Publications by authors named "Xiqing Li"

108 Publications

Analysing wastewater to estimate fentanyl and tramadol use in major Chinese cities.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jul 4;795:148838. Epub 2021 Jul 4.

Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia.

The misuse of fentanyl and more recently tramadol in the population has caused an opioid crisis in several countries and drawn much public attention worldwide. However, there is a gap of information on the potential misuse of fentanyl and tramadol in China. This study aims to fill this gap by analysing fentanyl and tramadol in wastewater of major cities across China to estimate their use. Wastewater samples were collected from 30 cities located across all seven geographic regions of China, from 2016 to 2019. Fentanyl was detected in only a few samples, suggesting a low prevalence of this potent opioid drug in China. Meanwhile, tramadol was found in most samples with concentrations ranging up to 186 ng/L. The per capita daily consumption of tramadol estimated from wastewater across China ranged from 6 mg/d/1000 in. to 213 mg/d/1000 inh. The consumption of tramadol seems to be similar among all the days of the week. Tramadol use is overall higher in Northeast China than in other regions, which is different from heroin, another popular opioid in China. Temporally, there is a significant decrease in tramadol use in major cities of China from 2016 to 2019. The results of our study suggested that tramadol use in China was predominantly from pharmaceutical prescription and not as prevalent as in other countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148838DOI Listing
July 2021

A simple and rapid method for fish sex identification based on recombinase-aided amplification and its use in Cynoglossus semilaevis.

Sci Rep 2021 May 17;11(1):10429. Epub 2021 May 17.

Anhui Provincial Key Laboratory of the Conservation and Exploitation of Biological Resources, College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, 241000, China.

Fish sex identification is a basic technique of great importance for both fish genetic studies and fisheries. Due to the sexual reversal phenomenon in many fish species, a simple and rapid molecular identification method for fish genetic sex is urgently needed to suit versatile detection scenarios, such as point-of-need applications. In this study, we took Cynoglossus semilaevis as an example, established a recombinase-aided amplification (RAA)-based method for sex identification, and combined the RAA-detection with two result visualization approaches with distinct features, capillary electrophoresis (CE) and lateral flow dipstick (LFD). Specific primers and probe were designed to specifically detect the sex chromosome W of C. semilaevis in order to distinguish the genetic sex between males, pseudo-males and females. To evaluate the performance of our methods, the genetic sex for twenty-eight males, sixty-eight pseudo-males and fifty-four females were examined with the RAA-based method and classical PCR-based genotyping method, demonstrating the consistent results of sex identification between both methods. The RAA-LFD method is operationally simple, rapid (~ 30 min) and holds great potential for point-of-need applications of fish sex identification, including fishery fields. The method presented here could be effective for identifying fish gender with the ZW karyotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-89571-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128863PMC
May 2021

Gout-induced endothelial impairment: The role of SREBP2 transactivation of YAP.

FASEB J 2021 06;35(6):e21613

Department of General Medicine, Henan Provincial People's Hospital, People's Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China.

Gout is a multifaceted inflammatory disease involving vascular impairments induced by hyperuricemia. Experiments using human umbilical vein endothelial cells treated with uric acid (UA), monosodium urate (MSU), or serum from gout patients showed increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes (ie, VCAM1, ICAM1, CYR61, CCNA1, and E2F1) with attendant increase in monocyte adhesion. Mechanistically, UA- or MSU-induced SREBP2 expression and its transcriptional activity. RNA sequencing analysis and real-time PCR showed the induction of YAP signaling and pro-inflammatory pathways in HUVECs transfected with adenovirus-SREBP2. The SREBP2 knockdown by siRNA partially abolished UA- or MSU-induced YAP activity, pro-inflammatory gene expression, and monocytes adhesion. Vascular intima from transgenic mice overexpressing SREBP2 in endothelium or mice with hyperuricemia exhibited activated YAP signaling and increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes. Betulin, an SREBP pharmacological inhibitor, attenuated the UA-, MSU-, or gout serum-induced endothelial cell inflammation and dysfunction. In the human study, endothelial cell function, assessed by EndoPAT, was negatively correlated with serum UA level among gouty patients and healthy controls. Collectively, UA or MSU causes endothelial dysfunction via SREBP2 transactivation of YAP. Betulin inhibition of SREBP2 may restrain gout-induced endothelial dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.202100337RDOI Listing
June 2021

Occurrence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in wastewater of major cities across China in 2014 and 2016.

Chemosphere 2021 Sep 16;279:130590. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4102, Australia.

China produced and consumed a large amount of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). whose persistency and possible toxicity to organisms have raised public health concerns. Analyzing influent wastewater could help to assess the composition and mass load of PFASs discharged into a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) from its catchment. In this study, we analyzed 27 PFASs in wastewater samples collected from 42 WWTPs across China in 2014 and 2016. Results indicated that perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) were the most common PFASs in wastewater. Population normalized mass loads of PFOA and PFOS were higher in Eastern China than in the other three regions, possibly due to their higher usage. Although the concentrations of PFASs in Central and West areas were showed lower than in East area, Wuhan (in Central area) and Lanzhou (in West area) were hotspots of PFASs pollution because of their industry structure. Population density and per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have positive correlations with the concentration of PFBA, PFOA, PFHxA, and ∑PFASs in wastewater. The estimated annual release of PFASs to WWTPs in our study is much lower than the total emission to the environment. Our results suggest that although there was some reduction in the production volume, certain legacy PFASs were still released into wastewater and their composition and concentration vary among WWTPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130590DOI Listing
September 2021

Occurrence of areca alkaloids in wastewater of major Chinese cities.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Aug 7;783:146961. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, PR China. Electronic address:

