Publications by authors named "Mujun Li"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Hsa_circ_0107593 Suppresses the Progression of Cervical Cancer Sponging hsa-miR-20a-5p/93-5p/106b-5p.

Front Oncol 2020 15;10:590627. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Reproductive Medical Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China.

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a new class of single-stranded RNAs that form a continuous loop with crucial role in regulation of gene expression. Because their circular conformation conforms numerous properties, circRNAs have been investigated recently to demonstrate their important role in the development and progression of various cancers. However, the function of circRNAs and their regulatory outcomes in cervical cancer (CC) have rarely been explored. In this study, the role and molecular mechanism of hsa_circ_0107593 in cervical cancer are demonstrated. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to determine the expression of hsa_circ_0107593 and three miRNAs (hsa-miR-20a-5p, 93-5p, and 106b-5p) in paired CC tissues (tumor tissue adjacent normal cervical tissue), CC cell lines, and human normal cervical epithelial immortalized cell line. A series of functional experiments were conducted to assess the function of hsa_circ_0107593 in CC development. The Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve was plotted to estimate the diagnostic value of hsa_circ_0107593 in CC. The dual-luciferase reporter assay was used to explore the interaction between hsa_circ_0107593 and hsa-miR-20a-5p/93-5p/106b-5p. Bioinformatic analysis was conducted to predict the target mRNAs, pathways, and functional enrichment. The results revealed that hsa_circ_0107593 has low expression in CC tissues and CC cell lines. Moreover, negative correlations of hsa_circ_0107593 expression were found against tumor diameter, FIGO stage, and myometrial invasion. Also, hsa_circ_0107593 impedes CC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Based on ROC curve analysis, hsa_circ_0107593 could serve as a diagnostic biomarker. Its low expression may indicate increased patient's risk to developing cervical cancer. Mechanistically, hsa_circ_0107593 serves as a sponge of hsa-miR-20a-5p, hsa-miR-93-5p, and hsa-miR-106b-5p. Collectively, our study implies that hsa_circ_0107593 has tumor-suppressing activity in CC by physically binding with hsa-miR-20a-5p, hsa-miR-93-5p, and hsa-miR-106b-5p.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.590627DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874083PMC
January 2021

Prednisone improves pregnancy outcome in repeated implantation failure by enhance regulatory T cells bias.

J Reprod Immunol 2021 02 2;143:103245. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Department of Reproductive Center, Guangxi Medical University First Affiliated Hospital, Nanning, Guangxi, China. Electronic address:

Objective: Repeated implantation failure (RIF) has been shown related to maternal immune imbalance. Many studies suggested that prednisone promoted the Th17/Treg balance shift to the direction of immune tolerance. Our study aimed to evaluate the role of prednisone in Th17/Treg balance and pregnancy outcome in RIF patients.

Study Design And Main Outcome Measures: Peripheral blood of healthy fertile controls and RIF patients were collected at the late proliferation phase. The population of Treg and Th17 cells, the expression of Foxp3 and RORC mRNA and the concentration of IL-17A, IL-23 and IL-10 were detected by flow cytometry, qRT-PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RIF patients were given oral prednisone 10 mg daily from the late proliferation phase of the cycle before FET. After one month of treatment, the above immune indicators were tested, and natural cycle frozen embryo transfer was performed.

Results: The Treg cells proportion and IL-10 concentration in peripheral blood of RIF patients was lower than that of NF group, while the proportion of Th17 cells and concentration of proinflammatory cytokine were significantly higher. After prednisone treatment, the indicators related to immune tolerance increased significantly. Five out of 19 RIF patients were successful pregnancy after FET, in which, one had an early miscarriage and four live births. No pregnancy complications and fetal abnormalities were observed.

Conclusions: We report the beneficial effect of prednisone on RIF patients. The underlying mechanism may attribute to shift the Treg/Th17 immune balance to a Treg bias, and enhance embryo implantation, ultimately improve pregnancy outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jri.2020.103245DOI Listing
February 2021

Associations of prenatal exposure to multiple metals with testicular volume and anogenital distance in infant boys: A longitudinal cohort study.

Environ Int 2020 10 9;143:105900. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Department of Occupational Health and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China; Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China. Electronic address:

Background: Human are widely exposed to multiple metals, some of which have suspected reproductive toxicity, but no human studies have investigated the developmental effects of prenatal metal exposure.

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the associations between prenatal multiple metal exposure and reproductive development in boys at 2-3 years using multi-pollutant approach.

