Aldosterone, a steroid hormone, has traditionally been viewed as a key regulator of fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, as well as blood pressure, through the activation of mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). However, a number of studies performed in the last decade have revealed an important role of aldosterone/MR in the pathogenesis of renal injury. Aldosterone/MR-induced renal tissue injury is associated with increased renal inflammation and oxidative stress, fibrosis, mesangial cell proliferation, and podocyte injury, probably through genomic and non-genomic pathways. However, our preliminary data have indicated that acute administration of aldosterone or a selective MR antagonist, eplerenone, does not change blood pressure, heart rate, or renal blood flow. These data suggest that aldosterone/MR induces renal injury through mechanisms that are independent of acute changes in systemic and renal hemodynamics. In this review, we will briefly summarize the roles of aldosterone/MR in the pathogenesis of renal injury, focusing on the underlying mechanisms that are independent of systemic and renal hemodynamic changes.
Although aging is well established as an important risk factor for aortic stenosis, the mechanism of age-related aortic valve calcification is yet unknown. Here, we investigated this mechanism in tissue and cellular levels using middle-aged rats. Aortic valve specimens were obtained by dissecting from 9-week-old (young) and 30-week-old (aged) male Wistar rats. In the aged rats, the main risk factors for aortic stenosis in plasma were still in the normal range; however, their number of calcified specimens was significantly increased in comparison with the young rats. Aortic valve interstitial cells (AVICs) obtained from explants of aortic valve specimens were cultured for 14 days after reaching confluence. Spontaneous calcification, the expressions of calcigenic genes, that is, BMP-2, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and osterix (osteogenic transcription factor) and ALP enzyme activity in AVICs from aged rats were enhanced in comparison with those from young rats. However, neither typical calcification inducing reagents (dexamethasone, β-glycerophosphate, and high concentration of phosphate) nor tumor necrosis factor-α (an inflammatory cytokine) accelerated the spontaneous calcification of AVICs from aged rats. These results suggest that aortic valve calcification progresses with age partly through an activation of the BMP-2 pathway.
Bepridil is effective for conversion of atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm and in the treatment of drug-refractory ventricular tachyarrhythmias. We investigated the effects of bepridil on electrophysiological properties and spiral-wave (SW) reentry in a 2-dimensional ventricular muscle layer of isolated rabbit hearts by optical mapping. Ventricular tachycardia (VT) induced in the presence of bepridil (1 μM) terminated earlier than in the control. Bepridil increased action potential duration (APD) by 5% – 8% under constant pacing and significantly increased the space constant. There was a linear relationship between the wavefront curvature (κ) and local conduction velocity: LCV = LCV0 − D·κ (D, diffusion coefficient; LCV0, LCV at κ = 0). Bepridil significantly increased D and LCV0. The regression lines with and without bepridil crossed at κ = 20 – 40 cm−1, resulting in a paradoxical decrease of LCV at κ > 40 cm−1. Dye transfer assay in cultured rat cardiomyocytes confirmed that bepridil increased intercellular coupling. SW reentry in the presence of bepridil was characterized by decremental conduction near the rotation center, prominent drift, and self-termination by collision with boundaries. These results indicate that bepridil causes an increase of intercellular coupling and a moderate APD prolongation, and this combination compromises wavefront propagation near the rotation center of SW reentry, leading to its drift and early termination. [Supplementary Figures: available only at http://dx.doi.org/10.1254/jphs.10233FP]
We investigated the effects of gabapentin and pregabalin on the itch-associated response in a mouse model of chronic dermatitis induced by the repeated application of 4-ethoxymethylene-2-phenyl-2-oxazolin-5-one (oxazolone). Challenging the mice with oxazolone-induced chronic dermatitis with the oxazolone evoked severe and transient scratching behavior until 1 h after the application of oxazolone. Thereafter, a more mild and continuous scratching behavior was also observed for at least 8 h. Both severe and continuous scratching behaviors were suppressed by systemic injection of gabapentin and pregabalin. This effect of these compounds was correlated with its affinity for the α2δ subunit of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. Intrathecal injection, but not peripheral treatment, with gabapentin inhibited the scratching behavior in this model. Gabapentin failed to suppress the scratching behavior induced by the intradermal injection of compound 48/80 in normal mice. The expression of the α2δ-1 subunit in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from mice following repeated application of oxazolone was significantly higher than that from normal mice. These results suggest that gabapentin and pregabalin show an anti-pruritic activity through α2δ-subunit binding, and the up-regulation of the α2δ-1 subunit in DRG may therefore play an important role in its anti-pruritic activity.
