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1.  Altering Transplantation Time to Avoid Periods of High Temperature Can Efficiently Reduce Bacterial Wilt Disease Incidence with Tomato 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139313.
Tomato bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum bacterium is a severe problem in Southern China, where relatively high environmental temperatures commonly prevails during the crop seasons. Previous research has indicated that bacterial wilt disease incidence generally increases during the warm months of summer leading to reduced tomato yield. Moreover, the efficacy of bio-organic fertilizers (BOFs)–organic compost fortified with pathogen-suppressive bacteria—is often lost during the periods of high environmental temperatures. Here we studied if the disease incidence could be reduced and the BOF performance enhanced by simply preponing and postponing the traditional seedling transplantation times to avoid tomato plant development during periods of high environmental temperature. To this end, a continuous, two-year field experiment was conducted to evaluate the performance of BOF in two traditional (late-spring [LS] and early-autumn [EA]) and two alternative (early-spring [ES] and late-autumn [LA]) crop seasons. We found that changing the transplantation times reduced the mean disease incidence from 33.9% (LS) and 54.7% (EA) to 11.1% (ES) and 7.1% (LA), respectively. Reduction in disease incidence correlated with the reduction in R. Solanacearum pathogen density in the tomato plant rhizosphere and stem base. Applying BOF during alternative transplantation treatments improved biocontrol efficiency from 43.4% (LS) and 3.1% (EA) to 67.4% (ES) and 64.8% (LA). On average, the mean maximum air temperatures were positively correlated with the disease incidence, and negatively correlated with the BOF biocontrol efficacy over the crop seasons. Crucially, even though preponing the transplantation time reduced the tomato yield in general, it was still economically more profitable compared to LS season due to reduced crop losses and relatively higher market prices. Preponing and postponing traditional tomato transplantation times to cooler periods could thus offer simple but effective way to control R. solanacearum disease outbreaks.
PMCID: PMC4595502  PMID: 26441225
2.  The Cytokine and Chemokine Profiles in Patients with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease of Different Severities in Shanghai, China, 2010 
Background and purpose
Systemic upregulation of inflammatory cytokines is characteristic of critical severe hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) with pulmonary edema. Thus, immunomodulatory medicines such as steroids, including methylprednisolone, have been proposed to treat patients with severe HFMD in China, because it is postulated that inflammatory cytokines play a role in the development of severe complications. This study is to further investigate the inflammatory response in the relatively mild HFMD patients, and whether steroid treatment has a beneficial effect on the suppression of inflammation in HFMD patients.
We measured the levels of 50 kinds of chemokines, cytokines, growth factors and soluble receptors in serum samples from control patients without HFMD and the HFMD patients with or without prior treatment of intravenous methylprednisolone.
Our present study found that even relatively mild HFMD patients without central nervous system (CNS) complications had elevated serum levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-3, IL-6, IL-12p40, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which suggested systemic inflammation. In contrast, these patients also have decreased levels of other serum biomarkers, including IL-1Ra, IL-8, IL-16, soluble ICAM-1, CXCL-1, and CCL27. The dysregulation of cytokine and chemokine expression may be involved in CNS complications and unbalanced circulating leukocytes in HFMD patients. Surprisingly, patients treated with methylprednisolone had no difference in the expression levels of HFMD-associated biomarkers instead had slightly increased levels of IL-17A, which was not associated with the occurrence of HFMD.
Whether steroid treatment has any beneficial effect on the prognosis of HFMD patients requires to be further investigated.
Author Summary
Systemic inflammation is characteristic of severe hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Steroids are considered immunomodulators and have been officially recommended to treat the severe HFMD patients with CNS complications in China. So far, it is uncertain whether steroid treatment has an immunomodulatory role in inflammation in HFMD patients and has a real beneficial effect on their prognosis. This study revealed that even relatively mild HFMD patients without CNS complications had elevated inflammation. Unexpectedly, the inflammatory cytokine levels in patients treated with methylprednisolone, one kind of steroid, were not significantly different from those in patients without the treatment. Rather, the treated patients tended to have elevated levels of IL-17A, whose expression levels were actually not significantly associated with the presence of HFMD. IL-17A is known to play a role in the pathogenesis of CNS-related inflammatory diseases. Altogether, our study does not support the presumption that steroids have beneficial effect on the prognosis of HFMD patients by inhibiting systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3868519  PMID: 24367714
3.  Perceived risk of tuberculosis infection among healthcare workers in Swaziland 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2016;16:697.
The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the Kingdom of Swaziland is extremely high. How healthcare workers (HCWs) in Swaziland perceive infection control (IC) measures for preventing TB transmission is unclear. This study aimed to determine perceived risk of TB infection in relation to IC measures among HCWs in three institutions of Swaziland.
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in 2014. Demographic data and IC measures were collected from main and allied HCWs.
In total, 186 HCWs (19 doctors, 99 nurses, and 68 allied HCWs) were enrolled. The multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that nurses (OR = 39.87, 95% CI = 2.721–584.3) and other HCWs (OR =99.34, 95% CI = 7.469–1321) perceived a higher TB infection risk than did doctors. Moreover, HCWs working for <4 years at the TB department perceived a lower TB infection risk (OR = 0.099, 95% CI = 0.022–0.453). Availability of N95 respirator masks (OR = 0.055, 95% CI = 0.005–0.586) and a designated sputum collection area (OR = 0.142, 95% CI = 0.037–0.545) also carried lower TB infection risks.
