, presymptomatic period for many prion strains.
doi:10.1172/JCI72241
PMCID: PMC3904628  PMID: 24430187
14.  Wind Turbine Clutter Mitigation in Coastal UHF Radar 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:529230.
Coastal UHF radar provides a unique capability to measure the sea surface dynamic parameters and detect small moving targets, by exploiting the low energy loss of electromagnetic waves propagating along the salty and good conducting ocean surface. It could compensate the blind zone of HF surface wave radar at close range and reach further distance than microwave radars. However, its performance is susceptible to wind turbines which are usually installed on the shore. The size of a wind turbine is much larger than the wavelength of radio waves at UHF band, which results in large radar cross section. Furthermore, the rotation of blades adds time-varying Doppler frequency to the clutter and makes the suppression difficult. This paper proposes a mitigation method which is based on the specific periodicity of wind turbine clutter and performed mainly in the time-frequency domain. Field experimental data of a newly developed UHF radar are used to verify this method, and the results prove its effectiveness.
doi:10.1155/2014/529230
PMCID: PMC3914588  PMID: 24550709
15.  Twist1 induces CCL2 and recruits macrophages to promote angiogenesis 
Cancer research  2013;73(2):662-671.
The transcription factor Twist1 induces Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and extracellular matrix degradation to promote tumor metastasis. Although Twist1 also plays a role in embryonic vascular development and tumor angiogenesis, the molecular mechanisms that underlie these processes are not as well understood. Here, we report a novel function for Twist1 in modifying the tumor microenvironment to promote progression. We found that expression of Twist1 in human mammary epithelial cells potently promoted angiogenesis. Surprisingly, Twist1 expression did not increase the secretion of the common pro-angiogenic factors VEGF and bFGF, but rather induced expression of the macrophage chemoattractant CCL2. Attenuation of endogenous Twist1 in vivo blocked macrophage recruitment and angiogenesis, whereas exogenous CCL2 rescued the ability of tumor cells lacking Twist1 to attract macrophages and promote angiogenesis. Macrophage recruitment also was essential for the ability of Twist1-expressing cells to elicit a strong angiogenic response. Together, our findings show how Twist1 recruits stromal macrophages through CCL2 induction to promote angiogenesis and tumor progression. Since Twist1 expression has been associated with poor survival in many human cancers, this finding suggests that anti-CCL2 therapy may offer a rational strategy to treat Twist1-positive metastatic cancers.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-0653
PMCID: PMC3566985  PMID: 23329645
Twist1; angiogenesis; CCL2; macrophage; tumor microenvironment
16.  Prognostic relevance of Period1 (Per1) and Period2 (Per2) expression in human gastric cancer 
Period1 (Per1) and Period2 (Per2) are members of the circadian genes. Mounting evidence suggests that the deregulation of the circadian clock plays an important role in the development of mammalian cancer. However, the expression and clinical significance of Per1 and Per2 in gastric cancer is still unexplored. Here, we evaluated the expression pattern of Per1 and Per2 in 246 gastric cancer specimens and their adjacent, non-tumorous tissues using immunohistochemical assays. Per1 expression was significantly associated with clinical stage (p < 0.001), depth invasion (p < 0.001), lymph node metastasis (p < 0.001) and pathologic differentiation (p < 0.001). On the other hand, Per2 was associated with clinical stage (p = 0.021) and depth invasion (p = 0.007). Per1 expression was positively correlated with Per2 expression in the 246 gastric cancer patients (r = 0.378, p < 0.001), and the expression levels of Per1 and Per2 were down-regulated in gastric cancer tissues when compared with adjacent, non-tumorous tissues in 45 gastric cancer samples (p < 0.001, p = 0.003). Patients with lower Per1 and Per2 tumor expression had a shorter survival time than those with higher expression. Univariate and Multivariate analyses indicated that Per2 expression is an independent prognostic factor (p = 0.023). Our results demonstrate that Per1 and Per2 may play important roles in tumor development, invasion and prognosis, and Per2 may serve as a novel prognostic biomarker of human gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3925906  PMID: 24551282
Circadian clock gene; Per1; Per2; gastric cancer; expression; prognostic
17.  The Holistic Effects of Acupuncture Treatment 
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as a complex medical science which reflects philosophical principles and embodies large dialectical thought, is used to place the human body into a large system for observation. Acupuncture as a vital part of TCM, has been practiced to treat various diseases and symptoms. However, acupuncture is also facing severe challenges resulted from insufficient modern scientific research. Nowadays, the holistic effects of acupuncture can be researched by some modern approaches, such as the systems biology and fMRI technique. It is believed that having a better understand will greatly promote acupuncture research and be beneficial to scientization and modernization of acupuncture.
