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1.  Blockage of the Upregulation of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Nav1.3 Improves Outcomes after Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2014;31(4):346-357.
Abstract
Excessive active voltage-gated sodium channels are responsible for the cellular abnormalities associated with secondary brain injury following traumatic brain injury (TBI). We previously presented evidence that significant upregulation of Nav1.3 expression occurs in the rat cortex at 2 h and 12 h post-TBI and is correlated with TBI severity. In our current study, we tested the hypothesis that blocking upregulation of Nav1.3 expression in vivo in the acute stage post-TBI attenuates the secondary brain injury associated with TBI. We administered either antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) targeting Nav1.3 or artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) at 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, and 8 h following TBI. Control sham animals received aCSF administration at the same time points. At 12 h post-TBI, Nav1.3 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels in bilateral hippocampi of the aCSF group were significantly elevated, compared with the sham and ODN groups (p<0.01). However, the Nav1.3 mRNA levels in the uninjured contralateral hippocampus of the ODN group were significantly lowered, compared with the sham group (p<0.01). Treatment with antisense ODN significantly decreased the number of degenerating neurons in the ipsilateral hippocampal CA3 and hilar region (p<0.01). A set of left-to-right ratio value analyzed by magnetic resonance imaging T2 image on one day, three days, and seven days post-TBI showed marked edema in the ipsilateral hemisphere of the aCSF group, compared with that of the ODN group (p<0.05). The Morris water maze memory retention test showed that both the aCSF and ODN groups took longer to find a hidden platform, compared with the sham group (p<0.01). However, latency in the aCSF group was significantly higher than in the ODN group (p<0.05). Our in vivo Nav1.3 inhibition studies suggest that therapeutic strategies to block upregulation of Nav1.3 expression in the brain may improve outcomes following TBI.
doi:10.1089/neu.2013.2899
PMCID: PMC3922240  PMID: 24313291
antisense oligodeoxynucleotides; intracerebroventicular administration; Nav1.3; traumatic brain injury; voltage-gated sodium channels
2.  MUC1 in macrophage contributions to cigarette smoke-induced lung cancer 
Cancer research  2013;74(2):460-470.
Expression of the pro-oncogenic mucin MUC1 is elevated by inflammation in airway epithelial cells, but the contributions of MUC1 to the development of lung cancer are uncertain. In this study, we developed our finding that cigarette smoke (CS) increases Muc1 expression in lung macrophages, where we hypothesized it might contribute to CS-induced transformation of bronchial epithelial cells. In human macrophages, CS extract (CSE) strongly induced MUC1 expression through a mechanism involving the nuclear receptor PPAR-γ. CSE-induced ERK activation was also required for MUC1 expression, but it had little effect on MUC1 transcription. RNAi-mediated attenuation of MUC1 suppressed CSE-induced secretion of TNF-α from macrophages, by suppressing the activity of the TNF-α processing enzyme TACE, arguing that MUC1 is required for CSE-induced and TACE-mediated TNF-α secretion. Similarly, MUC1 blockade after CSE induction through suppression of PPAR-γ or ERK inhibited TACE activity and TNF-α secretion. Conditioned media from CSE-treated macrophages induced MUC1 expression and potentiated CSE-induced transformation of human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC) in a TNF-α-dependent manner. Together, our results identify a signaling pathway involving PPAR-γ, ERK and MUC1 that is used by CSE to trigger TNF-α secretion from macrophages. Further, our results show how that MUC1 contributes to smoking-induced lung cancers that are driven by inflammatory signals driven by macrophages
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1713
PMCID: PMC3947020  PMID: 24282280
MUC1; PPAR-γ; TACE; TNF-α; transformation
3.  Endogenous Molecules Induced by a Pathogen-Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP) Elicit Innate Immunity in Shrimp 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115232.
Invertebrates rely on an innate immune system to combat invading pathogens. The system is initiated in the presence of cell wall components from microbes like lipopolysaccharide (LPS), β-1,3-glucan (βG) and peptidoglycan (PG), altogether known as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), via a recognition of pattern recognition protein (PRP) or receptor (PRR) through complicated reactions. We show herein that shrimp hemocytes incubated with LPS, βG, and PG caused necrosis and released endogenous molecules (EMs), namely EM-L, EM-β, and EM-P, and found that shrimp hemocytes incubated with EM-L, EM-β, and EM-P caused changes in cell viability, degranulation and necrosis of hemocytes, and increased phenoloxidase (PO) activity and respiratory burst (RB) indicating activation of immunity in vitro. We found that shrimp receiving EM-L, EM-β, and EM-P had increases in hemocyte count and other immune parameters as well as higher phagocytic activity toward a Vibrio pathogen, and found that shrimp receiving EM-L had increases in proliferation cell ratio and mitotic index of hematopoietic tissues (HPTs). We identified proteins of EMs deduced from SDS-PAGE and LC-ESI-MS/MS analyses. EM-L and EM-P contained damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) including HMGBa, HMGBb, histone 2A (H2A), H2B, and H4, and other proteins including proPO, Rab 7 GPTase, and Rab 11 GPTase, which were not observed in controls (EM-C, hemocytes incubated in shrimp salt solution). We concluded that EMs induced by PAMPs contain DAMPs and other immune molecules, and they could elicit innate immunity in shrimp. Further research is needed to identify which individual molecule or combined molecules of EMs cause the results, and determine the mechanism of action in innate immunity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115232
PMCID: PMC4269435  PMID: 25517999
4.  A JNK-mediated autophagy pathway that triggers c-IAP degradation and necroptosis for anticancer chemotherapy 
Oncogene  2013;33(23):3004-3013.
