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1.  Intestinal Colonization by Candida albicans Alters Inflammatory Responses in Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase-Deficient Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112472.
The commensal yeast Candida albicans is part of the human intestinal microflora and is considered a “pathobiont”, a resident microbe with pathogenic potential yet harmless under normal conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of C. albicans on inflammation of the intestinal tract and the role of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk). Btk is an enzyme that modulates downstream signaling of multiple receptors involved in innate and adaptive immunity, including the major anti-fungal receptor Dectin-1. Colitis was induced in wild type and Btk-/- mice by treatment with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) and the gastrointestinal tract of selected treatment groups were then colonized with C. albicans. Colonization by C. albicans neither dampened nor exacerbated inflammation in wild type mice, but colon length and spleen weight were improved in Btk-deficient mice colonized with C. albicans. Neutrophil infiltration was comparable between wild type and Btk-/- mice, but the knockout mice displayed severely reduced numbers of macrophages in the colon during both DSS and DSS/Candida treatment. Smaller numbers and reduced responsiveness of Btk-/- macrophages might partially explain the improved colon length of Btk-/- mice as a result of Candida colonization. Surprisingly, DSS/Candida-treated Btk-/- animals had higher levels of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines and levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine TGF-β were reduced compared to wild type. A clustering and correlation analysis showed that for wild type animals, spleen TGF-β and colon IL-10 and for Btk-/- spleen and colon levels of IL-17A best correlated with the inflammatory parameters. We conclude that in Btk-/- immunocompromised animals, colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by the commensal yeast C. albicans alters inflammatory symptoms associated with colitis.
PMCID: PMC4224491  PMID: 25379804
2.  A Functional Portrait of Med7 and the Mediator Complex in Candida albicans 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(11):e1004770.
Mediator is a multi-subunit protein complex that regulates gene expression in eukaryotes by integrating physiological and developmental signals and transmitting them to the general RNA polymerase II machinery. We examined, in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans, a set of conditional alleles of genes encoding Mediator subunits of the head, middle, and tail modules that were found to be essential in the related ascomycete Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Intriguingly, while the Med4, 8, 10, 11, 14, 17, 21 and 22 subunits were essential in both fungi, the structurally highly conserved Med7 subunit was apparently non-essential in C. albicans. While loss of CaMed7 did not lead to loss of viability under normal growth conditions, it dramatically influenced the pathogen's ability to grow in different carbon sources, to form hyphae and biofilms, and to colonize the gastrointestinal tracts of mice. We used epitope tagging and location profiling of the Med7 subunit to examine the distribution of the DNA sites bound by Mediator during growth in either the yeast or the hyphal form, two distinct morphologies characterized by different transcription profiles. We observed a core set of 200 genes bound by Med7 under both conditions; this core set is expanded moderately during yeast growth, but is expanded considerably during hyphal growth, supporting the idea that Mediator binding correlates with changes in transcriptional activity and that this binding is condition specific. Med7 bound not only in the promoter regions of active genes but also within coding regions and at the 3′ ends of genes. By combining genome-wide location profiling, expression analyses and phenotyping, we have identified different Med7p-influenced regulons including genes related to glycolysis and the Filamentous Growth Regulator family. In the absence of Med7, the ribosomal regulon is de-repressed, suggesting Med7 is involved in central aspects of growth control.
Author Summary
In this study, we have investigated Mediator function in the human fungal pathogen C. albicans. An initial screening of conditionally regulated Mediator subunits showed that the Med7 of C. albicans was not essential, in contrast to the situation noted for S. cerevisiae. While loss of CaMed7 did not lead to loss of viability under normal growth conditions, it dramatically influenced the pathogen's ability to grow in different carbon sources, to form hyphae and biofilms, and to colonize the gastrointestinal tracts of mice. We used location profiling to determine Mediator binding under yeast and hyphal morphologies characterized by different transcription profiles. We observed a core set of specific and common genes bound by Med7 under both conditions; this specific core set is expanded considerably during hyphal growth, supporting the idea that Mediator binding correlates with changes in transcriptional activity and that this binding is condition specific. Med7 bound not only in the promoter regions of active genes but also of inactive genes and within coding regions and at the 3′ ends of genes. By combining genome-wide location profiling, expression analyses and phenotyping, we have identified different Med7 regulons including genes related to glycolysis and the Filamentous Growth Regulator family.
