cGMP-dependent signaling pathways in spinal pain processing
- Oral presentation from 4th International Conference of cGMP Generators, Effectors and Therapeutic Implications ; Regensburg, Germany. 19–21 June 2009 Background: An exaggerated pain sensitivity is the dominant feature of inflammatory and neuropathic pain both in the clinical setting and in experimental animal models. It manifests as pain in response to normally innocuous stimuli (allodynia), increased response to noxious stimuli (hyperalgesia) or spontaneous pain, and can persist long after the initial injury is resolved. Research over the last decades has revealed that several signaling pathways in the spinal cord essentially contribute to the pain sensitization. To test the contribution of cGMP produced by NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC) to pain sensitization, we investigated the localization of NO-GC in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the nociceptive behavior of mice deficient in NO-GC (GC-KO mice). Results: We show that NO-GC (β1 subunit) is distinctly expressed in neurons of the mouse spinal cord, while its distribution in dorsal root ganglia is restricted to non-neuronal cells. GC-KO mice exhibited a considerably reduced nociceptive behavior in models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, but their responses to acute pain were not impaired. Moreover, GC-KO mice failed to develop pain sensitization induced by spinal administration of drugs releasing NO. Surprisingly, during spinal nociceptive processing cGMP produced by NO-GC may activate signaling pathways different from cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), while cGKI can be activated by natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) dependent cGMP production. Conclusion: Taken together, our results provide evidence that NO-GC has a dominant role in the development of exaggerated pain sensitivity during inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, beside the NO-mediated cGMP synthesis, cGMP produced by NPR-B contributes to pain sensitization by activation of cGKI.
Manipulation of lipid rafts in neuronal cells
Gunter P. Eckert
- Lipid rafts are specialized plasma membrane micro-domains highly enriched in cholesterol, sphingolipids and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchored proteins. Lipid rafts are thought to be located in the exofacial leaflet of plasma membranes. Functionally, lipid rafts are involved in intracellular trafficking of proteins and lipids, secretory and endocytotic pathways, signal transduction, inflammation and in cell-surface proteolysis. There has been substantial interest in lipid rafts in brain, both with respect to normal functioning and with certain neurodegenerative diseases. Based on the impact of lipid rafts on multitude biochemical pathways, modulation of lipid rafts is used to study related disease pathways and probably offers a target for pharmacological intervention. Lipid rafts can be targeted by modulation of its main components, namely cholesterol and sphingolipids. Other approaches include the modulation of membrane dynamics and it has been reported that protein-lipid interactions can vary the occurrence and composition of these membrane micro-domains. The present review summarizes the possibilities to modulate lipid rafts with focus on neuronal cells. Keywords: Lipid raft, cholesterol, membrane fluidity, statin, cyclodextrine, docosahexaenoic acid.
Improved mitochondrial function in brain aging and Alzheimer disease – the new mechanism of action of the old metabolic enhancer piracetam
Walter E. Müller
- Piracetam, the prototype of the so-called nootropic drugs’ is used since many years in different countries to treat cognitive impairment in aging and dementia. Findings that piracetam enhances fluidity of brain mitochondrial membranes led to the hypothesis that piracetam might improve mitochondrial function, e.g., might enhance ATP synthesis. This assumption has recently been supported by a number of observations showing enhanced mitochondrial membrane potential, enhanced ATP production, and reduced sensitivity for apoptosis in a variety of cell and animal models for aging and Alzheimer disease. As a specific consequence, substantial evidence for elevated neuronal plasticity as a specific effect of piracetam has emerged. Taken together, this new findings can explain many of the therapeutic effects of piracetam on cognition in aging and dementia as well as different situations of brain dysfunctions. Keywords: mitochondrial dysfunction, alzheimer’s disease, aging, oxidative stress, piracetam
Rational, computer-aided design of multi-target ligands : poster presentation from 6th German Conference on Chemoinformatics, GCC 2010, Goslar, Germany. 7-9 November 2010
- Over the past two decades the “one drug – one target – one disease” concept became the prevalent paradigm in drug discovery. The main idea of this approach is the identification of a single protein target whose inhibition leads to a successful treatment of the examined disease. The predominant assumption is that highly selective ligands would avoid unwanted side effects caused by binding to secondary non-therapeutic targets. In recent years the results of post-genomic and network biology showed that proteins rarely act in isolated systems but rather as a part of a highly connected network . In addition this connectivity leads to more robust systems that cannot be interfered by the inhibition of a single target of that network and consequently might not lead to the desired therapeutic effect . Furthermore studies prove that robust systems are rather affected by weak inhibitions of several parts than by a complete inhibition of a single selected element of that system . Therefore there is an increasing interest in developing drugs that take effect on multiple targets simultaneously but is concurrently a great challenge for medicinal chemists. There has to be a sufficient activity on each target as well as an adequate pharmacokinetic profile . Early design strategies tried to link the pharmacophors of known inhibitors, however these methods often lead to high molecular weight and low ligand efficacy. We present a new rational approach based on a retrosynthetic combinatorial analysis procedure  on approved ligands of multiple targets. These RECAP fragments are used to design a large combinatorial library containing molecules featuring chemical properties of each ligand class. The molecules are further validated by machine learning models, like random forests and self-organizing maps, regarding their activity on the targets of interest.
