Publications by authors named "Kang Zhang"

484 Publications

All-Flesh Tomato Regulated by Reduced Expression Dosage of AFF Through a Promoter SV Mutation.

J Exp Bot 2021 Sep 7. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops of Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.

The formation of locule gel is an important process in tomato and a typical characteristic of berry fruit. In this study, we collected a tomato natural mutant that produces all-flesh fruits (AFF) in which the locule tissue remains in a solid state during fruit development. We built genetic populations to fine-map the causal gene of the AFF trait and identified the gene AFF (SlMBP3) as the locus conferring the locule gel formation. We determined the causal mutation as a 416-bp deletion that occurred in the promoter region of AFF and reduced its expression dosage. The 416-bp sequence is highly conserved among Solanaceae species, as well as within the tomato germplasm. Furthermore, with the BC6 NIL materials, we revealed that the reduced expression dosage of AFF did not impact the normal development of seeds but produced unique non-liquefied locule tissue, which was distinct from that of normal tomatoes in terms of metabolic components. We further revealed the importance of AFF gene in locule tissue liquefaction through combined analysis using mRNA-seq and metabolomics. Our findings provide clues to investigate fruit type differentiation in Solanaceae crops and also contribute to the application of the AFF gene in tomato breeding programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab401DOI Listing
September 2021

Comparative Proteomic Analysis of the Defense Response to Stalk Rot in Maize and Reveals That ZmWRKY83 Is Involved in Plant Disease Resistance.

Front Plant Sci 2021 13;12:694973. Epub 2021 Aug 13.

State Key Laboratory of North China Crop Improvement and Regulation, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, China.

is the causal agent of stalk rot in maize stem, resulting in maize lodging, yield, quality, and mechanical harvesting capacity. To date, little is known about the maize stem defense mechanism in response to the invasion of . This study represents a global proteomic approach to document the infection by . A total of 1,894 differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were identified in maize stem with inoculation. Functional categorization analysis indicated that proteins involved in plant-pathogen interaction were inducible at the early stages of infection. We also found that the expression of proteins involved in phenylpropanoid, flavonoid, and terpenoid biosynthesis were upregulated in response to infection, which may reflect that these secondary metabolism pathways were important in the protection against the fungal attack in maize stem. In continuously upregulated proteins after infection, we identified a WRKY transcription factor, ZmWRKY83, which could improve the resistance to plant pathogens. Together, the results show that the defense response of corn stalks against infection was multifaceted, involving the induction of proteins from various immune-related pathways, which had a directive significance for molecular genetic breeding of maize disease-resistant varieties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2021.694973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417113PMC
August 2021

Comparing accuracy of bedside ultrasound examination with physical examination for detection of pleural effusion.

Ultrasound J 2021 Sep 6;13(1):40. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Background: In detecting pleural effusion, bedside ultrasound (US) has been shown to be more accurate than auscultation. However, US has not been previously compared to the comprehensive physical examination. This study seeks to compare the accuracy of physical examination with bedside US in detecting pleural effusion.

Methods: This study included a convenience sample of 34 medical inpatients from Calgary, Canada and Spokane, USA, with chest imaging performed within 24 h of recruitment. Imaging results served as the reference standard for pleural effusion. All patients underwent a comprehensive lung physical examination and a bedside US examination by two researchers blinded to the imaging results.

Results: Physical examination was less accurate than US (sensitivity of 44.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 30.0-58.8%], specificity 88.9% (95% CI 65.3-98.6%), positive likelihood (LR) 3.96 (95% CI 1.03-15.18), negative LR 0.63 (95% CI 0.47-0.85) for physical examination; sensitivity 98% (95% CI 89.4-100%), specificity 94.4% (95% CI 72.7-99.9%), positive LR 17.6 (95% CI 2.6-118.6), negative LR 0.02 (95% CI 0.00-0.15) for US). The percentage of examinations rated with a confidence level of 4 or higher (out of 5) was higher for US (85% of the seated US examination and 94% of the supine US examination, compared to 35% of the PE, P < 0.001), and took less time to perform (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: US examination for pleural effusion was more accurate than the physical examination, conferred higher confidence, and required less time to complete.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13089-021-00241-7DOI Listing
September 2021

A novel Mn-activated layered oxide-fluoride perovskite-type KNaMoOF red phosphor for wide gamut warm white light-emitting diode backlights.

Dalton Trans 2021 Aug 2;50(32):11189-11196. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

School of Applied Physics and Materials, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, Guangdong 529020, P.R. China.

