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1.  p38γ overexpression in gliomas and its role in proliferation and apoptosis 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2089.
The objective of this study was to confirm the biological role of p38γ in human gliomas. The expression profiles of p38γ and hTERT in human glioma samples were detected by Western Blot and immunohistochemistry. RNA interference was performed in U251 cells by p38γ silencing. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were assayed by CCK-8 and flow cytometric analysis, and then RNA and protein expression levels were measured by real-time RT-PCR and Western Blot, respectively. Telomerase activity assays and Caspase-3,-9 activation assays were also conducted. The results showed p38γ had a positive correlation with the glioma's malignancy grade and that the treatment of U251 cells with p38γ-siRNA inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis. Correspondingly, hTERT expression and telomerase activity were down regulated and Caspase-3 and -9 activities were elevated. In conclusion, p38γ may serve as an oncogenic factor promoting the growth and progression of gliomas and may become a useful therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3695572  PMID: 23807566
2.  Coxsackievirus A16 Infection Induces Neural Cell and Non-Neural Cell Apoptosis In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111174.
Coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) is one of the main causative pathogens of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Viral replication typically results in host cell apoptosis. Although CA16 infection has been reported to induce apoptosis in the human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cell line, it remains unclear whether CA16 induces apoptosis in diverse cell types, especially neural cells which have important clinical significance. In the current study, CA16 infection was found to induce similar apoptotic responses in both neural cells and non-neural cells in vitro, including nuclear fragmentation, DNA fragmentation and phosphatidylserine translocation. CA16 generally is not known to lead to serious neurological symptoms in vivo. In order to further clarify the correlation between clinical symptoms and cell apoptosis, two CA16 strains from patients with different clinical features were investigated. The results showed that both CA16 strains with or without neurological symptoms in infected patients led to neural and muscle cell apoptosis. Furthermore, mechanistic studies showed that CA16 infection induced apoptosis through the same mechanism in both neural and non-neural cells, namely via activation of both the mitochondrial (intrinsic) pathway-related caspase 9 protein and the Fas death receptor (extrinsic) pathway-related caspase 8 protein. Understanding the mechanisms by which CA16 infection induces apoptosis in both neural and non-neural cells will facilitate a better understanding of CA16 pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4211689  PMID: 25350381
3.  Thioredoxin Reductase Was Nitrated in the Aging Heart After Myocardial Ischemia/Reperfusion 
Rejuvenation Research  2013;16(5):377-385.
The age-related loss of anti-oxidant defense reduces recovery from myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury (MI/R) in aged people. Our previous data showed that inactivation of thioredoxin (Trx) was involved in enhanced aging MI/R injury. Thioredoxin reductase (TrxR), the enzyme known to regulate Trx, is less efficient with age. The aim of the current study was to determine why TrxR activity was reduced and whether reduced TrxR activity contributed to enhanced aging MI/R injury. Both Trx and TrxR activity were decreased in the aging heart, and this difference was further amplified after MI/R. However, MI/R injury did not change TrxR expression between young and aging rats. Increased nitrogen oxide (NOx) but decreased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability (decreased phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein) was observed in aging hearts. Peroxynitrite (ONOO−) was increased in aging hearts and was further amplified after MI/R. TrxR nitration in young and aging hearts was detected by immunoprecipitation (anti-nitrotyrosine) followed by immunoblotting (anti-TrxR). Compared with young hearts, TrxR nitration was increased in the aging hearts, and this was further intensified after MI/R. The ONOO− decomposition catalyst (FeTMPyp) reduced TrxR nitration and increased TrxR and Trx activity. More importantly, FeTMPyp attenuated the MI/R injury in aging hearts as evidenced by decreased caspase-3 and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration and increased cardiac function. Increased ONOO− nitrated TrxR in the aging heart as a post-translational modification, which may be related to the enhanced MI/R injury of aging rats. Interventions that inhibit nitration and restore TrxR activity might be a therapy for attenuating enhanced MI/R injury in aging heart.
PMCID: PMC3804317  PMID: 23802942
4.  Inhibition of lung tumor growth by targeting EGFR/VEGFR-Akt/NF-κB pathways with novel theanine derivatives 
Oncotarget  2014;5(18):8528-8543.
