Bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation pose key challenges to the optimal performance of medical devices. In this study, we determined the attachment of selected bacterial species to hundreds of polymeric materials in a high-throughput microarray format. Using this method, we identified a group of structurally related materials comprising ester and cyclic hydrocarbon moieties that substantially reduced the attachment of pathogenic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli). Coating silicone with these ‘hit’ materials achieved up to a 30-fold (96.7%) reduction in the surface area covered by bacteria compared with a commercial silver hydrogel coating in vitro, and the same material coatings were effective at reducing bacterial attachment in vivo in a mouse implant infection model. These polymers represent a class of materials that reduce the attachment of bacteria that could not have been predicted to have this property from the current understanding of bacteria-surface interactions.
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) causes tremendous economic losses to the poultry industry. Here, we report the complete genome analysis results for a new natural recombination nephropathogenic IBV strain named SAIBK, which was isolated in the Sichuan province of China in 2005.
The aim of this study was to determine whether baseline C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and CRP kinetics predict the overall survival in metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (mNPC) patients.
A total of 116 mNPC patients from January 2006 to July 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. Serum CRP level was measured at baseline and thereafter at the start of each palliative chemotherapy cycle for all patients.
Patients with higher values of baseline CRP (≥ 3.4 mg/L) had significantly worse survival than those with lower baseline CRP values (< 3.4 mg/L). Patients were divided into four groups according to baseline CRP and CRP kinetics: (1) patients whose CRP < 3.4 mg/L and never elevated during treatment; (2) patients whose CRP < 3.4 mg/L and elevated at least one time during treatment; (3) patients whose CRP ≥ 3.4 mg/L and normalized at least one time during treatment; and (4) patients whose CRP ≥ 3.4 mg/L and never normalized during treatment. The patients were further assigned to non-elevated, elevated, normalized, and non-normalized CRP groups. Overall survival rates were significantly different among the four groups, with three-year survival rates of 68%, 41%, 33%, and 0.03% for non-elevated, elevated, normalized, and non-normalized CRP groups respectively. When compared with the non-elevated group, hazard ratios of death were 1.69, 2.57, and 10.34 in the normalized, elevated, and non-normalized groups (P < 0.001).
Baseline CRP and CRP kinetics may be useful to predict the prognosis of metastatic NPC patients treated with palliative chemotherapy and facilitate individualized treatment. A prospective study to validate this prognostic model is still needed however.
Trichinellosis is one of the most important food-borne parasitic zoonoses throughout the world. Because infected pigs are the major source of human infections, and China is becoming the largest international producer of pork, the development of a transmission-blocking vaccine to prevent swine from being infected is urgently needed for trichinellosis control in China. Our previous studies have demonstrated that specific Trichinella spiralis paramyosin (Ts-Pmy) and Ts-87 antigen could provide protective immunity against T. spiralis infection in immunized mice. Certain protective epitopes of Ts-Pmy and Ts-87 antigen have been identified. To identify more Ts-Pmy protective epitopes, a new monoclonal antibody, termed 8F12, was produced against the N-terminus of Ts-Pmy. This antibody elicited significant protective immunity in mice against T. spiralis infection by passive transfer and was subsequently used to screen a random phage display peptide library to identify recognized epitopes. Seven distinct positive phage clones were identified and their displayed peptides were sequenced. Synthesized epitope peptides conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin were used to immunize mice, four of which exhibited larval reduction (from 18.7% to 26.3%, respectively) in vaccinated mice in comparison to the KLH control. To increase more effective protection, the epitope 8F7 that was found to induce the highest protection in this study was combined with two other previously identified epitopes (YX1 from Ts-Pmy and M7 from Ts-87) to formulate a multi-epitope vaccine. Mice immunized with this multi-epitope vaccine experienced a 35.0% reduction in muscle larvae burden after being challenged with T. spiralis larvae. This protection is significantly higher than that induced by individual-epitope peptides and is associated with high levels of subclasses IgG and IgG1. These results showed that a multi-epitope vaccine induced better protective immunity than an individual epitope and provided a feasible approach for developing a safer and more effective vaccine against trichinellosis.
