Publications by authors named "Sunmi Lee"

99 Publications

Personality of Public Health Organizations' Instagram Accounts and According Differences in Photos at Content and Pixel Levels.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 Apr 8;18(8). Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea.

Organizations maintain social media accounts and upload posts to show their activities and communicate with the public, as individual users do. Thus, organizations' social media accounts can be examined from the same perspective of that of individual users' accounts, with personality being one of the perspectives. In line with previous studies that analyzed the personality of non-human objects such as products, stores, brands, and websites, this study analyzed the personality of Instagram accounts of public health organizations. It also extracted features at content and pixel levels from the photos uploaded on the organizations' accounts and examined how they were related to the personality traits of the accounts. The results suggested that the personality of public health organizations can be summarized as being high in openness and agreeableness but lower in extraversion and neuroticism. Openness and agreeableness were the personality traits associated the most with the content-level features, while extraversion and neuroticism were the ones associated the most with the pixel-level features. In addition, for each of the two traits associated the most with either the content- or pixel- level features, their associations tended to be in opposite directions with one another. The personality traits, except for neuroticism, were predicted from the photo features with an acceptable level of accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083903DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8068137PMC
April 2021

Risk assessment of importation and local transmissions of COVID-19 in South Korea.

JMIR Public Health Surveill 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Kyung Hee University, Seoul, KR.

Background: Despite recent achievements in vaccines, antiviral drugs, and medical infrastructure, the emergence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed a serious threat to humans worldwide. Most countries are well connected on a global scale, making it nearly impossible to implement perfect and prompt mitigation strategies for COVID-19 outbreaks. In particular, due to the explosive growth of international travel, the diverse networks and complexities of human mobility have become essential factors that give rise to the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally.

Objective: South Korea is one of the countries that experienced the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of vaccines and treatments, South Korea has implemented and maintained stringent interventions, such as large-scale epidemiological investigations, rapid diagnosis, social distancing, and prompt clinical classification of severe patients with appropriate medical measures. In particular, South Korea has implemented effective airport screenings and quarantine measures. In this study, we aimed to assess the country-specific importation risk of COVID-19 and investigate its impact on the local transmission of COVID-19.

Methods: The country-specific importation risk of COVID-19 in South Korea was assessed. We investigated the relationship among country-specific imported cases, passengers, and the severity of country-specific COVID-19 prevalence from January to October 2020. We assessed the country-specific risk by incorporating country-specific information. A renewal mathematical model was employed, considering both imported and local cases of COVID-19 in South Korea. Furthermore, we estimated the basic and effective reproduction numbers.

Results: The risk of importation from China was the highest between January and February 2020, while that from North America (the United States and Canada) was significantly high from April to October 2020. The R_0 was estimated at 1.87 (95% confidence interval: 1.47, 2.34), with the rate (α =0.07) of the secondary transmission caused by the imported cases. The R_t was estimated in South Korea and in Seoul and Gyeonggi, respectively.

Conclusions: A statistical model accounting for imported and locally transmitted cases was employed to estimate R_0 and R_t. Our results indicated that the prompt implementation of airport screening measures (contact tracing with case isolation and quarantine) successfully reduced local transmission caused by imported cases despite passengers arriving from high-risk countries throughout the year. Moreover, various mitigation interventions, including social distancing and travel restrictions within South Korea, have been effectively implemented to reduce the spread of local cases in South Korea.

Clinicaltrial:
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/26784DOI Listing
March 2021

Effectiveness of Intervention Strategies on MERS-CoV Transmission Dynamics in South Korea, 2015: Simulations on the Network Based on the Real-World Contact Data.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 03 29;18(7). Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea.

The MERS-CoV spread in South Korea in 2015 was not only the largest outbreak of MERS-CoV in the region other than the Middle East but also a historic epidemic in South Korea. Thus, investigation of the MERS-CoV transmission dynamics, especially by agent-based modeling, would be meaningful for devising intervention strategies for novel infectious diseases. In this study, an agent-based model on MERS-CoV transmission in South Korea in 2015 was built and analyzed. The prominent characteristic of this model was that it built the simulation environment based on the real-world contact tracing network, which can be characterized as being scale-free. In the simulations, we explored the effectiveness of three possible intervention scenarios; mass quarantine, isolation, and isolation combined with acquaintance quarantine. The differences in MERS-CoV transmission dynamics by the number of links of the index case agent were examined. The simulation results indicate that isolation combined with acquaintance quarantine is more effective than others, and they also suggest the key role of super-spreaders in MERS-CoV transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073530DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037681PMC
March 2021

CHIP and BAP1 Act in Concert to Regulate INO80 Ubiquitination and Stability for DNA Replication.

Mol Cells 2021 Feb;44(2):101-115

Department of Life Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.

The INO80 chromatin remodeling complex has roles in many essential cellular processes, including DNA replication. However, the mechanisms that regulate INO80 in these processes remain largely unknown. We previously reported that the stability of Ino80, the catalytic ATPase subunit of INO80, is regulated by the ubiquitin proteasome system and that BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1), a nuclear deubiquitinase with tumor suppressor activity, stabilizes Ino80 via deubiquitination and promotes replication fork progression. However, the E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets Ino80 for proteasomal degradation was unknown. Here, we identified the C-terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP), the E3 ubiquitin ligase that functions in cooperation with Hsp70, as an Ino80-interacting protein. CHIP polyubiquitinates Ino80 in a manner dependent on Hsp70. Contrary to our expectation that CHIP degrades Ino80, CHIP instead stabilizes Ino80 by extending its halflife. The data suggest that CHIP stabilizes Ino80 by inhibiting degradative ubiquitination. We also show that CHIP works together with BAP1 to enhance the stabilization of Ino80, leading to its chromatin binding. Interestingly, both depletion and overexpression of CHIP compromise replication fork progression with little effect on fork stalling, as similarly observed for BAP1 and Ino80, indicating that an optimal cellular level of Ino80 is important for replication fork speed but not for replication stress suppression. This work therefore idenitifes CHIP as an E3 ubiquitin ligase that stabilizes Ino80 via nondegradative ubiquitination and suggests that CHIP and BAP1 act in concert to regulate Ino80 ubiquitination to fine-tune its stability for efficient DNA replication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14348/molcells.2021.2258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7941006PMC
February 2021

Hydrogel-Based Iontronics on a Polydimethylsiloxane Microchip.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2021 Feb 26;13(5):6606-6614. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.

