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Ke Yang - Top 30 Publications

Incidence and clearance of oral human papillomavirus infection: A population-based cohort study in rural China.

The natural history of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection which is linked with the increased incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPSCC) has been incompletely studied. Oral swab specimens and questionnaire data were obtained bi-annually for up to 6 visits from 4314 healthy adults aged 25-69 in rural Anyang, China. HPV infection status was evaluated with PCR-based sequencing. Participants with at least two consecutive valid HPV results within the study period were included in the incidence and clearance analysis. Among 3289 participants included in this analysis (median follow-up time 18.3 months), incidence rates of mucosal HPV, oncogenic mucosal HPV and cutaneous HPV were 0.53 (95% CI: 0.39-0.73), 0.30 (95% CI: 0.20-0.46), and 4.17 (95% CI: 3.70-4.70) per 1,000 person-months respectively. Most newly acquired infections were cleared within one year. Recent practice of oral sex increased the risk of incident infection with mucosal HPV (Adjusted HR, 5.03; 95% CI, 1.16-21.73) and oncogenic mucosal HPV (Adjusted HR, 10.13; 95% CI, 2.14-48.06). Newly acquired oral mucosal HPV infections are rare and most are cleared within one year in rural Chinese. This study expands understanding of the natural history of oral HPV in countries with a lower incidence of HPV-OPSCC.

Transcriptome analysis of Rana chensinensis liver under trichlorfon stress.

Trichlorfon is a selective organophosphate insecticide that is widely applied in aquaculture and agriculture for control of various parasites. However, repeated and excess applications of trichlorfon often lead to water pollution and threaten non-targeted species. Our previous studies showed that trichlorfon could cause oxidative stress, lipid peroxidation and hepatic lesions in the liver of Rana chensinensis, but the related molecular mechanisms remain unclear. To explore the interference of trichlorfon in gene transcription, the differentially expressed genes in the liver of R. chensinensis exposed to trichlorfon were characterized using the RNA-seq platform. A search of all unigenes against non-redundant protein sequence (Nr), non-redundant nucleotide (Nt), Swiss-Prot, Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COG) and Gene Ontology (GO) databases resulted in 22,888, 21,719, 20,934, 16,923, 7375 and 15,631 annotations, respectively, and provided a total of 27,781 annotated unigenes. Among the annotated unigenes, 16,923 were mapped to 257 signalling pathways. A set of 3329 differentially expressed unigenes was identified by comparison of the two groups in liver. Notably, relative expression of metabolism-related genes, including both up- and down-regulated genes, were also validated by qPCR. The present study depicts the high degree of transcriptional complexity in R. chensinensis under trichlorfon stress and provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms of organophosphate insecticide toxicology. Some of these metabolism-responsive genes could be useful for understanding the toxicological mechanism of trichlorfon on non-target aquatic organisms and will contribute to the conservation of aquatic life.

DC-SIGN reacts with TLR4 and regulates inflammatory cytokine expression via NF-κB activation in renal tubular epithelial cells during acute renal injury.

In the pathological process of acute kidney injury (AKI), innate immune receptors are essential in inflammatory response modulation; however, the precise molecular mechanisms are still unclear. Our study sought to demonstrate the inflammatory response mechanisms in renal tubular epithelial cells via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3-grabbing non-integrin 1 (DC-SIGN) signaling. We found that DC-SIGN exhibited strong expression in renal tubular epithelial cells of human acute renal injury tissues. DC-SIGN protein expression was significantly increased when renal tubular epithelial cells were exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for a short period. Furthermore, DC-SIGN was involved in the activation of p65 by TLR4, which excluded p38 and JNK. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) expression were decreased after DC-SIGN knockdown. Furthermore, LPS induced endogenous interactions and plasma membrane co-expression between TLR4 and DC-SIGN. These results showed that DC-SIGN and TLR4 interactions regulate inflammatory responses in renal tubular epithelial cells and participate in AKI pathogenesis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Ion channel functional protein kinase TRPM7 regulates Mg ions to promote the osteoinduction of human osteoblast via PI3K pathway: In vitro simulation of the bone-repairing effect of Mg-based alloy implant.

