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1.  Development of a general method for detection and quantification of the P35S promoter based on assessment of existing methods 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7358.
The Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter (P35S) is a commonly used target for detection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are currently 24 reported detection methods, targeting different regions of the P35S promoter. Initial assessment revealed that due to the absence of primer binding sites in the P35S sequence, 19 of the 24 reported methods failed to detect P35S in MON88913 cotton, and the other two methods could only be applied to certain GMOs. The rest three reported methods were not suitable for measurement of P35S in some testing events, because SNPs in binding sites of the primer/probe would result in abnormal amplification plots and poor linear regression parameters. In this study, we discovered a conserved region in the P35S sequence through sequencing of P35S promoters from multiple transgenic events, and developed new qualitative and quantitative detection systems targeting this conserved region. The qualitative PCR could detect the P35S promoter in 23 unique GMO events with high specificity and sensitivity. The quantitative method was suitable for measurement of P35S promoter, exhibiting good agreement between the amount of template and Ct values for each testing event. This study provides a general P35S screening method, with greater coverage than existing methods.
PMCID: PMC4258656  PMID: 25483893
2.  Human Hepatic Progenitor Cells Express Hematopoietic Cell Markers CD45 and CD109 
Objective: To clarify the precise characteristics of human hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) for future cytotherapy in liver diseases.
Methods: Hepatic progenitor-like cells were isolated and cultured from the livers of patients who had undergone partial hepatectomy for various pathologies but displayed no sign of hepatic dysfunction. These cells were characterized by transcriptomic profiling, quantitative real-time PCR and immunocyto/histochemistry.
Results:Cultured HPCs contained polygonal, high nucleus/cytoplasm ratio and exhibited a global gene expression profile similar (67.8%) to that of primary hepatocytes. Among the genes with more than 20-fold higher expression in HPCs were a progenitor marker (CD90), a pentraxin-related gene (PTX3), collagen proteins (COL5A2, COL1A1 and COL4A2), cytokines (EGF and PDGFD), metabolic enzymes (CYBRD1, BCAT1, TIMP2 and PAM), a secreted protein (SPARC) and an endothelial protein C receptor (PROCR). Moreover, eight markers (ALB, AFP, CK8, CK18, CK19, CD90, CD117 and Oval-6) previously described as HPC markers were validated by qRT-PCR and/or immunocyto/histochemistry. Interestingly, human HPCs were also positive for the hematopoietic cell markers CD45 and CD109. Finally, we characterized the localization of HPCs in the canals of Hering and periportal areas with six previously described markers (Oval-6, CK8, CK18, CK19, CD90 and CD117) and two potential markers (CD45 and CD109).
Conclusion: The human HPCs are highly similar to primary hepatocytes in their transcriptional profiles. The CD45 and CD109 markers could potentially be utilized to identify and isolate HPCs for further cytotherapy of liver diseases.
PMCID: PMC3880993  PMID: 24396288
Human hepatic progenitor cell; Immunocytochemistry; Transcriptional profile
3.  Effects of Neurolytic Celiac Plexus Block on Liver Regeneration in Rats with Partial Hepatectomy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73101.
Liver regeneration is the basic physiological process after partial hepatectomy (PH), and is important for the functional rehabilitation of the liver after acute hepatic injury. This study was designed to explore the effects of neurolytic celiac plexus block (NCPB) on liver regeneration after PH. We established a model of PH in rats, assessing hepatic blood flow, liver function, and serum CRP, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 concentrations of the residuary liver after PH. Additionally, histopathological studies, immunohistochemistry, and western blotting were also performed. Our results indicated that NCPB treatment after PH improved liver regeneration and survival rates, increased hepatic blood flow, reduced hepatocyte damage, decreased the secretion and release of inflammatory cytokines, increased the expression of B cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 (Bcl-2), and decreased the expression of Bcl-2 associated X protein (Bax). Additionally, Western blotting revealed that the expression of NF-κB p65 and c-Jun were decreased in liver after NCPB. In conclusion, the results of our present study indicate that NCPB treatment has a favorable effect on liver regeneration after PH. We suggest that NCPB can be utilized as an effective therapeutic method to help the functional rehabilitation of the liver after acute hepatic injury or liver cancer surgery.
PMCID: PMC3764180  PMID: 24039865
4.  Prospectively Electrocardiogram-Gated High-Pitch Spiral Acquisition Mode Dual-Source CT Coronary Angiography in Patients with High Heart Rates: Comparison with Retrospective Electrocardiogram-Gated Spiral Acquisition Mode 
Korean Journal of Radiology  2012;13(6):684-693.
To assess the image quality and effective radiation dose of prospectively electrocardiogram (ECG)-gated high-pitch spiral acquisition mode (flash mode) of dual-source CT (DSCT) coronary angiography (CTCA) in patients with high heart rates (HRs) as compared with retrospectively ECG-gated spiral acquisition mode.
Materials and Methods
Two hundred and sixty-eight consecutive patients (132 female, mean age: 55 ± 11 years) with mean HR > 65 beats per minute (bpm) were prospectively included in this study. The patients were divided into two groups. Collection was performed in group A CTCA using flash mode setting at 20-30% of the R-R interval, and retrospectively ECG-gated spiral acquisition mode in group B. The image noise, contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), image quality scores, effective radiation dose and influencing factors on image quality between the two groups were assessed.
