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Curr. Issues Mol. Biol., Volume 44, Issue 10 (October 2022) – 51 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Smac mimetics are a class of compounds that are able to facilitate pro-apoptotic signaling. Most human cancer cells are resistant to Smac mimetics alone, and, for this reason, Smac mimetics are mainly evaluated as part of combination therapies. In this study, we describe the effects of combining a Smac mimetic with TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in three different breast cancer cell lines and provide data on how the induction of apoptosis is regulated by caspase-8, RIP1, and c-FLIP. View this paper
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Article
Personalized Selection of a CFTR Modulator for a Patient with a Complex Allele [L467F;F508del]
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5126-5138; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100349 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The presence of complex alleles in the CFTR gene can lead to difficulties in diagnosing cystic fibrosis and cause resistance to therapy with CFTR modulators. Tezacaftor/ivacaftor therapy for 8 months in a patient with the initially established F508del/F508del genotype did not lead to [...] Read more.
The presence of complex alleles in the CFTR gene can lead to difficulties in diagnosing cystic fibrosis and cause resistance to therapy with CFTR modulators. Tezacaftor/ivacaftor therapy for 8 months in a patient with the initially established F508del/F508del genotype did not lead to an improvement in her condition—there was no change in spirometry and an increase in the patient’s weight, while there was only a slight decrease in NaCl values, measured by a sweat test. The intestinal current measurements of the patient’s rectal biopsy showed no positive dynamics in the rescue of CFTR function while taking tezacaftor/ivacaftor. The assumption that the patient had an additional mutation in the cis position was confirmed by sequencing the CFTR gene, and the complex allele [L467F;F508del] was identified. Based on the rescue of CFTR function by elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor obtained using forskolin-induced swelling on intestinal organoids, the patient was prescribed therapy with this targeted drug. The use of elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor for 7 months resulted in a significant improvement in the patient’s clinical condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Molecular Mechanism of Monogenic Diseases)
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Perspective
Implications of Concurrent IDH1 and IDH2 Mutations on Survival in Glioma—A Case Report and Systematic Review
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5117-5125; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100348 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Both IDH1 (isocitrate dehydrogenase 1) and IDH2 (isocitrate dehydrogenase 2) mutations play a vital role in the development of gliomas through disruption of normal cellular metabolic processes. Here we describe a case of a patient with an IDH-mutant astrocytoma, in which both IDH1 [...] Read more.
Both IDH1 (isocitrate dehydrogenase 1) and IDH2 (isocitrate dehydrogenase 2) mutations play a vital role in the development of gliomas through disruption of normal cellular metabolic processes. Here we describe a case of a patient with an IDH-mutant astrocytoma, in which both IDH1 and IDH2 mutations were detected within the same tumour. The patient remains disease-free, nine and a half years after her initial diagnosis. Interrogation of cancer genomic databases and a systematic review was undertaken, demonstrating the rarity of the co-occurrence of IDH1 and IDH2 mutations in a variety of cancer types, and in glioma specifically. Due to the favourable outcome observed in this patient, the potential effect of concurrent IDH1 and IDH2 mutations on survival was also investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Linking Genomic Changes with Cancer in the NGS Era)
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Article
Effect of Cannabidiolic Acid, N-Trans-Caffeoyltyramine and Cannabisin B from Hemp Seeds on microRNA Expression in Human Neural Cells
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5106-5116; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100347 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Given the increasing interest in bioactive dietary components that can modulate gene expression enhancing human health, three metabolites isolated from hemp seeds—cannabidiolic acid, N-trans-caffeoyltyramine, and cannabisin B—were examined for their ability to change the expression levels of microRNAs in human [...] Read more.
Given the increasing interest in bioactive dietary components that can modulate gene expression enhancing human health, three metabolites isolated from hemp seeds—cannabidiolic acid, N-trans-caffeoyltyramine, and cannabisin B—were examined for their ability to change the expression levels of microRNAs in human neural cells. To this end, cultured SH-SY5Y cells were treated with the three compounds and their microRNA content was characterized by next-generation small RNA sequencing. As a result, 31 microRNAs underwent major expression changes, being at least doubled or halved by the treatments. A computational analysis of the biological pathways affected by these microRNAs then showed that some are implicated in neural functions, such as axon guidance, hippocampal signaling, and neurotrophin signaling. Of these, miR-708-5p, miR-181a-5p, miR-190a-5p, miR-199a-5p, and miR-143-3p are known to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and their expression changes are expected to ameliorate neural function. Overall, these results provide new insights into the mechanism of action of hemp seed metabolites and encourage further studies to gain a better understanding of their biological effects on the central nervous system. Full article
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Correction
Correction: Li et al. Identification and Characterization of Cancer Stem-Like Cells in ALK-Positive Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Using the SORE6 Reporter. Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2021, 43, 543–557
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5104-5105; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100346 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 310
Abstract
In the original publication [...] Full article
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Article
Bamboo Shoot and Artemisia capillaris Extract Mixture Ameliorates Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Colitis
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5086-5103; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100345 - 20 Oct 2022
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract and is characterized by recurrent chronic inflammation and mucosal damage of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies have demonstrated that bamboo shoot (BS) and Artemisia capillaris (AC) extracts enhance anti-inflammatory effects [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract and is characterized by recurrent chronic inflammation and mucosal damage of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies have demonstrated that bamboo shoot (BS) and Artemisia capillaris (AC) extracts enhance anti-inflammatory effects in various disease models. However, it is uncertain whether there is a synergistic protective effect of BS and AC in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. In the current study, we tested the combined effects of BS and AC extracts (BA) on colitis using in vivo and in vitro models. Compared with control mice, oral administration of DSS exacerbated colon length and increased the disease activity index (DAI) and histological damage. In DSS-induced colitis, treatment with BA significantly alleviated DSS-induced symptoms such as colon shortening, DAI, histological damage, and colonic pro-inflammatory marker expression compared to single extracts (BS or AC) treatment. Furthermore, we found BA treatment attenuated the ROS generation, F-actin formation, and RhoA activity compared with the single extract (BS or AC) treatment in DSS-treated cell lines. Collectively, these findings suggest that BA treatment has a positive synergistic protective effect on colonic inflammation compared with single extracts, it may be a highly effective complementary natural extract mixture for the prevention or treatment of IBD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food-Derived Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease)
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Article
Cytotoxic Potential of Alternaria tenuissima AUMC14342 Mycoendophyte Extract: A Study Combined with LC-MS/MS Metabolic Profiling and Molecular Docking Simulation
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5067-5085; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100344 - 20 Oct 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers are among the most serious cancers and the main causes of mortality in females worldwide, necessitating urgent efforts to find newer sources of safe anticancer drugs. The present study aimed to evaluate the anticancer potency of mycoendophytic Alternaria [...] Read more.
Breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers are among the most serious cancers and the main causes of mortality in females worldwide, necessitating urgent efforts to find newer sources of safe anticancer drugs. The present study aimed to evaluate the anticancer potency of mycoendophytic Alternaria tenuissima AUMC14342 ethyl acetate extract on HeLa (cervical cancer), SKOV-3 (ovarian cancer), and MCF-7 (breast adenocarcinoma) cell lines. The extract showed potent effect on MCF-7 cells with an IC50 value of 55.53 μg/mL. Cell cycle distribution analysis of treated MCF-7 cells revealed a cell cycle arrest at the S phase with a significant increase in the cell population (25.53%). When compared to control cells, no significant signs of necrotic or apoptotic cell death were observed. LC-MS/MS analysis of Alternaria tenuissima extract afforded the identification of 20 secondary metabolites, including 7-dehydrobrefeldin A, which exhibited the highest interaction score (−8.0156 kcal/mol) in molecular docking analysis against human aromatase. Regarding ADME pharmacokinetics and drug-likeness properties, 7-dehydrobrefeldin A, 4’-epialtenuene, and atransfusarin had good GIT absorption and water solubility without any violation of drug-likeness rules. These findings support the anticancer activity of bioactive metabolites derived from endophytic fungi and provide drug scaffolds and substitute sources for the future development of safe chemotherapy. Full article
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Article
Protective Effects of One 2,4-Dihydro-3H-Pyrazol-3-one Derivative against Posterior Capsular Opacification by Regulation of TGF-β2/SMADs and Non-SMAD Signaling, Collagen I, and Fibronectin Proteins
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5048-5066; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100343 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Many elderly individuals frequently experience cataracts that interfere with vision. After cataract surgery, the left lens epithelial cell (LEC) exhibited fibrosis and posterior capsule opacification (PCO). Sometimes, there is a need for a second surgery; nevertheless, people try other methods, such as a [...] Read more.
Many elderly individuals frequently experience cataracts that interfere with vision. After cataract surgery, the left lens epithelial cell (LEC) exhibited fibrosis and posterior capsule opacification (PCO). Sometimes, there is a need for a second surgery; nevertheless, people try other methods, such as a good pharmacological agent, to treat PCO to reduce transforming growth factor-β2 (TGF-β2) amounts to avoid secondary surgery. The aim of the present study was to explore the potential anti-PCO activity of five 2,4-dihydro-3H-pyrazol-3-one (DHPO) derivatives in a TGF-β2-induced fibrogenesis SRA01/04 cell model. The 2-phenyl-5-propyl-DHPO (TSE; no. 2: TSE-2) compound showed the best activity of reduced expression levels of TGF-β2 among five derivatives and therefore was chosen to evaluate the anti-PCO activity and molecular mechanisms on the Sma and mad protein (SMAD) signaling pathway (including TGF-β2, SMADs, and the inhibition of nuclear translocation of SMADs), non-SMAD pathway proteins, including p-extracellular, regulated protein kinases (ERK) 1/2, or p-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JUN) by Western blotting, PCR, or confocal immunofluorescence analyses. Following treatment with 10 μg/mL of the five compounds, the cells displayed great viability by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTT) assay. In this study, the result of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity measurement did not affect the cytotoxicity of the five compounds. In TGF-β2-induced fibrogenesis in SRA01/04 cells, treatment with the TSE compound decreased the TGF-β2/SMAD signaling genes, including reduced mRNA or expression levels of TGF-β2, SMAD3, and SMAD4, leading to inhibition of TGF-β2-induced fibrogenesis. Our confocal immunofluorescence analyses demonstrated that TSE treatment displays a suppressive effect on SMAD2/3 or SMAD4 translocation to the nucleus. Furthermore, TSE treatment exhibits a reduction in the non-SMAD target gene expression levels of p- c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JUN), p- extracellular, regulated protein kinases (ERK)1/2, p- p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38), p-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), p-mammalian target of rapamycin complex (mTORC), p-Akt (Ser473), and p-Akt (Thr308). The overall effect of TSE is to reduce the expression levels of collagen I and fibrinogen (FN), thus contributing to antifibrotic effects in cell models mimicking PCO. Our findings reveal the benefits of TSE by regulating TGF-β/SMAD signaling and non-SMAD signaling-related gene proteins to display antifibrotic activity in cells for the possibility of preventing PCO after cataract surgery. Full article
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Article
Targeting Natural Plant Metabolites for Hunting SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 Variant Inhibitors: Extraction, Molecular Docking, Molecular Dynamics, and Physicochemical Properties Study
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5028-5047; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100342 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 627
Abstract
(1) Background: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 is the most common variation found in most countries and is responsible for 99% of cases in the United States. To overcome this challenge, there is an urgent need to discover effective inhibitors to prevent the emerging BA.1 [...] Read more.
(1) Background: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 is the most common variation found in most countries and is responsible for 99% of cases in the United States. To overcome this challenge, there is an urgent need to discover effective inhibitors to prevent the emerging BA.1 variant. Natural products, particularly flavonoids, have had widespread success in reducing COVID-19 prevalence. (2) Methods: In the ongoing study, fifteen compounds were annotated from Echium angustifolium and peach (Prunus persica), which were computationally analyzed using various in silico techniques. Molecular docking calculations were performed for the identified phytochemicals to investigate their efficacy. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations over 200 ns followed by molecular mechanics Poisson–Boltzmann surface area calculations (MM/PBSA) were performed to estimate the binding energy. Bioactivity was also calculated for the best components in terms of drug likeness and drug score. (3) Results: The data obtained from the molecular docking study demonstrated that five compounds exhibited remarkable potency, with docking scores greater than −9.0 kcal/mol. Among them, compounds 1, 2 and 4 showed higher stability within the active site of Omicron BA.1, with ΔGbinding values of −49.02, −48.07, and −67.47 KJ/mol, respectively. These findings imply that the discovered phytoconstituents are promising in the search for anti-Omicron BA.1 drugs and should be investigated in future in vitro and in vivo research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Development and Repositioning Methodology on COVID-19)
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Review
Lipid Nanoparticles: A Novel Gene Delivery Technique for Clinical Application
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5013-5027; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100341 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 961
Abstract
Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are an emerging vehicle for gene delivery that accommodate both nucleic acid and protein. Based on the experience of therapeutic liposomes, current LNPs have been developed based on the chemistry of lipids and RNA and on the biology of human [...] Read more.
Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are an emerging vehicle for gene delivery that accommodate both nucleic acid and protein. Based on the experience of therapeutic liposomes, current LNPs have been developed based on the chemistry of lipids and RNA and on the biology of human disease. LNPs have been used for the development of Onpattro, an siRNA drug for transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, in 2018. The subsequent outbreak of COVID-19 required a vaccine for its suppression. LNP-based vaccine production received much attention for this and resulted in great success. In this review, the essential technology of LNP gene delivery has been described according to the chemistry for LNP production and biology for its clinical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Nanoparticles on Living Organisms)
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Article
Hydrogen Peroxide Induced Toxicity Is Reversed by the Macrocyclic IRAP-Inhibitor HA08 in Primary Hippocampal Cell Cultures
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 5000-5012; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100340 - 18 Oct 2022
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Angiotensin IV (Ang IV), a metabolite of Angiotensin II, is a bioactive hexapeptide that inhibits the insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP). This transmembrane zinc metallopeptidase with many biological functions has in recent years emerged as a new pharmacological target. IRAP is expressed in a variety [...] Read more.
Angiotensin IV (Ang IV), a metabolite of Angiotensin II, is a bioactive hexapeptide that inhibits the insulin-regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP). This transmembrane zinc metallopeptidase with many biological functions has in recent years emerged as a new pharmacological target. IRAP is expressed in a variety of tissues and can be found in high density in the hippocampus and neocortex, brain regions associated with cognition. Ang IV is known to improve memory tasks in experimental animals. One of the most potent IRAP inhibitors known today is the macrocyclic compound HA08 that is significantly more stable than the endogenous Ang IV. HA08 combines structural elements from Ang IV and the physiological substrates oxytocin and vasopressin, and binds to the catalytic site of IRAP. In the present study we evaluate whether HA08 can restore cell viability in rat primary cells submitted to hydrogen peroxide damage. After damaging the cells with hydrogen peroxide and subsequently treating them with HA08, the conceivable restoring effects of the IRAP inhibitor were assessed. The cellular viability was determined by measuring mitochondrial activity and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. The mitochondrial activity was significantly higher in primary hippocampal cells, whereas the amount of LDH was unaffected. We conclude that the cell viability can be restored in this cell type by blocking IRAP with the potent macrocyclic inhibitor HA08, although the mechanism by which HA08 exerts its effects remains unclear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Sight: Enzymes as Targets for Drug Development)
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Article
Chemokine Homeostasis in Healthy Volunteers and during Pancreatic and Colorectal Tumor Growth in Murine Models
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4987-4999; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100339 - 18 Oct 2022
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Chemokines are involved in the humoral regulation of body homeostasis. Changes in the blood level of chemokines were found in cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and other systemic diseases. It is essential to distinguish the effects of co-morbid pathologies and cancer on the level of [...] Read more.
Chemokines are involved in the humoral regulation of body homeostasis. Changes in the blood level of chemokines were found in cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and other systemic diseases. It is essential to distinguish the effects of co-morbid pathologies and cancer on the level of chemokines in the blood. We aimed to analyze, by multiplex cytometry, the levels of chemokines in the blood of healthy young volunteers as well as of intact mice and mice with CT26 colon and Pan02 pancreatic tumors. Two types of chemokines were identified both in human and murine plasmas: homeostatic ones, which were found in high concentrations (>100 pg/mL), and inducible ones, which can be undetectable or determined at very low levels (0–100 pg/mL). There was a high variability in the chemokine levels, both in healthy humans and mice. To analyze chemokine levels during tumor growth, C57BL/6 and BALB/c were inoculated with Pan02 or CT26 tumor cells, accordingly. The tumors significantly differed in the growth and the mortality of mice. However, the blood chemokine levels did not change in tumor-bearing mice until the very late stages. Taken collectively, blood chemokine level is highly variable and reflects in situ homeostasis. Care should be taken when considering chemokines as prognostic parameters or therapeutic targets in cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Pathogenesis Regulation in Cancer)
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Review
Exceptional Repositioning of Dog Dewormer: Fenbendazole Fever
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4977-4986; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100338 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
Fenbendazole (FZ) is a benzimidazole carbamate drug with broad-spectrum antiparasitic activity in humans and animals. The mechanism of action of FZ is associated with microtubular polymerization inhibition and glucose uptake blockade resulting in reduced glycogen stores and decreased ATP formation in the adult [...] Read more.
Fenbendazole (FZ) is a benzimidazole carbamate drug with broad-spectrum antiparasitic activity in humans and animals. The mechanism of action of FZ is associated with microtubular polymerization inhibition and glucose uptake blockade resulting in reduced glycogen stores and decreased ATP formation in the adult stages of susceptible parasites. A completely cured case of lung cancer became known globally and greatly influenced the cancer community in South Korea. Desperate Korean patients with cancer began self-administering FZ without their physician’s knowledge, which interfered with the outcome of the cancer treatment planned by their oncologists. On the basis of presented evidence, this review provides valuable information from PubMed, Naver, Google Scholar, and Social Network Services (SNS) on the effects of FZ in a broad range of preclinical studies on cancer. In addition, we suggest investigating the self-administration of products, including supplements, herbs, or bioactive compounds, by patients to circumvent waiting for long and costly FZ clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules at Play in Cancer)
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Review
The Signaling Pathways Induced by Exosomes in Promoting Diabetic Wound Healing: A Mini-Review
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4960-4976; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100337 - 16 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
Impaired healing of diabetic wounds harms patients’ quality of life and even leads to disability and death, which is an urgent issue to be solved clinically. Despite the great progress that has been achieved, it remains a worldwide challenge to develop effective therapeutic [...] Read more.
Impaired healing of diabetic wounds harms patients’ quality of life and even leads to disability and death, which is an urgent issue to be solved clinically. Despite the great progress that has been achieved, it remains a worldwide challenge to develop effective therapeutic treatments for diabetic wounds. Recently, exosomes have attracted special attention because they can be involved in immune response, antigen presentation, cell migration, cell differentiation, tumor invasion and other processes. Meanwhile, exosomes have been proven to hold great potential in the treatment of diabetic wounds. Mechanistic studies of exosomes based on signaling pathways could not only help to uncover the mechanisms by which exosomes promote diabetic wound healing but could also provide a theoretical basis for the clinical application of exosomes. Herein, our mini-review aims to summarize the progress of research on the use of various exosomes derived from different cell types to promote diabetic wound healing, with a focus on the classical signaling pathways, including PI3K/Akt, Wnt, NF-κB, MAPK, Notch, Nrf2, HIF-1α/VEGF and TGF-β/Smad. The results show that exosomes could regulate these signaling pathways to down-regulate inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, increase angiogenesis, promote fibroblast proliferation, induce re-epithelization and inhibit scar formation, making exosomes attractive candidates for the treatment of diabetic wounds. Full article
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Article
Effect of Radium-223 on the Gut Microbiota of Prostate Cancer Patients: A Pilot Case Series Study
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4950-4959; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100336 - 16 Oct 2022
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Radium-223 (Ra-223) is a targeted nuclear medicine therapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer with bone metastases. Its major route of elimination is the intestine. There is overwhelming evidence that the gut microbiota is altered by ionizing radiation (IR) from radiotherapy treatments. Nevertheless, it is [...] Read more.
