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Special Issue "Cell Targets and Toxicity"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019) | Viewed by 31880

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ángeles Juarranz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
Interests: photocarcinogenesis; non-melanoma skin cancer; photodynamic therapy; in vitro and in vivo models
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cell toxicity plays an important role in many aspects in biomedicine; the nature and severity of toxicity constitute a very important role in helping to understand basic issues in biological and biomedical processes. Physiologically, cells may deliberately die when are damaged or when they have to be removed to protect a tissue from the accumulation of unwanted cells. In addition, cell toxicity constitutes the main objective in many medical therapies, particularly in cancer, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, phototherapy or immunotherapy. However, molecular mechanisms of such therapies are not always fully elucidated. Cell response to a determined insult is also related with the mechanisms of endogenous protective systems and, therefore, understanding such mechanisms also improves knowledge of basic cell biology and cancer cell therapies.

This Special Issue is focused on cell toxicity and it would include original articles on aspects related with molecular mechanisms of cell toxicity induced by different insults, mainly cancer therapies, and the ways in which this can lead to cell death. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, physical and chemical insults, intracellular targets, reactive oxygen species, detoxication systems, cell response (cell death mechanisms) and stem cells in toxicity.

Prof. Dr. Ángeles Juarranz de la Fuente
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • cell toxicity
  • carcinogens
  • phototoxicity
  • cancer therapies
  • chemotherapeutic agents
  • intracellular targets
  • stem cell and toxicity
  • cell death
  • detoxication
  • methods for cell toxicity

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
Molecular Mechanisms of Bortezomib Action: Novel Evidence for the miRNA–mRNA Interaction Involvement
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010350 - 05 Jan 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1419
Abstract
Bortezomib is an anti-tumor agent, which inhibits 26S proteasome degrading ubiquitinated proteins. While apoptotic transcription-associated activation in response to bortezomib has been suggested, mechanisms related to its influence on post-transcriptional gene silencing mediated regulation by non-coding RNAs remain not fully elucidated. In the [...] Read more.
Bortezomib is an anti-tumor agent, which inhibits 26S proteasome degrading ubiquitinated proteins. While apoptotic transcription-associated activation in response to bortezomib has been suggested, mechanisms related to its influence on post-transcriptional gene silencing mediated regulation by non-coding RNAs remain not fully elucidated. In the present study, we examined changes in global gene and miRNA expression and analyzed the identified miRNA–mRNA interactions after bortezomib exposure in human neuroblastoma cells to define pathways affected by this agent in this type of cells. Cell viability assays were performed to assess cytotoxicity of bortezomib. Global gene and miRNA expression profiles of neuroblastoma cells after 24-h incubation with bortezomib were determined using genome-wide RNA and miRNA microarray technology. Obtained results were then confirmed by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Further bioinformatical analysis was performed to identify affected biological processes and pathways. In total, 719 genes and 28 miRNAs were downregulated, and 319 genes and 61 miRNAs were upregulated in neuroblastoma cells treated with bortezomib. Possible interactions between dysregulated miRNA/mRNA, which could be linked to bortezomib-induced neurotoxicity, affect neurogenesis, cellular calcium transport, and neuron death. Bortezomib might exert toxic effects on neuroblastoma cells and regulate miRNA–mRNA interactions influencing vital cellular functions. Further studies on the role of specific miRNA–mRNA interactions are needed to elucidate mechanisms of bortezomib action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Integrative In Silico and In Vitro Transcriptomics Analysis Revealed Gene Expression Changes and Oncogenic Features of Normal Cholangiocytes after Chronic Alcohol Exposure
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(23), 5987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235987 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2085
Abstract
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a malignant tumor originating from cholangiocyte. Prolonged alcohol consumption has been suggested as a possible risk factor for CCA, but there is no information about alcohol’s mechanisms in cholangiocyte. This study was designed to investigate global transcriptional alterations through RNA-sequencing [...] Read more.
