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1.  Four major dietary patterns identified for a target-population of adults residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:69.
Very limited nutritional epidemiological studies conducted to explore the unique dietary exposure in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). This study aims to identify and characterize major dietary patterns in the target-population from general adult NL residents and assess the associations with selected demographic factors.
A total of 192 participants, aged 35–70 years, completed and returned a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and participated in a telephone interview to collect demographic information. Dietary patterns were identified by common factor analysis. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were used to assess determinants of the different food consumption patterns. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were calculated for food scores of each pattern, total energy, and energy-adjusted nutrient intakes.
Factor analyses identified four dietary patterns, which were labeled as “Meat”, “Vegetable/fruit”, “Fish”, and “Grain” patterns. In combination, the four dietary patterns explained 63% of the variance in dietary habits of the study population. Multivariate linear regression analysis indicated an increasing trend of factor scores for Meat and Grain pattern with age. Male participants were found to be more likely to choose the Meat and Fish patterns. Current smokers and those married/living together tend to choose the Grain pattern. Pearson’s correlation coefficients showed positive correlations between fat and cholesterol and the Meat pattern, fiber and the Vegetable/fruits pattern, protein and the Fish pattern, and carbohydrates and the Grain pattern.
This study derived four dietary patterns and obtained their significant associations with specific demographic characteristics in this population. It identified one dietary consumption pattern (Fish) not yet seen in other studied populations. These findings will update the current dietary-health information published in this province, and contribute to further research into the association between dietary practices and health.
PMCID: PMC4318430  PMID: 25636348
Dietary pattern; Factor analysis; Nutritional epidemiology
2.  Characteristics of language impairment in Parkinson’s disease and its influencing factors 
Language impairment is relatively common in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but not all PD patients are susceptible to language problems. In this study, we identified among a sample of PD patients those pre-disposed to language impairment, describe their clinical profiles, and consider factors that may precipitate language disability in these patients.
A cross-sectional cohort of 31 PD patients and 20 controls were administered the Chinese version of the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) to assess language abilities, and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) to determine cognitive status. PD patients were then apportioned to a language-impaired PD (LI-PD) group or a PD group with no language impairment (NLI-PD). Performance on the WAB and MoCA was investigated for correlation with the aphasia quotient deterioration rate (AQDR).
The PD patients scored significantly lower on most of the WAB subtests than did the controls. The aphasia quotient, cortical quotient, and spontaneous speech and naming subtests of the WAB were significantly different between LI-PD and NLI-PD groups. The AQDR scores significantly and positively correlated with age at onset and motor function deterioration.
A subset group was susceptible to language dysfunction, a major deficit in spontaneous speech. Once established, dysphasia progression is closely associated with age at onset and motor disability progression.
PMCID: PMC4328233
Aphasia quotient; Language function deterioration rate; Language impairment; Parkinson’s disease; Western aphasia battery
3.  Identification of Valid Reference Genes for the Normalization of RT-qPCR Expression Studies in Human Breast Cancer Cell Lines Treated with and without Transient Transfection 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0117058.
Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is a powerful technique for examining gene expression changes during tumorigenesis. Target gene expression is generally normalized by a stably expressed endogenous reference gene; however, reference gene expression may differ among tissues under various circumstances. Because no valid reference genes have been documented for human breast cancer cell lines containing different cancer subtypes treated with transient transfection, we identified appropriate and reliable reference genes from thirteen candidates in a panel of 10 normal and cancerous human breast cell lines under experimental conditions with/without transfection treatments with two transfection reagents. Reference gene expression stability was calculated using four algorithms (geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper and comparative delta Ct), and the recommended comprehensive ranking was provided using geometric means of the ranking values using the RefFinder tool. GeNorm analysis revealed that two reference genes should be sufficient for all cases in this study. A stability analysis suggests that 18S rRNA-ACTB is the best reference gene combination across all cell lines; ACTB-GAPDH is best for basal breast cancer cell lines; and HSPCB-ACTB is best for ER+ breast cancer cells. After transfection, the stability ranking of the reference gene fluctuated, especially with Lipofectamine 2000 transfection reagent in two subtypes of basal and ER+ breast cell lines. Comparisons of relative target gene (HER2) expression revealed different expressional patterns depending on the reference genes used for normalization. We suggest that identifying the most stable and suitable reference genes is critical for studying specific cell lines under certain circumstances.
