Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

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Platelet membrane-based and tumor-associated platelet- targeted drug delivery systems for cancer therapy
Yinlong Zhang, Guangna Liu, Jingyan Wei, Guangjun Nie
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 667-677.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0583-y
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Platelets have long been known to play critical roles in hemostasis by clumping and clotting blood vessel injuries. Recent experimental evidence strongly indicates that platelets can also interact with tumor cells by direct binding or secreting cytokines. For example, platelets have been shown to protect circulating cancer cells in blood circulation and to promote tumor metastasis. In-depth understanding of the role of platelets in cancer progression and metastasis provides promising approaches for platelet biomimetic drug delivery systems and functional platelet-targeting strategies for effective cancer treatment. This review highlights recent progresses in platelet membrane-based drug delivery and unique strategies that target tumor-associated platelets for cancer therapy. The paper also discusses future development opportunities and challenges encountered for clinical translation.

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Mechanistic and therapeutic advances in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by targeting the gut microbiota
Ruiting Han, Junli Ma, Houkai Li
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 645-657.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0645-9
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common metabolic diseases currently in the context of obesity worldwide, which contains a spectrum of chronic liver diseases, including hepatic steatosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and hepatic carcinoma. In addition to the classical “Two-hit” theory, NAFLD has been recognized as a typical gut microbiota-related disease because of the intricate role of gut microbiota in maintaining human health and disease formation. Moreover, gut microbiota is even regarded as a “metabolic organ” that play complementary roles to that of liver in many aspects. The mechanisms underlying gut microbiota-mediated development of NAFLD include modulation of host energy metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and bile acid and choline metabolism. As a result, gut microbiota have been emerging as a novel therapeutic target for NAFLD by manipulating it in various ways, including probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, antibiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation, and herbal components. In this review, we summarized the most recent advances in gut microbiota-mediated mechanisms, as well as gut microbiota-targeted therapies on NAFLD.

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Venetoclax and low-dose cytarabine induced complete remission in a patient with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia: a case report
Bingshan Liu, Roshni Narurkar, Madhura Hanmantgad, Wahib Zafar, Yongping Song, Delong Liu
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 593-599.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0635-y
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Conventional combination therapies have not resulted in considerable progress in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Elderly patients with AML and poor risk factors have grave prognosis. Midostaurin has been recently approved for the treatment of FLT-3-mutated AML. Venetoclax, a BCL-2 inhibitor, has been approved for the treatment of relapsed and/or refractory chronic lymphoid leukemia. Clinical trials on applying venetoclax in combination with cytarabine and other agents to treat various hematological malignancies are currently underway. Here, we present a case of a male patient with poor performance status and who developed AML following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant for high-risk myelodysplasia. The patient with high risk AML achieved complete response to the combined treatment regimen of low-dose cytarabine and venetoclax. Furthermore, we reviewed current clinical trials on the use of venetoclax for hematological malignancies.

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Oxidative stress in granulosa cells contributes to poor oocyte quality and IVF-ET outcomes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome
Qiaohong Lai, Wenpei Xiang, Qing Li, Hanwang Zhang, Yufeng Li, Guijin Zhu, Chengliang Xiong, Lei Jin
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 518-524.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0575-y
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The increased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in granulosa cells (GCs) may affect the pregnancy results in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In this study, we compared thein vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) results of 22 patients with PCOS and 25 patients with tubal factor infertility and detected the ROS levels in the GCs of these two groups. Results showed that the PCOS group had significantly larger follicles on the administration day for human chorionic gonadotropin than the tubal factor group (P<0.05); however, the number of retrieved oocytes was not significantly different between the two groups (P>0.05). PCOS group had slightly lower fertilization, cleavage, grade I/II embryo, clinical pregnancy, and implantation rates and higher miscarriage rate than the tubal factor group (P>0.05). We further found a significantly higher ROS level of GCs in the PCOS group than in the tubal factor group (P<0.05). The increased ROS levels in GCs caused GC apoptosis, whereas NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) specific inhibitors (diphenyleneiodonium and apocynin) significantly reduced the ROS production in the PCOS group. In conclusion, the increased ROS expression levels in PCOS GCs greatly induced cell apoptosis, which further affected the oocyte quality and reduced the positive IVF-ET pregnancy results of women with PCOS. NADPH oxidase pathway may be involved in the mechanism of ROS production in GCs of women with PCOS.

