Overexpression of steroid receptor coactivators alleviates hyperglycemia-induced endothelial cell injury in rats through activating the PI3K/Akt pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-08-08 Xiao-juan Quan, Chun-lian Liang, Ming-zhu Sun, Lin Zhang, Xiu-li Li
Hyperglycemia is a major factor in vascular endothelial injury that finally leads to a cardiovascular event. Steroid receptor coactivators (SRCs) are a group of non-DNA binding proteins that induce structural changes in steroid receptors (nuclear receptors) critical for transcriptional activation. SRCs, namely, SRC-1, SRC-2, and SRC-3, are implicated in the regulation of vascular homeostasis. In this study we investigate the role of SRCs in hyperglycemia-induced endothelial injury. Aortic endothelial cells were prepared from normal and diabetic rats, respectively. Diabetic rats were prepared by injection of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg, i.p.). The expression levels of SRC-1 and SRC-3 were significantly decreased in endothelial cells from the diabetic rats. Similar phenomenon was also observed in aortic endothelial cells from the normal rats treated with a high glucose (25 mM) for 4 h or 8 h. The expression levels of SRC-2 were little affected by hyperglycemia. Overexpression of SRC-1 and SRC-3 in high glucose-treated endothelial cells significantly increased the cell viability, suspended cell senescence, and inhibited cell apoptosis compared with the control cells. We further showed that overexpression of SRC-1 and SRC-3 markedly suppressed endothelial injury through restoring nitric oxide production, upregulating the expression of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GPX, and CAT), and activating the PI3K/Akt pathway. The beneficial effects of SRC-1 and SRC-3 overexpression were blocked by treatment with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 (10 mM) or with the Akt inhibitor MK-2206 (100 nM). In conclusion, hyperglycemia decreased SRC-1 and SRC-3 expression levels in rat aortic endothelial cells. SRC-1 and SRC-3 overexpression might protect against endothelial injury via inhibition of oxidative stress and activation of PI3K/Akt pathway.
18β-Glycyrrhetinic acid protects against alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate-induced cholestasis through activation of the Sirt1/FXR signaling pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-30 Shou-yan Wu, Shi-chao Cui, Le Wang, Yi-ting Zhang, Xiao-xia Yan, Heng-lei Lu, Guo-zhen Xing, Jin Ren, Li-kun Gong
Cholestasis is a common feature of liver injury, which manifests as bile acid excretion and/or enterohepatic circulation disorders. However, very few effective therapies exist for cholestasis. Recently, 18β-Glycyrrhetinic acid (18b-GA), a major metabolic component of glycyrrhizin, which is the main ingredient of licorice, was reported to protect against alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT)-induced cholestasis. However, its protective mechanism remains unclear. We hypothesized that 18b-GA may stimulate the signaling pathway of bile acid (BA) transportation in hepatocytes, resulting its hepatoprotective effect. According to the results, 18b-GA markedly attenuated ANIT-induced liver injury as indicated the hepatic plasma chemistry index and histopathology examination. In addition, the expression levels of nuclear factors, including Sirt1, FXR and Nrf2, and their target efflux transporters in the liver, which mainly mediate bile acid homeostasis in hepatocytes, significantly increased. Furthermore, we first revealed that 18b-GA treatment significantly activated FXR, and which can be significantly reduced by EX-527 (a potent and selective Sirt1 inhibitor), indicating that 18b-GA activates FXR through Sirt1. Taken together, 18b-GA confers hepatoprotection against ANIT-induced cholestasis by activating FXR through Sirt1, which promotes gene expression of the efflux transporter, and consequently attenuates dysregulation of bile acid homeostasis in hepatocyte compartments.
Human pharmacokinetics of ginkgo terpene lactones and impact of carboxylation in blood on their platelet-activating factor antagonistic activity Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-27 Xin-wei Liu, Jun-ling Yang, Wei Niu, Wei-wei Jia, Olajide E. Olaleye, Qi Wen, Xiao-na Duan, Yü-hong Huang, Feng-qing Wang, Fei-fei Du, Chen-chun Zhong, Yan-fen Li, Fang Xu, Qi Gao, Li Li, Chuan Li
Terpene lactones are a class of bioactive constituents of standardized preparations of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, extensively used as add-on therapies in patients with ischemic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. This investigation evaluated human pharmacokinetics of ginkgo terpene lactones and impact of their carboxylation in blood. Human subjects received oral YinXing-TongZhi tablet or intravenous ShuXueNing, two standardized ginkgo preparations. Their plasma protein-binding and platelet-activating factor antagonistic activity were assessed in vitro. Their carboxylation was assessed in phosphate-buffered saline (pH 7.4) and in human plasma. After dosing YinXing-TongZhi tablet, ginkgolides A and B and bilobalide exhibited significantly higher systemic exposure levels than ginkgolides C and J; after dosing ShuXueNing, ginkgolides A, B, C, and J exhibited high exposure levels. The compounds’ unbound fractions in plasma were 45–92%. Apparent oral bioavailability of ginkgolides A and B was mostly >100%, while that of ginkgolides C and J was 6–15%. Bilobalide’s bioavailability was probably high but lower than that of ginkgolides A/B. Terminal half-lives of ginkgolides A, B, and C (4–7 h) after dosing ShuXueNing were shorter than their respective values (6–13 h) after dosing YinXing-TongZhi tablet. Half-life of bilobalide after dosing the tablet was around 5 h. Terpene lactones were roughly evenly distributed in various body fluids and tissues; glomerular-filtration-based renal excretion was the predominant elimination route for the ginkgolides and a major route for bilobalide. Terpene lactones circulated as trilactones and monocarboxylates. Carboxylation reduced platelet-activating factor antagonistic activity of ginkgolides A, B, and C. Ginkgolide J, bilobalide, and ginkgo flavonoids exhibited no such bioactivity. Collectively, differences in terpene lactones’ exposure between the two preparations and influence of their carboxylation in blood should be considered in investigating the relative contributions of terpene lactones to ginkgo preparations’ therapeutic effects. The results here will inform rational clinical use of ginkgo preparations.
Brain activity of anandamide: a rewarding bliss? Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-26 Maria Scherma, Paolo Masia, Valentina Satta, Walter Fratta, Paola Fadda, Gianluigi Tanda
Anandamide is a lipid mediator that acts as an endogenous ligand of CB1 receptors. These receptors are also the primary molecular target responsible for the pharmacological effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis sativa. Several studies demonstrate that anandamide exerts an overall modulatory effect on the brain reward circuitry. Several reports suggest its involvement in the addiction-producing actions of other abused drugs, and it can also act as a behavioral reinforcer in animal models of drug abuse. Importantly, all these effects of anandamide appear to be potentiated by pharmacological inhibition of its metabolic degradation. Enhanced brain levels of anandamide after treatment with inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase, the main enzyme responsible for its degradation, seem to affect the rewarding and reinforcing actions of many drugs of abuse. In this review, we will provide an overview from a preclinical perspective of the current state of knowledge regarding the behavioral pharmacology of anandamide, with a particular emphasis on its motivational/reinforcing properties. We will also discuss how modulation of anandamide levels through inhibition of enzymatic metabolic pathways could provide a basis for developing new pharmaco-therapeutic tools for the treatment of substance use disorders.
Emerging roles of sphingosylphosphorylcholine in modulating cardiovascular functions and diseases Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-26 Di Ge, Hong-wei Yue, Hong-hong Liu, Jing Zhao
Sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) is a bioactive sphingolipid in blood plasma that is metabolized from the hydrolysis of the membrane sphingolipid. SPC maintains low levels in the circulation under normal conditions, which makes studying its origin and action difficult. In recent years, however, it has been revealed that SPC may act as a first messenger through G protein-coupled receptors (S1P1-5, GPR12) or membrane lipid rafts, or as a second messenger mediating intracellular Ca2+ release in diverse human organ systems. SPC is a constituent of lipoproteins, and the activation of platelets promotes the release of SPC into blood, both implying a certain effect of SPC in modulating the pathological process of the heart and vessels. A line of evidence indeed confirms that SPC exerts a pronounced influence on the cardiovascular system through modulation of the functions of myocytes, vein endothelial cells, as well as vascular smooth muscle cells. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of the potential roles of SPC in the development of cardiovascular diseases and discuss the possible underlying mechanisms.
Identification, structure modification, and characterization of potential small-molecule SGK3 inhibitors with novel scaffolds Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-23 Grace Qun Gong, Ke Wang, Xin-Chuan Dai, Yan Zhou, Rajesh Basnet, Yi Chen, De-Hua Yang, Woo-Jeong Lee, Christina Maree Buchanan, Jack Urquhart Flanagan, Peter Robin Shepherd, Ying Chen, Ming-Wei Wang
The serum and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase (SGK) family has been implicated in the regulation of many cellular processes downstream of the PI3K pathway. It plays a crucial role in PI3K-mediated tumorigenesis, making it a potential therapeutic target for cancer. SGK family consists of three isoforms (SGK1, SGK2, and SGK3), which have high sequence homology in the kinase domain and similar substrate specificity with the AKT family. In order to identify novel compounds capable of inhibiting SGK3 activity, a high-throughput screening campaign against 50,400 small molecules was conducted using a fluorescence-based kinase assay that has a Z' factor above 0.5. It identified 15 hits (including nitrogen-containing aromatic, flavone, hydrazone, and naphthalene derivatives) with IC50 values in the low micromolar to sub-micromolar range. Four compounds with a similar scaffold (i.e., a hydrazone core) were selected for structural modification and 18 derivatives were synthesized. Molecular modeling was then used to investigate the structure-activity relationship (SAR) and potential protein–ligand interactions. As a result, a series of SGK inhibitors that are active against both SGK1 and SGK3 were developed and important functional groups that control their inhibitory activity identified.
Dysregulation of miR-135a-5p promotes the development of rat pulmonary arterial hypertension in vivo and in vitro Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-23 Hong-mei Liu, Yi Jia, Ying-xian Zhang, Jun Yan, Ning Liao, Xiao-hui Li, Yuan Tang
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is the most common form of pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary arterial remodeling is closely related to the abnormal proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), which leads to the thickening of the medial layer of muscular arteries and then results in the narrowing or occlusion of the precapillary arterioles and PAH. However, the mechanisms underlying the abnormal proliferation of PASMCs remain unclear. In this study, we established rat primary PAH models using monocrotaline (MCT) injection or hypoxic exposure, then investigated the expression patterns of seven miRNAs associated with multiple pathogenic pathways central to pulmonary hypertension, and further explored the roles and the possible mechanisms of miR-135a during the development of PAH. In the rat primary PAH models, we observed that the expression of miR-135a-5p in lungs was drastically decreased at the initial stage of PAH development after MCT administration or hypoxic exposure, but it increased by 12-fold or 10-fold at the later stage. In vitro study in PASMCs showed a similar pattern of miR-135a-5p expression, with downregulation at 6 h but upregulation at 18, 24, and 48 h after hypoxic exposure. Early, but not late, administration of a miR-135a-5p mimic inhibited hypoxia-induced proliferation of PASMCs. The protective role of early miR-135a-5p agomir in the PAH rat model further supported the hypothesis that the early decrease in the expression of miR-135a-5p contributes to the proliferation of PASMCs and development of PAH, as early administration of miR-135a-5p agomir (10 nM, i.v.) reversed the elevated mean pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular remodeling in MCT-treated rats. We revealed that miR-135a-5p directly bound to the 3′-UTR sequence of rat transient receptor potential channel 1 (TRPC1) mRNA and decreased TRPC1 protein expression, thus inhibiting PASMC proliferation. Collectively, our data suggest that dysregulation of miR-135a-5p in PASMCs contributes to the abnormal proliferation of PASMCs and the pathogenesis of PAH. Increasing miR-135a-5p expression at the early stage of PAH is a potential new avenue to prevent PAH development.
Astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats via inhibition of calcium-sensing receptor-mediated apoptotic signaling pathways Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-20 Bo Yin, Xu-wei Hou, Mei-li Lu
Astragaloside IV (AsIV) is an active saponin extracted from Astragalus membranaceus, which has shown cardioprotective effects in a number of experimental animals. In this study we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which AsIV attenuated the myocardial ischemia reperfusion (MI/R)-induced injury in vitro and in vivo by focusing on calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Rat neonatal cardiac myocytes were subjected to a hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) procedure in vitro, which significantly decreased the cell viability, increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and increased [Ca2+]i. H/R also increased the expression of CaSR and decreased ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels in H/R-exposed myocytes. Pretreatment with AsIV (60 μmol/L) significantly improved the cell viability and decreased LDH release, attenuated myocyte apoptosis, decreased [Ca2+]i and CaSR expression, and increased the ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels. The protective effects of AsIV against H/R injury were partially inhibited by co-treatment with a CaSR agonist, gadolinium chloride (GdCl3) or with a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126. For in vivo studies, a rat MI/R model was established. Pre-administration of AsIV (80 mg/kg every day, ig) significantly decreased the myocardium infarct size, creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) production, serum cardiac troponin (cTnI) levels, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the rats with MI/R injury. The therapeutic effects of AsIV were associated with the downregulation of CaSR expression and upregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in myocardial tissues. In summary, astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial I/R injury via inhibition of CaSR/ERK1/2 and the related apoptotic signaling pathways.
PARP1 interacts with HMGB1 and promotes its nuclear export in pathological myocardial hypertrophy Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-20 Qian LI, Zhuo-ming LI, Shu-ya SUN, Lu-ping WANG, Pan-xia WANG, Zhen GUO, Han-wei YANG, Jian-tao YE, Jing LU, Pei-qing LIU
High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) exhibits various functions according to its subcellular location, which is finely conditioned by diverse post-translational modifications, such as acetylation. The nuclear HMGB1 may prevent from cardiac hypertrophy, whereas its exogenous protein is proven to induce hypertrophic response. This present study sought to investigate the regulatory relationships between poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) and HMGB1 in the process of pathological myocardial hypertrophy. Primary-cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs) were respectively incubated with three cardiac hypertrophic stimulants, including angiotensin II (Ang II), phenylephrine (PE), and isoproterenol (ISO), and cell surface area and the mRNA expression of hypertrophic biomarkers were measured. the catalytic activity of PARP1 was remarkably enhanced, meanwhile HMGB1 excluded from the nucleus. PARP1 overexpression by infecting with adenovirus PARP1 (Ad-PARP1) promoted the nuclear export of HMGB1, facilitated its secretion outside the cell, aggravated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, which could be alleviated by HMGB1 overexpression. PE treatment led to the similar results, while that effect was widely depressed by PARP1 silencing or its specific inhibitor AG14361. Moreover, SD rats were intraperitoneally injected with 3-aminobenzamide (3AB, 20 mg/kg every day, a well-established PARP1 inhibitor) 7 days after abdominal aortic constriction (AAC) surgery for 6 weeks, echocardiography and morphometry of the hearts were measured. Pre-treatment of 3AB relieved AAC-caused the translocation of nuclear HMGB1 protein, cardiac hypertrophy, and heart dysfunction. Our research offers a novel evidence that PARP1 combines with HMGB1 and accelerates its translocation from nucleus to cytoplasm, and the course finally causes cardiac hypertrophy.
Activation of SIRT1 ameliorates LPS-induced lung injury in mice via decreasing endothelial tight junction permeability Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-18 Cuiping Fu, Shengyu Hao, Xiaobo Xu, Jian Zhou, Zilong Liu, Huan Lu, Limin Wang, Weizhong Jin, Shanqun Li
The integrity of the endothelial barrier is a determinant of the prognosis of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced acute lung injury (ALI). In this study, we investigated whether and how Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) maintained the vascular integrity during ALI. An experimental model of ALI was established in mice through intratracheal administration of LPS (10 mg/kg). LPS stimulation significantly increased the pulmonary permeability and decreased the expression of SIRT1 and tight junction proteins (TJs), including occludin, claudin-5, tight junction protein 1 and tight junction protein 2. Morphological studies showed that LPS induced obvious lung injury with inflammatory cell infiltration in the interstitial and alveolar space, hemorrhage, edema, and the thickened alveolar wall compared to the control mice. Intratracheal administration of the selective SIRT1 activator SRT1720 (6.25 mg/kg) significantly attenuated LPS-induced lung injury, lung hyper-permeability and increased TJs expression, whereas intratracheal administration of the selective SIRT1 inhibitor EX527 (6.25 mg/kg) aggravated LPS-induced ALI. Similar protective effects of SIRT1 on pulmonary cellular permeability were observed in primary human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells treated with LPS (2 mg/mL) in vitro. We further demonstrated that the RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway was activated in SIRT1 regulation of tight junction permeability. The RhoA/ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 (10 μM) increased the expression of TJs and reversed LPS- or EX527-induced hyper-permeability. In conclusion, SIRT1 ameliorates LPS-induced lung injury via decreasing endothelial tight junction permeability, possibly via RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway. This finding may contribute to the development of new therapeutic approaches for lung injury.
Cannabidiol does not display drug abuse potential in mice behavior Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-18 Adrián Viudez-Martínez, María S. García-Gutiérrez, Juan Medrano-Relinque, Carmen M. Navarrón, Francisco Navarrete, Jorge Manzanares
Recent evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be useful for the treatment of different neuropsychiatric disorders. However, some controversy regarding its profile as a drug of abuse hampers the further development of basic and clinical studies. In this study, the behavioral profile of CBD as a potential drug of abuse was evaluated in C57BL/6J mice. Reinforcing properties of CBD (15, 30, and 60 mg/kg; i.p.) were assessed using the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. Spontaneous withdrawal symptoms and motor activity in the open field were examined 12 h after the last CBD administration (30 mg/kg/12 h, i.p., 6 days). CBD plasma concentrations were measured at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 h after the administration of CBD (30 mg/kg, i.p.). Furthermore, an oral CBD self-administration paradigm (50 mg/kg; CBD water-soluble 1.2 mg/mL) was performed to evaluate whether this drug produced any effects on motivation compared with a non-reinforcing substance (water). We found that CBD failed to induce CPP, withdrawal symptoms, or altered motor behavior 12 h after its administration. At that time, only traces of CBD were detected, ensuring that the lack of alterations in somatic signs and locomotor activity was not due to residual drug in plasma. Interestingly, mice displayed similar motivation and consumption of CBD and water. Taken together, these results show that CBD lacks activity as a drug of abuse and should stimulate the development of the basic and clinical studies needed to elucidate its potential therapeutic use for the treatment of neuropsychiatric and drug use disorders.
Isoalantolactone suppresses LPS-induced inflammation by inhibiting TRAF6 ubiquitination and alleviates acute lung injury Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-16 Yun-he Ding, Yun-duan Song, Ya-xian Wu, Hui-qiong He, Tian-hong Yu, Yu-dong Hu, De-peng Zhang, Hong-chao Jiang, Kai-kai Yu, Xiao-zong Li, Lei Sun, Feng Qian
Isoalantolactone (IAL) is a sesquiterpene lactone extracted from roots of Inula helenium L and has shown anti-inflammatory effects. In this study we investigated the therapeutic effects of IAL on acute lung injury (ALI) and elucidated the mechanisms underlying its anti-inflammation potential in vitro and in vivo. Treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 100 ng/mL) drastically stimulated production of inflammatory mediators such as NO, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs), which was dose-dependently suppressed by pretreatment with IAL (2.5, 5, 10, 20 μM). We further revealed that IAL suppressed LPS-induced NF-κB, ERK, and Akt activation. Moreover, the downregulation of non-degradable K63-linked polyubiquitination of TRAF6, an upstream transcription factor of NF-κB, contributed to the anti-inflammatory effects of IAL. ALI was induced in mice by intratracheal injection of LPS (5 mg/kg). Administration of IAL (20 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly suppressed pulmonary pathological changes, neutrophil infiltration, pulmonary permeability, and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. Our results demonstrate that IAL is a potential therapeutic reagent against inflammation and ALI.
Activation of natural killer T cells contributes to triptolide-induced liver injury in mice Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-16 Xin-zhi Wang, Ru-feng Xue, Shen-ye Zhang, Ya-ting Zheng, Lu-yong Zhang, Zhen-zhou Jiang
Triptolide (TP) is the main active ingredient of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook.f, which has attracted great interest due to its promising efficacy for autoimmune diseases and tumors. However, severe adverse reactions, especially hepatotoxicity, have restricted its approval in the market. In the present study we explored the role of hepatic natural killer T (NKT) cells in the pathogenesis of TP-induced liver injury in mice. TP (600 μg/kg/day, i.g.) was administered to female mice for 1, 3, or 5 days. We found that administration of TP dose-dependently induced hepatotoxicity, evidenced by the body weight reduction, elevated serum ALT and AST levels, as well as significant histopathological changes in the livers. However, the mice were resistant to the development of TP-induced liver injury when their NKT cells were depleted by injection of anti-NK1.1 mAb (200 μg, i.p.) on days −2 and −1 before TP administration. We further revealed that TP administration activated NKT cells, dominantly releasing Th1 cytokine IFN-γ, recruiting neutrophils and macrophages, and leading to liver damage. After anti-NK1.1 injection, however, the mice mainly secreted Th2 cytokine IL-4 in the livers and exhibited a significantly lower percentage of hepatic infiltrating neutrophils and macrophages upon TP challenge. The activation of NKT cells was associated with the upregulation of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway. Collectively, these results demonstrate a novel role of NKT cells contributing to the mechanisms of TP-induced liver injury. More importantly, the regulation of NKT cells may promote effective measures that control drug-induced liver injury.
CircRNAFisher: a systematic computational approach for de novo circular RNA identification Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-16 Guo-yi Jia, Duo-lin Wang, Meng-zhu Xue, Yu-wei Liu, Yu-chen Pei, Ying-qun Yang, Jing-mei Xu, Yan-chun Liang, Peng Wang
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are emerging species of mRNA splicing products with largely unknown functions. Although several computational pipelines for circRNA identification have been developed, these methods strictly rely on uniquely mapped reads overlapping back-splice junctions (BSJs) and lack approaches to model the statistical significance of the identified circRNAs. Here, we reported a systematic computational approach to identify circRNAs by simultaneously utilizing BSJ overlapping reads and discordant BSJ spanning reads to identify circRNAs. Moreover, we developed a novel procedure to estimate the P-values of the identified circRNAs. A computational cross-validation and experimental validations demonstrated that our method performed favorably compared to existing circRNA detection tools. We created a standalone tool, CircRNAFisher, to implement the method, which might be valuable to computational and experimental scientists studying circRNAs.
EGFR-targeting, β-defensin-tailored fusion protein exhibits high therapeutic efficacy against EGFR-expressed human carcinoma via mitochondria-mediated apoptosis Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-16 Wen-Juan Liu, Xiu-Jun Liu, Jian Xu, Liang Li, Yi Li, Sheng-Hua Zhang, Jia-Lin Wang, Qing-Fang Miao, Yong-Su Zhen
Defensins play an essential role in innate immunity. In this study, a novel recombinant β-defensin that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was designed and prepared. The EGFR-targeting β-defensin consists of an EGF-derived oligopeptide (Ec), a β-defensin-1 peptide (hBD1) and a lidamycin-derived apoprotein (LDP), which serves as the “scaffold” for the fusion protein (Ec-LDP-hBD1). Ec-LDP-hBD1 effectively bound to EGFR highly expressed human epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells. The cytotoxicity of Ec-LDP-hBD1 to EGFR highly expressed A431 cells was more potent than that to EGFR low-expressed human lung carcinoma A549 and H460 cells (the IC50 values in A431, A549, and H460 cells were 1.8 ± 0.55, 11.9 ± 0.51, and 5.19 ± 1.21 μmol/L, respectively); in addition, the cytotoxicity of Ec-LDP-hBD1 was much stronger than that of Ec-LDP and hBD1. Moreover, Ec-LDP-hBD1 suppressed cancer cell proliferation and induced mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Its in vivo anticancer action was evaluated in athymic mice with A431 and H460 xenografts. The mice were administered Ec-LDP-hBD1 (5, 10 mg/kg, i.v.) two times with a weekly interval. Administration of Ec-LDP-hBD1 markedly inhibited the tumor growth without significant body weight changes. The in vivo imaging further revealed that Ec-LDP-hBD1 had a tumor-specific distribution with a clear image of localization. The results demonstrate that the novel recombinant EGFR-targeting β-defensin Ec-LDP-hBD1 displays both selectivity and enhanced cytotoxicity against relevant cancer cells by inducing mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and exhibits high therapeutic efficacy against the EGFR-expressed carcinoma xenograft. This novel format of β-defensin, which induces mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis, may play an active role in EGFR-targeting cancer therapy.
