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1.  Synthetic Triterpenoid Cyano Enone of Methyl Boswellate (CEMB) activates intrinsic, extrinsic, & endoplasmic reticulum stress cell death pathways in tumor cell lines 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2011;10(9):1635-1643.
We explored the effect of a novel synthetic triterpenoid compound Cyano Enone of Methyl Boswellates (CEMB) on various prostate cancer and glioma cancer cell lines. CEMB displayed concentration-dependent cytotoxic activity with submicromolar lethal dose 50% (LD50) values in ten of ten tumor cell lines tested. CEMB-induced cytotoxicity is accompanied by activation of downstream effector caspases (caspases 3 and 7) and by upstream initiator caspases involved in both the extrinsic (caspase 8) and intrinsic (caspase 9) apoptotic pathways. By using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), we show evidence that knock down of caspase 8, death receptor 4 (DR4), Apaf-1, and Bid impairs CEMB-induced cell death. Similar to other proapoptotic synthetic triterpenoid compounds, CEMB-induced apoptosis involved endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, as demonstrated by partial rescue of tumor cells by siRNA-mediated knock-down of expression of genes involve in the unfolded protein response such as Ire1, Perk, and ATF6. Altogether our results suggest that CEMB stimulates several apoptotic pathways in cancer cells, suggesting that this compound should be evaluated further as a potential agent for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC4174562  PMID: 21746806
Triterpenoid; Apoptosis; ER stress
2.  Determinants of Prakriti, the Human Constitution Types of Indian Traditional Medicine and its Correlation with Contemporary Science 
Constitutional type of an individual or prakriti is the basic clinical denominator in Ayurveda, which defines physical, physiological, and psychological traits of an individual and is the template for individualized diet, lifestyle counseling, and treatment. The large number of phenotype description by prakriti determination is based on the knowledge and experience of the assessor, and hence subject to inherent variations and interpretations.
In this study we have attempted to relate dominant prakriti attribute to body mass index (BMI) of individuals by assessing an acceptable tool to provide the quantitative measure to the currently qualitative ayurvedic prakriti determination.
Materials and Methods:
The study is cross sectional, multicentered, and prakriti assessment of a total of 3416 subjects was undertaken. Healthy male, nonsmoking, nonalcoholic volunteers between the age group of 20-30 were screened for their prakriti after obtaining written consent to participate in the study. The prakriti was determined on the phenotype description of ayurvedic texts and simultaneously by the use of a computer-aided prakriti assessment tool. Kappa statistical analysis was employed to validate the prakriti assessment and Chi-square, Cramer's V test to determine the relatedness in the dominant prakriti to various attributes.
We found 80% concordance between ayurvedic physician and software in predicting the prakriti of an individual. The kappa value of 0.77 showed moderate agreement in prakriti assessment. We observed a significant correlations of dominant prakriti to place of birth and BMI with Chi-square, P < 0.01 (Cramer's V-value of 0.156 and 0.368, respectively).
The present study attempts to integrate knowledge of traditional ayurvedic concepts with the contemporary science. We have demonstrated analysis of prakriti classification and its association with BMI and place of birth with the implications to one of the ways for human classification.
PMCID: PMC4204287  PMID: 25336848
Ayusoft; body mass index; place of birth; Prakriti
3.  A 16-Gene Signature Distinguishes Anaplastic Astrocytoma from Glioblastoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85200.
Anaplastic astrocytoma (AA; Grade III) and glioblastoma (GBM; Grade IV) are diffusely infiltrating tumors and are called malignant astrocytomas. The treatment regimen and prognosis are distinctly different between anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma patients. Although histopathology based current grading system is well accepted and largely reproducible, intratumoral histologic variations often lead to difficulties in classification of malignant astrocytoma samples. In order to obtain a more robust molecular classifier, we analysed RT-qPCR expression data of 175 differentially regulated genes across astrocytoma using Prediction Analysis of Microarrays (PAM) and found the most discriminatory 16-gene expression signature for the classification of anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma. The 16-gene signature obtained in the training set was validated in the test set with diagnostic accuracy of 89%. Additionally, validation of the 16-gene signature in multiple independent cohorts revealed that the signature predicted anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma samples with accuracy rates of 99%, 88%, and 92% in TCGA, GSE1993 and GSE4422 datasets, respectively. The protein-protein interaction network and pathway analysis suggested that the 16-genes of the signature identified epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway as the most differentially regulated pathway in glioblastoma compared to anaplastic astrocytoma. In addition to identifying 16 gene classification signature, we also demonstrated that genes involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition may play an important role in distinguishing glioblastoma from anaplastic astrocytoma.