In response to the extensive utilization of ionic circuits, including in iontronics and wearable devices, a new method for fabricating a hydrogel-based ionic circuit on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchip is reported. Prolonged UV/ozone oxidation combined with proper surface functionalizations and a novel microchip bonding method using thiol-epoxy click reaction enable the robust attachment of the photopolymerized hydrogel to the microchannel surface for eventual operation in electrolytes as an ionic circuit. The stretchable ionic diode constructed on the PDMS microchip shows a superior rectification ratio even under tensile stress and long-term storage stability. Furthermore, the combination of the ionic circuit and unique material properties of PDMS allows us to maximize the versatility and diversify the functionalities of the iontronic device, as demonstrated in a pressure-driven ionic switch and chip-integrated ionic regulator. Its iontronic signal transmission mimicking the excitatory and inhibitory synapses also evinces the potential of the hydrogel-based iontronics on the PDMS microchip as developed toward an aqueous neuromimetic information processor while opening up new opportunities for various bioinspired applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c19892DOI Listing
February 2021

An atmospheric plasma jet induces expression of wound healing genes in progressive burn wounds in a comb burn rat model: a pilot study.

J Burn Care Res 2021 Jan 22. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Center for Self-Powered Actuation, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

Burn-related injuries are devastating injuries with a high mortality rate that affect people of all ages worldwide. We assessed the effectiveness of plasma jet treatment in altering the expression of genes involved in wound healing in a prospective longitudinal observational animal study. Six male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 350 g were used, and burn wounds were made by applying a preheated brass comb (100°C) to the back of the rats, resulting in 4 full-thickness burn wounds separated by 3 interspaces. A total of 18 burn wounds were induced on 3 rats. One side of the burn, on each rat received plasma treatment (plasma group), while the other side did not (control group). The interspaces were subjected to the plasma jet for 2 min per day until 7 days post-wounding. Plasma treatment significantly decreased the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, an increase in the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines was observed in the plasma group. We showed that plasma jet treatment could improve burn wound healing by altering the expression of genes involved in the development of wound healing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jbcr/irab005DOI Listing
January 2021

Glycosylation generates an efficacious and immunogenic vaccine against H7N9 influenza virus.

PLoS Biol 2020 12 23;18(12):e3001024. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

Department of Microbiology, Institute for Viral Diseases, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Zoonotic avian influenza viruses pose severe health threats to humans. Of several viral subtypes reported, the low pathogenic avian influenza H7N9 virus has since February 2013 caused more than 1,500 cases of human infection with an almost 40% case-fatality rate. Vaccination of poultry appears to reduce human infections. However, the emergence of highly pathogenic strains has increased concerns about H7N9 pandemics. To develop an efficacious H7N9 human vaccine, we designed vaccine viruses by changing the patterns of N-linked glycosylation (NLG) on the viral hemagglutinin (HA) protein based on evolutionary patterns of H7 HA NLG changes. Notably, a virus in which 2 NLG modifications were added to HA showed higher growth rates in cell culture and elicited more cross-reactive antibodies than did other vaccine viruses with no change in the viral antigenicity. Developed into an inactivated vaccine formulation, the vaccine virus with 2 HA NLG additions exhibited much better protective efficacy against lethal viral challenge in mice than did a vaccine candidate with wild-type (WT) HA by reducing viral replication in the lungs. In a ferret model, the 2 NLG-added vaccine viruses also induced hemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies and significantly suppressed viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tracts compared with the WT HA vaccines. In a mode of action study, the HA NLG modification appeared to increase HA protein contents incorporated into viral particles, which would be successfully translated to improve vaccine efficacy. These results suggest the strong potential of HA NLG modifications in designing avian influenza vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757820PMC
December 2020

Exploration of Superspreading Events in 2015 MERS-CoV Outbreak in Korea by Branching Process Models.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 08 24;17(17). Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 17104, Korea.

South Korea has learned a valuable lesson from the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus outbreak in 2015. The 2015 MERS-CoV outbreak in Korea was the largest outbreak outside the Middle Eastern countries and was characterized as a nosocomial infection and a superspreading event. To assess the characteristics of a super spreading event, we specifically analyze the behaviors and epidemiological features of superspreaders. Furthermore, we employ a branching process model to understand a significantly high level of heterogeneity in generating secondary cases. The existing model of the branching process (Lloyd-Smith model) is used to incorporate individual heterogeneity into the model, and the key epidemiological components (the reproduction number and the dispersive parameter) are estimated through the empirical transmission tree of the MERS-CoV data. We also investigate the impact of control intervention strategies on the MERS-CoV dynamics of the Lloyd-Smith model. Our results highlight the roles of superspreaders in a high level of heterogeneity. This indicates that the conditions within hospitals as well as multiple hospital visits were the crucial factors for superspreading events of the 2015 MERS-CoV outbreak.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7504499PMC
August 2020

Joint Demosaicing and Denoising Based on Interchannel Nonlocal Mean Weighted Moving Least Squares Method.

Sensors (Basel) 2020 Aug 20;20(17). Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Division of Applied Mathematics, Korea University, Sejong 30019, Korea.

