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1.  Meta-Analysis Assessment of GP210 and SP100 for the Diagnosis of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101916.
To conduct a systematic review of included studies assessing the association of GP210 and SP100 with the risk of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) using meta-analysis.
Five databases, the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, VIP, CNKI, WANFANG were used to detect the role of GP210 and SP100 in diagnosis of PBC. Approximately 13,000 participants from several countries were included in this analysis. Meta-DiSc statistical software was used for analysis.
25 studies on GP210 and 21 studies on SP100 were included in the meta-analysis. The DOR, sensitivity, specificity of GP210 in diagnosis of PBC were 24.854 (11.957–51.660), 0.272 (0.257–0.288), 0.985 (0.982–0.988), respectively, and they were 9.133 (4.739–17.600), 0.231 (0.213–0.249), 0.977 (0.973–0.981) for SP100.
Our meta-analysis indicated both GP210 and SP100 had high specificity but low sensitivity in diagnosis of PBC.
PMCID: PMC4092088  PMID: 25010534
2.  Lack of association between a functional polymorphism (rs1800796) in the interleukin-6 gene promoter and lung cancer 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:134.
A number of studies have examined the association between interleukin-6 (IL-6) rs1800796 polymorphism and risk of lung cancer but revealed inconsistent results. The aim of this study was to clarify the association between IL-6 rs1800796 polymorphism and risk of lung cancer.
Literature databases including PubMed, Embase and CNKI were searched up to January 2014. The pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) under co-dominant model, dominant model and recessive model were estimated using random-effects model.
A total of seven studies, including 2691 lung cancer cases and 3067 controls, were included in the meta-analysis. The results suggested that IL-6 rs1800796 polymorphism was not associated with risk of lung cancer under homogeneous co-dominant model (OR = 1.06, 95%CI = 0.73-1.54), heterogeneous co-dominant model (OR = 1.24, 95%CI = 0.96-1.60), dominant model (OR = 1.23, 95%CI = 0.95-1.58) and recessive model (OR = 0.96, 95%CI = 0.70-1.32). The association was still not significant in either never-smokers (OR = 1.19, 95%CI = 0.95-1.48) or ever-smokers (OR = 1.73, 95%CI = 0.89-3.36).
The present meta-analysis suggested that there was no association between IL-6 rs1800796 polymorphism and lung cancer, which was independent of smoking status.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC4100037  PMID: 24984610
Interleukin-6; Lung cancer; Polymorphism; Meta-analysis
3.  Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen allergenicity: SuperSAGE transcriptomic analysis upon elevated CO2 and drought stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:176.
Pollen of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a main cause of allergic diseases in Northern America. The weed has recently become spreading as a neophyte in Europe, while climate change may also affect the growth of the plant and additionally may also influence pollen allergenicity. To gain better insight in the molecular mechanisms in the development of ragweed pollen and its allergenic proteins under global change scenarios, we generated SuperSAGE libraries to identify differentially expressed transcripts.
Ragweed plants were grown in a greenhouse under 380 ppm CO2 and under elevated level of CO2 (700 ppm). In addition, drought experiments under both CO2 concentrations were performed. The pollen viability was not altered under elevated CO2, whereas drought stress decreased its viability. Increased levels of individual flavonoid metabolites were found under elevated CO2 and/or drought. Total RNA was isolated from ragweed pollen, exposed to the four mentioned scenarios and four SuperSAGE libraries were constructed. The library dataset included 236,942 unique sequences, showing overlapping as well as clear differently expressed sequence tags (ESTs). The analysis targeted ESTs known in Ambrosia, as well as in pollen of other plants. Among the identified ESTs, those encoding allergenic ragweed proteins (Amb a) increased under elevated CO2 and drought stress. In addition, ESTs encoding allergenic proteins in other plants were also identified.
The analysis of changes in the transcriptome of ragweed pollen upon CO2 and drought stress using SuperSAGE indicates that under global change scenarios the pollen transcriptome was altered, and impacts the allergenic potential of ragweed pollen.
PMCID: PMC4084800  PMID: 24972689
Ambrosia artemisiifolia; Allergen; Allergy; CO2; Drought; Flavonoids; Pollen; Ragweed; Scanning electron microscopy; Transcriptome
4.  Evaluation of an Injectable Thermosensitive Hydrogel As Drug Delivery Implant for Ocular Glaucoma Surgery 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100632.
