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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 7, Issue 4 (April 2014), Pages 366-501

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Research

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Open AccessArticle “Specificity Determinants” Improve Therapeutic Indices of Two Antimicrobial Peptides Piscidin 1 and Dermaseptin S4 Against the Gram-negative Pathogens Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 366-391; doi:10.3390/ph7040366
Received: 22 January 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 13 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1778 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A new class of antimicrobial agents with lower rates of resistance and different targets is urgently needed because of the rapidly increasing resistance to classical antibiotics. Amphipathic cationic α-helical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent such a class of compounds. In our previous studies, using
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A new class of antimicrobial agents with lower rates of resistance and different targets is urgently needed because of the rapidly increasing resistance to classical antibiotics. Amphipathic cationic α-helical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent such a class of compounds. In our previous studies, using a 26-residue de novo designed antimicrobial peptide, we proposed the concept of “specificity determinant(s)”: positively charged residue(s) in the center of the non-polar face of AMPs that could decrease hemolytic activity/toxicity but increase or maintain the same level of antimicrobial activity to increase dramatically the therapeutic index. In the current study, we used d-enantiomers of two AMPs, Piscidin 1 isolated from fish and dermaseptin S4 isolated from frog. We substituted different positions in the center of the hydrophobic face with one or two lysine residue(s) (one or two “specificity determinant(s)”). This simple modification not only maintained or improved antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative pathogens Acinetobacter baumannii (11 strains) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6 strains), but also dramatically decreased hemolytic activity of human red blood cells, as predicted. Therapeutic indices improved by 55-fold and 730-fold for piscidin 1 (I9K) and dermaseptin S4 (L7K, A14K), respectively, against A. baumannii. Similarly, the therapeutic indices improved 32-fold and 980-fold for piscidin 1 (I9K) and dermaseptin S4 (L7K, A14K), respectively, against P. aeruginosa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Lipoproteins on Wound Healing: Topical HDL Therapy Corrects Delayed Wound Healing in Apolipoprotein E Deficient Mice
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 419-432; doi:10.3390/ph7040419
Received: 13 January 2014 / Revised: 6 March 2014 / Accepted: 26 March 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
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Abstract
Chronic non-healing wounds lead to considerable morbidity and mortality. Pleiotropic effects of high density lipoproteins (HDL) may beneficially affect wound healing. The objectives of this murine study were: (1) to investigate the hypothesis that hypercholesterolemia induces impaired wound healing and (2) to study
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Chronic non-healing wounds lead to considerable morbidity and mortality. Pleiotropic effects of high density lipoproteins (HDL) may beneficially affect wound healing. The objectives of this murine study were: (1) to investigate the hypothesis that hypercholesterolemia induces impaired wound healing and (2) to study the effect of topical HDL administration in a model of delayed wound healing. A circular full thickness wound was created on the back of each mouse. A silicone splint was used to counteract wound contraction. Coverage of the wound by granulation tissue and by epithelium was quantified every 2 days. Re-epithelialization from day 0 till day 10 was unexpectedly increased by 21.3% (p < 0.05) in C57BL/6 low density lipoprotein (LDLr) deficient mice with severe hypercholesterolemia (489 ± 14 mg/dL) compared to C57BL/6 mice and this effect was entirely abrogated following cholesterol lowering adenoviral LDLr gene transfer. In contrast, re-epithelialization in hypercholesterolemic (434 ± 16 mg/dL) C57BL/6 apolipoprotein (apo) E−/− mice was 22.6% (p < 0.0001) lower than in C57BL/6 mice. Topical HDL gel administered every 2 days increased re-epithelialization by 25.7% (p < 0.01) in apo E−/− mice. In conclusion, topical HDL application is an innovative therapeutic strategy that corrects impaired wound healing in apo E−/− mice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Amino Acid Prodrugs: An Approach to Improve the Absorption of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitor, Lopinavir
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 433-452; doi:10.3390/ph7040433
