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1.  Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release channel ryanodine receptor (RyR2) plays a crucial role in aconitine-induced arrhythmias 
Biochemical pharmacology  2008;75(11):2147-2156.
The present study established a model of RyR2 knockdown cardiomyocytes and elucidated the role of RyR2 in aconitine-induced arrhythmia. Cardiomyocytes were obtained from hearts of neonatal Sprague–Dawlay rats. siRNAs were used to down-regulate RyR2 expression. Reduction of RyR2 expression was documented by RT-PCR, western blot, and immunofluorescence. Ca2+ signals were investigated by measuring the relative intracellular Ca2+ concentration, spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations, caffeine-induced Ca2+ release, and L-type Ca2+ currents. In normal cardiomyocytes, steady and periodic spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations were observed, and the baseline [Ca2+]i remained at the low level. Exposure to 3 μM aconitine increased the frequency and decreased the amplitude of Ca2+ oscillations; the baseline [Ca2+]i and the level of caffeine-induced Ca2+ release were increased but the L-type Ca2+ currents were inhibited after application of 3 μM aconitine for 5 min. In RyR2 knockdown cardiomyocytes, the steady and periodic spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations almost disappeared, but were re-induced by aconitine without affecting the baseline [Ca2+]i level; the level of caffeine-induced Ca2+ release was increased but L-type Ca2+ currents were inhibited. Alterations of RyR2 are important consequences of aconitine-stimulation and activation of RyR2 appear to have a direct relationship with aconitine-induced arrhythmias. The present study demonstrates a potential method for preventing aconitine-induced arrhythmias by inhibiting Ca2+ leakage through the sarcoplasmic reticulum RyR2 channel.
doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2008.02.027
PMCID: PMC4280015  PMID: 18439986
RyR2; Knockdown; Aconitine; Arrhythmia; Excitation–contraction coupling
2.  Zinc finger protein 139 expression in gastric cancer and its clinical significance 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(48):18346-18353.
AIM: To investigate the expression of zinc finger protein 139 (ZNF139) in gastric cancer (GC), and to analyze its clinical significance.
METHODS: A total of 108 patients who were diagnosed with GC and underwent surgery between January 2005 and March 2007 were enrolled in this study. Gastric tumor specimens and paired tumor-adjacent tissues were collected and paraffin-embedded, and the clinicopathologic characteristics and prognosis were recorded. The expression of ZNF139, Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 were determined by immunohistochemistry, and apoptosis was assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling. SPSS 13.0 software was used for data processing and analyses, and significance was determined at P < 0.05.
RESULTS: The expression of ZNF139 was stronger in tumors than in tumor-adjacent tissues (66.67% vs 44.44%; P < 0.01). Overexpression of ZNF139 correlated with tumor differentiation, invasion depth, clinical stage, lymphatic metastasis, and blood vessel invasion (all Ps < 0.05). Patients with overexpression of ZNF139 had a poorer prognosis (P < 0.01), and overexpression of ZNF139 was an independent factor for the prognosis of GC patients by a Cox survival analysis (P = 0.02). A negative relationship between ZNF139 and the apoptosis index was observed (r = -0.686; P < 0.01). The expression of Bcl-2 in GC was stronger than in tumor-adjacent tissues (66.67% vs 41.67%), whereas the expression levels of Bax and caspase-3 were lower in primary tumors (54.63% and 47.22%, respectively) than in tumor-adjacent tissues (73.15% and 73.15%, respectively) (all Ps < 0.05). The expression of ZNF139 negatively correlated with caspase-3 (r = -0.370; P < 0.01). The expressions of Bcl-2 and Bax were also negatively correlated (r = -0.231; P = 0.02). The expressions of caspase-3 and Bax protein were positively correlated (r = 0.217; P = 0.024).
CONCLUSION: ZNF139 is related to clinicopathologic characteristics and prognosis of GC. Furthermore, it is overexpressed and involved in apoptosis in GC tissues by regulating caspase-3.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i48.18346
PMCID: PMC4277971  PMID: 25561801
Apoptosis; Clinicopathologic characteristics; Gastric cancer; Prognosis; Zinc finger protein 139
3.  Examination of genetic variants involved in generation and biodisposition of kinins in patients with angioedema 
Background
Angioedema (AE) is idiopathic in the majority of cases. We studied patients with AE for genetic variants of proteins involved with bradykinin generation and biodisposition.
Methods
One hundred sixty one patients with AE were recruited at a university hospital clinic. Patients were categorized according to the proposed pathogenesis of AE: low C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) and C4 levels, autoimmune disease, cancer, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor-induced, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced, or idiopathic. In addition, each patient had a blood sample analyzed for a complement profile and enzymes (C1-INH and C4). Fifty-two of the patients were tested for genetic variants in factor XII, plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), ACE, and aminopeptidase P (APP).