In this study, a biodegradable thermo-sensitive hydrogel from poly(trimethylene carbonate)15-F127-poly(trimethylene carbonate)15 (PTMC15-F127-PTMC15) was designed and evaluated as an injectable implant during ocular glaucoma filtration surgery in vivo and in vitro. Mitomycin C (MMC) was loaded into this hydrogel for controlled released to prolong the efficacy and to reduce the long-term toxicity. The properties of the hydrogel were confirmed using 1H NMR and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). Compared to the Pluronic F127 hydrogel, the PTMC15-F127-PTMC15 hydrogel showed a good solution-gel transition temperature at 37°C, a lower work concentration of 5% w/v and a longer mass loss time of more than 2 weeks. The in vitro study showed that the drug could be released from PTMC15-F127-PTMC15 (5% w/v) hydrogel for up to 16 days with only 57% of drug released in the first day. Moreover, the cell toxicity, which was tested via LDH and ANNEXIN V/PI, decreased within 72 h in human tenon's fibroblast cells (HTFs). The in vivo behavior in a rabbit glaucoma filtration surgery model indicated that this hydrogel loaded with 0.1 mg/ml MMC led to a better functional bleb with a prolonged mean bleb survival time (25.5±2.9 days). The scar tissue formation, new collagen deposition and myofibroblast generation appeared to be reduced upon histological and immunohistochemistry examinations, with no obvious side effects and inflammatory reactions. The in vitro and in vivo results demonstrated that this novel hydrogel is a safe and effective drug delivery candidate in ocular glaucoma surgery.
PMCID: PMC4065085  PMID: 24950176
5.  Analysis of glistenings in hydrophobic acrylic intraocular lenses on visual performance 
To assess patients' visual performance with glistenings in one piece soft hydrophobic acrylic intraocular lenses (IOLs) (Alcon) 2 years postoperatively.
This cross section trial included 120 eyes with one piece IOL at 2 years postoperatively. Glistening was classified in 4 groups, ranging from 0 (none) to 3 (most evident) according to their severity in IOLs optics observed under a slit lamp. All eyes underwent a uncorrected and best-corrected visual acuity evaluation (UCVA and BCVA, LogMAR scale), a complete clinical examination, a contrast sensitivity (CS) evaluation by F.A.C.T chart, and a visual field test by Humphrey Field Analyzer ‖ (HFA). One-way ANOVA was used for quantitative data, while Pearson χ2 test was used for qualitative data to analyze the visual function of 4 glistening groups.
Totally 120 eyes were enrolled with 30 eyes in each glistening group. There was no statistical correlation between glistening grades and patients' age, IOLs power, postoperative UCVA and BCVA (P>0.05). Quantificationally, CS values among each group were not statistically different. However, qualitative analysis showed there were more eyes in grade 3 group than in grade 0 group having abnormally declined CS at high spatial frequency (10% vs 36.7% at 18 cpd, P=0.029; 6.7% vs 26.7% at 12 cpd, P=0.013). Mean deviation (MD) of the visual field test was -2.14±2.31, -1.97±2.23, -3.02±3.17, -4.12±3.38 in group 0 to 3 respectively. There was a significant decrease in the most serious glistenings group (P =0.018).
Glistenings may potentially have an impact on contrast sensitivity at high spatial frequency and MD in visual field test.
PMCID: PMC4067657  PMID: 24967189
cataract; intraocular lens; hydrophobic acrylic; contrast sensitivity; mean deviation
6.  Effect of Acetazolamide and Gingko Biloba on the Human Pulmonary Vascular Response to an Acute Altitude Ascent 
High Altitude Medicine & Biology  2013;14(2):162-167.
Ke, Tao, Jiye Wang, Erik R. Swenson, Xiangnan Zhang, Yunlong Hu, Yaoming Chen, Mingchao Liu, Wenbin Zhang, Feng Zhao, Xuefeng Shen, Qun Yang, Jingyuan Chen, and Wenjing Luo. Effect of acetazolamide and gingko biloba on the human pulmonary vascular response to an acute altitude ascent. High Alt Med Biol 14:162–167, 2013.—Acetazolamide and gingko biloba are the two most investigated drugs for the prevention of acute mountain sickness (AMS). Evidence suggests that they may also reduce pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP). To investigate whether these two drugs for AMS prevention also reduce PASP with rapid airlift ascent to high altitude, a randomized controlled trial was conducted on 28 healthy young men with acetazolamide (125 mg bid), gingko biloba (120 mg bid), or placebo for 3 days prior to airlift ascent (397 m) and for the first 3 days at high altitude (3658 m). PASP, AMS, arterial oxygen saturation (Sao2), mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were assessed both at 397 m and 3658 m. HR, PEF, and PASP increased with altitude exposure (p<0.05), and SaO2 decreased (p<0.05). PASP with acetazolamide (mean at 3658 m, 26.2 mm Hg; incremental change, 4.7 mm Hg, 95% CI., 2.6–6.9 mm Hg) was lower than that with ginkgo biloba (mean at 3658 m, 33.7 mm Hg, p=0.001; incremental change, 13.1 mm Hg, 95%CI., 9.6–16.5 mm Hg, p=0.002), and with placebo (mean at 3658 m, 34.7 mm Hg, p<0.001; 14.4 mm Hg, 95% CI., 8.8–20.0 mm Hg, p=0.001). The data show that a low prophylactic dosage of acetazolamide, but not gingko biloba, mitigates the early increase of PASP in a quick ascent profile.
