Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a plasma membrane transporter which extrudes chemotherapeutic agents out of cells, has been associated with the multidrug resistance (MDR) of cancer cells. It has been revealed that flavonoids and other polyphenols inhibit P-gp activity. Due to their inhibitory activities of polyphenols on P-gp function and their physiological safety, they are possible candidates for modulators of MDR. To determine suitable candidates, it is important to clarify the structure–activity relationships of their inhibitory activities on P-gp function. Determining the structure–activity relationships is also meaningful because the intake of dietary polyphenols may also alter drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics via inhibition of P-gp-mediated drug efflux in tissues such as the intestinal epithelium, blood-brain barrier, hepatocytes and renal tubular cells. This is a review of our recent investigations using multidrug-resistant P-gp overexpressing KB-C2 cells.
We investigated a method for the simultaneous screening, identification, and quantitative determination of salicylic acid, acetaminophen, theophylline, barbiturates, and bromvalerylurea, drugs that frequently cause acute poisoning in Japan and therefore require rapid analysis for effective treatment in the clinical setting. The method employs liquid chromatography/electrospray mass spectrometry (LC/MS) of solid-phase extracted serum samples. For LC/MS ionization, the electrospray-ionization method was used, with acetaminophen in the positive-ion mode, and salicylic acid, theophylline, phenobarbital, bromvalerylurea, pentobarbital, amobarbital, and o-acetamidophenol (internal standard) in the negative-ion mode, the base ions were used in each case for quantitative analysis. Quantitation was possible for the following sample concentration ranges: salicylic acid and acetaminophen, 100 to 5 μg/ml; theophylline, 100 to 0.5 μg/ml; and phenobarbital, bromvalerylurea, pentobarbital, and amobarbital, 100 to 1 μg/ml. Using full-scan mass spectrometry, the lower detection limits of 1 μg/ml for salicylic acid and acetaminophen, 0.1 μg/ml for theophylline, and 0.5 μg/ml for phenobarbital, bromvalerylurea, pentobarbital, and amobarbital were adequate for identifying acute poisoning. When each compound was added to serum to a final concentration of 5 μg/ml and solid-phase extraction was performed using Oasis HLB 1-cc (30-mg), the mean recovery rate of each compound was 89.2 to 96.1% (n=5), and the coefficients of variation of the intraday and interday assays were 3.55 to 6.05% (n=5) and 3.68 to 6.38% (n=5), respectively, which are acceptable. When this method of analysis was applied in testing the sera of a female patient who had consumed a large amount of an unknown commercial drug, salicylic acid and bromvalerylurea were identified, and the treatment strategy could be determined in accordance with the serum concentration of those drugs.
In our previous study, we showed that 4,4′-dihydroxybiphenyl (44′-BP) reduced melanin content via the inhibition of tyrosinase. In the current study, we utilized 44′-BP treated B16 melanoma cells (B16 cells) to measure several key cellular parameters known to be involved in melanogenic activity. Included in these measurements were tyrosinase and microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF) protein levels, cyclic AMP levels, protein kinase A (PKA) activation, and reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) levels. Results showed that 44′-BP effectively suppressed the amounts of tyrosinase and MITF proteins, cAMP levels, and PKA activation. In addition, 44′-BP enhanced the GSH/GSSG ratio. In conclusion, our data provide an evidence that 44′-BP suppressed several cellular key parameters in the melanogenic pathway by downregulating the cAMP-dependent PKA signaling pathway and decreasing MITF gene expression (implied from the reduced protein levels), which in turn suppressed tyrosinase. We propose that the antimelanogenic action of 44′-BP is likely carried out by a combined effect of its anti-oxidant property and its ability to enhance intracellular GSH levels.
Dihydropyrazine (DHP), which induces mutagenesis in E. coli, was investigated. From analyzing mutations in the chromosomal rpoB gene, the mutation spectrum in uvrB strain revealed the different behavior on exposure to two DHP derivatives 3-hydro-2,2,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine (HTMP), and 2,3-dihydro-5,6-dimethylpyrazine (DHDMP). A higher level of DHP-induced mutation was observed, with base substitutions at G : C pairs predominant. HTMP and DHDMP increased the frequency of G : C to T : A transversions. HTMP increased the frequency of G : C to A : T transitions, than did DHDMP. These findings suggest that DHPs prefer to attack the G : C pair and that different DHP derivatives may prefer distinct mutagenic base pairs; and further, that nucleotide excision repair may be involved in the repair of DHP-induced mutations.
Trichosanthis kirilowii MAXIM has been used as a folk remedy to treat diabetes, leukemia, and breast cancer. In the present study, the apoptotic mechanism of the methylene chloride fraction of Trichosanthis Fructus (MCTF) was investigated in human leukemic U937 cells. MCTF exhibited antiproliferative effectsagainst U937 cells (IC50=ca. 8 μg/ml). Apoptotic bodies were observed in MCTF-treated U937 cells in the TUNEL assay. We also confirmed that MCTF significantly increases annexin V+/propidium iodide-cells using FACS analysis. MCTF treatment activated caspase-8, -9 and -3, and led to cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and release of cytochrome c into cytosol in a concentration-dependent manner, while MCTF did not affect Bax or Bcl-2 protein levels as shown by Western blot analysis. Taken together, these results indicate that MCTF can induce apoptosis in U937 cells chiefly via a mitochondrial-mediated pathway and suggest that Trichosanthis Fructus can be used in cancer treatment as a chemopreventive agent.
