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1.  Effect of administration of oat beta-glucan on immune parameters of healthy and immunosuppressed beef steers. 
In order to assess the effect of oat beta-glucan (ObetaG) administration on immune parameters of beef steers, 3 experiments were carried out. In experiment 1, the in vitro effect of ObetaG on the proliferation of blood lymphocytes, with or without the presence of dexamethasone (DXM), was evaluated. In experiment 2, groups of 12 healthy steers were administered ObetaG or saline solution and immunized with ovalbumin (OVA). Immune parameters studied included IgG antibody levels to OVA, proliferation responses of blood lymphocytes to OVA, and blood leukocyte differential cell counts. For experiment 3, groups of 10 steers were treated with ObetaG and DXM, DXM only, or saline solution, and immunized with OVA and keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). Serum antibody responses to OVA and KLH, serum IgG concentration levels, blastogenic responses of blood lymphocytes to OVA and KLH, differential blood leukocyte numbers, and iron and zinc concentration in serum were tested to evaluate the effect of ObetaG to overcome immunosuppression. The in vitro treatment of naive blood lymphocytes with ObetaG did not increase their ability to proliferate; however, when ObetaG was added to cultures of DXM-treated lymphocytes, a significant (P < 0.05 to P < 0.001) reversion of the immunosuppressive effect of DXM occurred. Administration of ObetaG to clinically healthy steers did not induce significant changes on any of the immune parameters studied. The administration of ObetaG to DXM-treated steers provoked, on Day 25, a significant increase in IgG anti-OVA (P < 0.01) and anti-KLH (P < 0.05) responses vs the DXM only group. On Day 25, the specific proliferation responses of lymphocytes, to both OVA and KLH, were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in ObetaG+DXM group compared to DXM group. On Day 4, a significant increase in the number of leukocytes (P < 0.01) and neutrophils (P < 0.001), and a significant decrease in the number of monocytes (P < 0.05) were observed in the group treated with DXM only compared to ObetaG+DXM group. No significant differences were observed in iron and zinc concentration between ObetaG+DXM and DXM groups. These results indicated that ObetaG did not influence immune responses of naive cells in vitro or of healthy steers in vivo; however, when cells or animals were treated with DXM, ObetaG significantly restored some of the specific and non-specific immune parameters studied.
PMCID: PMC1189562  PMID: 10534005
2.  Transcriptomic markers meet the real world: finding diagnostic signatures of corticosteroid treatment in commercial beef samples 
The use of growth-promoters in beef cattle, despite the EU ban, remains a frequent practice. The use of transcriptomic markers has already proposed to identify indirect evidence of anabolic hormone treatment. So far, such approach has been tested in experimentally treated animals. Here, for the first time commercial samples were analyzed.
Quantitative determination of Dexamethasone (DEX) residues in the urine collected at the slaughterhouse was performed by Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). DNA-microarray technology was used to obtain transcriptomic profiles of skeletal muscle in commercial samples and negative controls. LC-MS confirmed the presence of low level of DEX residues in the urine of the commercial samples suspect for histological classification. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) on microarray data identified two clusters of samples. One cluster included negative controls and a subset of commercial samples, while a second cluster included part of the specimens collected at the slaughterhouse together with positives for corticosteroid treatment based on thymus histology and LC-MS. Functional analysis of the differentially expressed genes (3961) between the two groups provided further evidence that animals clustering with positive samples might have been treated with corticosteroids. These suspect samples could be reliably classified with a specific classification tool (Prediction Analysis of Microarray) using just two genes.
Despite broad variation observed in gene expression profiles, the present study showed that DNA-microarrays can be used to find transcriptomic signatures of putative anabolic treatments and that gene expression markers could represent a useful screening tool.
PMCID: PMC3541986  PMID: 23110699
DNA-microarray; LC-MS; Anabolic treatment; Cattle; Skeletal muscle; Urine
3.  Profile of the urinary excretion of prednisolone and its metabolites in finishing bulls and cows treated with a therapeutic schedule 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10(1):237.
Prednisolone was one of the first glucocorticoids to be synthesised, but it is still widely applied to cattle. Illegal uses of prednisolone include its uses for masking a number of diseases before animal sale and, at lower dosages for extended periods of time, for the improvement of feed efficiency and carcass characteristics. Since occasional presence of prednisolone has been detected at trace level in urine samples from untreated cattle, the Italian Ministry of Health introduced a provisional limit of 5 ng/mL to avoid false non-compliances. However, this limit proved ineffective in disclosing prednisolone misuse as a growth-promoter. In the present study, prednisolone acetate was administered to finishing bulls and cows according to a therapeutic protocol (2 × 0.4-0.5 mg/kg bw i.m. at 48 h interval) to further verify the practical impact of this cut-off limit and develop sound strategies to distinguish between exogenous administration and endogenous production. Urinary prednisolone, prednisone, 20β-dihydroprednisolone, 20α-dihydroprednisolone, 20β-dihydroprednisone, 6β-hydroxyprednisolone, cortisol, and cortisone were determined using a validated LC/MS-MS method.
The urinary excretion profile showed the simultaneous presence of prednisolone, 20β-dihydroprednisolone, and prednisone, the latter at lower concentrations, up to 33 days after the first dosing. Higher analyte levels were detected in bulls even after correction for dilution in the urine. Prednisolone concentrations below 5 ng/ml were determined in half of the samples collected at 19 days, and in all the samples obtained 26 and 33 days after the first administration. No measurable concentrations of prednisolone or its metabolites were found in the samples collected before the treatment, while cortisol and cortisone levels lower than the respective LOQs were observed upon treatment.
