Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) generation is an epoch-making technology. The potential applications for iPSCs are wide-ranging from in vitro disease models to drug discovery. For regenerative medicine in particular, the technology provides great hope for patients with incurable diseases or potentially fatal disorders such as heart failure (HF). However, the true realization of that promise for HF remains uncertain and moving toward the clinical application of iPSCs needs to be stepwise and careful. The establishment of “safe” iPSCs must be a major premise, while genome integration-free and oncogene-free reprogramming is also necessary. Teratoma formation also remains a risk with undifferentiated iPSCs, but it must not happen in patients’ bodies. Thus, regardless of the target organ, the differentiated cells from iPSCs must be purified to exclude any possibility of tumorigenicity. The transplantation strategies used for iPSC-derived cells are very important for the recovery of lost cardiac function. Longer engraftment of transplanted iPSCs-derived cardiomyocytes is essential particularly because their survival could be hampered by ischemia, inflammation, apoptosis, immunological rejection, and other cardiac phenomena. Providing these multistep solutions will open the new frontier of regenerative therapies with iPSCs for patients with severe HF.
Cardiac pacemaking is a complex phenomenon that is still not completely understood. Together with experimental studies, numerical modeling has been traditionally used to acquire mechanistic insights in this research area. This review summarizes the present state of numerical modeling of the cardiac pacemaker, including approaches to resolve present paradoxes and controversies. Specifically we discuss the requirement for realistic modeling to consider symmetrical importance of both intracellular and cell membrane processes (within a recent “coupled-clock” theory). Promising future developments of the complex pacemaker system models include the introduction of local calcium control, mitochondria function, and biochemical regulation of protein phosphorylation and cAMP production. Modern numerical and theoretical methods such as multi-parameter sensitivity analyses within extended populations of models and bifurcation analyses are also important for the definition of the most realistic parameters that describe a robust, yet simultaneously flexible operation of the coupled-clock pacemaker cell system. The systems approach to exploring cardiac pacemaker function will guide development of new therapies such as biological pacemakers for treating insufficient cardiac pacemaker function that becomes especially prevalent with advancing age.
Oxidative stress is an important pathophysiological factor of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesized that procaterol and dexamethasone might treat inflammation through inhibiting oxidative stress in vitro. This study evaluated procaterol and dexamethasone in the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced immortal human bronchial epithelial cell model of oxidative stress and investigated the underlying mechanisms. Results showed that exposure to 125 μM H2O2 for 2 h led to a 50% reduction in the cell viability, significantly increased the percentage of apoptosis, and elevated levels of malondialdehyde and reactive oxygen species. Pretreatment with procaterol (25 – 200 nM) could reduce these effects in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, pretreatment with dexamethasone (100 nM, 1000 nM) was inefficient. Pretreatment with procaterol plus dexamethasone (100 nM procaterol + 1000 nM dexamethasone) was effective, but the combined effect was not more effective than the sole pretreatment with 100 nM procaterol. The nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) pathway was involved in the pathogenic mechanisms of H2O2. Procaterol may indirectly inhibit H2O2-induced activation of the NF-κB pathway due to its capability of antioxidation. Glucocorticoids may be not recommended to treat asthma or COPD complicated with severe oxidative stress.
In the present study, we investigated the protective effect of methyl 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate (MDHB) against H2O2-induced apoptosis in RGC-5 cells. The RGC-5 cells were cultured in plates for 24 h, which were then pretreated with dimethyl sulfoxide, different concentrations of MDHB, or probucol for 12 h prior to addition of 300 μM H2O2 for 24 h. The cell viability was detected by MTT assay. The rate of apoptosis, level of lipid peroxidation, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were detected by flow cytometry. Western blot analysis was also used to measure the expression level of Bcl-2, Bax, caspase 9, and caspase 3 proteins in H2O2-treated RGC-5 cells. Our study showed that the cell viability of RGC-5 cells significantly decreased after treatment with 300 μM H2O2 for 24 h, but MDHB (8, 16, 32 μM) increased RGC-5 cell survival, suppressed the rate of apoptosis, scavenged reactive oxygen species, and restored MMP. MDHB also obstructed H2O2-induced apoptosis by regulating the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax, as well as suppressing the activation of caspase 9 and caspase 3. Our results showed that MDHB is an effective neuroprotective compound that mitigates oxidative stress and inhibits apoptosis in RGC-5 cells.
