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1.  Inhibition of Fumonisin B1 Cytotoxicity by Nanosilicate Platelets during Mouse Embryo Development 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112290.
Nanosilicate platelets (NSP), the form of natural silicate clay that was exfoliated from montmorillonite (MMT), is widely used as a feed additive for its high non-specific binding capacity with mycotoxins such as fumonisin B1 (FB1), and has been evaluated its safety for biomedical use including cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and lethal dosage (LD). In the study, we further examined its toxicity on the development of CD1 mouse embryos and its capacity to prevent teratogenesis-induced by FB1. In vitro cultures, NSP did not disturb the development and the quality of intact pre-implantation mouse embryos. Further, newborn mice from females consumed with NSP showed no abnormalities. NSP had an unexpected high adsorption capacity in vitro. In contrast to female mice consumed with FB1 only, a very low residual level of FB1 in the circulation, reduced incidence of neutral tube defects and significantly increased fetal weight were observed in the females consumed with FB1 and NSP, suggesting a high alleviation effect of NSP on FB1 in vivo. Furthermore, FB1 treatment disturbed the gene expression of sphingolipid metabolism enzymes (longevity assurance homolog 5, LASS 5; sphingosine kinase 1, Sphk1; sphingosine kinase 2, Sphk2; sphingosine 1- phosphate lyase, Sgpl1; sphingosine 1-phosphate phosphatase, Sgpp1) in the maternal liver, uterus, fetus, and placenta, but NSP administration reversed the perturbations. Based on these findings, we conclude that NSP is a feasible and effective agent for supplementary use in reducing the toxicity of FB1 to animals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112290
PMCID: PMC4226500  PMID: 25383881
2.  Mammary Fat of Breast Cancer: Gene Expression Profiling and Functional Characterization 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109742.
Mammary fat is the main composition of breast, and is the most probable candidate to affect tumor behavior because the fat produces hormones, growth factors and adipokines, a heterogeneous group of signaling molecules. Gene expression profiling and functional characterization of mammary fat in Chinese women has not been reported. Thus, we collected the mammary fat tissues adjacent to breast tumors from 60 subjects, among which 30 subjects had breast cancer and 30 had benign lesions. We isolated and cultured the stromal vascular cell fraction from mammary fat. The expression of genes related to adipose function (including adipogenesis and secretion) was detected at both the tissue and the cellular level. We also studied mammary fat browning. The results indicated that fat tissue close to malignant and benign lesions exhibited distinctive gene expression profiles and functional characteristics. Although the mammary fat of breast tumors atrophied, it secreted tumor growth stimulatory factors. Browning of mammary fat was observed and browning activity of fat close to malignant breast tumors was greater than that close to benign lesions. Understanding the diversity between these two fat depots may possibly help us improve our understanding of breast cancer pathogenesis and find the key to unlock new anticancer therapies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109742
PMCID: PMC4188628  PMID: 25291184
3.  Experimental Comparison of the Reproductive Outcomes and Early Development of the Offspring of Rats Given Five Common Types of Drinking Water 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108955.
Tap water (unfiltered), filtered tap water and processed bottled water (purified water, artificial mineralized water, or natural water) are now the five most widely consumed types of drinking water in China. However, the constituents (organic chemicals and inorganic ingredients) of the five waters differ, which may cause them to have different long-term health effects on those who drink them, especially sensitive children. In order to determine which type of water among the five waters is the most beneficial regarding reproductive outcomes and the developmental behaviors of offspring, two generations of Sprague–Dawley rats were given these five waters separately, and their reproductive outcomes and the developmental behaviors of their offspring were observed and compared. The results showed that the unfiltered tap water group had the lowest values for the maternal gestation index (MGI) and offspring's learning and memory abilities (OLMA); the lowest offspring survival rate was found in the purified water group; and the highest OLMA were found in the filtered tap water group. Thus, the best reproductive and offspring early developmental outcomes were found in the group that drank filtered tap water, which had the lowest levels of pollutants and the richest minerals. Therefore, thoroughly removing toxic contaminants and retaining the beneficial minerals in drinking water may be important for both pregnant women and children, and the best way to treat water may be with granular activated carbon and ion exchange by copper zinc alloy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108955
PMCID: PMC4184831  PMID: 25279561
4.  Rational Design of Berberine-Based FtsZ Inhibitors with Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Activity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97514.
