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1.  Effect of interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α on hepatitis B virus following lamivudine treatment 
AIM: To evaluate anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) activity and cytotoxicity of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) following lamivudine treatment of HepG2.2.15 cells.
METHODS: HepG2.2.15 cells were treated with 2 μmol/L lamivudine for 16 d (lamivudine group), cultured for 10 d, followed by 5 ng/mL TNF-α and 1000 U/mL IFN-γ for 6 d (cytokine group), or treated with 2 μmol/L lamivudine for 10 d followed by 5 ng/mL TNF-α and 1000 U/mL IFN-γ for 6 d (sequential group), or cultured without additions for 16 d (control group). Intracellular DNA was extracted from 3 × 105 HepG2.2.15 cells from each group. The extracted DNA was further purified with mung bean nuclease to remove HBV relaxed circular DNA that may have remained. Both HBV covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) and HBV DNA were examined with real-time polymerase chain reaction. The titers of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) were quantified with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cell viability was measured with the cell counting kit-8 assay.
RESULTS: Compared to lamivudine alone (22.63% ± 0.12%), both sequential (51.50% ± 0.17%, P = 0.034) and cytokine treatment (49.66% ± 0.06%, P = 0.041) showed a stronger inhibition of HBV cccDNA; the difference between the sequential and cytokine groups was not statistically significant (51.50% ± 0.17% vs 49.66% ± 0.06%, P = 0.88). The sequential group showed less inhibition of HBV DNA replication than the lamivudine group (67.47% ± 0.02% vs 82.48% ± 0.05%, P = 0.014); the difference between the sequential and cytokine groups was not statistically significant (67.47% ± 0.02% vs 57.45% ± 0.07%, P = 0.071). The levels of HBsAg and HBeAg were significantly decreased in the sequential treatment group compared to the other groups [HBsAg: 3.48 ± 0.04 (control), 3.09 ± 0.08 (lamivudine), 2.55 ± 0.13 (cytokine), 2.32 ± 0.08 (sequential), P = 0.042 for each between-group comparison; HBeAg: 3.48 ± 0.01 (control), 3.08 ± 0.08 (lamivudine), 2.57 ± 0.15 (cytokine), 2.34 ± 0.12 (sequential), P = 0.048 for each between-group comparison]. Cell viability in the cytokine group was reduced to 58.03% ± 8.03% compared with control cells (58.03% ± 8.03% vs 100%, P = 0.000). Lamivudine pretreatment significantly reduced IFN-γ + TNF-α-mediated toxicity of HepG2.2.15 cells [85.82% ± 5.43% (sequential) vs 58.03% ± 8.03% (cytokine), P = 0.002].
CONCLUSION: Sequential treatment overcame the lower ability of lamivudine alone to inhibit cccDNA and precluded the aggressive cytotoxicity involving IFN-γ and TNF-α by decreasing the viral load.
PMCID: PMC3400866  PMID: 22826629
Hepatitis B virus; Covalently closed circular DNA; Interferon-γ; Tumor necrosis factor-α; Lamivudine
2.  Schistosoma japonicum ova maintains epithelial barrier function during experimental colitis 
AIM: To evaluate the impacts of Schistosoma japonicum (S. japonicum) ova on the tight junction barriers in a trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis model.
METHODS: Balb/c mice were randomly divided into three groups: control group; TNBS+ova- group and TNBS+ova+ group. TNBS was used intracolonic to induce colitis and mice of the TNBS+ova+ group were pre-exposed to S. japonicum ova as a prophylactic intervention. Colon inflammation was quantified using following variables: mouse mortality, weight loss, colon extent and microscopic inflammation score. Serum expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ were assessed to evaluate the systemic inflammatory response. NOD2 and its mRNA were also tested. Bacterial translocations were tested by culturing blood and several tissues. ZO-1 and occludin were chosen as the representations of tight junction proteins. Both the proteins and mRNA were assessed.
RESULTS: Ova pre-treatment contributed to the relief of colitis and decreased the mortality of the models. NOD2 expression was significantly downregulated when pretreated with the ova. The TNBS injection caused a significant downregulation of ZO-1 and occludin mRNA together with their proteins in the colon; ova pre-exposure reversed these alterations. Treatment with S. japonicum ova in the colitis model caused lower intestinal bacterial translocation frequency.
CONCLUSION: S. japonicum ova can maintain epithelial barrier function through increasing tight junction proteins, thus causing less exposure of NOD2 to the luminal antigens which may activate a series of inflammatory factors and induce colitis.
PMCID: PMC3229631  PMID: 22147983
Crohn’s disease; Schistosoma japonicum ova; Tight junction protein; ZO-1; Occludin
3.  Inhibition by curcumin of multiple sites of the transforming growth factor-beta1 signalling pathway ameliorates the progression of liver fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats 
At present there is no effective and accepted therapy for hepatic fibrosis. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 signaling pathway contributes greatly to hepatic fibrosis. Reducing TGF-β synthesis or inhibiting components of its complex signaling pathway represent important therapeutic targets. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of curcumin on liver fibrosis and whether curcumin attenuates the TGF-β1 signaling pathway.
Sprague–Dawley rat was induced liver fibrosis by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) for six weeks together with or without curcumin, and hepatic histopathology and collagen content were employed to quantify liver necro-inflammation and fibrosis. Moreover, the mRNA and protein expression levels of TGF-β1, Smad2, phosphorylated Smad2, Smad3, Smad7 and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were determined by quantitative real time-PCR, Western blot, or immunohistochemistry.
Rats treated with curcumin improved liver necro-inflammation, and reduced liver fibrosis in association with decreased α-smooth muscle actin expression, and decreased collagen deposition. Furthermore, curcumin significantly attenuated expressions of TGFβ1, Smad2, phosphorylated Smad2, Smad3, and CTGF and induced expression of the Smad7.
Curcumin significantly attenuated the severity of CCl4-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis through inhibition of TGF-β1/Smad signalling pathway and CTGF expression. These data suggest that curcumin might be an effective antifibrotic drug in the prevention of liver disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3495222  PMID: 22978413
Curcumin; Hepatic stellate cells; Liver fibrosis; Transforming growth factor-beta; Smads; Connective tissue growth factor

Results 1-3 (3)