There were no significant differences in image quality scores and proportions of non-diagnostic coronary artery segments between two groups (image quality scores: 1.064 ± 0.306 [group A] vs. 1.084 ± 0.327 [group B], p = 0.063; proportion of non-diagnostic coronary artery segments: segment-based analysis 1.52% (group A) vs. 1.74% (group B), p = 0.345; patient-based analysis 7.5% (group A) vs. 6.7% (group B), p = 0.812). The estimated radiation dose was 1.0 ± 0.16 mSv in group A and 7.1 ± 1.05 mSv in group B (p = 0.001).
In conclusion, in patients with HRs > 65 bpm without cardiac arrhythmia, the prospectively high-pitch spiral-acquisition mode with image-acquired timing set at 20-30% of the R-R interval provides a similar image quality and low rate of non-diagnostic coronary segments to the retrospectively ECG-gated low-pitch spiral acquisition mode, with significant reduction of radiation exposure.
PMCID: PMC3484288  PMID: 23118566
High-pitch dual-source CT; Prospectively ECG-gated; Coronary angiography; High heart rates
5.  Inhibition of AKT/FoxO3a signaling induced PUMA expression in response to p53-independent cytotoxic effects of H1: A derivative of tetrandrine 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2015;16(6):965-975.
PUMA (p53 unregulated modulator of apoptosis), a BH3-only Bcl-2 family member, can be induced by p53-dependent and p53-independent manners. It plays an important role as regulator of cellular apoptosis. Herein, we evaluate the effects of H1 (a derivative of tetrandrine) on induction of PUMA and underlie its potential mechanism in p53-independent cytotoxic response. Anti-proliferative activity and evidently cytotoxic activity of H1 were observed in wild-type and p53 null cells. Further studies demonstrated that H1 resulted in an increase of cleaved PARP, decease of survivin and elevation of p-H2AX. What is more, H1 significantly induced PUMA expression in a concentration- and time-dependent manner and caused an increase of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in p53 null cells. Of note, knockdown of PUMA attenuated cytotoxic activity of H1. Further studies demonstrated that inhibition of AKT/FoxO3a signaling contributed to H1-mediated PUMA induction. Targeted suppression of AKT/FoxO3a signaling by siRNA could overcome H1-mediated PUMA induction. In addition, H1 significantly suppressed NF-κB activity and caused an increase of early apoptotic and late apoptotic cells, and elevated caspase-3 activity. Taken together, we found that inhibition of AKT/FoxO3a signaling may contribute to H1-mediated PUMA induction, suggesting that inhibition of AKT/FoxO3a signaling result in PUMA expression in response to p53-independent cytotoxic effects of H1.
PMCID: PMC4622009  PMID: 25893985
AKT/FoxO3a signaling; apoptosis; cytotoxicity; PUMA; p53; tetrandrine
6.  Effect of 1-Substitution on Tetrahydroisoquinolines as Selective Antagonists for the Orexin-1 Receptor 
ACS chemical neuroscience  2015;6(4):599-614.
Selective blockade of the Orexin-1 receptor has been suggested as a potential approach to drug addiction therapy because of its role in modulating the brain's reward system. We have recently reported a series of tetrahydroisoquinoline-based OX1 selective antagonists. Aimed at elucidating SAR requirements in other regions of the molecule and further enhancing OX1 potency and selectivity, we have designed and synthesized a series of analogs bearing a variety of substituents at the 1-position of the tetrahydroisoquinoline. The results show that an optimally substituted benzyl group is required for activity at the OX1 receptor. Several compounds with improved potency and/or selectivity have been identified. When combined with structural modifications that were previously found to improve selectivity, we have identified compound 73 (RTIOX-251) with an apparent dissociation constant (Ke) of 16.1 nM at the OX1 receptor and >620-fold selectivity over the OX2 receptor. In vivo, compound 73 was shown to block the development of locomotor sensitization to cocaine in rats.
PMCID: PMC4400266  PMID: 25643283
Orexin; antagonist; selective; tetrahydroisoquinoline
7.  Genetic variation of occult hepatitis B virus infection 
World Journal of Gastroenterology  2016;22(13):3531-3546.
Occult hepatitis B virus infection (OBI), characterized as the persistence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HBsAg) seronegativity and low viral load in blood or liver, is a special form of HBV infection. OBI may be related mainly to mutations in the HBV genome, although the underlying mechanism of it remains to be clarified. Mutations especially within the immunodominant “α” determinant of S protein are “hot spots” that could contribute to the occurrence of OBI via affecting antigenicity and immunogenicity of HBsAg or replication and secretion of virion. Clinical reports account for a large proportion of previous studies on OBI, while functional analyses, especially those based on full-length HBV genome, are rare.
PMCID: PMC4814639  PMID: 27053845
Hepatitis B virus; Occult; Variation; Hepatitis B surface antigen
8.  Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in lipopolysaccharide-induced mouse fatigue and its relevance to chronic fatigue syndrome 
The NLRP3 inflammasome (NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3) is an intracellular protein complex that plays an important role in innate immune sensing. Its activation leads to the maturation of caspase-1 and regulates the cleavage of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18. Various studies have shown that activation of the immune system plays a pivotal role in the development of fatigue. However, the mechanisms underlying the association between immune activation and fatigue remained elusive, and few reports have described the involvement of NLRP3 inflammasome activation in fatigue.
