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1.  Web-based tool for dynamic functional outcome after acute ischemic stroke and comparison with existing models 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):214.
Background
Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is one of the leading causes of death and adult disability worldwide. In the present study, we aimed to develop a web-based risk model for predicting dynamic functional status at discharge, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year after acute ischemic stroke (Dynamic Functional Status after Acute Ischemic Stroke, DFS-AIS).
Methods
The DFS-AIS was developed based on the China National Stroke Registry (CNSR), in which eligible patients were randomly divided into derivation (60%) and validation (40%) cohorts. Good functional outcome was defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score ≤ 2 at discharge, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year after AIS, respectively. Independent predictors of each outcome measure were obtained using multivariable logistic regression. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and plot of observed and predicted risk were used to assess model discrimination and calibration.
Results
A total of 12,026 patients were included and the median age was 67 (interquartile range: 57–75). The proportion of patients with good functional outcome at discharge, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year after AIS was 67.9%, 66.5%, 66.9% and 66.9%, respectively. Age, gender, medical history of diabetes mellitus, stroke or transient ischemic attack, current smoking and atrial fibrillation, pre-stroke dependence, pre-stroke statins using, admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, admission blood glucose were identified as independent predictors of functional outcome at different time points after AIS. The DFS-AIS was developed from sets of predictors of mRS ≤ 2 at different time points following AIS. The DFS-AIS demonstrated good discrimination in the derivation and validation cohorts (AUROC range: 0.837-0.845). Plots of observed versus predicted likelihood showed excellent calibration in the derivation and validation cohorts (all r = 0.99, P < 0.001). When compared to 8 existing models, the DFS-AIS showed significantly better discrimination for good functional outcome and mortality at discharge, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year after AIS (all P < 0.0001).
Conclusion
The DFS-AIS is a valid risk model to predict functional outcome at discharge, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year after AIS.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0214-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0214-z
PMCID: PMC4255632
Acute ischemic stroke; Prognosis; Risk model
2.  Cost-Effectiveness of Thrombolysis within 4.5 Hours of Acute Ischemic Stroke in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110525.
Background
Previous economic studies conducted in developed countries showed intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) is cost-effective for acute ischemic stroke. The present study aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of tPA treatment in China, the largest developing country.
Methods
A combination of decision tree and Markov model was developed to determine the cost-effectiveness of tPA treatment versus non-tPA treatment within 4.5 hours after stroke onset. Outcomes and costs data were derived from the database of Thrombolysis Implementation and Monitor of acute ischemic Stroke in China (TIMS-China) study. Efficacy data were derived from a pooled analysis of ECASS, ATLANTIS, NINDS, and EPITHET trials. Costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were compared in both short term (2 years) and long term (30 years). One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to test the robustness of the results.
Results
Comparing to non-tPA treatment, tPA treatment within 4.5 hours led to a short-term gain of 0.101 QALYs at an additional cost of CNY 9,520 (US$ 1,460), yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of CNY 94,300 (US$ 14,500) per QALY gained in 2 years; and to a long-term gain of 0.422 QALYs at an additional cost of CNY 6,530 (US$ 1,000), yielding an ICER of CNY 15,500 (US$ 2,380) per QALY gained in 30 years. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that tPA treatment is cost-effective in 98.7% of the simulations at a willingness-to-pay threshold of CNY 105,000 (US$ 16,200) per QALY.
Conclusions
Intravenous tPA treatment within 4.5 hours is highly cost-effective for acute ischemic strokes in China.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110525
PMCID: PMC4203798  PMID: 25329637
3.  Glycated hemoglobin independently or in combination with fasting plasma glucose versus oral glucose tolerance test to detect abnormal glycometabolism in acute ischemic stroke: a Chinese cross-sectional study 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):177.
Background
The investigation of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) as a diagnostic tool for abnormal glycometabolism is lack in acute ischemic stroke patients in China and worldwide. This paper was aimed to determine whether HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), or HbA1c combined with FPG, could be used to screen for diabetes mellitus (DM) or prediabetes in acute ischemic stroke patients without previous DM.
Methods
Acute ischemic stroke patients without previous DM (n = 1,316) were selected from the Abnormal gluCose Regulation in Patients with Acute StrOke acrosS China Study (ACROSS-China). Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), HbA1c, FPG, and HbA1c combined with FPG were used as the screening methods to categorize the glycometabolic status. OGTT was taken as the golden method. Venn diagrams and the overlap index were used to determine the associations among the three methods of identifying abnormal glycometabolism. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and Youden index were used to assess and compare the accuracy in detecting abnormal glycometabolism. Youden analyses were performed to determine the ideal cutoff values of HbA1c in diagnosing abnormal glycometabolism.
