Itch is a sensation that provokes a desire to scratch. Mast-cell histamine was thought to be a key itch mediator. However, histamine and mast-cell degranulation were reported not to elicit scratching in animals. It was difficult to investigate the pathophysiology of itching and to evaluate the antipruritic efficacy of chemical agents in the early 1990 s. We showed that hind-paw scratching and biting were elicited by stimulation with pruritogenic agents in mice. Those results demonstrated for the first time that cutaneous itching could be evaluated behaviorally in animals. We established various animal models of pathological itch of the skin (dry skin, mosquito allergy, surfactant-induced pruritus, and herpes zoster) and mucus membranes (pollen allergy). Mast-cell histamine did not play a key role in itching in any animal model examined except for the pollen allergy model. Histamine is not an exclusive itch mediator of mast cells; tryptase and leukotriene B4 released from mast cells also act as itch mediators. Epidermal keratinocytes release several itch mediators, such as leukotriene B4, sphingosylphosphorylcholine, thromboxane A2, nociceptin, nitric oxide, and histamine, which may play important roles in pathological itching. Appropriate animal models of pathological itching are needed for pharmacological evaluation of the antipruritic efficacy of chemical agents.
Imatinib, nilotinib, and dasatinib are tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that have become first-line treatments for Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). According to European LeukemiaNet recommendations, the clinical response of CML patients receiving TKI therapy should be evaluated after 3, 6, and 12 months. For patients not achieving a satisfactory response within 3 months, the mean plasma concentration for the three months of TKI administration must be considered. In TKI therapy for CML patients, therapeutic drug monitoring is a new strategy for dosage optimization to obtain a faster and more effective clinical response. The imatinib plasma trough concentration (C0) should be set above 1000 ng/mL to obtain a response and below 3000 ng/mL to avoid serious adverse events such as neutropenia. For patients with a UGT1A1*6/*6, *6/*28, or *28/*28 genotype initially administered 300–400 mg/d, a target nilotinib C0 of 500 ng/mL is recommended to prevent elevation of bilirubin levels, whereas for patients with the UGT1A1*1 allele initially administered 600 mg/d, a target nilotinib C0 of 800 ng/mL is recommended. For dasatinib, it is recommended that a higher Cmax or C2 (above 50 ng/mL) to obtain a clinical response and a lower C0 (less than 2.5 ng/mL) to avoid pleural effusion be maintained by once daily administration of dasatinib. Although at present clinicians consider the next pharmacotherapy from clinical responses (efficacy/toxicity) obtained by a fixed dosage of TKI, the TKI dosage should be adjusted based on target plasma concentrations to maximize the efficacy and to minimize the incidence of adverse events.
High-resolution deep tissue imaging is possible with two-photon excitation microscopy. With the combined application of two-photon imaging and perfusion with a polar fluorescent tracer, we have established a method to detect exocytic events inside secretory tissues. This method displays the spatiotemporal distribution of exocytic sites, dynamics of fusion pores, and modes of exocytosis. In glucose-stimulated pancreatic islets, exocytic events were observed to be synchronized with an increase in cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations. Full fusion of a single secretory granule is the typical mode of exocytosis and compound exocytosis is inhibited. Because two-photon excitation enables simultaneous multicolor imaging due to the broadened excitation spectra, the distributions and conformational changes in fluorescent-labeled molecules can be simultaneously visualized with exocytic events. Therefore, we can analyze the dynamics of the molecules involved in membrane fusion and their association with exocytosis in living tissues.
Small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) participate in a wide variety of cellular functions including proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, and intracellular transport. Conventionally, only the guanosine 5′-triphosphate (GTP)-bound small GTPase interacts with effector proteins, and the resulting downstream signals control specific cellular functions. Therefore, the GTP-bound form is regarded as active, and the focus has been on searching for proteins that bind the GTP form to look for their effectors. The Rab family small GTPase Rab27a is highly expressed in some secretory cells and is involved in the control of membrane traffic. The present study reviews recent progress in our understanding of the roles of Rab27a and its effectors in pancreatic beta-cells. In the basal state, GTP-bound Rab27a controls insulin secretion at pre-exocytic stages via its GTP-dependent effectors. We previously identified novel guanosine 5′-diphosphate (GDP)-bound Rab27-interacting proteins. Interestingly, GDP-bound Rab27a controls endocytosis of the secretory membrane via its interaction with these proteins. We also demonstrated that the insulin secretagogue glucose converts Rab27a from its GTP- to GDP-bound forms. Thus, GTP- and GDP-bound Rab27a regulate pre-exocytic and endocytic stages in membrane traffic, respectively. Since the physiological importance of GDP-bound GTPases has been largely overlooked, we consider that the investigation of GDP-dependent effectors for other GTPases is necessary for further understanding of cellular function.
