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1.  Genetic Variants of IκB Kinase β (IKBKB) and Polymerase β (POLB) Were Not Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Risk in a Chinese Han Population 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0132556.
A previous large-scale replication study validation of a genome wide association study (GWAS) identified IκB kinase β (IKBKB) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as a risk factor associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a Chinese Han population. IKBKB SNPs were associated with polymerase β (POLB) SNPs and reduced POLB expression, and this was proposed to be an underlying cause of human SLE development. In the current case-control study, we evaluated IKBKB (rs12676482 and rs2272733) and POLB (rs3136717 and rs3136744) SNPs in 946 SLE patients and 961 healthy controls. We investigated the possible association of these four SNPs with SLE in a Chinese Han population using the polymerase chain reaction-ligation detection reaction (PCR-LDR) technique. The differences in the frequencies of the four SNP alleles and the genotypes and haplotypes of the POLB polymorphisms were statistically insignificant when the SLE patients were compared with the controls in the Chinese Han population enrolled in this study (all, p ˃ 0.05). Furthermore, no associations were detected using different genetic models (additive, dominant, and recessive; all, p ˃ 0.05). Our findings indicate that the IKBKB (rs12676482 and rs2272733) and POLB (rs3136717, rs3136744) SNPs confer no genetic predisposition to SLE risk in this Chinese Han population.
PMCID: PMC4500405  PMID: 26167925
2.  The development of potential antibody-based therapies for myeloma 
Blood reviews  2014;29(2):81-91.
With optimal target antigen selection antibody-based therapeutics can be very effective agents for hematologic malignancies, but none have yet been approved for myeloma. Rituximab and brentuximab vedotin are examples of success for the naked antibody and antibody–drug conjugate classes, respectively. Plasma cell myeloma is an attractive disease for antibody-based targeting due to target cell accessibility and the complementary mechanism of action with approved therapies. Initial antibodies tested in myeloma were disappointing. However, recent results from targeting well-characterized antigens have been more encouraging. In particular, the CD38 and CD138 targeted therapies are showing single-agent activity in early phase clinical trials. Here we will review the development pipeline for naked antibodies and antibody–drug conjugates for myeloma. There is clear clinical need for new treatments, as myeloma inevitably becomes refractory to standard agents. The full impact is yet to be established, but we are optimistic that the first FDA-approved antibody therapeutic(s) for this disease will emerge in the near future.
PMCID: PMC4482758  PMID: 25294123
Multiple myeloma; Plasma cell myeloma; Antibody–drug conjugate; Monoclonal antibodies; Targeted cancer therapy; Immunotherapy
3.  EHD3-Dependent Endosome Pathway Regulates Cardiac Membrane Excitability and Physiology 
Circulation research  2014;115(1):68-78.
Cardiac function is dependent on the coordinate activities of membrane ion channels, transporters, pumps, and hormone receptors to dynamically tune the membrane electrochemical gradient in response to acute and chronic stress. While our knowledge of membrane proteins has rapidly advanced over the past decade, our understanding of the subcellular pathways governing the trafficking and localization of integral membrane proteins is limited, and essentially unstudied in vivo. In heart, to our knowledge, there are no in vivo mechanistic studies that directly link endosome-based machinery with cardiac physiology.
Define the in vivo roles of endosome-based cellular machinery for cardiac membrane protein trafficking, myocyte excitability, and cardiac physiology.
Methods and Results
We identify the endosome-based EHD3 pathway as essential for cardiac physiology. EHD3−/− hearts display structural and functional defects including bradycardia and rate variability, conduction block, and blunted response to adrenergic stimulation. Mechanistically, EHD3 is critical for membrane protein trafficking, as EHD3−/− myocytes display reduced expression/localization of Na/Ca exchanger and Cav1.2 with a parallel reduction in INCX and ICa,L. Functionally, EHD3−/− myocytes show increased sarcoplasmic reticulum [Ca], increased spark frequency, and reduced expression/localization of ankyrin-B, a binding partner for EHD3 and Na/Ca exchanger. Finally, we show that in vivo EHD3−/− defects are due to cardiac-specific roles of EHD3 as mice with cardiac-selective EHD3 deficiency demonstrate both structural and electrical phenotypes.
These data provide new insight into the critical role of endosome-based pathways in membrane protein targeting and cardiac physiology. EHD3 is a critical component of protein trafficking in heart and is essential for the proper membrane targeting of select cellular proteins that maintain excitability.
PMCID: PMC4065849  PMID: 24759929
EHD3; protein trafficking; cell biology; ankyrin; cell physiology; ion channel; electrophysiology; mice
4.  Chitosan/siCkip-1 biofunctionalized titanium implant for improved osseointegration in the osteoporotic condition 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:10860.