Methods: This prospective study used data of 564 mother-child pairs recruited from the Guangxi Birth Cohort Study. Twenty serum metal concentrations were measured. Least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) penalized regression was used to identify independent associations between prenatal multiple metal exposure and testicular volume (TV), and anogenital distance (AGD). Adjusted estimates were then obtained using multiple linear regression analysis, and the regression tree method was used to explore the interactions.

Results: Boys in the highest quartile of prenatal lead exposure had a 0.064 mL (95% CI: -0.124, -0.004) smaller ln-transformed TV, 0.060 cm (95% CI: -0.110, -0.011) shorter ln-transformed anopenile distance (AGDap), and 0.115 cm (95% CI: -0.190, -0.039) shorter ln-transformed anoscrotal distance (AGDas) than boys in the lowest quartile (all Ptrend < 0.05). Chromium was inversely with ln-transformed AGDap (β = -0.078, 95% CI: -0.127, -0.030) and ln-transformed AGDas (β = -0.113, 95% CI: -0.188, -0.038), while stibium was positivity associated with ln-transformed AGDap (β = 0.091, 95% CI: 0.046, 0.136) and strontium was positivity associated with ln-transformed AGDas (β = 0.120, 95% CI: 0.051, 0.189) (all Ptrend < 0.05). And the critical window of vulnerability may be the late pregnancy (the second and third trimester). Moreover, we detected interaction effects between lead, chromium and stibium on AGDap; lead, chromium and strontium on AGDas.

Conclusions: The results suggest that prenatal exposure to lead, chromium, stibium and strontium may affect TV and/or AGD in infant boys. Potential mechanisms for the complex metal interactive effects during vulnerable periods are worthy of further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105900DOI Listing
October 2020

Establishment of predictive model for analyzing clinical pregnancy outcome based on IVF-ET and ICSI assisted reproductive technology.

Saudi J Biol Sci 2020 Apr 4;27(4):1049-1056. Epub 2020 Mar 4.

Guangxi Reproductive Medicine Research Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning City 530021, Guangxi Province, China.

In order to explore the predictive model for analyzing clinical pregnancy outcomes based on IVF-ET (in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer) and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Methods: this study selected the embryo transfer (fresh) patients who received IVF-ET or ICSI treatment in the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University as the subjects. Moreover, the controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) and follow-up were conducted to collect relevant data for analysis, and finally a prediction model was established.

Results: The results showed that the patients were divided into different ovarian response groups at first. The age, bFSH and bFSH/bLH were the highest in the poor ovarian response group (POR), followed by the normal ovarian response group (NOR) and the lowest in the high ovarian response group (HOR). The area under the ROC curve was 0.669 according to the predictive model of pregnancy-related factors. The confidence interval of 94% was 0.629-0.697, with statistical significance (P = 0.000, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: it can be concluded that in clinical pregnancy, for many related factors, regression equation can be used to establish a prediction model to diagnose the success rate of pregnancy. In conclusion, a prediction model can be built based on the relevant experimental results, to provide experimental reference ideas for increasing the success rate of ART in late clinical pregnancy, which is of great research significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.02.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7105670PMC
April 2020

LncRNA SNHG7 Functions as an Oncogene in Cervical Cancer by Sponging miR-485-5p to Modulate JUND Expression.

Onco Targets Ther 2020 25;13:1677-1689. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Department of Reproductive Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi Province, People's Republic of China.

Background: Long non-coding RNA (LncRNA) SNHG7 is involved in the development of multiple cancers. However, its role in cervical cancer (CC) has not been elucidated. This study aimed to explore the function of SNHG7 in CC progression and the underlying mechanisms.

Materials And Methods: The expression levels of SNHG7 and miR-485-5p in CC tissues and cell lines were measured by qPCR. Functional experiments including CCK-8 assay, wound healing assay, transwell assay, flow cytometry, Western blot, luciferases reporter assay and immunoprecipitation (RIP) were performed to explore the SNHG7/miR-485-5p/JUND pathway. Additionally, in vivo study was carried out by establishing tumor xenograft models.

Results: We found that SNHG7 was markedly enhanced in CC tissues and cell lines, and associated with poor clinical characteristics. In vitro, knockdown of SNHG7 inhibited CC cell proliferation, migration and invasion, as well as aggravated cell apoptosis. As to mechanism investigation, rescue experiments revealed that miR-485-5p inhibitor could partially reverse the effects on CC cells induced by SNHG7 knockdown. SNHG7 upregulated JUND expression via miR-485-5p. Moreover, tumor xenograft models were established to confirm the findings in vivo.

