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.
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.
High-pitch dual-source CT; Prospectively ECG-gated; Coronary angiography; High heart rates
The therapeutic efficiency of bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) autologous transplantation for myocardial infarction (MI) remains low. Here we developed a novel strategy to improve cardiac repair by preconditioning BMMNCs via angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) stimulation.
Methods and Results
Acute MI in rats led to a significant increase of AT2R expression in BMMNCs. Preconditioning of BMMNCs via AT2R stimulation directly with an AT2R agonist CGP42112A or indirectly with angiotensin II plus AT1R antagonist valsartan led to ERK activation and increased eNOS expression as well as subsequent nitric oxide generation, ultimately improved cardiomyocyte protection in
vitro as measured by co-culture approach. Intramyocardial transplantation of BMMNCs preconditioned via AT2R stimulation improved survival of transplanted cells in ischemic region of heart tissue and reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and inflammation at 3 days after MI. At 4 weeks after transplantation, compared to DMEM and non-preconditioned BMMNCs group, AT2R stimulated BMMNCs group showed enhanced vessel density in peri-infarct region and attenuated infarct size, leading to global heart function improvement.
Preconditioning of BMMNCs via AT2R stimulation exerts protective effect against MI. Stimulation of AT2R in BMMNCs may provide a new strategy to improving therapeutic efficiency of stem cells for post MI cardiac repair.
The neuromedin B receptor (NMB-R), a member of the mammalian bombesin receptor family, is frequently overexpressed in various tumors. In the present study, we found that exposure to hypoxic conditions increases the levels of NMBR mRNA and protein in breast cancer cells, which are tightly regulated by hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). We confirmed the effect of HIF-1α on NMBR transcription by performing an NMBR promoter-driven reporter assay and then identified a functional hypoxia-responsive element (HRE) in the human NMBR promoter region. Further, the binding of HIF-1α to the NMBR promoter was corroborated by electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, which showed that HIF-1α specifically and directly bound to the NMBR promoter in response to hypoxia. Immunohistochemical analysis of a xenograft and a human breast cancer tissue array revealed a significant correlation between NMB-R and HIF-1α expression. Taken together, our findings indicate that hypoxia induces NMB-R expression through a novel mechanism to regulate HIF-1α expression in breast cancer cells.
Increasing evidence implicates the orexin 1 (OX1) receptor in reward processes, suggesting OX1 antagonism could be therapeutic in drug addiction. In a program to develop an OX1 selective antagonist, we designed and synthesized a series of substituted tetrahydroisoquinolines and determined their potency in OX1 and OX2 calcium mobilization assays. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies revealed limited steric tolerance and preference for electron deficiency at the 7-position. Pyridylmethyl groups were shown to be optimal for activity at the acetamide position. Computational studies resulted in a pharmacophore model and confirmed the SAR results. Compound 72 significantly attenuated the development of place preference for cocaine in rats.
Orexin; antagonist; selective; tetrahydroisoquinoline
The decline of photosynthesis in plants under low sink demand is well known. Previous studies focused on the relationship between stomatal conductance (gs) and net photosynthetic rate (Pn). These studies investigated the effect of changes in Photosystem II (PSII) function on the Pn decline under low sink demand. However, little is known about its effects on different limiting steps of electron transport chain in PSII under this condition.
Two-month-old bean plants were processed by removing pods and flowers (low sink demand). On the 1st day after low sink demand treatment, a decline of Pn was accompanied by a decrease in gs and internal-to-ambient CO2 concentration ratio (Ci/Ca). From the 3rd to 9th day, Pn and gs declined continuously while Ci/Ca ratio remained stable in the treatment. Moreover, these values were lower than that of control. Wk (a parameter reflecting the damage to oxygen evolving complex of the donor side of PSII) values in the treatment were significantly higher than their corresponding control values. However, RCQA (a parameter reflecting the number of active RCs per excited cross-section of PSII) values in the treatment were significantly lower than control from the 5th day. From the 11th to 21st day, Pn and gs of the treatment continued to decline and were lower than control. This was accompanied by a decrease of RCQA, and an increase of Wk. Furthermore, the quantum yield parameters φPo, φEo and ψEo in the treatment were lower than in control; however, Ci/Ca values in the treatment gradually increased and were significantly higher than control on the 21st day.
