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Biomedicines, Volume 8, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 41 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In Biblical times, the rainbow represented a sign of God’s promise to never destroy the Earth [...] Read more.
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Open AccessCase Report
Ataxia as the Major Manifestation of Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS): Case Series
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050136 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 368
Abstract
Fragile X-associated tremor and ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a neurodegenerative disease developed by carriers of a premutation in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. The core clinical symptoms usually manifest in the early 60s, typically beginning with intention tremor followed [...] Read more.
Fragile X-associated tremor and ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a neurodegenerative disease developed by carriers of a premutation in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. The core clinical symptoms usually manifest in the early 60s, typically beginning with intention tremor followed by cerebellar ataxia. Ataxia can be the only symptom in approximately 20% of the patients. FXTAS has a slow progression, and patients usually experience advanced deterioration 15 to 25 years after the initial diagnosis. Common findings in brain imaging include substantial brain atrophy and white matter disease (WMD). We report three cases with an atypical clinical presentation, all presenting with gait problems as their initial manifestation and with ataxia as the dominant symptom without significant tremor, as well as a faster than usual clinical progression. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was remarkable for severe brain atrophy, ventriculomegaly, thinning of the corpus callosum, and periventricular WMD. Two cases were diagnosed with definite FXTAS on the basis of clinical and radiological findings, with one individual also developing moderate dementia. Factors such as environmental exposure and general anesthesia could have contributed to their clinical deterioration. FXTAS should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with ataxia, even in the absence of tremor, and FMR1 DNA testing should be sought in those with a family history of fragile X syndrome or premutation disorders. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Trametes versicolor (Synn. Coriolus versicolor) Polysaccharides in Cancer Therapy: Targets and Efficacy
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050135 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quél. is a higher fungi or mushroom which is now known by its accepted scientific name as Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (family Polyporaceae). The polysaccharides, primarily two commercial products from China and Japan as PSP and PSK, respectively, have been [...] Read more.
Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quél. is a higher fungi or mushroom which is now known by its accepted scientific name as Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (family Polyporaceae). The polysaccharides, primarily two commercial products from China and Japan as PSP and PSK, respectively, have been claimed to serve as adjuvant therapy for cancer. In this paper, research advances in this field, including direct cytotoxicity in cancer cells and immunostimulatory effects, are scrutinised at three levels: in vitro, in vivo and clinical outcomes. The level of activity in the various cancers, key targets (both in cancer and immune cells) and pharmacological efficacies are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicine in Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Exonic Sequencing of Known Ataxia Genes in Episodic Ataxia
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050134 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 353
Abstract
Episodic Ataxias (EAs) are a small group (EA1–EA8) of complex neurological conditions that manifest as incidents of poor balance and coordination. Diagnostic testing cannot always find causative variants for the phenotype, however, and this along with the recently proposed EA type 9 (EA9), [...] Read more.
Episodic Ataxias (EAs) are a small group (EA1–EA8) of complex neurological conditions that manifest as incidents of poor balance and coordination. Diagnostic testing cannot always find causative variants for the phenotype, however, and this along with the recently proposed EA type 9 (EA9), suggest that more EA genes are yet to be discovered. We previously identified disease-causing mutations in the CACNA1A gene in 48% (n = 15) of 31 patients with a suspected clinical diagnosis of EA2, and referred to our laboratory for CACNA1A gene testing, leaving 52% of these cases (n = 16) with no molecular diagnosis. In this study, whole exome sequencing (WES) was performed on 16 patients who tested negative for CACNA1A mutations. Tiered analysis of WES data was performed to first explore (Tier-1) the ataxia and ataxia-associated genes (n = 170) available in the literature and databases for comprehensive EA molecular genetic testing; we then investigated 353 ion channel genes (Tier-2). Known and potential causal variants were identified in n = 8/16 (50%) patients in 8 genes (SCN2A, p.Val1325Phe; ATP1A3, p.Arg756His; PEX7, p.Tyr40Ter; and KCNA1, p.Arg167Met; CLCN1, p.Gly945ArgfsX39; CACNA1E, p.Ile614Val; SCN1B, p.Cys121Trp; and SCN9A, p.Tyr1217Ter). These results suggest that mutations in these genes might cause an ataxia phenotype or that combinations of more than one mutation contribute to ataxia disorders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Aptamers as Affinity Reagents for an Enhancement of SRM-Based Detection of Low-Abundance Proteins in Blood Plasma
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050133 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) is a mass spectrometric technique characterized by the exceptionally high selectivity and sensitivity of protein detection. However, even with this technique, the quantitative detection of low- and ultralow-abundance proteins in blood plasma, which is of great importance for the [...] Read more.
Selected reaction monitoring (SRM) is a mass spectrometric technique characterized by the exceptionally high selectivity and sensitivity of protein detection. However, even with this technique, the quantitative detection of low- and ultralow-abundance proteins in blood plasma, which is of great importance for the search and verification of novel protein disease markers, is a challenging task due to the immense dynamic range of protein abundance levels. One approach used to overcome this problem is the immunoaffinity enrichment of target proteins for SRM analysis, employing monoclonal antibodies. Aptamers appear as a promising alternative to antibodies for affinity enrichment. Here, using recombinant protein SMAD4 as a model target added at known concentrations to human blood plasma and SRM as a detection method, we investigated a relationship between the initial amount of the target protein and its amount in the fraction enriched with SMAD4 by an anti-SMAD4 DNA-aptamer immobilized on magnetic beads. It was found that the aptamer-based enrichment provided a 30-fold increase in the sensitivity of SRM detection of SMAD4. These results indicate that the aptamer-based affinity enrichment of target proteins can be successfully employed to improve quantitative detection of low-abundance proteins by SRM in undepleted human blood plasma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Aptamers for Biomedical Applications II)
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Open AccessArticle
Brassicasterol with Dual Anti-Infective Properties against HSV-1 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Cardiovascular Protective Effect: Nonclinical In Vitro and In Silico Assessments
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050132 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 437
Abstract
While few studies have revealed the biological properties of brassicasterol, a phytosterol, against some biological and molecular targets, it is believed that there are still many activities yet to be studied. In this work, brassicasterol exerts a therapeutic utility in an in vitro [...] Read more.
