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1.  Dual-color immunofluorescent labeling with quantum dots of the diabetes-associated proteins aldose reductase and Toll-like receptor 4 in the kidneys of diabetic rats 
Diabetes is one of the major chronic diseases diagnosed worldwide with a common complication of diabetic nephropathy (DN). There are multiple possible mechanisms associated with DN. Aldose reductase (AR) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) may be involved in the occurrence and development of DN. Here, we describe the distribution of AR and TLR4 in cells and renal tissues of diabetic rats through a quantum dot (QD)-based immunofluorescence technique and conventional immunohistochemistry. As a new type of nanosized fluorophore, QDs have been recognized in imaging applications and have broad prospects in biomedical research. The results of the reported study demonstrate that both the AR and the TLR4 proteins were upregulated in the renal tissues of diabetic rats. Further, to explore the relationship between AR and TLR4 in the pathogenesis of DN, a dual-color immunofluorescent labeling technique based on QDs was applied, where the expressions of AR and TLR4 in the renal tissues of diabetic rats were simultaneously observed – for the first time, as far as we are aware. The optimized QD-based immunofluorescence technique has not only shown a satisfying sensitivity and specificity for the detection of biomarkers in cells and tissues, but also is a valuable supplement of immu-nohistochemistry. The QD-based multiplexed imaging technology provides a new insight into the mechanistic study of the correlation among biological factors as well as having potential applications in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
PMCID: PMC4445876  PMID: 26056446
diabetic nephropathy; TLR4; immunofluorescence; immunohistochemistry
2.  FOXP3 is an X-linked breast cancer suppressor gene and an important repressor of the HER-2/ErbB2 oncogene 
Cell  2007;129(7):1275-1286.
The X-linked Foxp3 is a member of the forkhead/winged helix transcription factor family. Germ-line mutations cause lethal autoimmune diseases in males. Serendipitously, we observed that Foxp3sf/+ heterozygous mice developed cancer at a high rate. The majority of the cancers were mammary carcinomas in which the wild-type Foxp3 allele was inactivated and ErbB2 was over-expressed. Foxp3 bound and repressed the ErbB2 promoter. Deletion, functionally significant somatic mutations and down-regulation of the FOXP3 gene were commonly found in human breast cancer samples and correlated significantly with HER-2 over-expression, regardless of the status of HER-2 amplification. In toto, the data demonstrate that FOXP3 is an X-linked breast cancer suppressor gene and an important regulator of the HER-2/ErbB2 oncogene.
PMCID: PMC1974845  PMID: 17570480
3.  Sleep Quality of Patients with Differentiated Thyroid Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130634.
We aimed to measure prevalence of sleep disturbance in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) by calculating Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and compare these data with patients with benign thyroid nodules or normal participants.
Three groups of patients participated in this cross-sectional study. In the first group, 162 patients with DTC received total thyroidectomy, and then 131I therapy. The second group consisted of 84 patients with benign thyroid nodules, who received partial thyroidectomy. The third group was 78 normal healthy control cases. PSQI was used to assess the sleep quality. Inter-group differences were analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis test or independent samples T test. χ2 test was also used to check prevalence differences of poor sleep quality among the groups. Differences of PSQI score and poor sleep quality prevalence before and after 131I therapy in the same group of DTC participants were analyzed by paired T test and Mcnemar's test.
Higher PSQI score (7.59 ± 4.21) and higher rate of poor sleep quality (54.32%) were shown in DTC patients than in any other group. After 131I therapy, PSQI score and prevalence of poor sleep quality in DTC patients increased significantly to 8.78 ± 4.72 and 70.99%. Then DTC patients were divided into two subgroups based on their metastatic status. DTC patients with metastasis (87/162 cases, 53.70%) had significantly higher PSQI score (10.87 ± 5.18) and higher prevalence of poor sleep quality (79.31%).
DTC patients suffer from sleep disturbance, 131I therapy and awareness of metastatic status could worsen sleep problem. Psychological fear of cancer, nuclear medicine therapy and metastasis could be one major underlying reason. Longitude and interventional studies are necessary for further investigations.
PMCID: PMC4471198  PMID: 26083787
4.  P16 Methylation as an Early Predictor for Cancer Development From Oral Epithelial Dysplasia: A Double-blind Multicentre Prospective Study 
EBioMedicine  2015;2(5):432-437.
Silencing of P16 through methylation and locus deletion is the most frequent early events in carcinogenesis. The aim of this study is to prospectively determine if early P16 methylation is a predictor for oral cancer development.
Patients (n = 181) with mild or moderate oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) were recruited into the double blind multicentre cohort. P16 methylation was analyzed using the MethyLight assay. Progression of OEDs was monitored for a minimum 3 year follow-up period.
