Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ≥30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n=27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
Atypical depression; China; depression; latent class analysis; melancholia; suicidal ideation
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Atypical symptoms; China; cognitive symptoms; depression; factor analysis
Studies in Western countries have repeatedly shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in China?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression and regression coefficients by linear or Poisson regression.
Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD [OR 3.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–5.45]. This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.17–5.23), genital (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.32–5.83) and intercourse (OR 13.35, 95% CI 1.83–97.42). The association between any form of CSA and MD remained significant after accounting for parental history of depression, childhood emotional neglect (CEN), childhood physical abuse (CPA) and parent–child relationship. Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and an increased risk for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.39–2.66) and dysthymia (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52–3.09).
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and increased co-morbidity with GAD and dysthymia. Although reporting biases cannot be ruled out, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, as in Western countries, CSA substantially increases the risk for MD in China.
Childhood sexual abuse; co-morbidity; major depression
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
Cognitive trio; Han Chinese women; major depression; suicide; symptoms
Vitamin D and calcium are known to regulate differentiation and proliferation of keratinocytes; they might potentially have a role in suppressing carcinogenesis in squamous epithelium. Serum parathyroid hormone (pth) is a sensitive indicator of calcium and vitamin D deficiency, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is an established marker of vitamin D status.
To determine whether levels of 25(OH)D, calcium, or pth in serum are associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma (oscc), we examined those parameters in serum collected from 70 patients with oscc and from an equal number of matched control subjects.
The results showed that intact pth was significantly higher in serum from oscc patients than in serum from control subjects. However, we observed no significant differences in 25(OH)D or calcium in serum from oscc patients and from control subjects.
We conclude that higher serum pth, but not lower serum vitamin D or calcium, is associated with oscc.
Oral squamous cell carcinoma; parathyroid hormone; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; calcium
Breast carcinoma is the most common female cancer with considerable metastatic potential. Signal transducers and activators of the transcription 3 (Stat3) signaling pathway is constitutively activated in many cancers including breast cancer and has been validated as a novel potential anticancer target. Here, we reported our finding with nifuroxazide, an antidiarrheal agent identified as a potent inhibitor of Stat3. The potency of nifuroxazide on breast cancer was assessed in vitro and in vivo. In this investigation, we found that nifuroxazide decreased the viability of three breast cancer cell lines and induced apoptosis of cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, western blot analysis demonstrated that the occurrence of its apoptosis was associated with activation of cleaved caspases-3 and Bax, downregulation of Bcl-2. Moreover, nifuroxazide markedly blocked cancer cell migration and invasion, and the reduction of phosphorylated-Stat3Tyr705, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression were also observed. Furthermore, in our animal experiments, intraperitoneal administration of 50 mg/kg/day nifuroxazide suppressed 4T1 tumor growth and blocked formation of pulmonary metastases without detectable toxicity. Meanwhile, histological and immunohistochemical analyses revealed a decrease in Ki-67-positive cells, MMP-9-positive cells and an increase in cleaved caspase-3-positive cells upon nifuroxazide. Notably, nifuroxazide reduced the number of myeloid-derived suppressor cell in the lung. Our data indicated that nifuroxazide may potentially be a therapeutic agent for growth and metastasis of breast cancer.
The objective of this study was to compare the image quality and radiation dose of chest CT images reconstructed with a blend of adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) and filtered back-projection (FBP) with images generated using conventional FBP.
Patients with chest CT re-examinations were alternately assigned to two scanners with different reconstruction techniques. The study groups included noise index (NI) 11 with 30% ASIR (A30), NI 13 with 40% ASIR (A40), NI 15 with 50% ASIR (A50) and NI 17 with 60% ASIR (A60), sequentially changed every 2 months. The control images were obtained using FBP and NI 11. All acquisitions were performed with automatic dose modulation. Paired t-test and non-parameter test were applied to compare the difference.
The radiation doses were significantly lower in the examinations that used ASIR (p<0.001). The mean dose reduction rate was 27.7%, 45.2%, 57.1% and 71.8% for Groups A30, A40, A50 and A60, respectively. The image quality of Groups A30–A50 was not inferior to that of the control examinations. The image noise of Group A60 was greater and subjective image quality was inferior to that of the control.
ASIR enabled the use of a higher NI with automatic dose modulation. With 50% ASIR and a NI of 15, the effective radiation dose was reduced by 57%, without compromising image quality.
