Postnatal cardiomyocytes have only limited capacity of proliferation. Therefore, the myocardium is intrinsically equipped with cardioprotective machineries and protects itself from pathological stresses. One of the most important cardioprotective systems is the signal network of autocrine/paracrine factors, including neurohumoral factors, growth factors, and cytokines. In this review, we focus on the roles of interleukin-6 (IL-6) family cytokines, also known as glycoprotein 130 (gp130) cytokines, in cardioprotection. These cytokines make a complex with their specific cytokine receptor α-subunits. The cytokine-receptor α-subunit complex binds to gp130, a common receptor of the IL-6 family, followed by the activation of JAK/STAT, ERK, and PI3 kinase/Akt pathways. In cardiomyocytes, signals through gp130 promote cell survival and angiogenesis through the JAK/STAT pathway. Activation of gp130 in cardiac stem cells induces their endothelial transdifferentiation, leading to neovascularization. Recently, accumulating evidence has revealed that altered JAK/STAT activity is associated with heart failure, suggesting that the JAK/STAT pathway is a therapeutic target against cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, activation of the JAK/STAT pathway with interleukin-11 (IL-11) exhibits preconditioning effects in ischemia/reperfusion model. Moreover, IL-11 treatment after coronary ligation prevents cardiac remodeling through the JAK/STAT pathway. Since IL-11 is used for patients with thrombocytopenia, we propose that IL-11 is a candidate cytokine clinically available for cardioprotection therapy.
Carnosine is a natural dipeptide that has shown multiple benefits in the treatment of various diseases. This study investigated the ameliorative effects of carnosine on glucose metabolism in restraint-stressed mice. Our results showed that restraint stress could significantly influence glucose metabolism, as reflected by lowered glucose tolerance, hepatic and muscle glycogen content, and increased plasma corticosterone concentration in mice. Oral administration of carnosine (150 and 300 mg/kg) not only reverted stress-induced decline in glucose tolerance and glycogen content in liver and muscle, but also reduced plasma corticosterone level. Carnosine has also significantly suppressed mRNA expression of glucose-6-phosphatase, while elevating glycogen synthase 2, glucokinase and glucose transporter 2 expressions in the liver. The obtained results demonstrated the harmful effects induced by restraint stress, while proving that carnosine could ameliorate stress-induced glucose metabolism disturbance. It is presumable that carnosine exerts its anti-stress effects by indirectly affecting the histaminergic neuron system, modulating the stress-activated hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and improving glucose metabolism through regulation of the enzymes in the glucose metabolic pathways.
We investigated the effect of kangen-karyu (KK), a Chinese herbal prescription, on cognitive deficits and central cholinergic systems of type 2 diabetic db/db mice. Seven-week-old db/db (Y-db/db) mice received daily administration of test drugs during an experimental period of 12 weeks. At 18 weeks of age (O-db/db), the animals underwent the water maze test. Compared with age-matched control strain mice (O-m/m), vehicle-treated O-db/db mice showed impaired learning and memory performance. KK (100 – 200 mg/kg per day) and the reference drug tacrine (THA: 2.5 mg/kg per day) ameliorated the performance of O-db/db mice without affecting their serum glucose level. O-db/db mice had lower levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and its protein in the brain than O-m/m mice. Expression levels of central cholinergic marker proteins in the hippocampus and the number of cholinergic cells in the medial septum and basal forebrain were also significantly lower in O-db/db than in O-m/m mice, whereas no significant differences in the expression levels of these factors and the cell number were found between Y-m/m and Y-db/db mice. KK and THA treatment significantly reversed the down-regulated levels of cholinergic markers, choline acetyltransferase–positive cell number, and BDNF expression in db/db mice. These findings suggest that KK as well as THA prevents diabetes-induced cognitive deficits by attenuating dysfunction of central cholinergic systems.
Recent research has shown that platinum nanoparticles (nano-Pt) efficiently quench reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a reducing catalyst. ROS have been suggested to regulate receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL)-stimulated osteoclast differentiation. In the present study, we examined the direct effects of platinum nano-Pt on RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation of murine pre-osteoclastic RAW 264.7 cells. The effect of the nano-Pt on the number of osteoclasts was measured and their effect on the mRNA expression for osteoclast differentiation was assayed using real-time PCR. Nano-Pt appeared to have a ROS-scavenging activity. Nano-Pt decreased the number of osteoclasts (2+ nuclei) and large osteoclasts (8+ nuclei) in a dose-dependent manner without affecting cell viability. In addition, this agent significantly blocked RANKL-induced mRNA expression of osteoclastic differentiation genes such as c-fms, NFATc1, NFATc2, and DC-STAMP as well as that of osteoclast-specific marker genes including MMP-9, Cath-K, CLC7, ATP6i, CTR, and TRAP. Although nano-Pt attenuated expression of the ROS-producing NOX-family oxidases, Nox1 and Nox4, they up-regulated expression of Nox2, the major Nox enzyme in macrophages. These findings suggest that the nano-Pt inhibit RANKL-stimulated osteoclast differentiation via their ROS scavenging property. The use of nano-Pt as scavengers of ROS that is generated by RANKL may be a novel and innovative therapy for bone diseases.