This study depicts the current status of IC measures for TB infection in a high prevalence country. The results suggest that HCWs perceived a greater TB infection risk at inadequate environmental IC measures.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-016-2029-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5122014  PMID: 27881088
Infection control; N95 respirator mask; Sputum; Tuberculosis; Swaziland
4.  Lymphocytic Microparticles Modulate Angiogenic Properties of Macrophages in Laser-induced Choroidal Neovascularization 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:37391.
Pathological choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is the common cause of vision loss in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Macrophages possess potential angiogenic function in CNV. We have demonstrated that human T lymphocyte-derived microparticles (LMPs) exert a potent antiangiogenic effect in several pathological neovascularization models. In this study, we investigated the alteration of proangiogenic properties of macrophages by LMPs treatment in vitro and in vivo models. LMPs regulated the expression of several angiogenesis-related factors in macrophages and consequently stimulated their antiangiogenic effects evidenced by the suppression of the proliferation of human retinal endothelial cells in co-culture experiments. The involvement of CD36 receptor in LMPs uptake by macrophages was demonstrated by in vitro assays and by immunostaining of choroidal flat mounts. In addition, ex vivo experiments showed that CD36 mediates the antiangiogenic effect of LMPs in murine and human choroidal explants. Furthermore, intravitreal injection of LMPs in the mouse model of laser-induced CNV significantly suppressed CNV in CD36 dependent manner. The results of this study suggested an ability of LMPs to alter the gene expression pattern of angiogenesis-related factors in macrophages, which provide important information for a new therapeutic approach for efficiently interfering with both vascular and extravascular components of CNV.
PMCID: PMC5118818  PMID: 27874077
5.  Case–control study of diarrheal disease etiology in individuals over 5 years in southwest China 
Gut Pathogens  2016;8:58.
Acute diarrhea is one of the major public health problems worldwide. Most of studies on acute diarrhea have been made on infants aged below 5 years and few efforts have been made to identify the etiological agents of acute diarrhea in people over five, especially in China.
271 diarrhea cases and 149 healthy controls over 5 years were recruited from four participating hospitals between June 2014 and July 2015. Each stool specimen was collected to detect a series of enteric pathogens, involving five viruses (Rotavirus group A, RVA; Norovirus, NoV; Sapovirus, SaV; Astrovirus, As; and Adenovirus, Ad), seven bacteria (diarrheagenic Escherichia coli, DEC; non-typhoidal Salmonella, NTS; Shigella spp.; Vibrio cholera; Vibrio parahaemolyticus; Aeromonas spp.; and Plesiomonas spp.) and three protozoa (Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia lamblia, G. lamblia, and Blastocystis hominis, B. hominis). Standard microbiological and molecular methods were applied to detect these pathogens. Data was analyzed using Chi square, Fisher-exact tests and logistic regressions.
The prevalence of at least one enteric pathogen was detected in 29.2% (79/271) acute diarrhea cases and in 12.1% (18/149) in healthy controls (p < 0.0001). Enteric viral infections (14.4%) were the most common in patients suffering from acute diarrhea, followed by bacteria (13.7%) and intestinal protozoa (4.8%). DEC (12.5%) was the most common causative agent in diarrhea cases, followed by NoV GII (10.0%), RVA (7.4%) and B. hominis (4.8%). The prevalence of co-infection was statistically higher (p = 0.0059) in the case group (7.7%) than in the healthy control (1.3%). RVA–NoV GII (3.0%) was the most common co-infection in symptomatic cases.
DEC was the most predominant pathogen in diarrhea cases, but it was largely overlooked because the lack of laboratory capacities. Because of the high prevalence of co-infections, it is recommended the urgent development of alternative laboratory methods to assess polymicrobial infections. Such methodological improvements will result in a better prevention and treatment strategies to control diarrhea illness in China.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13099-016-0141-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5112671  PMID: 27891182
Acute diarrhea; Bacteria; Virus; Enteric protozoa; Co-infection
6.  Depression-like phenotype by deletion of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor: Role of BDNF-TrkB in nucleus accumbens 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:36705.
The α7 subtype of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) plays a role in the inflammation which is implicated in depression. This study was undertaken to examine the role of α7 nAChR in depression using α7 nAChR knock-out (KO) mice. Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interlukin-1β in KO mice were higher than wild-type mice, suggesting an inflammatory process in KO mice. α7 nAChR KO mice showed depression-like phenotype. Furthermore, KO mice showed increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor TrkB signaling, as well as increased synaptogenesis and spine density in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), although BDNF-TrkB signaling and synaptogenesis were not altered in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Systemic administration of the TrkB antagonist ANA-12, but not the TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine, showed a rapid antidepressant effect in KO mice by normalizing increased synaptogenesis in the NAc. In addition, bilateral infusion of ANA-12 into NAc promoted a rapid antidepressant effect in KO mice by normalizing increased synaptogenesis in the NAc. These findings suggest that increased BDNF-TrkB signaling and synaptogenesis in the NAc by deletion of α7 nAChR plays a key role in depression.
PMCID: PMC5099687  PMID: 27821848
7.  Intake of 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone During Juvenile and Adolescent Stages Prevents Onset of Psychosis in Adult Offspring After Maternal Immune Activation 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:36087.
