Photocontrollable nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compounds, or caged NOs, are very useful to expose cells or tissues to NO in a spatiotemporally well-controlled manner, e.g., for precise investigations of biological responses to NO and NO-related signaling pathways. We have developed photocontrollable NO releasers based on two mechanisms: photoinduced isomerization reaction of a dimethylnitrobenzene moiety conjugated with a pi-electron system, and photoinduced electron transfer of a moderately electron-rich N-nitroso aminophenol moiety linked with an antenna dye moiety. In this review, we describe the development of our photoinduced NO releasers based on these mechanisms, and present examples of cellular and ex vivo applications.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) functions in many physiological processes, including relaxation of vascular smooth muscles, mediation of neurotransmission, inhibition of insulin signaling, and regulation of inflammation. On the other hand, sulfane sulfur, which is a sulfur atom with six valence electrons but no charge, has the unique ability to bind reversibly to other sulfur atoms to form hydropersulfides (R-S-SH) and polysulfides (-S-Sn-S-). H2S and sulfane sulfur always coexist, and recent work suggests that sulfane sulfur species may be the actual signaling molecules in at least some biological phenomena. For example, one of the mechanisms of activity regulation of proteins by H2S is the S-sulfhydration of cysteine residues (protein Cys-SSH). In this review, we summarize recent progress on chemical tools for the study of H2S and sulfane sulfur, covering fluorescence probes utilizing various design strategies, H2S caged compounds, inhibitors of physiological H2S-producing enzymes (cystathionine γ-lyase, cystathionine β-synthase and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase), and labeling reagents. Fluorescence probes offer particular advantages as chemical tools to study physiological functions of biomolecules, including ease of use and real-time, nondestructive visualization of biological processes in live cells and tissues.
Ascorbic acid is an important antioxidant that plays an essential role in the biosynthesis of numerous bioactive substances. The detection of ascorbic acid has traditionally been achieved using high-performance liquid chromatography and absorption spectrophotometry assays. However, the development of fluorescence probes for this purpose is highly desired because they provide a much more convenient and highly sensitive technique for the detection of this material. OFF-ON-type fluorescent probes have been developed for the detection of non-fluorescent compounds. Photo-induced electron transfer and fluorescence resonance energy transfer are the two main fluorescence quenching mechanisms for the detection of ascorbic acid, and several fluorescence probes have been reported based on redox-responsive metals and quantum dots. Profluorescent nitroxide compounds have also been developed as non-metal organic fluorescence probes for ascorbic acid. These nitroxide systems have a stable unpaired electron and can therefore react with ascorbic acid and a strong fluorescence quencher. Furthermore, recent synthetic advances have allowed for the synthesis of α-substituted nitroxides with varying levels of reactivity towards ascorbic acid. In this review, we have discussed the design strategies used for the preparation of fluorescent probes for ascorbic acid, with particular emphasis on profluorescent nitroxides, which are unique radical-based redox-active fluorescent probes.
Recent evidence has indicated that total fiber intake is inversely related to type 2 diabetes risk. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of chronic administration of partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), a water-soluble dietary fiber, on the occurrence of diabetes and its complications, fatty liver and nephropathy. We also identified predictive serum biomarkers of treatment response to PHGG by mass spectroscopy-based proteomic analysis using Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats, a good model of human non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. In this study, at 5 weeks of age, OLETF rats and control strain Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats were fed a control diet or a high-fiber diet (5% PHGG) for 57 weeks. Body weight, food intake, oral glucose tolerance test, plasma insulin levels, and urine glucose and protein levels were regularly measured. Oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) and storage of serum in a deep freezer were conducted at the beginning of the experiment and every 4 weeks after overnight fasting during the experiments. PHGG treatment affected neither meal patterns nor the body weight of OLETF and LETO rats. Repeated measure analysis of variance revealed significant differences in fasting plasma glucose and plasma glucose at 2 h after OGTT between control OLETF (OLETF-C) rats and OLETF rats treated with PHGG (OLETF-F). The glucose response determined by the area under the curve of OGTT was significantly greater in OLETF-C rats than that in OLETF-F rats at 25 weeks of age. HOMA-IR, an index of insulin resistance, increased at 25 weeks of age in OLETF-C rats, while this increase was significantly inhibited in OLETF-F rats. At 62 weeks of age, PHGG treatment significantly improved hepatic steatosis as well as renal mesangial matrix accumulation in OLETF rats. To identify the risk marker for diabetes mellitus by SELDI-TOF MS, we collected sera from 21-week-old individuals. Among the 12 specific peaks that were risk marker candidates for diabetes mellitus, the m/z 13,720 peak was identified as that of cysteinylated transthyretin by sequencing of four tryptic peptides using tandem mass spectrometry and peak distribution around the m/z 13,720 peak in the SELDI-TOF spectra. In conclusion, we found that chronic treatment with PHGG improved insulin resistance, delayed the onset of diabetes, and inhibited the development of diabetic complications, as well as identified cysteinylated transthyretin as a predictive biomarker of treatment response to PHGG in OLETF rats.
