Aug 2017, Volume 11 Issue 3

Cover illustration

  • Glomeruli of patients with ORG. Glomerulomegaly is present, and increased capillaries number is observed. Capsular space is restricted, and segmental sclerosis sites are located near the vascular pole. (Courtesy of Dr. Li Yao. See pages 340?348 by Tianhua Xu et al. for more information.)

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    Guangyan Cai, Xiangmei Chen
    Chao Chen, Chang Wang, Chun Hu, Yachun Han, Li Zhao, Xuejing Zhu, Li Xiao, Lin Sun

    Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is one of the primary causes of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Early diagnosis is very important in preventing the development of DKD. Urinary albumin excretion rate (UAER) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are widely accepted as criteria for the diagnosis and clinical grading of DKD, and microalbuminuria has been recommended as the first clinical sign of DKD. The natural history of DKD has been divided into three stages: normoalbuminuria, microalbuminuria, and macroalbuminuria. However, this clinical paradigm has been questioned recently, as studies have shown that a portion of diabetes mellitus (DM) patients with normoalbuminuria have progressive renal insufficiency, referred to as normoalbuminuric diabetic kidney disease (NADKD) or nonalbuminuric diabetic nephropathy. Epidemiologic research has demonstrated that normoalbuminuric diabetic kidney disease is common, and the large number of NADKD patients suggests that the traditional paradigm needs to be shifted. Currently, the pathogenesis of NADKD remains unclear, but many clinical studies have identified some clinical and pathological features of NADKD. In addition, the long-term outcomes of NADKD patients remain controversial. In this article, we reviewed the latest studies addressing the pathogenesis, pathology, treatment and prevention of NADKD.

    Qiuxia Han, Hanyu Zhu, Xiangmei Chen, Zhangsuo Liu

    Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most common microvascular complications in diabetes mellitus patients and is characterized by thickened glomerular basement membrane, increased extracellular matrix formation, and podocyte loss. These phenomena lead to proteinuria and altered glomerular filtration rate, that is, the rate initially increases but progressively decreases. DN has become the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Its prevalence shows a rapid growth trend and causes heavy social and economic burden in many countries. However, this disease is multifactorial, and its mechanism is poorly understood due to the complex pathogenesis of DN. In this review, we highlight the new molecular insights about the pathogenesis of DN from the aspects of immune inflammation response, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, apoptosis and mitochondrial damage, epigenetics, and podocyte–endothelial communication. This work offers groundwork for understanding the initiation and progression of DN, as well as provides ideas for developing new prevention and treatment measures.

    Jian Liu, Weiming Wang

    Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is one of the most common glomerular diseases with signs of nephrosis, heavy proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia, and edema. Dysfunction of glomerular filtration barrier causes protein loss through the kidneys. Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) accounts for nearly 20% of NS among children and adults. Adult-onset FSGS/NS is often associated with low response to steroid treatment and immunosuppressive medication and poor renal survival. Several genes involved in NS and FSGS have been identified by linkage analysis and next-generation sequencing. Most of these genes encode proteins and are highly expressed in glomerular podocytes, which play crucial roles in slit-diaphragm signaling, regulation of actin cytoskeleton dynamics and maintenance of podocyte integrity, and cell–matrix interactions. In this review, we focus on the recently identified genes in the adult-onset NS and FSGS and discuss clinical significance of screening of these genes.

    Tianhua Xu, Zitong Sheng, Li Yao

    In light of the rapid increase in the number of obesity incidences worldwide, obesity has become an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease. Obesity-related glomerulopathy (ORG) is characterized by glomerulomegaly in the presence or absence of focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis lesions. IgM and complement 3 (C3) nonspecifically deposit in lesions without immune-complex-type deposits during ORG immunofluorescence. ORG-associated glomerulomegaly and focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis can superimpose on other renal pathologies. The mechanisms under ORG are complex, especially hemodynamic changes, inflammation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and reduced functioning nephrons. These mechanisms synergize with obesity to induce end-stage renal disease. A slow increase of subnephrotic proteinuria (<3.5 g/d) is the most common clinical manifestation of ORG. Several treatment methods for ORG have been developed. Of these methods, renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system blockade and weight loss are proven effective. Targeting mitochondria may offer a novel strategy for ORG therapy. Nevertheless, more research is needed to further understand ORG.

