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1.  RhoC is a major target of microRNA-93-5P in epithelial ovarian carcinoma tumorigenesis and progression 
Molecular Cancer  2015;14(1):31.
An increasing amount of evidence has revealed that microRNAs regulate various biological processes, including cell differentiation, cell proliferation, apoptosis, drug resistance, and fat metabolism. Studies have shown that miR-93’s targetome in cancer has not been fully defined. Moreover, the role of miR-93 in epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) remains largely unknown.
MIR-93 mRNA expression in normal ovarian tissue, benign tumors, borderline tumors, primary ovarian carcinomas, and metastatic omentum was quantified. The ovarian carcinoma cell lines OVCAR3, SKOV3/DDP, and HO8910-PM were transfected with miR-93-5P, after which cell phenotype and expression of relevant molecules were assayed. Dual-luciferase reporter assay and a xenograft mouse model were used to examine miR-93 and its target gene RHOC (Ras homolog gene family member C).
MIR-93 mRNA expression was significantly lower in ovarian carcinomas and borderline tumors than in normal ovarian tissues (p < 0.05), and was lower in metastatic omentum than in relative primary ovarian carcinomas (p < 0.05). MIR-93 mRNA expression was also negatively associated with differentiation (well vs. poor and moderate) and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics staging (FIGO stage I/II vs. stage III/IV) in ovarian carcinoma (p < 0.05), besides, miR-93 was higher expressed in mucinous adenocarcinoma than the other types (p < 0.05). MiR-93-5P overexpression reduced proliferation (p < 0.05); promoted G1 or S arrest and apoptosis (p < 0.05); suppressed migration and invasion (p < 0.05); and reduced RhoC, P70S6 kinase, Bcl-xL, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) mRNA or protein expression; conversely, it induced P53 and cleaved PARP expression (p < 0.05). Dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated that miR-93 directly targeted RhoC by binding its 3′ untranslated region. MiR-93-5P transfection also suppressed tumor development and RhoC expression (determined by immunohistochemistry) in vivo in the xenograft mouse model (p < 0.05).
This is the first demonstration that miR-93-5P may inhibit EOC tumorigenesis and progression by targeting RhoC. These findings indicate that miR-93-5P is a potential suppressor of ovarian cellular proliferation. The involvement of miR-93-5P–mediated RhoC downregulation in inhibiting EOC aggressiveness may provide extended insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer aggressiveness.
PMCID: PMC4328068  PMID: 25649143
MiR-93-5P; RhoC; Ovarian epithelial carcinoma; Tumorigenesis and progression
2.  Klotho in the cerebrospinal fluid of adults with and without Alzheimer's disease 
Neuroscience letters  2013;558:37-40.
The aging-suppressor gene klotho encodes a single-pass transmembrane protein that is predominantly secreted by the choroid plexus of the brain and in the kidney. Klotho-deficient mice develop multiple aging phenotypes, including impaired cognition. Klotho concentrations have not been described in the CSF of humans. We measured klotho in the CSF of 20 older adults with Alzheimer's disease and in 20 older and 20 younger adults with normal cognition. In 10 adults, aged 38-87 years, CSF klotho measurements were made at baseline and every 6 hours up to 18-30 hours later. Mean (95% Confidence Interval [C.I.]) CSF klotho in men versus women were 899 (814, 983) and 716 (632, 801) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.002). Mean (95% C.I.) CSF klotho in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease were 664 (603, 725) and 776 (705, 828) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.02), adjusting for sex. Mean (95% C.I.) klotho in older versus younger adults were 766 (658, 874) and 992 (884, 1100) pg/mL, respectively (P = 0.005), adjusting for sex. In the longitudinal study of CSF klotho, no significant circadian fluctuations were found in CSF klotho levels. This study suggests that CSF klotho concentrations are lower in females compared with males, in Alzheimer's disease, and in older versus younger adults.
PMCID: PMC4037850  PMID: 24211693
Aging; Alzheimer's Disease; Brain; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Klotho
3.  High levels of SIRT1 expression enhance tumorigenesis and associate with a poor prognosis of colorectal carcinoma patients 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7481.
