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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 25, Issue 10 (May-2 2024) – 515 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study focuses on enhancing the therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs), specifically those derived from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs), for osteoarthritis (OA) treatment. A novel nanovesicle system named IGF-si-EV was developed by electrostatically attaching IGF-1 to the surface of UCMSC-derived EVs carrying siRNA that targeted MMP13. This system effectively downregulated inflammation markers, while upregulating cartilage-regeneration-related factors. Additionally, IGF-si-EV showed prolonged retention time at the lesion site due to their positively charged surface, suggesting enhanced therapeutic efficacy to negatively charged cartilage. The study suggests that IGF-si-EV is promising for EV-based OA treatment. View this paper
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15 pages, 4842 KiB  
Article
Cocatalytic Activity of the Furfuryl and Oxanorbornane-Substituted Guanidines in the Aldol Reaction Catalyzed by (S)-Proline
by Luka Barešić, Monika Marijanović, Irena Dokli, Davor Margetić and Zoran Glasovac
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105570 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 693
Abstract
This work investigated the cocatalytic activity of recently prepared guanidinium salts containing an oxanorbornane subunit in an (S)-proline-catalyzed aldol reaction. The activity was interpreted by the diastereoselectivity of the reaction (anti/syn ratio) and for the most interesting polycyclic [...] Read more.
This work investigated the cocatalytic activity of recently prepared guanidinium salts containing an oxanorbornane subunit in an (S)-proline-catalyzed aldol reaction. The activity was interpreted by the diastereoselectivity of the reaction (anti/syn ratio) and for the most interesting polycyclic guanidinium salt, the enantioselectivity of the reaction was determined. The results indicated a negative impact on the oxanorbornane unit if present as the flexible substituent. For most of the tested aldehydes, the best cocatalysts provided enantioselectivities above 90% and above 95% at room temperature and 0 °C, respectively, culminating in >99.5% for 4–chloro– and 2–nitrobenzaldehyde as the substrate. The barriers for forming four possible enantiomers were calculated and the results for two anti–enantiomers are qualitatively consistent with the experiment. Obtained results suggest that the representatives of furfurylguanidinium and rigid polycyclic oxanorbornane-substituted guanidinium salts are good lead structures for developing new cocatalysts by tuning the chemical space around the guanidine moiety. Full article
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33 pages, 1829 KiB  
Review
Apigenin: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential against Cancer Spreading
by Valeria Naponelli, Maria Teresa Rocchetti and Domenica Mangieri
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105569 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 960
Abstract
Due to its propensity to metastasize, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Thanks in part to their intrinsic low cytotoxicity, the effects of the flavonoid family in the prevention and treatment of various human cancers, both in vitro and [...] Read more.
Due to its propensity to metastasize, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Thanks in part to their intrinsic low cytotoxicity, the effects of the flavonoid family in the prevention and treatment of various human cancers, both in vitro and in vivo, have received increasing attention in recent years. It is well documented that Apigenin (4′,5,7-trihydroxyflavone), among other flavonoids, is able to modulate key signaling molecules involved in the initiation of cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis, including JAK/STAT, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, MAPK/ERK, NF-κB, and Wnt/β-catenin pathways, as well as the oncogenic non-coding RNA network. Based on these premises, the aim of this review is to emphasize some of the key events through which Apigenin suppresses cancer proliferation, focusing specifically on its ability to target key molecular pathways involved in angiogenesis, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), maintenance of cancer stem cells (CSCs), cell cycle arrest, and cancer cell death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Cancer Chemoprevention: Focus on Natural Product)
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22 pages, 4378 KiB  
Review
Deciphering the Role of microRNAs: Unveiling Clinical Biomarkers and Therapeutic Avenues in Atrial Fibrillation and Associated Stroke—A Systematic Review
by Elke Boxhammer, Christiane Dienhart, Richard Rezar, Uta C. Hoppe and Michael Lichtenauer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105568 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 796
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by binding to target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). miRNAs have been implicated in a variety of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, such as myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathies of various geneses, rhythmological diseases, neurodegenerative illnesses and [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression by binding to target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). miRNAs have been implicated in a variety of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, such as myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathies of various geneses, rhythmological diseases, neurodegenerative illnesses and strokes. Numerous studies have focused on the expression of miRNA patterns with respect to atrial fibrillation (AF) or acute ischemic stroke (AIS) However, only a few studies have addressed the expression pattern of miRNAs in patients with AF and AIS in order to provide not only preventive information but also to identify therapeutic potentials. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize 18 existing manuscripts that have dealt with this combined topic of AF and associated AIS in detail and to shed light on the most frequently mentioned miRNAs-1, -19, -21, -145 and -146 with regard to their molecular mechanisms and targets on both the heart and the brain. From this, possible diagnostic and therapeutic consequences for the future could be derived. Full article
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34 pages, 865 KiB  
Review
Macrocephaly and Finger Changes: A Narrative Review
by Cecilia Lazea, Romana Vulturar, Adina Chiș, Svetlana Encica, Melinda Horvat, Cristina Belizna and Laura-Otilia Damian
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105567 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Macrocephaly, characterized by an abnormally large head circumference, often co-occurs with distinctive finger changes, presenting a diagnostic challenge for clinicians. This review aims to provide a current synthetic overview of the main acquired and genetic etiologies associated with macrocephaly and finger changes. The [...] Read more.
Macrocephaly, characterized by an abnormally large head circumference, often co-occurs with distinctive finger changes, presenting a diagnostic challenge for clinicians. This review aims to provide a current synthetic overview of the main acquired and genetic etiologies associated with macrocephaly and finger changes. The genetic cause encompasses several categories of diseases, including bone marrow expansion disorders, skeletal dysplasias, ciliopathies, inherited metabolic diseases, RASopathies, and overgrowth syndromes. Furthermore, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases are also explored for their potential involvement in macrocephaly and finger changes. The intricate genetic mechanisms involved in the formation of cranial bones and extremities are multifaceted. An excess in growth may stem from disruptions in the intricate interplays among the genetic, epigenetic, and hormonal factors that regulate human growth. Understanding the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms is important for elucidating the developmental pathways and biological processes that contribute to the observed clinical phenotypes. The review provides a practical approach to delineate causes of macrocephaly and finger changes, facilitate differential diagnosis and guide for the appropriate etiological framework. Early recognition contributes to timely intervention and improved outcomes for affected individuals. Full article
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25 pages, 1210 KiB  
Review
Systematic-Narrative Hybrid Literature Review: Crosstalk between Gastrointestinal Renin–Angiotensin and Dopaminergic Systems in the Regulation of Intestinal Permeability by Tight Junctions
by Nadia Khan, Magdalena Kurnik-Łucka, Gniewomir Latacz and Krzysztof Gil
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105566 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 578
Abstract
In the first part of this article, the role of intestinal epithelial tight junctions (TJs), together with gastrointestinal dopaminergic and renin–angiotensin systems, are narratively reviewed to provide sufficient background. In the second part, the current experimental data on the interplay between gastrointestinal (GI) [...] Read more.