Prenatal infection and subsequent abnormal neurodevelopment of offspring is involved in the etiology of schizophrenia. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its high affinity receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) signaling plays a key role in the neurodevelopment. Pregnant mice exposed to polyriboinosinic-polyribocytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] causes schizophrenia-like behavioral abnormalities in their offspring at adulthood. Here we found that the juvenile offspring of poly(I:C)-treated mice showed cognitive deficits, as well as reduced BDNF-TrkB signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Furthermore, the adult offspring of poly(I:C)-treated mice showed cognitive deficits, prepulse inhibition (PPI) deficits, reduced BDNF-TrkB signaling, immunoreactivity of parvalbumin (PV) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) in the prelimbic (PrL) of medial PFC and CA1 of hippocampus. Supplementation of a TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (1 mg/mL in drinking water) during juvenile and adolescent stages could prevent these behavioral abnormalities, reduced BDNF-TrkB signaling in PFC and CA1, and immunoreactivity of PV and PGC-1α in the PrL of medial PFC and CA1 in the adult offspring from poly(I:C)-treated mice. These findings suggest that early intervention by a TrkB agonist in subjects with ultra-high risk for psychosis may reduce the risk of subsequent transition to schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC5099694  PMID: 27824119
8.  Gankyrin has an antioxidative role through the feedback regulation of Nrf2 in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Yang et al. identify a feedback loop between gankyrin, an oncoprotein overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and Nrf2. The positive feedback modulates a series of antioxidant enzymes that lower intracellular reactive oxygen species to confer protection from mitochondrial damage and cell death.
Oxidative stress status has a key role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and progression. Normally, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels are tightly controlled by an inducible antioxidant program that responds to cellular stressors. How HCC cells respond to excessive oxidative stress remains elusive. Here, we identified a feedback loop between gankyrin, an oncoprotein overexpressed in human HCC, and Nrf2 maintaining the homeostasis in HCC cells. Mechanistically, gankyrin was found to interact with the Kelch domain of Keap1 and effectively competed with Nrf2 for Keap1 binding. Increased expression of gankyrin in HCC cells blocked the binding between Nrf2 and Keap1, inhibiting the degradation of Nrf2 by proteasome. Interestingly, accumulation and translocation of Nrf2 increased the transcription of gankyrin through binding to the ARE elements in the promoter of gankyrin. The positive feedback regulation involving gankyrin and Nrf2 modulates a series of antioxidant enzymes, thereby lowering intracellular ROS and conferring a steadier intracellular environment, which prevents mitochondrial damage and cell death induced by excessive oxidative stress. Our results indicate that gankyrin is a regulator of cellular redox homeostasis and provide a link between oxidative stress and the development of HCC.
PMCID: PMC4854728  PMID: 27091842
9.  Prognosis of alcohol-associated lactic acidosis in critically ill patients: an 8-year study 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35368.
Lactic acidosis is common in critical care; by contrast, a subtype called alcohol-associated lactic acidosis (AALA) is rarely encountered. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the prognosis of AALA in critically ill patients and the second aim was to determine whether the survival was associated to the peak blood lactate concentration. An 8-year retrospective analysis of adult patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with AALA between January 2007 and December 2014 was considered in a tertiary care hospital. In total, 23 patients were analyzed and the median peak blood lactate level was 15.9 mmol/L. Only 2 patients (8.7%) presented peak blood lactate levels <10 mmol/L. In this study, 21 patients survived from ICU and hospital, the mortality rate was 8.7%. The result indicted the survival of AALA was not associated with peak blood lactate concentration although survivors still had a better lactate clearance rate per hour than non-survivors. Moreover, AALA patients with coexisting sepsis presenting higher lactate clearance rate and shorter lactate clearance time than those of AALA patients with solely sepsis-related lactic acidosis.
PMCID: PMC5066311  PMID: 27748410
10.  Efficacy of Probiotic Supplementation Therapy for Helicobacter pylori Eradication: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(10):e0163743.
Traditional Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) eradication therapies have shown efficacies below 80% in several studies, and their use has been accompanied by antibiotic-related side effects. Some recent studies have reported that supplementing standard therapies with probiotics can improve the efficacy and tolerability of Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy.
To assess the effects of probiotic supplementation on the eradication rates and therapy-related adverse event rates of anti-Helicobacter pylori regimens.
We searched PubMed, Medline, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials and the Chinese Biomedical Database for eligible randomized controlled trials published through July, 2015. Review Manager 5.3 was used for all statistical analyses.
