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Biomedicines, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2017)

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Cover Story Targeted toxins play an increasingly important role in tumor treatment. However, their success is [...] Read more.
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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Novel Computerized Method for Measurement of Retinal Vessel Diameters
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 12; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020012
Received: 8 February 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 27 March 2017
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Abstract
Several clinical studies reveal the relationship between alterations in the topologies of the human retinal blood vessel, the outcrop and the disease evolution, such as diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Indeed, the detection of these vascular changes always has gaps. In
[...] Read more.
Several clinical studies reveal the relationship between alterations in the topologies of the human retinal blood vessel, the outcrop and the disease evolution, such as diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Indeed, the detection of these vascular changes always has gaps. In addition, the manual steps are slow, which may be subjected to a bias of the perceiver. However, we can overcome these troubles using computer algorithms that are quicker and more accurate. This paper presents and investigates a novel method for measuring the blood vessel diameter in the retinal image. The proposed method is based on a thresholding segmentation and thinning step, followed by the characteristic point determination step by the Douglas-Peucker algorithm. Thereafter, it uses the active contours to detect vessel contour. Finally, Heron’s Formula is applied to assure the calculation of vessel diameter. The obtained results for six sample images showed that the proposed method generated less errors compared to other techniques, which confirms the high performance of the proposed method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle HLA-C KIR-Ligands Determine the Impact of Anti-Thymocyte Globulin (ATG) on Graft versus Host and Graft versus Leukemia Effects Following Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 13; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020013
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
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Abstract
Rabbit anti-thymocyte globulins (ATGs) are widely used for the prevention of acute and chronic graft versus host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD) following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). However, most prospective and retrospective studies did not reveal an overall survival (OS) benefit associated with
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Rabbit anti-thymocyte globulins (ATGs) are widely used for the prevention of acute and chronic graft versus host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD) following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). However, most prospective and retrospective studies did not reveal an overall survival (OS) benefit associated with ATG. Homozygosity for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-C group 1 killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor ligands (KIR-L), i.e. C1/1 KIR-L status, was recently shown to be a risk factor for severe aGVHD. Congruously, we have previously reported favorable outcomes in C1/1 recipients after ATG-based transplants in a monocentric analysis. Here, within an extended cohort, we test the hypothesis that incorporation of ATG for GVHD prophylaxis may improve survival particularly in HSCT recipients with at least one C1 KIR-ligand. Retrospectively, 775 consecutive allogeneic (excluding haploidentical) HSCTs were analyzed, including peripheral blood and bone marrow grafts for adults with hematological diseases at two Austrian HSCT centers. ATG-Fresenius/Grafalon, Thymoglobuline, and alemtuzumab were applied in 256, 87, and 7 transplants, respectively (subsequently summarized as “ATG”), while 425 HSCT were performed without ATG. Median follow-up of surviving patients is 48 months. Adjusted for age, disease-risk, HLA-match, donor and graft type, sex match, cytomegalovirus serostatus, conditioning intensity, and type of post-grafting GVHD prophylaxis, Cox regression analysis of the entire cohort (n = 775) revealed a significant association of ATG with decreased non-relapse mortality (NRM) (risk ratio (RR), 0.57; p = 0.001), and overall mortality (RR, 0.71; p = 0.014). Upon stratification for HLA-C KIR-L, the greatest benefit for ATG emerged in C1/1 recipients (n = 291), by reduction of non-relapse (RR, 0.34; p = 0.0002) and overall mortality (RR, 0.50; p = 0.003). Less pronounced, ATG decreased NRM (RR, 0.60; p = 0.036) in HLA-C group 1/2 recipients (n = 364), without significantly influencing overall mortality (RR, 0.70; p = 0.065). After exclusion of higher-dose ATG-based transplants, serotherapy significantly improved both NRM (RR, 0.54; p = 0.019; n = 322) and overall mortality (RR, 0.60; p = 0.018) in C1/2 recipients as well. In both, C1/1 (RR, 1.70; p = 0.10) and particularly in C1/2 recipients (RR, 0.94; p = 0.81), there was no statistically significant impact of ATG on relapse incidence. By contrast, in C2/2 recipients (n = 121), ATG neither reduced NRM (RR, 1.10; p = 0.82) nor overall mortality (RR, 1.50; p = 0.17), but increased the risk for relapse (RR, 4.38; p = 0.02). These retrospective findings suggest ATG may provide a survival benefit in recipients with at least one C1 group KIR-L, by reducing NRM without significantly increasing the relapse risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
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Open AccessArticle Reduced Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines after Eight Weeks of Low-Dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 16; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020016
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 18 April 2017
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Abstract
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex, multi-symptom condition that predominantly affects women. The majority of those affected are unlikely to gain significant symptomatic control from the few treatments that are approved for FM. In this 10-week, single-blind, crossover trial we tested the immune effects
