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1.  Simvastatin attenuates stroke-induced splenic atrophy and lung susceptibility to spontaneous bacterial infection in mice 
Background and Purpose
Statins are widely used in the primary and secondary prevention of ischemic stroke, but their effects on stroke-induced immunodeppression and post-stroke infections are elusive. We investigated effects of simvastatin treatment on stroke-induced splenic atrophy and lung susceptibility to bacterial infection in acute experimental stroke in mice.
Ischemic stroke was induced by transient occlusion of middle cerebral artery (MCAO) followed by reperfusion. In some experiments, splenectomies were performed 2 weeks prior to MCAO. Animals were randomly assigned to sham and MCAO groups treated subcutaneously with vehicle or simvastatin (20 mg/kg/day). Brain infarction, neurological function, brain interferon-γ expression, splenic atrophy and apoptosis, and lung infection were examined.
Simvastatin reduced stroke-induced spleen atrophy and splenic apoptosis via increased mitochrondrial anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and decreased pro-apoptotic Bax translocation from cytosol into mitochondria. Splenectomy reduced brain interferon-γ (3d) and infarct size (5d) after stroke and these effects were reversed by adoptive transfer of splenocytes. Simvastatin inhibited brain interferon-γ (3d) and reduced infarct volume and neurological deficits (5d) after stroke, and these protective effects were observed not only in naïve stroke mice but also in splenectomied stroke mice adoptively transferred with splenocytes. Simvastatin also decreased the stroke-associated lung susceptibility to spontaneous bacterial infection.
Results provide the first direct experimental evidence that simvastatin ameliorates stroke-induced peripheral immunodepression by attenuating spleen atrophy and lung bacterial infection. These findings contribute to a better understanding of beneficial effects of statins in the treatment of stroke.
PMCID: PMC3609888  PMID: 23391769
Brain ischemia; bacterial infection; immune response; statin; spleen
2.  How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work? Four Potential Mechanisms 
Journal of child neurology  2013;28(8):1027-1033.
The ketogenic diet and its newer variants are clinically useful in treating epilepsy. They may also have antiepileptogenic properties and may eventually have a role in treating other neurological and non-neurological conditions. Despite being nearly a century old, identifying the molecular underpinnings of the ketogenic diet has been challenging. However, recent studies provide experimental evidence for four distinct mechanisms that may contribute to the anti-seizure and other beneficial effects of these diets. These mechanisms include carbohydrate reduction, activation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels by mitochondrial metabolism, inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway, and inhibition of glutamatergic excitatory synaptic transmission.
PMCID: PMC3971996  PMID: 23670253
ketogenic diet; mechanism of action; glucose; ATP-sensitive K channel; mammalian target of rapamycin; vesicular glutamate transporters
3.  Interleukin-6 disrupts blood-testis barrier through inhibiting protein degradation or activating phosphorylated ERK in Sertoli cells 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4260.
It has been recently ascribed to several inflammatory cytokines (i.e. TGF-β3, TNF-α, and IL-1) a functional role in regulating Sertoli cell blood-testis barrier (BTB) dynamics. In the testis, IL-6 inhibits meiotic DNA synthesis during the seminiferous epithelium cycle, reduces sperm motility and influences the secretion of transferrin and inhibin B by Sertoli cells. Also, it has been shown that IL-6 affects tight junction permeability in Sertoli cells, but, little is known about its role in regulating the BTB. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which IL-6 affects BTB dynamics. We show that IL-6 perturbs the integrity of the BTB, and alters the normal localization and steady-state levels of BTB integral membrane proteins. We demonstrated that IL-6 regulates the BTB by inhibiting the degradation of BTB constitutive proteins and activating ERK-MAPK pathways. Our results provide mechanistic insight into the roles of IL-6 in regulating BTB dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3939460  PMID: 24584780
4.  Biomonitoring the Cooked Meat Carcinogen 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) in Hair: Impact of Exposure, Pigmentation and Cytochrome P450 1A2 Phenotype 
Hair is a promising tissue to assess exposure to 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), a carcinogen formed in cooked meats. However, an understanding of how dietary exposure to PhIP, cytochrome P450 1A2 activity - a key enzyme involved in PhIP metabolism, and hair pigmentation affect the level of PhIP accrued in hair is required in order to determine the reliability of the PhIP hair level as a biomarker of exposure to this carcinogen.
