Molecules2014, 19(4), 4986-4996; doi:10.3390/molecules19044986 (doi registration under processing) - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We report here the in vitro selection of DNA aptamers for electric eel acetylcholinesterase (AChE). One selected aptamer sequence (R15/19) has a high affinity towards the enzyme (Kd = 157 ± 42 pM). Characterization of the aptamer showed its binding is not affected by low ionic strength (~20 mM), however significant reduction in affinity occurred at high ionic strength (~1.2 M). In addition, this aptamer does not inhibit the catalytic activity of AChE that we exploit through immobilization of the DNA on a streptavidin-coated surface. Subsequent immobilization of AChE by the aptamer results in a 4-fold higher catalytic activity when compared to adsorption directly on to plastic.
Molecules2014, 19(4), 4967-4985; doi:10.3390/molecules19044967 (doi registration under processing) - published online 21 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1), an inducible enzyme that converts prostaglandin H2 (PGH2) to prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), plays an important role in a variety of diseases. So far, the role of mPGES-1 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) remained unknown. The current study aimed to investigate the role of mPGES-1 in pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin in mice. We found that mPGES-1 deficient (mPGES-1−/−) mice exhibited more severe fibrotic lesions with a decrease in PGE2 content in lungs after bleomycin treatment when compared with wild type (mPGES-1+/+) mice. The mPGES-1 expression levels and PGE2 content were also decreased in bleomycin-treated mPGES-1+/+ mice compared to saline-treated mPGES-1+/+ mice. Moreover, in both mPGES-1−/− and mPGES-1+/+ mice, bleomycin treatment reduced the expression levels of E prostanoid receptor 2 (EP2) and EP4 receptor in lungs, whereas had little effect on EP1 and EP3. In cultured human lung fibroblast cells (MRC-5), siRNA-mediated knockdown of mPGES-1 augmented transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) protein expression, and the increase was reversed by treatment of PGE2, selective EP2 agonist and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor. In conclusion, these findings revealed mPGES-1 exerts an essential effect against pulmonary fibrogenesis via EP2-mediated signaling transduction, and activation of mPGES-1-PGE2-EP2-FAK signaling pathway may represent a new therapeutic strategy for treatment of IPF patients.
Molecules2014, 19(4), 4956-4966; doi:10.3390/molecules19044956 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many recent studies have suggested that activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) reduces immune responses, thus suppressing allergies and autoimmune diseases. In our continuing study on natural AhR agonists in foods, we examined the influence of 37 health food materials on the AhR using a reporter gene assay, and found that aqueous ethanol extracts of cassia seed and rosemary had particularly high AhR activity. To characterize the AhR-activating substances in these samples, the chemical constituents of the respective extracts were identified. From an active ethyl acetate fraction of the cassia seed extract, eight aromatic compounds were isolated. Among these compounds, aurantio-obtusin, an anthraquinone, elicited marked AhR activation. Chromatographic separation of an active ethyl acetate fraction of the rosemary extract gave nine compounds. Among these compounds, cirsimaritin induced AhR activity at 10–102 μM, and nepitrin and homoplantagenin, which are flavone glucosides, showed marked AhR activation at 10–103 μM.
Molecules2014, 19(4), 4941-4955; doi:10.3390/molecules19044941 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Camptothecin-20(s)-O-(2-pyrazolyl-1)acetic ester (CPT6) is a novel semi-synthetic analog of camptothecin. In a previous report, CPT6 possessed higher cytotoxic activity in vitro towards human breast tumor MCF-7 cells than topotecan. In this study, the antitumor activity of CPT6 on the human breast tumor MCF-7 cell line was analyzed using the MTT method. The underlying mechanism of CPT6 action was investigated by analyzing the cell cycle distribution, apoptotic proportion, changes in mitochondrial membrane potential, and intracellular Ca2+ concentration using flow cytometry. Nuclear and mitochondrial morphologies were also observed by laser scanning confocal and transmission electron microscopy. DNA damage was observed in MCF-7 cells treated with CPT6. Low-dose CPT6 had a significant cytotoxic effect and could inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in MCF-7 cells, possibly through cell nucleus fragmentation and DNA damage. CPT6 thus appears to display potent antitumor activity against human breast tumor MCF-7 cells via the induction of apoptosis, and may be a useful alternative drug for breast cancer therapy.
Molecules2014, 19(4), 4924-4940; doi:10.3390/molecules19044924 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Oleanolic and ursolic acids are natural triterpenic compounds with pentacyclic cholesterol-like structures which gives them very low water solubility, a significant disadvantage in terms of bioavailability. We previously reported the synthesis of inclusion complexes between these acids and cyclodextrins, as well as their in vivo evaluation on chemically induced skin cancer experimental models. In this study the synergistic activity of the acid mixture included inside hydroxypropyl-gamma-cyclodextrin (HPGCD) was monitored using in vitro tests and in vivo skin cancer models. The coefficient of drug interaction (CDI) was used to characterize the interactions as synergism, additivity or antagonism. Our results revealed an increased antitumor activity for the mixture of the two triterpenic acids, both single and in complex with cyclodextrin, thus proving their complementary biologic activities.
Molecules2014, 19(4), 4907-4923; doi:10.3390/molecules19044907 (doi registration under processing) - published online 17 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A simple, rapid and sensitive chiral capillary zone electrophoresis coupled with acetonitrile-field-amplified sample stacking method was developed that allows the simultaneous enantioselective separation of the mirtazapine, N-demethylmirtazapine, 8-hydroxymirtazapine and mirtazapine-N-oxide. The separation was achieved on an uncoated 40.2 cm × 75 μM fused silica capillary with an applied voltage of 16 kV. The electrophoretic analyses were carried out in 6.25 mM borate–25 mM phosphate solution at pH 2.8 containing 5.5 mg/mL carboxymethyl-β-cyclodextrin. The detection wavelength was 200 nm. Under these optimized conditions, satisfactory chiral separations of four pair enantiomers were achieved in less than 7 min in vitro. After one step clean-up liquid-liquid extraction using 96-well format, sample was introduced capillary zone electrophoresis with acetonitrile-field-amplified sample stacking to enhance the sensitivity of enantiomers. The method was validated with respect to specificity, linearity, lower limit of quantitation, accuracy, precision, extraction recovery and stability. The lower limit of quantification was 0.5 ng/mL with linear response over the 0.5–50 ng/mL concentration range for each mirtazapine, N-demethylmirtazapine and 8-hydroxymirtazapine enantiomer. The developed and validated method has been successfully applied to the enantioselective pharmacokinetic studies in 12 healthy volunteers after oral administration of rac- mirtazapine.