Stomatal limitation during the early stage, whereas a combination of stomatal and non-stomatal limitation during the middle stage might be responsible for the reduction of Pn under low sink demand. Non-stomatal limitation during the late stages after the removal of the sink of roots and pods may also cause Pn reduction. The non-stomatal limitation was associated with the inhibition of PSII electron transport chain. Our data suggests that the donor side of PSII was the most sensitive to low sink demand followed by the reaction center of PSII. The acceptor side of PSII may be the least sensitive.
Gastric cancer (GC) is associated with high mortality rates and an unfavorable prognosis at advanced stages. In addition, there are no effective methods for diagnosing gastric cancer at an early stage or for predicting the outcome for the purpose of selecting patient-specific treatment options. Therefore, it is important to investigate new methods for GC diagnosis.
To facilitate its use in a diagnostic setting, a group of 74 genes with diagnostic and prognostic information was translated into a customized microarray containing a reduced set of 1,042 probes suitable for high throughput processing. In this report, we demonstrate for the first time that the custom mini-array can be used as a reliable diagnostic tool in gastric cancer. With an AUC value of 0.565 (95% CI 0.305-0.825) indicating a perfect test, the sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis from the ROC curve were calculated to be 70% and 80%, respectively.
The data clearly demonstrate the reproducibility and robustness of the small custom-made microarray. The array is an excellent tool for classifying and predicting the outcome of disease in gastric cancer patients.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus; variants; animal infection experiment; viruses; China; pigs
Bmi1 is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers including gastrointestinal cancer. The high expression level of Bmi1 protein is associated with poor prognosis of gastrointestinal cancer patients. On the other hand, tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) contribute to tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis by producing various mediators in the tumor microenvironment. The aim of this study was to investigate TAM-mediated regulation of Bmi1 expression in gastrointestinal cancer. The relationship between TAMs and Bmi1 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), and results showed a positive correlation with tumor-infiltrating macrophages (CD68 and CD163) and Bmi1 expression in cancer cells. Co-culture with TAMs triggered Bmi1 expression in cancer cell lines and enhanced sphere formation ability. miRNA microarray analysis of a gastric cancer cell line co-cultured with macrophages was conducted, and using in silico methods to analyze the results, we identified miR-30e* as a potential regulator of Bmi1 expression. Luciferase assays using miR-30e* mimic revealed that Bmi1 was a direct target for miR-30e* by interactions with the putative miR-30e* binding sites in the Bmi1 3′ untranslated region. qRT-PCR analysis of resected cancer specimens showed that miR-30e* expression was downregulated in tumor regions compared with non-tumor regions, and Bmi1 expression was inversely correlated with miR-30e* expression in gastric cancer tissues, but not in colon cancer tissues. Our findings suggest that TAMs may cause increased Bmi1 expression through miR-30e* suppression, leading to tumor progression. The suppression of Bmi1 expression mediated by TAMs may thus represent a possible strategy as the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer.
AIM: To investigate the pathogenesis of biliary casts after liver transplantation relative to their morphology and biochemical markers.
METHODS: The microstructure of biliary casts was assessed using scanning electron microscopy and Hematoxylin and eosin staining assessed their histology. The expression levels of CD3, CD5, CD34, CD68 and CD79a in these biliary casts were evaluated immunohistochemically.
RESULTS: Biliary casts differed widely in their microstructure, with some containing blood vessels positive for CD34 and collagen fibers with positive Masson staining. Large numbers of neutrophils and other inflammatory cells were present, but only on the edge of the biliary casts; although the boundaries were clear without crossover. None of the biliary casts contained T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, macrophages and other inflammatory cells.
