Open AccessArticle
Increased Force Variability Is Associated with Altered Modulation of the Motorneuron Pool Activity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 698; doi:10.3390/ijms18040698 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Force control deficits have been repeatedly documented in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They are associated with worse social and daily living skill impairments in patients suggesting that developing a more mechanistic understanding of the central and peripheral processes that cause them may help
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Force control deficits have been repeatedly documented in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They are associated with worse social and daily living skill impairments in patients suggesting that developing a more mechanistic understanding of the central and peripheral processes that cause them may help guide the development of treatments that improve multiple outcomes in ASD. The neuromuscular mechanisms underlying force control deficits are not yet understood. Seventeen individuals with ASD and 14 matched healthy controls completed an isometric index finger abduction test at 60% of their maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) during recording of the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle to determine the neuromuscular processes associated with sustained force variability. Central modulation of the motorneuron pool activation of the FDI muscle was evaluated at delta (0–4 Hz), alpha (4–10 Hz), beta (10–35 Hz) and gamma (35–60 Hz) frequency bands. ASD patients showed greater force variability than controls when attempting to maintain a constant force. Relative to controls, patients also showed increased central modulation of the motorneuron pool at beta and gamma bands. For controls, reduced force variability was associated with reduced delta frequency modulation of the motorneuron pool activity of the FDI muscle and increased modulation at beta and gamma bands. In contrast, delta, beta, and gamma frequency oscillations were not associated with force variability in ASD. These findings suggest that alterations of central mechanisms that control motorneuron pool firing may underlie the common and often impairing symptoms of ASD. Full article
Open AccessConference Report
Unconventional Transport Routes of Soluble and Membrane Proteins and Their Role in Developmental Biology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 703; doi:10.3390/ijms18040703 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Many proteins and cargoes in eukaryotic cells are secreted through the conventional secretory pathway that brings proteins and membranes from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane, passing through various cell compartments, and then the extracellular space. The recent identification of an increasing
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Many proteins and cargoes in eukaryotic cells are secreted through the conventional secretory pathway that brings proteins and membranes from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane, passing through various cell compartments, and then the extracellular space. The recent identification of an increasing number of leaderless secreted proteins bypassing the Golgi apparatus unveiled the existence of alternative protein secretion pathways. Moreover, other unconventional routes for secretion of soluble or transmembrane proteins with initial endoplasmic reticulum localization were identified. Furthermore, other proteins normally functioning in conventional membrane traffic or in the biogenesis of unique plant/fungi organelles or in plasmodesmata transport seem to be involved in unconventional secretory pathways. These alternative pathways are functionally related to biotic stress and development, and are becoming more and more important in cell biology studies in yeast, mammalian cells and in plants. The city of Lecce hosted specialists working on mammals, plants and microorganisms for the inaugural meeting on “Unconventional Protein and Membrane Traffic” (UPMT) during 4–7 October 2016. The main aim of the meeting was to include the highest number of topics, summarized in this report, related to the unconventional transport routes of protein and membranes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Biosynthesis of α-Glucosidase Inhibitors by a Newly Isolated Bacterium, Paenibacillus sp. TKU042 and Its Effect on Reducing Plasma Glucose in a Mouse Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 700; doi:10.3390/ijms18040700 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Paenibacillus sp. TKU042, a bacterium isolated from Taiwanese soil, produced α-glucosidase inhibitors (aGIs) in the culture supernatant when commercial nutrient broth (NB) was used as the medium for fermentation. The supernatant of fermented NB (FNB) showed stronger inhibitory activities than acarbose, a commercial