We established a mouse fatigue model with lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 3 mg/kg) challenge combined with swim stress. Both behavioural and biochemical parameters were measured to illustrate the characteristics of this model. We also assessed NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the mouse diencephalon, which is the brain region that has been suggested to be responsible for fatigue sensation. To further identify the role of NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), NLRP3 KO mice were also subjected to LPS treatment and swim stress, and the same parameters were evaluated.
Mice challenged with LPS and subjected to the swim stress test showed decreased locomotor activity, decreased fall-off time in a rota-rod test and increased serum levels of IL-1β and IL-6 compared with untreated mice. Serum levels of lactic acid and malondialdehyde (MDA) were not significantly altered in the treated mice. We demonstrated increased NLRP3 expression, IL-1β production and caspase-1 activation in the diencephalons of the treated mice. In NLRP3 KO mice, we found remarkably increased locomotor activity with longer fall-off times and decreased serum IL-1β levels compared with those of wild-type (WT) mice after LPS challenge and the swim stress test. IL-1β levels in the diencephalon were also significantly decreased in the NLRP3 KO mice. By contrast, IL-6 levels were not significantly altered.
These findings suggest that LPS-induced fatigue is an IL-1β-dependent process and that the NLRP3/caspase-1 pathway is involved in the mechanisms of LPS-induced fatigue behaviours. NLRP3/caspase-1 inhibition may be a promising therapy for fatigue treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12974-016-0539-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4822300  PMID: 27048470
NLRP3 inflammasome; LPS; Chronic fatigue syndrome; NLRP3 knockout mice; IL-1β
9.  Comparative transcriptome analyses of seven anurans reveal functions and adaptations of amphibian skin 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:24069.
Animal skin, which is the tissue that directly contacts the external surroundings, has evolved diverse functions to adapt to various environments. Amphibians represent the transitional taxon from aquatic to terrestrial life. Exploring the molecular basis of their skin function and adaptation is important to understand the survival and evolutionary mechanisms of vertebrates. However, comprehensive studies on the molecular mechanisms of skin functions in amphibians are scarce. In this study, we sequenced the skin transcriptomes of seven anurans belonging to three families and compared the similarities and differences in expressed genes and proteins. Unigenes and pathways related to basic biological processes and special functions, such as defense, immunity, and respiration, were enriched in functional annotations. A total of 108 antimicrobial peptides were identified. The highly expressed genes were similar in species of the same family but were different among families. Additionally, the positively selected orthologous groups were involved in biosynthesis, metabolism, immunity, and defense processes. This study is the first to generate extensive transcriptome data for the skin of seven anurans and provides unigenes and pathway candidates for further studies on amphibian skin function and adaptation.
PMCID: PMC4819189  PMID: 27040083
10.  Porta hepatic schwannoma: case report and a 30-year review of the literature yielding 15 cases 
Schwannomas located in the periportal region are extremely rare. Only 14 cases have been reported in the medical literature worldwide. Cases of porta hepatic schwannomas reported in the literature worldwide were reviewed. As a result, it is very challenging for surgeons to make a preoperative diagnosis due to its rarity and nonspecific imaging manifestations.
Case Presentation
A 57-year-old Chinese female was admitted to our institution with complaint of upper abdominal distension and the abdominal CT in the local hospital revealed a hypodense mass in the porta hepatis. A fine needle aspiration (FNA) was made to confirm the diagnosis, but the result was just suggestive of spindle cell neoplasia. Eventually, the patient underwent surgery and postoperative pathology confirmed schwannoma in porta hepatis. The patient recovered uneventfully with no evidence of recurrence after a follow-up period of 41 months.
It is essential for the final diagnosis of porta hepatic schwannomas to combine histological examination with immunohistochemistry after surgery. The main treatment of porta hepatic schwannomas is complete excision with free margins and no lymph node dissection. In some cases, biliary reconstruction or the proper hepatic and the gastroduodenal artery resection was performed because the tumor was inseparably attached to the extrahepatic bile duct or the proper hepatic and the gastroduodenal artery. Malignant transformation of schwannomas is very rare and the overall prognosis is satisfactory.
PMCID: PMC4818894  PMID: 27038921
Schwannomas; Hepatoduodenal ligament; Porta hepatis; Proper hepatic artery; S-100
11.  New Delhi Metallo-β-Lactamase-1–Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae, Florida, USA1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2016;22(4):744-746.
PMCID: PMC4806972  PMID: 26983001
metallo-β-lactamase; bacteria; Klebsiella pneumoniae; New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1–producing; NDM-1–producing; Enterobacteriaceae; horizontal transfer; homologous recombination; reservoir; Iran; Florida; USA; NDM producers; Middle East
12.  Prediction of tacrolimus metabolism and dosage requirements based on CYP3A4 phenotype and CYP3A5*3 genotype in Chinese renal transplant recipients 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2016;37(4):555-560.
To examine how the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype and CYP3A5*3 genotype of Chinese renal transplant recipients influenced the dose-corrected trough concentration (C0/D) and weight-corrected daily dose (D/W) of tacrolimus.