DJ-1 was identified as a causal gene for a familial form of early onset Parkinson’s disease (PD), park 7. DJ-1 plays roles in transcriptional regulation and the anti-oxidative stress reaction. In this study, we found that protocatechuic aldehyde (PAL), a traditional Chinese medicine compound, bound to DJ-1 in vitro and that PAL protected SH-SY5Y cells but not DJ-1–knockdown SH-SY5Y cells from oxidative stress–induced cell death, indicating that the protective effect of PAL is mediated by DJ-1. Furthermore, PAL inhibited production of reactive oxygen species and the inhibition was abated in DJ-1–knockdown cells. PAL increased and decreased phosphorylation of AKT and PTEN, respectively, in SH-SY5Y cells, suggesting that the AKT pathway is one of the specific signaling pathways in PAL-induced neuroprotection. Moreover, PAL prevented superfluous oxidation of cysteine 106 of DJ-1, an essential amino acid for DJ-1’s function. The present study demonstrates that PAL has potential neuroprotective effects through DJ-1.
We have previously shown the functional expression of GABAB receptors (GABABR) composed of GABABR1 and GABABR2 subunits with ability to promote proliferation and neuronal differentiation in cultured neural progenitor cells (NPC) isolated from embryonic mouse brains. In this study, we evaluated postnatal changes in the expression profiles of different markers for progenitor, neuronal, astroglial, and microglial cells in brains of GABABR1-null mice. Consistent with undifferentiated murine NPC cultured with epidermal growth factor, a significant and selective decrease was seen in mRNA expression of the proneural gene Mash1 in brains of GABABR1-null mice at 1 day after birth. The expression of several NPC marker proteins was similarly decreased in brains of both wild-type and GABABR1-null mice from 1 to 7 days after birth, while slight changes were induced in both mRNA and proteins for neuronal, astroglial, and microglial markers between wild-type and GABABR1-null mouse brains within this developmental stage. In particular discrete brain structures of adult GABABR1-null mice at 56 days after birth, a significant decrease was seen in neuronal marker protein levels along with a significant increase in both astroglial and microglial marker protein expression. Although no significant difference was found in mRNA expression of the partner GABABR2 subunit between wild-type and GABABR1-null mouse brains, GABABR2 subunit protein levels were gradually declined during postnatal development within 56 days after birth in GABABR1-null mouse brains. These results suggest that GABABR2 protein levels are closely correlated with the partner subunit GABABR1 protein levels in mouse brains during postnatal development in vivo.
Pregnenolone (PRG), a major neurosteroid, suppressed carbachol-induced salivary secretion in perfused submandibular gland in rats. These effects were enhanced and depressed by agonistic muscimol (MUS) and antagonistic bicuculline to the γ-aminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAA-R), respectively. In contrast, PRG-sulfate, a sulfate-conjugated PRG metabolite, antagonized the suppressive effects of MUS, resulting in upregulation of salivary secretion. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting revealed lesser expression of the PRG synthetase CYP11A1 protein and mRNA in the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual gland than in the cerebral cortex or adrenal gland as positive control organs. However, in response to methamphetamine withdrawal–induced stress, CYP11A1 production in each type of the salivary gland was highly upregulated to levels similar to those seen in the cerebral cortex. These results indicate that the salivary gland is capable of producing neurosteroids, as well as the brain. This suggests that steroid biosynthesis occurs in the salivary gland and is involved in the inhibitory regulation of salivary secretion in cooperation with GABAA-R. Further studies are needed to determine the pathophysiological significance of the biosynthesis of neurosteroids and their mechanisms of action via nuclear and membrane receptors.
Formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) and FPR2/ALX are known to control neutrophil chemotaxis in response to various ligands. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory mechanism of compound 43 (Cpd43), an FPR1 and FPR2/ALX dual agonist, on human neutrophil chemotaxis. Precedent stimulation of human peripheral blood neutrophils with Cpd43 rendered the cells unresponsive in calcium mobilization induced by interleukin-8, C5a, or leukotriene B4. In addition, neutrophils pretreated with Cpd43 lost their chemotactic responses against these chemoattractants, wherein the expressions of chemoattractant receptors CXCR1, CXCR2, C5a receptor, and leukotriene B4 receptor 1 on the surface of neutrophils were all diminished significantly by treatment with Cpd43. By evaluating its pharmacological effect on 341 molecules, including receptors and enzymes, we also confirmed that Cpd43 has a highly specific affinity to FPR1 and FPR2/ALX and does not show binding affinity to the other chemoattractant receptors. These results indicate a previously unrecognized inhibitory mechanism of Cpd43 on neutrophil chemotaxis: the induction of cross-desensitization of multiple chemoattractant receptors in human neutrophils through its FPR1 and FPR2/ALX dual agonism.
