Morbidity and mortality from aspiration pneumonia continues to be a major health problem in the elderly. A swallowing disorder, such as a delayed triggering of the swallowing reflex, exists in patients with aspiration pneumonia. We found that the swallowing reflex in elderly people was temperature-sensitive. The swallowing reflex was delayed when the temperature of the food was close to body temperature. The actual swallowing time shortened when the temperature difference increases. The improvement of swallowing reflex by temperature stimuli could be mediated by the temperature-sensitive transient receptor potential (TRP) channel. The administration of a pastille with capsaicin as an agonist stimulus of TRPV1, a warm-temperature receptor, decreased the delay in swallowing reflex. Food with menthol, an agonist of TRPM8, a cold-temperature receptor, also decreased the delay in swallowing reflex. Olfactory stimulation such as black pepper was useful to improve the swallowing reflex for people with low activity of daily living (ADL) levels or with decreased consciousness. Oral care also shortened the latent time of swallowing reflex presumably due to stimulating the nociception of the oral cavity. A combination of these sensory stimuli may improve the swallowing disorders and prevent aspiration pneumonia.
The cytokine, interleukin (IL)-19, is a member of the IL-10 family that includes IL-20, IL-22, IL-24, and IL-26. Recent studies have shown that IL-19 is produced by keratinocytes, epithelial cells, macrophages, and B-cells. Little is known about the exact biological role of IL-19 in immunological regulation, although there is an increasing body of data demonstrating that IL-19 is associated with the development of Th2 responses and the pathogenesis of psoriasis. In this review, I shall attempt to discuss current knowledge about the role of IL-19 on macrophages and the potential role in inflammatory bowel disease.
Fuji Micra Inc. has recently achieved success in a challenging and prospective project that produces the smallest pig in the world, the “Microminipig”, at a breeding farm at the foothills of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Microminipigs weigh approximately 7.0 kg at 6 months of age when they are mature. Microminipigs have been provided to several research organizations in Japan as a non-rodent experimental animal optimized for life science research.
Atherosclerotic lesions were observed in male and ovariectomized female Microminipig (MMP) fed a high fat and cholesterol diet with sodium cholate (HFCD/SC) for 3 months. HFCD/SC induced hypercholesterolemia accompanied by an increase in serum total cholesterol (T-Cho), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and cholesterol ester (CE). Unlike the mouse or rabbit, a dominant LDL-C fraction in the intact MMP, similar to that in humans, was observed by serum lipoprotein analysis. HFCD/SC increased body weight gain. At the end of the experiment, computed tomography scans of conscious animals showed that HFCD/SC had decreased liver attenuation values (Hounsfield unit) and increased subcutaneous and abdominal fat, suggesting the induction of fatty liver and obesity. HFCD/SC induced atherosclerotic lesions in systemic arteries, including the external and internal iliac arteries, abdominal aorta, coronary artery, and cerebral arterial circle. Atherosclerosis and pathological findings induced by HFCD/SC in MMP were similar to those in humans. The MMP is a potentially suitable tool for investigating human atherosclerosis.
A new in vivo proarrhythmia model of drug-induced long QT syndrome was developed using the Microminipig, an incredibly small minipig established by Fuji Micra Inc. (Shizuoka). The atrioventricular (AV) node of the Microminipig of either sex weighing approximately 6 – 7 kg was ablated under halothane anesthesia, and proper care was taken for them. Proarrhythmic effects of drugs were assessed at >2 months after the onset of AV block using a Holter recording system. Oral administration of dl-sotalol (10 mg/kg) to the AV-block Microminipig prolonged the QT interval; moreover, it frequently induced dangerous ventricular premature beats, whereas no arrhythmia was detected after the vehicle administration (n = 4). Such dl-sotalol–induced ventricular arrhythmias were not detected in the intact Microminipig with sinus rhythm, although significant QT prolongation was observed (n = 4). Thus, the sensitivity and specificity of the AV-block Microminipig for detecting the drug-induced long QT syndrome can be considered to be comparable to previously established AV-block animal models of dogs and monkeys.
