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1.  Prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors and adverse risk profiles among three ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China 
Prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors have been scarcely studied in Xinjiang, a multi-ethnic region.
Multi-ethnic, cross-sectional cardiovascular risk survey study in Xinjiang, including individuals of Uygur (n = 4695), Han (n = 3717) and Kazakh (n = 3196) ethnicities, aged 35-74 years. Analyses involved 11,608 participants with complete data enrolled between October 2007 and March 2010.
There were differences in age-standardized prevalence of CVD risk factors between the three groups (all P < 0.001). Hypertension, obesity and smoking rates were higher among Kazakh (54.6%, 24.5%, and 35.8%, respectively). Dyslipidemia prevalence was higher among Uygur (54.3%), and diabetes prevalence was higher among Hans (7.1%). Age-standardized prevalence of adverse CVD risk profiles was different across different ethnicities. Compared with the Han participants, the Uygur and Kazakh had more CVD risk factors (P < 0.001). Compared with the Han participants, the adjusted odds ratios of 1, 2, and ≥3 risk factors profiles for Kazakh and Uygur participants were higher (all P < 0.001).
The present study showed the pervasive burden of CVD risk factors in all participant groups in the Xinjiang region. Three major ethnic groups living in Xinjiang had striking differences in the prevalence of major CVD risk factors and adverse risk profiles. Ethnic-specific strategies should be developed to prevent CVD in different ethnic groups, as well as to develop strategies to prevent future development of adverse CVD risk factors at a younger age.
PMCID: PMC3866600  PMID: 24341701
Cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; Disparities; Ethnicity; Epidemiology
2.  Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of dyslipidemia among adults in Northwestern China: the cardiovascular risk survey 
The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of dyslipidemia in Xinjiang, China.
Stratified sampling method was used to select a representative sample of the general population including Chinese Han, Uygur, and Kazak in this geographic area. Seven cities were chosen. Based on the government records of registered residences, one participant was randomly selected from each household. The eligibility criterion for the study was ≥ 35 years of age.
A total of 14,618 participants (5,757 Han, 4,767 Uygur, and 4,094 Kazak), were randomly selected from 26 villages in 7 cities. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was 52.72% in the all participants. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was higher in Han than that in the other two ethnic (58.58% in Han, 48.27% in Uygur, and 49.60% in Kazak, P < 0.000). The prevalence of dyslipidemia was higher in men than that in women (56.4% vs. 49.3%, P < 0.000). Among the participants with dyslipidemia, the proportion of those who aware, treat, control of dyslipidemia were 53.67%, 22.51%, 17.09% in Han, 42.19%, 27.78%, 16.20% in Uygur, 37.02%, 21.11%, 17.77% in Kazak.
Dyslipidemia is highly prevalent in Xinjiang. The proportion of participants with dyslipidemia who were aware, treated, and controlled is unacceptably low. These results underscore the urgent need to develop national strategies to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of dyslipidemia in Xinjiang.
PMCID: PMC3895843  PMID: 24393232
Dyslipidemia; Prevalence; Awareness; Treatment; Control
3.  Expression and Methylation of Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients with Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82739.
Apoptosis plays a central role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and this process can be regulated by mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA). Epigenetics is involved in the regulation and modification of the genes involved in lung cancer and COPD. In this study, we determined the expression of mtTFA and its methylation levels in the COPD patients with lung cancer.
Twenty-one squamous cell lung cancer patients, 11 with COPD and 10 without COPD, undergoing pneumonectomy were enrolled. The apoptotic index (AI) of pulmonary vascular endothelial cells was analyzed by transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end labeling assay. The expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein was measured using PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western-blot. Methylation of the mtTFA promoter was detected using bisulfite sequencing PCR.
Compared to the non-COPD group, the AI was higher, and expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein was lower in the COPD group (P<0.001). Expression of the mtTFA protein was positively correlated with FEV1/Pre (r = 0.892, P<0.001), and negatively correlated with AI (r = −0.749, P<0.001) and smoke index (r = −0.763, P<0.001). Percentage of mtTFA promoter methylation in the COPD patients was significantly higher compared to the non-COPD patients (P<0.05).
These results suggest that the expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein is down-regulated in the lung tissue from the COPD patients with squamous cell lung cancer, and the level of mtTFA protein is related to apoptosis of pulmonary vascular endothelial cells. Aberrant mtTFA methylation may also play an important role in the pathogenesis of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3867397  PMID: 24367550
4.  Appropriate Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference Cutoffs for Categorization of Overweight and Central Adiposity among Uighur Adults in Xinjiang 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80185.
