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1.  Oxidative stress induces gastric submucosal arteriolar dysfunction in the elderly 
AIM: To evaluate human gastric submucosal vascular dysfunction and its mechanism during the aging process.
METHODS: Twenty male patients undergoing subtotal gastrectomy were enrolled in this study. Young and elderly patient groups aged 25-40 years and 60-85 years, respectively, were included. Inclusion criteria were: no clinical evidence of cardiovascular, renal or diabetic diseases. Conventional clinical examinations were carried out. After surgery, gastric submucosal arteries were immediately dissected free of fat and connective tissue. Vascular responses to acetylcholine (ACh) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) were measured by isolated vascular perfusion. Morphological changes in the gastric mucosal vessels were observed by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining and Verhoeff van Gieson (EVG) staining. The expression of xanthine oxidase (XO) and manganese-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) was assessed by Western blotting analysis. The malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) were determined according to commercial kits.
RESULTS: The overall structure of vessel walls was shown by HE and EVG staining, respectively. Disruption of the internal elastic lamina or neointimal layers was not observed in vessels from young or elderly patients; however, cell layer number in the vessel wall increased significantly in the elderly group. Compared with submucosal arteries in young patients, the amount of vascular collagen fibers, lumen diameter and media cross-sectional area were significantly increased in elderly patients. Ach- and SNP-induced vasodilatation in elderly arterioles was significantly decreased compared with that of gastric submucosal arterioles from young patients. Compared with the young group, the expression of XO and the contents of MDA and H2O2 in gastric submucosal arterioles were increased in the elderly group. In addition, the expression of Mn-SOD and the activities of SOD and GSH-Px in the elderly group decreased significantly compared with those in the young group.
CONCLUSION: Gastric vascular dysfunction and senescence may be associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased antioxidative defense in the aging process.
PMCID: PMC3882420  PMID: 24409074
Aging; Vascular dysfunction; Gastric blood flow; Oxidative stress; Human
2.  GABA stimulates human hepatocellular carcinoma growth through overexpressed GABAA receptor theta subunit 
AIM: To investigate the function of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor θ subunit (GABRQ) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction was used for detecting the expression of GABRQ receptor among HCC cell line HepG2, normal liver cell line L-02, non-malignant Chang’s liver cells, 8 samples of HCC tissues and paired non-cancerous tissues. HepG2 cells were treated with GABA at serial concentrations (0, 1, 10, 20, 40 and 60 μmol/L), and their proliferating abilities were analyzed with the methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay, cell cycle analysis and tumor implanted in nude mice. Small interfering RNA was used for knocking down the endogenous GABRQ in HepG2. Proliferating abilities of these cells treated with or without GABA were analyzed.
RESULTS: We identified the overexpression of GABRQ in HCC cell lines and half of the tested HCC tissues. Knockdown of endogenous GABRQ expression in HepG2 attenuated HCC cell growth, suggesting its role in HCC cell viability. We studied the effect of GABA in the proliferation of GABRQ-positive cell lines in vitro and in vivo, and found that GABA increased HCC growth in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, the addition of GABA into the cell culture medium promoted the proliferation of GABRQ-expressing HepG2 cells, but not GABRQ-knockdown HepG2 cells, which means that GABA stimulates HepG2 cell growth through GABRQ.
CONCLUSION: GABRQ play important roles in HCC development and progression and could be a promising molecular target for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies of HCC.
PMCID: PMC3370009  PMID: 22690081
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Proliferation; Gamma-aminobutyric acid; Gamma-aminobutyric receptor θ; small interfering RNA
3.  PITX2 associates with PTIP-containing histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase complex 
Pituitary homeobox 2 (PITX2), a Paired-like homeodomain transcription factor and a downstream effector of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, plays substantial roles in embryonic development and human disorders. The mechanism of its functions, however, is not fully understood. In this study, we demonstrated that PITX2 associated with histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferase (HKMT) mixed-lineage leukemia 4 (MLL4/KMT2D), Pax transactivation domain-interacting protein (PTIP), and other H3K4 HKMT core subunits. This association of PITX2 with H3K4 HKMT complex was dependent on PITX2’s homeodomain. Consistently, the PITX2 protein complex was shown to possess H3K4 HKMT activity. Furthermore, the chromatin immunoprecipitation result revealed co-occupancy of PITX2 and PTIP on the promoter of the PITX2’s transcriptional target. Taken together, our data provide new mechanistic perspectives on PITX2’s functions and its related biological processes.
