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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 14, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 106 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Site-specific conjugation is one of the promising research areas in antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) development, allowing for controlled conjugation and production of homogeneous ADCs, contrary to highly heterogeneous early-generation ADCs. We report here the characterization of a site-specific DAR2 ADC generated through glycan-based enzymatic remodeling and click chemistry (GlyCLICK™), using innovative native mass spectrometry (nMS) methods. The conjugation process was monitored with size exclusion chromatography coupled to nMS (SEC-nMS) for straightforward identification and quantification of all reaction species. Ion mobility-based collision-induced unfolding (CIU) approaches were used to assess the gas-phase behavior and the resistance to unfolding of the products along the synthesis. View this paper

Site-specific conjugation is one of the promising research areas in antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) development, allowing for controlled conjugation and production of homogeneous ADCs, contrary to highly heterogeneous early-generation ADCs. We report here the characterization of a site-specific DAR2 ADC generated through glycan-based enzymatic remodeling and click chemistry (GlyCLICK™), using innovative native mass spectrometry (nMS) methods. The conjugation process was monitored with size exclusion chromatography coupled to nMS (SEC-nMS) for straightforward identification and quantification of all reaction species. Ion mobility-based collision-induced unfolding (CIU) approaches were used to assess the gas-phase behavior and the resistance to unfolding of the products along the synthesis.

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Review
cfDNA Sequencing: Technological Approaches and Bioinformatic Issues
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 596; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060596 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 968
Abstract
In the era of precision medicine, it is crucial to identify molecular alterations that will guide the therapeutic management of patients. In this context, circulating tumoral DNA (ctDNA) released by the tumor in body fluids, like blood, and carrying its molecular characteristics is [...] Read more.
In the era of precision medicine, it is crucial to identify molecular alterations that will guide the therapeutic management of patients. In this context, circulating tumoral DNA (ctDNA) released by the tumor in body fluids, like blood, and carrying its molecular characteristics is becoming a powerful biomarker for non-invasive detection and monitoring of cancer. Major recent technological advances, especially in terms of sequencing, have made possible its analysis, the challenge still being its reliable early detection. Different parameters, from the pre-analytical phase to the choice of sequencing technology and bioinformatic tools can influence the sensitivity of ctDNA detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell-Free DNA for the Management of Lymphoma)
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Review
Whole Body Cryotherapy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment: New Biological Treatment of Depression? A Systematic Review
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 595; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060595 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 875
Abstract
Treatment with antidepressants is often insufficiently effective, especially in treatment-resistant depression. In such a situation, it is possible to change the drug, add a second antidepressant, or use pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods of augmenting the effect of pharmacotherapy. New methods that may fall [...] Read more.
Treatment with antidepressants is often insufficiently effective, especially in treatment-resistant depression. In such a situation, it is possible to change the drug, add a second antidepressant, or use pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods of augmenting the effect of pharmacotherapy. New methods that may fall into the scope of multi-module depression treatment as an augmentation of depression treatment are whole body cryotherapy (WBC) and hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT). 545 records were selected and analyzed for these two treatments and finally three clinical trials were selected for analysis. The review also includes data on the possibility of using WBC and HBOT in somatic indications and in organic mental syndromes. Despite the small number of studies on the effectiveness of WBC or HBOT in depression, the current data show that both methods may be effective in the treatment of depression. WBC may be effective in the augmentation of antidepressants, and additionally, it is a method in which a quick antidepressant effect is obtained. HBOT may be effective in endogenous depression, just as it is effective in the treatment of somatic depression symptoms. The results are very preliminary, but if confirmed in subsequent studies, both WBC and HBOT may become new treatment options in treating depression. The authors point to the need and directions for further research into these treatment methods as an augmentation strategy for pharmacological treatment of depression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Drugs and Biologics For Treatment of Central Nervous Dysfunction)
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Review
Zebrafish: An Attractive Model to Study Staphylococcus aureus Infection and Its Use as a Drug Discovery Tool
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060594 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1130
Abstract
Non-mammalian in vivo disease models are particularly popular in early drug discovery. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an attractive vertebrate model, the success of which is driven by several advantages, such as the optical transparency of larvae, the small and completely sequenced genome, [...] Read more.
Non-mammalian in vivo disease models are particularly popular in early drug discovery. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an attractive vertebrate model, the success of which is driven by several advantages, such as the optical transparency of larvae, the small and completely sequenced genome, the small size of embryos and larvae enabling high-throughput screening, and low costs. In this review, we highlight zebrafish models of Staphyloccoccus aureus infection, which are used in drug discovery and for studying disease pathogenesis and virulence. Further, these infection models are discussed in the context of other relevant zebrafish models for pharmacological and toxicological studies as part of early drug profiling. In addition, we examine key differences to commonly applied models of S. aureus infection based on invertebrate organisms, and we compare their frequency of use in academic research covering the period of January 2011 to January 2021. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery 2021)
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Communication
The Effects of N-Acetylcysteine on the Rat Mesocorticolimbic Pathway: Role of mGluR5 Receptors and Interaction with Ethanol
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 593; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060593 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 879
Abstract
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a prodrug that is marketed as a mucolytic agent and used for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose. Over the last few decades, evidence has been gathered that suggests the potential use of NAC as a new pharmacotherapy for alcohol [...] Read more.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a prodrug that is marketed as a mucolytic agent and used for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose. Over the last few decades, evidence has been gathered that suggests the potential use of NAC as a new pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD), although its mechanism of action is already being debated. In this paper, we set out to assess both the potential involvement of the glutamate metabotropic receptors (mGluR) in the possible dual effect of NAC administered at two different doses and NAC’s effect on ethanol-induced activation. To this aim, 30 or 120 mg/kg of NAC was intraperitoneally administered to rats with the presence or absence of the negative allosteric modulator of mGluR5 (MTEP 0.1 mg/kg). Thereafter, the cFOS IR-cell expression was analyzed. Secondly, we explored the effect of 120 mg/kg of NAC on the neurochemical and behavioral activation induced by intra-VTA ethanol administration (150 nmol). Our results showed that the high NAC dose stimulated cFOS expression in the NAcc, and that this effect was suppressed in the presence of MTEP, thus suggesting the implication of mGluR5. Additionally, high doses could attenuate the ethanol-induced increase in cFOS-expression in the NAcc, probably due to a phenomenon based on the long-term depression of the MSNs. Additional experiments are required to corroborate our hypothesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Repurposing Drug Strategies for CNS Disorders)
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Article
Antibiotic Resistance Profile and Biofilm Production of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius Isolated from Dogs in Thailand
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 592; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060592 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a zoonotic pathogen that can cause life-threatening infections in animals and humans. The study of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) and its ability to produce biofilms is important to select the most suitable treatment. The prevalence and characteristics of S. pseudintermedius [...] Read more.
Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a zoonotic pathogen that can cause life-threatening infections in animals and humans. The study of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) and its ability to produce biofilms is important to select the most suitable treatment. The prevalence and characteristics of S. pseudintermedius isolated from dogs admitted at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand were assessed. Results showed that 28.30% (15/53) of the isolates were MRSP. Amplification of the mecA gene was observed in 93.33% (14/15) MRSP. Methicillin-resistant strains revealed co-resistant patterns against other antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, clindamycin, tetracycline, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and trimethoprim. In this study, all bacterial isolates produced biofilms, while 90.55% of S. pseudintermedius isolates were strong or moderate biofilm producers. Most (45–60%) of the resistant strains were strong biofilm producers, while the correlation between biofilm production and antibiotic resistance was not statistically significant. This is the first study in southern Thailand to investigate the drug-resistant profile of S. pseudintermedius and its ability to form biofilm. The results will contribute to a better understanding of the emergence and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in S. pseudintermedius. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Antibiotic Action and Resistance)
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Review
A Comprehensive Review and Perspective on Natural Sources as Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors for Management of Diabetes
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 591; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060591 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is an increasing global public health problem, and its prevalence is expected to rise in coming decades. Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) is a therapeutic target for the management of T2DM, and its inhibitors prevent the degradation of glucose-dependent insulinotropic [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is an increasing global public health problem, and its prevalence is expected to rise in coming decades. Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) is a therapeutic target for the management of T2DM, and its inhibitors prevent the degradation of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and glucagon-like peptide 1, and thus, maintain their endogenous levels and lower blood glucose levels. Various medicinal plant extracts and isolated bioactive compounds exhibit DPP-4 inhibitory activity. In this review, we discussed different natural sources that have been shown to have anti-diabetic efficacy with a particular emphasis on DPP-4 inhibition. Furthermore, the effect of DPP-4 inhibition on pancreatic beta cell function, skeletal muscle function, and the glucose-lowering mechanisms were also discussed. We believe that scientists looking for novel compounds with therapeutic promise against T2DM will be able to develop antidiabetic drugs using these natural sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Searching for New Therapeutic Targets with Anti-obesity Potential)
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Article
Dextran Sodium Sulphate-Induced Gastrointestinal Injury Further Aggravates the Impact of Galantamine on the Gastric Myoelectric Activity in Experimental Pigs
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 590; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060590 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Galantamine has been used as a treatment for Alzheimer disease. It has a unique, dual mode of action (inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and allosteric modulator of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors). Nausea (in about 20%), vomiting (10%) and diarrhoea (5–7%) are the most common side effects. [...] Read more.
Galantamine has been used as a treatment for Alzheimer disease. It has a unique, dual mode of action (inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and allosteric modulator of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors). Nausea (in about 20%), vomiting (10%) and diarrhoea (5–7%) are the most common side effects. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of galantamine on porcine gastric myoelectric activity without (Group A) and with (Group B) dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced gastrointestinal injury. Galantamine hydrobromide was administrated to twelve pigs as a single intragastric dose (24 mg). Gastric myoelectric activity was investigated by electrogastrography (EGG). Basal (15 min before galantamine administration) and study recordings after galantamine administration (300 min) were evaluated using a running spectral analysis. Results were expressed as dominant frequency of gastric slow waves and power analysis (areas of amplitudes). Altogether, 3780 one-minute EGG recordings were evaluated. In Group A, power was steady from basal values for 180 min, then gradually decreased till 270 min (p = 0.007). In Group B, there was a rapid gradual fall from basal values to those after 120 min (p = 0.007) till 300 min (p ˂ 0.001). In conclusion, galantamine alone revealed an unfavourable effect on porcine myoelectric activity assessed by gastric power. It can be a plausible explanation of galantamine-associated dyspepsia in humans. DSS caused further profound decrease of EGG power. That may indicate that underlying inflammatory, ischaemic or NSAIDs-induced condition of the intestine in humans can have aggravated the effect of galantamine on gastric myoelectric activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Drugs and Biologics For Treatment of Central Nervous Dysfunction)
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Review
Potentiating Therapeutic Effects of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibition in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060589 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 927
Abstract
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subset of breast cancer with aggressive characteristics and few therapeutic options. The lack of an appropriate therapeutic target is a challenging issue in treating TNBC. Although a high level expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has [...] Read more.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subset of breast cancer with aggressive characteristics and few therapeutic options. The lack of an appropriate therapeutic target is a challenging issue in treating TNBC. Although a high level expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been associated with a poor prognosis among patients with TNBC, targeted anti-EGFR therapies have demonstrated limited efficacy for TNBC treatment in both clinical and preclinical settings. However, with the advantage of a number of clinically approved EGFR inhibitors (EGFRis), combination strategies have been explored as a promising approach to overcome the intrinsic resistance of TNBC to EGFRis. In this review, we analyzed the literature on the combination of EGFRis with other molecularly targeted therapeutics or conventional chemotherapeutics to understand the current knowledge and to provide potential therapeutic options for TNBC treatment. Full article
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Article
Protective Effect of Piplartine against LPS-Induced Sepsis through Attenuating the MAPKs/NF-κB Signaling Pathway and NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 588; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060588 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 922
Abstract
Piplartine (or Piperlongumine) is a natural alkaloid isolated from Piper longum L., which has been proposed to exhibit various biological properties such as anti-inflammatory effects; however, the effect of piplartine on sepsis has not been examined. This study was performed to examine the [...] Read more.
