Epileptogenesis, which can be initiated by brain insults or gene mutations in the normal brain, is defined as the gradual (months to years) process of epilepsy development that begins before the first epileptic seizure. Epileptogenic changes include induction of immediate early genes, post-translational modification of ion-channel functions, neuronal death, gliosis, and reorganization of neural circuits. Each of these changes alone or in combination can contribute to an epileptogenic focus, which is defined by the minimal cortical region that is necessary and sufficient to induce synchronized epileptic bursting activity in neurons. Therefore to discover and develop anti-epileptogenic drugs it is essential to unveil the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of epileptogenic foci. Among the epileptogenic changes, abnormally appended excitatory recurrent circuits can directly cause synchronized bursting of neuron activity. Here, I will introduce and discuss the mechanisms underlying the development of two representative abnormal neural circuits, namely, hippocampal mossy fiber sprouting and ectopic granule cells, which are found in the dentate gyrus of patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and its animal models.
The gas phase of cigarette smoke is important from the viewpoint of human health, because it can pass through alveolar epithelium and enter the circulation. There is no standard method for the preparation of a gas phase extract of cigarette smoke (CSE), although CSE is widely used for research instead of whole cigarette smoke. We have established a standard method for the preparation of CSE. One cigarette per trial is continuously combusted under a reduced pressure generated by an aspiration pump with a velocity of 1.050 L/min: the main stream of the smoke is passed through a Cambridge filter to remove tar, and subsequently, bubbled through a glass ball filter (pore size, 20–30 µm) into 15 mL of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). To express the concentration of CSE, a virtual tar concentration is introduced, which is calculated assuming that tar trapped on the Cambridge filter is dissolved in the PBS. CSEs prepared from smaller numbers of cigarettes (original virtual tar concentration≤15 mg/mL) show similar concentration–response curves for cytotoxicity versus virtual tar concentrations. CSEs prepared from various brands of cigarettes and by different smoking regimes (continuous and puff smoking) show similar cytotoxic potency if the virtual tar concentrations are the same. In conclusion, using the standardized method for CSE preparation in combination with the virtual tar concentration, it becomes possible to simply and rapidly prepare standard CSEs with defined concentrations from any brand of cigarettes, which are toxicologically equivalent to CSE prepared by puff smoking.
Cigarette smoke contains many harmful chemicals that contribute to the pathogenesis of smoking-related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Many studies have been done to identify cytotoxic chemicals in cigarette smoke and elucidate the onset of the above-mentioned diseases caused by smoking. However, definitive mechanisms for cigarette smoke toxicity remain unknown. As candidates for cytotoxic chemicals, we have recently found methyl vinyl ketone (MVK) and acetic anhydride in nicotine/tar-free cigarette smoke extract (CSE) using L-tyrosine (Tyr), an amino acid with highly reactive hydroxyl group. The presence of MVK and acetic anhydride in CSE was confirmed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS). We also found new reaction products formed in B16–BL6 mouse melanoma (B16–BL6) cells treated with CSE using LC/MS. These were identified as glutathione (GSH) conjugates of α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds, MVK, crotonaldehyde (CA), and acrolein (ACR), by the mass value and product ion spectra of these new products. ACR and MVK are type-2 alkenes, which are well known as electron acceptors and form Michael-type adducts to nucleophilic side chain of amino acids on peptides. These α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds may have a key role in CSE-induced cell death.
Cigarette mainstream smoke is composed of gas and tar phases and contains >4000 chemical constituents, including nicotine and tar. The substances in the gas phase but not in the tar phase can pass through the airway epithelial barrier, enter the systemic circulation via the pulmonary circulation, and increase systemic oxidative damage, leading to the development of cigarette smoking-related diseases such as atherosclerosis. Recently, we identified some stable carbonyl compounds, including acrolein (ACR) and methyl vinyl ketone (MVK), as major cytotoxic factors in nicotine- and tar-free cigarette smoke extract (CSE) of the gas phase. CSE, ACR, and MVK induce protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent activation of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (NOX) and subsequent generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) via NOX, causing plasma membrane damage and cell apoptosis. CSE, ACR, and MVK also trigger carbonylation of PKC, which is an irreversible oxidative modification. Cell damage and PKC carbonylation in response to treatment with CSE, ACR, or MVK are abolished by thiol-containing antioxidants such as N-acetyl-L-cysteine and reduced glutathione. Thus pharmacological modulation of PKC and NOX activities and the trapping of ROS are potential strategies for the prevention of diseases related to cigarette smoking.
