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1.  hsa-miR-203 enhances the sensitivity of leukemia cells to arsenic trioxide 
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a eukaryotic expression vector expressing hsa-miR-203 on the sensitivity of K562 leukemia cells to arsenic trioxide (ATO) and the possible mechanism of action. The eukaryotic expression vector expressing the hsa-miR-203 plasmid (PmiR-203) was transfected into K562 cells using Lipofectamine 2000. bcr/abl 3′ untranslated region (UTR) and bcr/abl mutated 3′UTR dual luciferase report vectors (psi-CHECK-2) were used to validate the regulation of bcr/abl by miR-203. The inhibitory effects of ATO and PmiR-203, used singly or in combination, on cell proliferation were detected by MTT assay. Apoptosis of the K562 cells was detected by flow cytometry using double-staining with Annexin V and propidium iodide (PI). The activities of caspase-3 and caspase-9 were detected by a colorimetric method and the cytochrome c protein levels were detected by western blotting. When used in combination with PmiR-203, the IC50 of ATO was reduced from 6.49 to 2.45 μg/ml and the sensitivity of cells to ATO increased 2.64-fold. In addition, PmiR-203 and ATO caused growth inhibition, apoptosis and G1-phase arrest in K562 cells. Furthermore, PmiR-203 significantly promoted ATO-mediated growth inhibition and apoptosis, affecting the G1 phase. JC-1 fluorescent staining revealed that the membrane potential of the mitochondria had changed. The activities of caspase-3 and caspase-9 increased, the expression levels of cytochrome c were upregulated and the expression level of bcr/abl mRNA was significantly suppressed. Furthermore, the dual-luciferase reporter vector, containing tandem miR-203 binding sites from the bcr/abl 3′UTR, demonstrated that bcr/abl was directly regulated by miR-203. PmiR-203 sensitized K562 leukemia cells to ATO by inducing apoptosis and downregulating bcr/ abl gene levels. The induction of apoptosis may occur through the mitochondrial pathway. The combination of ATO and PmiR-203 presents therapeutic potential for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
doi:10.3892/etm.2013.981
PMCID: PMC3671790  PMID: 23737871
hsa-miR-203; chronic myelogenous leukemia; arsenic trioxide; apoptosis; eukaryotic expression vector
2.  The Threonine Protease Activity of Testes-Specific Protease 50 (TSP50) Is Essential for Its Function in Cell Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e35030.
Background
Testes-specific protease 50 (TSP50), a newly discovered threonine enzyme, has similar amino acid sequences and enzymatic structures to those of many serine proteases. It may be an oncogene. TSP50 is up-regulated in breast cancer epithelial cells, and ectopic expression of TSP50 in TSP50-deficient Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells has been found to promote cell proliferation. However, the mechanisms by which TSP50 exerts its growth-promoting effects are not yet fully understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To delineate whether the threonine protease activity of TSP50 is essential to its function in cell proliferation, we constructed and characterized a mutant TSP50, called TSP50 T310A, which was identified as a protease-dead mutant of TSP50. By a series of proliferation analyses, colony formation assays and apoptosis analyses, we showed that T310A mutation significantly depresses TSP50-induced cell proliferation in vitro. Next, the CHO stable cell line expressing either wild-type or T310A mutant TSP50 was injected subcutaneously into nude mice. We found that the T310A mutation could abolish the tumorigenicity of TSP50 in vivo. A mechanism investigation revealed that the T310A mutation prevented interaction between TSP50 and the NF-κBIκBα complex, which is necessary for TSP50 to perform its function in cell proliferation.
Conclusion
Our data highlight the importance of threonine 310, the most critical protease catalytic site in TSP50, to TSP50-induced cell proliferation and tumor formation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035030
PMCID: PMC3344824  PMID: 22574111
3.  Overexpression of Csk-binding protein decreases growth, invasion, and migration of esophageal carcinoma cells by controlling Src activation 
AIM: To investigate the mechanisms by which Csk-binding protein (CBP) inhibits tumor progression in esophageal carcinoma.
METHODS: A CBP overexpressing esophageal carcinoma cell line (TE-1) was established. The growth, invasion, and migration of CBP-TE-1 cells, as well as the expression of Src were then determined and compared with those in normal TE-1 cells.
RESULTS: The expression of Src was decreased by the overexpression of CBP in TE-1 cells. The growth, invasion, and migration of TE-1 cells were decreased by the overexpression of CBP.
CONCLUSION: This study indicates that CBP may decrease the metastasis of esophageal carcinoma by inhibiting the activation of Src. CBP may be a potential tumor suppressor and targeting the CBP gene may be an alternative strategy for the development of therapies for esophageal carcinoma.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i6.1814
PMCID: PMC4323457
Csk-binding protein; Esophageal carcinoma; Cell growth; Invasion; Migration
4.  A genetic contribution from the Far East into Ashkenazi Jews via the ancient Silk Road 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8377.
