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Hao Meng - Top 30 Publications

Tanshinone IIA attenuates nerve transection injury associated with nerve regeneration promotion in rats.

Tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA) is the major pharmacological constituent of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (Danshen) for the therapeutic purpose of preventing ischemic injury and treating cerebrovascular disease. The aim of the present study was to explore the potential neuroprotective effects of Tan IIA in sciatic nerve transection injury. We investigated the possible beneficial effects of Tan IIA in promoting nerve regeneration after nerve transection injury in rats. Nerve transection injury was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by left sciatic nerve transection. After neuroanastomosis, the rats were intraperitoneally (IP) injected with 6mg/kg, 15mg/kg, or 40mg/kg Tan IIA once daily for 12 weeks; the vehicle and positive control groups were injected with normal saline and mecobalamin (MeCbl, 100μg/kg), respectively. Axonal regeneration and functional recovery were evaluated by a range of morphological and functional measures 12 weeks after neuroanastomosis. The administration of 15mg/kg and 40mg/kg Tan IIA and MeCbl achieved better axonal regeneration with significant restoration of motor function as well as a marked decrease in Fluoro-Gold (FG)-labeled neurons and increased nerve regeneration. At 12 weeks post-surgery, 40mg/kg Tan IIA showed a better neuroprotective effect than 15mg/kg Tan IIA and MeCbl. There were no statistical differences between the 15mg/kg Tan IIA and MeCbl groups or the control and 6mg/kg Tan IIA groups. Our findings demonstrate that Tan IIA can alleviate nerve injury and promote nerve regeneration in a sciatic nerve transection model in rats, providing supportive evidence for Tan IIA as an effective potential therapeutic remedy for peripheral nerve injury.

A recombinant type 2 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus between NADC30-like and a MLV-like: Genetic characterization and pathogenicity for piglets.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an economically important pathogen for swine industry worldwide. The recombination occurring among PRRSV strains has been recognized as one of important molecular mechanisms for the evolution of PRRSV. Current prevalence of PRRSV NADC30-like causing clinical disease outbreaks is highly concerned in China. In the present study, the genetic characterization of a recombinant type 2 PRRSV (designated TJnh1501) was analyzed and its pathogenicity for piglets was examined. Our study showed that each region of TJnh1501 genome had 96.67-100% nucleotide and 96.5-100% amino acid identities with a Chinese highly pathogenic PRRSV-derived modified-live virus (MLV)-like except for its nonstructural protein 2 (nsp2)-coding region; while its nsp2-coding region shared higher nucleotide (84.44-85.85%) and amino acid (82.44-84.79%) identities with NADC30 and NADC30-like CHsx1401, and in particular, the highly variable region of nsp2 exhibited characteristic 131-aa deletion identical to NADC30 and NADC30-like CHsx1401. Meanwhile, we identified two recombination breakpoints located in the nt1737 and nt3506 of nsp2-coding region, which had higher nucleotide homology with NADC30 and NADC30-like CHsx1401. Moreover, TJnh1501 infection could cause persistent fever, moderate respiratory clinical signs, higher viremia, and obvious gross and microscopic lung lesions in piglets. The virus was shown to have lower pathogenicity than HP-PRRSV JXwn06, but higher than NADC30-like CHsx1401 for piglets. Our findings reveal that TJnh1501 is a recombinant type 2 PRRSV from the recombinant event between NADC30-like and MLV-like derived from the Chinese highly pathogenic PRRSV, and it exhibits intermediate virulence for pigs. This study adds valuable evidence for understanding the role of genomic recombination in the evolution of PRRSV.

Quercetin inhibited epithelial mesenchymal transition in diabetic rats, high-glucose-cultured lens, and SRA01/04 cells through transforming growth factor-β2/phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway.

