The mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system plays an important role in the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse, and the activity-dependent synaptic plasticity of the system is involved in drug dependence. A DNA microarray screening revealed that the expression levels of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) mRNA in the nucleus accumbens of morphine- or methamphetamine-dependent rats were significantly increased compared with those in control animals. Since tPA plays a role in synaptic plasticity, we hypothesized that tPA may contribute to the development of drug dependence. Single and repeated morphine treatment as well as repeated methamphetamine treatment induced tPA mRNA expression in the nucleus accumbens, which was associated with an increase in the enzyme activity. Conditioned place preference induced by morphine was markedly reduced in mice with a targeted deletion of the tPA gene (tPA−/− mice), being accompanied by a loss of morphine-induced dopamine release. Similarly, methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization were reduced in tPA−/− mice. The defects of morphine-induced hyperlocomotion as well as methamphetamine-induced locomotor sensitization in tPA−/− mice were reversed by microinjection of exogenous tPA or plasmin into the nucleus accumbens. These results support our hypothesis that tPA plays a role in long-lasting neuronal changes related to drug dependence.
Obesity is defined as increased mass of adipose tissue, conferring a higher risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and coronary heart disease. To investigate the role of transcriptional factors, which are involved in adipocytes differentiation and adiposity, we have generated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ or CREB-binding protein (CBP)-deficient mice by gene targeting. Heterozygous PPARγ-deficient mice were protected from the development of insulin resistance due to adipocyte hypertrophy under a high-fat diet. Heterozygous CBP-deficient mice showed increased insulin sensitivity and were completely protected from body weight gain induced by a high-fat diet. PPARγ or CBP deficiency results in increased effects of hormones such as adiponectin and leptin. Adiponectin was decreased in obesity and lipoatrophy, and replenishment of adiponectin ameliorated insulin resistance. Moreover, adiponectin-deficient mice showed insulin resistance and atherogenic phenotype. Finally, cDNA encoding adiponectin receptors (AdipoR1/R2) have been identified by expression cloning. The expression of AdipoR1/R2 appears to be inversely regulated by insulin in physiological and pathophysiological states such as fasting/refeeding, insulin deficiency, and hyperinsulinemia models, and it is correlated with adiponectin sensitivity. These results facilitate the understanding of molecular mechanisms of adiponectin actions and obesity-linked diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis and propose the molecular targets for anti-diabetic and anti-atherogenic drugs.
The fate of stem cells, such as neural stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells, depends on strictly regulated signaling events including activation of nuclear receptors, resulting in subsequent gene induction. Recently, we demonstrated that PPARγ, a ligand-activated nuclear receptor, plays an important role in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of murine neural stem cell (NSC). NSC prepared from heterozygous PPARγ-deficient mouse exhibited a slower growth rate compared with that of wild-type mouse, which was also demonstrated in PPARγ-knockdown NSC that was generated by the lentiviral-vector-mediated RNA interference approach. These studies have important implications for understanding central nervous system functions and developing a therapy for neurodegenerative disorders. In this review, recent findings on stem cell biology, especially focusing on nuclear receptors in NSCs, including our current study, will be discussed.
Nuclear receptors are ligand-dependent transcription factors that recently have been shown to play important roles in the metabolism of cholesterol and bile acids. Cholesterol homeostasis is maintained by de novo synthesis, absorption from diet, catabolism to bile acids and other steroids, and excretion into bile. Dysregulation of this mechanism leads to atherosclerosis and its life-threatening coronary and cerebrovascular sequelae. Conversion of cholesterol to bile acids in the liver is positively regulated by liver X receptor (LXR) α, a nuclear receptor for oxysterols. LXRα and LXRβ, a second oxysterol receptor, regulate intestinal absorption and biliary excretion of cholesterol by inducing target gene expression. LXRs stimulate reverse cholesterol transport from peripheral tissues and exhibit antiatherogenic activity. Farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a bile acid receptor, represses bile acid synthesis and import in hepatocytes, stimulates bile acid export from cells, and protects hepatocytes from bile acid toxicity. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) and vitamin D receptor (VDR) respond to secondary bile acids and induce their catabolism. Thus, nuclear receptors play important roles in regulation of cholesterol and bile acid metabolism.
Mast cells are derived from stem cells in bone marrow and their proliferation and differentiation are regulated by stimulation of stem cell factor derived from fibroblasts and/or IL-3 from T lymphocytes. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily and ligand-activated transcription factors. It has been reported that PPARγ is expressed in mast cells, but its roles remain uncertain. Since mast cells produce and release prostaglandin D2, which is metabolized to 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2, a candidate for the endogenous PPARγ agonist, mast cells play roles in inflammation and immunological response via the PPARγ pathway. We will mainly discuss the contribution of PPARγ to the proliferation and functions in murine cultured bone marrow derived mast cells.