    Zhen Zhang, Na Jiang, Zhaohui Ni

    Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is an established form of renal replacement therapy. Long-term PD leads to morphologic and functional changes to the peritoneal membrane (PM), which is defined as peritoneal fibrosis, a known cause of loss of peritoneal ultrafiltration capacity. Inflammation and angiogenesis are key events during the pathogenesis of peritoneal fibrosis. This review discusses the pathophysiology of peritoneal fibrosis and recent research progress on key fibrogenic molecular mechanisms in peritoneal inflammation and angiogenesis, including Toll-like receptor ligand-mediated, NOD-like receptor protein 3/interleukin-1β, vascular endothelial growth factor, and angiopoietin-2/Tie2 signaling pathways. Furthermore, novel strategies targeting peritoneal inflammation and angiogenesis to preserve the PM are discussed in depth.

    Yang Wang, Huifang Zhou, Xianqun Fan

    Thyroid-associated orbitopathy (TAO) is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder. The most serious complication of TAO is dysthyroid optic neuropathy (DON), which can lead to permanent vision loss because of volume expansion in the orbital apex. Orbital radiation therapy (ORT) is an anti-inflammatory treatment used in the treatment of active TAO. Clinical studies support radiotherapy as having a modest effect on DON, and early radiotherapy may protect against disease progression to DON. Current studies suggest that radiotherapy is generally safe. However, risks still exist in some cases. The possible effects of radiotherapy on TAO, especially complicated with DON, are reviewed. The effects of radiotherapy on DON are not completely known, and evidence from standardized, prospective, and multicenter clinical trials is still lacking.

    Ali A. Rabaan, Ali M. Bazzi, Shamsah H. Al-Ahmed, Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq

    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a betacoronavirus which can cause acute respiratory distress in humans and is associated with a relatively high mortality rate. Since it was first identified in a patient who died in a Jeddah hospital in 2012, the World Health Organization has been notified of 1735 laboratory-confirmed cases from 27 countries, including 628 deaths. Most cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia. MERS-CoV ancestors may be found in Old World bats of the Vespertilionidae family. After a proposed bat to camel switching event, transmission of MERS-CoV to humans is likely to have been the result of multiple zoonotic transfers from dromedary camels. Human-to-human transmission appears to require close contact with infected persons, with outbreaks mainly occurring in hospital environments. Outbreaks have been associated with inadequate infection prevention and control implementation, resulting in recommendations on basic and more advanced infection prevention and control measures by the World Health Organization, and issuing of government guidelines based on these recommendations in affected countries including Saudi Arabia. Evolutionary changes in the virus, particularly in the viral spike protein which mediates virus-host cell contact may potentially increase transmission of this virus. Efforts are on-going to identify specific evidence-based therapies or vaccines. The broad-spectrum antiviral nitazoxanide has been shown to have in vitro activity against MERS-CoV. Synthetic peptides and candidate vaccines based on regions of the spike protein have shown promise in rodent and non-human primate models. GLS-5300, a prophylactic DNA-plasmid vaccine encoding S protein, is the first MERS-CoV vaccine to be tested in humans, while monoclonal antibody, m336 has given promising results in animal models and has potential for use in outbreak situations.