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a malignant tumor originating from cholangiocyte. Prolonged alcohol consumption has been suggested as a possible risk factor for CCA, but there is no information about alcohol’s mechanisms in cholangiocyte. This study was designed to investigate global transcriptional alterations through RNA-sequencing by using chronic alcohol exposure (20 mM for 2 months) in normal human cholangiocyte MMNK-1 cells. To observe the association of alcohol induced CCA pathogenesis, we combined differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with computational bioinformatics of CCA by using publicly gene expression omnibus (GEO) datasets. For biological function analysis, Gene ontology (GO) analysis showed biological process and molecular function related to regulation of transcription from RNA polymerase II promoter, while cellular component linked to the nucleoplasm. KEGG pathway presented pathways in cancer that were significantly enriched. From KEGG result, we further examined the oncogenic features resulting in chronic alcohol exposure, enhanced proliferation, and migration through CCND-1 and MMP-2 up-regulation, respectively. Finally, combined DEGs were validated in clinical data including TCGA and immunohistochemistry from HPA database, demonstrating that FOS up-regulation was related to CCA pathogenesis. This study is the first providing more information and molecular mechanisms about global transcriptome alterations and oncogenic enhancement of chronic alcohol exposure in normal cholangiocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Unhealthy Levels of Phthalates and Bisphenol A in Mexican Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes and Its Association to Altered Expression of miRNAs Involved with Metabolic Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(13), 3343; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20133343 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
Several studies indicate that bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates may have a role in the development of metabolic diseases using different molecular pathways, including epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. However, it is unclear whether exposure to these chemicals modifies serum levels of miRNAs associated with [...] Read more.
Several studies indicate that bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates may have a role in the development of metabolic diseases using different molecular pathways, including epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. However, it is unclear whether exposure to these chemicals modifies serum levels of miRNAs associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) risk. In the present study, we evaluated the serum levels of miRNAs associated with GDM (miR-9-5p, miR-16-5p, miR-29a-3p and miR-330-3p) and urinary levels of phthalate metabolites (mono-n-butyl phthalate (MBP), mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP) and mono(2-ethyl hexyl) phthalate (MEHP)) and bisphenol A in GDM patients and women without GDM during the second trimester of gestation. We observed higher levels of miR-9-5p, miR-29a-3p and miR-330-3p in sera of patients with GDM compared to non-diabetic subjects. Phthalates were detected in 97–100% of urine samples, while BPA only in 40%. Urinary MEHP and BPA concentrations were remarkably higher in both study groups compared to previously reported data. Unadjusted MEHP levels and adjusted BPA levels were higher in non-diabetics than in GDM patients (p = 0.03, p = 0.02). We found positive correlations between adjusted urinary MBzP levels and miR-16-5p expression levels (p < 0.05), adjusted MEHP concentrations and miR-29a-3p expression levels (p < 0.05). We also found negative correlations between unadjusted and adjusted MBP concentrations and miR-29a-3p expression levels (p < 0.0001, p < 0.05), unadjusted MiBP concentrations and miR-29a-3p expression levels (p < 0.01). Urinary MEHP levels reflect a striking exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in pregnant Mexican women. This study highlights the need for a regulatory strategy in the manufacture of several items containing endocrine disruptors in order to avoid involuntary ingestion of these compounds in the Mexican population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
The Water Extract of Juniperus communis L. Induces Cell Death and Sensitizes Cancer Cells to Cytostatic Drugs through p53 and PI3K/Akt Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092054 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Juniper (Juniperus communis L.) is a northern coniferous plant generally used as a spice and for nutritional purposes in foods and drinks. It was previously reported that juniper extract (JE) affects p53 activity, cellular stress, and gene expression induced cell death in [...] Read more.
Juniper (Juniperus communis L.) is a northern coniferous plant generally used as a spice and for nutritional purposes in foods and drinks. It was previously reported that juniper extract (JE) affects p53 activity, cellular stress, and gene expression induced cell death in human neuroblastoma cells. Therefore, the effects of juniper on p53 and Akt signaling was examined further in A549 lung, 22RV1 and DU145 prostate, and HepG2 liver cancer cells using Western blot, confocal microscopy, and MTT analysis. We found that juniper simultaneously decreased cell viability, activated the p53 pathway, and inactivated the PI3K/Akt pathway. The p53 activation was associated with increased nuclear p53 level. Akt was dephosphorylated, and its inactivation was associated with increased levels of PHLPP1 and PHLPP2 phosphatases. Parallel increases of PARP suggest that JE decreased cell viability by activating cell death. In addition, JE potentiated the effects of gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil anticancer drugs. Thus, JE can activate cell death in different cancer cell lines through p53 and Akt pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Role of Dusp6 Phosphatase as a Tumor Suppressor in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 2036; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20082036 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2115
Abstract
DUSP6/MKP3 is a dual-specific phosphatase that regulates extracellular regulated kinase ERK1/2 and ERK5 activity, with an increasingly recognized role as tumor suppressor. In silico studies from Gene expression Omnibus (GEO) and Cancer Genome atlas (TCGA) databases reveal poor prognosis in those Non-small cell [...] Read more.
