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1.  Elevated levels of plasma D-dimer predict a worse outcome in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):583.
Hemostatic alterations occur during the development of cancer. Plasma D-dimer is a hypercoagulability and fibrinolytic system marker that is increased in patients with various solid tumours. The aim of this study was to evaluate the hemostatic status of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients by assessing plasma D-dimer levels to investigate its value as a prognostic marker.
We retrospectively analysed 717 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and we applied Cox regression and log-rank tests to assess the association of D-dimer levels with disease-free survival (DFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and overall survival (OS). D-dimer levels were measured using a quantitative D-dimer latex agglutination assay.
Using the 3rd quartile values (0.8 μg/L) as the optimal cut-offs, we found that patients with high D-dimer levels have a shorter 3-year DFS, (79%, 95%CI (73.1–84.9)) vs. (69%, 95%CI (59.2–78.8)), DMFS (87%, 95%CI (83.1–90.9)) vs. (77%, 95%CI (69.2–84.8)), and overall survival (82%, 95%CI (76.1–87.9)) vs. (76%, 95%CI (66.2–85.8)). Multivariate analysis revealed that pre-treatment D-dimer levels and EBV DNA were significant independent factors for DFS, DMFS, and OS in NPC patients. Subgroup analyses indicated that the plasma D-dimer levels could effectively stratify patient prognosis for early cancer, advanced stage cancer, and patients with EBV DNA ≥4000 copies/ml.
High D-dimer levels were associated with poor disease-free survival, distant metastasis-free survival, overall survival, and increased risk of mortality in NPC patients. Prospective trials are required to assess the prognostic value of D-dimer levels.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-583) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4242497  PMID: 25109220
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; D-dimer; Survival
2.  Functional Polymorphisms in FAS/FASL System Increase the Risk of Neuroblastoma in Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71656.
The FAS and FASL system plays a substantial role in apoptosis and immune escape of cells. Three polymorphisms located in the promoter regions of FAS (-1377G/A and -670A/G) and FASL (-844T/C) have been shown to alter the transcriptional activity of the genes, respectively. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of these polymorphisms on the susceptibility of neuroblastoma in the Chinese population. A total of 203 patients with neuroblastoma and 411 controls were recruited in this case-control study. Polymerase chain reaction-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) was applied for genotyping. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate cancer risk by calculating odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). It was observed that significantly increased risks of neuroblastoma associated with FAS -1377G/A and FASL -844T/C polymorphisms, with ORs equal to 1.55 (95% CI, 1.10–2.20) for FAS -1377 A allele and 2.90 (95% CI, 2.04–4.12) for FASL -844CC genotype carriers compared with non-carriers, respectively. However, no association was found between the polymorphisms of FAS -670A/G and risk of neuroblastoma. In addition, the cumulative effect of FAS and FASL polymorphisms on risk of neuroblastoma was observed (P for trend = 2.502×10−10), with OR for the carriers of both FAS -1377A allele and FASL -844CC genotypes equaled to 3.95 (95% CI, 2.40–6.51). This work reveals that polymorphisms of FAS -1377G/A and FASL -844T/C but not FAS -670A/G are associated with risk of neuroblastoma in Chinese. These findings support the hypothesis that genetic polymorphism in FAS/FASL death system may influence individual susceptibility to neuroblastoma.
PMCID: PMC3741122  PMID: 23951214
3.  2-(3-Oxocyclo­hex-1-enylamino)acetic acid 
The six-membered ring of the title compound, C8H11NO3, adopts an envelope shape with the C atom in the meta position of the carbonyl representing the flap. This atom is disordered over two positions in an 0.865 (6): 0.135 (6) ratio. In the crystal, a two-dimensional supra­molecular network parallel to the ac plane is built up from O—H⋯O and N—H⋯O hydrogen bonds.
PMCID: PMC2971405  PMID: 21578369
4.  Enhancing the Careers of Under-Represented Junior Faculty in Biomedical Research: The Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity (SIPID) 
The Summer Institute Program to Increase Diversity (SIPID) in Health-Related Research is a career advancement opportunity sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Three mentored programs address difficulties experienced by junior investigators in establishing independent research careers and academic advancement. Aims are to increase the number of faculty from under-represented minority groups who successfully compete for external research funding.
Data were collected using a centralized data-entry system from three Summer Institutes. Outcomes include mentees’ satisfaction rating about the program, grant and publications productivity and specific comments.
Fifty-eight junior faculty mentees (38% male) noticeably improved their rates of preparing/submitting grant applications and publications, with a 18–23% increase in confidence levels in planning and conducting research. According to survey comments, the training received in grantsmanship skills and one-on-one mentoring were the most valuable program components.
