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1.  Genome-wide analysis reveals adaptation to high altitudes in Tibetan sheep 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:26770.
Tibetan sheep have lived on the Tibetan Plateau for thousands of years; however, the process and consequences of adaptation to this extreme environment have not been elucidated for important livestock such as sheep. Here, seven sheep breeds, representing both highland and lowland breeds from different areas of China, were genotyped for a genome-wide collection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The FST and XP-EHH approaches were used to identify regions harbouring local positive selection between these highland and lowland breeds, and 236 genes were identified. We detected selection events spanning genes involved in angiogenesis, energy production and erythropoiesis. In particular, several candidate genes were associated with high-altitude hypoxia, including EPAS1, CRYAA, LONP1, NF1, DPP4, SOD1, PPARG and SOCS2. EPAS1 plays a crucial role in hypoxia adaption; therefore, we investigated the exon sequences of EPAS1 and identified 12 mutations. Analysis of the relationship between blood-related phenotypes and EPAS1 genotypes in additional highland sheep revealed that a homozygous mutation at a relatively conserved site in the EPAS1 3′ untranslated region was associated with increased mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and mean corpuscular volume. Taken together, our results provide evidence of the genetic diversity of highland sheep and indicate potential high-altitude hypoxia adaptation mechanisms, including the role of EPAS1 in adaptation.
PMCID: PMC4882523  PMID: 27230812
2.  Genome-wide analysis reveals population structure and selection in Chinese indigenous sheep breeds 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):194.
Traditionally, Chinese indigenous sheep were classified geographically and morphologically into three groups: Mongolian, Kazakh and Tibetan. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the population structure and genome selection among 140 individuals from ten representative Chinese indigenous sheep breeds: Ujimqin, Hu, Tong, Large-Tailed Han and Lop breed (Mongolian group); Duolang and Kazakh (Kazakh group); and Diqing, Plateau-type Tibetan, and Valley-type Tibetan breed (Tibetan group).
We analyzed the population using principal component analysis (PCA), STRUCTURE and a Neighbor-Joining (NJ)-tree. In PCA plot, the Tibetan and Mongolian groups were clustered as expected; however, Duolang and Kazakh (Kazakh group) were segregated. STRUCTURE analyses suggested two subpopulations: one from North China (Kazakh and Mongolian groups) and the other from the Southwest (Tibetan group). In the NJ-tree, the Tibetan group formed an independent branch and the Kazakh and Mongolian groups were mixed. We then used the di statistic approach to reveal selection in Chinese indigenous sheep breeds. Among the 599 genome sequence windows analyzed, sixteen (2.7%) exhibited signatures of selection in four or more breeds. We detected three strong selection windows involving three functional genes: RXFP2, PPP1CC and PDGFD. PDGFD, one of the four subfamilies of PDGF, which promotes proliferation and inhibits differentiation of preadipocytes, was significantly selected in fat type breeds by the Rsb (across pairs of populations) approach. Two consecutive selection regions in Duolang sheep were obviously different to other breeds. One region was in OAR2 including three genes (NPR2, SPAG8 and HINT2) the influence growth traits. The other region was in OAR 6 including four genes (PKD2, SPP1, MEPE, and IBSP) associated with a milk production quantitative trait locus. We also identified known candidate genes such as BMPR1B, MSRB3, and three genes (KIT, MC1R, and FRY) that influence lambing percentage, ear size and coat phenotypes, respectively.
Based on the results presented here, we propose that Chinese native sheep can be divided into two genetic groups: the thin type (Tibetan group), and the fat type (Mongolian and Kazakh group). We also identified important genes that drive valuable phenotypes in Chinese indigenous sheep, especially PDGFD, which may influence fat deposition in fat type sheep.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1384-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4404018  PMID: 25888314
Genome-wide analysis; China indigenous sheep; Population analysis; Selection signal analysis
3.  Identification of Norovirus as the Top Enteric Viruses Detected in Adult Cases with Acute Gastroenteritis 
To elucidate the importance of the norovirus and other enteric viruses, and the difference of the genetic relatedness on norovirus between the outbreak and sporadic cases, a total of 557 stool samples, consisting of 503 sporadic cases and 54 samples of 4 outbreaks were collected and tested for norovirus and other enteric viruses in Beijing, China, July 2007–June 2008. The data showed norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus, were detected in 26.6%, 6.1%, 1.8%, and 0.5%, respectively. Norovirus was detected almost throughout the surveillance period, norovirus co-infecting with rotavirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus, respectively, were identified both in outbreak and the sporadic cases. GII.4/2006 was identified as the predominant strain circulating both in outbreak and sporadic cases. The results showed that norovirus was rather the important agent than other enteric viruses affected adults with acute gastroenteritis; no significant genetic relatedness of the dominant strains was found between the outbreak and sporadic cases.