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Histone variants: critical determinants in tumour heterogeneity
Tao Wang, Florent Chuffart, Ekaterina Bourova-Flin, Jin Wang, Jianqing Mi, Sophie Rousseaux, Saadi Khochbin
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (3): 289-297.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0667-3
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Malignant cell transformation could be considered as a series of cell reprogramming events driven by oncogenic transcription factors and upstream signalling pathways. Chromatin plasticity and dynamics are critical determinants in the control of cell reprograming. An increase in chromatin dynamics could therefore constitute an essential step in driving oncogenesis and in generating tumour cell heterogeneity, which is indispensable for the selection of aggressive properties, including the ability of cells to disseminate and acquire resistance to treatments. Histone supply and dosage, as well as histone variants, are the best-known regulators of chromatin dynamics. By facilitating cell reprogramming, histone under-dosage and histone variants should also be crucial in cell transformation and tumour metastasis. Here we summarize and discuss our knowledge of the role of histone supply and histone variants in chromatin dynamics and their ability to enhance oncogenic cell reprogramming and tumour heterogeneity.

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Genome editing for the treatment of tumorigenic viral infections and virus-related carcinomas
Lan Yu, Xun Tian, Chun Gao, Ping Wu, Liming Wang, Bei Feng, Xiaomin Li, Hui Wang, Ding Ma, Zheng Hu
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 497-508.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0572-1
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Viral infections cause at least 10%–15% of all human carcinomas. Over the last century, the elucidation of viral oncogenic roles in many cancer types has provided fundamental knowledge on carcinogenetic mechanisms and established a basis for the early intervention of virus-related cancers. Meanwhile, rapidly evolving genome-editing techniques targeting viral DNA/RNA have emerged as novel therapeutic strategies for treating virus-related carcinogenesis and have begun showing promising results. This review discusses the recent advances of genome-editing tools for treating tumorigenic viruses and their corresponding cancers, the challenges that must be overcome before clinically applying such genome-editing technologies, and more importantly, the potential solutions to these challenges.

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Role of chemerin/CMKLR1 in the maintenance of early pregnancy
Xuezhou Yang, Junning Yao, Qipeng Wei, Jinhai Ye, Xiaofang Yin, Xiaozhen Quan, Yanli Lan, Hui Xing
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 525-532.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0577-9
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Chemerin is a cytokine that attracts much attention in the reproductive process. This study aimed to explore the effects of chemerin and its receptor chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1) on the maintenance of early pregnancy. The expression levels of chemerin and CMKLR1 in the decidua tissues of 20 early normal pregnant women and 20 early spontaneous abortion women were examined by Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses. CMKLR1 receptor antagonist (α-NETA) was then intrauterinely injected into normal pregnant mice model to assess its effect on the outcome of pregnancy and the phosphorylation rate of ERK1/2 in decidua tissues. We found that the expression level of chemerin in women who had experienced early spontaneous abortion was lower than in those who had experienced normal early pregnancy (P<0.01); conversely, CMKLR1 expression was higher in the former than in the latter (P<0.01). In a pregnant-mouse model, the embryo resorption rate of α-NETA group was higher than that in the negative control group (61.5% vs. 10.8%) (P<0.001). Compared with the control group, ERK1/2 phosphorylation in decidua tissues decreased in the α-NETA-treated group (P<0.01). These results suggested that the inhibition of the chemerin/CMKLR1 signaling pathway can lead to the abortion of mouse embryos, and that chemerin/CMKLR1 may play an important role in the maintenance of early pregnancy possibly by regulating ERK1/2 phosphorylation.

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BRD4 interacts with PML/RARα in acute promyelocytic leukemia
Qun Luo, Wanglong Deng, Haiwei Wang, Huiyong Fan, Ji Zhang
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 726-734.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0604-x
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Bromodomain-containing 4 (BRD4) has been considered as an important requirement for disease maintenance and an attractive therapeutic target for cancer therapy. This protein can be targeted by JQ1, a selective small-molecule inhibitor. However, few studies have investigated whether BRD4 influenced acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), and whether BRD4 had interaction with promyelocytic leukemia-retinoic acid receptor α (PML/RARα) fusion protein to some extent. Results from cell viability assay, cell cycle analysis, and Annexin-V/PI analysis indicated that JQ1 inhibited the growth of NB4 cells, an APL-derived cell line, and induced NB4 cell cycle arrest at G1 and apoptosis. Then, we used co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) assay and immunoblot to demonstrate the endogenous interaction of BRD4 and PML/RARα in NB4 cells. Moreover, downregulation of PML/RARα at the mRNA and protein levels was observed upon JQ1 treatment. Furthermore, results from the RT-qPCR, ChIP-qPCR, and re-ChIP-qPCR assays showed that BRD4 and PML/RARα co-existed on the same regulatory regions of their target genes. Hence, we showed a new discovery of the interaction of BRD4 and PML/RARα, as well as the decline of PML/RARα expression, under JQ1 treatment.

