The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulates adaptive transcriptional programs that alter metabolism in response to stress. Network properties that allow GR to tune gene expression to match specific physiologic demands are poorly understood. We analyzed the transcriptional consequences of GR activation in murine lungs deficient for KLF15, a transcriptional regulator of amino acid metabolism that is induced by glucocorticoids and fasting. Approximately 7% of glucocorticoid-regulated genes had altered expression in Klf15-knockdown (Klf15−/−) mice. KLF15 formed coherent and incoherent feed-forward circuits with GR that correlated with the expression dynamics of the glucocorticoid response. Coherent feed-forward gene regulation by GR and KLF15 was characterized by combinatorial activation of linked GR-KLF15 regulatory elements by both factors and increased GR occupancy, while expression of KLF15 reduced GR occupancy at the incoherent target, MT2A. Serum deprivation, which increased KLF15 expression in a GR-independent manner in vitro, enhanced glucocorticoid-mediated induction of feed-forward targets of GR and KLF15, such as the loci for the amino acid-metabolizing enzymes proline dehydrogenase and alpha-aminoadipic semialdehyde synthase. Our results establish feed-forward architecture as an organizational principle for the GR network and provide a novel mechanism through which GR integrates signals and regulates expression dynamics.
In the presence of triphenylphosphine, copper (II) chloride can catalyze an intermolecular ortho-acylation reaction of phenols with aryl aldehydes. The reaction proceeds smoothly with a wide range of starting materials, and furthermore, it can be used to synthesize xanthone derivatives in a single step with high-yields.
The purpose of this study was to prepare and evaluate a taste-masked berberine hydrochloride orally disintegrating tablet for enhanced patient compliance. Taste masking was performed by coating berberine hydrochloride with Eudragit E100 using a fluidized bed. It was found that microcapsules with a drug–polymer ratio of 1:0.8 masked the bitter taste obviously. The microcapsules were formulated to orally disintegrating tablets and the optimized tablets containing 6% (w/w) crospovidone XL and 15% (w/w) microcrystalline cellulose showed the fastest disintegration, within 25.5 s, and had a pleasant taste. The dissolution profiles revealed that the taste-masked orally disintegrating tablets released the drug faster than commercial tablets in the first 10 min. However, their dissolution profiles were very similar after 10 min. The prepared taste-masked tablets remained stable after 6 months of storage. The pharmacokinetics of the taste-masked and commercial tablets was evaluated in rabbits. The Cmax, Tmax, and AUC0−24 values were not significantly different from each other, suggesting that the taste-masked orally disintegrating tablets are bioequivalent to commercial tablets in rabbits. These tablets will enhance patient compliance by masking taste and improve patients’ quality of life.
berberine hydrochloride; microcapsule; orally disintegrating tablet; taste masking
Chronic high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation technique that has recently received increasing interests as a therapeutic procedure for neurodegenerative diseases. To identify the metabolism mechanism underlying the improving effects of rTMS, we observed that high frequency (25Hz) rTMS for 14 days could reverse the decline of the performance of the passive avoidance task in aged mice. We further investigated the metabolite profiles in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in those mice and found that rTMS could also reverse the metabolic abnormalities of gamma-aminobutyric acid, N-acetyl aspartic, and cholesterol levels to the degree similar to the young mice. These data suggested that the rTMS could ameliorate the age-related cognitive impairment and improving the metabolic profiles in PFC, and potentially can be used to improve cognitive decline in the elderly.
