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1.  Tumor-derived exosomes promote tumor progression and T-cell dysfunction through the regulation of enriched exosomal microRNAs in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(14):5439-5452.
Tumor-derived exosomes contain biologically active proteins and messenger and microRNAs (miRNAs). These particles serve as vehicles of intercellular communication and are emerging mediators of tumorigenesis and immune escape. Here, we isolated 30-100 nm exosomes from the serum of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) or the supernatant of TW03 cells. Increased circulating exosome concentrations were correlated with advanced lymphoid node stage and poor prognosis in NPC patients (P < 0.05). TW03-derived exosomes impaired T-cell function by inhibiting T-cell proliferation and Th1 and Th17 differentiation and promoting Treg induction by NPC cells in vitro. These results are associated with decreases in ERK, STAT1, and STAT3 phosphorylation and increases in STAT5 phosphorylation in exosome-stimulated T-cells. TW03-derived exosomes increased the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 but decreased IFNγ, IL-2, and IL-17 release from CD4+ or CD8+ T-cells. Furthermore, five commonly over-expressed miRNAs were identified in the exosomes from patient sera or NPC cells: hsa-miR-24-3p, hsa-miR-891a, hsa-miR-106a-5p, hsa-miR-20a-5p, and hsa-miR-1908. These over-expressed miRNA clusters down-regulated the MARK1 signaling pathway to alter cell proliferation and differentiation. Overall, these observations reveal the clinical relevance and prognostic value of tumor-derived exosomes and identify a unique intercellular mechanism mediated by tumor-derived exosomes to modulate T-cell function in NPC.
PMCID: PMC4170615  PMID: 24978137
exosomes; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; tumor microenvironment
2.  Increased HIF-1alpha expression in tumor cells and lymphocytes of tumor microenvironments predicts unfavorable survival in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients 
The expression of hypoxia-induced factor (HIF)-1α is up-regulated in tumor microenvironments under hypoxia condition. However, the prognostic significance of HIF-1α in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is still elusive. We measured the HIF-1α expression by immunochemistry in tumor specimens from 136 resected ESCC; in the current study, the HIF-1α expression in tumor cells was significantly associated with tumor stage (P = 0.003) and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.006); whereas the HIF-1α expression in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) had no relationship with patients’ clinicopathological parameters. Patients with high HIF-1α expression in tumor cells or in TILs showed worse survival related to those with low HIF-1α expression. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that expression of HIF-1α in TILs was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.007) and OS (P = 0.013). Additionally, the expression of HIF-1α in tumor cells was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.037) and OS (P = 0.033) in locoregional ESCC patients, whereas the expression of HIF-1α in TILs was an independent factor for DFS (P = 0.048) and OS (P = 0.039) in metastatic ESCC patients. Correlation analysis revealed that expressions of HIF-1α in tumor cells and in TILs were positively correlated, and patients with combined high HIF-1α in both tumor cells and TILs had the worst survivals (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that the HIF-1α expressions in different cell populations of ESCC microenvironments have different clinical relevance and prognostic impact on patients.
PMCID: PMC4129000  PMID: 25120765
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; HIF-1α; tumor microenvironments; clinical prognosis; tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
3.  Notch-1 and Ki-67 receptor as predictors for the recurrence and prognosis of Kimura’s disease 
Kimura’s disease (KD) is a rare chronic disease with unknown origin. It remains controversial in KD’s diagnosis, treatment, transformation and need further research. The aim of this study is to investigate the clinicopathologic features of KD and the relationship between the expression of Notch-1, Ki-67 receptor and the recurrence of KD. The hematoxylin and eosin sections and clinical data of 40 patients diagnosed with KD were examined retrospectively. Specimens were available in these 40 cases. Notch-1 and Ki-67 expression were examined using IHC (immunohistochemistry staining) analysis. Of 40 cases of KD (average age, 38.4 years; median age, 36.0 years), 34 cases (85.0%) were clinically seen to involve swelling of the head and neck region. Notch-1 and Ki-67 have a high expression in recurrent patients. High expression of Notch-1 receptor and Ki-67 tended to be found in patients who relapsed. This is the first study to discuss the correlation among Notch-1, Ki-67 and recurrent KD. These results suggest both of the markers may act as promising predictors for the recurrence and prognosis of KD. However, Notch-1 immunoexpression had no statistically significant association with the Ki-67 proliferation index.
