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Articles by Hui Sun in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Real-time Analyses of Retinol Transport by the Membrane Receptor of Plasma Retinol Binding Protein

1Department of Physiology, Jules Stein Eye Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles


JoVE 50169

Here we describe an optimized technique to produce high-quality vitamin A/RBP complex and two real-time monitoring techniques to study vitamin A transport by STRA6, the RBP receptor.

Other articles by Hui Sun on PubMed

Functional Analysis of a Novel Cys2/His2-type Zinc Finger Protein Involved in Salt Tolerance in Rice

The Cys2/His2-type zinc finger proteins have been implicated in different cellular processes involved in plant development and stress responses. Through microarray analysis, a salt-responsive zinc finger protein gene ZFP179 was identified and subsequently cloned from rice seedlings. ZFP179 encodes a 17.95 kDa protein with two C2H2-type zinc finger motifs having transcriptional activation activity. The real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that ZFP179 was highly expressed in immature spikes, and markedly induced in the seedlings by NaCl, PEG 6000, and ABA treatments. Overexpression of ZFP179 in rice increased salt tolerance and the transgenic seedlings showed hypersensitivity to exogenous ABA. The increased levels of free proline and soluble sugars were observed in transgenic plants compared to wild-type plants under salt stress. The ZFP179 transgenic rice exhibited significantly increased tolerance to oxidative stress, the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging ability, and expression levels of a number of stress-related genes, including OsDREB2A, OsP5CS OsProT, and OsLea3 under salt stress. Our studies suggest that ZFP179 plays a crucial role in the plant response to salt stress, and is useful in developing transgenic crops with enhanced tolerance to salt stress.

Elevated Serum IGF-1 Levels Synergize PTH Action on the Skeleton Only when the Tissue IGF-1 Axis is Intact

There is growing evidence that insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) have synergistic actions on bone and that part of the anabolic effects of PTH is mediated by local production of IGF-1. In this study we analyzed the skeletal response to PTH in mouse models with manipulated endocrine or autocrine/paracrine IGF-1. We used mice carrying a hepatic IGF-1 transgene (HIT), which results in a threefold increase in serum IGF-1 levels and normal tissue IGF-1 expression, and Igf1 null mice with blunted IGF-1 expression in tissues but threefold increases in serum IGF-1 levels (KO-HIT). Evaluation of skeletal growth showed that elevations in serum IGF-1 in mice with Igf1 gene ablation in all tissues except the liver (KO-HIT) resulted in a restoration of skeletal morphology and mechanical properties by adulthood. Intermittent PTH treatment of adult HIT mice resulted in increases in serum osteocalcin levels, femoral total cross-sectional area, cortical bone area and cortical bone thickness, as well as bone mechanical properties. We found that the skeletal response of HIT mice to PTH was significantly higher than that of control mice, suggesting synergy between IGF-1 and PTH on bone. In sharp contrast, although PTH-treated KO-HIT mice demonstrated an anabolic response in cortical and trabecular bone compartments compared with vehicle-treated KO-HIT mice, their response was identical to that of PTH-treated control mice. We conclude that (1) in the presence of elevated serum IGF-1 levels, PTH can exert an anabolic response in bone even in the total absence of tissue IGF-1, and (2) elevations in serum IGF-1 levels synergize PTH action on bone only if the tissue IGF-1 axis is intact. Thus enhancement of PTH anabolic actions depends on tissue IGF-1.

Sex-specific Regulation of Body Size and Bone Slenderness by the Acid Labile Subunit

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a crucial mediator of body size and bone mass during growth and development. In serum, IGF-1 is stabilized by several IGF-1-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and the acid labile subunit (ALS). Previous research using ALS knockout (ALSKO) mice indicated a growth retardation phenotype, and clinical reports of humans have indicated short stature and low bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with ALS deficiency. To determine the temporal and sex-specific effects of ALS deficiency on body size and skeletal development during growth, we characterized control and ALSKO mice from 4 to 16 weeks of age. We found that female ALSKO mice had an earlier-onset reduction in body size (4 weeks) but that both female and male ALSKO mice were consistently smaller than control mice. Interestingly, skeletal analyses at multiple ages showed increased slenderness of ALSKO femurs that was more severe in females than in males. Both male and female ALSKO mice appeared to compensate for their more slender bones through increased bone formation on their endosteal surfaces during growth, but ALSKO females had increased endosteal bone formation compared with ALSKO males. This study revealed age- and sex-specific dependencies of body size and bone size on the ALS. These findings may explain the heterogeneity in growth and BMD measurements reported in human ALS-deficient patients.

C6 Ceramide Potentiates Curcumin-induced Cell Death and Apoptosis in Melanoma Cell Lines in Vitro

The majority of metastatic melanomas are resistant to diverse chemotherapeutic agents, and long-term survival for patients with melanoma who have metastatic disease is dismal. Consequently, the search for novel anti-melanoma agents is urgent. Here, we evaluate the potential effects of C6 ceramide to sensitize melanoma cell lines (B16 and WM-115 cells) to curcumin-induced cell death.

Structural Insights into the Recognition Mechanism Between an Antitumor Galectin AAL and the Thomsen-Friedenreich Antigen

Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) antigen, which plays an important role in the regulation of cancer cell proliferation, occurs in ∼90% of all human cancers and precancerous conditions. Although TF antigen has been known for almost 80 yr as a pancarcinoma antigen, the recognition mechanism between TF antigen and target protein has not been structurally characterized. A number of studies indicated that TF disaccharide is a potential ligand of the galactoside-binding galectins. In this work, we identified the TF antigen as a potential ligand of the antitumor galectin AAL (Agrocybe aegerita lectin) through glycan array analysis and reported the crystal structure of AAL complexed with the TF antigen. The structure provides a first look at the recognition mode between AAL and TF antigen, which is unique in a conservative (Glu-water-Arg-water) structural motif-based hydrogen bond network. Structure-based mutagenesis analysis further revealed the residues responsible for recognition specificity and binding affinity. Crystal structures of AAL complexed with two other TF-containing glycans showed that the unique TF recognition mode is kept intact, which may be commonly adopted in some cancer-related galectins. The finding provided the new target and approach for the antitumor drug design and relative strategy based on the AAL-TF recognition mode as a prototype model.

Transgenic Mice Expressing Variants of Complement Factor H Develop AMD-like Retinal Findings

Complement factor H (Cfh) is a key regulator of the alternative complement pathway. A Cfh variant (Y402H) increases the risk for AMD. The purpose of this study was to develop a pathophysiologically relevant animal model of AMD based on this genetic risk factor.

Techniques to Study Specific Cell-surface Receptor-mediated Cellular Vitamin A Uptake

STRA6 is a multitransmembrane domain protein that was recently identified as the cell-surface receptor for plasma retinol-binding protein (RBP), the vitamin A carrier protein in the blood. STRA6 binds to RBP with high affinity and mediates cellular uptake of vitamin A from RBP. It is not homologous to any known receptors, transporters, and channels, and it represents a new class of membrane transport protein. Consistent with the diverse physiological functions of vitamin A, STRA6 is widely expressed in diverse adult organs and throughout embryonic development. Mutations in human STRA6 that abolish its vitamin A uptake activity cause severe pathological phenotypes in many human organs including the eye, brain, lung, and heart. This chapter describes functional assays for STRA6 in live cells and on cellular membranes. These assays can be employed to study the mechanism of this new membrane transport mechanism and its roles in the physiology and pathology of many organs.

Tendon-derived Stem/progenitor Cell Aging: Defective Self-renewal and Altered Fate

Aging is a major risk factor for tendon injury and impaired tendon healing, but the basis for these relationships remains poorly understood. Here we show that rat tendon- derived stem ⁄ progenitor cells (TSPCs) differ in both self-renewal and differentiation capability with age. The frequency of TSPCs in tendon tissues of aged animals is markedly reduced based on colony formation assays. Proliferation rate is decreased, cell cycle progression is delayed and cell fate patterns are also altered in aged TSPCs. In particular, expression of tendon lineage marker genes is reduced while adipocytic differentiation increased. Cited2, a multi-stimuli responsive transactivator involved in cell growth and senescence, is also downregulated in aged TSPCs while CD44, a matrix assembling and organizing protein implicated in tendon healing, is upregulated, suggesting that these genes participate in the control of TSPC function.

Haemin-enhanced Expression of Haem Oxygenase-1 Stabilizes Erythrocyte-induced Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Plaques

Previous studies demonstrated that intraplaque haemorrhage increased the contents of cholesterol and oxidants in atherosclerotic plaques. The present study was aimed to test the hypothesis that enhanced expression of haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) may stabilize vulnerable plaques.

A Local GABAergic System is Functionally Expressed in Human Fallopian Tube

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system and exerts its actions via ionotropic (GABAA and GABAC) and metabotropic (GABAB) receptors. The GABAB receptor is a dimer composed of R1 and R2 components. In addition to their location on neurons, GABA and functional GABAB receptors also have been detected in some peripheral tissues. In the present study, we combined immunohistochemistry, immunoblot and tension recording to determine if the human fallopian tube express glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65/67), two isoforms for synthesis of GABA and functional GABAB receptors. Immunoblots showed that the human fallopian tube tissue contained GABABR1 protein which was localized in the epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells by immunohistochemistry. In addition, epithelial cells also expressed GAD65/67. Tension recording found that both GABA and baclofen, a GABAB receptor agonist increased the spontaneous activity of human fallopian tube. The expressions of GABABR and GAD65/67 were significantly upregulated in the ectopic pregnancy group than in the intrauterine pregnancy group. We conclude that the human fallopian tube is capable of synthesizing GABA and expresses functionally active GABAB receptors. An upregulation of GABA synthesis and corresponding GABAB receptors may involve in ectopic pregnancy.

Rapid and Global Detection and Characterization of Aconitum Alkaloids in Yin Chen Si Ni Tang, a Traditional Chinese Medical Formula, by Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-high Resolution Mass Spectrometry and Automated Data Analysis

An improved method employing Metabolynx XS with mass defect filter (MDF), a post-acquisition data processing software, was developed and applied for global detection of aconitum alkaloids in Yin Chen Si Ni Tang, a traditional Chinese medical formula (TCMF). The full-scan LC-MS/MS data sets with extra mass were acquired using ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/Q-TOF-MS) with the MS(E) mode in a single injection. To remove the interferences, Metabolynx XS was optimized to extract the ions of aconitum alkaloids located at the lower abundance. As a result, 62 ions were assigned rapidly to aconitum alkaloids and identified tentatively by comparing the accurate mass and fragments information with that of the authentic standards or by mass spectrometry analysis and retrieving the reference literatures. Compared with the previous studies on Fuzi-containing TCMF, the report detected more aconitum alkaloids, and the analysis process was accelerated by automated data processing. It is concluded that the screening capability of Metabolynx XS with MDF, together with the utilization of MS(E) in structural elucidation, can facilitate a rapid and comprehensive searching and effective structural characterization of aconitum alkaloids in TCMF.

Thyroxine and Reserpine-induced Changes in Metabolic Profiles of Rat Urine and the Therapeutic Effect of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Detected by UPLC-HDMS

The promise of metabonomics, a new "omics" technique, to validate Chinese medicines and the compatibility of Chinese formulas has been appreciated. The present study was undertaken to explore the excretion pattern of low molecular mass metabolites in the male Wistar-derived rat model of kidney yin deficiency induced with thyroxine and reserpine as well as the therapeutic effect of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (LW) and its separated prescriptions, a classic traditional Chinese medicine formula for treating kidney yin deficiency in China. The study utilized ultra-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization synapt high definition mass spectrometry (UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS) in both negative and positive electrospray ionization (ESI). At the same time, blood biochemistry was examined to identify specific changes in the kidney yin deficiency. Distinct changes in the pattern of metabolites, as a result of daily administration of thyroxine and reserpine, were observed by UPLC-HDMS combined with a principal component analysis (PCA). The changes in metabolic profiling were restored to their baseline values after treatment with LW according to the PCA score plots. Altogether, the current metabonomic approach based on UPLC-HDMS and orthogonal projection to latent structures discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) indicated 20 ions (14 in the negative mode, 8 in the positive mode, and 2 in both) as "differentiating metabolites".

Human NPY Promoter Variation Rs16147:T>C As a Moderator of Prefrontal NPY Gene Expression and Negative Affect

Studies in humans and animals suggest a role for NPY in the mediation of behavioral stress responses. Here, we examined whether the NPY promoter variant rs16147:T>C is functional for expression of NPY in a brain region relevant for behavioral control, anxiety and depression, the anterior cingulate cortex. In silico analysis of DNA structural profile changes produced by rs16147 variation suggests allelic differences in protein binding at the rs16147 site. This was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, demonstrating that the rs16147 C-allele has strongly reduced affinity for a yet unknown factor compared to the T-allele. Analyzing 107 human post-mortem brain samples we show that allelic variation at rs16147 contributes to regulation of NPY mRNA and peptide levels in this region. Specifically, the C-allele leads to increased gene expression. In agreement with the molecular findings, rs16147:T>C is associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in 314 young adults via a gene x environment interaction with early childhood adversity, replicating the recent finding of rs16147-C as a risk factor for stress related psychopathology. Our results show the importance of rs16147:T>C for regulation of NPY gene expression and brain function.

Small Interfering RNA Against the Apurinic or Apyrimidinic Endonuclease Enhances the Sensitivity of Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells to Gemcitabine in Vitro

To investigate whether the downregulation of human apurinic or apyrimidinic endonuclease/redox factor-1 gene (APE1/Ref-1) expression by ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) would increase the sensitivity of SW1990 cells to gemcitabine.

Proteomic Study of Serum Proteins in a Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Rat Model by Chinese Traditional Medicine Tianqi Jiangtang Capsule Administration

Proteomics technology was for the first time applied to investigate the changes of serum proteins levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) rat model after treated by Chinese traditional medicine Tianqi Jiangtang Capsule (ten normal Wistar rats, ten with T2DM and ten with T2DM administrated by Tianqi Jiangtang Capsule). In addition to two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-DE), serum protein profiling in the three groups was further performed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-TOF/MS). 11 visualized spots were differentially regulated and identified as diabetes-associated proteins. All the samples in three groups were then analyzed by ELISA and estimated the 7 proteins which were found to vary. The distinct effect of T2DM induction on the pattern of rat serum includes the down-regulation of Apolipoprotein E, Apolipoprotein A-I, Ig gamma-2A chain C region, and up-regulation of Transthyretin (TTR), Haptoglobin (Hp), Serum amyloid P-componen (SAP), Prothrombin. The majority of those protein levels were interestingly restored to those of healthy rats after Tianqi Jiangtang Capsule treatment.

Altered Retinoid Uptake and Action Contributes to Cell Survival in Endometriosis

Retinoic acid (RA) controls multiple biological processes via exerting opposing effects on cell survival. Retinol uptake into cells is controlled by stimulated by RA 6 (STRA6). RA is then produced from retinol in the cytosol. Partitioning of RA between the nuclear receptors RA receptor α and peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor β/δ is regulated by cytosol-to-nuclear shuttling proteins cellular RA binding protein 2 (CRABP2) and fatty acid binding protein 5 (FABP5), which induce apoptosis or enhance survival, respectively. The roles of these mechanisms in endometrium or endometriosis remain unknown.

A Wnt-Frz/Ror-Dsh Pathway Regulates Neurite Outgrowth in Caenorhabditis Elegans

One of the challenges to understand the organization of the nervous system has been to determine how axon guidance molecules govern axon outgrowth. Through an unbiased genetic screen, we identified a conserved Wnt pathway which is crucial for anterior-posterior (A/P) outgrowth of neurites from RME head motor neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans. The pathway is composed of the Wnt ligand CWN-2, the Frizzled receptors CFZ-2 and MIG-1, the co-receptor CAM-1/Ror, and the downstream component Dishevelled/DSH-1. Among these, CWN-2 acts as a local attractive cue for neurite outgrowth, and its activity can be partially substituted with other Wnts, suggesting that spatial distribution plays a role in the functional specificity of Wnts. As a co-receptor, CAM-1 functions cell-autonomously in neurons and, together with CFZ-2 and MIG-1, transmits the Wnt signal to downstream effectors. Yeast two-hybrid screening identified DSH-1 as a binding partner for CAM-1, indicating that CAM-1 could facilitate CWN-2/Wnt signaling by its physical association with DSH-1. Our study reveals an important role of a Wnt-Frz/Ror-Dsh pathway in regulating neurite A/P outgrowth.

[Immunophenotyping Characteristics of Adult Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Different Ages]

The purpose of this study was to investigate the immunophenotyping characteristics of adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients in groups of different ages. Immunophenotyping was performed in 260 ALL patients by flow cytometry using a panel of monoclonal antibodies and CD45/SSC gating. The results indicated that (1) all the 82 cases of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) expressed CD7 (100%) while the positive rate of CD2 remarkably decreased with aging. The positive rate of CD2 in patients aged 14 to 18 years (adolescents) was 91.67%, which is significantly higher than that in cases aged 19 to 35 years (young adults) and > 35 years (older adults) (65.71% and 43.48% respectively, p < 0.05); the positive rate of CD34 and HLA-DR increased with aging, there was significant difference of the HLA-DR expression between the older adults group (39.13%) and the other two groups (4.17% in adolescents and 11.43% in young adults respectively (p < 0.05). Moreover, there were significant differences of the myeloid antigen (MyAg) and CD13 expression between the older adults and younger adults (p < 0.05). (2) As to adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), the positive rates of CD19 and HLA-DR in 178 cases were 100%; the positive rate of CD33 in young adults was significant higher than that in adolescents (p < 0.05), the differences of the other marker expressions failed to reach statistical significance in adult B-ALL patients. It is concluded that the immunophenotypes of adult T-ALL are evidently heterogeneous in different ages, and expression with more aberrant phenotypes indicates poor prognostic significance in patients older than 35 years. There is no significant association of immunophenotypes with ages among different age groups of adult B-ALL.

Determination of Free Bilirubin and Its Binding Capacity by HSA Using a Microfluidic Chip-capillary Electrophoresis Device with a Multi-segment Circular-ferrofluid-driven Micromixing Injection

A PMMA microfluidic chip-CE device with a multi-segment circular-ferrofluid-driven micromixing injector has been developed for the determination of free bilirubin and its binding capacity by HSA at equilibrium. The design of the device and its fabrication by a low cost CO(2) laser are discussed for intended applications. Under optimized conditions, the total binding capacity of HSA for bilirubin was determined as 16.3±1.4 mg/l00 mL human serum (n=3) and residual binding capacity for bilirubin 9.8 mg/100 mL (n=3) in normal infants. To assess risk of hyperbilirubinemia, free bilirubin and residual binding capacity by HSA provide a better indicator than total bilirubin, as neonates with impaired bilirubin binding capacity could be detected. In addition, residual binding capacity provides an advanced indicator to predict the onset of hyperbilirubinemia before the appearance of free bilirubin. HSA down to 94 nL is used in each titration and a full assay of four titrations takes up 376 nL HSA, sufficient for newborns with HSA in microliter range. The device has shown capable to provide adequate margin of protection to detect an early rising level of bilirubin and impaired binding capacity prior to the onset of jaundice condition.

Theoretical Study on the Asymmetric Michael Addition of Cyclohexanone with Trans-beta-nitrostyrene Catalyzed by a Pyrrolidine-type Chiral Ionic Liquid

The Michael addition of cyclohexanone with trans-beta-nitrostyrene catalyzed by a chiral ionic liquid (CIL) pyrrolidine-imidazolium bromide, which represents a prototype of CIL-promoted asymmetric syntheses, has been investigated by performing density functional theory calculations. We show the details of the mechanism and energetics, the influence of the acid additive on the reactivity, and the functional role of the CIL in the asymmetric addition. It is found that the reaction proceeds via two stages, i.e., the initial enamine formation, where the imine complex is first created and then isomerizes into the enamine intermediate, and the subsequent Michael addition involving a three-step mechanism. The calculations show that the presence of the acid additive changes the imine formation mechanism and lowers the reaction barrier, as well as, more importantly, makes the reaction become highly thermodynamically favored. It is also suggested that both the anion and cation of the CIL synergically facilitate the reaction, which act as the proton acceptor in the imine-enamine tautomerism and the stabilizer of the negative charge in the C-C bond formation process, respectively. The present theoretical study rationalizes the early experimental findings well and provides aid to some extent for the rational design of efficient CIL catalysts.

In Vivo Femtosecond Laser Subsurface Scleral Treatment in Rabbit Eyes

The progression of glaucoma can be reduced or delayed by reducing intraocular pressure (IOP). The properties of femtosecond laser surgery, such as markedly reduced collateral tissue damage, coupled with the ability to achieve isolated subsurface surgical effects in the sclera, make this technology a promising candidate in glaucoma management. In this pilot study we demonstrate the in vivo creation of partial thickness subsurface drainage channels with the femtosecond laser in the sclera of rabbit eyes in order to increase aqueous humor (AH) outflow.

Cycle-dependent Matrix Remodeling Gene Expression Response in Fatigue-loaded Rat Patellar Tendons

Expression profiling of selected matrix remodeling genes was conducted to evaluate differences in molecular response to low-cycle (100) and high-cycle (7,200) sub-failure-fatigue loading of patellar tendons. Using our previously developed in vivo patellar tendon model, tendons were loaded for 100 or 7,200 cycles and expression of selected metalloproteinases (MMPs), tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), and collagens were quantified by real-time RT-PCR at 1- and 7-day post-loading. Expression profiles were also obtained from lacerated tendons as an acute injury model. The high-cycle group showed upregulation of TIMP-1, -2, Col3a1, and Col5a1, and downregulation TIMP-4 at both time points, upregulation of MMP-2 at 7-day post-loading and downregulation of MMP-13 and -14 at 1-day post-loading, suggesting overall repair/remodeling. In contrast, the low-cycle loaded group showed upregulation of MMP-2, -3, -13, and Col12a1 at both time points, upregulation of TIMP-1, -2, -3, Col3a1, and integrin β1 and downregulation of integrin α11 at 1-day post-loading and upregulation of Col1a1 at 7-day post-loading, consistent with a hypertrophic (adaptive) pattern. Lacerated tendons showed a typical acute wound response with upregulation of all examined remodeling genes. Differences found in tendon response to high- and low-cycle loading are suggestive of the underlying mechanisms associated with a healthy or damaging response.

Automatic Cardiac MRI Segmentation Using a Biventricular Deformable Medial Model

We present a novel approach for automatic segmentation of the myocardium in short-axis MRI using deformable medial models with an explicit representation of thickness. Segmentation is constrained by a Markov prior on myocardial thickness. Best practices from Active Shape Modeling (global PCA shape prior, statistical appearance model, local search) are adapted to the medial model. Segmentation performance is evaluated by comparing to manual segmentation in a heterogeneous adult MRI dataset. Average boundary displacement error is under 1.4 mm for left and right ventricles, comparing favorably with published work.

Three-column Fixation for Complex Tibial Plateau Fractures

1) To introduce a computed tomography-based "three-column fixation" concept; and 2) to evaluate clinical outcomes (by using a column-specific fixation technique) for complex tibial plateau fractures (Schatzker classification Types V and VI).

CCK Mediated the Inhibitory Effect of Oxytocin on the Contraction of Longitudinal Muscle Strips of Duodenum in Male Rats

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of oxytocin (OT) on duodenum motility in rats and the possibility that cholecystokinin (CCK) was involved in this process. The isometric contraction of longitudinal muscle strips of duodenum was monitored by polygraph. ELISA was used to measure the concentration of CCK and OT in duodenum. CCK mRNA was assayed by RT-PCR. Oxytocin receptor (OTR) and CCK in duodenum were located by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining. OT (10⁻⁵ and 10⁻⁶ M) inhibited the spontaneous contraction of the muscle strips. On the contrary, atosiban (OT receptor antagonist), lorglumide (CCK₁ receptor antagonist), and tetrodotoxin (TTX, blocker of voltage-dependent Na(+) channel on nerve fiber) excited the contraction. The inhibitory effect of OT on duodenal motility was reversed by pretreatment of atosiban, lorglumide, or TTX. Exogenous OT did not influence the expression of OT mRNA in duodenum but increased the concentration of CCK in the culture medium of the cells isolated from longitudinal muscle myenteric plexus. The OTR and CCK were co-expressed in the neurons of the myenteric plexus in duodenum. We concluded that OT inhibited the contraction of the LD spontaneous contraction of rats in vitro. This effect was mediated by the CCK released from the neurons of the myenteric plexus in duodenum.

