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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 14, Issue 11 (November 2021) – 141 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The development of effective antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 is one of the most important tasks in science today. Lipophilic derivatives of the clinically used glycopeptide antibiotic, teicoplanin are considered potential antivirals. To develop new anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents, we prepared glycopeptide antibiotic derivatives by conjugating different apocarotenoid side chains, including the non-toxic food colorant bixin, to teicoplanin and related glycopeptides. All conjugates effectively and selectively inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication. Two apocarotenoids, apocarotenic acid and bixin, also exerted remarkable anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity on their own, without the glycopeptide moiety. Enzyme inhibition studies revealed a potent dual inhibitory action of the derivatives on host and viral proteases. View this paper
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Article
Combinatorial Regimen of Carbamazepine and Imipramine Exhibits Synergism against Grandmal Epilepsy in Rats: Inhibition of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines and PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathway
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1204; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111204 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Epilepsy is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes recurring seizures. Thirty-five percent of patients remain refractory, with a higher prevalence of depression. We investigated the anticonvulsant efficacy of carbamazepine (CBZ; 20 and 50 mg/kg), imipramine (IMI; 10 and 20 mg/kg) alone, and as a [...] Read more.
Epilepsy is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes recurring seizures. Thirty-five percent of patients remain refractory, with a higher prevalence of depression. We investigated the anticonvulsant efficacy of carbamazepine (CBZ; 20 and 50 mg/kg), imipramine (IMI; 10 and 20 mg/kg) alone, and as a low dose combination. This preclinical investigation included dosing of rats for 14 days followed by elicitation of electroshock on the last day of treatment. Along with behavioral monitoring, the rat hippocampus was processed for quantification of mTOR, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α levels. The histopathological analysis of rat hippocampus was performed to ascertain neuroprotection. In vitro studies and in silico studies were also conducted. We found that the low dose combinatorial therapy of CBZ (20 mg/kg) + IMI (10 mg/kg) exhibits synergism (p < 0.001) in abrogation of maximal electroshock (MES) induced convulsions/tonic hind limb extension (THLE), by reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and weakening of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signal. The combination also exhibits cooperative binding at the Akt. As far as neuroprotection is concerned, the said combination increased cell viability by 166.37% compared to Pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) treated HEK-293 cells. Thus, the combination of CBZ (20 mg/kg) + IMI (10 mg/kg) is a fruitful combination therapy to elevate seizure threshold and provide neuroprotection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Repurposing Drug Strategies for CNS Disorders)
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Review
Design and Development of Autotaxin Inhibitors
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1203; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111203 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 196
Abstract
Autotaxin (ATX) is the only enzyme of the ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase (ENPP2) family with lysophospholipase D (lysoPLD) activity, which is mainly responsible for the hydrolysis of extracellular lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) into lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA can induce various responses, such as cell proliferation, migration, and [...] Read more.
Autotaxin (ATX) is the only enzyme of the ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase (ENPP2) family with lysophospholipase D (lysoPLD) activity, which is mainly responsible for the hydrolysis of extracellular lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) into lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA can induce various responses, such as cell proliferation, migration, and cytokine production, through six G protein-coupled receptors (LPA1-6). This signaling pathway is associated with metabolic and inflammatory disorder, and inhibiting this pathway has a positive effect on the treatment of related diseases, while ATX, as an important role in the production of LPA, has been shown to be associated with the occurrence and metastasis of tumors, fibrosis and cardiovascular diseases. From mimics of ATX natural lipid substrates to the rational design of small molecule inhibitors, ATX inhibitors have made rapid progress in structural diversity and design over the past 20 years, and three drugs, GLPG1690, BBT-877, and BLD-0409, have entered clinical trials. In this paper, we will review the structure of ATX inhibitors from the perspective of the transformation of design ideas, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each inhibitor type, and put forward prospects for the development of ATX inhibitors in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Enzyme Inhibitors as Potential Drugs 2022)
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Systematic Review
Oral Administration of East Asian Herbal Medicine for Peripheral Neuropathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis with Association Rule Analysis to Identify Core Herb Combinations
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1202; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111202 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 216
Abstract
This review aimed to comprehensively assess the efficacy and safety of oral East Asian herbal medicine (EAHM) for overall peripheral neuropathy (PN). In addition, an Apriori algorithm-based association rule analysis was performed to identify the core herb combination, thereby further generating useful hypotheses [...] Read more.
This review aimed to comprehensively assess the efficacy and safety of oral East Asian herbal medicine (EAHM) for overall peripheral neuropathy (PN). In addition, an Apriori algorithm-based association rule analysis was performed to identify the core herb combination, thereby further generating useful hypotheses for subsequent drug discovery. A total of 10 databases were searched electronically from inception to July 2021. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) comparing EAHM with conventional analgesic medication or usual care for managing PN were included. The RCT quality was appraised using RoB 2.0, and the random effects model was used to calculate the effect sizes of the included RCTs. The overall quality of evidence was evaluated according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation. By analyzing the constituent herb data, the potential association rules of core herb combinations were explored. A total of 67 RCTs involving 5753 patients were included in this systematic review. In a meta-analysis, EAHM monotherapy and combined EAHM and western medicine therapy demonstrated substantially improved sensory nerve conduction velocity, motor nerve conduction velocity, and response rate. Moreover, EAHM significantly improved the incidence rate, pain intensity, Toronto clinical scoring system, and Michigan diabetic neuropathy score. The evidence grade was moderate to low due to the substantial heterogeneity among the studies. Nine association rules were identified by performing the association rule analysis on the extraction data of 156 EAHM herbs. Therefore, the constituents of the herb combinations with consistent association rules were Astragali Radix, Cinnamomi Ramulus, and Spatholobi Calulis. This meta-analysis supports the hypothesis that EAHM monotherapy and combined therapy may be beneficial for PN patients, and follow-up research should be conducted to confirm the precise action target of the core herb. Full article
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Review
Cellulosic Polymers for Enhancing Drug Bioavailability in Ocular Drug Delivery Systems
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1201; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111201 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 349
Abstract
One of the major impediments to drug development is low aqueous solubility and thus poor bioavailability, which leads to insufficient clinical utility. Around 70–80% of drugs in the discovery pipeline are suffering from poor aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability, which is a major [...] Read more.
