Potent ligands of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) such as thiazolidinediones (pioglitazone, troglitazone, etc.) improve insulin sensitivity by increasing the levels of adiponectin, an important adipocytokine associated with insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue. Several constituents from medicinal plants were recently reported to show PPARγ agonist-like activity in 3T3-L1 cells, but did not show agonistic activity at the receptor site different from thiazolidinediones. Our recent studies on PPARγ agonist-like constituents, such as hydrangenol and hydrangeic acid from the processed leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla var. thunbergii, piperlonguminine and retrofractamide A from the fruit of Piper chaba, and tetramethylkaempferol and pentamethylquercetin from the rhizomes of Kaempferia parviflora, are reviewed.
Neurodegenerative diseases commonly induce irreversible destruction of central nervous system (CNS) neuronal networks, resulting in permanent functional impairments. Effective medications against neurodegenerative diseases are currently lacking. Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera Dunal) is used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for general debility, consumption, nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and loss of memory. In this review, we summarize various effects and mechanisms of Ashwagandha extracts and related compounds on in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injury.
One of the most common adverse effects of traditional Japanese kampo and traditional Chinese medicine is pseudoaldosteronism caused by licorice. In this review, the authors describe the mechanisms of licorice-induced pseudoaldosteronism by the pharmacokinetics of chemical constituents and its metabolites containing licorice. Glycyrrhizin (GL), the main constituent of licorice, is absorbed as glycyrrhetinic acid (GA), which is a metabolite of GL produced by enterobacteria before its release into the circulation. Circulating GA is metabolized in the liver to become 3-monoglucuronyl-glycyrrhetinic acid (3MGA), which is excreted into the bile via multidrug resistance protein 2 (Mrp2). If Mrp2 function is damaged for some reason, 3MGA is secreted from the liver into the circulation, and excreted into the urine via organic anion transporters expressed at the basolateral side of tubular epithelial cells. Circulating GA cannot be excreted into the urine since GA binds highly to serum albumin and thus does not pass through glomerular filtration and is not a substrate of transporters expressed on tubular epithelial cells. Licorice-induced pseudoaldosteronism develops due to the inhibition of type 2 11β-hydrosteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD2) which results in the accumulation of cortisol in tubular epithelial cells that activate mineral corticoid receptors to stimulate the excretion of potassium that results in hypokalemia. GA, unlike 3MGA, cannot pass through tubular epithelial cells and cannot inhibit the enzyme in the cells. Therefore, 3MGA may be a genuine causative agent for licorice-induced pseudoaldosteronism. When licorice is used, 3MGA in plasma or urine could function as a marker compound to prevent the adverse effects.
Pharmacologically active constituents from traditional medicinal plants have received great attention as sources of novel agents, pharmaceutical intermediates, and chemical entities for synthetic or semisynthetic drugs due to their potent pharmacological activities, low toxicity, and economic viability. Numerous components have been isolated from traditional medicinal plants, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids, and clinical and experimental studies suggested that these components have useful pharmacological properties such as antiinfectious, antioxidative, and antiinflammatory effects. In this review, modern ethnobotanical approaches to explore folk medicinal plants as candidates for drug discovery with the greatest possibility of success are discussed. Determining the bioactive mechanisms and tracing structure–activity relationships will promote the discovery of new drugs and pharmacological agents.
Bayesian estimation enables the individual pharmacokinetic parameters of the medication administrated to be estimated using only a few blood concentrations. Due to wide inter-individual variability in the pharmacokinetics of methotrexate (MTX), the concentration of MTX needs to be frequently determined during high-dose MTX therapy in order to prevent toxic adverse events. To apply the benefits of Bayesian estimation to cases treated with this therapy, we attempted to develop an estimation method using the Bayesian least-squares method, which is commonly used for therapeutic monitoring in a clinical setting. Because this method hypothesizes independency among population pharmacokinetic parameters, we focused on correlations among population pharmacokinetic parameters used to estimate individual parameters. A two-compartment model adequately described the observed concentration of MTX. The individual pharmacokinetic parameters of MTX were estimated in 57 cases using the maximum likelihood method. Among the available parameters accounting for a 2-compartment model, V1, k10, k12, and k21 were found to be the combination showing the weakest correlations, which indicated that this combination was best suited to the Bayesian least-squares method. Using this combination of population pharmacokinetic parameters, Bayesian estimation provided an accurate estimation of individual parameters. In addition, we demonstrated that the degree of correlation among population pharmacokinetic parameters used in the estimation affected the precision of the estimates. This result highlights the necessity of assessing correlations among the population pharmacokinetic parameters used in the Bayesian least-squares method.