Mg-based alloys, as the potential orthopaedic implant, can self-degrade to avoid second operation for its remove, and enable to promote bone repair; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, we examined the effect of Mg ions on osteogenesis, chemotaxis and anti-alkaline stress in hFOB1.19 human osteoblast cells to simulate bone-repairing effect of a biodegradable Mg-based alloy implant in vitro, and explored the regulatory role of the transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (TRPM7)/phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling pathway in the process of Mg ion-induced bone repair by knockdown of TRPM7 and antagonizing PI3K activity. Results indicate that Mg ions up-regulated the expression of Runx2 and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) through TRPM7/PI3K signalling pathway, which could significantly enhance the osteogenic activity of human osteoblasts. Furthermore, the expression levels of MMP2, MMP9 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were increased by TRPM7/PI3K signalling pathway, which recruits osteoblasts from low- to high-Mg ion environments by inducing cell migration. Although an alkaline environment has antibacterial effects, alkaline stress can cause cytotoxicity and induce cell death. Finally, we found that Mg ions could activate PI3K phosphorylation to promote cell growth and survival, protecting cells against the alkaline-stress-induced cytotoxicity caused by the degradation of Mg-based alloy implants. Our study not only revealed the molecular mechanism of Mg in promoting bone repair but also explained the protective effects of Mg ions on osteoblasts in an alkaline environment, which provides a theoretical basis and new directions for the application of Mg-based alloy implant material in orthopaedics fixations and osteosarcoma treatment.

A study on the safety and efficacy of reveglucosidase alfa in patients with late-onset Pompe disease.

Late-onset Pompe disease is a rare genetic neuromuscular disorder caused by lysosomal acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA) deficiency that ultimately results in mobility loss and respiratory failure. Current enzyme replacement therapy with recombinant human (rh)GAA has demonstrated efficacy in subjects with late-onset Pompe disease. However, long-term effects of rhGAA on pulmonary function have not been observed, likely related to inefficient delivery of rhGAA to skeletal muscle lysosomes and associated deficits in the central nervous system. To address this limitation, reveglucosidase alfa, a novel insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2)-tagged GAA analogue with improved lysosomal uptake, was developed. This study evaluated the pharmacokinetics, safety, and exploratory efficacy of reveglucosidase alfa in 22 subjects with late-onset Pompe disease who were previously untreated with rhGAA.

Evaluation of PDQ-8 and its relationship with PDQ-39 in China: a three-year longitudinal study.

Parkinson's disease is characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms with wide ranging impacts on the health-related quality of life. The 39-item Parkinson's disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) is the most widely used PD-specific health-related quality-of-life questionnaire. The short-form 8-item Parkinson's disease Questionnaire (PDQ-8) was found to produce results similar to that of the PDQ-39 cross-culturally. However, there is no evaluation of the PDQ-8 in the mainland of China.

Hard templating ultrathin polycrystalline hematite nanosheets: effect of nano-dimension on CO2 to CO conversion via the reverse water-gas shift reaction.

Understanding how nano-dimensionality impacts iron oxide based catalysis is central to a wide range of applications. Here, we focus on hematite nanosheets, nanowires and nanoparticles as applied to catalyze the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) probe reaction. We introduce a novel approach to synthesize ultrathin (4-7 nm) hematite nanosheets using copper oxide nanosheets as a hard template and propose a reaction mechanism based on density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Hematite nanowires and nanoparticles were also synthesized and characterized. H2 temperature programmed reduction (H2-TPR) and RWGS reactions were performed to glean insights into the mechanism of CO2 conversion to CO over the iron oxide nanomaterials and were compared to H2 binding energy calculations based on density functional theory. While the nanosheets did exhibit high CO2 conversion, 28% at 510 °C, we found that the iron oxide nanowires had the highest CO2 conversion, reaching 50% at 750 °C under atmospheric pressure. No products besides CO and H2O were detected.

A homozygous missense variant in HSD17B4 identified in a consanguineous Chinese Han family with type II Perrault syndrome.