Mn-activated oxide-fluoride phosphors are attractive for application in a wide range of solid-state lighting devices because of their distinct red emission at about 630 nm and the abundant storage of Mn ions. However, the zero-phonon line (ZPL) of Mn ions is too weak to be detected in most host materials due to the magnetic dipole nature. In this article, we introduce a co-precipitation method for synthesizing a Mn-doped oxyfluoride perovskite KNaMoOF phosphor containing [MoOF] building units. The electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectra are consistent with the presence of a MnF species at g = 1.991. The KNaMoOF:0.01Mn phosphor exhibits strong absorption under blue light and an internal quantum yield (IQE) of 65.8%. Attributed to the distorted octahedral environment of the Mn ions, visible ZPL emission was detected at 625 nm. Based on theoretical calculations, the Mn ions in the KNaMoOF host exist in a strong crystal field with a high D/B value of ∼3.86. A series of photoluminescence-dependent low-temperature spectra indicates that the Mn emissive state experiences weak electron-phonon interactions upon calculating the Huang-Rhys factor. Benefiting from the ZPL, a warm white-light-emitting diode is achieved using YAG:Ce and KNaMoOF:Mn as color converters, in which the color rendering index was R = 83.5 and CCT = 4490 K.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1dt01863aDOI Listing
August 2021

Assessment of infectivity and the impact on neutralizing activity of immune sera of the COVID-19 variant, CAL.20C.

Signal Transduct Target Ther 2021 07 27;6(1):285. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41392-021-00695-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8313410PMC
July 2021

A patient with SCA17 featuring 41 CAG repeats presents with spastic paraplegia and involuntary movement.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2021 Aug 29;89:87-89. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Department of Neurology, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100050, China. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2021.06.021DOI Listing
August 2021

Schisandrin Protects against Norepinephrine-Induced Myocardial Hypertrophic Injury by Inhibiting the JAK2/STAT3 Signaling Pathway.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2021 16;2021:8129512. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Engineering & Technology Research Center of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Gansu, Lanzhou, China.

. Heart failure is closely associated with norepinephrine-(NE-) induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Schisandrin is derived from the traditional Chinese medicine Schisandra; it has a variety of pharmacological activities, and the mechanism of schisandrin-mediated protection of the cardiovascular system is not clear. . NE was used to establish a cardiomyocyte hypertrophy model to explore the mechanism of action of schisandrin. An MTT assay was used for cell viability; Hoechst fluorescence staining was used to observe the cell morphology and calculate the apoptosis rate. The cell surface area was measured and the protein to DNA ratio was calculated, changes in mitochondrial membrane potential were detected, and the degree of hypertrophic cell damage was evaluated. WB, QRT-PCR, and immunofluorescence were used to qualitatively, quantitatively, and quantitatively detect apoptotic proteins in the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway. . In the NE-induced model, schisandrin treatment reduced the apoptosis rate of cardiomyocytes, increased the ratio of the cell surface area to cardiomyocyte protein/DNA, and also, increased the membrane potential of the mitochondria. The expression of both JAK2 and STAT3 was downregulated, and the BAX/Bcl-2 ratio was significantly reduced. In conclusion, schisandrin may protect against NE-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by inhibiting the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway and reducing cardiomyocyte apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/8129512DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221864PMC
June 2021

A facile strategy for lightweight, anti-dripping, flexible polyurethane foam with low smoke emission tendency and superior electromagnetic wave blocking.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2021 Jun 24;603:25-36. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

State Key Laboratory of Fire Science, University of Science and Technology of China, 96 Jinzhai Road, Hefei, Anhui 230026, People's Republic of China. Electronic address:

Flexible polyurethane foam (FPUF) has been considered as an excellent material in many fields, such as furniture and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding products due to its lightweight and flexibility. However, there is a severe fire hazard problem for FPUF that makes it unsuitable to be used in practical. Herein, a facile method was to prepare anti-dripping FPUF via electroless plating at ambient temperature. The silver nanoparticles (SNPs) were in-situ grown on the surface along with the polydopamine (PDA) as an adhesive and template ([email protected]@FPUF). As a result, these FPUFs show outstanding fire safety and anti-dripping capacity, and the heat release rate reduced 80.92%. Furthermore, the amounts of carbon oxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO) decreased 75.01% and 22.4%, respectively. Above all, the EMI shielding effectiveness (SE) accomplished almost 120 dB as the increasing electroless time with a low density of 0.051 g/cm. Furthermore, the specific EMI SE (SSE) and the absolute EMI SE (SSE/t) accomplished 2630.98 dB·cm/g and 2434 dB·cm/g, respectively, which was far beyond the commercial request. Therefore, this work may provide a facile way to prepare low density and EMI shielding products with high fire safety for next generation electronic products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2021.06.103DOI Listing
June 2021

Microbial starch debranching enzymes: Developments and applications.