Elevated Circulating IGF-I Promotes Mammary Gland Development and Proliferation

Animal studies have shown that IGF-I is essential for mammary gland development. Previous studies have suggested that local IGF-I rather than circulating IGF-I is the major mediator of mammary gland development. In the present study we used the hepatic IGF-I transgenic (HIT) and IGF-I knockout/HIT (KO-HIT) mouse models to examine the effects of enhanced circulating IGF-I on mammary development in the presence and absence of local IGF-I. HIT mice express the rat IGF-I transgene under the transthyretin promoter in the liver and have elevated circulating IGF-I and normal tissue IGF-I levels. The KO-HIT mice have no tissue IGF-I and increased circulating IGF-I. Analysis of mammary gland development reveals a greater degree of complexity in HIT mice as compared to control and KO-HIT mice, which demonstrate similar degrees of mammary gland complexity. Immunohistochemical evaluation of glands of HIT mice also suggests an enhanced degree of proliferation of the mammary gland, whereas KO-HIT mice exhibit mammary gland proliferation similar to control mice. In addition, HIT mice have a higher percentage of proliferating myoepithelial and luminal cells than control mice, whereas KO-HIT mice have an equivalent percentage of proliferating myoepithelial and luminal cells as control mice. Thus, our findings show that elevated circulating IGF-I levels are sufficient to promote normal pubertal mammary epithelial development. However, HIT mice demonstrate more pronounced mammary gland development when compared to control and KO-HIT mice. This suggests that both local and endocrine IGF-I play roles in mammary gland development and that elevated circulating IGF-I accelerates mammary epithelial proliferation.

Progress of Oral Sequelae During Head-neck Radiotherapy

To evaluate xerostomia, mucositis and dental caries during head and neck radiotherapy.

Opposing Developmental Functions of Agrocybe Aegerita Galectin (AAL) During Mycelia Differentiation

Mycelia of basidiomycetes differentiating into fruiting body is a controlled developmental process, however the underlying molecular mechanism remains unknown. In previous work, a novel fungal Agrocybe aegerita galectin (AAL) was isolated from A. aegerita in our laboratory. AAL was shown to promote mycelial differentiation in A. aegerita and Auricularia polytricha, indicating that AAL might function as a conserved fruiting initiator during basidiomycete mycelia development. In the current work, we investigate the role of AAL in mycelia differentiation and fruiting body formation. First, the expression and localization of AAL in mycelia, primordium and fruiting body were assessed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. AAL was found to be ubiquitously expressed in the primordium and fruiting body but not in the mycelia. AAL facilitated mycelia congregation and promoted fruiting body production when AAL was applied on mycelia. At the same time, when AAL was spread on potato dextrose agar (PDA) medium prior to mycelia inoculation, mycelia exhibited slowed growth rates, resulting in mycelia cords formation and inhibition of fruiting body formation. The 5' regulatory sequence of aal was cloned by 'genome walking'. Here, we show that aal lack introns in the coding region and the upstream 740 bp sequence was characterized by the existence of core promoter elements, which included: two CCAAT boxes (-535/-280), a GC box (-145), a TATA box (-30) and a fungal leader intron within the 5' UTR. The identification of regulatory expression elements may provide an explanation to the stage-specific and high-level expression of aal during fruiting development.

The Pharmacological Effects of Morroniside and Loganin Isolated from Liuweidihuang Wan, on MC3T3-E1 Cells

Liuweidihuang wan (LW), initially a well-known formula for curing "wu chi wu ruan", is commonly used nowadays for clinical treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis (PO), but the identity of the effective substance(s) remains unclear. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of morroniside and loganin isolated from LW on the proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis of MC3T3-E1 cells, as well as the possible mechanism of action. Morroniside and loganin had no effects on the proliferation of MC3T3-E1 cells, but both susbtances could improve the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and increase the contents of collagen type I and osteocalcin. Simultaneously, the mRNA expression of caspase-3, capase-9, RANKL was down-regulated and that of bcl-2 was up-regulated, which partially explains the anti-osteoporosis mechanism in MC3T3-E1 cells. In conclusion, morroniside and loganin may directly promote the differentiation and inhibit the apoptosis of MC3T3-E1 cells, and accordingly indirectly reduce bone resorption, which makes them promising natural drugs leads for treating PO in the near future.

Metabolomics: Towards Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine

Metabolomics represent a global understanding of metabolite complement of integrated living systems and dynamic responses to the changes of both endogenous and exogenous factors and has many potential applications and advantages for the research of complex systems. As a systemic approach, metabolomics adopts a "top-down" strategy to reflect the function of organisms from the end products of the metabolic network and to understand metabolic changes of a complete system caused by interventions in a holistic context. This property agrees with the holistic thinking of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a complex medical science, suggesting that metabolomics has the potential to impact our understanding of the theory behind the evidence-based Chinese medicine. Consequently, the development of robust metabolomic platforms will greatly facilitate, for example, the understanding of the action mechanisms of TCM formulae and the analysis of Chinese herbal (CHM) and mineral medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese medicine syndromes. This review summarizes some of the applications of metabolomics in special TCM issues with an emphasis on metabolic biomarker discovery.

Mechanical Loading, Cartilage Degradation, and Arthritis

Joint tissues are exquisitely sensitive to their mechanical environment, and mechanical loading may be the most important external factor regulating the development and long-term maintenance of joint tissues. Moderate mechanical loading maintains the integrity of articular cartilage; however, both disuse and overuse can result in cartilage degradation. The irreversible destruction of cartilage is the hallmark of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In these instances of cartilage breakdown, inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha stimulate the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and aggrecanases (ADAMTSs), enzymes that can degrade components of the cartilage extracellular matrix. In order to prevent cartilage destruction, tremendous effort has been expended to design inhibitors of MMP/ADAMTS activity and/or synthesis. To date, however, no effective clinical inhibitors exist. Accumulating evidence suggests that physiologic joint loading helps maintain cartilage integrity; however, the mechanisms by which these mechanical stimuli regulate joint homeostasis are still being elucidated. Identifying mechanosensitive chondroprotective pathways may reveal novel targets or therapeutic strategies in preventing cartilage destruction in joint disease.

[Neuromyelitis Optica IgG and Related Clinical Features of Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica]

To investigate the differential diagnostic value of NMO-IgG for neuromyelitis optica (NMO) versus multiple sclerosis (MS) and to analyze its possible clinical features related to NMO-IgG.

[Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-haploidentical Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for 8 Patients with Leukemia and Review of the Literature]

[Analysis of Outocome of Pirarubicin-based Combination Chemotherapy Regimen in the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia-a Prospective, Open, Randomized and Multicenter Clinical Trial.]

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness and side effects of two chemotherapy regimens [pirarubicin + cytarabine (TA) and daunorubicin + cytarabine (DA)] in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). METHODS: From Oct 2006 to Jul 2009, there were 207 newly diagnosed AML patients randomized into DA or TA group from 72 centers all over the country. The aim of this clinical trial is to observe and evaluate complete remission rate (CR), total remission rate (TRR), and side effect after one or two circles of therapy. RESULTS: In 198 evaluable patients, 126 cases in TA group and 72 in DA group were evalvable, with a ratio of 1.75:1. CR was 69.8% and TRR (CR + PR) was 81.8% in TA group and 63.9%, 80.9% in DA group, correspondingly (P > 0.05). For patients with subtype M(2), CR (77.1%) in TA group was higher than that in DA (60%). There was no difference in side effect between the two groups. CONCLUSION: There is no difference of the effect between TA and DA chemotherapy for newly diagnosed AML patients. But for subtype M(2), TA is more efficacy. And there is no difference in side effect between the two regimens.

Complete Genome Sequence of Cellulomonas Flavigena Type Strain (134)

Cellulomonas flavigena (Kellerman and McBeth 1912) Bergey et al. 1923 is the type species of the genus Cellulomonas of the actinobacterial family Cellulomonadaceae. Members of the genus Cellulomonas are of special interest for their ability to degrade cellulose and hemicellulose, particularly with regard to the use of biomass as an alternative energy source. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence, and annotation. This is the first complete genome sequence of a member of the genus Cellulomonas, and next to the human pathogen Tropheryma whipplei the second complete genome sequence within the actinobacterial family Cellulomonadaceae. The 4,123,179 bp long single replicon genome with its 3,735 protein-coding and 53 RNA genes is part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.

Complete Genome Sequence of Desulfarculus Baarsii Type Strain (2st14)

Desulfarculus baarsii (Widdel 1981) Kuever et al. 2006 is the type and only species of the genus Desulfarculus, which represents the family Desulfarculaceae and the order Desulfarculales. This species is a mesophilic sulfate-reducing bacterium with the capability to oxidize acetate and fatty acids of up to 18 carbon atoms completely to CO(2). The acetyl-CoA/CODH (Wood-Ljungdahl) pathway is used by this species for the complete oxidation of carbon sources and autotrophic growth on formate. The type strain 2st14(T) was isolated from a ditch sediment collected near the University of Konstanz, Germany. This is the first completed genome sequence of a member of the order Desulfarculales. The 3,655,731 bp long single replicon genome with its 3,303 protein-coding and 52 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.

Complete Genome Sequence of Nocardiopsis Dassonvillei Type Strain (IMRU 509)

Nocardiopsis dassonvillei (Brocq-Rousseau 1904) Meyer 1976 is the type species of the genus Nocardiopsis, which in turn is the type genus of the family Nocardiopsaceae. This species is of interest because of its ecological versatility. Members of N. dassonvillei have been isolated from a large variety of natural habitats such as soil and marine sediments, from different plant and animal materials as well as from human patients. Moreover, representatives of the genus Nocardiopsis participate actively in biopolymer degradation. This is the first complete genome sequence in the family Nocardiopsaceae. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence and annotation. The 6,543,312 bp long genome consist of a 5.77 Mbp chromosome and a 0.78 Mbp plasmid and with its 5,570 protein-coding and 77 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.

Physiological Loading of Joints Prevents Cartilage Degradation Through CITED2

Both overuse and disuse of joints up-regulate matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in articular cartilage and cause tissue degradation; however, moderate (physiological) loading maintains cartilage integrity. Here, we test whether CBP/p300-interacting transactivator with ED-rich tail 2 (CITED2), a mechanosensitive transcriptional coregulator, mediates this chondroprotective effect of moderate mechanical loading. In vivo, hind-limb immobilization of Sprague-Dawley rats up-regulates MMP-1 and causes rapid, histologically detectable articular cartilage degradation. One hour of daily passive joint motion prevents these changes and up-regulates articular cartilage CITED2. In vitro, moderate (2.5 MPa, 1 Hz) intermittent hydrostatic pressure (IHP) treatment suppresses basal MMP-1 expression and up-regulates CITED2 in human chondrocytes, whereas high IHP (10 MPa) down-regulates CITED2 and increases MMP-1. Competitive binding and transcription assays demonstrate that CITED2 suppresses MMP-1 expression by competing with MMP transactivator, Ets-1 for its coactivator p300. Furthermore, CITED2 up-regulation in vitro requires the p38δ isoform, which is specifically phosphorylated by moderate IHP. Together, these studies identify a novel regulatory pathway involving CITED2 and p38δ, which may be critical for the maintenance of articular cartilage integrity under normal physical activity levels.

Growth Hormone Mediates Pubertal Skeletal Development Independent of Hepatic IGF-1 Production

Deficiencies in either growth hormone (GH) or insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are associated with reductions in bone size during growth in humans and animal models. Liver-specific IGF-1-deficient (LID) mice, which have 75% reductions in serum IGF-1, were created previously to separate the effects of endocrine (serum) IGF-1 from autocrine/paracrine IGF-1. However, LID mice also have two- to threefold increases in GH, and this may contribute to the observed pubertal skeletal phenotype. To clarify the role of GH in skeletal development under conditions of significantly reduced serum IGF-1 levels (but normal tissue IGF-1 levels), we studied the skeletal response of male LID and control mice to GH inhibition by pegvisomant from 4 to 8 weeks of age. Treatment of LID mice with pegvisomant resulted in significant reductions in body weight, femur length (Le), and femur total area (Tt.Ar), as well as further reductions in serum IGF-1 levels by 8 weeks of age, compared with the mean values of vehicle-treated LID mice. Reductions in both Tt.Ar and Le were proportional after treatment with pegvisomant. On the other hand, the relative amount of cortical tissue formed (RCA) in LID mice treated with pegvisomant was significantly less than that in both vehicle-treated LID and control mice, indicating that antagonizing GH action, either directly (through GH receptor signaling inhibition) or indirectly (through further reductions in serum/tissue IGF-1 levels), results in disproportionate reductions in the amount of cortical bone formed. This resulted in bones with significantly reduced mechanical properties (femoral whole-bone stiffness and work to failure were markedly decreased), suggesting that compensatory increases of GH in states of IGF-1 deficiency (LID mice) act to protect against a severe inhibition of bone modeling during growth, which otherwise would result in bones that are too weak for normal and/or extreme loading conditions.

Theoretical Elucidation on the Functional Role of Pyrrolidine-type Ionic Liquids in Inducing Stereoselectivity of the Michael Addition of Cyclohexanone with Trans-β-nitrostyrene

Density functional theory calculations have been carried out to elucidate the stereoselectivity of the Michael addition of cyclohexanone with trans-β-nitrostyrene, induced by a chiral ionic liquid (CIL) pyrrolidine-imidazolium bromide. By comparison of the C-C bond forming processes in the absence and presence of Br(-) anion, we found that intermolecular H-bonds between the imidazolium cation and the nitro group of trans-β-nitrostyrene and the steric hindrance of the imidazolium cation moiety on the Si-face of enamine dominate the stereoselectivity of the Michael addition. The presence of Br(-) anion obviously reduces the barrier by increasing the polarity of the C4=C5 bond of enamine. The theoretical results rationalize well the early experimental finding, and reveal a valuable clue for the further CIL design with high catalytic efficiency.

Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide As a Mediator of Vas Deferens Smooth Muscle Relaxation

Cystathionine-lyase and cystathionine-synthase, both H(2)S-synthesizing enzymes, were functionally expressed in the vas deferens of rat, mice, and human. Endogenous H(2)S mediated vas deferens smooth muscle relaxation.

Theoretical Study on the Interactions Between Methanol and Imidazolium-based Ionic Liquids

To better understand the property of the binary systems composing of imidazolium salt, [emim](+)A- (A=Cl-, Br-, BF(4)-, and PF(6)-) and methanol, we have investigated in detail the interactions of methanol molecule with anions A-, cation [emim](+), and ion pair [emim](+)A- of several ionic liquids (ILs) based on 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium cation by performing density functional theory calculations. It is found that H-bonds are universally involved in these systems, which may play an important role for the miscibility of methanol with imidazolium-based ILs. The interaction mechanisms of methanol molecule with anion and cation are found to be different in nature: the former mainly involves LP(X)-[Formula: see text] interaction, while the latter relates with the decisive orbital overlap of the type of LP(O)-[Formula: see text]. Based on the present calculations, we have provided some reasonable interpretations for properties of the binary mixtures of ILs and alcohol and revealed valuable information for the interaction details between ILs and alcohols, which is expected to be useful for the design of more efficient ILs to form superior solvent system with alcohol.

Temperature Increase in Porcine Cadaver Iris During Direct Illumination by Femtosecond Laser Pulses

To measure the temperature rise in porcine cadaver iris during direct illumination by the femtosecond laser as a model for laser exposure of the iris during femtosecond laser corneal surgery.

Child μ-opioid Receptor Gene Variant Influences Parent-child Relations

Variation in the μ-opioid receptor gene has been associated with early social behavior in mice and rhesus macaques. The current study tested whether the functional OPRM1 A118G predicted various indices of social relations in children. The sample included 226 subjects of self-reported European ancestry (44% female; mean age 13.6, SD=2.2) who were part of a larger representative study of children aged 9-17 years in rural North Carolina. Multiple aspects of recent (past 3 months) parent-child relationship were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. Parent problems were coded based upon a lifetime history of mental health problems, substance abuse, or criminality. Child genotype interacted with parent behavior such that there were no genotype differences for those with low levels of parent problems; however, when a history of parent problems was reported, the G allele carriers had more enjoyment of parent-child interactions (mean ratio (MR)=3.5, 95% CI=1.6, 8.0) and fewer arguments (MR=3.1, 95% CI=1.1, 8.9). These findings suggest a role for the OPRM1 gene in the genetic architecture of social relations in humans. In summary, a variant in the μ-opioid receptor gene (118G) was associated with improved parent-child relations, but only in the context of a significant disruption in parental functioning.

PO157_Sal, a Novel Conjugative Plasmid Detected in Outbreak Isolates of Escherichia Coli O157:H7

In addition to the large virulence plasmid pO157, a novel 38-kb conjugative plasmid, pO157_Sal, was identified and sequenced from an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak-associated Chinese isolate that shares high similarity with a plasmid in Salmonella enterica serovar Agona. The plasmid was found in 15 of 326 isolates, 12 of which were of the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type.

Potential Role of Metabolomics Apporoaches in the Area of Traditional Chinese Medicine: As Pillars of the Bridge Between Chinese and Western Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a holistic approach to health that attempts to bring the body, mind and spirit into harmony. Entering 21st century, TCM is getting more and more popular in the whole world for improving health condition of human beings and preventing or healing diseases, especially shows great advantages in early intervention, combination therapies and personalized medicine, etc. However, like almost all other ethnopharmacology, TCM also faces severe challenges and suffers from insufficient modern research owing to lack of scientific and technologic approaches, restricts the development of TCM in the world. Fortunately, a novel analytical technique, metabolomics (or metabonomics), adopts a 'top-down' strategy to reflect the function of organisms from terminal symptoms of metabolic network and understand metabolic changes of a complete system caused by interventions in holistic context. Its property consists with the holistic thinking of TCM, may beneficially provide an opportunity to scientifically express the meaning of evidence-based Chinese medicine, such as Chinese medicine syndromes (CMS), preventive treatment, action of Chinese medicine, Chinese medical formulae (CMF) and acupuncture efficacy. This review summarizes potential applications of robust metabolomics apporoaches in the area of traditional oriental medicine, and highlights the key role of metabolomics to resolve special TCM issues.

Laser Microdissection and Pressure Catapulting of Single Human Motor Neurons for RNA Editing Analysis

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian nervous system. The properties of their ionotropic glutamate receptors largely determine how different neurons respond to glutamate. RNA editing in pre-mRNAs encoding subunits of glutamate receptors, particularly the GluR 2 subunit of AMPA receptors, controls calcium permeability, response time, and total ion flow in individual receptors as well as the density of AMPA receptors at synapses through effects on ER assembly, sorting, and plasma membrane insertion. When RNA editing fails in a neuron, calcium influx through AMPA receptors may cause neuron death by glutamate excitotoxicity, as in the case of vulnerable hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons that die after transient forebrain ischemia. Elevated cerebrospinal glutamate is common in ALS and loss of GluR 2 Q/R site RNA editing has been reported to occur selectively in lower motor neurons in a majority of Japanese sporadic ALS patients. We describe our methods for laser microdissection followed by RT-PCR analysis to study RNA editing in single motor neurons.

Extracellular and Intraneuronal HMW-AbetaOs Represent a Molecular Basis of Memory Loss in Alzheimer's Disease Model Mouse

Several lines of evidence indicate that memory loss represents a synaptic failure caused by soluble amyloid β (Aβ) oligomers. However, the pathological relevance of Aβ oligomers (AβOs) as the trigger of synaptic or neuronal degeneration, and the possible mechanism underlying the neurotoxic action of endogenous AβOs remain to be determined.

Genome Sequence of the Verrucomicrobium Opitutus Terrae PB90-1, an Abundant Inhabitant of Rice Paddy Soil Ecosystems

Bacteria of the deeply branching phylum Verrucomicrobia are rarely cultured yet commonly detected in metagenomic libraries from aquatic, terrestrial, and intestinal environments. We have sequenced the genome of Opitutus terrae PB90-1, a fermentative anaerobe within this phylum, isolated from rice paddy soil and capable of propionate production from plant-derived polysaccharides.

BMP-12 Treatment of Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Vitro Augments Tendon-like Tissue Formation and Defect Repair in Vivo

We characterized the differentiation of rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) into tenocyte-like cells in response to bone morphogenetic protein-12 (BMP-12). BM-MSCs were prepared from Sprague-Dawley rats and cultured as monolayers. Recombinant BMP-12 treatment (10 ng/ml) of BM-MSCs for 12 hours in vitro markedly increased expression of the tenocyte lineage markers scleraxis (Scx) and tenomodulin (Tnmd) over 14 days. Treatment with BMP-12 for a further 12-hour period had no additional effect. Colony formation assays revealed that ~80% of treated cells and their progeny were Scx- and Tnmd-positive. BM-MSCs seeded in collagen scaffolds and similarly treated with a single dose of BMP-12 also expressed high levels of Scx and Tnmd, as well as type I collagen and tenascin-c. Furthermore, when the treated BM-MSC-seeded scaffolds were implanted into surgically created tendon defects in vivo, robust formation of tendon-like tissue was observed after 21 days as evidenced by increased cell number, elongation and alignment along the tensile axis, greater matrix deposition and the elevated expression of tendon markers. These results indicate that brief stimulation with BMP-12 in vitro is sufficient to induce BM-MSC differentiation into tenocytes, and that this phenotype is sustained in vivo. This strategy of pretreating BM-MSCs with BMP-12 prior to in vivo transplantation may be useful in MSC-based tendon reconstruction or tissue engineering.

Increased Serum IGF-1 Levels Protect the Musculoskeletal System but Are Associated with Elevated Oxidative Stress Markers and Increased Mortality Independent of Tissue Igf1 Gene Expression

Although the literature suggests a protective (anabolic) effect of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on the musculoskeletal system during growth and aging, there is evidence that reductions in IGF-1 signaling are advantageous for promoting an increase in life span through reduction in oxidative stress-induced tissue damage. To better understand this paradox, we utilized the hepatocyte-specific IGF-1 transgenic (HIT) mice, which exhibit 3-fold increases in serum IGF-1, with normal IGF-1 expression in other tissues, and mice with an IGF-1 null background that exclusively express IGF-1 in the liver, which thereby deliver IGF-1 by the endocrine route only (KO-HIT mice). We found that in the total absence of tissue igf1 gene expression (KO-HIT), increases in serum IGF-1 levels were associated with increased levels of lipid peroxidation products in serum and increased mortality rate at 18 months of age in both genders. Surprisingly, however, we found that in female mice, tissue IGF-1 plays an important role in preserving trabecular bone architecture as KO-HIT mice show bone loss in the femoral distal metaphysis. Additionally, in male KO-HIT mice, increases in serum IGF-1 levels were insufficient to protect against age-related muscle loss.

Serum IGF-1 Affects Skeletal Acquisition in a Temporal and Compartment-specific Manner

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) plays a critical role in the development of the growing skeleton by establishing both longitudinal and transverse bone accrual. IGF-1 has also been implicated in the maintenance of bone mass during late adulthood and aging, as decreases in serum IGF-1 levels appear to correlate with decreases in bone mineral density (BMD). Although informative, mouse models to date have been unable to separate the temporal effects of IGF-1 depletion on skeletal development. To address this problem, we performed a skeletal characterization of the inducible LID mouse (iLID), in which serum IGF-1 levels are depleted at selected ages. We found that depletion of serum IGF-1 in male iLID mice prior to adulthood (4 weeks) decreased trabecular bone architecture and significantly reduced transverse cortical bone properties (Ct.Ar, Ct.Th) by 16 weeks (adulthood). Likewise, depletion of serum IGF-1 in iLID males at 8 weeks of age, resulted in significantly reduced transverse cortical bone properties (Ct.Ar, Ct.Th) by 32 weeks (late adulthood), but had no effect on trabecular bone architecture. In contrast, depletion of serum IGF-1 after peak bone acquisition (at 16 weeks) resulted in enhancement of trabecular bone architecture, but no significant changes in cortical bone properties by 32 weeks as compared to controls. These results indicate that while serum IGF-1 is essential for bone accrual during the postnatal growth phase, depletion of IGF-1 after peak bone acquisition (16 weeks) is compartment-specific and does not have a detrimental effect on cortical bone mass in the older adult mouse.