P16 methylation-informative cases (n = 152) were enrolled in the prospective multicenter cohorts with an ultimate compliance of 96.7%. OED-derived squamous cell carcinomas were observed in 21 patients (14.3%) during the follow-up (median, 41.0 months). The cancer progression rate from the P16 methylation-positive patients was significantly increased when compared to P16 methylation-negative patients [27.1% vs 8.1%; adjusted odds ratio = 4.6; P = 0.006]. When the P16 methylation-positive criteria were used as a biomarker for early prediction of cancer development from OEDs, sensitivity and specificity of 62% and 76% were obtained, respectively.
P16 methylation is unequivocally a marker for determining the malignant potential of OED and there is no need for further research regarding this aspect.
National Basic Research Programs of China (2011CB504201 and 2015CB553902), Beijing Science and Technology Commission (Z090507017709016), and Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospital (XM201303) to Dajun Deng. The funding agencies have no role in the actual experimental design, patient recruitment, data collection, analysis, interpretation, or writing of this manuscript.
•P16 is most frequently inactivated through methylation and deletion in many cancers.•A multicentral prospective study was carried out to test association between P16 methylation and oral cancer development.•P16 methylation significantly increased risk of malignant transformation of oral epithelial dysplasia in Chinese patients.
PMCID: PMC4485905  PMID: 26137587
P16; Methylation; Oral dysplasia; Transformation; Prospective cohort
5.  Effect of aerobic exercise and low carbohydrate diet on pre-diabetic non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in postmenopausal women and middle aged men – the role of gut microbiota composition: study protocol for the AELC randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:48.
Pre-diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and pose extremely high costs to the healthcare system. In this study, we aim to explore whether individualized aerobic exercise (AEx) and low carbohydrate diet (LCh) intervention affect hepatic fat content (HFC) in pre-diabetes via modification of gut microbiota composition and other post-interventional effects.
A 6-month randomized intervention with 6-month follow-up is conducted from January 2013 to December 2015. The target sample size for intervention is 200 postmenopausal women and middle-aged men aged 50–65 year-old with pre-diabetes and NAFLD. The qualified subjects are randomized into 4 groups with 50 subjects in each group: 1 = AEx, 2 = LCh, 3 = AEx + LCh, and 4 = control. In addition, two age-matched reference groups (5 = pre-diabetes without NAFLD (n = 50) and 6 = Healthy without pre-diabetes or NAFLD (n = 50)) are included. The exercise program consists of progressive and variable aerobic exercise (intensity of 60 to 75% of initial fitness level, 3–5 times/week and 30–60 min/time). The diet program includes dietary consultation plus supplementation with a special lunch meal (40% of total energy intake/day) which aims to reduce the amount of carbohydrate consumption (30%). The control and reference groups are advised to maintain their habitual habits during the intervention. The primary outcome measures are HFC, serum metabolomics and gut microbiota composition. The secondary outcome measures include body composition and cytokines. In addition, socio-psychological aspects, social support, physical activity and diet will be performed by means of questionnaire and interview.
Specific individualized exercise and diet intervention in this study offers a more efficient approach for liver fat reduction and diabetes prevention via modification of gut microbiota composition. Besides, the study explores the importance of incorporating fitness assessment and exercise in the management of patients with pre-diabetes and fatty liver disorders. If our program is shown to be effective, it will open new strategies to combat these chronic diseases.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN42622771.
PMCID: PMC3897962  PMID: 24438438
Liver fat content; Glucose metabolism; Lipid metabolism; Gut microbiota; Metabonomics; Human; Clinical setting
6.  Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas putida Strain SJTE-1, a Bacterium Capable of Degrading Estrogens and Persistent Organic Pollutants 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(17):4781-4782.
Pseudomonas putida strain SJTE-1 can utilize 17β-estradiol and other environmental estrogens/toxicants, such as estrone, and naphthalene as sole carbon sources. We report the draft genome sequence of strain SJTE-1 (5,551,505 bp, with a GC content of 62.25%) and major findings from its annotation, which could provide insights into its biodegradation mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3415482  PMID: 22887678
7.  Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strain SJTD-1, a Bacterium Capable of Degrading Long-Chain Alkanes and Crude Oil 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(17):4783-4784.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain SJTD-1 can utilize long-chain alkanes, diesel oil, and crude oil as sole carbon sources. We report the draft genome sequence of strain SJTD-1 (6,074,058 bp, with a GC content of 66.83%) and major findings from its annotation, which could provide insights into its petroleum biodegradation mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3415508  PMID: 22887679
8.  FOXP3 Orchestrates H4K16 Acetylation and H3K4 Tri-Methylation for Activation of Multiple Genes through Recruiting MOF and Causing Displacement of PLU-1 
Molecular cell  2011;44(5):770-784.