Diacylglycerol (DAG) is a lipid signal messenger and plays a physiological role in β-cells. Since defective glucose homeostasis increases de novo DAG synthesis, DAG may also contribute to β-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. Although the primary function of DAG is to activate protein kinase C (PKC), the role of PKC in insulin secretion is controversial: PKC has been reported to act as both a positive and negative regulator of insulin secretion. In addition to the PKC pathway, DAG has also been shown to mediate other pathways such as the Munc-13-dependent pathway in β-cells. The intracellular levels of DAG are strictly regulated by diacylglycerol kinase (DGK); however, the role of DGK in β-cells and their involvement in β-cell failure in type 2 diabetes remain to be fully elucidated. We have recently reported the roles of type I DGK, DGKα and γ, in insulin secretion from β-cells. DGKα and γ were activated by glucose or high K+ stimulation in β-cells, and the inhibition of the DGKs by a type I DGK inhibitor or by knockdown with small interfering RNA (siRNA) decreased insulin secretion. Thus, DGKα and γ are suggested to be activated in response to elevated [Ca2+]i in β-cells and to act as positive regulators of insulin secretion. In this article, we review the current understanding of the roles of DAG and DGK in β-cell function and their involvement in the development of β-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.
Subunits of the sweet taste receptors T1R2 and T1R3 are expressed in pancreatic β-cells. Compared with T1R3, mRNA expression of T1R2 is considerably lower. At the protein level, expression of T1R2 is undetectable in β-cells. Accordingly, a major component of the sweet taste-sensing receptor in β-cells may be a homodimer of T1R3 rather than a heterodimer of T1R2/T1R3. Inhibition of this receptor by gurmarin or deletion of the T1R3 gene attenuates glucose-induced insulin secretion from β-cells. Hence the T1R3 homodimer functions as a glucose-sensing receptor (GSR) in pancreatic β-cells. When GSR is activated by the T1R3 agonist sucralose, elevation of intracellular ATP concentration ([ATP]i) is observed. Sucralose increases [ATP]i even in the absence of ambient glucose, indicating that sucralose increases [ATP]i not simply by activating glucokinase, a rate-limiting enzyme in the glycolytic pathway. In addition, sucralose augments elevation of [ATP]i induced by methylsuccinate, suggesting that sucralose activates mitochondrial metabolism. Nonmetabolizable 3-O-methylglucose also increases [ATP]i and knockdown of T1R3 attenuates elevation of [ATP]i induced by high concentration of glucose. Collectively, these results indicate that the T1R3 homodimer functions as a GSR; this receptor is involved in glucose-induced insulin secretion by activating glucose metabolism probably in mitochondria.
Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet agent widely used in combination with aspirin to limit the occurrence of cardiovascular (embolic/thrombotic) events. Consensus guidelines recommend proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) as a gastrointestinal (GI) prophylactic measure for all patients receiving dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin. The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of the simultaneous use of clopidogrel, aspirin, and PPIs on hemorrhagic and embolic/thrombotic events using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database. Reports of hemorrhagic and embolic/thrombotic events between 2004 and 2013 were analyzed with a reporting odds ratio (ROR) algorithm and logistic regression methods. The Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities Preferred Terms was used to identify such events. Regarding hemorrhagic events, the adjusted RORs of the concomitant use of aspirin and clopidogrel and those of PPIs prescribed with aspirin and clopidogrel were 4.40 (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.02–4.81) and 3.40 (95% CI, 2.84–4.06), respectively. For embolic/thrombotic events, the adjusted RORs of the concomitant use of aspirin and clopidogrel and those of PPIs prescribed with aspirin and clopidogrel were 2.37 (95% CI, 2.16–2.59) and 2.38 (95% CI, 2.00–2.84), respectively. Among patients included in the FAERS database, the concurrent use of aspirin and clopidogrel with PPIs reduced the adjusted ROR of GI hemorrhagic events. PPIs had little influence on the adjusted ROR of embolic/thrombotic events. These results support the use of PPIs as a preventive measure against GI hemorrhagic events for patients receiving clopidogrel and aspirin.