PMCID: PMC3901657  PMID: 24475040
4.  Immunophenotyping of normal individuals classified on the basis of human dosha prakriti 
Human variations related to immune response and disease susceptibility is well-documented in Ayurveda. Prakriti (body constitution) is the basic constitution of an individual established at the time of birth and distinguishes variations, into three broad phenotype categories such as vata, pitta and kapha. Variation in immune response is often attributed to and measured from the difference in cluster differentiation (CD) markers expressed in lymphocytes. Currently, there are no reports available on the expression of CD markers related to prakriti.
This is a pilot study performed to evaluate a panel of lymphocyte subset CD markers in dominant prakriti individuals.
Materials and Methods:
Immunophenotyping was carried out using whole blood from a total of healthy 222 subjects, who are grouped into kapha (n = 95), pitta (n = 57) and vata (n = 70) prakritis. CD markers such as CD3, CD4, CD8, CD14, CD25, CD56, CD69, CD71 and HLA-DR were analyzed using flow cytometry method. Differences between groups were analyzed using one-way ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple comparisons between groups were performed by Bonferroni or Mann-Whitney U test with corrections for type I error respectively. Significance was evaluated by ANOVA and Pearson's correlation.
We observed a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the expression of CD markers such as CD14 (monocytes), CD25 (activated B cells) and CD56 (Natural killer cells) between different prakriti groups. CD25 and CD56 expression was significantly higher in kapha prakriti samples than other prakriti groups. Similarly, slightly higher levels of CD14 were observed in pitta prakriti samples.
Significant difference in the expression of CD14, CD25 and CD56 markers between three different prakriti is demonstrated. The increased level of CD25 and CD56 in kapha prakriti may indicate ability to elicit better immune response, which is in conformity with textual references in Ayurveda.
PMCID: PMC4012362  PMID: 24812475
Cluster differentiation 14; cluster differentiation 25; cluster differentiation 56; immunophenotyping; prakriti
5.  Gene Transfection in High Serum Levels: Case Studies with New Cholesterol Based Cationic Gemini Lipids 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68305.
Six new cationic gemini lipids based on cholesterol possessing different positional combinations of hydroxyethyl (-CH2CH2OH) and oligo-oxyethylene -(CH2CH2O)n- moieties were synthesized. For comparison the corresponding monomeric lipid was also prepared. Each new cationic lipid was found to form stable, clear suspensions in aqueous media.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To understand the nature of the individual lipid aggregates, we have studied the aggregation properties using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential measurements and X-ray diffraction (XRD). We studied the lipid/DNA complex (lipoplex) formation and the release of the DNA from such lipoplexes using ethidium bromide. These gemini lipids in presence of a helper lipid, 1, 2-dioleoyl phophatidyl ethanol amine (DOPE) showed significant enhancements in the gene transfection compared to several commercially available transfection agents. Cholesterol based gemini having -CH2-CH2-OH groups at the head and one oxyethylene spacer was found to be the most effective lipid, which showed transfection activity even in presence of high serum levels (50%) greater than Effectene, one of the potent commercially available transfecting agents. Most of these geminis protected plasmid DNA remarkably against DNase I in serum, although the degree of stability was found to vary with their structural features.
-OH groups present on the cationic headgroups in combination with oxyethylene linkers on cholesterol based geminis, gave an optimized combination of new genera of gemini lipids possessing high transfection efficiency even in presence of very high percentage of serum. This property makes them preferential transfection reagents for possible in vivo studies.
PMCID: PMC3701654  PMID: 23861884
6.  Regulation of protumorigenic pathways by Insulin like growth factor binding protein2 and its association along with β-catenin in breast cancer lymph node metastasis 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:63.
Insulin like growth factor binding proteins modulate the mitogenic and pro survival effects of IGF. Elevated expression of IGFBP2 is associated with progression of tumors that include prostate, ovarian, glioma among others. Though implicated in the progression of breast cancer, the molecular mechanisms involved in IGFBP2 actions are not well defined. This study investigates the molecular targets and biological pathways targeted by IGFBP2 in breast cancer.
Transcriptome analysis of breast tumor cells (BT474) with stable knockdown of IGFBP2 and breast tumors having differential expression of IGFBP2 by immunohistochemistry was performed using microarray. Differential gene expression was established using R-Bioconductor package. For validation, gene expression was determined by qPCR. Inhibitors of IGF1R and integrin pathway were utilized to study the mechanism of regulation of β-catenin. Immunohistochemical and immunocytochemical staining was performed on breast tumors and experimental cells, respectively for β-catenin and IGFBP2 expression.
