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1.  Mechanistic Consequences of Chiral Radical Clock Probes: Analysis of the Mononuclear Non-Heme Iron Enzyme HppE with 2-Hydroxy-3-methylenecyclopropyl Radical Clock Substrates 
(S)-2-Hydroxypropylphosphonic acid [(S)-HPP] epoxidase (HppE) is a mononuclear iron enzyme that catalyzes the last step in the biosynthesis of the antibiotic fosfomycin. HppE also processes the (R)-enantiomer of HPP but converts it to 2-oxo-propylphosphonic acid. In this study, all four stereoisomers of 3-methylenecyclopropyl-containing substrate analogues, (2R, 3R)-8, (2R, 3S)-8, (2S, 3R)-8, and (2S, 3S)-8, were synthesized and used as radical probes to investigate the mechanism of the HppE-catalyzed reaction. Upon treatment with HppE, (2S, 3R)-8 and (2S, 3S)-8 were converted via a C1 radical intermediate to the corresponding epoxide products, as anticipated. In contrast, incubation of HppE with (2R, 3R)-8 led to enzyme inactivation, and incubation of HppE with (2R, 3S)-8 yielded the 2-keto product. The former finding is consistent with the formation of a C2 radical intermediate, where the inactivation is likely triggered by radical-induced ring cleavage of the methylenecyclopropyl group. Reaction with (2R, 3S)-8 is predicted to also proceed via a C2 radical intermediate, but no enzyme inactivation and no ring-opened product were detected. These results strongly suggest that an internal electron transfer to the iron center subsequent to C–H homolysis competes with ring-opening in the processing of the C2 radical intermediate. The different outcomes of the reactions with (2R, 3R)-8 and (2R, 3S)-8 demonstrate the need to carefully consider the chirality of substituted cyclopropyl groups as radical reporting groups in studies of enzymatic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4004275  PMID: 24512048
2.  Is schizophrenia associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease? A nationwide matched-cohort study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(1):e006777.
The impact of schizophrenia on vital diseases, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD), has not as yet been verified. This study aims to establish whether there is an association between schizophrenia and CKD.
A nationwide matched cohort study.
Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database.
A total of 2338 patients with schizophrenia, and 7014 controls without schizophrenia (1:3), matched cohort for sex, age group, geography, urbanisation and monthly income, between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2007, based on the International Classifications of Disease Ninth Edition (ICD-9), Clinical Modification codes.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
After making adjustments for confounding risk factors, a Cox proportional hazards model was used to compare the risk of developing CKD during a 3-year follow-up period from the index date.
Of the 2338-subject case cohort, 163 (6.97%) developed a CKD, as did 365 (5.20%) of the 7014 control participants. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis revealed that patients with schizophrenia were more likely to develop CKD (HR=1.36, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.63; p<0.001). After adjusting for gender, age group, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, heart disease and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) usage, the HR for patients with schizophrenia was 1.25 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.50; p<0.05). Neither typical nor atypical antipsychotics was associated an increased risk of CKD in patients with schizophrenia.
The findings from this population-based retrospective cohort study suggest that schizophrenia is associated with a 25% increase in the risk of developing CKD within only a 3-year follow-up period.
PMCID: PMC4316552  PMID: 25628048
Schizophrenia; chronic kidney diseases; National Health Insurance Research Dataset; non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs
3.  A new estimation approach for combining epidemiological data from multiple sources 
We propose a novel two-step procedure to combine epidemiological data obtained from diverse sources with the aim to quantify risk factors affecting the probability that an individual develops certain disease such as cancer. In the first step we derive all possible unbiased estimating functions based on a group of cases and a group of controls each time. In the second step, we combine these estimating functions efficiently in order to make full use of the information contained in data. Our approach is computationally simple and flexible. We illustrate its efficacy through simulation and apply it to investigate pancreatic cancer risks based on data obtained from the Connecticut Tumor Registry, a population-based case-control study, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System which is a state-based system of health surveys.
PMCID: PMC3964681  PMID: 24683281
Spatial epidemiology; spatial point process; estimating equation
4.  TMEM14C is required for erythroid mitochondrial heme metabolism 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2014;124(10):4294-4304.