The Ets transcription factor, Fli-1 is activated in murine erythroleukemia and overexpressed in various human malignancies including Ewing's sarcoma, induced by the oncogenic fusion protein EWS/Fli-1. Recent studies by our group and others have demonstrated that Fli-1 plays a key role in tumorigenesis, and disrupting its oncogenic function may serve as a potential treatment option for malignancies associated with its overexpression. Herein, we describe the discovery of 30 anti-Fli-1 compounds, characterized into six functional groups. Treatment of murine and human leukemic cell lines with select compounds inhibits Fli-1 protein or mRNA expression, resulting in proliferation arrest and apoptosis. This anti-cancer effect was mediated, at least in part through direct inhibition of Fli-1 function, as anti-Fli-1 drug treatment inhibited Fli-1 DNA binding to target genes, such as SHIP-1 and gata-1, governing hematopoietic differentiation and proliferation. Furthermore, treatment with select Fli-1 inhibitors revealed a positive relationship between the loss of DNA-binding activity and Fli-1 phosphorylation. Accordingly, anti-Fli-1 drug treatment significantly inhibited leukemogenesis in a murine erythroleukemia model overexpressing Fli-1. This study demonstrates the ability of this drug-screening strategy to isolate effective anti-Fli-1 inhibitors and highlights their potential use for the treatment of malignancies overexpressing this oncogene.
erythroleukemia; Fli-1; drug inhibition
We investigated common genetic variation in the entire ESR1 and EGF genes in relation to endometrial cancer risk, myometrial invasion and endometrial cancer survival. We genotyped a dense set of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in both genes and selected haplotype tagging SNPs (tagSNPs). The tagSNPs were genotyped in 713 Swedish endometrial cancer cases and 1567 population controls and the results incorporated into logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models. We found five adjacent tagSNPs covering a region of 15 kb at the 5′ end of ESR1 that decreased the endometrial cancer risk. The ESR1 variants did not, however, seem to affect myometrial invasion or endometrial cancer survival. For the EGF gene, no association emerged between common genetic variants and endometrial cancer risk or myometrial invasion, but we found a five-tagSNP region that covered 51 kb at the 5′ end of the gene where all five tagSNPs seemed to decrease the risk of dying from endometrial cancer. One of the five tagSNPs in this region was in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the untranslated A61G (rs4444903) EGF variant, earlier shown to be associated with risk for other forms of cancer.
ESR1; EGF; polymorphism; endometrial cancer; survival
To evaluate cyclic changes of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of normal uterus in different age groups during the menstrual cycle, and the correlation with serum female hormone levels.
29 normal volunteers accepted diffusion tensor imaging of the uterus on menstrual phase (MP), follicular phase (FP), ovulatory phase (OP) and luteal phase. FA and ADC values of different uterine layers on midsagittal images were measured. Differences between two age groups during the menstrual cycle were evaluated using liner mixed models and one-way analysis of variance. Pearson correlation analysis compared variation of FA and ADC values with serum female hormone levels measured in MP.
During menstrual cycle, endometrial FA values declined, whereas ADC values increased with significant differences (p < 0.05). Serum oestradiol (E) levels correlated moderately with variations of FA values between MP-FP (p = 0.045; r = 0.389) and MP-OP (p = 0.008; r = 0.511). FA and ADC values of junctional zones showed no significant difference (p > 0.05) as well as FA values of myometrium (p = 0.0961), while ADC values of myometrium showed significant increase from menstrual phase to luteal phase (p < 0.05). FA and ADC values of uterine three zonal structures showed significant differences (p < 0.05) at each phase during the menstrual cycle. No significant difference of FA and ADC values was found between age groups (p > 0.05).
Dynamic changes of uterine FA and ADC values were observed during menstrual cycle. Variation of FA values between MP-FP, MP-OP correlated moderately with serum E levels.
Advances in knowledge:
No publications on the relationship between FA and ADC values and the female hormone levels were found; our study prospectively investigated the cyclic changes of FA and ADC values of the normal uterus and the correlation with the basic serum female hormone levels in MP.
