Two types of cell death, necrosis and apoptosis, are defined in terms of cell death morphological features. We have been studying the mechanisms by which cell death processes are switched during the treatment of mouse tumor FM3A with anticancer, 5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridine (FUdR): it induces original clone F28-7 to necrosis, but its sub-clone F28-7-A to apoptosis. We identified several such switch regulators of cell death: heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), lamin-B1, cytokeratin-19, and activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), by using transcriptomic, proteomic analyses and siRNA screening. For example, the inhibition of HSP90 by its inhibitor geldanamycin in F28-7 caused a shift from necrosis to apoptosis. We also observed that the knockdown of lamin-B1, cytokeratin-19, or ATF3 expression in F28-7 resulted in a shift from necrosis to apoptosis. Recently, we used microRNA (miRNA, miR) microarray analyses to investigate the miRNA expression profiles in these sister cells. The miR-351 and miR-743a were expressed at higher levels in F28-7-A than in F28-7. Higher expression of miR-351 or miR-743a in F28-7, induced by transfecting the miR mimics, resulted in a switch of cell death mode: necrosis to apoptosis. Furthermore, transfection of an miR-351 inhibitor into F28-7-A resulted in morphological changes, and mode of cell death from apoptosis to necrosis. These findings suggest that the identified cell death regulators may have key roles in switching cell death mode. Possible mechanisms involving cell death regulators in the switch of necrosis or apoptosis are discussed. We propose a novel anticancer strategy targeting the switch regulators of necrosis or apoptosis.
Probes that detect specific biological materials are indispensable tools for deepening our understanding of various cellular phenomena. In live cell imaging, the probe must emit fluorescence only when a specific substance is detected. In this paper, we introduce a new probe we developed for live cell imaging. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity is higher in tumor cells than in normal cells and is involved in the development of resistance to various anticancer drugs. We previously reported the development of a general strategy for the synthesis of probes for detection of GST enzymes, including fluorogenic, bioluminogenic, and 19F-NMR probes. Arylsulfonyl groups were used as caging groups during probe design. The fluorogenic probes were successfully used to quantitate very low levels of GST activity in cell extracts and were also successfully applied to the imaging of microsomal MGST1 activity in living cells. The bioluminogenic and 19F-NMR probes were able to detect GST activity in Escherichia coli cells. Oligonucleotide-templated reactions are powerful tools for nucleic acid sensing. This strategy exploits the target strand as a template for two functionalized probes and provides a simple molecular mechanism for multiple turnover reactions. We developed a nucleophilic aromatic substitution reaction-triggered fluorescent probe. The probe completed its reaction within 30 s of initiation and amplified the fluorescence signal from 0.5 pM target oligonucleotide by 1500 fold under isothermal conditions. Additionally, we applied the oligonucleotide-templated reaction for molecular releasing and peptide detection.
Functional nanoparticles, such as liposomes and polymeric micelles, are attractive drug delivery systems for solubilization, stabilization, sustained release, prolonged tissue retention, and tissue targeting of various encapsulated drugs. For their clinical application in therapy for pulmonary diseases, the development of dry powder inhalation (DPI) formulations is considered practical due to such advantages as: (1) it is noninvasive and can be directly delivered into the lungs; (2) there are few biocomponents in the lungs that interact with nanoparticles; and (3) it shows high storage stability in the solid state against aggregation or precipitation of nanoparticles in water. However, in order to produce effective nanoparticle-loaded dry powders for inhalation, it is essential to pursue an innovative and comprehensive formulation strategy in relation to composition and powderization which can achieve (1) the particle design of dry powders with physical properties suitable for pulmonary delivery through inhalation, and (2) the effective reconstitution of nanoparticles that will maintain their original physical properties and functions after dissolution of the powders. Spray-freeze drying (SFD) is a relatively new powderization technique combining atomization and lyophilization, which can easily produce highly porous dry powders from an aqueous sample solution. Previously, we advanced the optimization of components and process conditions for the production of SFD powders suitable to DPI application. This review describes our recent results in the development of novel DPI formulations effectively loaded with various nanoparticles (electrostatic nanocomplexes for gene therapy, liposomes, and self-assembled lipid nanoparticles), based on SFD.
Heart and cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in the world. Heart failure (HF) in particular is becoming a serious widespread medical issue, especially following various stresses such as myocardial infarction and hemodynamic overload. One pathological cardiac change in HF is left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). LVH is associated with increased risk for HF; however, no drug therapy for LVH has yet been developed. During the development of LVH, gene expression is altered in cardiomyocytes through transcription factors, co-activators, and histone modifications. A zinc-finger protein and cardiac-specific transcription factor, GATA4, forms a large complex with functional proteins, including an intrinsic histone acetyltransferase, p300. p300 serves as a co-activator of GATA4 and is required for GATA4-dependent gene transcription. Although the p300/GATA4 pathway is involved in pathological cardiac hypertrophy, the remaining signal transduction pathways involved in pathological cardiac changes remain unclear. To identify therapeutic targets for preventing HF, GATA4-binding proteins have been analyzed, and 73 proteins were identified by tandem affinity purification and mass spectrometry. Here, we describe a receptor for activated protein kinase C1 (RACK1) as a novel GATA4-binding protein. RACK1 inhibited phenylephrine (PE)-induced cell hypertrophy and hypertrophy-associated gene transcription in cultured cardiomyocytes. Tyrosine phosphorylation of RACK1 was enhanced, and binding between GATA4 and RACK1 was disrupted in cardiomyocytes of hypertensive rats. In addition, tyrosine phosphorylation of RACK1 disrupted the RACK1/GATA4 complex. These findings suggest that clarification of nuclear signal pathways in cardiomyocytes would help to identify therapeutic targets for HF.