Male sterility induced by a chemical hybridization agent (CHA) is an important tool for utilizing crop heterosis. Monosulphuron ester sodium (MES), a new acetolactate synthase-inhibitor herbicide belonging to the sulphonylurea family, has been developed as an effective CHA to induce male sterility in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). To understand MES-induced male sterility in rapeseed better, comparative cytological and proteomic analyses were conducted in this study. Cytological analysis indicated that defective tapetal cells and abnormal microspores were gradually generated in the developing anthers of MES-treated plants at various development stages, resulting in unviable microspores and male sterility. A total of 141 differentially expressed proteins between the MES-treated and control plants were revealed, and 131 of them were further identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. Most of these proteins decreased in abundance in tissues of MES-treated rapeseed plants, and only a few increased. Notably, some proteins were absent or induced in developing anthers after MES treatment. These proteins were involved in several processes that may be crucial for tapetum and microspore development. Down-regulation of these proteins may disrupt the coordination of developmental and metabolic processes, resulting in defective tapetum and abnormal microspores that lead to male sterility in MES-treated plants. Accordingly, a simple model of CHA-MES-induced male sterility in rapeseed was established. This study is the first cytological and dynamic proteomic investigation on CHA-MES-induced male sterility in rapeseed, and the results provide new insights into the molecular events of male sterility.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of developmental malformation and is the leading noninfectious cause of infant mortality. Emerging evidence indicates that genetic defects are involved in the pathogenesis of CHD. Nevertheless, CHD is genetically heterogeneous, and the molecular basis for CHD in a majority of patients remains unknown. In this study, the whole coding region of GATA6, a gene encoding a zinc-finger transcription factor crucial for normal cardiogenesis, was sequenced in 380 unrelated patients with CHD. The relatives of the index patients harboring the identified mutations and 200 unrelated control individuals were subsequently genotyped. The functional effect of the mutations was characterized using a luciferase reporter assay system. As a result, two novel heterozygous GATA6 mutations, p.D404Y and p.E460X, were identified in two families with ventricular septal defect and tetralogy of Fallot, respectively. The mutations co-segregated with CHD in the families with complete penetrance, and were absent in 400 control chromosomes. Functional analysis demonstrated that the mutated GATA6 proteins were associated with significantly decreased transactivational activity in comparison with their wild-type counterpart. These findings provide novel insight into the molecular mechanism implicated in CHD, suggesting potential implications for the early prophylaxis and personalized treatment of CHD.
The transcription factor GATA6 is a zinc finger DNA-binding protein that has been shown to be essential for cardiac development. In this article, two novel heterologous polymorphisms were associated with two cardiac malformations in families.
There is significant evidence for a central role of inflammation in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Epidemiological studies indicate that chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces the risk of developing AD in healthy aging populations. As NSAIDs inhibit the enzymatic activity of the inflammatory cyclooxygenases COX-1 and COX-2, these findings suggest that downstream prostaglandin signaling pathways function in the pre-clinical development of AD. Here, we investigate the function of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) signaling through its EP3 receptor in the neuroinflammatory response to Aβ peptide.
The function of PGE2 signaling through its EP3 receptor was examined in vivo a model of subacute neuroinflammation induced by administration of Aβ42 peptides. Our findings were then confirmed in young adult APPSwe-PS1 ΔE9 transgenic mice.
Deletion of the PGE2 EP3 receptor in a model of Aβ42 peptide-induced neuroinflammation reduced pro-inflammatory gene expression, cytokine production, and oxidative stress. In the APPSwe-PS1 ΔE9 model of Familial AD, deletion of the EP3 receptor blocked induction of pro-inflammatory gene and protein expression and lipid peroxidation. In addition, levels of Aβ peptides were significantly decreased, as were BACE-1 and β-CTF levels, suggesting that generation of Aβ peptides may be increased as a result of pro-inflammatory EP3 signaling. Finally, deletion of EP3 receptor significantly reversed the decline in pre-synaptic proteins seen in APPSwe-PS1 ΔE9 mice.
Our findings identify the PGE2 EP3 receptor as a novel pro-inflammatory, pro-amyloidogenic, and synaptotoxic signaling pathway, and suggest a role for COX-PGE2-EP3 signaling in the development of AD.
