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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 12, Issue 4 (December 2019) – 46 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Among the known metal-containing drugs, ruthenium(III) complexes have emerged for their promising anti-cancer properties, leading to a few candidates in advanced clinical trials. This review highlights the unique role of Ru(III)-complexes in the current panorama of anticancer agents, with particular emphasis on Ru-containing nanoformulations that incorporate the Ru(III) complexes into suitable nanocarriers enabling improved bioavailability and pharmacokinetic properties. Preclinical evaluation of these nanoaggregates is discussed with a special focus on the investigation of their mechanism of action at a molecular level, highlighting their pharmacological potential in tumor disease models and value for biomedical applications. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Evaluation of Saccharide-Based Aliphatic and Aromatic Esters as Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040186 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
A small library of sugar-based (i.e., glucose, mannose and lactose) monoesters containing hydrophobic aliphatic or aromatic tails were synthesized and tested. The antimicrobial activity of the compounds against a target panel of Gram-positive, Gram-negative and fungi was assessed. Based on this preliminary screening, [...] Read more.
A small library of sugar-based (i.e., glucose, mannose and lactose) monoesters containing hydrophobic aliphatic or aromatic tails were synthesized and tested. The antimicrobial activity of the compounds against a target panel of Gram-positive, Gram-negative and fungi was assessed. Based on this preliminary screening, the antibiofilm activity of the most promising molecules was evaluated at different development times of selected food-borne pathogens (E. coli, L. monocytogenes, S. aureus, S. enteritidis). The antibiofilm activity during biofilm formation resulted in the following: mannose C10 > lactose biphenylacetate > glucose C10 > lactose C10. Among them, mannose C10 and lactose biphenylacetate showed an inhibition for E. coli 97% and 92%, respectively. At MICs values, no toxicity was observed on Caco-2 cell line for all the examined compounds. Overall, based on these results, all the sugar-based monoesters showed an interesting profile as safe antimicrobial agents. In particular, mannose C10 and lactose biphenylacetate are the most promising as possible biocompatible and safe preservatives for pharmaceutical and food applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection New Tools for Medicinal Chemists)
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Open AccessCommunication
Biological Characterization of 8-Cyclopropyl-2-(pyridin-3-yl)thiazolo[5,4-f]quinazolin-9(8H)-one, a Promising Inhibitor of DYRK1A
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040185 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRKs) hyperactivity has been linked to the development of a number of human malignancies. DYRK1A is the most studied family member, and the discovery of novel specific inhibitors is attracting considerable interest. The 8-cyclopropyl-2(pyridin-3-yl)thiazolo[5,4-f]quinazolin-9(8H)-one (also [...] Read more.
Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRKs) hyperactivity has been linked to the development of a number of human malignancies. DYRK1A is the most studied family member, and the discovery of novel specific inhibitors is attracting considerable interest. The 8-cyclopropyl-2(pyridin-3-yl)thiazolo[5,4-f]quinazolin-9(8H)-one (also called FC162) was found to be a promising inhibitor of DYRK1A and was characterized in biological experiments, by western transfer and flow cytometry on SH-SY5Y and pre-B cells. Here, the results obtained with FC162 are compared to well-characterized known DYRK1A inhibitors (e.g., Leucettine L41 and EHT1610). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Higher S100B Levels Predict Persistently Elevated Anhedonia with Escitalopram Monotherapy Versus Antidepressant Combinations: Findings from CO-MED Trial
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040184 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
Background: Elevated S100 calcium binding protein B (S100B) levels in systemic circulation may induce neuroinflammation and reflect greater blood–brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction. Neuroinflammation in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), in turn, may reduce likelihood of improvement with serotonergic antidepressants. Methods: Levels of [...] Read more.
Background: Elevated S100 calcium binding protein B (S100B) levels in systemic circulation may induce neuroinflammation and reflect greater blood–brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction. Neuroinflammation in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), in turn, may reduce likelihood of improvement with serotonergic antidepressants. Methods: Levels of S100B were measured in plasma samples obtained prior to initiation of treatment with bupropion-plus-escitalopram, escitalopram-plus-placebo, or venlafaxine-plus-mirtazapine in participants of Combining Medications to Enhance Depression Outcomes trial (n = 153). Depression severity was measured with 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report and anhedonia was measured with 3 items of 30-item Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology. Differential changes in depression severity and anhedonia over acute-phase (baseline, weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) in the three treatment arms were tested with logS100B-by-treatment-arm interaction in mixed model analyses after controlling for age, gender, and body mass index. Results: There was a significant logS100B-by-treatment-arm interaction for anhedonia (F = 3.21; df = 2, 142; p = 0.04) but not for overall depression severity (F = 1.99; df = 2, 142; p = 0.14). Higher logS100B levels were associated with smaller reductions in anhedonia (effect size = 0.67, p = 0.047) in escitalopram monotherapy but not in the other two arms. Correlation coefficients of anhedonia severity averaged over acute-phase (including baseline) with baseline S100B levels were 0.57, −0.19, and 0.22 for escitalopram monotherapy, bupropion-plus-escitalopram and venlafaxine-plus-mirtazapine arms respectively. Conclusion: Higher baseline S100B levels in depressed patients resulted in poorer response to escitalopram monotherapy. Addition of bupropion, a dopaminergic antidepressant, partially mitigated this effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antidepressants: Mechanistic Insights and Future Directions)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Thin-Layer Chromatography in Combination with Densitometry for the Determination of Diclofenac in Enteric Coated Tablets
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040183 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Diclofenac belongs to the drug class non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs widely used in Europe as well as all over the world. Thus, it is important to conduct research on its quality control of available pharmaceutical preparations like for example enteric coated tablets. Among various [...] Read more.