In chronic kidney disease (CKD), progressive nephron loss causes tubulointerstitial fibrosis and progressive tubular injury. Recent identification of the major cell populations of myofibroblast precursors in the kidney has enabled us to dissect the fibrogenic process after tubular injury. Kidney pericytes are a possible precursor of myofibroblasts, and may be promising targets for treating fibrogenesis. Our recent studies have shown that pericytes activate Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2/4- and myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MyD88)-dependent proinflammatory signaling in response to renal tubular injury. We also found active roles of inflammasomes in kidney pericytes, leading to interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 secretion. Genetic ablation of MyD88 in pericytes, or pharmacological inhibition of MyD88 signaling by an IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK4) inhibitor, halted interstitial fibrosis after renal tubular injury. Our data indicate that pericytes not only contribute to interstitial fibrosis by aberrant wound-healing responses, but also serve as innate immune surveillance cells that regulate the inflammatory process, exacerbating tubular injury by the release of cytokines and chemokines. On the other hand, our recent study using a microarray analysis aimed to identify molecular changes that reflected the histopathological progression of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis and tubular cell damage in patients with CKD. The results indicated that 5 genes were up-regulated in the kidney of CKD patients, and that their expression levels correlated with the extent of tubulointerstitial fibrosis and tubular cell injury. These findings provide important information for the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents for predicting and preventing progressive renal disease.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of irreversible dementia among elderly people. In the postmortem brains of AD patients, the deposition of senile plaques composed of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides and neurofibrillary tangles composed of highly phosphorylated tau proteins are two neuropathological hallmarks. Therefore, the in vivo imaging of Aβ and tau aggregates with positron-emission tomography (PET) or single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) would promote drug development, early diagnosis, and monitoring of the disease status in AD patients. In this study, we designed and synthesized novel Aβ and tau imaging probes for SPECT. [125I]PBOX-3, developed as an Aβ imaging probe, showed high affinity for Aβ aggregates in vitro. A SPECT/CT study with [123I]PBOX-3 revealed a higher level of radioactivity in a Tg2576 mouse, which is the AD model mouse, than in a wild-type mouse. In addition, ex vivo autoradiograms of brain sections from a Tg2576 mouse after the injection of [123I]PBOX-3 showed the selective binding of Aβ plaques. BIP-NMe2, developed as a tau imaging probe, showed high and selective affinity for tau aggregates in AD brain sections. In addition, [125I]BIP-NMe2 displayed high initial uptake into, and fast washout from, the normal mouse brain, suggesting that [125I]BIP-NMe2 has favorable pharmacokinetics for the in vivo imaging of tau aggregates. Taken together, we successfully developed an Aβ imaging probe, PBOX-3, and a tau imaging probe, BIP-NMe2. These probes may be used to develop novel methods for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of AD progression.
Many patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus develop hypertension, although the actual mechanism remains unknown. To clarify possible mechanisms of hypertension development in diabetes, this study investigated the acute or chronic influence of hyperinsulinemia and/or hyperglycemia on the function of perivascular nerves, which play a critical role in vascular tone regulation. Acute hyperinsulinemia in euglycemic pithed rats, which had no autonomic flow, significantly augmented adrenergic nerve-mediated pressor responses and inhibited calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-containing (CGRPergic) nerve-mediated depressor responses. To increase blood glucose levels without changing serum insulin levels, pithed rats were treated with octreotide. In this model, acute hyperglycemia produced only marked enhancement of adrenergic nerve-mediated vasoconstriction. Chronic hyperinsulinemia in insulin resistance model rats caused significant increases in the function and distribution of perivascular sympathetic nerves and decreases in those of perivascular CGRPergic nerves, resulting in the development of hypertension (insulin resistance-induced hypertension). Treatment with pioglitazone or functional foods with an insulin resistance-improving effect prevented the development of insulin resistance-induced hypertension. The present studies suggest that acute and chronic hyperinsulinemia reduces vasodilator function of perivascular CGRPergic nerves and enhances the vasoconstrictor function of perivascular adrenergic nerves, leading to the development of hypertension. The results also indicate that hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia may have a crucial role in the alteration of neuronal vascular tone regulation.