Alzheimer’s disease; NSAIDs; cyclooxgenases; prostaglandins; COX-2; PGE2; EP3 receptor; Aβ amyloid; and innate immunity
We describe miniaturized differential glucose sensors based on affinity binding between glucose and a synthetic polymer. The sensors possess excellent resistance to environmental disturbances and can potentially allow wireless measurements of glucose concentrations within interstitial fluid in subcutaneous tissue for long-term, stable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
The sensors are constructed using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology and exploit poly(N-hydroxy-ethyl acrylamide-ran-3-acrylamidophenylboronic acid) (PHEAA-ran-PAAPBA), a glucose-binding polymer with excellent specificity, reversibility, and stability. Two sensing approaches have been investigated, which respectively, use a pair of magnetically actuated diaphragms and perforated electrodes to differentially measure the glucose-binding-induced changes in the viscosity and permittivity of the PHEAA-ran-PAAPBA solution with respect to a reference, glucose-unresponsive polymer solution.
In vivo characterization of the MEMS affinity sensors were performed by controlling blood glucose concentrations of laboratory mice by exogenous glucose and insulin administration. The sensors experienced an 8–30 min initialization period after implantation and then closely tracked commercial capillary glucose meter readings with time lags ranging from 0–15 min during rapid glucose concentration changes. Clarke error grid plots obtained from sensor calibration suggest that, for the viscometric and dielectric sensors, respectively, approximately 95% (in the hyperglycemic range) and 84% (ranging from hypoglycemic to hyperglycemic glucose concentrations) of measurement points were clinically accurate, while 5% and 16% of the points were clinically acceptable.
The miniaturized MEMS sensors explore differential measurements of affinity glucose recognition. In vivo testing demonstrated excellent accuracy and stability, suggesting that the devices hold the potential to enable long-term and reliable CGM in clinical applications.
animal experiment; capacitive detection; continuous glucose monitoring; dielectric sensor; differential measurement; viscometric sensor
Rice black-streaked dwarf virus (RBSDV), a member of the genus Fijivirus within the family Reoviridae, causes severe damage to cereal crops in South East Asia. The protein P7-2, encoded by the second open reading frame of segment S7, is conserved among most plant-infecting fijiviruses, but its function is still obscure.
In this study, P7-2 was used as bait in two-hybrid screens of a cDNA library expressing Zea mays proteins. It was found that there is a strong interaction between P7-2 and Z. mays SKP1 (SKP1Maize), a core subunit of the multicomponent SCF (SKP1/Cullin1/F-box/Rbx1) E3 ubiquitin ligase. The interaction was then confirmed in leaf epidermal cells of Nicotiana benthamiana by bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay. Further investigations indicated that P7-2 also interacts with SKP1 proteins from other plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana, N. benthamiana,Oryza sativa and Saccharum sinense. The C-terminal fragment of SKP1Maize (residues 97–176) and the middle fragment of P7-2 (residues 79–214) are necessary to sustain the interaction, while the C-terminal putative α-helix domain spanning residues 214–295 of P7-2 greatly facilitates the interaction. Agrobacterium-mediated transient suppression assay showed that P7-2 has no obvious activity to suppress local RNA silencing.
Taken together, our results indicated that RBSDV P7-2 can interact with SKP1 proteins from different plants. This is the first report linking a Fijivirus protein to a component of the ubiquitin proteasome system. P7-2 might be a potential F-box protein encoded by RBSDV and involved in the plant-virus interaction through ubiquitination pathway.
Rice black-streaked dwarf virus; P7-2; SKP1; Interaction; SCF ubiquitin ligase
On-chip nanophotonics serves as the foundation for the new generation of information technology, but it is challenged by the diffraction limit of light. With the capabilities of confining light into (deep) subwavelength volumes, plasmonics makes it possible to dramatically miniaturize optical devices so as to integrate them into silicon chips. Here we demonstrate that by cascading nano-corrugation gratings with different periodicities on silver nanowires atop silicon, different colors can be spatially separated and chronologically released at different grating junctions. The released light frequency depends on the grating arrangement and corrugation periodicities. Hence the nanowire acts as a spectral splitter for sorting/demultiplexing photons at different nano-scale positions with a ten-femtosecond-level interval. Such nanowires can be constructed further into compact 2D networks or circuits. We believe that this study provides a new and promising approach for realizing spatiotemporal-sensitive spectral splitting and optical signal processing on nanoscales, and for general integration of nanophotonics with microelectronics.