3-Hydroxypropylmercapturic acid (3-HPMA), a major metabolite of acrolein in urine, has been recognized as a noninvasive biomarker of exposure to cigarette smoke. Since acrolein is formed endogenously from polyamines and is also formed during oxidative stress and aggravates tissue damage by changing protein activity through its conjugation in pathological lesions, it is thought that the urinary 3-HPMA level is useful as a biomarker to monitor the severity of several diseases related to acrolein. To study the correlation between 3-HPMA and disease severity, it is important to understand the properties of analytical methods for determination of 3-HPMA. In this article, we summarize the analytical methods for determination of urinary 3-HPMA and discuss the utility of 3-HPMA as one of the biomarkers for the diagnosis of brain infarction.
Solanum cernuum VE. has been used extensively for the treatment of urinary disorders, gonorrhea and skin infections; cernumidine is a major component of S. cernuum (SC) hydroalcoholic extract. The micronucleus test in V79 cells was used to evaluate the genotoxic and antigenotoxic potential of SC and cernumidine. For antigenotoxicity assessment, methyl methanesulfonate (MMS, 44 µg/mL) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 3.5 µg/mL) were added as inducers of chromosome damage. Antioxidant activity was evaluated by the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) test. Significantly higher frequencies of micronuclei were observed in cell cultures treated with SC concentrations of 160 and 320 µg/mL in comparison with the negative control, demonstrating a genotoxic effect. There was no significant difference in the frequency of micronuclei between cell cultures treated with a combination of SC and MMS and those treated only with MMS. On the other hand, a significant reduction in the frequency of micronuclei was observed for V79 cells treated with SC or cernumidine plus H2O2 compared to those treated only with H2O2. Furthermore, SC and cernumidine were able to scavenge free radicals in the DPPH assay. Thus, the protective effect of SC and cernumidine against H2O2 can be attributed to antioxidant activity.
During the past two decades, it has been reported that treatment with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induces alveolar regeneration in rodent emphysema models. In the present study, we investigated the regeneration by ATRA at various exposure conditions in two strains of mice with induced emphysema. The emphysema model was created by postnatal administration of dexamethasone to ICR and FVB mice, which were then treated with ATRA from postnatal day 42. The regeneration was observed in ICR mice but not in FVB mice given 10 and 40 mg/kg/d ATRA for 10 d. The concentration–time profiles of ATRA in plasma and lung were similar in both strains. These results suggest that the strain difference in the regeneration by ATRA was not caused by differences in the exposure to ATRA. On the other hand, the regeneration in ICR mice was enhanced by an increase of the intraperitoneal dose in the range of 10–40 mg/kg/d for 10 d. At an intraperitoneal dose of 40 mg/kg/d, the regeneration was observed after 10 and 20 d of treatment but not after 1 to 5 d of treatment. Meanwhile, the regeneration by intraperitoneal administration of ATRA was enhanced more than that by oral administration. Exposure to ATRA during repeated intraperitoneal administration to ICR mice was higher than that in oral administration. The results suggest that the regeneration in ICR mice requires at least 10 d of treatment with ATRA and its effects depend on the exposure to ATRA in plasma, which parallels that in lung.
Among mitotic kinases, Aurora kinases are the most widely studied, since their expression is restricted to mitosis. They play a key role in chromosome segregation and cell polyploidy. Aurora kinases are important therapeutic targets, and several research groups have directed their efforts toward the identification of kinase inhibitors. The aim of this study is to screen and characterize Aurora kinase inhibitors from natural substances extracted from plants that are used in the Vietnamese pharmacopoeia. We have characterized in vitro Derrone, extracted from Erythrina orientalis L. MURR, as a novel Aurora kinase inhibitor. This compound exhibited an ability to inhibit the phosphorylation of histone H3 at ser10 both in kinase assay and at the cellular level. The compound was more effective against Aurora kinase B, with a lower IC50 value as compared to Aurora A. Moreover, it impaired the mitotic spindle checkpoint and led to endoreduplication in cancer cells, a phenomenon caused by an Aurora B inhibitor. Interestingly, using the xCelligence system and real-time cell analysis (RTCA) software, we set up a comparison of cell proliferation profiles between cancer cells treated with Derrone and VX680—a well-known Aurora kinase inhibitor—and we found that these profiles exhibited considerable similarity in cell morphology, growth, and death. Additionally, Derrone significantly inhibited the formation and growth of MCF7 tumor spheroids.