The molecularly targeted agents, including anti-VEGF or anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody and some inhibitors of EGFR tyrosine kinase, are effective in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to a certain extent, but the benefit for a proportion of patients is still limited. Hence, it is necessary and urgent to develop more selective and effective molecular targeted agents against lung cancer. Here, we have synthesized novel theanine derivatives, methyl coumarin-3-carboxylyl L-theanine (TMC), ethyl coumarin-3-carboxylyl L-theanine (TEC), ethyl 6-fluorocoumarin- 3-carboxylyl L-theanine (TFC), and ethyl 6-nitrocoumarin-3-carboxylyl L-theanine (TNC), which are fluorescent small molecules, based on their parental compound theanine and studied their anticancer activities in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models of human and mouse cancers. Our results show that the four theanine derivatives significantly inhibit the lung cancer cell migration and the growth of lung cancer and leukemia cell lines. TFC and TNC display enhanced effects with anticancer drugs cytarabine, vincristine, and methotrexate on inhibition of lung cancer cell growth and no toxicity to the normal human embryonic lung fibroblast and peripheral blood lymphocytes. TFC and TNC exhibit strong suppression of the highly metastatic Lewis lung cancer (LLC) and A549 tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice without toxicity to mice. TFC and TNC can effectively suppress the growth of lung cancer cells in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo by targeting EGFR/VEGFR-Akt/NF-κB pathways. Our study has suggested that TFC and TNC may have the therapeutic and/or adjuvant therapeutic applications in the treatment of lung cancers and other cancer.
PMCID: PMC4226702  PMID: 25138052
Theanine derivatives; lung cancer; growth and migration; xenograft mouse models; inhibition; EGFR/VEGFR-Akt-NF-κB pathways
5.  Alleviation of Plasma Homocysteine Level by Phytoestrogen α-Zearalanol Might Be Related to the Reduction of Cystathionine β-Synthase Nitration 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:143192.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is strongly associated with cardiovascular diseases. Previous studies have shown that phytoestrogen α-zearalanol can protect cardiovascular system from hyperhomocysteinemia and ameliorate the level of plasma total homocysteine; however, the underlying mechanisms remain to be clarified. The aim of this research is to investigate the possible molecular mechanisms involved in ameliorating the level of plasma homocysteine by α-zearalanol. By the successfully established diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia rat models, we found that, after α-zearalanol treatment, the activity of cystathionine β-synthase, the key enzyme in homocysteine metabolism, was significantly elevated and level of nitrative stress in liver was significantly reduced. In correlation with this, results also showed a decreased nitration level of cystathionine β-synthase in liver. Together data implied that alleviation of plasma homocysteine level by phytoestrogen α-zearalanol might be related to the reduction of cystathionine β-synthase nitration.
PMCID: PMC3982276  PMID: 24783194
6.  Identification of a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine as a novel inhibitor of the transcription factor p53 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2013;34(6):805-810.
To identify novel small compound inhibitor of p53 protein.
Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells were tested. Cell proliferation rate was determined using a Cell Proliferation Kit. The mRNA and protein levels of p53-related genes were measured using real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Global response in the p53 signaling network was analyzed using Illumina whole-genome expression BeadChips.
Treatment of MEF cells with a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine (G5) at 10 μmol/L for 24 h markedly reduced the mRNA and protein levels of the p53 downstream genes MDM2 and p21. In G5-treated ES cells, a total of 372 differentially expressed genes were identified, and 18 among them were direct downstream genes of p53; 6 out of 9 p53-repressed genes were upregulated, and 5 out of 9 p53-activated genes were downregulated. In both MEF cells and ES cells, treatment of with G5 (10 μmol/L) up to 48 h neither affected the proliferation rate nor caused morphological alterations.
G5 inhibits p53 activity and simultaneously preserves the normal growth and proliferation of cells, therefore is a new compound for studies of p53-mediated cell manipulation.
PMCID: PMC3674519  PMID: 23736005
1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine; tumor suppressor protein; p53; p53 inhibitor; embryonic fibroblast; embryonic stem cell; proliferation
7.  Dissociated Primary Human Prostate Cancer Cells Coinjected with the Immortalized Hs5 Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Generate Undifferentiated Tumors in NOD/SCID-γ Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56903.
Reconstitution of tumor development in immunodeficient mice from disaggregated primary human tumor cells is always challenging. The main goal of the present study is to establish a reliable assay system that would allow us to reproducibly reconstitute human prostate tumor regeneration in mice using patient tumor-derived single cells. Using many of the 114 untreated primary human prostate cancer (HPCa) samples we have worked on, here we show that: 1) the subcutaneum represents the most sensitive site that allows the grafting of the implanted HPCa pieces; 2) primary HPCa cells by themselves fail to regenerate tumors in immunodeficient hosts; 3) when coinjected in Matrigel with rUGM (rat urogenital sinus mesenchyme), CAF (carcinoma-associated fibroblasts), or Hs5 (immortalized bone marrow derived stromal) cells, primary HPCa cells fail to initiate serially transplantable tumors in NOD/SCID mice; and 4) however, HPCa cells coinjected with the Hs5 cells into more immunodeficient NOD/SCID-IL2Rγ−/− (NSG) mice readily regenerate serially transplantable tumors. The HPCa/Hs5 reconstituted ‘prostate’ tumors present an overall epithelial morphology, are of the human origin, and contain cells positive for AR, CK8, and racemase. Cytogenetic analysis provides further evidence for the presence of karyotypically abnormal HPCa cells in the HPCa/Hs5 tumors. Of importance, HPCa/Hs5 xenograft tumors contain EpCAM+ cells that are both clonogenic and tumorigenic. Surprisingly, all HPCa/Hs5 reconstituted tumors are undifferentiated, even for HPCa cells derived from Gleason 7 tumors. Our results indicate that primary HPCa cells coinjected with the immortalized Hs5 stromal cells generate undifferentiated tumors in NSG mice and we provide evidence that undifferentiated HPCa cells might be the cells that possessed tumorigenic potential and regenerated HPCa/Hs5 xenograft tumors.