Exendin-4 is an agonist of the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R) and is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Since human GLP-1R has been identified in various cells besides pancreatic cells, exendin-4 is expected to exert extrapancreatic actions. It has also been suggested to affect gene expression through epigenetic regulation, such as DNA methylation and/or histone modifications. Furthermore, the expression of extracellular-superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD), a major SOD isozyme that is crucially involved in redox homeostasis, is regulated by epigenetic factors. In the present study, we demonstrated that exendin-4 induced the demethylation of DNA in A549 cells, which, in turn, affected the expression of EC-SOD. Our results showed that the treatment with exendin-4 up-regulated the expression of EC-SOD through GLP-1R and demethylated some methyl-CpG sites (methylated cytosine at 5'-CG-3') in the EC-SOD gene. Moreover, the treatment with exendin-4 inactivated DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), but did not change their expression levels. In conclusion, the results of the present study demonstrated for the first time that exendin-4 regulated the expression of EC-SOD by reducing the activity of DNMTs and demethylation of DNA within the EC-SOD promoter region in A549 cells.
In the present study, the apoptotic effect of pycnogenol and its molecular mechanism in human oral squamous cell carcinoma HSC-3 cells were investigated. Pycnogenol significantly inhibited the viability of HSC-3 cells and suppressed neoplastic cell transformation in HSC-3 cells and TPA-treated JB6 cells. It caused caspase-dependent apoptosis evidenced by the increase in cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and caspase 3 in a dose-dependent manner. Pycnogenol increased Bak protein by enhancing its protein stability whereas other Bcl-2 family members were not altered. In addition, the treatment with pycnogenol led to the production of reactive oxygen species and N-acetyl-l-cysteine almost blocked pycnogenol-induced reactive oxygen species generation. Taken together, these findings suggest that pycnogenol may be a potential candidate for the chemoprevention or chemotherapy of human oral cancer.
We investigated the effect of dietary zinc supplementation on bone metabolism in rats. Four-week-old male Wistar rats were fed a 30.0 mg zinc/kg diet (C), a 300.0 mg zinc/kg diet (HZ) or a 3,000.0 mg zinc/kg diet (EZ) for 4 weeks. The zinc content of the femur gradually increased in accordance with the gradual increase in the dietary zinc level. Although the mRNA expression of zinc transporters in bone did not differ between the groups, the mRNA expression of metallothioneins was increased in the HZ and EZ groups compared to the C group. Moreover, the bone mineral density was significantly decreased in the HZ and EZ groups compared to the C group. Furthermore, the mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor α, Interleukin-1β and osteoclastogenesis-related genes such as receptor for activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand, tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6, and nuclear factor of activated T cells cytoplasmic 1 was significantly increased in the HZ and EZ groups compared to the C group. These findings suggested that dietary zinc supplementation reduced bone mineral density through the promotion of bone resorption via an increase in the expression of receptor for activator of NF-κB ligand induced by tumor necrosis factor α and Interleukin-1β.
This study investigated the effect of jicama extract on hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity in an animal model of type 2 diabetes. Male C57BL/Ksj-db/db mice were divided into groups subsequently fed a regular diet (controls), or diet supplemented with jicama extract, and rosiglitazone. After 6 weeks, blood levels of glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin were significantly lower in animals administered the jicama extract than the control group. Additionally, glucose and insulin tolerance tests showed that jicama extract increased insulin sensitivity. The homeostatic index of insulin resistance was lower in the jicama extract-treated group than in the diabetic control group. Administration of jicama extract significantly enhanced the expressions of the phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase and Akt substrate of 160 kDa, and plasma membrane glucose transporter type 4 in skeletal muscle. Jicama extract administration also decreased the expressions of glucose 6-phosphatase and phosphoenol pyruvate carboxykinase in the liver. Jicama extract may increases insulin sensitivity and inhibites the gluconeogenesis in the liver.