The present study confirms the criticism of the coarse quantitative approach currently adopted to ascertain illegal prednisolone administration in cattle. As previously shown for growth-promoting treatments of meat cattle, the simultaneous determination of urinary prednisolone, prednisone, 20β-dihydroprednisolone, along with cortisol and cortisone, may represent a more reliable approach to confirm the exogenous origin of prednisolone. Such a strategy would facilitate unequivocal detection of animals treated with prednisolone acetate using a therapeutical protocol, even 3 to 4 weeks after the treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12917-014-0237-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4189600  PMID: 25267433
Prednisolone acetate; Therapeutic treatment; Finishing bulls; Cows; LC/MS-MS; Prednisone; 20β-dihydroprednisolone; Urinary excretion
4.  Clindamycin therapy of experimental meningitis caused by penicillin- and cephalosporin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. 
Although penicillin resistance among Streptococcus pneumoniae strains is increasing in many areas, resistance to clindamycin remains low. In our well-characterized rabbit meningitis model, we conducted experiments to evaluate the bacteriologic efficacy of clindamycin after a penicillin- and cephalosporin-resistant S. pneumoniae strain was intracisternally inoculated. Animals received a loading intravenous dose of 30 mg of clindamycin per kg of body weight and then two doses of 20 mg/kg given 5 h apart. In addition to clindamycin, some animals received dexamethasone (DXM) with or without ceftriaxone. The concentrations of clindamycin in cerebrospinal fluid were from 8.9 to 12.8% of the concomitant concentrations in serum and were unaffected by DXM administration. Mean changes in CFU (log10 per milliliter) at 10 and 24 h were -3.7 and -6.1, respectively, for clindamycin-treated rabbits, -3.6 and -6.3 for clindamycin-DXM-treated rabbits, -3.9 and -5.8, respectively, for clindamycin-ceftriaxone-treated rabbits, and -5.0 and -6.7, respectively, for clindamycin-ceftriaxone-DXM-treated rabbits. By 24 h all but one of the cultures of cerebrospinal fluid (that from a clindamycin-DXM-treated rabbit) were sterile. Because of the potential risk for clindamycin-treated rabbits to develop macrolide-lincosamide resistance, we attempted, unsuccessfully, to induce clindamycin resistance in vitro in two S. pneumoniae strains. Although clindamycin therapy might be effective in selected patients with multiple-drug-resistant pneumococcal meningitis who have failed conventional treatments, clinical experience is necessary before it can be recommended.
PMCID: PMC163069  PMID: 8787892
5.  Oral low-dose dexamethasone for androgen-independent prostate cancer patients 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(1):73-79.
We retrospectively evaluated the outcome of oral low-dose dexamethasone (DXM) therapy for androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC). Between January 1999 and April 2006, 99 consecutive patients with AIPC were enrolled in this study. The median patient age was 70 years (range 46–86), and the median pretreatment prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was 243 ng/ml (range 8.2–29600). Median follow-up was 41.9 months (range 11.4–170.4). Upon biochemical failure, patients were treated with oral low-dose DXM. A total of 40 of the 99 cases (40.4%) showed a ≥50% decrease in serum PSA levels (PSA responders). Twenty-five cases (25.2%) showed a <50% decrease in PSA, and the remaining 34 cases (34.3%) had increased PSA levels (PSA non-responders). The median PSA progression-free survival was 3.0 (range 0–27) and 8.0 months (range 2–27) for the entire cohort and PSA responders, respectively. The PSA responders had a significantly increased survival (median 30.1 months) compared to the non-responders (median 8.8 months, P<0.001). Of the 34 patients who were under pain control for bone metastases before the administration of DXM, 23 (67.6%) were able to discontinue the regular use of analgesics. The PSA responders also showed an increase in hemoglobin levels. The change in serum interleukin-6 levels was significantly associated with a response to DXM (P=0.0065). Severe adverse events of DXM were rare. Clinicopathological factors predicting the PSA response to DXM were age, time from initial androgen deprivation therapy to DXM and PSA velocity prior to DXM. In conclusion, oral low-dose DXM led to an acceptable PSA response in patients with AIPC. Thus, this therapy may be an effective and safe alternative for the treatment of AIPC, particularly for patients who are not favourable candidates for chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3436439  PMID: 22966259
dexamethasone; androgen; prostate cancer
6.  Dexamethasone Preconditioning Improves the Response of Collagen-Induced Arthritis to Treatment with Short-Term Lipopolysaccharide-Stimulated Collagen-Loaded Dendritic Cells 
Background. Pharmacologically modulated dendritic cells (DCs) have been shown to restore tolerance in type II collagen-(CII-) induced arthritis (CIA). We examined the effect of dexamethasone (DXM) administration as a preconditioning agent, followed by an injection of lipopolysaccharide-(LPS-) stimulated and CII-loaded DCs on the CIA course. Methods. After CIA induction, mice pretreated with DXM were injected with 4-hour LPS-stimulated DCs loaded with CII (DXM/4hLPS/CII/DCs). Results. Mice injected with DXM/4hLPS/CII/DCs displayed significantly less severe clinical disease compared to animals receiving 4hLPS/CII/DCs alone or those in which only DXM was administered. Cytokine profile evaluation showed that CD4+ T cells from DXM/4hLPS/CII/DCs and 4hLPS/CII/DCs groups release higher IL-10 levels than those from mice receiving DXM alone or CIA mice. CD4+ T cells from all DC-treated groups showed less IL-17 release when compared to the CIA group. On the contrary, CD4+ T cells from DXM/4hLPS/CII/DCs and 4hLPS/CII/DCs groups released higher IFN-γ levels than those from CIA group. Conclusion. A combined treatment, including DXM preconditioning followed by an inoculation of short-term LPS-stimulated CII-loaded DCs, provides an improved strategy for attenuating CIA severity. Our results suggest that this benefit is driven by a modulation in the cytokine profile secreted by CD4+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC3681218  PMID: 23818913
7.  Creation of Lung-Targeted Dexamethasone Immunoliposome and Its Therapeutic Effect on Bleomycin-Induced Lung Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58275.