Radium-223 (Ra-223) is a targeted nuclear medicine therapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer with bone metastases. Its major route of elimination is the intestine. There is overwhelming evidence that the gut microbiota is altered by ionizing radiation (IR) from radiotherapy treatments. Nevertheless, it is known that extrapolation of outcomes from radiotherapy to nuclear medicine is not straightforward. The purpose of this study was to prospectively determine the effect of Ra-223 on selected important bacteria from the gut microbiota. Stool samples from three prostate cancer patients and two healthy individuals were obtained, processed, and analysed. We specifically measured the relative change of the abundance of important bacteria, determined by the 2−ΔΔC method. We found that Ra-223 influenced the gut microbiota composition. The most relevant changes were increases of Proteobacteria and Atopobacter; and decreases of Bacteroidetes, Prevotella, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Clostridium coccoides, and Bacteroides fragilis. Additionally, our experiment confirms that the composition of gut microbiota from prostate cancer patients is altered. No significant correlation was found between each subject’s gut microbiome profile and their clinical indices. Despite its limited sample, the results of this pilot study suggest that ionizing radiation from Ra-223 alters the gut microbiota composition and that the gut microbiota of prostate cancer patients has an increase of the bacteria with known prejudicial effects and a decrease of the ones with favorable effects. Full article
Article
Novel Strategies for Cancer Combat: Drug Combination Using Repurposed Drugs Induces Synergistic Growth Inhibition of MCF-7 Breast and HT-29 Colon Cancer Cells
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4930-4949; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100335 - 16 Oct 2022
Viewed by 569
Abstract
Our group developed a new model of drug combination consisting of the use of antineoplastic drugs and different repurposed drugs, having demonstrated that antimalarial and central nervous system (CNS) drugs have a promising anticancer profile as standalone agents, as well as in combined [...] Read more.
Our group developed a new model of drug combination consisting of the use of antineoplastic drugs and different repurposed drugs, having demonstrated that antimalarial and central nervous system (CNS) drugs have a promising anticancer profile as standalone agents, as well as in combined regimens. Here, we evaluated the anticancer profiles of two different CNS drugs (edaravone and quetiapine), both alone and in combination with antineoplastic agents for breast and colon cancer, to explore whether these repurposed drugs could synergistically enhance the anticancer potential of chemotherapeutic drugs. We also developed a new model of combination using two repurposed drugs, to explore whether this model of combination could also be suitable for application in breast and colon cancer therapy. MCF-7 and HT-29 cancer cells were incubated for 48 h with each individual drug (0.01–100 µM) to determine their IC50. Cells were then treated with the IC50 value for doxorubicin or paclitaxel (MCF-7) or 5-fluorouracil (HT-29) and combined with increasing concentrations of edaravone or quetiapine for 48 h. Both cell lines were also treated with a combination of two antimalarial drugs (mefloquine and pyronaridine) or two CNS drugs (fluphenazine and sertraline) for 48 h. We found that the use of quetiapine in combined therapies seems to synergistically enhance the anticancer activity of doxorubicin for the management of breast cancer. Both CNS drugs significantly improved the cytotoxic potential of 5-fluorouracil in HT-29 cells, with quetiapine synergistically interacting with the antineoplastic drug in this drug combination. Regarding the combination of repurposed drugs, only found one synergic combination regimen (sertraline IC50 plus variable concentrations of fluphenazine) with anticancer potential against HT-29 colon cancer cells was found. Taken together, these results suggest that quetiapine and edaravone can be used as adjuvant agents in chemotherapy for colon cancer. It was also found that the combination of repurposed drugs, specifically the CNS drugs sertraline and fluphenazine, may have an interesting profile for application in colon cancer novel therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Tumor Microenvironment for Cancer Therapy)
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Article
Expression of AKT1 Related with Clinicopathological Parameters in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4921-4929; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100334 - 15 Oct 2022
Viewed by 493
Abstract
Pathways such as VEGF, EGF and mTOR are known to be one of the major mechanisms of tumorigenesis including kidney cancer. To identify potential signaling pathway proteins, we performed differential/correlation analyses of mTOR-associated genes from three public datasets. AKT1 protein, one of the [...] Read more.
Pathways such as VEGF, EGF and mTOR are known to be one of the major mechanisms of tumorigenesis including kidney cancer. To identify potential signaling pathway proteins, we performed differential/correlation analyses of mTOR-associated genes from three public datasets. AKT1 protein, one of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways, turned out to be the potential by showing a consistent discrepancy between ccRCC-associated conditions as well as strong correlation with other mTOR-associated genes across the datasets. Then, we analyzed how AKT1 alteration affects clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The pathology of 58 kidney cancer patients was constructed to analyze the relationship between the expression level of AKT1 through immunohistochemical staining and their clinicopathological data. Gender, age and TNM stage did not show significant results. AKT1 is a known oncogene. However, in this study, high expression of AKT1 showed a slight correlation with lower WHO/ISUP grade, longer recurrence-free and progression-free survival rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Pathogenesis Regulation in Cancer)
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Review
Therapeutic Use and Chronic Abuse of CNS Stimulants and Anabolic Drugs
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4902-4920; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100333 - 15 Oct 2022
Viewed by 687
Abstract
The available evidence suggests that affective disorders, such as depression and anxiety, increase risk for accelerated cognitive decline and late-life dementia in aging individuals. Behavioral neuropsychology studies also showed that cognitive decline is a central feature of aging impacting the quality of life. [...] Read more.
