Publications by authors named "Baowei Chen"

105 Publications

The spatial distribution of benthic foraminifera in the Pearl River Estuary, South China and its environmental significance.

Mar Pollut Bull 2021 Oct 19;173(Pt B):113055. Epub 2021 Oct 19.

School of Marine Science, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519080, China.

Thirty surface sediment samples were collected from the Pearl River Estuary, South China, and benthic foraminifera were analyzed in order to understand the relationship between foraminiferal assemblages and environmental parameters. Multivariate analyses showed that the foraminferal assemblages (i.e., abundance and diversity) are correlated with the hydro-sedimentary gradients within the estuary. In addition, the dominant faunal composition seems to be largely influenced by food availability and trace metal contamination in surface sediments. A comparison with historical data from 1980s demonstrated that the foraminiferal abundance and diversity in the lower estuary have dramatically decreased over the last three decades, together with a significant shift in the dominant species. This is most likely due to the cumulative impacts of eutrophication and Cu contamination caused by human activities in the Pearl River basin. This work confirms the value of benthic foraminifera as bio-indicators in polluted estuarine environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.113055DOI Listing
October 2021

Decreased bioavailability of both inorganic mercury and methylmercury in anaerobic sediments by sorption on iron sulfide nanoparticles.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Sep 30;424(Pt B):127399. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.

Methylmercury (MeHg), derived via inorganic mercury (Hg(II)) methylation by anaerobic microorganisms, is a neurotoxic contaminant causing concern worldwide. Establishing how to reduce Hg(II) methylation and MeHg bioavailability is essential for effective control of Hg pollution. Iron sulfide nanoparticles (FeS) is a promising passivator for Hg(II) methylation. However, its effect on the fate of MeHg in aquatic systems remains poorly understood. This study investigated the effect of FeS on Hg(II) bioavailability, MeHg production and bioavailability in aquatic environments. Results demonstrated that FeS rapidly sorbed Hg(II) and MeHg, with sorption affected by pH, chloride ion and dissolved organic matter. Hg-specific biosensor analysis showed that Hg(II) sorbed onto FeS significantly reduced its bioavailability to microorganisms. Double stable isotope (Hg(II) and MeHg) addition revealed that FeS significantly inhibited MeHg production in anaerobic sediments. Furthermore, synthetic gut juice extraction suggested that FeS decrease concentrations of bioavailable MeHg and Hg(II), reducing their integration into food webs. However, the sorbed MeHg and Hg(II) in sediments can be released after FeS oxidation, potentially enhancing the risk of exposure to aquatic organisms. Overall, these findings increase our understanding of Hg transformation and exposure risks in aquatic systems, providing valuable information for the development of in situ Hg remediation systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127399DOI Listing
September 2021

Metabolomics analysis of the 3D L-02 cell cultures revealing the key role of metabolism of amino acids in ameliorating hepatotoxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Sep 20;806(Pt 1):150438. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China. Electronic address:

To simulate the real cell status and morphology in the living systems is substantial for using cell models to address the detrimental effects of toxic contaminants. In this study, the comparative profiles of metabolites in three-dimensional (3D) human normal liver (L-02) cell spheroids with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) treatment were analyzed using a metabolomic approach. The uniform 3D cell spheroids were well formed in 3 days (e.g., sphericity index >0.9) and stably maintained over the subsequent 11 days. The cytotoxicity of PFOA to the 3D L-02 cell spheroids was highly dependent on both exposure concentration and duration. Comparative analysis of metabolomes showed that the number of differential metabolites in the 3D cell spheroids treated with 300 μM PFOA for 10 days (n = 59) was greater than those with a 4-day exposure to 300 μM PFOA (n = 17). Six metabolic pathways related to amino acids metabolism were only found in the 3D cell spheroids with a 10-day treatment of 300 μM PFOA, which could not be found in the 2D monolayer cells and those 3D cell spheroids with a 4-day exposure. The suppression of PFOA on glutamine metabolism substantially decreased glutathione (GSH) production and accordingly increased the level of reactive oxygen species in the 3D cell spheroids. On the contrary, the supplementation of glutamine increased GSH production and the viability of cell spheroids, indicating that glutamine metabolism played a critical role in the chronic toxic effects of PFOA. Our study strongly suggested that comprehensive toxicological methodologies based on the 3D cell models could currently be robust and suitable for addressing the chronic adverse effects of toxic contaminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150438DOI Listing
September 2021

Identification of suspended particulate matters as the hotspot of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation-related bacteria and genes in the Pearl River Estuary using metagenomic approaches.