Areca nut is a widely used psychoactive product that can cause multiple health problems, such as oral and pharyngeal cancers. Therefore, it is important to estimate areca nut use and the exposure levels of areca alkaloids that are responsible for its health effects. China is a major producer of areca nut and has a large number of areca nut chewers. In this study, occurrence of areca alkaloids and metabolites in wastewater of major cities across China was examined via wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Arecoline, arecaidine, and their metabolite, N-methylnipecotic acid (NMNA) were detected in the overwhelming majority of wastewater samples, with concentrations up to several μg/L. In contrast, guvacoline was only occasionally detected and guvacine was below detection limit in all samples, possibly due to their low contents in areca nut products, low excretion rates, and/or low stability in sewer systems. Strong positive correlations existed between arecoline, arecaidine, and NMNA concentrations. In addition, their loads were much higher in Central and Southern China. This geographic pattern is consistent with previous survey results on prevalence of areca nut chewing. These results indicate that WBE is a potentially useful method to monitor areca nut consumption and to estimate the exposure levels of areca alkaloids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146961DOI Listing
August 2021

Assessment on the adverse effects on different kinds of fish induced by methamphetamine during the natural attenuation process based on adverse outcome pathway.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Aug 19;780:146587. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PR China.

The adverse effects on model fish induced by methamphetamine (METH) have been revealed. However, the toxicity of METH on different kinds of non-model fish during the natural attenuation remained unclear. Hence, in this study, we for the first time established a static lab-scale aquatic ecosystem spiked with METH (initial levels at 25 μg/L) for 40 days to estimate its metabolism and toxicity in Chinese medaka, rosy bitterling, loach, and mosquito fish. The concentrations of METH in water and fish's brain were detected termly. The physiological functions, histopathology of brain, neurotransmitters contents, and expressions of associated genes of the four kinds of fish were determined at day 0, 20, and 40, respectively. The results indicated METH could be remarkably accumulated in fish brains with the distribution factor vs water (DFw) at 232.5-folds, and attenuated both in water and fish body during the exposure. METH caused physiological functions (i.e., swimming trajectories, locomotion distances, and feeding rates) disorders of the four kinds of fish, and stimulated surfacing behavior of loach. Tissue and macro/micromolecular biomarkers including histopathology, neurotransmitters (i.e., dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), and mRNA, were similarly affected by METH. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs) signaling pathway, P53-regulated apoptosis signaling pathway, N-methyl-d-aspartate-dopamine system, and mTOR signaling pathway of different kinds of fish were regulated by METH. Additionally, the impairments of the physiological and macromolecular indicators of fish could be alleviated as the natural attenuation of METH occurred. All the biomarkers, as well as the recovery effects during the exposure were integrated onto an adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework. The key event was the micromolecular indicators (genes). The adverse outcomes at individual and population levels would result in the ecological consequences, implying the imperative to consider the natural attenuation process while assessing the environmental risk of METH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146587DOI Listing
August 2021

Paper-based nanosensors to evaluate community-wide illicit drug use for wastewater-based epidemiology.

Water Res 2021 Feb 23;189:116559. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Division of Biomedical Engineering, James Watt School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, G12 8LT, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is a powerful technique for monitoring illicit drugs of abuse in the community. Here, we report upon a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensor for the sensitive and selective detection of methamphetamine based upon the assembly of noble metal core-shell nanoparticles on a bespoke glassy nanofibrous electrospun paper matrix. The hierarchical structure of the fibrous paper, modified with the synthesized [email protected] core-shells ([email protected]) gave strong SERS signalling, enabling us to evaluate the community-wide prevalence of methamphetamine in wastewater treatment plants within Beijing. We show that, when normalized for the daily flow of the wastewater treatment plants and for population density, higher mass loads of drugs are generally found in sewage influent from urban areas, implying greater local methamphetamine usage than that in less populated areas. The user-friendly and disposable paper sensors demonstrate the applicability of rapid on-site illicit drug detection, illustrating the application to wastewater-based epidemiology, which has the potential to inform government agencies regarding societal interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.116559DOI Listing
February 2021

Nanomaterial-based aptamer sensors for analysis of illicit drugs and evaluation of drugs consumption for wastewater-based epidemiology.

Trends Analyt Chem 2020 Sep 6;130:115975. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, United Kingdom.

The abuse of illicit drugs usually associated with dramatic crimes may cause significant problems for the whole society. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been demonstrated to be a novel and cost-effective way to evaluate the abuse of illicit drugs at the community level, and has been used as a routine method for monitoring and played a significant role for combating the crimes in some countries, e.g. China. The method can also provide temporal and spatial variation of drugs of abuse. The detection methods mainly remain on the conventional liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, which is extremely sensitive and selective, however needs advanced facility and well-trained personals, thus limit it in the lab. As an alternative, sensors have emerged to be a powerful analytical tool for a wide spectrum of analytes, in particular aptamer sensors (aptasensors) have attracted increasing attention and could act as an efficient tool in this field due to the excellent characteristics of selectivity, sensitivity, low cost, miniaturization, easy-to-use, and automation. In this review, we will briefly introduce the context, specific assessment process and applications of WBE and the recent progress of illicit drug aptasensors, in particular focusing on optical and electrochemical sensors. We then highlight several recent aptasensors for illicit drugs in new technology integration and discuss the feasibility of these aptasensor for WBE. We will summarize the challenges and propose our insights and opportunity on aptasensor for WBE to evaluate community-wide drug use trends and public health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trac.2020.115975DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336936PMC
September 2020

Diluted concentrations of methamphetamine in surface water induce behavior disorder, transgenerational toxicity, and ecosystem-level consequences of fish.