PMCID: PMC4305315  PMID: 25617865
4.  Early B-cell factor 3 (EBF3) is a novel tumor suppressor gene with promoter hypermethylation in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia 
Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) comprises up to 20% of all childhood leukemia. Recent research shows that aberrant DNA methylation patterning may play a role in leukemogenesis. The epigenetic silencing of the EBF3 locus is very frequent in glioblastoma. However, the expression profiles and molecular function of EBF3 in pediatric AML is still unclear.
Twelve human acute leukemia cell lines, 105 pediatric AML samples and 30 normal bone marrow/idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (NBM/ITP) control samples were analyzed. Transcriptional level of EBF3 was evaluated by semi-quantitative and real-time PCR. EBF3 methylation status was determined by methylation specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite genomic sequencing (BGS). The molecular mechanism of EBF3 was investigated by apoptosis assays and PCR array analysis.
EBF3 promoter was hypermethylated in 10/12 leukemia cell lines. Aberrant EBF3 methylation was observed in 42.9% (45/105) of the pediatric AML samples using MSP analysis, and the BGS results confirmed promoter methylation. EBF3 expression was decreased in the AML samples compared with control. Methylated samples revealed similar survival outcomes by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. EBF3 overexpression significantly inhibited cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Real-time PCR array analysis revealed 93 dysregulated genes possibly implicated in the apoptosis of EBF3-induced AML cells.
In this study, we firstly identified epigenetic inactivation of EBF3 in both AML cell lines and pediatric AML samples for the first time. Our findings also showed for the first time that transcriptional overexpression of EBF3 could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in AML cells. We identified 93 dysregulated apoptosis-related genes in EBF3-overexpressing, including DCC, AIFM2 and DAPK1. Most of these genes have never been related with EBF3 over expression. These results may provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of EBF3-induced apoptosis; however, further research will be required to determine the underlying details.
Our findings suggest that EBF3 may act as a putative tumor suppressor gene in pediatric AML.
PMCID: PMC4311429  PMID: 25609158
Early B-cell factor 3; Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia; Methylation; Tumor suppressor; Real-time PCR array
5.  Effect of picroside II on apoptosis induced by renal ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats 
Renal ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury, which commonly occurs in kidney transplantation, is the leading cause of acute kidney injury. Picroside II possesses a wide range of pharmacological effects, including anti-apoptosis effects. In the present study, the ability of picroside II to attenuate apoptosis in a rat model of renal I/R injury was investigated. Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to 45 min of ischemia followed by 24 h of reperfusion. Prior to reperfusion, the rats were treated with picroside II or an equal volume of phosphate-buffered saline. It was observed that renal function was significantly improved by the treatment with picroside II. Morphological analysis indicated that picroside II markedly reduced tissue damage and the expression of cleaved caspase-3. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting revealed that the expression levels of Bax and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) were upregulated in the I/R group, whereas those of Bcl-2 were downregulated. However, the treatment with picroside II inhibited these changes induced by renal I/R injury. In conclusion, picroside II has potent anti-apoptotic activity against renal I/R injury.
PMCID: PMC4316970  PMID: 25667634
picroside II; ischemia and reperfusion injury; apoptosis
6.  Semaphorin 7A is expressed on airway eosinophils and upregulated by IL-5 family cytokines 
Semaphorin 7A (Sema7A) plays a major role in TGF-β1-induced lung fibrosis. Based on the accumulating evidence that eosinophils contribute to fibrosis/remodeling in the airway, we hypothesized that airway eosinophils may be a significant source of sema7A. In vivo, sema7A was expressed on the surface of circulating eosinophils and upregulated on bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophils obtained after segmental bronchoprovocation with allergen. Based on mRNA levels in unfractionated and isolated bronchoalveolar cells, eosinophils are the predominant source of sema7A. In vitro, among the members of the IL-5-family cytokines, sema7A protein on the surface of blood eosinophils was increased more by IL-3 than by GM-CSF or IL-5. Cytokine-induced expression of cell surface sema7A required translation of newly synthetized protein. Finally, a recombinant sema7A induced alpha-smooth muscle actin production in human bronchial fibroblasts. Semaphorin 7A is a potentially important modulator of eosinophil profibrotic functions in the airway remodeling of patients with chronic asthma.