Results
The cause of angioedema was identified in 59/161 (37%) of the cases: 3 (2%) patients had a low plasma C1-INH and C4; 20 (12%) were ACE inhibitor-induced; 12 (7%) were associated with autoimmune disorders; 7 (4%) were associated with malignancy; and 17 (11%) were associated with NSAIDs. In the remaining 102 (63%) patients the cause of angioedema was idiopathic. Of 52 patients with genetic analysis, 13 (25%) had a genetic variant in APP, 10 (19%) in ACE, 13 (25%) in PAI-1, and 0 in Factor XII.
Conclusions
In addition to related diseases and medications causing AE, certain genetic variants encoding proteins involved in bradykinin generation and/or catabolism pathways may be involved in the pathogenesis of AE.
doi:10.1186/s13223-014-0060-y
PMCID: PMC4323216  PMID: 25670937
Angioedema; Plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1; Aminopeptidase P; Angiotensin-converting enzyme; Factor XII
4.  ALLOSTERY AND SUBSTRATE CHANNELING IN THE TRYPTOPHAN SYNTHASE BIENZYME COMPLEX: EVIDENCE FOR TWO SUBUNIT CONFORMATIONS AND FOUR QUATERNARY STATES 
Biochemistry  2013;52(37):6396-6411.
The allosteric regulation of substrate channeling in tryptophan synthase involves ligand-mediated allosteric signaling that switches the α- and β-subunits between open (low activity) and closed (high activity) conformations. This switching prevents the escape of the common intermediate, indole, and synchronizes the α- and β-catalytic cycles. 19F NMR studies of bound α-site substrate analogues, N-(4’-trifluoromethoxybenzoyl)-2-aminoethyl phosphate (F6) and N-(4’-trifluoromethoxybenzenesulfonyl)-2-aminoethyl phosphate (F9), were found to be sensitive NMR probes of β-subunit conformation. Both the internal and external aldimine F6 complexes gave a single bound peak at the same chemical shift, while α-aminoacrylate and quinonoid F6 complexes all gave a different bound peak shifted by +1.07 ppm. The F9 complexes exhibited similar behavior, but with a corresponding shift of -0.12 ppm. X-ray crystal structures show the F6 and F9 CF3 groups located at the α-β subunit interface and report changes in both the ligand conformation and the surrounding protein microenvironment. Ab initio computational modeling suggests that the change in 19F chemical shift results primarily from changes in the α-site ligand conformation. Structures of α-aminoacrylate F6 and F9 complexes and quinonoid F6 and F9 complexes show the α- and β-subunits have closed conformations wherein access of ligands into the α- and β-sites from solution is blocked. Internal and external aldimine structures show the α- and β-subunits with closed and open global conformations, respectively. These results establish that β-subunits exist in two global conformation states, designated open, where the β-sites are freely accessible to substrates, and closed, where the β-site portal into solution is blocked. Switching between these conformations is critically important for the αβ-catalytic cycle.
doi:10.1021/bi400795e
PMCID: PMC4254854  PMID: 23952479
5.  Microtubule-Associated Protein 1 Light Chain 3 Interacts with and Contributes to Growth Inhibiting Effect of PML 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113089.
Previously we reported that the expression of promyelocytic leukemia (PML)-retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARα) fusion gene, which is caused by specific translocation (15;17) in acute promyelocytic leukemia, can enhance constitutive autophagic activity in leukemic and nonleukemic cells, and PML overexpression can sequestrate part of microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) protein in PML nuclear bodies, suggesting that LC3 protein also distributes into nuclei although it is currently thought to function primarily in the cytoplasm, the site of autophagosomal formation. However, its potential significance of nucleoplasmic localizations remains greatly elusive. Here we demonstrate that PML interacts with LC3 in a cell type-independent manner as assessed by Co-IP assay and co-localization observation. Overexpressed PML significantly coprecipitates with endogenous and nuclear LC3 protein. Furthermore, a fraction of endogenous PML protein is found to be co-localized with LC3 protein under steady state condition, which is further enhanced by IFNα induction, indicating that PML up-regulation potentiates this interaction. Additionally, DsRed-PML associates with EGFP-LC3 during telophase and G1 phase but not in metaphase and anaphase. Two potential LC3-interacting region (LIR) motifs in PML are required for interaction of PML with LC3 while this association is independent of autophagic activity. Finally, we show that interaction between PML and LC3 contributes to cell growth inhibition function of PML. Considering that PML is an important tumor suppressor, we propose that nuclear portion of LC3 protein may associate with PML to control cell growth for prevention and inhibition of cancer occurrence and development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113089
PMCID: PMC4242537  PMID: 25419843
6.  High Peritoneal Transport Status Was Not Associated with Mortality in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients with Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110445.
Background
Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients with diabetes are at increased risk of mortality and high peritoneal transporters appear to contribute to poor survival. However, little is known about the combined impacts of high peritoneal transporters and diabetes on mortality.
