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1.  Restoring Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) Habitats Using a Simple and Effective Transplanting Technique 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e92982.
Eelgrass beds in coastal waters of China have declined substantially over the past 30 years. In this study, a simple new transplanting technique was developed for eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) restoration. To assist in anchoring single shoots, several rhizomes of rooted shoots were bound to a small elongate stone (50–150 g) with biodegradable thread (cotton or hemp), and then the bound packet was buried at an angle in the sediments at a depth of 2–4 cm. This stone anchoring method was used to transplant eelgrass in early November 2009 and late May 2010 in Huiquan Bay, Qingdao. The method led to high success. Three month survivorship of the transplanted shoots at the two transplant sites was >95%. From April 20 to November 19, 2012, the following characteristics of the 2009 and 2010 transplanted eelgrass beds were monitored: morphological changes, shoot density, shoot height, leaf biomass, and sediment particle size. Results showed that the sexual reproduction period of the planted eelgrass was from April to August, and vegetative reproduction reached its peak in autumn. Maximum shoot height and biomass were observed in June and July. After becoming established, the transplanted eelgrass beds were statistically equal to natural eelgrass beds nearby in terms of shoot height, biomass, and seasonal variations. This indicates that the transplant technique is effective for eelgrass restoration in coastal waters.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092982
PMCID: PMC3973628  PMID: 24695414
2.  The Standard, Intervention Measures and Health Risk for High Water Iodine Areas 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89608.
Our study aims to clarify the population nutrient status in locations with different levels of iodine in the water in China; to choose effective measurements of water improvement(finding other drinking water source of iodine not excess) or non-iodised salt supply or combinations thereof; to classify the areas of elevated water iodine levels and the areas with endemic goiter; and to evaluate the risk factors of water iodine excess on pregnant women, lactating women and the overall population of women. From Henan, Hebei, Shandong and Shanxi province of China, for each of 50∼99 µg/L, 100∼149 µg/L, 150∼299 µg/L, and ≥300 µg/L water iodine level, three villages were selected respectively. Students of 6–12 years old and pregnant were sampled from villages of each water-iodine level of each province, excluded iodized salt consumer. Then the children's goiter volume, the children and pregnant's urinary iodine and water iodine were tested. In addition, blood samples were collected from pregnant women, lactating women and other women of reproductive age for each water iodine level in the Shanxi Province for thyroid function tests. These indicators should be matched for each person. When the water iodine exceeds 100 µg/L; the iodine nutrient of children are iodine excessive, and are adequate or more than adequate for the pregnant women. It is reasonable to define elevated water iodine areas as locations where the water iodine levels exceed 100 µg/L. The supply of non-iodised salt alone cannot ensure adequate iodine nutrition of the residents, and water improvement must be adopted, as well. Iodine excess increases the risk of certain thyroid diseases in women from one- to eightfold.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089608
PMCID: PMC3938487  PMID: 24586909
3.  Identification of Novel Subregions of LOH in Gastric Cancer and Analysis of the HIC1 and TOB1 Tumor Suppressor Genes in These Subregions 
Molecules and cells  2011;32(1):10.1007/s10059-011-2316-4.
Previously, we identified 3 overlapping regions showing loss of heterozygosity (LOH, R1-R3 from 11 to 30 cM) on chromosome 17 in 45 primary gastric cancers (GCs). The data indicated the presence of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) on chromosome 17 involved in GC. Among the putative TSGs in these regions, HIC1 (in SR1) and TOB1 (in SR3) remain to be examined in GC. By immunohistochemistry (IHC), methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and western blot, we evaluated the expression and regulation status for HIC1 and TOB1 protein in GC. We narrowed down the deletion intervals on chromosome 17 and defined five smaller LOH subregions, SR1-SR5 (0.54 to 3.42 cM), in GC. We found that HIC1 had downregulated expression in 86% (91/106) and was methylated in 87% (26/30) of primary GCs. Of the primary GCs showing downregulation of HIC1 protein, 75% (18/24) had methylated HIC1 gene. TOB1 was either absent or expressed at reduced levels in 75% (73/97) of the GC samples. In addition, a general reduction was found in total and the ratio of unphosphorylated to phosphorylated TOB1 protein levels in the differentiated GC cell lines. Further analysis revealed significant simultaneous downregulation of both HIC1 and TOB1 protein in GC tissue microarray samples (67%, 52/78) and in primary GCs (65%, 11/17). These results indicate that silencing of HIC1 and TOB1 expression is a common occurrence in GC and may contribute to the development and progression of the disease.
doi:10.1007/s10059-011-2316-4
PMCID: PMC3855460  PMID: 21533545 CAMSID: cams3769
gastric cancer; HIC1; loss of heterozygosity; methylation; TOB1
4.  Assessment of Iodine Status in Children, Adults, Pregnant Women and Lactating Women in Iodine-Replete Areas of China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81294.