Chemosphere 2021 Jul 23;286(Pt 1):131668. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, 510275, China. Electronic address:

Bacterial degradation is unequivocally considered as an important way for the cleanup of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) in the aquatic environment. However, the diversity and distribution of PAH-degrading bacterial communities and PAH degradation-related genes (PAHDGs) in ambient environment need to be investigated. In this study, bacteria in the water of the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) were initially separated as the particle-attached bacteria (PAB) and free-living bacteria (FLB), and were further characterized using metagenomic approaches. Proteobacteria (80.1 %) was identified as the most abundant PAH-degrading phylum in the PRE water, followed by Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. A substantial difference in the community structure was observed between PAH-degrading PAB and FLB. Both of PAH-degrading bacteria and PAHDGs were enriched on the suspended particulate matters (SPMs), with the range of enrichment factor (EF) from 7.84 × 10 to 6.64 × 10 (PAH-degrading bacteria) and from 1.14 × 10 to 1.76 × 10 (PAHDGs). The levels of PAH-degrading bacteria 16 S rRNA genes and PAHDGs on the SPMs were both significantly correlated with those in the aqueous phase (AP) in the PRE water (p < 0.05), indicating a dynamic distribution of PAH-degrading bacteria between these two phases. The total PAH concentrations on the SPMs of the PRE water were also significantly correlated with the total PAHDG levels in the PAB (p < 0.05). Our results suggested that the SPMs could be the important compartment for the elimination of PAHs from the aquatic environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.131668DOI Listing
July 2021

Occurrence, mass loads, and ecological risks of amphetamine-like substances in a rural area of South China.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Nov 15;797:149058. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

State Key Lab of Bioresource and Biocontrol, School of Life Science, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China; Institute of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Psychoactive Substances Monitoring and Safety, Guangzhou 510230, China.

The occurrence and levels of amphetamine like substances (ALSs) in various environments, as a group of illicit psychoactive substances, have attracted great attention due to their potential ecological risks. In this study, three ALSs (i.e., ephedrine (EPH), amphetamine (AMP) and methamphetamine (METH)) in the raw domestic wastewater (RDW) and surface river water (SRW) collected from the rural area in South China were analyzed. METH was identified as the prevalent and dominant ALS in the RDW, which was detected in approximately 99.0% of the samples with a mean concentration of 0.7 μg·L, followed by AMP and EPH. Consistent trend was also found in the SRW collected from the same region. METH concentrations in the SRW were significantly and positively correlated with those in the RDW (p < 0.05), indicating that the discharge of RDW could be the important source of METH in the nearby rivers. The mean mass load of METH in the study rural area was about 65.8 mg·day·1000 inhabitants. Source apportionment showed that the abuse consumption was the main source of METH at most of sampling towns in the investigated rural area, and the mean mass load of METH at these towns (24.5 mg·day·1000 inhabitants) might reflect the abuse level of METH in this region. The disposal and illegal synthesis of METH could be important point sources, which led to the elevated METH level in the RDW. Risk assessment demonstrated that ALSs posed a minimal or medium risk to aquatic organisms. Our results provided valuable insights into the mass loads, source characteristics and ecological risks of ALSs in the rural area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149058DOI Listing
November 2021

Unified Probability Distribution and Dynamics of Lead Contents in Human Erythrocytes Revealed by Single-Cell Analysis.

Environ Sci Technol 2021 03 4;55(6):3819-3826. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.

Understanding the presence and dynamics of chemical pollutants in individual cells is fundamentally important for their trafficking, fate, and toxicity in humans. The presence of molecular components (i.e., proteins and mRNA) in individual cells of higher organisms is considered a stochastic event. The characteristics of chemical pollutants, as extrinsic compounds, in subpopulation of human cells on single-cell basis have not been explored yet. Here, we demonstrated the lead (Pb) content in individual mature erythrocytes (m-erythrocytes) of Pb-intoxicated patients, and healthy subjects exhibited a unified pattern in probability distribution (gamma distribution) and dynamics, despite being highly heterogeneous. The Pb content in individual m-erythrocytes decreased with the lifetime of m-erythrocytes. Meanwhile, the distribution and dynamics were found to be highly related to the Pb content in m-erythrocytes and was independent of patients and their status. This is the first study to analyze the distribution pattern of chemical pollutants at a single-cell level in higher organisms. This study sheds light on the molecular mechanism of Pb trafficking and fate in humans and the search for an efficient strategy to improve Pb excretion during Pb treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c05989DOI Listing
March 2021

C isotope-based metabolic flux analysis revealing cellular landscape of glucose metabolism in human liver cells exposed to perfluorooctanoic acid.

Sci Total Environ 2021 May 22;770:145329. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Sate Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China; Institute of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is well known to break glucose homeostasis. However, the effects of PFOA on glucose metabolism are difficult to be evaluated because related metabolites may be synthesized from other nutritional substrates. Here, the relative contribution of glucose to metabolites (e.g., pyruvate and citrate) in the PFOA-treated human liver cells (HepG2) was determined using the C isotope-based metabolic flux analysis (MFA), i.e., pathway activities. The relative percentage of [U-C] glucose-derived pyruvate in cells exposed to PFOA was not significantly different from that in the controls, indicating that the metabolic pattern of glycolysis was not substantially changed by PFOA. The pathway activity of [U-C] glucose-driven tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle was dramatically inhibited by PFOA. Consequently, mitochondrial respiratory function was phenotypically impaired by PFOA, as observed from the decreasing basal oxygen consumption rate (OCR), ATP-linked OCR and spare respiratory capacity. This study suggests that PFOA may cause the abnormal glucose metabolism via altering the metabolic pattern of TCA cycle instead of glycolysis. The MFA is strongly recommended as a promising and robust tool to address the toxicity mechanisms of contaminants associated with glucose metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145329DOI Listing
May 2021

Non-targeted metabolomics of multiple human cells revealing differential toxic effects of perfluorooctanoic acid.

