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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 13, Issue 12 (December 2020) – 68 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Zinc and Copper Detection by MRI using Metal-Based Contrast Agents - What We Know Thus Far. Zn2+ and Cu2+ are essential cations involved in numerous biological processes, and variations in their concentrations can cause diseases. Hence, detection and quantification of these cations are of utmost importance for better understanding their role and for early diagnosis. MRI is a powerful imaging technique and responsive contrast agents have been successfully utilized to detect Zn2+ and are now being developed for Cu2+. These systems are reviewed and the challenges encountered going from Zn2+ to Cu2+ detection are discussed (selectivity and responsivity at physiologically relevant concentrations). In vivo applications are only in their infancy and the recent developments are described, along with the associated quantification problems. View this paper
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Article
Exploring the Anti-Cancer Mechanism of Novel 3,4′-Substituted Diaryl Guanidinium Derivatives
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120485 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 809
Abstract
We previously identified a guanidinium-based lead compound that inhibited BRAF through a hypothetic type-III allosteric mechanism. Considering the pharmacophore identified in this lead compound (i.e., “lipophilic group”, “di-substituted guanidine”, “phenylguanidine polar end”), several modifications were investigated to improve its cytotoxicity in different cancer [...] Read more.
We previously identified a guanidinium-based lead compound that inhibited BRAF through a hypothetic type-III allosteric mechanism. Considering the pharmacophore identified in this lead compound (i.e., “lipophilic group”, “di-substituted guanidine”, “phenylguanidine polar end”), several modifications were investigated to improve its cytotoxicity in different cancer cell lines. Thus, several lipophilic groups were explored, the di-substituted guanidine was replaced by a secondary amine and the phenyl ring in the polar end was substituted by a pyridine. In a structure-based design approach, four representative derivatives were docked into an in-house model of an active triphosphate-containing BRAF protein, and the interactions established were analysed. Based on these computational studies, a variety of derivatives was synthesized, and their predicted drug-like properties calculated. Next, the effect on cell viability of these compounds was assessed in cell line models of promyelocytic leukaemia and breast, cervical and colorectal carcinomas. The potential of a selection of these compounds as apoptotic agents was assessed by screening in the promyelocytic leukaemia cell line HL-60. The toxicity against non-tumorigenic epithelial MCF10A cells was also investigated. These studies allowed for several structure-activity relationships to be derived. Investigations on the mechanism of action of representative compounds suggest a divergent effect on inhibition of the MAPK/ERK signalling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Drugs 2021)
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Article
Apremilast Microemulsion as Topical Therapy for Local Inflammation: Design, Characterization and Efficacy Evaluation
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120484 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
Apremilast (APR) is a selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor administered orally in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis. The low solubility and permeability of this drug hinder its dermal administration. The purpose of this study was to design and characterize [...] Read more.
Apremilast (APR) is a selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor administered orally in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis. The low solubility and permeability of this drug hinder its dermal administration. The purpose of this study was to design and characterize an apremilast-loaded microemulsion (APR-ME) as topical therapy for local skin inflammation. Its composition was determined using pseudo-ternary diagrams. Physical, chemical and biopharmaceutical characterization were performed. Stability of this formulation was studied for 90 days. Tolerability of APR-ME was evaluated in healthy volunteers while its anti-inflammatory potential was studied using in vitro and in vivo models. A homogeneous formulation with Newtonian behavior and droplets of nanometric size and spherical shape was obtained. APR-ME released the incorporated drug following a first-order kinetic and facilitated drug retention into the skin, ensuring a local effect. Anti-inflammatory potential was observed for its ability to decrease the production of IL-6 and IL-8 in the in vitro model. This effect was confirmed in the in vivo model histologically by reduction in infiltration of inflammatory cells and immunologically by decrease of inflammatory cytokines IL-8, IL-17A and TNFα. Consequently, these results suggest that this formulation could be used as an attractive topical treatment for skin inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano Drug Carriers 2021)
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Review
Cell Penetrating Peptides Used in Delivery of Therapeutic Oligonucleotides Targeting Hepatitis B Virus
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120483 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 947
Abstract
Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNAs) and small noncoding RNAs including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) represent a new class of oligonucleotides considered as an alternative therapeutic strategy in the chronic hepatitis B treatment. Indeed, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major public health [...] Read more.
Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNAs) and small noncoding RNAs including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) represent a new class of oligonucleotides considered as an alternative therapeutic strategy in the chronic hepatitis B treatment. Indeed, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major public health problem worldwide, despite the availability of an effective prophylactic vaccine. Current therapeutic approaches approved for chronic HBV treatment are pegylated-interferon alpha (IFN)-α and nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs). Both therapies do not completely eradicate viral infection and promote severe side effects. In this context, the development of new effective treatments is imperative. This review focuses on antiviral activity of both PNAs and siRNAs targeting hepatitis B virus. Thus, we briefly present our results on the ability of PNAs to decrease hepadnaviral replication in duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) model. Interestingly, other oligonucleotides as siRNAs could significantly inhibit HBV antigen expression in transient replicative cell culture. Because the application of these oligonucleotides as new antiviral drugs has been hampered by their poor intracellular bioavailability, we also discuss the benefits of their coupling to different molecules such as the cell penetrating peptides (CPPs), which were used as vehicles to deliver therapeutic agents into the cells. Full article
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Article
Imidazole and Imidazolium Antibacterial Drugs Derived from Amino Acids
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120482 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
The antibacterial activity of imidazole and imidazolium salts is highly dependent upon their lipophilicity, which can be tuned through the introduction of different hydrophobic substituents on the nitrogen atoms of the imidazole or imidazolium ring of the molecule. Taking this into consideration, we [...] Read more.
