Four transmembrane tyrosine kinases constitute the ErbB protein family: epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or ErbB1, ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4. In general, the structure and mechanism of the activation of these members are similar. However, significant differences in homologous desensitization are known between EGFR and ErbB4. Desensitization of ligand-occupied EGFR occurs by endocytosis, while that of ErbB4 occurs by selective cleavage at the cell surface. Because ErbB4 is abundantly expressed in neurons from fetal to adult brains, elucidation of the desensitization mechanism is important to understand neuronal development and synaptic functions. Recently, it has become clear that heterologous desensitization of EGFR and ErbB4 are induced by endocytosis and cleavage, respectively, similar to homologous desensitization. It has been reported that heterologous desensitization of EGFR is induced by serine phosphorylation of EGFR via the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAP kinase) pathway in various cell lines, including alveolar epithelial cells. In contrast, the protein kinase C pathway is involved in ErbB4 cleavage. In this review, we will describe recent advances in the desensitization mechanisms of EGFR and ErbB4, mainly in alveolar epithelial cells and hypothalamic neurons, respectively.
Increasing evidence from the fields of neurophysiology and neuropathology has uncovered the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in protecting neuronal cells from oxidative damage, controlling inflammation, regulating neurogenesis, and preserving neuronal function. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that deficits in the dietary PUFA docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid are associated with the onset and progression of neuropsychiatric illnesses such as dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recent clinical trials have offered compelling evidence that suggests that n-3 PUFA could reduce depressive, psychotic, and suicidal symptoms, as well as aggression. Although many studies have had the validity of their results questioned because of small sample size, several studies have indicated that n-3 PUFA are useful therapeutic tools for the treatment of dementia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. These findings suggest that the pharmacological and nutritional actions of n-3 PUFA may be beneficial in certain neuropsychiatric illnesses. This review article outlines the role of PUFA in neurodevelopment and the regulatory mechanisms in neuronal stem cell differentiation and also the possible use of PUFA as a prescription medicine for the prophylaxis or treatment of neuropsychiatric illnesses such as dementia, mood disorder, and PTSD.
Environmental chemicals, such as cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust, have been reported as risk factors that exacerbate allergic diseases. However, the exacerbation mechanisms induced by these chemicals are not yet fully understood. Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is produced mainly by epithelial cells and plays an important role as a master switch of allergic inflammation because it promotes Th2-type immune responses by inducing the activation of dendritic cells. Chemical compounds, such as formalin, have been shown to bind to proteins and form a new antigen that induces allergic responses. A second group of chemicals that enhance allergic responses to exogenous proteins have also been reported. We recently demonstrated that some of these chemicals induced TSLP production and may potentially augment Th2-type allergic responses. We proposed that TSLP-producing chemical compounds should be recognized as chemical allegro-accelerators.
The arachidonic acid (AA) cascade is regulated mainly by the actions of two rate-limiting enzymes, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and inducible cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). PLA2 acts to generate AA, which serves as the precursor substrate for COX-2 in the metabolic pathway leading to prostaglandin production. Amongst more than 30 members of the PLA2 family, cytosolic PLA2α (cPLA2α, group IVA) plays a major role in releasing AA from cellular membranes. Sphingolipids are a novel class of bioactive lipids that play key roles in the regulation of several cellular processes including growth, differentiation, inflammatory responses, and apoptosis. Recent studies implicated a regulatory function of sphingolipids in prostaglandin production. Whereas ceramide-1-phosphate and lactosylceramide activate cPLA2α directly, sphingosine-1-phosphate induces COX-2 expression. Sphingomyelin has been shown to inhibit the activity of cPLA2α. In addition, several sphingolipid analogs including a therapeutic agent currently used clinically are also reported to be inhibitors of cPLA2α. This review explores the role of sphingolipids in the regulation of cPLA2α and COX-2.
The specific toxicity to dopaminergic neurons of psychostimulants and neurotoxins has been extensively studied in vivo and in vitro, and findings have been used to establish animal models of amphetamine psychosis or Parkinson’s disease. The multiple mechanisms of neurotoxicity operating in these disorders are known to involve oxidative stress or neuroinflammation, producing the characteristic behavioral and neuropathlogical changes arising from injured dopaminergic neurons and glial cells. A number of studies have shown that glia-targeting antioxidants play important roles in protecting against the neurotoxicity caused by psychostimulants or neurotoxins. Phytochemicals, which are non-nutritive plant chemicals, protect dopaminergic neurons and glial cells from damage caused by psychostimulants or neurotoxins. The objective of this review was to evaluate the involvement of glial cells in dopaminergic neuron–specific toxicity and to explore the neuroprotective activity of phytochemicals in terms of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action.
