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1.  An Antagonist Mutant IL-15/Fc Promotes Transplant Tolerance 
Transplantation  2006;81(1):109-116.
Background
IL-15 is a proinflammatory and antiapoptotic T-cell growth factor that plays an important role in a variety of autoimmune disorders and transplant rejection. To inhibit IL-15 function and to target IL-15 receptor (IL-15R) bearing cells, we have generated a unique lytic antagonistic mutant IL-15/Fc fusion protein (mIL-15/Fc).
Methods
In this study, we further examined the efficacy of mIL-15/Fc in preventing allograft rejection cross minor and major histocompatibility barriers.
Results
A short-course treatment with mIL-15/Fc fusion protein is sufficient to prevent cardiac allograft rejection and induce antigen-specific tolerance in minor histocompatibility complex-mismatched recipients, and permit prolonged cardiac allograft survival in fully MHC mismatched recipients. In addition, mIL-15/Fc treatment, in combination with a suboptimal dose of anti-CD154 antibody, confers permanent cardiac allograft engraftment in a fully MHC-mismatched mouse strain combination. In a murine islet allograft model, mIL-15/Fc monotherapy is capable to permit permanent allograft survival in 50% fully MHC-mismatched recipients.
Conclusion
Immunochemistry studies demonstrated that prolonged graft survival was accompanied by reduced intragraft mononuclear cell infiltration and pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the mIL-15/Fc treated recipients. Moreover, parallel experiments employing a mutated nonlytic IgG2a Fc demonstrate that the Fc portion of mIL-15/Fc contributes to the overall efficacy of the molecule in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4329733  PMID: 16421485
Transplantation; Heart; Islet; Cytokines; Rejection
2.  Influence of direct and indirect allorecognition pathways on CD4+CD25+ regulatory T-cell function in transplantation 
Summary
While both direct and indirect allorecognition are involved in allograft rejection, evidence to date suggests that tolerance is primarily dependent on indirect pathway-triggered CD4+CD25+ T cell-mediated immunoregulation. However, the precise influence of these two pathways on CD4+CD25+ T-cell function has not been addressed. In the current study, we have utilized an adoptive transfer model to assess selectively how the absence of either direct or indirect allorecognition affects CD4+CD25+ T-cell function. The effects of the loss of the direct pathway were assessed by transplanting skin grafts from minor histocompatibility mismatched B10.D2 (H-2d) donors onto Balb/c (H-2d) recipients, or by placing bone marrow chimeric DBA/2 (H-2d/H-2b) allografts onto C57BL/6 (H-2b) hosts. The requirement for indirect allorecognition was tested by grafting DBA/2 skin allografts onto either C57BL/6- or MHC-II-deficient C57BL/6 recipients. We report here that although CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells can suppress both directly and indirectly generated alloresponses, immunoregulation is favored when indirect presentation is the sole mechanism of allorecognition. Hence, in the absence of indirect presentation, net CD4+CD25+ T cell-dependent immunoregulation is weak, and high ratios of CD4+CD25+ to CD4+CD25− T cells are required to ensure graft survival.
doi:10.1111/j.1432-2277.2007.00470.x
PMCID: PMC4329766  PMID: 17362475
allorecognition; immunoregulation; regulatory T cells; tolerance
3.  Increasing expression of substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide in synovial tissue and fluid contribute to the progress of arthritis in developmental dysplasia of the hip 
Introduction
Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a common musculoskeletal disorder that has pain and loss of joint function as major pathological features. In the present study, we explored the mechanisms of possible involvement and regulation of substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in the pathological and inflammatory processes of arthritis in DDH.
Methods
Blood, synovial tissue and fluid samples were collected from patients diagnosed with different severities of DDH and from patients with femoral neck fracture. Levels of SP, CGRP and inflammatory cytokines in synovium and synovial fluid (SF) in the different groups were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Correlations between neuropeptides and inflammatory cytokines in SF were evaluated by partial correlation analysis. The proinflammatory effects of SP and CGRP on synoviocytes obtained from patients with moderate DDH were investigated in vitro by real-time PCR and ELISA. The mechanisms of those effects were evaluated by Western blot analysis and nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) DNA binding assay.
Results
Significantly increased levels of neuropeptides and inflammatory cytokines were observed in synovium and SF from patients in the severe DDH group compared with the moderate DDH and control groups. In moderate DDH samples, SP in SF correlated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and CGRP in SF correlated with TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-10. In the severe DDH group, SP in SF correlated with interleukin (IL)-1β, TNF-α and IL-10. CGRP in SF correlated with TNF-α. Additionally, SP might have had obvious proinflammatory effects on synoviocytes through the activation of NF-κB.
