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1.  Curcumin–cyclodextrin complexes potentiate gemcitabine effects in an orthotopic mouse model of lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(7):1083-1092.
Overall clinical outcome for advanced lung cancer remains very disappointing despite recent advances in treatment. Curcumin has been reported as potentially active against cancer.
Owing to poor curcumin solubility, we have used cyclodextrins (CD) as an excipient allowing a considerable increase of aqueous solubility and bioavailability of curcumin. The effects of solubilised curcumin have been evaluated in cell cultures as well as in an in vivo orthotopic lung tumour mouse model.
Cell proliferation was reduced while apoptosis rates were increased when lung epithelial tumour cells were cultured in the presence of curcumin–CD complexes. For in vivo experiments, cells were grafted into lungs of C57Bl/6 mice treated by an oral administration of a non-soluble form of curcumin, CDs alone or curcumin–CD complexes, combined or not with gemcitabine. The size of orthotopically implanted lung tumours was reduced upon curcumin complex administration as compared with treatments with placebo or non-solubilised curcumin. Moreover, curcumin potentiated the gemcitabine-mediated antitumour effects.
Our data demonstrate that curcumin, when given orally in a CD-solubilised form, reduces lung tumour size in vivo. In vitro experiments show impaired tumour cell proliferation and increased cell apoptosis. Moreover, our data underline a potential additive effect of curcumin with gemcitabine thus providing an efficient therapeutic option for antilung cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3461170  PMID: 22929882
curcumin; cyclodextrin; lung cancer; gemcitabine; cell cycle
2.  Elevated MMP‐12 protein levels in induced sputum from patients with COPD 
Thorax  2005;61(3):196-201.
Several matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are involved in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In mice, MMP‐12 plays a crucial role in the development of cigarette smoke induced emphysema. A study was undertaken to investigate the role of MMP‐12 in the development of COPD in human smokers.
Induced sputum samples were collected from patients with stable COPD (n = 28), healthy smokers (n = 14), never smokers (n = 20), and former smokers (n = 14). MMP‐12 protein levels in induced sputum were determined by ELISA and compared between the four study groups. MMP‐12 enzymatic activity in induced sputum was evaluated by casein zymography and by cleaving of a fluorescence quenched substrate.
Median (IQR) MMP‐12 levels were significantly higher in COPD patients than in healthy smokers, never smokers, and former smokers (17.5 (7.1–42.1) v 6.7 (3.9–10.4) v 4.2 (2.4–11.3) v 6.1 (4.5–7.6) ng/ml, p = 0.0002). MMP‐12 enzymatic activity was significantly higher in patients with COPD than in controls (4.11 (1.4–8.0) v 0.14 (0.1–0.2) μg/μl, p = 0.0002).
MMP‐12 is markedly increased in induced sputum from patients with stable COPD compared with controls, suggesting a role for MMP‐12 in the development of COPD in smokers.
PMCID: PMC2080750  PMID: 16308335
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; matrix metalloproteinases; induced sputum; MMP‐12; smoking
3.  Membrane associated proteases and their inhibitors in tumour angiogenesis 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2004;57(6):577-584.
Cell surface proteolysis is an important mechanism for generating biologically active proteins that mediate a range of cellular functions and contribute to biological processes such as angiogenesis. Although most studies have focused on the plasminogen system and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), recently there has been an increase in the identification of membrane associated proteases, including serine proteases, ADAMs, and membrane-type MMPs (MT-MMPs). Normally, protease activity is tightly controlled by tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) and plasminogen activator inhibitors (PAIs). The balance between active proteases and inhibitors is thought to determine the occurrence of proteolysis in vivo. High concentrations of proteolytic system components correlate with poor prognosis in many cancers. Paradoxically, high (not low) PAI-1 or TIMP concentrations predict poor survival in patients with various cancers. Recent observations indicate a much more complex role for protease inhibitors in tumour progression and angiogenesis than initially expected. As knowledge in the field of protease biology has improved, the unforeseen complexities of cell associated enzymes and their interaction with physiological inhibitors have emerged, often revealing unexpected mechanisms of action.
PMCID: PMC1770325  PMID: 15166260
membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases; tumoral angiogenesis; serine proteases; a disintegrin and metalloproteinase; protease inhibitors
4.  Expression of a disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM and ADAMTS) enzymes in human non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(5):724-730.
