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For decades, fructose intake has been recognised as an environmental risk for metabolic syndromes and diseases. Here we comprehensively examined the effects of fructose intake on mice liver transcriptomes. Fructose-supplemented water (34 %; w/v) was fed to both male and female C57BL/6N mice at their free will for 6 weeks, followed by hepatic transcriptomics analysis. Based on our criteria, differentially expressed genes (DEG) were selected and subjected to further computational analyses to predict key pathways and upstream regulator(s). Subsequently, predicted genes and pathways from the transcriptomics dataset were validated via quantitative RT-PCR analyses. As a result, we identified eighty-nine down-regulated and eighty-eight up-regulated mRNA in fructose-fed mice livers. These DEG were subjected to bioinformatics analysis tools in which DEG were mainly enriched in xenobiotic metabolic processes; further, in the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software, it was suggested that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is an upstream regulator governing overall changes, while fructose suppresses the AhR signalling pathway. In our quantitative RT-PCR validation, we confirmed that fructose suppressed AhR signalling through modulating expressions of transcription factor (AhR nuclear translocator; Arnt) and upstream regulators (Ncor2, and Rb1). Altogether, we demonstrated that ad libitum fructose intake suppresses the canonical AhR signalling pathway in C57BL/6N mice liver. Based on our current observations, further studies are warranted, especially with regard to the effects of co-exposure to fructose on (1) other types of carcinogens and (2) inflammation-inducing agents (or even diets such as a high-fat diet), to find implications of fructose-induced AhR suppression.
This study aimed to investigate associations among spirituality, coping strategies, quality of life (QOL), and the effects of depression and anxiety thereon in cancer patients.
In total, 237 cancer patients referred to a psycho-oncology clinic at a university hospital in Korea were enrolled. After identifying predictors of patient QOL in a stepwise regression model, we developed a hypothetical path model wherein interpersonal coping was considered as a mediating variable between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL and wherein depression and anxiety affected each of these three variables.
The direct effect of spirituality (meaning/peace) on QOL was 36.7%. In an indirect model, interpersonal coping significantly mediated the relationship between spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL. Depression exerted the largest negative effect on spirituality (meaning/peace), interpersonal coping, and QOL. Anxiety had negative effects on spirituality (meaning/peace) and QOL, but a positive effect on interpersonal coping.
Significance of results
Interpersonal coping strategies work as a partial mediator of the relationship between meaning/peace subscales of spirituality and QOL. Effective management of depression may help in achieving better outcomes associated therewith. Greater attention and efforts to improve social connectedness and meaning of life in spiritual well-being may improve the QOL of cancer patients.
Allicin (AL) regulates the cellular redox, proliferation, viability, and cell cycle of different cells against extracellular-derived stress. This study investigated the effects of allicin treatment on porcine oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in medium supplemented with 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 or 100 μM AL, respectively, during in vitro maturation (IVM). The rate of polar body emission was higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group (74.5% ± 2.3%) than in the control (68.0% ± 2.6%) (P < 0.1). After parthenogenetic activation, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were significantly higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control (P < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species level at metaphase II did not significantly differ among all groups. In matured oocytes, the expression of both BAK and CASP3, and BIRC5 was significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control. Similarly, the expression of BMP15 and CCNB1, and the activity of phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), significantly increased. These results indicate that supplementation of oocyte maturation medium with allicin during IVM improves the maturation of oocytes and the subsequent developmental competence of porcine oocytes.
Technologies for detecting and analyzing a single molecule help us understand and engineer numerous phenomena observed in nature. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are highly efficient molecular conduits due to their atomically smooth surface. Because of their small diameters, comparable to the size of a single molecule, even a single blocking molecule can obstruct CNT fluidic channels. Analyzing these pore-blocking events in CNTs therefore enables single-molecule studies. The high-aspect ratios of CNT channels, which extend the time scale of transport, allow for studying molecular transport that is too fast to record in other systems. Both theoretical studies and ensemble experimental measurements have verified the enhanced flow of various ions and molecular species in CNTs. Experimental measurements of a single-CNT fluidic channel, however, have only recently begun, demonstrating the detection of individual DNA, polymer, and alkali-metal ions. This article reviews recent advances in single-nanotube fluidic channels with a focus on experimental measurements.
