Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

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Single-cell RNA-seq data analysis on the receptor ACE2 expression reveals the potential risk of different human organs vulnerable to 2019-nCoV infection
Xin Zou, Ke Chen, Jiawei Zou, Peiyi Han, Jie Hao, Zeguang Han
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 185-192.
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It has been known that, the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, which is considered similar to SARS-CoV, invades human cells via the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2). Moreover, lung cells that have ACE2 expression may be the main target cells during 2019-nCoV infection. However, some patients also exhibit non-respiratory symptoms, such as kidney failure, implying that 2019-nCoV could also invade other organs. To construct a risk map of different human organs, we analyzed the single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) datasets derived from major human physiological systems, including the respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and urinary systems. Through scRNA-seq data analyses, we identified the organs at risk, such as lung, heart, esophagus, kidney, bladder, and ileum, and located specific cell types (i.e., type II alveolar cells (AT2), myocardial cells, proximal tubule cells of the kidney, ileum and esophagus epithelial cells, and bladder urothelial cells), which are vulnerable to 2019-nCoV infection. Based on the findings, we constructed a risk map indicating the vulnerability of different organs to 2019-nCoV infection. This study may provide potential clues for further investigation of the pathogenesis and route of 2019-nCoV infection.

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Cited: Crossref(183) WebOfScience(128)
Back to the spring of 2020: facts and hope of COVID-19 outbreak
Guangbiao Zhou, Saijuan Chen, Zhu Chen
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 113-116.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a clinical update
Min Zhou, Xinxin Zhang, Jieming Qu
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 126-135.
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has posed a significant threat to global health. It caused a total of 80 868 confirmed cases and 3101 deaths in Chinese mainland until March 8, 2020. This novel virus spread mainly through respiratory droplets and close contact. As disease progressed, a series of complications tend to develop, especially in critically ill patients. Pathological findings showed representative features of acute respiratory distress syndrome and involvement of multiple organs. Apart from supportive care, no specific treatment has been established for COVID-19. The efficacy of some promising antivirals, convalescent plasma transfusion, and tocilizumab needs to be investigated by ongoing clinical trials.

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Cited: Crossref(32) WebOfScience(20)
The FGF metabolic axis
Xiaokun Li
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 511-530.
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Members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family play pleiotropic roles in cellular and metabolic homeostasis. During evolution, the ancestor FGF expands into multiple members by acquiring divergent structural elements that enable functional divergence and specification. Heparan sulfate-binding FGFs, which play critical roles in embryonic development and adult tissue remodeling homeostasis, adapt to an autocrine/paracrine mode of action to promote cell proliferation and population growth. By contrast, FGF19, 21, and 23 coevolve through losing binding affinity for extracellular matrix heparan sulfate while acquiring affinity for transmembrane α-Klotho (KL) or β-KL as a coreceptor, thereby adapting to an endocrine mode of action to drive interorgan crosstalk that regulates a broad spectrum of metabolic homeostasis. FGF19 metabolic axis from the ileum to liver negatively controls diurnal bile acid biosynthesis. FGF21 metabolic axes play multifaceted roles in controlling the homeostasis of lipid, glucose, and energy metabolism. FGF23 axes from the bone to kidney and parathyroid regulate metabolic homeostasis of phosphate, calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone that are important for bone health and systemic mineral balance. The significant divergence in structural elements and multiple functional specifications of FGF19, 21, and 23 in cellular and organismal metabolism instead of cell proliferation and growth sufficiently necessitate a new unified and specific term for these three endocrine FGFs. Thus, the term “FGF Metabolic Axis,” which distinguishes the unique pathways and functions of endocrine FGFs from other autocrine/paracrine mitogenic FGFs, is coined.

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2019 novel coronavirus outbreak: a quiz or final exam?
Jiuyang Xu, Yijun Chen, Hao Chen, Bin Cao
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 225-228.
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The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an emerging pathogen and is threatening the global health. Strikingly, more than 28 000 cases and 550 deaths have been reported within two months from disease emergence. Armed with experience from previous epidemics in the last two decades, clinicians, scientists, officials, and citizens in China are all contributing to the prevention of further 2019-nCoV transmission. Efficient preliminary work has enabled us to understand the basic characteristics of 2019-nCoV, but there are still many unanswered questions. It is too early now to judge our performance in this outbreak. Continuous and strengthened efforts should be made not only during the epidemic, but also afterwards in order to prepare for any incoming challenges.