Diclofenac belongs to the drug class non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs widely used in Europe as well as all over the world. Thus, it is important to conduct research on its quality control of available pharmaceutical preparations like for example enteric coated tablets. Among various analytical techniques, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) is ideal for this task due to their short time analysis, ease of operation and low cost. Hence, the aim of this study was to develop the optimal conditions of analysis and quantitative determination of diclofenac sodium in enteric tablets by using TLC in combination with densitometry. Of all chromatographic systems tested, the best is the one which consists of silica gel 60F254 and cyclohexane: chloroform:methanol:glacial acetic acid (6:3:0.5:0.5 v/v) as the mobile phase, which allows the successful separation of examined diclofenac sodium as active component and the largest number (twelve) of its degradation products as potential impurities of its pharmaceutical products. This indicates that the newly developed method is more effective than previously reported assays by Starek and Krzek. Linearity range was found to be 4.00–18.00 μg/spot for diclofenac sodium. The results of the assay of enteric tablet formulations equals 98.8% of diclofenac sodium in relation to label claim is in a good agreement with pharmaceutical requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection The Story of Successful Drugs and Recent FDA-Approved Molecules)
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Open AccessReview
A Decade of Antifungal Leads from Natural Products: 2010–2019
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040182 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1671
Abstract
In this review, we discuss novel natural products discovered within the last decade that are reported to have antifungal activity against pathogenic species. Nearly a hundred natural products were identified that originate from bacteria, algae, fungi, sponges, and plants. Fungi were the most [...] Read more.
In this review, we discuss novel natural products discovered within the last decade that are reported to have antifungal activity against pathogenic species. Nearly a hundred natural products were identified that originate from bacteria, algae, fungi, sponges, and plants. Fungi were the most prolific source of antifungal compounds discovered during the period of review. The structural diversity of these antifungal leads encompasses all the major classes of natural products including polyketides, shikimate metabolites, terpenoids, alkaloids, and peptides. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prostate-Derived ETS Factor (PDEF) Modulates Yes Associated Protein 1 (YAP1) in Prostate Cancer Cells: A Potential Cross-Talk between PDEF and Hippo Signaling
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040181 - 10 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1091
Abstract
PDEF (prostate-derived ETS factor, also known as SAM-pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor (SPDEF)) is expressed in luminal epithelial cells of the prostate gland and associates with luminal phenotype. The Hippo pathway regulates cell growth/proliferation, cellular homeostasis, and organ development by modulating phosphorylation [...] Read more.
PDEF (prostate-derived ETS factor, also known as SAM-pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor (SPDEF)) is expressed in luminal epithelial cells of the prostate gland and associates with luminal phenotype. The Hippo pathway regulates cell growth/proliferation, cellular homeostasis, and organ development by modulating phosphorylation of its downstream effectors. In previous studies, we observed decreased levels of PDEF during prostate cancer progression. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of the expression of PDEF on total/phosphoprotein levels of YAP1 (a downstream effector of the Hippo pathway). We observed that the PC3 and DU145 cells transfected with PDEF (PDEF-PC3 and PDEF-DU145) showed an increased phospho-YAP1 (Ser127) and total YAP1 levels as compared to the respective PC3 vector control (VC-PC3) and DU145 vector control cells (VC-DU145). We also observed an increased cytoplasmic YAP1 levels in PDEF-PC3 cells as compared to VC-PC3 cells. Moreover, our gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of mRNA expression in PDEF-PC3 and VC-PC3 cells revealed that PDEF resulted in inhibition of YAP1 target genes, directly demonstrating that PDEF plays a critical role in modulating YAP1 activity, and by extension in the regulation of the Hippo pathway. We also observed a decrease in YAP1 mRNA levels in prostate cancer tissues as compared to normal prostate tissues. Our analysis of multiple publicly available clinical cohorts revealed a gradual decrease in YAP1 mRNA expression during prostate cancer progression and metastasis. This decrease was similar to the decrease in PDEF levels, which we had reported earlier, and we observed a direct correlation between PDEF and YAP1 expression in CRPC data set. To the best of our knowledge, these results provide the first demonstration of inhibiting YAP1 activity by PDEF in any system and suggest a cross-talk between PDEF and the Hippo signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Protein Kinases and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Metabolism and Pharmacokinetic Study of the Boron-Containing Prodrug of Belinostat (ZL277), a Pan HDAC Inhibitor with Enhanced Bioavailability
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040180 - 08 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
ZL277 is a prodrug of belinostat with enhanced bioavailability and efficacy as a pan histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. In this study, we investigated the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of ZL277 in liver S9 fractions, liver microsomes, liver cytosol, and in mice. Metabolic products were [...] Read more.