Biotechnol Adv 2021 Sep-Oct;50:107786. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Avenue, Wuxi 214122, China; School of Biotechnology and Key Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Avenue, Wuxi 214122, China; International Joint Laboratory on Food Safety, Jiangnan University, 1800 Lihu Avenue, Wuxi 214122, China. Electronic address:

Starch debranching enzymes (SDBEs) hydrolyze the α-1,6 glycosidic bonds in polysaccharides such as starch, amylopectin, pullulan and glycogen. SDBEs are also important enzymes for the preparation of sugar syrup, resistant starch and cyclodextrin. As the synergistic catalysis of SDBEs and other starch-acting hydrolases can effectively improve the raw material utilization and production efficiency during starch processing steps such as saccharification and modification, they have attracted substantial research interest in the past decades. The substrate specificities of the two major members of SDBEs, pullulanases and isoamylases, are quite different. Pullulanases generally require at least two α-1,4 linked glucose units existing on both sugar chains linked by the α-1,6 bond, while isoamylases require at least three units of α-1,4 linked glucose. SDBEs mainly belong to glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 13 and 57. Except for GH57 type II pullulanse, GH13 pullulanases and isoamylases share plenty of similarities in sequence and structure of the core catalytic domains. However, the N-terminal domains, which might be one of the determinants contributing to the substrate binding of SDBEs, are distinct in different enzymes. In order to overcome the current defects of SDBEs in catalytic efficiency, thermostability and expression level, great efforts have been made to develop effective enzyme engineering and fermentation strategies. Herein, the diverse biochemical properties and distinct features in the sequence and structure of pullulanase and isoamylase from different sources are summarized. Up-to-date developments in the enzyme engineering, heterologous production and industrial applications of SDBEs is also reviewed. Finally, research perspective which could help understanding and broadening the applications of SDBEs are provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biotechadv.2021.107786DOI Listing
July 2021

Epitaxial Lift-Off of Flexible GaN-Based HEMT Arrays with Performances Optimization by the Piezotronic Effect.

Nanomicro Lett 2021 Feb 10;13(1):67. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100083, People's Republic of China.

High-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) are a promising device in the field of radio frequency and wireless communication. However, to unlock the full potential of HEMTs, the fabrication of large-size flexible HEMTs is required. Herein, a large-sized (> 2 cm) of AlGaN/AlN/GaN heterostructure-based HEMTs were successfully stripped from sapphire substrate to a flexible polyethylene terephthalate substrate by an electrochemical lift-off technique. The piezotronic effect was then induced to optimize the electron transport performance by modulating/tuning the physical properties of two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) and phonons. The saturation current of the flexible HEMT is enhanced by 3.15% under the 0.547% tensile condition, and the thermal degradation of the HEMT was also obviously suppressed under compressive straining. The corresponding electrical performance changes and energy diagrams systematically illustrate the intrinsic mechanism. This work not only provides in-depth understanding of the piezotronic effect in tuning 2DEG and phonon properties in GaN HEMTs, but also demonstrates a low-cost method to optimize its electronic and thermal properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40820-021-00589-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8187690PMC
February 2021

Deep-learning models for the detection and incidence prediction of chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes from retinal fundus images.

Nat Biomed Eng 2021 06 15;5(6):533-545. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Peking University Third Affiliated Hospital, Beijing, China.

Regular screening for the early detection of common chronic diseases might benefit from the use of deep-learning approaches, particularly in resource-poor or remote settings. Here we show that deep-learning models can be used to identify chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes solely from fundus images or in combination with clinical metadata (age, sex, height, weight, body-mass index and blood pressure) with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.85-0.93. The models were trained and validated with a total of 115,344 retinal fundus photographs from 57,672 patients and can also be used to predict estimated glomerulal filtration rates and blood-glucose levels, with mean absolute errors of 11.1-13.4 ml min per 1.73 m and 0.65-1.1 mmol l, and to stratify patients according to disease-progression risk. We evaluated the generalizability of the models for the identification of chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes with population-based external validation cohorts and via a prospective study with fundus images captured with smartphones, and assessed the feasibility of predicting disease progression in a longitudinal cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-021-00745-6DOI Listing
June 2021

Authors' reply: Four novel optineurin mutations in patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Mainland China.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 08 11;104:104. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Neurology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC), Beijing, China; Neuroscience Center, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC), Beijing, China. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.03.004DOI Listing
August 2021

Slow progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a Chinese patient carrying SOD1 p.S135T mutation.

Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener 2021 Apr 16:1-3. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Neurology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China and.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease. Most patients die of respiratory failure within 3 years of onset. In this study, we reported a female Chinese ALS patient with SOD1 c.404G > C, p.S135T mutation. The missense mutation was identified as "Likely pathogenic" according to the ACMG/AMP 2015 guideline. The patient presented with weakness and atrophy of lower limbs with slow progression. We reviewed two other reports on patients with the same SOD1 p.S135T mutation. These patients had lower extremity onset, negative Babinski sign, slow disease progression, and prolonged survival. This report indicates that specific phenotype-genotype correlations of SOD1 p.S135T mutation in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21678421.2021.1912771DOI Listing
April 2021

A deep-learning pipeline for the diagnosis and discrimination of viral, non-viral and COVID-19 pneumonia from chest X-ray images.

Nat Biomed Eng 2021 06 15;5(6):509-521. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Medical Imaging and Deptartment of Cardiology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China.

Common lung diseases are first diagnosed using chest X-rays. Here, we show that a fully automated deep-learning pipeline for the standardization of chest X-ray images, for the visualization of lesions and for disease diagnosis can identify viral pneumonia caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and assess its severity, and can also discriminate between viral pneumonia caused by COVID-19 and other types of pneumonia. The deep-learning system was developed using a heterogeneous multicentre dataset of 145,202 images, and tested retrospectively and prospectively with thousands of additional images across four patient cohorts and multiple countries. The system generalized across settings, discriminating between viral pneumonia, other types of pneumonia and the absence of disease with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUCs) of 0.94-0.98; between severe and non-severe COVID-19 with an AUC of 0.87; and between COVID-19 pneumonia and other viral or non-viral pneumonia with AUCs of 0.87-0.97. In an independent set of 440 chest X-rays, the system performed comparably to senior radiologists and improved the performance of junior radiologists. Automated deep-learning systems for the assessment of pneumonia could facilitate early intervention and provide support for clinical decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41551-021-00704-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611049PMC
June 2021

Aberrant TGF-β1 signaling activation by MAF underlies pathological lens growth in high myopia.

Nat Commun 2021 04 8;12(1):2102. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Eye Institute, Eye & ENT Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

High myopia is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Myopia progression may lead to pathological changes of lens and affect the outcome of lens surgery, but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we find an increased lens size in highly myopic eyes associated with up-regulation of β/γ-crystallin expressions. Similar findings are replicated in two independent mouse models of high myopia. Mechanistic studies show that the transcription factor MAF plays an essential role in up-regulating β/γ-crystallins in high myopia, by direct activation of the crystallin gene promoters and by activation of TGF-β1-Smad signaling. Our results establish lens morphological and molecular changes as a characteristic feature of high myopia, and point to the dysregulation of the MAF-TGF-β1-crystallin axis as an underlying mechanism, providing an insight for therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22041-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8032689PMC
April 2021

Integration of Point of Care Ultrasound Education Into the Internal Medicine Core Clerkship Experience.

J Ultrasound Med 2021 Apr 2. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Section of Acute Medicine, Medicine Service, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is becoming an essential skill for internists. To date, there are no professional guidelines for how POCUS skills should be taught to medical students. A panel of POCUS experts from seven academic medical centers in the United States was convened to describe the components of independently developed IM clerkship POCUS training programs, identify areas of similarity and difference, and propose recommendations for alignment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jum.15702DOI Listing
April 2021

Enhanced Production of Soluble α-Amylase in through Chaperone Co-Expression, Heat Treatment and Fermentation Optimization.

J Microbiol Biotechnol 2021 Apr;31(4):570-583

State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, P.R. China.

α-amylase can hydrolyze α-1,4 linkages in starch and related carbohydrates under hyperthermophilic condition (~ 100°C), showing great potential in a wide range of industrial applications, while its relatively low productivity from heterologous hosts has limited the industrial applications. , a gram-positive bacterium, has been widely used in industrial production for its non-pathogenic and powerful secretory characteristics. This study was conducted to increase production of α-amylase in through three strategies. Initial experiments showed that co-expression of molecular chaperone peptidyl-prolyl -trans isomerase through genomic integration mode, using a CRISPR/Cas9 system, increased soluble amylase production. Therefore, considering that native α-amylase is produced within a hyperthermophilic environment and is highly thermostable, heat treatment of intact culture at 90°C for 15 min was performed, thereby greatly increasing soluble amylase production. After optimization of the culture conditions (nitrogen source, carbon source, metal ion, temperature and pH), experiments in a 3-L fermenter yielded a soluble activity of 3,806.7 U/ml, which was 3.3- and 28.2-fold those of a control without heat treatment (1,155.1 U/ml) and an empty expression vector control (135.1 U/ml), respectively. This represents the highest α-amylase production reported to date and should promote innovation in the starch liquefaction process and related industrial productions. Meanwhile, heat treatment, which may promote folding of aggregated α-amylase into a soluble, active form through the transfer of kinetic energy, may be of general benefit when producing proteins from thermophilic archaea.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4014/jmb.2101.01039DOI Listing
April 2021

Meningitis as a recurrent manifestation of anti-AQP4/anti-MOG negative neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder: a case report.

