This study investigated whether the tongue inspection technique in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be used as a noninvasive auxiliary diagnostic tool to differentiate the subtypes of peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and as an indicator of therapeutic efficacy.
Subjects and methods
A total of 198 outpatients from the China Medical University Hospital were recruited. The control group comprised 50 healthy adults. The remaining 148 patients were diagnosed with gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, or Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection using upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, biopsy, and Campylobacter-like organism test. Tongue appearance was evaluated by a physician experienced in clinical Chinese medicine. Images of the tongue were immediately recorded using a high-resolution digital camera system.
The affected group of 148 patients received an 8-week course of ulcer therapy. Of these, 108 patients infected with Hp were subjected to triple therapy in the first week. Forty-nine of these 108 cases infected with Hp completed secondary examination of upper GI endoscopy and tongue inspection. Forty-one of 49 cases (83.7%) were fully cured of Hp infection. These results showed that the color of the tongue body did not change in the cured patients; however, tongue fur was markedly thinner with a color change to white (p<0.05), while sublingual veins with engorgement (p<0.05) and blood stasis (p<0.01) improved after the ulcer healed and Hp was eradicated.
TCM tongue inspection can be potentially used as a noninvasive auxiliary diagnostic method and as an indicator for clinical outcomes for patients with PUD.
The aim of this study was to explore the antitumor effect of Gan-Lu-Yin (GLY), a traditional Chinese herbal formula, on leukemia. Ethanolic extract of GLY was applied to evaluate its regulatory mechanisms in proliferation, migration, and differentiation of WEHI-3 leukemic cells as well as antitumor effect on BALB/c mice model. The results showed that GLY markedly reduced cell proliferation and migration with induced differentiation of WEHI-3 cells. The expression level of phosphorylated FAK, Akt, ERK1/2, and Rb was decreased p21 expression while level was increased in WEHI-3 treated with GLY. The results of cell cycle analysis revealed that GLY treatment could markedly induce G1 phase arrest and decrease cell population in S phase. Moreover, experimental results demonstrated that GLY decreased the protein expression and enzyme activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9. GLY treatment also reduced WEHI-3 leukemic infiltration in liver and spleen and tumor growth in animal model. Accordingly, GLY demonstrated an inhibitory effect on tumor growth with a regulatory mechanism partially through inhibiting FAK, Akt, and ERK expression in WEHI-3 cells. GLY may provide a promising antileukemic approach in the clinical application.
Hyperlipidemia and oxidation play major roles upon cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). C-phycocyanin (CPC), the major component in blue-green algae, possesses antiinflammatory and radical scavenging properties. Herein we aimed to investigate the effect of CPC upon lipid metabolism and its antioxidant effects. Golden Syrian hamsters were randomly assigned to five groups: (1) control; (2) 0.2% cholesterol; (3) 0.2% cholesterol+ 1% lopid; (4) 0.2% cholesterol+ 0.25% CPC; and (5) 0.2% cholesterol+ 1.25% CPC. All animals were sacrificed after 8-week feeding. Serum cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), and glutamate-pyruvate transaminase (GPT) were examined. The diene conjugation in the Cu2+-mediated oxidation of LDL was measured. The protein levels of several antioxidative enzymes including catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutases (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) of liver were assayed. HepG2 cells were cultured in medium containing various concentrations of CPC (0, 1, 15, and 30 μM). The mRNA concentrations of LDL receptor, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase, SOD-1 and GPx of HepG2 cells in each group were analyzed. CPC was effective in lowering serum cholesterol, total cholesterol (TC), TG, LDL, GOT, and GPT. CPC was found to decrease the malondialdehyde (MDA) equivalents and delay the diene conjugation in the Cu2+-mediated oxidation of LDL. CPC increase the enzyme expressions of CAT, SOD, and GPx. CPC concentrations were positively correlated with the mRNA level of LDL receptor while the mRNA levels of HMG CoA reductase, SOD-1, and GPx in HepG2 cells were not affected. The lipid-lowering and antioxidation effects of CPC suggest its roles in prevention of CVD and atherosclerotic formation.