PMCID: PMC4069944  PMID: 24966950
Notch-1 receptor; Ki-67 proliferation index; recurrence; Kimura’s disease (KD)
4.  Protection Effect of Zhen-Wu-Tang on Adriamycin-Induced Nephrotic Syndrome via Inhibiting Oxidative Lesions and Inflammation Damage 
Zhen-wu-tang (ZWT), a well-known formula in China, is widely used to treat chronic kidney diseases. However, very little information on ZWT's mechanism of action is currently available. In this study, we investigated the possible protective role and underlying mechanism of ZWT on nephrotic syndrome (NS) induced by Adriamycin (intravenous injection, 6.0 mg/kg) in rats using biochemical and histopathological approaches. ZWT decreased urine protein excretion and the serum levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine significantly in diseased rats. A decrease in plasma levels of total protein and albumin was also recorded in nephropathic rats. Pathological results show an improved pathological state and recovering glomerular structure in ZWT treatment groups. ZWT decreased renal IL-8 level but increased renal IL-4 level. In addition, rats subjected to ZWT exhibited less IgG deposition in glomerulus compared with model group. RT-PCR results showed that ZWT decreased the mRNA expression of NF-κB p65 and increased the mRNA expression of IκB. Furthermore, ZWT reduced the level of MDA and increased SOD activity. These results demonstrated that ZWT ameliorated Adriamycin-induced NS in rats possibly by inhibiting Adriamycin-induced inflammation damage, enhancing body's antioxidant capacity, thereby protecting glomerulus from injury.
PMCID: PMC4000650  PMID: 24812565
5.  Functional analyses of coronary artery disease associated variation on chromosome 9p21 in vascular smooth muscle cells 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(18):4021-4029.
Variation on chromosome 9p21 is associated with risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). This genomic region contains the CDKN2A and CDKN2B genes which encode the cell cycle regulators p16INK4a, p14ARF and p15INK4b and the ANRIL gene which encodes a non-coding RNA. Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis which causes CAD. We ascertained whether 9p21 genotype had an influence on CDKN2A/CDKN2B/ANRIL expression levels in VSMCs, VSMC proliferation and VSMC content in atherosclerotic plaques. Immunohistochemical examination showed that VSMCs in atherosclerotic lesions expressed p16INK4a, p14ARF and p15INK4b. Analyses of primary cultures of VSMCs showed that the 9p21 risk genotype was associated with reduced expression of p16INK4a, p15INK4b and ANRIL (P = 1.2 × 10−5, 1.4 × 10−2 and 3.1 × 10−9) and with increased VSMC proliferation (P = 1.6 × 10−2). Immunohistochemical analyses of atherosclerotic plaques revealed an association of the risk genotype with reduced p15INK4b levels in VSMCs (P = 3.7 × 10−2) and higher VSMC content (P = 5.6 × 10−4) in plaques. The results of this study indicate that the 9p21 variation has an impact on CDKN2A and CDKN2B expression in VSMCs and influences VMSC proliferation, which likely represents an important mechanism for the association between this genetic locus and susceptibility to CAD.
PMCID: PMC3428153  PMID: 22706276
6.  Association Between the Chromosome 9p21 Locus and Angiographic Coronary Artery Disease Burden 
This study sought to ascertain the relationship of 9p21 locus with: 1) angiographic coronary artery disease (CAD) burden; and 2) myocardial infarction (MI) in individuals with underlying CAD.
Chromosome 9p21 variants have been robustly associated with coronary heart disease, but questions remain on the mechanism of risk, specifically whether the locus contributes to coronary atheroma burden or plaque instability.
We established a collaboration of 21 studies consisting of 33,673 subjects with information on both CAD (clinical or angiographic) and MI status along with 9p21 genotype. Tabular data are provided for each cohort on the presence and burden of angiographic CAD, MI cases with underlying CAD, and the diabetic status of all subjects.
We first confirmed an association between 9p21 and CAD with angiographically defined cases and control subjects (pooled odds ratio [OR]: 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20 to 1.43). Among subjects with angiographic CAD (n = 20,987), random-effects model identified an association with multivessel CAD, compared with those with single-vessel disease (OR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.17)/copy of risk allele). Genotypic models showed an OR of 1.15, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.26 for heterozygous carrier and OR: 1.23, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.39 for homozygous carrier. Finally, there was no significant association between 9p21 and prevalent MI when both cases (n = 17,791) and control subjects (n = 15,882) had underlying CAD (OR: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.95 to 1.03)/risk allele.
The 9p21 locus shows convincing association with greater burden of CAD but not with MI in the presence of underlying CAD. This adds further weight to the hypothesis that 9p21 locus primarily mediates an atherosclerotic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3653306  PMID: 23352782
9p21; angiography; coronary artery disease; meta-analysis; myocardial infarction; single nucleotide polymorphism
7.  The expressions of MIF and CXCR4 protein in tumor microenvironment are adverse prognostic factors in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Tumor-derived cytokines and their receptors usually take important roles in the disease progression and prognosis of cancer patients. In this survey, we aimed to detect the expression levels of MIF and CXCR4 in different cell populations of tumor microenvironments and their association with survivals of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
MIF and CXCR4 levels were measured by immunochemistry in tumor specimens from 136 resected ESCC. Correlation analyses and independent prognostic outcomes were determined using Pearson’s chi-square test and Cox regression analysis.