Inhibition of the functional activity of Filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z (FtsZ) protein, an essential and highly conserved bacterial cytokinesis protein, is a promising approach for the development of a new class of antibacterial agents. Berberine, a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid widely used in traditional Chinese and native American medicines for its antimicrobial properties, has been recently reported to inhibit FtsZ. Using a combination of in silico structure-based design and in vitro biological assays, 9-phenoxyalkyl berberine derivatives were identified as potent FtsZ inhibitors. Compared to the parent compound berberine, the derivatives showed a significant enhancement of antibacterial activity against clinically relevant bacteria, and an improved potency against the GTPase activity and polymerization of FtsZ. The most potent compound 2 strongly inhibited the proliferation of Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant E. faecium, with MIC values between 2 and 4 µg/mL, and was active against the Gram-negative E. coli and K. pneumoniae, with MIC values of 32 and 64 µg/mL respectively. The compound perturbed the formation of cytokinetic Z-ring in E. coli. Also, the compound interfered with in vitro polymerization of S. aureus FtsZ. Taken together, the chemical modification of berberine with 9-phenoxyalkyl substituent groups greatly improved the antibacterial activity via targeting FtsZ.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097514
PMCID: PMC4019636  PMID: 24824618
5.  Ribosomal Protein S29 Regulates Metabolic Insecticide Resistance through Binding and Degradation of CYP6N3 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94611.
Background
Many diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, filariasis, and West Nile fever. Chemical control plays a major role in managing mosquito-borne diseases. However, excessive and continuous application of insecticides has caused the development of insecticide resistance in many species including mosquito, and this has become the major obstacle to controlling mosquito-borne diseases. Insecticide resistance is the result of complex polygenic inheritance, and the mechanisms are not well understood. Ribosomal protein RPS29 was found to be associated with DM resistance in our previous study. In this study, we aim to further investigate the involvement of RPS29 in deltamethrin resistance.
Methodology and Principal Findings
In this study, tandem affinity purification was used to identify proteins that can interact with RPS29. Among the candidate proteins, CYP6N3, a member of the CYP450 superfamily, was identified, and binding to RPS29 was confirmed in vitro and in vivo by GST pull-down and immunofluorescence. CCK-8 assay was used to investigate the RPS29-CTP6N3 interaction in relation to DM resistance. CYP6N3 overexpression significantly enhanced DM resistance and insect cell viability, but this was reversed by RPS29 overexpression. Western blot was used to study the mechanism of interaction between RPS29 and CYP6N3. RPS29 increases CYP6N3 protein degradation through the proteasome.
Conclusions and Significance
These observations indicate that CYP6N3, a novel RPS29-interacting partner, could stimulate deltamethrin resistance in mosquito cells and RPS29 overexpression targeted CYP6N3 for proteosomal degradation, abrogating the CYP6N3-associated resistence to deltamethrin. Our findings provide a novel mechanism associated with CYP450s mediated DM resistance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094611
PMCID: PMC3984272  PMID: 24728095
6.  Bayesian Network Analysis Reveals Alterations to Default Mode Network Connectivity in Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82104.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with abnormal functioning of the default mode network (DMN). Functional connectivity (FC) changes to the DMN have been found in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is the prodromal stage of AD. However, whether or not aMCI also alters the effective connectivity (EC) of the DMN remains unknown. We employed a combined group independent component analysis (ICA) and Bayesian network (BN) learning approach to resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) data from 17 aMCI patients and 17 controls, in order to establish the EC pattern of DMN, and to evaluate changes occurring in aMCI. BN analysis demonstrated heterogeneous regional convergence degree across DMN regions, which were organized into two closely interacting subsystems. Compared to controls, the aMCI group showed altered directed connectivity weights between DMN regions in the fronto-parietal, temporo-frontal, and temporo-parietal pathways. The aMCI group also exhibited altered regional convergence degree in the right inferior parietal lobule. Moreover, we found EC changes in DMN regions in aMCI were correlated with regional FC levels, and the connectivity metrics were associated with patients' cognitive performance. This study provides novel sights into our understanding of the functional architecture of the DMN and adds to a growing body of work demonstrating the importance of the DMN as a mechanism of aMCI.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082104
PMCID: PMC3855765  PMID: 24324753
7.  Intraoperative Blood Loss Independently Predicts Survival and Recurrence after Resection of Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastasis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76125.