PMCID: PMC2844560  PMID: 20348525
4.  Caspase-Dependent and Caspase-Independent Pathways Are Involved in Cadmium-Induced Apoptosis in Primary Rat Proximal Tubular Cell Culture 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0166823.
We designed this study to investigate whether cadmium induces caspase-independent apoptosis and to investigate the relationship between the caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptotic pathways. Cadmium (1.25–2.5 μM) induced oxidative stress in rat proximal tubular (rPT) cells, as seen in the reactive oxygen species levels; N-acetylcysteine prevented this. Cyclosporin A (CsA) prevented mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening and apoptosis; there was mitochondrial ultrastructural disruption, mitochondrial cytochrome c (cyt c) translocation to the cytoplasm, and subsequent caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. Z-VAD-FMK prevented caspase-3 activation and apoptosis and decreased BNIP-3 (Bcl-2/adenovirus E1B 19-kDa interacting protein 3) expression levels and apoptosis-inducing factor/endonuclease G (AIF/Endo G) translocation. Simultaneously, cadmium induced prominent BNIP-3 expression in the mitochondria and cytoplasmic AIF/Endo G translocation to the nucleus. BNIP-3 silencing significantly prevented AIF and Endo G translocation and decreased the apoptosis rate, cyt c release, and caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. These results suggest that BNIP-3 is involved in the caspase-independent apoptotic pathway and is located upstream of AIF/Endo G; both the caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways are involved in cadmium-induced rPT cell apoptosis and act synergistically.
PMCID: PMC5115828  PMID: 27861627
5.  Characteristics and outcomes of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV seronegative children in Beijing, China, 2002–2013 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2016;16:635.
Data regarding HIV-seronegative pediatric patients with cryptococcal meningitis (CM) have been very limited.
We retrospectively reviewed non-HIV-infected in patients with CM from January 2002 through December 2013 in Beijing Children’s Hospital. Records of the all patients were obtained and compared.
The 34 children had a median age of 5.6 years. Most of the patients were male (67.6 %). Only 23.5 % of the cases had identifiable underlying diseases. The sensitivity of the CSF cryptococcal antigen, India ink smear and CSF culture in our study were 81.5, 85.3 and 82.4 %, respectively. And the sensitivity of combinations of these tests was 91.2 %. Out of the 34 patients, 16 (47.1 %) had other organs involvement in addition to the brain. The main abnormal features via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were Virchow-Robin space dilatation (44.4 %), hydrocephalus (38.9 %), gelatinous pseudocysts (33.3 %), brain atrophy (33.3 %), meningeal enhancement (27.8 %) and local lesions (27.8 %). In total, 64.7 % of the patients were successfully treated at discharge, whereas treatment failed in 35.3 % of the patients.
Cryptococcal meningitis is an infrequent disease with a high fatality rate in children in China. The majority of patients were apparently healthy. Clinicians should consider cryptococcal infection as a potential pathogen of pediatric meningitis. Cryptococcal antigen, India ink smear and culture tests are recommended for diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC5097362  PMID: 27814690
6.  Recombinant epidermal growth factor-like domain-1 from coagulation factor VII functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles for targeted glioma magnetic resonance imaging 
The highly infiltrative and invasive nature of glioma cells often leads to blurred tumor margins, resulting in incomplete tumor resection and tumor recurrence. Accurate detection and precise delineation of glioma help in preoperative delineation, surgical planning and survival prediction. In this study, recombinant epidermal growth factor-like domain-1, derived from human coagulation factor VII, was conjugated to iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) for targeted glioma magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The synthesized EGF1-EGFP-IONPs exhibited excellent targeting ability toward tissue factor (TF)-positive U87MG cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells in vitro, and demonstrated persistent and efficient MR contrast enhancement up to 12 h for preclinical glioma models with high targeting specificity in vivo. They hold great potential for clinical translation and developing targeted theranostics against brain glioma.
PMCID: PMC5063593  PMID: 27785017
epidermal growth factor-like domain-1; tissue factor; iron oxide nanoparticles; MRI; glioma
7.  The genetic landscape and clinical implications of vertebral anomalies in VACTERL association 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2016;53(7):431-437.