1.8-Cineole (eucalyptol) is a phytoncide, a volatile organic compound derived from plants. Phytoncides are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. However, the effects of 1.8-cineole in house dust mite (HDM)-stimulated bronchial epithelial cells are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of 1.8-cineole in HDM-stimulated bronchial epithelial cells and in the HDM-induced murine asthma model. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects and mechanism of 1.8-cineole action in HDM-induced airway inflammation. Human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) were cultured with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p) and 1.8-cineole. Cytokine protein levels, phosphorylation of protein kinases, and intracellular Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) expressions were measured. In the murine model, BALB/C mice were sensitized with Der p and were exposed to Der p via intranasal route during the challenge period. 1.8-Cineole was given by inhalation 6 h before the each challenge. Treatment with 1.8-cineole inhibited the Der p-induced cytokine protein expression, phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt and intracellular TLR4 expression in HBECs. In the Der p-induced mouse model, airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) and the number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was also significantly reduced by 1.8-cineole treatment. The treatment of 1.8-cineole inhibited the increased production of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-13 and IL-17A in BALF after Der p challenge. These results suggest that 1.8-cineole suppresses Der p-induced IL-8, IL-6 and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) production in HBECs. Finally, we confirmed that 1.8-cineole decreases AHR and eosinophilic airway inflammation in Der p-induced asthma mice.
The many known eukaryotic DNA polymerases are classified into four families; A, B, X, and Y. Among them, DNA polymerase η, a Y family polymerase, is a low fidelity enzyme that contributes to translesional synthesis and somatic hypermutation. Although a high mutation frequency is observed in immunoglobulin genes, translesional synthesis occurs with a high accuracy. We determined whether the misincorporation rate of DNA polymerase η varies with ambient conditions. It has been reported that DNA polymerase η is unable to exclude water molecules from the active site. This finding suggests that some ions affect hydrogen bond formation at the active site. We focused on the effect of pH and evaluated the misincorporation rate of deoxyguanosine triphosphate (dGTP) opposite template T by DNA polymerase η at various pH levels with a synthetic template-primer. The misincorporation rate of dGTP by DNA polymerase η drastically increased at pH 8.0–9.0 compared with that at pH 6.5–7.5. Kinetic analysis revealed that the Km value for dGTP on the misincorporation opposite template T was markedly affected by pH. However, this drastic change was not seen with the low fidelity DNA polymerase α.
Ocular iontophoresis (IP) in isolated rabbit cornea and conjunctiva was examined in terms of transport enhancement, tissue viability and integrity using electrophysiological parameters by the Ussing-type chamber technique. Lidocaine hydrochloride (LC, a cationic compound), sodium benzoate (BA, anionic compound), and fluorescein isothiocyanate labeled dextran (molecular weight 4400 Da, FD-4, hydrophilic large compound) were used as model permeants. Direct electric current was applied at 0.5–5.0 mA/cm2 for the cornea and 0.5–20 mA/cm2 for the conjunctiva for 30 min. LC and BA fluxes across the cornea and conjunctiva were significantly increased by the application of electric current up to 2.3- and 2.5-fold and 4.0- and 3.4-fold, respectively, and returned to their baseline level on stopping the current. Furthermore, a much higher increase by IP application was obtained for the FD-4 transport. The increased FD-4 flux in the conjunctiva returned to baseline on stopping the current, whereas the flux in the cornea was sustained at a higher level after stopping the current. The transepithelial electric resistance of the cornea and conjunctiva was lowered by electric current application but fully recovered after stopping the current up to 2.0 mA/cm2 for the cornea and 10 mA/cm2 for the conjunctiva, suggesting that the corneal and conjunctival viability and integrity are maintained even after application of these current densities. These results indicate that ocular IP may be a useful non-invasive technique to achieve drug delivery of hydrophilic large molecules into the eyes.
