BioMed Research International The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Identification and Validation of Reference Genes for qRT-PCR Studies of Gene Expression in Dioscorea opposita Thu, 26 May 2016 14:07:25 +0000 Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is one of the most common methods for gene expression studies. Data normalization based on reference genes is essential for obtaining reliable results for qRT-PCR assays. This study evaluated potential reference genes of Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita Thunb.), which is an important tuber crop and medicinal plant in East Asia. The expression of ten candidate reference genes across 20 samples from different organs and development stages was assessed. We identified the most stable genes for qRT-PCR studies using combined samples from different organs. Our results also suggest that different suitable reference genes or combinations of reference genes for normalization should be applied according to different organs and developmental stages. To validate the suitability of the reference genes, we evaluated the relative expression of PE2.1 and PE53, which are two genes that may be associated with microtuber formation. Our results provide the foundation for reference gene(s) selection in D. opposita and will contribute toward more accurate gene analysis studies of the genus Dioscorea. Xiting Zhao, Xiaoli Zhang, Xiaobo Guo, Shujie Li, Linlin Han, Zhihui Song, Yunying Wang, Junhua Li, and Mingjun Li Copyright © 2016 Xiting Zhao et al. All rights reserved. Development of a Rapid Point-of-Use DNA Test for the Screening of Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® Soybean in Seed Samples Thu, 26 May 2016 13:56:39 +0000 Testing for the presence of genetically modified material in seed samples is of critical importance for all stakeholders in the agricultural industry, including growers, seed manufacturers, and regulatory bodies. While rapid antibody-based testing for the transgenic protein has fulfilled this need in the past, the introduction of new variants of a given transgene demands new diagnostic regimen that allows distinguishing different traits at the nucleic acid level. Although such molecular tests can be performed by PCR in the laboratory, their requirement for expensive equipment and sophisticated operation have prevented its uptake in point-of-use applications. A recently developed isothermal DNA amplification technique, recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA), combines simple sample preparation and amplification work-flow procedures with the use of minimal detection equipment in real time. Here, we report the development of a highly sensitive and specific RPA-based detection system for Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y) material in soybean (Glycine max) seed samples and present the results of studies applying the method in both laboratory and field-type settings. Dilip Chandu, Sudakshina Paul, Mathew Parker, Yelena Dudin, Jennifer King-Sitzes, Tim Perez, Don W. Mittanck, Manali Shah, Kevin C. Glenn, and Olaf Piepenburg Copyright © 2016 Dilip Chandu et al. All rights reserved. Serum Heme Oxygenase-1 and BMP-7 Are Potential Biomarkers for Bone Metabolism in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis Thu, 26 May 2016 13:18:39 +0000 Backgrounds. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) has been reported to play a regulatory role in osteoclastogenesis. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathways induce osteoblastic differentiation and bone remodeling. Aims. To identify serum levels of HO-1, BMP-7, and Runt related-transcription factor 2 (Runx2) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to investigate the relationships between HO-1, BMP-7, Runx2, and other common biomarkers for bone metabolism. Results. Serum levels of HO-1 and BMP-7 were revealed to be significantly higher in patients with RA or AS than in healthy controls (). In RA group, HO-1 was positively correlated with BMP-7, Runx2, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b (TRAP-5b) (, resp.), BMP-7 was positively correlated with Runx2 and TRAP-5b (, resp.), and Runx2 was negatively correlated with N-terminal midfragment of osteocalcin (NMID) (). In AS group, we observed identical correlation between HO-1 and BMP-7, but opposite correlations between BMP-7 and TRAP-5b and between Runx2 and NMID, when comparing with the RA cohort. Conclusion. Our findings suggest that HO-1 and BMP-7 are potential biomarkers for bone metabolism in patients with RA and AS. The different correlations between the bone markers point to distinct differences in bone remodeling pathways in the two types of arthritis. Tong-ling Yuan, Jin Chen, Yan-li Tong, Yan Zhang, Yuan-yuan Liu, James Cheng-Chung Wei, Yi Liu, Yi Zhao, and Martin Herrmann Copyright © 2016 Tong-ling Yuan et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Lycium barbarum Polysaccharides on Apoptosis, Cellular Adhesion, and Oxidative Damage in Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells of Mice Exposed to Ionizing Radiation Injury Thu, 26 May 2016 13:10:37 +0000 Lycium barbarum has been used for more than 2500 years as a traditional herb and food in China. We investigated the effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) on apoptosis, oxidative damage, and expression of adhesion molecules in bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMNC) of mice injured by ionizing radiation. Kunming mice were exposed to X-rays; then mice in the LBP groups were continuously injected with various concentrations of LBP intraperitoneally for 14 days. Mice in the control group were continuously injected with normal saline (NS) by the same route for 14 days. A normal group