The antibacterial activity of imidazole and imidazolium salts is highly dependent upon their lipophilicity, which can be tuned through the introduction of different hydrophobic substituents on the nitrogen atoms of the imidazole or imidazolium ring of the molecule. Taking this into consideration, we have synthesized and characterized a series of imidazole and imidazolium salts derived from L-valine and L-phenylalanine containing different hydrophobic groups and tested their antibacterial activity against two model bacterial strains, Gram-negative E. coli and Gram-positive B. subtilis. Importantly, the results demonstrate that the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of these derivatives can be tuned to fall close to the cytotoxicity values in eukaryotic cell lines. The MBC value of one of these compounds toward B. subtilis was found to be lower than the IC50 cytotoxicity value for the control cell line, HEK-293. Furthermore, the aggregation behavior of these compounds has been studied in pure water, in cell culture media, and in mixtures thereof, in order to determine if the compounds formed self-assembled aggregates at their bioactive concentrations with the aim of determining whether the monomeric species were in fact responsible for the observed antibacterial activity. Overall, these results indicate that imidazole and imidazolium compounds derived from L-valine and L-phenylalanine—with different alkyl lengths in the amide substitution—can serve as potent antibacterial agents with low cytotoxicity to human cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antibacterial Agents)
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Article
Overexpression of Key Sterol Pathway Enzymes in Two Model Marine Diatoms Alters Sterol Profiles in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120481 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Sterols are a class of triterpenoid molecules with diverse functional roles in eukaryotic cells, including intracellular signaling and regulation of cell membrane fluidity. Diatoms are a dominant eukaryotic phytoplankton group that produce a wide diversity of sterol compounds. The enzymes 3-hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl CoA [...] Read more.
Sterols are a class of triterpenoid molecules with diverse functional roles in eukaryotic cells, including intracellular signaling and regulation of cell membrane fluidity. Diatoms are a dominant eukaryotic phytoplankton group that produce a wide diversity of sterol compounds. The enzymes 3-hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl CoA reductase (HMGR) and squalene epoxidase (SQE) have been reported to be rate-limiting steps in sterol biosynthesis in other model eukaryotes; however, the extent to which these enzymes regulate triterpenoid production in diatoms is not known. To probe the role of these two metabolic nodes in the regulation of sterol metabolic flux in diatoms, we independently over-expressed two versions of the native HMGR and a conventional, heterologous SQE gene in the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Overexpression of these key enzymes resulted in significant differential accumulation of downstream sterol pathway intermediates in P. tricornutum. HMGR-mVenus overexpression resulted in the accumulation of squalene, cycloartenol, and obtusifoliol, while cycloartenol and obtusifoliol accumulated in response to heterologous NoSQE-mVenus overexpression. In addition, accumulation of the end-point sterol 24-methylenecholesta-5,24(24’)-dien-3β-ol was observed in all P. tricornutum overexpression lines, and campesterol increased three-fold in P. tricornutum lines expressing NoSQE-mVenus. Minor differences in end-point sterol composition were also found in T. pseudonana, but no accumulation of sterol pathway intermediates was observed. Despite the successful manipulation of pathway intermediates and individual sterols in P. tricornutum, total sterol levels did not change significantly in transformed lines, suggesting the existence of tight pathway regulation to maintain total sterol content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terpenes – Pharmaceutics and Biotechnology)
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Article
An Integrated In Silico and In Vivo Approach to Identify Protective Effects of Palonosetron in Cisplatin-Induced Nephrotoxicity
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120480 - 20 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
Cisplatin is widely used to treat various types of cancers, but it is often limited by nephrotoxicity. Here, we employed an integrated in silico and in vivo approach to identify potential treatments for cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity (CIN). Using publicly available mouse kidney and human [...] Read more.
Cisplatin is widely used to treat various types of cancers, but it is often limited by nephrotoxicity. Here, we employed an integrated in silico and in vivo approach to identify potential treatments for cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity (CIN). Using publicly available mouse kidney and human kidney organoid transcriptome datasets, we first identified a 208-gene expression signature for CIN and then used the bioinformatics database Cmap and Lincs Unified Environment (CLUE) to identify drugs expected to counter the expression signature for CIN. We also searched the adverse event database, Food and Drug Administration. Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), to identify drugs that reduce the reporting odds ratio of developing cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury. Palonosetron, a serotonin type 3 receptor (5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 3 (5-HT3R)) antagonist, was identified by both CLUE and FAERS analyses. Notably, clinical data from 103 patients treated with cisplatin for head and neck cancer revealed that palonosetron was superior to ramosetron in suppressing cisplatin-induced increases in serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels. Moreover, palonosetron significantly increased the survival rate of zebrafish exposed to cisplatin but not to other 5-HT3R antagonists. These results not only suggest that palonosetron can suppress CIN but also support the use of in silico and in vivo approaches in drug repositioning studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery 2021)
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Review
Thymus mastichina: Composition and Biological Properties with a Focus on Antimicrobial Activity
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120479 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
Thymus mastichina has the appearance of a semishrub and can be found in jungles and rocky lands of the Iberian Peninsula. This work aimed to review and gather available scientific information on the composition and biological properties of T. mastichina. The main [...] Read more.