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Paenibacillus sp. TKU042, a bacterium isolated from Taiwanese soil, produced α-glucosidase inhibitors (aGIs) in the culture supernatant when commercial nutrient broth (NB) was used as the medium for fermentation. The supernatant of fermented NB (FNB) showed stronger inhibitory activities than acarbose, a commercial anti-diabetic drug. The IC50 and maximum α-glucosidase inhibitory activities (aGIA) of FNB and acarbose against α-glucosidase were 81 μg/mL, 92% and 1395 μg/mL, 63%, respectively. FNB was found to be strongly thermostable, retaining 95% of its relative activity, even after heating at 100 °C for 30 min. FNB was also stable at various pH values. Furthermore, FNB demonstrated antioxidant activity (IC50 = 2.23 mg/mL). In animal tests, FNB showed remarkable reductions in the plasma glucose of ICR (Institute of Cancer Research) mice at a concentration of 200 mg/kg. Combining FNB and acarbose enhanced the effect even more, with an added advantage of eliminating diarrhea. According to HPLC (High-performance liquid chromatography) fingerprinting, the Paenibacillus sp. TKU042 aGIs were not acarbose. All of the results suggest that Paenibacillus sp. TKU042 FNB could have potential use as a health food or to treat type 2 diabetes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro and In Vivo Studies on the Structural Organization of Chs3 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 702; doi:10.3390/ijms18040702 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Chitin biosynthesis in yeast is accomplished by three chitin synthases (Chs) termed Chs1, Chs2 and Chs3, of which the latter accounts for most of the chitin deposited within the cell wall. While the overall structures of Chs1 and Chs2 are similar to those
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Chitin biosynthesis in yeast is accomplished by three chitin synthases (Chs) termed Chs1, Chs2 and Chs3, of which the latter accounts for most of the chitin deposited within the cell wall. While the overall structures of Chs1 and Chs2 are similar to those of other chitin synthases from fungi and arthropods, Chs3 lacks some of the C-terminal transmembrane helices raising questions regarding its structure and topology. To fill this gap of knowledge, we performed bioinformatic analyses and protease protection assays that revealed significant information about the catalytic domain, the chitin-translocating channel and the interfacial helices in between. In particular, we identified an amphipathic, crescent-shaped α-helix attached to the inner side of the membrane that presumably controls the channel entrance and a finger helix pushing the polymer into the channel. Evidence has accumulated in the past years that chitin synthases form oligomeric complexes, which may be necessary for the formation of chitin nanofibrils. However, the functional significance for living yeast cells has remained elusive. To test Chs3 oligomerization in vivo, we used bimolecular fluorescence complementation. We detected oligomeric complexes at the bud neck, the lateral plasma membrane, and in membranes of Golgi vesicles, and analyzed their transport route using various trafficking mutants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Irisin, Mediator of Physical Activity, Are Connected with TLR4/MyD88 Signaling Pathway Activation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 701; doi:10.3390/ijms18040701 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Irisin, an adipomiokine known as a mediator of physical activity, induces the browning of adipose tissue and it has potentially protective properties in the development of obesity-related states, such as insulin resistance, arteriosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes. Despite numerous studies conducted on this
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Irisin, an adipomiokine known as a mediator of physical activity, induces the browning of adipose tissue and it has potentially protective properties in the development of obesity-related states, such as insulin resistance, arteriosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes. Despite numerous studies conducted on this factor, still little is known about its impact on the functioning of immunocompetent cells, but its potential anti-inflammatory properties were previously suggested. In the current study we investigated the role of irisin (0–100 nM) in the downstream pathway activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in RAW 264.7 macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 ng/mL). The results have shown that irisin in high concentrations (50, 100 nM) significantly decreased the TLR4 and MyD88 protein levels, as well as the phosphorylation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), consequently leading to the reduction in the release of crucial pro-inflammatory cytokines. The above was confirmed for interleukin 1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin 6 (IL-6), keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1), as well as for high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). Moreover, our results indicate that this effect is connected with irisin’s impact on the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), where a significant reduction in p-JNK and p-ERK but not p-p38 was observed. In conclusion, these data suggest that irisin has potentially anti-inflammatory properties connected with the downregulation of downstream pathways of TLR4/MyD88. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Active Anthocyanin Degradation in the Petals of Rosa chinensis and Brunfelsia calycina Reveals the Effect of Gallated Catechins on Pigment Maintenance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 699; doi:10.3390/ijms18040699 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Anthocyanin degradation decreases ornamental or nutritional values of horticultural products. To investigate factors that may influence colour change in flower development, anthocyanin degradation was compared between the flowers of Brunfelsia calycina and Rosa chinensis, which show rapid and slow degradation, respectively. In-gel