Advancements in medical and surgical treatment have increased the life expectancy of patients with CHD. Many patients with CHD, however, struggle with the medical, psychosocial, and behavioural challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Specifically, the environmental and lifestyle challenges in school are very important factors that affect children and adolescents with CHD. This study aimed to evaluate school-related adjustments depending on school level and disclosure of disease in children and adolescents with CHD. This was a descriptive and exploratory study with 205 children and adolescents, aged 7–18 years, who were recruited from two congenital heart clinics from 5 January to 27 February, 2015. Data were analysed using the Student’s t-test, analysis of variance, and a univariate general linear model. School-related adjustment scores were significantly different according to school level and disclosure of disease (p<0.001) when age, religion, experience being bullied, and parents’ educational levels were assigned as covariates. The school-related adjustment score of patients who did not disclose their disease dropped significantly in high school. This indicated that it is important for healthcare providers to plan developmentally appropriate educational transition programmes for middle-school students with CHD in order for students to prepare themselves before entering high school.
Subjective memory impairment (SMI) is common among older adults. Increasing evidence suggests that SMI is a risk factor for future cognitive decline, as well as for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Medial temporal lobe structures, including the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, are affected in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The current study examined the gray matter (GM) volume and microstructural changes of hippocampal and entorhinal regions in individuals with SMI, compared with elderly control participants without memory complaints.
A total of 45 participants (mean age: 70.31 ± 6.07 years) took part in the study, including 18 participants with SMI and 27 elderly controls without memory complaints. We compared the GM volume and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures in the hippocampal and entorhinal regions between SMI and control groups.
Individuals with SMI had lower entorhinal cortical volumes than control participants, but no differences in hippocampal volume were found between groups. In addition, SMI patients exhibited DTI changes (lower fractional anisotropy (FA) and higher mean diffusivity in SMI) in the hippocampal body and entorhinal white matter compared with controls. Combining entorhinal cortical volume and FA in the hippocampal body improved the accuracy of classification between SMI and control groups.
These findings suggest that the entorhinal region exhibits macrostructural as well as microstructural changes in individuals with SMI, whereas the hippocampus exhibits only microstructural alterations.
Family study can provide estimates of overall genetic influences on a particular trait because family relationships provide accurate measures of average genetic sharing. However, evidence of genetic contributions to skin phenotypes is limited, which may preclude genetic studies to identify genetic variants or to understand underlying molecular biology of skin traits. This study aimed to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to selected dermatologic phenotypes, that is, to melanin index, sebum secretion, and skin humidity level in a Korean twin-family cohort. We investigated more than 2,000 individuals from 486 families, including 388 monozygotic twin pairs and 82 dizygotic twin pairs. Variance component method was used to estimate genetic influences in terms of heritability. Heritability of skin melanin index, sebum secretion, and skin humidity (arm and cheek) were estimated to be 0.44 [95% CI 0.38–0.49], 0.21 [95% CI 0.16–0.26], 0.13 [95% CI 0.07–0.18], and 0.11 [95% CI 0.06–0.16] respectively, after adjusting for confounding factors. Our findings suggest that genetics play a major role on skin melanin index, but only mild roles on sebum secretion and humidity. Sebum secretion and skin humidity are controlled predominantly by environmental factors notably on shared environments among family members. We expect that our findings add insight to determinants of common dermatologic traits, and serve as a reference for biologic studies.
Existing literature suggests that mental health literacy is positively associated with mental health services utilization. Despite an aging population that faces significant mental health concerns in Korea, the role of mental health literacy on mental health services utilization is not known among older adults in Korea. This study aimed to (1) identify whether mental health literacy mediates the association between population characteristics and mental health services utilization and (2) identify an optimal path model for mental health services utilization among Korean older adults.
Using a cross-sectional survey with a quota sampling strategy, we collected and analyzed responses from 596 community-dwelling individuals ages 65 years and older. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to estimate the effect of mental health literacy as a mediator.
