Thirdhand smoke (THS) is the accumulation of secondhand smoke on environmental surfaces. THS is found on the clothing and hair of smokers as well as on surfaces in homes and cars of smokers. Exposure occurs by ingestion, inhalation and dermal absorption. Children living in homes of smokers are at highest risk because they crawl on the floor, touch parents' clothing/hair and household objects. Using mice exposed to THS under conditions that mimic exposure of humans, we show that THS increases cellular oxidative stress by increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) levels while reducing the activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) that break down H2O2 into H2O and O2. This results in lipid peroxidation, protein nitrosylation and DNA damage. Consequences of these cell and molecular changes are hyperglycemia and insulinemia. Indeed, we found reduced levels of insulin receptor, PI3K, AKT, all important molecules in insulin signaling and glucose uptake by cells. To determine whether these effects on THS-induced insulin resistance are due to increase in oxidative stress, we treated mice exposed to THS with the antioxidants N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and alpha-tocopherol (alpha-toc) and showed that the oxidative stress, the molecular damage, and the insulin resistance, were significantly reversed. Conversely, feeding the mice with chow that mimics “western diet”, which is known to increase oxidative stress, while exposing the mice to THS, further increased the oxidative stress and aggravated hyperglycemia and insulinemia. In conclusion, THS exposure results in insulin resistance in the form of non-obese type II diabetes (NODII) through oxidative stress. If confirmed in humans, these studies could have a major impact on how people view exposure to environmental tobacco toxins, in particular to children, elderly and workers in environments where tobacco smoke has taken place.
In this work we investigated the formation, reactivity and anti-platelet activity of various mixed disulfide conjugates of clopidogrel. Our results showed that the production of the active metabolite (AM) from 2-oxoclopidogrel by human liver microsomes (HLMs) is greatly affected by the thiol reductants used. Among the ten thiol compounds tested, glutathione (GSH) is most efficient in producing the AM at a rate of 167 pmoles AM/min/mg HLM. Interestingly, no AM but only the mixed disulfide conjugates were formed in the presence of 6-chloropyridazine-3-thiol (CPT), 2,5-dimethylfuran-3-thiol (DFT), and 3-nitropyridine-2-thiol (NPT). The MS and MS2 spectra of the conjugates of these thiol compounds confirmed the presence of a mixed disulfide bond linkage between the AM and the thiol reductants. Kinetic studies revealed that the mixed disulfide conjugates were capable of exchanging thiols with GSH to release the AM with second order rate constants ranging from 1.2 to 28 M(-1)s(-1). The mixed disulfide conjugates of CPT and NPT showed potent inhibition of platelet aggregation after pre-treatment with 1 mM GSH, confirming that the AM is responsible for the anti-platelet activity of clopidogrel. Collectively, our results provide strong support for a P450-mediated bioactivation mechanism involving the initial formation of a glutathionyl conjugate followed by thiol-disulfide exchange with another GSH molecule to release the AM. Furthermore, the stable mixed disulfide conjugates identified in this study provide a platform to quantitatively generate the therapeutic AM without the need for P450-mediated bioactivation. This property can be further explored in order to overcome the inter-individual variability in clopidogrel therapy.
Boric acid is widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, herbicide, and fungicide and also during various industrial processings. Hence, numerous populations are subjects to this toxic compound. Its action on animals is still not fully known and understood. We examined the effect of boric acid on larvae of greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella). The chemical appeared to be toxic for larvae, usually in a concentration-dependent manner. Exposed groups revealed increased lipid peroxidation and altered activity of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase. We also observed changes of ultrastructure, which were in tune with biochemical assays. We suggest that boric acid has a broad mode of action, which may affect exposed larvae, and even if sublethal, they may lead to disturbances within exposed populations.
Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle that contributes to the decline in physical function during aging. A higher level of oxidative stress has been implicated in aging sarcopenia. The current study aims to determine if the higher level of oxidative stress is a result of increased superoxide (O2 ) production by the NADPH oxidase (NOX) enzyme or decrease in endogenous antioxidant enzyme protection.
