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Special Issue "Biologically Active Substances in Cardiovascular and Neurological Diseases"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ok-Nam Bae
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Pharmacy, Hanyang University, Ansan, South Korea
Interests: xenobiotic-associated cerebrovascular damage; ischemic stroke; diabetic vascular dysfunction; drug development
Prof. Dr. Arshad Majid
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Interests: neuroprotection and neuroregeneration; electroceuticals; stroke clinical trials; animal and cellular models of stroke and neuroinflammation; novel drug delivery (nanotechnology and exosomes)
Prof. Dr. Rajanikant G K
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology Calicut, Calicut, India
Interests: structure-based drug design and discovery; pharmacophore; network biology; molecular modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, have been increasing throughout the world. This trend coincides with changes in lifestyle and chronic exposure to risk factors including environmental pollutants. Interestingly, there has been increasing attention regarding a connection between the heart and the brain, and the current evidence supports an association between cardiovascular (heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, and vascular diseases) and neurological diseases (neurovascular and neurodegenerative diseases).

The number of studies on naturally occurring bioactive substances has risen exponentially in recent decades, especially regarding their protective effects against oxidant stress or inflammatory signaling, which are the common underlying mechanisms for various chronic diseases including cardiovascular and neurological diseases. The characterization of the specific modes of action of bioactive substances in targeting certain pathological processes in specific diseases has also received much attention. Derivatization or pharmaceutical modification of the original natural compounds are important approaches to increase the bioactivity of naturally occurring substances. Bioactive substances in foods, such as nutraceuticals, can also be promising agents to study, considering their role in the maintenance of homeostasis in health.

This Special Issue will cover a selection of research papers and reviews that expand knowledge about the potential of naturally occurring bioactive compounds in health and chronic diseases, specifically focusing on the cardiovascular and neurological diseases. We also welcome studies on the elucidation of bioactive mechanisms of natural products against these diseases, enhancement of bioactivity via pharmaceutical formulation or derivatization of known bioactive substances, as well as on the identification of novel bioactive compounds.

Prof. Dr. Ok-Nam Bae
Prof. Dr. Arshad Majid
Prof. Dr. Rajanikant G K
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • chronic diseases
  • natural products
  • bioactive substances
  • nutraceuticals
  • drug discovery
  • derivatives of natural substances
  • pharmaceutical formulation of bioactive substances

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Rat Cardiovascular System by Anacrotic/Dicrotic Notches in the Condition of Increase/Decrease of NO Bioavailability
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186685 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 476
Abstract
We characterized modes of action of NO-donor S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and NO-synthase inhibitor l-NAME derived from dicrotic (DiN) and anacrotic (AnN) notches of rat arterial pulse waveform (APW) in the condition of increased/decreased NO bioavailability. The cross-relationship patterns of DiN and AnN with [...] Read more.
We characterized modes of action of NO-donor S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and NO-synthase inhibitor l-NAME derived from dicrotic (DiN) and anacrotic (AnN) notches of rat arterial pulse waveform (APW) in the condition of increased/decreased NO bioavailability. The cross-relationship patterns of DiN and AnN with 34 hemodynamic parameters (HPs) induced by GSNO and l-NAME are presented. After GSNO bolus administration, approximate non-hysteresis relationships were observed in the difference between DiN–AnN (mmHg) blood pressure (BP) and other 19 HPs, suggesting that these HPs, i.e., their signaling pathways, responding to NO concentration, are directly connected. Hysteresis relationships were observed between DiN-AnN (mmHg) and other 14 HPs, suggesting that signaling pathways of these HPs are indirectly connected. The hysteresis relationships were only observed between the time interval DiN-AnN (ms) and other 34 HPs, indicating no direct connection of signaling pathways. The cross-relationship patterns of DiN-AnN (mmHg), but not DiN-AnN (ms), induced by l-NAME were in accordance to the increased NO bioavailability induced by GSNO. In conclusion, we found the non-hysteresis/hysteresis cross-relationship “patterns” of DiN-AnN intervals to other HPs in the presence of GSNO that revealed their direct or indirect signaling pathways connections. This may contribute to our understanding of biological effects of natural substances that modulate NO production and/or NO signaling pathways. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prodigiosin Modulates the Immune Response and Could Promote a Stable Atherosclerotic Lession in C57bl/6 Ldlr-/- Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(17), 6417; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21176417 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 456
