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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 17, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 119 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The snake venom disintegrins, which selectively block collagen α1β1 integrin, were used as lead compounds for the synthesis and structure–activity relationship of a series of linear peptides containing the KTS-pharmacophore and 3-aminobenzoic acid (MABA). MABA-peptide 4 inhibited the binding to collagen IV, and docking studies followed by MM-GBSA calculations confirmed that it binds and penetrates the collagen-binding site of the integrin. Peptide 4 inhibited angiogenesis in vitro, was acutely tolerated by mice, showed stability in serum, decreased tumor volume and angiogenesis, and significantly increased the survival of mice injected with melanoma tumor cells. MABA-peptide 4 can serve as an α1β1-integrin antagonist lead compound for drug optimization in angiogenesis and cancer therapy. View this paper
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37 pages, 11458 KiB  
Review
Small Molecule Drugs Targeting Viral Polymerases
by Deborah Palazzotti, Martina Sguilla, Giuseppe Manfroni, Violetta Cecchetti, Andrea Astolfi and Maria Letizia Barreca
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050661 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 407
Abstract
Small molecules that specifically target viral polymerases—crucial enzymes governing viral genome transcription and replication—play a pivotal role in combating viral infections. Presently, approved polymerase inhibitors cover nine human viruses, spanning both DNA and RNA viruses. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of these [...] Read more.
Small molecules that specifically target viral polymerases—crucial enzymes governing viral genome transcription and replication—play a pivotal role in combating viral infections. Presently, approved polymerase inhibitors cover nine human viruses, spanning both DNA and RNA viruses. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of these licensed drugs, encompassing nucleoside/nucleotide inhibitors (NIs), non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNIs), and mutagenic agents. For each compound, we describe the specific targeted virus and related polymerase enzyme, the mechanism of action, and the relevant bioactivity data. This wealth of information serves as a valuable resource for researchers actively engaged in antiviral drug discovery efforts, offering a complete overview of established strategies as well as insights for shaping the development of next-generation antiviral therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules Targeting Viral Polymerases)
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20 pages, 1743 KiB  
Review
The Therapeutic Potential of Harpagophytum procumbens and Turnera subulata and Advances in Nutraceutical Delivery Systems in Neurodegenerative Diseases
by Antonio Carlos Vital Júnior, Mikaelly Batista da Silva, Shênia Santos Monteiro and Matheus Augusto de Bittencourt Pasquali
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050660 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 359
Abstract
This review article covers the therapeutic potential of the plants Harpagophytum procumbens and Turnera subulata in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Despite the recognition of their beneficial properties, there is notable shortage of specific clinical and in vitro studies on these species regarding [...] Read more.
This review article covers the therapeutic potential of the plants Harpagophytum procumbens and Turnera subulata in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Despite the recognition of their beneficial properties, there is notable shortage of specific clinical and in vitro studies on these species regarding neurodegenerative diseases. Compounds such as harpagosides and vite-xin-2-O-rhamnoside, found in Harpagophytum procumbens and Turnera subulata, respectively, as well as other antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, are associated with mechanisms of action that involve reducing oxidative stress and modulating the inflammatory response, indicating their therapeutic potential in these pathologies. Additionally, the use of nutraceuticals derived from medicinal plants has emerged as a promising approach, offering natural therapeutic alternatives. However, the pressing need for studies focusing on the pharmacokinetics, safety, and pharmacological interactions of these extracts for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is emphasized. This review also evaluated advances in nutraceutical delivery systems, highlighting technological innovations that can optimize the precise delivery of these compounds to patients. Such findings highlight the gaps in the study of these plants for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and, at the same time, the potential for opening new perspectives in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, providing expectations for innovative solutions in this critical domain of medicine. Full article
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28 pages, 3798 KiB  
Article
Discovery and Anticancer Screening of Novel Oxindole-Based Derivative Bearing Pyridyl Group as Potent and Selective Dual FLT3/CDK2 Kinase Inhibitor
by Aya Soudi, Onur Bender, Ismail Celik, Amer Ali Abd El-Hafeez, Rumeysa Dogan, Arzu Atalay, Eslam B. Elkaeed, Aisha A. Alsfouk, Elshimaa M. N. Abdelhafez, Omar M. Aly, Wolfgang Sippl and Taha F. S. Ali
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050659 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Protein kinases regulate cellular activities and make up over 60% of oncoproteins and proto-oncoproteins. Among these kinases, FLT3 is a member of class III receptor tyrosine kinase family which is abundantly expressed in individuals with acute leukemia. Our previous oxindole-based hit has a [...] Read more.
Protein kinases regulate cellular activities and make up over 60% of oncoproteins and proto-oncoproteins. Among these kinases, FLT3 is a member of class III receptor tyrosine kinase family which is abundantly expressed in individuals with acute leukemia. Our previous oxindole-based hit has a particular affinity toward FLT3 (IC50 = 2.49 μM) and has demonstrated selectivity towards FLT3 ITD-mutated MV4-11 AML cells, with an IC50 of 4.3 μM. By utilizing the scaffold of the previous hit, sixteen new compounds were synthesized and screened against NCI-60 human cancer cell lines. This leads to the discovery of a potent antiproliferative compound, namely 5l, with an average GI50 value against leukemia and colon cancer subpanels equalling 3.39 and 5.97 µM, respectively. Screening against a specific set of 10 kinases that are associated with carcinogenesis indicates that compound 5l has a potent FLT3 inhibition (IC50 = 36.21 ± 1.07 nM). Remarkably, compound 5l was three times more effective as a CDK2 inhibitor (IC50 = 8.17 ± 0.32 nM) compared to sunitinib (IC50 = 27.90 ± 1.80 nM). Compound 5l was further analyzed by means of docking and molecular dynamics simulation for CDK2 and FLT3 active sites which provided a rational for the observed strong inhibition of kinases. These results suggest a novel structural scaffold candidate that simultaneously inhibits CDK2 and FLT3 and gives encouragement for further development as a potential therapeutic for leukemia and colon cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinase Inhibitors in Targeted Cancer Therapy)
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15 pages, 3757 KiB  
Systematic Review
Effects of Smallanthus sonchifolius Flour on Metabolic Parameters: A Systematic Review
by Isabela Frazão da Silva, Wesley Rossi Bragante, Renato Cesar Moretti Junior, Lucas Fornari Laurindo, Elen Landgraf Guiguer, Adriano Cressoni Araújo, Adriana M. R. Fiorini, Claudia C. T. Nicolau, Marie Oshiiwa, Enzo Pereira de Lima, Sandra Maria Barbalho and Luís R. Silva
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050658 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Smallanthus sonchifolius, popularly known as yacon, is a member of the Asteraceae family. Due to its medicinal and edible value, yacon is consumed by different populations. Yacon is unique due to its high fructo-oligosaccharide and inulin content, as well as flavonoids, sesquiterpene [...] Read more.
