During CNS development, multipotent neural stem cells give rise first to various kinds of specified precursor cells, which proliferate extensively before terminally differentiating into either neurons or glial cells. Control of proliferation of the precursor cells plays a crucial role in determining the number of cells in the CNS. Proliferation is driven by mitogens, but how it is terminated remains a mystery. We examined the role of p27/Kip1 (p27), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in the control of proliferation of cerebellar granule cell precursors (GCPs). We found that there is an intracellular mechanism that stops GCP division and causes GCPs to differentiate and that p27 is part of this mechanism. It is still not clear either whether the specified precursor cells are irreversibly determined to differentiate into their particular cell types. We examined the developmental plasticity of GCPs in vitro and found that at least some GCPs are not irreversibly committed to neuronal development but can be induced to differentiate into astroglial cells by appropriate extracellular signals.
In recent years, extensive basic science research has led to a clear understanding of the molecular mechanisms contributing to the pathophysiology of sepsis. Sepsis is now defined as a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) in which there is an identifiable focus of infection. SIRS can be also precipitated by non-infective events such as trauma, pancreatitis, and surgery. As a consequence of an overactive SIRS response, the function of various organ systems may be compromised, resulting in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and death. Production and activation of multiple proinflammatory genes are likely to play a key role in the pathogenesis of MODS development. This review article focuses on the molecular mechanisms and components involved in the pathogenesis of severe sepsis. This includes cellular targets of sepsis-inducing bacterial products and their signaling pathways with a major emphasis on transcription factors and new therapeutic approaches to severe sepsis.
The cholinergic system undergoes changes with aging and in Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of the anticholinesterase drugs galantamine and donepezil were studied in a model with sodium nitrite-induced hypoxia in rats. The animals were trained in the shuttle-box active avoidance test and in step-through and step-down passive avoidance tests. In the active avoidance test, hypoxic rats showed a decrease in the number of avoidances in the learning session and in retention. The hypoxic rats receiving galantamine showed an increase in the number of avoidances during the learning session. The groups in hypoxia treated with donepezil had an increased number of avoidances in the learning session. In memory retention tests, significant differences were not observed in the hypoxic animals treated with galantamine or donepezil. In the step-through passive avoidance test, rats treated with galantamine had no change in the latency of reactions during the learning session and memory retention tests. In the step-down passive avoidance test, the animals treated with galantamine had increase latency of reactions during the learning and short- or long-memory retention tests. The hypoxic rats receiving donepezil had increased latency of reactions in the step-down short memory retention test. Our results suggest that galantamine and donepezil improve cognitive functions in a model of hypoxia.
Ulmus davidiana NAKAI (UDN) has traditionally been used for healing of inflammatory diseases. This study was carried out to investigate the hepatoprotective effect of the glycoprotein isolated from UDN in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury. We evaluated the activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), and antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx)] activities in CCl4-treated mice. When mice were treated with CCl4 in the absence of UDN glycoprotein, the activities of ALT, LDH, and TBARS were increased, while the antioxidant enzymes activities were decreased. However, when the mice were treated with CCl4 in the presence of UDN glycoprotein, the activities of ALT, LDH, and TBARS were significantly reduced and SOD, CAT, and GPx activities were remarkably increased. In addition, UDN glycoprotein increased the nitric oxide production and decreased the nuclear factor-kappa B and activator protein-1 activation in CCl4-treated mice. We also investigated the protective effects of UDN glycoprotein in glucose/glucose oxidase (G/GO)-induced cytotoxicity in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. UDN glycoprotein markedly inhibited the cell death induced by G/GO. These results suggest that UDN glycoprotein protects against CCl4-induced liver injury in the mouse.