PMCID: PMC3963365  PMID: 24486544
PITX2; MLL4/KMT2D; PTIP; histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4); histone lysine methyltransferase (HKMT)
4.  Activation of the NOTCH pathway in Head and Neck Cancer 
Cancer research  2013;74(4):1091-1104.
NOTCH1 mutations have been reported to occur in 10 to 15% of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). To determine the significance of these mutations, we embarked upon a comprehensive study of NOTCH signaling in a cohort of 44 HNSCC tumors and 25 normal mucosal samples through a set of expression, copy number, methylation and mutation analyses. Copy number increases were identified in NOTCH pathway genes including the NOTCH ligand JAG1. Gene set analysis defined a differential expression of the NOTCH signaling pathway in HNSCC relative to normal tissues. Analysis of individual pathway-related genes revealed overexpression of ligands JAG1 and JAG2 and receptor NOTCH3. In 32% of the HNSCC examined, activation of the downstream NOTCH effectors HES1/HEY1 was documented. Notably, exomic sequencing identified 5 novel inactivating NOTCH1 mutations in 4/37 of the tumors analyzed, with none of these tumors exhibiting HES1/HEY1 overexpression. Our results revealed a bimodal pattern of NOTCH pathway alterations in HNSCC, with a smaller subset exhibiting inactivating NOTCH1 receptors mutations but a larger subset exhibiting other NOTCH1 pathway alterations, including increases in expression or gene copy number of the receptor or ligands as well as downstream pathway activation. Our results imply that therapies that target the NOTCH pathway may be more widely suitable for HNSCC treatment than appreciated currently.
PMCID: PMC3944644  PMID: 24351288
5.  MiR-21/RASA1 axis affects malignancy of colon cancer cells via RAS pathways 
AIM: To determine how the oncogene miR-21 regulates the RAS signaling pathways and affects colon cancer cell behaviors.
METHODS: RAS p21 GTPase activating protein 1 (RASA1) protein expression in six colon cancer cell lines was assessed by Western blot. Colon cancer RKO cells were chosen for transfection because they are KRAS wild type colon cancer cells whose RASA1 expression is significantly decreased. RKO cells were transfected with vectors overexpressing or down-regulating either miR-21 or RASA1. Furthermore, a luciferase reporter assay was used to determine whether RASA1 is a gene target of miR-21. Then, changes in mRNA and protein levels of RASA1, RAS-GTP, and other components of the RAS signaling pathways were assessed in transfected RKO cells by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot and immunoprecipitation. Finally, cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion, and tumor formation ability were assessed by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide dye assay, flow cytometry, transwell assay, and animal experiment, respectively.
RESULTS: RASA1 protein levels were significantly decreased in RKO cells compared with the other 5 colon cancer cell lines, and RASA1 was confirmed as a target gene of miR-21. Interestingly, RASA1 mRNA and protein levels in pre-miR-21-LV (up-regulation of miR-21) cells were lower than those in anti-miR-21-LV (down-regulation of miR-21) cells (P < 0.05). In addition, pre-miR-21-LV or siRASA1 (down-regulation of RASA1) cells showed higher cell proliferation, reduced apoptosis, increased expression of RAS-GTP, p-AKT, Raf-1, KRAS, and p-ERK1/2, and higher invasion and tumor formation ability, compared with control, anti-miR-21-LV or pcDNA3.1-RASA1 (up-regulation of RASA1) cells (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: RASA1 is a target gene of miR-21, which promotes malignant behaviors of RKO cells through regulation of RASA1 expression.
PMCID: PMC4316091  PMID: 25663768
Colon cancer; miR-21; RAS; RASA1; RAS signaling pathways
6.  Laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy via a reverse-''V'' approach with four ports: Initial experience and perioperative outcomes 
AIM: To evaluate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy (LPD) using a reverse-“V” approach with four ports.
METHODS: This is a retrospective study of selected patients who underwent LPD at our center between April 2011 and April 2012. The following data were collected and reviewed: patient characteristics, tumor histology, surgical outcome, resection margins, morbidity, and mortality. All patients were thoroughly evaluated preoperatively by complete hematologic investigations, triple-phase helical computed tomography, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and biopsy of ampullary lesions (when present). Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography was performed for doubtful cases of lower common bile duct lesions.
RESULTS: There was no perioperative mortality. LPD was performed with tumor-free margins in all patients, including patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (n = 6), ampullary carcinoma (n = 6), intra-ductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (n = 2), pancreatic cystadenocarcinoma (n = 2), pancreatic head adenocarcinoma (n = 3), and bile duct cancer (n = 2). The mean patient age was 65 years (range, 42-75 years). The median blood loss was 240 mL, and the mean operative time was 368 min.