The available evidence suggests that affective disorders, such as depression and anxiety, increase risk for accelerated cognitive decline and late-life dementia in aging individuals. Behavioral neuropsychology studies also showed that cognitive decline is a central feature of aging impacting the quality of life. Motor deficits are common after traumatic brain injuries and stroke, affect subjective well-being, and are linked with reduced quality of life. Currently, restorative therapies that target the brain directly to restore cognitive and motor tasks in aging and disease are available. However, the very same drugs used for therapeutic purposes are employed by athletes as stimulants either to increase performance for fame and financial rewards or as recreational drugs. Unfortunately, most of these drugs have severe side effects and pose a serious threat to the health of athletes. The use of performance-enhancing drugs by children and teenagers has increased tremendously due to the decrease in the age of players in competitive sports and the availability of various stimulants in many forms and shapes. Thus, doping may cause serious health-threatening conditions including, infertility, subdural hematomas, liver and kidney dysfunction, peripheral edema, cardiac hypertrophy, myocardial ischemia, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease. In this review, we focus on the impact of doping on psychopathological disorders, cognition, and depression. Occasionally, we also refer to chronic use of therapeutic drugs to increase physical performance and highlight the underlying mechanisms. We conclude that raising awareness on the health risks of doping in sport for all shall promote an increased awareness for healthy lifestyles across all generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology and Molecular Mechanisms of Acute Stroke)
Article
Serum Levels of VEGF-A and Its Receptors in Patients in Different Phases of Hemorrhagic and Ischemic Strokes
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4888-4901; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100332 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are important regulators of angiogenesis, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis. Studies have indicated the association of VEGF dysregulation with the development of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. We studied the changes in serum levels of VEGF-A, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2 in patients [...] Read more.
Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are important regulators of angiogenesis, neuroprotection, and neurogenesis. Studies have indicated the association of VEGF dysregulation with the development of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. We studied the changes in serum levels of VEGF-A, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2 in patients at various phases of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Quantitative assessment of VEGF-A, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2 in serum of patients with hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke was performed by enzyme immunoassay in the hyper-acute (1–24 h from the onset), acute (up to 1–7 days), and early subacute (7 days to 3 months) phases of stroke, and then compared with the control group and each other. Results of our retrospective study demonstrated different levels of VEGF-A and its receptors at various phases of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. In ischemic stroke, increased VEGFR-2 level was found in the hyper-acute (p = 0.045) and acute phases (p = 0.024), while elevated VEGF-A and reduced VEGFR-1 levels were revealed in the early subacute phase (p = 0.048 and p = 0.012, respectively). In hemorrhagic stroke, no significant changes in levels of VEGF-A and its receptors were identified in the hyper-acute phase. In the acute and early subacute phases there was an increase in levels of VEGF-A (p < 0.001 and p = 0.006, respectively) and VEGFR-2 (p < 0.001 and p = 0.012, respectively). Serum levels of VEGF-A and its receptors in patients with hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke indicate different pathogenic pathways depending on the phase of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology and Molecular Mechanisms of Acute Stroke)
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Article
Beneficial Effects of RNS60 in Cardiac Ischemic Injury
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4877-4887; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100331 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 425
Abstract
RNS60 is a physically modified saline solution hypothesized to contain oxygen nanobubbles. It has been reported to reduce ischemia/reperfusion injury in a pig model of acute myocardial infarction. We investigated the effects of RNS60 during cardiac hypoxia in mice and as an additive [...] Read more.
RNS60 is a physically modified saline solution hypothesized to contain oxygen nanobubbles. It has been reported to reduce ischemia/reperfusion injury in a pig model of acute myocardial infarction. We investigated the effects of RNS60 during cardiac hypoxia in mice and as an additive to cardioplegic solution in rat hearts. ApoE−/−LDLr−/− mice were treated by intravenous injection of RNS60 or saline as a control while monitoring the ECG and post-hypoxic serum release of troponin T and creatine kinase activity. Hearts infused with Custodiol containing 10% RNS60 or saline as the control were subjected to 4 h of 4 °C preservation, followed by an assessment of myocardial metabolites, purine release, and mechanical function. RNS60 attenuated changes in the ECG STU area during hypoxia, while the troponin T concentration and creatine kinase activity were significantly higher in the serum of the controls. During reperfusion after 4 h of cold ischemia, the Custodiol/RNS60-treated hearts had about 30% lower LVEDP and better dp/dtmax and dp/dtmin together with a decreased release of purine catabolites vs. the controls. The myocardial ATP, total adenine nucleotides, and phosphocreatine concentrations were higher in the RNS60-treated hearts. This study indicates that RNS60 enhances cardioprotection in experimental myocardial hypoxia and under conditions of cardioplegic arrest. Improved cardiac energetics are involved in the protective effect, but complete elucidation of the mechanism requires further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Focus on Molecular Basis in Cardiac Diseases)
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Article
Status of Fungicide Resistance and Physiological Characterization of Tebuconazole Resistance in Rhizocotonia solani in Sichuan Province, China
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4859-4876; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100330 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 467
Abstract
The resistance prevalence of chemical fungicides has caused increasingly serious agro-ecological environmental problems. However, there are few previous reports about resistance to succinate dehydrogenase (SDHI) or sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) in Rhizoctonia solani, one of the main agro-diseases. In this study, the [...] Read more.
The resistance prevalence of chemical fungicides has caused increasingly serious agro-ecological environmental problems. However, there are few previous reports about resistance to succinate dehydrogenase (SDHI) or sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) in Rhizoctonia solani, one of the main agro-diseases. In this study, the fungicide resistance of 122 R. solani isolates in Sichuan Province was monitored by the mycelial growth rate method. Results showed that all isolates were susceptible to hexaconazole and most isolates were susceptible to thifluzamide, except for the field isolate MSRS-2-7 due to a moderate resistance to thifluzamide (16.43-fold resistance ratio, RR), compared to the sensitivity baseline of thifluzamide (0.042 μg/mL EC50 values). On the contrary, many isolates showed moderate or high resistance to tebuconazole (10.59- to 60.78-fold RR), reaching EC50 values of 0.54~3.10 μg/mL, especially for a highly resistant isolate LZHJ-1-8 displaying moderate resistance to epoxiconazole (35.40-fold RR due to a 3.54 μg/mL EC50 value). The fitness determination found that the tebuconazole-resistant isolates showed higher fitness cost with these characteristics, including a lower growth rate, higher relative electric conductivity, an increased ability to tolerate tebuconazole, and high osmotic pressure. Four new mutations of cytochrome P450 sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51), namely, S94A, N406S, H793R, and L750P, which is the target for DMI fungicides, was found in the tebuconazole-resistant isolates. Furthermore, the lowest binding energy with tebuconazole was also found in the LZHJ-1-8 isolate possessing all the mutations through analyses with Discovery Studio software. Therefore, these new mutation sites of CYP51 may be linked to the resistance against tebuconazole, and its application for controlling R. solani should be restricted in some areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Oxidative Stress and Health)
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Article
Pharmacophore-Model-Based Virtual-Screening Approaches Identified Novel Natural Molecular Candidates for Treating Human Neuroblastoma
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4838-4858; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100329 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 740
Abstract
The mortality of cancer patients with neuroblastoma is increasing due to the limited availability of specific treatment options. Few drug candidates for combating neuroblastoma have been developed, and identifying novel therapeutic candidates against the disease is an urgent issue. It has been found [...] Read more.