In the first part of this article, the role of intestinal epithelial tight junctions (TJs), together with gastrointestinal dopaminergic and renin–angiotensin systems, are narratively reviewed to provide sufficient background. In the second part, the current experimental data on the interplay between gastrointestinal (GI) dopaminergic and renin–angiotensin systems in the regulation of intestinal epithelial permeability are reviewed in a systematic manner using the PRISMA methodology. Experimental data confirmed the copresence of DOPA decarboxylase (DDC) and angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in human and rodent enterocytes. The intestinal barrier structure and integrity can be altered by angiotensin (1-7) and dopamine (DA). Both renin–angiotensin and dopaminergic systems influence intestinal Na+/K+-ATPase activity, thus maintaining electrolyte and nutritional homeostasis. The colocalization of B0AT1 and ACE2 indicates the direct role of the renin–angiotensin system in amino acid absorption. Yet, more studies are needed to thoroughly define the structural and functional interaction between TJ-associated proteins and GI renin–angiotensin and dopaminergic systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Dopamine in Health and Disease: Biological Aspect 2.0)
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17 pages, 4280 KiB  
Article
EGFR and PI3K Signalling Pathways as Promising Targets on Circulating Tumour Cells from Patients with Metastatic Gastric Adenocarcinoma
by Ann-Katrin Piper, Chelsea Penney, Jacqueline Holliday, Gary Tincknell, Yafeng Ma, Sarbar Napaki, Klaus Pantel, Daniel Brungs and Marie Ranson
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105565 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 862
Abstract
The prognosis for metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma (mGAC) remains poor. Gene alterations in receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and their downstream effectors including catalytic subunit alpha of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PIK3CA) are common in mGAC. Targeted RTK and [...] Read more.
The prognosis for metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma (mGAC) remains poor. Gene alterations in receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and their downstream effectors including catalytic subunit alpha of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PIK3CA) are common in mGAC. Targeted RTK and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) treatments have demonstrated clinical benefits in other solid tumours and are key potential targets for clinical development against mGAC given the presence of recurrent alterations in these pathways. Furthermore, combination RTK/PI3K treatments may overcome compensatory mechanisms that arise using monotherapies, leading to improved patient outcomes. Herein, we investigated RTK/PI3K single and combination drug responses against our unique human mGAC-derived PIK3CA gain-of-function mutant, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, EGFR-expressing circulating tumour cell line, UWG02CTC, under two- and three-dimensional culture conditions to model different stages of metastasis. UWG02CTCs were highly responsive to the PI3K p110α-subunit targeted drugs PIK-75 (IC50 = 37.0 ± 11.1 nM) or alpelisib (7.05 ± 3.7 µM). Drug sensitivities were significantly increased in 3D conditions. Compensatory MAPK/ERK pathway upregulation by PI3K/Akt suppression was overcome by combination treatment with the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib, which was strongly synergistic. PIK-75 plus gefitinib significantly impaired UWG02CTC invasion in an organotypic assay. In conclusion, UWG02CTCs are a powerful ex vivo mGAC drug responsiveness model revealing EGFR/PI3K-targeted drugs as a promising combination treatment option for HER2-negative, RAS wild-type mGAC patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Advances in Gastric Cancer)
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20 pages, 4545 KiB  
Article
Identification and Expression Profile of NCED Genes in Arachis hypogaea L. during Drought Stress
by Ao Chen, Jingyan Li, Heping Wang and Puyan Zhao
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5564; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105564 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important crop that provides essential proteins and oils for human and animal consumption. 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED) have been found can play a vital role in abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and may be a response to drought [...] Read more.
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important crop that provides essential proteins and oils for human and animal consumption. 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (NCED) have been found can play a vital role in abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and may be a response to drought stress. Until now, in Arachis hypogaea, no information about the NCED gene family has been reported and the importance of NCED-related drought tolerance is unclear. In this study, eight NCED genes in Arachis hypogaea, referred to as AhNCEDs, are distributed across eight chromosomes, with duplication events in AhNCED1 and AhNCED2, AhNCED3 and AhNCED4, and AhNCED6 and AhNCED7. Comparative analysis revealed that NCED genes are highly conserved among plant species, including Pisum sativum, Phaseolus vulgaris, Glycine max, Arabidopsis thaliana, Gossypium hirsutum, and Oryza sativa. Further promoter analysis showed AhNCEDs have ABA-related and drought-inducible elements. The phenotyping of Arachis hypogaea cultivars NH5 and FH18 demonstrated that NH5 is drought-tolerant and FH18 is drought-sensitive. Transcriptome expression analysis revealed the differential regulation of AhNCEDs expression in both NH5 and FH18 cultivars under drought stress. Furthermore, compared to the Arachis hypogaea cultivar FH18, the NH5 exhibited a significant upregulation of AhNCED1/2 expression under drought. To sum up, this study provides an insight into the drought-related AhNCED genes, screened out the potential candidates to regulate drought tolerance and ABA biosynthesis in Arachis hypogaea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Plant Abiotic Stress)
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14 pages, 2653 KiB  
Article
Osteophyte Cartilage as a Potential Source for Minced Cartilage Implantation: A Novel Approach for Articular Cartilage Repair in Osteoarthritis
by Shingo Kawabata, Tomoyuki Nakasa, Akinori Nekomoto, Dilimulati Yimiti, Shigeru Miyaki and Nobuo Adachi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5563; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105563 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 576
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disorder characterized by cartilage degeneration, often leading to pain and functional impairment. Minced cartilage implantation (MCI) has emerged as a promising one-step alternative for large cartilage defects. However, the source of chondrocytes for MCI remains a challenge, [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disorder characterized by cartilage degeneration, often leading to pain and functional impairment. Minced cartilage implantation (MCI) has emerged as a promising one-step alternative for large cartilage defects. However, the source of chondrocytes for MCI remains a challenge, particularly in advanced OA, as normal cartilage is scarce. We performed in vitro studies to evaluate the feasibility of MCI using osteophyte cartilage, which is present in patients with advanced OA. Osteophyte and articular cartilage samples were obtained from 22 patients who underwent total knee arthroplasty. Chondrocyte migration and proliferation were assessed using cartilage fragment/atelocollagen composites to compare the characteristics and regenerative potential of osteophytes and articular cartilage. Histological analysis revealed differences in cartilage composition between osteophytes and articular cartilage, with higher expression of type X collagen and increased chondrocyte proliferation in the osteophyte cartilage. Gene expression analysis identified distinct gene expression profiles between osteophytes and articular cartilage; the expression levels of COL2A1, ACAN, and SOX9 were not significantly different. Chondrocytes derived from osteophyte cartilage exhibit enhanced proliferation, and glycosaminoglycan production is increased in both osteophytes and articular cartilage. Osteophyte cartilage may serve as a viable alternative source of MCI for treating large cartilage defects in OA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches to Osteoarthritis)