J Hazard Mater 2021 05 31;409:125017. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China. Electronic address:

Differences in toxic effects of contaminants among human cells are essential for evaluating their health risks to humans. In this study, non-targeted metabolomics of multiple human cell lines (A549 (lung), DLD-1 (intestine) and L-02 (liver) cells) was used to address the differential toxicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The number of differential metabolites (DMs) identified in the PFOA-treated A549 cells (67) was highest, followed by DLD-1 (12) and L-02 cells (10). The categorization of DMs was almost uniquely specific to each of cell lines. PFOA significantly promoted linoleic acid metabolism in L-02 cells whereas this metabolism was inhibited in the PFOA-treated A549 cells. The levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-13 were about 1.5 times higher in the PFOA-treated A549 and L-02 cells than in the controls. PFOA stimulated the biosynthesis of arginine and the metabolism of vitamin B6 in A549 cells. Arginine and vitamin B6 supplemented into cell culture effectively decreased the levels of IL-6 and IL-8. The inhibition of purine metabolism by PFOA resulted in the arrestation of DLD-1 cells at the G/G-phase. Our results suggest that the differential toxicity of PFOA related to exposure pathways could be elucidated by metabolic profiles specific to various human cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.125017DOI Listing
May 2021

Characterization of the mercury-binding proteins in tuna and salmon sashimi: Implications for health risk of mercury in food.

Chemosphere 2021 Jan 27;263:128110. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China; Institute of Environment and Health, Jianghan University, Wuhan, 430056, China; School of Environment, Hangzhou Institute for Advanced Study, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hangzhou, 310000, China.

Fish consumption is one of the major ways through which humans receive exposure to mercury (Hg). The existing forms of Hg in food, particularly Hg bound to proteins, may affect the absorption of Hg by humans and subsequently its potentially toxic effects. However, the knowledge regarding Hg-binding proteins in edible fish muscle is scarce. In the present study, salmon and tuna fish muscles, collected from seven different regions and countries, were analyzed using metallomics- and proteomics-based techniques. The concentration of Hg in sashimi samples ranged from 4.4 to 317.4 ng/g. Size exclusion chromatography (SEC) coupled with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) showed that beta-actin was a novel Hg-binding protein from the fish muscles, and this protein could also bind bismuth (Bi), silver (Ag), and copper (Cu). Hg bound to beta-actin accounted for approximately 30.2-37.6% of the total Hg in the tuna muscles and was significantly correlated to total Hg in the fish muscles (r = 0.98, p < 0.01) and in the fraction of soluble proteins (r = 0.94, p < 0.01). These findings suggest that proteins act as the main Hg accumulation sites in edible fish; thus, increasing human exposure to Hg following gastrointestinal digestion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128110DOI Listing
January 2021

Reduction of mercury emissions from anthropogenic sources including coal combustion.

J Environ Sci (China) 2021 Feb 16;100:363-368. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Division of Analytical and Environmental Toxicology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, 10-102 Clinical Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G3, Canada. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jes.2020.11.002DOI Listing
February 2021

Identification and characterization of Gd-binding proteins in NIH-3T3 cells.

Talanta 2020 Nov 13;219:121281. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai, 519082, China. Electronic address:

Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs), frequently applied in clinical diagnosis, may cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) probably due to the gadolinium ion (Gd) released from the GBCAs. However, Gd-binding proteins and related mechanism responsible for Gd toxicity remained to be understood. In this study, NIH-3T3 cells were chosen as a model for Gd exposure assays and identification of Gd-binding proteins. A comparative assay showed that gadolinium chloride (GdCl) was much more toxic than gadolinium diamide (Gd-DTPA-BMA, a GBCAs). Majority of Gd were absorbed by cells and existed in the fractions of the cell fragment and soluble proteins. High performance liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry(HPLC-ICP-MS), polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS PAGE) and liquid chromatography-triple time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-Triple TOF) were employed for the identification and characterization of potential Gd-binging proteins. Tubulin was identified as a novel Gd-binding protein in the NIH-3T3 cells. The binding of Gd to tubulin might inhibit assembling of tubulin or depolymerize microtubules in cells. Our results suggested that the formation of microtubules interfered by binding of free Gd to tubulin could be an important molecular mechanism of Gd toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2020.121281DOI Listing
November 2020

Lab-on-Membrane Platform Coupled with Paper Spray Ionization for Analysis of Prostate-Specific Antigen in Clinical Settings.

Anal Chem 2020 10 4;92(19):13298-13304. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.