Thirteen randomized controlled trials involving a total of 2306 patients were included in our analysis. Intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis performed using a fixed-effects model (test for heterogeneity I2 = 45%) showed that the pooled relative risk (RR) of eradication was significantly higher in the probiotic supplementation group than in the control group [RR 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10–1.20, P<0.00001]. The incidence of total antibiotic-related side effects was lower in the probiotic supplementation group than in the control group, and the pooled RR (studies n = 9) was 0.71 (95% CI: 0.54–0.94, P = 0.02), as determined using a random-effects model (heterogeneity test I2 = 59%). Certain adverse events, such as nausea and vomiting (RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.35–0.95, P = 0.03), diarrhea (RR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.31–0.84, P = 0.008) and constipation (RR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.28–0.80, P = 0.005), were reported at lower rates in the probiotic supplementation group than in the control group. Subgroup analysis showed that eradication rates were significantly improved in both adults (RR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.09–1.19, P<0.00001) and children (RR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.05–1.47, P = 0.01) in the probiotic supplementation group and that no regional differences between Europe (RR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.09–1.24, P<0.00001) and Asia were present (RR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.06–1.22, P = 0.0002). However, the total adverse event rate was not decreased in the adult group (RR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.61–1.04, P = 0.1) or the Asian group (RR = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.39–1.18, P = 0.17). Subgroup analyses examining therapy regimens and treatment durations showed that probiotic supplementation increased eradication rates in the triple-therapy (RR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.12–1.25, P<0.00001), seven-day treatment (RR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.12–1.31, P<0.00001) and fourteen-day treatment (RR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.06–1.20, P = 0.0002) groups. The incidence of antibiotic-related side effects was significantly reduced in all groups, with the exception of the quadruple-therapy subgroup (RR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.60–2.13, P = 0.07) and the fourteen-day therapy subgroup (RR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.61–1.51, P = 0.86). Supplementation with Lactobacillus alone (RR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.12–1.38, P<0.0001) or multi-strain probiotics (RR = 1.12, 95% CI 1.07–1.18, P<0.00001) was effective at improving H. pylori eradication rates. However, supplementation with Lactobacillus alone did not significantly decrease the overall incidence of side effects (RR = 0.61, 95% CI: 0.11–3.51, P = 0.58). Our study also showed that probiotic supplementation before, during or after H. pylori eradication therapy improved eradication rates, regardless of supplementation duration. Furthermore, probiotic supplementation during H. pylori treatment reduced the incidence of side effects.
Probiotic supplementation during anti-Helicobacter pylori treatment may be effective for improving H. pylori eradication rates, minimizing the incidence of therapy-related adverse events and alleviating most disease-related clinical symptoms. However, our results should be interpreted with caution because of the presence of heterogeneity across the trials included in this analysis.
PMCID: PMC5056761  PMID: 27723762
11.  Identifying molecular signatures of hypoxia adaptation from sex chromosomes: A case for Tibetan Mastiff based on analyses of X chromosome 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:35004.
Genome-wide studies on high-altitude adaptation have received increased attention as a classical case of organismal evolution under extreme environment. However, the current genetic understanding of high-altitude adaptation emanated mainly from autosomal analyses. Only a few earlier genomic studies paid attention to the allosome. In this study, we performed an intensive scan of the X chromosome of public genomic data generated from Tibetan Mastiff (TM) and five other dog populations for indications of high-altitude adaptation. We identified five genes showing signatures of selection on the X chromosome. Notable among these genes was angiomotin (AMOT), which is related to the process of angiogenesis. We sampled additional 11 dog populations (175 individuals in total) at continuous altitudes in China from 300 to 4,000 meters to validate and test the association between the haplotype frequency of AMOT gene and altitude adaptation. The results suggest that AMOT gene may be a notable candidate gene for the adaptation of TM to high-altitude hypoxic conditions. Our study shows that X chromosome deserves consideration in future studies of adaptive evolution.
PMCID: PMC5054530  PMID: 27713520
12.  Neural Activities Underlying the Feedback Express Salience Prediction Errors for Appetitive and Aversive Stimuli 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:34032.
Feedback information is essential for us to adapt appropriately to the environment. The feedback-related negativity (FRN), a frontocentral negative deflection after the delivery of feedback, has been found to be larger for outcomes that are worse than expected, and it reflects a reward prediction error derived from the midbrain dopaminergic projections to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), as stated in reinforcement learning theory. In contrast, the prediction of response-outcome (PRO) model claims that the neural activity in the mediofrontal cortex (mPFC), especially the ACC, is sensitive to the violation of expectancy, irrespective of the valence of feedback. Additionally, increasing evidence has demonstrated significant activities in the striatum, anterior insula and occipital lobe for unexpected outcomes independently of their valence. Thus, the neural mechanism of the feedback remains under dispute. Here, we investigated the feedback with monetary reward and electrical pain shock in one task via functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results revealed significant prediction-error-related activities in the bilateral fusiform gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus and left cingulate gyrus for both money and pain. This implies that some regions underlying the feedback may signal a salience prediction error rather than a reward prediction error.
PMCID: PMC5046116  PMID: 27694920
14.  Sanguisorba officinalis L synergistically enhanced 5-fluorouracil cytotoxicity in colorectal cancer cells by promoting a reactive oxygen species-mediated, mitochondria-caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:34245.
Sanguisorba officinalis L. radix is a widely used herb called DiYu (DY) in China and has an extensive range of bioactivities, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative activities. However, there is little evidence to support its anti-cancer effects against colorectal cancer (CRC). The first-line chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is used to treat CRC, but its efficiency is hampered by acquired drug resistance. This study found that a water extract of DY exerted anti-proliferative effects against two CRC cell lines (HCT-116 and RKO), and it sensitized CRC cells to 5-FU therapy by activating a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated, mitochondria-caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway. Co-treatment of DY and 5-FU significantly elevated ROS levels, up-regulated Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and triggered mitochondrial dysfunction, followed by a release of cytochrome c and up-regulation of proteins such as cleaved-caspase-9/3 and cleaved-PARP. Additionally, the induction of autophagy may be involved in mediating synergism of DY in HCT-116 cells. Gallic acid (GA), catechinic acid (CA) and ellagic acid (EA) were identified as the potential chief constituents responsible for the synergistic effects of DY. In conclusion, co-treatment of DY, specifically GA, CA and EA, with 5-FU may be a potential alternative therapeutic strategy for CRC by enhancing an intrinsic apoptotic pathway.