Killing cancer cells through the induction of apoptosis is one of the main mechanisms of chemotherapy. However, numerous cancer cells have primary or acquired apoptosis resistance, resulting in chemoresistance. In this study, using a novel chalcone derivative chalcone-24 (Chal-24), we identified a novel anticancer mechanism through autophagy-mediated necroptosis (RIP1- and RIP3-dependent necrosis). Chal-24 potently killed different cancer cells with induction of necrotic cellular morphology while causing no detectable caspase activation. Blocking the necroptosis pathway with either necrostatin-1 or by knockdown of RIP1 and RIP3 effectively blocked the cytotoxicity of Chal-24, suggesting that Chal-24-induced cell death is associated with necroptosis. Chal-24 robustly activated JNK and ERK and blockage of which effectively suppressed Chal-24-induced cytotoxicity. In addition, Chal-24 strongly induced autophagy that is dependent on JNK-mediated phosphorylation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and dissociation of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL from Beclin1. Importantly, suppression of autophagy, with either pharmacological inhibitors or siRNAs targeting the essential autophagy components ATG7 and Beclin1, effectively attenuated Chal-24-induced cell death. Furthermore, we found that autophagy activation resulted in c-IAP1 and c-IAP2 degradation and formation of the Ripoptosome that contributes to necroptosis. These results thus establish a novel mechanism for killing cancer cells that involves autophagy-mediated necroptosis, which may be employed for overcoming chemoresistance.
doi:10.1038/onc.2013.256
PMCID: PMC3912228  PMID: 23831571
autophagy; necroptosis; RIP1; RIP3; c-IAP; apoptosis
5.  Racial Disparities in Red Meat and Poultry Intake and Breast Cancer Risk 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(12):10.1007/s10552-013-0299-5.
Purpose
Research on the role of red meat and poultry consumption in breast carcinogenesis is inconclusive, but the evidence in African American (AA) women is lacking. The association between consuming meat and breast cancer risk was examined in the Women’s Circle of Health Study involving 803 AA cases, 889 AA controls, 755 Caucasian cases, and 701 Caucasian controls.
Methods
Dietary information was collected using a Food Frequency Questionnaire. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were obtained from logistic regression models adjusting for potential covariates.
Results
Comparing the fourth vs. the first quartile, among Caucasian women, processed meat (OR=1.48; 95% CI: 1.07–2.04), unprocessed red meat (OR=1.40; 95% CI: 1.01–1.94) and poultry intakes (OR=1.42; 95% CI: 1.01–1.99) increased breast cancer risk. Risk associated with poultry intake was more dominant in premenopausal women (OR=2.33; 95% CI: 1.44–3.77) and for women with ER- tumors (OR=2.55; 95% CI: 1.29–5.03) in the Caucasian group. Associations in AA women were mostly null except for a significant increased risk trend with processed meat consumption for ER+ tumors (OR=1.36; 95% CI: 0.94–1.97, p trend=0.04).
Conclusions
Overall, associations between breast cancer risk and consumption of red meat and poultry were of different magnitude in AA and Caucasian women, with further differences noted by menopausal and hormone receptor status in Caucasian women. This is the first study to examine racial differences in meat and breast cancer risk, and represents some of the first evidence in AA women.
doi:10.1007/s10552-013-0299-5
PMCID: PMC3873343  PMID: 24091794
Meat; African American; Breast Cancer; Poultry; Race; Estrogen receptor
6.  Total thoracoscopic combined lingulectomy and pericardial cystectomy 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(12):1816-1818.
Thoracoscopic anatomic segmentectomy is usually more complex than lobectomy. This video shows a 58-year-old female who suffered from limited bronchiectasis of the lingular segment of the left upper lung and a pericardial cyst on the same side. Both of these benign thoracic diseases can cause pleural adhesions. Repeated chronic inflammation contributes to hypervascularity and lymph node enlargement, making surgery more difficult. We used single-direction thoracoscopic segmentectomy via a three-port approach and successfully removed the lingula and pericardial cyst.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.11.42
PMCID: PMC4283297  PMID: 25589979
Pulmonary segmental resection; bronchiectasis; pericardial cyst; total thoracoscopy
7.  Epidemiological and viral genome characteristics of the first human H7N9 influenza infection in Guangdong Province, China 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(12):1785-1793.
Background
The first H7N9 human case in south of China was confirmed in Guangdong Province on August 2013, outside of the typical influenza season. For investigating the H7N9 virus source and transmission in the local community, we analyze the epidemiology and genome features of the virus isolated from the first human infection detected in Guangdong Province.