Biofunctionalization with siRNA targeting the key negative modulators of bone turnover involved in the molecular mechanism of osteoporosis, such as casein kinase-2 interacting protein-1 (Ckip-1), may lead to enhanced Ti osseointegration in the osteoporotic condition. In this study, even siRNA loading was accomplished by the thermal alkali (TA) treatment to make the Ti ultrahydrophilic and negatively charged to facilitate the physical adsorption of the positively charged CS/siR complex, designated as TA-CS/siR. The intracellular uptake of the CS/siR complex and the gene knockdown efficiency were assessed with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as well as the green fluorescent protein (GFP) expressing H1299 cells. In vitro osteogenic activity of TA-CS/siCkip-1 targeting Ckip-1 was assessed with MSCs. In vivo osseointegration of TA-CS/siCkip-1 was assessed in the osteoporotic rat model. TA-CS/siR showed excellent siRNA delivery efficiency and gene silencing effect. TA-CS/siCkip-1 significantly improved the in vitro osteogenic differentiation of MSCs in terms of the enhanced alkaline phosphatase and collagen product and extracellular matrix mineralization, and led to dramatically enhanced in vivo osseointegration in the osteoporostic rat model, showing promising clinical potential for the osteoporotic condition application. TA-CS/siR may constitute a general approach for developing the advanced Ti implants targeting specific molecular mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4455222  PMID: 26040545
5.  Phycocyanobilin accelerates liver regeneration and reduces mortality rate in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury mice 
AIM: To investigate the hepatoprotective effects of phycocyanobilin (PCB) in reducing hepatic injury and accelerating hepatocyte proliferation following carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) treatment.
METHODS: C57BL/6 mice were orally administered PCB 100 mg/kg for 4 d after CCl4 injection, and then the serum and liver tissue of the mice were collected at days 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 after CCl4 treatment. A series of evaluations were performed to identify the curative effects on liver injury and recovery. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), albumin and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were detected to indirectly assess the anti-inflammatory effects of PCB. Meanwhile, we detected the expressions of hepatocyte growth factor, transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α), TGF-β, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), the factors which are associated with inflammation and liver regeneration. The protein expressions of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), TNF-α and cytochrome C were detected by western blot. Furthermore, the survival rates were analyzed of mice which were administered a lethal dose of CCl4 (2.6 mg/kg) with or without PCB.
RESULTS: In our research, PCB showed a strongly anti-inflammatory effect on CCl4-induced liver injury in mice. The ALT was significantly decreased after CCl4 treatment from day 1 (P < 0.01) and the AST was significantly decreased from day 2 (P < 0.001). Both albumin and liver SOD were increased from day 2 (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01), but serum SOD levels did not show a significant increase (P > 0.05). PCB protected the structure of liver from the injury by CCl4. TUNEL assay showed that PCB dramatically reduced the number of apoptotic cells after CCl4 treatment compared to the control (101.0 ± 25.4 vs 25.7 ± 6.4, P < 0.01). The result of western blotting showed that PCB could increase PCNA expression, decrease TNF-α and cytochrome C expression. Furthermore, data shows that PCB could improve the survival rate of acute liver failure (ALF) mice which were injected with a lethal dose of CCl4 (60.0% vs 20.0%).
CONCLUSION: Our study indicated that PCB could be an ideal candidate for reversing acute liver injury or ALF.
PMCID: PMC4427667  PMID: 25987768
Liver injury; Hepatoprotective; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha; Phycocyanobilin; Cytochrome C
6.  Dihydromyricetin alleviates carbon tetrachloride-induced acute liver injury via JNK-dependent mechanism in mice 
AIM: To assess the effects of dihydromyricetin (DHM) as a hepatoprotective candidate in reducing hepatic injury and accelerating hepatocyte proliferation after carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) treatment.
METHODS: C57 BL/6 mice were used in this study. Mice were orally administered with DHM (150 mg/kg) for 4 d after CCl4 treatment. Serum and liver tissue samples were collected on days 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 after CCl4 treatment. The anti-inflammatory effect of DHM was assessed directly by hepatic histology detection and indirectly by serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), albumin, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), were detected using ELISA kits. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) staining was used to evaluate the role of DHM in promoting hepatocyte proliferation. Hepatocyte apoptosis was measured by TUNEL assay. Furthermore, apoptosis proteins Caspases-3, 6, 8, and 9 were detected by Western blot. SP600125 were used to confirm whether DHM regulated liver regeneration through JNK/TNF-α pathways.
RESULTS: DHM showed a strong anti-inflammatory effect on CCl4-induced liver injury in mice. DHM could significantly decrease serum ALT, AST, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α and increase serum albumin, SOD and liver SOD compared to the control group after CCl4 treatment (P < 0.05). PCNA results indicated that DHM could significantly increase the number of PCNA positive cells compared to the control (348.9 ± 56.0 vs 107.1 ± 31.4, P < 0.01). TUNEL assay showed that DHM dramatically reduced the number of apoptotic cells after CCl4 treatment compared to the control (365.4 ± 99.4 vs 90.5±13.8, P < 0.01). Caspase activity detection showed that DHM could reduce the activities of Caspases- 8, 3, 6 and 9 compared to the control (P < 0.05). The results of Western blot showed that DHM increased the expression of JNK and decreased TNF-α expression. However, DHM could not affect TNF-α expression after SP600125 treatment. Furthermore, DHM could significantly improve the survival rate of acute liver failure (ALF) mice (73.3% vs 20.0%, P < 0.0001), and SP600125 could inhibit the effect of DHM.
CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate that DHM alleviates CCl4-induced liver injury, suggesting that DHM is a promising candidate for reversing liver injury and ALF.