The expression of CXCR4 in tumor cells was positively associated with tumor status (P = 0.045) and clinical stage (P = 0.044); whereas the expression of CXCR4 in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the expression of MIF in tumor cells and in TILs were not associated with clinical parameters of ESCC patients. High MIF expression in tumor cells or in TILs or high CXCR4 expression in tumor cells was significantly related to poor survival of ESCC patients (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that the expression of MIF or CXCR4 in tumor cells and the expression of MIF in TILs were adverse independent factors for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in the whole cohort of patients (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the expression of MIF and CXCR4 in tumor cells were independent factors for reduced DFS and OS in metastatic/recurrent ESCC patients (P < 0.05). Interestingly, the expressions of MIF and CXCR4 in tumor cells and in TILs were significantly positively correlated (P < 0.05), and the combined MIF and CXCR4 expression in tumor cells was an independent adverse predictive factor for DFS and OS (P < 0.05).
The expressions of MIF and CXCR4 proteins in tumor cells and TILs have different clinically predictive values in ESCC.
PMCID: PMC3623724  PMID: 23497377
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Tumor microenvironment; MIF; CXCR4; Prognosis
8.  Mechanically assisted intra-arterial thrombolysis in acute cerebral infarction 
The aim of this study was to assess the clinical efficacy and safety of mechanically assisted thrombolysis in the treatment of acute cerebral infarction. Mechanically assisted intra-arterial urokinase thrombolysis was conducted on 28 patients with acute cerebral infarction with a disease onset time of 90–450 min. The maximum level of urokinase was 1,150,000 units. Thrombus disruption with a microwire, retrieval with a microcatheter and stent-assisted revascularization were performed. The recanalization rate, bleeding complications and modified Rankin scale (mRS) score were observed within 3 months of surgery. Our results showed that mechanically assisted thrombolysis was successfully conducted on 23 patients, with a recanalization rate of 82.1% (23/28), average recanalization time of 65.22 min and mRS score ≤3.5. Five cases of recanalization were invalid, including 2 cases of mortality, 1 case with an mRS score of 4 and 2 cases with an mRS score ≤3. In the recanalization group, the mechanically assisted thrombolysis did not increase the number of bleeding complications. Our study demonstrated that the safety of mechanically assisted thrombolysis for the treatment of acute cerebral infarction is equivalent to that of simple intra-arterial thrombolysis, but that the former has a higher efficiency. Mechanically assisted thrombolysis is able to reduce the urokinase dosage and recanalization time, and increase the recanalization rate.
PMCID: PMC3671827  PMID: 23737896
acute cerebral infarction; mechanically assisted thrombolysis; bleeding complication; recanalization rate
9.  Association of Variation at the ABO Locus with Circulating Levels of sICAM-1, sP-selectin and sE-selectin: A Meta-Analysis 
Circulating levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), soluble P-selectin (sP-selectin), and soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) have been associated with variation at the ABO locus. To evaluate these associations and the effect sizes, we performed a meta-analysis with new and previous reported data for polymorphism rs579459.
Methods and Results
Compared with major allele homozygotes, heterozygotes and minor allele homozygotes had 4.6% (95%CI=3.4–5.8%, p=7.3×10−14) and 7.2% (95%CI=4.7–9.7%, p=1.5×10−8), respectively, lower sICAM-1 levels (n=33,671). An allele dose dependent association also was observed for sP-selectin (n=4,921), with heterozygotes and minor allele homozygotes having 11.5% (95%CI=7.2–15.8%, p=1.7×10−7) and 18.6% (95%CI=9.1–28.1%, p=1.2×10−4), respectively, lower levels than in major allele homozygotes. A larger effect size, again consistent with an additive genetic model, was seen for sE-selectin (n=2,860) whose level was 25.6% (95%CI=19.0–32.2%, p=2.1×10−14) lower in heterozygotes and 43.3% (95%CI=36.9–49.3%, p=4.3×10−42) lower in minor allele homozygotes, than in major allele homozygotes.
The data support the association of variation at the ABO locus with sICAM-1, sP-selectin and sE-selectin levels.
PMCID: PMC3278232  PMID: 22010135
Cell adhesion molecules; plasma; genetics; cardiovascular disease
10.  Chromosome 1p13 genetic variants antagonize the risk of myocardial infarction associated with high ApoB serum levels 
Genetic variation at 1p13 modulates serum lipid levels and the risk of coronary heart disease through the regulation of serum lipid levels. Here we investigate if the interaction between genetic variants at 1p13 and serum lipid levels affects the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) in the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program (SHEEP), a large population based case control study.
In the present study only non fatal MI cases (n = 1213, men/women: 852/361) and controls (n = 1516, men/women =1054/507) matched by age, sex and residential area, were included. Three SNPs 12740374 G/T, rs599839A/G and rs646776T/C mapping at 1p13 were analysed for association with serum lipid levels and the risk of MI by a weighted least square regression and logistic regression analyses, respectively. To analyse the effect of the interaction between genetic variants and serum lipid levels on the risk of MI, we applied the biological model of interaction that estimates the difference in risk, expressed as OR (95%CI), observed in the presence and in the absence of both exposures. One derived measure is the Synergy index (S) and 95%CI, where S > 1 indicates synergy and S < 1 antagonism between the two interaction terms.