The roles played by K+ channels in the urothelium (UE) and detrusor smooth muscle (DSM) in regulating agonist-induced bladder contraction is not known at present. Thus, the effects in carbachol (CCh)-induced contraction in UE-intact (+UE) and UE-denuded (−UE) rat detrusor strips pretreated with K+-channel blockers were investigated here. The K+-channel blockers used were 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), glibenclamide (Glib), iberiotoxin (IbTx), charybdotoxin (ChTx), and apamin. In the absence of K+-channel blockers, control CCh-induced contractions were more potent in −UE than +UE strips. Treatment with IbTx and apamin resulted in more potent CCh-induced contractions in +UE strips. In −UE strips, CCh potency was increased by ChTx and Glib, but decreased by 4-AP. Different K+ channels in the UE and DSM were thus involved in regulating bladder contractions. Contractile mediatory function of these channels, specific to the UE or DSM, may be potential drug targets in the management of bladder disorders.
Protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1) that can be activated by serine proteinases such as thrombin has been demonstrated to contribute to the development of cardiac remodeling and hypertrophy after myocardial injury. Here, we investigated the mechanisms by which PAR1 leads to hypertrophic cardiomyocyte growth using cultured rat neonatal ventricular myocytes. PAR1 stimulation with thrombin (1 U/ml) or a synthetic agonist peptide (TFLLR-NH2, 50 μM) for 48 h induced an increase in cell size and myofibril formation associated with BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) production. This actin reorganization assessed by fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated phalloidin staining appeared at 1 h after PAR1 stimulation, and this response was reduced by a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, chelerythrine, inhibitors of Rho (simvastatin) and Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) (Y-27632), but not by pertussis toxin (PTX). By Western blot analysis, translocation of PKCα or PKCε from the cytosol to membrane fractions was observed in cells stimulated with thrombin or TFLLR-NH2 for 2 – 5 min. In addition, PAR1 stimulation for 3 – 5 min increased the level of active RhoA. Furthermore, inhibitors of PKC and ROCK and Rho abrogated PAR1-mediated increase in cell size. Depletion of PKCα or PKCε by specific small interfering RNA also suppressed both actin reorganization and cell growth. These results suggest that PAR1 stimulation of cardiomyocytes induces cell hypertrophy with actin cytoskeletal reorganization through activation of PKCα and PKCε isoforms and RhoA via PTX-insensitive G proteins.
The increase in cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration (Δ[Ca2+]c) mediated by the Ca2+-release–activated Ca2+ channel (CRAC) is a critical signal for the activation of lymphocytes. Also, the voltage-gated K+ channel (Kv) and intermediate-conductance Ca2+–activated K+ channel (IKCa1/SK4) have drawn attention as pharmacological targets for regulating immune responses. Since polyphenolic agents have various immunomodulatory effects, here we compared the effects of curcumin, rosmarinic acid, resveratrol, and epigallocatechin gallate on the ionic currents through CRAC (ICRAC), Kv (IKv), SK4 (ISK4) and on the Δ[Ca2+]c of Jurkat-T cells using the patch clamp technique and fura-2 spectrofluorimetry. Curcumin (10 μM) inhibited store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE). Consistently, dose-dependent inhibition of ICRAC by curcumin was confirmed in Jurkat-T (IC50, 5.9 μM) and the HEK293 cells overexpressing Orai1 and STIM1 (IC50, 0.6 μM). Also, curcumin inhibited both IKv (IC50, 11.9 μM) and ISK4 (IC50, 4.2 μM). The other polyphenols (rosmarinic acid, resveratrol, and epigallocatechin gallate at 10 – 30 μM) had no effect on SOCE and showed only a partial inhibition of the K+ currents. In summary, among the tested polyphenolic agents, curcumin showed prominent inhibition of major ion channels in lymphocytes, which might contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. [Supplementary Figures: available only at http://dx.doi.org/10.1254/jphs.10209FP]
Orexin-A is a newly identified neuropeptide expressed in the lateral areas of the hypothalamus that plays a role in various physiological functions, including regulation of glucose metabolism. We have previously reported that the development of post-ischemic glucose intolerance is one of the triggers of ischemic neuronal damage. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effects of orexin-A on the development of post-ischemic glucose intolerance and ischemic neuronal damage. Male ddY mice were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2 h. Neuronal damage was estimated by histological and behavioral analysis after MCAO. Intracerebroventricular administration of orexin-A (2.5, 25, or 250 pmol/mouse) significantly and dose-dependently suppressed the development of post-ischemic glucose intolerance on day 1 after MCAO and neuronal damage on day 3 after MCAO. In the liver and skeletal muscle, the expression levels of insulin receptor were decreased, whereas those of gluconeogenic enzymes were increased on day 1 after MCAO. Furthermore, these expressions were completely recovered to normal levels by orexin-A and were reversed by the administration of SB334867, a specific orexin-1 receptor antagonist. These results suggest that regulation of post-ischemic glucose intolerance by orexin-A suppressed cerebral ischemic neuronal damage.