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Anthocyanin degradation decreases ornamental or nutritional values of horticultural products. To investigate factors that may influence colour change in flower development, anthocyanin degradation was compared between the flowers of Brunfelsia calycina and Rosa chinensis, which show rapid and slow degradation, respectively. In-gel activity assays, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of tannins, enzyme kinetics measurement and immune-detection of anthocyanin degradation related-perioxidases (PODs) were carried out for the comparison. Rose petals possessed significantly lower anthocyanin degradation-related POD activities than Brunfelsia petals, which may be related to the high tannin contents. Epicatechin gallate (ECG) and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) were detected in rose as 161.3 ± 12.34 and 273.56 ± 41.23 μg/g FW (Fresh Weight) respectively, while not detected in Brunfelsia. ECG and GCG inhibited the activities of the Brunfelsia POD with half maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) as 21.5 and 29.7 μM respectively, and increased the colour intensities of the anthocyanins. Catechin and epicatechin did not inhibit the POD activity, while serving as POD substrates, with Km (the Michaelis constant) as 0.48 and 1.23 mM. Similar protein levels of the anthocyanin degradation-related 40-kDa PODs were detected in Brunfelsia and rose. In summary, high amount of tannins, particularly ECG and GCG, in red rose petals may inhibit the degradation-related enzymes, leading to the maintenance of anthocyanins in vivo. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of the In Vivo Biotransformation of Two Emerging Estrogenic Contaminants, BP2 and BPS, in Zebrafish Embryos and Adults
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 704; doi:10.3390/ijms18040704 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Zebrafish embryo assays are increasingly used in the toxicological assessment of endocrine disruptors. Among other advantages, these models are 3R-compliant and are fit for screening purposes. Biotransformation processes are well-recognized as a critical factor influencing toxic response, but major gaps of knowledge exist
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Zebrafish embryo assays are increasingly used in the toxicological assessment of endocrine disruptors. Among other advantages, these models are 3R-compliant and are fit for screening purposes. Biotransformation processes are well-recognized as a critical factor influencing toxic response, but major gaps of knowledge exist regarding the characterization of functional metabolic capacities expressed in zebrafish. Comparative metabolic studies between embryos and adults are even scarcer. Using 3H-labeled chemicals, we examined the fate of two estrogenic emerging contaminants, benzophenone-2 (BP2) and bisphenol S (BPS), in 4-day embryos and adult zebrafish. BPS and BP2 were exclusively metabolized through phase II pathways, with no major qualitative difference between larvae and adults except the occurrence of a BP2-di-glucuronide in adults. Quantitatively, the biotransformation of both molecules was more extensive in adults. For BPS, glucuronidation was the predominant pathway in adults and larvae. For BP2, glucuronidation was the major pathway in larvae, but sulfation predominated in adults, with ca. 40% conversion of parent BP2 and an extensive release of several conjugates into water. Further larvae/adults quantitative differences were demonstrated for both molecules, with higher residue concentrations measured in larvae. The study contributes novel data regarding the metabolism of BPS and BP2 in a fish model and shows that phase II conjugation pathways are already functional in 4-dpf-old zebrafish. Comparative analysis of BP2 and BPS metabolic profiles in zebrafish larvae and adults further supports the use of zebrafish embryo as a relevant model in which toxicity and estrogenic activity can be assessed, while taking into account the absorption and fate of tested substances. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ectopic Expression of Aeluropus littoralis Plasma Membrane Protein Gene AlTMP1 Confers Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Transgenic Tobacco by Improving Water Status and Cation Homeostasis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 692; doi:10.3390/ijms18040692 -
Abstract
We report here the isolation and functional analysis of AlTMP1 gene encoding a member of the PMP3 protein family. In Aeluropus littoralis, AlTMP1 is highly induced by abscisic acid (ABA), cold, salt, and osmotic stresses. Transgenic tobacco expressing AlTMP1 exhibited enhanced tolerance
