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1.  Regional increases of cortical thickness in untreated, first-episode major depressive disorder 
Translational Psychiatry  2014;4(4):e378-.
The large majority of structural MRI studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) investigated volumetric changes in chronic medicated patients in whom course of illness and treatment effects may impact anatomic measurements. Further, in few studies, separate measurements of cortical thickness and surface area have been performed that reflect different neurobiological processes regulated by different genetic mechanisms. In the present study, we investigated both cortical thickness and surface area in first-episode, treatment-naïve, mid-life MDD to elucidate the core pathophysiology of this disease and its early impact on the brain. We observed increased cortical thickness in the right hemisphere, including medial orbitofrontal gyrus, pars opercularis, rostral middle frontal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus. Increased thickness of rostral middle frontal gyrus was negatively related with depression severity on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Furthermore, MDD patients showed significantly increased associations in cortical thickness measurements among areas where increased cortical thickness was observed. Analysis of pial area revealed a trend toward increased surface area in the left parahippocampal gyrus in MDD. To permit comparison of our data with those of previous gray matter volume studies, voxel-based morphometry was performed. That analysis revealed significantly increased gray matter volume in left paracentral lobule, left superior frontal gyrus, bilateral cuneus and thalamus which form limbic-cortico–striato–pallido–thalamic loops. These changes in first-episode, treatment-naïve, mid-life MDD patients may reflect an active illness-related cortical change close to illness onset, and thus potentially provide important new insight into the early neurobiology of the disorder.
PMCID: PMC4012282  PMID: 24713859
3.  Rapid discovery and optimization of therapeutic antibodies against emerging infectious diseases 
Using a comprehensive set of discovery and optimization tools, antibodies were produced with the ability to neutralize SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection in Vero E6 cells and in animal models. These anti-SARS antibodies were discovered using a novel DNA display method, which can identify new antibodies within days. Once neutralizing antibodies were identified, a comprehensive and effective means of converting the mouse sequences to human frameworks was accomplished using HuFR™ (human framework reassembly) technology. The best variant (61G4) from this screen showed a 3.5–4-fold improvement in neutralization of SARS-CoV infection in vitro. Finally, using a complete site-saturation mutagenesis methodology focused on the CDR (complementarity determining regions), a single point mutation (51E7) was identified that improved the 80% plaque reduction neutralization of the virus by greater than 8-fold. These discovery and evolution strategies can be applied to any emerging pathogen or toxin where a causative agent is known.
PMCID: PMC2461042  PMID: 18480090
antibody discovery; humanized; optimized; SARS-CoV
4.  Multiple-trait genome-wide association study based on principal component analysis for residual covariance matrix 
Gao, H | Wu, Y | Zhang, T | Wu, Y | Jiang, L | Zhan, J | Li, J | Yang, R
Heredity  2015;114(4):428.
PMCID: PMC4359982  PMID: 25757542
5.  PD-1+ CD8+ T cells are exhausted in tumours and functional in draining lymph nodes of colorectal cancer patients 
Wu, X | Zhang, H | Xing, Q | Cui, J | Li, J | Li, Y | Tan, Y | Wang, S
British Journal of Cancer  2014;111(7):1391-1399.
The blockade of PD-1–PD-L1 pathway is emerging as an effective therapeutic strategy for several advanced cancers. But the immune regulatory role of PD-1–PD-L1 pathway is not clear in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. This study aims to evaluate the role of PD-1–PD-L1 pathway in CD8+ T-cell functions in tumour-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs) and tumours of CRC patients.
PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells was examined by flow cytometry, and PD-L1 expression in TDLNs and tumour tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. Production of IFN-γ, IL-2 and expression of granzyme B, perforin in CD8+ T cells were detected by intracellular staining.
PD-1 expression is markedly upregulated on CD8+ T cells in TDLNs and tumours compared with that in peripheral blood. PD-1-expressing CD8+ T cells are competent for production of cytokine (IL-2 and IFN-γ) and perforin in the tumour-free lymph nodes (TFLNs), but exhibit exhausted phenotypes in tumours. In addition, PD-L1 is highly expressed in tumours rather than TFLNs, which is closely correlated with the impairment of IFN-γ production of tumour-infiltrating PD-1+ CD8+ T cells.