    Kyung Im Kim, Sohyun Jeong, Nayoung Han, Jung Mi Oh, Kook-Hwan Oh, In-Wha Kim

    The purpose of this study is to characterize a meta-signature of differentially expressed mRNA in chronic kidney disease (CKD) to predict putative microRNA (miRNA) in CKD–mineral bone disorder (CKD–MBD) and confirm the changes in these genes and miRNA expression under uremic conditions by using a cell culture system. PubMed searches using MeSH terms and keywords related to CKD, uremia, and mRNA arrays were conducted. Through a computational analysis, a meta-signature that characterizes the significant intersection of differentially expressed mRNA and expected miRNAs associated with CKD–MBD was determined. Additionally, changes in gene and miRNA expressions under uremic conditions were confirmed with human Saos-2 osteoblast-like cells. A statistically significant mRNA meta-signature of upregulated and downregulated mRNA levels was identified. Furthermore, miRNA expression profiles were inferred, and computational analyses were performed with the imputed microRNA regulation based on weighted ranked expression and putative microRNA targets (IMRE) method to identify miRNAs associated with CKD occurrence. TLR4 and miR-146b levels were significantly associated with CKD–MBD. TLR4 levels were significantly downregulated, whereas pri-miR-146b and miR-146b were upregulated in the presence of uremic toxins in human Saos-2 osteoblast-like cells. Differentially expressed miRNAs associated with CKD-MBD were identified through a computational analysis, and changes in gene and miRNA expressions were confirmed with an in vitro cell culture system.

    Li Zhuo, Nianrong Zhang, Guming Zou, Dapeng Chen, Wenge Li

    Kidney damage is common in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). However, whether the type of kidney damage can be reliably diagnosed using clinical data alone remains unclear. Predictive factors for diabetic nephropathy (DN) outcomes are also poorly understood. In this study, the clinical manifestations of 111 cases of biopsy-proven DN were described, and the clinical and pathological parameters of patients with different DN outcomes were compared. Results showed that long DM duration (>10 years in 32.4% of patients), severe proteinuria (62.2%), and renal dysfunction (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR]<60 mL/(min·1.73 m2)) (52.3%) did not accurately indicate whether the condition of these patients progressed to DN. Hematuria (48.6%) failed to specify either DN or nondiabetic renal disease. Diabetic retinopathy (78.4%) was a crucial complication in patients with DN. Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed that the renal survival of 53 patients who were diagnosed with DN and were followed up was not significantly associated with glomerular classification (P>0.05). Cox’s regression analysis demonstrated that renal survival time was significantly influenced by sex (b= 1.394, P= 0.038), hematuria (b= 0.036, P= 0.029), and eGFR (b= −0.039, P= 0.002) but was not significantly affected by age, 24 h urinary protein excretion, or glomerular classification (P>0.05). In conclusion, the clinical characteristics of DN vary, and renal biopsy is necessary to determine renal damage patterns. Sex, hematuria, and the eGFR may affect DN outcomes, whereas the glomerular classification may not.

    Sasa Nie, Zhe Feng, Lihua Xia, Jiuxu Bai, Fenglin Xiao, Jian Liu, Li Tang, Xiangmei Chen

    The risk factors, especially laboratory indicators, of prognosis after acute kidney injury (AKI) remain unclear. We conducted a retrospective survey of Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 according to the AKI diagnosis standard issued by Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes. The epidemiological features and factors influencing hospital mortality and renal function recovery were evaluated through logistic regression analysis. Among 77 662 cases of hospitalized patients, 1387 suffered from AKI. The incidence rate and mortality of AKI were 1.79% and 14.56%, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that high AKI stage, age greater than 80 years, neoplastic disease, low cardiac output, increased white blood cell count, and decreased platelet count and serum albumin levels were the risk factors affecting the mortality of AKI patients. Conversely, body mass index between 28 and 34.9 was a protective factor. Increased AKI stage, tumor disease, post-cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and RRT were the risk factors of renal function recovery upon discharge. In addition to traditional risk factors, white blood cell count, platelet count, albumin, and BMI were the predictors of the mortality of AKI patients. No laboratory indicators were found to be the risk factors of renal function recovery in AKI patients.