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Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex, multi-symptom condition that predominantly affects women. The majority of those affected are unlikely to gain significant symptomatic control from the few treatments that are approved for FM. In this 10-week, single-blind, crossover trial we tested the immune effects of eight weeks of oral administration of low-dose naltrexone (LDN). We enrolled eight women with an average age of 46 years, symptom severity of 62 out of 100, and symptom duration of 14 years. We found that LDN was associated with reduced plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1Ra, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-12p70, IL-15, IL-17A, IL-27, interferon (IFN)-α, transforming growth factor (TGF)-α, TGF-β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). We also found a 15% reduction of FM-associated pain and an 18% reduction in overall symptoms. The findings of this pilot trial suggest that LDN treatment in fibromyalgia is associated with a reduction of several key pro-inflammatory cytokines and symptoms. The potential role of LDN as an atypical anti-inflammatory medication should be explored further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Therapies for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
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Open AccessArticle Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Ethanolic Leaf Extract Reduces Amyloid-β (1-42) Aggregation and Paralysis Prevalence in Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans Independently of Free Radical Scavenging and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020017
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 17 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been the subject of several studies which have aimed to alleviate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology, focusing on in vitro antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activities. Here, we studied an underutilized and lesser-valued part of the coconut tree, specifically
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Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been the subject of several studies which have aimed to alleviate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology, focusing on in vitro antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activities. Here, we studied an underutilized and lesser-valued part of the coconut tree, specifically the leaves, using in vitro and in vivo approaches. Coconut leaf extract (CLE) was screened for antioxidant and AChE inhibitory properties in vitro and therapeutic effects in two strains of transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans expressing amyloid-β1–42 (Aβ1-42) in muscle cells. CLE demonstrated free radical scavenging activity with an EC50 that is 79-fold less compared to ascorbic acid, and an AChE inhibitory activity that is 131-fold less compared to Rivastigmine. Surprisingly, in spite of its low antioxidant activity and AChE inhibition, CLE reduced Aβ deposits by 30.31% in CL2006 in a dose-independent manner, and reduced the percentage of paralyzed nematodes at the lowest concentration of CLE (159.38 μg/mL), compared to dH2O/vehicle (control). Phytochemical analysis detected glycosides, anthocyanins, and hydrolyzable tannins in CLE, some of which are known to be anti-amyloidogenic. Taken together, these findings suggest that CLE metabolites alternatively decrease AB1–42 aggregation and paralysis prevalence independently of free radical scavenging and AChE inhibition, and this warrants further investigation on the bioactive compounds of CLE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurologic Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle The Protective Effects of p-Coumaric Acid on Acute Liver and Kidney Damages Induced by Cisplatin
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 18; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020018
Received: 19 February 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
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Abstract
In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of p-Coumaric acid (PCA) on cisplatin (CIS)-induced hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity in Wistar adult rats for 24 h compared to untreated control groups. In this experiment, 40 Wistar adult rats were utilized and divided
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In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of p-Coumaric acid (PCA) on cisplatin (CIS)-induced hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity in Wistar adult rats for 24 h compared to untreated control groups. In this experiment, 40 Wistar adult rats were utilized and divided randomly into five groups. After 24 h of CIS administration, liver and kidneys were harvested and assessed by H&E staining. Also, markers for oxidative stress and antioxidants were analyzed in theses tissues. Compared to the control group, accumulation of malondialdehyde was increased in groups treated CIS, whereas superoxide dismutase activities and glutathione levels were distinctly diminished in this group. The study’s histopathological findings such as hydropic degeneration, vascular congestion, sinusoidal dilatation in hepatocytes and tubular necrosis in kidneys were in accordance with the results of markers for oxidative stress. PCA may prevent hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity by increased antioxidant enzymes and reduced oxidant parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Derived Biomedicines)
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Open AccessArticle Functionalisation of Polyvinylpyrrolidone on Gold Nanoparticles Enhances Its Anti-Amyloidogenic Propensity towards Hen Egg White Lysozyme
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 19; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020019
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
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Abstract
Protein amyloids are characterized by aggregates that usually consist of fibres containing misfolded proteins and having a cross β-sheet conformation. These aggregates can eventually lead to several degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The present
[...] Read more.