Antibacterial adhesives have favorable prospects to inhibit biofilms and secondary caries. The objectives of this study were to investigate the antibacterial effect of dental adhesives containing dimethylaminododecyl methacrylate (DMADDM) on different bacteria in controlled multispecies biofilms and its regulating effect on development of biofilm for the first time. Antibacterial material was synthesized, and Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus gordonii, and Streptococcus sanguinis were chosen to form multispecies biofilms. Lactic acid assay and pH measurement were conducted to study the acid production of controlled multispecies biofilms. Anthrone method and exopolysaccharide (EPS):bacteria volume ratio measured by confocal laser scanning microscopy were performed to determine the EPS production of biofilms. The colony-forming unit counts, scanning electron microscope imaging, and dead:live volume ratio decided by confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to study the biomass change of controlled multispecies biofilms. The TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction and fluorescent in situ hybridization imaging were used to study the proportion change in multispecies biofilms of different groups. The results showed that DMADDM-containing adhesive groups slowed the pH drop and decreased the lactic acid production noticeably, especially lactic acid production in the 5% DMADDM group, which decreased 10- to 30-fold compared with control group (P < 0.05). EPS was reduced significantly in 5% DMADDM group (P < 0.05). The DMADDM groups reduced the colony-forming unit counts significantly (P < 0.05) and had higher dead:live volume ratio in biofilms compared with control group (P < 0.05). The proportion of S. mutans decreased steadily in DMADDM-containing groups and continually increased in control group, and the biofilm had a more healthy development tendency after the regulation of DMADDM. In conclusion, the adhesives containing DMADDM had remarkable antimicrobial properties to serve as “bioactive” adhesive materials and revealed its potential value for antibiofilm and anticaries clinical applications.
dimethylaminododecyl methacrylate; antibacterial material; controlled multispecies biofilm; bonding agent; tooth restoration; caries inhibition
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was demonstrated to be a risk factor of several cancers of the digestive system. In addition, liver cirrhosis, which could possibly result from chronic HBV infection, was associated with a higher risk of gastric cancer. However, the association of HBV infection and gastric cancer has not been investigated.
A retrospective case–control study with 580 cases and 580 controls matched for age, sex and year of diagnosis was conducted. The associations between gastric cancer and HBV infection were explored with univariate and multivariate unconditional logistic regression analysis.
Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was positively associated with gastric cancer (AOR (95% CI): 1.49 (1.06–2.10)). This association remained significant in patients without family history of gastric cancer (AOR (95% CI): (1.06–2.11)). For HBsAg-negative population, being anti-HBc positive/anti-HBs negative, which possibly indicated occult HBV infection, was also found to have some associations with gastric cancer. In addition, some synergistic effects between HBV infection and blood type A in gastric cancer were identified.
The HBV infection was positively related with gastric cancer, especially for patients without family history of gastric cancer. Further prospective studies are warranted to confirm this relationship.
hepatitis B virus; gastric cancer; risk factor; ABO blood group
It is well known that semi-solid forming could only obtain coarse-grained microstructure in a few alloy systems with a low melting point, such as aluminum and magnesium alloys. This work presents that semi-solid forming could also produce novel bimodal microstructure composed of nanostructured matrix and micro-sized (CoFe)Ti2 twins in a titanium alloy, Ti62Nb12.2Fe13.6Co6.4Al5.8. The semi-solid sintering induced by eutectic transformation to form a bimodal microstructure in Ti62Nb12.2Fe13.6Co6.4Al5.8 alloy is a fundamentally different approach from other known methods. The fabricated alloy exhibits high yield strength of 1790 MPa and plastic strain of 15.5%. The novel idea provides a new insight into obtaining nano-grain or bimodal microstructure in alloy systems with high melting point by semi-solid forming and into fabricating high-performance metallic alloys in structural applications.
An ideal magnetic rail should provide a homogeneous magnetic field along the longitudinal direction to guarantee the reliable friction-free operation of high temperature superconducting (HTS) maglev vehicles. But in reality, magnetic field inhomogeneity may occur due to lots of reasons; the joint gap is the most direct one. Joint gaps inevitably exist between adjacent segments and influence the longitudinal magnetic field homogeneity above the rail since any magnetic rails are consisting of many permanent magnet segments. To improve the running performance of maglev systems, two new rail joints are proposed based on the normal rail joint, which are named as mitered rail joint and overlapped rail joint. It is found that the overlapped rail joint has a better effect to provide a competitive homogeneous magnetic field. And the further structure optimization has been done to ensure maglev vehicle operation as stable as possible when passing through those joint gaps. The results show that the overlapped rail joint with optimal parameters can significantly reduce the magnetic field inhomogeneity comparing with the other two rail joints. In addition, an appropriate gap was suggested when balancing the thermal expansion of magnets and homogenous magnetic field, which is considered valuable references for the future design of the magnetic rails.