Duloxetine, a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, and celecoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, are commonly used analgesics for persistent pain, however with moderate gastrointestinal side effects or analgesia tolerance. One promising analgesic strategy is to give a combined prescription, allowing the maximal or equal efficacy with fewer side effects. In the current study, the efficacy and side effects of combined administration of duloxetine and celecoxib were tested in the mouse formalin pain model. The subcutaneous (s.c.) injection of formalin into the left hindpaw induced significant somatic and emotional pain evaluated by the biphasic spontaneous flinching of the injected hindpaw and interphase ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during the 1 h after formalin injection, respectively. Pretreatment with intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of duloxetine or celecoxib at 1 h before formalin injection induced the dose-dependent inhibition on the second but not first phase pain responses. Combined administration of duloxetine and celecoxib showed significant analgesia for the second phase pain responses. Combination analgesia on the first phase was observed only with higher dose combination. A statistical difference between the theoretical and experimental ED50 for the second phase pain responses was observed, which indicated synergistic interaction of the two drugs. Concerning the emotional pain responses revealed with USVs, we assumed that the antinociceptive effects were almost completely derived from duloxetine, since celecoxib was ineffective when administered alone or reduced the dosage of duloxetine when given in combination. Based on the above findings, acute concomitant administration of duloxetine and celecoxib showed synergism on the somatic pain behavior but not emotional pain behaviors.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 4Z1, a novel CYP4 family member, is over-expressed in human mammary carcinoma and associated with high-grade tumors and poor prognosis. However, the precise role of CYP4Z1 in tumor progression is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that CYP4Z1 overexpression promotes tumor angiogenesis and growth in breast cancer. Stable expression of CYP4Z1 in T47D and BT-474 human breast cancer cells significantly increased mRNA expression and production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, and decreased mRNA levels and secretion of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2), without affecting cell proliferation and anchorage-independent cell growth in vitro. Notably, the conditioned medium from CYP4Z1-expressing cells enhanced proliferation, migration and tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and promoted angiogenesis in the zebrafish embryo and chorioallantoic membrane of the chick embryo. In addition, there were lower levels of myristic acid and lauric acid, and higher contents of 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE) in CYP4Z1-expressing T47D cells compared with vector control. CYP4Z1 overexpression significantly increased tumor weight and microvessel density by 2.6-fold and 1.9-fold in human tumor xenograft models, respectively. Moreover, CYP4Z1 transfection increased the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt, while PI3K or ERK inhibitors and siRNA silencing reversed CYP4Z1-mediated changes in VEGF-A and TIMP-2 expression. Conversely, HET0016, an inhibitor of the CYP4 family, potently inhibited the tumor-induced angiogenesis with associated changes in the intracellular levels of myristic acid, lauric acid and 20-HETE. Collectively, these data suggest that increased CYP4Z1 expression promotes tumor angiogenesis and growth in breast cancer partly via PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2 activation.
Cytochrome P450; Angiogenesis; VEGF-A; TIMP-2; Breast cancer
Dendritic cells (DCs) are highly efficient, specialized antigen-presenting cells and DCs transfected with tumor-related antigens are regarded as promising vaccines in cancer immunotherapy. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether DCs co-transfected with the α-fetoprotein (AFP) and human interleukin-2 (IL-2) genes were able to induce stronger therapeutic antitumor immunity in transfected DCs. In this study, DCs from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients were co-transfected with the IL-2 gene and/or the AFP gene. The reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) data revealed that the DCs transfected with the adenovirus AdAFP/IL-2 expressed AFP and IL-2. The DCs co-transfected with IL-2 and AFP (AFP/IL-2-DCs) enhanced the cytotoxicities of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and increased the production of IL-2 and interferon-γ significantly compared with their AFP-DC, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-DC, DC or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) counterparts. In vivo data suggested that immunization with AFP-DCs enhances antigen-specific antitumor efficacy more potently than immunization with IL-2-DCs or AFP-DCs. These findings provide a potential strategy to improve the efficacy of DC-based tumor vaccines.