PMCID: PMC4222720  PMID: 25375174
3.  Plant-Derived Decapeptide OSIP108 Interferes with Candida albicans Biofilm Formation without Affecting Cell Viability 
We previously identified a decapeptide from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, OSIP108, which is induced upon fungal pathogen infection. In this study, we demonstrated that OSIP108 interferes with biofilm formation of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans without affecting the viability or growth of C. albicans cells. OSIP108 displayed no cytotoxicity against various human cell lines. Furthermore, OSIP108 enhanced the activity of the antifungal agents amphotericin B and caspofungin in vitro and in vivo in a Caenorhabditis elegans-C. albicans biofilm infection model. These data point to the potential use of OSIP108 in combination therapy with conventional antifungal agents. In a first attempt to unravel its mode of action, we screened a library of 137 homozygous C. albicans mutants, affected in genes encoding cell wall proteins or transcription factors important for biofilm formation, for altered OSIP108 sensitivity. We identified 9 OSIP108-tolerant C. albicans mutants that were defective in either components important for cell wall integrity or the yeast-to-hypha transition. In line with these findings, we demonstrated that OSIP108 activates the C. albicans cell wall integrity pathway and that its antibiofilm activity can be blocked by compounds inhibiting the yeast-to-hypha transition. Furthermore, we found that OSIP108 is predominantly localized at the C. albicans cell surface. These data point to interference of OSIP108 with cell wall-related processes of C. albicans, resulting in impaired biofilm formation.
PMCID: PMC3993227  PMID: 24566179
4.  CD301b+ dermal dendritic cells drive T helper-2 cell mediated immunity 
Immunity  2013;39(4):10.1016/j.immuni.2013.08.029.
Unlike other types of T helper (Th) responses, whether the development of Th2 cells requires instruction from particular subset of dendritic cells (DCs) remains unclear. By using an in vivo depletion approach, we have shown that DCs expressing CD301b were required for the generation of Th2 cells after subcutaneous immunization with ovalbumin (OVA) along with papain or alum. CD301b+ DCs are distinct from epidermal or CD207+ dermal DCs (DDCs) and were responsible for transporting antigen injected subcutaenoulsy with Th2-type adjuvants. Transient depletion of CD301b+ DCs resulted in less effective accumulation and decreased expression of CD69 by polyclonal CD4+ T cells in the lymph node. Moreover, despite intact cell division and interferon-γ production, CD301b+ DC depletion led to blunted interleukin-4 production by OVA-specific OT-II transgenic CD4+ T cells and significantly impaired Th2 cell development upon infection with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. These results reveal CD301b+ DDCs as the key mediatorsof Th2 immunity.
PMCID: PMC3819035  PMID: 24076051
Th2; dendritic cell subset; T cell priming
5.  Preventive effects of Chlorella on skeletal muscle atrophy in muscle-specific mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 activity-deficient mice 
Oxidative stress is involved in age-related muscle atrophy, such as sarcopenia. Since Chlorella, a unicellular green alga, contains various antioxidant substances, we used a mouse model of enhanced oxidative stress to investigate whether Chlorella could prevent muscle atrophy.
Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is an anti-oxidative enzyme that detoxifies reactive aldehydes derived from lipid peroxides such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE). We therefore used transgenic mice expressing a dominant-negative form of ALDH2 (ALDH2*2 Tg mice) to selectively decrease ALDH2 activity in the muscles. To evaluate the effect of Chlorella, the mice were fed a Chlorella-supplemented diet (CSD) for 6 months.
ALDH2*2 Tg mice exhibited small body size, muscle atrophy, decreased fat content, osteopenia, and kyphosis, accompanied by increased muscular 4-HNE levels. The CSD helped in recovery of body weight, enhanced oxidative stress, and increased levels of a muscle impairment marker, creatine phosphokinase (CPK) induced by ALDH2*2. Furthermore, histological and histochemical analyses revealed that the consumption of the CSD improved skeletal muscle atrophy and the activity of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase.
This study suggests that long-term consumption of Chlorella has the potential to prevent age-related muscle atrophy.
PMCID: PMC4200191  PMID: 25305781
Muscle atrophy; Chlorella; Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2; Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase; Oxidative stress
6.  Clinicopathologic Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of Esophageal Basaloid Squamous Carcinoma: Experience at a Single Institution 
International Surgery  2013;98(4):450-454.