The SIPID mentoring program was highly valued by the junior faculty mentees. The program will continue in 2011–2014 as PRIDE (PRogram to Increase Diversity among individuals Engaged in health-related research). Long-term follow-up of current mentees will be indexed at five years post training (2013). In summary, these mentoring programs hope to continue increasing the diversity of the next generation of scientists in biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC4324679
5.  Anti-CD40-induced inflammatory E-cadherin+ dendritic cells enhance T cell responses and antitumour immunity in murine Lewis lung carcinoma 
Agonistic CD40 antibodies have been demonstrated to activate antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and enhance antitumour T cell responses, thereby providing a new therapeutic option in cancer immunotherapy. In agonistic CD40 antibody-mediated inflammatory responses, a novel subset of E-cadherin + dendritic cells (DCs) has been identified, and little is known about the role of these DCs in tumour immunity. This study investigated the effect of anti-CD40-mediated inflammatory E-cadherin + DCs in murine Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC).
The phenotype and characteristics of anti-CD40-mediated inflammatory E-cadherin + DCs isolated from the anti-CD40 model were assessed in vitro. The antitumour activity of E-cadherin + DCs were evaluated in vivo by promoting the differentiation of effector CD4+ T cells, CEA-specific CD8+ T cells and CD103+ CD8+ T cells and assessing their resistance to tumour challenge, including variations in tumour volume and survival curves.
Here, we demonstrated that anti-CD40-mediated E-cadherin + inflammatory DCs accumulate in the lungs of Rag1 KO mice and were able to stimulate naïve CD4+ T cells to induce Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation and polarisation and to inhibit regulatory T cell and Th2 responses. Importantly, with the adoptive transfer of E-cadherin + DCs into the Lewis lung cancer model, the inflammatory DCs increased the Th1 and Th17 cell responses and reduced the Treg cell and Th2 responses. Interestingly, following the injection of inflammatory E-cadherin + DCs, the CD103+ CD8+ T cell and CEA-specific CD8+ T cell responses increased and exhibited potent antitumour immunity.
These findings indicate that anti-CD40-induced E-cadherin + DCs enhance T cell responses and antitumour activity in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)-bearing mice and may be used to enhance the efficacy of DC-based peptide vaccines against NSCLC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13046-015-0126-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4323023  PMID: 25651850
E-cadherin; Dendritic cell; T cell; Lung cancer; Activity
6.  Annexin A2 as a target endothelial cell membrane autoantigen in Behçet's disease 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8162.
Cell membrane proteins are believed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. However, few membrane autoantigens have been linked with Behçet's disease. Here, a cell-chip was performed to identify autoantibody target cells, and the suspected autoantigens were detected using immunoblotting. The amino acid sequences of the detected proteins were determined using LC-MALDI-TOF/TOF. Putative proteins were recombinantly expressed and purified, and a corresponding ELISA was developed and clinically validated using real clinical samples. It was found that a 36-kDa membrane protein - annexin A2 - was detected in approximately one-third of the patients' blood circulation. The immunohistochemistry results showed that annexin A2 was highly expressed in vascular endothelial cells. Moreover, vascular involvement was significantly higher in the anti-annexin A2 antibody-positive group versus the anti-annexin A2 antibody-negative group among all the clinical samples analyzed, indicating that annexin A2 is a novel endothelial cell membrane antigen involved in Behçet's disease.
PMCID: PMC4313095  PMID: 25641213
7.  The glycosylation-dependent interaction of perlecan core protein with LDL: implications for atherosclerosis[S] 
Journal of Lipid Research  2015;56(2):266-276.
Perlecan is a major heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan in the arterial wall. Previous studies have linked it to atherosclerosis. Perlecan contains a core protein and three HS side chains. Its core protein has five domains (DI–DV) with disparate structures and DII is highly homologous to the ligand-binding portion of LDL receptor (LDLR). The functional significance of this domain has been unknown. Here, we show that perlecan DII interacts with LDL. Importantly, the interaction largely relies on O-linked glycans that are only present in the secreted DII. Among the five repeat units of DII, most of the glycosylation sites are from the second unit, which is highly divergent and rich in serine and threonine, but has no cysteine residues. Interestingly, most of the glycans are capped by the negatively charged sialic acids, which are critical for LDL binding. We further demonstrate an additive effect of HS and DII on LDL binding. Unlike LDLR, which directs LDL uptake through endocytosis, this study uncovers a novel feature of the perlecan LDLR-like DII in receptor-mediated lipoprotein retention, which depends on its glycosylation. Thus, perlecan glycosylation may play a role in the early LDL retention during the development of atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4306681  PMID: 25528754
low density lipoprotein receptor; sialic acid; low density lipoprotein
8.  Associations of psychological capital, demographic and occupational factors with cigarette smoking among Chinese underground coal miners 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:20.