Integrating endocannabinoid signaling in the regulation of anxiety and depression Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-12 An-qi Yin, Feng Wang, Xia Zhang
Brain endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling seems to harmonize appropriate behavioral responses, which are essential for the organism’s long-term viability and homeostasis. Dysregulation of eCB signaling contributes to negative emotional states and increased stress responses. An understanding of the underlying neural cell populations and neural circuit regulation will enable the development of therapeutic strategies to mitigate behavioral maladaptation and provide insight into the influence of eCB on the neural circuits involved in anxiety and depression. This review focuses on recent evidence that has added a new layer of complexity to the idea of targeting the eCB system for therapeutic benefits in neuropsychiatric disease and on the future research direction of neural circuit modulation.
Sevoflurane postconditioning protects against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury by restoring autophagic flux via an NO-dependent mechanism Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-12 Shi-gang Qiao, Ying Sun, Bo Sun, An Wang, Jia Qiu, Lei Hong, Jian-zhong An, Chen Wang, Hui-ling Zhang
Volatile anesthetics improve postischemic cardiac function and reduce infarction even when administered for only a brief time at the onset of reperfusion. A recent study showed that sevoflurane postconditioning (SPC) attenuated myocardial reperfusion injury, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we examined the effects of sevoflurane on nitric oxide (NO) release and autophagic flux during the myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in rats in vivo and ex vivo. Male rats were subjected to 30 min ischemia and 2 h reperfusion in the presence or absence of sevoflurane (1.0 minimum alveolar concentration) during the first 15 min of reperfusion. We found that SPC significantly improved hemodynamic performance after reperfusion, alleviated postischemic myocardial infarction, reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide content loss, and cytochrome c release in heart tissues. Furthermore, SPC significantly increased the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and elevated myocardial NOS activity and NO production. All these effects were abolished by treatment with an NOS inhibitor NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME, 10 mg/kg, i.v.). We also observed myocardial I/R-induced accumulation of autophagosomes in heart tissues, as evidenced by increased ratios of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 II/I, up-regulation of Beclin 1 and P62, and reduced lysosome-associated membrane protein-2 expression. SPC significantly attenuated I/R-impaired autophagic flux, which were blocked by l-NAME. Moreover, pretreatment with the autophagic flux blocker chloroquine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) increased autophagosome accumulation in SPC-treated heart following I/R and blocked SPC-induced cardioprotection. The same results were also observed in a rat model of myocardial I/R injury ex vivo, suggesting that SPC protects rat hearts against myocardial reperfusion injury by restoring I/R-impaired autophagic flux via an NO-dependent mechanism.
Perivascular adipose tissue dysfunction aggravates adventitial remodeling in obese mini pigs via NLRP3 inflammasome/IL-1 signaling pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-12 Xiao Zhu, Hong-wen Zhang, Hai-nan Chen, Xiao-jun Deng, Yi-xuan Tu, Ampadu O. Jackson, Ji-na Qing, Ai-ping Wang, Vaibhav Patel, Kai Yin
Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT), a special type of adipose tissue, closely surrounds vascular adventitia and produces numerous bioactive substances to maintain vascular homeostasis. PVAT dysfunction has a crucial role in regulating vascular remodeling, but the exact mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we investigated whether and how obesity-induced PVAT dysfunction affected adventitia remodeling in early vascular injury stages. Mini pigs were fed a high sugar and fat diet for 6 months to induce metabolic syndrome and obesity. In the mini pigs, left carotid vascular injury was then generated using balloon dilation. Compared with normal mini pigs, obese mini pigs displayed significantly enhanced vascular injury-induced adventitial responses, evidenced by adventitia fibroblast (AF) proliferation and differentiation, and adventitia fibrosis, as well as exacerbated PVAT dysfunction characterized by increased accumulation of resident macrophages, particularly the M1 pro-inflammatory phenotype, increased expression of leptin and decreased expression of adiponectin, and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18. Primary AFs cultured in PVAT-conditioned medium from obese mini pigs also showed significantly increased proliferation and differentiation. We further revealed that activated nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and its downstream products, i.e., IL-1 family members such as IL-1β and IL-18 were upregulated in the PVAT of obese mini pigs; PVAT dysfunction was also demonstrated in preadipocytes treated with palmitic acid. Finally, we showed that pretreatment with IL-1 receptor (IL-1R) antagonist or IL-1R knockdown blocked AF proliferation and differentiation in AFs cultured in PVAT-conditioned medium. These results demonstrate that obesity-induced PVAT dysfunction aggravates adventitial remodeling after early vascular injury with elevated AF proliferation and differentiation via activating the NLRP3/IL-1 signaling pathway.
Wnt signaling pathways in myocardial infarction and the therapeutic effects of Wnt pathway inhibitors Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-12 Wen-bin Fu, Wei Eric Wang, Chun-yu Zeng
Myocardial infarction (MI) is one of the most serious health threats, resulting in huge physical and economic burdens worldwide. Wnt signaling pathways play an important role in developmental processes such as tissue patterning, cell differentiation and cell division. Appropriate regulation of the activities of Wnt signaling pathways is also important for heart development and healing in post-MI heart. Moreover, Wnt pathway inhibitors have been identified as novel antitumor drugs and applied in ongoing clinical trials. This research progress has generated increasing interests for investigating the effects of Wnt pathway inhibitors on MI healing. In this short review, we summarize the roles of Wnt signaling pathways in post-MI heart and the therapeutic effects of Wnt pathway inhibitors on MI, and discuss the underlying mechanisms of Wnt pathway inhibitors in cardiac repairing.
Thymopentin-loaded phospholipid-based phase separation gel with long-lasting immunomodulatory effects: in vitro and in vivo studies Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-12 Ting Zhang, Xian-yan Qin, Xi Cao, Wen-hao Li, Tao Gong, Zhi-rong Zhang
Thymopentin (TP5) is an effective immunomodulatory agent for autoimmune disease that has been used clinically for decades. However, its application is greatly limited by its extremely short half-life in vivo, poor membrane permeability and extensive metabolism in gastrointestinal tract, resulting in repeated injection and poor patient compliance. In the present study, we developed a TP5-loaded, phospholipid-based phase separation gel (PPSG) to achieve sustained drug release profile and long-lasting therapeutic effects. We firstly demonstrated the physiochemical characteristics of PPSG before and after phase transition by examining the viscosity and morphology change caused by the phase transition. Moreover, the PPSG exerted a low cytotoxicity in L929 cells and HUVECs, suggesting the biocompatibility of PPSG. A month-long drug release profile of TP5 PPSG was observed both in vitro and in vivo, revealing its sustained and controlled drug release property. Most importantly, in cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressive rats, a single dose of TP5 PPSG (15 mg/kg, sc) injected could normalize their T-SOD levels and CD4+/CD8+ ratio; such an immunoregulatory effect was comparable to that produced by repeated injection of TP5 solution (0.6 mg/kg per day, sc) for 14 consecutive days. Thus, TP5 PPSG has a great potential for sustained delivery of TP5 in clinical use because of its simple manufacture process, good biocompatibility and long-lasting immunomodulatory efficacy, which could greatly improve patient compliance.
mTORC2 facilitates endothelial cell senescence by suppressing Nrf2 expression via the Akt/GSK-3β/C/EBPα signaling pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-10 Han-wei Yang, Hui-ling Hong, Wen-wei Luo, Chun-mei Dai, Xin-yi Chen, Lu-ping Wang, Qian Li, Zi-qing Li, Pei-qing Liu, Zhuo-ming Li
Vascular endothelial cell senescence is a leading cause of age-associated and vascular diseases. Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) is a conserved serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) protein kinase that plays an important regulatory role in various cellular processes. However, its impact on endothelial senescence remains controversial. In this study we investigated the role and molecular mechanisms of mTORC2 in endothelial senescence. A replicative senescence model and H2O2-induced premature senescence model were established in primary cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). In these senescence models, the formation and activation of mTORC2 were significantly increased, evidenced by the increases in binding of Rictor (the essential component of mTORC2) to mTOR, phosphorylation of mTOR at Ser2481 and phosphorylation of Akt (the effector of mTORC2) at Ser473. Knockdown of Rictor or treatment with the Akt inhibitor MK-2206 attenuated senescence-associated β-galactosidase (β-gal) staining and expression of p53 and p21 proteins in the senescent endothelial cells, suggesting that mTORC2/Akt facilitates endothelial senescence. The effect of mTORC2/Akt on endothelial senescence was due to suppression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) at the transcriptional level, since knockdown of Rictor reversed the reduction of Nrf2 mRNA expression in endothelial senescence. Furthermore, mTORC2 suppressed the expression of Nrf2 via the Akt/GSK-3β/C/EBPα signaling pathway. These results suggest that the mTORC2/Akt/GSK-3β/C/EBPα/Nrf2 signaling pathway is involved in both replicative and inducible endothelial senescence. The deleterious role of mTORC2 in endothelial cell senescence suggests therapeutic strategies (targeting mTORC2) for aging-associated diseases and vascular diseases.
Low serum osteocalcin levels are correlated with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and cardiac death in Chinese men Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-10 Xue-li Zhang, Yun Shen, Xiao-jing Ma, Zhi-gang Lu, Yi-ting Xu, Qin Xiong, Yu-qian Bao
Osteocalcin is a newly identified type of cytokine secreted by osteoblasts, which has an endocrine function, mediates energy and glycol-lipid metabolism, and is closely related to cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we investigated the value of serum osteocalcin levels in predicting left ventricular systolic dysfunction and cardiac death. A total of 258 patients in the Department of Cardiology were included. Two-dimensional echocardiography was performed in all the subjects. The cardiac death of subjects occurring with a median follow-up of 4.6 years was informed via phone calls or the electronic medical records. The serum osteocalcin levels were measured using electrochemiluminescent immunoassay. We found that the median left ventricular ejection fractions (LVEFs) were 62% in men and 63% in women. In the men with a LVEF > 62%, the serum osteocalcin levels were significantly higher than in those with LVEF ≤ 62% (P = 0.042), whereas this difference was absent in the women. Both the serum osteocalcin (β = 0.095, P = 0.028) and serum N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP; β = −0.003, P < 0.01) levels remained independently significantly correlated with LVEF in the men but not in the women. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses of the men revealed that the serum osteocalcin (P = 0.007), serum NT-pro-BNP (P = 0.018) and serum osteocalcin + NT-pro-BNP (P < 0.01) levels were all significant in identifying left ventricular systolic dysfunction at baseline, but the pairwise comparisons of the three areas under the curves (AUCs) were all non-significant. The men in the lower osteocalcin level group at baseline suffered a greater risk of future cardiac death than those in the higher osteocalcin level group, whereas the result for NT-pro-BNP exhibited the opposite pattern. In conclusion, lower serum osteocalcin levels in the men could identify left ventricular systolic dysfunction and cardiac death in a manner that was not inferior to high serum NT-pro-BNP levels.
