Author Archives: gdkm04

Interoceptive awareness: MBSR training alters information processing of salience network

黃植懋副教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Front. Behav. Neurosci.



Mindfulness refers to a mental state of awareness of internal experience without judgment. Studies have suggested that each mindfulness practice may involve a unique mental state, but the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms remain unknown. Here we examined how discrepancies in brain-network organizations stem from distinct mindfulness practices during mindfulness-based intervention shape brain functionality and alter behaviors. Specifically, we investigated the functional alterations of the salience network (SN) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) among the two interoceptive mindfulness practices – breathing and body scan – associated with interoceptive awareness in fixed attention and shifted attention, respectively. Long-distance functional connectivity (FC) and regional homogeneity (ReHo) approaches were applied to measure distant and local neural information processing across various mental states. We hypothesized that mindful breathing and body scan would yield a unique information processing pattern in terms of long-range and local functional connectivity (FC). A total of 18 meditation-naïve participants were enrolled in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program alongside a waitlist control group (n = 14), with both groups undergoing multiple fMRI sessions during breathing, body scan and resting state for comparison. We demonstrated that two mindfulness practices affect both the long-distance FCSN and the local ReHo, only apparent after the MBSR program. Three functional distinctions between the mindfulness practices and the resting state: (1) distant SN connectivity to occipital regions increased during the breathing practice (fixed attention), whereas the SN increased connection with the frontal/central gyri during the body scan (shifting attention); (2) local ReHo increased only in the parietal lobe during the body scan (shifting attention); (3) distant and local connections turned into a positive correlation only during the mindfulness practices after the MBSR training, indicating a global enhancement of the SN information processing during mindfulness practices. Though with limited sample size, the functional specificity of mindfulness practices offers a potential research direction on neuroimaging of mindfulness, awaiting further studies for verification.

Osimertinib Induces the Opposite Effect of Proliferation and Migration in the Drug Resistance of EGFR-T790M Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Cells

趙瑞益教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry



Background: Lung cancer has become one of the leading causes of cancer incidence and mortality worldwide. Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is the most common type among all lung cancer cases. NSCLC patients contained high levels of activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, such as exon 19 deletion, L858R and T790M. Osimertinib, a third-generation of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI), has therapeutic efficacy on the EGFR-T790M mutation of NSCLC patients; however, treatment of osimertinib still can induce drug resistance in lung cancer patients. Therefore, investigation of the drug resistance mechanisms of osimertinib will provide novel strategies for lung cancer therapy.

Methods: The H1975OR osimertinib-resistant cell line was established by prolonged exposure with osimertinib derived from the H1975 cells. The cell proliferation ability was evaluated by the cell viability and cell growth assays. The cell migration ability was determined by the Boyden chamber assays. The differential gene expression profile was analyzed by genome-wide RNA sequencing. The protein expression and location were analyzed by western blot and confocal microscopy.

Results: In this study, we established the osimertinib-resistant H1975 (T790M/L858R) cancer cells, named the H1975OR cell line. The cell growth ability was decreased in the H1975OR cells by comparison with the H1975 parental cells. Conversely, the cell migration ability was elevated in the H1975OR cells. We found the differential gene expression profile of cell proliferation and migration pathways between the H1975OR and H1975 parental cells. Interestingly, the protein levels of phospho-EGFR, PD-L1, E-cadherin and β-catenin were decreased, but the survivin and N-cadherin proteins were increased in the H1975OR drug-resistant cells.

Conclusion: Osimertinib induces the opposite effect of proliferation and migration in the drug resistance of EGFRT790M lung cancer cells. We suggest that differential gene and protein expressions in the cell proliferation and migration pathways may mediate the drug resistance of osimertinib in lung cancer cells. Understanding the molecular drugresistant mechanisms of proliferation and migration pathways of osimertinib may provide novel targets and strategies for the clinical treatment of EGFR-TKIs in lung cancer patients.