CONCLUSION: The microcostructure of biliary casts differed. Bacteria and acute rejection are not clearly related to their formation.
Biliary cast; Biliary cast syndrome; Liver transplantation; Blood vessels; Acute rejection
Gene expression profiles of postmortem brain tissue represent important resources for understanding neuropsychiatric illnesses. The impact(s) of quality covariables on the analysis and results of gene expression studies are important questions. This paper addressed critical variables which might affect gene expression in two brain regions. Four broad groups of quality indicators in gene expression profiling studies (clinical, tissue, RNA, and microarray quality) were identified. These quality control indicators were significantly correlated, however one quality variable did not account for the total variance in microarray gene expression. The data showed that agonal factors and low pH correlated with decreased integrity of extracted RNA in two brain regions. These three parameters also modulated the significance of alterations in mitochondrial-related genes. The average F-ratio summaries across all transcripts showed that RNA degradation from the AffyRNAdeg program accounted for higher variation than all other quality factors. Taken together, these findings confirmed prior studies, which indicated that quality parameters including RNA integrity, agonal factors, and pH are related to differences in gene expression profiles in postmortem brain. Individual candidate genes can be evaluated with these quality parameters in posthoc analysis to help strengthen the relevance to psychiatric disorders. We find that clinical, tissue, RNA, and microarray quality are all useful variables for collection and consideration in study design, analysis, and interpretation of gene expression results in human post-mortem studies.
Paxillin encodes a focal adhesion-associated protein and is involved in the progression and aggressive phenotypes of malignancies through its interactions with the actin cytoskeleton and key signal transduction oncogenes. The present study aimed to investigate the clinicopathological and prognostic significance of paxillin in gastric cancer. The expression of paxillin was evaluated using tissue microarrays of gastric adjacent non-cancerous mucosa, adenoma and carcinoma specimens by immunohistochemistry. Paxillin expression was compared against clinicopathological parameters and the survival time of the patients. Paxillin was highly expressed in gastric adenoma compared with that in non-neoplastic mucosa and carcinoma (P<0.05). Paxillin expression was lower in the younger carcinoma patients compared with that in the elder carcinoma patients (P<0.05). Paxillin expression was negatively correlated with tumor size, depth of invasion and lymph node metastasis, but not with patient gender, lymphatic or venous invasion, or TNM staging (P>0.05). Higher paxillin expression was observed in intestinal-type compared with diffuse-type carcinoma (P<0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated a positive association between paxillin expression and cumulative survival rate in all, advanced and intestinal-type carcinoma patients (P<0.05). Multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model indicated that patient age, depth of invasion, lymphatic invasion, lymph node metastasis, TNM staging and Lauren classification were independent prognostic factors for all gastric carcinomas (P<0.05). Aberrant paxillin expression may be involved in the growth, invasion, metastasis and differentiation of gastric carcinoma. Altered paxillin expression may, therefore, be employed as an indicator of pathobiological behaviors and prognosis of gastric carcinomas.
gastric carcinoma; tumorgenesis; paxillin; clinicopathological behaviors; prognosis
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase (NOS). ADMA is eliminated largely by the action of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase1 (DDAH1). Decreased DDAH activity is found in several pathological conditions and is associated with increased risk of vascular disease. Overexpression of DDAH1 has been shown to augment endothelial proliferation and angiogenesis. To better understand the mechanism by which DDAH1 influences endothelial proliferation, this study examined the effect of DDAH1 deficiency on cell cycle progression and the expression of some cell cycle master regulatory proteins. DDAH1 KO decreased in vivo Matrigel angiogenesis and depressed endothelial repair in a mouse model of carotid artery wire injury. DDAH1 deficiency decreased VEGF expression in HUVEC and increased NF1 expression in both HUVEC and DDAH1 KO mice. The expression of active Ras could overcome the decreased VEGF expression caused by the DDAH1 depletion. The addition of VEGF and knockdown NF1 could both restore proliferation in cells with DDAH1 depletion. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that DDAH1 sRNAi knockdown in HUVEC caused G1 and G2/M arrest that was associated with decreased expression of CDC2, CDC25C, cyclin D1 and cyclin E. MEF cells from DDAH1 KO mice also demonstrated G2/M arrest that was associated with decreased cyclin D1 expression and Akt activity. Our findings indicate that DDAH1 exerts effects on cyclin D1 and cyclin E expression through multiple mechanisms, including VEGF, the NO/cGMP/PKG pathway, the Ras/PI3K/Akt pathway, and NF1 expression. Loss of DDAH1 effects on these pathways results in impaired endothelial cell proliferation and decreased angiogenesis. The findings provide background information that may be useful in the development of therapeutic strategies to manipulate DDAH1 expression in cardiovascular diseases or tumor angiogenesis.