ZL277 is a prodrug of belinostat with enhanced bioavailability and efficacy as a pan histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. In this study, we investigated the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of ZL277 in liver S9 fractions, liver microsomes, liver cytosol, and in mice. Metabolic products were identified and quantified by a combination of liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. The in vitro metabolic profile of ZL277 includes ZL277-B(OH)2-452, the major oxidative metabolite ZL277-OH-424, the active ingredient belinostat, belinostat amide, belinostat acid, and methylated belinostat in liver S9 fractions. Both ZL277-OH-424 and belinostat underwent further glucuronidation in liver microsome, whereas only ZL277-OH-424, but not belinostat, underwent some level of sulfation in rat liver cytosols. These metabolites were examined in plasma and in a breast tumor model in vivo. They were also examined in urine and feces from mice treated with ZL277. The pharmacokinetic study of ZL277 showed the parameters of active drug belinostat with a half-life (t1/2) of 10.7 h, an area under curve value (AUC) of 1506.9 ng/mL*h, and a maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) of 172 ng/mL, reached 3 h after a single dose of 10 mg/kg. The hydrolysis product of the prodrug, ZL277-B(OH)2-452 showed an AUC of 8306 ng/mL*h and Cmax of 931 ng/mL 3 h after drug administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection The Story of Successful Drugs and Recent FDA-Approved Molecules)
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Open AccessMeeting Report
27th Annual GP2A Medicinal Chemistry Conference
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040179 - 06 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1264
Abstract
The 27th annual GP2A (Groupement des Pharmacochimistes de l′Arc Atlantique/Group of Medicinal Chemists in the Atlantic Arc) conference took place from 21 to 23 August 2019, at the East Midlands Conference Centre (University Park, Nottingham, United Kingdom) and was hosted by the Division [...] Read more.
The 27th annual GP2A (Groupement des Pharmacochimistes de l′Arc Atlantique/Group of Medicinal Chemists in the Atlantic Arc) conference took place from 21 to 23 August 2019, at the East Midlands Conference Centre (University Park, Nottingham, United Kingdom) and was hosted by the Division of Biomolecular Science and Medicinal Chemistry (BSMC), within the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. The event brought together an international delegation of researchers with interests in medicinal chemistry and interfacing disciplines. In addition, a pre-conference workshop provided an opportunity for younger researchers to develop their theoretical knowledge in quantitative pharmacology. Abstracts of presentations by the 14 invited speakers and 6 young researchers, in addition to 41 posters, are included in this report. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Iron as Therapeutic Target in Human Diseases
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040178 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 894
Abstract
Iron is essential for almost all organisms, being involved in oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and respiration; however, it is also potentially toxic via the formation of free radicals [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron as Therapeutic Targets in Human Diseases) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
A Robust Method for Assaying the Immunoreactive Fraction in Nonequilibrium Systems
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040177 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
The immunoreactive fraction r provides important information on the functional purity of radiolabeled proteins. It is traditionally determined by saturating the radioimmunoconjugate with an increasing excess of antigen, followed by linear extrapolation to infinite antigen excess in a double inverse “Lindmo plot”. Although [...] Read more.
The immunoreactive fraction r provides important information on the functional purity of radiolabeled proteins. It is traditionally determined by saturating the radioimmunoconjugate with an increasing excess of antigen, followed by linear extrapolation to infinite antigen excess in a double inverse “Lindmo plot”. Although several reports have described shortcomings in the Lindmo plot, a systematic examination is lacking. Using an experimental and simulation-based approach, we compared—for accuracy, precision and robustness—the Lindmo plot with the “rectangular hyperbola” extrapolation method based on the Langmuir model. The differences between the theoretical and extrapolated r values demonstrate that nonequilibrium and antigen depletion are important sources of error. The mathematical distortions resulting from the linearization of the data in the Lindmo plot induce fragility towards stochastic errors and make it necessary to exclude low bound fractions. The rectangular hyperbola provides robust and precise r estimates from raw binding data, even for slow kinetics. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
In Vitro Characterization and Stability Profiles of Antibody–Fluorophore Conjugates Derived from Interchain Cysteine Cross-Linking or Lysine Bioconjugation
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040176 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Fluorescent labelling of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is classically performed by chemical bioconjugation methods. The most frequent labelling technique to generate antibody–fluorophore conjugates (AFCs) involves the bioconjugation onto the mAb lysines of a dye bearing an N-hydroxysuccinimide ester or an isothiocyanate group. However, [...] Read more.
Fluorescent labelling of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is classically performed by chemical bioconjugation methods. The most frequent labelling technique to generate antibody–fluorophore conjugates (AFCs) involves the bioconjugation onto the mAb lysines of a dye bearing an N-hydroxysuccinimide ester or an isothiocyanate group. However, discrepancies between labelling experiments or kits can be observed, related to reproducibility issues, alteration of antigen binding, or mAb properties. The lack of information on labelling kits and the incomplete characterization of the obtained labelled mAbs largely contribute to these issues. In this work, we generated eight AFCs through either lysine or interchain cysteine cross-linking bioconjugation of green-emitting fluorophores (fluorescein or BODIPY) onto either trastuzumab or rituximab. This strategy allowed us to study the influence of fluorophore solubility, bioconjugation technology, and antibody nature on two known labelling procedures. The structures of these AFCs were thoroughly analyzed by mass spectroscopy, and their antigen binding properties were studied. We then compared these AFCs in vitro by studying their respective spectral properties and stabilities. The shelf stability profiles and sensibility to pH variation of these AFCs prove to be dye-, antibody- and labelling-technology-dependent. Fluorescence emission in AFCs was higher when lysine labelling was used, but cross-linked AFCs were revealed to be more stable. This must be taken into account for the design of any biological study involving antibody labelling. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection New Tools for Medicinal Chemists)
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Open AccessArticle
Libidibia ferrea (jucá), a Traditional Anti-Inflammatory: A Study of Acute Toxicity in Adult and Embryos Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040175 - 30 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
The plant species Libidibia ferrea (Mart. ex Tul.) LP Queiroz var. ferrea basionym of Caesalpinia ferrea (Mart. ex Tul.) is used in various regions of Brazil in folk medicine in the treatment of several health problems, especially in acute and chronic inflammatory processes. [...] Read more.
