Hua Ren

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (13)65.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tai chi exercise has been shown to improve physiological and psychosocial functions, well-being, quality of life, and disease conditions. The biological mechanisms by which tai chi exerts its holistic effects remain unknown. We investigated whether tai chi practice results in positive epigenetic changes at the molecular level. Design. The DNA methylation profiles of sixty CpG-dinucleotide marks in female tai chi practitioners (N = 237; 45-88 years old) who have been practising tai chi for three or more years were compared with those of age-matched control females (N = 263) who have never practised tai chi. Results. Six CpG marks originating from three different chromosomes reveal a significant difference (P < 0.05) between the two cohorts. Four marks show losses while two marks show gains in DNA methylation with age in the controls. In the tai chi cohort all six marks demonstrate significant slowing (by 5-70%) of the age-related methylation losses or gains observed in the controls, suggesting that tai chi practice may be associated with measurable beneficial epigenetic changes. Conclusions. The results implicate the potential use of DNA methylation as an epigenetic biomarker to better understand the biological mechanisms and the health and therapeutic efficacies of tai chi.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2012; 2012:841810. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate relative telomere length of female migraine patients. Migraine is a debilitating disorder affecting 6-28% of the population. Studies on the mechanisms of migraine have demonstrated genetic causes but the pathophysiology and subcellular effects of the disease remain poorly understood. Shortened telomere length is associated with age-related or chronic diseases, and induced stresses. Migraine attacks may impart significant stress on cellular function, thus this study investigates a correlation between shortening of telomeres and migraine. Relative telomere length was measured using a previously described quantitative polymerase chain reaction method. A regression analysis was performed to assess differences in mean relative telomere length between migraine patients and healthy controls. The leukocyte telomeres of a cohort of 142 Caucasian female migraine subjects aged 18-77 years and 143 matched 17-77-year-old healthy control Caucasian women were examined. A significantly shorter relative telomere length was observed in the migraine group compared with the control group after adjusting for age and body mass index (P = .001). In addition, age of onset was observed to associate with the loss of relative telomere length, especially at early age of onset (<17 years old). No association was observed between relative telomere length and the severity and frequency of migraine attacks and the duration of migraine. Telomeres are shorter in migraine patients and there is more variation in telomere length in migraine patients.
    Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain 06/2010; 50(6):965-72. · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the telomere chromatin dynamics of embryonic stem (ES) cell. Here, we demonstrate localization of histone H3.3 at interphase telomeres and enrichment of Ser31-phosphorylated H3.3 at metaphase telomeres in pluripotent mouse ES cells. Upon differentiation, telomeric H3.3S31P signal decreases, accompanied by increased association of heterochromatin repressive marks and decreased micrococcal nuclease sensitivity at the telomeres. H3.3 is recruited to the telomeres at late S/G2 phase, coinciding with telomere replication and processing. RNAi-depletion of H3.3 induces telomere-dysfunction phenotype, providing evidence for a role of H3.3 in the regulation of telomere chromatin integrity in ES cells. The distinctive changes in H3.3 distribution suggests the existence of a unique and functionally essential telomere chromatin in ES cells that undergoes dynamic differentiation-dependent remodeling during the process of differentiation.
    Genome Research 03/2009; 19(3):404-14. · 14.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chromosome analysis of spontaneous miscarriages is clinically important but is hampered by frequent tissue culture failure and relatively low-resolution analysis. We have investigated replacement of conventional karyotype analysis with a quantitative subtelomere assay performed on uncultured tissue samples, which is based on Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification. This assay is suitable for this purpose as approximately 98% of all observed karyotype abnormalities in spontaneous miscarriages involve copy-number change to one or more subtelomere regions. A pilot study has compared karyotyping and subtelomere analysis on 78 samples. Extensive tissue necrosis accounted for failure of both karyotyping and subtelomere testing in four (5.1%) samples. Excluding these, there were no (0/74) subtelomere test failures compared to 9.5% (7/74) karyotype failures. Twenty-two (30%) whole chromosome aneuploidies and five (6.8%) structural abnormalities were detected using the subtelomere assay. With the exception of three cases of triploidy, all karyotype abnormalities were detected by the subtelomere assay. Following on from this study, a further 100 samples were tested using the subtelomere assay in conjunction with a simple ancillary FISH test using uncultured cells to exclude polyploidy in the event of a normal subtelomere assay result. Except for three necrotic samples, tests results were obtained for all cases revealing 18 abnormalities including one case of triploidy. Taking into consideration the high success rate for the combined MLPA and FISH test results, and the very significant additional advantages of cost-effective, high-throughput batching, and automated, objective analysis, this approach greatly facilitates routine investigation of chromosome abnormalities in spontaneous miscarriage.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 01/2007; 140(24):2786-93. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2006; 78(4):730-1. · 11.20 Impact Factor
  • American Journal of Human Genetics - AMER J HUM GENET. 01/2006; 78(4):730-731.