Our findings suggest a suppressive effect of PD-1 on CD8+ T-cell function in tumours, but not in TFLNs.
PMCID: PMC4183848  PMID: 25093496
PD-1; exhaustion; CD8+ T cell; draining lymph node; colorectal cancer
6.  Ufmylation and FATylation Pathways are Down Regulated in Human Alcoholic and Non Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, and Mice Fed DDC, where Mallory-Denk Bodies (MDBs) Form 
We previously reported the mechanisms involved in the formation of Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) in mice fed DDC. To further provide clinical evidence as to how ubiquitin-like protein (Ubls) modification, gene transcript expression in Ufmylation and FATylation were investigated in human archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) liver biopsies and frozen liver sections from DDC re-fed mice were used. Real-time PCR analysis showed that all Ufmylation molecules (Ufm1, Uba5, Ufc1, Ufl1 and UfSPs) were significantly down regulated, both in DDC re-fed mice livers and patients’ livers where MDBs had formed, indicating that gene transcript changes were limited to MDB-forming livers where the protein quality control system was down regulated. FAT10 and subunits of the immunoproteasome (LMP2 and LMP7) were both up regulated as previously shown. An approximate 176- and 5-fold up regulation (respectively) of FAT10 were observed in the DDC re-fed mice liver and in the livers of human alcoholic hepatitis with MDBs present, implying that there was an important role played by this gene. The FAT10-specific E1 and E2 enzymes Uba6 and USE1, however, were found to be down regulated both in patients’ livers and in the liver of DDC re-fed mice. Interestedly, the down regulation of mRNA levels was proportionate to MDB abundance in the liver tissues. Our results show the first systematic demonstration of transcript regulation of Ufmylation and FATylation in the liver of patients who form MDBs, where protein quality control is down regulated. This was also shown in livers of DDC re-fed mice where MDBs had formed.
PMCID: PMC4127344  PMID: 24893112
Ubiquitin-like (Ubl) modifiers; Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs); Ufm1; FAT10; transcript regulation
7.  CMT subtypes and disease burden in patients enrolled in the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium natural history study: a cross-sectional analysis 
The international Inherited Neuropathy Consortium (INC) was created with the goal of obtaining much needed natural history data for patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. We analysed clinical and genetic data from patients in the INC to determine the distribution of CMT subtypes and the clinical impairment associated with them.
We analysed data from 1652 patients evaluated at 13 INC centres. The distribution of CMT subtypes and pathogenic genetic mutations were determined. The disease burden of all the mutations was assessed by the CMT Neuropathy Score (CMTNS) and CMT Examination Score (CMTES).
997 of the 1652 patients (60.4%) received a genetic diagnosis. The most common CMT subtypes were CMT1A/PMP22 duplication, CMT1X/GJB1 mutation, CMT2A/MFN2 mutation, CMT1B/MPZ mutation, and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsy/PMP22 deletion. These five subtypes of CMT accounted for 89.2% of all genetically confirmed mutations. Mean CMTNS for some but not all subtypes were similar to those previously reported.
Our findings confirm that large numbers of patients with a representative variety of CMT subtypes have been enrolled and that the frequency of achieving a molecular diagnosis and distribution of the CMT subtypes reflects those previously reported. Measures of severity are similar, though not identical, to results from smaller series. This study confirms that it is possible to assess patients in a uniform way between international centres, which is critical for the planned natural history study and future clinical trials. These data will provide a representative baseline for longitudinal studies of CMT.
Clinical trial registration
ID number NCT01193075.
PMCID: PMC4516002  PMID: 25430934
8.  Water-Soluble Silicon Quantum Dots with Quasi-Blue Emission 
In this study, water-soluble silicon quantum dots have quasi-blue emission at 390 nm by being capped with 1-vinylimidazole in resese micelles. As-obtained silicon quantum dots have a diameter of 2~5 nm and high crystallinity. The quasi-blue emission of the silicon quantum dots is likely attributed to the polarity of the capping ligands. Moreover, the silicon quantum dots are water-soluble and have photoluminescence nanosecond decay time, suggesting their potential application in biological field.