The plant species Libidibia ferrea (Mart. ex Tul.) LP Queiroz var. ferrea basionym of Caesalpinia ferrea (Mart. ex Tul.) is used in various regions of Brazil in folk medicine in the treatment of several health problems, especially in acute and chronic inflammatory processes. Most of the preparations employed are alcoholic. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the acute toxicity of the hydroethanolic extract of fruits of Libidibia ferrea (EHEFLf) in zebrafish, emphasizing the possible changes in the organic-cellular level of the gills, liver, kidneys, and intestine and on embryos. The result obtained by LC-M/MS from EHEFLf indicated a high concentration of possible polyhydroxylated substances. EHEFLf, at a dose of 2 g/kg orally, produced non-significant alterations of the analyzed organs. However, for embryos, the treatment with different concentrations demonstrated heart toxicity that was concentration-dependent. There is no evidence of a correlation of the observed effects with the phytochemical composition, and considering the species of animal used, it can be suggested that the oral use of L. ferrea hydroethanolic extract has an acceptable degree of safety for use as an oral medicinal product. and embryo results have shown significant affinity to the heart; however, it is perceived to be related to the concentrations used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Treatment with the Hypomethylating Agent 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine in Murine Type II Collagen-Induced Arthritis
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040174 - 27 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
The emerging role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases has recently attracted much interest on the possible use of epigenetic modulators for the prevention and treatment of these diseases. In particular, we and others have shown that drugs that inhibit DNA [...] Read more.
The emerging role of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases has recently attracted much interest on the possible use of epigenetic modulators for the prevention and treatment of these diseases. In particular, we and others have shown that drugs that inhibit DNA methylation, such as azacitidine (AZA) and decitabine (DAC), already used for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia, exert powerful beneficial effects in rodent models of type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain Barrè syndrome. Along this line of research, we have presently studied the effects of DAC in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis induced by type II collagen and have demonstrated that DAC administration was associated with a significant amelioration of the clinical condition, along with in vivo and ex vivo modification of the immunological profile of the so-treated mice, that exhibited a diminished production of Th1 and Th17 pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduction of anti-type II collagen autoantibodies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Toxicity of the Hydroethanolic Extract of the Flowers of Acmella oleracea L. in Zebrafish (Danio rerio): Behavioral and Histopathological Studies
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040173 - 27 Nov 2019
Viewed by 935
Abstract
Hydroethanolic preparations of the botanical species Acmella oleracea L. are used in the north of Brazil for the treatment of various diseases. However, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the toxicity of this species. The objective of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Hydroethanolic preparations of the botanical species Acmella oleracea L. are used in the north of Brazil for the treatment of various diseases. However, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the toxicity of this species. The objective of this study was to evaluate the acute toxicity of the hydroethanolic extract of A. oleracea L. (EHFAo) flowers in zebrafish by immersion and oral administration. The extract was analyzed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS). EHFAo was administered orally (44.457, 88.915, 199.94, 281.83, and 448.81 mg/kg) and by immersion (250, 300, 350, 400, and 450 µg/L). Behavioral and histopathological analysis of gills, liver, intestine, and kidney were performed. The presence of (2E,6Z,8E)-N-isobutyl-2,6,8-decatrienamide (spilanthol) in EHFAo was identified by ultra-high-re.solution liquid chromatography–electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (UHPLC–ESI-MS). Treatment with EHFAo caused significant behavioral changes and death. The calculated median lethal dose (LD50) was 148.42 mg/kg, and the calculated median lethal concentration (LC50) was 320 μg/L. In the histopathological study, it was observed that upon oral treatment, the tissue alterations that compromised the normal functioning of the organism occurred with EHFAo doses of 88.915, 199.53, and 281.83 mg/kg, the intestine being the most affected. When the treatment was performed by immersion, the most toxic EHFAo concentrations according to the histopathological evaluation were 300, 350, and 400 μg/L, with the most affected organ being the gills. Finally, EHFAo in this study was shown to be more toxic to the liver, intestine, and kidneys when administered orally and to gills, liver, and kidneys when administered by immersion in water. Therefore, considering the results obtained and the chemical characteristics of the main phytochemical marker of EHFAo, spilanthol, it can be suggested that, depending on the dose, this compound can lead to histopathological damages in the organs highlighted in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Studies on Anti-Depressant Bioactive Substances in Selected Species from the Genera Hemerocallis and Gladiolus: A Systematic Review
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040172 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
Herbal therapy is a potential alternative applied to pharmacological alleviation of depression symptoms and treatment of this disorder, which is predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the most serious health problem worldwide over the next several years. It has been [...] Read more.