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Classification and treatment of orbital venous malformations: an updated review
Tianyuan Li, Renbing Jia, Xianqun Fan
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 547-555.
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Orbital venous malformation (OVM) is a congenital vascular disease. As a common type of vascular malformation in the orbit, OVM may result in vision deterioration and cosmetic defect. Classification of orbital vascular malformations, especially OVMs, is carried out on the basis of different categories, such as angiogenesis, hemodynamics, and locations. Management of OVM is complicated and challenging. Treatment approaches include sclerotherapy, laser therapy, embolization, surgical resection, and radiotherapy. A satisfactory outcome can be achieved only by selecting the appropriate treatment according to lesion characteristics and following the sequential multi-method treatment strategy. This article summarizes the current classification and treatment advances in OVM.

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COVID-19 containment: China provides important lessons for global response
Shuxian Zhang, Zezhou Wang, Ruijie Chang, Huwen Wang, Chen Xu, Xiaoyue Yu, Lhakpa Tsamlag, Yinqiao Dong, Hui Wang, Yong Cai
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 215-219.
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The world must act fast to contain wider international spread of the epidemic of COVID-19 now. The unprecedented public health efforts in China have contained the spread of this new virus. Measures taken in China are currently proven to reduce human-to-human transmission successfully. We summarized the effective intervention and prevention measures in the fields of public health response, clinical management, and research development in China, which may provide vital lessons for the global response. It is really important to take collaborative actions now to save more lives from the pandemic of COVID-19.

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Combination of western medicine and Chinese traditional patent medicine in treating a family case of COVID-19
Li Ni, Ling Zhou, Min Zhou, Jianping Zhao, Dao Wen Wang
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 210-214.
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In December 2019, an outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. By February 14, 2020, it has led to 66 492 confirmed patients in China and high mortality up to ~2.96% (1123/37 914) in Wuhan. Here we report the first family case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) confirmed in Wuhan and treated using the combination of western medicine and Chinese traditional patent medicine Shuanghuanglian oral liquid (SHL). This report describes the identification, diagnosis, clinical course, and management of three cases from a family, suggests the expected therapeutic effects of SHL on COVID-19, and warrants further clinical trials.

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Tprn is essential for the integrity of stereociliary rootlet in cochlear hair cells in mice
Yuqin Men, Xiujuan Li, Hailong Tu, Aizhen Zhang, Xiaolong Fu, Zhishuo Wang, Yecheng Jin, Congzhe Hou, Tingting Zhang, Sen Zhang, Yichen Zhou, Boqin Li, Jianfeng Li, Xiaoyang Sun, Haibo Wang, Jiangang Gao
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (6): 690-704.
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Tprn encodes the taperin protein, which is concentrated in the tapered region of hair cell stereocilia in the inner ear. In humans, TPRN mutations cause autosomal recessive nonsyndromic deafness (DFNB79) by an unknown mechanism. To determine the role of Tprn in hearing, we generated Tprn-null mice by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat/Cas9 genome-editing technology from a CBA/CaJ background. We observed significant hearing loss and progressive degeneration of stereocilia in the outer hair cells of Tprn-null mice starting from postnatal day 30. Transmission electron microscopy images of stereociliary bundles in the mutant mice showed some stereociliary rootlets with curved shafts. The central cores of the stereociliary rootlets possessed hollow structures with surrounding loose peripheral dense rings. Radixin, a protein expressed at stereocilia tapering, was abnormally dispersed along the stereocilia shafts in Tprn-null mice. The expression levels of radixin and β-actin significantly decreased. We propose that Tprn is critical to the retention of the integrity of the stereociliary rootlet. Loss of Tprn in Tprn-null mice caused the disruption of the stereociliary rootlet, which resulted in damage to stereociliary bundles and hearing impairments. The generated Tprn-null mice are ideal models of human hereditary deafness DFNB79.