Diabetic cataract (DC), an identified life-threatening secondary complication of diabetes mellitus, has proven to be a dilemma because of its multifactorial caused and progression. An increasing number of studies have shown that in addition to the maillard reaction, enhanced polyol pathway, and oxidative insults, epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is related to the prevalence of DC. Quercetin, a classic flavonoid with multiple pharmacological effects has been reported to possess therapeutic efficacy in the management and treatment of this disease. However, the mechanism underlying its therapeutic efficacy in EMT of lens epithelial cells (SRA01/04) and contribution to resolving DC remains a mystery. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the effects of quercetin on EMT of SRA01/04 and high-glucose (HG)-induced lens opacity accompanied by lens fibrosis induced by type-1 diabetes. Furthermore, we sought to clarify the specific mechanisms underlying these effects. At week 14 after streptozotocin (STZ) intraperitoneal administration, diabetic rats showed lens opacity accompanied with diminished antioxidant function, enhanced polyol pathway activity, and non-enzymatic glycation. Western blotting confirmed EMT in rat SRA01/04 cells with significantly increased α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and decreased E-cadherin expressions. Treatment of the lens with quercetin ameliorated the oxidative stress, inhibited aldose reductase (AR) activation, reduced advanced glycation end product (AGE) production, and finally suppressed EMT in the early stages. Our in vitro results showed that high-glucose activated the transforming growth factor-β2/phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (TGF-β2/PI3K/Akt) signalling and EMT in SRA01/04 cells. Further, induced oxidative stress, activation of aldose reductase, and accumulation of advanced glycation end products were also involved in this process. Quercetin was potent enough to effectively ameliorate the high glucose (HG)-induced EMT of SRA01/04 cells by inhibiting the activation of TGF-β2/PI3K/Akt, enhancing the antioxidant capacity, inhibiting AR activity, and reducing AGE production. From the whole animal to tissues, and finally the cellular level, our results provide considerable evidence of the therapeutic potential of quercetin for DC. This might be due to its inhibition of EMT mediated through inhibition of the TGF-β/PI3K/Akt pathway.

A Smart Nano-Prodrug Platform with Reactive Drug Loading, Superb Stability, and Fast Responsive Drug Release for Targeted Cancer Therapy.

Nano-prodrugs usually involve a multistep synthesis which largely compromises their benefits. Here, a smart nano-prodrug platform with reactive drug loading, superb stability, and triggered drug release is reported for targeted melanoma therapy. cRGD-decorated polymersomal mertansine prodrug (cRGD-PS-DM1) is readily fabricated from cRGD-functionalized poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(trimethylene carbonate-co-dithiolane trimethylene carbonate) with simultaneous loading of mertansine (DM1) via thiol-disulfide exchange reaction and disulfide cross-linking of polymersomal membrane. cRGD-PS-DM1 exhibits a size of ≈100 nm, little drug leakage, and fast DM1 release in the presence of 2 × 10(-3) -10 × 10(-3) m glutathione. Tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay (MTT) and confocal microscopy studies confirm effective homing of cRGD-PS-DM1 to αv β3 overexpressing B16F10 melanoma cells. Notably, the in vivo studies show that cRGD-PS-DM1 has a greatly improved toleration as compared with free DM1 and effectively inhibits tumor growth and extends the survival time of B16F10 melanoma-bearing mice. cRGD-PS-DM1 nano-prodrug with reactive drug loading and multifunction provides an advanced nanomedicine for cancer therapy.

Feasibility study: Effect of hand resistance exercise on handwriting in Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

A single group, repeated measures design was used.

A Moldable Nanocomposite Hydrogel Composed of a Mussel-Inspired Polymer and a Nanosilicate as a Fit-to-Shape Tissue Sealant.

The engineering of bioadhesives to bind and conform to the complex contour of tissue surfaces remains a challenge. We have developed a novel moldable nanocomposite hydrogel by combining dopamine-modified poly(ethylene glycol) and the nanosilicate Laponite, without the use of cytotoxic oxidants. The hydrogel transitioned from a reversibly cross-linked network formed by dopamine-Laponite interfacial interactions to a covalently cross-linked network through the slow autoxidation and cross-linking of catechol moieties. Initially, the hydrogel could be remolded to different shapes, could recover from large strain deformation, and could be injected through a syringe to adhere to the convex contour of a tissue surface. With time, the hydrogel solidified to adopt the new shape and sealed defects on the tissue. This fit-to-shape sealant has potential in sealing tissues with non-flat geometries, such as a sutured anastomosis.

Hepatic stellate cell interferes with NK cell regulation of fibrogenesis via curcumin induced senescence of hepatic stellate cell.