Magnetic rail; Joint; Field homogeneity; Maglev
Fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) with naturally exceptional selectivity is a powerful technique and widely used in chemical and biomedical analysis. However, it is still challenging for conventional FRET to perform as a high sensitivity compact sensor. Here we propose a novel ‘FRET on Fiber’ concept, in which a partially reduced graphene oxide (prGO) film is deposited on a fiber-optic modal interferometer, acting as both the fluorescent quencher for the FRET and the sensitive cladding for optical phase measurement due to refractive index changes in biochemical detection. The target analytes induced fluorescence recovery with good selectivity and optical phase shift with high sensitivity are measured simultaneously. The functionalized prGO film coated on the fiber-optic interferometer shows high sensitivities for the detections of metal ion, dopamine and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), with detection limits of 1.2 nM, 1.3 μM and 1 pM, respectively. Such a prGO based ‘FRET on fiber’ configuration, bridging the FRET and the fiber-optic sensing technology, may serve as a platform for the realization of series of integrated ‘FRET on Fiber’ sensors for on-line environmental, chemical, and biomedical detection, with excellent compactness, high sensitivity, good selectivity and fast response
Do DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depression (MD) in Chinese and Western women perform in a similar manner?
The CONVERGE study included interview-based assessments of women of Han Chinese descent with treated recurrent MD. Using Mplus software, we investigated the overall degree of between-sample measurement invariance (MI) for DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for MD in the CONVERGE sample and samples selected from four major Western studies from the USA and Europe matched to the inclusion criteria of CONVERGE. These analyses were performed one pair at a time. We then compared the results from CONVERGE paired with Western samples to those obtained when examining levels of MI between pairs of the Western samples.
Assuming a single factor model for the nine diagnostic criteria for MD, the level of MI based on global fit indexes observed between the CONVERGE and the four Western samples was very similar to that seen between the Western samples. Comparable results were obtained when using a two-factor structure for MI testing when applied to the 14 diagnostic criteria for MD disaggregated for weight, appetite, sleep, and psychomotor changes.
Despite differences in language, ethnicity and culture, DSM criteria for MD perform similarly in Chinese women with recurrent MD and comparable subjects from the USA and Europe. The DSM criteria for MD may assess depressive symptoms that are relatively insensitive to cultural and ethnic differences. These results support efforts to compare findings from depressed patients in China and Western countries.
China; cross-cultural psychiatry, DSM-IV; major depression; measurement invariance
Polarization manipulations of electromagnetic waves can be obtained by chiral and anisotropic metamaterials routinely, but the dynamic and high-efficiency modulations of chiral properties still remain challenging at the terahertz range. Here, we theoretically demonstrate a new scheme for realizing thermal-controlled chirality using a hybrid terahertz metamaterial with embedded vanadium dioxide (VO2) films. The phase transition of VO2 films in 90° twisted E-shaped resonators enables high-efficiency thermal modulation of linear polarization conversion. The asymmetric transmission of linearly polarized wave and circular dichroism simultaneously exhibit a pronounced switching effect dictated by temperature-controlled conductivity of VO2 inclusions. The proposed hybrid metamaterial design opens exciting possibilities to achieve dynamic modulation of terahertz waves and further develop tunable terahertz polarization devices.
Activation of the PI3K/mTOR and Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathways occurs frequently in biliary tract cancer (BTC). Crosstalk between these pathways occurs in other gastrointestinal cancers. The respective signalling inhibitors rapamycin and vismodegib may inhibit BTC synergistically and suppress cancer stem cells (CSCs).
Gene expression profiling for p70S6k and Gli1 was performed with BTC cell lines. Tumour and pathway inhibitory effects of rapamycin and vismodegib were investigated in BTC preclinical models and CSCs.