We recently found that hepatic triglyceride lipase (HTGL) was released from primary cultured rat hepatocytes after treatment with prazosin, an antagonist of alpha-1 adrenoceptors. However, the details of prazosin-induced HTGL release remain uncertain. Here we investigated whether changes in cAMP levels in hepatocytes were related to HTGL release from prazosin-stimulated hepatocytes. When hepatocytes were treated with prazosin, cAMP levels during stimulated release of HTGL increased in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Stimulated release of HTGL was suppressed by the adenylate cyclase inhibitors MDL-12,330A and 2′,5′-dideoxyadenosine. Further, cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) activity in prazosin-stimulated hepatocytes also increased in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Moreover, prazosin-stimulated HTGL release was suppressed by the PKA inhibitors H-89 and KT5720. These results suggest that prazosin-stimulated HTGL release from hepatocytes was due to cAMP production and partly due to subsequent PKA activation in hepatocytes.
The aim of this study was to develop optimized sucrose ester (SE) stabilized oleanolic acid (OA) nanosuspensions (NS) for enhanced delivery via wet ball milling by design of experiments (DOE). In this study, SEOA NS batches were prepared by wet ball milling method. Mean particle sizes and polydispersity indices were determined using a nanosizer. The percent encapsulation efficiency, saturation solubility and in vitro dissolution rate were obtained with analyses using HPLC. Preparation methods were optimized by DOE using the Minitab software. The in vitro bioefficacy was obtained by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) measurements in A549 human non small cell lung cancer cell line. The in vivo pharmacokinetics profile was determined using LC-electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS/MS. The study produced spherical SEOA NS particles (ca. 100 nm in diameter) which were found to be able to increase OA saturation solubility considerably. Optimized SEOA-GBD NS (milled at 600 rpm for 3 h, sucrose monolaurate (SEL) : sucrose monopalmitate (SEP) at 9 : 1, w/w; SE : OA at 1 : 1, w/w) was found to be physically stable over 14 d at 4°C. The NS showed much higher dissolution rate, cytotoxicity and bioavailability when compared with the free drug. Thus, the prepared OA as SE stabilized NS particles by wet ball milling enhanced the saturation solubility, in vitro dissolution rate, bioefficacy and in vivo bioavailability of OA. The use of sugar esters may also be potentially applied to other hydrophobic drugs.
Red ginseng has long been used as a traditional medicine in many East Asian countries including Korea. It is known to exhibit various pharmacological effects, including anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-stress and anti-diabetes activities. To further explore its actions, the present study evaluated effects of Korean red ginseng (KRG) extract on neuronal injury induced by various types of insults using primary cultured rat cortical cells. KRG extract inhibited neuronal damage and generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by excitatory amino acids, such as glutamate and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), or by Aβ(25–35). To elucidate possible mechanism(s) by which KRG extract exerts neuroprotective action, its effects on apoptosis and apoptosis-related signaling molecules in neurons were assessed. KRG extract markedly increased phosphorylation of Bad at Ser 112 and inhibited Bax expression and caspase 3 activity. It also inhibited DNA fragmentation induced by NMDA or Aβ(25–35). These results indicate that KRG extract protects cultured neurons from excitotoxicity and Aβ(25–35)-induced toxicity through inhibition of ROS generation and apoptotic cell death. In addition, KRG extract inhibited β-secretase activity, implying that it may reduce Aβ peptide formation. Taken together, these findings suggest that KRG extract may be beneficial for the prevention and/or treatment of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.