A total of 101 medically stable kidney transplant recipients were enrolled, and their blood and urine samples were gathered. The endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype was assessed by the ratio of 6β-hydroxycortisol and 6β-hydroxycortisone to cortisol and cortisone in urine. CYP3A5*3 genotype was determined using PCR-RELP.
In overall renal transplant recipients, a multiple regression analysis including the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype, CYP3A5*3 genotype and post-operative period accounted for 60.1% of the variability in C0/D ratio; a regression equation consisting of the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype, post-operative period, body mass index, CYP3A5*3 genotype, gender, total bilirubin and age explained 61.0% of the variability in D/W ratio. In CYP3A5*3/*3 subjects, a combination of the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype, post-operative period and age was responsible for 65.3% of the variability in C0/D ratio; a predictive equation including the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype, post-operative period, body mass index, gender and age explained 61.2% of the variability in the D/W ratio. Base on desired target range of tacrolimus trough concentrations, individual daily dosage regimen was calculated, and all the observed daily doses were within the predicted range.
This study provides the equations to predict tacrolimus metabolism and dosage requirements based on the endogenous CYP3A4 phenotype, CYP3A5*3 genotype and other non-genetic variables.
PMCID: PMC4820801  PMID: 26924289
tacrolimus; CYP3A phenotype; CYP3A5*3 genotype; Chinese renal transplant recipients
13.  Prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells in esophageal carcinoma: a meta-analysis 
OncoTargets and therapy  2016;9:1889-1897.
The prognostic significance of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in esophageal carcinoma (EC) is controversial. We aim to assess its association with clinicopathological and prognostic relevance in EC by using a meta-analysis.
We searched PubMed, Cochrane Database, Embase databases, and the references in relevant studies that assessed the clinicopathological or prognostic relevance of CTCs in peripheral blood of patients with EC. Statistical analyses were conducted by using Stata software to calculate the pooled odds ratio (OR), hazard ratio (HR), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using fixed or random-effects models according to the heterogeneity of included studies. The subgroup analyses were performed according to ethnicity, histological type, and detection method.
Sixteen trials containing 1,260 patients were included for analysis. Pooled results showed that presence of CTCs was significantly associated with poor overall survival (HR =1.71, 95% CI [1.30, 2.12], P<0.001) and progression-free survival (HR =1.67, 95% CI [1.19, 2.15], P<0.001) in EC patients. Subgroup analysis indicated that presence of CTCs was closely associated with worse overall survival (Asian: HR =1.66, 95% CI [1.24, 2.08], P<0.001; squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]: HR =1.66, 95% CI [1.24, 2.08], P<0.001; no polymerase chain reaction [PCR]: HR =2.08, 95% CI [1.40, 2.76], P<0.001) and progression-free survival (Asian: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001; SCC: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001; PCR: HR =1.63, 95% CI [1.15, 2.12], P<0.001). Additionally, ORs showed that presence of CTCs was significantly correlated with tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging (overall: OR = 1.96, 95% CI [1.34, 2.87], P=0.001; Asian: OR =2.09, 95% CI [1.37, 3.19], P=0.001; SCC: OR =1.97, 95% CI [1.21, 3.07], P=0.003; PCR: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.43, 3.47], P<0.001), venous invasion (overall: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; Asian: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; SCC: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001; PCR: OR =2.23, 95% CI [1.46, 3.40], P<0.001), lymph node metastasis (overall: OR =2.41, 95% CI [1.50, 3.86], P<0.001; Asian: OR =2.89, 95% CI [1.80, 4.65], P<0.001; SCC: OR =2.44, 95% CI [1.47, 4.07], P=0.001; PCR: OR =2.89, 95% CI [1.80, 4.65], P<0.001) and distant metastasis (Asian: OR =2.68, 95% CI [1.01, 7.08], P=0.047) in patients with EC.
The presence of CTCs indicates a poor prognosis in EC patients, especially in Asian and SCC patients. Further well-designed prospective studies are recommended to explore the clinical applications of CTCs in patients with EC.
PMCID: PMC4821378  PMID: 27099520
CTCs; esophageal carcinoma; metastasis; Asian; prognosis; meta-analysis
14.  Domestication Syndrome Is Investigated by Proteomic Analysis between Cultivated Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) and Its Wild Relatives 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0152154.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) wild relatives remain a largely untapped potential for genetic improvement. However, the domestication syndrome phenomena from wild species to cultivated cassava remain poorly understood. The analysis of leaf anatomy and photosynthetic activity showed significantly different between cassava cultivars SC205, SC8 and wild relative M. esculenta ssp. Flabellifolia (W14). The dry matter, starch and amylose contents in the storage roots of cassava cultivars were significantly more than that in wild species. In order to further reveal the differences in photosynthesis and starch accumulation of cultivars and wild species, the globally differential proteins between cassava SC205, SC8 and W14 were analyzed using 2-DE in combination with MALDI-TOF tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 175 and 304 proteins in leaves and storage roots were identified, respectively. Of these, 122 and 127 common proteins in leaves and storage roots were detected in SC205, SC8 and W14, respectively. There were 11, 2 and 2 unique proteins in leaves, as well as 58, 9 and 12 unique proteins in storage roots for W14, SC205 and SC8, respectively, indicating proteomic changes in leaves and storage roots between cultivated cassava and its wild relatives. These proteins and their differential regulation across plants of contrasting leaf morphology, leaf anatomy pattern and photosynthetic related parameters and starch content could contribute to the footprinting of cassava domestication syndrome. We conclude that these global protein data would be of great value to detect the key gene groups related to cassava selection in the domestication syndrome phenomena.