Methods
The data including medical records, exposure history and time line of events for the H7N9 patient and close contacts was collected. Variation and genetic signatures of H7N9 virus in Guangdong was analyzed using ClustalW algorithm and comparison with mutations associated with changes in biological characteristics of the virus.
Results
The female patient had a history of poultry exposure, and she was transferred from a local primary hospital to an intensive care unit (ICU) upon deterioration. No additional cases were reported. Similar to previous infections with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, the patient presented with both upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms. Respiratory failure progressed quickly, and the patient recovered 4 weeks after the onset of symptoms. Genome analysis of the virus indicated that the predicted antigen city and internal genes of the virus are similar to previously reported H7N9 viruses. The isolated virus is susceptible to neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors but resistant to adamantine. Although this virus contains some unique mutations that were only detected in avian or environment-origin avian influenza A (H7N9) viruses, it is still quite similar to other human H7N9 isolates.
Conclusions
The epidemiological features and genome of the first H7N9 virus in Guangdong Province are similar to other human H7N9 infections. This virus may have existed in the environment and live poultry locally; therefore, it is important to be alert of the risk of H7N9 re-emergence in China, including emergence outside the typical influenza season.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.12.09
PMCID: PMC4283329  PMID: 25589974
Avian influenza virus; epidemiology; H7N9; viral genome
8.  Mitochondrial fusion but not fission regulates larval growth and synaptic development through steroid hormone production 
eLife  2014;3:e03558.
Mitochondrial fusion and fission affect the distribution and quality control of mitochondria. We show that Marf (Mitochondrial associated regulatory factor), is required for mitochondrial fusion and transport in long axons. Moreover, loss of Marf leads to a severe depletion of mitochondria in neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Marf mutants also fail to maintain proper synaptic transmission at NMJs upon repetitive stimulation, similar to Drp1 fission mutants. However, unlike Drp1, loss of Marf leads to NMJ morphology defects and extended larval lifespan. Marf is required to form contacts between the endoplasmic reticulum and/or lipid droplets (LDs) and for proper storage of cholesterol and ecdysone synthesis in ring glands. Interestingly, human Mitofusin-2 rescues the loss of LD but both Mitofusin-1 and Mitofusin-2 are required for steroid-hormone synthesis. Our data show that Marf and Mitofusins share an evolutionarily conserved role in mitochondrial transport, cholesterol ester storage and steroid-hormone synthesis.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03558.001
eLife digest
Mitochondria are the main source of energy for cells. These vital and highly dynamic organelles continually change shape by fusing with each other and splitting apart to create new mitochondria, repairing and replacing those damaged by cell stress.
For nerve impulses to be transmitted across the gaps (called synapses) between nerve cells, mitochondria need to supply the very ends of the nerve fibers with energy. To do this, the mitochondria must be transported from the main body of the nerve cell to the tips of the nerve fibers. This may not happen if mitochondria are the wrong shape, size or damaged.
While searching for genetic mutations that disrupt nerve function in the fruit fly Drosophila, Sandoval et al. spotted mutations in a gene called Marf. Further investigations revealed that flies with mutant versions of Marf have small, round mitochondria, and their nerves cannot transmit signals to muscles when they are highly stimulated. This is because the mutant mitochondria are not easily transported along nerve fibers, and so not enough energy is supplied to the synapses. The synapses of the Marf mutants are also abnormally shaped. Sandoval et al. found that this is not because Marf is lost in the neurons themselves, but because it is lost from a hormone-producing tissue called the ring gland.
Another problem found in flies with mutated Marf genes is that they stop developing while in their larval stage. Sandoval et al. established that this could also be related to the loss of Marf from the ring gland. The Marf protein has two different functions in the ring gland: forming and storing droplets of fatty molecules used in hormone production, and synthesising a hormone that controls when a fly larva matures into the adult fly. This suggests that the lower levels of this hormone produced by Marf mutant flies underlies their prolonged larval stages and synapse defects.
Vertebrates (animals with backbones, such as humans) have two genes that are related to the fly's Marf gene. When the human forms of these genes were introduced into mutant flies that lack a working copy of Marf, hormone production was only restored if both genes were introduced together. This indicates that these genes have separate roles in vertebrates, but that these roles are both performed by the single fly gene.
The role of Marf in tethering mitochondria in the ring gland may allow us to better understand how this process affects hormone production and how the different parts of the cell communicate.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03558.002
doi:10.7554/eLife.03558
PMCID: PMC4215535  PMID: 25313867
mitochondria transport; Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2A; Mfn1 and Mfn2; Drp1; Opa1; lipid droplets; endoplasmic reticulum; Drosophila melanogaster
9.  MiR-21 Simultaneously Regulates ERK1 Signaling in HSC Activation and Hepatocyte EMT in Hepatic Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108005.
Background
MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) plays an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of liver fibrosis. Here, we determined the serum and hepatic content of miR-21 in patients with liver cirrhosis and rats with dimethylnitrosamine-induced hepatic cirrhosis and examined the effects of miR-21 on SPRY2 and HNF4α in modulating ERK1 signaling in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of hepatocytes.