PMCID: PMC3947215  PMID: 24333536
Eosinophil; semaphorin 7A; IL-3; fibrosis; translation
7.  Molecular Targeting of the Oncoprotein PLK1 in Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia: RO3280, a Novel PLK1 Inhibitor, Induces Apoptosis in Leukemia Cells 
Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is highly expressed in many cancers and therefore a biomarker of transformation and potential target for the development of cancer-specific small molecule drugs. RO3280 was recently identified as a novel PLK1 inhibitor; however its therapeutic effects in leukemia treatment are still unknown. We found that the PLK1 protein was highly expressed in leukemia cell lines as well as 73.3% (11/15) of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples. PLK1 mRNA expression was significantly higher in AML samples compared with control samples (82.95 ± 110.28 vs. 6.36 ± 6.35; p < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that shorter survival time correlated with high tumor PLK1 expression (p = 0.002). The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of RO3280 for acute leukemia cells was between 74 and 797 nM. The IC50 of RO3280 in primary acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and AML cells was between 35.49 and 110.76 nM and 52.80 and 147.50 nM, respectively. RO3280 induced apoptosis and cell cycle disorder in leukemia cells. RO3280 treatment regulated several apoptosis-associated genes. The regulation of DCC, CDKN1A, BTK, and SOCS2 was verified by western blot. These results provide insights into the potential use of RO3280 for AML therapy; however, the underlying mechanisms remain to be determined.
PMCID: PMC4307303  PMID: 25574601
RO3280; pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML); polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1); apoptosis; oncogene target
8.  Structural Diversity of the Microbial Surfactin Derivatives from Selective Esterification Approach 
Surfactin originated from genus Bacillus is composed of a heptapeptide moiety bonded to the carboxyl and hydroxyl groups of a β-hydroxy fatty acid and it can be chemically modified to prepare the derivatives with different structures, owing to the existence of two free carboxyl groups in its peptide loop. This article presents the chemical modification of surfactin esterified with three different alcohols, and nine novel surfactin derivatives have been separated from products by the high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The novel derivatives, identified with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), are the mono-hexyl-surfactin C14 ester, mono-hexyl-surfactin C15 ester, mono-2-methoxy-ethyl-surfactin C14 ester, di-hexyl-surfactin C14 ester, di-hexyl-surfactin ester C15, di-2-methoxy-ethyl-surfactin ester C14, di-2-methoxy-ethyl-surfactin ester C15, di-6-hydoxyl-hexyl-surfactin C14 ester and, di-6-hydoxyl-hexyl-surfactin C15 ester. The reaction conditions for esterification were optimized and the dependence of yields on different alcohols and catalysts were discussed. This study shows that esterification is one of the most efficient ways of chemical modification for surfactin and it can be used to prepare more derivatives to meet the needs of study in biological and interfacial activities.
PMCID: PMC4307338  PMID: 25599527
Keywords: surfactin; esterification; derivatives; lipopeptide; carboxyl group
9.  Characterization of a Novel Reassortant Influenza A Virus (H2N2) from a Domestic Duck in Eastern China 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7588.
While H2N2 viruses have been sporadically isolated from wild and domestic birds, H2N2 viruses have not been detected among human populations since 1968. Should H2N2 viruses adapt to domestic poultry they may pose a risk of infection to people, as most anyone born after 1968 would likely be susceptible to their infection. We report the isolation of a novel influenza A virus (H2N2) cultured in 2013 from a healthy domestic duck at a live poultry market in Wuxi City, China. Sequence data revealed that the novel H2N2 virus was similar to Eurasian avian lineage avian influenza viruses, the virus had been circulating for ≥ two years among poultry, had an increase in α2,6 binding affinity, and was not highly pathogenic. Approximately 9% of 100 healthy chickens sampled from the same area had elevated antibodies against the H2 antigen. Fortunately, there was sparse serological evidence that the virus was infecting poultry workers or had adapted to infect other mammals. These findings suggest that a novel H2N2 virus has been circulating among domestic poultry in Wuxi City, China and has some has increased human receptor affinity. It seems wise to conduct better surveillance for novel influenza viruses at Chinese live bird markets.
PMCID: PMC4274511  PMID: 25533850
10.  The association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity: a meta-analysis 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1267.