Nowadays, the sizes of pixel sensors in digital cameras are decreasing as the resolution of the image sensor increases. Due to the decreased size, the pixel sensors receive less light energy, which makes it more sensitive to thermal noise. Even a small amount of noise in the color filter array (CFA) can have a significant effect on the reconstruction of the color image, as two-thirds of the missing data would have to be reconstructed from noisy data; because of this, direct denoising would need to be performed on the raw CFA to obtain a high-resolution color image. In this paper, we propose an interchannel nonlocal weighted moving least square method for the noise removal of the raw CFA. The proposed method is our first attempt of applying a two dimensional (2-D) polynomial approximation to denoising the CFA. Previous works make use of 2-D linear or directional 1-D polynomial approximations. The reason that 2-D polynomial approximation methods have not been applied to this problem is the difficulty of the weight control in the 2-D polynomial approximation method, as a small amount of noise can have a large effect on the approximated 2-D shape. This makes CFA denoising more important, as the approximated 2-D shape has to be reconstructed from only one-third of the original data. To address this problem, we propose a method that reconstructs the approximated 2-D shapes corresponding to the RGB color channels based on the measure of the similarities of the patches directly on the CFA. By doing so, the interchannel information is incorporated into the denoising scheme, which results in a well-controlled and higher order of polynomial approximation of the color channels. Compared to other nonlocal-mean-based denoising methods, the proposed method uses an extra reproducing constraint, which guarantees a certain degree of the approximation order; therefore, the proposed method can reduce the number of false reconstruction artifacts that often occur in nonlocal-mean-based denoising methods. Experimental results demonstrate the performance of the proposed algorithm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20174697DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7506582PMC
August 2020

Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Study of Lipid levels and Ischemic Heart Disease.

Korean Circ J 2020 Oct 13;50(10):940-948. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Institute for Health Promotion, Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.

Background And Objectives: Associations between blood lipids and risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) have been reported in observational studies. However, due to confounding and reverse causation, observational studies are influenced by bias, thus their results show inconsistency in the effects of lipid levels on IHD. In this study, we evaluate whether lipid levels have an effect on the risk of IHD in a Korean population.

Methods: A 2-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) study, using the genetic variants associated with lipid levels as the instrumental variables was performed. Genetic variants significantly associated with lipid concentrations were obtained from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (n=35,000), and the same variants on IHD were obtained from the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II (n=13,855). Inverse variance weighting (IVW), weighted median, and MR-Egger approaches were used to assess the causal association between lipid levels and IHD. Radial MR methods were applied to remove outliers subject to pleiotropic bias.

Results: Causal association between low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and IHD was observed in the IVW method (odds ratio, 1.013; 95% confidence interval, 1.007-1.109). However, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglyceride (TG) did not show causal association with IHD. In the Radial MR analysis of the relationship between HDL-C, TG and IHD, outliers were detected. Interestingly, after removing the outliers, a causal association between TG and IHD was found.

Conclusions: High levels LDL-C and TG were causally associated with increased IHD risk in a Korean population, these results are potentially useful as evidence of a significant causal relationship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4070/kcj.2020.0131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7515757PMC
October 2020

Utilization of PCB-contaminated Hudson River sediment by thermal processing and phytoremediation.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Oct 31;738:139841. Epub 2020 May 31.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA; Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.

The need to dispose of dredged sediments and development of appropriate technology for their safe utilization has become a growing problem in recent years. It has been proposed that dredged, fresh sediments can be utilized in agriculture or environment; however there is also growing interest in the use of thermally-treated sediments. Hence, the aim of this study was threefold: 1) to evaluate the effect of two incineration temperatures (300 °C and 600 °C) on the chemical and ecotoxicological properties of sediment; 2) select the appropriate treatment for further phytoremediation experiments with zucchini; and 3) assess the impact of sediment admixture on the physico-chemical parameters of soil, based on the responses of Aliivibrio fischeri and growth of zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L. cv 'Black Beauty'). A range of chemical (inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrophotometry for macro- and trace elements; gas chromatography for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)), ecotoxicological (Microtox assay), and plant morphology (biomass measurement) as well as physiological analyses (spectrophotometry for chlorophyll) were applied. River sediments incinerated at 600 °C resulted in better chemical and ecotoxicological properties than incinerated at 300 °C or no incinerated. Incineration at 600 °C removed PCBs from sediment. In culture experiments conducted with zucchini, sediment treated at 300 °C demonstrated a 51-81% reduction in PCB concentrations compared to untreated sediment. After four weeks of growth, the raw sediment showed a significant increase in K, Fe, Cr, Pb, Zn concentrations, whereas the thermally-processed sediment showed a decrease in Ca, Na, P, Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn concentrations. Both the fresh and thermally-treated sediment types influenced plant growth positively: they demonstrated higher biomass production than plants grown in control soil; however, plants grown on soil with thermally-processed sediment demonstrated lower biomass than those grown in raw sediment. Chlorophyll content was affected negatively by admixtures of soil with treated or untreated sediment, while a lower chlorophyll a/b ratio was observed in plants grown on an admixture of thermally-treated sediment with soil. Our findings suggest that the use of sediments as a growth medium component may be a promising way for their utilization and transformation from waste material to a valuable resource enhancing the benefits to the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139841DOI Listing
October 2020

Modeling influenza transmission dynamics with media coverage data of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in Korea.

PLoS One 2020 11;15(6):e0232580. Epub 2020 Jun 11.

Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Korea.

Recurrent outbreaks of the influenza virus continue to pose a serious health threat all over the world. The role of mass media becomes increasingly important in modeling infectious disease transmission dynamics since it can provide public health information that influences risk perception and health behaviors. Motivated by the recent 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic outbreak in South Korea, a mathematical model has been developed. In this work, a previous influenza transmission model is modified by incorporating two distinct media effect terms in the transmission rate function; (1) a theory-based media effect term is defined as a function of the number of infected people and its rage of change and (2) a data-based media effect term employs the real-world media coverage data during the same period of the 2009 influenza outbreak. The transmission rate and the media parameters are estimated through the least-squares fitting of the influenza model with two media effect terms to the 2009 H1N1 cumulative number of confirmed cases. The impacts of media effect terms are investigated in terms of incidence and cumulative incidence. Our results highlight that the theory-based and data-based media effect terms have almost the same influence on the influenza dynamics under the parameters obtained in this study. Numerical simulations suggest that the media can have a positive influence on influenza dynamics; more media coverage leads to a reduced peak size and final epidemic size of influenza.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0232580PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7289370PMC
August 2020

In Situ Real-Time Monitoring of ITO Film under a Chemical Etching Process Using Fourier Transform Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy.