Piplartine (or Piperlongumine) is a natural alkaloid isolated from Piper longum L., which has been proposed to exhibit various biological properties such as anti-inflammatory effects; however, the effect of piplartine on sepsis has not been examined. This study was performed to examine the anti-inflammatory activities of piplartine in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo using murine J774A.1 macrophage cell line, peritoneal macrophages, bone marrow-derived macrophages and an animal sepsis model. The results demonstrated that piplartine suppresses iNOS and COX-2 expression, reduces PGE2, TNF-α and IL-6 production, decreases the phosphorylation of MAPKs and NF-κB and attenuates NF-κB activity by LPS-activated macrophages. Piplartine also inhibits IL-1β production and suppresses NLRP3 inflammasome activation by LPS/ATP- and LPS/nigericin-activated macrophages. Moreover, piplartine reduces the production of nitric oxide (NO) and TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β, decreases LPS-induced tissue damage, attenuates infiltration of inflammatory cells and enhances the survival rate. Collectively, these results demonstrate piplartine exhibits anti-inflammatory activities in LPS-induced inflammation and sepsis and suggest that piplartine might have benefits for sepsis treatment. Full article
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Review
Small Molecule Inhibitors of Influenza Virus Entry
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 587; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060587 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 771
Abstract
Hemagglutinin (HA) plays a critical role during influenza virus receptor binding and subsequent membrane fusion process, thus HA has become a promising drug target. For the past several decades, we and other researchers have discovered a series of HA inhibitors mainly targeting its [...] Read more.
Hemagglutinin (HA) plays a critical role during influenza virus receptor binding and subsequent membrane fusion process, thus HA has become a promising drug target. For the past several decades, we and other researchers have discovered a series of HA inhibitors mainly targeting its fusion machinery. In this review, we summarize the advances in HA-targeted development of small molecule inhibitors. Moreover, we discuss the structural basis and mode of action of these inhibitors, and speculate upon future directions toward more potent inhibitors of membrane fusion and potential anti-influenza drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Strategies in Anti-influenza Therapeutics)
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Review
Dipeptidyl Peptidase (DPP)-IV Inhibitors with Antioxidant Potential Isolated from Natural Sources: A Novel Approach for the Management of Diabetes
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 586; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060586 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 865
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by hyperglycemia that is predominantly caused by insulin resistance or impaired insulin secretion, along with disturbances in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Various therapeutic approaches have been used to treat diabetes, including improvement of insulin sensitivity, [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by hyperglycemia that is predominantly caused by insulin resistance or impaired insulin secretion, along with disturbances in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Various therapeutic approaches have been used to treat diabetes, including improvement of insulin sensitivity, inhibition of gluconeogenesis, and decreasing glucose absorption from the intestines. Recently, a novel approach has emerged using dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) inhibitors as a possible agent for the treatment of T2DM without producing any side effects, such as hypoglycemia and exhaustion of pancreatic β-cells. DPP-IV inhibitors improve hyperglycemic conditions by stabilizing the postprandial level of gut hormones such as glucagon-like peptide-1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptides, which function as incretins to help upregulate insulin secretion and β-cell mass. In this review, we summarized DPP-IV inhibitors and their mechanism of inhibition, activities of those isolated from various natural sources, and their capacity to overcome oxidative stress in disease conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multitarget Drug Discovery and Pharmacology)
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Article
HDAC Inhibitor Abrogates LTA−Induced PAI-1 Expression in Pleural Mesothelial Cells and Attenuates Experimental Pleural Fibrosis
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 585; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060585 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) stimulates pleural mesothelial cell (PMC) to overproduce plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and thus may promote pleural fibrosis in Gram-positive bacteria (GPB) parapneumonic effusion (PPE). Histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) was found to possess anti-fibrotic properties. However, the effects of HDACi on [...] Read more.
Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) stimulates pleural mesothelial cell (PMC) to overproduce plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and thus may promote pleural fibrosis in Gram-positive bacteria (GPB) parapneumonic effusion (PPE). Histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) was found to possess anti-fibrotic properties. However, the effects of HDACi on pleural fibrosis remain unclear. The effusion PAI-1 was measured among 64 patients with GPB PPE. Pleural fibrosis was measured as radiographical residual pleural thickening (RPT) and opacity at a 12-month follow-up. The LTA−stimulated human PMCs and intrapleural doxycycline−injected rats were pretreated with or without the pan-HDACi, m-carboxycinnamic acid bis-hydroxamide (CBHA), then PAI-1 and collagen expression and activated signalings in PMCs, and morphologic pleural changes in rats were measured. Effusion PAI-1 levels were significantly higher in GPB PPE patients with RPT > 10 mm (n = 26) than those without (n = 38), and had positive correlation with pleural fibrosis shadowing. CBHA significantly reduced LTA−induced PAI-1 and collagen expression via inhibition of JNK, and decreased PAI-1 promoter activity and mRNA levels in PMCs. Furthermore, in doxycycline−treated rats, CBHA substantially repressed PAI-1 and collagen synthesis in pleural mesothelium and minimized pleural fibrosis. Conclusively, CBHA abrogates LTA−induced PAI-1 and collagen expression in PMCs and attenuates experimental pleural fibrosis. PAI-1 inhibition by HDACi may confer potential therapy for pleural fibrosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lung Injury and Repair)
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Article
Discovery of Selective Inhibitor Leads by Targeting an Allosteric Site in Insulin-Regulated Aminopeptidase
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060584 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 837
Abstract
Insulin-Regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) is a zinc-dependent aminopeptidase with several important biological functions and is an emerging pharmaceutical target for cognitive enhancement and immune system regulation. Aiming to discover lead-like IRAP inhibitors with enhanced selectivity versus homologous enzymes, we targeted an allosteric site at [...] Read more.