Acute lung injury (ALI), is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, which is routinely treated with the administration of systemic glucocorticoids. The current study investigated the distribution and therapeutic effect of a dexamethasone(DXM)-loaded immunoliposome (NLP) functionalized with pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) antibody (SPA-DXM-NLP) in an animal model.
DXM-NLP was prepared using film dispersion combined with extrusion techniques. SP-A antibody was used as the lung targeting agent. Tissue distribution of SPA-DXM-NLP was investigated in liver, spleen, kidney and lung tissue. The efficacy of SPA-DXM-NLP against lung injury was assessed in a rat model of bleomycin-induced acute lung injury.
The SPA-DXM-NLP complex was successfully synthesized and the particles were stable at 4°C. Pulmonary dexamethasone levels were 40 times higher with SPA-DXM-NLP than conventional dexamethasone injection. Administration of SPA-DXM-NLP significantly attenuated lung injury and inflammation, decreased incidence of infection, and increased survival in animal models.
The administration of SPA-DXM-NLP to animal models resulted in increased levels of DXM in the lungs, indicating active targeting. The efficacy against ALI of the immunoliposomes was shown to be superior to conventional dexamethasone administration. These results demonstrate the potential of actively targeted glucocorticoid therapy in the treatment of lung disease in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3597622  PMID: 23516459
8.  Antioxidant vitamins C, E and coenzyme Q10 vs Dexamethasone: comparisons of their effects in pulmonary contusion model 
The goal of our study is to evaluate the effects of antioxidant vitamins (vitamin C and E), Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and dexamethasone (Dxm) in experimental rat models with pulmonary contusion (PC).
Rats were randomly divided into six groups. Except for the control, all subgroups had a moderate pulmonary contusion. Animals in the group I and group II received intraperitoneal saline, group III received CoQ10 group IV received vitamin C, group V received vitamin E, and group VI received Dxm. Blood gas analysis, serum nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels as well as superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity assays, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and histopathological examination were performed.
Administration of CoQ10 resulted in a significant increase in PaO2 values compared with the group I (p = 0.004). Levels of plasma MDA in group II were significantly higher than those in the group I (p = 0.01). Early administration of vitamin C, CoQ10, and Dxm significantly decreased the levels of MDA (p = 0.01). Lung contusion due to blunt trauma significantly decreased SOD activities in rat lung tissue compared with group I (p = 0.01). SOD levels were significantly elevated in animals treated with CoQ10, Vitamin E, or Dxm compared with group II (p = 0.01).
In our study, CoQ10, vitamin C, vitamin E and Dxm had a protective effect on the biochemical and histopathological outcome of PC after experimental blunt thorax trauma.
PMCID: PMC3487991  PMID: 23013526
9.  Liposomal encapsulation enhances and prolongs the anti-inflammatory effects of water-soluble dexamethasone phosphate in experimental adjuvant arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R147.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intravenous (i.v.) injection of liposomally encapsulated dexamethasone phosphate (DxM-P) in comparison to free DxM-P in rats with established adjuvant arthritis (AA). This study focused on polyethylene glycol (PEG)-free liposomes, to minimize known allergic reactions caused by neutral PEG-modified (PEG-ylated) liposomes.
Efficacy was assessed clinically and histologically using standard scores. Non-specific and specific immune parameters were monitored. Activation of peritoneal macrophages was analyzed via cytokine profiling. Pharmacokinetics/biodistribution of DxM in plasma, synovial membrane, spleen and liver were assessed via mass spectrometry.
Liposomal DxM-P (3 × 1 mg/kg body weight; administered intravenously (i.v.) on Days 14, 15 and 16 of AA) suppressed established AA, including histological signs, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, white blood cell count, circulating anti-mycobacterial IgG, and production of interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) and IL-6 by peritoneal macrophages. The suppression was strong and long-lasting. The clinical effects of liposomal DxM-P were dose-dependent for dosages between 0.01 and 1.0 mg/kg. Single administration of 1 mg/kg liposomal DxM-P and 3 × 1 mg/kg of free DxM-P showed comparable effects consisting of a partial and transient suppression. Moreover, the effects of medium-dose liposomal DxM-P (3 × 0.1 mg/kg) were equal (in the short term) or superior (in the long term) to those of high-dose free DxM-P (3 × 1 mg/kg), suggesting a potential dose reduction by a factor between 3 and 10 by liposomal encapsulation. For at least 48 hours after the last injection, the liposomal drug achieved significantly higher levels in plasma, synovial membrane, spleen and liver than the free drug.
This new PEG-free formulation of macrophage-targeting liposomal DxM-P considerably reduces the dose and/or frequency required to treat AA, with a potential to enhance or prolong therapeutic efficacy and limit side-effects also in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. Depot and/or recirculation effects in plasma, inflamed joint, liver, and spleen may contribute to this superiority of liposomally encapsulated DxM-P.
PMCID: PMC2945041  PMID: 20642832
10.  Stress induced Salmonella Typhimurium recrudescence in pigs coincides with cortisol induced increased intracellular proliferation in macrophages 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):118.