Smallanthus sonchifolius, popularly known as yacon, is a member of the Asteraceae family. Due to its medicinal and edible value, yacon is consumed by different populations. Yacon is unique due to its high fructo-oligosaccharide and inulin content, as well as flavonoids, sesquiterpene lactones, and phenolic acids. Roots can be used to produce flour, which is less perishable and can be applied in various industrial products. This systematic review focuses on the effects of yacon flour on metabolic parameters. PubMed, Cochrane, Embase, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases were consulted, and PRISMA guidelines were followed in the selection of the studies. In total, 526 articles were found in the databases, and of these, only 28 full texts were eligible for inclusion. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, seven studies were finally included. The results showed that the use of yacon flour can reduce glycemia, HbA1c, advanced glycation ends, plasma lipids, body fat mass, body weight, and waist circumference and improve intestinal microbiota and the antioxidant status. Further exploration of the effects of yacon flour is warranted, and additional clinical trials are necessary to determine the optimal daily consumption levels required to assist in improving metabolic parameters. Full article
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19 pages, 2925 KiB  
Article
Genotoxic and Anti-Genotoxic Potential of Hydrosols from Water–Steam Distillation of Oil-Bearing Roses Rosa centifolia L. and Rosa gallica L. from Bulgaria
by Svetla Gateva, Gabriele Jovtchev, Tsveta Angelova, Tsvetelina Gerasimova, Ana Dobreva and Milka Mileva
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050657 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
Rosa centifolia L. and Rosa gallica L. (Rosaceae) are grown as raw materials for valuable essential oils and hydrosols. There are scarce data about the biological activities and the genoprotective potential of the hydrosols of these roses. The aim of the study was [...] Read more.
Rosa centifolia L. and Rosa gallica L. (Rosaceae) are grown as raw materials for valuable essential oils and hydrosols. There are scarce data about the biological activities and the genoprotective potential of the hydrosols of these roses. The aim of the study was to provide information on their cytotoxic/genotoxic activity and anti-cytotoxic/anti-genotoxic capacity against mutagenic N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG). The evaluation was performed using classical tests for chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in the higher plant Hordeum vulgare and human lymphocyte test systems. The experimental schemes included combined hydrosol and mutagen treatment. Both hydrosols (6, 14, 20%) had no cytotoxic effect on barley and showed low genotoxicity in both test systems as the injuries were enhanced to a lesser extent compared to the controls. Lymphocytes were more susceptible than H. vulgare. Under the conditions of combined treatment, it was found that the two hydrosols possessed good anti-cytotoxic and anti-genotoxic potential against MNNG. Both rose products exerted genoprotective potential to a similar extent, decreasing the frequencies of aberrations in chromosomes and micronuclei to a significant degree in both types of cells when non-toxic concentrations of hydrosols were applied before MNNG. This was performed both with and without any inter-treatment time. The observed cytoprotective/genoprotective potential suggests that these hydrosols are promising for further application in phytotherapy and medicine. Full article
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41 pages, 9942 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Multifaceted Capabilities of Endophytic Aspergillus flavus Isolated from Annona squamosa Fruit Peels against Staphylococcus Isolates and HCoV 229E—In Vitro and In Silico Investigations
by Noha Fathallah, Wafaa M. Elkady, Sara A. Zahran, Khaled M. Darwish, Sameh S. Elhady and Yasmin A. Elkhawas
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050656 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 557
Abstract
Recently, there has been a surge towards searching for primitive treatment strategies to discover novel therapeutic approaches against multi-drug-resistant pathogens. Endophytes are considered unexplored yet perpetual sources of several secondary metabolites with therapeutic significance. This study aims to isolate and identify the endophytic [...] Read more.
Recently, there has been a surge towards searching for primitive treatment strategies to discover novel therapeutic approaches against multi-drug-resistant pathogens. Endophytes are considered unexplored yet perpetual sources of several secondary metabolites with therapeutic significance. This study aims to isolate and identify the endophytic fungi from Annona squamosa L. fruit peels using morphological, microscopical, and transcribed spacer (ITS-rDNA) sequence analysis; extract the fungus’s secondary metabolites by ethyl acetate; investigate the chemical profile using UPLC/MS; and evaluate the potential antibacterial, antibiofilm, and antiviral activities. An endophytic fungus was isolated and identified as Aspergillus flavus L. from the fruit peels. The UPLC/MS revealed seven compounds with various chemical classes. The antimicrobial activity of the fungal ethyl acetate extract (FEA) was investigated against different Gram-positive and Gram-negative standard strains, in addition to resistant clinical isolates using the agar diffusion method. The CPE-inhibition assay was used to identify the potential antiviral activity of the crude fungal extract against low pathogenic human coronavirus (HCoV 229E). Selective Gram-positive antibacterial and antibiofilm activities were evident, demonstrating pronounced efficacy against both methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). However, the extract exhibited very weak activity against Gram-negative bacterial strains. The ethyl acetate extract of Aspergillus flavus L exhibited an interesting antiviral activity with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value of 27.2 µg/mL against HCoV 229E. Furthermore, in silico virtual molecular docking-coupled dynamics simulation highlighted the promising affinity of the identified metabolite, orienting towards three MRSA biotargets and HCoV 229E main protease as compared to reported reference inhibitors/substrates. Finally, ADME analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential oral bioavailability of the identified metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heterocyclic Compounds in Medicinal Chemistry)
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19 pages, 4367 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential Biological Activities of Pyrazole-Based Schiff Bases as Anti-Diabetic, Anti-Alzheimer’s, Anti-Inflammatory, and Cytotoxic Agents: In Vitro Studies with Computational Predictions
by Ahmed M. Naglah, Abdulrahman A. Almehizia, Asma S. Al-Wasidi, Amirah Senaitan Alharbi, Mohammed H. Alqarni, Ashraf S. Hassan and Wael M. Aboulthana
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050655 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 363
Abstract
In this innovative research, we aim to reveal pyrazole-based Schiff bases as new multi-target agents. In this context, we re-synthesized three sets of pyrazole-based Schiff bases, 5af, 6af, and 7af, to evaluate their biological [...] Read more.
In this innovative research, we aim to reveal pyrazole-based Schiff bases as new multi-target agents. In this context, we re-synthesized three sets of pyrazole-based Schiff bases, 5af, 6af, and 7af, to evaluate their biological applications. The data from in vitro biological assays (including antioxidant and scavenging activities, anti-diabetes, anti-Alzheimer’s, and anti-inflammatory properties) of the pyrazole-based Schiff bases 5af, 6af, and 7af showed that the six pyrazole-based Schiff bases 5a, 5d, 5e, 5f, 7a, and 7f possess the highest biological properties among the compounds evaluated. The cytotoxicity against lung (A549) and colon (Caco-2) human cancer types, as well as normal lung (WI-38) cell lines, was evaluated. The data from the cytotoxicity investigation demonstrated that the three Schiff bases 5d, 5e, and 7a are active against lung (A549) cells, while the two Schiff bases 5e and 7a exhibited the highest cytotoxicity towards colon (Caco-2) cells. Additionally, the enzymatic activities against caspase-3 and Bcl-2 of the six pyrazole-based Schiff bases 5a, 5d, 5e, 5f, 7a, and 7f were evaluated. Furthermore, we assessed the in silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, and toxicity (ADMT) properties of the more potent pyrazole-based Schiff bases. After modifying the structures of the six pyrazole-based Schiff bases, we plan to further extend the studies in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pyrazole and Thiazole Derivatives in Medicinal Chemistry)
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21 pages, 5201 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Tilianin Based on the Novel Amorphous Nanocrystals
by Min Sun, Mengran Guo, Zhongshan He, Yaoyao Luo, Xi He, Chuansheng Huang, Yong Yuan, Yunli Zhao, Xiangrong Song and Xinchun Wang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050654 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Tilianin (Til), a flavonoid glycoside, is well-known for its therapeutic promise in treating inflammatory disorders. Its poor water solubility and permeability limit its clinical applicability. In order to overcome these restrictions, an antisolvent precipitation and ultrasonication technique was used to prepare amorphous tilianin [...] Read more.
