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1.  Fabrication and Evaluation of Curcumin-loaded Nanoparticles Based on Solid Lipid as a New Type of Colloidal Drug Delivery System 
Curcumin has very broad spectrum of biological activities; however, photodegradation, short half-life and low bioavailability have limited its clinical application. Curcumin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles were studied to overcome these problems. The aim of this study was to optimize the best formulation on curcumin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles. Emulsion-evaporation and low temperature-solidification technique was applied with monostearin as lipid carriers. The single factor analysis and orthogonal design were used to optimize formulation and various parameters were investigate. By the optimisation of a single factor analysis and orthogonal test, the particles size, polydispersity index, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency and drug loading capacity of the optimised formulation were 99.99 nm, 0.158, −19.9 mV, 97.86%, and 4.35%, respectively. The differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction analysis results demonstrated new structure was formed in nanoparticles. The release kinetics in vitro demonstrated curcumin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles can control drug release. These studies confirmed that curcumin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles could be prepared successfully with high drug entrapment efficiency and loading capacity. Curcumin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles may be a promising drug delivery system to control drug release and improve bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC3757856  PMID: 24019566
Curcumin; preparation; release; solid lipid nanoparticles
2.  AUC-based biomarker ensemble with an application on gene scores predicting low bone mineral density 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(21):3050-3055.
Motivation: The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC), long regarded as a ‘golden’ measure for the predictiveness of a continuous score, has propelled the need to develop AUC-based predictors. However, the AUC-based ensemble methods are rather scant, largely due to the fact that the associated objective function is neither continuous nor concave. Indeed, there is no reliable numerical algorithm identifying optimal combination of a set of biomarkers to maximize the AUC, especially when the number of biomarkers is large.
Results: We have proposed a novel AUC-based statistical ensemble methods for combining multiple biomarkers to differentiate a binary response of interest. Specifically, we propose to replace the non-continuous and non-convex AUC objective function by a convex surrogate loss function, whose minimizer can be efficiently identified. With the established framework, the lasso and other regularization techniques enable feature selections. Extensive simulations have demonstrated the superiority of the new methods to the existing methods. The proposal has been applied to a gene expression dataset to construct gene expression scores to differentiate elderly women with low bone mineral density (BMD) and those with normal BMD. The AUCs of the resulting scores in the independent test dataset has been satisfactory.
Conclusion: Aiming for directly maximizing AUC, the proposed AUC-based ensemble method provides an efficient means of generating a stable combination of multiple biomarkers, which is especially useful under the high-dimensional settings.
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3198577  PMID: 21908541
3.  CpG-island methylation study of liver fluke-related cholangiocarcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(8):1313-1318.
Genetic changes have been widely reported in association with cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), while epigenetic changes are poorly characterised. We aimed to further evaluate CpG-island hypermethylation in CCA at candidate loci, which may have potential as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers.
We analysed methylation of 26 CpG-islands in 102 liver fluke related-CCA and 29 adjacent normal samples using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). Methylation of interest loci was confirmed using pyrosequencing and/or combined bisulfite restriction analysis, and protein expression by immunohistochemistry.
A number of CpG-islands (OPCML, SFRP1, HIC1, PTEN and DcR1) showed frequency of hypermethylation in >28% of CCA, but not adjacent normal tissues. The results showed that 91% of CCA were methylated in at least one CpG-island. The OPCML was the most frequently methylated locus (72.5%) and was more frequently methylated in less differentiated CCA. Patients with methylated DcR1 had significantly longer overall survival (Median; 41.7 vs 21.7 weeks, P=0.027). Low-protein expression was found in >70% of CCA with methylation of OPCML or DcR1.
Aberrant hypermethylation of certain loci is a common event in liver fluke-related CCA and may potentially contribute to cholangiocarcinogenesis. The OPCML and DcR1 might serve as methylation biomarkers in CCA that can be readily examined by MSP.
PMCID: PMC3078588  PMID: 21448164
DNA methylation; cholangiocarcinoma; liver fluke; OPCML; DcR1; biomarkers
4.  Initial Experience in Using Continuous Arterial Spin-Labeled MR Imaging for Early Detection of Alzheimer Disease 
MR imaging of the brain has significant potential in the early detection of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD. The purpose of this work was to determine if perfusion MR imaging can be used to separate AD from normal cognition in individual subjects. We investigated the diagnostic utility of perfusion MR imaging for early detection of AD compared with structural imaging.
Data were analyzed from 32 participants in the institutional review board–approved CHS-CS: 19 cognitively healthy individuals and 13 with clinically adjudicated AD. All subjects underwent structural T1-weighted SGPR and CASL MR imaging. Four readers with varying experience separately rated each CASL and SPGR scan finding as normal or abnormal on the basis of standardized qualitative diagnostic criteria for observed perfusion abnormalities on CASL or volume loss on SPGR and rated the confidence in their evaluation.