Conclusion: SNHG7 promoted CC progression through miR-485-5p/JUND axis. The SNHG7/miR-485-5p/JUND pathway might provide a novel therapeutic target for CC treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S237802DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049860PMC
February 2020

Phosphorylated STAT3 inhibited the proliferation and suppression of decidual Treg cells in unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion.

Int Immunopharmacol 2020 Mar 6;82:106337. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Department of Reproductive Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Guangxi, China. Electronic address:

This study aimed to investigate the effects of signal transducer and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation on the function of decidual regulatory T (Treg) cells in unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (URSA) patients and to explore the mechanism of STAT3 in URSA. Treg cells were sorted out from the decidual tissue by magnetic beads. The inhibitor Stattic was utilized to alter the phosphorylation status of STAT3 (pSTAT3) in Treg cells. The proliferation and suppression of Treg cell were detected by flow cytometry, real-time quantitative fluorescent PCR and ELISA. The factors that caused the hyperphosphorylation of Treg cells were detected. Our results showed that the proportion of pSTAT3 cells in the decidual Treg cells of URSA patients was significantly increased. pSTAT3 inhibited the proliferation of Treg cells by downregulating the expression of STAT5 and Foxp3 and increased the number of responder T cells. pSTAT3 decreased the secretion of TGF-β1 and IL-10 in Treg cells. Overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-23 stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation in Treg cells. This study suggests that hyperphosphorylation of STAT3 impairs the proliferation, suppression and cytokine secretion of Treg cells, while inhibiting the phosphorylation of STAT3 restores these functions. These findings clarify the role of STAT3 in the pathogenesis of URSA and provide new ideas for the treatment of URSA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2020.106337DOI Listing
March 2020

Elevated C-reactive protein and complement C3 levels are associated with preterm birth: a nested case-control study in Chinese women.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2020 Feb 27;20(1):131. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, 530021, Guangxi, China.

Background: Currently, there are many studies researched the associations between maternal serum inflammatory indicators (i.e. ferritin, C-reactive protein [CRP], C3 and C4) and preterm birth (PTB). The results, however, are inconsistent. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the relationship between maternal serum inflammatory indicators and PTB in a nested case-control (NCC)study.

Methods: A NCC study was conducted by Guangxi Birth Cohort Study which enrolled a total of 6203 pregnant women between 5 and 34 weeks of gestational age (wGA) from six cities in China between 2015 and 2016. There were 206women who delivered preterm (< 37 wGA), and 412 women who delivered term birth, those women were matched by maternal age, birth place, gender of infants, and wGA at blood collection. The inflammatory indicators were quantified by immunoturbidimetric methods.

Results: Highest quartile concentrations of all inflammatory indicators were determined versus median. After adjusting for maternal age, high levels of CRP (CRP > 16.60 mg/L) are related to the risk of PTB (OR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.02-4.56, p = 0.044) in the first trimester. The association of C3 was extremely related to those who delivered PTB (OR = 2.53, 95% CI: 1.14-5.64, p = 0.023) in the first trimester. Moreover, no significant associations were found in C4 (p = 0.079) and ferritin (p = 0.067) between PTB.

Conclusions: Elevated concentrations of CRP and C3 in the first trimester were associated with increased risk of PTB. Inflammatory indicators may act a pivotal part in early diagnosis and prognosis of PTB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-2802-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045430PMC
February 2020

Nanoparticle translocation across the lung surfactant film regulated by grafting polymers.

Nanoscale 2020 Feb 31;12(6):3931-3940. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Department of Engineering Mechanics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China.

Nanoparticle-based pulmonary drug delivery has gained significant attention due to its ease of administration, increased bioavailability, and reduced side effects caused by a high systemic dosage. After being delivered into the deep lung, the inhaled nanoparticles first interact with the lung surfactant lining layer composed of phospholipids and surfactant proteins and then potentially cause the dysfunction of the lung surfactant. Conditioning the surface properties of nanoparticles with grafting polymers to avoid these side effects is of crucial importance to the efficiency and safety of pulmonary drug delivery. Herein, we perform coarse-grained molecular simulations to decipher the involved mechanism responsible for the translocation of the polymer-grafted Au nanoparticles across the lung surfactant film. The simulations illustrate that conditioning of the grafting polymers, including their length, terminal charge, and grafting density, can result in different translocation processes. Based on the energy analysis, we find that these discrepancies in translocation stem from the affinity of the nanoparticles with the lipid tails and heads and their contact with the proteins, which can be tuned by the surface polarity and surface charge of the nanoparticles. We further demonstrate that the interaction between the nanoparticles and the lung surfactant is related to the depletion of the lipids and proteins during translocation, which affects the surface tension of the surfactant film. The change in the surface tension in turn affects the nanoparticle translocation and the collapse of the surfactant film. These results can help understand the adverse effects of the nanoparticles on the lung surfactant film and provide guidance to the design of inhaled nanomedicines for improved permeability and targeting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c9nr09251jDOI Listing
February 2020

The expression and biological function of chemokine CXCL12 and receptor CXCR4/CXCR7 in placenta accreta spectrum disorders.