Water Res 2020 Oct 10;184:116164. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PR China. Electronic address:

Methamphetamine (METH) has been recognized as an emerging organic contaminant as it was widely detected in the aquatic environment via wastewater effluent discharge. However, the ecological hazard posed by METH at environmentally relevant concentrations was remained unclear. In this study, adult medaka fish were exposed to METH at environmental levels (0.05, 0.2, 0.5, 5 μg L) and high level (25 and 100 μg L) for 90 days to investigate its effect on ecologically behavioral functions, histopathology, bioconcentration, and transgenerational toxicity. The significant increase of locomotion activity, total distance, and max velocity of adult medaka were observed at low METH levels (0.2-0.5 μg L), while it markedly decreased at high levels (25-100 μg L). This effect may increase the predation risk of the fish. The significant alteration on the relative expressions of the genes (cacna1c, oxtr, erk1, and c-fos), as well as the contents of the proteins (oxytocin (OXT) and protein kinase A (PKA)) involved in Voltage Dependent Calcium Channel (VDCC) and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling channel induced by METH could partly elucidate the underlying mechanisms of the changes of the behavioral traits. METH could induce obvious minimal gliosis, neuronal loss, and necrotic in brain tissues. Additionally, the significant increase of hepatic-somatic index (HSI) of male medaka at 0.2-5 μg L groups, and the decrease of female medaka at 100 μg L group indicated male fish was more susceptible to METH. Nephric-somatic index (NSI) of medaka markedly declined induced by METH at 0.05-100 μg L. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) (0.4-5.8) in medaka fish revealed the bioconcentration potential of METH in fish. This study for the first time demonstrated METH could induced the development defects of larvae in F1 generation at environmentally relevant concentrations, thereby resulting in a significant decrease in the capacity of fish to produce offspring. Meanwhile, the RQ values (>1) of METH in river in China, USA, and Australia showed a high teratogenic risk level, suggesting the ecosystem-levels consequence posed by METH should be concerned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.116164DOI Listing
October 2020

Long non‑coding RNA H19 is involved in sorafenib resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma by upregulating miR‑675.

Oncol Rep 2020 Jul 8;44(1):165-173. Epub 2020 May 8.

Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Henan Provincial People's Hospital, Zhengzhou, Henan 450003, P.R. China.

Sorafenib is the first‑line treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Since many HCC patients experience drug resistance, there is an urgent need to discover more effective therapeutic strategies to overcome drug resistance. Long non‑coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play an important role in tumor drug resistance. However, research on the role of lncRNA H19 in sorafenib resistance in HCC is quite limited. In the present study, CCK‑8 assay, RT‑qPCR, EdU staining, immunofluorescence staining, and western blot analysis were used to detect the effect of lncRNA H19 on sorafenib resistance of HCC cells. H19 expression was found to be negatively related to sorafenib sensitivity in HCC cells. Knockdown of lncRNA H19 elevated sorafenib sensitivity by suppressing epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HCC cells. H19 upregulated miR‑675 expression. miR‑675 inhibitor decreased the cell viability in sorafenib‑treated HCC cells, while miR‑675 overexpression had the opposite effect on the treated cells. When the cells were pretreated with miR‑675 mimic, H19 siRNA did not alter the effect of miR‑675 on sorafenib sensitivity. In conclusion, our study provides new clues for further clinical treatment of sorafenib‑resistant liver cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/or.2020.7608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7251775PMC
July 2020

The role of SRGN in the survival and immune infiltrates of skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM) and SKCM-metastasis patients.

BMC Cancer 2020 May 5;20(1):378. Epub 2020 May 5.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Background: Skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM) is one of most aggressive type of cancers worldwide. Serglycin (SRGN) is an intracellular proteoglycan that playing an important role in various tumors. However, its effect on immune infiltrates and whether it associates with survival of SKCM and SKCM-metastasis patients has not been explored.

Methods: We evaluated SRGN expression via the databases of Oncomine, Tumor Immune Estimation Resource (TIMER) and Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA). The influence of SRGN expression on survival of SKCM and SKCM-metastasis patients was analyzed using TIMER database. Furthermore, the correlations between SRGN expression and immune infiltrates or gene marker sets of immune infiltrates were also analyzed via TIMER database.

Results: We found that the expression of SRGN in SKCM and SKCM-metastasis tissues was significantly increased compared to the normal skin tissues (P < 0.001). Interestingly, it was showed that lower level of SRGN expression and lower immune infiltrates of B cell, CD8+ T cell, Neutrophil, and Dendritic cell were correlated with poor survival rate of SKCM and SKCM-metastasis patients (P < 0.001) but not SKCM primary patients. We also demonstrated that SRGN expression was positively associated with the immune infiltrates and diverse immune marker sets in SKCM and SKCM-metastasis.

Conclusions: Our findings indicated that SRGN was associated with the survival of SKCM and SKCM-metastasis patients. SRGN may be a new immune therapy target for treating SKCM and SKCM-metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-06849-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7201763PMC
May 2020

A revised excretion factor for estimating ketamine consumption by wastewater-based epidemiology - Utilising wastewater and seizure data.

Environ Int 2020 05 20;138:105645. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia. Electronic address:

The rate of drug excretion (excretion factor) is a critical parameter for monitoring drug consumption in the population by wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Previous studies have refined excretion factors for common illicit drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, heroin, to improve the accuracy and reduce uncertainty in back-calculating consumption. Nevertheless, for ketamine, one of the most prevalent psychoactive substances, a careful review of its excretion factors has not been performed due to limited pharmacokinetic data. Here we review WBE studies and seizure data to refine and validate the excretion factors for ketamine and norketamine. The average ketamine/norketamine ratio in wastewater (5.36) was much higher than that found in urine (0.64), which means that the excretion factors derived only from pharmacokinetics data are not appropriate. Based on the comparison of the ratio between estimated consumptions of ketamine and methamphetamine by WBE with their corresponding ratio in official seizure data, a revised WBE excretion factor of 20% was proposed for ketamine following this review and applied to estimate the ketamine consumption in China. The revised estimates of ketamine consumption corresponded well with drug statistics. This suggests that the revised ketamine excretion factor is appropriate for estimating ketamine consumption by WBE. Systematic review of WBE studies is a suitable approach to refine the excretion factors for substances with inadequate pharmacokinetic data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105645DOI Listing
May 2020

Impact of ketamine on the behavior and immune system of adult medaka (Oryzias latipes) at environmentally relevant concentrations and eco-risk assessment in surface water.