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We report here the isolation and functional analysis of AlTMP1 gene encoding a member of the PMP3 protein family. In Aeluropus littoralis, AlTMP1 is highly induced by abscisic acid (ABA), cold, salt, and osmotic stresses. Transgenic tobacco expressing AlTMP1 exhibited enhanced tolerance to salt, osmotic, H2O2, heat and freezing stresses at the seedling stage. Under greenhouse conditions, the transgenic plants showed a higher level of tolerance to drought than to salinity. Noteworthy, AlTMP1 plants yielded two- and five-fold more seeds than non-transgenic plants (NT) under salt and drought stresses, respectively. The leaves of AlTMP1 plants accumulated lower Na+ but higher K+ and Ca2+ than those of NT plants. Tolerance to osmotic and salt stresses was associated with higher membrane stability, low electrolyte leakage, and improved water status. Finally, accumulation of AlTMP1 in tobacco altered the regulation of some stress-related genes in either a positive (NHX1, CAT1, APX1, and DREB1A) or negative (HKT1 and KT1) manner that could be related to the observed tolerance. These results suggest that AlTMP1 confers stress tolerance in tobacco through maintenance of ion homeostasis, increased membrane integrity, and water status. The observed tolerance may be due to a direct or indirect effect of AlTMP1 on the expression of stress-related genes which could stimulate an adaptive potential not present in NT plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Role and Function of A2A and A3 Adenosine Receptors in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 697; doi:10.3390/ijms18040697 -
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases that affect joints, causing debilitating pain and disability. Adenosine receptors (ARs) play a key role in the mechanism of inflammation, and the activation of A2A and A
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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases that affect joints, causing debilitating pain and disability. Adenosine receptors (ARs) play a key role in the mechanism of inflammation, and the activation of A2A and A3AR subtypes is often associated with a reduction of the inflammatory status. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of ARs in patients suffering from early-RA (ERA), RA, AS and PsA. Messenger RNA (mRNA) analysis and saturation binding experiments indicated an upregulation of A2A and A3ARs in lymphocytes obtained from patients when compared with healthy subjects. A2A and A3AR agonists inhibited nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation and reduced inflammatory cytokines release, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6. Moreover, A2A and A3AR activation mediated a reduction of metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and MMP-3. The effect of the agonists was abrogated by selective antagonists demonstrating the direct involvement of these receptor subtypes. Taken together, these data confirmed the involvement of ARs in chronic autoimmune rheumatic diseases highlighting the possibility to exploit A2A and A3ARs as therapeutic targets, with the aim to limit the inflammatory responses usually associated with RA, AS and PsA. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors as a Therapeutic Approach to Neuroprotection and Repair
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 696; doi:10.3390/ijms18040696 -
Abstract
A wide diversity of perturbations of the central nervous system (CNS) result in structural damage to the neuroarchitecture and cellular defects, which in turn are accompanied by neurological dysfunction and abortive endogenous neurorepair. Altering intracellular signaling pathways involved in inflammation and immune regulation,
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A wide diversity of perturbations of the central nervous system (CNS) result in structural damage to the neuroarchitecture and cellular defects, which in turn are accompanied by neurological dysfunction and abortive endogenous neurorepair. Altering intracellular signaling pathways involved in inflammation and immune regulation, neural cell death, axon plasticity and remyelination has shown therapeutic benefit in experimental models of neurological disease and trauma. The second messengers, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cyclic GMP), are two such intracellular signaling targets, the elevation of which has produced beneficial cellular effects within a range of CNS pathologies. The only known negative regulators of cyclic nucleotides are a family of enzymes called phosphodiesterases (PDEs) that hydrolyze cyclic nucleotides into adenosine monophosphate (AMP) or guanylate monophosphate (GMP). Herein, we discuss the structure and physiological function as well as the roles PDEs play in pathological processes of the diseased or injured CNS. Further we review the approaches that have been employed therapeutically in experimental paradigms to block PDE expression or activity and in turn elevate cyclic nucleotide levels to mediate neuroprotection or neurorepair as well as discuss both the translational pathway and current limitations in moving new PDE-targeted therapies to the clinic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nerve Growth Factor Signaling from Membrane Microdomains to the Nucleus: Differential Regulation by Caveolins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 693; doi:10.3390/ijms18040693 -
Abstract
Membrane microdomains or “lipid rafts” have emerged as essential functional modules of the cell, critical for the regulation of growth factor receptor-mediated responses. Herein we describe the dichotomy between caveolin-1 and caveolin-2, structural and regulatory components of microdomains, in modulating proliferation and differentiation.