Perrault syndrome is a rare multisystem disorder that manifests with sensorineural hearing loss in both sexes, primary ovarian insufficiency in females and neurological features. The syndrome is heterogeneous both genetically and phenotypically.

Attenuation of TNF-α-Induced Inflammatory Injury in Endothelial Cells by Ginsenoside Rb1 via Inhibiting NF-κB, JNK and p38 Signaling Pathways.

It is currently believed that inflammation plays a central role in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress and redox-sensitive transcription factors are implicated in the process. Ginsenoside Rb1, a major active ingredient in processed Radix notoginseng, has attracted widespread attention because of its potential to improve cardiovascular function. However, the effects of ginsenoside Rb1 on tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-induced vascular endothelial cell injury and the underlying molecular mechanisms have never been studied. This study showed that TNF-α-induced oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) could be attenuated by ginsenoside Rb1 pretreatment. Using JC-1, Annexin V/PI and TUNEL staining, and a caspase-3 activity assay, we found that Rb1 provided significant protection against TNF-α-induced cell death. Furthermore, Rb1 pretreatment could inhibit TNF-α-induced ROS and MDA production; increase the activities of SOD, CAT, and GSH-Px; and decrease the levels of IL-1β, IL-6, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, VEGF, MMP-2 and MMP-9. Importantly, the cytoprotective effects of Rb1 were correlated with NF-κB signaling pathway inhibition. Additionally, we found that Rb1 may suppress the NF-κB pathway through p-38 and JNK pathway activation, findings supported by the results of our experiments involving anisomycin (AM), a JNK and p38 activator. In conclusion, this study showed that ginsenoside Rb1 protects HUVECs from TNF-α-induced oxidative stress and inflammation by inhibiting JNK and p38. This inhibition suppressed NF-κB signaling and down-regulated the expression of inflammatory factors and apoptosis-related proteins.

The algicidal mechanism of prodigiosin from Hahella sp. KA22 against Microcystis aeruginosa.

In recent years, Microcystis aeruginosa blooms have occurred throughout the world, causing huge economic losses and destroying aquatic ecosystems. It is necessary to develop effective and ecofriendly methods to control M. aeruginosa blooms. Here, we report a high algicidal activity of prodigiosin (PG) against M. aeruginosa as well as the algicidal mechanism. PG showed high algicidal activity against M. aeruginosa, with a 50% lethal dose (LD50) of 5.87 μg/mL in 72 h. A combination of methods, including propidium iodide and Annexin V-fluorescein staining assays and light and electron microscopy indicated the existence of two modes of cell death with features similar to those in eukaryotic programmed cell death: necrotic-like and apoptotic-like. Biochemical and physiological analyses showed that PG generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), which induce lipid peroxidation, damage the membrane system and destroy the function of the photosystem. A proteomics analysis revealed that many proteins were differentially expressed in response to PG stress and that most of these proteins were involved in important metabolic processes, which may trigger necrotic-like or apoptotic-like cell death. The present study sheds light on the multiple toxicity mechanisms of PG on M. aeruginosa and its potential for controlling the occurrence of M. aeruginosa blooms in lakes.

Mkit: A cell migration assay based on microfluidic device and smartphone.

Mobile sensing based on the integration of microfluidic device and smartphone, so-called MS(2) technology, has enabled many applications over recent years, and continues to stimulate growing interest in both research communities and industries. In particular, it has been envisioned that MS(2) technology can be developed for various cell functional assays to enable basic research and clinical applications. Toward this direction, in this paper, we describe the development of a MS(2)-based cell functional assay for testing cell migration (the Mkit). The system is constructed as an integrated test kit, which includes microfluidic chips, a smartphone-based imaging platform, the phone apps for image capturing and data analysis, and a set of reagent and accessories for performing the cell migration assay. We demonstrated that the Mkit can effectively measure purified neutrophil and cancer cell chemotaxis. Furthermore, neutrophil chemotaxis can be tested from a drop of whole blood using the Mkit with red blood cell (RBC) lysis. The effects of chemoattractant dose and gradient profile on neutrophil chemotaxis were also tested using the Mkit. In addition to research applications, we demonstrated the effective use of the Mkit for on-site test at the hospital and for testing clinical samples from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient. Thus, this developed Mkit provides an easy and integrated experimental platform for cell migration related research and potential medical diagnostic applications.

