In vitro human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells testing (iPST) to assess developmental toxicity, e.g., the induction of malformation or dysfunction, was developed by modifying a mouse embryonic stem cell test (EST), a promising animal-free approach. The iPST evaluates the potential risks and types of drugs-induced developmental toxicity in humans by assessing three endpoints: the inhibitory effects of the drug on the cardiac differentiation of iPS cells and on the proliferation/survival of iPS cells and human fibroblasts. In the present study, the potential developmental toxicity of drugs was divided into three classes (1: non-developmentally toxic, 2: weakly developmentally toxic and 3: strongly developmentally toxic) according to the EST criteria. In addition, the type of developmental toxicity of drugs was grouped into three types (1: non-effective, 2: embryotoxic [inducing growth retardation/dysfunction]/deadly or 3: teratogenic [inducing malformation]/deadly) by comparing the three endpoints. The present study was intended to validate the clinical predictability of the iPST. The traditionally developmentally toxic drugs of aminopterin, methotrexate, all-trans-retinoic acid, thalidomide, tetracycline, lithium, phenytoin, 5-fluorouracil, warfarin and valproate were designated as class 2 or 3 according to the EST criteria, and their developmental toxicity was type 3. The non-developmentally toxic drugs of ascorbic acid, saccharin, isoniazid and penicillin G were designated as class 1, and ascorbic acid, saccharin and isoniazid were grouped as type 1 while penicillin G was type 2 but not teratogenic. These results suggest that the iPST is useful for predicting the human developmental toxicity of drug candidates in a preclinical setting.
TP0446131, developed as an antidepressant agent, was found to cause lenticular opacity in a 13-week repeated-dose study in dogs. Histopathologically, the lenticular opacity was observed as a degeneration of the lens fibers, characterized by irregularity in the ordered arrangement of the fibers which is necessary to maintain the transparency of the lens, and was considered to manifest clinically as cataract. To evaluate the development mechanism of the lenticular opacity, the chemical constituents of the lens, which is known to be associated with the development of cataract, were examined. The results of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis revealed an increase in the amplitudes of 3 unknown peaks in a dose- and time-dependent manner in the lens, with no remarkable changes in the other chemical components tested. In addition, the content of cholesterol, alterations of which have been reported to be associated with cataract, remained unchanged. The mass spectral data and chromatographic behavior of the 3 peaks indicated that these peaks corresponded to sterol-related substances, and that one of them was 7-dehydrocholesterol, a precursor of cholesterol biosynthesis. This finding suggested that TP0446131 exerts some effects on the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway, which could be involved in the development of the cataracts. Furthermore, increases in the levels of these sterol-related substances were also detected in the serum, and were, in fact, noted prior to the onset of the cataract, suggesting the possibility that these substances in the serum could be used as potential safety biomarkers for predicting the onset of cataract induced by TP0446131.
Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) is an essential component of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) signaling that regulates nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways, and compelling evidence has demonstrated that TRAF2 suppresses TNF-α-induced cytotoxicity. On the other hand, it has been reported that oxidative stress-induced cytotoxicity is potentiated by TRAF2, indicating that TRAF2 both positively and negatively regulates stress-induced cytotoxicity in a context-specific manner. However, the causal role of TRAF2 in DNA damage response (DDR) remains to be explored. In this study, we assessed the function of TRAF2 in DDR induced by cisplatin, a representative DNA-damaging agent, and found that TRAF2 exerts pro-apoptotic activity through p53-dependent mechanisms at least in human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080. TRAF2 deficient cells exhibit significant resistance to cell death induced by cisplatin, accompanied by the reduction of both p53 protein level and caspase-3 activation. Moreover, cisplatin-induced JNK activation was attenuated in TRAF2-deficient cells, and pharmacological inhibition of JNK signaling suppressed p53 stabilization. These results suggest that TRAF2 promotes p53-dependent apoptosis by activating the JNK signaling cascade in HT1080 cells. Thus, our data demonstrate a novel function of TRAF2 in cisplatin-induced DDR as a pro-apoptotic protein.
A growing body of experimental evidence strongly suggests that cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), a major component of the fiber-type cannabis plant, exerts a variety of biological activities. We have reported that CBDA can abrogate cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and its enzymatic activity. It is established that aberrant expression of COX-2 correlates with the degree of malignancy in breast cancer. Although the reduction of COX-2 expression by CBDA offers an attractive medicinal application, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects have not fully been established. It has been reported that COX-2 expression is positively controlled by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor β/δ (PPARβ/δ) in some cancerous cells, although there is “no” modulatory element for PPARβ/δ on the COX-2 promoter. No previous studies have examined whether an interaction between PPARβ/δ-mediated signaling and COX-2 expression exists in MDA-MB-231 cells. We confirmed, for the first time, that COX-2 expression is positively modulated by PPARβ/δ-mediated signaling in MDA-MB-231 cells. CBDA inhibits PPARβ/δ-mediated transcriptional activation stimulated by the PPARβ/δ-specific agonist, GW501516. Furthermore, the disappearance of cellular actin stress fibers, a hallmark of PPARβ/δ and COX-2 pathway activation, as evoked by the GW501516, was effectively reversed by CBDA. Activator protein-1 (AP-1)-driven transcriptional activity directly involved in the regulation of COX-2 was abrogated by the PPARβ/δ-specific inverse agonists (GSK0660/ST-247). Thus, it is implicated that there is positive interaction between PPARβ/δ and AP-1 in regulation of COX-2. These data support the concept that CBDA is a functional down-regulator of COX-2 through the abrogation of PPARβ/δ-related signaling, at least in part, in MDA-MB-231 cells.
Blood coagulation and the fibrinolytic system contribute to vascular lesions. Fibrinolysis in normal circulating blood strongly depends on the balance between tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) secreted from vascular endothelial cells; however, the mechanisms by which endothelial fibrinolysis is regulated remain to be fully understood. In the present study, human vascular endothelial EA.hy926 cells were transfected with small interfering RNA for nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and the expression of t-PA and PAI-1 and fibrinolytic activity in the conditioned medium were examined. EA.hy926 cells were also treated with sulforaphane, an NRF2 activator, and fibrinolytic activity was examined to confirm the NRF2 signaling pathway’s effect. Enhanced fibrinolytic activity in the conditioned medium was observed in association with increased expression and secretion levels of t-PA in NRF2 knockdown EA.hy926 cells. However, sulforaphane inhibited fibrinolytic activity and t-PA synthesis in EA.hy926 cells without any cell damage. The expression level of PAI-1 did not change in either NRF2 knockdown or sulforaphane treated cells. These results suggest that transcription factor NRF2 may play a role in down-regulating endothelial t-PA synthesis and fibrinolytic activity.