When controlling for other relevant covariates in the optimal path model, mental health literacy mediated the relationships between three socio-demographic factors (education, general literacy, and health status) and mental health services utilization. The model fit index shows that the SEM fits very well (CFI = 0.92, NFI = 0.90, RMSEA = 0.07).
Efforts to improve mental health literacy through community-based education programs may need to particularly target Korean older adults with the relevant socio-demographic characteristics to enhance their utilization of appropriate mental health services.
Among domesticated traits, pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) caused by the early breakage of dormancy leads to severe economic losses. Therefore, regulating PHS is important for cereal crop improvement against changes in climate. In this study, we surveyed naturally occurring variations in seed germination in diverse rice germplasm for the available resources of this trait, and investigated the changes of abscisic acid (ABA) levels during grain development by the distinguished PHS-resistant groups. We discovered wide variations in germination among the 205 rice accessions examined and found that 90 accessions are resistant (germination <20%) to PHS. Tropical and subtropical accessions, which are subjected to long wet periods, are more resistant to PHS than the other accessions. We detected an increase in germination of detached seeds from the panicle compared with intact seeds in panicle at harvesting time. This might be attributed to a weakening of the mechanical barrier that prevents water imbibition and radical emergence. ABA levels were maximal at 10 d after flowering and decreased thereafter. Interestingly, PHS-susceptible accessions maintained higher or similar ABA levels compared with PHS-resistant accessions, suggesting that the key factors for seed dormancy and its breakage are ABA perception and signal transduction rather than total ABA content. The diversity of germination ability detected in this study could be sustainably used for crop improvement and to help unveil the genetic and physiological basis of this quantitative trait.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are common dietary exposures that cross the human placenta and are classified as a probable human carcinogen. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential impact of exposure to PAH-containing meat consumed during pregnancy on birth outcomes.
Prospective birth cohort study. Only non-smoking women with singleton pregnancies, who were free from chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension, were included in the study. Maternal consumption of PAH-rich meat was estimated through FFQ. Multiple linear regression was used to assess factors related to higher intake and the association between dietary PAH and birth outcomes.
Republic of Korea, 2006–2011.
Pregnant women (n 778) at 12–28 weeks of gestation enrolled in the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study.
The multivariable regression model showed a significant reduction in birth weight associated with higher consumption level of foods rich in PAH, such as grilled or roasted meat, during pregnancy (β=−17·48 g, P<0·05 for every 1 point higher in meat score). Further adjusting for biomarkers of airborne PAH did not alter this association. There was no evidence that higher consumption level of PAH-rich meat shortens the duration of gestation (P=0·561). Regression models performed for birth length and head circumference produced negative effects that were not statistically significant.
Consumption of higher levels of barbecued, fried, roasted and smoked meats during pregnancy was associated with reduced birth weight. Dietary risk of PAH exposure in Korean women is of concern.
Background: Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) on clinics who subsequently turn out to have normal dopamine transporter images have been referred to as scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficits (SWEDDs) patients. Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction has frequently been reported in PD. In this study, we determined the similarities and differences in cardiac autonomic dysfunction between SWEDDs and PD patients. This study investigated whether 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (24-hour ABPM) can help identify possible cases with SWEDDs. Methods: We enrolled 28 SWEDDs patients, 46 patients with PD, and 30 healthy controls. To evaluate cardiac autonomic function, 24-hour ABPM was performed on all subjects. Cardiac metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy was performed on the SWEDDs and PD subjects. Results: The percentage nocturnal decline in blood pressure differed significantly among SWEDDs patients, PD patients, and controls (p<0.05). In addition to the abnormal nocturnal BP, regulation (nondipping and reverse dipping) was significantly higher in SWEDDs and PD subjects than in the control subjects (p<0.05). There was no significant correlation between the % nocturnal blood pressure reduction and parameters of cardiac MIBG uptake ratio. However, orthostatic hypotension was significant correlated with the nocturnal blood pressure dip (%), nocturnal blood pressure patterns, and the cardiac MIBG uptake ratio (early and late) in combined SWEDDs and PD subjects. Conclusions: Pathologic nocturnal blood pressure regulation and nocturnal hypertension, known characteristics of PD, are also present in SWEDDs. Moreover, cardiac sympathetic denervation should not be attributed to cardiac autonomic dysfunction in SWEDDs patients. As with PD patients, the SWEDDs patients studied here tended to have cardiac autonomic dysfunction.
Cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMH) are prevalent incident findings on brain MRI scans among elderly people and have been consistently implicated in cognitive dysfunction. However, differential roles of WMH by region in cognitive function are still unclear. The aim of this study was to ascertain the differential role of regional WMH in predicting progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to different subtypes of dementia.
Participants were recruited from the Clinical Research Center for Dementia of South Korea (CREDOS) study. A total of 622 participants with MCI diagnoses at baseline and follow-up evaluations were included for the analysis. Initial MRI scans were rated for WMH on a visual rating scale developed for the CREDOS. Differential effects of regional WMH in predicting incident dementia were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Of the 622 participants with MCI at baseline, 139 patients (22.3%) converted to all-cause dementia over a median of 14.3 (range 6.0–36.5) months. Severe periventricular WMH (PWMH) predicted incident all-cause dementia (Hazard ratio (HR) 2.22; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43–3.43) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (HR 1.86; 95% CI 1.12–3.07). Subcortical vascular dementia (SVD) was predicted by both PWMH (HR 16.14; 95% CI 1.97–132.06) and DWMH (HR 8.77; 95% CI 1.77–43.49) in more severe form (≥ 10 mm).
WMH differentially predict dementia by region and severity. Our findings suggest that PWMH may play an independent role in the pathogenesis of dementia, especially in AD.
A quantitative analysis of In concentration in InGaN/GaN multiquantum wells in light-emitting diodes was carried out using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and high-angle annual dark-field scanning TEM (HAADF-STEM). The In composition in InGaN was evaluated by the precise measurement of c-lattice parameters in the HRTEM micrographs, which increase with increasing In composition. The reliability of the results was confirmed by high-resolution x-ray diffraction measurements and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry. Quantitative In compositions can, therefore, be determined using HRTEM. We tried to determine the quantitative In compositions in InGaN by analyzing the intensity profiles of the HAADF-STEM images. However, several problems were encountered, such as differences in the thickness of the region observed, carbon contamination, and ion beam damage during specimen preparation. Therefore, relative differences in composition were observed in the HAADF-STEM images.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to predict the potential impact of the introduction of implantation of polyurethane scaffold for the treatment of partial meniscal lesions in the South Korean healthcare system.
Methods: The horizon scanning process was used to select a target technology and assess its potential impacts on patients and the Korean healthcare system. We identified and filtered research-phase health technologies that are not listed yet in Korean, but appear promising. After a process of prioritization, we chose the implantation of polyurethane scaffolds as a target technology. Then, through the procedures of assessment and peer review, we analyzed current evidence and its predicted potential impacts.
Results: There were eight studies included in the review: one prospective cohort and seven case-series studies. Six revealed significant improvements in function and pain relief. Of the six studies, which reported safety endpoints, four stated no major postoperative complications related to scaffold, and two reported adverse events and serious adverse events such as pain, joint swelling, et cetera. We also included the potential impact of this technology based on the experts’ consultation. They all agreed that it would satisfy the diverse needs of patients and fulfill clinical needs. However, the majority of related clinical studies were based on short-term follow-up observations without any validation process involving comparison with control groups.
Conclusions: Through a horizon scanning activity, we found that the implantation of polyurethane scaffolds is a promising technology to resolve articular cartilage defects; however, long-term evidence with comparison groups for safety and effectiveness is required.
There is scarce research on the short-term fluctuations in end-of-life (EoL) care planning for seriously ill patients. The aim of our study was to investigate the stability of preferences regarding treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) and identify the factors associated with changes in preferences in terms of quality of life (QoL).