doi:10.1155/2014/739708
PMCID: PMC3913204  PMID: 24527051
18.  Efficacy of Metarhizium anisopliae isolate MAX-2 from Shangri-la, China under desiccation stress 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14:4.
Background
Metarhizium anisopliae, a soil-borne entomopathogen found worldwide, is an interesting fungus for biological control. However, its efficacy in the fields is significantly affected by environmental conditions, particularly moisture. To overcome the weakness of Metarhizium and determine its isolates with antistress capacity, the efficacies of four M. anisopliae isolates, which were collected from arid regions of Yunnan Province in China during the dry season, were determined at different moisture levels, and the efficacy of the isolate MAX-2 from Shangri-la under desiccation stress was evaluated at low moisture level.
Results
M. anisopliae isolates MAX-2, MAC-6, MAL-1, and MAQ-28 showed gradient descent efficacies against sterile Tenebrio molitor larvae, and gradient descent capacities against desiccation with the decrease in moisture levels. The efficacy of MAX-2 showed no significant differences at 35% moisture level than those of the other isolates. However, significant differences were found at 8% to 30% moisture levels. The efficacies of all isolates decreased with the decrease in moisture levels. MAX-2 was relatively less affected by desiccation stress. Its efficacy was almost unaffected by the decrease at moisture levels > 25%, but slowly decreased at moisture levels < 25%. By contrast, the efficacies of other isolates rapidly decreased with the decrease in moisture levels. MAX-2 caused different infection characteristics on T. molitor larvae under desiccation stress and in wet microhabitat. Local black patches were found on the cuticles of the insects, and the cadavers dried without fungal growth under desiccation stress. However, dark black internodes and fungal growth were found after death of the insects in the wet microhabitat.
Conclusions
MAX-2 showed significantly higher efficacy and superior antistress capacity than the other isolates under desiccation stress. The infection of sterile T. molitor larvae at low moisture level constituted a valid laboratory bioassay system in evaluating M. anisopliae efficacy under desiccation stress.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-4
PMCID: PMC3890646  PMID: 24383424
Biological control; Metarhizium anisopliae; Tenebrio molitor; Desiccation stress; Moisture level
19.  Voxelwise meta-analysis of gray matter anomalies in progressive supranuclear palsy and Parkinson's disease using anatomic likelihood estimation 
Numerous voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies on gray matter (GM) of patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and Parkinson's disease (PD) have been conducted separately. Identifying the different neuroanatomical changes in GM resulting from PSP and PD through meta-analysis will aid the differential diagnosis of PSP and PD. In this study, a systematic review of VBM studies of patients with PSP and PD relative to healthy control (HC) in the Embase and PubMed databases from January 1995 to April 2013 was conducted. The anatomical distribution of the coordinates of GM differences was meta-analyzed using anatomical likelihood estimation. Separate maps of GM changes were constructed and subtraction meta-analysis was performed to explore the differences in GM abnormalities between PSP and PD. Nine PSP studies and 24 PD studies were included. GM reductions were present in the bilateral thalamus, basal ganglia, midbrain, insular cortex and inferior frontal gyrus, and left precentral gyrus and anterior cingulate gyrus in PSP. Atrophy of GM was concentrated in the bilateral middle and inferior frontal gyrus, precuneus, left precentral gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, right superior parietal lobule, and right cuneus in PD. Subtraction meta-analysis indicated that GM volume was lesser in the bilateral midbrain, thalamus, and insula in PSP compared with that in PD. Our meta-analysis indicated that PSP and PD shared a similar distribution of neuroanatomical changes in the frontal lobe, including inferior frontal gyrus and precentral gyrus, and that atrophy of the midbrain, thalamus, and insula are neuroanatomical markers for differentiating PSP from PD.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00063
PMCID: PMC3927227  PMID: 24600372
progressive supranuclear palsy; Parkinson's disease; subtraction meta-analysis; anatomic likelihood estimation; voxel-based morphometry; gray matter volume
20.  Ethyl Pyruvate Ameliorates Hepatic Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury by Inhibiting Intrinsic Pathway of Apoptosis and Autophagy 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:461536.