was set up. After 1, 7, and 14 days of treatment, mice were killed and BMNC were extracted. Cell cycle, apoptosis, and the expression of adhesion molecules CD44 and CD49d were detected by flow cytometry. The levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were identified by colorimetric analyses. LBP significantly decreased the percentage of G0/G1 phase, apoptosis, MDA level, and expression of CD44 and CD49d and distinctly increased the activity of SOD. LBP showed a protective effect on BMNC against ionizing radiation-induced apoptosis and oxidative damage and altered the expression of adhesion molecule. Jing Zhou, Hua Pang, Wenbo Li, Qiong Liu, Lu Xu, Qian Liu, and Ying Liu Copyright © 2016 Jing Zhou et al. All rights reserved. Molecular Identification of Sex in Phoenix dactylifera Using Inter Simple Sequence Repeat Markers Thu, 26 May 2016 09:31:45 +0000 Early sex identification of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) at seedling stage is an economically desirable objective, which will significantly increase the profits of seed based cultivation. The utilization of molecular markers at this stage for early and rapid identification of sex is important due to the lack of morphological markers. In this study, a total of two hundred Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) primers were screened among male and female Date palm plants to identify putative sex-specific marker, out of which only two primers (IS_A02 and IS_A71) were found to be associated with sex. The primer IS_A02 produced a unique band of size 390 bp and was found clearly in all female plants, while it was absent in all male plants. Contrary to this, the primer IS_A71 produced a unique band of size 380 bp and was clearly found in all male plants, whereas it was absent in all the female plants. Subsequently, these specific fragments were excised, purified, and sequenced for the development of sequence specific markers further in future for the implementation on dioecious Date Palm for sex determination. These markers are efficient, highly reliable, and reproducible for sex identification at the early stage of seedling. Abdulhafed A. Al-Ameri, Fahad Al-Qurainy, Abdel-Rhman Z. Gaafar, Salim Khan, and M. Nadeem Copyright © 2016 Abdulhafed A. Al-Ameri et al. All rights reserved. Potential Role of Epigenetic Mechanism in Manganese Induced Neurotoxicity Thu, 26 May 2016 08:02:48 +0000 Manganese is a vital nutrient and is maintained at an optimal level (2.5–5 mg/day) in human body. Chronic exposure to manganese is associated with neurotoxicity and correlated with the development of various neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Oxidative stress mediated apoptotic cell death has been well established mechanism in manganese induced toxicity. Oxidative stress has a potential to alter the epigenetic mechanism of gene regulation. Epigenetic insight of manganese neurotoxicity in context of its correlation with the development of parkinsonism is poorly understood. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the -synuclein aggregation in the form of Lewy bodies in neuronal cells. Recent findings illustrate that manganese can cause overexpression of -synuclein. -Synuclein acts epigenetically via interaction with histone proteins in regulating apoptosis. -Synuclein also causes global DNA hypomethylation through sequestration of DNA methyltransferase in cytoplasm. An individual genetic difference may also have an influence on epigenetic susceptibility to manganese neurotoxicity and the development of Parkinson’s disease. This review presents the current state of findings in relation to role of epigenetic mechanism in manganese induced neurotoxicity, with a special emphasis on the development of Parkinson’s disease. Prashant Tarale, Tapan Chakrabarti, Saravanadevi Sivanesan, Pravin Naoghare, Amit Bafana, and Kannan Krishnamurthi Copyright © 2016 Prashant Tarale et al. All rights reserved. Circulating Endothelial Microparticles and Correlation of Serum 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D with Adiponectin, Nonesterified Fatty Acids, and Glycerol from Middle-Aged Men in China Wed, 25 May 2016 14:15:57 +0000 The aim of the present study is (1) to determine the correlation between circulating 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and adiponectin, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs), and glycerol and (2) to determine the alterations in circulating endothelial microparticles (EMPs) in Chinese male subjects with increased body mass index (BMI). A total of 45 male adults were enrolled with varied BMI [i.e., lean, overweight (OW), and obese (OB), per group]. Blood samples were collected under overnight fasting condition, and plasma was isolated for the measurement of endothelial microparticles (EMPs), total and high-molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin, 25(OH)D, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs), and glycerol. Circulating 25(OH)D levels were inversely associated with total adiponectin, NEFA, and glycerol levels. There is no difference for CD62E+ or CD31+/CD42b− EMPs among 3 groups. In Chinese male adults with varied BMI, an inverse correlation existed between 25(OH)D levels and total adiponectin, NEFA, and glycerol levels; and there is no significant difference for CD62E+ or CD31+/CD42b− EMPs among lean, overweight, and obese subjects. Zhongxiao Wan, Lugang Yu, Jinbo Cheng, Zengli Zhang, Baohui Xu, Xing Pang, Hui Zhou, and Ting Lei Copyright © 2016 Zhongxiao Wan et al. All rights reserved. Effect of LongZhang Gargle on Biofilm Formation and Acidogenicity of Streptococcus mutans In Vitro Wed, 25 May 2016 13:16:50 +0000 Streptococcus mutans, with the ability of high-rate acid production and strong biofilm