PMCID: PMC3694514  PMID: 23795737
acetazolamide; gingko Biloba; pulmonary artery systolic pressure; acute mountain sickness; randomized controlled trial
7.  Prognostic value of secreted phosphoprotein-1 in pleural effusion associated with non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:280.
Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is a common complication of advanced lung cancer. Research has shown that secreted phosphoprotein-1 (SPP1) is essential in MPE associated with lung cancer. This retrospective study was performed to evaluate the prognostic significance of SPP1 in the MPE of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
MPE specimens were obtained from 85 NSCLC patients (study group), and pleural effusion specimens were obtained from 24 patients with benign lung disease (control group). Specimens were tested for SPP1 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Based on the cutoff value of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, the study patients were divided into a high-SPP1-expression subgroup and a low-expression subgroup. The primary and secondary endpoints of this study were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
The SPP1 levels of the study group were significantly higher compared to those of the controls (Mann–Whitney U test, P = 0.017). The number of extrapulmonary metastases was significantly higher in the high-SPP1-expressing patients than in the low-expressing patients (P = 0.03). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that SPP1 levels were negatively associated with OS and PFS in both subgroups of study patients (P = 0.026; P = 0.039, respectively). Cox regression analysis showed that SPP1 was an independent prognostic factor in patients with NSCLC (HR = 1.832, 95% confidence interval: 1.003–3.345; P = 0.049).
SPP1 in pleural effusion can be used for the auxiliary diagnosis of MPE and used to determine the prognosis of patients with NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4014756  PMID: 24758329
Secreted phosphoprotein-1; Osteopontin; Wmalignant pleural effusion; Non-small cell lung cancer; Prognosis
8.  Increasing Mechanical Strength of Gelatin Hydrogels by Divalent Metal Ion Removal 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4706.
The usage of gelatin hydrogel is limited due to its instability and poor mechanical properties, especially under physiological conditions. Divalent metal ions present in gelatin such as Ca2+ and Fe2+ play important roles in the gelatin molecule interactions. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of divalent ion removal on the stability and mechanical properties of gelatin gels with and without chemical crosslinking. The gelatin solution was purified by Chelex resin to replace divalent metal ions with sodium ions. The gel was then chemically crosslinked by 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC). Results showed that the removal of divalent metal ions significantly impacted the formation of the gelatin network. The purified gelatin hydrogels had less interactions between gelatin molecules and form larger-pore network which enabled EDC to penetrate and crosslink the gel more efficiently. The crosslinked purified gels showed small swelling ratio, higher crosslinking density and dramatically increased storage and loss moduli. The removal of divalent ions is a simple yet effective method that can significantly improve the stability and strength of gelatin hydrogels. The in vitro cell culture demonstrated that the purified gelatin maintained its ability to support cell attachment and spreading.
PMCID: PMC3988488  PMID: 24736500
9.  Leucyl-tRNA Synthetase Regulates Lactation and Cell Proliferation via mTOR Signaling in Dairy Cow Mammary Epithelial Cells 
The role of LeuRS, an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, as an intracellular l-leucine sensor for the mTORC1 pathway has been the subject of much research recently. Despite this, the association between LeuRS and lactation in dairy cow mammary epithelial cells (DCMECs) remains unknown. In this study, we found that LeuRS expression in mammary gland tissue was significantly higher during lactation than pregnancy. Moreover, our data demonstrates that LeuRS is localized in the cytoplasm. Treatment with leucine increased DCMECs viability and proliferation, as well as mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p-mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), p-S6K1, β-Casein, sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c), glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), and Cyclin D1 mRNA and protein expression. Secretion of lactose and triglyceride were also increased. siRNA-mediated knockdown of LeuRS led to reduction in all of these processes. Based on these data, LeuRS up-regulates the mTOR pathway to promote proliferation and lactation of DCMECs in response to changes in the intracellular leucine concentration.