This retrospective study investigated the clinicopathologic characteristics and clinical outcomes of esophageal basaloid squamous carcinoma (BSC). Among 190 patients with esophageal carcinoma treated surgically between 1998 and 2011, we identified 9 (4.7%) with BSC. All of the patients were male, with a median age of 65 years. The frequencies of venous invasion, lymphatic invasion, and lymph node metastasis were 56%, 89%, and 67%, respectively. A total of 2 patients were pathologic stage 1, 5 were stage 2, and 2 were stage 3. Tumor recurrence was observed in 56% of the patients. The 5-year survival rate for patients with esophageal BSC was 40%, which was compatible with the figure of 53.8% for control patients (n = 18) with typical squamous cell carcinoma matched for sex, age, tumor location, and pathologic stage (P = 0.45). Although esophageal BSC shows aggressive lymph-vascular invasion and has a high likelihood of recurrence, its prognosis seems identical to that of typical squamous cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3829080  PMID: 24229040
Basaloid squamous carcinoma; Squamous cell carcinoma; Pathology; Esophagus; Prognosis
7.  Temporary cognitive impairment related to administration of newly developed anticholinergic medicines for overactive bladder: two case reports 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):672.
Cognitive impairment is one of the side effects of using anticholinergic medicines for overactive bladder; however, its incidence has not been fully reported. We experienced two elderly Japanese patients with overactive bladder who had temporary cognitive impairment caused by anticholinergic medicines.
Case presentation
The first case was a 79-year-old female patient to whom imidafenacin (0.2 mg) was administered daily to control her frequent micturition and urgency. She was taking the following medicines: etizolam, triazolam, captopril, bisoprolol, and amlodipine besylate. Her Hasegawa dementia rating scale-revised was impaired from 26/30 to 17/30 and recovered to 25/30 after the imidafenacin treatment was stopped. The second case was an 82-year-old female patient to whom imidafenacin (0.2 mg) was administered daily for frequent micturition and urgency. She was taking the following medicines: losartan potassium and clenbuterol. Her Hasegawa dementia rating scale-revised decreased from 28/30 to 19/30 and recovered to 24/30 after the imidafenacin treatment was stopped. In our patients who were taking multiple medicines, there is a possibility that medicines other than anticholinergics may have caused cognitive impairment. We need to keep in mind that many elderly people take multiple medicines because of comorbidity.
Anticholinergic medicines can cause cognitive impairment in elderly people, and attention should be paid to cognition when elderly overactive bladder patients are treated with anticholinergic medicines.
PMCID: PMC4180548  PMID: 25252702
Overactive bladder; Anticholinergic medicine; Cognition
8.  Comparison of Three Different Minimally Invasive Procedures of Distal Gastrectomy for Nonoverweight Patients with T1N0-1 Gastric Cancer 
International Surgery  2013;98(3):259-265.
Laparoscopic-assisted distal gastrectomy has recently come to be a standard procedure for the treatment of early gastric cancer1–5 in select patients. The minimal invasiveness associated with laparoscopic procedures for the resection of gastrointestinal cancer has been repeatedly explained in part by the short incision that is required.6–11 We used two different approaches to perform distal gastrectomies for the resection of gastric cancer as minimally invasive alternatives to a standard laparoscopic approach prior to our surgical team's complete mastery of the skills required for laparoscopic oncological surgery for gastric cancer.9,12 If the minimal invasiveness associated with laparoscopic-assisted gastrectomy can be explained by the small incision, a gastrectomy via a small incision without the use of a pneumoperitoneum may provide a similar outcome in patients. However, to our knowledge, such a comparison has not been previously made. We compared the minimal invasiveness of three different approaches (minilaparotomy, minilaparotomy approach with laparoscopic assistance, and standard laparoscopic-assisted approach) to performing a distal gastrectomy for T1N0-1 gastric cancer in nonoverweight patients (body mass index, ≤25 kg/m2) performed within a limited study period.
PMCID: PMC3756850  PMID: 23971781
Laparoscopy; Minilaparotomy; Gastrectomy; Gastric cancer
9.  TRP Channels Involved in Spontaneous l-Glutamate Release Enhancement in the Adult Rat Spinal Substantia Gelatinosa 
Cells  2014;3(2):331-362.
The spinal substantia gelatinosa (SG) plays a pivotal role in modulating nociceptive transmission through dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons from the periphery. TRP channels such as TRPV1 and TRPA1 channels expressed in the SG are involved in the regulation of the nociceptive transmission. On the other hand, the TRP channels located in the peripheral terminals of the DRG neurons are activated by nociceptive stimuli given to the periphery and also by plant-derived chemicals, which generates a membrane depolarization. The chemicals also activate the TRP channels in the SG. In this review, we introduce how synaptic transmissions in the SG neurons are affected by various plant-derived chemicals and suggest that the peripheral and central TRP channels may differ in property from each other.