Both H4K16 acetylation and H3K4 tri-methylation are required for gene activation. However, it is still largely unclear how these modifications are orchestrated by transcriptional factors. Here we analyzed the mechanism of the transcriptional activation by FOXP3, an X-linked suppressor of autoimmune diseases and cancers. FOXP3 binds near transcriptional start sites of its target genes. By recruiting MOF and displacing histone H3K4 demethylase PLU-1, FOXP3 increases both H4K16 acetylation and H3K4 tri-methylation at the FOXP3-associated chromatins of multiple FOXP3-activated genes. RNAi-mediated silencing of MOF reduced both gene activation and tumor suppression by FOXP3, while both somatic mutations in clinical cancer samples and targeted mutation of FOXP3 in mouse prostate epithelial disrupted nuclear localization of MOF. Our data demonstrate a pull-push model in which a single transcription factor orchestrates two epigenetic alterations necessary for gene activation and provide a mechanism for somatic inactivation of the FOXP3 protein function in cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3243051  PMID: 22152480
9.  Emergence and Continuous Evolution of Genotype 1E Rubella Viruses in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(2):353-363.
In China, rubella vaccination was introduced into the national immunization program in 2008, and a rubella epidemic occurred in the same year. In order to know whether changes in the genotypic distribution of rubella viruses have occurred in the postvaccination era, we investigate in detail the epidemiological profile of rubella in China and estimate the evolutionary rate, molecular clock phylogeny, and demographic history of the predominant rubella virus genotypes circulating in China using Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo phylodynamic analyses. 1E was found to be the predominant rubella virus genotype since its initial isolation in China in 2001, and no genotypic shift has occurred since then. The results suggest that the global 1E genotype may have diverged in 1995 and that it has evolved at a mutation rate of 1.65 × 10−3 per site per year. The Chinese 1E rubella virus isolates were grouped into either cluster 1 or cluster 2, which likely originated in 1997 and 2006, respectively. Cluster 1 viruses were found in all provinces examined in this study and had a mutation rate of 1.90 × 10−3 per site per year. The effective number of infections remained constant until 2007, and along with the introduction of rubella vaccine into the national immunization program, although the circulation of cluster 1 viruses has not been interrupted, some viral lineages have disappeared, and the epidemic started a decline that led to a decrease in the effective population size. Cluster 2 viruses were found only in Hainan Province, likely because of importation.
PMCID: PMC3264136  PMID: 22162559
10.  TLR3 deficiency impairs spinal cord synaptic transmission, central sensitization, and pruritus in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(6):2195-2207.
Itch, also known as pruritus, is a common, intractable symptom of several skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and xerosis. TLRs mediate innate immunity and regulate neuropathic pain, but their roles in pruritus are elusive. Here, we report that scratching behaviors induced by histamine-dependent and -independent pruritogens are markedly reduced in mice lacking the Tlr3 gene. TLR3 is expressed mainly by small-sized primary sensory neurons in dorsal root ganglions (DRGs) that coexpress the itch signaling pathway components transient receptor potential subtype V1 and gastrin-releasing peptide. Notably, we found that treatment with a TLR3 agonist induces inward currents and action potentials in DRG neurons and elicited scratching in WT mice but not Tlr3–/– mice. Furthermore, excitatory synaptic transmission in spinal cord slices and long-term potentiation in the intact spinal cord were impaired in Tlr3–/– mice but not Tlr7–/– mice. Consequently, central sensitization–driven pain hypersensitivity, but not acute pain, was impaired in Tlr3–/– mice. In addition, TLR3 knockdown in DRGs also attenuated pruritus in WT mice. Finally, chronic itch in a dry skin condition was substantially reduced in Tlr3–/– mice. Our findings demonstrate a critical role of TLR3 in regulating sensory neuronal excitability, spinal cord synaptic transmission, and central sensitization. TLR3 may serve as a new target for developing anti-itch treatment.
PMCID: PMC3366391  PMID: 22565312
11.  A Dinucleotide Deletion in CD24 Confers Protection against Autoimmune Diseases 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(4):e49.