PMCID: PMC5037464  PMID: 27671231
15.  Patient-Specific MRI-Based Right Ventricle Models Using Different Zero-Load Diastole and Systole Geometries for Better Cardiac Stress and Strain Calculations and Pulmonary Valve Replacement Surgical Outcome Predictions 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162986.
Accurate calculation of ventricular stress and strain is critical for cardiovascular investigations. Sarcomere shortening in active contraction leads to change of ventricular zero-stress configurations during the cardiac cycle. A new model using different zero-load diastole and systole geometries was introduced to provide more accurate cardiac stress/strain calculations with potential to predict post pulmonary valve replacement (PVR) surgical outcome.
Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) data were obtained from 16 patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot prior to and 6 months after pulmonary valve replacement (8 male, 8 female, mean age 34.5 years). Patients were divided into Group 1 (n = 8) with better post PVR outcome and Group 2 (n = 8) with worse post PVR outcome based on their change in RV ejection fraction (EF). CMR-based patient-specific computational RV/LV models using one zero-load geometry (1G model) and two zero-load geometries (diastole and systole, 2G model) were constructed and RV wall thickness, volume, circumferential and longitudinal curvatures, mechanical stress and strain were obtained for analysis. Pairwise T-test and Linear Mixed Effect (LME) model were used to determine if the differences from the 1G and 2G models were statistically significant, with the dependence of the pair-wise observations and the patient-slice clustering effects being taken into consideration. For group comparisons, continuous variables (RV volumes, WT, C- and L- curvatures, and stress and strain values) were summarized as mean ± SD and compared between the outcome groups by using an unpaired Student t-test. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify potential morphological and mechanical predictors for post PVR surgical outcome.
Based on results from the 16 patients, mean begin-ejection stress and strain from the 2G model were 28% and 40% higher than that from the 1G model, respectively. Using the 2G model results, RV EF changes correlated negatively with stress (r = -0.609, P = 0.012) and with pre-PVR RV end-diastole volume (r = -0.60, P = 0.015), but did not correlate with WT, C-curvature, L-curvature, or strain. At begin-ejection, mean RV stress of Group 2 was 57.4% higher than that of Group 1 (130.1±60.7 vs. 82.7±38.8 kPa, P = 0.0042). Stress was the only parameter that showed significant differences between the two groups. The combination of circumferential curvature, RV volume and the difference between begin-ejection stress and end-ejection stress was the best predictor for post PVR outcome with an area under the ROC curve of 0.855. The begin-ejection stress was the best single predictor among the 8 individual parameters with an area under the ROC curve of 0.782.
The new 2G model may be able to provide more accurate ventricular stress and strain calculations for potential clinical applications. Combining morphological and mechanical parameters may provide better predictions for post PVR outcome.
PMCID: PMC5023146  PMID: 27627806
16.  Risk assessment of gene variants for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in Taiwan 
BMC Pediatrics  2016;16(1):144.
Hyperbilirubinemia is a common disorder during neonatal period in Taiwan. Gene variants may play an important role in the development of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The current study investigated the association between neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and common gene variants involving the production and metabolism of bilirubin.
This prospective study enrolled 444 healthy infants born in the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Taipei from 2013–2015. Hyperbilirubinemia was defined as a total bilirubin ≥ 15 mg/dL. A log-binomial model was used to assess the risk of gene variants.
The most common genetic variant was short heme oxygenase (HO)-1 promoter GT-allele (<24 repeats) (39.4 %), followed by GA at nt388 in hepatic solute carrier organic anion transporter 1B1 (SLCO1B1) (31.1 %), GA at nt211 in UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 (UGT1A1) (29.3 %), ABO incompatibility (16.2 %), alpha thalassemia (5.0 %), and G6PD deficiency (3.2 %). The log-binomial analysis demonstrated greater risks of hyperbilirubinemia in infants with GA at nt211 in UGT1A1 (RR = 1.548; 95 % CI = 1.096–2.187), short HO-1 promoter GT-repeat (RR = 2.185; 95 % CI = 1.527–3.125), and G6PD deficiency (RR = 1.985; 95 % CI = 1.010–3.901). The other gene variants – including blood type, alpha thalassemia, and SLCO1B1 – carried no significant risk.
G6PD deficiency, short HO-1 promoter GT-repeat and GA at nt211 in UGT1A1 are risk factors of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The data provide clinical evidence to explain the high incidence of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in Taiwan.
PMCID: PMC4997681  PMID: 27557546
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia; Heme oxygenase-1; UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1; Thalassemia; Hepatic solute carrier organic anion transporter 1B1
17.  Initiation and Persistence of Pharmacotherapy for Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(8):e0161061.
Pharmacotherapy is an effective therapeutic option for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Understanding the patterns of medication treatment is crucial for clinical practice. This study employed nationwide population-based data to elucidate the initiation and persistence of pharmacotherapy (immediate-release methylphenidate [IR–MPH], osmotic controlled-release formulations of methylphenidate [OROS–MPH] and atomoxetine [ATX]) for youths with ADHD in Taiwan.