Mapping near-field profiles and dynamics of surface plasmon polaritons is crucial for understanding their fundamental optical properties and designing miniaturized photonic devices. This requires a spatial resolution on the sub-wavelength scale because the effective polariton wavelength is shorter than free-space excitation wavelengths. Here by combining total internal reflection excitation with surface-enhanced Raman scattering imaging, we mapped at the sub-wavelength scale the spatial distribution of the dominant perpendicular component of surface plasmon fields in a metal nanoparticle-film system through spectrally selective and polarization-resolved excitation of the vertical gap mode. The lateral field-extension at the junction, which is determined by the gap-mode volume, is small enough to distinguish a spot size ~0.355λ0 generated by a focused radially polarized beam with high reproducibility. The same excitation and imaging schemes are also used to trace near-field nano-focusing and interferences of surface plasmon polaritons created by a variety of plasmon lenses.
Antimony (Sb) and copper (Cu) are toxic heavy metals that are associated with a wide variety of minerals. Sb(III)-oxidizing bacteria that convert the toxic Sb(III) to the less toxic Sb(V) are potentially useful for environmental Sb bioremediation. A total of 125 culturable Sb(III)/Cu(II)-resistant bacteria from 11 different types of mining soils were isolated. Four strains identified as Arthrobacter, Acinetobacter and Janibacter exhibited notably high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for Sb(III) (>10 mM),making them the most highly Sb(III)-resistant bacteria to date. Thirty-six strains were able to oxidize Sb(III), including Pseudomonas-, Comamonas-, Acinetobacter-, Sphingopyxis-, Paracoccus- Aminobacter-, Arthrobacter-, Bacillus-, Janibacter- and Variovorax-like isolates. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) revealed that the soil concentrations of Sb and Cu were the most obvious environmental factors affecting the culturable bacterial population structures. Stepwise linear regression was used to create two predictive models for the correlation between soil characteristics and the bacterial Sb(III) or Cu(II) resistance. The concentrations of Sb and Cu in the soil was the significant factors affecting the bacterial Sb(III) resistance, whereas the concentrations of S and P in the soil greatly affected the bacterial Cu(II) resistance. The two stepwise linear regression models that we derived are as follows: and [where the MICSb(III) and MICCu(II) represent the average bacterial MIC for the metal of each soil (µM), and the CSb, CCu, CS and CP represent concentrations for Sb, Cu, S and P (mg/kg) in soil, respectively, p<0.01]. The stepwise linear regression models we developed suggest that metals as well as other soil physicochemical parameters can contribute to bacterial resistance to metals.
Rapid response to chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients (response within 12 weeks of chemotherapy) may increase the chance of complete resection and improved survival. Few molecular markers predict irinotecan-induced rapid response and survival. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in solute carrier genes are reported to correlate with the variable pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and folate in cancer patients. This study aims to evaluate the predictive role of 3 SNPs in mCRC patients treated with irinotecan and fluoropyrimidine-containing regimens.
Materials and Methods
Three SNPs were selected and genotyped in 137 mCRC patients from a Chinese prospective multicenter trial (NCT01282658). The chi-squared test, univariate and multivariable logistic regression model, and receiver operating characteristic analysis were used to evaluate correlations between the genotypes and rapid response. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate the associations between genotypes and survival outcomes. Benjamini and Hochberg False Discovery Rate correction was used in multiple testing
Genotype GA/AA of SNP rs2306283 of the gene SLCO1B1 and genotype GG of SNP rs1051266 of the gene SLC19A1 were associated with a higher rapid response rate (odds ratio [OR] =3.583 and 3.521, 95%CI =1.301-9.871 and 1.271-9.804, p=0.011 and p=0.013, respectively). The response rate was 70% in patients with both genotypes, compared with only 19.7% in the remaining patients (OR = 9.489, 95%CI = 2.191-41.093, Fisher's exact test p=0.002). Their significances were all maintained even after multiple testing (all pc < 0.05). The rs2306283 GA/AA genotype was also an independent prognostic factor of longer progression-free survival (PFS) (hazard ratio = 0.402, 95%CI = 0.171-0.945, p=0.037). None of the SNPs predicted overall survival.