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    ABSTRACT: Mutation of the human genome ranges from single base-pair changes to whole-chromosome aneuploidy. Karyotyping, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and comparative genome hybridization are currently used to detect chromosome abnormalities of clinical significance. These methods, although powerful, suffer from limitations in speed, ease of use, and resolution, and they do not detect copy-neutral chromosomal aberrations--for example, uniparental disomy (UPD). We have developed a high-throughput approach for assessment of DNA copy-number changes, through use of high-density synthetic oligonucleotide arrays containing 116,204 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, spaced at an average distance of 23.6 kb across the genome. Using this approach, we analyzed samples that failed conventional karyotypic analysis, and we detected amplifications and deletions across a wide range of sizes (1.3-145.9 Mb), identified chromosomes containing anonymous chromatin, and used genotype data to determine the molecular origin of two cases of UPD. Furthermore, our data provided independent confirmation for a case that had been misinterpreted by karyotype analysis. The high resolution of our approach provides more-precise breakpoint mapping, which allows subtle phenotypic heterogeneity to be distinguished at a molecular level. The accurate genotype information provided on these arrays enables the identification of copy-neutral loss-of-heterozygosity events, and the minimal requirement of DNA (250 ng per array) allows rapid analysis of samples without the need for cell culture. This technology overcomes many limitations currently encountered in routine clinical diagnostic laboratories tasked with accurate and rapid diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2005; 77(5):709-26. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The need to detect clinically significant segmental aneuploidies beyond the range of light microscopy demands the development of new cost-efficient, sensitive, and robust analytical techniques. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) has already been shown to be particularly effective and flexible for measuring copy numbers in a multiplex format. Previous attempts to develop a reliable MLPA to assay all chromosome subtelomeric regions have been confounded by unforeseen copy number variation in some genes that are very close to the telomeres in healthy individuals. We addressed this shortcoming by substituting all known polymorphic probes and using two complementary multiplex assays to minimize the likelihood of false results. We developed this new quantitative MLPA strategy for two important diagnostic applications. First, in a group of cases with high clinical suspicion of a chromosome abnormality but normal, high-resolution karyotypes, MLPA detected subtelomeric abnormalities in three patients. Two were de novo terminal deletions (del(4p) and del(1p)), and one was a derivative chromosome 1 from a maternal t(1p;17p). The range of these segmental aneuploidies was 1.8-6.6 Mb, and none were visible on retrospective microscopy. Second, in a group of six patients with apparently de novo single-chromosome abnormalities containing anonymous chromatin, MLPA identified two cases with simple intrachromosomal duplications: dup(6p) and dup(8q). Three cases showed derivative chromosomes from translocations involving the distal regions of 9q and 4q, 5p and 11q, and 6q and 3p. One case showed a nonreciprocal, interchromosomal translocation of the distal region of 10p-7p. All abnormalities in both groups were confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs). This quantitative MLPA technique for subtelomeric assays is compared with previously described alternative techniques.
    Human Mutation 12/2005; 26(5):477-86. · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The introduction of molecular techniques in conjunction with classical cytogenetic methods has in recent years greatly improved the diagnostic potential for chromosomal abnormalities. In particular, microarray-comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) based on the use of BAC clones promises a sensitive strategy for the detection of DNA copy-number changes on a genomewide scale, offering a resolution as high as >30,000 "bands" (as defined by the number of BACs within the currently highest-density BAC array) [Ishkanian et al., 2004]. We have tested the possibility of further increasing this resolution using PCR fragments generated from individual BAC clones. Using this approach, we have efficiently defined the proximal and distal breakpoints in two cytogenetic cases, one duplication and one deletion, to within 5-20 kb. The results support the potential use of BAC-based PCR fragments to further improve the resolution of the microarray-CGH strategy by an order of magnitude.
    Human Mutation 05/2005; 25(5):476-82. · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) are the two most common peripheral neuropathies, with incidences of about 1 in 2,500. Several techniques can be used to detect the typical 1.5-Mb duplication or deletion associated with these respective conditions, but none combines simplicity with high sensitivity. MLPA is a new technique for measuring sequence dosage. We have assessed its performance for the detection of the specific 1.5-Mb duplication/deletion by prospectively testing 50 patients referred with differential diagnoses of CMT or HNPP. Probes were designed to evaluate the TEKT3, PMP22, and COX10 genes within the CMT1A/HNPP region. We have compared the results with our existing fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, which was performed in parallel. There was concordance of results for 49 patients. Of note, one patient showed an intermediate multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) result with an abnormal FISH result, which is consistent with mosaicism. The assay works equally well with either purified DNA or rapid DNA preparations made by direct cell lysis. The use of the latter significantly reduces the cost of the assay. MLPA is a sensitive, specific, robust, and cost-effective technique suitable for fast, high-throughput testing and offers distinct advantages over other testing methods.
    Human Mutation 09/2004; 24(2):164-71. · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Medical Genetics 01/2004; 40(12):907-12. · 5.70 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

317 Citations
65.11 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2012
    • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
      • Research Group for Chromosome Resarch
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • The Royal Children's Hospital
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2004–2010
    • University of Melbourne
      • Department of Paediatrics
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia