The use of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-modified lipids (PEG-lipids) as a component of cationic liposomes impairs the cytoplasmic delivery of the encapsulated cargos by reducing endosomal escape. While this results in a loss of gene expression of encapsulated plasmid DNA, PEG-modification is useful in that it permits the formation of small, stabilized particles. In the present study, the dilemma associated with the use of PEG was overcome by modifying liposomes with stearylated INF7 (STR-INF7), a membrane fusion-independent destabilizer of endosomes, and substituting hydrophobic lipid-anchors in the PEG-lipid. The cationic liposomes modified with a series of PEG-lipids showed a drastically impaired transgene expression. However, the incorporation of STR-INF7 recovered the gene expression, and this was found to be mainly dependent on the type of PEG lipid-anchor used. Of note, the fold increase in transfection activity was highest in cholesterol-anchored PEG (>100-fold), whose enhanced endosomal escape was followed by imaging techniques. These data suggest that the structure of lipid-anchors in PEG affects the action of the peptides for inducing of endosomal escape.
This aim of this study was to explore the effects and molecular mechanisms of Astragalus extract against cerebral ischemia injury through the energy metabolism and apoptosis pathways of c‑Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signal transduction. After the bilateral common carotid artery of C57BL/6 mice was occluded for 20 min followed by 1-h reperfusion, the ATP content, total adenine nucleotides (TAN), energy charge (EC), and sodium potassium ATPase (Na+–K+‑ATPase) activity were decreased markedly in brain tissues. Astragalus extract markedly increased the ATP and ADP levels, EC value, and Na+–K+-ATPase activity. Twenty-four and 48 h after reperfusion, the neurocyte survival rate decreased and apoptosis rate increased, while the expression of phosphorylated JNK1/2, cytochrome c (Cyt C), and cysteine aspartic acid-specific protease (caspase)-9 and -3 were significantly enhanced in brain tissues. Astragalus extract significantly increased neurocyte survival and decreased the apoptosis rate as well as down-regulated the expression of p-JNK1/2, Cyt C, caspase-9, and caspase-3. These results suggest that Astragalus extract has neuroprotective effects against nerve injury after cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, and the underlying mechanism may be associated with improved cellular energy metabolism, inhibition of JNK signal transduction pathway activation, and then suppression of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are currently key promising materials of nanotechnology. However, elucidation of the possible effects of CNTs on the respiratory tract is urgently needed. The present study aimed to clarify the effect of single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) on the expression of stress-responsive genes, using primary cultured normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE), diseased HBE (DHBE) cells, and the human carcinoma cell lines A549 and FaDu. Purified SWCNTs were applied at concentrations of 0.1 or 1.0 mg/mL for 6 h, and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) array was conducted to examine 84 stress-responsive genes. NHBE cell exposure to SWCNTs resulted in global downregulation of genes involved in inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. Further analysis using DHBE cells and carcinoma cell lines indicated a similar trend, although differences in sensitivity were observed. Downregulation of stress-responsive genes may be involved in the mechanism by which stress response protects against lung injury.
We investigated whether two naturally-occurring prooxidants, namely, schisandrin B (Sch B) and curcumin, and a synthetic prooxidant, menadione, can invariably elicit cyto/hepatoprotective responses against oxidant-induced injury. Results showed that (−)Sch B (a potent enantiomer of Sch B, 15 μM), curcumin (7.5 μM) and menadione (2 μM) induced a similar extent of reactive oxygen species production in AML12 cells. The relative potencies of cytoprotection in vitro were in a descending order of curcumin>menadione>(−)Sch B, which were parallel to the extent of stimulation in cellular reduced glutathione level. We further examined their hepatoprotection in vivo. Pretreatment with Sch B (800 mg/kg) and curcumin (737 mg/kg), but not menadione (344 mg/kg), protected against CCl4 toxicity, with the degree of protection afforded by Sch B being much larger than that of curcumin. The attenuated hepatoprotection afforded by curcumin may be attributed to its low bioavailability in vivo. This postulation is supported by the findings that intraperitoneal injections of Sch B (400 mg/kg) and curcumin (368 mg/kg) and the long term, low dose treatment with Sch B (20 mg/kg/d×15) and curcumin (18 mg/kg/d×15) induced glutathione antioxidant response and hepatoprotection to similar extents in vivo. The inability of menadione to induce hepatoprotection may be related to its extensive intestinal metabolism and/or hepatotoxicity. Taken together, prooxidants can invariably induce the glutathione antioxidant response and confer cytoprotection in vitro. Whether or not the prooxidant can produce a similar response in vivo would depend on its bioavailability and potential toxic effect.