Thymus mastichina has the appearance of a semishrub and can be found in jungles and rocky lands of the Iberian Peninsula. This work aimed to review and gather available scientific information on the composition and biological properties of T. mastichina. The main constituents of T. mastichina essential oil are 1,8-cineole (or eucalyptol) and linalool, while the extracts are characterized by the presence of flavonoids, phenolic acids, and terpenes. The essential oil and extracts of T. mastichina have demonstrated a wide diversity of biological activities. They showed antibacterial activity against several bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Salmonella subsp., methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes EGD, Bacillus cereus, and Pseudomonas, among others, and antifungal activity against Candida spp. and Fusarium spp. Additionally, it has antioxidant activity, which has been evaluated through different methods. Furthermore, other activities have also been studied, such as anticancer, antiviral, insecticidal, repellent, anti-Alzheimer, and anti-inflammatory activity. In conclusion, considering the biological activities reported for the essential oil and extracts of T. mastichina, its potential as a preservative agent could be explored to be used in the food, cosmetic, or pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antibacterial Agents)
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Article
A New Phage Lysin Isolated from the Oral Microbiome Targeting Streptococcus pneumoniae
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120478 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1224
Abstract
Streptococcus pneumoniae is highly pathogenic and causes several mucosal and invasive infections. Due to the rising number of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of S. pneumoniae, new antimicrobials with alternative mechanisms of action are urgently needed. In this study, we identified two new Streptococcal [...] Read more.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is highly pathogenic and causes several mucosal and invasive infections. Due to the rising number of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains of S. pneumoniae, new antimicrobials with alternative mechanisms of action are urgently needed. In this study, we identified two new Streptococcal phages from the oral microbiome, 23TH and SA01. Their lysins, 23TH_48 and SA01_53, were recombinantly expressed, characterized and tested for their lethality. SA01_53 was found to only lyse its host strain of S. anginosus, while 23TH_48 was found to possess a broader lytic activity beyond its host strain of S. infantis, with several S. pneumoniae isolates sensitive to its lytic activity. 23TH_48 at a concentration of five activity units per mL (U/mL) was found to reduce cell counts of S. pneumoniae DSM 24048 by 4 log10 colony forming units per mL (CFU/mL) within 1 h and effectively prevented and destroyed biofilms of S. pneumoniae R6 at concentrations of 228.8 ng/µL and 14.3 ng/µL, respectively. Given its high lytic activity, 23TH_48 could prove to be a promising candidate to help combat pneumococcal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phage Therapy and Phage-Mediated Biological Control 2021)
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Article
Can Leaves and Stems of Rubus idaeus L. Handle Candida albicans Biofilms?
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120477 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen involved in many infections, especially linked to implanted medical devices. Its ability to form biofilms complicates the treatment of these infections as few molecules are active against sessile C. albicans. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen involved in many infections, especially linked to implanted medical devices. Its ability to form biofilms complicates the treatment of these infections as few molecules are active against sessile C. albicans. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of leaves, three-month-old and one-year-old stems of Rubus idaeus L. against C. albicans biofilm growth. Extractions with a polarity gradient were carried out on hydroacetonic extracts and followed by fractionation steps. The obtained extracts and fractions were tested for their anti-biofilm growth activity against C. albicans using XTT method. Compounds of active subfractions were identified by LC-MS. The hexane extracts from leaves and stems were the most active against the fungus with IC50 at 500 and 250 µg/mL. Their bioguided fractionation led to 4 subfractions with IC50 between 62.5 and 125 µg/mL. Most of the components identified in active subfractions were fatty acids and terpenoïds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Article
Anticancer Effect of Citrus hystrix DC. Leaf Extract and Its Bioactive Constituents Citronellol and, Citronellal on the Triple Negative Breast Cancer MDA-MB-231 Cell Line
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120476 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1367
Abstract
Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most aggressive breast cancer type with abilities of early metastasis and chemoresistance. The tropical plant Citrus hystrix DC. has been reported to promote many biological activities including anticancer. However, the effect of C. hystrix against [...] Read more.
Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most aggressive breast cancer type with abilities of early metastasis and chemoresistance. The tropical plant Citrus hystrix DC. has been reported to promote many biological activities including anticancer. However, the effect of C. hystrix against triple negative breast cancer has not yet been identified. This study aimed to evaluate the anticancer properties of C. hystrix leaf extract and its bioactive constituents citronellol and citronellal against the triple negative breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cell line. C. hystrix leaves were powdered and sequentially macerated. The in vitro anticancer effects of C. hystrix leaf extracts, and its bioactive constituents (citronellol and citronellal) were evaluated against MDA-MB-231 cell line using cytotoxic MTT assay, cell proliferation, wound scratch migration, colony formation, cell cycle, apoptosis assay, Hoechst staining, RT-qPCR, and Western blot analysis. Results showed that crude hexane extract, citronellol, and citronellal significantly reduced cell proliferation, colony formation, and cell migration by inducing cell cycle arrest, while also inducing apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells through inhibition of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression, leading to activation of the caspase-3-dependent pathway. This study is the first report to demonstrate the effect of C. hystrix, citronellol, and citronellal against triple negative breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Compounds in Medicinal Plants)
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Review
Circulating Melanoma-Derived Extracellular Vesicles: Impact on Melanoma Diagnosis, Progression Monitoring, and Treatment Response
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120475 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1175
Abstract
Malignant melanoma, one of the most aggressive human malignancies, is responsible for 80% of skin cancer deaths. Whilst early detection of disease progression or metastasis can improve patient survival, this remains a challenge due to the lack of reliable biomarkers. Importantly, these clinical [...] Read more.
Malignant melanoma, one of the most aggressive human malignancies, is responsible for 80% of skin cancer deaths. Whilst early detection of disease progression or metastasis can improve patient survival, this remains a challenge due to the lack of reliable biomarkers. Importantly, these clinical challenges are not unique to humans, as melanoma affects many other species, including companion animals, such as the dog and horse. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are tiny nanoparticles involved in cell-to-cell communication. Several protein and genomic EV markers have been described in the literature, as well as a wide variety of methods for isolating EVs from body fluids. As such, they may be valuable biomarkers in cancer and may address some clinical challenges in the management melanoma. This review aimed to explore the translational applications of EVs as biomarkers in melanoma, as well as their role in the clinical setting in humans and animals. A summary of melanoma-specific protein and genomic EV markers is presented, followed by a discussion of the role EVs in monitoring disease progression and treatment response. Finally, herein, we reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of methods utilised to isolate EVs from bodily fluids in melanoma patients (human and animals) and describe some of the challenges that will need to be addressed before EVs can be introduced in the clinical setting. Full article
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Review
The Emerging Therapeutic Landscape of ALK Inhibitors in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120474 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
The treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has undergone a paradigm shift over the last decade. Better molecular characterization of the disease has led to the rapid improvement of personalized medicine and the prompt delivery of targeted therapies to patients with [...] Read more.
The treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has undergone a paradigm shift over the last decade. Better molecular characterization of the disease has led to the rapid improvement of personalized medicine and the prompt delivery of targeted therapies to patients with NSCLC. The discovery of the EML4-ALK fusion gene in a limited subset of patients affected by NSCLC and the subsequent clinical development of crizotinib in 2011 has been an impressive milestone in lung cancer research. Unfortunately, acquired resistances regularly develop, hence disease progression occurs. Afterward, modern tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as ceritinib, alectinib, brigatinib, and lorlatinib, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive NSCLCs. Several compounds are currently under investigation to achieve the optimal strategy of therapy. Additionally, the results of ongoing clinical trials with novel-generation TKI will provide more evidence on the best sequence in the treatment of ALK-positive NSCLC patients. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art targeted therapy options in ALK-positive NSCLCs. Resistance, potential therapeutic strategies to overcome drug resistance, and future perspectives for this subset of patients are critically analyzed and summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment Options and Therapeutics for Non-small Cell Lung Cancer)
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Article
Enhancing the Poor Flow and Tableting Problems of High Drug-Loading Formulation of Canagliflozin Using Continuous Green Granulation Process and Design-of-Experiment Approach
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120473 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
Maximization of drug-loading can significantly reduce the size of dosage form and consequently decrease the cost of manufacture. In this research, two challenges were addressed: poor flow and tableting problems of high-drug loading (>70%) formulation of canagliflozin (CNG), by adopting the moisture-activated dry [...] Read more.
Maximization of drug-loading can significantly reduce the size of dosage form and consequently decrease the cost of manufacture. In this research, two challenges were addressed: poor flow and tableting problems of high-drug loading (>70%) formulation of canagliflozin (CNG), by adopting the moisture-activated dry granulation (MADG) process. In this method, heating and drying steps were omitted so, called green granulation process. A 32 full-factorial design was performed for optimization of key process variables, namely the granulation fluid level (X1) and the wet massing time (X2). Granulation of CNG was carried out in the presence of polyvinylpyrrolidone, and the prepared granules were compressed into tablets. Regression analysis demonstrated the significant (p ≤ 0.05) effect of X1 and X2 on properties of granules and corresponding tablets, with pronounced impact of X1. Additionally, marked improvement of granules’ properties and tableting of CNG were observed. Furthermore, the optimized process conditions that produced good flow properties of granules and acceptable tablets were high level of granulation fluid (3.41% w/w) and short wet massing time (1.0 min). Finally, the MADG process gives the opportunity to ameliorate the poor flow and tableting problems of CNG with lower amounts of excipients, which are important for successful development of uniform dosage unit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology)
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Article
Attenuation of Anxiety-Like Behavior by Helichrysum stoechas (L.) Moench Methanolic Extract through Up-Regulation of ERK Signaling Pathways in Noradrenergic Neurons
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120472 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1290
Abstract
The long-term use of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs can cause a plethora of side effects and the use of complementary and alternative medicine, which is generally considered safer than conventional medicine, is consistently increasing. Helichrysum stoechas (L.) Moench methanolic extract (HSE) has shown [...] Read more.
The long-term use of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs can cause a plethora of side effects and the use of complementary and alternative medicine, which is generally considered safer than conventional medicine, is consistently increasing. Helichrysum stoechas (L.) Moench methanolic extract (HSE) has shown MAO-A inhibitory properties in previous studies. With the aim of obtaining innovative and safer therapies for mood disorders, this study investigated the potential activity of HSE in the management of anxiety- and depression-related symptoms. HSE showed dose-dependent (30–100 mg/kg p.o.) anxiolytic-like activity in the light dark box and marble burying tests, without any antidepressant-like activity, as shown by the results of the tail suspension test. Additionally, HSE did not have any effect on the modulation of pain, which highlights its selectivity in the control of anxiety-related behavior. At active doses, HSE did not produce any sedative effect or result in impaired motor coordination and memory functions. Western blotting experiments showed the ability of HSE to counteract the reduction in the phosphorylation of ERK44/42, to restore brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and to return cyclic AMP response element binding (CREB) levels to basal levels in noradrenergic hippocampal neurons of mice exposed to an anxiety-related environment, which indicates a protective role against anxiety behavior. These results suggest that oral administration of HSE might represent an interesting opportunity for the management of anxiety disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants 2020)
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Article
Conjugates Containing Two and Three Trithiolato-Bridged Dinuclear Ruthenium(II)-Arene Units as In Vitro Antiparasitic and Anticancer Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120471 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
The synthesis, characterization, and in vitro antiparasitic and anticancer activity evaluation of new conjugates containing two and three dinuclear trithiolato-bridged ruthenium(II)-arene units are presented. Antiparasitic activity was evaluated using transgenic Toxoplasmagondii tachyzoites constitutively expressing β-galactosidase grown in human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF). The [...] Read more.