Developmental and behavioral effects in neonatal and adult mice following prenatal activation of endocannabinoid receptors by capsaicin Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-10 Alex Perchuk, Sonya M. Bierbower, Ana Canseco-Alba, Zoila Mora, Lauren Tyrell, Neal Joshi, Norman Schanz, Georgianna G. Gould, Emmanuel S. Onaivi
Despite the apparent abundance of ligand-gated transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) and possible cross talk between the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid systems in the central nervous system (CNS), it is unclear what role TRPV1 receptor activation in CNS plays in neurobehavioral development. We previously reported that capsaicin or WIN55212-2 induces risk aversion in the plus-maze test, which was dependent on the gender and mouse strain used. In this study, pregnant BALBc mice were administered capsaicin (1.0 or 4.0 mg/kg, i.p.) during the second week of gestation. Developmental effects of prenatal exposure to capsaicin were assessed in neonates, and behavioral effects were assessed in adult offspring. Gender- and dose-specific variations in ultrasonic vocalizations, weight gain, righting reflex, and general activity of the pups were observed. Prenatal exposure to capsaicin altered plus-maze performance, especially with further exogenous capsaicin challenge. Furthermore, dose- and gender-specific effects were evident in the conditioned place preference/aversion paradigm following conditioning with capsaicin in adult animals. The capsaicin-induced aversion in the plus-maze test was enhanced by WIN55212-2 and blocked by pretreatment with vanilloid antagonist capsazepine or the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant, demonstrating an interaction between the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid systems in CNS. Taken together, the interaction between the endocannabinoid and endovanilloid signaling systems can be exploited for therapeutic applications in health and disease.
Repurposing matrine for the treatment of hepatosteatosis and associated disorders in glucose homeostasis in mice Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-06 Ali Mazhari, Xiao-Yi Zeng, Xiu Zhou, Songpei Li, Jun Xu, Wen Tan, Ross Vlahos, Stephen Robinson, Ji-Ming YE
The present study investigated the efficacy of the hepatoprotective drug matrine (Mtr) for its new application for hepatosteatosis and associated disorders in glucose homeostasis. The study was performed in two nutritional models of hepatosteatosis in mice with various abnormal glucose homeostasis: (1) high-fructose diet (HFru) induced hepatosteatosis and glucose intolerance from hepatic, and (2) hepatosteatosis and hyperglycemia induced by high-fat (HF) diet in combination with low doses of streptozotocin (STZ). Administration of Mtr (100 mg/kg every day in diet for 4 weeks) abolished HFru-induced hepatosteatosis and glucose intolerance. These effects were associated with the inhibition of HFru-stimulated de novo lipogenesis (DNL) without altering hepatic fatty acid oxidation. Further investigation revealed that HFru-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress was inhibited, whereas heat-shock protein 72 (an inducible chaperon protein) was increased by Mtr. In a type 2 diabetic model induced by HF-STZ, Mtr reduced hepatosteatosis and improved attenuated hyperglycemia. The hepatoprotective drug Mtr may be repurposed for the treatment of hepatosteatosis and associated disorders in glucose homeostasis. The inhibition of ER stress associated DNL and fatty acid influx appears to play an important role in these metabolic effects.
ClC-3 promotes angiotensin II-induced reactive oxygen species production in endothelial cells by facilitating Nox2 NADPH oxidase complex formation Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-05 Guo-zheng Liang, Li-min Cheng, Xing-feng Chen, Yue-jiao Li, Xiao-long Li, Yong-yuan Guan, Yan-hua Du
Recent evidence suggests that ClC-3, a member of the ClC family of Cl− channels or Cl−/H+ antiporters, plays a critical role in NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. However, the underling mechanisms remain unclear. In this study we investigated the effects and mechanisms of ClC-3 on NADPH oxidase activation and ROS generation in endothelial cells. Treatment with angiotensin II (Ang II, 1 μmol/L) significantly elevated ClC-3 expression in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Furthermore, Ang II treatment increased ROS production and NADPH oxidase activity, an effect that could be significantly inhibited by knockdown of ClC-3, and further enhanced by overexpression of ClC-3. SA-β-galactosidase staining showed that ClC-3 silencing abolished Ang II-induced HUVEC senescence, whereas ClC-3 overexpression caused the opposite effects. We further showed that Ang II treatment increased the translocation of p47phox and p67phox from the cytosol to membrane, accompanied by elevated Nox2 and p22phox expression, which was significantly attenuated by knockdown of ClC-3 and potentiated by overexpression of ClC-3. Moreover, overexpression of ClC-3 increased Ang II-induced phosphorylation of p47phox and p38 MAPK in HUVECs. Pretreatment with a p38 inhibitor SB203580 abolished ClC-3 overexpression-induced increase in p47phox phosphorylation, as well as NADPH oxidase activity and ROS generation. Our results demonstrate that ClC-3 acts as a positive regulator of Ang II-induced NADPH oxidase activation and ROS production in endothelial cells, possibly via promoting both Nox2/p22phox expression and p38 MAPK-dependent p47phox/p67phox membrane translocation, then increasing Nox2 NADPH oxidase complex formation.
Apatinib, a selective VEGFR2 inhibitor, improves the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents to tumors by normalizing tumor vessels in LoVo colon cancer xenograft mice Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-05 Kai Zhou, Jing-wei Zhang, Qi-zhi Wang, Wen-yue Liu, Jia-li Liu, Lan Yao, Ming-min Cai, Sui-ying Ni, Qing-yun Cai, Guang-ji Wang, Fang Zhou
Tumor vascular normalization has been proposed as a therapeutic strategy for malignant neoplasms, which can also interpret the synergistic effect of anti-angiogenesis agents combined with chemotherapy. Apatinib (Apa), a highly selective VEGFR2 inhibitor, attracts much attentions due to its encouraging anticancer activity, especially in the clinical trials of combined treatment. In this study, we investigated whether Apa could promote vascular normalization in tumor in a certain time window. Mice bearing LoVo colon cancer xenograft were orally administrated Apa (150 mg kg−1 per day) for 5, 7, 10, or 12 days. Apa significantly inhibited tumor growth and decreased the microvessel density. Using multi-photon microscopy and electron microscopy, we found that Apa improved tumor vessel morphology by pruning distorted vessel branches and decreased the gap between endothelial cells after a 7-day treatment. Furthermore, Apa decreased vessel leakage and increased pericyte coverage on vascular endothelial cells, suggesting that tumor vessels were more mature and integrated. The intratumoral distribution of adriamycin (ADR) in Apa group was improved from day 7 to 10 without change in plasma drug concentration. Tumor blood perfusion was also increased in this window, and the expression of hypoxia induced factor 1α was downregulated, suggesting the effect of Apa on alleviating tumor hypoxic micro-environment. In conclusion, Apa may improve the effective perfusion of tumor vessels and increase the intratumoral distribution of ADR in a certain time window via normalizing tumor vessels. This normalization window (7 to 10 days of treatment) may contribute to develop a regimen of combined medication in clinic use of Apa.
Identification of compound D2923 as a novel anti-tumor agent targeting CSF1R Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-03 Ying-Qiang Liu, Ya-Nan Wang, Xiao-Yun Lu, Lin-Jiang Tong, Yan Li, Tao Zhang, Qiu-Ju Xun, Fang Feng, Yu-Zhe Chen, Yi Su, Yan-Yan Shen, Yi Chen, Mei-Yu Geng, Ke Ding, Yan-Li Li, Hua Xie, Jian Ding
Colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) plays a critical role in promoting tumor progression in various types of tumors. Here, we identified D2923 as a novel and selective inhibitor of CSF1R and explored its antitumor activity both in vitro and in vivo. D2923 potently inhibited CSF1R in vitro kinase activity with an IC50 value of 0.3 nM. It exhibited 10- to 300-fold less potency against a panel of kinases tested. D2923 markedly blocked CSF-1-induced activation of CSF1R and its downstream signaling transduction in THP-1 and RAW264.7 macrophages and thus inhibited the in vitro growth of macrophages. Moreover, D2923 dose-dependently attenuated the proliferation of a small panel of myeloid leukemia cells, mainly by arresting the cells at G1 phase as well as inducing apoptosis in the cells. The results of the in vivo experiments further demonstrated that D2923 displayed potent antitumor activity against M-NFS-60 xenografts, with tumor growth inhibition rates of 50 and 88% at doses of 40 and 80 mg/kg, respectively. Additionally, D2923 was well tolerated with no significant body-weight loss observed in the treatment groups compared with the control. Furthermore, a western blot analysis and the immunohistochemistry results confirmed that the phosphorylation of CSF1R in tumor tissue was dramatically reduced after D2923 treatment, and this was accompanied by the depletion of macrophages in the tumor. Meanwhile, the expression of the proliferation marker Ki67 was also markedly decreased in the D2923 treatment group compared with the control group. Taken together, we identified D2923 as a novel and effective CSF1R inhibitor, which deserves further investigation.
Cannabinoid CB1 receptor neutral antagonist AM4113 inhibits heroin self-administration without depressive side effects in rats Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-02 Xiang-hu He, Chloe J. Jordan, Kiran Vemuri, Guo-hua Bi, Jia Zhan, Eliot L. Gardner, Alexandros Makriyannis, Yan-lin Wang, Zheng-xiong Xi
Cannabinoid CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) have been shown to be a promising target in medication development for the treatment of addiction. However, clinical trials with SR141716A (rimonabant, a selective CB1R antagonist/inverse agonist) for the treatment of obesity and smoking cessation failed due to unwanted side effects, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies. Recent preclinical studies suggest that the neutral CB1R antagonist AM4113 may retain the therapeutic anti-addictive effects of SR141716A in nicotine self-administration models and possibly has fewer unwanted side effects. However, little is known about whether AM4113 is also effective for other drugs of abuse, such as opioids and psychostimulants, and whether it produces depressive side effects similar to SR141716A in experimental animals. In this study, we demonstrated that systemic administration of AM4113 (3 and 10 mg/kg) dose-dependently inhibited the self-administration of intravenous heroin but not cocaine or methamphetamine, whereas SR141716A (3 and 10 mg/kg) dose-dependently inhibited the self-administration of heroin and methamphetamine but not cocaine. In the electrical brain-stimulation reward (BSR) paradigm, SR141716A (3 and 10 mg/kg) dose-dependently increased the BSR stimulation threshold (i.e., decreased the stimulation reward), but AM4113 had no effect on BSR at the same doses, suggesting that SR141716A may produce aversive effects while AM4113 may not. Together, these findings show that neutral CB1R antagonists such as AM4113 deserve further research as a new class of CB1R-based medications for the treatment of opioid addiction without SR141716A-like aversive effects.
CB2 receptor antibody signal specificity: correlations with the use of partial CB2-knockout mice and anti-rat CB2 receptor antibodies Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-07-02 Hai-ying Zhang, Hui Shen, Chloe J. Jordan, Qing-rong Liu, Eliot L. Gardner, Antonello Bonci, Zheng-xiong Xi
Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are highly expressed in the brain and functionally modulate presynaptic neurotransmitter release, while cannabinoid CB2 receptors (CB2Rs) were initially identified in the spleen and regarded as peripheral cannabinoid receptors. Recently, growing evidence indicates the presence of functional CB2Rs in the brain. However, this finding is disputed because of the specificity of CB2R antibody signals. We used two strains of currently available partial CB2-knockout (CB2-KO) mice as controls, four anti-rat or anti-mouse CB2R antibodies, and mRNA quantification to further address this issue. Western blot assays using the four antibodies detected a CB2R-like band at ~40 kD in both the brain and spleen. Notably, more bands were detected in the brain than in the spleen, and specific immune peptides blocked band detection. Immunohistochemical assays also detected CB2-like immunostaining in mouse midbrain dopamine neurons. CB2R deletion in CB2-KO mice may reduce or leave CB2R-like immunoreactivity unaltered depending on antibody epitope. Antibodies with epitopes at the receptor-deleted region detected a significant reduction in CB2R band density and immunostaining in N-terminal-deleted Deltagen and C-terminal-deleted Zimmer strain CB2-KO mice. Other antibodies with epitopes at the predicted receptor-undeleted regions detected similar band densities and immunostaining in wild-type and CB2-KO mice. Quantitative RT-PCR assays detected CB2 mRNA expression using probes that targeted upstream or downstream gene sequences but not the probe that targeted the gene-deleted sequence in Deltagen or Zimmer CB2-KO mice. These findings suggest that none of the tested four polyclonal antibodies are highly mouse CB2R-specific. Non-specific binding may be related to the expression of mutant or truncated CB2R-like proteins in partial CB2-KO mice and the use of anti-rat CB2 antibodies because the epitopes are different between rat and mouse CB2Rs.