Atherosclerosis; C-phycocyanin; Cholesterol; Lipid; Reactive oxygen species
Vitis thunbergii (VT) is a wild grape that has been shown to provide various cardioprotective effects. The present study was designed to examine whether a VT extract could reduce serum lipid levels and prevent atherogenesis in a hypercholesterolemic rabbit model. At the end of an 8-week study, our results showed that a VT extract supplement markedly suppressed the serum levels of cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, reduced lipid accumulation in liver tissues, and limited aortic fatty streaks. Our findings suggest that the VT extract activated AMPK (5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) with subsequent inhibition of the activation of ACC (acetyl-CoA carboxylase). Our results suggest that this VT extract could be further developed as a potential lipid-lowering agent and as a natural health food to prevent atherogenesis.
Cancer metastasis is a primary cause of cancer death. Antrodia cinnamomea (A. cinnamomea), a medicinal mushroom in Taiwan, has shown antioxidant and anticancer activities. In this study, we first observed that ethanol extract of fruiting bodies of A. cinnamomea (EEAC) exerted a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on migration and motility of the highly metastatic CL1-5 cells in the absence of cytotoxicity. The results of a gelatin zymography assay showed that A. cinnamomea suppressed the activities of matrix metalloproteinase-(MMP-) 2 and MMP-9 in a concentration-dependent manner. Western blot results demonstrated that treatment with A. cinnamomea decreased the expression of MMP-9 and MMP-2; while the expression of the endogenous inhibitors of these proteins, that is, tissue inhibitors of MMP (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) increased. Further investigation revealed that A. cinnamomea suppressed the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, and JNK1/2. A. cinnamomea also suppressed the expressions of PI3K and phosphorylation of Akt. Furthermore, treatment of CL1-5 cells with inhibitors specific for PI3K (LY 294002), ERK1/2 (PD98059), JNK (SP600125), and p38 MAPK (SB203580) decreased the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9. This is the first paper confirming the antimigration activity of this potentially beneficial mushroom against human lung adenocarcinoma CL1-5 cancer cells.
The hepatoprotective potential of hispolon against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damage was evaluated in preventive models in rats. Male rats were intraperitoneally treated with hispolon or silymarin once daily for 7 consecutive days. One hour after the final hispolon or silymarin treatment, the rats were injected with CCl4. Administration with hispolon or silymarin significantly decreased the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in serum and increased the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione (GSH) content and decreased the malondialdehyde (MDA) content in liver compared with CCl4-treated group. Liver histopathology also showed that hispolon reduced the incidence of liver lesions induced by CCl4. In addition, hispolon decreased nitric oxide (NO) production and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activation in CCl4-treated rats. We also examined the involvement of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 in the development of CCl4-induced liver damage in rats. Hispolon inhibited the expression of MMP-9 protein, indicating that MMP-9 played an important role in the development of CCl4-induced rat liver damage. Therefore, we speculate that hispolon protects rats from liver damage through their prophylactic redox balancing ability and anti-inflammation capacity.
In this communication, we report a facile nanotopographical control over a stainless steel surface via an electrophoretic deposition of colloidal amphiphilic chitosan for preferential growth, proliferation or migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Atomic force microscopy revealed that the colloidal surface exhibited a deposition time-dependent nanotopographical evolution, wherein two different nanotopographic textures indexed by ‘kurtosis’ (Rkur) value were easily designed, which were termed as ‘sharp’ (i.e. high peak-to-valley texture) surface and ‘flat’ (i.e. low peak-to-valley texture) surface. Cellular behaviour of VSMCs and HUVECs on both surfaces demonstrated topographically dependent morphogenesis, adherent responses and biochemical properties in comparison with bare stainless steel. The formation of a biofunctionalized surface upon a facile colloidal chitosan deposition envisions the potential application towards numerous biomedical devices, and this is especially promising for cardiovascular stents wherein a new surface with optimized texture can be designed and is expected to create an advantageous environment to stimulate HUVEC growth for improved healing performance.