Fibroblast growth factors (Fgfs) are polypeptide growth factors with diverse biological activities. While several studies have revealed that Fgf23 plays important roles in the regulation of phosphate and vitamin D metabolism, the additional physiological roles of Fgf23 remain unclear. Although it is believed that osteoblasts/osteocytes are the main sources of Fgf23, we previously found that Fgf23 mRNA is also expressed in the mouse thymus, suggesting that it might be involved in the immune system. In this study we examined the potential roles of Fgf23 in immunological responses. Mouse serum Fgf23 levels were significantly increased following inoculation with Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus or intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide. We also identified activated dendritic cells and macrophages that potentially contributed to increased serum Fgf23 levels. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling was essential for the induction of Fgf23 expression in dendritic cells in response to immunological stimuli. Moreover, we examined the effects of recombinant Fgf23 protein on immune cells in vitro. Fgfr1c, a potential receptor for Fgf23, was abundantly expressed in macrophages, suggesting that Fgf23 might be involved in signal transduction in these cells. Our data suggest that Fgf23 potentially increases the number in macrophages and induces expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), a proinflammatory cytokine. Collectively, these data suggest that Fgf23 might be intimately involved in inflammatory processes.
Liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue, has been demonstrated to reduce hepatic steatosis. However, the mechanism of the lipid-lowering effect of liraglutide in the liver remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the beneficial effect of liraglutide on diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the underlying mechanism in rats. NAFLD was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by feeding a high fat and high cholesterol (HFHC) diet. Liraglutide (0.6 mg/kg body weight/d) was injected intraperitoneally to the rats subjected to HFHC diet four weeks before sacrificing the animals. Body and liver weight, fasting blood glucose (FBG), fasting insulin, serum aminotransferase (ALT) and lipid accumulation in the liver were determined. Markers of oxidative stress, such as malondialdehyde (MDA), free fatty acid (FFAs), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were detected by colorimetric detection or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Serum and hepatic adiponectin were measured by ELISA. The expression of c-Jun N-terminal kinase-1 (JNK-1) and phosphorylated JNK-1 were examined by Western blotting. Liraglutide improved insulin resistance, decreased hepatic steatosis and reversed liver dysfunction. The hepatic levels of MDA, FFAs, and TNF-α were significantly decreased versus controls. Meanwhile, administration of liraglutide significantly increased SOD and adiponectin levels in the liver and inhibited the expression of JNK-1 and phosphorylated JNK-1 versus control rats. Liraglutide exerted anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects in the liver and consequently reversed hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance. Such effects might be mediated by the elevation of adiponectin levels and the inactivation of JNK-1.
Luteolin, a flavone found in some vegetables, has been reported to exhibit antioxidant, antiinflammatory, and anticancer activities. In the present study, we found that luteolin has biphasic effects on the viability of the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. That is, cell viability increased at relatively low luteolin concentrations and decreased at relatively high concentrations. Focusing on the proliferative effect at low concentrations, we showed that luteolin has a cytoprotective effect on MCF-7 cells when administered with doxorubicin. Moreover, luteolin attenuated doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity even in the presence of the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI 182,780 and the ER-negative MDA-MB-453 human breast cancer cell line. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were generated after doxorubicin treatment of MCF-7 cells. In contrast, luteolin attenuated doxorubicin-induced ROS generation. Levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 in luteolin-treated MCF-7 cells were significantly higher than those in doxorubicin-treated MCF-7 cells. Our results suggest that a low concentration of luteolin attenuates doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity to MCF-7 cells through a combination of antioxidant activity and an increase in levels of Bcl-2 protein.
Oxaliplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapy drug, often induces acute neuropathic pain, especially cold allodynia, even after a single administration. Subcutaneous injection of diluted bee venom (BV) into acupoints has been used to treat various pain symptoms in traditional oriental medicine. Although we previously demonstrated the suppressive effect of BV injection on oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia in rats, its neurochemical mechanism remained unclear. This study investigates whether and how the cholinergic system mediates the relieving effect of BV injection on cold allodynia in oxaliplatin-administered rats. The behavioral signs of cold allodynia induced by an oxaliplatin administration (6 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)) were evaluated by a tail immersion test in cold water (4°C). BV (0.25 mg/kg, subcutaneously (s.c.)) injection into the Yaoyangguan acupoint, located between the spinous processes of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, significantly alleviated the cold allodynia. This relieving effect of BV injection on oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia was blocked by a pretreatment with mecamylamine (a non-selective nicotinic receptor antagonist, 2 mg/kg, i.p.), but not by atropine (a non-selective muscarinic receptor antagonist, 1 mg/kg, i.p.). Further, dihydro-β-erythroidinehydrobromide (DHβE, an α4β2 nicotinic antagonist, 5 mg/kg, i.p.) prevented the anti-allodynic effect of BV, whereas methyllycaconitine (an α7 nicotinic antagonist, 6 mg/kg, i.p.) did not. Finally, intrathecal administration of DHβE (10 nM) blocked the BV-induced anti-allodynic effect. These results suggest that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, especially spinal α4β2 receptors, but not muscarinic receptors, mediate the suppressive effect of BV injection on oxaliplatin-induced acute cold allodynia in rats.
