SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Biomolecules & therapeutics

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Oxidative stress activates several intracellular signaling cascades that may have deleterious effects on neuronal cell survival. Thus, controlling oxidative stress has been suggested as an important strategy for prevention and/or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we found that ginsenoside Rh1 inhibited hydrogen peroxide-induced reactive oxygen species generation and subsequent cell death in rat primary astrocytes. Rh1 increased the expression of phase II antioxidant enzymes, such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, superoxide dismutase-2, and catalase, that are under the control of Nrf2/ARE signaling pathways. Further mechanistic studies showed that Rh1 increased the nuclear translocation and DNA binding of Nrf2 and c-Jun to the antioxidant response element (ARE), and increased the ARE-mediated transcription activities in rat primary astrocytes. Analysis of signaling pathways revealed that MAP kinases are important in HO-1 expression, and act by modulating ARE-mediated transcriptional activity. Therefore, the upregulation of antioxidant enzymes by Rh1 may provide preventive therapeutic potential for various neurodegenerative diseases that are associated with oxidative stress.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Bacteria, Transcription, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Superoxide dismutase

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The emergence and use of synthetic cannabinoids have greatly increased in recent years. These substances are easily dispensed over the internet and on the streets. Some synthetic cannabinoids were shown to have abuse liability and were subsequently regulated by authorities. However, there are compounds that are still not regulated probably due to the lack of abuse liability studies. In the present study, we assessed the abuse liability of three synthetic cannabinoids, namely JWH-030, JWH-175, and JWH-176. The abuse liability of these drugs was evaluated in two of the most widely used animal models for assessing the abuse potential of drugs, the conditioned place preference (CPP) and self-administration (SA) test. In addition, the open-field test was utilized to assess the effects of repeated (7 days) treatment and abrupt cessation of these drugs on the psychomotor activity of animals. Results showed that JWH-175 (0.5 mg/kg), but not JWH-030 or JWH-176 at any dose, significantly decreased the locomotor activity of mice. This alteration in locomotor activity was only evident during acute exposure to the drug and was not observed during repeated treatment and abstinence. Similarly, only JWH-175 (0.1 mg/kg) produced significant CPP in rats. On the other hand, none of the drugs tested was self-administered by rats. Taken together, the present results indicate that JWH-175, but not JWH-030 and JWH-176, may have abuse potential. More importantly, our findings indicate the complex psychopharmacological effects of synthetic cannabinoids and the need to closely monitor the production, dispensation, and use of these substances.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Animal testing, Assessment, Drug addiction, Addiction, Cannabinoid, Recreational drug use, HU-210

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Synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-250 in ‘herbal incense’ also called ‘spice’ were first introduced in many countries. Numerous synthetic cannabinoids with similar chemical structures emerged simultaneously and suddenly. Currently there are not sufficient data on their adverse effects including neurotoxicity. There are only anecdotal reports that suggest their toxicity. In the present study, we evaluated the neurotoxicity of two synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-081 and JWH-210) through observation of various behavioral changes and analysis of histopathological changes using experimental mice with various doses (0.1, 1, 5 mg/kg). In functional observation battery (FOB) test, animals treated with 5 mg/kg of JWH-081 or JWH-210 showed traction and tremor. Their locomotor activities and rotarod retention time were significantly (p<0.05) decreased. However, no significant change was observed in learning or memory function. In histopathological analysis, neural cells of the animals treated with the high dose (5 mg/kg) of JWH-081 or JWH-210 showed distorted nuclei and nucleus membranes in the core shell of nucleus accumbens, suggesting neurotoxicity. Our results suggest that JWH-081 and JWH-210 may be neurotoxic substances through changing neuronal cell damages, especially in the core shell part of nucleus accumbens. To confirm our findings, further studies are needed in the future.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Cell nucleus, Future, Toxicity, Change, Dopamine, Neurotoxicity