Anal Chem 2020 Aug 15;92(15):10504-10511. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, South Korea.

As a novel approach to the in situ real-time investigation of an ITO electrode during the wet etching process, step-excitation Fourier-transform electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (FT-EIS) was implemented. The equivalent circuit parameters (e.g., , ) continuously obtained by the FT-EIS measurements during the entire etching process showed an electrode activation at the initial period as well as the completion of etching. The FT-EIS results were further validated by cyclic voltammograms and impedance measurements of partially etched ITO films using ferri- and ferrocyanide solution in combination with FESEM imaging, EDS, XRD analyses, and COMSOL simulation. We also demonstrated that this technique can be further utilized to obtain intact interdigitated array (IDA) electrodes in a reproducible manner, which is generally considered to be quite tricky due to delicacy of the pattern. Given that the FT-EIS allows for instantaneous snapshots of the electrode at every moment, this work may hold promise for in situ real-time examination of structural, electrokinetic, or mass transfer-related information on electrochemical systems undergoing constantly changing, transient processes including etching, which would be impossible with conventional electroanalytical techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.0c01294DOI Listing
August 2020

Persistent organic pollutant exposure and celiac disease: A pilot study.

Environ Res 2020 07 11;186:109439. Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, USA; Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Celiac disease affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide. Little is known about environmental factors that may modulate risk in genetically susceptible populations. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are known endocrine disruptors and, given the interplay between the endocrine and immune systems, are plausible contributors to celiac disease. The current study aims to elucidate the association between POPs and celiac disease. We conducted a single-site pilot study of 88 patients recruited from NYU Langone's Hassenfeld Children's Hospital outpatient clinic, 30 of which were subsequently diagnosed with celiac disease using standard serology and duodenal biopsy examination. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and HLA-DQ genotype category were measured in blood serum and whole blood, respectively. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to obtain odds ratios for celiac disease associated with serum POP concentrations. Controlling for sex, race, age, BMI, and genetic susceptibility score, patients with higher serum DDE concentrations had 2-fold higher odds of celiac disease (95% CI: 1.08, 3.84). After stratifying by sex, we found higher odds of celiac disease in females with serum concentrations of DDE (OR = 13.0, 95% CI = 1.54, 110), PFOS (OR = 12.8, 95% CI = 1.17, 141), perfluorooctanoic acid (OR = 20.6, 95% CI = 1.13, 375) and in males with serum BDE153, a PBDE congener (OR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.01, 5.18). This is the first study to report on celiac disease with POP exposure in children. These findings raise further questions of how environmental chemicals may affect autoimmunity in genetically susceptible individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.109439DOI Listing
July 2020

Effects of amendments of PCB-containing Hudson River sediment on soil quality and biochemical and growth response of cucumber ( L. cv 'Wisconsin SMR 58').

Int J Phytoremediation 2020 14;22(12):1224-1232. Epub 2020 May 14.

New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY, USA.

Approximately 200 million m of sediments are dredged every year in the United States. Of this amount, 2.3-9 million m are contaminated to the extent that they require special, and often costly, handling. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop appropriate technology for the safe utilization of these sediments, especially in the case of the Hudson River, which is well known to demonstrate significant polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination. Hence, the aim of the present study was to examine the influence of different doses of Hudson River sediments (10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% admixtures) on soil quality and on the biochemical and growth response of cucumber ( L. cv 'Wisconsin SMR 58'), used as potential phytoremediation tool for sediment-borne PCBs. A sediment/soil admixture was found to significantly decrease the nitrogen (N) content in the substratum; in addition, phosphorus (P) content was significantly increased by 50-100% sediment, while potassium (K) content was significantly increased by 10% sediment, and significantly decreased by >50% sediment. Although sediment treatment resulted in a gradual increase in PCB content in the soil-sediment substratum, exceeding the threshold effect concentration (TEC) for the ≥50% sediment admixture, the Microtox assay did not suggest toxicity to microorganisms. The results demonstrated also that admixture of 10-25% Hudson River sediment increased cucumber growth; however, higher doses led to growth inhibition, manifested as lower biomass and smaller leaves. Also, chlorophyll a and b content decreased with increasing doses of sediment. Phenylpropanoid and flavonol contents were significantly higher in plants grown in soil amended with 10% of sediment, but significantly lower in soil treated with a 100% sediment admixture. The anthocyanin content in plants was lower at admixtures of 50% and higher. The obtained results corresponded with the decreasing content of N and K.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15226514.2020.1754760DOI Listing
September 2020

Association of Maternal Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants in Early Pregnancy With Fetal Growth.

JAMA Pediatr 2020 02;174(2):149-161

Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Importance: Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been associated with birth size, but data on fetal growth and among racially/ethnically diverse pregnant women remain scarce.

Objectives: To assess the association between maternal plasma POPs in early pregnancy and fetal growth and by infant sex and maternal race/ethnicity.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study used the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton cohort, which recruited nonobese, low-risk pregnant women before 14 weeks' gestation between July 1, 2009, and January 31, 2013, in 12 community-based clinics throughout the United States. Participants self-identified their race/ethnicity, self-reported their behavioral risk factors, and were followed up throughout their pregnancy. Data were analyzed from July 31, 2018, to June 3, 2019.

Exposures: Levels of 76 POPs in early gestation plasma were measured: 11 perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, 1 polybrominated biphenyl, 9 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 44 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 11 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). The bayesian kernel machine regression method was used to examine chemical class mixtures, and generalized additive mixed model was used to analyze individual chemicals.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Fourteen fetal biometrics were measured, including head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length, within 5 ultrasonography appointments.