BMC Neurol 2021 Mar 9;21(1):109. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Neuroscience Center, General Hospital of Ningxia Medical University, Key Laboratory of Craniocerebral Diseases of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Yinchuan, 75004, China.

Background: Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD), a group of autoimmune neurological diseases, involve the optic nerve, spinal cord, and brain. Meningitis is rarely reported as the primary clinical manifestation of both anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4)/ anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody-negative NMOSD (NMOSD).

Case Presentation: A 30-year-old man initially presented with fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Lumbar puncture revealed mixed cell reaction and decreased glucose levels. As a result, tuberculous meningitis was suspected. After 1 month, the patient developed longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis and area postrema syndrome. This was followed by the presentation of meningitis-like symptoms once again in the third attack, but his condition eventually improved after corticosteroid treatment without relapse for 2 years. However, he was readmitted to our hospital owing to symptoms of diplopia, hiccup, and numbness in the right hand. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that the area postrema still contained lesions. Spinal MRI revealed several segmental enhancements at the C4-C5, T1, and T5 levels. Anti-AQP4 and anti-MOG antibodies were persistently absent in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The patient was finally diagnosed with NMOSD.

Conclusions: Meningitis could be a recurrent manifestation of NMOSD and requires more careful evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-021-02133-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941943PMC
March 2021

Circulating tumour DNA methylation in hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis using digital droplet PCR.

J Int Med Res 2021 Mar;49(3):300060521992962

Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Xijing Hospital, Air Force Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China.

Objective: To evaluate the performance of a DNA methylation-based digital droplet polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) assay to detect aberrant DNA methylation in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and to determine its application in the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: The present study recruited patients with liver-related diseases and healthy control subjects. Blood samples were used for the extraction of cfDNA, which was then bisulfite converted and the extent of DNA methylation quantified using a ddPCR platform.

Results: A total of 97 patients with HCC, 80 healthy control subjects and 46 patients with chronic hepatitis B/C virus infection were enrolled in the study. The level of cfDNA in the HCC group was significantly higher than that in the healthy control group. For the detection of HCC, based on a cut-off value of 15.7% for the cfDNA methylation ratio, the sensitivity and specificity were 78.57% and 89.38%, respectively. The diagnostic accuracy was 85.27%, the positive predictive value was 81.91% and the negative predictive value was 87.20%. The positive likelihood ratio of 15.7% in HCC diagnosis was 7.40, while the negative likelihood ratio was 0.24.

Conclusions: A sensitive methylation-based assay might serve as a liquid biopsy test for diagnosing HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300060521992962DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7989135PMC
March 2021

Effect of oocyte vitrification on glucose transport in mouse metaphase II oocytes.

Reproduction 2021 05;161(5):549-559

Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture, Yangling, Shaanxi, China.

Oocyte vitrification has significantly improved the survival rate and become the mainstream method for cryopreserving oocytes. Previous studies have demonstrated that the ultrastructure, mitochondrial function, DNA methylation, and histone modification exhibit an irreversible effect after oocyte vitrification. However, little is known about the effects of oocyte vitrification on glucose transport and metabolism. This study aims to determine whether mouse oocyte vitrification causes abnormal glucose metabolism and identify a strategy to correct abnormal glucose metabolism. Furthermore, this study further investigates the effects of oocyte vitrification on glucose uptake, and glucose metabolism, and energy levels. The results indicated that vitrification significantly reduced the glucose transport activity, NADPH, glutathione, and ATP levels, and increased reactive oxygen species levels in oocytes (P < 0.01). Vitrification also reduced the expression of glucose transporter isoform 1 (GLUT1) (P < 0.01). Adding a GLUT1 inhibitor reduced the glucose uptake capacity of oocytes. Furthermore, the inclusion of vitamin C into thawing and culture solutions restored abnormal glucose transportation and metabolism and improved the survival, two-cell embryo, and blastocyst rates of the vitrified groups via parthenogenesis (P < 0.05). Overall, this method may improve the quality and efficiency of oocyte vitrification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/REP-21-0007DOI Listing
May 2021

Three-dimensional computed tomography angiography and bronchography combined with three-dimensional printing for thoracoscopic pulmonary segmentectomy in stage IA non-small cell lung cancer.