The Membrane Receptor for Plasma Retinol-binding Protein, a New Type of Cell-surface Receptor

Vitamin A is essential for diverse aspects of life ranging from embryogenesis to the proper functioning of most adult organs. Its derivatives (retinoids) have potent biological activities such as regulating cell growth and differentiation. Plasma retinol-binding protein (RBP) is the specific vitamin A carrier protein in the blood that binds to vitamin A with high affinity and delivers it to target organs. A large amount of evidence has accumulated over the past decades supporting the existence of a cell-surface receptor for RBP that mediates cellular vitamin A uptake. Using an unbiased strategy, this specific cell-surface RBP receptor has been identified as STRA6, a multitransmembrane domain protein with previously unknown function. STRA6 is not homologous to any protein of known function and represents a new type of cell-surface receptor. Consistent with the diverse functions of vitamin A, STRA6 is widely expressed in embryonic development and in adult organ systems. Mutations in human STRA6 are associated with severe pathological phenotypes in many organs such as the eye, brain, heart, and lung. STRA6 binds to RBP with high affinity and mediates vitamin A uptake into cells. This review summarizes the history of the RBP receptor research, its expression in the context of known functions of vitamin A in distinct human organs, structure/function analysis of this new type of membrane receptor, pertinent questions regarding its very existence, and its potential implication in treating human diseases.

Isolation of 106 Microsatellite Markers for the Pacific Abalone from a Trinucleotide-enriched Library

Protective Effect of a JNK Inhibitor Against Retinal Ganglion Cell Loss Induced by Acute Moderate Ocular Hypertension

To correlate retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss and optic nerve (ON) damage with the duration of acute glaucoma attacks in a rat experimental model and to determine whether the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125 protects against such attacks.

Ï€-Ï€ Interaction of Quinacridone Derivatives

Response of Living Tissues of Pinus Sylvestris to the Saprotrophic Biocontrol Fungus Phlebiopsis Gigantea

The saprotrophic fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea has been used for several years as a biocontrol agent against the conifer pathogen Heterobasidion annosum. Although the effectiveness of P. gigantea in biocontrol has been shown empirically, the long-term effect on living conifer trees as well as the mechanism underlying its antagonistic activity is still unknown. An additional concern is the potential of P. gigantea to acquire a necrotrophic habit through adaptation to living wood tissues. By using a combination of histochemical, molecular and transcript profiling (454 sequencing), we investigated under in vitro conditions the necrotrophic capability of P. gigantea and induced localized resistance as a mechanism for its biocontrol action. Pinus sylvestris seedlings (10 years old) were challenged on the xylem surface with P. gigantea or H. annosum. Both fungi provoked strong necrotic lesions, but after prolonged incubation, P. gigantea lesions shrank and ceased to expand further. Tree seedlings pre-treated with P. gigantea further restricted H. annosum-induced necrosis and had more lignified cells. The 454 sequencing revealed elevated transcript levels of genes important for lignification, cell death regulation and jasmonic acid signalling. The results suggest that induced localized resistance is a contributory factor for the biocontrol efficacy of P. gigantea, and it has a limited necrotrophic capability compared with H. annosum.

Growth Hormone Receptor Regulates β Cell Hyperplasia and Glucose-stimulated Insulin Secretion in Obese Mice

Insulin, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) play key roles in the regulation of β cell growth and function. Although β cells express the GH receptor, the direct effects of GH on β cells remain largely unknown. Here we have employed a rat insulin II promoter-driven (RIP-driven) Cre recombinase to disrupt the GH receptor in β cells (βGHRKO). βGHRKO mice fed a standard chow diet exhibited impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion but had no changes in β cell mass. When challenged with a high-fat diet, βGHRKO mice showed evidence of a β cell secretory defect, with further deterioration of glucose homeostasis indicated by their altered glucose tolerance and blunted glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Interestingly, βGHRKO mice were impaired in β cell hyperplasia in response to a high-fat diet, with decreased β cell proliferation and overall reduced β cell mass. Therefore, GH receptor plays critical roles in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and β cell compensation in response to a high-fat diet.

[The Clinical and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies of Brain Damages in Neuromyelitis Optica]

To investigate the feature brain damage and clinical manifestations in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) patients; To investigate the relationship between serum NMO-IgG antibody and NMO brain damage.

The Adaptor Protein Nck2 Mediates Slit1-induced Changes in Cortical Neuron Morphology

Slits are multifunctional guidance cues, capable of triggering neurite repulsion, extension, or branching, depending on cell type and developmental context. While the Robo family of Slit receptors is a well-established mediator of axon repulsion, a role for Robos in Slit-mediated neurite growth and branching is not well defined, and the signaling molecules that link Robo to the cytoskeletal changes that drive neurite outgrowth are not well characterized in vertebrates. We show that Slit stimulates cortical dendrite branching, and we report that Slit also triggers a robust increase in the length of cortical axons in vitro. Moreover, neurons derived from Robo1; Robo2 deficient mice do not display an increase in neurite length, indicating that endogenous Robos mediate Slit's growth-promoting effects on both axons and dendrites. We also demonstrate that the SH2/SH3 adaptor proteins Nck1 and Nck2 bind to Robo via an atypical SH3-mediated mechanism. Furthermore, we show that only Nck2 is required for the Slit-induced changes in cortical neuron morphology in vitro. These findings indicate a specific role for Nck2 in linking Robo activation to the cytoskeleton rearrangements that shape cortical neuron morphology.

Evaluation Study on Urine Metabolomics in Yinhuang Rat Model Induced by Triplet Factors of Rhubarb, Ethanol, and α-nephthylisothiolyanate

To ascertain the biomarkers capable to characterize the animal composite model of Chinese medicine (CM) yinhuang syndrome induced by triplet factors of rhubarb, ethanol, and α-nephthylisothiolyanate (abbreviated as R, E, and A below) through metabolomic study and to evaluate the established model by means of studying the sources of markers based on the changes of metabolites produced from various combinations of the three modeling drugs.

CCL5 Induces a Pro-inflammatory Profile in Microglia in Vitro

The chemokine receptors CCR1, CCR2, CCR3, CCR5, and CXCR2 have been found to be expressed on microglia in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. There is emerging evidence that chemokines, besides chemoattraction, might directly modulate reactive profiles of microglia. To address this hypothesis we have investigated the effects of CCL2, CCL3, CCL5, and CXCL1 on cytokine and growth factor production, NO synthesis, and phagocytosis in non-stimulated and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated primary rat microglia. The respective receptors CCR1, CCR5, and CXCR2 were shown to be functionally expressed on microglia. All tested chemokines stimulated chemotaxis whereas only CCL5 increased NO secretion and attenuated IL-10 as well as IGF-1 production in activated microglia. Based on these findings we propose that besides its chemoattractant function CCL5 has a modulatory effect on activated microglia.

Unbound (bioavailable) IGF1 Enhances Somatic Growth

Understanding insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) biology is of particular importance because, apart from its role in mediating growth, it plays key roles in cellular transformation, organ regeneration, immune function, development of the musculoskeletal system and aging. IGF1 bioactivity is modulated by its binding to IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and the acid labile subunit (ALS), which are present in serum and tissues. To determine whether IGF1 binding to IGFBPs is necessary to facilitate normal growth and development, we used a gene-targeting approach and generated two novel knock-in mouse models of mutated IGF1, in which the native Igf1 gene was replaced by Des-Igf1 (KID mice) or R3-Igf1 (KIR mice). The KID and KIR mutant proteins have reduced affinity for the IGFBPs, and therefore present as unbound IGF1, or 'free IGF1'. We found that both KID and KIR mice have reduced serum IGF1 levels and a concomitant increase in serum growth hormone levels. Ternary complex formation of IGF1 with the IGFBPs and the ALS was markedly reduced in sera from KID and KIR mice compared with wild type. Both mutant mice showed increased body weight, body and bone lengths, and relative lean mass. We found selective organomegaly of the spleen, kidneys and uterus, enhanced mammary gland complexity, and increased skeletal acquisition. The KID and KIR models show unequivocally that IGF1-complex formation with the IGFBPs is fundamental for establishing normal body and organ size, and that uncontrolled IGF bioactivity could lead to pathological conditions.

Arsenic Trioxide Regulates the Apoptosis of Glioma Cell and Glioma Stem Cell Via Down-regulation of Stem Cell Marker Sox2

Knowledge of the mechanism by which arsenic trioxide exerts the anti-tumor effects may help in designing a more effective regimen for therapy. Transcription factor Sox2, a key gene implicated in maintaining the "stemness" of embryonic and adult stem cells, plays an important role in the carcinogenesis and maintenance of glioblastoma. Here, we found that the expression of Sox2 at transcriptional level was decreased during As(2)O(3)-induced glioma cell apoptosis. And, the ectopic expression of Sox2 attenuated the apoptotic effect of As(2)O(3) on glioma cell. Furthermore, As(2)O(3) inhibited the self-renewal of glioma stem cells, and efficiently induces the apoptosis of glioma stem cells, at least, partly through down-regulation of Sox2. These data identify a previously unrecognized mechanism of the anti-tumor effects of arsenic trioxide.

Molluscicidal Effect of Eomecon Chionantha Alkaloids Against Oncomelania Hupensis Snails

The molluscicidal effects of Eomecon chionantha alkaloids (ECA) against Oncomelania hupensis snails were determined by immersion method. The molluscicidal effect was positively related to ECA concentration, immersion time and temperature of the immersion solution. The mortality of the snails reached 100% by 72 hours in ECA at a concentration of 2.5 mg/l at 25 degrees C. The alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level of liver cells treated with ECA was higher than controls at 24 and 36 hours (57.7 and 60.3 U/l versus 39.2 and 49.2 U/1, respectively) but the level decreased at 48-72 hours after treatment. The decrease points to the toxic effect of ECA against liver cells. After ECA treatment, the liver cells were edematous with swollen or disintegrating nuclei; they were enlarged and had vacuolated rER; they had dilated and vesiculated mitochondria with broken crests further indicating a hepatotoxic effect of ECA in O. hupensis snails. ECA has a molluscicidal effect that may be of practical use in the field to control O. hupensis snails.

AAV-mediated Netrin-1 Overexpression Increases Peri-infarct Blood Vessel Density and Improves Motor Function Recovery After Experimental Stroke

Apart from its role in axon guidance, netrin-1 is also known to be pro-angiogenic. The aim of this study is to determine whether adeno-associated viral (AAV) mediated overexpression of netrin-1 improves post-stroke neurovascular structure and recovery of function. AAV-Netrin-1 or AAV-LacZ of 1×10(10) genome copies each was injected medial and posterior to ischemic lesion at one hour following reperfusion using the distal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) method. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed that the expression of netrin-1 transgene began as early as one day and increased dramatically about 3 weeks following vector injection. Western blot analysis and confocal microscopy suggested that both the endogenous and transduced netrin-1 were expressed in the neurons of the peri-infarct cortex after MCAO. AAV-mediated netrin-1 overexpression significantly increased vascular density in the peri-infarct cortex and promoted the migration of immature neurons into the peri-infarct white matter, but it did not significantly reduce infarct size. Netrin-1 overexpression also enhanced post-stroke locomotor activity, improved exploratory behavior, and reduced ischemia-induced motor asymmetry in forelimb usage. However, it had little effect on post-stroke spatial learning and memory. Our results suggest that AAV mediated netrin-1 overexpression improves peri-infarct vascular density and post stroke motor function.

Receptor-mediated Cellular Uptake Mechanism That Couples to Intracellular Storage

Cells are known to take up molecules through membrane transport mechanisms such as active transport, channels, and facilitated transport. We report here a new membrane transport mechanism that employs neither cellular energy like active transport nor a preexisting electrochemical gradient of the free substrate like channels or facilitated transport. Through this mechanism, cells take up vitamin A bound with high affinity to retinol binding protein (RBP) in the blood. This mechanism is mediated by the RBP receptor STRA6, which defines a new type of cell-surface receptor. STRA6 is essential for the proper functioning of multiple human organs, but the mechanisms that enable and control its cellular vitamin A uptake activity are unknown. We found that STRA6-mediated vitamin A uptake is tightly coupled to specific intracellular retinoid storage proteins, but no single intracellular protein is absolutely required for its transport activity. By developing sensitive real-time monitoring techniques, we found that STRA6 is not only a membrane receptor but also catalyzes vitamin A release from RBP. However, vitamin A released from RBP by STRA6 inhibits further vitamin A release by STRA6 unless specific intracellular retinoid storage proteins relieve this inhibition. This mechanism is responsible for its coupling to intracellular storage proteins. The coupling of uptake to storage provides high specificity in cellular uptake of vitamin A and prevents the excessive accumulation of free vitamin A. We have also identified a robust small-molecule-based technique to specifically stimulate cellular vitamin A uptake. This technique has implications in treating human diseases.

Co-administration of Perifosine with Paclitaxel Synergistically Induces Apoptosis in Ovarian Cancer Cells: More Than Just AKT Inhibition

Here we report an oral alkylphospholipid perifosine dramatically sensitizes chemo-resistant ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel induced cell death and apoptosis in vitro. We found that co-administration perifosine with paclitaxel in human ovarian cancer cells led to the inhibition of AKT/mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), a marked increase in ceramide and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and a striking increase in the activation of pro-apoptosis pathways, including caspase 3, c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). These signaling events together caused a marked increase of cancer cell apoptosis. Combining paclitaxel with perifosine may represent a novel anti-ovarian cancer strategy.

Comparative Genomics of Xylose-fermenting Fungi for Enhanced Biofuel Production

Cellulosic biomass is an abundant and underused substrate for biofuel production. The inability of many microbes to metabolize the pentose sugars abundant within hemicellulose creates specific challenges for microbial biofuel production from cellulosic material. Although engineered strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae can use the pentose xylose, the fermentative capacity pales in comparison with glucose, limiting the economic feasibility of industrial fermentations. To better understand xylose utilization for subsequent microbial engineering, we sequenced the genomes of two xylose-fermenting, beetle-associated fungi, Spathaspora passalidarum and Candida tenuis. To identify genes involved in xylose metabolism, we applied a comparative genomic approach across 14 Ascomycete genomes, mapping phenotypes and genotypes onto the fungal phylogeny, and measured genomic expression across five Hemiascomycete species with different xylose-consumption phenotypes. This approach implicated many genes and processes involved in xylose assimilation. Several of these genes significantly improved xylose utilization when engineered into S. cerevisiae, demonstrating the power of comparative methods in rapidly identifying genes for biomass conversion while reflecting on fungal ecology.

Interference of the Apoptotic Signaling Pathway in RGC Stress Response by SP600125 in Moderate Ocular Hypertensive Rats

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of SP600125 (1,9-pyrazoloanthrone), an inhibitor of JNK, on apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) induced by moderate elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) in male rats. IOP was elevated by suture-pulley compression on eyeballs. Cell apoptosis, expression of phosphorylated JNK (p-JNK) and cleaved caspase-3 in retina were studied by TUNEL staining and immunohistochemistry. The expression of c-Jun in retina was assayed by Western blot. Following IOP elevation (about 45 mmHg) for 6 h, the number of TUNEL, p-JNK and cleaved caspase-3 positive cells and the amount of c-Jun expression in retina were significantly increased. All these changes were reversed by SP600125 treatment. The immune positive cells for TUNEL, p-JNK and cleaved caspase-3 following IOP elevation were localized at the RGC layer. We conclude that moderate elevation of IOP for 6 h induced apoptosis of RGCs, and SP600125 treatment attenuated this process by suppressing c-Jun expression.

Mechanical Intervention for Maintenance of Cartilage and Bone

Mechanical loading provides indispensible stimuli for growth and development of the articular cartilage and bone. Interestingly, depending on loading conditions loads applied to the joint can be beneficial as well as harmful to skeletal maintenance and remodeling. Moderate loads to the synovial joint, for instance, suppress the expression levels of matrix metallproteinases (MMPs), while loads above a threshold tend to increase their destructive activities. This report focuses on two recently developed loading modalities from animal studies, joint motion and joint loading. Their unique characteristics and potential usages for maintenance of the articular cartilage and stimulation of bone remodeling are reviewed. Also described are biophysical and molecular mechanisms which likely are responsible for the load-driven maintenance of cartilage and bone, and a possibility of developing load-mediated treatments of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Ultra-performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Mass Spectrometry As a Sensitive and Powerful Technology for Metabolomic Studies

Metabolomics is the comprehensive assessment of endogenous metabolites of a biological system. These large-scale analyses of metabolites are intimately bound to advancements in ultra-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray (UPLC) technologies and have emerged in parallel with the development of novel mass analyzers and hyphenated techniques. Recently, the combination of UPLC with MS covers a number of polar metabolites, thus enlarging the number of detected analytes in the widely used separation sciences. This technology has rapidly been accepted by the analytical community and is being gradually applied to various fields such as metabolomics and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Given the power of the technology, metabolomics has become increasingly popular in drug development, molecular medicine, traditional medicine and other biotechnology fields, since it profiles directly the phenotype and changes thereof in contrast to other "-omics" technologies. Hyphenated UPLC/MS technique is becoming a useful tool in the study of body fluids, represents a promising hyphenated microseparation platform in metabolomics and has a strong potential to contribute to disease diagnosis. This review describes the applications of UPLC/MS in metabolomic research, and comparison role of HPLC/MS, NMR and GC/MS, highlights its advantages and limitations with certain characteristic examples in the life and TCM sciences.

An in Vivo Analysis of the Therapeutic and Synergistic Properties of Chinese Medicinal Formula Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang Based on Its Active Constituents

6,7-Dimethylesculetin (D), geniposide (G) and rhein (R) are the three major active ingredients of Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (YCHT), a famous Chinese herbal formula, which has been shown to be clinically effective for treating hepatic injury (HI) syndrome. The present study was conducted to investigate the therapeutic and synergistic effects of COC (combination of D, G and R) on HI rats by combining pharmacokinetic with biochemical analysis strategy. Plasma was analyzed by using reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). Principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) models were built to evaluate the therapeutic and synergistic effects of COC at the biochemical level. Here, we report that the COC combination could increase the plasma level, slow elimination rate, exert a more robust therapeutic effect than any one or two of the three individual compounds by hitting multiple targets in a rat model of HI. Overall, this beneficially accounts for the popular view that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula usually takes multi-component to exert their therapeutic effects. We suggest that dissecting the mode of action of clinically effective formula to be capable of producing a sufficient effect at low doses.

Mechanical Loading: Bone Remodeling and Cartilage Maintenance

Bone remodeling and cartilage maintenance are strongly influenced by biomechanical signals generated by mechanical loading. Although moderate loading is required to maintain bone mass and cartilage homeostasis, loading can cause deleterious effects such as bone fracture and cartilage degradation. Because a tight coupling exists between cartilage and bone, alterations in one tissue can affect the other. Bone marrow lesions are often associated with an increased risk of developing cartilage defects, and changes in the articular cartilage integrity are linked to remodeling responses in the underlying bone. Although mechanisms regulating the maintenance of these two tissues are different, compelling evidence indicates that the signal pathways crosstalk, particularly with the Wnt pathway. A better understanding of the complex tempero-spatial interplay between bone remodeling and cartilage degeneration will help develop a therapeutic loading strategy that prevents bone loss and cartilage degeneration.

Stability of Ring Patterns Arising from Two-dimensional Particle Interactions

Pairwise particle interactions arise in diverse physical systems ranging from insect swarms to self-assembly of nanoparticles. In the presence of long-range attraction and short-range repulsion, such systems can exhibit bound states. We use linear stability analysis of a ring equilibrium to classify the morphology of patterns in two dimensions. Conditions are identified that assure the well-posedness of the ring. In addition, weakly nonlinear theory and numerical simulations demonstrate how a ring can bifurcate to more complex equilibria including triangular shapes, annuli, and spot patterns with N-fold symmetry. Many of these patterns have been observed in nature, although a general theory has been lacking, in particular how small changes to the interaction potential can lead to large changes in the self-organized state.

First Implication of STRA6 Mutations in Isolated Anophthalmia, Microphthalmia, and Coloboma: a New Dimension to the STRA6 Phenotype

Microphthalmia, anophthalmia, and coloboma (MAC) are structural congenital eye malformations that cause a significant proportion of childhood visual impairments. Several disease genes have been identified but do not account for all MAC cases, suggesting that additional risk loci exist. We used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) homozygosity mapping (HM) and targeted next-generation sequencing to identify the causative mutation for autosomal recessive isolated colobomatous microanophthalmia (MCOPCB) in a consanguineous Irish Traveller family. We identified a double-nucleotide polymorphism (g.1157G>A and g.1156G>A; p.G304K) in STRA6 that was homozygous in all of the MCOPCB patients. The STRA6 p.G304K mutation was subsequently detected in additional MCOPCB patients, including one individual with Matthew-Wood syndrome (MWS; MCOPS9). STRA6 encodes a transmembrane receptor involved in vitamin A uptake, a process essential to eye development and growth. We have shown that the G304K mutant STRA6 protein is mislocalized and has severely reduced vitamin A uptake activity. Furthermore, we reproduced the MCOPCB phenotype in a zebrafish disease model by inhibiting retinoic acid (RA) synthesis, suggesting that diminished RA levels account for the eye malformations in STRA6 p.G304K patients. The current study demonstrates that STRA6 mutations can cause isolated eye malformations in addition to the congenital anomalies observed in MWS.

Events in Articular Chondrocytes with Aging

It is well accepted that aging is one of the most prominent risk factors for the initiation and progression of osteoarthritis. One of the most pronounced age-related changes in chondrocytes is the exhibition of a senescent phenotype, which is the result of several factors including the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and advanced glycation end products. Compared with a normal chondrocyte, senescent chondrocytes exhibit an impaired ability to respond to many mechanical and inflammatory insults to the articular cartilage. Furthermore, protein secretion is altered in aging chondrocytes, demonstrated by a decrease in anabolic activity and increased production of proinflammatory cytokines and matrix-degrading enzymes. Together, these events may make the articular cartilage matrix more susceptible to damage and lead to the onset of osteoarthritis. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying age-related chondrocyte pathophysiology may be critical for the development of novel therapeutic interventions for progressive joint diseases.

Brønsted Acid Catalyzed α-alkylation of Aldehydes with Diaryl Methyl Alcohols

Structural Basis for Distinct Binding Properties of the Human Galectins to Thomsen-Friedenreich Antigen

The Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF or T) antigen, Galβ1-3GalNAcα1-O-Ser/Thr, is the core 1 structure of O-linked mucin type glycans appearing in tumor-associated glycosylation. The TF antigen occurs in about 90% of human cancer cells and is a potential ligand for the human endogenous galectins. It has been reported that human galectin-1 (Gal-1) and galectin-3 (Gal-3) can perform their cancer-related functions via specifically recognizing TF antigen. However, the detailed binding properties have not been clarified and structurally characterized. In this work, first we identified the distinct TF-binding abilities of Gal-1 and Gal-3. The affinity to TF antigen for Gal-3 is two orders of magnitude higher than that for Gal-1. The structures of Gal-3 carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) complexed with TF antigen and derivatives, TFN and GM1, were then determined. These structures show a unique Glu-water-Arg-water motif-based mode as previously observed in the mushroom galectin AAL. The observation demonstrates that this recognition mode is commonly adopted by TF-binding galectins, either as endogenous or exogenous ones. The detailed structural comparisons between Gal-1 and Gal-3 CRD and mutagenesis experiments reveal that a pentad residue motif ((51)AHGDA(55)) at the loop (g1-L4) connecting β-strands 4 and 5 of Gal-1 produces a serious steric hindrance for TF binding. This motif is the main structural basis for Gal-1 with the low affinity to TF antigen. These findings provide the intrinsic structural elements for regulating the TF-binding activity of Gal-1 in some special conditions and also show certain target and approach for mediating some tumor-related bioactivities of human galectins.

Pharmacokinetics Screening for Multi-components Absorbed in the Rat Plasma After Oral Administration Traditional Chinese Medicine Formula Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang by Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-electrospray Ionization/quadrupole-time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry Combined with Pattern Recognition Methods

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used in many oriental countries for thousands of years and played an indispensable role in the prevention and treatment of diseases, especially the complicated and chronic ones. It is a very complex mixture containing hundreds or thousands of different components. Pharmacokinetic study on active constituents in TCM preparations is a good way for us to explain and predict a variety of events related to the efficacy and toxicity of TCM. A selective and sensitive method of ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization/quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS/MS) was first developed to screen the potentially bioactive components in vivo, using the semi-quantitative determination of multicomponents in the rat plasma after a single oral administration of Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (YCHT), a famous TCM formula for liver disorders. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) were built to evaluate the differences of pharmacokinetic behaviors (time-course) of the absorbed components of YCHT. Here, we report that the developed method was successfully applied to monitoring the pharmacokinetic time-course of 21 compounds in rat plasma, and were grouped in 3 separate clusters using pattern recognition approaches (both HCA and PCA). Comparing the body dynamics of each composition, the initial choice of the following 9 compounds as the candidate components was: 7-methoxycoumarin-6-hydroxyl sulfate, genipingentiobioside, geniposide, 6,7-dimethylesculetin, peak 16, chimaphylin, 6-dementhoxycapillarisin, capillarisin, rhein. Pharmacokinetics based-UPLC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS/MS combined with HCA and PCA approaches can provide a reliable and suitable means of identifying and screening potentially bioactive components contributing to pharmacological effects of TCM, further prospecting natural products in the search for new leads in drug discovery.