Rapamycin and vismodegib synergistically reduced BTC cell viability and proliferation. This drug combination arrested BTC Mz-ChA-1 cells in the G1 phase but had no significant effect on the cell cycle of BTC Sk-ChA-1 cells. Combined treatment inhibited the proliferation of CSCs and ALDH-positive cells. Nanog and Oct-4 expression in CSCs was decreased by the combination treatment. Western blotting results showed the p-p70S6K, p-Gli1, p-mTOR, and p-AKT protein expression were inhibited by the combination treatment in BTC cells. In an Mz-ChA-1 xenograft model, combination treatment resulted in 80% inhibition of tumour growth and prolonged tumour doubling time. In 4 of 10 human BTC specimens, tumour p-p70S6K and Gli1 protein expression levels were decreased with the combination treatment.
Targeted inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR and Hhpathways indicates a new avenue for BTC treatment with combination therapy.
BTC; mTOR inhibitor; Hedgehog inhibitor; combination therapy
Electrostatic gating provides a powerful approach to tune the conductivity of the two-dimensional electron liquid between two insulating oxides. For the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 (LAO/STO) interface, such gating effect could be further enhanced by a strong lattice polarization of STO caused by simultaneous application of gate field and illumination light. Herein, by monitoring the discharging process upon removing the gate field, we give firm evidence for the occurrence of this lattice polarization at the amorphous-LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface. Moreover, we find that the lattice polarization is accompanied with a large expansion of the out-of-plane lattice of STO. Photo excitation affects the polarization process by accelerating the field-induced lattice expansion. The present work demonstrates the great potential of combined stimuli in exploring emergent phenomenon at complex oxide interfaces.
Increasing studies suggest that ceramides differing in acyl chain length and/or degree of unsaturation have distinct roles in mediating biological responses. However, still much remains unclear about regulation and role of distinct ceramide species in the immune response. Here, we demonstrate that alkaline ceramidase 3 (Acer3) mediates the immune response by regulating the levels of C18:1-ceramide in cells of the innate immune system and that Acer3 deficiency aggravates colitis in a murine model by augmenting the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in myeloid and colonic epithelial cells (CECs). According to the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database, ACER3 is downregulated in immune cells in response to lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a potent inducer of the innate immune response. Consistent with these data, we demonstrated that LPS downregulated both Acer3 mRNA levels and its enzymatic activity while elevating C18:1-ceramide, a substrate of Acer3, in murine immune cells or CECs. Knocking out Acer3 enhanced the elevation of C18:1-ceramide and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells and CECs in response to LPS challenge. Similar to Acer3 knockout, treatment with C18:1-ceramide, but not C18:0-ceramide, potentiated LPS-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in immune cells. In the mouse model of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis, Acer3 deficiency augmented colitis-associated elevation of colonic C18:1-ceramide and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Acer3 deficiency aggravated diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and mortality. Pathological analyses revealed that Acer3 deficiency augmented colonic shortening, immune cell infiltration, colonic epithelial damage and systemic inflammation. Acer3 deficiency also aggravated colonic dysplasia in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. Taken together, these results suggest that Acer3 has an important anti-inflammatory role by suppressing cellular or tissue C18:1-ceramide, a potent pro-inflammatory bioactive lipid and that dysregulation of ACER3 and C18:1-ceramide may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases including cancer.
Hypertrophic scar (HS) is a serious skin fibrotic disease characterized by excessive hypercellularity and extracellular matrix (ECM) component deposition. Autophagy is a tightly regulated physiological process essential for cellular maintenance, differentiation, development, and homeostasis. Previous studies show that IL10 has potential therapeutic benefits in terms of preventing and reducing HS formation. However, no studies have examined IL10-mediated autophagy during the pathological process of HS formation. Here, we examined the effect of IL10 on starvation-induced autophagy and investigated the molecular mechanism underlying IL10-mediated inhibition of autophagy in HS-derived fibroblasts (HSFs) under starvation conditions. Immunostaining and PCR analysis revealed that a specific component of the IL10 receptor, IL10 alpha-chain (IL10Rα), is expressed in HSFs. Transmission electron microscopy and western blot analysis revealed that IL10 inhibited starvation-induced autophagy and induced the expression of p-AKT and p-STAT3 in HSFs in a dose-dependent manner. Blocking IL10R, p-AKT, p-mTOR, and p-STAT3 using specific inhibitors (IL10RB, LY294002, rapamycin, and cryptotanshinone, respectively) showed that IL10 inhibited autophagy via IL10Rα-mediated activation of STAT3 (the IL10R-STAT3 pathway) and by directly activating the AKT-mTOR pathway. Notably, these results suggest that IL10-mediated inhibition of autophagy is facilitated by the cross talk between STAT3, AKT, and mTOR; in other words, the IL10-IL10R-STAT3 and IL10-AKT-mTOR pathways. Finally, the results also indicate that mTOR-p70S6K is the molecule upon which these two pathways converge to induce IL10-mediated inhibition of autophagy in starved HSFs. In summary, the findings reported herein shed light on the molecular mechanism underlying IL10-mediated inhibition of autophagy and suggest that IL10 is a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of HS.