Background. Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is a pivotal clinical problem occurring in many clinical conditions such as transplantation, trauma, and hepatic failure after hemorrhagic shock. Apoptosis and autophagy have been shown to contribute to cell death in hepatic I/R injury. Ethyl pyruvate, a stable and simple lipophilic ester, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, the purpose is to explore both the effect of ethyl pyruvate on hepatic I/R injury and regulation of intrinsic pathway of apoptosis and autophagy. Methods. Three doses of ethyl pyruvate (20 mg/kg, 40 mg/kg, and 80 mg/kg) were administered 1 h before a model of segmental (70%) hepatic warm ischemia was established in Balb/c mice. All serum and liver tissues were obtained at three different time points (4 h, 8 h, and 16 h). Results. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and pathological features were significantly ameliorated by ethyl pyruvate (80 mg/kg). The expression of Bcl-2, Bax, Beclin-1, and LC3, which play an important role in the regulation of intrinsic pathway of apoptosis and autophagy, was also obviously decreased by ethyl pyruvate (80 mg/kg). Furthermore, ethyl pyruvate inhibited the HMGB1/TLR4/ NF-κb axis and the release of cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6). Conclusion. Our results showed that ethyl pyruvate might attenuate to hepatic I/R injury by inhibiting intrinsic pathway of apoptosis and autophagy, mediated partly through downregulation of HMGB1/TLR4/ NF-κb axis and the competitive interaction with Beclin-1 of HMGB1.
doi:10.1155/2013/461536
PMCID: PMC3886226  PMID: 24453420
21.  p38 MAPK in myeloma cells regulates osteoclast and osteoblast activity and induces bone destruction 
Cancer research  2012;72(24):6393-6402.
p38 MAPK which is constitutively activated in human myeloma has been implicated in bone destruction by this cancer, but the processes it recruits are obscure. In this study, we demonstrate that p38 activity in myeloma inhibits osteoblast differentiation and bone formation but also enhances osteoclast maturation and bone resorption. p38 regulated the expression and secretion of the Wnt pathway antagonist DKK-1 and the monocyte chemoattractant MCP-1. Attenuating p38, DKK-1 or MCP-1 were each sufficient to reduce bone lesions in vivo. Although it is well known that DKK-1 inhibits osteoblast differentiation, we found that together with MCP-1 it could also promote osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption. The latter effects were mediated by enhancing expression of RANK in osteoclast progenitor cells and by upregulating secretion of its ligand RANKL from stromal cells and mature osteoblasts. In summary, our study defined the mechanisms by which p38 signaling in myeloma cells regulates osteoblastogenesis, osteoclastogenesis, and bone destruction. Our findings, which may have implications for bone invasion by other cancers where p38 is elevated, strongly suggests that targeting p38 for inhibition might offer an effective therapeutic approach to treat osteolytic bone lesions in myeloma patients.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-2664
PMCID: PMC3525770  PMID: 23066034
22.  Spatiotemporal Regulation of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition is Essential for Squamous Cell Carcinoma Metastasis 
Cancer cell  2012;22(6):725-736.