Methods
This was a prospective observational cohort study. 776 incident CAPD patients were enrolled. Unadjusted and adjusted Cox proportional regression models were used to evaluate the association and interaction of peritoneal transport and diabetic status with mortality
Results
In the entire cohort, high peritoneal transport status was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in unadjusted model [hazard ratio (HR) 2.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30 to 4.25, P = 0.01], but this association was not significant in multivariable model. There was an interaction between peritoneal membrane transport status and diabetes (P = 0.028). Subgroup analyses showed that compared to low and low average transporters, high transporters was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 1.78, 95% CI 1.07 to 4.70, P = 0.04) in CAPD patients without diabetes, but not in those with diabetes (adjusted HR 0.79, 95%CI 0.33 to 1.89, P = 0.59). Results were similar when transport status was assessed as a continuous variable.
Conclusions
The association between high peritoneal transport and all-cause mortality was likely to vary with diabetes status. High peritoneal transport was associated with an elevated risk of death among CAPD patients without diabetes, but not in those with diabetes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110445
PMCID: PMC4199757  PMID: 25329459
7.  Expression of annexin A7 and its clinical significance in differentiation and metastasis of gastric carcinoma 
Objective: To investigate the expression and clinical significance of annexin A7 in the differentiation and lymphatic metastasis of gastric cancer (GC). Methods: The clinical and pathological data were recorded for analysis. Immunohistochemical staining and Western blot were performed to analyze the expression of ANXA 7 in primary GC tissues. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the associations between annexin A7 expression levels and differentiations of GC. Analyses of the ROC were conducted to determine the cut-off value of the ratio of pixel density of annexin A7 for predicting lymphatic metastasis of GC. Results: A total of 162 GC patients were enrolled in this study, and expression rate of annexin A7 was 65.4% in GC. The survival rate of patients with positive expression of annexin A7 was lower than that in patients with negative expression (P=0.000). The results of COX regression showed that the positive expression of annexin A7, submucosal confinement and pathological stage of GC were associated with poor clinical outcomes. The ratio of pixel density value of primary GC tissues with PN 1-3 lymphatic spread was significantly higher than those in tissues with PN 0 lymphatic spread (0.56±0.09 vs. 0.42±0.07, P < 0.05). ROC analysis showed a high area under the curve for the ratio of pixel density value of annexin A7 in primary GC tissues. At a cut-off level of > 0.505, the ratio of pixel density value of annexin A7 exhibited 76.7% sensitivity and 88.3% specificity for detecting lymphatic metastasis of GC. Conclusion: High annexin A7 expression is associated with poor differentiation in GC patients, and it may be a predictor for lymphatic metastasis of GC.
PMCID: PMC4230099  PMID: 25400735
Annexin A7; gastric cancer; cancer differentiation; lymphatic metastasis; predictor
8.  Resistin might not be a risk factor for carotid artery atherosclerosis in elderly Chinese males 
Objective
To investigate the correlation between the serum resistin level and carotid artery atherosclerosis in elderly Chinese males.
Methods
The study enrolled 235 elderly Chinese males [median age 76 (range 60–97) years] scheduled for ultrasound examination of carotid artery plaque and determination of carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT). They were divided into carotid atherosclerotic plaque (CAP) and carotid atherosclerotic plaque-free (CAP-free) groups according to the ultrasound results. Their clinical profiles were collected, and the serum resistin and other blood biochemistry levels were determined.
Results
The CAP group was older and had a thicker mean CIMT than the CAP-free group. However, there was no difference in the serum resistin level between the groups. CIMT was positively correlated with age (r = 0.299, P < 0.001). The serum resistin level was not correlated with CIMT, even after controlling for age. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age (β = 0.001, P < 0.001) and body mass index (β = 0.002, P = 0.015) were significantly and positively correlated with the mean CIMT. Only age [odds ratio (OR): 1.159; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.078–1.183, P < 0.001] was associated with the presence of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque. The serum resistin level was not correlated with the mean CIMT or associated with the presence of carotid artery atherosclerotic plaque.
Conclusion
The results suggest that resistin might not be a risk factor for atherosclerosis in elderly Chinese males.
doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2014.03.016
PMCID: PMC4178514  PMID: 25278971
Resistin; Intima-media thickness; Atherosclerosis; The elderly
9.  SHP-1 is a target of regorafenib in colorectal cancer 
Oncotarget  2014;5(15):6243-6251.