The current overweight and central adiposity guidelines based on Western populations were not consistent with many studied based on the Asian populations. Uighur people live in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region which is located in the center of Asia. Their overweight and central cutoffs were largely unknown. We aimed to identify cutoffs for body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) and waist circumference (WC; in cm) for categorization of overweight and central adiposity among Uighur adults in Xinjiang.
4767 Uighur participants were selected from the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) which was carried out from October 2007 to March 2010. The age of the participants were from 35 to 101 years old with the mean age of 50.09 years. Anthropometric data, blood pressure, serum concentration of serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and fasting glucose were documented. The prevalence, sensitivity, specificity and distance on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of each BMI and waist circumference values were calculated.
The prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia were higher with higher BMI for both men and women. The prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were higher with higher waist circumference for both men and women. In women, the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia was noticed to increase as the waist circumference increased. The shortest distance in the receiver operating characteristic curves for hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, or ≥ 2 of these risk factors suggested a BMI cutoff of 26 and a waist circumference cutoff of 90 cm for both men and women.
Higher cutoffs for BMI and waist circumference are needed in the identification of Uighur patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3820640  PMID: 24244645
5.  Treatment with chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts maintains and enhances the survival and differentiation of spleen cells 
Cytotechnology  2012;64(5):541-551.
The identification of egg extracts with the ability to maintain and enhance the survival and differentiation of cells would be widely useful in cellular biology research. In this study, we compared the different abilities of spleen cells to survive and differentiate in vivo after permeabilization by five different types of egg extracts. Five types of egg extracts were prepared. The spleen cells from male GFP-transgenic mice were permeabilized by the extracts for 30 min, cultured for 12 days, and then transfused into irradiated female mice. At varying days after transplantation, the percentage of GFP-expressing surviving spleen cells was detected in the peripheral blood by flow cytometry. At 120 days after transplantation, bone marrow cells from the female mice were analyzed for the presence of cells containing the Y chromosome. Surviving GFP-positive spleen cells that had been permeabilized with either chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts could be detected in the female mice after transplantation. A lower percentage of GFP-positive cells was also detected after permeabilization by the other extracts tested, and no GFP-positive cells were found in the female mouse transfused with spleen cells permeabilized with Hank’s Buffered Salt Solution (HBSS) as a control. At 120 days after transplantation, the percentage of cells containing a Y chromosome in the bone marrow positively correlated with the percentage of GFP-positive cells in the peripheral blood. After permeabilization by chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts, spleen cells demonstrated significantly enhanced survival and differentiation functions compared with the spleen cells treated with the other egg extracts tested. These results show that chicken-egg-white and whole-egg extracts have roles in maintaining and enhancing the survival and differentiation of spleen cells. Therefore, these two types of extracts may be of future use in maintaining the function of stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3432533  PMID: 22350684
GFP-transgenic mice; Spleen cells; Extracts; Cell survival; Cell differentiation
6.  In vivo MRI tracking of iron oxide nanoparticle-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells in limb ischemia 
Stem cell transplantation has been investigated for repairing damaged tissues in various injury models. Monitoring the safety and fate of transplanted cells using noninvasive methods is important to advance this technique into clinical applications.
In this study, lower-limb ischemia models were generated in nude mice by femoral artery ligation. As negative-contrast agents, positively charged magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (aminopropyltriethoxysilane-coated Fe2O3) were investigated in terms of in vitro labeling efficiency, effects on human mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSC) proliferation, and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) visualization. Ultimately, the mice were sacrificed for histological analysis three weeks after transplantation.
With efficient labeling, aminopropyltriethoxysilane-modified magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (APTS-MNPs) did not significantly affect hMSC proliferation. In vivo, APTS-MNP-labeled hMSCs could be monitored by clinical 3 Tesla MRI for at least three weeks. Histological examination detected numerous migrated Prussian blue-positive cells, which was consistent with the magnetic resonance images. Some migrated Prussian blue-positive cells were positive for mature endothelial cell markers of von Willebrand factor and anti-human proliferating cell nuclear antigen. In the test groups, Prussian blue-positive nanoparticles, which could not be found in other organs, were detected in the spleen.
APTS-MNPs could efficiently label hMSCs, and clinical 3 Tesla MRI could monitor the labeled stem cells in vivo, which may provide a new approach for the in vivo monitoring of implanted cells.
PMCID: PMC3598527  PMID: 23515426
hind-limb ischemia; magnetic resonance imaging; iron oxide particles; stem cell implant
7.  The Interleukin 3 Gene (IL3) Contributes to Human Brain Volume Variation by Regulating Proliferation and Survival of Neural Progenitors 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50375.
