L-Glutamate (Glu) has been thought to be an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). The hypothesis is supported by successful cloning of a number of genes encoding different signaling molecules, such as Glu receptors for signal input, Glu transporters for signal termination, and vesicular Glu transporters for signal output through exocytotic release. Limited information is available in the literature with regard to an extracellular transmitter role of Glu in peripheral neuronal and non-neuronal tissues, whereas recent molecular biological analyses including ours give rise to a novel function for Glu as an autocrine and/or paracrine factor in bone comprised of osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and osteocytes, in addition to other peripheral tissues including pancreas, adrenal, and pituitary glands. Emerging evidence suggests that Glu could play a dual role in mechanisms underlying maintenance of cellular homeostasis as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS and as an extracellular signal mediator in peripheral autocrine and/or paracrine tissues. In this review, therefore, we summarized the possible signaling by Glu as an extracellular signal mediator in mechanisms underlying maintenance of cellular homeostasis with a focus on bone tissues.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that functions as a master regulator of oxygen homeostasis. HIF-1 regulates the expressions of the proteins that increase oxygen delivery, which enables cells to survive in oxygen-deficient conditions. Based on information as to which types of genes are controlled by HIF-1, it appears that HIF-1 provides pathological tissues with survival in hypoxic regions or angiogenic activity. Therefore, HIF-1 inhibitors could be useful as therapeutic agents for various diseases associated with the over-activation of HIF-1, such as cancers, cardiovascular remodeling, preeclamsia, and other angiogenesis-related diseases. In this review, we summarize the oxygen-dependent and -independent regulation of HIF-1 and introduce prospective HIF-1 inhibitors that might be useful in the treatment of HIF-1-related diseases.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of gastric epithelial cells has been shown to induce interleukin (IL)-8 production, but the signal transduction mechanism leading to IL-8 production has not been clearly defined. Here, we investigate the role of protein kinase C (PKC) in the mechanism of induction of IL-8 release by H. pylori in human gastric epithelial cells. In MKN45 cells, H. pylori-induced IL-8 release was enhanced by treatment with PKC inhibitors (GF109203X and calphostin C) and PKC depletion, which completely inhibited PKC activity. Moreover, PKC inhibitors and PKC depletion increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity and phosphorylation, but not calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMK II) activity, in response to H. pylori infection. PKC activated by H. pylori inhibited activation of ERK induced by H. pylori without affecting the CaMK II activity and negatively regulated IL-8 production in human gastric epithelial cells.
The present study was designed to investigate the pharmacokinetic interaction of morphine with three classes of L-type calcium channel blockers (CCB) and its relationship to morphine-induced mechanical antinociception in mice. The CCB classes were benzothiazepine (diltiazem), dihydropyridine (nimodipine), and phenylalkylamine (verapamil). Each of the three classes of L-type CCB (diltiazem, 40 and 80 mg/kg; nimodipine, 40 mg/kg; verapamil, 40 mg/kg), when administered prior to morphine (4 mg/kg, s.c.), potentiated the analgesic effect of morphine and markedly increased the level of morphine in serum. Pretreatment with diltiazem (40 and 80 mg/kg) and verapamil (40 mg/kg) also increased morphine level in the brain. However, these drugs produced less increase in morphine level in the brain than they produced in serum (i.e., they decreased the brain-to-serum ratio of morphine). Pretreatment with nimodipine (40 mg/kg) did not affect the morphine level in the brain and also decreased the brain-to-serum ratio of morphine. When morphine (3.2 – 100 mg/kg, s.c.) was injected alone, the brain-to-serum ratio of morphine was constant, regardless of the morphine dose. These results suggest that increases in morphine concentration in peripheral blood may be, at least in part, involved in the ability of L-type CCBs to potentiate the analgesic effect of morphine.