As a specific male occupational group, underground coal miners have been commonly found to have a high prevalence of cigarette smoking. It is of urgent need to explore some factors that could be intervened to reduce smoking from personal or internal perspective. The purpose of the present study was to examine the associations of psychological capital (PsyCap), demographic and occupational factors with smoking among Chinese underground coal miners.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a coal-mining population in northeast China. Twenty-five hundreds of male underground miners were sampled from six coal mines. Self-administered questionnaires involving current smoking status, specific scales to measure the levels of PsyCap, effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and perceived physical environment (PPE), and some demographic and occupational factors were completed anonymously after a day shift. Complete responses were obtained from 1,956 participants (response rate: 78.2%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the factors in relation to current smoking.
The overall smoking prevalence was 52.4%. After controlling for demographic and occupational variables, PsyCap was not associated with smoking. Compared with the miners in the lowest tertile of resilience, the odds ratios (ORs) of smoking for the miners in the intermediate tertile and highest tertile were 1.30 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.99–1.70) and 1.58 (95% CI: 1.13–2.20), respectively. Compared with the miners in the lowest tertile of optimism, the ORs of smoking for the miners in the intermediate tertile and highest tertile were 0.79 (95% CI: 0.61–1.03) and 0.69 (95% CI: 0.51–0.92), respectively. Low education and high PPE were the risk factors of smoking, whereas ERI had no association with smoking.
More than half of the underground coal miners were current smokers, which indicated that cigarette smoking might be a common health risk behavior in this occupational population. High resilience and PPE, together with low education were the risk factors of smoking, whereas high optimism was a protective factor. Consequently, PsyCap had mixed effects on cigarette smoking. Investment in resilience and optimism should be given more attention for the purposes of the prevention and reduction of smoking among occupational populations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1349-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4311445  PMID: 25604331
Smoking; Psychological capital; Effort-reward imbalance; Perceived physical environment; Underground coal miners
9.  Correlation between changes in quality of life and symptomatic improvement in Chinese patients switched from typical antipsychotics to olanzapine 
The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between changes in symptoms and changes in self-reported quality of life among Chinese patients with schizophrenia who were switched from a typical antipsychotic to olanzapine during usual outpatient care.
Patients and methods
This post hoc analysis was conducted using data from the Chinese subgroup (n=475) of a multicountry, 12-month, prospective, noninterventional, observational study. The primary publication previously reported the efficacy, safety, and quality of life among patients who switched from a typical antipsychotic to olanzapine. Patients with schizophrenia were included if their symptoms were inadequately controlled with a typical antipsychotic and they were switched to olanzapine. Symptom severity was measured using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity scale (CGI-S). Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) was assessed using the World Health Organization Quality of Life–Abbreviated (WHOQOL-BREF). Paired t-tests were performed to assess changes from baseline to endpoint. Pearson’s correlation coefficients (r) were used to assess the correlations between change in symptoms (BPRS and CGI-S scores) and change in HRQOL (WHOQOL-BREF scores).
Symptoms and HRQOL both improved significantly over the 12 months of treatment (P<0.001). Significant correlations were observed between changes from baseline to end of study on the BPRS and the CGI-S and each of the WHOQOL-BREF four domain scores and two overall quality-of-life questions. The correlation coefficients ranged from r=−0.45 to r=−0.53 for the BPRS and WHOQOL-BREF. The correlation coefficients were slightly smaller between the CGI-S and WHOQOL-BREF, ranging from r=−0.33 to r=−0.40.
For patients with schizophrenia, assessing quality of life has the potential to add valuable information to the clinical assessment that takes into account the patient’s own perspective of well-being.
PMCID: PMC4304595  PMID: 25632235
data correlation; olanzapine; quality of life; schizophrenia; signs and symptoms
10.  Deconstructing the differences: a comparison of GBD 2010 and CHERG’s approach to estimating the mortality burden of diarrhea, pneumonia, and their etiologies 
Pneumonia and diarrhea are leading causes of death for children under five (U5). It is challenging to estimate the total number of deaths and cause-specific mortality fractions. Two major efforts, one led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the other led by the World Health Organization (WHO)/Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) created estimates for the burden of disease due to these two syndromes, yet their estimates differed greatly for 2010.
This paper discusses three main drivers of the differences: data sources, data processing, and covariates used for modelling. The paper discusses differences in the model assumptions for etiology-specific estimates and presents recommendations for improving future models.
IHME’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study estimated 6.8 million U5 deaths compared to 7.6 million U5 deaths from CHERG. The proportional differences between the pneumonia and diarrhea burden estimates from the two groups are much larger; GBD 2010 estimated 0.847 million and CHERG estimated 1.396 million due to pneumonia. Compared to CHERG, GBD 2010 used broader inclusion criteria for verbal autopsy and vital registration data. GBD 2010 and CHERG used different data processing procedures and therefore attributed the causes of neonatal death differently. The major difference in pneumonia etiologies modeling approach was the inclusion of observational study data; GBD 2010 included observational studies. CHERG relied on vaccine efficacy studies.