A prospective examination on preference changes for ICU care in 141 terminal cancer patients was conducted. Patients were categorized according to their change in preference during the final two months of their lives into four categories: (1) the keep–accept group, (2) the keep–reject group, (3) the change to accept group, and (4) the change to reject group. Using multiple logistic analyses, we explored the association between patient demographics, health-related QoL, and changes in ICU preference.
The overall stability of ICU preferences near the end of life was 66.7% (κ = 0.33, p < 0.001). Married patients were more likely to change their preference regarding ICU care [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) toward accept 12.35, p = 0.021; aOR toward reject 10.56, p = 0.020] than unmarried patients. Patients with stable physical function tended to accept ICU care (aOR = 5.05, p = 0.023), whereas those with poor performance (aOR = 5.32, p = 0.018), worsened QoL (aOR = 8.34, p = 0.007), or non-aggravated fatigue (aOR = 8.36, p = 0.006) were more likely to not accept ICU care.
Significance of results:
The attitudes of terminally ill cancer patients regarding ICU care at the end of life were not stable over time, and changes in their QoL were associated with a tendency to change their preferences about ICU care. Attention should thus be paid to patients' QoL changes to improve medical decision making with regard to EoL care.
This study examined changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and quality of care (QoC) as perceived by terminally ill cancer patients and a stratified set of HRQoL or QoC factors that are most likely to influence survival at the end of life (EoL).
We administered questionnaires to 619 consecutive patients immediately after they were diagnosed with terminal cancer by physicians at 11 university hospitals and at the National Cancer Center in Korea. Subjects were followed up over 161.2 person-years until their deaths. We measured HRQoL using the core 30-item European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, and QoC using the Quality Care Questionnaire–End of Life (QCQ–EoL). We evaluated changes in HRQoL and QoC issues during the first three months after enrollment, performing sensitivity analysis by using data generated via four methods (complete case analysis, available case analysis, the last observation carried forward, and multiple imputation).
Emotional and cognitive functioning decreased significantly over time, while dyspnea, constipation, and pain increased significantly. Dignity-conserving care, care by healthcare professionals, family relationships, and QCQ–EoL total score decreased significantly. Global QoL, appetite loss, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG–PS) scores were significantly associated with survival.
Significance of results:
Future standardization of palliative care should be focused on assessment of these deteriorated types of quality. Accurate estimates of the length of life remaining for terminally ill cancer patients by such EoL-enhancing factors as global QoL, appetite loss, and ECOG–PS are needed to help patients experience a dignified and comfortable death.
Improved root architecture of cultivated barley can improve crop performance in drought-prone areas. In this study, seedlings of 315 wild barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) accessions from the Wild Barley Diversity Collection (WBDC) were grown under hydroponic conditions for 8 d after germination and then root characteristics were analysed. Significant differences were observed among the accessions with regard to seminal root number (SRN), root length (RL), specific root length (SRL), root fresh weight and root dry weight (RDW). Principal component analysis explained about 81% of the total variation for ten traits. Principal component (PC) 1, PC2 and PC3 explained about 38, 30 and 13% of the total variation among the accessions. The two most prominent contributors in each PC were RL and SRL, RDW and SRN, and the longitude and latitude of the collection sites, respectively. Accessions WBDC266, WBDC302, WBDC286 and WBDC011 had the longest RL and the highest RDW, specific dry root weight and SRL, respectively. These accessions may be useful genetic resources for the improvement of these root traits in cultivated barley.
In this study, the transcriptome of Vitis flexuosa leaves inoculated with Elsinoe ampelina was analysed to identify useful genes and elucidate their function and differential expression patterns through assembly and annotation gene ontology of data from sequencing short reads on the Illumina platform. We assembled ~121 million high-quality trimmed reads using Velvet and Oases with optimal parameters into a non-redundant set of 70,899 transcripts ( ≥ 200 bp in length). The transcripts exhibited an average length of 1138 bp and a N50 length of 1695 bp, with the largest contig length being 9623 bp. Functional categorization revealed the conservation of genes involved in various molecular functions, including protein binding (21.1%) and oxidoreductase activity (11.7%), in V. flexuosa. The V. flexuosa transcript set generated in this study will serve as a resource for gene discovery and development of functional molecular markers.