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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 11, Issue 3 (September 2018)

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Open AccessArticle An Antioxidant Potential, Quantum-Chemical and Molecular Docking Study of the Major Chemical Constituents Present in the Leaves of Curatella americana Linn
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030072 (registering DOI)
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are continuously generated in the normal biological systems, primarily by enzymes as xanthine oxidase (XO). The inappropriate scavenging or inhibition of ROS has been considered to be linked with aging, inflammatory disorders, and chronic diseases. Therefore, many plants and
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are continuously generated in the normal biological systems, primarily by enzymes as xanthine oxidase (XO). The inappropriate scavenging or inhibition of ROS has been considered to be linked with aging, inflammatory disorders, and chronic diseases. Therefore, many plants and their products have been investigated as natural antioxidants for their potential use in preventive medicine. The leaves and bark extracts of Curatella americana Linn. were described in scientific research as anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, anti-ulcerogenic, and hypolipidemic effects. So, the aim of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant potentials of leaf hydroalcoholic extract from C. americana (HECA) through the scavenging DPPH assay and their main chemical constituents, evaluated by the following quantum chemical approaches (DFT B3LYP/6-31G**): Maps of Molecular Electrostatic Potential (MEP), Frontier Orbital’s (HOMO and LUMO) followed by multivariate analysis and molecular docking simulations with the xanthine oxidase enzyme. The hydroalcoholic extract showed significant antioxidant activity by free radical scavenging probably due to the great presence of flavonoids, which were grouped in the PCA and HCA analysis with the standard gallic acid. In the molecular docking study, the compounds studied presented the binding free energy (ΔG) values close each other, due to the similar interactions with amino acids residues at the activity site. The descriptors Gap and softness were important to characterize the molecules with antioxidant potential by capturing oxygen radicals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemoinformatics and Drug Design)
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Open AccessReview Targeted Molecular Imaging Using Aptamers in Cancer
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030071
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Imaging is not only seeing, but also believing. For targeted imaging modalities, nucleic acid aptamers have features such as superior recognition of structural epitopes and quick uptake in target cells. This explains the emergence of an evolved new class of aptamers into a
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Imaging is not only seeing, but also believing. For targeted imaging modalities, nucleic acid aptamers have features such as superior recognition of structural epitopes and quick uptake in target cells. This explains the emergence of an evolved new class of aptamers into a wide spectrum of imaging applications over the last decade. Genetically encoded biosensors tagged with fluorescent RNA aptamers have been developed as intracellular imaging tools to understand cellular signaling and physiology in live cells. Cancer-specific aptamers labeled with fluorescence have been used for assessment of clinical tissue specimens. Aptamers conjugated with gold nanoparticles have been employed to develop innovative mass spectrometry tissue imaging. Also, use of chemically conjugated cancer-specific aptamers as probes for non-invasive and high-resolution imaging has been transformative for in vivo imaging in multiple cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamer-Based Diagnostics and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle Design and Synthesis of 99mTcN-Labeled Dextran-Mannose Derivatives for Sentinel Lymph Node Detection
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030070
Received: 15 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
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Abstract
Background: New approaches based on the receptor-targeted molecular interaction have been recently developed with the aim to investigate specific probes for sentinel lymph nodes. In particular, the mannose receptors expressed by lymph node macrophages became an attractive target and different multifunctional mannose derivate
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Background: New approaches based on the receptor-targeted molecular interaction have been recently developed with the aim to investigate specific probes for sentinel lymph nodes. In particular, the mannose receptors expressed by lymph node macrophages became an attractive target and different multifunctional mannose derivate ligands for the labeling with 99mTc have been developed. In this study, we report the synthesis of a specific class of dextran-based, macromolecular, multifunctional ligands specially designed for labeling with the highly stable [99mTc≡N]2+ core. Methods: The ligands have been obtained by appending to a macromolecular dextran scaffold pendant arms bearing a chelating moiety for the metallic group and a mannosyl residue for allowing the interaction of the resulting macromolecular 99mTc conjugate with specific receptors on the external membrane of macrophages. Two different chelating systems have been selected, S-methyl dithiocarbazate [H2N‒NH‒C(=S)SCH3=HDTCZ] and a sequence of two cysteine residues, that in combination with a monophosphine coligand, are able to bind the [99mTc≡N]2+ core. Conclusions: High-specific-activity labeling has been obtained by simple mixing and heating of the [99mTc≡N]2+ group with the new mannose-dextran derivatives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle In Silico SAR Studies of HIV-1 Inhibitors
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030069
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 1 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR or SAR) have helped scientists to establish mathematical relationships between molecular structures and their biological activities. In the present article, SAR studies have been carried out on 89 tetrahydroimidazo[4,5,1-jk][1,4]benzodiazepine (TIBO) derivatives using different classifiers, such as support vector