SIRT1, a NAD+ dependent class III deacetylase, takes part in many important biological processes. Previous studies show that SIRT1 is overexpressed in some cancers and plays an essential role in tumorigenesis. However, the association between SIRT1 and colorectal cancer (CRC) is still unclear. We found that many CRC specimens had strong SIRT1 expression, which had an obvious correlation with poor prognosis of CRC patients. Meanwhile, SIRT1 expression had a co-localization with CD133, a current universal marker to characterize colorectal cancer stem cells (CSCs). In vitro studies also revealed that SIRT1 was overexpressed in colorectal CSC-like cells. Moreover, SIRT1 deficiency decreased percentage of CD133+ cells, attenuated the abilities of colony and sphere formation, and inhibited tumorigenicity in vivo in CRC cells. Further study demonstrated that the expressions of several stemness-associated genes, including Oct4, Nanog, Cripto, Tert and Lin28, were reduced by SIRT1 knockdown in CRC cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that SIRT1 plays a crucial role in keeping the characteristics of CSCs cells. SIRT1 is a potential independent prognostic factor of CRC patients after tumor resection with curative intent, and will contribute to providing a promising new approach to target at CSCs in CRC treatment.
PMCID: PMC4265776  PMID: 25500546
4.  Beclin 2 Functions in Autophagy, Degradation of G Protein-Coupled Receptors, and Metabolism 
Cell  2013;154(5):1085-1099.
The molecular mechanism of autophagy and its relationship to other lysosomal degradation pathways remain incompletely understood. Here, we identified a previously uncharacterized mammalian-specific protein, Beclin 2, which like Beclin 1, functions in autophagy and interacts with class III PI3K complex components and Bcl-2. However, Beclin 2, but not Beclin 1, functions in an additional lysosomal degradation pathway. Beclin 2 is required for ligand-induced endolysosomal degradation of several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) through its interaction with GASP1. Beclin 2 homozygous knockout mice have decreased embryonic viability, and heterozygous knockout mice have defective autophagy, increased levels of brain cannabinoid 1 receptor, elevated food intake, and obesity and insulin resistance. Our findings identify Beclin 2 as a novel converging regulator of autophagy and GPCR turnover, and highlight the functional and mechanistic diversity of Beclin family members in autophagy, endolysosomal trafficking and metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4231430  PMID: 23954414
5.  Hepatocyte Toll-like Receptor 4 Regulates Obesity-Induced Inflammation and Insulin Resistance 
Nature communications  2014;5:3878.
Chronic low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of obesity and thought to contribute to the development of obesity-related insulin resistance. Toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4) is a key mediator of pro-inflammatory responses. Mice lacking Tlr4s are protected from diet-induced insulin resistance and inflammation; however which Tlr4 expressing cells mediate this effect is unknown. Here we show that mice deficient in hepatocyte Tlr4 (Tlr4LKO) exhibit improved glucose tolerance, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and ameliorated hepatic steatosis despite the development of obesity after a high fat diet (HFD) challenge. Furthermore, Tlr4LKO mice have reduced macrophage content in white adipose tissue, as well as decreased tissue and circulating inflammatory markers. In contrast, the loss of Tlr4 activity in myeloid cells has little effect on insulin sensitivity. Collectively, these data indicate that the activation of Tlr4 on hepatocytes contributes to obesity-associated inflammation and insulin resistance, and suggest that targeting hepatocyte Tlr4 might be a useful therapeutic strategy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4080408  PMID: 24815961
6.  Up-regulation of hexokinase1 in the right ventricle of monocrotaline induced pulmonary hypertension 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):119.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a proliferative arteriopathy associated with a glycolytic shift during heart metabolism. An increase in glycolytic metabolism can be detected in the right ventricle during PAH. Expression levels of glycolysis genes in the right ventricle during glycolysis that occur in monocrotaline (MCT)-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH) remain unknown.
PH was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of MCT (50 mg/kg) into rats, eventually causing right heart failure. Concurrently, a control group was injected with normal saline. The MCT-PH rats were randomly divided into three groups according to MCT treatment: MCT-2 week, 3 week, and 4 week groups (MCT-2w, 3w, 4w). At the end of the study, hemodynamics and right ventricular hypertrophy were compared among experimental groups. Expression of key glycolytic candidate genes was screened in the right ventricle.
We observed an increase in mean pulmonary arterial pressure, right ventricular systolic pressure and right ventricular hypertrophy index three weeks following MCT injection. Alterations in the morphology and structure of right ventricular myocardial cells, as well as the pulmonary vasculature were observed. Expression of hexokinase 1 (HK1) mRNA began to increase in the right ventricle of the MCT-3w group and MCT-4w group, while the expression of lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) was elevated in the right ventricle of the MCT-4w group. Hexokinase 2(HK2), pyruvate dehydrogenase complex α1 (PDHα1), and LDHA mRNA expression showed no changes in the right ventricle. HK1 mRNA expression was further confirmed by HK1 protein expression and immunohistochemical analyses. All findings underlie the glycolytic phenotype in the right ventricle.