colloidal chitosan; electrophoretic deposition; nanotopographic surface; cell-specific growth; biomimetic materials
Major facts about the development of restenosis include vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) proliferation and migration. A previous study showed that in vitro treatment with magnesium chloride has the potential to affect the proliferation and migration of VSMCs. Magnesium is the major element in deep sea water (DSW) and is a biologically active mineral. It is unclear whether DSW intake can prevent abnormal proliferation and migration of VSMCs as well as balloon angioplasty-induced neointimal hyperplasia. Thus, we attempted to evaluate the anti-restenotic effects of DSW and its possible molecular mechanisms. Several concentrations of DSW, based on the dietary recommendations (RDA) for magnesium, were applied to a model of balloon angioplasty in SD rats. The results showed that DSW intake markedly increased magnesium content within the vascular wall and reduced the development of neointimal hyperplasia. The immunohistochemical analysis also showed that the expression of proteins associated with cell proliferation and migration were decreased in the balloon angioplasty groups with DSW supplement. Furthermore, in vitro treatment with DSW has a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on serum-stimulated proliferation and migration of VSMCs, whose effects might be mediated by modulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling and of the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2). Our study suggested that DSW intake can help prevent neointimal hyperplasia (or restenosis), whose effects may be partially regulated by magnesium and other minerals.
We present a new open source, extensible and flexible software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis called BEAST 2. This software platform is a re-design of the popular BEAST 1 platform to correct structural deficiencies that became evident as the BEAST 1 software evolved. Key among those deficiencies was the lack of post-deployment extensibility. BEAST 2 now has a fully developed package management system that allows third party developers to write additional functionality that can be directly installed to the BEAST 2 analysis platform via a package manager without requiring a new software release of the platform. This package architecture is showcased with a number of recently published new models encompassing birth-death-sampling tree priors, phylodynamics and model averaging for substitution models and site partitioning. A second major improvement is the ability to read/write the entire state of the MCMC chain to/from disk allowing it to be easily shared between multiple instances of the BEAST software. This facilitates checkpointing and better support for multi-processor and high-end computing extensions. Finally, the functionality in new packages can be easily added to the user interface (BEAUti 2) by a simple XML template-based mechanism because BEAST 2 has been re-designed to provide greater integration between the analysis engine and the user interface so that, for example BEAST and BEAUti use exactly the same XML file format.
There are many major causes of cancer death, including metastasis of cancer. Dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol, which is isolated from marine coral, has shown antioxidant activity, but has not been reported to have an anti-cancer effect. We first discovered that dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol provided a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on the migration and motility of human non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) A549 cells by trans-well and wound healing assays. The results of a zymography assay and Western blot showed that dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol suppressed the activities and protein expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. Further investigation revealed that dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol suppressed the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, and JNK1/2. Dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol also suppressed the expression of PI3K and the phosphorylation of Akt. Furthermore, dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol markedly inhibited tumor growth in Lewis lung cancer (LLC)-bearing mice. We concluded that dihydroaustrasulfone alcohol is a new pure compound with anti-migration and anti-tumor growth activity in lung cancer and might be applied to clinical treatment in the future.
non-small cell lung cancer; migration; tumor; matrix metalloproteinase; marine origin
Deep sea water (DSW), originally pumped from the Pacific Rim off the coast of Hualien County (Taiwan), and its mineral constituents, were concentrated by a low-temperature vacuum evaporation system to produce a hardness of approximately 400,000 mg/L of seawater mineral concentrate. The primary composition of this seawater mineral concentrate was ionic magnesium (Mg2+), which was approximately 96,000 mg/L. Referring to the human recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, we diluted the mineral concentrate to three different dosages: 0.1 × DSW (equivalent to 3.75 mg Mg2+/kg DSW); 1 × DSW (equivalent to 37.5 mg Mg2+/kg DSW); and 2 × DSW (equivalent to 75 mg Mg2+/kg DSW). Additionally, a magnesium chloride treatment was conducted for comparison with the DSW supplement. The study indicated that 0.1 × DSW, 1 × DSW and 2 × DSW decreased the systolic and diastolic pressures in spontaneous hypertensive rats in an eight-week experiment. DSW has been shown to reduce serum lipids and prevent atherogenesis in a hypercholesterolemic rabbit model. Our results demonstrated that 1 × DSW and 2 × DSW significantly suppressed the serum cholesterol levels, reduced the lipid accumulation in liver tissues, and limited aortic fatty streaks. These findings indicated that the antiatherogenic effects of DSW are associated with 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) stimulation and the consequent inhibition of phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) in atherosclerotic rabbits. We hypothesize that DSW could potentially be used as drinking water because it modulates blood pressure, reduces lipids, and prevents atherogenesis.
