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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.  Combination With Low-dose Dextromethorphan Improves the Effect of Amlodipine Monotherapy in Clinical Hypertension 
Medicine  2016;95(12):e3234.
The combination of low rather than high dose of dextromethorphan (DXM) with amlodipine (AM) could improve blood pressure (BP) reduction in hypertensive animals. The study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of different doses of DXM combined with standard AM treatment in clinical hypertension.
This was a prospective, 14-week, dose-escalation, multicenter study. After 2-week run-in period with AM 5 mg/day, hypertensive patients who got the BP goal of 140/90 mmHg kept receiving AM monotherapy for another 12 weeks. The nonresponders, while kept on AM 5 mg/day, received additional DXM treatment for 3 sequential dose-titrated periods with initially 2.5 mg/day, followed by 7.5 mg/day, and finally 30 mg/day. Each period was for 4 weeks. The patients at BP goal after each treatment period were defined as the responders and kept on the same combination till the end of the study. The responder rate of each treatment period was recorded. The changes of BP and serum antioxidant/endothelial markers between week 14 and week 2 were evaluated.
Of the 103 patients initially enrolled, 89 entered the treatment period. In the 78 patients completing the study, 31 (40%) at BP goal after 2-week AM run-in kept on AM monotherapy (DXM0). The addition of 2.5 (DXM2.5) and 7.5 mg/day (DXM7.5) of DXM enabled BP goal achievement in 22 (47%) nonresponders to AM monotherapy including 16 (29%) with DXM2.5 and 6 (18%) with DXM7.5. Only 4 patients (16%) reached BP goal with the combination of DXM 30 mg/day (DXM30). Overall, 73% of the 78 patients reached BP goal at the end of the 14-week study. Mean systolic BP was reduced by 7.9% ± 7.0% with DXM2.5 (P < 0.001) and by 5.4% ± 2.4% with DXM7.5 (P = 0.003) respectively at week 14 from that at week 2, which was unchanged in either DXM0 or DXM30 group. Besides, the effects of combination treatment were particularly significant in the patients with impaired endothelial function suggested by reduced serum NOx level at baseline.
Accordingly, the combination with low dose of DXM was feasible to improve BP control in patients who failed to achieve the BP goal by standard AM monotherapy. The benefit effects might be significant especially in patients with impaired endothelial function.
PMCID: PMC4998419  PMID: 27015224
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Profile of the urinary excretion of prednisolone and its metabolites in finishing bulls and cows treated with a therapeutic schedule 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:237.
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
6.  Resistome diversity in cattle and the environment decreases during beef production 
eLife  null;5:e13195.
Antimicrobial resistant determinants (ARDs) can be transmitted from livestock systems through meat products or environmental effluents. The public health risk posed by these two routes is not well understood, particularly in non-pathogenic bacteria. We collected pooled samples from 8 groups of 1741 commercial cattle as they moved through the process of beef production from feedlot entry through slaughter. We recorded antimicrobial drug exposures and interrogated the resistome at points in production when management procedures could potentially influence ARD abundance and/or transmission. Over 300 unique ARDs were identified. Resistome diversity decreased while cattle were in the feedlot, indicating selective pressure. ARDs were not identified in beef products, suggesting that slaughter interventions may reduce the risk of transmission of ARDs to beef consumers. This report highlights the utility and limitations of metagenomics for assessing public health risks regarding antimicrobial resistance, and demonstrates that environmental pathways may represent a greater risk than the food supply.
eLife digest
When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, it becomes difficult or impossible to treat infections in both people and animals. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, and many fear a “post-antibiotic era” in which common infections become life threatening.
In order to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance, it is important to understand how and where this resistance develops. In general, using antibiotics increases the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance. Therefore, locations where antibiotics are commonly used – such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, livestock facilities (such as feedlots) and crop production areas (such as orchards) – may help antibiotic resistance to develop and spread. However, it is largely unknown how much each location promotes the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Until recently, we have only been able to investigate how resistance develops in bacteria grown in a laboratory; or to look for a handful of specific resistance genes in a sample of bacteria collected from people, animals or the environment. Fortunately, a technology called next-generation sequencing now allows us to look at all the resistance genes within all the bacteria in a sample. This may help us to improve our understanding of how and where resistance develops and spreads.