DUSP6/MKP3 is a dual-specific phosphatase that regulates extracellular regulated kinase ERK1/2 and ERK5 activity, with an increasingly recognized role as tumor suppressor. In silico studies from Gene expression Omnibus (GEO) and Cancer Genome atlas (TCGA) databases reveal poor prognosis in those Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with low expression levels of DUSP6. In agreement with these data, here we show that DUSP6 plays a major role in the regulation of cell migration, motility and tumor growth. We have found upregulation in the expression of several genes involved in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in NSCLC-DUSP6 depleted cells. Data obtained in RNA-seq studies carried out in DUSP6 depleted cells identified EGFR, TGF-β and WNT signaling pathways and several genes such as VAV3, RUNXR2, LEF1, FGFR2 whose expression is upregulated in these cells and therefore affecting cellular functions such as integrin mediated cell adhesion, focal adhesion and motility. Furthermore, EGF signaling pathway is activated via ERK5 and not ERK1/2 and TGF-β via SMAD2/3 in DUSP6 depleted cells. In summary DUSP6 is a tumor suppressor in NSCLC and re-establishment of its expression may be a potential strategy to revert poor outcome in NSCLC patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Communication
Sustained Human Hair Follicle Growth Ex Vivo in a Glycosaminoglycan Hydrogel Matrix
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1741; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071741 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2042
Abstract
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and associated proteoglycans have important functions in homeostatic maintenance and regenerative processes (e.g., wound repair) of the skin. However, little is known about the role of these molecules in the regulation of the hair follicle cycle. Here we report that growing [...] Read more.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and associated proteoglycans have important functions in homeostatic maintenance and regenerative processes (e.g., wound repair) of the skin. However, little is known about the role of these molecules in the regulation of the hair follicle cycle. Here we report that growing human hair follicles ex vivo in a defined GAG hydrogel mimicking the dermal matrix strongly promotes sustained cell survival and maintenance of a highly proliferative phenotype in the hair bulb and suprabulbar regions. This significant effect is associated with the activation of WNT/β-catenin signaling targets (CCDN1, AXIN2) and with the expression of stem cell markers (CK15, CD34) and growth factors implicated in the telogen/anagen transition (TGFβ2, FGF10). As a whole, these results point to the dermal GAG matrix as an important component in the regulation of the human hair follicle growth cycle, and to GAG-based hydrogels as potentially relevant modulators of this process both in vitro and in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Molecular Toxicological Mechanisms of Synthetic Cathinones on C2C12 Myoblasts
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20071561 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2080
Abstract
Synthetic cathinones are popular psychoactive substances that may cause skeletal muscle damage. In addition to indirect sympathomimetic myotoxicity, these substances could be directly myotoxic. Since studies in myocytes are currently lacking, the aim of the present study was to investigate potential toxicological effects [...] Read more.
Synthetic cathinones are popular psychoactive substances that may cause skeletal muscle damage. In addition to indirect sympathomimetic myotoxicity, these substances could be directly myotoxic. Since studies in myocytes are currently lacking, the aim of the present study was to investigate potential toxicological effects by synthetic cathinones on C2C12 myoblasts (mouse skeletal muscle cell line). We exposed C2C12 myoblasts to 3-methylmethcathinone, 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone), 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone), 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α-PVP), and naphthylpyrovalerone (naphyrone) for 1 or 24 h before cell membrane integrity, ATP content, mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and mitochondrial superoxide production was measured. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was included as a reference compound. All investigated synthetic cathinones, as well as MDMA, impaired cell membrane integrity, depleted ATP levels, and increased mitochondrial superoxide concentrations in a concentration-dependent manner in the range of 50–2000 μM. The two pyrovalerone derivatives α-PVP and naphyrone, and MDMA, additionally impaired basal and maximal cellular respiration, suggesting mitochondrial dysfunction. Alpha-PVP inhibited complex I, naphyrone complex II, and MDMA complex I and III, whereas complex IV was not affected. We conclude that, in addition to sympathetic nervous system effects and strenuous muscle exercise, direct effects of some cathinones on skeletal muscle mitochondria may contribute to myotoxicity in susceptible synthetic cathinone drugs users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Extract of Deschampsia antarctica (EDA) Prevents Dermal Cell Damage Induced by UV Radiation and 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061356 - 18 Mar 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2852
Abstract
Exposure to natural and artificial light and environmental pollutants are the main factors that challenge skin homeostasis, promoting aging or even different forms of skin cancer through a variety of mechanisms that include accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), engagement of DNA damage [...] Read more.