Hepatic fibrosis, a common scarring response to various forms of chronic liver injury, is a precursor to cirrhosis and liver cancer. During liver fibrosis, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) initially activate and proliferate, which are responsible for the secretion of extracellular matrix components. However, these cells eventually senesce and are cleared by natural killer (NK) cells. Our previous researches have shown that the natural product curcumin could promote the senescence of activated HSC. In this study, we investigated how NK cells target senescent HSC and assessed the effect of this process on liver fibrosis. We found that senescent HSC induced by curcumin are susceptible to NK cells killing, due to the increased expression of NK cell activating ligand major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related genes A (MICA) and UL16-binding proteins 2 (ULBP2), but not Poliovirus Receptor (PVR). Further studies displayed that the interaction between NK cells and senescent LX2 cells stimulated granule exocytosis. Moreover, the inhibition of granule exocytosis weakened the cytotoxicity of NK cells and promoted the accumulation of senescent LX2 cells. Therefore, these aggregated data indicated that NK cells mediated clearance of senescent LX2 cells and granule exocytosis could play a protective role in the improvement of liver fibrosis.

Alterations in over-ground walking patterns in obese and overweight adults.

Obesity has been associated with negative effects on postural control, including falls. Previous studies revealed different outcomes regarding the effects of obesity on gait features, and the use of BMI may lead to bias in assessing the true effects of obesity on gait. To better understand the effects of obesity on gait, it is important to examine gait features and associated body composition measures. The purpose of this study was: (1) to assess gait features of normal weight, overweight and obese adults, and (2) to assess the relationship between body composition measures and gait features. Thirty participants were assigned to one of three groups based upon their BMI at the onset of the study: healthy weight (BMI: 18.5-24.9kg/m(2)), overweight (BMI: 25-29.9kg/m(2)), or obese (BMI: 30-40kg/m(2)). Participants performed straight-line over-ground walking through a 200m hallway at their natural preferred speed while wearing their own shoes. The angular displacements, range of motion (ROM), and approximate entropy of kinematic data of the bilateral hips, knees, and ankles in the sagittal plane were computed. Walking speed, step length, stride length, single leg support phase, double leg support phase, swing phase and bilateral stance phase times were extracted from the GaitRite data. Overall, body mass and BMI were associated with peak flexion and ROM in the knees as well as single support, double support, stance, and swing phases. Body fat percentage did not exhibit correlations with measured gait features. Gait variables were more highly correlated with BMI and body mass instead of percent body fat, suggesting that absolute mass is more influential on gait features rather than amount of fat tissue.

Immobilization of lysozyme proteins on a hierarchical zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF-8).

A hierarchical zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (micro/meso-ZIF-8) was fabricated by using cetyltrimethylammonium bromide as a structure-controlling agent and l-histidine as co-templates. Compared to the conventional microporous ZIF-8 (micro-ZIF-8), the hierarchical porous structure of micro/meso-ZIF-8 contains micropores and maximum mesopores of around 35.6 nm. The as-prepared hierarchical micro/meso-ZIF-8 featured a large surface area and superior spontaneous adsorption activity than micro-ZIF-8 towards lysozyme (LZM), bovine hemoglobin (BHb) and bovine serum albumin (BSA), and the adsorption capacity increased with the decreasing of the protein size due to the molecule cutoff effects. The maximum adsorption capacity of LZM on micro/meso-ZIF-8 was higher than most of the reported results under similar adsorption conditions. The analyses of adsorption kinetics and thermodynamics implied that the adsorption mechanism mainly involved physical adsorption. Moreover, the micro/meso-ZIF-8 showed good thermal stability against temperature and excellent regeneration ability in the recycling adsorption experiments. This work proposed herein opens a broad application prospect of hierarchical MOFs in biological molecule separation, immobilization and enrichment.

Canonical hedgehog signalling regulates hepatic stellate cell-mediated angiogenesis in liver fibrosis.

Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are liver-specific pericytes regulating angiogenesis during liver fibrosis. We aimed to elucidate the mechanisms by which hedgehog signalling regulated HSC angiogenic properties and to validate the therapeutic implications.

αvβ3 Integrin-targeted reduction-sensitive micellar mertansine prodrug: Superb drug loading, enhanced stability, and effective inhibition of melanoma growth in vivo.