Contemporary Jews retain a genetic imprint from their Near Eastern ancestry, but obtained substantial genetic components from their neighboring populations during their history. Whether they received any genetic contribution from the Far East remains unknown, but frequent communication with the Chinese has been observed since the Silk Road period. To address this issue, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation from 55,595 Eurasians are analyzed. The existence of some eastern Eurasian haplotypes in eastern Ashkenazi Jews supports an East Asian genetic contribution, likely from Chinese. Further evidence indicates that this connection can be attributed to a gene flow event that occurred less than 1.4 kilo-years ago (kya), which falls within the time frame of the Silk Road scenario and fits well with historical records and archaeological discoveries. This observed genetic contribution from Chinese to Ashkenazi Jews demonstrates that the historical exchange between Ashkenazim and the Far East was not confined to the cultural sphere but also extended to an exchange of genes.
doi:10.1038/srep08377
PMCID: PMC4323646  PMID: 25669617
5.  Comparison of single versus repeated methamphetamine injection induced behavioral sensitization in mice 
Neuroscience letters  2013;560:103-106.
Repeated exposure to drugs of abuse produces a persistent behavioral sensitization to stimulants, which is often used to study drug-associated behavioral plasticity. Interestingly, even a single exposure to some drugs of abuse is sufficient to elicit long-lasting behavioral sensitization. However, few studies have directly compared the magnitude of sensitization between single versus repeated drug treatments. This study examined the magnitude and duration of single methamphetamine (METH) injection-induced behavioral sensitization and compared it to the more typical repeated drug injection-induced sensitization in mice. Different groups of mice were injected with METH (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 mg/kg, i.p.) only once or daily for 7 consecutive days. A challenge dose of METH (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.) was tested 7 days later. The time-course of a single METH injection-induced behavioral sensitization was assessed where METH (2.0 mg/kg, i.p.) was injected and a challenge dose of METH (1.0 mg/kg, i.p.) was tested after different drug-free periods. Single METH injection produced similar magnitude of behavioral sensitization as compared to repeated injection. Such a sensitized locomotor response peaked 8 days after METH injection and lasted for at least 21 days. This long lasting behavioral alteration induced by single METH injection suggests the value of future studies to explore the underlying neural mechanisms, particularly in comparison to those underlying repeated METH-induced sensitization.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2013.12.024
PMCID: PMC4017776  PMID: 24361545
Methamphetamine; Behavioural sensitization; Single-dose injection; Repeated-dose injection
6.  Genome-wide survey and analysis of microsatellites in giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), with a focus on the applications of a novel microsatellite marker system 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):61.
Background
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a critically endangered species endemic to China. Microsatellites have been preferred as the most popular molecular markers and proven effective in estimating population size, paternity test, genetic diversity for the critically endangered species. The availability of the giant panda complete genome sequences provided the opportunity to carry out genome-wide scans for all types of microsatellites markers, which now opens the way for the analysis and development of microsatellites in giant panda.
Results
By screening the whole genome sequence of giant panda in silico mining, we identified microsatellites in the genome of giant panda and analyzed their frequency and distribution in different genomic regions. Based on our search criteria, a repertoire of 855,058 SSRs was detected, with mono-nucleotides being the most abundant. SSRs were found in all genomic regions and were more abundant in non-coding regions than coding regions. A total of 160 primer pairs were designed to screen for polymorphic microsatellites using the selected tetranucleotide microsatellite sequences. The 51 novel polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci were discovered based on genotyping blood DNA from 22 captive giant pandas in this study. Finally, a total of 15 markers, which showed good polymorphism, stability, and repetition in faecal samples, were used to establish the novel microsatellite marker system for giant panda. Meanwhile, a genotyping database for Chengdu captive giant pandas (n = 57) were set up using this standardized system. What’s more, a universal individual identification method was established and the genetic diversity were analysed in this study as the applications of this marker system.
Conclusion
The microsatellite abundance and diversity were characterized in giant panda genomes. A total of 154,677 tetranucleotide microsatellites were identified and 15 of them were discovered as the polymorphic and stable loci. The individual identification method and the genetic diversity analysis method in this study provided adequate material for the future study of giant panda.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1268-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1268-z
PMCID: PMC4335702
Ailuropoda melanoleuca; Genome sequence; Tetranucleotide microsatellite; Marker system
7.  Identification of let-7a-2-3p or/and miR-188-5p as Prognostic Biomarkers in Cytogenetically Normal Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0118099.
Cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) is the largest and most heterogeneous AML subgroup. It lacks sensitive and specific biomarkers. Emerging evidences have suggested that microRNAs are involved in the pathogenesis of various leukemias. This paper evaluated the association between microRNA expression and prognostic outcome for CN-AML, based on the RNA/microRNA sequencing data of CN-AML patients. High let-7a-2-3p expression and low miR-188-5p expression were identified to be significantly associated with longer overall survival (OS) and event free survival (EFS) for CN-AML, independently or in a combined way. Their prognostic values were further confirmed in European Leukemia Net (ELN) genetic categories. Also, in multivariable analysis with other known risk factors, high let-7a-2-3p and low miR-188-5p expression remained to be associated with longer OS and EFS. In addition, the prognostic value of these two microRNAs was confirmed in patients who received hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). To gain more biological insights of the underlying mechanisms, we derived the genome-wide differential gene/microRNA signatures associated with the expression of let-7a-2-3p and miR-188-5p. Several common microRNA signatures indicating favorable outcome in previous studies were up-regulated in both high let-7a-2-3p expressers and low miR-188-5p expressers, including miR-135a, miR-335 and miR-125b and all members of miR-181 family. Additionally, common up-regulated genes included FOSB, IGJ, SNORD50A and ZNF502, and FOSB was a known favorable signature in AML. These common signatures further confirmed the underlying common mechanisms for these two microRNAs value as favorable prognostic biomarkers. We concluded that high let-7a-2-3p and low miR-188-5p expression could be potentially used as favorably prognostic biomarkers independently or in a combined way in CN-AML patients, whether they received HSCT or not.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118099
PMCID: PMC4315415  PMID: 25646775
8.  High-Pitch, Low-Voltage and Low-Iodine-Concentration CT Angiography of Aorta: Assessment of Image Quality and Radiation Dose with Iterative Reconstruction 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117469.