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Membrane microdomains or “lipid rafts” have emerged as essential functional modules of the cell, critical for the regulation of growth factor receptor-mediated responses. Herein we describe the dichotomy between caveolin-1 and caveolin-2, structural and regulatory components of microdomains, in modulating proliferation and differentiation. Caveolin-2 potentiates while caveolin-1 inhibits nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling and subsequent cell differentiation. Caveolin-2 does not appear to impair NGF receptor trafficking but elicits prolonged and stronger activation of MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase), Rsk2 (ribosomal protein S6 kinase 2), and CREB (cAMP response element binding protein). In contrast, caveolin-1 does not alter initiation of the NGF signaling pathway activation; rather, it acts, at least in part, by sequestering the cognate receptors, TrkA and p75NTR, at the plasma membrane, together with the phosphorylated form of the downstream effector Rsk2, which ultimately prevents CREB phosphorylation. The non-phosphorylatable caveolin-1 serine 80 mutant (S80V), no longer inhibits TrkA trafficking or subsequent CREB phosphorylation. MC192, a monoclonal antibody towards p75NTR that does not block NGF binding, prevents exit of both NGF receptors (TrkA and p75NTR) from lipid rafts. The results presented herein underline the role of caveolin and receptor signaling complex interplay in the context of neuronal development and tumorigenesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Silico and In Vitro Analysis of Interaction between Ximelagatran and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-DRB1*07:01
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 694; doi:10.3390/ijms18040694 -
Abstract
Idiosyncratic ximelagatran-induced hepatotoxicity has been reported to be associated with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1*07:01 and ximelagatran has been reported to inhibit the binding of the ligand peptide to HLA-DRB1*07:01 in vitro. In order to predict the possible interaction modes of ximelagatran with HLA-DR
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Idiosyncratic ximelagatran-induced hepatotoxicity has been reported to be associated with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1*07:01 and ximelagatran has been reported to inhibit the binding of the ligand peptide to HLA-DRB1*07:01 in vitro. In order to predict the possible interaction modes of ximelagatran with HLA-DR molecules, in silico docking simulations were performed. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were also performed to predict the effect of ximelagatran on the binding mode of the ligand peptide to HLA-DRB1*07:01. A series of in silico simulations supported the inhibitory effect of ximelagatran on the binding of the ligand peptide to HLA-DRB1*07:01 in vitro. Furthermore, direct interactions of ximelagatran with HLA-DR molecules were evaluated in vitro, which supported the simulated interaction mode of ximelagatran with HLA-DRB1*07:01. These results indicated that ximelagatran directly interacts with the peptide binding groove of HLA-DRB1*07:01 and competes with the ligand peptide for the binding site, which could alter the immune response and lead to the idiosyncratic ximelagatran-induced hepatotoxicity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of MCT1, MCT4 and CD147 Genes in Peripheral Blood Cells of Breast Cancer Patients and Their Potential Use as Diagnostic and Prognostic Markers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 170; doi:10.3390/ijms18040170 -
Abstract
Background: Patients with breast cancer—the deadliest cancer among women—are at constant risk of developing metastasis. Oxidative stress and hypoxia are common feature of tumor cells that can proliferate even in a resultant metabolic acidosis. Despite the low extracellular pH, intracellular pH of tumor
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Background: Patients with breast cancer—the deadliest cancer among women—are at constant risk of developing metastasis. Oxidative stress and hypoxia are common feature of tumor cells that can proliferate even in a resultant metabolic acidosis. Despite the low extracellular pH, intracellular pH of tumor cells remains relatively normal, or even more alkaline due to the action of a membrane protein family known as monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs). The objective of this study was to verify the diagnostic and prognostic value of MCT1, MCT4 and CD147 in tumor and peripheral blood samples of patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapic treatment. Methods: Differential expression of MCT1, MCT4 and CD147 obtained by qPCR was determined by 2−ΔΔCq method between biological samples (tumor and serial samples of peripheral) of patients (n = 125) and healthy women (n = 25). Results: tumor samples with higher histological grades have shown higher expression of these markers; this higher expression was also observed in blood samples obtained at diagnosis of patients when compared to healthy women and in patients with positive progression of the disease (metastasis development). Conclusion: markers studied here could be a promising strategy in routine laboratory evaluations as breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Combined Effects of Curcumin and Lycopene or Bixin in Yoghurt on Inhibition of LDL Oxidation and Increases in HDL and Paraoxonase Levels in Streptozotocin-Diabetic Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 332; doi:10.3390/ijms18040332 -