PMCID: PMC4811587  PMID: 27023871
15.  Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy for functional dyspepsia: Systematic review and meta-analysis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology  2016;22(12):3486-3495.
AIM: To evaluate whether Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) eradication therapy benefits patients with functional dyspepsia (FD).
METHODS: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the efficacy and safety of H. pylori eradication therapy for patients with functional dyspepsia published in English (up to May 2015) were identified by searching PubMed, EMBASE, and The Cochrane Library. Pooled estimates were measured using the fixed or random effect model. Overall effect was expressed as a pooled risk ratio (RR) or a standard mean difference (SMD). All data were analyzed with Review Manager 5.3 and Stata 12.0.
RESULTS: This systematic review included 25 RCTs with a total of 5555 patients with FD. Twenty-three of these studies were used to evaluate the benefits of H. pylori eradication therapy for symptom improvement; the pooled RR was 1.23 (95%CI: 1.12-1.36, P < 0.0001). H. pylori eradication therapy demonstrated symptom improvement during long-term follow-up at ≥ 1 year (RR = 1.24; 95%CI: 1.12-1.37, P < 0.0001) but not during short-term follow-up at < 1 year (RR = 1.26; 95%CI: 0.83-1.92, P = 0.27). Seven studies showed no benefit of H. pylori eradication therapy on quality of life with an SMD of -0.01 (95%CI: -0.11 to 0.08, P = 0.80). Six studies demonstrated that H. pylori eradication therapy reduced the development of peptic ulcer disease compared to no eradication therapy (RR = 0.35; 95%CI: 0.18-0.68, P = 0.002). Eight studies showed that H. pylori eradication therapy increased the likelihood of treatment-related side effects compared to no eradication therapy (RR = 2.02; 95%CI: 1.12-3.65, P = 0.02). Ten studies demonstrated that patients who received H. pylori eradication therapy were more likely to obtain histologic resolution of chronic gastritis compared to those who did not receive eradication therapy (RR = 7.13; 95%CI: 3.68-13.81, P < 0.00001).
CONCLUSION: The decision to eradicate H. pylori in patients with functional dyspepsia requires individual assessment.
PMCID: PMC4806206  PMID: 27022230
Functional dyspepsia; Helicobacter pylori eradication; Symptom improvement; Quality of life; Peptic ulceration; Meta-analysis
16.  Biophysical Characterization of Interactions between the C-termini of Peripheral Nerve Claudins and the PDZ1 Domain of Zonula Occludens 
Our recent study has shown that cellular junctions in myelin and in the epi-/perineruium that encase nerve fibers regulate the permeability of the peripheral nerves. This permeability may affect propagation of the action potential. Direct interactions between the PDZ1 domain of zonula occludens (ZO1 or ZO2) and the C-termini of claudins are known to be crucial for the formation of tight junctions. Using the purified PDZ1 domain of ZO2 and a variety of C-terminal mutants of peripheral nerve claudins (claudin-1, claudin-2, claudin-3, claudin-5 in epi-/perineurium; claudin-19 in myelin), we have utilized NMR spectroscopy to determine specific roles of the 3 C-terminal claudin residues (position -2, -1, 0) for their interactions with PDZ1 of ZO2. In contrast to the canonical model that emphasizes the importance of residues at the -2 and 0 positions, our results demonstrate that, for peripheral nerve claudins, the residue at position -1 plays a critical role in association with PDZ1, while the side-chain of residue 0 plays a significant but lesser role. Surprisingly, claudin-19, the most abundant claudin in myelin, exhibited no binding to ZO2. These findings reveal that the binding mechanism of claudin/ZO in epi-/perineurium is distinct from the canonical interactions between non-ZO PDZ-containing proteins with their ligands. This observation provides the molecular basis for a strategy to develop drugs that target tight junctions in the epi-/perineurium of peripheral nerves.
PMCID: PMC4363178  PMID: 25712527
17.  The Epidemiologic and Pharmacodynamic Cutoff Values of Tilmicosin against Haemophilus parasuis 
The aim of this study was to establish antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoints for tilmicosin against Haemophilus parasuis, which is an important pathogen of respiratory tract infections. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 103 H. parasuis isolates were determined by the agar dilution method. The wild type (WT) distribution and epidemiologic cutoff value (ECV) were evaluated by statistical analysis. The new bronchoaveolar lavage was used to establish intrapulmonary pharmacokinetic (PK) model in swine. The pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters of tilmicosin, both in pulmonary epithelial lining fluid (PELF) and in plasma, were determined using high performance liquid chromatography method and WinNonlin software. The pharmacodynamic cutoff (COPD) was calculated using Monte Carlo simulation. Our results showed that 100% of WT isolates were covered when the ECV was set at 16 μg/mL. The tilmicosin had concentration-dependent activity against H. parasuis. The PK data indicated that tilmicosin concentrations in PELF was rapidly increased to high levels at 4 h and kept stable until 48 h after drug administration, while the tilmicosin concentration in plasma reached maximum levels at 4 h and continued to decrease during 4–72 h. Using Monte Carlo simulation, COPD was defined as 1 μg/mL. Conclusively, the ECV and COPD of tilmicosin against H. parasuis were established for the first time based on the MIC distribution and PK-PD analysis in the target tissue, respectively. These values are of great importance for detection of tilmicosin-resistant H. parasuis and for effective treatment of clinical intrapulmonary infection caused by H. parasuis.