Patients first receiving an ADHD diagnosis at age 18 or younger between January 2000 and December 2009 (n = 112,140; mean age at ADHD diagnosis: 7.7 years) were selected from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance database. All patients were monitored through December 31, 2011, with an average follow-up time of 5.8 years. The initiation of ADHD drug therapy was defined as the first patient prescription, and discontinuation was defined as the cessation of ADHD medication for 180 days or longer.
Within the first year after ADHD diagnosis, 47.3%, 14.4%, and 0.8% of the patients were prescribed IR–MPH, OROS–MPH, and ATX, respectively. Regarding the patients prescribed IR–MPH, OROS–MPH, and ATX, 17.8%, 12.6%, and 18.8%, respectively, received the prescription only once and never returned for a drug refill, and 51.0%, 38.9%, and 58.8%, respectively, discontinued drug therapy within 1 year after the first prescription. Male sex and neuropsychiatric comorbidities were associated with higher probabilities of being prescribed one of the medications. An older age at first prescription and a higher daily dose of prescription were significant predictors of early discontinuation of ADHD medication.
The current findings suggest that IR–MPH is the most frequently prescribed drug for ADHD treatment in Taiwan. Patients treated with OROS–MPH possessed the highest persistence rate, whereas those treated with ATX had the lowest persistence rate. The results provide insight into the delivery of pediatric mental health services and have crucial implications for ADHD medication treatment in real clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC4982593  PMID: 27518196
18.  Value of corneal epithelial and Bowman’s layer vertical thickness profiles generated by UHR-OCT for sub-clinical keratoconus diagnosis 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:31550.
Ultra-high resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR-OCT) can image the corneal epithelium and Bowman’s layer and measurement the thicknesses. The purpose of this study was to validate the diagnostic power of vertical thickness profiles of the corneal epithelium and Bowman’s layer imaged by UHR-OCT in the diagnosis of sub-clinical keratoconus (KC). Each eye of 37 KC patients, asymptomatic fellow eyes of 32 KC patients, and each eye of 81 normal subjects were enrolled. Vertical thickness profiles of the corneal epithelium and Bowman’s layer were measured by UHR-OCT. Diagnostic indices were calculated from vertical thickness profiles of each layer and output values of discriminant functions based on individual indices. Receiver operating characteristic curves were determined, and the accuracy of the diagnostic indices were assessed as the area under the curves (AUC). Among all of the individual indices, the maximum ectasia index for epithelium had the highest ability to discriminate sub-clinical KC from normal corneas (AUC = 0.939). The discriminant function containing maximum ectasia indices of epithelium and Bowman’s layer further increased the AUC value (AUC = 0.970) for sub-clinical KC diagnosis. UHR-OCT-derived thickness indices from the entire vertical thickness profiles of the corneal epithelium and Bowman’s layer can provide valuable diagnostic references to detect sub-clinical KC.
PMCID: PMC4980663  PMID: 27511620
19.  Cholinergic Neurons in the Basal Forebrain Promote Wakefulness by Actions on Neighboring Non-Cholinergic Neurons: An Opto-Dialysis Study 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2016;36(6):2057-2067.
Understanding the control of sleep–wake states by the basal forebrain (BF) poses a challenge due to the intermingled presence of cholinergic, GABAergic, and glutamatergic neurons. All three BF neuronal subtypes project to the cortex and are implicated in cortical arousal and sleep–wake control. Thus, nonspecific stimulation or inhibition studies do not reveal the roles of these different neuronal types. Recent studies using optogenetics have shown that “selective” stimulation of BF cholinergic neurons increases transitions between NREM sleep and wakefulness, implicating cholinergic projections to cortex in wake promotion. However, the interpretation of these optogenetic experiments is complicated by interactions that may occur within the BF. For instance, a recent in vitro study from our group found that cholinergic neurons strongly excite neighboring GABAergic neurons, including the subset of cortically projecting neurons, which contain the calcium-binding protein, parvalbumin (PV) (Yang et al., 2014). Thus, the wake-promoting effect of “selective” optogenetic stimulation of BF cholinergic neurons could be mediated by local excitation of GABA/PV or other non-cholinergic BF neurons. In this study, using a newly designed opto-dialysis probe to couple selective optical stimulation with simultaneous in vivo microdialysis, we demonstrated that optical stimulation of cholinergic neurons locally increased acetylcholine levels and increased wakefulness in mice. Surprisingly, the enhanced wakefulness caused by cholinergic stimulation was abolished by simultaneous reverse microdialysis of cholinergic receptor antagonists into BF. Thus, our data suggest that the wake-promoting effect of cholinergic stimulation requires local release of acetylcholine in the basal forebrain and activation of cortically projecting, non-cholinergic neurons, including the GABAergic/PV neurons.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Optogenetics is a revolutionary tool to assess the roles of particular groups of neurons in behavioral functions, such as control of sleep and wakefulness. However, the interpretation of optogenetic experiments requires knowledge of the effects of stimulation on local neurotransmitter levels and effects on neighboring neurons. Here, using a novel “opto-dialysis” probe to couple optogenetics and in vivo microdialysis, we report that optical stimulation of basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic neurons in mice increases local acetylcholine levels and wakefulness. Reverse microdialysis of cholinergic antagonists within BF prevents the wake-promoting effect. This important result challenges the prevailing dictum that BF cholinergic projections to cortex directly control wakefulness and illustrates the utility of “opto-dialysis” for dissecting the complex brain circuitry underlying behavior.