We examined the impact of PhIP exposure, cytochrome P450 1A2 activity, and hair pigmentation on the levels of PhIP accumulated in the hair of volunteers on a 4-week semi-controlled diet of cooked meat containing known quantities of PhIP.
The amount of PhIP in hair increased, on average, 15-fold in light- and dark-haired individuals during consumption of cooked meat. PhIP levels in hair were correlated to PhIP intake (ρ = 0.53; p < 0.001), and the relationship was strengthened when PhIP levels were normalized for the melanin content of hair (ρ = 0.71; p < 0.001). However, PhIP accrual in hair was not correlated to cytochrome P450 1A2 activity, as assessed by the caffeine test, or to the levels of unmetabolized PhIP in urine, or to the metabolic ratio of the major urinary metabolite N2-(ß-1-glucosiduronyl-2-(hydroxyamino)-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine to unmetabolized PhIP.
The employment of the PhIP hair biomarker should take hair pigmentation into account for accurate exposure assessment.
PhIP hair levels can serve as a biomarker in epidemiological studies investigating the association of HAAs, cooked meat and cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3610405  PMID: 23329727
5.  Telomere Length Reprogramming in Embryos and Stem Cells 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:925121.
Telomeres protect and cap linear chromosome ends, yet these genomic buffers erode over an organism's lifespan. Short telomeres have been associated with many age-related conditions in humans, and genetic mutations resulting in short telomeres in humans manifest as syndromes of precocious aging. In women, telomere length limits a fertilized egg's capacity to develop into a healthy embryo. Thus, telomere length must be reset with each subsequent generation. Although telomerase is purportedly responsible for restoring telomere DNA, recent studies have elucidated the role of alternative telomeres lengthening mechanisms in the reprogramming of early embryos and stem cells, which we review here.
PMCID: PMC3955682  PMID: 24719895
6.  Genomic characterization of a Helicobacter pylori isolate from a patient with gastric cancer in China 
Gut Pathogens  2014;6:5.
Helicobacter pylori is well known for its relationship with the occurrence of several severe gastric diseases. The mechanisms of pathogenesis triggered by H. pylori are less well known. In this study, we report the genome sequence and genomic characterizations of H. pylori strain HLJ039 that was isolated from a patient with gastric cancer in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, where there is a high incidence of gastric cancer. To investigate potential genomic features that may be involved in pathogenesis of carcinoma, the genome was compared to three previously sequenced genomes in this area.
We obtained 42 contigs with a total length of 1,611,192 bp and predicted 1,687 coding sequences. Compared to strains isolated from gastritis and ulcers in this area, 10 different regions were identified as being unique for HLJ039; they mainly encoded type II restriction-modification enzyme, type II m6A methylase, DNA-cytosine methyltransferase, DNA methylase, and hypothetical proteins. A unique 547-bp fragment sharing 93% identity with a hypothetical protein of Helicobacter cinaedi ATCC BAA-847 was not present in any other previous H. pylori strains. Phylogenetic analysis based on core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms shows that HLJ039 is defined as hspEAsia subgroup, which belongs to the hpEastAsia group.
DNA methylations, variations of the genomic regions involved in restriction and modification systems, are the “hot” regions that may be related to the mechanism of H. pylori-induced gastric cancer. The genome sequence will provide useful information for the deep mining of potential mechanisms related to East Asian gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3938082  PMID: 24565107
Helicobacter pylori; Gastric cancer; Next generation sequencing; Genomic features
7.  Heteroresistance at the Single-Cell Level: Adapting to Antibiotic Stress through a Population-Based Strategy and Growth-Controlled Interphenotypic Coordination 
mBio  2014;5(1):e00942-13.