While few studies have revealed the biological properties of brassicasterol, a phytosterol, against some biological and molecular targets, it is believed that there are still many activities yet to be studied. In this work, brassicasterol exerts a therapeutic utility in an in vitro setting against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) as well as a considerable inhibitory property against human angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) that plays a dynamic role in regulating blood pressure. The antireplicative effect of brassicasterol against HSV-1 is remarkably detected (50% inhibitory concentration (IC50): 1.2 µM; selectivity index (SI): 41.7), while the potency of its effect is ameliorated through the combination with standard acyclovir with proper SI (IC50: 0.7 µM; SI: 71.4). Moreover, the capacity of this compound to induce an adequate level of antituberculosis activity against all Mtb strains examined (minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging from 1.9 to 2.4 µM) is revealed. The anti-ACE effect (12.3 µg/mL; 91.2% inhibition) is also ascertained. Molecular docking analyses propose that the mechanisms by which brassicasterol induces anti-HSV-1 and anti-Mtb might be related to inhibiting vital enzymes involved in HSV-1 replication and Mtb cell wall biosynthesis. In summary, the obtained results suggest that brassicasterol might be promising for future anti-HSV-1, antituberculosis, and anti-ACE drug design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
When Less Is More: Specific Capture and Analysis of Tumor Exosomes in Plasma Increases the Sensitivity of Liquid Biopsy for Comprehensive Detection of Multiple Androgen Receptor Phenotypes in Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050131 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 441
Abstract
We evaluated the advantages and the reliability of novel protocols for the enrichment of tumor extracellular vesicles (EVs), enabling a blood-based test for the noninvasive parallel profiling of multiple androgen receptor (AR) gene alterations. Three clinically relevant AR variants related to response/resistance [...] Read more.
We evaluated the advantages and the reliability of novel protocols for the enrichment of tumor extracellular vesicles (EVs), enabling a blood-based test for the noninvasive parallel profiling of multiple androgen receptor (AR) gene alterations. Three clinically relevant AR variants related to response/resistance to standard-of-care treatments (AR-V7 transcript, AR T878A point mutation and AR gene amplification) were evaluated by digital PCR in 15 samples from patients affected by Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC). Plasma was processed to obtain circulating RNA and DNA using protocols based on tumor EVs enrichment through immuno-affinity and peptide-affinity compared to generic extraction kits. Our results showed that immuno-affinity enrichment prior to RNA extraction clearly outperforms the generic isolation method in the detection of AR-V7, also allowing for a distinction between responder (R) and non-responder (NR) patients. The T878A mutation was detected, overall, in nine out of 15 samples and no approach alone was able to reveal mutations in all harboring samples, showing that the employed methods complement each other. AR amplification was detected in the majority of CRPC samples analysed using either cell-free DNA (cfDNA) or exosome isolation kits (80%). We demonstrated that selective isolation of a subset of circulating exosomes enriched for tumor origin, rather than analysis of total plasma exosomes, or total plasma nucleic acids, increases sensitivity and specificity for the detection of specific alterations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Biopsies in Cancer Diagnosis, Monitoring and Prognosis)
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Open AccessReview
Spinal Cord Involvement in MS and Other Demyelinating Diseases
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050130 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Diagnostic accuracy is poor in demyelinating myelopathies, and therefore a challenge for neurologists in daily practice, mainly because of the multiple underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in each subtype. A systematic diagnostic approach combining data from the clinical setting and presentation with magnetic resonance [...] Read more.
Diagnostic accuracy is poor in demyelinating myelopathies, and therefore a challenge for neurologists in daily practice, mainly because of the multiple underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in each subtype. A systematic diagnostic approach combining data from the clinical setting and presentation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesion patterns, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings, and autoantibody markers can help to better distinguish between subtypes. In this review, we describe spinal cord involvement, and summarize clinical findings, MRI and diagnostic characteristics, as well as treatment options and prognostic implications in different demyelinating disorders including: multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease, and glial fibrillary acidic protein IgG-associated disease. Thorough understanding of individual case etiology is crucial, not only to provide valuable prognostic information on whether the disorder is likely to relapse, but also to make therapeutic decision-making easier and reduce treatment failures which may lead to new relapses and long-term disability. Identifying patients with monophasic disease who may only require acute management, symptomatic treatment, and subsequent rehabilitation, rather than immunosuppression, is also important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Sclerosis: Diagnosis and Treatment II)
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Open AccessArticle
Tripartite Combination of Candidate Pandemic Mitigation Agents: Vitamin D, Quercetin, and Estradiol Manifest Properties of Medicinal Agents for Targeted Mitigation of the COVID-19 Pandemic Defined by Genomics-Guided Tracing of SARS-CoV-2 Targets in Human Cells
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050129 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 11269
Abstract
Genes required for SARS-CoV-2 entry into human cells, ACE2 and FURIN, were employed as baits to build genomic-guided molecular maps of upstream regulatory elements, their expression and functions in the human body, and pathophysiologically relevant cell types. Repressors and activators of the ACE2 [...] Read more.