Schistosomiasis is a chronic infection, where the host immune response to the parasite changes from a predominantly Th1 to Th2 phenotype, when parasite enters the egg stage, restraining the host inflammatory immune responses to achieve a longer survival in the host. On the other hand, the development of Th2 responses causes immunopathological changes such as liver fibrosis. Therefore identification of schistosome-derived Th2 inducing molecules is important in the understanding of pathogenesis of schistosomiasis. A cyclophilin A homologue of Schistosoma japonicum was reported to be an egg-stage specific antigen, but its immunogenicity and immunoregulatory activities remain unknown.
We cloned and expressed the gene of cyclophilin A from Schistosoma japonicum (AY814078), named as SjCyP18 based on its molecular weight. The expression profiles in different stages of S. japonicum were examined by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence assay. The immunogenicity of SjCyP18 was measured by the presence of IgG in the sera from S. japonicum infected patients and animals, and the Th2-promting activities were examined by the subclass of immunoglobulins against SjCyP18 and by the IL-4 induction in T cells following footpad injection of SjCyP18.
The cloned SjCyP18 has 65% homology with human or mouse cyclophilin A at the amino acid level. In contrast to reports as an egg-stage specific antigen, the gene was found to be expressed in all stages of S. japonicum. IgG responses against SjCyP18 were found in some S. japonicum infected patients and were significantly induced when infection become patent and produce eggs in infected mice. Furthermore, the Th2-promoting subclass of IgG1 was the predominant isotype in S. japonicum infected mice. More importantly, footpad injection of SjCyP18 induced a greater production of IL-4 than that of IFN-γ by lymphocytes compared to responses from PBS injection controls.
The cyclophilin A homologue found in S. japonicum is immunogenic and promotes Th2 responses in vivo which may contribute to the establishment of chronic infection by schistosomes.
Th2 response; Schistosoma japonicum; Cyclophilin A
Analysis of genome-scale gene networks (GNs) using large-scale gene expression data provides unprecedented opportunities to uncover gene interactions and regulatory networks involved in various biological processes and developmental programs, leading to accelerated discovery of novel knowledge of various biological processes, pathways and systems. The widely used context likelihood of relatedness (CLR) method based on the mutual information (MI) for scoring the similarity of gene pairs is one of the accurate methods currently available for inferring GNs. However, the MI-based reverse engineering method can achieve satisfactory performance only when sample size exceeds one hundred. This in turn limits their applications for GN construction from expression data set with small sample size. We developed a high performance web server, DeGNServer, to reverse engineering and decipher genome-scale networks. It extended the CLR method by integration of different correlation methods that are suitable for analyzing data sets ranging from moderate to large scale such as expression profiles with tens to hundreds of microarray hybridizations, and implemented all analysis algorithms using parallel computing techniques to infer gene-gene association at extraordinary speed. In addition, we integrated the SNBuilder and GeNa algorithms for subnetwork extraction and functional module discovery. DeGNServer is publicly and freely available online.