The encephalographic (EEG) properties of zaleplon were investigated in comparison with those of other sedative hypnotics in conscious rats with chronically implanted electrodes. The oral administration of zaleplon (0.25 – 1.0 mg/kg), triazolam (0.0625 – 0.25 mg/kg), zopiclone (1.0 – 4.0 mg/kg), brotizolam (0.0625 – 0.25 mg/kg), and nitrazepam (0.125 – 0.5 mg/kg) lengthened the total sleep in a dose-dependent manner. On distribution of sleep-wakefulness stages, zaleplon, in particular, increased the slow wave deep sleep (SWDS), whereas triazolam, brotizolam, and nitrazepam increased the slow wave light sleep (SWLS) in a dose-dependent manner. Zopiclone significantly increased the SWDS at a dose of 2 mg/kg and both the SWLS and the SWDS at a dose of 4 mg/kg. All tested hypnotics caused no influence on fast wave sleep (FWS) at doses tested. The appearance of the sleep-inducing activity of zaleplon was more rapid than those of any compounds tested, and zaleplon significantly increased the relative EEG power density in the delta frequency band over that of triazolam at 20 and 30 min after the administration in the spectral analysis. Therefore, the present findings suggest that the non-benzodiazepine zaleplon can be expected to exhibit high practical potential as a hypnotic and is characterized by an increase in SWDS with rapid onset of hypnotic action.
The pharmacological mechanisms of a synthetic compound 1-benzyl-3-(5'-hydroxymethyl-2'-furyl) indazole (YC-1) in preventing smooth muscle cell proliferation remains to be elucidated. The present study was aimed to explore the effects of YC-1 on certain molecules responsible for cell proliferation, including transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and focal adhesion kinase (FAK). The in vivo assay was correlated to the in vitro results of YC-1 on vascular stenosis. YC-1 was applied topically via a pluronic gel onto the balloon-injured rat carotid arteries, which were then harvested two weeks later for histological analysis. Our in vitro results showed that TGF-β1 was suppressed by YC-1 by 50%. The translational level of sGC was threefold activated by YC-1 while the transcription level of sGC was increased up to 24-fold. FAK, the molecule responsible for cell proliferation and migration, was suppressed by YC-1 on the translational levels for 72%. These in vitro results were in consistent with the in vivo observation that the area ratio of neointima to media was reduced by YC-1. This study provides insights into the pharmacological mechanisms of YC-1 in preventing abnormal smooth muscle cell proliferation and thus supports the use of YC-1 as an adjuvant therapy for balloon injury-induced restenosis.
15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15dPGJ2), which is a ligand for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), induced apoptosis of several human tumors including gastric, lung, colon, prostate, and breast. However, the role of PPARγ signals in other types of cancer cells (e.g., leukemia) except solid cancer cells is still unclear. The aim of this study is to evaluate the ability of 15dPGJ2 to modify the proliferation of the human leukemia cell line THP-1. 15dPGJ2 at 5 μM stimulated the proliferation in THP-1 at 24 to 72 h after incubation. In contrast, 15dPGJ2 at concentrations above 10 μM inhibited the proliferation through the induction of apoptosis. PGD2, PGJ2, and Δ12-PGJ2 (ΔPGJ2), precursors of 15dPGJ2, had similar proliferative effects at lower concentrations, whereas they induced apoptosis at high concentrations. 15dPGJ2 and three precursors failed to induce the differentiation in THP-1 as assessed by using the differentiation marker CD11b. FACScan analysis revealed that PGD2 at 5 μM, PGJ2 at 1 μM, ΔPGJ2 at 1 μM and 15dPGJ2 at 5 μM all accelerated cell cycle progression in THP-1. Immunoblotting analysis revealed that PGD2 at 5 μM and 15dPGJ2 at 5 μM inhibited the expression of phospho-p38, phospho-MKK3/MKK6, and phospho-ATF-2, and the expression of Cdk inhibitors including p18, p21, and p27 in THP-1. In contrast, PGJ2 at 1 μM and ΔPGJ2 at 1 μM did not affect their expressions. These results suggest that 15dPGJ2 and PGD2 may, through inactivation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, inhibit the expression of Cdk inhibitors, leading to acceleration of the THP-1 proliferation.
The present study was undertaken to clarify the effects of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on visual evoked potential (VEP) in rats. To elucidate the mechanism of action of SSRIs, some serotonin (5-HT) agonists were used. SSRIs, fluvoxamine and paroxetine, caused a reduction in the amplitudes of P1-N1, P3-N3, and N3-P4 components of VEP. The amplitude of the P1-N1 component was also reduced by the 5-HT1A agonist 8-OH-DPAT and 5-HT1B agonist anpirtoline. On the other hand, amplitudes of P3-N3 and N3-P4 components were reduced by anpirtoline and the 5-HT2 agonist DOI. These results indicate that the reduction in the amplitude of the P1-N1 component of VEP induced by SSRIs may participate in 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors, and those of P3-N3 and N3-P4 components induced by SSRIs may be closely related with 5-HT1B and 5-HT2 receptors.