Tilianin (Til), a flavonoid glycoside, is well-known for its therapeutic promise in treating inflammatory disorders. Its poor water solubility and permeability limit its clinical applicability. In order to overcome these restrictions, an antisolvent precipitation and ultrasonication technique was used to prepare amorphous tilianin nanocrystals (Til NCs). We have adjusted the organic solvents, oil-to-water ratio, stabilizer composition, and ultrasonic power and time by combining single-factor and central composite design (CCD) methodologies. The features of Til NCs were characterized using powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), scanning calorimetry (DSC), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Specifically, the optimized Til NCs were needle-like with a particle size ranging from 90 to 130 nm. PVA (0.3%, w/v) and TPGS (0.08%, w/v) stabilized them well. For at least two months, these Til NCs stayed amorphous and showed an impressive stability at 4 °C and 25 °C. Remarkably, Til NCs dissolved almost 20 times faster in simulated intestinal fluid (SIF) than they did in crude Til. In RAW264.7 cells, Til NCs also showed a better cellular absorption as well as safety and protective qualities. Til NCs were shown to drastically lower reactive oxygen species (ROS), TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in anti-inflammatory experiments, while increasing IL-10 levels and encouraging M1 macrophages to adopt the anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype. Our results highlight the potential of amorphous Til NCs as a viable approach to improve Til’s anti-inflammatory effectiveness, solubility, and dissolving rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology)
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14 pages, 13252 KiB  
Article
Testing of Anti-EMT, Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial Activities of 2′,4′-Dimethoxychalcone
by Peiling Zhao, Mengzhen Xu, Kai Gong, Kaihui Lu, Chen Ruan, Xin Yu, Jiang Zhu, Haixing Guan and Qingjun Zhu
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050653 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 272
Abstract
Chalcone (1,3-diaryl-2-propen-1-one) is an α, β-unsaturated ketone that serves as an active constituent or precursor of numerous natural substances, exhibiting a broad spectrum of pharmacological effects. In this study, the classical Claisen–Schmidt condensation method was used to synthesize the chalcone derivative 2′,4′-dimethoxychalcone (DTC) [...] Read more.
Chalcone (1,3-diaryl-2-propen-1-one) is an α, β-unsaturated ketone that serves as an active constituent or precursor of numerous natural substances, exhibiting a broad spectrum of pharmacological effects. In this study, the classical Claisen–Schmidt condensation method was used to synthesize the chalcone derivative 2′,4′-dimethoxychalcone (DTC) and evaluate its pharmacological activity. By upregulating the expression of the epithelial cell marker E-cadherin and downregulating the expression of the mesenchymal cell marker vimentin, DTC was found to inhibit transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) process in A549 cells, maintaining the cells’ epithelial-like morphology and reducing the ability of the cells to migrate. Additionally, DTC demonstrated the ability to decrease the expression levels of nitric oxide (NO), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in RAW264.7 cells, suggesting a possible anti-inflammatory effect. Furthermore, DTC was found to exhibit bacteriostatic activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Proteus vulgaris (P. vulgaris), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Candida albicans (C. albicans), indicating that this chemical may possess broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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18 pages, 2453 KiB  
Review
Progress and Innovative Combination Therapies in Trop-2-Targeted ADCs
by Yizhi Jiang, Haiting Zhou, Junxia Liu, Wentao Ha, Xiaohui Xia, Jiahao Li, Tengfei Chao and Huihua Xiong
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050652 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 375
Abstract
Precise targeting has become the main direction of anti-cancer drug development. Trophoblast cell surface antigen 2 (Trop-2) is highly expressed in different solid tumors but rarely in normal tissues, rendering it an attractive target. Trop-2-targeted antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have displayed promising efficacy in [...] Read more.
Precise targeting has become the main direction of anti-cancer drug development. Trophoblast cell surface antigen 2 (Trop-2) is highly expressed in different solid tumors but rarely in normal tissues, rendering it an attractive target. Trop-2-targeted antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have displayed promising efficacy in treating diverse solid tumors, especially breast cancer and urothelial carcinoma. However, their clinical application is still limited by insufficient efficacy, excessive toxicity, and the lack of biological markers related to effectiveness. This review summarizes the clinical trials and combination therapy strategies for Trop-2-targeted ADCs, discusses the current challenges, and provides new insights for future advancements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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16 pages, 7092 KiB  
Article
The Antagonistic and Synergistic Role of Fe3+ Compounds in Chemo- and Electrochemotherapy in Human Colon Cancer In Vitro
by Wojciech Szlasa, Wiktoria Mazurek, Anna Szewczyk, Nina Rembiałkowska, Joanna Tunikowska and Julita Kulbacka
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050651 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 313
Abstract
Colon cancer (CC) management includes surgery, radio- and chemotherapy based on treatment with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or its derivatives. However, its application is limited to low-grade carcinomas. Thus, much research has been conducted to introduce new techniques and drugs to the therapy. CC mostly [...] Read more.
Colon cancer (CC) management includes surgery, radio- and chemotherapy based on treatment with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or its derivatives. However, its application is limited to low-grade carcinomas. Thus, much research has been conducted to introduce new techniques and drugs to the therapy. CC mostly affects older people suffering from cardiac diseases, where iron compounds are commonly used. Ferric citrate and iron (III)–EDTA complexes have proven to be effective in colon cancer in vitro. This study aimed to determine the potency and action of iron-containing compounds in colon cancer treatment by chemo- and electrochemotherapy in both nano- and microsecond protocols. The viability of the cells was assessed after standalone iron (III) citrate and iron (III)–EDTA incubation. Both compounds were also assessed with 5-FU to determine the combination index. Additionally, frataxin expression was taken as the quantitative response to the exposition of iron compounds. Each of the substances exhibited a cytotoxic effect on the LoVo cell line. Electroporation with standalone drugs revealed the potency of 5-FU and iron(III)–EDTA in CC treatment. The combination of 5-FU with iron(III)–EDTA acted synergistically, increasing the viability of the cells in the nanosecond electrochemotherapy protocol. Iron(III)–EDTA decreased the frataxin expression, thus inducing ferroptosis. Iron(III) citrate induced the progression of cancer; therefore, it should not be considered as a potential therapeutic option. The relatively low stability of iron(III) citrate leads to the delivery of citrate anions to cancer cells, which could increase the Krebs cycle rate and promote progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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14 pages, 3158 KiB  
Article
New Thiazolidine-4-One Derivatives as SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors
by Antonella Messore, Paolo Malune, Elisa Patacchini, Valentina Noemi Madia, Davide Ialongo, Merve Arpacioglu, Aurora Albano, Giuseppe Ruggieri, Francesco Saccoliti, Luigi Scipione, Enzo Tramontano, Serena Canton, Angela Corona, Sante Scognamiglio, Annalaura Paulis, Mustapha Suleiman, Helmi Mohammed Al-Maqtari, Fatma Mohamed A. Abid, Sarkar M. A. Kawsar, Murugesan Sankaranarayanan, Roberto Di Santo, Francesca Esposito and Roberta Costiadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050650 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 580
Abstract
It has been more than four years since the first report of SARS-CoV-2, and humankind has experienced a pandemic with an unprecedented impact. Moreover, the new variants have made the situation even worse. Among viral enzymes, the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) [...] Read more.