CONCLUSION: LPD using a reverse-“V” approach can be performed safely and yields good results in elective patients. Our preliminary experience showed that LDP can be performed via a reverse-“V” approach. This approach can be used to treat localized malignant lesions irrespective of histopathology.
PMCID: PMC4316101  PMID: 25663778
Laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy; Operation; Indications
7.  KRAS and BRAF gene mutations and DNA mismatch repair status in Chinese colorectal carcinoma patients 
AIM: To investigate gene mutations and DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein abnormality in Chinese colorectal carcinoma (CRC) patients and their correlations with clinicopathologic features.
METHODS: Clinical and pathological information for 535 patients including 538 tumors was reviewed and recorded. Mutation analyses for exon 2 of KRAS gene and exon 15 of BRAF gene were performed by Sanger sequencing except that in 9 tumors amplification refractory mutation system PCR was used. Expression of MMR proteins including MHL1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Correlations of KRAS and BRAF mutation status and the expression status of MMR proteins with age, gender, cancer stage, location, and histology were analyzed. Correlations between KRAS or BRAF mutations and MMR protein expression were also explored.
RESULTS: The overall frequencies of KRAS and BRAF mutations were 37.9% and 4.4%, respectively. KRAS mutations were more common in patients ≥ 50 years old (39.8% vs 22% in patients < 50 years old, P < 0.05). The frequencies of BRAF mutants were higher in tumors from females (6.6% vs males 2.8%, P < 0.05), located in the right colon (9.6% vs 2.1% in the left colon, 1.8% in the rectum, P < 0.01), with mucinous differentiation (9.8% vs 2.8% without mucinous differentiation, P < 0.01), or being poorly differentiated (9.5% vs 3.4% well/moderately differentiated, P < 0.05). MMR deficiency was strongly associated with proximal location (20.5% in the right colon vs 9.2% in the left colon and 5.1% in the rectum, P < 0.001), early cancer stage (15.0% in stages I-II vs 7.7% in stages III-IV, P < 0.05), and mucinous differentiation (20.2% vs 9.2% without mucin, P < 0.01). A higher frequency of MLH1/PMS2 loss was found in females (9.2% vs 4.4% in males, P < 0.05), and MSH2/MSH6 loss tended to be seen in younger (<50 years old) patients (12.0% vs 4.0% ≥ 50 years old, P < 0.05). MMR deficient tumors were less likely to have KRAS mutations (18.8% vs 41.7% in MMR proficient tumors, P < 0.05) and tumors with abnormal MLH1/PMS2 tended to harbor BRAF mutations (15.4% vs 4.2% in MMR proficient tumors, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: The frequency of sporadic CRCs having BRAF mutation, MLH1 deficiency and MSI in Chinese population may be lower than that in the Western population.
PMCID: PMC4316102  PMID: 25663779
Colorectal carcinoma; KRAS; BRAF; DNA mismatch repair; MLH1; MSH2; MSH6; PMS2
8.  Correlation of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Levels in Serum and Synovial Fluid with Disease Severity of Knee Osteoarthritis 
This study aimed to investigate the bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) levels in serum and synovial fluid (SF) of patients with primary knee osteoarthritis (OA) and to exam its correlation with radiographic and symptomatic severity of the disease.
A total of 37 knee OA patients and 20 healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Knee OA radiographic grading was performed according to the Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grading system by evaluating X-ray changes observed in anteroposterior knee radiography. Symptomatic severity of the disease was evaluated according to the Western Ontario McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores. BMP-2 levels in serum and SF were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Serum BMP-2 level in patients with knee OA was higher than that in healthy controls. Knee OA patients with KL grade 4 showed significantly elevated BMP-2 levels in the serum and SF compared with those with KL grade 2 and 3. Knee OA patients with KL grade 3 had significant higher SF levels of BMP-2 than those with KL grade 2. BMP-2 levels in the serum and SF of knee OA patients were both positively correlated with KL grades and WOMAC scores.
BMP2 levels in serum and SF were closely related to the radiographic and symptomatic severity of knee OA and may serve as an alternative biochemical parameter to determine disease severity of primary knee OA.