Methods
Quantitative RT-PCR was used to determine miR-21 and the expression of SPRY2, HNF4α and other genes. Immunoblotting assay was carried out to examine the expression of relevant proteins. Luciferase reporter assay was performed to assess the effects of miR-21 on its predicted target genes SPRY2 and HNF4α. Primary HSCs and hepatocytes were treated with miR-21 mimics/inhibitors or appropriate adenoviral vectors to examine the relation between miR-21 and SPRY2 or HNF4α.
Results
The serum and hepatic content of miR-21 was significantly higher in cirrhotic patients and rats. SPRY2 and HNF4α mRNA levels were markedly lower in the cirrhotic liver. MiR-21 overexpression was associated with enhanced ERK1 signaling and EMT in liver fibrosis. Luciferase assay revealed suppressed SPRY2 and HNF4α expression by miR-21. Ectopic miR-21 stimulated ERK1 signaling in HSCs and induced hepatocyte EMT by targeting SPRY2 or HNF4α. Downregulating miR-21 suppressed ERK1 signaling, inhibited HSC activation, and blocked EMT in TGFβ1-treated hepatocytes.
Conclusions
MiR-21 modulates ERK1 signaling and EMT in liver fibrosis by regulating SPRY2 and HNF4α expression. MiR-21 may serve as a potentially biomarker as well as intervention target for hepatic cirrhosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108005
PMCID: PMC4193742  PMID: 25303175
10.  Oral caffeine during voluntary exercise markedly inhibits skin carcinogenesis and decreases inflammatory cytokines in UVB-treated mice 
Nutrition and cancer  2013;65(7):10.1080/01635581.2013.812224.
UVB-pretreated SKH-1 mice were treated with water, caffeine (0.1 mg/ml), voluntary running wheel exercise (RW) or caffeine together with RW for 14 weeks. Treatment of the mice with caffeine, RW, or caffeine plus RW decreased skin tumors per mouse by 27, 35 and 62%, and the tumor volume per mouse was decreased by 61, 70 and 85%, respectively. In mechanistic studies, mice were treated with water, caffeine, RW, or caffeine plus RW for 2 weeks prior to a single irradiation with UVB. Caffeine plus RW increased RW activity by 22% when compared with RW alone. Caffeine ingestion was not significantly different between groups. Treatment of mice with caffeine plus RW for 2 weeks decreased the weight of the parametrial fat pads and stimulated the formation of UVB-induced apoptosis to a greater extent than treatment with caffeine or RW alone. An antibody array revealed that caffeine plus RW administered to mice fed a high fat diet and irradiated with UVB decreased the epidermal levels of LIX, sTNFR1 and MIP-1γ. Overall, caffeine during RW exerts a stronger effect than either treatment alone for decreasing tissue fat, increasing UVB-induced apoptosis, lowering the levels of cytokines associated with inflammation and for inhibiting UVB-induced carcinogenesis.
doi:10.1080/01635581.2013.812224
PMCID: PMC3830615  PMID: 24070239
11.  Risk Factors for Acute Stroke among South Asians Compared to Other Racial/Ethnic Groups 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108901.
Background
Studies of racial/ethnic variations in stroke rarely consider the South Asian population, one of the fastest growing sub-groups in the United States. This study compared risk factors for stroke among South Asians with those for whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
Methods
Data on 3290 stroke patients were analyzed to examine risk differences among the four racial/ethnic groups. Data on 3290 patients admitted to a regional stroke center were analyzed to examine risk differences for ischemic stroke (including subtypes of small and large vessel disease) among South Asians, whites, African Americans and Hispanics.
Results
South Asians were younger and had higher rates of diabetes mellitus, blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose levels than other race/ethnicities. Prevalence of diabetic and antiplatelet medication use, as well as the incidence of small-artery occlusion ischemic stroke was also higher among South Asians. South Asians were almost a decade younger and had comparable socioeconomic levels as whites; however, their stroke risk factors were comparable to that of African Americans and Hispanics.
Discussion
Observed differences in stroke may be explained by dietary and life style choices of South Asian-Americans, risk factors that are potentially modifiable. Future population and epidemiologic studies should consider growing ethnic minority groups in the examination of the nature, outcome, and medical care profiles of stroke.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108901
PMCID: PMC4182514  PMID: 25268987
12.  Genome-wide association study of copy number variation identified gremlin1 as a candidate gene for lean body mass 
Journal of human genetics  2011;57(1):33-37.
Lean body mass (LBM) is a heritable trait predicting a series of health problems, such as osteoporotic fracture and sarcopenia. We aim to identify sequence variants associated with LBM by a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of copy number variants (CNVs). We genotyped genome-wide CNVs of 1627 individuals of the Chinese population with Affymetrix SNP6.0 genotyping platform, which comprised of 9 40 000 copy number probes. We then performed a GWAS of CNVs with lean mass at seven sites: left and right arms, left and right legs, total of limb, trunk and whole body. We identified a CNV that is associated with LBM variation at the genome-wide significance level (CNV2073, Bonferroni corrected P-value 0.002 at right arm). CNV2073 locates at chromosome 15q13.3, which has been implicated as a candidate region for LBM by our previous linkage studies. The nearest gene, gremlin1, has a key role in the regulation of skeletal muscle formation and repair. Our results suggest that the gremlin1 gene is a potentially important gene for LBM variation. Our findings also show the utility and efficacy of CNV as genetic markers in association studies.
doi:10.1038/jhg.2011.125
PMCID: PMC4169267  PMID: 22048656
association; copy number variation; gremlin1 gene; lean body mass; 15q13.3
13.  RIP1 potentiates BPDE-induced transformation in human bronchial epithelial cells through catalase-mediated suppression of excessive reactive oxygen species 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(9):2119-2128.
