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1.  Molecular Inflammation: Underpinnings of Aging and Age-related Diseases 
Ageing research reviews  2008;8(1):18-30.
Recent scientific studies have advanced the notion of chronic inflammation as a major risk factor underlying aging and age-related diseases. In this review, low-grade, unresolved, molecular inflammation is described as an underlying mechanism of aging and age-related diseases, which may serve as a bridge between normal aging and age-related pathological processes. Accumulated data strongly suggest that continuous (chronic) up-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF-α, IL-1β, 6, COX-2, iNOS) are induced during the aging process due to an age-related redox imbalance that activates many pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including the NF-κB signaling pathway. These pro-inflammatory molecular events are discussed in relation to their role as basic mechanisms underlying aging and age-related diseases. Further, the anti-inflammatory actions of aging-retarding caloric restriction and exercise are reviewed. Thus, the purpose of this review is to describe the molecular roles of age-related physiological functional declines and the accompanying chronic diseases associated with aging. This new view on the role of molecular inflammation as a mechanism of aging and age-related pathogenesis can provide insights into potential interventions that may affect the aging process and reduce age-related diseases, thereby promoting healthy longevity.
PMCID: PMC3782993  PMID: 18692159
molecular inflammation; aging; calorie restriction; exercise; cytokines; oxidative stress; inflammatory diseases; age-related diseases; obesity; sarcopenia; dementia; atherosclerosis; cancer; osteoporosis
2.  Essential oils purified from Schisandrae semen inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α-induced matrix metalloproteinase-9 activation and migration of human aortic smooth muscle cells 
The migration of vascular smooth muscle cells from the tunica media to the subendothelial region may be a key event in the development of atherosclerosis after arterial injury. In this study, we investigated the potential mechanisms underlying the anti-atherosclerotic effects of Schisandrae Semen essential oil (SSeo) in human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs).
Metalloproteinase-2/9 (MMP-2/9) activity was evaluated by gelatin zymography and gelatinase activity assay kit. The possible mechanisms underlying SSeo-mediated reduction of by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced cell invasion and inhibition of secreted and cytosolic MMP-9 production in HASMCs were investigated.
Our results indicate that SSeo treatment has an inhibitory effect on activation as well as expression of MMP-9 induced by TNF-α in HASMCs in a dose-dependent manner without significant cytotoxicity. SSeo attenuated nuclear translocation of TNF-α-mediated nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and blocked degradation of the NF-κB inhibitor proteins as well as the production of reactive oxygen species. SSeo also reduced TNF-α-induced production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 and inhibited inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 expression in HASMCs. Furthermore, the Matrigel migration assay showed that SSeo effectively reduced TNF-α-induced HASMC migration compared with that in the control group.
Taken together, these results suggest that SSeo treatment suppresses TNF-α-induced HASMC migration by selectively inhibiting MMP-9 expression, which was associated with suppression of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that SSeo has putative potential anti-atherosclerotic activity.
PMCID: PMC4323209  PMID: 25651915
Schisandrae semen essential oil; HASMCs; Invasion; MMP-9; NF-κB
3.  Therapeutic Effects of S-Petasin on Disease Models of Asthma and Peritonitis 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2015;23(1):45-52.
To explore the anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects of extracts of Petasites genus, we studied the effects of s-petasin, a major sesquiterpene from Petasites formosanus (a butterbur species) on asthma and peritonitis models. In an ovalbumin-induced mouse asthma model, s-petasin significantly inhibited the accumulations of eosinophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes in bronchoalveolar fluids. S-petasin inhibited the antigen-induced degranulation of β-hexosamidase but did not inhibit intracellular Ca2+ increase in RBL-2H3 mast cells. S-petasin inhibited the LPS induction of iNOS at the RNA and protein levels in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Furthermore, s-petasin inhibited the production of NO (the product of iNOS) in a concentration-dependent manner in the macrophages. Furthermore, in an LPS-induced mouse model of peritonitis, s-petasin significantly inhibited the accumulation of polymorpho nuclear and mononuclear leukocytes in peritoneal cavity. This study shows that s-petasin in Petasites genus has therapeutic effects on allergic and inflammatory diseases, such as, asthma and peritonitis through degranulation inhibition in mast cells, suppression of iNOS induction and production of NO in macrophages, and suppression of inflammatory cell accumulation.
PMCID: PMC4286749  PMID: 25593643
S-petasin; Anti-allergy; Anti-inflammation; COX-2; Degranulation; Mast Cell; Macrophage
4.  Inhibition of NF-κB-induced inflammatory responses by angiotensin II antagonists in aged rat kidney 
Experimental gerontology  2011;46(7):542-548.