Rs12740374G/T and rs646776T/C were in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2 = 0.99), therefore only rs599839A/G and rs646776 were included in the analysis. Consistently with published data, presence of the rare genotypes was associated with reduced total-, LDL-cholesterol and ApoB serum levels (all p < 0.05) as compared to the reference genotype, but was not associated with the risk of MI.
However, the increased risk of MI observed in individual exposed to high (≥75th percentile) serum lipid levels was offset in subjects carrying the rare alleles G and C. In particular, the risk of MI associated with high ApoB serum levels OR (95%CI) 2.27 (1.86-2.77) was reduced to 1.76 (1.33-2.34) in the presence of the G allele at rs599839 with an S of 0.47 (0.20-0.90).
These results indicate that an antagonism between ApoB serum levels and genetic variants at 1p13 contributes to reduce the risk of non-fatal MI in the presence of high ApoB serum levels.
PMCID: PMC3480949  PMID: 23067240
11.  High accuracy in automatic detection of atrial fibrillation for Holter monitoring 
Atrial fibrillation (AF) has been considered as a growing epidemiological problem in the world, with a substantial impact on morbidity and mortality. Ambulatory electrocardiography (e.g., Holter) monitoring is commonly used for AF diagnosis and therapy and the automated detection of AF is of great significance due to the vast amount of information provided. This study presents a combined method to achieve high accuracy in AF detection. Firstly, we detected the suspected transitions between AF and sinus rhythm using the delta RR interval distribution difference curve, which were then classified by a combination analysis of P wave and RR interval. The MIT-BIH AF database was used for algorithm validation and a high sensitivity and a high specificity (98.2% and 97.5%, respectively) were achieved. Further, we developed a dataset of 24-h paroxysmal AF Holter recordings (n=45) to evaluate the performance in clinical practice, which yielded satisfactory accuracy (sensitivity=96.3%, specificity=96.8%).
PMCID: PMC3437373  PMID: 22949366
Atrial fibrillation; Delta RR interval distribution difference curve; Holter monitoring
12.  PLA2G7 genotype, Lp-PLA2 activity and coronary heart disease risk in 10,494 cases and 15,624 controls of European ancestry 
Circulation  2010;121(21):2284-2293.
Higher Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), making Lp-PLA2 a potential therapeutic target. PLA2G7 variants associated with Lp-PLA2 activity could evaluate whether this relationship is causal.
Methods and Results
A meta-analysis including a total of 12 studies (5 prospective, 4 case-control, 1 case-only and 2 cross-sectional, n=26,118) was undertaken to examine the association of: (i) LpPLA2 activity vs. cardiovascular biomarkers and risk factors and CHD events (two prospective studies; n=4884); ii) PLA2G7 SNPs and Lp-PLA2 activity (3 prospective, 2 case-control, 2 cross-sectional studies; up to n=6094); and iii) PLA2G7 SNPs and angiographic coronary artery disease (2 case-control, 1 case-only study; n=4971 cases) and CHD events (5 prospective, 2 case-control studies; n=5523). Lp-PLA2 activity correlated with several CHD risk markers. Hazard ratio for CHD events top vs. bottom quartile of Lp-PLA2 activity was 1.61 (95%CI: 1.31, 1.99) and 1.17 (95%CI: 0.91, 1.51) after adjustment for baseline traits. Of seven SNPs, rs1051931 (A379V) showed the strongest association with Lp-PLA2 activity, VV subjects having 7.2% higher activity than AAs. Genotype was not associated with risk markers, angiographic coronary disease (OR 1.03 (95%CI 0.80, 1.32), or CHD events (OR 0.98 (95%CI 0.82, 1.17).
Unlike Lp-PLA2 activity, PLA2G7 variants associated with modest effects on Lp-PLA2 activity were not associated with cardiovascular risk markers, coronary atheroma or CHD. Larger association studies, identification of SNPs with larger effects, or randomised trials of specific Lp-PLA2 inhibitors are needed to confirm/refute a contributory role for Lp-PLA2 in CHD.