It is generally believed that susceptibility to both organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases is under polygenic control. Although multiple genes have been implicated in each type of autoimmune disease, few are known to have a significant impact on both. Here, we investigated the significance of polymorphisms in the human gene CD24 and the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We used cases/control studies to determine the association between CD24 polymorphism and the risk of MS and SLE. In addition, we also considered transmission disequilibrium tests using family data from two cohorts consisting of a total of 150 pedigrees of MS families and 187 pedigrees of SLE families. Our analyses revealed that a dinucleotide deletion at position 1527∼1528 (P1527del) from the CD24 mRNA translation start site is associated with a significantly reduced risk (odds ratio = 0.54 with 95% confidence interval = 0.34–0.82) and delayed progression (p = 0.0188) of MS. Among the SLE cohort, we found a similar reduction of risk with the same polymorphism (odds ratio = 0.38, confidence interval = 0.22–0.62). More importantly, using 150 pedigrees of MS families from two independent cohorts and the TRANSMIT software, we found that the P1527del allele was preferentially transmitted to unaffected individuals (p = 0.002). Likewise, an analysis of 187 SLE families revealed the dinucleotide-deleted allele was preferentially transmitted to unaffected individuals (p = 0.002). The mRNA levels for the dinucleotide-deletion allele were 2.5-fold less than that of the wild-type allele. The dinucleotide deletion significantly reduced the stability of CD24 mRNA. Our results demonstrate that a destabilizing dinucleotide deletion in the 3′ UTR of CD24 mRNA conveys significant protection against both MS and SLE.
Author Summary
When an individual's immune system attacks self tissues or organs, he/she develops autoimmune diseases. Although it is well established that multiple genes control susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, most of the genes remain unidentified. In addition, although different autoimmune diseases have a common immunological basis, a very small number of genes have been identified that affect multiple autoimmune diseases. Here we show that a variation in CD24 is a likely genetic factor for the risk and progression of two types of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), an organ-specific autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, and systemic lupus erythematosus, a systemic autoimmune disease. Our data indicated that if an individual's CD24 gene has a specific two-nucleotide deletion in the noncoding region of CD24 mRNA, his/her risk of developing MS or SLE is reduced by 2- to 3-fold. As a group, MS patients with the two-nucleotide deletion will likely have a slower disease progression. Biochemical analysis indicated that the deletion leads to rapid decay of CD24 mRNA, which should result in reduced synthesis of the CD24 protein. Our data may be useful for the treatment and diagnosis of autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC1847692  PMID: 17411341
12.  Modifying Role of GSTP1 Polymorphism on the Association between Tea Fluoride Exposure and the Brick-Tea Type Fluorosis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128280.
Brick tea type fluorosis is a public health concern in the north-west area of China. The association between SNPs of genes influencing bone mass and fluorosis has attracted attention, but the association of SNPs with the risk of brick-tea type of fluorosis has not been reported.
To investigate the modifying roles of GSTP1 rs1695 polymorphisms on this association.
A cross-sectional study was conducted. Brick-tea water was tested by the standard of GB1996-2005 (China). Urinary fluoride was tested by the standard of WS/T 89-2006 (China). Skeletal fluorosis was diagnosed by X-ray, the part we scheduled was forearm, shank, and pelvic, then diagnosed the skeletal fluorosis by the standard of WS/192-2008 (China). Gene polymorphism was tested by Sequenom MassARRAY system.
The prevalence rate in different ethnical participants was different: Tibetan individuals had the highest prevalence rate of skeletal fluorosis. There were significant differences in genotype frequencies of GSTP1 Rs1695 among different ethnical participants (p<0.001): Tibetan, Mongolian and Han subjects with homozygous wild type (GSTP1-AA) genotype were numerically higher than Kazakh and Russian subjects (p<0.001). Compared to Tibetan participants who carried homozygous A allele of GSTP1 Rs1695, Tibetan participants who carried G allele had a significantly decreased risk of skeletal fluorosis (OR = 0.558 [95% CI, 0.326-0.955]). For Kazakh participants, a decreased risk of skeletal fluorosis among carriers of the G allele was limited to non high-loaded fluoride status (OR = 0. 166 [95% CI, 0.035–0.780] vs. OR = 1.478 [95% CI, 0.866–2.552] in participants with high-loaded fluoride status). Neither SNP-IF nor SNP-age for GSTP1 Rs1695 was observed.
The prevalence rate of the brick tea type fluorosis might have ethnic difference. For Tibetan individuals, who had the highest prevalence rate, G allele of GSTP1 Rs1695 might be a protective factor for brick tea type skeletal fluorosis.
PMCID: PMC4457801  PMID: 26046522
13.  Novel Carboline Derivatives as Potent Antifungal Lead Compounds: Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2014;5(5):506-511.