Results
In acute ischemic stroke patients without previous DM, the overlaps of HbA1c versus OGTT, HbA1c versus FPG, and all the three methods independently, were low for detecting abnormal glycometabolism (all <50%). HbA1c can significantly detect more cases of prediabetes than OGTT (P < 0.001). The combination of HbA1c and FPG significantly raised the sensitivity to over 60.0%, specificity to over 80.0%, and the diagnostic accuracy (Youden index from under 40.0% to 42.4%)for DM. HbA1c of 5.7%-6.4% had a low to moderate concordance with OGTT for identifying prediabetes (AUROC = 0.557, P = 0.001). HbA1c values of 6.3% and 5.9% were found to be the ideal cutoff values for detecting DM and abnormal glycometabolism in our data, respectively.
Conclusions
The combination of HbA1c and FPG increased the diagnostic rate of DM when compared with OGTT, and increased the diagnostic accuracy for DM compared with HbA1c or FPG alone. Our results advocate the use of HbA1c as screening tool for the diagnosis of pre-diabetes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0177-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0177-0
PMCID: PMC4172972  PMID: 25209629
Diabetes mellitus; HbA1c; Ischemic stroke; OGTT; Prediabetes
5.  Risk Factors of Dilated Virchow-Robin Spaces Are Different in Various Brain Regions 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105505.
Background and Purpose
Few studies have reported on the risk factors of dilated Virchow-Robin Spaces (dVRS) in large samples of ischemic stroke patients. Little evidence exists regarding the relationship between dVRS and etiologic subtype of ischemic stroke or lacune. We aimed to investigate the risk factors associated with the severity of dVRS in a large sample of ischemic stroke patients.
Methods
We consecutively enrolled 1,090 patients who experienced an ischemic stroke within the past seven days and underwent a 3.0 T MRI scan in the Chinese IntraCranial AtheroSclerosis Study (ICAS). Clinical data and cranial MRI information of patients included age, sex, vascular risk factors, dVRS, leukoaraiosis, lacune, and etiologic subtype of ischemic stroke. Analyses were performed regarding the risk factors associated with the severity of dVRS by univariate analysis and multivariable ordinal logistic regression analysis.
Results
Through multivariable ordinal logistic regression analysis, age, the severity of leukoaraiosis, lacune, admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) ≤3, and the severity of dVRS in the white matter (WM) and hippocampus (Hip) were correlated with the severity of dVRS in basal ganglia (BG); male, history of hypertension, admission NIHSS ≤3, and the severity of dVRS in BG and Hip were correlated with the severity of dVRS in WM; female, the severity of leukoaraiosis, admission NIHSS >3, small artery occlusion subtype of ischemic stroke, and the severity of dVRS in BG and WM were correlated with the severity of dVRS in Hip.
Conclusion
dVRS is an indicator of cerebral small vessel diseases such as leukoaraiosis and lacune. However, the risk factors of dVRS differ in various brain regions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105505
PMCID: PMC4144854  PMID: 25157843
6.  MC1R is a Potent Regulator of PTEN after UV Exposure in Melanocytes 
Molecular cell  2013;51(4):409-422.
Summary
The individuals carrying melanocortin-1-receptor (MC1R) variants, especially those associated with red hair color, fair skin and poor tanning ability (RHC-trait), are more prone to melanoma while the underlying mechanism is poorly defined. Here, we report that UVB exposure triggers PTEN interaction with wild-type (WT), but not RHC-associated MC1R variants, which protects PTEN from WWP2-mediated degradation, leading to AKT inactivation. Strikingly, the biological consequences of the failure of MC1R variants to suppress PI3K/AKT signaling are highly context dependent. In primary melanocytes, hyperactivation of PI3K/AKT signaling leads to premature senescence; in the presence of BRAFV600E, MC1R deficiency-induced elevated PI3K/AKT signaling drives oncogenic transformation. These studies establish the MC1R-PTEN axis as a central regulator for melanocytes’ response to UVB exposure, and reveal the molecular basis underlying the association between MC1R variants and melanomagenesis.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2013.08.010
PMCID: PMC3792490  PMID: 23973372
7.  Safety of Low-Dose Aspirin in Endovascular Treatment for Intracranial Atherosclerotic Stenosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105252.
Objectives
To evaluate the safety of low-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel versus high-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel in prevention of vascular risk within 90 days of duration of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients treated with intracranial endovascular treatment.
Methods
From January 2012 to December 2013, this prospective and observational study enrolled 370 patients with symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis of ≥70% with poor collateral undergoing intracranial endovascular treatment. Antiplatelet therapy consists of aspirin, at a low-dose of 100 mg or high-dose of 300 mg daily; clopidogrel, at a dose of 75 mg daily for 5 days before endovascular treatment. The dual antiplatelet therapy continued for 90 days after intervention. The study endpoints include acute thrombosis, subacute thrombosis, stroke or death within 90 days after intervention.