Macrophages play pivotal roles in inflammatory responses. Previous studies showed that various natural products exert antiinflammatory effects by regulating macrophage activation. Recent studies have shown that shikonin (SHK) and its derivatives (β-hydroxyisovalerylshikonin, acetylshikonin, and isobutylshikonin), which are 1,4-naphthoquinone pigments extracted from the roots of Lithospermum erythrorhizon, have various pharmacological, including antiinflammatory and antitumor, effects. Even though there have been many studies on the antiinflammatory activities of SHK derivatives, only a few have described their direct effects on macrophages. We investigated the effects of SHK derivatives on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated macrophages. Low doses of SHK derivatives induced significant macrophage cytotoxicity (mouse macrophage-like J774.1/JA-4 cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages) in the presence of LPS. SHK activated caspases-3 and -7, which led to DNA fragmentation, but this cytotoxicity was prevented through a pan-caspase inhibitor in LPS-treated JA-4 cells. Maximal cytotoxic effects were achieved when SHK was added immediately before LPS addition. These results indicate that SHK derivatives induce caspase-dependent apoptotic cell death of LPS-treated macrophages and suggest that SHK acts during an early stage of LPS signaling.
In the development of therapeutic approaches for central nervous system diseases, a significant obstacle is efficient drug delivery across the blood–brain barrier owing to its low permeability. Various nanocarriers have been developed for brain-targeted drug delivery by modification with specific ligands. We have previously developed polyethylene glycol-modified liposomes (Bubble liposomes [BLs]) that entrap ultrasound (US) contrast gas and can serve as both plasmid DNA or small interfering RNA carriers and US contrast agents. In this study, we attempted to prepare brain-targeting BLs modified with Angiopep-2 (Ang2) peptide (Ang2-BLs). Ang2 is expected to be a useful ligand for the efficient delivery of nanocarriers to the brain. We showed that Ang2-BLs interacted specifically with brain endothelial cells via low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1. We also confirmed that Ang2-BLs could entrap US contrast gas and had US imaging ability as well as unmodified BLs. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Ang2-BLs accumulated in brain tissue after intravascular injection. These results suggested that Ang2-BLs may be a useful tool for brain-targeted delivery and US imaging via systemic administration.
This study investigated the effects of compounds isolated from 70% ethanol (EtOH) extraction of Smilax china L. (SCE), a plant belonging to the family Smilacaceae on nicotine-induced endothelial dysfunction (ED) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. We isolated 10 compounds from ethyl acetate (EtOAc) fraction of 70% EtOH extract of SCE and investigated their inhibitory effect on nicotine-induced ED in endothelial cells. Kaempferol, kaempferol 7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, puerarin and ferulic acid showed strong inhibition of nicotine-induced vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1) expression while kaempferol, kaempferin, and caffeic acid attenuated intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1) expression. Lepidoside, caffeic acid and methylsuccinic acid caused the highest up-regulated expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase at the protein level with caffeic acid and ferulic acid showing strong inhibitory effects on inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. In addition, ferulic acid and kaempferol showed inhibition against interleukin-8 (IL-8) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) expression while ferulic acid and caffeic acid showed comparatively higher inhibition of ED associated tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) expression. These results show the potential of the aforementioned compounds to reverse the toxic effects of nicotine on the endothelium.
Indirubin inhibits cyclin-dependent kinases by binding to their ATP-binding site, thereby exerting potent cytotoxicity on some tumor cells. We examined the anti-tumor effect of indirubin 3′-epoxide on human neuroblastoma cell lines (IMR-32, SK-N-SH, and NB-39). The results revealed potent cytotoxicity of indirubin 3′-epoxide against the IMR-32 (IC50: 0.16 µM) and SK-N-SH (IC50: 0.07 µM) cells. Furthermore, it also induced an increase of the sub-G1 population in the IMR-32 cells. Examination by Hoechst 33342 staining revealed apoptosis characterized by cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation and nuclear fragmentation in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, annexin V–propidium iodide (PI) double-staining revealed an increase in the percentage of early apoptotic cells following treatment of the cells with indirubin 3′-epoxide without activation of caspases. In addition, significant decreases in the protein level of survivin and poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP), and increase in that of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) were found in the nuclei of the cells. These results suggest that indirubin 3′-epoxide induced caspase-independent apoptosis through mechanisms involving DNA fragmentation and inhibition of DNA repair.