Regorafenib is an inhibitor of multiple protein kinases which exerts antitumor and antimetastatic activities in metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). SH2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1) is reported to have tumor suppressive potential because it acts as a negative regulator of p-STAT3Tyr705 signaling. However, little is known about the mechanism regarding regorafenib affects SHP-1 tyrosine phosphatase activity and leads to apoptosis and tumor suppression in CRC. Here, we found that regorafenib triggered apoptotic cell death and significantly enhanced SHP-1 activity, which dramatically decreased the phosphorylated form of STAT3 at Tyr705 (p-STAT3Tyr705). Importantly, regorafenib augmented SHP-1 activity by direct disruption of the association between N-SH2 and catalytic PTP domain of SHP-1. Deletion of the N-SH2 domain (dN1) or point mutation (D61A) of SHP-1 blocked the effect of regorafenib-induced SHP-1 activity, growth inhibition and a decrease of p-STAT3Tyr705 expression, suggesting that regorafenib triggers a conformational change in SHP-1 by relieving its autoinhibition. In vivo assay showed that regorafenib significantly inhibited xenograft growth and decreased p-STAT3Tyr705 expression but induced higher SHP-1 activity. Collectively, regorafenib is a novel SHP-1 agonist exerts superior anti-tumor effects by enhancing SHP-1 activity that directly targets p-STAT3Tyr705. Small molecule-enhancement of SHP-1 activity may be a promising therapeutic approach for CRC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4171626  PMID: 25071018
SHP-1; Regorafenib; Colorectal cancer; STAT3; Apoptosis
10.  Celastrol may have an anti-atherosclerosis effect in a rabbit experimental carotid atherosclerosis model 
Background: Celastrol may have an anti-atherosclerosis effect. This study aimed to investigate if celastrol had an anti-AS effect using a rabbit experimental carotid atherosclerosis model. Methods: Forty male Japanese white rabbits were divided into the sham group (normal diet), the model group (high fat diet), the group treated with celastrol (high fat diet) and the group treated with atorvastatin (high fat diet) randomly. The rabbits fed a high fat diet underwent balloon injury of the right common carotid artery and were treated with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) (the model group, 3.5 ml/kg/d), celastrol and its dissolvent DMSO (the celastrol group, 1 mg/kg/d and 3.5 ml/kg/d) and atorvastatin and its dissolvent DMSO (the atorvastatin group, 2.5 mg/kg/d and 3.5 ml/kg/d) for 12 weeks by gavage. Results: The ratio of the plaque area and the arterial wall cross-section area in the celastrol group was significantly less than the model group (P < 0.001), and there was no significant difference compared with the atorvastatin group. The serum level of LDL-C of the celastrol group was significantly lower than the model group (P = 0.014), and there was no significant difference compared with the atorvastatin group. The expression of VEGF in the celastrol group was significantly less compared with the model group (P = 0.014), whereas the expression of VEGF in the atorvastatin group and the model group showed no significant differences. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that celastrol effectively reduced the plaque ratio, decreased the serum levels of LDL and downregulated the expression of VEGF, suggesting an anti-AS effect of celastrol.
PMCID: PMC4132129  PMID: 25126165
Celastrol; carotid artery disease; balloon injury; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; vascular endothelial growth factor
11.  Advantages and drawbacks of long-term macrolide use in the treatment of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(7):867-871.
Non-cystic fibrosis (non-CF) bronchiectasis is a respiratory disease characterized by persistent airway inflammation and dilation of bronchial wall driven by various causes. Patients with bronchiectasis suffer from excessive sputum production, recurrent exacerbations, and progressive airway destruction. Major therapy for bronchiectasis is focused on breaking the “vicious cycle” of mucus stasis, infection, inflammation, and airway destruction. Growing evidences have been shown that macrolides possess immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory functions beyond their antimicrobial effects. Macrolide antibiotics have been effectively used in the treatment of diffuse panbronchiolitis, CF and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. Currently a number of clinical trials were performed to assess macrolide treatment in the management of non-CF bronchiectasis. The purpose of this paper is to review the efficacy and potential risks of these recent studies on the use of macrolides in non-CF bronchiectasis.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.07.24
PMCID: PMC4120182  PMID: 25093082
Macrolides; bronchiectasis; advantages; drawbacks
12.  Cytotoxicity of Aporphine, Protoberberine, and Protopine Alkaloids from Dicranostigma leptopodum (Maxim.) Fedde 
Nine alkaloids with three different structural skeletons were isolated from Dicranostigma leptopodum (Maxim.) Fedde (Papaveraceae) by repeated silica gel column chromatography. Their chemical structures were identified on the basic of physicochemical and spectroscopic data. Among them, 10-O-methylhernovine (1), nantenine (2), corytuberine (3), lagesianine A (4), and dihydrocryptopine (9) were first isolated from this plant. With a series of cytotoxic tests, compounds 2, 3, and 7 displayed cytotoxicity against SMMC-7721 with IC50 values of 70.08 ± 4.63, 73.22 ± 2.35, and 27.77 ± 2.29 μM, respectively.
doi:10.1155/2014/580483
PMCID: PMC4055583  PMID: 24963327
13.  Direct writing of graphene patterns on insulating substrates under ambient conditions 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4892.
