International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 1422-0067 / 1422-0067
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105527

Abstract:
Low-grade inflammation of the hypothalamus is associated with the disturbance of energy balance. The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in the development and maintenance of obesity as well as in the control of immune responses. The type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) signaling has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, in high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice, we modulated CB2 signaling and investigated its effects on energy homeostasis and hypothalamic microgliosis/astrogliosis. We observed no effect on caloric intake and body weight gain in control diet-fed animals that received prolonged icv infusion of the CB2 receptor agonist HU308. Interestingly, we observed a decrease in glucose tolerance in HFD-fed animals treated with HU308. Prolonged icv infusion of HU308 increases astrogliosis in the ventromedial nucleus (VMH) of obese animals and reduced HFD-induced microgliosis in the hypothalamic arcuate (ARC) but not in the paraventricular (PVN) or VMH nuclei. These data indicate that central CB2 signaling modulates glucose homeostasis and glial reactivity in obesogenic conditions, irrespective of changes in body weight.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105533

Abstract:
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterised by progressive multiple organ fibrosis leading to morbidity and mortality. Lysyl oxidases play a vital role in the cross-linking of collagens and subsequent build-up of fibrosis in the extracellular matrix. As such, their inhibition provides a novel treatment paradigm for SSc. A novel small molecule pan-lysyl oxidase inhibitor, PXS-5505, currently in clinical development for myelofibrosis treatment was evaluated using in vivo rodent models resembling the fibrotic conditions in SSc. Both lysyl oxidase and lysyl oxidase-like 2 (LOXL2) expression were elevated in the skin and lung of SSc patients. The oral application of PXS-5505 inhibited lysyl oxidase activity in the skin and LOXL2 activity in the lung. PXS-5505 exhibited anti-fibrotic effects in the SSc skin mouse model, reducing dermal thickness and α-smooth muscle actin. Similarly, in the bleomycin-induced mouse lung model, PXS-5505 reduced pulmonary fibrosis toward normal levels, mediated by its ability to normalise collagen/elastin crosslink formation. PXS-5505 also reduced fibrotic extent in models of the ischaemia-reperfusion heart, the unilateral ureteral obstruction kidney, and the CCl4-induced fibrotic liver. PXS-5505 consistently demonstrates potent anti-fibrotic efficacy in multiple models of organ fibrosis relevant to the pathogenesis of SSc, suggesting that it may be efficacious as a novel approach for treating SSc.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105531

Abstract:
Hypertension is associated with blood-brain barrier alteration and brain function decline. Previously, we established the 2-kidney,1-clip (2K1C) hypertensive mice model by renin-angiotensin system (RAS) stimulating. We found that 2K1C-induced hypertension would impair hippocampus-related memory function and decrease adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Even though large studies have investigated the mechanism of hypertension affecting brain function, there remains a lack of efficient ways to halt this vicious effect. The previous study indicated that running exercise ameliorates neurogenesis and spatial memory function in aging mice. Moreover, studies showed that exercise could normalize RAS activity, which might be associated with neurogenesis impairment. Thus, we hypothesize that running exercise could ameliorate neurogenesis and spatial memory function impairment in the 2K1C-hypertension mice. In this study, we performed 2K1C surgery on eight-weeks-old C57BL/6 mice and put them on treadmill exercise one month after the surgery. The results indicate that running exercise improves the spatial memory and neurogenesis impairment of the 2K1C-mice. Moreover, running exercise normalized the activated RAS and blood-brain barrier leakage of the hippocampus, although the blood pressure was not decreased. In conclusion, running exercise could halt hypertension-induced brain impairment through RAS normalization.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105539

Abstract:
Endometriosis is a gynaecological disease defined by the growth of endometrium-like tissue outside the uterus. The disease is present in approximately 5–10% of women of reproductive age and causes pelvic pain and infertility. The pathophysiology is not completely understood, but retrograde menstruation and deficiency in natural killer (NK) cells that clear endometriotic cells in the peritoneal cavity play an important role. Nowadays, hormonal therapy and surgery to remove endometriosis lesions are used as treatment. However, these therapies do not work for all patients, and hormonal therapy prevents patients from getting pregnant. Therefore, new treatment strategies should be developed. Since the cytotoxicity of NK cells is decreased in endometriosis, we performed a literature search into the possibility of NK cell therapy. Available treatment options include the inhibition of receptor–ligand interaction for KIR2DL1, NKG2A, LILRB1/2, and PD-1/PD-L1; inhibition of TGF-β; stimulation of NK cells with IL-2; and mycobacterial treatment with BCG. In preclinical work, these therapies show promising results but unfortunately have side effects, which have not specifically been studied in endometriosis patients. Before NK cell treatment can be used in the clinic, more research is needed.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105542

Abstract:
Hypoxia and inflammation play a major role in revascularization following ischemia. Sildenafil inhibits phosphodiesterase-5, increases intracellular cGMP and induces revascularization through a pathway which remains incompletely understood. Thus, we investigated the effect of sildenafil on post-ischemic revascularization. The left femoral artery was ligated in control and sildenafil-treated (25 mg/kg per day) rats. Vascular density was evaluated and expressed as the left/right leg (L/R) ratio. In control rats, L/R ratio was 33 ± 2% and 54 ± 9%, at 7- and 21-days post-ligation, respectively, and was significantly increased in sildenafil-treated rats to 47 ± 4% and 128 ± 11%, respectively. A neutralizing anti-VEGF antibody significantly decreased vascular density (by 0.48-fold) in control without effect in sildenafil-treated animals. Blood flow and arteriolar density followed the same pattern. In the ischemic leg, HIF-1α and VEGF expression levels increased in control, but not in sildenafil–treated rats, suggesting that sildenafil did not induce angiogenesis. PI3-kinase, Akt and eNOS increased after 7 days, with down-regulation after 21 days. Sildenafil induced outward remodeling or arteriogenesis in mesenteric resistance arteries in association with eNOS protein activation. We conclude that sildenafil treatment increased tissue blood flow and arteriogenesis independently of VEGF, but in association with PI3-kinase, Akt and eNOS activation.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105536