PMCID: PMC4427668  PMID: 25987769
Dihydromyricetin; Liver regeneration; Tumor necrosis factor-α
7.  Pancreas-sparing duodenectomy with regional lymph node dissection for early-stage ampullary carcinoma: A case control study using propensity scoring methods 
AIM: To investigate the outcomes of pancreas-sparing duodenectomy (PSD) with regional lymph node dissection vs pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD).
METHODS: Between August 2001 and June 2014, 228 patients with early-stage ampullary carcinoma (Amp Ca) underwent surgical treatment (PD, n = 159; PSD with regional lymph node dissection, n = 69). The patients were divided into two groups: the PD group and the PSD group. Propensity scoring methods were used to select patients with similar disease statuses. A total of 138 matched cases, with 69 patients in each group, were included in the final analysis.
RESULTS: The median operative time was shorter among the patients in the PSD group (435 min) compared with those in the PD group (481 min, P = 0.048). The median blood loss in the PSD group was significantly less than that in the PD group. The median length of hospital stay was shorter for patients in the PSD group vs the PD group. The incidence of pancreatic fistula was higher among patients in the PD group vs the PSD group. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival and disease-free survival rates for patients in the PSD group were 83%, 70%, 44% and 73%, 61%, 39%, respectively, and these values were not different than compared with those in the PD group (P = 0.625).
CONCLUSION: PSD with regional lymph node dissection presents an acceptable morbidity in addition to its advantages over PD. PSD may be a safe and feasible alternative to PD in the treatment of early-stage Amp Ca.
PMCID: PMC4427670  PMID: 25987771
Ampullary carcinoma; Early stage; Surgical treatments; Prognosis; Propensity scoring methods
8.  Analysis of 17 cases of posterior vertebral column resection in treating thoracolumbar spinal tuberculous angular kyphosis 
This study aims to explore the efficacy and safety of posterior vertebral column resection (PVCR) in treating thoracolumbar spinal tuberculous angular kyphosis (TSTAK).
From January 2008 to January 2012, 17 TSTAK patients were treated surgically, including five males and 12 females, with an average age of 23.6 years, among five cases who had the kyphotic apical vertebrae located at the thoracic vertebrae, ten cases were located at the thoracolumbar segment, and two cases were located at the lumbar vertebrae. The kyphotic Cobb angle was measured in the preoperative, postoperative, and final follow-up, respectively, and the nerve function ASIA classification was assessed.
The mean operative time was 364 min; the average intraoperative blood loss was 2,218 ml; and the average intraoperative blood transfusion was 1,863 ml. Among the five patients with the preoperative nerve function as grade D, four of them recovered to grade E. The preoperative average Cobb angle was 81.3° ± 12.8°, while the postoperative average Cobb average was 17.3° ± 3.6°; while it was significantly improved than the preoperative (P < 0.01), the average kyphosis correction rate was 68.7% ± 6.5%; the postoperative average follow-up was 18.7 months, with an average correction loss as 3.3°.
PVCR could be safely and effectively used in TSTAK.
PMCID: PMC4447016  PMID: 25962732
Spinal tuberculosis; Post-tuberculosis kyphosis; Posterior vertebral column resection; Osteotomy
9.  Combining Diffusion Tensor Imaging and Gray Matter Volumetry to Investigate Motor Functioning in Chronic Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125038.
Motor impairment after stroke is related to the integrity of the corticospinal tract (CST). However, considerable variability in motor impairment remains unexplained. To increase the accuracy in evaluating long-term motor function after ischemic stroke, we tested the hypothesis that combining diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and gray matter (GM) volumetry can better characterize long-term motor deficit than either method alone in patients with chronic stroke. We recruited 31 patients whose Medical Research Council strength grade was ≤ 3/5 in the extensor muscles of the affected upper extremity in the acute phase. We used the Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer (UE-FM) assessment to evaluate motor impairment, and as the primary outcome variable. We computed the fractional anisotropy ratio of the entire CST (CSTratio) and the volume of interest ratio (VOIratio), between ipsilesional and contralesional hemispheres, to explain long-term motor impairment. The results showed that CSTratio, VOIratio of motor-related brain regions, and VOIratio in the temporal lobe were correlated with UE-FM. A multiple regression model including CSTratio and VOIratio of the caudate nucleus explained 40.7% of the variability in UE-FM. The adjusted R2 of the regression model with CSTratio as an independent variable was 29.4%, and that of using VOIratio of the caudate nucleus as an independent variable was 23.1%. These results suggest that combining DTI and GM volumetry may achieve better explanation of long-term motor deficit in stroke patients, than using either measure individually. This finding may provide guidance in determining optimal neurorehabilitative interventions.
PMCID: PMC4428789  PMID: 25965398
10.  Pse-in-One: a web server for generating various modes of pseudo components of DNA, RNA, and protein sequences 
Nucleic Acids Research  2015;43(Web Server issue):W65-W71.