J Thorac Dis 2021 Feb;13(2):1187-1195

Department of Thoracosurgery, Shaoxing People's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Shaoxing, China.

Background: Compared with lobectomy, the anatomical structure of the lung segment is relatively complex and easy to occur variation, thus it increases the difficulty and risk of precise segmentectomy. The application of three-dimensional computed tomography bronchography and angiography (3D-CTBA) combined with a three-dimensional printing (3D printing) model can ensure the safety of operation and simplify the surgical procedure to a certain extent. We aimed to estimate the value of 3D-CTBA and 3D printing in thoracoscopic precise pulmonary segmentectomy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical data of 65 patients who underwent anatomical segmentectomy at the Affiliated Hospital of Shaoxing University from January 2019 to August 2020. The patients were divided into two groups: a 3D-CTBA combined with 3D printing group (30 patients) and a general group (35 patients). The perioperative data of the two groups were compared.

Results: Compared with the general segmentectomy group at the same period in our center, the surgery time of the group guided by 3D-CTBA and 3D printing was significantly shorter. Intraoperative blood loss in the 3D-CTBA and 3D printing group was also apparently lower than in the general group. Hospital stay and postoperative chest tube duration showed no significant differences between the two groups, and neither did postoperative complications such as pneumonia, hemoptysis, arrhythmia, and pulmonary air leakage.

Conclusions: 3D-CTBA combined with 3D printing clearly identifies the precise pulmonary segmental structures, avoids intraoperative accidental injury, reduces intraoperative blood loss, shortens the operation time and improves the safety of thoracoscopic pulmonary segmentectomy in stage IA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/jtd-21-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7947531PMC
February 2021

COVID-19 in early 2021: current status and looking forward.

Signal Transduct Target Ther 2021 03 8;6(1):114. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, National Clinical Research Center for Geriatrics, Frontiers Science Center for Disease-related Molecular Network, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.

Since the first description of a coronavirus-related pneumonia outbreak in December 2019, the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the infection/disease (COVID-19) has evolved into a pandemic, and as of today, >100 million people globally in over 210 countries have been confirmed to have been infected and two million people have died of COVID-19. This brief review summarized what we have hitherto learned in the following areas: epidemiology, virology, and pathogenesis, diagnosis, use of artificial intelligence in assisting diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine development. As there are a number of parallel developments in each of these areas and some of the development and deployment were at unprecedented speed, we also provided some specific dates for certain development and milestones so that the readers can appreciate the timing of some of these critical events. Of note is the fact that there are diagnostics, antiviral drugs, and vaccines developed and approved by a regulatory within 1 year after the virus was discovered. As a number of developments were conducted in parallel, we also provided the specific dates of a number of critical events so that readers can appreciate the evolution of these research data and our understanding. The world is working together to combat this pandemic. This review also highlights the research and development directions in these areas that will evolve rapidly in the near future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41392-021-00527-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938042PMC
March 2021

Fairy circles reveal the resilience of self-organized salt marshes.

Sci Adv 2021 Feb 5;7(6). Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research, Yerseke 4401 NT, Netherlands.

Spatial patterning is a fascinating theme in both theoretical and experimental ecology. It reveals resilience and stability to withstand external disturbances and environmental stresses. However, existing studies mainly focus on well-developed persistent patterns rather than transient patterns in self-organizing ecosystems. Here, combining models and experimental evidence, we show that transient fairy circle patterns in intertidal salt marshes can both infer the underlying ecological mechanisms and provide a measure of resilience. The models based on sulfide accumulation and nutrient depletion mechanisms reproduced the field-observed fairy circles, providing a generalized perspective on the emergence of transient patterns in salt marsh ecosystems. Field experiments showed that nitrogen fertilization mitigates depletion stress and shifts plant growth from negative to positive in the center of patches. Hence, nutrient depletion plays an overriding role, as only this process can explain the concentric rings. Our findings imply that the emergence of transient patterns can identify the ecological processes underlying pattern formation and the factors determining the ecological resilience of salt marsh ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe1100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7864568PMC
February 2021

Publisher Correction: A vaccine targeting the RBD of the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 induces protective immunity.

Nature 2021 Feb;590(7844):E23

Key Laboratory of Human Disease Comparative Medicine, Chinese Ministry of Health, Beijing Key Laboratory for Animal Models of Emerging and Remerging Infectious Diseases, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Comparative Medicine Center, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03108-4DOI Listing
February 2021

Core transcription regulatory circuitry orchestrates corneal epithelial homeostasis.