Protease-activated receptors (PARs) 1 and 2 are expressed in capsaicin-sensitive sensory neurons, being anti- and pro-nociceptive, respectively. Given the possible cross talk between PAR-2 and capsaicin receptors, we investigated if PAR-2 activation could facilitate capsaicin-evoked visceral pain and referred hyperalgesia in the mouse and also examined the effect of PAR-1 activation in this model. Intracolonic (i.col.) administration of capsaicin triggered visceral pain-related nociceptive behavior, followed by referred hyperalgesia. The capsaicin-evoked visceral nociception was suppressed by intraperitoneal (i.p.) TFLLR-NH2, a PAR-1-activating peptide, but not FTLLR-NH2, a control peptide, and unaffected by i.col. TFLLR-NH2. SLIGRL-NH2, a PAR-2-activating peptide, but not LRGILS-NH2, a control peptide, administered i.col., facilitated the capsaicin-evoked visceral nociception 6 – 18 h after administration, while i.p. SLIGRL-NH2 had no effect. The capsaicin-evoked referred hyperalgesia was augmented by i.col. SLIGRL-NH2, but not LRGILS-NH2, 6 – 18 h after administration, and unaffected by i.p. SLIGRL-NH2, and i.p. or i.col. TFLLR-NH2. Our data suggest that PAR-1 is antinociceptive in processing of visceral pain, whereas PAR-2 expressed in the colonic luminal surface, upon activation, produces delayed sensitization of capsaicin receptors, resulting in facilitation of visceral pain and referred hyperalgesia.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the contribution of endothelin (ET) to the pharmacodynamic response to chronic cigarette smoke in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). The contribution of ET was studied consequent to the hemodynamic response following 8 weeks of cigarette smoke by determining the changes in tissue ET-1 content and ET receptors. The blood pressure (BP) at the early phase of smoking and the heart rate (HR) 24 h later were apparently reduced in SHR, while the HR at the early phase was transiently elevated in normotensive Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats. Tissue ET-1 levels in the hypothalamus, striatum, and cortex of SHR were higher than those in WKY rats, and these higher levels in SHR were reduced by exposure to chronic cigarette smoke. The ET-1 contents in the medulla oblongata and midbrain of both strains were clearly increased by smoke exposure, although the levels of SHR and WKY rats were not different. In addition, the immunoreactivity of the ET type A receptor in the adrenal glands and type B receptor in the kidneys of SHR showed a different response to smoke exposure as compared to WKY rats. Our present findings suggest that the changes of ETs may relate to the pharmacodynamic effects of chronic cigarette smoke.
Human organic anion transporter OAT4 is expressed in the kidney and placenta and mediates high-affinity transport of estrone-3-sulfate (E1S). Because a previous study demonstrated no trans-stimulatory effects by E1S, the mode of organic anion transport via OAT4 remains still unclear. In the present study, we examined the driving force of OAT4 using mouse proximal tubular cells stably expressing OAT4 (S2 OAT4). OAT4-mediated E1S uptake was inhibited by glutarate (GA) (IC50: 1.25 mM) and [14C]GA uptake via S2 OAT4 was significantly trans-stimulated by unlabeled GA (5 mM) (P<0.001). [3H]E1S uptake via S2 OAT4 was significantly trans-stimulated by preloaded GA (P<0.001) and its [14C]GA efflux was significantly trans-stimulated by unlabeled E1S in the medium (P<0.05). In additon, both the uptake and efflux of [14C]p-aminohippuric acid (PAH) and [14C]GA via S2 OAT4 were significantly trans-stimulated by unlabeled GA or PAH. The immunoreactivities of OAT4 were observed in the apical membrane of proximal tubules along with those of basolateral organic anion/dicarboxylate exchangers such as hOAT1 and hOAT3 in the same tubular population. These results indicate that OAT4 is an apical organic anion/dicarboxylate exchanger and mainly functions as an apical pathway for the reabsorption of some organic anions in renal proximal tubules driven by an outwardly directed dicarboxylate gradient.