With the avalanche of biological sequences generated in the post-genomic age, one of the most challenging problems in computational biology is how to effectively formulate the sequence of a biological sample (such as DNA, RNA or protein) with a discrete model or a vector that can effectively reflect its sequence pattern information or capture its key features concerned. Although several web servers and stand-alone tools were developed to address this problem, all these tools, however, can only handle one type of samples. Furthermore, the number of their built-in properties is limited, and hence it is often difficult for users to formulate the biological sequences according to their desired features or properties. In this article, with a much larger number of built-in properties, we are to propose a much more flexible web server called Pse-in-One (, which can, through its 28 different modes, generate nearly all the possible feature vectors for DNA, RNA and protein sequences. Particularly, it can also generate those feature vectors with the properties defined by users themselves. These feature vectors can be easily combined with machine-learning algorithms to develop computational predictors and analysis methods for various tasks in bioinformatics and system biology. It is anticipated that the Pse-in-One web server will become a very useful tool in computational proteomics, genomics, as well as biological sequence analysis. Moreover, to maximize users’ convenience, its stand-alone version can also be downloaded from, and directly run on Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac OS.
PMCID: PMC4489303  PMID: 25958395
11.  Genetically Predicted Testosterone and Systemic Inflammation in Men: A Separate-Sample Mendelian Randomization Analysis in Older Chinese Men 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126442.
Observationally, testosterone is negatively associated with systemic inflammation, but this association is open to both residual confounding and reverse causality. Large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs), assessing exogenous effects, are presently unavailable. We examined the association of endogenous testosterone with well-established systemic inflammatory markers (white blood cell, granulocyte, lymphocyte and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)) using a separate-sample Mendelian randomization analysis to minimize reverse causality.
A genetic prediction rule for serum testosterone was developed in 289 young Chinese men with mean age of 21.0, using selected testosterone-related SNPs (rs10046, rs1008805 and rs1256031). Multivariable linear regression was used to examine the association of genetically predicted serum testosterone with inflammatory markers among 4,212 older Chinese men from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study.
Genetically predicted testosterone was unrelated to white blood cell count (-0.01 109/L per nmol/L testosterone, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.05 to 0.04), granulocyte count (-0.02 109/L, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.02), lymphocyte count (0.005 109/L, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.02) and hsCRP (-0.05 mg/L, 95% CI -0.15 to 0.06).
Our findings did not corroborate any anti-inflammatory effects of testosterone or corresponding potentially protective effects of testosterone on chronic diseases resulting from reduced low-grade systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4423952  PMID: 25950910
12.  Dihydromyricetin Enhances the Chemo-Sensitivity of Nedaplatin via Regulation of the p53/Bcl-2 Pathway in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0124994.
Chemotherapy is an effective weapon in the battle against cancer. Nedaplatin (NDP) is an improved platinum-containing drug with lower cytotoxicity than other similar drugs. However, the repeated use of NDP results in substantial hepatocyte damage as well as drug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases. Therefore, the development of effective chemotherapy strategies that enhance tumor sensitivity to chemotherapeutics and reduce the secondary damage to liver cells is urgently needed. Dihydromyricetin (DHM), a natural flavonoid compound, has been shown to have antitumor activity with no obvious toxicity to normal cells in vitro and in vivo. In this study, DHM and NDP were combined to treat liver cancer cells; we found that DHM functions as a protector of normal cells compared with the use of NDP alone. In addition, the synergy of DHM with NDP enhanced the effect of NDP on the induction of HCC cell apoptosis. We found that the combination caused clear changes in the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, we demonstrated that the combination of DHM and NDP activated the p53/Bcl-2 signaling pathway, which resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction and induced cell death and growth inhibition in HCC cells.
PMCID: PMC4411137  PMID: 25915649
13.  Significance of Increased Leptin Expression in Osteoarthritis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123224.
Alterations in leptin expression contributes to the progression of various diseases, including cancers. This meta-analysis investigated the clinical significance of leptin levels in osteoarthritis (OA) patients, with the goal of building a leptin-based diagnostic criterion for OA.
Multiple scientific databases in English and Chinese languages, such as the Cochrane Library Database, CINAHL, Chinese Biomedical (CBM), EMBASE, PubMed, and Web of Science, were exhaustively searched, without any language restrictions, to identify high-quality studies relevant to leptin and OA. Version 12.0 STATA software was used for data analysis. We used odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to test the correlation between serum leptin levels and OA progression.
A total of 11 clinical studies were finally selected for their high quality and relevance to the topic in this meta-analysis. The 11 case-control studies contained a combined total of 3,625 subjects. The meta-analysis results showed that leptin expression was significantly increased in OA patients, compared with the controls (SMD = 0.87, 95%CI: 0.72-1.02, P < 0.001), and there was also a strong association between leptin expression levels and gender (SMD = 8.55, 95%CI: 4.74-12.35, P < 0.001). In ethnicity-stratified subgroup analysis, all the study populations, irrespective of ethnicity, showed remarkably high leptin expression levels in females and in OA patients (all P < 0.05), compared to their respective counterparts.
The present study revealed that increased leptin expression levels are associated with disease severity in OA patients, especially among the female OA patients. Based on our results, we propose that leptin level may be a useful biomarker for the assessment of the clinical status in OA patients.