Ultra-performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Electrospray Ionization/quadrupole-time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry for Rapid Analysis of Constituents of Suanzaoren Decoction

A rapid, sensitive, specific and reliable ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization/quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS) method with MassLynx™ MassFragment was developed for the analysis of Suanzaoren decoction (SZRD), a Chinese herbal prescription. The analysis was performed on a Waters UPLC BEH C(18) column using gradient elution system. A hyphenated electrospray ionization and Q-TOF analyzer was used for the determination of accurate mass of the protonated or deprotonated molecule and fragment ion in both negative and positive modes. The chromatographic separation was achieved by UPLC, which used a column with 1.7 μm particle packing which enabled higher speed of analysis, peak capacity, greater resolution and increased sensitivity. The constituents of SZRD were identied and confirmed according to the mass spectrometric fragmentation mechanisms, MS/MS fragment ions, relevant literature and the establishment of an in-house molecular formula database. With this method, a total of 22 compounds of SZTD were tentatively identied based on MS and MS/MS data and comparison with available databases. It is concluded that a rapid and robust platform based on UPLC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS was established, which is useful for identifying multiple-constituent of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prescriptions. Our present results proved that the established method could provide helpful chemical information for further pharmacological mechanism research of SZRD.

Activation of STAT6 by STING is Critical for Antiviral Innate Immunity

STAT6 plays a prominent role in adaptive immunity by transducing signals from extracellular cytokines. We now show that STAT6 is required for innate immune signaling in response to virus infection. Viruses or cytoplasmic nucleic acids trigger STING (also named MITA/ERIS) to recruit STAT6 to the endoplasmic reticulum, leading to STAT6 phosphorylation on Ser(407) by TBK1 and Tyr(641), independent of JAKs. Phosphorylated STAT6 then dimerizes and translocates to the nucleus to induce specific target genes responsible for immune cell homing. Virus-induced STAT6 activation is detected in all cell-types tested, in contrast to the cell-type specific role of STAT6 in cytokine signaling, and Stat6(-/-) mice are susceptible to virus infection. Thus, STAT6 mediates immune signaling in response to both cytokines at the plasma membrane, and virus infection at the endoplasmic reticulum.

Rapid and Global Detection and Characterization of the Constituents in ShengMai San by Ultra-performance Liquid Chromatography-high-definition Mass Spectrometry

An ultra-performance liquid chromatography-high definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-HDMS) method was developed for detection and characterization of the chemical constituents in ShengMai San (SMS), a traditional Chinese medical formula (TCMF). The full-scan LC-MS/MS data sets combined with extra mass were acquired within 14 min using UPLC-HDMS in the MS(E) mode in a single injection. As a result, 92 compounds were identified by comparing the accurate mass and fragments information with that of the authentic standards as well as by MS analysis and the correlative references data. These constituents included ginsenosides, lignans, steroidal saponins and homoisoflavanones. Among them, 25-hydroxyginsenosides were discovered in SMS for the first time. Compare with the previous studies, our research detected more compounds and presented more rapid by applying UPLC-HDMS. It is concluded that a rapid and effective method has been established based on UPLC-HDMS with the utilization of MS(E) , which shows high sensitivity and resolution that is suitable for identifying the constituents of SMS, and this method could be applied to other TCMF.

Simulation of the Temperature Increase in Human Cadaver Retina During Direct Illumination by 150-kHz Femtosecond Laser Pulses

We have developed a two-dimensional computer model to predict the temperature increase of the retina during femtosecond corneal laser flap cutting. Simulating a typical clinical setting for 150-kHz iFS advanced femtosecond laser (0.8- to 1-μJ laser pulse energy and 15-s procedure time at a laser wavelength of 1053 nm), the temperature increase is 0.2°C. Calculated temperature profiles show good agreement with data obtained from ex vivo experiments using human cadaver retina. Simulation results obtained for different commercial femtosecond lasers indicate that during the laser in situ keratomileusis procedure the temperature increase of the retina is insufficient to induce damage.

Intraspinal Tumors Accompanied by Hydrocephalus: Case Report, Systematic Review, and Discussion of Treatment Strategy

Intraspinal tumor accompanied by hydrocephalus is an unusual but well-documented condition. Although many authors have proposed a variety of possible causes, the etiology is still unknown. Meanwhile, little has been discussed about the treatment strategy.

ENAC1, a NAC Transcription Factor, is an Early and Transient Response Regulator Induced by Abiotic Stress in Rice (Oryza Sativa L.)

The plant-specific NAC (NAM, ATAF, and CUC)-domain proteins play important roles in plant development and stress responses. In this research, a full-length cDNA named ENAC1 (early NAC-domain protein induced by abiotic stress 1) was isolated from rice. ENAC1 possess one NAC domain in the N-terminus. Comparative time-course expression analysis indicated that ENAC1 expression, similar with OsDREB1A, was induced very quickly by various abiotic stresses including salt, drought, cold, and exogenous abscisic acid. However, the induction of ENAC1 by abiotic stress was transient and lasted up to 3 h, whereas that of OsDREB1A maintained longer. The promoter sequence of ENAC1 harbors several cis-elements including ABA response elements, but the well-known dehydration responsive element/C-repeat element is absent. The ENAC1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) fusion protein was localized in the nucleus of rice protoplast cell. Yeast hybrid assays revealed that ENAC1 was a transcription activator and bound to NAC recognition sequence (NACRS). Co-expression analysis suggested that ENAC1 co-expressed with a number of stress-related genes. Taken together, ENAC1 may be an early transcription activator of stress responses and function in the regulation of NACRS-mediated gene expression under abiotic stress.

Mechanotransduction and Cartilage Integrity

Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by the breakdown of articular cartilage that is mediated in part by increased production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and aggrecanases (ADAMTS), enzymes that degrade components of the cartilage extracellular matrix. Efforts to design synthetic inhibitors of MMPs/ADAMTS have only led to limited clinical success. In addition to pharmacologic therapies, physiologic joint loading is widely recommended as a nonpharmacologic approach to improve joint function in osteoarthritis. Clinical trials report that moderate levels of exercise exert beneficial effects, such as improvements in pain and physical function. Experimental studies demonstrate that mechanical loading mitigates joint destruction through the downregulation of MMPs/ADAMTS. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects of physiologic loading on arthritic joints are not well understood. We review here the recent progress on mechanotransduction in articular joints, highlighting the mediators and pathways in the maintenance of cartilage integrity, especially in the prevention of cartilage degradation in OA.

[Comparison of Three Anti-aquaporin 4 Antibody Detection Methods in Neuromyelitis Optical]

To evaluate three methods of detecting anti-aquaporin 4(AQP4) antibody in neuromyelitis optical(NMO), including indirect immunofluorescence assay organization (IIF), cell immunofluorescence method (CBA) and ELISA.

Complete Genome Sequence of Thioalkalivibrio Sp. K90mix

Thioalkalivibrio sp. K90mix is an obligately chemolithoautotrophic, natronophilic sulfur-oxidizing bacterium (SOxB) belonging to the family Ectothiorhodospiraceae within the Gammaproteobacteria. The strain was isolated from a mixture of sediment samples obtained from different soda lakes located in the Kulunda Steppe (Altai, Russia) based on its extreme potassium carbonate tolerance as an enrichment method. Here we report the complete genome sequence of strain K90mix and its annotation. The genome was sequenced within the Joint Genome Institute Community Sequencing Program, because of its relevance to the sustainable removal of sulfide from wastewater and gas streams.

Comparison of Grey Matter Atrophy Between Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica and Multiple Sclerosis: a Voxel-based Morphometry Study

Previous studies have established regional grey matter (GM) loss in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, whether there is any regional GM atrophy in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and the difference between NMO and MS is unclear. The present study addresses this issue by voxel-based morphometry (VBM).

Biomechanical Analysis of Four Different Fixations for the Posterolateral Shearing Tibial Plateau Fracture

The posterolateral shearing tibial plateau fracture is uncommon in the literature, however with the increased usage of computer tomography (CT), the incidence of these fractures is no longer as low as previously thought. Few studies have concentrated on this fracture, least of all using a biomechanical model. The purpose of this study was to compare and analyse the biomechanical characteristics of four different types of internal fixation to stabilise the posterolateral shearing tibial plateau fracture. Forty synthetic tibiae (Synbone, right) simulated the posterolateral shearing fracture models and these were randomly assigned into four groups; Group A was fixed with two anterolateral lag screws, Group B with an anteromedial Limited Contact Dynamic Compression Plate (LC-DCP), Group C with a lateral locking plate, and Group D with a posterolateral buttress plate. Vertical displacement of the posterolateral fragment was measured using three different strengths of axial loading force, and finally loaded until fixation failure. It was concluded that the posterolateral buttress plate is biomechanically the strongest fixation method for the posterolateral shearing tibial plateau fracture.

Membrane Receptors and Transporters Involved in the Function and Transport of Vitamin A and Its Derivatives

The eye is the human organ most sensitive to vitamin A deficiency because of vision's absolute and heavy dependence on vitamin A for light perception. Studies of the molecular basis of vision have provided important insights into the intricate mechanistic details of the function, transport and recycling of vitamin A and its derivatives (retinoid). This review focuses on retinoid-related membrane receptors and transporters. Three kinds of mammalian membrane receptors and transporters are discussed: opsins, best known as vitamin A-based light sensors in vision; ABCA4, an ATP-dependent transporter specializes in the transport of vitamin A derivative; and STRA6, a recently identified membrane receptor that mediates cellular uptake of vitamin A. The evolutionary driving forces for their existence and the wide spectrum of human diseases associated with these proteins are discussed. Lessons learned from the study of the visual system might be useful for understanding retinoid biology and retinoid-related diseases in other organ systems as well. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Retinoid and Lipid Metabolism.

1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP) Facilitates Curcumin-induced Melanoma Cell Apoptosis by Enhancing Ceramide Accumulation, JNK Activation, and Inhibiting PI3K/AKT Activation

The majority of metastatic melanomas are resistant to different chemotherapeutic agents, consequently, the search for novel anti-melanoma agents and adjuvant is urgent. Here, we found that 1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP), an inhibitor of glycosphingolipid biosynthesis, enhanced curcumin-induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in two melanoma cell lines (WM-115 and B16). PDMP facilitated curcumin-induced ceramide accumulation; the latter contributed to melanoma cell apoptosis. PDMP also dramatically enhanced curcumin-induced c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation, which was important to melanoma cell apoptosis. Meanwhile, curcumin plus PDMP treatment largely inhibited the activation of pro-survival PI3K/AKT signal pathway. In conclusion, PDMP-sensitized curcumin-induced melanoma cell growth inhibition and apoptosis in vitro due to changes of multiple signal events. Combining PDMP with curcumin may represent a new therapeutic intervention against melanoma.

Metabolomic Study of Insomnia and Intervention Effects of Suanzaoren Decoction Using Ultra-performance Liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization Synapt High-definition Mass Spectrometry

Metabolomics is the comprehensive assessment of endogenous metabolites of a biological system in a holistic context, and its property consists with the global view of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Suanzaoren decoction (SZRD), an ancient TCM formulae, has been used for treating insomnia for centuries, and its mechanism remains unclear completely. This paper was designed to explore globally metabolomic characters of the insomnia and the therapeutic effects of SZRD. Ultra-performance liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization synapt high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS) combined with pattern recognition approaches including principal component analysis (PCA), partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) and orthogonal projection to latent structures discriminate analysis (OPLS-DA) were integrated to approximate the comprehensive metabolic signature and discover differentiating metabolites. The changes in metabolic profiling were restored to their baseline values after SZRD treatment according to the PCA score plots. Altogether, the current metabonomic approach based on UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS indicate 20 ions (9 in the negative mode, 11 in the positive mode) as "differentiating metabolites". The alterations in these metabolites were associated with perturbations in amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, in response to insomnia through immune and nervous system. Of note, we found that SZRD increases sleep activity and exhibits binding affinity for serotonin receptors. These results implicate the therapeutic effects of SZRD may mediate through serotonergic activation. Our findings also show the robust UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS techniques is promising for metabolites profiling analysis of TCM and open new perspectives to using metabolomics platform to resolve special TCM issues.

Metabolomics Study on Fuzi and Its Processed Products Using Ultra-performance Liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization Synapt High-definition Mass Spectrometry Coupled with Pattern Recognition Analysis

The lateral root of Aconitum carmichaelii Debx is named "Fuzi" which is widely distributed across Asia and North America and has been used to relieve joint pain and treat rheumatic diseases for over two thousand years. However, it has very narrow therapeutic ranges and despite the toxicological risk, its usage remains very high. A traditional Chinese processing approach (Paozhi, detoxifying measure) is necessary to remove the poisonous Aconitum alkaloids mainly deriving from the diester diterpene alkaloids (DDAs) including aconitine, mesaconitine and hypaconitine. They can be decomposed into less or non-toxic derivatives through Paozhi that plays an essential role in detoxification. Processed Fuzi is mainly focused on the three main forms of Yanfuzi (YFZ), Heishunpian (HSP) and Baifupian (BFP) which are highly desirable in order to guarantee the clinical safety and their low toxicity in decoctions. The difference in metabolomic characters between Fuzi and its processed preparations is still completely unclear. Therefore, this paper was designed to investigate a comprehensive metabolome of Fuzi and its processed products by ultra-performance liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization synapt high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS) combined with pattern recognition methods. The difference in metabolic profiles between Fuzi and its processed preparations was well observed by the principal component analysis (PCA) of the MS spectra. Significant changes of 19 metabolite biomarkers were detected in the Fuzi samples and three preparations. The underlying regulations of Paozhi-perturbed metabolic pathways were also discussed according to the identified metabolites. The present study proves that UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS based metabolomic analysis greatly contributes to the investigation of Fuzi metabolism through Paozhi techniques, and provides useful information to further comprehensively understand the pharmacological activity and potential toxicity of processed Fuzi in a clinical environment.

Metabolomics Study on the Toxicity of Aconite Root and Its Processed Products Using Ultraperformance Liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization Synapt High-definition Mass Spectrometry Coupled with Pattern Recognition Approach and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis

The mother and lateral root of Aconitum carmichaelii Debx, named "Chuanwu" (CW) and "Fuzi", respectively, has been used to relieve joint pain and treat rheumatic diseases for over 2000 years. However, it has a very narrow therapeutic range, and the toxicological risk of its usage remains very high. The traditional Chinese processing approach, Paozhi (detoxifying measure),can decompose poisonous Aconitum alkaloids into less or nontoxic derivatives and plays an important role in detoxification. The difference in metabolomic characters among the crude and processed preparations is still unclear, limited by the lack of sensitive and reliable biomarkers. Therefore, this paper was designed to investigate comprehensive metabolomic characters of the crude and its processed products by UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS combined with pattern recognition methods and ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA). The significant difference in metabolic profiles and changes of metabolite biomarkers of interest between the crude and processed preparations were well observed. The underlying regulations of Paozhi-perturbed metabolic pathways are discussed according to the identified metabolites, and four metabolic pathways are identified using IPA. The present study demonstrates that metabolomic analysis could greatly facilitate and provide useful information to further comprehensively understand the pharmacological activity and potential toxicity of processed Aconite roots in the clinic.

The Role of Toll-like Receptors in the Pathogenesis of Streptococcus Suis

Streptococcus suis is an important agent of swine and human meningitis. Sequence type (ST) 7 emerged in China and was responsible for the human epidemic caused by S. suis in 2005. The virulence of S. suis ST7 is greater than the wild type pathogenic S. suis, ST1; however, the mechanisms for this increased pathogenicity are unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the role of different toll-like receptors (TLRs) involved in regulating the host response to the S. suis infection and to speculate on differing mechanisms used by ST7 strains to induce disease. Here we compared two ST7 strains isolated in the 2005 Sichuan outbreak to two ST1 strains. Our data show TLR2, 6 and 9 are involved in the recognition of heat-killed S. suis independent of the ST type. We found the TLR-dependent cytokine production differed between the two types of strains using whole cell lysate proteins. TLR6 played a greater role in cytokine production induced by the whole cell lysate proteins from the ST7 strain than in that induced by the ST1 strain lysates. The data suggest that mechanisms of inflammation induced by S. suis strains differ where this will be useful in designing efficient strategies in combating streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome caused by the S. suis ST7 strains.

Simultaneous in Vivo RP-HPLC-DAD Quantification of Multiple-component and Drug-drug Interaction by Pharmacokinetics, Using 6,7-dimethylesculetin, Geniposide and Rhein As Examples

Increasing evidence has demonstrated that multidrug combinations could amplify the therapeutic efficacies of each agent. Interestingly, the pharmacological effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is usually attributed to the drug-interaction property (synergism) of multiple active constituents. Pharmacokinetics is a useful means of evaluating the drug interactions of major active compounds in TCM. A simple, sensitive and reliable RP-HPLC-DAD method has been developed to simultaneously quantify 6,7-dimethylesculetin (D), geniposide (G) and rhein (R), which are the active ingredients in Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (YCHT), performing drug-interaction pharmacokinetics studies in vivo. Plasma samples were prepared using methanolic precipitation, a filtration step, and then injection of the methanolic extract onto a Nova-Pak C₁₈ Guard-Pak™ guard column with a gradient mobile phase. Triple-wavelength diode array detection was set at λ(max) values of 343 nm for D, 241 nm for the G, and 259 nm for R. Our results successfully demonstrate that this method has excellent and satisfactory selectivity, sensitivity, linearity, precision, accuracy and recovery. In healthy rats, the estimated pharmacokinetic parameters (i.e. C(max) , AUC and Cl) of D, G and R, when administered with COC (a combination of D, G and R), were C(max) 16.05 mg/L, AUC 108.96 mg h/L and Cl 0.36 L/h for D; C(max) 9.35 mg/L, AUC 64.71 mg h/L and Cl 0.88 L/h for G; and C(max) 14.18 mg/L, AUC 57.98 mg h/L and Cl 1.77 L/h for R. Here, we report that the COC combination could significantly increase the plasma level and slow the elimination rate compared with any one or two of the three individual compounds, which may indicate a drug-drug interaction.

Recent and Potential Developments of Biofluid Analyses in Metabolomics

Metabolomics, one of the 'omic' sciences in systems biology, is the global assessment and validation of endogenous small-molecule metabolites within a biologic system. Analysis of these key metabolites in body fluids has become an important role to monitor the state of biological organisms and is a widely used diagnostic tool for disease. A majority of these metabolites are being applied to metabolic profiling of the biological samples, for example, plasma and whole blood, serum, urine, saliva, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, semen, and tissue homogenates. However, the recognition of the need for a holistic approach to metabolism led to the application of metabolomics to biological fluids for disease diagnostics. A recent surge in metabolomic applications which are probably more accurate than routine clinical practice, dedicated to characterizing the biological fluids. While developments in the analysis of biofluid samples encompassing an important impediment, it must be emphasized that these biofluids are complementary. Metabolomics provides potential advantages that classical diagnostic approaches do not, based on following discovery of a suite of clinically relevant biomarkers that are simultaneously affected by the disease. Emerging as a promising biofocus, metabolomics will drive biofluid analyses and offer great benefits for public health in the long-term.

Modern Analytical Techniques in Metabolomics Analysis

Metabolomics is the comprehensive assessment of endogenous metabolites and attempts to systematically identify and quantify metabolites from a biological sample. Small-molecule metabolites have an important role in biological systems and represent attractive candidates to understand disease phenotypes. Metabolites represent a diverse group of low-molecular-weight structures including lipids, amino acids, peptides, nucleic acids, organic acids, vitamins, thiols and carbohydrates, which makes global analysis a difficult challenge. The recent rapid development of a range of analytical platforms, including GC, HPLC, UPLC, CE coupled to MS and NMR spectroscopy, could enable separation, detection, characterization and quantification of such metabolites and related metabolic pathways. Owing to the complexity of the metabolome and the diverse properties of metabolites, no single analytical platform can be applied to detect all metabolites in a biological sample. The combined use of modern instrumental analytical approaches has unravelled the ideal outcomes in metabolomics, and is beneficial to increase the coverage of detected metabolites that can not be achieved by single-analysis techniques. Integrated platforms have been frequently used to provide sensitive and reliable detection of thousands of metabolites in a biofluid sample. Continued development of these analytical platforms will accelerate widespread use and integration of metabolomics into systems biology. Here, the application of each hyphenated technique is discussed and its strengths and limitations are discussed with selected illustrative examples; furthermore, this review comprehensively highlights the role of integrated tools in metabolomic research.

Pattern Recognition Approaches and Computational Systems Tools for Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-mass Spectrometry-based Comprehensive Metabolomic Profiling and Pathways Analysis of Biological Data Sets

Metabolomics represents an emerging and powerful discipline that provides an accurate and dynamic picture of the phenotype of biosystems through the study of potential metabolites that could be used for therapeutic targets and discovery of new drugs. Metabolomic network construction has led to the integration of metabolites associated with the caused perturbation of multiple pathways. Herein, we present a method for the construction of efficient networks with regard to that Jujuboside B (JuB) protects against insomnia as a case study. UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS coupled with pattern recognition methods including PCA, PLS-DA, OPLS-DA, and computational systems analysis were integrated to obtain comprehensive metabolomic profiling and pathways of the large biological data sets. Among the regulated pathways, twelve biomarkers were identified and tryptophan metabolism, phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan biosynthesis, arachidonic acid metabolism, and phenylalanine metabolism related network were acutely perturbed. Results not only supplied a systematic view of the development and progression of insomnia but also were used to analyze the therapeutic effects of JuB, a widely used anti-insomina medicine in clinics. The results showed that JuB administration could provide satisfactory effects on insomnia through partially regulating the perturbed pathway. We have constructed a metabolomic feature network of JuB to protect against insomnia. The most promising use in the near future would be to clarify pathways for the drugs and get biomarkers for these pathways, to help guide testable predictions, provide insights into drug action mechanisms, and enable us to increase research productivity toward metabolomic drug discovery.

Potential Drug Targets on Insomnia and Intervention Effects of Jujuboside A Through Metabolic Pathway Analysis As Revealed by UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS Coupled with Pattern Recognition Approach

Potential metabolites from the metabolic pathways could be therapeutic targets and useful for the discovery of broad spectrum drugs. UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS coupled with pattern recognition methods including PCA, PLS-DA, OPLS-DA and Heatmap were integrated to examine the global metabolic signature of insomnia and intervention effects of Jujuboside A (JuA). Six unique pathways of the insomnia were identified using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software. The VIP-value threshold cutoff of the metabolites was set to 10, above this threshold, were filtered out as potential target biomarkers. Sixteen distinct metabolites were identified from these pathways, and 6 of them can be considered for rational drug design. It was further experimental validation that the changes in metabolic profiling were restored to their baseline values after JuA treatment according to the multivariate data analysis. Potential metabolite network of the insomnia was preliminarily predicted JuA-target interaction networks, and could be further explored for in silico docking studies with suitable drugs. Thus, our method is an efficient procedure for drug target identification through metabolic analysis. It can guide testable predictions, provide insights into drug action mechanisms and enable us to increase research productivity toward metabolomic drug discovery.

Moderate Joint Loading Reduces Degenerative Actions of Matrix Metalloproteinases in the Articular Cartilage of Mouse Ulnae

Joint loading is a recently developed loading modality, which can enhance bone formation and accelerate healing of bone fracture. Since mechanical stimulation alters expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in chondrocytes, a question addressed herein was, does joint loading alter actions of MMPs in the articular cartilage? We hypothesized that expression and activity of MMPs are regulated in a load-intensity-dependent manner and that moderate load scan downregulates MMPs. To test this hypothesis, a mouse elbow-loading model was employed. In the articular cartilage of an ulna, the mRNA levels of a group of MMPs as well as their degenerative activities were determined. The result revealed that elbow loading altered the expression and activities of MMPs depending on its loading intensity. Collectively, the data in this study indicate that 0.2 and 0.5 N joint loading significantly reduced the expression of multiple MMPs, that is, MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-8, and MMP-13, and overall activities of collagenases or gelatinases in articular cartilage, while higher loads increased the expression and activity of MMP-1 and MMP-13. Furthermore, moderate loads at 1 N elevated the mRNA level of CBP/p300-interacting transactivator with ED-rich tail 2 (CITED2), but higher loads at 4 N did not induce a detectable amount of CITED2 mRNA. Since CITED2 is known to mediate the downregulation of MMP-1 and MMP-13, the result indicates that joint loading at moderate intensity reduces MMP activities through potential induction of CITED2. MMPs such as MMP-1 and MMP-13 are predominant collagenases in the pathology of osteoarthritis. Therefore, joint loading could offer an interventional regimen for maintenance of joint tissues.