VACTERL association is a condition comprising multisystem congenital malformations, causing severe physical disability in affected individuals. It is typically defined by the concurrence of at least three of the following component features: vertebral anomalies (V), anal atresia (A), cardiac malformations (C), tracheo-oesophageal fistula (TE), renal dysplasia (R) and limb abnormalities (L). Vertebral anomaly is one of the most important and common defects that has been reported in approximately 60–95% of all VACTERL patients. Recent breakthroughs have suggested that genetic factors play an important role in VACTERL association, especially in those with vertebral phenotypes. In this review, we summarised the genetic studies of the VACTERL association, especially focusing on the genetic aetiology of patients with vertebral anomalies. Furthermore, genetic reports of other syndromes with vertebral phenotypes overlapping with VACTERL association are also included. We aim to provide a further understanding of the genetic aetiology and a better evidence for genetic diagnosis of the association and vertebral anomalies.
PMCID: PMC4941148  PMID: 27084730
VACTERL association; Vertebral anomalies; Gene
8.  Effect of High Dietary Tryptophan on Intestinal Morphology and Tight Junction Protein of Weaned Pig 
BioMed Research International  2016;2016:2912418.
Tryptophan (Trp) plays an essential role in pig behavior and growth performances. However, little is known about Trp's effects on tight junction barrier and intestinal health in weaned pigs. In the present study, twenty-four (24) weaned pigs were randomly assigned to one of the three treatments with 8 piglets/treatments. The piglets were fed different amounts of L-tryptophan (L-Trp) as follows: 0.0%, 0.15, and 0.75%, respectively, named zero Trp (ZTS), low Trp (LTS), and high Trp (HTS), respectively. No significant differences were observed in average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and gain: feed (G/F) ratio between the groups. After 21 days of the feeding trial, results showed that dietary Trp significantly increased (P < 0.05) crypt depth and significantly decreased (P < 0.05) villus height to crypt depth ratio (VH/CD) in the jejunum of pig fed HTS. In addition, pig fed HTS had higher (P < 0.05) serum diamine oxidase (DAO) and D-lactate. Furthermore, pig fed HTS significantly decreased mRNA expression of tight junction proteins occludin and ZO-1 but not claudin-1 in the jejunum. The number of intraepithelial lymphocytes and goblet cells were not significantly different (P > 0.05) between the groups. Collectively, these data suggest that dietary Trp supplementation at a certain level (0.75%) may negatively affect the small intestinal structure in weaned pig.
PMCID: PMC4913049  PMID: 27366740
9.  The role of long-term label-retaining cells in the regeneration of adult mouse kidney after ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Label-retaining cells (LRCs) have been recognized as rare stem and progenitor-like cells, but their complex biological features in renal repair at the cellular level have never been reported. This study was conducted to evaluate whether LRCs in kidney are indeed renal stem/progenitor cells and to delineate their potential role in kidney regeneration.
We utilized a long-term pulse chase of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled cells in C57BL/6J mice to identify renal LRCs. We tracked the precise morphological characteristics and locations of BrdU+LRCs by both immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. To examine whether these BrdU+LRCs contribute to the repair of acute kidney injury, we analyzed biological characteristics of BrdU+LRCs in mice after ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.
The findings revealed that the nuclei of BrdU+ LRCs exhibited different morphological characteristics in normal adult kidneys, including nuclei in pairs or scattered, fragmented or intact, strongly or weakly positive. Only 24.3 ± 1.5 % of BrdU+ LRCs co-expressed with Ki67 and 9.1 ± 1.4 % of BrdU+ LRCs were positive for TUNEL following renal I/R injury. Interestingly, we found that newly regenerated cells formed a niche-like structure and LRCs in pairs tended to locate in this structure, but the number of those LRCs was very low. We found a few scattered LRCs co-expressed Lotus tetragonolobus agglutinin (LTA) in the early phase of injury, suggesting differentiation of those LRCs in mouse kidney.
Our findings suggest that LRCs are not a simple type of slow-cycling cells in adult kidneys, indicating a limited role of these cells in the regeneration of I/R injured kidney. Thus, LRCs cannot reliably be considered stem/progenitor cells in the regeneration of adult mouse kidney. When researchers use this technique to study the cellular basis of renal repair, these complex features of renal LRCs and the purity of real stem cells among renal LRCs should be considered.