Background
Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) are widespread in China. Presently, IDD have been put under control by Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) in China; however, there is a lack of evidence on whether the iodine status in adults, pregnant women and lactating women is optimal. This study was therefore conducted to assess the iodine nutrition and thyroid function of children, adults, pregnant women and lactating women residing in areas where the USI program is fully established.
Design
Six areas were selected according to the geographical regions in China. In each of these areas, we selected 4 distinct groups of subjects (children, adults, pregnant women and lactating women) in regions where the coverage rate of iodised salt was more than 95% and the levels of iodine and fluoride in drinking water were less than or equal to 10 µg/L and 1 mg/L, respectively. We tested the iodine content of salt, urinary iodine (UI), free thyroxin (FT4), thyrotropin (TSH), thyroglobulin (Tg), thyroglobulin antibody (Tg-Ab) and antimicrosomal antibody (TM-Ab) in the 4 groups, and examined the thyroid volume in children.
Results
The median urinary iodine (MUI) concentrations were 271.4 μg/L, 260.2 μg/L, 205.9 μg/L and 193.9 μg/L in children, adults, pregnant women and lactating women, respectively; MUI in children and adults were more than adequate. The goitre prevalence (GP) in children was 6.70%. The odds ratios (OR) of subclinical hypothyroidism in the Tg-Ab- or TM-Ab-positive groups were 3.80, 7.65, 2.01 and 7.47 for children, adults, pregnant women and lactating women, respectively, compared with the negative groups.
Conclusions
The iodine status in children and adults is above the requirement, we should reduce their iodine intake. Subclinical hypothyroidism easily occurs in the Tg-Ab or TM-Ab positive groups.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081294
PMCID: PMC3840003  PMID: 24282581
5.  Identification of Novel Subregions of LOH in Gastric Cancer and Analysis of the HIC1 and TOB1 Tumor Suppressor Genes in These Subregions 
Molecules and Cells  2011;32(1):47-55.
Previously, we identified 3 overlapping regions showing loss of heterozygosity (LOH, R1-R3 from 11 to 30 cM) on chromosome 17 in 45 primary gastric cancers (GCs). The data indicated the presence of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) on chromosome 17 involved in GC. Among the putative TSGs in these regions, HIC1 (in SR1) and TOB1 (in SR3) remain to be examined in GC. By immunohistochemistry (IHC), methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and western blot, we evaluated the expression and regulation status for HIC1 and TOB1 protein in GC. We narrowed down the deletion intervals on chromosome 17 and defined five smaller LOH subregions, SR1-SR5 (0.54 to 3.42 cM), in GC. We found that HIC1 had downregulated expression in 86% (91/106) and was methylated in 87% (26/30) of primary GCs. Of the primary GCs showing downregulation of HIC1 protein, 75% (18/24) had methylated HIC1 gene. TOB1 was either absent or expressed at reduced levels in 75% (73/97) of the GC samples. In addition, a general reduction was found in total and the ratio of unphosphorylated to phosphorylated TOB1 protein levels in the differentiated GC cell lines. Further analysis revealed significant simultaneous downregulation of both HIC1 and TOB1 protein in GC tissue microarray samples (67%, 52/78) and in primary GCs (65%, 11/17). These results indicate that silencing of HIC1 and TOB1 expression is a common occurrence in GC and may contribute to the development and progression of the disease.
doi:10.1007/s10059-011-2316-4
PMCID: PMC3855460  PMID: 21533545
gastric cancer; HIC1; loss of heterozygosity; methylation; TOB1
6.  Microstructure Abnormalities in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20708.
Background
Recent studies suggest that internet addiction disorder (IAD) is associated with structural abnormalities in brain gray matter. However, few studies have investigated the effects of internet addiction on the microstructural integrity of major neuronal fiber pathways, and almost no studies have assessed the microstructural changes with the duration of internet addiction.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We investigated the morphology of the brain in adolescents with IAD (N = 18) using an optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) technique, and studied the white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) changes using the diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) method, linking these brain structural measures to the duration of IAD. We provided evidences demonstrating the multiple structural changes of the brain in IAD subjects. VBM results indicated the decreased gray matter volume in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the supplementary motor area (SMA), the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the cerebellum and the left rostral ACC (rACC). DTI analysis revealed the enhanced FA value of the left posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) and reduced FA value in the white matter within the right parahippocampal gyrus (PHG). Gray matter volumes of the DLPFC, rACC, SMA, and white matter FA changes of the PLIC were significantly correlated with the duration of internet addiction in the adolescents with IAD.