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Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR or SAR) have helped scientists to establish mathematical relationships between molecular structures and their biological activities. In the present article, SAR studies have been carried out on 89 tetrahydroimidazo[4,5,1-jk][1,4]benzodiazepine (TIBO) derivatives using different classifiers, such as support vector machines, artificial neural networks, random forests, and decision trees. The goal is to propose classification models that will be able to classify TIBO compounds into two groups: high and low inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Each molecular structure was encoded by 10 descriptors. To check the validity of the established models, all of them were subjected to various validation tests: internal validation, Y-randomization, and external validation. The established classification models have been successful. The correct classification rates reached 100% and 90% in the learning and test sets, respectively. Finally, molecular docking analysis was carried out to understand the interactions between reverse transcriptase enzyme and the TIBO compounds studied. Hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions led to the identification of active binding sites. The established models could help scientists to predict the inhibition activity of untested compounds or of novel molecules prior to their synthesis. Therefore, they could reduce the trial and error process in the design of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inhibitors. Full article
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Open AccessReview Bioinspired Designs, Molecular Premise and Tools for Evaluating the Ecological Importance of Antimicrobial Peptides
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030068
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
This review article provides an overview of recent developments in antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), summarizing structural diversity, potential new applications, activity targets and microbial killing responses in general. The use of artificial and natural AMPs as templates for rational design of peptidomimetics are also
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This review article provides an overview of recent developments in antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), summarizing structural diversity, potential new applications, activity targets and microbial killing responses in general. The use of artificial and natural AMPs as templates for rational design of peptidomimetics are also discussed and some strategies are put forward to curtail cytotoxic effects against eukaryotic cells. Considering the heat-resistant nature, chemical and proteolytic stability of AMPs, we attempt to summarize their molecular targets, examine how these macromolecules may contribute to potential environmental risks vis-à-vis the activities of the peptides. We further point out the evolutional characteristics of the macromolecules and indicate how they can be useful in designing target-specific peptides. Methods are suggested that may help to assess toxic mechanisms of AMPs and possible solutions are discussed to promote the development and application of AMPs in medicine. Even if there is wide exposure to the environment like in the hospital settings, AMPs may instead contribute to prevent healthcare-associated infections so long as ecotoxicological aspects are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Choices of the Journal)
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Open AccessArticle Looking for Novel Capsid Protein Multimerization Inhibitors of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030067
Received: 17 May 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 4 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
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Abstract
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a member of the retroviridae family of viruses. It causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in worldwide domestic and non-domestic cats and is a cause of an important veterinary issue. The genome organization of FIV and the clinical characteristics
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Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a member of the retroviridae family of viruses. It causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in worldwide domestic and non-domestic cats and is a cause of an important veterinary issue. The genome organization of FIV and the clinical characteristics of the disease caused by FIV are similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Both viruses infect T lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages, with a similar replication cycle in infected cells. Thus, the infection of cats with FIV is also a useful tool for the study and development of novel drugs and vaccines against HIV. Anti-retroviral drugs studied extensively with regards to HIV infection have targeted different steps of the virus replication cycle: (1) disruption of the interaction with host cell surface receptors and co-receptors; (2) inhibition of fusion of the virus and cell membranes; (3) blocking of the reverse transcription of viral genomic RNA; (4) interruption of nuclear translocation and integration of viral DNA into host genomes; (5) prevention of viral transcript processing and nuclear export; and (6) inhibition of virion assembly and maturation. Despite the great success of anti-retroviral therapy in slowing HIV progression in humans, a similar therapy has not been thoroughly investigated for FIV infection in cats, mostly because of the little structural information available for FIV proteins. The FIV capsid protein (CA) drives the assembly of the viral particle, which is a critical step in the viral replication cycle. During this step, the CA protein oligomerizes to form a protective coat that surrounds the viral genome. In this work, we perform a large-scale screening of four hundred molecules from our in-house library using an in vitro assembly assay of p24, combined with microscale thermophoresis, to estimate binding affinity. This screening led to the discovery of around four novel hits that inhibited capsid assembly in vitro. These may provide new antiviral drugs against FIV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide Increases Serotonin Metabolism in Both Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Nucleus Accumbens in Male Wild Type Rats, but Not in Serotonin Transporter Knockout Rats