Protein amyloids are characterized by aggregates that usually consist of fibres containing misfolded proteins and having a cross β-sheet conformation. These aggregates can eventually lead to several degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The present study describes the effect of chemically synthesized polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)-conjugated gold nanoparticles (PVP-AuNps) on hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) amyloids. The synthesized nanoparticles have been characterized using various biophysical techniques like Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) Spectroscopy, Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta-potential measurement and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The aggregation studies showed that PVP acts as a partial inhibitor of HEWL amyloidogenesis. However, when conjugated to gold nanoparticle surface, it leads to complete inhibition of amyloid formation. Apart from inhibition, PVP-conjugated gold nanoparticles also exhibited a significant disaggregation effect on mature amyloids and hence can be exploited as an effective therapeutic agent against hereditary systemic amyloidosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Implications of a Multi-Step Trigger of Retinal Regeneration in the Adult Newt
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020025
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 16 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 20 May 2017
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Abstract
The newt is an amazing four-limbed vertebrate that can regenerate various body parts including the retina. In this animal, when the neural retina (NR) is removed from the eye by surgery (retinectomy), both the NR and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) eventually regenerate
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The newt is an amazing four-limbed vertebrate that can regenerate various body parts including the retina. In this animal, when the neural retina (NR) is removed from the eye by surgery (retinectomy), both the NR and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) eventually regenerate through the process of reprogramming and proliferation of RPE cells. Thus far, we have pursued the onset mechanism of adult newt retinal regeneration. In this study, using an in vitro system, we found that both mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)-ERK and β-catenin were involved in cell cycle re-entry of RPE cells. MEK-ERK signaling activity in RPE cells was strengthened by retinectomy, and nuclear translocation of β-catenin in RPE cells was induced by attenuation of cell–cell contact, which was promoted by incision of the RPE or its treatment with ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA). EGTA is a Ca2+ chelator that disrupts cadherin-mediated cell–cell adhesion. Reinforcement of MEK-ERK signaling activity was a prerequisite for nuclear translocation of β-catenin. These results suggest that retinectomy followed by attenuation of cell–cell contact may trigger cell cycle re-entry of RPE cells. This study, together with our previous findings concerning the proliferation and multipotency of adult newt RPE cells, provides insight into the mechanism of the multi-step trigger in which the onset of retinal regeneration in the adult newt is rigorously controlled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurologic Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle Indigenous Probiotic Lactobacillus Isolates Presenting Antibiotic like Activity against Human Pathogenic Bacteria
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 31; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020031
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
Background: Indigenous lactic acid bacteria are well known probiotics having antibacterial activity against potentially pathogenic bacteria. This study aims to characterize the curd lactobacilli for their probiotic potentiality and antagonistic activity against clinical bacteria. Methods: Four curd samples were processed microbiologically for the