Exposure to natural and artificial light and environmental pollutants are the main factors that challenge skin homeostasis, promoting aging or even different forms of skin cancer through a variety of mechanisms that include accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), engagement of DNA damage responses, and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling upon release of metalloproteases (MMPs). Ultraviolet A radiation is the predominant component of sunlight causative of photoaging, while ultraviolet B light is considered a potentiator of photoaging. In addition, different chemicals contribute to skin aging upon penetration through skin barrier disruption or hair follicles, aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR) being a major effector mechanism through which toxicity is exerted. Deschampsia antarctica is a polyextremophile Gramineae capable of thriving under extreme environmental conditions. Its aqueous extract (EDA) exhibits anti- photoaging in human skin cells, such as inhibition of MMPs, directly associated with extrinsic aging. EDA prevents cellular damage, attenuating stress responses such as autophagy and reducing cellular death induced by UV. We demonstrate that EDA also protects from dioxin-induced nuclear translocation of AhR and increases the production of loricrin, a marker of homeostasis in differentiated keratinocytes. Thus, our observations suggest a potential use exploiting EDA’s protective properties in skin health supplements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Mitotic Catastrophe Induced in HeLa Tumor Cells by Photodynamic Therapy with Methyl-aminolevulinate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051229 - 11 Mar 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2335
Abstract
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) constitutes a cancer treatment modality based on the administration of a photosensitizer, which accumulates in tumor cells. The subsequent irradiation of the tumoral area triggers the formation of reactive oxygen species responsible for cancer cell death. One of the compounds [...] Read more.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) constitutes a cancer treatment modality based on the administration of a photosensitizer, which accumulates in tumor cells. The subsequent irradiation of the tumoral area triggers the formation of reactive oxygen species responsible for cancer cell death. One of the compounds approved in clinical practice is methyl-aminolevulinate (MAL), a protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) precursor intermediate of heme synthesis. We have identified the mitotic catastrophe (MC) process after MAL-PDT in HeLa human carcinoma cells. The fluorescence microscopy revealed that PpIX was located mainly at plasma membrane and lysosomes of HeLa cells, although some fluorescence was also detected at endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Cell blockage at metaphase-anaphase transition was observed 24 h after PDT by phase contrast microscopy and flow cytometry. Mitotic apparatus components evaluation by immunofluorescence and Western blot indicated: multipolar spindles and disorganized chromosomes in the equatorial plate accompanied with dispersion of centromeres and alterations in aurora kinase proteins. The mitotic blockage induced by MAL-PDT resembled that induced by two compounds used in chemotherapy, taxol and nocodazole, both targeting microtubules. The alterations in tumoral cells provided evidence of MC induced by MAL-PDT, resolving mainly by apoptosis, directly or through the formation of multinucleate cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
KCa3.1 Transgene Induction in Murine Intestinal Epithelium Causes Duodenal Chyme Accumulation and Impairs Duodenal Contractility
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051193 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2021
Abstract
Abstract: The epithelial intermediate-conductance calcium/calmodulin-regulated KCa3.1 channel is considered to be a regulator of intestine function by controlling chloride secretion and water/salt balance. Yet, little is known about the functional importance of KCa3.1 in the intestinal epithelium in vivo. Our objective [...] Read more.
