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1.
Theranostics ; 11(14): 7005-7017, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524524

ABSTRACT

The tumor suppressor protein p53 remains in a wild type but inactive form in ~50% of all human cancers. Thus, activating it becomes an attractive approach for targeted cancer therapies. In this regard, our lab has previously discovered a small molecule, Inauhzin (INZ), as a potent p53 activator with no genotoxicity. Method: To improve its efficacy and bioavailability, here we employed nanoparticle encapsulation, making INZ-C, an analog of INZ, to nanoparticle-encapsulated INZ-C (n-INZ-C). Results: This approach significantly improved p53 activation and inhibition of lung and colorectal cancer cell growth by n-INZ-C in vitro and in vivo while it displayed a minimal effect on normal human Wi38 and mouse MEF cells. The improved activity was further corroborated with the enhanced cellular uptake observed in cancer cells and minimal cellular uptake observed in normal cells. In vivo pharmacokinetic evaluation of these nanoparticles showed that the nanoparticle encapsulation prolongates the half-life of INZ-C from 2.5 h to 5 h in mice. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that we have established a nanoparticle system that could enhance the bioavailability and efficacy of INZ-C as a potential anti-cancer therapeutic.


Subject(s)
Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacology , Colorectal Neoplasms/drug therapy , Indoles/pharmacology , Lung Neoplasms/drug therapy , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Phenothiazines/pharmacology , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism , Animals , Antineoplastic Agents/chemistry , Antineoplastic Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , Biological Availability , Cell Line, Tumor , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Humans , Indoles/chemistry , Indoles/pharmacokinetics , Indoles/therapeutic use , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Nanoparticles/toxicity , Nanoparticles/ultrastructure , Phenothiazines/chemistry , Phenothiazines/pharmacokinetics , Phenothiazines/therapeutic use , Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics , Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
2.
Cells ; 10(9)2021 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403545

ABSTRACT

Stroke is the third leading cause of mortality in women and it kills twice as many women as breast cancer. A key role in the pathophysiology of stroke plays the disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) within the neurovascular unit. While estrogen induces vascular protective actions, its influence on stroke remains unclear. Moreover, experiments assessing its impact on endothelial cells to induce barrier integrity are non-conclusive. Since pericytes play an active role in regulating BBB integrity and function, we hypothesize that estradiol may influence BBB by regulating their activity. In this study using human brain vascular pericytes (HBVPs) we investigated the impact of estradiol on key pericyte functions known to influence BBB integrity. HBVPs expressed estrogen receptors (ER-α, ER-ß and GPER) and treatment with estradiol (10 nM) inhibited basal cell migration but not proliferation. Since pericyte migration is a hallmark for BBB disruption following injury, infection and inflammation, we investigated the effects of estradiol on TNFα-induced PC migration. Importantly, estradiol prevented TNFα-induced pericyte migration and this effect was mimicked by PPT (ER-α agonist) and DPN (ER-ß agonist), but not by G1 (GPR30 agonist). The modulatory effects of estradiol were abrogated by MPP and PHTPP, selective ER-α and ER-ß antagonists, respectively, confirming the role of ER-α and ER-ß in mediating the anti-migratory actions of estrogen. To delineate the intracellular mechanisms mediating the inhibitory actions of estradiol on PC migration, we investigated the role of AKT and MAPK activation. While estradiol consistently reduced the TNFα-induced MAPK and Akt phosphorylation, only the inhibition of MAPK, but not Akt, significantly abrogated the migratory actions of TNFα. In transendothelial electrical resistance measurements, estradiol induced barrier function (TEER) in human brain microvascular endothelial cells co-cultured with pericytes, but not in HBMECs cultured alone. Importantly, transcriptomics analysis of genes modulated by estradiol in pericytes showed downregulation of genes known to increase cell migration and upregulation of genes known to inhibit cell migration. Taken together, our findings provide the first evidence that estradiol modulates pericyte activity and thereby improves endothelial integrity.