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Adiponectin, a hormone predominantly originated from adipose tissue, has exhibited potent anti-inflammatory properties. Accumulating evidence suggests that autophagy induction plays a crucial role in anti-inflammatory responses by adiponectin. However, underlying molecular mechanisms are still largely unknown. Association of Bcl-2 with Beclin-1, an autophagy activating protein, prevents autophagy induction. We have previously shown that adiponectin-induced autophagy activation is mediated through inhibition of interaction between Bcl-2 and Beclin-1. In the present study, we examined the molecular mechanisms by which adiponectin modulates association of Bcl-2 and Beclin-1 in macrophages. Herein, we demonstrated that globular adiponectin (gAcrp) induced increase in the expression of AUF1 and ZFP36L1, which act as mRNA destabilizing proteins, both in RAW 264.7 macrophages and primary peritoneal macrophages. In addition, gene silencing of AUF1 and ZFP36L1 caused restoration of decrease in Bcl-2 expression and Bcl-2 mRNA half-life by gAcrp, indicating crucial roles of AUF1 and ZFP36L1 induction in Bcl-2 mRNA destabilization by gAcrp. Moreover, knock-down of AUF1 and ZFP36L1 enhanced interaction of Bcl-2 with Beclin-1, and subsequently prevented gAcrp-induced autophagy activation, suggesting that AUF1 and ZFP36L1 induction mediates gAcrp-induced autophagy activation via Bcl-2 mRNA destabilization. Furthermore, suppressive effects of gAcrp on LPS-stimulated inflammatory mediators expression were prevented by gene silencing of AUF1 and ZFP36L1 in macrophages. Taken together, these results suggest that AUF1 and ZFP36L1 induction critically contributes to autophagy induction by gAcrp and are promising targets for anti-inflammatory responses by gAcrp.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by progressive neuronal loss, neuroinflammation, axonal degeneration, and demyelination. Previous studies have reported that 6-shogaol, a major constituent of ginger (Zingiber officinale rhizome), and its biological metabolite, 6-paradol, have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties in the central nervous system (CNS). In the present study, we investigated whether 6-shogaol and 6-paradol could ameliorate against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of MS elicited by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG35-55) peptide immunization with injection of pertussis toxin. Once-daily administration of 6-shogaol and 6-paradol (5 mg/kg/day, p.o.) to symptomatic EAE mice significantly alleviated clinical signs of the disease along with remyelination and reduced cell accumulation in the white matter of spinal cord. Administration of 6-shogaol and 6-paradol into EAE mice markedly reduced astrogliosis and microglial activation as key features of immune responses inside the CNS. Furthermore, administration of these two molecules significantly suppressed expression level of tumor necrosis factor-α, a major proinflammatory cytokine, in EAE spinal cord. Collectively, these results demonstrate therapeutic efficacy of 6-shogaol or 6-paradol for EAE by reducing neuroinflammatory responses, further indicating the therapeutic potential of these two active ingredients of ginger for MS.

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The incidence and mortality of various cancers are associated with sex-specific disparities. Sex differences in cancer epidemiology are one of the most significant findings. Men are more prone to die from cancer, particularly hematological malignancies. Sex difference in cancer incidence is attributed to regulation at the genetic/molecular level and sex hormones such as estrogen. At the genetic/molecular level, gene polymorphism and altered enzymes involving drug metabolism generate differences in cancer incidence between men and women. Sex hormones modulate gene expression in various cancers. Genetic or hormonal differences between men and women determine the effect of chemotherapy. Until today, animal studies and clinical trials investigating chemotherapy showed sex imbalance. Chemotherapy has been used without consideration of sex differences, resulting in disparity of efficacy and toxicity between sexes. Based on accumulating evidence supporting sex differences in chemotherapy, all clinical trials in cancer must incorporate sex differences for a better understanding of biological differences between men and women. In the present review, we summarized the sex differences in (1) incidence and mortality of cancer, (2) genetic and molecular basis of cancer, (3) sex hormones in cancer incidence, and (4) efficacy and toxicity of chemotherapy. This review provides useful information for sex-based chemotherapy and development of personalized therapeutic strategies against cancer.