It is thought that both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause the adverse reaction of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (UGIH). To evaluate differences in the probability of UGIH occurring when SSRIs, NSAIDs, or both combined are administered, the authors performed a systematic review of related articles and a meta-analysis of data in those articles, which were identified by searching the literature published between 1999 and 2012 using PubMed, Scirus, and Google Scholar. The odds ratios were calculated using the Mantel–Haenszel method. The integrated odds ratios for SSRIs only, NSAIDs only, and the combination were 1.73 (0.65–2.82), 2.55 (1.51–3.59), and 4.02 (2.89–5.15), respectively. Use of the combination resulted in an odds ratio 2.32 times higher than use of either alone. Since the combination of SSRIs and NSAIDs resulted in a significantly higher risk of UGIH than either type of drug alone, clinicians should avoid use of the combination as much as possible. If it is necessary to administer both kinds of drugs, the minimum dosage should be prescribed for the shortest time period possible, and patients, particularly elderly patients, should be closely monitored for development of UGIH and other complications.
It is well-established that amyloid β (Aβ)-induced oxidative stress plays a crucial role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and its cognitive deficits. HX106N is a water-soluble extract prepared from a mixture of the plants Dimocarpus longan, Liriope platyphylla, Salvia miltiorrhiza, and Gastrodia elata. These ingredients are traditionally used in various plant-based medicines for the treatment of neurological disease. In this study, we examined the effects of HX106N on memory impairment and oxidative stress caused by the intracerebroventricular injection of Aβ25-35 peptide in mice. For one week prior to Aβ25-35 peptide injection and 8 d after, mice were given oral HX106N. HX106N treatment reversed the Aβ25-35-mediated decrease in alternation percentage and latency time in the Y-maze and passive avoidance tests. Mice treated with HX106N showed decreased levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), a lipid peroxidation marker. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) demonstrated that HX106 treatment increased levels of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in the hippocampus of Aβ25-35-injected mice, while having little effect on the expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1β. In the murine hippocampal neuronal cell line HT22, HX106N was found to upregulate HO-1 expression at the RNA and protein levels as well as to protect cells from glutamate-induced oxidative stress. Taken together, our data suggest that HX106N may potentially act as a preventive and/or therapeutic agent for AD.
Danshensu, the effective ingredient of the plant Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen), has been widely used for treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Cardiac fibrosis is an important process in pathological cardiac remodeling and leads to heart failure. We investigated the effect of Danshensu on β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR)-mediated cardiac fibrosis and the involved signaling transduction. Danshensu inhibited cardiofibroblast proliferation and collagen I synthesis induced by isoproterenol (ISO), a selective β-AR agonist. Phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which mediates ISO-induced cardiac fibrosis, was negatively regulated in this process. The negative regulation depended on the ISO inhibition of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Taken together, Danshensu may inhibit β-AR-mediated cardiac fibrosis by negative regulation of ROS-p38 MAPK signaling.
RNase Po1 is a guanylic acid-specific ribonuclease member of the RNase T1 family from Pleurotus ostreatus. We previously reported that RNase Po1 inhibits the proliferation of human tumor cells, yet RNase T1 and other T1 family RNases are non-toxic. We determined the three-dimensional X-ray structure of RNase Po1 and compared it with that of RNase T1. The catalytic sites are conserved. However, there are three disulfide bonds, one more than in RNase T1. One of the additional disulfide bond is in the catalytic and binding site of RNase Po1, and makes RNase Po1 more stable than RNase T1. A comparison of the electrostatic potential of the molecular surfaces of these two proteins shows that RNase T1 is anionic whereas RNase Po1 is cationic, so RNase Po1 might bind to the plasma membrane electrostatically. We suggest that the structural stability and cationic character of RNase Po1 are critical to the anti-cancer properties of the protein.