Conclusions
Our results suggested that long-term internet addiction would result in brain structural alterations, which probably contributed to chronic dysfunction in subjects with IAD. The current study may shed further light on the potential brain effects of IAD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020708
PMCID: PMC3108989  PMID: 21677775
7.  The temporal-spatial encoding of acupuncture effects in the brain 
Molecular Pain  2011;7:19.
Background
Functional acupoint specificity is crucial to the clinical efficacy of acupuncture treatment, such as pain relief. Whether acupuncture needling at a peripheral acupoint produces distinct patterns of brain responses remains controversial.
Results
This fMRI study employed the complex network analysis (CNA) to test the hypothesis that acupuncture stimulation at an acupoint correspondingly induced activity changes in one or more intrinsic or resting-state brain networks. Built upon the sustained effect of acupuncture and its time-varying characteristics, we constructed a dynamic encoding system with the hub anchored at the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus (PCC/pC). We found that needling at two visual acupoints (GB37 and BL60) and a non-visual acupoint (KI8) induced a spatially converging brain response, which overlapped at the PCC/pC. We also found distinct neural modulations during and after acupoint stimulation. During this period, the PCC/pC interacted with a visual resting-state network in different patterns. Furthermore, there was a delayed functional correspondence between the intrinsic visual network and manipulation over the visual acupoints (i.e., GB37 or BL60), but not the non-visual acupoint (KI8) via the PCC/pC, implicating a specific temporal-spatial encoding/decoding mechanism underlying the post-effect of acupuncture.
Conclusions
This study provided an integrated view exploring the functional specificity of acupuncture in which both the needling sensation and the following neural cascades may contribute to the overall effect of acupuncture through dynamic reconfiguration of complex neural networks.
fMRI, acupoints, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, temporal-spatial encoding, resting-state networks
doi:10.1186/1744-8069-7-19
PMCID: PMC3071327  PMID: 21429192
8.  Comparison of the inhibitory effects of three transcriptional variants of CDKN2A in human lung cancer cell line A549 
Background
The tumor suppressor gene CDKN2A generates at least three different transcriptional variants, each of which is thought to encode a tumor suppressor. However, the inhibitory activities of these variants have not yet been compared in the same cells. Protein therapy is known to have several advantages over gene therapy. Thus, investigation of the exogenous protein molecule of the most effective suppressor may yield meaningful information regarding protein-based cancer therapy.
Methods
The inhibitory effects of p16INK4a, p14ARF and p12 were studied in the human lung cancer cell line A549 which lacks the CDKN2A locus. The eukaryotic expression plasmids of the three transcriptional variants were constructed and stably transfected into the cells. RNA and protein expression by the plasmids was confirmed using RT-PCR and fluorescence immunocytochemistry, respectively. Cell growth inhibition and cell-cycle redistribution after transfection were investigated based on growth curve and flow cytometry analyses. An exogenous His-tag fusion p16INK4a protein was obtained and purified by affinity chromatography. Cell growth inhibition and cell cycle arrest induced by the expression of p16INK4a protein were measured in A549 cells transduced with the exogenous protein.
Results
While all three variants suppressed cell growth, p16INK4a had the strongest effect. Marked G1-phase accumulation and S-phase inhibition were induced by p16INK4a and p14ARF but not by p12. Exogenous p16INK4a protein was successfully expressed and purified and transduction of the fusion protein into A549 cells inhibited cell growth by G1→S arrest.
Conclusions
Among the three transcript variants, p16INK4a has a greater inhibitory effect than p14ARF and p12; exogenous p16INK4a protein should be further investigated for use in cancer therapy as a protein agent.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-29-74
PMCID: PMC2897778  PMID: 20565749
9.  Pyrosequencing Reveals Fungal Communities in the Rhizosphere of Xinjiang Jujube 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:972481.