We examined the analgesic and anti-allodynic effects of morphine and U-50,488H (trans-(±)-3,4-dichloro-N-methyl-N-(2-[1-pyrrolidinyl]-cyclohexyl)-benzeneacetamide methanesulfonate salt), a selective κ-opioid receptor agonist, and the development of tolerance to their effects in neuropathic pain model mice induced by sciatic nerve ligation (SNL). In the tail-pinch method, morphine at 10 mg/kg, s.c. produced a weak analgesic effect in SNL mice; however, U-50,488H at 5 mg/kg, s.c. produced an analgesic effect equipotent to that in normal mice. In contrast, morphine produced an adequate analgesic effect when given either intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) or intrathecally (i.t.), but U-50,488H only produced analgesia when given i.t. Repeated administration of morphine (either i.c.v. or i.t.) or U-50,488H (either s.c. or i.t.), did not induce tolerance to the effect. In the static allodynia test with an application of von Frey filaments, both compounds given s.c. suppressed the allodynic effect, but in the dynamic allodynia test involving lightly stroking the plantar surface with a cotton bud, only U-50,488H produced an anti-allodynic effect. Repeated administrations of both compounds did not develop tolerance to these anti-allodynic effects. Thus, U-50488H was found to be a highly effective at blocking hyperalgesia and allodynia in nerve injury, and these findings suggest that κ-opioid receptor agonists are attractive pharmacological targets for the control of patients with neuropathic pain.
We investigated effects of sasanquasaponin (SQS), a traditional Chinese herb’s effective component, on ischemia and reperfusion injury in mouse hearts and the possible role of intracellular Cl− homeostasis on SQS’s protective effects during ischemia and reperfusion. An in vivo experimental ischemia model was made in mice (weight 27 – 45 g) using ligation of left anterior descending coronary artery, and in vitro models were made in perfused hearts by stopping flow or in isolated ventricular myocytes by hypoxia. The in vivo results showed that SQS inhibited cardiac arrhythmias during ischemia and reperfusion. Incidence of arrhythmias during ischemia and reperfusion, including ventricular premature beats and ventricular fibrillation, was significantly decreased in the SQS-pretreated group (P<0.05). Results in perfused hearts showed that SQS suppressed the arrhythmias, prevented against ischemia-induced decrease in contract force and promoted the force recovery from reperfusion. Furthermore, intracellular Cl− concentrations ([Cl−]i) were measured using a MQAE fluorescence method in isolated ventricular myocytes in vitro. SQS slightly decreased [Cl−]i in non-hypoxic myocytes and delayed the hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced increase in [Cl−]i during ischemia and reperfusion (P<0.05). Our results showed that SQS protected against ischemia/reperfusion-induced cardiac injury in mouse hearts and that modulation of intracellular Cl− homeostasis by SQS would play a role in its anti-arrhythmia effects during ischemia and reperfusion.
Inflammation is a significant component of chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is expressed in activated microglial cells and appears to be an important source of prostaglandins during inflammatory conditions. To investigate the effect of curcumin on COX-2 gene expression in microglial cells, we treated lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged BV2 microglial cells with various concentrations of curcumin. Curcumin significantly inhibited LPS-mediated induction of COX-2 expression in both mRNA and protein levels in a concentration-dependent manner. COX-2 enzyme activity was also inhibited in accordance with mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, curcumin markedly inhibited LPS-induced nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1) DNA bindings. These data suggest that curcumin suppresses LPS-induced COX-2 gene expression by inhibiting NF-κB and AP-1 DNA bindings in BV2 microglial cells.
Antigen-induced aggregation of the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) on mast cells induces degranulation to release chemical mediators, leading to acute allergic inflammation. We have demonstrated that the treatment of rat mast cells, RBL-2H3, with a phenoxazine derivative Phx-1 (2-amino-4,4α-dihydro-4α,7-dimethyl-3H-phenoxazine-3-one) suppresses the antigen-induced degranulation. Biochemical analysis reveals that the complementary signaling pathway through Gab2 and Akt is inhibited by this compound in mast cells. These findings suggest that phenoxazine derivatives may have a therapeutic potential for allergic diseases by inhibiting mast cell degranulation.
GbaSM-4 cells, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) derived from brain basilar arteries, were shown to migrate toward d-nicotine by augmenting the actin cytoskeleton in their cell bodies and lamellipodia, and expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) was detected in GbaSM-4 cells. Their chemotaxis was antagonized by an α7-nAChR antagonist of methyllycaconitine. It was also antagonized by inhibiting myosin light chain (MLC) kinase and by down-regulating MLC kinase. However, the changes in MLC phosphorylation were not associated with the nicotine treatment, suggesting the involvement of non-kinase activity of MLC kinase as reviewed by Gao et al. (IUBMB Life. 2001;51:337). This plot may work to induce arteriosclerosis during cigarette smoking.