Cone snails are predatory creatures using venom as a weapon for prey capture and defense. Since this venom is neurotoxic, the venom gland is considered as an enormous collection of pharmacologically interesting compounds having a broad spectrum of targets. As such, cone snail peptides represent an interesting treasure for drug development. Here, we report five novel peptides isolated from the venom of Conus longurionis, Conus asiaticus and Conus australis. Lo6/7a and Lo6/7b were retrieved from C. longurionis and have a cysteine framework VI/VII. Lo6/7b has an exceptional amino acid sequence because no similar conopeptide has been described to date (similarity percentage <50%). A third peptide, Asi3a from C. asiaticus, has a typical framework III Cys arrangement, classifying the peptide in the M-superfamily. Asi14a, another peptide of C. asiaticus, belongs to framework XIV peptides and has a unique amino acid sequence. Finally, AusB is a novel conopeptide from C. australis. The peptide has only one disulfide bond, but is structurally very different as compared to other disulfide-poor peptides. The peptides were screened on nAChRs, NaV and KV channels depending on their cysteine framework and proposed classification. No targets could be attributed to the peptides, pointing to novel functionalities. Moreover, in the quest of identifying novel pharmacological targets, the peptides were tested for antagonistic activity against a broad panel of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, as well as two yeast strains.
Glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), is frequently overexpressed in cancerous tumors and is a putative target of the plant compound piperlongumine (PL), which contains two reactive olefins and inhibits proliferation in cancer cells but not normal cells. PL exposure of cancer cells results in increased reactive oxygen species and decreased glutathione (GSH). This data in tandem with other information led to the conclusion that PL inhibits GSTP1, which forms covalent bonds between GSH and various electrophilic compounds, through covalent adduct formation at PLs C7-C8 olefin, while PLs C2-C3 olefin was postulated to react with GSH. However, direct evidence for this mechanism has been lacking. To investigate, we solved the x-ray crystal structure of GSTP1 bound to PL and GSH at 1.1 Angstrom resolution to rationalize previously reported structure activity relationship studies. Surprisingly, the structure showed a hydrolysis product of PL (hPL) was conjugated to glutathione at the C7-C8 olefin, and this complex was bound to the active site of GSTP1; No covalent bond formation between hPL and GSTP1 was observed. Mass spectrometric (MS) analysis of reactions between PL and GSTP1 confirmed that PL does not label GSTP1. Moreover, MS data also indicated that nucleophilic attack on PL at the C2-C3 olefin led to PL hydrolysis. Although hPL inhibits GSTP1 enzymatic activity in vitro, treatment of cells susceptible to PL with hPL did not have significant anti-proliferative effects, suggesting hPL is not membrane permeable. Altogether, our data suggest a model wherein PL is a prodrug whose intracellular hydrolysis initiates the formation of the hPL:GSH conjugate, which blocks the active site of and inhibits GSTP1 and thereby cancer cell proliferation.
Isolated hepatocytes from young (4-6mo) and old (24-26mo) F344 rats were exposed to increasing concentrations of menadione, a vitamin K derivative and redox cycling agent, to determine whether the age-related decline in Nrf2-mediated detoxification defenses resulted in heightened susceptibility to xenobiotic insult. An LC50 for each age group was established, which showed that aging resulted in a nearly 2-fold increase in susceptibility to menadione (LC50 for young: 405μM; LC50 for old: 275μM). Examination of the known Nrf2-regulated pathways associated with menadione detoxification revealed, surprisingly, that NAD(P)H: quinone oxido-reductase 1 (NQO1) protein levels and activity were induced 9-fold and 4-fold with age, respectively (p=0.0019 and p=0.018; N=3), but glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) declined by 70% (p=0.0043; N=3). These results indicate toxicity may stem from vulnerability to lipid peroxidation instead of inadequate reduction of menadione semi-quinone. Lipid peroxidation was 2-fold higher, and GSH declined by a 3-fold greater margin in old versus young rat cells given 300µM menadione (p<0.05 and p≤0.01 respectively; N=3). We therefore provided 400µMN-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) to hepatocytes from old rats before menadione exposure to alleviate limits in cysteine substrate availability for GSH synthesis during challenge. NAC pretreatment resulted in a >2-fold reduction in cell death, suggesting that the age-related increase in menadione susceptibility likely stems from attenuated GSH-dependent defenses. This data identifies cellular targets for intervention in order to limit age-related toxicological insults to menadione and potentially other redox cycling compounds.