Noyes et al. have now used next-generation sequencing to describe the antibiotic resistance potential (known as the “resistome”) found in various types of samples collected from feedlots and slaughterhouses involved in producing beef. This showed that the number of different resistance genes in the samples decreased while cattle were in the feedlot and during the slaughter process. Several groups of resistance genes that were detected when the cattle first arrived in the feedlot were not detected at all at the end of the feedlot period. However, some resistance genes were detected throughout the feedlot period, and these tended to be resistance genes that allow the bacteria to evade the same antibiotics that were used in the cattle. In addition, no resistance genes of any type were detected in the samples collected after the cattle had been slaughtered.
As well as providing insights into the resistome of beef production, Noyes et al.’s study also highlights the fact that we need to develop a deeper understanding of the data that come from next-generation sequencing. This may involve developing new laboratory techniques and creating new methods to analyze such data.
PMCID: PMC4798965  PMID: 26952213
antimicrobial resistance; resistome; microbiome; agriculture; public health; feedlots; Other
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Effect of antimicrobial growth promoter administration on the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle 
Gut Pathogens  2013;5:8.
Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) are antimicrobial agents administered to livestock in feed for prolonged periods to enhance feed efficiency. Beef cattle are primarily finished in confined feeding operations in Canada and the USA, and the administration of AGPs such as chlortetracycline and sulfamethazine (Aureo S-700 G) is the standard. The impacts of AGPs on the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle are currently uncertain; it is documented that AGPs administered to beef cattle pass through the rumen and enter the intestine. To ascertain the impacts of Aureo S-700 G on the small and large intestinal microbiota of beef cattle (mucosa-associated and within digesta), terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and quantitative PCR (qPCR) for total bacteria were applied. Beef cattle were maintained in an experimental feedlot (five replicate pens per treatment), and AGP treatment cattle were administered Aureo S-700 G in feed, whereas control cattle were administered no antimicrobials. As the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle has not been extensively examined, clone library analysis was applied to ascertain the primary bacterial constituents of the intestinal microbiota.
Comparative T-RFLP and qPCR analysis (n = 122 samples) revealed that bacterial community fingerprints and bacterial load within digesta differed from those associated with mucosa. However, the administration of Aureo S-700 G did not affect bacterial community fingerprints or bacterial load within the small and large intestine relative to control cattle. Analysis of >1500 near full length 16S rDNA clones revealed considerably greater bacterial diversity in the large relative to the small intestine of beef cattle. Mucosa-associated bacterial communities in the jejunum were dominated by Proteobacteria, and differed conspicuously from those in the ileum and large intestine. Although the ileum contained bacterial clones that were common to the jejunum as well as the cecum, Firmicutes clones associated with mucosa dominated in the ileum, cecum, and descending colon. In the descending colon, clone library analysis did not reveal a difference in the richness or diversity of bacterial communities within digesta relative to those associated with mucosa. However, T-RFLP analysis indicated a significant difference in T-RF relative abundance (i.e. difference in relative taxon abundance) between mucosa-associated and digesta communities attributed in part to the differential abundance of Bacteriodes, Alistipes, Oscillibacter, and unclassified Clostridiales.
These data demonstrate that there was no significant difference in the composition of the predominant intestinal bacteria constituents within animals administered Aureo S-700 G and those not administered AGPs after a 28 day withdrawal period.