Sec61β is the β subunit of the Sec61 translocon and is responsible for expression and delivery of basolateral membrane proteins, including claudins, major constituents of tight junction (TJ). In the present study, the effect of Sec61β overexpression on TJ barrier functions in Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells were investigated by monitoring transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and the expression and distribution of claudins. We adopted the time required by TER to reach 50% (T1/2) as a measure of TJ modulation rate. Sec61β overexpression increased TER by post-transcriptionally upregulating claudin-4 expression and resulted in increased TER. Sec61β overexpression increased TJ modulation rates (lower T1/2), in conjunction with enhanced delivery of claudin-4 from and to plasma membranes. Marked co-distribution and indirect association of claudin-4 with Sec61β were observed, contributing to the enhanced delivery of claudin-4. Thus, Sec61β may be a novel TJ modulation target, including barrier function and modulation rates for drug delivery systems.
Depression and related mood disorders are among the world’s greatest public health problems. Previous studies have demonstrated that astilbin (AST) has broad pharmacological functions which may modulate numerous pathways, such as antioxidant, scavenging free radicals, anti-inflammatory and so on, similarly to some of other flavonoids. In this study, the antidepressant-like effect of AST was investigated using chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) model of depression in mice. The results showed that chronic administration of AST at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mg/kg (intraperitoneally (i.p.), 21 d) reduced depressive-like behaviors of mice in the forced swim test (FST), tail suspension test (TST) and sucrose preference test (SPT) without affecting locomotor activity. AST increased the contents of serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) in the frontal cortex of CUMS mice. Additionally, it was shown that AST treatment restored the CUMS-induced inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and AKT phosphorylation in the frontal cortex, conformed to the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression. Our findings suggest that AST has antidepressant activities and the mechanisms, at least in part, relate to up-regulation of monoaminergic neurotransmitters (5-HT and DA) and activation of the BDNF signaling pathway.
Endothelium-derived superoxide induces vascular dysfunctions. The aim of this study was to examine the activity of protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), which leads to vascular superoxide production in type 2 diabetes, in addition to the effects of pravastatin. We studied these mechanisms in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats (type 2 diabetes model) at the early hyperglycemic stage (vs. non-diabetic Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka [LETO] rats). Superoxide production and catalase activity were measured in aortas, as were the protein expressions of PKCδ and phospho-Ser1177 eNOS. Superoxide production was increased in OLETF rats, and this increase was inhibited by the selective conventional PKC (cPKC) inhibitor Gö6976 and by the non-selective cPKC and novel PKC inhibitor GF109203X. Phospho-Ser1177 eNOS was significantly increased in OLETF rats, whereas the protein expressions of PKCδ and phosopho-Thr505 PKCδ and catalase activity were all greatly reduced. Pravastatin administration to OLETF rats in vivo had normalizing effects on all of these variables. The increment in superoxide production seen in OLETF rats (but not the production in pravastatin-treated OLETF rats) was abolished by high concentration of Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (electron transport inhibitor of eNOS), by sepiapterin (precursor of tetrahydrobiopterin), and by LY294002 (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase [PI3-kinase] inhibitor). In OLETF rats at the early hyperglycemic stage, aortic superoxide production is increased owing to activation of uncoupled eNOS through phosphorylation by PI3-kinase/Akt. This may be related to the observed reduction in PKCδ/catalase activities. Pravastatin inhibited endothelial superoxide production via normalization of PKCδ/catalase activities.
We investigated whether body temperature (BT) regulatory mechanisms are influenced by dietary fatty acids (FA). Male Wistar rats were fed a high-fat diet containing fish oil (HFD), soybean oil (HSD) or lard (HLD). At the 20-week intervention, the BT of the HSD and HLD groups were lower than that of the normal diet (ND) group in the light and dark periods. The intracerebroventricular injections of interleukin-1β and bombesin in the HSD group induced greater hyperthermia and weaker hypothermia, respectively, than in the ND group. The HSD differentially affected BT under both physiological and pharmacological conditions. In the hypothalamus, the ratio of n-6/n-3 FAs was higher in the HSD group compared with the ND group. DNA microarrays revealed increased expression of thyroid-stimulating hormone β-subunit, and decreased expression of several genes in the hypothalamus of the HSD group compared with the ND group. The HSD feeding increased several adipokine concentrations in the plasma. However, there were no adipokines or gene expressions that changed in only the HSD and HLD groups showing significant hypothermia under the physiological condition. These findings suggested that long-term HSD intake produces abnormal BT regulation. It is less likely that adipokines or proteins/peptides are involved in abnormal BT regulation under the physiological conditions after HSD feeding.