Bacterial enoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) reductase has been confirmed as a novel target for antibacterial drug development. In the screening of inhibitors of Staphylococcus aureus enoyl-ACP reductase (FabI), complestatin was isolated as a potent inhibitor of S. aureus FabI together with neuroprotectin A and chloropeptin I from Streptomyces chartreusis AN1542. Complestatin and related compounds inhibited S. aureus FabI with IC50 of 0.3–0.6 µM. They also prevented the growth of S. aureus as well as methicillin-resistance S. aureus (MRSA) and quinolone-resistant S. aureus (QRSA), with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 2–4 µg/mL. Consistent with its FabI-inhibition, complestatin selectively inhibited the intracellular fatty acid synthesis in S. aureus, whereas it did not affect the macromolecular biosynthesis of other cellular components, such as DNA, RNA, proteins, and the cell wall. Additionally, supplementation with exogenous fatty acids reversed the antibacterial effect of complestatin, demonstrating that it targets fatty acid synthesis. In this study, we reported that complestatin and related compounds showed potent antibacterial activity via inhibiting fatty acid synthesis.
We recently demonstrated that the secretion of two novel endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-inducible proteins, cysteine-rich with epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains 2 (CRELD2) and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF), are oppositely regulated by the overexpression of 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78). In the present study, we found that the co-transfection of CRELD2 and MANF remarkably enhanced the secretion of CRELD2 without affecting the expression level of GRP78. To identify the structural features of CRELD2 and MANF involved in this process, we generated several CRELD2 and MANF expression constructs. The deletion of the four C-terminal amino acids, either REDL in CRELD2 or RTDL in MANF, abolished the increased secretion of CRELD2 induced by the co-expression of MANF. The deleted mutation of MANF partially abolished the increased secretion of wild type CRELD2 (wtCRELD2) as a positive action of wild type MANF (wtMANF), even when we added the amino acid sequence RTDL at the C-terminus of each mutated MANF construct. Enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), which was tagged with the signal peptide sequence at the N-terminus and four C-terminal amino acids (KEDL, REDL or RTDL), were retained intracellularly, but they did not enhance the secretion of wtCRELD2. Taken together, our data demonstrate that MANF is a factor in regulating the secretion of CRELD2 through four C-terminal amino acids, RTDL and REDL, and the fluctuation of intracellular MANF seems to potentiate the secretion of CRELD2.
Clostridium perfringens TpeL belongs to a family of large clostridial glucosylating cytotoxins. TpeL modifies Rac1 and Ras subfamily proteins. Herein we report TpeL-induced formation of stress fibers via RhoA-Rho kinase (ROCK) signaling. A recombinant protein (TpeL1–525) derived from the TpeL N-terminal catalytic domain in the presence of streptolysin O (SLO) induced the formation of actin stress fibers in Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells in a dose-dependent manner. The RhoA/ROCK pathway is known to control the formation of stress fibers. We examined the role of the RhoA/ROCK pathway in TpeL-induced formation of stress fibers. TpeL1–525-induced formation of stress fibers was inhibited by the ROCK inhibitor, Y27632 and Rho protein inhibitor, C3 transferase. TpeL1–525 activated RhoA and ROCK in a dose-dependent manner. C3 transferase blocked TpeL1–525-induced activation of RhoA and ROCK whereas Y27632 inhibited TpeL-induced activation of ROCK. These results demonstrate for the first time that TpeL induces the formation of stress fibers by activating the RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway.
Comparative studies of the potency of long- and short-acting erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (L-ESAs and S-ESAs) on erythropoietic activity in patients with chronic kidney disease without dialysis have not been performed, although L-ESAs are used in many countries. We performed a retrospective analysis of non-dialysis (ND) patients who had received L-ESA or S-ESA. More days were needed for the S-ESA-treated group (368 d) to reach the haemoglobin (Hb) reference range than for the L-ESA-treated group (126 d). Therefore, we investigated risk factors that influence the period until the Hb level reaches the reference range. Patients were classified into two groups by the period until the Hb level was stabilised within the reference range: the short- and long-term group. Two risk factors for delayed Hb stabilisation were identified: age ≥60 years; and administration of an S-ESA for initial treatment. These findings suggest that the Hb level should be carefully monitored during ESA therapy in elderly ND patients, and that the ESA dose should be increased or L-ESA therapy should be utilised to treat renal anaemia.