Insulin-Regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) is a zinc-dependent aminopeptidase with several important biological functions and is an emerging pharmaceutical target for cognitive enhancement and immune system regulation. Aiming to discover lead-like IRAP inhibitors with enhanced selectivity versus homologous enzymes, we targeted an allosteric site at the C-terminal domain pocket of IRAP. We compiled a library of 2.5 million commercially available compounds from the ZINC database, and performed molecular docking at the target pocket of IRAP and the corresponding pocket of the homologous endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1). Of the top compounds that showed high selectivity, 305 were further analyzed by molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations, leading to the selection of 33 compounds for in vitro evaluation. Two orthogonal functional assays were employed: one using a small fluorogenic substrate and one following the degradation of oxytocin, a natural peptidic substrate of IRAP. In vitro evaluation suggested that several of the compounds tested can inhibit IRAP, but the inhibition profile was dependent on substrate size, consistent with the allosteric nature of the targeted site. Overall, our results describe several novel leads as IRAP inhibitors and suggest that the C-terminal domain pocket of IRAP is a promising target for developing highly selective IRAP inhibitors. Full article
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Article
Phytosterols and Novel Triterpenes Recovered from Industrial Fermentation Coproducts Exert In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Macrophages
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060583 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 696
Abstract
The unstoppable growth of human population that occurs in parallel with all manufacturing activities leads to a relentless increase in the demand for resources, cultivation land, and energy. In response, currently, there is significant interest in developing strategies to optimize any available resources [...] Read more.
The unstoppable growth of human population that occurs in parallel with all manufacturing activities leads to a relentless increase in the demand for resources, cultivation land, and energy. In response, currently, there is significant interest in developing strategies to optimize any available resources and their biowaste. While solutions initially focused on recovering biomolecules with applications in food, energy, or materials, the feasibility of synthetic biology in this field has been demonstrated in recent years. For instance, it is possible to genetically modify Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce terpenes for commercial applications (i.e., against malaria or as biodiesel). But the production process, similar to any industrial activity, generates biowastes containing promising biomolecules (from fermentation) that if recovered may have applications in different areas. To test this hypothesis, in the present study, the lipid composition of by-products from the industrial production of β-farnesene by genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae are studied to identify potentially bioactive compounds, their recovery, and finally, their stability and in vitro bioactivity. The assayed biowaste showed the presence of triterpenes, phytosterols, and 1-octacosanol which were recovered through molecular distillation into a single fraction. During the assayed stability test, compositional modifications were observed, mainly for the phytosterols and 1-octacosanol, probably due to oxidative reactions. However, such changes did not affect the in vitro bioactivity in macrophages, where it was found that the obtained fraction decreased the production of TNF-α and IL-6 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terpenes – Pharmaceutics and Biotechnology)
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Article
Electroconvulsive Therapy and Age: Effectiveness, Safety and Tolerability in the Treatment of Major Depression among Patients under and over 65 Years of Age
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 582; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060582 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 687
Abstract
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains the most effective therapy in treatment-resistant depression. However, the safety of ECT has been consistently questioned, particularly among elderly patients. We assessed the efficacy and safety of ECT in patients before and after 65 years old. The study was [...] Read more.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains the most effective therapy in treatment-resistant depression. However, the safety of ECT has been consistently questioned, particularly among elderly patients. We assessed the efficacy and safety of ECT in patients before and after 65 years old. The study was conducted between 2015 and 2018 and included 91 patients (61 under and 29 over 65 years old) with major depression undergoing ECT. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale was used to evaluate efficacy. Cognitive functions were assessed using: MMSE, RAVLT, Trail Making Test, Stroop Test and Autobiographical Memory Interview-Short Form. ECT was more effective in older patients as compared to younger (p < 0.001). No serious adverse events were observed in either group. Increased blood pressure and arrhythmias were more common in the older compared to the younger group (p = 0.044 and p = 0.047, respectively), while disturbances of consciousness did not differ between groups (p = 0.820). Most of the cognitive functions remained unchanged compared to baseline, whereas the outcomes of MMSE, RAVLT and Stroop tests showed greater improvements in the older compared to the younger group (all p < 0.05). The decline in the retrieval consistency of autobiographical memory was more pronounced in the younger group (p = 0.024). ECT is a highly effective, safe and well-tolerated method of treating depression regardless of age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Affective Disorders Psychopharmacology)
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Review
Confocal Microscopy and Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging of the Ocular Surface and Bleb Morphology in Medically and Surgically Treated Glaucoma Patients: A Review
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 581; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060581 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Glaucoma patients often suffer from ocular surface disease (OSD) caused by the chronic administration of topical anti-glaucoma medications, especially in cases of long-term therapy with preserved or multiple drugs. Additionally, glaucoma surgery may determine ocular surface changes related to the formation and location [...] Read more.