PMCID: PMC4512961  PMID: 26204998
Water-soluble; Quasi-blue emission; Silicon quantum dots
9.  Association of body mass index with disease severity and prognosis in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis 
The objective of this observational, multicenter study was to evaluate the association of body mass index (BMI) with disease severity and prognosis in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. A total of 339 patients (197 females, 142 males) diagnosed with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis by high-resolution computed tomography were classified into four groups: underweight (BMI<18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5≤BMI<25.0 kg/m2), overweight (25.0≤BMI<30.0 kg/m2), and obese (BMI≥30.0 kg/m2). Clinical variables expressing disease severity were recorded, and acute exacerbations, hospitalizations, and survival rates were estimated during the follow-up period. The mean BMI was 21.90 kg/m2. The underweight group comprised 28.61% of all patients. BMI was negatively correlated with acute exacerbations, C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, radiographic extent of bronchiectasis, and chronic colonization by P. aeruginosa and positively correlated with pulmonary function indices. BMI was a significant predictor of hospitalization risk independent of relevant covariates. The 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-year cumulative survival rates were 94%, 86%, 81%, and 73%, respectively. Survival rates decreased with decreasing BMI (χ2=35.16, P<0.001). The arterial carbon dioxide partial pressure, inspiratory capacity, age, BMI, and predicted percentage of forced expiratory volume in 1 s independently predicted survival in the Cox proportional hazard model. In conclusion, an underweight status was highly prevalent among patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Patients with a lower BMI were prone to developing more acute exacerbations, worse pulmonary function, amplified systemic inflammation, and chronic colonization by P. aeruginosa. BMI was a major determinant of hospitalization and death risks. BMI should be considered in the routine assessment of patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.
PMCID: PMC4541691  PMID: 26176309
Bronchiectasis; Body mass index; Prognosis; Survival; Underweight
10.  A novel decoy receptor fusion protein for FGF-2 potently inhibits tumour growth 
Li, D | Wei, X | Xie, K | Chen, K | Li, J | Fang, J
British Journal of Cancer  2014;111(1):68-77.
Antiangiogenic therapies have been proven effective in cancer treatment. Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) has been functionally implicated in tumour angiogenesis and is an important target of antiangiogenic therapies. The aim of this work was to develop a novel FGF-2 inhibitor for cancer therapy.
Eleven fusion proteins were developed by fusing various truncated extracellular regions of FGFR1 with the Fc region of IgG1. The optimal decoy receptor fusion protein with the highest binding affinity for FGF-2 was identified by an FGF-2-binding assay and its potential antitumour effects were investigated.
We obtained a soluble decoy receptor fusion protein with the highest binding activity for FGF-2, named FGF-Trap. Fibroblast growth factor-Trap significantly abolished FGF-2-stimulated activation of FGF signalling as demonstrated by its suppression of FGF-2-mediated phosphorylation of Erk1/2 and Akt, upregulation of cyclins D1 and E and the increase in mRNA levels of vascular endothelial growth factor R1 and R2 (VEGFR1 and VEGFR2). Furthermore, FGF-Trap effectively suppressed FGF-2-induced proliferation and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro. Most importantly, FGF-Trap potently inhibited tumour growth and angiogenesis in Caki-1 and A549 xenograft models in vivo.
Fibroblast growth factor-Trap potently inhibits tumour growth by blocking FGF-2 signalling pathways and could be an effective therapeutic agent for cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4090743  PMID: 24874473
angiogenesis; antiangiogenic therapy; FGF-2; decoy receptor fusion protein; cancer therapy
11.  Balancing polymer hydrophobicity for ligand presentation and siRNA delivery in dual function CXCR4 inhibiting polyplexes 
Biomaterials science  2015;3(7):1114-1123.
