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1.  Clinical characteristics and outcomes of antenatal fetal intra-abdominal umbilical vein varix detection 
Obstetrics & Gynecology Science  2014;57(3):181-186.
This study reviewed clinical characteristics of fetal intra-abdominal umbilical vein (FIUV) varices that were detected during antenatal ultrasound examinations.
Between January 2006 and January 2012, 121 cases of FIUV varices were detected and 7 cases were lost to follow-up. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 114 patients and neonates.
From a total 96,553 ultrasound examinations in 43,995 pregnancies, 121 cases of FIUV varices were identified (2.8 per 1,000 pregnancies). Gestational age at diagnosis was 32.0 ± 2.9 weeks (range, 20.1-36.3 weeks), the mean diameter of the FIUV varix was 12.6 ± 2.1 mm (range, 8.0-21.0 mm) at initial diagnosis and the mean maximal diameter was 13.1 ± 2.3 mm (range, 8.0-21.0 mm) during follow-up. The most severe pregnancy complications included one case of intrauterine fetal death and another case of fetal hydrops. Associated fetal anomalies (n = 11, 9.6%) detected by ultrasonography included bilateral renal pelvis dilatation, ventriculomegaly, cryptorchidism, incomplete renal duplication and pulmonary sequestration. A total of 104 cases (91.2%) were delivered at term and 10 cases (8.8%) were preterm deliveries before 37 weeks of gestation.
FIUV varices that are not associated with fetal anomalies based on ultrasound examination during prenatal care have favorable pregnancy outcomes. Nevertheless, close fetal monitoring is recommended to decrease perinatal complications.
PMCID: PMC4038683  PMID: 24883288
Antenatal ultrasound; Umbilical veins; Varicose veins
2.  Invasive and non-invasive diagnosis of cirrhosis and portal hypertension 
With advances in the management and treatment of advanced liver disease, including the use of antiviral therapy, a simple, one stage description for advanced fibrotic liver disease has become inadequate. Although refining the diagnosis of cirrhosis to reflect disease heterogeneity is essential, current diagnostic tests have not kept pace with the progression of this new paradigm. Liver biopsy and hepatic venous pressure gradient measurement are the gold standards for the estimation of hepatic fibrosis and portal hypertension (PHT), respectively, and they have diagnostic and prognostic value. However, they are invasive and, as such, cannot be used repeatedly in clinical practice. The ideal noninvasive test should be safe, easy to perform, inexpensive, reproducible as well as to give numerical and accurate results in real time. It should be predictive of long term outcomes related with fibrosis and PHT to allow prognostic stratification. Recently, many types of noninvasive alternative tests have been developed and are under investigation. In particular, imaging and ultrasound based tests, such as transient elastography, have shown promising results. Although most of these noninvasive tests effectively identify severe fibrosis and PHT, the methods available for diagnosing moderate disease status are still insufficient, and further investigation is essential to predict outcomes and individualize therapy in this field.
PMCID: PMC3989965  PMID: 24764667
Hepatic fibrosis; Portal hypertension; Liver biopsy; Hepatic venous pressure gradient; Non-invasive test; Transient elastography
3.  The usefulness of non-invasive liver stiffness measurements in predicting clinically significant portal hypertension in cirrhotic patients: Korean data 
Clinical and molecular hepatology  2013;19(4):370-375.
Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) has been proposed as a non-invasive method for estimating the severity of fibrosis and the complications of cirrhosis. Measurement of the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) is the gold standard for assessing the presence of portal hypertension, but its invasiveness limits its clinical application. In this study we evaluated the relationship between LSM and HVPG, and the predictive value of LSM for clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH) and severe portal hypertension in cirrhosis.
LSM was performed with transient elastography in 59 consecutive cirrhotic patients who underwent hemodynamic HVPG investigations. CSPH and severe portal hypertension were defined as HVPG ≥10 and ≥12 mmHg, respectively. Linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between LSM and HVPG. Diagnostic values were analyzed based on receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.
A strong positive correlation between LSM and HVPG was observed in the overall population (r2=0.496, P<0.0001). The area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for the prediction of CSPH (HVPG ≥10 mmHg) was 0.851, and the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) for an LSM cutoff value of 21.95 kPa were 82.5%, 73.7%, 86.8%, and 66.7%, respectively. The AUROC at prediction of severe portal hypertension (HVPG ≥12 mmHg) was 0.877, and the sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV at LSM cutoff value of 24.25 kPa were 82.9%, 70.8%, 80.6%, and 73.9%, respectively.