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Clinical characterization and diagnosis of cystic fibrosis through exome sequencing in Chinese infants with Bartter-syndrome-like hypokalemia alkalosis
Liru Qiu, Fengjie Yang, Yonghua He, Huiqing Yuan, Jianhua Zhou
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 550-558.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0567-y
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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a fatal autosomal-recessive disease caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. CF is characterized by recurrent pulmonary infection with obstructive pulmonary disease. CF is common in the Caucasian population but is rare in the Chinese population. The symptoms of early-stage CF are often untypical and may sometimes manifest as Bartter syndrome (BS)-like hypokalemic alkalosis. Therefore, the ability of doctors to differentiate CF from BS-like hypokalemic alkalosis in Chinese infants is a great challenge in the timely and accurate diagnosis of CF. In China, sporadic CF has not been diagnosed in children younger than three years of age to date. Three infants, who were initially admitted to our hospital over the period of June 2013 to September 2014 with BS-like hypokalemic alkalosis, were diagnosed with CF through exome sequencing and sweat chloride measurement. The compound heterozygous mutations of the CFTR gene were detected in two infants, and a homozygous missense mutation was found in one infant. Among the six identified mutations, two are novel point mutations (c.1526G>C and c.3062C>T) that are possibly pathogenic. The three infants are the youngest Chinese patients to have been diagnosed with sporadic CF at a very early stage. Follow-up examination showed that all of the cases remained symptom-free after early intervention, indicating the potential benefit of very early diagnosis and timely intervention in children with CF. Our results demonstrate the necessity of distinguishing CF from BS in Chinese infants with hypokalemic alkalosis and the significant diagnostic value of powerful exome sequencing for rare genetic diseases. Furthermore, our findings expand the CFTR mutation spectrum associated with CF.

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Epidemic obesity in children and adolescents: risk factors and prevention
Eun Young Lee, Kun-Ho Yoon
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 658-666.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0640-1
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The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents (aged 2–18 years) has increased rapidly, with more than 100 million affected in 2015. Moreover, the epidemic of obesity in this population has been an important public health problem in developed and developing countries for the following reasons. Childhood and adolescent obesity tracks adulthood obesity and has been implicated in many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, childhood and adolescent obesity is linked to adulthood mortality and premature death. Although an imbalance between caloric intake and physical activity is a principal cause of childhood and adolescent obesity, environmental factors are exclusively important for development of obesity among children and adolescents. In addition to genetic and biological factors, socioenvironmental factors, including family, school, community, and national policies, can play a crucial role. The complexity of risk factors for developing obesity among children and adolescents leads to difficulty in treatment for this population. Many interventional trials for childhood and adolescent obesity have been proven ineffective. Therefore, early identification and prevention is the key to control the global epidemic of obesity. Given that the proportion of overweight children and adolescents is far greater than that of obesity, an effective prevention strategy is to focus on overweight youth, who are at high risk for developing obesity. Multifaceted, comprehensive strategies involving behavioral, psychological, and environmental risk factors must also be developed to prevent obesity among children and adolescents.

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Alteration of heat shock protein 20 expression in preeclamptic patients and its effect in vascular and coagulation function
Fanfan Li, Mengzhou He, Meitao Yang, Yao Fan, Yun Chen, Xi Xia, Yin Xie, Dongrui Deng
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 542-549.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0576-x
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Preeclampsia (PE) is a pregnancy-specific, multi-system disorder and the leading cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in obstetrics worldwide. Excessive vasoconstriction and dysregulated coagulation function are closely associated with PE. Heat shock protein 20 (HSP20) is ubiquitously expressed under normal physiological conditions and has important roles in vascular dilatation and suppression of platelet aggregation. However, the role of HSP20 in the pathogenesis of PE remains unclear. In this study, we collected chorionic plate resistance arteries (CPAs) and serum from 118 healthy pregnant women and 80 women with PE and detected the levels of HSP20 and its phosphorylated form. Both HSP20 and phosphorylated HSP20 were downregulated in CPAs from women with PE. Comparison of the vasodilative ability of CPAs from the two groups showed impaired relaxation responses to acetyl choline in preeclamptic vessels. In addition to the reduced HSP20 in serum from women with PE, the platelet distribution width and mean platelet volume were also decreased, and the activated partial thromboplastin time and thromboplastin time were elevated. With regard to the vital roles of HSP20 in mediating vasorelaxation and coagulation function, the decreased HSP20 might contribute to the pathogenesis of PE.