The analysis of protein antigens as biomarkers in clinical samples is particularly helpful for the early diagnosis of diseases. However, this is difficult to accomplish owing to the presence of the antigens in trace amounts as well as the complexity of the matrixes in clinical samples. In this study, a lab-on-membrane platform that can be combined with paper spray ionization mass spectrometry was developed for the high-throughput sensitive detection of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The sensitivity of the proposed platform was enhanced via two strategies: (1) the synthesis of a biotin-streptavidin scaffold caused an increase in the capturing efficiency of PSA by a factor of 5 and (2) the immobilization of a large number of mass tag molecules on the gold nanoparticles allowed for the amplification of the mass spectrometry signals. The limit of detection was approximately 3.0 pg mL. The selectivity to PSA was guaranteed by using an antibody-aptamer pairing sandwich immunoassay, and PSA detection was unaffected even when other protein antigens (carcinoembryonic antigen and carbohydrate antigen 125) were present. The modified membranes maintained their performance for at least 30 days when stored at 4 °C. Finally, analysis of human serum samples confirmed that the PSA concentration as determined using the proposed platform was consistent with that determined with a conventional chemiluminescent immunoassay. Thus, this PSA analyzing platform is suitable for prostate cancer diagnosis in clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02554DOI Listing
October 2020

Characteristics of chlorinated and brominated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Pearl River Estuary.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Oct 29;739:139774. Epub 2020 May 29.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 510275, China. Electronic address:

The spatial distribution of halogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (H-PAHs) (8 chlorinated PAHs (Cl-PAHs) and 9 brominated PAHs (Br-PAHs)), in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) was investigated. The total concentrations of 17H-PAHs in sediment samples were ranged from 1.4 ng g to 40.9 ng g with an average concentration of 14.7 ng g. The average H-PAH concentration in the suspended particulate matters (SPMs) (475.6 ng g) was 30 times higher than that in the sediments (14.7 ng g), and H-PAHs were rarely detected in the aqueous phase. The dominant H-PAHs in sediments were 9,10-dichloroanthracene (31.2%) and 9-chlorophenanthrene (32.0%); 2/9-chlorofluorene (27.4%) was prominent in surface SPMs, while no significant dominant congeners were found in bottom SPMs. Principal component analysis showed that the congener profiles of H-PAHs in sediments were different from those of SPMs especially for surface SPM samples which might be caused by point source discharges of H-PAHs from the coast of the PRE. In general, riverine inputs were the major source of H-PAHs in the PRE, and SPMs were important carriers for transporting H-PAHs. Diagnostic analyses showed that the H-PAHs might originate from waste incineration and automobile emissions in the Pearl River Delta (PRD).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139774DOI Listing
October 2020

Spatial and seasonal variations of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotics in the surface waters of Poyang Lake in China.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2020 Jun 8;196:110543. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Basin Agricultural Resource and Ecology of Jiangxi Province, College of Land Resource and Environment, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, 330045, China. Electronic address:

Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and antibiotics in the aquatic environment raise health concerns particularly on the dispersal and persistence of antibiotic resistance. Large lakes, which serve as catch basins of anthropogenic inputs provide an ideal environment for understanding the occurrence and accumulation of ARGs and antibiotics in freshwater environments. Here, the largest freshwater lake in China, Poyang Lake, located in the developing district of Yangtze valley was used to study the characterization of the spatial and seasonal variation of both ARGs and antibiotics. Results showed that twelve tested ARGs (sul1, sul2, sul3, tetA, tetB, tetC, tetH, tetW, tetO, tetM, qnrS, and qnrB) were detected in the surface waters of Poyang Lake, with a detection frequency ranging from 19.2% to 100%, and sul2 and tetA genes were identified as potential indicators of ARG pollution in this region. Among the 11 analyzed antibiotics, sulfonamides were the predominant antibiotics with a contribution of more than 50% to the total concentrations of tested antibiotics. The total concentrations of both ARGs and antibiotics were higher in the dry season than those in the wet season. Furthermore, ARGs and antibiotics in the surface waters also varied with sampling locations, being consistently at riverine tributaries. Positive correlations were also observed between the concentrations of ARGs and antibiotics, as well as the integron gene (intI1), indicating that antibiotics and intI1 may be playing important roles in the occurrence and dispersal of ARGs in the surface waters. Lastly, our results suggest that intensive anthropogenic activities related to antibiotic usage have substantially contributed to the occurrence and persistence of ARGs and antibiotics in Poyang Lake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.110543DOI Listing
June 2020

Identification and characterization of the glutathione S-Transferase (GST) family in radish reveals a likely role in anthocyanin biosynthesis and heavy metal stress tolerance.

Gene 2020 Jun 18;743:144484. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

School of Advanced Agriculture and Bioengineering, Yangtze Normal University, Fuling 408100, China; Green Intelligence Environmental School, Yangtze Normal University, Fuling 408100, China. Electronic address:

Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are a large complex family of enzymes (EC 2.5.1.18) that play vital roles in flavonoid metabolism and plant growth and development and are responsive to heavy metal stress. However, knowledge about GST genes in radish (a vegetable crop with an extraordinary capacity to adapt to heavy metal stresses) is limited. Therefore, it is critical to identify putative candidate GST genes responsible for heavy metal stress tolerance and anthocyanin biosynthesis. In this study, we first identified 82 R. sativus GST (RsGST) genes using various bioinformatic approaches, and their expression profiles were characterized from RNAseq data. These RsGST genes could be grouped into 7 major subclasses: tau (43 members), phi (21 members), tetrachlorohydroquinone dehalogenase (7 members), dehydroascorbat reductase (5 members), zeta (3 members), lambda (2 members) and theta (1 member). In addition, most of the RsGST genes showed organ-specific expression in our study. Moreover, the transcripts of RsGSTF12-1 and RsGSTF12-2, belonging to the phi class, might be candidates encoding anthocyanin transporters in carmine radish, whereas the tau class, consisting of RsGSTU13-1, RsGSTU19, RsGSTU24-1, and RsGSTU3, and theta class, consisting of RsGSTT1-1, might be defend radish against adverse heavy metal stresses. These results will aid in understanding the functions of the GST family related to heavy metal stress and anthocyanin biosynthesis, thereby potentially improving radish breeding programs for high-pigment-content material as well as HM-tolerant material.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2020.144484DOI Listing
June 2020

Fetal bovine serum attenuating perfluorooctanoic acid-inducing toxicity to multiple human cell lines via albumin binding.

J Hazard Mater 2020 05 21;389:122109. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Sate Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China; Institute of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou, 510006, China. Electronic address:

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), as a typical emerging organic pollutant, can interact with serum albumin. However, it remains to characterize the binding of PFOA with serum albumin and to address the role of this interaction in related toxic effects. We aimed to characterize the interaction between PFOA and albumin for understanding the effects of this interaction on the uptake, distribution, and toxicity of PFOA in human cells. The results showed that viable cell count was significantly enhanced by addition of fetabl bovine serum (FBS) into cell culture medium with 300 μM PFOA treatment. PFOA mainly existed as complexed with FBS, at FBS concentration > 10%, which substantially reduced the absorption efficiency of all cell lines to PFOA. The majority of PFOA was accumulated in the cytosolic fraction, followed by nuclei, and mitochondria. Conclusively, our study suggests that the complexation of organic contaminants with proteins might mitigate their toxicity by reducing cellular uptake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.122109DOI Listing
May 2020

Carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDA): An integrative analysis of a novel therapeutic target.

Sci Rep 2019 12 4;9(1):18347. Epub 2019 Dec 4.

University of Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

We investigated biomarker CEACAM6, a highly abundant cell surface adhesion receptor that modulates the extracellular matrix (ECM) in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) RNA-Seq data from PDA patients were analyzed for CEACAM6 expression and evaluated for overall survival, association, enrichment and correlations. A CRISPR/Cas9 Knockout (KO) of CEACAM6 in PDA cell line for quantitative proteomics, mitochondrial bioenergetics and tumor growth in mice were conducted. We found CEACAM6 is over-expressed in primary and metastatic basal and classical PDA subtypes. Highest levels are in classical activated stroma subtype. CEACAM6 over-expression is universally a poor prognostic marker in KRAS mutant and wild type PDA. High CEACAM6 expression is associated with low cytolytic T-cell activity in both basal and classical PDA subtypes and correlates with low levels of T- markers. In HPAF-II cells knockout of CEACAM6 alters ECM-cell adhesion, catabolism, immune environment, transmembrane transport and autophagy. CEACAM6 loss increases mitochondrial basal and maximal respiratory capacity. HPAF-II CEACAM6-/- cells are growth suppressed by >65% vs. wild type in mice bearing tumors. CEACAM6, a key regulator affects several hallmarks of PDA including the fibrotic reaction, immune regulation, energy metabolism and is a novel therapeutic target in PDA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54545-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893022PMC
December 2019

Prevalence, Biotransformation, and Maternal Transfer of Synthetic Phenolic Antioxidants in Pregnant Women from South China.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 Dec 15;53(23):13959-13969. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and Health, School of Environment , Jinan University , Guangzhou 511443 , China.

Synthetic phenolic antioxidants (SPAs) have been identified as an emerging group of contaminants in recent years. However, there are significant gaps in our knowledge of human prenatal exposure to these synthetic chemicals. In this study, a set of eight SPAs and four major transformation products (TPs) were systematically analyzed in matched samples of maternal plasma, cord plasma, and placenta from a population of pregnant women. Five of the eight target SPAs and all four target TPs were frequently detected in the maternal-placental-fetal unit, indicating prenatal exposure to SPAs and the transfer of SPAs across the placenta. In the three matrices, 2,6-di--butyl-hydroxytoluene (BHT), 2,4-di--butylphenol (DBP), and 2,2'-methylenebis(4-methyl-6--butylphenol) (AO 2246) were identified as the most abundant SPAs, while 2,6-di--butyl-1,4-benzoquinone (BHT-Q) and 2,6-di--butyl-4-hydroxy-4-methyl-2,5-cyclohexadienone (BHT-quinol) were identified as the predominant TPs of BHT. In the maternal plasma, concentrations of both BHT-Q and BHT-quinol were significantly correlated with BHT ( < 0.001), suggesting that the two TPs mainly originated from the biotransformation of BHT itself in pregnant women. The transplacental transfer efficiencies (TTEs) of the SPAs and TPs were structure-dependent and generally less than 1. Significantly higher TTEs for four target TPs than their parent BHT were identified. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that SPAs and TPs transfer across the placenta in pregnant women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b04709DOI Listing
December 2019

Genome-wide identification and characterization, phylogenetic comparison and expression profiles of SPL transcription factor family in B. juncea (Cruciferae).