Biomarkers for individualized dosage adjustments in immunosuppressive therapy using calcineurin inhibitors after organ transplantation Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-27 Rao Fu, Soichiro Tajima, Kimitaka Suetsugu, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Nobuaki Egashira, Satohiro Masuda
Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs), such as cyclosporine A and tacrolimus, are widely used immunosuppressive agents for the prevention of post-transplantation rejection and have improved 1-year graft survival rates by up to 90%. However, CNIs can induce severe reactions, such as acute or chronic allograft nephropathy, hypertension, and neurotoxicity. Because CNIs have varied bioavailabilities, narrow therapeutic ranges, and individual propensities for toxic effects, therapeutic drug monitoring is necessary for all CNIs. Identifying the genetic polymorphisms in drug-metabolizing enzymes will help to determine personalized dosage regimens for CNIs, as CNIs are substrates for CYP3A5 and P-glycoprotein (P-gp, MDR1). CNIs are often concomitantly administered with voriconazole or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), giving rise to drug interaction problems. Voriconazole and PPIs can increase the blood concentrations of CNIs, and both are primarily metabolized by CYP2C19. Thus, it is expected that interactions between CNIs and voriconazole or PPI would be affected by CYP2C19 and CYP3A5 polymorphisms. CNI-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious complication of transplantations. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1) are noninvasive urinary biomarkers that are believed to be highly sensitive to CNI-induced AKI. In this article, we review the adverse events and pharmacokinetics of CNIs and the biomarkers related to CNIs, including CYP3A5, CYP2C19, MDR1, NGAL, and KIM-1. We hope that these data will help to identify the optimal biomarkers for monitoring CNI-based immunosuppressive therapy after organ transplantation.
Pharmacological activation of REV-ERBα represses LPS-induced microglial activation through the NF-κB pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-27 Dong-kai Guo, Yao Zhu, Hong-yang Sun, Xing-yun Xu, Shun Zhang, Zong-bing Hao, Guang-hui Wang, Chen-chen Mu, Hai-gang Ren
REV-ERBα, the NR1D1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, member 1) gene product, is a dominant transcriptional silencer that represses the expression of genes involved in numerous physiological functions, including circadian rhythm, inflammation, and metabolism, and plays a crucial role in maintaining immune functions. Microglia-mediated neuroinflammation is tightly associated with various neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders. However, the role of REV-ERBα in neuroinflammation is largely unclear. In this study, we investigated whether and how pharmacological activation of REV-ERBα affected lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neuroinflammation in mouse microglia in vitro and in vivo. In BV2 cells or primary mouse cultured microglia, application of REV-ERBα agonist GSK4112 or SR9011 dose-dependently suppressed LPS-induced microglial activation through the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. In BV2 cells, pretreatment with GSK4112 inhibited LPS-induced phosphorylation of the inhibitor of NF-κB alpha (IκBα) kinase (IκK), thus restraining the phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα, and blocked the nuclear translocation of p65, a NF-κB subunit, thereby suppressing the expression and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). Moreover, REV-ERBα agonist-induced inhibition on neuroinflammation protected neurons from microglial activation-induced damage, which were also demonstrated in mice with their ventral midbrain microinjected with GSK4112, and then stimulated with LPS. Our results reveal that enhanced REV-ERBα activity suppresses microglial activation through the NF-κB pathway in the central nervous system.
Effects of SLCO1B1 and GATM gene variants on rosuvastatin-induced myopathy are unrelated to high plasma exposure of rosuvastatin and its metabolites Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-27 Xue Bai, Bin Zhang, Ping Wang, Guan-lei Wang, Jia-li Li, Ding-sheng Wen, Xing-zhen Long, Hong-shuo Sun, Yi-bin Liu, Min Huang, Shi-long Zhong
Myotoxicity is a significant factor contributing to the poor adherence and reduced effectiveness in the treatment of statins. Genetic variations and high drug plasma exposure are considered as critique causes for statin-induced myopathy (SIM). This study aims to explore the sequential influences of rosuvastatin (RST) pharmacokinetic and myopathy-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the plasma exposure to RST and its metabolites: rosuvastatin lactone (RSTL) and N-desmethyl rosuvastatin (DM-RST), and further on RST-induced myopathy. A total of 758 Chinese patients with coronary artery disease were enrolled and followed up SIM incidents for 2 years. The plasma concentrations of RST and its metabolites were determined through a validated ultra-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method. Nine SNPs in six genes were genotyped by using the Sequenom MassArray iPlex platform. Results revealed that ABCG2 rs2231142 variations were highly associated with the plasma concentrations of RST, RSTL, and DM-RST (Padj < 0.01, FDR < 0.05). CYP2C9 rs1057910 significantly affected the DM-RST concentration (Padj < 0.01, FDR < 0.05). SLCO1B1 rs4149056 variant allele was significantly associated with high SIM risk (OR: 1.741, 95% CI: 1.180–2.568, P = 0.0052, FDR = 0.0468). Glycine amidinotransferase (GATM) rs9806699 was marginally associated with SIM incidents (OR: 0.617, 95% CI: 0.406–0.939, P = 0.0240, FDR = 0.0960). The plasma concentrations of RST and its metabolites were not significantly different between the SIM (n = 51) and control groups (n = 707) (all P > 0.05). In conclusion, SLCO1B1 and GATM genetic variants are potential biomarkers for predicting RST-induced myopathy, and their effects on SIM are unrelated to the high plasma exposure of RST and its metabolites.
Design and evaluation of glomerulus mesangium-targeted PEG-PLGA nanoparticles loaded with dexamethasone acetate Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-27 Sha Li, Ying-chun Zeng, Ke Peng, Chang Liu, Zhi-rong Zhang, Ling Zhang
Mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (MsPGN), one of the most common glomerulonephritis pathological types, often leads to end-stage renal disease over a prolonged period. But the current treatment of MsPGN is non-specific and causes serious side effects, thus novel therapeutics and targeting strategies are urgently demanded. By combining the advantages of PEG-PLGA nanoparticles and the size selection mechanism of renal glomerulus, we designed and developed a novel PEG-PLGA nanoparticle delivery system capable of delivering dexamethasone acetate (A-DEX) into glomerular mesangium. We determined that 90 nm was the optimum size to encapsulate A-DEX for glomerular mesangium targeting based on the size-selection mechanism of glomerulus. After intravenous administration in rats, 90 nm DiD-loaded NPs were found to accumulate to a greater extent in the kidney and kidney cortex compared with the free DiD solution. The 90 nm A-DEX NPs are also more stable at room temperature and showed a sustained release pattern. In rat glomerular mesangial cells (HBZY-1) in vitro, we found that the uptake of 90 nm A-DEX NPs was both temperature-dependent and energe-dependent, and they were mostly engulfed via clathrin-dependent endocytosis pathways. In summary, we have successfully developed a glomerular mesangium-targeted PEG-PLGA NPs, which is potential for the treatment of MsPGN.
Veratridine modifies the gating of human voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.7 Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-27 Xiao-yu Zhang, Rui-yun Bi, Peng Zhang, Ye-hua Gan
Veratridine is a lipid-soluble neurotoxin derived from plants in the family Liliaceae. It has been broadly investigated for its action as a sodium channel agonist. However, the effects of veratridine on subtypes of sodium channels, especially Nav1.7, remain to be studied. Here, we investigated the effects of veratridine on human Nav1.7 ectopically expressed in HEK293A cells and recorded Nav1.7 currents from the cells using whole-cell patch clamp technique. We found that veratridine exerted a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the peak current of Nav1.7, with the half-maximal inhibition concentration (IC50) of 18.39 µM. Meanwhile, veratridine also elicited tail current (linearly) and sustained current [half-maximal concentration (EC50): 9.53 µM], also in a dose-dependent manner. Veratridine (75 µM) shifted the half-maximal activation voltage of the Nav1.7 activation curve in the hyperpolarized direction, from −21.64 ± 0.75 mV to −28.14 ± 0.66 mV, and shifted the half-inactivation voltage of the steady-state inactivation curve from −59.39 ± 0.39 mV to −73.78 ± 0.5 mV. An increased frequency of stimulation decreased the peak and tail currents of Nav1.7 for each pulse along with pulse number, and increased the accumulated tail current at the end of train stimulation. These findings reveal the different modulatory effects of veratridine on the Nav1.7 peak current and tail current.
Specific activation of mGlu2 induced IGF-1R transactivation in vitro through FAK phosphorylation Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-26 Yong-jian Hu, Qian Sun, Wen-hua Zhang, Yu-jia Huo, Chan-juan Xu, Jian-feng Liu
Metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu2) belongs to the group-II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors and is a neurotransmitter G protein-coupled receptor. The group-II mGlu receptors are promising antipsychotic targets, but the specific role of mGlu2 signaling remains unclear. Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are also believed to participate in brain pathogenesis. To investigate whether there is any communication between mGlu2 and RTKs, we generated a CHO-mGlu2 cell line that stably expresses mGlu2 and showed that activation of mGlu2 by LY379268, a group II mGlu agonist, was able to transactivate insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R). We further determined that the Gi/o protein, Gβγ subunits, phospholipase C, and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were involved in the IGF-1R transactivation signaling axis, which further induced the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2) and cAMP response element-binding protein. In primary mouse cortical neurons, similar signaling pathways were observed when mGlu2 were stimulated by LY487379, an mGlu2 positive allosteric modulator. Transactivation of IGF-1R through FAK in response to mGlu2 should provide a better understanding of the association of mGlu2 with brain disease.
Molecular binding mode of PF-232798, a clinical anti-HIV candidate, at chemokine receptor CCR5 Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-25 Ya Zhu, Yan-long Zhao, Jian Li, Hong Liu, Qiang Zhao, Bei-li Wu, Zhen-lin Yang
The chemokine receptor CCR5 is an important anti-HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) drug target owning to its pivotal role in HIV-1 viral entry as a co-receptor. Here, we present a 2.9 Å resolution crystal structure of CCR5 bound to PF-232798, a second-generation oral CCR5 antagonist currently in phase II clinical trials. PF-232798 and the marketed HIV drug maraviroc share a similar tropane scaffold with different amino (N)- and carboxyl (C)- substituents. Comparison of the CCR5–PF-232798 structure with the previously determined structure of CCR5 in complex with maraviroc reveals different binding modes of the two allosteric antagonists and subsequent conformational changes of the receptor. Our results not only offer insights into the phenomenon that PF-232798 has higher affinity and alternative resistance profile to maraviroc, but also will facilitate the design of new anti-HIV drugs.