Greater transparency in modeling methods and more timely access to data sources are needed. In October 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) hosted an expert meeting to examine possible approaches for better estimation. The group recommended examining the impact of data by systematically excluding sources in their models. GBD 2.0 will use a counterfactual approach for estimating mortality from pathogens due to specific etiologies to overcome bias of the methods used in GBD 2010 going forward.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0728-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4305232  PMID: 25592774
11.  Evolutionary Diagnosis of non-synonymous variants involved in differential drug response 
BMC Medical Genomics  2015;8(Suppl 1):S6.
Many pharmaceutical drugs are known to be ineffective or have negative side effects in a substantial proportion of patients. Genomic advances are revealing that some non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (nsSNVs) may cause differences in drug efficacy and side effects. Therefore, it is desirable to evaluate nsSNVs of interest in their ability to modulate the drug response.
We found that the available data on the link between drug response and nsSNV is rather modest. There were only 31 distinct drug response-altering (DR-altering) and 43 distinct drug response-neutral (DR-neutral) nsSNVs in the whole Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base (PharmGKB). However, even with this modest dataset, it was clear that existing bioinformatics tools have difficulties in correctly predicting the known DR-altering and DR-neutral nsSNVs. They exhibited an overall accuracy of less than 50%, which was not better than random diagnosis. We found that the underlying problem is the markedly different evolutionary properties between positions harboring nsSNVs linked to drug responses and those observed for inherited diseases. To solve this problem, we developed a new diagnosis method, Drug-EvoD, which was trained on the evolutionary properties of nsSNVs associated with drug responses in a sparse learning framework. Drug-EvoD achieves a TPR of 84% and a TNR of 53%, with a balanced accuracy of 69%, which improves upon other methods significantly.
The new tool will enable researchers to computationally identify nsSNVs that may affect drug responses. However, much larger training and testing datasets are needed to develop more reliable and accurate tools.
PMCID: PMC4315320
12.  X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy Investigation of the Nitrogen Species in Photoactive Perfluorophenylazide-Modified Surfaces 
X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) was used to characterize the nitrogen species in perfluorophenylazide (PFPA) self-assembled monolayers. PFPA chemistry is a novel immobilization method for tailoring the surface properties of materials. It is a simple route for the efficient immobilization of graphene, proteins, carbohydrates and synthetic polymers onto a variety of surfaces. Upon light irradiation, the azido group in PFPA is converted to a highly reactive singlet nitrene species that readily undergoes CH insertion and C=C addition reactions. Here, the challenge of characterizing the PFPA modified surfaces was addressed by detailed XPS experimental analyses. The three nitrogen peaks detected in the XPS N1s spectra were assigned to amine/amide (400.5 eV) and azide (402.1 and 405.6 eV) species. The observed 2:1 ratio of the areas from the 402.1 eV to 405.6 eV peaks suggests the assignment of the peak at 402.1 eV to the two outer nitrogen atoms in the azido group and assignment of the peak at 405.6 eV to the central nitrogen atom in the azido group. The azide decomposition as the function of x-ray exposure was also determined. Finally, XPS analyses were conducted on patterned graphene to investigate the covalent bond formation between the PFPA and graphene. This study provides strong evidence for the formation of covalent bonds during the PFPA photocoupling process.
PMCID: PMC3923990  PMID: 24535931
PFPA; XPS; Surface Characterization; Graphene
13.  Identification of ML251, a Potent Inhibitor of T. brucei and T. cruzi Phosphofructokinase 
Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a severe, often fatal disease caused by the parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei. The glycolytic pathway has been identified as the sole mechanism for ATP generation in the infective stage of these organisms, and several glycolytic enzymes, phosphofructokinase (PFK) in particular, have shown promise as potential drug targets. Herein, we describe the discovery of ML251, a novel nanomolar inhibitor of T. brucei PFK, and the structure–activity relationships within the series.
PMCID: PMC4027769  PMID: 24900769
Trypanosoma brucei; Trypanosoma cruzi; phosphofructokinase; inhibitors; glycolysis; high-throughput screening
14.  Histopathological study of corneal flap striae following laser in situ keratomileusis in rabbits 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the histopathological changes and wound healing process of rabbit corneas following conventional laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) with and without the complication of flap macrostriae. The right eyes of 14 rabbits underwent LASIK with the formation of flap striae (macrostriae group) and the left underwent LASIK alone (control group). Two rabbits were selected at random for sacrifice on days 1, 3, 7 and 14, and at 1, 3 and 6 months postoperatively. The histopathological characters of the corneas were compared by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) and Masson staining. In the control group, the epithelial basement membrane of the cornea exhibited microstriae and the arrangement of stromal collagen fibers was regular. The width of the microstriae in the flap was 20–40 μm one week after surgery and the microstriae were no longer visible two weeks postoperatively. In the macrostriae group, infiltration of polymorphonuclear cells occurred around the incision and irregular hyperplasia of the epithelium was observed due to undulation of the epithelial basement membrane on the first postoperative day. The collagen fibers and striae of the corneal stroma exhibited irregular undulation one month postoperatively. The area between the corneal flap and stromal bed was distinctly stained by PAS and Masson stains. Macrostriae with a width of 80–120 μm affecting two-thirds of the entire cornea remained visible six months postoperatively. In conclusion, the inflammatory reactions and clinical impact of flap macrostriae were severe. Macrostriae involving two-thirds of the entire cornea remained visible six months postoperatively. Longer-term studies are required to further elucidate the issues associated with corneal flap striae.