One of the most significant evolutionary changes underlying the highly developed cognitive abilities of humans is the greatly enlarged brain volume. In addition to being far greater than in most other species, the volume of the human brain exhibits extensive variation and distinct sexual dimorphism in the general population. However, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying normal variation as well as the observed sex difference in human brain volume. Here we show that interleukin-3 (IL3) is strongly associated with brain volume variation in four genetically divergent populations. We identified a sequence polymorphism (rs31480) in the IL3 promoter which alters the expression of IL3 by affecting the binding affinity of transcription factor SP1. Further analysis indicated that IL3 and its receptors are continuously expressed in the developing mouse brain, reaching highest levels at postnatal day 1–4. Furthermore, we found IL3 receptor alpha (IL3RA) was mainly expressed in neural progenitors and neurons, and IL3 could promote proliferation and survival of the neural progenitors. The expression level of IL3 thus played pivotal roles in the expansion and maintenance of the neural progenitor pool and the number of surviving neurons. Moreover, we found that IL3 activated both estrogen receptors, but estrogen didn’t directly regulate the expression of IL3. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in the IL3 promoter regulates human brain volume and reveals novel roles of IL3 in regulating brain development.
PMCID: PMC3511536  PMID: 23226269
8.  Long-term MRI tracking of dual-labeled adipose-derived stem cells homing into mouse carotid artery injury 
Stem cell therapy has shown great promise for regenerative repair of injured or diseased tissues. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) have become increasingly attractive candidates for cellular therapy. Magnetic resonance imaging has been proven to be effective in tracking magnetic-labeled cells and evaluating their clinical relevance after cell transplantation. This study investigated the feasibility of imaging green fluorescent protein-expressing ADSCs (GFP-ADSCs) labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles, and tracked them in vivo with noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging after cell transplantation in a model of mouse carotid artery injury.
GFP-ADSCs were isolated from the adipose tissues of GFP mice and labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles. Intracellular stability, proliferation, and viability of the labeled cells were evaluated in vitro. Next, the cells were transplanted into a mouse carotid artery injury model. Clinical 3 T magnetic resonance imaging was performed immediately before and 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 30 days after cell transplantation. Prussian blue staining and histological analysis were performed 7 and 30 days after transplantation.
GFP-ADSCs were found to be efficiently labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles, with no effect on viability and proliferation. Homing of the labeled cells into the injured carotid artery tissue could be monitored by magnetic resonance imaging.
Magnetically labeled ADSCs with expression of GFP can home into sites of vascular injury, and may provide new insights into understanding of cell-based therapy for cardiovascular lesions.
PMCID: PMC3487538  PMID: 23125528
adipose-derived stem cells; carotid artery injury; magnetic resonance imaging; iron oxide particles; cell therapy
9.  Serum Uric Acid Levels Are Associated with Polymorphism in the SAA1 Gene in Chinese Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40263.
Serum uric acid (SUA) is a cardiovascular risk marker associated with inflammation. The serum amyloid A protein (SAA) is an inflammatory factor and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the relationship between genetic polymorphisms of SAA and SUA levels has not been studied. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between SUA levels and SAA genetic polymorphisms.
All participants were selected from subjects participating in the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) study. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12218 of the SAA1 gene was genotyped by using the polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. The association of SUA levels with genotypes was assessed by using the general liner mode.
The SNP rs12218 was associated with SUA levels by analyses of a dominate model (P = 0.002) and additive model (P = 0.005), and the difference remained significant after adjustment of sex, age, obesity, ethnicity, HDL-C, alcohol intake, smoking, and creatinine (P = 0.006 and P = 0.023, respectively). The TT genotype was associated with an increased SUA concentration of 39.34 mmol/L (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.61–75.06, P = 0.031) compared with the CC genotype, and the TT genotype was associated with an increased SUA concentration of 2.48 mmol/L (95% CI, 6.86–38.10; P = 0.005) compared with the CT genotype.
The rs12218 SNP in the SAA1 gene was associated with SUA levels in Chinese subjects, indicating that carriers of the T allele of rs12218 have a high risk of hyperuricemia.