Objective
To assess the image quality of aorta obtained by dual-source computed tomography angiography (DSCTA), performed with high pitch, low tube voltage, and low iodine concentration contrast medium (CM) with images reconstructed using iterative reconstruction (IR).
Methods
One hundred patients randomly allocated to receive one of two types of CM underwent DSCTA with the electrocardiogram-triggered Flash protocol. In the low-iodine group, 50 patients received CM containing 270 mg I/mL and were scanned at low tube voltage (100 kVp). In the high-iodine CM group, 50 patients received CM containing 370 mg I/mL and were scanned at the tube voltage (120 kVp). The filtered back projection (FBP) algorithm was used for reconstruction in both groups. In addition, the IR algorithm was used in the low-iodine group. Image quality of the aorta was analyzed subjectively by a 3-point grading scale and objectively by measuring the CT attenuation in terms of the signal- and contrast-to-noise ratios (SNR and CNR, respectively). Radiation and CM doses were compared.
Results
The CT attenuation, subjective image quality assessment, SNR, and CNR of various aortic regions of interest did not differ significantly between two groups. In the low-iodine group, images reconstructed by FBP and IR demonstrated significant differences in image noise, SNR, and CNR (p<0.05). The low-iodine group resulted in 34.3% less radiation (4.4 ± 0.5 mSv) than the high-iodine group (6.7 ± 0.6 mSv), and 27.3% less iodine weight (20.36 ± 2.65 g) than the high-iodine group (28 ± 1.98 g). Observers exhibited excellent agreement on the aortic image quality scores (κ = 0.904).
Conclusions
CT images of aorta could be obtained within 2 s by using a DSCT Flash protocol with low tube voltage, IR, and low-iodine-concentration CM. Appropriate contrast enhancement was achieved while maintaining good image quality and decreasing the radiation and iodine doses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117469
PMCID: PMC4314070  PMID: 25643353
9.  Hepatic SIRT1 Attenuates Hepatic Steatosis and Controls Energy Balance in Mice by Inducing Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 
Gastroenterology  2013;146(2):539-49.e7.
BACKGROUND & AIMS
The hepatocyte-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a hormone-like regulator of metabolism. The NAD+-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 regulates fatty acid metabolism through multiple nutrient sensors. Hepatic overexpression of SIRT1 reduces steatosis and glucose intolerance in obese mice. We investigated mechanisms by which SIRT controls hepatic steatosis in mice.
METHODS
Mice with liver-specific disruption of Sirt1 (SIRT1 LKO mice) and their wild-type littermates (controls) were divided into groups that were placed on normal chow diets, fasted for 24 hrs, or fasted for 24 hrs and then fed for 6 hrs. Liver tissues were collected and analyzed by histologic, gene expression profile, and real-time PCR assays. Human HepG2 cells were incubated with pharmacologic activators of SIRT1 (resveratrol or SRT1720) and assessed by mitochondrial oxidation and immunoblot analyses. FGF21 was overexpressed in SIRT1 LKO mice using an adenoviral vector. Energy expenditure was assessed by indirect calorimetry.
RESULTS
Fasting induced lipid deposition in livers of control mice, but severe hepatic steatosis in SIRT1 LKO mice. Gene expression analysis showed that fasting upregulated FGF21 in livers of control, but not SIRT1 LKO mice. Decreased hepatic and circulating levels of FGF21 in fasted SIRT1 LKO mice were associated with reduced hepatic expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis, and increased expression of genes that control lipogenesis, compared with fasted control mice. Resveratrol or SRT1720 each increased transcriptional activity of the FGF21 promoter (–2070/+117) and levels of FGF21 mRNA and protein in HepG2 cells. Surprisingly, SIRT1 LKO mice developed late-onset obesity with impaired whole-body energy expenditure. Hepatic overexpression of FGF21 in SIRT1 LKO mice increased expression of genes that regulate fatty acid oxidation, decreased fasting-induced steatosis, reduced obesity, increased energy expenditure, and promoted browning of white adipose tissue.