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23 pages, 4288 KiB  
Article
Annona squamosa Fruit Extract Ameliorates Lead Acetate-Induced Testicular Injury by Modulating JAK-1/STAT-3/SOCS-1 Signaling in Male Rats
by Maysa A. Mobasher, Alaa Muqbil Alsirhani, Maha Abdullah Alwaili, Fadi Baakdah, Thamir M Eid, Fahad A. Alshanbari, Reem Yahya Alzahri, Sahar Abdulrahman Alkhodair and Karim Samy El-Said
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105562 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Lead (Pb) is a common pollutant that is not biodegradable and gravely endangers the environment and human health. Annona squamosa fruit has a wide range of medicinal uses owing to its phytochemical constituents. This study evaluated the effect of treatment with A. squamosa [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) is a common pollutant that is not biodegradable and gravely endangers the environment and human health. Annona squamosa fruit has a wide range of medicinal uses owing to its phytochemical constituents. This study evaluated the effect of treatment with A. squamosa fruit extract (ASFE) on testicular toxicity induced in male rats by lead acetate. The metal-chelating capacity and phytochemical composition of ASFE were determined. The LD50 of ASFE was evaluated by probit analysis. Molecular docking simulations were performed using Auto Dock Vina. Forty male Sprague Dawley rats were equally divided into the following groups: Gp1, a negative control group; Gp2, given ASFE (350 mg/kg body weight (b. wt.)) (1/10 of LD50); Gp3, given lead acetate (PbAc) solution (100 mg/kg b. wt.); and Gp4, given PbAc as in Gp3 and ASFE as in Gp2. All treatments were given by oro-gastric intubation daily for 30 days. Body weight changes, spermatological parameters, reproductive hormone levels, oxidative stress parameters, and inflammatory biomarkers were evaluated, and molecular and histopathological investigations were performed. The results showed that ASFE had promising metal-chelating activity and phytochemical composition. The LD50 of ASFE was 3500 mg/kg b. wt. The docking analysis showed that quercetin demonstrated a high binding affinity for JAK-1 and STAT-3 proteins, and this could make it a more promising candidate for targeting the JAK-1/STAT-3 pathway than others. The rats given lead acetate had defective testicular tissues, with altered molecular, biochemical, and histological features, as well as impaired spermatological characteristics. Treatment with ASFE led to a significant mitigation of these dysfunctions and modulated the JAK-1/STAT-3/SOCS-1 axis in the rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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50 pages, 3008 KiB  
Review
Unraveling the Microbiome–Human Body Axis: A Comprehensive Examination of Therapeutic Strategies, Interactions and Implications
by Gabriel Olteanu, Maria-Alexandra Ciucă-Pană, Ștefan Sebastian Busnatu, Dumitru Lupuliasa, Sorinel Marius Neacșu, Magdalena Mititelu, Adina Magdalena Musuc, Corina-Bianca Ioniță-Mîndrican and Steluța Constanța Boroghină
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5561; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105561 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 1363
Abstract
This review scrutinizes the intricate interplay between the microbiome and the human body, exploring its multifaceted dimensions and far-reaching implications. The human microbiome, comprising diverse microbial communities inhabiting various anatomical niches, is increasingly recognized as a critical determinant of human health and disease. [...] Read more.
This review scrutinizes the intricate interplay between the microbiome and the human body, exploring its multifaceted dimensions and far-reaching implications. The human microbiome, comprising diverse microbial communities inhabiting various anatomical niches, is increasingly recognized as a critical determinant of human health and disease. Through an extensive examination of current research, this review elucidates the dynamic interactions between the microbiome and host physiology across multiple organ systems. Key topics include the establishment and maintenance of microbiota diversity, the influence of host factors on microbial composition, and the bidirectional communication pathways between microbiota and host cells. Furthermore, we delve into the functional implications of microbiome dysbiosis in disease states, emphasizing its role in shaping immune responses, metabolic processes, and neurological functions. Additionally, this review discusses emerging therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating the microbiome to restore host–microbe homeostasis and promote health. Microbiota fecal transplantation represents a groundbreaking therapeutic approach in the management of dysbiosis-related diseases, offering a promising avenue for restoring microbial balance within the gut ecosystem. This innovative therapy involves the transfer of fecal microbiota from a healthy donor to an individual suffering from dysbiosis, aiming to replenish beneficial microbial populations and mitigate pathological imbalances. By synthesizing findings from diverse fields, this review offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between the microbiome and the human body, highlighting avenues for future research and clinical interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Microbiota and Nutrition in Human Health)
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23 pages, 5555 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Lipid-Free Apolipoprotein (apo) A-I and CIGB-258 in Acute-Phase Zebrafish via Stabilization of the apoA-I Structure to Enhance Anti-Glycation and Antioxidant Activities
by Kyung-Hyun Cho, Ashutosh Bahuguna, Yunki Lee, Sang Hyuk Lee, Maria del Carmen Dominguez-Horta and Gillian Martinez-Donato
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5560; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105560 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 863
Abstract
CIGB-258, a 3 kDa peptide from heat shock protein 60, exhibits synergistic anti-inflammatory activity with apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) in reconstituted high-density lipoproteins (rHDLs) via stabilization of the rHDL structure. This study explored the interactions between CIGB-258 and apoA-I in the lipid-free state to [...] Read more.
CIGB-258, a 3 kDa peptide from heat shock protein 60, exhibits synergistic anti-inflammatory activity with apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) in reconstituted high-density lipoproteins (rHDLs) via stabilization of the rHDL structure. This study explored the interactions between CIGB-258 and apoA-I in the lipid-free state to assess their synergistic effects in the structural and functional enhancement of apoA-I and HDL. A co-treatment of lipid-free apoA-I and CIGB-258 inhibited the cupric ion-mediated oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and a lowering of oxidized species in the dose-responsive manner of CIGB-258. The co-presence of CIGB-258 caused a blue shift in the wavelength of maximum fluorescence (WMF) of apoA-I with protection from proteolytic degradation. The addition of apoA-I:CIGB-258, with a molar ratio of 1:0.1, 1:0.5, and 1:1, to HDL2 and HDL3 remarkably enhanced the antioxidant ability against LDL oxidation up to two-fold higher than HDL alone. HDL-associated paraoxonase activities were elevated up to 28% by the co-addition of apoA-I and CIGB-258, which is linked to the suppression of Cu2+-mediated HDL oxidation with the slowest electromobility. Isothermal denaturation by a urea treatment showed that the co-presence of CIGB-258 attenuated the exposure of intrinsic tryptophan (Trp) and increased the mid-points of denaturation from 2.33 M for apoA-I alone to 2.57 M for an apoA-I:CIGB-258 mixture with a molar ratio of 1:0.5. The addition of CIGB-258 to apoA-I protected the carboxymethyllysine (CML)-facilitated glycation of apoA-I with the prevention of Trp exposure. A co-treatment of apoA-I and CIGB-258 synergistically safeguarded zebrafish embryos from acute death by CML-toxicity, suppressing oxidative stress and apoptosis. In adult zebrafish, the co-treatment of apoA-I+CIGB-258 exerted the highest anti-inflammatory activity with a higher recovery of swimming ability and survivability than apoA-I alone or CIGB-258 alone. A co-injection of apoA-I and CIGB-258 led to the lowest infiltration of neutrophils and interleukin (IL)-6 generation in hepatic tissue, with the lowest serum triglyceride, aspartate transaminase, and alanine transaminase levels in plasma. In conclusion, the co-presence of CIGB-258 ameliorated the beneficial functionalities of apoA-I, such as antioxidant and anti-glycation activities, by enhancing the structural stabilization and protection of apoA-I. The combination of apoA-I and CIGB-258 synergistically enforced the anti-inflammatory effect against CML toxicity in embryos and adult zebrafish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Model for Biomedical Studies)