Genes required for SARS-CoV-2 entry into human cells, ACE2 and FURIN, were employed as baits to build genomic-guided molecular maps of upstream regulatory elements, their expression and functions in the human body, and pathophysiologically relevant cell types. Repressors and activators of the ACE2 and FURIN genes were identified based on the analyses of gene silencing and overexpression experiments as well as relevant transgenic mouse models. Panels of repressors (VDR; GATA5; SFTPC; HIF1a) and activators (HMGA2; INSIG1; RUNX1; HNF4a; JNK1/c-FOS) were then employed to identify existing drugs manifesting in their effects on gene expression signatures of potential coronavirus infection mitigation agents. Using this strategy, vitamin D and quercetin have been identified as putative 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mitigation agents. Quercetin has been identified as one of top-scoring candidate therapeutics in the supercomputer SUMMIT drug-docking screen and Gene Set Enrichment Analyses (GSEA) of expression profiling experiments (EPEs), indicating that highly structurally similar quercetin, luteolin, and eriodictyol could serve as scaffolds for the development of efficient inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In agreement with this notion, quercetin alters the expression of 98 of 332 (30%) of human genes encoding protein targets of SARS-CoV-2, thus potentially interfering with functions of 23 of 27 (85%) of the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins in human cells. Similarly, Vitamin D may interfere with functions of 19 of 27 (70%) of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins by altering expression of 84 of 332 (25%) of human genes encoding protein targets of SARS-CoV-2. Considering the potential effects of both quercetin and vitamin D, the inference could be made that functions of 25 of 27 (93%) of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in human cells may be altered. GSEA and EPEs identify multiple drugs, smoking, and many disease conditions that appear to act as putative coronavirus infection-promoting agents. Discordant patterns of testosterone versus estradiol impacts on SARS-CoV-2 targets suggest a plausible molecular explanation of the apparently higher male mortality during the coronavirus pandemic. Estradiol, in contrast with testosterone, affects the expression of the majority of human genes (203 of 332; 61%) encoding SARS-CoV-2 targets, thus potentially interfering with functions of 26 of 27 SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins. A hypothetical tripartite combination consisting of quercetin/vitamin D/estradiol may affect expression of 244 of 332 (73%) human genes encoding SARS-CoV-2 targets. Of major concern is the ACE2 and FURIN expression in many human cells and tissues, including immune cells, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 may infect a broad range of cellular targets in the human body. Infection of immune cells may cause immunosuppression, long-term persistence of the virus, and spread of the virus to secondary targets. Present analyses and numerous observational studies indicate that age-associated vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the high mortality of older adults and the elderly. Immediate availability for targeted experimental and clinical interrogations of potential COVID-19 pandemic mitigation agents, namely vitamin D and quercetin, as well as of the highly selective (Ki, 600 pm) intrinsically specific FURIN inhibitor (a1-antitrypsin Portland (a1-PDX), is considered an encouraging factor. Observations reported in this contribution are intended to facilitate follow-up targeted experimental studies and, if warranted, randomized clinical trials to identify and validate therapeutically viable interventions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, gene expression profiles of vitamin D and quercetin activities and their established safety records as over-the-counter medicinal substances strongly argue that they may represent viable candidates for further considerations of their potential utility as COVID-19 pandemic mitigation agents. In line with the results of present analyses, a randomized interventional clinical trial evaluating effects of estradiol on severity of the coronavirus infection in COVID19+ and presumptive COVID19+ patients and two interventional randomized clinical trials evaluating effects of vitamin D on prevention and treatment of COVID-19 were listed on the ClinicalTrials.gov website. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterisation of a Novel A-Superfamily Conotoxin
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050128 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Conopeptides belonging to the A-superfamily from the venomous molluscs, Conus, are typically α-conotoxins. The α-conotoxins are of interest as therapeutic leads and pharmacological tools due to their selectivity and potency at nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes. Structurally, the α-conotoxins have a consensus [...] Read more.
Conopeptides belonging to the A-superfamily from the venomous molluscs, Conus, are typically α-conotoxins. The α-conotoxins are of interest as therapeutic leads and pharmacological tools due to their selectivity and potency at nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes. Structurally, the α-conotoxins have a consensus fold containing two conserved disulfide bonds that define the two-loop framework and brace a helical region. Here we report on a novel α-conotoxin Pl168, identified from the transcriptome of Conus planorbis, which has an unusual 4/8 loop framework. Unexpectedly, NMR determination of its three-dimensional structure reveals a new structural type of A-superfamily conotoxins with a different disulfide-stabilized fold, despite containing the conserved cysteine framework and disulfide connectivity of classical α-conotoxins. The peptide did not demonstrate activity on a range of nAChRs, or Ca2+ and Na+ channels suggesting that it might represent a new pharmacological class of conotoxins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Venoms–Curse or Cure?)
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Cation Transporters (OCTs) in EpiAirway™, a Cellular Model of Normal Human Bronchial Epithelium
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050127 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 325
Abstract
Organic cation transporters (OCTs) and novel organic cation transporters (OCTNs) are responsible for drug delivery in the intestine and kidney; in the lung, OCTs mediate inhaled drugs’ transport, although their physiological role in airways remains poorly understood. The studies addressing OCTs/OCTNs in human [...] Read more.
Organic cation transporters (OCTs) and novel organic cation transporters (OCTNs) are responsible for drug delivery in the intestine and kidney; in the lung, OCTs mediate inhaled drugs’ transport, although their physiological role in airways remains poorly understood. The studies addressing OCTs/OCTNs in human airways were mostly performed in immortal or transformed cell lines; here, we studied OCTs in EpiAirway™, a recently developed in vitro model of normal bronchial epithelium. Calu-3 monolayers were used for comparison. The activity of OCTs was evaluated by measuring the uptake of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) at the apical and basolateral side of monolayers and protein expression through Western Blot analysis. OCTs and OCTNs expression, along with that of Amino acid Transporter B0,+ (ATB0,+)transporter, was determined by measuring the number of mRNA molecules through quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). The interaction of the transporters with bronchodilators was also assessed. Results highlight significant differences between Calu-3 cells and EpiAirway™, since, in the latter, OCTs are active only on the basolateral membrane where they interact with the bronchodilator ipratropium. No activity of OCTs is detectable at the apical side; there, the most abundant carrier is, instead, SLC6A14/ATB0,+, that can thus be potentially listed among organic cation transporters responsible for drug delivery in the lung. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Transporters)
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Open AccessReview
Assessment of the Antitumor Potential of Umbelliprenin, a Naturally Occurring Sesquiterpene Coumarin
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050126 - 18 May 2020
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Cancer is one of the greatest causes of mortality worldwide. The prevalence rates of different types of cancer is increasing around the world as well. Limitations in chemotherapy and radiotherapy, owing to multiple side effects including cytotoxic effects of antitumor compounds on normal [...] Read more.