PMCID: PMC4403877  PMID: 25893833
14.  Strengthening core public health capacity based on the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005): Chinese lessons 
As an international legal instrument, the International Health Regulations (IHR) is internationally binding in 196 countries, especially in all the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO). The IHR aims to prevent, protect against, control, and respond to the international spread of disease and aims to cut out unnecessary interruptions to traffic and trade. To meet IHR requirements, countries need to improve capacity construction by developing, strengthening, and maintaining core response capacities for public health risk and Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In addition, all the related core capacity requirements should be met before June 15, 2012. If not, then the deadline can be extended until 2016 upon request by countries. China has promoted the implementation of the IHR comprehensively, continuingly strengthening the core public health capacity and advancing in core public health emergency capacity building, points of entry capacity building, as well as risk prevention and control of biological events (infectious diseases, zoonotic diseases, and food safety), radiological, nuclear, and chemical events, and other catastrophic events. With significant progress in core capacity building, China has dealt with many public health emergencies successfully, ensuring that its core public health capacity has met the IHR requirements, which was reported to WHO in June 2014. This article describes the steps, measures, and related experiences in the implementation of IHR in China.
PMCID: PMC4450733  PMID: 26029897
International Health Regulations (IHR); Health Emergency; Core Public Health Capacity
15.  Apigenin Attenuates Atherogenesis through Inducing Macrophage Apoptosis via Inhibition of AKT Ser473 Phosphorylation and Downregulation of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-2 
Macrophage survival is believed to be a contributing factor in the development of early atherosclerotic lesions. Dysregulated apoptosis of macrophages is involved in the inflammatory process of atherogenesis. Apigenin is a flavonoid that possesses various clinically relevant properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, and antitumor activities. Here we showed that apigenin attenuated atherogenesis in apoE−/− mice in an in vivo test. In vitro experiments suggested that apigenin induced apoptosis of oxidized low density lipoprotein- (OxLDL-) loaded murine peritoneal macrophages (MPMs). Proteomic analysis showed that apigenin reduced the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor 2 (PAI-2). PAI-2 has antiapoptotic effects in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Enhancing PAI-2 expression significantly reduced the proapoptosis effects of apigenin. Molecular docking assay with AutoDock software predicted that residue Ser473 of Akt1 is a potential binding site for apigenin. Lentiviral-mediated overexpression of Akt1 wild type weakened the proapoptosis effect of apigenin in OxLDL-loaded MPMs. Collectively, apigenin executes its anti-atherogenic effects through inducing OxLDL-loaded MPMs apoptosis. The proapoptotic effects of apigenin were at least partly attributed to downregulation of PAI-2 through suppressing phosphorylation of AKT at Ser473.
PMCID: PMC4413885  PMID: 25960827
16.  Butyrate protects rats from hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Background: Hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (HI/R) injury is a common pathologic process caused by many clinical settings, such as liver resection, liver transplantation, hypovolemic shock and trauma. The use of butyrate, which acts as a four-carbon fatty acid, normally produced by bacterial fermentation of fiber in mammalian intestines, provides anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic effects. Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats model of HI/R were subjected to a partial (70%) hepatic ischemia for 45 minutes (min) after pretreatment with either saline or butyrate, followed reperfusion. 30 rats were randomly allocated to three main experimental groups (n = 10 each): (1) The sham-operated group underwent laparotomy without hepatic ischemia. (2) Butyrate was injected into the tail vein in the butyrate group 30 min before HI/R. (3) The control group underwent the same procedure as the butyrate group but with administration of physiological saline. Rats from each group were randomly euthanized to collect blood and liver samples. Results: Butyrate treatment markedly improved hepatic function and histology, as indicated by reduced transaminase levels and ameliorated tissue pathologic changes. SD rats that received butyrate displayed reduced HI/R injury compared with controls. Use of butyrate reduced the histologic injury and significantly decreased serum Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels. In addition, butyrate decreased myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) tissue contents. Apoptotic cells in I/R rats were also significantly reduced after butyrate treatment. Furthermore, butyrate also decreased the mean number of apoptotic cells (positively stained for TUNEL) and increased the mean number of proliferating cells (positively stained for Ki-67). The expression levels of TNF-α and IL-6 were attenuated after butyrate treatment. Conclusions: Our results suggest that butyrate attenuated I/R-induced liver injury through upregulation of intracellular anti-oxidant stress and anti-apoptotic signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC4483930  PMID: 26131117
Butyrate; ischemia reperfusion; liver; apoptosis
17.  Rapid Characterization of Fatty Acids in Oleaginous Microalgae by Near-Infrared Spectroscopy 
The key properties of microalgal biodiesel are largely determined by the composition of its fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs). The gas chromatography (GC) based techniques for fatty acid analysis involve energy-intensive and time-consuming procedures and thus are less suitable for high-throughput screening applications. In the present study, a novel quantification method for microalgal fatty acids was established based on the near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technique. The lyophilized cells of oleaginous Chlorella containing different contents of lipids were scanned by NIRS and their fatty acid profiles were determined by GC-MS. NIRS models were developed based on the chemometric correlation of the near-infrared spectra with fatty acid profiles in algal biomass. The optimized NIRS models showed excellent performances for predicting the contents of total fatty acids, C16:0, C18:0, C18:1 and C18:3, with the coefficient of determination (R2) being 0.998, 0.997, 0.989, 0.991 and 0.997, respectively. Taken together, the NIRS method established here bypasses the procedures of cell disruption, oil extraction and transesterification, is rapid, reliable, and of great potential for high-throughput applications, and will facilitate the screening of microalgal mutants and optimization of their growth conditions for biodiesel production.