In the present study, a series of copolymers (PAMD-Ch) was synthesized by grafting polymeric Plerixafor/AMD3100 (PAMD) with different amounts of cholesterol and the effect of cholesterol modification on siRNA delivery was investigated. PAMD-Ch/siRNA polyplexes exhibited improved colloidal and enzymatic stability when compared with PAMD/siRNA polyplexes containing no cholesterol. PAMD-Ch with low (17 wt%) and medium (25 wt%) cholesterol content exhibited CXCR4 antagonism comparable to unmodified PAMD. Cholesterol modification increased cell uptake of siRNA polyplexes and significantly decreased sensitivity of siRNA transfection to the presence of serum. When used to deliver anticancer siRNA against polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1), polyplexes based on PAMD-Ch with 17 wt% cholesterol exhibited the highest cancer cell killing activity both in serum-free and serum-containing conditions. Overall, the results of this study validate cholesterol modified PAMD as dual-function delivery vectors suitable for efficient delivery of anticancer siRNA and simultaneous CXCR4 inhibition for combined anticancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC4486362  PMID: 26146552
polyplexes; siRNA; CXCR4; PLK-1; cancer
12.  Response to letter, ‘Immortal time bias in retrospective analysis' 
Blood Cancer Journal  2015;5(7):e327-.
PMCID: PMC4526781  PMID: 26230951
13.  High-Throughput Sequencing Identifies Novel and Conserved Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) microRNAs in Response to Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129002.
Seedlings of Cucumis sativus L. (cv. 'Zhongnong 16') were artificially inoculated with Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) at the three-true-leaf stage. Leaf and flower samples were collected at different time points post-inoculation (10, 30 and 50 d), and processed by high throughput sequencing analysis to identify candidate miRNA sequences. Bioinformatic analysis using screening criteria, and secondary structure prediction, indicated that 8 novel and 23 known miRNAs (including 15 miRNAs described for the first time in vivo) were produced by cucumber plants in response to CGMMV infection. Moreover, gene expression profiles (p-value <0.01) validated the expression of 3 of the novel miRNAs and 3 of the putative candidate miRNAs and identified a further 82 conserved miRNAs in CGMMV-infected cucumbers. Gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed that the predicted target genes of these 88 miRNAs, which were screened using the psRNATarget and miRanda algorithms, were involved in three functional categories: 2265 in molecular function, 1362 as cellular components and 276 in biological process. The subsequent Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis revealed that the predicted target genes were frequently involved in metabolic processes (166 pathways) and genetic information processes (40 pathways) and to a lesser degree the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites (12 pathways). These results could provide useful clues to help elucidate host-pathogen interactions in CGMMV and cucumber, as well as for the screening of resistance genes.
PMCID: PMC4468104  PMID: 26076360
14.  Tailoring the magnetic anisotropy of Py/Ni bilayer films using well aligned atomic steps on Cu(001) 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11055.
Tailoring the spin orientation at the atomic scale has been a key task in spintronics technology. While controlling the out-of-plane to in-plane spin orientation has been achieved by a precise control of the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at atomic layer thickness level, a design and control of the in-plane magnetic anisotropy has not yet been well developed. On well aligned atomic steps of a 6° vicinal Cu(001) surface with steps parallel to the [110] axis, we grow Py/Ni overlayer films epitaxially to permit a systematic exploration of the step-induced in-plane magnetic anisotropy as a function of both the Py and the Ni film thicknesses. We found that the atomic steps from the vicinal Cu(001) induce an in-plane uniaxial magnetic anisotropy that favors both Py and Ni magnetizations perpendicular to the steps, opposite to the behavior of Co on vicinal Cu(001). In addition, thickness-dependent study shows that the Ni films exhibit different magnetic anisotropy below and above ~6 ML Ni thickness.
PMCID: PMC4464147  PMID: 26067408
15.  Medically inoperable peripheral lung cancer treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy 
Lung cancer is the most frequent cause of cancer-related death in North America. There is wide variation between patients who are medically inoperable and those managed surgically. The use of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has narrowed the gap in survival rates between operative and non-operative management for those with early stage disease. This retrospective study reports outcomes for the treatment of peripheral non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) with SBRT from a single community practice.