J Cell Mol Med 2020 03 28;24(5):3167-3182. Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Department of Reproductive Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China.

Objectives: Investigation of mechanism related to excessive invasion of trophoblast cells in placenta accreta spectrum disorders (PAS) provides more strategies and ideas for clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Materials And Methods: Blood and placental samples were collected from included patients. The distribution and expression of CXCL12, CXCR4 and CXCR7 proteins in the paraffin of placental tissue in the included cases were analysed, and we analyse the downstream pathways or key proteins involved in cell invasion.

Results: Firstly, our results determined that CXCL12 and CXCR4/CXCR7 were increased in extravillous trophoblastic cell (CXCL12: P < .001; CXCR4: P < .001; CXCR7: P < .001), and the expression levels were closely related to the invasion depth of trophoblastic cells. Secondly, CXCL12 has the potential to become a biochemical indicator of PAS since the high expression of placental trophoblast CXCL12 may be an important source of blood CXCL12. Using lentivirus-mediated RNA interference and overexpression assay, it was found that both chemokine CXCL12 and receptor CXCR4/CXCR7 are associated with regulation of trophoblast cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Further results proved that through the activating the phosphorylation and increasing the expression of MLC and AKT proteins in the Rho/rock, PI3K/AKT signalling pathway, CXCL12, CXCR4 and CXCR7 could up-regulate the expression of RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42 proteins to promote the migration and invasion of extravillous trophoblastic cell and ultimately formate the placenta accrete compare to the normal placenta.

Conclusions: Our research proved that trophoblasts may contribute to a PAS-associated increase in CXCL12 levels in maternal blood. CXCL12 is not only associated with biological roles of PAS, but may also be potential for prediction of PAS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.14990DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7077540PMC
March 2020

CXCR7, a Prognostic Biomarker in Cervical Squamous Cell Carcinoma, May Be a Screening Index for Treatment Options at Stages IB1 and IIA1.

Cancer Manag Res 2019 9;11:10287-10296. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Department of Reproductive Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, People's Republic of China.

Purpose: Recent studies indicate that CXC chemokine receptor type 7 (CXCR7) is associated with tumorigenesis, progression, and metastasis of various cancers, but its roles and molecular mechanisms of action in cervical squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) remain unclear. Our purpose was to explore the expression patterns of CXCR7 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in CSCC and to identify possible correlations with clinical characteristics. We also tested whether CXCR7 can be a screening index for treatment options for CSCC stages IB1 and IIA1.

Methods: Expression of CXCR7 and EGFR in tumors from 165 patients with CSCC was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and compared with the clinical data including survival.

Results: Patients at CSCC stages IB1 and IIA1 received different treatment options, including radical hysterectomy, pelvic lymph node dissection, and para-aortic lymph node sampling (RH group, 67 patients) or pelvic external-beam radiation therapy with brachytherapy (EBRT group, 34 patients). Disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared between two groups at different CXCR7 expression levels. Immunohistochemical staining showed that CXCR7, EGFR, phospho-ERK, and phospho-AKT amounts increased from normal cervical epithelia and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia to CSCC, and CXCR7 was associated with the disease stage, lymph node metastasis, tumor size ≥40 mm, and EGFR expression. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that CXCR7 and EGFR expression was associated with shorter DFS and OS. Multivariate analysis suggested that CXCR7 was independently associated with DFS and OS. Prevalence of recurrence and distant metastasis was significantly lower in the EBRT group than in the RH group during CXCR7 expression. Besides, CXCR7 knockdown significantly decreased the proliferation and invasion of CSCC cells.

Conclusion: CXCR7 is coexpressed with EGFR, which may be involved in ERK or AKT pathway activation. CXCR7 may be a screening index for treatment options at CSCC stages IB1 and IIA1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S228684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6910105PMC
December 2019

Associations between multiple serum metal exposures and low birth weight infants in Chinese pregnant women: A nested case-control study.