It has been more than four years since the first report of SARS-CoV-2, and humankind has experienced a pandemic with an unprecedented impact. Moreover, the new variants have made the situation even worse. Among viral enzymes, the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) has been deemed a promising drug target vs. COVID-19. Indeed, Mpro is a pivotal enzyme for viral replication, and it is highly conserved within coronaviruses. It showed a high extent of conservation of the protease residues essential to the enzymatic activity, emphasizing its potential as a drug target to develop wide-spectrum antiviral agents effective not only vs. SARS-CoV-2 variants but also against other coronaviruses. Even though the FDA-approved drug nirmatrelvir, a Mpro inhibitor, has boosted the antiviral therapy for the treatment of COVID-19, the drug shows several drawbacks that hinder its clinical application. Herein, we report the synthesis of new thiazolidine-4-one derivatives endowed with inhibitory potencies in the micromolar range against SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. In silico studies shed light on the key structural requirements responsible for binding to highly conserved enzymatic residues, showing that the thiazolidinone core acts as a mimetic of the Gln amino acid of the natural substrate and the central role of the nitro-substituted aromatic portion in establishing π-π stacking interactions with the catalytic His-41 residue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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14 pages, 825 KiB  
Article
A New and Rapid LC-MS/MS Method for the Determination of Cysteamine Plasma Levels in Cystinosis Patients
by Raffaele Simeoli, Sara Cairoli, Marcella Greco, Francesco Bellomo, Alessandro Mancini, Chiara Rossi, Carlo Dionisi Vici, Francesco Emma and Bianca Maria Goffredo
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050649 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 323
Abstract
Cystinosis is a rare lysosomal storage disorder caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the CTNS gene that encodes for the cystine transporter cystinosin, which is expressed on the lysosomal membrane mediating the efflux of cystine. Cysteamine bitartrate is a cystine-depleting aminothiol agent approved [...] Read more.
Cystinosis is a rare lysosomal storage disorder caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the CTNS gene that encodes for the cystine transporter cystinosin, which is expressed on the lysosomal membrane mediating the efflux of cystine. Cysteamine bitartrate is a cystine-depleting aminothiol agent approved for the treatment of cystinosis in children and adults. In this study, we developed and validated a liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the determination of cysteamine levels in plasma samples. This LC-MS/MS method was validated according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s guidelines for bioanalytical method validation. An ultra-performance liquid chromatograph (UPLC) coupled with a 6470 mass spectrometry system was used for cysteamine determination. Our validated method was applied to plasma samples from n = 8 cystinosis patients (median, interquartile range (IQR) = 20.5, 8.5–26.0 years). The samples were collected before cysteamine oral administration (pre-dose) and 1 h after (post-dose). Our bioanalytical method fulfilled the regulatory guidelines for method validation. The cysteamine plasma levels in pre-dose samples were 2.57 and 1.50–3.31 μM (median and IQR, respectively), whereas the post-dose samples reported a cysteamine median concentration of 28.00 μM (IQR: 17.60–36.61). Our method allows the rapid determination of cysteamine plasma levels. This method was successfully used in cystinosis patients and, therefore, could be a useful tool for the evaluation of therapy adherence and for future pharmacokinetic (PK) studies involving a higher number of subjects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Techniques in the Pharmaceutical Sciences 2023)
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15 pages, 3327 KiB  
Article
Enzymatic Metabolic Switches of Astrocyte Response to Lipotoxicity as Potential Therapeutic Targets for Nervous System Diseases
by Andrea Angarita-Rodríguez, J. Manuel Matiz-González, Andrés Pinzón, Andrés Felipe Aristizabal, David Ramírez, George E. Barreto and Janneth González
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050648 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Astrocytes play a pivotal role in maintaining brain homeostasis. Recent research has highlighted the significance of palmitic acid (PA) in triggering pro-inflammatory pathways contributing to neurotoxicity. Furthermore, Genomic-scale metabolic models and control theory have revealed that metabolic switches (MSs) are metabolic pathway regulators [...] Read more.
Astrocytes play a pivotal role in maintaining brain homeostasis. Recent research has highlighted the significance of palmitic acid (PA) in triggering pro-inflammatory pathways contributing to neurotoxicity. Furthermore, Genomic-scale metabolic models and control theory have revealed that metabolic switches (MSs) are metabolic pathway regulators by potentially exacerbating neurotoxicity, thereby offering promising therapeutic targets. Herein, we characterized these enzymatic MSs in silico as potential therapeutic targets, employing protein–protein and drug–protein interaction networks alongside structural characterization techniques. Our findings indicate that five MSs (P00558, P04406, Q08426, P09110, and O76062) were functionally linked to nervous system drug targets and may be indirectly regulated by specific neurological drugs, some of which exhibit polypharmacological potential (e.g., Trifluperidol, Trifluoperazine, Disulfiram, and Haloperidol). Furthermore, four MSs (P00558, P04406, Q08426, and P09110) feature ligand-binding or allosteric cavities with druggable potential. Our results advocate for a focused exploration of P00558 (phosphoglycerate kinase 1), P04406 (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), Q08426 (peroxisomal bifunctional enzyme, enoyl-CoA hydratase, and 3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase), P09110 (peroxisomal 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase), and O76062 (Delta(14)-sterol reductase) as promising targets for the development or repurposing of pharmacological compounds, which could have the potential to modulate lipotoxic-altered metabolic pathways, offering new avenues for the treatment of related human diseases such as neurological diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-target Drug Treatments for Neurodegenerative Disease)
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19 pages, 5961 KiB  
Article
Daidzein and Equol: Ex Vivo and In Silico Approaches Targeting COX-2, iNOS, and the Canonical Inflammasome Signaling Pathway
by Yazmín K. Márquez-Flores, Elizdath Martínez-Galero, José Correa-Basurto, Yudibeth Sixto-López, Isabel Villegas, María Á. Rosillo, Ana Cárdeno and Catalina Alarcón-de-la-Lastra
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050647 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Background: The inflammasome is a cytosolic multiprotein complex associated with multiple autoimmune diseases. Phytochemical compounds in soy (Glycine max) foods, such as isoflavones, have been reported for their anti-inflammatory properties. Aim: the anti-inflammatory activity of DZ (daidzein) and EQ (equol) were [...] Read more.
Background: The inflammasome is a cytosolic multiprotein complex associated with multiple autoimmune diseases. Phytochemical compounds in soy (Glycine max) foods, such as isoflavones, have been reported for their anti-inflammatory properties. Aim: the anti-inflammatory activity of DZ (daidzein) and EQ (equol) were investigated in an ex vivo model of LPS-stimulated murine peritoneal macrophages and by molecular docking correlation. Methods: Cells were pre-treated with DZ (25, 50, and 100 µM) or EQ (5, 10, and 25 µM), followed by LPS stimulation. The levels of PGE2, NO, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β were analyzed by ELISA, whereas the expressions of COX-2, iNOS, NLRP3, ASC, caspase 1, and IL-18 were measured by Western blotting. Also, the potential for transcriptional modulation by targeting NF-κB, COX-2, iNOS, NLRP3, ASC, and caspase 1 was investigated by molecular docking. Results: The anti-inflammatory responses observed may be due to the modulation of NF-κB due to the binding of DZ or EQ, which is translated into decreased TNF-α, COX-2, iNOS, NLRP3, and ASC levels. Conclusion: This study establishes that DZ and EQ inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory responses in peritoneal murine macrophages via down-regulation of NO and PGE2 generation, as well as the inhibition of the canonical inflammasome pathway, regulating NLRP3, and consequently decreasing IL-1β and IL-18 activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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43 pages, 1100 KiB  
Review
Hive Products: Composition, Pharmacological Properties, and Therapeutic Applications
by Roberto Bava, Fabio Castagna, Carmine Lupia, Giusi Poerio, Giovanna Liguori, Renato Lombardi, Maria Diana Naturale, Rosa Maria Bulotta, Vito Biondi, Annamaria Passantino, Domenico Britti, Giancarlo Statti and Ernesto Palma
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050646 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Beekeeping provides products with nutraceutical and pharmaceutical characteristics. These products are characterized by abundance of bioactive compounds. For different reasons, honey, royal jelly, propolis, venom, and pollen are beneficial to humans and animals and could be used as therapeutics. The pharmacological action of [...] Read more.