There was an increase in the protein and mRNA expression of hexokinase-1 (HK1) three and four weeks after the injection of monocrotaline in the right ventricle, intervention of HK1 may be amenable to therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC4198683  PMID: 25287584
Pulmonary hypertension; Right heart failure; Glycolysis; Hexokinase 1
7.  Prevalence and risk factors of abnormal left ventricular geometrical patterns in untreated hypertensive patients 
The various prevalence of LVH and abnormal LV geometry have been reported in different populations. So far, only a few reports are available on the prevalence of LV geometric patterns in a large Chinese untreated hypertensive population.
A total of 9,286 subjects (5167 men and 4119 women) completed the survey and 1641 untreated hypertensive patients (1044 males and 597 females) enrolled in the present study. The LV geometry was classified into four patterns: normal; abnormal,defined as concentric remodeling;concentric or eccentric hypertrophy based on the values of left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and relative wall thickness (RWT). Logistic regression model was applied to determine the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the risk factors of left ventricular hypertrophy.
The prevalence of LVH was 20.2% in untreated hypertensive patients, much higher in women (30.8%) than in men (14.2%) (P < 0.01). The prevalence of LV geometrical patterns was 34.9%, 11.1%, 9.1% for concentric remodeling, concentric and eccentric hypertrophy,respectively. After adjustment by using Logistic regression model, the risk factors for LVH and abnormal LV geometry were age, female, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. And low high density lipoprotein maybe a positive factor.
The prevalence of LVH and abnormal LV geometric patterns was higher in women than in men and increased with age. It is crucial to improve the awareness rate of hypertension and control the risk factors of CV complications in untreated hypertensive population.
PMCID: PMC4192326  PMID: 25280487
Left ventricular hypertrophy; Left ventricular geometry; Risk factors; Untreated hypertension
8.  Fibrosis and Adipose Tissue Dysfunction 
Cell metabolism  2013;18(4):470-477.
Fibrosis is increasingly appreciated as a major player in adipose tissue dysfunction. In rapidly expanding adipose tissue, pervasive hypoxia leads to an induction of HIF1α that in turn leads to a potent pro-fibrotic transcriptional program. The pathophysiological impact of adipose tissue fibrosis is likely to play an equally important role on systemic metabolic alterations as fibrotic conditions play in the liver, heart and kidney. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the genesis, modulation and systemic impact of excessive extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation in adipose tissue of both rodents and humans and the ensuing impact on metabolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3795900  PMID: 23954640
9.  Cell-based therapy for acute and chronic liver failures: Distinct diseases, different choices 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6494.
Cell-based therapies (CBTs) are considered the effective approaches to treat liver failure. However, which cell type is the most suitable source of CBTs for acute liver failure (ALF) or chronic liver failure (CLF) remains unclear. To investigate this, mature hepatocytes in adult liver (adult HCs), fetal liver cells (FLCs), induced hepatic stem cells (iHepSCs) and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) were used to CBTs for ConA-induced ALF and Fah-deficient induced CLF in mice. The results showed that only BMSCs remitted liver damage and rescued ALF in ConA-treated mice. In this process, BMSCs inhibited ConA-induced inflammatory response by decreasing the mRNA expressions of TNF-α, IFN-γ and FasL and increasing IL-10 mRNA expression. However, in the CLF model, not BMSCs but adult HCs transplantation lessened liver injury, recovered liver function and rescued the life of Fah-/- mice after NTBC withdrawal. Further study showed that adult HCs offered more effective liver regeneration compared to other cells in Fah-/- mice without NTBC. These results demonstrated that BMSCs and adult HCs are the optimal sources of CBTs for ConA-induced ALF and Fah-deficient induced CLF in mice, respectively. This finding deepens our understanding about how to select a proper CBT for different liver failure.
PMCID: PMC4178291  PMID: 25263068
10.  Colonization on Root Surface by a Phenanthrene-Degrading Endophytic Bacterium and Its Application for Reducing Plant Phenanthrene Contamination 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108249.
A phenanthrene-degrading endophytic bacterium, Pn2, was isolated from Alopecurus aequalis Sobol grown in soils contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Based on morphology, physiological characteristics and the 16S rRNA gene sequence, it was identified as Massilia sp. Strain Pn2 could degrade more than 95% of the phenanthrene (150 mg·L−1) in a minimal salts medium (MSM) within 48 hours at an initial pH of 7.0 and a temperature of 30°C. Pn2 could grow well on the MSM plates with a series of other PAHs, including naphthalene, acenaphthene, anthracene and pyrene, and degrade them to different degrees. Pn2 could also colonize the root surface of ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam), invade its internal root tissues and translocate into the plant shoot. When treated with the endophyte Pn2 under hydroponic growth conditions with 2 mg·L−1 of phenanthrene in the Hoagland solution, the phenanthrene concentrations in ryegrass roots and shoots were reduced by 54% and 57%, respectively, compared with the endophyte-free treatment. Strain Pn2 could be a novel and useful bacterial resource for eliminating plant PAH contamination in polluted environments by degrading the PAHs inside plants. Furthermore, we provide new perspectives on the control of the plant uptake of PAHs via endophytic bacteria.