Subject(s)
Brain/blood supply , Cell Movement/drug effects , Estradiol/pharmacology , Gene Expression Profiling , Pericytes/cytology , Cell Movement/genetics , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Cells, Cultured , Endothelial Cells/drug effects , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases/metabolism , Pericytes/drug effects , Pericytes/metabolism , Phosphorylation/drug effects , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Receptors, Estrogen/metabolism , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
3.
Oxid Med Cell Longev ; 2021: 9919466, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358940

ABSTRACT

Thrombus is considered to be the pathological source of morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease and thrombotic complications, while oxidative stress is regarded as an important factor in vascular endothelial injury and thrombus formation. Therefore, antioxidative stress and maintaining the normal function of vascular endothelial cells are greatly significant in regulating vascular tension and maintaining a nonthrombotic environment. Leonurine (LEO) is a unique alkaloid isolated from Leonurus japonicus Houtt (a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)), which has shown a good effect on promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis. In this study, we explored the protective effect and action mechanism of LEO on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) after damage by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The protective effects of LEO on H2O2-induced HUVECs were determined by measuring the cell viability, cell migration, tube formation, and oxidative biomarkers. The underlying mechanism of antioxidation of LEO was investigated by RT-qPCR and western blotting. Our results showed that LEO treatment promoted cell viability; remarkably downregulated the intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA) production, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH); and upregulated the nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in H2O2-induced HUVECs. At the same time, LEO treatment significantly promoted the phosphorylation level of angiogenic protein PI3K, Akt, and eNOS and the expression level of survival factor Bcl2 and decreased the expression level of death factor Bax and caspase3. In conclusion, our findings suggested that LEO can ameliorate the oxidative stress damage and insufficient angiogenesis of HUVECs induced by H2O2 through activating the PI3K/Akt-eNOS signaling pathway.


Subject(s)
Gallic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Oxidative Stress/drug effects , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cell Survival/drug effects , Gallic Acid/pharmacology , Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , Malondialdehyde/metabolism , Medicine, Chinese Traditional , Neovascularization, Physiologic/drug effects , Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III/metabolism , Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/metabolism , Protective Agents/pharmacology , Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt/metabolism , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , Superoxide Dismutase/metabolism
4.
Molecules ; 26(15)2021 Jul 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1346516

ABSTRACT

We recently developed a molecule (GT-73) that blocked leukocyte transendothelial migration from blood to the peripheral tissues, supposedly by affecting the platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1) function. GT-73 was tested in an LPS-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) mouse model. The rationale for this is based on the finding that the mortality of COVID-19 patients is partly caused by ARDS induced by a massive migration of leukocytes to the lungs. In addition, the role of tert-butyl and methyl ester moieties in the biological effect of GT-73 was investigated. A human leukocyte, transendothelial migration assay was applied to validate the blocking effect of GT-73 derivatives. Finally, a mouse model of LPS-induced ARDS was used to evaluate the histological and biochemical effects of GT-73. The obtained results showed that GT-73 has a unique structure that is responsible for its biological activity; two of its chemical moieties (tert-butyl and a methyl ester) are critical for this effect. GT-73 is a prodrug, and its lipophilic tail covalently binds to PECAM-1 via Lys536. GT-73 significantly decreased the number of infiltrating leukocytes in the lungs and reduced the inflammation level. Finally, GT-73 reduced the levels of IL-1ß, IL-6, and MCP-1 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). In summary, we concluded that GT-73, a blocker of white blood cell transendothelial migration, has a favorable profile as a drug candidate for the treatment of ARDS in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Leukocytes/drug effects , Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1/antagonists & inhibitors , Pyrimidines/pharmacology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/drug therapy , Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Adhesion/drug effects , Cell Adhesion/immunology , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cytokine Release Syndrome/drug therapy , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Leukocytes/immunology , Lipopolysaccharides/adverse effects , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1/immunology , Pyrimidines/chemistry , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/chemically induced , SARS-CoV-2
5.
SLAS Discov ; 26(9): 1091-1106, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255878

ABSTRACT

Lung imaging and autopsy reports among COVID-19 patients show elevated lung scarring (fibrosis). Early data from COVID-19 patients as well as previous studies from severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and other respiratory disorders show that the extent of lung fibrosis is associated with a higher mortality, prolonged ventilator dependence, and poorer long-term health prognosis. Current treatments to halt or reverse lung fibrosis are limited; thus, the rapid development of effective antifibrotic therapies is a major global medical need that will continue far beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic. Reproducible fibrosis screening assays with high signal-to-noise ratios and disease-relevant readouts such as extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition (the hallmark of fibrosis) are integral to any antifibrotic therapeutic development. Therefore, we have established an automated high-throughput and high-content primary screening assay measuring transforming growth factor-ß (TGFß)-induced ECM deposition from primary human lung fibroblasts in a 384-well format. This assay combines longitudinal live cell imaging with multiparametric high-content analysis of ECM deposition. Using this assay, we have screened a library of 2743 small molecules representing approved drugs and late-stage clinical candidates. Confirmed hits were subsequently profiled through a suite of secondary lung fibroblast phenotypic screening assays quantifying cell differentiation, proliferation, migration, and apoptosis. In silico target prediction and pathway network analysis were applied to the confirmed hits. We anticipate this suite of assays and data analysis tools will aid the identification of new treatments to mitigate against lung fibrosis associated with COVID-19 and other fibrotic diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Discovery , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Differentiation/drug effects , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Extracellular Matrix/drug effects , Extracellular Matrix/pathology , Fibroblasts/drug effects , Humans , Lung/drug effects , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mass Screening , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction/drug effects
6.
Molecules ; 26(1)2020 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1043025