Accumulating evidence suggested that macrophages induce tubulointerstitial injury. Total glucosides of paeony (TGP), extracted from Paeonia lactiflora, has presented anti-inflammatory activities in diabetic kidney disease. This research will investigate the protective effect of TGP on renal tubulointerstitium and its mechanism in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. TGP was administered orally at a dose of 50, 100, and 200 mg·kg−1·d−1 for 8 weeks. Tubulointerstitial injury was quantified, followed by immunohistochemistry analysis of renal α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), E-cadherin (E-cad) expression, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB)-p-p-65+, Toll-like receptor (TLR)2+, and ED-1+ cell infiltration in renal tubulointerstitium. Renal TLR2+ macrophages were detected by double immunohistochemical staining. Western blotting was used to detect the TLR2 expression. Histologically, there was marked accumulation of TLR2+, NF-κB-p-p-65+, ED-1+ cells, and ED-1+TLR2+ cells (macrophages) in the diabetic kidney and TGP treatment could alleviate it. Accompanying with that, the tubulointerstitial injury was ameliorated, α-SMA expression was lower, and E-cad expression was higher compared with the diabetic rats. Western blot analysis showed that the expression of TLR2 protein was significantly increased in the kidney of the diabetic rats, whereas TGP treatment reduced it. Our study showed that TGP could prevent renal tubulointerstitium injury in diabetic rats through a mechanism that may be at least partly correlated with suppression of increased macrophage infiltration and the expression of TLR2.
Methamphetamine addiction is characterized by drug craving caused by stimulation of the reward system. Because neuroinflammation underlies several neurological disorders, we investigated whether CC-chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) participates in the methamphetamine dependence using mice. Upregulation of CCL2 but not CC-chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2), a dominant receptor for CCL2, mRNA in both the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAC) was observed after methamphetamine (3 mg/kg, s.c.) administration. Using immunohistochemistry, high CCL2 protein levels localized to neurons in the PFC and NAC. In the conditioned place preference (CPP) test, methamphetamine (0.3 – 3 mg/kg, s.c.) induced a CPP, reflecting psychic dependence on methamphetamine, in a dose-dependent manner. The CPP to methamphetamine was attenuated by RS504393 (1 mg/kg, s.c.), a CCR2 antagonist. Moreover, methamphetamine increased phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase (pTH) levels in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Increased levels of pTH in the VTA by methamphetamine was also suppressed by RS504393. Furthermore, intracerebroventricular injection of recombinant CCL2 increased pTH levels in the VTA. Taken together, we demonstrate that activation of dopamine neurons, which enhances reward-system activity, via the CCL2-CCR2 axis plays a crucial role in psychic dependence on methamphetamine. Novel treatments targeting this machinery may be effective for drug addiction.
Autophagy is a highly regulated and multi-step biological process that serves to remove damaged cytoplasmic components and organelles. It has been suggested that the activation of autophagy may be a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment by triggering cell death. In this study, we reported that cyclovirobuxine D (CVB-D), an alkaloid component in a traditional Chinese herb, could induce autophagy in the MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line. CVB-D inhibited the viability of MCF-7 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Activation of autophagy was characterized by transmission electron microscopy, monodansylcadaverine staining, and expression of autophagy marker microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3). After CVB-D treatment, a clear accumulation of autophagosomes was observed accompanied with elevated LC3 fluorescent puncta. Western blot analysis revealed that CVB-D significantly promoted the conversion from LC3-I to LC3-II and the expression of autophagy-related protein 5 (ATG5), which are both essential for autophagosome formation. On the other hand, CVB-D–induced autophagy and decrease in cell viability could be blocked by 3-methyladenine, a well-established autophagy inhibitor. Moreover, CVB-D attenuated the phosphorylation of Akt and mTOR, two pivotal suppressors in autophagy pathways. These findings shed new light on the pharmacological actions and mechanism of CVB-D and may support the potential utility of autophagy inducers in cancer treatment.