Results: A total of 2284 low-risk pregnant women were included: 606 women (26.5%) self-identified as white with a mean (SD) age of 30.3 (4.4) years, 589 (25.8%) as black with a mean (SD) age of 25.5 (5.5) years, 635 (27.8%) as Hispanic with a mean (SD) age of 27.1 (5.5) years, and 454 (19.9%) as Asian with a mean (SD) age of 30.5 (4.5) years. A comparison between the 75th and 25th percentile of exposure revealed that the OCP mixture was negatively associated with most fetal growth measures, with a reduction of 4.7 mm (95% CI, -6.7 to -2.8 mm) in head circumference, 3.5 mm (95% CI, -4.7 to -2.2 mm) in abdominal circumference, and 0.6 mm (95% CI, -1.1 to -0.2 mm) in femur length. Higher exposure to the PBDE mixture was associated with reduced abdominal circumference (-2.4 mm; 95% CI, -4.0 to -0.5 mm) and femur length (-0.5 mm; 95% CI, -1.0 to -0.1 mm), and the dioxin-like PCB mixture was associated with reduced head circumference (-6.4 mm; 95% CI, -8.4 to -4.3 mm) and abdominal circumference (-2.4 mm; 95% CI, -3.9 to -0.8 mm). Associations with individual chemicals were less consistent. There were some interactions by fetal sex, although most of the results did not vary by maternal race/ethnicity. For example, oxychlordane (-0.98 mm; 95% CI, -1.60 to -0.36 mm; P for interaction <.001), trans-nonachlor (-0.31 mm; 95% CI, -0.54 to -0.08 mm; P for interaction = .005), and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (-0.19 mm; 95% CI, -0.22 to -0.09 mm; P for interaction = .006) were associated with shorter femur length among boys only.

Conclusions And Relevance: This study found that, among pregnant women with low POP levels, a mixture of OCPs was negatively associated with most fetal growth measures and that mixtures of PBDEs and dioxin-like PCBs were associated with reduced abdominal circumference. These findings suggested that, although exposures may be low, associations with fetal growth are apparent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6990715PMC
February 2020

Evaluation of ecotoxicological and chemical properties of soil amended with Hudson River (New York, USA) sediment.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Mar 28;27(7):7388-7397. Epub 2019 Dec 28.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY, 12201-0509, USA.

The aim of this study was to assess the potential for application of Hudson River sediment as a plant growth medium by mixing with various proportions of soil. The growth medium obtained by the admixture of soil and Hudson River sediment was characterized by optimal pH, reduced salinity, and presence of macro- (K, Mg) and micronutrients (Fe, Mn). Apart from beneficial nutrients and organic matter, the riverine sediment also contained toxic metals (Zn 86 mg; Cu 17.8 mg; Ni 16.6 mg; Cr 20.7 mg; Cd 0.46 mg; Pb 20.7 mg/kg, at concentrations below the threshold effect concentration) and PCBs (total concentration 254 ng/g), which can have a negative impact on soil ecosystems. The results ecological risk assessment of six trace elements and PCBs in sediment suggested medium/moderate risk (PECq = 0.21) and the need for ecotoxicological tests prior to its use as a growth medium. However, ecotoxicity tests of the soil/sediment admixture indicated that it was non-toxic or less-toxic to crustacean Heterocypris incongruens (PE = - 8-38%) and bacteria Aliivibrio fischeri (PE = - 20-38). For Sinapis alba L. and Lepidium sativum L., the germination index (GI) indicated the dominance of inhibitory effect on plant growth; whereas for the Sorghum saccharatum L., the GI value showed the stimulatory effect. Based on the above physicochemical and ecotoxicological analyses, the sediment was found suitable for use as a growth medium, for non-edible plants. It is worth to underline that this sediment was collected from relatively less contaminated location of the river and therefore the results may not represent sediments from entire stretch of the Hudson River.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-07354-6DOI Listing
March 2020

High-resolution metabolomics study revealing l-homocysteine sulfinic acid, cysteic acid, and carnitine as novel biomarkers for high acute myocardial infarction risk.

Metabolism 2020 03 24;104:154051. Epub 2019 Dec 24.

Metabolomics Laboratory, Korea University College of Pharmacy, Sejong 30019, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Background: Identifying changes in serum metabolites before the occurrence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is an important approach for finding novel biomarkers of AMI.

Methods: In this prospective cohort study, serum samples obtained from patients at risk of AMI (n = 112) and non-risk controls (n = 89) were tested using high-resolution metabolomics (HRM). Partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), along with univariate analysis using a false discovery rate (FDR) of q = 0.05 were performed to discriminate metabolic profiles and to determine significantly different metabolites between healthy control and AMI risk groups.

Results: PLS-DA significantly separated the AMI risk sera from control sera. The metabolites associated with amino acid biosynthesis, 2-oxocarboxylic acid, tryptophan, and amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism pathways were mainly elevated in patients at risk of AMI. Further validation and quantification by MS/MS showed that tryptophan, carnitine, L-homocysteine sulfinic acid (L-HCSA), and cysteic acid (CA) were upregulated, while L-cysteine and L-cysteine sulfinic acid (L-CSA) were downregulated, specifically among AMI risk sera. Additionally, these discriminant metabolic profiles were not related to hypertension, smoking or alcoholism.

Conclusion: In conclusion, detecting upregulated L-HCSA and CA along with carnitine among patients at risk for AMI could serve as promising non-invasive biomarkers for early AMI detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2019.154051DOI Listing
March 2020

Causal Associations Between Serum Bilirubin Levels and Decreased Stroke Risk: A Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Study.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2020 02 5;40(2):437-445. Epub 2019 Dec 5.

From the Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea (Y.C., S.H.J.).