Aurigena Antunes de Araújo, Pedro Brito Borba, Fernando Henrique Destefani de Souza, Anália Cristina Nogueira, Taís Suassuna Saldanha, Thayse Emanuele Franklin Araújo, Aldemara Ingrid da Silva, Raimundo Fernandes de Araújo Júnior
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of olmesartan (OLME), an angiotensin II receptor antagonist, on an intestinal mucositis model. Briefly, daily intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of methotrexate (MTX) 7 mg/kg were administered to rats on 3 consecutive days. A subset of these rats was also pretreated with oral administration of OLME (0.5, 1.0, or 5.0 mg/kg) or vehicle as a control 30 min prior to MTX injection. Body weight, feces scoring, and death were recorded daily. On day 4, the rats were killed, and intestinal tissues were assayed for levels of interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, myeloperoxidase and sucrose activity, and histopathological findings. A significant reduction in body weight was observed in the MTX+1.0 mg/kg OLME group (p<0.01). The feces scores for the MTX+0.5 mg/kg OLME and MTX+5.0 mg/kg OLME groups were also significantly higher (p<0.001). Sucrose activity was reduced in all groups treated with OLME (p<0.05). Treatment with MTX+OLM at all doses resulted in reduced inflammatory infiltration, ulcerations, vasodilation, and hemorrhagic areas (p<0.05), as well as reduced concentrations of myeloperoxidase (p<0.001). The IL-1β and TNF-α levels were decreased in the MTX+OLME 5.0 mg/kg (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively) compared with the MTX-alone group. Overall, antiinflammatory activity was observed in rats with MTX-induced intestinal mucositis that were administered OLME. However, further studies are needed to elucidate the adverse effects of OLME.
Ischemia and subsequent reperfusion are known to impair renal function. We examined several agents that might prevent renal impairment or enhance the recovery of renal function after ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats. Different degrees of preventive effects were observed in rats treated with captopril, BQ-123 (endothelin type A receptor antagonist), sodium nitroprusside (SNP, a nitric oxide donor), and losartan (angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist). Only minimal changes in renal morphology were observed after treatment with losartan, SNP, captopril, and BQ-123 compared with control animals. On the other hand, lesions were prominent in the NG-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME)- and L-arginine-treated rats. The Na+–K+ ATPase activity of ischemic kidneys was, however, preserved in all treatment groups, except in those treated with L-arginine and L-NAME, which showed a marked reduction in Na+–K+ ATPase activity. Our post-treatment data suggest that losartan and SNP have the greatest potential for therapeutic use to mitigate post-ischemic renal damage and functional impairment.
Various 1,3,4-oxadiazole-2-thiol derivatives have considerable potential in the field of antitumor activity. On the basis of the structure of the highly active reported oxadiazole analogues, 36 novel compounds were designed. Their molecular transport properties were predicted using a computer-aided program, and they were then synthesized and tested for anticancer activity against the breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Most of the tested compounds showed excellent to potent cytotoxic activity. Docking studies were carried out to examine the possibilities of the target compounds to become lead compounds in the future after more biological investigations. Compounds 18 and 22 were more active than the reference drug with IC50 values of 0.010 µM and 0.012 µM, respectively, and binding energy scores of −10.32 and −10.25, respectively.
5-Aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is an orally administered therapeutic agent for inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. We hypothesized that the absorption of 5-ASA is mediated by the polyspecific carnitine/organic cation transporter (OCTN1/SLC22A4), based on the similarity of chemical structure between 5-ASA and other OCTN1 substrates. Therefore, we examined the involvement of this transporter in the disposition of 5-ASA in vivo by using octn1 gene knockout (octn1−/−) mice. After oral administration of 5-ASA, the plasma concentrations of 5-ASA and its primary metabolite, N-acetyl-5-aminosalicylate (Ac-5-ASA), in octn1−/− mice were much lower than those in wild-type mice. The time required to reach maximum plasma concentration was also delayed in octn1−/− mice. On the other hand, the plasma concentration profiles of both 5-ASA and Ac-5-ASA after intravenous administration of 5-ASA (bolus or infusion) were similar in the two strains. Uptake of 5-ASA from the apical to the basal side of isolated small-intestinal tissues of octn1−/− mice, determined in an Ussing-type chamber, was lower than that in wild-type mice. Further, uptake of 5-ASA in HEK293 cells stably transfected with the OCTN1 gene, assessed as the sum of cell-associated 5-ASA and Ac-5-ASA, was higher than that in HEK293 cells transfected with the vector alone. Overall, these results indicate that OCTN1 is involved, at least in part, in the gastrointestinal absorption of 5-ASA.