Herbal therapy is a potential alternative applied to pharmacological alleviation of depression symptoms and treatment of this disorder, which is predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the most serious health problem worldwide over the next several years. It has been well documented that many herbs with psychotropic effects have far fewer side effects than a variety of pharmaceutical agents used by psychiatrists for the treatment of depression. This systematic review presents literature data on the antidepressant activity of representatives of the genera Hemerocallis (H. fulva and H. citrina Baroni, family Xanthorrhoeaceae) and Gladiolus (G. dalenii, family Iridaceae) and on biologically active compounds and their mechanisms of action to consider the application of herbal preparations supporting the treatment of depression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Thermosensitive Nanosystems Associated with Hyperthermia for Cancer Treatment
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040171 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1219
Abstract
Conventional chemotherapy regimens have limitations due to serious adverse effects. Targeted drug delivery systems to reduce systemic toxicity are a powerful drug development platform. Encapsulation of antitumor drug(s) in thermosensitive nanocarriers is an emerging approach with a promise to improve uptake and increase [...] Read more.
Conventional chemotherapy regimens have limitations due to serious adverse effects. Targeted drug delivery systems to reduce systemic toxicity are a powerful drug development platform. Encapsulation of antitumor drug(s) in thermosensitive nanocarriers is an emerging approach with a promise to improve uptake and increase therapeutic efficacy, as they can be activated by hyperthermia selectively at the tumor site. In this review, we focus on thermosensitive nanosystems associated with hyperthermia for the treatment of cancer, in preclinical and clinical use. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Advances in Regulating the Hepcidin/Ferroportin Axis
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040170 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1732
Abstract
The interaction between hepcidin and ferroportin is the key mechanism involved in regulation of systemic iron homeostasis. This axis can be affected by multiple stimuli including plasma iron levels, inflammation and erythropoietic demand. Genetic defects or prolonged inflammatory stimuli results in dysregulation of [...] Read more.
The interaction between hepcidin and ferroportin is the key mechanism involved in regulation of systemic iron homeostasis. This axis can be affected by multiple stimuli including plasma iron levels, inflammation and erythropoietic demand. Genetic defects or prolonged inflammatory stimuli results in dysregulation of this axis, which can lead to several disorders including hereditary hemochromatosis and anaemia of chronic disease. An imbalance in iron homeostasis is increasingly being associated with worse disease outcomes in many clinical conditions including multiple cancers and neurological disorders. Currently, there are limited treatment options for regulating iron levels in patients and thus significant efforts are being made to uncover approaches to regulate hepcidin and ferroportin expression. These approaches either target these molecules directly or regulatory steps which mediate hepcidin or ferroportin expression. This review examines the current status of hepcidin and ferroportin agonists and antagonists, as well as inducers and inhibitors of these proteins and their regulatory pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron as Therapeutic Targets in Human Diseases) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Evaluation of Arylsemicarbazone Derivatives as Potential Anticancer Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040169 - 17 Nov 2019
Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Fourteen arylsemicarbazone derivatives were synthesized and evaluated in order to find agents with potential anticancer activity. Cytotoxic screening was performed against K562, HL-60, MOLT-4, HEp-2, NCI-H292, HT-29 and MCF-7 tumor cell lines. Compounds 3c and 4a were active against the tested cancer cell [...] Read more.
Fourteen arylsemicarbazone derivatives were synthesized and evaluated in order to find agents with potential anticancer activity. Cytotoxic screening was performed against K562, HL-60, MOLT-4, HEp-2, NCI-H292, HT-29 and MCF-7 tumor cell lines. Compounds 3c and 4a were active against the tested cancer cell lines, being more cytotoxic for the HL-60 cell line with IC50 values of 13.08 μM and 11.38 μM, respectively. Regarding the protein kinase inhibition assay, 3c inhibited seven different kinases and 4a strongly inhibited the CK1δ/ε kinase. The studied kinases are involved in several cellular functions such as proliferation, migration, cell death and cell cycle progression. Additional analysis by flow cytometry revealed that 3c and 4a caused depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane, suggesting apoptosis mediated by the intrinsic pathway. Compound 3c induced arrest in G1 phase of the cell cycle on HL-60 cells, and in the annexin V assay approximately 50% of cells were in apoptosis at the highest concentration tested (26 μM). Compound 4a inhibited cell cycle by accumulation of abnormal postmitotic cells at G1 phase and induced DNA fragmentation at the highest concentration (22 μM). Full article
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Open AccessReview
Chemical Probes for the Adenosine Receptors
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040168 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Research on the adenosine receptors has been supported by the continuous discovery of new chemical probes characterized by more and more affinity and selectivity for the single adenosine receptor subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B and A3 adenosine receptors). [...] Read more.
Research on the adenosine receptors has been supported by the continuous discovery of new chemical probes characterized by more and more affinity and selectivity for the single adenosine receptor subtypes (A1, A2A, A2B and A3 adenosine receptors). Furthermore, the development of new techniques for the detection of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) requires new specific probes. In fact, if in the past radioligands were the most important GPCR probes for detection, compound screening and diagnostic purposes, nowadays, increasing importance is given to fluorescent and covalent ligands. In fact, advances in techniques such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescent polarization, as well as new applications in flow cytometry and different fluorescence-based microscopic techniques, are at the origin of the extensive research of new fluorescent ligands for these receptors. The resurgence of covalent ligands is due in part to a change in the common thinking in the medicinal chemistry community that a covalent drug is necessarily more toxic than a reversible one, and in part to the useful application of covalent ligands in GPCR structural biology. In this review, an updated collection of available chemical probes targeting adenosine receptors is reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adenosine Receptors as Attractive Targets in Human Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Assessment of Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, and Cytotoxic Properties of Saccharin–Tetrazolyl and –Thiadiazolyl Derivatives: The Simple Dependence of the pH Value on Antimicrobial Activity
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040167 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
The antimicrobial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities of a series of saccharin–tetrazolyl and –thiadiazolyl analogs were examined. The assessment of the antimicrobial properties of the referred-to molecules was completed through an evaluation of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) values against [...] Read more.