Beekeeping provides products with nutraceutical and pharmaceutical characteristics. These products are characterized by abundance of bioactive compounds. For different reasons, honey, royal jelly, propolis, venom, and pollen are beneficial to humans and animals and could be used as therapeutics. The pharmacological action of these products is related to many of their constituents. The main bioactive components of honey include oligosaccharides, methylglyoxal, royal jelly proteins (MRJPs), and phenolics compounds. Royal jelly contains jelleins, royalisin peptides, MRJPs, and derivatives of hydroxy-decenoic acid, particularly 10-hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA), which possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, neuromodulatory, metabolic syndrome-preventing, and anti-aging properties. Propolis has a plethora of activities that are referable to compounds such as caffeic acid phenethyl ester. Peptides found in bee venom include phospholipase A2, apamin, and melittin. In addition to being vitamin-rich, bee pollen also includes unsaturated fatty acids, sterols, and phenolics compounds that express antiatherosclerotic, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, the constituents of hive products are particular and different. All of these constituents have been investigated for their properties in numerous research studies. This review aims to provide a thorough screening of the bioactive chemicals found in honeybee products and their beneficial biological effects. The manuscript may provide impetus to the branch of unconventional medicine that goes by the name of apitherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Effects of Natural Products and Their Clinical Research)
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19 pages, 6497 KiB  
Article
HGFK1 Enhances the Anti-Tumor Effects of Angiogenesis Inhibitors via Inhibition of CD90+ CSCs in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
by Tao Li, Ling Liu, Li Li, Xiaoxuan Yao, Xiaoyuan Hu, Jiaxing Cheng, Zhenpu Chen, Jiyin Guo, Ruilei Li, Chunlei Ge, Marie Chia-Mi Lin and Hong Yao
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050645 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 253
Abstract
The combination of anti-angiogenesis agents with immune-checkpoint inhibitors is a promising treatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, therapeutic resistance caused by cancer stem cells present in tumor microenvironments remains to be overcome. In this study, we report for the first [...] Read more.
The combination of anti-angiogenesis agents with immune-checkpoint inhibitors is a promising treatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, therapeutic resistance caused by cancer stem cells present in tumor microenvironments remains to be overcome. In this study, we report for the first time that the Kringle 1 domain of human hepatocyte growth-factor α chain (HGFK1), a previously described anti-angiogenesis peptide, repressed the sub-population of CD90+ cancer stem cells (CSCs) and promoted their differentiation and chemotherapy sensitivity mainly through downregulation of pre-Met protein expression and inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin and Notch pathways. Furthermore, we showed that the i.p. injection of PH1 (a tumor-targeted and biodegradable co-polymer), medicated plasmids encoding Endostatin (pEndo), HGFK1 genes (pEndo), and a combination of 50% pEndo + 50% pHGFK1 all significantly suppressed tumor growth and prolonged the survival of the HCC-bearing mice. Importantly, the combined treatment produced a potent synergistic effect, with 25% of the mice showing the complete clearance of the tumor via a reduction in the microvessel density (MVD) and the number of CD90+ CSCs in the tumor tissues. These results suggest for the first time that HGFK1 inhibits the CSCs of HCC. Furthermore, the combination of two broad-spectrum anti-angiogenic factors, Endo and HGFK1, is the optimal strategy for the development of effective anti-HCC drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Therapeutic Target for Hepatocellular Carcinoma)
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16 pages, 5053 KiB  
Article
Extracellular Matrix Stiffness-Induced Mechanotransduction of Capillarized Liver Sinusoidal Endothelial Cells
by Qingjuan Wu, Quanmei Sun, Qiang Zhang, Ning Wang, Wenliang Lv and Dong Han
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050644 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The mechanobiological response mechanism of the fenestrae of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) to the physical stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM) remains unclear. We investigated how the mechanical properties of their substrates affect the LSECs’ fenestrae by the nitric oxide (NO)-dependent pathway [...] Read more.
The mechanobiological response mechanism of the fenestrae of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) to the physical stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM) remains unclear. We investigated how the mechanical properties of their substrates affect the LSECs’ fenestrae by the nitric oxide (NO)-dependent pathway and how they relate to the progression of hepatic sinus capillarization during liver fibrosis. We detected different stiffnesses of ECM in the progress of liver fibrosis (LF) and developed polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAM) substrates to simulate them. Softer stiffness substrates contributed to LSECs maintaining fenestrae phenotype in vitro. The stiffness of liver fibrosis tissue could be reversed in vivo via treatment with anti-ECM deposition drugs. Similarly, the capillarization of LSECs could be reversed by decreasing the ECM stiffness. Our results also indicate that the NO-dependent pathway plays a key regulatory role in the capillarization of ECM-LSECs. Our study reveals ECM-induced mechanotransduction of capillarized LSECs through a NO-dependent pathway via a previously unrevealed mechanotransduction mechanism. The elucidation of this mechanism may offer precise biomechanics-specific intervention strategies targeting liver fibrosis progression. Full article
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20 pages, 14597 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Mechanism of Fufang Danshen Tablet against Atherosclerosis by Network Pharmacology and Experimental Validation
by Yuling Liu, Weiwei Su, Peibo Li, Xuan Zeng, Yuying Zheng, Yonggang Wang, Wei Peng and Hao Wu
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050643 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 279
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is the main pathological basis of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Fufang Danshen Tablet (FDT) is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been clinically used to treat CVDs for more than 40 years. Nevertheless, owing to the complexity of the ingredients, the pharmacological mechanism [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is the main pathological basis of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Fufang Danshen Tablet (FDT) is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been clinically used to treat CVDs for more than 40 years. Nevertheless, owing to the complexity of the ingredients, the pharmacological mechanism of FDT in the treatment of CVDs has not been fully elucidated. In this study, an integrated strategy of UFLC-Q-TOF-MS/MS, network pharmacology, molecular biology, and transcriptomics was used to elucidate the mechanisms of action of FDT in the treatment of atherosclerosis. In total, 22 absorbed constituents were identified in rat serum after oral administration of FDT. In silico, network pharmacology studies have shown that FDT regulates four key biological functional modules for the treatment of atherosclerosis: oxidative stress, cell apoptosis, energy metabolism, and immune/inflammation. In animal experiments, FDT exerted protective effects against atherosclerosis by reducing the plaque area and lipid levels in ApoE−/− mice. Furthermore, we found that FDT inhibited inflammatory macrophage accumulation by regulating the expression of Selp and Ccl2, which are both involved in monocyte adhesion and migration. The inhibition of monocyte recruitment by FDT is a new perspective to elucidate the anti-atherosclerotic mechanism of FDT, which has not been adopted in previous studies on FDT. Our results may help to elucidate the therapeutic mechanism of FDT against CVDs and provide potential therapeutic targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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20 pages, 940 KiB  
Review
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in Psychiatry: Enhancing Treatment Precision and Patient Outcomes
by Letizia Biso, Stefano Aringhieri, Marco Carli, Marco Scarselli and Biancamaria Longoni
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050642 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Psychiatric disorders often require pharmacological interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. However, achieving an optimal therapeutic outcome is challenging due to several factors, including variability in the individual response, inter-individual differences in drug metabolism, and drug interactions in polytherapy. Therapeutic [...] Read more.