CONCLUSION
SIRT1-mediated activation of FGF21 prevents liver steatosis caused by fasting. This hepatocyte-derived endocrine signaling appears to regulate expression of genes that control a brown fat-like program in white adipose tissue, energy expenditure, and adiposity. Strategies to activate SIRT1 or FGF21 might be used to treat fatty liver disease and obesity.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.10.059
PMCID: PMC4228483  PMID: 24184811
liver-specific disruption of Sirt1; hepatocyte-derived hormone; metabolic homeostasis; obesity
10.  Secondary Primary Malignancy Risk among Patients with Esophageal Cancer in Taiwan: A Nationwide Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116384.
Background
To evaluate the risk and sites of metachronous secondary primary malignancies (SPMs) among patients with esophageal cancer.
Methods
Newly diagnosed esophageal cancer patients between 1997 and 2011 were recruited. To avoid surveillance bias, SPMs that developed within one year were excluded. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of metachronous SPMs in these patients were calculated by comparing to the cancer incidence in the general population. Risk factors for SPM development, included age, sex, comorbidities and cancer-related treatments, were estimated by Cox proportional hazards models.
Results
During the 15-year study period, 870 SPMs developed among 18,026 esophageal cancer patients, with a follow-up of 27,056 person-years. The SIR for all cancers was 3.53. The SIR of follow-up period ≥ 10 years was 3.56; 5–10 years, 3.14; and 1–5 years, 3.06. The cancer SIRs of head and neck (15.83), stomach (3.30), lung and mediastinum (2.10), kidney (2.24) and leukemia (2.72), were significantly increased. Multivariate analysis showed that age ≥ 60 years (hazard ratio [HR] 0.74), being male (HR 1.46) and liver cirrhosis (HR 1.46) were independent factors. According to the treatments, major surgery (HR 1.24) increased the risk, but chemotherapy was nearly significant.
Conclusions
Patients with esophageal cancer were at increased risk of developing metachronous SPMs. The SIR remained high in follow-up > 10 years, so that close monitoring may be needed for early detection of SPM among these esophageal cancer patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116384
PMCID: PMC4312084  PMID: 25635388
11.  The Arabidopsis alkaline ceramidase TOD1 is a key turgor pressure regulator in plant cells 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6030.
Turgor pressure plays pivotal roles in the growth and movement of walled cells that make up plants and fungi. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating turgor pressure and the coordination between turgor pressure and cell wall remodelling for cell growth remain poorly understood. Here, we report the characterization of Arabidopsis TurgOr regulation Defect 1 (TOD1), which is preferentially expressed in pollen tubes and silique guard cells. We demonstrate that TOD1 is a Golgi-localized alkaline ceramidase. tod1 mutant pollen tubes have higher turgor than wild type and show growth retardation both in pistils and in agarose medium. In addition, tod1 guard cells are insensitive to abscisic acid (ABA)-induced stomatal closure, whereas sphingosine-1-phosphate, a putative downstream component of ABA signalling and product of alkaline ceramidases, promotes closure in both wild type and tod1. Our data suggest that TOD1 acts in turgor pressure regulation in both guard cells and pollen tubes.
Turgor pressure is critical for the growth of plant cells but the mechanisms regulating turgor are poorly understood. Here, Chen et al. identify TOD1, an alkaline ceramidase, involved in sphingosine metabolism that regulates turgor during pollen tube growth and stomatal closure.
doi:10.1038/ncomms7030
PMCID: PMC4309442  PMID: 25591940
12.  Clinical outcome and radiographic change of ipsilateral scapular neck and clavicular shaft fracture: comparison of operation and conservative treatment 
Objective
The purpose of this study is to compare glenopolar angle (GPA) and the functional outcomes of fixation of both the clavicle and the scapular neck, fixation of the clavicle alone, and conservative treatment for floating-shoulder injuries.
Methods
A prospective stratified randomized study was performed in 39 adult patients who suffered floating-shoulder injuries and underwent fixation of both the clavicle and the scapular neck (group A), or fixation of the clavicle alone (group B), or conservative treatment (group C) between January 2005 and September 2011. The GPA, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score, and Constant-Murley Shoulder Outcome (Constant) score were compared between the three groups.
Results
All 39 patients were followed up for more than 2 years. GPA after bony consolidation was significantly better in group A than in groups B and C (p = 0.015). Functional outcomes measured by DASH and Constant scores were significantly better in group A at final follow-up (p = 0.008 and 0.002, respectively). Both DASH and Constant scores were highly correlated with GPA after consolidation (p < 0.001, respectively). The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that of the two randomly selected DASH scores, the smaller DASH score would have a larger GPA than the larger DASH score. Similarly, the larger Constant score would have a larger GPA than the smaller Constant score.
Conclusions
Fixation of both the clavicle and the scapular neck may correct GPA and improve functional outcomes for the treatment of floating-shoulder injuries. GPA after fracture consolidation is a useful prognostic indicator of a satisfactory clinical outcome as defined by either DASH score or Constant score.
doi:10.1186/s13018-014-0141-0
PMCID: PMC4314750  PMID: 25626962
Scapular fracture; Clavicle fracture; Floating shoulder; Glenopolar angle
13.  Feasibility of ultrasound-guided capsule-sheath space block combined with anterior cervical cutaneous nerves block for thyroidectomy: an observational pilot study 
BMC Anesthesiology  2015;15(1):4.