The mortality of cancer patients with neuroblastoma is increasing due to the limited availability of specific treatment options. Few drug candidates for combating neuroblastoma have been developed, and identifying novel therapeutic candidates against the disease is an urgent issue. It has been found that muc-N protein is amplified in one-third of human neuroblastomas and expressed as an attractive drug target against the disease. The myc-N protein interferes with the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) family proteins. Pharmacologically inhibition of the protein potently depletes MYCN in neuroblastoma cells. BET inhibitors target MYCN transcription and show therapeutic efficacy against neuroblastoma. Therefore, the study aimed to identify potential inhibitors against the BET family protein, specifically Brd4 (brodamine-containing protein 4), to hinder the activity of neuroblastoma cells. To identify effective molecular candidates against the disease, a structure-based pharmacophore model was created for the binding site of the Brd4 protein. The pharmacophore model generated from the protein Brd4 was validated to screen potential natural active compounds. The compounds identified through the pharmacophore-model-based virtual-screening process were further screened through molecular docking, ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion), toxicity, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation approach. The pharmacophore-model-based screening process initially identified 136 compounds, further evaluated based on molecular docking, ADME analysis, and toxicity approaches, identifying four compounds with good binding affinity and lower side effects. The stability of the selected compounds was also confirmed by dynamic simulation and molecular mechanics with generalized Born and surface area solvation (MM-GBSA) methods. Finally, the study identified four natural lead compounds, ZINC2509501, ZINC2566088, ZINC1615112, and ZINC4104882, that will potentially inhibit the activity of the desired protein and help to fight against neuroblastoma and related diseases. However, further evaluations through in vitro and in vivo assays are suggested to identify their efficacy against the desired protein and disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Sight: Enzymes as Targets for Drug Development)
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Article
The Accelerated Progression of Atherosclerosis Correlates with Decreased miR-33a and miR-21 and Increased miR-122 and miR-3064-5p in Circulation and the Liver of ApoE-/- Mice with Streptozocin (STZ)-Induced Type 2 Diabetes
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4822-4837; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100328 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D) mortality. We aim to investigate the changes in miR-21, miR-122, miR-33a and miR-3064-5p in circulation and the liver of ApoE-/- mice with streptozocin (STZ)-induced T2D. Twenty 5-week-old male ApoE-/- mice were randomly [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D) mortality. We aim to investigate the changes in miR-21, miR-122, miR-33a and miR-3064-5p in circulation and the liver of ApoE-/- mice with streptozocin (STZ)-induced T2D. Twenty 5-week-old male ApoE-/- mice were randomly assigned to the control (n = 10) and T2D group (n = 10) and intraperitoneally injected with a citrate buffer and streptozotocin (STZ) (40 mg/kg BW) once a day for three consecutive days. The successfully STZ-induced T2D mice (n = 5) and control mice (n = 5) were then fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) for 34 weeks. Compared to the control mice, ApoE-/- mice with STZ-induced T2D had slower (p < 0.05) growth, increased (p < 0.05) total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), decreased (p < 0.05) high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in serum, reduced (p < 0.05) TC and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 (Srebp-2), elevated (p < 0.05) ATP-binding-cassette-transporter-A1 (Abca1) in the liver, aggravated (p < 0.05) atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta, downregulated (p < 0.05) miR-21 and miR-33a, and upregulated (p < 0.05) miR-122 and miR-3064-5p in serum and the liver. In addition, the aortic lesions showed a positive correlation with miR-122 (r = 1.000, p = 0.001) and a negative correlation with miR-21 (r = −1.000, p = 0.001) in ApoE-/- mice with T2D. In conclusion, T2D-accelerated atherosclerosis correlates with a reduction in miR-21 and miR-33a and an elevation in miR-122 and miR-3064-5p in circulation and the liver of ApoE-/- mice. Full article
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Article
Induction of Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis by TRAIL and Smac Mimetics: Involvement of RIP1 and cFLIP
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4803-4821; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100327 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 569
Abstract
Smac mimetics are a group of compounds able to facilitate cell death in cancer cells. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a death receptor ligand currently explored in combination with Smac mimetics. The molecular mechanisms determining if the combination treatment results in apoptosis are [...] Read more.
Smac mimetics are a group of compounds able to facilitate cell death in cancer cells. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a death receptor ligand currently explored in combination with Smac mimetics. The molecular mechanisms determining if the combination treatment results in apoptosis are however not fully understood. In this study, we aimed to shed light on these mechanisms in breast cancer cells. Three breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-468, CAMA-1 and MCF-7, were used to evaluate the effects of Smac mimetic LCL-161 and TRAIL using cell death assays and Western blot. The combination treatment induces apoptosis and caspase-8 cleavage in MDA-MB-468 and CAMA-1 but not in MCF-7 cells and downregulation of caspase-8 blocked apoptosis. Downregulation, but not kinase inhibition, of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1) suppressed apoptosis in CAMA-1. Apoptosis is preceded by association of RIP1 with caspase-8. Downregulating cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) resulted in increased caspase cleavage and some induction of apoptosis by TRAIL and LCL-161 in MCF-7. In CAMA-1, c-FLIP depletion potentiated TRAIL-induced caspase cleavage and LCL-161 did not increase it further. Our results lend further support to a model where LCL-161 enables the formation of a complex including RIP1 and caspase-8 and circumvents c-FLIP-mediated inhibition of caspase activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Pathogenesis Regulation in Cancer)
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Article
Human Melanoma Cells Differentially Express RNASEL/RNase-L and miR-146a-5p under Sex Hormonal Stimulation
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4790-4802; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100326 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Polymorphisms in the ribonuclease L (RNASEL) coding gene and hsa-miR-146a-5p (miR-146a) have been associated with melanoma in a sex-specific manner. We hypothesized that RNASEL and miR-146a expression could be influenced by sex hormones playing a role in the female advantages observed in melanoma [...] Read more.