PMCID: PMC3639104  PMID: 23578222
Antimicrobial growth promoters; AGP; Beef cattle; Intestine; Microbiota
10.  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
11.  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
12.  Curcumin alleviates glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis through the regulation of the Wnt signaling pathway 
It is known that prolonged glucocorticoid (GC) treatment results in osteoporosis. This study aimed to evaluate the protective effects of curcumin on the bones of rats with dexamethasone (DXM)-induced osteoporosis. In the present study, rats were administered DXM for 60 days to induce osteoporosis, and they were then treated with curcumin (100 mg/kg/day) for a further 60 days. H&E staining was used to observe the pathological changes in the femurs. Serum osteocalcin levels and collagen-type I fragments (CTX) were examined as bone metabolism markers. The results revealed that treatment with curcumin attenuated DXM-induced bone injury in femurs, increased the serum levels of osteocalcin and decreased the levels of CTX. In addition, in in vitro experiments, primary rat osteoblasts treated with curcumin at 0.5, 1 and 2 µM were exposed to 100 nM DXM. An MTT assay was used to determine the proliferative ability of the cells. Alkaline phosphatase activity, and the mRNA expression levels of runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), osterix, osteocalcin, collagen, type 1, alpha 1 (Col1A1) and osteonectin were detected to assess transcription factor-associated osteogenic differentiation. The mRNA and protein expression levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator for nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) were detected to assess cytokine-associated osteoclastogenesis. The results demonstrated that curcumin prevented the DXM-induced inhibition of the proliferative ability of the osteoblasts in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, curcumin upregulated the mRNA expression levels of transcription factors that favor osteoblast differentiation and increased the ratio of OPG to RANKL. Moreover, the effects of curcumin on the Wnt signaling pathway were also investigated. RT-qPCR and western blot analysis demonstrated that the Wnt signaling pathway, which was inhibited by DXM, was re-activated upon treatment with curcumin. Immunofluorescence staining revealed that curcumin restored the intranuclear staining of β-catenin in the DXM-stimulated osteoblasts. Collectively, our data demonstrate that curcumin may be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of GC-induced osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC4716794  PMID: 26677102
glucocorticoid; osteoporosis; curcumin; osteoblast; Wnt/β-catenin
13.  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
14.  Inhibition of Hippocampal Regeneration by Adjuvant Dexamethasone in Experimental Infant Rat Pneumococcal Meningitis 
Pneumococcal meningitis (PM) causes neurological sequelae in up to half of surviving patients. Neuronal damage associated with poor outcome is largely mediated by the inflammatory host response. Dexamethasone (DXM) is used as an adjuvant therapy in adult PM, but its efficacy in the treatment of pneumococcal meningitis in children is controversially discussed. While DXM has previously been shown to enhance hippocampal apoptosis in experimental PM, its impact on hippocampal cell proliferation is not known. This study investigated the impact of DXM on hippocampal proliferation in infant rat PM. Eleven-day-old nursing Wistar rats (n = 90) were intracisternally infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae to induce experimental meningitis. Treatment with DXM or vehicle was started 18 h after infection, concomitantly with antibiotics (ceftriaxone 100 mg/kg of body weight twice a day [b.i.d.]). Clinical parameters were monitored, and the amount of cells with proliferating activity was assessed using in vivo incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and an in vitro neurosphere culture system at 3 and 4 d postinfection. DXM significantly worsened weight loss and survival. Density of BrdU-positive cells, as an index of cells with proliferating activity, was significantly lower in DXM-treated animals compared to vehicle controls (P < 0.0001). In parallel, DXM reduced neurosphere formation as an index for stem/progenitor cell density compared to vehicle treatment (P = 0.01). Our findings provide clear evidence that DXM exerts an antiproliferative effect on the hippocampus in infant rat PM. We conclude that an impairment of regenerative hippocampal capacity should be taken into account when considering adjuvant DXM in the therapeutic regimen for PM in children.
PMCID: PMC4775913  PMID: 26824948
15.  Efficacy of oral meloxicam suspension for prevention of pain and inflammation following band and surgical castration in calves 
BMC Veterinary Research  2016;12:102.
Castration is one of the most common procedures performed on beef and dairy cattle. The objective of the study was to determine the efficacy of meloxicam oral suspension in reducing pain and inflammation in calves following band or surgical castration.