Preventing ischemia-reperfusion injury by acousto-mechanical local oxygen delivery

何奕儒助理教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Journal of Controlled Release



Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is a pathological process that causes vascular damage and dysfunction which increases recurrence and/or mortality in myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and organ transplantation. We hypothesized that ultrasound-stimulated oxygen-loaded microbubble (O2-MB) cavitation would enhance mechanical force on endothelium and simultaneously release oxygen locally at the targeted vessels. This cooperation between biomechanical and biochemical stimuli might modulate endothelial metabolism, providing a potential clinical approach to the prevention of I/R injury. Murine hindlimb and cardiac I/R models were used to demonstrate the feasibility of injury prevention by O2-MB cavitation. Increased mechanical force on endothelium induced eNOS-activated vasodilation and angiogenesis to prevent re-occlusion at the I/R vessels. Local oxygen therapy increased endothelial oxygenation that inhibited HIF-1α expression, increased ATP generation, and activated cyclin D1 for cell repair. Moreover, a decrease in interstitial H2O2 level reduced the expression of caspase3, NFκB, TNFα, and IL6, thus ameliorating inflammatory responses. O2-MB cavitation showed efficacy in maintaining cardiac function and preventing myocardial fibrosis after I/R. Finally, we present a potential pathway for the modulation of endothelial metabolism by O2-MB cavitation in relation to I/R injury, wound healing, and vascular bioeffects.

Erinacine S from Hericium erinaceus mycelium promotes neuronal regeneration by inducing neurosteroids accumulation

黃兆祺教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Journal of Food and Drug Analysis



Erinacines derived from Hericium erinaceus have been shown to possess various health benefits including neuroprotective effect against neurodegenerative diseases, yet the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here we found that erinacine S enhances neurite outgrowth in a cell autonomous fashion. It promotes post-injury axon regeneration of PNS neurons and enhances regeneration on inhibitory substrates of CNS neurons. Using RNA-seq and bioinformatic analyses, erinacine S was found to cause the accumulation of neurosteroids in neurons. ELISA and neurosteroidogenesis inhibitor assays were performed to validate this effect. This research uncovers a previously unknown effect of erinacine S on raising the level of neurosteroids.

Role of the stress-responsive two-component system CpxAR in regulating fimbriae expression in Klebsiella pneumoniae CG43

彭慧玲教授研究團隊發表研究成果於J Microbiol Immunol Infect.



Background: CpxAR is a two-component system that allows bacteria to reorganize
envelope structures in response to extracellular stimuli. CpxAR negatively affects type 1 fimbriae expression in Klebsiella pneumoniae CG43, a hypervirulent strain. The involvement of CpxAR in the regulation of type 3 fimbriae expression was investigated.
Methods: cpxAR, cpxA, and cpxR gene-specific deletion mutants were generated. The deletion effects on the expression of type 1 and type 3 fimbriae were analyzed via measuring the promoter activity, mannose sensitive yeast agglutination activity, biofilm formation, and the production of the major pilins FimA and MrkA respectively. RNA sequencing analysis of CG43S3, DcpxAR, DcpxR and Dfur was employed to study the regulatory mechanism influencing the expression of type 3 fimbriae.
Results: Deletion of cpxAR increased type 1 and type 3 fimbrial expression. Comparative transcriptomic analysis showed that the expression of oxidative stress-responsive enzymes, type 1 and type 3 fimbriae, and iron acquisition and homeostasis control systems were differentially affected by cpxAR or cpxR deletion. Subsequent analysis revealed that the small RNA RyhB negatively affects the expression of type 3 fimbriae, while CpxAR positively controls ryhB expression. Finally, the site-directed mutation of the predicted interacting sequences of RyhB with the mRNA of MrkA attenuated the RyhB repression of type 3 fimbriae.

A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the personality constructs in CPAI-2 in Taiwanese Hakka populations

林勇欣副教授研究團隊發表研究成果於PLOS ONE



Here in this study we adopted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to investigate the genetic components of the personality constructs in the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory 2 (CPAI-2) in Taiwanese Hakka populations, who are likely the descendants of a recent admixture between a group of Chinese immigrants with high emigration intention and a group of the Taiwanese aboriginal population generally without it. A total of 279 qualified participants were examined and genotyped by an Illumina array with 547,644 SNPs to perform the GWAS. Although our sample size is small and that unavoidably limits our statistical power (Type 2 error but not Type 1 error), we still found three genomic regions showing strong association with Enterprise, Diversity, and Logical vs. Affective Orientation, respectively. Multiple genes around the identified regions were reported to be nervous system related, which suggests that genetic variants underlying the certain personalities should indeed exist in the nearby areas. It is likely that the recent immigration and admixture history of the Taiwanese Hakka people created strong linkage disequilibrium between the emigration intention-related genetic variants and their neighboring genetic markers, so that we could identify them despite with only limited statistical power.

A lesion‑selective albumin‑CTLA4Ig as a safe and effective treatment for collagen‑induced arthritis

鄒協成副教授研究團隊發表研究成果於 Inflammation and Regeneration



Background: CTLA4Ig is a dimeric fusion protein of the extracellular domain of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte protein 4 (CTLA4) and an Fc (Ig) fragment of human IgG1 that is approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis. However, CTLA4Ig may induce adverse effects. Developing a lesion-selective variant of CTLA4Ig may improve safety while maintaining the efficacy of the treatment.

Methods: We linked albumin to the N-terminus of CTLA4Ig (termed Alb-CTLA4Ig) via a substrate sequence of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). The binding activities and the biological activities of Alb-CTLA4Ig before and after MMP digestion were analyzed by a cell-based ELISA and an in vitro Jurkat T cell activation assay. The efficacy and safety of Alb-CTLA4Ig in treating joint inflammation were tested in mouse collagen-induced arthritis.

Results: Alb-CTLA4Ig is stable and inactive under physiological conditions but can be fully activated by MMPs. The binding activity of nondigested Alb-CTLA4Ig was at least 10,000-fold weaker than that of MMP-digested Alb-CTLA4Ig. Nondigested Alb-CTLA4Ig was unable to inhibit Jurkat T cell activation, whereas MMP-digested Alb-CTLA4Ig was as potent as conventional CTLA4Ig in inhibiting the T cells. Alb-CTLA4Ig was converted to CTLA4Ig in the inflamed joints to treat mouse collagen-induced arthritis, showing similar efficacy to that of conventional CTLA4Ig. In contrast to conventional CTLA4Ig, Alb-CTLA4Ig did not inhibit the antimicrobial responses in the spleens of the treated mice.

Conclusions: Our study indicates that Alb-CTLA4Ig can be activated by MMPs to suppress tissue inflammation in situ. Thus, Alb-CTLA4Ig is a safe and effective treatment for collagen-induced arthritis in mice.

Adaptive neuroplasticity in the default mode network contributing to absence of central sensitization in primary dysmenorrhea

謝仁俊教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Frontiers in Neuroscience



Introduction: Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM), the most prevalent gynecological problem among women of reproductive age, presents as a regular pattern of cyclic menstrual pain. The presence or absence of central sensitization (i.e., pain hypersensitivity) in cases of PDM is a contentious issue. Among Caucasians, the presence of dysmenorrhea is associated with pain hypersensitivity throughout the menstrual cycle, indicating pain amplification mediated by the central nervous system. We previously reported on the absence of central sensitization to thermal pain among Asian PDM females. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to reveal mechanisms underlying pain processing with the aim of explaining the absence of central sensitization in this population.

Methods: Brain responses to noxious heat applied to the left inner forearm of 31 Asian PDM females and 32 controls during their menstrual and periovulatory phases were analyzed.

Results and discussion: Among PDM females experiencing acute menstrual pain, we observed a blunted evoked response and de-coupling of the default mode network from the noxious heat stimulus. The fact that a similar response was not observed in the non-painful periovulatory phase indicates an adaptive mechanism aimed at reducing the impact of menstrual pain on the brain with an inhibitory effect on central sensitization. Here we propose that adaptive pain responses in the default mode network may contribute to the absence of central sensitization among Asian PDM females. Variations in clinical manifestations among different PDM populations can be attributed to differences in central pain processing.