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Cluster analysis for syndromes of real-world coronary heart disease with angina pectoris
Yufeng Zhao, Xueyun Yu, Xinyu Cao, Lin Luo, Liyun He, Shusong Mao, Li Ma, Peijing Rong, Yuxue Zhao, Guozheng Li, Baoyan Liu
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 566-571.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0556-1
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Syndromes of coronary heart disease with angina pectoris were analyzed to provide guidance for clinical practice and to improve accuracy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) diagnoses and efficacy of TCM treatment. A total of 860 cases with coronary heart disease with angina pectoris were selected from TCM Clinical Research Information Sharing System for TCM clinics and research. Syndromes were automatically extracted with the cluster method and were analyzed to provide objective evidence for clinical studies. Final syndrome classifications were recognized and confirmed by clinical experts. Popular syndromes included Qi and blood deficiency, blood stasis and obstruction collaterals, liver depression and spleen deficiency, and Qi stagnation and blood stasis. Syndromes Qi and blood deficiency and blood stasis and obstruction collaterals accounted for 28.61% of total syndromes, whereas liver depression and spleen deficiency and Qi stagnation and blood stasis accounted for 26.44%. The main syndrome elements comprised Qi deficiency, blood deficiency, blood stasis, and Qi stagnation.

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DNA methylation-based subclassification of psoriasis in the Chinese Han population
Fusheng Zhou, Changbing Shen, Yi-Hsiang Hsu, Jing Gao, Jinfa Dou, Randy Ko, Xiaodong Zheng, Liangdan Sun, Yong Cui, Xuejun Zhang
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 717-725.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0588-6
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Psoriasis (Ps) is an inflammatory skin disease caused by genetic and environmental factors. Previous studies on DNA methylation (DNAm) found genetic markers that are closely associated with Ps, and evidence has shown that DNAm mediates genetic risk in Ps. In this study, Consensus Clustering was used to analyze DNAm data, and 114 Ps patients were divided into three subclassifications. Investigation of the clinical characteristics and copy number variations (CNVs) of DEFB4, IL22, and LCE3C in the three subclassifications revealed no significant differences in gender ratio and in Ps area and severity index (PASI) score. The proportion of late-onset (≥40 years) Ps patients was significantly higher in type I than in types II and III (P = 0.035). Type III contained the smallest proportion of smokers and the largest proportion of non-smoking Ps patients (P = 0.086). The CNVs of DEFB4 and LCE3C showed no significant differences but the CNV of IL22 significantly differed among the three subclassifications (P = 0.044). This study is the first to profile Ps subclassifications based on DNAm data in the Chinese Han population. These results are useful in the treatment and management of Ps from the molecular and genetic perspectives.

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Physiological effects of weightlessness: countermeasure system development for a long-term Chinese manned spaceflight
Linjie Wang, Zhili Li, Cheng Tan, Shujuan Liu, Jianfeng Zhang, Siyang He, Peng Zou, Weibo Liu, Yinghui Li
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 202-212.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0587-7
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The Chinese space station will be built around 2020. As a national space laboratory, it will offer unique opportunities for studying the physiological effects of weightlessness and the efficacy of the countermeasures against such effects. In this paper, we described the development of countermeasure systems in the Chinese space program. To emphasize the need of the Chinese space program to implement its own program for developing countermeasures, we reviewed the literature on the negative physiological effects of weightlessness, the challenges of completing missions, the development of countermeasure devices, the establishment of countermeasure programs, and the efficacy of the countermeasure techniques in American and Russian manned spaceflights. In addition, a brief overview was provided on the Chinese research and development on countermeasures to discuss the current status and goals of the development of countermeasures against physiological problems associated with weightlessness.

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Bile acids and their effects on diabetes
Cynthia Rajani, Wei Jia
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 608-623.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0644-x
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Diabetes is a widespread, rapidly increasing metabolic disease that is driven by hyperglycemia. Early glycemic control is of primary importance to avoid vascular complications including development of retinal disorders leading to blindness, end-stage renal disease, and accelerated atherosclerosis with a higher risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and limb amputations. Even after hyperglycemia has been brought under control, “metabolic memory,” a cluster of irreversible metabolic changes that allow diabetes to progress, may persist depending on the duration of hyperglycemia. Manipulation of bile acid (BA) receptors and the BA pool have been shown to be useful in establishing glycemic control in diabetes due to their ability to regulate energy metabolism by binding and activating nuclear transcription factors such as farnesoid X receptor (FXR) in liver and intestine as well as the G-protein coupled receptor, TGR5, in enteroendocrine cells and pancreatic β-cells. The downstream targets of BA activated FXR, FGF15/21, are also important for glucose/insulin homeostasis. In this review we will discuss the effect of BAs on glucose and lipid metabolism and explore recent research on establishing glycemic control in diabetes through the manipulation of BAs and their receptors in the liver, intestine and pancreas, alteration of the enterohepatic circulation, bariatric surgery and alignment of circadian rhythms.