Magnesium lithospermate B improves the gut microbiome and bile acid metabolic profiles in a mouse model of diabetic nephropathy Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-25 Jing Zhao, Qing-li Zhang, Jian-hua Shen, Kai Wang, Jia Liu
Magnesium lithospermate B (MLB) is a new drug marketed in China to treat angina, but its low oral bioavailability limits its clinical application to the intravenous route. Paradoxically, orally administered low-dose MLB was found to alleviate kidney injury in diabetic nephropathy (DN) rats, but its mechanism of action remains unknown. In recent years, the kidney-gut axis has been suspected to be involved in kidney damage pathogenesis, potentially representing a non-classical pathway for pharmacologic intervention. To ascertain whether MLB targets the kidney-gut axis, streptozotocin (STZ)-treated mice were prepared as a mouse model of DN. The STZ mice were treated with MLB (50 mg kg−1 d−1, p.o.) for 8 weeks. Twenty-four-hour urinary albumin was detected to mirror kidney function. At week 4, 6, 8, feces were collected; bile acids (BAs) were quantified to examine the alterations in the BA metabolic profiles, and bacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments were sequenced to identify alterations in gut microbial composition. In STZ mice, 24-h urinary albumin levels and total fecal BAs, especially cholic acids (CAs) and deoxycholic acids (DCAs) were greatly increased, and the gut microbiome was dramatically shifted compared with control mice. Oral administration of MLB significantly decreased 24-h urinary albumin levels and total BAs, CAs and DCAs, and reversed CA:TCA (taurocholic acid) and DCA:CA ratios. It also changed the microbiome composition in STZ mice based on operational units. Thus the therapeutic effect of MLB on kidney injury might be attributed (at least partially) to its ability to modulate the disordered gut microbiome and BA metabolism.
GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 as novel molecular targets: their biological functions and interaction with cannabidiol Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-25 Alyssa S. Laun, Sarah H. Shrader, Kevin J. Brown, Zhao-Hui Song
The G protein-coupled receptors 3, 6, and 12 (GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12) comprise a family of closely related orphan receptors with no confirmed endogenous ligands. These receptors are constitutively active and capable of signaling through G protein-mediated and non-G protein-mediated mechanisms. These orphan receptors have previously been reported to play important roles in many normal physiological functions and to be involved in a variety of pathological conditions. Although they are orphans, GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 are phylogenetically most closely related to the cannabinoid receptors. Using β-arrestin2 recruitment and cAMP accumulation assays, we recently found that the nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) is an inverse agonist for GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12. This discovery highlights these orphan receptors as potential new molecular targets for CBD, provides novel mechanisms of action, and suggests new therapeutic uses of CBD for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and infertility. Furthermore, identification of CBD as a new inverse agonist for GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12 provides the initial chemical scaffolds upon which potent and efficacious agents acting on these receptors can be developed, with the goal of developing chemical tools for studying these orphan receptors and ultimately new therapeutic agents.
Circulating biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases: the beats never stop Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Lei Xi, George Kouvelos, Nazareno Paolocci
Circulating biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases: the beats never stop Circulating biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases: the beats never stop, Published online: 21 June 2018; doi:10.1038/aps.2018.43 Circulating biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases: the beats never stop
The aldose reductase inhibitor epalrestat exerts nephritic protection on diabetic nephropathy in db/db mice through metabolic modulation Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Jun He, Hao-xue Gao, Na Yang, Xiao-dong Zhu, Run-bin Sun, Yuan Xie, Cai-hong Zeng, Jing-wei Zhang, Jian-kun Wang, Fei Ding, Ji-ye Aa, Guang-ji Wang
Epalrestat is an inhibitor of aldose reductase in the polyol pathway and is used for the management of diabetic neuropathy clinically. Our pilot experiments and accumulated evidences showed that epalrestat inhibited polyol pathway and reduced sorbitol production, and suggested the potential renal protection effects of epalrestat on diabetic nephropathy (DN). To evaluate the protective effect of epalrestat, the db/db mice were used and exposed to epalrestat for 8 weeks, both the physiopathological condition and function of kidney were examined. For the first time, we showed that epalrestat markedly reduced albuminuria and alleviated the podocyte foot process fusion and interstitial fibrosis of db/db mice. Metabolomics was employed, and metabolites in the plasma, renal cortex, and urine were profiled using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS)-based metabolomic platform. We observed an elevation of sorbitol and fructose, and a decrease of myo-inositol in the renal cortex of db/db mice. Epalrestat reversed the renal accumulation of the polyol pathway metabolites of sorbitol and fructose, and increased myo-inositol level. Moreover, the upregulation of aldose reductase, fibronectin, collagen III, and TGF-β1 in renal cortex of db/db mice was downregulated by epalrestat. The data suggested that epalrestat has protective effects on DN, and the inhibition of aldose reductase and the modulation of polyol pathway in nephritic cells be a potentially therapeutic strategy for DN.
KLF4 functions as an oncogene in promoting cancer stem cell-like characteristics in osteosarcoma cells Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Xiao-tian Qi, Yang-ling Li, Yan-qi Zhang, Tong Xu, Bin Lu, Liang Fang, Jian-qing Gao, Lu-shan Yu, Di-feng Zhu, Bo Yang, Qiao-jun He, Mei-dan Ying
Despite more effective chemotherapy combined with limb-salvage surgery for the osteosarcoma treatment, survival rates for osteosarcoma patients have stagnated over the past three decades due to the poor prognosis. Osteosarcoma cancer stem cells (OSCs) are responsible for the growth and metastasis of osteosarcoma. The existence of OSCs offers a theoretical explanation for therapeutic failures including tumor recurrence, metastasis, and drug resistance. Understanding the pathways that regulate properties of OSCs may shed light on mechanisms that lead to osteosarcoma and suggest better modes of treatment. In this study, we showed that the expression level of Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is highly associated with human osteosarcoma cancer stemness. KLF4-overexpressed osteosarcoma cells displayed characteristics of OSCs: increased sphere-forming potential, enhanced levels of stemness-associated genes, great chemoresistance to adriamycin and CDDP, as well as more metastasis potential. Inversely, KLF4 knockdown could reduce colony formation in vitro and inhibit tumorigenesis in vivo, supporting an oncogenic role for KLF4 in osteosarcoma pathogenesis. Furthermore, KLF4 was shown to activate the p38 MAPK signaling pathway to promote cancer stemness. Altogether, our studies uncover an essential role for KLF4 in regulation of OSCs and identify KLF4–p38 MAPK axis as a potential therapeutic target for osteosarcoma treatment.
Zinc deficiency and cellular oxidative stress: prognostic implications in cardiovascular diseases Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Sangyong Choi, Xian Liu, Zui Pan
Zinc is an essential nutrient for human health and has anti-oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory functions. The association between zinc deficiency and the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) has been supported by numerous studies. Supplementing zinc can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against myocardial infarction and ischemia/reperfusion injury. In this review we summarize the evidence in the literature, to consolidate the current knowledge on the dysregulation of zinc homeostasis in CVDs, and to explore the significant roles of the zinc homeostasis-regulatory proteins in cardiac physiology and pathophysiology. Moreover, this review also deliberates on the potential diagnostic and prognostic implications of zinc/zinc homeostasis-associated molecules (ZIP, ZnT, and MTs) in CVDs.
GP205, a new hepatitis C virus NS3/4A protease inhibitor, displays higher metabolic stability in vitro and drug exposure in vivo Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Pei-bin Zhai, Jie Qing, Ben Li, Lin-qi Zhang, Lan Ma, Li Chen
NS3/4A serine protease is a prime target for direct-acting antiviral therapies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Several NS3/4A inhibitors have been widely used in clinic, while new inhibitors with better characteristics are still urgently needed. GP205 is a new macrocyclic inhibitor of NS3/4A with low nanomolar activities against HCV replicons of genotypes 1b, 2a, 4a, and 5a, with EC50 values ranging from 1.5 to 12.8 nmol/L. In resistance selection study in vitro, we found resistance-associated substitutions on D168: The activity of GP205 was significantly attenuated against 1b replicon with D168V or D168A mutation, similar as simeprevir. No cross resistance of GP205 with NS5B or NS5A inhibitor was observed. Combination of GP205 with sofosbuvir or daclatasvir displayed additive or synergistic efficacy. The pharmacokinetic profile of GP205 was characterized in rats and dogs after oral administration, which revealed good drug exposure both in plasma and in liver and long plasma half-life. The in vitro stability test showed ideal microsomal and hepatic cells stability of GP205. The preclinical profiles of GP205 support further research on this NS3/4A inhibitor to expand the existing HCV infection therapies.
Predicting functional outcome of ischemic stroke patients in Romania based on plasma CRP, sTNFR-1, D-Dimers, NGAL and NSE measured using a biochip array Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-21 Adina Huţanu, Mihaela Iancu, Rodica Bălaşa, Smaranda Maier, Minodora Dobreanu
In cerebral ischemia, evaluation of multiple biomarkers involved in various pathological pathways is a useful tool in assessing the outcome of the patients even from the early stages of the disease. In this study we investigated the utility of a panel of 5 peripheral biomarkers of inflammatory status, neuronal destruction and secondary fibrinolysis in the acute phase of ischemia, and evaluated the impact of these biomarkers on functional outcome after ischemic stroke. The 5 biomarkers (plasma CRP, D-Dimers, sTNFR-1, NGAL and NSE) were measured using a biochip array technology. Eighty nine patients in Romania were divided into 2 subgroups using the modified Rankin Scale evaluated at 3 months after ischemic stroke; the possible impact of analyzed biomarkers on unfavorable functional outcome was tested by binomial logistic regression. The subgroup with unfavorable outcome had higher concentrations of CRP, NGAL, sTNFR-1 and D-dimers, but CRP and NGAL values were not statistically different between the two subgroups. The univariate logistic regression analysis of plasma biomarkers revealed that CRP, D-Dimers, NGAL, sTNFR-1 were significant predictors of unfavorable clinical outcome. In the case of D-Dimers and sTNFR-1 we noticed an increased discrimination ability (versus baseline clinical model) to classify poor functional outcome with a tendency toward statistical signification. During the acute phase of the ischemic stroke, plasma concentrations of CRP, D-Dimers and sTNFR-1 were elevated in unfavorable outcome patients. D-Dimers and sTNFR-1 were independent predictors of poor outcome at 3 months after ischemic stroke. The biochip array technology offers the possibility to simultaneously measure several parameters involved in multiple pathophysiological pathways, in a small sample volume.
A11, a novel diaryl acylhydrazone derivative, exerts neuroprotection against ischemic injury in vitro and in vivo Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-20 Hong-xuan Feng, Chun-pu Li, Shuang-jie Shu, Hong Liu, Hai-yan Zhang
There is an urgent need to develop effective therapies for ischemic stroke, but the complicated pathological processes after ischemia make doing so difficult. In the current study, we identified a novel diaryl acylhydrazone derivative, A11, which has multiple neuroprotective properties in ischemic stroke models. First, A11 was demonstrated to induce neuroprotection against ischemic injury in a dose-dependent manner (from 0.3 to 3 μM) in three in vitro experimental ischemic stroke models: oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD), hydrogen peroxide, and glutamate-stimulated neuronal cell injury models. Moreover, A11 was able to potently alleviate three critical pathological changes, apoptosis, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, following ischemic insult in neuronal cells. Further analysis revealed that A11 upregulated the phosphorylation levels of protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in OGD-exposed neuronal cells, suggesting joint activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK)/ERK pathways. In rats with middle cerebral artery occlusion, single-dose administration of A11 (3 mg/kg per day, i.v.) at the onset of reperfusion significantly reduced the infarct volumes and ameliorated neurological deficits. Our study, for the first time, reports the anti-ischemic effect of diaryl acylhydrazone chemical entities, especially A11, which acts on multiple ischemia-associated pathological processes. Our results may provide new clues for the development of an effective therapeutic agent for ischemic stroke.
Telomere shortening activates TGF-β/Smads signaling in lungs and enhances both lipopolysaccharide and bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-20 Ying-ying Liu, Yao Shi, Ya Liu, Xing-hua Pan, Ke-xiong Zhang
Telomere shortening is associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a high-morbidity and high-mortality lung disease of unknown etiology. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unclear. In this study, wild-type (WT) mice with normal telomeres and generation 3 (G3) or G2 telomerase RNA component (TERC) knockout Terc−/− mice with short telomeres were treated with and without lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or bleomycin by intratracheal injection. We show that under LPS induction, G3 Terc−/− mice develop aggravated pulmonary fibrosis as indicated by significantly increased α-SMA, collagen I and hydroxyproline content. Interestingly, TGF-β/Smads signaling is markedly activated in the lungs of G3 Terc−/− mice, as indicated by markedly elevated levels of phosphorylated Smad3 and TGF-β1, compared with those of WT mice. This TGF-β/Smads signaling activation is significantly increased in the lungs of LPS-treated G3 Terc−/− mice compared with those of LPS-treated WT or untreated G3 Terc−/− mice. A similar pattern of TGF-β/Smads signaling activation and the enhancing role of telomere shortening in pulmonary fibrosis are also confirmed in bleomycin-induced model. Moreover, LPS challenge produced more present cellular senescence, apoptosis and infiltration of innate immune cells, including macrophages and neutrophils in the lungs of G3 Terc−/− mice, compared with WT mice. To our knowledge, this is the first time to report telomere shortening activated TGF-β/Smads signaling in lungs. Our data suggest that telomere shortening cooperated with environment-induced lung injury accelerates the development of pulmonary fibrosis, and telomere shortening confers an inherent enhancing factor to the genesis of IPF through activation of TGF-β/Smads signaling.