Polymorphisms of solute carriers’ may be useful to predict rapid response to irinotecan plus fluoropyrimidine and PFS in mCRC patients.
A quasi-linear viscoelasticity (QLV) model was used to study passive time-dependent responses of skeletal muscle to repeated massage-like compressive loading (MLL) following damaging eccentric exercise. Six skeletally mature rabbits were surgically instrumented with bilateral peroneal nerve cuffs for stimulation of the hindlimb tibialis anterior (TA) muscles. Following the eccentric exercise, rabbits were randomly assigned to a four-day MLL protocol mimicking deep effleurage (0.5 Hz, 10 N for 15 min or for 30 min). The contralateral hindlimb served as the exercised, no-MLL control for both MLL conditions. Viscoelastic properties of the muscle pre-exercise, post-exercise on Day 1, and pre- and post-MLL Day 1 through Day 4 were determined with ramp-and-hold tests. The instantaneous elastic response (AG0) increased following exercise (p <0.05) and decreased due to both the 15 min and 30 min four-day MLL protocols (p<0.05). Post-four days of MLL the normalized AG0 decreased from post-exercise (Day 1, 248.5%) to the post-MLL (Day 4, 98.5%) (p<0.05), compared to the no-MLL group (Day 4, 222.0%) (p<0.05). Exercise and four-day MLL showed no acute or cumulative effects on the fast and slow relaxation coefficients (p>0.05). This is the first experimental evidence of the effect of both acute (daily) and cumulative changes in viscoelastic properties of intensely exercised muscle due to ex vivo MLL. It provides a starting point for correlating passive muscle properties with mechanical effects of manual therapies, and may shed light on design and optimization of massage protocols.
Compressive loading; Skeletal muscle; Viscoelasticity; Manual therapy
Filifactor alocis is a gram positive anaerobe that is emerging as an important periodontal pathogen. In the oral cavity F. alocis colonizes polymicrobial biofilm communities; however, little is known regarding the nature of the interactions between F. alocis and other oral biofilm bacteria. Here we investigate the community interactions of two strains of F. alocis with Streptococcus gordonii, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, organisms with differing pathogenic potential in the oral cavity. In an in vitro community development model, S. gordonii was antagonistic to the accumulation of F. alocis into a dual species community. In contrast, F. nucleatum and the type strain of F. alocis formed a synergistic partnership. Accumulation of a low passage isolate of F. alocis was also enhanced by F. nucleatum. In three species communities of S. gordonii, F. nucleatum and F. alocis, the antagonistic effects of S. gordonii superseded the synergistic effects of F. nucleatum toward F. alocis. The interaction between A. actinomycetemcomitans and F. alocis was strain specific and A. actinomycetemcomitans could either stimulate F. alocis accumulation or have no effect depending on the strain. P. gingivalis and F. alocis formed heterotypic communities with the amount of P. gingivalis greater than in the absence of F. alocis. However, while P. gingivalis benefited from the relationship, levels of F. alocis in the dual species community were lower compared to F. alocis alone. The inhibitory effect of P. gingivalis toward F. alocis was dependent, at least partially, on the presence of the Mfa1 fimbrial subunit. In addition, AI-2 production by P. gingivalis helped maintain levels of F. alocis. Collectively, these results show that the pattern of F. alocis colonization will be dictated by the spatial composition of microbial microenvironments, and that the organism may preferentially accumulate at sites rich in F. nucleatum.