PMCID: PMC4092856  PMID: 24785347
TRPV1 channel; TRPA1 channel; excitatory transmission; inhibitory transmission; spinal dorsal horn; pain
10.  Lack of Dopaminergic Inputs Elongates the Primary Cilia of Striatal Neurons 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97918.
In the rodent brain, certain G protein-coupled receptors and adenylyl cyclase type 3 are known to localize to the neuronal primary cilium, a primitive sensory organelle protruding singly from almost all neurons. A recent chemical screening study demonstrated that many compounds targeting dopamine receptors regulate the assembly of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii flagella, structures which are analogous to vertebrate cilia. Here we investigated the effects of dopaminergic inputs loss on the architecture of neuronal primary cilia in the rodent striatum, a brain region that receives major dopaminergic projections from the midbrain. We first analyzed the lengths of neuronal cilia in the dorsolateral striatum of hemi-parkinsonian rats with unilateral lesions of the nigrostriatal dopamine pathway. In these rats, the striatal neuronal cilia were significantly longer on the lesioned side than on the non-lesioned side. In mice, the repeated injection of reserpine, a dopamine-depleting agent, elongated neuronal cilia in the striatum. The combined administration of agonists for dopamine receptor type 2 (D2) with reserpine attenuated the elongation of striatal neuronal cilia. Repeated treatment with an antagonist of D2, but not of dopamine receptor type 1 (D1), elongated the striatal neuronal cilia. In addition, D2-null mice displayed longer neuronal cilia in the striatum compared to wild-type controls. Reserpine treatment elongated the striatal neuronal cilia in D1-null mice but not in D2-null mice. Repeated treatment with a D2 agonist suppressed the elongation of striatal neuronal cilia on the lesioned side of hemi-parkinsonian rats. These results suggest that the elongation of striatal neuronal cilia following the lack of dopaminergic inputs is attributable to the absence of dopaminergic transmission via D2 receptors. Our results provide the first evidence that the length of neuronal cilia can be modified by the lack of a neurotransmitter's input.
PMCID: PMC4022734  PMID: 24830745
11.  Prognostic Factors for Stage IV Gastric Cancer 
International Surgery  2013;98(2):181-187.
PMCID: PMC3723175  PMID: 23701157
12.  Identification of Risk Factors for Recurrence in High-Risk Stage II Colon Cancer 
International Surgery  2013;98(2):114-121.
To identify risk factors for recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer, Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was performed in 194 patients with stage II colon cancer who underwent curative surgery between April 1997 and December 2008. Thirteen clinical and pathologic factors, including use of fluoropyrimidine-based adjuvant chemotherapy in 113 of the patients (58.2%), were assessed. By multivariate analysis, only obstruction, perforation, and T4-level invasion were identified as independent risk factors affecting disease-free survival (DFS) (P < 0.01). The 5-year DFS rate was 70.6% in patients with one or more risk factors (n = 68) and 96.0% in patients with no risk factors (n = 126) (P < 0.01). These results suggest that obstruction, perforation, and T4-level invasion are suitable candidates for prediction of tumor recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer. The oxaliplatin-based adjuvant chemotherapy, which has been reported to be effective in stage III colon cancer patients, may improve the prognosis in high-risk stage II colon cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3723177  PMID: 23701145
Colon cancer; High risk factor; Stage II
13.  Mathematical Modeling of Calcium Waves Induced by Mechanical Stimulation in Keratinocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92650.
Recent studies have shown that the behavior of calcium in the epidermis is closely related to the conditions of the skin, especially the differentiation of the epidermal keratinocytes and the permeability barrier function, and therefore a correct understanding of the calcium dynamics is important in explaining epidermal homeostasis. Here we report on experimental observations of in vitro calcium waves in keratinocytes induced by mechanical stimulation, and present a mathematical model that can describe the experimentally observed wave behavior that includes finite-range wave propagation and a ring-shaped pattern. A mechanism of the ring formation hypothesized by our model may be related to similar calcium propagation patterns observed during the wound healing process in the epidermis. We discuss a possible extension of our model that may serve as a tool for investigating the mechanisms of various skin diseases.
PMCID: PMC3963930  PMID: 24663805
14.  Southward spreading of the Fukushima-derived radiocesium across the Kuroshio Extension in the North Pacific 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4276.