Glaucoma patients often suffer from ocular surface disease (OSD) caused by the chronic administration of topical anti-glaucoma medications, especially in cases of long-term therapy with preserved or multiple drugs. Additionally, glaucoma surgery may determine ocular surface changes related to the formation and location of the filtering bleb, the application of anti-mitotic agents, and the post-operative wound-healing processes within the conjunctiva. Recently, several studies have evaluated the role of advanced diagnostic imaging technologies such as in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) and anterior segment-optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) in detecting microscopic and macroscopic features of glaucoma therapy-related OSD. Their clinical applications are still being explored, with recent particular attention paid to analyzing the effects of new drug formulations and of minimally invasive surgical procedures on the ocular surface status. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about the main changes of the ocular surface identified at IVCM and AS-OCT in glaucoma patients under medical therapy, or after surgical treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocular Surface Disease and Glaucoma Treatments)
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Article
Capillary Liquid Chromatography for the Determination of Terpenes in Botanical Dietary Supplements
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060580 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 742
Abstract
Dietary supplements of botanical origin are increasingly consumed due to their content of plant constituents with potential benefits on health and wellness. Among those constituents, terpenes are gaining attention because of their diverse biological activities (anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, geroprotective, and others). While most of [...] Read more.
Dietary supplements of botanical origin are increasingly consumed due to their content of plant constituents with potential benefits on health and wellness. Among those constituents, terpenes are gaining attention because of their diverse biological activities (anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, geroprotective, and others). While most of the existing analytical methods have focused on establishing the terpenic fingerprint of some plants, typically by gas chromatography, methods capable of quantifying representative terpenes in herbal preparations and dietary supplements with combined high sensitivity and precision, simplicity, and high throughput are still necessary. In this study, we have explored the utility of capillary liquid chromatography (CapLC) with diode array detection (DAD) for the determination of different terpenes, namely limonene, linalool, farnesene, α-pinene, and myrcene. An innovative method is proposed that can be applied to quantify the targets at concentration levels as low as 0.006 mg per gram of sample with satisfactory precision, and a total analysis time <30 min per sample. The reliability of the proposed method has been tested by analyzing different dietary supplements of botanical origin, namely three green coffee extract-based products, two fat burnings containing Citrus aurantium (bitter orange), and an herbal preparation containing lime and leaves of orange trees. Full article
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Article
Calcium Chelidonate: Semi-Synthesis, Crystallography, and Osteoinductive Activity In Vitro and In Vivo
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 579; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060579 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 965
Abstract
Calcium chelidonate [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3]n was obtained by semi-synthesis using natural chelidonic acid. The structure of the molecular complex was determined by X-ray diffraction analysis. The asymmetric unit of [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3]n includes chelidonic acid coordinated through [...] Read more.
Calcium chelidonate [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3]n was obtained by semi-synthesis using natural chelidonic acid. The structure of the molecular complex was determined by X-ray diffraction analysis. The asymmetric unit of [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3]n includes chelidonic acid coordinated through three oxygen atoms, and three water ligands. The oxygen atoms of acid and oxygen atoms of water from each asymmetric unit are also coordinated to the calcium of another one, forming an infinite linear complex. Calcium geometry is close to the trigonal dodecahedron (D2d). The intra-complex hydrogen bonds additionally stabilize the linear species, which are parallel to the axis. In turn the linear species are packed into the 3D structure through mutual intercomplex hydrogen bonds. The osteogenic activity of the semi-synthetic CaChA was studied in vitro on 21-day hAMMSC culture and in vivo in mice using ectopic (subcutaneous) implantation of CaP-coated Ti plates saturated in vitro with syngeneic bone marrow. The enhanced extracellular matrix ECM mineralization in vitro and ectopic bone tissue formation in situ occurred while a water solution of calcium chelidonate at a dose of 10 mg/kg was used. The test substance promotes human adipose-derived multipotent mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (hAMMSCs), as well as mouse MSCs to differentiate into osteoblasts in vitro and in vivo, respectively. Calcium chelidonate is non-toxic and can stimulate osteoinductive processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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Review
Zebrafish as a Screening Model to Study the Single and Joint Effects of Antibiotics
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060578 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
The overuse of antibiotics combined with the limitation of wastewater facilities has resulted in drug residue accumulation in the natural environment. Thus, in recent years, the presence of antibiotic residues in the environment has raised concerns over the potential harmful effects on ecosystems [...] Read more.
The overuse of antibiotics combined with the limitation of wastewater facilities has resulted in drug residue accumulation in the natural environment. Thus, in recent years, the presence of antibiotic residues in the environment has raised concerns over the potential harmful effects on ecosystems and human health. The in vivo studies represent an essential step to study the potential impact induced by pharmaceutical exposure. Due to the limitations of traditional vertebrate model systems, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has recently emerged as a promising animal model to study the toxic effects of drugs and their therapeutic efficacy. The present review summarizes the recent advances made on the toxicity of seven representative classes of antibiotics, namely aminoglycosides, β-lactams, macrolides, quinolones, sulfonamides, tetracyclines and polyether antibiotics, in zebrafish, as well as the combined effects of antibiotic mixtures, to date. Despite a significant amount of the literature describing the impact of single antibiotic exposure, little information exists on the effects of antibiotic mixtures using zebrafish as an animal model. Most of the research papers on this topic have focused on antibiotic toxicity in zebrafish across different developmental stages rather than on their efficacy assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery 2021)
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Article
Glossogyne tenuifolia Extract Increases Nitric Oxide Production in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060577 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 669
Abstract
The vascular nitric oxide (NO) system has a protective effect in atherosclerosis. NO is generated from the conversion of L-arginine to L-citrulline by the enzymatic action of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Compounds with the effect of enhancing eNOS expression are considered to be [...] Read more.