Results
Two hundred and seventy three patients received low-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel and 97 patients received high-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel before intracranial endovascular treatment. Within 90 days after intervention, there were 4 patients (1.5%) with acute thrombosis, 5 patients (1.8%) with subacute thrombosis, 17 patients (6.2%) with stroke, and 2 death (0.7%) in low-dose aspirin group, compared with no patient (0%) with acute thrombosis, 2 patient (2.1%) with subacute thrombosis, 6 patients (6.2%) with stroke, and 2 death (2.1%) in high-dose aspirin group, and there were no significant difference in all study endpoints between two groups.
Conclusion
Low-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel is comparative in safety with high-dose aspirin plus clopidogrel within 90 days of duration of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients treated with intracranial endovascular treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105252
PMCID: PMC4140744  PMID: 25144449
8.  Vitamin E Reverses Multidrug Resistance In Vitro and In Vivo 
Cancer letters  2013;336(1):149-157.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major obstacle to successful and effective chemotherapeutic treatments of cancers. This study explored the reversal effects of vitamin E on MDR tumor cells in vitro and in vivo, elucidating the potential mechanism of this reversal. VE at a concentration of 50 μM exhibited a significant reversal of the MDR effect (compared to only PTX in DMSO, p < 0.05) in two human MDR cell lines (H460/taxR and KB-8-5). The MDR cell xenograft model was established to investigate the effect of VE on reversing MDR in vivo. Mice intravenously injected with Taxol (10 mg/kg) with VE (500 mg/kg, IP) showed an ability to overcome the MDR. VE and its derivatives can significantly increase intracellular accumulation of rhodamine 123 and doxorubicin (P-gp substrate), but not alter the levels of P-gp expression. These treatments also did not decrease the levels of intracellular ATP, but were still able to inhibit the verapamil-induced ATPase activity of P-gp. The new application of VE as an MDR sensitizer will be attractive due to the safety of this treatment.
doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2013.04.020
PMCID: PMC3685196  PMID: 23624302
multidrug resistance (MDR); P-glycoprotein; TPGS; Vitamin E
9.  Protocol for a prospective, multicentre registry study of stenting for symptomatic intracranial artery stenosis in China 
BMJ Open  2014;4(8):e005175.
Introduction
The SAMMPRIS trial suggested that aggressive treatment was superior to endovascular stenting in patients with severe symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS) due to high complication rates in patients in the stenting group. Given that 12.2% patients failed aggressive medical therapy in the SAMMPRIS study, it is imperative to perform a multicentre prospective registry study of stenting for patients with ICAS in China. This study aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of endovascular stenting for patients with symptomatic intracranial artery stenosis and poor collaterals in China and to identify the characteristics of the population that would benefit the most from endovascular stenting in Chinese patients.
Methods and analysis
This multicentre prospective registry study will involve 20 stroke centres in China, and plans to recruit 300 patients into the registry. Patients with ≥70% stenosis and symptomatic intracranial atherosclerotic disease caused by hypoperfusion combined with poor collaterals who met the inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria would be enrolled for this study. The primary outcome is the target vessel stroke event (including haemorrhagic or ischaemic stroke) or death within 30 days after stenting. The secondary outcomes include the successful recanalisation rate, the incidence of recurrent ischaemic stroke in the territory of the stented artery between 30 days and 1 year postoperatively, the restenosis rate and health-related quality of life.
Ethics and dissemination
The protocol is approved by the ethics committee at the coordinating centre and by the local institutional review board at each participating centre. Findings will be shared with participating hospitals, policymakers and the academic community to promote quality monitoring, quality improvement and the efficient allocation and use of cerebral catheterisation and intracranial artery stenting in China.
Trial registration number
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01968122).
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005175
PMCID: PMC4127916  PMID: 25107437
Stroke medicine < INTERNAL MEDICINE
10.  Risk score to predict gastrointestinal bleeding after acute ischemic stroke 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:130.
Background
Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a common and often serious complication after stroke. Although several risk factors for post-stroke GIB have been identified, no reliable or validated scoring system is currently available to predict GIB after acute stroke in routine clinical practice or clinical trials. In the present study, we aimed to develop and validate a risk model (acute ischemic stroke associated gastrointestinal bleeding score, the AIS-GIB score) to predict in-hospital GIB after acute ischemic stroke.
Methods
The AIS-GIB score was developed from data in the China National Stroke Registry (CNSR). Eligible patients in the CNSR were randomly divided into derivation (60%) and internal validation (40%) cohorts. External validation was performed using data from the prospective Chinese Intracranial Atherosclerosis Study (CICAS). Independent predictors of in-hospital GIB were obtained using multivariable logistic regression in the derivation cohort, and β-coefficients were used to generate point scoring system for the AIS-GIB. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and the Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test were used to assess model discrimination and calibration, respectively.