Sixty-seven consecutive patients (pts) with inoperable, untreated peripheral lung tumors were treated from 2010 through 2012 and included in this study. Stereotactic targeting was facilitated by either spine or lung-based image guidance, either with or without fiducial marker tracking with a frameless robotic radiosurgery system. Peripheral tumors received a median biological effective dose (BED) of 105.6 Gy10 or in terms of a median physical dose, 48 Gy delivered over 4 daily fractions. Survival was measured using the Kaplan-Meier method to determine rates of local control, progression of disease and overall survival. The Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to study the effects of tumor size, stage, histology, patient age, tumor location (lobe), tracking method, and BED on the survival distributions.
The median follow-up for this cohort was 24.5 months (range: 2.4–50.3) with an overall (OS) 3-year survival of 62.4 % (95 % CI: 74.3-47.3). The median progression-free survival was 28.5 months (95 % CI: 15.8 months to not reached). Local control (LC), defined as a lack of FDG uptake on PET/CT or the absence of tumor growth was achieved in 60 patients (90.9 %) at the time of first follow-up (median 3 months, range: 1–6). Local control at one year for the entire cohort was 81.8 % (95 % CI, 67.3-90.3). The one-year OS probability among those who achieved local control at first follow-up was 86.2 % (95 % CI, 74.3-92.9) but no patients who did not achieve LC at first follow-up survived one year. Of the 60 pts that achieved initial LC, 16 have died. The rates of local control, progression-free survival and overall survival were not statistically different for patients treated using a fiducial target tracking system versus non-invasive guidance. (p = 0.44, p = 0.97 and p = 0.66, respectively). No National Cancer Institute (NCI) Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE-4) grade 3 or greater toxicity was observed.
SBRT is an effective treatment for medically inoperable NSCLC patients with peripherally located tumors. This therapy appears to be well tolerated with low toxicity, and patient outcomes when using non-invasive tumor tracking systems are not inferior to traditional fiducial-based techniques.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13014-015-0423-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4461990  PMID: 26018408
16.  Differentiation of the intracellular structure of slow- versus fast-twitch muscle fibers through evaluation of the dielectric properties of tissue 
Physics in medicine and biology  2014;59(10):2369-2380.
Slow-twitch (type 1) skeletal muscle fibers have markedly greater mitochondrial content than fast-twitch (type 2) fibers. Accordingly, we sought to determine whether the dielectric properties of these two fiber types differed, consistent with their distinct intracellular morphologies. The longitudinal and transverse dielectric spectrum of the ex vivo rat soleus (a predominantly type 1 muscle) and the superficial layers of rat gastrocnemius (predominantly type 2) (n = 15) were measured in the 1 kHz–10 MHz frequency range and modeled to a resistivity Cole–Cole function. Major differences were especially apparent in the dielectric spectrum in the 1 to 10 MHz range. Specifically, the gastrocnemius demonstrated a well-defined, higher center frequency than the soleus muscle, whereas the soleus muscle showed a greater difference in the modeled zero and infinite resistivities than the gastrocnemius. These findings are consistent with the fact that soleus tissue has larger and more numerous mitochondria than gastrocnemius. Evaluation of tissue at high frequency could provide a novel approach for assessing intracellular structure in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC4039363  PMID: 24743385
muscle; electrical impedance; dielectric properties; type 1-2 fibers; anisotropy
17.  Retinal artery lesions and long-term outcome in Chinese patients with acute coronary syndrome 
Eye  2015;29(5):643-648.
To investigate the relationship between staging of retinal artery lesions and the prognosis of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in a Chinese population.
A total of 436 Chinese patients with ACS underwent coronary angiography and the eyes fundus examinations. All the patients were divided into three groups: group 1, no retinal artery lesions (n=111); group 2, retinal artery lesions of
There was no significant differences of the baseline data among the three groups. After 3–6 years of follow-up, we found that patients of group 3 had more MACCE and death than those of the group 1 or group 2. Cox regression analysis found that factors related to the prognosis of ACS was staging of retinal artery lesions (P<0.05) in addition to traditional risk factors such as age, gender, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.