An attempt was made to express protease BYA produced by an alkalophilic Bacillus sp. Y in Bacillus subtilis by gene engineering methods. The gene encoding protease BYA was cloned from Bacillus sp. Y, and expression vector pTA71 was constructed from the amylase promoter of Bacillus licheniformis, DNA fragments encoding the open reading frame of protease BYA, and pUB110. Protease BYA was secreted at an activity level of 5100 APU/ml in the common industrial culture medium of Bacillus subtilis transformed with pTA71. We then attempted to increase the specific activity of protease BYA by site-directed mutagenesis. Amino acid residue Ala29 next to catalytic Asp30 was replaced by one of three uncharged amino acid residues (Val29, Leu29, Ile29), and each mutant enzyme was expressed and isolated from the culture medium. Val29 mutant enzyme was secreted at an activity level of greater than 7000 APU/ml in culture medium, and its specific activity was 1.5-fold higher than that of the wild-type enzyme. Other mutant enzymes had specific activity similar to that of the original one and were less stabile than the wild-type enzyme. It can be thought that the substitution at amino acid residue 29 affects the level of activity and stability of protease BYA.
The aim of this study was to discover a novel agent that suppresses nitric oxide (NO) production stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in RAW 264.7 cells. We carried out a screening test in fifteen azaphilone compounds, which were isolated from xylariaceous inedible mushrooms. The structure–activity relationship was discussed; accordingly, azaphilones were divided into five groups based on the functional groups attached to the main azaphilone backbone. Rubiginosin A, an azaphilone with an orsellinic acid moiety attached to the bicyclic azaphilone through an ester linkage, showed potential inhibitory activity. To clarify the mechanism involved, total RNA extraction, followed by RT-PCR for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and finally electrophoresis on agarose gel were performed. These findings indicated that suppression of the LPS-induced NO production of rubiginosin A is due to the inhibition of iNOS protein synthesis.
Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitors are effective candidates for treating nerve or myocardial injury, erectile dysfunction, and other cardiovascular diseases. Purified ROCK is a foundation for ROCK inhibitors screening and for its function research in vitro. This article established an easy way to harvest active recombinant ROCK catalytic domain (ROCK-CD) of rat in Escherichia coli (E. coli). The cDNA of ROCK-CD was amplified by RT-PCR, and subcloned to pET28a(+) vector to express the protein in E. coli BL(21) as inclusion bodies. The protein was purified by HiTrap chelating column, and its refolding was achieved by gradient dilution from guanidine hydrochloride solution, and desalinated by ultrafiltration. The result of DNA sequencing and protein sequence analysis indicate there were three amino acid residua of mutation, but the activity was not significantly affected. The activity of the recombinant protein was confirmed by ROCK II activity fluorescence polarization kit. Therefore, this is an easy and rapid procedure to harvest a large quantity of activity recombinant ROCK-CD at low cost.
The pteridine neopterin (NP) is produced by monocytes and is known to be a useful marker of immunological activation, although, it remains elusive whether neopterin itself exhibits biological functions. Recently, we found that NP stimulates hematopoietic cell proliferation and differentiation by activating bone marrow stromal cell function. In order to elucidate the biological effect of NP on stromal cells, its effects on hematopoiesis was determined in the mouse model of age-related stromal impairment, senescence-accelerated mice (SAMs). An intraperitoneal administration of NP increased the number of peripheral leukocytes and CFU-GM in the bone marrow and spleen of young SAMs, however, no increase of CFU-GM in old SAMs (stromal impairment) was observed when compared with young SAMs. NP also increased the CFU-GM colony formation of bone marrow and spleen cells from young SAMs in a soft agar culture system, but it did not enhance CFU-GM colony formation of cells from old SAMs cultured in this system. Treatment with NP induced the production of hematopoietic stimulating factors, including IL-6 and GM-CSF, by bone marrow stromal cells from young SAMs but stromal cells from old SAMs did not respond to NP stimulation. Further studies will be required to clarify the mechanism by which NP stimulates the production of hematopoietic growth factors from stromal cells, the results of this study indicate that NP is a potent hematopoietic regulatory factor by activating stromal cell function(s).
Adipose differentiation is regulated by coordination of several signaling pathways and transcription factors. We recently showed that Hypoxia inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) plays several supporting roles in adipose differentiation and adipocytes functions including regulation of glucose uptake followed by lipid synthesis. HIF-2α expression is increased during adipogenesis, indicating that its up-regulation is necessary for execution of adipogenesis and maintenance of mature adipocytes functions. Therefore, in this study, to understand the mechanism by which HIF-2α expression is induced during adipogenesis, we investigated the promoter activity of HIF-2α gene during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. A comparison of HIF-2α promoter activity between preadipocytes and adipocytes revealed that the sequence –478/–445 is the putative core element that contributes to differentiation-dependent up-regulation of HIF-2α promoter activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed the presence of the specific nuclear factor bound to the sequence –478/–445 in both preadipocytes and adipocytes. Computer analysis revealed that this element contains several Sp1/Sp3 binding sites. Indeed, the presence of Sp1/Sp3 consensus oligonucleotides diminished the formation of the complexes composed of the sequence –478/–445 and the nuclear factor. Furthermore, specific retarded bands were supershifted with anti-Sp1 or -Sp3 antibodies. Binding of Sp1 and Sp3 to this element was also confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. The element encompassing –478/–445 favors Sp3 in preadipocytes and Sp1 in adipocytes. Finally, the activity of –478/–445 was increased by Sp1 but decreased by Sp3. Consequently, these results suggest that Sp1 and Sp3 are involved in transcriptional regulation of HIF-2α expression during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells.