Efficient chemotherapy of rat glioblastoma using Doxorubicin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles with different stabilizers
Alexander S. Khalansky
S. E. Gelperina
- Background: Chemotherapy of glioblastoma is largely ineffective as the blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents entry of most anticancer agents into the brain. For an efficient treatment of glioblastomas it is necessary to deliver anti-cancer drugs across the intact BBB. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles coated with poloxamer 188 hold great promise as drug carriers for brain delivery after their intravenous injection. In the present study the anti-tumour efficacy of the surfactant-coated doxorubicin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles against rat glioblastoma 101/8 was investigated using histological and immunohistochemical methods. Methodology: The particles were prepared by a high-pressure solvent evaporation technique using 1% polyvinylalcohol (PLGA/PVA) or human serum albumin (PLGA/HSA) as stabilizers. Additionally, lecithin-containing PLGA/HSA particles (Dox-Lecithin-PLGA/HSA) were prepared. For evaluation of the antitumour efficacy the glioblastoma-bearing rats were treated intravenously with the doxorubicin-loaded nanoparticles coated with poloxamer 188 using the following treatment regimen: 3×2.5 mg/kg on day 2, 5 and 8 after tumour implantation; doxorubicin and poloxamer 188 solutions were used as controls. On day 18, the rats were sacrificed and the antitumour effect was determined by measurement of tumour size, necrotic areas, proliferation index, and expression of GFAP and VEGF as well as Isolectin B4, a marker for the vessel density. Conclusion: The results reveal a considerable anti-tumour effect of the doxorubicin-loaded nanoparticles. The overall best results were observed for Dox-Lecithin-PLGA/HSA. These data demonstrate that the poloxamer 188-coated PLGA nanoparticles enable delivery of doxorubicin across the blood-brain barrier in the therapeutically effective concentrations.
Nanoparticulate transport of oximes over an in vitro blood-brain barrier model
Hagen von Briesen
- Background: Due to the use of organophosphates (OP) as pesticides and the availability of OP-type nerve agents, an effective medical treatment for OP poisonings is still a challenging problem. The acute toxicity of an OP poisoning is mainly due to the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the peripheral and central nervous systems (CNS). This results in an increase in the synaptic concentration of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, overstimulation of cholinergic receptors and disorder of numerous body functions up to death. The standard treatment of OP poisoning includes a combination of a muscarinic antagonist and an AChE reactivator (oxime). However, these oximes can not cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) sufficiently. Therefore, new strategies are needed to transport oximes over the BBB. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, we combined different oximes (obidoxime dichloride and two different HI 6 salts, HI 6 dichloride monohydrate and HI 6 dimethanesulfonate) with human serum albumin nanoparticles and could show an oxime transport over an in vitro BBB model. In general, the nanoparticulate transported oximes achieved a better reactivation of OP-inhibited AChE than free oximes. Conclusions/Significance: With these nanoparticles, for the first time, a tool exists that could enable a transport of oximes over the BBB. This is very important for survival after severe OP intoxication. Therefore, these nanoparticulate formulations are promising formulations for the treatment of the peripheral and the CNS after OP poisoning.
Sulindac sulfide reverses aberrant self-renewal of progenitor cells induced by the AML-associated fusion proteins PML/RARalpha and PLZF/RARalpha
- Chromosomal translocations can lead to the formation of chimeric genes encoding fusion proteins such as PML/RARalpha, PLZF/RARalpha, and AML-1/ETO, which are able to induce and maintain acute myeloid leukemia (AML). One key mechanism in leukemogenesis is increased self renewal of leukemic stem cells via aberrant activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Either X-RAR, PML/RARalpha and PLZF/RARalpha or AML-1/ETO activate Wnt signaling by upregulating gamma-catenin and beta-catenin. In a prospective study, a lower risk of leukemia was observed with aspirin use, which is consistent with numerous studies reporting an inverse association of aspirin with other cancers. Furthermore, a reduction in leukemia risk was associated with use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), where the effects on AML risk was FAB subtype-specific. To better investigate whether NSAID treatment is effective, we used Sulindac Sulfide in X-RARalpha-positive progenitor cell models. Sulindac Sulfide (SSi) is a derivative of Sulindac, a NSAID known to inactivate Wnt signaling. We found that SSi downregulated both beta-catenin and gamma-catenin in X-RARalpha-expressing cells and reversed the leukemic phenotype by reducing stem cell capacity and increasing differentiation potential in X-RARalpha-positive HSCs. The data presented herein show that SSi inhibits the leukemic cell growth as well as hematopoietic progenitors cells (HPCs) expressing PML/RARalpha, and it indicates that Sulindac is a valid molecular therapeutic approach that should be further validated using in vivo leukemia models and in clinical settings.
