Danhong injection (DHI), a Chinese Materia Medica standardized product extracted from Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae and Flos Carthami tinctorii, is effective in the treatment of atherosclerosis (AS)-related diseases. It is widely recognized that AS is a complex inflammatory disease of the arterial wall and the dendritic cells (DCs) is a major player in the pathogenesis of AS via mediating atherosclerotic antigen presenting and T lymphocytes. Here, we determined the effect and possible mechanism of DHI on oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL)-induced maturation and immune function of DCs. Human monocyte-derived DCs were incubated with DHI or ciglitazone and were subsequently stimulated with ox-LDL to induce maturation. Similar to ciglitazone, a peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) γ agonist, DHI, could significantly reduce ox-LDL-induced expressions of mature markers, enhance the endocytotic function, and inhibit secretions of cytokine on DCs. These effects of DHI could be partly reversed by silencing the PPARγ. In conclusion, DHI could inhibit ox-LDL-induced maturation of DCs partly through activating a PPARγ-mediated signaling pathway.
L-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is considered the gold standard for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, long-term administration of L-DOPA can induce abnormal side effects. On the other hand, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including fluoxetine have gained tremendous popularity in the treatment of depression in PD. SSRIs are thought to influence motor function in PD via pharmacological modification of interactions between serotonergic and dopaminergic networks, which are complex and not yet fully understand. In this study, intranigral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in rats caused a significant loss of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in the striatum and substantia nigra. However, tryptophan hydroxylase immunoreactivity of the striatum and raphe nucleus was unaffected by 6-OHDA. Immunohistochemical analysis reveal that the serotonergic system was unaffected by the injection of 6-OHDA. We demonstrated also that pre-treatment with fluoxetine significantly suppressed L-DOPA-induced rotational behavior. Additionally, fluoxetine suppressed L-DOPA-induced ERK1/2 and histone H3 phosphorylation. These effects of fluoxetine were abolished by pre-treatment with WAY 100135, a 5-HT1A antagonist. These results suggest that fluoxetine may influence motor function in PD via pharmacological modification of interactions between serotonergic and dopaminergic neuronal networks.
Necrotic damage leads to a massive leakage from injured cells of different intracellular constituents such as glutamate (Glu) and ATP, which are believed to play a role in the neuronal survival in the brain. In this study, we evaluated pharmacological properties of ATP, which is shown to be an endogenous inhibitor of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, on the neurotoxicity relevant to mitochondrial membrane potential disruption in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. Exposure to Glu or NMDA significantly inhibited cellular viability determined 24 and 48 h later, while simultaneous addition of 1 mM ATP significantly ameliorated the decreased viability in neurons exposed to Glu and NMDA, but not in those exposed to other cytotoxins. Both Glu and NMDA markedly increased intracellular free Ca2+ levels in a manner sensitive to blockade by the exposure to ATP, but not by that to adenosine. Exposure to ATP significantly delayed the rate of mitochondrial membrane potential disruption induced by Glu and NMDA. These results suggest that extracellular ATP would play a role as an endogenous antagonist endowed to protect rat hippocampal neurons from the excitotoxicity mediated by NMDA receptors in association with the delayed mitochondrial membrane potential disruption after the liberation from adjacent cells under necrotic death.
Glucocorticoids are stress hormones released from the adrenal cortex and their concentration is controlled by the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. In this study, we investigated the effect of glucocorticoids on the number of astrocytes and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression in vitro and in vivo. Proliferation of cultured astrocytes was reduced following treatment with corticosterone and dexamethasone for 72 h. Corticosterone and dexamethasone also reduced GR expression in astrocytes. RU486, a GR antagonist, inhibited the reduction in both astrocyte proliferation and GR expression. Furthermore, GR knockdown by siRNA inhibited astrocyte proliferation. We also examined the effect of excessive glucocorticoid release on GR expression and the number of astrocytes in vivo by administering adrenocorticotropic hormone to rats for 14 days. GR expression was reduced in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus and the number of astrocytes was reduced in the frontal cortex. Overall, our results suggest that glucocorticoids decrease the number of astrocytes by reducing GR expression.