PMCID: PMC4172705  PMID: 25247301
11.  MicroRNA-27a promotes proliferation and suppresses apoptosis by targeting PLK2 in laryngeal carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):678.
miRNA-27a has been confirmed as an important regulator in carcinogenesis and other pathological processes. Whether and how it plays a role in the laryngeal carcinoma is unknown.
Mature miRNA-27a expression in laryngeal cancer was detected by qRT-PCR. Gain-of-function studies using mature miR-27a were performed to investigate cell proliferation and apoptosis in the Hep2 cells. In silico database analysis and luciferase reporter assay were applied to predict and validate the direct target, respectively. Loss-of-function assays were performed to investigate the functional significance of the miR-27a target gene. qRT-PCR and Western blot were used to evaluate mRNA and protein levels of the target, respectively.
miR-27a was significantly up-regulated in the laryngeal tumor tissues compared to the adjacent non-tumor tissues. In silico database analysis result revealed that PLK2 is a potential target of miR-27a. luciferase reporter assay result showed the direct inhibition of miR-27a on PLK2-3′UTR. In the cases with miR-27a up-regulation, PLK2 protein expression level was significantly lower in cancer tissues than that in the adjacent non-tumor tissues, which showed a negative correlation with miR-27a expression level. Both miR-27a and knockdown of PLK2 caused the increase of the cell viability and colony formation and inhibition of the late apoptosis in the Hep2 cell lines. Moreover, miR-27a but not PLK2 also repressed the early apoptosis in the Hep2 cells. Additionally, no alteration of the Hep2 cell cycle induced by miR-27a was detected.
miR-27a acts as an oncogene in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma through down-regulation of PLK2 and may provide a novel clue into the potential mechanism of LSCC oncogenesis or serve as a useful biomarker in diagnosis and therapy in laryngeal cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-678) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177177  PMID: 25239093
Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma; miR-27a; PLK2; Apoptosis; Proliferation
12.  Predicting disease associations via biological network analysis 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(1):304.
Understanding the relationship between diseases based on the underlying biological mechanisms is one of the greatest challenges in modern biology and medicine. Exploring disease-disease associations by using system-level biological data is expected to improve our current knowledge of disease relationships, which may lead to further improvements in disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.
We took advantage of diverse biological data including disease-gene associations and a large-scale molecular network to gain novel insights into disease relationships. We analysed and compared four publicly available disease-gene association datasets, then applied three disease similarity measures, namely annotation-based measure, function-based measure and topology-based measure, to estimate the similarity scores between diseases. We systematically evaluated disease associations obtained by these measures against a statistical measure of comorbidity which was derived from a large number of medical patient records. Our results show that the correlation between our similarity measures and comorbidity scores is substantially higher than expected at random, confirming that our similarity measures are able to recover comorbidity associations. We also demonstrated that our predicted disease associations correlated with disease associations generated from genome-wide association studies significantly higher than expected at random. Furthermore, we evaluated our predicted disease associations via mining the literature on PubMed, and presented case studies to demonstrate how these novel disease associations can be used to enhance our current knowledge of disease relationships.
We present three similarity measures for predicting disease associations. The strong correlation between our predictions and known disease associations demonstrates the ability of our measures to provide novel insights into disease relationships.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2105-15-304) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4174675  PMID: 25228247
Disease classification; Network analysis; Graph theory; Topology; Protein-protein interaction
13.  Clinical features and therapeutic strategies of obstructive azoospermia in patients treated by bilateral inguinal hernia repair in childhood 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2014;16(5):745-748.
Childhood inguinal herniorrhaphy is one common cause of seminal tract obstruction. Vasovasostomy (VV) can reconstruct seminal deferens and result in appearance of sperm and natural pregnancy in some patients. Secondary epididymal obstruction caused by a relatively long-term vasal obstruction is a common cause of lower patency compared with VV due to vasectomy in adults. From July 2007 to June 2012, a total of 62 patients, with history of childhood inguinal herniorrhaphy and diagnosed as obstructive azoospermia were treated in our center. The overall patency rate and natural pregnancy rate were 56.5% (35/62) and 25.8% (16/62), respectively. 48.4% (30/62) of the patients underwent bilateral VV in the inguinal region, with a patency rate of 76.7% (23/30) and a natural pregnancy rate of 36.7% (11/30), respectively. 30.6% (19/62) of the patients underwent bilateral VV and unilateral or bilateral vasoepididymostomies due to ipsilateral epididymal obstruction with the patency and natural pregnancy rate decreasing to 63.2% (12/19) and 26.3% (5/19). 21.0% (13/62) of the patients merely underwent vasal exploration without reconstruction due to failure to find distal vasal stump, etc. Our study indicate that microsurgical reanastomosis is an effective treatment for some patients with seminal tract obstruction caused by childhood inguinal herniorrhaphy.