Heteroresistance refers to phenotypic heterogeneity of microbial clonal populations under antibiotic stress, and it has been thought to be an allocation of a subset of “resistant” cells for surviving in higher concentrations of antibiotic. The assumption fits the so-called bet-hedging strategy, where a bacterial population “hedges” its “bet” on different phenotypes to be selected by unpredicted environment stresses. To test this hypothesis, we constructed a heteroresistance model by introducing a blaCTX-M-14 gene (coding for a cephalosporin hydrolase) into a sensitive Escherichia coli strain. We confirmed heteroresistance in this clone and that a subset of the cells expressed more hydrolase and formed more colonies in the presence of ceftriaxone (exhibited stronger “resistance”). However, subsequent single-cell-level investigation by using a microfluidic device showed that a subset of cells with a distinguishable phenotype of slowed growth and intensified hydrolase expression emerged, and they were not positively selected but increased their proportion in the population with ascending antibiotic concentrations. Therefore, heteroresistance—the gradually decreased colony-forming capability in the presence of antibiotic—was a result of a decreased growth rate rather than of selection for resistant cells. Using a mock strain without the resistance gene, we further demonstrated the existence of two nested growth-centric feedback loops that control the expression of the hydrolase and maximize population growth in various antibiotic concentrations. In conclusion, phenotypic heterogeneity is a population-based strategy beneficial for bacterial survival and propagation through task allocation and interphenotypic collaboration, and the growth rate provides a critical control for the expression of stress-related genes and an essential mechanism in responding to environmental stresses.
Heteroresistance is essentially phenotypic heterogeneity, where a population-based strategy is thought to be at work, being assumed to be variable cell-to-cell resistance to be selected under antibiotic stress. Exact mechanisms of heteroresistance and its roles in adaptation to antibiotic stress have yet to be fully understood at the molecular and single-cell levels. In our study, we have not been able to detect any apparent subset of “resistant” cells selected by antibiotics; on the contrary, cell populations differentiate into phenotypic subsets with variable growth statuses and hydrolase expression. The growth rate appears to be sensitive to stress intensity and plays a key role in controlling hydrolase expression at both the bulk population and single-cell levels. We have shown here, for the first time, that phenotypic heterogeneity can be beneficial to a growing bacterial population through task allocation and interphenotypic collaboration other than partitioning cells into different categories of selective advantage.
PMCID: PMC3950525  PMID: 24520060
8.  SPARC silencing inhibits the growth of acute myeloid leukemia transformed from myelodysplastic syndrome via induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis 
Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) plays key roles in erythropoiesis; haploinsufficiency of SPARC is implicated in the progression of the 5q- syndrome. However, the role of SPARC in other subtypes of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is not fully understood, particularly in the del(5q) type with a complex karyotype, which has a high risk to transform into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the present study, we investigated the role of SPARC in the proliferation and apoptosis of SKM-1 cells, an acute myeloid leukemia cell line transformed from an MDS cell line. SKM-1 cells were infected with SPARC-RNAi-LV or NC-GFP-LV lentivirus. Apoptosis and cell cycle profiling were assessed by flow cytometry, and cell proliferation was evaluated by MTS assay. The mRNA and protein expression levels of SPARC, p53, caspase-3, caspase-9 and Fas were detected by RT-PCR, real-time PCR and western blot assay. The SPARC shRNA constructed by us led to a significant reduction in SPARC expression in SKM-1 cells. SPARC knockdown inhibited the proliferation of SKM-1 cells by inducing cell cycle arrest at the G1/G0 phase and apoptosis. SPARC knockdown elevated the expression of p53, caspase-9, caspase-3 and Fas at both the mRNA and protein levels. SPARC silencing inhibited the growth of AML transformed from MDS by activating p53-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. These data indicate that SPARC acts as an oncogene in transformed MDS/AML and is a potential therapeutic target in MDS/AML.
PMCID: PMC3976133  PMID: 24535175
SPARC gene; myelodysplastic syndrome; transfection; the 5q- syndrome
11.  Low molecular weight thiol-dependent antioxidant and antinitrosative defenses in Salmonella pathogenesis 
Molecular microbiology  2012;87(3):10.1111/mmi.12119.