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease, whose progression and stability are modulated, among other factors, by an innate and adaptive immune response. Prodiginines are bacterial secondary metabolites with antiproliferative and immunomodulatory activities; however, their effect on the progression or vulnerability of atheromatous plaque [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease, whose progression and stability are modulated, among other factors, by an innate and adaptive immune response. Prodiginines are bacterial secondary metabolites with antiproliferative and immunomodulatory activities; however, their effect on the progression or vulnerability of atheromatous plaque has not been evaluated. This study assessed the therapeutic potential of prodigiosin and undecylprodigiosin on inflammatory marker expression and atherosclerosis. An in vitro and in vivo study was carried out. Migration, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) uptake and angiogenesis assays were performed on cell types involved in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. In addition, male LDL receptor null (Ldlr-/-) C57BL/6J mice were treated with prodigiosin or undecylprodigiosin for 28 days. Morphometric analysis of atherosclerotic plaques, gene expression of atherogenic factors in the aortic sinus and serum cytokine quantification were performed. The treatments applied had slight effects on the in vitro tests performed, highlighting the inhibitory effect on the migration of SMCs (smooth muscle cells). On the other hand, although no significant difference in atherosclerotic plaque progression was observed, gene expression of IL-4 and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2) was downregulated. In addition, 50 µg/Kg/day of both treatments was sufficient to inhibit circulating tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) in serum. These results suggested that prodigiosin and undecylprodigiosin modulated inflammatory markers and could have an impact in reducing atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Cerebroprotective Potential of d- and l-Carnosine Following Ischemic Stroke in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3053; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093053 - 26 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
l-carnosine is an attractive therapeutic agent for acute ischemic stroke based on its robust preclinical cerebroprotective properties and wide therapeutic time window. However, large doses are needed for efficacy because carnosine is rapidly degraded in serum by carnosinases. The need for large [...] Read more.
l-carnosine is an attractive therapeutic agent for acute ischemic stroke based on its robust preclinical cerebroprotective properties and wide therapeutic time window. However, large doses are needed for efficacy because carnosine is rapidly degraded in serum by carnosinases. The need for large doses could be particularly problematic when translating to human studies, as humans have much higher levels of serum carnosinases. We hypothesized that d-carnosine, which is not a substrate for carnosinases, may have a better pharmacological profile and may be more efficacious at lower doses than l-carnosine. To test our hypothesis, we explored the comparative pharmacokinetics and neuroprotective properties of d- and L-carnosine in acute ischaemic stroke in mice. We initially investigated the pharmacokinetics of d- and L-carnosine in serum and brain after intravenous (IV) injection in mice. We then investigated the comparative efficacy of d- and l-carnosine in a mouse model of transient focal cerebral ischemia followed by in vitro testing against excitotoxicity and free radical generation using primary neuronal cultures. The pharmacokinetics of d- and l-carnosine were similar in serum and brain after IV injection in mice. Both d- and l-carnosine exhibited similar efficacy against mouse focal cerebral ischemia. In vitro studies in neurons showed protection against excitotoxicity and the accumulation of free radicals. d- and l-carnosine exhibit similar pharmacokinetics and have similar efficacy against experimental stroke in mice. Since humans have far higher levels of carnosinases, d-carnosine may have more favorable pharmacokinetics in future human studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Novel Pyrrolo[3,4-d]pyridazinone Derivatives on Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Neuroinflammation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072575 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Neuroinflammation is considered to be one of the potential causes for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we evaluated the effect of four newly synthesized pyrrolo[3,4-d]pyridazinone derivatives on the neuron-like PC12 cells under simulated inflammation conditions [...] Read more.