Received: 23 January 2014 / Revised: 24 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 10 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Poor systemic concentrations of lopinavir (LPV) following oral administration occur due to high cellular efflux by P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) and extensive metabolism by CYP3A4 enzymes. In this study, amino acid prodrugs of LPV were designed and investigated for their
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Poor systemic concentrations of lopinavir (LPV) following oral administration occur due to high cellular efflux by P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) and extensive metabolism by CYP3A4 enzymes. In this study, amino acid prodrugs of LPV were designed and investigated for their potential to circumvent efflux processes and first pass effects. Three amino acid prodrugs were synthesized by conjugating isoleucine, tryptophan and methionine to LPV. Prodrug formation was confirmed by the LCMS/MS and NMR technique. Interaction of LPV prodrugs with efflux proteins were carried out in P-gp (MDCK-MDR1) and MRP2 (MDCK-MRP2) transfected cells. Aqueous solubility studies demonstrated that prodrugs generate higher solubility relative to LPV. Prodrugs displayed higher stability under acidic conditions and degraded significantly with rise in pH. Uptake and transport data suggested that prodrugs carry significantly lower affinity towards P-gp and MRP2 relative to LPV. Moreover, prodrugs exhibited higher liver microsomal stability relative to LPV. Hence, amino acid prodrug modification might be a viable approach for enhancing LPV absorption across intestinal epithelial and brain endothelial cells which expresses high levels of P-gp and MRP2. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Prodrugs: from Design to Clinic)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis, In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of the N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine Ester of Diclofenac as a Prodrug
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 453-463; doi:10.3390/ph7040453
Received: 30 December 2013 / Revised: 20 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine moiety was evaluated as a novel prodrug moiety for carboxylic acid containing drugs represented by diclofenac (1). Compound 2, the N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine ester of diclofenac was synthesized and evaluated as a potential prodrug. The stability of the synthesized
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The N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine moiety was evaluated as a novel prodrug moiety for carboxylic acid containing drugs represented by diclofenac (1). Compound 2, the N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine ester of diclofenac was synthesized and evaluated as a potential prodrug. The stability of the synthesized prodrug was evaluated in solutions of pH 1 and 7.4, and in plasma. The ester’s half lives were found to be 8 h, 47 h and 21 min in pH 1, pH 7.4 and plasma, respectively. Equimolar doses of diclofenac sodium and its synthesized prodrug were administered orally to a group of rabbits in a crossover study to evaluate their pharmacokinetic parameters. The prodrug 2 shows a similar rate and extent of absorption as the parent drug (1). The ulcerogenicity of the prepared prodrug was evaluated and compared with the parent drug. The prodrug showed less ulcerogenicity as detected by fewer number and smaller size of ulcers. In conclusion, the newly synthesized N-ethoxycarbonylmorpholine ester of diclofenac prodrug showed appropriate stability properties at different pHs, similar pharmacokinetic profile, and much less ulcerogenecity at the GIT compared to the parent drug diclofenac. Full article
Open AccessArticle In Vivo Monitoring of the Antiangiogenic Effect of Neurotensin Receptor-Mediated Radiotherapy by Small-Animal Positron Emission Tomography: A Pilot Study
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 464-481; doi:10.3390/ph7040464
Received: 17 December 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 10 April 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (702 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The neurotensin receptor (NTS1) has emerged as an interesting target for molecular imaging and radiotherapy of NTS-positive tumors due to the overexpression in a range of tumors. The aim of this study was to develop a 177Lu-labeled NTS1 radioligand, its application for
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The neurotensin receptor (NTS1) has emerged as an interesting target for molecular imaging and radiotherapy of NTS-positive tumors due to the overexpression in a range of tumors. The aim of this study was to develop a 177Lu-labeled NTS1 radioligand, its application for radiotherapy in a preclinical model and the imaging of therapy success by small-animal positron emission tomography (µPET) using [68Ga]DOTA-RGD as a specific tracer for imaging angiogenesis. The 177Lu-labeled peptide was subjected to studies on HT29-tumor-bearing nude mice in vivo, defining four groups of animals (single dose, two fractionated doses, four fractionated doses and sham-treated animals). Body weight and tumor diameters were determined three times per week. Up to day 28 after treatment, µPET studies were performed