One of the major impediments to drug development is low aqueous solubility and thus poor bioavailability, which leads to insufficient clinical utility. Around 70–80% of drugs in the discovery pipeline are suffering from poor aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability, which is a major challenge when one has to develop an ocular drug delivery system. The outer lipid layer, pre-corneal, dynamic, and static ocular barriers limit drug availability to the targeted ocular tissues. Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS) class II drugs with adequate permeability and limited or no aqueous solubility have been extensively studied for various polymer-based solubility enhancement approaches. The hydrophilic nature of cellulosic polymers and their tunable properties make them the polymers of choice in various solubility-enhancement techniques. This review focuses on various cellulose derivatives, specifically, their role, current status and novel modified cellulosic polymers for enhancing the bioavailability of BCS class II drugs in ocular drug delivery systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology)
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Article
Clinical Outcomes of Secondary Prophylactic Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factors in Breast Cancer Patients at a Risk of Neutropenia with Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide-Based Chemotherapy
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1200; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111200 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 269
Abstract
Doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (AC)-based chemotherapy has been a standard regimen for early-stage breast cancer (ESBC) with an intermediate risk (10–20%) of febrile neutropenia (FN). Secondary prophylaxis of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is considered in patients receiving AC-based chemotherapy; however, relevant studies are limited. [...] Read more.
Doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (AC)-based chemotherapy has been a standard regimen for early-stage breast cancer (ESBC) with an intermediate risk (10–20%) of febrile neutropenia (FN). Secondary prophylaxis of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is considered in patients receiving AC-based chemotherapy; however, relevant studies are limited. Here, we retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of 320 patients who completed adjuvant AC-based chemotherapy from September 2016 to September 2020. Approximately 46.6% of the patients developed severe neutropenic events (SNE) during AC-based chemotherapy. Secondary prophylaxis of G-CSF reduced the risk of recurrent SNE (p < 0.01) and the relative dose intensity (RDI) < 85% (p = 0.03) in patients who had experienced SNE during AC-based chemotherapy. Age ≥ 65 years (p = 0.02) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) > 60 IU/L (p = 0.04) were significant risk factors for RDI < 85%. The incidences of FN, grade 4 neutropenia, unscheduled hospitalization, and interruption to the dosing regimen were reduced in patients administered secondary prophylaxis with G-CSF (before vs. after administration: FN, 19.4% vs. 4.6%; grade 4 neutropenia, 86.1% vs. 14.8%; unscheduled hospitalization, 75.9% vs. 11.1%; interruption to the dosing regimen, 18.5% vs. 8.3%). This study indicated the importance of active intervention of G-CSF use to prevent recurrent SNE and improve clinical outcomes in patients with breast cancer who receive AC-based chemotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Development of Cancer Treatment)
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Article
Antiparasitic Effect of Stilbene and Terphenyl Compounds against Trypanosoma cruzi Parasites
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1199; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111199 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Background: Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. No progress in the treatment of this pathology has been made since Nifurtimox was introduced more than fifty years ago, and this [...] Read more.
Background: Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. No progress in the treatment of this pathology has been made since Nifurtimox was introduced more than fifty years ago, and this drug is considered very aggressive and may cause several adverse effects. This drug currently has severe limitations, including a high frequency of undesirable side effects and limited efficacy and availability, so research to discover new drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease is imperative. Many drugs available on the market are natural products as found in nature or compounds designed based on the structure and activity of these natural products. Methods: This study evaluated the in vitro antiparasitic activity of a series of previously synthesized stilbene and terphenyl compounds in T. cruzi epimastigotes and intracellular amastigotes. The action of the most selective compounds was investigated by flow cytometric analysis to evaluate the mechanism of cell death. The ability to induce apoptosis or caspase-1 inflammasomes was assayed in macrophages infected with T. cruzi after treatment, comparing it with that of Nifurtimox. Results: The stilbene ST18 was the most potent compound of the series. It was slightly less active than Nifurtimox in epimastigotes but most active in intracellular amastigotes. Compared to Nifurtimox, it was markedly less cytotoxic when tested in vitro on normal cells. ST18 was able to induce a marked increase in parasites positive for Annexin V and monodansylcadaverine. Moreover, ST18 induced the activation, in infected macrophages, of caspase-1, a conserved enzyme that plays a major role in controlling parasitemia, host survival and the onset of the adaptive immune response in Trypanosoma infection. Conclusions: The antiparasitic activity of ST18 together with its ability to activate caspase-1 in infected macrophages and its low toxicity toward normal cells makes this compound interesting for further clinical investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery and Development for Tropical Diseases (TDs))
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Review
Effects of Ephedrine-Containing Products on Weight Loss and Lipid Profiles: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1198; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111198 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Ephedrine, the main active ingredient of mahuang, may lead to weight loss; however, it can also induce cardiovascular side effects. As ephedrine use remains controversial, this study aimed to systematically review previous studies on ephedrine-containing products and perform meta-analysis of the existing evidence [...] Read more.
Ephedrine, the main active ingredient of mahuang, may lead to weight loss; however, it can also induce cardiovascular side effects. As ephedrine use remains controversial, this study aimed to systematically review previous studies on ephedrine-containing products and perform meta-analysis of the existing evidence on weight, blood pressure (BP), heart rate, and lipid change effects of ephedrine-containing products. We searched for placebo-controlled randomized studies in PubMed, Web of Science, and EMBASE until July 2021 using the following search terms: (ephedr* OR mahuang) AND (“weight loss” OR obes* OR overweight). Mean differences (MDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the effects of ephedrine-containing products on weight, BP, heart rate, and lipid profiles. A total of 10 articles were included. Compared with the placebo group, the ephedrine-containing product group was associated with greater weight loss, with an MD of −1.97 kg (95% CI: −2.38, −1.57). In the ephedrine-containing product group, the mean heart rate was 5.76 beats/min higher than in the placebo group (95% CI: 3.42, 8.10), whereas intergroup differences in systolic and diastolic BP were not statistically significant. The ephedrine-containing product group had a significantly higher mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (MD: 2.74 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.94, 4.55), lower mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (MD: −5.98 mg/dL; 95% CI: −10.97, −0.99), and lower mean triglyceride level (MD: −11.25 mg/dL; 95% CI: −21.83, −0.68) than the placebo group. Compared with placebo, the ephedrine-containing products showed better effects on weight loss and lipid profiles, whereas they caused increased heart rate. The ephedrine-containing products may be beneficial to obese or overweight patients; however, close monitoring is needed, especially heart rate monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Article
Cucumis sativus L. Seeds Ameliorate Muscular Spasm-Induced Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Disorders by Simultaneously Inhibiting Calcium Mediated Signaling Pathway
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111197 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Cucumis sativus L. is globally cultivated as an edible vegetable. Besides its nutritional benefits, it is used in traditional medicines against various ailments. The current study was designed to elucidate the multi-target mechanisms of a C. sativus seeds extract against asthma and diarrhea [...] Read more.