To unleash the full potential of graphene in electronics and optoelectronics, high-quality graphene patterns on insulating substrates are required. However, existing methods generally follow a “synthesis + patterning” strategy, which are time consuming and costly for fabricating high-quality graphene patterns on desired substrates. We developed a nanofabrication process to deposit high-quality graphene patterns directly on insulating substrates via a solid-phase laser direct writing (LDW) process. Open-air and room-temperature fabrication of graphene patterns on insulating substrates has been achieved via a femtosecond LDW process without graphene transfer and patterning. Various graphene patterns, including texts, spirals, line arrays, and integrated circuit patterns, with a feature line width of 800 nm and a low sheet resistance of 205 ohm/sq, were fabricated. The LDW method provides a facile and cost-effective way to fabricate complex and high-quality graphene patterns directly on target substrates, which opens a door for fabricating various advanced functional devices.
doi:10.1038/srep04892
PMCID: PMC4013930  PMID: 24809639
14.  Superior border of the arcuate line: Three dimension reconstruction and digital measurements of the fixation route for pelvic and acetabular fractures 
International Orthopaedics  2013;37(5):889-897.
Purpose
To obtain a series of parameters describing the shape and bone thickness of the fixation route along the superior border of the arcuate line, so as to provide references for pelvic and acetabular surgery and design pelvic anatomic internal fixators.
Method
A total of 175 complete pelvic computed tomography (CT) scans of normal adult pelvises were collected. Each person’s CT scans were reconstructed to create a three-dimensional pelvic model. A curve of the fixation route was delineated and divided into 11 equal parts. The total length of the curve, the radius of curvature, and the bone thickness at each decile point were all measured. The position of the pelvic inlet, the anterior and posterior sagittal diameter were measured.
Results
The radius of curvature at each decile point were 29.18 ± 15.53, 55.27 ± 29.48, 43.04 ± 14.42, 59.62 ± 21.02, 91.67 ± 52.01, 78.9 ± 38.66, 75.76 ± 25.87, 61.75 ± 16.68, 54.62 ± 14.88, and 43.61 ± 19.10 mm, respectively. The anterior and posterior sagittal diameter of the pelvic inlet was 66.01 ± 9.15 and 41.36 ± 8.19 mm, respectively. For all groups divided by the ratio of the posterior and the anterior sagittal diameter, the decile points 1, 3, and 10 had smaller radii of curvature than the before and after points, respectively.
Conclusions
The curve of the fixation route along superior border of arcuate line has a relatively greater bending degree at the pubic tubercle, iliopubic eminence and close to the sacroiliac joint. With the transition of the pelvic inlet shape from android to gynecoid and platypelloid type, the bone surface at the iliopubic eminence becomes flatter. Pelvic and acetabular surgery could be more accurate by referring to the previous key bending points and the change of the pelvic inlet shape.
doi:10.1007/s00264-013-1804-x
PMCID: PMC3631479  PMID: 23385608
15.  Diversity and Antimicrobial Activity of Culturable Endophytic Fungi Isolated from Moso Bamboo Seeds 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95838.
Bamboos, regarded as therapeutic agents in ethnomedicine, have been used to inhibit inflammation and enhance natural immunity for a long time in Asia, and there are many bamboo associated fungi with medical and edible value. In the present study, a total of 350 fungal strains were isolated from the uncommon moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) seeds for the first time. The molecular diversity of these endophytic fungi was investigated and bioactive compound producers were screened for the first time. All the fungal endophytes were categorized into 69 morphotypes according to culturable characteristics and their internal transcriber spacer (ITS) regions were analyzed by BLAST search with the NCBI database. The fungal isolates showed high diversity and were divided in Ascomycota (98.0%) and Basidiomycota (2.0%), including at least 19 genera in nine orders. Four particular genera were considered to be newly recorded bambusicolous fungi, including Leptosphaerulina, Simplicillium, Sebacina and an unknown genus in Basidiomycetes. Furthermore, inhibitory effects against clinical pathogens and phytopathogens were screened preliminarily and strains B09 (Cladosporium sp.), B34 (Curvularia sp.), B35 (undefined genus 1), B38 (Penicillium sp.) and zzz816 (Shiraia sp.) displayed broad-spectrum activity against clinical bacteria and yeasts by the agar diffusion method. The crude extracts of isolates B09, B34, B35, B38 and zzz816 under submerged fermentation, also demonstrated various levels of bioactivities against bambusicolous pathogenic fungi. This study is the first report on the antimicrobial activity of endophytic fungi associated with moso bamboo seeds, and the results show that they could be exploited as a potential source of bioactive compounds and plant defense activators. In addition, it is the first time that strains of Shiraia sp. have been isolated and cultured from moso bamboo seeds, and one of them (zzz816) could produce hypocrellin A at high yield, which is significantly different from the other strains published.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095838
PMCID: PMC3997407  PMID: 24759896
16.  The relationship between job performance and perceived organizational support in faculty members at Chinese universities: a questionnaire survey 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:50.
Background
Although several studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between perceived organizational support (POS) and job performance (JP), it remains unclear whether this relationship is appropriate for faculty members at Chinese universities. The objectives of this study were to (a) examine the correlation between POS andJP; (b) identify the predictors of POS, including demographic and organizational characteristics among faculty members at a Chinese university; (c) investigate the influence of mediating factors between POS and JP; and (d) compare the findings of this study with related studies.