The present study was undertaken to investigate the function of protease-activated receptor (PAR) in endometriotic lesions using a mouse model of endometriosis. Unilateral ovariectomy (uOVX) was performed on female nude mice followed by intraperitoneal transplantation of a suspension mixture of immortalized human endometrial epithelial cells (EM-1) and stromal cells (EtsT-499). Endometriosis-like lesions were observed mostly around the dissection site after transplantation. The expression of interleukin (IL)-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 in the lesions was enhanced in uOVX mice compared to non-uOVX animals. In non-uOVX mice, IL-6 mRNA levels were higher in lesions formed with cells that were pretreated with PAR1/2 agonists (thrombin, 10 U/ml and PAR2-activating peptide, 30 μM) compared to untreated, intact cells. Peritoneal IL-6 concentrations were also increased in the PAR1/2 agonists–treated group. IL-6 expression induced by PAR activation was blocked by the treatment of cells with serine protease inhibitors. In cultured endometrial cells, simultaneous treatment with PAR1 and PAR2 agonists significantly increased the expression of IL-6. These results suggest that peritoneal bleeding may accelerate IL-6 expression in endometriotic lesions in part through the activation of PAR.
We tested a hypothesis that an enhancement of IKs may play a pivotal role in ventricular proarrhythmia under high sympathetic activity. A 2-dimensional ventricular muscle layer was prepared in rabbit hearts, and action potential signals were analyzed by optical mapping. During constant stimulation, isoproterenol (ISP, 0.1 μM) significantly shortened action potential duration (APD); chromanol 293B (30 μM), a selective IKs-blocker, reversed the APD shortening. VTs induced in the presence of ISP lasted longer than in the control, and this was reversed by 293B. E-4031 (0.1 μM), a selective IKr-blocker, did not cause such reversal. Spiral-wave (SW) reentry with ISP was characterized by more stable rotation around a shorter functional block line (FBL) than in the control. After application of 293B, SW reentry was destabilized, and rotation around a longer FBL with prominent drift reappeared. The APD abbreviation by ISP close to the rotation center was more pronounced than in the periphery, leading to an opposite APD gradient (center < periphery) compared with controls. This effect was also reversed by 293B. In conclusion, β-adrenergic stimulation stabilizes SW reentry most likely though an enhancement of IKs. Blockade of IKs may be a promising therapeutic modality in prevention of ventricular tachyarrhythmias under high sympathetic activity.
Several lines of evidence have shown that early life experiences have a profound impact on fear-related behavior, but the detailed mechanisms are unknown. The present study examined the possible involvement of the amygdala in behavioral deficits associated with fear memory in a juvenile stress model, with a focus on hippocampal synaptic function. Adult rats exposed to footshock (FS) stress during the second postnatal period (2wFS group) exhibited low levels of freezing in response to contextual fear conditioning (CFC). The CFC-induced suppression of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 field was not found in the 2wFS group. Additionally, synaptic metaplasticity, that is, low-frequency stimulation-induced suppression of subsequent LTP, did not occur in the 2wFS group; instead, LTP was induced. These synaptic changes mimicked the impairment in metaplasticity induced by reversible inactivation of the basolateral amygdala (BLA). Inactivation of the BLA markedly decreased freezing behavior in non-FS controls, similar to the 2wFS group. Furthermore, extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation in the BLA in response to CFC did not occur in the 2wFS group. These findings suggest that early postnatal stress may cause long-term dysfunction of the modulatory effect of the amygdala on hippocampal function associated with fear memory.
Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) plays important roles in the development and plasticity of the brain, and it is also reported to have potent neuroprotective properties. We previously reported that NRG1 has neuroprotective actions against Swedish amyloid precursor protein–induced neurotoxicity. In addition to the amyloid beta peptide, other metabolites of amyloid precursor protein (APP) such as the C-terminal fragments of APP (APP-CTs) have been reported to possess cytotoxic effects in neuronal cells. In this study, we investigated whether NRG1 exerts neuroprotective effects against APP-CTs and attempted to determine its neuroprotective mechanisms. NRG1 attenuated the neurotoxicities induced by the expression of APP-CTs in neuronal cells. NRG1 also reduced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and attenuated mitochondrial membrane potential loss induced by APP-CTs. In addition, NRG1 upregulated the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. This effect was blocked by the inhibition of ErbB4, a key NRG1 receptor. Taken together, these results demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of NRG1 in Alzheimer’s disease.
Voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels (VDCCs) play a crucial role in the spinal pain transduction. We previously reported that nociceptive mechanical stimuli to the rat hindpaw evoked two types of ventral root discharges that increased during stimulation (during-discharges) and after cessation of stimulation (after-discharges). To explore the involvement of VDCCs in these ventral root discharges, several VDCC blockers were applied directly to the surface of the spinal cord. Spinalized rats were laminectomized. The fifth lumbar ventral root was sectioned and used for multi-unit efferent discharges recording. An agar pool was constructed on the first lumbar vertebra for drug application. Ethosuximide (a T-type VDCC blocker) had no effect on ventral root discharges. ω-Conotoxin GVIA (an N-type VDCC blocker) preferentially suppressed after-discharges. ω-Agatoxin IVA (a P/Q-type VDCC blocker), diltiazem, and verapamil (L-type VDCC blockers) nonselectively depressed both during- and after-discharges. The more selective L-type VDCC blocker nicardipine depressed only after-discharges and the depression was exhibited when nicardipine was microinjected into the dorsal horn, but not into the ventral horn. These findings suggested that N- and L-type VDCCs in the dorsal horn were involved in the generation of after-discharges and these blockers might be useful for treatment of persistent pain that involves the spinal pathway.
Myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK) is a multi-domain protein with kinase and actin-binding domains, among others. Deficiency of MLCK expression in GBaSM-4 vascular smooth muscle cells enhanced cell proliferation rate and shortened cell doubling time. Transient transfection of the MLCK-deficient cells with cDNA constructs of either wild-type MLCK or its mutant lacking the kinase activity reverted the cell proliferation rate to that of wild-type cells, whereas that of MLCK lacking the actin-binding domain maintained cell proliferation at an elevated rate similar to the MLCK-deficient cells. Thus, the actin-binding domain of MLCK seems to play a role in regulating cell proliferation.
In the present study, we examined the effect of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a glutamate-modulating agent, on marble-burying behavior in mice. Fluvoxamine (30 mg/kg, p.o.) and mirtazapine (3 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly inhibited marble-burying behavior without affecting locomotor activity. Similarity, NAC (150 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly inhibited marble-burying behavior without affecting locomotor activity. On the other hand, the antioxidant α-tocopherol (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) had no effect on the marble-burying behavior. These results suggest that the glutamatergic system is involved in the marble-burying behavior, and NAC may be useful for treatment of OCD.
Clinical and experimental observations indicated that 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitor statins have pleiotropic effects. The present study determined the antinociceptive property of centrally administered simvastatin on the formalin-induced nociception in the mouse. Intrathecal administration of simvastatin at doses of 0.5 – 50 nmol dose-dependently attenuated the second, but not the first, phase of the formalin-induced nociception, which was partially reversed by mevalonate (5 μmol). Intracerebroventricular injection of simvastatin (50 nmol) did not affect the formalin-induced nociception. These results suggest that simvastatin-induced antinociception is mediated by attenuation of the sensitization of spinal nociceptive transmission.
We investigated pharmacological properties of naturally occurring polyamines on cartilage and bone destruction seen in joints of rats with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Daily supplementation of spermine (SPM), but not spermidine, significantly inhibited increases in the hind paw volume and arthritis score in CIA rats, in addition to the increased mRNA expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand in both cartilage and synovial tissues. Histological analysis clearly revealed a drastic prevention by SPM of the cartilage and bone destruction in synovial joints of CIA rats. Particular natural polyamines would be beneficial for the prophylaxis of synovial joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.
In contrast to osteoblasts, little attention has been paid to expression profiles of different glutamatergic signaling machineries in osteocytes, which are the most abundant cells with a possible role as a mechanical sensor in bone. Here, we show that N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is expressed by osteocytic cells in five-weeks-old mouse tibiae in vivo as well as by osteocytic MLO-Y4 cells in vitro. Sustained exposure to the NMDAR antagonist dizocilpine significantly increased the number of cells with processes in cultured MLO-Y4 cells. These results suggest that NMDAR would be expressed by osteocytes with an unidentified role in the process extension.