Oncoprotein HBXIP induces PKM2 via transcription factor E2F1 to promote cell proliferation in ER-positive breast cancer Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-20 Bo-wen Liu, Tian-jiao Wang, Lei-lei Li, Lu Zhang, Yun-xia Liu, Jin-yan Feng, Yue Wu, Fei-fei Xu, Quan-sheng Zhang, Ming-zhu Bao, Wei-ying Zhang, Li-hong Ye
We have reported that hepatitis B X-interacting protein (HBXIP, also termed LAMTOR5) can act as an oncogenic transcriptional co-activator to modulate gene expression, promoting breast cancer development. Pyruvate kinase muscle isozyme M2 (PKM2), encoded by PKM gene, has emerged as a key oncoprotein in breast cancer. Yet, the regulatory mechanism of PKM2 is still unexplored. Here, we report that HBXIP can upregulate PKM2 to accelerate proliferation of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. Immunohistochemistry analysis using breast cancer tissue microarray uncovered a positive association between the expression of HBXIP and PKM2. We also discovered that PKM2 expression was positively related with HBXIP expression in clinical breast cancer patients by real-time PCR assay. Interestingly, in ER+ breast cancer cells, HBXIP was capable of upregulating PKM2 expression at mRNA and protein levels in a dose-dependent manner, as well as increasing the activity of PKM promoter. Mechanistically, HBXIP could stimulate PKM promoter through binding to the −779/−579 promoter region involving co-activation of E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1). In function, cell viability, EdU, colony formation, and xenograft tumor growth assays showed that HBXIP contributed to accelerating cell proliferation through PKM2 in ER+ breast cancer. Collectively, we conclude that HBXIP induces PKM2 through transcription factor E2F1 to facilitate ER+ breast cancer cell proliferation. We provide new evidence for the mechanism of transcription regulation of PKM2 in promotion of breast cancer progression.
Aspirin inhibits the proliferation of hepatoma cells through controlling GLUT1-mediated glucose metabolism Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-20 Yun-xia Liu, Jin-yan Feng, Ming-ming Sun, Bo-wen Liu, Guang Yang, Ya-nan Bu, Man Zhao, Tian-jiao Wang, Wei-ying Zhang, Hong-feng Yuan, Xiao-dong Zhang
Aspirin can efficiently inhibit liver cancer growth, but the mechanism is poorly understood. In this study, we report that aspirin modulates glucose uptake through downregulating glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1), leading to the inhibition of hepatoma cell proliferation. Our data showed that aspirin significantly decreased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glucose consumption in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, we identified that GLUT1 and HIF1α could be decreased by aspirin. Mechanically, we demonstrated that the -1008/-780 region was the regulatory element of transcriptional factor NF-κB in GLUT1 promoter by luciferase report gene assays. PDTC, an inhibitor of NF-κB, could suppress the expression of GLUT1 in HepG2 and H7402 cells, followed by affecting the levels of ROS and glucose consumption. CoCl2-activated HIF1α expression could slightly rescue the GLUT1 expression inhibited by aspirin or PDTC, suggesting that aspirin depressed GLUT1 through targeting NF-κB or NF-κB/HIF1α signaling. Moreover, we found that GLUT1 was highly expressed in clinical HCC tissues relating to their paired adjacent normal tissues. Importantly, we observed that high level of GLUT1 was significantly correlated with the poor relapse-free survival of HCC patients by analysis of public data. Functionally, overexpression of GLUT1 blocked the PDTC-induced or aspirin-induced inhibition of glucose metabolism in HepG2 cells. Conversely, aspirin failed to work when GLUT1 was stably knocked down in the cells. Administration of aspirin could depress the growth of hepatoma cells through controlling GLUT1 in vitro and in vivo. Thus, our finding provides new insights into the mechanism by which aspirin depresses liver cancer.
Aescin-induced reactive oxygen species play a pro-survival role in human cancer cells via ATM/AMPK/ULK1-mediated autophagy Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Bin Li, Guo-liang Wu, Wei Dai, Gang Wang, Hao-yuan Su, Xue-ping Shen, Rui Zhan, Jia-ming Xie, Zhong Wang, Zheng-hong Qin, Quan-gen Gao, Gen-hai Shen
Aescin, a natural mixture of triterpene saponins, has been reported to exert anticancer effect. Recent studies show that aescin increases intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. However, whether the increased ROS play a role in the anticancer action of aescin remains to be explored. In this study, we demonstrated that aescin (20−80 μg/mL) dose-dependently induced apoptosis and activated mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-independent autophagy in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells and colon carcinoma HCT 116 cells. The activation of autophagy favored cancer cell survival in response to aescin, as suppression of autophagy with ATG5 siRNAs or 3-methyladenine (3-MA), a selective inhibitor of autophagy, promoted aescin-induced apoptosis in vitro, and significantly enhanced the anticancer effect of aescin in vivo. Meanwhile, aescin dose-dependently elevated intracellular ROS levels and activated Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase/AMP-activated protein kinase/UNC-51-like kinase-1 (ATM/AMPK/ULK1) pathway. The ROS and ATM/AMPK/ULK1 pathway were upstream modulators of the aescin-induced autophagy, as N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) or ATM kinase inhibitor (KU-55933) remarkably suppressed aescin-induced autophagy and consequently promoted aescin-induced apoptosis, whereas overexpression of ATG5 partly attenuated NAC-induced enhancement in aescin-induced apoptosis. In conclusion, this study provides new insights into the roles of aescin-mediated oxidative stress and autophagy in cancer cell survival. Our results suggest that combined administration of the antioxidants or autophagic inhibitors with aescin might be a potential strategy to enhance the anticancer effect of aescin.
Positron emission tomography of type 2 cannabinoid receptors for detecting inflammation in the central nervous system Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Ruiqing Ni, Linjing Mu, Simon Ametamey
Cannabinoid receptor CB2 (CB2R) is upregulated on activated microglia and astrocytes in the brain under inflammatory conditions and plays important roles in many neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and ischemic stroke. The advent of positron emission tomography (PET) using CB2R radiotracers has enabled the visualization of CB2R distribution in vivo in animal models of central nervous system inflammation, however translation to humans has been less successful. Several novel CB2R radiotracers have been developed and evaluated to quantify microglial activation. In this review, we summarize the recent preclinical and clinical imaging results of CB2R PET tracers and discuss the prospects of CB2R imaging using PET.
Asiatic acid enhances intratumor delivery and the antitumor effect of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin by reducing tumor-stroma collagen Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Luo Fang, Si-si Kong, Li-ke Zhong, Can-ming Wang, Yu-jia Liu, Hai-ying Ding, Jiao Sun, Yi-wen Zhang, Fan-zhu Li, Ping Huang
Tumor-targeted drug delivery systems (Tt-DDSs) are proposed as a promising strategy for cancer care. However, the dense collagen network in tumors stroma significantly reduces the penetration and efficacy of Tt-DDS. In order to investigate the effect of asiatic acid (AA) on antitumor effect of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) by attenuating stroma-collagen, colon cancer xenograft mice (SW620 cell line) were treated by PLD, AA, or combined regimes, respectively; the collagen levels were estimated by Sirius red/fast green dual staining and immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining; the intratumor exposure of doxorubicin was visualized by ex vivo fluorescence imaging and quantified by HPLC/MS analysis. In addition, the impact of AA on collagen synthesis of fibroblast cell (HFL-1) and cytotoxic effect of PLD and doxorubicin to cancer cell (SW620) were studied in vitro. In the presence of AA (4 mg/kg), the intratumor collagen level was restricted in vivo (reduced by 22%, from 4.14% ± 0.30% to 3.24% ± 0.25%, P = 0.051) and in vitro. Subsequently, doxorubicin level was increased by ~30%. The antitumor activity of PLD was significantly improved (57.3% inhibition of tumor growth and 44% reduction in tumor weight) by AA combination. Additionally, no significant improvement in cytotoxic effect of PLD or doxorubicin induced by AA was observed. In conclusion, AA is a promising sensitizer for tumor treatment by enhancing intratumor drug exposure via stromal remodeling.
Silk fibroin peptide suppresses proliferation and induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human lung cancer cells Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Mei-sa Wang, Yi-bo Du, Hui-ming Huang, Zhong-ling Zhu, Shuang-shuang Du, Shao-yong Chen, Hong-ping Zhao, Zhao Yan
Silkworm cocoon was recorded to cure carbuncle in the Compendium of Materia Medica. Previous studies have demonstrated that the supplemental silk protein sericin exhibits anticancer activity. In the present study, we investigated the effects of silk fibroin peptide (SFP) extracted from silkworm cocoons against human lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo and its possible anticancer mechanisms. SFP that we prepared had high content of glycine (~ 30%) and showed a molecular weight of ~ 10 kDa. Intragastric administration of SFP (30 g/kg/d) for 14 days did not affect the weights, vital signs, routine blood indices, and blood biochemical parameters in mice. MTT assay showed that SFP dose-dependently inhibited the growth of human lung cancer A549 and H460 cells in vitro with IC50 values of 9.921 and 9.083 mg/mL, respectively. SFP also dose-dependently suppressed the clonogenic activity of the two cell lines. In lung cancer H460 xenograft mice, intraperitoneal injection of SFP (200 or 500 mg/kg/d) for 40 days significantly suppressed the tumor growth, but did not induce significant changes in the body weight. We further examined the effects of SFP on cell cycle and apoptosis in H460 cells using flow cytometry, which revealed that SFP-induced cell cycle arrest at the S phase, and then promoted cell apoptosis. We demonstrated that SFP (20−50 mg/mL) dose-dependently downregulates Bcl-2 protein expression and upregulates Bax protein in H460 cells during cell apoptosis. The results suggest that SFP should be studied further as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of lung cancer.
Quercetin attenuates toosendanin-induced hepatotoxicity through inducing the Nrf2/GCL/GSH antioxidant signaling pathway Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Yao Jin, Zhen-lin Huang, Li Li, Yang Yang, Chang-hong Wang, Zheng-tao Wang, Li-li Ji
Toosendanin (TSN) is the main active compound in Toosendan Fructus and Meliae Cortex, two commonly used traditional Chinese medicines. TSN has been reported to induce hepatotoxicity, but its mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrated the critical role of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) in protecting against TSN-induced hepatotoxicity in mice and human normal liver L-02 cells. In mice, administration of TSN (10 mg/kg)-induced acute liver injury evidenced by increased serum alanine/aspartate aminotransferase (ALT/AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities, and total bilirubin (TBiL) content as well as the histological changes. Furthermore, TSN markedly increased liver reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, and decreased liver glutathione (GSH) content and Nrf2 expression. In L-02 cells, TSN (2 μM) time-dependently reduced glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) activity and cellular expression of the catalytic/modify subunit of GCL (GCLC/GCLM). Moreover, TSN reduced cellular GSH content and the increased ROS formation, and time-dependently decreased Nrf2 expression and increased the expression of the Nrf2 inhibitor protein kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1 (Keap1). Pre-administration of quercetin (40, 80 mg/kg) effectively inhibited TSN-induced liver oxidative injury and reversed the decreased expression of Nrf2 and GCLC/GCLM in vivo and in vitro. In addition, the quercetin-provided protection against TSN-induced hepatotoxicity was diminished in Nrf2 knock-out mice. In conclusion, TSN decreases cellular GSH content by reducing Nrf2-mediated GCLC/GCLM expression via decreasing Nrf2 expression. Quercetin attenuates TSN-induced hepatotoxicity by inducing the Nrf2/GCL/GSH antioxidant signaling pathway. This study implies that inducing Nrf2 activation may be an effective strategy to prevent TSN-induced hepatotoxicity.