deep sea water; atherosclerosis; HMG-CoA reductase; AMP-activated protein kinase; acetyl-CoA carboxylase
Alzheimer's disease (AD) was first described by Alois Alzheimer in 1907. AD is the most prevalent dementia- related disease, affecting over 20 million individuals worldwide. Currently, however, only a handful of drugs are available and they are at best only able to offer some relief of symptoms. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, antioxidants, metal chelators, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, anti-inflammatory drugs and NMDA inhibitors are usually used to attempt to cure this disease. AChE inhibitors are the most effective therapy for AD at present. Researchers have found that histamine H3 receptor antagonists decrease re-uptake of acetylcholine and the nervous transmitter substance acetylcholine increases. In this study, we designed compounds by using docking, de novo evolution and adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) analysis to AChE inhibitors as well as histamine H3 receptor antagonists to forward drug research and investigate the potent compounds which can pass through the blood-brain barrier. The novel drugs may be useful for the treatment of AD, based on the results of this theoretical calculation study. We will subsequently examine them in future experiments.
Alzheimer's disease; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; histamine H3 receptor antagonists
Probabilistic inference of a phylogenetic tree from molecular sequence data is predicated on a substitution model describing the relative rates of change between character states along the tree for each site in the multiple sequence alignment. Commonly, one assumes that the substitution model is homogeneous across sites within large partitions of the alignment, assigns these partitions a priori, and then fixes their underlying substitution model to the best-fitting model from a hierarchy of named models. Here, we introduce an automatic model selection and model averaging approach within a Bayesian framework that simultaneously estimates the number of partitions, the assignment of sites to partitions, the substitution model for each partition, and the uncertainty in these selections. This new approach is implemented as an add-on to the BEAST 2 software platform. We find that this approach dramatically improves the fit of the nucleotide substitution model compared with existing approaches, and we show, using a number of example data sets, that as many as nine partitions are required to explain the heterogeneity in nucleotide substitution process across sites in a single gene analysis. In some instances, this improved modeling of the substitution process can have a measurable effect on downstream inference, including the estimated phylogeny, relative divergence times, and effective population size histories.
across-site rate variation; Dirichlet process mixture model; Bayesian model selection
Red colobus monkeys, due to their sensitivity to environmental change, are indicator species of the overall health of their tropical rainforest habitats. As a result of habitat loss and overhunting, they are among the most endangered primates in the world, with very few viable populations remaining. Traditionally, extant indicator species have been used to signify the conditions of their current habitats, but they have also been employed to track past environmental conditions by detecting previous population fluctuations. Kibale National Park (KNP) in Uganda harbors the only remaining unthreatened large population of red colobus. We used microsatellite DNA to evaluate the historical demography of these red colobus and, therefore, the long-term stability of their habitat. We find that the red colobus population throughout KNP has been stable for at least ∼40,000 years. We interpret this result as evidence of long-term forest stability because a change in the available habitat or population movement would have elicited a corresponding change in population size. We conclude that the forest of what is now Kibale National Park may have served as a Late Pleistocene refuge for many East African species.
Coalescent theory; conservation biology; historical demography; microsatellites; red colobus
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.
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.
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.
These observations provide a mechanism of GLY in attenuating cell migration, thus as a potential intervention for restenosis.