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Zfyve16 regulates the proliferation of B-lymphoid cells
Xuemei Zhao, Donghe Li, Qingsong Qiu, Bo Jiao, Ruihong Zhang, Ping Liu, Ruibao Ren
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 559-565.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0562-3
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Zfyve16 (a.k.a. endofin or endosome-associated FYVE-domain protein), a member of the FYVE-domain protein family, is involved in endosomal trafficking and in TGF-β, BMP, and EGFR signaling. The FYVE protein SARA regulates the TGF-β signaling pathway by recruiting Smad2/3 and accelerating their phosphorylation, thereby altering their susceptibility to TGF-β-mediated T cell suppression. Zfyve16 binds to Smad4 and their binding affects the formation of Smad2/3-Smad4 complex in TGF-β signaling. However, the in vivo function of Zfyve16 remains unknown. In this study, we generated a Zfyve16 knockout mouse strain (Zfyve16KO) and examined its hematopoietic phenotypes and hematopoietic reconstruction ability. The proportion of T cells in the peripheral blood of Zfyve16KO mice increases compared with that in wild-type mice. This finding is consistent with the role of Zfyve16 in facilitating TGF-β signaling. Unpredictably, B cell proliferation is inhibited in Zfyve16KO mice. The proliferation potential of Zfyve16KO B-lymphoid cells also significantly decreases in vitro. These results suggest that Zfyve16 inhibits the proliferation of T cells, possibly through the TGF-β signaling, but upregulates the proliferation of B-lymphoid cells.

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Possibility of women treated with fertility-sparing surgery for non-epithelial ovarian tumors to safely and successfully become pregnant---a Chinese retrospective cohort study among 148 cases
Bin Yang, Yan Yu, Jing Chen, Yan Zhang, Ye Yin, Nan Yu, Ge Chen, Shifei Zhu, Haiyan Huang, Yongqun Yuan, Jihui Ai, Xinyu Wang, Kezhen Li
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 509-517.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0554-3
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This study was performed to evaluate the oncological and reproductive outcomes of childbearing-age women treated with fertility-sparing surgery (FSS) for non-epithelial ovarian tumors in China. One hundred and forty eight non-epithelial ovarian tumor women treated with FSS between January 1, 2000 and August 31, 2015 from two medical centers in China were identified. Progression-free survival (PFS) was 88.5%, whereas overall survival (OS) was 93.9%. Univariate analysis suggested that delivery after treatment is related to PFS (P=0.023), whereas histology significantly influenced OS. Cox regression analysis suggested that only histology was associated with PFS and OS (P<0.05). Among the 129 women who completed adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT), none developed amenorrhea. Among the 44 women who desired pregnancy, 35 (79.5%) successfully had 51 gestations including 35 live births without birth defects. Non-epithelial ovarian tumors can achieve fulfilling prognosis after FSS and chemotherapy. Histology might be the only independent prognostic factor for PFS and OS. FSS followed by ACT appeared to have little or no effect on fertility. Meanwhile, postoperative pregnancy did not increase the PFS or OS. Use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist was not beneficial for fertility.

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Determining “abnormal” levator hiatus distensibility using three-dimensional transperineal ultrasound in Chinese women
Chaoran Dou, Qin Li, Tao Ying, Yulin Yan, Xia Wang, Bing Hu
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 572-579.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0561-4
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The dimension of the levator hiatus is a possible predictor of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This retrospective study investigated 360 women who went to urogynecological clinic for pelvic floor discomfort. Levator hiatus dimensions were obtained by three-dimensional transperineal ultrasound and results were compared between women with and without significantly objective prolapse (International Continence Society POP quantification, grade 2 or higher). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were performed to determine valid screening index for detecting abnormal levator hiatus distensibility. Women with significantly objective prolapse had significantly higher levator hiatus dimensions than those without (all P <0.001). ROC curve analyses confirmed that hiatal area (HA) of 19.5 cm2 during Valsalva maneuver can be used as single-screening index for abnormal levator hiatus distensibility with sensitivity of 0.80 and specificity of 0.70. In this study, we used a two-step method and achieved higher sensibility (0.80 vs. 0.87) without reducing specificity (0.70 vs. 0.71) compared with a single-screening index method. As a result, we suggest that HA≥19.5 cm2 during Valsalva maneuver is an indicator of abnormal levator hiatus distensibility in Chinese women and that the two-step method has higher sensitivity in detecting abnormal distensibility.

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Preventive effect of Shenkang injection against high glucose-induced senescence of renal tubular cells
Biqiong Fu, Jie Yang, Jia Chen, Lirong Lin, Kehong Chen, Weiwei Zhang, Jianguo Zhang, Yani He
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 267-276.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0586-8
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Shenkang injection (SKI) is a classic prescription composed of Radix Astragali, rhubarb, Astragalus, Safflower, and Salvia. This treatment was approved by the State Food and Drug Administration of China in 1999 for treatment of chronic kidney diseases based on good efficacy and safety. This study aimed to investigate the protective effect of SKI against high glucose (HG)-induced renal tubular cell senescence and its underlying mechanism. Primary renal proximal tubule epithelial cells were cultured in (1) control medium (control group), medium containing 5 mmol/L glucose; (2) mannitol medium (mannitol group), medium containing 5 mmol/L glucose, and 25 mmol/L mannitol; (3) HG medium (HG group) containing 30 mmol/L glucose; (4) SKI treatment at high (200 mg/L), medium (100 mg/L), or low (50 mg/L) concentration in HG medium (HG+ SKI group); or (5) 200 mg/L SKI treatment in control medium (control+ SKI group) for 72 h. HG-induced senescent cells showed the emergence of senescence associated heterochromatin foci, up-regulation of P16INK4 and cyclin D1, increased senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity, and elevated expression of membrane decoy receptor 2. SKI treatment potently prevented these changes in a dose-independent manner. SKI treatment prevented HG-induced up-regulation of pro-senescence molecule mammalian target of rapamycin and p66Shc and down-regulation of anti-senescence molecules klotho, sirt1, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-g in renal tubular epithelial cells. SKI may be a novel strategy for protecting against HG-induced renal tubular cell senescence in treatment of diabetic nephropathy.

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Mutation profiling of 16 candidate genes in de novo acute myeloid leukemia patients
Yang Zhang, Fang Wang, Xue Chen, Wenjing Liu, Jiancheng Fang, Mingyu Wang, Wen Teng, Panxiang Cao, Hongxing Liu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 229-237.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0616-1
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This retrospective analysis aimed to investigate the mutation profile of 16 common mutated genes in de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. A total of 259 patients who were diagnosed of de novo AML were enrolled in this study. Mutation profiling of 16 candidate genes were performed in bone marrow samples by using Sanger sequencing. We identified at least 1 mutation in 199 of the 259 samples (76.8%), and 2 or more mutations in 31.7% of samples. FLT3-ITD was the most common mutated gene (16.2%, 42/259), followed by CEBPA (15.1%, 39/259), NRAS (14.7%, 38/259), and NPM1 (13.5%, 35/259). Concurrence was observed in 97.1% of the NPM1 mutated cases and in 29.6% of the double mutated CEBPA cases. Distinct patterns of co-occurrence were observed for different hotspot mutations within the IDH2 gene: R140 mutations were associated with NPM1 and/or FLT3-ITD mutations, whereas R172 mutations co-occurred with DNMT3A mutations only. Concurrence was also observed in 86.6% of epigenetic regulation genes, most of which co-occurred with NPM1 mutations. The results showed certain rules in the mutation profiling and concurrence of AML patients, which was related to the function classification of genes. Defining the mutation spectrum and mutation pattern of AML will contribute to the comprehensive assessment of patients and identification of new therapeutic targets.

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Interplay between diet and genetic susceptibility in obesity and related traits
Tiange Wang, Min Xu, Yufang Bi, Guang Ning
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 601-607.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0648-6
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The incidence of obesity has been rapidly increasing, and this condition has become a major public health threat. A substantial shift in environmental factors and lifestyle, such as unhealthy diet, is among the major driving forces of the global obesity pandemic. Longitudinal studies and randomized intervention trials have shown that genetic susceptibility to obesity may interact with dietary factors in relation to the body mass index and risk of obesity. This review summarized data from recent longitudinal studies and intervention studies on variations and diets and discussed the challenges and future prospects related to this area and public health implications.

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Sensitivity of supplementation of thyroid hormone on treatment of idiopathic short-stature children during therapy with recombinant human growth hormone
Wei Wang, Shuqin Jiang, Zhirui Cui, Xiangyang Luo, Lingli Shi, Heli Zheng
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 580-585.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0585-9
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This study aimed to evaluate the effects of thyroid hormone supplementation on growth rate of children with idiopathic short stature (ISS) and low-normal serum free thyroxine FT4 who were receiving growth hormone therapy. We selected 64 prepubertal children with FT4 levels in the lowest third of the normal range as the lower FT4 group, and these children were divided randomly into two subgroups: L-thyroxine (L-T4)-treated subgroup was treated with L-T4 (0.5–3.0 g/(kg·d)) from the beginning of the study, and the non-L-T4-treated subgroup received placebo. We also selected 39 ISS children with FT4 in the upper two-thirds of the normal range as the higher FT4 group. During the first year, the lower FT4 group featured lower FT3, FT4, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and insulin-like growth factor-I standard deviation score (IGF-I SDS) and significantly lower height velocity (HV) compared with the higher FT4 group. However, in the lower FT4 group, the L-T4-treated subgroup presented higher FT4, FT3, TSH, and IGF-I SDS concentrations and significantly higher HV compared with children in the non-L-T4-treated subgroup. In children with ISS, the negative effect of thyroid hormone deficiency on growth rate should be considered when FT4 level lies in the low-normal range prior to recombinant human growth hormone treatment.

