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Special Issue "Natural Product Pharmacology 2.0"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023 | Viewed by 1409

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Adam Matkowski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wrocław, Poland
Interests: medicinal plants; phytochemistry; pharmaceutical biology; natural product biotechnology; bioactivity; phenolics; alkaloids; terpenoids
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, 400 Dan Allen Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Interests: pharmacogenomics; diet-gene interactions; energy metabolism; microbiome; botanical products; mitochondria; phenolics; cannabinoids; fungi; fermentation; protein isolate
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature is a vast source of chemical compounds that are produced in various organisms in significant amounts, accumulated, and sometimes excreted to influence other organisms' function, sometimes in a beneficial way but other times in a harmful way.

Embraced by the broad term of “natural products”, they include molecules of various sizes and complexity, from simple monoterpenoid hydrocarbons through more elaborate specialized metabolites such as steroids, polyphenols, nitrogen compounds such as alkaloids and, finally, oligo- and polymeric structures, such as tannins, polyprenoids, and branched carbohydrates, including conjugates between different classes.

They usually play important roles in stress responses and protection against natural enemies and other challenges. These unique roles are still not fully understood, but the enormous diversity of structures and activities have been always exploited by humanity for various purposes.

Traditionally, most of these compounds are obtained from medicinal plants, but other sources have also been used both in traditional or folk and in official pharmacotherapy. An important emerging source of novel and highly active NPs are marine organisms belonging to several kingdoms.

Some NP-based drugs have reached a major position in medicine, for example, the Nobel-wining artemisinin, several essential cytostatic drugs, and cardiac glycosides, to name just a few examples. In a wider meaning, even such everyday drugs as antibiotics or statins were originally natural products isolated from fungi or prokaryotes. There are also numerous examples of natural drugs with wide use in self-healing, such as tannins used as astringents against bleeding, skin inflammation, wound healing, and diarrhea; bitter compounds for digestive complaints; isoflavones and other phytoestrogens used in alleviation of menopause-related complaints; essential oils used in respiratory way and digestive tract disorders; and many others.

This Special Issue is devoted to gathering and disseminating high-quality studies on natural products. All classes of natural products from natural sources are welcome, including terrestrial and aquatic plants, animals, and fungi, provided they are not established drugs such as known statins or antibiotics. The semisynthetic derivatives, products of biomimetic syntheses, and analogs of NPs are outside the scope of the SI.

Papers involving new or less studied compounds/mixtures demonstrating high activity as well as novel properties of well-known substances are welcome. Any kind of bioactivity related to human health is within the SI’s scope, provided the reported potency is adequate and molecular mechanisms of action are addressed. Pharmacokinetic investigations on the bioavailability of natural products from various matrices and various modes of administration are encouraged, too.

In silico studies accompanying in vitro or in vivo experiments are also very welcome, including molecular docking, modeling, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic predictions, network pharmacology, etc. However, a critical interpretation and discussion of the employed in silico models is essential.

Comprehensive critical reviews on the recent developments and perspectives of various areas of natural products pharmacology will be considered, too. However, it is recommended to send a proposal containing a suggested title, abstract, and table of contents to the Guest Editor before final submission. The review can be focused on a certain class of NPs with various activities, or on a type of activity or signaling pathway of various NPs.

Studies with crude extracts can be considered only if the material is thoroughly characterized with state-of-the art techniques and the results are sufficiently sound in terms of therapeutic relevance. However, preference will be given to purified, fully identified compounds or selectively enriched fractions. Extracts screened only with general quantitative methods, such as total content of an NP class (total polyphenols, flavonols, alkaloids, etc.) will not be accepted.

Similarly, the studied activity must not be limited to routine in vitro testing with little physiological relevance, such as antioxidant, chelating, in vitro enzyme inhibition, non-quantitative antimicrobial tests, or others of this kind. Studies on animals with well-developed brains such as vertebrates or cephalopods must be ethical and guarantee an important progress in NP pharmacology for human benefit. In general, in vitro or in vivo experiments should not rely solely on superficial screening without insight into the molecular mechanisms of action.

Dr. Adam Matkowski
Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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

  • natural products
  • plants
  • macrofungi
  • marine organisms
  • pharmacokinetics
  • signaling pathways
  • metabolites
  • molecular targets
  • pharmacodynamics