Background
Although numerous prognostic factors have been reported for colorectal cancer liver metastasis (CRLM), few studies have reported intraoperative blood loss (IBL) effects on clinical outcome after CRLM resection.
Methods
We retrospectively evaluated the clinical and histopathological characteristics of 139 patients who underwent liver resection for CRLM. The IBL cutoff volume was calculated using receiver operating characteristic curves. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence free survival (RFS) were assessed using the Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression methods.
Results
All patients underwent curative resection. The median follow up period was 25.0 months (range, 2.1–88.8). Body mass index (BMI) and CRLM number and tumor size were associated with increased IBL. BMI (P=0.01; 95% CI = 1.3–8.5) and IBL (P<0.01; 95% CI = 1.6–12.5) were independent OSOs predictors. Five factors, including IBL (P=0.02; 95% CI = 1.1–4.1), were significantly related to RFS via multivariate Cox regression analysis. In addition, OSOs and RFS significantly decreased with increasing IBL volumes. The 5-year OSOs of patients with IBL≤250, 250–500, and >500mL were 71%, 33%, and 0%, respectively (P<0.01). RFS of patients within three IBL volumes at the end of the first year were 67%, 38%, and 18%, respectively (P<0.01).
Conclusions
IBL during CRLM resection is an independent predictor of long term survival and tumor recurrence, and its prognostic value was confirmed by a dose–response relationship.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076125
PMCID: PMC3788029  PMID: 24098431
8.  The Role of Hydrogen Peroxide and Nitric Oxide in the Induction of Plant-Encoded RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase 1 in the Basal Defense against Tobacco Mosaic Virus 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e76090.
Plant RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase 1 (RDR1) is an important element of the RNA silencing pathway in the plant defense against viruses. RDR1 expression can be elicited by viral infection and salicylic acid (SA), but the mechanisms of signaling during this process remains undefined. The involvement of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and nitric oxide (NO) in RDR1 induction in the compatible interactions between Tobacco mosaic tobamovirus (TMV) and Nicotiana tabacum, Nicotiana benthamiana, and Arabidopsis thaliana was examined. TMV inoculation onto the lower leaves of N. tabacum induced the rapid accumulation of H2O2 and NO followed by the increased accumulation of RDR1 transcripts in the non-inoculated upper leaves. Pretreatment with exogenous H2O2 and NO on upper leaf led to increased RDR1 expression and systemic TMV resistance. Conversely, dimethylthiourea (an H2O2 scavenger) and 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)- 4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (an NO scavenger) partly blocked TMV- and SA-induced RDR1 expression and increased TMV susceptibility, whereas pretreatment with exogenous H2O2 and NO failed to diminish TMV infection in N. benthamiana plants with naturally occurring RDR1 loss-of-function. Furthermore, in N. tabacum and A. thaliana, TMV-induced H2O2 accumulation was NO-dependent, whereas NO generation was not affected by H2O2. These results suggest that, in response to TMV infection, H2O2 acts downstream of NO to mediate induction of RDR1, which plays a critical role in strengthening RNA silencing to restrict systemic viral infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076090
PMCID: PMC3786905  PMID: 24098767
9.  Hospital-Based Colorectal Cancer Survival Trend of Different Tumor Locations from 1960s to 2000s 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73528.
Background
Our aim is to explore the trend of association between the survival rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) and the different clinical characteristics in patients registered from 1960s to 2000s. We hypothesized that the survival rate of CRC increases over time and varies according to anatomic subsites.
Methods
Information from a total of 4558 stage T(1-4)N(1-2)M0 CRC patients registered from 1960s to 2008 were analyzed. The association of CRC overall survival with age, gender, tumor locations, time, histopathology types, pathology grades, no. of examined lymph nodes, the T stage, and the N stage was analyzed. The assessment of the influence of prognostic factors on patient survival was performed using Cox’s proportional hazard regression models.
Results
From 1960 to 2008, the studied CRC patients included 2625 (57.6%) and 1933 (42.4%) males and females, respectively. These included 1896 (41.6%) colon cancers, and 2662 (58.4%) rectum cancers. The 5-year survival rate was 49%, 58%, 58%, 70%, and 77% for the time duration of 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, respectively. An increased 5-year survival rate was observed in the colon cancer and rectum cancer patients. Patients older than 60 years of age were more likely to develop colonic cancer (sigmoid) than rectum cancer (49.2% vs. 39.9%). The Cox regression model showed that only rectum cancer survival was related to time duration.