PMCID: PMC3386962  PMID: 22768267
10.  Type 2 Diabetes in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35270.
The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and distribution of type 2 diabetes and to determine the status of type 2 diabetes awareness, treatment, and control in Xinjiang, China. Our data came from the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) study designed to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in Xinjiang from October 2007 to March 2010. A total of 14 122 persons (5583 Hans, 4620 Uygurs, and 3919 Kazaks) completed the survey and examination. Diabetes was defined by the American Diabetes Association 2009 criteria.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Overall, 9.26% of the Han, 6.23% of the Uygur, and 3.65% of the Kazak adults aged ≥35 years had diabetes. Among diabetes patients, only 53.0% were aware of their blood glucose level, 26.7% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 10.4% achieved blood glucose control in Han, 35.8% were aware of their blood glucose level, 7.3% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 3.13% achieved blood glucose control in Uygur, and 23.8% were aware of their blood glucose level, 6.3% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 1.4% achieved blood glucose control in Kazak, respectively.
Our results indicate that diabetes is highly prevalent in Xinjiang. The percentages of those with diabetes who are aware, treated, and controlled are unacceptably low. These results underscore the urgent need to develop national strategies to improve prevention, detection, and treatment of diabetes in Xinjiang, the west China.
PMCID: PMC3323648  PMID: 22506076
11.  IgE stimulates human and mouse arterial cell apoptosis and cytokine expression and promotes atherogenesis in Apoe–/– mice  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(9):3564-3577.
IgE has a key role in the pathogenesis of allergic responses through its ability to activate mast cells via the receptor FcεR1. In addition to mast cells, many cell types implicated in atherogenesis express FcεR1, but whether IgE has a role in this disease has not been determined. Here, we demonstrate that serum IgE levels are elevated in patients with myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris. We found that IgE and the FcεR1 subunit FcεR1α were present in human atherosclerotic lesions and that they localized particularly to macrophage-rich areas. In mice, absence of FcεR1α reduced inflammation and apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques and reduced the burden of disease. In cultured macrophages, the presence of TLR4 was required for FcεR1 activity. IgE stimulated the interaction between FcεR1 and TLR4, thereby inducing macrophage signal transduction, inflammatory molecule expression, and apoptosis. These IgE activities were reduced in the absence of FcεR1 or TLR4. Furthermore, IgE activated macrophages by enhancing Na+/H+ exchanger 1 (NHE1) activity. Inactivation of NHE1 blocked IgE-induced macrophage production of inflammatory molecules and apoptosis. Cultured human aortic SMCs (HuSMCs) and ECs also exhibited IgE-induced signal transduction, cytokine expression, and apoptosis. In human atherosclerotic lesions, SMCs and ECs colocalized with IgE and TUNEL staining. This study reveals what we believe to be several previously unrecognized IgE activities that affect arterial cell biology and likely other IgE-associated pathologies in human diseases.
PMCID: PMC3163955  PMID: 21821913
12.  Genome Sequence of the Milbemycin-Producing Bacterium Streptomyces bingchenggensis▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(17):4526-4527.
Streptomyces bingchenggensis is a soil-dwelling bacterium producing the commercially important anthelmintic macrolide milbemycins. Besides milbemycins, the insecticidal polyether antibiotic nanchangmycin and some other antibiotics have also been isolated from this strain. Here we report the complete genome sequence of S. bingchenggensis. The availability of the genome sequence of S. bingchenggensis should enable us to understand the biosynthesis of these structurally intricate antibiotics better and facilitate rational improvement of this strain to increase their titers.
PMCID: PMC2937363  PMID: 20581206
13.  4,5-Dicarb­oxy­naphthalene-1,8-dicarb­oxy­lic anhydride–1,10-phenanthroline (1/1) 
In the crystal structure of the title 1:1 adduct, C12H8N2·C14H6O7, the carboxyl groups are involved in inter­molecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds, which link the mol­ecules into centrosymmetric dimers. These dimers are further linked by inter­molecular O—H⋯N hydrogen bonds. C—H⋯O inter­actions also occur between the 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) and 4,5-dicarb­oxy­naphthalene-1,8-dicarb­oxy­lic anhydride (H2NTC) mol­ecules. In addition, the crystal structure exhibits π–π inter­actions of the phen⋯phen and H2NTC⋯H2NTC types with centroid–centroid distances of 3.579 (3) and 3.774 (3) Å, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3051702  PMID: 21523132