PMCID: PMC4321411  PMID: 25644704
Biological Markers; Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2; Osteoarthritis; Serum; Synovial Fluid
9.  Targeted therapies for renal cell carcinoma in Chinese patients: focus on everolimus 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:313-321.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of cancer arising from the kidney, with a male to female ratio of 2:1. The incidence of RCC is rising. In males, it was the seventh most common cancer in the People’s Republic of China in 2012. RCC is resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but approximately 20% of patients with advanced RCC respond to immunotherapy. Novel therapies targeting angiogenesis and signaling pathways have been proven to be effective for advanced or metastatic RCC in Western countries. Due to the heterogeneity of RCC between races, it is necessary to have an overview of targeted therapies, especially everolimus, for patients with advanced RCC in the People’s Republic of China. Three targeted therapeutic agents have been approved in Mainland China for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC, ie, two tyrosine kinase inhibitors (sorafenib and sunitinib) and one mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor (everolimus). Compared with Western patients with advanced or metastatic RCC, Chinese patients with the same disease respond better to sorafenib and sunitinib as first-line targeted therapy, but sunitinib has a relatively higher risk of toxicity. Everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor that can be administered orally, is well tolerated and acceptable to Chinese patients. Everolimus has competitive advantages as second-line targeted treatment for Chinese patients with advanced RCC who are resistant to first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Despite a lack of noninferiority when compared with sunitinib as first-line therapy, the sunitinib-everolimus paradigm is still recommended as standard therapy for patients with advanced RCC. Although most studies of targeted therapies for advanced RCC have obvious limitations, such as small sample size and retrospective design, up-to-date evidence indicates that everolimus would be an ideal agent as second-line targeted treatment for advanced or metastatic RCC in the People’s Republic of China.
PMCID: PMC4321650
target therapy; renal cell carcinoma; everolimus; People’s Republic of China
10.  Label-Free Quantitative Mass Spectrometry Reveals a Panel of Differentially Expressed Proteins in Colorectal Cancer 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:365068.
To identify potential biomarkers involved in CRC, a shotgun proteomic method was applied to identify soluble proteins in three CRCs and matched normal mucosal tissues using high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Label-free protein profiling of three CRCs and matched normal mucosal tissues were then conducted to quantify and compare proteins. Results showed that 67 of the 784 identified proteins were linked to CRC (28 upregulated and 39 downregulated). Gene Ontology and DAVID databases were searched to identify the location and function of differential proteins that were related to the biological processes of binding, cell structure, signal transduction, cell adhesion, and so on. Among the differentially expressed proteins, tropomyosin-3 (TPM3), endoplasmic reticulum resident protein 29 (ERp29), 18 kDa cationic antimicrobial protein (CAMP), and heat shock 70 kDa protein 8 (HSPA8) were verified to be upregulated in CRC tissue and seven cell lines through western blot analysis. Furthermore, the upregulation of TPM3, ERp29, CAMP, and HSPA8 was validated in 69 CRCs byimmunohistochemistry (IHC) analysis. Combination of TPM3, ERp29, CAMP, and HSPA8 can identify CRC from matched normal mucosal achieving an accuracy of 73.2% using IHC score. These results suggest that TPM3, ERp29, CAMP, and HSPA8 are great potential IHC diagnostic biomarkers for CRC.
PMCID: PMC4324820
11.  Intracellular activation of trypsinogen in transgenic mice induces acute but not chronic pancreatitis 
Gut  2011;60(10):1379-1388.
Background and aims
Premature intra-acinar activation of trypsinogen is widely considered key for both the initiation of acute pancreatitis and the development of chronic pancreatitis. However, the biological consequences of intracellular trypsinogen activation have not been directly examined. To do so, a new mouse model was developed.
Mice were engineered to conditionally express an endogenously activated trypsinogen within pancreatic acinar cells (PACE-trypon). Hallmarks of pancreatitis were determined and findings were correlated to the level (zygosity) and extent (temporal and spatial) of conditional PACE-trypon expression. Furthermore, the impact of acinar cell death in PACE-trypon mice was assessed and compared with a model of selective diphtheria toxin (DT)-mediated induction of acinar apoptosis.
Initiation of acute pancreatitis was observed with high (homozygous), but not low (heterozygous) levels of PACE-trypon expression. Subtotal (maximal-rapid induction) but not limited (gradual-repetitive induction) conditional PACE-trypon expression was associated with systemic complications and mortality. Rapid caspase-3 activation and apoptosis with delayed necrosis was observed, and loss of acinar cells led to replacement with fatty tissue. Chronic inflammation or fibrosis did not develop. Selective depletion of pancreatic acinar cells by apoptosis using DT evoked similar consequences.
Intra-acinar activation of trypsinogen is sufficient to initiate acute pancreatitis. However, the primary response to intracellular trypsin activity is rapid induction of acinar cell death via apoptosis which facilitates resolution of the acute inflammation rather than causing chronic pancreatitis. This novel model provides a powerful tool to improve our understanding of basic mechanisms occurring during pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC4304390  PMID: 21471572
12.  Identification and validation of the methylation biomarkers of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 
Clinical Epigenetics  2015;7(1):3.