Isoflavones enhance pharmacokinetic exposure of active lovastatin acid via the upregulation of carboxylesterase in high-fat diet mice after oral administration of Xuezhikang capsules Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Dong Feng, Chun Ge, Zhao-yi Tan, Jian-guo Sun, Yuan Xie, Lan Yao, Cai-xia Yan, Ji-ye Aa, Guang-ji Wang
Xuezhikang capsule (XZK) is a traditional Chinese medicine that contains lovastatin (Lv) for hyperlipidemia treatment, although it has fewer side effects than Lv. However, the pharmacokinetic mechanisms contributing to its distinct efficacy and low side effects are unclear. Mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 6 weeks to induce hyperlipidemia. We first conducted the pharmacokinetic studies in HFD mice following oral administration of Lv (10 mg/kg, i.g.) and found that HFD remarkably decreased the active form of Lv (the lovastatin acid, LvA) exposure in the circulation system, especially in the targeting organ liver, with a declined conversion from Lv to LvA, whereas the Lv (responsible for myotoxicity) exposure in muscle markedly increased. Then we compared the pharmacokinetic profiles of Lv in HFD mice after the oral administration of XZK (1200 mg/kg, i.g.) or an equivalent dose of Lv (10 mg/kg, i.g.). A higher exposure of LvA and lower exposure of Lv were observed after XZK administration, suggesting a pharmacokinetic interaction of some ingredients in XZK. Further studies revealed that HFD promoted the inflammation and inhibited carboxylesterase (CES) activities in the intestine and the liver, thus contributing to the lower transformation of Lv into LvA. In contrast, XZK inhibited the inflammation and upregulated CES in the intestine and the liver. Finally, we evaluated the effects of monacolins and phytosterols, the fractional extracts of isoflavones, on inflammatory LS174T or HepG2 cells, which showed that isoflavones inhibited inflammation, upregulated CES, and markedly enhanced the conversion of Lv into LvA. For the first time, we provide evidence that isoflavones and Lv in XZK act in concert to enhance the efficacy and reduce the side effects of Lv.
Annonaceous acetogenin mimic AA005 suppresses human colon cancer cell growth in vivo through downregulation of Mcl-1 Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Bing Han, Yu-xia Cao, Zhan-ming Li, Zhao-xia Wu, Yu-qin Mao, Hui-ling Chen, Zhu-jun Yao, Li-shun Wang
Annonaceous acetogenins are a well-established family of natural products with significant bioactivities, especially high cytotoxic and antitumor activities. AA005 is an annonaceous acetogenin mimic that has shown significant cytotoxicity against a variety of cancer cell lines, but its in vivo antitumor effects have not been demonstrated so far, and its anticancer mechanisms remain ambiguous. In this study, we investigated the effects of AA005 on human colon cancer cell lines in vivo. Human colon carcinoma cell line SW620 xenograft nude mice were treated with AA005 (5 mg/kg/day, i.p.) for 21 days. AA005 administration markedly inhibited the tumor growth via promoting nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and inducing AIF-dependent cell death. Subsequent studies in human colon carcinoma cell lines SW620 and RKO in vitro revealed that after the colon cancer cells exposed to AA005, downregulation of a B-cell lymphoma 2 family protein, myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1), was an early event due to the inhibition of Mcl-1 mRNA level and protein synthesis in a time-dependent manner. Intriguingly, knockdown of Mcl-1 using small interfering RNA markedly accelerated the nuclear translocation of AIF and upregulation of receptor interacting protein-1, and enhanced AA005-mediated lethality, whereas ectopic expression of Mcl-1 substantially attenuated AA005-mediated lethality in the colon cancer cells. Finally, silencing Mcl-1 expression markedly enhanced AA005-induced lethality in SW620 xenograft nude mice, demonstrating a pivotal role of Mcl-1 downregulation in mediating the in vivo antitumor effects of AA005. Taken together, this study demonstrates for the first time the anticancer effects of AA005 against human colon cancer cell lines in vivo, which is mediated through the downregulation of Mcl-1.
The role of G protein-coupled receptor kinases in the pathology of malignant tumors Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-19 Wu-yi Sun, Jing-jing Wu, Wen-ting Peng, Jia-chang Sun, Wei Wei
G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) constitute seven subtypes of serine/threonine protein kinases that specifically recognize and phosphorylate agonist-activated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), thereby terminating the GPCRs-mediated signal transduction pathway. Recent research shows that GRKs also interact with non-GPCRs and participate in signal transduction in non-phosphorylated manner. Besides, GRKs activity can be regulated by multiple factors. Changes in GRKs expression have featured prominently in various tumor pathologies, and they are associated with angiogenesis, proliferation, migration, and invasion of malignant tumors. As a result, GRKs have been intensively studied as potential therapeutic targets. Herein, we review evolving understanding of the function of GRKs, the regulation of GRKs activity and the role of GRKs in human malignant tumor pathophysiology.
Naloxone attenuates ischemic brain injury in rats through suppressing the NIK/IKKα/NF-κB and neuronal apoptotic pathways Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-14 Xuan Wang, Zu-jun Sun, Jun-lu Wu, Wen-qiang Quan, Wei-dong Xiao, Helen Chew, Cui-min Jiang, Dong Li
Although naloxone has been documented to exert neuroprotection in animal model of cerebral ischemia, the mechanism is not well understood. In this present study we investigated whether naloxone affected the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in ischemic brain injury of rats. SD rats were subjected to a permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion surgery, and received naloxone (0.5, 1, 2 mg/kg, i.v.) immediately after ischemia. Neurological deficits were evaluated 24 h after ischemia using the McGraw Stroke Index, and then the rats were killed, and the brains were collected for further analyses. We show that naloxone treatment dose-dependently decreased the infarction volume and morphological injury, improved motor behavioral function, and markedly curtailed brain edema. Furthermore, naloxone administration significantly inhibited the nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 and decreased the levels of nuclear NF-κB p65 in the ischemic penumbra. Naloxone administration also dose-dependently increased the NF-κB inhibitory protein (IκBα) levels and attenuated phosphorylated NIK and IKKα levels in the ischemic penumbra. In addition, naloxone administration dose-dependently increased Bcl-2 levels, decreased Bax levels, stabilized the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and inhibited cytochrome c release and caspase 3 and caspase 9 activation. These results indicate that the neuroprotective effects of naloxone against ischemic brain injury involve the inhibition of NF-κB activation via the suppression of the NIK/IKKα/IκBα pathway and the obstruction of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in neurons.
Activation of CaMKIIδA promotes Ca2+ leak from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in cardiomyocytes of chronic heart failure rats Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-14 Le Gui, Xin Guo, Zhe Zhang, Hui Xu, Ya-wei Ji, Ren-jun Wang, Jiang-hua Zhu, Qing-hui Chen
Activation of the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II isoform δA (CaMKIIδA) disturbs intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis in cardiomyocytes during chronic heart failure (CHF). We hypothesized that upregulation of CaMKIIδA in cardiomyocytes might enhance Ca2+ leak from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) via activation of phosphorylated ryanodine receptor type 2 (P-RyR2) and decrease Ca2+ uptake by inhibition of SR calcium ATPase 2a (SERCA2a). In this study, CHF was induced in rats by ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. We found that CHF caused an increase in the expression of CaMKIIδA and P-RyR2 in the left ventricle (LV). The role of CaMKIIδA in regulation of P-RyR2 was elucidated in cardiomyocytes isolated from neonatal rats in vitro. Hypoxia induced upregulation of CaMKIIδA and activation of P-RyR2 in the cardiomyocytes, which both were attenuated by knockdown of CaMKIIδA. Furthermore, we showed that knockdown of CaMKIIδA significantly decreased the Ca2+ leak from the SR elicited by hypoxia in the cardiomyocytes. In addition, CHF also induced a downregulation of SERCA2a in the LV of CHF rats. Knockdown of CaMKIIδA normalized hypoxia-induced downregulation of SERCA2a in cardiomyocytes in vitro. The results demonstrate that the inhibition of CaMKIIδA may improve cardiac function by preventing SR Ca2+ leak through downregulation of P-RyR2 and upregulation of SERCA2a expression in cardiomyocytes in CHF.
Icariin prevents bone loss by inhibiting bone resorption and stabilizing bone biological apatite in a hindlimb suspension rodent model Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-11 Jin-peng He, Xiu Feng, Ju-fang Wang, Wen-gui Shi, He Li, Sergei Danilchenko, Aleksei Kalinkevich, Mykhailo Zhovner
Bone loss induced by microgravity is a substantial barrier to humans in long-term spaceflight. Recent studies have revealed that icariin (ICA) can attenuate osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and ovariectomized rats. However, whether ICA can protect against microgravity-induced bone loss remains unknown. In this study, the effects of ICA on a hindlimb suspension rodent model were investigated. Two-month-old female Wistar rats were hindlimb suspended and treated with ICA (25 mg·kg−1·d−1, i.g.) or a vehicle for 4 weeks (n = 6). The bone mass density of the hindlimbs was analyzed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and micro-CT. mRNA expression of osteogenic genes in the tibia and the content of bone metabolism markers in serum were measured using qRT-PCR and ELISA, respectively. The bone mineral phase was analyzed using X-ray diffraction and atomic spectrometry. The results showed that ICA treatment significantly rescued the hindlimb suspension-induced reduction in bone mineral density, trabecular number and thickness, as well as the increases in trabecular separation and the structure model index. In addition, ICA treatment recovered the decreased bone-related gene expression, including alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bone glaprotein (BGP), and osteoprotegerin/receptor activator of the NF-κB ligand ratio (OPG/RANKL), in the tibia and the decreased bone resorption marker TRACP-5b levels in serum caused by simulated microgravity. Notably, ICA treatment restored the instability of bone biological apatite and the metabolic disorder of bone mineral elicited by simulated microgravity. These results demonstrate that ICA treatment plays osteoprotective roles in bone loss induced by simulated microgravity by inhibiting bone resorption and stabilizing bone biological apatite.
Plasma miR-142 predicts major adverse cardiovascular events as an intermediate biomarker of dual antiplatelet therapy Acta Pharmacol. Sin. (IF 3.562) Pub Date : 2018-06-11 Qian-jie Tang, He-ping Lei, Hong Wu, Ji-yan Chen, Chun-yu Deng, Wang-sheng Sheng, Yong-heng Fu, Xiao-hong Li, Yu-bi Lin, Ya-ling Han, Shi-long Zhong
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are widely expressed in organisms and are implicated in the regulation of most biological functions. The present study investigated the association of plasma miRNAs with the clinical outcomes of dual antiplatelet therapy in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Plasma miRNA levels were screened using high-throughput Illumina sequencing to evaluate the antiplatelet efficacy of clopidogrel and aspirin. Six plasma miRNAs (miR-126, miR-130a, miR-27a, miR-106a, miR-21, and miR-142) were associated with clopidogrel-treated platelet aggregation. These miRNAs were validated in a prospective cohort of 1230 CAD patients using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). High plasma miR-142 levels were associated with a high risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), with a hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.83 (1.30–2.59) at a false discovery rate of <5%. Multivariable Cox regression analysis revealed that diabetes mellitus, heart failure, calcium channel blocker application, and a high plasma miR-142 level were independent risk factors of MACE. The levels of the six plasma miRNAs were not significantly associated with bleeding events during the 3-year follow-up. In conclusion, plasma miR-142 is potential marker to predict MACE in CAD patients after PCI.
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