Recently, we discovered that β-thujaplicin (BT) induces metallothionein (MT) expression in mouse keratinocytes, both in vivo and in vitro. However, the molecular mechanisms by which BT exerts its biological effects have not been elucidated. The purpose of this study is to explore the signal transduction pathway involved in the MT mRNA induction by BT. Using a HaCaT keratinocyte cell line, Northern blotting was performed for analyzing the human MT-IIA mRNA expression levels in combination with BT and a number of protein kinase (PK) inhibitors including H7, HA1004 and a PKC-specific inhibitor chelerythrin. CAT assays with the MT-IIA gene promorter-CAT construct were conducted for examining the transcriptional regulation by BT of MT. A free radical scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was used for analyzing a role of oxidative stress for the MT gene induction by BT. BT increased MT-IIA gene transcript levels and CAT activity in a dose-dependent fashion in HaCaT cells. The increase in MT-IIA mRNA levels and CAT activity were completely suppressed by H7 but not by HA1004. In addition, chelerythrin prevented BT-inducible MT-IIA promoter activation. Furthermore, NAC suppressed BT-inducible MT-IIA promoter activation. These results demonstrate that BT is a potent activator of the MT-IIA gene promoter and that PKC activation and reactive oxygen species are implicated in BT-inducible MT-IIA gene expression. BT may be a useful tool for dissecting the signal transduction pathway mediating MT-IIA promoter activation.
There exist limitations in the detection of exogenous oligosaccharides due to their polydisperse and diversiform nature, and particularly the interference of endogenous glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Herein, a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assay for detecting acidic oligosaccharide sugar chain (AOSC), an anti-Alzheimer's drug candidate, in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was developed based on a carbohydrate antigen–antibody interaction. Rabbits were treated with AOSC intravenously and orally at 40 or 200 mg·kg−1, respectively. CSF samples were collected at given time points for quantitative determination of AOSC concentrations in the CSF using an SPR-based competitive inhibition assay, and the existence of AOSC in the CSF was indicated as a blood-brain barrier (BBB) accessibility index. AOSC concentration as low as 50 ppb (0.05 μg·ml−1) was detected in the CSF, with its peak value approaching 2.091 and 3.316 μg·ml−1 following intravenous and oral administration, respectively. This is the first time the capacity of AOSC to pass through the BBB has been confirmed using SPR-based competitive inhibition immunoassay. Importantly, the accessibility of AOSC to the BBB indicates AOSC has potential therapeutic value for treating neurodegenerative diseases, particular Alzheimer's disease.
The effect of caffeic acid on scratching behavior and vascular permeability changes induced by compound 48/80 in ICR mice were investigated. An oral dose of 500 mg/kg of caffeic acid significantly inhibited scratching behavior and vascular permeability induced by compound 48/80. The inhibitory effects of daily administration of lower doses of caffeic acid, 100 and 200 mg/kg, were also investigated; and it was found that 200 mg/kg significantly inhibited compound 48/80-induced scratching behavior after the second week of consecutive administration. The effect of 200 mg/kg of caffeic acid on scratching behavior was observed up to the third week of the treatment. The decrease in histamine content induced by compound 48/80 was significantly antagonized by 200 mg/kg. The findings suggest that caffeic acid may be effective for treating itch and edema in allergic dermatitis.
An evaluation of the antigenotoxic potential of beer components against carcinogens contained in the human diet, namely heterocyclic amines (HCAs) including 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), was determined. The protective mechanism involved was also investigated. Beer samples were found to inhibit the mutagenicity of HCAs in the Ames test. Beer solution, consisting of a freeze-dried and dissolved sample, given as drink-water significantly reduced the formation of PhIP-DNA adducts in mouse colon and lung compared to control mice fed with PhIP in the absence of beer solution. Furthermore, beer solution added in the diet as a food additive mimic significantly reduced the amount of DNA adducts present in the liver and lung of mice fed with PhIP. In an effort to investigate the mechanism responsible for the observed protective effect, the effect of beer solutions on HCA metabolizing enzymes was investigated. Beer solutions inhibited the activity of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2, as determined from deethylation and demethylation assays using 7-ethoxy- and 7-methoxyresolufin, respectively. Considering the overall suppression of PhIP genotoxicity by beer, this study confirmed that beer components can interfere with the enzyme activity involved in the metabolism of HCAs and subsequently suppress the observed genotoxicity. The results of this study showed that beer components act in a protective capacity against the genotoxic effects of heterocyclic amines in vivo.
We previously reported that ten phenylethanoid glycosides including acteoside isolated from the leaves and twigs of Callicarpa dichotoma significantly attenuated glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. In the present study, we examined anti-amnesic activity of acteoside using scopolamine-induced (1 mg/kg body weight, s.c.) amnesic mice with both passive avoidance and Morris water maze tests. Acute oral treatment (single administration prior to scopolamine treatment) of mice with acteoside (1.0, 2.5 mg/kg body weight) significantly mitigated scopolamine-induced memory deficits in the passive avoidance test. It is interesting to note that prolonged oral daily treatment of mice with much lower amount (0.1 mg/kg body weight) of acteoside for 10 d reversed the scopolamine-induced memory deficits. In the Morris water maze, prolonged oral treatment with acteoside (prolonged daily administration of 1.0 mg/kg body weight for 10 d) significantly ameliorated scopolamine-induced memory deficits showing the formation of long-term and/or short-term spatial memory. We suggest, therefore, that acteoside has anti-amnesic activity that may ultimately hold significant therapeutic value in alleviating certain memory impairment observed in Alzheimer's disease.