The roles of Src homology domain 2–containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP-2) and its signaling in atherosclerosis have not been explored. Therefore, we investigated the roles of SHP-2 in the movement of rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMCs) and in the neointima formation of the carotid artery. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB (1 − 20 ng/ml) increased the activity and phosphorylation of SHP-2 and migration in RASMCs and these were suppressed by SHP-2 inhibitor NSC-87877 (30 μM) and small interfering RNA of SHP-2. PDGF-BB increased the phosphorylations of spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which were recovered by inhibition of SHP-2. Moreover, PDGF-BB increased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ROS inhibitors decreased PDGF-BB–increased migration. Treatment of RASMCs with H2O2 (100 μM) increased cell migration and SHP-2 phosphorylation and also enhanced the phosphorylation levels of Syk and p38 MAPK. Oral administration of NSC-87877 (10 mg/kg) significantly suppressed neointima formation in a rat model of carotid artery injury. These results suggest that the activity of SHP-2 is controlled by ROS and is positively involved in the regulation of PDGF-BB–induced RASMC migration and neointima formation.
The pulmonary vein is known as an important source of ectopic beats, initiating frequent paroxysms of atrial fibrillation. We analyzed electrophysiological and pharmacological characteristics of triggered activity elicited in the isolated pulmonary vein from the guinea pig. Immediately after the termination of train stimulation (pacing cycle length of 100 ms), spontaneous activities accompanied with phase-4 depolarization were detected in 43 out of 45 pulmonary vein preparations. Such triggered activities were not observed in the isolated left atrium. The incidence of triggered activity was higher at a shorter pacing cycle length (100 – 200 ms), and the coupling interval was shorter at a shorter pacing cycle length. Verapamil (1 μM), ryanodine (0.1 μM), and pilsicainide (10 μM) suppressed the occurrence of triggered activities. The resting membrane potential of the pulmonary vein myocardium was more positive than that of the left atrium. Carbachol (0.3 μM) hyperpolarized the resting membrane potential and completely inhibited the occurrence of triggered activities. These results suggest that the pulmonary veins have more arrhythmogenic features than the left atrium, possibly through lower resting membrane potential. The electrophysiological and pharmacological characteristics of triggered activity elicited in the pulmonary vein myocardium were similar to those previously reported using ventricular tissues.
Nitric oxide (NO) activates the cyclic GMP (cGMP) / protein kinase G (PKG) pathway during physiological processes in numerous types of cells. Here, we evaluated whether this NO/cGMP/PKG pathway is involved in the proliferation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from the hippocampus of embryonic mice. In culture, the exposure to the NO synthase inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) significantly decreased the number of viable cells and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into the cells, as well as the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species, extracellular NO2, and intracellular cGMP. Like L-NAME, the soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ) and PKG inhibitor KT5823 also decreased cell viability and BrdU incorporation. The membrane-permeable cGMP analogue 8-bromo-cGMP partially abolished the L-NAME–induced decrease in the BrdU incorporation. BrdU incorporation was decreased by Ca2+-channel blockers, including dantrolene, MK-801, ifenprodil, and nifedipine. Interestingly, the NO2 level was decreased by dantrolene, but not by the other 3 blockers. L-NAME and ODQ attenuated phosphorylation of Akt, but not that of extracellular signal-regulated kinases or epidermal growth factor receptors. Our data suggest that endogenous NO generation linked to dantrolene-sensitive ryanodine receptors activates the cGMP/PKG signaling pathway for positive regulation of proliferation of hippocampal NPCs derived from embryonic mice.