    Jichun Yang, Kaiyue Jin, Jiajun Xiao, Jing Ma, Duan Ma

    Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is the main inhibitor of tissue factor-mediated coagulation. TFPI is expressed by endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the vasculature. Endothelium-derived TFPI has been reported to play a regulatory role in arterial thrombosis. However, the role of endogenous TFPI in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in thrombosis and vascular disease development has yet to be elucidated. In this TFPIFlox mice crossbred with Sma–Cre mice were utilized to establish TFPI conditional knockout mice and to examine the effects of VSMC-directed TFPI deletion on development, hemostasis, and thrombosis. The mice with deleted TFPI in VSMCs (TFPISma) reproduced viable offspring. Plasma TFPI concentration was reduced 7.2% in the TFPISma mice compared with TFPIFlox littermate controls. Plasma TFPI concentration was also detected in the TFPITie2 (mice deleted TFPI in endothelial cells and cells of hematopoietic origin) mice. Plasma TFPI concentration of the TFPITie2 mice was 80.4% lower (P<0.001) than that of the TFPIFlox mice. No difference in hemostatic measures (PT, APTT, and tail bleeding) was observed between TFPISma and TFPIFlox mice. However, TFPISma mice had increased ferric chloride–induced arterial thrombosis compared with TFPIFlox littermate controls. Taken together, these data indicated that endogenous TFPI from VSMCs inhibited ferric chloride–induced arterial thrombosis without causing hemostatic effects.

    Dan Huang, Yan Yang, Jian Sun, Xiaorong Dong, Jiao Wang, Hongchen Liu, Chengquan Lu, Xueyu Chen, Jing Shao, Jinsong Yan

    Aberrant expression of annexin A2-S100A10 heterotetramer (AIIt) associated with PML/RARα fusion protein causes lethal hyperfibrinolysis in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), but the mechanism is unclear. To facilitate the investigation of regulatory association between ANXA2 and promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor a (PML/RARα) fusion protein, this work was performed to determine the transcription start site of ANXA2 promoter with rapid amplification of 5′-cDNA ends analysis. Zinc-induced U937/PR9 cells expressed PML/RARα fusion protein, and resultant increases in ANXA2 transcripts and translational expressions of both ANXA2 and S100A10, while S100A10 transcripts remained constitutive. The transactivation of ANXA2 promoter by PML/RARα fusion protein was 3.29±0.13 fold higher than that by control pSG5 vector or wild-type RARα. The overexpression of ANXA2 in U937 transfected with full-length ANXA2 cDNA was associated with increased S100A10 subunit, although S100A10 transcripts remained constitutive. The tPA-dependent initial rate of plasmin generation (IRPG) in zinc-treated U937/PR9 increased by 2.13-fold, and cell invasiveness increased by 27.6%. Antibodies against ANXA2, S100A10, or combination of both all remarkably inhibited the IRPG and invasiveness in U937/PR9 and NB4. Treatment of zinc-induced U937/PR9 or circulating APL blasts with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) significantly reduced cell surface ANXA2 and S100A10 and associated reductions in IRPG and invasiveness. Thus, PML/RARα fusion protein transactivated the ANXA2 promoter to upregulate ANXA2 and accumulate S100A10. Increased AIIt promoted IRPG and invasiveness, both of which were partly abolished by antibodies against ANXA2 and S100A10 or by ATRA.

    Yan Ma, Albert C. Yang, Ying Duan, Ming Dong, Albert S. Yeung

    The internet is a major source for health information. An increasing number of people, including patients with insomnia, search for remedies online; however, little is known about the quality of such information. This study aimed to evaluate the quality and readability of insomnia-related online information. Google was used as the search engine, and the top websites on insomnia that met the inclusion criteria were evaluated for quality and readability. The analyzed websites belonged to nonprofit, commercial, or academic organizations and institutions such as hospitals and universities. Insomnia-related websites typically included definitions (85%), causes and risk factors (100%), symptoms (95%), and treatment options (90%). Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) was the most commonly recommended approach for insomnia treatment, and sleep drugs are frequently mentioned. The overall quality of the websites on insomnia is moderate, but all the content exceeded the recommended reading ease levels. Concerns that must be addressed to increase the quality and trustworthiness of online health information include sharing metadata, such as authorship, time of creation and last update, and conflicts of interest; providing evidence for reliability; and increasing the readability for a layman audience.