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: Nicotine is implicated in the SARS-COV-2 infection through activation of the α7-nAChR and over-expression of ACE2. Our objective was to clarify the role of nicotine in SARS-CoV-2 infection exploring its molecular and cellular activity. (2) Methods: HBEpC or si-mRNA-α7-HBEpC were treated for 1 h, 48 h or continuously with 10-7 M nicotine, a concentration mimicking human exposure to a cigarette. Cell viability and proliferation were evaluated by trypan blue dye exclusion and cell counting, migration by cell migration assay, senescence by SA-ß-Gal activity, and anchorage-independent growth by cloning in soft agar. Expression of Ki67, p53/phospho-p53, VEGF, EGFR/pEGFR, phospho-p38, intracellular Ca2+, ATP and EMT were evaluated by ELISA and/or Western blotting. (3) Results: nicotine induced through α7-nAChR (i) increase in cell viability, (ii) cell proliferation, (iii) Ki67 over-expression, (iv) phospho-p38 up-regulation, (v) EGFR/pEGFR over-expression, (vi) increase in basal Ca2+ concentration, (vii) reduction of ATP production, (viii) decreased level of p53/phospho-p53, (ix) delayed senescence, (x) VEGF increase, (xi) EMT and consequent (xii) enhanced migration, and (xiii) ability to grow independently of the substrate. (4) Conclusions: Based on our results and on evidence showing that nicotine potentiates viral infection, it is likely that nicotine is involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Nicotine/adverse effects , Respiratory System/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Cell Survival/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Receptors, Nicotinic/metabolism , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Smoking/adverse effects , alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor/metabolism
7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(22)2020 Nov 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917002

ABSTRACT

Pro-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß) are upregulated during early responses to tissue damage and are expected to transiently compromise the mechanical microenvironment. Fibroblasts are key regulators of tissue mechanics in the lungs and other organs. However, the effects of IL-1ß on fibroblast mechanics and functions remain unclear. Here we treated human pulmonary fibroblasts from control donors with IL-1ß and used Atomic Force Microscopy to unveil that IL-1ß significantly reduces the stiffness of fibroblasts concomitantly with a downregulation of filamentous actin (F-actin) and alpha-smooth muscle (α-SMA). Likewise, COL1A1 mRNA was reduced, whereas that of collagenases MMP1 and MMP2 were upregulated, favoring a reduction of type-I collagen. These mechanobiology changes were functionally associated with reduced proliferation and enhanced migration upon IL-1ß stimulation, which could facilitate lung repair by drawing fibroblasts to sites of tissue damage. Our observations reveal that IL-1ß may reduce local tissue rigidity by acting both intracellularly and extracellularly through the downregulation of fibroblast contractility and type I collagen deposition, respectively. These IL-1ß-dependent mechanical effects may enhance lung repair further by locally increasing pulmonary tissue compliance to preserve normal lung distension and function. Moreover, our results support that IL-1ß provides innate anti-fibrotic protection that may be relevant during the early stages of lung repair.


Subject(s)
Interleukin-1beta/physiology , Lung/physiology , Actins/metabolism , Adolescent , Adult , Biomechanical Phenomena , Cell Movement/drug effects , Cell Movement/physiology , Cell Proliferation/drug effects , Cell Proliferation/physiology , Cells, Cultured , Collagen Type I/genetics , Collagen Type I/metabolism , Collagen Type III/genetics , Collagen Type III/metabolism , Cyclooxygenase 2/metabolism , Elasticity/drug effects , Elasticity/physiology , Female , Fibroblasts/cytology , Fibroblasts/drug effects , Fibroblasts/physiology , Humans , Interleukin-1beta/pharmacology , Lung/cytology , Lung/drug effects , Male , Microscopy, Atomic Force , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Regeneration/genetics , Regeneration/physiology , Wound Healing/drug effects , Wound Healing/genetics , Wound Healing/physiology , Young Adult
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