Fungi are important soil components as both decomposers and plant symbionts and play a major role in ecological and biogeochemical processes. However, little is known about the richness and structure of fungal communities. DNA sequencing technologies allow for the direct estimation of microbial community diversity, avoiding culture-based biases. We therefore used 454 pyrosequencing to investigate the fungal communities in the rhizosphere of Xinjiang jujube. We obtained no less than 40,488 internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA reads, the number of each sample was 6943, 6647, 6584, 6550, 6860, and 6904, and we used bioinformatics and multivariate statistics to analyze the results. The index of diversity showed greater richness in the rhizosphere fungal community of a 3-year-old jujube than in that of an 8-year-old jujube. Most operational taxonomic units belonged to Ascomycota, and taxonomic analyses identified Hypocreales as the dominant fungal order. Our results demonstrated that the fungal orders are present in different proportions in different sampling areas. Redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed a significant correlation between soil properties and the abundance of fungal phyla. Our results indicated lower fungal diversity in the rhizosphere of Xinjiang jujube than that reported in other studies, and we hope our findings provide a reference for future research.
doi:10.1155/2015/972481
PMCID: PMC4313056
10.  Correlation between Serum RANTES Levels and the Severity of Parkinson's Disease 
Inflammatory mediators may reflect a role of systemic inflammation in the neurodegenerative process of Parkinson's disease (PD). Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and chemokine ligand 5 (CCL5), also known as RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted), have been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases including PD. Serum levels of RANTES and IL-6 of 78 consecutive PD patients and age-matched 80 controls were measured. Patients with PD had higher RANTES and IL-6 levels compared with the controls. We found that serum RANTES levels strongly correlated with Hoehn-Yahr score and disease duration in PD patients. This study indicated that patients with PD have an on-going systemic inflammatory profile where the elevated peripheral production of RANTES may play a role in the neurodegenerative process.
doi:10.1155/2014/208408
PMCID: PMC4283268  PMID: 25587378
11.  Zirconium oxide ceramic foam: a promising supporting biomaterial for massive production of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor*  
This study investigated the potential application of a zirconium oxide (ZrO2) ceramic foam culturing system to the production of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Three sets of ZrO2 ceramic foams with different pore densities of 10, 20, and 30 pores per linear inch (PPI) were prepared to support a 3D culturing system. After primary astrocytes were cultured in these systems, production yields of GDNF were evaluated. The biomaterial biocompatibility, cell proliferation and activation of cellular signaling pathways in GDNF synthesis and secretion in the culturing systems were also assessed and compared with a conventional culturing system. In this study, we found that the ZrO2 ceramic foam culturing system was biocompatible, using which the GDNF yields were elevated and sustained by stimulated cell proliferation and activation of signaling pathways in astrocytes cultured in the system. In conclusion, the ZrO2 ceramic foam is promising for the development of a GDNF mass production device for Parkinson’s disease treatment.
doi:10.1631/jzus.B1400163
PMCID: PMC4265555  PMID: 25471830
Zirconium oxide; Ceramic foam; Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF); Parkinson’s disease
12.  Diallyl Disulfide Suppresses SRC/Ras/ERK Signaling-Mediated Proliferation and Metastasis in Human Breast Cancer by Up-Regulating miR-34a 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112720.
Diallyl disulfide (DADS) is one of the major volatile components of garlic oil. DADS has various biological properties, including anticancer, antiangiogenic, and antioxidant effects. However, the anticancer mechanisms of DADS in human breast cancer have not been elucidated, particularly in vivo. In this study, we demonstrated that the expression of miR-34a was up-regulated in DADS-treated MDA-MB-231 cells. miR-34a not only inhibited breast cancer growth but also enhanced the antitumor effect of DADS, both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, Src was identified as a target of miR-34a, with miR-34a inhibiting SRC expression and consequently triggering the suppression of the SRC/Ras/ERK pathway. These results suggest that DADS could be a promising anticancer agent for breast cancer. miR-34a may also demonstrate a potential gene therapy agent that could enhance the antitumor effects of DADS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112720
PMCID: PMC4232521  PMID: 25396727
13.  Easily manageable prognostic factors in 152 Chinese elderly acute myeloid leukemia patients: a single-center retrospective study 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2014;28(5):396-405.
Abstract
We retrospectively investigated the prognostic factors of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 152 Chinese patients with de novo AML who were older than 60 years of age and who received treatment at our hospital. Log-rank test showed that 6 parameters including older age, higher white blood cell (WBC) counts, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and bone marrow (BM) blasts at diagnosis, unfavorable risk cytogenetics, and non-mutated CEBPα were significant adverse prognostic factors of overall survival (OS) for elderly AML patients (P  =  0.0013, 0.0358, 0.0132, 0.0242, 0.0236 and 0.0130, respectively). Moreover, older age and higher LDH were significant adverse predictors for relapse-free survival (RFS) (P  =  0.0447 and 0.0470, respectively). Univariate analysis revealed similar results for OS to those of the log-rank test and only higher LDH at diagnosis was a significant adverse predictor for RFS (P  =  0.028, HR: 1.979, 95%CI: 1.075–3.644). In multivariate analysis, we identified 2 trends towards independent prognostic factors for OS, including BM blasts at diagnosis (P  =  0.057, HR: 1.676, 95%CI: 0.984–2.854) and mutation status of CEBPα (P  =  0.064, HR: 4.173, 95%CI: 0.918–18.966). Our data indicated that older age, gender and a previous history of hematologic diseases resulted in lower complete remission rate (P  =  0.012, 0.051 and 0.086, respectively). We further developed an easy scoring system for predicting prognosis and response to induction therapy in older AML patients. Patients who had lower scores showed significantly longer OS and RFS (P  =  0.0006 and 0.1001, respectively) and higher CR rate (P  =  0.014). Our research is limited by its retrospective nature and the results from our study need to be further validated by prospective randomized clinical trials.