Dioxins, including 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), are responsible for producing serious toxic effects in the next generation, such as sexual immaturity. Our laboratory found that treating pregnant rats on gestational day 15 with TCDD (1 μg/kg orally) targets pituitary luteinizing hormone (LH) to attenuate testicular steroidogenesis in fetuses. Because sex steroids during a short window (“the critical period”) in the perinatal stage stimulate brain differentiation closely linked to sexual maturation, it is likely that TCDD imprints sexual immaturity on the offspring due to the lowered expression of LH during the fetal period. To address this hypothesis, we first investigated the effect of supplementation of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG), an LH-mimicking hormone, in fetuses exposed to TCDD. The result showed that eCG ameliorated defects in sexual behavior in adulthood as well as in steroidogenesis during the fetal stage. We also found that maternal exposure to TCDD induced the pituitary expression of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in fetuses. In agreement with this, TCDD deacetylated the histones wrapped around the LHβ gene, and valproic acid, an HDAC inhibitor, blocked the reduced level of LHβ caused by TCDD. These observations strongly suggest that TCDD induces the expression of HDACs to attenuate fetal LH production. Finally, such a transient reduction in steroidogenesis of the pituitary-gonadal axis causes a decrease in the expression of hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone, resulting in defects in sexual behavior in adulthood. This review increases our understanding of the developmental toxicities caused by endocrine disruptors including dioxins.
The design and development of new chiral ligands to enable precise stereocontrol in a wide variety of reactions is one of the most important branches of organic synthesis. To date, the development of hybrid ligands containing both σ-donating and π-donating groups has attracted considerable attention, with unprecedented reactivities and stereoselectivities being observed. Therefore to develop efficient hybrid chiral ligands with novel structural motifs, we envisage that helicene would be a suitable π-donor efficiently to construct a helical environment around a metal center. In this context, we herein describe our recent efforts to develop a series of novel chiral helicene-derived phosphine ligands (L1, with a 7,8-dihydrohelicene core structure, and L2, with a fully aromatic helicene core structure). The prepared ligands, and in particular L1, were found highly effective in the asymmetric allylation of 1,3-diphenylallyl acetate with indoles and etherification with alcohols. Furthermore, in the asymmetric Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reaction, L2 exhibited excellent enantioselectivities. Finally, density functional theory studies were employed to propose a model that accounts for the origin of such high enantioselectivity in these reactions.
Long-term practical on-site training, based on the Model Core Curriculum for Pharmaceutical Education, is a core program of the 6-year course of pharmaceutical education, introduced in Japan in 2010. In particular, medication counseling in practical training in 5th-year provides valuable opportunities for communication with real patients rather than simulated patients (SPs). However, it can also cause anxiety in 4th-year students before practical training. To address such concerns, upperclassmen (5th- and 6th-year students), who have already completed practical training, constructed and conducted a new educational program for medication counseling practice in preclinical training based on their experiences. They also developed case scenarios and played the role of patients themselves to create more realistic clinical settings. Advice from professional SPs was also provided. The 5-step program is composed of 1st counseling, 1st small group discussion (SGD) for improving counseling, 2nd revised counseling based on the 1st SGD, 2nd SGD, and development of a counseling plan and presentation. Educational effects of the program were evaluated by questionnaire survey after preclinical training in 4th-year students and after their practical training in 5th-year students. This new program, the Advanced Medication Counseling Practice, was found to be useful to reduce anxiety about communication with patients among 4th-year students (about 90%). Even after their practical training in 5th-year, they still appreciated usefulness of this program (about 80%). This program is still valued 4 years after its development. We developed the Advanced Medication Counseling Practice in preclinical training for junior students by senior students.
The adsorption of active pharmaceutical ingredients on the surface of medical devices such as polyvinl chloride, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer and glass often prevent the acuurate dose of drug. At dispensing of pharmaceuticals, mètre glass (MG) has been widely used for dispensing syrup. When measuring the viscous syrup, it often takes long time to dispense the accurate volume due to their adhesiveness on the glass surface. In this study, we investigate the adhesion of various syrups to MG made with uncoated glass or glass with a strongly hydrophobic silicone or fluorinated coating in terms of the following formulation parameters: viscosity, surface tension, contact angle, and surface free energy. The contact angles for syrups on the coated glass surfaces were significantly higher than those on the uncoated glass surface. In addition, the relationship between surface tension and contact angle was examined. We found that the contact angle was independent of surface tension for the uncoated glass, while it increased with increasing surface tension for the coated glasses. These results can be explained as follows: the silicone or fluorinated coatings inhibit the hydrogen bonding that usually takes place between water and silanol and siloxane groups at glass surfaces. The coatings reduced the surface free energy and increased the hydrophobicity of the glass, reduced its wettability by the syrups, and thus reduced the adhesion loss for the syrups. It was considered that as for the hydrophobic action, properties of matter of sample influence the coated device by coating in order that it is reinforced.
It has been recommended that active learning methods, such as team-based learning (TBL) and problem-based learning (PBL), be introduced into university classes by the Central Council for Education. As such, for the past 3 years, we have implemented TBL in a medical therapeutics course for 4-year students. Based upon our experience, TBL is characterized as follows: TBL needs fewer teachers than PBL to conduct a TBL module. TBL enables both students and teachers to recognize and confirm the learning results from preparation and reviewing. TBL grows students' responsibility for themselves and their teams, and likely facilitates learning activities through peer assessment.