Two identical trials with the exception of the method of castration (Band Castration Study 1 and Surgical Castration Study 2) were conducted. Sixty (60) healthy Holstein calves 4 to 5 months of age (138–202 Kg) were used. Animals received either Meloxicam Oral Suspension at a dose of 1 mg/kg BW (n = 15 Study 1 and 15 Study 2) or Saline (n = 15 Study 1 and 15 Study 2) 2 h before castration. Physiological (Heart Rate, Plasma Cortisol and Plasma Substance P) and Behavioral (Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Accelerometers and tail Pedometers) evaluations were conducted before (day -1) and after Castration (Day 0, 1, 2, 3). Inflammation was evaluated daily by providing an individual animal score (Study1) or with a measurement of scrotal thickness (Study 2).
Heart rates were significantly greater in control animals following band and surgical castration. Plasma cortisol and substance P were significantly reduced in animals receiving Meloxicam Oral Suspension. Control animals had significantly greater VAS scores. Accelerometers showed that meloxicam treated animals had a significantly greater motion index and number of steps as well as less % time lying and number of lying bouts. The scrotal inflammation (based on scrotal swelling) was significantly decreased in the meloxicam treated animals compared to the control animals on day 1, day 2 and 3.
Meloxicam Oral Suspension was able to significantly reduce the display of painful behaviors and physiological responses to pain in band castrated and surgical castrated calves for up to 72 h following a single oral treatment of 1 mg/kg body weight. Meloxicam Oral Suspension was able to significantly reduce scrotal inflammation in band castrated and surgical castrated calves.
PMCID: PMC4907251  PMID: 27295955
Oral meloxicam; Castration; Behavior; Pain; Calves
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  Efficacy of three drugs for protecting against gentamicin-induced hair cell and hearing losses 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2012;166(6):1888-1904.
Exposure to an ototoxic level of an aminoglycoside can result in hearing loss. In this we study investigated the otoprotective efficacy of dexamethasone (DXM), melatonin (MLT) and tacrolimus (TCR) in gentamicin (GM)-treated animals and cultures.
Wistar rats were divided into controls (treated with saline); exposed to GM only (GM); and three GM-exposed groups treated with either DXM, MLT or TCR. Auditory function and cochlear surface preparations were studied. In vitro studies of oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA levels, the MAPK pathway and caspase-3 activation were performed in organ of Corti explants from 3-day-old rats.
DXM, MLT and TCR decreased levels of reactive oxygen species in GM-exposed explants. The mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-1β and TNF-receptor type 1 were significantly reduced in GM + DXM and GM + MLT groups. Phospho-p38 MAPK levels decreased in GM + MLT and GM + TCR groups, while JNK phosphorylation was reduced in GM + DXM and GM + MLT groups. Caspase-3 activation decreased in GM + DXM, GM + MLT and GM + TCR groups. These results were consistent with in vivo results. Local treatment of GM-exposed rat cochleae with either DXM, MLT or TCR preserved auditory function and prevented auditory hair cell loss.
In organ of Corti explants, GM increased oxidative stress and initiated an inflammatory response that led to the activation of MAPKs and apoptosis of hair cells. The three compounds tested demonstrated otoprotective properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of ototoxicity-induced hearing loss.
PMCID: PMC3402812  PMID: 22320124
laboratory rats; DPOAEs; ABRs; ototoxicity; gentamicin; otoprotection; dexamethasone; melatonin; tacrolimus
20.  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
21.  Genistein attenuates glucocorticoid-induced bone deleterious effects through regulation Eph/ephrin expression in aged mice 
Objective: This study was performed to investigate bone deteriorations and the involvement of skeletal Eph/ephrin signaling pathway of GIOP aged mice in response to the treatment of genistein. Methods: The biomarkers in serum and urine were measured, tibias were taken for the measurement on gene and protein expression and histomorphology analysis, and femurs were taken for the measurement on bone Ca and three-dimensional architecture of trabecular bone. Results: Genistein showed a greater increase in bone Ca, BMD and significantly increased FGF-23 and OCN, reduced TRACP-5b, PTH and CTX in GIOP mice. Genistein reversed DXM-induced trabecular deleterious effects and stimulated bone remodeling. The treatment of DXM group with genistein significantly elevated the ratio of OPG/RANKL. Moreover, genistein administration down-regulated the mRNA and protein expression of Eph A2 and ephrin A2 in tibia of the GIOP mice. In contrast, the mRNA and protein expression of Eph B4 and ephrin B2 were increased in mice treated by DXM with genistein as compared to the DXM single treatment. Conclusions: DXM-induced trabecular bone micro-structure deterioration in aged mice was involved in the regulation of the Eph receptors and ephrin ligands. Genistein might represent a therapy with bone-forming as well as an anti-resorptive activity in GIOP mice. The underlying mechanism was mediated, at least partially, through regulation Eph/ephrin signaling.