PMCID: PMC4748083  PMID: 26865627
basal forebrain; cholinergic neurons; NREM to wake transitions; opto-dialysis
20.  Comparison of R-ketamine and rapastinel antidepressant effects in the social defeat stress model of depression 
Psychopharmacology  2016;233(19):3647-3657.
The N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists, including R-ketamine and rapastinel (formerly GLYX-13), show rapid antidepressant effects in animal models of depression.
We compared the rapid and sustained antidepressant effects of R-ketamine and rapastinel in the social defeat stress model.
In the tail suspension and forced swimming tests, R-ketamine (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (i.p.)) or rapastinel (10 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly attenuated the increased immobility time in the susceptible mice, compared with the vehicle-treated group. In the sucrose preference test, both compounds significantly enhanced the reduced preference in susceptible mice 2, 4, or 7 days after a single injection. All mice were sacrificed 8 days after a single injection. Western blot analyses showed that R-ketamine, but not rapastinel, significantly attenuated the reduced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-TrkB signaling, postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95), and GluA1 (a subtype of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor) in the prefrontal cortex, dentate gyrus, and CA3 of the hippocampus in the susceptible mice. In contrast, both compounds had no effect against the increased BDNF-TrkB signaling, PSD-95, and GluA1 seen in the nucleus accumbens of susceptible mice. Moreover, sustained antidepressant effect of R-ketamine (3 mg/kg, intravenous (i.v.)), but not rapastinel (3 mg/kg, i.v.), was detected 7 days after a single dose.
These results highlight R-ketamine as a longer lasting antidepressant compared with rapastinel in social defeat stress model. It is likely that synaptogenesis including BDNF-TrkB signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus may be required for the mechanisms promoting this sustained antidepressant effect.
PMCID: PMC5021744  PMID: 27488193
Antidepressant; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; R-ketamine; Rapastinel; Synaptogenesis
21.  Role of Keap1-Nrf2 signaling in depression and dietary intake of glucoraphanin confers stress resilience in mice 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:30659.
The transcription factor Keap1-Nrf2 system plays a key role in inflammation which is involved in depression. We found lower expression of Keap1 and Nrf2 proteins in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) of hippocampus in mice with depression-like phenotype compared to control mice. Serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in Nrf2 knock-out (KO) mice were higher than those of wild-type mice, suggestive of enhanced inflammation in KO mice. Decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tropomyosin-receptor-kinase B (TrkB) signaling in the PFC, CA3 and DG plays a role in the depression-like phenotype of Nrf2 KO mice. TrkB agonist 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, but not antagonist ANA-12, produced antidepressant effects in Nrf2 KO mice, by stimulating TrkB in the PFC, CA3 and DG. Pretreatment with Nrf2 activator sulforaphane (SFN) prevented the depression-like phenotype induced after repeated social defeat stress. Interestingly, dietary intake of 0.1% glucoraphanin (a precursor of SFN) containing food during juvenile and adolescent stages also prevented the depression-like phenotype evoked in adulthood, after repeated social defeat stress. These findings suggest that Keap1-Nrf2 system plays a key role in depression and that dietary intake of SFN-rich food during juvenile stages and adolescence can confer stress resilience in adulthood.
PMCID: PMC4965765  PMID: 27470577
22.  Deciphering Transcriptome and Complex Alternative Splicing Transcripts in Mammary Gland Tissues from Cows Naturally Infected with Staphylococcus aureus Mastitis 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(7):e0159719.
Alternative splicing (AS) contributes to the complexity of the mammalian proteome and plays an important role in diseases, including infectious diseases. The differential AS patterns of these transcript sequences between the healthy (HS3A) and mastitic (HS8A) cows naturally infected by Staphylococcus aureus were compared to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying mastitis resistance and susceptibility. In this study, using the Illumina paired-end RNA sequencing method, 1352 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with higher than twofold changes were found in the HS3A and HS8A mammary gland tissues. Gene ontology and KEGG pathway analyses revealed that the cytokine–cytokine receptor interaction pathway is the most significantly enriched pathway. Approximately 16k annotated unigenes were respectively identified in two libraries, based on the bovine Bos taurus UMD3.1 sequence assembly and search. A total of 52.62% and 51.24% annotated unigenes were alternatively spliced in term of exon skipping, intron retention, alternative 5′ splicing and alternative 3ʹ splicing. Additionally, 1,317 AS unigenes were HS3A-specific, whereas 1,093 AS unigenes were HS8A-specific. Some immune-related genes, such as ITGB6, MYD88, ADA, ACKR1, and TNFRSF1B, and their potential relationships with mastitis were highlighted. From Chromosome 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, and 20, 3.66% (HS3A) and 5.4% (HS8A) novel transcripts, which harbor known quantitative trait locus associated with clinical mastitis, were identified. Many DEGs in the healthy and mastitic mammary glands are involved in immune, defense, and inflammation responses. These DEGs, which exhibit diverse and specific splicing patterns and events, can endow dairy cattle with the potential complex genetic resistance against mastitis.