DNA methylation was suggested as the promising biomarker for lung cancer diagnosis. However, it is a great challenge to search for the optimal combination of methylation biomarkers to obtain maximum diagnostic performance.
In this study, we developed a panel of DNA methylation biomarkers and validated their diagnostic efficiency for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a large Chinese Han NSCLC retrospective cohort. Three high-throughput DNA methylation microarray datasets (458 samples) were collected in the discovery stage. After normalization, batch effect elimination and integration, significantly differentially methylated genes and the best combination of the biomarkers were determined by the leave-one-out SVM (support vector machine) feature selection procedure. Then, candidate promoters were examined by the methylation status determined single nucleotide primer extension technique (MSD-SNuPET) in an independent set of 150 pairwise NSCLC/normal tissues. Four statistical models with fivefold cross-validation were used to evaluate the performance of the discriminatory algorithms. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy were 86.3%, 95.7% and 91%, respectively, in Bayes tree model. The logistic regression model incorporated five gene methylation signatures at AGTR1, GALR1, SLC5A8, ZMYND10 and NTSR1, adjusted for age, sex and smoking, showed robust performances in which the sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and area under the curve (AUC) were 78%, 97%, 87%, and 0.91, respectively.
In summary, a high-throughput DNA methylation microarray dataset followed by batch effect elimination can be a good strategy to discover optimal DNA methylation diagnostic panels. Methylation profiles of AGTR1, GALR1, SLC5A8, ZMYND10 and NTSR1, could be an effective methylation-based assay for NSCLC diagnosis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13148-014-0035-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4318209  PMID: 25657825
Non-small cell lung cancer; DNA methylation; Biomarker; Batch effect elimination; Diagnosis
13.  PD-1/PD-L1 pathway in non-small-cell lung cancer and its relation with EGFR mutation 
Immunotherapy has become a crucial modality for non-small-cell lung cancer treatment. Recently, two immune checkpoints, PD-1 and PD-L1, have emerged as important targets for immunotherapy. Their antitumor efficacy has been confirmed by in vitro and in vivo studies. But the correlation between PD-1/PD-L1 expression and EGFR expression was controversial and needs more evidences to support the combination of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4302082  PMID: 25592115
PD-1; PD-L1; Non-small-cell lung cancer; EGFR; Gene mutation
14.  LLL12 Inhibits Endogenous and Exogenous Interleukin-6-induced STAT3 Phosphorylation in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
Anticancer research  2011;31(6):2029-2035.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most serious types of cancer, with a five-year survival rate at only 6%. There is a critical need to develop more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer. Growing evidence shows that chronic inflammation plays a crucial role in tumor initiation and progression. Here we demonstrated that the endogenous expression of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) correlates with signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation in human pancreatic cancer cells. Inhibition of the endogenous IL-6/STAT3 pathway reduces cell viability. Exogenous IL-6 induces STAT3 phosphorylation, but differently induces phosphorylation of STAT3 upstream kinases, Janus kinase 1(JAK1), JAK2, and tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2). Interestingly, LLL12, a nonpeptide, cell-permeable small molecule, selectively blocked exogenous IL-6-induced STAT3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation in both PANC-1 and ASPC-1 pancreatic cancer cell lines independently of the phosphorylation of JAK1, JAK2, and TYK2. These results suggest that the inhibition of endogenous and exogenous IL-6-mediated STAT3 signaling may be a potential therapeutic approach for pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4288000  PMID: 21737619
Interleukin-6; signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; pancreatic cancer
16.  Changes in Follicular Helper T Cells in Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Patients 
Background: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a primary autoimmune disease with a decreased platelet count caused by platelet destruction mediated mainly by platelet antibodies. T follicular helper (TFH) cells have demonstrated important roles in autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study is to explore the might role of TFH cells in the patients of ITP.
Methods: Twenty-three ITP patients and 12 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. The frequency of circulating TFH cells in both the patients and HC was analyzed by flow cytometry. Serum interleukin (IL)-21 and IL-6 levels were measured using ELISA, and platelet antibodies were tested using a solid phase technique. Additionally, IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf mRNA expressions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were detected using real-time PCR.