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Cytokines and inflammation in adipogenesis: an updated review
Ning Jiang, Yao Li, Ting Shu, Jing Wang
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (3): 314-329.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0625-0
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The biological relevance of cytokines is known for more than 20 years. Evidence suggests that adipogenesis is one of the biological events involved in the regulation of cytokines, and pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNFα and IL-1β) inhibit adipogenesis through various pathways. This inhibitory effect can constrain the hyperplastic expandability of adipose tissues. Meanwhile, chronic low-grade inflammation is commonly observed in obese populations. In some individuals, the impaired ability of adipose tissues to recruit new adipocytes to adipose depots during overnutrition results in adipocyte hypertrophy, ectopic lipid accumulation, and insulin resistance. Intervention studies showed that pro-inflammatory cytokine antagonists improve metabolism in patients with metabolic syndrome. This review focuses on the cytokines currently known to regulate adipogenesis under physiological and pathophysiological circumstances. Recent studies on how inhibited adipogenesis leads to metabolic disorders were summarized. Although the interplay of cytokines and lipid metabolism is yet incompletely understood, cytokines represent a class of potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of metabolic disorders.

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Cholera: an overview with reference to the Yemen epidemic
Ali A. Rabaan
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 213-228.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0631-2
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Cholera is a secretory diarrhoeal disease caused by infection with Vibrio cholerae, primarily the V. cholerae O1 El Tor biotype. There are approximately 2.9 million cases in 69 endemic countries annually, resulting in 95 000 deaths. Cholera is associated with poor infrastructure and lack of access to sanitation and clean drinking water. The current cholera epidemic in Yemen, linked to spread of V. cholerae O1 (Ogawa serotype), is associated with the ongoing war. This has devastated infrastructure and health services. The World Health Organization had estimated that 172 286 suspected cases arose between 27th April and 19th June 2017, including 1170 deaths. While there are three oral cholera vaccines prequalified by the World Health Organization, there are issues surrounding vaccination campaigns in conflict situations, exacerbated by external factors such as a global vaccine shortage. Major movements of people complicates surveillance and administration of double doses of vaccines. Cholera therapy mainly depends on rehydration, with use of antibiotics in more severe infections. Concerns have arisen about the rise of antibiotic resistance in cholera, due to mobile genetic elements. In this review, we give an overview of cholera epidemiology, virulence, antibiotic resistance, therapy and vaccines, in the light of the ongoing epidemic in Yemen.

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Characterization of hidden rules linking symptoms and selection of acupoint using an artificial neural network model
Won-Mo Jung, In-Soo Park, Ye-Seul Lee, Chang-Eop Kim, Hyangsook Lee, Dae-Hyun Hahm, Hi-Joon Park, Bo-Hyoung Jang, Younbyoung Chae
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (1): 112-120.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0582-z
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Comprehension of the medical diagnoses of doctors and treatment of diseases is important to understand the underlying principle in selecting appropriate acupoints. The pattern recognition process that pertains to symptoms and diseases and informs acupuncture treatment in a clinical setting was explored. A total of 232 clinical records were collected using a Charting Language program. The relationship between symptom information and selected acupoints was trained using an artificial neural network (ANN). A total of 11 hidden nodes with the highest average precision score were selected through a tenfold cross-validation. Our ANN model could predict the selected acupoints based on symptom and disease information with an average precision score of 0.865 (precision, 0.911; recall, 0.811). This model is a useful tool for diagnostic classification or pattern recognition and for the prediction and modeling of acupuncture treatment based on clinical data obtained in a real-world setting. The relationship between symptoms and selected acupoints could be systematically characterized through knowledge discovery processes, such as pattern identification.

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Early-onset diabetes: an epidemic in China
Jiemin Pan, Weiping Jia
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (6): 624-633.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0669-1
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Although type 2 diabetes is a disease often associated with aging, the global prevalence of early-onset diabetes has been increasing due to man’s sedentary lifestyle, low-physical activity, obesity, and some non-modifiable risk factors. Many studies have found that individuals with early-onset type 2 diabetes were at higher risk of developing vascular complications than those with late-onset diabetes. Individuals with early-onset diabetes are usually unwilling to visit hospital and have more confidence in their health, which results in poor glycemic control and the delayed detection of diabetes-related complications. Few studies have focused on the treatment and prevention of complications in specific population of individuals with early-onset type 2 diabetes. Therefore, focusing on this particular population is critical for the government and academic societies. Screening for T2DM is imminent for young adults with a family history of diabetes, obesity, markers of insulin resistance, or alcohol consumption. More data are definitely required to establish a reasonable risk model to screen for early-onset diabetes.