The antimicrobial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic activities of a series of saccharin–tetrazolyl and –thiadiazolyl analogs were examined. The assessment of the antimicrobial properties of the referred-to molecules was completed through an evaluation of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) values against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and yeasts. Scrutiny of the MIC and MBC values of the compounds at pH 4.0, 7.0, and 9.0 against four Gram-positive strains revealed high values for both the MIC and MBC at pH 4.0 (ranging from 0.98 to 125 µg/mL) and moderate values at pH 7.0 and 9.0, exposing strong antimicrobial activities in an acidic medium. An antioxidant activity analysis of the molecules was performed by using the DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) method, which showed high activity for the TSMT (N-(1-methyl-2H-tetrazol-5-yl)-N-(1,1-dioxo-1,2-benzisothiazol-3-yl) amine, 7) derivative (90.29% compared to a butylated hydroxytoluene positive control of 61.96%). Besides, the general toxicity of the saccharin analogs was evaluated in an Artemia salina model, which displayed insignificant toxicity values. In turn, upon an assessment of cell viability, all of the compounds were found to be nontoxic in range concentrations of 0–100 µg/mL in H7PX glioma cells. The tested molecules have inspiring antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that represent potential core structures in the design of new drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antibacterial Agents)
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Open AccessArticle
New 55Co-labeled Albumin-Binding Folate Derivatives as Potential PET Agents for Folate Receptor Imaging
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040166 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Overexpression of folate receptors (FRs) on different tumor types (e.g., ovarian, lung) make FRs attractive in vivo targets for directed diagnostic/therapeutic agents. Currently, no diagnostic agent suitable for positron emission tomography (PET) has been adopted for clinical FR imaging. In this work, two [...] Read more.
Overexpression of folate receptors (FRs) on different tumor types (e.g., ovarian, lung) make FRs attractive in vivo targets for directed diagnostic/therapeutic agents. Currently, no diagnostic agent suitable for positron emission tomography (PET) has been adopted for clinical FR imaging. In this work, two 55Co-labeled albumin-binding folate derivatives-[55Co]Co-cm10 and [55Co]Co-rf42-with characteristics suitable for PET imaging have been developed and evaluated. High radiochemical yields (≥95%) and in vitro stabilities (≥93%) were achieved for both compounds, and cell assays demonstrated FR-mediated uptake. Both 55Co-labeled folate conjugates demonstrated high tumor uptake of 17% injected activity per gram of tissue (IA/g) at 4 h in biodistribution studies performed in KB tumor-bearing mice. Renal uptake was similar to other albumin-binding folate derivatives, and liver uptake was lower than that of previously reported [64Cu]Cu-rf42. Small animal PET/CT images confirmed the biodistribution results and showed the clear delineation of FR-expressing tumors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bucillamine Prevents Afatinib-Mediated Inhibition of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Signaling
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040165 - 07 Nov 2019
Viewed by 972
Abstract
Molecular targeting therapies often cause characteristic adverse effects, such as skin rash during anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapies, making treatment continuation difficult. In contrast, skin symptoms induced by EGFR inhibition are strongly correlated with the overall survival of the therapies. Therefore, controlling [...] Read more.
Molecular targeting therapies often cause characteristic adverse effects, such as skin rash during anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapies, making treatment continuation difficult. In contrast, skin symptoms induced by EGFR inhibition are strongly correlated with the overall survival of the therapies. Therefore, controlling adverse effects not only facilitates treatment continuation but also increases clinical benefits. In this study, we proposed a novel strategy for reducing EGFR–tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-induced adverse effects in nontumorous organs by repositioning approved medicines using a zebrafish model. We developed a model system for evaluating chemical quenchers of afatinib, a clinically available irreversible EGFR-TKI, by scoring the inhibition of afatinib-induced hyperformation of lateral line neuromasts in zebrafish larvae. Bucillamine, an antirheumatic drug, was identified as an afatinib quencher in the zebrafish system and inhibited TKI activity in vitro. In addition, bucillamine restored EGFR autophosphorylation and downstream signaling in afatinib-treated A431 cells. Thus, topical bucillamine is a potential reliever of irreversible EGFR-TKI-induced skin rash. The zebrafish model can be applied to a screening for quenchers of other anti-EGFR-targeting therapies, including reversible TKIs and biologics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Folate-Targeted mRNA Delivery Using Chitosan-Functionalized Selenium Nanoparticles: Potential in Cancer Immunotherapy
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040164 - 04 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1357
Abstract
Systemic messenger RNA (mRNA) delivery, although still in its infancy, holds immense potential for application in cancer vaccination and immunotherapy. Its advantages over DNA transfection make it attractive in applications where transient expression is desired. However, this has proved challenging due to mRNA’s [...] Read more.
