Polyhexamethylene guanidine phosphate (PHMG) is an antimicrobial biocide that causes severe lung injury accompanied with inflammation and subsequent fibrosis. Cytokines mediate the inflammatory response, leading to fibrosis in injured tissues. PHMG is known to induce the expression of various cytokines in vitro and in vivo. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of three MAPK subfamilies (JNK, p38 MAPK, and ERK) in PHMG-induced cytokine expression in A549 human lung epithelial cells. Our in vivo and in vitro data indicated that PHMG induced an increase in mRNA expression of IL-6 and TNF-α, and enhanced the phosphorylation of JNK, p38 MAPK, and ERK. Further, we investigated the involvement of MAPKs in PHMG-induced mRNA expression of IL-6 and TNF-α using JNK, p38 MAPK, and ERK inhibitors in A549 cells. Pre-treatment with the JNK inhibitor but not the p38 MAPK or ERK inhibitor, significantly attenuated the PHMG-induced mRNA expression of IL-6 and TNF-α. These results suggest that the activation of JNK is involved at least partially in the induction of IL-6 or TNF-α expression by PHMG in A549 cells.
We used motion field imaging to characterize the conduction and contraction of a sheet of cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS-CMs). A hiPS-CMs sheet of 2.8 mm × 2.8 mm allowed us to simultaneously measure the conduction and the contraction properties in the same cells. Pharmacological responses in the hiPS-CMs of four typical cardiac functional modulators, Na+ channel blocker (lidocaine), Ca2+ channel blocker (diltiazem), gap-junction inhibitor (carbenoxolone), and β-adrenergic stimulator (isoproterenol), were investigated, and the results were compared to those found using the isolated guinea-pig heart model perfused by the Langendorff method. The conduction speed of excitation waves in hiPS-CMs was decreased by lidocaine, diltiazem, and carbenoxolone, and increased by isoproterenol, and these results were in accordance with the changes in the conduction parameters of electrocardiogram (QRS duration, PR interval, and P duration) in the Langendorff guinea-pig heart model. The maximum speeds for contraction and relaxation, which respectively represent the contraction and relaxation kinetics of hiPS-CMs, were decreased by lidocaine and diltiazem, and increased by isoproterenol. These results also corresponded to alterations in the contractile and relaxation parameters found by measuring left ventricular pressure (LVdP/dtmax and LVdP/dtmin) in the Langendorff guinea-pig heart model. From these lines of evidence, it was suggested that hiPS-CMs enable us to evaluate the cardiac toxicities associated with conduction disturbance or contractile dysfunction, and thereby would be useful as an integrated assessment of cardiac function.
We analyzed electropharmacological characteristics of microminipigs under halothane-anesthesia using anti-influenza virus drug oseltamivir, which has been known to possess multi-channel blocking properties, including Na+, Ca2+ and K+ channels (n = 4). Oseltamivir in doses of 0.3, 3 and 30 mg/kg was intravenously infused over 10 min with an interval of 20 min, which provided peak plasma concentrations 1.4, 7.4 and 125.5 µg/mL, respectively. The low dose did not alter any of the cardiovascular variables. The middle dose decreased the heart rate at 30 min after the start of the infusion. The high dose transiently returned the heart rate toward the baseline for 10-15 min, but decreased it for 20-60 min; decreased the mean blood pressure for 5-60 min; prolonged the PR interval for 10-60 min, and the QRS width for 10-20 min; but shortened the QT interval for 10-30 min, and the QTc for 5-60 min. Thus, oseltamivir can suppress the sinus automaticity, and atrioventricular nodal and intraventricular conduction; and decrease the mean blood pressure, extents of which were greater in microminipigs than in beagle dogs in our previous observation in spite of similar plasma concentrations, reflecting higher sensitivity of microminipigs for Na+ and Ca2+ channel inhibition than that of beagle dogs. In contrast to beagle dogs, oseltamivir shortened the repolarization period in microminipigs, indicating that oseltamivir can more potently inhibit the inward currents than the outward ones in the hearts of microminipigs. This information may help improve utilizatione of microminipigs as a laboratory animal.
We evaluated the skin sensitizing potential of 10 natural organic chemicals, or their derivatives, which are included in foods and/or skin products, using a modified local lymph node assay (LLNA), with an elicitation phase (LLNA:DAE). The following compounds were tested: carminic acid, esculetin, 4-methyl esculetin, coumarin, quercetin, curcumin, naringenin, chlorogenic acid, isoscopoletin, and shikonin. Esculetin, 4-methyl esculetin, isoscopoletin, and shikonin yielded positive results. In particular, shikonin at a very low concentration (0.05%) induced an elicitation response. In conclusion, four of the 10 natural organic chemicals tested had a skin sensitization potential, with shikonin producing serious reaction even at a very low concentration.
During drug discovery, in vitro models are used to predict the in vivo pharmacokinetic and toxicological properties of drug candidates in humans. However, the conventional method of culturing human hepatocytes as monolayers does not necessarily replicate biologic reactions and does not support liver-specific functions, such as cytochrome P450 (CYP) activities, for prolonged periods. To remedy these problems and thus increase and prolong hepatic functions, we developed a culture system comprising a collagen vitrigel membrane (CVM) chamber and PXB-cells®, fresh hepatocytes isolated from liver-humanized chimeric mice (PXB-mice®). To quantitatively assess our new system, we evaluated the activities of 5 major CYP isoforms (CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A), albumin secretion, and urea synthesis. First, between Days 14 and 21, the activities of all CYP isoforms tested in vitrigel culture were equal to or higher than in conventional monolayer culture system. Second, the activities of CYP3A, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19 during Days 10 through 17 were higher in vitrigel culture than in suspended PXB-cells prepared on Day 0 (suspension assay). Third, albumin secretion and urea synthesis were higher in vitrigel culture than in conventional monolayer culture. Fourth, the vitrigel-cultured PXB-cells showed the characteristic morphology of parenchymal hepatocytes and were almost all alive in monolayer. These results indicate that our vitrigel culture method is superior to the conventional monolayer method in terms of diverse liver-specific functions, including CYP activity. Our findings suggest that the vitrigel culture method could be a powerful in vitro tool for predicting the pharmacokinetic and toxicological properties of drug candidates in humans.