The accident of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 released a large amount of radiocesium into the North Pacific Ocean. Vertical distributions of Fukushima-derived radiocesium were measured at stations along the 149°E meridian in the western North Pacific during the winter of 2012. In the subtropical region, to the south of the Kuroshio Extension, we found a subsurface radiocesium maximum at a depth of about 300 m. It is concluded that atmospheric-deposited radiocesium south of the Kuroshio Extension just after the accident had been transported not only eastward along with surface currents but also southward due to formation/subduction of subtropical mode waters within about 10 months after the accident. The total amount of decay-corrected 134Cs in the mode water was an estimated about 6 PBq corresponding to 10–60% of the total inventory of Fukushima-derived 134Cs in the North Pacific Ocean.
PMCID: PMC3940975  PMID: 24589762
15.  Effects of Various Antiepileptics Used to Alleviate Neuropathic Pain on Compound Action Potential in Frog Sciatic Nerves: Comparison with Those of Local Anesthetics 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:540238.
Antiepileptics used for treating neuropathic pain have various actions including voltage-gated Na+ and Ca2+ channels, glutamate-receptor inhibition, and GABAA-receptor activation, while local anesthetics are also used to alleviate the pain. It has not been fully examined yet how nerve conduction inhibitions by local anesthetics differ in extent from those by antiepileptics. Fast-conducting compound action potentials (CAPs) were recorded from frog sciatic nerve fibers by using the air-gap method. Antiepileptics (lamotrigine and carbamazepine) concentration dependently reduced the peak amplitude of the CAP (IC50 = 0.44 and 0.50 mM, resp.). Carbamazepine analog oxcarbazepine exhibited an inhibition smaller than that of carbamazepine. Antiepileptic phenytoin (0.1 mM) reduced CAP amplitude by 15%. On the other hand, other antiepileptics (gabapentin, sodium valproate, and topiramate) at 10 mM had no effect on CAPs. The CAPs were inhibited by local anesthetic levobupivacaine (IC50 = 0.23 mM). These results indicate that there is a difference in the extent of nerve conduction inhibition among antiepileptics and that some antiepileptics inhibit nerve conduction with an efficacy similar to that of levobupivacaine or to those of other local anesthetics (lidocaine, ropivacaine, and cocaine) as reported previously. This may serve to know a contribution of nerve conduction inhibition in the antinociception by antiepileptics.
PMCID: PMC3953671  PMID: 24707490
16.  DISC1 (Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1) Regulates Differentiation of Oligodendrocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88506.
Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a gene disrupted by a translocation, t(1;11) (q42.1;q14.3), that segregates with major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, recurrent major depression and bipolar affective disorder, in a Scottish family. Here we report that mammalian DISC1 endogenously expressed in oligodendroglial lineage cells negatively regulates differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells into oligodendrocytes. DISC1 expression was detected in oligodendrocytes of the mouse corpus callosum at P14 and P70. DISC1 mRNA was expressed in primary cultured rat cortical oligodendrocyte precursor cells and decreased when oligodendrocyte precursor cells were induced to differentiate by PDGF deprivation. Immunocytochemical analysis showed that overexpressed DISC1 was localized in the cell bodies and processes of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and oligodendrocytes. We show that expression of the myelin related markers, CNPase and MBP, as well as the number of cells with a matured oligodendrocyte morphology, were decreased following full length DISC1 overexpression. Conversely, both expression of CNPase and the number of oligodendrocytes with a mature morphology were increased following knockdown of endogenous DISC1 by RNA interference. Overexpression of a truncated form of DISC1 also resulted in an increase in expression of myelin related proteins and the number of mature oligodendrocytes, potentially acting via a dominant negative mechanism. We also identified involvement of Sox10 and Nkx2.2 in the DISC1 regulatory pathway of oligodendrocyte differentiation, both well-known transcription factors involved in the regulation of myelin genes.
PMCID: PMC3917910  PMID: 24516667
17.  The Modified Glasgow Prognostic Score as a Predictor of Survival After Hepatectomy for Colorectal Liver Metastases 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2014;21(5):1711-1718.
The inflammation-based Glasgow prognostic score (GPS) has been demonstrated to be prognostic for various tumors. We investigated the value of the modified GPS (mGPS) for the prognosis of patients undergoing curative resection for colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).