J Hazard Mater 2020 07 3;393:121577. Epub 2019 Nov 3.

Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, PR China. Electronic address:

This work for the first time investigated the bioconcentration factor (BCF), toxicity, and eco-risk of KET using adult medaka fish (Oryzias latipes) as model organism after exposure at environmental concentrations (0.05-0.5 μg L) and higher levels (5-100 μg L) for 90 days. The BCF of KET was approximately 1.07- to 10.94- folds. The behavioral functions, including swimming properties, feeding rate, and food preference, were significantly impacted by KET (≥0.05 μg L). After 90-days exposure, KET induced histological abnormalities in liver and kidney tissue at 0.1 and 0.2 μg L, respectively. Additionally, the condition factor, hepatic-somatic index (HSI), and nephric-somatic index (NSI) of medaka were markedly impacted by KET treatment at 0.5, 0.5, and 0.1 μg L, respectively. Morphological inflammation (i.e., haemorrhage and erosion) in the fish body was observed exposed to KET, and the EC value was 0.407 μg L. Alterations in the expressions of genes (i.e., cacna1c, oxtr, erk1, and c-fos) and proteins (i.e., OXT and PKA), involved in in calcium ion channels induced by KET, could partly elucidate the underlying mechanism of the toxicity. The inflammatory risk to fish posed by KET in some rivers in southern China was at high level, suggesting the long-term concentration monitoring was required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2019.121577DOI Listing
July 2020

Environmental behavior of methamphetamine and ketamine in aquatic ecosystem: Degradation, bioaccumulation, distribution, and associated shift in toxicity and bacterial community.

Water Res 2020 May 4;174:115585. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, PR China. Electronic address:

Ketamine (KET) and methamphetamine (METH) have been recognized as emerging contaminants in aquatic ecosystems. This paper aimed to investigate the environmental behaviour, including the degradation, distribution, and bioaccumulation, of METH, KET, and their main metabolites (amphetamine (AMP) and norketamine (NorKET)). The changes in acute toxicity in the aqueous phase and in the bacterial community in sediment were determined to assess the associated eco-risk of the drug exposure. Five types of lab-scale aquatic ecosystems were established and exposed to KET or METH for 40 days: a water- sediment- organisms- KET system (K), a water- sediment- organisms- METH system (M), a water- sediment- organism- METH- KET system (M + K), a water-sediment- KET- METH system (control), and a water- sediment- organisms system (biocontrol). The results demonstrated that much faster degradation occurred for both METH (t = 3.89 and 2.37 days in the M and M + K group, respectively) and KET(t = 5.69 days 5.39 days in the K group and M + K group, respectively) than in the control group (t = 7.83 and 86.71days for METH and KET, respectively). Rapid adsorption of KET, METH, and their metabolites was observed in the sediment, which had clay and silt as the main particle sizes. KET was observed to be absorbed by shallow-water fish (Chinese medaka, rosy bitterling and mosquito fish), while METH was dominantly ingested by bottom-dwellers (loach). Duckweed might play a crucial role in the dissipation process of METH and KET, which were mainly adsorbed by duckweed roots. During incubation, the acute toxic levels in the K and M + K groups changed from non-toxic to medium toxicity levels, and the toxicity in the M and control groups changed from non-toxic to low toxicity levels. Moreover, marked changes in the bacterial community in the sediment induced by METH or KET exposure were observed, and the most significant change in the bacterial community was observed in the group spiked with both METH and KET. This work for the first time elucidated the environmental behaviors of METH and KET in aquatic ecosystem and associated the impact on ecological system equilibrium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.115585DOI Listing
May 2020

Monitoring Consumption of Common Illicit Drugs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by Wastewater-Cased Epidemiology.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 01 31;17(3). Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4102, Queensland, Australia.

Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia play a major role in global drug trade and abuse. Use of amphetamine-type stimulants has increased in the past decade in Malaysia. This study aimed to apply wastewater-based epidemiology for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to estimate the consumption of common illicit drugs in urban population. Influent wastewater samples were collected from two wastewater treatment plants in Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 2017. Concentrations of twenty-four drug biomarkers were analyzed for estimating drug consumption. Fourteen drug residues were detected with concentrations of up to 1640 ng/L. Among the monitored illicit drugs, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) or ecstasy had the highest estimated per capita consumptions. Consumption and dose of amphetamine-type stimulants (methamphetamine and MDMA) were both an order of magnitude higher than those of opioids (heroin and codeine, methadone and tramadol). Amphetamine-type stimulants were the most prevalent drugs, replacing opioids in the drug market. The prevalence trend measured by wastewater-based epidemiology data reflected the shift to amphetamine-type stimulants as reported by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Narcotics Cooperation Center. Most of the undetected drug residues were new psychoactive substances (NPSs), suggesting a low prevalence of NPSs in the drug market.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030889DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7036889PMC
January 2020

Using wastewater-based epidemiology to estimate consumption of alcohol and nicotine in major cities of China in 2014 and 2016.

Environ Int 2020 03 27;136:105492. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, 20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia.

