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

Journal: Biomolecules & therapeutics


Most diabetic patients experience diabetic mellitus (DM) urinary bladder dysfunction. A number of studies evaluate bladder smooth muscle contraction in DM. In this study, we evaluated the change of bladder smooth muscle contraction between normal rats and DM rats. Furthermore, we used pharmacological inhibitors to determine the differences in the signaling pathways between normal and DM rats. Rats in the DM group received an intraperitoneal injection of 65 mg/kg streptozotocin and measured blood glucose level after 14 days to confirm DM. Bladder smooth muscle contraction was induced using acetylcholine (ACh, 10-4 M). The materials such as, atropine (a muscarinic receptor antagonist), U73122 (a phospholipase C inhibitor), DPCPX (an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist), udenafil (a PDE5 inhibitor), prazosin (an α1-receptor antagonist), papaverine (a smooth muscle relaxant), verapamil (a calcium channel blocker), and chelerythrine (a protein kinase C inhibitor) were pre-treated in bladder smooth muscle. We found that the DM rats had lower bladder smooth muscle contractility than normal rats. When prazosin, udenafil, verapamil, and U73122 were pre-treated, there were significant differences between normal and DM rats. Taken together, it was concluded that the change of intracellular Ca2+ release mediated by PLC/IP3 and PDE5 activity were responsible for decreased bladder smooth muscle contractility in DM rats.


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


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.


Cancer metabolism as a field of research was founded almost 100 years ago by Otto Warburg, who described the propensity for cancers to convert glucose to lactate despite the presence of oxygen, which in yeast diminishes glycolytic metabolism known as the Pasteur effect. In the past 20 years, the resurgence of interest in cancer metabolism provided significant insights into processes involved in maintenance metabolism of non-proliferating cells and proliferative metabolism, which is regulated by proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors in normal proliferating cells. In cancer cells, depending on the driving oncogenic event, metabolism is re-wired for nutrient import, redox homeostasis, protein quality control, and biosynthesis to support cell growth and division. In general, resting cells rely on oxidative metabolism, while proliferating cells rewire metabolism toward glycolysis, which favors many biosynthetic pathways for proliferation. Oncogenes such as MYC, BRAF, KRAS, and PI3K have been documented to rewire metabolism in favor of proliferation. These cell intrinsic mechanisms, however, are insufficient to drive tumorigenesis because immune surveillance continuously seeks to destroy neo-antigenic tumor cells. In this regard, evasion of cancer cells from immunity involves checkpoints that blunt cytotoxic T cells, which are also attenuated by the metabolic tumor microenvironment, which is rich in immuno-modulating metabolites such as lactate, 2-hydroxyglutarate, kyneurenine, and the proton (low pH). As such, a full understanding of tumor metabolism requires an appreciation of the convergence of cancer cell intrinsic metabolism and that of the tumor microenvironment including stromal and immune cells.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Oncology, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Leukemia, Oncogene, Tumor suppressor gene


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


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


Coculture with adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) can stimulate proliferation and migration of melanocytes. To enhance outcomes of skin disorders caused by melanocyte loss or death, mixed transplantation with ADSCs has been suggested. However, role of cocultured ADSCs in proliferation and migration of melanocytes remains unclear. This study determined the effect of ADSCs on production of growth factors and expression levels of intergrins in primary culture of adult human melanocytes with or without ADSCs and in nude mice grafted with such melanocytes. Higher amounts of growth factors for melanocytes, such as bFGF and SCF were produced and released from ADSCs by coculturing with melanocytes. Relative levels of integrins β1, α5, and α6 as well as adhesion to fibronectin and laminin were increased in melanocytes cocultured with ADSCs. Such increases were inhibited by neutralization of bFGF or SCF. Relative levels of bFGF, SCF and integrins were increased in nude mice skin after grafting with melanocyte+ADSC cocultures. Collectively, these results indicate that ADSCs can stimulate proliferation and migration of melanocytes by increasing expression of integrins in melanocytes through upregulation of production/release of melanocyte growth factors such as bFGF and SCF.


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) that are able to suppress T cell function are a heterogeneous cell population frequently observed in cancer, infection, and autoimmune disease. Immune checkpoint molecules, such as programmed death 1 (PD-1) expressed on T cells and its ligand (PD-L1) expressed on tumor cells or antigen-presenting cells, have received extensive attention in the past decade due to the dramatic effects of their inhibitors in patients with various types of cancer. In the present study, we investigated the expression of PD-1 on MDSCs in bone marrow, spleen, and tumor tissue derived from breast tumor-bearing mice. Our studies demonstrate that PD-1 expression is markedly increased in tumor-infiltrating MDSCs compared to expression in bone marrow and spleens and that it can be induced by LPS that is able to mediate NF-κB signaling. Moreover, expression of PD-L1 and CD80 on PD-1+ MDSCs was higher than on PD-1- MDSCs and proliferation of MDSCs in a tumor microenvironment was more strongly induced in PD-1+ MDSCs than in PD-1- MDSCs. Although we could not characterize the inducer of PD-1 expression derived from cancer cells, our findings indicate that the study on the mechanism of PD-1 induction in MDSCs is important and necessary for the control of MDSC activity; our results suggest that PD-1+ MDSCs in a tumor microenvironment may induce tumor development and relapse through the modulation of their proliferation and suppressive molecules.


Methamphetamine (METH) acts strongly on the nervous system and damages neurons and is known to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Flavonoids, polyphenolic compounds present in green tea, red wine and several fruits exhibit antioxidant properties that protect neurons from oxidative damage and promote neuronal survival. Especially, epicatechin (EC) is a powerful flavonoid with antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor and antimutagenic effects as well as antioxidant effects. We therefore investigated whether EC could prevent METH-induced neurotoxicity using HT22 hippocampal neuronal cells. EC reduced METH-induced cell death of HT22 cells. In addition, we observed that EC abrogated the activation of ERK, p38 and inhibited the expression of CHOP and DR4. EC also reduced METH-induced ROS accumulation and MMP. These results suggest that EC may protect HT22 hippocampal neurons against METH-induced cell death by reducing ER stress and mitochondrial damage.


Oxidative stress is considered a major contributor in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy and in diabetes complications, such as nephropathy and cardiovascular diseases. Diabetic neuropathy, which is the most frequent complications of diabetes, affect sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves. This study aimed to investigate whether 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) protects SH-SY5Y neuronal cells against high glucose-induced toxicity. In the current study, we found that diabetic patients exhibited higher lipid peroxidation caused by oxidative stress than healthy subjects. 7,8-DHF exhibits superoxide anion and hydroxyl radical scavenging activities. High glucose-induced toxicity severely damaged SH-SY5Y neuronal cells, causing mitochondrial depolarization; however, 7,8-DHF recovered mitochondrial polarization. Furthermore, 7,8-DHF effectively modulated the expression of pro-apoptotic protein (Bax) and anti-apoptotic protein (Bcl-2) under high glucose, thus inhibiting the activation of caspase signaling pathways. These results indicate that 7,8-DHF has antioxidant effects and protects cells from apoptotic cell death induced by high glucose. Thus, 7,8-DHF may be developed into a promising candidate for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.