Recent studies suggest that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) can promote the development of atherosclerotic lesions in a similar manner to oxidatively modified low density lipoproteins. As oxidative stress accelerates the formation of AGEs, antioxidant drugs may exert atheroprotective effects via suppression of AGE formation. Although amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker, and fluvastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitor, show antioxidant and atheroprotective effects, the relation of AGEs to their effects is unknown. We immunohistochemically investigated the inhibitory effects of chronic treatment with amlodipine (5 mg/kg per day) or fluvastatin at a dose insufficient to reduce plasma cholesterol levels (2 mg/kg per day) on the accumulation of AGEs in atherosclerotic aortas of rabbits fed 1% cholesterol diet and 10% fructose containing water. After eight weeks of treatment, AGEs, namely argpyrimidine, carboxymethyllysine and pyrraline, markedly accumulated with intimal thickening in cholesterol and fructose-fed control rabbits, while the drugs inhibited those changes other than the pyrraline deposition without plasma lipid-lowering effects. Enhanced lipid peroxidation was observed in plasma from cholesterol and fructose-fed rabbits only, and lipid peroxidation was not suppressed by the drugs. These results suggest that the atheroprotective effects of the drugs are at least partly due to the suppression of AGE accumulation although the exact mechanism of AGE suppression is ambiguous.
Many natural terpenoid compounds from plants exhibit antinociceptive property but very few studies have addressed their efficacy in visceral models of nociception. The present study evaluated the antinociceptive potential of oleanolic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene in the mouse model of colonic nociception induced by mustard oil. We further examined the possible participation of opioid, α2-adrenergic, and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1)-receptors in its mechanism. Mice were pretreated orally with oleanolic acid (3, 10, 30 mg/kg) or vehicle, and the pain-related behavioral responses to intracolonic injection of mustard oil was analysed. Oleanolic acid significantly suppressed the mustard oil-induced nociceptive behaviors at test doses of 10 and 30 mg/kg, in a dose-related manner. The antinociceptive effect of oleanolic acid (30 mg/kg) was significantly blocked by pretreatment with the opioid antagonist, naloxone (2 mg/kg, i.p.), while the α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, yohimbine (2 mg/kg, s.c.), had no effect. Pretreatment with ruthenium red (3 mg/kg, s.c.), a non-competitive TRPV1 antagonist alone caused significant inhibition of mustard oil-induced nociception but its co-administration with oleanolic acid produced neither antagonism nor potentiation of oleanolic acid antinociception. In the open-field test that detects sedative or motor abnormality, mice received 30 mg/kg oleanolic acid did not show any per se influence, but significantly inhibited the mustard oil-induced decrease in ambulation frequency. These data demonstrate the visceral antinociceptive potential of oleanolic acid that involves an opioid mechanism and possibly a modulatory influence on vanilloid-receptors, which needs further study.
Ketamine is known to improve opioid efficacy, reduce postoperative opioid requirement and oppose opioid associated pain hypersensitivity and tolerance. However, the mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects are not clear. This study investigated the effects of ketamine at a non-analgesic dose (30 mg/kg, i.p.) on analgesia induced by morphine (2.5, 5.0, 7.5 mg/kg, s.c.), using rat tail-flick test as an animal model of acute pain. Further, the role of opioid-, α2-adrenoceptors and ATP-sensitive potassium channels was examined on the potentiating effect of ketamine. Male rats received morphine alone at 5.0 and 7.5 but not at 2.5 mg/kg showed a dose-related increase in tail-flick latencies. The combination of morphine and ketamine resulted in dose-related increase in morphine analgesia, both on the intensity as well as on duration. The ketamine-induced potentiation of morphine (7.5 mg/kg) analgesia was unaffected by glibenclamide (3 mg/kg, s.c.) and only partially blocked by yohimbine (2 mg/kg, i.p.), but more completely abolished by naloxone (2 mg/kg, i.p.). Both morphine (5.0 mg/kg) and ketamine (30 mg/kg) alone did not evoke catalepsy in rats but on combination produced a synergistic effect, which was however, abolished by naloxone pretreatment. In the open-field test, while morphine (5.0 mg/kg) caused a depressant effect, ketamine (30 mg/kg) enhanced the locomotor activity. Nevertheless, in combination potentiated the morphine's depressant effect on locomotion, which was also antagonized by naloxone. These results indicate that ketamine at a non-analgesic dose can potentiate morphine analgesia, induce catalepsy and cause locomotor depression, possibly involving an opioid mechanism. This potentiation, although favorable in acute pain management, may have some adverse clinical implications.