Monitoring the use of alcohol and tobacco in the population is important for public health planning and evaluating the efficacy of intervention strategies. The aim of this study was to use wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) to estimate alcohol and tobacco consumption in a number of major cities across China and compare WBE estimates with other data sources. Daily composite influent wastewater samples were collected from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across China in 2014 (n = 53) and 2016 (n = 45). The population-normalized daily consumption estimated by WBE were compared with other data sources where available. The average consumption of alcohol was 8.1 ± 7.0 mL ethanol/person aged 15+/day (EPD) in the investigated cities of 2016 while those involved in 2014 had an average consumption of 4.7 ± 3.0 EPD. The average tobacco consumption was estimated to be 3.7 ± 2.2 cigarettes/person aged 15+/day (CPD) in 2016 and 3.1 ± 1.9 CPD in 2014. The changes in the average consumption in those cities from 2014 to 2016 were supported by the results from a limited number of WWTPs where samples were collected in both years. Consumption of alcohol and tobacco in urban China is at a medium level compared with other countries on a per capita basis. WBE estimates of tobacco consumption were relatively comparable with results of traditional surveys and sales statistics. WBE estimates of alcohol consumption were lower than WHO survey results, probably due to EtS degradation and uncertainty in the EtS excretion factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105492DOI Listing
March 2020

Cutaneous fusariosis caused by Fusarium lichenicola in a child with hyper-immunoglobulin E syndrome.

J Dermatol 2020 Feb 12;47(2):181-184. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Fusariosis is the second most common mold infection after aspergillosis, and keratomycosis is the most encountered implantation infection. Here, we report a case of a 4-year-old Han Chinese girl presenting with an itchy mass on her right face of almost 2 years' duration. Direct smear of the lesion sample was positive for fungal hyphae. Biopsy of the lesion showed many fungal hyphae in the epidermis and dermis. The pathogen was identified as Fusarium lichenicola by molecular sequencing and phylogenetic analysis based on the TEF-1α gene. Whole-exome sequencing analysis using her peripheral blood revealed a heterozygous mutation in the STAT3 gene, which is related to autosomal dominant hyper-immunoglobulin E syndrome (AD-HIES). The lesion improved following treatment with i.v. and intralesional amphotericin B, oral voriconazole and topical luliconazole cream. To our knowledge, this is the second reported case of a special localized cutaneous lesion caused by Fusarium species in a child with AD-HIES. Both cases suggest that STAT3 deficiency may increase susceptibility to fusariosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1346-8138.15168DOI Listing
February 2020

Nanomaterial-based aptamer sensors for arsenic detection.

Biosens Bioelectron 2020 Jan 15;148:111785. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Cranfield MK43 0AL, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Arsenic (As) is a highly toxic contaminant in the environment and a serious carcinogen for the human being. The toxicity of arsenic significantly threatens environmental and human health. The effective removing technology for arsenic remains challenging, and one of the reasons is due to the lack of powerful detection method in the complex environmental matrix. There is thus an urgent need to develop novel analytical methods for arsenic, preferably with the potential for the field-testing. To combat arsenic pollution and maintain a healthy environment and eco-system, many analytical methods have been developed for arsenic detection in various samples. Among these strategies, biosensors hold great promise for rapid detection of arsenic, in particular, nanomaterials-based aptamer sensors have attracted significant attention due to their simplicity, high sensitivity and rapidness. In this paper, we reviewed the recent development and applications of aptamer sensors (aptasensors) based-on nanomaterial for arsenic detection, in particular with emphasis on the works using optical and electrochemical technologies. We also discussed the recent novel technology in aptasensors development for arsenic detection, including nucleic acid amplification for signal enhancement and device integration for the portability of arsenic sensors. We are hoping this review could inspire further researches in developing novel nanotechnologies based aptasensors for possible on-site detection of arsenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2019.111785DOI Listing
January 2020

Monitoring consumption of methadone and heroin in major Chinese cities by wastewater-based epidemiology.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2019 12 22;205:107532. Epub 2019 Oct 22.

Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China. Electronic address:

Background: Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) services have been used in China for treatment of heroin dependence. But no study has been conducted to assess the appropriateness of MMT distribution and the potential abuse of methadone in China. This study aims to do that through a nationwide estimation of methadone consumption in China via wastewater-based epidemiology and subsequently compare it with MMT data and level of heroin abuse.

Methods: Wastewater samples were collected from 53 wastewater treatment plants in 27 major cities that cover all geographic regions of China. Methadone and pure heroin consumptions were estimated based on influent concentrations of methadone, 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP), morphine and codeine.

Results: Drug residues were detected in most samples. The ratio of EDDP/methadone was around 2 in influents and methadone and EDDP loads were strongly correlated, indicating that they originated from human consumption. Both influent methadone and EDDP loads in Southwest and Northwest China were significantly higher than those in other regions. The highest estimated consumptions of methadone and heroin in China were 22.0 ± 2.1 mg/1000 in./d and 263.9 ± 115.9 mg/1000 in./d, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between methadone and heroin consumptions.

Conclusions: Consumption of methadone in China was primarily from MMT services. The use of methadone and heroin displayed a clear geographical pattern: it is higher in the western inland regions than in the eastern regions. This study has shown that the distribution of MMT services is reflective of the level of heroin abuse in different regions of China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.06.034DOI Listing
December 2019

Targeting pyrimidine synthesis accentuates molecular therapy response in glioblastoma stem cells.

Sci Transl Med 2019 08;11(504)

Division of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) reprogram glucose metabolism by hijacking high-affinity glucose uptake to survive in a nutritionally dynamic microenvironment. Here, we trace metabolic aberrations in GSCs to link core genetic mutations in glioblastoma to dependency on de novo pyrimidine synthesis. Targeting the pyrimidine synthetic rate-limiting step enzyme carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 2, aspartate transcarbamylase, dihydroorotase (CAD) or the critical downstream enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) inhibited GSC survival, self-renewal, and in vivo tumor initiation through the depletion of the pyrimidine nucleotide supply in rodent models. Mutations in EGFR or PTEN generated distinct CAD phosphorylation patterns to activate carbon influx through pyrimidine synthesis. Simultaneous abrogation of tumor-specific driver mutations and DHODH activity with clinically approved inhibitors demonstrated sustained inhibition of metabolic activity of pyrimidine synthesis and GSC tumorigenic capacity in vitro. Higher expression of pyrimidine synthesis genes portends poor prognosis of patients with glioblastoma. Collectively, our results demonstrate a therapeutic approach of precision medicine through targeting the nexus between driver mutations and metabolic reprogramming in cancer stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aau4972DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7568232PMC
August 2019

Specific inhibition of PI3Kδ/γ enhances the efficacy of anti-PD1 against osteosarcoma cancer.