PLoS One 2019 5;14(11):e0224704. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Department of Life Sciences and Technology, Yangtze Normal University, Fuling, Chongqing, China.

SQUAMOSA promoter-binding protein-like (SPL), as plant specific transcription factors, is involved in many plant growth and development processes. However, there is less systematical study for SPL transcription factor in B. juncea (Cruciferae). Here, a total of 59 SPL genes classified into eight phylogenetic groups were identified in B. juncea, highly conserved within each ortholog were also found based on gene structure, conserved motif, as well as clustering level. In addition, clustering of SPL domain showed that two zinc finger-like structures and NLS segments were identified in almost of BjuSPLs. Analyzed of putative cis-elements for BjuSPLs demonstrated that SPL transcription factors were involved in adverse environmental changes, such as light, plant stresses and phytohormones response. Expression analysis showed that differentially expressed SPL genes were identified in flower and stem development of Cruciferae; such as BjuSPL3a-B, BjuSPL2b_B and BjuSPL2c_A were significantly expressed in flower; BjuSPL 3b_B and BjuSPL10a_A were significantly expressed in stem node (VP: vegetative period). Moreover, 28 of the 59 BjuSPLs were found involved in their posttranscriptional regulation targeted by miR156. We demonstrated that miR156 negatively regulated BjuSPL10a_A and BjuSPL3b_B to act for stem development in B. juncea.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0224704PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830930PMC
April 2020

Mercury methylation-related microbes and genes in the sediments of the Pearl River Estuary and the South China Sea.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2019 Dec 29;185:109722. Epub 2019 Sep 29.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai, 519082, China. Electronic address:

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a toxicant that mainly originates from in situ microbial methylation of inorganic mercury (Hg) in the environment and poses a severe health risk to the public. However, the characteristics of the Hg-methylating microbial community and its relationship with MeHg production in various environments remain to be understood. In the present study, Hg-methylating microbial communities and genes (hgcAB cluster) in the sediments of the Pearl River (PR), Pearl River Estuary (PRE) and South China Sea (SCS) were investigated at a large spatial scale using high-throughput sequencing-based approaches. The results showed that sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB) and iron-reducing bacteria (IRB) were consistently the dominant microbial strains responsible for the methylation of inorganic Hg in all three regions investigated. The abundance and diversity of Hg-methylating communities and genes were both found to be higher in the PR sediments compared to that in the PRE and SCS sediments, and in good agreement with the spatial distribution of MeHg. Furthermore, a significant correlation was observed between the MeHg concentration and the abundance of both hgcA and hgcB genes in the sediments of the PR, PRE and SCS regions. Overall, the present study suggested that there was the presence of a close link between MeHg and Hg-methylating communities or genes in the ambient aquatic environment, which could be used to reflect the potential of in situ MeHg production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109722DOI Listing
December 2019

Bacterial resistance to lead: Chemical basis and environmental relevance.

J Environ Sci (China) 2019 Nov 30;85:46-55. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China. Electronic address:

Natural bacterial isolates from heavily contaminated sites may evolve diverse tolerance strategies, including biosorption, efflux mechanism, and intracellular precipitation under the continually increased stress of toxic lead (Pb) from anthropogenic activities. These strategies utilize a large variety of functional groups in biological macromolecules (e.g., exopolysaccharides (EPSs) and metalloproteins) and inorganic ligands, including carboxyl, phosphate and amide groups, for capturing Pb. The amount and type of binding sites carried by biologically originated materials essentially determines their performance and potential for Pb removal and remediation. Many factors, e.g., metal ion radius, electronegativity, the shape of the cell surface sheath, temperature and pH, are thought to exert significant influences on the abovementioned interactions with Pb. Conclusively, understanding the chemical basis of Pb-binding in these bacteria can allow for the development of effective microbial Pb remediation technologies and further elucidation of Pb cycling in the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jes.2019.04.022DOI Listing
November 2019

Pyrene metabolites by bacterium enhancing cell division of green alga Selenastrum capricornutum.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Nov 15;689:287-294. Epub 2019 Jun 15.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China. Electronic address:

Collaborations between multiple microbial species are important for understanding natural clearance and ecological effects of toxic organic contaminants in the environment. However, the interactions between different species in the transformation and degradation of contaminants remain to address. In this study, the effects of pyrene and its bacterial metabolites on the algal growth (Selenastrum capricornutum) were examined. The specific growth rate of algal cells incubated with bacterial pyrene metabolites (1.18 d) was highest among all treatment, followed by the controls (1.07 d), treated with pyrene-free bacterial metabolites (1.04 d) and those treated with pyrene (0.55 d). G phase is the key growth phase for the cells to synthesize biomolecules for subsequent cell division in the cell cycle. Approximately 76.9% of the cells treated with bacterial pyrene metabolites were at the G phase and significantly lower than those with the controls (85.3%), pyrene-free bacterial metabolites (85.5%) and pyrene treatment (92.5%). Transcriptomic analysis of algae showed that the expression of 47 ribosomal unigenes was down-regulated by 5 mg L of pyrene, while 308 unigenes related to the preparation of cell division (DNA replication and protein synthesis) were up-regulated by bacterial pyrene metabolites. It indicated that basal metabolism associated with the growth and proliferation of algal cells could be significantly promoted by bacterial pyrene metabolites. Overall, this study suggests a close relationship between algae and bacteria in the transformation and ecological effects of toxic contaminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.162DOI Listing
November 2019

Occurrence of antibiotic resistance genes in extracellular and intracellular DNA from sediments collected from two types of aquaculture farms.