Targeted Loss of GHR Signaling in Mouse Skeletal Muscle Protects Against High-fat Diet-induced Metabolic Deterioration

Growth hormone (GH) exerts diverse tissue-specific metabolic effects that are not revealed by global alteration of GH action. To study the direct metabolic effects of GH in the muscle, we specifically inactivated the growth hormone receptor (ghr) gene in postnatal mouse skeletal muscle using the Cre/loxP system (mGHRKO model). The metabolic state of the mGHRKO mice was characterized under lean and obese states. High-fat diet feeding in the mGHRKO mice was associated with reduced adiposity, improved insulin sensitivity, lower systemic inflammation, decreased muscle and hepatic triglyceride content, and greater energy expenditure compared with control mice. The obese mGHRKO mice also had an increased respiratory exchange ratio, suggesting increased carbohydrate utilization. GH-regulated suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (socs2) expression was decreased in obese mGHRKO mice. Interestingly, muscles of both lean and obese mGHRKO mice demonstrated a higher interleukin-15 and lower myostatin expression relative to controls, indicating a possible mechanism whereby GHR signaling in muscle could affect liver and adipose tissue function. Thus, our study implicates skeletal muscle GHR signaling in mediating insulin resistance in obesity and, more importantly, reveals a novel role of muscle GHR signaling in facilitating cross-talk between muscle and other metabolic tissues.

Hyperinsulinemia Enhances C-Myc-mediated Mammary Tumor Development and Advances Metastatic Progression to the Lung in a Mouse Model of Type 2 Diabetes

Hyperinsulinemia, which is common in early type 2 diabetes (T2D) as a result of the chronically insulin-resistant state, has now been identified as a specific factor which can worsen breast cancer prognosis. In breast cancer, a high rate of mortality persists due to the emergence of pulmonary metastases.

Molecular Response of the Patellar Tendon to Fatigue Loading Explained in the Context of the Initial Induced Damage and Number of Fatigue Loading Cycles

Accumulation of sub-rupture fatigue damage has been implicated in the development of tendinopathy. We previously developed an in vivo model of damage accumulation using the rat patellar tendon. Our model allows us to control the input loading parameters to induce fatigue damage in the tendon. Despite this precise control, the resulting induced damage could vary among animals because of differences in size or strength among their patellar tendons. In this study, we used number of applied cycles and initial (day-0) parameters that are indicative of induced damage to assess the molecular response 7 days after fatigue loading. We hypothesized that day-0 hysteresis, elongation, and stiffness of the loading and unloading load-displacement curves would be predictive of the 7-day molecular response. Results showed correlations between the 7-day molecular response and both day-0 elongation and unloading stiffness. Additionally, loading resulted in upregulation of several extracellular matrix genes that suggest adaptation; however, several of these genes (Col-I, -XII, MMP 2, and TIMP 3) shut down after a high level of damage was induced. We showed that evaluating the 7-day molecular profile in light of day-0 elongation provides important insight that is lost from comparing number of fatigue loading cycles only. Our data showed that loading generally results in an adaptive response. However, the tendon's ability to effectively respond deteriorates as greater damage is induced.

Study of the Expression Levels of Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 Alpha and 3 Beta in Patients with Different Outcome of HBV Infection

Hepatocyte nuclear factors 4 alpha (HNF4α) and 3 beta (HNF3β) are members of a group of liver-enriched transcription factors (LETFs) that play important roles in regulating the replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and liver inflammation. However, the relationship of the level of HNF4α and HNF3β with the severity of HBV-infected liver diseases is unclear. In this study, liver tissue samples from different types of HBV patients were collected, and HNF4α and HNF3β expression were detected by immunohistochemistry. The expression of HNF4α was significant higher in patients with severe hepatitis B(SHB) than those with chronic hepatitis B(CHB) and liver cirrhosis(LC) (both P < 0.05), but similar between patients with CHB and LC (P > 0.05). And the expression of HNF3β was similar among patients with CHB, LC and SHB (P > 0.05 for all pairwise comparison). This suggests that the expression level of HNF4α was different in patients with different outcome of HBV infection, high expression level of HNF4α may correlate with occurrence of SHB.

A Novel Lectin from Agrocybe Aegerita Shows High Binding Selectivity for Terminal N-acetylglucosamine

A novel lectin was isolated from the mushroom Agrocybe aegerita (designated AAL-2) by affinity chromatography with GlcNAc (N-acetylglucosamine)-coupled Sepharose 6B after ammonium sulfate precipitation. The AAL-2 coding sequence (1224 bp) was identified by performing a homologous search of the five tryptic peptides identified by MS against the translated transcriptome of A. aegerita. The molecular mass of AAL-2 was calculated to be 43.175 kDa from MS, which was consistent with the data calculated from the amino acid sequence. To analyse the carbohydrate-binding properties of AAL-2, a glycan array composed of 465 glycan candidates was employed, and the result showed that AAL-2 bound with high selectivity to terminal non-reducing GlcNAc residues, and further analysis revealed that AAL-2 bound to terminal non-reducing GlcNAc residues with higher affinity than previously well-known GlcNAc-binding lectins such as WGA (wheatgerm agglutinin) and GSL-II (Griffonia simplicifolia lectin-II). ITC (isothermal titration calorimetry) showed further that GlcNAc bound to AAL-2 in a sequential manner with moderate affinity. In the present study, we also evaluated the anti-tumour activity of AAL-2. The results showed that AAL-2 could bind to the surface of hepatoma cells, leading to induced cell apoptosis in vitro. Furthermore, AAL-2 exerted an anti-hepatoma effect via inhibition of tumour growth and prolongation of survival time of tumour-bearing mice in vivo.

Relationship Between Serum TSH Level with Obesity and NAFLD in Euthyroid Subjects

To explore the relationship between serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level and obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in euthyroid subjects, 1322 subjects were subjected to a questionnaire survey and physical examination. Fasting blood samples were collected to test serum TSH, plasma glucose and lipids. Fatty liver was diagnosed by type B ultrasonography. The relationship between serum TSH level and body mass index (BMI), percentage of body fat and NAFLD was analyzed. The results showed that serum TSH level was significantly higher in females than in males at the same group, and it was significantly higher in overweight group than in control group. Levels of body weight, BMI, waist circumference and percentage of body fat were increased in TSH >2.5 group compared to TSH ≤2.5 group in women. However, plasma lipids showed no significant differences. In males all the parameters showed no significant differences between two groups. Serum TSH was significantly correlated with body weight, BMI, waist circumference and percentage of body fat after adjustment for age in females. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that percentage of body fat and BMI contributed significantly to the variance of TSH. Serum TSH level was significantly higher in nonalcoholic fatty liver group than in normal group in females. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that TSH level was not the independent risk factor of NAFLD. Taken together the data suggest that serum TSH in normal range is significantly correlated with BMI and percentage of body fat in females. And the change of TSH level would not influence the prevalence of NAFLD.

Ingenuity Pathways Analysis of Urine Metabolomics Phenotypes Toxicity of Chuanwu in Wistar Rats by UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS Coupled with Pattern Recognition Methods

Chuanwu (CW), a valuable traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is the mother root of Aconitum carmichaelii Debx. The cause of CW-induced toxicity is still under ongoing research, although this is limited by the lack of sensitive and reliable biomarkers. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) was performed to analyzing global metabolomics in order to characterize the phenotypically biochemical perturbations and potential mechanisms of the CW-induced toxicity. CW was administered to Wistar rats (0.027 g/200 g and 0.108 g/200 g bw, oral) for 6 months and urine samples were collected. The urinary metabolomics was performed by UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS, and the mass spectra signals of the detected metabolites were systematically deconvoluted and analyzed by pattern recognition methods (PCA, PLS-DA, and OPLS-DA), revealing a time- and dose-dependency of the biochemical perturbations induced by CW toxicity. As a result, several metabolites responsible for pentose and glucuronate interconversions, alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism, starch and sucrose metabolism, amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism, purine metabolism, tryptophan metabolism, taurine and hypotaurine metabolism, fructose and mannose metabolism, fatty acid metabolism were characterized, and it was confirmed that biochemical perturbations can be foreseen from these biomarkers. The urinary metabolomics based IPA with pattern recognition methods also revealed that CW produced serious heart and liver toxicity, consistent with clinical biochemistry and histopathology. Significant changes of 17 metabolites were identified and validated as phenotypic biomarkers of CW toxicity. Overall, our work demonstrated the metabolomics has brought enormous opportunities for improved detection of toxicity and biomarker discovery, highlighting the powerful predictive potential of the IPA to study of drug toxicity.

Determination of Novel Nitrogen-containing Metabolite After Oral Administration of Swertiamarin to Rats

In a series of studies on the metabolism of iridoid compounds, we investigated the metabolic fate of swertiamarin (1) in Wistar rats. Liquid chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry detected new nitrogen-containing metabolite gentiandiol (3) in rat plasma. The structure of the metabolite was unequivocally identified by comparing the retention time as well as the mass spectrum with those of authentic compound, which was synthesized from swertiamarin (1). The transformation of swertiamarin to nitrogen-containing metabolite gentiandiol (3) in vivo was verified for the first time. Understanding of this unique metabolic pathway may shed light on clinical efficacy of swertiamarin (1) and will also assist in studies for the metabolism of other natural iridoids in vivo.

Sphingolipid-modulated Exosome Secretion Promotes Clearance of Amyloid-β by Microglia

Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), the pathogenic agent of Alzheimer disease, is a physiological metabolite whose levels are constantly controlled in normal brain. Recent studies have demonstrated that a fraction of extracellular Aβ is associated with exosomes, small membrane vesicles of endosomal origin, although the fate of Aβ in association with exosome is largely unknown. In this study, we identified novel roles for neuron-derived exosomes acting on extracellular Aβ, i.e. exosomes drive conformational changes in Aβ to form nontoxic amyloid fibrils and promote uptake of Aβ by microglia. The Aβ internalized together with exosomes was further transported to lysosomes and degraded. We also found that blockade of phosphatidylserine on the surface of exosomes by annexin V not only prevented exosome uptake but also suppressed Aβ incorporation into microglia. In addition, we demonstrated that secretion of neuron-derived exosomes was modulated by the activities of sphingolipid-metabolizing enzymes, including neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2) and sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SMS2). In transwell experiments, up-regulation of exosome secretion from neuronal cells by treatment with SMS2 siRNA enhanced Aβ uptake into microglial cells and significantly decreased extracellular levels of Aβ. Our findings indicate a novel mechanism responsible for clearance of Aβ through its association with exosomes. The modulation of the vesicle release and/or elimination may alter the risk of AD.

Future Perspectives of Personalized Medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine: a Systems Biology Approach

Deconstruction of molecular pathways and advances in enabling technology platforms have opened new horizons for disease management, exploring therapeutic solutions to each individual patient beyond the one-size fits all practice. Application of personalized medicine paradigms aims to achieve the right diagnosis and right treatment for the right patient at the right time at the right cost. With the potential to transform medical practice across global communities, personalized medicine is emerging as the flagship of modern medicine. In recent years, the health care paradigm has shifted from a focus on diseases to a major hot of personalized traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with holistic approach. TCM focuses on health maintenance, emphasizes on enhancing the body's resistance to diseases and especially showes great advantages in early intervention, personalized and combination therapies, etc. Systems biology, a new science of the 21st century, becomes practically available and resembles TCM in many aspects such as study method and design, and is current key component technologies that serves as the major driving force for translation of the personalized medicine revolution of TCM principles into practice, will advance personalized therapy principles into healthcare management tools for individuals and populations. Such system approach concepts are transforming principles of TCM to modern therapeutic approaches, enable a predictive and preventive medicine and will lead to personalized medicine. To realise the full potential of personalized TCM, we describe the current status of principles and practice of TCM integrated with systems biology platform. Some characteristic examples are presented to highlight the application of this platform to personalized TCM research and development as well as some of the necessary milestones for moving TCM into mainstream health care.

Nuclear Matrix Factor HnRNP U/SAF-A Exerts a Global Control of Alternative Splicing by Regulating U2 SnRNP Maturation

The nuclear matrix-associated hnRNP U/SAF-A protein has been implicated in diverse pathways from transcriptional regulation to telomere length control to X inactivation, but the precise mechanism underlying each of these processes has remained elusive. Here, we report hnRNP U as a regulator of SMN2 splicing from a custom RNAi screen. Genome-wide analysis by CLIP-seq reveals that hnRNP U binds virtually to all classes of regulatory noncoding RNAs, including all snRNAs required for splicing of both major and minor classes of introns, leading to the discovery that hnRNP U regulates U2 snRNP maturation and Cajal body morphology in the nucleus. Global analysis of hnRNP U-dependent splicing by RNA-seq coupled with bioinformatic analysis of associated splicing signals suggests a general rule for splice site selection through modulating the core splicing machinery. These findings exemplify hnRNP U/SAF-A as a potent regulator of nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles in diverse gene expression pathways.

Combination of Amlodipine Plus Angiotensin Receptor Blocker or Diuretics in High-risk Hypertensive Patients: a 96-week Efficacy and Safety Study

Antihypertensive therapy is effective in reducing the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. However, blood pressure (BP) control rate remains poor and the optimal combination therapy against hypertension is not established in China. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of two antihypertensive regimens, amlodipine plus telmisartan and amlodipine plus amiloride/hydrochlorothiazide, in patients with essential hypertension and at least one cardiovascular risk factor.

Activation of Resorption in Fatigue-loaded Bone Involves Both Apoptosis and Active Pro-osteoclastogenic Signaling by Distinct Osteocyte Populations

Osteocyte apoptosis is required to initiate osteoclastic bone resorption following fatigue-induced microdamage in vivo; however, it is unclear whether apoptotic osteocytes also produce the signals that induce osteoclast differentiation. We determined the spatial and temporal patterns of osteocyte apoptosis and expression of pro-osteoclastogenic signaling molecules in vivo. Ulnae from female Sprague-Dawley rats (16-18weeks old) were cyclically loaded to a single fatigue level, and tissues were analyzed 3 and 7days later (prior to the first appearance of osteoclasts). Expression of genes associated with osteoclastogenesis (RANKL, OPG, VEGF) and apoptosis (caspase-3) were assessed by qPCR using RNA isolated from 6mm segments of ulnar mid-diaphysis, with confirmation and spatial localization of gene expression performed by immunohistochemistry. A novel double staining immunohistochemistry method permitted simultaneous localization of apoptotic osteocytes and osteocytes expressing pro-osteoclastogenic signals relative to microdamage sites. Osteocyte staining for caspase-3 and osteoclast regulatory signals exhibited different spatial distributions, with apoptotic (caspase 3-positive) cells highest in the damage region and declining to control levels within several hundred microns of the microdamage focus. Cells expressing RANKL or VEGF peaked between 100 and 300μm from the damage site, then returned to control levels beyond this distance. Conversely, osteocytes in non-fatigued control bones expressed OPG. However, OPG staining was reduced markedly in osteocytes immediately surrounding microdamage. These results demonstrate that while osteocyte apoptosis triggers the bone remodeling response to microdamage, the neighboring non-apoptotic osteocytes are the major source of pro-osteoclastogenic signals. Moreover, both the apoptotic and osteoclast-signaling osteocyte populations are localized in a spatially and temporally restricted pattern consistent with the targeted nature of this remodeling response.

Oxytocin Hyperpolarizes Cultured Duodenum Myenteric Intrinsic Primary Afferent Neurons by Opening BK(Ca) Channels Through IP₃ Pathway

Oxytocin (OT) is clinically important in gut motility and constitutively reduces duodenum contractility. Intrinsic primary afferent neurons (IPANs), whose physiological classification is as AH cells, are the 1st neurons of the peristaltic reflex pathway. We set out to investigate if this inhibitory effect is mediated by IPANs and to identify the ion channel(s) and intracellular signal transduction pathway that are involved in this effect. Myenteric neurons were isolated from the longitudinal muscle myenteric plexus (LMMP) preparation of rat duodenum and cultured for 16-24 h before electrophysiological recording in whole cell mode and AH cells identified by their electrophysiological characteristics. The cytoplasmic Ca²⁺ concentration ([Ca²⁺](i) ) of isolated neurons was measured using calcium imaging. The concentration of IP(3) in the LMMP and the OT secreted from the LMMP were measured using ELISA. The oxytocin receptor (OTR) and large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels, as well as the expression of OT and the IPAN marker calbindin 28 K, on the myenteric plexus neurons were localized using double-immunostaining techniques. We found that administration of OT (10⁻⁷ to 10⁻⁵ M) dose dependently hyperpolarized the resting membrane potential and increased the total outward current. The OTR antagonist atosiban or the BK(Ca) channel blocker iberiotoxin (IbTX) blocked the effects of OT suggesting that the increased outward current resulted from BK(Ca) channel opening. OTR and the BK(Ca) α subunit were co-expressed on a subset of myenteric neurons at the LMMP. NS1619 (10⁻⁵ M, a BK(Ca) channel activator) increased the outward current similar to the effect of OT. OT administration also increased [Ca²⁺](i) and the OT-evoked outward current was significantly attenuated by thapsigargin (10⁻⁶ M) or CdCl₂. The effect of OT on the BK(Ca) current was also blocked by pre-treatment with the IP₃ receptor antagonist 2-APB (10⁻⁴ M) or the PLC inhibitor U73122 (10⁻⁵ M). OT (10⁻⁶ M) also increased the IP₃ concentration within the LMMP. Both of the spontaneous and KCl-induced secretion of OT was enhanced by atosiban. Most of OT-immunoreactive cells are also immunoreactive for calbindin 28 K. In summary, we concluded that OT hyperpolarized myenteric IPANs by activating BK(Ca) channels via the OTR-PLC-IP₃-Ca²⁺ signal pathway. OT might modulate IPANs mediated ENS reflex by an autocrine and negative feedback manner.

Pharmacokinetics of the Main Compounds Absorbed into Blood After Oral Administration of Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a Typical Combinatorial Intervention of Chinese Medical Formula

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (LW) has been used as an active Chinese patent formula for "Five Late Syndrome" of Children for thousands of years. Due to the complexity in its chemical constituents, the pharmacokinetics of this formula have not been elucidated clearly, and the understanding of its pharmacological properties has been delayed. Previous studies have identified the constituents absorbed into blood after the oral administration of LW; moreover, 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furoic acid (HMFA), loganin and paeonol have been proved as surrogate markers. In this study, a rapid validated high-performance liquid chromatography method was developed for determining three marker compounds in plasma. The analysis was performed on a Waters Symmetry Shield™ RP(18) column with acetonitrile and 0.15% phosphoric acid as the mobile phase, which showed acceptable linearity, intra- and inter-day precision, and accuracy. By using the established method, the pharmacokinetic analysis of LW was carried out. The t (1/2)α and t (1/2)β were 2.62/32.66, 0.46/4.71 and 1.30/23.51 h and the climax times and concentrations were 0.56/683.75, 0.70/2826.11 and 0.62 h/4030.48 ng ml(-1) for HMFA, loganin and paeonol, respectively. Especially, both the absorption and disposition of HMFA were swift (t (1/2) kα 0.1 h, t (1/2)α 2.62 h), but the elimination was quite slow (t (1/2)β 32.66 h); this phenomenon reflected the synergetic effect of LW combinatorial intervention and the value of compatibility can be more clearly understood. The pharmacokinetic characters of HMFA, loganin and paeonol not only elucidated the steady and long-lasting pharmacological properties, but they also revealed the practical value of the compatibility of Chinese medical formula.

Association of XRCC3 and XPD751 SNP with Efficacy of Platinum-based Chemotherapy in Advanced NSCLC Patients

The aim of this study was to investigate whe- ther X-ray repair cross-complementing group 3 (XRCC3) and xeroderma pigmentosum group D (XPD) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) affects the outcome of platinum- based chemotherapy in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

[Clinical Study on Efficiency of Fludarabine-based Regimen for the Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia]

The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects and adverse reactions of fludarabine-based regimen for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL).18 patients with CLL were treated with F regimen [fludarabine 30 mg/(m(2)·d) intravenously for 3 d, repeatedly every 28 days]. 22 patients were treated with FC regimen [fludarabine 25 mg/(m(2)·d) plus cyclophosphamide 250 mg/(m(2)·d) intravenously for 3 d, repeatedly every 28 days]. The results showed that the rate of complete remission (CR), partial remission (PR) and overall remission (OR) reached 16.7%, 61.1% and 77.8% in the F regimen groups and 59.1%, 40.9% and 100% in the FC regimen groups (P < 0.05, P > 0.05 and P > 0.05), respectively. FC regimen resulted in significantly higher CR rate than that in single-agent fludarabine regimen. The main adverse reactions were myelosuppression and immunosuppression. No significant differences were found between the two regimens. FC regimen did not increase the rate of severe infections. It is concluded that FC regimen can give higher CR rate as compared with F regimen, fludarabine-based regimens is effective and safe first-line regimen for patients with CLL.

[Bundle Therapy for Septic Shock in Children]

Potential Role of Metabolomic Approaches for Chinese Medicine Syndromes and Herbal Medicine

Systems biology has significantly increased in recent years. Its method and design resemble those of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is a unique medical system that assisted the ancient Chinese in dealing with disease. The technology platforms of systems biology, especially metabolomics, could provide more rapid, direct, concise and effective methods for disease research. In particular, metabolomics could provide useful tools for exploring the essence of Chinese medicine syndromes (CMS) disease, facilitating personalized TCM. Moreover, metabolomics has the potential to enable mapping of early biochemical changes in disease and hence provide an opportunity to develop predictive biomarkers that can trigger earlier interventions. A future hope for the metabonomic approach is the identification of biomarkers that are able to highlight individuals likely to suffer from disease and enable early diagnosis of the disease or the identification of those at risk, and it will help to understand CMS and modernize TCM. In this review, we focus on the key role of robust metabolomic approaches as an aid for traditional herbal medicine; particular attention will be paid to the past successes in applications of metabonomics to contribute to low-molecular-weight metabolites (biomarkers) discovery in TCM research.

Predicting New Molecular Targets for Rhein Using Network Pharmacology

Drugs can influence the whole biological system by targeting interaction reactions. The existence of interactions between drugs and network reactions suggests a potential way to discover targets. The in silico prediction of potential interactions between drugs and target proteins is of core importance for the identification of new drugs or novel targets for existing drugs. However, only a tiny portion of drug-targets in current datasets are validated interactions. This motivates the need for developing computational methods that predict true interaction pairs with high accuracy. Currently, network pharmacology has used in identifying potential drug targets to predicting the spread of drug activity and greatly contributed toward the analysis of biological systems on a much larger scale than ever before.

Effects of H(2)O(2), Paraquat, and Ethephon on Herbal Drug Quality of Schiandra Chinensis Based on Reactive Oxygen Species System

Nowadays, more and more herbal drugs of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) rely on cultivation rather than natural resources because of overexploitation, and the study on quality of cultivated herbal medicines has become a hotspot in the research field of ecology of TCM resources. Though some of molecular biology techniques could improve the contents of secondary metabolites, those chemical compositions may differ from what we require from natural products, resulting in different treatment efficacy.

Chronic Hypoxia in Cultured Human Podocytes Inhibits BKCa Channels by Upregulating Its β4-subunit

Accumulating evidence suggests that podocyte hypoxia is an alternative mechanism for the pathogenesis of renal diseases. Functional, large-conductance, calcium-activated potassium channels (BK(Ca) channels) are expressed in podocytes as mechanosensitive channels; however, whether BK(Ca) channels are involved in the podocyte response to chronic hypoxia and the possible underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we use the patch clamp technique to show that the exposure of human podocytes to 2% O(2) for 24 h causes a significant reduction in BK(Ca) channel currents. Molecular biology experiments showed that chronic hypoxia increased BK(Ca) channel β4-subunit mRNA and protein expression, but not the expression of the BK(Ca) pore-forming α- or β3-subunits. Furthermore, chronic hypoxia shifted the channel activation range toward more depolarized voltages and slowed its activation kinetics, which are similar to the properties conferred by the β4-subunit. We conclude that BK(Ca) channels are involved in the response of podocytes to chronic hypoxia via the upregulation of the β4-subunit. These findings provide new insight into the mechanism underlying the cellular responses of podocytes to hypoxia.