PMCID: PMC4961362  PMID: 27459697
23.  Effect of Candida albicans on Intestinal Ischemia-reperfusion Injury in Rats 
Chinese Medical Journal  2016;129(14):1711-1718.
Inflammation is supposed to play a key role in the pathophysiological processes of intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IIRI), and Candida albicans in human gut commonly elevates inflammatory cytokines in intestinal mucosa. This study aimed to explore the effect of C. albicans on IIRI.
Fifty female Wistar rats were divided into five groups according to the status of C. albicans infection and IIRI operation: group blank and sham; group blank and IIRI; group cefoperazone plus IIRI; group C. albicans plus cefoperazone and IIRI (CCI); and group C. albicans plus cefoperazone and sham. The levels of inflammatory factors tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and diamine oxidase (DAO) measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were used to evaluate the inflammation reactivity as well as the integrity of small intestine. Histological scores were used to assess the mucosal damage, and the C. albicans blood translocation was detected to judge the permeability of intestinal mucosal barrier.
The levels of inflammatory factors TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β in serum and intestine were higher in rats undergone both C. albicans infection and IIRI operation compared with rats in other groups. The levels of DAO (serum: 44.13 ± 4.30 pg/ml, intestine: 346.21 ± 37.03 pg/g) and Chiu scores (3.41 ± 1.09) which reflected intestinal mucosal disruption were highest in group CCI after the operation. The number of C. albicans translocated into blood was most in group CCI ([33.80 ± 6.60] ×102 colony forming unit (CFU)/ml).
Intestinal C. albicans infection worsened the IIRI-induced disruption of intestinal mucosal barrier and facilitated the subsequent C. albicans translocation and dissemination.
PMCID: PMC4960961  PMID: 27411459
Candida albicans; Infection; Inflammation; Intestinal Mucosa Barrier; Ischemia-reperfusion Injury
24.  Effect of bevel direction on the success rate of ultrasound-guided radial arterial catheterization 
BMC Anesthesiology  2016;16:34.
This study assessed the effect of bevel direction on the success rate of ultrasound guided radial artery catheterization.
A total of 204 patients requiring radial artery catheterization were randomly divided into bevel-up (n = 102) and bevel-down (n = 102) groups. Success rate, cannulation time, and number of attempts were compared groups.
In the bevel-down group, an arterial line was placed on the first attempt in 86 of 102 (84.3 %; 95 % confidence interval [CI] = 76 % to 90 %) patients versus 73 of 102 (71.6 %; 95 % CI = 62.1 % to 79.4 %) in the bevel-up group (p = 0.028). In the bevel-down group, the mean time to a successful radial arterial cannulation was 33.3 ± 6.3 seconds (95 % CI = 32.1-34.6) versus 35.9 ± 7.6 seconds (95 % CI = 34.4-37.2) in the bevel-up group (p = 0.011). The median score was 33.2 and interquartile range [IQR] was 10.9 (30.3-41.2) for the mean cannulation time in the bevel-up group. In the bevel-down group, the mean score was 32.3 (IQR 3.90, 30–33.9) for mean cannulation time. In the bevel-down group, 11 of 102 (7 %; 95 % CI = 0 to 16 %) patients developed a posterior wall puncture versus 22 of 102 ((21.6 %; 95 % CI = 14.7 to 17.2 %) in the bevel-up group.
The bevel-down approach during ultrasound-guided radial artery catheterization exhibited a higher success with fewer complications compared to the bevel-up approach.
Trial registration
Clinical Research Information Service is Korean Clinical Trials Registry (KCT0001836). It was registered retrospectively 30th Nov 2015.
PMCID: PMC4939735  PMID: 27401352
25.  Effects of Scleroderma sichuanensis Xiao (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) venom and parasitism on nutritional content regulation in host Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) 
SpringerPlus  2016;5(1):1017.
To explore the mechanisms by which the wasp Scleroderma sichuanensis Xiao regulates the physiology and biochemistry of its host, effects of S. sichuanensis venom and parasitism on host the Tenebrio molitor L. pupae were examined. Significant differences in nutritional content were noted between parasitized and non-parasitized pupae and between venom- and phosphate buffered saline-injected pupae. When pupae were injected with venom, the fat body could not be disintegrated into granules; however, when pupae were parasitized, fat-body disintegration occurred. Electrophoresis showed no differences in hemolymph protein content between parasitized pupae and those injected with venom, indicating that the wasp did not have narrow-spectrum peptides. These findings confirmed that S. sichuanensis was a typical idiobiont ectoparasitoid wasp, and that nutrient regulation was similar between idiobiont and koinobiont wasps. The strong similarities between the two treatments suggest that venom injection is a major factor responsible for changes in host nutrient content. The wasp fed mainly on reducing sugars, free amino acids, and fat-body tissues; larval fat bodies were derived from hemolymph and from host tissue. Our findings suggest that lipid catabolism might be accelerated, and that lipid biosynthesis might be inhibited, when host pupae are parasitized or injected with venom. In addition to venom, physiological and biochemical changes that occur during the parasitic process might be caused by venom, ovarian proteins, saliva, or secretions.
PMCID: PMC4938838  PMID: 27441136
Scleroderma sichuanensis Xiao; Tenebrio molitor L. pupa; Venom; Parasitized; Nutritional content regulation

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