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Gong X.,Hepatology Unit | Yang J.,Hepatology Unit | Tang J.,Hepatology Unit | Gu C.,Hepatology Unit | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

To understand the mechanisms underlying the discordance between normal serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and significant alterations in liver histology of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with persistent normal ALT (PNALT) or minimally elevated ALT. A total of 300 treatment-naive chronic HBV-infected patients with PNALT (ALT ≤ upper limit of normal [ULN, 40 U/ml]) or minimally elevated ALT (1-2×ULN) were retrospectively enrolled. All patients underwent liver biopsy and histological changes were analyzed along with biochemical and HBV markers. Among 300 participants, 177 were HBeAg-positive and 123 HBeAg-negative. Significant histologic abnormalities were found in 42.9% (76/ 177) and 52.8% (65/123) of HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients, respectively. Significant fibrosis, which is a marker of prior injury, was more frequently detected than significant necroinflammation (suggesting active liver injury) in both HBeAg-positive and -negative groups, suggesting that liver injury occurred intermittently in our cohort. No significant differences were noticed in the percentage of patients with severe fibrosis between HBeAg-positive and negative phases or between ages 30 and 40 and over 40, suggesting that the fibrosis was possibly carried over from an early phase. Finally, lowering ALT ULN (30 U/L for men, 19 U/L for women) alone was not adequate to increase the sensitivity of ALT detection of liver injury. However, the study was limited to a small sample size of 13 HBeAg-positive patients with ALT in the revised normal range. We detected significant liver pathology in almost 50% of chronic HBV infected patients with PNALT (ALT ≤ 40 U/ml) or minimally elevated ALT. We postulated that small-scale intermittent liver injury was possibly responsible for the discordance between normal serum ALT and significant liver changes in our cohort. Copyright: © 2015 Gong et al. Source


Kong H.,Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Endogenous Infection | Kong H.,Georgia Regents University | Liu X.,Southern Medical University | Yang L.,Southern Medical University | And 5 more authors.
Oncology Reports | Year: 2016

All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been shown to enhance the expression of connexin 43 (Cx43) and the bystander effect (BSE) in suicide gene therapy. These in turn improve effects of suicide gene therapies for several tumor types. However, whether ATRA can improve BSE remains unclear in suicide gene therapy for breast cancer. In the present study, MCF-7, human breast cancer cells were treated with ATRA in combination with a VEGFP-TK/CD gene suicide system developed by our group. We found that this combination enhances the efficiency of cell killing and apoptosis of breast cancer by strengthening the BSE in vitro. ATRA also promotes gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) in MCF-7 cells by upregulation of the connexin 43 mRNA and protein in MCF-7 cells. These results indicate that enhancement of GJIC by ATRA in suicide gene system might serve as an attractive and cost-effective strategy of therapy for breast cancer cells. Source

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