Background
We evaluated the efficacy of a new anesthetic technique termed ultrasound-guided capsule-sheath space block (CSSB) combined with anterior cervical cutaneous nerve block (CCNB) for thyroidectomy.
Methods
The study included two parts: Part one was an imaging study to determine technique feasibility. The CSSB was performed on five healthy volunteers by introducing the needle 0.5 cm lateral to the probe under in-plane needle ultrasound guidance. After puncture of the false capsule and its subsequent contraction with the true capsule of thyroid, 10 mL of contrast medium was deposited slowly in the capsule-sheath space. The CCNB was performed bilaterally as follows: Under ultrasound guidance, a subcutaneous injection was made along the sternocleidomastoid using 10 mL of contrast medium which was followed by a girdle-shaped picchu raised from the cricoid cartilage to supraclavicular region. The spreading pattern of contrast medium was imaged using computed tomographic scanning. In part two (a clinical case series) the technique efficacy was evaluated. Seventy-eight patients undergoing thyroidectomy had ultrasound-guided CSSB and CCNB with local anesthetics. The sensory onset of CCNB, intraoperative hemodynamic parameters, and analgesic effect were assessed and complications were noted.
Results
The distribution of contrast medium was well defined. In part two the onset time of CCNB was 2.2 ± 0.7 min, and the hemodynamic parameters remained stable intraoperatively. The recall of visual analogue scale scores during surgery was 2 [1–4] for median (range). The patients’ and surgeons’ satisfaction scores were 2 [1–4] and 1 [1–3] for median (range). No serious complications occurred.
Conclusions
Combining ultrasound-guided CSSB and CCNB is a feasible, effective and safe technique for thyroidectomy.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ChiCTR-ONC-12002025. Registered 19 March 2012.
doi:10.1186/1471-2253-15-4
PMCID: PMC4322798  PMID: 25670918
Regional anesthesia; Ultrasound guidance; Thyroidectomy; Contrast medium; Ropivacaine
14.  Treatment of acute lung injury by targeting MG53-mediated cell membrane repair 
Nature communications  2014;5:4387.
Injury to lung epithelial cells has a role in multiple lung diseases. We previously identified mitsugumin 53 (MG53) as a component of the cell membrane repair machinery in striated muscle cells. Here we show that MG53 also has a physiological role in the lung and may be used as a treatment in animal models of acute lung injury. Mice lacking MG53 show increased susceptibility to ischemia-reperfusion and over-ventilation induced injury to the lung when compared with wild type mice. Extracellular application of recombinant human MG53 (rhMG53) protein protects cultured lung epithelial cells against anoxia/reoxygenation-induced injuries. Intravenous delivery or inhalation of rhMG53 reduces symptoms in rodent models of acute lung injury and emphysema. Repetitive administration of rhMG53 improves pulmonary structure associated with chronic lung injury in mice. Our data indicate a physiological function for MG53 in the lung and suggest that targeting membrane repair may be an effective means for treatment or prevention of lung diseases.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5387
PMCID: PMC4109002  PMID: 25034454
15.  Detection of Herb-Symptom Associations from Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinical Data 
Background. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an individualized medicine by observing the symptoms and signs (symptoms in brief) of patients. We aim to extract the meaningful herb-symptom relationships from large scale TCM clinical data. Methods. To investigate the correlations between symptoms and herbs held for patients, we use four clinical data sets collected from TCM outpatient clinical settings and calculate the similarities between patient pairs in terms of the herb constituents of their prescriptions and their manifesting symptoms by cosine measure. To address the large-scale multiple testing problems for the detection of herb-symptom associations and the dependence between herbs involving similar efficacies, we propose a network-based correlation analysis (NetCorrA) method to detect the herb-symptom associations. Results. The results show that there are strong positive correlations between symptom similarity and herb similarity, which indicates that herb-symptom correspondence is a clinical principle adhered to by most TCM physicians. Furthermore, the NetCorrA method obtains meaningful herb-symptom associations and performs better than the chi-square correlation method by filtering the false positive associations. Conclusions. Symptoms play significant roles for the prescriptions of herb treatment. The herb-symptom correspondence principle indicates that clinical phenotypic targets (i.e., symptoms) of herbs exist and would be valuable for further investigations.
doi:10.1155/2015/270450
PMCID: PMC4305614  PMID: 25650023
16.  Chitosan oligosaccharides block LPS-induced O-GlcNAcylation of NF-κB and endothelial inflammatory response 
Carbohydrate polymers  2013;99:10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.08.082.