J Bone Oncol 2019 Jun 7;16:100206. Epub 2018 Nov 7.

Department of Orthopaedics, Henan Provincial People's Hospital, Zhengzhou 450003, P.R. China.

Impressive responses have been observed in patients with cancer treated with checkpoint inhibitory anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) or anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) antibodies through disinhibiting the immune system. However, tumors possess complex immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment to present therapeutic obstacles and the response rates to immune checkpoint inhibition remain low. One significant barrier to the efficacy of anti-PD1 treatment is the recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) into the tumor. MDSCs dramatically increased in peripheral blood of patients with osteosarcoma and prohibited both T-cell activation and infiltration. Here we demonstrated functional inhibition of G-MDSCs with ()-(-)-N-[2-(3-Hydroxy-1H-indol-3-yl)-methyl]-acetamide (SNA), a specific inhibitor of PI3Kδ/γ, could prime tumor microenvironment, resultantly enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of anti-PD1 treatment in a syngeneic osteosarcoma tumor model. Combining SNA with anti-PD1 dramatically slowed osteosarcoma tumor growth and prolonged survival time of tumor-bearing mice, at least in part mediated through CD8 T cells. Our results demonstrated that addition of SNA to anti-PD1 significantly altered infiltration and function of innate immune cells, providing the rationale for combination therapy in patients with osteosarcoma through inhibiting the function of MDSCs with a selective PI3Kδ/γ inhibitor to enhance responses to immune checkpoint blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbo.2018.11.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6617297PMC
June 2019

Tumor Compactness based on CT to predict prognosis after multimodal treatment for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.

Sci Rep 2019 07 19;9(1):10497. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Department of Radiation Oncology, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100021, China.

We aimed to establish a risk model using computed tomography-based compactness to predict overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) after multimodal treatment for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). We extracted pre-treatment computed tomography-based tumor data (volume, surface area, and compactness) for 512 cases of ESCC that were treated at 3 centers. A risk model based on compactness was trained using Cox regression analyses of data from 83 cases, and then the model was validated using two independent cohorts (98 patients and 283 patients). The largest cohort (283 patients) was then evaluated using the risk model to predict response to radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. In the three datasets, the pre-treatment compactness risk model provided good accuracy for predicting OS (P = 0.012, P = 0.022, and P = 0.003) and PFS (P < 0.001, P = 0.003, and P = 0.005). Patients in the low-risk group did not experience a significant OS benefit from concurrent chemoradiotherapy (P = 0.099). Furthermore, after preoperative concurrent chemoradiotherapy, the OS outcomes were similar among patients in the low-risk group who did and did not achieve a pathological complete response (P = 0.127). Tumor compactness was correlated with clinical T stage but was more accurate for predicting prognosis after treatment for ESCC, based on higher C-index values in all three datasets. The compactness-based risk model was effective for predicting OS and PFS after multimodal treatment for ESCC. Therefore, it may be useful for guiding personalized treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46899-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642095PMC
July 2019

Methylcitrate cycle gene MCD is essential for the virulence of Talaromyces marneffei.

Med Mycol 2020 Apr;58(3):351-361

Department of Dermatology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Talaromyces marneffei (T. marneffei), which used to be known as Penicillium marneffei, is the causative agent of the fatal systemic mycosis known as talaromycosis. For the purpose of understanding the role of methylcitrate cycle in the virulence of T. marneffei, we generated MCD deletion (ΔMCD) and complementation (ΔMCD+) mutants of T. marneffei. Growth in different carbon sources showed that ΔMCD cannot grow on propionate media and grew slowly on the valerate, valine, methionine, isoleucine, cholesterol, and YNB (carbon free) media. The macrophage killing assay showed that ΔMCD was attenuated in macrophages of mice in vitro, especially at the presence of propionate. Finally, virulence studies in a murine infection experiment revealed attenuated virulence of the ΔMCD, which indicates MCD is essential for T. marneffei virulence in the host. This experiment laid the foundation for the further study of the specific mechanisms underlying the methylcitrate cycle of T. marneffei and may provide suitable targets for new antifungals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mmy/myz063DOI Listing
April 2020

Rapid duplexed detection of illicit drugs in wastewater using gold nanoparticle conjugated aptamer sensors.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Oct 22;688:771-779. Epub 2019 Jun 22.

School of Water, Environment and Energy, Cranfield University, Cranfield MK43 0AL, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

The abuse of illicit drug addiction is a worldwide public health and social problem. In this paper, we reported on a simple and rapid colorimetric biosensor for duplexed detection of methamphetamine (METH) and cocaine in a single assay. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and [email protected] NPs were synthesized and functionalized with DNA reporter probes (RPs) for METH and cocaine, respectively. The magnetic beads (MBs) were conjugated with two capture probes (CPs) respective to METH and cocaine. The respective RPs and CPs were designed to hybridize with each illicit drug-binding DNA aptamers through DNA-DNA hybridization, forming a sandwich structure. This MBs-based sandwich structure could be removed with an external magnetic field. However, due to the higher affinity of DNA aptamers with illicit drugs, the sandwich structure was disassembled when illicit drugs are introduced into the solution, leading to the colour changes of the supernatant. Utilizing a non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) algorithm to process the data, we demonstrated the ability of our biosensor for the simultaneous quantification of two illicit drugs. Under the optimal condition, our sensors were able to detect both METH and cocaine at the nM level with a wide dynamic range. This sensing platform provides a huge potential on drug consumption evaluation at the community level for wastewater-based epidemiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.325DOI Listing
October 2019

Primary tumor regression patterns in esophageal squamous cell cancer treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy and implications for surveillance schemes.