Conclusions
The upregulation of SP and CGRP in synovium and SF might participate in the inflammatory process of arthritis in DDH. The activation of the NF-κB pathway seems indispensable in the proinflammatory effect of SP on synoviocytes. This original discovery may indicate a potential clinical drug target and the development of innovative therapies for DDH.
doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0513-1
PMCID: PMC4320827  PMID: 25578529
4.  Antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B in China 
The vaccination program against hepatitis B virus (HBV) has greatly reduced the incidence of HBV infection. However, almost one-fourth of the HBV infected patients worldwide are still located in China. The healthcare burden from chronic HBV infection is a big challenge for the Chinese government and clinicians. Antiviral therapy plays a central role in controlling chronic HBV infection and preventing the disease progression. However, due to the specific economic and medical system issues, the first-line antiviral agents recommended by the AASLD and EASL have not been widely used for Chinese patients. In this review, we will discuss some key issues in the area of antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis B in China.
doi:10.1007/s00430-014-0380-z
PMCID: PMC4305090  PMID: 25540038
Chronic hepatitis B; Antiviral therapy; Drug resistance; China
5.  Accelerated endochondral growth in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis: a preliminary histomorphometric study 
Background
Abnormal longitudinal growth has been identified in the early pubertal stage of idiopathic scoliosis (IS) and is thought to contribute to the development of scoliosis. This phenotype may be caused by abnormal endochondral ossification, but histological evidence is lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is abnormal endochondral ossification in IS patients at early stage of puberty by histomorphometric analysis of their iliac cartilage.
Methods
Fifty-two patients with IS and 19 controls were recruited and grouped according to their Risser grade (Group A: Risser grade 0 with Oxford stage 2–3; Group B: Risser grade 2). Group A consisted of 20 IS patients (mean age: 12.3 years) and 9 controls (mean age: 12.0 years), while Group B included 32 IS patients (mean age: 13.8 years) and 10 controls (mean age: 13.7 years). Biopsies of the iliac cartilage were harvested intra-operatively and prepared using routine histological methods. Histomorphometric analysis was performed to quantify the thickness of the hypertrophic zone, the area and number of chondrocytes in the cell-nest, and the number of chondrocytes in the proliferative zone using Image-Pro Plus software.
Results
In Group A, a significantly thicker hypertrophic zone and larger cell-nest area and number of cells within the cell-nest, and in the proliferative zone, were found in iliac cartilages from IS patients compared with those of controls (all P < 0.05). In group B however, there were no significant differences in histomorphometric parameters between IS patients and the controls.
Conclusions
The differences in the histomorphometric results between IS patients and their controls for patients with Risser grade 0 and Oxford grades 2 & 3, but not in those with Risser grade 2, indicated a pattern of accelerated endochondral growth in IS at the early stage of puberty, but not at the late stage.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ChiCTR-CCC-13003988. Registered 17 December 2013. http://www.chictr.org/usercenter/project/edit.aspx?proj=6233.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-429
PMCID: PMC4301996  PMID: 25494722
Idiopathic scoliosis; Growth plate; Iliac cartilage; Endochondral ossification
6.  MicroRNA-130b Promotes Cell Aggressiveness by Inhibiting Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
MircroRNA-130b (miR-130b) is proposed as a novel tumor-related miRNA and has been found to be significantly dysregulated in tumors. In this study, the expression level of miR-130b was found to be obviously higher in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues than that in nontumor tissues. Further, miR-130b was expressed at significantly higher levels in aggressive and recurrent tumor tissues. Clinical analysis indicated that high-expression of miR-130b was prominently correlated with venous infiltration, high Edmondson-Steiner grading and advanced tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) tumor stage in HCC. Elevated miR-130b expression was observed in all HCC cell lines (HepG2, SMMC-7721, Huh7, Hep3B and MHCC97H) as compared with that in a nontransformed hepatic cell line (LO2). Furthermore, an inverse correlation between miR-130b and E-cadherin and a positive correlation between miR-130b and Vimentin were observed in HCC tissues. Down-regulation of miR-130b expression reduced invasion and migration in both Hep3B and MHCC97H cells. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) was inversely correlated with miR-130b expression in HCC tissues. In addition, down-regulation of miR-130b restored PPAR-γ expression and subsequently suppressed epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HCC cells. We identified PPARγ as a direct target of miR-130b in HCC in vitro. Notably, PPAR-γ knockdown abolished down-regulation of miR-130b-inhibited EMT in MHCC97H cells. In conclusion, miR-130b may promote HCC cell migration and invasion by inhibiting PPAR-γ and subsequently inducing EMT.
doi:10.3390/ijms151120486
PMCID: PMC4264179  PMID: 25387077
microRNA-130b; hepatocellular carcinoma; PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma); invasion; tumor metastasis
7.  Intracellular Signaling Transduction Pathways Triggered by a Well-Known Anti-GHR Monoclonal Antibody, Mab263, in Vitro and in Vivo 
A series of studies have reported that monoclonal antibody 263 (Mab263), a monoclonal antibody against the growth hormone receptor (GHR), acts as an agonist in vitro and in vivo. However, the intracellular signaling pathways triggered by Mab263 have not yet been delineated. Therefore, we examined the intracellular signaling pathways induced by Mab263 in vivo and in vitro in the present study. The results show that this antibody activated janus kinase 2 (JAK2), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), STAT1 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), but not STAT5. The phosphorylation kinetics of JAK2, STAT3/1 and ERK1/2 induced by Mab263 were subsequently analyzed in dose-response and time course experiments. Our observations indicate that Mab263 induced different intracellular signaling pathways than GH, which indicates that Mab263 is a signal-specific molecule and that Mab263 may be a valuable biological reagent to study the mechanism(s) of GHR-mediated intracellular signaling pathways.