Abstract
Combination therapy using natural antioxidants to manage diabetes mellitus and its complications is an emerging trend. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes promoted by treatment of streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats with yoghurt enriched with the bioactives curcumin, lycopene, or bixin
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Combination therapy using natural antioxidants to manage diabetes mellitus and its complications is an emerging trend. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes promoted by treatment of streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats with yoghurt enriched with the bioactives curcumin, lycopene, or bixin (the latter two being carotenoids). Antioxidants were administered individually, or as mixtures, and biomarkers of metabolic and oxidative disturbances, particularly those associated with cardiovascular risk, were assessed. Treatment of STZ-diabetic rats with natural products individually decreased glycemia, triacylglycerol, total-cholesterol, oxidative stress biomarkers, including oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), and increased the activities of antioxidant enzymes. Individual carotenoids increased both high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and paraoxonase levels, whereas curcumin increased only paraoxonase. Treatments with mixtures of curcumin and lycopene or bixin had combined effects, decreasing biomarkers of carbohydrate and lipid disturbances (curcumin effect), increasing the HDL levels (carotenoids effects) and mitigating oxidative stress (curcumin and carotenoids effects). The combined effects also led to prevention of the LDL oxidation, thereby mitigating the cardiovascular risk in diabetes. These findings provide evidence for the beneficial effect of curcumin and carotenoid mixtures as a supplementation having antioxidant and antiatherogenic potentials, thus appearing as an interesting strategy to be studied as a complementary therapy for diabetic complications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Negative Enrichment Immunofluorescence and an In Situ Hybridization System in Pancreatic Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 622; doi:10.3390/ijms18040622 -
Abstract
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the most lethal type of gastrointestinal cancer, and early detection and monitoring is an urgent problem. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are emerging as a non-invasive biomarker for tumor detection. However, the low sensitivity is a main problem in the
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Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the most lethal type of gastrointestinal cancer, and early detection and monitoring is an urgent problem. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are emerging as a non-invasive biomarker for tumor detection. However, the low sensitivity is a main problem in the traditional CellSearch System for detecting CTCs, especially in patients with PC. In this study, we used negative enrichment (NE), immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization (FISH) of chromosome 8 (NE-iFISH) to capture and identify CTCs in PC patients. We showed that the NE-iFISH system exhibited a dramatically high detection rate of CTCs in PC patients (90%). The diagnostic rate of PC reached 97.5% when combining CTCs ≥ 2 and carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) > 37 µmol/L. The 1-year survival in the group of CTCs < 3 was significantly higher than that of CTCs ≥ 3 (p = 0.043). In addition, we analyzed the role of chromosomal instability in CTCs detection. The group of triploid (three hybridization signals of chromosome 8) CTCs ≥ 3 showed a shorter 1-year survival (p = 0.0279) and overall survival (p = 0.0188) than the group with triploid CTCs < 3. Importantly, the triploid CTC number but not the overall CTC counts could be a predictor of chemo-sensitivity. Moreover, circulating tumor microembolus (CTMs) were found in stage IV patients, and were positively related to the poor response to chemotherapy. In conclusion, the NE-iFISH system significantly improved the positive detection rate of CTCs and triploid CTC could be used to predict prognosis or the response to the chemotherapy of PC patients. CTM is a potential indicator of the chemotherapeutic effect in advanced PC patients. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Melatonin on Liver Injuries and Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 673; doi:10.3390/ijms18040673 -
Abstract
Liver injuries and diseases are serious health problems worldwide. Various factors, such as chemical pollutants, drugs, and alcohol, could induce liver injuries. Liver diseases involve a wide range of liver pathologies, including hepatic steatosis, fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocarcinoma. Despite all
[...] Read more.