It is known that chitosan oligosaccharides (COS) suppress LPS-induced vascular endothelial inflammatory response by mechanism involving NF-κB blockade. It remains unknown how COS inhibit NF-κB. We provided evidence both in cultured endothelial cells and mouse model supporting a new mechanism. Regardless of the endothelial cell types, the LPS-induced NF-κB-dependent inflammatory gene expression was suppressed by COS, which was associated with reduced NF-κB nucleus translocation. LPS enhanced O-GlcNAc modification of NF-κB/p65 and activated NF-κB pathway, which could be prevented either by siRNA knockdown of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) or pretreatment with COS. Inhibition of either mitogen-activated protein kinase or superoxide generation abolishes LPS-induced NF-κB O-GlcNAcylation. Consistently, aortic tissues from LPS-treated mice presented enhanced NF-κB/p65 O-GlcNAcylation in association with upregulated gene expression of inflammatory cytokines in vascular tissues; however, pre-administration of COS prevented these responses. In conclusion, COS decreased OGT-dependent O-GlcNAcylation of NF-κB and thereby attenuated LPS-induced vascular endothelial inflammatory response.
doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.08.082
PMCID: PMC3843148  PMID: 24274545
Chitosan oligosaccharides; LPS (Lipopolysaccharides); Endothelial cells; O-GlcNAcylation; NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells); Inflammatory response
17.  MIR106B and MIR93 Prevent Removal of Bacteria from Epithelial Cells by Disrupting ATG16L1-Mediated Autophagy 
Gastroenterology  2013;146(1):10.1053/j.gastro.2013.09.006.
BACKGROUND & AIMS
Variants in genes that regulate autophagy have been associated with Crohn’s disease (CD). Defects in autophagy-mediated removal of pathogenic microbes could contribute to pathogenesis of CD. We investigated the role of the micro-RNAs (miRs) MIR106B and MIR93 in induction of autophagy and bacterial clearance in human cell lines, and the correlation between MIR106B and autophagy-related gene 16L1 (ATG16L1) expression in tissues from patients with CD.
METHODS
We studied the ability of MIR106B and MIR93 to regulate ATG transcripts in human cancer cell lines (HCT116, SW480, HeLa, and U2OS) using luciferase report assays and bioinformatics analyses; MIR106B and MIR93 mimics and antagonists were transfected into cells to modify levels of miRs. Cells were infected with LF82, a CD-associated adherent-invasive strain of Escherichia coli, and monitored by confocal microscopy and for colony-forming units. Colon tissues from 41 healthy individuals (controls), 22 with active CD, 16 with inactive CD, and 7 with chronic inflammation were assessed for levels of MIR106B and ATG16L1 by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS
Silencing Dicer 1, an essential processor of miRs, increased levels of ATG protein and formation of autophagosomes in cells, indicating that miRs regulate autophagy. Luciferase reporter assays indicated that MIR106B and MIR93 targeted ATG16L1 mRNA. MIR106B and MIR93 reduced levels of ATG16L1 and autophagy; these increased following expression of ectopic ATG16L1. In contrast, MIR106B and MIR93 antagonists increased formation of autophagosomes. Levels of MIR106B were increased in intestinal epithelia from patients with active CD, whereas levels of ATG16L1 were reduced, compared with controls. Levels of CMYC were also increased in intestinal epithelia of patients with active CD, compared with controls. These alterations could impair removal of CD-associated bacteria by autophagy.
CONCLUSIONS
In human cell lines, MIR106B and MIR93 reduce levels of ATG16L1 and autophagy, and prevent autophagy-dependent eradication of intracellular bacteria. This process also appears to be altered in colon tissues from patients with active CD.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.09.006
PMCID: PMC3870037  PMID: 24036151
inflammatory bowel disease; microRNA; cell biology; infection
18.  In-vivo transfection of manganese superoxide dismutase gene or NFκB shRNA in nodose ganglia improves aortic baroreceptor function in heart failure rats 
Hypertension  2013;63(1):88-95.
Arterial baroreflex sensitivity is attenuated in chronic heart failure (CHF) state, which is associated with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the patients with CHF. Our previous study showed that CHF-induced sodium channel dysfunction in the baroreceptor neurons was involved in the blunted baroreflex sensitivity in CHF rats. Mitochondria-derived superoxide overproduction decreased expression and activation of the sodium channels in the baroreceptor neurons from CHF rats. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the sodium channel dysfunction in the baroreceptor neurons from CHF rats remain unknown. We tested the involvement of NFκB in the sodium channel dysfunction and evaluated the effects of in-vivo transfection of manganese superoxide dismutase gene and NFκB shRNA on the baroreflex function in CHF rats. CHF was developed at 6–8 weeks after left coronary artery ligation in adult rats. Western bolt and chromatin immunoprecipitation data showed that phosphorylated NFκB p65 and ability of NFκB p65 binding to the sodium channel promoter were increased in the nodose ganglia from CHF rats. In-vivo transfection of adenoviral manganese superoxide dismutase gene or lentiviral NFκB p65 shRNA into the nodose ganglia partially reversed CHF-reduced sodium channel expression and cell excitability in the baroreceptor neurons and improved CHF-blunted arterial baroreflex sensitivity. Additionally, transfection of adenoviral manganese superoxide dismutase also inhibited the augmentation of phosphorylated NFκB p65 in the nodose neurons from CHF rats. The present study suggests that superoxide-NFκB signaling contributes to CHF-induced baroreceptor dysfunction and resultant impairment of baroreflex function.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02057
PMCID: PMC3893036  PMID: 24101667
baroreceptor; baroreflex; heart failure; NFκB; sodium channel; superoxide