For patients with anthracycline-resistant metastatic angiosarcoma, there is currently no available standard for second-line therapy, and a need exists for novel effective regimens to improve response rates.
We report here on a case of a primary angiosarcoma of both breasts in a 34-year-old woman presenting with lung metastases. Upon completion of 3 cycles of the MAID regimen (mesna, adriamycin, ifosfamide, dacarbazine), computed tomography showed disease progression. Subsequently, a second-line chemotherapy was started using the GVP regimen (gemcitabine, vincristine, cisplatin). Complete response of the lung metastases was achieved after 6 cycles of treatment.
In the absence of an effective therapy among patients with anthracycline-resistant metastatic breast angiosarcoma, a GVP chemotherapy regimen can be performed as a selective option.
Breast neoplasm; Angiosarcoma; Lung metastases; Gemcitabine; Vincristine; Cisplatin; Chemotherapy
Hypertension is a toxicity of antiangiogenic therapies and a possible biomarker that identifies patients with superior cancer outcomes. Understanding its mechanism will aid in treatment and could lead to the development of other biomarkers for predicting toxicity and anticancer efficacy. Recent evidence implicates nitric oxide (NO) suppression and endothelin-1 (ET-1) stimulation as potential mechanisms leading to antiangiogenic therapy-induced hypertension. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of regorafenib, a novel broad-spectrum kinase inhibitor with activity against multiple targets, including vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 inhibition, on NO and ET-1 levels.
Regorafenib was administered to 32 subjects with gastrointestinal stromal tumor on a 3-week-on, 1-week-off basis. Plasma levels of NO and ET-1 were measured at baseline, 2, 4, and 6 weeks of therapy. Data analysis was by Wilcoxon rank-sum and paired t-tests.
Twenty subjects (63%) developed regorafenib-induced hypertension. Two weeks after starting regorafenib therapy, plasma ET-1 levels increased (25% increase, P < 0.05) and NO was suppressed (20% decrease, P < 0.05). These normalized after 1-week washout but ET-1 rose again by 30% (P < 0.05) and NO fell by 50% (P < 0.05) after restarting regorafenib.
These findings indicate that regorafenib induces a coordinated and reversible suppression of NO and stimulation of ET-1. Whether NO and ET-1 might predict therapeutic efficacy in these patients requires further study.
American Journal of Hypertension, advance online publication 12 July 2012. doi:10.1038/ajh.2012.97
antiangiogenic therapy; blood pressure; endothelin-1; hypertension; nitric oxide
Three models for promoting male circumcision (MC) as a preventative intervention against HIV infection were compared among migrant worker populations in western China.
A cohort study was performed after an initial cross-sectional survey among migrant workers in three provincial level districts with high HIV prevalence in western China. A total of 1,670 HIV seronegative male migrants were cluster-randomized into three intervention models, in which the dissemination of promotional materials and expert- and volunteer-led discussions are conducted in one, two, and three stage interventions. Changes in knowledge of MC, acceptability of MC, MC surgery uptake, and the costs of implementation were analyzed at 6-month and 9-month follow-up visits.
All three models significantly increased the participants’ knowledge about MC. The three-stage model significantly increased the acceptability of MC among participants and led to greatest increase in MC uptake. At the end of follow-up, 9.2% (153/1,670) of participants underwent MC surgery; uptake among the one-, two-, and three-stage models were 4.9%, 9.3%, and 14.6%, respectively. Multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that three-stage model was the most effective method to scale up MC, with RR = 2.0 (95% CI, 1.3-3.1, P=0.002) compared to the on-site session model. The two-stage intervention model showed no significant difference with either the on-site session model (RR=1.5, 95% CI, 0.92-2.4, P=0.12) or three-stage model (P=0.10).
A three-stage intervention with gradual introduction of knowledge led to the significantly increase in MC uptake among migrant workers in western China, and was also the most cost-effective method among the three models.