PMCID: PMC3377948  PMID: 20479152
genetics; epidemiology; risk factors; Mendelian randomization
13.  Large-scale association analyses identifies 13 new susceptibility loci for coronary artery disease 
Schunkert, Heribert | König, Inke R. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Reilly, Muredach P. | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Holm, Hilma | Preuss, Michael | Stewart, Alexandre F. R. | Barbalic, Maja | Gieger, Christian | Absher, Devin | Aherrahrou, Zouhair | Allayee, Hooman | Altshuler, David | Anand, Sonia S. | Andersen, Karl | Anderson, Jeffrey L. | Ardissino, Diego | Ball, Stephen G. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Barnes, Timothy A. | Becker, Diane M. | Becker, Lewis C. | Berger, Klaus | Bis, Joshua C. | Boekholdt, S. Matthijs | Boerwinkle, Eric | Braund, Peter S. | Brown, Morris J. | Burnett, Mary Susan | Buysschaert, Ian | Carlquist, Cardiogenics, John F. | Chen, Li | Cichon, Sven | Codd, Veryan | Davies, Robert W. | Dedoussis, George | Dehghan, Abbas | Demissie, Serkalem | Devaney, Joseph M. | Do, Ron | Doering, Angela | Eifert, Sandra | El Mokhtari, Nour Eddine | Ellis, Stephen G. | Elosua, Roberto | Engert, James C. | Epstein, Stephen E. | Faire, Ulf de | Fischer, Marcus | Folsom, Aaron R. | Freyer, Jennifer | Gigante, Bruna | Girelli, Domenico | Gretarsdottir, Solveig | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gulcher, Jeffrey R. | Halperin, Eran | Hammond, Naomi | Hazen, Stanley L. | Hofman, Albert | Horne, Benjamin D. | Illig, Thomas | Iribarren, Carlos | Jones, Gregory T. | Jukema, J.Wouter | Kaiser, Michael A. | Kaplan, Lee M. | Kastelein, John J.P. | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Knowles, Joshua W. | Kolovou, Genovefa | Kong, Augustine | Laaksonen, Reijo | Lambrechts, Diether | Leander, Karin | Lettre, Guillaume | Li, Mingyao | Lieb, Wolfgang | Linsel-Nitschke, Patrick | Loley, Christina | Lotery, Andrew J. | Mannucci, Pier M. | Maouche, Seraya | Martinelli, Nicola | McKeown, Pascal P. | Meisinger, Christa | Meitinger, Thomas | Melander, Olle | Merlini, Pier Angelica | Mooser, Vincent | Morgan, Thomas | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Muhlestein, Joseph B. | Münzel, Thomas | Musunuru, Kiran | Nahrstaedt, Janja | Nelson, Christopher P. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Olivieri, Oliviero | Patel, Riyaz S. | Patterson, Chris C. | Peters, Annette | Peyvandi, Flora | Qu, Liming | Quyyumi, Arshed A. | Rader, Daniel J. | Rallidis, Loukianos S. | Rice, Catherine | Rosendaal, Frits R. | Rubin, Diana | Salomaa, Veikko | Sampietro, M. Lourdes | Sandhu, Manj S. | Schadt, Eric | Schäfer, Arne | Schillert, Arne | Schreiber, Stefan | Schrezenmeir, Jürgen | Schwartz, Stephen M. | Siscovick, David S. | Sivananthan, Mohan | Sivapalaratnam, Suthesh | Smith, Albert | Smith, Tamara B. | Snoep, Jaapjan D. | Soranzo, Nicole | Spertus, John A. | Stark, Klaus | Stirrups, Kathy | Stoll, Monika | Tang, W. H. Wilson | Tennstedt, Stephanie | Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tomaszewski, Maciej | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | van Rij, Andre M. | Voight, Benjamin F. | Wareham, Nick J. | Wells, George A. | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Wild, Philipp S. | Willenborg, Christina | Witteman, Jaqueline C. M. | Wright, Benjamin J. | Ye, Shu | Zeller, Tanja | Ziegler, Andreas | Cambien, Francois | Goodall, Alison H. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Quertermous, Thomas | März, Winfried | Hengstenberg, Christian | Blankenberg, Stefan | Ouwehand, Willem H. | Hall, Alistair S. | Deloukas, Panos | Thompson, John R. | Stefansson, Kari | Roberts, Robert | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | McPherson, Ruth | Erdmann, Jeanette | Samani, Nilesh J.
Nature genetics  2011;43(4):333-338.
We performed a meta-analysis of 14 genome-wide association studies of coronary artery disease (CAD) comprising 22,233 cases and 64,762 controls of European descent, followed by genotyping of top association signals in 60,738 additional individuals. This genomic analysis identified 13 novel loci harboring one or more SNPs that were associated with CAD at P<5×10−8 and confirmed the association of 10 of 12 previously reported CAD loci. The 13 novel loci displayed risk allele frequencies ranging from 0.13 to 0.91 and were associated with a 6 to 17 percent increase in the risk of CAD per allele. Notably, only three of the novel loci displayed significant association with traditional CAD risk factors, while the majority lie in gene regions not previously implicated in the pathogenesis of CAD. Finally, five of the novel CAD risk loci appear to have pleiotropic effects, showing strong association with various other human diseases or traits.
PMCID: PMC3119261  PMID: 21378990
14.  Comparative analysis of genome-wide association studies signals for lipids, diabetes, and coronary heart disease: Cardiovascular Biomarker Genetics Collaboration 
European Heart Journal  2011;33(3):393-407.