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Background: Indigenous lactic acid bacteria are well known probiotics having antibacterial activity against potentially pathogenic bacteria. This study aims to characterize the curd lactobacilli for their probiotic potentiality and antagonistic activity against clinical bacteria. Methods: Four curd samples were processed microbiologically for the isolation of lactic acid bacteria (LAB). The LAB strains obtained were identified by conventional methods: cultural aspect, gram-staining, biochemical and sugar fermentation tests. The probiotic properties were justified with tolerance to low-pH, bile salt and sodium chloride, and the antagonistic activity of the lactobacilli against human pathogenic bacteria (Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Acinetobacter baumannii and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi) was assessed. Hemolytic activity and antibiotic susceptibility were determined for the lactobacilli isolates, and the cumulative probiotic potential (CPP) values were recorded. Result: Four lactobacilli isolates, L. animalis LMEM6, L. plantarum LMEM7, L. acidophilus LMEM8 and L. rhamnosus LMEM9, procured from the curd samples, survived in low-pH and high bile salt conditions, and showed growth inhibitory activity against the indicator bacteria by agar-well (zone diameter of inhibition; ZDIs: 13.67 ± 0.58–29.50 ± 2.10 mm) and agar overlay (ZDIs: 11.33 ± 0.58–35.67 ± 2.52 mm) methods; the average growth inhibitory activity of lactobacilli ranged 233.34 ± 45.54–280.56 ± 83.67 AU/mL, against the test bacterial pathogens. All the lactobacilli were non-hemolytic and sensitive to most of the test antibiotics. The CPP values of the isolated LAB were recorded as 80–100%. Conclusion: The curd lactobacilli procured might be used as the valid candidates of probiotics, and bio-therapeutics against bacterial infection to humans. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Biocompatibility Analyses of Al2O3-Treated Titanium Plates Tested with Osteocyte and Fibroblast Cell Lines
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 32; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020032
Received: 9 April 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
Osseointegration of a titanium implant is still an issue in dental/orthopedic implants durable over time. The good integration of these implants is mainly due to their surface and topography. We obtained an innovative titanium surface by shooting different-in-size particles of Al2O
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Osseointegration of a titanium implant is still an issue in dental/orthopedic implants durable over time. The good integration of these implants is mainly due to their surface and topography. We obtained an innovative titanium surface by shooting different-in-size particles of Al2O3 against the titanium scaffolds which seems to be ideal for bone integration. To corroborate that, we used two different cell lines: MLO-Y4 (murine osteocytes) and 293 (human fibroblasts) and tested the titanium scaffolds untreated and treated (i.e., Al2O3 shot-peened titanium surfaces). Distribution, density, and expression of adhesion molecules (fibronectin and vitronectin) were evaluated under scanning electron microscope (SEM) and confocal microscope (CM). DAPI and fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies were used to highlight nuclei, fibronectin, and vitronectin, under CM; cell distribution was analyzed after gold-palladium sputtering of samples by SEM. The engineered biomaterial surfaces showed under SEM irregular morphology displaying variously-shaped spicules. Both SEM and CM observations showed better outcome in terms of cell adhesion and distribution in treated titanium surfaces with respect to the untreated ones. The results obtained clearly showed that this kind of surface-treated titanium, used to manufacture devices for dental implantology: (i) is very suitable for cell colonization, essential prerequisite for the best osseointegration, and (ii) represents an excellent solution for the development of further engineered implants with the target to obtain recovery of stable dental function over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Cells and Related Interactions)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Glycosylated Triterpenoids as Endosomal Escape Enhancers in Targeted Tumor Therapies
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 14; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020014
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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Abstract
Protein-based targeted toxins play an increasingly important role in targeted tumor therapies. In spite of their high intrinsic toxicity, their efficacy in animal models is low. A major reason for this is the limited entry of the toxin into the cytosol of the
[...] Read more.