Liver injuries and diseases are serious health problems worldwide. Various factors, such as chemical pollutants, drugs, and alcohol, could induce liver injuries. Liver diseases involve a wide range of liver pathologies, including hepatic steatosis, fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocarcinoma. Despite all the studies performed up to now, therapy choices for liver injuries and diseases are very few. Therefore, the search for a new treatment that could safely and effectively block or reverse liver injuries and diseases remains a priority. Melatonin is a well-known natural antioxidant, and has many bioactivities. There are numerous studies investigating the effects of melatonin on liver injuries and diseases, and melatonin could regulate various molecular pathways, such as inflammation, proliferation, apoptosis, metastasis, and autophagy in different pathophysiological situations. Melatonin could be used for preventing and treating liver injuries and diseases. Herein, we conduct a review summarizing the potential roles of melatonin in liver injuries and diseases, paying special attention to the mechanisms of action. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Divergent Expression Patterns and Function Implications of Four nanos Genes in a Hermaphroditic Fish, Epinephelus coioides
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 685; doi:10.3390/ijms18040685 -
Abstract
Multiple nanos genes have been characterized in several fishes, but the functional implications of their various expression patterns remain unclear. In this study, we identified and characterized four nanos genes from a hermaphroditic fish orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides. Ecnanos1a and Ecnanos1b show
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Multiple nanos genes have been characterized in several fishes, but the functional implications of their various expression patterns remain unclear. In this study, we identified and characterized four nanos genes from a hermaphroditic fish orange-spotted grouper, Epinephelus coioides. Ecnanos1a and Ecnanos1b show divergent expression patterns, and the dynamic expression change of Ecnanos1a in pituitaries during sex change is associated with testis differentiation and spermatogenesis. Ecnanos2 and Ecnanos3 might be germline stem cells (GSCs) and primordial germ cells (PGCs)-specific markers, respectively. Significantly, Ecnanos3 3′-untranslated region (UTR) is necessary for PGC specific expression, where a non-canonical “GCACGTTT” sequence is required for miR-430-mediated repression of Ecnanos3 RNA. Furthermore, grouper Dead end (Dnd) can relieve miR-430 repression in PGCs by associating with a 23 bp U-rich region (URR) in Ecnanos3 3′-UTR. The current study revealed the functional association of multiple nanos genes with PGC formation and germ cell development in orange-spotted grouper, and opened up new possibilities for developing biotechnologies through utilizing the associations between Ecnanos3 and PGCs or between Ecnanos2 and GSCs in the hermaphroditic fish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetically Bioprinted Human Myometrial 3D Cell Rings as A Model for Uterine Contractility
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 683; doi:10.3390/ijms18040683 -
Abstract
Deregulation in uterine contractility can cause common pathological disorders of the female reproductive system, including preterm labor, infertility, inappropriate implantation, and irregular menstrual cycle. A better understanding of human myometrium contractility is essential to designing and testing interventions for these important clinical problems.