Fibroblasts, far frombeing merely bystander cells, are known to play a specific role in inflammation resolution after an acute injury. As the endogenous “braking signal,” resolvins possess potent anti-inflammatory and proresolution actions. We demonstrated that the expression of COX-2 protein was significantly peaked initially at 6 hours but then also at 48 hours after LPS stimulation in lung fibroblasts. PGE2 levels also peaked at 6 hours, and PGD2 levels were increased and peaked at 48 hours. However, no significant change in the protein expression of COX-1 was observed after treatment with LPS in lung fibroblasts. Exogenous resolvin D1 inhibited the first peak of COX-2 expression as well as the production of PGE2 induced by LPS. In contrast, exogenous resolvin D1 increased the second peak of COX-2 expression as well as the production of PGD2 induced by LPS. In addition, resolvin D1 inhibited COX-2 expression at 6 hours, which was partly through PI3K/AKT and ERK2 signalling pathways.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major cause of end-stage kidney disease, and therefore early diagnosis and intervention may help reverse renal damage. One hundred and sixty-eight patients with T2DM and 56 healthy volunteers (control group) were enrolled at Shandong University Qilu Hospital between April 2010 and October 2012. All subjects underwent blood sampling for sera homocysteine (Hcy) and cystatin C (Cys C) assays and a urine microalbumin test. The patients were divided into three groups according to the urine microalbumin excretion rate (UMAER): the simple DM group (SDM group, n = 51), the early-stage DN group (EDN group, n = 60), and the clinical DN and renal failure group (CDN group, n = 57). Correlation analysis was performed to examine the association between sera Hcy and Cys C levels with UMAER. Our findings showed that sera Hcy level, Cys C level, and UMAER increased significantly in the SDM group (P < 0.05, P < 0.01), the EDN group (P < 0.01), and the CDN group (P < 0.01) as compared with the control group. These three biochemical markers also increased significantly with DN progression (P < 0.01). Correlation analysis showed that sera Hcy and Cys C levels were positively correlated with UMAER (r = 0.702, P < 0.01; r = 0.873, P < 0.01). In conclusion, our results showed that sera Hcy and Cys C levels increased consistently with the development and progression of DN as indicated by UMAER. Sera Hcy and Cys C are sensitive biomarkers for the detection of early-stage DN and monitoring its progression.
Background. Syphilis has made a rapid resurgence in China, especially among high-risk groups including female sex workers (FSWs).
Methods. Two cities in each of 3 provinces in South China were chosen and allocated to intervention or control arms. The intervention consisted of enhancing community-based syphilis screening outreach intervention with comprehensive sexually transmitted infection services at designated clinics while the control maintained routine intervention activities. Generalized linear modeling was used to examine effect of the intervention on incident syphilis infection.
Results. A total of 8275 women were eligible, and 3597 women enrolled (n = 2011 in control arm, n = 1586 in intervention arm) in the study. The median follow-up duration was 375 days (interquartile range, 267–475). Syphilis incidence density in the intervention group was reduced by 70% (95% confidence interval, 53%–81%) compared with the incidence in the control arm. The syphilis prevention intervention benefits were robust among FSWs at low-tier venues, individuals with less than high school education, migrants, and women who did not report condom use during the last episode of sex.
Conclusions. Integrated sexually transmitted infection and human immunodeficiency virus prevention strategies substantially reduce syphilis incidence among FSWs, especially among those at low-tier venues. This intervention suggests the need for scaling up comprehensive FSW programs in China.
