Diseases2015, 3(3), 176-192; doi:10.3390/diseases3030176 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Metabolic syndrome is an ever-increasing health problem among the world’s population. It is a group of intertwined maladies that includes obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and diabetes mellitus type II (T2D). There is a direct correlation between high triacylglycerol (triglyceride; TAG) level and severity of metabolic syndrome. Thus, controlling the synthesis of TAG will have a great impact on overall systemic lipid metabolism and thus metabolic syndrome progression. The Acyl-CoA: monoacylglycerolacyltransferase (MGAT) family has three members (MGAT1, -2, and -3) that catalyze the first step in TAG production, conversion of monoacylglycerol (MAG) to diacylglycerol (DAG). TAG is then directly synthesized from DAG by a Acyl-CoA: diacylglycerolacyltransferase (DGAT). The conversion of MAG → DAG → TAG is the major pathway for the production of TAG in the small intestine, and produces TAG to a lesser extent in the liver. Transgenic and pharmacological studies in mice have demonstrated the beneficial effects of MGAT inhibition as a therapy for treating several metabolic diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, T2D, and NAFLD. In this review, the significance of several properties of MGAT physiology, including tissue expression pattern and its relationship to overall TAG metabolism, enzymatic biochemical properties and their effects on drug discovery, and finally what is the current knowledge about MGAT small molecule inhibitors and their efficacy will be discussed. Overall, this review highlights the therapeutic potential of inhibiting MGAT for lowering TAG synthesis and whether this avenue of drug discovery warrants further clinical investigation.
Abstract: Metabolomics is the study of low molecular weight molecules or metabolites produced within cells and biological systems. It involves technologies such as mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) that can measure hundreds of thousands of unique chemical entities (UCEs). The metabolome provides one of the most accurate reflections of cellular activity at the functional level and can be leveraged to discern mechanistic information during normal and disease states. The advantages of metabolomics over other “omics” include its high sensitivity and ability to enable the analysis of relatively few metabolites compared with the number of genes and messenger RNAs (mRNAs). In clinical samples, metabolites are more stable than proteins or RNA. In fact, metabolomic profiling in basic, epidemiologic, clinical, and translational studies has revealed potential new biomarkers of disease and therapeutic outcome and has led to a novel mechanistic understanding of pathogenesis. These potential biomarkers include novel metabolites associated with cancer initiation, regression, and recurrence. Unlike genomics or even proteomics, however, the degree of metabolite complexity and heterogeneity within biological systems presents unique challenges that require specialized skills and resources to overcome. This article discusses epidemiologic studies of altered metabolite profiles in several cancers as well as challenges in the field and potential approaches to overcoming them.
Abstract: Over the last decades, improvement of medical and surgical therapy has increased life expectancy in Marfan patients. Consequently, the number of such patients requiring secondary interventions on the descending thoracic aorta due to new or residual dissections, and distal aneurysm formation has substantially enlarged. Surgical and endovascular procedures represent two valuable options of treatment, both associated with advantages and drawbacks. The aim of the present manuscript was to review endovascular outcomes in Marfan syndrome and to assess the potential role of Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR) in this subset of patients.
Abstract: Recently, new therapeutics have been developed for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the overall survival rate of HCC patients is still unsatisfactory; one of the reasons for this is the high frequency of recurrence after radical treatment. Consequently, to improve prognosis, it will be important to develop a novel anti-tumor agent that is especially effective against HCC recurrence. For clinical application, long-term safety, together with high anti-tumor efficacy, is desirable. Recent studies have proposed menahydroquinone-4 1,4-bis-N,N-dimethylglycinate hydrochloride (MKH-DMG), a prodrug of menahydroquinone-4 (MKH), as a promising candidate for HCC treatment including the inhibition of recurrence; MKH-DMG has been shown to achieve good selective accumulation of MKH in tumor cells, resulting in satisfactory inhibition of cell proliferation in des-γ-carboxyl prothrombin (DCP)-positive and DCP-negative HCC cell lines. In a spleen-liver metastasis mouse model, MKH-DMG has been demonstrated to have anti-proliferation and anti-metastatic effects in vivo. The characteristics of MKH-DMG as a novel anti-HCC agent are presented in this review article.
Abstract: The gluten-free diet has long been considered the standard treatment for celiac disease. However, a significant number of patients continue to experience persistent symptoms despite following a gluten-free diet. Inadvertent gluten ingestion, fermentable carbohydrates, cross-contamination, and social or financial burdens present obstacles to maintaining a gluten-free diet. Proper diet education and follow-up by an expert Registered Dietitian (RD) is essential to ensure adequate nutrition on the gluten-free diet. Patients may experience unintended weight gain or elevated cholesterol levels after initiating the gluten-free diet due to adequate absorption and healing of the intestines. This review deals with the evolving gluten-free diet, optimal recommendations while considering the overall health of patients, and multi-factorial aspects of the permanent lifestyle change.
Abstract: Since the first evidence demonstrating the dramatically high incidence of H. pylori infection and the subsequent medical challenges it incurs, health management of H. pylori infection has been a high priority for health authorities worldwide. Despite a decreasing rate of infection in western countries, prevalence of H. pylori infection in developing and in some industrial countries is still very high. Whereas treatment and vaccination against H. pylori is a contemporary issue in medical communities, selective treatment and prior high-throughput screening of the subject population is a major concern of health organizations. So far, diagnostic tests are either elaborative and require relatively advanced medical care infrastructure or they do not fulfill the criteria recommended by the Maastricht IV/Florence consensus report. In this review, in light of recent scientific studies, we highlight current and possible future approaches for the diagnosis of H. pylori. We point out that novel non-invasive tests may not only cover the requirements of gold standard methods in H. pylori detection but also offer the potential for risk stratification of infection in a high throughput manner.