Cancer Manag Res 2019 17;11:3361-3369. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Fujian Cancer Hospital & Fujian Medical University Cancer Hospital, Fuzhou, Fujian, China.

The primary tumor regression patterns of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT) were investigated to determine an optimal surveillance scheme. The clinical data and radiology images of patients before CRT, at completion of CRT and every 1-3 months for the subsequent 12 months or until disease progression were retrospectively reviewed to define the patterns of primary tumor regression after CRT. Survival rates were analyzed statistically in order to determine an optimal surveillance scheme. A total of 82 patients were enrolled in the present study for analysis. At the first surveillance visit date at the end of CRT, a total of 21 patients achieved complete response (early-CR), 29 patients reached incomplete response (IR), 25 patients maintained stable disease (SD) and 7 patients encountered progression of disease (PD). During subsequent surveillance, a total of 14 IR patients regressed continuously to CR (later-CR), 15 patients maintained IR (early-IR) and 9 SD patients gradually regressed to IR (later-IR). At full tumor regression (FTR), a total of 21, 14, 15, 9, 16 and 7 patients were defined as early-CR, later-CR, early-IR, later-IR, SD and PD, respectively. The median FTR time for later-CR and later-IR was 7.5 and 7 weeks, respectively. The 3-year overall survival rate of the early-CR group was 85.7% (<0.001), which was higher compared with the later-CR (16.7%), early-IR (20%), later-IR (11.1%), SD (6.3%) and PD (0%) groups. The early-CR following CRT is a robust prognostic predictor in patients with ESCC. To optimize the determination of tumor regression, ≥7 weeks after CRT is an optimal initial surveillance visit date. The surveillance of non-CR patients should concentrate on symptoms, nutrition and psychosocial support, rather than screening for recurrence of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S198524DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489665PMC
April 2019

Proposed revision of the 8th edition AJCC clinical staging system for esophageal squamous cell cancer treated with definitive chemo-IMRT based on CT imaging.

Radiat Oncol 2019 Mar 28;14(1):54. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Fujian Provincial Platform for Medical Laboratory Research of First Affiliated Hospital, Fuzhou, Fujian, People's Republic of China.

Purpose: To validate and propose revision of the 8th edition American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) clinical staging system for esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) patients treated with definitive intensity-modulated radiation therapy combined with concurrent chemotherapy (Chemo-IMRT) based on computed tomography (CT) imaging.

Methods: The clinical data of patients with ESCC treated with Chemo-IMRT were collected and retrospectively reviewed. All CT images were independently reevaluated and restaged according to the 8th edition AJCC staging system. The overall survival (OS) rates were analyzed statistically. ROC curves of the various parameters of the primary tumor and metastatic lymph nodes were generated in order to identify the cutoff values correlated to patient survival using the area under curve.

Results: The gross tumor volume of the primary tumor (GTV-prT) and the clinical N stage (cN) were independent factors that influenced OS. The 5-year OS rate of patients with GTV-prT ≤28 cm, GTV-prT > 28 and ≤ 56 cm, and GTV-prT > 56 cm were 54.6, 31.1 and 18.6%, respectively. The 5-year OS rate of patients with cN0, cN1 SLNM (-), cN2 SLNM (-), cN3 SLNM (-) and SLNM (+) were 62.8 (P < 0.001), 34.0 (P = 0.16), 20.0 (P = 0.785), 0 (P < 0.001) and 26.9%, respectively. After restaging the SLNM as regional MLNs, the 5-year OS rates of the patients with cN0, 1, 2 and 3 were 62.8, 36.3, 23.7 and 7.8%, respectively. Various GTV-prT were combined with the cN to establish a new clinical TNM staging system: I, GTV-prT1 and cN0; II, GTV-prT2 or 3 and cN0, GTV-prT1 and cN1; III, GTV-prT1 and cN2, GTV-prT2 and cN1,2; Iva, GTV-prT3 and cN1,2; IVb, GTV-prT and cN3; IVc, TNM1. Subsequently, the OS differed significantly between the adjacent GTV-prT cN categories, except those of stage I vs. II.

Conclusion: The SLNM should be dealt with as a regional rather than a distant disease in patients with ESCC when treated with CRT. The proposed nonsurgical staging system based on the GTV-prT and N appears to be a simple and accurate prognosis predictor for patients with ESCC who have undergone definitive Chemo-IMRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13014-019-1258-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6437982PMC
March 2019

Long Noncoding RNA FAM201A Mediates the Radiosensitivity of Esophageal Squamous Cell Cancer by Regulating ATM and mTOR Expression via miR-101.

Front Genet 2018 5;9:611. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Fujian Cancer Hospital & Fujian Medical University Cancer Hospital, Fuzhou, China.