Conclusion
The overall survival and 5-year survival rates showed an increase from the 1960s to 2000s. There is a trend of rightward shift of tumor location in CRC patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073528
PMCID: PMC3772028  PMID: 24069202
10.  Association between TYMS Expression and Efficacy of Pemetrexed–Based Chemotherapy in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74284.
Background
The predictive value of thymidylate synthase (TYMS) to sensitivity to pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients is controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis of all relevant published data to assess the association of TYMS expression with the clinical outcomes of pemetrexed-based regimen in advanced NSCLC.
Patients and Methods
We conducted an electronic search using using PubMed, Embase, OVID and Cochrane Library databases and manual search. Pooled odds ratio (OR) for the response rate and hazard ratio (HR) for the overall survival and progression free survival were calculated using the software Revman 5.0.
Results
There were 11 studies (n=798) met our criteria for evaluation. Response rate to pemetrexed-based regimen was significantly higher in patients with low/negative TYMS (OR=2.96, 95%CI [1.81, 4.86] P<0.0001). Patients with low/negative TYMS who were treated with pemetrexed-based regimen had longer progression free survival (HR 0.50, 95%CI [0.41, 0.61] P <0.00001) and overall survival (HR 0.41, 95%CI [0.22, 0.78] P=0.007) than those with high/positive TYMS.
Conclusions
Low/negative TYMS expression was significantly associated with higher response rate, longer median survival and longer progression free survival for advanced NSCLC patients receiving pemtrexed-based chemotherapy. Hence, TYMS may be a potential predictor of sensitivity to pemtrexed-based chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC. Large scale prospective clinical trials are still warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074284
PMCID: PMC3769376  PMID: 24040222
11.  Correction: Transcriptome Analysis of Acyl-Homoserine Lactone-Based Quorum Sensing Regulation in Yersinia pestis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):10.1371/annotation/3f0e8e82-1db8-45fe-a700-c64ede3e3c61.
doi:10.1371/annotation/3f0e8e82-1db8-45fe-a700-c64ede3e3c61
PMCID: PMC3812340
12.  Correction: Aspirin Use and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):10.1371/annotation/bc36f952-ec0c-45d0-bedd-15429017791e.
doi:10.1371/annotation/bc36f952-ec0c-45d0-bedd-15429017791e
PMCID: PMC3692953
13.  Incidence and Risk of Treatment-Related Mortality with mTOR Inhibitors Everolimus and Temsirolimus in Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65166.
Background
Two novel mammalian targets of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors everolimus and temsirolimus are now approved by regulatory agencies and have been widely investigated among various types of solid tumors, but the risk of fatal adverse events (FAEs) with these drugs is not well defined.
Methods
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane library databases for relevant trials. Eligible studies included prospective phase II and III trials evaluating everolimus and temsirolimus in patients with all malignancies and data on FAEs were available. Statistical analyses were conducted to calculate the summary incidence, RRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by using either random effects or fixed effect models according to the heterogeneity of the included studies.
Results
A total of 3322 patients with various advanced solid tumors from 12 trials were included. The overall incidence of mTOR inhibitors associated FAEs was 1.8% (95%CI: 1.3–2.5%), and the incidences of everolimus related FAEs were comparable to that of temsirolimus (1.7% versus 1.8%). Compared with the controls, the use of mTOR inhibitors was associated with an increased risk of FAEs, with a RR of 3.24 (95%CI: 1.21–8.67, p = 0.019). On subgroup analysis, a non-statistically significant increase in the risk of FAEs was found according to different mTOR inhibitors, tumor types or controlled therapy. No evidence of publication bias was observed.
Conclusion
With the present evidence, the use of mTOR inhibitors seems to increase the risk of FAEs in patients with advanced solid tumors. More high quality trials are still needed to investigate this association.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065166
PMCID: PMC3681778  PMID: 23785409
14.  Identification of Proteasome Subunit Beta Type 6 (PSMB6) Associated with Deltamethrin Resistance in Mosquitoes by Proteomic and Bioassay Analyses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65859.