The vascular nitric oxide (NO) system has a protective effect in atherosclerosis. NO is generated from the conversion of L-arginine to L-citrulline by the enzymatic action of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Compounds with the effect of enhancing eNOS expression are considered to be candidates for the prevention of atherosclerosis. In this study, extracts from the aerial, root, and whole plant of Glossogyne tenuifolia (GT) were obtained with ethanol, n-hexane, ethyl acetate (EA), and methanol extraction, respectively. The effects of these GT extracts on the synthesis of NO and the expression of eNOS in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were investigated. NO production was determined as nitrite by colorimetry, following the Griess reaction. The treatment of HUVECs with EA extract from the root of GT and n-hexane, methanol, and ethanol extract from the aerial, root, and whole plant of GT increased NO production in a dose-dependent manner. When at a dose of 160 μg/mL, NO production increased from 0.9 to 18.4-fold. Among these extracts, the methanol extract from the root of GT (R/M GTE) exhibited the most potent effect on NO production (increased by 18.4-fold). Furthermore, using Western blot and RT–PCR analysis, treatment of HUVECs with the R/M GTE increased both eNOS protein and mRNA expression. In addition, Western blot analysis revealed that the R/M GTE increased eNOS phosphorylation at serine1177 as early as 15 min after treatment. The chemical composition for the main ingredients was also performed by HPLC analysis. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that GT extracts increased NO production in HUVECs and that the R/M GTE increased NO production via increasing eNOS expression and activation by phosphorylation of eNOS at serine1177. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Article
Pharmacokinetics in Zebrafish Embryos (ZFE) Following Immersion and Intrayolk Administration: A Fluorescence-Based Analysis
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 576; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060576 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 810
Abstract
Zebrafish embryos (ZFE) have increasingly gained in popularity as a model to perform safety screenings of compounds. Although immersion of ZFE is the main route of exposure used, evidence shows that not all small molecules are equally absorbed, possibly resulting in false-negative readouts [...] Read more.
Zebrafish embryos (ZFE) have increasingly gained in popularity as a model to perform safety screenings of compounds. Although immersion of ZFE is the main route of exposure used, evidence shows that not all small molecules are equally absorbed, possibly resulting in false-negative readouts and incorrect conclusions. In this study, we compared the pharmacokinetics of seven fluorescent compounds with known physicochemical properties that were administered to two-cell stage embryos by immersion or by IY microinjection. Absorption and distribution of the dyes were followed at various timepoints up to 120 hpf by spatiotemporal fluorescence imaging. The concentration (10 µM) and dose (2 mg/kg) used were selected as quantities typically applied in preclinical experiments and zebrafish studies. The data show that in the case of a lipophilic compound (log D: 1.73) the immersion procedure resulted in an intrabody exposure which is similar or higher than that seen after the IY microinjection. In contrast, zero to low intrabody exposure was reached after immersion of the embryos with less lipophilic compounds. In the latter case IY microinjection, a technical procedure that can be easily automated, is highly recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery 2021)
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Article
Radiopharmaceutical Formulation and Preclinical Testing of 68Ga-Labeled DOTA-MGS5 for the Regulatory Approval of a First Exploratory Clinical Trial
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 575; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060575 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 885
Abstract
The new minigastrin analog DOTA-MGS5 is a promising new candidate for targeting cholecystokinin-2 receptor (CCK2R)-expressing tumors. To enable the clinical translation of PET/CT imaging using 68Ga-labeled DOTA-MGS5, different quality and safety aspects need to be considered to comply with the regulatory framework [...] Read more.
The new minigastrin analog DOTA-MGS5 is a promising new candidate for targeting cholecystokinin-2 receptor (CCK2R)-expressing tumors. To enable the clinical translation of PET/CT imaging using 68Ga-labeled DOTA-MGS5, different quality and safety aspects need to be considered to comply with the regulatory framework for clinical trial application. The preparation of the radiopharmaceutical was established using a cassette-based automated synthesis unit. Product specifications, including analytical procedures and acceptance criteria, were adopted from Ph. Eur. monographs for other 68Ga-labeled radiopharmaceuticals. Non-clinical studies included receptor affinity and cell uptake studies using two different CCK2R-expressing cell lines, as well as pharmacokinetic biodistribution studies in BALB/c mice for dosimetry calculations and toxicological studies in Wistar rats. The produced masterbatches fulfilled the defined acceptance criteria. DOTA-MGS5, with confirmed affinity to the CCK2R, showed a high specific cell uptake and no interaction with other receptors in vitro when radiolabeled with gallium-68. Favorable in vivo properties were observed in biodistribution and dosimetry studies. An effective dose of ~0.01 mSv/MBq was estimated for humans utilizing OLINDA/EXM software. A maximum peptide dose of 50 µg was established for the initial clinical dose based on the toxicity study in rats. The standardized production of [68Ga]Ga-DOTA-MGS5 using an automated synthesis module and the performed non-clinical safety studies support a first exploratory clinical trial with this new PET imaging agent. Full article
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Review
Repurposing Drugs to Treat Heart and Brain Illness
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 573; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060573 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 957
Abstract
Drug development is a complicated, slow and expensive process with high failure rates. One strategy to mitigate these factors is to recycle existing drugs with viable safety profiles and have gained Food and Drug Administration approval following extensive clinical trials. Cardiovascular and neurodegenerative [...] Read more.
Drug development is a complicated, slow and expensive process with high failure rates. One strategy to mitigate these factors is to recycle existing drugs with viable safety profiles and have gained Food and Drug Administration approval following extensive clinical trials. Cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases are difficult to treat, and there exist few effective therapeutics, necessitating the development of new, more efficacious drugs. Recent scientific studies have led to a mechanistic understanding of heart and brain disease progression, which has led researchers to assess myriad drugs for their potential as pharmacological treatments for these ailments. The focus of this review is to survey strategies for the selection of drug repurposing candidates and provide representative case studies where drug repurposing strategies were used to discover therapeutics for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on anti-inflammatory processes where new drug alternatives are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Old Pharmaceuticals with New Applications)
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Review
Cytostatics in Indoor Environment: An Update of Analytical Methods
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 574; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060574 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 718
Abstract
Periodic and adequate environmental monitoring programs are crucial to assess and reduce the occupational exposure of healthcare workers to cytostatics. The analytical methods employed should be rapid, reliable, sensitive, standardized, and include multiple compounds. A critical overview of recent overall procedures for surface [...] Read more.