Cucumis sativus L. is globally cultivated as an edible vegetable. Besides its nutritional benefits, it is used in traditional medicines against various ailments. The current study was designed to elucidate the multi-target mechanisms of a C. sativus seeds extract against asthma and diarrhea using network pharmacology along with a molecular docking approach. Furthermore, in-vitro and in-vivo experiments were conducted to verify the mechanistic insight of in silico studies. LC-ESI-MS/MS was performed to identify the bioactive compounds in the extract; later, some compounds were quantified by HPLC. C. sativus seed. EtOH has kaempferol in higher concentration 783.02 µg/g, followed by quercetin (693.83 µg/g) and luteolin (617.17 µg/g). In silico studies showed that bioactive compounds interfered with asthma and diarrhea-associated target genes, which are members of calcium-mediated signaling to exert a calcium channel blocker activity. The seeds extract exerted a concentration-dependent spasmolytic response on isolated jejunum, trachea, and urinary bladder preparations and caused relaxation of spastic contraction of K+ (80 mM) with suppressed calcium concentration-response curves at dose 0.3 and 1 mg/mL. It also showed antiperistalsis, antidiarrheal and antisecretory activity in animal models. Thus, C. sativus seeds have therapeutic effects by regulating the contractile response through a calcium-mediated signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Article
MLR-1023 Treatment in Mice and Humans Induces a Thermogenic Program, and Menthol Potentiates the Effect
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1196; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111196 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 262
Abstract
A glucose-lowering medication that acts by a different mechanism than metformin, or other approved diabetes medications, can supplement monotherapies when patients fail to meet blood glucose goals. We examined the actions underlying the effects of an insulin sensitizer, tolimidone (MLR-1023) and investigated its [...] Read more.
A glucose-lowering medication that acts by a different mechanism than metformin, or other approved diabetes medications, can supplement monotherapies when patients fail to meet blood glucose goals. We examined the actions underlying the effects of an insulin sensitizer, tolimidone (MLR-1023) and investigated its effects on body weight. Diet-induced obesity (CD1/ICR) and type 2 diabetes (db/db) mouse models were used to study the effect of MLR-1023 on metabolic outcomes and to explore its synergy with menthol. We also examined the efficacy of MLR-1023 alone in a clinical trial (NCT02317796), as well as in combination with menthol in human adipocytes. MLR-1023 produced weight loss in humans in four weeks, and in mice fed a high-fat diet it reduced weight gain and fat mass without affecting food intake. In human adipocytes from obese donors, the upregulation of Uncoupling Protein 1, Glucose (UCP)1, adiponectin, Glucose Transporter Type 4 (GLUT4), Adipose Triglyceride Lipase (ATGL), Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 beta (CPT1β), and Transient Receptor Potential Melastin (TRPM8) mRNA expression suggested the induction of thermogenesis. The TRPM8 agonist, menthol, potentiated the effect of MLR-1023 on the upregulation of genes for energy expenditure and insulin sensitivity in human adipocytes, and reduced fasting blood glucose in mice. The amplification of the thermogenic program by MLR-1023 and menthol in the absence of adrenergic activation will likely be well-tolerated, and bears investigation in a clinical trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Searching for New Therapeutic Targets with Anti-obesity Potential)
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Article
GANAB as a Novel Biomarker in Multiple Sclerosis: Correlation with Neuroinflammation and IFI35
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1195; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111195 - 21 Nov 2021
Viewed by 242
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) still lacks reliable biomarkers of neuroinflammation predictive for disease activity and treatment response. Thus, in a prospective study we assessed 55 MS patients (28 interferon (IFN)-treated, 10 treated with no-IFN therapies, 17 untreated) and 20 matched healthy controls (HCs) for [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) still lacks reliable biomarkers of neuroinflammation predictive for disease activity and treatment response. Thus, in a prospective study we assessed 55 MS patients (28 interferon (IFN)-treated, 10 treated with no-IFN therapies, 17 untreated) and 20 matched healthy controls (HCs) for the putative correlation of the densitometric expression of glucosidase II alpha subunit (GANAB) with clinical/paraclinical parameters and with interferon-induced protein 35 (IFI35). We also assessed the disease progression in terms of the Rio Score (RS) in order to distinguish the responder patients to IFN therapy (RS = 0) from the non-responder ones (RS ≥ 1). We found GANAB to be 2.51-fold downregulated in the IFN-treated group with respect to the untreated one (p < 0.0001) and 3.39-fold downregulated in responder patients compared to the non-responders (p < 0.0001). GANAB correlated directly with RS (r = 0.8088, p < 0.0001) and lesion load (LL) (r = 0.5824, p = 0.0014) in the IFN-treated group and inversely with disease duration (DD) (r = −0.6081, p = 0.0096) in the untreated one. Lower mean values were expressed for GANAB than IFI35 in IFN responder (p < 0.0001) and higher mean values in the non-responder patients (p = 0.0022). Inverse correlations were also expressed with IFI35 in the overall patient population (r = −0.6468, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, the modular expression of GANAB reflects IFI35, RS, DD, and LL values, making it a biomarker of neuroinflammation that is predictive for disease activity and treatment response in MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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Article
Simultaneous Quantification of Propylthiouracil and Its N-β-d Glucuronide by HPLC-MS/MS: Application to a Metabolic Study
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1194; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111194 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 455
Abstract
Propylthiouracil (PTU) is commonly prescribed for the management of hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. Although the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, PTU is associated with hepatoxicity in pediatric population. Glucuronidation mediated by uridine 5′-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), which possess age-dependent expression, has been proposed [...] Read more.