Infection-associated inflammation can alter the expression levels and functions of cytochrome P450s (CYPs). Cyp gene expression is regulated by the activation of several nuclear receptors, including pregnane X receptor (PXR), constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). These receptors can be activated by xenobiotics, including medicines. Here, to study the xenobiotic-induced fluctuations in CYP during inflammation, we examined the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment on the level of mRNAs encoding hepatic CYPs induced by xenobiotic-activated nuclear receptors, in mice. Both the mRNA induction of Cyp genes and the metabolic activities of CYP proteins were examined. LPS treatment caused a significant decrease in the induced expression of the mRNAs for Cyp3a11, 2c29, 2c55, and 1a2, but not for Cyp2b10. To assess the CYP enzymatic activities, CYP3A-mediated testosterone 6β-hydroxylation and the intrinsic clearance (CLint) of nifedipine in liver microsomes were measured in mice treated with the xenobiotic pregnenolone-16alpha-carbonitrile (PCN) with or without LPS administration. Both assays revealed that the CYP3A activity, which was induced by PCN, declined significantly after LPS treatment, and this decline correlated with the Cyp3a11 mRNA level. In addition, we found that the mRNAs for interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α were increased after treatment with LPS plus xenobiotics. Our findings demonstrated that LPS treatment reduces the PXR- and AhR-mediated, and possibly CAR-mediated Cyp gene expression and further suggest that these decreases are dependent on inflammatory cytokines in the liver.
Most of the fatigue in everyday life is a combination of physical and mental fatigue. Recently, an animal model of combined fatigue was designed by housing rats in a cage filled with water. We have previously hypothesized that mental fatigue is caused partly by neuronal brain damage through the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors by quinolinic acid (QUIN), a metabolite of tryptophan (TRP). Therefore, we investigated whether the same mechanism also participates in combined fatigue. Rats were housed for 5 d under water-immersed conditions, and the extent of fatigue was evaluated by a weight-loaded forced swimming test. The swimming time of the water-immersed group was shorter than that of the control group, indicating that rats were fatigued by water-immersion. However, unexpectedly, the blood and brain levels of QUIN in the water-immersed group were lower than those of the control group. QUIN levels in both the blood and brains of a food-restricted nonimmersed group, where body weight was matched with the water-immersed group, were also decreased, suggesting that decreased QUIN in the water-immersed group originated from a reduced intake of TRP-containing food. On the other hand, hippocampal neuronal damage was shown in the water-immersed group, similar to that seen in other fatigue models where QUIN increased. Memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, inhibited not only the reduction in swimming times but also the neuronal damage induced by water-immersion. These results suggest that neuronal brain damage by an endogenous NMDA receptor agonist other than QUIN participates in combined fatigue by water immersion.
Lamotrigine (LTG) is an antiepileptic drug (AED) that was approved in Japan in 2008. We evaluated the influence of AEDs that induce hepatic enzymes (including phenytoin (PHT), phenobarbital (PB), carbamazepine (CBZ)), valproic acid (VPA), and various combinations of these drugs, on plasma LTG concentration in adult Japanese epilepsy patients. A total of 621 patients (mean age 34.4±11.8 years) were evaluated retrospectively. We calculated the concentration to dose ratio (CD ratio) for LTG with different AED regimens, and employed multiple regression analysis to determine factors influencing the LTG concentration. There was a linear correlation between the dose and concentration of LTG in patients treated with LTG (group I), LTG+VPA (group II), LTG+inducers (group III), or LTG+VPA+inducers (group IV). The mean CD ratio of patients on LTG monotherapy was 1.43±0.4 (μg/mL)/(mg/kg). When LTG was combined with VPA, the CD ratio increased about 2.2-fold, but there was no significant correlation between the CD ratio and VPA concentration. The mean CD ratios calculated in patients receiving LTG+PHT, LTG+PB, and LTG+CBZ were 0.56, 0.84, and 0.91, respectively. Addition of PHT significantly reduced the CD ratio in a concentration-dependent manner, in comparison with PB and CBZ (p<0.005 and p<0.001, respectively). Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that the coefficient of determination of groups I, II, III, and IV were 0.94, 0.94, 0.90, and 0.91, respectively. In the clinical setting, these findings can help to estimate LTG concentrations and predict the inducing or inhibiting effects of concomitant AEDs.