The increase in childhood obesity is a serious public health concern. Several studies have indicated that breastfed children have a lower risk of childhood obesity than those who were not breastfed, while other studies have provided conflicting evidence. The objective of this meta-analysis was to investigate the association between breastfeeding and the risk of childhood obesity.
The PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL Plus with Full Text databases were systematically searched from start date to 1st August 2014. Based on the meta-analysis, pooled adjusted odds ratio (AOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. I2 statistic was used to evaluate the between-study heterogeneity. Funnel plots and Fail-safe N were used to assess publication bias and reliability of results, and results from both Egger test and Begg test were reported.
Twenty-five studies with a total of 226,508 participants were included in this meta-analysis. The studies’ publication dates ranged from 1997 to 2014, and they examined the population of 12 countries. Results showed that breastfeeding was associated with a significantly reduced risk of obesity in children (AOR = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74, 0.81). Categorical analysis of 17 studies revealed a dose-response effect between breastfeeding duration and reduced risk of childhood obesity.
Results of our meta-analysis suggest that breastfeeding is a significant protective factor against obesity in children.
PMCID: PMC4301835  PMID: 25495402
Breastfeeding; Children; Obesity; Meta-analysis
11.  A double-blind, placebo-controlled comparator study of LY2140023 monohydrate in patients with schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14(1):351.
Pomaglumetad methionil (LY2140023 monohydrate) is a potent and highly selective agonist for the metabotropic glutamate mGluR2 and mGluR3 receptors. We present results of a pivotal clinical study H8Y-MC-HBBM assessing the efficacy of LY2140023 in improving symptoms as a monotherapy in patients with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.
Enrolled adult patients (ages 18–65) with schizophrenia who had experienced an exacerbation of symptoms within 2 weeks prior to study entry. Patients (N = 1013) were randomized 2:2:2:1 to treatment with placebo, LY40 mg twice daily (BID), LY80 mg BID, or risperidone (RIS) 2 mg BID for 6 weeks after a one-week blinded placebo lead-in. The primary outcome assessed change from baseline in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score in an overall schizophrenia population and a predefined subpopulation which excluded non-Hispanic white patients with the A/A genotype at the HTR2A SNP rs7330461.
Neither LY2140023 dose showed significant improvement compared to placebo on PANSS total in either population (1-sided p-value [significance level], overall: LY40, p = .154 [0.01]; LY80, p = .698 [0.01], subpopulation: LY40, p = .033 [0.0025]; LY80, p = .659 [0.0025], MMRM analysis). RIS statistically separated from placebo in both populations (p < .001 [0.05]). There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of serious adverse events, and no seizures on LY2140023.
LY2140023 treatment did not demonstrate efficacy in populations studied. Overall, LY2140023 treatment was generally well tolerated with no new adverse safety findings compared to previous trials. Further understanding of the role of glutamate as a therapeutic target in schizophrenia is needed.
Clinical trials registration
A Phase 2, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Comparator Study of 2 Doses of LY2140023 Versus Placebo in Patients With DSM-IV-TR Schizophrenia identifier: NCT01086748.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0351-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4276262  PMID: 25539791
Pomaglumetad methionil; Glutamate; Schizophrenia; Placebo; Risperidone; Pharmacology
14.  Draft Genome Sequence of Cellulose-Digesting Bacterium Sporocytophaga myxococcoides PG-01 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(6):e01154-14.
Sporocytophaga myxococcoides, a Gram-negative bacterium isolated from soil, is an efficient hydrolyzer of crystalline cellulose. Here, we report its draft genome sequence, which may provide important genetic information regarding the cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic enzymes that contribute to the cellulose-degrading abilities of this bacterium.
PMCID: PMC4239348  PMID: 25414493
15.  Effects of diazepam on glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the hippocampal CA1 area of rats with traumatic brain injury 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(21):1897-1901.
The activity of the Schaffer collaterals of hippocampal CA3 neurons and hippocampal CA1 neurons has been shown to increase after fluid percussion injury. Diazepam can inhibit the hyperexcitability of rat hippocampal neurons after injury, but the mechanism by which it affects excitatory synaptic transmission remains poorly understood. Our results showed that diazepam treatment significantly increased the slope of input-output curves in rat neurons after fluid percussion injury. Diazepam significantly decreased the numbers of spikes evoked by super stimuli in the presence of 15 μmol/L bicuculline, indicating the existence of inhibitory pathways in the injured rat hippocampus. Diazepam effectively increased the paired-pulse facilitation ratio in the hippocampal CA1 region following fluid percussion injury, reduced miniature excitatory postsynaptic potentials, decreased action-potential-dependent glutamine release, and reversed spontaneous glutamine release. These data suggest that diazepam could decrease the fluid percussion injury-induced enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission in the rat hippocampal CA1 area.