    Yufeng Zhao, Bo Liu, Liyun He, Wenjing Bai, Xueyun Yu, Xinyu Cao, Lin Luo, Peijing Rong, Yuxue Zhao, Guozheng Li, Baoyan Liu

    Traditional Chinese patent medicines are widely used to treat stroke because it has good efficacy in the clinical environment. However, because of the lack of knowledge on traditional Chinese patent medicines, many Western physicians, who are accountable for the majority of clinical prescriptions for such medicine, are confused with the use of traditional Chinese patent medicines. Therefore, the aid-decision method is critical and necessary to help Western physicians rationally use traditional Chinese patent medicines. In this paper, Manifold Ranking is employed to develop the aid-decision model of traditional Chinese patent medicines for stroke treatment. First, 115 stroke patients from three hospitals are recruited in the cross-sectional survey. Simultaneously, traditional Chinese physicians determine the traditional Chinese patent medicines appropriate for each patient. Second, particular indicators are explored to characterize the population feature of traditional Chinese patent medicines for stroke treatment. Moreover, these particular indicators can be easily obtained by Western physicians and are feasible for widespread clinical application in the future. Third, the aid-decision model of traditional Chinese patent medicines for stroke treatment is constructed based on Manifold Ranking. Experimental results reveal that traditional Chinese patent medicines can be differentiated. Moreover, the proposed model can obtain high accuracy of aid decision.

    Zhan Su, Fengyu Wu, Weiyu Hu, Xiaodan Liu, Shaoling Wu, Xianqi Feng, Zhongguang Cui, Jie Yang, Zhenguang Wang, Hongzai Guan, Hongguo Zhao, Wei Wang, Chunting Zhao, Jun Peng

    Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute myeloid leukemia is controversial and difficult to distinguish from the blast phase of chronic myeloid leukemia. As a myeloid neoplasm, rare cases of this leukemia manifest multiple soft-tissue tumors or bone lytic lesions. In this paper, we describe a 49-year-old male patient who had an abrupt onset with sharp chest pain, fever, fatigue, emaciation, and splenomegaly. 18F-fluoro-deoxy-glucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) result showed diffuse and uneven hypermetabolic lesions in the bone marrow with peripheral bone marrow expansion, multiple soft tissue neoplasms with high 18F-FDG uptake, and lytic bone lesions. Bone marrow smear and biopsy detected aberrant blast cells expressing myeloid rather than lymphoid immunophenotype marker. For the existence of Philadelphia chromosome and BCR-ABL1 fusion gene together with complex chromosome abnormalities, a diagnosis of Philadelphia-positive acute myeloid leukemia was made, although the type (de novo or blast crisis) remained unclear.

    Li Zhou, Lin Chen, Yang Yu, Tianlei Cui, Xiao Li, Ping Fu

    Establishing a long-term vascular access in patients exhibiting vascular access exhaustion is challenging. In this study, we reported a case of a direct catheterization in the superior vena cava of a hemodialysis patient with vascular access exhaustion and original dysfunctional catheter inserted via the left internal jugular vein. The direct catheterization was performed with cuffed tunnel catheter (CUFF) and guided by digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and multidetector computed tomography venography (MDCTV). The DSA and MDCTV results revealed an occlusion in the right innominate vein and thromboses in the left innominate, right internal jugular, subclavian, and femoral veins. The distal end of the superior vena cava was localized clearly by the original CUFF under DSA. Directed at the distal end of the superior vena cava, a 0.5-cm secondary puncture was introduced below the lateral head of the sternocleidomastoid muscle via the right neck area. This study is one of the few reports regarding direct catheterization of CUFF via the superior vena cava of a patient with vascular access exhaustion and CUFF dysfunction on the left internal jugular vein. We believe that our study can provide a new alternative for inserting central venous catheter for such patient.