Salmonella Typhimurium infections in pigs often result in the development of carriers that intermittently excrete Salmonella in very low numbers. During periods of stress, for example transport to the slaughterhouse, recrudescence of Salmonella may occur, but the mechanism of this stress related recrudescence is poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the role of the stress hormone cortisol in Salmonella recrudescence by pigs. We showed that a 24 h feed withdrawal increases the intestinal Salmonella Typhimurium load in pigs, which is correlated with increased serum cortisol levels. A second in vivo trial demonstrated that stress related recrudescence of Salmonella Typhimurium in pigs can be induced by intramuscular injection of dexamethasone. Furthermore, we found that cortisol, but not epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, promotes intracellular proliferation of Salmonella Typhimurium in primary porcine alveolar macrophages, but not in intestinal epithelial cells and a transformed cell line of porcine alveolar macrophages. A microarray based transcriptomic analysis revealed that cortisol did not directly affect the growth or the gene expression or Salmonella Typhimurium in a rich medium, which implies that the enhanced intracellular proliferation of the bacterium is probably caused by an indirect effect through the cell. These results highlight the role of cortisol in the recrudescence of Salmonella Typhimurium by pigs and they provide new evidence for the role of microbial endocrinology in host-pathogen interactions.
PMCID: PMC3256119  PMID: 22151081
11.  Effects of Postnatal Dexamethasone or Hydrocortisone in a Rat Model of Antenatal Lipopolysaccharide and Neonatal Hyperoxia Exposure 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2012;27(4):395-401.
The aim of our study was to investigate the differential effects of dexamethasone (DXM) and hydrocortisone (HCS) on somatic growth and postnatal lung development in a rat model of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). A rat model of BPD was induced by administering intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and postnatal hyperoxia. The rats were treated with a 6-day (D1-D6) tapering course of DXM (starting dose 0.5 mg/kg/day), HCS (starting dose 2 mg/kg/day), or an equivalent volume of normal saline. DXM treatment in a rat model of BPD induced by LPS and hyperoxia was also associated with a more profound weight loss compared to control and LPS + O2 groups not exposed to corticosteroid, whereas HCS treatment affected body weight only slightly. Examination of lung morphology showed worse mean cord length in both LPS + O2 + DXM and LPS + O2 + HCS groups as compared to the LPS + O2 alone group, and the LPS + O2 + DXM group had thicker alveolar walls than the LPS + O2 group at day 14. The HCS treatment was not significantly associated with aberrant alveolar wall thickening and retarded somatic growth. The use of postnatal DXM or HCS in a rat model of BPD induced by intra-amniotic LPS and postnatal hyperoxia appeared detrimental to lung growth, but there was less effect in the case of HCS. These findings suggest that effect of HCS on somatic growth and pulmonary outcome may be better tolerated in neonates for preventing and/or treating BPD.
PMCID: PMC3314852  PMID: 22468103
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia; Dexamethasone; Hydrocortisone; Lung Development
12.  Confirmation of Fasciola hepatica resistant to triclabendazole in naturally infected Australian beef and dairy cattle☆ 
Graphical abstract
•Triclabendazole resistant F. hepatica is confirmed in infected Australian cattle.•Resistance was observed on four beef properties and one dairy property.•Live drug resistant adult flukes were recovered from cattle after treatment.•A coproantigen reduction test was used to identify resistance.•We describe a method suitable for post-treatment analysis of fluke infection.
Triclabendazole (TCBZ) is the drug of choice for Fasciola hepatica control and reports of F. hepatica resistant to this drug from a wide range of geographic regions are very concerning. This study investigated the presence of TCBZ resistance in F. hepatica in naturally infected Australian beef and dairy cattle herds and evaluated methods of measuring the levels of resistance. Faecal egg count and coproantigen reduction tests (FECRT and CRT, respectively) were conducted on 6 South-eastern Australian beef properties and one dairy property where treatment failure by triclabendazole (TCBZ) was suspected. The CRT was conducted on an additional beef property. On each property 15 animals were treated with an oral preparation of TCBZ at the recommended dose and 15 animals remained as untreated controls. Fluke eggs in faeces were counted and coproantigen levels were measured before treatment and 21 days after treatment and in the untreated control animals. These data were evaluated using three different methods to calculate % reductions compared with controls. Resistance (<90% reduction) was detected on the dairy property using both FEC and CRT, and on 3/6 beef properties using FECRT and 4/7 beef properties using CRT. Using the FECRT, reductions of 6.1–14.1% were observed in dairy cattle and 25.9–65.5% in beef cattle. Using the CRT, reductions of 0.4–7.6% were observed in dairy cattle and 27.0–69.5% in beef cattle. Live flukes were recovered at slaughter following TCBZ treatment of 6 cattle from 3 of the beef properties, confirming the TCBZ resistance status of F. hepatica in these cattle. This is the first report of F. hepatica resistant to TCBZ in cattle in Australia and the results suggest that resistance is widespread in the South-eastern region. The CRT is shown to be a robust alternative to the FECRT for evaluation of TCBZ resistance in F. hepatica in cattle.
PMCID: PMC3940233  PMID: 24596668
Fasciola hepatica; Triclabendazole resistance; FECRT; Coproantigen ELISA
13.  Morphometric and steroid hormone changes associated with experimental anovulatory follicles in the sow. 
Steroid levels and ovarian follicular morphology were examined in sows on days 19 and 26 (day 5 of next cycle) after injection of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or dexamethasone (DXM). Five sows received DXM (30 micrograms/kg bodyweight, intramuscularly) at 12 h intervals from days 9 to 14. Another five sows were given ACTH (2 IU/kg bodyweight, intramuscularly) from day 17 to day 19 or the end of estrus. Five control sows received no treatment. Ovulation occurred only in control sows and progesterone was significantly elevated at day 26. Estradiol values in ovarian vein blood were low but variable on day 19 in DXM- and ACTH-treated animals. Androstenedione values were lower (p less than 0.05) on both days in sows receiving DXM but not in those given ACTH compared to control values on day 19. Morphometric analysis, based on six follicles in each of three sows from each treatment group, indicated that follicular and antral diameters and granulosa cell numbers did not differ for either hormone treatment group on either day compared to those of control sows on day 19. The mitotic index suggested that cell replication continued. However, pyknotic and karyorrhectic nuclei were also seen in the hormone treatment groups. Follicles and oocytes from both DXM- and ACTH-treated sows showed signs of early degenerative changes including disorganization of cumulus cells and large lipid droplets in the cytoplasm of oocytes. Significant differences from control follicles in granulosa cell density and theca interna cell density suggested an association with the altered steroid hormone secretion.