PMCID: PMC4281428  PMID: 25558239
nerve regeneration; traumatic brain injury; fluid percussion injury; excitatory synaptic transmission; hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons; paired-pulse facilitation; miniature excitatory postsynaptic potential; gamma-aminobutyric acid; post-traumatic hyperactivity; intracellular recording; NSFC grant; neural regeneration
16.  Genetic deletion of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase β (CaMKK β) or CaMK IV exacerbates stroke outcomes in ovariectomized (OVXed) female mice 
BMC Neuroscience  2014;15(1):118.
Stroke is the primary cause of long-term disability in the United States. Interestingly, mounting evidence has suggested potential sex differences in the response to stroke treatment in patients as, at least in part, distinct cell death programs may be triggered in females and males following stroke. The NIH has recognized that females are strikingly under-represented in pre-clinical trials. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase (CaMKK) is a major kinase that is activated by elevated intracellular calcium. It has recently been suggested that CaMKK and CaMK IV, a downstream target molecule, are neuroprotective in stroke in males. In this study, we examined stroke outcomes in ovariectomized CaMKK β and CaMK IV deficient females. Cell death/survival signaling and inflammatory responses were assessed.
Our results demonstrated that CaMKK β or CaMK IV KO exacerbated both ischemic injury and behavioral deficits in female mice. Genetic deletion of CaMKK β or CaMK IV increased hemorrhagic transformation after stroke, and this was associated with both increased MMP9 activity and loss of the blood brain barrier (BBB) protein collagen IV. Transcriptional inactivation was observed in mice lacking either CaMKK β or CaMK IV, as indicated by reduced levels of phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) proteins. Finally, inhibiting this pathway exacerbated the inflammatory response to stroke as CaMKK β or CaMK IV KO mice had increased levels of the pro-inflammatory serum cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) after stroke. This suggests that the CaMKK pathway is involved in the immune response to brain injury.
Inhibition of CaMKK signaling exacerbated stroke outcome and increased BBB impairment, transcriptional inactivation and inflammatory responses in females after stroke. Therefore, CaMKK signaling may be a potential target for stroke treatment in both males and females.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12868-014-0118-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4207892  PMID: 25331941
Stroke; CaMKK β; CaMK IV; Inflammation; Sex differences
17.  Genetic analysis of Chinese families reveals a novel truncation allele of the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator gene 
To make comprehensive molecular diagnosis for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients in a consanguineous Han Chinese family using next generation sequencing based Capture-NGS screen technology.
A five-generation Han Chinese family diagnosed as non-syndromic X-linked recessive RP (XLRP) was recruited, including four affected males, four obligate female carriers and eleven unaffected family members. Capture-NGS was performed using a custom designed capture panel covers 163 known retinal disease genes including 47 RP genes, followed by the validation of detected mutation using Sanger sequencing in all recruited family members.
Capture-NGS in one affected 47-year-old male reveals a novel mutation, c.2417_2418insG:p.E806fs, in exon ORF15 of RP GTPase regulator (RPGR) gene results in a frameshift change that results in a premature stop codon and a truncated protein product. The mutation was further validated in three of four affected males and two of four female carriers but not in the other unaffected family members.
We have identified a novel mutation, c.2417_2418insG:p.E806fs, in a Han Chinese family with XLRP. Our findings expand the mutation spectrum of RPGR and the phenotypic spectrum of XLRP in Han Chinese families, and confirms Capture-NGS could be an effective and economic approach for the comprehensive molecular diagnosis of RP.
PMCID: PMC4206875  PMID: 25349787
retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator; retinitis pigmentosa; next-generation sequencing; genetic diagnosis
18.  D-galactose-induced mitochondrial DNA oxidative damage in the auditory cortex of rats 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;10(6):2861-2867.