Cell survival signaling is important for the malignant phenotypes of cancer cells. Although the role of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1) in cell survival signaling is well documented, whether RIP1 is directly involved in cancer development has never been studied. In this report, we found that RIP1 expression is substantially increased in human non-small cell lung cancer and mouse lung tumor tissues. RIP1 expression was remarkably increased in cigarette smoke-exposed mouse lung. In human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs), RIP1 was significantly induced by cigarette smoke extract or benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE), the active form of the tobacco-specific carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene. In RIP1 knockdown HBECs, BPDE-induced cytotoxicity was significantly increased, which was associated with induction of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), including c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38. Scavenging ROS suppressed BPDE-induced MAPK activation and inhibiting ROS or MAPKs substantially blocked BPDE-induced cytotoxicity, suggesting ROS-mediated MAPK activation is involved in BPDE-induced cell death. The ROS-reducing enzyme catalase is destabilized in an ERK- and JNK-dependent manner in RIP1 knockdown HBECs and application of catalase effectively blocked BPDE-induced ROS accumulation and cytotoxicity. Importantly, BPDE-induced transformation of HBECs was significantly reduced when RIP1 expression was suppressed. Altogether, these results strongly suggest an oncogenic role for RIP1, which promotes malignant transformation through protecting DNA-damaged cells against carcinogen-induced cytotoxicity associated with excessive ROS production.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgt143
PMCID: PMC3765041  PMID: 23633517
14.  Mutagenicity and tumorigenicity of the four enantiopure bay-region 3,4-diol-1,2-epoxide isomers of dibenz[a,h]anthracene 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(9):2184-2191.
Each enantiomer of the diastereomeric pair of bay-region dibenz[a,h]anthracene 3,4-diol-1,2-epoxides in which the benzylic 4-hydroxyl group and epoxide oxygen are either cis (isomer 1) or trans (isomer 2) were evaluated for mutagenic activity. In strains TA 98 and TA 100 of Salmonella typhimurium, the diol epoxide with (1S,2R,3S,4R) absolute configuration [(–)-diol epoxide-1] had the highest mutagenic activity. In Chinese hamster V-79 cells, the diol epoxide with (1R,2S,3S,4R) absolute configuration [(+)-diol epoxide-2] had the highest mutagenic activity. The (1R,2S,3R,4S) diol epoxide [(+)-diol epoxide-1] also had appreciable activity, whereas the other two bay-region diol epoxide enantiomers had very low activity. In tumor studies, the (1R,2S,3S,4R) enantiomer was the only diol epoxide isomer tested that had strong activity as a tumor initiator on mouse skin and in causing lung and liver tumors when injected into newborn mice. This stereoisomer was about one-third as active as the parent hydrocarbon, dibenz[a,h]anthracene as a tumor initiator on mouse skin; it was several-fold more active than dibenz[a,h]anthracene as a lung and liver carcinogen when injected into newborn mice. (–)-(3R,4R)-3β,4α-dihydroxy-3,4-dihydro-dibenz[a,h]anthracene [(–)-3,4-dihydrodiol] was slightly more active than dibenz[a,h]anthracene as a tumor initiator on mouse skin, whereas (+)-(3S,4S)-3α,4β-dihydroxy-3,4-dihydro-dibenz[a,h]anthracene [(+)-3,4-dihydrodiol] had only very weak activity. The present investigation and previous studies with the corresponding four possible enantiopure bay-region diol epoxide enantiomers/diastereomers of benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[c]phenanthrene, dibenz[c,h]acridine, dibenz[a,h]acridine and dibenz[a,h]anthracene indicate that the bay-region diol epoxide enantiomer with [R,S,S,R] absolute stereochemistry has high tumorigenic activity on mouse skin and in newborn mice.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgt164
PMCID: PMC3765047  PMID: 23671133
15.  Oral administration of a Gemini vitamin D analog, a synthetic triterpenoid and the combination prevents mammary tumorigenesis driven by ErbB2 overexpression 
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2 or ErbB2), a member of ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases, is overexpressed in approximately 20 % of human breast cancer, and the ErbB2 signaling pathway is a critical therapeutic target for ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer. We investigated the inhibitory effects of the Gemini vitamin D analog BXL0124, the synthetic triterpenoid CDDO-Im and the combination on the tumorigenesis of ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer. MMTV-ErbB2/neu transgenic mice were treated with BXL0124, CDDO-Im or the combination from 3 months of age until the end of the experiment. Formation and growth of MMTV-ErbB2/neu mammary tumors were monitored every week, and all three treatments delayed the development of mammary tumors without significant toxicity. Decreased activation of ErbB2 as well as other ErbB receptors, ErbB1 and ErbB3, in MMTV-ErbB2/neu mammary tumors was shown by all treatments. Protein levels of downstream targets of the ErbB2 signaling pathway, including activated-Erk1/2, activated-Akt, c-Myc, CycD1 and Bcl2, were repressed by all three treatments, with the combination treatment exhibiting the strongest effects. To investigate therapeutic efficacy, the combination of BXL0124 and CDDO-Im was given to MMTV-ErbB2/neu mice after mammary tumors were established between 23-30 weeks of age. Short-term treatment with the combination did not show effects on tumor growth nor the ErbB2 signaling pathway. The present study demonstrates BXL0124, CDDO-Im and the combination as potential agents for prevention, but not treatment, against the tumorigenesis of ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0087
PMCID: PMC3767182  PMID: 23856074
Gemini Vitamin D analog; synthetic triterpenoid; ErbB2-positive breast cancer
16.  Acrolein-Exposed Normal Human Lung Fibroblasts in Vitro: Cellular Senescence, Enhanced Telomere Erosion, and Degradation of Werner’s Syndrome Protein 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(9):955-962.