Pharmacokinetics and Tissue Distribution Study of Scoparone in Rats by Ultraperformance Liquid-chromatography with Tandem High-definition Mass Spectrometry

Scoparone is an important constituent of Yinchenhao (Artemisia annua L.), a famous Chinese medicinal plant, and has several known bioactivities, and displayed bright prospects in prevention and therapy of jaundice and liver disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo plasma pharmacokinetic and tissue distribution characteristics of scoparone after oral administration. The levels of scoparone in plasma, and tissues were measured by a rapid and sensitive UPLC-MS/MS method. The biosamples were prepared using methanolic precipitation and the separation of scoparone was achieved on a UPLC HSS T3 column by linear gradient elution using water (containing 0.1% formicacid) and acetonitrile (containing 0.1% formic acid) as the mobile phase at a flow rate of 0.5mL/min The total run time was only 3.9min. Our results successfully demonstrate that this method has excellent and satisfactory selectivity, sensitivity, linearity, precision, accuracy and recovery. The estimated pharmacokinetic parameters (i.e., C(max), AUC and CL), were C(max)=14.67mg/L, AUC=81.15mg*h/L, CL=1.23L/h for scoparone. The pharmacokinetic study found that scoparone was distributed and eliminated rapidly in rats. Tissue distribution showed the highest level was observed in liver, followed by the kidney and spleen; the lower level appeared in the muscle, thyroid, and adrenal. It was not detected in the brain which indicated that scoparone does not cross the blood-brain barrier after oral administration. Our developed method was suitable for the study on pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of scoparone after oral administration.

Isolation and Characterization of Cytotoxic, Aggregative Citrobacter Freundii

Citrobacter freundii is an infrequent but established cause of diarrhea in humans. However, little is known of its genetic diversity and potential for virulence. We analyzed 26 isolates, including 12 from human diarrheal patients, 2 from human fecal samples of unknown diarrheal status, and 12 from animals, insects, and other sources. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis using XbaI allowed us to divide the 26 isolates into 20 pulse types, while multi-locus sequence typing using 7 housekeeping genes allowed us to divide the 26 isolates into 6 sequence types (STs) with the majority belonging to 4 STs. We analyzed adhesion and cytotoxicity to HEp-2 cells in these 26 strains. All were found to adhere to HEp-2 cells. One strain, CF74, which had been isolated from a goat, showed the strongest aggregative adhesion pattern. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) released from HEp-2 cells was evaluated as a measure of cytotoxicity, averaging 7.46%. Strain CF74 induced the highest level of LDH, 24.3%, and caused >50% cell rounding, detachment, and death. We named strain CF74 "cytotoxic and aggregative C. freundii." Genome sequencing of CF74 revealed that it had acquired 7 genomic islands, including 2 fimbriae islands and a type VI secretion system island, all of which are potential virulence factors. Our results show that aggregative adherence and cytotoxicity play an important role in the pathogenesis of C. freundii.

A Novel Multidrug Resistance Plasmid Isolated from an Escherichia Coli Strain Resistant to Aminoglycosides

Previous studies have reported several different plasmids that confer multidrug resistance (MDR) including resistance to aminoglycosides. In this study, we investigated the aminoglycoside resistance patterns for 224 Escherichia coli isolates from diseased chickens and ducks in China, characterized a novel MDR plasmid, and collected prevalence data on similar resistance plasmids.

Urine Metabolomics Analysis for Biomarker Discovery and Detection of Jaundice Syndrome in Patients with Liver Disease

Metabolomics is a powerful new technology that allows for the assessment of global metabolic profiles in easily accessible biofluids and biomarker discovery in order to distinguish between diseased and nondiseased status information. Deciphering the molecular networks that distinguish diseases may lead to the identification of critical biomarkers for disease aggressiveness. However, current diagnostic methods cannot predict typical Jaundice syndrome (JS) in patients with liver disease and little is known about the global metabolomic alterations that characterize JS progression. Emerging metabolomics provides a powerful platform for discovering novel biomarkers and biochemical pathways to improve diagnostic, prognostication, and therapy. Therefore, the aim of this study is to find the potential biomarkers from JS disease by using a nontarget metabolomics method, and test their usefulness in human JS diagnosis. Multivariate data analysis methods were utilized to identify the potential biomarkers. Interestingly, 44 marker metabolites contributing to the complete separation of JS from matched healthy controls were identified. Metabolic pathways (Impact-value≥0.10) including alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism and synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies were found to be disturbed in JS patients. This study demonstrates the possibilities of metabolomics as a diagnostic tool in diseases and provides new insight into pathophysiologic mechanisms.

Metabonomics for Discovering Biomarkers of Hepatotoxicity and Nephrotoxicity

Metabonomics has played increasingly important roles in pharmaceutical research and development. Safety assessment of drugs is a key stage in drug development and one which represents a significant attritional hurdle. However, characterization of the molecular mechanisms of drug toxicity still remains an enormous challenge. Recent advancements in 'omics' sciences, and in particular metabonomics, has enabled some elucidation or insights into toxicological sequelae. Metabonomics is a global metabolic profiling framework which utilizes high resolution analytics together with chemometric statistical tools to derive an integrated picture of both endogenous and xenobiotic metabolism. Hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity are major reasons that drugs are withdrawn post-market, and hence it is of major concern to both the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies. There is a strong need to develop reliable biomarkers that can accurately predict toxicity in the drug discovery and development process and are translatable to the clinic. A deeper understanding of global perturbations in biochemical pathways and useful biomarkers could provide valuable insights about mechanisms of toxicity. This review summarizes some current progress in the application of metabonomic in understanding drug-induced hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity, with an emphasis on identifying early toxicity biomarkers.

[Clinical Observation of Thalidomide Combined with VAD Regimen for Treatment of Osteosclerotic Myeloma (POEMS Syndrome)]

This study was purposed to analyze the clinical features and evaluate the efficacy of thalidomide combined with VAD regimen for treatment of osteosclerotic myeloma (POEMS syndrome). The data of 27 patients with POEMS syndrome in the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University were analyzed retrospectively, including clinical manifestations, laboratory tests, treatments and prognosis. The results showed that the polyneuropathy was observed in 27 patients (27/27), hepato-spleno-lymphadenectasis was found in 15 patients (15/27), endocrinopathy was found in 24 patients (24/27), skin changes was observed in 22 patients (22/27). M protein was found in 23 patients (23/27); in addition to these clinical manifestations, the papilledema serous cavity effusion and sclerotic bone lesion were also frequently observed in patients with POEMS syndrome. The remission rates of treatment of POEMS syndrome with thalidomide combined with VAD regimen for organomegaly, edema, skin changes, and endocrinopathy were 60, 58.3, 41 and 45.8 respectively. The level of serum M protein and the nervous system ODSS value decreased greatly after treatment (P < 0.01). It is concluded that the clinical characteristics of POEMS syndrome are complicated and easy to be misdiagnosed, and the evidence of monoclonal plasma cell hyperplasia should be actively searched for those patients whose serum M protein is negative. Thalidomide combined with VAD regimen for treatment of patients with POEMS syndrome has advantages such as significant curative effects, less side-effects, good tolerance, and higher safety and can be chosen as a preferred approach.

The Upregulation of TRPC6 Contributes to Ca²⁺ Signaling and Actin Assembly in Human Mesangial Cells After Chronic Hypoxia

There is increasing evidence that mesangial cells are important targets of chronic hypoxia injury. Impaired Ca(2+) signaling has been found in mesangial cells (MCs) subjected to chronic hypoxia. However, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon have not yet been defined. In the present study, we found that chronic hypoxia enhanced the expression of TRPC6 and TRPC6-dependent Ca(2+) entry, and TRPC6 knockdown inhibited the chronic hypoxia-induced increase in [Ca(2+)]i, suggesting that TRPC6-mediated Ca(2+) entry is responsible for the elevated [Ca(2+)]i induced by chronic hypoxia in MCs. In addition, TRPC6 knockdown attenuated chronic hypoxia-induced actin assembly and actin reorganization. We concluded that the upregulation of TRPC6 is involved in the Ca(2+) signaling and actin assembly in human MCs after chronic hypoxia. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms underlying the cellular response of MCs to hypoxia.

A Novel Escherichia Coli O157:H7 Clone Causing a Major Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Outbreak in China

An Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in China in 1999 caused 177 deaths due to hemolytic uremic syndrome. Sixteen outbreak associated isolates were found to belong to a new clone, sequence type 96 (ST96), based on multilocus sequence typing of 15 housekeeping genes. Whole genome sequencing of an outbreak isolate, Xuzhou21, showed that the isolate is phylogenetically closely related to the Japan 1996 outbreak isolate Sakai, both of which share the most recent common ancestor with the US outbreak isolate EDL933. The levels of IL-6 and IL-8 of peripheral blood mononuclear cells induced by Xuzhou21 and Sakai were significantly higher than that induced by EDL933. Xuzhou21 also induced a significantly higher level of IL-8 than Sakai while both induced similar levels of IL-6. The expression level of Shiga toxin 2 in Xuzhou21 induced by mitomycin C was 68.6 times of that under non-inducing conditions, twice of that induced in Sakai (32.7 times) and 15 times higher than that induced in EDL933 (4.5 times). Our study shows that ST96 is a novel clone and provided significant new insights into the evolution of virulence of E. coli O157:H7.

Serum Metabolomics As a Novel Diagnostic Approach for Disease: a Systematic Review

Metabolomics is a promising "omics" field in systems biology; its objective is comprehensive analysis of low-molecular-weight endogenous metabolites in a biological sample. It could enable mapping of perturbations of early biochemical changes in diseases and hence provide an opportunity to develop predictive biomarkers that could result in earlier intervention and provide valuable insights into the mechanisms of diseases. Because of the possible discovery of clinically relevant biomarkers, metabolomics has potential advantages that routine approaches to clinical diagnosis do not. Monitoring specific metabolite levels in serum, the most commonly used biofluid in metabolomics, has become an important way of detecting the early stages of a disease. Serum is a readily accessible and informative biofluid, making it ideal for early detection of a wide range of diseases, and analysis of serum has several advantages over analysis of other biofluids. Metabolite profiles of serum can be regarded as important indicators of physiological and pathological states and may aid understanding of the mechanism of disease occurrence and progression on the metabolic level, and provide information enabling identification of early and differential metabolic markers of disease. Analysis of these crucial metabolites in serum has become important in monitoring the state of biological organisms and is widely used for diagnosis of disease. Emerging metabolomics will drive serum analysis, facilitate and improve the development of disease treatments, and provide great benefits for public health in the long-term.

Repeated Sleep Restriction in Adolescent Rats Altered Sleep Patterns and Impaired Spatial Learning/memory Ability

To investigate possible differences in the effect of repeated sleep restriction (RSR) during adolescence and adulthood on sleep homeostasis and spatial learning and memory ability.

An in Situ Autologous Tumor Vaccination with Combined Radiation Therapy and TLR9 Agonist Therapy

Recent studies have shown that a new generation of synthetic agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 consisting a 3'-3'-attached structure and a dCp7-deaza-dG dinucultodie shows more potent immunostimulatory effects in both mouse and human than conventional CpG oligonucleotides. Radiation therapy (RT) provides a source of tumor antigens that are released from dying, irradiated, tumor cells without causing systemic immunosuppression. We, therefore, examined effect of combining RT with a designer synthetic agonist of TLR9 on anti-tumoral immunity, primary tumor growth retardation and metastases in a murine model of lung cancer.

Chronic Hypoxia-induced Upregulation of Ca2+-activated Cl- Channel in Pulmonary Arterial Myocytes: a Mechanism Contributing to Enhanced Vasoreactivity

Chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (CHPH) is associated with altered expression and function of cation channels in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), but little is known for anion channels. The Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channel (CaCC), recently identified as TMEM16A, plays important roles in pulmonary vascular function. The present study sought to determine the effects of chronic hypoxia (CH) on the expression and function of CaCCs in PASMCs, and their contributions to the vascular hyperreactivity in CHPH. Male Wistar rats were exposed to room air or 10% O(2) for 3–4 weeks to generate CHPH. CaCC current (I(CI.Ca)) elicited by caffeine-induced Ca(2+) release or by depolarization at a constant high [Ca(2+)](i) (500 or 750 nm) was significantly larger in PASMCs of CH rats compared to controls. The enhanced I(CI.Ca)) density in CH PASMCs was unrelated to changes in amplitude of Ca(2+) release, Ca(2+)-dependent activation, voltage-dependent properties or calcineurin-dependent modulation of CaCCs, but was associated with increased TMEM16A mRNA and protein expression. Maximal contraction induced by serotonin, an important mediator of CHPH, was potentiated in endothelium-denuded pulmonary arteries of CH rats. The enhanced contractile response was prevented by the CaCC blockers niflumic acid and T16A(inh)-A01, or by the L-type Ca(2+) channel antagonist nifedipine. The effects of niflumic acid and nifedipine were non-additive. Our results demonstrate for the first time that CH increases I(CI.Ca) density, which is attributable to an upregulation of TMEM16A expression in PASMCs. The augmented CaCC activity in PASMCs may potentiate membrane depolarization and L-type channel activation in response to vasoconstrictors and enhance pulmonary vasoreactivity in CHPH.

Future Perspectives of Chinese Medical Formulae: Chinmedomics As an Effector

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to treat or prevent disease. The health care paradigm has shifted from a focus on disease to TCM therapy with a holistic approach. However, the actual value of TCM has not been fully recognized worldwide due to a lack of scientific approaches to its study. Today omics has become practically available, and resembles TCM in many aspects, and can serve as a key driving force for the translation of the traditional Chinese medical formulae (chinmediformulae) into practice, and will develop and advance the concept of the metabolomics of chinmediformulae (chinmedomics). Chinmedomics seeks to elucidate the therapeutic and synergistic properties and metabolism of chinmediformulae and the involved metabolic pathways using modern analytical techniques. It is an integral part of top-down systems biology, which aims to improve understanding of chinmediformulae. This approach of combining chinmedomics with chinmediformulae with modern health care systems may lead to a revolution in TCM therapy. Although the scientific study of chinmedomics is at an early stage and requires further scrutiny and validation, the approach has major implications to improve the efficacy of chinmediformulae. This article introduces and reviews the concept of chinmedomics, and highlights recent examples of the approach, which are presented for description and discussion.

Metamaterials Application in Sensing

Metamaterials are artificial media structured on a size scale smaller than wavelength of external stimuli, and they can exhibit a strong localization and enhancement of fields, which may provide novel tools to significantly enhance the sensitivity and resolution of sensors, and open new degrees of freedom in sensing design aspect. This paper mainly presents the recent progress concerning metamaterials-based sensing, and detailedly reviews the principle, detecting process and sensitivity of three distinct types of sensors based on metamaterials, as well as their challenges and prospects. Moreover, the design guidelines for each sensor and its performance are compared and summarized.

Ultra-performance Liquid Chromatography-high-definition Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Constituents in the Root of Radix Stemonae and Those Absorbed in Blood After Oral Administration of the Extract of the Crude Drug

Radix Stemonae, first recorded in the herbal 'Additional Records of Famous Physicians' (Mingyi Bielu), has been widely used as an oral anti-tussive agent in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years in China. Current analysis methods are usually time-consuming and inaccurate.

The Paleozoic Origin of Enzymatic Lignin Decomposition Reconstructed from 31 Fungal Genomes

Wood is a major pool of organic carbon that is highly resistant to decay, owing largely to the presence of lignin. The only organisms capable of substantial lignin decay are white rot fungi in the Agaricomycetes, which also contains non-lignin-degrading brown rot and ectomycorrhizal species. Comparative analyses of 31 fungal genomes (12 generated for this study) suggest that lignin-degrading peroxidases expanded in the lineage leading to the ancestor of the Agaricomycetes, which is reconstructed as a white rot species, and then contracted in parallel lineages leading to brown rot and mycorrhizal species. Molecular clock analyses suggest that the origin of lignin degradation might have coincided with the sharp decrease in the rate of organic carbon burial around the end of the Carboniferous period.

A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial of Recombinant Human Thrombopoietin Treatment in Patients with Primary Immune Thrombocytopenia

This multicenter, randomized trial assessed the efficacy and safety of a recombinant human thrombopoietin (rhTPO) in patients with persistent primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) who had failed glucocorticosteroid treatment. A total of 140 eligible patients were randomized to receive rhTPO + danazol (rhTPO group, 73 patients) or danazol (control group, 67 patients) alone. During the first phase, the increase in the mean maximal platelet counts (101.2 × 10(9)/L) and the area under curve (749.6) in the rhTPO group were significantly higher compared to control (33.3 × 10(9)/L and 316.2; P = 0.0060 and 0.0000, respectively). The major response rate (MRR) and total response rate (TRR) in the rhTPO group were 38.4 and 60.3 %, respectively, significantly higher than in control (MRR 7.9 %, P = 0.0003; TRR 36.5 %, P = 0.0104). In the control group, 45 patients with platelet counts <20 × 10(9)/L were given rhTPO during the second phase and achieved MRR 31.1 % and TRR 66.7 %. The mean platelet counts in the rhTPO group were still approximately 50 × 10(9)/L on day 28 of the study. The overall incidence of rhTPO-related adverse events was 13.6 %. All the adverse events were generally mild. This study demonstrated that rhTPO was well tolerated, and it markedly increased platelet counts in chronic ITP patients. Stimulation of platelet production by rhTPO may provide a new therapeutic option for patients with ITP.

UPLC-MS/MS Performing Pharmacokinetic and Biodistribution Studies of Rhein

Rhein, an important constituent of Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, has been used to alleviate liver and kidney damage. In this work, plasma pharmacokinetic and biodistribution characteristics of rhein after oral administration was investigated using a rapid and sensitive ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method. Mass spectrometry was performed on a Waters Micromass high-definition technology with an electrospray ionization source in positive ion mode. Biosamples were prepared using methanolic precipitation and the separation of rhein was achieved on a UPLC HSS T3 column by linear gradient elution and the total run time was only 4.70 min. Data were analyzed and estimated by compartmental methods using Win-Nonlin Professional version 5.1. Mean pharmacokinetic parameters following single-dose administration of rhein was consistent with a two-compartmental open model. It was found that rhein was distributed and eliminated rapidly in rats and the biodistribution showed the higher levels were in liver, spleen, kidney, heart, lung and the lower level observed in the muscle, adrenal, and thyroid. It was not discovered in brain and showed that rhein could not cross the blood-brain barrier. Our developed UPLC-MS/MS approach was capable of providing complete pharmacokinetic and biodistribution parameters for rhein when administered orally.

Facile Synthesis of Porous MnO/C Nanotubes As a High Capacity Anode Material for Lithium Ion Batteries

Porous MnO/C nanotubes are synthesized by a facile hydrothermal method followed by thermal annealing, and possess excellent cyclability and high rate capability as an anode for lithium ion batteries.

STRA6-catalyzed Vitamin A Influx, Efflux, and Exchange

Vitamin A has diverse biological functions and is essential for human survival. STRA6 is the high-affinity membrane receptor for plasma retinol binding protein (RBP), the principle and specific carrier of vitamin A (retinol) in the blood. It was previously shown that STRA6 couples to lecithin retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) and cellular retinol binding protein I (CRBP-I), but poorly to CRBP-II, for retinol uptake from holo-RBP. STRA6 catalyzes both retinol release from holo-RBP, which is responsible for its retinol uptake activity, and the loading of free retinol into apo-RBP, which can cause retinol efflux. Although STRA6-catalyzed retinol efflux into apo-RBP can theoretically deplete cells of retinoid, it is unclear to what extent this efflux happens and in what context. We show here that STRA6 can couple strongly to both CRBP-I and CRBP-II for retinol efflux to apo-RBP. Strikingly, pure apo-RBP can cause almost complete depletion of retinol taken up by CRBP-I in a STRA6-dependent manner. However, if STRA6 encounters both holo-RBP and apo-RBP (as in blood), holo-RBP blocks STRA6-mediated retinol efflux by competing with apo-RBP's binding to STRA6 and by counteracting retinol efflux with influx. We also found that STRA6 catalyzes efficient retinol exchange between intracellular CRBP-I and extracellular RBP, even in the presence of holo-RBP. STRA6's retinol exchange activity may serve to refresh the intracellular retinoid pool. This exchange is also a previously unknown function of CRBP-I and distinguishes CRBP-I from LRAT.

Beta-adrenoceptor Regulates MiRNA Expression in Rat Heart

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding RNAs of 18-25 nucleotides that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and are involved in a wide range of physiological and pathological conditions. The β-adrenergic signaling pathway plays a fundamental role in regulation of heart function. The present study was designed to investigate the expression profile of miRNAs and functional implications under conditions of β-adrenoceptor activation or inhibition in rat heart.

Exploratory Urinary Metabolic Biomarkers and Pathways Using UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS Coupled with Pattern Recognition Approach

Metabolomics represents an emerging and powerful discipline concerned with the comprehensive analysis of small molecules and provides a powerful approach to discover biomarkers in biological systems. Recent development of biomarkers for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of liver-stagnation and spleen-deficiency syndrome (LSS)-type disease remains challenging. This study was undertaken to discover novel potential biomarkers for the non-invasive early diagnosis of human LSS. Urine samples which are potentially a rich source of metabolites were collected from patients with LSS, together with healthy control samples. Metabolite profiling was performed by ultra-performance liquid-chromatography/electrospray-ionization synapt high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS) in conjunction with multivariate data analysis and ingenuity pathway analysis that were used to select the metabolites to be used for the non-invasive diagnosis of LSS. Twelve urinary differential metabolites contributing to the complete separation of LSS patients from matched healthy controls were identified involving several key metabolic pathways such as pentose and glucuronate interconversions, ascorbate, aldarate, cysteine, methionine, tyrosine, tryptophan, amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism. More importantly, of the 12 differential metabolites, 4 metabolite markers, prolylhydroxyproline, L-homocystine, 2-octenoylcarnitine and α-N-phenylacetyl-L-glutamine, were effective for the diagnosis of human LSS, with an achieved sensitivity of 93.0%. These results demonstrate that robust metabolomics has the potential as a non-invasive strategy and promising screening tool to evaluate the potential of these metabolites in the early diagnosis of LSS patients and provides new insight into pathophysiological mechanisms.

[Establishment of BA-ELISA Method for Detecting CEA in Human Sera]

To establish a sensitive biotin-avidin enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (BA-ELISA) method for detecting carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in serum.

Complement Factor H Genotypes Impact Risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration by Interaction with Oxidized Phospholipids

The rs1061170T/C variant encoding the Y402H change in complement factor H (CFH) has been identified by genome-wide association studies as being significantly associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the precise mechanism by which this CFH variant impacts the risk of AMD remains largely unknown. Oxidative stress plays an important role in many aging diseases, including cardiovascular disease and AMD. A large amount of oxidized phospholipids (oxPLs) are generated in the eye because of sunlight exposure and high oxygen content. OxPLs bind to the retinal pigment epithelium and macrophages and strongly activate downstream inflammatory cascades. We hypothesize that CFH may impact the risk of AMD by modulating oxidative stress. Here we demonstrate that CFH binds to oxPLs. The CFH 402Y variant of the protective rs1061170 genotype binds oxPLs with a higher affinity and exhibits a stronger inhibitory effect on the binding of oxPLs to retinal pigment epithelium and macrophages. In addition, plasma from non-AMD subjects with the protective genotype has a lower level of systemic oxidative stress measured by oxPLs per apolipoprotein B (oxPLs/apoB). We also show that oxPL stimulation increases expression of genes involved in macrophage infiltration, inflammation, and neovascularization in the eye. OxPLs colocalize with CFH in drusen in the human AMD eye. Subretinal injection of oxPLs induces choroidal neovascularization in mice. In addition, we show that the CFH risk allele confers higher complement activation and cell lysis activity. Together, these findings suggest that CFH influences AMD risk by modulating oxidative stress, inflammation, and abnormal angiogenesis.

Finite Element Model of the Temperature Increase in Excised Porcine Cadaver Iris During Direct Illumination by Femtosecond Laser Pulses

In order to model the thermal effect of laser exposure of the iris during laser corneal surgery, we simulated the temperature increase in porcine cadaver iris. The simulation data for the 60 kHz FS60 Laser showed that the temperature increased up to 1.23°C and 2.45°C (at laser pulse energy 1 and 2 [micro sign]J, respectively) by the 24 second procedure time. Calculated temperature profiles show good agreement with data obtained from ex vivo experiments using porcine cadaver iris. Simulation results of different types of femtosecond lasers indicate that the Laser in situ keratomileusis procedure does not present a safety hazard to the iris.

A TFIIIA-type Zinc Finger Protein Confers Multiple Abiotic Stress Tolerances in Transgenic Rice (Oryza Sativa L.)