Cancer is one of the greatest causes of mortality worldwide. The prevalence rates of different types of cancer is increasing around the world as well. Limitations in chemotherapy and radiotherapy, owing to multiple side effects including cytotoxic effects of antitumor compounds on normal cells as well as the development of resistance to these treatment options in patients, create a serious threat to successful treatment of cancer. The use of natural compounds to prevent and treat cancers has been found to be quite effective, with fewer adverse effects found in patients. Umbelliprenin (UMB) is a naturally occurring sesquiterpene compound found in Ferula species and recently in Artemisia absinthium. Many studies have highlighted the antitumor potential of UMB in different cancer cell lines as well as in animal models. UMB exerts its anticancer actions by regulating extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways; causing inhibition of the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase; and attenuating migration and invasion by modulating the Wnt signaling, NF-ĸB, TGFβ, and Fox3 signaling pathways. UMB also affects the key hallmarks of tumor cells by attenuating tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. This review provides an insight into the role of UMB as a potential antitumor drug for different malignancies and highlights the signaling cascades affected by UMB treatment in diverse tumor cell lines and preclinical models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Markers—Mirror Tools in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050125 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 417
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease, associated with significant morbidity, mainly due to progressive damage and consequent disability. Oxidative stress is an important part of RA pathophysiology, as in autoimmune disease the interaction between immune response and endogenous/exogenous antigens subsequently [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease, associated with significant morbidity, mainly due to progressive damage and consequent disability. Oxidative stress is an important part of RA pathophysiology, as in autoimmune disease the interaction between immune response and endogenous/exogenous antigens subsequently induce the production of reactive oxygen species. The oxidative stress process seems to be positively strongly correlated with inflammation and accelerated joint destruction. We were asking ourselves if the oxidative stress biomarkers are the mirror tools of disease activity, outcome, and inflammation level in a group of RA patients under standard or biological therapy compared to healthy age-matched controls. In order to do this, the oxidative stress damage biomarkers (lipids peroxide and protein carbonyl level), antioxidant defense capacity, and pro-inflammatory status of plasma were quantified. In this study, we took into account the complete picture of RA diseases and assessed, for the first time, the inflammatory level in correlation with the oxidative stress level and antioxidant capacity of RA patients. Our results revealed that protein oxidation through carbonylation is significantly increased in RA groups compared to controls, and both protein carbonyl Pcarb and thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) are reliable markers of ROS damage. Therefore, it is unanimous that neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR), monocyte/lymphocyte ratio (MLR), platelet/lymphocyte ratio (PltLR) correlated with Pcarb, and TBARS can provide a view of the complex phenomenon represented by proteins/lipids damage, key contributors to disease outcome, and an increased awareness should be attributed to these biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunoglobulins in Inflammation)
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Open AccessArticle
Sex Differences in Biological Processes and Nitrergic Signaling in Mouse Brain
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050124 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Nitric oxide (NO) represents an important signaling molecule which modulates the functions of different organs, including the brain. S-nitrosylation (SNO), a post-translational modification that involves the binding of the NO group to a cysteine residue, is a key mechanism of nitrergic signaling. Most [...] Read more.
Nitric oxide (NO) represents an important signaling molecule which modulates the functions of different organs, including the brain. S-nitrosylation (SNO), a post-translational modification that involves the binding of the NO group to a cysteine residue, is a key mechanism of nitrergic signaling. Most of the experimental studies are carried out on male animals. However, significant differences exist between males and females in the signaling mechanisms. To investigate the sex differences in the SNO-based regulation of biological functions and signaling pathways in the cortices of 6–8-weeks-old mice, we used the mass spectrometry technique, to identify S-nitrosylated proteins, followed by large-scale computational biology. This work revealed significant sex differences in the NO and SNO-related biological functions in the cortices of mice for the first-time. The study showed significant SNO-induced enrichment of the synaptic processes in female mice, but enhanced SNO-related cytoskeletal processes in the male mice. Proteins, which were S-nitrosylated in the cortices of mice of both groups, were more abundant in the female brain. Finally, we investigated the shared molecular processes that were found in both sexes. This study presents a mechanistic insight into the role of S-nitrosylation in both sexes and provides strong evidence of sex difference in many biological processes and signalling pathways, which will open future research directions on sex differences in neurological disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Model Systems in Research and Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Low-Grade Inflammation Is Not Present in Former Obese Males but Adipose Tissue Macrophage Infiltration Persists
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050123 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Macrophage infiltration in two subcutaneous adipose tissue depots and systemic low-grade inflammation were studied in post-obese (PO), obese (O), and control (C) subjects. Young males were recruited into PO: (n = 10, weight-loss avg. 26%, BMI: 26.6 ± 0.7, mean ±SEM kg/m [...] Read more.
Macrophage infiltration in two subcutaneous adipose tissue depots and systemic low-grade inflammation were studied in post-obese (PO), obese (O), and control (C) subjects. Young males were recruited into PO: (n = 10, weight-loss avg. 26%, BMI: 26.6 ± 0.7, mean ±SEM kg/m2), O: (n = 10, BMI: 33.8 ± 1.0kg/m2) and C: (n = 10, BMI: 26.6 ± 0.6 kg/m2). PO and C were matched by BMI. Blood and abdominal and gluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue were obtained in the overnight fasted state. Plasma concentrations of IL-6 and CRP were higher (p < 0.05) in O than in PO and C, TNF-α was higher (p < 0.05) only in O compared to PO and IL-18 was similar between groups. The number of CD68+ macrophages was higher (p < 0.05) in the gluteal than the abdominal depot, and higher (p < 0.05) in O and PO compared to C in both depots. The content of CD163+ macrophages was similar between depots but was higher (p < 0.05) in PO compared to C and O in the gluteal depot. In post obese men with a long-term sustained weight loss, systemic low-grade inflammation was similar to non-obese controls despite a higher subcutaneous adipose tissue CD68+ macrophage content. Interestingly, the anti-inflammatory CD163+ macrophage adipose tissue content was consistently higher in post obese than obese and controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macrophages in Health and Non-Infectious Disease)
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Open AccessReview
Flavolignans from Silymarin as Nrf2 Bioactivators and Their Therapeutic Applications
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050122 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Silymarin (SM) is a mixture of flavolignans extracted from the seeds of species derived from Silybum marianum, commonly known as milk thistle or St. Mary’sthistle. These species have been widely used in the treatment of liver disorders in traditional medicine since ancient [...] Read more.