doi:10.3390/ijms151120538
PMCID: PMC4264182  PMID: 25391041
monoclonal antibody 263 (Mab263); growth hormone receptor; signal transduction pathway
8.  Upregulated UHRF1 Promotes Bladder Cancer Cell Invasion by Epigenetic Silencing of KiSS1 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e104252.
Ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domains 1 (UHRF1), as an epigenetic regulator, plays important roles in the tumorigenesis and cancer progression. KiSS1 functions as a metastasis suppressor in various cancers, and epigenetic silencing of KiSS1 increases the metastatic potential of cancer cells. We therefore investigated whether UHRF1 promotes bladder cancer cell invasion by inhibiting KiSS1. The expression levels of UHRF1 and KiSS1 were examined by quantitative real-time PCR assay in vitro and in vivo. The role of UHRF1 in regulating bladder cancer metastasis was evaluated in bladder cancer cell. We found that UHRF1 levels are upregulated in most clinical specimens of bladder cancer when compared with paired normal tissues, and UHRF1 expression levels are significantly increased in primary tumors that subsequently metastasized compared with non-metastatic tumors. Forced expression of UHRF1 promotes bladder cancer cell invasion, whereas UHRF1 knockdown decreases cell invasion. Overexpression of UHRF1 increases the methylation of CpG nucleotides and reduces the expression of KiSS1. UHRF1 and KiSS1 expression level is negatively correlated in vivo and in vitro. Knockdown of KiSS1 promotes bladder cancer cell invasion. Importantly, forced expression of KiSS1 partly abrogates UHRF1-induced cell invasion. These data demonstrated that upregulated UHRF1 increases bladder cancer cell invasion by epigenetic silencing of KiSS1.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104252
PMCID: PMC4182677  PMID: 25272010
9.  Network analysis of ChIP-Seq data reveals key genes in prostate cancer 
Background
Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, and it imposes a considerable threat to human health. A deep understanding of its underlying molecular mechanisms is the premise for developing effective targeted therapies. Recently, deep transcriptional sequencing has been used as an effective genomic assay to obtain insights into diseases and may be helpful in the study of PC.
Methods
In present study, ChIP-Seq data for PC and normal samples were compared, and differential peaks identified, based upon fold changes (with P-values calculated with t-tests). Annotations of these peaks were performed. Protein–protein interaction (PPI) network analysis was performed with BioGRID and constructed with Cytoscape, following which the highly connected genes were screened.
Results
We obtained a total of 5,570 differential peaks, including 3,726 differentially enriched peaks in tumor samples and 1,844 differentially enriched peaks in normal samples. There were eight significant regions of the peaks. The intergenic region possessed the highest score (51%), followed by intronic (31%) and exonic (11%) regions. The analysis revealed the top 35 highly connected genes, which comprised 33 differential genes (such as YWHAQ, tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein and θ polypeptide) from ChIP-Seq data and 2 differential genes retrieved from the PPI network: UBA52 (ubiquitin A-52 residue ribosomal protein fusion product 1) and SUMO2 (SMT3 suppressor of mif two 3 homolog 2) .
Conclusions
Our findings regarding potential PC-related genes increase the understanding of PC and provides direction for future research.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40001-014-0047-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s40001-014-0047-7
PMCID: PMC4171560  PMID: 25183411
ChIP-Seq; Highly connected genes; Network analysis; Prostate cancer
10.  MRC2 Expression Correlates with TGFβ1 and Survival in Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
MRC2 (Mannose Receptor C Type 2) is a constitutively recycling endocytic receptor belonging to the mannose receptor family, which has been found to be closely involved with cancer metastasis. This study attempted to determine MRC2 expression on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its significance on postsurgical prognosis of HCCs. The expression of both MRC2 and transforming growth factor (TGFβ1) was detected in tumor tissues and adjacent liver tissues from 96 HCCs by immunohistochemistry staining, and it was found that MRC2 expression in HCC tissues was significantly higher than in adjacent liver tissues. HCCs with higher MRC2 expression had worse prognosis after liver resection. Univariate analysis showed that advanced TNM staging of HCC, higher Edmonson-Steiner classification, intrahepatic metastases, portal vein invasion, higher MRC2 and higher TGFβ1 were the poor prognostic factors. Furthermore, multivariate analysis revealed that intrahepatic metastases, higher MRC2 and higher TGFβ1 were the independent prognostic factors. TGFβ1 treatment up-regulated MRC2 expression, cell migration and invasion of Huh7 cells notably. In addition, knockdown of MRC2 repressed the effect of TGFβ1 on cell migration and invasion. These data suggest that MRC2 overexpression predicts poor prognosis of HCCs after liver resection and MRC2 potentially contributed to TGFβ1-driven up-regulation of cell migration and invasion in HCC.
doi:10.3390/ijms150915011
PMCID: PMC4200867  PMID: 25162823
MRC2; hepatocellular carcinoma; TGFβ1; prognosis
11.  Criteria-specific long-term survival prediction model for hepatocellular carcinoma patients after liver transplantation 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(31):10900-10907.
