Dietary carotenoids exhibit various biological activities, including antioxidative activity. In particular, astaxanthin, a type of carotenoid, is well known as a powerful antioxidant. We investigated whether astaxanthin would protect against light-induced retinal damage. In an in vivo study, ddY male mice were exposed to white light at 8,000 lux for 3 h to induce retinal damage. Five days after light exposure, retinal damage was evaluated by measuring electroretinogram (ERG) amplitude and outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness. Furthermore, expression of apoptotic cells, 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), was measured. In an in vitro study, retinal damage was induced by white light exposure at 2,500 lux for 24 h, and propidium iodide (PI)-positive cells was measured and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity was examined. Astaxanthin at 100 mg/kg inhibited the retinal dysfunction in terms of ERG and ONL loss and reduced the expression of apoptotic and 8-OHdG-positive cells induced by light exposure. Furthermore, astaxanthin protected against increases of PI-positive cells and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity in 661W cells. These findings suggest that astaxanthin has protective effects against light-induced retinal damage via the mechanism of its antioxidative effect.
Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors have been developed for the treatment of pulmonary inflammatory diseases, but their clinical use was dose-limited by mainly gastric adverse effects. Recent studies suggested PDE4B-selective inhibitors over PDE4D are supposed to display a wider therapeutic index than subtype non-selective PDE4 inhibitors such as roflumilast. Compound A was identified as an orally active PDE4B-selective inhibitor over PDE4D both in humans (80-fold selective) and mice (29-fold selective). In this study, the therapeutic effects of compound A and roflumilast were evaluated on lipopolysaccaride (LPS) injection–induced plasma TNF-α elevation and on LPS inhalation–induced pulmonary neutrophilia in mice. The inhibitory effect on gastric emptying in mice was evaluated as a gastric adverse effect. The therapeutic index for TNF-α production (TITNF = ID50 in gastric emptying / ID50 in LPS injection–induced plasma TNF-α elevation) of compound A was larger than roflumilast (9.0 and 0.2, respectively), whereas the therapeutic index for pulmonary neutrophilia (TINeu = ID50 in gastric emptying / ID50 in LPS inhalation–induced pulmonary neutrophilia) of compound A was comparable to roflumilast (1.0 and 0.5, respectively). In conclusion, the TINeu of compound A was not superior compared to that of roflumilast in spite of its high selectivity for PDE4B over PDE4D in mice.
The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) is a plasma membrane transporter involved in regulating intracellular Ca2+ concentrations. NCX is critical for Ca2+ regulation in cardiac muscle, vascular smooth muscle, and nerve fibers. To determine the role of NCX1 and NCX2 in gastrointestinal tissues, we examined electric field stimulation (EFS)-induced responses in the longitudinal smooth muscle of the distal colon in NCX1 and NCX2 double-heterozygote knockoutmice (Double HET). We found that the amplitudes of EFS-induced relaxation that persisted during EFS were greater in Double HET than in wild-type mice (WT). Under the non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic (NANC) condition, EFS-induced relaxation in Double HET was similar in amplitude to that of WT. In the experiments in which l-NNA was added under NANC conditions following the EFS, the magnitudes of EFS-induced relaxation were smaller in Double HET than those in WT. In addition, an NCX inhibitor, SN-6, enhanced EFS-induced relaxation but did not affect EFS-induced relaxation under NANC condition, as in Double HET. Moreover, the magnitudes of relaxation induced by NOR-1, which generates NO, were greater in Double HET compared with WT. Similarly, SN-6 potentiated the magnitudes of NOR-1–induced relaxation. In this study, we demonstrate that NCX regulate colonic motility by altering the sensitivity of the inhibitory component.
The forced swimming test (FST) in mice is widely used to predict the antidepressant activity of a drug, but information describing the immobility of female mice is limited. We investigated whether a prior swimming experience affects the immobility duration in a second FST in female mice and whether the test–retest paradigm is a valid screening tool for antidepressants. Female ICR mice were exposed to the FST using two experimental paradigms: a single FST and a double FST in which mice had experienced FST once 24 h prior to the second trail. The initial FST experience reliably prolonged immobility duration in the second FST. The antidepressants imipramine and paroxetine significantly reduced immobility duration in the single FST, but not in the double FST. Scopolamine and the sigma-1 (σ1) antagonist NE-100 administered before the second trial significantly prevented the prolongation of immobility. Neither a 5-HT1A nor a 5-HT2A receptor agonist affected immobility duration. We suggest that the test–retest paradigm in female mice is not adequate for predicting antidepressant-like activity of a drug; the prolongation of immobility in the double FST is modulated through acetylcholine and σ1 receptors.
Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) is a Ca2+-permeable non-selective cation channel that transmits pain signals. TRPV1 is activated by multiple stimuli such as capsaicin, acid, and heat. During inflammation, TRPV1 is reported to be sensitized by protein kinase C (PKC) in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons, which leads to reduction in the threshold of the temperature for TRPV1 activation to body temperature. This sensitization is considered to contribute to chronic inflammatory pain. In a previous study, we discovered orally active 5,5-diarylpentadienamide TRPV1 antagonists. To examine the effects of our TRPV1 antagonists on PKC-sensitized TRPV1, we developed an in vitro assay system to monitor the TRPV1 sensitization by PKC. In this assay system, our TRPV1 antagonists, such as (2E,4Z)-N-[(3R)-3-hydroxy-2-oxo-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-5-quinolyl]-5-(4-isopropoxyphenyl)-5-(4-trifluoromethylphenyl)-2,4-pentadienamide (K-685), inhibited the activation of TRPV1 sensitized by PKC. The potentiation of heat-induced inward currents by PKC was seen in rat DRG neurons, and K-685 attenuated these currents. Furthermore, K-685 reversed the thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in a rat complete Freund’s adjuvant–induced inflammatory pain model. These results therefore suggest that K-685 has a strong potential as a new analgesic drug for the treatment of inflammatory pain.
The present study elucidated the functional role of modulatory effects of basolateral amygdala (BLA) on synaptic transmission in the rat hippocampus–medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) pathway, compared with the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG). Exposure to conditioned fear stress (CFS) or prior BLA activation enhanced tetanus-induced long-term potentiation (LTP) in DG. A similar synaptic response was found by low frequency stimulation (LFS) prior to tetanus. In mPFC, they did not affect LTP, but prior BLA activation, as well as pretreatment with the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor antagonist MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.), suppressed LFS-primed LTP. This BLA-mediated synaptic pattern was mimicked by synaptic changes observed in the fear extinction process; prior BLA activation suppressed the synaptic potentiation responsible for extinction retrieval and attenuated decreases in fear-related freezing behavior. These data suggest that LFS-primed LTP in mPFC is related to the neural basis of extinction. Extinction-related synaptic potentiation did not occur in a juvenile stress model that exhibited extinction deficit. In addition, LFS-primed LTP was suppressed in this model, which was reversed by the NMDA-receptor agonist d-cycloserine (15 mg/kg, i.p.). These findings suggest that modulatory effects of BLA on synaptic function in the hippocampus–mPFC pathway play a significant role in fear extinction in rats.
Stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors in cardiac myocytes activates cyclic AMP–dependent protein kinase A (PKA). PKA-mediated phosphorylation of myofibrils decreases their longitudinal stiffness, but its effect on transverse stiffness is not fully understood. We thus examined the effects of PKA treatment on the transverse stiffness of cardiac myofibrils by atomic force microscopy and determined the phosphorylation levels of myofibril components by SDS-PAGE. Transverse stiffness was significantly decreased by PKA treatment concomitantly with increased phosphorylation of troponin I, myosin-binding protein C, and titin (also called connectin). Subsequent treatment with protein phosphatase 1 abrogated these PKA-mediated effects.
We examined if TRPA1, like TRPV1, contributes to pancreatic nociceptor excitation following proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) stimulation and to pancreatitis-related pain in mice. A PAR2-activating peptide, infused into the pancreatic duct, caused spinal Fos expression, which was prevented by AP18, a TRPA1 inhibitor. Repeated administration of cerulein caused referred hyperalgesia accompanying pancreatitis, which was reversed by SB366791, a TRPV1 inhibitor, but not AP18. AP18, administered in combination with a subeffective dose of SB366791, significantly suppressed the referred hyperalgesia. Our findings suggest that TRPA1, like TRPV1, mediates PAR2-triggered pancreatic nociception and that TRPA1 in collaboration with TRPV1 latently contributes to pancreatitis-related pain.