A ferric citrate formulation for treating hyperphosphatemia is a new therapeutic that not only suppresses the accumulation of phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease-mineral bone disorders (CKD-MBD), but also ameliorates anemia caused by iron deficiency. In contrast, it has been demonstrated that intravenous iron injection markedly increases oxidative stress. This study was designed to investigate the effect of a ferric citrate formulation on oxidative stress in CKD-MBD patients receiving hemodialysis therapy. Fifteen CKD-MBD patients undergoing dialysis were enrolled in this study. The patients were orally administered a ferric citrate formulation for 6 months. Their plasma phosphorus concentrations remained unchanged with the switch from other phosphorus adsorbents to the ferric citrate formulation. In addition, the ferric citrate formulation generally allowed for dose reduction of an erythropoiesis stimulating agent with an increased hematopoietic effect. The average values of plasma ferritin level increased after the introduction of a ferric citrate formulation, but did not exceed 100 (ng/mL). Interestingly, oxidative stress markers did not increase significantly, and anti-oxidative capacity was not significantly decreased at 6 months after the drug administration. Similarly, no change was observed in any inflammation markers. The ferric citrate formulation induces negligible oxidative stress in CKD-MBD patients receiving dialysis under the present clinical condition.
In this study we investigated the effect of free heme, the local level of which was increased by bleeding, on the intestinal barrier function, using human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (Caco-2). Our results show that the addition of hemin to the culture medium markedly disrupted the barrier function, which was significantly improved by glutamine supplementation. Although hemin treatment caused the increased expression of heme oxygenase (HO)-1, the inhibition of HO activity resulted in the aggravation of hemin-induced barrier dysfunction. Up-regulation of HO-1 by pretreatment with a low concentration of hemin almost completely prevented hemin-induced barrier dysfunction. Taken together, these observations indicate that an abnormally high level of intracellular free heme causes barrier dysfunction, probably through the modulation of proteins forming tight junctions.
Whether renal dysfunction influences the hypouricemic effect of febuxostat, a xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitor, in patients with hyperuricemia due to overproduction or underexcretion of uric acid (UA) remains unclear. We aimed to address this question with a modeling and simulation approach. The pharmacokinetics (PK) of febuxostat were analyzed using data from the literature. A kinetic model of UA was retrieved from a previous human study. Renal UA clearance was estimated as a function of creatinine clearance (CLcr) but non-renal UA clearance was assumed constant. A reversible inhibition model for bovine XO was adopted. Integrating these kinetic formulas, we developed a PK-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) model for estimating the time course of the hypouricemic effect of febuxostat as a function of baseline UA level, febuxostat dose, treatment duration, body weight, and CLcr. Using the Monte Carlo simulation method, we examined the performance of the model by comparing predicted UA levels with those reported in the literature. We also modified the models for application to hyperuricemia due to UA overproduction or underexcretion. Thirty-nine data sets comprising 735 volunteers or patients were retrieved from the literature. A good correlation was observed between the hypouricemic effects of febuxostat estimated by our PK-PD model and those reported in the articles (observed) (r=0.89, p<0.001). The hypouricemic effect was estimated to be augmented in patients with renal dysfunction irrespective of the etiology of hyperuricemia. While validation in clinical studies is needed, the modeling and simulation approach may be useful for individualizing febuxostat doses in patients with various clinical characteristics.
Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) is a potent toxic material that can cause necrosis and subsequent fibrosis in the liver. Based on the previously reported hepatoprotective effect of Limonium tetragonum against the proliferation of hepatic stellate cells, we tested the EtOAc soluble fraction of L. tetragonum extract (EALT) in a DEN-induced hepatotoxic rat model. The development of hepatotoxicity including mononuclear cell infiltration and fibrosis induced by intraperitoneal injections of DEN (70 mg/2 mL/kg body weight (b.w.) per week) was observed at 4, 6 and 8 weeks after the first DEN treatment. Administration of EALT (200 mg/kg body weight, per os (p.o.)) induced significant reductions in serum alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), and triglycerides (TG) in DEN-injected rats. Increased oxidative stress in DEN-induced liver fibrosis rats was diminished by EALT treatment through a decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) and increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD). Histologic findings that included markedly attenuated mononuclear cell infiltration and fibrosis could be observed in liver samples from the EALT-treated groups. An extract of Hovenia dulcis fruit and Sylimarin were used as positive controls. The present study provides direct experimental evidence for EALT attenuated hepatic injury and fibrosis in DEN-treated mice. The L. tetragonum EtOAc fraction might be useful in treating fibrotic liver diseases.