PMCID: PMC3579939  PMID: 23451107
8.  Association of inflammatory gene polymorphisms with ischemic stroke in a Chinese Han population 
Inflammatory mechanisms are important in stroke risk, and genetic variations in components of the inflammatory response have been implicated as risk factors for stroke. We tested the inflammatory gene polymorphisms and their association with ischemic stroke in a Chinese Han population.
A total of 1,124 ischemic stroke cases and 1,163 controls were genotyped with inflammatory panel strips containing 51 selected inflammatory gene polymorphisms from 35 candidate genes. We tested the genotype-stroke association with logistic regression model.
We found two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL11 were associated with ischemic stroke. After adjusting for multiple testing using false discovery rate (FDR) with a 0.20 cut-off point, CCL11 rs4795895 remained statistically significant. We further stratified the study population by their hypertension status. In the hypertensive group, CCR2 rs1799864, CCR5 rs1799987 and CCL11 rs4795895 were nominally associated with increased risk of stroke. In the non-hypertensive group, CCL11 rs3744508, LTC4S rs730012, FCER1B rs569108, TGFB1 rs1800469, LTA rs909253 and CCL11 rs4795895 were associated with ischemic stroke. After correction for multiple testing, CCR2 rs1799864 and CCR5 rs1799987 remained significant in the hypertensive group, and CCL11 rs3744508, LTC4S rs730012, FCER1B rs569108, TGFB1 rs1800469, LTA rs909253 remained significant in the non-hypertensive group.
Our results indicate that inflammatory genetic variants are associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke in a Chinese Han population, particularly in non-hypertensive individuals.
PMCID: PMC3464807  PMID: 22769019
Association study; Hypertension; Inflammatory gene; Ischemic stroke
9.  NANOG promotes cancer stem cell characteristics and prostate cancer resistance to androgen deprivation 
Oncogene  2011;30(36):3833-3845.
Cancer cell molecular mimicry of stem cells (SC) imbues neoplastic cells with enhanced proliferative and renewal capacities. In support, numerous mediators of SC self-renewal have been evinced to exhibit oncogenic potential. We have recently reported that shRNA-mediated knockdown of the embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal gene NANOG significantly reduced the clonogenic and tumorigenic capabilities of various cancer cells. In this study, we sought to test the potential pro-tumorigenic functions of NANOG, particularly, in prostate cancer (PCa). Using quantitative RT-PCR, we first confirmed that PCa cells expressed NANOG mRNA primarily from the NANOGP8 locus on chromosome 15q14. We then constructed a lentiviral promoter reporter in which the -3.8 kb NANOGP8 genomic fragment was used to drive the expression of green fluorescence protein (GFP). We observed that NANOGP8-GFP+ PCa cells exhibited cancer stem cell (CSC) characteristics such as enhanced clonal growth and tumor regenerative capacity. To further investigate the functions and mechanisms of NANOG in tumorigenesis, we established tetracycline-inducible NANOG overexpressing cancer cell lines, including both prostate (Du145 and LNCaP) and breast (MCF-7) cancer cells. NANOG induction promoted drug-resistance in MCF-7 cells, tumor regeneration in Du145 cells, and, most importantly, castration-resistant tumor development in LNCaP cells. These pro-tumorigenic effects of NANOG were associated with key molecular changes, including an upregulation of molecules such as CXCR4, IGFBP5, CD133 and ALDH1. The present gain-of-function studies, coupled with our recent loss-of-function work, establish the integral role for NANOG in neoplastic processes and shed light on its mechanisms of action.
PMCID: PMC3140601  PMID: 21499299
Nanog; prostate cancer; cancer stem cells; castration resistance; self-renewal
10.  Prediabetes Is not All About Obesity: Association between Plasma Leptin and Prediabetes in Lean Rural Chinese Adults 
This study investigated the associations of plasma leptin levels with insulin resistance (IR) and prediabetes in relatively lean, rural Chinese men and women.
