Among numerous mechanisms implicated in the regulation of orofacial movements, dopamine-containing neurons have received the most extensive study. Here we review the effects of a) constitutive knockout of D1–5 dopamine receptors and b) conditional mutations with progressive ablation of D1 receptor–expressing cells, on the topography of spontaneous and D1-like agonist–induced orofacial movements. In constitutive knockouts, D1 and D2 exert primary roles in regulating horizontal and vertical jaw movements, respectively, in opposite directions; in contrast, both D1 and D2 receptors regulate tongue protrusions and incisor chattering, in the same direction. D3 and D5 receptors play more subtle roles in regulating orofacial movements, while D4 receptors do not play any material role. Progressive loss of forebrain D1 receptor–expressing cells in CamKIIa/Cre D1Tox mutants is associated primarily with decreases in head and vibrissae movements, while progressive loss of striatal D1 receptor–expressing cells in DARPP-32/Cre D1Tox mutants is associated primarily with reductions in jaw movements and tongue protrusions but increases in head and vibrissae movements. Further application of constitutive and particularly conditional mutants may clarify further not only dopaminergic regulation of orofacial movements but also the pathophysiology of orofacial dysfunction in Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Endothelin (ET)-1 derived from endothelial cells has a much more important role in cardiovascular system regulation than the ET-2 and ET-3 isoforms. Numerous lines of evidence indicate that ET-1 possesses a number of biological activities leading to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including hypertension and atherosclerosis. Physiological and pathophysiological responses to ET-1 in various tissues are mediated by interactions with ETA- and ETB-receptor subtypes. Both subtypes on vascular smooth muscle cells mediate vasoconstriction, whereas the ETB-receptor subtype on endothelial cells contributes to vasodilatation and ET-1 clearance. Although selective ETA- or nonselective ETA/ETB-receptor antagonisms have been assumed as potential strategies for the treatment of several CVD based on clinical and animal experiments, it remains unclear which antagonisms are suitable for individuals with CVD because upregulation of the nitric oxide system via the ETB receptor is responsible for vasoprotective effects such as vasodilatation and anti-cell proliferation. In this review, we have summarized the current understanding regarding the role of ET receptors, especially the ETB receptor, in CVD.
Urinary excretion of albumin (UAlb) is used clinically as a marker of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Although DN was thought to be a unidirectional process, recent studies demonstrated that a large proportion of patients diagnosed with DN reverted to normoalbuminuria. Moreover, despite the normoalbuminuria, one-third of them exhibited reduced renal function even during the microalbuminuric stage. This study was performed to investigate whether urinary angiotensinogen (UAGT) level may serve as a useful marker of the early stage of experimental type 1 diabetes (T1DM). T1DM was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin. Control mice were injected with citrate buffer. Two days after streptozotocin injection, half of the mice received continuous insulin treatment. Our data showed that UAlb excretion was increased 6 days after streptozotocin injection compared to controls, whereas UAGT excretion was increased at an earlier time point. These increases were reversed by insulin treatment. The UAGT to UAlb ratio was increased in diabetic mice compared to control mice. Furthermore, the increased AGT expression in the kidneys was observed in diabetic mice. These data suggest that UAGT might be useful as a novel early biomarker of activation of the renin–angiotensin system in experimental type 1 diabetes.
The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of a single oral dose of memantine (10 mg) was determined in Japanese subjects. Subjects were assigned to four groups based on baseline creatinine clearance (CLCR): normal renal function (> 80 mL/min, n = 6), and mild (50 to ≤ 80 mL/min, n = 6), moderate (30 to < 50 mL/min, n = 6), and severe renal impairment (5 to < 30 mL/min, n = 7). Mean memantine maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) was similar in the groups (12.66, 17.25, 15.75, and 15.83 ng/mL, respectively), as was mean time to Cmax (6.2, 5.2, 4.3, and 5.4 h, respectively). However, exposure to memantine determined from mean area under the plasma concentration–time curve was 1.62-, 1.97-, and 2.33-times higher in subjects with mild, moderate, and severe renal impairment, respectively, as compared to controls with normal renal function. Mean memantine plasma elimination half-life increased according to increasing renal impairment (61.15, 83.00, 100.13, and 124.31 h, respectively), while mean cumulative urinary recovery of unchanged memantine in 72 h after dosing decreased according to increasing renal impairment (33.68%, 33.47%, 23.60%, and 16.17%, respectively). These results are the same as those in the previous study on caucasian individuals, when compared per body weight. It is suggested that the dose of memantine should be halved in patients with renal impairment.