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Glycosylation of dentin matrix protein 1 is critical for fracture healing via promoting chondrogenesis
Hui Xue, Dike Tao, Yuteng Weng, Qiqi Fan, Shuang Zhou, Ruilin Zhang, Han Zhang, Rui Yue, Xiaogang Wang, Zuolin Wang, Yao Sun
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 575-589.
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Fractures are frequently occurring diseases that endanger human health. Crucial to fracture healing is cartilage formation, which provides a bone-regeneration environment. Cartilage consists of both chondrocytes and extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM of cartilage includes collagens and various types of proteoglycans (PGs), which play important roles in maintaining primary stability in fracture healing. The PG form of dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1-PG) is involved in maintaining the health of articular cartilage and bone. Our previous data have shown that DMP1-PG is richly expressed in the cartilaginous calluses of fracture sites. However, the possible significant role of DMP1-PG in chondrogenesis and fracture healing is unknown. To further detect the potential role of DMP1-PG in fracture repair, we established a mouse fracture model by using a glycosylation site mutant DMP1 mouse (S89G-DMP1 mouse). Upon inspection, fewer cartilaginous calluses and down-regulated expression levels of chondrogenesis genes were observed in the fracture sites of S89G-DMP1 mice. Given the deficiency of DMP1-PG, the impaired IL-6/JAK/STAT signaling pathway was observed to affect the chondrogenesis of fracture healing. Overall, these results suggest that DMP1-PG is an indispensable proteoglycan in chondrogenesis during fracture healing.

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ECRG4: a new potential target in precision medicine
Xin Qin, Ping Zhang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 540-546.
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Given the rapid development in precision medicine, tremendous efforts have been devoted to discovering new biomarkers for disease diagnosis and treatment. Esophageal cancer-related gene-4 (ECRG4), which is initially known as a new candidate tumor suppressor gene, is emerging as a sentinel molecule for gauging tissue homeostasis. ECRG4 is unique in its cytokine-like functional pattern and epigenetically-regulated gene expression pattern. The gene can be released from the cell membrane upon activation and detected in liquid biopsy, thus offering considerable potential in precision medicine. This review provides an updated summary on the biology of ECRG4, with emphasis on its important roles in cancer diagnosis and therapy. The future perspectives of ECRG4 as a potential molecular marker in precision medicine are also discussed in detail.

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Comparative analysis of membranous and other nephropathy subtypes and establishment of a diagnostic model
Hanyu Zhu, Bo Fu, Yong Wang, Jing Gao, Qiuxia Han, Wenjia Geng, Xiaoli Yang, Guangyan Cai, Xiangmei Chen, Dong Zhang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 618-625.
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This study aimed to compare clinical features between membranous nephropathy (MN) and nonmembranous nephropathy (non-MN), to explore the clinically differential diagnosis of these two types, and to establish a diagnostic model of MN. After renal biopsy was obtained, 798 patients were divided into two groups based on their examination results: primary MN group (n = 248) and non-MN group (n = 550). Their data were statistically analyzed. Logistic regression analysis indicated that anti-PLA2R antibodies, IgG, and Cr were independently correlated with MN, and these three parameters were then used to establish the MN diagnostic model. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve confirmed that our diagnostic model could distinguish between patients with and without MN, and their corresponding sensitivity, specificity, and AUC were 79.9%, 89.4%, and 0.917, respectively. The cutoff value for this combination in MN diagnosis was 0.34. The established diagnostic model that combined multiple factors shows a potential for broad clinical applications in differentiating primary MN from other kidney diseases and provides reliable evidence supporting the feasibility of noninvasive diagnosis of kidney diseases.

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Identification of an E3 ligase-encoding gene RFWD3 in non-small cell lung cancer
Yanfei Zhang, Xinchun Zhao, Yongchun Zhou, Min Wang, Guangbiao Zhou
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (3): 318-326.
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In order to unveil ubiquitin pathway genes (UPGs) that are essential for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell proliferation, we recently conducted a siRNA screening experiment to knockdown the expression of 696 UPGs found in the human genome in A549 and H1975 NSCLC cells. We found that silencing of one of the candidates, RFWD3 that encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase essential for the repair of DNA interstrand cross-links in response to DNA damage, led to dramatic inhibition of NSCLC cell proliferation with significant Z-scores. Knockdown of RFWD3 suppressed colony forming activity of NSCLC cells. We further evaluated the significance of RFWD3 in NSCLCs and found that this gene was more elevated in tumor samples than in paired normal lung tissues and was inversely associated with the clinical outcome of patients with NSCLC. Moreover, RFWD3 expression was significantly higher in smokers than in non-smokers. These results show for the first time that RFWD3 is required for NSCLC cell proliferation and may have an important role in lung carcinogenesis.