PMCID: PMC4215684  PMID: 24994783
azoospermia; inguinal herniorrhaphy; microsurgical reanastomosis
14.  microRNA 490-3P enhances the drug-resistance of human ovarian cancer cells 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding, single-stranded small RNAs that regulate gene expression negatively, which is involved in fundamental cellular processes. In this study, we investigated the role of miR-490-3P in the development of drug resistance in ovarian cancer cells.
The human ovarian carcinoma cell line A2780 and A2780/Taxol were exposed to paclitaxel in the presence or absence of microRNA 490-3P transfection, after which cell viability were performed by CCK-8 assay. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting were used to assess the mRNA and protein expression levels of GST-π, MDR1 or P-gp.
Our results showed higher miR-490-3P mRNA expression level in A2780/Taxol cells than in A2780 cells (p < 0.05). Following miR-490-3P transfection, both A2780 and A2780/Taxol cells showed decreased sensitivity to paclitaxel. The mRNA expression levels of MDR1, GST-π (p < 0.05) and protein expression levels of P-gp, GST-π were down-regulated after miR-490-3P transfection in comparison to mock and negative control cancer cells.
Our results demonstrate for the first time that microRNA 490-3P may be involved in the development of drug resistance in ovarian cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13048-014-0084-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4158041  PMID: 25297343
Ovarian cancer cells; microRNA 490-3P; Paclitaxel; Drug resistance
15.  Female Sex Is Associated with Worse Prognosis in Patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102969.
Sex plays an important role in the clinical expression and prognosis of various cardiovascular diseases. This study was designed to observe the effects of sex on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Methods and Results
A total of 621 unrelated patients with HCM without heart failure (460 males) were enrolled from 1999 to 2011. Compared to male patients, at baseline female patients were older at diagnosis (49.6±17.2 years vs. 46.7±14.4 years, P = 0.033), and had greater frequency of left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (72/161, 44.7% vs. 149/460, 32.4%, P = 0.005). During the average four year follow-up period (range 2–7 years), survival analysis showed that the incidences of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular death and progression to chronic heart failure were greater in women than in men (P = 0.031, 0.040 and 0.012, respectively). After adjustment for multiple factors that may confound survival and cardiac function, female sex remained an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular death, and chronic heart failure [hazard ratio (HR) 2.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.21–3.95, P = 0.010; HR 2.19, 95% CI 1.17–4.09, P = 0.014; HR 1.73, 95% CI 1.12–2.69, P = 0.014, respectively] in HCM patients. Subgroup analysis revealed that female sex as a risk factor was identified only in patients younger than 50 years old (P = 0.011, 0.011 and 0.009, respectively), but not for those 50 years or older.
Our results suggest that female sex is associated with worse survival and heart failure in HCM patients. Further studies are required to determine whether female hormones modify the clinical expression and prognosis of HCM.
PMCID: PMC4105411  PMID: 25047602
16.  Relationship of maternal knowledge of anemia with maternal and child anemia and health-related behaviors targeted at anemia among families in Indonesia 
Maternal and child health journal  2012;16(9):1913-1925.
Our specific aim was to characterize maternal knowledge of anemia and its relationship to maternal and child anemia and to behaviors related to anemia reduction.
We examined the relationship between maternal knowledge of anemia and anemia in the mother and the youngest child, aged 6–59 mo, in 7,913 families from urban slums and 37,874 families from rural areas of Indonesia. Knowledge of anemia was defined based upon the mother’s ability to correctly name at least one symptom of anemia and at least one treatment or strategy for reducing anemia. Hemoglobin was measured in both the mother and the child.