PMCID: PMC4425003  PMID: 25826532
biodiesel; Chlorella; fatty acids; microalgae; near-infrared spectroscopy
18.  Mutation Breeding of Extracellular Polysaccharide-Producing Microalga Crypthecodinium cohnii by a Novel Mutagenesis with Atmospheric and Room Temperature Plasma 
Extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) produced by marine microalgae have the potential to be used as antioxidants, antiviral agents, immunomodulators, and anti-inflammatory agents. Although the marine microalga Crypthecodinium cohnii releases EPS during the process of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) production, the yield of EPS remains relatively low. To improve the EPS production, a novel mutagenesis of C. cohnii was conducted by atmospheric and room temperature plasma (ARTP). Of the 12 mutants obtained, 10 mutants exhibited significantly enhanced EPS yield on biomass as compared with the wild type strain. Among them, mutant M7 was the best as it could produce an EPS volumetric yield of 1.02 g/L, EPS yield on biomass of 0.39 g/g and EPS yield on glucose of 94 mg/g, which were 33.85%, 85.35% and 57.17% higher than that of the wild type strain, respectively. Results of the present study indicated that mutagenesis of the marine microalga C. cohnii by ARTP was highly effective leading to the high-yield production of EPS.
PMCID: PMC4425076  PMID: 25872142
extracellular polysaccharides; atmospheric and room temperature plasma (ARTP); mutation; microalgae; Crypthecodinium cohnii
19.  Identification of Real MicroRNA Precursors with a Pseudo Structure Status Composition Approach 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121501.
Containing about 22 nucleotides, a micro RNA (abbreviated miRNA) is a small non-coding RNA molecule, functioning in transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. The human genome may encode over 1000 miRNAs. Albeit poorly characterized, miRNAs are widely deemed as important regulators of biological processes. Aberrant expression of miRNAs has been observed in many cancers and other disease states, indicating they are deeply implicated with these diseases, particularly in carcinogenesis. Therefore, it is important for both basic research and miRNA-based therapy to discriminate the real pre-miRNAs from the false ones (such as hairpin sequences with similar stem-loops). Particularly, with the avalanche of RNA sequences generated in the postgenomic age, it is highly desired to develop computational sequence-based methods in this regard. Here two new predictors, called “iMcRNA-PseSSC” and “iMcRNA-ExPseSSC”, were proposed for identifying the human pre-microRNAs by incorporating the global or long-range structure-order information using a way quite similar to the pseudo amino acid composition approach. Rigorous cross-validations on a much larger and more stringent newly constructed benchmark dataset showed that the two new predictors (accessible at outperformed or were highly comparable with the best existing predictors in this area.
PMCID: PMC4378912  PMID: 25821974
20.  Tissue-Engineered Regeneration of Completely Transected Spinal Cord Using Induced Neural Stem Cells and Gelatin-Electrospun Poly (Lactide-Co-Glycolide)/Polyethylene Glycol Scaffolds 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0117709.
Tissue engineering has brought new possibilities for the treatment of spinal cord injury. Two important components for tissue engineering of the spinal cord include a suitable cell source and scaffold. In our study, we investigated induced mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) directly reprogrammed into neural stem cells (iNSCs), as a cell source. Three-dimensional (3D) electrospun poly (lactide-co-glycolide)/polyethylene glycol (PLGA-PEG) nanofiber scaffolds were used for iNSCs adhesion and growth. Cell growth, survival and proliferation on the scaffolds were investigated. Scanning electron microcopy (SEM) and nuclei staining were used to assess cell growth on the scaffolds. Scaffolds with iNSCs were then transplanted into transected rat spinal cords. Two or 8 weeks following transplantation, immunofluorescence was performed to determine iNSC survival and differentiation within the scaffolds. Functional recovery was assessed using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) Scale. Results indicated that iNSCs showed similar morphological features with wild-type neural stem cells (wt-NSCs), and expressed a variety of neural stem cell marker genes. Furthermore, iNSCs were shown to survive, with the ability to self-renew and undergo neural differentiation into neurons and glial cells within the 3D scaffolds in vivo. The iNSC-seeded scaffolds restored the continuity of the spinal cord and reduced cavity formation. Additionally, iNSC-seeded scaffolds contributed to functional recovery of the spinal cord. Therefore, PLGA-PEG scaffolds seeded with iNSCs may serve as promising supporting transplants for repairing spinal cord injury (SCI).
PMCID: PMC4372351  PMID: 25803031
21.  An Update on Oligosaccharides and Their Esters from Traditional Chinese Medicines: Chemical Structures and Biological Activities 
A great number of naturally occurring oligosaccharides and oligosaccharide esters have been isolated from traditional Chinese medicinal plants, which are used widely in Asia and show prominent curative effects in the prevention and treatment of kinds of diseases. Numerous in vitro and in vivo experiments have revealed that oligosaccharides and their esters exhibited various activities, including antioxidant, antidepressant, cytotoxic, antineoplastic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, cerebral protective, antidiabetic, plant growth-regulatory, and immunopotentiating activities. This review summarizes the investigations on the distribution, chemical structures, and bioactivities of natural oligosaccharides and their esters from traditional Chinese medicines between 2003 and 2013.