Antibody-maytansinoid conjugates (AMCs) have emerged as one of the most promising active targeting cancer therapeutics. Their clinical use is, however, challenged by their low drug content, poor stability, high cost and potential immune response. Here, we designed and developed robust, cRGD-functionalized, reduction-sensitive polymeric micellar mertansine (DM1) prodrug (cRGD-MMP) that showed targeted treatment of B16F10 melanoma-bearing C57BL/6 mice. cRGD-MMP was obtained with a superb drug content of ~40wt.% and a small size of ~45nm from poly(ethylene glycol)-b-(poly(trimethylene carbonate)-graft-SSDM1) (PEG-P(TMC-g-SSDM1)) and cRGD-functionalized PEG-P(TMC-g-SSDM1) copolymers. cRGD-MMP exhibited excellent stability in 10% fetal bovine serum and cell culture medium while fast swelling and markedly accelerated drug release under a reductive environment. Confocal microscopy, flow cytometry and MTT assays indicated receptor-mediated uptake and high antitumor effect of cRGD-MMP in αvβ3 integrin over-expressing B16F10 melanoma cells. Notably, cRGD-MMP displayed a long elimination half-life of 5.25h and 4-fold better maximum-tolerated dose than free DM1. The in vivo studies demonstrated that cRGD-MMP effectively inhibited B16F10 melanoma growth and greatly improved mice survival rate as compared to free DM1 and non-targeted MMP control. cRGD-MMP with superior stability, drug loading, and αvβ3 targetability offers an attractive alternative to AMCs for malignant tumor therapy.

Cognitive dysfunction in adult patients with neuromyelitis optica: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The objective of this study was to investigate cognitive dysfunction in 24-60-year-old neuromyelitis optica (NMO) patients, demographically matched healthy subjects, and MS patients. We conducted a comprehensive literature review of the PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, CNKI, Wan Fang Date, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases from inception to May 2016 for case-control studies that reported cognitive test scores in NMO patients, healthy subjects, and MS patients. Outcome measures were cognitive function evaluations, including performance on attention, language, memory, information processing speed, and executive function tests. The meta-analysis included eight studies. NMO patients performed significantly worse on attention (P < 0.00001), language (P = 0.00008), memory (P = 0.00004), information processing speed (P < 0.00001), and executive function tests (P = 0.00009) than healthy subjects. There were no significant differences in performance between NMO patients and MS patients on these tests. This meta-analysis indicates that NMO patients aged 24-60 years have significantly worse cognitive performance than demographically matched healthy subjects. However, this was comparable to the performance of demographically matched MS patients. There is a need for further rigorous randomized controlled trials with focus on elucidating the underlying mechanism of cognitive dysfunction in NMO patients.

Inhibition of YAP signaling contributes to senescence of hepatic stellate cells induced by tetramethylpyrazine.

Accumulating evidence indicates that hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the central mediators and major effectors in the development of hepatic fibrosis. It is well-known that regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis are potential strategies to block the activation of HSCs. Recently, several studies have revealed that induction of HSC senescence could prevent and cure the liver fibrosis. In our previous work, we have demonstrated that the natural product tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) could inhibit the activation of HSCs and ameliorate hepatic fibrosis. The aim of this study was to identify a new role of TMP in the regulation of activated HSC senescence and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. In this study, our data showed that TMP could promote HSC senescence in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, TMP affected the cell cycle and telomerase activity. We further demonstrated that P53 siRNA or P53 pharmacological inhibitor PFT-α abrogated the TMP-induced HSC senescence in vitro. Meanwhile, similar results were obtained in vivo. Further studies indicated that TMP promoted the expression of P53 through a YAP inhibition-dependent mechanism. Moreover, silencing YAP enhanced TMP induction of activated HSC senescence. Collectively, our results suggested that TMP inhibited the activation of HSCs by inducing senescence and had therapeutic implication for the treatment of liver fibrosis.

Model polymer system for investigating the generation of hydrogen peroxide and its biological responses during the crosslinking of mussel adhesive moiety.