Mcl-1, an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 homolog that has a structurally divergent BH3-binding pocket, non-redundant action model, and unique characteristic of short life confers complete resistance to the BH3 mimetic ABT-737. Herein, we used S1, previously identified as a Mcl-1/Bcl-2 dual inhibitor and a pure BH3 mimetic, to explore the mechanism of Mcl-1’s action and supply a strategy to challenge Mcl-1’s protection. Apoptosis assay in SMMC-7721, HCT116, and K562 cells demonstrated that S1 can effectively challenge Mcl-1’s anti-apoptotic effect. Notably, we discovered an unexpected dynamic change of Mcl-1 that directly correlates with resistance or commitment to apoptosis induced by both ABT-737 and S1. Co-immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that Mcl-1 increase results from Bim trafficking from Bcl-2 to Mcl-1, while subsequent Bak released by S1 determines Mcl-1 decrease and full-blown apoptosis. Further experiments using Bak shRNA testified that Bak accounts for S1-induced apoptosis and Mcl-1 decrease. Consistently, Bax-deficient DU145 cells are sensitive to S1, whereas Bak-mutant MKN-28 cells are significantly more resistant. The in vitro model could be extended to an in vivo mouse xenograft model in which Mcl-1 confers resistance by increased protein level, and the release of Bak could serve as a biomarker of apoptosis.
The chemotherapeutic approach using non-toxic natural products may be one of the strategies for the management of the cholangiocarcinoma. Here we report that in vitro treatment of human cholangiocarcinoma QBC939 cells with berberine, a naturally occurring isoquinoline alkaloid, decreased cell viability and induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner, which was associated with an increase in G1 arrest. Our western blot analysis showed that berberine-induced G1 cell cycle arrest was mediated through the increased expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (Cdki) proteins (Cip1/p21 and Kip1/p27); a simultaneous decrease in Cdk2 and Cdk4 and cyclins D1, and reduced activity of the Cyclins–Cdk complex. In additional studies, treatment of QBC939 cells with different concentrations (10, 40, 80 μM) of berberine for 48 h resulted in a significant dose-dependent increase in apoptosis compared to the non-berberine–treated control, which was associated with an increased expression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax and decreased expression of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Together, this study for the first time identified berberine as a chemotherapeutic agent against human cholangiocarcinoma cells QBC939 cells in vitro. Further in vivo studies are required to determine whether berberine could be an effective chemotherapeutic agent for the management of cholangiocarcinoma.
Paclitaxel-eluting stents dramatically reduce rates of in-stent restenosis; however, paclitaxel is known to lead to endothelial dysfunction. Protective effects of nicorandil on paclitaxel-induced endothelial dysfunction by examining flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were investigated in anesthetized rats. After 7-day osmotic infusion of paclitaxel (5 mg/kg per day), FMD was measured by high-resolution ultrasound in the femoral artery of living rats. Paclitaxel significantly reduced FMD (21.6% ± 3.2% to 7.1% ± 1.7%); this reduction was prevented by co-treatment with nicorandil (15 mg/kg per day), while paclitaxel did not affect nitroglycerin-induced vasodilation. Diazoxide and tempol, but not isosorbide dinitrate, had an effect similar to nicorandil in preventing paclitaxel-induced decrease in FMD. Nicorandil significantly prevented paclitaxel-induced reduction in acetylcholine-induced vasodilation. On the underling mechanisms, paclitaxel increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (dihydrorhodamine 123, DCF fluorescence intensity) and NADPH oxidase (p47phox, gp91phox mRNA) in arteries and human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs), while paclitaxel reduced nitric oxide (NO) release (DAF-2 fluorescence intensity), but not endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation in HCAECs. Nicorandil prevented the increased ROS production in arteries and HCAECs, which was 5-hydroxydecanoate (5-HD)-sensitive but 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ)-resistant, without significant effect on the reduced NO release. In conclusion, nicorandil prevents paclitaxel-induced endothelial dysfunction, which may be brought by improved NO bioavailability due to the reduction of oxidative stress via KATP channel activation.