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China’s local governments are combating COVID-19 with unprecedented responses ---- from a Wenzhou governance perspective
Fanghua Gong, Yong Xiong, Jian Xiao, Li Lin, Xiaodong Liu, Dezhong Wang, Xiaokun Li
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 220-224.
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The COVID-19 caused by a novel strain of coronavirus has been spreading rapidly since its occurrence in December 2019. It is highly communicable through human-to-human transmission. China has been making unprecedented efforts in treating the confirmed cases, identifying and isolating their close contacts and suspected cases to control the source of infection and cut the route of transmission. China’s devotion in handling this epidemic has effectively and efficiently curbed communication domestically and across the border. Representative measures adopted by Wenzhou, the worst hit city out of Hubei Province, are examined to elucidate those massive undertakings with the aim of enhancing international understanding and building global rapport in fighting this evolving epidemic situation.

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Protecting healthcare personnel from 2019-nCoV infection risks: lessons and suggestions
Zhiruo Zhang, Shelan Liu, Mi Xiang, Shijian Li, Dahai Zhao, Chaolin Huang, Saijuan Chen
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 229-231.
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The outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19, caused by the 2019-nCoV infection) in December 2019 is one of the most severe public health emergencies since the founding of People’s Republic of China in 1949. Healthcare personnel (HCP) nationwide are facing heavy workloads and high risk of infection, especially those who care for patients in Hubei Province. Sadly, as of February 20, 2020, over two thousand COVID-19 cases are confirmed among HCP from 476 hospitals nationwide, with nearly 90% of them from Hubei Province. Based on literature search and interviews with some HCP working at Wuhan, capital city of Hubei, we have summarized some of the effective measures taken to reduce infection among HCP, and also made suggestions for improving occupational safety during an infectious disease outbreak. The experience and lessons learned should be a valuable asset for international health community to contain the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic around the world.

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Advances in COVID-19: the virus, the pathogenesis, and evidence-based control and therapeutic strategies
Guangbiao Zhou, Saijuan Chen, Zhu Chen
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 117-125.
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Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early December 2019, 81 174 confirmed cases and 3242 deaths have been reported in China as of March 19, 2020. The Chinese people and government have contributed huge efforts to combat this disease, resulting in significant improvement of the situation, with 58 new cases (34 were imported cases) and 11 new deaths reported on March 19, 2020. However, as of March 19, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop in 167 countries/territories outside of China, and 128 665 confirmed cases and 5536 deaths have been reported, with 16 498 new cases and 817 new deaths occurring in last 24 hours. Therefore, the world should work together to fight against this pandemic. Here, we review the recent advances in COVID-19, including the insights in the virus, the responses of the host cells, the cytokine release syndrome, and the therapeutic approaches to inhibit the virus and alleviate the cytokine storm. By sharing knowledge and deepening our understanding of the virus and the disease pathogenesis, we believe that the community can efficiently develop effective vaccines and drugs, and the mankind will eventually win this battle against this pandemic.

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Deciphering the pharmacological mechanism of Guan-Jie-Kang in treating rat adjuvant-induced arthritis using omics analysis
Hudan Pan, Yanfang Zheng, Zhongqiu Liu, Zhongwen Yuan, Rutong Ren, Hua Zhou, Ying Xie, Liang Liu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 564-574.
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Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formulas have attracted increasing attention worldwide in the past few years for treating complex disease including rheumatoid arthritis. However, their mechanisms are complex and remain unclear. Guan-Jie-Kang (GJK), a prescription modified from “Wu Tou Decoction,” was found to significantly relieve arthritis symptoms in rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis after 30-day treatment, especially in the 24 g/kg/day group. By analyzing 1749 targets related to 358 compounds in the five herbs of GJK, we identified the possible anti-arthritis pathways of GJK, including the calcium signaling and metabolic pathways. Bone damage levels were assessed by micro-computed tomography, and greater bone protective effect was observed with GJK treatment than with methotrexate. Receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)–RANK signaling, which is related to calcium signaling, was significantly regulated by GJK. Moreover, a target metabolomics assay of serum was conducted; 17 metabolic biomarkers showed significant correlations with treatment. An integrated pathway analysis revealed that pyruvate metabolism, purine metabolism, and glycolysis metabolism were significantly associated with the effects of GJK in arthritis treatment. Thus, this study establishes a new omics analytical method integrated with bioinformatics analysis for elucidating the multi-pathway mechanisms of TCM.