A series of novel antifungal carboline derivatives was designed and synthesized, which showed broad-spectrum antifungal activity. Particularly, compound C38 showed comparable in vitro antifungal activity to fluconazole without toxicity to human embryonic lung cells. It also exhibited good fungicidal activity against both fluconazole-sensitive and -resistant Candida albicans cells and had potent inhibition activity against Candida albicans biofilm formation and hyphal growth. Moreover, C38 showed good synergistic antifungal activity in combination with fluconazole (FLC) against FLC-resistant Candida species. Preliminary mechanism studies revealed that C38 might act by inhibiting the synthesis of fungal cell wall.
PMCID: PMC4027750  PMID: 24900870
Antifungal lead compounds; carboline derivatives; fungicidal activity
14.  Overexpression of FRAT1 Is Associated with Malignant Phenotype and Poor Prognosis in Human Gliomas 
Disease Markers  2015;2015:289750.
Glioma is the most common malignancy of the central nervous system. Approximately 40 percent of intracranial tumors are diagnosed as gliomas. Difficulties in treatment are associated closely with the malignant phenotype, which is characterized by excessive proliferation, relentless invasion, and angiogenesis. Although the comprehensive treatment level of brain glioma is continuously progressing, the outcome of this malignancy has not been improved drastically. Therefore, the identification of new biomarkers for diagnosis and therapy of this malignancy is of significant scientific and clinical value. FRAT1 is a positive regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and is overexpressed in many human tumors. In the present study, we investigated the expression status of FRAT1 in 68 patients with human gliomas and its correlation with the pathologic grade, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and prognostic significance. These findings suggest that FRAT1 may be an important factor in the tumorigenesis and progression of glioma and could be explored as a potential biomarker for pathological diagnosis, an indicator for prognosis, and a target for biological therapy of malignancy.
PMCID: PMC4398933  PMID: 25922553
15.  Time-Course Association Mapping of the Grain-Filling Rate in Rice (Oryza sativa L.) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119959.
Detecting quantity trait locus (QTLs) and elite alleles that are associated with grain-filling rate (GFR) in rice is essential for promoting the utilization of hybrid japonica rice and improving rice yield. Ninety-five varieties including 58 landraces and 37 elite varieties from the core germplasm collection were genotyped with 263 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The GFR of the 95 varieties was evaluated at five stages, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days after flowering (DAF) both in 2011 and 2012. We found abundant phenotypic and genetic diversity in the studied population. A population structure analysis identified seven subpopulations. A linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis indicated that the levels of LD ranged from 60.3 cM to 84.8 cM and artificial selection had enhanced the LD. A time-course association analysis detected 31 marker-GFR associations involving 24 SSR markers located on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12 of rice at five stages. The elite alleles for high GFR at each stage were detected. Fifteen excellent parental combinations were predicted, and the best parental combination ‘Nannongjing62401×Laolaihong’ could theoretically increase 4.086 mg grain-1 d-1 at the five stages. Our results demonstrate that the time-course association mapping for GFR in rice could detect elite alleles at different filling stages and that these elite alleles could be used to improve the GFR via pyramiding breeding.
PMCID: PMC4366047  PMID: 25789629
16.  Disturbance of redox status enhances radiosensitivity of hepatocellular carcinoma 
American Journal of Cancer Research  2015;5(4):1368-1381.
Aims: High constitutive expression of Nrf2 has been found in many types of cancers, and this high level of Nrf2 also favors resistance to drugs and radiation. Here we investigate how isoliquiritigenin (ISL), a natural antioxidant, inhibits the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant pathway and enhances the radiosensitivity of HepG2 cells and HepG2 xenografts. Results: Treatment of HepG2 cells with ISL for 6 h selectively enhanced transcription and expression of Keap1. Keap1 effectively induced ubiquitination and degradation of Nrf2, and inhibited translocation of Nrf2 to the nucleus. Consequently, expression of Nrf2 downstream genes was reduced, and the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant system was suppressed. Endogenous ROS was higher than before ISL treatment, causing redox imbalance and oxidative stress in HepG2 cells. Moreover, pretreatment with ISL for 6 h followed by X-ray irradiation significantly increased γ-H2AX foci and cell apoptosis, and reduced clonogenic potential compared with cells irradiated with X-rays alone. In addition, HepG2 xenografts, ISL, and X-ray co-treatments induced greater apoptosis and tumor growth inhibition, when compared with X-ray treatments alone. Additionally, HepG2 xenografts, in which Nrf2 was expressed at very low levels due to ectopic expression of Keap1, showed that ISL-mediated radiosensitization was Keap1 dependent. Innovation and Conclusions: ISL inhibited the Nrf2-antioxidant pathway by increasing the levels of Keap1 and ultimately inducing oxidative stress via disturbance of the redox status. The antioxidant ISL possessed pro-oxidative properties, and enhanced the radiosensitivity of liver cancer cells, both in vivo and in vitro. Taken together, these results demonstrated the effectiveness of using ISL to decrease radioresistance, suggesting that ISL could be developed as an adjuvant radiosensitization drug. Disturbance of redox status could be a potential target for radiosensitization.