PMCID: PMC4316991  PMID: 25667649
flap striae; laser in situ keratomileusis; histopathology; cornea
15.  Toll-like receptor 3 plays a role in myocardial infarction and ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2013;1842(1):10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.10.006.
Innate immune and inflammatory responses mediated by Toll like receptors (TLRs) have been implicated in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. This study examined the role of TLR3 in myocardial injury induced by two models, namely, myocardial infarction (MI) and I/R.
First, we examined the role of TLR3 in MI. TLR3 deficient (TLR3−/−) and wild type (WT) mice were subjected to MI induced by permanent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) for 21 days. Cardiac function was measured by echocardiography. Next, we examined whether TLR3 contributes to myocardial I/R injury. TLR3−/− and WT mice were subjected to myocardial ischemia (45 min) followed by reperfusion for up to 3 days. Cardiac function and myocardial infarct size were examined. We also examined the effect of TLR3 deficiency on I/R-induced myocardial apoptosis and inflammatory cytokine production.
TLR3−/− mice showed significant attenuation of cardiac dysfunction after MI or I/R. Myocardial infarct size and myocardial apoptosis induced by I/R injury were significantly attenuated in TLR3−/− mice. TLR3 deficiency increases Bcl2 levels and attenuates I/R-increased Fas, FasL, FADD, Bax and Bak levels in the myocardium. TLR3 deficiency also attenuates I/R-induced myocardial NF-κB binding activity, TNF-α and IL-1β production as well as I/R-induced infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages into the myocardium.
TLR3 plays an important role in myocardial injury induced by MI or I/R. The mechanisms involve activation of apoptotic signaling and NF-κB binding activity. Modulation of TLR3 may be an effective approach for ameliorating heart injury in heart attack patients.
PMCID: PMC3879925  PMID: 24140513
TLRs; myocardial I/R; apoptosis; NF-κB; inflammatory cytokines
16.  Nerve Growth Factor Protects the Ischemic Heart via Attenuation of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Induced Apoptosis by Activation of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase 
Background: Increased expression of nerve growth factor (NGF) has been found in the myocardium suffered from ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). The pro-survival activity of NGF on ischemic heart has been supposed to be mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/Akt) signaling pathway. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which is activated initially as a defensive response to eliminate the accumulated unfolded proteins, has shown a critical involvement in the ischemia induced myocardial apoptosis. This study was aimed to investigate whether NGF induced heart protection against I/R injury includes a mechanism of attenuation of ER stress-induced myocardial apoptosis by activation of PI3K/Akt pathway.
Methods: Isolated adult rat hearts were perfused with a Langendörff perfusion system. Hearts in the Sham group were subjected to 225 min of continuous Krebs-Henseleit buffer (KHB) perfusion without ischemia. Hearts in I/R group were perfused with KHB for a 75-min of equilibration period followed by 30 min of global ischemia and 120 min of KHB reperfusion. Hearts in the NGF group accepted 45 min of euilibration perfusion and 30 min of NGF pretreatment (with a final concentration of 100 ng/ml in the KHB) before 30 min of global ischemia and 120 min of reperfusion. Hearts in K252a and LY294002 groups were pretreated with either a TrkA inhibitor, K252a or a phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002 for 30 min before NGF (100 ng/ml) administration. Cardiac hemodynamics were measured from the beginning of the perfusion. Cardiac enzymes and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) were assayed before ischemia and at the end of reperfusion. Myocardial apoptosis rate was measured by TUNEL staining, and expression of glucose-related protein 78 (GRP78), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), caspase-12, total- and phospho-(Ser473)-Akt were assessed by Western blot analyses.
Results: NGF pretreatment significantly improved the recovery of post-ischemia cardiac hemodynamics. Reduced creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and cTnI levels, as well as decreased myocardial apoptosis ratio were observed in the NGF group. The improvement of NGF on recovery of cardiac function and alleviation of myocardial injury were completely abolished by K252a or LY294002. GRP78, caspase-12 and CHOP were highly expressed in ischemic myocardium, while NGF significantly inhibited the overexpression of these proteins which were involved in ER stress-induced myocardial apoptosis. NGF pretreatment also induced phosphorylation of Akt. When the activation of PI3K/Akt pathway is blocked by LY294002, the NGF induced suppression of the apoptosis-related proteins expression was reversed.