We found herein that the intracytoplasmic pool of the low-molecular weight (LMW) thiol glutathione (GSH) is readily oxidized in Salmonella exposed to nitric oxide (NO). The hypersusceptibility of gshA and gshB mutants lacking γ-glutamylcysteine and glutathione synthetases to NO and S-nitrosoglutathione indicates that GSH antagonizes the bacteriostatic activity of reactive nitrogen species. Metabolites of the GSH biosynthetic pathway do not affect the enzymatic activity of classical NO targets such as quinol oxidases. In contrast, LMW thiols diminish the nitrosative stress experienced by enzymes, such as glutamine oxoglutarate amidotransferase, that contain redox active cysteines. LMW thiols also preserve the transcription of Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 gene targets from the inhibitory activity of nitrogen oxides. These findings are consistent with the idea that GSH scavenges reactive nitrogen species (RNS) other than NO. Compared to the adaptive response afforded by inducible systems such as the hmp-encoded flavohemoprotein, gshA, encoding the first step of GSH biosynthesis, is constitutively expressed in Salmonella. An acute model of salmonellosis has revealed that the antioxidant and antinitrosative properties associated with the GSH biosynthetic pathway represent a first line of Salmonella resistance against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species engendered in the context of a functional NRAMP1R divalent metal transporter.
PMCID: PMC3885168  PMID: 23217033
12.  Telomere elongation in parthenogenetic stem cells 
Protein & Cell  2014;5:8-11.
PMCID: PMC3938844  PMID: 24481629
13.  Telomere elongation in parthenogenetic stem cells 
Protein & Cell  2014;5(1):8-11.
PMCID: PMC3938844  PMID: 24481629
14.  Management of Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Zoonotic Transmission: Protection of Rabbits against HEV Challenge following Immunization with HEV 239 Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87600.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) constitutes a significant health burden worldwide, with an estimated approximately 33% of the world’s population exposed to the pathogen. The recent licensed HEV 239 vaccine in China showed excellent protective efficacy against HEV of genotypes 1 and 4 in the general population and pregnant women. Because hepatitis E is a zoonosis, it is also necessary to ascertain whether this vaccine can serve to manage animal sources of human HEV infection. To test the efficacy of the HEV 239 vaccine in protecting animal reservoirs of HEV against HEV infection, twelve specific-pathogen-free (SPF) rabbits were divided randomly into two groups of 6 animals and inoculated intramuscularly with HEV 239 and placebo (PBS). All animals were challenged intravenously with swine HEV of genotype 4 or rabbit HEV seven weeks after the initial immunization. The course of infection was monitored for 10 weeks by serum ALT levels, duration of viremia and fecal virus excretion and HEV antibody responses. All rabbits immunized with HEV 239 developed high titers of anti-HEV and no signs of HEV infection were observed throughout the experiment, while rabbits inoculated with PBS developed viral hepatitis following challenge, with liver enzyme elevations, viremia, and fecal virus shedding. Our data indicated that the HEV 239 vaccine is highly immunogenic for rabbits and that it can completely protect rabbits against homologous and heterologous HEV infections. These findings could facilitate the prevention of food-borne sporadic HEV infection in both developing and industrialized countries.
PMCID: PMC3907545  PMID: 24498149
15.  Management of hepatocellular carcinoma: The role of contrast-enhanced ultrasound 
World Journal of Radiology  2014;6(1):7-14.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common neoplasm and the third cause of cancer death worldwide. Contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) has been applied for more than ten years and plays increasingly important roles in the management of HCC. On the basis of the Guideline and Good Clinical Practice Recommendations for CEUS in the liver-update 2012 and related literature about the management of HCC, we summarize the main roles and applications of CEUS in the management of HCC, including HCC surveillance, diagnosis, CEUS-guided treatment, treatment response evaluation and follow-up. The diagnostic algorithm for HCC is also suggested. Meanwhile, the comparisons between CEUS and contrast enhanced computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (CECT/CEMRI) in these areas are made. Although CEUS is subject to the same limitation as ordinary US and is inferior to CECT/CEMRI in some aspects, CEUS has proved to be of great value in the management of HCC with inherent advantages, such as sufficient high safety profile making it suitable for patients with renal failure or allergic to iodine, absence of radiation, easy reproducibility and high temporal resolution. The tremendous application of CEUS to the diagnosis and treatment of HCC provides more opportunities for patients with HCC diagnosed at different stages.
PMCID: PMC3936208  PMID: 24578787
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Contrast enhanced ultrasound; Ultrasound contrast agent; Imaging; Sonography
16.  Protective Effects of Membrane-Anchored and Secreted DNA Vaccines Encoding Fatty Acid-Binding Protein and Glutathione S-Transferase against Schistosoma japonicum 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86575.