Background: Acrolein is a ubiquitous environmental hazard to human health. Acrolein has been reported to activate the DNA damage response and induce apoptosis. However, little is known about the effects of acrolein on cellular senescence.
Objectives: We examined whether acrolein induces cellular senescence in cultured normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLF).
Methods: We cultured NHLF in the presence or absence of acrolein and determined the effects of acrolein on cell proliferative capacity, senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity, the known senescence-inducing pathways (e.g., p53, p21), and telomere length.
Results: We found that acrolein induced cellular senescence by increasing both p53 and p21. The knockdown of p53 mediated by small interfering RNA (siRNA) attenuated acrolein-induced cellular senescence. Acrolein decreased Werner’s syndrome protein (WRN), a member of the RecQ helicase family involved in DNA repair and telomere maintenance. Acrolein-induced down-regulation of WRN protein was rescued by p53 knockdown or proteasome inhibition. Finally, we found that acrolein accelerated p53-mediated telomere shortening.
Conclusions: These results suggest that acrolein induces p53-mediated cellular senescence accompanied by enhanced telomere attrition and WRN protein down-regulation.
Citation: Jang JH, Bruse S, Huneidi S, Schrader RM, Monick MM, Lin Y, Carter AB, Klingelhutz AJ, Nyunoya T. 2014. Acrolein-exposed normal human lung fibroblasts in vitro: cellular senescence, enhanced telomere erosion, and degradation of Werner’s syndrome protein. Environ Health Perspect 122:955–962; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1306911
doi:10.1289/ehp.1306911
PMCID: PMC4154210  PMID: 24747221
17.  Syncrip/hnRNP Q influences synaptic transmission and regulates BMP signaling at the Drosophila neuromuscular synapse 
Biology Open  2014;3(9):839-849.
ABSTRACT
Synaptic plasticity involves the modulation of synaptic connections in response to neuronal activity via multiple pathways. One mechanism modulates synaptic transmission by retrograde signals from the post-synapse that influence the probability of vesicle release in the pre-synapse. Despite its importance, very few factors required for the expression of retrograde signals, and proper synaptic transmission, have been identified. Here, we identify the conserved RNA binding protein Syncrip as a new factor that modulates the efficiency of vesicle release from the motoneuron and is required for correct synapse structure. We show that syncrip is required genetically and its protein product is detected only in the muscle and not in the motoneuron itself. This unexpected non-autonomy is at least partly explained by the fact that Syncrip modulates retrograde BMP signals from the muscle back to the motoneuron. We show that Syncrip influences the levels of the Bone Morphogenic Protein ligand Glass Bottom Boat from the post-synapse and regulates the pre-synapse. Our results highlight the RNA-binding protein Syncrip as a novel regulator of synaptic output. Given its known role in regulating translation, we propose that Syncrip is important for maintaining a balance between the strength of presynaptic vesicle release and postsynaptic translation.
doi:10.1242/bio.20149027
PMCID: PMC4163661  PMID: 25171887
Syncrip; Drosophila; Localized translation; Synaptic transmission; mRNA localization neuromuscular junction
18.  Drug Repositioning Discovery for Early- and Late-Stage Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:193817.
Drug repositioning is a popular approach in the pharmaceutical industry for identifying potential new uses for existing drugs and accelerating the development time. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. To reduce the biological heterogeneity effects among different individuals, both normal and cancer tissues were taken from the same patient, hence allowing pairwise testing. By comparing early- and late-stage cancer patients, we can identify stage-specific NSCLC genes. Differentially expressed genes are clustered separately to form up- and downregulated communities that are used as queries to perform enrichment analysis. The results suggest that pathways for early- and late-stage cancers are different. Sets of up- and downregulated genes were submitted to the cMap web resource to identify potential drugs. To achieve high confidence drug prediction, multiple microarray experimental results were merged by performing meta-analysis. The results of a few drug findings are supported by MTT assay or clonogenic assay data. In conclusion, we have been able to assess the potential existing drugs to identify novel anticancer drugs, which may be helpful in drug repositioning discovery for NSCLC.