The transport and intracellular trafficking of heme biosynthesis intermediates are crucial for hemoglobin production, which is a critical process in developing red cells. Here, we profiled gene expression in terminally differentiating murine fetal liver-derived erythroid cells to identify regulators of heme metabolism. We determined that TMEM14C, an inner mitochondrial membrane protein that is enriched in vertebrate hematopoietic tissues, is essential for erythropoiesis and heme synthesis in vivo and in cultured erythroid cells. In mice, TMEM14C deficiency resulted in porphyrin accumulation in the fetal liver, erythroid maturation arrest, and embryonic lethality due to profound anemia. Protoporphyrin IX synthesis in TMEM14C-deficient erythroid cells was blocked, leading to an accumulation of porphyrin precursors. The heme synthesis defect in TMEM14C-deficient cells was ameliorated with a protoporphyrin IX analog, indicating that TMEM14C primarily functions in the terminal steps of the heme synthesis pathway. Together, our data demonstrate that TMEM14C facilitates the import of protoporphyrinogen IX into the mitochondrial matrix for heme synthesis and subsequent hemoglobin production. Furthermore, the identification of TMEM14C as a protoporphyrinogen IX importer provides a genetic tool for further exploring erythropoiesis and congenital anemias.
PMCID: PMC4191016  PMID: 25157825
5.  Assessment of left ventricular function by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in small breed dogs with hyperadrenocorticism 
Hyperadrenocorticism (HAC) is associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension. This study investigated the left ventricular function using two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography (2D-STE) in small breed dogs affected with spontaneous HAC.
Age-matched healthy controls (n = 9), dogs with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH, n = 10), and dogs with adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (ADH, n = 9) were included in this study. Conventional echocardiography, global longitudinal and circumferential strain, and strain rate were assessed.
On group-wise comparison, left ventricular free wall (LVFWd) and interventricular septal thickness in diastole (IVSd) were thickest in the ADH group, followed by the PDH and controls (P = 0.014 and P = 0.001, respectively). Neither LVFWd nor IVSd was correlated with systemic blood pressure (P = 0.238 and P = 0.113, respectively). The values of all variables derived from the global strain and strain rate in longitudinal and circumferential directions followed the same pattern: highest in the controls, followed by PDH and then ADH (all P < 0.05, respectively). On multiple regression analyses, global longitudinal strain, global longitudinal strain rate in systole and early diastole, and global circumferential strain all decreased linearly with increased IVSd (all P < 0.05).
Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) was more prevalent in the HAC group compared to the control group. Association between hypertension and development of LVH was not identified. Decreased global longitudinal and circumferential strains were associated with increased IVSd. 2D-STE revealed significant decreases in systolic functions that were undetected using conventional echocardiography in the ADH and PDH groups.
PMCID: PMC4300024  PMID: 25551792
Canine; Left ventricular deformation; Hypercortisolism; Hypertension; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
6.  LC3A‐Positive “Stone‐Like” Structures Predict an Adverse Prognosis of Gastric Cancer 
Microtubule‐associated protein light chain 3 (LC3A) is a reliable marker of autophagy that displays three distinct patterns of immunohistochemical staining in solid tumors: diffuse cytoplasmic staining, juxtanuclear staining, and staining of “stone‐like” structures. These three patterns have a different prognostic significance in many solid tumors, but little is known about their influence in gastric cancer (GC). This study was a retrospective analysis of 188 GC patients from stages I to IV. The pattern of LC3A expression was examined in tumor and nontumor tissues by immunohistochemistry. Then, the association between the pattern of LC3A expression in GC and the prognosis was investigated by Kaplan‐Meier analysis and the Cox proportional hazards model. Two distinct patterns of LC3A immunostaining (diffuse cytoplasmic expression and “stone‐like” structures) were observed in GC tissues. LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures were found only in the tumors, and the number of such structures was correlated with both the tumor type and tumor stage. In addition, a high number of LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures was closely associated with an increased risk of recurrence after radical resection of stages I–III cancer (P < 0.001; HR = 0.205) and was associated with a lower overall survival rate for stage IV cancer (P < 0.001; HR = 0.364). Taken together, our data demonstrate that LC3A‐positive “stone‐like” structures can be used as an independent biomarker for an adverse prognosis of GC, suggesting that “stone‐like” structures are correlated with the malignancy of this disease. Anat Rec, 297:653–662, 2014. © 2014 The Authors The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PMCID: PMC4279981  PMID: 24532538