A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease (ADAM) are transmembrane proteases displaying multiple functions. ADAM with ThromboSpondin-like motifs (ADAMTS) are secreted proteases characterised by thrombospondin (TS) motifs in their C-terminal domain. The aim of this work was to evaluate the expression pattern of ADAMs and ADAMTS in non small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) and to investigate the possible correlation between their expression and cancer progression. Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR), Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses were performed on NSCLC samples and corresponding nondiseased tissue fragments. Among the ADAMs evaluated (ADAM-8, -9, -10, -12, -15, -17, ADAMTS-1, TS-2 and TS-12), a modulation of ADAM-12 and ADAMTS-1 mRNA expression was observed. Amounts of ADAM-12 mRNA transcripts were increased in tumour tissues as compared to the corresponding controls. In sharp contrast, ADAMTS-1 mRNA levels were significantly lower in tumour tissues when compared to corresponding nondiseased lung. These results were corroborated at the protein level by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. A positive correlation was observed between the mRNA levels of ADAM-12 and those of two vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A isoforms (VEGF-A165 and VEGF-A121). Taken together, these results providing evidence for an overexpression of ADAM-12 and a lower expression of ADAMTS-1 in non-small-cell lung cancer suggest that these proteases play different functions in cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC2361209  PMID: 16495931
ADAM; ADAMTS; lung; proteinases; VEGF
5.  Soil and plant factors influencing the accumulation of heavy metals by plants. 
The use of plants to monitor heavy metal pollution in the terrestrial environment must be based on a cognizance of the complicated, integrated effects of pollutant source and soil-plant variables. To be detectable in plants, pollutant sources must significantly increase the plant available metal concentration in soil. The major factor governing metal availability to plants in soils is the solubility of the metal associated with the solid phase, since in order for root uptake to occur, a soluble species must exist adjacent to the root membrane for some finite period. The rate of release and form of this soluble species will have a strong influence on the rate and extent of uptake and, perhaps, mobility and toxicity in the plant and consuming animals. The factors influencing solubility and form of available metal species in soil vary widely geographically and include the concentration and chemical form of the element entering soil, soil properties (endogenous metal concentration, mineralogy, particle size distribution), and soil processes (e.g., mineral weathering, microbial activity), as these influence the kinetics of sorption reactions, metal concentration in solution and the form of soluble and insoluble chemical species. The plant root represents the first barrier to the selective accumulation of ions present in soil solution. Uptake and kinetic data for nutrient ions and chemically related nonnutrient analogs suggest that metabolic processes associated with root absorption of nutrients regulate both the affinity and rate of absorption of specific nonnutrient ions. Detailed kinetic studies of Ni, Cd, and Tl uptake by intact plants demonstrate multiphasic root absorption processes over a broad concentration range, and the use of transport mechanisms in place for the nutrient ions Cu, Zn, and K. Advantages and limitations of higher plants as indicators of increased levels of metal pollution are discussed in terms of these soil and plant phenomena.
PMCID: PMC1637297  PMID: 367766
6.  Oxidative stress-mediated iNKT-cell activation is involved in COPD pathogenesis 
Mucosal Immunology  2013;7(3):568-578.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major clinical challenge mostly due to cigarette smoke (CS) exposure. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are potent immunoregulatory cells that have a crucial role in inflammation. In the current study, we investigate the role of iNKT cells in COPD pathogenesis. The frequency of activated NKT cells was found to be increased in peripheral blood of COPD patients relative to controls. In mice chronically exposed to CS, activated iNKT cells accumulated in the lungs and strongly contributed to the pathogenesis. The detrimental role of iNKT cells was confirmed in an acute model of oxidative stress, an effect that depended on interleukin (IL)-17. CS extracts directly activated mouse and human dendritic cells (DC) and airway epithelial cells (AECs) to trigger interferonγ and/or IL-17 production by iNKT cells, an effect ablated by the anti-oxidant N-acetylcystein. In mice, this treatment abrogates iNKT-cell accumulation in the lung and abolished the development of COPD. Together, activation of iNKT cells by oxidative stress in DC and AECs participates in the development of experimental COPD, a finding that might be exploited at a therapeutic level.
PMCID: PMC3998637  PMID: 24172846

Results 1-6 (6)