PMCID: PMC4473316  PMID: 26101703
Redox state; ROS; isoliquiritigenin; radiosensitization; Keap1/Nrf-2
17.  Arsenite binding-induced zinc loss from PARP-1 is equivalent to zinc deficiency in reducing PARP-1 activity, leading to inhibition of DNA repair 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2013;274(2):313-318.
Inhibition of DNA repair is a recognized mechanism for arsenic enhancement of ultraviolet radiation-induced DNA damage and carcinogenesis. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), a zinc finger DNA repair protein, has been identified as a sensitive molecular target for arsenic. The zinc finger domains of PARP-1 protein function as a critical structure in DNA recognition and binding. Since cellular poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation capacity has been positively correlated with zinc status in cells, we hypothesize that arsenite binding-induced zinc loss from PARP-1 is equivalent to zinc deficiency in reducing PARP-1 activity, leading to inhibition of DNA repair. To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of arsenite exposure with zinc deficiency, created by using the membrane-permeable zinc chelator TPEN, on 8-OHdG formation, PARP-1 activity and zinc binding to PARP-1 in HaCat cells. Our results show that arsenite exposure and zinc deficiency had similar effects on PARP-1 protein, whereas supplemental zinc reversed these effects. To investigate the molecular mechanism of zinc loss induced by arsenite, ICP-AES, near UV spectroscopy, fluorescence, and circular dichroism spectroscopy were utilized to examine arsenite binding and occupation of a peptide representing the first zinc finger of PARP-1. We found that arsenite binding as well as zinc loss altered the conformation of zinc finger structure which functionally leads to PARP-1 inhibition. These findings suggest that arsenite binding to PARP-1 protein created similar adverse biological effects as zinc deficiency, which establishes the molecular mechanism for zinc supplementation as a potentially effective treatment to reverse the detrimental outcomes of arsenic exposure.
PMCID: PMC3891920  PMID: 24275069
zinc deficiency; arsenite; PARP-1; DNA damage repair; zinc finger
18.  Cost-Effectiveness of Colorectal Cancer Screening Protocols in Urban Chinese Populations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109150.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) takes a second and fourth position in the incidence and mortality lists respectively among all malignant tumors in urban populations in China. This study was designed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of two different CRC screening protocols: faecal occult blood test (FOBT) alone, and FOBT plus a high-risk factor questionnaire (HRFQ) as the respective initial screens, followed by colonoscopy. We developed a Markov model to simulate the progression of a cohort of 100,000 average risk asymptomatic individuals moving through a defined series of states between the ages of 40 to 74 years. The parameters used for the modeling came from the CESP (Comparison and Evaluation of Screening Programs for Colorectal Cancer in Urban Communities in China) study and published literature. Eight CRC screening scenarios were tested in the Markov model. The cost-effectiveness of CRC screening under each scenario was measured by an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) compared with a scenario without CRC screening. The study revealed that a combined use of FOBT and HRFQ is preferable in CRC screening programs as an initial screening instrument. Annual FOBT+HRFQ screening is recommended for those who have a negative initial result and those who have a positive result but have failed to continue to colonoscopic examination. Repeated colonoscopy (for those with a positive result in initial screening but a negative colonoscopy result) should be performed at a ten-year interval instead of one-year. Such a protocol would cost 7732 Yuan per life year saved, which is the most cost-effective option. In conclusion, the current Chinese Trial Version for CRC Screening Strategy should be revised in line with the most cost-effective protocol identified in this study.
PMCID: PMC4186806  PMID: 25285526
19.  Visceral and somatic hypersensitivity, autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction and low-grade inflammation in a subset of irritable bowel syndrome patients*  
The pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is complex and not fully understood, so the aim of this study was to evaluate whether visceral and somatic hypersensitivity, autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction, and low-grade inflammation of the gut wall are associated with diarrhea-predominant IBS (D-IBS). Sixty-two patients with D-IBS and 20 control subjects participated in the study. Using the ascending method of limits (AML) protocol, we demonstrated that D-IBS patients had significantly lower sensory thresholds compared with healthy controls (P<0.001). Using diverse methods, especially the ischemic sensitivity test, for the first time in China, we confirmed that D-IBS patients have somatic hypersensitivity. They had a significantly higher systolic blood pressure and heart rate after a cold stimulus, indicative of autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction. Compared with the control group, D-IBS patients had a significantly higher level of calprotectin (P<0.001). We also found significant correlations between visceral and somatic hypersensitivity, visceral hypersensitivity and autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction, and somatic hypersensitivity and autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction. Our findings may provide valuable suggestions for the treatment of D-IBS.