Protein-based targeted toxins play an increasingly important role in targeted tumor therapies. In spite of their high intrinsic toxicity, their efficacy in animal models is low. A major reason for this is the limited entry of the toxin into the cytosol of the target cell, which is required to mediate the fatal effect. Target receptor bound and internalized toxins are mostly either recycled back to the cell surface or lysosomally degraded. This might explain why no antibody-targeted protein toxin has been approved for tumor therapeutic applications by the authorities to date although more than 500 targeted toxins have been developed within the last decades. To overcome the problem of insufficient endosomal escape, a number of strategies that make use of diverse chemicals, cell-penetrating or fusogenic peptides, and light-induced techniques were designed to weaken the membrane integrity of endosomes. This review focuses on glycosylated triterpenoids as endosomal escape enhancers and throws light on their structure, the mechanism of action, and on their efficacy in cell culture and animal models. Obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and future prospects are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeted Human Cytolytic Fusion Proteins)
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Open AccessReview Modulation of NMDA Receptor Activity in Fibromyalgia
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 15; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020015
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 1 April 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
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Abstract
Activation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) results in increased sensitivity of spinal cord and brain pathways that process sensory information, particularly those which relate to pain. The NMDAR shows increased activity in fibromyalgia and hence modulation of the NMDAR is
[...] Read more.
Activation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) results in increased sensitivity of spinal cord and brain pathways that process sensory information, particularly those which relate to pain. The NMDAR shows increased activity in fibromyalgia and hence modulation of the NMDAR is a target for therapeutic intervention. A literature review of interventions impacting on the NMDAR shows a number of drugs to be active on the NMDAR mechanism in fibromyalgia patients, with variable clinical effects. Low-dose intravenous ketamine and oral memantine both show clinically useful benefit in fibromyalgia. However, consideration of side-effects, logistics and cost need to be factored into management decisions regarding use of these drugs in this clinical setting. Overall benefits with current NMDAR antagonists appear modest and there is a need for better strategy trials to clarify optimal dose schedules and to delineate potential longer–term adverse events. Further investigation of the role of the NMDAR in fibromyalgia and the effect of other molecules that modulate this receptor appear important to enhance treatment targets in fibromyalgia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Therapies for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Update on Treatment Guideline in Fibromyalgia Syndrome with Focus on Pharmacology
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 20; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020020
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
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Abstract
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic condition with unknown aetiology. The pathophysiology of the disease is incompletely understood; despite advances in our knowledge with regards to abnormal central and peripheral pain processing, and hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal dysfunction, there is no clear specific pathophysiological therapeutic target.
[...] Read more.
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic condition with unknown aetiology. The pathophysiology of the disease is incompletely understood; despite advances in our knowledge with regards to abnormal central and peripheral pain processing, and hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal dysfunction, there is no clear specific pathophysiological therapeutic target. The management of this complex condition has thus perplexed the medical community for many years, and several national and international guidelines have aimed to address this complexity. The most recent guidelines from European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) (2016), Canadian Pain Society (2012), and The Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (AWMF) (2012) highlight the change in attitudes regarding the overall approach to FMS, but offer varying advice with regards to the use of pharmacological agents. Amitriptyline, Pregabalin and Duloxetine are used most commonly in FMS and though modestly effective, are useful adjunctive treatment to non-pharmaceutical measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Therapies for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Hypoxia and Inflammation in Cancer, Focus on HIF and NF-κB
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 21; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020021
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
Cancer is often characterised by the presence of hypoxia and inflammation. Paramount to the mechanisms controlling cellular responses under such stress stimuli, are the transcription factor families of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) and Nuclear Factor of κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB). Although,
[...] Read more.