Objective: A number of epidemiological studies have reported that decreased serum bilirubin, an endogenous antioxidant, is associated with cardiovascular disease. However, previous Mendelian randomization analyses conducted using a single sample have shown no evidence of association. Approach and Results: A 2-sample summary Mendelian randomization study was performed by obtaining exposure and outcome data from separate nonoverlapping samples. We utilized data from the KoGES (Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study; n=25 406) and KCPS-II (Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II; n=14 541) biobank for serum bilirubin and stroke, respectively. Using KoGES, a total of 1784 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with serum bilirubin levels were discovered using a genome-wide significance threshold (<5×10), of which 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified as independent (<0.005) and adopted as genetic instruments. From KCPS-II, total and ischemic stroke cases were identified (n=1489 and n=686), with 12 366 acting as controls. Various 2-sample summary Mendelian randomization methods were employed, with Mendelian randomization estimates showing an inverse causal association between serum bilirubin levels and total stroke risk (odds ratio, 0.481 [95% CI, 0.234-0.988]; =0.046). This association increased in magnitude when restricting the analysis to ischemic stroke cases (odds ratio, 0.302 [95% CI, 0.105-0.868]; =0.026).

Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence of significant causal relationship between high levels of bilirubin and decreased stroke risk in Korean population in agreement with observational approaches. This highlights the potential for bilirubin to serve as a therapeutic target for oxidative stress-related diseases such as stroke and suggests that previous findings were not a consequence of unmeasured confounding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.313055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6975519PMC
February 2020

Coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor mediates the responses of endothelial cells to fluid shear stress.

Exp Mol Med 2019 11 27;51(11):1-15. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Medical Research Institute, School of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, 07985, Republic of Korea.

Endothelial mechanotransduction by fluid shear stress (FSS) modulates endothelial function and vascular pathophysiology through mechanosensors on the cell membrane. The coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) is not only a viral receptor but also a component of tight junctions and plays an important role in tissue homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate the expression, regulatory mechanism, and role of CAR in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) under FSS conditions. Disturbed flow increased, whereas unidirectional laminar shear stress (LSS) decreased, CAR expression in ECs through the Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2)/activator protein 1 (AP-1) axis. Deletion of CAR reduced the expression of proinflammatory genes and endothelial inflammation induced by disturbed flow via the suppression of NF-κB activation. Consistently, disturbed flow-induced atherosclerosis was reduced in EC-specific CAR KO mice. CAR was found to be involved in endothelial mechanotransduction through the regulation of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1) phosphorylation. Our results demonstrate that endothelial CAR is regulated by FSS and that this regulated CAR acts as an important modulator of endothelial mechanotransduction by FSS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s12276-019-0347-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6881322PMC
November 2019

Effects of soil amendment with PCB-contaminated sediment on the growth of two cucurbit species.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Mar 4;27(9):8872-8884. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY, 12201-0509, USA.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of the application of increasing proportions (0%, 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) of an admixture of PCB-contaminated Hudson River sediment collected from the Upper Hudson River, near Waterford, Saratoga county (New York, USA) on soil properties, phytotoxicity, and biometric and physiological responses of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv 'Wisconsin SMR 58') and zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L. cv 'Black Beauty') grown as potential phyto- and rhizoremediators. The experiment was performed for 4 weeks in a growth chamber under controlled conditions. Amendment of Hudson River sediment to soil led to a gradual increase in PCB content of the substratum from 13.7 μg/kg (with 10% sediment) to 255 μg/kg (with 100% sediment). Sediment amendment showed no phytotoxic effects during the initial stages, even Lepidium sativum root growth was stimulated; however, this positive response diminished following a 4-week growth period, with the greatest inhibition observed in unplanted soil and zucchini-planted soil. The stimulatory effect remained high for cucumber treatments. The sediment admixture also increased cucurbit fresh biomass as compared to control samples, especially at lower doses of sediment admixture, even though PCB content of the soil amended with sediment increased. Cucurbits' leaf surface area, in turn, demonstrated an increase for zucchini, however only for 50% and 75% sediment admixture, while cucumber showed no changes when lower doses were applied and decrease for 75% and 100% sediment admixture. Chlorophyll a + b decreased significantly in sediment-amended soils, with greater inhibition observed for cucumber than zucchini. Our results suggest that admixture of riverine sediment from relatively less-contaminated locations may be used as soil amendments under controlled conditions; however, further detailed investigation on the fate of pollutants is required, especially in terms of the bioaccumulation and biomagnification properties of PCBs, before contaminated sediment can be applied in an open environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06509-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7089887PMC
March 2020

Biomonitoring of exposure to bisphenols, benzophenones, triclosan, and triclocarban in pet dogs and cats.

Environ Res 2020 01 11;180:108821. Epub 2019 Oct 11.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY, 12201-0509, United States; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY, 12201-0509, United States; Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science and Experimental Biochemistry Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Similar to humans, pet animals are exposed to environmental contaminants through multiple sources and pathways. Although a few studies have demonstrated exposure of cats and dogs to environmental chemicals, little is known about exposure to bisphenols, benzophenone UV filters, and antibacterial agents. In this study, we measured three bisphenols, three benzophenone-type UV filters, triclosan (TCS), and triclocarban (TCC) in dog (n = 50) and cat urine (n = 50) collected from New York State, USA. Among bisphenols, BPS was found at the highest concentrations (mean ± SD: 3.2 ± 8.5 ng/mL in dogs and 8.85 ± 30.0 ng/mL in cats) with detection frequencies of 96% in dogs and 78% in cats. Among benzophenones, BP-3 (oxybenzone) was the dominant compound in pet urine, followed by BP-1 and BP-8. TCS was found at concentrations higher than those of TCC in both cat and dog urine. There were no significant differences in bisphenol concentrations between sexes or age groups, both in dogs and cats. The calculated hazard quotients (HQ) suggested that the current exposure levels of BPS and BP-3 in pets were 2-5 orders of magnitude below the tentative threshold values available for humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.108821DOI Listing
January 2020

Outcomes of Pregnancy after Breast Cancer in Korean Women: A Large Cohort Study.