Knockdown of IGFBP2 resulted in differential expression of 2067 up regulated and 2002 down regulated genes in breast cancer cells. Down regulated genes principally belong to cell cycle, DNA replication, repair, p53 signaling, oxidative phosphorylation, Wnt signaling. Whole genome expression analysis of breast tumors with or without IGFBP2 expression indicated changes in genes belonging to Focal adhesion, Map kinase and Wnt signaling pathways. Interestingly, IGFBP2 knockdown clones showed reduced expression of β- catenin compared to control cells which was restored upon IGFBP2 re-expression. The regulation of β-catenin by IGFBP2 was found to be IGF1R and integrin pathway dependent. Furthermore, IGFBP2 and β-catenin are co-ordinately overexpressed in breast tumors and correlate with lymph node metastasis.
This study highlights regulation of β-catenin by IGFBP2 in breast cancer cells and most importantly, combined expression of IGFBP2 and β-catenin is associated with lymph node metastasis of breast tumors.
PMCID: PMC3698021  PMID: 23767917
IGFBP2; Breast cancer; Wnt signaling; β-catenin; Integrin
7.  Activation of TGF-β Pathway by Areca Nut Constituents: A Possible Cause of Oral Submucous Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51806.
Oral submucous fibrosis (OSF) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the accumulation of excess collagen, and areca nut chewing has been proposed as an important etiological factor for disease manifestation. Activation of transforming growth factor-β signaling has been postulated as the main causative event for increased collagen production in OSF. Oral epithelium plays important roles in OSF, and arecoline has been shown to induce TGF-β in epithelial cells. In an attempt to understand the role of areca nut constituents in the manifestation of OSF, we studied the global gene expression profile in epithelial cells (HaCaT) following treatment with areca nut water extract or TGF-β. Interestingly, 64% of the differentially regulated genes by areca nut water extract matches with the TGF-β induced gene expression profile. Out of these, expression of 57% of genes was compromised in the presence of ALK5 (TβRI) inhibitor and 7% were independently induced by areca nut, highlighting the importance of TGF-β in areca nut actions. Areca nut water extract treatment induced p-SMAD2 and TGF-β downstream targets in HaCaT cells but not in human gingival fibroblast cells (hGF), suggesting epithelial cells could be the source of TGF-β in promoting OSF. Water extract of areca nut consists of polyphenols and alkaloids. Both polyphenol and alkaloid fractions of areca nut were able to induce TGF-β signaling and its downstream targets. Also, SMAD-2 was phosphorylated following treatment of HaCaT cells by Catechin, Tannin and alkaloids namely Arecoline, Arecaidine and Guvacine. Moreover, both polyphenols and alkaloids induced TGF-β2 and THBS1 (activator of latent TGF-β) in HaCaT cells suggesting areca nut mediated activation of p-SMAD2 involves up-regulation and activation of TGF-β. These data suggest a major causative role for TGF-β that is induced by areca nut in OSF progression.
PMCID: PMC3526649  PMID: 23284772
8.  Gene Expression Signature of DMBA-Induced Hamster Buccal Pouch Carcinomas: Modulation by Chlorophyllin and Ellagic Acid 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34628.
Chlorophyllin (CHL), a water-soluble, semi-synthetic derivative of chlorophyll and ellagic acid (EA), a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound in berries, grapes, and nuts have been reported to exert anticancer effects in various human cancer cell lines and in animal tumour models. The present study was undertaken to examine the mechanism underlying chemoprevention and changes in gene expression pattern induced by dietary supplementation of chlorophyllin and ellagic acid in the 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster buccal pouch (HBP) carcinogenesis model by whole genome profiling using pangenomic microarrays. In hamsters painted with DMBA, the expression of 1,700 genes was found to be altered significantly relative to control. Dietary supplementation of chlorophyllin and ellagic acid modulated the expression profiles of 104 and 37 genes respectively. Microarray analysis also revealed changes in the expression of TGFβ receptors, NF-κB, cyclin D1, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that may play a crucial role in the transformation of the normal buccal pouch to a malignant phenotype. This gene expression signature was altered on treatment with chlorophyllin and ellagic acid. Our study has also revealed patterns of gene expression signature specific for chlorophyllin and ellagic acid exposure. Thus dietary chlorophyllin and ellagic acid that can reverse gene expression signature associated with carcinogenesis are novel candidates for cancer prevention and therapy.