LSM exhibited a significant correlation with HVPG in patients with cirrhosis. LSM could be a non-invasive method for predicting CSPH and severe portal hypertension in Korean patients with liver cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3894436  PMID: 24459641
Portal hypertension; Liver stiffness measurement; Cirrhosis
4.  Three cases of glycogenic hepatopathy mimicking acute and relapsing hepatitis in type I diabetes mellitus 
Clinical and molecular hepatology  2013;19(4):421-425.
Glycogenic hepatopathy (GH) is an uncommon cause of serum transaminase elevation in type I diabetes mellitus (DM). The clinical signs and symptoms of GH are nonspecific, and include abdominal discomfort, mild hepatomegaly, and transaminase elevation. In this report we describe three cases of patients presenting serum transaminase elevation and hepatomegaly with a history of poorly controlled type I DM. All of the cases showed sudden elevation of transaminase to more than 30 times the upper normal range (like in acute hepatitis) followed by sustained fluctuation (like in relapsing hepatitis). However, the patients did not show any symptom or sign of acute hepatitis. We therefore performed a liver biopsy to confirm the cause of liver enzyme elevation, which revealed GH. Clinicians should be aware of GH so as to prevent diagnostic delay and misdiagnosis, and have sufficient insight into GH; this will be aided by the present report of three cases along with a literature review.
PMCID: PMC3894443  PMID: 24459648
Glycogen hepatopathy; Transaminase; Type I diabetes mellitus
5.  Metastatic testicular tumor presenting as a scrotal hydrocele: An initial manifestation of pancreatic adenocarcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(6):1793-1795.
Metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma involving the testis is a rare condition with a poor prognosis. The current study describes the case of a 69-year-old male who presented with a painful swelling of the left scrotum. Scrotal ultrasonography revealed hydroceles in the scrotal sacs, with the left one being larger in size. The patient underwent left hydrocelectomy and was eventually diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma. Abdominal computed tomography, which was performed to detect the primary cancer, showed a pancreatic tail carcinoma with liver and multiple lymph node metastases, and peritoneal carcinomatosis. The patient received gemcitabine-based chemotherapy but resulted in progressive disease. This case shows that in a patient in whom a primary testicular tumor is unusual due to their age, a testicular mass or hydrocele should be a suspect for possible metastatic disease.
PMCID: PMC4049672  PMID: 24932235
adenocarcinoma; neoplasm metastasis; pancreatic neoplasms; testicular hydrocele; testicular neoplasms
6.  Relationship between Tetrahydrobiopterin and Portal Hypertension in Patients with Chronic Liver Disease 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2014;29(3):392-399.
Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential cofactor in NO synthesis by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) enzymes. It has been previously suggested that reduced intrahepatic BH4 results in a decrease in intrahepatic NO and contributes to increased hepatic vascular resistance and portal pressure in animal models of cirrhosis. The main aim of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between BH4 and portal hypertension (PHT). One hundred ninety-three consecutive patients with chronic liver disease were included in the study. Liver biopsy, measurement of BH4 and hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) were performed. Hepatic fibrosis was classified using the Laennec fibrosis scoring system. BH4 levels were determined in homogenized liver tissues of patients using a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system. Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between BH4 and HVPG, grade of hepatic fibrosis, clinical stage of cirrhosis, Child-Pugh class. A positive relationship between HVPG and hepatic fibrosis grade, clinical stage of cirrhosis and Child-Pugh class was observed. However, the BH4 level showed no significant correlation with HVPG or clinical features of cirrhosis. BH4 concentration in liver tissue has little relation to the severity of portal hypertension in patients with chronic liver disease.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC3945135  PMID: 24616589
Hypertension, Portal; Nitric Oxide; Liver Cirrhosis
7.  Clinical outcomes of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt for portal hypertension: Korean multicenter real-practice data 
This retrospective study assessed the clinical outcome of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) procedure for managing portal hypertension in Koreans with liver cirrhosis.
Between January 2003 and July 2013, 230 patients received a TIPS in 13 university-based hospitals.