Polymorphisms in the ribonuclease L (RNASEL) coding gene and hsa-miR-146a-5p (miR-146a) have been associated with melanoma in a sex-specific manner. We hypothesized that RNASEL and miR-146a expression could be influenced by sex hormones playing a role in the female advantages observed in melanoma incidence and survival. Thus, we explored the effects of testosterone and 17β-estradiol on RNASEL and miR-146a expression in LM-20 and A375 melanoma cell lines. Direct targeting of miR-146a to the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of RNASEL was examined using a luciferase reporter system. Our results indicate that RNASEL is a direct target of miR-146a in both melanoma cell lines. Trough qPCR and western blot analyses, we explored the effect of miR-146a mimic transfection in the presence of each hormone either on RNASEL mRNA level or on protein expression of RNase-L, the enzyme codified by RNASEL gene. In the presence of testosterone or 17β-estradiol, miR-146a overexpression did not influence RNASEL transcript level in LM-20 cell line, but it slightly induced RNASEL mRNA level in A375 cells. Remarkably, miR-146a overexpression was able to repress the protein level of RNase-L in both LM-20 and A375 cells in the presence of each hormone, as well as to elicit high expression levels of the activated form of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2, hence confirming the pro-tumorigenic role of miR-146a overexpression in melanoma. Thereafter, we assessed if the administration of each hormone could affect the endogenous expression of RNASEL and miR-146a genes in LM-20 and A375 cell lines. Testosterone exerted no significant effect on RNASEL gene expression in both cell lines, while 17β-estradiol enhanced RNASEL transcript level at least in LM-20 melanoma cells. Conversely, miR-146a transcript augmented only in the presence of testosterone in either melanoma cell line. Importantly, each hormone acted quite the opposite regarding the RNase-L protein expression, i.e., testosterone significantly decreased RNase-L expression, whereas 17β-estradiol increased it. Overall, the data show that, in melanoma cells treated with 17β-estradiol, RNase-L expression increased likely by transcriptional induction of its gene. Testosterone, instead, decreased RNase-L expression in melanoma cell lines with a post-transcriptional mechanism in which miR-146a could play a role. In conclusion, the pro-tumor activity of androgen hormone in melanoma cells could be exacerbated by both miR-146a increase and RNase-L downregulation. These events may contribute to the worse outcome in male melanoma patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Linking Genomic Changes with Cancer in the NGS Era)
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Review
Era of Molecular Diagnostics Techniques before and after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4769-4789; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100325 - 11 Oct 2022
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Despite the growth of molecular diagnosis from the era of Hippocrates, the emergence of COVID-19 is still remarkable. The previously used molecular techniques were not rapid enough to screen a vast population at home, in offices, and in hospitals. Additionally, these techniques were [...] Read more.
Despite the growth of molecular diagnosis from the era of Hippocrates, the emergence of COVID-19 is still remarkable. The previously used molecular techniques were not rapid enough to screen a vast population at home, in offices, and in hospitals. Additionally, these techniques were only available in advanced clinical laboratories.The pandemic outbreak enhanced the urgency of researchers and research and development companies to invent more rapid, robust, and portable devices and instruments to screen a vast community in a cost-effective and short time. There has been noteworthy progress in molecular diagnosing tools before and after the pandemic. This review focuses on the advancements in molecular diagnostic techniques before and after the emergence of COVID-19 and how the pandemic accelerated the implantation of molecular diagnostic techniques in most clinical laboratories towardbecoming routine tests. Full article
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Article
Heat-Induced Proteotoxic Stress Response in Placenta-Derived Stem Cells (PDSCs) Is Mediated through HSPA1A and HSPA1B with a Potential Higher Role for HSPA1B
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4748-4768; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100324 - 10 Oct 2022
Viewed by 647
Abstract
Placenta-derived stem cells (PDSCs), due to unique traits such as mesenchymal and embryonic characteristics and the absence of ethical constraints, are in a clinically and therapeutically advantageous position. To aid in stemness maintenance, counter pathophysiological stresses, and withstand post-differentiation challenges, stem cells require [...] Read more.
Placenta-derived stem cells (PDSCs), due to unique traits such as mesenchymal and embryonic characteristics and the absence of ethical constraints, are in a clinically and therapeutically advantageous position. To aid in stemness maintenance, counter pathophysiological stresses, and withstand post-differentiation challenges, stem cells require elevated protein synthesis and consequently augmented proteostasis. Stem cells exhibit source-specific proteostasis traits, making it imperative to study them individually from different sources. These studies have implications for understanding stem cell biology and exploitation in the augmentation of therapeutic applications. Here, we aim to identify the primary determinants of proteotoxic stress response in PDSCs. We generated heat-induced dose-responsive proteotoxic stress models of three stem cell types: placental origin cells, the placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (pMSCs), maternal origin cells, the decidua parietalis mesenchymal stem cells (DPMSCs), and the maternal–fetal interface cells, decidua basalis mesenchymal stem cells (DBMSCs), and measured stress induction through biochemical and cell proliferation assays. RT-PCR array analysis of 84 genes involved in protein folding and protein quality control led to the identification of Hsp70 members HSPA1A and HSPA1B as the prominent ones among 17 significantly expressed genes and with further analysis at the protein level through Western blotting. A kinetic analysis of HSPA1A and HSPA1B gene and protein expression allowed a time series evaluation of stress response. As identified by protein expression, an active stress response is in play even at 24 h. More prominent differences in expression between the two homologs are detected at the translational level, alluding to a potential higher requirement for HSPA1B during proteotoxic stress response in PDSCs. Full article
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Article
Cytokine Patterns in COVID-19 Patients: Which Cytokines Predict Mortality and Which Protect Against?
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4735-4747; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100323 - 10 Oct 2022
Viewed by 682
Abstract
(1) Background/Aim: People infected with SARS-CoV-2 may develop COVID-19 in a wide range of clinical severity. Pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by several grades of chronic inflammation and collagen deposition in the interalveolar space. SARS-CoV-2 infection has been demonstrated to cause lung fibrosis without [...] Read more.