14.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies ALDH7A1 as a Novel Susceptibility Gene for Osteoporosis 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(1):e1000806.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem. It is mainly characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or low-trauma osteoporotic fractures (OF), both of which have strong genetic determination. The specific genes influencing these phenotypic traits, however, are largely unknown. Using the Affymetrix 500K array set, we performed a case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 700 elderly Chinese Han subjects (350 with hip OF and 350 healthy matched controls). A follow-up replication study was conducted to validate our major GWAS findings in an independent Chinese sample containing 390 cases with hip OF and 516 controls. We found that a SNP, rs13182402 within the ALDH7A1 gene on chromosome 5q31, was strongly associated with OF with evidence combined GWAS and replication studies (P = 2.08×10−9, odds ratio = 2.25). In order to explore the target risk factors and potential mechanism underlying hip OF risk, we further examined this candidate SNP's relevance to hip BMD both in Chinese and Caucasian populations involving 9,962 additional subjects. This SNP was confirmed as consistently associated with hip BMD even across ethnic boundaries, in both Chinese and Caucasians (combined P = 6.39×10−6), further attesting to its potential effect on osteoporosis. ALDH7A1 degrades and detoxifies acetaldehyde, which inhibits osteoblast proliferation and results in decreased bone formation. Our findings may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Author Summary
Osteoporosis is a major health concern worldwide. It is a highly heritable disease characterized mainly by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or osteoporotic fractures. However, the specific genetic variants determining risk for low BMD or OF are largely unknown. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for osteoporosis. By examining a total of 11,568 individuals from Chinese and Caucasian populations, we discovered a susceptibility gene, ALDH7A1, which is associated with hip osteoporotic fracture and BMD. ALDH7A1 might inhibit osteoblast proliferation and decrease bone formation. Our finding opens a new avenue for exploring the pathophysiology of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2794362  PMID: 20072603
15.  ALDH Maintains the Stemness of Lung Adenoma Stem Cells by Suppressing the Notch/CDK2/CCNE Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92669.
To evaluate the expression of ALDH1A1 in lung adenoma stem cells (LASCs) and maintenance of their stemness through the Notch pathway.
LASCs (A549s) were isolated from lung adenoma cells (A549) and identified by their coexpression of CD133 and CD326 and their capacity formulti-directional differentiation. Expression of ALDH1A1 in A549 and A549s cells were evaluated by Real-time PCR. Effects of ALDH1A1 upregulation in A549 cells and its downregulation in A549s cells on the clonogenicity and cell cycle were assessed by colony-forming unit assay. Moreover, the effects of ALDH1A1 on the Notch pathway, and thus on the cell cycle, were studied.
A549s cells were successfully isolated and identified.ALDH1A1expression was significantly higher in A549s than in A549 cells. Clonogenicity was significantly decreased in A549s cells treated with ALDH1A1 siRNA. Duration of the G1 stage of the cell cycle increased after ALDH1A1 was overexpressed, or decreased with ALDH1A1 siRNA. ALDH1A1, Notch1, −2, and −3, CDK2, and CCNE1 expression levels were higher in A549s cells than in A549 cells. Expression of Notch1, −2, and −3, CDK2, and CCNE1 was significantly decreased by upregulation of ALDH1A1 in A549 cells, but increased by its interruption in A549s cells. When Notch3 or CDK2 expression was downregulated, the expression levels of ALDH1A1, Notch1, −2, and −3, CDK2, and CCNE1 were reduced in all cell types.
ALDH1A1 expression improved clonogenicity and inhibited the cell cycle, maintaining the stemness of the A549s cells; this may involve suppression of the Notch/CDK2/Cyclin pathway.
PMCID: PMC3966794  PMID: 24671051
16.  Endoscope-Guided Interstitial Intensity-Modulated Brachytherapy and Intracavitary Brachytherapy as Boost Radiation for Primary Early T Stage Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90048.
Intracavitary brachytherapy (ICBT) is usually applied as boost radiotherapy for superficial residual of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after primary extern-beam radiptherapy (ERT). Here, we evaluated the outcome of endoscope-guided interstitial intensity-modulated brachytherapy (IMBT) boost radiation for deep-seated residual NPC.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Two hundred and thirteen patients with residual NPC who were salvaged with brachytherapy boost radiation during 2005–2009 were analyzed retrospectively. Among these patients, 171 patients had superficial residual NPC (≤1 cm below the nasopharyngeal epithelium) were treated with ICBT boost radiation, and interstitial IMBT boost radiation was delivered to 42 patients with deep-seated residual NPC (>1 cm below the nasopharyngeal epithelium). We found that IMBT boost subgroup had a higher ratio of T2b (81.0% VS 34.5%, P<0.001) and stage II (90.5% VS 61.4%, P = 0.001) than that of ICBT boost subgroup. The dosage of external-beam radiotherapy in the nasopharyngeal (63.0±3.8 VS 62.6±4.3 Gray (Gy), P = 0.67) and regional lymph nodes (55.8±5.0 VS 57.5±5.7 Gy, P = 0.11) was comparable in both groups. For brachytherapy, IMBT subgroup had a lower boost radiation dosage than ICBT subgroup (11.0±2.9 VS 14.8±3.2 Gy, P<0.01). Though the IMBT group had deeper residual tumors and received lower boost radiation dosages, both subgroups had the similar 5-year actuarial overall survival rate (IMBT VS ICBT group: 96.8% VS 93.6%, P = 0.87), progression-free survival rate (92.4% VS 86.5%, P = 0.41) and distant metastasis-free survival rate (94.9% VS 92.7%, P = 0.64). Moreover, IMBT boost radiation subgroup had a similar local (97.4% VS 94.4%, P = 0.57) and regional (95.0% VS 97.2%, P = 0.34) control to ICBT subgroup. The acute and late toxicities rates were comparable between the both subgroups.