Cancer Res Treat 2020 Apr 3;52(2):426-437. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Center for Breast Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and outcomes of pregnancies subsequent to breast cancer in Korea, and the effect of such pregnancies on the prognosis of women who survived breast cancer and subsequently conceived.

Materials And Methods: We followed a total of 31,761 Korean women 45 years of age or younger who were treated for primary breast cancer from 2002 to 2010. We also included follow-up surveys that were conducted through December 2011. We identified recurrence and mortality from breast cancer using data linked to the Korea National Health Insurance database. We used propensity score matching of the study cohort to analyze the risks of recurrence and mortality from breast cancer depending on pregnancy.

Results: Within our sample, 992 women (3.1%) became pregnant after receiving treatment for breast cancer. Of those, 622 (67.5%) successfully delivered; the remaining 370 (32.5%) failed to deliver. After propensity score matching, we found that the women who became pregnant after breast cancer did not have a different risk of recurrence (hazard ratio [HR], 0.503; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.434 to 0.584) and death (HR, 0.520; 95% CI, 0.397 to 0.681), compared with those who did not conceive after breast cancer treatment.

Conclusion: Our study is the first to report outcomes for Korean women who survived breast cancer and subsequently conceived. Women who survived breast cancer and subsequently became pregnant did not show a poorer survival outcome, compared with those who did not become pregnant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4143/crt.2018.382DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7176946PMC
April 2020

Concentrations of organohalogens (PCBs, DDTs, PBDEs) in hunted and stranded Northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) in Alaska from 1992 to 2010: Links to pathology and feeding ecology.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Nov 4;691:789-798. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 901 Koyukuk Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7750, USA.

Many organohalogen compounds (OHCs) are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) found in appreciable concentrations in marine predators. While production of some POPs has declined or ceased in recent decades, their capacity for global transport and bioaccumulation results in observations of unchanging or increasing concentrations in marine systems. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) have been advocated as an environmental sentinel for contaminants due to their longevity, site fidelity and prey species that often overlap with human consumption. Using archived (1992-2010) samples of livers from Northern sea otters (n = 50) from Alaska we examine concentrations of chlordanes (CHLs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDTs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and associated metabolites. We found some evidence for declining ΣPCBs over the two decades, however for most animals concentrations were low compared to toxicological thresholds. Six animals had relatively high concentrations of ΣPCBs (mean = 262,000 ng/g lipid weight), ΣDDTs (mean = 8,800 ng/g lw), and ΣPBDEs (mean = 4,600 ng/g lw), with four of these six animals experiencing hepatic parasitism or hepatitis. In order to assess whether differences in POP concentrations are associated with feeding ecology, we examined stable isotopes of C and N in archived muscle and whisker samples. In general, there were no significant relationships between ΣPOP concentrations and stable isotope ratios. There were small differences in stable isotope profiles in animals with high POP concentrations, although it was unclear if these differences were due to feeding ecology or disease processes. This study highlights the importance of considering feeding ecology and necropsy (health and disease status) data while conducting contaminant surveys, and confirms some previous reports of trends in OHCs in Alaska marine mammals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711818PMC
November 2019

Components of Metabolic Syndrome in Korean Adults: A Hospital-Based Cohort at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.

J Obes Metab Syndr 2019 Jun 30;28(2):118-128. Epub 2019 Jun 30.

Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.

Background: The prevalence of metabolic syndrome is increasing in Korea, particularly among young adults. This trend will increase the incidence of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the future. Therefore, it is imperative to detect and prevent metabolic abnormalities early in life. Here, we established a hospital-based biobank cohort to identify the most prevalent dysmetabolic phenotype. The aim of this report was to inform other researchers of our protocol and to share our data for future collaboration.

Methods: The baseline examination comprised health-related questionnaires, anthropometric and handgrip strength measurements, bioelectrical impedance analysis of body composition, and nutritional assessment. Relevant biochemical parameters were measured, and oral glucose tolerance tests were performed. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria with Asian waist circumference criteria.

Results: From a total of about 3,000 employees aged 20 to 59 years working at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 1,017 were enrolled from 2015 to 2016. The mean age was 34.5±8.4 years for men (n=311, 30.6%) and 30.9±8.5 years for women (n=706, 69.4%). The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 7.6% (17.7% in men and 3.1% in women). Among the five components of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure was the most prevalent in both men (51.4%) and women (13.8%).

Conclusion: Although further follow-up data are needed, we expect that more adverse cardiovascular events may occur in men than in women. This hospital-based cohort will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive evaluation of metabolic syndrome and future cardiometabolic disease risk in middle-aged Koreans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7570/jomes.2019.28.2.118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6604850PMC
June 2019

Urinary concentrations and distribution profiles of 21 phthalate metabolites in pet cats and dogs.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Nov 2;690:70-75. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Empire State Plaza, P.O. Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY, USA; Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science and Experimental Biochemistry Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Phthalates are widely used in several consumer products, including plastics, toys, cosmetics, and medical devices. Little is known about phthalate exposure in pet animals, however, even though they share an indoor environment with humans; this is the first study to measure such exposure. We measured 21 phthalate monoester metabolites (PhMs) in the urine of pet cats (n = 50) and dogs (n = 50) collected from New York State, USA. PhMs were widely detected in all samples, and 12 of 21 PhMs had detection frequencies (Dfs) >80%. The median urinary concentrations of total PhMs in pet cats and dogs were 630 ng/mL and 186 ng/mL, respectively. Monoethyl phthalate (mEP) was the most abundant compound in both cats and dogs. Phthalic acid (PA; a non-specific metabolite of phthalates) was found at very high concentrations in cats (median: 520 ng/mL). The estimated daily intake (EDI) and hazard quotient (HQ) for major phthalates in pets showed that DEHP exposures in cats and dogs were only 2-fold less than the US Environmental Protection Agency suggested reference dose (RfD) for humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.522DOI Listing
November 2019

Smoking and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk in young men: the Korean Life Course Health Study.

