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1.  Comparison of Algorithm-based Estimates of Occupational Diesel Exhaust Exposure to Those of Multiple Independent Raters in a Population-based Case–Control Study 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2012;57(4):470-481.
Algorithm-based exposure assessments based on patterns in questionnaire responses and professional judgment can readily apply transparent exposure decision rules to thousands of jobs quickly. However, we need to better understand how algorithms compare to a one-by-one job review by an exposure assessor. We compared algorithm-based estimates of diesel exhaust exposure to those of three independent raters within the New England Bladder Cancer Study, a population-based case–control study, and identified conditions under which disparities occurred in the assessments of the algorithm and the raters.
Occupational diesel exhaust exposure was assessed previously using an algorithm and a single rater for all 14 983 jobs reported by 2631 study participants during personal interviews conducted from 2001 to 2004. Two additional raters independently assessed a random subset of 324 jobs that were selected based on strata defined by the cross-tabulations of the algorithm and the first rater’s probability assessments for each job, oversampling their disagreements. The algorithm and each rater assessed the probability, intensity and frequency of occupational diesel exhaust exposure, as well as a confidence rating for each metric. Agreement among the raters, their aggregate rating (average of the three raters’ ratings) and the algorithm were evaluated using proportion of agreement, kappa and weighted kappa (κw). Agreement analyses on the subset used inverse probability weighting to extrapolate the subset to estimate agreement for all jobs. Classification and Regression Tree (CART) models were used to identify patterns in questionnaire responses that predicted disparities in exposure status (i.e., unexposed versus exposed) between the first rater and the algorithm-based estimates.
For the probability, intensity and frequency exposure metrics, moderate to moderately high agreement was observed among raters (κw = 0.50–0.76) and between the algorithm and the individual raters (κw = 0.58–0.81). For these metrics, the algorithm estimates had consistently higher agreement with the aggregate rating (κw = 0.82) than with the individual raters. For all metrics, the agreement between the algorithm and the aggregate ratings was highest for the unexposed category (90–93%) and was poor to moderate for the exposed categories (9–64%). Lower agreement was observed for jobs with a start year <1965 versus ≥1965. For the confidence metrics, the agreement was poor to moderate among raters (κw = 0.17–0.45) and between the algorithm and the individual raters (κw = 0.24–0.61). CART models identified patterns in the questionnaire responses that predicted a fair-to-moderate (33–89%) proportion of the disagreements between the raters’ and the algorithm estimates.
The agreement between any two raters was similar to the agreement between an algorithm-based approach and individual raters, providing additional support for using the more efficient and transparent algorithm-based approach. CART models identified some patterns in disagreements between the first rater and the algorithm. Given the absence of a gold standard for estimating exposure, these patterns can be reviewed by a team of exposure assessors to determine whether the algorithm should be revised for future studies.
PMCID: PMC3629988  PMID: 23184256
case–control; diesel exhaust; expert judgement; exposure assessment
2.  Cracking the Cytotoxicity Code: Apoptotic Induction of 10-Acetylirciformonin B is Mediated through ROS Generation and Mitochondrial Dysfunction 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(5):3072-3090.
A marine furanoterpenoid derivative, 10-acetylirciformonin B (10AB), was found to inhibit the proliferation of leukemia, hepatoma, and colon cancer cell lines, with selective and significant potency against leukemia cells. It induced DNA damage and apoptosis in leukemia HL 60 cells. To fully understand the mechanism behind the 10AB apoptotic induction against HL 60 cells, we extended our previous findings and further explored the precise molecular targets of 10AB. We found that the use of 10AB increased apoptosis by 8.9%–87.6% and caused disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) by 15.2%–95.2% in a dose-dependent manner, as demonstrated by annexin-V/PI and JC-1 staining assays, respectively. Moreover, our findings indicated that the pretreatment of HL 60 cells with N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), a reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, diminished MMP disruption and apoptosis induced by 10AB, suggesting that ROS overproduction plays a crucial rule in the cytotoxic activity of 10AB. The results of a cell-free system assay indicated that 10AB could act as a topoisomerase catalytic inhibitor through the inhibition of topoisomerase IIα. On the protein level, the expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-2, caspase inhibitors XIAP and survivin, as well as hexokinase II were inhibited by the use of 10AB. On the other hand, the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax was increased after 10AB treatment. Taken together, our results suggest that 10AB-induced apoptosis is mediated through the overproduction of ROS and the disruption of mitochondrial metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4052332  PMID: 24857964
10-acetylirciformonin B; apoptosis; hexokinase; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species (ROS); topoisomerase
3.  Towards the Small and the Beautiful: A Small Dibromotyrosine Derivative from Pseudoceratina sp. Sponge Exhibits Potent Apoptotic Effect through Targeting IKK/NFκB Signaling Pathway 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(9):3168-3185.