Propylthiouracil (PTU) is commonly prescribed for the management of hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. Although the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, PTU is associated with hepatoxicity in pediatric population. Glucuronidation mediated by uridine 5′-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), which possess age-dependent expression, has been proposed as an important metabolic pathway of PTU. To further examine the metabolism of PTU, a reliable HPLC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous quantification of PTU and its N-β-D glucuronide (PTU-GLU) was developed and validated. The chromatographic separation was achieved on a ZORBAX Extend-C18 column (2.1 × 50 mm, 1.8 μm) through gradient delivery of a mixture of formic acid, methanol and acetonitrile. The electrospray ionization (ESI) was operated in its negative ion mode while PTU and PTU-GLU were detected by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). This analytical method displayed excellent linearity, sensitivity, accuracy, precision, recovery and stability while its matrix effect and carry-over were insignificant. Subsequently, the in vitro metabolism of PTU was assessed and UGT1A9 was identified as an important UGT isoform responsible for the glucuronidation of PTU. The information obtained from this study will facilitate future mechanistic investigation on the hepatoxicity of PTU and may optimize its clinical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Review
SapC–DOPS as a Novel Therapeutic and Diagnostic Agent for Glioblastoma Therapy and Detection: Alternative to Old Drugs and Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1193; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111193 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common type of brain cancer, is extremely aggressive and has a dreadful prognosis. GBM comprises 60% of adult brain tumors and the 5 year survival rate of GBM patients is only 4.3%. Standard-of-care treatment includes maximal surgical removal [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common type of brain cancer, is extremely aggressive and has a dreadful prognosis. GBM comprises 60% of adult brain tumors and the 5 year survival rate of GBM patients is only 4.3%. Standard-of-care treatment includes maximal surgical removal of the tumor in combination with radiation and temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. TMZ is the “gold-standard” chemotherapy for patients suffering from GBM. However, the median survival is only about 12 to 18 months with this protocol. Consequently, there is a critical need to develop new therapeutic options for treatment of GBM. Nanomaterials have unique properties as multifunctional platforms for brain tumor therapy and diagnosis. As one of the nanomaterials, lipid-based nanocarriers are capable of delivering chemotherapeutics and imaging agents to tumor sites by enhancing the permeability of the compound through the blood–brain barrier, which makes them ideal for GBM therapy and imaging. Nanocarriers also can be used for delivery of radiosensitizers to the tumor to enhance the efficacy of the radiation therapy. Previously, high-atomic-number element-containing particles such as gold nanoparticles and liposomes have been used as radiosensitizers. SapC–DOPS, a protein-based liposomal drug comprising the lipid, dioleoylphosphatidylserine (DOPS), and the protein, saposin C (SapC), has been shown to be effective for treatment of a variety of cancers in small animals, including GBM. SapC–DOPS also has the unique ability to be used as a carrier for delivery of radiotheranostic agents for nuclear imaging and radiotherapeutic purposes. These unique properties make tumor-targeting proteo-liposome nanocarriers novel therapeutic and diagnostic alternatives to traditional chemotherapeutics and imaging agents. This article reviews various treatment modalities including nanolipid-based delivery and therapeutic systems used in preclinical and clinical trial settings for GBM treatment and detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Old Pharmaceuticals with New Applications)
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Review
In Vitro Methods to Decipher the Structure of Viral RNA Genomes
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1192; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111192 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
RNA viruses encode essential information in their genomes as conserved structural elements that are involved in efficient viral protein synthesis, replication, and encapsidation. These elements can also establish complex networks of RNA-RNA interactions, the so-called RNA interactome, to shape the viral genome and [...] Read more.
RNA viruses encode essential information in their genomes as conserved structural elements that are involved in efficient viral protein synthesis, replication, and encapsidation. These elements can also establish complex networks of RNA-RNA interactions, the so-called RNA interactome, to shape the viral genome and control different events during intracellular infection. In recent years, targeting these conserved structural elements has become a promising strategy for the development of new antiviral tools due to their sequence and structural conservation. In this context, RNA-based specific therapeutic strategies, such as the use of siRNAs have been extensively pursued to target the genome of different viruses. Importantly, siRNA-mediated targeting is not a straightforward approach and its efficiency is highly dependent on the structure of the target region. Therefore, the knowledge of the viral structure is critical for the identification of potentially good target sites. Here, we describe detailed protocols used in our laboratory for the in vitro study of the structure of viral RNA genomes. These protocols include DMS (dimethylsulfate) probing, SHAPE (selective 2′-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension) analysis, and HMX (2′-hydroxyl molecular interference). These methodologies involve the use of high-throughput analysis techniques that provide extensive information about the 3D folding of the RNA under study and the structural tuning derived from the interactome activity. They are therefore a good tool for the development of new RNA-based antiviral compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue siRNA Therapeutics: From Bench Lab to Clinics)
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Review
Discovery and Development of Inhibitors of the Plasmodial FNT-Type Lactate Transporter as Novel Antimalarials
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1191; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111191 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Plasmodium spp. malaria parasites in the blood stage draw energy from anaerobic glycolysis when multiplying in erythrocytes. They tap the ample glucose supply of the infected host using the erythrocyte glucose transporter 1, GLUT1, and a hexose transporter, HT, of the parasite’s plasma [...] Read more.