A total of 343 patients were enrolled onto this study. The mGPS was calculated as follows: mGPS-0, C-reactive protein (CRP) ≤10 mg/L; mGPS-1, CRP >10 mg/L and albumin ≥35 g/L; and mGPS-2, CRP >10 mg/L and albumin <35 g/L. Prognostic significance was retrospectively analyzed by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Of the 343 patients, 295 (86.0 %) were assigned to mGPS-0, 33 (9.6 %) to mGPS-1, and 15 (4.4 %) to mGPS-2. The median disease-free survival of patients with mGPS-0, -1, and -2 was 18.3, 15.5, and 5.2 months, respectively. The median cancer-specific survival (CSS) of patients with mGPS-0, -1, and -2 was 89.5, 62.2, and 25.8 months, respectively. The CSS of patients with mGPS-0 was significantly longer than that of patients with mGPS-2. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant association between cancer-related postoperative mortality and mGPS and carcinoembryonic antigen level.
The preoperative mGPS is a useful prognostic factor for postoperative survival in patients undergoing curative resection for CRLM.
PMCID: PMC3975087  PMID: 24452408
18.  A putative relay circuit providing low-threshold mechanoreceptive input to lamina I projection neurons via vertical cells in lamina II of the rat dorsal horn 
Molecular Pain  2014;10:3.
Lamina I projection neurons respond to painful stimuli, and some are also activated by touch or hair movement. Neuropathic pain resulting from peripheral nerve damage is often associated with tactile allodynia (touch-evoked pain), and this may result from increased responsiveness of lamina I projection neurons to non-noxious mechanical stimuli. It is thought that polysynaptic pathways involving excitatory interneurons can transmit tactile inputs to lamina I projection neurons, but that these are normally suppressed by inhibitory interneurons. Vertical cells in lamina II provide a potential route through which tactile stimuli can activate lamina I projection neurons, since their dendrites extend into the region where tactile afferents terminate, while their axons can innervate the projection cells. The aim of this study was to determine whether vertical cell dendrites were contacted by the central terminals of low-threshold mechanoreceptive primary afferents.
We initially demonstrated contacts between dendritic spines of vertical cells that had been recorded in spinal cord slices and axonal boutons containing the vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1), which is expressed by myelinated low-threshold mechanoreceptive afferents. To confirm that the VGLUT1 boutons included primary afferents, we then examined vertical cells recorded in rats that had received injections of cholera toxin B subunit (CTb) into the sciatic nerve. We found that over half of the VGLUT1 boutons contacting the vertical cells were CTb-immunoreactive, indicating that they were of primary afferent origin.
These results show that vertical cell dendritic spines are frequently contacted by the central terminals of myelinated low-threshold mechanoreceptive afferents. Since dendritic spines are associated with excitatory synapses, it is likely that most of these contacts were synaptic. Vertical cells in lamina II are therefore a potential route through which tactile afferents can activate lamina I projection neurons, and this pathway could play a role in tactile allodynia.
PMCID: PMC3897975  PMID: 24433581
19.  Laterality of cervical disc herniation 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(1):178-182.
Cervical disc herniation (CDH) is found more frequently at the lower cervical spine than at the upper or middle level. However, there is scarcity of data about the laterality of CDH. The aim of this study is to detect the laterality of CDH.
We retrospectively evaluated preoperative computed tomography myelograms and magnetic resonance images of 75 cases of CDH who underwent single level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C4–5, C5–6, or C6–7 levels from 2008 to 2010 in our institute. Statistical analyses were performed using the Chi-square test.
Eleven cases were found at C4–5 level, 42 cases at C5–6 level, and 22 cases at C6–7 level. At C4–5 level, CDH was recognized at the right side in 2 cases, at the left side in 2 cases, and at the center in 7 cases. At C5–6 level, CDH was found at the right side in 20 cases and at the left side in 22 cases. At C6–7 level, CDH was found at the right side in 3 cases and at the left side in 19 cases with significantly high frequency of left-sided CDH (p < 0.025).
In this study, it was revealed that the left-sided CDH was more frequent than the right-sided CDH at C6–7 level.
PMCID: PMC3540298  PMID: 23149494
Cervical disc herniation; C6–7 level; Handedness; Laterality
20.  An MDR1 promoter allele with higher promoter activity is common in clinically isolated strains of Candida albicans 
Molecular genetics and genomics : MGG  2011;286(0):10.1007/s00438-011-0650-z.