PMCID: PMC4377491  PMID: 25861364
22.  Cutaneous metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma 
AIM: To investigate the clinical characteristics and prognostic factors of cutaneous metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma by a retrospective analysis of published cases.
METHODS: An extensive search was conducted in the English literature within the PubMed database using the following keywords: cutaneous metastasis or skin metastasis and cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct. The data of 30 patients from 21 articles from 1978 to 2014 were analyzed. Patient data retrieved from the articles included the following: age, gender, time cutaneous metastasis occurred, number of cutaneous metastases throughout life, sites of initial cutaneous metastasis, anatomic site, pathology and differentiation of cholangiocarcinoma, and immunohistochemical results of the cutaneous metastasis. The assessment of overall survival after cutaneous metastasis (OSCM) was the primary endpoint.
RESULTS: The median age at diagnosis of cutaneous metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma was 60.0 years (range: 35-77). This metastasis showed a predilection towards males, with a male to female ratio of 3.29. In 8 cases (27.6%), skin metastasis was the first sign of cholangiocarcinoma. Additionally, 18 cases (60.0%) manifested single cutaneous metastasis, while 12 cases (40.0%) demonstrated multiple skin metastases. In 50.0% of patients, the metastasis occurred in the drainage region, while 50.0% of patients had distant cutaneous metastases. The scalp was the most frequently involved region of distant skin metastasis, occurring in 36.7% of patients. The median OSCM of cholangiocarcinoma was 4.0 mo. Patient age and cutaneous metastatic sites showed no significant relation with OSCM, while male gender and single metastasis of the skin were associated with a poorer OSCM (hazard ratio: 0.168; P = 0.005, and hazard ratio: 0.296; P = 0.011, respectively).
CONCLUSION: The prognosis of cutaneous metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma is dismal. Both male gender and single skin metastasis are associated with a poorer OSCM.
PMCID: PMC4356929  PMID: 25780307
Cutaneous metastasis; Cholangiocarcinoma; Clinical characteristics; Pathological features; Prognosis
23.  Involvement of protein kinase ζ in the maintenance of hippocampal long-term potentiation in rats with chronic visceral hypersensitivity 
Journal of Neurophysiology  2015;113(9):3047-3055.
The hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) was implicated in the formation of visceral hypersensitivity in rats with irritable bowel syndrome in our previous study. Recent studies have shown that protein kinase M ζ (PKMζ) may be responsible for the maintenance of LTP in memory formation. However, it remains unclear whether PKMζ is involved in the visceral hypersensitivity. In this study, a rat model of visceral hypersensitivity was generated by neonatal maternal separation (NMS). The visceral hypersensitivity was assessed by recording responses of the external oblique abdominal muscle to colorectal distension. Our results demonstrated that hippocampal LTP and visceral hypersensitivity were enhanced significantly in rats of NMS. ζ-Pseudosubstrate inhibitory peptide (ZIP) could dose dependently inhibit the maintenance of Cornu Ammonis area 1 LTP in rats of NMS. Furthermore, Western blot data showed that the expression of hippocampal phosphorylated PKMζ (p-PKMζ) significantly increased in rats of NMS. In addition, bilateral intrahippocampal injections of ZIP attenuated the visceral hypersensitivity dose dependently in rats of NMS. The maximal inhibition was observed at 30 min, and significant inhibition lasted for 1.5–2 h after ZIP application. Besides, data from the open-field test and Morris water maze showed that ZIP did not influence the movement and spatial procedural memory in rats of NMS. In conclusion, p-PKMζ might be a critical protein in the maintenance of hippocampal LTP, which could result in visceral hypersensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4455563  PMID: 25761958
chronic visceral pain; long-term potentiation; protein kinase M ζ; hippocampus; neonatal maternal separation
24.  Characterization of Two UDP-Gal:GalNAc-Diphosphate-Lipid β1,3-Galactosyltransferases WbwC from Escherichia coli Serotypes O104 and O5 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(17):3122-3133.
Escherichia coli displays O antigens on the outer membrane that play an important role in bacterial interactions with the environment. The O antigens of enterohemorrhagic E. coli O104 and O5 contain a Galβ1-3GalNAc disaccharide at the reducing end of the repeating unit. Several other O antigens contain this disaccharide, which is identical to the mammalian O-glycan core 1 or the cancer-associated Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) antigen. We identified the wbwC genes responsible for the synthesis of the disaccharide in E. coli serotypes O104 and O5. To functionally characterize WbwC, an acceptor substrate analog, GalNAcα-diphosphate-phenylundecyl, was synthesized. WbwC reaction products were isolated by high-pressure liquid chromatography and analyzed by mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, galactosidase and O-glycanase digestion, and anti-TF antibody. The results clearly showed that the Galβ1-3GalNAcα linkage was synthesized, confirming WbwCECO104 and WbwCECO5 as UDP-Gal:GalNAcα-diphosphate-lipid β1,3-Gal-transferases. Sequence analysis revealed a conserved DxDD motif, and mutagenesis showed the importance of these Asp residues in catalysis. The purified enzymes require divalent cations (Mn2+) for activity and are specific for UDP-Gal and GalNAc-diphosphate lipid substrates. WbwC was inhibited by bis-imidazolium salts having aliphatic chains of 18 to 22 carbons. This work will help to elucidate mechanisms of polysaccharide synthesis in pathogenic bacteria and provide technology for vaccine synthesis.