with [68Ga]DOTA-RGD. At days 7–10 after treatment with four fractionated doses of 11–14 MBq (each at days 0, 3, 6 and 10), the tumor growth was slightly decreased in comparison with untreated animals. Using a single high dose of 51 MBq, a significantly decreased tumor diameter of about 50% was observed with the beginning of treatment. Our preliminary PET imaging data suggested decreased tumor uptake values of [68Ga]DOTA-RGD in treated animals compared to controls at day 7 after treatment. This pilot study suggests that early PET imaging with [68Ga]DOTA-RGD in radiotherapy studies to monitor integrin expression could be a promising tool to predict therapy success in vivo. Further successive PET experiments are needed to confirm the significance and predictive value of RGD-PET for NTS-mediated radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry between Imaging and Radioendotherapy)
Open AccessArticle β-Boomerang Antimicrobial and Antiendotoxic Peptides: Lipidation and Disulfide Bond Effects on Activity and Structure
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 482-501; doi:10.3390/ph7040482
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens and endotoxin- or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated inflammations are among some of the most  prominent health issues globally. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are eminent molecules that can kill drug-resistant strains and neutralize LPS toxicity. LPS, the outer layer of the outer membrane
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Drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens and endotoxin- or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated inflammations are among some of the most  prominent health issues globally. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are eminent molecules that can kill drug-resistant strains and neutralize LPS toxicity. LPS, the outer layer of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria safeguards cell integrity against hydrophobic compounds, including antibiotics and AMPs. Apart from maintaining structural integrity, LPS, when released into the blood stream, also induces inflammatory pathways leading to septic shock. In previous works, we have reported the de novo design of a set of 12-amino acid long cationic/hydrophobic peptides for LPS binding and activity. These peptides adopt β-boomerang like conformations in complex with LPS. Structure-activity studies demonstrated some critical features of the β-boomerang scaffold that may be utilized for the further development of potent analogs. In this work, β-boomerang lipopeptides were designed and structure-activity correlation studies were carried out. These lipopeptides were homo-dimerized through a disulfide bridge to stabilize conformations and for improved activity. The designed peptides exhibited potent antibacterial activity and efficiently neutralized LPS toxicity under in vitro assays. NMR structure of C4YI13C in aqueous solution demonstrated the conserved folding of the lipopeptide with a boomerang aromatic lock stabilized with disulfide bond at the C-terminus and acylation at the N-terminus. These lipo-peptides displaying bacterial sterilization and low hemolytic activity may be useful for future applications as antimicrobial and antiendotoxin molecules. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Radiolabeling of Nanoparticles and Polymers for PET Imaging
Pharmaceuticals 2014, 7(4), 392-418; doi:10.3390/ph7040392
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 4 March 2014 / Accepted: 10 March 2014 / Published: 2 April 2014
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1227 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanomedicine has become an emerging field in imaging and therapy of malignancies. Nanodimensional drug delivery systems have already been used in the clinic, as carriers for sensitive chemotherapeutics or highly toxic substances. In addition, those nanodimensional structures are further able to carry and
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Nanomedicine has become an emerging field in imaging and therapy of malignancies. Nanodimensional drug delivery systems have already been used in the clinic, as carriers for sensitive chemotherapeutics or highly toxic substances. In addition, those nanodimensional structures are further able to carry and deliver radionuclides. In the development process, non-invasive imaging by means of positron emission tomography (PET) represents an ideal tool for investigations of pharmacological profiles and to find the optimal nanodimensional architecture of the aimed-at drug delivery system. Furthermore, in a personalized therapy approach, molecular imaging modalities are essential for patient screening/selection and monitoring. Hence, labeling methods for potential drug delivery systems are an indispensable need to provide the radiolabeled analog. In this review, we describe and discuss various approaches and methods for the labeling of potential drug delivery systems using positron emitters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry between Imaging and Radioendotherapy)
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