Silymarin (SM) is a mixture of flavolignans extracted from the seeds of species derived from Silybum marianum, commonly known as milk thistle or St. Mary’sthistle. These species have been widely used in the treatment of liver disorders in traditional medicine since ancient times. Several properties had been attributed to the major SM flavolignans components, identified as silybin, isosilybin, silychristin, isosilychristin, and silydianin. Previous research reported antioxidant and protective activities, which are probably related to the activation of the nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NFE2)-related factor 2 (Nrf2), known as a master regulator of the cytoprotector response. Nrf2 is a redox-sensitive nuclear transcription factor able to induce the downstream-associated genes. The disruption of Nrf2 signaling has been associated with different pathological conditions. Some identified phytochemicals from SM had shown to participate in the Nrf2 signaling pathway; in particular, they have been suggested as activators that disrupt interactions in the Keap1-Nrf2 system, but also as antioxidants or with additional actions regarding Nrf2 regulation. Thus, the study of these molecules makes them appear attractive as novel targets for the treatment or prevention of several diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Compounds in Biomedicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Modeling Studies of Furoxan Coupled Spiro-Isoquinolino Piperidine Derivatives as NO Releasing PDE 5 Inhibitors
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050121 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 434
Abstract
Nitric oxide (NO) is considered to be one of the most important intracellular messengers that play an active role as neurotransmitter in regulation of various cardiovascular physiological and pathological processes. Nitric oxide (NO) is a major factor in penile erectile function. NO exerts [...] Read more.
Nitric oxide (NO) is considered to be one of the most important intracellular messengers that play an active role as neurotransmitter in regulation of various cardiovascular physiological and pathological processes. Nitric oxide (NO) is a major factor in penile erectile function. NO exerts a relaxing action on corpus cavernosum and penile arteries by activating smooth muscle soluble guanylate cyclase and increasing the intracellular concentration of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Phophodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors have potential therapeutic applications. NO hybridization has been found to improve and extend the pharmacological properties of the parental compound. The present study describes the synthesis of novel furoxan coupled spiro-isoquinolino-piperidine derivatives and their smooth muscle relaxant activity. The study reveals that, particularly 10d (1.50 ± 0.6) and 10g (1.65 ± 0.7) are moderate PDE 5 inhibitors as compared to Sidenafil (1.43 ± 0.5). The observed effect was explained by molecular modelling studies on phosphodiesterase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Compounds in Biomedicine)
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Open AccessReview
Non-Invasive Delivery of Therapeutics into the Brain: The Potential of Aptamers for Targeted Delivery
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050120 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 397
Abstract
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a highly specialised network of blood vessels that effectively separates the brain environment from the circulatory system. While there are benefits, in terms of keeping pathogens from entering the brain, the BBB also complicates treatments of brain pathologies [...] Read more.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a highly specialised network of blood vessels that effectively separates the brain environment from the circulatory system. While there are benefits, in terms of keeping pathogens from entering the brain, the BBB also complicates treatments of brain pathologies by preventing efficient delivery of macromolecular drugs to diseased brain tissue. Although current non-invasive strategies of therapeutics delivery into the brain, such as focused ultrasound and nanoparticle-mediated delivery have shown various levels of successes, they still come with risks and limitations. This review discusses the current approaches of therapeutic delivery into the brain, with a specific focus on non-invasive methods. It also discusses the potential for aptamers as alternative delivery systems and several reported aptamers with promising preliminary results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Aptamers for Biomedical Applications II)
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Open AccessArticle
Discovery of Hordenine as a Potential Inhibitor of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Kinase 3: Implication in Lung Cancer Therapy
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050119 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 720
Abstract
Design and development of potential pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 3 (PDK3) inhibitors have gained attention because of their possible therapeutic uses in lung cancer therapy. In the present study, the binding affinity of naturally occurring alkaloids, hordenine, vincamine, tryptamine, cinchonine, and colcemid was measured [...] Read more.
Design and development of potential pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 3 (PDK3) inhibitors have gained attention because of their possible therapeutic uses in lung cancer therapy. In the present study, the binding affinity of naturally occurring alkaloids, hordenine, vincamine, tryptamine, cinchonine, and colcemid was measured with PDK3. The molecular docking and fluorescence binding studies suggested that all these compounds show a considerable binding affinity for PDK3. Among them, the affinity of hordenine to the PDK3 was excellent (K = 106 M−1) which was further complemented by isothermal titration calorimetric measurements. Hordenine binds in the active site pocket of PDK3 and forms a significant number of non-covalent interactions with functionally important residues. All-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulation study suggested that the PDK3-hordenine complex is stabilized throughout the trajectory of 100ns and leads to fewer conformational changes. The enzyme inhibition studies showed that hordenine inhibits the activity of PDK3 with an IC50 value of 5.4 µM. Furthermore, hordenine showed a cytotoxic effect on human lung cancer cells (A549 and H1299) with an admirable IC50 value. However, it did not inhibit the growth of HEK293 cells up to 200 µM, indicating its non-toxicity to non-cancerous cell lines. In summary, our findings provide the basis for the therapeutic implication of hordenine and its derivatives in lung cancer and PDK3-related diseases after required in vivo validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innate Immunity Orchestration in Lung Health and Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Scorpion Venom: Detriments and Benefits
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050118 - 12 May 2020
Viewed by 965
Abstract
Scorpion venom may cause severe medical complications and untimely death if injected into the human body. Neurotoxins are the main components of scorpion venom that are known to be responsible for the pathological manifestations of envenoming. Besides neurotoxins, a wide range of other [...] Read more.
