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author:("uril, nindita")
1.  Curative Effect of 18β-Glycyrrhetinic Acid in Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis Depends on Phosphatase-Dependent Modulation of Cellular MAP Kinases 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29062.
We earlier showed that 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid (GRA), a pentacyclic triterpenoid from licorice root, could completely cure visceral leishmaniasis in BALB/c mouse model. This was associated with induction of nitric oxide and proinflammatory cytokine production through the up regulation of NF-κB. In the present study we tried to decipher the underlying cellular mechanisms of the curative effect of GRA. Analysis of MAP kinase pathways revealed that GRA caused strong activation of p38 and to a lesser extent, ERK in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM). Almost complete abrogation of GRA-induced cytokine production in presence of specific inhibitors of p38 and ERK1/2 confirmed the involvement of these MAP kinases in GRA-mediated responses. GRA induced mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase (MSK1) activity in a time-dependent manner suggested that GRA-mediated NF-κB transactivation is mediated by p38, ERK and MSK1 pathway. As kinase/phosphatase balance plays an important role in modulating infection, the effect of GRA on MAPK directed phosphatases (MKP) was studied. GRA markedly reduced the expression and activities of three phosphatases, MKP1, MKP3 and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) along with a substantial reduction of p38 and ERK dephosphorylation in infected BMDM. Similarly in the in vivo situation, GRA treatment of L. donovani-infected BALB/c mice caused marked reduction of spleen parasite burden associated with concomitant decrease of individual phosphatase levels. However, activation of kinases also played an important role as the protective effect of GRA was significantly abrogated by pharmacological inhibition of p38 and ERK pathway. Curative effect of GRA may, therefore, be associated with restoration of proper cellular kinase/phosphatase balance, rather than modulation of either kinases or phosphatases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029062
PMCID: PMC3237588  PMID: 22194991
2.  Immunomodulatory Peptide from Cystatin, a Natural Cysteine Protease Inhibitor, against Leishmaniasis as a Model Macrophage Disease▿  
Cystatin, a natural cysteine protease inhibitor, has strong antileishmanial activity, which is due to its potential to induce nitric oxide (NO) generation from macrophages. Cysteine protease-inhibitory activity and NO-up-regulatory activity correspond to different regions, as revealed by the dissection of cystatin cDNA into nonoverlapping fragments. By using synthetic overlapping peptides, the NO-up-regulatory activity was found to be confined to a 10-mer sequence. In addition to having reasonable inhibitory effects on amastigote multiplication within macrophages (50% inhibitory concentration, 5.2 μg/ml), 97 and 93% suppression, respectively, of liver and spleen parasite burdens was achieved with the 10-mer peptide at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg of body weight/day, given consecutively for 4 days along with a suboptimal dose of gamma interferon in a 45-day mouse model of visceral leishmaniasis. Peptide treatment modulated the levels of cytokine secretion by infected splenocytes, with increased levels of interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha and increased inducible NO synthase production, and also resulted in resistance to reinfection. The generation of a natural peptide from cystatin with robust immunomodulatory potential may therefore provide a promising therapeutic agent for macrophage-associated diseases.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01555-06
PMCID: PMC1855531  PMID: 17339373

Results 1-2 (2)