Serum amyloid A enrichment impairs the anti-inflammatory ability of HDL from diabetic nephropathy patients.

Impaired anti-inflammatory ability of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) has been demonstrated in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, whether HDL from patients with diabetic nephropathy (DN) suffers additional damage remains unknown. This study compared the anti-inflammatory capacities of HDL from healthy controls, T2DM patients with normal renal function, and T2DM patients with DN.

Potential energy surfaces of quintet and singlet O4.

We present global ground-state potential energy surfaces for the quintet and singlet spin states of the O4 system that are suitable for treating high-energy vibrational-rotational energy transfer and collision-induced dissociation in electronically adiabatic, spin-conserving O2-O2 collisions. The surfaces are based on MS-CASPT2/maug-cc-pVTZ electronic structure calculations with scaled external correlation. The active space has 16 electrons in 12 orbitals. The calculations cover nine kinds of geometrical arrangements corresponding to dissociative diatom-diatom collisions of O2, geometries corresponding to O3-O, geometries identified by running trajectories, and geometries along linear synchronous transit paths. The global ground-state potential energy surfaces were obtained by a many-body approach with an accurate O-O pairwise interaction and a fit of the many-body interaction to 12 684 electronic structure data points for the singlet and 10 543 electronic structure data points for the quintet. The many-body fit is based on permutationally invariant polynomials in terms of bond-order functions of the six interatomic distances; the bond-order functions are mixed exponential-Gaussian functions.

Pressure-Induced Crystallization and Phase Transformation of Para-xylene.

Static pressure is an alternative method to chemical pressure for tuning the crystal structure, bonds, and physical properties of materials, and is a significant technique for the synthesis of novel materials and fundamental research. In this letter, we report the crystallization and phase transformation of p-xylene under high pressure. Our optical micrographic observations and the appearance of lattice modes in the Raman and infrared (IR) spectra indicated that p-xylene crystallizes at ∼0.1 GPa. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern at 0.84 GPa suggests that the crystallized p-xylene had a monoclinic phase with the Cc(9) space group. The sharp shrinkage of the lattice at ~13 GPa and the solid state of the decompressed sample we observed suggests a new crystalline phase of p-xylene. The in situ XRD showed that the new crystalline phase was still a monoclinic structure but with a different space group of C2(5), indicating that a phase transition occurred during further compression. The mass spectrometry experiment confirmed phase transition polymerization, with mainly trimer and tetramer polymers. Our findings suggest an easy and efficient method for crystallizing and polymerizing p-xylene under high pressure.

Wild‑type blocking pcr coupled with internal competitive amplified fragment improved the detection of rare mutation of KRAS.

Mutant KRAS proto‑oncogene GTPase (KRAS) serves an important role in predicting the development, diagnosis, treatment and efficacy of targeted drug therapies for colorectal cancer. To improve the detection efficacy of trace amount of mutant KRAS, the locked nucleic acid‑based method was modified in the present study. Internal competitive amplification fragments were used to improve the inhibition of wild‑type KRAS with a wild‑type blocking (WTB) probe and specifically amplify the trace amounts of mutant KRAS. The modified method, quantitative clamp‑based polymerase chain reaction technology using WTB coupled with internal competitive reference to enhance the amplification specificity, named WIRE‑PCR, completely blocked the amplification of wild‑type KRAS in 50‑150 ng DNA templates. The added internal competitive amplified fragments were amplified together with the target gene, which were used to reduce base mismatch due to the high number of cycles in PCR and quantify the total amount of DNA. The results demonstrated that WIRE‑PCR facilitated the detection of mutated alleles at a single molecular level. In the colorectal biopsies from 50 patients with suspected colorectal cancer, 18 cases (36%) contained mutant KRAS, and the amount of mutant DNA accounted for 18.6‑64.2% of the total DNA. WIRE‑PCR is a simple, rapid and low‑cost quantitative analysis method for the detection of trace amounts of the mutant KRAS.