The synthesis, characterization, and in vitro antiparasitic and anticancer activity evaluation of new conjugates containing two and three dinuclear trithiolato-bridged ruthenium(II)-arene units are presented. Antiparasitic activity was evaluated using transgenic Toxoplasmagondii tachyzoites constitutively expressing β-galactosidase grown in human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF). The compounds inhibited T.gondii proliferation with IC50 values ranging from 90 to 539 nM, and seven derivatives displayed IC50 values lower than the reference compound pyrimethamine, which is currently used for treatment of toxoplasmosis. Overall, compound flexibility and size impacted on the anti-Toxoplasma activity. The anticancer activity of 14 compounds was assessed against cancer cell lines A2780, A2780cisR (human ovarian cisplatin sensitive and resistant), A24, (D-)A24cisPt8.0 (human lung adenocarcinoma cells wild type and cisPt resistant subline). The compounds displayed IC50 values ranging from 23 to 650 nM. In A2780cisR, A24 and (D-)A24cisPt8.0 cells, all compounds were considerably more cytotoxic than cisplatin, with IC50 values lower by two orders of magnitude. Irrespective of the nature of the connectors (alkyl/aryl) or the numbers of the di-ruthenium units (two/three), ester conjugates 610 and 20 exhibited similar antiproliferative profiles, and were more cytotoxic than amide analogues 1114, 23, and 24. Polynuclear conjugates with multiple trithiolato-bridged di-ruthenium(II)-arene moieties deserve further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal-Based Drugs: Updates and Perspectives)
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Review
Update on Chemotherapeutic Approaches and Management of Bevacizumab Usage for Glioblastoma
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120470 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 797
Abstract
Glioblastoma, the most common primary brain tumor in adults, has one of the most dismal prognoses in cancer. In 2009, bevacizumab was approved for recurrent glioblastoma in the USA. To evaluate the clinical impact of bevacizumab as a first-line drug for glioblastoma, two [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma, the most common primary brain tumor in adults, has one of the most dismal prognoses in cancer. In 2009, bevacizumab was approved for recurrent glioblastoma in the USA. To evaluate the clinical impact of bevacizumab as a first-line drug for glioblastoma, two randomized clinical trials, AVAglio and RTOG 0825, were performed. Bevacizumab was found to improve progression-free survival (PFS) and was reported to be beneficial for maintaining patient performance status as an initial treatment. These outcomes led to bevacizumab approval in Japan in 2013 as an insurance-covered first-line drug for glioblastoma concurrently with its second-line application. However, prolongation of overall survival was not evinced in these clinical trials; hence, the clinical benefit of bevacizumab for newly diagnosed glioblastomas remains controversial. A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of bevacizumab combined with temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma also showed an effect only on PFS, and the benefit of bevacizumab even for recurrent glioblastoma is controversial. Here, we discuss the clinical impact of bevacizumab for glioblastoma treatment by reviewing previous clinical trials and real-world evidence by focusing on Japanese experiences. Moreover, the efficacy and safety of bevacizumab are summarized, and we provide suggestions for updating the approaches and management of bevacizumab. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Malignant Glioma: Novel Therapeutic Strategies)
Article
N-(Hydroxyalkyl) Derivatives of tris(1H-indol-3-yl)methylium Salts as Promising Antibacterial Agents: Synthesis and Biological Evaluation
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120469 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
The wide spread of pathogens resistance requires the development of new antimicrobial agents capable of overcoming drug resistance. The main objective of the study is to elucidate the effect of substitutions in tris(1H-indol-3-yl)methylium derivatives on their antibacterial activity and toxicity [...] Read more.
The wide spread of pathogens resistance requires the development of new antimicrobial agents capable of overcoming drug resistance. The main objective of the study is to elucidate the effect of substitutions in tris(1H-indol-3-yl)methylium derivatives on their antibacterial activity and toxicity to human cells. A series of new compounds were synthesized and tested. Their antibacterial activity in vitro was performed on 12 bacterial strains, including drug resistant strains, that were clinical isolates or collection strains. The cytotoxic effect of the compounds was determined using an test with HPF-hTERT (human postnatal fibroblasts, immortalized with hTERT) cells. The activity of the obtained compounds depended on the carbon chain length. Derivatives with C5–C6 chains were more active. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the most active compound on Gram-positive bacteria, including MRSA, was 0.5 μg/mL. Compounds with C5–C6 chains also revealed high activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis (1.0 and 0.5 μg/mL, respectively) and moderate activity against Gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli (8 μg/mL) and Klebsiella pneumonia (2 and 8 μg/mL, respectively). However, they have no activity against Salmonella cholerasuis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The most active compounds revealed higher antibacterial activity on MRSA than the reference drug levofloxacin, and their ratio between antibacterial and cytotoxic activity exceeded 10 times. The data obtained provide a basis for further study of this promising group of substances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antibacterial Agents)
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Article
Eudebeiolide B Inhibits Osteoclastogenesis and Prevents Ovariectomy-Induced Bone Loss by Regulating RANKL-Induced NF-κB, c-Fos and Calcium Signaling
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120468 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 755
Abstract
Eudebeiolide B is a eudesmane-type sesquiterpenoid compound isolated from Salvia plebeia R. Br., and little is known about its biological activity. In this study, we investigated the effects of eudebeiolide B on osteoblast differentiation, receptor activator nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis in vitro [...] Read more.
Eudebeiolide B is a eudesmane-type sesquiterpenoid compound isolated from Salvia plebeia R. Br., and little is known about its biological activity. In this study, we investigated the effects of eudebeiolide B on osteoblast differentiation, receptor activator nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis in vitro and ovariectomy-induced bone loss in vivo. Eudebeiolide B induced the expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and calcium accumulation during MC3T3-E1 osteoblast differentiation. In mouse bone marrow macrophages (BMMs), eudebeiolide B suppressed RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation of BMMs and bone resorption. Eudebeiolide B downregulated the expression of nuclear factor of activated T-cells 1 (NFATc1) and c-fos, transcription factors induced by RANKL. Moreover, eudebeiolide B attenuated the RANKL-induced expression of osteoclastogenesis-related genes, including cathepsin K (Ctsk), matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and dendrocyte expressed seven transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP). Regarding the molecular mechanism, eudebeiolide B inhibited the phosphorylation of Akt and NF-κB p65. In addition, it downregulated the expression of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk) and phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2) in RANKL-induced calcium signaling. In an ovariectomized (OVX) mouse model, intragastric injection of eudebeiolide B prevented OVX-induced bone loss, as shown by bone mineral density and contents, microarchitecture parameters and serum levels of bone turnover markers. Eudebeiolide B not only promoted osteoblast differentiation but inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through calcium signaling and prevented OVX-induced bone loss. Therefore, eudebeiolide B may be a new therapeutic agent for osteoclast-related diseases, including osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis. Full article
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Article
Comprehensive Study of the Risk Factors for Medication-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Based on the Japanese Adverse Drug Event Report Database
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120467 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) is associated with many drugs, including bisphosphonates (BPs). BPs are associated with atypical femoral fractures and osteonecrosis of the external auditory canal. Thus, many drugs are reported to cause adverse effects on bone. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) is associated with many drugs, including bisphosphonates (BPs). BPs are associated with atypical femoral fractures and osteonecrosis of the external auditory canal. Thus, many drugs are reported to cause adverse effects on bone. This study aimed to investigate the effects of drugs and patient backgrounds regarding osteonecrosis-related side effects, including MRONJ. This study used a large voluntary reporting database, namely, the Japanese Adverse Drug Event Report database. First, we searched for risk factors related to MRONJ using volcano plots and logistic regression analysis. Next, we searched for bone-necrosis-related side effects using principal component and cluster analysis. Factors that were significantly associated with MRONJ included eight types of BPs and denosumab, prednisolone, sunitinib, eldecalcitol, raloxifene, letrozole, doxifluridine, exemestane, radium chloride, medroxyprogesterone, female, elderly, and short stature. Furthermore, antiresorptive agents (i.e., BPs and denosumab) tended to induce MRONJ and atypical femoral fractures by affecting osteoclasts. We believe these findings will help medical personnel manage the side effects of many medications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Drug Discovery and Development in the Era of Big Data)
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Article
Preliminary Results of the FASM Study, an On-Going Italian Active Pharmacovigilance Project
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120466 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Background and aim: Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) used in multiple sclerosis (MS) have distinct safety profiles. In this paper, we report preliminary results of an on-going pharmacovigilance project (the FASM study). Results: Neurologists working at involved multiple sclerosis centers collected 272 Individual Case Safety [...] Read more.