19.  SMAD4 is a potential prognostic marker in human breast carcinomas 
SMAD4 is a downstream mediator of transforming growth factor beta. While its tumor suppressor function has been investigated as a prognostic biomarker in several human malignancies, its role as a prognostic marker in breast carcinoma is still undefined. We investigated SMAD4 expression in breast carcinoma samples of different histologic grades to evaluate the association between SMAD4 and outcome in breast cancer. We also investigated the role of SMAD4 expression status in MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells in responding to TGF-β stimulation. SMAD4 expression was assessed in 53 breast ductal carcinoma samples and in the surrounding normal tissue from 50 of the samples using immunohistochemistry, Western blot, and real-time PCR. TGF-β-SMAD and non-SMAD signaling was assessed by Western blot in MDA-MB-468 cells with and without SMAD4 restoration. SMAD4 expression was reduced in ductal breast carcinoma as compared to surrounding uninvolved ductal breast epithelia (p <0.05). SMAD4 expression levels decreased from Grade 1 to Grade 3 ductal breast carcinoma as assessed by immunohistochemistry (p <0.05). Results were recapitulated by tissue array. In addition, immunohistochemistry results were further confirmed at the protein and mRNA level. We then found that non-SMAD MEK/MAPK signaling was significantly different between SMAD4 expressing MDA-MB-468 cells and SMAD4-null MDA-MB-468 cells. This is the first study indicating that SMAD4 plays a key role in shifting MAPK signaling. Further, we have demonstrated that SMAD4 has a potential role in the development of breast carcinoma and SMAD4 was a potential prognostic marker of breast carcinoma. Our findings further support the role of SMAD4 in breast carcinoma development. In addition, we observed an inverse relationship between SMAD4 levels and breast carcinoma histological grade. Our finding indicated that SMAD4 expression level in breast cancer cells played a role in responding non-SMAD signaling but not the canonic SMAD signaling. Further mechanistic studies are necessary to establish the role of SMAD4 in breast carcinoma prognosis and potential specific targeting.
doi:10.1007/s13277-013-1088-1
PMCID: PMC4142205  PMID: 23975369
Ductal breast carcinoma; SMAD4; Immunohistochemistry; Tissue array; Quantitative real-time PCR; Western blot analysis; Prognosis; TGF-β; Non-SMAD signaling
20.  CCR7 Expressing Mesenchymal Stem Cells Potently Inhibit Graft-versus-Host Disease by Spoiling the Fourth Supplemental Billingham’s Tenet 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115720.
The clinical acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD)-therapy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is not as satisfactory as expected. Secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) are the major niches serve to initiate immune responses or induce tolerance. Our previous study showed that CCR7 guide murine MSC line C3H10T1/2 migrating to SLOs. In this study, CCR7 gene was engineered into murine MSCs by lentivirus transfection system (MSCs/CCR7). The immunomodulatory mechanism of MSCs/CCR7 was further investigated. Provoked by inflammatory cytokines, MSCs/CCR7 increased the secretion of nitric oxide and calmed down the T cell immune response in vitro. Immunofluorescent staining results showed that transfused MSCs/CCR7 can migrate to and relocate at the appropriate T cell-rich zones within SLOs in vivo. MSCs/CCR7 displayed enhanced effect in prolonging the survival and alleviating the clinical scores of the GvHD mice than normal MSCs. Owing to the critical relocation sites, MSCs/CCR7 co-infusion potently made the T cells in SLOs more naïve like, thus control T cells trafficking from SLOs to the target organs. Through spoiling the fourth supplemental Billingham’s tenet, MSCs/CCR7 potently inhibited the development of GvHD. The study here provides a novel therapeutic strategy of MSCs/CCR7 infusion at a low dosage to give potent immunomodulatory effect for clinical immune disease therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115720
PMCID: PMC4280136  PMID: 25549354
21.  Biological and clinical significance of epigenetic silencing of MARVELD1 gene in lung cancer 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7545.
Epigenetic silence in cancer frequently altered signal-transduction pathways during the early stages of tumor development. Recent progress in the field of cancer epigenetics has led to new opportunities for diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We previously demonstrated that novel identified nuclear factor MARVELD1 was widely expressed in human tissues, but down-regulated by promoter methylation in multiple cancers. This study was carried out to determine the biological and clinical significance of MARVELD1 gene silencing in lung cancer. Here, we found the reduced MARVELD1 expression significantly correlated with diagnostic histopathology and malignant degree of lung cancers. DNA hypermethylation and histone deacetylation synergistically inactivated MARVELD1 gene in lung cancer cells. Moreover, MARVELD1 modulated the efficiency of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) through interaction with NMD core factor SMG1. The decreased MARVELD1 level in lung cancer reduces NMD efficiency through diminishing the association between NMD complex component UPF1/SMG1 and premature termination codons containing mRNA (PTC-mRNA). The results suggested that MARVELD1 silencing is an appealing diagnostic biomarker for lung cancer and epigenetic silencing of MARVELD1 gene links with the regulatory mechanism of NMD pathway in lung cancer, which may be required for tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1038/srep07545
PMCID: PMC4269892  PMID: 25520033
22.  Effect of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on zebrafish embryos and developing retina 
AIM
To investigate the impact of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) on embryonic development and retinal neurogenesis.