We investigated the effects of progesterone and norethisterone on the apical-to-basolateral and basolateral-to-apical transports of cephalexin, a typical peptide transporter PEPT1 substrate, and the PEPT1 mRNA and protein expression levels, using the human intestinal cell line, Caco-2. Caco-2 cell monolayers (passages 50 to 60) were cultured on permeable membrane, plastic culture dish and culture tube. The Caco-2 cell monolayers were pretreated with progesterone and norethisterone (3, 10, 30 μM) for 24 h. After the pretreatment, the apical-to-basolateral and basolateral-to-apical transports of cephalexin were measured, and the densities of PEPT1 mRNA and protein expression levels were analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot, respectively. The apical-to-basolateral transport of cephalexin was significantly decreased by the progesterone and norethisterone (30 μM each) pretreatments. By contrast, the basolateral-to-apical transport of cephalexin was not altered by the same pretreatments. The densities of PEPT1 mRNA and protein expressions were significantly decreased by progesterone and norethisterone (each at 3 and 10 μM) pretreatments compared with those of the non-treated Caco-2 cells. The results suggest that the transcription of the PEPT1 gene is downregulated by the progesterone and norethisterone pretreatments. Further studies are needed to clarify whether the inhibition of the PEPT1 gene transcription by progesterone pretreatment proceeds via σ1-receptor or progesterone receptor.
The anti-inflammatory effect of propolis was compared with that of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and L-NG-nitro arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, using carrageenin-induced mouse paw edema. When administered 10 min prior to carrageenin injection, propolis (1 : 1000, 1 : 100, p.o.), diclofenac (12.5, 50 mg/kg, p.o.) and L-NAME (10, 100 mg/kg, s.c.) showed a significant anti-inflammatory effect. The anti-inflammatory effects of propolis and L-NAME were significantly inhibited by L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide, but not by D-arginine. In contrast, the anti-inflammatory effect produced by diclofenac was not inhibited by either D-arginine or L-arginine. These results indicate that the anti-inflammatory effect of propolis on mouse paw edema acts via the inhibition of nitric oxide production, similar to that of L-NAME but not diclofenac.
Recent advances in tumor immunology have facilitated the development of cancer immunotherapy targeting tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). However, because TAAs were identified in only a few types of human cancer, novel vaccine strategies that utilize tumor cell-lysate (TCL), including unidentified TAAs as an antigen source, are needed. Herein, we describe the utility of fusogenic liposomes (FLs) as TCL-delivery carriers for both ex vivo dendritic cell-based vaccination and in vivo direct immunization in the murine B16BL6 melanoma model. As a result, both in vivo direct immunization and ex vivo immunization induced anti-B16 melanoma prophylactic effects. Ex vivo dendritic cell (DC)-mediated vaccination strategy exert more potent anti-tumor effect than direct immunization. Our results suggest that this flexible system is a promising approach for the development of versatile cancer immunotherapy regimes.
DNA rich in non-methylated CG motifs (CpGs) enhances induction of immune responses against co-administered antigen encoding genes. CpGs are therefore among the promising adjuvants known to date. However, naked plasmid DNA, even which contains CpG motifs, are taken up by antigen presenting cells via the endocytosis pathway. Endocytosed DNAs are thus degraded and their gene expression levels are inefficient. In this context, an effective plasmid delivery carrier is required for DNA vaccine development. We show in the present study that packaging plasmids containing CpGs into fusogenic liposomes (FL) derived from conventional liposomes and Sendai virus-derived active accessory proteins is an attractive method for enhancing the efficacy of a DNA vaccine. These CpG-enhanced plasmids (possessing 16 CpG repeats) that were packaged into FL, enhanced ovalbumin (OVA)-specific T cell proliferation and cytotoxic T cell activity after immunization. In fact, vaccination with CpG enhanced plasmid-loaded FL induced effective prophylactic effects compared with 13 repeats CpG containing plasmid in a tumor challenge experiment. Thus, the development of a CpG-enhanced DNA-FL genetic immunization system represents a promising tool for developing candidate vaccines against some of the more difficult infectious, parasitic, and oncologic disease targets.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), a member of the nuclear receptor of ligand-activated transcription factors, regulates the expression of key genes involved in lipid and glucose metabolism or adipocyte differentiation. Ligands for this receptor have emerged as potent insulin sensitizers used in the treatment of Type2 diabetes. Ginseng saponins or ginsenosides are reported to provide anti-diabetic activity as well as to modulate glucose metabolism, although the mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we examined the effect of ginsenosides on activation of PPARγ and adipogenes in 3T3-L1. Using a GAL-4/PPARγ transactivation assay, 20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT), one of the ginsenoside metabolites, was found to increase PPARγ-transactivation activity dose-dependently with similar activity as troglitazone, a well-known PPARγ agonist. PPT enhanced adipogenesis by increasing the expression of PPARγ target genes such as aP2, LPL and PEPCK. Furthermore, PPT significantly increased expression of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4). These results indicate that PPT can be developed as a PPARγ agonist for the improvement of insulin resistance associated with diabetes.
T-1095, an orally active inhibitor of Na+-glucose cotransporter (SGLT), excretes excess plasma glucose into urine, lowers blood glucose levels, and thus has therapeutic potential for treatment of diabetes mellitus. To elucidate the correlation between threshold for renal glucose reabsorption and blood glucose levels, we evaluated the effects of T-1095 on transport maximum for glucose (TmG) in dogs. Intravenous infusion of T-1095A (0.25—2.0 μg/kg/min), an active metabolite of T-1095, dose-dependently increased fractional glucose excretion induced by a hyper-amount of glucose infusion in anesthetized dogs. Calculated TmG was decreased by T-1095A in a dose dependent manner, and plasma concentration of T-1095A correlated well with the reduction of TmG (R2=0.704). Then, oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) were carried out in dogs. T-1095 at a dose of 3 mg/kg (p.o.) slightly increased urinary glucose excretion without affecting blood glucose levels. Ten mg/kg (p.o.) of T-1095 suppressed the elevation of blood glucose levels by excreting a large quantity urinary glucose. The estimated TmG reduction by 3 and 10 mg/kg of T-1095 was about 50% and more than 80%, respectively. In conclusion, this study clarified that more than 80% reduction of TmG by inhibition of SGLT was necessary for suppressing postprandial hyperglycemia in normoglycemic dogs.