doi:10.1155/2014/193817
PMCID: PMC4156989  PMID: 25210704
19.  A prospective study of biomarker-guided chemotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer 
Purpose
To assess the therapeutic value of biomarker-guided chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods
Eighty-five NSCLC patients at stage IIIb or IV were divided into two groups based on the feasibility of biomarker analysis. Group A included patients with biomarker data (n = 41); Group B were patients without biomarker results (n = 44). Tumor samples obtained by fiberoptic bronchoscopy and computerized tomography-guided needle biopsy were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for intratumoral level of excision repair cross-complementing gene 1 (ERCC1), ribonucleotide reductase M1 (RRM1), and β-tubulin III. Chemotherapy regimens in Group A were determined according to the status of molecular signatures, whereas a standard gemcitabine plus cisplatin regimen was used for Group B. Tumor response, patient survival, and adverse effects were monitored for both groups.
Results
The overall response rate, defined as complete response plus partial response, was 56.1 % for Group A, significantly higher than that in Group B (31.8 %; P = 0.024). The median progression-free survival (PFS) time was 5.2 months for Group A, significantly longer than that of Group B (4.1 months; P = 0.026). The 1-year survival rate of Group A was 65.9 %, significantly higher than that of Group B (40.9 %; P = 0.021), whereas the median overall survival times were 13.5 versus 12.5 months for Groups A and B, respectively (P = 0.483). The adverse effects in the two groups were essentially the same.
Conclusions
Biomarker-tailored chemotherapy based on ERCC1, RRM1, and β-tubulin III expression showed significantly increased response rate, median PFS time, and 1-year survival rate in patients with NSCLC.
doi:10.1007/s00280-014-2513-x
PMCID: PMC4175041  PMID: 25119181
Chemotherapy; Non-small cell lung cancer; Molecular biomarkers; Efficacy
20.  Delivery of Bioactive Lipids from Composite Microgel-Microsphere Injectable Scaffolds Enhances Stem Cell Recruitment and Skeletal Repair 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101276.
In this study, a microgel composed of chitosan and inorganic phosphates was used to deliver poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLAGA) microspheres loaded with sphingolipid growth factor FTY720 to critical size cranial defects in Sprague Dawley rats. We show that sustained release of FTY720 from injected microspheres used alone or in combination with recombinant human bone morphogenic protein-2 (rhBMP2) improves defect vascularization and bone formation in the presence and absence of rhBMP2 as evaluated by quantitative microCT and histological measurements. Moreover, sustained delivery of FTY720 from PLAGA and local targeting of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptors reduces CD45+ inflammatory cell infiltration, promotes endogenous recruitment of CD29+CD90+ bone progenitor cells and enhances the efficacy of rhBMP2 from chitosan microgels. Companion in vitro studies suggest that selective activation of sphingosine receptor subtype-3 (S1P3) via FTY720 treatment induces smad-1 phosphorylation in bone-marrow stromal cells. Additionally, FTY720 enhances stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) mediated chemotaxis of CD90+CD11B-CD45- bone progenitor cells in vitro after stimulation with rhBMP2. We believe that use of such small molecule delivery formulations to recruit endogenous bone progenitors may be an attractive alternative to exogenous cell-based therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101276
PMCID: PMC4117484  PMID: 25077607
21.  Lipid profiles and ischemic stroke risk: variations by sex within racial/ethnic groups 
Evidence implicates lipid abnormalities as important but modifiable risk factors for stroke. This study assesses whether hypercholesterolemia can be used to predict the risk for etiologic subtypes of ischemic stroke between sexes within racial/ethnic groups. Data elements related to stroke risk, diagnosis, and outcomes were abstracted from the medical records of 3,290 acute stroke admissions between 2006 and 2010 at a regional stroke center. Sex comparison within racial/ethnic groups revealed that South Asian and Hispanic men had a higher proportion of ischemic stroke than women, while the inverse was true for Whites and African Americans (P=0.0014). All women, except South Asian women, had higher mean plasma total cholesterol and higher blood circulating low-density lipoprotein levels (≥100 mg/dL) than men at the time of their admissions. The incidence of large-artery atherosclerosis (LAA) was more common among women than men, except among Hispanics, where men tended to have higher incidences. A regression analysis that considered patients diagnosed with either LAA or small-artery occlusion etiologic subtype as the outcomes and high-density lipoproteins and triglycerides as predictors showed inconsistent associations between lipid profiles and the incidence of these subtypes between the sexes within racial/ethnic groups. In conclusion, our investigation suggests that women stroke patients may be at increased risk for stroke etiologic subtype LAA than men. Although the higher prevalence of stroke risk factors examined in this study predicts the increase in the incidence of the disease, lack of knowledge/awareness and lack of affordable treatments for stroke risk factors among women and immigrants/non-US-born subpopulations may explain the observed associations.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S61274
PMCID: PMC4051728  PMID: 24940081
ischemic stroke; risk factors; sex; race/ethnicity; cerebrovascular disease; comorbidities
22.  Genome-wide approaches for identifying genetic risk factors for osteoporosis 
Genome Medicine  2013;5(5):44.