formation, is considered the predominant bacterial species in the pathogenesis of human dental caries. Natural products which may be bioactive against S. mutans have become a hot spot to researches to control dental caries. LongZhang Gargle, completely made from Chinese herbs, was investigated for its effects on acid production and biofilm formation by S. mutans in this study. The results showed an antimicrobial activity of LongZhang Gargle against S. mutans planktonic growth at the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 16% and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of 32%. Acid production was significantly inhibited at sub-MIC concentrations. Biofilm formation was also significantly disrupted, and 8% was the minimum concentration that resulted in at least 50% inhibition of biofilm formation (MBIC50). A scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed an effective disruption of LongZhang Gargle on S. mutans biofilm integrity. In addition, a confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) suggested that the extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) synthesis could be inhibited by LongZhang Gargle at a relatively low concentration. These findings suggest that LongZhang Gargle may be a promising natural anticariogenic agent in that it suppresses planktonic growth, acid production, and biofilm formation against S. mutans. Yutao Yang, Shiyu Liu, Yuanli He, Zhu Chen, and Mingyun Li Copyright © 2016 Yutao Yang et al. All rights reserved. A Case Based Approach to Clinical Genetics of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection Wed, 25 May 2016 12:12:31 +0000 Thoracic aortic aneurysm/dissection (TAAD) is a potential lethal condition with a rising incidence. This condition may occur sporadically; nevertheless, it displays familial clustering in >20% of the cases. Family history confers a six- to twentyfold increased risk of TAAD and has to be considered in the identification and evaluation of patients needing an adequate clinical follow-up. Familial TAAD recognizes a number of potential etiologies with a significant genetic heterogeneity, in either syndromic or nonsyndromic forms of the manifestation. The clinical impact and the management of patients with TAAD differ according to the syndromic and nonsyndromic forms of the manifestation. The clinical management of TAAD patients varies, depending on the different forms. Starting from the description of patient history, in this paper, we summarized the state of the art concerning assessment of clinical/genetic profile and therapeutic management of TAAD patients. Betti Giusti, Stefano Nistri, Elena Sticchi, Rosina De Cario, Rosanna Abbate, Gian Franco Gensini, and Guglielmina Pepe Copyright © 2016 Betti Giusti et al. All rights reserved. The Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture for Patients with Chronic Urticaria: A Systematic Review Wed, 25 May 2016 07:07:07 +0000 Background. Acupuncture might have effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of chronic urticaria. There are currently no systematic reviews of acupuncture for chronic urticaria published in English. Objective. We conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for chronic urticaria. Methods. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials were performed. The primary outcome was global symptom improvement. Results. We included 6 studies with 406 participants. Three trials showed significant difference between acupuncture and drugs in global symptom improvement (relative risk 1.37; 95% CI 1.11–1.70; ). As an adjuvant to medication, acupuncture was also beneficial for global symptom improvement (relative risk 1.77; 95% CI 1.41–2.22; ). There were no severe adverse events related to acupuncture. Limitations. Some methodological limitations were observed. The overall risk of bias in the 6 included trials was high and all included RCTs were conducted in China and published in Chinese. Besides, the lack of proper control groups and the use of different rating methods and cut-offs in the included trials also made the evidence of this review limited. Conclusions. Acupuncture might be effective and safe for chronic urticaria in relieving symptoms, based on a low level of evidence. To draw a reliable conclusion, more high quality trials are needed in the future. This trial is registered with PROSPERO CRD42015015702. Qin Yao, Shanshan Li, Xiaoxu Liu, Zongshi Qin, and Zhishun Liu Copyright © 2016 Qin Yao et al. All rights reserved. Lack of Platelet-Activating Factor Receptor Attenuates Experimental Food Allergy but Not Its Metabolic Alterations regarding Adipokine Levels Wed, 25 May 2016 06:35:00 +0000 Platelet-activating factor (PAF) is known to be an important mediator of anaphylaxis. However, there is a lack of information in the literature about the role of PAF in food allergy. The aim of this work was to elucidate the participation of PAF during food allergy development and the consequent adipose tissue inflammation along with its alterations. Our data demonstrated that, both before oral challenge and after 7 days receiving ovalbumin (OVA) diet, OVA-sensitized mice lacking the PAF receptor (PAFR) showed a decreased level of anti-OVA IgE associated with attenuated allergic markers in comparison to wild type (WT) mice. Moreover, there was less body weight and adipose tissue loss in PAFR-deficient mice. However, some features of inflamed adipose tissue presented by sensitized PAFR-deficient and WT mice after oral challenge were similar, such as a higher rate of rolling leukocytes in this tissue and lower circulating levels of adipokines (resistin and adiponectin) in comparison to nonsensitized mice. Therefore, PAF signaling through PAFR is important for the allergic response