An All-on-chip Method for Rapid Neutrophil Chemotaxis Analysis Directly from a Drop of Blood.

Neutrophil migration and chemotaxis are critical for our body's immune system. Microfluidic devices are increasingly used for investigating neutrophil migration and chemotaxis owing to their advantages in real-time visualization, precise control of chemical concentration gradient generation, and reduced reagent and sample consumption. Recently, a growing effort has been made by the microfluidic researchers toward developing integrated and easily operated microfluidic chemotaxis analysis systems, directly from whole blood. In this direction, the first all-on-chip method was developed for integrating the magnetic negative purification of neutrophils and the chemotaxis assay from small blood volume samples. This new method permits a rapid sample-to-result neutrophil chemotaxis test in 25 min. In this paper, we provide detailed construction, operation and data analysis method for this all-on-chip chemotaxis assay with a discussion on troubleshooting strategies, limitations and future directions. Representative results of the neutrophil chemotaxis assay testing a defined chemoattractant, N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP), and sputum from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient, using this all-on-chip method are shown. This method is applicable to many cell migration-related investigations and clinical applications.

Epidemiology of self-rated health in rural China: a population-based cross-sectional study.

Self-rated health (SRH) has been shown to be a good predictor of mortality. Data on SRH and its associated factors in the Chinese general population are limited. This study aims to assess the epidemiology of SRH in rural Anyang, China. SRH (categorized as "healthy", "fair" or "unhealthy") was measured in a population-based study of 2,814 adults (including 697 couples) aged 25 to 69 who were recruited from rural Anyang in 2014. Of 2,814 subjects, 63.1% rated their health as "healthy", whereas 28.1% and 8.8% rated their health as "fair" and "unhealthy". Compared to males, females had a higher likelihood of reporting a better SRH. Health ratings declined with increasing age, unmarried status, lower education levels. Poor SRH was positively correlated with medical history as well as high levels of fasting plasma glucose and total cholesterol, but not with unhealthy lifestyle indicators including smoking, drinking, and obesity. High household income was predictive of better SRH in men but not in women. Among couples, a positive spousal SRH concordance was observed, although the strength of this concordance was low. These findings will be useful for formulation of appropriate strategies for improving risk perception and promoting general health in economically developing regions.

The epidemiological profile of hysterectomy in rural Chinese women: a population-based study.

Hysterectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures performed on women in developed countries; however, little is known about the epidemiology of hysterectomy in low-income to middle-income regions. This study seeks to evaluate the prevalence of hysterectomy and its risk factors in rural China.

Novel Superhard sp^{3} Carbon Allotrope from Cold-Compressed C_{70} Peapods.

Design and synthesis of new carbon allotropes have always been important topics in condensed matter physics and materials science. Here we report a new carbon allotrope, formed from cold-compressed C_{70} peapods, which most likely can be identified with a fully sp^{3}-bonded monoclinic structure, here named V carbon, predicted from our simulation. The simulated x-ray diffraction pattern, near K-edge spectroscopy, and phonon spectrum agree well with our experimental data. Theoretical calculations reveal that V carbon has a Vickers hardness of 90 GPa and a bulk modulus ∼400  GPa, which well explains the "ring crack" left on the diamond anvils by the transformed phase in our experiments. The V carbon is thermodynamically stable over a wide pressure range up to 100 GPa, suggesting that once V carbon forms, it is stable and can be recovered to ambient conditions. A transition pathway from peapod to V carbon has also been suggested. These findings suggest a new strategy for creating new sp^{3}-hybridized carbon structures by using [email protected] carbon precursor containing odd-numbered rings in the structures.

Associations between cognitive impairment and motor dysfunction in Parkinson's disease.

Numerous studies have been carried out to explore the potential association between neurologic deficits and variable clinical manifestations of Parkinson's disease (PD). The aim of our study was to investigate the association between cognitive performance and motor dysfunction in Chinese patients with PD.