PMCID: PMC4013607  PMID: 24722568
dairy cow mammary epithelial cells; lactation; leucine; cell proliferation; LeuRS; mTOR
10.  Celecoxib regulates apoptosis and autophagy via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in SGC-7901 gastric cancer cells 
Gastric cancer, one of the most common malignancies worldwide, typically has a poor prognosis and poor survival rate. Previous studies have investigated the chemopreventive effect of celecoxib. In the present study, the SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cell line was utilized to examine the chemopreventive mechanisms of celecoxib. The inhibition of cell proliferation was determined using MTT assay, cell apoptosis was monitored by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) and flow cytometry, and cell ultrastructural changes were assessed via transmission electron microscopy. The mRNA expression of Akt, caspase-8 and -9 was examined using quantitative reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and p-Akt, procaspase-8 and -9 were analyzed via western blotting. The results showed that celecoxib inhibited the proliferation of SGC-7901 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Additionally, celecoxib induced apoptosis as substantiated by typical apoptotic bodies, autophagosomes and an increased apoptotic rate. It was found that following celecoxib treatment, Akt mRNA expression was not significantly altered, and that p-Akt protein levels decreased in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Additionally, caspase-8 and -9 mRNA expression was significantly increased, while procaspase-8 and -9 protein expression decreased relative to the time- and dose-dependent effects. These results demonstrated that celecoxib induced apoptosis and autophagy of gastric cancer cells in vitro through the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Moreover, our findings suggested that celecoxib induces apoptosis in gastric cancer cells through the mitochondrial and death receptor pathways, providing additional understanding regarding the chemopreventive behaviors of celecoxib and its uses in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4055439  PMID: 24676394
apoptosis; autophagy; celecoxib; cyclooxygenase 2; Akt; caspase-8; caspase-9; gastric carcinoma
11.  Expression and Potential Roles of HLA-G in Human Spermatogenesis and Early Embryonic Development 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92889.
As one of the non-classical major histocompatibility complex(MHC)-1 antigens, Human Leukocyte Antigen G (HLA-G), has been suggested as a prognostic marker to identify the embryo developmental potential. In the present study, we investigated the potential roles of HLA-G in human spermatogenesis and early embryonic development. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that HLA-G's expression was increased with increased Johnsen score in testicular tissues. There was no significant difference in HLA-G mRNA expression between testicular tissues with Johnsen score of 8–9 and normal sperm from ejaculated semen. HLA-G mRNA expression was detected in human zygotes, embryos and blastocysts but not in unfertilized oocytes. In testicular tissues where sperm was obtained by testicular sperm extraction (Johnsen score was 8 to 9), there were no correlations between HLA-G mRNA expression and fertilization, cleavage and high-quality embryo rates. At 48–72 h post-fertilization, HLA-G expression was higher in fast growing embryos. HLA-G specific siRNA injection into zygotes not only slowed down embryonic cleavage rate at 48 h post-fertilization, but also down-regulated the expression of embryo metabolism related gene (SLC2A1) and cell cycle-regulated gene (CCND2). Taken together, our findings suggested that HLA-G plays significant roles in human spermatogenesis and early embryonic development.
PMCID: PMC3965489  PMID: 24667226
12.  Meta-Analysis: Diagnostic Accuracy of Antinuclear Antibodies, Smooth Muscle Antibodies and Antibodies to a Soluble Liver Antigen/Liver Pancreas in Autoimmune Hepatitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92267.
Antinuclear antibodies (ANA), smooth muscle antibodies (SMA) and antibodies to a soluble liver antigen/liver pancreas (anti-SLA/LP) are useful markers that can help clinicians to diagnose and classify autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).
To determine whether ANA, SMA and anti-SLA/LP help to accurately diagnose patients with AIH.
Search strategy
The PubMed, CNKI, WANFANG, and SinoMed databases were accessed to retrieve studies published in English and Chinese. Studies published up to October 2013 were reviewed.
Selection criteria
Studies on the diagnostic value of ANA, SMA or anti-SLA/LP in the diagnosis of known or suspected AIH were included.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors evaluated studies independently and rated their methodological quality using quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies (QUADAS) tools; relevant data were abstracted. The random-effects method was used to summarize sensitivities, specificities, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) from all 29 studies.
The pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and DOR for ANA were 0.650 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.619 to 0.680), 0.751 (95%CI, 0.737 to 0.764), 3.030 (95%CI, 2.349 to 3.910), 0.464 (95%CI, 0.356 to 0.604), and 7.380 (95%CI, 4.344 to 12.539), respectively. For SMA, the values were 0.593 (95%CI, 0.564 to 0.621), 0.926 (95%CI, 0.917 to 0.934), 11.740 (95%CI, 7.379 to 18.678), 0.449 (95%CI, 0.367 to 0.549), and 31.553 (95%CI, 17.147 to 58.060), respectively. Finally, for anti-SLA/LP, the values were 0.194 (95%CI, 0.168 to 0.222), 0.989 (95%CI, 0.985 to 0.993), 11.089 (95%CI, 7.601 to 16.177), 0.839 (95%CI, 0.777 to 0.905), and 16.867 (95%CI, 10.956 to 25.967), respectively.
Authors’ conclusions
ANA provided moderate sensitivity and specificity, while SMA gave moderate sensitivity and high specificity, and anti-SLA/LP exhibited low sensitivity and high specificity. All three antibodies were limited by their unsatisfactory sensitivities and lack of consistency.