Scorpion venom may cause severe medical complications and untimely death if injected into the human body. Neurotoxins are the main components of scorpion venom that are known to be responsible for the pathological manifestations of envenoming. Besides neurotoxins, a wide range of other bioactive molecules can be found in scorpion venoms. Advances in separation, characterization, and biotechnological approaches have enabled not only the development of more effective treatments against scorpion envenomings, but have also led to the discovery of several scorpion venom peptides with interesting therapeutic properties. Thus, scorpion venom may not only be a medical threat to human health, but could prove to be a valuable source of bioactive molecules that may serve as leads for the development of new therapies against current and emerging diseases. This review presents both the detrimental and beneficial properties of scorpion venom toxins and discusses the newest advances within the development of novel therapies against scorpion envenoming and the therapeutic perspectives for scorpion toxins in drug discovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Venoms–Curse or Cure?)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytogenic Synthesis of Nickel Oxide Nanoparticles (NiO) Using Fresh Leaves Extract of Rhamnus triquetra (Wall.) and Investigation of Its Multiple In Vitro Biological Potentials
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050117 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 373
Abstract
Chemically nickel oxide nanoparticles (NiONPs) involve the synthesis of toxic products, which restrict their biological applications. Hence, we developed a simple, eco-friendly, and cost-efficient green chemistry method for the fabrication of NiONPs using fresh leaf broth of Rhamnus triquetra (RT). The RT leaves [...] Read more.
Chemically nickel oxide nanoparticles (NiONPs) involve the synthesis of toxic products, which restrict their biological applications. Hence, we developed a simple, eco-friendly, and cost-efficient green chemistry method for the fabrication of NiONPs using fresh leaf broth of Rhamnus triquetra (RT). The RT leaves broth was used as a strong reducing, capping, and stabilizing agent in the formation of RT-NiONPs. The color change in solution from brown to greenish black suggests the fabrication of RT-NiONPs which was further confirmed by absorption band at 333 nm. The synthesis and different physicochemical properties of RT-NiONPs were investigated using different analytical techniques such as UV-Vis (ultraviolet−visible spectroscopy), XRD (X-ray powder diffraction), FT-IR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy), SEM (scanning electron microscopy), TEM (transmission electron microscopy), EDS (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), DLS (dynamic light scattering) and Raman. Further, RT-NiONPs were subjected to different in vitro biological activities and revealed distinctive biosafe and biocompatibility potentials using erythrocytes and macrophages. RT-NiONPs exhibited potential anticancer activity against liver cancer cell lines HUH7 (IC50: 11.3 µg/mL) and HepG2 (IC50: 20.73 µg/mL). Cytotoxicity potential was confirmed using Leishmanial parasites promastigotes (IC50: 27.32 µg/mL) and amastigotes (IC50: 37.4 µg/mL). RT-NiONPs are capable of rendering significant antimicrobial efficacy using various bacterial and fungal strains. NiONPs determined potent radical scavenging and moderate enzyme inhibition potencies. Overall, this study suggested that RT-NiONPs can be an attractive and eco-friendly candidate. In conclusion, current study showed potential in vitro biological activities and further necessitate different in vivo studies in various animal models to develop leads for new drugs to treat several chronic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicine in Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Abnormal Hypermethylation of CpG Dinucleotides in Promoter Regions of Matrix Metalloproteinases Genes in Breast Cancer and its Relation to Epigenomic Subtypes and HER2 Overexpression
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050116 - 10 May 2020
Viewed by 493
Abstract
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) substantially contribute to the regulation of intercellular interactions and thereby play a role in maintaining the tissue structure and function. We examined methylation of a subset of 5’-cytosine-phosphate-guanine-3’ (CpG) dinucleotides in promoter regions of the [...] Read more.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) substantially contribute to the regulation of intercellular interactions and thereby play a role in maintaining the tissue structure and function. We examined methylation of a subset of 5’-cytosine-phosphate-guanine-3’ (CpG) dinucleotides in promoter regions of the MMP2, MMP11, MMP14, MMP15, MMP16, MMP17, MMP21, MMP23B, MMP24, MMP25, MMP28, TIMP1, TIMP2, TIMP3, and TIMP4 genes by methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme digestion PCR. In our collection of 183 breast cancer samples, abnormal hypermethylation was observed for CpGs in MMP2, MMP23B, MMP24, MMP25, and MMP28 promoter regions. The non-methylated status of the examined CpGs in promoter regions of MMP2, MMP23B, MMP24, MMP25, and MMP28 in tumors was associated with low HER2 expression, while the group of samples with abnormal hypermethylation of at least two of these MMP genes was significantly enriched with HER2-positive tumors. Abnormal methylation of MMP24 and MMP25 was significantly associated with a CpG island hypermethylated breast cancer subtype discovered by genome-wide DNA bisulfite sequencing. Our results indicate that abnormal hypermethylation of at least several MMP genes promoters is a secondary event not directly functional in breast cancer (BC) pathogenesis. We suggest that it is elevated and/or ectopic expression, rather than methylation-driven silencing, that might link MMPs to tumorigenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Regulation of the Immune System)
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Open AccessArticle
Chronic Periodontitis and Immunity, Towards the Implementation of a Personalized Medicine: A Translational Research on Gene Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) Linked to Chronic Oral Dysbiosis in 96 Caucasian Patients
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050115 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 636
Abstract
Chronic periodontitis (CP) is a complex pathology with a significant impact worldwide causing bone loss. Oral dysbiosis is a highly inflammatory condition associated to a long-term insulting infection and represents an underestimated CP key factor associated with an imbalance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory [...] Read more.
Chronic periodontitis (CP) is a complex pathology with a significant impact worldwide causing bone loss. Oral dysbiosis is a highly inflammatory condition associated to a long-term insulting infection and represents an underestimated CP key factor associated with an imbalance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory gene responses. The presence of a single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region of interleukin 10 (IL-10) gene −1082, −819, and −592 was a possible determinant cause. This translational research aimed to provide outcomes on the role of IL-10 gene expression in bone loss diseases in patients affected by CP. Caucasian patients (n = 96) affected by CP were recruited from the Italian population. The subgingival samples were collected using the Bacterial Periodontal Assessment by Biomolecular Diagnostic® and the characterization of a set of 15 bacterial DNA responsible of periodontitis was performed by real-time multiplex PCR. In addition, two viruses, Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV) and Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1), and a pathogenic fungi (Candida albicans) were included as a part of our panel. Our results confirmed an existing association between IL-10 gene polymorphisms and polymorphism of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), interleukin 1α-β-RN (IL-1α-β-RN), collagen type-l alpha (COLIA1), and vitamin D receptor (VDRs) genes in CP. Further studies are needed to improve diagnosis and endorse more effective therapeutic procedures for periodontal disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
RNA Sequencing in Comparison to Immunohistochemistry for Measuring Cancer Biomarkers in Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer Specimens
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050114 - 09 May 2020
Viewed by 1083
Abstract
RNA sequencing is considered the gold standard for high-throughput profiling of gene expression at the transcriptional level. Its increasing importance in cancer research and molecular diagnostics is reflected in the growing number of its mentions in scientific literature and clinical trial reports. However, [...] Read more.