PMCID: PMC1263452  PMID: 1653638
14.  Dexamethasone protected human glioblastoma U87MG cells from temozolomide induced apoptosis by maintaining Bax:Bcl-2 ratio and preventing proteolytic activities 
Molecular Cancer  2004;3:36.
Glioblastoma is the deadliest and most prevalent brain tumor. Dexamethasone (DXM) is a commonly used steroid for treating glioblastoma patients for alleviation of vasogenic edema and pain prior to treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs. Temozolomide (TMZ), an alkylating agent, has recently been introduced in clinical trials for treating glioblastoma. Here, we evaluated the modulatory effect of DXM on TMZ induced apoptosis in human glioblastoma U87MG cells.
Freshly grown cells were treated with different doses of DXM or TMZ for 6 h followed by incubation in a drug-free medium for 48 h. Wright staining and ApopTag assay showed no apoptosis in cells treated with 40 μM DXM but considerable amounts of apoptosis in cells treated with 100 μM TMZ. Apoptosis in TMZ treated cells was associated with an increase in intracellular free [Ca2+], as determined by fura-2 assay. Western blot analyses showed alternations in the levels of Bax (pro-apoptotic) and Bcl-2 (anti-apoptotic) proteins resulting in increased Bax:Bcl-2 ratio in TMZ treated cells. Western blot analyses also detected overexpression of calpain and caspase-3, which cleaved 270 kD α-spectrin at specific sites for generation of 145 and 120 kD spectrin break down products (SBDPs), respectively. However, 1-h pretreatment of cells with 40 μM DXM dramatically decreased TMZ induced apoptosis, decreasing Bax:Bcl-2 ratio and SBDPs.
Our results revealed an antagonistic effect of DXM on TMZ induced apoptosis in human glioblastoma U87MG cells, implying that treatment of glioblastoma patients with DXM prior to chemotherapy with TMZ might result in an undesirable clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC544397  PMID: 15588281
Apoptosis; Dexamethasone; Glioblastoma; Proteolysis; Temozolomide
15.  Carcass conformation and fat cover scores in beef cattle: A comparison of threshold linear models vs grouped data models 
Beef carcass conformation and fat cover scores are measured by subjective grading performed by trained technicians. The discrete nature of these scores is taken into account in genetic evaluations using a threshold model, which assumes an underlying continuous distribution called liability that can be modelled by different methods.
Five threshold models were compared in this study: three threshold linear models, one including slaughterhouse and sex effects, along with other systematic effects, with homogeneous thresholds and two extensions with heterogeneous thresholds that vary across slaughterhouses and across slaughterhouse and sex and a generalised linear model with reverse extreme value errors. For this last model, the underlying variable followed a Weibull distribution and was both a log-linear model and a grouped data model. The fifth model was an extension of grouped data models with score-dependent effects in order to allow for heterogeneous thresholds that vary across slaughterhouse and sex. Goodness-of-fit of these models was tested using the bootstrap methodology. Field data included 2,539 carcasses of the Bruna dels Pirineus beef cattle breed.
Differences in carcass conformation and fat cover scores among slaughterhouses could not be totally captured by a systematic slaughterhouse effect, as fitted in the threshold linear model with homogeneous thresholds, and different thresholds per slaughterhouse were estimated using a slaughterhouse-specific threshold model. This model fixed most of the deficiencies when stratification by slaughterhouse was done, but it still failed to correctly fit frequencies stratified by sex, especially for fat cover, as 5 of the 8 current percentages were not included within the bootstrap interval. This indicates that scoring varied with sex and a specific sex per slaughterhouse threshold linear model should be used in order to guarantee the goodness-of-fit of the genetic evaluation model. This was also observed in grouped data models that avoided fitting deficiencies when slaughterhouse and sex effects were score-dependent.
Both threshold linear models and grouped data models can guarantee the goodness-of-fit of the genetic evaluation for carcass conformation and fat cover, but our results highlight the need for specific thresholds by sex and slaughterhouse in order to avoid fitting deficiencies.
PMCID: PMC3118232  PMID: 21569603
16.  Magnetically retainable microparticles for drug delivery to the joint: efficacy studies in an antigen-induced arthritis model in mice 
Conventional corticosteroid suspensions for the intra-articular treatment of arthritis suffer from limitations such as crystal formation or rapid clearance from the joint. The purpose of this study was to investigate an innovative alternative consisting of corticosteroid encapsulation into magnetically retainable microparticles.
Microparticles (1 or 10 μm) containing both superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and dexamethasone 21-acetate (DXM) were prepared. In a preliminary study, we compared the persistence of microparticles of both sizes in the joint. A second study evaluated the influence of a subcutaneously implanted magnet near the knee on the retention of magnetic microparticles in the joint by in vivo imaging. Finally, the efficacy of 10-μm microparticles was investigated using a model of antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in mice. Phosphate-buffered saline, DXM suspension, SPION suspension, blank microparticles and microparticles containing only SPIONs were used as controls. Arthritis severity was assessed using 99mTc accumulation and histological scoring.