Periodic and adequate environmental monitoring programs are crucial to assess and reduce the occupational exposure of healthcare workers to cytostatics. The analytical methods employed should be rapid, reliable, sensitive, standardized, and include multiple compounds. A critical overview of recent overall procedures for surface and air contamination with cytostatics in workplace settings is presented, with a focus on sampling, sample preparation, and instrumental considerations. Limitations are also addressed and some recommendations and advice are provided. Since dermal absorption is the main exposure route, surface contamination is the preferred indicator of biological uptake and its methods have significantly improved. In contrast, cytostatics’ inhalation is rare; thus, air contamination has been poorly studied, with little improvement. Still, some elements of the analytical methods have not been extensively explored, namely: the amount of wetting solution, the extraction procedure, surface chemistry and roughness, recovery studies from specific surfaces, and cytostatics stability (in surfaces and during shipping and storage). Furthermore, complete validation data (including precision, accuracy, and instrumental and method detection limits) and estimation of global uncertainty are still lacking in most studies, thus preventing method comparison and proposal of standardized procedures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in the Pharmaceutical Sciences)
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Article
Antimicrobial Activity of a Library of Thioxanthones and Their Potential as Efflux Pump Inhibitors
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060572 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1386
Abstract
The overexpression of efflux pumps is one of the causes of multidrug resistance, which leads to the inefficacy of drugs. This plays a pivotal role in antimicrobial resistance, and the most notable pumps are the AcrAB-TolC system (AcrB belongs to the resistance-nodulation-division family) [...] Read more.
The overexpression of efflux pumps is one of the causes of multidrug resistance, which leads to the inefficacy of drugs. This plays a pivotal role in antimicrobial resistance, and the most notable pumps are the AcrAB-TolC system (AcrB belongs to the resistance-nodulation-division family) and the NorA, from the major facilitator superfamily. In bacteria, these structures can also favor virulence and adaptation mechanisms, such as quorum-sensing and the formation of biofilm. In this study, the design and synthesis of a library of thioxanthones as potential efflux pump inhibitors are described. The thioxanthone derivatives were investigated for their antibacterial activity and inhibition of efflux pumps, biofilm formation, and quorum-sensing. The compounds were also studied for their potential to interact with P-glycoprotein (P-gp, ABCB1), an efflux pump present in mammalian cells, and for their cytotoxicity in both mouse fibroblasts and human Caco-2 cells. The results concerning the real-time ethidium bromide accumulation may suggest a potential bacterial efflux pump inhibition, which has not yet been reported for thioxanthones. Moreover, in vitro studies in human cells demonstrated a lack of cytotoxicity for concentrations up to 20 µM in Caco-2 cells, with some derivatives also showing potential for P-gp modulation. Full article
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Review
Benefits of Ginger and Its Constituent 6-Shogaol in Inhibiting Inflammatory Processes
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 571; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060571 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is widely used as medicinal plant. According to the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC), dried powdered ginger rhizome can be applied for the prevention of nausea and vomiting in motion sickness (well-established use). Beyond this, a plethora [...] Read more.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is widely used as medicinal plant. According to the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC), dried powdered ginger rhizome can be applied for the prevention of nausea and vomiting in motion sickness (well-established use). Beyond this, a plethora of pre-clinical studies demonstrated anti-cancer, anti-oxidative, or anti-inflammatory actions. 6-Shogaol is formed from 6-gingerol by dehydration and represents one of the main bioactive principles in dried ginger rhizomes. 6-Shogaol is characterized by a Michael acceptor moiety being reactive with nucleophiles. This review intends to compile important findings on the actions of 6-shogaol as an anti-inflammatory compound: in vivo, 6-shogaol inhibited leukocyte infiltration into inflamed tissue accompanied with reduction of edema swelling. In vitro and in vivo, 6-shogaol reduced inflammatory mediator systems such as COX-2 or iNOS, affected NFκB and MAPK signaling, and increased levels of cytoprotective HO-1. Interestingly, certain in vitro studies provided deeper mechanistic insights demonstrating the involvement of PPAR-γ, JNK/Nrf2, p38/HO-1, and NFκB in the anti-inflammatory actions of the compound. Although these studies provide promising evidence that 6-shogaol can be classified as an anti-inflammatory substance, the exact mechanism of action remains to be elucidated. Moreover, conclusive clinical data for anti-inflammatory actions of 6-shogaol are largely lacking. Full article
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Article
Efficient Matrix Cleanup of Soft-Gel-Type Dietary Supplements for Rapid Screening of 92 Illegal Adulterants Using EMR-Lipid dSPE and UHPLC-Q/TOF-MS
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060570 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 839
Abstract
An efficient matrix cleanup method was developed for the rapid screening of 92 illegal adulterants (25 erectile dysfunction drugs, 15 steroids, seven anabolic steroids, 12 antihistamines, 12 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), four diuretics, and 17 weight-loss drugs) in soft-gel-type supplements by ultra-high performance [...] Read more.