Tetomilast was originally identified as a potent inhibitor of superoxide production in human neutrophils, and is of interest because it may relieve oxidative stress related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our objective was to determine whether tetomilast effectively protects against the development of porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE)-induced emphysema in rabbits. Rabbits were divided into three groups (sham n=19, PPE n=19, PPE/Tetomilast n=18). The rabbits were once daily orally administered vehicle solution or tetomilast 5 d/week for 4 weeks before the PPE instillation. We compared pulmonary function, inflammatory cell infiltration, oxidative stress, and the incidences of apoptosis among the three groups. Tetomilast suppressed PPE-induced increases in the incidence of apoptosis and the production of 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) in lung tissues. PPE-instilled rabbits treated with tetomilast showed significantly less mean linear intercept and significantly better pulmonary function than rabbits administered PPE alone. Tetomilast may inhibit the development of emphysema by attenuating pulmonary inflammation and apoptosis caused by PPE-induced oxidative stress.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and it can metastasize very rapidly. Tumor metastasis is the primary cause of cancer deaths. In the present study, we investigated the capability of koetjapic acid, a natural triterpene, in the induction of apoptosis and the inhibition of metastasis in the breast cancer cell line (MCF 7). The effects of koetjapic acid against 4 steps of metastasis have been assessed, including cell survival, clonogenicity, migration and invasion. Koetjapic acid exhibited cytotoxic activity against MCF 7 cells with an IC50 of 68.88±6.075 μg/mL. The mechanism of cell death was confirmed due to the induction of apoptosis machineries; early and late apoptosis-related changes were detected, including the stimulation of caspase 3/7 activities, apoptosis-related morphological changes such as membrane blebbing, chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. A mitochondrial apoptosis pathway was found to be involved in koetjapic acid-induced cell death induction. Moreover, at a sub-toxic dose (15 μg/mL), Koetjapic acid inhibited cell migration and invasion significantly. Finally, koetjapic acid inhibited the colony formation properties of MCF 7 significantly. These results indicate that koetjapic acid possesses significant antitumor and antimetastatic effects, and warrants further investigation.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been recommended as an alternative therapy for various diseases including microbial infection. Recently, we developed a new method for the preparation of highly pure chlorin e6 (Ce6), which has been widely used as a second-generation photosensitizer. PDT using Ce6 was very effective for inhibition of in vitro growth of several bacterial strains. To clarify a possibility for its clinical application, in this study, we examined in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial effects of Ce6-mediated PDT in mice model of skin infection of Staphylococcus aureus Xen29. Inhibition zone analysis and colony forming unit (CFU) count revealed that Ce6-mediated PDT inhibited effectively in vitro bacterial growth. In addition, biofilm formation ability of S. aureus Xen29 was decreased by Ce6-mediated PDT. In vivo experiment, mice receiving Ce6-mediated PDT exhibited less intensity of bioluminescent signal, showing significant inhibition of bacterial growth. Furthermore, in histopathological examination, marked neutrophilic infiltration and massive bacterial colonies were seen in control mice and mice receiving laser or Ce6 alone, but not in mice treated with PDT. These results suggest that PDT using Ce6 extracted by our new method can be clinically useful against bacterial infectious diseases.
Hydroxysafflor yellow A (HSYA) is an effective ingredient of Chinese herb Carthamus tinctorius L. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protective effect of HSYA on inflammatory phase of bleomycin-induced pulmonary injury in mice. Three doses of HSYA (26.7, 40, 60 mg/kg/d) were intraperitoneally injected to mice consecutively for 1 week after bleomycin administration. It was found that HSYA attenuated the loss in body weight, the increase of myeloperoxidase activity and pathologic changes of pulmonary inflammation caused by bleomycin. Treatment with HSYA also alleviated bleomycin-induced increase of mRNA level of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in lung homogenates. Moreover HSYA inhibited the increased activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB and phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in lung tissue. These findings demonstrated that HSYA had protective effect on bleomycin-induced lung inflammatory response.