The muscarinic receptor is known to be involved in the acetylcholine (ACh)-induced secretion of catecholamines in the adrenal medullary (AM) cells of various mammals. The muscarinic receptor subtype involved and its physiological role, however, have not been elucidated yet. Thus, we investigated these issues in acutely isolated rat AM cells and perfused rat adrenal medulla. The RT-PCR analysis revealed the presence of M2, M3, M4, and M5 mRNAs. Immunocytochemistry with specific antibodies showed that M5-like immunoreactivities (IRs) were detected at half the cell membrane area, which was much larger than that with M3- or M4-like IRs. Muscarine produced inward currents in a dose-dependent manner. Pilocarpine, McN-A-343, and oxotremorine were less efficient than muscarine; and RS-86, which has no action on the M5 receptor, produced no current. Electrical stimulation of nerve fibers produced a frequency-dependent increase in the Ca2+ signal in perfused adrenal medullae. Muscarinic receptors were found to be involved in neuronal transmission in AM cells in the presence of a cholinesterase inhibitor, which suppresses ACh degradation. We concluded that the M5 receptor is the major muscarinic receptor subtype in rat AM cells and may be involved in neuronal transmission under conditions where ACh spills over the synapse.
The discovery of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) provides us with a novel treatment strategy for complications requiring therapeutic revascularization and vascular repair. However, the feasibility of this strategy may be limited due to reduced number and impaired function of EPCs under stimulation of TNF-α. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of rosiglitazone on EPC apoptosis induced by TNF-α and the molecular mechanisms involved. Rosiglitazone attenuated apoptosis of TNF-α–stimulated EPCs in a dose-dependent manner. Rosiglitazone decreased caspase-3 activity and cleavages of caspase-3, caspase-7, and parp. Rosiglitazone also moderated the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential caused by TNF-α treatment and reduced the expression of bax and the release of cytochrome c. Furthermore, rosiglitazone inhibited phosphorylations of ERK/MAPK and NF-κB signal molecules. Both ERK and NF-κB inhibitors decreased TNF-α–induced apoptosis of EPCs, as well as the expression of cleaved caspase-3 and parp. These results suggest that rosiglitazone may mediate the inhibitory effect on EPCs apoptosis under TNF-α stimulation through suppression of ERK/MAPK and NF-κB signal pathways.
The adverse effects of botulinum LL toxin and neurotoxin produced by subtype A1 (A1LL and A1NTX) are becoming issues, as the toxins could diffuse from the toxin-treated (ipsilateral) to contralateral muscles. We have attempted to produce neurotoxin from subtype A2 (A2NTX) with an amino acid sequence different from that of neurotoxin subtype A1. We measured the grip strength on the contralateral foreleg as an indicator of toxin spread from the ipsilateral to contralateral muscles. Doses of 0.30 log U or above of A1LL and A1NTX reduced the contralateral grip strength, whereas a dose of 0.78 log U of A2NTX was required to do so. We investigated the route of toxin spread using denervated, colchicine-treated, and antitoxin-treated rats. A1LL was transported via axons at doses higher than 0.30 log U and via both axons and body fluid at about 0.80 log U or a higher dose. Interestingly, A2NTX was transported via body fluid at about 0.80 log U or a higher dose, but not via axons to the contralateral side. It was concluded that A1LL and A1NTX decreased the grip strength of the toxin-untreated foreleg via both axonal transport and body fluids, while A2NTX was only transported via the body fluid.
Renal interstitial fibrosis is the common end point of progressive renal diseases leading to the deterioration and eventual loss of renal function. This study investigated the effect and potential mechanism of cordycepin on activation of renal interstitial fibroblast cells. The time and dose-responses of cordycepin in rat renal interstitial fibroblast (NRK-49F) cells were analyzed. The proliferation of NRK-49F and the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and fibronectin (FN) were examined. The expression and translocation of Smad proteins also were measured by western blot and indirect immunofluorescence staining. The mRNA level of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and the expression of HGF receptor c-Met and its phosphorylation (p-Met) were also detected. Cordycepin suppressed the proliferation of NRK-49F and the expression of α-SMA and FN induced by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). The pretreatment of cordycepin markedly attenuated the nuclear translocation and accumulation of activated Smad2/3 in NRK-49F cells. Furthermore, cordycepin not only increased HGF expression, but also induced HGF secretion, as well as HGF receptor phosphorylation in NRK-49F cells. Cordycepin possesses renoprotective activity through suppression myofibroblast activation. This action is mediated, at least in part, by blocking nuclear translocation and accumulation of activated Smad2/3 protein and up-regulating anti-fibrotic HGF expression and secretion and HGF receptor activation.
The purpose of this study is to identify transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channels responsible for receptor-operated Ca2+ entry (ROCE) triggered by activation of endothelin type A receptor (ETAR) and to clarify the importance of calmodulin (CaM) / inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptor binding (CIRB) domain at the C terminus of TRPC channels in ETAR-activated channel regulation. In HEK293 cells coexpressing ETAR and one of seven TRPC isoforms, ETAR stimulation induced ROCE through TRPC3, TRPC5, TRPC6, and TRPC7. The TRPC3- and TRPC6-mediated ROCE was inhibited by selective inhibitors of Gq protein, phospholipase C (PLC), and CaM. The CIRB domain deletion mutants of TRPC3 and TRPC6 failed to induce ETAR-mediated ROCE. Either deletion of the CIRB domain or pharmacological inhibition of CaM did not inhibit the targeting of these channels to the plasma membrane. These results suggest that 1) TRPC3, TRPC5, TRPC6, and TRPC7 can function as ETAR-operated Ca2+ channels; 2) Gq protein, PLC, and CaM are involved in TRPC3- and TRPC6-mediated ROCE; 3) ETAR-mediated activation of TRPC3 and TRPC6 requires the CIRB domain; and 4) abolition of ETAR-induced ROCE by CIRB domain deletion and CaM inhibition is due to loss of CaM binding to the channels but not loss of cell surface TRPC3 and TRPC6.