Chemosphere 2019 Sep 16;231:225-232. Epub 2019 May 16.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi Key Laboratory for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi Collaborative Innovation Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi Key Laboratory of Colleges and Universities, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Department of Occupational Health and Environmental Health, School of Public Health of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China. Electronic address:

To investigate the associations between prenatal exposure to single metal and multiple metals and the risk of low birth weight (LBW), we conducted a nested case-control study of 246 LBW and 406 NBW mother-infant pairs based on a prospective birth cohort study. 22 serum metals were detected by inductively coupled plasma quadruple mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Categorical analyses showed serum Co and Ti were associated with LBW (Co: 3rd vs 4th. quartile: OR = 1.83, 95%CI: 1.14-2.92, P = 0.043; Ti: 2nd vs. 4th quartile: OR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.32-0.81, P trend = 0.051), especially gestational age >13 weeks (Co: 3rd vs. 4th quartile: OR = 1.94, 95% CI: 1.13 - 3.32, Ptrend = 0.043; Ti: 2nd vs. 4th quartile: OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.30 - 0.84, P trend= 0.073). Cubic spline analyses showed serum Co and serum Ti had non-linearity associations with LBW (Co: P for overall = 0.048, P-nonlinearity = 0.014; Ti: P for overall = 0.015, P- nonlinearity = 0.008). In multi-metal compound exposure model, 15 metals selected by elastic net model were significantly associated with the increased risk of LBW and OR (95%CI) was 5.14 (2.81-9.40). Our study suggested that lower level serum Co was positively associated with LBW and lower level serum Ti was negatively associated with LBW, especially gestational age >13 weeks, and both of them had non-linearity dose-relationships with LBW. And multi-metal compound model was significantly associated with LBW compared with single metal model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.05.103DOI Listing
September 2019

Multiple foci modulation with controllable positions and intensity ratios through decomposed optimization.

Opt Lett 2019 May;44(9):2354-2357

In this Letter, multiple foci modulation with controllable positions and intensity ratios is presented with a multi-belt binary phase mask in a tightly focusing system. Different from previous methods, the diffractive optical element (DOE) in our model is first virtually decomposed into two or more simple sub-DOEs. Then, after optimization, the sub-DOEs are combined to form the desired DOE through superposition. By such a decomposed optimization, the optimization complexities are greatly reduced, and the calculation becomes simpler and more effective. Furthermore, since the quantities and structures of sub-DOEs can be adjusted according to the original DOE, the method is very flexible and adaptable. As a demonstration, up to nine foci on the optical axis are studied, and the simulation results show that multiple foci can be well modulated. The proposed method may provide a universal strategy for complex light field modulations in a simple way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.44.002354DOI Listing
May 2019

Serum multiple cytokines for the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth in asymptomatic women: A nested case-control study.

Cytokine 2019 05 1;117:91-97. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning 530021, Guangxi, China; Institute of Urology and Nephrology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning 530021, Guangxi, China. Electronic address:

Background: Current biomarkers such as fetal fibronectin and cervical length are accurate predictors of spontaneous preterm birth (sPTB) in women with clinically suspected preterm risk; however, these are not effective for predicting the risk of sPTB in asymptomatic women. Therefore, we performed this study with the objective of determining whether the combinations of specific serum cytokines could accurately predict the sPTB risk in asymptomatic women.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study with 129 incident sPTB cases and 258 individually matched controls who participated in an ongoing birth cohort study. The maternal serum levels of the selected 35 cytokines were measured. We evaluated the relationship between the multiple cytokines and sPTB risk using conditional logistic regression and elastic net model.

Results: A panel of cytokines was significantly associated with an increased risk of sPTB. The odds ratio (OR) of sPTB per standard deviation (SD) increase of the predictive model score was 1.57 (95% CI 1.25-1.97) for the cytokines model. The combination of the selected serum cytokines was substantially more effective in predicting the risk for sPTB, as the receiver-operator characteristic curve (AUC) values were 0.546 and 0.559 in the single cytokine model and it improved to 0.642 in the multiple cytokines model (P = 0.02 for TNF-α vs. multiple cytokines; P = 0.05 for TRAIL vs. multiple cytokines). Moreover, the prediction was more accurate in overweight pregnant women, with an AUC = 0.879.

Conclusions: The current study suggested that the combination of selected serum cytokines can more effectively predict the risk of sPTB in asymptomatic women compared with the use of single cytokine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cyto.2019.02.007DOI Listing
May 2019

Fabrication of high fill factor cylindrical microlens array with isolated thermal reflow.