Osteoporosis, the most common type of bone disease worldwide, is clinically characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and increased susceptibility to fracture. Multiple genetic and environmental factors and gene-environment interactions have been implicated in its pathogenesis. Osteoporosis has strong genetic determination, with the heritability of BMD estimated to be as high as 60%. More than 80 genes or genetic variants have been implicated in risk of osteoporosis by hypothesis-free genome-wide studies. However, these genes or genetic variants can only explain a small portion of BMD variation, suggesting that many other genes or genetic variants underlying osteoporosis risk await discovery. Here, we review recent progress in genome-wide studies of osteoporosis and discuss their implications for medicine and the major challenges in the field.
doi:10.1186/gm448
PMCID: PMC3706967  PMID: 23731620
23.  Importin 13 Regulates Neurotransmitter Release at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction 
In an unbiased genetic screen designed to isolate mutations that affect synaptic transmission, we have isolated homozygous lethal mutations in Drosophila importin 13 (imp13). Imp13 is expressed in and around nuclei of both neurons and muscles. At the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ), imp13 affects muscle growth and formation of the subsynaptic reticulum without influencing any presynaptic structural features. In the absence of imp13, the probability of release of neurotransmitter and quantal content is increased, yet the abundance of the postsynaptic receptors and the amplitude of miniature excitatory junctional potentials are not affected. Interestingly, imp13 is required in the muscles to control presynaptic release. Thus, imp13 is a novel factor that affects neurotransmitter release at the fly NMJ. Its role in the context of synaptic homeostasis is discussed.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0794-09.2009
PMCID: PMC4011492  PMID: 19403829
24.  Genetic variation in SIRT1 affects susceptibility of lung squamous cell carcinomas in former uranium miners from the Colorado plateau 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(5):1044-1050.
Epidemiological studies of underground miners suggested that occupational exposure to radon causes lung cancer with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) as the predominant histological type. However, the genetic determinants for susceptibility of radon-induced SCC in miners are unclear. Double-strand breaks induced by radioactive radon daughters are repaired primarily by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) that is accompanied by the dynamic changes in surrounding chromatin, including nucleosome repositioning and histone modifications. Thus, a molecular epidemiological study was conducted to assess whether genetic variation in 16 genes involved in NHEJ and related histone modification affected susceptibility for SCC in radon-exposed former miners (267 SCC cases and 383 controls) from the Colorado plateau. A global association between genetic variation in the haplotype block where SIRT1 resides and the risk for SCC in miners (P = 0.003) was identified. Haplotype alleles tagged by the A allele of SIRT1 rs7097008 were associated with increased risk for SCC (odds ratio = 1.69, P = 8.2×10−5) and greater survival in SCC cases (hazard ratio = 0.79, P = 0.03) in miners. Functional validation of rs7097008 demonstrated that the A allele was associated with reduced gene expression in bronchial epithelial cells and compromised DNA repair capacity in peripheral lymphocytes. Together, these findings substantiate genetic variation in SIRT1 as a risk modifier for developing SCC in miners and suggest that SIRT1 may also play a tumor suppressor role in radon-induced cancer in miners.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgt024
PMCID: PMC3643420  PMID: 23354305
25.  Fracture after androgen deprivation therapy among men with a high baseline risk of skeletal complications 
BJU international  2013;111(5):745-752.
Objectives
• To quantify the impact of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in men with a high baseline risk of skeletal complications and evaluate the risk of mortality after a fracture.
Patients and methods
• We studied 75 994 men, aged ≥ 66 years, with localized prostate cancer from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results–Medicare linked data.
• Cox proportional hazard models were employed to evaluate the risk.
Results
• Men with a high baseline risk of skeletal complications have a higher probability of receiving ADT than those with a low risk (52.1% vs 38.2%, P < 0.001).
• During the 12-year follow-up, more than 58% of men with a high risk and 38% of men with a low risk developed at least one fracture after ADT.
• The dose effect of ADT is stronger among men who received ADT only compared to those who received ADT with other treatments.
• In the high-risk group, the fracture rate increased by 19.9 per 1000 person-years (from 52.9 to 73.0 person-years) for men who did not receive ADT compared to those who received 18 or more doses of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist among men who received ADT only, and by 14.2 per 1000 person-years (from 45.2 to 59.4 person-years) among men who received ADT and other treatments.
• Men experiencing a fracture had a 1.38-fold higher overall mortality risk than those who did not (95% CI, 1.34–1.43).
Conclusions
• Men with a high baseline risk of skeletal complications developed more fractures after ADT.
• The mortality risk is 40% higher after experiencing a fracture.
• Consideration of patient risk before prescribing ADT for long-term use may reduce both fracture risk and fracture-associated mortality.
doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11758.x
PMCID: PMC3625488  PMID: 23331464
ADT; baseline risk; fracture; prostate cancer

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