PMCID: PMC4201319  PMID: 25294380
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); Visceral hypersensitivity; Somatic hypersensitivity; Autonomic cardiovascular dysfunction; Low-grade inflammation
20.  Comparison of hand-sewn and stapled anastomoses in surgeries of gastrointestinal tumors based on clinical practice of China 
There is a lack of studies comparing stapled suturing and hand-sewn suturing in the surgeries of gastrointestinal tumors based on the clinical practice of Chinese surgeons.
Data were retrospectively collected from 499 patients who underwent surgery to remove gastrointestinal tumors from January 2008 to December 2009. The patients were divided into two groups according to the method of digestive tract reconstruction: 296 patients received stapled suturing and 203 patients received hand-sewn suturing. The operation time, postoperative hospital stay, postoperative recovery and complications of the patients were evaluated and compared between the two groups.
The stapling procedure took shorter operative time compared to the hand-sewn procedure for gastric carcinoma, colorectal cancer and esophageal carcinoma (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between the two groups in postoperative hospital stay (P > 0.05). Patients receiving stapled suturing also showed shorter recovery for gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, and shorter time to recovery of normal gastrocolorectal motility compared with patients in the hand-sewn group (P < 0.05). However, there was no difference between the two groups in terms of normal time to commencing liquid diet for esophageal cancer patients (P > 0.05). We also found that the stapled procedure showed a lower incidence of anastomotic leakage, anastomotic hemorrhage and stump leakage in treating colorectal cancer or gastric carcinoma compared with the hand-sewn procedure (P < 0.05).
Application of the stapler in treating gastrointestinal tumors demonstrated better effects on patients in terms of surgical operation time, recovery time to normal functions, and occurrence of complications compared to hand-sewn anastomosis, especially in gastric carcinoma and colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4194420  PMID: 25240386
Stapler; Gastrocolorectal tumor; Anastomosis; Surgery
21.  Comparison of the Effects of Acarbose and TZQ-F, a New Kind of Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Diabetes, Chinese Healthy Volunteers 
Ethnopharmacological Relevance. TZQ-F has been traditionally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a formula for the treatment of diabetes. Aim of the Study. This study aims to compare the pharmacologic effects and gastrointestinal adverse events between TZQ-F and acarbose. Methods. The double-blind randomized placebo-controlled fivefold crossover study was performed in 20 healthy male volunteers. Plasma glucose, plasma IRI, and plasma C-peptide were measured to assess the pharmacologic effects. Flatus and bowel activity were measured to assess the adverse event of gastrointestinal effect. Results. 3 and 4 tablets of TZQ decreased the Cmax of plasma glucose compared with that of the previous day and with placebo. 3 tablets also decreased Cmax of plasma C-peptide compared with placebo. 4 tablets increased Cmax of plasma insulin after breakfast and the AUC of plasma C-peptide after breakfast and dinner. 2 tablets did not decrease plasma glucose and elevated the Cmax and AUC of C-peptide after breakfast and dinner, respectively. Acarbose 50 mg decreased the Cmax of plasma insulin and C-peptide after breakfast and the Cmax of plasma glucose and C-peptide after dinner. The subjects who received TZQ did not report any abdominal adverse events. Conclusions. 3 tablets of TZQ have the same effects as the acarbose.
PMCID: PMC3997856  PMID: 24808918
22.  Study of Burn Scar Extraction Automatically Based on Level Set Method using Remote Sensing Data 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87480.
Burn scar extraction using remote sensing data is an efficient way to precisely evaluate burn area and measure vegetation recovery. Traditional burn scar extraction methodologies have no well effect on burn scar image with blurred and irregular edges. To address these issues, this paper proposes an automatic method to extract burn scar based on Level Set Method (LSM). This method utilizes the advantages of the different features in remote sensing images, as well as considers the practical needs of extracting the burn scar rapidly and automatically. This approach integrates Change Vector Analysis (CVA), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) to obtain difference image and modifies conventional Level Set Method Chan-Vese (C-V) model with a new initial curve which results from a binary image applying K-means method on fitting errors of two near-infrared band images. Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI data sets are used to validate the proposed method. Comparison with conventional C-V model, OSTU algorithm, Fuzzy C-mean (FCM) algorithm are made to show that the proposed approach can extract the outline curve of fire burn scar effectively and exactly. The method has higher extraction accuracy and less algorithm complexity than that of the conventional C-V model.