Results
A total of 8,820, 5,882, and 2,938 patients were enrolled in the derivation, internal validation and external validation cohorts. The overall in-hospital GIB after AIS was 2.6%, 2.3%, and 1.5% in the derivation, internal, and external validation cohort, respectively. An 18-point AIS-GIB score was developed from the set of independent predictors of GIB including age, gender, history of hypertension, hepatic cirrhosis, peptic ulcer or previous GIB, pre-stroke dependence, admission National Institutes of Health stroke scale score, Glasgow Coma Scale score and stroke subtype (Oxfordshire). The AIS-GIB score showed good discrimination in the derivation (0.79; 95% CI, 0.764-0.825), internal (0.78; 95% CI, 0.74-0.82) and external (0.76; 95% CI, 0.71-0.82) validation cohorts. The AIS-GIB score was well calibrated in the derivation (P = 0.42), internal (P = 0.45) and external (P = 0.86) validation cohorts.
Conclusion
The AIS-GIB score is a valid clinical grading scale to predict in-hospital GIB after AIS. Further studies on the effect of the AIS-GIB score on reducing GIB and improving outcome after AIS are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-130
PMCID: PMC4120715  PMID: 25059927
11.  Limitation of Number of Strains and Persistence of False Positive Loci in QTL Mapping Using Recombinant Inbred Strains 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102307.
While the identification of causal genes of quantitative trait loci (QTL) remains a difficult problem in the post-genome era, the number of QTL continues to accumulate, mainly identified using the recombinant inbred (RI) strains. Over the last decade, hundreds of publications have reported nearly a thousand QTL identified from RI strains. We hypothesized that the inaccuracy of most of these QTL makes it difficult to identify causal genes. Using data from RI strains derived from C57BL/6J (B6) X DBA/2J (D2), we tested the possibility of detection of reliable QTL with different numbers of strains in the same trait in five different traits. Our results indicated that studies using RI strains of less than 30 in general have a higher probability of failing to detect reliable QTL. Errors in many studies could include false positive loci, switches between QTL with small and major effects, and missing the real major loci. The similar data was obtained from a RI strain population derived from a different pair of parents and a RI strain population of rat. Thus, thousands of reported QTL from studies of RI strains may need to be double-checked for accuracy before proceeding to causal gene identification.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102307
PMCID: PMC4102522  PMID: 25032693
12.  Molecular Mechanism of Thiazolidinedione-Mediated Inhibitory Effects on Osteoclastogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102706.
Thiazolidinediones are synthetic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ agonists used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Clinical evidence indicates that thiazolidinediones increase fracture risks in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients, but the mechanism by which thiazolidinediones augment fracture risks is not fully understood. Several groups recently demonstrated that thiazolidinediones stimulate osteoclast formation, thus proposing that thiazolidinediones induce bone loss in part by prompting osteoclastogenesis. However, numerous other studies showed that thiazolidinediones inhibit osteoclast formation. Moreover, the molecular mechanism by which thiazolidinediones modulate osteoclastogenesis is not fully understood. Here we independently address the role of thiazolidinediones in osteoclastogenesis in vitro and furthermore investigate the molecular mechanism underlying the in vitro effects of thiazolidinediones on osteoclastogenesis. Our in vitro data indicate that thiazolidinediones dose-dependently inhibit osteoclastogenesis from bone marrow macrophages, but the inhibitory effect is considerably reduced when bone marrow macrophages are pretreated with RANKL. In vitro mechanistic studies reveal that thiazolidinediones inhibit osteoclastogenesis not by impairing RANKL-induced activation of the NF-κB, JNK, p38 and ERK pathways in bone marrow macrophages. Nonetheless, thiazolidinediones inhibit osteoclastogenesis by suppressing RANKL-induced expression of NFATc1 and c-Fos, two key transcriptional regulators of osteoclastogenesis, in bone marrow macrophages. In addition, thiazolidinediones inhibit the RANKL-induced expression of osteoclast genes encoding matrix metalloproteinase 9, cathepsin K, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and carbonic anhydrase II in bone marrow macrophages. However, the ability of thiazolidinediones to inhibit the expression of NFATc1, c-Fos and the four osteoclast genes is notably weakened in RANKL-pretreated bone marrow macrophages. These in vitro studies have not only independently demonstrated that thiazolidinediones exert inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis but have also revealed crucial new insights into the molecular mechanism by which thiazolidinediones inhibit osteoclastogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102706
PMCID: PMC4102552  PMID: 25032991
14.  Cost‐Effectiveness of Clopidogrel‐Aspirin Versus Aspirin Alone for Acute Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke 
Background
Treatment with the combination of clopidogrel and aspirin taken soon after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke was shown to reduce the 90‐day risk of stroke in a large trial in China, but the cost‐effectiveness is unknown. This study sought to estimate the cost‐effectiveness of the clopidogrel‐aspirin regimen for acute TIA or minor stroke.