dendritic cells; cytotoxic T lymphocytes; immunotherapy; α-fetoprotein; IL-2
Gene-modified cell vaccines are the best way to achieve the immunotherapy for all types of acute leukemia. In this study, the recombinant eukaryotic expression vector (pDisplay-HSP70) of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) was constructed by amplifying the whole BCG HSP70 gene using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sub-cloning into the polyclone endonuclease sites in pDisplay. Then the HL-60 cell vaccine expressing the protein onto the cell surface was prepared by lipofectamine transfection and its anti-tumor effect and mechanism were further studied. Results showed that the fragment of BCG HSP70 was consistent with Mycobacterium tuberculosis HSP70 gene published in GeneBank. DNA sequencing showed that the recombinant vector was correctly constructed and named pDisplay-HSP70. After BCG HSP70 gene transfection, the yellow-green fluorescence on the HL-60 cells surface was observed under a fluorescence microscope. The immunogenicity of HSP70-transfected HL-60 cells exhibited upregulated proliferation of lymphocytes, increased cytokine secretion (IFN-γ) and enhanced killing activity. These results suggested that gene transfection of BCG HSP70 could significantly enhance the immunogenicity of HL-60 cells. It may be used as a suitable candidate gene-modified cell vaccine for cancer immunotherapy.
BCG; Heat shock protein 70; gene transfection; HL-60; cancer vaccine
Designing materials to control biology is an intense focus of biomaterials and regenerative medicine research. Discovering and designing materials with appropriate biological compatibility or active control of cells and tissues is being increasingly undertaken using high throughput synthesis and assessment methods. We report a relatively simple but powerful machine-learning method of generating models that link microscopic or molecular properties of polymers or other materials to their biological effects. We illustrate the potential of these methods by developing the first robust, predictive, quantitative, and purely computational models of adhesion of human embryonic stem cell embryoid bodies (hEB) to the surfaces of a 496-member polymer micro array library.
We have developed structure/toxicity relationships for amorphous silica nanoparticles (NPs) synthesized through low temperature, colloidal (e.g. Stöber silica) or high temperature pyrolysis (e.g. fumed silica) routes. Through combined spectroscopic and physical analyses, we have determined the state of aggregation, hydroxyl concentration, relative proportion of strained and unstrained siloxane rings, and potential to generate hydroxyl radicals for Stöber and fumed silica NPs with comparable primary particle sizes (16-nm in diameter). Based on erythrocyte hemolytic assays and assessment of the viability and ATP levels in epithelial and macrophage cells, we discovered for fumed silica an important toxicity relationship to post-synthesis thermal annealing or environmental exposure, whereas colloidal silicas were essentially non-toxic under identical treatment conditions. Specifically, we find for fumed silica a positive correlation of toxicity with hydroxyl concentration and its potential to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cause red blood cell hemolysis. We propose fumed silica toxicity stems from its intrinsic population of strained three-membered rings (3MRs) along with its chain-like aggregation and hydroxyl content. Hydrogen-bonding and electrostatic interactions of the silanol surfaces of fumed silica aggregates with the extracellular plasma membrane cause membrane perturbations sensed by the Nalp3 inflammasome, whose subsequent activation leads to secretion of the cytokine IL-1β. Hydroxyl radicals generated by the strained 3MRs in fumed silica but largely absent in colloidal silicas may contribute to the inflammasome activation. Formation of colloidal silica into aggregates mimicking those of fumed silica had no effect on cell viability or hemolysis. This study emphasizes that not all amorphous silica is created equal and that the unusual toxicity of fumed silica compared to colloidal silica derives from its framework and surface chemistry along with its fused chain-like morphology established by high temperature synthesis (>1300°C) and rapid thermal quenching.