Design and methods
This study included 574 subjects aged 21–45 years from a community-based twin cohort. Plasma leptin concentrations were measured by sandwich immunoassays using flowemetric xMAP technology. Prediabetes was defined based on fasting plasma glucose and 75g oral glucose tolerance test. Multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses were used to investigate gender-specific associations of leptin with IR measures and prediabetes, adjusting for intra-twin correlation, measures of adiposity, and other pertinent covariates.
The body mass index(BMI) is 22.3±2.7 kg/m2 in men and 22.5±2.7 kg/m2 in women. Leptin levels were positively associated with IR. Individuals with higher tertiles of leptin also had increased risk of prediabetes with OR of 2.6 (95%CI: 1.4–5.1) and 4.3 (95%CI: 2.1–8.7) in men; OR of 1.1 (95%CI: 0.6–2.1) and 3.1 (95%CI 1.5–6.2) in women for 2nd and 3rd tertile, respectively. These associations were attenuated after further adjusting for adiposity measurements only in men. The Leptin-prediabetes associations disappeared after adjusting for the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in both genders.
In this sample of relatively lean rural Chinese adults, plasma leptin levels were associated with IR and prediabetes in a dose-response fashion, which were not totally explained by adiposity. Our data underscored that prediabetes is not all about obesity, and leptin may be an additional biomarker for screening individuals at high risk for prediabetes in this population.
PMCID: PMC3163476  PMID: 20511357
Leptin; insulin resistance; prediabetes; Chinese
11.  Development of Viral Vectors for Gene Therapy for Chronic Pain 
Pain Research and Treatment  2011;2011:968218.
Chronic pain is a major health concern that affects millions of people. There are no adequate long-term therapies for chronic pain sufferers, leading to significant cost for both society and the individual. The most commonly used therapy for chronic pain is the application of opioid analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but these drugs can lead to addiction and may cause side effects. Further studies of the mechanisms of chronic pain have opened the way for development of new treatment strategies, one of which is gene therapy. The key to gene therapy is selecting safe and highly efficient gene delivery systems that can deliver therapeutic genes to overexpress or suppress relevant targets in specific cell types. Here we review several promising viral vectors that could be applied in gene transfer for the treatment of chronic pain and further discuss the possible mechanisms of genes of interest that could be delivered with viral vectors for the treatment of chronic pain.
PMCID: PMC3200086  PMID: 22110937
12.  GJB2 mutation spectrum in 2063 Chinese patients with nonsyndromic hearing impairment 
Mutations in GJB2 are the most common molecular defects responsible for autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing impairment (NSHI). The mutation spectra of this gene vary among different ethnic groups.
In order to understand the spectrum and frequency of GJB2 mutations in the Chinese population, the coding region of the GJB2 gene from 2063 unrelated patients with NSHI was PCR amplified and sequenced.
A total of 23 pathogenic mutations were identified. Among them, five (p.W3X, c.99delT, c.155_c.158delTCTG, c.512_c.513insAACG, and p.Y152X) are novel. Three hundred and seven patients carry two confirmed pathogenic mutations, including 178 homozygotes and 129 compound heterozygotes. One hundred twenty five patients carry only one mutant allele. Thus, GJB2 mutations account for 17.9% of the mutant alleles in 2063 NSHI patients. Overall, 92.6% (684/739) of the pathogenic mutations are frame-shift truncation or nonsense mutations. The four prevalent mutations; c.235delC, c.299_c.300delAT, c.176_c.191del16, and c.35delG, account for 88.0% of all mutantalleles identified. The frequency of GJB2 mutations (alleles) varies from 4% to 30.4% among different regions of China. It also varies among different sub-ethnic groups.
In some regions of China, testing of the three most common mutations can identify at least one GJB2 mutant allele in all patients. In other regions such as Tibet, the three most common mutations account for only 16% the GJB2 mutant alleles. Thus, in this region, sequencing of GJB2 would be recommended. In addition, the etiology of more than 80% of the mutant alleles for NSHI in China remains to be identified. Analysis of other NSHI related genes will be necessary.
PMCID: PMC2679712  PMID: 19366456
13.  Identification of a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine as a novel inhibitor of the transcription factor p53 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2013;34(6):805-810.
To identify novel small compound inhibitor of p53 protein.
Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells were tested. Cell proliferation rate was determined using a Cell Proliferation Kit. The mRNA and protein levels of p53-related genes were measured using real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Global response in the p53 signaling network was analyzed using Illumina whole-genome expression BeadChips.