PMCID: PMC4135647  PMID: 24957618
25.  Joint analysis of three genome-wide association studies of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Chinese populations 
Wu, Chen | Wang, Zhaoming | Song, Xin | Feng, Xiao-Shan | Abnet, Christian C. | He, Jie | Hu, Nan | Zuo, Xian-Bo | Tan, Wen | Zhan, Qimin | Hu, Zhibin | He, Zhonghu | Jia, Weihua | Zhou, Yifeng | Yu, Kai | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Yuan, Jian-Min | Zheng, Wei | Zhao, Xue-Ke | Gao, She-Gan | Yuan, Zhi-Qing | Zhou, Fu-You | Fan, Zong-Min | Cui, Ji-Li | Lin, Hong-Li | Han, Xue-Na | Li, Bei | Chen, Xi | Dawsey, Sanford M. | Liao, Linda | Lee, Maxwell P. | Ding, Ti | Qiao, You-Lin | Liu, Zhihua | Liu, Yu | Yu, Dianke | Chang, Jiang | Wei, Lixuan | Gao, Yu-Tang | Koh, Woon-Puay | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Tang, Ze-Zhong | Fan, Jin-Hu | Han, Jing-Jing | Zhou, Sheng-Li | Zhang, Peng | Zhang, Dong-Yun | Yuan, Yuan | Huang, Ying | Liu, Chunling | Zhai, Kan | Qiao, Yan | Jin, Guangfu | Guo, Chuanhai | Fu, Jianhua | Miao, Xiaoping | Lu, Changdong | Yang, Haijun | Wang, Chaoyu | Wheeler, William A. | Gail, Mitchell | Yeager, Meredith | Yuenger, Jeff | Guo, Er-Tao | Li, Ai-Li | Zhang, Wei | Li, Xue-Min | Sun, Liang-Dan | Ma, Bao-Gen | Li, Yan | Tang, Sa | Peng, Xiu-Qing | Liu, Jing | Hutchinson, Amy | Jacobs, Kevin | Giffen, Carol | Burdette, Laurie | Fraumeni, Joseph F. | Shen, Hongbing | Ke, Yang | Zeng, Yixin | Wu, Tangchun | Kraft, Peter | Chung, Charles C. | Tucker, Margaret A. | Hou, Zhi-Chao | Liu, Ya-Li | Hu, Yan-Long | Liu, Yu | Wang, Li | Yuan, Guo | Chen, Li-Sha | Liu, Xiao | Ma, Teng | Meng, Hui | Sun, Li | Li, Xin-Min | Li, Xiu-Min | Ku, Jian-Wei | Zhou, Ying-Fa | Yang, Liu-Qin | Wang, Zhou | Li, Yin | Qige, Qirenwang | Yang, Wen-Jun | Lei, Guang-Yan | Chen, Long-Qi | Li, En-Min | Yuan, Ling | Yue, Wen-Bin | Wang, Ran | Wang, Lu-Wen | Fan, Xue-Ping | Zhu, Fang-Heng | Zhao, Wei-Xing | Mao, Yi-Min | Zhang, Mei | Xing, Guo-Lan | Li, Ji-Lin | Han, Min | Ren, Jing-Li | Liu, Bin | Ren, Shu-Wei | Kong, Qing-Peng | Li, Feng | Sheyhidin, Ilyar | Wei, Wu | Zhang, Yan-Rui | Feng, Chang-Wei | Wang, Jin | Yang, Yu-Hua | Hao, Hong-Zhang | Bao, Qi-De | Liu, Bao-Chi | Wu, Ai-Qun | Xie, Dong | Yang, Wan-Cai | Wang, Liang | Zhao, Xiao-Hang | Chen, Shu-Qing | Hong, Jun-Yan | Zhang, Xue-Jun | Freedman, Neal D | Goldstein, Alisa M. | Lin, Dongxin | Taylor, Philip R. | Wang, Li-Dong | Chanock, Stephen J.
Nature genetics  2014;46(9):1001-1006.
We conducted a joint (pooled) analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 1-3 of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) in ethnic Chinese (5,337 ESCC cases and 5,787 controls) with 9,654 ESCC cases and 10,058 controls for follow-up. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, sex, study, and two eigenvectors, two new loci achieved genome-wide significance, marked by rs7447927 at 5q31.2 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% CI 0.82-0.88; P=7.72x10−20) and rs1642764 at 17p13.1 (per-allele OR= 0.88, 95% CI 0.85-0.91; P=3.10x10−13). rs7447927 is a synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in TMEM173 and rs1642764 is an intronic SNP in ATP1B2, near TP53. Furthermore, a locus in the HLA class II region at 6p21.32 (rs35597309) achieved genome-wide significance in the two populations at highest risk for ESSC (OR=1.33, 95% CI 1.22-1.46; P=1.99x10−10). Our joint analysis identified new ESCC susceptibility loci overall as well as a new locus unique to the ESCC high risk Taihang Mountain region.
PMCID: PMC4212832  PMID: 25129146

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