In order to explore the high performance bivalent DNA-based vaccine against schistosomes, SjFABP and Sj26GST were selected and used to construct a vaccine. Two strategies were used to construct the bivalent DNA vaccine. In the first strategy, a plasmid encoding antigen in the secreted form was used, while in the other, a plasmid encoding a truncated form of SjFABP and Sj26GST targeted to the cell surface was used. Various parameters, including antibody and cytokine response, proliferation, histopathological examination, and characterization of T cell subsets were used to evaluate the type of immune response and the level of protection against challenge infection. Injection with secreted pIRES-sjFABP-sj26GST significantly increased the levels of antibody, splenocyte proliferation, and production of IFN-γ, compared with membrane-anchored groups. Analysis of splenic T cell subsets showed that the secreted vaccine significantly increased the percentage of CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ T cells. Liver immunopathology (size of liver granulomas) was significantly reduced in the secreted group compared with the membrane-anchored groups. Moreover, challenge experiments showed that the worm and egg burdens were significantly reduced in animals immunized with recombinant vaccines. Most importantly, secreted Sj26GST-SjFABP markedly enhanced protection, by reducing worm and egg burdens by 31.8% and 24.78%, respectively, while the membrane-anchored group decreased worm and egg burdens by 24.80% and 18.80%, respectively. Taken together, these findings suggest that the secretory vaccine is more promising than the membrane-anchored vaccine, and provides support for the development and application of this vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3900569  PMID: 24466157
17.  Continuous-flow Mass Production of Silicon Nanowires via Substrate-Enhanced Metal-Catalyzed Electroless Etching of Silicon with Dissolved Oxygen as an Oxidant 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3667.
Silicon nanowires (SiNWs) are attracting growing interest due to their unique properties and promising applications in photovoltaic devices, thermoelectric devices, lithium-ion batteries, and biotechnology. Low-cost mass production of SiNWs is essential for SiNWs-based nanotechnology commercialization. However, economic, controlled large-scale production of SiNWs remains challenging and rarely attainable. Here, we demonstrate a facile strategy capable of low-cost, continuous-flow mass production of SiNWs on an industrial scale. The strategy relies on substrate-enhanced metal-catalyzed electroless etching (MCEE) of silicon using dissolved oxygen in aqueous hydrofluoric acid (HF) solution as an oxidant. The distinct advantages of this novel MCEE approach, such as simplicity, scalability and flexibility, make it an attractive alternative to conventional MCEE methods.
PMCID: PMC3888973  PMID: 24413157
18.  Comparison of Metatranscriptomic Samples Based on k-Tuple Frequencies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84348.
The comparison of samples, or beta diversity, is one of the essential problems in ecological studies. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies make it possible to obtain large amounts of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic short read sequences across many microbial communities. De novo assembly of the short reads can be especially challenging because the number of genomes and their sequences are generally unknown and the coverage of each genome can be very low, where the traditional alignment-based sequence comparison methods cannot be used. Alignment-free approaches based on k-tuple frequencies, on the other hand, have yielded promising results for the comparison of metagenomic samples. However, it is not known if these approaches can be used for the comparison of metatranscriptome datasets and which dissimilarity measures perform the best.
We applied several beta diversity measures based on k-tuple frequencies to real metatranscriptomic datasets from pyrosequencing 454 and Illumina sequencing platforms to evaluate their effectiveness for the clustering of metatranscriptomic samples, including three dissimilarity measures, one dissimilarity measure in CVTree, one relative entropy based measure S2 and three classical distances. Results showed that the measure can achieve superior performance on clustering metatranscriptomic samples into different groups under different sequencing depths for both 454 and Illumina datasets, recovering environmental gradients affecting microbial samples, classifying coexisting metagenomic and metatranscriptomic datasets, and being robust to sequencing errors. We also investigated the effects of tuple size and order of the background Markov model. A software pipeline to implement all the steps of analysis is built and is available at
The k-tuple based sequence signature measures can effectively reveal major groups and gradient variation among metatranscriptomic samples from NGS reads. The dissimilarity measure performs well in all application scenarios and its performance is robust with respect to tuple size and order of the Markov model.