Neuroinflammation is considered to be one of the potential causes for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we evaluated the effect of four newly synthesized pyrrolo[3,4-d]pyridazinone derivatives on the neuron-like PC12 cells under simulated inflammation conditions by preincubation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Our novel derivatives are selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors and have similar effects to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). We assessed viability (LDH assay), metabolic activity (MTT assay), DNA damage (number of double-strand breaks measured by fast halo assay), and the neuronal features of cells (average neurite length and neurite outgrowth measured spectrofluorimetrically). DCF-DA and Griess assays were also performed, which allowed determining the impact of the tested compounds on the level of oxygen free radicals and nitrites. LPS administration significantly negatively affected the results in all tests performed, and treatment with the tested derivatives in most cases significantly reduced this negative impact. Multiple-criteria decision analysis indicated that overall, the best results were observed for compounds 2a and 2b at a concentration of 10 µM. The new derivatives showed intense activity against free oxygen radicals and nitrites. Reduced reactive oxygen species level also correlated with a decrease in the number of DNA damage. The compounds improved neuronal features, such as neurite length and outgrowth, and they also increased cell viability and mitochondrial activity. Our results suggest that derivatives 2a and 2b may also act additionally on mechanisms other than 3a and 3b. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacological Mechanisms Underlying the Neuroprotective Effects of Alpinia oxyphylla Miq. on Alzheimer’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2071; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062071 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1335
Abstract
Alpinia oxyphylla Miq. (i.e., A. oxyphylla), a traditional Chinese medicine, can exert neuroprotective effects in ameliorating mild cognitive impairment and improving the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, 50 active compounds and 164 putative targets were collected and identified with 251 [...] Read more.
Alpinia oxyphylla Miq. (i.e., A. oxyphylla), a traditional Chinese medicine, can exert neuroprotective effects in ameliorating mild cognitive impairment and improving the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here, 50 active compounds and 164 putative targets were collected and identified with 251 clinically tested AD-associated target proteins using network pharmacology approaches. Based on the Gene Ontology/Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichments, the compound-target-pathway-disease/protein–protein interaction network constructions, and the network topological analysis, we concluded that A. oxyphylla may have neuroprotective effects by regulating neurotransmitter function, as well as brain plasticity in neuronal networks. Moreover, closely-related AD proteins, including the amyloid-beta precursor protein, the estrogen receptor 1, acetylcholinesterase, and nitric oxide synthase 2, were selected as the bottleneck nodes of network for further verification by molecular docking. Our analytical results demonstrated that terpene, as the main compound of A. oxyphylla extract, exerts neuroprotective effects, providing new insights into the development of a natural therapy for the prevention and treatment of AD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Discovery of 1-Pyrimidinyl-2-Aryl-4,6-Dihydropyrrolo [3,4-d]Imidazole-5(1H)-Carboxamide as a Novel JNK Inhibitor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051698 - 02 Mar 2020
Viewed by 867
Abstract
We designed and synthesized 1-pyrimidinyl-2-aryl-4, 6-dihydropyrrolo [3,4-d] imidazole-5(1H)-carboxamide derivatives as selective inhibitors of c-Jun-N-terminal Kinase 3 (JNK3), a target for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Based on the compounds found in previous studies, a novel scaffold was designed to improve pharmacokinetic [...] Read more.
We designed and synthesized 1-pyrimidinyl-2-aryl-4, 6-dihydropyrrolo [3,4-d] imidazole-5(1H)-carboxamide derivatives as selective inhibitors of c-Jun-N-terminal Kinase 3 (JNK3), a target for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Based on the compounds found in previous studies, a novel scaffold was designed to improve pharmacokinetic characters and activity, and compound 18a, (R)-1-(2-((1-(cyclopropanecarbonyl)pyrrolidin-3-yl)amino)pyrimidin-4-yl)-2-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-4,6-dihydro pyrrolo [3,4-d]imidazole-5(1H)-carboxamide, showed the highest IC50 value of 2.69 nM. Kinase profiling results also showed high selectivity for JNK3 among 38 kinases, having mild activity against JNK2, RIPK3, and GSK3β, which also known to involve in neuronal apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Lupenone Protects Neuroblastoma SH-SY5y Cells Against Methamphetamine-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death via PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051617 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1182
Abstract
Methamphetamine (METH) is an addictive psychostimulant showing neurotoxicity through neuronal apoptosis and the neuro-inflammatory pathway. Lupenone, a lupane triterpenoid, is an isolated compound exhibiting anti-oxidative, anti-inflammation, and anti-diabetic activities. However, whether lupenone plays a protective role against apoptosis induced by METH in SH-SY5y [...] Read more.