Mussel adhesive moiety, catechol, has been utilized to design a wide variety of biomaterials. However, the biocompatibility and biological responses associated with the byproducts generated during the curing process of catechol has never been characterized. An in situ curable polymer model system, 4-armed polyethylene glycol polymer end-capped with dopamine (PEG-D4), was used to characterize the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) during the oxidative crosslinking of catechol. Although PEG-D4 cured rapidly (under 30s), catechol continues to polymerize over several hours to form a more densely crosslinked network over time. PEG-D4 hydrogels were examined at two different time points; 5min and 16h after initiation of crosslinking. Catechol in the 5min-cured PEG-D4 retained the ability to continue to crosslink and generated an order of magnitude higher H2O2 (40μM) over 6h when compared to 16h-cured samples that ceased to crosslink. H2O2 generated during catechol crosslinking exhibited localized cytotoxicity in culture and upregulated the expression of an antioxidant enzyme, peroxiredoxin 2, in primary dermal and tendon fibroblasts. Subcutaneous implantation study indicated that H2O2 released during oxidative crosslinking of PEG-D4 hydrogel promoted superoxide generation, macrophage recruitment, and M2 macrophage polarization in tissues surrounding the implant. Given the multitude of biological responses associated with H2O2, it is important to monitor and tailor the production of H2O2 generated from catechol-containing biomaterials for a given application.

Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies a Missense Mutation in HES7 Associated with Short Tails in Asian Domestic Cats.

Domestic cats exhibit abundant variations in tail morphology and serve as an excellent model to study the development and evolution of vertebrate tails. Cats with shortened and kinked tails were first recorded in the Malayan archipelago by Charles Darwin in 1868 and remain quite common today in Southeast and East Asia. To elucidate the genetic basis of short tails in Asian cats, we built a pedigree of 13 cats segregating at the trait with a founder from southern China and performed linkage mapping based on whole genome sequencing data from the pedigree. The short-tailed trait was mapped to a 5.6 Mb region of Chr E1, within which the substitution c. 5T > C in the somite segmentation-related gene HES7 was identified as the causal mutation resulting in a missense change (p.V2A). Validation in 245 unrelated cats confirmed the correlation between HES7-c. 5T > C and Chinese short-tailed feral cats as well as the Japanese Bobtail breed, indicating a common genetic basis of the two. In addition, some of our sampled kinked-tailed cats could not be explained by either HES7 or the Manx-related T-box, suggesting at least three independent events in the evolution of domestic cats giving rise to short-tailed traits.

Rapid magnetic solid-phase extraction of Congo Red and Basic Red 2 from aqueous solution by [email protected] O4 hybrid composites.

Core-shell metal-organic framework materials have attracted considerable attention mainly due to their enhanced or new physicochemical properties compared with their single-component counterparts. In this work, a core-shell heterostructure of CoFe2 O4 -Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-8 ([email protected] O4 ) is successfully fabricated and used as an solid-phase extraction adsorbent to efficiently extract Congo Red and Basic Red 2 dyes from contaminated aqueous solution. Vibrating sample magnetometry indicates that the saturated magnetization of [email protected] O4 is 3.3 emu/g, which is large enough for magnetic separation. The obtained hybrid magnetic metal-organic framework based material [email protected] O4 can remove the investigated dyes very fast within 1 min of the contact time. The adsorbent [email protected] O4 also shows a good reusability. After regeneration, the adsorbent can still exhibit high removal efficiency (∼97%) toward Congo Red for five cycles of desorption-adsorption. This work reveals the great potential of core-shell [email protected] O4 sorbents for the fast separation and preconcentration of organic pollutants in aqueous solution before high-performance liquid chromatography analysis.

Use of electrospinning to construct biomaterials for peripheral nerve regeneration.

A number of limitations associated with the use of hollow nerve guidance conduits (NGCs) require further discussion. Most importantly, the functional recovery outcomes after the placement of hollow NGCs are poor even after the successful bridging of peripheral nerve injuries. However, nerve regeneration scaffolds built using electric spinning have several advantages that may improve functional recovery. Thus, the present study summarizes recent developments in this area, including the key cells that are combined with the scaffold and associated with nerve regeneration, the structure and configuration of the electrospinning design (which determines the performance of the electrospinning scaffold), the materials the electrospinning fibers are composed of, and the methods used to control the morphology of a single fiber. Additionally, this study also discusses the processes underlying peripheral nerve regeneration. The primary goals of the present review were to evaluate and consolidate the findings of studies that used scaffolding biomaterials built by electrospinning used for peripheral nerve regeneration support. It is amazing that the field of peripheral nerve regeneration continues to consistently produce such a wide variety of innovative techniques and novel types of equipment, because the introduction of every new process creates an opportunity for advances in materials for nerve repair.

Course Control of Underactuated Ship Based on Nonlinear Robust Neural Network Backstepping Method.