Due to their capacity of encapsulating more corticosteroid and their increased joint retention, the 10-μm microparticles were more suitable vectors than the 1-μm microparticles for corticosteroid delivery to the joint. The presence of a magnet resulted in higher magnetic retention in the joint, as demonstrated by a higher fluorescence signal. The therapeutic efficacy in AIA of 10-μm microparticles containing DXM and SPIONs was similar to that of the DXM suspension, proving that the bioactive agent is released. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effect of DXM-containing microparticles was more important than that of blank microparticles or microparticles containing only SPIONs. The presence of a magnet did not induce a greater inflammatory reaction.
This study confirms the effectiveness of an innovative approach of using magnetically retainable microparticles as intra-articular drug delivery systems. A major advantage comes from a versatile polymer matrix, which allows the encapsulation of many classes of therapeutic agents (for example, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors), which may reduce systemic side effects.
PMCID: PMC2714118  PMID: 19454011
17.  Influence of wet distillers grains diets on beef cattle fecal bacterial community structure 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:25.
The high demand for ethanol in the U.S. has generated large stocks of wet distillers grains (DG), a byproduct from the manufacture of ethanol from corn and sorghum grains. Little is known, however, about the potential influence of dietary DG on fecal microbial community structure. A better understanding of the microbial population in beef cattle feces could be an important monitoring tool to facilitate goals of improving nutrient management, increasing animal growth performance and decreasing odors and/or shedding of pathogens. Five diets consisting of a traditional diet fed to finishing beef cattle in the Southern High Plains of Texas-CON (steam-flaked corn control with 0% DG), and four concentrations of DG in the dietary dry matter; 10 C (10% corn-based DG), 5S (5% sorghum-based DG), 10S (10% sorghum DG), and 15S (15% sorghum DG) were fed to steers at the Texas Tech University Burnett Animal Center. Diets were essentially isonitrogenous with a formulated crude protein value of 13.5%.
Fecal grab samples were obtained from 20 steers (n = 4 per diet) and the barcoded DNA pyrosequencing method was used to generate 127,530 16S operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A total of 24 phyla were observed, distributed amongst all beef cattle on all diets, revealing considerable animal to animal variation, however only six phyla (core set) were observed in all animals regardless of dietary treatment. The average abundance and range of abundance, respectively of the core phyla were as follows: Firmicutes (61%, 19 to 83%), Bacteroidetes (28%, 11 to 63%), Proteobacteria (3%, 0.34 to 17.5%), Tenericutes (0.15%, 0.0 to 0.35%), Nitrospirae (0.11%, 0.03 to 0.22%), and Fusobacteria (0.086%, 0.017 to 0.38%). Feeding DG-based diets resulted in significant shifts in the fecal microbial community structure compared with the traditional CON. Four low abundance phyla significantly responded to dietary treatments: Synergistetes (p = 0.01), WS3 (p = 0.054), Actinobacteria (p = 0.06), and Spirochaetes (p = 0.06).
This is, to our knowledge, the first study using this method to survey the fecal microbiome of beef cattle fed various concentrations of wet DG. Comparison of our results with other cattle DNA sequencing studies of beef and dairy cattle feces from a variety of geographical locations and different management practices identifies a core set of three phyla shared across all cattle. These three phyla, in order of relative abundance are; Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria. The presence of large animal-to-animal variation in cattle microbiome was noted in our study as well as by others.
PMCID: PMC3305651  PMID: 22364310
18.  Traditional Chinese Medicine Prescriptions Enhance Growth Performance of Heat Stressed Beef Cattle by Relieving Heat Stress Responses and Increasing Apparent Nutrient Digestibility 
The present aim was to investigate the effects of traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions (TCM) on body temperature, blood physiological parameters, nutrient apparent digestibility and growth performance of beef cattle under heat stress conditions. Twenty-seven beef cattle were randomly divided into three groups as following; i) high temperature control (HTC), ii) traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions I+high temperature (TCM I) and iii) traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions II+high temperature (TCM II) (n = 9 per group). The results showed that the mean body temperature declined in TCM II treatment (p<0.05). Serum T3 and T4 levels with TCM I and TCM II treatments elevated (p<0.05), and serum cortisol levels of TCM I treatments decreased (p<0.05), compared with the HTC group. Total protein, albumin, globulin in TCM II treatments elevated and blood urea nitrogen levels of both TCM treatments increased, but glucose levels of both TCM treatments decreased, compared with the HTC group (p<0.05). The apparent digestibility of organic matter and crude protein with TCM I treatment increased, and the apparent digestibility of acid detergent fiber elevated in both TCM treatments (p<0.05). Average daily feed intake was not different among three groups, however average daily gain increased and the feed:gain ratio decreased with both TCM treatments, compared with the HTC group (p<0.05). The present results suggest that dietary supplementation with TCM I or TCM II improves growth performance of heat stressed beef cattle by relieving heat stress responses and increasing nutrient apparent digestibility.
PMCID: PMC4150185  PMID: 25178304
Beef Cattle; Traditional Chinese Medicines; Heat Stress; Growth Performance; Nutrient Apparent Digestibility
19.  Toxoplasma gondii 70 kDa Heat Shock Protein: Systemic Detection Is Associated with the Death of the Parasites by the Immune Response and Its Increased Expression in the Brain Is Associated with Parasite Replication 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96527.