silica nanoparticle; siloxane; silanol; toxicity; Nalp3 inflammasome
Objective: To investigate the inhibitory effect of plasmid-based survivin-specific short hairpin RNA and GRIM-19 on the growth of Hep-2 laryngeal cancer cells. Methods: The plasmid expressing survivin-specific short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and GRIM-19 (p-siRNA survivin/GRIM-19) was prepared and transfected into Hep-2 cells with Lipofectamine 2000. The mRNA and protein expression of surviving and GRIM-19 were measured with RT-PCR and western blot assay, respectively. MTT assay was employed to detect the proliferation of Hep-2 cells, and flow cytometry and AO/EB assay were done to determine the apoptosis of Hep-2 cells. Results: In the p-siRNA survivin/GRIM-19, the mRNA and protein expression of survivin was markedly reduced by 54.4% and 42.2%, and the reduction in protein expression of surviving was more obvious than that in the p-siRNA survivin group (37%) (P<0.05). The protein expression of GRIM-19 was markedly enhanced when compared with the control group (P<0.01). MTT assay revealed the proliferation of Hep-2 cells undergoing transfection with p-siRNA survivin/GRIM-19 was markedly inhibited, and the inhibition rate was as high as 79%, which was higher than that in the psi-survivin group (45%) and p-GRIM-19 group (35%). AO/EB assay and flow cytometry indicated that the apoptotic cells in the p-siRNA survivin/GRIM-19 group were dramatically increased as compared to the psi-survivin group and p-GRIM-19 group. Conclusion: The p-siRNA survivin/GRIM-19 has marked decrease in survivin expression and dramatic increase in GRIM-19 expression. Moreover, silencing of survivin and over-expression of GRIM-19 can significantly inhibit the growth and induce the apoptosis of Hep-2 in vitro and in vivo.
Co-expression plasmid; gene silencing; survivin; laryngeal cancer
Aim: To compare maternal, and neonatal outcomes in IVF/ICSI and spontaneously conceived dichorionic twin pregnancy. Method: We collected data regarding dichorionic twin pregnancies following in vitro fertilization/ intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI, n=162) with the transfer of fresh embryos as well as data regarding spontaneously conceived pregnancies (n=213) delivered after 28 weeks of gestation at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renmin Hospital in Wuhan in the years of 2010-2013. We then compared maternal and neonatal outcomes between IVF/ICSI and spontaneous dichorionic twin pregnancies, with a subgroup analysis separating traditional IVF from ICSI pregnancies. Odds ratios (OR) for associations between IVF/ICSI and pregnancy outcomes were adjusted for maternal factors. Results: The mean maternal age and the percentage of primiparous women were significantly higher in the IVF/ICSI group. Multivariate analysis revealed that maternal outcomes were comparable in both groups with/without adjustment for maternal age and parity. However, IVF/ICSI twins were less likely to have birth weight discordance than those spontaneously conceived (unadjusted OR=0.526, 95% CI 0.297-0.932; adjusted OR=0.486, 95% CI 0.255-0.856). In subgroup analyses, these associations were confirmed in the IVF (adjusted OR=0.496, 95% CI 0.265-0.926), but not in the ICSI group (adjusted OR=0.500, 95% CI 0.139-1.807). Conclusion: IVF/ICSI treatment was not a risk factor for adverse maternal neonatal outcomes, but the risk for birth weight discordance is lower among IVF/ICSI twins.
In vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection; dichorionic twin pregnancy; maternal outcome; neonatal outcome
Camellia, comprising more than 200 species, is a valuable economic commodity due to its enormously popular commercial products: tea leaves, flowers, and high-quality edible oils. It is the largest and most important genus in the family Theaceae. However, phylogenetic resolution of the species has proven to be difficult. Consequently, the interspecies relationships of the genus Camellia are still hotly debated. Phylogenomics is an attractive avenue that can be used to reconstruct the tree of life, especially at low taxonomic levels.