IMBT boost radiation may be a promising therapeutic selection for deep-seated residual NPC.
PMCID: PMC3940723  PMID: 24595299
17.  The prevalence of urethral and rectal Mycoplasma genitalium among men who have sex with men in China, a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:195.
Although Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), very little information regarding the prevalence of MG among MSM (men who have sex with men) is available in China. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of MG among MSM in the city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, and to identify the potential risk factors associated with MG infection in this population.
Between January and May 2010, a total of 409 MSM were recruited in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China. An anonymous questionnaire was used to collect information regarding their sociological and sexual behaviors. In addition, their first-void urine (FVU) samples and rectal swabs were collected for PCR-based MG testing.
Among the 406 FVU and 405 rectal swab samples were collected from 409 MSM, the overall MG prevalence was 8.1% (33/406, 95% CI 5.7%-10.6%), with a FVU positivity of 3.4% (95% CI 1.7%-5.4%) and a rectal positivity of 5.4% (95% CI 3.5%-7.7%). Using both univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses, urethral MG infection was significantly associated with having more heterosexual behaviors (AOR 7.16, 95% CI 1.89-27.13), and with having unprotected anal intercourse in the past six months (AOR 4.80, 95% CI 1.40-16.47). Rectal MG infection was significantly associated with HIV infection based on univariate logistic regression analysis (OR = 4.49, 95% CI 1.18-17.12).
In this study, we investigated the prevalence of MG infection in the population of interest, as determined from both urethral and rectal specimen. We showed that MG was more prevalent in MSM who had bisexual behaviors compared to those who engaged only in homosexual behaviors. Further work is needed to establish the mode of MG transmission and to identify its role in HIV transmission. Meanwhile, more attention should be paid to MG infection among MSMs, and especially bisexual MSMs, which might have critical implications for effective HIV/STD control in China.
PMCID: PMC3938087  PMID: 24559387
Mycoplasma genitalium; Prevalence; MSM; China
18.  Genome-wide association study in Han Chinese identifies four new susceptibility loci for coronary artery disease 
Nature genetics  2012;44(8):890-894.
We performed a meta-analysis of 2 genome-wide association studies of coronary artery disease comprising 1,515 cases with coronary artery disease and 5,019 controls, followed by de novo replication studies in 15,460 cases and 11,472 controls, all of Chinese Han descent. We successfully identified four new loci for coronary artery disease reaching genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8), which mapped in or near TTC32-WDR35, GUCY1A3, C6orf10-BTNL2 and ATP2B1. We also replicated four loci previously identified in European populations (PHACTR1, TCF21, CDKN2A/B and C12orf51). These findings provide new insights into biological pathways for the susceptibility of coronary artery disease in Chinese Han population.
PMCID: PMC3927410  PMID: 22751097
19.  EMT and Acquisition of Stem Cell-Like Properties Are Involved in Spontaneous Formation of Tumorigenic Hybrids between Lung Cancer and Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87893.
The most deadly phase in cancer progression is metastatic conversion. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process by which cancer cells acquire invasive and metastatic phenotypes. In order to spawn macroscopic metastases, disseminated cancer cells would seem to require self-renewal capability. However, the underlying mechanism defining these processes is poorly understood. One possible mechanism underlying metastasis is fusion between myeloid cells and cancer cells. In this study, we found that spontaneously-formed tumorigenic hybrids between bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and three different non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines contributed to highly malignant subpopulations with both EMT and stem cell-like properties. Hybrids lost their epithelial morphology and assumed a fibroblast-like appearance. Up-regulation of vimentin, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and fibronectin, and down-regulation of E-cadherin and pancytokeratin were observed in tumorigenic hybrids. These cells also exhibited increased expression of the stem cell marker prominin-1 (CD133) and over-expression of transcription factors OCT4, Nanog, BMI1, Notch1, ALDH1 as well as Sox2, all genes responsible for regulating and maintaining the stem cell phenotype. In addition, in spontaneously-formed tumorigenic hybrids, increased pneumosphere-forming capacity and tumor-forming ability in NOD/SCID mice were detectable. Thus, cell fusion between lung cancer cells and MSCs provides a nonmutational mechanism that could contribute to aberrant gene expression patterns and give rise to highly malignant subpopulations both capable of EMT and with properties of cancer stem cells (CSCs).