Methamphetamine (METH) is an addictive psychostimulant showing neurotoxicity through neuronal apoptosis and the neuro-inflammatory pathway. Lupenone, a lupane triterpenoid, is an isolated compound exhibiting anti-oxidative, anti-inflammation, and anti-diabetic activities. However, whether lupenone plays a protective role against apoptosis induced by METH in SH-SY5y neuroblastoma cells remains unknown. In the present study, we elucidated that lupenone had no toxicity to SH-SY5y cells at different concentrations. On the other hand, we found that the treatment of SH-SY5y cells with an optimal concentration of lupenone could lead to protection against cell death induced by METH. AnnexinV/PI apoptosis analysis revealed a dramatically reduced level of the apoptotic cell population in lupenon and METH treated SH-SY5y cells. Moreover, diminished expression of anti-apoptotic proteins, including Bcl-2, Caspase3, Caspase7, and Caspase8 in METH-exposed SH-SY5y cells, was significantly recovered by treatment with lupenone. This protection in the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins was due to an increased phosphorylation level of PI3K/Akt in METH-treated SH-SY5y cells pre-incubated with lupenone. These findings suggest that lupenone can protect SH-SY5y cells against METH-induced neuronal apoptosis through the PI3K/Akt pathway. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Insights into the Mode of Action of Vasorelaxant Synthetic Polyoxygenated Chalcones
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051609 - 26 Feb 2020
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Polyphenols consumption has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) notably through nitric oxide (NO)- and estrogen receptor α (ERα)-dependent pathways. Among polyphenolic compounds, chalcones have been suggested to prevent endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. However, the involvement of both the [...] Read more.
Polyphenols consumption has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) notably through nitric oxide (NO)- and estrogen receptor α (ERα)-dependent pathways. Among polyphenolic compounds, chalcones have been suggested to prevent endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. However, the involvement of both the NO and the ERα pathways for the beneficial vascular effects of chalcones has never been demonstrated. In this study, we aimed to identify chalcones with high vasorelaxation potential and to characterize the signaling pathways in relation to ERα signaling and NO involvement. The evaluation of vasorelaxation potential was performed by myography on wild-type (WT) and ERα knock-out (ERα-KO) mice aorta in the presence or in absence of the eNOS inhibitor Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). Among the set of chalcones that were synthesized, four (3, 8, 13 and 15) exhibited a strong vasorelaxant effect (more than 80% vasorelaxation) while five compounds (6, 10, 11, 16, 17) have shown a 60% relief of the pre-contraction and four compounds (12, 14, 18, 20) led to a lower vasorelaxation. We were able to demonstrate that the vasorelaxant effect of two highly active chalcones was either ERα-dependent and NO-independent or ERα-independent and NO-dependent. Thus some structure-activity relationships (SAR) were discussed for an optimized vasorelaxant effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study on the Effects of l-Carnitine and Trimethylamine-N-Oxide on Platelet Mitochondrial DNA Methylation and CVD Biomarkers in Aged Women
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031047 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1224
Abstract
l-carnitine supplementation has been used for cardiovascular health protection for a long time. Recently, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which is an end product of l-carnitine metabolism via the activity of microbiota, has been identified as a cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarker. The aim of [...] Read more.