The circadian clock system in mammals drives many physiological processes including the daily rhythms of sleep–wake behavior, hormonal secretion, and metabolism. This system responds to daily environmental changes, such as the light–dark cycle, food intake, and drug administration. In this review, we focus on the central and peripheral circadian clock systems in response to drugs, food, and nutrition. We also discuss the adaptation and anticipation mechanisms of our body with regard to clock system regulation of various kinetic and dynamic pathways, including absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs and nutrients. “Chrono-pharmacology” and “chrono-nutrition” are likely to become important research fields in chrono-biological studies.
Diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) is an enzyme that converts diacylglycerol to phosphatidic acid. To date, 10 isoforms of DGKs (α, β, γ, δ, ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, and κ) have been identified in mammals, and these DGKs show characteristic expression patterns and roles. The expression levels of DGKs are comparatively higher in the central nervous system than in other organs and may play several important roles in regulating higher brain functions. Currently, many studies have been performed to reveal the roles of DGKs by knocking down or overexpression of DGKs in vitro. Additionally, knockout or overexpression mice of several DGKs have been generated, and phenotypes of these mice have been studied. In this review, we discuss the roles of DGKs in the central nervous system based on recent findings in genetic models.
People over the age of 50 are at risk of osteoporotic fracture, which may lead to increased morbidity and mortality. Osteoclasts are responsible for bone resorption in bone-related disorders. Genipin is a well-known geniposide aglycon derived from Gardenia jasminoides, which has long been used in oriental medicine for controlling diverse conditions such as inflammation and infection. We aimed to evaluate the effects of genipin on RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation and its mechanism of action. Genipin dose-dependently inhibited early stage RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation in bone marrow macrophages (BMMs) during culture. Genipin inhibited RANKL-induced IκB degradation and suppressed the mRNA expression of osteoclastic markers such as NFATc1, TRAP, and OSCAR in RANKL-treated BMMs, but did not affect c-Fos mRNA expression. Interestingly, genipin markedly inhibited c-Fos protein expression in BMMs, which was reversed in the presence of the proteosome inhibitor MG-132. Furthermore, genipin inhibited RANKL-mediated osteoclast differentiation, which was also rescued by overexpression of c-Fos and NFATc1 in BMMs. Taken together, our findings indicate that genipin down-regulated RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation through inhibition of c-Fos protein proteolysis as well as inhibition of IκB degradation. Our findings indicate that genipin could be a useful drug candidate that lacks toxic side effects for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Melatonin, a natural product of the pineal gland, has been shown to protect against ischemic stroke, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its protective function are not fully understood. In the present study, we tested whether melatonin could protect against ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) injury to rat brain by targeting the autophagy pathway. The I/R brain injury was induced by the established rat transient middle cerebral artery occlusion model. We found intraperitoneal injection of melatonin can ameliorate rat brain injury as evidenced by multiple morphological and behavioral criteria, such as infarct size, neurological score, serum creatine kinase, and lactate dehydrogenase content, as well as pyknotic-positive cells. Further studies revealed that the beneficial effects of melatonin is through targeting the autophagy pathway by inhibiting expression of beclin-1 and conversion of LC3, as well as activating the PI3K/Akt pro-survival pathway. To further confirm this finding, the autophagy pathway was activated by lentiviral mediated beclin-1 delivery and the PI3K/Akt pathway was inhibited by a pharmacological inhibitor, LY294002. In both manipulations, the beneficial effects of melatonin were greatly abolished. Taken together, our study suggested melatonin plays a protective role against I/R brain injury by inhibiting autophagy and activating the PI3K/Akt pro-survival pathway.