The TFIIIA-type zinc finger transcription factors are involved in plant development and abiotic stress responses. Most TFIIIA-type zinc finger proteins are transcription repressors due to existence of an EAR-motif in their amino acid sequences. In this work, we found that ZFP182, a TFIIIA-type zinc finger protein, forms a homodimer in the nucleus and exhibits trans-activation activity in yeast cells. The deletion analysis indicated that a Leu-rich region at C-terminus is required for the trans-activation. Overexpression of ZFP182 significantly enhanced multiple abiotic stress tolerances, including salt, cold and drought tolerances in transgenic rice. Overexpression of ZFP182 promotes accumulation of compatible osmolytes, such as free proline and soluble sugars, in transgenic rice. ZFP182 activates the expression of OsP5CS encoding pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase and OsLEA3 under stress conditions, while OsDREB1A and OsDREB1B were regulated by ZFP182 under both normal and stress conditions. Interestingly, site-directed mutagenesis assay showed that DRE-like elements in ZFP182 promoter are involved in dehydration-induced expression of ZFP182. The yeast two-hybrid assay revealed that ZFP182 interacted with several ribosomal proteins including ZIURP1, an ubiquitin fused to ribosomal protein L40. The in vivo and in vitro interactions of ZFP182 and ZIURP1 were further confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation and His pull-down assays. Our studies provide new clues in the understanding of the mechanisms for TFIIIA-type zinc finger transcription factor mediated stress tolerance and a candidate gene for improving stress tolerance in crops.

[Expression of Interleukin-17F in Human Apical Periodontitis Lesions]

To examine the expression of interleukin-17F (IL-17F) in apical periodontitis lesions.

Trends in Hypertension Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control Rates in Shandong Province of China

The authors retrospectively examined data from 3 surveys on hypertension according to the 2010 Chinese Guidelines for the Management of Hypertension. These surveys were conducted in 1991, 1999, and 2007, and included 85,371 individuals 18 years and older who were living in Shandong Province, China. Age-standardized prevalent hypertension increased from 15.6% in 1991 to 17.3% in 1999 and 32.7% in 2007 (both P<.0001). The ascending prevalence can be partially explained by increasing body weight. Among individuals with hypertension, awareness increased significantly from 27.8% in 1991 to 39.1% in 1999 and 49.2% in 2007. The proportion of pharmacologic treatment also considerably improved, with the estimate of 12.9%, 28.1%, and 43.3% in the 3 surveys, respectively. Hypertension control increased from 3.0% to 4.4% to 7.1% in the past 20 years. The upward trend in blood pressure control was mostly attributable to a rise among men and persons at middle age. This study suggests that the prevalence of hypertension increased in the Shandong population from 1991 to 2007. Although substantially improved, control rates were still unacceptably low. Comprehensive strategies are urgently required to put into practice for the management of hypertension in Shandong Province, China.

Network Generation Enhances Interpretation of Proteomics Data Sets by a Combination of Two-dimensional Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis and Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption/ionization-time of Flight Mass Spectrometry

Recent advances in proteomic technologies have enabled us to create detailed protein-protein interaction maps in diseases. As the size of the interaction dataset increases, powerful computational methods are required in order to effectively interpret network models from large scale interactome data. In this study, we carried out comparative proteomics to construct and identify the proteins networks associated with hepatic injury (HI) which are largely unknown, as a case study. All proteins expressed were separated and identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS). Protein-interacting networks and pathways were mapped using STRING analysis program. We have performed for the first time a comprehensive profiling of changes in protein expression of HI rats, to uncover the networks altered by treated with CCl(4). Identification of fifteen spots (seven over-expressed and eight under-expressed) were established by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. These proteins were subjected to functional pathway analysis using STRING software for better understanding of the biological context of the identified proteins. It suggested that modulation of multiple vital physiological pathways including DNA repair process, cell apoptosis, oxidation reduction, signal transduction, metabolic process, intracellular signaling cascade, regulation of biological processes, cell communication, regulation of cellular process, and molecular transport. In summary, the present study provides the first protein-interacting network maps and novel insights into the biological responses and potential pathways of HI. The generation of protein interaction networks clearly enhances the interpretation of proteomic data, particularly in respect of understanding molecular mechanisms of panel protein biomarkers.

Deep Insight into the Ganoderma Lucidum by Comprehensive Analysis of Its Transcriptome

Ganoderma lucidum is a basidiomycete white rot fungus and is of medicinal importance in China, Japan and other countries in the Asiatic region. To date, much research has been performed in identifying the medicinal ingredients in Ganoderma lucidum. Despite its important therapeutic effects in disease, little is known about Ganoderma lucidum at the genomic level. In order to gain a molecular understanding of this fungus, we utilized Illumina high-throughput technology to sequence and analyze the transcriptome of Ganoderma lucidum.

Recent Highlights of Metabolomics for Traditional Chinese Medicine

Systems biology is an emerging science of the 21st century and has developed in recent years from a technology-driven enterprise to a new strategic tool in life sciences as well as its method and design resemble those of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a holistic approach to health that attempts to bring the body, mind and spirit into harmony. The technology platforms of systems biology, especially metabolomics could provide useful tools for facilitating drug discovery and development of TCM. Metabolomes of medicinal herbal medicine are particularly a valuable natural resource for the evidence-based TCM. Metabolomics adopts a 'top-down' strategy to reflect the function of organisms from terminal symptoms of metabolic network and understand metabolic changes of a complete system caused by interventions in holistic context. Its property consists with the holistic thinking of TCM, may beneficially provide an opportunity to scientifically express the meaning of evidence-based Chinese medicine, will greatly benefit both drug discovery and development for TCM research. Some successful metabolomic applications in important TCM field related to drug discovery and development from natural sources aims at raising the potential of metabolomics in reducing the gap between TCM and modern drug discovery demand, highlight the key role of biomarkers for drug discovery and development of traditional oriental medicine.

3D Hierarchically Patterned Tubular NiSe with Nano-/microstructures for Li Ion Battery Design

Tubular nickel selenide (NiSe) crystals with hierarchical structures were successfully fabricated using a one-step solvothermal method in moderate conditions, in which ethylenediamine and ethylene glycol were used as the mixed solvent. The growth of hierarchical NiSe microtubes from NiSe microflakes was achieved without surfactants or other chemical additives by changing the reaction time. When the as-synthesized NiSe microtubes were employed as cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries, the initial discharge capacity of hierarchical NiSe microtubes reached 410.7 mAh g(-1).

[The Current Epidemic Situation and Surveillance Regarding Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome in China, 2010]

To analyze the surveillance data on hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) including the epidemiological characteristics and trend of the disease, in 2010.

Urine Metabolomics

Metabolomics is a powerful technique for the discovery of novel biomarkers and elucidation of biochemical pathways to improve diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. An advantage of this approach is its ability to assess global metabolic profiles to enhance pathologic characterization. Urine is an ideal bio-medium for disease study because it is readily available, easily obtained and less complex than other body fluids. Ease of collection allows for serial sampling to monitor disease and therapeutic response. Because of this potential, this paper will review urine metabolomic analysis, discuss its significance in the post-genomic era and highlight the specific roles of endogenous small molecule metabolites in this emerging field.

Saliva Metabolomics Opens Door to Biomarker Discovery, Disease Diagnosis, and Treatment

Metabolomics is the systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints of low molecular weight endogenous metabolites or metabolite profiles in a biological sample. Metabolites that are important indicators of physiological or pathological states can provide information for the identification of early and differential markers for disease and help to understand its occurrence and progression. Analysis of these key biomarkers has become an important role to monitor the state of biological organisms and is a widely used diagnostic tool for disease. Metabolomic analyses are propelling the field of medical diagnostics forward at unprecedented rates because of its ability to reliably identify metabolites that are at the metabolic level in concentration. These advancements have benefited biomarker research to the point where saliva is now recognized as an excellent diagnostic medium for the detection of disease. Saliva contains a large array of metabolites, many of which can be informative for the detection of diseases. Salivary diagnostics offer an easy, inexpensive, safe, and noninvasive approach for disease detection. Discovery of salivary biomarkers that could be used to scrutinize health and disease surveillance has addressed its diagnostic value for clinical applications. Availability of emerging metabolomic techniques gives optimism that saliva can eventually be placed as a biomedium for clinical diagnostics. Comprehensive salivary metabolome will be an important resource for researchers who are studying metabolite chemistry, especially in the fields of salivary diagnostics, and will be helpful for analyzing and hence identifying corresponding disease-related salivary biomarkers. This review presents an overview of the value of saliva as a credible diagnostic tool, the discovery of salivary biomarkers, and the development of salivary diagnostics now and in the future. In particular, proof of principle has been demonstrated for salivary biomarker research.

Low Levels of Plasma IGF-1 Inhibit Intracortical Bone Remodeling During Aging

Studies linking insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) to age-related bone loss in humans have been reported but remain only correlative. In this investigation, we characterized the bone phenotype of aged WT C57BL/6J male mice in comparison to that of C57BL/6J mice with reduced serum IGF-1 levels arising from an igfals gene deletion (ALS knockout (ALSKO)). During the aging process, WT mice showed an increase in fat mass and decrease lean mass while ALSKO mice had stable lean and fat mass values. Skeletal analyses of femora from WT mice revealed an expansion of the marrow area and a significant accumulation of intracortical porosity associated with increased intracortical remodeling. In contrast, ALSKO mice showed only small age-related declines in the amount of cortical bone tissue and minimal intracortical porosity, at 2 years of age. Accordingly, mechanical tests of femora from 2-year-old WT mice revealed reduced stiffness and maximal load when compared to bones from ALSKO mice. We show here that lifelong reductions in serum IGF-1 compromise skeletal size in development leading to slender bones; they are also associated with decreased intracortical bone remodeling and preservation of bone strength during aging.

Oxidative Pyrolysis of Polystyrene into Styrene Monomers in an Autothermal Fixed-bed Catalytic Reactor

Styrene monomer recovery: A selective stream of styrene from fast pyrolysis of polystyrene is obtained with an autothermal fixed-bed reactor containing noble-metal (Rh, Pt) catalysts. Autothermal fast pyrolysis of polystyrene is an efficient means of recovering monomers from waste polystyrene in a continuous, high-throughput process without external heating.

Gaussian Bare-Bones Differential Evolution

Differential evolution (DE) is a well-known algorithm for global optimization over continuous search spaces. However, choosing the optimal control parameters is a challenging task because they are problem oriented. In order to minimize the effects of the control parameters, a Gaussian bare-bones DE (GBDE) and its modified version (MGBDE) are proposed which are almost parameter free. To verify the performance of our approaches, 30 benchmark functions and two real-world problems are utilized. Conducted experiments indicate that the MGBDE performs significantly better than, or at least comparable to, several state-of-the-art DE variants and some existing bare-bones algorithms.

Skeletal Muscle Growth Hormone Receptor Signaling Regulates Basal, but Not Fasting-induced, Lipid Oxidation

Growth hormone (GH) stimulates whole-body lipid oxidation, but its regulation of muscle lipid oxidation is not clearly defined. Mice with a skeletal muscle-specific knockout of the GH receptor (mGHRKO model) are protected from high fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance and display increased whole-body carbohydrate utilization. In this study we used the mGRHKO mice to investigate the role of muscle GHR signaling on lipid oxidation under regular chow (RC)- and HFD- fed conditions, and in response to fasting.

Purification and Characterization of an Antitumor Protein with Deoxyribonuclease Activity from Edible Mushroom Agrocybe Aegerita

Mushrooms are well known for their nutritional and medicinal value. Agrocybe aegerita has been used as a nutritious food around the world and for its herbal medicinal properties in Asia. In recent years, several antitumor proteins have been identified from A. aegerita. The objective of this study was to purify a novel antitumor protein from A. aegerita.

Ultra-performance Liquid-chromatography with Tandem Mass Spectrometry Performing Pharmacokinetic and Biodistribution Studies of Croomine, Neotuberostemonine and Tuberostemonine Alkaloids Absorbed in the Rat Plasma After Oral Administration of Stemonae Radix

Stemonae Radix (Stemona tuberosa Lour, Bai Bu) is an important traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) plant known for its antitussive activity. Croomine, neotuberostemonine and tuberostemonine alkaloids of Stemonae Radix are major components responsible for antitussive action. In this work, plasma pharmacokinetic and biodistribution characteristics of the three alkaloids after oral administration of Stemonae Radix are investigated using a rapid and sensitive UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS method. Mass spectrometry (MS) was performed on a Waters Micromass high-definition technology with an electrospray ionization source in positive ion mode, with excellent MS mass accuracy and enhanced MS data acquisition. Separation of main alkaloids was achieved on a Waters BEH C(18) column by linear gradient elution. Data were analyzed and estimated by compartmental methods and pharmacokinetic parameters calculated using WinNonlin Professional version 5.1. It was found that croomine, neotuberostemonine and tuberostemonine had faster absorbed into the bloodstream, maintain the high plasma concentration, and pose a large AUC value. The biodistribution of neotuberostemonine and tuberostemonine showed that the higher levels were in liver, and lung. Croomine was discovered in brain and showed that it could cross the blood-brain barrier, indicating that croomine plays an antitussive effect as acting on the central nervous system. Neotuberostemonine and tuberostemonine were not discovered in brain, demonstrating that they play an antitussive effect as peripheral antitussive. This work suggests that the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution based-UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS can provide a reliable tools for screening bioactive components contributing to pharmacological effects of medicinal herbs.

A Novel Nuclear Protein Phosphatase 2C Negatively Regulated by ABL1 is Involved in Abiotic Stress and Panicle Development in Rice

Type 2C protein phosphatase plays an important role in the signal transduction of stress response in plants. In this paper, we identified a novel stress-induced type 2C protein phosphatase gene OsSIPP2C1 from rice. OsSIPP2C1 contains a complete open reading frame of 1,074 bp, encoding a protein with 357 amino acids. OsSIPP2C1 expression was up-regulated by high salt, PEG6000 and exogenous ABA, and enhanced in the abl1 mutant under normal, salt, or drought condition. Interestingly, OsSIPP2C1 expression was increased during the early panicle development. Subcellular localization assay using rice protoplast cells indicated that OsSIPP2C1 was predominantly located in the nucleus. Together, it is suggested that a nuclear PP2C protein OsSIPP2C1 negatively regulated by ABL1 is involved in abiotic stress and panicle development in rice.

Overcoming the Blood-brain Barrier for Chemotherapy: Limitations, Challenges and Rising Problems

Treatment of brain tumors with chemotherapy is limited mostly because of delivery impediments related to the blood-brain barrier (BBB). For gliomas, the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor, treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy usually administered orally or intravenously. These routes do not deliver effective concentrations. To complicate matters, chemotherapy is usually a long treatment. Therefore, transient disruption of the BBB is likely insufficient to deliver effective intratumoral concentrations of anticancer drugs. This review briefly updates current strategies for overcoming the BBB with emphasis on their limitations and challenges intrinsic to the biology of cancer cells.

Pharmacokinetics of Hesperetin and Naringenin in the Zhi Zhu Wan, a Traditional Chinese Medicinal Formulae, and Its Pharmacodynamics Study

Zhi Zhu Wan (ZZW), a classical Chinese medical formulae consisted of Atractylodes Rhizome and Fructus Citrus Immaturus, has been commonly used for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. Hesperetin and naringenin are the main components of ZZW, and both can alleviate intestinal tract disorders. In this work, plasma pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics characteristics of ZZW after oral administration were investigated using a rapid and sensitive ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method with an electrospray ionization source in positive ion mode. Biosamples were prepared using methanolic precipitation, and the separation of hesperetin and naringenin was achieved on a Waters ACQUITY HSS BEH (2.1 mm × 5 mm, 1.7 µm) column by linear gradient elution, and the total run time was only 3 min. Data were analyzed and estimated using WinNonlin Professional version 5.1. With pharmacokinetic analysis, the estimated pharmacokinetic parameters (i.e. C(max) , area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and t(1/2) ), were C(max)  = 776.06 ng/mL, AUC = 9473 ng/mL·h, t1/2 = 5.26 h for hesperetin and C(max)  = 2910.6 ng/mL, AUC = 40607.9 ng/mL·h, t1/2 = 4.69 h for naringenin, respectively. In the present study, we have also valuated and clarified the effect of ZZW on small intestinal movement. It was found that ZZW can accelerate intestinal motility in mice and may hold a promising treatment for intestinal diseases. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Power of Metabolomics in Diagnosis and Biomarker Discovery of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the commonest primary hepatic malignancy and the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Incidence remains highest in the developing world and is steadily increasing across the developed world. Current diagnostic modalities, of ultrasound and α-fetoprotein, are expensive and lack sensitivity in tumour detection. Because of its asymptomatic nature, HCC is usually diagnosed at late and advanced stages, for which there are no effective therapies. Thus, biomarkers for early detection and molecular targets for treating HCC are urgently needed. Emerging high-throughput metabolomics technologies have been widely applied, aiming at the discovery of candidate biomarkers for cancer staging, prediction of recurrence and prognosis, and treatment selection. Metabolic profiles, which are affected by many physiological and pathological processes, may provide further insight into the metabolic consequences of this severe liver disease. Small-molecule metabolites have an important role in biological systems and represent attractive candidates to understand HCC phenotypes. The power of metabolomics allows unparalleled opportunity to query the molecular mechanisms of HCC. This technique-driven review aims to demystify the metabolomics pathway, while also illustrating the potential of this technique with recent examples of its application in HCC. (HEPATOLOGY 2012.).

Protective Effects of Sweroside on Human MG-63 Cells and Rat Osteoblasts

Herbal Fructus Corni is a folk medicine with a long history of safe use for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women or elderly men in Asia. Sweroside is a bioactive herbal ingredient isolated from Fructus Corni, which has been widely used for the treatment of osteoporosis in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Unfortunately, the working mechanisms of this compound are difficult to determine and thus remain unclear. The aim of the study was performed to determine the potential molecular mechanism of the anti-osteoporotic effect of sweroside on the human MG-63 cells and rat osteoblasts. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test was used to observe the effect of sweroside on cell proliferation. The activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and the amount of osteocalcin were also assayed the cell differentiation. Sweroside significantly increased the proliferation of human MG-63 cells and rat osteoblasts (P<0.01). It increased the activity of ALP, and osteocalcin was also elevated in response to sweroside (P<0.05). Of note, flowcytometer assay showed that sweroside can attenuate and inhibit apoptosis. Sweroside has a direct osteogenic effect on the proliferation and differentiation of cultured human MG-63 cells and rat osteoblasts in vitro. These data will help in understanding the molecular mechanisms of therapeutic efficacy of sweroside, and highlight insights into drug discovery. In the current study, sweroside has been suggested to be a promising osteoporosis therapeutic natural product.

The Genomes of the Fungal Plant Pathogens Cladosporium Fulvum and Dothistroma Septosporum Reveal Adaptation to Different Hosts and Lifestyles but Also Signatures of Common Ancestry

We sequenced and compared the genomes of the Dothideomycete fungal plant pathogens Cladosporium fulvum (Cfu) (syn. Passalora fulva) and Dothistroma septosporum (Dse) that are closely related phylogenetically, but have different lifestyles and hosts. Although both fungi grow extracellularly in close contact with host mesophyll cells, Cfu is a biotroph infecting tomato, while Dse is a hemibiotroph infecting pine. The genomes of these fungi have a similar set of genes (70% of gene content in both genomes are homologs), but differ significantly in size (Cfu >61.1-Mb; Dse 31.2-Mb), which is mainly due to the difference in repeat content (47.2% in Cfu versus 3.2% in Dse). Recent adaptation to different lifestyles and hosts is suggested by diverged sets of genes. Cfu contains an α-tomatinase gene that we predict might be required for detoxification of tomatine, while this gene is absent in Dse. Many genes encoding secreted proteins are unique to each species and the repeat-rich areas in Cfu are enriched for these species-specific genes. In contrast, conserved genes suggest common host ancestry. Homologs of Cfu effector genes, including Ecp2 and Avr4, are present in Dse and induce a Cf-Ecp2- and Cf-4-mediated hypersensitive response, respectively. Strikingly, genes involved in production of the toxin dothistromin, a likely virulence factor for Dse, are conserved in Cfu, but their expression differs markedly with essentially no expression by Cfu in planta. Likewise, Cfu has a carbohydrate-degrading enzyme catalog that is more similar to that of necrotrophs or hemibiotrophs and a larger pectinolytic gene arsenal than Dse, but many of these genes are not expressed in planta or are pseudogenized. Overall, comparison of their genomes suggests that these closely related plant pathogens had a common ancestral host but since adapted to different hosts and lifestyles by a combination of differentiated gene content, pseudogenization, and gene regulation.

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia Coli Specific Enterohemolysin Induced IL-1β in Human Macrophages and EHEC-Induced IL-1β Required Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 is a major foodborne pathogen causing hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The role of EHEC O157:H7-enterohemolysin (Ehx) in the pathogenesis of infections remains poorly defined. In this study, we used gene deletion and complement methods to confirm its putative functions. Results demonstrated that, in THP-1 cells, EHEC O157:H7-Ehx is associated with greater production of extracellular interleukin (IL)-1β than other cytokines. The data also showed that EHEC O157:H7-Ehx contributed to cytotoxicity in THP-1 cells, causing the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Although we observed a positive correlation between IL-1β production and cytotoxicity in THP-1 cells infected with different EHEC O157:H7 strains, our immunoblot results showed that the majority of IL-1β in the supernatant was mature IL-1β and not the pro-IL-1β that can be released after cell death. However, EHEC O157:H7-Ehx had no detectable effect on biologically inactive pro-IL-1β at the mRNA or protein synthesis levels. Neither did it affect the expression of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC), caspase-1, or NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3). RNA interference experiments showed that EHEC O157:H7-induced IL-1β production required the involvement of ASC, caspase-1, and NLRP3 expression in THP-1 cells. Our results demonstrate that Ehx plays a crucial role in EHEC O157:H7-induced IL-1β production and its cytotoxicity to THP-1 cells. NLRP3 inflammasome activation is also involved in EHEC O157:H7-stimulated IL-1β release.

Evaluation of the Pathogenesis of Meningitis Caused by Streptococcus Suis Sequence Type 7 Using the Infection of BV2 Microglial Cells

Streptococcus suis is an important agent of swine and human meningitis. Among several sequence types (STs) characterized within the S. suis strain population, ST7 only emerged in China and has been reported to be culprit of human outbreak caused by S. suis in 2005. S. suis ST7 was shown to be derived from S. suis ST1 through a single nucleotide change in the house-keeping gene thyA. The virulence potential of S. suis ST7 is described to be higher compared to worldwide studied pathogenic S. suis ST1. The pathogenesis of the ST1 infection is partially elucidated; however the knowledge of the pathogenesis of the ST7 infection is still scarce. To improve our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of meningitis caused by the ST7 strain, we compared the microglial inflammatory response induced by ST1 and ST7 strains. Our data showed that S. suis ST7 possesses a higher ability to induce pro-inflammatory cytokine production, to activate MAPK pathways and several transcription factors. The stimulation of microglial cells by S. suis increases the express levels of NOD2. Finally, our results indicate that STAT-3 is involved in the development of meningitis induced by S. suis ST7 infection.

Evaluation of Human Sclera After Femtosecond Laser Ablation Using Two Photon and Confocal Microscopy

ABSTRACT. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide and is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Partial thickness intrascleral channels can be created with a femtosecond laser operating at a wavelength of 1700 nm. Such channels have the potential to increase outflow facility and reduce elevated IOP. Analysis of the dimensions and location of these channels is important in understanding their effects. We describe the application of two-photon microscopy and confocal microscopy for noninvasive imaging of the femtosecond laser created partial-thickness scleral channels in human cadaver eyes. High-resolution images, hundreds of microns deep in the sclera, were obtained to allow determination of the shape and dimension of such channels. This demonstrates that concept of integrating femtosecond laser surgery, and two-photon and confocal imaging has the future potential for image-guided high-precision surgery in transparent and translucent tissue.