The aim of the present work was to investigate the effects of different surfactants at various concentrations as a skin penetration enhancer through the biomembrane of the shed skin of Naja kaouthia. Additionally, the enhancer mechanism(s) of each class of surfactants were evaluated using physical characterization techniques, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, and small and wide angle X-ray scattering (SWAXS). Our results showed that skin permeability increased with increasing concentrations of surfactants and the degree of increase was higher for the model hydrophilic permeant, deuterium dioxide (D2O), than the lipophilic permeant, ketoprofen (KP). Ionic surfactants, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB), demonstrated higher enhancement ability than the polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan mono-oleate (Tween 80) non-ionic surfactant, which was consistent with the results from physical characterization studies. Increasing amounts of permeated drug resulted in an increase in membrane interactions. From our observations, it can be assumed that SLS and CTAB can be localized inside the biomembrane and thereby enhance drug permeation mainly through interactions with intercellular lipids in the stratum corneum (SC) and the creation of a perturbed microenvironment among lipid alkyl chains and polar head groups.
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is commonly used as a dietary supplement and beneficial effects of it are expected. However, excess ingestion of pyridoxine has been shown to cause a severe sensory neuropathy in humans and experimental animals. We have been studying the linkage between the nervous and immune systems using a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-induced contact hypersensitivity (CHS) mouse model. We have found that activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), which is expressed on sensory neurons, enhances skin sensitization to FITC. Another feature of FITC-induced CHS is its dependence on T helper 2 (Th2) type responses. We hypothesized that the excess intake of pyridoxine may affect sensitization to FITC and influence helper T-cell polarization. We examined FITC-induced CHS in BALB/c mice fed a diet containing excess pyridoxine (120 mg/kg diet) for 3 weeks. We found that mice fed on the excess-pyridoxine diet exhibited a lower response as to FITC-induced CHS compared with ones fed on a diet with a standard pyridoxine content (6.0 mg/kg diet). Moreover, the interferon (IFN)-γ/interleukin (IL)-4 ratio produced by draining lymph node cells was significantly higher with the excess-pyridoxine diet. This suggested that the cytokine balance was shifted toward Th1 with the excess-pyridoxine diet. Consistently, Th1-dependent oxazolone-induced CHS was enhanced with the excess-pyridoxine diet. These results suggested that an excess pyridoxine intake actively influences the immune system by altering helper T cell polarization.
Calcium oxalate monohydrate (COM) crystals bind avidly to the surface of proliferating and migrating renal endothelial cells, perhaps a key event in kidney stone formation. Oxalate-induced pre-oxidative stress can further promote crystal attachment cells. Natural products including gallotannins found in green teas have been studied as potentially novel treatments to prevent crystal retention and kidney stone formation. Gallotannin significantly inhibited COM crystal growth and binding to Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Cells type I (MDCK I) renal epithelial cells at non-toxic concentrations. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis revealed that gallotannin significantly attenuated oxalate-induced mRNA and protein expressions of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), osteopontin (OPN), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase subunit p22phox and p47phox in human primary renal epithelial cells (HRCs). Gallotannin also reduced the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) as well as enhanced antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in oxalate treated HRCs. Taken together, our findings suggest that gallotannin can contribute to nephrolithiasis prevention via direct effects on renal epithelial cells including suppression of COM binding and MCP-1 and OPN expression, along with augmenting antioxidant activity.
We have developed a drug-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microsphere-containing thermoreversible gelation polymer (TGP) (drug/PLGA/TGP) formulation as a novel device for implantation after surgical glioma resection. TGP is a thermosensitive polymer that is a gel at body temperature and a sol at room temperature. When a drug/PLGA/TGP formulation is injected into a target site, PLGA microspheres in TGP gel localize at the injection site and do not diffuse across the entire brain tissue, and thus, sustained drug release from the PLGA microspheres at the target site is expected. Using in vivo imaging, we confirmed that the implantation of indocyanine green (ICG)/PLGA/TGP formulation exhibited a stronger localization of ICG at the injection site 28 d after injection compared with that of ICG/PLGA formulation. The therapeutic effect (mean survival) was evaluated in a C6 rat glioma model. Surgical tumor resection alone showed almost no effect on survival (controls, 18 d; surgical resection; 18.5 d). Survival was prolonged after the treatment with a camptothecin (CPT; 10 µg)/PLGA/TGP formulation (24 d). The combination treatment of surgical tumor resection and CPT/PLGA/TGP showed almost the same therapeutic effect (24 d) compared with CPT/PLGA/TGP alone, while the combination treatment produced long term survivors (>60 d). Therefore, the CPT/PLGA/TGP formulation can be an effective candidate for localized and sustained long-term glioma therapy.