Seven complete chloroplast (cp) genomes were sequenced from six species representing different subdivisions of the genus Camellia using Illumina sequencing technology. Four junctions between the single-copy segments and the inverted repeats were confirmed and genome assemblies were validated by PCR-based product sequencing using 123 pairs of primers covering preliminary cp genome assemblies. The length of the Camellia cp genome was found to be about 157kb, which contained 123 unique genes and 23 were duplicated in the IR regions. We determined that the complete Camellia cp genome was relatively well conserved, but contained enough genetic differences to provide useful phylogenetic information. Phylogenetic relationships were analyzed using seven complete cp genomes of six Camellia species. We also identified rapidly evolving regions of the cp genome that have the potential to be used for further species identification and phylogenetic resolution.
In this study, we wanted to determine if analyzing completely sequenced cp genomes could help settle these controversies of interspecies relationships in Camellia. The results demonstrate that cp genome data are beneficial in resolving species definition because they indicate that organelle-based “barcodes”, can be established for a species and then used to unmask interspecies phylogenetic relationships. It reveals that phylogenomics based on cp genomes is an effective approach for achieving phylogenetic resolution between Camellia species.
Ingenol-3–angelate (I3A) is a non-tumor promoting phorbol ester-like compound identified in the sap of Euphoria peplus. Similar to tumor promoting phorbol esters, I3A is a diacylglycerol (DAG) analogue that binds with high affinity to the C1 domains of PKCs, recruits PKCs to cellular membranes and promotes enzyme activation. Numerous anti-cancer activities have been attributed to I3A and ascribed to I3A’s effects on PKCs. We show here that I3A also binds to and activates members of the RasGRP family of Ras activators leading to robust elevation of Ras-GTP and engagement of the Raf-Mek-Erk kinase cascade. In response to I3A, recombinant proteins consisting of GFP fused separately to full-length RasGRP1 and RasGRP3 were rapidly recruited to cell membranes, consistent with direct binding of the compound to RasGRP’s C1 domain. In the case of RasGRP3, IA3 treatment led to positive regulatory phosphorylation on T133 and activation of the candidate regulatory kinase PKCδ. I3A treatment of select B non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cell lines resulted in quantitative and qualitative changes in Bcl-2 family member proteins and induction of apoptosis, as previously demonstrated with the DAG analogue bryostatin 1 and its synthetic analogue pico. Our results offer further insights into the anticancer properties of I3A, support the idea that RasGRPs represent potential cancer therapeutic targets along with PKC, and expand the known range of ligands for RasGRP regulation.
In China during March 4–April 28, 2013, avian influenza A(H7N9) virus testing was performed on 20,739 specimens from patients with influenza-like illness in 10 provinces with confirmed human cases: 6 (0.03%) were positive, and increased numbers of unsubtypeable influenza-positive specimens were not seen. Careful monitoring and rapid characterization of influenza A(H7N9) and other influenza viruses remain critical.
influenza; avian influenza; avian influenza A(H7N9) virus; H7N9; subtype H7N9; China; influenza-like illness; surveillance; viruses
Fusarium wilt, caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), is one of the most destructive diseases of banana. Toxins produced by Foc have been proposed to play an important role during the pathogenic process. The objectives of this study were to investigate the contamination of banana with toxins produced by Foc, and to elucidate their role in pathogenesis.
Twenty isolates of Foc representing races 1 and 4 were isolated from diseased bananas in five Chinese provinces. Two toxins were consistently associated with Foc, fusaric acid (FA) and beauvericin (BEA). Cytotoxicity of the two toxins on banana protoplast was determined using the Alamar Blue assay. The virulence of 20 Foc isolates was further tested by inoculating tissue culture banana plantlets, and the contents of toxins determined in banana roots, pseudostems and leaves. Virulence of Foc isolates correlated well with toxin deposition in the host plant. To determine the natural occurrence of the two toxins in banana plants with Fusarium wilt symptoms, samples were collected before harvest from the pseudostems, fruit and leaves from 10 Pisang Awak ‘Guangfen #1’ and 10 Cavendish ‘Brazilian’ plants. Fusaric acid and BEA were detected in all the tissues, including the fruits.