Of the 229 (99.6%) patients who successfully underwent TIPS placement, 142 received a TIPS for variceal bleeding, 84 for refractory ascites, and 3 for other indications. The follow-up period was 24.9±30.2 months (mean±SD), 74.7% of the stents were covered, and the primary patency rate at the 1-year follow-up was 78.7%. Hemorrhage occurred in 30 (21.1%) patients during follow-up; of these, 28 (93.3%) cases of rebleeding were associated with stent dysfunction. Fifty-four (23.6%) patients developed new hepatic encephalopathy, and most of these patients were successfully managed conservatively. The cumulative survival rates at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months were 87.5%, 75.0%, 66.8%, and 57.5%, respectively. A high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score was significantly associated with the risk of death within the first month after receiving a TIPS (P=0.018). Old age (P<0.001), indication for a TIPS (ascites vs. bleeding, P=0.005), low serum albumin (P<0.001), and high MELD score (P=0.006) were associated with overall mortality.
A high MELD score was found to be significantly associated with early and overall mortality rate in TIPS patients. Determining the appropriate indication is warranted to improve survival in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3992326  PMID: 24757655
Liver cirrhosis; Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt; Portal hypertension
8.  Disease specific characteristics of fetal epigenetic markers for non-invasive prenatal testing of trisomy 21 
Non-invasive prenatal testing of trisomy 21 (T21) is being actively investigated using fetal-specific epigenetic markers (EPs) that are present in maternal plasma. Recently, 12 EPs on chromosome 21 were identified based on tissue-specific epigenetic characteristics between placenta and blood, and demonstrated excellent clinical performance in the non-invasive detection of fetal T21. However, the disease-specific epigenetic characteristics of the EPs have not been established. Therefore, we validated the disease-specific epigenetic characteristics of these EPs for use in non-invasive detection of fetal T21.
We performed a high-resolution tiling array analysis of human chromosome 21 using a methyl-CpG binding domain-based protein (MBD) method with whole blood samples from non-pregnant normal women, whole blood samples from pregnant normal women, placenta samples of normal fetuses, and placenta samples of T21 fetuses. Tiling array results were validated by bisulfite direct sequencing and qPCR.
Among 12 EPs, only four EPs were confirmed to be hypermethylated in normal placenta and hypomethylated in blood. One of these four showed a severe discrepancy in the methylation patterns of T21 placenta samples, and another was located within a region of copy number variations. Thus, two EPs were confirmed to be potential fetal-specific markers based on their disease-specific epigenetic characteristics. The array results of these EPs were consisted with the results obtained by bisulfite direct sequencing and qPCR. Moreover, the two EPs were detected in maternal plasma.
We validated that two EPs have the potential to be fetal-specific EPs which is consistent with their disease-specific epigenetic characteristics. The findings of this study suggest that disease-specific epigenetic characteristics should be considered in the development of fetal-specific EPs for non-invasive prenatal testing of T21.
PMCID: PMC3892082  PMID: 24397966
Trisomy 21; Non-invasive prenatal testing; Epigenetic markers
9.  Ultrasonographic scoring system score versus liver stiffness measurement in prediction of cirrhosis 
Clinical and molecular hepatology  2013;19(4):389-398.
We compared the cirrhosis-prediction accuracy of an ultrasonographic scoring system (USSS) combining six representative sonographic indices with that of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) by transient elastography, and prospectively investigated the correlation between the USSS score and LSM in predicting cirrhosis.
Two hundred and thirty patients with chronic liver diseases (187 men, 43 women; age, 50.4±9.5 y, mean±SD) were enrolled in this prospective study. The USSS produces a combined score for nodularity of the liver surface and edge, parenchyma echogenicity, presence of right-lobe atrophy, spleen size, splenic vein diameter, and abnormality of the hepatic vein waveform. The correlations of the USSS score and LSM with that of a pathological liver biopsy (METAVIR scoring system: F0-F4) were evaluated.
The mean USSS score and LSM were 7.2 and 38.0 kPa, respectively, in patients with histologically overt cirrhosis (F4, P=0.017) and 4.3 and 22.1 kPa in patients with fibrotic change without overt cirrhosis (F0-F3) (P=0.025). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves of the USSS score and LSM for F4 patients were 0.849 and 0.729, respectively. On the basis of ROC curves, criteria of USSS ≥6: LSM ≥17.4 had a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of 89.2%:77.6%, 69.4%:61.4%, 86.5%:83.7%, 74.6%:51.9% and 0.83:0.73, respectively, in predicting F4.