Protective effect of valsartan (Val), an angiotensin II (AII)-receptor blocker (ARB), against organ damage is reported to depend on the dosing time in hypertensive patients. Dosing-time–dependent effect of Val on survival of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) under a 12-h lighting cycle was examined. Val (4 mg/kg per day) and olmesartan medoxomil (OM) (1 mg/kg per day), another ARB with a slower dissociation from the AII receptor, were given once daily at 2, 8, 14, or 20 HALO (hours after lights on). Dosing-time–dependent differences in plasma drug concentrations and effect on blood pressure (BP) were also evaluated. Survival of SHRSP showed a dosing-time–dependent change during Val therapy, with a peak at 2 HALO and a trough at 14 HALO. OM equally prolonged survival in all groups. The BP-lowering effect persisted for more than 24 h after dosing of Val at 2 HALO and of OM at 2 and 14 HALO, but disappeared at 5.5-h after Val dosing at 14 HALO. Plasma concentrations of Val and OM were higher after dosing at 2 HALO than at 14 HALO. These results suggest that the chronopharmacological phenomenon of Val was partly due to the dosing-time–dependent difference in plasma concentration and subsequent duration of the antihypertensive effect. Slower dissociation of OM from AII receptors might have blunted a potential dosing-time–dependent event.
Recent studies have shown that vagal activation may have an important therapeutic implication for myocardial infarction (MI), but effective strategies remain unexplored. Here, we investigate whether adenine sulfate can preserve cardiac function and the cholinergic system against MI. Rats were treated with adenine sulfate for three weeks after coronary ligation. Cardiac function was assessed by hemodynamics. The muscarinic M2 receptor and cholinesterase-positive nerves were semi-quantified by immunochemical and histochemical staining. The maximal binding capacity (Bmax) of muscarinic receptors, determined by radioligand binding assay, showed that cardiac function was impaired in MI rats. Adenine sulfate reversed MI-induced reduction of mean artery pressure and left ventricular systolic pressure and elevation of left ventricular end-diastolic pressure. Moreover, adenine sulfate also increased nitric oxide (NO) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity. The amelioration was accompanied by a reversal of the infarction-induced reduction of cholinesterase-positive nerves and M2-receptor expression and Bmax in the adenine sulfate high dose group. Meanwhile, adenine sulfate treatment corrected the disorder of cardiac redox state by reduction in maleic dialdehyde and increase in superoxide dismutase. In conclusion, adenine sulfate exerts cardioprotection against MI and ameliorates NO production. Changes in cardiac vagal distribution density and M2-receptor expression raise the possibility that improvement of the cardiac cholinergic system is involved in adenine sulfate–induced cardioprotective effects.
MS-IPA1 is a new synthetic compound that is synthesized from tryptamine. Recently, our group demonstrated that SST-VED-I-1, which has a similar chemical structure to MS-IPA1, inhibits starvation-induced apoptosis in osteoblasts. However, the effects of MS-IPA1 on apoptosis in osteoblasts have not yet been examined. Therefore, this study examined the effects of this compound on apoptosis in osteoblasts. In this study, MC3T3-E1 mouse osteoblasts were used and apoptosis was induced by ultraviolet radiation (UV). We investigated the effect of MS-IPA1 on apoptosis by analyzing caspase3/7 activity, translocation of phosphatidylserine (PS), and mRNA expression levels of Bcl-2 and Bax. In addition, it was investigated whether MS-IPA1 affects cell proliferation and cell cycle progression. We found that MS-IPA1 had no effect on cell proliferation or cell cycle progression. However, MS-IPA1 suppressed UV-induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner, which was accompanied with the inhibition of caspase activation and translocation of PS. Furthermore, after UV exposure, Bcl-2 expression was increased in the MS-IPA1–treated cells as compared to that in the vehicle-treated cells. In contrast, Bax expression was decreased in the MS-IPA1–treated cell as compared to that in the vehicle-treated cells. These results suggest that MS-IPA1 has an inhibitory effect on apoptosis in osteoblasts through a Bcl-2 family-dependent signaling pathway.
Peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) and central-type benzodiazepine receptor (CBR) in salivary gland play a role in the inhibitory regulation of salivary secretion in rodents. Diazepam-binding inhibitor (DBI), an endogenous ligand for PBR, produces neurosteroids, which modulate CBR activity. In this study, we investigated the effect of repetitive administration of diazepam (DZP) on salivary secretion and expression of DBI mRNA and peptide. Moreover, mRNA expression of PBR and pituitary adenylate cyclase–activating polypeptide (PACAP), a transcriptional regulator for DBI promoter, was evaluated after repetitive administration of DZP. Repetitive administration, but not single administration, of 0.4 mg/kg DZP caused inhibition of salivary secretion and enhanced expression of DBI, PACAP, and PBR mRNA in rat salivary gland, with an increase in production of DBI peptide. These results suggest that repetitive administration of DZP stimulates DBI production, which may result in an increase in the suppressive effect of DZP on salivary secretion.
It has been reported that pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and panthenol, an alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid, have beneficial moisturizing effects on the skin. However, few studies have investigated the mechanism of action of pantothenic acid on skin tissues. We tried to clarify the role of pantothenic acid on skin function by using keratinocytes and fibroblasts. The depletion of pantothenic acid from the culture medium suppressed keratinocyte proliferation and promoted differentiation. Moreover, pantothenic acid depletion decreased the synthesis of keratinocyte growth factor and procollagen 4a2 in fibroblasts. These results suggest that pantothenic acid is essential for maintaining keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation.
The effects of K+-channel blockers on the action potential duration of the myocardium were examined in isolated right ventricles from the 7 – 10-day-old, 11 – 13-day-old, and 14 – 20-day-old embryo and 1 – 7-day-old hatched chicks. E-4031 significantly prolonged action potential duration at all developmental stages examined; the prolongation was largest in the 11 – 13-day-old embryo and was accompanied by early after-depolarizations. Chromanol 293B showed smaller prolongation at all stages examined. Terfenadine prolonged action potential duration in the 11 – 13-day-old embryo, but not in other stages. Thus, the chick ventricular myocardium changes its repolarization properties during development.
The present study investigated the function of caspase-4 in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress–induced apoptosis in human neuronal cell line SH-SY5Y. Tunicamycin, which is known to induce ER stress, activated both caspase-9 and caspase-4, and the activation of caspase-4 preceded that of caspase-9. The caspase-4 inhibitor LEVD-CHO suppressed both the apoptosis and caspase-9 activation. In addition, human recombinant active caspase-4 cleaved wild type and D330A mutant substituted Asp-330 for alanine of human recombinant procaspase-9, but did not cleave D315A mutant substituted Asp-315 for alanine. These results suggest that caspase-4 directly activates caspase-9 by the processing of procaspase-9 at Asp-315 in ER stress–induced neuronal apoptosis.
The clinical use of arsenic trioxide (ATO) is often limited because of its adverse effects. We examined whether α-lipoic acid (LA) protects against the ATO-induced cardiac toxicity. In the chronic study, two of four rats suddenly died by the repeated dosing of ATO, whereas no deaths were observed in combination with LA. In the acute study, continuous ECG recording revealed that intravenous injection of ATO caused transient ST-T change, whereas pretreatment with LA abolished the ATO-induced ECG abnormality in all animals. These results suggest that LA protects against the ATO-induced acute cardiac toxicity and subsequent sudden death in rats.
We analyzed the functional properties of five nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the sodium-phosphate transporter NPT4 gene (SLC17A3) using the Xenopus oocyte expression system. NPT4 variants carrying SNP V257F, G279R, or P378L exhibited reduced transport of [14C]para-aminohippurate, [3H]bumetanide, [3H]estrone sulfate, and [14C]urate, when each variant clone was expressed in the plasma membrane of oocytes. This study suggests the possibility that the genetic variation of NPT4 contributes to inter-individual differences in disposition of anionic drugs such as diuretics as well as certain endogenous organic anions such as urate.
We compared the effects of the extract from fruits of Nandina domestica THUNBERG (NDE) and its constituents, higenamine and nantenine, on contractile responses in isolated guinea-pig trachea. NDE (1 mg/ml) caused biphasic relaxation of the trachea precontracted with high-K+ stimulation: the fast component was blocked by propranolol and mimicked by higenamine; and the slow was resistant to propranolol and mimicked by nantenine. Ca2+-induced contraction under high-K+ stimulation was antagonized by nantenine or NDE + propranolol. These results suggest that NDE relaxes the trachea quickly through β-adrenoceptor stimulation by higenamine and slowly through Ca2+ antagonism by nantenine.