Chemosphere 2019 Nov 15;234:520-527. Epub 2019 Jun 15.

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai, 519082, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China. Electronic address:

The occurrence and quantities of ARGs in extracellular and intracellular DNA (eARGs and iARGs) from sediments collected in two different types of aquaculture farms were investigated. A total of 20 ARG subtypes associated with 7 categories of commonly used antibiotics (e.g., aminoglycosides, beta-lactams, sulfonamides, tetracyclines) were identified, and some of these subtypes were not related to the antibiotics used. ARGs are mainly present in the iDNA form with the ratio of the total iARGs to eARGs being in the range of 7.9-45.5. The ratio of eARG to iARGs varies greatly with ARG subtypes, probably due to their differences in persistence as a part of eDNA. Significant correlation between int1 and ARGs was observed for both eDNA and iDNA in sediments from the aquaculture farms. Moreover, ARG pollution was more serious in bullfrog ponds than polyculture ponds due to the more frequent use of antibiotics in bullfrog rearing operations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.06.085DOI Listing
November 2019

Urban recreational water - potential breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bacteria?

J Environ Sci (China) 2019 07;81:1-3

Division of Analytical and Environmental Toxicology,Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology,Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G3, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jes.2019.03.008DOI Listing
July 2019

Metagenomic characterization of antibiotic resistance genes in Antarctic soils.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2019 Jul 1;176:300-308. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China. Electronic address:

Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are considered environmental pollutants. Comprehensive characterization of the ARGs in pristine environments is essential towards understanding the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Here, we analyzed ARGs in soil samples collected from relatively pristine Antarctica using metagenomic approaches. We identified 79 subtypes related to 12 antibiotic classes in Antarctic soils, in which ARGs related to multidrug and polypeptide were dominant. The characteristics of ARGs in Antarctic soils were significantly different from those in active sludge, chicken feces and swine feces, in terms of composition, abundance and potential transferability. ARG subtypes (e.g., bacA, ceoB, dfrE, mdtB, amrB, and acrB) were more abundant than others in Antarctic soils. Approximately 60% of the ARGs conferred antibiotic resistance via an efflux mechanism, and a low fraction of ARGs (∼16%) might be present on plasmids. Culturable bacterial consortiums isolated from Antarctic soils were consistently susceptible to most of the tested antibiotics frequently used in clinical therapies. The amrB and ceoB carried by culturable species did not express the resistance to aminoglycoside and fluoroquinolone at the levels of clinical concern. Our results suggest that the wide use of antibiotics may have contributed to developing higher antibiotic resistance and mobility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.03.099DOI Listing
July 2019

Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) in PM from China: Implications for Human Exposure.

Environ Sci Technol 2019 01 26;53(2):963-972. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , The Hong Kong Polytechnic University , Hung Hom, Kowloon , Hong Kong.

Airborne transmission is one of the environmental dissemination pathways of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and has critical implications for human exposure through inhalation. In this study, we focused on three regions of China to reveal some unique spatiotemporal features of airborne bacteria and ARGs in fine aerosols (PM): (1) greater seasonal variations in the abundance of bacteria and ARGs in temperate urban Beijing than in the subtropical urban areas of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and Pearl River Delta (PRD) regions, with regional disparities in bacterial communities; (2) geographical fingerprints of ARG profiles independent of seasonal cycles and land-use gradients within each region; (3) region-independent associations between the targeted ARGs and limited bacterial genera; (4) common correlations between ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) across regions; and (5) PM at the higher end of ARG enrichment across various environmental and human media. The spatiotemporally differentiated bacterial communities and ARG abundances, and the compositions, mobility, and potential hosts of ARGs in the atmosphere have strong implications for human inhalational exposure over spatiotemporal scales. By comparing other contributing pathways for the intake of ARGs (e.g., drinking water and food ingestion) in China and the U.S.A., we identified the region-specific importance of inhalation in China as well as country-specific exposure scenarios. Our study thus highlights the significance of inhalation as an integral part of the aggregate exposure pathways of environmentally disseminated ARGs, which, in turn, may help in the formulation of adaptive strategies to mitigate the exposure risks in China and beyond.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b04630DOI Listing
January 2019

A unique Pb-binding flagellin as an effective remediation tool for Pb contamination in aquatic environment.

J Hazard Mater 2019 02 3;363:34-40. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P. O. Box 2871, Beijing, 100085, PR China.