The intracellular concentration of chloride ([Cl-]i) determines the strength and polarity of GABA neurotransmission. STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) is known as an indirect regulator of [Cl-]i for its activation of Na-K-2 Cl-co-transporters (NKCC) and inhibition of K-Cl-co-transporters (KCC) in many organs. NKCC1 or KCC2 expression changes have been demonstrated previously in the hippocampal neurons of mice with pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (PISE). However, it remains unclear whether SPAK modulates [Cl-]i via NKCC1 or KCC2 in the brain. Also, there are no data clearly characterizing SPAK expression in cortical or hippocampal neurons or confirming an association between SPAK and epilepsy. In the present study, we examined SPAK expression and co-expression with NKCC1 and KCC2 in the hippocampal neurons of mice with PISE, and we investigated alterations in SPAK expression in the hippocampus of such mice. Significant increases in SPAK mRNA and protein levels were detected during various stages of PISE in the PISE mice in comparison to levels in age-matched sham (control) and blank treatment (control) mice. SPAK and NKCC1 expression increased in vitro, while KCC2 was down-regulated in hippocampal neurons following hypoxic conditioning. However, SPAK overexpression did not influence the expression levels of NKCC1 or KCC2. Using co-immunoprecipitation, we determined that the intensity of interaction between SPAK and NKCC1 and between SPAK and KCC2 increased markedly after oxygen-deprivation, whereas SPAK overexpression strengthened the relationships. The [Cl-]i of hippocampal neurons changed in a corresponding manner under the different conditions. Our data suggests that SPAK is involved in the plasticity of GABA signaling function in acquired epilepsy via adjustment of [Cl-]i in hippocampal neurons.
Deformable registration has been widely used in neuroscience studies for spatial normalization of brain images onto a standard space. Due to high anatomical variances across individual brains, registration performance could be limited when trying to estimate entire deformation pathway either from template to subject or subject to template. Symmetric image registration offers an effective way to simultaneously deform template and subject images towards each other until they meet at the middle point. Although some intensity-based registration algorithms have nicely incorporated this concept of symmetric deformation, the intensity matching between two images may not necessarily imply the correct matching of anatomical correspondences. In this paper, we integrate both strategies of hierarchical attribute matching and symmetric diffeomorphic deformation for building a new symmetric-diffeomorphic registration algorithm for MR brain images. The performance of our proposed method has been extensively evaluated and further compared with top-ranked image registration methods (SyN and diffeomorphic Demons) on brain MR images. In all experiments, our registration method achieves the best registration performance, compared to all other state-of-the-art registration methods.
AIM: To establish the frequency and clinical features of connective tissue diseases (CTDs) in a cohort of Chinese patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
METHODS: Three-hundred and twenty-two Chinese PBC patients were screened for the presence of CTD, and the systemic involvement was assessed. The differences in clinical features and laboratory findings between PBC patients with and without CTD were documented. The diversity of incidence of CTDs in PBC of different countries and areas was discussed. For the comparison of normally distributed data, Student’s t test was used, while non-parametric test (Wilcoxon test) for the non-normally distributed data and 2 × 2 χ2 or Fisher’s exact tests for the ratio.
RESULTS: One-hundred and fifty (46.6%) PBC patients had one or more CTDs. The most common CTD was Sjögren’s syndrome (SS, 121 cases, 36.2%). There were nine cases of systemic sclerosis (SSc, 2.8%), 12 of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, 3.7%), nine of rheumatoid arthritis (RA, 2.8%), and 10 of polymyositis (PM, 3.1%) in this cohort. Compared to patients with PBC only, the PBC + SS patients were more likely to have fever and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), higher serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels and more frequent rheumatoid factor (RF) and interstitial lung disease (ILD) incidences; PBC + SSc patients had higher frequency of ILD; PBC + SLE patients had lower white blood cell (WBC) count, hemoglobin (Hb), platelet count, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and immunoglobulin M levels, but higher frequency of renal involvement; PBC + RA patients had lower Hb, higher serum IgG, alkaline phosphatase, faster ESR and a higher ratio of RF positivity; PBC + PM patients had higher WBC count and a tendency towards myocardial involvement.
CONCLUSION: Besides the common liver manifestation of PBC, systemic involvement and overlaps with other CTDs are not infrequent in Chinese patients. When overlapping with other CTDs, PBC patients manifested some special clinical and laboratory features which may have effect on the prognosis.
Cirrhosis; Biliary; Connective tissue disease; Sjögren’s syndrome; Systemic sclerosis; Raynaud phenomenon