Plasmodium spp. malaria parasites in the blood stage draw energy from anaerobic glycolysis when multiplying in erythrocytes. They tap the ample glucose supply of the infected host using the erythrocyte glucose transporter 1, GLUT1, and a hexose transporter, HT, of the parasite’s plasma membrane. Per glucose molecule, two lactate anions and two protons are generated as waste that need to be released rapidly from the parasite to prevent blockage of the energy metabolism and acidification of the cytoplasm. Recently, the missing Plasmodium lactate/H+ cotransporter was identified as a member of the exclusively microbial formate–nitrite transporter family, FNT. Screening of an antimalarial compound selection with unknown targets led to the discovery of specific and potent FNT-inhibitors, i.e., pentafluoro-3-hydroxy-pent-2-en-1-ones. Here, we summarize the discovery and further development of this novel class of antimalarials, their modes of binding and action, circumvention of a putative resistance mutation of the FNT target protein, and suitability for in vivo studies using animal malaria models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery and Development for Tropical Diseases (TDs))
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Review
Metabolomics Insights into Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Comprehensive Review
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1190; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111190 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, complex relapsing disorder characterised by immune dysregulation, gut microbiota alteration, and disturbed intestinal permeability. The diagnosis and the management of IBD are challenging due to the recurrent nature and complex evolution of the disease. Furthermore, the [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, complex relapsing disorder characterised by immune dysregulation, gut microbiota alteration, and disturbed intestinal permeability. The diagnosis and the management of IBD are challenging due to the recurrent nature and complex evolution of the disease. Furthermore, the molecular mechanism underlying the aetiology and pathogenesis of IBD is still poorly understood. There is an unmet need for novel, reliable, and noninvasive tools for diagnosing and monitoring IBD. In addition, metabolomic profiles may provide a priori determination of optimal therapeutics and reveal novel targets for therapies. This review tries to gather scientific evidence to summarise the emerging contribution of metabolomics to elucidate the mechanisms underlying IBD and changes associated with disease phenotype and therapies, as well as to identify biomarkers with metabolic imbalance in those patients. Metabolite changes during health and disease could provide insights into the disease pathogenesis and the discovery of novel indicators for the diagnosis and prognosis assessment of IBD. Metabolomic studies in IBD have shown changes in tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, amino-acid and fatty-acid metabolism, and oxidative pathways. Metabolomics has made progress towards identifying metabolic alterations that may provide clinically useful biomarkers and a deeper understanding of the disease. However, at present, there is insufficient evidence evaluating the predictive accuracy of these molecular signatures and their diagnostic ability, which is necessary before metabolomic data can be translated into clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Microbiota, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and Therapeutic Targets)
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Review
Structural Studies of β-Diketones and Their Implications on Biological Effects
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1189; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111189 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 289
Abstract
The paper briefly summarizes methods to determine the structure of β-diketones with emphasis on NMR methods. Density functional calculations are also briefly treated. Emphasis is on the tautomeric equilibria of β-diketones in relation to biological effects. Relevant physical parameters such as acidity and [...] Read more.
The paper briefly summarizes methods to determine the structure of β-diketones with emphasis on NMR methods. Density functional calculations are also briefly treated. Emphasis is on the tautomeric equilibria of β-diketones in relation to biological effects. Relevant physical parameters such as acidity and solubility are treated. A series of biologically active molecules are treated with respect to structure (tautomerism). Characteristic molecules or groups of molecules are usnic acids, tetramic and tetronic acids, o-hydroxydibenzoylmethanes, curcumines, lupulones, and hyperforines. Full article
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Article
Targeting Oxidative Stress, NLRP3 Inflammasome, and Autophagy by Fraxetin to Combat Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1188; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111188 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Doxorubicin belongs to the class of anthracycline antibiotics that is widely used in the treatment protocols of a wide range of malignancies. The major deleterious effect of doxorubicin use is the possible occurrence of cardiotoxicity. This study aimed to delineate the possible effects [...] Read more.
Doxorubicin belongs to the class of anthracycline antibiotics that is widely used in the treatment protocols of a wide range of malignancies. The major deleterious effect of doxorubicin use is the possible occurrence of cardiotoxicity. This study aimed to delineate the possible effects of targeting oxidative stress, NLRP3 inflammasome, and autophagy by fraxetin on doxorubicin-induced cardiac dysfunction in rats. In a model of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity, the effects of different doses of fraxetin were assessed by determination of biochemical, histopathological, immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic changes. Fraxetin, in a dose-dependent manner, was found to have the ability to mitigate the harmful effects of oxidative stress and inflammation on myocardial muscles with significant decrease in NLRP3 inflammasome, augmentation of autophagy, and amelioration of the apoptotic signaling pathways. In addition, fraxetin, in a dose-dependent manner, had the ability to combat the echocardiographic, histopathological, immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic changes induced by doxorubicin in cardiomyocytes. As a result, fraxetin may be put into consideration as a new adjuvant line of therapy on the way to mitigate doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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Article
Pharmacological and Epigenetic Regulators of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Alzheimer’s Disease
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1187; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111187 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex results in the production of IL-18, Caspase-1 and IL-1β. These cytokines have a beneficial role in promoting inflammation, but an excessive activation of the inflammasome and the consequent constitutive inflammatory status is a negative factor in human [...] Read more.
Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex results in the production of IL-18, Caspase-1 and IL-1β. These cytokines have a beneficial role in promoting inflammation, but an excessive activation of the inflammasome and the consequent constitutive inflammatory status is a negative factor in human pathologies including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). MicroRNAs (miR-NAs) target the 3′UTR region of NLRP3, preventing the activation of the inflammasome and inhibiting cytokine production. Because Stavudine (D4T), an antiretroviral drug, was recently shown to reduce inflammasome activation, we verified whether its effect is mediated by miR-7-5p, miR-22-3p, miR-30e-5p and miR-223-3p: miRNAs that bind the NLRP3-mRNA-UTR region and interfere with protein translation, reducing NLRP3 activation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of twenty AD patients and ten sex-matched Healthy Controls (HC) were stimulated with Lipopolysaccharides (LPS)+Amyloid-beta (Aβ42) in the absence/presence of D4T. Expression of genes within the inflammasome complex and of miRNAs was evaluated by RT-PCR; cytokines and caspase-1 production was measured by ELISA. Results have shown that: NLRP3, ASC, IL-1β and IL-18 expression, as well as IL-18, IL-1β and caspase-1 production, were significantly augmented (p < 0.05) in LPS+Aβ42-stimulated PBMCs of AD patients compared to HC. D4T reduced the expression of inflammasome genes and cytokine production (p < 0.005). miR-7-5p and miR-223-3p expression was significantly increased in LPS+Aβ42-stimulated PBMCs of AD patients (p < 0.05), and it was reduced by D4T in AD alone. In conclusion: miR-223-3p and mir-7-5p expression is increased in AD, but this does not result in down-regulation of NLRP3 inflammasome expression and of IL-1β and IL-18 production. D4T increased miRNA expression in HC but had an opposite effect in AD, suggesting that miRNA regulatory mechanisms are altered in AD. Full article
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Article
Rhaponticum uniflorum and Serratula centauroides Extracts Attenuate Emotional Injury in Acute and Chronic Emotional Stress
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1186; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111186 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 314
Abstract
In modern life, the use of plant stress-protectors has taken on particular significance due to the wide distribution of neurosis-like and neurotic diseases caused by neuroendocrine-immune system imbalance. Special attention has been paid to the plants containing ecdysteroids, i.e., hormone-like bioactive substances with [...] Read more.