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030066
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
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Abstract
It is well known that bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) both increases proinflammatory cytokines and produces sickness behavior, including fatigue and anhedonia (i.e., the inability to experience pleasure). Previously, we have shown that intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered LPS increased extracellular monoamine metabolite levels in the nucleus
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It is well known that bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) both increases proinflammatory cytokines and produces sickness behavior, including fatigue and anhedonia (i.e., the inability to experience pleasure). Previously, we have shown that intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered LPS increased extracellular monoamine metabolite levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which was completely, or at least partly, prevented by pretreatment with a triple reuptake inhibitor that also blocks the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT). This suggests indirectly, that LPS may enhance SERT transporter activity, and consequently, increase removal of 5-HT from the synaptic cleft, and increase metabolism of 5-HT. In the present study, we focus more specifically on the role of SERT in this increased metabolism by using rats, that differ in SERT expression. Therefore, the effects of an intraperitoneal LPS injection on extracellular concentrations of 5-HT and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) were investigated by in vivo microdialysis in the NAc and mPFC of wild type (SERT+/+), heterozygous (SERT+/−) and knockout (SERT−/−) rats. Here, we show that LPS-induced 5-HIAA formation in male rats, is significantly increased in SERT+/+ rats in both the NAc and mPFC, whereas this increase is partly or totally abolished in SERT+/− and SERT−/− rats, respectively. Thus, the present study supports the hypothesis that systemic LPS in male rats increases SERT function and consequently enhances 5-HT uptake and metabolism in both the NAc and mPFC. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Design, Synthesis, In Vitro, and Initial In Vivo Evaluation of Heterobivalent Peptidic Ligands Targeting Both NPY(Y1)- and GRP-Receptors—An Improvement for Breast Cancer Imaging?
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030065
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 4 July 2018
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Abstract
Heterobivalent peptidic ligands (HBPLs), designed to address two different receptors independently, are highly promising tumor imaging agents. For example, breast cancer has been shown to concomitantly and complementarily overexpress the neuropeptide Y receptor subtype 1 (NPY(Y1)R) as well as the gastrin-releasing
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Heterobivalent peptidic ligands (HBPLs), designed to address two different receptors independently, are highly promising tumor imaging agents. For example, breast cancer has been shown to concomitantly and complementarily overexpress the neuropeptide Y receptor subtype 1 (NPY(Y1)R) as well as the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR). Thus, radiolabeled HBPLs being able to bind these two receptors should exhibit an improved tumor targeting efficiency compared to monospecific ligands. We developed here such bispecific HBPLs and radiolabeled them with 68Ga, achieving high radiochemical yields, purities, and molar activities. We evaluated the HBPLs and their monospecific reference peptides in vitro regarding stability and uptake into different breast cancer cell lines and found that the 68Ga-HBPLs were efficiently taken up via the GRPR. We also performed in vivo PET/CT imaging and ex vivo biodistribution studies in T-47D tumor-bearing mice for the most promising 68Ga-HBPL and compared the results to those obtained for its scrambled analogs. The tumors could easily be visualized by the newly developed 68Ga-HBPL and considerably higher tumor uptakes and tumor-to-background ratios were obtained compared to the scrambled analogs in and ex vivo. These results demonstrate the general feasibility of the approach to use bispecific radioligands for in vivo imaging of breast cancer. Full article
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Open AccessReview Insights into Macrophage Heterogeneity and Cytokine-Induced Neuroinflammation in Major Depressive Disorder
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030064
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 22 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
Over 350 million individuals suffer from depression, a psychiatric illness classified as major depressive disorder (MDD) with symptoms that include a loss of interest or pleasure in life accompanied by depressed mood. The present understanding of major depressive disorder does not encompass a
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Over 350 million individuals suffer from depression, a psychiatric illness classified as major depressive disorder (MDD) with symptoms that include a loss of interest or pleasure in life accompanied by depressed mood. The present understanding of major depressive disorder does not encompass a systematic characterization of the neurobiological processes that drive the behavioral physiology in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Psychiatric illness is a complex intersection between genetics, physiology, immunology and environmental stress. The increased attention to the relevance of depression has led to new discoveries that highlight the biological significance of ‘neuroinflammation’ and immunity underlying a spectrum of psychiatric illnesses. The process of neuroinflammation involves sentinel immune cells in the central nervous system (CNS). The activation and polarization of microglia, CNS-resident macrophages, modulates the production and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines implicated in the etiology of major depressive disorder, and this phenomenon has been aptly titled the ‘macrophage theory of depression’. Of particular interest are three hallmark cytokines, IL-6, TNFα and IL-1β, which have been studied extensively in basic research, cell-receptor signaling and drug development. The field of inflammasome-mediated neuroinflammation is an emerging area of MDD research that is providing new cellular insight into how macrophages mechanistically support cytokine-associated neuropathology, particularly in the case of IL-1β-associated inflammation in MDD. With the increasing number of individuals identified with depression, a comprehensive understanding of macrophage-cytokine signaling pathways in the CNS in depression is necessary for developing effective anti-depressant therapeutics. Full article