Cancer is often characterised by the presence of hypoxia and inflammation. Paramount to the mechanisms controlling cellular responses under such stress stimuli, are the transcription factor families of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) and Nuclear Factor of κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB). Although, a detailed understating of how these transcription factors respond to their cognate stimulus is well established, it is now appreciated that HIF and NF-κB undergo extensive crosstalk, in particular in pathological situations such as cancer. Here, we focus on the current knowledge on how HIF is activated by inflammation and how NF-κB is modulated by hypoxia. We summarise the evidence for the possible mechanism behind this activation and how HIF and NF-κB function impacts cancer, focusing on colorectal, breast and lung cancer. We discuss possible new points of therapeutic intervention aiming to harness the current understanding of the HIF-NF-κB crosstalk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles of NF-kB in Cancer and Their Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview New Insights into the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 22; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020022
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
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Abstract
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and several additional symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, depressive episodes, and anxiety. The underlying pathophysiology of fibromyalgia is still poorly understood, and treatment is often unsatisfactory. Current research provides evidence for altered pain processing in
[...] Read more.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and several additional symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, depressive episodes, and anxiety. The underlying pathophysiology of fibromyalgia is still poorly understood, and treatment is often unsatisfactory. Current research provides evidence for altered pain processing in chronic pain patients, and specifically in fibromyalgia patients, possibly based on altered functional connectivity and brain chemistry in brain regions within the pain processing system. Besides discussing evidence from studies applying brain imaging (specifically resting state fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging)), the current review aims at providing an overview of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment options. We will also summarize the most important results from recently performed brain imaging studies providing new insights into the potential mechanisms of various therapeutic approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Therapies for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Advances in the Use of Regulatory T-Cells for the Prevention and Therapy of Graft-vs.-Host Disease
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 23; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020023
Received: 3 March 2017 / Revised: 16 April 2017 / Accepted: 15 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
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Abstract
Regulatory T (Tregs) cells play a crucial role in immunoregulation and promotion of immunological tolerance. Adoptive transfer of these cells has therefore been of interest in the field of bone marrow and solid organ transplantation, autoimmune diseases and allergy medicine. In bone marrow
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Regulatory T (Tregs) cells play a crucial role in immunoregulation and promotion of immunological tolerance. Adoptive transfer of these cells has therefore been of interest in the field of bone marrow and solid organ transplantation, autoimmune diseases and allergy medicine. In bone marrow transplantation, Tregs play a pivotal role in the prevention of graft-verus-host disease (GvHD). This has generated interest in using adoptive Treg cellular therapy in the prevention and treatment of GvHD. There have been several barriers to the feasibility of Treg cellular therapy in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) which include low Treg concentration in peripheral blood, requiring expansion of the Treg population; instability of the expanded product with loss of FoxP3 expression; and issues related to the purity of the expanded product. Despite these challenges, investigators have been able to successfully expand these cells both in vivo and in vitro and have demonstrated that they can be safely infused in humans for the prevention and treatment of GvHD with no increase in relapse risk or infections risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview A Brief Review of the Pharmacology of Amitriptyline and Clinical Outcomes in Treating Fibromyalgia
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 24; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020024
Received: 12 March 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 13 May 2017 / Published: 17 May 2017
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Abstract
Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic condition characterized by pain, physical fatigue, sleep disorder and cognitive impairment. Evidence-based guidelines recommend antidepressants as treatments of fibromyalgia where tricyclics are often considered to have the greatest efficacy, with amitriptyline often being a first-line treatment. Amitriptyline evokes
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Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic condition characterized by pain, physical fatigue, sleep disorder and cognitive impairment. Evidence-based guidelines recommend antidepressants as treatments of fibromyalgia where tricyclics are often considered to have the greatest efficacy, with amitriptyline often being a first-line treatment. Amitriptyline evokes a preferential reduction in pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, and in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score, which is a quality of life assessment. The multimodal profile of the mechanisms of action of amitriptyline include monoamine reuptake inhibition, receptor modulation and ion channel modulation. Several of the actions of amitriptyline on multiple nociceptive and sensory processes at central and peripheral locations have the potential to act cumulatively to suppress the characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia. Greater understanding of the role of these mechanisms of action of amitriptyline could provide further clues to the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia and to a preferable pharmacological profile for future drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Therapies for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview NF-κB Members Left Home: NF-κB-Independent Roles in Cancer