Methods and Results
A Markov model was created to determine the cost‐effectiveness of treatment of acute TIA or minor stroke patients with clopidogrel‐aspirin compared with aspirin alone. Inputs for the model were obtained from clinical trial data, claims databases, and the published literature. The main outcome measure was cost per quality‐adjusted life‐years (QALYs) gained. One‐way and multivariable probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to test the robustness of the findings. Compared with aspirin alone, clopidogrel‐aspirin resulted in a lifetime gain of 0.037 QALYs at an additional cost of CNY 1250 (US$ 192), yielding an incremental cost‐effectiveness ratio of CNY 33 800 (US$ 5200) per QALY gained. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed that clopidogrel‐aspirin therapy was more cost‐effective in 95.7% of the simulations at a willingness‐to‐pay threshold recommended by the World Health Organization of CNY 105 000 (US$ 16 200) per QALY.
Conclusions
Early 90‐day clopidogrel‐aspirin regimen for acute TIA or minor stroke is highly cost‐effective in China. Although clopidogrel is generic, Plavix is brand in China. If Plavix were generic, treatment with clopidogrel‐aspirin would have been cost saving.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.114.000912
PMCID: PMC4309076  PMID: 24904018
clopidogrel; cost‐effectiveness; quality‐adjusted life‐year; stroke
15.  A 12-Words-for-Life-Nurturing Exercise Program as an Alternative Therapy for Cervical Spondylosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
In this paper, we carried out a randomized controlled clinical trial to explore the effect of 12-words-for-life-nurturing exercise on patients presenting with cervical spondylosis. After exercise intervention, the mean VAS and NDI scores of the patients decreased significantly and the scores of BP, VT, and MH in SF-36 Health Questionnaire were significantly higher. Exercise therapy showed significant effect on relieving pain and improving vitality and mental health. The 12-words-for-life-nurturing exercise may be a potential effective therapy for patients with cervical spondylosis.
doi:10.1155/2014/961418
PMCID: PMC3978904  PMID: 24778707
16.  A Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 Antagonist Enhances Antigen-Presenting Capacity and Tumor Cell Antigen-Specific Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Responses by Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells 
The suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) has emerged as a critical inhibitory molecule for controlling the cytokine response and antigen presentation by dendritic cells (DCs), thereby regulating the magnitude of both innate and adaptive immunity. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the SOCS1 antagonist pJAK2(1001-1013) peptide can weaken or block the inhibition function of SOCS1 in DCs by evaluating the phenotype and cytokine production, antigen-presenting, and specific T-cell-activating capacities of DCs electroporated with human gastric cancer cell total RNA. Furthermore, STAT1 activation of the JAK/STAT signal pathway mediated by SOCS1 was analyzed by Western blotting. The results demonstrate that the SOCS1 antagonist pJAK2(1001-1013) peptide upregulated the expression of the maturation marker (CD83) and costimulatory molecule (CD86) of RNA-electroporated human monocyte-derived mature DCs (mDCs), potentiated the capacity of mDCs to induce T-cell proliferation, stimulated the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, and enhanced the cytotoxicity of tumor cell antigen-specific CTLs activated by human gastric cancer cell total RNA-electroporated mDCs. Data from Western blot analysis indicate that STAT1 was further activated in pJAK2(1001-1013) peptide-loaded mDCs. These results imply that the SOCS1 antagonist pJAK2(1001-1013) peptide is an effective reagent for the enhancement of antigen-specific antitumor immunity by DCs.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00130-13
PMCID: PMC3889590  PMID: 23885028
17.  Key structure of Brij for overcoming multidrug resistance in cancer 
Biomacromolecules  2013;14(2):424-430.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major barrier to the chemotherapy treatment of many cancers. However, some non-ionic surfactants, for example Brij, have been shown to restore the sensitivity of MDR cells to such drugs. The aim of this study was to explore the reversal effect of Brij on MDR tumor cells and elucidate its potential mechanism. Our data indicate that the structure of Brij surfactants plays an important role in overcoming MDR in cancer, i.e. modified hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (MHLB, the ratio of the number (n) of hydrophilic repeating units of ethylene oxide (EO) to the number (m) of carbons in the hydrophobic tail (CH2).). Cell viability of cells treated with paclitaxel (PTX) nanocrystals (NCs) formulated with Brij showed positive correlations with MHLB (R2 = 0.8195); the higher the ratio of Brij to PTX in NCs, the higher cytotoxicity induced by the PTX NCs. Significant increases in intracellular accumulation of 3H-PTX (P-gp substrate) were observed in an MDR cell line (H460/taxR cells) treated with Brij 78 (MHLB=1.11) and Brij 97 (MHLB=0.6). After treatments with Brij 78 and Brij 97, the levels of intracellular ATP were decreased and verapamil induced ATPase activities of P-gp were inhibited in multidrug resistant cells. The responses of the cells to Brij 78 and Brij 97 in ATP depletion studies correlated with the cell viability induced by PTX/Brij NCs and intracellular accumulation of 3H-PTX. Brij 78 and Brij 97 could not alter the levels of P-gp expression detected by western blotting. These findings may provide some insight into the likelihood of further development of more potent P-gp inhibitors for the treatment of MDR in cancer.
