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

Journal: Journal of cellular and molecular medicine


Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) is a key regulator of mitochondria biogenesis. Previous studies confirmed that reduced TFAM expression sensitized tumours cells to chemical therapy reagents and ionizing irradiation (IR). However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we identified that decreased expression of TFAM impaired the proliferation of tumour cells by inducing G1/S phase arrest and reducing the expression of E2F1, phospo-Rb, PCNA and TK1. Furthermore, we proved that knockdown of TFAM enhanced the interaction between p53 and MDM2, resulting in decreased expression of p53 and the downstream target TIGAR, and thus leading to elevated level of mitochondrial superoxide and DNA double-strand break (DSB) which were exacerbated when treated the cell with ionizing radiation. Those indicated that knockdown of TFAM could aggravate radiation induced DSB levels through affecting the production of mitochondria derived reactive oxygen species. Our current work proposed a new mechanism that TFAM through p53/TIGAR signalling to regulate the sensitivity of tumour cells to ionizing radiation. This indicated that TFAM might be a potential target for increasing the sensitization of cancer cells to radiotherapy.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease, which results in various organ pathologies. However, current treatment towards SLE is suboptimal. Erythropoietin (EPO) has been shown to promote SLE recovery, but clinical application can be limited by its haematopoiesis-stimulating effects. EPO-derived helix-B peptide (ARA290) is non-erythrogenic but has been reported to retain the anti-inflammatory and tissue-protective functions of EPO. Therefore, here we investigated the effects and potential mechanisms of ARA290 on SLE. The administration of ARA290 to pristane-induced SLE and MRL/lpr mice significantly suppressed the level of serum antinuclear autoantibodies (ANAs) and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies, reduced the deposition of IgG and C3, and ameliorated the nephritis symptoms. Moreover, the serum concentrations of inflammatory cytokine IL-6, MCP-1 and TNF-α in SLE mice were reduced by ARA290. Further, ARA290 decreased the number of apoptotic cells in kidney. In vitro experiment revealed that ARA290 inhibited the inflammatory activation of macrophages and promoted the phagocytotic function of macrophages to apoptotic cells. Finally, ARA290 did not induce haematopoiesis during treatment. In conclusion, ARA290 ameliorated SLE, which at least could be partly due to its anti-inflammatory and apoptotic cell clearance promoting effects, without stimulating haematopoiesis, suggesting that ARA290 could be a hopeful candidate for SLE treatment.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis


Type II testicular germ cell cancers (TGCT) are the most frequently diagnosed tumours in young men (20-40 years) and are classified as seminoma or non-seminoma. TGCTs are commonly treated by orchiectomy and chemo- or radiotherapy. However, a subset of metastatic non-seminomas (embryonal carcinomas) displays only incomplete remission or relapse and requires novel treatment options. Recent studies have shown effective application of the small-molecule inhibitor JQ1 in tumour therapy, which interferes with the function of ‘bromodomain and extraterminal (BET)’ proteins. JQ1-treated TGCT cell lines display up-regulation of genes indicative for DNA damage and cellular stress response and induce cell cycle arrest. Embryonal carcinoma (EC) cell lines, which presented as JQ1 sensitive, display down-regulation of pluripotency factors and induction of mesodermal differentiation. In contrast, seminoma-like TCam-2 cells tolerated higher JQ1 concentrations and were resistant to differentiation. ECs xenografted in vivo showed a reduction in tumour size, proliferation rate and angiogenesis in response to JQ1. Finally, the combination of JQ1 and the histone deacetylase inhibitor romidepsin allowed for lower doses and less frequent application, compared with monotherapy. Thus, we propose that JQ1 in combination with romidepsin may serve as a novel therapeutic option for (mixed) TGCTs.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell, Cancer, Oncology, Testicular cancer, Germ cell tumor