An efficient matrix cleanup method was developed for the rapid screening of 92 illegal adulterants (25 erectile dysfunction drugs, 15 steroids, seven anabolic steroids, 12 antihistamines, 12 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), four diuretics, and 17 weight-loss drugs) in soft-gel-type supplements by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole/time of flight-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q/TOF-MS). As representative green chemistry methods, three sample preparation methods (dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (DLLME), “quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe” dispersive solid-phase extraction (QuEChERS-dSPE), and enhanced matrix removal-lipid (EMR-Lipid) dSPE) were evaluated for matrix removal efficiency, recovery rate, and matrix effect. In this study, EMR-Lipid dSPE was shown to effectively remove complicated matrix contents in soft-gels, compared to DLLME and QuEChERS-dSPE. For the rapid screening of a wide range of adulterants, extracted common ion chromatogram (ECIC) and neutral loss scan (NLS) based on specific common MS/MS fragments were applied to randomly collected soft-gel-type dietary supplement samples using UHPLC-Q/TOF-MS. Both ECICs and NLSs enabled rapid and simple screening of multi-class adulterants and could be an alternative to the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) method. The developed method was validated in terms of limit of detection (LOD), precision, accuracy, recovery, and matrix effects. The range of LODs was 0.1–16 ng/g. The overall precision values were within 0.09–14.65%. The accuracy ranged from 81.6% to 116.6%. The recoveries and matrix effects of 92 illegal adulterants ranged within 16.9–119.4% and 69.8–114.8%, respectively. The established method was successfully applied to screen and identify 92 illegal adulterants in soft-gels. This method can be a promising tool for the high-throughput screening of various adulterants in dietary supplements and could be used as a more environmentally friendly routine analytical method for screening dietary supplements illegally adulterated with multi-class drug substances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in the Pharmaceutical Sciences)
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Review
Phytoestrogens for the Management of Endometriosis: Findings and Issues
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 569; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060569 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Endometriosis, a chronic disease characterized by recurrent pelvic pain and infertility, severely impacts the health and life quality of many women worldwide. Since phytoestrogens are commonly found in a variety of foods, and estrogen is a major pathological factor for the pathogenesis of [...] Read more.
Endometriosis, a chronic disease characterized by recurrent pelvic pain and infertility, severely impacts the health and life quality of many women worldwide. Since phytoestrogens are commonly found in a variety of foods, and estrogen is a major pathological factor for the pathogenesis of endometriosis, their possible involvement cannot be ignored. This review summarizes data on the relationship between phytoestrogen intake and endometriosis risk, and analyzes the findings from in vitro experiments, rodent endometriotic models, and human intervention trials. While favorable results were often obtained from endometrial primary cultures and animal models for resveratrol, isoflavones and puerarin, only resveratrol showed promising results in human intervention trials. Critical issues concerning the current study efforts are discussed: the possible reasons beneath the discrepant observations of estrogenic/anti-estrogenic effects by phytoestrogens; the complicated interplays between phytoestrogens and endogenous estrogens; the shortage of currently used animal models; the necessity to apply reasonable doses of phytoestrogens in experiments. It is expected that the analyses would help to more properly assess the phytoestrogens’ effects on the endometriosis pathogenesis and their potential values for preventive or therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Regulators of Female Reproduction)
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Article
Effects of the Hydroethanolic Extract of Lycopodium selago L. on Scopolamine-Induced Memory Deficits in Zebrafish
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 568; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060568 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 975
Abstract
This scientific research focused on the production of hydroethanolic extract of the plant species Lycopodium selago L. (L. selago) by the ultrasound-assisted extraction (USAE) and the identification of biocompounds with high antioxidant activity is of interest for possible phytotherapeutic treatment against [...] Read more.
This scientific research focused on the production of hydroethanolic extract of the plant species Lycopodium selago L. (L. selago) by the ultrasound-assisted extraction (USAE) and the identification of biocompounds with high antioxidant activity is of interest for possible phytotherapeutic treatment against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The extract was phytochemically analyzed to investigate polyphenols, flavonoids, and identify the sesquiterpenoid alkaloid huperzine A (HupA), which is known in the literature for its great relevance in AD. Evaluation and comparison of the antioxidant activity of the extract were performed by four complementary spectrophotometric methods (DPPH, FRAP, ABTS, ORAC). In vitro tests of the extract showed an excellent reciprocal link between the concentration of polyphenols and the measurement of the antioxidant activity of the extract with the sesquiterpenoid HupA. To confirm the antioxidant activity, L. selago hydroethanolic extract was administered in vivo to zebrafish (Danio rerio) with a pattern of scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment. Moreover, this study explored a possible correlation between the expression of oxidative stress markers in the brain tissue with the behavior of the scopolamine zebrafish model. In vivo tests showed that this fern could be used as a nutritional supply and as a phytotherapeutic method to prevent or treat various neurodegenerative diseases that call for high-nutritive-value medications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment of Alzheimer Disease)
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Article
Protective Effect of Lusianthridin on Hemin-Induced Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14060567 - 14 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Hemin (iron (III)-protoporphyrin IX) is a degradation product of hemoglobin that can be found in thalassemia patients. Hemin is a strong oxidant that can cause LDL oxidation and contributes [...] Read more.
Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Hemin (iron (III)-protoporphyrin IX) is a degradation product of hemoglobin that can be found in thalassemia patients. Hemin is a strong oxidant that can cause LDL oxidation and contributes to atherosclerosis in thalassemia patients. Lusianthridin from Dendrobium venustrum is a phenolic compound that possesses antioxidant activity. Hence, lusianthridin could be a promising compound to be used against hemin-induced oxidative stress. The major goal of this study is to evaluate the protective effect of lusianthridin on hemin-induced low-density lipoprotein oxidation (he-oxLDL). Here, various concentrations of lusianthridin (0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 µM) were preincubated with LDL for 30 min, then 5 µM of hemin was added to initiate the oxidation, and oxidative parameters were measured at various times of incubation (0, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24 h). Lipid peroxidation of LDL was measured by thiobarbituric reactive substance (TBARs) assay and relative electrophoretic mobility (REM). The lipid composition of LDL was analyzed by using reverse-phase HPLC. Foam cell formation with he-oxLDL in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells was detected by Oil Red O staining. The results indicated that lusianthridin could inhibit TBARs formation, decrease REM, decrease oxidized lipid products, as well as preserve the level of cholesteryl arachidonate and cholesteryl linoleate. Moreover, He-oxLDL incubated with lusianthridin for 24 h can reduce the foam cell formation in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. Taken together, lusianthridin could be a potential agent to be used to prevent atherosclerosis in thalassemia patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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