Background and aim: Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) used in multiple sclerosis (MS) have distinct safety profiles. In this paper, we report preliminary results of an on-going pharmacovigilance project (the FASM study). Results: Neurologists working at involved multiple sclerosis centers collected 272 Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSRs). Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) mainly occurred in adult patients and in a higher percentage of women compared to men. No difference was found in ADRs distribution by seriousness. The outcome was reported as favorable in 61% of ICSRs. Out of 272 ICSRs, almost 53% reported dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod and IFN beta 1a as suspected. These medications were commonly associated to the occurrence of ADRs related hematological, gastrointestinal, general, infective or cancer disorders. The median time to event (days) was 177 for dimethyl fumarate, 1058 for fingolimod and 413 for IFN beta 1a. The median time to event for the remaining suspected drugs was 226. Conclusion: We believe that our results, together with those that will be presented at the end of the study, may bring new knowledge concerning the safety profile of DMTs and their proper use. This will provide the opportunity to draw new recommendations both for neurologists and patients. Full article
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Article
Novel Isoniazid-Carborane Hybrids Active In Vitro against Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120465 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) is a severe infectious disease with high mortality and morbidity. The emergence of drug-resistant TB has increased the challenge to eliminate this disease. Isoniazid (INH) remains the key and effective component in the therapeutic regimen recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a severe infectious disease with high mortality and morbidity. The emergence of drug-resistant TB has increased the challenge to eliminate this disease. Isoniazid (INH) remains the key and effective component in the therapeutic regimen recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). A series of isoniazid-carborane derivatives containing 1,2-dicarba-closo-dodecaborane, 1,7-dicarba-closo-dodecaborane, 1,12-dicarba-closo-dodecaborane, or 7,8-dicarba-nido-undecaborate anion were synthesized for the first time. The compounds were tested in vitro against the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) H37Rv strain and its mutant (ΔkatG) defective in the synthesis of catalase-peroxidase (KatG). N′-((7,8-dicarba-nido-undecaboranyl)methylidene)isonicotinohydrazide (16) showed the highest activity against the wild-type Mtb strain. All hybrids could inhibit the growth of the ΔkatG mutant in lower concentrations than INH. N′-([(1,12-dicarba-closo-dodecaboran-1yl)ethyl)isonicotinohydrazide (25) exhibited more than 60-fold increase in activity against Mtb ΔkatG as compared to INH. This compound was also found to be noncytotoxic up to a concentration four times higher than the minimum inhibitory concentration 99% (MIC99) value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Enzyme Inhibitors as Potential Drugs 2020)
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Article
In Vitro Bioassay-Guided Identification of Anticancer Properties from Moringa oleifera Lam. Leaf against the MDA-MB-231 Cell Line
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120464 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
Moringa oleifera Lam. (MO) is a medicinal plant distributed across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. MO has been used in the traditional treatment of various diseases including cancer. This study aimed to perform bioassay-guided fractionation and identification of bioactive compounds from MO [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera Lam. (MO) is a medicinal plant distributed across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. MO has been used in the traditional treatment of various diseases including cancer. This study aimed to perform bioassay-guided fractionation and identification of bioactive compounds from MO leaf against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. MO leaf was sequentially extracted with hexane, ethyl acetate (EtOAc), and ethanol. The most effective extract was subjected to fractionation. MO extract and its derived fractions were continuously screened for anti-cancer activities. The strongest fraction was selected for re-fractionation and identification of bioactive compounds using LC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS analysis. The best anticancer activities were related to the fraction no. 7-derived crude EtOAc extract. This fraction significantly reduced cell viability and clonogenic growth and increased cells apoptosis. Moreover, sub-fraction no. 7.7-derived fraction no. 7 was selected for the identification of bioactive compounds. There were 10 candidate compounds tentatively identified by LC-ESI-QTOF-MS. Three of identified compounds (7-octenoic acid, oleamide, and 1-phenyl-2-pentanol) showed anticancer activities by inducing cell cycle arrest and triggering apoptosis through suppressed Bcl-2 expression which subsequently promotes activation of caspase 3, indicators for the apoptosis pathway. This study identified 10 candidate compounds that may have potential in the field of anticancer substances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Compounds in Medicinal Plants)
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Article
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Increase Cisplatin, Paclitaxel, and Doxorubicin Efficacy against Human Cervix Cancer Cells
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120463 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
This study shows that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) celecoxib and its non-cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) analogue dimethylcelecoxib (DMC) exert a potent inhibitory effect on the growth of human cervix HeLa multi-cellular tumor spheroids (MCTS) when added either at the beginning (“preventive protocol”; IC50 [...] Read more.