PMCID: PMC4802331  PMID: 27047487
epidemiologic cutoff value; pharmacodynamic cutoff; bronchoaveolar lavage; H. parasuis; tilmicosin
18.  Fertility-sparing surgery for young patients with borderline ovarian tumors (BOTs): single institution experience 
Fertility-sparing surgery for patients with borderline ovarian tumors (BOTs) is still controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the oncological safety and fertility benefits in conservative surgery,as well as efficiency of surgical procedures and approaches.
In total 122 patients with BOTs, four types of fertility-sparing surgery were performed: unilateral adnexectomy (UA, n = 47), unilateral cystectomy (UC, n = 59), unilateral adnexectomy + contralateral cystectomy (UA + CC, n = 7) and bilateral cystectomy (BC, n = 9). Fifty-two (42.6 %) patients had undergone laparoscopy, while 70 (57.4 %) had undergone laparotomy. After a median follow-up of 58.0 months, eight patients (6.6 %) relapsed in average of 25.9 months. Only one patient progressed to invasive cancer. None died within our observational period. Univariate analysis showed that patients with elevated CA125, bilateral tumors, extra-ovary tumor or mucinous type tended to replase in shorter time (p < 0.05). Among all cases, 45 patients attempted to conceive and 34 (75.6 %) patients had successful pregnancy.
The recurrence rates were successively increased (2.1 %, 6.8 %, 14.3 %, and 22.2 %), the recurrence interval were shortened (48.0, 25.3, 26.0 and 21.2 months) and the subsequent fertility rates were 76.9 %, 77.3 %, 66.7 % and 71.4 % in UA, UC, UA + CC, and BC groups, respectively. As for surgical approaches, three patients (5.8 %) relapsed in 26.3 months in the laparoscopy group and five (7.1 %) in 25.5 months in the laparotomy group. The subsequent fertility rate was higher in laparoscopy group (88.9 %) than in laparotomy group (66.7 %).
In our study, 38 patients underwent staging surgery. Two patients (5.3 %) recurrent in average of 21.0 months, and the subsequent pregnancy rate of staging surgery group was 61.5 %. Twelve patients received adjuvant chemotherapy but they didn’t get any benefit from it, both in term of recurrence (8.3 %, 26.0 months) and subsequent pregnancy rate (75.5 %).
Fertility-sparing surgery is safe and beneficial for most young BOTs. UA through laparoscopy should be recommended as the first choice. To the patients with bilateral tumors, elevated CA125, extra-ovary tumor or mucinous type, conservative surgery should be carefully chosen and subsequent pregnancy should be attempted in short term. In addition, the benefit of comprehensive surgical staging is to be further investigated and adjuvant chemotherapy is not recommended.
PMCID: PMC4797121  PMID: 26988551
Borderline ovarian tumors (BOTs); Fertility sparing surgery; Surgical procedure; Surgical approach; Staging; Chemotherapy; Recurrence; Pregnancy
19.  Steroid Avoidance or Withdrawal Regimens in Paediatric Kidney Transplantation: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(3):e0146523.
We combined the outcomes of all randomised controlled trials to investigate the safety and efficacy of steroid avoidance or withdrawal (SAW) regimens in paediatric kidney transplantation compared with steroid-based (SB) regimens.
A systematic literature search of PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, the trials registry and BIOSIS previews was performed. A change in the height standardised Z-score from baseline (ΔHSDS) and acute rejection were the primary endpoints.
Eight reports from 5 randomised controlled trials were included, with a total of 528 patients. Sufficient evidence of a significant increase in the ΔHSDS was observed in the SAW group (mean difference (MD) = 0.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07–0.68, P = 0.01), particularly within the first year post-withdrawal (MD = 0.22, 95% CI 0.10–0.35, P = 0.0003) and in the prepubertal recipients (MD = 0.60, 95% CI 0.21–0.98, P = 0.002). There was no significant difference in the risk of acute rejection between the groups (relative risk = 1.04, 95% CI 0.80–1.36, P = 0.77).
The SAW regimen is justified in select paediatric renal allograft recipients because it provides significant benefits in post-transplant growth within the first year post-withdrawal with minimal effects on the risk of acute rejection, graft function, and graft and patient survival within 3 years post-withdrawal. These select paediatric recipients should have the following characteristics: prepubertal; Caucasian; with primary disease not related to immunological factors; de novo kidney transplant recipient; with low panel reactive antibody.