AIM: To establish a model to predict long-term survival of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients after liver transplantation (MHCAT).
METHODS: Two hundred and twenty-three patients with HCC were followed for at least six years to identify independent risk factors for long-term survival after liver transplantation (LT). The criteria for HCC liver transplantation included the Milan, University of California San Francisco, Hangzhou and Shanghai Fudan criteria. The Cox regression model was used to build MHCAT specifying these criteria. A survival analysis was carried out for patients with high or low risk.
RESULTS: The one-, three- and five-year cumulative survival of HCC patients after LT was 78.9%, 53.2% and 46.4%, respectively. Of the HCC patients, the proportion meeting the Hangzhou and Fudan criteria was significantly higher than the proportion meeting the Milan criteria (64.6% vs 39.5%, 52.0% vs 39.5%, P < 0.05). Moreover, the proportion meeting the Hangzhou criteria was also significantly higher than the proportion meeting other criteria (P < 0.01). Pre-operative alfa-fetoprotein level, intraoperative blood loss and retransplantation were common significant predictors of long-term survival in HCC patients with reference to the Milan, University of California San Francisco and Fudan criteria, whereas in MHCAT based on the Hangzhou criteria, total bilirubin, intraoperative blood loss and retransplantation were independent predictors. The c-statistic for MHCAT was 0.773-0.824, with no statistical difference among these four criteria. According to the MHCAT scoring system, patients with low risk showed a higher five-year survival than those with high risk (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: MHCAT can effectively predict long-term survival for HCC patients, but needs to be verified by multi-center retrospective or randomized controlled trials.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i31.10900
PMCID: PMC4138469  PMID: 25152592
Criteria; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver transplantation; MHCAT; Survival model
12.  PKM2 regulates Gli1 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(5):1973-1979.
Hedgehog (Hh) signaling and the pyruvate kinase isoenzyme M2 (PKM2 or M2-PK) are often involved in tumorigenesis and growth. Aberrant activation of Hh signaling is found in a variety of malignancies. In tumor cells, PKM2 determines whether glucose is used for the synthesis of cellular building blocks or the production of lactate for energy regeneration; it associated with the Warburg effect. Gli1 is a downstream molecule of the Hh signaling pathway; however, the association between Hh signaling and PKM2 is not well understood. In the present study, it was identified that PKM2 and Gli1 expression levels were significantly elevated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared with para-carcinoma. In vitro study revealed that overexpression of PKM2 in HepG2 cells upregulated the transcription of Gli1, while the ablation of PKM2 by shRNA caused the downregulation of Gli1 gene expression. Gli1 transcription could be rescued by PKM2. Overall, these findings suggest that PKM2 is a regulator of Gli1 gene expression in HCC, and may contribute to tumorigenesis through Gli1.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2441
PMCID: PMC4186579  PMID: 25289083
hepatocellular carcinoma; PKM2; Gli1
13.  TPX2 knockdown suppressed hepatocellular carcinoma cell invasion via inactivating AKT signaling and inhibiting MMP2 and MMP9 expression 
Objective
Targeting protein for Xenopus kinesin-like protein 2 (TPX2) is a nuclear proliferation-related protein that plays a critical role in the formation of mitotic spindle. High expression of TPX2 has been observed in several types of tumors. However, the role of TPX2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear. Our study aimed to investigate the effect of TPX2 on HCC cell invasion.
Methods
The immortalized normal human liver cell line L02 and six HCC cell lines including SMMC-7721, BEL-7402, Huh-7, HepG2, Hep3B and SKHep1 were subjected to qRT-PCR and western blot for TPX2 mRNA and protein, respectively. Furthermore, TPX2 small interfering RNA (siRNA) was used to knock down TPX2 expression in SMMC-7721 and HepG2 cells. Cell proliferation and invasion were determined by MTT and transwell assays. Otherwise, expression of p-AKT, MMP2 and MMP9 were evaluated by western blot in SMMC-7721 cells.
Results
The expression of TPX2 in HCC cell lines was markedly higher than that in normal human liver cell line. TPX2 knockdown using a specific TPX2-siRNA reduced the number of invaded cells and inhibited cell proliferation in SMMC-7721 and HepG2 cells. Furthermore, TPX2 knockdown resulted in inactivation of AKT signaling and down-regulation of MMP2 and MMP9 expression in SMMC-7721 cells.