Fraxetin (7,8-dihydroxy-6-methoxy coumarin), a coumarin derivative, was investigated for its effects on differentiation of osteoblasts. By means of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and osteocalcin ELISA assay, we have shown that fraxetin exhibits a significant induction of differentiation in two human osteoblast-like cell lines, MG-63 and hFOB. Alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin are phenotypic markers for early-stage differentiated osteoblasts and terminally differentiated osteoblasts, respectively. Our results indicated that fraxetin stimulated osteoblast differentiation at various stages (from osteoprogenitors to terminally differentiated osteoblasts). Induction of differentiation by fraxetin was associated with increased bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and BMP-4 productions. Addition of purified BMP-2 and BMP-4 proteins did not increase the upregulation of ALP activity and osteocalcin secretion by fraxetin, whereas the BMPs antagonist noggin blocked both fraxetin and BMP-2 and BMP-4 mediated ALP activity and osteocalcin secretion enhancement, indicating that BMP-2 and BMP-4 productions are required in fraxetin-mediated osteoblast maturation and differentiation. These findings are novel and may be important in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
Dai-kenchu-to has been used for the treatment of abdominal obstructions, including bowel obstructions and a feeling of coldness in the abdomen. We reported that Dai-kenchu-to increases plasma neuropeptide [motilin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), serotonin, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and substance P]-like immunoreactive substances (IS) levels and that its pharmacologic effects on the gastrointestine are due to changes in gastrointestinal mucosa-regulatory peptide levels. We examined the effects of the selective M1 muscarinic receptor antagonist pirenzepine on the elevation of Dai-kenchu-to-induced plasma neuropeptide (gastrin, motilin, somatostatin, VIP, CGRP, substance P)-IS levels in human volunteers and the area under the plasma neuropeptide concentration–time curve from 0 to 240 min (AUC0→240 min), which were calculated from the plasma neuropeptide concentration–time curves from each volunteers. Oral pretreatment with pirenzepine reduced the Dai-kenchu-to-induced elevation of plasma motilin and VIP-IS levels and AUC0→240 min. Combined treatment with Dai-kenchu-to and pirenzepine increased plasma somatostatin-IS levels and decreased plasma gastrin-IS levels and had no effects on plasma CGRP- and substance P-IS levels and AUC0→240 min compared with administration of Dai-kenchu-to alone. Dai-kenchu-to appeared to induce the release of motilin and VIP into plasma mainly through the activation of M1 muscarinic receptors, and pirenzepine may affect the pharmacologic action of Dai-kenchu-to by elevation of plasma motilin and VIP levels.
Some novel benzimidazol/benzoxazolylethoxypiperidone oximes were synthesized and their antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (NCIM-2492), Bacillus subtilis (NCIM-2439), Escherichia coli (NCIM-2345) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (NCIM-2035) and antifungal activity against Candida albicans (NCIM-C27), Candida-6 (NCIM-C27), Candida-51 (NCIM-C27), Aspergillus niger (NCIM-590) and Aspergillus flavus (NCIM-539) have been evaluated. Compounds 26 and 27 exerted potent in vitro antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus while compounds 26, 29 and 30 exhibited potent in vitro antifungal activity against Candida albicans, Candida-51, and Aspergillus niger.
Based on our results regarding the structure–activity relationships of alkylxanthines and imidazo[2,1-i]purines as phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors, we designed new 1-benzylxanthines and investigated their PDE4 inhibitory activities. 3,7-Dihydro-7-acetonyl-1-(2,4-dichlorobenzyl)-3-propyl-1H-purine-2,4-dione (2h) exhibited both more selective and more potent PDE4 inhibitory activity than rolipram and XT-611.
A methanol extract from unripe Japanese apricot showed inhibitory activity of Helicobacter pylori motility. Inhibitory compound 1 was isolated and identified as (+)-syringaresinol (1) by spectoroscopic means. (+)-Syringaresinol (1) inhibited >90% of the H. pylori motility at a concentration of 500 μg/ml and the IC50 value was 50 μg/ml.
This paper describes the in vitro antiviral evaluation of 27 different marine sponges (Porifera) collected off Brazilian coastline in the search for novel drug leads. With these sponges aqueous and organic extracts were prepared and tested for anti-herpetic (HSV-1, KOS strain), anti-adenovirus (human AdV serotype 5) and anti-rotavirus (simian RV SA11) activities. The evaluation of the cytotoxicity and potential antiviral activity of these extracts were performed by using MTT assay. Results were expressed as 50% cytotoxicity (CC50) and 50% effective (EC50) concentrations, respectively, in order to calculate the selectivity indices (SI=CC50/EC50) of each extract. From the 40 sponge extracts tested, 17 extracts showed antiviral action in different degrees. The results concerning the antiviral activity were obtained by using three different strategies: (1) simultaneous assay, when sponge extracts were added to the cells at the same time of the viruses; (2) pre treatment assay, when sponge extracts were added to the cells 15 h prior to the viruses infection; and (3) post treatment assay, when the viruses were added to the cells and remained during 2 h prior to the addition of sponge extracts. The antiviral assays with HSV-1/KOS and AdV-5 showed more promising results when the pre treatment test was employed. In relation to the RV-SA11 virus, only the simultaneous assay showed antiviral activity. The extracts presenting the most promising results were the aqueous extracts of Cliona sp., Agelas sp.2, Tethya sp., Axinella aff corrugata, Polymastia janeirensis and Protosuberites sp., and these extracts deserve special attention in further studies.