The results indicate that this USSS has comparable efficacy to LSM in the diagnosis of cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3894439  PMID: 24459644
Ultrasonography; Elastography; Cirrhosis; Biopsy
10.  Risk Factors Associated with Group B Streptococcus Resistant to Clindamycin and Erythromycin in Pregnant Korean Women 
Infection & Chemotherapy  2013;45(3):299-307.
The prevalence of group B streptococcus (GBS) among pregnant women and neonates in the Republic of Korea has increased. In addition, rates of resistance to antibiotics recommended for pregnant women allergic to penicillin, such as clindamycin and erythromycin, have increased. The aim of this study was to evaluate subject characteristics associated with GBS resistance to clindamycin and erythromycin.
Materials and Methods
A total of 418 clinical isolates from pregnant women in Korea were screened for antibiotic resistance from January 2006 to December 2011. Sociodemographic information, medical and obstetric history, and details of events during the previous 2 weeks were recorded using a standardized questionnaire.
The resistance rates were 39.5% for clindamycin and 23.0% for erythromycin. In multiple logistic regression analysis, the subject characteristic significantly associated with resistance to both antibiotics was a history of symptomatic sore throat in the 2 weeks before obtaining the specimen (erythromycin: odds ratio [OR]: 2.13, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10 to 4.13; clindamycin: OR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.21, 4.42). Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) had an association of borderline significance.
In the urgent treatment of GBS-colonized pregnant women, the subject's history of previous sore throat and PROM should be considered when choosing appropriate antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3848523  PMID: 24396631
Antibiotic resistance; Clindamycin; Erythromycin; Risk factors; Streptococcus agalactiae
11.  Current consensus and guidelines of contrast enhanced ultrasound for the characterization of focal liver lesions 
The application of ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) is considered essential when evaluating focal liver lesions (FLLs) using ultrasonography (US). Microbubble UCAs are easy to use and robust; their use poses no risk of nephrotoxicity and requires no ionizing radiation. The unique features of contrast enhanced US (CEUS) are not only noninvasiveness but also real-time assessing of liver perfusion throughout the vascular phases. The later feature has led to dramatic improvement in the diagnostic accuracy of US for detection and characterization of FLLs as well as the guidance to therapeutic procedures and evaluation of response to treatment. This article describes the current consensus and guidelines for the use of UCAs for the FLLs that are commonly encountered in US. After a brief description of the bases of different CEUS techniques, contrast-enhancement patterns of different types of benign and malignant FLLs and other clinical applications are described and discussed on the basis of our experience and the literature data.
PMCID: PMC3622850  PMID: 23593604
Guidelines; Contrast enhanced Ultrasonography (CEUS); Focal liver lesions (FLLs)
12.  Clinical features and outcomes of gastric variceal bleeding: retrospective Korean multicenter data 
While gastric variceal bleeding (GVB) is not as prevalent as esophageal variceal bleeding, it is reportedly more serious, with high failure rates of the initial hemostasis (>30%), and has a worse prognosis than esophageal variceal bleeding. However, there is limited information regarding hemostasis and the prognosis for GVB. The aim of this study was to determine retrospectively the clinical outcomes of GVB in a multicenter study in Korea.
The data of 1,308 episodes of GVB (males:females=1062:246, age=55.0±11.0 years, mean±SD) were collected from 24 referral hospital centers in South Korea between March 2003 and December 2008. The rates of initial hemostasis failure, rebleeding, and mortality within 5 days and 6 weeks of the index bleed were evaluated.
The initial hemostasis failed in 6.1% of the patients, and this was associated with the Child-Pugh score [odds ratio (OR)=1.619; P<0.001] and the treatment modality: endoscopic variceal ligation, endoscopic variceal obturation, and balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration vs. endoscopic sclerotherapy, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, and balloon tamponade (OR=0.221, P<0.001). Rebleeding developed in 11.5% of the patients, and was significantly associated with Child-Pugh score (OR=1.159, P<0.001) and treatment modality (OR=0.619, P=0.026). The GVB-associated mortality was 10.3%; mortality in these cases was associated with Child-Pugh score (OR=1.795, P<0.001) and the treatment modality for the initial hemostasis (OR=0.467, P=0.001).
The clinical outcome for GVB was better for the present cohort than in previous reports. Initial hemostasis failure, rebleeding, and mortality due to GVB were universally associated with the severity of liver cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3622854  PMID: 23593608
Gastric variceal bleeding; Rebleeding; Mortality; Cirrhosis
13.  Cell-Free Fetal DNA and Cell-Free Total DNA Levels in Spontaneous Abortion with Fetal Chromosomal Aneuploidy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56787.
Cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA in maternal circulation have been proposed as potential markers for noninvasive monitoring of the placental condition during the pregnancy. However, the correlation of and change in cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA in spontaneous abortion (SA) with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy have not yet been reported. Therefore, we investigated cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA levels in SA women with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A nested case-control study was conducted with maternal plasma collected from 268 women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Subjects included 41 SA with normal fetal karyotype, 26 SA with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy, and 201 normal controls. The unmethylated PDE9A gene was used to measure the maternal plasma levels of cell-free fetal DNA. The GAPDH gene was used to measure the maternal plasma levels of cell-free total DNA. The diagnostic accuracy was measured using receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Levels of cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA were significantly higher in both SA women with normal fetal karyotype and SA women with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy in comparison with the normal controls (P<0.001 in both). The correlation between cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA levels was stronger in the normal controls (r = 0.843, P<0.001) than in SA women with normal karyotype (r = 0.465, P = 0.002) and SA women with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy (r = 0.412, P = 0.037). The area under the ROC curve for cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA was 0.898 (95% CI, 0.852–0.945) and 0.939 (95% CI, 0.903–0.975), respectively.
Significantly high levels of cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA were found in SA women with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy. Our findings suggest that cell-free fetal DNA and cell-free total DNA may be useful biomarkers for the prediction of SA with fetal chromosomal aneuploidy, regardless of fetal gender.
PMCID: PMC3574115  PMID: 23457614
14.  Usefulness of a Rapid Real-time PCR Assay in Prenatal Screening for Group B Streptococcus Colonization 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2012;33(1):39-44.
Group B streptococcus (GBS) infection is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. Here, we present the analytical and diagnostic usefulness of a new real-time PCR-based assay (Xpert GBS; Cepheid, USA) for rapid and accurate prenatal GBS screening.
We enrolled 175 pregnant women who were between 35 and 39 weeks of gestation. The analytical performance of the Xpert GBS assay was first tested using a reference GBS strain. Next, to test diagnostic performance, rectovaginal swabs were obtained from pregnant women who visited the hospital for regular antenatal screening after 34 weeks of gestation. The results of the Xpert GBS assay were compared to those of standard culture for the detection of prenatal GBS colonization.
When any positive result from Xpert GBS or culture was considered a true positive, the sensitivity of the Xpert GBS assay and culture were 91% (20/22; 95% CI [confidence interval], 72-98) and 68% (15/22; 95% CI, 47-84), respectively. The specificity of both methods was 100% (153/153; 95% CI, 97-100). The sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert GBS assay, using the culture results as a reference, were 86.7% and 95.6%, respectively. In the Xpert GBS assay, the median threshold cycle of vaginally colonized samples was significantly lower than rectally colonized samples (P<0.01).
The Xpert GBS assay is an accurate, rapid, easy-to-use test for the detection of maternal GBS colonization in prenatal screening that might be especially useful in clinical settings where standard culture is not feasible.
PMCID: PMC3535195  PMID: 23301221
Streptococcus agalactiae; Prenatal diagnosis; Real-time PCR
15.  Relationship between the hepatic venous pressure gradient and first variceal hemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis: a multicenter retrospective study in Korea 
Clinical and molecular hepatology  2012;18(4):391-396.
Variceal hemorrhage is one of the major complications of cirrhosis and is associated with significant mortality and morbidity. The development of gastroesophageal varices and variceal hemorrhage is the most direct consequence of portal hypertension. Correlations between the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) and first variceal hemorrhage were examined.
Patients with cirrhosis who underwent HVPG measurement between July 2009 and September 2010 were enrolled (n=535). All patients underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy to enable the evaluation of gastroesophageal varices.
The HVPG for all patients was 16.46±7.05 mmHg (mean±SD), and was significantly higher among those with first variceal hemorrhage than in those without it. The HVPG was significantly correlated with both Child-Turcotte-Pugh (r=0.488, P<0.001) and Model for End-stage Liver Disease (r=0.478, P<0.001) scores. An HVPG value of 11 mmHg was predictive of first variceal hemorrhage with a sensitivity of 92.4% and a specificity of 27.7%.
The HVPG was higher in patients with first variceal hemorrhage than in those without it.