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11 pages, 14502 KiB  
Article
The Reduction of PSMB4 in T24 and J82 Bladder Cancer Cells Inhibits the Angiogenesis and Migration of Endothelial Cells
by Yi-Hsuan Lin, Tzu-Min Chen, Yu-Ling Tsai, Wen-Chiuan Tsai, Hisao-Hsien Wang, Ying Chen and Sheng-Tang Wu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5559; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105559 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Bladder cancer (BC) is a malignant tumor of the urinary system with high mortality and recurrence rates. Proteasome subunit type 4 (PSMB4) is highly expressed and has been identified as having oncogenic properties in a variety of cancer types. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
Bladder cancer (BC) is a malignant tumor of the urinary system with high mortality and recurrence rates. Proteasome subunit type 4 (PSMB4) is highly expressed and has been identified as having oncogenic properties in a variety of cancer types. This study aimed to explore the effect of PSMB4 knockdown on the survival, migration, and angiogenesis of human bladder cancer cells with different degrees of malignancy. We analyzed the effects of PSMB4 knockdown in bladder cancer cells and endothelial cells in the tumor microenvironment. PSMB4 was highly expressed in patients with low- and high-grade urothelial carcinoma. Inhibition of PSMB4 reduced protein expression of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and myosin light chain (MLC), leading to reduced migration. Furthermore, the suppression of PSMB4 decreased the levels of vascular endothelial factor B (VEGF-B), resulting in lower angiogenic abilities in human bladder cancer cells. PSMB4 inhibition affected the migratory ability of HUVECs and reduced VEGFR2 expression, consequently downregulating angiogenesis. In the metastatic animal model, PSMB4 knockdown reduced the relative volumes of lung tumors. Our findings suggest the role of PSMB4 as a potential target for therapeutic strategies against human bladder cancer. Full article
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15 pages, 3534 KiB  
Article
The Presence of TGFβ3 in Human Ovarian Intrafollicular Fluid and Its Involvement in Thromboxane Generation in Follicular Granulosa Cells through a Canonical TGFβRI, Smad2/3 Signaling Pathway and COX-2 Induction
by Tsung-Hsuan Lai, Hsuan-Ting Chen, Pi-Hui Wu and Wen-Bin Wu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5558; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105558 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 511
Abstract
Ovarian follicular fluid (FF) has a direct impact on oocyte quality, playing key roles in fertilization, implantation, and early embryo development. In our recent study, we found FF thromboxane (TX) to be a novel factor inversely correlated with oocyte maturation and identified thrombin, [...] Read more.
Ovarian follicular fluid (FF) has a direct impact on oocyte quality, playing key roles in fertilization, implantation, and early embryo development. In our recent study, we found FF thromboxane (TX) to be a novel factor inversely correlated with oocyte maturation and identified thrombin, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), TNF-α, and follicular granulosa cells (GCs) as possible contributors to FF TX production. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the role of TGFβ3 in regulating TX generation in human ovarian follicular GCs. TGFβ3 was differentially and significantly present in the FF of large and small follicles obtained from IVF patients with average concentrations of 68.58 ± 12.38 and 112.55 ± 14.82 pg/mL, respectively, and its levels were correlated with oocyte maturity. In an in vitro study, TGFβ3 induced TX generation/secretion and the converting enzyme-COX-2 protein/mRNA expression both in human HO23 and primary cultured ovarian follicular GCs. While TGFβRI and Smad2/3 signaling was mainly required for COX-2 induction, ERK1/2 appeared to regulate TX secretion. The participation of Smad2/3 and COX-2 in TGFβ3-induced TX generation/secretion could be further supported by the observations that Smad2/3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation and siRNA knockdown of COX-2 expression compromised TX secretion in GCs challenged with TGFβ3. Taken together, the results presented here first demonstrated that FF TGFβ3 levels differ significantly in IVF patients’ large preovulatory and small mid-antral follicles and are positively associated with oocyte maturation. TGFβ3 can provoke TX generation by induction of COX-2 mRNA/protein via a TGFβR-related canonical Smad2/3 signaling pathway, and TX secretion possibly by ERK1/2. These imply that TGFβ3 is one of the inducers for yielding FF TX in vivo, which may play a role in folliculogenesis and oocyte maturation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Pharmacology of Prostaglandins)
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14 pages, 3724 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Role of RNA Recognition Motif Proteins in Orchestrating Nucleotide-Binding Site and Leucine-Rich Repeat Protein Gene Pairs and Chloroplast Immunity Pathways: Insights into Plant Defense Mechanisms
by Fengwei Gu, Zhikai Han, Xiaodi Zou, Huabin Xie, Chun Chen, Cuihong Huang, Tao Guo, Jiafeng Wang and Hui Wang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5557; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105557 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 526
Abstract
In plants, nucleotide-binding site and leucine-rich repeat proteins (NLRs) play pivotal roles in effector-triggered immunity (ETI). However, the precise mechanisms underlying NLR-mediated disease resistance remain elusive. Previous studies have demonstrated that the NLR gene pair Pik-H4 confers resistance to rice blast disease by [...] Read more.
In plants, nucleotide-binding site and leucine-rich repeat proteins (NLRs) play pivotal roles in effector-triggered immunity (ETI). However, the precise mechanisms underlying NLR-mediated disease resistance remain elusive. Previous studies have demonstrated that the NLR gene pair Pik-H4 confers resistance to rice blast disease by interacting with the transcription factor OsBIHD1, consequently leading to the upregulation of hormone pathways. In the present study, we identified an RNA recognition motif (RRM) protein, OsRRM2, which interacted with Pik1-H4 and Pik2-H4 in vesicles and chloroplasts. OsRRM2 exhibited a modest influence on Pik-H4-mediated rice blast resistance by upregulating resistance genes and genes associated with chloroplast immunity. Moreover, the RNA-binding sequence of OsRRM2 was elucidated using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment. Transcriptome analysis further indicated that OsRRM2 promoted RNA editing of the chloroplastic gene ndhB. Collectively, our findings uncovered a chloroplastic RRM protein that facilitated the translocation of the NLR gene pair and modulated chloroplast immunity, thereby bridging the gap between ETI and chloroplast immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research in Plant-Fungi Interactions)
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22 pages, 2276 KiB  
Review
Molecular Pathways of Genistein Activity in Breast Cancer Cells
by Evangelia K. Konstantinou, Aristea Gioxari, Maria Dimitriou, George I. Panoutsopoulos and Athanasios A. Panagiotopoulos
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5556; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105556 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 657
Abstract
The most common malignancy in women is breast cancer. During the development of cancer, oncogenic transcription factors facilitate the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines and cell adhesion molecules. Antiapoptotic proteins are markedly upregulated in cancer cells, which promotes tumor development, metastasis, and cell survival. [...] Read more.