Cardiac endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through accumulation of misfolded proteins plays a pivotal role in cardiovascular diseases. In an attempt to reestablish ER homoeostasis, the unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated. However, if ER stress persists, sustained UPR activation leads to apoptosis. There is no available therapy for ER stress relief. Considering that aerobic exercise training (AET) attenuates oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and calcium imbalance, it may be a potential strategy to reestablish cardiac ER homoeostasis. We test the hypothesis that AET would attenuate impaired cardiac ER stress after myocardial infarction (MI). Wistar rats underwent to either MI or sham surgeries. Four weeks later, rats underwent to 8 weeks of moderate-intensity AET. Myocardial infarction rats displayed cardiac dysfunction and lung oedema, suggesting heart failure. Cardiac dysfunction in MI rats was paralleled by increased protein levels of UPR markers (GRP78, DERLIN-1 and CHOP), accumulation of misfolded and polyubiquitinated proteins, and reduced chymotrypsin-like proteasome activity. These results suggest an impaired cardiac protein quality control. Aerobic exercise training improved exercise capacity and cardiac function of MI animals. Interestingly, AET blunted MI-induced ER stress by reducing protein levels of UPR markers, and accumulation of both misfolded and polyubiquinated proteins, which was associated with restored proteasome activity. Taken together, our study provide evidence for AET attenuation of ER stress through the reestablishment of cardiac protein quality control, which contributes to better cardiac function in post-MI heart failure rats. These results reinforce the importance of AET as primary non-pharmacological therapy to cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: Proteins, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Endoplasmic reticulum, Heart, Cardiovascular disease, C-reactive protein


Histone deacetylases (HDACs)-mediated epigenetic mechanisms play critical roles in the homeostasis of histone acetylation and gene transcription. HDAC inhibitors have displayed neuroprotective properties in animal models for various neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and ischaemic stroke. However, some studies have also reported that HDAC enzymes exert protective effects in several pathological conditions including ischaemic stress. The mixed results indicate the specific roles of each HDAC protein in different diseased states. However, the subtypes of HDACs associated with ischaemic stroke keep unclear. Therefore, in this study, we used an in vivo middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model and in vitro cell cultures by the model of oxygen glucose deprivation to investigate the expression patterns of HDACs and explore the roles of individual HDACs in ischaemic stroke. Our results showed that inhibition of NADPH oxidase activity ameliorated cerebral ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and among Zn(2+) -dependent HDACs, HDAC4 and HDAC5 were significantly decreased both in vivo and in vitro, which can be reversed by NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin. We further found that both HDAC4 and HDAC5 increased cell viability through inhibition of HMGB1, a central mediator of tissue damage following acute injury, expression and release in PC12 cells. Our results for the first time provide evidence that NADPH oxidase-mediated HDAC4 and HDAC5 expression contributes to cerebral ischaemia injury via HMGB1 signalling pathway, suggesting that it is important to elucidate the role of individual HDACs within the brain, and the development of HDAC inhibitors with improved specificity is required to develop effective therapeutic strategies to treat stroke.

Concepts: Gene, Cell, Histone, Epigenetics, Histone deacetylase, Stroke, Neurology, Acetylation


Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a multisystem illness characterized by medically unexplained debilitating fatigue with suggested altered immunological state. Our study aimed to explore peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) for microRNAs (miRNAs) expression in ME/CFS subjects under an exercise challenge. The findings highlight the immune response and inflammation links to differential miRNA expression in ME/CFS. The present study is particularly important in being the first to uncover the differences that exist in miRNA expression patterns in males and females with ME/CFS in response to exercise. This provides new evidence for the understanding of differential miRNA expression patterns and post-exertional malaise in ME/CFS. We also report miRNA expression pattern differences associating with the nutritional status in individuals with ME/CFS, highlighting the effect of subjects' metabolic state on molecular changes to be considered in clinical research within the NINDS/CDC ME/CFS Common Data Elements. The identification of gender-based miRNAs importantly provides new insights into gender-specific ME/CFS susceptibility and demands exploration of sex-suited ME/CFS therapeutics.