Appl Opt 2018 Sep;57(25):7296-7302

We demonstrate a simple, controllable, and stable method for fabricating high fill factor cylindrical microlens array with a novel isolated thermal reflow process. In this method, microstripes with a very small gap were obtained via digital micromirror device-based lithography, then covered with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) solution. The prepared microstripes were isolated and were heated and reflowed to a cylindrical microlens array. During the reflow process, the semicross-linked PDMS can serve as a barrier to prevent the diameter change and the bonding of adjacent microlenses. By this special treatment, the fill factor of the cylindrical microlens array can be significantly improved. Moreover, the reflow time and temperature have very little effect on the microlens shape due to the surrounded semicross-linked PDMS. This will make our process stabler than traditional methods. The measured 3D profile is good and satisfactory, and excellent optical performance is demonstrated with the fabricated cylindrical microlens arrays. The proposed method may offer a viable route for fabrication of high fill factor microlens arrays in a very simple and stable way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.57.007296DOI Listing
September 2018

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha suppresses the invasion of HTR-8/SVneo trophoblast cells through microRNA-145-5p-mediated downregulation of Cyr61.

Life Sci 2018 Sep 3;209:132-139. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

Reproductive Medical Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China. Electronic address:

Deficiency in trophoblast invasion is causally linked to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) shows the ability to suppress the invasiveness of trophoblasts, while cysteine-rich 61 (Cyr61) exerts an opposite function in trophoblast invasion. This study was designed to check the hypothesis that cysteine-rich 61 (Cyr61) may be involved in the anti-invasive activity of TNF-α in trophoblasts. To this end, we examined the effect of TNF-α treatment on Cyr61 expression in HTR-8/SVneo trophoblast cells and investigated the mechanism for the regulation of Cyr61 by TNF-α. Gain-of-function experiments were performed to clarify the role of Cyr61 in TNF-α-dependent suppression of trophoblast invasion. It was found that TNF-α at 1 and 10 ng/mL reduced Cyr61 protein levels by 30 and 80%, respectively, in HTR-8/SVneo cells, but did not affect the mRNA expression of Cyr61. Mechanistically, microRNA (miR)-145-5p was stimulated by TNF-α and negatively regulated the expression of Cyr61 via interaction with its 3'-untranslated region. Functionally, overexpression of miR-145-5p significantly impaired the migration and invasion of HTR-8/SVneo cells. Depletion of miR-145-5p rescued HTR-8/SVneo cells from TNF-α-mediated invasion suppression, which coincided with prevention of Cyr61 downregulation by TNF-α. In addition, overexpression of Cyr61 partially restored the invasion of HTR8/SVneo cells co-transfected with miR-145-5p mimic or exposed to TNF-α. Taken together, miR-145-5p-mediated downregulation of Cyr61 is required for the anti-invasive effect of TNF-α on trophoblasts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2018.08.005DOI Listing
September 2018

The associations between maternal lifestyles and antenatal stress and anxiety in Chinese pregnant women: A cross-sectional study.

Sci Rep 2018 Jul 17;8(1):10771. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China.

The study aimed to investigate the associations between maternal lifestyles and antenatal stress and anxiety. 1491 pregnant women were drawn from the Guangxi birth cohort study (GBCS). A base line questionnaire was used to collect demographic information and maternal lifestyles. The Pregnancy Stress Rating Scale (PSRS) and Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) were used to assess prenatal stress and anxiety, respectively. Regression analyses identified the relationship between maternal lifestyles and prenatal stress and anxiety: (1) Hours of phone use per day was positively correlated to prenatal stress and anxiety and increased with stress and anxiety levels (all P trend < 0.05). In addition, not having baby at home was positively correlated to prenatal stress. (2) Self-reported sleep quality was negative with prenatal stress and anxiety, and decreased with stress and anxiety levels (all P trend < 0.01). Moreover, not frequent cooking was negatively correlated to prenatal stress and having pets was negatively correlated to prenatal anxiety (P < 0.05). However, having pets was not correlated to prenatal stress (P > 0.05). Our results showed that adverse lifestyles increase the risk of antenatal stress and anxiety, a regular routine and a variety of enjoyable activities decreases the risk of prenatal stress and anxiety.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28974-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6050313PMC
July 2018

High maternal osteocalcin levels during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight infants: A nested case-control study in China.