In urban and rural areas, respectively, 35.8% and 36.9% of mothers had knowledge of anemia, 28.7% and 25.1% of mothers were anemic (hemoglobin <12 g/dL), and 62.3% and 54.0% of children were anemic (hemoglobin <11 g/dL). Maternal knowledge of anemia was associated with child anemia in urban and rural areas, respectively, (Odds Ratio [O.R.] 0.90, 95% Confidence Interval [C.I.] 0.79, 1.02, P = 0.10; O.R. 0.93, 95% C.I. 0.87, 0.98, P = 0.01) in multivariate logistic regression models adjusting for potential confounders. There was no significant association between maternal knowledge of anemia and maternal anemia. Maternal knowledge of anemia was significantly associated with iron supplementation during pregnancy and child consumption of fortified milk. There was no association of maternal knowledge of anemia with child deworming.
Maternal knowledge of anemia is associated with lower odds of anemia in children and with some health behaviors related to reducing anemia.
PMCID: PMC4101891  PMID: 22241619
anemia; children; knowledge; mothers; Indonesia
17.  Isolation, plant colonization potential, and phenanthrene degradation performance of the endophytic bacterium Pseudomonas sp. Ph6-gfp 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5462.
This investigation provides a novel method of endophyte-aided removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from plant bodies. A phenanthrene-degrading endophytic bacterium Pseudomonas sp. Ph6 was isolated from clover (Trifolium pratense L.) grown in a PAH-contaminated site. After being marked with the GFP gene, the colonization and distribution of strain Ph6-gfp was directly visualized in plant roots, stems, and leaves for the first time. After ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) roots inoculation, strain Ph6-gfp actively and internally colonized plant roots and transferred vertically to the shoots. Ph6-gfp had a natural capacity to cope with phenanthrene in vitro and in planta. Ph6-gfp degraded 81.1% of phenanthrene (50 mg·L−1) in a culture solution within 15 days. The inoculation of plants with Ph6-gfp reduced the risks associated with plant phenanthrene contamination based on observations of decreased concentration, accumulation, and translocation factors of phenanthrene in ryegrass. Our results will have important ramifications in the assessment of the environmental risks of PAHs and in finding ways to circumvent plant PAH contamination.
PMCID: PMC4071310  PMID: 24964867
18.  Autophagy inhibits chemotherapy-induced apoptosis through downregulating Bad and Bim in hepatocellular carcinoma cells 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5382.
The tumor microenvironment, including ischemia, has been increasingly recognized as a critical factor in the process of tumor development. Hypoxia and nutrient deficiency resulting from ischemia widely exist in solid tumors. Recent studies have shown that hypoxia and nutrient deficiency contribute to chemoresistance by inducing autophagy, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. This study aimed to explore the role of autophagy induced by low glucose and hypoxia (LH) in the chemoresistance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Our results demonstrated that LH induced autophagy and downregulated Bad and Bim in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. The inhibition of autophagy reversed the reduction of these pro-apoptotic factors during the LH treatment. Furthermore, Bad and Bim were also significantly downregulated by autophagy during the process that LH promoted the chemoresistance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells. In addition, RNAi or the overexpression of Bad and Bim can significantly reduce or increase chemotherapy-induced cell death, respectively. Taken together, these data indicate that the downregulation of Bad and Bim plays a significant role in the autophagy-induced chemoresistance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
PMCID: PMC4064348  PMID: 24947039
19.  Elevated serum fibroblast growth factor 21 is associated with hypertension in community-dwelling adults 
Journal of human hypertension  2012;27(6):397-399.
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), a recently discovered endocrine factor, plays an important role in glucose and lipid metabolism and may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The present cross sectional study examined the relationship of FGF21 with hypertension in 744 community-dwelling adults who participated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.
PMCID: PMC4059993  PMID: 23190795
aging; fibroblast growth factor 21; hypertension
20.  ERα upregulates Phd3 to ameliorate HIF-1 induced fibrosis and inflammation in adipose tissue 
Molecular Metabolism  2014;3(6):642-651.
Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) promotes fibrosis and inflammation in adipose tissues, while estrogens and Estrogen Receptor α (ERα) have the opposite effect. Here we identify an Estrogen Response Element (ERE) in the promoter of Phd3, which is a negative regulatory enzyme of HIF-1, and we demonstrate HIF-1α is ubiquitinated following 17-β estradiol (E2)/ERα mediated Phd3 transcription. Manipulating ERα in vivo increases Phd3 transcription and reduces HIF-1 activity, while addition of PHD3 ameliorates adipose tissue fibrosis and inflammation. Our findings outline a novel regulatory relationship between E2/ERα, PHD3 and HIF-1 in adipose tissues, providing a mechanistic explanation for the protective effect of E2/ERα in adipose tissue.
PMCID: PMC4142394  PMID: 25161887
Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Estrogen; Adipose tissue; Fibrosis; Inflammation
21.  Expression of natriuretic peptide receptor-A in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas and the relationship with tumor invasion and migration 
The natriuretic peptide receptor-A (NPRA) has been investigated as a receptor of natriuretic peptides in the cardiovascular system. In this study, however, we analyze the expression status of NPRA and the relationship with tumor invasion in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) for the first time.