The most common malignancy in women is breast cancer. During the development of cancer, oncogenic transcription factors facilitate the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines and cell adhesion molecules. Antiapoptotic proteins are markedly upregulated in cancer cells, which promotes tumor development, metastasis, and cell survival. Promising findings have been found in studies on the cell cycle-mediated apoptosis pathway for medication development and treatment. Dietary phytoconstituents have been studied in great detail for their potential to prevent cancer by triggering the body’s defense mechanisms. The underlying mechanisms of action may be clarified by considering the role of polyphenols in important cancer signaling pathways. Phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins, coumarins, lignans, lignins, naphthoquinones, anthraquinones, xanthones, and stilbenes are examples of natural chemicals that are being studied for potential anticancer drugs. These substances are also vital for signaling pathways. This review focuses on innovations in the study of polyphenol genistein’s effects on breast cancer cells and presents integrated chemical biology methods to harness mechanisms of action for important therapeutic advances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenolic Compounds in Human Diseases)
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16 pages, 2316 KiB  
Communication
Murine iPSC-Loaded Scaffold Grafts Improve Bone Regeneration in Critical-Size Bone Defects
by Franziska Kessler, Kevin Arnke, Benjamin Eggerschwiler, Yvonne Neldner, Sonja Märsmann, Olivier Gröninger, Elisa A. Casanova, Fabienne A. Weber, Matthias A. König, Wendelin J. Stark, Hans-Christoph Pape, Paolo Cinelli and Simon Tiziani
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5555; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105555 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 588
Abstract
In certain situations, bones do not heal completely after fracturing. One of these situations is a critical-size bone defect where the bone cannot heal spontaneously. In such a case, complex fracture treatment over a long period of time is required, which carries a [...] Read more.
In certain situations, bones do not heal completely after fracturing. One of these situations is a critical-size bone defect where the bone cannot heal spontaneously. In such a case, complex fracture treatment over a long period of time is required, which carries a relevant risk of complications. The common methods used, such as autologous and allogeneic grafts, do not always lead to successful treatment results. Current approaches to increasing bone formation to bridge the gap include the application of stem cells on the fracture side. While most studies investigated the use of mesenchymal stromal cells, less evidence exists about induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). In this study, we investigated the potential of mouse iPSC-loaded scaffolds and decellularized scaffolds containing extracellular matrix from iPSCs for treating critical-size bone defects in a mouse model. In vitro differentiation followed by Alizarin Red staining and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction confirmed the osteogenic differentiation potential of the iPSCs lines. Subsequently, an in vivo trial using a mouse model (n = 12) for critical-size bone defect was conducted, in which a PLGA/aCaP osteoconductive scaffold was transplanted into the bone defect for 9 weeks. Three groups (each n = 4) were defined as (1) osteoconductive scaffold only (control), (2) iPSC-derived extracellular matrix seeded on a scaffold and (3) iPSC seeded on a scaffold. Micro-CT and histological analysis show that iPSCs grafted onto an osteoconductive scaffold followed by induction of osteogenic differentiation resulted in significantly higher bone volume 9 weeks after implantation than an osteoconductive scaffold alone. Transplantation of iPSC-seeded PLGA/aCaP scaffolds may improve bone regeneration in critical-size bone defects in mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs))
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15 pages, 1820 KiB  
Article
Identification of Transcripts with Shared Roles in the Pathogenesis of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular Disease
by Sjur Reppe, Sveinung Gundersen, Geir K. Sandve, Yunpeng Wang, Ole A. Andreassen, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Fernando Rivadeneira, Tor P. Utheim, Eivind Hovig and Kaare M. Gautvik
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5554; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105554 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Epidemiological evidence suggests existing comorbidity between postmenopausal osteoporosis (OP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but identification of possible shared genes is lacking. The skeletal global transcriptomes were analyzed in trans-iliac bone biopsies (n = 84) from clinically well-characterized postmenopausal women (50 to 86 years) [...] Read more.
Epidemiological evidence suggests existing comorbidity between postmenopausal osteoporosis (OP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but identification of possible shared genes is lacking. The skeletal global transcriptomes were analyzed in trans-iliac bone biopsies (n = 84) from clinically well-characterized postmenopausal women (50 to 86 years) without clinical CVD using microchips and RNA sequencing. One thousand transcripts highly correlated with areal bone mineral density (aBMD) were further analyzed using bioinformatics, and common genes overlapping with CVD and associated biological mechanisms, pathways and functions were identified. Fifty genes (45 mRNAs, 5 miRNAs) were discovered with established roles in oxidative stress, inflammatory response, endothelial function, fibrosis, dyslipidemia and osteoblastogenesis/calcification. These pleiotropic genes with possible CVD comorbidity functions were also present in transcriptomes of microvascular endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes and were differentially expressed between healthy and osteoporotic women with fragility fractures. The results were supported by a genetic pleiotropy-informed conditional False Discovery Rate approach identifying any overlap in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within several genes encoding aBMD- and CVD-associated transcripts. The study provides transcriptional and genomic evidence for genes of importance for both BMD regulation and CVD risk in a large collection of postmenopausal bone biopsies. Most of the transcripts identified in the CVD risk categories have no previously recognized roles in OP pathogenesis and provide novel avenues for exploring the mechanistic basis for the biological association between CVD and OP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Osteoporosis)
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28 pages, 8783 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Efficacy against Drug-Resistant Tumors Enabled by Redox-Responsive Mesoporous-Silica-Nanoparticle-Supported Lipid Bilayers as Targeted Delivery Vehicles
by Shuoye Yang, Beibei Zhang, Xiangguo Zhao, Mengwei Zhang, Mengna Zhang, Lan Cui and Lu Zhang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5553; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105553 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 576
Abstract
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is frequently induced after long-term exposure to reduce the therapeutic effect of chemotherapeutic drugs, which is always associated with the overexpression of efflux proteins, such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Nano-delivery technology can be used as an efficient strategy to overcome tumor [...] Read more.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is frequently induced after long-term exposure to reduce the therapeutic effect of chemotherapeutic drugs, which is always associated with the overexpression of efflux proteins, such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Nano-delivery technology can be used as an efficient strategy to overcome tumor MDR. In this study, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) were synthesized and linked with a disulfide bond and then coated with lipid bilayers. The functionalized shell/core delivery systems (HT-LMSNs-SS@DOX) were developed by loading drugs inside the pores of MSNs and conjugating with D-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) and hyaluronic acid (HA) on the outer lipid surface. HT-LMSNs-SS and other carriers were characterized and assessed in terms of various characteristics. HT-LMSNs-SS@DOX exhibited a dual pH/reduction responsive drug release. The results also showed that modified LMSNs had good dispersity, biocompatibility, and drug-loading capacity. In vitro experiment results demonstrated that HT-LMSNs-SS were internalized by cells and mainly by clathrin-mediated endocytosis, with higher uptake efficiency than other carriers. Furthermore, HT-LMSNs-SS@DOX could effectively inhibit the expression of P-gp, increase the apoptosis ratios of MCF-7/ADR cells, and arrest cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase, with enhanced ability to induce excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in cells. In tumor-bearing model mice, HT-LMSNs-SS@DOX similarly exhibited the highest inhibition activity against tumor growth, with good biosafety, among all of the treatment groups. Therefore, the nano-delivery systems developed herein achieve enhanced efficacy towards resistant tumors through targeted delivery and redox-responsive drug release, with broad application prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Synthetic Compounds for Drug Development 2.0)
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18 pages, 7898 KiB  
Article
Chemiresistors Based on Hybrid Nanostructures Obtained from Graphene and Conducting Polymers with Potential Use in Breath Methane Detection Associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
by Alexandru F. Trandabat, Romeo C. Ciobanu, Oliver Daniel Schreiner, Thomas Gabriel Schreiner and Sebastian Aradoaei
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5552; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105552 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 428
Abstract
This paper describes the process of producing chemiresistors based on hybrid nanostructures obtained from graphene and conducting polymers. The technology of graphene presumed the following: dispersion and support stabilization based on the chemical vapor deposition technique; transfer of the graphene to the substrate [...] Read more.
