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1.  The CCN Family Proteins: Modulators of Bone Development and Novel Targets in Bone-Associated Tumors 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:437096.
The CCN family of proteins is composed of six extracellular matrix-associated proteins that play crucial roles in skeletal development, wound healing, fibrosis, and cancer. Members of the CCN family share four conserved cysteine-rich modular domains that trigger signal transduction in cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, differentiation, and survival through direct binding to specific integrin receptors and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. In the present review, we discuss the roles of the CCN family proteins in regulating resident cells of the bone microenvironment. In vertebrate development, the CCN family plays a critical role in osteo/chondrogenesis and vasculo/angiogenesis. These effects are regulated through signaling via integrins, bone morphogenetic protein, vascular endothelial growth factor, Wnt, and Notch via direct binding to CCN family proteins. Due to the important roles of CCN family proteins in skeletal development, abnormal expression of CCN proteins is related to the tumorigenesis of primary bone tumors such as osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, and chondrosarcoma. Additionally, emerging studies have suggested that CCN proteins may affect progression of secondary metastatic bone tumors by moderating the bone microenvironment. CCN proteins could therefore serve as potential therapeutic targets for drug development against primary and metastatic bone tumors.
doi:10.1155/2014/437096
PMCID: PMC3914550  PMID: 24551846
2.  Calpain/SHP-1 Interaction by Honokiol Dampening Peritoneal Dissemination of Gastric Cancer in nu/nu Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43711.
Background
Honokiol, a small-molecular weight natural product, has previously been reported to activate apoptosis and inhibit gastric tumorigenesis. Whether honokiol inhibits the angiogenesis and metastasis of gastric cancer cells remains unknown.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We tested the effects of honokiol on angiogenic activity and peritoneal dissemination using in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro assay systems. The signaling responses in human gastric cancer cells, human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs), and isolated tumors were detected and analyzed. In a xenograft gastric tumor mouse model, honokiol significantly inhibited the peritoneal dissemination detected by PET/CT technique. Honokiol also effectively attenuated the angiogenesis detected by chick chorioallantoic membrane assay, mouse matrigel plug assay, rat aortic ring endothelial cell sprouting assay, and endothelial cell tube formation assay. Furthermore, honokiol effectively enhanced signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT-3) dephosphorylation and inhibited STAT-3 DNA binding activity in human gastric cancer cells and HUVECs, which was correlated with the up-regulation of the activity and protein expression of Src homology 2 (SH2)-containing tyrosine phosphatase-1 (SHP-1). Calpain-II inhibitor and siRNA transfection significantly reversed the honokiol-induced SHP-1 activity. The decreased STAT-3 phosphorylation and increased SHP-1 expression were also shown in isolated peritoneal metastatic tumors. Honokiol was also capable of inhibiting VEGF generation, which could be reversed by SHP-1 siRNA transfection.
Conclusions/Significance
Honokiol increases expression and activity of SPH-1 that further deactivates STAT3 pathway. These findings also suggest that honokiol is a novel and potent inhibitor of angiogenesis and peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer cells, providing support for the application potential of honokiol in gastric cancer therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043711
PMCID: PMC3427156  PMID: 22937084
3.  A Chinese herbal formula "Gan-Lu-Yin" suppresses vascular smooth muscle cell migration by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinase-2/9 through the PI3K/AKT and ERK signaling pathways 
Background
This study was to explore the effects of Gan-Lu-Yin (GLY) on the migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) induced by fetal bovine serum and on neointima formation in a rat model of carotid artery balloon injury.
Methods
VSMCs were treated with different concentrations of GLY, and then analyzed with Flow cytometric analysis, zymography, transwell, and western blotting. SD rats received balloon-injury were analyzed with H&E staining.
Results
Our results showed that GLY significantly decreased the thickness of neointima. The inhibition by non-cytoxic doses of GLY of VSMCs migration was through its negative regulatory effects on phosphorylated ERK1/2, PI3K/AKT, and FAK. The data showed that GLY can inhibit the migration of VSMCs cells, and might block injury-induced neointima hyperplasia via the inhibition of VSMCs migration, without inducing apoptosis.
Conclusions
These observations provide a mechanism of GLY in attenuating cell migration, thus as a potential intervention for restenosis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-137
PMCID: PMC3475136  PMID: 22920190
Chinese herbs; Gan-Lu-Yin; Migration; Restenosis; Vascular smooth muscle cell

Results 1-3 (3)