A dibromotyrosine derivative, (1′R,5′S,6′S)-2-(3′,5′-dibromo-1′,6′-dihydroxy-4′-oxocyclohex-2′-enyl) acetonitrile (DT), was isolated from the sponge Pseudoceratina sp., and was found to exhibit a significant cytotoxic activity against leukemia K562 cells. Despite the large number of the isolated bromotyrosine derivatives, studies focusing on their biological mechanism of action are scarce. In the current study we designed a set of experiments to reveal the underlying mechanism of DT cytotoxic activity against K562 cells. First, the results of MTT cytotoxic and the annexin V-FITC/PI apoptotic assays, indicated that the DT cytotoxic activity is mediated through induction of apoptosis. This effect was also supported by caspases-3 and -9 activation as well as PARP cleavage. DT induced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) as indicated by flow cytometric assay. The involvement of ROS generation in the apoptotic activity of DT was further corroborated by the pretreatment of K562 cells with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a ROS scavenger, which prevented apoptosis and the disruption of MMP induced by DT. Results of cell-free system assay suggested that DT can act as a topoisomerase II catalytic inhibitor, unlike the clinical anticancer drug, etoposide, which acts as a topoisomerase poison. Additionally, we found that DT treatment can block IKK/NFκB pathway and activate PI3K/Akt pathway. These findings suggest that the cytotoxic effect of DT is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction-dependent apoptosis which is mediated through oxidative stress. Therefore, DT represents an interesting reference point for the development of new cytotoxic agent targeting IKK/NFκB pathway.
PMCID: PMC3801119  PMID: 24065159
apoptosis; dibromotyrosine; mitochondrial dysfunction; oxidative stress; topoisomerase
4.  A fusion protein composed of receptor binding domain of vascular endothelial growth factor-A and constant region fragment of antibody: angiogenesis antagonistic activity 
Cytotechnology  2011;63(3):285-293.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promotes the growth of solid tumor mainly via VEGF receptor-1 and receptor-2, which are expressed preferentially in proliferating endothelial cells. Therefore, a strategy for simultaneous blockage of both VEGF receptors may have a useful therapeutic effect in tumor growth. In this study, we utilized a fusion protein which is composed of receptor binding domain of VEGF-A (RBDV) and the constant region fragment (Fc) of a human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), to interfere with the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) via VEGF receptors. The results showed that RBDV-IgG1 Fc was able to bind with both VEGF receptor-1 and receptor-2. In addition, RBDV-IgG1 Fc could decrease VEGF-induced proliferation and tube formation among HUVECs. Moreover, the cytotoxic test showed RBDV-IgG1 Fc could also enhance the cytotoxic activity of human natural killing cells. The data are suggesting that the fusion protein, RBDV-IgG1 Fc, may have potential as an angiogenesis antagonist for future tumor therapy.
PMCID: PMC3081053  PMID: 21461946
Vascular endothelial growth factor; Receptor binding domain of VEGF-A; Immunoglobulin; Fusion protein; Human umbilical vein endothelial cells
5.  Enhancement of anti-murine colon cancer immunity by fusion of a SARS fragment to a low-immunogenic carcinoembryonic antigen 
It is widely understood that tumor cells express tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), of which many are usually in low immunogenicity; for example, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is specifically expressed on human colon cancer cells and is viewed as a low-immunogenic TAA. How to activate host immunity against specific TAAs and to suppress tumor growth therefore becomes important in cancer therapy development.
To enhance the immune efficiency of CEA in mice that received, we fused a partial CEA gene with exogenous SARS-CoV fragments. Oral vaccination of an attenuated Salmonella typhimurium strain transformed with plasmids encoding CEA-SARS-CoV fusion gene into BALB/c mice elicited significant increases in TNF-α and IL-10 in the serum. In addition, a smaller tumor volume was observed in CT26/CEA-bearing mice who received CEA-SARS-CoV gene therapy in comparison with those administered CEA alone.
The administration of fusing CEA-SARS-CoV fragments may provide a promising strategy for strengthening the anti-tumor efficacy against low-immunogenic endogenous tumor antigens.
PMCID: PMC3298716  PMID: 22304896
immunotherapy; tumor-derived peptide; tumor vaccine; low-immunogenicity
6.  Anodic Aluminum Oxide Membrane-Assisted Fabrication of β-In2S3 Nanowires 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(9):1059-1063.
In this study, β-In2S3 nanowires were first synthesized by sulfurizing the pure Indium (In) nanowires in an AAO membrane. As FE-SEM results, β-In2S3 nanowires are highly ordered, arranged tightly corresponding to the high porosity of the AAO membrane used. The diameter of the β-In2S3 nanowires is about 60 nm with the length of about 6–8 μm. Moreover, the aspect ratio of β-In2S3 nanowires is up to 117. An EDS analysis revealed the β-In2S3 nanowires with an atomic ratio of nearly S/In = 1.5. X-ray diffraction and corresponding selected area electron diffraction patterns demonstrated that the β-In2S3 nanowire is tetragonal polycrystalline. The direct band gap energy (Eg) is 2.40 eV from the optical measurement, and it is reasonable with literature.