The human ether-à-go-go-related gene (hERG) channel mediates the rapid delayed rectifier potassium current (IKr) responsible for shaping the repolarization phase of cardiac action potentials. hERG mutation may cause hERG channel malfunction, leading to long QT syndrome and other arrhythmic disorders. Elucidation of the genotype–phenotype relationships of individual hERG mutations is key to the development of treatment for such arrhythmic disorders. We previously identified hERG(G487R), a missense mutant with a glycine-to-arginine substitution at position 487. In the absence of arrhythmogenic factors, hERG(G487R) subunit-containing channels show normal surface expression and gating kinetics. However, it remains unknown whether the mutation exacerbates hERG channel malfunction induced by arrhythmogenic factors. Here we used a voltage-clamp technique to compare the effects of the major arrythmogenic factors on wild-type hERG [hERG(WT)] and hERG(G487R) channel currents (IhERG) in HEK-293T cells. The extent of IhERG blockade by the antiarrhythmic drug dofetilide or E4031 was not different between these channels. On the other hand, the extracellular K+ concentration ([K+]ex)-dependent changes in the rates of recovery from inactivation and deactivation of IhERG were rather less obvious for hERG(G487R) channel than for hERG(WT) channel. These findings suggest that the inheritance of hERG(G487R) does not increase the risk of arrhythmic disorders induced by antiarrhythmic drugs or hypokalemia.
Atherosclerotic lesion formation starts during fetal development and progresses with age after adolescence. However, atherogenesis during the juvenile period has not been studied thoroughly. In this study, we examined the atherogenic susceptibility of juvenile rabbits to cholesterol feeding. Male New Zealand White rabbits aged 8 (younger group) and 12 (older group) weeks were fed a 0.5% cholesterol-containing diet for 8 weeks, and then their aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas were evaluated. Plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids did not differ between the two groups; however, plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were 23% lower in the younger than in the older group. Atherosclerotic lesion areas were significantly larger in the younger group (32±21%). However, only moderate changes were observed in these areas in the older group (3.3±0.3%). Histological examination showed marked intimal thickening and macrophage accumulation in the aortic lesions of rabbits in the younger group. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that dietary cholesterol-induced atherogenic changes markedly occur during a short period in juvenile rabbits.
Bioconversion of (−)-epicatechin (−EC), (+)-epicatechin (+EC), (−)-catechin (−C), and (+)-catechin (+C) by (−)-epigallocatechin (−EGC)-metabolizing bacteria, Adlercreutzia equolifaciens MT4s-5, Eggerthella lenta JCM 9979, and Flavonifractor plautii MT42, was investigated. A. equolifaciens MT4s-5 could catalyze C ring cleavage to form (2S)-1-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3-(2,4,6-trihydroxyphenyl)propan-2-ol (1S) from −EC and −C, and (2R)-1-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3-(2,4,6-trihydroxyphenyl)propan-2-ol (1R) from +C. The C ring cleavage by A. equolifaciens MT4s-5 was accelerated in the presence of hydrogen. E. lenta JCM 9979 also catalyzed C ring cleavage of −EC and +C to produce 1S and 1R, respectively. In the presence of hydrogen or formate, strain JCM 9979 showed not only stimulation of C ring cleavage but also subsequent 4′-dehydroxylation of 1S and 1R to produce (2S)-1-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-(2,4,6-trihydroxyphenyl)propan-2-ol (2S) and (2R)-1-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-(2,4,6-trihydroxyphenyl)propan-2-ol (2R), respectively. On the other hand, A. equolifaciens MT4s-5 did not show any 4′-dehydroxylation ability even in the presence of hydrogen. F. plautii MT42 could convert 1S, 1R, 2S, and 2R into their corresponding 4-hydroxy-5-hydroxyphenylvaleric acids and 5-hydroxyphenyl-γ-valerolactones simultaneously. Similar bioconversion was observed by F. plautii ATCC 29863 and F. plautii ATCC 49531.