Psychiatric disorders often require pharmacological interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. However, achieving an optimal therapeutic outcome is challenging due to several factors, including variability in the individual response, inter-individual differences in drug metabolism, and drug interactions in polytherapy. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), by measuring drug concentrations in biological samples, represents a valuable tool to address these challenges, by tailoring medication regimens to each individual. This review analyzes the current landscape of TDM in psychiatric practice, highlighting its significance in optimizing drug dosages, minimizing adverse effects, and improving therapeutic efficacy. The metabolism of psychiatric medications (i.e., mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants) often exhibits significant inter-patient variability. TDM can help address this variability by enhancing treatment personalization, facilitating early suboptimal- or toxic-level detection, and allowing for timely interventions to prevent treatment failure or adverse effects. Furthermore, this review briefly discusses technological advancements and analytical methods supporting the implementation of TDM in psychiatric settings. These innovations enable quick and cost-effective drug concentration measurements, fostering the widespread adoption of TDM as a routine practice in psychiatric care. In conclusion, the integration of TDM in psychiatry can improve treatment outcomes by individualizing medication regimens within the so-called precision medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Analysis and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring)
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18 pages, 9438 KiB  
Article
(-)-Fenchone Prevents Cysteamine-Induced Duodenal Ulcers and Accelerates Healing Promoting Re-Epithelialization of Gastric Ulcers in Rats via Antioxidant and Immunomodulatory Mechanisms
by Maria Elaine Cristina Araruna, Edvaldo Balbino Alves Júnior, Catarina Alves de Lima Serafim, Matheus Marley Bezerra Pessoa, Michelle Liz de Souza Pessôa, Vitória Pereira Alves, Marcelo Sobral da Silva, Marianna Vieira Sobral, Adriano Francisco Alves, Mayara Karla dos Santos Nunes, Aurigena Antunes Araújo and Leônia Maria Batista
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050641 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 353
Abstract
Background: (-)-Fenchone is a naturally occurring monoterpene found in the essential oils of Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Thuja occidentalis L., and Peumus boldus Molina. Pharmacological studies have reported its antinociceptive, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, and antioxidant activities. Methods: The preventive antiulcer effects of (-)-Fenchone were [...] Read more.
Background: (-)-Fenchone is a naturally occurring monoterpene found in the essential oils of Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Thuja occidentalis L., and Peumus boldus Molina. Pharmacological studies have reported its antinociceptive, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, and antioxidant activities. Methods: The preventive antiulcer effects of (-)-Fenchone were assessed through oral pretreatment in cysteamine-induced duodenal lesion models. Gastric healing, the underlying mechanisms, and toxicity after repeated doses were evaluated using the acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer rat model with oral treatment administered for 14 days. Results: In the cysteamine-induced duodenal ulcer model, fenchone (37.5–300 mg/kg) significantly decreased the ulcer area and prevented lesion formation. In the acetic acid-induced ulcer model, fenchone (150 mg/kg) reduced (p < 0.001) ulcerative injury. These effects were associated with increased levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), interleukin (IL)-10, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β). Furthermore, treatment with (-)-Fenchone (150 mg/kg) significantly reduced (p < 0.001) malondialdehyde (MDA), myeloperoxidase (MPO), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and nuclear transcription factor kappa B (NF-κB). A 14-day oral toxicity investigation revealed no alterations in heart, liver, spleen, or kidney weight, nor in the biochemical and hematological parameters assessed. (-)-Fenchone protected animals from body weight loss while maintaining feed and water intake. Conclusion: (-)-Fenchone exhibits low toxicity, prevents duodenal ulcers, and enhances gastric healing activities. Antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties appear to be involved in its therapeutic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Gastrointestinal Peptides in Medicine)
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16 pages, 3681 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Drug Interactions between Ritonavir and Opioid Analgesics: Implications from Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Simulation
by Liang Ni, Zhihai Cao, Jiakang Jiang, Wei Zhang, Wei Hu, Qian Zhang, Chaozhuang Shen, Xijing Chen and Liang Zheng
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050640 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 253
Abstract
Several commonly used opioid analgesics, such as fentanyl, sufentanil, alfentanil, and hydrocodone, are by report primarily metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme. The concurrent use of ritonavir, a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor, can lead to significant drug interactions. Using physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling and [...] Read more.
Several commonly used opioid analgesics, such as fentanyl, sufentanil, alfentanil, and hydrocodone, are by report primarily metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme. The concurrent use of ritonavir, a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor, can lead to significant drug interactions. Using physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling and simulation, this study examines the effects of different dosing regimens of ritonavir on the pharmacokinetics of these opioids. The findings reveal that co-administration of ritonavir significantly increases the exposure of fentanyl analogs, with over a 10-fold increase in the exposure of alfentanil and sufentanil when given with ritonavir. Conversely, the effect of ritonavir on fentanyl exposure is modest, likely due to additional metabolism pathways. Additionally, the study demonstrates that the steady-state exposure of hydrocodone and its active metabolite hydromorphone can be increased by up to 87% and 95%, respectively, with concurrent use of ritonavir. The extended-release formulation of hydrocodone is particularly affected. These insights from PBPK modeling provide valuable guidance for optimizing opioid dosing and minimizing the risk of toxicity when used in combination with ritonavir-containing prescriptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Population Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamics)
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25 pages, 4315 KiB  
Review
NMDA Receptor Antagonists: Emerging Insights into Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications in Neurological Disorders
by Ayodeji Olatunde Egunlusi and Jacques Joubert
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050639 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 294
Abstract
Neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) include a range of chronic conditions characterized by progressive neuronal loss, leading to cognitive, motor, and behavioral impairments. Common examples include Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The global prevalence of NDs is on the rise, imposing significant economic [...] Read more.
Neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) include a range of chronic conditions characterized by progressive neuronal loss, leading to cognitive, motor, and behavioral impairments. Common examples include Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The global prevalence of NDs is on the rise, imposing significant economic and social burdens. Despite extensive research, the mechanisms underlying NDs remain incompletely understood, hampering the development of effective treatments. Excitotoxicity, particularly glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, is a key pathological process implicated in NDs. Targeting the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, which plays a central role in excitotoxicity, holds therapeutic promise. However, challenges, such as blood–brain barrier penetration and adverse effects, such as extrapyramidal effects, have hindered the success of many NMDA receptor antagonists in clinical trials. This review explores the molecular mechanisms of NMDA receptor antagonists, emphasizing their structure, function, types, challenges, and future prospects in treating NDs. Despite extensive research on competitive and noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonists, the quest for effective treatments still faces significant hurdles. This is partly because the same NMDA receptor that necessitates blockage under pathological conditions is also responsible for the normal physiological function of NMDA receptors. Allosteric modulation of NMDA receptors presents a potential alternative, with the GluN2B subunit emerging as a particularly attractive target due to its enrichment in presynaptic and extrasynaptic NMDA receptors, which are major contributors to excitotoxic-induced neuronal cell death. Despite their low side-effect profiles, selective GluN2B antagonists like ifenprodil and radiprodil have encountered obstacles such as poor bioavailability in clinical trials. Moreover, the selectivity of these antagonists is often relative, as they have been shown to bind to other GluN2 subunits, albeit minimally. Recent advancements in developing phenanthroic and naphthoic acid derivatives offer promise for enhanced GluN2B, GluN2A or GluN2C/GluN2D selectivity and improved pharmacodynamic properties. Additional challenges in NMDA receptor antagonist development include conflicting preclinical and clinical results, as well as the complexity of neurodegenerative disorders and poorly defined NMDA receptor subtypes. Although multifunctional agents targeting multiple degenerative processes are also being explored, clinical data are limited. Designing and developing selective GluN2B antagonists/modulators with polycyclic moieties and multitarget properties would be significant in addressing neurodegenerative disorders. However, advancements in understanding NMDA receptor structure and function, coupled with collaborative efforts in drug design, are imperative for realizing the therapeutic potential of these NMDA receptor antagonists/modulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacological Insight into NMDA Receptor Antagonists)
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19 pages, 2689 KiB  
Article
Concomitant Treatment with Doxycycline and Rifampicin in Balb/c Mice Infected with Brucella abortus 2308 Fails to Reduce Inflammation and Motor Disability
by José Luis Maldonado-García, Samantha Alvarez-Herrera, Gilberto Pérez-Sánchez, Enrique Becerril-Villanueva, Lenin Pavón, Emiliano Tesoro-Cruz, Manuel Iván Girón-Pérez, Gabriela Hurtado-Alvarado, Gabriela Damián-Morales, Rubén López-Santiago and Martha C. Moreno-Lafont
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050638 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Brucellosis is an infection widely distributed around the world, and in some countries it is considered a public health problem. Brucellosis causes insidious symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose. Infection can also trigger chronic pain and neuropsychiatric complications. Antibiotics are not always [...] Read more.