PMCID: PMC4852428  PMID: 27137761
Label-retaining cells; Renal stem cells; Renal progenitor cells; Kidney regeneration; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; AKI
10.  Analysis of chromosome 22q11 copy number variations by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification for prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defect 
Congenital heart defects (CHD) represent one of the most common birth defects. This study aimed to evaluate the value of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) as a tool to detect the copy number variations (CNVs) of 22q11 in fetuses with CHD.
A large cohort of 225 fetuses with CHD was screened by fetal echocardiography. Once common chromosome abnormalities in 30 fetuses were screened out by conventional G-banding analysis, the CNVs of chromosome 22q11 in the remaining 195 fetuses were determined by MLPA for prenatal genetic counseling. In 195 CHD fetuses with normal karyotype, 11 cases had pathological CNVs, including 22q11.2 deletion (seven cases), the deletion of 22q11 cat eye syndrome (CES) region (one case), 22q11.2 duplication (one case), 22q13.3 deletion (one case) and 17p13.3 deletion (one case). In total, our findings from MLPA screening represented 4.9 % in our cohort. Among these, three cases were inherited CNVs, and eight cases were de novo. These CNVs were further verified by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-array analysis, and their chromosomal location was refined.
This study indicated that MLPA could serve as an effective test for routine prenatal diagnosis of 22q11 in fetuses with CHD.
PMCID: PMC4693415  PMID: 26715944
Congenital heart defects; 22q11 deletion syndrome; Prenatal diagnosis; MLPA
11.  The Overexpression of IQGAP1 and β-Catenin Is Associated with Tumor Progression in Hepatocellular Carcinoma In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0133770.
The IQ-domain GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a multifunctional scaffold protein, which interacts with diverse proteins to regulate cell adhesion and cell migration. The abnormal expression of IQGAP1 widely exists in many cancers, but biological roles of IQGAP1 cooperation with its interacting proteins to involve in tumorigenesis remain to clarify. In this study, we have found that IQGAP1 interacts with β-catenin and regulates β-catenin expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. The expression levels of IQGAP1 and β-catenin and their associations have a positive correlation with cell metastasis ability in several HCC cell lines. The up-regulation of IQGAP1 and β-catenin improves cell proliferation and migration ability of HCC cells, whereas the knockdown of IQGAP1 by small interfering RNA can decrease β-catenin expression, which results in the reduction of cell proliferation and migration ability in vitro. In addition, a significantly higher expression of IQGAP1 and β-catenin also usually exists in human HCC tissues, especially their overexpression is clinicopathologically associated with tumor malignancy. Generally the overexpression and interactions of IQGAP1 and β-catenin contribute to HCC progression by promoting cell proliferation and migration.
PMCID: PMC4529304  PMID: 26252773
12.  Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the endophytic fungus Pestalotiopsis fici reveals its lifestyle and high potential for synthesis of natural products 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):28.
In recent years, the genus Pestalotiopsis is receiving increasing attention, not only because of its economic impact as a plant pathogen but also as a commonly isolated endophyte which is an important source of bioactive natural products. Pestalotiopsis fici Steyaert W106-1/CGMCC3.15140 as an endophyte of tea produces numerous novel secondary metabolites, including chloropupukeananin, a derivative of chlorinated pupukeanane that is first discovered in fungi. Some of them might be important as the drug leads for future pharmaceutics.
Here, we report the genome sequence of the endophytic fungus of tea Pestalotiopsis fici W106-1/CGMCC3.15140. The abundant carbohydrate-active enzymes especially significantly expanding pectinases allow the fungus to utilize the limited intercellular nutrients within the host plants, suggesting adaptation of the fungus to endophytic lifestyle. The P. fici genome encodes a rich set of secondary metabolite synthesis genes, including 27 polyketide synthases (PKSs), 12 non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs), five dimethylallyl tryptophan synthases, four putative PKS-like enzymes, 15 putative NRPS-like enzymes, 15 terpenoid synthases, seven terpenoid cyclases, seven fatty-acid synthases, and five hybrids of PKS-NRPS. The majority of these core enzymes distributed into 74 secondary metabolite clusters. The putative Diels-Alderase genes have undergone expansion.
The significant expansion of pectinase encoding genes provides essential insight in the life strategy of endophytes, and richness of gene clusters for secondary metabolites reveals high potential of natural products of endophytic fungi.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1190-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320822  PMID: 25623211
Genome; Endophyte; Pestalotiopsis fici; Secondary metabolite
13.  Plasmon resonance enhanced multicolour photodetection by graphene 
Nature communications  2011;2:579.
