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


Suppressor of Variegation 3-9 Homolog 2 (SUV39H2) methylates the lysine 9 residue of histone H3 and induces heterochromatin formation, resulting in transcriptional repression or silencing of target genes. SUV39H1 and SUV39H2 have a role in embryonic development, and SUV39H1 was shown to suppress cell cycle progression associated with Rb. However, the function of human SUV39H2 has not been extensively studied. We observed that forced expression of SUV39H2 decreased cell proliferation by inducing G₁ cell cycle arrest. In addition, SUV39H2 was degraded through the ubiquitin-proteasomal pathway. Using yeast two-hybrid screening to address the degradation mechanism and function of SUV39H2, we identified translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP) as an SUV39H2-interacting molecule. Mapping of the interacting regions indicated that the N-terminal 60 amino acids (aa) of full-length SUV39H2 and the C-terminus of TCTP (120-172 aa) were critical for binding. The interaction of SUV39H2 and TCTP was further confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence staining for colocalization. Moreover, depletion of TCTP by RNAi led to up-regulation of SUV39H2 protein, while TCTP overexpression reduced SUV39H2 protein level. The half-life of SUV39H2 protein was significantly extended upon TCTP depletion. These results clearly indicate that TCTP negatively regulates the expression of SUV39H2 post-translationally. Furthermore, SUV39H2 induced apoptotic cell death in TCTP-knockdown cells. Taken together, we identified SUV39H2, as a novel target protein of TCTP and demonstrated that SUV39H2 regulates cell proliferation of lung cancer cells.


Limonene is a cyclic terpene found in citrus essential oils and inhibits methamphetamine- induced locomotor activity. Drug dependence is a severe neuropsychiatric condition that depends in part on changes in neurotransmission and neuroadaptation, induced by exposure to recreational drugs such as morphine and methamphetamine. In this study, we investigated the effects of limonene on the psychological dependence induced by drug abuse. The development of sensitization, dopamine receptor supersensitivity, and conditioned place preferences in rats was measured following administration of limonene (10 or 20 mg/kg) and methamphetamine (1 mg/kg) for 4 days. Limonene inhibits methamphetamine- induced sensitization to locomotor activity. Expression of dopamine receptor supersensitivity induced by apomorphine, a dopamine receptor agonist, was significantly reduced in limonene-pretreated rats. However, there was no significant difference in methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preferences between the limonene and control groups. These results suggest that limonene may ameliorate drug addiction-related behaviors by regulating postsynaptic dopamine receptor supersensitivity.


Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) often suffer from diverse skin disorders, which might be attributable to skin barrier dysfunction. To explore the role of lipid alterations in the epidermis in DM skin disorders, we quantitated 49 lipids (34 ceramides, 14 free fatty acids (FFAs), and cholesterol) in the skin epidermis, liver, and kidneys of db/db mice, a Type 2 DM model, using UPLC-MS/MS. The expression of genes involved in lipid synthesis was also evaluated. With the full establishment of hyperglycemia at the age of 20 weeks, remarkable lipid enrichment was noted in the skin of the db/db mice, especially at the epidermis and subcutaneous fat bed. Prominent increases in the ceramides and FFAs (>3 fold) with short or medium chains (<C26) occurred in the skin epidermis (16NS, 18NS, 24NS, 16NDS, 18NDS, 20NDS, 22NDS, 24NDS, C16:1FA, C18:2FA, and C18:1FA) and the liver (16NS, 18NS, 20NS, 24:1NS, 18NDS, 20NDS, 22NDS, C16:1FA, C18:2FA, C18:1FA), whereas those with very long chains were not affected. In the kidney, only slight increases (<3 fold) were observed for 16NS, 18NS, 20NS, 26NDS, C26FA, and C22:1FA. Consistently, LXRα/β and PPARγ, nuclear receptors promoting lipid synthesis, lipid synthesis enzymes such as elongases 1, 4, and 6, and fatty acid synthase and stearoyl-CoA desaturase were highly expressed in the skin and livers of the db/db mice. Collectively, our study demonstrates an extensive alteration in the skin and systemic lipid profiles of db/db mice, which could contribute to the development of skin disorders in DM.


Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra pars compacta. In the present study, we investigated whether β-Lapachone (β-LAP), a natural naphthoquinone compound isolated from the lapacho tree (Tabebuia avellanedae), elicits neuroprotective effects in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced Parkinson’s disease mouse model. β-LAP reduced the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive fiber loss induced by MPTP in the dorsolateral striatum, and alleviated motor dysfunction as determined by the rotarod test. In addition, β-LAP protected against MPTP-induced loss of TH positive neurons, and upregulated B-cell lymphoma 2 protein (Bcl-2) expression in the substantia nigra. Based on previous reports on the neuroprotective role of nuclear factor-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) in neurodegenerative diseases, we investigated whether β-LAP induces upregulation of the Nrf2-hemeoxygenae-1 (HO-1) signaling pathway molecules in MPTP-injected mouse brains. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses indicated that β-LAP increased HO-1 expression in glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes. Moreover, β-LAP increased the nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity of Nrf2, and the phosphorylation of upstream adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). β-LAP also increased the localization of p-AMPK and Nrf2 in astrocytes. Collectively, our data suggest that β-LAP exerts neuroprotective effect in MPTP-injected mice by upregulating the p-AMPK/Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathways in astrocytes.