doi:10.7555/JBR.28.20130164
PMCID: PMC4197391  PMID: 25332712
acute myeloid leukemia; elderly patients; prognosis factors
14.  Sympathetic Denervation-Induced MSC Mobilization in Distraction Osteogenesis Associates with Inhibition of MSC Migration and Osteogenesis by Norepinephrine/adrb3 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105976.
The sympathetic nervous system regulates bone formation and resorption under physiological conditions. However, it is still unclear how the sympathetic nerves affect stem cell migration and differentiation in bone regeneration. Distraction osteogenesis is an ideal model of bone regeneration due to its special nature as a self-engineering tissue. In this study, a rat model of mandibular distraction osteogenesis with transection of cervical sympathetic trunk was used to demonstrate that sympathetic denervation can deplete norepinephrine (NE) in distraction-induced bone callus, down-regulate β3-adrenergic receptor (adrb3) in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and promote MSC migration from perivascular regions to bone-forming units. An in vitro Transwell assay was here used to demonstrate that NE can inhibit stroma-derived factor-1 (SDF-1)-induced MSC migration and expression of the migration-related gene matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and downregulate that of the anti-migration gene tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP-3). Knockdown of adrb3 using siRNA abolishes inhibition of MSC migration. An in vitro osteogenic assay was used to show that NE can inhibit the formation of MSC bone nodules and expression of the osteogenic marker genes alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN), and runt-related transcription factor-2 (RUNX2), but knockdown of adrb3 by siRNA can abolish such inhibition of the osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. It is here concluded that sympathetic denervation-induced MSC mobilization in rat mandibular distraction osteogenesis is associated with inhibition of MSC migration and osteogenic differentiation by NE/adrb3 in vitro. These findings may facilitate understanding of the relationship of MSC mobilization and sympathetic nervous system across a wide spectrum of tissue regeneration processes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105976
PMCID: PMC4140837  PMID: 25144690
15.  A New Model for Predicting Non-Sentinel Lymph Node Status in Chinese Sentinel Lymph Node Positive Breast Cancer Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104117.
Background
Our goal is to validate the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) nomogram and Stanford Online Calculator (SOC) for predicting non-sentinel lymph node (NSLN) metastasis in Chinese patients, and develop a new model for better prediction of NSLN metastasis.
Methods
The MSKCC nomogram and SOC were used to calculate the probability of NSLN metastasis in 120 breast cancer patients. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between NSLN metastasis and clinicopathologic factors, using the medical records of the first 80 breast cancer patients. A new model predicting NSLN metastasis was developed from the 80 patients.
Results
The MSKCC and SOC predicted NSLN metastasis in a series of 120 patients with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.688 and 0.734, respectively. For predicted probability cut-off points of 10%, the false-negative (FN) rates of MSKCC and SOC were both 4.4%, and the negative predictive value (NPV) 75.0% and 90.0%, respectively. Tumor size, Kiss-1 expression in positive SLN and size of SLN metastasis were independently associated with NSLN metastasis (p<0.05). A new model (Peking University People's Hospital, PKUPH) was developed using these three variables. The MSKCC, SOC and PKUPH predicted NSLN metastasis in the second 40 patients from the 120 patients with an AUC of 0.624, 0.679 and 0.795, respectively.
Conclusion
MSKCC nomogram and SOC did not perform as well as their original researches in Chinese patients. As a new predictor, Kiss-1 expression in positive SLN correlated independently with NSLN metastasis strongly. PKUPH model achieved higher accuracy than MSKCC and SOC in predicting NSLN metastasis in Chinese patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104117
PMCID: PMC4128817  PMID: 25111296
16.  SPF Rabbits Infected with Rabbit Hepatitis E Virus Isolate Experimentally Showing the Chronicity of Hepatitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99861.