The current study provides the first investigation of toxins produced by Foc in banana. The toxins produced by Foc, and their levels of contamination of banana fruits, however, were too low to be of concern to human and animal health. Rather, these toxins appear to contribute to the pathogenicity of the fungus during infection of banana plants.
Pure culture of magnetotactic bacteria with high magnetosome yield has been achieved for only a few strains. The major obstacles involve the nutritional requirements and culture conditions of the cells. To increase cell density and magnetosome production, it is necessary to elucidate the physiological characteristics of a particular strain during cell growth and develop an appropriate artificial control strategy. Large-scale culture of Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense strain MSR-1 was successfully performed for 48 h in a 42-L autofermentor, and several key physiological parameters were measured in real time. Maximal values of cell density (OD565) (19.4) and cell yield (dry weight) (4.76 g/L) were attained at 40 h. The key time point for cell growth and magnetosome formation was found to be 18–20 h. At this point, cells entered the log phase of growth, the maximal values of Cmag (1.78), iron content (0.47%), and magnetosome number (26 ± 3 per cell) were observed, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity began to decrease more rapidly, ATP content dropped to an extremely low level (0.17 fmol), and reducing power (NADH/NAD+ ratio) began to increase very rapidly. Excessive levels of dissolved oxygen (≥20 ppb) and lactic acid in the medium caused notable cytotoxic effects after 20 h. Artificial control measures for fermentation must be based on realistic cell physiological conditions. At the key time point (18–20 h), cell density is high and magnetosomes have matured. The process of magnetosome synthesis involves a high consumption of ATP and reducing power, and the cells require replenishment of nutrients prior to the 18–20 h time point. Culture conditions that effectively minimize dissolved oxygen accumulation, lactic acid content, and reducing power at this point will enhance magnetosome yield without obvious inhibition of cell growth.
Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense; submerged culture; physiological features; magnetosome synthesis; key time point
We demonstrate experimentally that a passerine exploits tail spreading to intercept the downward flow induced by its wings to facilitate the recovery of its posture. The periodic spreading of its tail by the White-eye bird exhibits a phase correlation with both wingstroke motion and body oscillation during hovering flight. During a downstroke, a White-eye's body undergoes a remarkable pitch-down motion, with the tail undergoing an upward swing. This pitch-down motion becomes appropriately suppressed at the end of the downstroke; the bird's body posture then recovers gradually to its original status. Employing digital particle-image velocimetry, we show that the strong downward flow induced by downstroking the wings serves as an external jet flow impinging upon the tail, providing a depressing force on the tail to counteract the pitch-down motion of the bird's body. Spreading of the tail enhances a rapid recovery of the body posture because increased forces are experienced. The maximum force experienced by a spread tail is approximately 2.6 times that of a non-spread tail.
bird tail; tail spreading; hovering; pitch stabilization
Embryo implantation is a highly synchronized bioprocess between an activated blastocyst and a receptive uterus. In mice, successful implantation relies on the dynamic interplay of estrogen and progesterone; however, the key mediators downstream of these hormones that act on blastocyst competency and endometrium receptivity acquisition are largely unknown. In this study, we showed that the expression of osteopontin (OPN) in mouse blastocysts is regulated by ovarian estrogen and uterine micro-environment. OPN mRNA is up-regulated in mouse blastocyst on day 4 of pregnancy, which is associated with ovarian estrogen secretion peak. Hormone treatment in vivo demonstrated that OPN expression in a blastocyst is regulated by estrogen through an estrogen receptor (ER). Our results of the delayed and activated implantation model showed that OPN expression is induced after estrogen injection. While estrogen treatment during embryo culture in vitro showed less effect on OPN expression, the tubal ligation model on day 3 of pregnancy confirmed that the regulation of estrogen on OPN expression in blastocyst might, through some specific cytokines, have existed in a uterine micro-environment. Collectively, our study presents that estrogen regulates OPN expression and it may play an important role during embryo implantation by activating blastocyst competence and facilitating the endometrium acceptable for active blastocyst.
implantation; estrogen; uterus; blastocyst; osteopontin
AIM: To investigate the effect of glycyrrhizic acid (GA) on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatocyte apoptosis in rats via a p53-dependent mitochondrial pathway.