Brucellosis is an infection widely distributed around the world, and in some countries it is considered a public health problem. Brucellosis causes insidious symptoms that make it difficult to diagnose. Infection can also trigger chronic pain and neuropsychiatric complications. Antibiotics are not always effective to eradicate infection, contributing to chronicity. We aimed to investigate the effects of antibiotic treatment on proinflammatory cytokines, neurotransmitters, corticosterone, and behavior in a murine model of infecrion of B. abortus strain 2308. Four study groups were created: (a) control; (b) antibiotic control; (c) infected with B. abortus 2308; and (d) infected and treated with rifampicin and doxycycline. We determined B. abortus 2308 colony-forming units (CFUs), the count of dendritic cells, and macrophages in the spleen; serum levels of cytokines and corticosterone; levels of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in the brain; and equilibrium, physical strength, anxiety, and hopelessness tests. The infected and treated mice group was compared with the control and infected mice to assess whether treatment is sufficient to recover neuroimmunoendocrine parameters. Our results showed that despite the treatment of brucellosis with rifampicin and doxycycline, antibiotic-treated mice showed a persistence of B. abortus 2308 CFUs, an increased count in macrophage number, and higher circulating levels of corticosterone. Furthermore, the levels of IL-12, IL-6, and TNF-α remained higher. We found a decrease in muscular strength and equilibrium concomitant to changes in neurotransmitters in the hippocampus, cerebellum, and frontal cortex. Our data suggest that the remaining bacterial load after antibiotic administration favors inflammatory, neurochemical, and behavioral alterations, partly explaining the widespread and paradoxical symptomatology experienced by patients with chronic brucellosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue NeuroImmunoEndocrinology)
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13 pages, 4202 KiB  
Article
Using In Silico Molecular Docking to Explain Differences in Receptor Binding Behavior of HHC and THCV Isomers: Revealing New Binding Modes
by Mehdi Haghdoost, Yossef López de los Santos, Megan Brunstetter, Morgan L. Ferretti, Matthew Roberts and Marcel O. Bonn-Miller
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050637 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 351
Abstract
Even slight structural differences between phytocannabinoid isomers are usually enough to cause a change in their biological properties. In this study, we used in vitro CB1 agonism/antagonism assays to compare the receptor binding functionality of THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) and HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) isomers and applied [...] Read more.
Even slight structural differences between phytocannabinoid isomers are usually enough to cause a change in their biological properties. In this study, we used in vitro CB1 agonism/antagonism assays to compare the receptor binding functionality of THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) and HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) isomers and applied molecular docking to provide an explanation for the difference in the activities. No CB1 agonism was observed for ∆9- and ∆8-THCV. Instead, both isomers antagonized CP 55940, with ∆9-THCV being approximately two times more potent than the ∆8 counterpart (IC50 = 52.4 nM and 119.6 nM for ∆9- and ∆8-THCV, respectively). Docking simulations found two binding poses for THCV isomers, one very similar to ∆9-THC and one newly discovered pose involving the occupation of side pocket 1 of the CB1 receptor by the alkyl chain of the ligand. We suggested the latter as a potential antagonist pose. In addition, our results established 9R-HHC and 9S-HHC among partial agonists of the CB1 receptor. The 9R-HHC (EC50 = 53.4 nM) isomer was a significantly more potent agonist than 9S (EC50 = 624.3 nM). ∆9-THC and 9R-HHC showed comparable binding poses inside the receptor pocket, whereas 9S-HHC adopted a new and different binding posture that can explain its weak agonist activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Cannabis and Its Derivatives)
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32 pages, 1578 KiB  
Review
Anticancer Mechanism of Astragalus Polysaccharide and Its Application in Cancer Immunotherapy
by Ziqing He, Xiyu Liu, Simin Qin, Qun Yang, Jintong Na, Zhigang Xue and Liping Zhong
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050636 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 408
Abstract
Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) derived from A. membranaceus plays a crucial role in traditional Chinese medicine. These polysaccharides have shown antitumor effects and are considered safe. Thus, they have become increasingly important in cancer immunotherapy. APS can limit the spread of cancer by influencing [...] Read more.
Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) derived from A. membranaceus plays a crucial role in traditional Chinese medicine. These polysaccharides have shown antitumor effects and are considered safe. Thus, they have become increasingly important in cancer immunotherapy. APS can limit the spread of cancer by influencing immune cells, promoting cell death, triggering cancer cell autophagy, and impacting the tumor microenvironment. When used in combination with other therapies, APS can enhance treatment outcomes and reduce toxicity and side effects. APS combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors, relay cellular immunotherapy, and cancer vaccines have broadened the application of cancer immunotherapy and enhanced treatment effectiveness. By summarizing the research on APS in cancer immunotherapy over the past two decades, this review elaborates on the anticancer mechanism of APS and its use in cancer immunotherapy and clinical trials. Considering the multiple roles of APS, this review emphasizes the importance of using APS as an adjunct to cancer immunotherapy and compares other polysaccharides with APS. This discussion provides insights into the specific mechanism of action of APS, reveals the molecular targets of APS for developing effective clinical strategies, and highlights the wide application of APS in clinical cancer therapy in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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30 pages, 8533 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Role of Neddylation Modifications in Kidney Renal Clear Cell Carcinoma: An Integrated Approach Using Bioinformatics, MLN4924 Dosing Experiments, and RNA Sequencing
by Dequan Liu, Guangzhen Wu, Shijin Wang, Xu Zheng and Xiangyu Che
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050635 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Background: Neddylation, a post-translational modification process, plays a crucial role in various human neoplasms. However, its connection with kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) remains under-researched. Methods: We validated the Gene Set Cancer Analysis Lite (GSCALite) platform against The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) [...] Read more.
