TLR2 promotes vascular smooth muscle cell chondrogenic differentiation and consequent calcification via the concerted actions of osteoprotegerin suppression and IL-6-mediated RANKL induction

Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) transformation to an osteochondrogenic phenotype is an initial step toward arterial calcification, which is highly correlated with cardiovascular disease-related morbidity and mortality. TLR2 (toll-like receptor 2) plays a pathogenic role in the development of vascular diseases, but its regulation in calcification of arteries and VSMCs…

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PP4 deficiency leads to DNA replication stress that impairs immunoglobulin class switch efficiency and germinal center formation

A team led by Dr. Yu-Wen Su from the Immunology Research Center demonstrated  that PP4 is indispensable for preventing DNA replication stress that could interfere with class switch recombination (CSR), thereby promoting antibody switching during the humoral immune response. PP4 is a serine/threonine phosphatase required for immunoglobulin (Ig) VDJ recombination…

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Paradoxical relationship between glycated hemoglobin and longitudinal change in physical functioning in older adults: A prospective cohort study

Hyperglycemia with high hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels is associated with significant health risks. However, the relationship between HbA1c levels and the physical functioning status in later life remains uncertain and so is the possible underlying mechanism. Dr. I-Chien Wu and his team from the Institute of Population Health Sciences conducted…

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The decline in kidney function with chromium exposure is exacerbated with co-exposure to lead and cadmium

Environmental factors contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease. However, these factors, and particularly the toxic effects of heavy metals, have not been completely evaluated. Among which, chromium is a widespread industrial contaminant that has been linked to nephrotoxicity in animal and occupational population studies. Nevertheless, its role…

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Increasing trends of anaphylaxis-related events: An analysis of anaphylaxis using nationwide data in Taiwan, 2001-2013

Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially fatal, and systemic allergic reaction. Previous studies document increasing trends in incidence rates of anaphylaxis-related events in Western countries, yet little is known about the incidence and trend of anaphylaxis in Asia. Dr. Hui-Ju Tsai from the Institutes of Population Health Sciences and her collaborators…

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Association of pregnancy and mortality in women diagnosed with breast cancer: A nationwide population based study in Taiwan

In recent decades, the incidence rates of breast cancer have been increasing rapidly in Asian countries. Previous studies have shown that pregnancy has dual effects on breast cancer. However, with increasing incidence of breast cancer in young women and delayed childbearing, the incidence of pregnancy‐related breast cancer may have been…

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Effect of a point mutation in mprF on susceptibility to daptomycin, vancomycin, and oxacillin in an MRSA clinical strain

Daptomycin, a cyclic lipopeptide antibiotic, is one of the last-line agents for the treatment of certain severe multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, including those caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). However, the exact mechanisms giving rise to daptomycin-non-susceptibility in S. aureus are not fully revealed but appear to involve diverse genetic…

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APBB2 is associated with amphetamine use and plasma beta-amyloids in patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment

APBB2, amyloid beta (A4) precursor protein-binding family B member 2 has been reported to be associated with opioid dependence. Dr. Yu-Li Liu from the Center for Neuropsychiatric Research reported the first time that the genetic variants in the APBB2 gene were associated with use of amphetamine in opioid dependent patients…

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NHRI researchers find myeloid-derived macrophages and secreted HSP90α induce pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma development

A team led by Dr. Tze-Sing Huang from the National Institute of Cancer Research, in collaboration with Taipei Veterans General Hospital, reported extracellular HSP90α (eHSP90α) can be potentially taken as a target to suppress pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) pathogenesis besides myeloid cells. The team detected a significant elevation of serum…

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