gastric cancer; autophagy; LC3A; stone‐like structure; prognosis
7.  Epidermal growth factor receptor pathway polymorphisms and the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma 
The EGFR signaling pathway is important in the control of vital processes in the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including cell survival, cell cycle progression, tumor invasion and angiogenesis. In the current study, we aim to assess if genetic variants in the genes of the EGFR signaling pathway are associated with the prognosis of HCC. We genotyped 36 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in four core genes (EGF, EGFR, VEGF, and VEGFR2) by using DNA from blood samples of 363 HCC patients with surgical resection. The associations between genotypes and overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confident intervals (CIs) were estimated for the multivariate survival analyses by Cox proportional hazards regression models, adjusting for age, gender, family history, HBsAg and AFP. We found that five SNPs in the VEGFR2 gene were significantly associated with clinical outcomes of HCC patients. Among them, four SNPs (rs7692791, rs2305948, rs13109660, rs6838752) were associated with OS (p=0.035, 0.038, 0.029 and 0.028, respectively), and two SNPs (rs7692791 and rs2034965) were associated with DFS (p=0.039 and 0.017, respectively). Particularly, rs7692791 TT genotype was associated with both reduced OS (p=0.037) and DFS (p=0.043). However, only one SNP rs2034965 with the AA genotype was shown to be an independent effect on DFS (p=0.009) in the multivariate analysis. None of the other 31 polymorphisms or 9 haplotypes attained from the four genes was significantly associated with OS or DFS. Our results illustrated the potential use of VEGFR2 polymorphisms as prognostic markers for HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4300692  PMID: 25628948
Hepatocellular carcinoma; survival; EGF; EGFR; VEGF; VEGFR2; genetic polymorphisms
8.  p42.3 promotes cell proliferation and invasion in human Renal-Cell Carcinoma 
p42.3 is a tumor-specific gene and found to be over-expressed in many tumor cell lines and primary tumor tissues. It plays a significant role in neoplastic transformation and tumor progression. To date, the association between p42.3 and Renal-Cell Carcinoma (RCC) has not been reported. This study investigated the biological effects and mechanisms of p42.3 in RCC progression. In this study, we found that p42.3 is overexpressed in various kinds of RCC cells, and knockdown of p42.3 dramatically reduced cell proliferation and invasion in vitro. Our studies revealed that overexpression of p42.3 accelerates the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) progression and induces RCC cells proliferation and invasion. Further studies show that p42.3 may involve in activation of β-catenin and participate in RCC cell invasion. Combined, these data indicate that p42.3 contributes to promoting RCC cells proliferation and invasion through accelerates the EMT progression and β-catenin activation.
PMCID: PMC4307440  PMID: 25663993
p42.3; RCC; cell invasion; E-cadherin; β-catenin
9.  Mixed lineage leukaemia histone methylases 1 collaborate with ERα to regulate HOXA10 expression in AML 
Bioscience Reports  2014;34(6):e00156.
HOXA10, a homeobox-containing gene involved in definitive haematopoiesis, which implicated in the pathogenesis of AML (acute myeloid leukaemia), has been studied extensively. But the regulatory mechanism that drives HOXA10 expression is still unclear. In the present paper, HOXA10 regulated by MLL1 (mixed lineage leukaemia histone methylase 1) with an epigenetic way has been demonstrated. The HOXA10 promoter contains several EREs (oestrogen response elements), including ERE1 and ERE2, which are close to the transcription start site, and are associated with E2-mediated activation of HOXA10. It has been shown that knockdown of the ERα (oestrogen receptor α) suppresses E2-mediated activation of HOXA10. Similarly, knockdown of MLL1 suppresses activation of HOXA10 and is bound to the ERE of HOXA10 promoter in an E2-dependent manner by forming complex with ERα. Knockdown of ERα affects the E2-dependent binding of MLL1 into HOXA10 EREs, suggesting critical roles of ERα in recruiting MLL on the HOXA10 promoter. More interestingly, the methylation status of histone protein H3K4 (H3 at lysine 4) with E2 is much higher than without E2 treatment in leukaemia cell. On the contrary, the methylation status of HOXA10 promoter with E2 treatment is much lower, which elevate the HOXA10 expression. Moreover, with ERα knockdown, the H3K4 methylation level is also decrease in myeloid cell. Overall, it has been clearly demonstrated that HOXA10 is transcriptionally regulated by MLL1, which, in coordination with ERα, plays a critical role in this process with epigenetic way and suggests a potential anti-E2 treatment of AML.