Chinese herbs; Gan-Lu-Yin; Migration; Restenosis; Vascular smooth muscle cell
We provide a framework for Bayesian coalescent inference from microsatellite data that enables inference of population history parameters averaged over microsatellite mutation models. To achieve this we first implemented a rich family of microsatellite mutation models and related components in the software package BEAST. BEAST is a powerful tool that performs Bayesian MCMC analysis on molecular data to make coalescent and evolutionary inferences. Our implementation permits the application of existing nonparametric methods to microsatellite data. The implemented microsatellite models are based on the replication slippage mechanism and focus on three properties of microsatellite mutation: length dependency of mutation rate, mutational bias toward expansion or contraction, and number of repeat units changed in a single mutation event. We develop a new model that facilitates microsatellite model averaging and Bayesian model selection by transdimensional MCMC. With Bayesian model averaging, the posterior distributions of population history parameters are integrated across a set of microsatellite models and thus account for model uncertainty. Simulated data are used to evaluate our method in terms of accuracy and precision of θ estimation and also identification of the true mutation model. Finally we apply our method to a red colobus monkey data set as an example.
Salvianolic acid B (Sal B), a pure water-soluble compound extracted from Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae, has been reported to possess potential cardioprotective efficacy. To identify proteins or pathways by which Sal B might exert its protective activities on the cardiovascular system, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis-based comparative proteomics was performed, and proteins altered in their expression level after Sal B treatment were identified by MALDI-TOF MS/MS. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were incubated at Sal B concentrations that can be reached in human plasma by pharmacological intervention. Results indicated that caldesmon, an actin-stabilizing protein, was downregulated in Sal B-exposed HUVECs. Proteins that showed increased expression levels upon Sal B treatment were vimentin, T-complex protein 1, protein disulfide isomerase, tropomyosin alpha, heat shock protein beta-1, UBX domain-containing protein 1, alpha enolase, and peroxiredoxin-2. Additionally, Sal B leads to increased phosphorylation of nucleophosmin in a dose-dependent manner and promotes proliferation of HUVECs. We found that Sal B exhibited a coordinated regulation of enzymes and proteins involved in cytoskeletal reorganization, oxidative stress, and cell growth. Our investigation would provide understanding to the endothelium protection information of Sal B.
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has been epidemiologically linked to heart disease among nonsmokers. However, the molecular mechanism behind the pathogenesis of cardiac disease is unknown. In this study, we found that Wistar rats, exposed to tobacco cigarette smoke at doses of 5, 10, or 15 cigarettes for 30 min twice a day for 1 month, had a dose-dependently reduced heart weight to body weight ratio and enhanced interstitial fibrosis as identified by histopathologic analysis. The mRNA and activity of matrix metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2), representing the progress of cardiac remodeling, were also elevated in the heart. In addition, we used reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting to demonstrate significantly increased levels of the apoptotic effecter caspase-3 in treated animal hearts. Dose-dependently elevated mRNA and protein levels of Fas, and promoted apoptotic initiator caspase-8 (active form), a molecule of a death-receptor–dependent pathway, coupled with unaltered or decreased levels of cytosolic cytochrome c and the apoptotic initiator caspase-9 (active form), molecules of mitochondria-dependent pathways, may be indicative of cardiac apoptosis, which is Fas death-receptor apoptotic-signaling dependent, but not mitochondria pathway dependent in rats exposed to second-hand smoke (SHS). With regard to the regulation of survival pathway, using dot blotting, we found cardiac insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and IGF-1 receptor mRNA levels to be significantly increased, indicating that compensative effects of IGF-1 survival signaling could occur. In conclusion, we found that the effects of SHS on cardiomyocyte are mediated by the Fas death-receptor–dependent apoptotic pathway and might be related to the epidemiologic incidence of cardiac disease of SHS-exposed non-smokers.
cardiac survival IGF-1 signaling; caspases; death-receptor-dependent pathway; mitochondria-dependent pathway; second-hand smoke (SHS)