This paper describes the process of producing chemiresistors based on hybrid nanostructures obtained from graphene and conducting polymers. The technology of graphene presumed the following: dispersion and support stabilization based on the chemical vapor deposition technique; transfer of the graphene to the substrate by spin-coating of polymethyl methacrylate; and thermal treatment and electrochemical delamination. For the process at T = 950 °C, a better settlement of the grains was noticed, with the formation of layers predominantly characterized by peaks and not by depressions. The technology for obtaining hybrid nanostructures from graphene and conducting polymers was drop-casting, with solutions of Poly(3-hexylthiophene (P3HT) and Poly[(9,9-dioctylfluorenyl-2,7-diyl)-co-bithiophene] (F8T2). In the case of F8T2, compared to P3HT, a 10 times larger dimension of grain size and about 7 times larger distances between the peak clusters were noticed. To generate chemiresistors from graphene–polymer structures, an ink-jet printer was used, and the metallization was made with commercial copper ink for printed electronics, leading to a structure of a resistor with an active surface of about 1 cm2. Experimental calibration curves were plotted for both sensing structures, for a domain of CH4 of up to 1000 ppm concentration in air. A linearity of the curve for the low concentration of CH4 was noticed for the graphene structure with F8T2, presenting a sensitivity of about 6 times higher compared with the graphene structure with P3HT, which makes the sensing structure of graphene with F8T2 more feasible and reliable for the medical application of irritable bowel syndrome evaluation. Full article
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11 pages, 4393 KiB  
Article
Large-Sample Genome-Wide Association Study of Resistance to Retained Placenta in U.S. Holstein Cows
by Dzianis Prakapenka, Zuoxiang Liang, Hafedh B. Zaabza, Paul M. VanRaden, Curtis P. Van Tassell and Yang Da
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5551; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105551 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 550
Abstract
A genome-wide association study of resistance to retained placenta (RETP) using 632,212 Holstein cows and 74,747 SNPs identified 200 additive effects with p-values < 10−8 on thirteen chromosomes but no dominance effect was statistically significant. The regions of 87.61–88.74 Mb of [...] Read more.
A genome-wide association study of resistance to retained placenta (RETP) using 632,212 Holstein cows and 74,747 SNPs identified 200 additive effects with p-values < 10−8 on thirteen chromosomes but no dominance effect was statistically significant. The regions of 87.61–88.74 Mb of Chr09 about 1.13 Mb in size had the most significant effect in LOC112448080 and other highly significant effects in CCDC170 and ESR1, and in or near RMND1 and AKAP12. Four non-ESR1 genes in this region were reported to be involved in ESR1 fusions in humans. Chr23 had the largest number of significant effects that peaked in SLC17A1, which was involved in urate metabolism and transport that could contribute to kidney disease. The PKHD1 gene contained seven significant effects and was downstream of another six significant effects. The ACOT13 gene also had a highly significant effect. Both PKHD1 and ACOT13 were associated with kidney disease. Another highly significant effect was upstream of BOLA-DQA2. The KITLG gene of Chr05 that acts in utero in germ cell and neural cell development, and hematopoiesis was upstream of a highly significant effect, contained a significant effect, and was between another two significant effects. The results of this study provided a new understanding of genetic factors underlying RETP in U.S. Holstein cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiology and Pathophysiology of Placenta)
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17 pages, 3238 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of Amyloid-β (Aβ)-Induced Cognitive Impairment and Neuroinflammation in CHI3L1 Knockout Mice through Downregulation of ERK-PTX3 Pathway
by Hyeon Joo Ham, Yong Sun Lee, Ja Keun Koo, Jaesuk Yun, Dong Ju Son, Sang-Bae Han and Jin Tae Hong
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5550; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105550 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Several clinical studies reported that the elevated expression of Chitinase-3-like 1 (CHI3L1) was observed in patients suffering from a wide range of diseases: cancer, metabolic, and neurological diseases. However, the role of CHI3L1 in AD is still unclear. Our previous study demonstrated that [...] Read more.
Several clinical studies reported that the elevated expression of Chitinase-3-like 1 (CHI3L1) was observed in patients suffering from a wide range of diseases: cancer, metabolic, and neurological diseases. However, the role of CHI3L1 in AD is still unclear. Our previous study demonstrated that 2-({3-[2-(1-Cyclohexen-1-yl)ethyl]-6,7-dimethoxy-4-oxo-3,4-dihydro-2-quinazolinyl}culfanyl)-N-(4-ethylphenyl)butanamide, a CHI3L1 inhibiting compound, alleviates memory and cognitive impairment and inhibits neuroinflammation in AD mouse models. In this study, we studied the detailed correlation of CHI3L1 and AD using serum from AD patients and using CHI3L1 knockout (KO) mice with Aβ infusion (300 pmol/day, 14 days). Serum levels of CHI3L1 were significantly elevated in patients with AD compared to normal subjects, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis data based on serum analysis suggested that CHI3L1 could be a significant diagnostic reference for AD. To reveal the role of CHI3L1 in AD, we investigated the CHI3L1 deficiency effect on memory impairment in Aβ-infused mice and microglial BV-2 cells. In CHI3L1 KO mice, Aβ infusion resulted in lower levels of memory dysfunction and neuroinflammation compared to that of WT mice. CHI3L1 deficiency selectively inhibited phosphorylation of ERK and IκB as well as inhibition of neuroinflammation-related factors in vivo and in vitro. On the other hand, treatment with recombinant CHI3L1 increased neuroinflammation-related factors and promoted phosphorylation of IκB except for ERK in vitro. Web-based gene network analysis and our results showed that CHI3L1 is closely correlated with PTX3. Moreover, in AD patients, we found that serum levels of PTX3 were correlated with serum levels of CHI3L1 by Spearman correlation analysis. These results suggest that CHI3L1 deficiency could inhibit AD development by blocking the ERK-dependent PTX3 pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Inflammaging: The Immunology of Aging)
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18 pages, 394 KiB  
Review
Parvalbumin Interneuron Dysfunction in Neurological Disorders: Focus on Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease
by Beulah Leitch
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5549; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105549 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 860
Abstract
Parvalbumin expressing (PV+) GABAergic interneurons are fast spiking neurons that provide powerful but relatively short-lived inhibition to principal excitatory cells in the brain. They play a vital role in feedforward and feedback synaptic inhibition, preventing run away excitation in neural networks. Hence, their [...] Read more.