We recently demonstrated that cilnidipine, an L/N-type calcium channel blocker, elicits protective effects against glomerular podocyte injury, in particular, in obese hypertensive rats that express the N-type calcium channel (N-CC). Since the N-CC is known to be expressed in sympathetic nerve endings, we evaluated the reno-protective effects of cilnidipine in innervated and denervated spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Male SHR were uninephrectomized and fed 4% high-salt diet (HS-UNX-SHR). Animals were divided into groups, as follows, and observed from 9 to 27 weeks of age: 1) vehicle (n = 14), 2) vehicle plus renal-denervation (n = 15), 3) cilnidipine (50 mg/kg per day, p.o.; n = 10), and 4) cilnidipine plus renal-denervation (n = 15). Renal denervation attenuated elevations in blood pressure, but failed to suppress urinary protein excretion and podocyte injury in HS-UNX-SHR. Cilnidipine in both innervated and denervated HS-UNX-SHR similarly induced significant antihypertensive effects, as well as suppressing the urinary protein excretion and podocyte injury, compared to vehicle-treated HS-UNX-SHR. These data indicate that renal nerves have a limited contribution to the cilnidipine-induced reno-protective effects in HS-UNX-SHR.
System L is a major transport system for cellular uptake of neutral amino acids. Among system L transporters, L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) is responsible for the nutrient uptake in cancer cells, whereas L-type amino acid transporter 2 (LAT2) is a transporter for non-cancer cells. In this study, we have established HEK293 cell lines stably expressing high levels of human LAT1 and LAT2 forming heterodimers with native human 4F2hc of the cells. We have found that L-[14C]alanine is an appropriate substrate to examine the function of LAT2, whereas L-[14C]leucine is used for LAT1. By using L-[14C]alanine on LAT2, we have for the first time directly evaluated the function of human LAT2 expressed in mammalian cells and obtained its reliable kinetics. Using α-alkyl amino acids including α-methyl-alanine and α-ethyl-L-alanine, we have demonstrated that α-alkyl groups interfere with the interaction with LAT2. These cell lines with higher practical advantages would be useful for screening and analyzing compounds to develop LAT1-specific drugs that can be used for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. The strategy that we took to establish the cell lines would also be applicable to the other heterodimeric transporters with important therapeutic implications.
We previously demonstrated that type 5 adenylyl cyclase (AC5) functions in autonomic regulation in the heart. Based on that work, we hypothesized that pharmacological modulation of AC5 activity could regulate the autonomic control of the heart rate under micro- and hypergravity. To test this hypothesis, we selected the approach of activating AC5 activity in mice with a selective AC5 activator (NKH477) or inhibitor (vidarabine) and examining heart rate variability during parabolic flight. The standard deviation of normal R-R intervals, a marker of total autonomic variability, was significantly greater under micro- and hypergravity in the vidarabine group, while there were no significant changes in the NKH477 group, suggesting that autonomic regulation was unstable in the vidarabine group. The ratio of low frequency and high frequency (HF) in heart rate variability analysis, a marker of sympathetic activity, became significantly decreased under micro- and hypergravity in the NKH477 group, while there was no such decrease in the vidarabine group. Normalized HF, a marker of parasympathetic activity, became significantly greater under micro- and hypergravity in the NKH477 group. In contrast, there was no such increase in the vidarabine group. This study is the first to indicate that pharmacological modulation of AC5 activity under micro- and hypergravity could be useful to regulate the autonomic control of the heart rate.
Nobiletin, a polymethoxy flavonoid (PMF), inhibits systemic bone resorption and maintains bone mass in estrogen-deficient ovariectomized mice. This study examined the anti-inflammatory effects of PMFs, nobiletin, and tangeretin on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced bone resorption. Nobiletin and tangeretin suppressed LPS-induced osteoclast formation and bone resorption and suppressed the receptor activator of NFκB ligand–induced osteoclastogenesis in RAW264.7 macrophages. Nobiletin clearly restored the alveolar bone mass in a mouse experimental model for periodontitis by inhibiting LPS-induced bone resorption. PMFs may therefore provide a new therapeutic approach for periodontal bone loss.