We find that E2 could elevate HOXA10 expression. We examine HOXA10 regulated by MLL1 with an epigenetic way. MLL1 bind to HOXA10 promoter through formatting complex with mainly ERα.
PMCID: PMC4266925  PMID: 25307539
AML; oestrogen receptor; gene regulation; HOXA10; mixed lineage leukaemia; ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; AML, acute myeloid leukaemia; ChIP, chromatin immunoprecipitation; ER, oestrogen receptor; ERE, oestrogen response element; H3K4, H3 at lysine 4; HMT, histone methyltransferase; LSD1, lysine-specific demethylase 1; MSP, methylation-specific PCR; MLL, mixed lineage leukaemia histone methylase; NP40, Nonidet P40
10.  p38MAPK plays a crucial role in stromal mediated tumorigenesis 
Cancer discovery  2014;4(6):716-729.
Neoplastic cells rely on the tumor microenvironment (TME) for survival and progression factors. Indeed, senescent and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) express factors that promote tumorigenesis that are collectively referred to as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Despite their importance in tumorigenesis, the mechanisms that control TME-derived factor expression remain poorly understood. Here we address a key unanswered question, how the SASP is sustained in senescent fibroblasts and CAFs. We find that the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 (p38MAPK) controls AUF1 occupancy on SASP mRNAs and thus controls their stability. The importance of this regulatory mechanism is underscored by our findings that stromal-specific p38MAPK inhibition abrogates the tumor-promoting activities of CAFs and senescent fibroblasts. Our data suggest that targeting SASP mRNA stability through inhibition of p38MAPK will significantly aid the development of clinical strategies to target the TME.
PMCID: PMC4049323  PMID: 24670723
tumor microenvironment; senescence; SASP; mRNA stability; p38MAPK
11.  Systematic prediction of drug combinations based on clinical side-effects 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7160.
Drug co-prescription (or drug combination) is a therapeutic strategy widely used as it may improve efficacy and reduce side-effect (SE). Since it is impractical to screen all possible drug combinations for every indication, computational methods have been developed to predict new combinations. In this study, we describe a novel approach that utilizes clinical SEs from post-marketing surveillance and the drug label to predict 1,508 novel drug-drug combinations. It outperforms other prediction methods, achieving an AUC of 0.92 compared to an AUC of 0.69 in a previous method, on a much larger drug combination set (245 drug combinations in our dataset compared to 75 in previous work.). We further found from the feature selection that three FDA black-box warned serious SEs, namely pneumonia, haemorrhage rectum, and retinal bleeding, contributed mostly to the predictions and a model only using these three SEs can achieve an average area under curve (AUC) at 0.80 and accuracy at 0.91, potentially with its simplicity being recognized as a practical rule-of-three in drug co-prescription or making fixed-dose drug combination. We also demonstrate this performance is less likely to be influenced by confounding factors such as biased disease indications or chemical structures.
PMCID: PMC4241517  PMID: 25418113
13.  Multi-scale symbolic entropy analysis provides prognostic prediction in patients receiving extracorporeal life support 
Critical Care  2014;18(5):548.
Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) can temporarily support cardiopulmonary function, and is occasionally used in resuscitation. Multi-scale entropy (MSE) derived from heart rate variability (HRV) is a powerful tool in outcome prediction of patients with cardiovascular diseases. Multi-scale symbolic entropy analysis (MSsE), a new method derived from MSE, mitigates the effect of arrhythmia on analysis. The objective is to evaluate the prognostic value of MSsE in patients receiving ECLS. The primary outcome is death or urgent transplantation during the index admission.
Fifty-seven patients receiving ECLS less than 24 hours and 23 control subjects were enrolled. Digital 24-hour Holter electrocardiograms were recorded and three MSsE parameters (slope 5, Area 6–20, Area 6–40) associated with the multiscale correlation and complexity of heart beat fluctuation were calculated.