In modern life, the use of plant stress-protectors has taken on particular significance due to the wide distribution of neurosis-like and neurotic diseases caused by neuroendocrine-immune system imbalance. Special attention has been paid to the plants containing ecdysteroids, i.e., hormone-like bioactive substances with high adaptogenic activity. The article deals with the study of bioactivity of two plant extracts as Rhaponticum uniflorum (L.) DC. and Serratula centauroides L. with a high content of ecdysteroids and phenolic compounds. The models of acute and chronic emotional stress in white rats were used to estimate the stress-protective activity of R. uniflorum and S. centauroides extracts. Both extracts showed the stress-protective effect via inhibiting the development of signs induced by single and long-term effects of stress factors. In acute stress, the development of Selye's triad signs was less pronounced against the background of the plant remedies introduction. In chronic stress, the extracts prevented the development of anxiety-depressive syndrome. Besides, R. uniflorum and S. centauroides extracts banned the development of stress-induced injuries in the brain cortex and had a neuroprotective effect on ischemia against chronic stress. The stress-protective effects of both plant extracts were based on a decrease of hyperactivation of the central stress-promoting systems (sympathoadrenal, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) due to their GABA-mimetic effects. Peripheral mechanisms were connected with the inhibition of free radical oxidation processes and with an increase in the endogenous antioxidant system activity. Thus, R. uniflorum and S. centauroides extracts have a high potential to increase non-specific body resistance against acute and chronic emotional stress effects. Full article
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Review
The Cholecystokinin Type 2 Receptor, a Pharmacological Target for Pain Management
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1185; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111185 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Over the past decades, accumulating evidence has demonstrated a pivotal role of cholecystokinin type 2 receptor (CCK2R) in pain modulation. The established role of CCK2R activation in directly facilitating nociception has led to the development of several CCK2R antagonists, which have been shown [...] Read more.
Over the past decades, accumulating evidence has demonstrated a pivotal role of cholecystokinin type 2 receptor (CCK2R) in pain modulation. The established role of CCK2R activation in directly facilitating nociception has led to the development of several CCK2R antagonists, which have been shown to successfully alleviate pain in several rodent models of pain. However, the outcomes of clinical trials are more modest since they have not demonstrated the expected biological effect obtained in animals. Such discordances of results between preclinical and clinical studies suggest reconsidering our knowledge about the molecular basis of the pharmacology and functioning of CCK2R. This review focuses on the cellular localization of CCK2R specifically in the sensory nervous system and discusses in further detail the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways involved in controlling pain perception. We then provide a comprehensive overview of the most successful compounds targeting CCK2R and report recent advances in pharmacological strategies used to achieve CCK2R modulation. We purposely distinguish between CCK2R benefits obtained in preclinical models and outcomes in clinical trials with different pain etiologies. Lastly, we emphasize the biological and clinical relevance of CCK2R as a promising target for the development of new treatments for pain management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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Article
In Vitro Assessment of the Role of p53 on Chemotherapy Treatments in Neuroblastoma Cell Lines
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1184; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111184 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 303
Abstract
Neuroblastoma is the most frequent malignant extracranial solid tumor of infancy. The overall objective of this work consists of determining the presence of alterations in the p53/MDM2/p14ARF signaling pathway in neuroblastoma cell lines and deciphering their possible relationship with resistance to known antineoplastic [...] Read more.
Neuroblastoma is the most frequent malignant extracranial solid tumor of infancy. The overall objective of this work consists of determining the presence of alterations in the p53/MDM2/p14ARF signaling pathway in neuroblastoma cell lines and deciphering their possible relationship with resistance to known antineoplastic drugs and to differentiation agents. Firstly, we characterized 10 neuroblastoma cell lines for alterations at the p53/MDM2/p14ARF signaling pathway by analysis of TP53 point mutations, MYCN and MDM2 amplification, and p14ARF methylation, homozygous deletions, and expression. Secondly, we chose SK-N-FI (mutated at TP53) and SK-N-Be(2) (wild-type TP53) cell lines, treated them with chemotherapeutic agents (doxorubicin, etoposide, cisplatin, and melphalan) and with two isomers of retinoic acid (RA): (9-cis and all-trans). Finally, we analyzed the distribution of the cell cycle, the induction of apoptosis, and the expression levels of p53, p21, and Bcl-2 in those two cell lines. P14ARF did not present promoter methylation, homozygous deletions, and protein expression in any of the 10 neuroblastoma cell lines. One TP53 point mutation was detected in the SK-N-FI cell line. MYCN amplification was frequent, while most cell lines did not present MDM2 amplification. Treatment of SK-N-FI and SK-N-Be(2) cells with doxorubicin, etoposide, cisplatin, and melphalan increased apoptosis and blocked the cycle in G2/M, while retinoic acid isomers induced apoptosis and decreased the percentage of cells in S phase in TP53 mutated SK-N-FI cells, but not in TP53 wild-type SK-N-Be(2) cells. Treatment with cisplatin, melphalan, or 9-cis RA decreased p53 expression levels in SK-N-FI cells but not in SK-N-Be (2). The expression of p21 was not modified in either of the two cell lines. Bcl-2 levels were reduced only in SK-N-FI cells after treatment with cisplatin. However, treatments with doxorubicin, etoposide, or 9-cis-RA did not modify the levels of this protein in either of the two cell lines. In conclusion, TP53 mutated SK-N-FI cells respond better to the retinoic isomers than TP53 wild-type SK-N-Be(2) cells. Although these are in vitro results, it seems that deciphering the molecular alterations of the p53/MDM2/p14ARF signaling pathway prior to treating patients of neuroblastoma might be useful for standardizing therapies with the aim of improving survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroblastoma Pathogenesis and Therapy)
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Article
The Inhibitory Effects of Terminalia catappa L. Extract on the Migration and Invasion of Human Glioblastoma Multiforme Cells
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1183; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111183 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and common types of brain tumor. Due to its high proliferation ability, a high lethality rate has been observed with this malignant glial tumor. Terminalia catappa L. (T. catappa) is currently [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and common types of brain tumor. Due to its high proliferation ability, a high lethality rate has been observed with this malignant glial tumor. Terminalia catappa L. (T. catappa) is currently known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenesis effects. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms of the leaf extracts of T. catappa (TCE) on GBM cells. In the current study, we demonstrated that TCE can significantly inhibit the migration and invasion capabilities of GBM cell lines without showing biotoxic effects. Matrix metalloproteinases-2 (MMP-2) activity and protein expression were attenuated by reducing the p38 phosphorylation involved in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. By treating with TCE and/or p38 inhibitor (SB203580), we confirmed that p38 MAPK is involved in the inhibition of cell migration. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that TCE inhibits human GBM cell migration and MMP-2 expression by regulating the p38 pathway. These results reveal that TCE contains potent therapeutic compounds which could be applied for treating GBM brain tumors. Full article
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Article
Two Novel Semisynthetic Lipoglycopeptides Active against Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms and Cells in Late Stationary Growth Phase
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1182; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111182 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
The increase in antibiotic resistance among Gram-positive bacteria underscores the urgent need to develop new antibiotics. New antibiotics should target actively growing susceptible bacteria that are resistant to clinically accepted antibiotics including bacteria that are not growing or are protected in a biofilm [...] Read more.