PMCID: PMC4798578  PMID: 26991793
20.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of adult height in East Asians identifies 17 novel loci 
He, Meian | Xu, Min | Zhang, Ben | Liang, Jun | Chen, Peng | Lee, Jong-Young | Johnson, Todd A. | Li, Huaixing | Yang, Xiaobo | Dai, Juncheng | Liang, Liming | Gui, Lixuan | Qi, Qibin | Huang, Jinyan | Li, Yanping | Adair, Linda S. | Aung, Tin | Cai, Qiuyin | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Cho, Myeong-Chan | Cho, Yoon Shin | Chu, Minjie | Cui, Bin | Gao, Yu-Tang | Go, Min Jin | Gu, Dongfeng | Gu, Weiqiong | Guo, Huan | Hao, Yongchen | Hong, Jie | Hu, Zhibin | Hu, Yanling | Huang, Jianfeng | Hwang, Joo-Yeon | Ikram, Mohammad Kamran | Jin, Guangfu | Kang, Dae-Hee | Khor, Chiea Chuen | Kim, Bong-Jo | Kim, Hung Tae | Kubo, Michiaki | Lee, Jeannette | Lee, Juyoung | Lee, Nanette R. | Li, Ruoying | Li, Jun | Liu, JianJun | Longe, Jirong | Lu, Wei | Lu, Xiangfeng | Miao, Xiaoping | Okada, Yukinori | Ong, Rick Twee-Hee | Qiu, Gaokun | Seielstad, Mark | Sim, Xueling | Song, Huaidong | Takeuchi, Fumihiko | Tanaka, Toshihiro | Taylor, Phil R. | Wang, Laiyuan | Wang, Weiqing | Wang, Yiqin | Wu, Chen | Wu, Ying | Xiang, Yong-Bing | Yamamoto, Ken | Yang, Handong | Liao, Ming | Yokota, Mitsuhiro | Young, Terri | Zhang, Xiaomin | Kato, Norihiro | Wang, Qing K. | Zheng, Wei | Hu, Frank B. | Lin, Dongxin | Shen, Hongbing | Teo, Yik Ying | Mo, Zengnan | Wong, Tien Yin | Lin, Xu | Mohlke, Karen L. | Ning, Guang | Tsunoda, Tatsuhiko | Han, Bok-Ghee | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Tai, E. Shyong | Wu, Tangchun | Qi, Lu
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;24(6):1791-1800.
Human height is associated with risk of multiple diseases and is profoundly determined by an individual's genetic makeup and shows a high degree of ethnic heterogeneity. Large-scale genome-wide association (GWA) analyses of adult height in Europeans have identified nearly 180 genetic loci. A recent study showed high replicability of results from Europeans-based GWA studies in Asians; however, population-specific loci may exist due to distinct linkage disequilibrium patterns. We carried out a GWA meta-analysis in 93 926 individuals from East Asia. We identified 98 loci, including 17 novel and 81 previously reported loci, associated with height at P < 5 × 10−8, together explaining 8.89% of phenotypic variance. Among the newly identified variants, 10 are commonly distributed (minor allele frequency, MAF > 5%) in Europeans, with comparable frequencies with in Asians, and 7 single-nucleotide polymorphisms are with low frequency (MAF < 5%) in Europeans. In addition, our data suggest that novel biological pathway such as the protein tyrosine phosphatase family is involved in regulation of height. The findings from this study considerably expand our knowledge of the genetic architecture of human height in Asians.
PMCID: PMC4351379  PMID: 25429064
21.  Impact of environmental factors on the emergence, transmission and distribution of Toxoplasma gondii 
Parasites & Vectors  2016;9:137.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan that poses a great threat to human health and economic well-being worldwide. The effects of environmental factors such as changing climate and human activities on the ecology of this protozoan are being discovered. Accumulated evidence shows that changes of these environmental factors can exert influence on the occurrence, transmission and distribution of T. gondii. This article reviews studies from different geographical regions with varying climates, social cultures and animal welfare standards. It aims to illustrate how these environmental factors work, highlighting their importance in influencing the ecology of T. gondii, as well as providing clues which may contribute to preventing transmission of this important zoonotic pathogen.
PMCID: PMC4785633  PMID: 26965989
Toxoplasma gondii; Ecology; Changing climate; Human activities; Oocysts
22.  Aggressive breast cancer in western Kenya has early onset, high proliferation, and immune cell infiltration 
BMC Cancer  2016;16:204.
Breast cancer incidence and mortality vary significantly among different nations and racial groups. African nations have the highest breast cancer mortality rates in the world, even though the incidence rates are below those of many nations. Differences in disease progression suggest that aggressive breast tumors may harbor a unique molecular signature to promote disease progression. However, few studies have investigated the pathology and clinical markers expressed in breast tissue from regional African patient populations.
We collected 68 malignant and 89 non-cancerous samples from Kenyan breast tissue. To characterize the tumors from these patients, we constructed tissue microarrays (TMAs) from these tissues. Sections from these TMAs were stained and analyzed using immunohistochemistry to detect clinical breast cancer markers, including estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor 2 receptor (HER2) status, Ki67, and immune cell markers.
Thirty-three percent of the tumors were triple negative (ER-, PR-, HER2-), 59 % were ER+, and almost all tumors analyzed were HER2-. Seven percent of the breast cancer patients were male, and 30 % were <40 years old at diagnosis. Cancer tissue had increased immune cell infiltration with recruitment of CD163+ (M2 macrophage), CD25+ (regulatory T lymphocyte), and CD4+ (T helper) cells compared to non-cancer tissue.