PMCID: PMC2894172  PMID: 20596400
Nanomaterials; In2S3; Nanowire; AAO
7.  Synthesis and Characterization of Tin Disulfide (SnS2) Nanowires 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(7):694-698.
The ordered tin disulfide (SnS2) nanowire arrays were first fabricated by sulfurizing the Sn nanowires, which are embedded in the nanochannels of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) template. SnS2 nanowire arrays are highly ordered and highly dense. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and corresponding selected area electron diffraction (SAED) patterns demonstrate the SnS2 nanowire is hexagonal polycrystalline. The study of UV/Visible/NIR absorption shows the SnS2 nanowire is a wide-band semiconductor with three band gap energies (3.3, 4.4, and 5.8 eV).
PMCID: PMC2894233  PMID: 20596366
Nanomaterials; SnS2; Nanowire; AAO; Template
8.  Small interfering RNA knockdown of mini-TyrRS and mini-TrpRS effects angiogenesis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells in hypoxic culture 
Cytotechnology  2008;56(3):219-231.
Aim We studied the role of mini-TyrRS and mini-TrpRS in angiogenesis by using small interfering RNA-mediated mini-TyrRS/mini-TrpRS knockout in hypoxic culture of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Methods SiRNA was used as the main method to inhibited the gene function. Silencing efficiency was assayed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blotting. The angiogenic activity in vitro was evaluated by transwell migration assay and Matrigel-induced capillary tube formation in hypoxic culture. Cell proliferation was determined by crystal violet staining. Results The results showed that levels of the mini-TyrRS/mini-TrpRS gene and protein in mock transfection group and negative control group were higher, but noticeably decreased in experimental group. However, no significant difference was detected between mock transfection group and negative control group, but there was a statistically significant difference compared with experimental group. For mini-TyrRS-siRNA group, the cell migration, tube formation and the rate of cell proliferation were respectively inhibited by (47.4, 56.3, 65.4, 73.7%), (60.5, 69.1, 75.9, 83.6%) and (40.4, 56.2, 61.2, 68.0%). For mini-TrpRS-siRNA, were respectively increased by (18.0, 33.8, 45.1, 56.4%), (18.3, 31.2, 40.3, 45.7%) and (8.4, 26.4, 38.2, 46.6%). Conclusion These results indicated that angiogenesis is either stimulated by mini-TyrRS or inhibited by mini-TrpRS in matrigel models in hypoxic culture, raising the possibility that mini-TyrRS stimulates a common downstream signaling event. Thus, naturally occurring fragments of two proteins involved in translation, TyrRS and TrpRS, have opposing activity on endothelial cell angiogenesis in the matrigel assays. The opposing activities of the two tRNA synthetases suggest tight regulation of the balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic stimuli.
PMCID: PMC2553632  PMID: 19002860
Mini-TyrRS; Mini-TrpRS; Hypoxia; Human umbilical vein endothelial cells; siRNA; Angiogenesis
9.  R497K polymorphism in epidermal growth factor receptor gene is associated with the risk of acute coronary syndrome 
BMC Medical Genetics  2008;9:74.
Previous studies suggested that genetic polymorphisms in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene had been implicated in the susceptibility to some tumors and inflammatory diseases. EGFR has been recently implicated in vascular pathophysiological processes associated with excessive remodeling and atherosclerosis. Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a clinical manifestation of preceding atherosclerosis. Our purpose was to investigate the association of the EGFR polymorphism with the risk of ACS. In this context, we analyzed the HER-1 R497K and EGFR intron 1 (CA)n repeat polymorphisms in 191 patients with ACS and 210 age- and sex-matched controls in a Chinese population, using a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) strategy and direct sequencing.
There were significant differences in the genotype and allele distribution of R497K polymorphism of the EGFR gene between cases and controls. The Lys allele had a significantly increased risk of ACS compared with the Arg allele (adjusted OR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.12–1.98, adjusted P = 0.006). However, no significant relationship between the number of (CA)n repeats of EGFR intron 1 (both alleles < 20 or any allele ≥ 20) and the risk of ACS was observed (adjusted OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.58–1.64, adjusted P = 0.911). Considering these two polymorphisms together, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups.
R497K polymorphism of the EGFR gene is significantly associated with the risk of ACS. Our data suggests that R497K polymorphism may be used as a genetic susceptibility marker of the ACS.
PMCID: PMC2515827  PMID: 18664296

Results 1-9 (9)