We examined wind-up of the nociceptive flexor withdrawal responses in diabetic mice that had developed tactile allodynia after treatment with streptozotocin (STZ). In control and STZ-treated mice, simultaneous activation of Aδ- and C-fibers by electrical stimuli at C-fiber intensity delivered to the ventral aspect of the toe elicited a biphasic withdrawal reflex composed of short- and long-latency movements of the ipsilateral hind paw that were respectively mediated by activation of Aδ- and C-fibers. There were no significant differences between control and diabetic mice in the activation threshold of each reflex movement or the amplitude of reflexes elicited by various stimulus intensities. However, a repetitive conditioning stimulus (CS) elicited significantly greater wind-up of the C-fiber-mediated movement and early saturation of wind-up in diabetic mice. In both control and diabetic mice, the CS elicited no or occasionally slight wind-up of the A δ-fiber-mediated movement. Moreover, post-CS facilitation, which reflects the prolonged excitability increase, was observed in both Aδ-fiber- and C-fiber-mediated movements of control mice, whereas significant post-CS facilitation was only obtained in the C-fiber-mediated movement of diabetic mice, which may reflect supraspinal descending influences. Such changes in the excitability of spinal neurons in diabetic mice may represent some aspect of painful diabetic neuropathy.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by dopaminergic neuronal death and the presence of Lewy bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). α-Synuclein and ubiquitin are components of Lewy bodies, but the process of Lewy body formation and the relationship between inclusion formation and dopaminergic neuronal death have not been resolved. In this study, unilateral intranigral microinjection of 6-hydroxydopamine caused a significant loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunopositive neurons in both the substantia nigra and striatum and apomorphine-induced contralateral rotation. The co-administration of proteasome inhibitors, such as lactacystin or carbobenzoxy-L-leucyl-L-leucyl-L-leucinal (MG-132), significantly prevented both dopaminergic neurodegeneration and apomorphine-induced rotational asymmetry. Proteasome inhibitors markedly formed intracellular protein inclusions labeled by thioflavin-S in the SNpc. Inclusion-like immunoreactivities for α-synuclein and ubiquitin were detected after 4 weeks. These results suggest that proteasome plays an important role in both the early phase of dopaminergic neuronal death and inclusion body formation.
We have investigated whether the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) oscillations induced in astrocytes using the metabotropic glutamate-receptor agonist, (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (t-ACPD) are Ca2+-dependent, using three different Ca2+ indicators with different affinities for Ca2+. When rat hippocampal cells in culture were loaded with fura-2 (Kd: 145 nM), two-thirds of the cells showed obvious oscillatory increase in [Ca 2+]i during t-ACPD-administration. Those cells were identified as astrocytes by immuno-histochemistry in our previous paper. In cells loaded with fura-2FF (Kd: 25,000 nM), a similar percentage of t-ACPD-responsive cells showed oscillatory [Ca2+]i changes. However, in cells loaded with quin-2 (Kd: 60 nM), t-ACPD induced no oscillatory responses, but some cells showed a small transient increase in the [Ca2+]i. The same small transient [Ca2+]i increase was seen in cells loaded with both fura-2FF and BAPTA, a Ca2+ chelator (Kd: 135 nM). These findings indicate the involvement of [Ca2+]i-dependent regulatory mechanisms in the induction of the t-ACPD-induced oscillatory change in the [Ca2+]i in astrocytes.
Sargassum hemiphyllum (SH) has long been used in Korean folk medicine for the therapeutic treatment of various allergic diseases. The effects of SH in previous experimental models, however, have been inconclusive. We studied the effects of methanol extract of SH on mast cells. Our experiments showed that SH significantly inhibited compound 48/80-induced histamine and β-hexosaminidase release from rat peritoneal mast cells. SH inhibited interleukin (IL)-8 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α release induced by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and A23187 from HMC-1, and it also showed an inhibitory effect on the anti-dinitrophenyl IgE antibody-induced passive cutaneous anaphylaxis reaction. In addition, SH inhibited the increase of TNF-α-induced NF-κB protein levels, transcription factor of TNF-α from 293T cells. A period of 48 h exposure to SH had little effect on HMC-1 cell viability. Our results suggest that SH has an inhibitory effect on the atopic allergic reaction and thus this may be useful in the treatment of allergic inflammatory diseases, such as atopic dermatitis.