Due to its powerful ability to deplete cholesterol from the plasma membrane of cells, methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) has been widely used as a putative research tool in cell biology. Recently, recruiting MβCD as an effective drug (e.g., antitumor drugs) has been developed. However, it remains unclear whether MβCD, when it enters the blood circulation as a drug, influences the functions of the endothelium, e.g., the adhesion of leukocytes to the endothelium. In this study, we found that MβCD can impair the adhesion of monocytes to the monolayer of endothelial cells by lowering the cell-surface adhesive force and expression of adhesion molecules and caveolae-related molecules on/in endothelial cells, and reorganizing the actin cytoskeleton of endothelial cells. The data imply that MβCD, when recruited as a drug, potentially helps to inhibit inflammation or initiation/progression of atherosclerosis since its important early step is the adhesion of circulating leukocytes (e.g., monocytes) to the endothelium.
The effect of glucosamine (GlcN) and N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) on bone metabolism in ovariectomized (OVX) mice was studied. After 12 weeks of feeding with 0.2% GlcN and 0.2% GlcNAc, the femoral bone mineral density in OVX mice was significantly increased compared with that in OVX mice fed the control diet. Histomorphometric analysis of the tibia indicated that the rates of osteogenesis and bone resorption were reduced due to the GlcN diet. The erosion depth of osteoclasts on the tibia in GlcN- and GlcNAc-fed OVX mice was significantly lower than that in the control OVX mice. The number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive osteoclasts induced from bone marrow stem cells isolated from GlcN-fed OVX mice was significantly lower than that from control OVX mice. A loss of uterine weight and higher serum calcium concentration in the GlcN- and GlcNAc-fed OVX mice were observed. The results suggest that the intake of GlcN suppresses bone loss by inhibiting osteoclast differentiation and activity in a nonestrogenic manner.
Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is commonly used as a chemical inducer of experimental liver injury. In addition, many studies showed that CCl4 can induce kidney damage. In the current study, we evaluated the protective effect of zinc (Zn) against CCl4-induced nephrotoxicity. We hypothesized that this protective effect would result from the ability of Zn to serve as an inducer of metallothionein (MT), a known endogenous scavenger of free radicals. We administered Zn (as ZnSO4) 50 mg/kg subcutaneously once daily for 3 successive days prior to a single intraperitoneal administration of CCl4 4 g/kg in male ddY mice. Our results showed that Zn pretreatment significantly decreased creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels and reduced renal histopathological damage at 6 h post-CCl4 injection, observations consistent with enhanced antioxidative activity in the kidney. Moreover, kidney MT levels in the Zn+CCl4-treated group decreased by greater than 70% compared with levels in the Zn-alone group, implying that MT was consumed by CCl4-induced radicals. These findings suggest that prophylaxis with Zn protects mice from CCl4-induced acute nephrotoxicity, presumably by induction of MT, which in turn scavenges radicals induced by CCl4 exposure.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a principal factor for neurogenesis, neurodevelopment and neural survival through a BDNF receptor, tropomyosin-related kinase (Trk) B, while BDNF can also cause a decrease in the intracellular glutathione (GSH) level. We investigated the exacerbation of methylmercury-induced death of rat cerebellar granular neurons (CGNs) by BDNF in vitro. Since methylmercury can decrease intracellular GSH levels, we hypothesized that a further decrease of the intracellular GSH level is involved in the process of the exacerbation of neuronal cell death. In the present study, we established that in CGN culture, a decrease of the intracellular GSH level was further potentiated with BDNF in the process of the methylmercury-induced neuronal death and also in GSH reducer-induced neuronal death. BDNF treatment promoted the decrease in GSH levels induced by methylmercury and also by L-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) and diethyl maleate (DEM). The promoting effect of BDNF was observed in a TrkB-vector transformant of the rat neuroblastoma B35 cell line but not in the mock-vector transformant. These results indicate that the exacerbating effect of BDNF on methylmercury-induced neuronal death in cultures of CGNs includes a further decrease of intracellular GSH levels, for which TrkB is essential.
Recent reports have shown that dimethyl fumarate (DMF) prevents brain damage induced by intracerebral hemorrhage and this beneficial effect is mediated by the nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor-2–antioxidant response element (Nrf2–ARE) pathway. However, the downstream mechanism underlying the activation of the Nrf2–ARE pathway is unclear. Here, we investigated the protective effect of DMF using an in vivo model of oxidative stress induced by sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and rat primary striatal cultures. Oral administration of DMF prevented SNP-induced motor dysfunction. Pre-administration of DMF (60–200 mg/kg) for 24 h dose-dependently protected against brain damage induced by the striatal injection of SNP. Next, we investigated the protective effect and mechanism of DMF against oxidative stress using rat primary striatal cell cultures. Treatment of striatal cells with DMF (10 µM) markedly prevented hydrogen peroxide-induced cytotoxicity. The protective effect of DMF against oxidative stress in vitro was inhibited by zinc protoporphyrin IX, an inhibitor of heme oxygenase-1, but not by buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis. These results suggest that the activation of heme oxygenase-1 plays an important role in the protective effect of DMF.