Conclusions: NGF pretreatment may protect the ischemic heart via inhibition of the ER stress-induced apoptosis; this pro-survival effect is mediated by PI3K/Akt pathway.
PMCID: PMC4278880  PMID: 25552923
ischemia/reperfusion injury; nerve growth factor; endoplasmic reticulum; apoptosis.
17.  Genetic differentiation and recombination among geographic populations of the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum truncatum from chili peppers in China 
Evolutionary Applications  2014;8(1):108-118.
Colletotrichum truncatum is an extremely important fungal pathogen. It can cause diseases both in humans and in over 460 plant species. However, little is known about its genetic diversity within and among populations. One of the major plant hosts of C. truncatum is pepper, and China is one of the main pepper-producing countries in the world. Here, we propose the hypotheses that geography has a major influence on the relationships among populations of C. truncatum in China and that infections in different populations need to be managed differently. To test these hypotheses, we obtained and analyzed 266 C. truncatum isolates from 13 regions representing the main pepper-growing areas throughout China. The analysis based on nine microsatellite markers identified high intrapopulation genetic diversity, evidence of sexual recombination, and geographic differentiation. The genetic differentiation was positively correlated with geographic distance, with the southern and northern China populations grouped in two distinct clusters. Interestingly, isolates collected from the pepper-breeding center harbored the most private alleles. The results suggest that the geographic populations of C. truncatum on peppers in China are genetically differentiated and should be managed accordingly. Our study also provides a solid foundation from which to further explore the global genetic epidemiology of C. truncatum in both plants and humans.
PMCID: PMC4310585  PMID: 25667606
clustering analyses; Colletotrichum truncatum; genetic differentiation; phylogeny; population structure; private alleles
18.  Crystal structure of 1,7,8,9-tetra­chloro-4-(3,5-di­chloro­benz­yl)-10,10-dimeth­oxy-4-aza­tri­cyclo­[,6]dec-8-ene-3,5-dione 
In the title compound, C17H11Cl6NO4, the configuration of the cyclo­alkene skeleton is endo,cis. The benzene ring is twisted by 58.94 (8)° from the attached pyrrolidine ring. Two carbonyl groups play a key role in the crystal packing. A short inter­molecular C⋯O distance of 3.017 (3) Å reveals that one carbonyl group is involved in dipole–dipole inter­actions, which link two adjacent enanti­omers into an inversion dimer. Another carbonyl group provides an acceptor for the weak inter­molecular C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds which link these dimers into layers parallel to (011).
PMCID: PMC4331899
crystal structure; tri­cyclo­[,6]dec-8-ene-3,5-dione; biological activity; cyclo­alkene skeleton; dipole–dipole inter­actions; hydrogen bonding
19.  Crystal structure of 1,7,8,9-tetra­chloro-4-(2-fluoro­benz­yl)-10,10-dimeth­oxy-4-aza­tri­cyclo­[,6]dec-8-ene-3,5-dione 
In the title compound, C17H12Cl4FNO4, the configuration of the cyclo­alkene skeleton is endo,cis. The benzene ring is twisted by 71.01 (11)° from the attached pyrrolidine ring. In the crystal, one of the methine groups of the fused-ring system forms a weak C—H⋯O hydrogen bond. The other methine groups participates in a C—H⋯F inter­action to the same adjacent mol­ecule. Together, these generate [010] chains.
PMCID: PMC4331900
crystal structure; biochemical activity; tri­cyclo­[5,2,1,02,6]dec-8-ene-3,5-dione; hydrogen bonding; C—H⋯F inter­action
20.  Lean-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease increases risk for metabolic disorders in a normal weight Chinese population 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(47):17932-17940.
AIM: To study the prevalence and clinical biochemical, blood cell and metabolic features of lean-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (lean-NAFLD) and its association with other diseases.
METHODS: Demographic, biochemical and blood examinations were conducted in all the subjects in this study. We classified the subjects into four groups according to their weight and NAFLD status: lean-control, lean-NAFLD [body mass index (BMI) < 24 kg/m2], overweight-obese control and overweight-obese NAFLD. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the means of continuous variables (age, BMI, blood pressure, glucose, lipid, insulin, liver enzymes and blood cell counts) and the χ2 test was used to compare the differences in frequency of categorical variables (sex, education, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and prevalence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, metabolic syndrome central obesity and obesity). Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were adopted to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and predict hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome when we respectively set all controls, lean-control and overweight-obese-control as references. In multivariate logistic regression models, we adjusted potential confounding factors, including age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity.