Results: The percentages of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression were significantly higher in the ITP patients than in the HC. Moreover, the frequencies of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with inducible costimulator (ICOS)high or programmed death-1 (PD-1)high expression were notably higher in ITP with platelet-antibody-positive ( ITP (+) ) patients than in ITP with platelet-antibody-negative ( ITP (-) ) patients and HC, as were the serum IL-21 and IL-6 levels (significant). Moreover, a positive correlation was found between the CXCR5+CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression and the serum IL-21 levels of ITP (+) patients. Additionally, the mRNA expression levels of IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf were significantly increased in ITP patients, especially in ITP (+) patients.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated TFH cells and effector molecules might play an important role in the pathogenesis of ITP, which are possible therapeutic targets in ITP patients.
PMCID: PMC4279097  PMID: 25561904
platelet antibody; T follicular helper cell; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; autoimmune disease
17.  PRMT4 blocks myeloid differentiation by assembling a methyl-RUNX1-dependent repressor complex 
Cell reports  2013;5(6):1625-1638.
Defining the role of epigenetic regulators in hematopoiesis has become critically important, as recurrent mutations or aberrant expression of these genes has been identified in both myeloid and lymphoid hematological malignancies. We found that PRMT4, a type I arginine methyltransferase, whose function in normal and malignant hematopoiesis is unknown, is overexpressed in AML patient samples. Overexpression of PRMT4 blocks the myeloid differentiation of human stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) while its knockdown is sufficient to induce myeloid differentiation of HSPCs. We demonstrated that PRMT4 represses the expression of miR-223 in HSPCs via the methylation of RUNX1, which triggers the assembly of a multi-protein repressor complex that includes DPF2. As part of a feedback loop, PRMT4 expression is repressed post-transcriptionally by miR-223. Depletion of PRMT4 results in differentiation of myeloid leukemia cells in vitro and their decrease proliferation in vivo. Thus, targeting PRMT4 holds potential as a novel therapy for acute myelogenous leukemia.
PMCID: PMC4073674  PMID: 24332853
18.  Performance Analysis of Extracted Rule-Base Multivariable Type-2 Self-Organizing Fuzzy Logic Controller Applied to Anesthesia 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:379090.
We compare type-1 and type-2 self-organizing fuzzy logic controller (SOFLC) using expert initialized and pretrained extracted rule-bases applied to automatic control of anaesthesia during surgery. We perform experimental simulations using a nonfixed patient model and signal noise to account for environmental and patient drug interaction uncertainties. The simulations evaluate the performance of the SOFLCs in their ability to control anesthetic delivery rates for maintaining desired physiological set points for muscle relaxation and blood pressure during a multistage surgical procedure. The performances of the SOFLCs are evaluated by measuring the steady state errors and control stabilities which indicate the accuracy and precision of control task. Two sets of comparisons based on using expert derived and extracted rule-bases are implemented as Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Results indicate that type-2 SOFLCs outperform type-1 SOFLC while handling the various sources of uncertainties. SOFLCs using the extracted rules are also shown to outperform those using expert derived rules in terms of improved control stability.
PMCID: PMC4283452  PMID: 25587533
19.  Oxytocin Reverses Amphetamine-Induced Deficits in Social Bonding: Evidence for an Interaction with Nucleus Accumbens Dopamine 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(25):8499-8506.
Drug addiction has devastating consequences on social behaviors and can lead to the impairment of social bonding. Accumulating evidence indicates that alterations in oxytocin (OT) and dopamine (DA) neurotransmission within brain reward circuitry may be involved. We investigated this possibility, as well as the therapeutic potential of OT for drug-induced social deficits, using the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)—a socially monogamous rodent that forms enduring pair bonds between adult mates. We demonstrate that repeated exposure to the commonly abused psychostimulant amphetamine (AMPH) inhibits the formation of partner preferences (an index of pair bonding) in female prairie voles. AMPH exposure also altered OT and DA neurotransmission in regions that mediate partner preference formation: it decreased OT and DA D2 receptor immunoreactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc), respectively, and increased NAcc DA levels. Administration of OT directly into the mPFC of AMPH-exposed voles restored partner preferences, and altered NAcc DA levels, and this effect was dependent on OT receptor activation. Together, these data suggest that repeated AMPH exposure impairs pair bonding through an OT-mediated mechanism, and that OT and DA systems within brain reward circuitry may interact to mediate the complex relationship between drug abuse and social bonding. Further, these results provide empirical support for the idea that the central OT system may represent an important target for the treatment of social deficits in addiction.