Graphene has the potential for high-speed, wide-band photodetection, but only with very low external quantum efficiency and no spectral selectivity. Here we report a dramatic enhancement of the overall quantum efficiency and spectral selectivity that enables multicolour photodetection, by coupling graphene with plasmonic nanostructures. We show that metallic plasmonic nanostructures can be integrated with graphene photodetectors to greatly enhance the photocurrent and external quantum efficiency by up to 1,500%. Plasmonic nanostructures of variable resonance frequencies selectively amplify the photoresponse of graphene to light of different wavelengths, enabling highly specific detection of multicolours. Being atomically thin, graphene photodetectors effectively exploit the local plasmonic enhancement effect to achieve a significant enhancement factor not normally possible with traditional planar semiconductor materials.
PMCID: PMC4235953  PMID: 22146398
14.  Effects of crowding and sex on fecal cortisol levels of captive forest musk deer 
Biological Research  2014;47(1):48.
Restricted space and close contact with conspecifics in captivity may be stressful for musk deer, as they are highly territorial and solitary in the wild. So we tested the effects of crowding on stress of forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) in heterosexual groups, using fecal cortisol analysis as a non-invasive method. 32 healthy adults during non-breeding seasons were chose as our experimental objects. Group 1 was defined as higher crowding condition, with 10-15 m2/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂); group 2 was defined as lower crowding condition, with 23-33 m2/deer (6 enclosures, 10♀ and 6♂). Every enclosure contained 1 male and 3 female. These patterns had been existed for years.
The results showed that females in lower crowding condition (217.1 ± 9.5 ug/g) had significantly higher fecal cortisol levels than those in higher crowding condition (177.2 ± 12.1 ug/g). Interestingly, crowding seemed have no effect on male fecal cortisol levels (148.1 ± 9.1 ug/g and 140.5 ± 13.3 ug/g, respectively). At both groups, cortisol was significantly lower in males than in females.
These results showed that chronic crowding may affect stress status of captive forest musk deer. The captive environment should consider the space need for musk deer.
PMCID: PMC4222733  PMID: 25418206
Captivity; M. berezovskii; Fecal cortisol; Chronic stress; Crowding
15.  Relationship between lipids levels and right ventricular volume overload in congestive heart failure 
The relationship between lipids and coronary artery disease has been well established. However, this is not the case between lipids and heart failure. Ironically, high lipid levels are associated with better outcomes in heart failure, but the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon are not fully understood. This study was performed to test the hypothesis that reduced intestinal lipid absorption due to venous congestion may lead to low lipid levels.
We collected data of clinical characteristics, echocardiograph, and lipid profile in 442 unselected patients with congestive heart failure. Correlations between lipid levels [including total cholesterol (TCL), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides (TG)] and right ventricle end diastolic diameter (RVEDD), left ventricle end diastolic diameter (LVEDD), right atrium diameter (RA), left atrium diameter (LA), or left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) were analyzed using Pearson correlation and partial correlation. RVEDD, LVEDD, RA, and LA were indexed to the body surface area.
There was a significantly inverse correlation between TCL levels and RVEDD (r = −0.34, P < 0.001) and RA (r = −0.36, P < 0.001). Other lipids such as LDL-C, HDL-C, and TG had a similar inverse correlation with RVEDD and RA. All these correlations remained unchanged after adjusting for age, gender, smoking status, physical activity levels, comorbidities, and medication use.
Lipid levels were inversely correlated to RVEDD in patients with congestive heart failure; however, because this was an observational study, further investigation is needed to verify our results as well as identify a causal relationship, if any.
PMCID: PMC4178509  PMID: 25278966
Lipid levels; Heart failure; Right ventricle; Volume overload; Correlation analysis
16.  Maternal germline mosaicism of kinesin family member 21A (KIF21A) mutation causes complex phenotypes in a Chinese family with congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles 
Molecular Vision  2014;20:15-23.
To identify the causative mutation with its possible origin in a Chinese family with congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles type 1 (CFEOM1) and to characterize the ocular phenotypes and lesions in the corresponding intracranial nerves.
Three affected siblings and their asymptomatic parents underwent comprehensive ophthalmic examinations and neuropathologic analysis involving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). KIF21A, PHOX2A, and TUBB3 genes were sequenced on the leukocyte-derived DNA to detect variants. The disease-linked haplotype was analyzed using four microsatellite markers across the KIF21A locus.