Intercalated disk (ID), which electromechanically couples cardiomyocytes into a functional syncitium, is closely related to normal morphology and function of engineered heart tissues (EHTs), but the development mode of ID in the three-dimensional (3D) EHTs is still unclear. In this study, we focused on the spatiotemporal development of the ID in the EHTs constructed by mixing neonatal rat cardiomyocytes with collagen/Matrigel, and investigated the effect of 3D microenvironment provided by collagen/Matrigel matrix on the formation of ID. By histological and immmunofluorescent staining, the spatiotemporal distribution of ID-related junctions was detected. Furthermore, the ultra-structures of the ID in different developmental stages were observed under transmission electron microscope. In addition, the expression of the related proteins was quantitatively analyzed. The results indicate that accompanying the re-organization of cardiomyocytes in collagen/Matrigel matrix, the proteins of adherens junctions, desmosomes and gap junctions redistributed from diffused distribution to intercellular regions to form an integrated ID. The adherens junction and desmosome which are related with mechanical connection appeared earlier than gap junction which is essential for electrochemical coupling. These findings suggest that the 3D microenvironment based on collagen/Matrigel matrix could support the ordered assembly of the ID in EHTs and have implications for comprehending the ordered and coordinated development of ID during the functional organization of EHTs.
The effects of nucleotide analogue substitution on the cleavage efficiencies of type II restriction endonucleases have been investigated. Six restriction endonucleases (EcoRV, SpeI, XbaI, XhoI, PstI and SphI) were investigated respectively regarding their cleavage when substrates were substituted by 2′-O-methyl nucleotide (2′-OMeN) and phosphorothioate (PS). Substitutions were made in the recognition sequence and the two nucleotides flanking the recognition sequence for each endonuclease. The endonuclease cleavage efficiencies were determined using FRET-based assay. Results demonstrated a position-dependent inhibitory effect of substitution on the cleavage efficiency for all the six endonucleases. In general, the 2′-OMeN substitutions had greater impact than the PS substitutions on the enzymatic activities. Nucleotides of optimal substitutions for protection against RE cleavage were identified. Experimental results and conclusions in this study facilitate our insight into the DNA-protein interactions and the enzymatic cleavage mechanism, particularly for those whose detailed structure information is not available. In addition, the information could benefit the development of bioengineering and synthetic biology.
Urinary function can be protected following open lateral node dissection (LND) with pelvic autonomic nerve preservation (PANP) for advanced rectal cancer. However data regarding urinary function after laparoscopic LND with PANP have not been reported. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of laparoscopic LND with PANP on urinary function in male patients with rectal cancer.
Urine flowmetry was performed using an Urodyn flowmeter. Patients were also asked to complete the standardized International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) questionnaire before surgery and 6 months after. In total, this study consisted of 60 males with advanced rectal cancer.
No significant differences were seen in maximal urinary flow rate, voided volume or residual volume before and after surgery. The total IPSS score increased significantly after surgery and at least 41 patients (68.3%) reported there was no change in one of the seven IPSS questions.
Laparoscopic LND with PANP was relatively safe in preserving urinary function.
The present case report describes the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with veno-occlusive disease (VOD) following liver transplantation. Combining the clinical data and relevant literature, the study aimed to consider the causes of VOD following liver transplantation, and the pathogenesis, clinical diagnosis and auxiliary examination features of VOD. A 42-year-old man who had a long history of taking traditional Chinese medicine (essential components unknown) underwent an orthotropic liver transplantation on January 14, 2011, due to small venous occlusion disease of the liver. The patient was treated with tacrolimus as an antirejection therapy following the surgery, and gradually developed right upper quadrant pain and fatigue. The examination results were consistent with the diagnostic standards for VOD. Following treatment with methylprednisolone, the patient was treated with alprostadil and Danhong injections. Forty days later, the patient’s total bilirubin (TBIL) level was observed to have decreased significantly, the liver function had returned to normal and the ascites had decreased, but had not completely disappeared. The patient then underwent a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) procedure, following which the ascites were shown to have completely disappeared.