We identified clinical biomarkers that may assist in identifying therapy strategies for breast cancer patients in western Kenya. Estrogen receptor status in particular should lead initial treatment strategies in these breast cancer patients. Increased CD25 expression suggests a need for additional treatment strategies designed to overcome immune suppression by CD25+ cells in order to promote the antitumor activity of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-016-2204-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4787041  PMID: 26964534
Kenya; Breast cancer; Estrogen receptor; CD163; CD25
23.  Optimized total thoracoscopic and laparoscopic esophagectomy for esophageal cancer 
Total thoracoscopic and laparoscopic esophagectomy (TLE) has attracted attention with the advantage of better operative field and minimal wound for the esophageal cancer. However, various severe complications are also reported during the TLE such as cervical anastomotic leakage, chylothorax, and tracheal injury. The aim of this study was to introduce a new optimized TLE procedure for the esophageal cancer and assess its safety and clinical effects.
We retrospectively collected the clinical data of 30 patients with esophageal cancer who underwent optimized TLE procedures between January 2014 and December 2014. The optimized TLE procedures mainly include as follows: (1) 50 ml of sesame oil-milk mixture (1:1) is injected via gastric tube after endotracheal intubation; (2) patients are intubated with a single lumen endotracheal tube; (3) patients were positioned at 150° in the left prone position rather than lateral decubitus position; and (4) duodenal feeding tube was not placed intraoperatively and however triple lumen nasojejunal feeding tube was placed on the second postoperative day under imaging guidance. Operation time, amount of blood loss, number of dissected nodes, length of hospital stays, and complications were recorded.
The mean operation time of the optimized TLE group was 202.13 ± 13.74 min. The mean visible blood loss of the optimized TLE group was 300.00 ± 120.12 ml. The postoperative hospital stays in the optimized TLE group were 16.27 ± 4.51 days. The number of dissected nodes in the optimized TLE group was 13.57 ± 2.76. The postoperative complications for the optimized TLE procedure were seen in one case (3.3 %).
The method of optimized TLE is an effective, reliable, and safe procedure for the treatment of esophageal cancer, which provide favorable outcomes in terms of operation time, blood loss, length of hospital stays, the number the dissected nodes, and reduced incidence of postoperative complications compared to previous literatures. Further studies with a large number of samples are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4784329  PMID: 26956511
Esophageal cancer; Esophagectomy; Laparoscopy; Thoracoscopy; Complication
24.  Association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the MVP gene with platinum resistance and survival in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer 
Oncology Letters  2016;11(4):2925-2933.
The human major vault protein (MVP) has been linked to the development of multidrug resistance in cancer cells, and overexpression of MVP has been observed in ovarian cancer tissues. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the MVP gene and the tumor response to platinum-based chemotherapy and survival of patients affected by epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), in addition to confirm whether tetra-primer amplification-refractory mutation system (ARMS)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an accurate genotyping method. For this purpose, two polymorphisms in the MVP gene, namely reference SNP (rs)1057451 and rs4788186, were selected from the data obtained by the International haplotype map (HapMap) Project regarding Chinese Han population, and were evaluated by tetra-primer ARMS-PCR. Upon validation by DNA sequencing, the association of these polymorphisms with platinum resistance, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with EOC was assessed. The results of tetra-primer ARMS-PCR were in agreement with those derived from DNA sequencing. No significant differences were observed between platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant cohorts in terms of allele and genotype distribution of these two polymorphisms in the MVP gene, which were not associated with PFS or OS. However, a trend toward prolonged PFS was observed in patients carrying the heterozygous AG allele at the rs4788186 locus. These results suggest that rs1057451 and rs4788186 variants in the MVP gene are not associated with favorable therapeutic response to platinum or longer survival in Chinese Han patients affected by EOC. In addition, the data of the present study confirm that tetra-primer ARMS-PCR is a trustworthy and economical genotyping method.
PMCID: PMC4812545  PMID: 27073578
epithelial ovarian cancer; MVP; single nucleotide polymorphism; platinum resistance; survival; tetra-primer ARMS-PCR
25.  Large variations in ocular dimensions in a multiethnic population with similar genetic background 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:22931.
We aimed to describe the ethnic variations in ocular dimensions among three ethnic groups with similar genetic ancestry from mainland of China. We included 2119 ethnic Bai, 2202 ethnic Yi and 2183 ethnic Han adults aged 50 years or older in the study. Ocular dimensions including axial length (AL), anterior chamber depth (ACD), vitreous chamber depth (VCD) and lens thickness (LT) were measured using A-scan ultrasonography. Bai Chinese had longer ALs (P < 0.001), deeper ACDs (P < 0.001) but shallower VCDs (P < 0.001) compared with the other two ethnic groups. There were no ethnic variations in LTs. Diabetes was associated with shallower ACDs and this association was stronger in Bai Chinese compared with Yi or Han Chinese (P for interaction = 0.02). Thicker lenses were associated with younger age (P = 0.04), male gender (P < 0.001), smoking history (P = 0.01), alcohol intake (P = 0.03), the presence of cataract (P < 0.001), and the presence of diabetes (P < 0.001). There were significant differences in ocular dimensions among different ethnic groups with small differences in genetics but large variations in cultures and lifestyles.
PMCID: PMC4780004  PMID: 26947903

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