SWEET: a single-sample network inference method for deciphering individual features in disease

林峻宇助理教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Brief Bioinform.



Recently, extracting inherent biological system information (e.g. cellular networks) from genome-wide expression profiles for developing personalized diagnostic and therapeutic strategies has become increasingly important. However, accurately constructing single-sample networks (SINs) to capture individual characteristics and heterogeneity in disease remains challenging. Here, we propose a sample-specific-weighted correlation network (SWEET) method to model SINs by integrating the genome-wide sample-to-sample correlation (i.e. sample weights) with the differential network between perturbed and aggregate networks. For a group of samples, the genome-wide sample weights can be assessed without prior knowledge of intrinsic subpopulations to address the network edge number bias caused by sample size differences. Compared with the state-of-the-art SIN inference methods, the SWEET SINs in 16 cancers more likely fit the scale-free property, display higher overlap with the human interactomes and perform better in identifying three types of cancer-related genes. Moreover, integrating SWEET SINs with a network proximity measure facilitates characterizing individual features and therapy in diseases, such as somatic mutation, mut-driver and essential genes. Biological experiments further validated two candidate repurposable drugs, albendazole for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and encorafenib for HNSCC. By applying SWEET, we also identified two possible LUAD subtypes that exhibit distinct clinical features and molecular mechanisms. Overall, the SWEET method complements current SIN inference and analysis methods and presents a view of biological systems at the network level to offer numerous clues for further investigation and clinical translation in network medicine and precision medicine.

A flexible liposomal polymer complex as a platform of specific and regulable immune regulation For individual cancer immunotherapy

廖光文教授研究團隊發表研究成果於 J Exp Clin Cancer Res




The applicability and therapeutic efficacy of specific personalized immunotherapy for cancer patients is limited by the genetic diversity of the host or the tumor. Side-effects such as immune-related adverse events (IRAEs) derived from the administration of immunotherapy have also been observed. Therefore, regulatory immunotherapy is required for cancer patients and should be developed.


The cationic lipo-PEG-PEI complex (LPPC) can stably and irreplaceably adsorb various proteins on its surface without covalent linkage, and the bound proteins maintain their original functions. In this study, LPPC was developed as an immunoregulatory platform for personalized immunotherapy for tumors to address the barriers related to the heterogenetic characteristics of MHC molecules or tumor associated antigens (TAAs) in the patient population. Here, the immune-suppressive and highly metastatic melanoma, B16F10 cells were used to examine the effects of this platform. Adsorption of anti-CD3 antibodies, HLA-A2/peptide, or dendritic cells’ membrane proteins (MP) could flexibly provide pan-T-cell responses, specific Th1 responses, or specific Th1 and Th2 responses, depending on the host needs. Furthermore, with regulatory antibodies, the immuno-LPPC complex properly mediated immune responses by adsorbing positive or negative antibodies, such as anti-CD28 or anti-CTLA4 antibodies.


The results clearly showed that treatment with LPPC/MP/CD28 complexes activated specific Th1 and Th2 responses, including cytokine release, CTL and prevented T-cell apoptosis. Moreover, LPPC/MP/CD28 complexes could eliminate metastatic B16F10 melanoma cells in the lung more efficiently than LPPC/MP. Interestingly, the melanoma resistance of mice treated with LPPC/MP/CD28 complexes would be reversed to susceptible after administration with LPPC/MP/CTLA4 complexes. NGS data revealed that LPPC/MP/CD28 complexes could enhance the gene expression of cytokine and chemokine pathways to strengthen immune activation than LPPC/MP, and that LPPC/MP/CTLA4 could abolish the LPPC/MP complex-mediated gene expression back to un-treatment.


Overall, we proved a convenient and flexible immunotherapy platform for developing personalized cancer therapy.