RESULTS: The prevalence of NAFLD was very high in China. NAFLD patients were older, had a higher BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, insulin, blood lipid, liver enzymes and uric acid than the controls. Although lean-NAFLD patients had lower BMI and waist circumstance, they had significantly higher visceral adiposity index than overweight-obese controls. Lean-NAFLD patients had comparable triglyceride, cholesterin and low-density lipoprotein cholesterin to overweight-obese NAFLD patients. In blood cell examination, both lean and overweight-obese NAFLD was companied by higher white blood cell count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin and hematocrit value. All NAFLD patients were at risk of hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome (MetS). Lean-NAFLD was more strongly associated with diabetes (OR = 2.47, 95%CI: 1.14-5.35), hypertension (OR = 1.72, 95%CI: 1.00-2.96) and MetS (OR = 3.19, 95%CI: 1.17-4.05) than overweight-obese-NAFLD (only OR for MetS was meaningful: OR = 1.89, 95%CI: 1.29-2.77). NAFLD patients were more likely to have central obesity (OR = 1.97, 95%CI: 1.38-2.80), especially in lean groups (OR = 2.17, 95%CI: 1.17-4.05).
CONCLUSION: Lean-NAFLD has unique results in demographic, biochemical and blood examinations, and adds significant risk for diabetes, hypertension and MetS in lean individuals.
PMCID: PMC4273143  PMID: 25548491
Lean-non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Metabolic disorder; Diabetes; Risk; Chinese
21.  Molecular identification of Trichinella spiralis nudix hydrolase and its induced protective immunity against trichinellosis in BALB/c mice 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):600.
Nudix hydrolases (Nd) is a widespread superfamily, which is found in all classes of organism, hydrolyse a wide range of organic pyrophosphates and has a ‘housecleaning’ function. The previous study showed that Trichinella spiralis Nd (TsNd) bound to intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), and the vaccination of mice with T7 phage-displayed TsNd polypeptides produced protective immunity. The aim of this study was to clone, express and identify the full-length TsNd and to investigate its immune protection against T. spiralis infection.
The full-length cDNA sequence of TsNd gene encoding a 46 kDa protein from T. spiralis intestinal infective larvae (IIL) was cloned and identified. The antigenicity of rTsNd was analyzed by Western blot. Transcription and expression of TsNd at T. spiralis different stages were observed by RT-PCR and IFT. The levels of the specific total IgG, IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies to rTsNd were determined by ELISA. The immune protection of rTsNd against T. spiralis infection was investigated.
Sequence and phylogenetic analysis revealed that TsNd had a nudix motif located at 226-244aa, which had high homology and the closest evolutionary status with T. pseudospiralis. The rTsNd was obtained after expression and purification. Western blot analysis showed that anti-rTsNd serum recognized the native TsNd protein in crude antigens of muscle larvae (ML), IIL, adult worms (AW) and newborn larvae (NBL), and ES antigens of ML. Transcription and expression of TsNd gene was observed in all developmental stages of T. spiralis (ML, IIL, AW and NBL), with high level expression in IIL. An immunolocalization analysis identified TsNd in the cuticle, stichocytes and reproductive organs of the parasite. Following immunization, anti-rTsNd IgG levels were increased, and the levels of IgG1 were more significantly higher than that of IgG2a. After a challenge infection with T. spiralis, mice immunized with the rTsNd displayed a 57.7% reduction in adult worms and a 56.9% reduction in muscle larval burden.
TsNd induced a partial protective immunity in mice and could be considered as a novel candidate vaccine antigen against trichinellosis.
PMCID: PMC4287505  PMID: 25522912
Trichinella spiralis; Nudix hydrolases; Protective immunity; Vaccine
22.  Reliability of Tonolab measurements in rats 
To assess the repeatability and reproducibility of Tonolab tonometer in rats with high intraocular pressure (IOP) and evaluate its ability to detect IOP changes in rats with general anaesthesia.
Left eyes of adult Fischer rats (F344) were photocoagulated by 532 nm diode laser to induce high IOP. Hypertensive eyes of 30 conscious rats were randomly chosen to measure IOP on a single occasion. Two observers independently and alternately undertook IOP measurements consecutively for three times using the same Tonolab tonometer blind to the other observer's IOP measurements. The within subject standard deviation (Sw), coefficient of variation (CVw) (100×Sw/overall mean), and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) were calculated to evaluate intra-observer repeatability. Inter-observer difference was analysed by using 95% limits of agreement described by Bland-Altman and paired sample t-test. Also, another 13 normal F344 rats were intraperitoneally administrated with ketamine/xylazine or chloral hydrate, and IOPs of both eyes were measured by a single operator once every 5min until animals came to conscious. IOPs at various time points were compared by using one-way ANOVAs.