Deltamethrin (DM) insecticides are currently being promoted worldwide for mosquito control, because of the high efficacy, low mammalian toxicity and less environmental impact. Widespread and improper use of insecticides induced resistance, which has become a major obstacle for the insect-borne disease management. Resistance development is a complex and dynamic process involving many genes. To better understand the possible molecular mechanisms involved in DM resistance, a proteomic approach was employed for screening of differentially expressed proteins in DM-susceptible and -resistant mosquito cells. Twenty-seven differentially expressed proteins were identified by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and mass spectrometry (MS). Four members of the ubiquitin-proteasome system were significantly elevated in DM-resistant cells, suggesting that the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway may play an important role in DM resistance. Proteasome subunit beta type 6 (PSMB6) is a member of 20S proteasomal subunit family, which forms the proteolytic core of 26S proteasome. We used pharmaceutical inhibitor and molecular approaches to study the contributions of PSMB6 in DM resistance: the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 and bortezomib were used to suppress the proteasomal activity and siRNA was designed to block the function of PSMB6. The results revealed that both MG-132 and bortezomib increased the susceptibility in DM-resistant cells and resistance larvae. Moreover, PSMB6 knockdown decreased cellular viability under DM treatment. Taken together, our study indicated that PSMB6 is associated with DM resistance in mosquitoes and that proteasome inhibitors such as MG-132 or bortezomib are suitable for use as a DM synergist for vector control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065859
PMCID: PMC3677870  PMID: 23762443
15.  Glutathione S-Transferase of Brown Planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens) Is Essential for Their Adaptation to Gramine-Containing Host Plants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64026.
Plants have evolved complex processes to ward off attacks by insects. In parallel, insects have evolved mechanisms to thwart these plant defenses. To gain insight into mechanisms that mediate this arms race between plants and herbivorous insects, we investigated the interactions between gramine, a toxin synthesized by plants of the family Gramineae, and glutathione S transferase (GST), an enzyme found in insects that is known to detoxify xenobiotics. Here, we demonstrate that rice (Oryza sativa), a hydrophytic plant, also produces gramine and that rice resistance to brown planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens, BPHs) is highly associated with in planta gramine content. We also show that gramine is a toxicant that causes BPH mortality in vivo and that knockdown of BPH GST gene nlgst1-1 results in increased sensitivity to diets containing gramine. These results suggest that the knockdown of key detoxification genes in sap-sucking insects may provide an avenue for increasing their sensitivity to natural plant-associated defense mechanisms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064026
PMCID: PMC3659104  PMID: 23700450
16.  Transcriptome Analysis of Acetyl-Homoserine Lactone-Based Quorum Sensing Regulation in Yersinia pestis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62337.
The etiologic agent of bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, senses self-produced, secreted chemical signals in a process named quorum sensing. Though the closely related enteric pathogen Y. pseudotuberculosis uses quorum sensing system to regulate motility, the role of quorum sensing in Y. pestis has been unclear. In this study we performed transcriptional profiling experiments to identify Y. pestis quorum sensing regulated functions. Our analysis revealed that acyl-homoserine lactone-based quorum sensing controls the expression of several metabolic functions. Maltose fermentation and the glyoxylate bypass are induced by acyl-homoserine lactone signaling. This effect was observed at 30°C, indicating a potential role for quorum sensing regulation of metabolism at temperatures below the normal mammalian temperature. It is proposed that utilization of alternative carbon sources may enhance growth and/or survival during prolonged periods in natural habitats with limited nutrient sources, contributing to maintenance of plague in nature.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062337
PMCID: PMC3631167  PMID: 23620823
17.  Aging, Culture, and Memory for Socially Meaningful Item-Context Associations: An East-West Cross-Cultural Comparison Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60703.
Research suggests that people in Eastern interdependent cultures process information more holistically and attend more to contextual information than do people in Western independent cultures. The current study examined the effects of culture and age on memory for socially meaningful item-context associations in 71 Canadians of Western European descent (35 young and 36 older) and 72 native Chinese citizens (36 young and 36 older). All participants completed two blocks of context memory tasks. During encoding, participants rated pictures of familiar objects. In one block, objects were rated either for their meaningfulness in the independent living context or their typicality in daily life. In the other block, objects were rated for their meaningfulness in the context of fostering relationships with others or for their typicality in daily life. The encoding in each block was followed by a recognition test in which participants identified pictures and their associated contexts. The results showed that Chinese outperformed Canadians in context memory, though both culture groups showed similar age-related deficits in item and context memory. The results suggest that Chinese are at an advantage in memory for socially meaningful item-context associations, an advantage that continues from young adulthood into old age.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060703
PMCID: PMC3623964  PMID: 23593288
18.  Role of a Novel Functional Variant in the PPP2R1A Promoter on the Regulation of PP2A-Aalpha and the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59574.