PMCID: PMC3317635  PMID: 22485181
9.  HLA-B∗57 and Gender Influence the Occurrence of Tuberculosis in HIV Infected People of South India 
Background. Substantial evidence exists for HLA and other host genetic factors being determinants of susceptibility or resistance to infectious diseases. However, very little information is available on the role of host genetic factors in HIV-TB coinfection. Hence, a longitudinal study was undertaken to investigate HLA associations in a cohort of HIV seropositive individuals with and without TB in Bangalore, South India. Methods. A cohort of 238 HIV seropositive subjects were typed for HLA-A, B, and DR by PCR-SSP and followed up for 5 years or till manifestation of Tuberculosis. HLA data of 682 HIV Negative healthy renal donors was used as control. Results. The ratio of males and females in HIV cohort was comparable (50.4% and 49.6%). But the incidence of TB was markedly lower in females (12.6%,) than males (25.6%). Further, HLA-B*57 frequency in HIV cohort was significantly higher among females without TB (21.6%, 19/88) than males (1.7%, 1/59); P = 0.0046; OR = 38. CD4 counts also were higher among females in this cohort. Conclusion. This study suggests that HIV positive women with HLA-B*57 have less occurrence of TB as compared to males.
PMCID: PMC3162975  PMID: 21876708
10.  Chemical modifications of natural triterpenes - glycyrrhetinic and boswellic acids: evaluation of their biological activity 
Tetrahedron  2008;64(51):11541-11548.
Synthetic analogues of naturally occurring triterpenoids; glycyrrhetinic acid, arjunolic acid and boswellic acids, by modification of A-ring with a cyano- and enone- functionalities, have been reported. A novel method of synthesis of α-cyanoenones from isoxazoles is reported. Bio-assays using primary mouse macrophages and tumor cell lines indicate potent anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities associated with cyanoenones of boswellic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid.
PMCID: PMC2900779  PMID: 20622928
11.  Gene expression profile of epithelial cells and mesenchymal cells derived from limbal explant culture 
Molecular Vision  2010;16:1227-1240.
Limbal stem cell deficiency is a challenging clinical problem and the current treatment involves replenishing the depleted limbal stem cell (LSC) pool by either limbal tissue transplantation or use of cultivated limbal epithelial cells (LEC). Our experience of cultivating the LEC on denuded human amniotic membrane using a feeder cell free method, led to identification of mesenchymal cells of limbus (MC-L), which showed phenotypic resemblance to bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC-BM). To understand the transcriptional profile of these cells, microarray experiments were carried out.
RNA was isolated from cultured LEC, MC-L and MSC-BM and microarray experiments were carried out by using Agilent chip (4×44 k). The microarray data was validated by using Realtime and semiquntitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
The microarray analysis revealed specific gene signature of LEC and MC-L, and also their complementary role related to cytokine and growth factor profile, thus supporting the nurturing roles of the MC-L. We have also observed similar and differential gene expression between MC-L and MSC-BM.
This study represents the first extensive gene expression analysis of limbal explant culture derived epithelial and mesenchymal cells and as such reveals new insight into the biology, ontogeny, and in vivo function of these cells.
PMCID: PMC2903463  PMID: 20664697
12.  Expression profiling of genes regulated by TGF-beta: Differential regulation in normal and tumour cells 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:98.
TGF-beta is one of the key cytokines implicated in various disease processes including cancer. TGF-beta inhibits growth and promotes apoptosis in normal epithelial cells and in contrast, acts as a pro-tumour cytokine by promoting tumour angiogenesis, immune-escape and metastasis. It is not clear if various actions of TGF-beta on normal and tumour cells are due to differential gene regulations. Hence we studied the regulation of gene expression by TGF-beta in normal and cancer cells.
Using human 19 K cDNA microarrays, we show that 1757 genes are exclusively regulated by TGF-beta in A549 cells in contrast to 733 genes exclusively regulated in HPL1D cells. In addition, 267 genes are commonly regulated in both the cell-lines. Semi-quantitative and real-time qRT-PCR analysis of some genes agrees with the microarray data. In order to identify the signalling pathways that influence TGF-beta mediated gene regulation, we used specific inhibitors of p38 MAP kinase, ERK kinase, JNK kinase and integrin signalling pathways. The data suggest that regulation of majority of the selected genes is dependent on at least one of these pathways and this dependence is cell-type specific. Interestingly, an integrin pathway inhibitor, RGD peptide, significantly affected TGF-beta regulation of Thrombospondin 1 in A549 cells.
These data suggest major differences with respect to TGF-beta mediated gene regulation in normal and transformed cells and significant role of non-canonical TGF-beta pathways in the regulation of many genes by TGF-beta.
PMCID: PMC1858692  PMID: 17425807

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