Staging of retinal artery lesions plays an important role in the long-term outcome of patients with ACS.
PMCID: PMC4429279  PMID: 25744444
Chen, P | Li, C | Li, X | Li, J | Chu, R | Wang, H
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(9):2327-2338.
Many epidemiological studies have investigated the association between folate intake, circulating folate level and risk of breast cancer; however, the findings were inconsistent between the studies.
We searched the PubMed and MEDLINE databases updated to January, 2014 and performed the systematic review and meta-analysis of the published epidemiological studies to assess the associations between folate intake level, circulating folate level and the overall risk of breast cancer.
In all, 16 eligible prospective studies with a total of 744 068 participants and 26 205 breast cancer patients and 26 case–control studies with a total of 16 826 cases and 21 820 controls that have evaluated the association between folate intake and breast cancer risk were identified. Pooled analysis of the prospective studies and case–control studies suggested a potential nonlinearity relationship for dietary folate intake and breast cancer risk. Prospective studies indicated a U-shaped relationship for the dietary folate intake and breast cancer risk. Women with daily dietary folate intake between 153 and 400 μg showed a significant reduced breast cancer risk compared with those <153 μg, but not for those >400 μg. The case–control studies also suggested a significantly negative correlation between the dietary folate intake level and the breast cancer risk. Increased dietary folate intake reduced breast cancer risk for women with higher alcohol intake level, but not for those with lower alcohol intake. No significant association between circulating folate level and breast cancer risk was found when the results of 8 identified studies with 5924 participants were pooled.
Our studies suggested that folate may have preventive effects against breast cancer risk, especially for those with higher alcohol consumption level; however, the dose and timing are critical and more studies are warranted to further elucidate the questions.
PMCID: PMC4007237  PMID: 24667649
breast cancer; folate; meta-analysis
British Journal of Cancer  2015;112(9):1575-1584.
Population-based information about cancer occurrence and survival are required to inform clinical practice and research; but for most lymphomas data are lacking.
Set within a socio-demographically representative UK population of nearly 4 million, lymphoma data (N=5796) are from an established patient cohort.
Incidence, survival (overall and relative) and prevalence estimates for >20 subtypes are presented. With few exceptions, males tended to be diagnosed at younger ages and have significantly (P<0.05) higher incidence rates. Differences were greatest at younger ages: the <15 year male/female rate ratio for all subtypes combined being 2.2 (95% CI 1.3–3.4). These gender differences impacted on prevalence; most subtype estimates being significantly (P<0.05) higher in males than females. Outcome varied widely by subtype; survival of patients with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma approached that of the general population, whereas less than a third of those with other B-cell (e.g., mantle cell) or T-cell (e.g., peripheral-T) lymphomas survived for ≥5 years. No males/female survival differences were detected.
Major strengths of our study include completeness of ascertainment, world-class diagnostics and generalisability. The marked variations demonstrated confirm the requirement for ‘real-world' data to inform aetiological hypotheses, health-care planning and the future monitoring of therapeutic changes.
PMCID: PMC4453686  PMID: 25867256
epidemiology; lymphoma; non-Hodgkin; Hodgkin; lymphoproliferative; cancer registration
Obesity is associated with changes in adiponectin and pro-inflammatory adipokines. Sodium intake can affect adipokine secretion suggesting a role in cardiovascular dysfunction. We tested if long-term dietary sodium restriction modifies the expression of adiponectin and ameliorates the pro-inflammatory profile of obese, diabetic
Db/db mice were randomized to high sodium (HS 1.6% Na+, n=6) or low sodium (LS 0.03% Na+, n=8) diet for 16 weeks and compared with lean, db/+ mice on HS diet (n=8). Insulin levels were 50% lower in the db/db mice on LS diet when compared with HS db/db (p <0.05). LS diet increased cardiac adiponectin mRNA levels in db/db mice by 5-fold when compared with db/db mice on HS diet and by 2-fold when compared with HS lean mice (both p < 0.01). LS diet increased adiponectin in adipose tissue compared with db/db mice on HS diet, achieving levels similar to those of lean mice. MCP-1, IL-6 and TNF-α expression were reduced more than 50% in adipose tissue of db/db mice on LS diet when compared with HS db/db mice (all p < 0.05), to levels observed in the HS lean mice. Further, LS db/db mice had significantly reduced circulating MCP-1 and IL-6 levels when compared with HS db/db mice (both p < 0.01).