PMCID: PMC3540376  PMID: 23323255
Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG); Variceal hemorrhage
16.  Usefulness of Forward-Viewing Endoscope for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography in Patients with Billroth II Gastrectomy 
Clinical Endoscopy  2012;45(4):397-403.
Patients undergoing Billroth II (B II) gastrectomy are at higher risk of perforation during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). We assessed the success rate and safety of forward-viewing endoscopic biliary intervention in patients with B II gastrectomy.
A total of 2,280 ERCP procedures were performed in our institution between October 2008 and June 2011. Of these, forward-viewing endoscopic biliary intervention was performed in 46 patients (38 men and 8 women with B II gastrectomy). Wire-guided selective cannulations of the common bile duct using a standard catheter and guide wire were performed in all patients.
The success rate of afferent loop entrance was 42 out of 46 patients (91.3%) and of biliary cannulation after the approach of the papilla was 42 out of 42 patients (100%). No serious complications were encountered, except for one case of small perforation due to endoscopic sphincterotomy site injury.
When a biliary endoscopist has less experience and patient volume is low, ERCP with a forward-viewing endoscope is preferred because of its ease and safety in all patients with prior B II gastrectomies. Also, forward-viewing endoscope can be used to improve the success rate of biliary intervention in B II patients.
PMCID: PMC3521942  PMID: 23251888
Billroth II gastrectomy; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Forward-viewing endoscope
17.  Changes in the Clinical Outcomes of Variceal Bleeding in Cirrhotic Patients: A 10-Year Experience in Gangwon Province, South Korea 
Gut and Liver  2012;6(4):476-481.
Variceal rupture is one of the main causes of mortality in cirrhotic patients. However, there are limited data on the long-term outcomes of variceal bleeding.
We investigated the incidence and mortality of variceal bleeding at three endoscopic centers in Gangwon province during 3 periods (August 1996 to July 1997, August 2001 to July 2002, and August 2006 to July 2007).
A total of 1,704 upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleedings occurred during the study periods. Peptic ulcers were found in 825 patients (48.5%), and variceal ruptures were found in 607 patients (35.6%). The variceal bleeding rate did not decrease in each period (26.0% vs 43.7% vs 33.9%, respectively). In the variceal bleeding group, the 6-week mortality rate steadily and significantly decreased (15.5% vs 10.8% vs 6.4%, respectively, p=0.027). In addition, the mortality rate was significantly higher in the variceal bleeding group than in the non-variceal bleeding group (10.4% vs 2.0%, p<0.001; odds ratio, 5.659; 95% confidence interval, 3.445 to 9.295).
Variceal bleeding was still the major cause of upper GI bleedings and did not decrease in prevalence over the 10-year period in Gangwon province, South Korea. However, the mortality rate of variceal bleeding decreased significantly.
PMCID: PMC3493729  PMID: 23170153
Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Liver cirrhosis; Esophageal and gastric varices; Mortality
18.  Genome-wide mapping of NBS-LRR genes and their association with disease resistance in soybean 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:139.
R genes are a key component of genetic interactions between plants and biotrophic bacteria and are known to regulate resistance against bacterial invasion. The most common R proteins contain a nucleotide-binding site and a leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) domain. Some NBS-LRR genes in the soybean genome have also been reported to function in disease resistance. In this study, the number of NBS-LRR genes was found to correlate with the number of disease resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) that flank these genes in each chromosome. NBS-LRR genes co-localized with disease resistance QTL. The study also addressed the functional redundancy of disease resistance on recently duplicated regions that harbor NBS-LRR genes and NBS-LRR gene expression in the bacterial leaf pustule (BLP)-induced soybean transcriptome.
A total of 319 genes were determined to be putative NBS-LRR genes in the soybean genome. The number of NBS-LRR genes on each chromosome was highly correlated with the number of disease resistance QTL in the 2-Mb flanking regions of NBS-LRR genes. In addition, the recently duplicated regions contained duplicated NBS-LRR genes and duplicated disease resistance QTL, and possessed either an uneven or even number of NBS-LRR genes on each side. The significant difference in NBS-LRR gene expression between a resistant near-isogenic line (NIL) and a susceptible NIL after inoculation of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. glycines supports the conjecture that NBS-LRR genes have disease resistance functions in the soybean genome.