doi:10.1021/bm301661w
PMCID: PMC3574583  PMID: 23311629
Brij; multidrug resistance (MDR); Nanocrystals; paclitaxel; P-glycoprotein
18.  Association between Statin Use and Short-Term Outcome Based on Severity of Ischemic Stroke: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84389.
Background
Statins reportedly improve clinical outcomes for ischemic stroke patients. However, it is unclear whether the contribution of statin treatment varies depending on the severity of stroke. We sought to investigate the relationship between statin use and the outcome of acute first-ever ischemic stroke patients stratified by stroke severity.
Methods
A total of 7,455 acute first-ever ischemic stroke patients without statin treatment before onset were eligible from the China National Stroke Registry. A National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score of 0 to 4 was defined as minor stroke, and a NIHSS score of >4 was defined as non-minor stroke. We analyzed the association between statin use during hospitalization and mortality as well as functional outcome (measured by a modified Rankin Scale score of 0–5) at 3 months after onset using multivariable logistic regression models.
Results
A total of 3,231 (43.3%) patients received statin treatment during hospitalization. Multivariable analysis showed that statin use during hospitalization decreased mortality of ischemic stroke patients (OR, 0.51; 95%CI, 0.38–0.67), but did not improve poor functional outcomes (OR, 0.95; 95CI%, 0.81–1.11) at 3 months. The interaction between statin use and stroke severity was significant both in dependence and death outcome (P = 0.04 for dependence outcome, P = 0.03 for death outcome). After stratification by stroke severity, statin use during hospitalization decreased the mortality of stroke (OR, 0.44; 95%CI, 0.31–0.62) and poor functional outcome (OR, 0.73; 95%CI, 0.57–0.92) at 3 months in the non-minor stroke group.
Conclusions
Statin use during hospitalization may improve the clinical outcome of acute first-ever ischemic stroke depending on the severity of stroke. Non-minor stroke patients may obtain benefit from statin treatment with improvements in poor functional outcomes and mortality.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084389
PMCID: PMC3897364  PMID: 24465409
19.  Trps1 Differentially Modulates the Bone Mineral Density between Male and Female Mice and Its Polymorphism Associates with BMD Differently between Women and Men 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84485.
The objective of our study was to identify genetic factors that regulate bone mineral density (BMD) in mice using well defined recombinant inbred strains. For this purpose we chose the BXD recombinant inbred (RI) strains derived from progeny of the C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2) progenitor strains. We sampled both male and female mice (∼4 each) of 46 strains at 3 months-of-age, measured their BMD, and conducted QTL mapping. The data were analyzed to identify candidates genes contained within the most significant quantitative trait locus (QTL). Evaluation of candidate genes included functional assessment, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping and direct sequencing. We established that there was a QTL for BMD in males on chromosome 15 that has the impact larger than QTLs on all other chromosomes. The QTL on chromosome 15 was narrowed to a genomic region between 38 Mbp and 52 Mbp. By examining transcripts within this region, we found an important candidate gene: trichorhinophalangeal syndrome, type I (Trps1). SNP analysis identified a nonsynonymous SNP (rs32398060) in Trps1 that co-segregated with bone mineral density. Analysis of association between this SNP within TRPS1 and BMD in a human population confirmed its significance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084485
PMCID: PMC3885592  PMID: 24416236
20.  Mash1 efficiently reprograms rat astrocytes into neurons 
Neural Regeneration Research  2014;9(1):25-32.
To date, it remains poorly understood whether astrocytes can be easily reprogrammed into neurons. Mash1 and Brn2 have been previously shown to cooperate to reprogram fibroblasts into neurons. In this study, we examined astrocytes from 2-month-old Sprague-Dawley rats, and found that Brn2 was expressed, but Mash1 was not detectable. Thus, we hypothesized that Mash1 alone could be used to reprogram astrocytes into neurons. We transfected a recombinant MSCV-MASH1 plasmid into astrocytes for 72 hours, and saw that all cells expressed Mash1. One week later, we observed the changes in morphology of astrocytes, which showed typical neuronal characteristics. Moreover, β-tubulin expression levels were significantly higher in astrocytes expressing Mash1 than in control cells. These results indicate that Mash1 alone can reprogram astrocytes into neurons.