Patients receiving ECLS had significantly lower value of slope 5, area 6 to 20, and area 6 to 40 than control subjects. During the follow-up period, 29 patients met primary outcome. Age, slope 5, Area 6 to 20, Area 6 to 40, acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II score, multiple organ dysfunction score (MODS), logistic organ dysfunction score (LODS), and myocardial infarction history were significantly associated with primary outcome. Slope 5 showed the greatest discriminatory power. In a net reclassification improvement model, slope 5 significantly improved the predictive power of LODS; Area 6 to 20 and Area 6 to 40 significantly improved the predictive power in MODS. In an integrated discrimination improvement model, slope 5 added significantly to the prediction power of each clinical parameter. Area 6 to 20 and Area 6 to 40 significantly improved the predictive power in sequential organ failure assessment.
MSsE provides additional prognostic information in patients receiving ECLS.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13054-014-0548-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4221713  PMID: 25341381
14.  SLDR: a computational technique to identify novel genetic regulatory relationships 
BMC Bioinformatics  2014;15(Suppl 11):S1.
We developed a new computational technique called Step-Level Differential Response (SLDR) to identify genetic regulatory relationships. Our technique takes advantages of functional genomics data for the same species under different perturbation conditions, therefore complementary to current popular computational techniques. It can particularly identify "rare" activation/inhibition relationship events that can be difficult to find in experimental results. In SLDR, we model each candidate target gene as being controlled by N binary-state regulators that lead to ≤2N observable states ("step-levels") for the target. We applied SLDR to the study of the GEO microarray data set GSE25644, which consists of 158 different mutant S. cerevisiae gene expressional profiles. For each target gene t, we first clustered ordered samples into various clusters, each approximating an observable step-level of t to screen out the "de-centric" target. Then, we ordered each gene x as a candidate regulator and aligned t to x for the purpose of examining the step-level correlations between low expression set of x (Ro) and high expression set of x (Rh) from the regulator x to t, by finding max f(t, x): |Ro-Rh| over all candidate × in the genome for each t. We therefore obtained activation and inhibitions events from different combinations of Ro and Rh. Furthermore, we developed criteria for filtering out less-confident regulators, estimated the number of regulators for each target t, and evaluated identified top-ranking regulator-target relationship. Our results can be cross-validated with the Yeast Fitness database. SLDR is also computationally efficient with o(N2) complexity. In summary, we believe SLDR can be applied to the mining of functional genomics big data for future network biology and network medicine applications.
PMCID: PMC4251037  PMID: 25350940
15.  Treating Cardiovascular Atherosclerotic Plaques with Tongmaijiangzhi (TMJZ) Capsule 
Atherosclerotic plaques can cause serious syndromes and mortality. Cholesterol accumulation in the plaques can disrupt the arterial flow, with lumen narrowing and stenosis, which contributes to heart attack and sudden cardiac death. The pharmacological treatment to atherosclerotic plaques can be anti-hypertensives, anti-cholesterol, and cleaning of the existed plaques. This work examined the effects of pharmacological Tongmaijiangzhi (TMJZ) capsule on atherosclerotic plaques. The radiological findings of the atherosclerotic plaques of 107 patients receiving TMJZ treatment were analyzed. We found that the TMJZ administration decreases plaque volume and alters the composition in a relatively short period, showing highly promising effects. TMJZ treatment is able to remove the existed atherosclerotic plaques with no side effects observed.
PMCID: PMC3847381  PMID: 24311866
Tongmaijiangzhi; Atherosclerotic plaques; stenosis; hypertension
16.  Effects of ginsenosides-Rb1 on exercise-induced oxidative stress in forced swimming mice 
Pharmacognosy Magazine  2014;10(40):458-463.
The fleshy root of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (ginseng) is one of the most well-known and valued herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginsenosides are considered mainly responsible for the pharmacological activities of ginseng. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of ginsenoside-Rb1 (G-Rb1) on swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress in male mice.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 48 animals were randomly divided into four groups, with twelve mice in each group. The first, second and third groups were designed as G-Rb1 treatment groups, got 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg bodyweight of G-Rb1, respectively. The fourth group was designed as the control group, got physiologic saline. The mice were intragastrically administered once daily for 4 weeks. The weight-loaded forced swimming test was conducted on the final day of experimentation. Then the exhaustive swimming time, blood lactate, serum creatine kinase (CK), malondialdehyde (MDA) and antioxidant enzymes in liver of mice were measured.