PMCID: PMC3961308  PMID: 24651126
13.  Comparison of the sagittal profiles among thoracic idiopathic scoliosis patients with different Cobb angles and growth potentials 
Previous studies have demonstrated that pelvic incidence and sacral slope are significantly greater in idiopathic scoliosis patients compared with normal adolescents. However, whether these sagittal parameters are related to the progression of scoliosis remain unknown. The present was designed to determine the differences in the sagittal profiles among thoracic idiopathic scoliosis patients with different potentials for curve progression.
Ninety-seven outpatient idiopathic scoliosis patients enrolled from June 2008 to June 2011 were divided to three groups according to different Cobb angles and growth potentials: (1) non-progression of thoracic curve group, Risser sign of 5 and Cobb’s angle < 40°; (2) moderate progression of thoracic curve group, Risser sign of 5 and Cobb’s angle ≥ 40°; and (3) severe progression of thoracic curve group, Risser sign ≤ 3 and Cobb’s angle ≥ 40°. All patients underwent whole spinal anteroposterior and lateral X-ray in standing position, and the sagittal parameters were measured, including thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis, sacral slope, pelvic incidence, and pelvic tilt.
The average thoracic scoliosis Cobb’s angle in the non-progression group was significantly less than that in the moderate progression group (P < 0.01) and severe progression group (P < 0.01), but there was no statistical difference in the average thoracic scoliosis Cobb’s angle between the severe progression group and moderate progression group. The average thoracic kyphosis angle in the severe progression group (9° ± 4°) was significantly smaller than that in the non-progression group (18° ± 6°, P < 0.01) and moderate progression group (14° ± 5°, P < 0.05). No statistical differences were present in the average lumbar lordosis, sacral slope, pelvic incidence, and pelvic tilt among the three groups.
Thoracic hypokyphosis is strongly related with the curve progression in thoracic idiopathic scoliosis patients, but not pelvic sagittal profiles.
PMCID: PMC4012511  PMID: 24635839
Sagittal profiles; Idiopathic scoliosis; Thoracic kyphosis; Lumbar lordosis
14.  Regulation of scleral fibroblast differentiation by bone morphogenetic protein-2 
Bone morphogenesis proteins (BMPs) are multi-functional growth factors. They are expressed in retina, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and sclera and serve as a regulator in the growth and development of the eye. This article reviewed the chondrogenic potency of the sclera, biochemical and pathological changes of myopic scleral tissue and the differentiation of chondrogenesis by BMP-2. We proposed the hypothesis that BMP-2 can regulate differentiate of scleral fibroblasts and affect the development of myopia.
PMCID: PMC3949477  PMID: 24634882
bone morphogenetic protein-2; sclera; myopia
15.  Discrepancy between the effects of morronside on apoptosis in human embryonic lung fibroblast cells and lung cancer A549 cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(4):927-932.
Morroniside is a water-soluble compound extracted from the fruit of Cornus officinalis and is used to protect lung activity against aging. In the present study, the manner in which morroniside regulates normal lung and cancer cells was examined. The human embryonic lung fibroblast (HELF) cell line and lung cancer A549 cell line, and their responses to morroniside treatment, were examined. Results showed that morroniside reverses the apoptotic effect of H2O2 on HELF cell growth, protecting cell proliferation and normal cell morphology and inhibiting apoptosis. However, these effects were not present in A549 cells. Western blotting showed that morroniside also markedly downregulated retinoblastoma protein in HELF cells. These results suggest that morroniside treatment exhibits different effects on apoptosis in HELF and A549 cells, making it a viable compound for decreasing the side effects of anticancer medicines in normal cells.
PMCID: PMC3961276  PMID: 24944645
human embryonic lung fibroblasts cells; apoptosis; morroniside; retinoblastoma protein
16.  Small Activating RNA Restores the Activity of the Tumor Suppressor HIC-1 on Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86486.
HIC-1 is a gene that is hypermethylated in cancer, and commonly downregulated in human breast cancer. However, the precise mechanisms and molecular pathways regulated by HIC-1 remain unclear. We assessed HIC-1 expression on a tissue microarray containing 80 cases of breast cancer. We also analyzed its biological function by restoring HIC-1 expression using 5-aza-2′ deoxycytidine (5-CdR) and small-activating RNAs for the reversal of HIC-1 tumor suppressive effects on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. An Agilent Q44h global expressing microarray was probed after restoring the expression of HIC-1. Data demonstrated that HIC-1 expression was reduced significantly in breast cancer tissues. HIC-1 immunohistochemistry resulted in mean staining scores in cancer tissue and normal ductal epithelia of 3.54 and 8.2, respectively (p<0.01). 5-CdR partially reversed HIC-1 expression, and modulated cell growth and apoptosis. dsHIC1-2998, an saRNA, showed activating efficacy in breast cancer cells. A group of differentially expressed genes were characterized by cDNA microarray. Upon saRNA treatment, genes upregulated included those involved in immune activation, cell cycle interference, the induction of apoptosis, anti-metastasis, and cell differentiation. Downregulated genes included oncogenes and those that play roles in cell invasion, cell growth, and cell division. Our findings may provide valuable resources not only for gene functional studies, but also for potential clinical applications to develop novel drug targets.