In vivo gene transfer with plasmid vector has been applied experimentally and clinically; however, the low level of gene transfer efficiency with plasmid vector is a problem. We speculated that the combination of calcium phosphate precipitate (CaP) and plasmid vector could solve this problem because CaP stabilizes plasmid DNA. In the present study, we used a plasmid exression vector encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein and combined the vector with CaP. Then, this combination was mixed with bovine type I atelocollagen. After incubating this mixture in phosphate-buffered saline, the amount of the plasmid DNA in the supernatant was low when the plasmid DNA was combined with CaP. Furthermore, the plasmid DNA, which was combined with CaP, was stable in DNase digestion in vitro. The plasmid vector with or without CaP, together with the atelocollagen, was transplanted subcutaneously or injected in the bone marrow of the femurs of rats. Then, the fluorescence was observed under a confocal laser scanning microscope and the fluorescence intensity in the tissue homogenates was measured. In these animal experiments, the fluorescence was extensive when the plasmid DNA was combined with CaP. These results indicate that our formula, collagen/CaP/DNA, appeared efficient for in vivo gene transfer.
Decreased expression levels of the glomerular slit membrane proteins, nephrin and podocin, have been reported after the onset of puromycin aminonucleoside (PA) nephrosis. We examined nephrin and podocin expressions prior to the onset of proteinuria of PA nephrosis to elucidate the proteinuria induction mechanism of PA. PA nephrosis was induced by a subcutaneous single injection of 120 mg kg−1 PA. The mRNA levels of nephrin and podocin in whole kidney total RNA were quantified by the TaqMan real time PCR quantification system. The localization and levels of nephrin and podocin molecules were analyzed by immunofluorescence and Western blotting, respectively. Albuminuria and proteinuria were significant on days 3 and 4 in PA nephrosis rats. The protein levels of nephrin and podocin decreased significantly at day 3. The protein localization of nephrin and podocin changed at day 2 and day 1, respectively. The mRNA level of nephrin increased at day 2 and subsequently decreased at day 4. The podocin mRNA level did not change significantly. In conclusions, the protein level of nephrin and podocin decreased at the onset of albuminuria in the PA nephrosis. However, the first change induced by PA was the change of podocin localization from a linear pattern to a dot-like one prior to the onset of albuminuria.
Six main sesquiterpene lactones (germacranolides) from Calea urticifolia were evaluated for in vitro cytotoxicity against human tumor cell lines HL60 and SW480 cells. Among them, arucanolide and parthenolide displayed marked cytotoxicity against both cell lines. Arucanolide exhibited a low IC50 in HL60 cells. The cytotoxic activity of arucanolide was observed at lower concentrations compared to that of parthenolide, which has been reported to be a typical and simple germacranolide. The activity was found to be mainly due to apoptosis that was assessed by morphological findings, DNA ladder formation (24 – 36 h), and flow cytometric analysis in HL60 cells. Western blotting and an apoptosis inhibition assay using caspase inhibitors did not demonstrate the activation of any caspases tested. However, the mitochondrial membrane potential of HL60 cells was lost after 24-h treatment with arucanolide, and concurrently apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) released from mitochondria was detected by Western blot analysis. The inactivation of nuclear factor-κB, which has been commonly shown in parthenolide-induced apoptosis, did not occur in arucanolide-induced apoptosis. Taken together, the findings presented here indicate that arucanolide induced marked apoptosis in HL60 cells mainly by dissipating mitochondrial membrane potential, which would trigger AIF-induced apoptosis.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Shengmai San (SMS), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, on heatstroke-induced circulatory shock and oxidative damage in the brain in rats. Anesthetized rats were exposed to a high ambient temperature (43°C) to induce heatstroke. After the onset of heatstroke, the values of mean arterial pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure, cerebral blood flow, and brain partial pressure of O2 were all significantly lower than those in normothermic controls. However, the values of intracranial pressure, brain and colonic temperatures, and brain levels of free radicals, lipid peroxidation, and cellular ischemia and damage markers were all greater in heatstroke rats compared with those of normothermic controls. Pretreatment or post-treatment with SMS significantly reduced the hypotension, intracranial hypertension, cerebral hypoperfusion and hypoxia and increased levels of ischemia and damage markers in the brain during heatstroke. The protective effects exerted by SMS pretreatment is superior to those of SMS post-treatment. The results demonstrate that SMS is effective for prevention and repair of circulatory shock and ischemic and oxidative damage in the brain during heatstroke.