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HLA and lung transplantation
Liya Ju, Caroline Suberbielle, Xiaofan Li, Nuala Mooney, Dominique Charron
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (3): 298-313.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0636-x
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Lung transplantation is increasingly practiced for patients with end-stage lung disease. The successful outcome of solid organ transplantation today is severely impeded by the production of alloantibodies, mainly directed against the protein products of the HLA complex of the organ donor. While the association between antibody mediated rejection and allograft damage has been well established in renal and heart transplantation, it has not yet been well characterized in lung transplantation. This review addresses the question of HLA matching in lung transplantation and current knowledge of the allogenicity of different HLA class I and II antigens. The role of the antibody mediated immune response is discussed as well as the importance of pre-transplant or de novo post-transplant circulating antibodies. Finally, potential mechanisms, which may act individually or in combination, of antibody mediated damage to solid organ transplants are considered.

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Current advances for bone regeneration based on tissue engineering strategies
Rui Shi, Yuelong Huang, Chi Ma, Chengai Wu, Wei Tian
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 160-188.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0629-9
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Bone tissue engineering (BTE) is a rapidly developing strategy for repairing critical-sized bone defects to address the unmet need for bone augmentation and skeletal repair. Effective therapies for bone regeneration primarily require the coordinated combination of innovative scaffolds, seed cells, and biological factors. However, current techniques in bone tissue engineering have not yet reached valid translation into clinical applications because of several limitations, such as weaker osteogenic differentiation, inadequate vascularization of scaffolds, and inefficient growth factor delivery. Therefore, further standardized protocols and innovative measures are required to overcome these shortcomings and facilitate the clinical application of these techniques to enhance bone regeneration. Given the deficiency of comprehensive studies in the development in BTE, our review systematically introduces the new types of biomimetic and bifunctional scaffolds. We describe the cell sources, biology of seed cells, growth factors, vascular development, and the interactions of relevant molecules. Furthermore, we discuss the challenges and perspectives that may propel the direction of future clinical delivery in bone regeneration.

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Combination of biomaterial transplantation and genetic enhancement of intrinsic growth capacities to promote CNS axon regeneration after spinal cord injury
Bin Yu, Xiaosong Gu
Front. Med.    2019, 13 (2): 131-137.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-018-0642-z
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The inhibitory environment that surrounds the lesion site and the lack of intrinsic regenerative capacity of the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS) impede the regrowth of injured axons and thereby the reestablishment of neural circuits required for functional recovery after spinal cord injuries (SCI). To circumvent these barriers, biomaterial scaffolds are applied to bridge the lesion gaps for the regrowing axons to follow, and, often by combining stem cell transplantation, to enable the local environment in the growth-supportive direction. Manipulations, such as the modulation of PTEN/mTOR pathways, can also enhance intrinsic CNS axon regrowth after injury. Given the complex pathophysiology of SCI, combining biomaterial scaffolds and genetic manipulation may provide synergistic effects and promote maximal axonal regrowth. Future directions will primarily focus on the translatability of these approaches and promote therapeutic avenues toward the functional rehabilitation of patients with SCIs.

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Association of maternal depression with dietary intake, growth, and development of preterm infants: a cohort study in Beijing, China
Han Wang, Hong Zhou, Yan Zhang, Yan Wang, Jing Sun
Front. Med.    2018, 12 (5): 533-541.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-017-0591-y
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This study aimed to explore the association of maternal depression with nutrient intake, growth, and development of preterm infants. A cohort study of 201 infants was conducted in Beijing. Based on the gestational age of an infant and status of the mother, the infants were divided into four groups: non-depression-fullterm (64), non-depression-preterm (70), depression-fullterm (36), and depression-preterm (31). Data on sociodemographic characteristics, nutritional intake, growth, and developmental status of children at 8 months (corrected ages) were collected using a quantitative questionnaire, a 24-Hour Dietary Recall, anthropometric measurements, and the Bayley-III scale. A multivariate analysis was used to evaluate the effects of maternal depression and preterm birth on infant growth and development. The energy, protein, and carbohydrate intake in the depression group was lower than the recommended amounts. The depression preterm groups indicated the lowest Z-scores for length and weight and the lowest Bayley-III scores. Preterm infants of depressed mothers are at high risks of poor growth and development delay.

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