PMCID: PMC4061391  PMID: 24948805
addiction; amphetamine; dopamine; oxytocin; social bonding
20.  The potential risk factors for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas: clinical series of 1,239 cases 
Background: Determining factors that could accurately predict pathological features of meningiomas before histological diagnosis would help surgeons to proper balance the risk of operation and the resection grade. The aim of this study was to explore the potential risk factors for atypical (WHO Grade II) and anaplastic (WHO Grade III) meningiomas. Methods: Records of 1,239 patients between January 2009 and January 2013 were included in this research. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry with Ki67 was analysed in 368 samples. Results: The Pearson’s chi-square test showed an increased risk for male gender for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas (P < 0.001) and an increased risk for cerebral convexity for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas (P < 0.001). However, significant differences in the terms of falx/sagittal sinus and intraventricular were not found. Patients with a Ki67 index ≥ 5% were significantly more likely to have atypical and anaplastic meningiomas than those patients with a Ki67 index < 5% (P < 0.001). In addition, the percentage of patients with a Ki67 index ≥ 5% in cerebral convexity meningiomas was higher than in non-cerebral convexity location (P = 0.006). Conclusions: The results indicate that male gender, cerebral convexity are significant risk factors for atypical and anaplastic meningiomas.
PMCID: PMC4307540  PMID: 25664093
Cerebral convexity; risk factor; meningiomas
21.  miR-374b-5p suppresses RECK expression and promotes gastric cancer cell invasion and metastasis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(46):17439-17447.
AIM: To profile expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in gastric cancer cells and investigate the effect of miR-374b-5p on gastric cancer cell invasion and metastasis.
METHODS: An miRNA microarray assay was performed to identify miRNAs differentially expressed in gastric cancer cell lines (MGC-803 and SGC-7901) compared with a normal gastric epithelial cell line. Upregulation of miR-374b-5p was newly identified and confirmed via quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR). MGC-803 cells were transfected with a synthesized anti-miR-374b-5p sequence or a control vector using Lipofectamine reagent, or treated with transfection reagent alone or phosphate-buffered saline as controls. Rate of transfection was verified after 48 h by qRT-PCR. Cells were then subjected to transwell migration, wound scratch and cell counting kit-8 assays. A bioinformatic analysis to identify miR-374b-5p target genes was performed using miRanda, PicTar and TargetScan software. A dual luciferase reporter assay was performed to evaluate the influence of miR-374b-5p on target gene activation, and qRT-PCR and Western blot were used to evaluate the levels of target mRNA and protein following transfection with miR-374b-5p antisense oligonucleotides.
RESULTS: The microarray profiling revealed downregulation of 14 (fold change < 0.667; P < 0.05) and upregulation of 12 (fold change > 1.50; P < 0.05) miRNAs in MGC-803 and SGC-7901 cells compared with GES-1 controls. The upregulation of miR-374b-5p (fold change = 1.75 and 1.64 in MGC-803 and SGC-7901, respectively; P < 0.05) was confirmed by qRT-PCR. Compared with the control groups, the restoration of miR-374b-5p expression with anti-miR-374b-5p significantly suppressed the metastasis, invasion and proliferation of MGC-803 cells. The bioinformatic analysis predicted that the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of reversion-inducing cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motif (RECK) contains three miR-374b-5p target sequences. RECK was verified as a target gene in a dual luciferase reporter assay showing that activation of RECK 3’UTR-pmirGLO was increased by co-transfection with miR-374b-5p. Finally, transfection of miR-374b-5p antisense oligonucleotides increased mRNA and protein levels of RECK in MGC-803 cells (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that upregulation of miR-374b-5p contributes to gastric cancer cell metastasis and invasion through inhibition of RECK expression.
PMCID: PMC4265603  PMID: 25516656
Gastric cancer; microRNAs microarray; miR-374b-5p; RECK; Invasion and metastasis
22.  Dacarbazine Combined Targeted Therapy versus Dacarbazine Alone in Patients with Malignant Melanoma: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111920.
Malignant melanoma is the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer. Dacarbazine (DTIC) has been the approved first-line treatment for metastatic melanoma in routine clinical practice. However, response rates with single-agent DTIC are low. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of DTIC with or without placebo and DTIC-based combination therapies in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma.
We searched from electronic databases such as The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EBSCO, EMBASE, Ovid, CNKI, and CBMDisc from 2003 to 2013. The primary outcome measures were overall response and 1-year survival, and the secondary outcome measurements were adverse events.
Nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 2,481 patients were included in the meta-analysis. DTIC-based combination therapies was superior to DTIC alone in overall response (combined risk ratio [RR]  = 1.60, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.27–2.01) and 1-year survival (combined RR = 1.26, 95% CI: 1.14–1.39). Patients with DTIC-based combination therapies had higher incidence of adverse events including nausea (combined RR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.10–1.36), vomiting (combined RR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.41–2.12) and neutropenia (combined RR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.42–2.16) compared to the group for DTIC alone.
