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1.  Disease modifying and antiangiogenic activity of 2-Methoxyestradiol in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis 
A critical component of disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) involves neovascularization associated with pannus formation. 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) is a naturally occurring molecule with no known physiologic function, although at pharmacologic concentrations it has antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activities. We investigated the impact of orally administered 2ME2 on the initiation and development of proliferative synovitis using the anti-collagen monoclonal antibodies (CAIA) model.
Severe polyarticular arthritis was induced in Balb/c female mice by administration of 2 mg of a monoclonal antibody cocktail intravenously into the tail vein of mice. Twenty-four hours following monoclonal antibody administration, mice were injected with 25 μg of LPS (E. coli strain 0111:B4) via the intraperitoneal route. Treatment with 2ME2 (100, 75, 50, 25, 10, 1 mg/kg, p.o., daily), or vehicle control began 24 hrs following LPS challenge and continued to day 21. Hind limbs were harvested, sectioned and evaluated for DMARD activity and general histopathology by histomorphometric analysis and immunohistochemistry (vWF staining). In a separate study, different dosing regimens of 2ME2 (100 mg/kg; q.d. vs q.w. vs q.w. × 2) were evaluated. The effect of treatment with 2ME2 on gene expression of inflammatory cytokines and angiogenic growth factors in the joint space was evaluated 5 and 14 days after the induction of arthritis.
Mice treated with 2ME2 beginning 24 hours post anti-collagen monoclonal antibody injection, showed a dose-dependent inhibition in mean arthritic scores. At study termination (day 21), blinded histomorphometric assessments of sectioned hind limbs demonstrated decreases in synovial inflammation, articular cartilage degradation, pannus formation, osteoclast activity and bone resorption. At the maximal efficacious dosing regimen (100 mg/kg/day), administration of 2ME2 resulted in total inhibition of the study parameters and prevented neovascularization into the joint. Examination of gene expression on dissected hind limbs from mice treated for 5 or 14 days with 2ME2 showed inhibition of inflammatory cytokine message for IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-17, as well as the angiogenic cytokines, VEGF and FGF-2.
These data demonstrate that in the CAIA mouse model of RA, 2ME2 has disease modifying activity that is at least partially attributable to the inhibition of neovascular development. Further, the data suggests new mechanistic points of intervention for 2ME2 in RA, specifically inhibition of inflammatory mediators and osteoclast activity.
PMCID: PMC2687416  PMID: 19409094
2.  ENMD-1198, a novel tubulin-binding agent reduces HIF-1alpha and STAT3 activity in human hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC) cells, and inhibits growth and vascularization in vivo 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:206.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a highly vascularized tumor entity and the process of angiogenesis is essential for the growth of HCC. Importantly, the pro-angiogenic transcription factors HIF-1α and STAT3 have been implicated in HCC progression, thus representing interesting targets for molecular targeted therapy. We hypothesized that therapeutic inhibition of HIF-1α could be achieved by using a novel tubulin-binding agent (ENMD-1198). ENMD-1198 is an analog of 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME2) with antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activity.
The human HCC cell lines HUH-7 and HepG2 were used for experiments. Effects of ENMD-1198 on constitutive and inducible (hypoxia, growth factors) activation of signaling cascades, including HIF-1α and STAT3, were investigated by Western blotting. Changes in VEGF expression were determined by real-time PCR. Effects of ENMD-1198 on cancer cell migration and invasion were evaluated in in vitro-assays. The growth-inhibitory effects of ENMD-1198 (200 mg/kg/day) were determined in a subcutaneous tumor model (HUH-7).
ENMD-1198 inhibited the phosphorylation of MAPK/Erk, PI-3K/Akt and FAK. Moreover, activation of HIF-1α and STAT3 was dramatically reduced by ENMD-1198, which resulted in lower VEGF mRNA expression (P < 0.05). In addition, tumor cell migratory and invasive properties were significantly inhibited (P < 0.05, for both). In vivo, treatment with ENMD-1198 led to a significant reduction in tumor growth, tumor vascularization, and numbers of proliferating tumor cells (P < 0.05 for all).
The novel microtubule destabilizing agent ENMD-1198 is suitable for inhibiting HIF-1α and STAT3 in human HCC cells and leads to reduced tumor growth and vascularization in vivo. Hence, inhibition of HIF-1α and STAT3 could prove valuable for therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2496914  PMID: 18651980

Results 1-2 (2)