PMCID: PMC3904905  PMID: 24489730
17.  Emerging evidence of the physiological role of hypoxia in mammary development and lactation 
Hypoxia is a physiological or pathological condition of a deficiency of oxygen supply in the body as a whole or within a tissue. During hypoxia, tissues undergo a series of physiological responses to defend themselves against a low oxygen supply, including increased angiogenesis, erythropoiesis, and glucose uptake. The effects of hypoxia are mainly mediated by hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1), which is a heterodimeric transcription factor consisting of α and β subunits. HIF-1β is constantly expressed, whereas HIF-1α is degraded under normal oxygen conditions. Hypoxia stabilizes HIF-1α and the HIF complex, and HIF then translocates into the nucleus to initiate the expression of target genes. Hypoxia has been extensively studied for its role in promoting tumor progression, and emerging evidence also indicates that hypoxia may play important roles in physiological processes, including mammary development and lactation. The mammary gland exhibits an increasing metabolic rate from pregnancy to lactation to support mammary growth, lactogenesis, and lactation. This process requires increasing amounts of oxygen consumption and results in localized chronic hypoxia as confirmed by the binding of the hypoxia marker pimonidazole HCl in mouse mammary gland. We hypothesized that this hypoxic condition promotes mammary development and lactation, a hypothesis that is supported by the following several lines of evidence: i) Mice with an HIF-1α deletion selective for the mammary gland have impaired mammary differentiation and lipid secretion, resulting in lactation failure and striking changes in milk compositions; ii) We recently observed that hypoxia significantly induces HIF-1α-dependent glucose uptake and GLUT1 expression in mammary epithelial cells, which may be responsible for the dramatic increases in glucose uptake and GLUT1 expression in the mammary gland during the transition period from late pregnancy to early lactation; and iii) Hypoxia and HIF-1α increase the phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 5a (STAT5a) in mammary epithelial cells, whereas STAT5 phosphorylation plays important roles in the regulation of milk protein gene expression and mammary development. Based on these observations, hypoxia effects emerge as a new frontier for studying the regulation of mammary development and lactation.
PMCID: PMC3929241  PMID: 24444333
Glucose transporter; Hypoxia; Hypoxia inducible factor; Lactation; Mammary development; Metabolism
18.  Mysterious abrupt carbon-14 increase in coral contributed by a comet 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3728.
A large and sudden increase in radiocarbon (14C) around AD 773 are documented in coral skeletons from the South China Sea. The 14C increased by ~ 15‰ during winter, and remain elevated for more than 4 months, then increased and dropped down within two months, forming a spike of 45‰ high in late spring, followed by two smaller spikes. The 14C anomalies coincide with an historic comet collision with the Earth's atmosphere on 17 January AD 773. Comas are known to have percent-levels of nitrogen by weight, and are exposed to cosmic radiation in space. Hence they may be expected to contain highly elevated 14C/12C ratios, as compared to the Earth's atmosphere. The significant input of 14C by comets may have contributed to the fluctuation of 14C in the atmosphere throughout the Earth's history, which should be considered carefully to better constrain the cosmic ray fluctuation.
PMCID: PMC3893640  PMID: 24430984
19.  Experimental and Theoretical Demonstrations for the Mechanism behind Enhanced Microbial Electron Transfer by CNT Network 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3732.
Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) share the principle of the microbially catalyzed anodic substrate oxidation. Creating an electrode interface to promote extracellular electron transfer from microbes to electrode and understanding such mechanisms are crucial for engineering BESs. In this study, significantly promoted electron transfer and a 10-times increase in current generation in a BES were achieved by the utilization of carbon nanotube (CNT) network, compared with carbon paper. The mechanisms for the enhanced current generation with the CNT network were elucidated with both experimental approach and molecular dynamic simulations. The fabricated CNT network was found to be able to substantially enhance the interaction between the c-type cytochromes and solid electron acceptor, indicating that the direct electron transfer from outer-membrane decaheme c-type cytochromes to electrode might occur. The results obtained in this study will benefit for the optimized design of new materials to target the outer membrane proteins for enhanced electron exchanges.
PMCID: PMC3893645  PMID: 24429552
20.  The Use of Fiber-Reinforced Scaffolds Cocultured with Schwann Cells and Vascular Endothelial Cells to Repair Rabbit Sciatic Nerve Defect with Vascularization 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:362918.