The number of NBS-LRR genes and disease resistance QTL in the 2-Mb flanking regions of each chromosome was significantly correlated, and several recently duplicated regions that contain NBS-LRR genes harbored disease resistance QTL for both sides. In addition, NBS-LRR gene expression was significantly different between the BLP-resistant NIL and the BLP-susceptible NIL in response to bacterial infection. From these observations, NBS-LRR genes are suggested to contribute to disease resistance in soybean. Moreover, we propose models for how NBS-LRR genes were duplicated, and apply Ks values for each NBS-LRR gene cluster.
PMCID: PMC3493331  PMID: 22877146
Genome duplication; NBS-LRR; Soybean; Transcriptome analysis
19.  Identification of a Novel Keyhole Phenotype in Double-Disk Diffusion Assays of Clindamycin-Resistant Erythromycin-Sensitive Strains of Streptococcus agalactiae 
Microbial Drug Resistance  2011;17(1):121-124.
Our objective was to characterize 46 unique, erythromycin-sensitive, and clindamycin-resistant Streptococcus agalactiae strains from S. Korea that displayed a novel phenotype in double-disk diffusion assay. We used polymerase chain reaction to determine presence of erythromycin and clindamycin resistance genes, disc diffusion assays to determine resistance phenotype, and microbroth dilution to determine minimal inhibitory concentration. We detected a novel phenotype in the double-disk diffusion assay for inducible resistance among 46 S. agalactiae strains that were both erythromycin sensitive and clindamycin resistant. Thirty-two strains with the novel phenotype tested positive for erm(B) by DNA–DNA hybridization; sequencing of the erm(B) gene revealed mutations in the ribosomal binding site region in the erm(B) open reading frame, which is consistent with a lack of erythromycin resistance phenotype. Although identified from patients at multiple hospitals, genotyping suggested that the strains are closely related. The new phenotype shows increased sensitivity to clindamycin in the presence of erythromycin.
PMCID: PMC3124752  PMID: 21166574
21.  High-dose clevudine impairs mitochondrial function and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in INS-1E cells 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:4.
Clevudine is a nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor that exhibits potent antiviral activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) without serious side effects. However, mitochondrial myopathy has been observed in patients with chronic HBV infection taking clevudine. Moreover, the development of diabetes was recently reported in patients receiving long-term treatment with clevudine. In this study, we investigated the effects of clevudine on mitochondrial function and insulin release in a rat clonal β-cell line, INS-1E.
The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number and the mRNA levels were measured by using quantitative PCR. MTT analysis, ATP/lactate measurements, and insulin assay were performed.
Both INS-1E cells and HepG2 cells, which originated from human hepatoma, showed dose-dependent decreases in mtDNA copy number and cytochrome c oxidase-1 (Cox-1) mRNA level following culture with clevudine (10 μM-1 mM) for 4 weeks. INS-1E cells treated with clevudine had reduced total mitochondrial activities, lower cytosolic ATP contents, enhanced lactate production, and more lipid accumulation. Insulin release in response to glucose application was markedly decreased in clevudine-treated INS-1E cells, which might be a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Our data suggest that high-dose treatment with clevudine induces mitochondrial defects associated with mtDNA depletion and impairs glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in insulin-releasing cells. These findings partly explain the development of diabetes in patients receiving clevudine who might have a high susceptibility to mitochondrial toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3288815  PMID: 22230186
clevudine; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial dysfunction; glucose-stimulated insulin secretion
22.  Tracing soybean domestication history: From nucleotide to genome 
Breeding Science  2012;61(5):445-452.
Since the genome sequences of wild species may provide key information about the genetic elements involved in speciation and domestication, the undomesticated soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. and Zucc.), a wild relative of the current cultivated soybean (G. max), was sequenced. In contrast to the current hypothesis of soybean domestication, which holds that the current cultivated soybean was domesticated from G. soja, our previous work has suggested that soybean was domesticated from the G. soja/G. max complex that diverged from a common ancestor of these two species of Glycine. In this review, many structural genomic differences between the two genomes are described and a total of 705 genes are identified as structural variations (SVs) between G. max and G. soja. After protein families database of alignments and hidden Markov models IDs and gene ontology terms were assigned, many interesting genes are discussed in detail using four domestication related traits, such as flowering time, transcriptional factors, carbon metabolism and disease resistance. Soybean domestication history is explored by studying these SVs in genes. Analysis of SVs in genes at the population-level may clarify the domestication history of soybean.
PMCID: PMC3406779  PMID: 23136484
cultivated soybean; domestication; next-generation sequencing technology; structural variations; wild soybean
23.  Clinical Outcomes and Risk Factors of Rebleeding Following Endoscopic Therapy for Nonvariceal Upper Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage 
Clinical Endoscopy  2011;44(2):93-100.