The increase in antibiotic resistance among Gram-positive bacteria underscores the urgent need to develop new antibiotics. New antibiotics should target actively growing susceptible bacteria that are resistant to clinically accepted antibiotics including bacteria that are not growing or are protected in a biofilm environment. In this paper, we compare the in vitro activities of two new semisynthetic glycopeptide antibiotics, MA79 and ERJ390, with two clinically used glycopeptide antibiotics—vancomycin and teicoplanin. The new antibiotics effectively killed not only exponentially growing cells of Staphylococcus aureus, but also cells in the stationary growth phase and biofilm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycopeptide Antibiotics 2021)
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Review
Probiotics in Intestinal Mucosal Healing: A New Therapy or an Old Friend?
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1181; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111181 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are characterized by chronic and relapsing inflammation, while their pathogenesis remains mostly unelucidated. Gut commensal microbiota seem to be one of the various implicated factors, as several studies have shown a significant decrease in [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are characterized by chronic and relapsing inflammation, while their pathogenesis remains mostly unelucidated. Gut commensal microbiota seem to be one of the various implicated factors, as several studies have shown a significant decrease in the microbiome diversity of patients with IBD. Although the question of whether microbiota dysbiosis is a causal factor or the result of chronic inflammation remains unanswered, one fact is clear; active inflammation in IBD results in the disruption of the mucus layer structure, barrier function, and also, colonization sites. Recently, many studies on IBD have been focusing on the interplay between mucosal and luminal microbiota, underlining their possible beneficial effect on mucosal healing. Regarding this notion, it has now been shown that specific probiotic strains, when administrated, lead to significantly decreased inflammation, amelioration of colitis, and improved mucosal healing. Probiotics are live microorganisms exerting beneficial effects on the host’s health when administered in adequate quantity. The aim of this review was to present and discuss the current findings on the role of gut microbiota and their metabolites in intestinal wound healing and the effects of probiotics on intestinal mucosal wound closure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Microbiota, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and Therapeutic Targets)
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Article
Physicochemical and Biological Characterization of rhC1INH Expressed in CHO Cells
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1180; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111180 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
The disfunction or deficiency of the C1 esterase inhibitor (C1INH) is associated with hereditary or acquired angioedema (HAE/AAE), a rare life-threatening condition characterized by swelling in the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The current treatment options may carry the risks of either viral [...] Read more.
The disfunction or deficiency of the C1 esterase inhibitor (C1INH) is associated with hereditary or acquired angioedema (HAE/AAE), a rare life-threatening condition characterized by swelling in the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The current treatment options may carry the risks of either viral infection (plasma-derived Berinert®) or immune reaction (human recombinant C1INH from rabbit milk, Ruconest®). This study describes the physicochemical and biological characterization of a novel recombinant human C1 esterase inhibitor (rhC1INH) from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells for the treatment of hereditary angioedema compared to the marketed products Berinert® and Ruconest®. The mass spectrometry results of total deglycosylated rhC1INH revealed a protein with a molecular mass of 52,846 Da. Almost full sequence coverage (98.6%) by nanoLC-MS/MS peptide mapping was achieved. The purity and C1s inhibitory activity of rhC1INH from CHO cells are comparable with Ruconest®, although we found differences in charge isoforms distribution, intact mass values, and N-glycans profile. Comparison of the specific activity (IC50 value) of the rhC1INH with human C1 esterase inhibitor from blood serum showed similar inhibitory properties. These data allow us to conclude that the novel rhC1INH molecule could become a potential therapeutic option for patients with HAE/AAE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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Review
Positron Emission Tomography in Animal Models of Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloidosis: Translational Implications
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1179; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111179 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Animal models of Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis that recapitulate cerebral amyloid-beta pathology have been widely used in preclinical research and have greatly enabled the mechanistic understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of therapeutics. Comprehensive deep phenotyping of the pathophysiological and biochemical features in [...] Read more.
Animal models of Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis that recapitulate cerebral amyloid-beta pathology have been widely used in preclinical research and have greatly enabled the mechanistic understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of therapeutics. Comprehensive deep phenotyping of the pathophysiological and biochemical features in these animal models is essential. Recent advances in positron emission tomography have allowed the non-invasive visualization of the alterations in the brain of animal models and in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. These tools have facilitated our understanding of disease mechanisms and provided longitudinal monitoring of treatment effects in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis. In this review, we focus on recent positron emission tomography studies of cerebral amyloid-beta accumulation, hypoglucose metabolism, synaptic and neurotransmitter receptor deficits (cholinergic and glutamatergic system), blood–brain barrier impairment, and neuroinflammation (microgliosis and astrocytosis) in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease amyloidosis. We further propose the emerging targets and tracers for reflecting the pathophysiological changes and discuss outstanding challenges in disease animal models and future outlook in the on-chip characterization of imaging biomarkers towards clinical translation. Full article
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Article
RIG-I Deficiency Promotes Obesity-Induced Insulin Resistance
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1178; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111178 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Inflammation and immunity are linked to the onset and development of obesity and metabolic disorders. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) are key regulators of inflammation and immunity in response to infection and stress, and they have critical roles in metainflammation. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Inflammation and immunity are linked to the onset and development of obesity and metabolic disorders. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) are key regulators of inflammation and immunity in response to infection and stress, and they have critical roles in metainflammation. In this study, we investigated whether RIG-I (retinoic acid-inducible gene I)-like receptors were involved in the regulation of obesity-induced metabolic stress in RIG-I knockout (KO) mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). RIG-I KO mice fed an HFD for 12 weeks showed greater body weight gain, higher fat composition, lower lean body mass, and higher epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) weight than WT mice fed HFD. In contrast, body weight gain, fat, and lean mass compositions, and eWAT weight of MDA5 (melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5) KO mice fed HFD were similar to those of WT mice fed a normal diet. RIG-I KO mice fed HFD exhibited more severely impaired glucose tolerance and higher HOMA-IR values than WT mice fed HFD. IFN-β expression induced by ER stress inducers, tunicamycin and thapsigargin, was abolished in RIG-I-deficient hepatocytes and macrophages, showing that RIG-I is required for ER stress-induced IFN-β expression. Our results show that RIG-I deficiency promotes obesity and insulin resistance induced by a high-fat diet, presenting a novel role of RIG-I in the development of obesity and metabolic disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Searching for New Therapeutic Targets with Anti-obesity Potential)
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Article
Design, Synthesis, In Vitro Anticancer Evaluation and Molecular Modelling Studies of 3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenyl-Based Derivatives as Dual EGFR/HDAC Hybrid Inhibitors
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1177; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111177 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Recently, combining histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors with chemotherapeutic drugs or agents, in particular epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, is considered to be one of the most encouraging strategy to enhance the efficacy of the antineoplastic agents and decrease or avoid drug resistance. [...] Read more.