Abstract: The epithelial intermediate-conductance calcium/calmodulin-regulated KCa3.1 channel is considered to be a regulator of intestine function by controlling chloride secretion and water/salt balance. Yet, little is known about the functional importance of KCa3.1 in the intestinal epithelium in vivo. Our objective was to determine the impact of epithelial-specific inducible overexpression of a KCa3.1 transgene (KCa3.1+) and of inducible suppression (KCa3.1−) on intestinal homeostasis and function in mice. KCa3.1 overexpression in the duodenal epithelium of doxycycline (DOX)-treated KCa3.1+ mice was 40-fold above the control levels. Overexpression caused an inflated duodenum and doubling of the chyme content. Histology showed conserved architecture of crypts, villi, and smooth muscle. Unaltered proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immune reactivity and reduced amounts of terminal deoxynucleotide transferase mediated X-dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive apoptotic cells in villi indicated lower epithelial turnover. Myography showed a reduction in the frequency of spontaneous propulsive muscle contractions with no change in amplitude. The amount of stool in the colon was increased and the frequency of colonic contractions was reduced in KCa3.1+ animals. Senicapoc treatment prevented the phenotype. Suppression of KCa3.1 in DOX-treated KCa3.1− mice caused no overt intestinal phenotype. In conclusion, inducible KCa3.1 overexpression alters intestinal functions by increasing the chyme content and reducing spontaneous contractions and epithelial apoptosis. Induction of epithelial KCa3.1 can play a mechanistic role in the process of adaptation of the intestine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
The Chemical Transformation of the Cellular Toxin INT (2-(4-Iodophenyl)-3-(4-Nitrophenyl)-5-(Phenyl) Tetrazolium Chloride) as an Indicator of Prior Respiratory Activity in Aquatic Bacteria
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 782; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030782 - 12 Feb 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1784
Abstract
In the ocean, the prokaryote respiration rates dominate the oxidation of organics, but the measurements may be biased due to pre-incubation size filtration and long incubation times. To overcome these difficulties, proxies for microbial respiration rates have been proposed, such as the in [...] Read more.
In the ocean, the prokaryote respiration rates dominate the oxidation of organics, but the measurements may be biased due to pre-incubation size filtration and long incubation times. To overcome these difficulties, proxies for microbial respiration rates have been proposed, such as the in vitro and in vivo estimation of electron transport system rates (ETS) based on the reduction of tetrazolium salts. INT (2-(4-Iodophenyl)-3-(4-Nitrophenyl)-5-(Phenyl) Tetrazolium Chloride) is the most commonly applied tetrazolium salt, although it is toxic on time scales of less than 1 h for prokaryotes. This toxicity invalidates the interpretation of the rate of in vivo INT reduction to formazan as a proxy for oxygen consumption rates. We found that with aquatic bacteria, the amount of reduced INT (F; µmol/L formazan) showed excellent relation with the respiration rates prior to INT addition (R; O2 µmol/L/hr), using samples of natural marine microbial communities and cultures of bacteria (V. harveyi) in batch and continuous cultures. We are here relating a physiological rate with the reductive potential of the poisoned cell with units of concentration. The respiration rate in cultures is well related to the cellular potential of microbial cells to reduce INT, despite the state of intoxication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Inhibition of Heme Oxygenase-1 Activity Enhances Wilms Tumor-1-Specific T-Cell Responses in Cancer Immunotherapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030482 - 23 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1811
Abstract
Wilms tumor protein-1 (WT1) is an attractive target for adoptive T-cell therapy due to its expression in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. However, T cells recognizing WT1 occur in low frequencies in the peripheral blood of healthy donors, limiting potential therapeutic possibilities. Tin [...] Read more.
Wilms tumor protein-1 (WT1) is an attractive target for adoptive T-cell therapy due to its expression in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. However, T cells recognizing WT1 occur in low frequencies in the peripheral blood of healthy donors, limiting potential therapeutic possibilities. Tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP) is known to inhibit heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), which has been shown to boost the activation and proliferation of human virus-specific T cells. We analyzed the influence of this effect on the generation of WT1-specific T cells and developed strategies for generating quantities of these cells from healthy donors, sufficient for adoptive T-cell therapies. HO-1 inhibition with SnMP increased WT1-specific T-cell frequencies in 13 (26%) of 50 healthy donors. To assess clinical applicability, we measured the enrichment efficiency of SnMP-treated WT1-specific T cells in response to a WT1-specific peptide pool and a HLA-A*02:01-restricted WT1 peptide by cytokine secretion assay. SnMP treatment resulted in a 28-fold higher enrichment efficacy with equal functionality. In conclusion, pharmacological inhibition of HO-1 activity with SnMP results in more efficient generation of functionally active WT1-specific T cells. This study demonstrates the therapeutic potentials of inhibiting HO-1 with SnMP to enhance antigen-specific T-cell responses in the treatment of cancer patients with WT1-positive disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
miR-542-5p Attenuates Fibroblast Activation by Targeting Integrin α6 in Silica-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3717; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123717 - 22 Nov 2018
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2281
Abstract
Silicosis is a very serious occupational disease and it features pathological manifestations of inflammatory infiltration, excessive proliferation of fibroblasts and massive depositions of the extracellular matrix in the lungs. Recent studies described the roles of a variety of microRNAs (miRNAs) in fibrotic diseases. [...] Read more.