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Open AccessReview Role of Microbiota and Tryptophan Metabolites in the Remote Effect of Intestinal Inflammation on Brain and Depression
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030063
Received: 26 May 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 22 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
The human gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by trillions of commensal bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiota. Our recognition of the significance of the complex interaction between the microbiota, and its host has grown dramatically over the past years. A balanced microbial community
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The human gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by trillions of commensal bacteria collectively known as the gut microbiota. Our recognition of the significance of the complex interaction between the microbiota, and its host has grown dramatically over the past years. A balanced microbial community is a key regulator of the immune response, and metabolism of dietary components, which in turn, modulates several brain processes impacting mood and behavior. Consequently, it is likely that disruptions within the composition of the microbiota would remotely affect the mental state of the host. Here, we discuss how intestinal bacteria and their metabolites can orchestrate gut-associated neuroimmune mechanisms that influence mood and behavior leading to depression. In particular, we focus on microbiota-triggered gut inflammation and its implications in shifting the tryptophan metabolism towards kynurenine biosynthesis while disrupting the serotonergic signaling. We further investigate the gaps to be bridged in this exciting field of research in order to clarify our understanding of the multifaceted crosstalk in the microbiota–gut–brain interphase, bringing about novel, microbiota-targeted therapeutics for mental illnesses. Full article
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Open AccessReview Potential Inherent Stimulation of the Innate Immune System by Nucleic Acid Aptamers and Possible Corrective Approaches
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030062
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 23 June 2018
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Abstract
It is well known that unmethylated 2′-deoxycytidine-phosphate-2′-guanine (CpG) sequences alone or in longer DNA and RNA oligonucleotides can act like pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and trigger the innate immune response leading to deleterious cytokine production via Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Clearly, such CpG or
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It is well known that unmethylated 2′-deoxycytidine-phosphate-2′-guanine (CpG) sequences alone or in longer DNA and RNA oligonucleotides can act like pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and trigger the innate immune response leading to deleterious cytokine production via Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Clearly, such CpG or CpG-containing sequences in aptamers intended for therapy could present very damaging side effects to patients. Previous antisense oligonucleotide developers were faced with the same basic CpG dilemma and devised not only avoidance, but other effective strategies from which current aptamer developers can learn to ameliorate or eliminate damaging CpG effects. These strategies include obvious methylation of cytosines in the aptamer structure, as long as it does not affect aptamer binding in vivo, truncation of the aptamer to its essential binding site, backbone modifications, co-administration of antagonistic or suppressive oligonucleotides, or other novel drugs under development to lessen the toxic CpG effect on innate immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamer-Based Diagnostics and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle Proximal Pathway Enrichment Analysis for Targeting Comorbid Diseases via Network Endopharmacology
Pharmaceuticals 2018, 11(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph11030061
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 June 2018 / Published: 22 June 2018
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Abstract
The past decades have witnessed a paradigm shift from the traditional drug discovery shaped around the idea of “one target, one disease” to polypharmacology (multiple targets, one disease). Given the lack of clear-cut boundaries across disease (endo)phenotypes and genetic heterogeneity across patients, a
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The past decades have witnessed a paradigm shift from the traditional drug discovery shaped around the idea of “one target, one disease” to polypharmacology (multiple targets, one disease). Given the lack of clear-cut boundaries across disease (endo)phenotypes and genetic heterogeneity across patients, a natural extension to the current polypharmacology paradigm is to target common biological pathways involved in diseases via endopharmacology (multiple targets, multiple diseases). In this study, we present proximal pathway enrichment analysis (PxEA) for pinpointing drugs that target common disease pathways towards network endopharmacology. PxEA uses the topology information of the network of interactions between disease genes, pathway genes, drug targets and other proteins to rank drugs by their interactome-based proximity to pathways shared across multiple diseases, providing unprecedented drug repurposing opportunities. Using PxEA, we show that many drugs indicated for autoimmune disorders are not necessarily specific to the condition of interest, but rather target the common biological pathways across these diseases. Finally, we provide high scoring drug repurposing candidates that can target common mechanisms involved in type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, two conditions that have recently gained attention due to the increased comorbidity among patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Pharmaceuticals with New Applications)
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