Metal contaminants present persistent and deleterious threats to environmental ecosystems and human health. Microorganisms can rapidly develop protective mechanisms against metal toxicity, such as metallothionein production. The identification of biological factors related to these protective mechanisms is essential for effective metal remediation. This study presents a robust pathway to rapidly locate and characterize a Pb-binding flagellin in Serratia Se1998, which can bind Pb at a 16:1 Pb: protein ratio. A column gel electrophoresis system hyphenated with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP MS) was constructed to efficiently separate and identify Pb-binding proteins from the whole bacterial proteome. PCR and transgenic assays were used to elucidate the exact sequences and biological function of Pb-binding proteins and heterogeneous expression of Pb-binding flagellin in E. coli could significantly enhance Pb removal from aqueous solution by approximately 45%. This method provides a benchmark procedure to rapidly identify biological factors responsible for metal biosorption. Identification of this unique Pb-binding flagellin highlights that microorganisms can survive high metal stresses due to various complex biological pathways for metal detoxification and remediation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.10.004DOI Listing
February 2019

Characterization of airborne antibiotic resistance genes from typical bioaerosol emission sources in the urban environment using metagenomic approach.

Chemosphere 2018 Dec 13;213:463-471. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

South China Sea Resource Exploitation and Protection Collaborative Innovation Center, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China. Electronic address:

The wide spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) has attracted increasing concern. However, the occurrence and diversity of ARGs in airborne particles remains to be understood. In this study, total suspended particles (TSP) in the atmosphere were collected from typical sources of ARG pollution, including animal farms and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), as well as the downtown area in Zhuhai, China. Metagenomic profiling demonstrated that ARGs were abundant and diverse in the TSP from animal farms and WWTP, but significant differences in ARG composition pattern between these samples were observed. ARGs associated with the resistance to aminoglycoside, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin (MLS) and tetracycline were dominant over other ARGs in the TSP of the animal farms, whereas multidrug and bacitracin resistance genes were more abundant than other ARGs in the TSP of the WWTP. In the animal farms, ARG profiles of the TSP were consistent with those of animal feces, indicating that animal feces could be one of the most contributing sources of airborne ARGs in animal farms. In contrast to representative sources of ARG pollution, ARG abundance and diversity in the TSP collected from the downtown area was relatively low, with multidrug resistance genes being predominant. This study suggests that metagenomic profiling of the ARGs in airborne TSP could enhance our comprehensive understanding of ARGs dissemination in the environment and their potential health threats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.09.066DOI Listing
December 2018

Transcriptional response of Mycobacterium sp. strain A1-PYR to multiple polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contaminations.

Environ Pollut 2018 Dec 5;243(Pt B):824-832. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, People's Republic of China. Electronic address:

Cometabolism mechanisms of organic pollutants in environmental microbes have not been fully understood. In this study, a global analysis of Mycobacterium sp. strain A1-PYR transcriptomes on different PAH substrates (single or binary of pyrene (PYR) and phenanthrene (PHE)) was conducted. Comparative results demonstrated that expression levels of 23 PAH degradation enzymes were significantly higher in the binary substrate than in the PYR-only one. These enzymes constituted an integrated enzymatic system to actualize all transformation steps of PYR, and most of their encoded genes formed a novel gene cascade in the genome of strain A1-PYR. The roles of different genotypes of enzymes in PYR cometabolism were also discriminated even though all of their gene sequences were presented in the genome of this strain. NidAB and PdoA2B2 instead of NidA3B3 served the initial oxidization of PAHs, and PcaL replaced PcaCD to catalyze the formation of 3-oxoadipate. Novel genes associated with PYR cometabolism was also predicted by the relationships between their transcription profiles and PYR removal. The results showed that ABC-type transporters probably played important roles in the transport of PAHs and their metabolites through cell membrane, and [4Fe-4S] ferredoxin might be essential for dioxygenases (NidAB and PdoA2B2) to achieve oxidative activities. This study provided molecular insight in that microbial degrader subtly cometabolized recalcitrant PAHs with relatively more degradable ones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.001DOI Listing
December 2018

Anti-inflammatory effects of neferine on LPS-induced human endothelium MAPK, and NF-κβ pathways.

Pharmazie 2018 09;73(9):541-544

This study aimed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory mechanism of neferine, a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in Human Umbilical Endothelial Cells (HUVECs) and pulmonary aorta cells. Production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide (NO) was determined using Griess reaction in human endothelial cells. The levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) were analyzed using real time PCR and western blotting. Neferine significantly prevented the NO, TNF-α, COX-2, iNOS, IL-1B, and other inflammatory mediators formation in increasing dose as compared to LPS-induced human endothelial cells. The expressions of NADPH oxidase subunits p22phox, p47phox, and gp91phox were increased in LPS-induced HUVECs but neferein was able to reverse the effect in a dose-dependent manner. The anti-inflammatory effects of neferine in LPS-induced endothelial cells are attributed through the modulation of MAPK and NF-κβ pathways. Collectively, these results suggest that neferine could be beneficial in the early treatment of atherosclerosis to prevent stroke and heart disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1691/ph.2018.8443DOI Listing
September 2018
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