The problem of course control for underactuated surface ship is addressed in this paper. Firstly, neural networks are adopted to determine the parameters of the unknown part of ideal virtual backstepping control, even the weight values of neural network are updated by adaptive technique. Then uniform stability for the convergence of course tracking errors has been proven through Lyapunov stability theory. Finally, simulation experiments are carried out to illustrate the effectiveness of proposed control method.

Self-crosslinkable and intracellularly decrosslinkable biodegradable micellar nanoparticles: A robust, simple and multifunctional nanoplatform for high-efficiency targeted cancer chemotherapy.

Nanomedicines based on biodegradable micelles offer a most promising treatment for malignant tumors. Their clinical effectiveness, however, remains to be improved. Here, we report that self-crosslinkable and intracellularly decrosslinkable micellar nanoparticles (SCID-Ms) self-assembled from novel amphiphilic biodegradable poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(dithiolane trimethylene carbonate) block copolymer achieve high-efficiency targeted cancer chemotherapy in vivo. Interestingly, doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded SCID-Ms showed favorable features of superb stability, minimal drug leakage, long circulation time, triggered drug release inside the tumor cells, and an unprecedented maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of over 100mg DOX equiv./kg in mice, which was at least 10 times higher than free drug. The in vivo studies in malignant B16 melanoma-bearing C57BL/6 mice revealed that DOX-SCID-Ms at a dosage of 30mg DOX equiv./kg could effectively suppress tumor growth and prolong mice survival time without causing obvious systemic toxicity. Moreover, DOX-SCID-Ms could be readily decorated with a targeting ligand like cRGD peptide. The biodistribution studies showed that cRGD20/DOX-SCID-Ms had a high tumor accumulation of 6.13% ID/g at 6h post injection, which was ca. 3-fold higher than that for clinically used pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (DOX-LPs). Accordingly, cRGD20/DOX-SCID-Ms exhibited significantly better therapeutic efficacy and lower side effects than DOX-LPs in B16 melanoma-bearing mice. These self-regulating biodegradable micellar nanoparticles offer a robust, multifunctional and viable nanoplatform for targeted cancer chemotherapy.

Gelatin Microgel Incorporated Poly(ethylene glycol)-Based Bioadhesive with Enhanced Adhesive Property and Bioactivity.

Up to 7.5 wt % of chemically cross-linked gelatin microgel was incorporated into dopamine-modified poly(ethylene glycol) (PEGDM) adhesive to simultaneously improve the material property and bioactivity of the PEG-based bioadhesive. Incorporation of gelatin microgel reduced cure time while it increased the elastic modulus and cross-linking density of the adhesive network. Most notably, the loss modulus values for microgel-containing adhesive were an order of magnitude higher when compared to microgel-free control. This drastic increase in the viscous dissipation ability of the adhesive is attributed to the introduction of reversible physical bonds into the adhesive network with the incorporation of the gelatin microgel. Additionally, incorporation of the microgel increased the adhesive properties of PEGDM by 1.5- to 2-fold. From in vitro cell culture studies, the composite adhesive is noncytotoxic and the incorporation of microgels provided binding site for promoting fibroblast attachment and viability. The subcutaneous implantation study indicated that the microgel-containing PEGDM adhesive is biocompatible and the incorporated microgels provided pockets for rapid cellular infiltration. Gelatin microgel incorporation was demonstrated to be a facile method to simultaneously enhance the adhesive property and the bioactivity of PEG-based adhesive.

Nitro-Group Functionalization of Dopamine and its Contribution to the Viscoelastic Properties of Catechol-Containing Nanocomposite Hydrogels.

Linear polyacrylamide (PAAm) is modified with dopamine or nitrodopamine (PAAm-D and PAAm-ND, respectively) to evaluate the effect of nitro-group modification on the interfacial binding properties of polymer-bound catechol. Nanocomposite hydrogels are prepared by mixing PAAm-based polymers with Laponite and the viscoelastic properties of these materials are determined using oscillatory rheometry. The incorporation of a small amount of catechol (≈0.1 wt% in swollen hydrogel) drastically increases the shear moduli by 1-2 orders of magnitude over those of the catechol-free control. Additionally, PAAm-ND exhibits higher shear moduli values than PAAm-D across the whole pH range tested (pH 3.0-9.0). Based on the calculated effective crosslinking density, effective functionality, and molecular weight between crosslinks, nitro-group functionalization of dopamine results in a polymer network with increased crosslinking density and crosslinking points with higher functionality. Nitro-functionalization enhances the interfacial binding property of dopamine and increases its resistant to oxidation, which results in nanocomposite hydrogels with enhanced stiffness and a viscous dissipation property.