RNA sequencing is considered the gold standard for high-throughput profiling of gene expression at the transcriptional level. Its increasing importance in cancer research and molecular diagnostics is reflected in the growing number of its mentions in scientific literature and clinical trial reports. However, the use of different reagents and protocols for RNA sequencing often produces incompatible results. Recently, we published the Oncobox Atlas of RNA sequencing profiles for normal human tissues obtained from healthy donors killed in road accidents. This is a database of molecular profiles obtained using uniform protocol and reagents settings that can be broadly used in biomedicine for data normalization in pathology, including cancer. Here, we publish new original 39 breast cancer (BC) and 19 lung cancer (LC) RNA sequencing profiles obtained for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples, fully compatible with the Oncobox Atlas. We performed the first correlation study of RNA sequencing and immunohistochemistry-measured expression profiles for the clinically actionable biomarker genes in FFPE cancer tissue samples. We demonstrated high (Spearman’s rho 0.65–0.798) and statistically significant (p < 0.00004) correlations between the RNA sequencing (Oncobox protocol) and immunohistochemical measurements for HER2/ERBB2, ER/ESR1 and PGR genes in BC, and for PDL1 gene in LC; AUC: 0.963 for HER2, 0.921 for ESR1, 0.912 for PGR, and 0.922 for PDL1. To our knowledge, this is the first validation that total RNA sequencing of archived FFPE materials provides a reliable estimation of marker protein levels. These results show that in the future, RNA sequencing can complement immunohistochemistry for reliable measurements of the expression biomarkers in FFPE cancer samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Increased ACh-Associated Immunoreactivity in Autonomic Centers in PTZ Kindling Model of Epilepsy
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050113 - 08 May 2020
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Experimental and clinical studies of cardiac pathology associated with epilepsy have demonstrated an impact on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). However, the underlying molecular mechanism has not been fully elucidated. Molecular investigation of the neurotransmitters related receptor and ion channel directing ANS might [...] Read more.
Experimental and clinical studies of cardiac pathology associated with epilepsy have demonstrated an impact on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). However, the underlying molecular mechanism has not been fully elucidated. Molecular investigation of the neurotransmitters related receptor and ion channel directing ANS might help in understanding the associated mechanism. In this paper, we investigated the role of acetylcholine (ACh), which demonstrates both sympathetic and parasympathetic roles in targeted expression in terms of the relevant receptor and ion channel. Inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channels play a significant role in maintaining the resting membrane potential and controlling cell excitability and are prominently expressed in both the excitable and non-excitable tissues. The immunoreactivity of ACh-activated Kir3.1 channel and muscarinic ACh receptors (M2) in autonomic centers such as the brainstem, vagus nerve (VN) and atria of heart was confirmed by both histological staining and pathological tissue analysis. Significant upregulations of Kir3.1 and M2 receptors were observed in pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-kindled epileptic rats for all related tissues investigated, whereas no pathological difference was observed. These findings provide proof-of-concept that changes in ACh-associated immunoreactivity might be linked to the ANS dysfunctions associated with epilepsy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurologic Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Trump Card for the Treatment of Diabetes?
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050112 - 06 May 2020
Viewed by 560
Abstract
The advent of the new revolutionary approach based on regenerative medicine is progressively reshaping the therapeutic scenario of many different diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and immune diseases, with encouraging results. During the last 10 years, many studies have also proposed the use [...] Read more.
The advent of the new revolutionary approach based on regenerative medicine is progressively reshaping the therapeutic scenario of many different diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and immune diseases, with encouraging results. During the last 10 years, many studies have also proposed the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), adult stem cells with several interesting properties already used in different experimental models, for the treatment of diabetes, however, reporting conflicting outcomes. These reasons have given rise to a question: are these cells a real trump card for the biomedical field? Are they really able to outclass the traditional therapies, or at least able to give an advantage over them? In this review, we will discuss the most promising results obtained with MSCs for the treatment of diabetes and its complications, we will compare the different therapeutic treatments applied as well as the most likely mechanisms of action, and overall we will give an in-depth overview of the pros and the cons of the use of MSCs for the therapy of both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gene and Cell Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Aristolochia trilobata: Identification of the Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Effects
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050111 - 06 May 2020
Viewed by 444
Abstract
Aristolochia trilobata, popularly known as “mil-homens,” is widely used for treatment of stomach aches, colic, asthma, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and skin affection. We evaluated the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of the essential oil (EO) and the main constituent, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-yl acetate (sulcatyl acetate, [...] Read more.
Aristolochia trilobata, popularly known as “mil-homens,” is widely used for treatment of stomach aches, colic, asthma, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and skin affection. We evaluated the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities of the essential oil (EO) and the main constituent, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-yl acetate (sulcatyl acetate, SA). EO and SA (1, 10, and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) were evaluated using chemical (formalin-induced licking) and thermal (hot-plate) models of nociception or inflammation (carrageenan-induced cell migration into the subcutaneous air pouch, SAP). The mechanism of antinociceptive activity was evaluated using opioid, cholinergic receptor antagonists (naloxone and atropine), or nitric oxide synthase inhibitor (L-NAME). EO and SA presented a central antinociceptive effect (the hot-plate model). In formalin-induced licking response, higher doses of EO and SA also reduced 1st and 2nd phases. None of the antagonists and enzyme inhibitor reversed antinociceptive effects. EO and SA reduced the leukocyte migration into the SAP, and the cytokines tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 (TNF-α and IL-1β, respectively) produced in the exudate. Our results are indicative that EO and SA present peripheral and central antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicine in Therapy)
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Open AccessReview
Nobiletin in Cancer Therapy: How This Plant Derived-Natural Compound Targets Various Oncogene and Onco-Suppressor Pathways
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050110 - 05 May 2020
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Cancer therapy is a growing field, and annually, a high number of research is performed to develop novel antitumor drugs. Attempts to find new antitumor drugs continue, since cancer cells are able to acquire resistance to conventional drugs. Natural chemicals can be considered [...] Read more.