Summary
Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) is implicated in converting stationary epithelial tumor cells into motile mesenchymal cells during metastasis. However, the involvement of EMT in metastasis is still controversial due to the lack of a mesenchymal phenotype in human carcinoma metastases. Using a spontaneous squamous cell carcinoma mouse model, we show that activation of the EMT-inducing transcription factor Twist1 is sufficient to promote carcinoma cells to undergo EMT and disseminate into blood circulation. Importantly, in distant sites, turning off Twist1 to allow reversion of EMT is essential for disseminated tumor cells to proliferate and form metastases. Our study demonstrates in vivo the requirement of “reversible EMT” in tumor metastasis and may resolve the controversy on the importance of EMT in carcinoma metastasis.
doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2012.09.022
PMCID: PMC3522773  PMID: 23201165
23.  Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Derived MCP-1 Reverses the Inhibitory Effects of Multiple Myeloma Cells on Osteoclastogenesis by Upregulating the RANK Expression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82453.
Multiple myeloma (MM) cells are responsible for aberrant osteoclast (OC) activation. However, when cocultured monocytes, but not OC precursors, with MM cells, we made a novel observation that MM cells inhibited receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)-induced increase of OC differentiation, OC gene expression, signaling pathways and bone resorption activity. Our results showed that MM cells produced multiple inhibitory cytokines of osteoclastogenesis, such as IL-10, which activated STAT3 signaling and induce OC inhibition. However, cocultures of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) reversed MM-induced OC inhibition. We found that MM cells increased production of MCP-1 from BMSCs and BMSC-derived MCP-1 enhanced OC formation. Mechanistic studies showed that IL-10 downregulated RANK expression in monocytes and thus, inhibited RANKL-induced OC formation. In contrast, MCP-1 upregulated RANK expression and thus, enhanced OC formation. Overall, our studies for the first time demonstrated that MM cell have inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis by producing inhibitory cytokines. Our results further indicate that activation of osteoclastogenesis in bone marrow requests the crosstalk of MM cells, BMSCs and their produced cytokines. Thus, our studies provide evidences that targeting bone marrow microenvironmental cells and/or cytokines may be a new approach to treating MM bone destruction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082453
PMCID: PMC3858321  PMID: 24340030
24.  Neuroprotective Effect of Pseudoginsenoside-F11 on a Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease Induced by 6-Hydroxydopamine 
Pseudoginsenoside-F11 (PF11), a component of Panax quinquefolism (American ginseng), plays a lot of beneficial effects on disorders of central nervous system. In this paper, the neuroprotective effect of PF11 on Parkinson's disease (PD) and the possible mechanism were investigated in a rat PD model. PF11 was orally administered at 3, 6, and 12 mg/kg once daily for a period of 2 weeks before and 1 week after the unilateral lesion of left medial forebrain bundle (MFB) induced by 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). The results showed that PF11 markedly improved the locomotor, motor balance, coordination, and apomorphine-induced rotations in 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. The expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in substantia nigra (SN) and the content of extracellular dopamine (DA) in striatum were also significantly increased after PF11 treatment. Moreover, significant reduction in the levels of striatal extracellular hydroxyl radical (∙OH), detected as 2,3- and 2,5-dihydroxy benzoic acid (2,3- and 2,5-DHBA), and increase in the level of striatal extracellular ascorbic acid (AA) were observed in the PF11-treated groups compared with 6-OHDA-lesioned rats. Taken together, we propose that PF11 has potent anti-Parkinson property possibly through inhibiting free radical formation and stimulating endogenous antioxidant release.
doi:10.1155/2013/152798
PMCID: PMC3872412  PMID: 24386001
25.  Combination Therapy of Ursodeoxycholic Acid and Corticosteroids for Primary Biliary Cirrhosis with Features of Autoimmune Hepatitis: A Meta-Analysis 
A meta-analysis was performed of RCTs comparing therapies that combine UDCA and corticosteroids with UDCA monotherapy. In this paper, we found that the combination therapy of UDCA and corticosteroids was more effective for PBC-AIH.
doi:10.1155/2013/490731
PMCID: PMC3867832  PMID: 24369456

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