Previously, we identified the genetic variant −241 (−/G) (rs11453459) in the PP2A-Aα gene (PPP2R1A) promoter and demonstrated that this variant influences the DNA-binding affinity of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). In this study, we further confirmed that the transcriptional activity of PPP2R1A may be regulated by NF-κB through the functional genetic variant −241 (−/G). Moreover, we also demonstrated that the methylation status of CpG islands in the promoter of PPP2R1A influences the activity of this gene promoter. Few studies have examined the role of this −241 (−/G) variant in genetic or epigenetic regulation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To investigate whether this functional variant in the PPP2R1A promoter is associated with the risk of HCC and confirm the function of the −241 (−/G) variant in the HCC population, we conducted a case-control study involving 251 HCC cases and 252 cancer-free controls from a Han population in southern China. Compared with the −241 (−−) homozygote, the heterozygous −241 (−G) genotype (adjusted OR  = 0.32, 95% confidence interval (CI)  = 0.17–0.58, P<0.001) and the −241 (−G)/(GG) genotypes (adjusted OR  = 0.38, 95% CI  = 0.22–0.67, P  = 0.001) were both significantly associated with a reduced risk of HCC. Stratification analysis indicated that the protective role of −241 (−G) was more pronounced in individuals who were ≤ 40 years of age, female and HBV-negative. Our data suggest that the transcriptional activity of PPP2R1A is regulated by NF-κB through the −241 (−/G) variant and by the methylation of the promoter region. Moreover, the functional −241 (−/G) variant in the PPP2R1A promoter contributes to the decreased risk of HCC. These findings contribute novel information regarding the gene transcription of PPP2R1A regulated by the polymorphism and methylation in the promoter region through genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in hepatocarcinogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059574
PMCID: PMC3612049  PMID: 23555712
19.  Aspirin Use and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58821.
Background
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of blindness and the curative options are limited. The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the association between aspirin use and risk of AMD.
Methods
A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and reference lists. A meta-analysis was performed by STATA software.
Results
Ten studies involving 171729 individuals examining the association between aspirin use and risk of AMD were included. Among the included studies, 2 were randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), 4 were case-control studies and 4 were cohort studies. The relative risks (RRs) were pooled using a random-effects model. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of aspirin use as a risk for AMD. The pooled RR of 10 included studies between the use of aspirin and risk of AMD was 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96–1.24). The same result was detected in early and late stage AMD subgroup analysis. In the subgroup analyses, the pooled RR of RCTs, case-control studies and cohort studies were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.64–1.02), 1.02 (95% CI, 0.92–1.14) and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.91–1.28), respectively.
Conclusions
The use of aspirin was not associated with the risk of AMD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058821
PMCID: PMC3597550  PMID: 23516561
20.  Non-Invasive Detection of Coronary Endothelial Response to Sequential Handgrip Exercise in Coronary Artery Disease Patients and Healthy Adults 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58047.
Objectives
Our objective is to test the hypothesis that coronary endothelial function (CorEndoFx) does not change with repeated isometric handgrip (IHG) stress in CAD patients or healthy subjects.
Background
Coronary responses to endothelial-dependent stressors are important measures of vascular risk that can change in response to environmental stimuli or pharmacologic interventions. The evaluation of the effect of an acute intervention on endothelial response is only valid if the measurement does not change significantly in the short term under normal conditions. Using 3.0 Tesla (T) MRI, we non-invasively compared two coronary artery endothelial function measurements separated by a ten minute interval in healthy subjects and patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods
Twenty healthy adult subjects and 12 CAD patients were studied on a commercial 3.0 T whole-body MR imaging system. Coronary cross-sectional area (CSA), peak diastolic coronary flow velocity (PDFV) and blood-flow were quantified before and during continuous IHG stress, an endothelial-dependent stressor. The IHG exercise with imaging was repeated after a 10 minute recovery period.
