- Spherical harmonics coeffcients for ligand-based virtual screening of cyclooxygenase inhibitors (2011)
- Background: Molecular descriptors are essential for many applications in computational chemistry, such as ligand-based similarity searching. Spherical harmonics have previously been suggested as comprehensive descriptors of molecular structure and properties. We investigate a spherical harmonics descriptor for shape-based virtual screening. Methodology/Principal Findings: We introduce and validate a partially rotation-invariant three-dimensional molecular shape descriptor based on the norm of spherical harmonics expansion coefficients. Using this molecular representation, we parameterize molecular surfaces, i.e., isosurfaces of spatial molecular property distributions. We validate the shape descriptor in a comprehensive retrospective virtual screening experiment. In a prospective study, we virtually screen a large compound library for cyclooxygenase inhibitors, using a self-organizing map as a pre-filter and the shape descriptor for candidate prioritization. Conclusions/Significance: 12 compounds were tested in vitro for direct enzyme inhibition and in a whole blood assay. Active compounds containing a triazole scaffold were identified as direct cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitors. This outcome corroborates the usefulness of spherical harmonics for representation of molecular shape in virtual screening of large compound collections. The combination of pharmacophore and shape-based filtering of screening candidates proved to be a straightforward approach to finding novel bioactive chemotypes with minimal experimental effort.
- Soluble epoxide hydrolase limits mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation (2011)
- Background Cytochrome-P450 (CYP450) epoxygenases metabolise arachidonic acid (AA) into four different biologically active epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) regioisomers. Three of the EETs (i.e., 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET) are rapidly hydrolysed by the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Here, we investigated the role of sEH in nociceptive processing during peripheral inflammation. Results In dorsal root ganglia (DRG), we found that sEH is expressed in medium and large diameter neurofilament 200-positive neurons. Isolated DRG-neurons from sEH-/- mice showed higher EET and lower DHET levels. Upon AA stimulation, the largest changes in EET levels occurred in culture media, indicating both that cell associated EET concentrations quickly reach saturation and EET-hydrolyzing activity mostly effects extracellular EET signaling. In vivo, DRGs from sEH-deficient mice exhibited elevated 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET-levels. Interestingly, EET levels did not increase at the site of zymosan-induced inflammation. Cellular imaging experiments revealed direct calcium flux responses to 8,9-EET in a subpopulation of nociceptors. In addition, 8,9-EET sensitized AITC-induced calcium increases in DRG neurons and AITC-induced calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) release from sciatic nerve axons, indicating that 8,9-EET sensitizes TRPA1-expressing neurons, which are known to contribute to mechanical hyperalgesia. Supporting this, sEH-/- mice showed increased nociceptive responses to mechanical stimulation during zymosan-induced inflammation and 8,9-EET injection reduced mechanical thresholds in naive mice. Conclusion Our results show that the sEH can regulate mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation by inactivating 8,9-EET, which sensitizes TRPA1-expressing nociceptors. Therefore we suggest that influencing the CYP450 pathway, which is actually highly considered to treat cardiovascular diseases, may cause pain side effects.
- Consequences of altered eicosanoid patterns for nociceptive processing in mPGES-1-deficient mice (2007)
- Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-dependent prostaglandin (PG) E2 synthesis in the spinal cord plays a major role in the development of inflammatory hyperalgesia and allodynia. Microsomal PGE2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) isomerizes COX-2-derived PGH2 to PGE2. Here, we evaluated the effect of mPGES-1-deficiency on the noci-ceptive behavior in various models of nociception that depend on PGE2 synthesis. Surprisingly, in the COX-2-dependent zymosan-evoked hyperalgesia model, the nociceptive behavior was not reduced in mPGES-1-deficient mice despite a marked decrease of the spinal PGE2 synthesis. Similarly, the nociceptive behavior was unaltered in mPGES-1-deficient mice in the formalin test. Importantly, spinal cords and primary spinal cord cells derived from mPGES-1-deficient mice showed a redirection of the PGE2 synthesis to PGD2, PGF2α and 6-keto-PGF1α (stable metabolite of PGI2). Since the latter prostaglandins serve also as mediators of noci-ception they may compensate the loss of PGE2 synthesis in mPGES-1-deficient mice.
- Antinociceptive activity of the S1P-receptor agonist FTY720 (2008)
- FTY720 is a novel immunosuppressive drug that inhibits the egress of lymphocytes from secondary lymphoid tissues and thymus. In its phosphorylated form FTY720 is a potent S1P receptor agonist. Recently it was also shown that FTY720 can reduce prostaglandin synthesis through the direct inhibition of the cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2). Since prostaglandins are important mediators of nociception, we studied the effects of FTY720 in different models of nociception. We found that intraperitoneal administration of FTY720 reduced dose-dependently the nociceptive behaviour of rats in the formalin assay. Although the antinociceptive doses of FTY720 were too low to alter the lymphocyte count, prostanoid concentrations in the plasma were dramatically reduced. Surprisingly, intrathecally administered FTY720 reduced the nociceptive behaviour in the formalin assay without altering spinal prostaglandin synthesis, indicating that additional antinociceptive mechanisms beside the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis are involved. Accordingly, FTY720 reduced also the nociceptive behaviour in the spared nerve injury model for neuropathic pain which does not depend on prostaglandin synthesis. In this model the antinociceptive effect of FTY720 was similar to gabapentin, a commonly used drug to treat neuropathic pain. Taken together we show for the first time that FTY720 possesses antinociceptive properties and that FTY720 reduces nociceptive behaviour during neuropathic pain.