PMCID: PMC3879298  PMID: 24392128
20.  Zscan4 promotes genomic stability during reprogramming and dramatically improves the quality of iPS cells as demonstrated by tetraploid complementation 
Cell Research  2012;23(1):92-106.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells generated using Yamanaka factors have great potential for use in autologous cell therapy. However, genomic abnormalities exist in human iPS cells, and most mouse iPS cells are not fully pluripotent, as evaluated by the tetraploid complementation assay (TCA); this is most likely associated with the DNA damage response (DDR) occurred in early reprogramming induced by Yamanaka factors. In contrast, nuclear transfer can faithfully reprogram somatic cells into embryonic stem (ES) cells that satisfy the TCA. We thus hypothesized that factors involved in oocyte-induced reprogramming may stabilize the somatic genome during reprogramming, and improve the quality of the resultant iPS cells. To test this hypothesis, we screened for factors that could decrease DDR signals during iPS cell induction. We determined that Zscan4, in combination with the Yamanaka factors, not only remarkably reduced the DDR but also markedly promoted the efficiency of iPS cell generation. The inclusion of Zscan4 stabilized the genomic DNA, resulting in p53 downregulation. Furthermore, Zscan4 also enhanced telomere lengthening as early as 3 days post-infection through a telomere recombination-based mechanism. As a result, iPS cells generated with addition of Zscan4 exhibited longer telomeres than classical iPS cells. Strikingly, more than 50% of iPS cell lines (11/19) produced via this “Zscan4 protocol” gave rise to live-borne all-iPS cell mice as determined by TCA, compared to 1/12 for lines produced using the classical Yamanaka factors. Our findings provide the first demonstration that maintaining genomic stability during reprogramming promotes the generation of high quality iPS cells.
PMCID: PMC3541664  PMID: 23147797
somatic reprogramming; genomic stability; telomere; Zscan4; tetraploid complementation; iPS cells
21.  Telomeres and human reproduction 
Fertility and sterility  2013;99(1):10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.11.039.
Telomeres mediate biologic aging in organisms as diverse as plants, yeast, and mammals. We propose a telomere theory of reproductive aging that posits telomere shortening in the female germ line as the primary driver of reproductive aging in women. Experimental shortening of telomeres in mice, which normally do not exhibit appreciable oocyte aging, and which have exceptionally long telomeres, recapitulates the aging phenotype of human oocytes. Telomere shortening in mice reduces synapsis and chiasmata, increases embryo fragmentation, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, spindle dysmorphologies, and chromosome abnormalities. Telomeres are shorter in the oocytes from women undergoing in vitro fertilization, who then produce fragmented, aneuploid embryos that fail to implant. In contrast, the testes are replete with spermatogonia that can rejuvenate telomere reserves throughout the life of the man by expressing telomerase. Differences in telomere dynamics across the life span of men and women may have evolved because of the difference in the inherent risks of aging on reproduction between men and women. Additionally, growing evidence links altered telomere biology to endometriosis and gynecologic cancers, thus future studies should examine the role of telomeres in pathologies of the reproductive tract.
PMCID: PMC3857638  PMID: 23273986
Reproductive aging; telomeres
22.  NOV-002, A Glutathione Disulfide Mimetic, Suppresses Tumor Cell Invasion and Metastasis 
Metastasis is the major cause of death in cancer. Most therapies currently in the clinic aim to eradicate primary tumor, but do not have ideal effects on metastasis. The lack of effective therapy in metastasis prevention and treatment results in high mortality rate in cancer patients with advanced diseases. Here we report the oxidized glutathione small molecule compound NOV-002 reduces cancer cell invasion in vitro and metastasis in an animal model in combination with chemotherapy drug gemcitabine. NOV-002 regulates cell signaling pathways by suppressing ErbB2 and PI3K phosphorylation and subsequent inhibition of Akt and RhoA activation. Our results suggest that NOV-002 affects cell signaling pathways that are critical for invasion and metastasis and can potentially be effective in metastasis treatment in combination of other chemotherapies.
PMCID: PMC3872994  PMID: 24377058
23.  Correlation between Ultrasound Reflection Intensity and Tumor Ablation Ratio of Late-Stage Pancreatic Carcinoma in HIFU Therapy: Dynamic Observation on Ultrasound Reflection Intensity 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:852874.