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NES1/KLK10 and hNIS gene therapy enhanced iodine-131 internal radiation in PC3 proliferation inhibition
Jiajia Hu, Wenbin Shen, Qian Qu, Xiaochun Fei, Ying Miao, Xinyun Huang, Jiajun Liu, Yingli Wu, Biao Li
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (6): 646-657.
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NES1 gene is thought to be a tumor-suppressor gene. Our previous study found that overexpression of NES1 gene in PC3 cell line could slow down the tumor proliferation rate, associated with a mild decrease in BCL-2 expression. The BCL-2 decrease could increase the sensitivity of radiotherapy to tumors. Thus, we supposed to have an “enhanced firepower” effect by combining overexpressed NES1 gene therapy and 131I radiation therapy uptake by overexpressed hNIS protein. We found a weak endogenous expression of hNIS protein in PC3 cells and demonstrated that the low expression of hNIS protein in PC3 cells might be the reason for the low iodine uptake. By overexpressing hNIS in PC3, the radioactive iodine uptake ability was significantly increased. Results of in vitro and in vivo tumor proliferation experiments and 18F-fluorothymidine (18F-FLT) micro-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (micro-PET/CT) imaging showed that the combined NES1 gene therapy and 131I radiation therapy mediated by overexpressed hNIS protein had the best tumor proliferative inhibition effect. Immunohistochemistry showed an obvious decrease of Ki-67 expression and the lowest BCL-2 expression. These data suggest that via inhibition of BCL-2 expression, overexpressed NES1 might enhance the effect of radiation therapy of 131I uptake in hNIS overexpressed PC3 cells.

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What will the future hold for artificial organs in the service of assisted reproduction: prospects and considerations
Mara Simopoulou, Konstantinos Sfakianoudis, Petroula Tsioulou, Anna Rapani, Polina Giannelou, Nikolaos Kiriakopoulos, Agni Pantou, Nikolaos Vlahos, George Anifandis, Stamatis Bolaris, Konstantinos Pantos, Michael Koutsilieris
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (6): 627-638.
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Assisted reproduction provides a wide spectrum of treatments and strategies addressing infertility. However, distinct groups of infertile patients with unexplained infertility, congenital disorders, and other complex cases pose a challenge in in vitro fertilization (IVF) practices. This special cohort of patients is associated with futile attempts, IVF overuse, and dead ends in management. Cutting edge research on animal models introduced this concept, along with the development of artificial organs with the aim to mimic the respective physiological functions in reproduction. Extrapolation on clinical application leads to the future use of infertility management in humans. To date, the successful clinical application of artificial reproductive organs in humans is not feasible because further animal model studies are required prior to clinical trials. The application of these artificial organs could provide a solution to infertility cases with no other options. This manuscript presents an overview on the current status, future prospects, and considerations on the potential clinical application of artificial ovary, uterus, and gametes in humans. This paper presents how the IVF practice landscape may be shaped and challenged in the future, along with the subsequent concerns in assisted reproductive treatments.

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White blood cell count and the incidence of hyperuricemia: insights from a community-based study
Jian Liu, Pingyan Shen, Xiaobo Ma, Xialian Yu, Liyan Ni, Xu Hao, Weiming Wang, Nan Chen
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (6): 741-746.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (158KB)

Hyperuricemia (HUA) is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The relationship between HUA and white blood cell (WBC) count remains unknown. A sampling survey for CKD was conducted in Sanlin community in 2012 and 2014. CKD was defined as proteinuria in at least the microalbuminuric stage or an estimated GFR of 60 mL/(min·1.73 m2). HUA was defined as serum uric acid>420 µmol/L in men and>360 µmol/L in women. This study included 1024 participants. The prevalence of HUA was 17.77%. Patients with HUA were more likely to have higher levels of WBC count, which was positively associated with HUA prevalence. This association was also observed in participants without CKD, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, or obesity. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that WBC count was independently associated with the risk for HUA in male and female participants. Compared with participants without HUA, inflammatory factors such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interleukin 6 increased in participants with HUA. Hence, WBC count is positively associated with HUA, and this association is independent of conventional risk factors for CKD.