to OVA but not for the adipokine alterations caused by this inflammatory process. Our work clarifies some effects of PAF during food allergy along with its role on the metabolic consequences of this inflammatory process. Nathália Vieira Batista, Roberta Cristelli Fonseca, Denise Perez, Rafaela Vaz Sousa Pereira, Juliana de Lima Alves, Vanessa Pinho, Ana Maria Caetano Faria, and Denise Carmona Cara Copyright © 2016 Nathália Vieira Batista et al. All rights reserved. G2385R and I2020T Mutations Increase LRRK2 GTPase Activity Wed, 25 May 2016 06:30:31 +0000 The LRRK2 mutation is a major causal mutation in familial Parkinson’s disease. Although LRRK2 contains functional GTPase and kinase domains and their activities are altered by pathogenic mutations, most studies focused on LRRK2 kinase activity because the most prevalent mutant, G2019S, enhances kinase activity. However, the G2019S mutation is extremely rare in the Asian population. Instead, the G2385R mutation was reported as a major risk factor in the Asian population. Similar to other LRRK2 studies, G2385R studies have also focused on kinase activity. Here, we investigated GTPase activities of G2385R with other LRRK2 mutants, such as G2019S, R1441C, and I2020T, as well as wild type (WT). Our results suggest that both I2020T and G2385R contain GTPase activities stronger than that of WT. A kinase assay using the commercial recombinant proteins showed that I2020T harbored stronger activity, whereas G2385R had weaker activity than that of WT, as reported previously. This is the first report of LRRK2 I2020T and G2385R GTPase activities and shows that most of the LRRK2 mutations that are pathogenic or a risk factor altered either kinase or GTPase activity, suggesting that their physiological consequences are caused by altered enzyme activities. Dong Hwan Ho, Jihoon Jang, Eun-hye Joe, Ilhong Son, Hyemyung Seo, and Wongi Seol Copyright © 2016 Dong Hwan Ho et al. All rights reserved. Treatment of Glioma Using neuroArm Surgical System Tue, 24 May 2016 14:34:03 +0000 The use of robotic technology in the surgical treatment of brain tumour promises increased precision and accuracy in the performance of surgery. Robotic manipulators may allow superior access to narrow surgical corridors compared to freehand or conventional neurosurgery. This paper reports values and ranges of tool-tissue interaction forces during the performance of glioma surgery using an MR compatible, image-guided neurosurgical robot called neuroArm. The system, capable of microsurgery and stereotaxy, was used in the surgical resection of glioma in seven cases. neuroArm is equipped with force sensors at the end-effector allowing quantification of tool-tissue interaction forces and transmits force of dissection to the surgeon sited at a remote workstation that includes a haptic interface. Interaction forces between the tool tips and the brain tissue were measured for each procedure, and the peak forces were quantified. Results showed maximum and minimum peak force values of 2.89 N (anaplastic astrocytoma, WHO grade III) and 0.50 N (anaplastic oligodendroglioma, WHO grade III), respectively, with the mean of peak forces varying from case to case, depending on type of the glioma. Mean values of the peak forces varied in range of 1.27 N (anaplastic astrocytoma, WHO grade III) to 1.89 N (glioblastoma with oligodendroglial component, WHO grade IV). In some cases, ANOVA test failed to reject the null hypothesis of equality in means of the peak forces measured. However, we could not find a relationship between forces exerted to the pathological tissue and its size, type, or location. Yaser Maddahi, Kourosh Zareinia, Liu Shi Gan, Christina Sutherland, Sanju Lama, and Garnette R. Sutherland Copyright © 2016 Yaser Maddahi et al. All rights reserved. Phylogeographic Structure of a Tethyan Relict Capparis spinosa (Capparaceae) Traces Pleistocene Geologic and Climatic Changes in the Western Himalayas, Tianshan Mountains, and Adjacent Desert Regions Tue, 24 May 2016 13:58:08 +0000 Complex geological movements more or less affected or changed floristic structures, while the alternation of glacials and interglacials is presumed to have further shaped the present discontinuous genetic pattern of temperate plants. Here we consider Capparis spinosa, a xeromorphic Tethyan relict, to discuss its divergence pattern and explore how it responded in a stepwise fashion to Pleistocene geologic and climatic changes. 267 individuals from 31 populations were sampled and 24 haplotypes were identified, based on three cpDNA fragments (trnL-trnF, rps12-rpl20, and ndhF). SAMOVA clustered the 31 populations into 5 major clades. AMOVA suggests that gene flow between them might be restricted by vicariance. Molecular clock dating indicates that intraspecific divergence began in early Pleistocene, consistent with a time of intense uplift of the Himalaya and Tianshan Mountains, and intensified in mid-Pleistocene. Species distribution modeling suggests range reduction in the high mountains during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) as a result of cold climates when glacier advanced, while gorges at midelevations in Tianshan appear to have served as refugia. Populations of low-altitude desert regions, on the other hand, probably experienced only marginal impacts from glaciation, according to the high levels of genetic diversity. Qian Wang, Ming-Li Zhang, and Lin-Ke Yin Copyright © 2016 Qian Wang et al. All rights reserved. The CYBA Gene 49A>G Polymorphism (rs7195830) Is Associated with Hypertension in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease Tue, 24 May 2016 11:18:16 +0000 Purpose. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of the CYBA gene may modify the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the 49A>G (rs7195830) polymorphism is associated with CAD. Materials and Methods. CYBA gene 49A>G polymorphism was determined in 481 subjects: 242 patients with premature CAD and 239 age and sex matched controls using the fluorescently labeled allele-specific oligonucleotides method. Results. The frequency of the 49G allele carrier state was significantly higher in patients than in controls (84.8% versus 76.6%, resp., ), as well as the frequency of the 49G allele (62.2% versus 54.0%, ). Both factors were associated with CAD in the analyzed population (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.04–2.76 for GG+AG versus AA and OR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.08–1.83 for 49G versus  49A). Carrier state of the 49G allele was a stronger and independent risk factor for CAD among women (OR = 4.35, 95% CI: 1.50–13.20, ), as well as the 49G allele (OR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.34–3.77, ). The 49G allele carrier state was also associated with left ventricular hypertrophy in patients with coronary artery disease (). Conclusion. The CYBA gene 49A>G polymorphism modifies the risk of coronary artery disease. Tomasz Nowak, Paweł Niemiec, Sylwia Górczyńska-Kosiorz, Anna Balcerzyk, Tomasz Iwanicki, Jolanta Krauze, Wladyslaw Grzeszczak, Anna Ochalska-Tyka, Joanna Iwanicka, and Iwona Zak Copyright © 2016 Tomasz Nowak et al. All rights reserved. Biological Activities of Aerial Parts Extracts of Euphorbia characias Tue, 24 May 2016 10:36:32 +0000 The aim of the present study was to evaluate antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-HIV, and cholinesterase inhibitory activities of aqueous and alcoholic extracts from leaves, stems, and flowers of Euphorbia characias. The extracts showed a high antioxidant activity and were a good source of total polyphenols and flavonoids. Ethanolic extracts from leaves and flowers displayed the highest inhibitory activity against acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, showing potential properties against Alzheimer’s disease. Antimicrobial assay showed that leaves and flowers extracts were active against all Gram-positive bacteria tested. The ethanolic leaves extract appeared to have the strongest antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus with MIC value of 312.5 μg/mL followed by Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus that also exhibited good sensitivity with MIC values of 1250 μg/mL. Moreover, all the extracts possessed anti-HIV activity. The ethanolic flower extract was the most potent inhibitor of HIV-1 RT DNA polymerase RNA-dependent and Ribonuclease H with IC50 values of 0.26 and 0.33 μg/mL, respectively. The LC-DAD metabolic profile showed that ethanolic leaves extract contains high levels of quercetin derivatives. This study suggests that Euphorbia characias extracts represent a good source of natural bioactive compounds which could be useful for pharmaceutical application as well as in food system for the prevention of the growth of food-borne bacteria and to extend the shelf-life of processed foods. Maria Barbara Pisano, Sofia Cosentino, Silvia Viale, Delia Spanò, Angela Corona, Francesca Esposito, Enzo Tramontano, Paola Montoro, Carlo Ignazio Giovanni Tuberoso, Rosaria Medda, and Francesca Pintus Copyright © 2016 Maria Barbara Pisano et al. All rights reserved. FSGS: Diagnosis and Diagnostic Work-Up Tue, 24 May 2016 09:57:26 +0000 Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is a histologic lesion, rather than a clinical disease. FSGS is common cause of nephrotic syndrome in both adults and children worldwide. In the United States it is the most common primary glomerular disease resulting in end-stage renal disease and recent reports have suggested that its incidence might be on the rise. Currently the incidence is estimated to be 7 per million. The podocyte is the cellular target cell in FSGS and in recent years substantial insight in the pathogenesis and genetics of FSGS have accumulated. Furthermore the discovery of potential novel biomarkers to diagnose FSGS and monitor disease activity has renewed interest in this disease. In this review article we will focus on the clinical presentation and diagnosis of FSGS. Ben Sprangers, Björn Meijers, and Gerald Appel Copyright © 2016 Ben Sprangers et al. All rights reserved. Newly Developed Topical Cefotaxime Sodium Hydrogels: Antibacterial Activity and In Vivo Evaluation Tue, 24 May 2016 06:20:13 +0000 In an attempt to reach better treatment of skin infections, gel formulations containing Cefotaxime (CTX) were prepared. The gel was formulated using Carbopol 934 (C934), Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose 4000 (HPMC 4000), Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium (Na CMC), Pectin (PEC), Xanthan Gum (XG), or Guar Gum (GG). Thirteen different formulas were prepared and characterized physically in terms of color, syneresis, spreadability, pH, drug content, and rheological properties. Drug-excipients compatibility studies were confirmed by FTIR and then in vitro drug release study was conducted. In vitro and in vivo antibacterial activities of CTX were studied against wound pathogens such as, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), using either pure drug or Fucidin® cream as control. F13 provides better spreadability compared to F1 (XG) or F11 (HPMC). Moreover, the release of the drug from hydrogel F13 containing C934 was slower and sustained for 8 h. Stability study revealed that, upon storage, there were no significant changes in pH, drug content, and viscosity of the gels. Also, F13 showed the larger inhibition zone and highest antibacterial activity among other formulations. Histological analysis demonstrated that after