Chronic administration of D-galactose (D-gal) is a useful method for establishing a model of natural aging in the auditory system. Previous studies have demonstrated that NADPH oxidases (NOXs) may be an important source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the peripheral auditory system (PAS) and cause an increase in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) common deletion (CD) levels in the PAS and central auditory system (CAS) of rats with D-gal-induced aging. However, the source of the ROS in the CAS and the mechanisms of age-related hearing loss (ARHL) have yet to be elucidated. In the present study, male Sprague Dawley rats were administered a daily injection of D-gal (150, 300 and 500 mg/kg, respectively) for eight weeks. All three doses of D-gal caused a significant increase in the expression of NOX2, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, a biomarker of DNA oxidative damage, and uncoupling protein 2, together with a decrease in the mitochondrial total antioxidant capabilities in the auditory cortex, as compared with the control rats (injected daily with the same volume of 0.9% saline for eight weeks). The levels of the mtDNA CD were also increased in the auditory cortex of the D-gal-induced aging rats. These findings suggest that both NOX- and mitochondria-associated ROS generation may contribute to mtDNA oxidative damage in the auditory cortex of the CAS of D-gal-induced aging rats. This study may provide novel insight into the development of ARHL.
PMCID: PMC4227424  PMID: 25324030
D-galactose; auditory cortex; oxidative damage; mitochondria; age-related hearing loss
19.  Ozone oxidative preconditioning inhibits renal fibrosis induced by ischemia and reperfusion injury in rats 
Ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI) is a crucial contributor to the development of renal fibrosis. Ozone has been proposed as a novel medical therapy for various conditions, including organ IRI. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ozone oxidative preconditioning (OzoneOP) has a beneficial effect in preventing the development of renal fibrosis following IRI. Sprague Dawley rats were subjected to 45 min of ischemia followed by 8 weeks of reperfusion. Prior to surgery, rats in the OzoneOP group were treated with ozone and those in the IRI and Sham groups were untreated. Blood samples were collected for the detection of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (Cr) levels. To assess tissue fibrosis, Masson’s trichrome staining was performed. Immunohistochemistry was also performed to determine the localization of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and western blotting were conducted to analyze the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, α-SMA and Smad7. The levels of BUN and Cr did not significantly differ between groups. Rats pretreated with ozone showed markedly less interstitial fibrosis than untreated rats following IRI. In addition, immunohistochemistry revealed that α-SMA expression was attenuated in the OzoneOP group compared with the IRI group. RT-qPCR and western blot analysis showed that OzoneOP inhibited the IRI-induced increases in α-SMA and TGF-β1 expression levels, and that the IRI-induced reduction in the expression of Smad7 was inhibited in the OzoneOP group. The results indicate that OzoneOP has beneficial effects on ischemic renal fibrosis. OzoneOP may exert its protective effects by a mechanism involving modulation of the TGF-β1/Smad7 pathway.
PMCID: PMC4218702  PMID: 25371729
ozone oxidative preconditioning; renal fibrosis; ischemia and reperfusion injury
20.  Experimental Comparison of the Reproductive Outcomes and Early Development of the Offspring of Rats Given Five Common Types of Drinking Water 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108955.
Tap water (unfiltered), filtered tap water and processed bottled water (purified water, artificial mineralized water, or natural water) are now the five most widely consumed types of drinking water in China. However, the constituents (organic chemicals and inorganic ingredients) of the five waters differ, which may cause them to have different long-term health effects on those who drink them, especially sensitive children. In order to determine which type of water among the five waters is the most beneficial regarding reproductive outcomes and the developmental behaviors of offspring, two generations of Sprague–Dawley rats were given these five waters separately, and their reproductive outcomes and the developmental behaviors of their offspring were observed and compared. The results showed that the unfiltered tap water group had the lowest values for the maternal gestation index (MGI) and offspring's learning and memory abilities (OLMA); the lowest offspring survival rate was found in the purified water group; and the highest OLMA were found in the filtered tap water group. Thus, the best reproductive and offspring early developmental outcomes were found in the group that drank filtered tap water, which had the lowest levels of pollutants and the richest minerals. Therefore, thoroughly removing toxic contaminants and retaining the beneficial minerals in drinking water may be important for both pregnant women and children, and the best way to treat water may be with granular activated carbon and ion exchange by copper zinc alloy.