All three affected individuals displayed typical CFEOM1. MRI revealed complicated but consistent neuromuscular abnormalities in the two patients examined, including hypoplastic oculomotor nerves, complete absence of bilateral superior rectus muscles, and unilateral absence of the abducens nerve with marked atrophy of the corresponding lateral rectus muscle. A heterozygous hotspot mutation KIF21A c.2860C>T was identified in all patients, but it was absent in both parents. Haplotype analysis of the disease locus showed the likely maternal inheritance of the disease-associated haplotype to all three affected offspring, strongly suggesting maternal germline mosaicism of the mutation.
Germline mosaicism of KIF21A c.2860C>T is likely to cause the high occurrence of this mutation in the population. This information may be useful for genetic counseling. KIF21A mutations can affect the abducens nerve and cause complete absence of the bilateral superior rectus muscles. MRI characterization of new CFEOM1 phenotypes would assist clinical management.
PMCID: PMC3888497  PMID: 24426772
17.  Domain Wall Motion in Synthetic Co2Si Nanowires 
Nano letters  2012;12(4):1972-1976.
We report the synthesis of single crystalline Co2Si nanowires, and electrical transport studies of single Co2Si nanowire devices at low temperature. The butterfly-shaped magnetoresistance shows interesting ferromagnetic features including negative magnetoresistance, hysteretic switch fields and step-wise drops in magnetoresistance. The non-smooth step-wise magnetoresistance response is attributed to magnetic domain wall pinning and de-pinning motion in the Co2Si nanowires probably at crystal defects or morphology defects. The temperature dependence of the domain wall de-pinning field is observed and is described by a model based on thermally assisted domain wall de-pinning over a single energy barrier.
PMCID: PMC3493485  PMID: 22469009
nanowires; magnetoresistance; domain wall; de-pinning field
18.  Serum uric acid as an index of impaired renal function in congestive heart failure 
Hyperuricemia is frequently present in patients with heart failure. Many pathological conditions, such as tissue ischemia, renal function impairment, cardiac function impairment, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory status, may impact uric acid (UA) metabolism. This study was to assess their potential relations to UA metabolism in heart failure.
We retrospectively assessed clinical characteristics, echocardiological, renal, metabolic and inflammatory variables selected on the basis of previous evidence of their involvement in cardiovascular diseases and UA metabolism in a large cohort of randomly selected adults with congestive heart failure (n = 553). By clustering of indices, those variables were explored using factor analysis.
In factor analysis, serum uric acid (SUA) formed part of a principal cluster of renal functional variables which included serum creatinine (SCr) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Univariate correlation coefficients between variables of patients with congestive heart failure showed that the strongest correlations for SUA were with BUN (r = 0.48, P < 0.001) and SCr (r = 0.47, P < 0.001).
There was an inverse relationship between SUA levels and measures of renal function in patients with congestive heart failure. The strong correlation between SUA and SCr and BUN levels suggests that elevated SUA concentrations reflect an impairment of renal function in heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3418902  PMID: 22916059
Serum uric acid; Heart failure; Renal function impairment; Factor analysis
19.  Clinical characteristics of the autumn-winter type scrub typhus cases in south of Shandong province, northern China 
Before 1986, scrub typhus was only found endemic in southern China. Because human infections typically occur in the summer, it is called "summer type". During the autumn-winter period of 1986, a new type of scrub typhus was identified in Shandong and northern Jiangsu province of northern China. This newly recognized scrub typhus was subsequently reported in many areas of northern China and was then called "autumn-winter type". However, clinical characteristics of associated cases have not been reported.
From 1995 to 2006, all suspected scrub typhus cases in five township hospitals of Feixian county, Shandong province were enrolled. Indirect immunofluorescent assay (IFA) was used as confirmatory serodiagnosis test. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) connected with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequence analyses were used for genotyping of O. tsutsugamushi DNAs. Clinical symptoms and demography of confirmed cases were analyzed.
A total of 480 scrub typhus cases were confirmed. The cases occurred every year exclusively between September and December with a peak occurrence in October. The case numbers were relatively higher in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2000 than in other years. 57.9% of cases were in the group aged 21–50. More cases occurred in male (56%) than in female (44%). The predominant occupational group of the cases was farmers (85.0%). Farm work was reported the primary exposure to infection in 67.7% of cases. Fever, rash, and eschar were observed in 100.0%, 90.4%, and 88.5% of cases, respectively. Eschars formed frequently on or around umbilicus, abdomen areas, and front and back of waist (34.1%) in both genders. Normal results were observed in 88.7% (WBC counts), 84.5% (PLT counts), and 89.7% (RBC counts) of cases, respectively. Observations from the five hospitals were compared and no significant differences were found.