To explore the feasibility of biodegradable fiber-reinforced 3D scaffolds with satisfactory mechanical properties for the repair of long-distance sciatic nerve defect in rabbits and effects of vascularized graft in early stage on the recovery of neurological function, Schwann cells and vascular endothelial cells were cocultured in the fiber-reinforced 3D scaffolds. Experiment group which used prevascularized nerve complex for the repair of sciatic nerve defect and control group which only cultured with Schwann cells were set. The animals in both groups underwent electromyography to show the status of the neurological function recovery at 4, 8, and 16 weeks after the surgery. Sciatic nerve regeneration and myelination were observed under the light microscope and electron microscope. Myelin sheath thickness, axonal diameter, and number of myelinated nerve fiber were quantitatively analyzed using image analysis system. The recovery of foot ulcer, the velocity of nerve conduction, the number of regenerating nerve fiber, and the recovery of ultrastructure were increased in the experimental group than those in the control group. Prevascularized tissue engineered fiber-reinforced 3D scaffolds for the repair of sciatic nerve defects in rabbits can effectively promote the recovery of neurological function.
PMCID: PMC3893804  PMID: 24490158
21.  Randomized Clinical Trial: The Clinical Effects of Herb-Partitioned Moxibustion in Patients with Diarrhoea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
Objective. To explore the efficacy of Herb-partitioned moxibustion in treating IBS-D patients. Method. 210 IBS-D patients were randomly assigned on a 3 : 3 : 2 basis to group HM, group FM, or group PB for 4-week treatment. The change of GSRS total score at weeks 4 and 8, the changes of GSRS specific scores, and adverse events were evaluated. Results. Patients in group HM and group FM had lower GSRS total score at week 4 (1.98 ± 0.303, 2.93 ± 0.302 versus 3.73 ± 0.449) and at week 8 (2.75 ± 0.306, 3.56 ± 0.329 versus 4.39 ± 2.48) as compared with patients' score in group PB. However, there was no significant difference of GSRS total score between group HM and group FM. The effect of HM was significantly greater than that of orally taking PB in ameliorating the symptoms of rugitus (0.38 versus 0.59, P < 0.05), abdominal pain (0.28 versus 0.57, P < 0.01), abdominal distension (0.4 versus 0.7, P < 0.01), and increased passage of stools (0.06 versus 0.25, P < 0.01) at the end of treatment period. In the follow-up period, patients' therapeutic effect in group HM remained greater than that in group FM (in abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and increased passage of stools) and that in group PB (in loose stools). Conclusions. HM appears to be a promising, efficacious, and well-tolerated treatment for patients with IBS-D.
PMCID: PMC3880695  PMID: 24454500
22.  Microarray Analysis of mRNA and MicroRNA Expression Profile Reveals the Role of β-Sitosterol-D-glucoside in the Proliferation of Neural Stem Cell 
Neural stem cells (NSCs) are self-regenerating cells, but their regenerative capacity is limited. The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of β-sitosterol-D-glucoside (BSSG) on the proliferation of hippocampal NSCs and to determine the corresponding molecular mechanism. Results of CCK-8 assay showed that BSSG significantly increased NSC proliferation and the effectiveness of BSSG was similar to that of basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor. mRNA expression profiling showed that 960 genes were differentially expressed after NSCs were treated with BSSG. Among the 960 genes, IGF1 is considered as a key regulatory gene that functionally promotes NSC proliferation. MicroRNA (miRNA) expression profiling indicated that 30 and 84 miRNAs were upregulated and downregulated, respectively. miRNA-mRNA relevance analysis revealed that numerous mRNAs including IGF1 mRNA were negatively regulated by miRNAs with decreased expression, thereby increasing the corresponding mRNA expression. The increased expression of IGF1 protein was validated by ELISA. Picropodophyllin (PPP, an inhibitor of IGF-1R) inhibition test confirmed that the proliferation-enhancing effect depended on IGF1. This study provided information about BSSG as an efficient and inexpensive growth factor alternative, of which the effect is closely involved in IGF1.
PMCID: PMC3874330  PMID: 24391673
23.  C-reactive protein as a prognostic marker in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
The present study aimed to evaluate whether circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are a biomarker of systemic inflammation and a significant predictor of future chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcome. During the study, 116 patients with stable COPD and 35 age- and gender-matched healthy subjects with normal pulmonary function were observed. Patient follow-up was also performed to evaluate the strength of the associations between CRP levels and future outcomes. The observations from the present study showed that serum CRP levels were significantly higher in stable COPD patients than in control subjects (4.48±0.83 vs. 1.01±0.27 mg/l, respectively; P<0.05). In addition, it was identified that a serum CRP concentration of >3 mg/l is a poor prognostic variable of COPD compared with a CRP concentration of ≤3 mg/l [hazard ratio (HR), 2.71; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–6.99; P<0.05]. A quantitative synthesis of four studies including 1,750 COPD patients was performed and statistically similar results were obtained (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.14–2.07; P<0.01). The present study showed that circulating CRP levels are higher in stable COPD patients and, therefore, may be used as a long-term predictor of future outcomes. These observations highlight the importance of high sensitivity CRP assays in patients with stable COPD.