PMCID: PMC4184831  PMID: 25279561
21.  Role of inflammation and its mediators in acute ischemic stroke 
Journal of cardiovascular translational research  2013;6(5):10.1007/s12265-013-9508-6.
Inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke and other forms of ischemic brain injury. Increasing evidence suggests that inflammatory response is a double-edged sword, as it not only exacerbates secondary brain injury in the acute stage of stroke but also beneficially contributes to brain recovery after stroke. In this article, we provide an overview on the role of inflammation and its mediators in acute ischemic stroke. We discuss various pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses in different phases after ischemic stroke and the possible reasons for their failures in clinical trials. Undoubtedly, there is still much to be done in order to translate promising pre-clinical findings into clinical practice. A better understanding of the dynamic balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory responses and identifying the discrepancies between pre-clinical studies and clinical trials may serve as a basis for designing effective therapies.
PMCID: PMC3829610  PMID: 24006091
Inflammation; leukocytes; inflammatory mediators; brain ischemia
22.  Transcriptomic analysis of developmental features of Bombyx mori wing disc during metamorphosis 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):820.
Wing discs of B. mori are transformed to pupal wings during the larva-to-pupa metamorphosis with dramatic morphological and structural changes. To understand these changes at a transcriptional level, RNA-seq of the wing discs from 6-day-old fifth instar larvae (L5D6), prepupae (PP) and pupae (P0) was performed.
In total, 12,254 transcripts were obtained from the wing disc, out of which 5,287 were identified to be differentially expressed from L5D6 to PP and from PP to P0. The results of comprehensive analysis of RNA-seq data showed that during larvae-to-pupae metamorphosis, many genes of 20E signaling pathway were up-regulated and those of JH signaling pathway were down-regulated. Seventeen transcription factors were significantly up-regulated. Cuticle protein genes (especially wing cuticle protein genes), were most abundant and significantly up-regulated at P0 stage. Genes responsible for the degradation and de novo synthesis of chitin were significantly up-regulated. There were A and B two types of chitin synthases in B. mori, whereas only chitin synthase A was up-regulated. Both trehalose and D-fructose, which are precursors of chitin synthesis, were detected in the hemolymph of L5D6, PP and P0, suggesting de novo synthesis of chitin. However, most of the genes that are related to early wing disc differentiation were down-regulated.
Extensive transcriptome and DGE profiling data of wing disc during metamorphosis of silkworm have been generated, which provided comprehensive gene expression information at the transcriptional level. These results implied that during the larva-to-pupa metamorphosis, pupal wing development and transition might be mainly controlled by 20E signaling in B. mori. The 17 up-regulated transcription factors might be involved in wing development. Chitin required for pupal wing development might be generated from both degradation of componential chitin and de novo synthesis. Chitin synthase A might be responsible for the chitin synthesis in the pupal wing, while both trehalose and D-fructose might contribute to the de novo synthesis of chitin during the formation of pupal wing.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-820) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4196006  PMID: 25261999
B. mori; Wing disc; Metamorphosis; Transcriptome; RNA-Seq
23.  99mTc-3P4-RGD2 Scintimammography in the Assessment of Breast Lesions: Comparative Study with 99mTc-MIBI 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108349.
To compare the potential application of 99mTc-3P-Arg-Gly-Asp (99mTc-3P4-RGD2) scintimammography (SMM) and 99mTc-methoxyisobutylisonitrile (99mTc-MIBI) SMM for the differentiation of malignant from benign breast lesions.
Thirty-six patients with breast masses on physical examination and/or suspicious mammography results that required fine needle aspiration cytology biopsy (FNAB) were included in the study. 99mTc-3P4-RGD2 and 99mTc-MIBI SMM were performed with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) at 60 min and 20 min respectively after intravenous injection of 738±86 MBq radiotracers on a separate day. Images were evaluated by the tumor to non-tumor localization ratios (T/NT). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed on each radiotracer to calculate the cut-off values of quantitative indices and to compare the diagnostic performance for the ability to differentiate malignant from benign diseases.