In a recent study, we demonstrated that vagal stimulation increases the survival of rats with myocardial infarction by inhibiting lethal arrhythmia through regulation of connexin43 (Cx43). However, the precise mechanisms for this effect remain to be elucidated. To investigate these mechanisms and the signal transduction for gap junction regulation, we investigated the effect of acetylcholine (ACh), a parasympathetic nerve system neurotransmitter, on the gap junction component Cx43 using H9c2 cells. When cells were subjected to hypoxia, the total Cx43 protein level was decreased. In contrast, pretreatment with ACh inhibited this effect. To investigate the signal transduction, cells were pretreated with L-NAME, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, followed by ACh and hypoxia. L-NAME was found to suppress the ACh effect. However, a NO donor, SNAP, partially inhibited the hypoxia-induced reduction in Cx43. To delineate the mechanisms of the decrease in Cx43 under hypoxia, cells were pretreated with MG132, a proteasome inhibitor. Proteasome inhibition produced a striking recovery of the decrease in the total Cx43 protein level under hypoxia. However, cotreatment with MG132 and ACh did not produce any further increase in the total Cx43 protein level. Functional studies using ACh or okadaic acid, a phosphatase inhibitor, revealed that both reagents inhibited the decrease in the dye transfer induced by hypoxia. These results suggest that ACh is responsible for restoring the decrease in the Cx43 protein level, resulting in functional activation of gap junctions.
Selenium is an essential trace metal element, whereas large doses of selenium exert adverse effects to the human body. We examined the effects of selenium compounds, sodium selenite (Na2SeO3) and sodium selenate (Na2SeO4), on catecholamine secretion from cultured bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Treatment of chromaffin cells with sodium selenite for 72, 48, and 24 h caused decreases in protein and catecholamine contents, in association with cell damage, at concentrations over 30, 300, and 300 μM, respectively. The cells treated with subtoxic conditions (<100 μM, 48 h) of sodium selenite were used for further experiments. Sodium selenite treatment for 48 h inhibited carbachol (CCh)-induced catecholamine secretion in a concentration-dependent and non-competitive manner, while it did not affect high K+- and veratridine-induced catecholamine secretion. Sodium selenite (100 μM) did not affect CCh- and veratridine-induced 22Na+ influx, while the compound inhibited 45Ca2+ influx induced only by CCh, but not high K+ and veratridine. Sodium selenate even at higher concentrations (1000 μM) did not affect any stimulus-induced catecholamine secretion and 45Ca2+ influx. Thus, sodium selenite may specifically exert adverse effects, such as inhibition of physiological stimulus-induced catecholamine secretion from adrenal chromaffin cells due to inhibition of Ca2+ influx.
Our previous studies showed that oridonin could induce apoptosis in HeLa cells; and in this study, we further investigated autophagy induced by oridonin in HeLa cells and the relationship between apoptosis and autophagy. HeLa cells were exposed with oridonin after 3-methyladenine (3-MA) pre-culture, and we evaluated the growth inhibitory ratio, morphologic changes, DNA fragmentation, proteins expression as well as autophagic and apoptotic levels. Oridonin inhibited the proliferation of HeLa cells in vitro and induced autophagy. Oligonucleosomal fragementation of DNA as well as increased activities of Bax proteins were induced by oridonin, but the expression of p-Bcl-2 protein was reduced. In the condition of oridonin-treatment, when the inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), wortmannin, was applied, the autophagic level was significantly decreased, while the apoptotic level was increased, indicating that PI3K is a key regulator of both autophagy and apoptosis. Akt, down-stream factor of PI3K, was activated in autophagic process but suppressed in apoptosis in this study. In addition, when autophagy was blocked by 3-MA, the expression of SIRT-1 was decreased, indicating SIRT-1 contributed to autophagy. Taken together, oridonin simultaneously induced HeLa cell both apoptosis and autophagy in HeLa cells, and inhibition of autophagy contributes to upregulation of apoptosis.