In obese-diabetic mice, long-term LS diet increases adiponectin in heart and adipose tissue and reduces pro-inflammatory factors in adipose tissue and plasma. These additive mechanisms may contribute to the potential cardioprotective benefits of LS diet in obesity-related metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC4405158  PMID: 24418377
sodium intake; obesity; inflammation; adiponectin; diabetes; insulin resistance
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(8):2011-2020.
Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5), which is identified as a novel intestinal stem cell marker, is overexpressed in various tumours. In this study, we explore Lgr5 expression in gastric carcinoma and analyse its role in invasion, metastasis, and prognosis in carcinoma.
A combination of immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction were used to detect mRNA and protein expression levels of Lgr5 and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2). Small interfering RNA against Lgr5 was designed, synthesised, and transfected into AGS cells. The effects of Lgr5 siRNA on cell invasion were detected by transwell invasion chamber assay and wound healing assay.
Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 expression was significantly higher in gastric carcinomas than in normal mucosa. Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 expression positively correlated with the depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distance of metastasis, and MMP2 expression levels. Multivariate analysis showed that Lgr5 had an independent effect on survival, and that it positively correlated with MMP2. Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 siRNAs inhibited Lgr5 mRNA and protein expression. Transwell assays indicated that these siRNAs resulted in significantly fewer cells migrating through the polycarbonate membrane, and wound healing assay also indicated that siRNAs decreased the migration of cells. Inhibition of Lgr5 resulted in a significant decrease in MMP2 and β-catenin levels compared with those in controls.
Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 was correlated with invasion and metastasis. Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 inhibition could serve as a novel therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3992491  PMID: 24594994
gastric cancer; Lgr5; invasion; metastasis; prognosis
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(8):2131-2138.
Teratocarcinoma is a malignant male germ cell tumour, which contains stem cells and differentiated cancer tissues. DNMT3B has been shown to be highly expressed in human teratocarcinoma stem cells, and to mediate cytotoxicity of Aza-deoxycytidine (Aza-dC) in a pluripotent stem cell line NTERA2.
We have established DNMT3B or POU5F1 (hereafter referred to as OCT4) knockdown in teratocarcinoma stem cells N2102Ep and TERA1 and in the pluripotent NTERA2 by a doxycycline-inducible system, and tested the cytotoxicity induced by Aza-dC.
Silencing of DNMT3B led to apoptosis of human teratocarcinoma stem cells N2102Ep and TERA1. Further, we found that induction of apoptosis or differentiation in NTERA2 and human embryonic stem cells by Aza-dC requires DNMT3B. To test whether Aza-dC inhibits proliferation of differentiated teratocarcinoma cells, we depleted OCT4 expression in N2102Ep and TERA1 cells treated with Aza-dC. Treatment with Aza-dC reduced cell number of differentiated cells to a lesser extent than their undifferentiated parental stem cells. Moreover, in contrast to the stem cells, Aza-dC failed to induce apoptosis of differentiated cells.
Our finding suggests that DNMT3B acts as an antiapoptotic gene in teratocarcinoma stem cells, and mediates apoptosis and differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells induced by Aza-dC, and that Aza-dC specifically induces apoptosis of teratocarcinoma stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3992495  PMID: 24603304
Human teratocarcinoma stem cells; embryonic stem cells; nullipotent; pluripotent; DNMT3B
Dong, Z | Fu, S | Xu, X | Yang, Y | Du, L | Li, W | Kan, S | Li, Z | Zhang, X | Wang, L | Li, J | Liu, H | Qu, X | Wang, C
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(7):1801-1810.
Our previous study indicates that leptin enhances gastric cancer (GC) invasion. However, the exact effect of leptin on GC metastasis and its underlying mechanism remain unclear. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), a major molecule in stabilising cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix interactions, is overexpressed and has crucial roles in tumour metastasis.