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Phillygenin Attenuated Colon Inflammation and Improved Intestinal Mucosal Barrier in DSS-induced Colitis Mice via TLR4/Src Mediated MAPK and NF-κB Signaling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032238 - 23 Jan 2023
Viewed by 213
Abstract
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, relapsing, and nonspecific inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Phillygenin (PHI), a natural bioactive ingredient, isolated from Forsythiae Fructus, exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and hepatoprotective activities. However, few reports provide direct evidence on the efficacy of PHI in improving [...] Read more.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, relapsing, and nonspecific inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Phillygenin (PHI), a natural bioactive ingredient, isolated from Forsythiae Fructus, exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and hepatoprotective activities. However, few reports provide direct evidence on the efficacy of PHI in improving colitis mice. The present study elucidated that the symptoms of DSS-induced colitis mice were alleviated after PHI administration, including body weight loss, the disease activity index, colon length shortening, colonic pathological damage, splenomegaly, and hepatomegaly. PHI treatment improved the intestinal mucosal barrier by protecting goblet cells, promoting gene expressions of Clca1, Slc26a3, and Aqp8, increasing tight junction proteins (TJs), and reducing epithelial cell apoptosis. In addition, the levels of oxidative stress (MPO, SOD, and MDA) and inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10) were reversed by PHI in colitis mice. According to transcriptome and network pharmacology analysis, inflammatory pathway might be an important mechanism for PHI to improve colitis. Western blotting displayed that the PHI inhibited the activation of tyrosine kinase Src mediated by TLR4, and then reduced the phosphorylation of downstream proteins p38, JNK, and NF-κB in colitis mice. In summary, our results suggested that PHI might be an appropriate and effective drug candidate to protect colitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product Pharmacology 2.0)
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Article
Combination of Radix Astragali and Safflower Promotes Angiogenesis in Rats with Ischemic Stroke via Silencing PTGS2
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032126 - 21 Jan 2023
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Abstract
Promotion of angiogenesis and restoration of the blood flow in the ischemic penumbra is an effective treatment for patients with ischemic stroke (IS). Radix astragali-safflower (AS), a classic herbal pair for accelerating blood circulation and dispersing blood stasis, has been used for thousands [...] Read more.
Promotion of angiogenesis and restoration of the blood flow in the ischemic penumbra is an effective treatment for patients with ischemic stroke (IS). Radix astragali-safflower (AS), a classic herbal pair for accelerating blood circulation and dispersing blood stasis, has been used for thousands of years to treat patients with IS in China. Even so, the mechanism of the treatment of IS by AS is still undecipherable. In the current study, network pharmacology was firstly employed to unveil the mechanism of AS in treating IS, which showed that AS might promote angiogenesis associated with PTGS2 silence. Middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (MCAO/R) model rats were then used as the experimental animals to verify the prediction result. The experimental results revealed that treatment with AS improved the cerebral infarct volume, neurological damage, and cerebral histopathological damage; inhibited cell apoptosis; increased the contents of PDGF-BB, EPO, and TGF-β1; and reduced the levels of PF4, Ang-2, and TIMP-1 in serum. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that the expression of PTGS2 was dramatically increased in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex of rats with MCAO/R, and this trend was reversed by the treatment of AS. Immunofluorescent staining expressed that AS reversed the down-regulation of VEGF and further promoted the expression of CD31, which indicated that AS promoted angiogenesis in MCAO/R rats. The abnormal protein or mRNA expression of PTGS2, PGI2, bFGF, TSP-1, and VEGF in the penumbra were transposed by AS or Celecoxib (an inhibitor of PTGS2). In conclusion, the protective mechanism of AS for IS promoted angiogenesis and was involved with PTGS2 silence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product Pharmacology 2.0)
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Article
AKBA Promotes Axonal Regeneration via RhoA/Rictor to Repair Damaged Sciatic Nerve
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(24), 15903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232415903 - 14 Dec 2022
Viewed by 639
Abstract
The existing studies by our team demonstrated the pro-recovery effect of 3-Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) on a sciatic nerve injury. To further investigate the role of AKBA in peripheral nerve injury repair, The TMT quantitative proteomics technique was used to obtain differentially significant proteins [...] Read more.
The existing studies by our team demonstrated the pro-recovery effect of 3-Acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) on a sciatic nerve injury. To further investigate the role of AKBA in peripheral nerve injury repair, The TMT quantitative proteomics technique was used to obtain differentially significant proteins in a Sham group, Model group, and AKBA group. After that, three time points (5, 14, and 28 d) and four groups (Sham + AKBA, Sham, Model, and AKBA) were set up, and immunoblotting, immunofluorescence, and cellular assays were applied to investigate the expression of CDC42, Rac1, RhoA, and Rictor in the sciatic nerve at different time points for each group in more depth. The results showed that AKBA enriched the cellular components of the myelin sheath and axon regeneration after a sciatic nerve injury and that AKBA upregulated CDC42 and Rac1 and downregulated RhoA expression 5 d after a sciatic nerve injury, promoting axon regeneration and improving the repair of a sciatic nerve injury in rats. Rictor is regulated by AKBA and upregulated in PC12 cells after AKBA action. Our findings provide a new basis for AKBA treatment of a peripheral nerve injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product Pharmacology 2.0)
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