Dried rhizomes of Cimicifuga racemosa (CR), which are known as black cohosh, have been widely used as herbal dietary supplements to treat menopausal symptoms. The present study examined the effect of CR extracts on human psychological and physiological responses to acute stress induced by mental arithmetic tests, by measuring the subjective stress intensity, the brain-wave patterns according to electroencephalography, and the concentrations of salivary chromogranin-A and cortisol. The experiments were performed double-blind and their order was counterbalanced. Treatment with CR significantly attenuated the elevated subjective perception of stress and the increased salivary chromogranin-A levels compared with placebo treatment. CR extract also rapidly recovered the decrease in alpha waveband induced by performing the mental arithmetic task. We therefore propose that CR extracts might be suitable for the prevention and treatment of stressrelated disorders.
Distention of the bladder during urine storage induces ATP release from urothelium, thereby facilitating transmission of visceral sensory signals to afferent nerve fibers. An excess of urothelial ATP release was found in interstitial cystitis, a condition accompanied by hyperesthesia of the urinary bladder; it remains unclear which signals are involved in this upregulation. The present study demonstrated that the adenylyl cyclase pathway enhances distention-induced ATP release in mouse bladder. In the absence of distention, adenylyl cyclase activation by forskolin or cyclic AMP increases by rolipram did not induce significant ATP release. However, forskolin or rolipram significantly enhanced ATP release from urothelium by a physiologically normal urine storage pressure (5 cmH2O). Blockade of adenylyl cyclases did not alter pressure-induced ATP release in normal condition. Thus, the adenylyl cyclase-cAMP pathway might be activated in pathological conditions and cause an excess of ATP release.
Bile acids (BAs) are considered to be promotive factors in colorectal carcinogenesis. We investigated whether BAs in the cellular environment influence proliferation of intestinal epithelial cell lines. Some BAs induced proliferation in several epithelial cell lines. In the proliferation assay, significant increases in IEC-6 cell proliferation were observed in response to glycodeoxycholic acid or glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA). Among the glycine-conjugated derivatives of BAs, especially GCDCA reduced cAMP production in IEC-6 cells. Pertussis toxin completely inhibited the GCDCA-induced increase in IEC-6 proliferation, suggesting GCDCA-induced proliferation required Gαi activation and cAMP reduction. Treatment with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, also suppressed GCDCA-induced IEC-6 proliferation. We confirmed an increase in MEK1/2 phosphorylation in GCDCA-treated IEC-6 cells, and inhibition of MEK1/2 by U0126 clearly suppressed GCDCA-induced IEC-6 cell proliferation. A significant increase was observed in the phosphorylation of histone H2AX in GCDCA-treated IEC-6 cells after exposure to γ-rays. Cell cycle analysis revealed that GCDCA increased the proportion of cells in S phase only after γ-ray exposure. These results indicate that glycine-conjugated BAs in the cellular environment are potent inducers of cell proliferation accompanied by genomic instability in intestinal epithelia.
To investigate the age-related changes in satellite cell (SC) proliferation in vivo, we used a compensatory activation (CAC) model of the hemi-diaphragm muscle. Young (2-month), adult (14-month) and old (24-month) rats were randomly divided into control and CAC groups. In the CAC group, denervation surgery in the left hemi-diaphragm was performed to induce CAC of the right hemi-diaphragm. Six days after the surgery, the CAC diaphragm muscle was removed and separated into two blocks for immunohistochemical staining and real time RT-PCR procedures. The number of SCs in type I and IIa fibers were not affected significantly by the CAC in any age groups, but that in type IIx/b fibers was significantly increased in the young and adult groups. As compared to the age-matched control group, the Pax7 mRNA expression level was significantly higher in the young and adult CAC groups, but not in the old CAC group. These results may suggest that the mechanism of SC proliferation in type IIx/b fibers is impaired in aged diaphragm muscles.
Linalool is the principal component of many essential oils known to possess biological activities. We previously reported that intraplantar injection of linalool reduces the nociceptive response as assayed by the capsaicin test. In this study, we sought to determine whether intraplantar injection of linalool could influence the induction of acute pain (allodynia and hyperalgesia) by paclitaxel in mice. Paclitaxel is widely used in cancer chemotherapy for the treatment of solid tumors, but it sometimes induces moderate to severe acute pain. Paclitaxel administered intraperitoneally as a single dose of 5, 10 or 20 mg/kg produced mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia in mice. Paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia began 1 day after administration of paclitaxel and resolved within 7 days. Linalool injected into the hindpaw caused a significant reduction in paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia. Pretreatment with naloxone hydrochloride, an opioid receptor antagonist, or naloxone methiodide, a peripherally acting μ-opioid receptor-preferring antagonist, significantly reversed linalool-induced antiallodynia and antihyperalgesia. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of peripheral opioids in antiallodynia and antihyperalgesia induced by linalool. These results suggest that activation of peripheral opioid receptors may play an important role in reducing paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is considered one of the most aggressive cancers with poor prognosis. The high molecular weight cytokeratin 34βE12 (CK34βE12) is recognized by the antibody, that is expressed in the cytoplasm of epithelial basal cells, and has been considered as a potential marker for prostate cancer, breast cancer, and basaloid carcinoma of the lung. However, there are no clinicopathological studies investigating CK34βE12 expression at the invasive front of ESCC. In this study, we examined 170 surgically resected cases of ESCC to clarify the clinicopathological significance of CK34βE12 expression. CK34βE12 expression was found in 85.3% (145/170) of ESCC cases and was significantly correlated with lymph node metastasis (66.2% [96/145], P = 0.034), depth of tumor invasion (57.9% [84/145], P = 0.042), and differentiation (82.1% [119/145], P = 0.013). These results indicated that CK34βE12 expression is a good indicator of lymph node metastasis, depth of tumor invasion, and differentiation in case of ESCC.
Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) contains a nuclear localization signal (NLS) sequence within 87-107. NLS sequences are generally capable of penetrating cellular membranes due to a richness of basic amino acid residues, and thus have been used as cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) to translocate biologically active peptides/proteins into cells. The NLS sequence of PTHrP is not exception to this finding; however, PTHrP(87-107) contains 2 acidic glutamate residues at 99 and 101 within the basic amino acid stretch, which is not commonly observed in other CPPs such as HIV-1 Tat(48-60). In this study, we indicated structure-function relationship of the PTHrP NLS to understand the effect of acidic glutamate residues on cell permeability and intracellular localization. We chemically synthesized PTHrP(87-107) and its N-terminally truncated analogues. Their intracellular localization pattern was analyzed by microscopy, radioimmunoassay, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Although all analogues were translocated into cells, internalization by the cytoplasm and/or nucleus was length-dependent; specifically, PTHrP(97-107), PTHrP(95-107), and PTHrP(93-107) were more frequently localized in the cytoplasm. We assume that reduction in the net positive charge within PTHrP NLS analogues resulted in increased cytoplasm- translocation activity. We propose that PTHrP(97-107) is a useful carrier peptide for delivery and expression of cargo molecules in the cytoplasm.