Treatment of MEF cells with a small molecule 1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine (G5) at 10 μmol/L for 24 h markedly reduced the mRNA and protein levels of the p53 downstream genes MDM2 and p21. In G5-treated ES cells, a total of 372 differentially expressed genes were identified, and 18 among them were direct downstream genes of p53; 6 out of 9 p53-repressed genes were upregulated, and 5 out of 9 p53-activated genes were downregulated. In both MEF cells and ES cells, treatment of with G5 (10 μmol/L) up to 48 h neither affected the proliferation rate nor caused morphological alterations.
G5 inhibits p53 activity and simultaneously preserves the normal growth and proliferation of cells, therefore is a new compound for studies of p53-mediated cell manipulation.
PMCID: PMC3674519  PMID: 23736005
1,4-bis-[4-(3-phenoxy-propoxy)-but-2-ynyl]-piperazine; tumor suppressor protein; p53; p53 inhibitor; embryonic fibroblast; embryonic stem cell; proliferation
14.  Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2 Expression for Endometrial Receptivity Evaluation 
Theranostics  2015;5(2):206-217.
Purpose: Ultrasound (US) molecular imaging by examining the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) on uterus vascular endothelium was applied to evaluate the endometrial receptivity.
Methods: VEGFR2-targeted ultrasound contrast agents (UCA) and the control UCA (without VEGFR2) were prepared and characterized. Adhesion experiment in vitro was performed with mouse microvascular endothelial cells (bEnd.3) and the ratio of the number of UCA to that of cells at the same field was compared. In vivo study, randomized boluses of targeted or control UCA were injected into the animals of non-pregnancy (D0), pregnancy on day 2 (D2) and day 4 (D4), respectively. Sonograms were acquired by an ultrasound equipment with a 40-MHz high-frequency transducer (Vevo 2100; VisualSonics, Toronto, Canada). The ultrasonic imaging signals were quantified as the video intensity amplitudes generated by the attachment of VEGFR2-targeted UCA. Immunoblotting and immunofluorescence assays were used for confirmation of VEGFR2 expression.
Results: Our results showed that VEGFR2-targeted UCA could bind to bEnd.3 cells with significantly higher affinity than the control UCA (9.8 ± 1.0 bubbles/cell versus 0.7 ± 0.3 bubbles/cell, P < 0.01) in vitro. The mean video intensity from the US backscattering of the retained VEGFR2-targeted UCA was significantly higher than that of the control UCA in D2 and D4 mice (D2, 10.5 ± 2.5 dB versus 1.5 ± 1.1 dB, P < 0.01; D4, 15.7 ± 4.0 dB versus 1.5 ± 1.2 dB, P < 0.01), but not significantly different in D0 mice (1.0 ± 0.8 dB versus 0.9 ± 0.6 dB, P > 0.05). Moreover, D4 mice showed the highest video intensity amplitude, indicating the highest VEGFR2 expression when compared with D2 and D0 mice (P < 0.01). This was further confirmed by our immunoblotting and immunofluorescence experiments.
Conclusion: Ultrasound molecular imaging with VEGFR2-targeted UCA may be used for noninvasive evaluation of endometrial receptivity in murine models.
PMCID: PMC4279005  PMID: 25553109
Endometrial receptivity; Ultrasound molecular imaging; Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2.
15.  Oxidative Stress-Related Genetic Polymorphisms Are Associated with the Prognosis of Metastatic Gastric Cancer Patients Treated with Epirubicin, Oxaliplatin and 5-Fluorouracil Combination Chemotherapy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116027.
Oxidative stress genes are related to cancer development and treatment response. In this study, we aimed to determine the predictive and prognostic roles of oxidative stress-related genetic polymorphisms in metastatic gastric cancer (MGC) patients treated with chemotherapy.
In this retrospective study, we genotyped nine oxidative stress-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in NQO1, SOD2, SOD3, PON1, GSTP1, GSTT1, and NOS3 (rs1800566, rs10517, rs4880, rs1799895, rs662, rs854560, rs1695, rs2266637, rs1799983, respectively) in 108 consecutive MGC patients treated with epirubicin, oxaliplatin, and 5-fluorouracil (EOF) regimen as the first-line chemotherapy and analyzed the association between the genotypes and the disease control rate (DCR), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS).
We found that, in addition to a lower pathological grade (p = 0.017), NQO1 rs1800566 CT/TT genotype was an independent predictive factor of poor PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.97, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.23–3.16; p = 0.005). PON1 rs662 AA/AG genotype was significantly associated with poor OS (HR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.07–3.54; p = 0.029). No associations were detected between the nine SNPs and DCR.
NQO1 rs1800566 is an independent predictive factor of PFS for MGC patients treated with EOF chemotherapy, and PON1 rs662 is a noteworthy prognostic factor of OS. Information on oxidative stress-related genetic variants may facilitate optimization of individualized chemotherapy in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4278770  PMID: 25545243
16.  The Sheep Genome Illuminates Biology of the Rumen and Lipid Metabolism 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2014;344(6188):1168-1173.
Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk and fiber in the form of wool, and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, which carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants, compared to non-ruminant animals.
PMCID: PMC4157056  PMID: 24904168
17.  The Prevalence of Antinuclear Antibodies in the General Population of China: A Cross-Sectional Study 
The incidence of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and primary biliary cirrhosis has increased significantly in China. Information about the susceptibility or potential of autoimmune diseases in the general population is lacking.
To explore the prevalence of antinuclear antibody (ANA) and its specificities in the general population in China.
Twenty thousand nine hundred seventy sera samples were taken from the physical examination center in Baoding, China. Indirect immunofluorescence and line immunoassays were used to detect ANA and its specificities, respectively.
Samples from females had a higher prevalence of ANA than samples from males (χ2 = 278.55; P < 0.01). For both sexes, the prevalence of ANA positively correlated with age and there were significant differences among different age groups at 10-year intervals, except the 80 years group (P < 0.05). One thousand two hundred forty-three ANA-positive samples were further analyzed with line immunoassays. There was a significant difference among age groups and between sex groups in terms of the specific autoantibodies (P < 0.01). The autoantibodies with the top-3 positive frequencies were anti-Ro-52, anti-M2, and anti-SSA.
There was a high prevalence of ANA positivity in the general Chinese population that seemed to be influenced by sex and age and correlated with specific autoantibodies.
PMCID: PMC4245690  PMID: 25473438
antinuclear antibody; autoimmune diseases; Chinese; prevalence
18.  Automated Detection Framework of the Calcified Plaque with Acoustic Shadowing in IVUS Images 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e109997.
Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) is one ultrasonic imaging technology to acquire vascular cross-sectional images for the visualization of the inner vessel structure. This technique has been widely used for the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery diseases. The detection of the calcified plaque with acoustic shadowing in IVUS images plays a vital role in the quantitative analysis of atheromatous plaques. The conventional method of the calcium detection is manual drawing by the doctors. However, it is very time-consuming, and with high inter-observer and intra-observer variability between different doctors. Therefore, the computer-aided detection of the calcified plaque is highly desired. In this paper, an automated method is proposed to detect the calcified plaque with acoustic shadowing in IVUS images by the Rayleigh mixture model, the Markov random field, the graph searching method and the prior knowledge about the calcified plaque. The performance of our method was evaluated over 996 in-vivo IVUS images acquired from eight patients, and the detected calcified plaques are compared with manually detected calcified plaques by one cardiology doctor. The experimental results are quantitatively analyzed separately by three evaluation methods, the test of the sensitivity and specificity, the linear regression and the Bland-Altman analysis. The first method is used to evaluate the ability to distinguish between IVUS images with and without the calcified plaque, and the latter two methods can respectively measure the correlation and the agreement between our results and manual drawing results for locating the calcified plaque in the IVUS image. High sensitivity (94.68%) and specificity (95.82%), good correlation and agreement (>96.82% results fall within the 95% confidence interval in the Student t-test) demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in the detection of the calcified plaque with acoustic shadowing in IVUS images.
PMCID: PMC4220935  PMID: 25372784
Exposure to arsenic (As) has been associated with cancers, CVD, and neurological disorder. To explore the possible underlying epigenetic mechanisms, a genome-wide study was conducted in low exposed healthy individuals. This study was nested within a prospective study of Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) by randomly selecting 46 non-smoker and non-diabetic White participants with low (N=23) and high (N=23) As exposure. based on toenail total As measures at examination year 2. We conducted methylomic profiling of white blood cell DNA collected at examination year 15 using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Multivariate linear regression models were fitted to evaluate the associations between As exposure status and DNA methylation levels at each CpG site. We identified 29 CpG sites with methylation levels associated with As exposure status at a nominal p-value less than 0.0001. Some genes are known to be involved in cancers, CVD, and neurological disorder. Pathway analyses further revealed several canonical pathways relevant to the etiology of As-associated diseases. We demonstrated that As exposure is prospectively associated with DNA methylation levels in a number of genes implicated in As-associated diseases. Further studies are required for elucidating the role of epigenetic alterations in the pathogenesis of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC4167014  PMID: 24368509
arsenic exposure; methylomic profiling; prospective association
20.  Association of CVD Candidate Gene Polymorphisms with Ischemic Stroke and Cerebral Hemorrhage in Chinese Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105516.
Contribution of cardiovascular disease related genetic risk factors for stroke are not clearly defined. We performed a genetic association study to assess the association of 56 previously characterized gene variants in 34 candidate genes from cardiovascular disease related biological pathways with ischemic stroke and cerebral hemorrhage in a Chinese population.
There were 1280 stroke patients (1101 with ischemic stroke and 179 with cerebral hemorrhage) and 1380 controls in the study. The genotypes for 56 polymorphisms of 34 candidate genes were determined by the immobilized probe approach and the associations of gene polymorphisms with ischemic stroke and cerebral hemorrhage were performed by logistic regression under an allelic model.
After adjusting for age, sex, BMI and hypertension status by logistic regression analysis, we found that NPPA rs5063 was significantly associated with both ischemic stroke (odds ratio [OR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52 to 0.90; P = 0.006) and cerebral hemorrhage(OR = 0.39; 95%CI, 0.19 to 0.78; P = 0.007). In addition, MTHFR rs1801133 also was associated with cerebral hemorrhage (OR = 1.48; 95%CI, 1.16 to1.89; P = 0.001) but not with ischemic stroke (OR = 1.08; 95%CI, 0.96 to1.22; P = 0.210). After false discovery rate (FDR) correction, the association of NPPA rs5063 and MTHFR rs1801133 with cerebral hemorrhage remained significant.
The NPPA rs5063 is associated with reduced risk for cerebral hemorrhage and MTHFR rs1801133 is associated with increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage in a Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC4140791  PMID: 25144711
21.  Anti-Peroxynitrite Treatment Ameliorated Vasorelaxation of Resistance Arteries in Aging Rats: Involvement with NO-sGC-cGKs Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104788.
Declined vasorelaxation function in aging resistance arteries is responsible for aging-related multiple organ dysfunctions. The aim of the present study is to explore the role of peroxynitrite (ONOO-) in aging resistance arterial vasorelaxation dysfunction and the possible mechanism. In the present study, young (3–4 months olds) and aging (20 months olds) male SD rats were randomized to receive vehicle (Saline) or FeTMPyP (ONOO- scavenger) for 2 weeks. The vasorelaxation of resistance arteries was determined in vitro; NOx level was tested by a colorimetric assay; the expression of nitrotyrosine (NT), soluble Guanylate Cyclase (sGC), vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), phosphorylated VASP (P-VASP) and cGMP in resistance arteries were detected by immunohistochemical staining. In the present study, endothelium-dependent dilation in aging resistance arteries was lower than in those from young rats (young vs. aging: 68.0%±4.5% vs. 50.4%±2.9%, P<0.01). And the endothelium-independent dilation remained constant. Compared with young rats, aging increased nitrative stress in resistance arteries, evidenced by elevated NOx production in serum (5.3±1.0 nmol/ml vs. 3.3±1.4 nmol/ml, P<0.05) and increased NT expression (P<0.05). ONOO- was responsible for the vasorelaxation dysfunction, evidenced by normalized vasorelaxation after inhibit ONOO- or its sources (P<0.05) and suppressed NT expression after FeTMPyP treatment (P<0.05). The expression of sGC was not significantly different between young and aging resistance arteries, but the cGMP level and P-VASP/VASP ratio (biochemical marker of NO-sGC-cGKs signaling) decreased, which was reversed by FeTMPyP treatment in vivo (P<0.05). The present study suggested that ONOO- mediated the decline of endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of aging resistance arteries by induction of the NO-sGC-cGKs pathway dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4130589  PMID: 25117910
22.  A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Diagnostic and Prognostic Serum Biomarkers of Colorectal Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103910.
Our systematic review summarizes the evidence concerning the accuracy of serum diagnostic and prognostic tests for colorectal cancer (CRC).
The databases MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched iteratively to identify the relevant literature for serum markers of CRC published from 1950 to August 2012. The articles that provided adequate information to meet the requirements of the meta-analysis of diagnostic and prognostic markers were included. A 2-by-2 table of each diagnostic marker and its hazard ratio (HR) and the confidence interval (CI) of each prognostic marker was directly or indirectly extracted from the included papers, and the pooled sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic marker and the pooled HR and the CI of the prognostic marker were subsequently calculated using the extracted data.
In total, 104 papers related to the diagnostic markers and 49 papers related to the prognostic serum markers of CRC were collected, and only 19 of 92 diagnostic markers were investigated in more than two studies, whereas 21 out of 44 prognostic markers were included in two or more studies. All of the pooled sensitivities of the diagnostic markers with > = 3 repetitions were less than 50%, and the meta-analyses of the prognostic markers with more than 3 studies were performed, VEGF with highest (2.245, CI: 1.347–3.744) and MMP-7 with lowest (1.099, CI: 1.018–1.187)) pooled HRs are presented.
