Biglycan: a multivalent proteoglycan providing structure and signals
Madalina V. Nastase
Marian F. Young
- Research over the past few years has provided fascinating results indicating that biglycan, besides being a ubiquitous structural component of the extracellular matrix (ECM), may act as a signaling molecule. Proteolytically released from the ECM, biglycan acts as a danger signal signifying tissue stress or injury. As a ligand of innate immunity receptors and activator of the inflammasome, biglycan stimulates multifunctional proinflammatory signaling linking the innate to the adaptive immune response. By clustering several types of receptors on the cell surface and orchestrating their downstream signaling events, biglycan is capable to autonomously trigger sterile inflammation and to potentiate the inflammatory response to microbial invasion. Besides operating in a broad biological context, biglycan also displays tissue-specific affinities to certain receptors and structural components, thereby playing a crucial role in bone formation, muscle integrity, and synapse stability at the neuromuscular junction. This review attempts to provide a concise summary of recent data regarding the involvement of biglycan in the regulation of inflammation and the musculoskeletal system, pointing out both a signaling and a structural role for this proteoglycan. The potential of biglycan as a novel therapeutic target or agent for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and skeletal muscular dystrophies is also addressed.
Sphingosine 1-phosphate modulates antigen capture by murine langerhans cells via the S1P2 receptor subtype
Heinfried Hermann Radeke
Se Kyoo Jeong
- Dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role in the development of cutaneous contact hypersensitivity (CHS) and atopic dermatitis as they capture and process antigen and present it to T lymphocytes in the lymphoid organs. Recently, it has been indicated that a topical application of the sphingolipid sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) prevents the inflammatory response in CHS, but the molecular mechanism is not fully elucidated. Here we indicate that treatment of mice with S1P is connected with an impaired antigen uptake by Langerhans cells (LCs), the initial step of CHS. Most of the known actions of S1P are mediated by a family of five specific G protein-coupled receptors. Our results indicate that S1P inhibits macropinocytosis of the murine LC line XS52 via S1P2 receptor stimulation followed by a reduced phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity. As down-regulation of S1P2 not only diminished S1P-mediated action but also enhanced the basal activity of LCs on antigen capture, an autocrine action of S1P has been assumed. Actually, S1P is continuously produced by LCs and secreted via the ATP binding cassette transporter ABCC1 to the extracellular environment. Consequently, inhibition of ABCC1, which decreased extracellular S1P levels, markedly increased the antigen uptake by LCs. Moreover, stimulation of sphingosine kinase activity, the crucial enzyme for S1P formation, is connected not only with enhanced S1P levels but also with diminished antigen capture. These results indicate that S1P is essential in LC homeostasis and influences skin immunity. This is of importance as previous reports suggested an alteration of S1P levels in atopic skin lesions.
Novel chalcone-based fluorescent human histamine H 3 receptor ligands as pharmacological tools
J. Stephan Schwed
- Novel fluorescent chalcone-based ligands at human histamine H(3) receptors (hH(3)R) have been designed, synthesized, and characterized. Compounds described are non-imidazole analogs of ciproxifan with a tetralone motif. Tetralones as chemical precursors and related fluorescent chalcones exhibit affinities at hH(3)R in the same concentration range like the reference antagonist ciproxifan (hH(3)R pK(i) value of 7.2). Fluorescence characterization of our novel ligands shows emission maxima about 570 nm for yellow fluorescent chalcones and ≥600 nm for the red fluorescent derivatives. Interferences to cellular autofluorescence could be excluded. All synthesized chalcone compounds could be used to visualize hH(3)R proteins in stably transfected HEK-293 cells using confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. These novel fluorescent ligands possess high potential to be used as pharmacological tools for hH(3)R visualization in different tissues.
Consequences of altered eicosanoid patterns for nociceptive processing in mPGES-1-deficient mice
Carlo Federico Angioni
Rolf M. Nusing
- 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.
Can biorelevant media be simplified by using SLS and tween 80 to replace bile compounds?
- In the scientific literature, the use of a surfactant is recommended for both designing quality control tests for water insoluble or sparingly water soluble drugs and for predicting the bioavailability of drugs from various types of formulations. Since the number of poorly soluble drugs is increasing, the selection of adequate dissolution test for these becomes more and more important. The aim of the present study was to develop predictive and discriminatory test methods based on surfactants that are recommended in the literature. Particular respect was given to the use of sodium lauryl sulfate and Tween 80, the two most commonly used surfactants for this purpose. Tamoxifen was used as a model drug. Dissolution experiments were performed using various concentrations of the two surfactants in buffer media typically used to prepare biorelevant test media. Results were then compared with those deriving from the same test formulations in biorelevant and simplified “biorelevant” media. Results from this study indicate that the concentration of surfactant has a huge impact on both the rate and extent of drug release from the formulation and also on the discriminatory power of the test. However, they also indicate that a well designed and validated test medium containing SLS or Tween 80 can be useful in terms of establishing a discriminatory test medium that possibly could also be used to assure batch to batch bioequivalence. Therefore, the approach described in the present paper might be very helpful for developing predictive and discriminatory methods in early formulation development for poorly soluble drugs and which could also be adopted for QC.