Increasing evidence supports the role of microRNAs (miRNA) in the regulation of inflammation in various human disorders. Several recent studies have demonstrated that microRNA-25 (miR-25) has multiple functions, and it affects the expression of inflammatory mediators. Withaferin A (WFA), a natural compound derived from the medicinal plant Withania somnifera, has shown the potential to be an effective drug for arthritis treatment in several preclinical and clinical studies. We investigated the role of miR-25 in the WFA-mediated up-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in rabbit articular chondrocytes. WFA induced COX-2 expression in a dose-dependent manner as analyzed by western blot analysis and immunofluorescence staining in rabbit articular chondrocytes. WFA up-regulated miR-25 expression as determined by real-time PCR. Overexpression of miR-25 in the presence of WFA increased the expression of COX-2 compared to that observed with just WFA treatment alone, as indicated by western blot analysis and Real-time PCR. Moreover, silencing of miR-25 by anti-miR25 inhibited COX-2 expression in a dose-dependent manner. Since miR-25 up-regulation by WFA treatment induced the expression of COX-2 in rabbit articular chondrocytes, these findings collectively suggest that miR-25 mediates the WFA-induced inflammatory responses in chondrocytes.
The acute peripheral neuropathy induced by oxaliplatin treatment occurs very frequently and is aggravated by exposure to cold. Goshajinkigan (GJG), a traditional Japanese (kampo) medicine, was recently shown to be effective against oxaliplatin-induced acute neuropathy. However, because the effects of GJG and its mechanism in relation to those of its ingredients and its mechanism are not well understood, we examined the effects of GJG on acute neuropathy. Further, we investigated whether GJG affects the functions and gene expressions of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels using a rat model of oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy. Administration of oxaliplatin increased withdrawal responses from cold stimulation, and GJG or calcium gluconate/magnesium sulfate significantly inhibited the oxaliplatin-induced cold hypersensitivity. Application of menthol, a TRPA1/TRPM8 agonist, or allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), a selective TRPA1 agonist, to the hind paw of oxaliplatin-treated rats enhanced the nocifensive behaviors evoked by each agonist, whereas oxaliplatin had no significant effect on nocifensive behaviors evoked by capsaicin, a TRPV1 agonist. GJG treatment reduced menthol- or AITC-evoked withdrawal responses potentiated by oxaliplatin. Furthermore, GJG suppressed the increase of TRPA1 and TRPM8 mRNA expression induced by oxaliplatin in dorsal root ganglia. These findings suggest that GJG prevented oxaliplatin-induced acute peripheral neuropathy by suppressing functional alteration of TRP channels, especially TRPA1 and TRPM8.
The present study compares gene expression and infarct area in a mouse model of embolic stroke after thrombolysis with t-PA and SMTP-7. Embolic occlusion was induced by transfer of acetic acid–induced embolus into the brain. t-PA or SMTP-7 was administered 3 h after embolization. Changes in gene expression were evaluated using microarray and RT-PCR analysis. To determine the involvement of reactive oxygen species in the response to t-PA, the free radical scavenger edaravone was infused immediately before t-PA administration. The expressions of 459 genes involved in the inflammatory response, cell-to-cell signaling, cell movement, and inflammatory disease were altered by embolic occlusion. Twenty-two of those genes were upregulated after t-PA but not SMTP-7 administration. Differences between the t-PA– and SMTP-7–treated groups in the expression of genes including the proinflammatory genes Il6, Stat3, S100a8, and Mmp9 were confirmed with RT-PCR. Edaravone ameliorated the overexpression of these genes. Our data demonstrate differences in gene expression following treatment with SMTP-7 or t-PA that likely explain the difference in therapeutic time windows of the two drugs. ROS are involved in the overexpression of proinflammatory genes. The wide therapeutic time window may be achieved through an anti-oxidative effect and inhibition of proinflammatory gene overexpression.
TMEM16A is a major component of Ca2+-activated Cl− channel (CaCC) conductance in murine portal vein smooth muscle cells (mPVSMCs). Here, the regulation of CaCC activity by the actin cytoskeleton was examined in mPVSMCs. Actin disruption by cytochalasin D did not affect the current density, but increased the deactivation time constant in mPVSMCs. The elongated deactivation was recovered by jasplakinolide. When murine TMEM16A was transfected into HEK293 cells that have a poorly developed actin cytoskeleton, electrophysiological properties of CaCC currents were not changed by cytochalasin D. In conclusion, the CaCC activity in mPVSMCs is modified by the interaction of TMEM16A with abundant actin cytoskeleton.
The functional role of brain G protein–coupled receptor 40 (GPR40) remains unclear. We investigated GPR40 signaling in depression-related behavior in mice via the forced swim test. A repeated but not a single intracerebroventricular administration of the GPR40 agonist, GW9508, reduced the duration of immobility behavior. Moreover, the levels of hippocampal non-esterified docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid were decreased immediately after the forced swimming. These results suggested that brain GPR40 signaling may regulate depression-related behavior.