Apoptotic cells must be recognized early for phagocytosis to ensure that their toxic contents do not damage neighboring cells. In some cases this is achieved via CD43-capped membrane glycoproteins, the sialylpolylactosaminyl chains of which serve as ligands for phagocytosis by macrophages. However, because many additional changes occur during apoptosis, determining exactly which events are responsible for signaling macrophages to initiate phagocytosis remains a challenge. Here, we examined one clearance mechanism in detail and determined that capping of CD43 alone is sufficient to initiate phagocytosis. We induced macrophage-mediated phagocytosis by using cytochalasin B to artificially cap CD43 on healthy (non-apoptotic) Jurkat cells. Additional experiments confirmed that sialylpolylactosaminyl chains formed through this capping method are a prerequisite for removal, and that nucleolin is the macrophage receptor responsible for their detection. These findings strongly suggest that capping of CD43 presents a sufficient signal for phagocytosis without any additional membrane changes.
In the present study, extracts from Rhus verniciflua were demonstrated to significantly attenuate the negative effects of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on transformed retinal ganglion cell line (RGC-5 cells), indicating that they may be protective against oxidative stress-induced retinal degeneration. The inclusion of R. verniciflua in the culture was found to both reduce the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) present and lessen the up-regulation of apoptotic proteins such as cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, cleaved caspase-3, and cleaved caspase-9. Active compounds were also successfully isolated from R. verniciflua using high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) with a two-phase solvent system composed of n-hexane–ethyl acetate–methanol–water (3.5 : 5 : 3.5 : 5, v/v). Using this method, we successfully separated 252.1 mg of fustin at a purity of over 93.09%, 51.2 mg of fisetin at a purity of over 95.45%, 39.7 mg of sulfuretin at a purity of over 95.17%, and 10.7 mg of butein at a purity of over 95.01% from 1.5 g of R. verniciflua extract. The chemical structures of these compounds were elucidated by chemical and spectral analyses. There isolated compounds also significantly attenuated the negative effects of H2O2 on RGC-5 cells. Results therefore suggest that, due to its anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects, R. verniciflua could be used as a lead substance for the treatment of retinal diseases such as glaucoma.
Obesity is a major health problem showing increased incidence in developed and developing countries. We examined the effect of Euphausia pacifica (E. pacifica) (Pacific Krill) on high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in C57BL/6 mice. No significant differences were observed in average food intake between the HFD and HFD with E. pacifica group, or the low-fat diet (LFD) and LFD with E. pacifica group for 18 weeks. The increased ratio of body weight in the HFD containing E. pacifica group was significantly reduced, being 10% lower than that with HFD group in the 18th week (HFD, 298.6±18.8% vs. HFD with E. pacifica, 267.8±16.2%; p<0.05), while the ratio for the LFD containing E. pacifica group was reduced by 4% compared with LFD group (LFD, 244.2±11.6% vs. LFD with E. pacifica, 234.1±18.0%). There were no effects of E. pacifica on total cholesterol levels in serum and liver, whereas the supplement of E. pacifica tended to decrease triglyceride levels in the HFD groups. The leptin level in serum was significantly decreased in the HFD group (p<0.01) by E. pacifica. The adipocyte area (1926±1275 μm2) in the HFD containing E. pacifica group was significantly reduced by 20% (p<0.001) compared with the HFD group. These results suggested that E. pacifica supplementation in the diet is beneficial for the prevention of HFD-induced obesity.
To understand the role of intestinal microflora in expressing the pharmacological effect of ginsenoside Rb1, the metabolic activity of ginsenoside Rb1 by 148 fecal specimens was measured and its metabolizing β-glucosidase was cloned. The average activities for p-nitrophenyl-β-D-glucopyranoside and ginsenoside Rb1 were 0.097±0.059 μmol/min/mg and 0.311±0.118 pmol/min/mg, respectively. These enzyme activities were not different between male and female, or between ages. A gene encoding β-D-glucosidase (BglX) was cloned from Bifidobacterium longum H-1, which transformed ginsenoside Rb1 to compound K. The probe for cloning was synthesized from the genes encoding a β-D-glucosidase of previously reported B. longum DJO10A. The sequences of the cloned gene revealed 2364 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein containing 787 amino acids (molecular weight of 95 kDa). The gene exhibited 99% homology (identities) to that of B. longum. The cloned gene was expressed under T7 promoter of the expression vector, pET-39b(+), in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3), and the expressed enzyme was purified by using HiTrap immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) HP. The enzyme potently biotransformed ginsenoside Rb1, loganin, arctiin and arbutin to ginsenoside Rd, loganetin, arctigenin and hydroquinone, respectively, but was not active in the case of hesperidin, and kakkalide. This is the first report on cloning and expression of β-D-glucosidase from B. longum. Based on these findings, ginsenoside Rb1 may be metabolized to bioactive compound(s) by exo-β-D-glucosidase(s) produced from the intestinal bacteria and its pharmacological effects may be dependent on intestinal bacterial exo-β-D-glucosidase(s) activity.