Systemic messenger RNA (mRNA) delivery, although still in its infancy, holds immense potential for application in cancer vaccination and immunotherapy. Its advantages over DNA transfection make it attractive in applications where transient expression is desired. However, this has proved challenging due to mRNA’s instability and susceptibility to degradation. Selenium is important for immune function and modulation, with selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) finding a niche in biomedicine as drug delivery vehicles, owing to their biocompatibility, low toxicity, and biodegradability. In this investigation, we synthesized chitosan-coated SeNPs with a folic acid targeting moiety for Fluc mRNA delivery to cancer cells in vitro. Synthesized SeNPs were stable and well dispersed, and ranged from 59 to 102 nm in size. Nanoparticles bound and protected mRNA from RNase degradation, while exhibiting low cytotoxicity in the human embryonic kidney (HEK293), breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), and nasopharyngeal (KB) cells in culture. Moderate cytotoxicity evidenced in the colorectal carcinoma (Caco-2) and colon carcinoma (HT-29) cells was attributed to apoptosis induction by selenium, as confirmed by acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining. Selenium uptake studies corroborated the transfection results, where significant transgene expression was evident for the overexpressed folate receptor-positive KB cells when compared to the other cells with less or no folate receptors. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Fighting Hypoxia to Improve PDT
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040163 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2087
Abstract
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has drawn great interest in recent years mainly due to its low side effects and few drug resistances. Nevertheless, one of the issues of PDT is the need for oxygen to induce a photodynamic effect. Tumours often have low oxygen [...] Read more.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has drawn great interest in recent years mainly due to its low side effects and few drug resistances. Nevertheless, one of the issues of PDT is the need for oxygen to induce a photodynamic effect. Tumours often have low oxygen concentrations, related to the abnormal structure of the microvessels leading to an ineffective blood distribution. Moreover, PDT consumes O2. In order to improve the oxygenation of tumour or decrease hypoxia, different strategies are developed and are described in this review: (1) The use of O2 vehicle; (2) the modification of the tumour microenvironment (TME); (3) combining other therapies with PDT; (4) hypoxia-independent PDT; (5) hypoxia-dependent PDT and (6) fractional PDT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photodynamic Therapy 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydroxypyridinone-Diamine Hybrids as Potential Neuroprotective Agents in the PC12 Cell-Line Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040162 - 27 Oct 2019
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
There is an urgent need to propose effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although the origin of the disease is poorly understood, several therapeutic options have been proposed. The new therapeutic approaches targeting biometal-mediated neurodegenerative pathways appear to be interesting ones. As a [...] Read more.
There is an urgent need to propose effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Although the origin of the disease is poorly understood, several therapeutic options have been proposed. The new therapeutic approaches targeting biometal-mediated neurodegenerative pathways appear to be interesting ones. As a continuation of our preceding studies, two novel series of advanced glycation endproducts (AGE)/advanced lipid peroxidation endproducts (ALE) inhibitors have been developed as multifunctional scavengers. This extended work allowed us to highlight the new hydroxypyridinone-diamine hybrid IIa-3 bearing a C4 alkyl linker between the two pharmacophores. This derivative exhibited preserved potent capacities to trap reactive carbonyl species (vicinal diamine function) as well as reactive oxygen species and transition metals (hydroxypyridinone moiety) in comparison with previously described lead compound 1. In addition, its good predicted absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) properties were correlated with a better efficacy to inhibit in vitro methylglyoxal-induced apoptosis in neuronal-like PC12 cells. This new promising agent revealed improved druglikeness and ability to prevent biometal-mediated oxidative and carbonyl stress amplification involved in AD pathogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Synthesis of Curcumin Derivatives and Analysis of Their Antitumor Effects in Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Cell Lines
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040161 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
We analyzed antitumor effects of a series of curcumin analogues. Some of them were obtained by reaction of substitution involving the two phenolic OH groups of curcumin while the analogues with a substituent at C-4 was prepared following an original procedure that regards [...] Read more.
We analyzed antitumor effects of a series of curcumin analogues. Some of them were obtained by reaction of substitution involving the two phenolic OH groups of curcumin while the analogues with a substituent at C-4 was prepared following an original procedure that regards the condensation of benzenesulfenic acid onto the nucleophilic central carbon of the curcumin skeleton. We analyzed cytotoxic effects of such derivatives on two TNBC (triple negative breast cancer) cell lines, SUM 149 and MDA-MB-231, but only three of them showed an IC50 in a lower micromolar range with respect to curcumin. We also focused on these three derivatives that in both cell lines exhibited a higher or at least equivalent pro-apoptotic effect than curcumin. The analysis of molecular mechanisms of action of the curcumin derivatives under study has highlighted that they decreased NF-κB transcriptional factor activity, and consequently the expression of some NF-κB targets. Our data confirmed once again that curcumin may represent a very good lead compound to design analogues with higher antitumor capacities and able to overcome drug resistance with respect to conventional ones, even in tumors difficult to treat as TNBC. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Study of Iron Piperazine-Based Chelators as Potential Siderophore Mimetics
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040160 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1291
Abstract
Gram-negative bacteria’s resistance such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the Burkholderia group to conventional antibiotics leads to therapeutic failure. Use of siderophores as Trojan horses to internalize antibacterial agents or toxic metals within bacteria is a promising strategy to overcome resistance phenomenon. To combat [...] Read more.