This study focused on investigating the pathogenesis seen in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) rabbits following infection with a homologous rabbit HEV isolate (CHN-BJ-rb14) and comparing it to that seen following infection with a heterologous swine genotype 4 HEV isolate (CHN-XJ-SW13). Three of the four animals inoculated with the homologous rabbit HEV became infected, exhibiting an intermittent viremia, obvious fluctuations of liver function biomarkers alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and persistent fecal virus shedding throughout the nine month study. In addition, liver histopathology showed both chronic inflammation and some degree of fibrosis. Both positive and negative-stranded HEV RNA and HEV antigen expression were detected in liver, brain, stomach, duodenum and kidney from the necropsied rabbits. Inflammation of extrahepatic tissue (duodenum and kidney) was also observed. Three of the four rabbits inoculated with the heterologous genotype 4 swine HEV also became infected, showing similar levels of anti-HEV antibody to that generated following infection with the homologous virus isolate. The duration of both viremia and fecal shedding of virus was however shorter following infection with the heterologous virus and there was no significant elevation of liver function biomarkers. These results suggest that rabbit HEV infection may cause more severe hepatitis and prolong the course of the disease, with a possible chronic trend of hepatitis in SPF rabbits.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099861
PMCID: PMC4061063  PMID: 24937350
17.  A propensity score analysis on the effect of on-pump versus off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting for patients with coronary artery disease 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(6):838-844.
Aim
The aim of this retrospective observational study was to investigate the effect of on-pump versus off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for patients with coronary artery diseases (CAD).
Methods
A retrospective observational study was performed using a propensity score analysis in 290 consecutive patients undergoing CABG between April 2009 and March 2014, of them, 54 patients undergoing off-pump CABG (OPCABG) were matched with 54 patients undergoing on-pump CABG (ONCABG) by propensity score. The perioperative complications and hospital mortality were documented.
Results
Preoperative characteristics were comparable in both groups following propensity matching. Postoperative myocardial infarction (MI) incidence was lower in OPCABG group than in ONCABG group (3.7% vs. 14.8%, P=0.046); both hospital mortality and the major complications rates were similar in the two groups after propensity adjustment for preoperative characteristics.
Conclusions
The perioperative complications are similar in both off-pump and on pump CABG groups, the short-term effect of OPCABG is similar to that of ONCABG.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.05.08
PMCID: PMC4073416  PMID: 24977010
Coronary artery disease (CAD); coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG); cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB); propensity score analysis
18.  Molecular Characterization and Mapping of Fgf21 Gene in a Foodfish Species Asian Seabass 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90172.
Fgf21 is a newly discovered fibroblast growth factor. It is typically induced by fasting and plays important roles in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolisms and energy balance in mammals, whereas potential functions of this gene in teleosts are still unknown. We identified the Fgf21 gene and studied its functions in Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). The cDNA of the Fgf21 encoded a protein with 206 amino acids. Analysis of DNA and amino acid sequences of Fgf21 genes revealed that the sequences and structure of the Fgf21 genes were highly conserved in vertebrates. Real-time PCR revealed that Fgf21 was exclusively expressed in the intestine and kidney, which was different from the expression profiles of mammals. Fgf21 was down-regulated under fasting, whereas it was significantly increased during the LPS challenge. Exogenous recombinant FGF21 significantly suppressed the appetite of Asian seabass. Our data suggest that Fgf21 plays a role in energy regulation and acute phase response in Asian seabass, and may have different functions in fish and mammals. In addition, we identified one SNP in Fgf21. By using this SNP, the gene was mapped on the linkage group 23, where a suggestive QTL for growth was mapped previously. Association mapping identified significant associations between Fgf21 genotypes at the SNP and growth traits. These results not only provide important information of the functions of Fgf21, but also suggest that the SNP in this gene can be used as a marker in selecting fast-growing individuals of Asian seabass.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090172
PMCID: PMC3937445  PMID: 24587261
19.  Bioactive Equivalence of Combinatorial Components Identified in Screening of an Herbal Medicine 
Pharmaceutical Research  2014;31(7):1788-1800.
Purpose
To identify bioactive equivalent combinatorial components (BECCs) in herbal medicines. The exact composition of effective components in herbal medicines is often elusive due to the lack of adequate screening methodology. Herein, we propose a hypothesis that BECCs accounting for the whole efficacy of original herbal medicines could be discovered from a complex mixture of constituents.
Methods
We developed a bioactive equivalence oriented feedback screening method and applied it to discover the BECCs from an herbal preparation Cardiotonic Pill (CP). The operations include chemical profiling of CP, followed by an iterative loop of determining, collecting and evaluating candidate BECCs.
Results
A combination of 18 compounds was identified as BECCs from CP, which accounts for 15.0% (w/w) of original CP. We have demonstrated that the BECCs were as effective as CP in cell models and in a rat model of myocardial infarction.