Reduced TRPC channel expression in psoriatic keratinocytes is associated with impaired differentiation and enhanced proliferation
Heike A. Beschmann
Christoph Mathis Schempp
Walter E. Müller
- Psoriasis is a characteristic inflammatory and scaly skin condition with typical histopathological features including increased proliferation and hampered differentiation of keratinocytes. The activation of innate and adaptive inflammatory cellular immune responses is considered to be the main trigger factor of the epidermal changes in psoriatic skin. However, the molecular players that are involved in enhanced proliferation and impaired differentiation of psoriatic keratinocytes are only partly understood. One important factor that regulates differentiation on the cellular level is Ca2+. In normal epidermis, a Ca2+ gradient exists that is disturbed in psoriatic plaques, favoring impaired keratinocyte proliferation. Several TRPC channels such as TRPC1, TRPC4, or TRPC6 are key proteins in the regulation of high [Ca2+]ex induced differentiation. Here, we investigated if TRPC channel function is impaired in psoriasis using calcium imaging, RT-PCR, western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining of skin biopsies. We demonstrated substantial defects in Ca2+ influx in psoriatic keratinocytes in response to high extracellular Ca2+ levels, associated with a downregulation of all TRPC channels investigated, including TRPC6 channels. As TRPC6 channel activation can partially overcome this Ca2+ entry defect, specific TRPC channel activators may be potential new drug candidates for the topical treatment of psoriasis.
Warfarin anticoagulation exacerbates the risk of hemorrhagic transformation after rt-PA treatment in experimental stroke: therapeutic potential of PCC
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- Background: Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with warfarin is the standard of stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Approximately 30% of patients with cardioembolic strokes are on OAT at the time of symptom onset. We investigated whether warfarin exacerbates the risk of thrombolysis-associated hemorrhagic transformation (HT) in a mouse model of ischemic stroke.
Methods: 62 C57BL/6 mice were used for this study. To achieve effective anticoagulation, warfarin was administered orally. We performed right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 3 h and assessed functional deficit and HT blood volume after 24 h.
Results: In non-anticoagulated mice, treatment with rt-PA (10 mg/kg i.v.) after 3 h MCAO led to a 5-fold higher degree of HT compared to vehicle-treated controls (4.0±0.5 µl vs. 0.8±0.1, p<0.001). Mice on warfarin revealed larger amounts of HT after rt-PA treatment in comparison to non-anticoagulated mice (9.2±3.2 µl vs. 2.8±1.0, p<0.05). The rapid reversal of anticoagulation by means of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC, 100 IU/kg) at the end of the 3 h MCAO period, but prior to rt-PA administration, neutralized the exacerbated risk of HT as compared to sham-treated controls (3.8±0.7 µl vs. 15.0±3.8, p<0.001).
Conclusion: In view of the vastly increased risk of HT, it seems to be justified to withhold tPA therapy in effectively anticoagulated patients with acute ischemic stroke. The rapid reversal of anticoagulation with PCC prior to tPA application reduces the risk attributed to warfarin pretreatment and may constitute an interesting therapeutic option.
IL-2 stimulated but not unstimulated NK cells induce selective disappearance of peripheral blood cells: concomitant results to a phase I/II study
Petra S. A. Becker
Jakob R. Passweg
- In an ongoing clinical phase I/II study, 16 pediatric patients suffering from high risk leukemia/tumors received highly purified donor natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy (NK-DLI) at day (+3) +40 and +100 post haploidentical stem cell transplantation. However, literature about the influence of NK-DLI on recipient's immune system is scarce. Here we present concomitant results of a noninvasive in vivo monitoring approach of recipient's peripheral blood (PB) cells after transfer of either unstimulated (NK-DLI(unstim)) or IL-2 (1000 U/ml, 9–14 days) activated NK cells (NK-DLI(IL-2 stim)) along with their ex vivo secreted cytokine/chemokines. We performed phenotypical and functional characterizations of the NK-DLIs, detailed flow cytometric analyses of various PB cells and comprehensive cytokine/chemokine arrays before and after NK-DLI. Patients of both groups were comparable with regard to remission status, immune reconstitution, donor chimerism, KIR mismatching, stem cell and NK-DLI dose. Only after NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) was a rapid, almost complete loss of CD56(bright)CD16(dim/−) immune regulatory and CD56(dim)CD16(+) cytotoxic NK cells, monocytes, dendritic cells and eosinophils from PB circulation seen 10 min after infusion, while neutrophils significantly increased. The reduction of NK cells was due to both, a decrease in patients' own CD69(−) NCR(low)CD62L(+) NK cells as well as to a diminishing of the transferred cells from the NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) with the CD56(bright)CD16(+/−)CD69(+)NCR(high)CD62L(−) phenotype. All cell counts recovered within the next 24 h. Transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) translated into significantly increased levels of various cytokines/chemokines (i.e. IFN-γ, IL-6, MIP-1β) in patients' PB. Those remained stable for at least 1 h, presumably leading to endothelial activation, leukocyte adhesion and/or extravasation. In contrast, NK-DLI(unstim) did not cause any of the observed effects. In conclusion, we assume that the adoptive transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) under the influence of ex vivo and in vivo secreted cytokines/chemokines may promote NK cell trafficking and therefore might enhance efficacy of immunotherapy.