Western blots were used to examine the expression status of protein in human ESCC cell lines. Then, we used immunohistochemistry to detect the expression of NPRA in 45 ESCC specimens and 40 corresponding nontumor tissues. The clinical data were analyzed through statistical methods. Sh-RNA-NPRA was transfected into Eca109 cells to detect the relationship between NPRA and cell invasion through transwell assays.
In esophageal squamous cells, the expression of NPRA was strongly detected in the cytoplasm, while undetectable or very weak in the nucleus. The positive rates of NPRA in cancer tissues are significantly higher than that in nontumor tissues (P <0.05). Clinicopathological analyses revealed that increased NPRA expression correlated with differentiation and TNM stage (P <0.05), while it showed no statistically significant association with age, gender, and lymph node metastasis. In analysis of prognosis, we found that highly.Transwell assays showed that NPRA promoted Eca109 cell migration and invasion in vitro and may be involved in MMP2 and MMP9 activation.
NPRA protein is highly expressed in ESCC tissues and could promote Eca109 cell migration and invasion in vitro.
PMCID: PMC4038370  PMID: 24885858
natriuretic peptide receptor-A; NPRA; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; ESCC; MMP; invasion; migration
22.  Autophagy protects against palmitate-induced apoptosis in hepatocytes 
Cell & Bioscience  2014;4:28.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, one of the most common liver diseases, has obtained increasing attention. Palmitate (PA)-induced liver injury is considered a risk factor for the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Autophagy, a cellular degradative pathway, is an important self-defense mechanism in response to various stresses. In this study, we investigated whether autophagy plays a protective role in the progression of PA-induced hepatocytes injury.
Annexin V-FITC/PI staining by FCM analysis, TUNEL assay and the detection of PARP and cleaved caspase3 expression levels demonstrated that PA treatment prominently induced the apoptosis of hepatocytes. Meanwhile, treatment of PA strongly induced the formation of GFP-LC3 dots, the conversion from LC3I to LC3II, the decrease of p62 protein levels and the increase of autophagosomes. These results indicated that PA also induced autophagy activation. Autophagy inhibition through chloroquine pretreatment or Atg5shRNA infection led to the increase of cell apoptosis after PA treatment. Moreover, induction of autophagy by pretreatment with rapamycin resulted in distinct decrease of PA-induced apoptosis. Therefore, autophagy can prevent hepatocytes from PA-induced apoptosis. In the further study, we explored pathway of autophagy activation in PA-treated hepatocytes. We found that PA activated PKCα in hepatocytes, and had no influence on mammalian target of rapamycin and endoplasmic reticulum stress pathways.
These results demonstrated that autophagy plays a protective role in PA-induced hepatocytes apoptosis. And PA might induce autophagy through activating PKCα pathway in hepatocytes.
PMCID: PMC4045884  PMID: 24904743
Autophagy; Palmitate; Hepatocytes; Apoptosis; Protector
23.  Brown adipose tissue derived VEGF-A modulates cold tolerance and energy expenditure 
Molecular Metabolism  2014;3(4):474-483.
We recently reported that local overexpression of VEGF-A in white adipose tissue (WAT) protects against diet-induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction. The observation that VEGF-A induces a “brown adipose tissue (BAT)-like” phenotype in WAT prompted us to further explore the direct function of VEGF-A in BAT. We utilized a doxycycline (Dox)-inducible, brown adipocyte-specific VEGF-A transgenic overexpression model to assess direct effects of VEGF-A in BAT in vivo. We observed that BAT-specific VEGF-A expression increases vascularization and up-regulates expression of both UCP1 and PGC-1α in BAT. As a result, the transgenic mice show increased thermogenesis during chronic cold exposure. In diet-induced obese mice, introducing VEGF-A locally in BAT rescues capillary rarefaction, ameliorates brown adipocyte dysfunction, and improves deleterious effects on glucose and lipid metabolism caused by a high-fat diet challenge. These results demonstrate a direct positive role of VEGF-A in the activation and expansion of BAT.