In the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans, up-regulation of MDR1, encoding an efflux transporter, leads to increased resistance to the antifungal drug fluconazole. Antifungal resistance has been linked to several types of genetic change in C. albicans, including changes in genome structure, genetic alteration of the drug target, and overexpression of transporters. High-level over-expression of MDR1 is commonly mediated by mutation in a trans-acting factor, Mrr1p. This report describes a second mechanism that contributes to up-regulation of MDR1 expression. By analyzing the sequence of the MDR1 promoter region in fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible strains, we identified sequence polymorphisms that defined two linkage groups, corresponding to the two alleles in the diploid genome. One of the alleles conferred higher MDR1 expression compared with the other allele. Strains in which both alleles were of the higher activity type were common in collections of clinically isolated strains while strains carrying only the less active allele were rare. As increased expression of MDR1 confers higher resistance to drugs, strains with the more active MDR1 promoter allele may grow or survive longer when exposed to drugs or other selective pressures, providing greater opportunity for mutations that confer high-level drug resistance to arise. Through this mechanism, higher activity alleles of the MDR1 promoter could promote the development of drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC3874411  PMID: 21972105
Candida albicans; Drug resistance; MDR1; Fluconazole; Polymorphism; Promoter
21.  Dietary fructose enhances the incidence of precancerous hepatocytes induced by administration of diethylnitrosamine in rat 
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the association between a high-fructose diet and HCC is not fully understood. In this study, we investigated whether a high-fructose diet affects hepatocarcinogenesis induced by administration of diethylnitrosamine (DEN).
Seven-week-old male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed standard chow (controls), a high-fat diet (54% fat), or a high-fructose diet (66% fructose) for 8 weeks. All rats were given DEN at 50 μg/L in drinking water during the same period. Precancerous hepatocytes were detected by immunostaining of the placental form of glutathione-S-transferase (GST-P). The number of GST-P-positive hepatocytes was assessed in liver specimens.
Serum levels of total cholesterol were similar among the three groups, but serum triglyceride, fasting blood glucose, and insulin levels were higher in the high-fructose group compared to the high-fat group. In contrast, hepatic steatosis was more severe in the high-fat group compared with the high-fructose and control groups, but the incidence of GST-P-positive specimens was significantly higher in the high-fructose group compared to the other two groups. The average number of GST-P-positive hepatocytes in GST-P positive specimens in the high-fructose group was also higher than those in the other two groups. This high prevalence of GST-P-positive hepatocytes was accompanied by higher levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine in serum and liver tissue.
These results indicate that dietary fructose, rather than dietary fat, increases the incidence of precancerous hepatocytes induced by administration of DEN via insulin resistance and oxidative stress in rat. Thus, excessive fructose intake may be a potential risk factor for hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4029300  PMID: 24321741
Diethylnitrosamine; Fructose; Hepatocarcinogenesis; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Placental form of glutathione-S-transferase
22.  Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules as surrogate markers for EGFR inhibitor sensitivity in human lung adenocarcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(10):1745-1753.
Lung adenocarcinoma (LADCA) patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations are in general associated with relatively high clinical response rate to EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) but not all responded to TKI. It has therefore become important to identify the additional surrogate markers regarding EGFR-TKI sensitivity.
We first examined the effects of EGFR-TKIs, gefitinib and erlotinib, upon cell proliferation of lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. We then evaluated the gene profiles related to EGFR-TKI sensitivity using a microarray analysis. Results of microarray analysis led us to focus on carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule (CEACAM) family, CEACAM 3, 5, 6, 7, and 19, as potential further surrogate markers of EGFR-TKI sensitivity. We then examined the correlation between the status of CEACAM 3, 5, 6, 7, and 19 immunoreactivity in LADCA and clinicopathological parameters of individual cases.
In the cases with EGFR mutations, the status of all CEACAMs examined was significantly higher than that in EGFR wild-type patients, but there were no significant differences in the status of CEACAMs between TKI responder and nonresponder among 22 patients who received gefitinib therapy. However, among 115 EGFR mutation-negative LADCA patients, both CEACAM6 and CEACAM3 were significantly associated with adverse clinical outcome (CEACAM6) and better clinical outcome (CEACAM3).
CEACAMs examined in this study could be related to the presence of EGFR mutation in adenocarcinoma cells but not represent the effective surrogate marker of EGFR-TKI in LADCA patients. However, immunohistochemical evaluation of CEACAM3/6 in LADCA patients could provide important information on their clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3493859  PMID: 23099808
carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule; lung adenocarcinoma; epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); EGFR inhibitor; immunohistochemistry
The Journal of surgical research  2012;178(1):280-287.