This study shows that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) celecoxib and its non-cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) analogue dimethylcelecoxib (DMC) exert a potent inhibitory effect on the growth of human cervix HeLa multi-cellular tumor spheroids (MCTS) when added either at the beginning (“preventive protocol”; IC50 = 1 ± 0.3 nM for celecoxib and 10 ± 2 nM for DMC) or after spheroid formation (“curative protocol”; IC50 = 7.5 ± 2 µM for celecoxib and 32 ± 10 µM for DMC). These NSAID IC50 values were significantly lower than those attained in bidimensional HeLa cells (IC50 = 55 ± 9 µM celecoxib and 48 ± 2 µM DMC) and bidimensional non-cancer cell cultures (3T3 fibroblasts and MCF-10A mammary gland cells with IC50 from 69 to >100 µM, after 24 h). The copper-based drug casiopeina II-gly showed similar potency against HeLa MCTS. Synergism analysis showed that celecoxib, DMC, and casiopeinaII-gly at sub-IC50 doses increased the potency of cisplatin, paclitaxel, and doxorubicin to hinder HeLa cell proliferation through a significant abolishment of oxidative phosphorylation in bidimensional cultures, with no apparent effect on non-cancer cells (therapeutic index >3.6). Similar results were attained with bidimensional human cervix cancer SiHa and human glioblastoma U373 cell cultures. In HeLa MCTS, celecoxib, DMC and casiopeina II-gly increased cisplatin toxicity by 41–85%. These observations indicated that celecoxib and DMC used as adjuvant therapy in combination with canonical anti-cancer drugs may provide more effective alternatives for cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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Review
Analytical Methods for the Detection and Quantification of ADCs in Biological Matrices
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120462 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 832
Abstract
Understanding pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) is a one of the critical steps enabling their successful development and optimization. Their complex structure combining large and small molecule characteristics brought out multiple bioanalytical methods to decipher the behavior and fate of both [...] Read more.
Understanding pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) is a one of the critical steps enabling their successful development and optimization. Their complex structure combining large and small molecule characteristics brought out multiple bioanalytical methods to decipher the behavior and fate of both components in vivo. In this respect, these methods must provide insights into different key elements including half-life and blood stability of the construct, premature release of the drug, whole-body biodistribution, and amount of the drug accumulated within the targeted pathological tissues, all of them being directly related to efficacy and safety of the ADC. In this review, we will focus on the main strategies enabling to quantify and characterize ADCs in biological matrices and discuss their associated technical challenges and current limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADC): 2021)
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Review
To a Question on the Mechanism of the Antimicrobial Action of Ortho-Benzoic Sulfimide
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120461 - 13 Dec 2020
Viewed by 635
Abstract
The article summarizes and compares data on the properties and biological activity of o-benzoic sulfimide and sulfanilamide compounds. Attention is given to the biochemical conditions under which o-benzoic sulfimide and sulfanilamides have similar activity groups. The results of the experimental and [...] Read more.
The article summarizes and compares data on the properties and biological activity of o-benzoic sulfimide and sulfanilamide compounds. Attention is given to the biochemical conditions under which o-benzoic sulfimide and sulfanilamides have similar activity groups. The results of the experimental and theoretical studies aimed at understanding the molecular organization and biological activity of folic acid and its homologous complexes are analyzed. A hypothesis about the possible mechanisms of the formation of such complexes with the participation of o-benzoic sulfimide is presented. The perspectives for the use of o-benzoic sulfimide and its homologues in biomedicine are evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Article
Anti-Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Activity of Novel Uridine Glycoconjugates Containing Amide or/and 1,2,3-Triazole Moiety in the Linker Structure
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120460 - 13 Dec 2020
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) transmitted by ticks is a pathogen of great medical importance. As still no effective antiviral treatment is available, in the present study, a series of uridine glycoconjugates containing amide or/and 1,2,3-triazole moiety in the linker structure was synthesized and [...] Read more.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) transmitted by ticks is a pathogen of great medical importance. As still no effective antiviral treatment is available, in the present study, a series of uridine glycoconjugates containing amide or/and 1,2,3-triazole moiety in the linker structure was synthesized and evaluated for the antiviral activity against two strains of TBEV: a highly virulent Hypr strain and less virulent Neudoerfl strain, using standardized previously in vitro assays. Our data have shown that four compounds from the series (18–21) possess strong activity against both TBEV strains. The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of compounds 18–21 were between 15.1 and 3.7 μM depending on the virus strain, which along with low cytotoxicity resulted in high values of the selectivity index (SI). The obtained results suggest that these compounds may be promising candidates for further development of new therapies against flaviviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycomimetics and Glycoconjugates in Drug Discovery)
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Article
Disposition of Cannabidiol Metabolites in Serum and Urine from Healthy Individuals Treated with Pharmaceutical Preparations of Medical Cannabis
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120459 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
The use of cannabis flowering tops with standardized amounts of active phytocannabinoids was recently authorized in several countries to treat several painful pathological conditions. The acute pharmacological effects and disposition of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors and THC metabolites after oil [...] Read more.