Long-range superharmonic Josephson current and spin-triplet pairing correlations in a junction with ferromagnetic bilayers.

The long-range spin-triplet supercurrent transport is an interesting phenomenon in the superconductor/ferromagnet () heterostructure containing noncollinear magnetic domains. Here we study the long-range superharmonic Josephson current in asymmetric junctions. It is demonstrated that this current is induced by spin-triplet pairs  -  or  +  in the thick layer. The magnetic rotation of the particularly thin layer will not only modulate the amplitude of the superharmonic current but also realise the conversion between  -  and  + . Moreover, the critical current shows an oscillatory dependence on thickness and exchange field in the layer. These effect can be used for engineering cryoelectronic devices manipulating the superharmonic current. In contrast, the critical current declines monotonically with increasing exchange field of the layer, and if the layer is converted into half-metal, the long-range supercurrent is prohibited but still exists within the entire region. This phenomenon contradicts the conventional wisdom and indicates the occurrence of spin and charge separation in present junction, which could lead to useful spintronics devices.

EOLA1 Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression by Association with MT2A in ECV304 Cells.

Our research group firstly discovered endothelial-overexpressed lipopolysaccharide-associated factor 1 (EOLA1, GenBank number AY074889) as a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) responsive gene in ECV304 cells. The previous studies have further demonstrated the association of EOLA1 with metallothionein 2A (MT2A), while the role of EOLA1 during LPS-induced inflammatory response in ECV304 cells is unknown. In this report, we determined the subcellular localization of EOLA1 and the regulatory capacity of EOLA1 on vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) in response to LPS in ECV304 cells. Our results show that EOLA1 is broadly diffuse in the cells, and EOLA1 expression is dramatically induced by LPS. EOLA1 knockdown results in significant enhancement of LPS-induced VCAM-1 production. Consistent with this, overexpression of EOLA1 leads to the reduction of LPS-induced VCAM-1 production. Furthermore, MT2A knockdown reduces LPS-induced VCAM-1 production. Collectively, our results demonstrate a negative regulatory role of EOLA1 on LPS-induced VCAM-1 expression involving its association with MT2A in ECV304 cells.

Epigenetic Pattern on the Human Y Chromosome Is Evolutionarily Conserved.

DNA methylation plays an important role for mammalian development. However, it is unclear whether the DNA methylation pattern is evolutionarily conserved. The Y chromosome serves as a powerful tool for the study of human evolution because it is transferred between males. In this study, based on deep-rooted pedigrees and the latest Y chromosome phylogenetic tree, we performed epigenetic pattern analysis of the Y chromosome from 72 donors. By comparing their respective DNA methylation level, we found that the DNA methylation pattern on the Y chromosome was stable among family members and haplogroups. Interestingly, two haplogroup-specific methylation sites were found, which were both genotype-dependent. Moreover, the African and Asian samples also had similar DNA methylation pattern with a remote divergence time. Our findings indicated that the DNA methylation pattern on the Y chromosome was conservative during human male history.

Abundance and seasonal activity of Haemaphysalis concinna (Acari: Ixodidae) at the border between China and Russia in Northern Inner Mongolia, China.

Haemaphysalis concinna, a three-host tick vector of several pathogens, poses a high risk to the health of humans and livestock. However, knowledge of the seasonal activities, relative density and other ecological characteristics of this tick is quite limited and fragmentary. This knowledge gap represents a bottleneck in our understanding of the health risks associated with tick-borne pathogens.

Effects of adiposity on postural control and cognition.