The results showed that G-Rb1 could prolong the exhaustive swimming time and improve exercise endurance capacity of mice, as well as accelerate the clearance of blood lactate and decrease serum CK activities. Meanwhile, G-Rb1 could decrease MDA contents and increase superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase activities in liver of mice.
The study suggested that G-Rb1 possessed protective effects on swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress in mice.
PMCID: PMC4239723  PMID: 25422546
Antioxidant enzymes; blood lactate; exhaustive swimming time; malondialdehyde; serum creatine kinase
17.  Evidence that the Fosfomycin-producing Epoxidase, HppE, is a Non-heme-iron Peroxidase⊥ 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;342(6161):991-995.
The iron-dependent epoxidase, HppE, converts (S)-2-hydroxypropyl-1-phosphonate (S-HPP) to the antibiotic, fosfomycin [(1R, 2S)-epoxypropylphosphonate], in an unusual 1,3-dehydrogenation of a secondary alcohol to an epoxide. HppE has been classified as an oxidase, with proposed mechanisms differing primarily in the identity of the O2-derived iron complex that abstracts hydrogen (H•) from C1 of S-HPP to initiate epoxide ring closure. We show here that the preferred co-substrate is actually H2O2 and that HppE therefore almost certainly employs an iron(IV)-oxo complex as the H• abstractor. Reaction with H2O2 is accelerated by bound substrate and produces fosfomycin catalytically with a stoichiometry of unity. The ability of catalase to suppress the HppE activity previously attributed to its direct utilization of O2 implies that reduction of O2 and utilization of the resultant H2O2 were actually operant.
PMCID: PMC4160821  PMID: 24114783
18.  Combination of High Ankle–Brachial Index and Hard Coronary Heart Disease Framingham Risk Score in Predicting the Risk of Ischemic Stroke in General Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106251.
Our previous study showed that the patients with more metabolic risk factors had higher risk of high ankle–brachial index (ABI), but the relationship between high ABI and the risk of severe cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases is still under debate. This study aims to evaluate this association in the general population. 1486 subjects of South China were recruited in the study. 61 subjects were defined as high ABI group (ABI≥1.3) and 65 subjects were randomly selected as normal ABI group (0.9
PMCID: PMC4157777  PMID: 25198106
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2013;19(17-18):2024-2034.
Current hemodialysis has functional limitations and is insufficient for renal transplantation. The bioartificial tubule device has been developed to contribute to metabolic functions by implanting renal epithelial cells into hollow tubes and showed a higher survival rate in acute kidney injury patients. In healthy kidney, epithelial cells are surrounded by various types of cells that interact with extracellular matrices, which are primarily composed of laminin and collagen. The current study developed a microfluidic coculture platform to enhance epithelial cell function in bioartificial microenvironments with multiple microfluidic channels that are microfabricated by polydimethylsiloxane. Collagen gel (CG) encapsulated with adipose-derived stem cells (CG-ASC) was injected into a central microfluidic channel for three-dimensional (3D) culture. The resuspended Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells were injected into nascent channels and formed an epithelial monolayer. In comparison to coculture different cells using the commercial transwell system, the current coculture device allowed living cell monitoring of both the MDCK epithelial monolayer and CG-ASC in a 3D microenvironment. By coculture with CG-ASC, the cell height was increased with columnar shapes in MDCK. Promotion of cilia formation and functional expression of the ion transport protein in MDCK were also observed in the cocultured microfluidic device. When applying fluid flow, the intracellular protein dynamics can be monitored in the current platform by using the time-lapse confocal microscopy and transfection of GFP-tubulin plasmid in MDCK. Thus, this microfluidic coculture device provides the renal epithelial cells with both morphological and functional improvements that may avail to develop bioartificial renal chips.