The heat shock protein of Toxoplasma gondii (TgHSP70) is a parasite virulence factor that is expressed during T. gondii stage conversion. To verify the effect of dexamethasone (DXM)-induced infection reactivation in the TgHSP70-specific humoral immune response and the presence of the protein in the mouse brain, we produced recombinant TgHSP70 and anti-TgHSP70 IgY antibodies to detect the protein, the specific antibody and levels of immune complexes (ICs) systemically, as well as the protein in the brain of resistant (BALB/c) and susceptible (C57BL/6) mice. It was observed higher TgHSP70-specific antibody titers in serum samples of BALB/c compared with C57BL/6 mice. However, the susceptible mice presented the highest levels of TgHSP70 systemically and no detection of specific ICs. The DXM treatment induced increased parasitism and lower inflammatory changes in the brain of C57BL/6, but did not interfere with the cerebral parasitism in BALB/c mice. Additionally, DXM treatment decreased the serological TgHSP70 concentration in both mouse lineages. C57BL/6 mice presented high expression of TgHSP70 in the brain with the progression of infection and under DXM treatment. Taken together, these data indicate that the TgHSP70 release into the bloodstream depends on the death of the parasites mediated by the host immune response, whereas the increased TgHSP70 expression in the brain depends on the multiplication rate of the parasite.
PMCID: PMC4011789  PMID: 24801069
20.  Preparation of sustained-release composite coating formed by dexamethasone and oxidated sodium alginate 
Inflammatory reaction and thrombosis are the unsolved main problems of non-coated biomaterials applied in cardiac surgery. In the present study, a series of sustained composite coating was prepared and characterized, such as in the chemical modification of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for applications in cardiac surgery and the assessment of the biological property of modified PVC. The composite coatings were mainly formed by dexamethasone (DXM) and oxidated sodium alginate (OSA) through ionic and covalent bond methods. The biocompatibility and hemocompatibility of the coating surface were evaluated. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of the surface morphologies of the thrombus and platelets revealed that DXM-OSA coating improved the antithrombogenicity and biocompatibility of PVC circuits, which were essential for cardiac pulmonary bypass surgery. Evaluation of in vitro release revealed that the DXM on group PPC was gradually released in 8 h. Thus, DXM that covalently combined on the PVC surface showed sustained release. By contrast, DXM on groups PPI and PPD was quickly or shortly released, suggesting that groups PPI and PPD did not have sustained-release property. Overall, results indicated that the DXM-OSA composite coating may be a promising coating for the sustained delivery of DXM.
PMCID: PMC4211831  PMID: 25356181
Dexamethasone (DXM); oxidated sodium alginate (OSA); hemocompatibility; biocompatibility; sustained release
21.  Stress Sensitivity in Metastatic Breast Cancer: Analysis of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Function 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2006;31(10):1231-1244.
The normal diurnal cortisol cycle has a peak in the morning, decreasing rapidly over the day, with low levels during the night, then rising rapidly again to the morning peak. A pattern of flatter daytime slopes has been associated with more rapid cancer progression in both animals and humans. We studied the relationship between the daytime slopes and other daytime cortisol responses to both pharmacological and psychosocial challenges of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function as well as DHEA in a sample of 99 women with metastatic breast cancer, in hopes of elucidating the dysregulatory process.
We found that the different components of HPA regulation: the daytime cortisol slope, the rise in cortisol from waking to 30 minutes later, and cortisol response to various challenges, including dexamethasone (DEX) suppression, corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) activation, and the Trier Social Stress Task, were at best modestly associated. Escape from suppression stimulated by 1 mg of dexamethasone administered the night before was moderately but significantly associated with flatter daytime cortisol slopes (r=0..28 to .30 at different times of the post dexamethasone administration day, all p<.01) . Daytime cortisol slopes were also moderately but significant associated with the rise in cortisol from waking to 30 minutes after awakening (r=.29, p=.004, N=96), but not with waking cortisol level (r=−0.13, p=.19). However, we could not detect any association between daytime cortisol slope and activation of cortisol secretion by either CRF infusion or the Trier Social Stress Task. The CRF activation test (following 1.5 mg of dexamethasone to assure that the effect was due to exogenous CRF) produced ACTH levels that were correlated (r=0.66 p<.0001, N = 74) with serum cortisol levels, indicating adrenal responsiveness to ACTH stimulation. Daytime cortisol slopes were significantly correlated with the slope of DHEA (r=.21, p=.04, N=95). Our general findings suggest that flatter daytime cortisol slopes among metastatic breast cancer patients may be related to disrupted feedback inhibition rather than hypersensitivity in response to stimulation.
PMCID: PMC1790857  PMID: 17081700
Cortisol; HPA; stress; dexamethasone; CRF; metastatic breast cancer
22.  Attenuation of morphine withdrawal signs, blood cortisol and glucose level with forced exercise in comparison with clonidine 
Morphine withdrawal usually results in undesired outcomes, despite partial benefits of alternative medication such as methadone, because of the lack of mental sedation during the withdrawal period, may not lead to the desired result. In this study, forced exercise by treadmill is used to manage morphine dependence in animal model.
Materials and Methods:
Forty adult male mice were divided into 5 groups, from which 4 groups became dependent by increasing daily doses of morphine for 6 days (20-45 mg/kg, SC). Afterwards, the animals were treated for 21 days by either of the following protocol: Positive control (dependent) received once daily 45 mg/kg of morphine sulfate (SC) for 21 day, group under treatment by clonidine (0.4 mg/kg, SC) for 21 day group under treatment by forced exercise by treadmill for 21 day, group under treatment by combination of clonidine (0.4 mg/kg, SC) and forced exercise by treadmill for 21day and the negative control group(independent) received saline injection like other groups. Each of this administration was injected at 8 AM. Finally, in the test day (day 28), all animals received a single dose of naloxone (3 mg/kg, SC) at 8 AM and then were observed for withdrawal signs, and Total Withdrawal Score (TWS) was determined as described previously. After withdrawal sign evaluation for evaluation of stress level of dependent mice, blood cortisol and glucose level were measured in non-fasting situations well.