Bone 2018 11 17;116:35-41. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi key Laboratory for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi Collaborative Innovation Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Guangxi Key Laboratory of Colleges and Universities, Nanning, Guangxi, China; School of Public Health of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China; Program for Personalized Cancer Care, NorthShore University Health System, Evanston, IL, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Low birth weight infants (LBW) are at risk of chronic diseases in later life due to the disorder of energy metabolism during pregnancy. Osteocalcin (OC) has been identified as a hormone that regulate energy metabolism. However, few studies have researched on the associations between maternal serum OC levels and low birth weight infants.

Objections: To examine the associations between maternal serum OC concentrations and LBW.

Methods: This was a nested case-control study involving a total of 230 pregnant women delivering LBW and 382 control pregnant women (matched for infant gender, gestational age at blood draw, region of Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital and maternal age in 1: (1-2) ratio). One serum sample was collected from each pregnant woman at 5-35 weeks' gestation. Pregnant women were divided into 3 groups (1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester group). There were 60 and 142 and 28 pregnant women delivering LBW in the first, second and third trimester, respectively. Similarly, there were 101 and 233 and 48 controls in the first, second and third trimester, respectively. Maternal serum OC and 25(OH)D concentrations were categorized into low and high levels, the low level used as reference in analyses. Binary logistic regression model was used to compute odd radio (ORs) for LBW according to levels of maternal serum OC and 25(OH)D.

Results: Compared with the subjects in low level in first trimester, LBW was two times as likely to occur among pregnancy women with high serum OC concentrations (OR = 2.04, 95%CI:1.05-3.96). After adjusted for confounding factors, a significant positive relationship still existed (adjusted ORs = 2.29, 95%CI: 1.11-4.72). In second trimester, women in high level of serum OC had nearly 1.6 times the risk of delivering LBW infants as those in the low level (OR = 1.55, 95%CI: 1.01-2.37). After adjusted for confounding factors, the ORs increased (ORs = 1.59, 95%CI:1.03-2.45). No significant associations were found between maternal serum OC levels and LBW in third trimester. In addition, there were no associations between maternal 25(OH)D concentrations and LBW during pregnancy.

Conclusion: High maternal serum OC levels in the first or the second trimester during pregnancy may be associated with the risk of LBW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2018.07.009DOI Listing
November 2018

The effect of pre-pregnancy hair dye exposure on infant birth weight: a nested case-control study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2018 May 9;18(1):144. Epub 2018 May 9.

Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China.

Background: Limited evidences were reported about the risk of pre-pregnancy hair dye use or irregular menstruation with abnormal birth weight during pregnancy, and their joint effects were also unknown. The aim of our study was to explore whether the pre-pregnancy exposure of hair dye and irregular menstruation were associated with the risk of abnormal birth weight.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study from a prospective cohort of 6203 pregnant women. Low birth weight study included 315 mother-infant pairs (105 LBW cases and 210 matched controls), and macrosomia study included 381 mother-infant pairs (127 macrosomia cases and 254 matched controls). Meanwhile, lifestyle information including hair dying custom and menstrual history were collected by face-to-face questionnaires and birth outcomes were extracted from the medical records. The logistic regressions models were used to analyze the join effect of irregular menstruation and hair dye use.

Results: Pre-pregnancy hair dye use was associated with increased risk of LBW (adjusted OR = 1.71, 95% CI: 1.01-2.92, P = 0.048). Irregular menstruation had high risk of LBW (adjusted OR = 2.79, 95% CI: 1.53-5.09, P = 0.001) and macrosomia (adjusted OR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.09-3.44, P = 0.023). Additionally, in the LBW study, women who used hair dye with pre-pregnancy BMI < 18.5 kg/m had higher OR than those with only one risk factor (3.07 vs 2.53, P  = 0.015), and women with both hair dye use and irregular menstruation also had higher risk than those with only one factor (4.53 vs 2.07, P  = 0.05). Moreover, in macrosomia study, women with irregular menstruation and pre-pregnancy BMI ≥ 24 kg/m had higher risk than those with one factor (13.31 vs 2.09, P  = 0.001).

Conclusion: Our study showed that either pre-pregnancy hair dye use or irregular menstruation was associated with abnormal birth weight, especially, their joint effects could furthermore increase the risk of low birth weight infants when these two factors existed simultaneously.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-1782-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5944114PMC
May 2018

Differences in Cytokine Expression and STAT3 Activation between Healthy Controls and Patients of Unexplained Recurrent Spontaneous Abortion (URSA) during Early Pregnancy.

PLoS One 2016;11(9):e0163252. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

Department of Reproductive Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, China.