Conclusions
Our study identified that TPX2 might contribute to tumor cell invasion through activating AKT signaling and subsequently increasing MMP2 and MMP9 in HCC.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.1000-9604.2014.08.01
PMCID: PMC4153921  PMID: 25232213
Targeting protein for Xenopus kinesin-like protein 2 (TPX2); hepatocellular carcinoma; MMP2; MMP9
14.  The transcriptional activity of Gli1 is negatively regulated by AMPK through Hedgehog partial agonism in hepatocellular carcinoma 
The aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway has been implicated in a variety of malignancies, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The mammalian 5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a crucial role in cellular energy homeostasis. However, the interaction between the Hh and AMPK signaling pathways has not been investigated to date. In the present study, to the best of our knowlege, we report for the first time the negative regulation of glioma-associated oncogene 1 (Gli1), an important downstream effector of Hh, by the AMPK signal transduction pathway. Immunoprecipitation and GST-pull down assay showed a direct interaction between AMPK and Gli1. The overexpression of AMPK induced the downregulation of Gli1 expression, while the knockdown of AMPK upregulated Gli1 expression in a relatively short period of time (24 h or less). Our data suggest that AMPK may function as an upstream molecule that regulates Gli1 expression. Therefore, AMPK may play a role in the Hh signaling pathway, through which it regulates tumorigenesis.
doi:10.3892/ijmm.2014.1847
PMCID: PMC4121351  PMID: 25017332
5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase; glioma-associated oncogene 1; hepatocellular carcinoma; Hedgehog; interaction
15.  Establishment of using serum YKL-40 and SCCA in combination for the diagnosis of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:490.
Background
Elevated serum YKL-40 levels have been observed in various cancers. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of serum YKL-40 alone or in combination with the CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA tumor markers for patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Methods
YKL-40 was detected in ESCC cell lines and tissues by real-time RT-PCR, Western blotting and ELISA. YKL-40 protein expression was determined in 20 ESCC tumor tissues using immunohistochemistry. Serum YKL-40 was measured by ELISA in 126 healthy donors, 59 patients with benign esophageal diseases and 150 patients with ESCC. Serum CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA were determined by electrochemiluminescence.
Results
YKL-40 mRNA and protein were observed in ESCC cancer cell lines, tissues and cell culture media, respectively. YKL-40 expression was observed in 17 of 20 ESCC samples (85%). Serum YKL-40 concentration was significantly elevated in patients with ESCC (Range: 6.95-502.10 ng/ml) compared with patients with benign diseases (Range: 1.21-429.30 ng/ml; P = 0.038) and healthy controls (Range: 2.56-132.26 ng/ml; P < 0.001). ROC curves demonstrated that serum YKL-40 has a sensitivity of 72.70%, a specificity of 84.13% and an AUC of 0.874 for the diagnosis of ESCC, which was superior to CEA (Sen: 8.00%; Spe: 96.80%, AUC = 0.652), CYFRA21-1 (Sen: 40.00%; Spe: 92.06%, AUC = 0.746) and SCCA (Sen: 32.67%; Spe: 94.44%, AUC = 0.789). The YKL-40 and SCCA combination was better for diagnosing ESCC (Sen: 82.00%, Spe: 79.37%, PPV: 82.55 and NPV: 78.74; AUC = 0.917) than the YKL-40 and CEA combination (Sen: 74.00%, Spe: 83.20%, PPV: 84.09 and NPV: 72.73; AUC = 0.877), the YKL-40 and CYFRA21-1 combination (Sen: 82.00%, Spe: 77.78%, PPV: 81.46% and NPV: 78.40%; AUC = 0.897) or the CEA, CYFRA21-1 and SCCA combination (Sen: 56.67%, Spe: 84.80%, PPV: 81.73 and NPV: 61.99; AUC = 0.831). Associations between serum YKL-40 levels and the clinic characteristics of ESCC were not significant, with the exception of age (p = 0.001).
Conclusions
ESCC tumor cells and tissues express YKL-40. Serum YKL-40 may be a potential biomarker for ESCC. Serum YKL-40 in combination with SCCA significantly increases the sensitivity of detecting ESCC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-490
PMCID: PMC4094903  PMID: 25001061
YKL-40; Esophageal cancer; ESCC
16.  Anatomical study of simple landmarks for guiding the quick access to humeral circumflex arteries 
BMC Surgery  2014;14:39.
Background
The posterior and anterior circumflex humeral artery (PCHA and ACHA) are crucial for the blood supply of humeral head. We aimed to identify simple landmarks for guiding the quick access to PCHA and ACHA, which might help to protect the arteries during the surgical management of proximal humeral fractures.
Methods
Twenty fresh cadavers were dissected to measure the distances from the origins of PCHA and ACHA to the landmarks (the acromion, the coracoid, the infraglenoid tubercle, the midclavicular line) using Vernier calipers.
Results
The mean distances from the origin of PCHA to the infraglenoid tubercle, the coracoid, the acromion and the midclavicular line were 27.7 mm, 50.2 mm, 68.4 mm and 75.8 mm. The mean distances from the origin of ACHA to the above landmarks were 26.9 mm, 49.2 mm, 67.0 mm and 74.9 mm.