This study showed that TWS significantly decreased in all treatment groups in comparison with positive control group (P < 0.001). Moreover, blood cortisol and glucose level significantly decreased in group under treatment by clonidine (0.4 mg/kg) and group under treatment by combination of clonidine (0.4 mg/kg) and forced exercise by treadmill groups in comparison with control positive (dependent) (P < 0.05).
This study suggested that forced exercise can be useful as adjunct therapy in dependent people and can ameliorate side effects and stress situation of withdrawal syndrome periods.
PMCID: PMC4166059  PMID: 25250285
Cortisol; drug dependence; glucose; morphine; withdrawal score
23.  Characteristics of cancer cell death after exposure to cytotoxic drugs in vitro. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(1):54-60.
The characteristics of cell death were investigated after exposure of CCRF-CEM.f2 cells to five drugs over a broad concentration range; these were the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DXM), the mitotic inhibitor vincristine (VIN) and three antimetabolites, methotrexate (MTX), 5'-fluoro-2'-deoxyuridine (FUdR) and 5'-fluorouracil (5-FU). Drug-treated cells were monitored for cell death mechanisms at different times by examining the pattern of DNA degradation, cell morphology and flow cytometric profile, together with effects on cell growth over 72 h. At growth-inhibitory drug concentrations, the first changes were cell cycle perturbations detectable after 4-6 h of drug exposure. The appearance of features characteristic of apoptotic cell death was noted after all drug treatments in the CCRF-CEM.f2 cell line, but the pattern and kinetics varied considerably. VIN induced apoptotic changes by 12 h, while DXM treatment caused apoptosis only after 48 h. Both MTX and FUdR induced morphological changes characteristic of apoptosis at least 24 h before internucleosomal DNA cleavage, which was detectable only after 48 h. In contrast, 5-FU did not cause internucleosomal DNA cleavage by 48 h at any concentration, despite the presence of morphologically apoptotic cells 24 h earlier. These data suggest that disruption of the cell cycle caused by drug treatment may be the common trigger initiating the drug-specific apoptotic sequence of dying cells.
PMCID: PMC2074282  PMID: 8554984
24.  Treatment of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis by Codelivery of Disease Associated Peptide and Dexamethasone in Acetalated Dextran Microparticles 
Molecular Pharmaceutics  2014;11(3):828-835.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that can cause loss of motor function and is thought to result, in part, from chronic inflammation due to an antigen-specific T cell immune response. Current treatments suppress the immune system without antigen specificity, increasing the risks of cancer, chronic infection, and other long-term side effects. In this study, we show treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS, by coencapsulating the immunodominant peptide of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) with dexamethasone (DXM) into acetalated dextran (Ac-DEX) microparticles (DXM/MOG/MPs) and administering the microparticles subcutaneously. The clinical score of the mice was reduced from 3.4 to 1.6 after 3 injections 3 days apart with the coencapsulated microparticulate formulation (MOG 17.6 μg and DXM 8 μg). This change in clinical score was significantly greater than observed with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), empty MPs, free DXM and MOG, DXM/MPs, and MOG/MPs. Additionally, treatment with DXM/MOG/MPs significantly inhibited disease-associated cytokine (e.g., IL-17, GM-CSF) expression in splenocytes isolated in treated mice. Here we show a promising approach for the therapeutic treatment of MS using a polymer-based microparticle delivery platform.
PMCID: PMC3993881  PMID: 24433027
multiple sclerosis; microparticle; immunotherapy; acetalated dextran
25.  Evaluation of intratympanic dexamethasone for treatment of refractory sudden sensorineural hearing loss 
Objective: To observe and compare the efficacy of intratympanic application of dexamethasone (DXM) for the treatment of refractory sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), the DXM was given in three different ways: by tympanic membrane injection, by drip through a ventilation tube, and by perfusion through a round window catheter. Methods: We conducted a nonrandomized retrospective clinical trial involving 55 patients with refractory SSNHL. For 21 patients (the perfusion group), DXM (2.5 mg/0.5 ml) was perfused transtympanically through a round window catheter using an infusion pump for 1 h twice a day for 7 d giving a total amount of 35.0 mg. For 23 patients (the injection group), DXM (2.5 mg/time) was injected by tympanic membrane puncture at intervals of 2 d on a total of four occasions giving a total amount of 10.0 mg. For 11 patients (the drip group), DXM (2.5 mg/0.5 ml) was dripped via a ventilation tube placed by myringotomy, once on the first day and twice a day for the remaining 6 d giving a total amount of 32.5 mg. Thirty-two patients with refractory SSNHL who refused to undertake further treatments were defined as the control group. Hearing recovery and complications were compared among the groups. Hearing results were evaluated based on a four-frequency (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 kHz) pure tone average (PTA). Results: Post-treatment audiograms were obtained one month after treatments were completed. The improvements in average PTA for the perfusion, injection, and drip groups were 9.0, 8.6, and 1.7 dB, respectively. Hearing improvement was significantly greater in the perfusion and injection groups than in the control group (1.4 dB) (P<0.05). In the perfusion group, 8 out of 21 patients (38.1%) had a PTA improvement of 15‒56 dB (mean 29.8 dB); in the injection group, 8 out of 23 patients (34.8%) had a PTA improvement of 16‒54 dB (mean 24.9 dB); in the drip group, 1 of 11 patients (9.1%) had a PTA improvement of 26.0 dB; in the control group, 3 out of 32 patients (9.4%) had a PTA improvement of 15‒36 dB (mean 14.9 dB). Conclusions: Topical intratympanic application of DXM is a safe and effective method for the treatment of SSNHL cases that are refractory to conventional therapies.
PMCID: PMC3296071  PMID: 22374612
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss; Dexamethasone; Intratympanic; Round window

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