PMCID: PMC4060212  PMID: 24944907
VEGF-A; BAT; Cold tolerance; Energy expenditure; BAT, brown adipose tissue; WAT, white adipose tissue; UCP1, uncoupling protein1; Dox, doxycycline; HFD, high-fat diet; PGC-1α, PPARγ co-activator-1α; OCR, oxygen consumption rate; OGTT, oral glucose tolerance test; HIF1, hypoxia-induced factor1
24.  Apolipoprotein E genotype, cardiovascular biomarkers and risk of stroke: Systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 015 stroke cases and pooled analysis of primary biomarker data from up to 60 883 individuals 
Background At the APOE gene, encoding apolipoprotein E, genotypes of the ε2/ε3/ε4 alleles associated with higher LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels are also associated with higher coronary risk. However, the association of APOE genotype with other cardiovascular biomarkers and risk of ischaemic stroke is less clear. We evaluated the association of APOE genotype with risk of ischaemic stroke and assessed whether the observed effect was consistent with the effects of APOE genotype on LDL-C or other lipids and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.
Methods We conducted a systematic review of published and unpublished studies reporting on APOE genotype and ischaemic stroke. We pooled 41 studies (with a total of 9027 cases and 61 730 controls) using a Bayesian meta-analysis to calculate the odds ratios (ORs) for ischaemic stroke with APOE genotype. To better evaluate potential mechanisms for any observed effect, we also conducted a pooled analysis of primary data using 16 studies (up to 60 883 individuals) of European ancestry. We evaluated the association of APOE genotype with lipids, other circulating biomarkers of cardiovascular risk and carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT).
Results The ORs for association of APOE genotypes with ischaemic stroke were: 1.09 (95% credible intervals (CrI): 0.84–1.43) for ε2/ε2; 0.85 (95% CrI: 0.78–0.92) for ε2/ε3; 1.05 (95% CrI: 0.89–1.24) for ε2/ε4; 1.05 (95% CrI: 0.99–1.12) for ε3/ε4; and 1.12 (95% CrI: 0.94–1.33) for ε4/ε4 using the ε3/ε3 genotype as the reference group. A regression analysis that investigated the effect of LDL-C (using APOE as the instrument) on ischaemic stroke showed a positive dose-response association with an OR of 1.33 (95% CrI: 1.17, 1.52) per 1 mmol/l increase in LDL-C. In the separate pooled analysis, APOE genotype was linearly and positively associated with levels of LDL-C (P-trend: 2 × 10−152), apolipoprotein B (P-trend: 8.7 × 10−06) and C-IMT (P-trend: 0.001), and negatively and linearly associated with apolipoprotein E (P-trend: 6 × 10−26) and HDL-C (P-trend: 1.6 × 10−12). Associations with lipoprotein(a), C-reactive protein and triglycerides were non-linear.
Conclusions In people of European ancestry, APOE genotype showed a positive dose-response association with LDL-C, C-IMT and ischaemic stroke. However, the association of APOE ε2/ε2 genotype with ischaemic stroke requires further investigation. This cross-domain concordance supports a causal role of LDL-C on ischaemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC3619955  PMID: 23569189
Stroke; lipids; apolipoprotein E; cardiovascular disease; systematic review; meta-analysis; biomarkers
25.  Human CD34+ Progenitor Cells Freshly Isolated from Umbilical Cord Blood Attenuate Inflammatory Lung Injury following LPS Challenge 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88814.
Adult stem cell-based therapy is a promising novel approach for treatment of acute lung injury. Here we investigated the therapeutic potential of freshly isolated human umbilical cord blood CD34+ progenitor cells (fCB-CD34+ cells) in a mouse model of acute lung injury. At 3 h post-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge, fCB-CD34+ cells were transplanted i.v. to mice while CD34− cells or PBS were administered as controls in separate cohorts of mice. We observed that fCB-CD34+ cell treatment inhibited lung vascular injury evident by decreased lung vascular permeability. In contrast, CD34− cells had no effects on lung vascular injury. Lung inflammation determined by myeloperoxidase activity, neutrophil sequestration and expression of pro-inflammatory mediators was attenuated in fCB-CD34+ cell-treated mice at 26 h post-LPS challenge compared to PBS or CD34− cell-treated controls. Importantly, lung inflammation in fCB-CD34+ cell-treated mice was returned to normal levels as seen in basal mice at 52 h post-LPS challenge whereas PBS or CD34− cell-treated control mice exhibited persistent lung inflammation. Accordingly, fCB-CD34+ cell-treated mice exhibited a marked increase of survival rate. Employing in vivo 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation assay, we found a drastic induction of lung endothelial proliferation in fCB-CD34+ cell-treated mice at 52 h post-LPS compared to PBS or CD34− cell-treated controls, which contributed to restoration of vascular integrity and thereby inhibition of lung inflammation. Taken together, these data have demonstrated the protective effects of fCB-CD34+ cell on acute lung injury induced by LPS challenge, suggesting fCB-CD34+ cells are an important source of stem cells for the treatment of acute lung injury.
PMCID: PMC3928308  PMID: 24558433

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