Recently, combining histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors with chemotherapeutic drugs or agents, in particular epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, is considered to be one of the most encouraging strategy to enhance the efficacy of the antineoplastic agents and decrease or avoid drug resistance. Therefore, in this work, based on introducing 3,4,5-trimethoxy phenyl group as a part of the CAP moiety, in addition to incorporating 4–6 aliphatic carbons linker and using COOH or hydroxamic acid as ZBG, 12 novel EGFR/HDAC hybrid inhibitors 2ac, 3ac, 4ac and 5ac were designed, constructed, and evaluated for their anticancer activities against 4 cancer cell lines (HepG2, MCF-7, HCT116 and A549). Among all, hybrids with hydroxamic acid 4ac and 5a, exhibited the highest inhibition against all cancer cell lines with IC50 ranging from 0.536 to 4.892 μM compared to Vorinostat (SAHA) with IC50 ranging from 2.43 to 3.63 μM and Gefitinib with IC50 ranging from 1.439 to 3.366 μM. Mechanistically, the most potent hybrids 4ac and 5a were further tested for their EGFR and HDACs inhibitory activities. The findings disclosed that hybrid 4b displayed IC50 = 0.063 µM on the target EGFR enzyme which is slightly less potent than the standard Staurosporine (IC50 = 0.044 µM). Furthermore, hybrid 4b showed less HDAC inhibitory activity IC50 against HDAC1 (0.148), 2 (0.168), 4 (5.852), 6 (0.06) and 8 (2.257) than SAHA. In addition, the investigation of apoptotic action of the most potent hybrid 4b showed a significant increase in Bax level up to 3.75-folds, with down-regulation in Bcl2 to 0.42-fold, compared to the control. Furthermore, hybrid 4b displayed an increase in the levels of Caspases 3 and 8 by 5.1 and 3.15 folds, respectively. Additionally, the cell cycle analysis of hybrid 4b revealed that it showed programmed cell death and cell cycle arrest at G1/S phase. Moreover, all these outcomes together with the molecular docking study recommended the rationalized target hybrids 4ac and 5a, particularly 4b, may be considered to be promising lead candidates for discovery of novel anticancer agents via dual inhibition of both EGFR/HDAC enzymes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Drugs 2021)
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Communication
Inhibitory Effect of Chlorogenic Acid Analogues Comprising Pyridine and Pyrimidine on α-MSH-Stimulated Melanogenesis and Stability of Acyl Analogues in Methanol
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1176; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111176 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 343
Abstract
In continuation of studies for α-MSH stimulated melanogenesis inhibitors, we have evaluated the design, synthesis, and activity of a new series of chlorogenic acid (CGA) analogues comprising pyridine, pyrimidine, and diacyl derivatives. Among nineteen synthesized compounds, most of them (fifteen) exhibited better inhibitions [...] Read more.
In continuation of studies for α-MSH stimulated melanogenesis inhibitors, we have evaluated the design, synthesis, and activity of a new series of chlorogenic acid (CGA) analogues comprising pyridine, pyrimidine, and diacyl derivatives. Among nineteen synthesized compounds, most of them (fifteen) exhibited better inhibitions of melanin formation in B16 melanoma cells. The results illustrated that a pyridine analogue 6f and a diacyl derivative 13a of CGA showed superior inhibition profiles (IC50: 2.5 ± 0.7 μM and 1.1 ± 0.1 μM, respectively) of α-MSH activities than positive controls, kojic acid and arbutin (IC50: 54 ± 1.5 μM and 380 ± 9.5 μM, respectively). The SAR studies showed that both –CF3 and –Cl groups exhibited better inhibition at the meta position on benzylamine than their ortho and para positions. In addition, the stability of diacyl analogues of CGA in methanol monitored by HPLC for 28 days indicated the steric bulkiness of acyl substituents as a key factor in their stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Review
Sweetening Pharmaceutical Radiochemistry by 18F-Fluoroglycosylation: Recent Progress and Future Prospects
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1175; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14111175 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
In the field of 18F-chemistry for the development of radiopharmaceuticals for positron emission tomography (PET), various labeling strategies by the use of prosthetic groups have been implemented, including chemoselective 18F-labeling of biomolecules. Among those, chemoselective 18F-fluoroglycosylation methods focus on the [...] Read more.
In the field of 18F-chemistry for the development of radiopharmaceuticals for positron emission tomography (PET), various labeling strategies by the use of prosthetic groups have been implemented, including chemoselective 18F-labeling of biomolecules. Among those, chemoselective 18F-fluoroglycosylation methods focus on the sweetening of pharmaceutical radiochemistry by offering a highly valuable tool for the synthesis of 18F-glycoconjugates with suitable in vivo properties for PET imaging studies. A previous review covered the various 18F-fluoroglycosylation methods that were developed and applied as of 2014 (Maschauer and Prante, BioMed. Res. Int. 2014, 214748). This paper is an updated review, providing the recent progress in 18F-fluoroglycosylation reactions and the preclinical application of 18F-glycoconjugates, including small molecules, peptides, and high-molecular-weight proteins. Full article
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