Background: Neddylation, a post-translational modification process, plays a crucial role in various human neoplasms. However, its connection with kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) remains under-researched. Methods: We validated the Gene Set Cancer Analysis Lite (GSCALite) platform against The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, analyzing 33 cancer types and their link with 17 neddylation-related genes. This included examining copy number variations (CNVs), single nucleotide variations (SNVs), mRNA expression, cellular pathway involvement, and methylation. Using Gene Set Variation Analysis (GSVA), we categorized these genes into three clusters and examined their impact on KIRC patient prognosis, drug responses, immune infiltration, and oncogenic pathways. Afterward, our objective is to identify genes that exhibit overexpression in KIRC and are associated with an adverse prognosis. After pinpointing the specific target gene, we used the specific inhibitor MLN4924 to inhibit the neddylation pathway to conduct RNA sequencing and related in vitro experiments to verify and study the specificity and potential mechanisms related to the target. This approach is geared towards enhancing our understanding of the prognostic importance of neddylation modification in KIRC. Results: We identified significant CNV, SNV, and methylation events in neddylation-related genes across various cancers, with notably higher expression levels observed in KIRC. Cluster analysis revealed a potential trade-off in the interactions among neddylation-related genes, where both high and low levels of gene expression are linked to adverse prognoses. This association is particularly pronounced concerning lymph node involvement, T stage classification, and Fustat score. Simultaneously, our research discovered that PSMB10 exhibits overexpression in KIRC when compared to normal tissues, negatively impacting patient prognosis. Through RNA sequencing and in vitro assays, we confirmed that the inhibition of neddylation modification could play a role in the regulation of various signaling pathways, thereby influencing the prognosis of KIRC. Moreover, our results underscore PSMB10 as a viable target for therapeutic intervention in KIRC, opening up novel pathways for the development of targeted treatment strategies. Conclusion: This study underscores the regulatory function and potential mechanism of neddylation modification on the phenotype of KIRC, identifying PSMB10 as a key regulatory target with a significant role in influencing the prognosis of KIRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adjuvant Therapies for Cancer Treatment)
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15 pages, 2478 KiB  
Article
Synthesis, Antibacterial Effects, and Toxicity of Licochalcone C
by Patrick Rômbola Ozanique, Alvaro Luiz Helena, Ralciane de Paula Menezes, Daniela Silva Gonçalves, Mariana Brentini Santiago, Guilherme Dilarri, Janaína de Cássia Orlandi Sardi, Henrique Ferreira, Carlos Henrique Gomes Martins and Luis Octávio Regasini
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050634 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 316
Abstract
Drug-resistant bacteria constitute a big barrier against current pharmacotherapy. Efforts are urgent to discover antibacterial drugs with novel chemical and biological features. Our work aimed at the synthesis, evaluation of antibacterial effects, and toxicity of licochalcone C (LCC), a naturally occurring chalcone. The [...] Read more.
Drug-resistant bacteria constitute a big barrier against current pharmacotherapy. Efforts are urgent to discover antibacterial drugs with novel chemical and biological features. Our work aimed at the synthesis, evaluation of antibacterial effects, and toxicity of licochalcone C (LCC), a naturally occurring chalcone. The synthetic route included six steps, affording a 10% overall yield. LCC showed effects against Gram-positive bacteria (MIC = 6.2–50.0 µg/mL), Mycobacterium species (MIC = 36.2–125 µg/mL), and Helicobacter pylori (MIC = 25 µg/mL). LCC inhibited the biofilm formation of MSSA and MRSA, demonstrating MBIC50 values of 6.25 μg/mL for both strains. The investigations by fluorescence microscopy, using PI and SYTO9 as fluorophores, indicated that LCC was able to disrupt the S. aureus membrane, similarly to nisin. Systemic toxicity assays using Galleria mellonella larvae showed that LCC was not lethal at 100 µg/mL after 80 h treatment. These data suggest new uses for LCC as a compound with potential applications in antibacterial drug discovery and medical device coating. Full article
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21 pages, 4514 KiB  
Article
Promising Effects of Casearins in Tumor-Bearing Mice and Antinociceptive Action against Oncologic Pain: Molecular Docking and In Vivo Findings
by Jurandy do Nascimento Silva, José Ivo Araújo Beserra Filho, Boris Timah Acha, Fernanda Regina de Castro Almeida, Emanuelle Karine Frota Batista, Valdenizia Rodrigues Silva, Larissa Mendes Bomfim, Milena Botelho Pereira Soares, Daniel Pereira Bezerra, André Gonzaga dos Santos, Francisco das Chagas Pereira de Andrade, Anderson Nogueira Mendes, Daniel Dias Rufino Arcanjo and Paulo Michel Pinheiro Ferreira
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050633 - 14 May 2024
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Abstract
Safer analgesic drugs remain a hard challenge because of cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal toxicity, mainly. So, this study evaluated in vivo the antiproliferative actions of a fraction with casearins (FC) from Casearia sylvestris leaves against human colorectal carcinomas and antihyperalgesic effects on inflammatory- or [...] Read more.
Safer analgesic drugs remain a hard challenge because of cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal toxicity, mainly. So, this study evaluated in vivo the antiproliferative actions of a fraction with casearins (FC) from Casearia sylvestris leaves against human colorectal carcinomas and antihyperalgesic effects on inflammatory- or opiate-based pain relief and oncologic pain in Sarcoma 180 (S180)-bearing mice. Moreover, docking investigations evaluated the binding among Casearin X and NMDA(N-methyl-D-aspartate)-type glutamate receptors. HCT-116 colorectal carcinoma-xenografted mice were treated with FC for 15 days. Antinociceptive assays included chemically induced algesia and investigated mechanisms by pharmacological blockade. Intraplantar region S180-bearing animals received a single dose of FC and were examined for mechanical allodynia and behavior alterations. AutoDock Vina determined molecular interactions among Cas X and NMDA receptor subunits. FC reduced tumor growth at i.p. (5 and 10 mg/kg) and oral (25 mg/kg/day) doses (31.12–39.27%). FC reduced abdominal pain, as confirmed by formalin and glutamate protocols, whose antinociception activity was blocked by naloxone and L-NAME (neurogenic phase) and naloxone, atropine, and flumazenil (inflammatory phase). Meanwhile, glibenclamide potentiated the FC analgesic effects. FC increased the paw withdrawal threshold without producing changes in exploratory parameters or motor coordination. Cas X generated a more stable complex with active sites of the NMDA receptor GluN2B subunits. FC is a promising antitumor agent against colorectal carcinomas, has peripheral analgesic effects by desensitizing secondary afferent neurons, and inhibits glutamate release from presynaptic neurons and/or their action on cognate receptors. These findings emphasize the use of clerodane diterpenes against cancer-related pain conditions. Full article
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Article
The Synergistic Effect of N2 and N7 Modifications on the Inhibitory Efficacy of mRNA Cap Analogues
by Karol Kurpiejewski, Karolina Piecyk, Maciej Lukaszewicz, Karol Kamel, Kazimierz Chmurski, Sebastian Kmiecik and Marzena Jankowska-Anyszka
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(5), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17050632 - 14 May 2024
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Abstract
In the fight against cancer, researchers have turned their attention to the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E, a protein whose increased level is strongly correlated with the development and progression of various types of cancer. Among the numerous strategies devised to tackle eIF4E overexpression, [...] Read more.
In the fight against cancer, researchers have turned their attention to the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E, a protein whose increased level is strongly correlated with the development and progression of various types of cancer. Among the numerous strategies devised to tackle eIF4E overexpression, the use of 5′ end mRNA cap analogues has emerged as a promising approach. Here, we present new candidates as potent m7GMP analogues for inhibiting translation and interfacing with eIF4E. By employing an appropriate strategy, we synthesized doubly modified mono- and dinucleotide cap analogues, introducing simultaneous substituents at both the N7 and N2 positions of the guanine ring. This approach was identified as an effective and promising combination. Our findings reveal that these dual modifications increase the potency of the dinucleotide analogue, marking a significant advancement in the development of cancer therapeutics targeting the eIF4E pathway. Full article
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