PMCID: PMC3913612  PMID: 24503563
23.  High Levels of BCOX1 Expression Are Associated with Poor Prognosis in Patients with Invasive Ductal Carcinomas of the Breast 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86952.
This study was to examine the breast cancer-overexpressed gene 1 (BCOX1) expression in invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC) of the breast and its value in the prognosis of the disease. The levels of BCOX1 expression in 491 paired IDC and surrounding non-tumor breast tissues as well as 40 paired fresh specimens were evaluated by tissue microarray, immunohistochemistry and quantitative RT-PCR. The potential associations of high BCOX1 expression with clinicopathological variables and the overall survival of these patients were analyzed. The relative levels of BCOX1 mRNA transcripts in the IDC breast tissues were significantly higher than that in the corresponding non-tumor tissues (P = 0.005). The anti-BCOX1 was predominantly stained in the cytoplasm of breast tissue cells and the levels of BCOX1 expression in the majority of breast cancer tissues were obviously higher than that in the corresponding non-tumor breast tissues. High levels of BCOX1 expression were found in 59.5% (292/491) of breast cancer tissues. The high BCOX1 expression was significantly associated with high histological grade (P = 0.037), positive expression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2, P = 0.031) and triple negative breast cancer (P = 0.027). The high BCOX1 expression in breast cancers was significantly associated with a shorter overall survival of these patients (P = 0.023), particularly in patients with triple negative breast cancer (P = 0.005). Therefore, the high BCOX1 expression may serve as a novel marker of poor prognosis and a potential therapeutic target for patients with IDC of the breast.
PMCID: PMC3904964  PMID: 24489812
24.  Transciptome Analysis of the Gill and Swimbladder of Takifugu rubripes by RNA-Seq 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85505.
The fish gill, as one of the mucosal barriers, plays an important role in mucosal immune response. The fish swimbladder functions for regulating buoyancy. The fish swimbladder has long been postulated as a homologous organ of the tetrapod lung, but the molecular evidence is scarce. In order to provide new information that is complementary to gill immune genes, initiate new research directions concerning the genetic basis of the gill immune response and understand the molecular function of swimbladder as well as its relationship with lungs, transcriptome analysis of the fugu Takifugu rubripes gill and swimbladder was carried out by RNA-Seq. Approximately 55,061,524 and 44,736,850 raw sequence reads from gill and swimbladder were generated, respectively. Gene ontology (GO) and KEGG pathway analysis revealed diverse biological functions and processes. Transcriptome comparison between gill and swimbladder resulted in 3,790 differentially expressed genes, of which 1,520 were up-regulated in the swimbladder while 2,270 were down-regulated. In addition, 406 up regulated isoforms and 296 down regulated isoforms were observed in swimbladder in comparison to gill. By the gene enrichment analysis, the three immune-related pathways and 32 immune-related genes in gill were identified. In swimbladder, five pathways including 43 swimbladder-enriched genes were identified. This work should set the foundation for studying immune-related genes for the mucosal immunity and provide genomic resources to study the relatedness of the fish swimbladder and mammalian lung.
PMCID: PMC3894188  PMID: 24454879
25.  P16 and P53 Play Distinct Roles in Different Subtypes of Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76408.
Breast cancers are heterogeneous and complex diseases, and subtypes of breast cancers may involve unique molecular mechanisms. The p16INK4a and p53 pathways are two of the major pathways involved in control of the cell cycle. They also play key roles in tumorigenesis. However, whether the roles of these pathways differ in the subtypes of breast cancer is unclear. Therefore, p16 and p53 expression were investigated in different breast cancer subtypes to ascertain their contributions to these cancers. A total of 400 cases of non-invasive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), including the major molecular subtypes luminal-A, luminal-B, Her-2, and triple-negative subtypes, and 50 cases of normal controls were compared. Luminal-A cancers expressed the lowest level of p16 among the subtypes in DCIS, and the level of p16 expression was up-regulated in the luminal-A of IDC (P<0.008). Triple-negative breast cancers were characterized by a correlation of p53 overexpression with a high level of p16 expression. Luminal lesion types with high p16 expression in DCIS were found to be more likely to develop into aggressive breast cancers, possibly promoted by p53 dysfunction. Taken together, the present study suggest that p16 expression in luminal-A breast cancers is associated with their progression from DCIS to IDC, and both p53 and p16 expressions are important for the development of triple-negative breast cancers in DCIS and IDC.
PMCID: PMC3795768  PMID: 24146864

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