(1) Background/Aim: People infected with SARS-CoV-2 may develop COVID-19 in a wide range of clinical severity. Pulmonary fibrosis is characterized by several grades of chronic inflammation and collagen deposition in the interalveolar space. SARS-CoV-2 infection has been demonstrated to cause lung fibrosis without a currently elucidated mechanism. Some studies emphasize the role of proinflammatory cytokines. This research studies the correlation of the released cytokines with mortality or lung injury in COVID-19 patients. (2) Methods: Electronic medical record data from 40 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the COVID-19 Department, Galilee Medical Center, Nahariya, Israel, were collected. Epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and imaging variables were analyzed. The cytokine levels were measured upon admission and discharge. A correlation between cytokine levels and severity and mortality or lung involvement was undertaken. (3) Results: IFN-gamma and IL-10 are the most powerful risk factors for mortality in the COVID-19 patient groups in a multivariate analysis. However, in a univariate analysis, TGF-β, CXCL-10, IFN gamma, and IL-7 affected mortality in COVID-19 patients. MMP-7 was significantly correlated with a cytokine storm and a high 4-C (severity) score in COVID-19 patients. MMP-7, TGF-β, IL-10, IL-7, TNF-α, and IL-6 were correlated with high lung involvement in COVID-19 patients. Serum concentrations of IGF-1 were significantly increased upon discharge, but MMP-7 was decreased. (4) Conclusions: Proinflammatory cytokines predict clinical severity, lung fibrosis, and mortality in COVID-19 patients. High concentrations of TGF-β, CXCL-10, IL-10, IL-6, and TNF-α are correlated to severity and lung injury. However, certain cytokines have protective effects and higher levels of these cytokines increase survival levels and lower lung damage. High levels of INF-γ, IL-7, MMP-7, and IGF-1 have protection probabilities against lung injury and severity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Current Issues in Molecular Biology)
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Article
Cellular, Molecular and Proteomic Characteristics of Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4714-4734; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100322 - 10 Oct 2022
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for the majority of primary liver cancers. Early detection/diagnosis is vital for the prognosis of HCC, whereas diagnosis at late stages is associated with very low survival rate. Early diagnosis is based on 6-month surveillance of the patient and [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for the majority of primary liver cancers. Early detection/diagnosis is vital for the prognosis of HCC, whereas diagnosis at late stages is associated with very low survival rate. Early diagnosis is based on 6-month surveillance of the patient and the use of at least two imaging modalities. The aim of this study was to investigate diagnostic markers for the detection of early HCC based on proteome analysis, microRNAs (miRNAs) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of patients with cirrhosis or early or advanced HCC. We studied 89 patients with HCC, of whom 33 had early HCC and 28 were cirrhotic. CTCs were detected by real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR and immunofluorescence using the markers epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EPCAM), vimentin, alpha fetoprotein (aFP) and surface major vault protein (sMVP). Expression of the five most common HCC-involved miRNAs (miR-122, miR-200a, miR-200b, miR-221, miR-222) was examined in serum using quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Finally, patient serum was analyzed via whole proteome analysis (LC/MS). Of 53 patients with advanced HCC, 27 (51%) had detectable CTCs. Among these, 10/27 (37%) presented evidence of mesenchymal or intermediate stage cells (vimentin and/or sMVP positive). Moreover, 5/17 (29%) patients with early HCC and 2/28 (7%) cirrhotic patients had detectable CTCs. Patients with early or advanced HCC exhibited a significant increase in miR-200b when compared to cirrhotic patients. Our proteome analysis indicated that early HCC patients present a significant upregulation of APOA2, APOC3 proteins when compared to cirrhotic patients. When taken in combination, this covers the 100% of the patients with early HCC. miR-200b, APOA2 and APOC3 proteins are sensitive markers and can be potentially useful in combination for the early diagnosis of HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules at Play in Cancer)
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Article
Tissue Levels of CD80, CD163 and CD206 and Their Ratios in Periodontal and Peri-Implant Health and Disease
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4704-4713; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100321 - 10 Oct 2022
Viewed by 607
Abstract
This study aimed to compare tissue levels of CD80 (pro-inflammatory macrophage-related surface marker), CD163, and CD206 (anti-inflammatory macrophage-related surface markers), and their ratios in periodontal and peri-implant health and disease. Altogether, 36 tissue samples were obtained from 36 participants with clinically healthy gingiva [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare tissue levels of CD80 (pro-inflammatory macrophage-related surface marker), CD163, and CD206 (anti-inflammatory macrophage-related surface markers), and their ratios in periodontal and peri-implant health and disease. Altogether, 36 tissue samples were obtained from 36 participants with clinically healthy gingiva (n = 10), healthy peri-implant mucosa (n = 8), periodontitis lesions (n = 9), and peri-implantitis lesions (n = 9). CD80, CD163, and CD206 levels were assessed with immunoblotting. CD163 levels were found to be decreased (p = 0.004), and the CD80/CD163 ratio was found to be elevated (p = 0.002) in periodontitis lesions compared to healthy gingiva. Peri-implantitis lesions showed a tendency towards a higher CD80/CD163 ratio than in healthy peri-implant mucosa with a borderline difference (p = 0.054). No statistically significant difference was detected in CD80, CD163, and CD206 levels of periodontitis lesions when compared to peri-implantitis, and in healthy gingiva when compared to healthy peri-implant mucosa. A disruption in CD80/CD163 balance seems to be related to the pathogenesis of periodontitis and peri-implantitis, being less prominent in the latter. The reason behind this phenomenon may be either suppressed CD163 expression or reduced CD163+ anti-inflammatory macrophage abundance. Full article
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Article
Western Diet-Fed ApoE Knockout Male Mice as an Experimental Model of Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2022, 44(10), 4692-4703; https://doi.org/10.3390/cimb44100320 - 08 Oct 2022
Viewed by 764
Abstract
One of the consequences of the Western lifestyle and high-fat diet is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its aggressive form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and is rapidly becoming the leading cause of end-stage liver [...] Read more.
One of the consequences of the Western lifestyle and high-fat diet is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its aggressive form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and is rapidly becoming the leading cause of end-stage liver disease or liver transplantation. Currently, rodent NASH models lack significant aspects of the full NASH spectrum, representing a major problem for NASH research. Therefore, this work aimed to characterize a fast rodent model with all characteristic features of NASH. Eight-week-old male ApoE KO mice were fed with Western diet (WD), high fatty diet (HFD) or normal chow (Chow) for 7 weeks. Whole-body fat was increased by ~2 times in WD mice and HFD mice and was associated with increased glucose intolerance, hepatic triglycerides, and plasma ALT and plasma AST compared with Chow mice. WD mice also showed increased galectin-3 expression compared with Chow or HFD mice and increased plasma cholesterol compared with Chow mice. WD and HFD displayed increased hepatic fibrosis and increased F4/80 expression. WD mice also displayed increased levels of plasma MCP-1. Hepatic inflammatory markers were evaluated, and WD mice showed increased levels of TNF-α, MCP-1, IL-6 and IFN-γ. Taken together, these data demonstrated that the ApoE KO mouse fed with WD is a great model for NASH research, once it presents the fundamental parameters of the disease, including hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactives and Inflammation)
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