METHODS
The agglomeration and sedimentation of TiO2 NPs solutions at different dilutions were observed, and the ultraviolet-visible spectra of their supernatants were measured. Zebrafish embryos were experimentally exposed to TiO2 NPs until 72h postfertilization (hpf). The retinal neurogenesis and distribution of the microglia were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and whole mount in situ hybridization.
RESULTS
The 1 mg/L was determined to be an appropriate exposure dose. Embryos exposed to TiO2 NPs had a normal phenotype. The neurogenesis was initiated on time, and ganglion cells, cones and rods were well differentiated at 72 hpf. The expression of fms mRNA and the 4C4 antibody, which were specific to microglia in the central nervous system (CNS), closely resembled their endogenous profile.
CONCLUSION
These data demonstrate that short-term exposure to TiO2 NPs at a low dose does not lead to delayed embryonic development or retinal neurotoxicity.
doi:10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2014.06.01
PMCID: PMC4270981  PMID: 25540739
titanium dioxide nanoparticles; retina; microglia; zebrafish
23.  Postoperative hyperthermia after resection of a seminoma from the thalamus and third ventricle 
Hyperthermia is relatively common in inpatients, but hyperthermia occurring in the immediate postoperative period after undergoing neurosurgery has some unique characteristics. This case report concerns a patient who developed immediate postoperative hyperthermia up to 39.3°C (the axillary temperature) in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) after resection of a seminoma from the thalamus and third ventricle. Having been re-intubated and mechanically ventilated, the elevated temperature was treated on the PACU by cooling the skin with ice and antipyretic drugs. Within 2 hours after the surgery, the patient’s body temperature had fallen to 37.8°C and vital signs were stable. The patient was then transferred to the neurology intensive care unit for further management. The patient was discharged 70 days after surgery with normal body temperature. During excision of a space-occupying lesion in the thalamus or hypothalamus, clinicians must be mindful of the possibility of hyperthermia and administer appropriate treatments immediately.
PMCID: PMC4307586  PMID: 25664139
Neurosurgery; fever; hyperthermia; hypothalamus
24.  The BLI-3/TSP-15/DOXA-1 Dual Oxidase Complex Is Required for Iodide Toxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;5(2):195-203.
Iodine is an essential trace element for life. Iodide deficiency can lead to defective biosynthesis of thyroid hormones and is a major cause of hypothyroidism and mental retardation. Excess iodide intake, however, has been linked to different thyroidal diseases. How excess iodide causes harmful effects is not well understood. Here, we found that the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans exhibits developmental arrest and other pleiotropic defects when exposed to excess iodide. To identify the responsible genes, we performed a forward genetic screen and isolated 12 mutants that can survive in excess iodide. These mutants define at least four genes, two of which we identified as bli-3 and tsp-15. bli-3 encodes the C. elegans ortholog of the mammalian dual oxidase DUOX1 and tsp-15 encodes the tetraspanin protein TSP-15, which was previously shown to interact with BLI-3. The C. elegans dual oxidase maturation factor DOXA-1 is also required for the arresting effect of excess iodide. Finally, we detected a dramatically increased biogenesis of reactive oxygen species in animals treated with excess iodide, and this effect can be partially suppressed by bli-3 and tsp-15 mutations. We propose that the BLI-3/TSP-15/DOXA-1 dual oxidase complex is required for the toxic pleiotropic effects of excess iodide.
doi:10.1534/g3.114.015982
PMCID: PMC4321028  PMID: 25480962
iodide; dual oxidase; reactive oxygen species; H2O2; C. elegans
25.  Synergistic Effects of Family History of Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Hepatitis B Virus Infection on Risk for Incident Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
BACKGROUND & AIMS
Little is known about the effects of family history of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on hepatitis B progression or risk of HCC. We examined how family HCC history and presence or stage of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affect risk for HCC.
METHODS
We performed a population-based cohort study of 22,472 participants from 7 townships in Taiwan who underwent evaluation for liver disease from 1991 through 1992. Those who received a first diagnosis of HCC from January 1, 1991, to December 31, 2008, were identified from the Taiwanese cancer registry.
RESULTS
There were 374 cases of incident HCC over 362,268 person-years of follow-up evaluation. The cumulative risk of HCC in hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-seronegative patients without a family history of HCC was 0.62%, in those with a family history of HCC the cumulative risk was 0.65%, in HBsAg-seropositive patients without a family history of HCC the cumulative risk was 7.5%, and in HBsAg-seropositive patients with a family history of HCC the cumulative risk was 15.8% (P < .001). The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio for HBsAg-seropositive individuals with family history, compared with HBsAg-seronegative individuals without a family history of HCC, was 32.33 (95% confidence interval, 20.8–50.3; P < .001). The relative excess risk owing to interaction was 19, the attributable proportion was 0.59, and the synergy index value was 2.54. These findings indicate synergy between family HCC history and HBsAg serostatus. The synergy between these factors remained significant in stratification analyses by HBeAg serostatus and serum level of HBV DNA.
CONCLUSIONS
Family history of HCC multiplies the risk of HCC at each stage of HBV infection. Patients with a family history of HCC require more intensive management of HBV infection and surveillance for liver cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.04.043
PMCID: PMC4100777  PMID: 23669307
Cirrhosis; Liver Disease; Epidemiology; Cancer Risk Factor

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