Although anthropogenic disturbances are often perceived as detrimental to plant biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and disturbance remains unclear. Opinions diverge on how natural diversity is generated and maintained. We conducted a large-scale investigation of a temperate grassland system in Inner Mongolia and assessed the richness-disturbance relationship using grazing intensity, the primary anthropogenic disturbance in the region. Vascular plant-species richness peaked at an intermediate level of anthropogenic disturbance. Our results support the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which provides a valid and useful measure of biodiversity at a metacommunity scale, indicating that anthropogenic disturbances are necessary to conserve the biodiversity of grassland systems.
Clinical studies have shown that metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with increased risk of developing periodontitis. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Since it is known that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)–activated toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathways play a crucial role in periodontitis, we hypothesized that MetS enhances LPS-induced periodontal inflammation and alveolar bone loss. In this study, we induced MetS in C57BL/6 mice by feeding them high-fat diet (HFD), and we induced periodontitis by periodontal injection of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans LPS. We found that mice fed a HFD had significantly increased body weight, plasma lipids, insulin, and insulin resistance when compared with mice fed regular chow, indicating that the mice developed MetS. We also found that a HFD markedly increased LPS-induced alveolar bone loss, osteoclastogenesis, and inflammatory infiltration. Analysis of gene expression in periodontal tissue revealed that HFD and LPS injection cooperatively stimulated expression of cytokines that are known to be involved in periodontal tissue inflammation and osteoclastogenesis—such as interleukin 6, monocyte-chemotactic protein 1, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, and macrophage colony-stimulating factor. To further understand the potential mechanisms involved in MetS-boosted tissue inflammation, our in vitro studies showed that palmitic acid—the most abundant saturated fatty acid (SFA) and the major SFA in the HFD used in our animal study—potently enhanced LPS-induced proinflammatory gene expression in macrophages. In sum, this study demonstrated that MetS was associated with increased periodontal inflammation and alveolar bone loss in an LPS-induced periodontitis animal model. This study also suggests that SFA palmitic acid may play an important role in MetS-associated periodontitis by enhancing LPS-induced expression of inflammatory cytokines in macrophages.
lipopolysaccharide; palmitic acid; high-fat diet; osteoclast; cytokines; gene expression
Dental caries is closely associated with the microbial disequilibrium between acidogenic/aciduric pathogens and alkali-generating commensal residents within the dental plaque. Fluoride is a widely used anticaries agent, which promotes tooth hard-tissue remineralization and suppresses bacterial activities. Recent clinical trials have shown that oral hygiene products containing both fluoride and arginine possess a greater anticaries effect compared with those containing fluoride alone, indicating synergy between fluoride and arginine in caries management. Here, we hypothesize that arginine may augment the ecological benefit of fluoride by enriching alkali-generating bacteria in the plaque biofilm and thus synergizes with fluoride in controlling dental caries. Specifically, we assessed the combinatory effects of NaF/arginine on planktonic and biofilm cultures of Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguinis, and Porphyromonas gingivalis with checkerboard microdilution assays. The optimal NaF/arginine combinations were selected, and their combinatory effects on microbial composition were further examined in single-, dual-, and 3-species biofilm using bacterial species–specific fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We found that arginine synergized with fluoride in suppressing acidogenic S. mutans in both planktonic and biofilm cultures. In addition, the NaF/arginine combination synergistically reduced S. mutans but enriched S. sanguinis within the multispecies biofilms. More importantly, the optimal combination of NaF/arginine maintained a “streptococcal pressure” against the potential growth of oral anaerobe P. gingivalis within the alkalized biofilm. Taken together, we conclude that the combinatory application of fluoride and arginine has a potential synergistic effect in maintaining a healthy oral microbial equilibrium and thus represents a promising ecological approach to caries management.
Streptococcus mutans; Streptococcus sanguis; Porphyromonas gingivalis; biofilms; dental caries; drug synergism