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Prevention and treatment of pancreatic fistula after pancreatic body and tail resection: current status and future directions
Li Jiang, Deng Ning, Xiao-ping Chen
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (3): 251-261.
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Postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF) is the most common and critical complication after pancreatic body and tail resection. How to effectively reduce the occurrence of pancreatic fistula and conduct timely treatment thereafter is an urgent clinical issue to be solved. Recent research standardized the definition of pancreatic fistula and stressed the correlation between POPF classification and patient prognosis. According to the literature, identification of the risk factors for pancreatic fistula contributed to lowering the rate of the complication. Appropriate management of the pancreatic stump and perioperative treatment are of great significance to reduce the rate of POPF in clinical practice. After the occurrence of POPF, the treatment of choice should be determined according to the classification of the pancreatic fistula. However, despite the progress and promising treatment approaches, POPF remains to be a clinical issue that warrants further studies in the future.

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Immunoregulatory effects of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F and its extracts in clinical practice
Dan Luo, Zhengyun Zuo, Hongyan Zhao, Yong Tan, Cheng Xiao
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 556-563.
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Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) and its extracts have long been used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and kidney disease due to their anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and other pharmacological effects. However, the clinical immunoregulatory effects of TwHF and its extracts remain unclear, so we reviewed their effects for use in clinical practice. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the recent literature on the immunoregulatory effects of TwHF and its extracts in clinical studies. TwHF and its extracts affect the proliferation and activation of T and B cells; ratio of T cell subsets; inflammatory response of monocytes, macrophages, and immunoglobulins; and secretion of many cytokines. Together, these effects dictate immune function in a variety of diseases. TwHF and its extracts can be used alone or in combination with existing therapies against many immune disorders through immunomodulation.

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Clinical characteristics of 19 neonates born to mothers with COVID-19
Wei Liu, Jing Wang, Wenbin Li, Zhaoxian Zhou, Siying Liu, Zhihui Rong
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (2): 193-198.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics of neonates born to SARS-CoV-2 infected mothers and increase the current knowledge on the perinatal consequences of COVID-19. Nineteen neonates were admitted to Tongji Hospital from January 31 to February 29, 2020. Their mothers were clinically diagnosed or laboratory-confirmed with COVID-19. We prospectively collected and analyzed data of mothers and infants. There are 19 neonates included in the research. Among them, 10 mothers were confirmed COVID-19 by positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR in throat swab, and 9 mothers were clinically diagnosed with COVID-19. Delivery occurred in an isolation room and neonates were immediately separated from the mothers and isolated for at least 14 days. No fetal distress was found. Gestational age of the neonates was 38.6±1.5 weeks, and average birth weight was 3293±425 g. SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR in throat swab, urine, and feces of all neonates were negative. SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR in breast milk and amniotic fluid was negative too. None of the neonates developed clinical, radiologic, hematologic, or biochemical evidence of COVID-19. No vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and no perinatal complications in the third trimester were found in our study. The delivery should occur in isolation and neonates should be separated from the infected mothers and care givers.

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Compound C620-0696, a new potent inhibitor targeting BPTF, the chromatin-remodeling factor in non-small-cell lung cancer
Jiahui Xu, Qianqian Wang, Elaine Lai Han Leung, Ying Li, Xingxing Fan, Qibiao Wu, Xiaojun Yao, Liang Liu
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (1): 60-67.
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Bromodomain PHD-finger transcription factor (BPTF) is the largest subunit of the nucleosome remodeling factor and plays an important role in chromatin remodeling for gene activation through its association with histone acetylation or methylation. BPTF is also involved in oncogene transcription in diverse progressions of cancers. Despite clinical trials for inhibitors of bromodomain and extra-terminal family proteins in human cancers, no potent and selective inhibitor targeting the BPTF bromodomain has been discovered. In this study, we identified a potential inhibitor, namely, C620-0696, by computational docking modeling to target bromodomain. Results of biolayer interferometry revealed that compound C620-0696 exhibited high binding affinity to the BPTF bromodomain. Moreover, C620-0696 was cytotoxic in BPTF with a high expression of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. It suppressed the expression of the BPTF target gene c-MYC, which is known as an oncogenic transcriptional regulator in various cancers. C620-0696 also partially inhibited the migration and colony formation of NSCLC cells owing to apoptosis induction and cell cycle blockage. Thus, our study presents an effective strategy to target a bromodomain factor-mediated tumorigenesis in cancers with small molecules, supporting further exploration of the use of these inhibitors in oncology.