Errata: Evaluation of Human Sclera After Femtosecond Laser Ablation Using Two Photon and Confocal Microscopy

UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS Analysis of Constituents in the Root of Two Kinds of Aconitum Using a Metabolomics Approach

INTRODUCTION: Metabolomics is an 'omics' approach that aims to comprehensively analyse all metabolites in a biological sample, and has great potential for directly elucidating plant metabolic processes. Increasing evidence supports the view that plants produce a broad range of low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites responsible for variation from species to species, thus enabling the use of secondary metabolite profiling in the chemotaxonomy. OBJECTIVE: To gain deeper insights into the metabolites to increasing plant diversity, we performed systematic untargeted metabolite profiling to exploit the different parts and species of Aconitum as a case study. METHOD: Application of ultraperformance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight-high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF-HDMS) equipped with electrospray ionisation and coupled with pattern recognition analyses to study constituents in the root of two kinds of Aconitum species. RESULTS: Twenty-two metabolites between the mother root of Aconitum carmichaelii Debx (CHW) and lateral root of Aconitum carmichaelii Debx (SFZ) and 13 metabolites between the CHW and root of Aconitum kusnezoffii Reichb (CW) have been identified. Of note, songorine, carmichaeline and isotalatizidine did not exist in CW, whereas they are present in the SFZ and CHW. CONCLUSION: Metabolomics based UPLC-QTOF-HDMS with multivariate statistical models was effective for analysis of constituents in the root of two kinds of Aconitum species. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pharmacokinetics Study of Multiple Components Absorbed in Rat Plasma After Oral Administration of Stemonae Radix Using Ultra-performance Liquid-chromatography/mass Spectrometry with Automated MetaboLynx Software Analysis

Stemonae radix (Stemona tuberosa Lour, Bai Bu) is a traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) plant known for its antitussive and anti-ectoparasitic activity; however, the in vivo pharmacokinetic of its multiple bioactive components remains unknown. In this article, UPLC-Q-TOF-high-definition mass spectrometry (HDMS) coupled with automated data analysis MetaboLynxâ„¢ software together were first developed to screen the potentially bioactive components in the rat plasma after oral administration of Stemonae radix. Time course of the absorbed components of Stemonae radix was built to evaluate pharmacokinetic behaviors. This rapid automated analysis method was successfully applied for identification, screening, and monitoring of the 28 constituents absorbed and metabolized studies of Stemonae radix after oral administration to rats. The results showed that the ongoing changes of 28 constituents including eight parent compounds and 20 metabolites in vivo were observed to find biomarkers. From the angle of behavior in vivo, it suggested that croomine and tuberostemonine would be potential efficacy markers. This work also demonstrated that the pharmacokinetics-based UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS can provide a reliable means of identifying and screening potentially bioactive components contributing to pharmacological effects of medicinal herbs, and to better clarify its action mechanism, further prospecting natural products in the search for new leads in drug discovery.

MiR-1 Exacerbates Cardiac Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Mouse Models

Recent studies have revealed the critical role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating cardiac injury. Among them, the cardiac enriched microRNA-1(miR-1) has been extensively investigated and proven to be detrimental to cardiac myocytes. However, solid in vivo evidence for the role of miR-1 in cardiac injury is still missing and the potential therapeutic advantages of systemic knockdown of miR-1 expression remained unexplored. In this study, miR-1 transgenic (miR-1 Tg) mice and locked nucleic acid modified oligonucleotide against miR-1 (LNA-antimiR-1) were used to explore the effects of miR-1 on cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury (30 min ischemia followed by 24 h reperfusion). The cardiac miR-1 level was significantly increased in miR-1 Tg mice, and suppressed in LNA-antimiR-1 treated mice. When subjected to ischemia/reperfusion injury, miR-1 overexpression exacerbated cardiac injury, manifested by increased LDH, CK levels, caspase-3 expression, apoptosis and cardiac infarct area. On the contrary, LNA-antimiR-1 treatment significantly attenuated cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury. The expression of PKCε and HSP60 was significantly repressed by miR-1 and enhanced by miR-1 knockdown, which may be a molecular mechanism for the role miR-1 in cardiac injury. Moreover, luciferase assay confirmed the direct regulation of miR-1 on protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) and heat shock protein 60 (HSP60). In summary, this study demonstrated that miR-1 is a causal factor for cardiac injury and systemic LNA-antimiR-1 therapy is effective in ameliorating the problem.

Systems Biology Technologies Enable Personalized Traditional Chinese Medicine: a Systematic Review

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), an alternative medicine, focuses on the treatment of human disease via the integrity of the close relationship between body and syndrome analysis. It remains a form of primary care in most Asian countries and its characteristics showcase the great advantages of personalized medicine. Although this approach to disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment has served the medical establishment well for thousands of years, it has serious shortcomings in the era of modern medicine that stem from its reliance on reductionist principles of experimentation and analysis. In this way, systems biology offers the potential to personalize medicine, facilitating the provision of the right care to the right patient at the right time. We expect that systems biology will have a major impact on future personalized therapeutic approaches which herald the future of medicine. Here we summarize current trends and critically review the potential limitations and future prospects of such treatments. Some characteristic examples are presented to highlight the application of this groundbreaking platform to personalized TCM as well as some of the necessary milestones for moving systems biology of a state-of-the-art nature into mainstream health care.

Genome-Wide Transcriptome and Proteome Analysis on Different Developmental Stages of Cordyceps Militaris

Cordyceps militaris, an ascomycete caterpillar fungus, has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine for many years owing to its anticancer and immunomodulatory activities. Currently, artificial culturing of this beneficial fungus has been widely used and can meet the market, but systematic molecular studies on the developmental stages of cultured C. militaris at transcriptional and translational levels have not been determined.

Metabolomic Analysis of Key Regulatory Metabolites in HCV-infected Tree Shrews

Metabolomics, a promising omics platform whose aim is the comprehensive analysis of endogenous small-molecule metabolites in a biological system, shows great potential in biomarker discovery. Analysis of these key metabolites in body fluids has become an important role to monitor the states and diagnostics for diseases. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major leading cause of liver disease worldwide and is a major burden on public health, but the lack of a small-animal model has hampered the analysis of HCV pathogenesis. We hypothesize that an animal model (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) of HCV would produce unique characterization of metabolic phenotypes. UPLC/ESI-SYNAPT-HDMS coupled with pattern recognition methods and systems analysis were carried out to obtain comprehensive metabolomic profiling and pathways of the large biological data sets. Taurine, hypotaurine, ether lipid, glycerophospholipid, arachidonic acid metabolism, tryptophan and primary bile acid metabolism regulated pathways were acutely perturbed, and 38 differential metabolites were identified. More importantly, 5 metabolite markers were selected by the significance analysis for microarrays (SAM) method as the most discriminant and interesting biomarkers that were effective for the diagnosis of HCV. Network construction has led to the integration of metabolites associated with the causesd perturbation of multiple pathways. Integrated network analysis of the key metabolites yields highly related signaling networks associated with the differentially expressed proteins and/or genes, suggests strongly that creating new treatment paradigms targeting and activating these networks in their entirety, rather than single proteins by therapeutic interventions, could be necessary for controlling and treating HCV efficiently.

Therapeutic Potential of N-Acetyl-Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 in Primary Motor Neuron Cultures Derived From Non-Transgenic and SOD1-G93A ALS Mice

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons (MN) in the motor cortex, brain stem, and spinal cord. In the present study, we established an ALS in vitro model of purified embryonic MNs, derived from non-transgenic and mutant SOD1-G93A transgenic mice, the most commonly used ALS animal model. MNs were cultured together with either non-transgenic or mutant SOD1-G93A astrocyte feeder layers. Cell viability following exposure to kainate as excitotoxic stimulus was assessed by immunocytochemistry and calcium imaging. We then examined the neuroprotective effects of N-acetyl-GLP-1(7-34) amide (N-ac-GLP-1), a long-acting, N-terminally acetylated, C-terminally truncated analog of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 has initially been studied as a treatment for type II diabetes based on its function as insulin secretagogue. We detected neuroprotective effects of N-ac-GLP-1 in our in vitro system, which could be attributed to an attenuation of intracellular calcium transients, not only due to these antiexcitotoxic capacities but also with respect to the increasing knowledge about metabolic deficits in ALS which could be positively influenced by N-ac-GLP-1, this compound represents an interesting novel candidate for further in vivo evaluation in ALS.

Proteomic Identification Network Analysis of Haptoglobin As a Key Regulator Associated with Liver Fibrosis

Liver fibrosis (LF) is the final stage of liver dysfunction, characterized by diffuse fibrosis which is the main response to the liver injury. Haptoglobin (HP) protein, produced as an acute phase reactant during LF, preventing liver damage, may be potential molecular targets for early LF diagnostics and therapeutic applications. However, protein networks associated with the HP are largely unknown. To address this issue, we used a pathological mouse model of LF that was induced by treatment with carbon tetrachloride for 8 days. HP protein was separated and identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight mass spectrometry. HP protein was subjected to functional pathway analysis using STRING and Cytoscape software for better understanding of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks in biological context. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that HP expression associated with fibrosis was upregulated, and suggested that HP responsible for fibrosis may precede the onset and progression of LF. Using the web-based database, functional pathway analysis suggested the modulation of multiple vital physiological pathways, including antioxidation immunity, signal transduction, metabolic process, energy production, cell apoptosis, oxidation reduction, DNA repair process, cell communication, and regulation of cellular process. The generation of protein interaction networks clearly enhances the interpretation and understanding of the molecular mechanisms of HP. HP protein represents targets for further experimental investigation that will provide biological insight and potentially could be exploited for novel therapeutic approaches to combat LF.

Proteolysis by Endogenous Calpain I Leads to the Activation of Calcineurin in Human Heart

The calmodulin-independent pathway is thought to involve the activation of calcineurin by calpain. However, the effect of endogenous calpain on calcineurin in human heart is not well known.

Natural Products Targeting Autophagy Via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway As Anticancer Agents

The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) pathway is a key regulator of authophagy. Natural products show anticancer activity and often induce apoptosis or autophagy. The crosstalk between these two types of cell death makes autophagy an interesting target since drugs targeting this process not only can induce cell death by inducing autophagy but can also sensitize cells to apoptosis. Autophagy is also a protective mechanism associated with increased resistance to chemotherapy. In this review, we discuss natural products known to induce autophagy cell death in cancer cells via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway.

What Is the Role of Motif D in the Nucleotide Incorporation Catalyzed by the RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase from Poliovirus?

Poliovirus (PV) is a well-characterized RNA virus, and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) from PV (3D(pol)) has been widely employed as an important model for understanding the structure-function relationships of RNA and DNA polymerases. Many experimental studies of the kinetics of nucleotide incorporation by RNA and DNA polymerases suggest that each nucleotide incorporation cycle basically consists of six sequential steps: (1) an incoming nucleotide binds to the polymerase-primer/template complex; (2) the ternary complex (nucleotide-polymerase-primer/template) undergoes a conformational change; (3) phosphoryl transfer occurs (the chemistry step); (4) a post-chemistry conformational change occurs; (5) pyrophosphate is released; (6) RNA or DNA translocation. Recently, the importance of structural motif D in nucleotide incorporation has been recognized, but the functions of motif D are less well explored so far. In this work, we used two computational techniques, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and quantum mechanics (QM) method, to explore the roles of motif D in nucleotide incorporation catalyzed by PV 3D(pol). We discovered that the motif D, exhibiting high flexibility in either the presence or the absence of RNA primer/template, might facilitate the transportation of incoming nucleotide or outgoing pyrophosphate. We observed that the dynamic behavior of motif A, which should be essential to the polymerase function, was greatly affected by the motions of motif D. In the end, through QM calculations, we attempted to investigate the proton transfer in enzyme catalysis associated with a few amino acid residues of motifs F and D.

MiR-203 Inhibits Proliferation of HCC Cells by Targeting Survivin

To validate whether down-regulation of microRNA-203 (miR-203) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is involved in HCC progression by targeting survivin. MiR-203 mimics was transfected into HepG2 cells to enhance miR-203 expression, and miR-203 inhibitor was transfected into HepG2 cells to inhibit miR-203 expression. The effect of up-regulation and down-regulation of miR-203 on survivin expression of HepG2 cells was evaluated using Western blot assay. The effect of miR-203 or survivin expression on the proliferation of HepG2 cells was detected using the CKK-8 assay. Over-expression of miR-203 significantly inhibited the expression of survivin in HepG2 cells (p < 0·05), and down-expression of miR-203 significantly promoted the expression of survivin in HepG2 cells (p < 0·05). Both over-expression of miR-203 and down-regulation of survivin suppressed proliferation of HepG2 cells significantly compared with negative control. Low expression of miR-203 contributes to the progression of HCC via targeting survivin. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Salivary Proteomics in Biomedical Research

Proteins that are important indicators of physiological or pathological states, can provide information for the identification of early and differential markers for disease. Saliva, contains an abundance of proteins, offers an easy, inexpensive, safe, and non-invasive approach for disease detection, and possesses a high potential to revolutionize the diagnostics. Discovery of salivary biomarkers could be used to scrutinize health and disease surveillance. The impact of human saliva proteome analysis in the search for clinically relevant disease biomarkers will be realized through advances made using proteomic technologies. The advancements of emerging proteomic techniques have benefited biomarker research to the point where saliva is now recognized as an excellent diagnostic medium for the detection of disease. This review presents an overview of the value of saliva as a credible diagnostic tool and we aim to summarize the proteomic technologies currently used for global analysis of saliva proteins and to elaborate on the application of saliva proteomics to the discovery of disease biomarkers, and discuss some of the critical challenges and perspectives in this field.

Metabolomics Study on the Hepatoprotective Effect of Scoparone Using Ultra-performance Liquid Chromatography/electrospray Ionization Quadruple Time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry

Scoparone is an important constituent of Yinchenhao (Artemisia annua L.), a famous medicinal plant, and displayed bright prospects in the prevention and therapy of liver injury. However, the precise molecular mechanism of hepatoprotective effects has not been comprehensively explored. Here, metabolomics techniques are the comprehensive assessment of endogenous metabolites in a biological system and may provide additional insight into the mechanisms. The present investigation was designed to assess the effects and possible mechanisms of scoparone against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization quadruple time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/ESI-Q-TOF/MS) combined with pattern recognition approaches including principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) were integrated to discover differentiating metabolites. Results indicate five ions in the positive mode as differentiating metabolites. Functional pathway analysis revealed that the alterations in these metabolites were associated with primary bile acid biosynthesis, pyrimidine metabolism. Of note, scoparone has a potential pharmacological effect through regulating multiple perturbed pathways to the normal state. Our findings also showed that the robust metabolomics techniques are promising for getting biomarkers and clarifying mechanisms of disease, highlighting insights into drug discovery.

Hydrogen Peroxide Induces Overexpression of Angiotensin-converting Enzyme in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells

Abstract Oxidative stress has been linked to endothelial dysfunction in atherosclerosis and hypertension. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a key regulator of the renin-angiotensin system, and the mechanisms underlying ACE regulation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We used Tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay for cell viability, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay for cell apoptosis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for cAMP measurement, real-time PCR for mRNA detection, and Western blot for protein analysis in the study. Our results demonstrated that H(2)O(2) (50-1000 μM) decreased HUVECs viability by inducing apoptosis. Notably, H(2)O(2) upregulated ACE expression in a concentration-dependent manner. H(2)O(2) 100 μM significantly enhanced cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) expression by 1.48-fold (P < 0.05). Additionally, forskolin 10 μM, a cAMP agonist, was also found to enhance ACE expression by 1.78-fold (P < 0.05); in contrast, H-89 10 μM, a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, abolished H(2)O(2)-induced ACE expression and prevented the enhancing effect of forskolin-induced ACE expression. Similar effects on ACE mRNA were also observed. cAMP-response element-specific decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (CRE-dODN) containing binding sites for cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) inhibited ACE expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Negative control CRE-dODN had no effect on ACE expression. We conclude that H(2)O(2) upregulates the expression of ACE through the activation of cAMP/PKA/CREB signal pathway in HUVECs, indicating a role of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of hypertension.

Controlled β-protonation and [4+2] Cycloaddition of Enals and Chalcones Via N-heterocyclic Carbene/acid Catalysis: Toward Substrate Independent Reaction Control

A substrate-independent selective generation of enolates over homoenolate equivalents in NHC-catalyzed reactions of enals and chalcones is disclosed. Acid co-catalysts play vital roles in control of the reaction pathways, allowing for individual access to diverse products from identical substrates.

Metabolomics Study of Intervention Effects of Wen-Xin-Formula Using Ultra High-performance Liquid Chromatography/mass Spectrometry Coupled with Pattern Recognition Approach

Metabolomics is a new approach based on the systematic study of the full complement of small molecular metabolites in a biological sample. It could map the perturbations of early biochemical changes on diseases and hence provides an opportunity to develop predictive biomarkers that can result in earlier intervention and possess valuable insights into the mechanisms of diseases. Given the poor diagnosis of myocardial ischemia syndrome (heart-qi deficiency, HQD), biomarkers of great significance are urgently needed. Fortunately, metabolomics may offer the possibility of identifying marker metabolites and pathways activated in HQD. This paper was designed to explore globally metabolomics characters of the HQD and the therapeutic effects of traditional Chinese medicine Wen-Xin-Formula (WXF). Serum biochemical analysis and histopathological examinations were simultaneously performed. Global metabolic profiling with UHPLC/MS (ultra high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry), multivariate analysis and database searching were performed to discover differentiating metabolites. Seventeen biomarkers were identified and pathway analysis tools suggest that the glycolysis or gluconeogenesis metabolism, biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids metabolism, fatty acid biosynthesis and purine metabolism networks were acutely perturbed by HQD. Of note, WXF has potential pharmacological effect through regulating multiple perturbed pathways to normal state, correlates well to the assessment of biochemistry and histopathological assay. Overall, this study successfully demonstrated that the power of metabolomics in unraveling protective effects of WXF and these findings may help better understand the mechanisms of disease, and the underlying pathophysiologic processes.

A Novel Flexible Capacitive Touch Pad Based on Graphene Oxide Film

Recently, graphene oxide (GO) supercapacitors with ultra-high energy densities have received significant attention. In addition to energy storage, GO capacitors might also have broad applications in renewable energy engineering, such as vibration and sound energy harvesting. Here, we experimentally create a macroscopic flexible capacitive touch pad based on GO film. An obvious touch "ON" to "OFF" voltage ratio up to ∼60 has been observed. Moreover, we tested the capacitor structure on both flat and curved surfaces and it showed high response sensitivity under fast touch rates. Collectively, our results raise the exciting prospect that the realization of macroscopic flexible keyboards with large-area graphene based materials is technologically feasible, which may open up important applications in control and interface design for solar cells, speakers, supercapacitors, batteries and MEMS systems.

Proteomics Study on the Hepatoprotective Effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine Formulae Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang by a Combination of Two-dimensional Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis and Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption/ionization-time of Flight Mass Spectrometry

Proteomics can bring breakthroughs in the study of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (YCHT), a famous TCM formulae, has been used to alleviate various types of liver injury. However, the underlying mechanisms and drug targets of YCHT associated with the hepatic injury are largely unknown. To identify the possible target proteins of YCHT, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE)-based proteomics was performed and proteins altered after YCHT treatment were identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS. Interestingly, 15 modulated proteins were identified, out of which 7 were found to be significantly altered by YCHT. YCHT treatment caused a statistically significant down-regulation of zinc finger protein 407, haptoglobin, macroglobulin, alpha-1-antitrypsin; significant up-regulation of transthyretin, vitamin D-binding protein, and prothrombin, appear to be involved in metabolism, energy generation, chaperone, antioxidation, signal transduction, protein folding and apoptosis. Finally, interaction network from 7 differentially expressed protein to the signal-related proteins was established using bioinformatic analysis. Of note, these signal-related proteins could be included in a network together with 7 proteins through direct interaction or only one intermediate partner. Functional pathway analysis suggested that these proteins were closely related in the protein-protein interaction network and the modulation of multiple vital physiological pathways. Thus, our data will help to understand the molecular mechanisms of hepatoprotective effects of YCHT.

Morphological Measurements of the Posterior Surface of the Normal Proximal Tibia in a Healthy Chinese Population

BACKGROUND: To measure and calculate the morphological parameters and determine the anatomical characteristics of the posterior surface of the proximal tibia in a healthy Chinese population. METHODS: A total of 150 volunteers with normal knees were enrolled. The parameters in the multi-slice spiral computed tomography (MSCT) three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction images were measured and calculated by two independent qualified observers. The differences and correlation were investigated. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to assess inter-observer reliability. RESULTS: The posterior margin of the tibial plateau is presented as two superior arc-shapes. The central angles of these arcs were 118°±14° (medial) and 106°±20° (lateral). The radii of these arcs both showed a skewed distribution. The median radii of the arcs were 22mm in the medial and 20mm in the lateral. There were two significant angles present in the sagittal plane of the posterior cortex of the proximal tibia. The first angles were 39°±7° (medial) and 47°±7° (lateral). The second angles were 39°±4° (medial) and 41°±5° (lateral). Significant differences were observed in the central angles and the first angles but not in the second angles between the medial and lateral. There were no significant differences between different gender groups, and between left and right limbs. All of these parameters exhibited excellent to moderate ICC. CONCLUSION: Due to the varying anatomic morphology between the postero-medial and postero-lateral surface of the proximal tibia, the internal fixation implants of these two parts should be designed differently.

Pharmacokinetic Study of Schisandrin, Schisandrol B, Schisantherin A, Deoxyschisandrin, and Schisandrin B in Rat Plasma After Oral Administration of Shengmaisan Formula by UPLC-MS

Shengmaisan (SMS) is a traditional Chinese medicine prescription widely used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases in Asia. Its lignans are major components responsible for therapeutic action. A rapid and specific UPLC-Q-TOF/MS has been developed and validated for simultaneous quantification of the five main bioactive components, i.e. schisandrin, schisandrol B, schisantherin A, deoxyschisandrin, and schisandrin B, in rat plasma after oral administration of SMS. All calibration curves showed excellent linearity within the test ranges. Validation proved the repeatability of the method was good and recovery was satisfactory. The separation of these compounds was carried out on a Waters ACQUITY HSS T(3) column (2.1 × 100 mm, 1.8 μm) by linear gradient elution using a mobile phase consisting of 0.01% formic acid in water and ACN containing 0.01% formic acid. In this work, plasma pharmacokinetic characteristics of lignans components after oral administration SMS were investigated using UPLC-Q-TOF/MS method. MS was performed on a Waters Micromass high-definition technology with an ESI source. Data were analyzed and estimated by compartmental methods and pharmacokinetic parameters calculated using WinNonlin Professional version 6.1. Results demonstrated that the proposed UPLC-Q-TOF/MS method was successfully applied to pharmacokinetic study of all components in rat plasma after oral administration of the SMS.

Urinary Metabolic Profiling Identifies a Key Role for Glycocholic Acid in Human Liver Cancer by Ultra-performance Liquid-chromatography Coupled with High-definition Mass Spectrometry

BACKGROUND: Metabolomics has been proposed to be a hallmark of cancer, yet a systematic characterization of a metabolite and metabolic pathways in human hepatocarcinoma (HCC) remains a challenge. METHODS: Using ultra-performance liquid-chromatography/quadrupole-time-of-flight coupled with high-definition mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS) in conjunction with multivariate data analysis methods, we identified and measured the metabolite profile of glycocholic acid from urine samples obtained from patients with HCC diseases. Bioinformatic tools were used to construct the metabolite network that can identify a key role for glycocholic acid in HCC. RESULTS: Biochemical analyses revealed that glycocholic acid expression was up-regulated in urine samples associated with HCC. Its pathway analysis suggested the modulation of multiple vital physiological pathways, including primary bile acid biosynthesis, secondary bile acid biosynthesis, metabolic pathways, and bile secretion. The network generation clearly enhances the interpretation and understanding of mechanisms for glycocholic acid. CONCLUSIONS: Metabolomics can contribute to evaluating the potential of metabolites in HCC patients and may provide new insight into pathophysiologic mechanisms.

Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts to Neurons by Reprogramming PTB-Regulated MicroRNA Circuits

The induction of pluripotency or trans-differentiation of one cell type to another can be accomplished with cell-lineage-specific transcription factors. Here, we report that repression of a single RNA binding polypyrimidine-tract-binding (PTB) protein, which occurs during normal brain development via the action of miR-124, is sufficient to induce trans-differentiation of fibroblasts into functional neurons. Besides its traditional role in regulated splicing, we show that PTB has a previously undocumented function in the regulation of microRNA functions, suppressing or enhancing microRNA targeting by competitive binding on target mRNA or altering local RNA secondary structure. A key event during neuronal induction is the relief of PTB-mediated blockage of microRNA action on multiple components of the REST complex, thereby derepressing a large array of neuronal genes, including miR-124 and multiple neuronal-specific transcription factors, in nonneuronal cells. This converts a negative feedback loop to a positive one to elicit cellular reprogramming to the neuronal lineage.

Genetic Distribution on 15 STR Loci from a Han Population of Shenyang Region in Northeast China

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