Methods
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was used in this study. The questionnaire was administered to 700 faculty members who were randomly selected from all faculty members at six universities. A total of 581 questionnaires were obtained. A statistical model for JP was developed based on the literature review.
Results
The analysis results indicated that the relationship between POS and JP was mediated by job satisfaction (JS), positive affectivity (PA), and affective commitment (AC). In addition, procedural and distributive justice contribute to POS.
Conclusions
The study concludes that the relationship between POS and JP is mediated by JS, PA, and AC and is influenced by POS. These results can provide evidence for university administrators to improve POS and increase the JP of faculty members at universities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-50
PMCID: PMC4008306  PMID: 24624932
Job performance; Perceived organizational support; Chinese university; Faculty members
17.  Baicalin Protects the Cardiomyocytes from ER Stress-Induced Apoptosis: Inhibition of CHOP through Induction of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88389.
Baicalin, the main active ingredient of the Scutellaria root, exerts anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic effects in cardiovascular diseases. However, the therapeutic mechanism of baicalin remains unknown. Cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes were pre-treated with baicalin (0–50 µM) for 24 h, and subsequently treated with tunicamycin (100 ng/ml). Cell viability was detected by MTT assay, and cell damage was determined by LDH release and TUNEL assay. The expression of CHOP, JNK, caspase-3, eNOS was analyzed by western blot. NO was measured by DAF-FM staining. As a result, treatment with baicalin significantly reduced apoptosis induced by ER stress inducer tunicamycin in cardiomyocytes. Molecularly, baicalin ameliorated tunicamycin-induced ER stress by downregulation of CHOP. In addition, baicalin inverted tunicamycin-induced decreases of eNOS mRNA and protein levels, phospho eNOS and NO production through CHOP pathway. However, the protective effects of baicalin were significantly decreased in cardiomyocytes treated with L-NAME, which suppressed activation of nitric oxide synthase. In conclusion, our results implicate that baicalin could protect cardiomyocytes from ER stress-induced apoptosis via CHOP/eNOS/NO pathway, and suggest the therapeutic values of baicalin against ER stress-associated cardiomyocyte apoptosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088389
PMCID: PMC3919764  PMID: 24520378
18.  Novel esophageal squamous cell carcinoma bone metastatic clone isolated by scintigraphy, X ray and micro PET/CT 
AIM: To establish a Chinese esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cell line with high bone metastasis potency using 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate (99mTc-MDP) micro-pinhole scintigraphy, X ray and micro-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for exploring the mechanism of occurrence and development in esophageal cancer.
METHODS: The cells came from a BALB/c nu/nu immunodeficient mouse, and oncogenic tumor tissue was from a surgical specimen from a 61-year-old male patient with ESCC. The cell growth curve was mapped and analysis of chromosome karyotype was performed. Approximately 1 × 106 oncogenic cells were injected into the left cardiac ventricle of immunodeficient mice. The bone metastatic lesions of tumor-bearing mice were detected by 99mTc-MDP scintigraphy, micro-PET/CT and X-ray, and were resected from the mice under deep anesthesia. The bone metastatic cells in the lesions were used for culture and for repeated intracardiac inoculation. This in vivo/in vitro experimental metastasis study was repeated for four cycles. All of the suspicious bone sites were confirmed by pathology. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to compare the gene expression in the parental cells and in the bone metastatic clone.
RESULTS: The surgical specimen was implanted subcutaneously in immunodeficient mice and the tumorigenesis rate was 100%. First-passage oncogenic cells were named CEK-Sq-1. The chromosome karyotype analysis of the cell line was hypotriploid. The bone metastasis rate went from 20% with the first-passage oncogenic cells via intracardiac inoculation to 90% after four cycles. The established bone metastasis clone named CEK-Sq-1BM had a high potential to metastasize in bone, including mandible, humerus, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, scapula and femur. The bone metastasis lesions were successfully detected by micro-pinhole bone scintigraphy, micro-PET/CT, and X-ray. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the micro-pinhole scintigraphy, X-ray, and micro-PET/CT imaging examinations were: 89.66%/32%/80%, 88.2%/100%/89.2%, and 88.75%/77.5%/87.5%, respectively. Some gene expression difference was found between parental and bone metastasis cells.
CONCLUSION: This newly established Chinese ESCC cell line and animal model may provide a useful tool for the study of the pathogenesis and development of esophageal carcinoma.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i4.1030
PMCID: PMC3921526  PMID: 24574775
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Cell line; Bone metastasis; Molecular imaging; Real-time polymerase chain reaction
19.  Serum Potassium Levels and Its Variability in Incident Peritoneal Dialysis Patients: Associations with Mortality 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86750.
Background
Abnormal serum potassium is associated with an increased risk of mortality in dialysis patients. However, the impacts of serum potassium levels on short- and long-term mortality and association of potassium variability with death in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients are uncertain.