The aim of this study was to test the effects of B-group vitamin supplements on wound healing in diabetic mice. The mice in the experimental group were treated daily with 1 g/L B6, 1.25 mg/L B12, and 62.5 mg/L folic acid in their drinking water. Full-thickness excision wounds were created with 6-mm skin biopsy punches. Each wound closure was digitally photographed. Beginning on day 3 after wounding, the wound area in the diabetic mice was statistically larger than that of normal mice (p<0.05 vs diabetic mice). The diabetic mice treated with B vitamins displayed accelerated wound closure on day 3 (wound area 42.8 ± 11.3%, p<0.05). On day 9 after wounding, the wound area in the diabetic mice was also statistically larger than that of normal mice (p<0.05 vs diabetic mice). The diabetic mice treated with B vitamins displayed accelerated wound closure on day 3 (wound area 13.2 ± 16.8%, p<0.05). In addition, the high glucose level in the diabetic animals decreased significantly in response to B vitamin treatment. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that B vitamin supplementation may improve wound healing in diabetic mice.
We herein investigated the regulatory mechanism in the circulation responsible for rat gingival reactive hyperemia (RH) associated with ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). RH was analyzed using a laser Doppler flowmeter. RH and I/R were elicited by gingival compression and release with a laser Doppler probe. RH increased in a time-dependent manner when the duration of compression was between 30 s and 20 min. This increase was significantly suppressed by Nω-nitro-l-arginine-methyl-ester (l-NAME), 7-nitroindazole (7-NI), and 2,4-diamino-6-hydroxypyrimidine (DAHP). However, RH was markedly inhibited following 60 min of compression. This inhibition was significantly decreased by treatments with superoxide dismutase (SOD), (6R)-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-l-biopterin (BH4), and sepiapterin. The luminescent intensity of superoxide anion (O2•−)-induced 2-methyl-6-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3,7-dihydroimidazo-[1,2-a] pyrazine-3-one (MCLA) was markedly decreased by SOD and BH4, but only slightly by sepiapterin. BH4 significantly decreased O2•− scavenging activity in a time-dependent manner. These results suggested that nitric oxide (NO) secreted by the nitrergic nerve played a role in regulating local circulation in rat gingiva. This NO-related regulation of local circulation was temporarily inhibited in the gingiva by the I/R treatment. The decrease observed in the production of NO, which was caused by suppression of NO synthase (NOS) activity subsequent to depletion of the NOS co-factor BH4 by O2•−, played a partial role in this inhibition.
Previous studies have reported inconsistent findings regarding the association between plasmatic higher of homocysteine level and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. We aimed to investigate this association by conducting a meta-analysis. Literature was searched on PubMed from inception to January 2015. Eight studies evaluating plasma level of homocysteine in biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease subjects compared to healthy controls were included. Compared with the controls, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients witnessed a higher level of homocysteine [standard mean difference (SMD): 0.66 µmol/L, 95% CI: 0.41, 0.92 µmol/L], and were associated with a significant increased risk for hyperhomocysteinemia [odds ratio (OR) 5.09, 95% CI: 1.69, 15.32]. In addition, patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver presented 0.45 µmol/L higher levels of homocysteine compared to healthy controls (95% CI: 0.09, 0.82 µmol/L), whereas non-alcoholic steatohepatitis patients had 1.02 µmol/L higher levels of homocysteine (95% CI: 0.28, 1.76 µmol/L). There was neither difference of folate level nor vitamin B12 level between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease subjects and healthy controls. This study revealed that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients presented an increased serum concentration of homocysteine, and were associated with an increased risk of hyperhomocysteinemia. Further studies are needed to demonstrate a causal role of hyperhomocysteinemia in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Obesity results in reduced serum testosterone levels, which causes many disorders in men. Lifestyle modifications (increased physical activity and calorie restriction) can increase serum testosterone levels. However, it is unknown whether increased physical activity or calorie restriction during lifestyle modifications has a greater effects on serum testosterone levels. Forty-one overweight and obese men completed a 12-week lifestyle modification program (aerobic exercise training and calorie restriction). We measured serum testosterone levels, the number of steps, and the total energy intake. We divided participants into two groups based on the median change in the number of steps (high or low physical activities) or that in calorie restriction (high or low calorie restrictions). After the program, serum testosterone levels were significantly increased. Serum testosterone levels in the high physical activity group were significantly higher than those in the low activity group. This effect was not observed between the groups based on calorie restriction levels. We found a significant positive correlation between the changes in serum testosterone levels and the number of steps. Our results suggested that an increase in physical activity greatly affected the increased serum testosterone levels in overweight and obese men during lifestyle modification.