We investigated the inhibitory effects of β1- or β2-adrenoceptor (AR) antagonists on salivary amylase secretion produced by various emetic agents, such as cisplatin, apomorphine, and lithium chloride (LiCl), or the non-emetic agent β1/2-AR agonist isoprenaline in rats. We also determined the inhibitory effect of metoclopramide, a dopamine D2–receptor antagonist, on increases in the salivary amylase activity induced by apomorphine or granisetron, a 5-HT3–receptor antagonist, on LiCl-induced increased salivary amylase activity. Isoprenaline (0.01 mg/kg, s.c.) produced an increase in salivary amylase and the increase was inhibited by the β1/2-AR antagonist propranolol (5 mg/kg, s.c.) and β1-AR antagonist atenolol (2 mg/kg, s.c.) but not by the β2-AR antagonist butoxamine (8 mg/kg, s.c.). The increased amylase activity induced by cisplatin (15 mg/kg, i.v.), apomorphine (3 mg/kg, s.c.), or LiCl (120 mg/kg, i.p.) was inhibited significantly by atenolol (2 mg/kg, s.c.) but not by butoxamine (8 mg/kg, s.c.). In addition, increases in amylase activities induced by apomorphine and LiCl were inhibited significantly by metoclopramide (10 mg/kg, i.v.) and granisetron (3 mg/kg, i.v.), respectively. These results suggest that salivary amylase secretion induced by various emetogens is involved in β1-adrenoceptor activity and that salivary amylase activity is useful to detect emetogens with no direct β1-AR activation in rats, a species that does not exhibit vomiting.
This study focused on the localization of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) in the intestines in postoperative adhesion model rats and investigated the underlying mechanism for the anti-adhesion action of daikenchuto (DKT), especially in relation to TRPV1. Postoperative intestinal adhesion was induced by sprinkling talc in the small intestine. The expression of TRPV1 mRNA was examined by in situ hybridization and real-time RT-PCR. The effects of DKT and its major ingredient, hydroxy sanshool, with or without ruthenium red, a TRP-channel antagonist, on talc-induced intestinal adhesions were evaluated. The level of TRPV1 mRNA was higher in the adhesion regions of talc-treated rats than in normal small intestine of sham-operated rats. Localization of TRPV1 mRNA expression was identified in the submucosal plexus of both sham-operated and talc-treated rats; and in talc-treated rats, it was observed also in the myenteric plexus and regions of adhesion. Capsaicin, DKT, and hydroxy sanshool significantly prevented formation of intestinal adhesions. The effects of DKT and hydroxy sanshool were abrogated by subcutaneous injection of ruthenium red. These results suggest that pharmacological modulation of TRPV1 might be a possible therapeutic option in postoperative intestinal adhesion, which might be relevant to the prevention of postoperative adhesive obstruction by DKT.
Inhibition of interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been postulated to be an effective therapy in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases. The current study was performed to examine potential effects of manassantin A and B isolated from Saururus chinensis on the IL-6–induced response to human hepatoma cells. We found that manassantin A and B inhibit signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) activity stimulated by IL-6. We also found that both compounds decreased IL-6–induced Stat3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. Both compounds blocked suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS-3)-mRNA expression induced by IL-6. In addition, we found that Stat3 inhibitory effects of these compounds could be related to protein tyrosine phosphatase. These findings suggest that manassantin A and B could be useful remedies for treatment of inflammatory diseases by inhibiting IL-6 action.
Nobiletin, a polymethoxy flavonoid, prevents cancer and inflammation, but the roles of nobiletin in bone are unclear. We examined the effects of nobiletin on bone resorption in vitro and on bone mass in ovariectomized (OVX) mice in vivo. In vitro, nobiletin suppressed osteoclast formation and bone resorption induced by interleukin (IL)-1. Nobiletin suppressed the expression of cyclooxygenase-2, NFκB-dependent transcription, and prostaglandin E (PGE) production induced by IL-1 in osteoblasts. OVX mice showed severe bone loss in the femur by increased bone resorption due to estrogen deficiency, and nobiletin significantly restored the bone mass. Nobiletin could be beneficial to bone health in postmenopausal women.
Activation of Akt by insulin is transmitted via phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI-3K) and enhances glucose uptake. The PI-3K/Akt signaling is diminished in insulin resistance. Thus, approaches that activate PI-3K/Akt signaling leading to improved glucose uptake may ameliorate hyperglycemia. Here we showed that low-intensity electrical current or mild electrical stimulation (MES) activated the PI-3K/Akt signaling and increased the glucose uptake in rat skeletal muscle (L6) cells. The glucose uptake enhanced by MES in muscle cells, the major cells involved in glucose disposal, suggests MES may have a possible beneficial effect on hyperglycemia.