Mean IOP was 35.58 mm Hg (range 17.33 to 65.33 mm Hg). For intraobserver repeatability, the Sw, CVw and ICC of high IOP for two observers were 5.20 mm Hg/3.41 mm Hg, 9.98%/8.08% and 0.820/0.928 respectively. The inter-observer difference was 14.76%±19.76% of the mean IOP of two observers, with a 95% limits of agreement -23.97% to 53.50%, and the difference between mean IOP of these two observers was statistically significant (P=0.001). IOPs dropped slightly during the first 15min post-aneathesia, with a IOP change between 0.17 and 1.17 mm Hg. IOPs changed from basline of 11.75±2.05 mm Hg (n=12) to 8.75±1.06 mm Hg 20min post-anesthesia (P=0.001), and this hypotensive condition persisted until 80min post-anesthesia.
In this sample of hypertensive rats, Tonolab measurements demonstrated high levels of intraobserver repeatability, however, its interobserver reproducibility was poor. Longitudinal changes of IOP caused by genral anaesthesia can be sensitively detected by Tonolab. So we suggested that measurements of IOP using Tonolab are best measured by a single observer, and it could be included in experimental glaucoma.
PMCID: PMC4270983  PMID: 25540741
Tonolab; repeatability; reproducibility; rats
23.  Body Mass Index and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Nonlinear Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7480.
The role of Body Mass Index (BMI) for Breast Cancer (BC) remains to be great interest for a long time. However, the precise effect of nonlinear dose-response for BMI and BC risk is still unclear. We conducted a dose-response meta-analysis to quantitatively assess the effect of BMI on BC risk. Twelve prospective studies with 4,699 cases identified among 426,199 participants and 25 studies of 22,809 cases identified among 1,155,110 participants in premenopausal and postmenopausal groups, respectively, were included in this meta-analysis. Significant non-linear dose-response (P < 0.001) association was identified between BMI and BC risk in postmenopausal women. Individuals with BMI of 25, 30, and 35 kg/m2 yielded relative risks (RRs) of 1.02 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98–1.06], 1.12 (95% CI: 1.01–1.24), and 1.26 (95% CI: 1.07–1.50), respectively, when compared to the mean level of the normal BMI range. However, inverse result though not significant was observed in premenopausal women. In conclusion, the results of this meta-analysis highlighted that obesity contributed to increased BC risk in a nonlinear dose-response manner in postmenopausal women, and it is important to realize that body weight control may be a crucial process to reduce BC susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4265780  PMID: 25504309
24.  Alterations in function and expression of ABC transporters at blood-brain barrier under diabetes and the clinical significances 
Diabetes is a systematic metabolic disease, which often develops a number of well-recognized vascular complications including brain complications which may partly result from the dysfunction of blood-brain barrier (BBB). BBB is generally considered as a mechanism for protecting the brain from unwanted actions resulting from substances in the blood and maintaining brain homeostasis via monitoring the entry or efflux of compounds. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family of transporters including P-glycoprotein (P-GP) and breast cancer-related protein (BCRP), widely expressed in the luminal membrane of the microvessel endothelium and in the apical membrane of the choroids plexus epithelium, play important roles in the function of BBB. However, these transporters are easily altered by some diseases. The present article was focused on the alteration in expression and function of both P-GP and BCRP at BBB by diabetes and the clinical significances.
PMCID: PMC4261906  PMID: 25540622
blood-brain barrier; ABC transporters; diabetes; Alzheimer's disease; amyloid β-peptide; ABCB1; ABCG2
25.  Rigosertib as a selective anti-tumor agent can ameliorate multiple dysregulated signaling transduction pathways in high-grade myelodysplastic syndrome 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7310.
Rigosertib has demonstrated therapeutic activity for patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in clinical trials. However, the role of rigosertib in MDS has not been thoroughly characterized. In this study, we found out that rigosertib induced apoptosis, blocked the cell cycle at the G2/M phase and subsequently inhibited the proliferation of CD34+ cells from MDS, while it minimally affected the normal CD34+ cells. Further studies showed that rigosertib acted via the activation of the P53 signaling pathway. Bioinformatics analysis based on gene expression profile and flow cytometry analysis revealed the abnormal activation of the Akt-PI3K, Jak-STAT and Wnt pathways in high-grade MDS, while the p38 MAPK, SAPK/JNK and P53 pathways were abnormally activated in low-grade MDS. Rigosertib could markedly inhibit the activation of the Akt-PI3K and Wnt pathways, whereas it activated the SAPK/JNK and P53 pathways in high-grade MDS. A receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylation array demonstrated that rigosertib could increase the activation of RET and PDGFR-β while reducing the activation of Tie2 and VEGFR2 in MDS cells. Taken together, these data indicate that rigosertib is a selective and promising anti-tumor agent that could ameliorate multiple dysregulated signaling transduction pathways in high-grade MDS.
PMCID: PMC4255183  PMID: 25472472

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