This study examines the effects of types of liver resection on the growth of liver and lung metastasis.
Materials and Methods
Experimental liver metastases were established by spleen injection of the Colon 26 murine adenocarcinoma cell line expressing GFP into transgenic nude mice expressing RFP. Experimental lung metastases were established by tail vein injection with Colon 26-GFP. Three days after cell injection, groups of mice underwent liver resection (35%+35% [repeated minor resection] vs. 70% [major resection]). Metastatic tumor growth was measured by color-coded fluorescence imaging of the GFP-expressing cancer cells and RFP-expressing stroma.
Although major and repeated minor resection removed the same volume of liver parenchyma, the two procedures had very different effects on metastatic tumor growth: major resection, stimulated liver and lung metastatic growth as well as recruitment of host-derived stroma compared to repeated minor resection. Repeated minor resection did not stimulate metastasis or stromal recruitment. There was no significant difference in liver regeneration between the two groups. Host-derived stroma density, which is stimulated by major resection compared to repeated minor resection, may stimulate growth in the liver-metastatic tumor. TGF-β is also preferentially stimulated by major resection and may play a role in stroma and metastasis stimulation.
The results of this study indicate that when liver resection is necessary, repeated minor liver resection is superior to major liver resection, since major resection, in contrast to repeated minor resection, stimulates metastasis, which should be taken into consideration in clinical situations indicating liver resection.
PMCID: PMC3396724  PMID: 22487397
Nude mice; liver resection; lung metastasis; liver metastasis; stroma; green fluorescent protein; red fluorescent protein; color-coded imaging
24.  Calmodulin Binding to Dfi1p Promotes Invasiveness of Candida albicans 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76239.
Candida albicans, a dimorphic fungus, undergoes hyphal development in response to many different environmental cues, including growth in contact with a semi-solid matrix. C. albicans forms hyphae that invade agar when cells are embedded in or grown on the surface of agar, and the integral membrane protein Dfi1p is required for this activity. In addition, Dfi1p is required for full activation of mitogen activated protein kinase Cek1p during growth on agar. In this study, we identified a putative calmodulin binding motif in the C-terminal tail of Dfi1p. This region of Dfi1p bound to calmodulin in vitro, and mutations that affected this region affected both calmodulin binding in vitro and invasive filamentation when incorporated into the full length Dfi1p protein. Moreover, increasing intracellular calcium levels led to calcium-dependent, Dfi1p-dependent Cek1p activation. We propose that conformational changes in Dfi1p in response to environmental conditions encountered during growth allow the protein to bind calmodulin and initiate a signaling cascade that activates Cek1p.
PMCID: PMC3796530  PMID: 24155896
25.  Septic pulmonary embolism originated from subcutaneous abscess after living donor liver transplantation: a pitfall of postoperative management 
The use of immunosuppressants after liver transplantation (LT) is associated with postoperative complications, including infections. A 49-year-old male underwent living-donor (LD) LT because of primary sclerosing cholangitis. He was treated with tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and steroids as immunosuppressants, discharged on postoperative day (POD) 40, and re-admitted because of severe acute cellular rejection on POD 48. Three courses of steroid pulse therapy were performed, and continuous peripheral intravenous drip infusion therapy via the left forearm was necessary for 20 days because of appetite loss. The patient was discharged on POD 83, but re-admitted on POD 87 with pyrexia. A subcutaneous abscess was present at a puncture wound on the left forearm formed by an intravenous drip during the last hospital stay. Furthermore, computed tomography showed five pieces of cavitary or wedge-shaped nodules in the bilateral lung. Because sputum revealed the presence of Gram-positive coccus, and subcutaneous abscess and blood cultures revealed Staphylococcus aureus, the pathogenesis was septic pulmonary embolism (SPE) secondary to S. aureus septicemia originating from a subcutaneous abscess formed by an intravenous drip. The patient was treated with drainage of the subcutaneous abscess and antibiotic therapy, and recovered immediately. Although there have been few reports of SPE after LDLT, SPE is fatal in up to 13.3 % of patients. Early diagnosis, drainage of the infectious source, and appropriate use of antimicrobial therapy should be necessary to overcome SPE. Furthermore, the identical intravenous catheters should be removed whenever possible to avoid infectious complications including SPE for patients who receive steroid pulse therapy after LDLT.
PMCID: PMC3825539  PMID: 24273612
Septic pulmonary embolism; Living donor liver transplantation; Steroid pulse therapy

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