The quality of studies addressing the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of the tests was poor, and the results were highly heterogeneous. The poor characteristics indicate that these tests are of little value for clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4126674  PMID: 25105762
23.  Enhanced bone regeneration in rat calvarial defects implanted with surface-modified and BMP-loaded bioactive glass (13-93) scaffolds 
Acta biomaterialia  2013;9(7):7506-7517.
The repair of large bone defects, such as segmental defects in the long bones of the limbs, is a challenging clinical problem. Our recent work has shown the ability to create porous scaffolds of silicate 13-93 bioactive glass by robocasting which have compressive strengths comparable to human cortical bone. The objective of this study was to evaluate the capacity of those strong porous scaffolds with a grid-like microstructure (porosity = 50%; filament width = 330 μm; pore width = 300 μm) to regenerate bone in a rat calvarial defect model. Six weeks postimplantation, the amount of new bone formed within the implants was evaluated using histomorphometric analysis. The amount of new bone formed in implants composed of the as-fabricated scaffolds was 32% of the available pore space (area). Pretreating the as-fabricated scaffolds in an aqueous phosphate solution for 1, 3, and 6 days, to convert a surface layer to hydroxyapatite prior to implantation, enhanced new bone formation to 46%, 57%, and 45%, respectively. New bone formation in scaffolds pretreated for 1, 3, and 6 days and loaded with bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) (1 μg/defect) was 65%, 61%, and 64%, respectively. The results show that converting a surface layer of the glass to hydroxyapatite or loading the surface-treated scaffolds with BMP-2 can significantly improve the capacity of 13-93 bioactive glass scaffolds to regenerate bone in an osseous defect. Based on their mechanical properties evaluated previously and their capacity to regenerate bone found in this study, these 13-93 bioactive glass scaffolds, pretreated or loaded with BMP-2, are promising in structural bone repair.
PMCID: PMC3669642  PMID: 23567939
bone regeneration; bioactive glass scaffold; surface modification; bone morphogenetic protein-2; rat calvarial defect model
24.  Development of a New Risk Score for Incident Type 2 Diabetes Using Updated Diagnostic Criteria in Middle-Aged and Older Chinese 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97042.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) reaches an epidemic proportion among adults in China. However, no simple score has been created for the prediction of T2DM incidence diagnosed by updated criteria with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) ≥6.5% included in Chinese. In a 6-year follow-up cohort in Beijing and Shanghai, China, we recruited a total of 2529 adults aged 50–70 years in 2005 and followed them up in 2011. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), HbA1c, and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured and incident diabetes was identified by the recently updated criteria. Of the 1912 participants without T2DM at baseline, 924 were identified as having T2DM at follow-up, and most of them (72.4%) were diagnosed using the HbA1c criterion. Baseline body mass index, FPG, HbA1c, CRP, hypertension, and female gender were all significantly associated with incident T2DM. Based upon these risk factors, a simple score was developed with an estimated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.714 (95% confidence interval: 0.691, 0.737), which performed better than most of existing risk score models developed for eastern Asian populations. This simple, newly constructed score of six parameters may be useful in predicting T2DM in middle-aged and older Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4018395  PMID: 24819157
25.  Identification of HIV-1 Vif Regions Required for CBF-β Interaction and APOBEC3 Suppression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95738.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vif requires core binding factor β (CBF-β) to degrade the host APOBEC3 restriction factors. Although a minimum domain and certain amino acids of HIV-1 Vif, including hydrophobic residues at the N-terminal, have been identified as critical sites for binding with CBF-β, other regions that potentially mediate this interaction need to be further investigated. Here, we mapped two new regions of HIV-1 Vif that are required for interaction with CBF-β by generating a series of single-site or multiple-site Vif mutants and testing their effect on the suppression of APOBEC3G (A3G) and APOBEC3F (A3F). A number of the mutants, including G84A/SIEW86-89AAAA (84/86–89), E88A/W89A (88/89), G84A, W89A, L106S and I107S in the 84GxSIEW89 and L102ADQLI107 regions, affected Vif function by disrupting CBF-β binding. These Vif mutants also had altered interactions with CUL5, since CBF-β is known to facilitate the binding of Vif to CUL5. We further showed that this effect was not due to misfolding or conformational changes in Vif, as the mutants still maintained their interactions with other factors such as ElonginB, A3G and A3F. Notably, G84D and D104A had stronger effects on the Vif-CUL5 interaction than on the Vif-CBF-β interaction, indicating that they mainly influenced the CUL5 interaction and implying that the interaction of Vif with CUL5 contributes to the binding of Vif to CBF-β. These new binding interfaces with CBF-β in HIV-1 Vif provide novel targets for the development of HIV-1 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4014475  PMID: 24810617

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