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Although drugs such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines are often used for the treatment of insomnia, they are associated with various side effects such as habituations, tolerance and addiction. Alternatively, natural products with minimal unwanted effects have been preferred for the treatment of acute and/or mild insomnia, with additional benefits of overall health-promotion. Basic and clinical researches on the mechanisms of action of natural products have been carried out so far in insomnia treatments. Recent studies have been focusing on diverse chemical components available in natural products, with an interest of developing drugs that can improve sleep duration and quality. In the last 15 years, our co-workers have been actively looking for candidate substances from natural products that can relieve insomnia. This review is, therefore, intended to bring pharmacological data regarding to the effects of natural products on sleep duration and quality, mainly through the activation of GABAA receptors. It is imperative that phytochemicals will provide useful information during electroencephalography (EEG) analysis and serve as an alternative medications for insomnia patients who are reluctant to use conventional drugs.

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Investigations into the development of new therapeutic agents for lung inflammatory disorders have led to the discovery of plant-based alternatives. The rhizomes of Anemarrhena asphodeloides have a long history of use against lung inflammatory disorders in traditional herbal medicine. However, the therapeutic potential of this plant material in animal models of lung inflammation has yet to be evaluated. In the present study, we prepared the alcoholic extract and derived the saponin-enriched fraction from the rhizomes of A. asphodeloides and isolated timosaponin A-III, a major constituent. Lung inflammation was induced by intranasal administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to mice, representing an animal model of acute lung injury (ALI). The alcoholic extract (50-200 mg/kg) inhibited the development of ALI. Especially, the oral administration of the saponin-enriched fraction (10-50 mg/kg) potently inhibited the lung inflammatory index. It reduced the total number of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Histological changes in alveolar wall thickness and the number of infiltrated cells of the lung tissue also indicated that the saponin-enriched fraction strongly inhibited lung inflammation. Most importantly, the oral administration of timosaponin A-III at 25-50 mg/kg significantly inhibited the inflammatory markers observed in LPS-induced ALI mice. All these findings, for the first time, provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of A. asphodeloides and its major constituent, timosaponin A-III, in alleviating lung inflammation.

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The apoptotic effects of shikonin (5,8-dihydroxy-2-[(1R)-1-hydroxy-4-methylpent-3-enyl]naphthalene-1,4-dione) on the human colon cancer cell line SNU-407 were investigated in this study. Shikonin showed dose-dependent cytotoxic activity against SNU-407 cells, with an estimated IC50 value of 3 μM after 48 h of treatment. Shikonin induced apoptosis, as evidenced by apoptotic body formation, sub-G1 phase cells, and DNA fragmentation. Shikonin induced apoptotic cell death by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase family members, and the apoptotic process was mediated by the activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, leading to activation of the PERK/elF2α/CHOP apoptotic pathway, and mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation. Shikonin increased mitochondrial membrane depolarization and altered the levels of apoptosis-related proteins, with a decrease in B cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 and an increase in Bcl-2-associated X protein, and subsequently, increased expression of cleaved forms of caspase-9 and -3. Taken together, we suggest that these mechanisms, including MAPK signaling and the ER- and mitochondria-mediated pathways, may underlie shikonin-induced apoptosis related to its anticancer effect.

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Previous studies have shown that spinosin was implicated in the modulation of sedation and hypnosis, while its effects on learning and memory deficits were rarely reported. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of spinosin on the improvement of cognitive impairment in model mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) induced by Aβ1-42 and determine the underlying mechanism. Spontaneous locomotion assessment and Morris water maze test were performed to investigate the impact of spinosin on behavioral activities, and the pathological changes were assayed by biochemical analyses and histological assay. After 7 days of intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of spinosin (100 μg/kg/day), the cognitive impairment of mice induced by Aβ1-42 was significantly attenuated. Moreover, spinosin treatment effectively decreased the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) and Aβ1-42 accumulation in hippocampus. Aβ1-42 induced alterations in the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), as well as inflammatory response in brain were also reversed by spinosin treatment. These results indicated that the ameliorating effect of spinosin on cognitive impairment might be mediated through the regulation of oxidative stress, inflammatory process, apoptotic program and neurotrophic factor expression,suggesting that spinosin might be beneficial to treat learning and memory deficits in patients with AD via multi-targets.