The minimally invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy is thermal ablation treatment for late-stage pancreatic carcinoma with widely recognized safety and effectiveness, but there are currently no instant assessment methods for its ablation effect. It is vital to find a real-time high-sensitive assessment method. This research aims to dynamically observe the variation rules of ultrasound reflection intensity, analyze the correlation between ultrasound reflection intensity and tumor ablation ratio, and find out the value of ultrasound reflection intensity in prognosis of HIFU ablation effect. HIFU intermittent therapies were retrospectively analyzed for 31 subjects with late-stage pancreatic carcinoma from March 2007 to December 2009 in the study. The variation rules of the ultrasound reflection intensity during HIFU therapy were summarized and the correlation between ultrasound reflection intensity and tumor ablation ratio was analyzed based on the tumor ablation ratio indicated by CT scanning. The conclusion is that variation of ultrasound reflection intensity can be used for initial assessment of tumor ablation in HIFU therapy and early prognosis of overall HIFU ablation, providing important clinical basis for improving safety and effectiveness of HIFU therapy. Ultrasound can work as a real-time imaging instrument for observation of HIFU ablation effect in treating late-stage pancreatic carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3888756  PMID: 24453916
24.  Genome wide association studies for body conformation traits in the Chinese Holstein cattle population 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:897.
Genome-wide association study (GWAS) is a powerful tool for revealing the genetic basis of quantitative traits. However, studies using GWAS for conformation traits of cattle is comparatively less. This study aims to use GWAS to find the candidates genes for body conformation traits.
The Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip was used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with body conformation traits. A least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) was applied to detect multiple SNPs simultaneously for 29 body conformation traits with 1,314 Chinese Holstein cattle and 52,166 SNPs. Totally, 59 genome-wide significant SNPs associated with 26 conformation traits were detected by genome-wide association analysis; five SNPs were within previously reported QTL regions (Animal Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) database) and 11 were very close to the reported SNPs. Twenty-two SNPs were located within annotated gene regions, while the remainder were 0.6–826 kb away from known genes. Some of the genes had clear biological functions related to conformation traits. By combining information about the previously reported QTL regions and the biological functions of the genes, we identified DARC, GAS1, MTPN, HTR2A, ZNF521, PDIA6, and TMEM130 as the most promising candidate genes for capacity and body depth, chest width, foot angle, angularity, rear leg side view, teat length, and animal size traits, respectively. We also found four SNPs that affected four pairs of traits, and the genetic correlation between each pair of traits ranged from 0.35 to 0.86, suggesting that these SNPs may have a pleiotropic effect on each pair of traits.
A total of 59 significant SNPs associated with 26 conformation traits were identified in the Chinese Holstein population. Six promising candidate genes were suggested, and four SNPs showed genetic correlation for four pairs of traits.
PMCID: PMC3879203  PMID: 24341352
Dairy cattle; GWAS; Body conformation traits; SNP; Holstein; QTL
25.  Roles for Tbx3 in regulation of two-cell state and telomere elongation in mouse ES cells 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3492.
Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell cultures exhibit heterogeneity and recently are discovered to sporadically enter the 2-cell (2C)-embryo state, critical for ES potency. Zscan4 could mark the sporadic 2C-state of ES cells. However, factors that regulate the Zscan4+/2C state remain to be elucidated. We show that Tbx3 plays a novel role in regulation of Zscan4+/2C state. Tbx3 activates 2-cell genes including Zscan4 and Tcstv1/3, but not vise versa. Ectopic expression of Tbx3 results in telomere elongation, consistent with a role for Zscan4 in telomere lengthening. Mechanistically, Tbx3 decreases Dnmt3b and increases Tet2 protein levels, and reduces binding of Dnmt3b to subtelomeres, resulting in reduced DNA methylation and derepression of genes at subtelomeres, e.g. Zscan4. These data suggest that Tbx3 can activate Zscan4+/2C state by negative regulation of DNA methylation at repeated sequences, linking to telomere maintenance and self-renewal of ES cells.
PMCID: PMC3861804  PMID: 24336466

Results 1-25 (182)