Results
In healthy adults, coronary artery CSA changes and blood-flow increases did not differ between the first and second stresses (mean % change ±SEM, first vs. second stress CSA: 14.8%±3.3% vs. 17.8%±3.6%, p = 0.24; PDFV: 27.5%±4.9% vs. 24.2%±4.5%, p = 0.54; blood-flow: 44.3%±8.3 vs. 44.8%±8.1, p = 0.84). The coronary vasoreactive responses in the CAD patients also did not differ between the first and second stresses (mean % change ±SEM, first stress vs. second stress: CSA: −6.4%±2.0% vs. −5.0%±2.4%, p = 0.22; PDFV: −4.0%±4.6% vs. −4.2%±5.3%, p = 0.83; blood-flow: −9.7%±5.1% vs. −8.7%±6.3%, p = 0.38).
Conclusion
MRI measures of CorEndoFx are unchanged during repeated isometric handgrip exercise tests in CAD patients and healthy adults. These findings demonstrate the repeatability of noninvasive 3T MRI assessment of CorEndoFx and support its use in future studies designed to determine the effects of acute interventions on coronary vasoreactivity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058047
PMCID: PMC3594224  PMID: 23536782
21.  In Vivo MR Imaging of Intraarterially Delivered Magnetically Labeled Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Canine Stroke Model 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e54963.
Background
This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of intraarterial (IA) delivery and in vivo MR imaging of superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-labeled mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a canine stroke model.
Methodology
MSCs harvested from beagles’ bone marrow were labeled with home-synthesized SPIO. Adult beagle dogs (n = 12) were subjected to left proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion by autologous thrombus, followed by two-hour left internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion with 5 French vertebral catheter. One week later, dogs were classified as three groups before transplantation: group A: complete MCA recanalization, group B: incomplete MCA recanalization, group C: no MCA recanalization. 3×106 labeled-MSCs were delivered through left ICA. Series in vivo MRI images were obtained before cell grafting, one and 24 hours after transplantation and weekly thereafter until four weeks. MRI findings were compared with histological studies at the time point of 24 hours and four weeks.
Principal Findings
Home-synthesized SPIO was useful to label MSCs without cell viability compromise. MSCs scattered widely in the left cerebral hemisphere in group A, while fewer grafted cells were observed in group B and no cell was detected in group C at one hour after transplantation. A larger infarction on the day of cell transplantation was associated with more grafted cells in the brain. Grafted MSCs could be tracked effectively by MRI within four weeks and were found in peri-infarction area by Prussian blue staining.
Conclusion
It is feasible of IA MSCs transplantation in a canine stroke model. Both the ipsilateral MCA condition and infarction volume before transplantation may affect the amount of grafted cells in target brain. In vivo MR imaging is useful for tracking IA delivered MSCs after SPIO labeling.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054963
PMCID: PMC3567107  PMID: 23408953
22.  Alterations in Regional Homogeneity of Spontaneous Brain Activity in Late-Life Subthreshold Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53148.
The early detection of major depression in elderly individuals who are at risk of developing the disease is of prime importance when it comes to the prevention of geriatric depression. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine changes in regional homogeneity (ReHo) of spontaneous activity in late-life subthreshold depression (StD), and we evaluated the sensitivity/specificity performance of these changes. Nineteen elderly individuals with StD and 18 elderly controls underwent a resting-state fMRI scan. The ReHo approach was employed to examine whether StD was related to alterations in resting-state neural activity, in the form of abnormal regional synchronization. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and the Fisher stepwise discriminant analysis were used to evaluate the sensitivity/specificity characteristics of the ReHo index in discriminating between the StD subjects and normal controls. The results demonstrated that, compared to controls, StD subjects display lower ReHo in the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), left postcentral gyrus (PCG), and left middle frontal and inferior temporal gyri, as well as higher ReHo in the bilateral insula and right DLPFC. The left PCG and the right DLPFC, OFC, and posterior insula, together reported a predictive accuracy of 91.9%. These results suggest that the regional activity coherence was changed in the resting brain of StD subjects, and that these alterations may serve as potential markers for the early detection of StD in late-life depression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053148
PMCID: PMC3534624  PMID: 23301035
23.  Delayed Contrast-Enhanced MRI of the Coronary Artery Wall in Takayasu Arteritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50655.
Background
Takayasu arteritis (TA) is a rare form of chronic inflammatory granulomatous arteritis of the aorta and its major branches. Late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has demonstrated its value for the detection of vessel wall alterations in TA. The aim of this study was to assess LGE of the coronary artery wall in patients with TA compared to patients with stable CAD.