doi:10.4103/1673-5374.125326
PMCID: PMC4146312  PMID: 25206740
nerve regeneration; Mash-1; Brn2; β-tubulin; reprogram; plasmid; retrovirus; astrocytes; neurons; the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program); neural regeneration
21.  Altered Topological Organization of Cortical Network in Adolescent Girls with Idiopathic Scoliosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83767.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a multifactorial disease affecting approximately 1–4% of teenagers especially girls at the age of 10–16, but its etiopathogenesis remains uncertain. Previous study has revealed that the cortical thickness in AIS patients is different from that in normal controls. Cortical thickness measurements are known to be strongly correlated between regions that are axonally connected. Hence, a hypothesis is proposed to study the possibility to demonstrate abnormal structural network revealed by cortical thickness in AIS patients. The aim of the study is to investigate abnormalities in the organization of the brain cortical network in AIS patients. This study included 42 girls with severe idiopathic scoliosis (14.7±1.3 years old) and 41 age-matched normal controls (NC, 14.6±1.4 years old). The brain cortex was partitioned into 154 cortical regions based on gyral and sulcal structure. The interregional connectivity was measured as the statistical correlations between the regional mean thicknesses across the subjects. We employed the graph theoretic analysis to examine the alteration in interregional correlation, small-world efficiency, hub distribution, and regional nodal characteristics in AIS patients. We demonstrated that the cortical network of AIS patients fully preserved the small-world architecture and organization, and further verified the hemispheric asymmetry of AIS brain. Our results indicated increased central role of temporal and occipital cortex and decreased central role of limbic cortex in AIS patients compared with controls. Furthermore, decreased structural connectivity between hemispheres and increased connectivity in several cortical regions were observed. The findings of the study reveal the pattern of structural network alteration in AIS brain, and would help in understanding the mechanism and etiopathogenesis of AIS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083767
PMCID: PMC3869815  PMID: 24376742
22.  Abnormal Organization of White Matter Network in Patients with No Dementia after Ischemic Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81388.
Structural changes after ischemic stroke could affect information communication extensively in the brain network. It is likely that the defects in the white matter (WM) network play a key role in information interchange. In this study, we used graph theoretical analysis to examine potential organization alteration in the WM network architecture derived from diffusion tensor images from subjects with no dementia and experienced stroke in the past 5.4–14.8 months (N = 47, Mini-Mental Screening Examination, MMSE range 18–30), compared with a normal control group with 44 age and gender-matched healthy volunteers (MMSE range 26–30). Region-wise connectivity was derived from fiber connection density of 90 different cortical and subcortical parcellations across the whole brain. Both normal controls and patients with chronic stroke exhibited efficient small-world properties in their WM structural networks. Compared with normal controls, topological efficiency was basically unaltered in the patients with chronic stroke, as reflected by unchanged local and global clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, and regional efficiency. No significant difference in hub distribution was found between normal control and patient groups. Patients with chronic stroke, however, were found to have reduced betweenness centrality and predominantly located in the orbitofrontal cortex, whereas increased betweenness centrality and vulnerability were observed in parietal-occipital cortex. The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score of patient is correlated with the betweenness centrality of right pallidum and local clustering coefficient of left superior occipital gyrus. Our findings suggest that patients with chronic stroke still exhibit efficient small-world organization and unaltered topological efficiency, with altered topology at orbitofrontal cortex and parietal-occipital cortex in the overall structural network. Findings from this study could help in understanding the mechanism of cognitive impairment and functional compensation occurred in patients with chronic stroke.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081388
PMCID: PMC3862493  PMID: 24349063
23.  A novel risk score to predict 1-year functional outcome after intracerebral hemorrhage and comparison with existing scores 
Critical Care  2013;17(6):R275.
Introduction
Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is one of leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Several predictive models have been developed for ICH; however, none of them have been consistently used in routine clinical practice or clinical research. In the study, we aimed to develop and validate a risk score for predicting 1-year functional outcome after ICH (ICH Functional Outcome Score, ICH-FOS). Furthermore, we compared discrimination of the ICH-FOS and 8 existing ICH scores with regard to 30-day, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year functional outcome and mortality after ICH.
Methods
The ICH-FOS was developed based on the China National Stroke Registry, in which eligible patients were randomly divided into derivation (60%) and validation (40%) cohorts. Poor functional outcome was defined as modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) ≥3 at 1 year after ICH. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine independent predictors, and β-coefficients were used to generate scoring system of the ICH-FOS. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test were used to assess model discrimination and calibration.