PMCID: PMC3726225  PMID: 23557379
Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is involved in wild-type α-synuclein degradation in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and LAMP2A and Hsc 70 have recently been indicated to be deregulated by microRNAs. To recognize the regularory role of miR-320a in CMA and the possible role in α-synuclein degradation, in the present study, we examined the targeting and regulating role of miR-320 in Hsc 70 expression. We first constructed an α-synuclein-overexpressed human neuroblastoma cell line, SH-SY5Y-Syn(+), stably over-expressing wild-type α-synuclein and sensitive to an autophagy inhibitor, which exerted no effect on the expression of LAMP2A and Hsc 70. Then we evaluated the influence on the CMA by miR-320a in the SH-SY5Y-Syn(+) cells. It was shown that miR-320a mimics transfection of specifically targeted Hsc 70 and reduced its expression at both mRNA and protein levels, however, the other key CMA molecule, LAMP2A was not regulated by miR-320a. Further, the reduced Hsc 70 attenuated the α-synuclein degradation in the SH-SY5Y-Syn(+) cells, and induced a significantly high level of α-synuclein accumulation. In conclusion, we demonstrate that miR-320a specifically targeted the 3' UTR of Hsc 70, decreased Hsc 70 expression at both protein and mRNA levels in α-synuclein-over-expressed SH-SY5Y cells, and resulted in significant α-synuclein intracellular accumulation. These results imply that miR-320a might be implicated in the α-synuclein aggravation in PD.
PMCID: PMC4200851  PMID: 25207598
miR-320a; α-synuclein aggregation; Hsc 70; chaperone-mediated autophagy; Parkinson disease
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104150.
Rapidly driven by the need for developing sustainable sources of nutritionally important fatty acids and the rising concerns about environmental impacts after using fossil oil, oil-plants have received increasing awareness nowadays. As an important oil-rich plant in China, Camellia oleifera has played a vital role in providing nutritional applications, biofuel productions and chemical feedstocks. However, the lack of C. oleifera genome sequences and little genetic information have largely hampered the urgent needs for efficient utilization of the abundant germplasms towards modern breeding efforts of this woody oil-plant.
Here, using the 454 GS-FLX sequencing platform, we generated approximately 600,000 RNA-Seq reads from four tissues of C. oleifera. These reads were trimmed and assembled into 104,842 non-redundant putative transcripts with a total length of ∼38.9 Mb, representing more than 218-fold of all the C. oleifera sequences currently deposited in the GenBank (as of March 2014). Based on the BLAST similarity searches, nearly 42.6% transcripts could be annotated with known genes, conserved domains, or Gene Ontology (GO) terms. Comparisons with the cultivated tea tree, C. sinensis, identified 3,022 pairs of orthologs, of which 211 exhibited the evidence under positive selection. Pathway analysis detected the majority of genes potentially related to lipid metabolism. Evolutionary analysis of omega-6 fatty acid desaturase (FAD2) genes among 20 oil-plants unexpectedly suggests that a parallel evolution may occur between C. oleifera and Olea oleifera. Additionally, more than 2,300 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 20,200 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in the C. oleifera transcriptome.
The generated transcriptome represents a considerable increase in the number of sequences deposited in the public databases, providing an unprecedented opportunity to discover all related-genes associated with lipid metabolic pathway in C. oleifera. It will greatly enhance the generation of new varieties of C. oleifera with increased yields and high quality.
PMCID: PMC4138098  PMID: 25136805
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104650.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that has a significant impact on the health care system. The reduction of glycated hemoglobin A1c is highly associated with the improvements of glycemic control and diabetic complications. In this study, we identified a traditional Chinese medicinal formula with a HbA1c-lowering potential from clinical evidences. By surveying 9,973 diabetic patients enrolled in Taiwan Diabetic Care Management Program, we found that Chu-Yeh-Shih-Kao-Tang (CYSKT) significantly reduced HbA1c values in diabetic patients. CYSKT reduced the levels of HbA1c and fasting blood glucose, and stimulated the blood glucose clearance in type 2 diabetic mice. CYSKT affected the expressions of genes associated with insulin signaling pathway, increased the amount of phosphorylated insulin receptor in cells and tissues, and stimulated the translocation of glucose transporter 4. Moreover, CYSKT affected the expressions of genes related to diabetic complications, improved the levels of renal function indexes, and increased the survival rate of diabetic mice. In conclusion, this was a translational medicine study that applied a “bedside-to-bench” approach to identify a novel HbA1c-lowering formula. Our findings suggested that oral administration of CYSKT affected insulin signaling pathway, decreased HbA1c and blood glucose levels, and consequently reduced mortality rate in type 2 diabetic mice.