Ranolazine (RAN), a novel antianginal agent, inhibits the increased late sodium current (INa.L) under many pathological conditions. In this study, the whole-cell patch-clamp technique was used to explore the effects of RAN on INa.L and reverse Na+/Ca2+ exchange current (INCX) in rabbit ventricular myocytes during hypoxia.Tetrodotoxin (TTX) at 2 μM or RAN at 9 μM decreased significantly INa.L and reverse INCX under normoxia and RAN had no further effects on both currents in the presence of TTX. RAN (3, 6, and 9 μM) attenuated hypoxia-increased INa.L and reverse INCX in a concentration-dependent manner. Hypoxia-increased INa.L and reverse INCX were inhibited by 2 μM TTX, whereas 9 μM RAN applied sequentially did not further decrease both currents. In another group, after both currents were decreased by 9 μM RAN, 2 μM TTX had no further effects in the presence of Ran. In monophasic action potential (MAP) recording, early after-depolarizations (EADs) were suppressed by RAN (9 μM) during hypoxia. In conclusion, RAN decreased reverse INCX by inhibiting INa.L in normoxia, concentration-dependently attenuated the increase of INa.L, which thereby decreased the reverse INCX, and obviously relieved EADs during hypoxia.
Rikkunshito (RKT), a Kampo (Japanese herbal) medicine, is used as a prokinetic for patients with various diseases including functional dyspepsia. RKT promotes delayed gastric emptying via 5-HT3 receptor blockade. Otherwise, RKT increases ghrelin release via 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptor activation. Recent studies revealed that ghrelin and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have an anti-inflammatory effect. So we hypothesize that RKT may have an anti-inflammatory action in the post-operative ileus. Intestinal manipulation (IM) was applied to the distal ileum of mice. RKT was administered orally 4 times before and after IM. Gastrointestinal transit in vivo, leukocyte infiltration, and gastric emptying were analyzed. We also investigated the effects of the 5-HT3 receptor agonist m-chlorophenylbiguamide (mCPBG) and ghrelin-receptor antagonist [d-Lys3]-GHRP-6 on the ameliorative action of RKT. RKT treatment led to recovery of the delayed intestinal transit and gastric emptying rate induced by IM. RKT significantly inhibited the infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages. [d-Lys3]-GHRP-6 reduced and mCPBG partially reduced the RKT-mediated anti-inflammatory activity, as monitored by infiltrating macrophages and neutrophils. RKT serves as a novel therapeutic agent for POI characterized by its anti-inflammatory potency, in addition to prokinetic action. The RKT-induced anti-inflammatory activity may be partly mediated by inhibition of the 5-HT3 receptor and ghrelin release.
Pimobendan and SCH00013 are calcium sensitizers that possess dual action of calcium sensitization and phosphodiesterase-III inhibition. This study was conducted to comparatively evaluate the effect of these medications on the myocardial function of the canine pacing-induced heart failure model using echocardiography. Heart failure was induced in 20 dogs, to which pimobendan and two different doses of SCH00013 were administered orally to 15 dogs for 3 weeks, and the remaining 5 dogs served as the control. Cardiac evaluations were performed at baseline, week 1, week 2, and week 3. Significant thinning and dilation of the left ventricles, with systolic dysfunction, indicated by reduction of fractional shortening (FS) and strain values, were observed with a low dose of SCH00013. Whereas, although systolic dysfunction was observed with reduction of FS and radial strain, significant dilation and thinning of the left ventricles and reduction of circumferential strain were not observed with pimobendan. Pimobendan had a potent positive inotropic effect, with little effect on synchronicity, while low-dose SCH00013 had a weaker positive inotropic effect but was able to sustain synchronicity. Although, it failed to show significant statistical differences, the results of this study allow speculations that administration of pimobendan and SCH00013 may have differing effect on the myocardial function in the canine pacinginduced heart failure model.
Gender differences in psychiatric disorders are considered to be associated with the serotonergic (5-HTergic) system; however the underlying mechanisms have not been clearly elucidated. In this study, possible involvement of the median raphe nucleus (MRN)-hippocampus 5-HTergic system in gender-specific emotional regulation was investigated, focusing on synaptic plasticity in rats. A behavioral study using a contextual fear conditioning (CFC) paradigm showed that the females exhibited low anxiety-like behavior. Extracellular 5-HT levels in the hippocampus were increased by CFC only in the males. Long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampal CA1 field was suppressed after CFC in the males, which was mimicked by the synaptic response to MRN electrical stimulation. In the MRN, 5-HT immunoreactive cells significantly increased in the females compared with those in the males. Pretreatment with the 5-HT1A receptor agonists tandospirone (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and 8-OH DPAT (3 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly suppressed LTP induction in the males. Synaptic responses to CFC and 5-HT1A receptor interventions were not observed in the females. These results suggest that the metaplastic 5-HTergic mechanism via 5-HT1A receptors in the MRN-hippocampus pathway is a key component for gender-specific emotional regulation and may be a cause of psychiatric disorders associated with vulnerability or resistance to emotional stress.