Methods
We examined mortality-predictability of serum potassium at baseline and its variability in PD patients treated in our center January 2006 through December 2010 with follow-up through December 2012. The hazard ratios (HRs) were used to assess the relationship between baseline potassium levels and short-term (≤1 year) as well as long-term (>1 year) survival. Variability of serum potassium was defined as the coefficient of variation of serum potassium (CVSP) during the first year of PD.
Results
A total of 886 incident PD patients were enrolled, with 248 patients (27.9%) presented hypokalemia (serum potassium <3.5 mEq/L). During a median follow-up of 31 months (range: 0.5–81.0 months), adjusted all-cause mortality hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for baseline serum potassium of <3.0, 3.0 to <3.5, 3.5 to <4.0, 4.5 to <5.0, and ≥5.0 mEq/L, compared with 4.0 to <4.5 (reference), were 1.79 (1.02–3.14), 1.15 (0.72–1.86), 1.31 (0.82–2.08), 1.33 (0.71–2.48), 1.28 (0.53–3.10), respectively. The increased risk of lower potassium with mortality was evident during the first year of follow-up, but vanished thereafter. Adjusted all-cause mortality HR for CVSP increments of 7.5% to <12.0%; 12.0% to <16.7% and ≥16.7%, compared with <7.5% (reference), were 1.35 (0.67–2.71), 2.00 (1.05–3.83) and 2.18 (1.18–4.05), respectively. Similar association was found between serum potassium levels and its variability and cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusions
A lower serum potassium level was associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality during the first year of follow-up in incident PD patients. In addition, higher variability of serum potassium levels conferred an increased risk of death in this population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086750
PMCID: PMC3903570  PMID: 24475176
20.  Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers to predict response of Berberine in suppressing lung cancer invasion and metastasis 
Background
The effects of berberine on the metastatic potential of lung cancer cells and its underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Since epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is a cellular process associated with cancer invasion and metastasis, we attempted to investigate the potential use of berberine as an inhibitor of TGF-β1-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal in A549 cells.
Methods
In this study, we investigated the anticancer activity of berberine against A549 cells in vitro and in vivo. BBR-induced apoptosis of the human lung cancer cells was determined by flow cytometry. The ability of BBR to inhibit TGF-β-induced EMT was examined by QRT-PCR and Western blotting. The impact of BBR on A549 cell migration and invasion was evaluated by transwell assay.
Results
We demonstrated that TGF-β1 induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal to promote lung cancer invasion and metastasis. Berberine inhibited invasion and migration of A549 cells, increased expression of the epithelial phenotype marker E-cadherin, repressed the expression of the mesenchymal phenotype marker Vimentin, as well as decreased the level of epithelial-to-mesenchymal -inducing transcription factors Snail1 and Slug during the initiation of TGF-β1-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal. Furthermore, berberine inhibited growth of lung cancer cells in vivo xenograft.
Conclusions
Our findings provided new evidence that berberine is an effective inhibitor of the metastatic potential of A549 cells through suppression of TGF-β1-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-12-22
PMCID: PMC3944941  PMID: 24456611
Lung neoplasms; Berberine; Invasiveness; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Transforming growth factor beta1
21.  Relationships between HDL-C, hs-CRP, with Central Arterial Stiffness in Apparently Healthy People Undergoing a General Health Examination 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81778.
Background
Some cardiovascular risk factors have been confirmed to be positively correlated with arterial stiffness. However, it is unclear whether HDL-C, a well-established anti-risk factor, has an independent association with arterial stiffness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between HDL-C levels and arterial stiffness and the possible role of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in this potential correlation in apparently healthy adults undergoing a general health examination in China.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional survey. In total, 15,302 participants (age range, 18–82 years; mean, 43.88±8.44 years) were recruited during routine health status examinations. A questionnaire was used and we measured the body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting glucose, and serum lipid, uric acid, hs-CRP, and serum creatinine levels of each participant. Central arterial stiffness was assessed by carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV).
Results
HDL-C levels decreased as cf-PWV increased. Pearson’s correlation analysis revealed that HDL-C levels were associated with cf-PWV (r=−0.18, P<0.001). hs-CRP levels were positively associated with cf-PWV (r=0.13). After adjustment for all confounders, HDL-C was inversely independently associated with all quartiles of cf-PWV. Furthermore, HDL-C was associated with cf-PWV in different quartiles of hs-CRP, and the correlation coefficients (r) gradually decreased with increasing hs-CRP levels (quartiles 1–4).
Conclusions
HDL-C is inversely independently associated with central arterial stiffness. The anti-inflammatory activity of HDL-C may mediate its relationship with cf-PWV. Further, long-term follow-up studies are needed to evaluate whether high HDL-C levels are protective against central artery stiffening through the anti-inflammatory activity of HDL-C.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081778
PMCID: PMC3849294  PMID: 24312587
22.  A new bisphosphonate derivative, CP, induces gastric cancer cell apoptosis via activation of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2013;34(12):1535-1544.