BMJ Open 2019 06 12;9(6):e024453. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, The Republic of Korea.

Objective: To examine the effect of smoking on risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in Korean young men and to examine whether serum total cholesterol levels could modify the effect of smoking on ASCVD.

Design: A prospective cohort study within a national insurance system.

Setting: Health screenings provided by national insurance in 1992 and 1994.

Participants: A total of 118 531 young men between 20 and 29 years of age and were followed up for an average of 23 years.

Outcome Measure: To assess the independent effects of smoking on the risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), stroke and ASCVD, Cox proportional hazards regression models were used, controlling for age, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and alcohol drinking.

Results: The total number of current smokers was 78 455 (66.2%), and 94 113 (79.7%) of the sample recorded a total cholesterol level <200 mg/dL measured at baseline. Between 1993 and 2015, 2786 cases of IHD (53/100 000 person year), 2368 cases of stroke (45.4/100 000 person year) and 6368 ASCVD (122.7/100 000 person year) occurred. The risk of IHD, stroke and total ASCVD events was found to increase for current smokers, with a HR with 95% CI of 1.5 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.6), 1.4 (95% CI 1.2 to 1.6) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.5), respectively. Furthermore, the risks above were also found throughout the range of serum levels of cholesterol.

Conclusions: Smoking among Korean young adult men was independently associated with increased risk of IHD, stroke and ASCVD. The concentration of cholesterol in Korean men did not modify the effect of smoking on ASCVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6575821PMC
June 2019

The Role of Vertical Transmission in the Control of Dengue Fever.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 03 5;16(5). Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Applied Mathematics, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 446-701, Korea.

In this work, a two-strain dengue model with vertical transmission in the mosquito population is considered. Although vertical transmission is often ignored in models of dengue fever, we show that effective control of an outbreak of dengue can depend on whether or not the vertical transmission is a significant mode of disease transmission. We model the effect of a control strategy aimed at reducing human-mosquito transmissions in an optimal control framework. As the likelihood of vertical transmission increases, outbreaks become more difficult and expensive to control. However, even for low levels of vertical transmission, the additional, uncontrolled, transmission from infected mosquito to eggs may undercut the effectiveness of any control function. This is of particular importance in regions where existing control policies may be effective and the endemic strain does not exhibit vertical transmission. If a novel strain that does exhibit vertical transmission invades, then existing, formerly effective, control policies may no longer be sufficient. Therefore, public health officials should pay more attention to the role of vertical transmission for more effective interventions and policy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050803DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6427266PMC
March 2019

Absence of Cytosolic 2-Cys Prx Subtypes I and II Exacerbates TNF-α-Induced Apoptosis via Different Routes.

Cell Rep 2019 02;26(8):2194-2211.e6

Department of Life Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea; Research Center for Cell Homeostasis, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea. Electronic address:

There are abundant peroxiredoxin (Prx) enzymes, but an increase of cellular HO level always happens in apoptotic cells. Here, we show that cellular HO switches different apoptosis pathways depending on which type of Prx enzyme is absent. TNF-α-induced HO burst preferentially activates the DNA damage-dependent apoptosis pathway in the absence of PrxI. By contrast, the same HO burst stimulates the RIPK1-dependent apoptosis pathway in the absence of PrxII by inducing the destruction of cIAP1 in caveolar membrane. Specifically, HO induces the oxidation of Cys308 residue in the cIAP1-BIR3 domain, which induces the dimerization-dependent E3 ligase activation. Thus, the reduction in cIAP level by the absence of PrxII triggers cell-autonomous apoptosis in cancer cells and tumors. Such differential functions of PrxI and PrxII are mediated by interaction with H2AX and cIAP1, respectively. Collectively, this study reveals the distinct switch roles of 2-Cys Prx isoforms in apoptosis signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.01.081DOI Listing
February 2019

Persistent organic pollutants and gestational diabetes: A multi-center prospective cohort study of healthy US women.

Environ Int 2019 03 16;124:249-258. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Dean's Office, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.

Background: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are linked with insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes (T2D) in the general population. However, their associations with gestational diabetes (GDM) are inconsistent.

Objective: We prospectively evaluated the associations of POPs measured in early pregnancy with GDM risk. We also assessed whether pre-pregnancy BMI (ppBMI) and family history of T2D modify this risk.

Methods: In NICHD Fetal Growth Study, Singletons, we measured plasma concentration of 76 POPs, including 11 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), 9 polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), 44 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 11 per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) among 2334 healthy non-obese women at 8-13 weeks of gestation. GDM was diagnosed by Carpenter and Coustan criteria. We constructed chemical networks using a weighted-correlation algorithm and examined the associations of individual chemical and chemical networks with GDM using multivariate Poisson regression with robust variance.

Results: Higher concentrations of PCBs with six or more chlorine atoms were associated with increased risk of GDM in the overall cohort (risk ratios [RRs] range: 1.08-1.13 per 1-standard deviation [SD] increment) and among women with a family history of T2D (RRs range: 1.08-1.48 per 1-SD increment) or normal ppBMI (RRs range: 1.08-1.22 per 1-SD increment). Similar associations were observed for the chemical network comprised of PCBs with ≥6 chlorine atoms and the summary measure of total PCBs and non-dioxin like PCBs (138, 153, 170, 180). Furthermore, four PFAS congeners - perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoDA) - showed significant positive associations with GDM among women with a family history of T2D (RRs range:1.22-3.18 per 1-SD increment), whereas BDE47 and BDE153 showed significant positive associations among women without a family history of T2D.

Conclusions: Environmentally relevant levels of heavily chlorinated PCBs and some PFAS and PBDEs were positively associated with GDM with suggestive effect modifications by family history of T2D and body adiposity status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.027DOI Listing
March 2019