Inter-rater reliability was superior in CASL (κ = 0.7 in experienced readers) compared with SPGR (κ = 0.17). CASL MR imaging had the highest sensitivity (85%) and accuracy (70%). Frontal lobe CASL findings increased sensitivity to 88% and accuracy to 79%. Fifty-seven percent of false-positive readings with CASL were in controls with cognitive decline or instability within 5 years. Three of the 4 readers revealed a statistically significant relationship between confidence and correct classification when using CASL.
Readers were able to separate individuals with mild AD from those with normal cognition with high sensitivity by using CASL but not volumetric MR imaging. This initial experience suggests that CASL MR imaging may be a useful technique for detecting AD.
PMCID: PMC2873119  PMID: 20075093
5.  Visual perception of female physical attractiveness. 
On the basis of visual assessment of figure drawings and front/profile images, past researchers believed that the waist-hip ratio (WHR) and the body mass index (BMI) were two putative cues to female physical attractiveness. However, this view was not tested on three-dimensional (3D) female images. In the present study, 3D images of 31 Caucasian females having varying body weights (BMI ranged from 16 to 35) were shown to 29 male and 25 female viewers, who were asked to rate the physical attractiveness. The results showed that the body volume divided by the square of the height, defined as volume height index (VHI), is the most important and direct visual determinant of female physical attractiveness. In determining the female attractiveness, human observers may first use VHI as a visual cue, which is also a key indicator of health and fertility owing to its strong linear relation to BMI. To fine-tune the judgement, observers may then use body proportions, the most important of which are the ratio of waist height over the chin height (WHC) (a measure of the length of legs over total tallness) and the deviation of WHR from the ideal ratio. It also appears that the effect of the body's physical parameters on the perception of female physical attractiveness conforms to Stevens' power law of psychophysics.
PMCID: PMC1691611  PMID: 15101692
6.  Visual perception of male body attractiveness 
Based on 69 scanned Chinese male subjects and 25 Caucasian male subjects, the present study showed that the volume height index (VHI) is the most important visual cue to male body attractiveness of young Chinese viewers among the many body parameters examined in the study. VHI alone can explain ca. 73% of the variance of male body attractiveness ratings. The effect of VHI can be fitted with two half bell-shaped exponential curves with an optimal VHI at 17.6 lm−2 and 18.0 lm−2 for female raters and male raters, respectively. In addition to VHI, other body parameters or ratios can have small, but significant effects on male body attractiveness. Body proportions associated with fitness will enhance male body attractiveness. It was also found that there is an optimal waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) at 0.8 and deviations from this optimal WHR reduce male body attractiveness.
PMCID: PMC1634963  PMID: 15705545
male body attractiveness; volume height index; body mass index; body proportion; waist-to-hip ratio
7.  Causes of anorexia in untreated hyperthyroidism: a prospective study 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2000;76(895):292-294.
Seventeen consecutive patients (mean (SD) 46 (11) years) with untreated hyperthyroidism and anorexia and 29 patients (35 (9) years) with untreated hyperthyroidism without anorexia were studied. The study was conducted at the thyroid clinic of the PUMC Hospital, Beijing, China from March to August 1997. The patients' ages, serum free calcium, liver function and emotional state, specifically the level of anxiety (using the self anxiety scale, Chinese version), were compared before and/or after antithyroid drug treatment in the two groups. This prospective study suggested that the causes of anorexia in untreated hyperthyroidism are complicated. Older age, abnormal liver function, and the level of anxiety are significantly related to anorexia in untreated hyperthyroidism, but hypercalcaemia was not confirmed to be related to anorexia in the study.

Keywords: hypercalcaemia; hyperthyroidism; anorexia; anxiety
PMCID: PMC1741582  PMID: 10775283
8.  Antiparasitic and antiproliferative effects of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase enzyme expression in human fibroblasts. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(6):2277-2284.
Studies were carried out to evaluate the proposed role of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (INDO) induction in the antimicrobial and antiproliferative effects of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) in human fibroblasts. The INDO cDNA coding region was cloned in the pMEP4 expression vector, containing the metallothionein (MTII) promoter in the sense (+ve) or the antisense (-ve) orientation. Human fibroblasts (GM637) stably transfected with the sense construct expressed INDO activity after treatment with CdCl2 or ZnSO4, but cells transfected with the antisense construct did not. The growth of Chlamydia psittaci was strongly inhibited in INDO +ve cells but not in INDO -ve cells after treatment with Cd2+ or Zn2+. The inhibition correlated with the level of INDO activity induced and could be reversed by the addition of excess tryptophan to the medium. The growth of Toxoplasma gondii was also strongly inhibited in INDO +ve cells but not in INDO -ve cells after treatment with Cd2+. Expression of Cd(2+)-induced INDO activity also inhibited thymidine incorporation and led to cytotoxicity in INDO +ve cells but not in INDO -ve cells. Thus, the induction of INDO activity by IFN-gamma may be an important factor in the antimicrobial and antiproliferative effects of IFN-gamma in human fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC186508  PMID: 8188349

Results 1-8 (8)