Antimony Complexes for Electrocatalysis: Activity of a Main-Group Element in Proton Reduction.

Main-group complexes are shown to be viable electrocatalysts for the H2 -evolution reaction (HER) from acid. A series of antimony porphyrins with varying axial ligands were synthesized for electrocatalysis applications. The proton-reduction catalytic properties of TPSb(OH)2 (TP=5,10,15,20-tetra(p-tolyl)porphyrin) with two axial hydroxy ligands were studied in detail, demonstrating catalytic H2 production. Experiments, in conjunction with quantum chemistry calculations, show that the catalytic cycle is driven via the redox activity of both the porphyrin ligand and the Sb center. This study brings insight into main group catalysis and the role of redox-active ligands during catalysis.

DC-SIGN and Toll-like receptor 4 mediate oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced inflammatory responses in macrophages.

The regulation of inflammatory responses by innate immune receptors is recognized as a crucial step in the development of atherosclerosis, although the precise molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. This study focused on illustrating the roles of dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN)- and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-regulated inflammatory responses in macrophages. We found that DC-SIGN expression levels were increased in macrophages of atherosclerotic plaques. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) significantly enhanced DC-SIGN protein expression levels after a short-term exposure. Knockdown of DC-SIGN decreased expression and secretion of interleukin 1-β (IL1-β), monocyte chemo-attractant protein 1 (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that DC-SIGN and TLR4 co-localized in regions of the plaques. Moreover, DC-SIGN was co-expressed with TLR4 on the plasma membrane after oxLDL stimulation. The presence of an endogenous interaction and the results of the in vitro pull-down assays revealed that DC-SIGN binds directly with TLR4. We also present evidence that DC-SIGN mediates TLR4-regulated NFκB activation but not activation of p38 and JNK. Our results suggest an essential role of DC-SIGN/TLR4 signaling in macrophages in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

Fibroblast growth factor 23 weakens chemotaxis of human blood neutrophils in microfluidic devices.

Neutrophil trafficking in tissues critically regulates the body's immune response. Neutrophil migration can either play a protective role in host defense or cause health problems. Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a known biomarker for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and was recently shown to impair neutrophil arrest on endothelium and transendothelial migration. In the present study, we further examined the effect of FGF23 on human blood neutrophil chemotaxis using two new microfluidic devices. Our results showed that chemotaxis of FGF23 pre-treated neutrophils to a fMLP gradient, in the presence or absence of a uniform FGF23 background, is quantitatively lower compared to the control cells. This effect is accompanied with a stronger drifting of FGF23 pre-treated cells along the flow. However, without the FGF23 pre-treatment, the FGF23 background only reduces chemotaxis of transmigrated cells through the thin barrier channel to the fMLP gradient. The effect of FGF23 on neutrophil migration and the correlation between multiple cell migration parameters are further revealed by chemotactic entropy and principle component analysis. Collectively, these results revealed the effect of FGF23 on weakening neutrophil chemotaxis, which shed light on FGF23 mediated neutrophil migration with direct disease relevance such as CKD.

Biocompatibility and neurotoxicity of magnesium alloys potentially used for neural repairs.

Nerve injury, especially the large-size nerve damage, is a serious problem affecting millions of people. Entubulation of two ends of the injured nerve by using an implantable device, e.g., nerve guidance conduit (NGC), to guide the regeneration of nerve tissue is a promising approach for treating the large-size nerve defect. Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys are biodegradable, conductive, and own good mechanical properties. Mg(2+) ion, one of the main degradation products of Mg and its alloys, was reported to promote the proliferation of neural stem cells and their neurite production. Thus, Mg and its alloys are potential materials for fabricating the nerve repair implants, such as NGC or scaffold. However, the compatibility of Mg alloys to cells, especially neurons is not clear. In this work, NZ20 (Mg-2Nd-Zn), ZN20 (Mg-2Zn-Nd) and Mg-10Li magnesium alloys were selected for study, due to the improved mechanical properties of NZ20 and ZN20 alloys and bio-function of Li(+) ions from Mg-10Li to nervous system, respectively. The degradation behavior and biocompatibility were studied by in vitro degradation test and cell adhesion assay, respectively. Specifically, the cytocompatibility to dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, RF/6A choroid-retina endothelial cells, and osteoblasts in the cell culture media containing Mg alloy extracts were investigated. The results showed that Mg alloys degraded at different rates in cell culture media and artificial cerebrospinal fluid. The three alloy extracts showed negligible toxic effects on the endothelial cells and osteoblasts at short term (1 day), while NZ20 extract inhibited the proliferation of these two types of cells. The effect of Mg alloy extracts on cell proliferation was also concentration-dependent. For DRG neurons, ZN20 and Mg-10Li alloy extracts showed no neural toxicity compared with control group. The results of the present work show a potential and feasibility of Mg-10Li and ZN20 for nerve repair applications.