These data suggested that DTIC-based combination therapies could moderately improve the overall response and the 1-year survival but increased the incidence of adverse events. Further large-scale, high-quality, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials are needed to confirm this conclusion.
PMCID: PMC4263472  PMID: 25502446
23.  Olanzapine-induced weight gain plays a key role in the potential cardiovascular risk: evidence from heart rate variability analysis 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7394.
Patients with schizophrenia have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than the general population. Research has suggested that autonomic imbalance is a common pathway to increased morbidity and mortality for CVD. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is a non-invasive method that assesses autonomic imbalance, and low HRV is correlated with high cardiovascular risk. Olanzapine, a widely used antipsychotic drug, is considered to have good cardiac safety because of not causing significant corrected QT-interval (QTc) prolongation; however, it is still unclear whether olanzapine affects HRV. We recruited 83 patients with schizophrenia who were medication-free for at least 1 month and tested their HRV at the baseline and 4 weeks after treatment with olanzapine. We found that patients who had substantial weight gain (EWG) manifested significantly lower HRV than those who had non-substantial weight gain (NWG) and that HRV decrease was positively correlated to an increase in body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. Our results indicate that olanzapine-induced weight gain may play an important role in its potential cardiovascular risk. Since olanzapine has a very high potential for weight gain compared with other antipsychotics, further research is needed to explore its cardiovascular safety profile, specifically long-term cardiac safety.
PMCID: PMC4260225  PMID: 25487560
24.  P2X7 Mediates ATP-Driven Invasiveness in Prostate Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114371.
The ATP-gated P2X7 has been shown to play an important role in invasiveness and metastasis of some tumors. However, the possible links and underlying mechanisms between P2X7 and prostate cancer have not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrated that P2X7 was highly expressed in some prostate cancer cells. Down-regulation of P2X7 by siRNA significantly attenuated ATP- or BzATP-driven migration and invasion of prostate cancer cells in vitro, and inhibited tumor invasiveness and metastases in nude mice. In addition, silencing of P2X7 remarkably attenuated ATP- or BzATP- driven expression changes of EMT/invasion-related genes Snail, E-cadherin, Claudin-1, IL-8 and MMP-3, and weakened the phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT and ERK1/2 in vitro. Similar effects were observed in nude mice. These data indicate that P2X7 stimulates cell invasion and metastasis in prostate cancer cells via some EMT/invasion-related genes, as well as PI3K/AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. P2X7 could be a promising therapeutic target for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4259308  PMID: 25486274
25.  A High-Fat Diet Activates Oncogenic Kras and COX2 to Induce Development of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma in Mice 
Gastroenterology  2013;145(6):10.1053/j.gastro.2013.08.018.
Background & Aims
Obesity is a risk factor for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), but it is not clear how obesity contributes to pancreatic carcinogenesis. The oncogenic form of KRAS is expressed during early stages of PDAC development, and is detected in almost all of these tumors. However, there is evidence that mutant KRAS requires an additional stimulus to activate its full oncogenic activity, and that this stimulus involves the inflammatory response. We investigated whether the inflammation induced by a high-fat diet, and accompanying up-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), increases Kras activity during pancreatic carcinogenesis in mice.
We studied mice with acinar cell-specific expression of KrasG12D (LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice) alone or crossed with COX2 conditional knockout mice (COXKO/LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT). We also studied LSL-Kras/PDX1 -Cre mice. All mice were fed isocaloric diets with different amounts of fat, and a COX2 inhibitor was administered to some LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice. Pancreata were collected from mice and analyzed for Kras activity, levels of phosphorylated ERK, inflammation, fibrosis, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), and PDACs.
Pancreatic tissues from LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed high-fat diets (HFDs) had increased Kras activity, fibrotic stroma, and numbers of PanINs and PDACs than LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed control diets; the mice fed the HFDs also had shorter survival times than mice fed control diets. Administration of a COX2 inhibitor to LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice prevented these effects of HFDs. We also observed a significant reduction in survival times of mice fed HFDs. COXKO/LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed HFDs had no evidence for increased numbers of PanIN lesions, inflammation, or fibrosis, as opposed to the increases observed in LSL-Kras/Ela-CreERT mice fed HFDs.
In mice, a HFD can activate oncogenic Kras via COX2, leading to pancreatic inflammation and fibrosis, and development of PanINs and PDAC. This mechanism could be involved in the association between risk for PDAC and HFDs.
PMCID: PMC3873752  PMID: 23958541
Pancreatic cancer; signal transduction; oncogene; prostaglandin

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