Cancer therapy is a growing field, and annually, a high number of research is performed to develop novel antitumor drugs. Attempts to find new antitumor drugs continue, since cancer cells are able to acquire resistance to conventional drugs. Natural chemicals can be considered as promising candidates in the field of cancer therapy due to their multiple-targeting capability. The nobiletin (NOB) is a ubiquitous flavone isolated from Citrus fruits. The NOB has a variety of pharmacological activities, such as antidiabetes, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective. Among them, the antitumor activity of NOB has been under attention over recent years. In this review, we comprehensively describe the efficacy of NOB in cancer therapy. NOB induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in cancer cells. It can suppress migration and invasion of cancer cells via the inhibition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and EMT-related factors such as TGF-β, ZEB, Slug, and Snail. Besides, NOB inhibits oncogene factors such as STAT3, NF-κB, Akt, PI3K, Wnt, and so on. Noteworthy, onco-suppressor factors such as microRNA-7 and -200b undergo upregulation by NOB in cancer therapy. These onco-suppressor and oncogene pathways and mechanisms are discussed in this review. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Coronavirus Pandemic—Therapy and Vaccines
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050109 - 03 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2627
Abstract
The current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, has raised significant social, psychological and economic concerns in addition to direct medical issues. The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 to almost every country on the globe and the failure [...] Read more.
The current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, has raised significant social, psychological and economic concerns in addition to direct medical issues. The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 to almost every country on the globe and the failure to contain the infections have contributed to fear and panic worldwide. The lack of available and efficient antiviral drugs or vaccines has further worsened the situation. For these reasons, it cannot be overstated that an accelerated effort for the development of novel drugs and vaccines is needed. In this context, novel approaches in both gene therapy and vaccine development are essential. Previous experience from SARS- and MERS-coronavirus vaccine and drug development projects have targeted glycoprotein epitopes, monoclonal antibodies, angiotensin receptor blockers and gene silencing technologies, which may be useful for COVID-19 too. Moreover, existing antivirals used for other types of viral infections have been considered as urgent action is necessary. This review aims at providing a background of coronavirus genetics and biology, examples of therapeutic and vaccine strategies taken and potential innovative novel approaches in progress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gene Therapy Coming of Age)
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Open AccessArticle
Can the Molar Insulin: C-Peptide Ratio Be Used to Predict Hyperinsulinaemia?
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050108 - 03 May 2020
Viewed by 608
Abstract
Hyperinsulinaemia is the precursor to numerous metabolic disorders. Early diagnosis and intervention could improve population health. Diagnosing hyperinsulinaemia is problematic because insulin has a very short half-life (2–5 min). It is theorised that c-peptide levels (half-life 20–30 min) would be a better proxy [...] Read more.
Hyperinsulinaemia is the precursor to numerous metabolic disorders. Early diagnosis and intervention could improve population health. Diagnosing hyperinsulinaemia is problematic because insulin has a very short half-life (2–5 min). It is theorised that c-peptide levels (half-life 20–30 min) would be a better proxy for insulin due to both hormones being released in equimolar amounts. However, the correlation between c-peptide and insulin levels is unknown. We aim to identify their correlation following a four-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Data were obtained from records of routine medical care at St Joseph’s Hospital, Chicago, IL, USA, during 1977. Two hundred and fifty-five male and female participants aged over 20 years undertook a four-hour OGTT with plasma glucose, insulin and c-peptide levels recorded. Correlation was assessed with Pearson’s correlation. There was a weak correlation between insulin and c-peptide, which increased to moderate across the four-hour OGTT (r = 0.482–0.680). There was no significant change in this relationship when data was subdivided according to either the WHO glucose status or Kraft insulin response. Although there was a correlation between insulin and c-peptide, it was too weak to recommend the use of c-peptide as an alternative biomarker for the diagnosis of hyperinsulinaemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Therapeutic Strategies in Different Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Structure–Activity Analysis and Molecular Docking Studies of Coumarins from Toddalia asiatica as Multifunctional Agents for Alzheimer’s Disease
Biomedicines 2020, 8(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8050107 - 02 May 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Coumarins, naturally occurring phytochemicals, display a wide spectrum of biological activities by acting on multiple targets. Herein, nine coumarins from the root of Toddalia asiatica were evaluated for activities related to pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They were examined for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and [...] Read more.
Coumarins, naturally occurring phytochemicals, display a wide spectrum of biological activities by acting on multiple targets. Herein, nine coumarins from the root of Toddalia asiatica were evaluated for activities related to pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They were examined for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and AChE- or self-induced amyloid beta (Aβ) aggregation inhibitory activities, as well as neuroprotection against H2O2- and Aβ1–42-induced human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell damage. Moreover, in order to understand the mechanism, the binding interactions between coumarins and their targets: (i) AChE and (ii) Aβ1–42 peptide were investigated in silico. All coumarins exhibited mild to moderate AChE and self-induced Aβ aggregation inhibitory actions. In addition, the coumarins substituted with the long alkyl chain at position 6 or 8 illustrated ability to inhibit AChE-induced Aβ aggregation, resulting from their dual binding site at catalytic anionic site and peripheral active site in AChE. Moreover, the most potent multifunctional coumarin, phellopterin, could attenuate neuronal cell damage induced by H2O2 and Aβ1–42 toxicity. Conclusively, seven out of nine coumarins were identified as multifunctional agents inhibiting the pathogenesis of AD. The structure–activity relationship information obtained might be applied for further optimization of coumarins into a useful drug which may combat AD. Full article
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