The aim of this study was to investigate the modulatory role of nitric oxide (NO) in the electrical field stimulation (EFS)-induced contractions of isolated sphincter of Oddi (SO) and gallbladder strips from guinea pigs. EFS was used to activate the intrinsic nerves in SO and gallbladder strips. EFS produced frequency-dependent biphasic contractile responses in the SO strips. A smaller contraction, “on response”, occurred during EFS, which was followed by a bigger contraction, “off response”. Both responses were completely and irreversibly abolished by tetrodotoxin (TTX) (10−6 M). Atropine (10−6 M) inhibited the “on response”, but not the “off response”. EFS produced frequency-dependent monophasic contractile responses in gallbladder strips, which were completely and irreversibly abolished by TTX (10−6 M) and atropine (10−6 M). A nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine (10−4 M and 3 × 10−4 M, in SO and gallbladder strips, respectively), significantly increased all EFS-induced contractions of SO and gallbladder strips. L-Arginine, but not D-arginine reversed the effect induced by the NOS inhibitor, at all frequencies, in both strips. These results suggested that NO released from nitrergic nerve endings might play a regulatory role in the cholinergic neurotransmission of guinea pig SO and gallbladder strips. The “off response” in he SO preparations might be a rebound increase that was modulated by the nonadrenergic, noncholinergic inhibitory mediator NO.
The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the cardioprotective effects of purified Salvia miltiorrhiza extract (PSME) on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in isolated rat hearts. Hearts were excised and perfused at constant flow (7 – 9 ml · min−1) via the aorta. Non-recirculating perfusion with Krebs-Henseleit (KH) solution was maintained at 37°C and continuously gassed with 95% O2 and 5% CO2. KH solution with or without PSME (100 mg per liter solution) was used after 30-min zero-flow ischemia for the PSME and control group, respectively. Left ventricular (LV) developed pressure; its derivatives, diastolic pressure, and so on were continuously recorded via a pressure transducer attached to a polyvinylchloride balloon that was placed in the left ventricle through an incision in the left atrium. PSME treated hearts showed significant postischemic contractile function recovery (developed pressure recovered to 44.2 ± 4.9% versus 17.1 ± 5.7%, P<0.05; maximum contraction recovered to 57.2 ± 5.9% versus 15.1 ± 6.3%, P<0.001; maximum relaxation restored to 69.3 ± 7.3% versus 15.4 ± 6.3%, P<0.001 in the PSME and control group, respectively). Significant elevation in end-diastolic pressure, which indicated LV stiffening in PSME hearts might have resulted from the excess high dose of PSME used. Further study will be conducted on the potential therapeutic value with lower dose of PSME on prevention of ischemic heart disease.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) catalyzes the oxidation of many endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. The expression of CYP isozymes are modulated by endogenous hormones and xenobiotics. We found that, although CYP2C11 and CYP3A2 are adult male-specific isozymes, they are also expressed in prepubertal female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. However, the mRNA levels for these isozymes in prepubertal female SD rats decreased over time and became undetectable at 7 weeks of age. On the other hand, ovariectomy, administration of ICI182780, a specific estrogen antagonist, or administration of lindane, which is a widely used pesticide with anti-estrogenic effects, induced these adult male-specific CYP mRNAs in adult female SD rats. These results suggest that estrogen is involved in suppression of both CYP2C11 and CYP3A2 in adult female rats. The expression of these CYP isozymes in female rats, therefore, is affected by sexual maturity and by disrupting adult female hormonal homeostasis. We also performed a field survey to examine whether the induction of CYP2C11 or CYP3A2 differs between adult female roof rats in rural and metropolitan districts. RT-PCR showed that the mRNAs for CYP2C11 and CYP3A2 were expressed in half of the adult female roof rats captured in Osaka (as a metropolitan area district) but not in those captured in Hokkaido (as a rural district). Thus, induction of the adult male-specific CYP isozymes in adult female roof rats captured in Osaka might be caused by consumption of xenobiotics with anti-estrogenic effects.
We evaluated the effect of alacepril, CV-11974, and spironolactone on the production of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with angiotensin (Ang) II. Alacepril, CV-11974, and spironolactone significantly reduced the enhanced production of MCP-1 and TNF-α induced by exogenous Ang II. Specifically, 10 μM of spironolactone significantly reduced cytokine production, compared to the same dose of alacepril or CV-11974. These findings indicate that spironolactone may contribute to ameliorate the prognosis of patients with cardiovascular diseases by reducing Ang II-induced inflammation, although further exploration including determining the mechanisms would be required.