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 26; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020026
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 15 May 2017 / Accepted: 19 May 2017 / Published: 25 May 2017
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Abstract
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) has been long considered a master regulator of inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, aberrant NF-κB signaling has been linked with carcinogenesis in many types of cancer. In recent years, the study of NF-κB members in NF-κB unrelated pathways provided novel
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Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) has been long considered a master regulator of inflammation and immune responses. Additionally, aberrant NF-κB signaling has been linked with carcinogenesis in many types of cancer. In recent years, the study of NF-κB members in NF-κB unrelated pathways provided novel attractive targets for cancer therapy, specifically linked to particular pathologic responses. Here we review specific functions of IκB kinase complexes (IKKs) and IκBs, which have distinctly tumor promoting or suppressing activities in cancer. Understanding how these proteins are regulated in a tumor-related context will provide new opportunities for drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles of NF-kB in Cancer and Their Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessReview NF-κB in Hematological Malignancies
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 27; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020027
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 24 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
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Abstract
NF-κB (Nuclear Factor Κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) transcription factors are critical regulators of immunity, stress response, apoptosis, and differentiation. Molecular defects promoting the constitutive activation of canonical and non-canonical NF-κB signaling pathways contribute to many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and
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NF-κB (Nuclear Factor Κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells) transcription factors are critical regulators of immunity, stress response, apoptosis, and differentiation. Molecular defects promoting the constitutive activation of canonical and non-canonical NF-κB signaling pathways contribute to many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and autoimmunity. In the present review, we focus our attention on the mechanisms of NF-κB deregulation in hematological malignancies. Key positive regulators of NF-κB signaling can act as oncogenes that are often prone to chromosomal translocation, amplifications, or activating mutations. Negative regulators of NF-κB have tumor suppressor functions, and are frequently inactivated either by genomic deletions or point mutations. NF-κB activation in tumoral cells is also driven by the microenvironment or chronic signaling that does not rely on genetic alterations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles of NF-kB in Cancer and Their Therapeutic Approaches)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Addressing the Immunogenicity of the Cargo and of the Targeting Antibodies with a Focus on Deimmunized Bacterial Toxins and on Antibody-Targeted Human Effector Proteins
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 28; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020028
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 23 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
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Abstract
Third-generation immunotoxins are composed of a human, or humanized, targeting moiety, usually a monoclonal antibody or an antibody fragment, and a non-human effector molecule. Due to the non-human origin of the cytotoxic domain, these molecules stimulate potent anti-drug immune responses, which limit treatment
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Third-generation immunotoxins are composed of a human, or humanized, targeting moiety, usually a monoclonal antibody or an antibody fragment, and a non-human effector molecule. Due to the non-human origin of the cytotoxic domain, these molecules stimulate potent anti-drug immune responses, which limit treatment options. Efforts are made to deimmunize such immunotoxins or to combine treatment with immunosuppression. An alternative approach is using the so-called “human cytotoxic fusion proteins”, in which antibodies are used to target human effector proteins. Here, we present three relevant approaches for reducing the immunogenicity of antibody-targeted protein therapeutics: (1) reducing the immunogenicity of the bacterial toxin, (2) fusing human cytokines to antibodies to generate immunocytokines and (3) addressing the immunogenicity of the targeting antibodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeted Human Cytolytic Fusion Proteins)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview NF-κB Signalling in Glioblastoma
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 29; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020029
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 9 June 2017
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Abstract
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a transcription factor regulating a wide array of genes mediating numerous cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, motility and survival, to name a few. Aberrant activation of NF-κB is a frequent event in numerous cancers, including glioblastoma, the most