Conclusions
This work answers the key question of which are real bioactive components for CP that have been used in clinic for many years, and provides a promising approach for discovering BECCs from herbal medicines. More importantly, the BECCs could be extended to improve quality control of herbal products and inspire an herbal medicines based discovery of combinatorial therapeutics.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11095-013-1283-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11095-013-1283-1
PMCID: PMC4062815  PMID: 24549817
bioactive equivalence; Cardiotonic Pill; combinatorial components screening; herbal medicines
20.  Management of Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Zoonotic Transmission: Protection of Rabbits against HEV Challenge following Immunization with HEV 239 Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87600.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) constitutes a significant health burden worldwide, with an estimated approximately 33% of the world’s population exposed to the pathogen. The recent licensed HEV 239 vaccine in China showed excellent protective efficacy against HEV of genotypes 1 and 4 in the general population and pregnant women. Because hepatitis E is a zoonosis, it is also necessary to ascertain whether this vaccine can serve to manage animal sources of human HEV infection. To test the efficacy of the HEV 239 vaccine in protecting animal reservoirs of HEV against HEV infection, twelve specific-pathogen-free (SPF) rabbits were divided randomly into two groups of 6 animals and inoculated intramuscularly with HEV 239 and placebo (PBS). All animals were challenged intravenously with swine HEV of genotype 4 or rabbit HEV seven weeks after the initial immunization. The course of infection was monitored for 10 weeks by serum ALT levels, duration of viremia and fecal virus excretion and HEV antibody responses. All rabbits immunized with HEV 239 developed high titers of anti-HEV and no signs of HEV infection were observed throughout the experiment, while rabbits inoculated with PBS developed viral hepatitis following challenge, with liver enzyme elevations, viremia, and fecal virus shedding. Our data indicated that the HEV 239 vaccine is highly immunogenic for rabbits and that it can completely protect rabbits against homologous and heterologous HEV infections. These findings could facilitate the prevention of food-borne sporadic HEV infection in both developing and industrialized countries.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087600
PMCID: PMC3907545  PMID: 24498149
21.  Analysis of Two Lysozyme Genes and Antimicrobial Functions of Their Recombinant Proteins in Asian Seabass  
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79743.
Lysozymes are important proteins of the innate immune system for the defense against bacterial infection. We cloned and analyzed chicken-type (c-type) and goose-type (g-type) lysozymes from Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer). The deduced amino acid sequence of the c-type lysozyme contained 144 residues and possessed typical structure residues, conserved catalytic residues (Glu50 and Asp67) and a “GSTDYGIFQINS” motif. The deduced g-type lysozyme contained 187 residues and possessed a goose egg white lysozyme (GEWL) domain containing three conserved catalytic residues (Glu71, Asp84, Asp95) essential for catalytic activity. Real time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed that the two lysozyme genes were constitutively expressed in all the examined tissues. The c-type lysozyme was most abundant in liver, while the g-type lysozyme was predominantly expressed in intestine and weakly expressed in muscle. The c-type and g-type transcripts were up-regulated in the kidney, spleen and liver in response to a challenge with Vibrio harveyi. The up-regulation of the c-type lysozyme was much stronger than that of the g-type lysozyme in kidney and spleen. The recombinant proteins of the c-type and g-type lysozymes showed lytic activities against the bacterial pathogens Vibrio harveyi and Photobacterium damselae in a dosage-dependent manner. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the two lysozyme genes. There were significant associations of these polymorphisms with resistance to the big belly disease. These results suggest that the c- and g-type genes play an important role in resistance to bacterial pathogens in fish. The SNP markers in the two genes associated with the resistance to bacterial pathogens may facilitate the selection of Asian seabass resistant to bacterial diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079743
PMCID: PMC3820614  PMID: 24244553
22.  Adsorption of Cu(II) on Oxidized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in the Presence of Hydroxylated and Carboxylated Fullerenes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72475.