Geniposide from Gardenia jasminoides protected neuronal cells from damage in oxygen and glucose deprivation-exposed hippocampal slice culture. Geniposide showed a greater protective effect on the granule cell layer than on the pyramidal cell layer including CA 1 and CA 3. On the basis of the experimental results, geniposide may be a therapeutic agent for ischemia in patients.
Methyl brevifolincarboxylate (1) isolated from the leaves of Phyllanthus niruri L. showed a vasorelaxant effect on rat aortic rings. Compound 1 exhibited slow relaxation activity against norepinephrine (NE)-induced contractions of rat aorta with or without endothelium. The compound did not affect contractions induced by a high concentration (60 mM) of K+ , whereas it inhibited NE-induced vasocontraction in the presence of nicardipine. These results suggest that the inhibition of NE-induced vasocontraction by compound 1 is in part attributable to a decrease in [Ca2+]i through receptor-operated Ca2+ channels.
The levels of serum aminotransferase activity, including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), in rats with acute hepatic failure at 24 h after an oral administration of CCl4 (0.01—0.5 ml/kg) were about 15—50 times higher (up to nearly 5000 IU/l) than those of vehicle control rats (about 85 IU/l). The values of total clearance (CLtot) of cyclosporin A, doxorubicin, tacrolimus and zonisamide in the CCl4-treated rats were decreased to about 1/2—1/3 of those in control rats. There were good correlations between AST activity and hepatic intrinsic clearance (CLint) (r=0.733—0.949) for the above drugs, as well as for chlorzoxazone, caffeine, lidocaine and tolbutamide after the intravenous administration of each drug in rats with acute hepatic failure. However, the slope of the linear regression equation, i.e., the ratio of decrease of CLint against increase of AST activity, differed markedly among these drugs. We found that there is a good correlation (r=0.953) between the values of the slope and the CLint of normal rats for these drugs, except for caffeine. In summary, the linear regression equation enables us to predict the decrease of CLtot in rats with acute hepatic failure to be predicted from the increase in serum AST activity. This approach may be useful as a guide for the dose modification of drugs for patients with acute hepatic failure.
Effects of various chemicals applied as penetration enhancers on the permeation of formoterol fumarate (FF) across excised rat skin were investigated. Remarkable enhancement was noted with terpenes, fatty acid esters, and higher alcohols, whereas no significant influence was observed in the case of lower alcohols, pyrrolidones, and amines. At high concentration, a cineole/N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) mixed solvent system slightly enhanced the skin permeation of FF compared with cineole alone, and a l-menthol/NMP mixed solvent system caused significant further increase. Maximum skin permeation of FF was seen when the ratio of l-menthol/NMP was 60/40 w/w. From the present results, l-menthol/NMP and isopropyl myristate (IPM)/NMP mixed solvent systems can be considered effective for augmenting skin permeation of FF, with potential applications in transdermal delivery of the drug.
It has recently been suggested that an Na+-dependent carrier-mediated transport system is involved in intestinal glycerol absorption. Such a transport system is of general interest as a possible pathway of drug delivery and a target of drug development. However, the Na+-dependent mechanism of cellular glycerol uptake has not been fully clarified in the small intestine or in any other organ. The purpose of the present study was to examine glycerol uptake in the HCT-15 human colon cancer cell line, which was found to be able to perform Na+-dependent glycerol uptake, to determine the transport characteristics and help identify such glycerol transport systems. The uptake of glycerol in HCT-15 cells was highly saturable with a Michaelis constant of 15.0 μM and a maximum uptake rate of 11.9 pmol/min/mg protein, accompanied by minimal unsaturable transport; it was reduced markedly under Na+-free conditions, indicating Na+ requirement. Glycerol uptake was also reduced by 2,4-dinitrophenol, a metabolic inhibitor. These results suggest that a carrier-mediated glycerol transport system, which is Na+-dependent and secondarily active, is present in HCT-15 cells. The transport system could be specific for glycerol and some analogous compounds with hydroxyl groups, since glycerol uptake was inhibited by some alcohols and compounds related to glycerol, such as 1,2-propanediol and glycerol 3-phosphpate. However, it may represent a high affinity transport system, which is different from the one in the small intestine, because the Michaelis constant of 15.0 μM is about 50-fold lower than that observed in the rat small intestine. In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate an Na+-dependent carrier-mediated glycerol transport in an established cell line. This will help in identifying a group of Na+-dependent glycerol transport systems and elucidating their transport mechanisms, although the one found in HCT-15 cells in this study seems to be different from one previously found in the rat small intestine.