Characterization of common and rare mutations in EGFR and associated clinicopathological features in a large population of Chinese patients with lung cancer.

Lung cancer with EGFR mutation is often associated pathological characteristics and good responses to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). However, certain types of rare EGFR mutations have be linked to cases with poor response to EGFR TKIs. Therefore, extensive molecular screening and pathological characterization are essential for accurate diagnosis and selection of effective treatment plans. Although a large body of studies have established the rate of EGFR mutations as a whole entity, the rates of each individual types of mutations, especially those rare ones, have not been precisely determined in large patient populations with uniform genetic background. To address this issue, we assembled a large cohort of 456 Chinese patients with lung cancers to determine the rate of both common and rare forms of EGFR mutations and associated clinicopathological features in this retrospective study. We have found single or double EGFR mutations in 200 (43.9%) patients, including exon 19 deletions (E19del) (20%), exon 21 L858R (17.1%) and L861Q (1.5%) point mutations, exon 20 T790M (1.3%) and other mutations (1,3%), exon 18 mutations (1.3%), and double mutations (1.3%). EGFR mutation as well as its subtypes E19del, L858R, or double mutations were associated with female patients or never-smokers. In contrast, rare mutations, especially EGFR TKI resistant exon 20 mutations, were not statistically associated with any clinicopathological features, implicating that tumorigenesis driven by different EGFR mutations were mechanistically different. In summary, we have determined occurring rate of EGFR subtype mutations and demonstrated that different mutations showed different clinicopathological manifestations in lung cancer.

Structural evolution behavior of manganese monophosphide under high pressure: experimental and theoretical study.

The influence of external pressure on the structural properties of manganese monophosphides (MnP) at room temperature has been studied using in situ angle dispersive synchrotron x-ray powder diffraction (AD-XRD) with a diamond anvil cell. The crystal structure of MnP is stable between 0 to 15 GPa. However, the compressibility of b-axis is much larger than those of a- and c-axes. From this result we suggested that the occurrence of superconductivity in MnP was induced by suppression of the long-range antiferromagnetically ordered state rather than a structural phase transition. Furthermore, the present experimental results show that the Pnma phase of MnP undergoes a pressure-induced structural phase transition at ~15.0 GPa. This finding lighted up-to-date understanding of the common prototype B31 structure (Strukturbericht Designation: B31) in transition metal monophosphides. No additional structural phase transition was observed up to 35.1 GPa (Run 1) and 40.2 GPa (Run 2) from the present AD-XRD results. With an extensive crystal structure searching and ab initio calculations, we predict that MnP underwent two pressure-induced structural phase transitions of Pnma  →  P213 and P213  →  Pm-3m (CsCl-type) at 55.0 and 92.0 GPa, respectively. The structural stability and the electronic structures of manganese monophosphides under high pressure are also briefly discussed.

Enantioselective Propargylation of Polyols and Desymmetrization of meso 1,2-Diols by Copper/Borinic Acid Dual Catalysis.

A copper/borinic acid dual catalytic reaction enabled the enantioselective propargylation of aliphatic polyols. Readily available reagents and catalysts were used in this transformation, which displayed good to excellent chemo- and stereoselectivity for a broad array of substrates. The method was also applicable to the desymmetrization of meso 1,2-diols to furnish products with three stereogenic centers and a terminal alkyne group in one operation.