PMCID: PMC3881036  PMID: 24396422
C-reactive protein; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; survival
24.  Sorption of ammonium and phosphate from aqueous solution by biochar derived from phytoremediation plants*  
The study on biochar derived from plant biomass for environmental applications is attracting more and more attention. Twelve sets of biochar were obtained by treating four phytoremediation plants, Salix rosthornii Seemen, Thalia dealbata, Vetiveria zizanioides, and Phragmites sp., sequentially through pyrolysis at 500 °C in a N2 environment, and under different temperatures (500, 600, and 700 °C) in a CO2 environment. The cation exchange capacity and specific surface area of biochar varied with both plant species and pyrolysis temperature. The magnesium (Mg) content of biochar derived from T. dealbata (TC) was obviously higher than that of the other plant biochars. This biochar also had the highest sorption capacity for phosphate and ammonium. In terms of biomass yields, adsorption capacity, and energy cost, T. dealbata biochar produced at 600 °C (TC600) is the most promising sorbent for removing contaminants (N and P) from aqueous solution. Therefore, T. dealbata appears to be the best candidate for phytoremediation application as its biomass can make a good biochar for environmental cleaning.
PMCID: PMC3863373  PMID: 24302715
Biochar; Nutrient removal; Plant species; Pyrolysis temperature; Water quality
25.  Further exploration of MRI techniques for liver T1rho quantification 
With biliary duct ligation and CCl4 induced rat liver fibrosis models, recent studies showed that MR T1rho imaging is able to detect liver fibrosis, and the degree of fibrosis is correlated with the degree of elevation of the T1rho measurements, suggesting liver T1rho quantification may play an important role for liver fibrosis early detection and grading. It has also been reported it is feasible to obtain consistent liver T1rho measurement for human subjects at 3 Tesla (3 T), and preliminary clinical data suggest liver T1rho is increased in patients with cirrhosis. In these previous studies, T1rho imaging was used with the rotary-echo spin-lock pulse for T1rho preparation, and number of signal averaging (NSA) was 2. Due to the presence of inhomogeneous B0 field, artifacts may occur in the acquired T1rho-weighted images. The method described by Dixon et al. (Magn Reson Med 1996;36:90-4), which is a hard RF pulse with 135° flip angle and same RF phase as the spin-locking RF pulse is inserted right before and after the spin-locking RF pulse, has been proposed to reduce sensitivity to B0 field inhomogeneity in T1rho imaging. In this study, we compared the images scanned by rotary-echo spin-lock pulse method (sequence 1) and the pulse modified according to Dixon method (sequence 2). When the artifacts occurred in T1rho images, we repeated the same scan until satisfactory. We accepted images if artifact in liver was less than 10% of liver area by visual estimation. When NSA =2, the breath-holding duration for data acquisition of one slice scanning was 8 sec due to a delay time of 6,000 ms for magnetization restoration. If NSA =1, the duration was shortened to be 2 sec. In previous studies, manual region of interest (ROI) analysis of T1rho map was used. In this current study, histogram analysis was also applied to evaluate liver T1rho value on T1rho maps. MRI data acquisition was performed on a 3 T clinical scanner. There were 29 subjects with 61 examinations obtained. Liver T1rho values obtained by sequence 1 (NSA =2) and sequence 2 (NSA =2) showed similar values, i.e., 43.1±2.1 ms (range: 38.6-48.0 ms, n=40 scans) vs. 43.5±2.5 ms (range: 39.0-47.7 ms, 
n=12 scans, P=0.74) respectively. For the six volunteers scanned with both sequences in one session, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0.939. Overall, the success rate of obtaining satisfactory images per acquisition was slightly over 50% for both sequence 1 and sequence 2. Satisfactory images can usually be obtained by asking the volunteer subjects to better hold their breath. However, sequence 2 did not increase the scan success rate. For the nine subjects scanned by sequence 2 with both NSA =2 and NSA =1 during one session, the ICC was 0.274, demonstrated poor agreement. T1rho measurement by ROI method and histogram had an ICC of 0.901 (P>0.05), demonstrated very good agreement. We conclude that by including 135° flip angle before and after the spin-locking RF pulse, the rate of artifacts occurring did not decrease. On the other hand, sequence 1 and sequence 2 measured similar T1rho value in healthy liver. While reducing the breath—holding duration significantly, NSA =1 did not offer satisfactory signal-to-noise ratio. Histogram measurement can be adopted for future studies.
PMCID: PMC3882805  PMID: 24404445
Magnetic resonance imaging; liver; T1rho; quantification

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