The adsorption of Cu(II) on oxidized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (oMWCNTs) as a function of contact time, pH, ionic strength, temperature, and hydroxylated fullerene (C60(OH)n) and carboxylated fullerene (C60(C(COOH)2)n) were studied under ambient conditions using batch techniques. The results showed that the adsorption of Cu(II) had rapidly reached equilibrium and the kinetic process was well described by a pseudo-second-order rate model. Cu(II) adsorption on oMWCNTs was dependent on pH but independent of ionic strength. Compared with the Freundlich model, the Langmuir model was more suitable for analyzing the adsorption isotherms. The thermodynamic parameters calculated from temperature-dependent adsorption isotherms suggested that Cu(II) adsorption on oMWCNTs was spontaneous and endothermic. The effect of C60(OH)n on Cu(II) adsorption of oMWCNTs was not significant at low C60(OH)n concentration, whereas a negative effect was observed at higher concentration. The adsorption of Cu(II) on oMWCNTs was enhanced with increasing pH values at pH < 5, but decreased at pH ≥ 5. The presence of C60(C(COOH)2)n inhibited the adsorption of Cu(II) onto oMWCNTs at pH 4–6. The double sorption site model was applied to simulate the adsorption isotherms of Cu(II) in the presence of C60(OH)n and fitted the experimental data well.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072475
PMCID: PMC3756995  PMID: 24009683
23.  Analysis of Stress-Responsive Transcriptome in the Intestine of Asian Seabass (Lates calcarifer) using RNA-Seq 
Identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and regulated pathways in response to stressors using a whole-genome approach is critical to understanding the mechanisms underlying stress responses. We challenged Asian seabass with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), Vibrio harveyi, high salinity and fasting, and sequenced six cDNA libraries of intestine samples using Roche 454 RNA-seq. Over 1 million reads (average size: 516 bp) were obtained. The de novo assembly obtained 83 911 unisequences with an average length of 747 bp. In total, 62.3% of the unisequences were annotated. We observed overall similar expression profiles among different challenges, while a number of DEGs and regulated pathways were identified under specific challenges. More than 1000 DEGs and over 200 regulated pathways for each stressor were identified. Thirty-seven genes were differentially expressed in response to all challenges. Our data suggest that there is a global coordination and fine-tuning of gene regulation during different challenges. In addition, we detected dramatic immune responses in intestines under different stressors. This study is the first step towards the comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying stress responses and supplies significant transcriptome resources for studying biological questions in non-model fish species.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dst022
PMCID: PMC3789556  PMID: 23761194
RNA-seq; intestine; stress; disease; nutrition
24.  Whole genome scanning and association mapping identified a significant association between growth and a SNP in the IFABP-a gene of the Asian seabass 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:295.
Background
Aquaculture is the quickest growing sector in agriculture. However, QTL for important traits have been only identified in a few aquaculture species. We conducted QTL mapping for growth traits in an Asian seabass F2 family with 359 individuals using 123 microsatellites and 22 SNPs, and performed association mapping in four populations with 881 individuals.
Results
Twelve and nine significant QTL, as well as 14 and 10 suggestive QTL were detected for growth traits at six and nine months post hatch, respectively. These QTL explained 0.9-12.0% of the phenotypic variance. For body weight, two QTL intervals at two stages were overlapped while the others were mapped onto different positions. The IFABP-a gene located in a significant QTL interval for growth on LG5 was cloned and characterized. A SNP in exon 3 of the gene was significantly associated with growth traits in different populations.
Conclusions
The results of QTL mapping for growth traits suggest that growth at different stages was controlled by some common QTL and some different QTL. Positional candidate genes and association mapping suggest that the IFABP-a is a strong candidate gene for growth. Our data supply a basis for fine mapping QTL, marker-assisted selection and further detailed analysis of the functions of the IFABP-a gene in fish growth.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-295
PMCID: PMC3653795  PMID: 23634810
Single nucleotide polymorphism; Growth trait; Candidate gene; Quantitative trait locus
25.  Dynamics of Vocalization-Induced Modulation of Auditory Cortical Activity at Mid-utterance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60039.
Background
Recent research has addressed the suppression of cortical sensory responses to altered auditory feedback that occurs at utterance onset regarding speech. However, there is reason to assume that the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor processing at mid-utterance are different than those involved in sensorimotor control at utterance onset. The present study attempted to examine the dynamics of event-related potentials (ERPs) to different acoustic versions of auditory feedback at mid-utterance.
Methodology/Principal findings
Subjects produced a vowel sound while hearing their pitch-shifted voice (100 cents), a sum of their vocalization and pure tones, or a sum of their vocalization and white noise at mid-utterance via headphones. Subjects also passively listened to playback of what they heard during active vocalization. Cortical ERPs were recorded in response to different acoustic versions of feedback changes during both active vocalization and passive listening. The results showed that, relative to passive listening, active vocalization yielded enhanced P2 responses to the 100 cents pitch shifts, whereas suppression effects of P2 responses were observed when voice auditory feedback was distorted by pure tones or white noise.
Conclusion/Significance
The present findings, for the first time, demonstrate a dynamic modulation of cortical activity as a function of the quality of acoustic feedback at mid-utterance, suggesting that auditory cortical responses can be enhanced or suppressed to distinguish self-produced speech from externally-produced sounds.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060039
PMCID: PMC3610706  PMID: 23555876

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