Here, we investigated leptin and ICAM-1 expression in GC tissues. Furthermore, we characterised the influence of leptin on ICAM-1 expression in GC cells and elucidated the underlying mechanism.
Leptin and ICAM-1 were overexpressed in GC tissues, and a strong positive correlation was observed. They were also related with clinical stage or lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, leptin induced GC cell (AGS and MKN-45) migration by upregulating ICAM-1, and knockdown of ICAM-1 by small interference RNA (siRNA) blocked this process. Cell surface ICAM-1, as well as soluble ICAM-1 (sICAM-1), was also enhanced by leptin. Moreover, leptin increased ICAM-1 expression through Rho/ROCK pathway, which was attenuated by pharmacological inhibition of Rho (C3 transferase) or its downstream effector kinase Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) (Y-27632).
Our findings indicate that leptin enhances GC cell migration by increasing ICAM-1 through Rho/ROCK pathway, which might provide new insight into the significance of leptin in GC.
PMCID: PMC3974087  PMID: 24548863
gastric cancer; leptin; ICAM-1; Rho/ROCK; migration
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(7):1727-1732.
Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is an emerging imaging technique that affords non-invasive quantitative assessment and visualization of tissue mechanical properties in vivo.
In this study, MRE was used to quantify (kPa) the absolute value of the complex shear modulus |G*|, elasticity Gd and viscosity Gl of SW620 human colorectal cancer xenografts before and 24 h after treatment with either 200 mg kg−1 of the vascular disrupting agent ZD6126 (N-acetylcolchinol-O-phosphate) or vehicle control, and the data were compared with changes in water diffusivity measured by diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.
A heterogeneous distribution of |G*|, Gd and Gl was observed pre-treatment with an intertumoral coefficient of variation of 13% for |G*|. There were no significant changes in the vehicle-treated cohort. In contrast, ZD6126 induced a significant decrease in the tumour-averaged |G*| (P<0.01), Gd (P<0.01) and Gl (P<0.05), and this was associated with histologically confirmed central necrosis. This reduction in tumour viscoelasticity occurred at a time when no significant change in tumour apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was observed.
These data demonstrate that MRE can provide early imaging biomarkers for treatment-induced tumour necrosis.
PMCID: PMC3974089  PMID: 24569471
tumour viscoelasticity; magnetic resonance elastography; vascular targeting agents; response biomarker
British Journal of Cancer  2014;110(7):1908-1916.
Mammographic density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer but the lack of valid fully automated methods for quantifying it has precluded its use in clinical and screening settings. We compared the performance of a recently developed automated approach, based on the public domain ImageJ programme, to the well-established semi-automated Cumulus method.
We undertook a case-control study within the intervention arm of the Age Trial, in which ∼54 000 British women were offered annual mammography at ages 40–49 years. A total of 299 breast cancer cases diagnosed during follow-up and 422 matched (on screening centre, date of birth and dates of screenings) controls were included. Medio-lateral oblique (MLO) images taken closest to age 41 and at least one year before the index case's diagnosis were digitised for each participant. Cumulus readings were performed in the left MLO and ImageJ-based readings in both left and right MLOs. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine density–breast cancer associations.
The association between density readings taken from one single MLO and breast cancer risk was weaker for the ImageJ-based method than for Cumulus (age–body mass index-adjusted odds ratio (OR) per one s.d. increase in percent density (95% CI): 1.52 (1.24–1.86) and 1.61 (1.33–1.94), respectively). The ImageJ-based density–cancer association strengthened when the mean of left–right MLO readings was used: OR=1.61 (1.31–1.98).
The mean of left–right MLO readings yielded by the ImageJ-based method was as strong a predictor of risk as Cumulus readings from a single MLO image. The ImageJ-based method, using the mean of two measurements, is a valid automated alternative to Cumulus for measuring density in analogue films.
PMCID: PMC3974092  PMID: 24556624
mammographic density; breast density; breast cancer; premenopausal

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