l-carnitine supplementation has been used for cardiovascular health protection for a long time. Recently, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which is an end product of l-carnitine metabolism via the activity of microbiota, has been identified as a cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarker. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of 6 months of l-carnitine supplementation in a group of aged women engaged in a regular physical training. Platelet mitochondrial DNA methylation, an emerging and innovative biomarker, lipid profile and TMAO levels have been measured. TMAO increased after l-carnitine supplementation (before 344.3 ± 129.8 ng/mL vs. after 2216.8 ± 1869.0 ng/mL; n = 9; paired t-test, p = 0.02). No significant effects on TMAO were exerted by training alone (n = 9) or by l-leucine supplementation (n = 12). TMAO levels after 6 months of l-carnitine supplementation were associated with higher low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) (Spearman Rho = 0.518, p = 0.003) and total cholesterol (TC) (Spearman Rho = 0.407, p = 0.026) levels. l-carnitine supplementation increased D-loop methylation in platelets (+6.63%; paired t-test, p = 0.005). D-loop methylation was not directly correlated to the TMAO augmentation observed in the supplemented group, but its increase inversely correlated with TC (Pearson coefficient = −0.529, p = 0.029) and LDL-c (Pearson coefficient = −0.439, p = 0.048). This evidence supports the hypothesis that the correlation between l-carnitine, TMAO and atherosclerosis might be more complex than already postulated, and the alteration of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) methylation in platelets could be involved in the pathogenesis of this multifactorial disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Suppression of 6-Hydroxydopamine-Induced Oxidative Stress by Hyperoside Via Activation of Nrf2/HO-1 Signaling in Dopaminergic Neurons
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(23), 5832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235832 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
In our ongoing research to discover natural products with neuroprotective effects, hyperoside (quercetin 3-O-galactoside) was isolated from Acer tegmentosum, which has been used in Korean traditional medicine to treat liver-related disorders. Here, we demonstrated that hyperoside protects cultured dopaminergic neurons [...] Read more.
In our ongoing research to discover natural products with neuroprotective effects, hyperoside (quercetin 3-O-galactoside) was isolated from Acer tegmentosum, which has been used in Korean traditional medicine to treat liver-related disorders. Here, we demonstrated that hyperoside protects cultured dopaminergic neurons from death via reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent mechanisms, although other relevant mechanisms of hyperoside activity remain largely uncharacterized. For the first time, we investigated the neuroprotective effects of hyperoside on 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced neurotoxicity in neurons, and the possible underlying mechanisms. Hyperoside significantly ameliorated the loss of neuronal cell viability, lactate dehydrogenase release, excessive ROS accumulation and mitochondrial membrane potential dysfunction associated with 6-OHDA-induced neurotoxicity. Furthermore, hyperoside treatment activated the nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), an upstream molecule of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Hyperoside also induced the expression of HO-1, an antioxidant response gene. Remarkably, we found that the neuroprotective effects of hyperoside were weakened by an Nrf2 small interfering RNA, which blocked the ability of hyperoside to inhibit neuronal death, indicating the vital role of HO-1. Overall, we show that hyperoside, via the induction of Nrf2-dependent HO-1 activation, suppresses neuronal death caused by 6-OHDA-induced oxidative stress. Moreover, Nrf2-dependent HO-1 signaling activation represents a potential preventive and therapeutic target in Parkinson′s disease management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impressic Acid, a Lupane-Type Triterpenoid from Acanthopanax koreanum, Attenuates TNF-α-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction via Activation of eNOS/NO Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225772 - 16 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 887
Abstract
Atherosclerosis is one of the most reported diseases worldwide, and extensive research and trials are focused on the discovery and utilizing for novel therapeutics. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced mainly by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and it plays a key role in [...] Read more.