single treatment with F13 gel formulation, a noticeable reduction in microbial bioburden occurred in case of both Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial isolates. Azza S. Zakaria, Samar A. Afifi, and Kadria A. Elkhodairy Copyright © 2016 Azza S. Zakaria et al. All rights reserved. Improvement of Amniotic Membrane Method for the Treatment of Corneal Perforation Mon, 23 May 2016 14:04:17 +0000 In our retrospective study we evaluated the efficacy of an improved amniotic membrane (AM) roll-in filling technique (AMR) combined with multilayer amniotic membrane cover to treat corneal perforation and included 46 cornea perforations ≤ 3 mm in diameter treated with AMR and 20% C3F8 mixed gas filling of the anterior chamber. Anterior chamber depth, aqueous leakage, bubble maintenance time, and cornea morphology were monitored after each operation. The mean diameter of corneal perforation was  mm (range 0.5–3) and the success rate of the AMR method for corneal perforation reconstruction was 100% after a single operation. Anterior chamber depth was normally reconstructed without AMR break-off, aqueous leak, or other complications. The mean time of the C3F8 gas bubble in the anterior chamber was days (range 4–12). At the last follow-up, all patients’ visual acuity was improved to varying degrees. The mean follow-up time was months (range 3–36). The AMR plugging combined with multilayer AM cover is a secure and easy intervention, which led to 100% success in our study. Various perforations ranging from trauma to infection can be treated with AMR, which is especially practical in those countries where donor cornea availability is limited. Junhua Fan, Meihua Wang, and Fulu Zhong Copyright © 2016 Junhua Fan et al. All rights reserved. Etiologic Agents of Bacterial Sepsis and Their Antibiotic Susceptibility Patterns among Patients Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus at Gondar University Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia Mon, 23 May 2016 12:10:03 +0000 Background. Bacterial sepsis is a major cause of illness in human immunodeficiency virus infected patients. There is scarce evidence about sepsis among HIV patients in Ethiopia. This study aimed to determine the etiologic agents of bacterial sepsis and their antibiotic susceptibility patterns among HIV infected patients. Methods. A cross-sectional study was carried out from March 1 to May 2, 2013. One hundred patients infected with HIV and suspected of having sepsis were included. Sociodemographic data were collected by interview and blood sample was aseptically collected from study participants. All blood cultures were incubated aerobically at 35°C and inspected daily for 7 days. The positive blood cultures were identified following the standard procedures and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using disk diffusion technique. Data was entered by Epi-info version 3.5.1 and analysis was done using SPSS version 20. Results. Of the study participants, 31 (31%) confirmed bacterial sepsis. The major isolates were 13 (13%) Staphylococcus aureus, 8 (8%) coagulates negative staphylococci, and 3 (3%) viridans streptococci. Majority of the isolates, 25 (80.6%), were multidrug resistant to two or more antimicrobial agents. Conclusions. Bacterial sepsis was a major cause of admission for HIV infected patients predominated by Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase negative staphylococci species and most of the isolates were multidrug resistant. Gelila Alebachew, Brhanu Teka, Mengistu Endris, Yitayal Shiferaw, and Belay Tessema Copyright © 2016 Gelila Alebachew et al. All rights reserved. Using the Relevance Vector Machine Model Combined with Local Phase Quantization to Predict Protein-Protein Interactions from Protein Sequences Mon, 23 May 2016 11:06:05 +0000 We propose a novel computational method known as RVM-LPQ that combines the Relevance Vector Machine (RVM) model and Local Phase Quantization (LPQ) to predict PPIs from protein sequences. The main improvements are the results of representing protein sequences using the LPQ feature representation on a Position Specific Scoring Matrix (PSSM), reducing the influence of noise using a Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and using a Relevance Vector Machine (RVM) based classifier. We perform 5-fold cross-validation experiments on Yeast and Human datasets, and we achieve very high accuracies of 92.65% and 97.62%, respectively, which is significantly better than previous works. To further evaluate the proposed method, we compare it with the state-of-the-art support vector machine (SVM) classifier on the Yeast dataset. The experimental results demonstrate that our RVM-LPQ method is obviously better than the SVM-based method. The promising experimental results show the efficiency and simplicity of the proposed method, which can be an automatic decision support tool for future proteomics research. Ji-Yong An, Fan-Rong Meng, Zhu-Hong You, Yu-Hong Fang, Yu-Jun Zhao, and Ming Zhang Copyright © 2016 Ji-Yong An et al. All rights reserved. Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of bZIP Transcription Factors in Brassica oleracea under Cold Stress Mon, 23 May 2016 09:31:28 +0000 Cabbages (Brassica oleracea L.) are an important vegetable crop around world, and cold temperature is among the most significant abiotic stresses causing agricultural losses, especially in cabbage crops. Plant bZIP transcription factors play diverse roles in biotic/abiotic stress responses. In this study, 119 putative BolbZIP transcription factors were identified using amino acid sequences from several bZIP domain consensus sequences. The BolbZIP members were classified into 63 categories based on amino acid sequence similarity and were also compared with BrbZIP and AtbZIP transcription factors. Based on this BolbZIP identification and classification, cold stress-responsive BolbZIP genes were screened in inbred lines, BN106 and BN107, using RNA sequencing data and qRT-PCR. The expression level of the 3 genes, Bol008071, Bol033132, and Bol042729, was significantly increased in BN107 under cold conditions and was unchanged in BN106. The upregulation of these genes in BN107, a cold-susceptible inbred line, suggests that they might be significant components in the cold response. Among three identified genes, Bol033132 has 97% sequence similarity to Bra020735, which was identified in a screen for cold-related genes in B. rapa and a protein containing N-rich regions in LCRs. The results obtained in this study provide valuable information for understanding the potential function of BolbZIP transcription factors in cold stress responses. Indeok Hwang, Ranjith Kumar Manoharan, Jong-Goo Kang, Mi-Young Chung, Young-Wook Kim, and Ill-Sup Nou Copyright © 2016 Indeok Hwang et al. All rights reserved. The Research of Improved Grey GM (1, 1) Model to Predict the Postprandial Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes Mon, 23 May 2016 08:33:24 +0000 Diabetes may result in some complications and increase the risk of many serious health problems. The purpose of clinical treatment is to carefully manage the blood glucose concentration. If the blood glucose concentration is predicted, treatments can be taken in advance to reduce the harm to patients. For this purpose, an improved grey GM (1, 1) model is applied to predict blood glucose with a small amount of data, and especially in terms of improved smoothness it can get higher prediction accuracy. The original data of blood glucose of type 2 diabetes is acquired by CGMS. Then the prediction model is established. Finally, 50 cases of blood glucose from the Henan Province People’s Hospital are predicted in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes, respectively, in advance to verify the prediction model. The prediction result of blood glucose is evaluated by the EGA, MSE, and MAE. Particularly, the prediction results of postprandial blood glucose are presented and analyzed. The result shows that the improved grey GM (1, 1) model has excellent performance in postprandial blood glucose prediction. Yannian Wang, Fenfen Wei, Changqing Sun, and Quanzhong Li Copyright © 2016 Yannian Wang et al. All rights reserved. The Influence of Bone Marrow-Secreted IL-10 in a Mouse Model of Cerulein-Induced Pancreatic Fibrosis Mon, 23 May 2016 08:05:06 +0000 This study aimed to understand the role of IL-10 secreted from bone marrow (BM) in a mouse model of pancreatic fibrosis. The severity of cerulein-induced inflammation, fibrosis, and the frequency of BM-derived myofibroblasts were evaluated in the pancreas of mice receiving either a wild-type (WT) BM or an IL-10 knockout (KO) BM transplantation. The area of collagen deposition increased significantly in the 3 weeks after cerulein cessation in mice with an IL-10 KO BM transplant (13.7 ± 0.6% and 18.4 ± 1.1%, p < 0.05), but no further increase was seen in WT BM recipients over this time. The percentage of BM-derived myofibroblasts also increased in the pancreas of the IL-10 KO BM recipients after cessation of cerulein (6.7 ± 1.1% and 11.9 ± 1.3%, p < 0.05), while this figure fell in WT BM recipients after cerulein withdrawal. Furthermore, macrophages were more numerous in the IL-10 KO BM recipients than the WT BM recipients after cerulein cessation (23.2 ± 2.3 versus 15.3 ± 1.7 per HPF, p < 0.05). In conclusion, the degree of fibrosis, inflammatory cell infiltration, and the number of BM-derived myofibroblasts were significantly different between IL-10 KO BM and WT BM transplanted mice, highlighting a likely role of IL-10 in pancreatitis. Wey-Ran Lin, Siew-Na Lim, Tzung-Hai Yen, and Malcolm R. Alison Copyright © 2016 Wey-Ran Lin et al. All rights reserved. Cognitive Changes following Bilateral Deep Brain Stimulation of Subthalamic Nucleus in Parkinson’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis Mon, 23 May 2016 06:36:51 +0000 Background. Nowadays, it has been largely acknowledged that deep brain stimulation of subthalamic nucleus (STN DBS) can alleviate motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but its effects on cognitive function remain unclear, which are not given enough attention by many clinical doctors and researchers. To date, 3 existing meta-analyses focusing on this issue included self-control studies and have not drawn consistent conclusions. The present study is the first to compare effect sizes of primary studies that include control groups, hoping to reveal the net cognitive outcomes after STN DBS and the clinical significance. Methods. A structured literature search was conducted using strict criteria. Only studies with control group could be included. Data on age, duration of disease, levodopa equivalent dosage (LED), and multiple cognitive scales were collected and pooled. Results. Of 172 articles identified, 10 studies (including 3 randomized controlled trials and 7 nonrandomized controlled studies) were eligible for inclusion. The results suggest that STN DBS results in decreased global cognition, memory, verbal fluency, and executive function compared with control group. No significant difference is found in other cognitive domains. Conclusions. STN DBS seems relatively safe with respect to cognitive function, and further studies should focus on the exact mechanisms of possible verbal deterioration after surgery in the future. Yi Xie, Xiangyu Meng, Jinsong Xiao, Jie Zhang, and Junjian Zhang Copyright © 2016 Yi Xie et al. All rights reserved. Validation of an Endoscopic Fibre-Optic Pressure Sensor for Noninvasive