Wound healing in mice with high-fat diet- or ob gene-induced diabetes-obesity syndromes: a comparative study
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- In the past, the genetically diabetic-obese diabetes/diabetes (db/db) and obese/obese (ob/ob) mouse strains were used to investigate mechanisms of diabetes-impaired wound healing. Here we determined patterns of skin repair in genetically normal C57Bl/6J mice that were fed using a high fat diet (HFD) to induce a diabetes-obesity syndrome. Wound closure was markedly delayed in HFD-fed mice compared to mice which had received a standard chow diet (CD). Impaired wound tissue of HFD mice showed a marked prolongation of wound inflammation. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was delayed and associated with the disturbed formation of wound margin epithelia and an impaired angiogenesis in the reduced granulation tissue. Normal wound contraction was retarded and disordered. Wound disorders in obese C57Bl/6J mice were paralleled by a prominent degradation of the inhibitor of NFκB (IκB-α) in the absence of an Akt activation. By contrast to impaired wound conditions in ob/ob mice, late wounds of HFD mice did not develop a chronic inflammatory state and were epithelialized after 11 days of repair. Thus, only genetically obese and diabetic ob/ob mice finally developed chronic wounds and therefore represent a better suited experimental model to investigate diabetes-induced wound healing disorders.
Inhibition of diacylglycerol–sensitive TRPC channels by synthetic and natural steroids
- TRPC channels are a family of nonselective cation channels that regulate ion homeostasis and intracellular Ca2+ signaling in numerous cell types. Important physiological functions such as vasoregulation, neuronal growth, and pheromone recognition have been assigned to this class of ion channels. Despite their physiological relevance, few selective pharmacological tools are available to study TRPC channel function. We, therefore, screened a selection of pharmacologically active compounds for TRPC modulating activity. We found that the synthetic gestagen norgestimate inhibited diacylglycerol-sensitive TRPC3 and TRPC6 with IC50s of 3–5 µM, while half-maximal inhibition of TRPC5 required significantly higher compound concentrations (>10 µM). Norgestimate blocked TRPC-mediated vasopressin-induced cation currents in A7r5 smooth muscle cells and caused vasorelaxation of isolated rat aorta, indicating that norgestimate could be an interesting tool for the investigation of TRP channel function in native cells and tissues. The steroid hormone progesterone, which is structurally related to norgestimate, also inhibited TRPC channel activity with IC50s ranging from 6 to 18 µM but showed little subtype selectivity. Thus, TRPC channel inhibition by high gestational levels of progesterone may contribute to the physiological decrease of uterine contractility and immunosuppression during pregnancy.
Site-specific and time-dependent activation of the endocannabinoid system after transection of long-range projections
- Background: After focal neuronal injury the endocannabinioid system becomes activated and protects or harms neurons depending on cannabinoid derivates and receptor subtypes. Endocannabinoids (eCBs) play a central role in controlling local responses and influencing neural plasticity and survival. However, little is known about the functional relevance of eCBs in long-range projection damage as observed in stroke or spinal cord injury (SCI).
Methods: In rat organotypic entorhino-hippocampal slice cultures (OHSC) as a relevant and suitable model for investigating projection fibers in the CNS we performed perforant pathway transection (PPT) and subsequently analyzed the spatial and temporal dynamics of eCB levels. This approach allows proper distinction of responses in originating neurons (entorhinal cortex), areas of deafferentiation/anterograde axonal degeneration (dentate gyrus) and putative changes in more distant but synaptically connected subfields (cornu ammonis (CA) 1 region).
Results: Using LC-MS/MS, we measured a strong increase in arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) levels in the denervation zone (dentate gyrus) 24 hours post lesion (hpl), whereas entorhinal cortex and CA1 region exhibited little if any changes. NAPE-PLD, responsible for biosynthesis of eCBs, was increased early, whereas FAAH, a catabolizing enzyme, was up-regulated 48hpl.
Conclusion: Neuronal damage as assessed by transection of long-range projections apparently provides a strong time-dependent and area-confined signal for de novo synthesis of eCB, presumably to restrict neuronal damage. The present data underlines the importance of activation of the eCB system in CNS pathologies and identifies a novel site-specific intrinsic regulation of eCBs after long-range projection damage.
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.