Conclusion
Our study provided a practical method for the intraoperative identification as well as quick access of PCHA and ACHA based on a series of anatomical measurements.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-14-39
PMCID: PMC4099027  PMID: 24970300
Axillary artery; Circumflex humeral artery; Proximal humeral fracture
17.  HIV-1 gp120 impairs B cell proliferation by inducing TGF-β1 production and FcRL4 expression 
Nature immunology  2013;14(12):10.1038/ni.2746.
The humoral immune response following acute HIV-1 infection is delayed and ineffective. The HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 binds to and signals through α4β7 on T cells. We show that gp120 also binds and signals through α4β7 on naïve B cells, resulting in an abortive proliferative response. In primary B cells gp120 signaling through α4β7 resulted in increased expression of the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-β1 and the B cell inhibitory receptor FcRL4. Co-culture of B cells with HIV-1-infected autologous CD4+ T cells also increased B cell FcRL4 expression. These findings indicate that, in addition to mediating chronic immune activation, viral proteins can contribute directly to HIV-1-associated B cell dysfunction. Our studies provide a mechanism whereby the virus may subvert the early HIV-1-specific humoral immune response.
doi:10.1038/ni.2746
PMCID: PMC3870659  PMID: 24162774
18.  Fbxw7 is an independent prognostic marker and induces apoptosis and growth arrest by regulating YAP abundance in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13:110.
Background
The E3 ubiquitin ligase Fbxw7 functions as a general tumor suppressor by targeting several well-known oncoproteins for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. However, the clinical significance of Fbxw7 and the mechanisms involved in the anti-cancer effect of Fbxw7 in HCC are not clear.
Method
The Fbxw7 and YAP expression in 60 samples of surgical resected HCC and matched normal tumor-adjacent tissues were assessed using IHC or immunoblotting. Flow cytometry, caspase 3/7 activity assay, BrdU cell proliferation assay and MTT assay were used to detect proliferation and apoptosis of HCC cells. The regulatory effect of Fbxw7 on YAP in HCC cells was confirmed by qRT-PCR, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence. Co-immunoprecipitation was used to analyze interaction between YAP and Fbxw7. Nude mice subcutaneous injection, Ki-67 staining and TUNEL assay were used to evaluate tumor growth and apoptosis in vivo.
Results
In this study, we found that Fbxw7 expression was impaired in HCC tissues and loss of Fbxw7 expression was correlated with poor clinicopathological features including large tumor size, venous infiltration, high pathological grading and advanced TNM stage. Additionally, we demonstrated that patients with positive Fbxw7 expression had a better 5-year survival and Fbxw7 was an independent factor for predicting the prognosis of HCC patients. We confirmed that Fbxw7 inhibited HCC by inducing both apoptosis and growth arrest. Elevated YAP expression was observed in the same cohort of HCC tissues. Pearson's correlation coefficient analysis indicated that Fbxw7 was inversely associated with YAP protein expression in HCC tissues. We also found that Fbxw7 regulated YAP protein abundance by targeting YAP for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation in HCC. Furthermore, restoring YAP expression partially abrogated Fbxw7 induced HCC cell apoptosis and growth arrest in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusion
These results indicate that Fbxw7 may serve as a prognostic marker and that YAP may be a potential target of Fbxw7 in HCC.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-110
PMCID: PMC4035898  PMID: 24884509
Fbxw7; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hippo-YAP pathway; Apoptosis; Growth arrest
19.  Interleukin-27 treated human macrophages induce the expression of novel microRNAs which may mediate anti-viral properties 
Interleukin-27 (IL-27) is a pleiotropic cytokine which plays important and diverse roles in the immune system. We have previously demonstrated that IL-27 induces potent anti-viral effects against HIV-1, HIV-2, SIV, HSV-2, KSHV and influenza viruses in macrophages. This induction occurred in an Interferon (IFN) independent manner and involved down regulation of SPTBN1. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical regulators of mRNA translation and turnover. There have been reports that some miRNAs inhibit viral replication. In this study, we hypothesized that IL-27 could induce the expression of novel miRNAs in macrophages which may have functional relevance in terms of anti-viral activity and primary monocytes were differentiated into macrophages using either M-CSF (M-Mac) or a combination of M-CSF and IL-27 (I-Mac) for seven days. Following this, total RNA was extracted from these cells and deep sequencing was performed, in parallel with gene expression microarrays. Using the novel miRNA discovery software, miRDeep, seven novel miRNAs were discovered in these macrophages. Four of which were preferentially expressed in I-Mac (miR-SX1, -SX2, -SX3 and -SX6) whilst three were detected in both M-Mac and I-Mac (miR-SX4, -SX5 and -SX7). The expression of six of the seven novel miRNAs was highly correlated with qRT-PCR using specific primer/probes designed for the novel miRNAs. Gene expression microarray further demonstrated that a number of genes were potentially targeted by these differentially expressed novel miRNAs. Finally, several of these novel miRNAs (miR-SX1, -SX4, -SX5, -SX6 and -SX7) were shown to target the open reading frames of a number of viruses (including HSV-1, HSV-2 and HHV-8) which may partially explain the anti-viral properties observed.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.03.046