PMCID: PMC3916343  PMID: 24516569
20.  Resistance to apoptosis should not be taken as a hallmark of cancer 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2014;33(2):47-50.
In the research community, resistance to apoptosis is often considered a hallmark of cancer. However, pathologists who diagnose cancer via microscope often see the opposite. Indeed, increased apoptosis and mitosis are usually observed simultaneously in cancerous lesions. Studies have shown that increased apoptosis is associated with cancer aggressiveness and poor clinical outcome. Furthermore, overexpression of Bcl-2, an antiapoptotic protein, is linked with better survival of cancer patients. Conversely, Bax, CD95, Caspase-3, and other apoptosis-inducing proteins have been found to promote carcinogenesis. This notion of the role of apoptosis in cancer is not new; cancer cells were found to be short-lived 88 years ago. Given these observations, resistance to apoptosis should not be considered a hallmark of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3935005  PMID: 24417874
Cancer; apoptosis; Bcl-2; hallmark
21.  Identification and Molecular Characterization of a Chitin Deacetylase from Bombyx mori Peritrophic Membrane 
The insect midgut epithelium is generally lined with a unique chitin and protein structure, the peritrophic membrane (PM), which facilitates food digestion and protects the gut epithelium. PM proteins are important determinants for PM structure and formation. In this study, the silkworm Bombyx mori midgut PM protein BmCDA7 was identified by proteomic tools. The full-length BmCDA7 cDNA is 1357 bp; the deduced protein is composed of 379 amino acid residues and includes a 16 amino acid residue signal peptide, a putative polysaccharide deacetylase-like domain and 15 cysteine residues present in three clusters. The heterologously expressed proteins of the BmCDA7 gene in yeast displayed chitin deacetylase activity. Expression of B. mori BmCDA7 was detected in the midgut at both the transcriptional and translational levels. The BmCDA7 gene was expressed by the newly hatched silkworm larvae until day seven of the fifth instar and was expressed at a high level in the newly exuviated larvae of different instars. The functions and regulatory mechanism of BmCDA7, however, need further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3958831  PMID: 24473143
Bombyx mori; peritrophic membrane; 2-D electrophoresis; chitin deacetylase; phylogenetic relationship
22.  Altered protein prenylation in Sertoli cells is associated with adult infertility resulting from childhood mumps infection 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(8):1559-1574.
Loss of GGPPS from childhood mumps infection or deletion in mice results in constitutively activated MAPK and NF-kB signaling that induces spermatogonium apoptosis, macrophage invasion into seminiferous tubules, and sterility.
Mumps commonly affects children 5–9 yr of age, and can lead to permanent adult sterility in certain cases. However, the etiology of this long-term effect remains unclear. Mumps infection results in progressive degeneration of the seminiferous epithelium and, occasionally, Sertoli cell–only syndrome. Thus, the remaining Sertoli cells may be critical to spermatogenesis recovery after orchitis healing. Here, we report that the protein farnesylation/geranylgeranylation balance is critical for patients’ fertility. The expression of geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase 1 (GGPPS) was decreased due to elevated promoter methylation in the testes of infertile patients with mumps infection history. When we deleted GGPPS in mouse Sertoli cells, these cells remained intact, whereas the adjacent spermatogonia significantly decreased after the fifth postnatal day. The proinflammatory MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways were constitutively activated in GGPPS−/− Sertoli cells due to the enhanced farnesylation of H-Ras. GGPPS−/− Sertoli cells secreted an array of cytokines to stimulate spermatogonia apoptosis, and chemokines to induce macrophage invasion into the seminiferous tubules. Invaded macrophages further blocked spermatogonia development, resulting in a long-term effect through to adulthood. Notably, this defect could be rescued by GGPP administration in EMCV-challenged mice. Our results suggest a novel mechanism by which mumps infection during childhood results in adult sterility.
PMCID: PMC3727317  PMID: 23825187
23.  SiO2 nanoparticles change colour preference and cause Parkinson's-like behaviour in zebrafish 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3810.