Alopecia is an important issue that can occur in people of all ages. Recent studies show that bee venom can be used to treat certain diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, neuralgia, and multiple sclerosis. In this study, we investigated the preventive effect of bee venom on alopecia, which was measured by applying bee venom (0.001, 0.005, 0.01%) or minoxidil (2%) as a positive control to the dorsal skin of female C57BL/6 mice for 19 d. Growth factors responsible for hair growth were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analysis using mice skins and human dermal papilla cells (hDPCs). Bee venom promoted hair growth and inhibited transition from the anagen to catagen phase. In both anagen phase mice and dexamethasone-induced catagen phase mice, hair growth was increased dose dependently compared with controls. Bee venom inhibited the expression of SRD5A2, which encodes a type II 5α-reductase that plays a major role in the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Moreover, bee venom stimulated proliferation of hDPCs and several growth factors (insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF)2 and 7) in bee venom-treated hDPCs dose dependently compared with the control group. In conclusion, bee venom is a potentially potent 5α-reductase inhibitor and hair growth promoter.
Metergoline is an ergot-derived psychoactive drug that is a ligand for various serotonin and dopamine receptors. Little is known about the effect of metergoline on different types of receptors and ion channels. Potassium channels are the most diverse group of ion channels. Kv1.4, a shaker family K channel alpha subunit, is one of a family of voltage gated K channels that mediates transient and rapid inactivating A-type currents and N-type inactivation. We demonstrated previously that metergoline inhibited the activity of neuronal voltage-dependent Na+ channels in Xenopus laevis oocytes (Acta Pharmacol. Sin., 35, 2014, Lee et al.). In this study, we sought to elucidate the regulatory effects underlying metergoline-induced human Kv1.4 channel inhibition. We used the two electrode voltage-clamp (TEVC) technique to investigate the effect of metergoline on human Kv1.4 channel currents in Xenopus laevis oocytes expressing human Kv1.4 alpha subunits. Interestingly, metergoline treatment also induced inhibition of peak currents in human Kv1.4 channels in a concentration-dependent manner. The IC50 of peak currents of hKv1.4 currents was 3.6±0.6 µM. These results indicate that metergoline might regulate the human Kv1.4 channel activity that is expressed in X. laevis oocytes. Further, this regulation of potassium currents by metergoline might be one of the pharmacological actions of metergoline-mediated psychoactivity.
Adjuvants are required to enhance antigen-specific immune responses by vaccines. Extracellular ATP serves as a danger signal to alert the immune system of tissue damage by acting on P2X and P2Y receptors and triggers the activation of dendritic cells (DCs). Here we investigated the in vivo adjuvant efficacy of α,β-methylene-ATP (αβ-ATP), a non-hydrolysable form of ATP. We found that intradermal injection of ovalbumin (OVA), as a model antigen, combined with αβ-ATP, as the adjuvant, enhanced OVA-specific immune responses more than OVA alone. Additionally, DCs in the skin of mice injected with OVA and αβ-ATP had increased expression of major histocompatibility complex class II and co-stimulator molecules, CD40, CD80, and CD86, suggesting that αβ-ATP activated DC. These findings indicate that αβ-ATP functions as a potent vaccine adjuvant.
Zerumbone derivatives 1–4 are 11-membered cyclic compounds synthesised from a sesquiterpene zerumbone obtained from the rhizomes of Zingiber zerumbet SMITH (Zingiberaceae). In this study, we investigated the locomotor-reducing effects of hexahydrozerumbone derivatives 1–3 and zerumbol 4, and those of β-caryophyllene 5 and caryophyllene oxide 6, which are present in Z. zerumbet essential oil. The absence of the double bond at C6 weakened the locomotor-reducing effects. β-Caryophyllene 5 and caryophyllene oxide 6 showed locomotor-reducing effects in mice at 4.5×10−3 mg/cage. Moreover, locomotor activity increased significantly at 0.45 mg/cage of caryophyllene oxide 6.