S100B protein bridges chronic mucosal inflammation and colorectal cancer given its ability to activate NF-kappaB transcription via RAGE signalling and sequestrate pro-apoptotic wtp53. Being an S100B inhibitor, pentamidine antagonizes S100B-wtp53 interaction, restoring wtp53-mediated pro-apoptotic control in cancer cells in several types of tumours. The expression of S100B, pro-inflammatory molecules and wtp53 protein was evaluated in human biopsies deriving from controls, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer patients at baseline (a) and (b) following S100B targeting with niosomal PENtamidine VEhiculation (PENVE), to maximize drug permeabilization in the tissue. Cultured biopsies underwent immunoblot, EMSA, ELISA and biochemical assays for S100B and related pro-inflammatory/pro-apoptotic proteins. Exogenous S100B (0.005-5 μmol/L) alone, or in the presence of PENVE (0.005-5 μmol/L), was tested in control biopsies while PENVE (5 μmol/L) was evaluated on control, peritumoral, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer biopsies. Our data show that S100B level progressively increases in control, peritumoral, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer enabling a pro-inflammatory/angiogenic and antiapoptotic environment, featured by iNOS, VEGF and IL-6 up-regulation and wtp53 and Bax inhibition. PENVE inhibited S100B activity, reducing its capability to activate RAGE/phosphor-p38 MAPK/NF-kappaB and favouring its disengagement with wtp53. PENVE blocks S100B activity and rescues wtp53 expression determining pro-apoptotic control in colon cancer, suggesting pentamidine as a potential anticancer drug.


Sleep disturbance is the most prominent symptom in depressive patients and was formerly regarded as a main secondary manifestation of depression. However, many longitudinal studies have identified insomnia as an independent risk factor for the development of emerging or recurrent depression among young, middle-aged and older adults. This bidirectional association between sleep disturbance and depression has created a new perspective that sleep problems are no longer an epiphenomenon of depression but a predictive prodromal symptom. In this review, we highlight the treatment of sleep disturbance before, during and after depression, which probably plays an important role in improving outcomes and preventing the recurrence of depression. In clinical practice, pharmacological therapies, including hypnotics and antidepressants, and non-pharmacological therapies are typically applied. A better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms between sleep disturbance and depression can help psychiatrists better manage this comorbidity.


Accumulating evidence has indicated that intestinal microbiota is involved in the development of various human diseases, including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). In the recent years, both human and animal experiments have revealed that alterations in the composition and function of intestinal flora, recognized as gut microflora dysbiosis, can accelerate the progression of CVDs. Moreover, intestinal flora metabolizes the diet ingested by the host into a series of metabolites, including trimethylamine N-oxide, short chain fatty acids, secondary bile acid and indoxyl sulfate, which affects the host physiological processes by activation of numerous signalling pathways. The aim of this review was to summarize the role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of CVDs, including coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure, which may provide valuable insights into potential therapeutic strategies for CVD that involve interfering with the composition, function and metabolites of the intestinal flora.


The direct targets of extremely low and microwave frequency range electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in producing non-thermal effects have not been clearly established. However, studies in the literature, reviewed here, provide substantial support for such direct targets. Twenty-three studies have shown that voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) produce these and other EMF effects, such that the L-type or other VGCC blockers block or greatly lower diverse EMF effects. Furthermore, the voltage-gated properties of these channels may provide biophysically plausible mechanisms for EMF biological effects. Downstream responses of such EMF exposures may be mediated through Ca(2+) /calmodulin stimulation of nitric oxide synthesis. Potentially, physiological/therapeutic responses may be largely as a result of nitric oxide-cGMP-protein kinase G pathway stimulation. A well-studied example of such an apparent therapeutic response, EMF stimulation of bone growth, appears to work along this pathway. However, pathophysiological responses to EMFs may be as a result of nitric oxide-peroxynitrite-oxidative stress pathway of action. A single such well-documented example, EMF induction of DNA single-strand breaks in cells, as measured by alkaline comet assays, is reviewed here. Such single-strand breaks are known to be produced through the action of this pathway. Data on the mechanism of EMF induction of such breaks are limited; what data are available support this proposed mechanism. Other Ca(2+) -mediated regulatory changes, independent of nitric oxide, may also have roles. This article reviews, then, a substantially supported set of targets, VGCCs, whose stimulation produces non-thermal EMF responses by humans/higher animals with downstream effects involving Ca(2+) /calmodulin-dependent nitric oxide increases, which may explain therapeutic and pathophysiological effects.

Concepts: DNA, Neuron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Frequency, Nitric oxide, Voltage-dependent calcium channel, Microwave