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Deregulation in uterine contractility can cause common pathological disorders of the female reproductive system, including preterm labor, infertility, inappropriate implantation, and irregular menstrual cycle. A better understanding of human myometrium contractility is essential to designing and testing interventions for these important clinical problems. Robust studies on the physiology of human uterine contractions require in vitro models, utilizing a human source. Importantly, uterine contractility is a three-dimensionally (3D)-coordinated phenomenon and should be studied in a 3D environment. Here, we propose and assess for the first time a 3D in vitro model for the evaluation of human uterine contractility. Magnetic 3D bioprinting is applied to pattern human myometrium cells into rings, which are then monitored for contractility over time and as a function of various clinically relevant agents. Commercially available and patient-derived myometrium cells were magnetically bioprinted into rings in 384-well formats for throughput uterine contractility analysis. The bioprinted uterine rings from various cell origins and patients show different patterns of contractility and respond differently to clinically relevant uterine contractility inhibitors, indomethacin and nifedipine. We believe that the novel system will serve as a useful tool to evaluate the physiology of human parturition while enabling high-throughput testing of multiple agents and conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cytosolic BNIP3 Dimer Interacts with Mitochondrial BAX Forming Heterodimers in the Mitochondrial Outer Membrane under Basal Conditions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 687; doi:10.3390/ijms18040687 -
Abstract
The primary function of mitochondria is energy production, a task of particular importance especially for cells with a high energy demand like cardiomyocytes. The B-cell lymphoma (BCL-2) family member BCL-2 adenovirus E1B 19 kDa-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) is linked to mitochondrial targeting after
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The primary function of mitochondria is energy production, a task of particular importance especially for cells with a high energy demand like cardiomyocytes. The B-cell lymphoma (BCL-2) family member BCL-2 adenovirus E1B 19 kDa-interacting protein 3 (BNIP3) is linked to mitochondrial targeting after homodimerization, where it functions in inner membrane depolarization and permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) mediating cell death. We investigated the basal distribution of cardiac BNIP3 in vivo and its physical interaction with the pro-death protein BCL2 associated X, apoptosis regulator (BAX) and with mitochondria using immunoblot analysis, co-immunoprecipitation, and continuous wave and pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques. We found that BNIP3 is present as a dimer in the cytosol and in the outer membrane of cardiac mitochondria under basal conditions. It forms disulfide-bridged, but mainly non-covalent dimers in the cytosol. Heterodimers with BAX are formed exclusively in the MOM. Furthermore, our results suggest that BNIP3 interacts with the MOM directly via mitochondrial BAX. However, the physical interactions with BAX and the MOM did not affect the membrane potential and cell viability. These findings suggest that another stimulus other than the mere existence of the BNIP3/BAX dimer in the MOM is required to promote BNIP3 cell-death activity; this could be a potential disturbance of the BNIP3 distribution homeostasis, namely in the direction of the mitochondria. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of a Sativex-Like Combination of Phytocannabinoids on Disease Progression in R6/2 Mice, an Experimental Model of Huntington’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 684; doi:10.3390/ijms18040684 -
Abstract
Several cannabinoids afforded neuroprotection in experimental models of Huntington’s disease (HD). We investigated whether a 1:1 combination of botanical extracts enriched in either ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which are the main constituents of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex®
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Several cannabinoids afforded neuroprotection in experimental models of Huntington’s disease (HD). We investigated whether a 1:1 combination of botanical extracts enriched in either ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which are the main constituents of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex®, is beneficial in R6/2 mice (a transgenic model of HD), as it was previously shown to have positive effects in neurotoxin-based models of HD. We recorded the progression of neurological deficits and the extent of striatal deterioration, using behavioral, in vivo imaging, and biochemical methods in R6/2 mice and their corresponding wild-type mice. The mice were daily treated, starting at 4 weeks after birth, with a Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids (equivalent to 3 mg/kg weight of pure CBD + ∆9-THC) or vehicle. R6/2 mice exhibited the characteristic deterioration in rotarod performance that initiated at 6 weeks and progressed up to 10 weeks, and elevated clasping behavior reflecting dystonia. Treatment with the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids did not recover rotarod performance, but markedly attenuated clasping behavior. The in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) analysis of R6/2 animals at 10 weeks revealed a reduced metabolic activity in the basal ganglia, which was partially attenuated by treatment with the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H+-MRS) analysis of the ex vivo striatum of R6/2 mice at 12 weeks revealed changes in various prognostic markers reflecting events typically found in HD patients and animal models, such as energy failure, mitochondrial dysfunction, and excitotoxicity. Some of these changes (taurine/creatine, taurine/N-acetylaspartate, and N-acetylaspartate/choline ratios) were completely reversed by treatment with the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids. A Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids administered to R6/2 mice at the onset of motor symptoms produced certain benefits on the progression of striatal deterioration in these mice, which supports the interest of this cannabinoid-based medicine for the treatment of disease progression in HD patients. Full article
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