veno-occlusive disease; liver transplantation; tacrolimus; treatment
A 61-year-old female was referred to The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China) due to a right adrenal tumor. A pre-operative transcutaneous fine-needle aspiration biopsy and right adrenalectomy were performed, and pathological analysis resulted in the diagnosis of pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Primary pleomorphic RMS of the adrenal gland in an adult is a rare condition. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of pleomorphic RMS of the adrenal gland in an adult diagnosed by light microscopy and immunohistochemical stains.
rhabdomyosarcoma; adrenal; adult
Except for the most organized mature hepatocytes, liver stem/progenitor cells (LSPCs) can differentiate into many other types of cells in the liver including cholangiocytes. In addition, LSPCs are demonstrated to be able to give birth to other kinds of extra-hepatic cell types such as insulin-producing cells. Even more, under some bad conditions, these LSPCs could generate liver cancer stem like cells (LCSCs) through malignant transformation. In this review, we mainly concentrate on the molecular mechanisms for controlling cell fates of LSPCs, especially differentiation of cholangiocytes, insulin-producing cells and LCSCs. First of all, to certificate the cell fates of LSPCs, the following three features need to be taken into account to perform accurate phenotyping: (1) morphological properties; (2) specific markers; and (3) functional assessment including in vivo transplantation. Secondly, to promote LSPCs differentiation, systematical attention should be paid to inductive materials (such as growth factors and chemical stimulators), progressive materials including intracellular and extracellular signaling pathways, and implementary materials (such as liver enriched transcriptive factors). Accordingly, some recommendations were proposed to standardize, optimize, and enrich the effective production of cholangiocyte-like cells out of LSPCs. At the end, the potential regulating mechanisms for generation of cholangiocytes by LSPCs were carefully analyzed. The differentiation of LSPCs is a gradually progressing process, which consists of three main steps: initiation, progression and accomplishment. It’s the unbalanced distribution of affecting materials in each step decides the cell fates of LSPCs.
Liver stem/progenitor cells; Cholangiocytes; Biliary differentiation; Unbalanced distribution of materials; Cell therapy
The natural tetrapeptide acetyl-N-Ser-Asp-Lys-Pro (AcSDKP) is generated from the N-terminus of thymosin-β4 through enzymatic cleavage by prolyl oligopeptidase (POP). AcSDKP regulation of proliferation of different cells is implicated in hematopoiesis and angiogenesis. This tetrapeptide present in almost all cells was recently detected at elevated concentrations in neoplastic diseases. However, previously reported in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that AcSDKP does not contribute to the pathogenesis of cancers. Here we show that exogenous AcSDKP exerts no effect on the proliferation of actively dividing malignant cells. Using S17092, a specific POP inhibitor (POPi), to suppress the biosynthesis of AcSDKP in U87-MG glioblastoma cells characterized by high intracellular levels of this peptide, we found that all tested doses of POPi resulted in an equally effective depletion of AcSDKP, which was not correlated with the dose-dependent decreases in the proliferation rate of treated cells. Interestingly, addition of exogenous AcSDKP markedly reversed the reduction in the proliferation of U87-MG cells treated with the highest dose of POPi, and this effect was associated with activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway. However, extracellular-regulated protein kinase (ERK) activation was unaltered by S17092 and AcSDKP co-treatment. Knockdown of individual PI3K catalytic subunits revealed that p110α and p110β contributed differently to AcSDKP regulation of U87-MG cell proliferation. Disruption of p110α expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) abrogated AcSDKP-stimulated Akt phosphorylation, whereas knockdown of p110β expression exhibited no such effect. Our findings indicate for the first time that the PI3KCA/Akt pathway mediates AcSDKP regulation of cell proliferation and suggest a role for this ubiquitous intracellular peptide in cell survival.
The phytohormone gibberellic acid (GA3) is widely used in the table grape industry to induce seedlessness in seeded varieties. However, there is a paucity of information concerning the mechanisms by which GAs induce seedlessness in grapes.