PMCID: PMC3700531  PMID: 23535375
Interleukin-27; macrophages; MicroRNAs; HIV; HSV-1; HSV-2; HHV-8
20.  SREBP-1 Has a Prognostic Role and Contributes to Invasion and Metastasis in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) is a well-known nuclear transcription factor involved in lipid synthesis. Recent studies have focused on its functions in tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis, but its role in cell migration and invasion, especially in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is still unclear. In this study, we found that the expression of SREBP-1 in HCC tissues was significantly higher than those in matched tumor-adjacent tissues (p < 0.05). SREBP-1 was expressed at significantly higher levels in patients with large tumor size, high histological grade and advanced tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage (p < 0.05). The positive expression of SREBP-1 correlated with a worse 3-year overall and disease-free survival of HCC patients (p < 0.05). Additionally, SREBP-1 was an independent factor for predicting both 3-year overall and disease-free survival of HCC patients (p < 0.05). In vitro studies revealed that downregulation of SREBP-1 inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in both HepG2 and MHCC97L cells (p < 0.05). Furthermore, wound healing and transwell assays showed that SREBP-1 knockdown prominently inhibited cell migration and invasion in both HepG2 and MHCC97L cells (p < 0.05). These results suggest that SREBP-1 may serve as a prognostic marker in HCC and may promote tumor progression by promoting cell growth and metastasis.
doi:10.3390/ijms15057124
PMCID: PMC4057663  PMID: 24776759
SREBP-1; hepatocellular carcinoma; biomarker; prognosis; invasion; metastasis
21.  Comparison of the effects of symmetric and asymmetric temperature elevation and CO2 enrichment on yield and evapotranspiration of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 
Ecology and Evolution  2014;4(10):1994-2003.
Under the changing climate, asymmetric warming pattern would be more likely during day and night time, instead of symmetric one. Concurrently, the growth responses and water use of plants may be different compared with those estimated based on symmetric warming. In this work, it was compared with the effects of symmetric (ETs) and asymmetric (ETa) elevation of temperature alone, and in interaction with elevated carbon dioxide concentration (EC), on the grain yield (GY) and evapotranspiration in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) based on pot experiment in the North China Plain (NCP). The experiment was carried out in six enclosed-top chambers with following climate treatments: (1) ambient temperature and ambient CO2 (CON), (2) ambient temperature and elevated CO2 (EC), (3) elevated temperature and ambient CO2 (ETs; ETa), and (4) elevated temperature and elevated CO2 (ECETs, ECETa). In symmetric warming, temperature was increased by 3°C and in asymmetric one by 3.5°C during night and 2.5°C during daytime, respectively. As a result, GY was in ETa and ETs 15.6 (P < 0.05) and 10.3% (P < 0.05) lower than that in CON. In ECETs and ECETa treatments, GY was 14.9 (P < 0.05) and 9.1% (P < 0.05) higher than that in CON. Opposite to GY, evapotranspiration was 7.8 (P < 0.05) and 17.9% (P < 0.05) higher in ETa and ETs treatments and 7.2 (P < 0.05) and 2.1% (P > 0.05) lower in ECETs and ECETa treatments compared with CON. Thus, GY of wheat could be expected to increase under the changing climate with concurrent elevation of CO2 and temperature as a result of increased WUE under the elevated CO2. However, the gain would be lower under ETa than that estimated based on ETs due to higher evapotranspiration.
doi:10.1002/ece3.1081
PMCID: PMC4063491  PMID: 24963392
Aboveground biomass; grain yield; root biomass; soil water depletion; yield components
22.  Intramyocardial transplantation of cardiac telocytes decreases myocardial infarction and improves post-infarcted cardiac function in rats 
The midterm effects of cardiac telocytes (CTs) transplantation on myocardial infarction (MI) and the cellular mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of CTs transplantation are not understood. In the present study, we have revealed that transplantation of CTs was able to significantly decrease the infarct size and improved cardiac function 14 weeks after MI. It has established that CT transplantation exerted a protective effect on the myocardium and this was maintained for at least 14 weeks. The cellular mechanism behind this beneficial effect on MI was partially attributed to increased cardiac angiogenesis, improved reconstruction of the CT network and decreased myocardial fibrosis. These combined effects decreased the infarct size, improved the reconstruction of the LV and enhanced myocardial function in MI. Our findings suggest that CTs could be considered as a potential cell source for therapeutic use to improve cardiac repair and function following MI, used either alone or in tandem with stem cells.
doi:10.1111/jcmm.12259
PMCID: PMC4119384  PMID: 24655344
cardiac telocytes; myocardial infarction; post-infarction cardiac function
23.  Characterization of an Archaeal Two-Component System That Regulates Methanogenesis in Methanosaeta harundinacea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95502.