Parvalbumin expressing (PV+) GABAergic interneurons are fast spiking neurons that provide powerful but relatively short-lived inhibition to principal excitatory cells in the brain. They play a vital role in feedforward and feedback synaptic inhibition, preventing run away excitation in neural networks. Hence, their dysfunction can lead to hyperexcitability and increased susceptibility to seizures. PV+ interneurons are also key players in generating gamma oscillations, which are synchronized neural oscillations associated with various cognitive functions. PV+ interneuron are particularly vulnerable to aging and their degeneration has been associated with cognitive decline and memory impairment in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Overall, dysfunction of PV+ interneurons disrupts the normal excitatory/inhibitory balance within specific neurocircuits in the brain and thus has been linked to a wide range of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. This review focuses on the role of dysfunctional PV+ inhibitory interneurons in the generation of epileptic seizures and cognitive impairment and their potential as targets in the design of future therapeutic strategies to treat these disorders. Recent research using cutting-edge optogenetic and chemogenetic technologies has demonstrated that they can be selectively manipulated to control seizures and restore the balance of neural activity in the brains of animal models. This suggests that PV+ interneurons could be important targets in developing future treatments for patients with epilepsy and comorbid disorders, such as AD, where seizures and cognitive decline are directly linked to specific PV+ interneuron deficits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Review Papers in Molecular Neurobiology 2024)
40 pages, 12153 KiB  
Review
Antimicrobial Activity of Arthrospira (Former Spirulina) and Dunaliella Related to Recognized Antimicrobial Bioactive Compounds
by Yana Ilieva, Maya Margaritova Zaharieva, Hristo Najdenski and Alexander Dimitrov Kroumov
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5548; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105548 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
With the increasing rate of the antimicrobial resistance phenomenon, natural products gain our attention as potential drug candidates. Apart from being used as nutraceuticals and for biotechnological purposes, microalgae and phytoplankton have well-recognized antimicrobial compounds and proved anti-infectious potential. In this review, we [...] Read more.
With the increasing rate of the antimicrobial resistance phenomenon, natural products gain our attention as potential drug candidates. Apart from being used as nutraceuticals and for biotechnological purposes, microalgae and phytoplankton have well-recognized antimicrobial compounds and proved anti-infectious potential. In this review, we comprehensively outline the antimicrobial activity of one genus of cyanobacteria (Arthrospira, formerly Spirulina) and of eukaryotic microalgae (Dunaliella). Both, especially Arthrospira, are mostly used as nutraceuticals and as a source of antioxidants for health supplements, cancer therapy and cosmetics. Their diverse bioactive compounds provide other bioactivities and potential for various medical applications. Their antibacterial and antifungal activity vary in a broad range and are strain specific. There are strains of Arthrospira platensis with very potent activity and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) as low as 2–15 µg/mL against bacterial fish pathogens including Bacillus and Vibrio spp. Arthrospira sp. has demonstrated an inhibition zone (IZ) of 50 mm against Staphylococcus aureus. Remarkable is the substantial amount of in vivo studies of Arthrospira showing it to be very promising for preventing vibriosis in shrimp and Helicobacter pylori infection and for wound healing. The innovative laser irradiation of the chlorophyll it releases can cause photodynamic destruction of bacteria. Dunaliella salina has exhibited MIC values lower than 300 µg/mL and an IZ value of 25.4 mm on different bacteria, while Dunaliella tertiolecta has demonstrated MIC values of 25 and 50 μg/mL against some Staphylococcus spp. These values fulfill the criteria for significant antimicrobial activity and sometimes are comparable or exceed the activity of the control antibiotics. The bioactive compounds which are responsible for that action are fatty acids including PUFAs, polysaccharides, glycosides, peptides, neophytadiene, etc. Cyanobacteria, such as Arthrospira, also particularly have antimicrobial flavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids, saponins, quinones and some unique-to-them compounds, such as phycobiliproteins, polyhydroxybutyrate, the peptide microcystin, etc. These metabolites can be optimized by using stress factors in a two-step process of fermentation in closed photobioreactors (PBRs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research in Antimicrobial Natural Products)
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13 pages, 844 KiB  
Article
Neuregulin 2 Is a Candidate Gene for Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Wei-Hsien Chien, Chia-Hsiang Chen, Min-Chih Cheng, Yu-Yu Wu and Susan Shur-Fen Gau
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5547; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105547 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with heterogeneous and complex genetic underpinnings. Our previous microarray gene expression profiling identified significantly different neuregulin-2 gene (NRG2) expression between ASD patients and controls. Thus, we aimed to clarify whether NRG2 is a candidate [...] Read more.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with heterogeneous and complex genetic underpinnings. Our previous microarray gene expression profiling identified significantly different neuregulin-2 gene (NRG2) expression between ASD patients and controls. Thus, we aimed to clarify whether NRG2 is a candidate gene associated with ASD. The study consisted of two stages. First, we used real-time quantitative PCR in 20 ASDs and 20 controls to confirm the microarray gene expression profiling results. The average NRG2 gene expression level in patients with ASD (3.23 ± 2.80) was significantly lower than that in the controls (9.27 ± 4.78, p < 0.001). Next, we conducted resequencing of all the exons of NRG2 in a sample of 349 individuals with ASD, aiming to identify variants of the NRG2 associated with ASD. We identified three variants, including two single nucleotide variants (SNVs), IVS3 + 13A > G (rs889022) and IVS10 + 32T > A (rs182642591), and one small deletion at exon 11 of NRG2 (delGCCCGG, rs933769137). Using data from the Taiwan Biobank as the controls, we found no significant differences in allele frequencies of rs889022 and rs182642591 between two groups. However, there is a significant difference in the genotype and allele frequency distribution of rs933769137 between ASDs and controls (p < 0.0001). The small deletion is located in the EGF-like domain at the C-terminal of the NRG2 precursor protein. Our findings suggest that NRG2 might be a susceptibility gene for ASD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Variations in Human Diseases)
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18 pages, 4414 KiB  
Article
Safflower CtFLS1-Induced Drought Tolerance by Stimulating the Accumulation of Flavonols and Anthocyanins in Arabidopsis thaliana
by Xintong Ma, Yuying Hou, Abdul Wakeel Umar, Yuhan Wang, Lili Yu, Naveed Ahmad, Na Yao, Min Zhang and Xiuming Liu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5546; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105546 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 475
Abstract
Flavonol synthase gene (FLS) is a member of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase (2-ODD) superfamily and plays an important role in plant flavonoids biosynthetic pathways. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), a key source of traditional Chinese medicine, is widely cultivated in [...] Read more.
Flavonol synthase gene (FLS) is a member of the 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase (2-ODD) superfamily and plays an important role in plant flavonoids biosynthetic pathways. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), a key source of traditional Chinese medicine, is widely cultivated in China. Although the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway has been studied in several model species, it still remains to be explored in safflower. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the role of CtFLS1 gene in flavonoid biosynthesis and drought stress responses. The bioinformatics analysis on the CtFLS1 gene showed that it contains two FLS-specific motifs (PxxxIRxxxEQP and SxxTxLVP), suggesting its independent evolution. Further, the expression level of CtFLS1 in safflower showed a positive correlation with the accumulation level of total flavonoid content in four different flowering stages. In addition, CtFLS1-overexpression (OE) Arabidopsis plants significantly induced the expression levels of key genes involved in flavonol pathway. On the contrary, the expression of anthocyanin pathway-related genes and MYB transcription factors showed down-regulation. Furthermore, CtFLS1-OE plants promoted seed germination, as well as resistance to osmotic pressure and drought, and reduced sensitivity to ABA compared to mutant and wild-type plants. Moreover, CtFLS1 and CtANS1 were both subcellularly located at the cell membrane and nucleus; the yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assay showed that they interacted with each other at the cell membrane. Altogether, these findings suggest the positive role of CtFLS1 in alleviating drought stress by stimulating flavonols and anthocyanin accumulation in safflower. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients and Active Substances in Natural Products)
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20 pages, 4011 KiB  
Article
Nanotechnology-Based Strategy for Enhancing Therapeutic Efficacy in Pancreatic Cancer: Receptor-Targeted Drug Delivery by Somatostatin Analog
by Xin Gu, Joydeb Majumder, Olena Taratula, Andriy Kuzmov, Olga Garbuzenko, Natalia Pogrebnyak and Tamara Minko
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5545; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105545 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 551
Abstract
A novel nanotechnology-based drug delivery system (DDS) targeted at pancreatic cancer cells was developed, characterized, and tested. The system consisted of liposomes as carriers, an anticancer drug (paclitaxel) as a chemotherapeutic agent, and a modified synthetic somatostatin analog, 5-pentacarbonyl-octreotide, a ligand for somatostatin [...] Read more.