Measurement of Variceal Pressure Mon, 23 May 2016 06:29:04 +0000 In this study, the authors have developed endoscopic fibre-optic pressure sensor to detect variceal pressure and presented the validation of in vivo and in vitro studies, because the HVPG requires catheterization of hepatic veins, which is invasive and inconvenient. Compared with HVPG, it is better to measure directly the variceal pressure without puncturing the varices in a noninvasive way. Bin Sun, De-Run Kong, Su-Wen Li, Dong-Feng Yu, Ging-Jing Wang, Fang-Fang Yu, Qiong Wu, and Jian-Ming Xu Copyright © 2016 Bin Sun et al. All rights reserved. Cardiovascular Actions and Therapeutic Potential of Tetramethylpyrazine (Active Component Isolated from Rhizoma Chuanxiong): Roles and Mechanisms Mon, 23 May 2016 06:27:35 +0000 Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP), a pharmacologically active component isolated from the rhizome of the Chinese herb Rhizoma Chuanxiong (Chuanxiong), has been clinically used in China and Southeast Asian countries for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) for about fifty years. The pharmacological effects of TMP on the cardiovascular system have attracted great interest. Emerging experimental studies and clinical trials have demonstrated that TMP prevents atherosclerosis as well as ischemia-reperfusion injury. The cardioprotective effects of TMP are mainly related to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or calcium-homeostasis effects. This review focuses on the roles and mechanisms of action of TMP in the cardiovascular system and provides a novel perspective on TMP’s clinical use. Ming Guo, Yue Liu, and Dazhuo Shi Copyright © 2016 Ming Guo et al. All rights reserved. Assessment of Startle Response and Its Prepulse Inhibition Using Posturography: Pilot Study Sun, 22 May 2016 14:27:15 +0000 Purpose. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of using static posturography in the assessment of sensorimotor gating. Subjects and Methods. Fourteen subjects took part in the experiment. The inhibitory mechanisms of startle reflex were used as the measure of sensorimotor gating. It was evoked by a strong acoustic stimulus (106 dB SPL, 40 ms) which was preceded by the weaker similar signal (80 dB SPL, 20 ms). A stabilographic platform was used to measure sensorimotor gating. Results. Results of static posturography show that the postural sway caused by the reaction to a strong acoustic stimulus is significantly smaller when this stimulus is preceded by the signal of lower intensity (prepulse). Such assessment is only possible in eyes open conditions. Conclusions. Static posturography can be simple and effective method used for diagnosis of sensorimotor gating in humans. Jacek Polechoński, Grzegorz Juras, Kajetan Słomka, Janusz Błaszczyk, Andrzej Małecki, and Agnieszka Nawrocka Copyright © 2016 Jacek Polechoński et al. All rights reserved. Two-Year Follow-Up after Contact Force Sensing Radiofrequency Catheter and Second-Generation Cryoballoon Ablation for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: A Comparative Single Centre Study Sun, 22 May 2016 12:32:07 +0000 Background. There are little comparative data on catheter ablation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) using the contact force radiofrequency (CF-RF) catheter versus the second-generation cryoballoon (CB2). Methods and results. This is a single center, retrospective, nonrandomized study of 98 patients with symptomatic, drug-refractory paroxysmal AF who underwent their first PVI ablation using either the CB2 () or CF-RF (). The mean age was 60 years with 63% men, a mean LA size of 42 mm. The procedure duration ( versus minutes ) was shorter for CB2 group; the fluoroscopy time ( versus minutes, ) was similar. Complete PVI was achieved in 96% of patients with RF-CF and 98% with CB2. Phrenic nerve palsies (2 transient and 1 persistent) occurred exclusively in the CB2 group and 1 severe, nonlethal complication (pericardial tamponade) occurred in the CF-RF group. At 24-month follow-up, the success rate, defined as freedom from AF/atrial tachycardia (AT) after a single procedure without antiarrhythmic drug, was comparable in CF-RF group and CB2 group (65.5% versus 67%, resp., log rank ). Conclusion. Both the CB2 and the RF-CF ablation appeared safe; the success rate at 2 years was comparable between both technologies. Attila Kardos, Zsuzsanna Kis, Zoltan Som, Zsofia Nagy, and Csaba Foldesi Copyright © 2016 Attila Kardos et al. All rights reserved. The Utility of a Digital Virtual Template for Junior Surgeons in Pedicle Screw Placement in the Lumbar Spine Sun, 22 May 2016 12:06:56 +0000 This study assessed the utility of three-dimensional preoperative image reconstruction as digital virtual templating for junior surgeons in placing a pedicle screw (PS) in the lumbar spine. Twenty-three patients of lumbar disease were operated on with bilateral PS fixation in our hospital. The two sides of lumbar pedicles were randomly divided into “hand-free group” (HFG) and “digital virtual template group” (DVTG) in each patient. Two junior surgeons preoperatively randomly divided into these two groups finished the placement of PSs. The accuracy of PS and the procedure time of PS insertion were recorded. The accuracy of PS in DVTG was 91.8% and that in HFG was 87.7%. The PS insertion procedure time of DVTG was s and that of HFG was s. Although no significant difference was reported in the accurate rate of PS between the two groups, the PS insertion procedure time was significantly shorter in DVTG than in HFG (). Digital virtual template is simple and can reduce the procedure time of PS placement. Xin Zhao, Jie Zhao, Youzhuan Xie, and Jie Mi Copyright © 2016 Xin Zhao et al. All rights reserved.