Nat Commun 2021 01 18;12(1):420. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, 510060, Guangzhou, China.

Adult stem cell identity, plasticity, and homeostasis are precisely orchestrated by lineage-restricted epigenetic and transcriptional regulatory networks. Here, by integrating super-enhancer and chromatin accessibility landscapes, we delineate core transcription regulatory circuitries (CRCs) of limbal stem/progenitor cells (LSCs) and find that RUNX1 and SMAD3 are required for maintenance of corneal epithelial identity and homeostasis. RUNX1 or SMAD3 depletion inhibits PAX6 and induces LSCs to differentiate into epidermal-like epithelial cells. RUNX1, PAX6, and SMAD3 (RPS) interact with each other and synergistically establish a CRC to govern the lineage-specific cis-regulatory atlas. Moreover, RUNX1 shapes LSC chromatin architecture via modulating H3K27ac deposition. Disturbance of RPS cooperation results in cell identity switching and dysfunction of the corneal epithelium, which is strongly linked to various human corneal diseases. Our work highlights CRC TF cooperativity for establishment of stem cell identity and lineage commitment, and provides comprehensive regulatory principles for human stratified epithelial homeostasis and pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20713-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814021PMC
January 2021

On the Effect of Training Convolution Neural Network for Millimeter-Wave Radar-Based Hand Gesture Recognition.

Sensors (Basel) 2021 Jan 2;21(1). Epub 2021 Jan 2.

Department of Microwave Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China.

The purpose of this paper was to investigate the effect of a training state-of-the-art convolution neural network (CNN) for millimeter-wave radar-based hand gesture recognition (MR-HGR). Focusing on the small training dataset problem in MR-HGR, this paper first proposed to transfer the knowledge with the CNN models in computer vision to MR-HGR by fine-tuning the models with radar data samples. Meanwhile, for the different data modality in MR-HGR, a parameterized representation of temporal space-velocity (TSV) spectrogram was proposed as an integrated data modality of the time-evolving hand gesture features in the radar echo signals. The TSV spectrograms representing six common gestures in human-computer interaction (HCI) from nine volunteers were used as the data samples in the experiment. The evaluated models included ResNet with 50, 101, and 152 layers, DenseNet with 121, 161 and 169 layers, as well as light-weight MobileNet V2 and ShuffleNet V2, mostly proposed by many latest publications. In the experiment, not only self-testing (ST), but also more persuasive cross-testing (CT), were implemented to evaluate whether the fine-tuned models generalize to the radar data samples. The CT results show that the best fine-tuned models can reach to an average accuracy higher than 93% with a comparable ST average accuracy almost 100%. Moreover, in order to alleviate the problem caused by private gesture habits, an auxiliary test was performed by augmenting four shots of the gestures with the heaviest misclassifications into the training set. This enriching test is similar with the scenario that a tablet reacts to a new user. The results of two different volunteer in the enriching test shows that the average accuracy of the enriched gesture can be improved from 55.59% and 65.58% to 90.66% and 95.95% respectively. Compared with some baseline work in MR-HGR, the investigation by this paper can be beneficial in promoting MR-HGR in future industry applications and consumer electronic design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s21010259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796334PMC
January 2021

Macrophage membrane functionalized biomimetic nanoparticles for targeted anti-atherosclerosis applications.

Theranostics 2021 1;11(1):164-180. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

Key Laboratory for Biorheological Science and Technology of Ministry of Education, State and Local Joint Engineering Laboratory for Vascular Implants, Bioengineering College of Chongqing University, Chongqing, 400030, China.

Atherosclerosis (AS), the underlying cause of most cardiovascular events, is one of the most common causes of human morbidity and mortality worldwide due to the lack of an efficient strategy for targeted therapy. In this work, we aimed to develop an ideal biomimetic nanoparticle for targeted AS therapy. Based on macrophage "homing" into atherosclerotic lesions and cell membrane coating nanotechnology, biomimetic nanoparticles (MM/RAPNPs) were fabricated with a macrophage membrane (MM) coating on the surface of rapamycin-loaded poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) copolymer (PLGA) nanoparticles (RAPNPs). Subsequently, the physical properties of the MM/RAPNPs were characterized. The biocompatibility and biological functions of MM/RAPNPs were determined . Finally, in AS mouse models, the targeting characteristics, therapeutic efficacy and safety of the MM/RAPNPs were examined. The advanced MM/RAPNPs demonstrated good biocompatibility. Due to the MM coating, the nanoparticles effectively inhibited the phagocytosis by macrophages and targeted activated endothelial cells . In addition, MM-coated nanoparticles effectively targeted and accumulated in atherosclerotic lesions . After a 4-week treatment program, MM/RAPNPs were shown to significantly delay the progression of AS. Furthermore, MM/RAPNPs displayed favorable safety performance after long-term administration. These results demonstrate that MM/RAPNPs could efficiently and safely inhibit the progression of AS. These biomimetic nanoparticles may be potential drug delivery systems for safe and effective anti-AS applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/thno.47841DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7681077PMC
August 2021

[Effect of butyl alcohol extract of Baitouweng Decoction on epithelial barrier of vaginal mucosa in mice with vulvovaginal candidiasis].