A novel nanotechnology-based drug delivery system (DDS) targeted at pancreatic cancer cells was developed, characterized, and tested. The system consisted of liposomes as carriers, an anticancer drug (paclitaxel) as a chemotherapeutic agent, and a modified synthetic somatostatin analog, 5-pentacarbonyl-octreotide, a ligand for somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2), as a targeting moiety for pancreatic cancer. The cellular internalization, cytotoxicity, and antitumor activity of the DDS were tested in vitro using human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells with different expressions of the targeted SSTR2 receptors, and in vivo on immunodeficient mice bearing human PDAC xenografts. The targeted drug delivery system containing paclitaxel exhibited significantly enhanced cytotoxicity compared to non-targeted DDS, and this efficacy was directly related to the levels of SSTR2 expression. It was found that octreotide-targeted DDS proved exceptionally effective in suppressing the growth of PDAC tumors. This study underscores the potential of octreotide-targeted liposomal delivery systems to enhance the therapeutic outcomes for PDAC compared with non-targeted liposomal DDS and Paclitaxel-Cremophor® EL, suggesting a promising avenue for future cancer therapy innovations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies of Pancreatic Cancer)
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25 pages, 8252 KiB  
Article
Superoxide Dismutase Premodulates Oxidative Stress in Plastids for Protection of Tobacco Plants from Cold Damage Ultrastructure Damage
by Ekaterina N. Baranova, Neonila V. Kononenko, Pyotr V. Lapshin, Tatiana L. Nechaeva, Marat R. Khaliluev, Natalia V. Zagoskina, Elena A. Smirnova, Natalya O. Yuorieva, Galina N. Raldugina, Inna A. Chaban, Ludmila V. Kurenina and Alexander A. Gulevich
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5544; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105544 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 449
Abstract
ROS-dependent induction of oxidative damage can be used as a trigger initiating genetically determined non-specific protection in plant cells and tissues. Plants are potentially able to withstand various specific (toxic, osmotic) factors of abiotic effects, but do not have sufficient or specific sensitivity [...] Read more.
ROS-dependent induction of oxidative damage can be used as a trigger initiating genetically determined non-specific protection in plant cells and tissues. Plants are potentially able to withstand various specific (toxic, osmotic) factors of abiotic effects, but do not have sufficient or specific sensitivity to form an adequate effective response. In this work, we demonstrate one of the possible approaches for successful cold acclimation through the formation of effective protection of photosynthetic structures due to the insertion of the heterologous FeSOD gene into the tobacco genome under the control of the constitutive promoter and equipped with a signal sequence targeting the protein to plastid. The increased enzymatic activity of superoxide dismutase in the plastid compartment of transgenic tobacco plants enables them to tolerate the oxidative factor of environmental stresses scavenging ROS. On the other hand, the cost of such resistance is quite high and, when grown under normal conditions, disturbs the arrangement of the intrachloroplastic subdomains leading to the modification of stromal thylakoids, probably significantly affecting the photosynthesis processes that regulate the efficiency of photosystem II. This is partially compensated for by the fact that, at the same time, under normal conditions, the production of peroxide induces the activation of ROS detoxification enzymes. However, a violation of a number of processes, such as the metabolism of accumulation, and utilization and transportation of sugars and starch, is significantly altered, which leads to a shift in metabolic chains. The expected step for further improvement of the applied technology could be both the use of inducible promoters in the expression cassette, and the addition of other genes encoding for hydrogen peroxide-scavenging enzymes in the genetic construct that are downstream in the metabolic chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Adaptation Mechanism to Stress)
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18 pages, 1059 KiB  
Review
Therapeutic Potential of Bovine Milk-Derived Extracellular Vesicles
by Madhusha Prasadani, Suranga Kodithuwakku, Georgia Pennarossa, Alireza Fazeli and Tiziana A. L. Brevini
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5543; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105543 - 19 May 2024
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Abstract
Milk is a fundamental component of the human diet, owing to its substantial nutritional content. In addition, milk contains nanoparticles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which have indicated their potential beneficial roles such as cell-to-cell communication, disease biomarkers, and therapeutics agents. Amidst other types [...] Read more.
Milk is a fundamental component of the human diet, owing to its substantial nutritional content. In addition, milk contains nanoparticles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which have indicated their potential beneficial roles such as cell-to-cell communication, disease biomarkers, and therapeutics agents. Amidst other types of EVs, milk EVs (MEVs) have their significance due to their high abundance, easy access, and stability in harsh environmental conditions, such as low pH in the gut. There have been plenty of studies conducted to evaluate the therapeutic potential of bovine MEVs over the past few years, and attention has been given to their engineering for drug delivery and targeted therapy. However, there is a gap between the experimental findings available and clinical trials due to the many challenges related to EV isolation, cargo, and the uniformity of the material. This review aims to provide a comprehensive comparison of various techniques for the isolation of MEVs and offers a summary of the therapeutic potential of bovine MEVs described over the last decade, analyzing potential challenges and further applications. Although a number of aspects still need to be further elucidated, the available data point to the role of MEVs as a potential candidate with therapeutics potential, and the supplementation of MEVs would pave the way to understanding their in-depth effects. Full article
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16 pages, 2244 KiB  
Article
Synthesis of Novel 3-Deoxy-3-thio Derivatives of d-Glucosamine and Their Application as Ligands for the Enantioselective Addition of Diethylzinc to Benzaldehyde
by Yusuf Zaim Hakim and Tomasz Bauer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5542; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105542 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 399
Abstract
A series of novel thio-derivatives of d-glucosamine has been synthesized using double inversion procedures at the C3 atom. New compounds were applied as ligands for the diethylzinc addition to benzaldehyde and the products of the addition were obtained with a low to [...] Read more.
A series of novel thio-derivatives of d-glucosamine has been synthesized using double inversion procedures at the C3 atom. New compounds were applied as ligands for the diethylzinc addition to benzaldehyde and the products of the addition were obtained with a low to good enantiomeric ratio. The direction and the level of the asymmetric induction were highly dependent on the type of protecting groups on the nitrogen and sulfur atoms. Full article
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2 pages, 612 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for the Special Issue “Recent Advances in Nanomaterials Science”
by Gang Ho Lee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(10), 5541; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms25105541 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Nanoparticles and nanomaterials are important, because they are potentially applicable to energy, storage, bioimaging, biosensors, catalysts, nanomedicine, batteries, solar energy, bioenergy, and so on (Figure 1) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Nanomaterials Science)
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