PMCID: PMC4348890  PMID: 25755727
Eph/ephrin; bone; genistein; dexamethasone
22.  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
23.  Effect of autophagy induced by dexamethasone on senescence in chondrocytes 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;14(4):3037-3044.
The aim of the current study was to explore the effects of dexamethasone (DXM) on autophagy and senescence in chondrocytes. Collagen II and aggrecan were examined in normal chondrocytes isolated from Sprague-Dawley rats. Following stimulation with DXM, LysoTracker Red staining, monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining, green fluorescent protein-red fluorescent protein-light chain 3 (LC3) and western blotting were used to detect autophagy levels in the chondrocytes. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway-associated molecules were investigated by western blotting. Cell senescence was analyzed by senescence-associated (SA)-β-galactosidase (β-gal) staining. A dose-dependent increase in the number of autophagic vacuoles was observed in the DXM-treated chondrocytes, as demonstrated by LysoTracker Red and MDC staining. A dose-dependent increase in autophagosome formation was observed in the DXM-treated chondrocytes. Expression of LC3-II and beclin-1 was increased by DXM, in particular in the cells treated with DXM for 4 days. However, P62 expression was reduced as a result of treatment. SA-β-gal staining indicated that DXM increased cell senescence. Notably, DXM-induced cell senescence was exacerbated by the autophagic inhibitor 3-MA. Autophagy induced by DXM protected chondrocytes from senescence, and it is suggested that the mTOR pathway may be involved in the activation of DXM-induced autophagy.
PMCID: PMC5042789  PMID: 27572674
dexamethasone; chondrocyte; autophagy; senescence
24.  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
25.  Icariin attenuates glucocorticoid-induced bone deteriorations, hypocalcemia and hypercalciuria in mice 
Objective: This study was performed to investigate bone deteriorations and calcium homeostasis of GIOP mice in response to the treatment of icariin. Methods: The biomarkers in serum and urine were measured, tibias were taken for the measurement on bone calcium, gene expression, histomorphology and micro-CT. Results: Glucocorticoid-treated facilitated to induce hypocalcemia and hypercalciuria in mice, and icariin-treated showed a greater increase in serum calcium and decrease in urine calcium. Icariin reversed DXM-induced trabecular deleterious effects and stimulated bone remodeling, including an increase in bone calcium, OCN and FGF-23 and a decrease in a critical bone resorption markers CTX and TRAP-5b. H&E staining and micro-CT showed the increased disconnections and separation among growth plate and trabecular bone network as well as the reduction of trabecular bone mass of primary and secondary spongiosa throughout the proximal metaphysis of tibia in DXM group. Importantly, icariin reversed DXM-induced trabecular deleterious effects and stimulated bone remodeling. Moreover, the results showed that the mRNA expression of MMP-9 and CAII was significantly increased in DXM group compared with control group. Icariin treatment could suppress the expression of MMP-9 and CAII in the tibia of mice. Conclusions: The present study demonstrated the protective effects of icariin against bone deteriorations, hypocalcemia and hypercalciuria in experimentally DIOP mice. Furthermore, these results provided further evidence to support the dual role of icariin as a bone formation enhancer and bone resorption inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC4509215  PMID: 26221270
Osteoporosis; icariin; dexamethasone; hypocalcemia; hypercalciuria

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