With advances in the development of various disciplines, there is a need to decipher bio-behavioural mechanisms via interdisciplinary means. Here, we present an interdisciplinary study of the role of silica nanoparticles (SiO2-NPs) in disturbing the neural behaviours of zebrafish and a possible physiological mechanism for this phenomenon. We used adult zebrafish as an animal model to evaluate the roles of size (15-nm and 50-nm) and concentration (300 μg/mL and 1000 μg/mL) in SiO2-NP neurotoxicity via behavioural and physiological analyses. With the aid of video tracking and data mining, we detected changes in behavioural phenotypes. We found that compared with 50-nm nanosilica, 15-nm SiO2-NPs produced greater significant changes in advanced cognitive neurobehavioural patterns (colour preference) and caused potentially Parkinson's disease-like behaviour. Analyses at the tissue, cell and molecular levels corroborated the behavioural results, demonstrating that nanosilica acted on the retina and dopaminergic (DA) neurons to change colour preference and to cause potentially Parkinson's disease-like behaviour.
PMCID: PMC3898208  PMID: 24448416
24.  The Predictive but Not Prognostic Value of MGMT Promoter Methylation Status in Elderly Glioblastoma Patients: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85102.
The clinical implication of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter status is ill-defined in elderly glioblastoma patients. Here we report a meta-analysis to seek valid evidence for its clinical relevance in this subpopulation.
Literature were searched and reviewed in a systematic manner using the PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. Studies investigating the association between MGMT promoter status and survival data of elderly patients (≥65 years) were eligible for inclusion.
Totally 16 studies were identified, with 13 studies included in the final analyses. The aggregate proportion of MGMT promoter methylation in elderly patients was 47% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 42–52%), which was similar to the value for younger patients. The analyses showed differential effects of MGMT status on overall survival (OS) of elderly patients according to assigned treatments: methylated vs. unmethylated: (1) temozolomide (TMZ)-containing therapies: hazard ratio [HR] 0.49, 95% CI 0.41–0.58; (2) TMZ-free therapies: HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.77–1.21. More importantly, a useful predictive value was observed by an interaction analysis: TMZ-containing therapies vs. RT alone: (1) methylated tumors: HR 0.48, 95% CI 0.36–0.65; (2) unmethylated tumors: HR 1.14; 95% CI 0.90–1.44.
The meta-analysis reports an age-independent presence of MGMT promoter methylation. More importantly, the study encouraged routine testing of MGMT promoter status especially in elderly glioblastoma patients by indicating a direct linkage between biomarker test and individual treatment decision. Future studies are needed to justify the mandatory testing in younger patients.
PMCID: PMC3890309  PMID: 24454798
25.  Nano-assembly of Surfactants with Interfacial Drug-Interactive Motifs as Tailor-Designed Drug Carriers 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2012;10(1):187-198.
PEGylated lipopeptide surfactants carrying drug-interactive motifs specific for a peptide-nitroxide antioxidant, JP4-039, were designed and constructed to facilitate the solubilization of this drug candidate as micelles and emulsion nanoparticles. A simple screening process based on the ability that prevents the formation of crystals of JP4-039 in aqueous solution was used to identify agents that have potential drug-interactive activities. Several protected lysine derivatives possessing this activity were identified, of which α-Fmoc-ε-tBoc lysine is the most potent, followed by α-Cbz- and α-iso-butyloxycarbonyl-ε-tBoc-lysine. Using polymer-supported liquid-phase synthesis approach, a series of synthetic lipopeptide surfactants with PEG head group, varied numbers and geometries of α-Fmoc or α-Cbz-lysyl groups located at interfacial region as the drug-interactive domains, and oleoyl chains as the hydrophobic tails were synthesized. All α-Fmoc-lysyl-containing lipopeptide surfactants were able to solubilize JP4-039 as micelles, with enhanced solubilizing activity for surfactants with increased numbers of α-Fmoc groups. The PEGylated lipopeptide surfactants with α-Fmoc-lysyl groups alone tend to form filamentous or worm-like micelles. The presence of JP4-039 transformed α-Fmoc-containing filamentous micelles into dots and bar-like mixed micelles with substantially reduced sizes. Fluorescence quenching and NMR studies revealed that the drug and surfactant molecules were in a close proximity in the complex. JP4-039-loaded emulsion carrying α-Cbz-containing surfactants demonstrated enhanced stability over drug loaded emulsion without lipopeptide surfactants. JP4-039-emulsion showed significant mitigation effect on mice exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. PEGylated lipopeptides with an interfacially located drug-interactive domain are therefore tailor-designed formulation materials potentially useful for drug development.
PMCID: PMC3540186  PMID: 23244299
surfactant; Fmoc; interface; micelle; emulsion; nitroxide; JP4-039

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