Gram-negative bacteria’s resistance such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the Burkholderia group to conventional antibiotics leads to therapeutic failure. Use of siderophores as Trojan horses to internalize antibacterial agents or toxic metals within bacteria is a promising strategy to overcome resistance phenomenon. To combat the Pseudomonas sp, we have synthesized and studied two piperazine-based siderophore mimetics carrying either catecholate moieties (1) or hydroxypyridinone groups (2) as iron chelators. These siderophore-like molecules were prepared in no more than four steps with good global yields. The physicochemical study has highlighted a strong iron affinity since their pFe values were higher than 20. 1 possesses even a pFe value superior than those of pyoverdine, the P. aeruginosa endogenous siderophore, suggesting its potential ability to compete with it. At physiological pH, 1 forms mainly a 2:3 complex with iron, whereas two species are observed for 2. Unfortunately, the corresponding Ga(III)-1 and 2 complexes showed no antibacterial activity against P. aeruginosa DSM 1117 strain. The evaluation of their siderophore-like activity showed that 1 and 2 could be internalized by the bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection New Tools for Medicinal Chemists)
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Open AccessArticle
Amino-3,5-Dicyanopyridines Targeting the Adenosine Receptors. Ranging from Pan Ligands to Combined A1/A2B Partial Agonists
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040159 - 22 Oct 2019
Viewed by 1230
Abstract
The amino-3,5-dicyanopyridine derivatives belong to an intriguing series of adenosine receptor (AR) ligands that has been developed by both academic researchers and industry. Indeed, the studies carried out to date underline the versatility of the dicyanopyridine scaffold to obtain AR ligands with not [...] Read more.
The amino-3,5-dicyanopyridine derivatives belong to an intriguing series of adenosine receptor (AR) ligands that has been developed by both academic researchers and industry. Indeed, the studies carried out to date underline the versatility of the dicyanopyridine scaffold to obtain AR ligands with not only a wide range of affinities but also with diverse degrees of efficacies at the different ARs. These observations prompted us to investigate on the structure–activity relationships (SARs) of this series leading to important previously reported results. The present SAR study has helped to confirm the 1H-imidazol-2-yl group at R2 position as an important feature for producing potent AR agonists. Moreover, the nature of the R1 substituent highly affects not only affinity/activity at the hA1 and hA2B ARs but also selectivity versus the other subtypes. Potent hA1 and hA2B AR ligands were developed, and among them, the 2-amino-6-[(1H-imidazol-2-ylmethyl)sulfanyl]-4-[4-(prop-2-en-1-yloxy)phenyl]pyridine-3,5-dicarbonitrile (3) is active in the low nanomolar range at these subtypes and shows a good trend of selectivity versus both the hA2A and hA3 ARs. This combined hA1/hA2B partial agonist activity leads to a synergistic effect on glucose homeostasis and could potentially be beneficial in treating diabetes and related complications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adenosine Receptors as Attractive Targets in Human Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Neural Predictors of the Antidepressant Placebo Response
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040158 - 19 Oct 2019
Viewed by 953
Abstract
The antidepressant placebo response remains a barrier to the development of novel therapies for depression, despite decades of efforts to identify and methodologically address its clinical correlates. This manuscript reviews recent neuroimaging studies that aim to identify the neural signature of antidepressant placebo [...] Read more.
The antidepressant placebo response remains a barrier to the development of novel therapies for depression, despite decades of efforts to identify and methodologically address its clinical correlates. This manuscript reviews recent neuroimaging studies that aim to identify the neural signature of antidepressant placebo response. Data captured in clinical trials have primarily focused on antidepressant efficacy or predicting antidepressant response and have reliably implicated the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) in antidepressant placebo response, but also in medication response. Imaging and electroencephalography (EEG) experiments specifically interrogating the mechanism of antidepressant placebo response, while few, suggest the reward network, including opiate neurotransmission, is also involved. Therefore, while the rACC is likely involved in the antidepressant placebo response, its observation in isolation is unlikely to prospectively distinguish antidepressant placebo from medication responders. Instead, future studies of antidepressant placebo response should probe the reward network as a whole and incorporate sophisticated computational analytical approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antidepressants: Mechanistic Insights and Future Directions)
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Open AccessReview
Computer-Assisted and Data Driven Approaches for Surveillance, Drug Discovery, and Vaccine Design for the Zika Virus
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040157 - 16 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1391
Abstract
Human life has been at the edge of catastrophe for millennia due diseases which emerge and reemerge at random. The recent outbreak of the Zika virus (ZIKV) is one such menace that shook the global public health community abruptly. Modern technologies, including computational [...] Read more.
Human life has been at the edge of catastrophe for millennia due diseases which emerge and reemerge at random. The recent outbreak of the Zika virus (ZIKV) is one such menace that shook the global public health community abruptly. Modern technologies, including computational tools as well as experimental approaches, need to be harnessed fast and effectively in a coordinated manner in order to properly address such challenges. In this paper, based on our earlier research, we have proposed a four-pronged approach to tackle the emerging pathogens like ZIKV: (a) Epidemiological modelling of spread mechanisms of ZIKV; (b) assessment of the public health risk of newly emerging strains of the pathogens by comparing them with existing strains/pathogens using fast computational sequence comparison methods; (c) implementation of vaccine design methods in order to produce a set of probable peptide vaccine candidates for quick synthesis/production and testing in the laboratory; and (d) designing of novel therapeutic molecules and their laboratory testing as well as validation of new drugs or repurposing of drugs for use against ZIKV. For each of these stages, we provide an extensive review of the technical challenges and current state-of-the-art. Further, we outline the future areas of research and discuss how they can work together to proactively combat ZIKV or future emerging pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zika Virus: Therapeutic Advances)
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