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2020 Oct;45(20):4991-4996

School of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine Hefei 230012, China Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Anhui Academy of Chinese Medicine Hefei 230012, China Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicinal Formula, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine Hefei 230012, China.

To investigate the effect of butyl alcohol extract of Baitouweng Decoction(BAEB) on the epithelial barrier of vaginal mucosa in mice with vulvovaginal candidiasis(VVC). Seventy-two female SPF Kunming mice were randomly divided into blank group, VVC model group, fluconazole group, and BAEB treatment groups(high, middle and low dose groups). Estradiol benzoate was injected subcutaneously qd alt, and Candida albicans(2×10~6 CFU·mL~(-1)) was inoculated into the vagina of mice during the pseudo estrus period for 7 days to construct a VVC model, followed by drug treatment for 7 days. Gram staining was used to observe the morphology of C. albicans in the vaginal secretions of mice; the amount of fungal load on the vaginal mucosa of mice was detected on agar plate; the pathological status of murine vaginal mucosa was observed by hematoxylin-eosin staining(HE); the integrity of mice vaginal mucosal epithelial barrier was observed by Masson's trichrome staining(MT), HE and periodic acid-schiff staining(PAS). Mucin-1 and mucin-4 protein expression levels of vaginal mucosal epithelial cells in mice were detected by immunohistochemistry; mucin-1 and mucin-4 protein expression levels on mucosal epithelial cells at 0 d, 3 d, and 7 d were determined by Western blot. The results showed that, in VVC model group, there were a large number of C. albicans hyphae and higher fungal load in vagina, within complete mucosal structure, cornified layer shed off, and the protein expression levels of mucin-1 and mucin-4 were significantly increased. After BAEB treatment, the hyphae in the vagina decreased; the fungal load decreased; the vaginal mucosal tissue damages were improved; the epithelial barrier was repaired, and mucin-1 and mucin-4 protein expression levels were down-regulated. The above results indicated that BAEB may play a role in the treatment of VVC by remodeling the integrity of the vaginal mucosal epithelial barrier.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19540/j.cnki.cjcmm.20200618.401DOI Listing
October 2020

Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oil on During Planktonic Growth and Biofilm Formation.

Front Microbiol 2020 12;11:561002. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Key Lab of Veterinary Pharmaceutical Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Engineering and Technology Research Center of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Gansu Province, Lanzhou Institute of Husbandry and Pharmaceutical Sciences of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, China.

Bacterial biofilms are believed to be principal virulence factors for many localized chronic infectious diseases. is one of the most common microbial pathogens and frequently causes biofilm-associated opportunistic infections, such as diarrhea, endometritis and mastitis. essential oil (CCEO) has shown potential in treating intractable chronic endometritis in dairy cows. There is little scientific evidence regarding the effect of CCEO on bacterial biofilms. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of CCEO on biofilm formation and how CCEO affects in suspension and in a biofilm. CCEO killed all clinical strains in either planktonic or biofilm state isolated from dairy cows with clinical endometritis. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for 90% of the organisms was 4.297 μL/mL, the minimum bactericidal concentration for 90% of the organisms was 6.378 μL/mL, the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentration for 90% of the organisms was 6.850 μL/mL, and the minimum biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) for 90% of the organisms was 8.467 μL/mL. The MBECs were generally two times higher than the MICs. Flow cytometry analysis confirmed that significant bacterial killing occurred during the first 1 h after exposure to subinhibitory concentrations of CCEO. In addition, CCEO exerted a significant inhibitory effect on biofilm formation, and bacterial killing occurred during the first 30 min of exposure to subinhibitory biofilm concentrations of CCEO. The biofilm yield of was significantly reduced after CCEO treatment, along with an increased dead/live microbial ratio in biofilms compared with that in the non-treated control, as confirmed by scanning electron microscopy images and confocal laser scanning microscopy images. These data revealed that CCEO efficiently kills during planktonic growth and biofilm formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.561002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693543PMC
November 2020
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