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Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a transcription factor regulating a wide array of genes mediating numerous cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, motility and survival, to name a few. Aberrant activation of NF-κB is a frequent event in numerous cancers, including glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain tumours of glial cell origin (collectively termed gliomas). Glioblastoma is characterized by high cellular heterogeneity, resistance to therapy and almost inevitable recurrence after surgery and treatment. NF-κB is aberrantly activated in response to a variety of stimuli in glioblastoma, where its activity has been implicated in processes ranging from maintenance of cancer stem-like cells, stimulation of cancer cell invasion, promotion of mesenchymal identity, and resistance to radiotherapy. This review examines the mechanisms of NF-κB activation in glioblastoma, the involvement of NF-κB in several mechanisms underlying glioblastoma propagation, and discusses some of the important questions of future research into the roles of NF-κB in glioblastoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Roles of NF-kB in Cancer and Their Therapeutic Approaches)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Exploiting Cell Death Pathways for Inducible Cell Elimination to Modulate Graft-versus-Host-Disease
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 30; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020030
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a potent form of immunotherapy, potentially life-saving for many malignant hematologic diseases. However, donor lymphocytes infused with the graft while exerting a graft versus malignancy effect can also cause potentially fatal graft versus host disease (GVHD). Our group
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Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a potent form of immunotherapy, potentially life-saving for many malignant hematologic diseases. However, donor lymphocytes infused with the graft while exerting a graft versus malignancy effect can also cause potentially fatal graft versus host disease (GVHD). Our group has previously validated the inducible caspase-9 suicide gene in the haploidentical stem cell transplant setting, which proved successful in reversing signs and symptoms of GVHD within hours, using a non-therapeutic dimerizing agent. Cellular death pathways such as apoptosis and necroptosis are important processes in maintaining healthy cellular homeostasis within the human body. Here, we review two of the most widely investigated cell death pathways active in T-cells (apoptosis and necroptosis), as well as the emerging strategies that can be exploited for the safety of T-cell therapies. Furthermore, such strategies could be exploited for the safety of other cellular therapeutics as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
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Open AccessReview T-Cell Manipulation Strategies to Prevent Graft-Versus-Host Disease in Haploidentical Stem Cell Transplantation
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 33; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020033
Received: 8 April 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
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Abstract
Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from an human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical donor can be curative for eligible patients with non-malignant and malignant haematological disorders. HSCT from alternative donor sources, such as HLA-mismatched haploidentical donors, is increasingly considered as a viable therapeutic option
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Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from an human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical donor can be curative for eligible patients with non-malignant and malignant haematological disorders. HSCT from alternative donor sources, such as HLA-mismatched haploidentical donors, is increasingly considered as a viable therapeutic option for patients lacking HLA-matched donors. Initial attempts at haploidentical HSCT were associated with vigorous bidirectional alloreactivity, leading to unacceptably high rates of graft rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). More recently, new approaches for mitigating harmful T-cell alloreactivity that mediates GVHD, while preserving the function of tumour-reactive natural killer (NK) cells and γδ T cells, have led to markedly improved clinical outcomes, and are successfully being implemented in the clinic. This article will provide an update on in vitro strategies and in vivo approaches aimed at preventing GVHD by selectively manipulating key components of the adaptive immune response, such as T-cell receptor (TCR)-αβ T cells and CD45RA-expressing naive T cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
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Open AccessReview The Role of Angiogenesis in Cancer Treatment
Biomedicines 2017, 5(2), 34; doi:10.3390/biomedicines5020034
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
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Abstract
A number of anti-angiogenesis drugs have been FDA-approved and are being used in cancer treatment, and a number of other agents are in different stages of clinical development or in preclinical evaluation. However, pharmacologic anti-angiogenesis strategies that arrest tumor progression might not be
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A number of anti-angiogenesis drugs have been FDA-approved and are being used in cancer treatment, and a number of other agents are in different stages of clinical development or in preclinical evaluation. However, pharmacologic anti-angiogenesis strategies that arrest tumor progression might not be enough to eradicate tumors. Decreased anti-angiogenesis activity in single mechanism-based anti-angiogenic strategies is due to the redundancy, multiplicity, and development of compensatory mechanism by which blood vessels are remodeled. Improving anti-angiogenesis drug efficacy will require identification of broad-spectrum anti-angiogenesis targets. These strategies may have novel features, such as increased porosity, and are the result of complex interactions among endothelial cells, extracellular matrix proteins, growth factors, pericyte, and smooth muscle cells. Thus, combinations of anti-angiogenic drugs and other anticancer strategies such as chemotherapy appear essential for optimal outcome in cancer patients. This review will focus on the role of anti-angiogenesis strategies in cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti-Angiogenesis Therapeutics in Cancer)
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