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Management of cytokine release syndrome related to CAR-T cell therapy
Hongli Chen, Fangxia Wang, Pengyu Zhang, Yilin Zhang, Yinxia Chen, Xiaohu Fan, Xingmei Cao, Jie Liu, Yun Yang, Baiyan Wang, Bo Lei, Liufang Gu, Ju Bai, Lili Wei, Ruili Zhang, Qiuchuan Zhuang, Wanggang Zhang, Wanhong Zhao, Aili He
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 610-617.
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Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy is a novel cellular immunotherapy that is widely used to treat hematological malignancies, including acute leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Despite its remarkable clinical effects, this therapy has side effects that cannot be underestimated. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is one of the most clinically important and potentially life-threatening toxicities. This syndrome is a systemic immune storm that involves the mass cytokines releasing by activated immune cells. This phenomenon causes multisystem damages and sometimes even death. In this study, we reported the management of a patient with recurrent and refractory multiple myeloma and three patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia who suffered CRS during CAR-T treatment. The early application of tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 receptor antibody, according to toxicity grading and clinical manifestation is recommended especially for patients who suffer continuous hyperpyrexia, hypotensive shock, acute respiratory failure, and whose CRS toxicities deteriorated rapidly. Moreover, low doses of dexamethasone (5–10 mg/day) were used for refractory CRS not responding to tocilizumab. The effective management of the toxicities associated with CRS will bring additional survival opportunities and improve the quality of life for patients with cancer.

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A reignited debate over the cell(s) of origin for glioblastoma and its clinical implications
Xiaolin Fan, Yanzhen Xiong, Yuan Wang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 531-539.
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Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary neoplasm in the central nervous system. Despite intensive treatment, the prognosis for patients with GBM remains poor, with a median survival of 14--16 months. 90% of GBMs are primary GBMs that are full-blown at diagnosis without evidences of a pre-existing less-malignant precursor lesion. Therefore, identification of the cell(s) of origin for GBM---the normal cell or cell type that acquires the initial GBM-promoting genetic hit(s)---is the key to the understanding of the disease etiology and the development of novel therapies. Neural stem cells and oligodendrocyte precursor cells are the two major candidates for the cell(s) of origin for GBM. Latest data from human samples have reignited the longstanding debate over which cells are the clinically more relevant origin for GBMs. By critically analyzing evidences for or against the candidacy of each cell type, we highlight the most recent progress and debate in the field, explore the clinical implications, and propose future directions toward early diagnosis and preventive treatment of GBMs.

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Long-term effects of various types of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors on changes in glomerular filtration rate in Korea
Seo Yeon Baik, Hyunah Kim, So Jung Yang, Tong Min Kim, Seung-Hwan Lee, Jae Hyoung Cho, Hyunyong Lee, Hyeon Woo Yim, Kun-Ho Yoon, Hun-Sung Kim
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (6): 713-722.
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Few long-term follow-up studies have compared the changes in renal function according to the type of statin used in Korea. We compared the long-term effects of statin intensity and type on the changes in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). We extracted data of patients who took statin for the first time. We analyzed whether or not different statins affect the changes in GFR at 3 months after baseline and 4 years after. We included 3678 patients and analyzed the changes in GFR. The GFR decreased by 3.2%±0.4% on average 4 years after the first statin prescription, indicating statistically significant deterioration (from 83.5±0.4 mL/min/1.73 m2 to 79.9±0.4 mL/min/1.73 m2, P<0.001). When comparing the GFR among different statins, significant differences were observed between atorvastatin and fluvastatin (−5.3%±0.7% vs. 1.2%±2.2%, P<0.05) and between atorvastatin and simvastatin (−5.3%±0.7% vs. −0.7%±0.8%, P<0.05). In pitavastatin (odds ratio [OR]=0.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.46–0.87, P<0.005) and simvastatin (OR=0.69, 95% CI=0.53–0.91, P<0.008), the GFR rate that decreased by<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 was significantly lower than that of atorvastatin. Regarding long-term statin intake, GFR changed with the type of statin. This work is the first in Korea to compare each statin in terms of changes in the GFR after the statin prescription.