Antioxidants in the diet and supplements are widely used to protect against cancer, but clinical trials with antioxidants do not support this concept. Some trials show that antioxidants actually increase cancer risk and a study in mice showed that antioxidants accelerate the progression of primary lung tumors. However, little is known about the impact of antioxidant supplementation on the progression of other types of cancer, including malignant melanoma. We show that administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) increases lymph node metastases in an endogenous mouse model of malignant melanoma but has no impact on the number and size of primary tumors. Similarly, NAC and the soluble vitamin E analog Trolox markedly increased the migration and invasive properties of human malignant melanoma cells but did not affect their proliferation. Both antioxidants increased the ratio between reduced and oxidized glutathione in melanoma cells and in lymph node metastases, and the increased migration depended on new glutathione synthesis. Furthermore, both NAC and Trolox increased the activation of the small guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) RHOA, and blocking downstream RHOA signaling abolished antioxidant-induced migration. These results demonstrate that antioxidants and the glutathione system play a previously unappreciated role in malignant melanoma progression.
Parasites and pollutants can both affect any living organism, and their interactions can be very important. To date, repeated studies have found that parasites and heavy metals or metalloids both have important negative effects on the health of animals, often in a synergistic manner. Here, we show for the first time that parasites can increase host resistance to metalloid arsenic, focusing on a clonal population of brine shrimp from the contaminated Odiel and Tinto estuary in SW Spain. We studied the effect of cestodes on the response of Artemia to arsenic (acute toxicity tests, 24h LC50) and found that infection consistently reduced mortality across a range of arsenic concentrations. An increase from 25°C to 29°C, simulating the change in mean temperature expected under climate change, increased arsenic toxicity, but the benefits of infection persisted. Infected individuals showed higher levels of catalase and glutathione reductase activity, antioxidant enzymes with a very important role in the protection against oxidative stress. Levels of TBARS were unaffected by parasites, suggesting that infection is not associated with oxidative damage. Moreover, infected Artemia had a higher number of carotenoid-rich lipid droplets which may also protect the host through the “survival of the fattest” principle and the antioxidant potential of carotenoids. This study illustrates the need to consider the multi-stress context (contaminants and temperature increase) in which host-parasite interactions occur.
One important change the head of boar spermatozoa during freeze-thawing is the destabilisation of its nucleoprotein structure due to a disruption of disulfide bonds. With the aim of better understanding these changes in frozen-thawed spermatozoa, two agents, namely reduced glutathione (GSH) and procaine hydrochloride (ProHCl), were added at different concentrations to the freezing media at different concentrations and combinations over the range 1-2mM. Then, 30 and 240min after thawing, cysteine-free residue levels of boar sperm nucleoproteins, DNA fragmentation and other sperm functional parameters were evaluated. Both GSH and ProHCl, at final concentrations of 2mM, induced a significant (P<0.05) increase in the number of non-disrupted sperm head disulfide bonds 30 and 240min after thawing compared with the frozen-thawed control. This effect was accompanied by a significant (P<0.05) decrease in DNA fragmentation 240min after thawing. Concomitantly, 1 and 2mM GSH, but not ProHCl at any of the concentrations tested, partially counteracted the detrimental effects caused by freeze-thawing on sperm peroxide levels, motility patterns and plasma membrane integrity. In conclusion, the results show that both GSH and ProHCl have a stabilising effect on the nucleoprotein structure of frozen-thawed spermatozoa, although only GSH exerts an appreciable effect on sperm viability.