Aim:
To investigate the effects of a new derivative of bisphosphonates, [2-(6-aminopurine-9-yl)-1-hydroxy-phosphine acyl ethyl] phosphonic acid (CP), on human gastric cancer.
Methods:
Human gastric cancer cell lines (SGC-7901, BGC-823, MKN-45, and MKN-28) and human colon carcinoma cell lines (LoVo and HT-29) were tested. Cell growth was determined using the MTT assay. Flow cytometry, Western blot, caspase activity assay and siRNA transfection were used to examine the mechanisms of anticancer action. Female BALB/c nude mice were implanted with SGC-7901 cells. From d6 after inoculation, the animals were injected with CP (200 μg/kg, ip) or vehicle daily for 24 d.
Results:
CP suppressed the growth of the 6 human cancer cell lines with similar IC50 values (3239 μmol/L). In SGC-7901 cells, CP arrested cell cycle progression at the G2/M phase. The compound activated caspase-9, increased the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and Bad, decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. Furthermore, the compound selectively activated ERK1/2 without affecting JNK and p38 in SGC-7901 cells. Treatment of SGC-7901 cells with the specific ERK1/2 inhibitor PD98059 or ERK1/2 siRNA hampered CP-mediated apoptosis. In the human gastric cancer xenograft nude mouse model, chronic administration of CP significantly retarded the tumor growth.
Conclusion:
CP is a broad-spectrum inhibitor of human carcinoma cells in vitro, and it also exerts significant inhibition on gastric cancer cell growth in vivo. CP induces human gastric cancer apoptosis via activation of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.
doi:10.1038/aps.2013.103
PMCID: PMC4002562  PMID: 24241351
gastric cancer; anticancer drug; bisphosphonate; apoptosis; xenograft nude mouse model; ERK1/2
24.  IQdb: an intelligence quotient score-associated gene resource for human intelligence 
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is the most widely used phenotype to characterize human cognitive abilities. Recent advances in studies on human intelligence have identified many new susceptibility genes. However, the genetic mechanisms involved in IQ score and the relationship between IQ score and the risk of mental disorders have won little attention. To address the genetic complexity of IQ score, we have developed IQdb (http://IQdb.cbi.pku.edu.cn), a publicly available database for exploring IQ-associated human genes. In total, we collected 158 experimental verified genes from literature as a core dataset in IQdb. In addition, 46 genomic regions related to IQ score have been curated from literature. Based on the core dataset and 46 confirmed linked genomic regions, more than 6932 potential IQ-related genes are expanded using data of protein–protein interactions. A systematic gene ranking approach was applied to all the collected and expanded genes to represent the relative importance of all the 7090 genes in IQdb. Our further systematic pathway analysis reveals that IQ-associated genes are significantly enriched in multiple signal events, especially related to cognitive systems. Of the 158 genes in the core dataset, 81 are involved in various psychotic and mental disorders. This comprehensive gene resource illustrates the importance of IQdb to our understanding on human intelligence, and highlights the utility of IQdb for elucidating the functions of IQ-associated genes and the cross-talk mechanisms among cognition-related pathways in some mental disorders for community.
Database URL: http://IQdb.cbi.pku.edu.cn.
doi:10.1093/database/bat063
PMCID: PMC3770929  PMID: 24030781
25.  Evaluation of PCR in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid for Diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia: A Bivariate Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73099.
Background
As a promising tool, PCR in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) has not been accepted as a diagnostic criterion for PJP.
Objective
We undertook a systematic review of published studies to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of PCR assays in BALF for PJP.
Methods
Eligible studies from PubMed, Embase and Web of Science reporting PCR assays in BALF for diagnosing PJP were identified. A bivariate meta-analysis of the method’s sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios with a 95% confidence interval (CI) were analyzed. The post-test probability was performed to evaluate clinical usefulness. A summary receiver operating characteristics (SROC) curve was used to evaluate overall performance. Subgroup analyses were carried out to analysis the potential heterogeneity.
Results
Sixteen studies published between 1994 and 2012 were included. The summary sensitivity and specificity values (95% CI) of PCR in BALF for diagnosis of PJP were 98.3% (91.3%–99.7%) and 91.0% (82.7%–95.5%), respectively. The positive and negative likelihood ratios were 10.894 (5.569–21.309) and 0.018 (0.003–0.099), respectively. In a setting of 20% prevalence of PJP, the probability of PJP would be over 3-fold if the BALF-PCR test was positive, and the probability of PJP would be less than 0.5% if it was negative. The area under the SROC curve was 0.98 (0.97–0.99).
Conclusions
The method of PCR in BALF shows high sensitivity and good specificity for the diagnosis of PJP. However, clinical practice for the diagnosis of PJP should consider the consistent respiratory symptoms, radiographic changes and laboratory findings of the suspected patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073099
PMCID: PMC3762835  PMID: 24023814

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