Current studies on biological communications mainly focus on chemical signals. Since organisms are extremely complex, different kinds of signals may exist in the process of cell communication. The most probable candidate for alternative forms of organism communications is electromagnetic radiation, as many experiments have confirmed that electromagnetic radiation widely exists in cells, tissues, organisms and even between organisms and their surroundings. The well-known connection between electromagnetic radiation and quantization of the energy transfer makes us to suggest a bold, but fresh view that quantum can serve as a biological messenger. This view also coincides with the medium of Qi in the human body according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Relating Qi with quantum may further explain a number of phenomena that cannot be explained solely by conventional chemical signaling systems.
The binding ability of anti-insulin-like growth factor Ι receptor (IGF-ΙR) single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) to IGF-IR was measured in the presence of plant lectins. Combinations of concanavalin A (Con A), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), or peanut agglutinin (PNA) and 1H7 or 3B7 anti-IGF-ΙR scFv/phage antibodies that were previously produced and characterized were used. WGA inhibited binding of both scFvs proteins to the receptor. PNA slightly enhanced the binding of 1H7 scFv and phage antibody to the receptor. Con A led to enhancement of 3B7 scFv-binding but had no effect in a test of phage antibodies and determination of kinetic parameters. The effect of lectins differed for scFvs and phage antibodies, implying that affinity altered by lectins is dependent upon the molecular structure of the antibodies. Results indicated that animal lectins may affect the affinity of therapeutic antibodies targeting cell membrane receptors in vivo.
An abundance of candidate genes have been reported as susceptibility factors for the risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Vitamin D receptor (VDR) plays an important role in cellular differentiation and the control of proliferation in a variety of cell types. To our knowledge, however, no study has reported the relationship between the VDR and NPC. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential correlation between single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the VDR gene (VDR) Fok I and Bsm I and NPC. A total of 171 patients with NPC and 176 age- and sex-matched controls were involved in this study. Genotypes were determined by using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and DNA sequencing. There were no significant differences in the genotype and allele frequencies of VDR Fok I and Bsm I polymorphisms between the group of patients with NPC and the control group in a Chinese Han population (for VDR Fok I: adjusted OR 1.03, 95% CI: 0.76-1.41; for VDR Bsm I: adjusted OR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.48-1.33). Further studies will be needed to explore the complicated gene-gene interaction and geneenvironmental interactions in the susceptibility to NPC, especially in ethnically disparate populations in cohort study samples.
Taking folic acid (FA) supplements reduces the risks of neural tube defects (NTDs) in early pregnancy. Obstetricians and specialists in women's health play important roles in promoting FA intake. However, surveys on their knowledge of, attitudes toward, and behavior regarding giving FA to pregnant women are limited. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 5,860 obstetricians and specialists in women's health using a self-administered questionnaire to collect information on participants' demographic characteristics and their knowledge of and attitudes toward and practices related to taking FA supplements. Chi-square analysis was used for rate comparison while logistic regression analysis was performed to predict influencing factors. For items on knowledge about FA and taking FA supplements the overall correct response rate was 60.3% (24,235/40,173). Questions about related practices and attitudes were correctly answered for the most part (more than 90%), but participants were less likely to follow the practice of prescribing FA tablets to women planning a pregnancy while working (77.2%). Statistical analysis indicated that the "Level of facility where the participant works" and "Rate of correct responses on a test of knowledge" were the main factors affecting participants' recommendation to take FA while "Job title", "Amount of professional work experience", and "Rate of correct responses on a test of knowledge" were the main factors affecting participants' prescription of FA. In conclusion, participants had a good deal of knowledge about NTDs and FA but the lack of some knowledge possibly led to the relatively low rate of correct behaviors. Therefore, educating obstetricians and specialists in women's health in this regard is crucial.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether instruction to sleep in a lateral posture prior to falling asleep could increase the frequency of instructed posture and sleep quality, as evaluated by sleep parameters and a questionnaire for subjective assessment of sleep. The participants were comprised of 8 middle-aged and elderly men who had an awareness of their habitual snoring during sleep. Data were gathered from observations of sleep posture, sleep polysomnography and a subjective sleep quality questionnaire. As a result of the instruction, the frequency of the instructed posture was significantly increased, and there were no significant effects on sleep parameters or the frequency of postural changes. The subjective sleep quality during the instructed sleep showed worse scores than free postural-sleep for all factors. Our findings suggest that the instructed sleep posture could be increased during sleep without substantially worsening the sleep parameters and the frequency of postural changes. Future studies will therefore be required to clarify the mechanism and the long-term effects of such instruction on sleep posture, including the influence on subjective sleep quality.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-agonist (GnRH-Ag) used in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) for in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) has been known to directly affect apoptosis of human ovarian cells, but its mechanism is not clearly understood. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate whether caspase-8, -9, and -3 activation and poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP) cleavage are involved in the mechanism by which GnRH-Ag induces apoptosis in human granulosa-luteal cells. The prospective study was conducted in the research institute and clinical fertility center of university hospital. Human granulosa-luteal cells collected from IVF-ET patients were cultured and treated with 10−6 M GnRH-Ag or saline as a control. To access apoptosis in the cells, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assay and DNA fragmentation analysis were preformed 24 h after treatment. Activity of caspase-8, -9, and -3 in the cells was examined using a fluorogenic substrate. Caspase-8, -9, and -3 activation and PARP cleavage were analyzed by Western blot. DNA fragmentation in the cells increased at concentrations over 10−6 M GnRH-Ag. In TUNEL assays, the rate of apoptotic cell formation in GnRH-Ag treatment increased significantly compared with that of saline treatment (p < 0.05). The activity of caspase-8, -9 and, -3 investigated using a fluorogenic substrate increased only in the apoptotic cells. In Western blot analysis, cells treated with GnRH-Ag revealed an increase in active forms of caspase-8, -9, and -3 compared with saline treatment. In addition, cleavage of PARP also increased in cells treated with GnRH-Ag. These results suggest that activation of caspase-8, -9, and -3 and cleavage of PARP might be involved in apoptosis of human granulosa-luteal cells induced by GnRH-Ag.
Gastrodia elata (Tianma) is a traditional Chinese medicine often used for the treatment of headache, convulsions, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. The vasodilatory actions of Tianma led us to investigate its specific effects on memory and learning as well as on Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related signaling. We conducted a radial arm water maze analysis and the novel object recognition test to assess the cognitive functions of Tianma-treated mice. Our data show that Tianma enhances cognitive functions in mice. Further investigations revealed that Tianma enhances the α-secretase-mediated proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (App) that precludes the amyloid-β peptide production and supports the non-amyloidogenic processing of App which is favorable in AD treatment. We hypothesize that Tianma promotes cognitive functions and neuronal survival by inhibiting β-site App-cleaving enzyme 1 activity and promoting the neuroprotective α-secretase activity.