Results
The overall 1-year poor functional outcome (mRS ≥ 3) was 46.7% and 44.9% in the derivation (n = 1,953) and validation (n = 1,302) cohorts, respectively. A 16-point ICH-FOS was developed from the set of independent predictors of 1-year poor functional outcome after ICH including age (P < 0.001), admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score (P < 0.001), Glasgow Coma Scale score (P < 0.001), blood glucose (P = 0.002), ICH location (P < 0.001), hematoma volume (P < 0.001), and intraventricular extension (P < 0.001). The ICH-FOS showed good discrimination (AUROC) in the derivation (0.836, 95% CI: 0.819-0.854) and validation (0.830, 95% CI: 0.808-0.852) cohorts. The ICH-FOS was well calibrated (Hosmer-Lemeshow test) in the derivation (P = 0.42) and validation (P = 0.39) cohort. When compared to 8 prior ICH scores, the ICH-FOS showed significantly better discrimination with regard to 1-year functional outcome and mortality after ICH (all P < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the ICH-FOS also demonstrated either comparable or significantly better discrimination for poor functional outcome and mortality at 30-day, 3-month, and 6-month after ICH.
Conclusion
The ICH-FOS is a valid clinical grading scale for 1-year functional outcome after ICH. Further validation of the ICH-FOS in different populations is needed.
doi:10.1186/cc13130
PMCID: PMC4056008  PMID: 24289116
24.  Magnetic Resonance Angiography Signal Intensity as a Marker of Hemodynamic Impairment in Intracranial Arterial Stenosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80124.
Background
Intracranial arterial stenosis (ICAS) is the predominant cause of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack in Asia. Change of signal intensities (SI) across an ICAS on magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) may reflect its hemodynamic severity.
Methods
In-patients with a symptomatic single ICAS detected on 3D time-of-flight MRA were recruited from 2 hospitals. Baseline and 1-year follow-up data were collected. Signal intensity ratio (SIR) [ =  (mean post-stenotic SI -mean background SI)/(mean pre-stenotic SI - mean background SI)] was evaluated on baseline MRA to represent change of SIs across an ICAS. Acute infarct volume was measured on baseline diffusion-weighted images (DWI). Relationships between SIR and baseline characteristics as well as 1y outcomes were evaluated.
Results
Thirty-six subjects (86.1% males, mean age 55.0) were recruited. Overall, mean SIR was 0.84±0.23. Mean SIRs were not significantly different between the 23 (63.9%) anatomically severe stenoses and the 13 (36.1%) anatomically moderate stenoses (0.80±0.23 versus 0.92±0.21, p = 0.126). SIR was significantly, linearly and negatively correlated to acute infarct volume on DWI (Spearman correlation coefficient −0.471, p = 0.011). Two patients (5.6%) had recurrent ischemic strokes at 1y, not related to SIR values.
Conclusions
Change of signal intensities across an ICAS on MRA may reflect its hemodynamic and functional severity. Future studies are warranted to further verify the relationships between this index and prognosis of patients with symptomatic ICAS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080124
PMCID: PMC3841201  PMID: 24302997
25.  Glycated Hemoglobin Independently Predicts Stroke Recurrence within One Year after Acute First-Ever Non-Cardioembolic Strokes Onset in A Chinese Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80690.
Objective
Hyperglycemia is related to stroke. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) can reflect pre-stroke glycaemia status. However, the information on the direct association between HbA1c and recurrence after non-cardioembolic acute ischemic strokes is rare and there is no consistent conclusion.
Methods
The ACROSS-China database comprised of 2186 consecutive first-ever acute ischemic stroke patients with baseline HbA1c values. After excluding patients who died from non-stroke recurrence and patients lost to follow up, 1817 and 1540 were eligible for 3-month and 1-year analyses, respectively. Multivariate Cox regression was performed to evaluate the associations between HbA1c and 3-month and 1-year stroke recurrence.
Results
The HbA1c values at admission were divided into 4 levels by quartiles: Q1 (<5.5%); Q2 (5.5 to <6.1%); Q3 (6.1% to <7.2%); and Q4 (≥7.2%). The cumulative recurrence rates were 8.3% and 11.0% for 3 months and 1 year, respectively. In multivariate analyses, when compared with Q1, the adjusted hazard ratios (AHRs) were 2.83 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28-6.26) in Q3 and 3.71(95% CI 1.68-8.21) in Q4 for 3-month stroke recurrence; 3.30 (95% CI 1.31-8.34) in Q3 and 3.35 (95% CI 1.36-8.21) in Q4 for 1-year stroke recurrence. Adding fasting plasma glucose in the multivariate analyses did not modify the association: AHRs were 2.75 (95% CI 1.24-6.11) in Q3 and 3.67 (95% CI 1.59-8.53) in Q4 for 3-month analysis; AHRs were 3.08 (95% CI 1.10-8.64) in Q3 and 3.31(95% CI 1.35-8.14) in Q4 for 1-year analysis.
Conclusions
A higher “normal” HbA1c level reflecting pre-stroke glycaemia status independently predicts stroke recurrence within one year after non-cardioembolic acute ischemic stroke onset. HbA1c is recommended as a routine test in acute ischemic stroke patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080690
PMCID: PMC3827473  PMID: 24236195

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