To evaluate the associations of emergent genome-wide-association study-derived coronary heart disease (CHD)-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with established and emerging risk factors, and the association of genome-wide-association study-derived lipid-associated SNPs with other risk factors and CHD events.
Methods and results
Using two case–control studies, three cross-sectional, and seven prospective studies with up to 25 000 individuals and 5794 CHD events we evaluated associations of 34 genome-wide-association study-identified SNPs with CHD risk and 16 CHD-associated risk factors or biomarkers. The Ch9p21 SNPs rs1333049 (OR 1.17; 95% confidence limits 1.11–1.24) and rs10757274 (OR 1.17; 1.09–1.26), MIA3 rs17465637 (OR 1.10; 1.04–1.15), Ch2q36 rs2943634 (OR 1.08; 1.03–1.14), APC rs383830 (OR 1.10; 1.02, 1.18), MTHFD1L rs6922269 (OR 1.10; 1.03, 1.16), CXCL12 rs501120 (OR 1.12; 1.04, 1.20), and SMAD3 rs17228212 (OR 1.11; 1.05, 1.17) were all associated with CHD risk, but not with the CHD biomarkers and risk factors measured. Among the 20 blood lipid-related SNPs, LPL rs17411031 was associated with a lower risk of CHD (OR 0.91; 0.84–0.97), an increase in Apolipoprotein AI and HDL-cholesterol, and reduced triglycerides. SORT1 rs599839 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.20; 1.15–1.26) as well as total- and LDL-cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B. ANGPTL3 rs12042319 was associated with CHD risk (OR 1.11; 1.03, 1.19), total- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and interleukin-6.
Several SNPs predicting CHD events appear to involve pathways not currently indexed by the established or emerging risk factors; others involved changes in blood lipids including triglycerides or HDL-cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol. The overlapping association of SNPs with multiple risk factors and biomarkers supports the existence of shared points of regulation for these phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3270041  PMID: 21804106
Coronary disease; Lipids; Genes; Risk factors
15.  Serum Bisphenol A Pharmacokinetics and Prostate Neoplastic Responses following Oral and Subcutaneous Exposures in Neonatal Sprague-Dawley Rats 
The present study examines BPA pharmacokinetics in neonatal rats following s.c. injection or oral delivery of 10μg BPA/kg BW and compares susceptibility to estrogen-induced prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) following either exposure route. Serum BPA in PND3 rats was measured using HPLC-MS-MS. Free and total BPA at Cmax were 1.77 and 2.0 ng/ml, respectively following injection and 0.26 and 1.02 ng/ml, respectively following oral exposure. The AUC0-2 for free and total BPA was 4.1-fold and 1.8-fold greater, respectively, in s.c. versus oral delivery. While exposure route affected BPA metabolism, internal dosimetry following s.c. injection of 10μg BPA/kg BW is similar to BPA levels observed in humans. Prostates from aged rats given s.c. or oral BPA neonatally and T+E implants as adults exhibited nearly identical, heightened susceptibility to PIN incidence and score as compared to neonatal oil-controls. These findings on prostate health are directly relevant to humans at current BPA exposure levels.
PMCID: PMC3033961  PMID: 20887781
BPA; bisphenol A; prostate; pharmacokinetics; prostate intraepithelial neoplasia
16.  Different Effects of Angiotensin II and Angiotensin-(1-7) on Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Migration 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12323.
Angiotensin (Ang) II and Ang-(1-7) are two of the bioactive peptides of the rennin-angiotensin system. Ang II is involved in the development of cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, while Ang-(1-7) shows cardiovascular protection in contrast to Ang II.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we investigated effects of Ang II and Ang-(1-7) on vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and migration, which are critical in the formation of atherosclerotic lesions. Treatment with Ang II resulted in an increase of SMC proliferation, whereas Ang-(1-7) alone had no effects. However, preincubation with Ang-(1-7) inhibited Ang II-induced SMC proliferation. Ang II promoted SMC migration, and this effect was abolished by pretreatment with Ang-(1-7). The stimulatory effects of Ang II on SMC proliferation and migration were blocked by the Ang II receptor antagonist lorsartan, while the inhibitory effects of Ang-(1-7) were abolished by the Ang-(1-7) receptor antagonist A-799. Ang II treatment caused activation of ERK1/2 mediated signaling, and this was inhibited by preincubation of SMCs with Ang-(1-7).
These results suggest that Ang-(1-7) inhibits Ang II-induced SMC proliferation and migration, at least in part, through negative modulation of Ang II induced ERK1/2 activity.
PMCID: PMC2925946  PMID: 20808802
17.  A role of matrix metalloproteinase-8 in atherosclerosis 
Circulation research  2009;105(9):921-929.
Atherosclerotic lesions express matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP8) which possesses proteolytic activity on matrix proteins particularly fibrillar collagens and on non-matrix proteins such as angiotensin I (Ang I).
We studied whether MMP8 plays a role in atherogenesis.