METHODS: Forty-five male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly and equally divided into three groups, the control group, the CCl4 group, and the GA treatment group. To induce liver fibrosis in this model, rats were given a subcutaneous injection of a 40% solution of CCl4 in olive oil at a dose of 0.3 mL/100 g body weight biweekly for 8 wk, while controls received the same isovolumetric dose of olive oil by hypodermic injection, with an initial double-dose injection. In the GA group, rats were also treated with a 40% solution of CCl4 plus 0.2% GA solution in double distilled water by the intraperitoneal injection of 3 mL per rat three times a week from the first week following previously published methods, with modifications. Controls were given the same isovolumetric dose of double distilled water. Liver function parameters, such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were determined. Pathologic changes in the liver were detected by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Collagen fibers were evaluated by Sirius red staining. Hepatocyte apoptosis was investigated using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine 5-triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and the cleaved caspase-3 immunohistochemistry assay. The expression levels of p53 and apoptosis-related proteins were evaluated by immunohistochemistry or Western blotting analysis.
RESULTS: After 8 wk of treatment, GA significantly reduced serum activity of ALT (from 526.7 ± 57.2 to 342 ± 44.8, P < 0.05) and AST (from 640 ± 33.7 to 462.8 ± 30.6, P < 0.05), attenuated the changes in liver histopathology and reduced the staging score (from 3.53 ± 0.74 to 3.00 ± 0.76, P < 0.05) in CCl4-treated rats. GA markedly reduced the positive area of Sirius red and the ratio of the hepatic fibrotic region (from 7.87% ± 0.66% to 3.68% ± 0.32%, P < 0.05) compared with the CCl4 group. GA also decreased the expression level of cleaved caspase-3 compared to the CCl4 group. TUNEL assay indicated that GA significantly diminished the number of TUNEL-positive cells compared with the CCl4 group (P < 0.05). GA treatment clearly decreased the level of p53 (P < 0.05) detected by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting analysis. Compared with the CCl4 group, we also found that GA reduced the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio (P < 0.05), the expression of cleaved caspase-3 (P < 0.05), cleaved caspase-9 (P < 0.05), and inhibited cytochrome C and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (Smac) release from mitochondria to cytoplasm, i.e., GA reduced the expression level of Smac, which inhibited c-IAP1 activity (P < 0.05), ultimately inhibiting the activity of caspase-3, according to Western blotting analysis. As a result, GA suppressed activation of the caspase cascades and prevented hepatocyte apoptosis.
CONCLUSION: GA can inhibit CCl4-induced hepatocyte apoptosis via a p53-dependent mitochondrial pathway to retard the progress of liver fibrosis in rats.
P53; Apoptosis; Liver fibrosis; Glycyrrhizic acid; Mitochondria
Previous reports have demonstrated that L1cam is aberrantly expressed in various tumors. The potential role of L1cam in the progression and metastasis of gastric cancer is still not clear and needs exploring.
Expression of L1cam was evaluated in gastric cancer tissues and cell lines by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The relationship between L1cam expression and clinicopathological characteristics was analyzed. The effects of L1cam on cell proliferation, migration and invasion were investigated in gastric cancer cell lines both in vitro and in vivo. The impact of L1cam on PI3K/Akt pathway was also evaluated.
L1cam was overexpressed in gastric cancer tissues and cell lines. L1cam expression was correlated with aggressive tumor phenotype and poor overall survival in gastric cancer patients. Ectopic expression of L1cam in gastric cell lines significantly promoted cell proliferation, migration and invasion whereas knockdown of L1cam inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro as well as tumorigenesis and metastasis in vivo. The low level of phosphorylated Akt in HGC27 cells was up-regulated after ectopic expression of L1cam, whereas the high level of phosphorylated Akt in SGC7901 cells was suppressed by knockdown of L1cam. Moreover, the migration and invasion promoted by L1cam overexpression in gastric cancer cells could be abolished by either application of LY294002 (a phosphoinositide-3-kinase inhibitor) or knockdown of endogenous Akt by small interfering RNA.