Collagen gel contraction assay is a method for evaluating contraction of cells embedded in collagen gel matrices through measuring the gel size. In the present study, we established a protocol for collagen gel contraction assay using human bronchial smooth muscle cells obtained commercially, and applied it for evaluation of inhibitory effect of formoterol on histamine-induced contraction. Human bronchial smooth muscle cells were embedded in collagen gel in wells of 24-well plates, and gel contraction against histamine or acetylcholine was observed. Gel size was measured at an interval of 10 min for 60 min from the addition of a stimulant. Both acetylcholine and histamine caused gel contraction in a concentration-dependent manner and the contraction by histamine was apparently potent than that by acetylcholine. Formoterol at concentrations of 10−10–10−7 M inhibited collagen gel contraction caused by histamine concentration-dependently. Pre-treatment with fluticasone at a concentration of 10−8 M apparently potentiated the inhibitory effect of formoterol at 10−10 and 10−8 M on collagen gel contraction by histamine. Prolonged pre-treatment with 10−8 M formoterol abolished the inhibitory effect of 10−8 M formoterol. Furthermore, 4 h simultaneous pre-treatment with 10−8 M formoterol and fluticasone partially but significantly recovered the inhibitory effect of 10−8 M formoterol. Present results indicate that the collagen gel contraction assay using human bronchial smooth muscle cells is useful for evaluating the effects of bronchodilating drugs, and that fluticasone potentiates the inhibitory effect of formoterol on histamine-induced collagen gel contraction.
Tribulus terrestris fruits are well known for their usage in pharmaceutical preparations and food supplements. The methanol extract of T. terrestris fruits showed potent inhibition against the papain-like protease (PLpro), an essential proteolylic enzyme for protection to pathogenic virus and bacteria. Subsequent bioactivity-guided fractionation of this extract led to six cinnamic amides (1–6) and ferulic acid (7). Compound 6 emerged as new compound possessing the very rare carbinolamide motif. These compounds (1–7) were evaluated for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) PLpro inhibitory activity to identify their potencies and kinetic behavior. Compounds (1–6) displayed significant inhibitory activity with IC50 values in the range 15.8–70.1 µM. The new cinnamic amide 6 was found to be most potent inhibitor with an IC50 of 15.8 µM. In kinetic studies, all inhibitors exhibited mixed type inhibition. Furthermore, the most active PLpro inhibitors (1–6) were proven to be present in the native fruits in high quantities by HPLC chromatogram and liquid chromatography with diode array detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-DAD-ESI/MS).
Four curcumin analogues ((2E,6E)-2,6-bis(thiophen-3-methylene) cyclohexanone (AS), (2E,5E)-2,5-bis(thiophen-3-methylene) cyclopentanone (BS), (3E,5E)-3,5-bis(thiophen-3-methylene)-tetrahydropyran-4-one (ES) and (3E,5E)-3,5-bis(thiophen-3-methylene)-tetrahydrothiopyran-4-one (FS) as shown in Fig. 1) with different linker groups were investigated for their effects in human prostate cancer CWR-22Rv1 and PC-3 cells. Compounds FS and ES had stronger inhibitory effects than curcumin, AS and BS on the growth of cultured CWR-22Rv1 and PC-3 cells, as well as on the androgen receptor (AR) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activity. The strong activities of ES and FS may be correlated with a heteroatom linker. In animal studies, severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice were injected subcutaneously (s.c.) with PC-3 cells in Matrigel. After 4 to 6 weeks, mice with PC-3 tumors (about 0.6 cm wide and 0.6 cm long) received daily intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of vehicle, ES and FS (10 µg/g body weight) for 31 d. FS had a potent effect in inhibiting the growth and progression of PC-3 tumors. Our results indicate that FS may be useful for inhibiting human prostate tumors growth.