In an effort to systematically analyze the cause of this GA3-induced seed abortion, we conducted an in depth characterization of two seeded grape cultivars (‘Kyoho’ and ‘Red Globe’), along with a seedless cultivar (‘Thompson Seedless’), following treatment with GA3. In a similar fashion to the seedless control, which exhibited GA3-induced abortion of the seeds 9 days after full bloom (DAF), both ‘Kyoho’ and ‘Red Globe’ seeded varieties exhibited complete abortion of the seeds 15 DAF when treated with GA3. Morphological analyses indicated that while fertilization appeared to occur normally following GA3 treatment, as well as in the untreated seedless control cultivar, seed growth eventually ceased. In addition, we found that GA3 application had an effect on redox homeostasis, which could potentially cause cell damage and subsequent seed abortion. Furthermore, we carried out an analysis of antioxidant enzyme activities, as well as transcript levels from various genes believed to be involved in seed development, and found several differences between GA3-treated and untreated controls.
Therefore, it seems that the mechanisms driving GA3-induced seedlessness are similar in both seeded and seedless cultivars, and that the observed abortion of seeds may result at least in part from a GA3-induced increase in cell damage caused by reactive oxygen species, a decrease in antioxidant enzymatic activities, and an alteration of the expression of genes related to seed development.
The present study employed Dynamic Causal Modeling to investigate the effective functional connectivity between regions of the neural network involved in top-down letter processing. We used an illusory letter detection paradigm in which participants detected letters while viewing pure noise images. When participants detected letters, the response of the right middle occipital gyrus (MOG) in the visual cortex was enhanced by increased feed-backward connectivity from the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). In addition, illusory letter detection increased feed-forward connectivity from the right MOG to the left inferior parietal lobules. Originating in the left IFG, this top-down letter processing network may facilitate the detection of letters by activating letter processing areas within the visual cortex. This activation in turns may highlight the visual features of letters and send letter information to activate the associated phonological representations in the identified parietal region.
letter processing; word processing; top-down processing; fMRI; dynamic causal modeling
The current study was undertaken to adapt Equilibrium Partitioning of an Ionic Contrast agent via microcomputed tomography (EPIC-µCT) to mouse articular cartilage, which presents a particular challenge because it is thin (~30 µm) and has a small volume (0.2 – 0.4 mm3), meaning there is only approximately 2 – 4 µg of chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan per joint surface cartilage.
Using 6 µm isotropic voxels and the negatively charged contrast agent ioxaglate (Hexabrix), we optimized contrast agent concentration and incubation time, assessed two methods of tissue preservation (formalin fixation and freezing), examined the effect of ex vivo chondroitinase ABC digestion on x-ray attenuation, assessed accuracy and precision, compared young and skeletally mature cartilage, and determined patterns of degradation in a murine cartilage damage model induced by treadmill running.
The optimal concentration of the contrast agent was 15%, formalin fixation was preferred to freezing, and 2 hours of incubation was needed to reach contrast agent equilibrium with formalin fixed specimens. There was good agreement with histologic measurements of cartilage thickness, although µCT overestimated thickness by 13% (~5 µm) in 6 week old mice. Enzymatic release of 0.8 µg of choindrotin sulfate (about 40% of the total) increased x-ray attenuation by ~17%. There was a 15% increase in x-ray attenuation in 14 week old mice compared to 6 week old mice (p < 0.001) and this corresponded to ~65% decrease in chondroitin sulfate content at 14 weeks. The older mice also had reductions of 33% in cartilage thickness and 44% in cartilage volume (p < 0.001). Treadmill running induced a 16% decrease in cartilage thickness (p = 0.012) and a 12% increase in x-ray attenuation (p = 0.006) in 14 week old mice.
This technique enables non-destructive visualization and quantification of murine femoral articular cartilage in three dimensions with anatomic specificity and should prove to be a useful new tool in studying degeneration of cartilage in mouse models.
mouse; articular cartilage; µCT; EPIC-µCT; morphometry; proteoglycan content; CECT