Unexplained recurrent spontaneous abortion (URSA) is a common complication of pregnancy. Although tolerance of the maternal immune system is considered to be essential for a normal pregnancy, the precise mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of URSA remains to be fully elucidated, albeit it is known to involve inflammation. Here, we examine the relationship between the expression of inflammatory cytokines and the activation of downstream signaling pathways in URSA patients. Decidual and peripheral blood samples were collected from 30 URSA patients and from 30 women with normal early pregnancies. Western blot analysis was used to measure the expression levels of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3(STAT3), phosphorylated STAT3(p-STAT3), and interleukin-17 receptor(IL-17R) in the decidual samples. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to assess the levels of IL-17, IL-10, IL-6, and IL-23 in the peripheral blood and decidual samples. In the URSA patients, the IL-10 expression levels were lower than those in the control subjects (P<0.05), whereas IL-6, IL-17, and IL-23 were all expressed at higher levels(P<0.05). Furthermore, the expression levels of IL-17R and p-STAT3 were higher in the URSA patients, exhibiting a trend similar to that of IL-23. Our finding of increased IL-23 expression in the deciduae and peripheral blood of patients with URSA suggest that this maybe a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of this disease. Likewise, STAT3 activation through its phosphorylation, which was associated with the IL-23 increase, may also be involved in URSA pathogenesis. However, the precise pathogenic mechanism requires further study.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033573PMC
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163252PLOS
September 2016

Homocysteine, endothelin-1 and nitric oxide in patients with hypertensive disorders complicating pregnancy.

Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2015 1;8(11):15275-9. Epub 2015 Nov 1.

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University Nanning 530021, Guangxi, PR China.

Objective: To investigate the change of level of serum homocysteine (Hcy), endothelin-1 (ET-1) and nitric oxide (NO) and clinical significance in patients with HDCP.

Methods: Two hundred and thirty nine patients with HDCP (137 patients with mild preeclampsia, 102 patients with severe preeclampsia) who were hospitalized between June 2012 and June 2015 and 200 normal pregnancy women in outpatient department were enrolled in our study were divided into HDCP group and control group. Serum Hcy concentration was measured by enzymatic cycling assay. ET-1 concentration was measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. And no concentration was measured by nitrate reductase assay.

Results: Serum Hcy and ET-1 in HDCP group were significantly higher as compared to control group (P<0.05). Level of serum NO in HDCP group was significantly lower than in the control group (P<0.05). Level of serum Hcy and ET-1 in mild and severe preeclampsia group were significantly higher as compared to control group, respectively (P<0.05). Level of serum NO in mild and severe preeclampsia group were significantly lower than in the control group' respectively (P<0.05). Level of serum Hcy and ET-1 in severe preeclampsia group were significantly higher as compared to mild preclampsia group (P<0.05). Level of serum NO in severe preeclampsia group were significantly lower than in mild preeclampsia group (P<0.05). Spearman rank correlation analysis showed that level of serum Hcy and ET-1 was positively correlated with severity of diseases (r=0.689, 0.718, P<0.05). Level of serum NO was negatively correlated with severity of diseases (r=-0.702, P<0.05).

Conclusion: Serum Hcy, ET-1 and NO were associated with pathogenesis of HDCP. Comprehensively measurement of them could effectively evaluate the incidence and progress of HDCP.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4713666PMC
October 2016

Three-dimensional virtual surgery models for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) optimization strategies.

Sci Rep 2015 Jun 4;5:10945. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), especially coronary stent implantation, has been shown to be an effective treatment for coronary artery disease. However, in-stent restenosis is one of the longstanding unsolvable problems following PCI. Although stents implanted inside narrowed vessels recover normal flux of blood flows, they instantaneously change the wall shear stress (WSS) distribution on the vessel surface. Improper stent implantation positions bring high possibilities of restenosis as it enlarges the low WSS regions and subsequently stimulates more epithelial cell outgrowth on vessel walls. To optimize the stent position for lowering the risk of restenosis, we successfully established a digital three-dimensional (3-D) model based on a real clinical coronary artery and analysed the optimal stenting strategies by computational simulation. Via microfabrication and 3-D printing technology, the digital model was also converted into in vitro microfluidic models with 3-D micro channels. Simultaneously, physicians placed real stents inside them; i.e., they performed "virtual surgeries". The hydrodynamic experimental results showed that the microfluidic models highly inosculated the simulations. Therefore, our study not only demonstrated that the half-cross stenting strategy could maximally reduce restenosis risks but also indicated that 3-D printing combined with clinical image reconstruction is a promising method for future angiocardiopathy research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep10945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455241PMC
June 2015