DNA hypermethylation of sFRP5 contributes to indoxyl sulfate-induced renal fibrosis.

Renal fibrosis is the most common outcome of chronic kidney disease (CKD), while the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis is not fully understood. In this study, we first showed that the progress of renal fibrosis was positively related to serum levels of indoxyl sulfate, a typical protein-bound toxin, and that there was a close correlation between serum indoxyl sulfate levels and β-catenin expression in the kidneys (r = 0.908, p < 0.001) of CKD patients. We then demonstrated that intraperitoneal injections of indoxyl sulfate (100 mg/kg/day) for 4 weeks in uninephrectomized mice explicitly induced renal fibrosis, which was accompanied by a significant activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In vitro investigations in human renal tubular HK-2 cells revealed that indoxyl sulfate exhibited a potent ability to induce Wnt/β-catenin activation through the downregulation of sFRP5, a gene that codes for an extracellular antagonist of Wnt signaling, by increasing the DNA methylation level of its promoter CpG islands. The increased expression of DNA methyltransferases following the activation of ROS/ERK1/2 signaling was responsible for the DNA hypermethylation of sFRP5 induced by indoxyl sulfate. Conversely, treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, an inhibitor of DNA methyltransferases, significantly reduced indoxyl sulfate-induced sFRP5 downregulation and Wnt/β-catenin activation. In vivo, intraperitoneal injections of recombinant sFRP5 protein or 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine substantially alleviated renal fibrosis in indoxyl sulfate-treated uninephrectomized mice. Our results suggest that indoxyl sulfate promotes renal fibrosis through the induction of DNA hypermethylation of sFRP5, and thereafter the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis in CKD patients.

The effects of activin A on the migration of human breast cancer cells and neutrophils and their migratory interaction.

Activin A belongs to the superfamily of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) and is a critical regulatory cytokine in breast cancer and inflammation. However, the role of activin A in migration of breast cancer cells and immune cells was not well characterized. Here, a microfluidic device was used to examine the effect of activin A on the migration of human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 cells and human blood neutrophils as well as their migratory interaction. We found that activin A promoted the basal migration but impaired epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced migration of breast cancer cells. By contrast, activin A reduced neutrophil chemotaxis and transendothelial migration to N-Formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP). Finally, activin A promoted neutrophil chemotaxis to the supernatant from breast cancer cell culture. Collectively, our study revealed the different roles of activin A in regulating the migration of breast cancer cells and neutrophils and their migratory interaction. These findings suggested the potential of activin A as a therapeutic target for inflammation and breast cancers.

Islet-1 induces the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into cardiomyocyte-like cells through the regulation of Gcn5 and DNMT-1.

Previous studies from this group demonstrated that insulin gene enhancer binding protein ISL-1 (Islet-1) specifically induces the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into cardiomyocyte‑like cells through histone acetylation. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, the role of the histone acetylation and DNA methylation on the regulatory mechanism of the Islet‑1 was further investigated by methylation‑specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), chromatin immunoprecipitation quantitative PCR and western blot analysis. The results demonstrated that Islet‑1 upregulated expression of general control of amino acid biosynthesis protein 5 (Gcn5) and enhanced the binding of Gcn5 to the promoters of GATA binding protein 4 (GATA4) and NK2 homeobox 5 (Nkx2.5). In addition, Islet-1 downregulated DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)‑1 expression and reduced its binding to the GATA4 promoter. In contrast, the amount of DNMT-1 binding on Nkx2.5 did not match the expression trend. Therefore, it was concluded that Islet‑1 may influence the histone acetylation and DNA methylation of GATA4 promoter region via Gcn5 and DNMT‑1 during the MSC differentiation into cardiomyocyte-like cells, thus prompting the expression of GATA4. The Nkx2.5 was likely only affected by histone acetylation instead of DNA methylation. The present study demonstrated that Islet‑1 induces the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into cardiomyocyte‑like cells through a specific interaction between histone acetylation and DNA methylation on regulating GATA4.