Rebleeding after endoscopic therapy for non-variceal upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (NGIH) is the most important predictive factor of mortality. We evaluated the risk factors of rebleeding in patients undergoing endoscopic therapy for the NGIH.
Between January 2003 and January 2007, 554 bleeding events in 487 patients who underwent endoscopic therapy for NGIH were retrospectively enrolled. We reviewed the clinicoendoscopical characteristics of patients with rebleeding and compared them with those of patients without rebleeding.
The incidence of rebleeding was 21.7% (n=120). In the multivariate analysis, initial hemoglobin level ≤9 g/dL (p=0.002; odds ratio [OR], 2.433), inexperienced endoscopist with less than 2 years of experience in therapeutic endoscopy (p=0.001; OR, 2.418), the need for more 15 cc of epinephrine (p=0.001; OR, 2.570), injection therapy compared to thermal and injection therapy (p=0.001; OR, 2.840), and comorbidity with chronic renal disease (p=0.004; OR, 2.908) or liver cirrhosis (p=0.010; OR, 2.870) were risk factors for rebleeding following endoscopic therapy.
Together with patients with low hemoglobin level at presentation, chronic renal disease, liver cirrhosis, the need for more 15 cc of epinephrine, or therapy done by inexperienced endoscopist were risk factors for the development of rebleeding.
PMCID: PMC3363058  PMID: 22741119
Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Risk factors; Endoscopy; Therapy
24.  Dobutamine stress echocardiography for evaluating cirrhotic cardiomyopathy in liver cirrhosis 
The Korean Journal of Hepatology  2010;16(4):376-382.
The blunted ventricular systolic and diastolic contractile responses to physical and pharmacological stress in cirrhosis are termed cirrhotic cardiomyopathy (CCM). CCM has been known to involve multiple defects in the β-adrenergic signaling pathway. The aim of this study was to determine whether cirrhotic patients have blunted cardiac responses to catecholamine stimulation through dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE).
Seventy-one cirrhotic patients with normal left ventricular (LV) chamber size and ejection fraction were enrolled. The LV systolic and diastolic functions were evaluated by two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography at rest and during peak dobutamine infusion (40 µg/kg/min). An abnormal response was defined as a decrease of less than 10% in LV end-diastolic volume, a decrease of less than 20% in end-systolic volume, and an increase of less than 10% in LV ejection fraction (EF) at peak dobutamine infusion, based on previously used criteria. The early/late diastolic flow (E/A) ratio and diastolic parameters were also measured.
A blunted LV response to dobutamine was observed in 18 of 71 cirrhotic patients (25.4%). The baseline EF was significantly higher in 18 patients with a blunted DSE response than that of those with a normal DSE response (P<0.05). The baseline and peak E/A ratios, which are common diastolic dysfunction markers, were higher in the cirrhosis group than in the control group (P<0.001). No adverse events associated with DSE were observed.
Blunted cardiac responses to dobutamine stimulation, which are implicated in defects in the β-adrenergic signaling pathway, might contribute to the pathogenesis of CCM in patients with cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3304603  PMID: 21415581
Cirrhotic cardiomyopathy; Dobutamine stress echocardiography; Liver cirrhosis
25.  Hemodynamic alterations in cirrhosis and portal hypertension 
The Korean Journal of Hepatology  2010;16(4):347-352.
Portal hypertension (PHT) is associated with hemodynamic changes in intrahepatic, systemic, and portosystemic collateral circulation. Increased intrahepatic resistance and hyperdynamic circulatory alterations with expansion of collateral circulation play a central role in the pathogenesis of PHT. PHT is also characterized by changes in vascular structure, termed vascular remodeling, which is an adaptive response of the vessel wall that occurs in response to chronic changes in the environment such as shear stress. Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, also occurs with PHT related in particular to the expansion of portosystemic collateral circulation. The complementary processes of vasoreactivity, vascular remodeling, and angiogenesis represent important targets for the treatment of portal hypertension. Systemic and splanchnic vasodilatation can induce hyperdynamic circulation which is related with multi-organ failure such as hepatorenal syndrome and cirrhotic cadiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3304610  PMID: 21415576
Portal hypertension; Hyperdynamic circulation; Hepatic stellate cell; Endothelial cell; Intrahepatic vascular resistance

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