Methods
We enrolled 9 patients (8 female, average age 46±13 years) with proven TA. In the CAD group 9 patients participated (8 male, average age 65±10 years). Studies were performed on a commercial 3T whole-body MR imaging system (Achieva; Philips, Best, The Netherlands) using a 3D inversion prepared navigator gated spoiled gradient-echo sequence, which was repeated 34–45 minutes after low-dose gadolinium administration.
Results
No coronary vessel wall enhancement was observed prior to contrast in either group. Post contrast, coronary LGE on IR scans was detected in 28 of 50 segments (56%) seen on T2-Prep scans in TA and in 25 of 57 segments (44%) in CAD patients. LGE quantitative assessment of coronary artery vessel wall CNR post contrast revealed no significant differences between the two groups (CNR in TA: 6.0±2.4 and 7.3±2.5 in CAD; p = 0.474).
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that LGE of the coronary artery wall seems to be common in patients with TA and similarly pronounced as in CAD patients. The observed coronary LGE seems to be rather unspecific, and differentiation between coronary vessel wall fibrosis and inflammation still remains unclear.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050655
PMCID: PMC3517571  PMID: 23236382
24.  Indocyanine Green-Assisted Internal Limiting Membrane Peeling in Macular Hole Surgery: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48405.
Background
The opinion of application of indocyanine green (ICG) in the macular hole surgery was contradictory. Here we conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of in internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling for macular hole surgery.
Methods and Findings
We searched electronic databases for comparative studies published before July 2012 of ILM peeling with and without ICG. Twenty-two studies including 1585 eyes were included. Visual acuity (VA) improvement, including the postoperative rate of ≥20/40 VA gained (OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.97; P = 0.033) and increased LogMAR (WMD, −0.09; 95% CI, −0.16 to −0.02; P = 0.011), was less in the ICG group. The risk of visual field defects was greater in the ICG group than in the non-ICG group. There was no significant difference in the rate of anatomical outcomes between ILM peeling procedures performed with and without ICG. RPE changes and other postoperative complications were not significantly different between the ICG and non-ICG groups. An additional analysis showed that the VA improvement of the ICG group was less than the non-ICG group only within the first year of follow up. A subgroup analysis showed that the rate of VA improvement was lower in the ICG group than in other adjuncts group. A higher rate of secondary closure and less VA improvement were observed in a high proportion (>0.1%) of the ICG group. A sensitivity analysis after the randomized-controlled trials were excluded from the meta-analysis demonstrated no differences compared with the overall results.
Conclusions
This meta-analysis demonstrated that there is no evidence of clinical superiority in outcomes for ICG-assisted ILM peeling procedure over the non-ICG one. The toxicity of ICG should be considered when choosing the various staining methods.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048405
PMCID: PMC3492355  PMID: 23144875
25.  PI3K Contributed to Modulation of Spinal Nociceptive Information Related to ephrinBs/EphBs 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e40930.
There is accumulating evidence to implicate the importance of EphBs receptors and ephrinBs ligands were involved in modulation of spinal nociceptive information. However, the downstream mechanisms that control this process are not well understood. In the present study, we investigated whether phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), as the downstream effectors, participates in modulation of spinal nociceptive information related to ephrinBs/EphBs. Intrathecal injection of ephrinB1-Fc produced a dose- and time-dependent thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia, accompanied by the increase of spinal PI3K-p110γ, phosphorylation of AKT (p-AKT) and c-Fos expression. Pre-treatment with PI3K inhibitor wortmannin or LY294002 prevented activation of spinal AKT induced by ephrinB1-Fc. Inhibition of spinal PI3K signaling dose-dependently prevented and reversed pain behaviors and spinal c-Fos protein expression induced by intrathecal injection of ephrinB1-Fc. Inhibition of EphBs receptors by intrathecal injection of EphB1-Fc reduced formalin-induced inflammation and chronic constrictive injury-induced neuropathic pain behaviors accompanied by decreased expression of spinal PI3K,p-AKT and c-Fos protein. Furthermore, pre-treatment with PI3K inhibitor wortmannin or LY294002 prevented ephrinB1-Fc-induced ERK activation in spinal. These data demonstrated that PI3K and PI3K crosstalk to ERK signaling contributed to modulation of spinal nociceptive information related to ephrinBs/EphBs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040930
PMCID: PMC3411731  PMID: 22879882

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