The aim of this study was to explore whether the ethanolic extract of Ardisia gigantifolia rhizomes (AGB-5), a traditional herbal medicine from China, could affect the proliferation of human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cells in vitro and to explore the antitumor effects of AGB-5 in BALB/c mice engrafted with MCF-7 cells. The results showed that AGB-5 markedly inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 cells with an IC50 value of 11.89±1.12 µg/mL, increased the S phase and decreased the G2/M phase without influence on G1 phase. MCF-7 cells treated with AGB-5 presented a dose-dependent increase of apoptosis compared with the control group. AGB-5 also significantly increased the activity of caspase-3 and -9 in a dose-dependent manner in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, in an in vivo model, AGB-5 reduced tumor volume, brought back the red blood cell (RBC) and white blood cell (WBC) count near to normal value, enhanced superoxide dismutase and catalase level of MCF-7 bearing mice. This is the first study to verify the antitumor activity of A. gigantifoliain vivo. The results suggest that AGB-5 may have potential beneficial effects against human breast adenocarcinoma.
Chalcones are open-chain flavonoids that are biosynthesized in various plants. Some of them possess anti-inflammatory activity. We previously found that chalcone glycosides from Brassica rapa L. ‘hidabeni’ suppress lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide (NO) production in rat microglia highly aggressively proliferating immortalized (HAPI) cells. In this study, to explore chalcone derivatives with potent NO inhibitory activity, we synthesized ten compounds based on ‘hidabeni’ chalcone and examined their effects on LPS-triggered inducible NO synthase (iNOS) expression and NO production. Compounds C4 and C10 potently inhibited NO production (IC50: 4.19, 2.88 µM, respectively). C4 and C10 suppressed LPS-induced iNOS expression via the inhibition of the signal transduction and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), but not nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), c-Jun N terminal kinase (JNK), and p38, pathways. C10, but not C4, inhibited activation of the MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. C4 and C10 also suppressed LPS-induced expression of interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1), which is an important transcription factor involved in iNOS expression. Our findings indicate that these chalcone derivatives are candidate compounds for preventing microglia-mediated neuroinflammation.
Dried Nardostachys chinensis roots contain sesquiterpenoids that are widely used as herbal tranquilizers. We previously identified the highly sedative sesquiterpenoid valerena-4,7(11)-diene (VLD) from this plant. In the present study, we investigated stress reducing effects of VLD and the associated mechanisms of action. Application of 15-min restraint stresses induced excitatory behaviors in mice. Immobility times in the forced swim test and sleeping times in the pentobarbital sleep test were shortened in the stressed group by 47% and 43%, respectively, compared with the control group. Furthermore, restraint stress increased serum corticosterone levels by 75%, and cerebral serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) levels. Inhaled VLD (300 µg/cage) suppressed stress-induced excitatory behaviors and significantly reduced stress-induced blood corticosterone, cerebral 5-HT, and DA levels. These results suggest that VLD interacts with the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the sympathetic-adrenomedullary system. These interactions appear to involve GABAergic and D2 antagonist activities. Moreover, tests in anosmic and intravenously treated mice showed that the sedative effect of inhaled VLD was expressed via olfactory stimulation and pulmonary absorption. Although more studies are required to further elucidate the properties of this compound, our studies suggest that VLD may be an effective anti-stress aromatherapy for humans.
Diabetes is characterized by the development of endothelial dysfunction, which affects both nitric oxide (NO)-mediated relaxation and endothelium-derived contracting factors, associated with vascular oxidative stress. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that polyphenols have several beneficial effects, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. This study investigated whether short-term treatment with polyphenols (chlorogenic acid (CA), morin (MO), resveratrol (RV)) can improve endothelial dysfunction related to diabetes. Aorta reactivity was determined in organ chambers, and we measured NO production and thromboxane B2 (TXB2; a metabolite of TXA2) from aortas in response to acetylcholine (ACh). Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice (16 weeks) were injected with solvent (ethanol, 10% v/v; intraperitoneally (i.p.)), CA (0.03 mmol/kg/d), MO (0.03 mmol/kg/d), and RV (0.03 mmol/kg/d) for 5 d. The ACh-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation was markedly reduced in rings of STZ-induced diabetic mice compared to controls. The treatment with polyphenols (significantly: MO, tendency: CA and RV) for only 5 d improved the NO components of relaxation, but did not normalize ACh-stimulated NO production. However, polyphenol treatment suppressed the ACh-stimulated level of TXB2 in aortas from STZ-induced diabetic mice. Thus, treatment with polyphenols caused basal NO production and a prompt improvement of the endothelial function in diabetic mice, and this may involve the normalization of TXA2 levels, not NO production, under ACh stimulation.
Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is correlated with a reduced risk of cancer through the reduction of inflammation, which is an important risk factor. Several studies have investigated polymorphisms in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) gene and NSAID use in association with cancer risk. However, these studies yielded mixed results. Therefore, we performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the association of PPARγ polymorphisms and NSAID usage with cancer risk. We conducted a comprehensive search of PubMed through May 2013. Odds ratios (ORs) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the fixed-effect or random-effect model. A comprehensive search of the database revealed 6 studies that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. NSAID use was significantly associated with decreased cancer risk regardless of PPARγ rs1801282 genotypes. In a stratified analysis by cancer type, NSAID users who were minor allele carriers had significantly decreased colon cancer risk compared to non-NSAID users (OR=0.73, 95% CI=0.57–0.93), whereas NSAID users homozygous for the major allele had significantly decreased risk for cancers other than colon cancer compared to non-NSAID users (OR=0.79, 95% CI=0.69–0.91). Our results suggest that the association of PPARγ rs1801282 polymorphism and NSAID use with the risk of cancer may differ according to cancer type.
Tribbles related protein 3 (TRB3) pseudokinase plays a crucial role in cell proliferation, migration and morphogenesis during development. In our recent study, an introduction of human TRB3 gene into mouse mammary tumor cells caused an increase of proliferation of tumor cells and their nuclear size. In the current study, to examine whether this gene causes de novo morphological changes in a specific organ site we have developed a novel variation of the transgenic mouse model that conditionally expresses human TRB3 (hTRB3) gene using Cre-recombinase (Cre)/loxP recombination system. By injecting hTRB3 transgene construct into pronuclei of mouse embryo, we eventually obtained four hTRB3 mice. The gene expression was controlled by infection of adenovirus-expressing Cre via the tail vein of hTRB3 mouse. In Cre-mediated hTRB3 mouse, expression of the hTRB3 protein was detected in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes in the liver. Expression of this protein was also seen in lymphocytes in the spleen, glomerular endothelial cells, and epithelial cells of collecting duct of the kidney. In hepatocytes of the hTRB3 mouse, nuclear size was significantly greater than that of the wild type mouse, indicating that hTRB3 can play a role at least in part in hepatic morphogenesis. The present animal model may provide a system for evaluation of de novo morphological changes induced by a specific transgene in a specific organ site.
N-Acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline (AcSDKP) is an endogenous peptide released from its precursor (thymosin-β4) by prolyl oligopeptidase. AcSDKP is a natural inhibitor of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell proliferation and is normally found in human plasma. AcSDKP has been shown to be a potent angiogenic factor and to suppress renal fibroblast proliferation. Impairment of renal function has been suggested to have a significant impact on plasma AcSDKP level. The aim of this study was to assess whether improvement of renal function after kidney transplantation has an impact on plasma AcSDKP-like immunoreactive substance (IS) level. Fourteen patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) who were scheduled to undergo the first kidney allograft transplantation were enrolled. Plasma AcSDKP-IS levels were measured before and 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 30, 60 and 90 d after kidney transplantation. Plasma AcSDKP-IS level decreased significantly from day 3 after kidney transplantation compared to before kidney transplantation. Creatinine clearance increased significantly from day 7 after kidney transplantation. A significant negative correlation was observed between creatinine clearance and plasma AcSDKP-IS level from before transplantation to 90 d after kidney transplantation. Stepwise multiple regression analysis identified creatinine clearance as the only significant independent factor associated with plasma AcSDKP-IS levels. These results suggest that recovery of kidney function after kidney transplantation may lead to a decrease in plasma AcSDKP level in patients with ESRD, and that plasma AcSDKP level may depend largely on renal function.