PMCID: PMC4136774  PMID: 25133699
Objective: Nance-Horan syndrome (NHS) is a rare X-linked disorder characterized by congenital nuclear cataracts, dental anomalies, and craniofacial dysmorphisms. Mental retardation was present in about 30% of the reported cases. The purpose of this study was to investigate the genetic and clinical features of NHS in a Chinese family. Methods: Whole exome sequencing analysis was performed on DNA from an affected male to scan for candidate mutations on the X-chromosome. Sanger sequencing was used to verify these candidate mutations in the whole family. Clinical and ophthalmological examinations were performed on all members of the family. Results: A combination of exome sequencing and Sanger sequencing revealed a nonsense mutation c.322G>T (E108X) in exon 1 of NHS gene, co-segregating with the disease in the family. The nonsense mutation led to the conversion of glutamic acid to a stop codon (E108X), resulting in truncation of the NHS protein. Multiple sequence alignments showed that codon 108, where the mutation (c.322G>T) occurred, was located within a phylogenetically conserved region. The clinical features in all affected males and female carriers are described in detail. Conclusions: We report a nonsense mutation c.322G>T (E108X) in a Chinese family with NHS. Our findings broaden the spectrum of NHS mutations and provide molecular insight into future NHS clinical genetic diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4129093  PMID: 25091991
Nance-Horan syndrome (NHS); Exome sequencing; X-linked disorder
Nature genetics  2012;45(1):72-75.
To identify genetic susceptibility loci for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the Chinese population, we carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 2,514 chronic HBV carriers (1,161 HCC cases and 1,353 controls) followed by a 2-stage validation among 6 independent populations of chronic HBV carriers (4,319 cases and 4,966 controls). The joint analyses showed that HCC risk was significantly associated with two independent loci: rs7574865 at STAT4, Pmeta = 2.48 × 10−10, odds ratio (OR) = 1.21; and rs9275319 at HLA-DQ, Pmeta = 2.72 × 10−17, OR = 1.49. The risk allele G at rs7574865 was significantly associated with lower mRNA levels of STAT4 in both the HCC tissues and nontumor tissues of 155 individuals with HBV-related HCC (Ptrend = 0.0008 and 0.0002, respectively). We also found significantly lower mRNA expression of STAT4 in HCC tumor tissues compared with paired adjacent nontumor tissues (P = 2.33 × 10−14).
PMCID: PMC4105840  PMID: 23242368
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:115.
Glutamine (GLN) has been reported to improve clinical and experimental sepsis outcomes. However, the mechanisms underlying the actions of GLN remain unclear, and may depend upon the route of GLN administration and the model of acute lung injury (ALI) used. The aim of this study was to investigate whether short-term GLN supplementation had an ameliorative effect on the inflammation induced by direct acid and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge in mice.
Female BALB/c mice were divided into two groups, a control group and a GLN group (4.17% GLN supplementation). After a 10-day feeding period, ALI was induced by intratracheal administration of hydrochloric acid (pH 1.0; 2 mL/kg of body weight [BW]) and LPS (5 mg/kg BW). Mice were sacrificed 3 h after ALI challenge. In this early phase of ALI, serum, lungs, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from the mice were collected for further analysis.
The results of this study showed that ALI-challenged mice had a significant increase in myeloperoxidase activity and expression of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α in the lung compared with unchallenged mice. Compared with the control group, GLN pretreatment in ALI-challenged mice reduced the levels of receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) and IL-1β production in BALF, with a corresponding decrease in their mRNA expression. The GLN group also had markedly lower in mRNA expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and NADPH oxidase-1.
These results suggest that the benefit of dietary GLN may be partly contributed to an inhibitory effect on RAGE expression and pro-inflammatory cytokines production at an early stage in direct acid and LPS-induced ALI in mice.
PMCID: PMC4109782  PMID: 25022445
Glutamine (GLN); Acute lung injury (ALI); Receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE); Inflammation

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