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Detecting genetic hypermutability of gastrointestinal tumor by using a forensic STR kit
Anqi Chen, Suhua Zhang, Jixi Li, Chaoneng Ji, Jinzhong Chen, Chengtao Li
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (1): 101-111.
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Growing evidence suggests that somatic hypermutational status and programmed cell death-1 overexpression are potential predictive biomarkers indicating treatment benefits from immunotherapy using immune checkpoint inhibitors. However, biomarker-matched trials are still limited, and many of the genomic alterations remain difficult to target. To isolate the potential somatic hypermutational tumor from microsatellite instability low/microsatellite stability (MSI-L/MSS) cases, we employed two commercial kits to determine MSI and forensic short tandem repeat (STR) alternations in 250 gastrointestinal (GI) tumors. Three types of forensic STR alternations, namely, allelic loss, Aadd, and Anew, were identified. 62.4% (156/250) of the patients with GI exhibited STR alternation, including 100% (15/15) and 60% (141/235) of the microsatellite high instability and MSI-L/MSS cases, respectively. 30% (75/250) of the patients exhibited STR instability with more than 26.32% (26.32%–84.21%) STR alternation. The cutoff with 26.32% of the STR alternations covered all 15 MSI cases and suggested that it might be a potential threshold. Given the similar mechanism of the mutations of MSI and forensic STR, the widely used forensic identifier STR kit might provide potential usage for identifying hypermutational status in GI cancers.

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Chinmedomics facilitated quality-marker discovery of Sijunzi decoction to treat spleen qi deficiency syndrome
Qiqi Zhao, Xin Gao, Guangli Yan, Aihua Zhang, Hui Sun, Ying Han, Wenxiu Li, Liang Liu, Xijun Wang
Front. Med.    2020, 14 (3): 335-356.
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Sijunzi decoction (SJZD) is a Chinese classical formula to treat spleen qi deficiency syndrome (SQDS) and has been widely used for thousands of years. However, the quality control (QC) standards of SJZD are insufficient. Chinmedomics has been designed to discover and verify bioactive compounds of a variety of formula rapidly. In this study, we used Chinmedomics to evaluate the SJZD’s efficacy against SQDS to discover the potential quality-markers (q-markers) for QC. A total of 56 compounds in SJZD were characterized in vitro, and 23 compounds were discovered in vivo. A total of 58 biomarkers were related to SQDS, and SJZD can adjust a large proportion of marker metabolites to normal level and then regulate the metabolic profile to the health status. A total of 10 constituents were absorbed as effective ingredients that were associated with overall efficacy. We preliminarily determined malonyl-ginsenoside Rb2 and ginsenoside Ro as the q-markers of ginseng; dehydrotumulosic acid and dihydroxy lanostene-triene-21-acid as the q-markers of poria; glycyrrhizic acid, isoglabrolide, and glycyrrhetnic acid as the q-markers of licorice; and 2-atractylenolide as the q-marker of macrocephala. According to the discovery of the SJZD q-markers, we can establish the quality standard that is related to efficacy.

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PET imaging on neurofunctional changes after optogenetic stimulation in a rat model of panic disorder
Xiao He, Chentao Jin, Mindi Ma, Rui Zhou, Shuang Wu, Haoying Huang, Yuting Li, Qiaozhen Chen, Mingrong Zhang, Hong Zhang, Mei Tian
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (5): 602-609.
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Panic disorder (PD) is an acute paroxysmal anxiety disorder with poorly understood pathophysiology. The dorsal periaqueductal gray (dPAG) is involved in the genesis of PD. However, the downstream neurofunctional changes of the dPAG during panic attacks have yet to be evaluated in vivo. In this study, optogenetic stimulation to the dPAG was performed to induce panic-like behaviors, and in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 18F-flurodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) was conducted to evaluate neurofunctional changes before and after the optogenetic stimulation. Compared with the baseline, post-optogenetic stimulation PET imaging demonstrated that the glucose metabolism significantly increased (P<0.001) in dPAG, the cuneiform nucleus, the cerebellar lobule, the cingulate cortex, the alveus of the hippocampus, the primary visual cortex, the septohypothalamic nucleus, and the retrosplenial granular cortex but significantly decreased (P<0.001) in the basal ganglia, the frontal cortex, the forceps minor corpus callosum, the primary somatosensory cortex, the primary motor cortex, the secondary visual cortex, and the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Taken together, these data indicated that in vivo PET imaging can successfully detect downstream neurofunctional changes involved in the panic attacks after optogenetic stimulation to the dPAG.

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