The aim of the present study was to identify the potential long non-coding (lnc.)-RNA and its associated molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the radiosensitivity of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC) in order to assess whether it could be a biomarker for the prediction of the response to radiotherapy and prognosis in patients with ESCC. Microarrays and bioinformatics analysis were utilized to screen the potential lncRNAs associated with radiosensitivity in radiosensitive ( = 3) and radioresistant ( = 3) ESCC tumor tissues. Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was performed in 35 ESCC tumor tissues (20 radiosensitive and 15 radioresistant tissues, respectively) to validate the lncRNA that contributed the most to the radiosensitivity of ESCC (named the candidate lncRNA). MTT, flow cytometry, and western blot assays were conducted to assess the effect of the candidate lncRNA on radiosensitivity in ECA109/ECA109R ESCC cells. A mouse xenograft model was established to confirm the function of the candidate lncRNA in the radiosensitivity of ESCC . The putative downstream target genes regulated by the candidate lncRNA were predicted using Starbase 2.0 software and the TargetScan database. The interactions between the candidate lncRNA and the putative downstream target genes were examined by Luciferase reporter assay, and were confirmed by PCR. A total of 113 aberrantly expressed lncRNAs were identified by microarray analysis, of which family with sequence similarity 201-member A (FAM201A) was identified as the lncRNA that contributed the most to the radiosensitivity of ESCC. FAM201A was upregulated in radioresistant ESCC tumor tissues and had a poorer short-term response to radiotherapy resulting in inferior overall survival. FAM201A knockdown enhanced the radiosensitivity of ECA109/ECA109R cells by upregulating ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) expression via the negative regulation of miR-101 expression. The mouse xenograft model demonstrated that FAM201A knockdown improved the radiosensitivity of ESCC. The lncRNA FAM201A, which mediated the radiosensitivity of ESCC by regulating ATM and mTOR expression via miR-101 in the present study, may be a potential biomarker for predicting radiosensitivity and patient prognosis, and may be a therapeutic target for enhancing cancer radiosensitivity in ESCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2018.00611DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6292217PMC
December 2018

Impacts of methamphetamine and ketamine on C.elegans's physiological functions at environmentally relevant concentrations and eco-risk assessment in surface waters.

J Hazard Mater 2019 02 22;363:268-276. Epub 2018 Sep 22.

Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China. Electronic address:

In this work, C. elegans as a model organism was treated with methamphetamine (METH) and ketamine (KET) to assess its eco-toxicity at a range (0.05-250 μg L) that covers environmentally relevant concentrations (0.05-0.5 μg L). METH (≥0.05 μg L) and KET (≥0.5 μg L) significantly affected the feeding rate, locomotion, gustation and olfaction (P < 0.05), which may result in pronounced disturbance to aquatic ecology. Alterations in the contents of neurotransmitters (i.e., octopamine (OA), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-HT)) correlated with the physiology change. The metabolic activities and the antioxidase activity (i.e., superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT)) of METH and KET in C. elegans were different, which could partly explain the difference of the physiological changes induced by the two substances. Moreover, these two drugs could induce vulva deformity, and the 50% effect concentrations were 620.34 μg L for METH and 54.39 μg L for KET, respectively. The risk quotients (RQ) in two Chinese rivers, the Shenzhen and Liangshui River, were calculated to assess eco-risks of METH and KET. RQs of KET in the Shenzhen River were over 0.1 at the medium risk level, indicating that eco-risks of illicit drugs to aquatic organism cannot be overlooked.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.09.020DOI Listing
February 2019

Estimating population exposure to phthalate esters in major Chinese cities through wastewater-based epidemiology.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Dec 4;643:1602-1609. Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, PR China. Electronic address:

Phthalate esters (PAEs) are widely used in consumer and industrial products and may thus pose significant health risks. Urine analysis, which has usually been applied to assess the health risks of PAEs, has the drawback of small sample sizes and insufficient representativeness. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) collects wastewater samples containing urine from the entire community and thus is more representative than urine samples. In this work, exposure levels and health risks of PAEs were estimated on a national scale for the first time through the WBE approach. Wastewater samples were collected from 54 wastewater treatment plants in 27 major cities that cover all of the geographic regions of China. The estimated ∑5PAEs exposure levels ranged from 290 μg/inh/d (Lhasa) to 3642 ± 467 μg/inh/d (Zhengzhou) with a mean level of 2184 ± 1173 μg/inh/d. Di-n-butyl phthalate accounted for the highest proportion (65%) in the total exposure level. The ∑5PAEs exposure levels in Southwest China were significantly lower than those in other regions due to the low production and consumption of plastics in the region. The health risks of PAEs were assessed by comparing the estimated daily exposure levels to the acceptable daily exposure levels. For adults, the hazard index that represents cumulative risk of PAEs was above or below 1 depending on a particular reference dose (total daily intake values or the reference dose for anti-androgenicity) that was used for risk calculation. In contrast, the hazard index was above 1 for a significant number of cities for children, regardless of which reference dose was used. The results indicate that health risks of PAE exposure in China cannot be overlooked. Children in China are under considerably greater risks than adults, which warrants further research or proper regulation of PAE use in China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.325DOI Listing
December 2018

A novel biosensor based on [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles for sensitive detection of methylamphetamine with surface enhanced Raman scattering.

Talanta 2018 Dec 25;190:263-268. Epub 2018 Jul 25.

School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow G12 8LT, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

We describe a novel biosensing strategy for sensitive detection of methylamphetamine (MAMP) based on surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) by the mediation of spacing between 4-mercaptobenzoic acid (4-MBA) labeled [email protected] core-shell nanoparticles ([email protected]). To achieve a favorable SERS substrate, [email protected] shell-core nanoparticle was synthesized with seeds growth method and well characterized by SEM, TEM and UV-vis spectrometer. The uniform [email protected] shows an excellent dispersion ability for SERS detection. Under the optimized conditions, the novel biosensor shows a good logarithm linear correlation with the concentration of MAMP ranging from 0.5 ppb to 40 ppb (R = 0.986), with a limit of detection at 0.16 ppb of MAMP (3σ). Furthermore, our biosensors hold an excellent selectivity, demonstrated by the negligible interference from the detection of other illicit drugs and metabolites. The concentrations determined with our biosensor from spiked MAMP in human urine sample fell within the same range with the results from mass spectrometry. This indicates that our sensor has a clear potential for the rapid detection of illicit drug in real samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2018.07.071DOI Listing
December 2018