Atherosclerosis is one of the most reported diseases worldwide, and extensive research and trials are focused on the discovery and utilizing for novel therapeutics. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced mainly by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and it plays a key role in regulating vascular function including systemic blood pressure and vascular inflammation in vascular endothelium. In this study hypothesized that Impressic acid (IPA), a component isolated from Acanthopanax koreanum, acts as an enhancer of eNOS activity and NO production. IPA treatment induced eNOS phosphorylation and NO production, which was correlated with eNOS phosphorylation via the activation of JNK1/2, p38 MAPK, AMPK, and CaMKII. In addition, the induction of eNOS phosphorylation by IPA was attenuated by pharmacological inhibitor of MAPKs, AMPK, and CaMKII. Finally, IPA treatment prevented the adhesion of TNF-α-induced monocytes to endothelial cells and suppressed the TNF-α-stimulated ICAM-1 expression via activation of NF-κB, while treatment with L-NAME, the NOS inhibitor, reversed the inhibitory effect of IPA on TNF-α-induced ICAM-1 expression via activation of NF-κB. Taken together, these findings show that IPA protects against TNF-α-induced vascular endothelium dysfunction through attenuation of the NF-κB pathway by activating eNOS/NO pathway in endothelial cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antithrombotic Effects of Paeoniflorin from Paeonia suffruticosa by Selective Inhibition on Shear Stress-Induced Platelet Aggregation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 5040; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20205040 - 11 Oct 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 912
Abstract
Antiplatelet agents are important in the pharmacotherapeutic regime for many cardiovascular diseases, including thrombotic disorders. However, bleeding, the most serious adverse effect associated with current antiplatelet therapy, has led to many efforts to discover novel anti-platelet drugs without bleeding issues. Of note, shear [...] Read more.
Antiplatelet agents are important in the pharmacotherapeutic regime for many cardiovascular diseases, including thrombotic disorders. However, bleeding, the most serious adverse effect associated with current antiplatelet therapy, has led to many efforts to discover novel anti-platelet drugs without bleeding issues. Of note, shear stress-induced platelet aggregation (SIPA) is a promising target to overcome bleeding since SIPA happens only in pathological conditions. Accordingly, this study was carried out to discover antiplatelet agents selectively targeting SIPA. By screening various herbal extracts, Paeonia suffruticosa and its major bioactive constituent, paeoniflorin, were identified to have significant inhibitory effects against shear-induced aggregation in human platelets. The effects of paeoniflorin on intraplatelet calcium levels, platelet degranulation, and integrin activation in high shear stress conditions were evaluated by a range of in vitro experiments using human platelets. The inhibitory effect of paeoniflorin was determined to be highly selective against SIPA, through modulating von Willebrand Factor (vWF)-platelet glycoprotein Ib (GP Ib) interaction. The effects of paeoniflorin on platelet functions under high shear stress were confirmed in the ex vivo SIPA models in rats, showing the good accordance with the anti-SIPA effects on human platelets. Treatment with paeoniflorin significantly prevented arterial thrombosis in vivo from the dose of 10 mg/kg without prolonging bleeding time or blood clotting time in rats. Collectively, our results demonstrated that paeoniflorin can be a novel anti-platelet agent selectively targeting SIPA with an improved safety profile. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Perinatal Use of Melatonin for Offspring Health: Focus on Cardiovascular and Neurological Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225681 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1195
Abstract
Cardiovascular and neurological diseases can originate in early life. Melatonin, a biologically active substance, acts as a pleiotropic hormone essential for pregnancy and fetal development. Maternal melatonin can easily pass the placenta and provide photoperiodic signals to the fetus. Though melatonin uses in [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular and neurological diseases can originate in early life. Melatonin, a biologically active substance, acts as a pleiotropic hormone essential for pregnancy and fetal development. Maternal melatonin can easily pass the placenta and provide photoperiodic signals to the fetus. Though melatonin uses in pregnant or lactating women have not yet been recommended, there is a growing body of evidence from animal studies in support of melatonin as a reprogramming strategy to prevent the developmental programming of cardiovascular and neurological diseases. Here, we review several key themes in melatonin use in pregnancy and lactation within offspring health and disease. We have particularly focused on the following areas: the pathophysiological roles of melatonin in pregnancy, lactation, and fetal development; clinical uses of melatonin in fetal and neonatal diseases; experimental evidence supporting melatonin as a reprogramming therapy to prevent cardiovascular and neurological diseases; and reprogramming mechanisms of melatonin within developmental programming. The targeting of melatonin uses in pregnancy and lactation will be valuable in the prevention of various adult chronic diseases in later life, and especially cardiovascular and neurological diseases. Full article
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