In the U.S., it is estimated that over one-third of adults are obese (Body Mass Index (BMI)>30kg/m(2)). Previous studies suggest that obesity may be associated with deficits in cognitive performance and postural control. Increased BMI may challenge cognitive and postural performance in a variety of populations; however, most relevant studies have classified participants based on BMI values, which cannot be used to accurately assess the effects of adiposity on cognitive performance and postural control. The objective of the current study was to examine motor and cognitive responses for overweight and obese adults compared to normal weight individuals by using both BMI and adiposity measures. Ten normal weight (BMI=18-24.9kg/m(2)), ten overweight (BMI=25-29.9kg/m(2)), and ten obese (BMI=30-40kg/m(2)) adults were evaluated (age: 24±4 years). Participants were classified into three groups based on BMI values at the onset of the study, prior to body composition analysis. Participants performed (1) working memory task while maintaining upright stance, and (2) a battery of sensorimotor evaluations. Working memory reaction times, response accuracy, center-of-pressure (COP) path length, velocity, migration area, time to boundary values in anterior-posterior direction, and ankle-hip strategy-scores were calculated to evaluate cognitive-motor performance. No significant deficits in working memory performance were observed. Overall, measures of motor function deteriorated as BMI and body fat percentage increased. The relationship between deteriorating postural performance indices and body fat percentage were greater than those found between BMI and postural performance indices.

Evaluation of DEET and eight essential oils for repellency against nymphs of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae).

DEET and Eight commercially available essential oils (oregano, clove, thyme, vetiver, sandalwood, cinnamon, cedarwood, and peppermint) were evaluated for repellency against host-seeking nymphs of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. Concentration-repellency response was established using the vertical paper bioassay technique for each essential oil and compared with that of N,N-diethyl-3-methyl benzamide (DEET), a standard repellent compound present in many commercial repellent formulations. The effective concentration of DEET that repels 50% of ticks (EC50) was estimated at 0.02 mg/cm(2), while EC50s of the essential oils fall between 0.113 and 0.297 mg/cm(2). Based on EC50 estimates, oregano essential oil was the most effective among all essential oils tested, followed by clove, thyme, vetiver, sandalwood, cinnamon, cedarwood, and peppermint oils. None of the tested essential oils demonstrated a level of tick repellency found with DEET. Results from this study illustrated the challenge in search for more effective natural tick repellents.

Fabrication of nanocomposites composed of silver cyanamide and titania for improved photocatalytic hydrogen generation.

Highly efficient composite photocatalysts composed of silver cyanamide (Ag2NCN) and anatase titania (TiO2) were fabricated through a chemical precipitation process of silver nitrate and cyanamide in TiO2 suspensions. The TiO2 nanoparticles around 15 nm were immobilized on the surface of rectangular Ag2NCN particles to form a hetero-structure, and the contents of TiO2 were varied to tune the structure and the photocatalytic performances. In comparison with single TiO2 or Ag2NCN, the TiO2/Ag2NCN nanocomposites exhibited a prominent improved photocatalytic activity in the hydrogen generation, and the hydrogen evolution rate (1494.0 μmol (g h)(-1)) was higher than most of the reported TiO2-composite photocatalysts. Based on the structure investigation, the photocatalytic mechanism of these TiO2/Ag2NCN nanocomposites was proposed. The enhanced photocatalytic activity was attributed to three points: the matched energy level between TiO2 and Ag2NCN promoted the electron-hole transfer and thus inhibited the recombination of photogenerated electrons and holes; the great electron storage capacity of metallic silver produced in the photocatalytic process also facilitated the charge separation; in addition, the expanded absorption spectrum because of the composite structure enhanced the UV and visible light response ability. These TiO2/Ag2NCN nanocomposites also presented good photocatalytic stability in the typical cycle tests. This work provided new insights into fabricating highly efficient composite photocatalysts containing silver and TiO2 for hydrogen generation.

Identification of specific DNA methylation sites on the Y-chromosome as biomarker in prostate cancer.

As a diagnostic biomarker, prostate special antigen (PSA) tests always generate false positive results and lead to unnecessary and/or repeat biopsies. Therefore, there is an urgent need for developing more sensitive, specific diagnostic biomarkers. We epigenotyped methylated sites in cancer tissues and adjacent normal tissues from 66 patients. In comparison with normal adjacent tissues, we observed that there were 6 aberrant methylation sites in prostate cancer tissues on the Y-chromosome. We further performed pyrosequencing using urine of PCa patients and we identified one methylated site (cg05163709) as a potential biomarker. We evaluated the predictive capacity of the aberrant methylated sites using the area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC). The ROC analysis showed a higher AUC for cg05163709 (0.915) than prostate-specific antigen (PSA, 0.769). These results indicated that aberrant DNA methylation of cg05163709 on the Y-chromosome could serve as a potential diagnostic biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity.

Robotic-assisted left upper lingual segmentectomy.