The second-generation histamine-H1-receptor antagonists, such as epinastine and cetirizine, are used as non-sedating antihistamines for treating allergic symptoms due to their poor ability to penetrate blood-brain barrier. Because it has been reported that the blood-brain barrier system is disturbed in diabetes, it is possible that second-generation histamine-H1-receptor antagonists may easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and cause potent sedation in diabetics. In the present study, we investigated the effects of first-generation (diphenhydramine) and second-generation (epinastine and cetirizine) histamine-H1-receptor antagonists on the duration of pentobarbital-induced loss of the righting reflex (LORR) in non-diabetic and diabetic mice. Systemic treatment with diphenhydramine (3 – 30 mg/kg, s.c.), and intracerebroventricular treatment with epinastine (0.03 – 0.3 μg/mouse) and cetirizine (0.03 – 0.3 μg/mouse) dose-dependently and significantly increased the duration of pentobarbital-induced LORR in both non-diabetic and diabetic mice. Although systemic treatment with epinastine (3 – 30 mg/kg, s.c.) and cetirizine (3 – 30 mg/kg, s.c.) did not affect the duration of pentobarbital-induced LORR in non-diabetic mice, these treatments significantly prolonged it in diabetic mice. Our results suggest that the systemic administration of second-generation histamine-H1-receptor antagonists may produce a central nervous system depressant effect in diabetes.
We have investigated the toxicity of an α1L-adrenoceptor agonist, ESR 1150 CL, and compared the toxicokinetics and pharmacokinetics in rats and monkeys. In rats, this compound induced death with remarkable sacculated aneurysms of the aorta in groups given more than 3 mg/kg per day in a 4-week repeated oral administration study. On the other hand, these findings were not observed in monkeys during a 2-week repeated oral administration study at doses up to 30 mg/kg per day. Orally administered ESR 1150 CL raised blood pressure transiently and dose-dependently during the 4-week repeated study in rats, whereas no increase of blood pressure was observed during the 2-week oral toxicity study in monkeys. Contrary to our expectation, the exposure level of ESR 1150 CL in rats was not higher than that in monkeys in the toxicokinetic evaluation. Pharmacokinetic evaluation indicated good absorption of the compound, but the bioavailability was very low in both rats and monkeys. These findings suggest that the potent species difference in toxicity of ESR 1150 CL between rats and monkeys does not depend on differences of toxicokinetics/pharmacokinetics. Rather, we suggest that the reason is likely to be species difference in the biological susceptibility of the α1L-adrenoceptor subtypes between rats and monkeys, which would be closely related with the effect on blood pressure by α1L-adrenoceptor agonist.
We performed this study to develop a reliable method for inducing colitis in rats using 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) to reduce the variation in ulcer size. A pair of ring forceps was used to clamp the colon and 0.1 M TNBS in ethanol was injected into the luminal side of the clamped portion. This method resulted in a small coefficient of variation of the ulcer index. A significant linearity was observed by plotting ulcer size against days after ulcer induction in both logarithm scales. These findings show that this technique is simple and reliable and that ulcers heal linearly.
The function of microglia in the brain parenchyma is not fully understood. Occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and reperfusion caused behavioral dysfunction with massive neuronal loss in the rat cerebral cortex and striatum. When exogenous microglia were microinjected into the intracerebroventricle (i.c.v.) during MCA occlusion, focal ischemia-induced behavioral dysfunction was significantly inhibited. At that time, many microglia migrated into the ischemic lesion, and microglia-derived neuron-like cells were barely detectable. These results suggest that exogenous microglia protect against focal ischemia-induced neurodegeneration and improve behavioral dysfunction.
We have reported that connexin (Cx) 32 acts as a tumor suppressor gene in renal cancer cells partly due to Her-2 inactivation. Here, we determined if a Her-2/Her-1 inhibitor (PKI-166) can enhance the tumor-suppressive effect of Cx32 in Caki-2 cells from human renal cell carcinoma. The expression of Cx32 in Caki-2 cells was required for PKI-166-induced cytotoxic effect at lower doses. The cyctotoxicity was dependent on the occurrence of apoptosis and partly mediated by Cx32-driven gap junction intercellular communications. These results suggest that PKI-166 further supports the tumor-suppressive effect of the Cx32 gene in renal cancer cells through the induction of apoptosis.
We examined the effect of H2O2 on the expression of GTP cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH) feedback regulating protein (GFRP). Addition of H2O2 to endothelial cells decreased GFRP mRNA levels, in contrast to the increase of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) content and GTPCH mRNA levels. The inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) synthase and GTPCH had no influence on the decrease of GFRP mRNA levels in H2O2-treated cells. It is suggested that H2O2 induces BH4 synthesis through not only induction of GTPCH but also reduction of GFRP. The decrease of GFRP mRNA level appears to be independent of the produced NO and BH4.