Methods and Results
In atherosclerosis-prone apoE deficient mice, inactivating MMP8 resulted in a substantial reduction in atherosclerotic lesion formation. Immunohistochemical examinations showed that atherosclerotic lesions in MMP8 deficient mice had significantly fewer macrophages but increased collagen content. In line with results of in vitro assays showing Ang I cleavage by MMP8 generating angiotensin II (Ang II), MMP8 knockout mice had lower Ang II levels and lower blood pressure. In addition, we found that products of Ang I cleavage by MMP8 increased vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression and that MMP8 deficient mice had reduced VCAM-1 expression in atherosclerotic lesions. Intravital microscopy analysis showed that leukocyte rolling and adhesion on vascular endothelium was reduced in MMP8 knockout mice. Furthermore, we detected an association between MMP8 gene variation and extent of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease. A relationship between MMP8 gene variation, plasma VCAM-1 level and atherosclerosis progression was also observed in a population-based, prospective study.
These results indicate that MMP8 is an important player in atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC2853782  PMID: 19745165
Atherosclerosis; matrix metalloproteinase; gene
18.  Allele-Specific Regulation of Matrix Metalloproteinase-3 Gene by Transcription Factor NFκB 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9902.
Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP3) is implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. Previous studies suggested that MMP3 expression is influenced by a polymorphism (known as the 5A/6A polymorphism) in the promoter of the MMP3 gene and that this polymorphism is located within a cis-element that interacts with the transcription factor NFκB. In the present study, we sought to investigate whether MMP3 and NFκB were co-localized in atherosclerotic lesions and whether NFκB had differential effects on the two alleles of the MMP3 5A/6A polymorphism.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Immunohistochemical examination showed that MMP3 and both the NFκB p50 and p65 subunits were expressed abundantly in macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions and that MMP3 expression was co-localized with p50 and p65. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed interaction of p50 and p65 with the MMP3 promoter in macrophages, with greater binding to the 5A allele than to the 6A allele. Reporter gene assays in transiently transfected macrophages showed that the 5A allele had greater transcriptional activity than the 6A allele, and that this allele-specific effect was augmented when the cells were treated with the NFκB activator lipopolysaccharides or co-transfected with p50 and/or p65 expressing plasmids, but was reduced when the cells were treated with the NFκB inhibitor 6-Amino-4-(4-phenoxyphenylethylamino)-quinazoline or transfected with a dominant negative mutant of IkB kinase-β.
These results corroborate an effect of the 5A/6A polymorphism on MMP3 transcription and indicate that NFκB has differential effects on the 5A and 6A alleles.
PMCID: PMC2845631  PMID: 20360864
19.  Protective effect of Radix Astragali injection on immune organs of rats with obstructive jaundice and its mechanism 
AIM: To observe the protective effect of Radix Astragali injection on immune organs (lymph nodes, spleen and thymus) of rats with obstructive jaundice (OJ) and its mechanism.
METHODS: SD rats were randomly divided into sham-operation group, model control group and Radix Astragali treatment group. On days 7, 14, 21 and 28 after operation, mortality rate of rats, pathological changes in immune organs, expression levels of Bax and nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65 proteins, apoptosis indexes and serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α level in spleen and thymus were observed, respectively.
RESULTS: Compared to model control group, the number of dead OJ rats in Radix Astragali treatment group decreased (P > 0.05). The TNF-α level (27.62 ± 12.61 vs 29.55 ± 18.02, 24.61 ± 9.09 vs 31.52 ± 10.95) on days 7 and 21, the pathological severity score for spleen [0.0 (0.0) vs 0.0 (2.0) on days 7 and 14 and for lymph nodes [0.0 (1.0) vs 1.0 (2.0), 1.0 (0.0) vs 2.0 (1.0)] on days 21 and 28, the product staining intensity and positive rate of Bax protein in spleen [0.0 (0.0) vs 1.0 (2.0), 0.0 (1.0) vs 2.0 (1.5) and thymus [0.0 (0.0) vs 1.0 (2.0), 0.0 (1.0) vs 2.0 (1.5)] on days 14 and 28, the apoptotic indexes [0.0 (0.0) vs 0.0 (0.01)] in spleen and thymus [0.0 (0.0) vs 0.0 (0.01) on days 14 and 21 were significantly lower in Radix Astragali treatment group than in model control group (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Radix Astragali has protective effects on immune organs of OJ rats by relieving the pathological changes in immune organs, reducing TNF-α level and inhibiting Bax expression and apoptosis in spleen and thymus.
PMCID: PMC2699003  PMID: 19533807
Radix Astragali; Traditional Chinese medicine; Obstructive jaundice; Rat; Immune organ; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Bax; Nuclear factor-κB; Apoptosis; Tissue microarry
20.  SDF1 Gene Variation Is Associated with Circulating SDF1α Level and Endothelial Progenitor Cell Number–The Bruneck Study 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e4061.
Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF1) and its receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) play a critical role in progenitor cell homing, mobilization and differentiation. It would be interesting to assess the predictive value of SDF-1alpha level for EPC number, and to ascertain whether there is a relationship between SDF1 gene variation, plasma SDF-1alpha level, and the number and function of circulating EPCs. We also tested whether EPC number and function was related to CXCR4 gene variation.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We genotyped a cohort of individuals who participated in the Bruneck Study for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SDF1 and CXCR4 genes, and measured blood SDF1α level as well as EPC number and function. SDF1α levels were correlated with age, gender, alcohol consumption, circulating reticulocyte numbers, and concentrations of matrix metalloproteinase-9, C-reactive protein, cystatin C, fibrinogen and homocytein. In blood samples taken in 2005, EPC number was inversely associated with SDF1α level (p<0.001). EPC number in 2005 was also inversely associated with SDF1α level in 2000 (p = 0.009), suggesting a predictive value of plasma SDF1α level for EPC number. There was an association between the SDF1 gene rs2297630 SNP A/A genotype, increased SDF1α level (p = 0.002) and lower EPC number (p = 0.006).
Our data indicate that a SDF1 gene variation (rs2297630) has an influence on SDF1α level and circulating EPC number, and that plasma SDF1α level is a predictor of EPC number.
PMCID: PMC2605263  PMID: 19115008
21.  Plasma MMP1 and MMP8 expression in breast cancer: Protective role of MMP8 against lymph node metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:77.
Elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinases have been found to associate with poor prognosis in various carcinomas. This study aimed at evaluating plasma levels of MMP1, MMP8 and MMP13 as diagnostic and prognostic markers of breast cancer.
A total of 208 breast cancer patients, of which 21 with inflammatory breast cancer, and 42 healthy controls were included. Plasma MMP1, MMP8 and MMP13 levels were measured using ELISA and correlated with clinicopathological characteristics.
Median plasma MMP1 levels were higher in controls than in breast cancer patients (3.45 vs. 2.01 ng/ml), while no difference was found for MMP8 (10.74 vs. 10.49 ng/ml). ROC analysis for MMP1 revealed an AUC of 0.67, sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 24% at a cut-off value of 4.24 ng/ml. Plasma MMP13 expression could not be detected. No correlation was found between MMP1 and MMP8 levels. We found a trend of lower MMP1 levels with increasing tumour size (p = 0.07); and higher MMP8 levels with premenopausal status (p = 0.06) and NPI (p = 0.04). The median plasma MMP1 (p = 0.02) and MMP8 (p = 0.007) levels in the non-inflammatory breast cancer patients were almost twice as high as those found in the inflammatory breast cancer patients. Intriguingly, plasma MMP8 levels were positively associated with lymph node involvement but showed a negative correlation with the risk of distant metastasis. Both controls and lymph node negative patients (pN0) had lower MMP8 levels than patients with moderate lymph node involvement (pN1, pN2) (p = 0.001); and showed a trend for higher MMP8 levels compared to patients with extensive lymph node involvement (pN3) and a strong predisposition to distant metastasis (p = 0.11). Based on the hypothesis that blood and tissue protein levels are in reverse association, these results suggest that MMP8 in the tumour may have a protective effect against lymph node metastasis.
In summary, we observed differences in MMP1 and MMP8 plasma levels between healthy controls and breast cancer patients as well as between breast cancer patients. Interestingly, our results suggest that MMP8 may affect the metastatic behaviour of breast cancer cells through protection against lymph node metastasis, underlining the importance of anti-target identification in drug development.
PMCID: PMC2278147  PMID: 18366705
22.  Automatic separation system for marine meiobenthos based on laser-induced fluorescence technology*  
An automatic system for marine meiobenthos separation was developed by using laser-induced fluorescence technology. Rose Bengal was used as organism dye and the spectrums of Rose Bengal were measured. Laser-induced fluorescence system was established to detect marine meiobenthos in sediments. Data obtained from experiments were analyzed by using a mathematical model. The results showed that laser-induced fluorescence technology worked well in the system. The system could select the meiobenthos efficiently and precisely.
PMCID: PMC1389885  PMID: 15909339
Meiobenthos; Automatic separating system; Optical sensor; Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF); Rose Bengal
23.  An efficient procedure for genotyping single nucleotide polymorphisms 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(17):e88.
Analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has been and will be increasingly utilized in various genetic disciplines, particularly in studying genetic determinants of complex diseases. Such studies will be facilitated by rapid, simple, low cost and high throughput methodologies for SNP genotyping. One such method is reported here, named tetra-primer ARMS-PCR, which employs two primer pairs to amplify, respectively, the two different alleles of a SNP in a single PCR reaction. A computer program for designing primers was developed. Tetra-primer ARMS-PCR was combined with microplate array diagonal gel electrophoresis, gaining the advantage of high throughput for gel-based resolution of tetra-primer ARMS-PCR products. The technique was applied to analyse a number of SNPs and the results were completely consistent with those from an independent method, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis.
PMCID: PMC55900  PMID: 11522844

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