The mean T/NT ratio of 99mTc-3P4-RGD2 in malignant lesions was significantly higher than that in benign lesions (3.54±1.51 vs. 1.83±0.98, p<0.001). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 99mTc-3P4-RGD2 SMM were 89.3%, 90.9% and 89.7%, respectively, with a T/NT cut-off value of 2.40. The mean T/NT ratio of 99mTc-MIBI in malignant lesions was also significantly higher than that in benign lesions (2.86±0.99 vs. 1.51±0.61, p<0.001). The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of 99mTc-MIBI SMM were 87.5%, 72.7% and 82.1%, respectively, with a T/NT cut-off value of 1.45. According to the ROC analysis, the area under the curve for 99mTc-3P4-RGD2 SMM (area = 0.851) was higher than that for 99mTc-MIBI SMM (area = 0.781), but the statistical difference was not significant.
99mTc-3P4-RGD2 SMM does not provide any significant advantage over the established 99mTc-MIBI SMM for the detection of primary breast cancer. The T/NT ratio of 99mTc-3P4-RGD2 SMM was significantly higher than that of 99mTc-MIBI SMM. Both tracers could offer an alternative method for elucidating non-diagnostic mammograms.
PMCID: PMC4176966  PMID: 25250628
24.  Clinical significance of UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms on irinotecan-based regimens as the treatment in metastatic colorectal cancer 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1653-1661.
The primary aim of this research was to investigate the association between uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)1A1 gene polymorphisms and the toxicities of irinotecan-based regimens in Chinese patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
The study analyzed the distribution of UGT1A1*28/*6 gene polymorphisms by polymerase chain reaction amplification and pyrosequencing. The adverse reactions and tumor response were evaluated according to National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events, Version 3.0, and Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors, Version 1.0, criteria, respectively. The correlation between UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms and severe delayed diarrhea or neutropenia was analyzed. The influences of UGT1A1*6/*28 polymorphisms on response rate and progression-free survival were also analyzed. Survival analysis was performed by the Kaplan–Meier method, and we used the log-rank test to analyze the effect of genotypes on progression-free survival, the logistic regression model for multivariate analysis, and the Cox regression model for multivariate survival analysis.
A total of 167 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who were treated with irinotecan-based regimens and with detected UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms were enrolled in this research. The rate of UGT1A1*28 homozygous wild-type TA6/6, heterozygous mutant-type TA6/7, and homozygous mutant-type TA7/7 was 65.3% (109/167), 32.3% (54/167), and 2.4% (4/167), respectively; the incidence of UGT1A1*6 wild-type G/G was 67.1% (112/167), heterozygous mutant-type G/A accounted for 28.7% (48/167), and seven cases were homozygous mutant-type A/A (4.2%; 7/167). The incidence of grade 3 or 4 delayed diarrhea in patients carrying UGT1A1*6 (G/A and A/A) was higher than that in the wild-type (G/G) (P=0.021). The rate was significantly lower in patients with the UGT1A1*28 TA6/6 wide-type genotype than those with TA6/7 and TA7/7 mutant-type genotypes (P=0.027). However, neither UGT1A1*6 (P=0.34) nor UGT1A1*28 (P=0.232) variants were significantly associated with severe neutropenia. Our study found no significant differences of severe neutropenia in patients with different numbers of mutational alleles (P=0.354), but patients with two alleles or single allele variants had more chances to develop severe diarrhea than patients with wild-type (P=0.027). No significant differences of either response rate or progression-free survival were found among different genotypes (P>0.05).
For irinotecan-based regimens in metastatic colorectal cancer, the UGT1A1*28 and UGT1A1*6 locus mutations can be regarded as predictors for irinotecan-associated severe delayed diarrhea, whereas no association between UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms and severe neutropenia was observed. We also found that neither clinical response nor prognosis were significantly associated with UGT1A1 gene polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC4181635  PMID: 25285015
uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase 1A1; gene polymorphism; metastatic colorectal cancer; irinotecan
25.  Chimeric antigen receptor for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer: latest research and future prospects 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13(1):219.
Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are recombinant receptors that combine the specificity of an antigen-specific antibody with the T-cell’s activating functions. Initial clinical trials of genetically engineered CAR T cells have significantly raised the profile of T cell therapy, and great efforts have been made to improve this approach. In this review, we provide a structural overview of the development of CAR technology and highlight areas that require further refinement. We also discuss critical issues related to CAR therapy, including the optimization of CAR T cells, the route of administration, CAR toxicity and the blocking of inhibitory molecules.
PMCID: PMC4177696  PMID: 25241075
Adoptive transfer; Chimeric antigen receptor; Gene transfer; T cells

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