Abstract:
Despite many attempts, trials, and treatment procedures, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) still ranks among the most deadly and treatment-resistant types of cancer. Hence, there is still an urgent need to develop new molecules, drugs, and therapeutic methods against PDAC. Naturally derived compounds, such as pentacyclic terpenoids, have gained attention because of their high cytotoxic activity toward pancreatic cancer cells. Ursolic acid (UA), as an example, possesses a wide anticancer activity spectrum and can potentially be a good candidate for anti-PDAC therapy. However, due to its minimal water solubility, it is necessary to prepare an optimal nano-sized vehicle to overcome the low bioavailability issue. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) polymeric nanocarriers seem to be an essential tool for ursolic acid delivery and can overcome the lack of biological activity observed after being incorporated within liposomes. PLGA modification, with the addition of PEGylated phospholipids forming the lipid shell around the polymeric core, can provide additional beneficial properties to the designed nanocarrier. We prepared UA-loaded hybrid PLGA/lipid nanoparticles using a nanoprecipitation method and subsequently performed an MTT cytotoxicity assay for AsPC-1 and BxPC-3 cells and determined the hemolytic effect on human erythrocytes with transmission electron microscopic (TEM) visualization of the nanoparticles and their cellular uptake. Hybrid UA-loaded lipid nanoparticles were also examined in terms of their stability, coating dynamics, and ursolic acid loading. We established innovative and repeatable preparation procedures for novel hybrid nanoparticles and obtained biologically active nanocarriers for ursolic acid with an IC50 below 20 µM, with an appropriate size for intravenous dosage (around 150 nm), high homogeneity of the sample (below 0.2), satisfactory encapsulation efficiency (up to 70%) and excellent stability. The new type of hybrid UA-PLGA nanoparticles represents a further step in the development of potentially effective PDAC therapies based on novel, biologically active, and promising triterpenoids.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105545

Abstract:
Acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an overactivated inflammatory response caused by direct or indirect injuries that destroy lung parenchymal cells and dramatically reduce lung function. Although some research progress has been made in recent years, the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS remains unclear due to its heterogeneity and etiology. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a type of small noncoding RNA, play a vital role in various diseases. In ALI/ARDS, miRNAs can regulate inflammatory and immune responses by targeting specific molecules. Regulation of miRNA expression can reduce damage and promote the recovery of ALI/ARDS. Consequently, miRNAs are considered as potential diagnostic indicators and therapeutic targets of ALI/ARDS. Given that inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ALI/ARDS, we review the miRNAs involved in the inflammatory process of ALI/ARDS to provide new ideas for the pathogenesis, clinical diagnosis, and treatment of ALI/ARDS.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105548

Abstract:
Galectins are ten family members of carbohydrate-binding proteins with a high affinity for β galactose-containing oligosaccharides. Galectin-1 (Gal-1) is the first protein discovered in the family, expressed in many sites under normal and pathological conditions. In the first part of the review article, we described recent advances in the Gal-1 modulatory role on wound healing, by focusing on the different phases triggered by Gal-1, such as inflammation, proliferation, tissue repair and re-epithelialization. On the contrary, Gal-1 persistent over-expression enhances angiogenesis and extracellular matrix (ECM) production via PI3K/Akt pathway activation and leads to keloid tissue. Therefore, the targeted Gal-1 modulation should be considered a method of choice to treat wound healing and avoid keloid formation. In the second part of the review article, we discuss studies clarifying the role of Gal-1 in the pathogenesis of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, liver, renal, pancreatic and pulmonary fibrosis. This evidence suggests that Gal-1 may become a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of tissue fibrosis and a promising molecular target for the development of new and original therapeutic tools to treat fibrosis in different chronic diseases.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105552

Abstract:
Mitochondria, traditionally identified as the powerhouses of eukaryotic cells, constitute a dynamic network of signaling platforms with multifaceted key roles in cell metabolism, proliferation and survival
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105554

Abstract:
Biomineralization is an elaborate process that controls the deposition of inorganic materials in living organisms with the aid of associated proteins. Magnetotactic bacteria mineralize magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles with finely tuned morphologies in their cells. Mms6, a magnetosome membrane specific (Mms) protein isolated from the surfaces of bacterial magnetite nanoparticles, plays an important role in regulating the magnetite crystal morphology. Although the binding ability of Mms6 to magnetite nanoparticles has been speculated, the interactions between Mms6 and magnetite crystals have not been elucidated thus far. Here, we show a direct adsorption ability of Mms6 on magnetite nanoparticles in vitro. An adsorption isotherm indicates that Mms6 has a high adsorption affinity (Kd = 9.52 µM) to magnetite nanoparticles. In addition, Mms6 also demonstrated adsorption on other inorganic nanoparticles such as titanium oxide, zinc oxide, and hydroxyapatite. Therefore, Mms6 can potentially be utilized for the bioconjugation of functional proteins to inorganic material surfaces to modulate inorganic nanoparticles for biomedical and medicinal applications.
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