Our study demonstrated that L1cam, overexpressed in gastric cancer and associated with poor prognosis, plays an important role in the progression and metastasis of gastric cancer.
L1cam; Metastasis; PI3K/Akt; Prognosis; Gastric cancer
The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) regulates sister chromatid segregation and the exit from mitosis. Selection of most APC/C substrates is controlled by coactivator subunits (either Cdc20 or Cdh1) that interact with substrate destruction motifs—predominantly the destruction (D) box and KEN box degrons. How coactivators recognize D box degrons and how this is inhibited by APC/C regulatory proteins is not defined at the atomic level. Here, from the crystal structure of S. cerevisiae Cdh1 in complex with its specific inhibitor Acm1, which incorporates D and KEN box pseudosubstrate motifs, we describe the molecular basis for D box recognition. Additional interactions between Acm1 and Cdh1 identify a third protein-binding site on Cdh1 that is likely to confer coactivator-specific protein functions including substrate association. We provide a structural rationalization for D box and KEN box recognition by coactivators and demonstrate that many noncanonical APC/C degrons bind APC/C coactivators at the D box coreceptor.
•First structure of a D box motif bound to an APC/C coactivator•Rationalization of D box and KEN box consensus sequences•Assignment of some noncanonical APC/C degrons as either degenerate D or KEN boxes•Binding site on coactivator for binding regulatory proteins and substrates
Axon degeneration initiated by trophic factor withdrawal shares many features with programmed cell death, but many prior studies discounted a role for caspases in this process, particularly Caspase-3. Recently, Caspase-6 was implicated based on pharmacological and knockdown evidence, and we report here that genetic deletion of Caspase-6 indeed provides partial protection from degeneration. However, we find at a biochemical level that Caspase-6 is activated effectively only by Caspase-3 but not other “upstream” caspases, prompting us to revisit the role of Caspase-3. In vitro, we show that genetic deletion of Caspase-3 is fully protective against sensory axon degeneration initiated by trophic factor withdrawal, but not injury-induced Wallerian degeneration, and we define a biochemical cascade from pro-survival Bcl2 family regulators to Caspase-9, then Caspase-3, and then Caspase-6. Only low levels of active Caspase-3 appear to be required, helping explain why its critical role has been obscured in prior studies. In vivo, Caspase-3 and Caspase-6 knockout mice show a delay in developmental pruning of retinocollicular axons, thereby implicating both Caspase-3 and Caspase-6 in axon degeneration that occurs as a part of normal development.
The development of dry powder inhalation (DPI) products of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remains to be a challenge due to chemical complexity and batch-to-batch variations in constituent composition. This study was to investigate the feasibility of using spray-dried corrugated particles to improve the aerodynamic performance of a TCM, Shuang-Huang-Lian (SHL), in carrier-based DPI. Particles with different surface roughness were spray-dried by the addition of leucine and concomitant manipulation of spray-drying parameters. The surface roughness was determined by atomic force microscopy, whilst the aerodynamic performance of drug particle–mannitol/lactose blends was evaluated using a next-generation pharmaceutical impactor through a Cyclohaler. Although the emission efficiency for corrugated particle-based DPI was ∼10% lower than that for smooth SHL, the fine particle fractions (FPF<4.4 μm) of 32.4–36.8% for the former were significantly higher than those of 14.7–16.2% for the latter. In particular, the FPF and fraction of drug detached from the carrier appeared not to be significantly affected by the variation in constituent composition of SHL. This study demonstrates that the use of corrugated particles in carrier-based DPI improved aerosol performance by facilitating drug detachment from the carrier, independent of variation in constituent composition, and such particles were potentially applicable to the development of SHL DPI products.
dry powder inhaler; Shuang-Huang-Lian; spray-drying; surface roughness; traditional Chinese medicine