Two-component signal transduction systems (TCSs) are a major mechanism used by bacteria in response to environmental changes. Although many sequenced archaeal genomes encode TCSs, they remain poorly understood. Previously, we reported that a methanogenic archaeon, Methanosaeta harundinacea, encodes FilI, which synthesizes carboxyl-acyl homoserine lactones, to regulate transitions of cellular morphology and carbon metabolic fluxes. Here, we report that filI, the cotranscribed filR2, and the adjacent filR1 constitute an archaeal TCS. FilI possesses a cytoplasmic kinase domain (histidine kinase A and histidine kinase-like ATPase) and its cognate response regulator. FilR1 carries a receiver (REC) domain coupled with an ArsR-related domain with potential DNA-binding ability, while FilR2 carries only a REC domain. In a phosphorelay assay, FilI was autophosphorylated and specifically transferred the phosphoryl group to FilR1 and FilR2, confirming that the three formed a cognate TCS. Through chromatin immunoprecipitation–quantitative polymerase chain reaction (ChIP-qPCR) using an anti-FilR1 antibody, FilR1 was shown to form in vivo associations with its own promoter and the promoter of the filI-filR2 operon, demonstrating a regulatory pattern common among TCSs. ChIP-qPCR also detected FilR1 associations with key genes involved in acetoclastic methanogenesis, acs4 and acs1. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed the in vitro tight binding of FilR1 to its own promoter and those of filI-filR2, acs4, and mtrABC. This also proves the DNA-binding ability of the ArsR-related domain, which is found primarily in Archaea. The archaeal promoters of acs4, filI, acs1, and mtrABC also initiated FilR1-modulated expression in an Escherichia coli lux reporter system, suggesting that FilR1 can up-regulate both archaeal and bacterial transcription. In conclusion, this work identifies an archaeal FilI/FilRs TCS that regulates the methanogenesis of M. harundinacea.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095502
PMCID: PMC3991700  PMID: 24748383
24.  The effectiveness of Tai Chi on the physical and psychological well-being of college students: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:129.
Background
The physical and mental health of college-age youths tends to continuously decline around the world. It is therefore important to promote health during this period. As a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise, Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) may be an available selection. However for the college student population, the evidence is unclear as to whether TCC can be recommended as an effective exercise for promoting their physical and psychological wellbeing. Therefore high quality, rigorous, prospective, and well-controlled randomized trials are needed to further understand TCC serving as a psychological and physical intervention in college age populations.
Method/Design
We designed a randomized, single-blind, parallel-controlled trial with a sample size of 206 participants. All the participants who meet the inclusion criteria come from Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (FJTCM). Participants of the TCC training group will receive TCC training at a frequency of five days per week for one hour per day for 12 weeks. No specific exercise will be administered on the participants in the control group. Both physical and mental health outcomes, including balance ability, lower limb proprioception, flexibility, physical fitness, self-efficacy, psychological symptoms, attention span, stress, self-esteem, mood and mindfulness, quality of life, and quality of sleep. Safety outcomes will be evaluated by blinded operators at baseline, 12 and 24-weeks post-intervention.
Discussion
This protocol presents an objective design of a randomized, single-blind trial that will test the effectiveness and safety of TCC on the physical and psychological wellbeing of college students. If the outcome is positive, the results will provide higher quality evidence of TCC on the physical and mental health of college age populations.
Trial registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003328.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-129
PMCID: PMC4000322  PMID: 24742146
Tai Chi Chuan; College students; Psychological well-being; Physical health
25.  Primary prevention for risk factors of ischemic stroke with Baduanjin exercise intervention in the community elder population: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:113.
Background
Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the world, and the prevalence of stroke tends to increase with age. Despite advances in acute care and secondary preventive strategies, primary prevention should play the most significant role in the reduction of the burden of stroke. As an important component of traditional Chinese Qigong, Baduanjin exercise is a simple, safe exercise, especially suitable for older adults. However, current evidence is insufficient to inform the use of Baduanjin exercise in the prevention of stroke.
The aim of this trail is to systematically evaluate the prevention effect of Baduanjin exercise on ischemic stroke in the community elder population with high risk factors.
Methods
A total of 170 eligible participants from the community elder population will be randomly allocated into the Baduanjin exercise group and usual physical activity control group in a 1:1 ratio. Besides usual physical activity, participants in the Baduanjin exercise group will accept a 12-week Baduanjin exercise training with a frequency of five days a week and 40 minutes a day. Primary and secondary outcomes will be measured at baseline, 13 weeks (at end of intervention) and 25 weeks (after additional 12-week follow-up period).
Discussion
This study will be the randomized trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Baduanjin exercise for primary prevention of stroke in community elder population with high risk factors of stroke. The results of this trial will help to establish the optimal approach for primary prevention of stroke.
Trial registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003588.
Registration date: 24 July, 2013.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-113
PMCID: PMC3996200  PMID: 24712684
Baduanjin exercise; Ischemic stroke; Community elder population; Randomized controlled trial

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