We investigated whether poly-L-arginine (PLA) could improve permeation of the hydrophilic compounds, FITC-labeled dextran (MW 3800, FD-4) and pyridoxamine, through ocular surface tissues. Samples of cornea, conjunctiva, or conjunctiva/sclera composite from Japanese white rabbits were mounted in Ussing chambers to measure FD-4 and pyridoxamine permeation and transepithelial electric resistance (TEER). The integrity and viability of the conjunctiva were assessed by chronological TEER monitoring and MTT assay, respectively. The permeability coefficient (Papp) of FD-4 in the cornea, conjunctiva, and conjunctiva/sclera composite was increased by the addition of PLA (MW 38 kDa, PLA (50)) at 0.1 mg/ml by 6.81-, 9.78-, and 7.91-fold, respectively. The Papp of pyridoxamine was also increased in the presence of PLA (50) by 7.98-, 4.67-, 8.31-fold, respectively. A corresponding reduction in TEER was observed in all tissues. However, the reduced TEER in the case of the conjunctiva had recovered to ca. 70% 120 min after replacing the mucosal fluid with fresh bicarbonated Ringer's solution. MTT assay results indicated that treatment of the conjunctiva with 0.1 mg/ml PLA (50) did not change the production of formazan compared to that without PLA (50), indicating that the conjunctival viability is not significantly affected by PLA (50). Our findings suggest that PLA may be useful in promoting the ocular delivery of hydrophilic drugs without producing significant epithelial damage.
Antioxidant effects of extracts from Croton cajucara BENTH. leaves was investigated in different in vitro and in vivo models. Extracts showed inhibitory radical scavenging activity against the stable radical 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) (75%, 43% and 25% of the standard trolox at 1, 10 and 100 mg/ml, respectively; IC50 218 mg/ml). Percentage survival of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells treated with 10 mM paraquat increased by 21% and 55%, when 1 mg/ml and 10 mg/ml concentrations of the extract, respectively, were added. The cytosolic concentration of TBARS increased in animals treated with paraquat (+283%), while values did not significantly differ from the controls in rats additionally receiving the leaf extract. Paraquat administration also induced a significant increase in hydroperoxide-initiated chemiluminiscence (+76%), that was partially prevented by the leaf extract (+31%). Liver SOD activity was a 158% higher in animals receiving paraquat as compared to the controls. This effect was abolished by administration of the leaf extract. Paraquat administration did not significantly modify the activity of GPx or catalase. Croton cajucara extract increased GPx and catalase activities in paraquat treated-animals by 342% and 70%, respectively. Our results confirm that Croton cajucara leaf extract present radical scavenging activity and reduce oxidative stress induced by paraquat, suggesting the beneficial use as a potential source of antioxidant agents of natural origin.
Vibrio vulnificus hemolysin (VvhA) is inactivated in the late growth phase by its oligomerization. Albumin is known to affect the activities of many bacterial toxins. In this study, we investigated the effects of human or bovine serum albumin (HSA or BSA) on the production and activity of VvhA. HSA did not affect V. vulnificus growth and vvhA transcription. However, VvhA hemolytic activity in culture supernatants was significantly higher in the presence of HSA than in the absence of HSA. By Western blot analysis, the oligomerization of VvhA was inhibited and the remaining active VvhA monomer was increased in culture supernatants containing HSA. BSA produced similar results. These findings indicate that both HSA and BSA stabilize VvhA and delay VvhA inactivation by oligomerization, and thus enhance VvhA activity.
To prevent pollution of the water environment by drugs, we evaluated factors affecting the elimination of drugs by inducing reactions between the pharmaceutical chemicals originating from the drugs and activated sludge (AS) in test tubes. Of 30 pharmaceutical chemicals examined, ibuprofen (IBP) as an anti-inflammatory drug most markedly inhibited the oxygen uptake rate (OUR) of AS, and its IC50 was 172 mg/l. The IBP elimination from the wastewater was due to the significant biosorption by AS and was based on the time–response and dose–response relationships. In the pharmaceutical chemical group (1) (diclofenac Na, ketoprofen, indomethacin, salicylic acid, mefenamic acid, phenylbutazone, chlorpromazine·HCl, furosemide, tolbutamide and warfarin K) showing a relatively significant OUR inhibition (IC50, 200—500 mg/l), protein binding (75—99.7%), and the biosorption by AS also tended to be significant. In group (2) (acetaminophen, kanamycin·H2SO4, antipyrine, ethenzamide, gentamicin·H2SO4, cyclophosphamide·HCl, aminophylline, procainamide·HCl and cimetidine) showing a negligible OUR inhibition (IC50 ≥2000 mg/l), the protein binding was slight (0—74%), and biosorption by AS was also negligible. For the IBP and group (1), AS was pretreated with a certain excessive amount of each pharmaceutical chemical, and the qualitative OUR curves of the AS-synthetic sewage-II after washing showed a significant OUR inhibition immediately after the start of the reaction. Group (2), as well as the control group showed no OUR inhibition. These results suggest that the degree of OUR inhibition of AS by pharmaceutical chemicals is affected by the protein binding and the degree of biosorption. This suggests that pharmaceutical chemicals with a significant protein binding possibility can be eliminated from the wastewater by binding to AS.
The Candida glabrata IFO 0622 strain cells obtained after cultivation at 27 °C and at 37 °C and then at 27 °C (37—27 °C) for 48 h in yeast extract-added Sabouraud liquid medium (YSLM) showed the same agglutination patterns against factor sera 1, 4, 6, and 34 in the commercially available factor serum kit ‘Candida Check’. On the other hand, the cells of the strain cultured at 37 °C had completely lost its reactivity against the factor serum 6. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of the cell wall mannans obtained from the strain cells showed the same reactivity with the agglutination patterns against the factor sera. The 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) pattern of the mannan obtained from the strain cells cultured at 37 °C showed that the mannan had completely lost the non-reducing β-1,2-linked mannopyranose unit in the mannotetraose Manβ1—2Manα1—2Manα1—2Man, corresponding to the serum factor 6.