The active form of vitamin D, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3], binds to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and regulates various physiological and pharmacological processes. Secondary bile acids, such as lithocholic acid (LCA), also act as endogenous VDR ligands. The molecular basis of ligand-selective VDR action remains largely unknown. Hairless (HR) acts as a coregulator of VDR through a direct interaction. HR mutations confer an alopecia phenotype similar to VDR mutations in mice and humans, but the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been elucidated. We examined the effect of HR on VDR activation induced by 1,25(OH)2D3 and LCA. HR repressed VDR transactivation induced by both 1,25(OH)2D3 and LCA. HR also repressed transactivation of VDR E269A and R391A mutants, but less effectively than that of wild-type VDR. These residues are involved in retinoid X receptor (RXR) heterodimer allosteric communication, through which information from ligands is transmitted to dimer and coactivator interfaces. In the presence of HR cotransfection, LCA activated these VDR mutants more effectively than wild-type VDR. In mammalian two-hybrid assays, HR enhanced the association of VDR with a corepressor, nuclear receptor corepressor. These findings indicate that HR affects VDR-RXR heterodimer allosteric communication and corepressor complex formation. Interestingly, HR knockdown in keratinocyte-derived HaCaT cells increased ligand-induced cytochrome P450, family 24, subfamily A, polypeptide 1 (CYP24A1) expression but suppressed expression of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, indicating that HR acts not only as a corepressor but also as a coactivator. HR may be a VDR modulator that affects the RXR allosteric communication network in order to regulate transcription in a gene-selective manner.
The variety of physiologic and biologic functions of zinc is fascinating and could be applicable to medicine. Our previous studies demonstrated that the absorption of zinc after oral administration to rats is dose-dependent. In order to clarify the detailed mechanism of the dose-dependent in vivo absorption, the transport of zinc across intestinal epithelial cells was investigated using Caco-2 monolayers and isolated rat intestinal membranes. The permeation of zinc across Caco-2 monolayers is concentration-dependent, and both saturable and nonsaturable components are involved. The Michaelis constant and maximum transport rate for saturable transport are 11.7 μM and 31.8 pmol min−1 cm−2, respectively; the permeability coefficient for nonsaturable trasnport is 2.37×10−6 cm s−1. These parameters for permeation across membranes isolated from duodenum, ileum, and jejunum of rats are similar with those of Caco-2 cells. The comparison of the parameters for permeation across isolated intestinal membrane suggests that the major site of intestinal zinc absorption in rats is the duodenum. The maximum rate of zinc transport across the isolated intestinal membrane (Vmax) shows no correlation with mRNA expression of ZIP4, ZIP5 or ZnT1 in rats, but shows an inverse correlation with that of metallothioneins (MTs). This finding may be partly explained by the buffering role of metallothionein in intestinal absorption. The saturable transport of zinc is not simply determined only by the influx transporter, ZIP4, since three influx and efflux transporters are involved in the transport of zinc.
Natural cytotoxicity receptor 2 (NCR2 or natural killer (NK)p44) and NCR3 (NKp30) bind to heparin and heparin sulfate; however, other natural ligands have yet to be identified. We previously reported that NCR1 (NKp46) can bind to multimeric NeuNAc-containing N-glycans and sulfated glycans. In this study, we investigated whether NKp44 and NKp30 can bind to NeuNAc-containing glycans using their common recombinant extracellular domain tagged with 6×His (NKp44-H6 and NKp30-H6). NKp44-H6, but not NKp30-H6, bound multimeric sialyl Lewis X expressing transferrin secreted by HepG2 cells (HepTF) with a Kd of 420 nM. Competitive and direct binding assays revealed that NKp44-H6 mainly recognizes α2,3-NeuNAc residues on non-reducing ends of N-glycans on HepTF. Moreover, site-directed mutants of NKp44-H6, such as R47Q, R55Q, R92Q, R95Q, K103Q, and R106Q, had reduced binding to α2,3-sialylated N-glycans. These results suggest that NKp44 binds to α2,3-sialylated N-glycans through ionic interactions, and that these binding sites might have some overlap with heparin binding sites.
Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) is a final trimming enzyme of N-extended antigenic peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In our previous work, we found that ERAP1 is secreted from macrophages in response to activation by lipopolysaccharide and interferon-γ. In this paper, we searched for the amino acid sequence of ERAP1 protein important for ER retention by constructing chimeric proteins and found that the sequence between 485 and 615 was significant. Moreover, by comparing the genomic organizations of oxytocinase subfamily members, the exon 10 coding sequence, which might be inserted into the common ancestral gene of the oxytocinase subfamily enzymes during evolution, was found to be important for ER retention of ERAP1. Taken together, our data indicate that ERAP1 contains amino acid sequence important for ER retention.
This study examined the cytoprotective and anti-oxidative properties of phosphoenolpyruvic acid (PEP), a glycolysis metabolite with a high-energy phosphate group. PEP (0.1–10 mM) significantly attenuated the decrease in cell viability induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in HeLa cells in a dose-dependent manner. PEP also inhibited the decrease in calcein-acetomethoxy-stained cells and the increase in propidium iodide-stained cells that were induced by H2O2. The H2O2-stimulated increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species was significantly reduced by PEP. PEP also demonstrated scavenging potential against hydroxyl radicals, as assessed by the electron paramagnetic resonance method. In addition, PEP demonstrated scavenging potential against the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical, a representative artificial radical, although the potential is very weak. PEP (10 mM) slightly inhibited the decrease in cellular ATP content induced by H2O2, but did not show any effects at low doses (0.1, 1 mM). PEP (0.1–10 mM) also attenuated the cell injury but not the decrease in intracellular ATP content, induced by 2-deoxy-D-glucose, a glycolysis inhibitor. These results indicate that PEP exerts cytoprotective effects and has anti-oxidative potential, although the precise cytoprotective mechanisms are not fully elucidated. We suggest that PEP is a functional carbohydrate metabolite with cytoprotective and anti-oxidative activity, and is potentially useful as a therapeutic agent against diseases that involve the oxidative stress.
The anti-allergic mechanism of heat-killed Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-92 has not been fully investigated. Recent studies have reported that CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ (forkhead box P3) T regulatory (Treg) cells play important roles in controlling allergic diseases. Hence, we examined the effect of orally administered L-92 on CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ cell populations. BALB/c mice were supplemented daily with L-92 by gavage for 5 weeks. 2,4-Dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) was used to induce allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) in mice. Fluorescent-activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis was used to determine CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cell populations in spleen and cervical lymph nodes (CLN). Interleukin-10 (IL-10), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and Foxp3 mRNA expressions in mouse ear skin were investigated by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The percentage of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cell populations were significantly increased in both spleen and CLN of L-92-fed group than vehicle and control. In addition, L-92 produced higher levels of Foxp3, IL-10 and TGF-β compared to control mice. These results suggest that L-92 can up-regulate the number of Treg cells to suppress the progression of DNFB-induced contact dermatitis in mice.
We investigated the cytotoxicity of eight vitamin K3 (VK3) analogs against neuroblastoma cell lines (IMR-32, LA-N-1, NB-39, and SK-N-SH) and normal cell lines (human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human dermal fibroblasts (HDF)) using a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. 2-[(2-Methoxy)ethylthio]-3-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (VK3-OCH3) showed especially potent cytotoxic activities against neuroblastoma cells compared with normal cells. In a Hoechst 33342 staining experiment, apoptotic morphologies characterized by cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation, and nuclear fragmentation were observed in IMR-32 and LA-N-1 cells after 48 h of treatment with 10−5 M of VK3-OCH3. To clarify the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis induced by VK3-OCH3, we examined the expression of apoptosis related proteins using a Proteome Profiler Array and western blotting. Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 was remarkably increased by VK3-OCH3 compared with the control (173% in IMR-32 and 170% in LA-N-1 at 24 h). Moreover, caveolin-1 was induced by VK3-OCH3 at 48 h. In addition, VK3-OCH3 arrested the cell cycle at the G2/M phase in IMR-32 cells. These results suggest that VK3-OCH3 exhibited a selective antitumor activity via HO-1-related mechanisms.
Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily with an important function in the central nervous system, particularly in synapse stabilization and neurite outgrowth. Our recent study clearly demonstrated that cleavage of NCAM-180 by matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) exacerbated the neuronal damage induced by in vivo ischemic stress. In the present study, we investigated the effect of oxidative stress on the expression levels of full-length NCAM-180 and NCAM-cleavage product (65 kDa) and the relationship between NCAM-180 and MMP-9 in cultured cortical neurons. Primary cultured cortical neurons were exposed to oxidative stress by administration of hydrogen peroxide into the culture medium. After exposure to oxidative stress, cell death of cultured cortical neurons was gradually increased in a time-dependent manner. In parallel to the cell death, levels of full-length NCAM-180 and its cleavage product (65 kDa) were gradually and significantly decreased and increased, respectively, in a time-dependent manner. These changes completely disappeared following addition of an MMP-9 inhibitor, while MMP-9 protein levels were increased only in the early phase of oxidative stress. We conclude that oxidative stress can induce cleavage of NCAM-180 through up-regulation of MMP-9 during the early phase of oxidative stress. These changes might be related to the neuronal death observed under oxidative stress conditions.
Retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonists are reported to exhibit blood glucose-lowering action owing to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)/RXR or liver X receptor (LXR)/RXR activation, but may also cause adverse effects such as blood triglyceride elevation. In order to examine the feasibility of separating the glucose-lowering action from the adverse effects, we examined the effects of RXR agonists (NEt-TMN), NEt-3IB, and NEt-3IP, which have different heterodimer-activating patterns, in KKAy type 2 diabetes model mice. We found that NEt-3IB induced lower degrees of hepatomegaly and blood triglyceride (TG) elevation than the other RXR agonists, even though all of them showed similar blood glucose-lowering action on repeated administration. These findings indicate that structural modification of RXR agonists is a potentially effective strategy to reduce adverse effects while retaining desired activities.
Two mechanisms have been proposed to explain quinone cytotoxicity: oxidative stress via the redox cycle, and the arylation of intracellular nucleophiles. The redox cycle is catalyzed by intracellular reductases, and therefore the toxicity of redox cycling quinone is considered to be closely associated with the reductase activity. This study examined the relationship between quinone toxicity and the intracellular reductase activity using 3 kinds of hepatic cells; rat primary hepatocytes, HepG2 and H4IIE. The intracellular reductase activity was; primary hepatocyte ≫HepG2>H4IIE. The three kinds of cells showed almost the same vulnerability to an arylating quinone, 1,4-naphthoquinone (NQ). However, the susceptibility to a redox cycling quinone, 2,3-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DMNQ) was; primary hepatocyte>HepG2>H4IIE. In addition, the cytotoxicity elicited by DMNQ was significantly attenuated in HepG2 cells and almost completely suppressed in primary hepatocytes by diphenyleneiodonium chloride, a reductase inhibitor. These data suggest that cells with a high reductase activity are susceptible to redox cycling quinones. This study provides essential evidence to assess the toxicity of quinone-based drugs during their developmental processes.
It has been reported that dogs are capable of identifying cancer in humans by detecting a specific odor: bladder cancer by detecting urine odor and other cancers by detecting exhaled breath odor. However, no odor recognized by dogs that indicates cancer has been identified. In this study, we examined whether bladder cancer could be detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based metabolomics analysis of urine odor. Nine patients with bladder cancer and 7 healthy controls were recruited as participants. Patients collected urine 3 d before and for 3–7 d after surgery. The concentrated urine odor was analyzed by GC-MS and principal component analysis (PCA). Results indicated 12 metabolites of urine odor. Score plots of 7 of the preoperative bladder cancer patients were clearly different from those of controls on the PCA map. The distribution of controls was in the negative domain of principal component (PC) 1, whereas the distribution of preoperative patients was in the positive domain of PC1. Bladder cancer was diagnosed in 5 of the 9 patients on the basis of urinary cytology. The findings indicate the potential to screen bladder cancer by analyzing urine odor. Moreover, diagnosis of bladder cancer on the basis of urine odor might have higher sensitivity than screening by urinary cytology.