The use of cannabis flowering tops with standardized amounts of active phytocannabinoids was recently authorized in several countries to treat several painful pathological conditions. The acute pharmacological effects and disposition of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors and THC metabolites after oil and decoction administration have been already described. In this study, the disposition of CBD metabolites: 7-carboxy-cannabidiol (7-COOH-CBD), 7-hydroxycannabidiol (7-OH-CBD), 6-α-hydroxycannabidiol (6-α-OH-CBD), and 6-β-hydroxycannabidiol (6-β-OH-CBD) in the serum and urine of healthy volunteers was presented. Thirteen healthy volunteers were administered 100 mL of cannabis decoction in the first experimental session and, after 15 days of washout, 0.45 mL of oil. Serum and urine samples were collected at different time points, and the CBD metabolites were quantified by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. The most abundant serum metabolite was 7-COOH-CBD, followed by 7-OH-CBD, 6-β-OH-CBD, and6-α-OH-CBD, after decoction and oil. Both 7-OH-CBD and the 6-α-OH-CBD showed similar pharmacokinetic properties following administration of both cannabis preparations, whereas 7-COOH and 6-α-OH-CBD displayed a significant higher bioavailability after decoction consumption. All CBD metabolites were similarly excreted after oil and decoction intake apart from 6-α-OH-CBD, which had a significantly lower excretion after oil administration. The pharmacokinetic characterization of CBD metabolites is crucial for clinical practice since the cannabis herbal preparations are increasingly used for several pathological conditions. Full article
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Article
Determination of Antidepressants in Human Plasma by Modified Cloud-Point Extraction Coupled with Mass Spectrometry
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120458 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
Cloud-point extraction (CPE) is rarely combined with liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC–MS) in drug determination due to the matrix effect (ME). However, we have recently shown that ME is not a limiting factor in CPE. Low extraction efficiency may be improved [...] Read more.
Cloud-point extraction (CPE) is rarely combined with liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC–MS) in drug determination due to the matrix effect (ME). However, we have recently shown that ME is not a limiting factor in CPE. Low extraction efficiency may be improved by salt addition, but none of the salts used in CPE are suitable for LC–MS. It is the first time that the influences of a volatile salt—ammonium acetate (AA)—on the CPE extraction efficiency and ME have been studied. Our modification of CPE included also the use of ethanol instead of acetonitrile to reduce the sample viscosity and make the method more environmentally friendly. We developed and validated CPE–LC–MS for the simultaneous determination of 21 antidepressants in plasma that can be useful for clinical and forensic toxicology. The selected parameters included Triton X-114 concentration (1.5 and 6%, w/v), concentration of AA (0, 10, 20 and 30%, w/v), and pH (3.5, 6.8 and 10.2). The addition of 10% of AA increased recovery twice. For 20 and 30% (w/v) of AA, three phases were formed that prolonged the extraction process. The developed CPE method (6% Triton X-114, 10% AA, pH 10.2) was successfully validated through LC–MS/MS simultaneous determination of 21 antidepressants in human plasma. The linearity was in the range of 10–750 ng/mL (r2 > 0.990). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in the Pharmaceutical Sciences)
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Review
Antioxidant Properties of Second-Generation Antipsychotics: Focus on Microglia
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120457 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Recent studies suggest a primary role of oxidative stress in an early phase of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and a strong neurobiological link has been found between dopaminergic system dysfunction, microglia overactivation, and oxidative stress. Different risk factors for schizophrenia increase oxidative stress [...] Read more.
Recent studies suggest a primary role of oxidative stress in an early phase of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and a strong neurobiological link has been found between dopaminergic system dysfunction, microglia overactivation, and oxidative stress. Different risk factors for schizophrenia increase oxidative stress phenomena raising the risk of developing psychosis. Oxidative stress induced by first-generation antipsychotics such as haloperidol significantly contributes to the development of extrapyramidal side effects. Haloperidol also exerts neurotoxic effects by decreasing antioxidant enzyme levels then worsening pro-oxidant events. Opposite to haloperidol, second-generation antipsychotics (or atypical antipsychotics) such as risperidone, clozapine, and olanzapine exert a strong antioxidant activity in experimental models of schizophrenia by rescuing the antioxidant system, with an increase in superoxide dismutase and glutathione (GSH) serum levels. Second-generation antipsychotics also improve the antioxidant status and reduce lipid peroxidation in schizophrenic patients. Interestingly, second-generation antipsychotics, such as risperidone, paliperidone, and in particular clozapine, reduce oxidative stress induced by microglia overactivation, decreasing the production of microglia-derived free radicals, finally protecting neurons against microglia-induced oxidative stress. Further, long-term clinical studies are needed to better understand the link between oxidative stress and the clinical response to antipsychotic drugs and the therapeutic potential of antioxidants to increase the response to antipsychotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Targets of Old and New Atypical Antipsychotics)
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Article
Cytochrome P450 Expression and Chemical Metabolic Activity before Full Liver Development in Zebrafish
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120456 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 781
Abstract
Zebrafish are used widely in biomedical, toxicological, and developmental research, but information on their xenobiotic metabolism is limited. Here, we characterized the expression of 14 xenobiotic cytochrome P450 (CYP) subtypes in whole embryos and larvae of zebrafish (4 to 144 h post-fertilization (hpf)) [...] Read more.
Zebrafish are used widely in biomedical, toxicological, and developmental research, but information on their xenobiotic metabolism is limited. Here, we characterized the expression of 14 xenobiotic cytochrome P450 (CYP) subtypes in whole embryos and larvae of zebrafish (4 to 144 h post-fertilization (hpf)) and the metabolic activities of several representative human CYP substrates. The 14 CYPs showed various changes in expression patterns during development. Many CYP transcripts abruptly increased at about 96 hpf, when the hepatic outgrowth progresses; however, the expression of some cyp1s (1b1, 1c1, 1c2, 1d1) and cyp2r1 peaked at 48 or 72 hpf, before full liver development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization revealed cyp2y3, 2r1, and 3a65 transcripts in larvae at 55 hpf after exposure to rifampicin, phenobarbital, or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin from 30 hpf onward. Marked conversions of diclofenac to 4′-hydroxydiclofenac and 5-hydroxydiclofenac, and of caffeine to 1,7-dimethylxanthine, were detected as early as 24 or 50 hpf. The rate of metabolism to 4’-hydroxydiclofenac was more marked at 48 and 72 hpf than at 120 hpf, after the liver had become almost fully developed. These findings reveal the expression of various CYPs involved in chemical metabolism in developing zebrafish, even before full liver development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish as a Powerful Tool for Drug Discovery 2021)
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