The autumn-winter type scrub typhus in northern China occurred exclusively from September to December with a peak occurrence in October, which was different from the summer type in southern China. In comparison with the summer type, complications associated with autumn-winter type scrub typhus were less severe, and abnormalities of routine hematological parameters were less obvious.
PMCID: PMC2703643  PMID: 19493361
20.  Potent diuretic effects of prednisone in heart failure patients with refractory diuretic resistance 
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology  2007;23(11):865-868.
Refractory congestive heart failure (CHF) with diuretic resistance is life-threatening and predicts a short life expectancy. Glucocorticoids have been proven to have potent diuretic effects in animal studies; however, their efficacy in CHF patients with diuretic resistance is not known.
Thirteen CHF patients with significant volume overload and diuretic resistance who failed to respond to a conventional sequential nephron blockade therapeutic strategy; that is, the coad-ministration of a thiazide (hydrochlorothiazide) and spironolactone, in combination with loop diuretics, were studied. Prednisone (1 mg/kg daily) was then added to standard care, with other medications unchanged, to determine diuretic efficacy in these CHF patients. Variables included body weight, urine volume, serum electrolytes and renal function.
Adding prednisone resulted in striking diuresis with a mean (± SD) body weight reduction of 9.39±3.09 kg. Prednisone significantly decreased serum creatinine by 52.21±48.68 μmol/L and increased glomerular filtration rate by 33.63±15.87 mL/min/1.73 m2 compared with baseline. All patients were discharged from hospital with improved clinical status and renal function, and 11 patients remained alive in the long term. The main side effect of prednisone appeared to be hyperglycemia in diabetic patients.
The present study demonstrated that prednisone can rapidly eliminate volume overload and improve clinical status and renal function in CHF patients with diuretic resistance. Further prospective randomized clinical studies are warranted to confirm its clinical efficacy.
PMCID: PMC2651362  PMID: 17876376
Diuretic resistance; Furosemide; Heart failure; Prednisone; Renal function; Spironolactone
21.  Glycolytic Reprogramming in Myofibroblast Differentiation and Lung Fibrosis 
Rationale: Dysregulation of cellular metabolism has been shown to participate in several pathologic processes. However, the role of metabolic reprogramming is not well appreciated in the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis.
Objectives: To determine if glycolytic reprogramming participates in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis and assess the therapeutic potential of glycolytic inhibition in treating lung fibrosis.
Methods: A cell metabolism assay was performed to determine glycolytic flux and mitochondrial respiration. Lactate levels were measured to assess glycolysis in fibroblasts and lungs. Glycolytic inhibition by genetic and pharmacologic approaches was used to demonstrate the critical role of glycolysis in lung fibrosis.
Measurements and Main Results: Augmentation of glycolysis is an early and sustained event during myofibroblast differentiation, which is dependent on the increased expression of critical glycolytic enzymes, in particular, 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3). Augmented glycolysis contributes to the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α, a master regulator of glycolytic enzymes implicated in organ fibrosis, by increasing cellular levels of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate succinate in lung myofibroblasts. Inhibition of glycolysis by the PFKFB3 inhibitor 3PO or genomic disruption of the PFKFB3 gene blunted the differentiation of lung fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, and attenuated profibrotic phenotypes in myofibroblasts isolated from the lungs of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Inhibition of glycolysis by 3PO demonstrates therapeutic benefit in bleomycin-induced and transforming growth factor-β1–induced lung fibrosis in mice.
Conclusions: Our data support the novel concept of glycolytic reprogramming in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis and provide proof-of-concept that targeting this pathway may be efficacious in treating fibrotic disorders, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4731722  PMID: 26284610
lung fibrosis; glycolysis; myofibroblast; PFKFB3; HIF-1α
23.  Integrated Multiple “-omics” Data Reveal Subtypes of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0165457.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most heterogeneous cancers, as reflected by its multiple grades and difficulty to subtype. In this study, we integrated copy number variation, DNA methylation, mRNA, and miRNA data with the developed “cluster of cluster” method and classified 256 HCC samples from TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) into five major subgroups (S1-S5). We observed that this classification was associated with specific mutations and protein expression, and we detected that each subgroup had distinct molecular signatures. The subclasses were associated not only with survival but also with clinical observations. S1 was characterized by bulk amplification on 8q24, TP53 mutation, low lipid metabolism, highly expressed onco-proteins, attenuated tumor suppressor proteins and a worse survival rate. S2 and S3 were characterized by telomere hypomethylation and a low expression of TERT and DNMT1/3B. Compared to S2, S3 was associated with less copy number variation and some good prognosis biomarkers, including CRP and CYP2E1. In contrast, the mutation rate of CTNNB1 was higher in S3. S4 was associated with bulk amplification and various molecular characteristics at different biological levels. In summary, we classified the HCC samples into five subgroups using multiple “-omics” data. Each subgroup had a distinct survival rate and molecular signature, which may provide information about the pathogenesis of subtypes in HCC.