Silicosis is a very serious occupational disease and it features pathological manifestations of inflammatory infiltration, excessive proliferation of fibroblasts and massive depositions of the extracellular matrix in the lungs. Recent studies described the roles of a variety of microRNAs (miRNAs) in fibrotic diseases. Here, we aimed to explore the potential mechanism of miR-542-5p in the activation of lung fibroblasts. To induce a pulmonary fibrosis mouse model, silica suspension and the miR-542-5p agomir were administered to mice by intratracheal instillation and tail vein injection. We found that miR-542-5p was significantly decreased in mouse fibrotic lung tissues and up-regulation of miR-542-5p visually attenuated a series of fibrotic lesions, including alveolar structural damage, alveolar interstitial thickening and silica-induced nodule formation. The down-regulation of miR-542-5p was also observed in mouse fibroblast (NIH-3T3) treated with transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). The proliferation and migration ability of NIH-3T3 cells were also inhibited by the transfection of miR-542-5p mimic. Integrin α6 (Itga6), reported as a cell surface protein associated with fibroblast proliferation, was confirmed to be a direct target of miR-542-5p. The knockdown of Itga6 significantly inhibited the phosphorylation of FAK/PI3K/AKT. In conclusion, miR-542-5p has a potential function for reducing the proliferation of fibroblasts and inhibiting silica-induced pulmonary fibrosis, which might be partially realized by directly binding to Itga6. Our data suggested that miR-542-5p might be a new therapeutic target for silicosis or other pulmonary fibrosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Article
Negative Cellular Effects of Urban Particulate Matter on Human Keratinocytes Are Mediated by P38 MAPK and NF-κB-dependent Expression of TRPV 1
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092660 - 07 Sep 2018
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2511
Abstract
Urban particulate matter (UPM) exerts negative effects on various human organs. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) is a polymodal sensory transducer that can be activated by multiple noxious stimuli. This study aimed to explore the effects of the UPM 1648a on the [...] Read more.
Urban particulate matter (UPM) exerts negative effects on various human organs. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) is a polymodal sensory transducer that can be activated by multiple noxious stimuli. This study aimed to explore the effects of the UPM 1648a on the expression of TRPV1, and its regulatory mechanisms in HaCaT cells. UPM enhanced TRPV 1 promoter-luciferase reporter activity. UPM also increased expression of the TRPV 1 gene as evidenced by increased mRNA and protein levels of TRPV 1. In addition, elucidation of the underlying mechanism behind the UPM-mediated effects on TRPV 1 expression revealed that UPM can upregulate expression of the TRPV1 gene by activating activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). The UPM treatment also altered Ca2+ influx and cell proliferation, as well as production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). In addition, these UPM-induced effects were attenuated by SB203580 and ammonium pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC). However, SP600125 and PD98059 did not alter the UPM-induced effects. Taken together, these findings indicate that UPM upregulates expression of the TRPV 1 gene, which is mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and NF-κB signaling pathways and suggest that UPM is a potential irritant that can induce skin processes such as aging and inflammatory responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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Review

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Review
Immune System and DNA Repair Defects in Ovarian Cancer: Implications for Locoregional Approaches
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102569 - 25 May 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1729
Abstract
In the last few years, substantial progress has been made in the treatment of ovarian cancer, with increased knowledge about the biology of the disease. Ovarian cancer is a neoplasm strongly linked to defects in DNA repair mechanisms, where deficiency in the homologous [...] Read more.
In the last few years, substantial progress has been made in the treatment of ovarian cancer, with increased knowledge about the biology of the disease. Ovarian cancer is a neoplasm strongly linked to defects in DNA repair mechanisms, where deficiency in the homologous recombination (HR) system results in a better response of ovarian cancers to therapy, whether platinum-based chemotherapy, anthracyclines, or poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. More recently, it has been demonstrated that different ovarian cancer histotypes may have different immunogenicity. Interestingly, defects in HR systems are associated more frequently with higher tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, providing a rationale for developing combination therapy with immune-modulating agents and PARP inhibitors. Again, locoregional therapies combining heat shock and chemotherapy delivery have been shown to induce an anticancer immune response in vitro. Thus, the potential for locoregional therapeutic approaches that may impact the immune system, perhaps in combination with immune-modulating agents or PARP inhibitors, needs to be further explored. With this premise, we reviewed the main biological and clinical data demonstrating a strict interplay between the immune system, DNA repair mechanisms, and intraperitoneal therapies in ovarian cancer, with a focus on potential future therapeutic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Targets and Toxicity)
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