PMCID: PMC5091875  PMID: 27806083
24.  KDM4C, a H3K9me3 Histone Demethylase, is Involved in the Maintenance of Human ESCC-Initiating Cells by Epigenetically Enhancing SOX2 Expression1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2016;18(10):594-609.
Our studies investigating the existence of tumor-initiating cell (TIC) populations in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) had identified a subpopulation of cells isolated from ESCC patient-derived tumor specimens marked by an ALDHbri+ phenotype bear stem cell-like features. Importantly, KDM4C, a histone demethylase was enhanced in ALDHbri+ subpopulation, suggesting that strategies interfering with KDM4C may be able to target these putative TICs. In the present study, by genetic and chemical means, we demonstrated that, KDM4C blockade selectively decreased the ESCC ALDHbri+ TICs population in vitro and specifically targeted the TICs in ALDHbri+-derived xenograft, retarding engraftment. Subsequent studies of the KDM4C functional network identified a subset of pluripotency-associated genes (PAGs) and aldehyde dehydrogenase family members to be preferentially down-regulated in KDM4C inhibited ALDHbri+ TICs. We further supported a model in which KDM4C maintains permissive histone modifications with a low level of H3K9 methylation at the promoters of several PAGs. Moreover, ectopic expression of SOX2 restored KDM4C inhibition-dependent ALDHbri+ TIC properties. We further confirmed these findings by showing that the cytoplasmic and nuclear KDM4C staining increased with adverse pathologic phenotypes and poor patient survival. Such staining pattern of intracellular KDM4C appeared to overlap with the expression of SOX2 and ALDH1. Collectively, our findings provided the insights into the development of novel therapeutic strategies based on the inhibition of KDM4C pathway for the eliminating of ESCC TIC compartment.
PMCID: PMC5035342  PMID: 27742014
ESCC, Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; TICs, Tumor-initiating cells; KDM4C, Lysine (K)-specific demethylase 4C
25.  Identification and isolation of kidney-derived stem cells from transgenic rats with diphtheria toxin-induced kidney damage 
Adult stem cells have been well characterized in numerous organs, with the exception of the kidneys. Therefore, the present study aimed to identify and isolate kidney-derived stem cells. A total of 12 Fischer 344 transgenic rats expressing the human diphtheria toxin receptor in podocyte cells of the kidney, were used in the present study. The rats were administered 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) in order to detect cellular proliferation. After 60 days, the rats were treated with the diphtheria toxin (DT), in order to induce kidney injury. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated that the number of BrdU-positive cells were increased following DT treatment. In addition, the expression of octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct-4), a stem cell marker, was detected and suggested that kidney-specific stem cells were present in the DT-treated tissue samples. Furthermore, tissue samples exhibited repair of the DT-induced injury. Further cellular culturing was conducted in order to isolate the kidney-specific stem cells. After 5 weeks of culture, the majority of the cells were non-viable, with the exception of certain specialized, unique cell types, which were monomorphic and spindle-shaped in appearance. The unique cells were isolated and subjected to immunostaining and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analyses in order to reconfirm the expression of Oct-4 and to detect the expression of Paired box 2 (Pax-2), which is necessary for the formation of kidney structures. The unique cells were positive for Oct-4 and Pax-2; thus suggesting that the identified cells were kidney-derived stem cells. The results of the present study suggested that the unique cell type identified in the kidneys of the DT-treated rats were kidney-specific stem cells that may have been involved in the repair of DT-induced tissue injury. In addition, these cells may provide a useful cell line for studying the fundamental characteristics of kidney stem cells, as well as identifying kidney-specific stem cell markers.
PMCID: PMC4998113  PMID: 27588086
5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine labeling; octamer-binding transcription factor 4; paired box 2; kidney-derived stem cells; transgenic rats

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