In this study, we explored the mechanisms by which the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI), enalapril, and the Ang II receptor blocker (ARB), losartan suppress oxidative stress and NF-κB activation-induced inflammatory responses in aged rat kidney. The experimentations were carried out utilizing aged (24-month-old) Brown Norway x Fischer 344 (F1) male rats which were randomized into 3 groups and administered enalapril (40 mg/kg), losartan (30 mg/kg) or placebo for 6 months (daily p.o.). The level of reactive species (RS), peroxynitrite (ONOO−), GSH/GSSG and lipid peroxidation were measured. The activity of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, and gene expression of proteins in upstream signaling cascades were measured by electro-mobility shift assay (EMSA) and Western blotting. Enalapril and losartan differentially attenuated redox imbalance and the redox-sensitive transcription factor, NF-κB pathway. Furthermore, stimulation of the NF-κB activation pathway by phosphorylation of p65 was attenuated by both compounds. Moreover, mediation of phosphorylation of p65 by phosphorylation of IκB kinase αβ (IKKαβ) and mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 (MSK1), were also inhibited by enalapril and losartan. Finally, both compounds also lowered expression of NF-κB-dependent inflammatory genes, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2),) and inducible NO synthase (iNOS). Only losartan lowered levels of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). These findings indicate that enalapril and losartan differentially suppress inflammatory responses via inhibition of oxidative stress-induced NF-κB activation in aged rat kidney.
PMCID: PMC3104080  PMID: 21377515
5.  Morin attenuates tau hyperphosphorylation by inhibiting GSK3β 
Neurobiology of disease  2011;44(2):223-230.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the major form of age-related dementia and is characterized by progressive cognitive impairment, the accumulation of extracellular amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), and intracellular hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates in affected brain regions. Tau hyperphosphorylation and accumulation in neurofibrillary tangles is strongly correlated with cognitive deficits, and is apparently a critical event in the dementia process because mutations in tau can cause a tangle-only form of dementia called frontotemporal lobe dementia. Among kinases that phosphorylate tau, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is strongly implicated in AD pathogenesis. In the present study, we established an ELISA to screen for agents that inhibit GSK3β activity and found that the flavonoid morin effectively inhibited GSK3β activity and blocked GSK3β-induced tau phosphorylation in vitro. In addition, morin attenuated Aβ-induced tau phosphorylation and protected human neuroblastoma cells against Aβ cytotoxicity. Furthermore, treatment of 3×Tg-AD mice with morin resulted in reductions in tau hyperphosphorylation and paired helical filament-like immunoreactivity in hippocampal neurons. Morin is a novel inhibitor of GSK3β that can reduce tau pathology in vivo and may have potential as a therapeutic agent in tauopathies.
PMCID: PMC3166962  PMID: 21782947
Alzheimer’s disease; GSK3β; Tau hyperphosphorylation; Morin
6.  Age-related inflammation and insulin resistance: a review of their intricate interdependency 
Archives of Pharmacal Research  2014;37(12):1507-1514.
Chronic inflammation is a major risk factor underlying aging and the associated diseases of aging; of particular interest is insulin resistance during aging. Chronic inflammation impairs normal lipid accumulation, adipose tissue function, mitochondrial function, and causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which lead to insulin resistance. However, some studies show that insulin resistance itself amplifies chronic inflammation. The activity of the insulin-dependent Akt signaling pathway is highlighted because of its decrease in insulin-sensitive organs, like liver and muscle, which may underlie insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, and its increased levels in non-metabolic organs, such as kidney and aorta. In that the prevalence of obesity has increased substantially for all age groups in recent years, our review summarizes the data showing the involvement of chronic inflammation in obesity-induced insulin resistance, which perpetuates reciprocal interactions between the chronic inflammatory process and increased adiposity, thereby accelerating the aging process.
PMCID: PMC4246128  PMID: 25239110
Insulin resistance; Molecular inflammation; Aging
7.  Modulation of Colitis-associated Colon Tumorigenesis by Baicalein and Betaine 
Journal of Cancer Prevention  2014;19(3):153-160.
In this review, we will summarize the current understanding of modulation of colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis by two natural products, baicalein and betaine, which have anti-inflammatory activities. Baicalein and betaine have been shown to provide various health benefits to organism in many ways. Baicalein is a phenolic flavonoid derived originally from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi. From ancient times, baicalein has widely been used in oriental medicines as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapy. Betaine, trimethylglycine, is an essential biochemical molecule of the methionine/homocysteine cycle and is synthesized by conversion of choline. Betaine is an important human nutrient obtained from various foods including sugar beet and lycium. Betaine has provided various health benefits including disease prevention. However, the action mechanisms of their activity remain poorly understood. Recent studies reported the effects of baicalein and betaine on cytotoxicity against colon cancer cells and chemically induced colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis in mice. Administrations of baicalein and betaine containing diets significantly inhibited the incidence of tumors and hyperplasia with down-regulation of inflammation. Therefore, baicalein and betaine might be applicable to the prevention of inflammation-associated colon carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4189507  PMID: 25337584
Baicalein; Betaine; Inflammatory bowel disease; Colon cancer; Azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate model
8.  Anti-Wrinkle Effect of Magnesium Lithospermate B from Salvia miltiorrhiza BUNGE: Inhibition of MMPs via NF-kB Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102689.
Skin is in direct contact with the environment and therefore undergoes aging as a consequence of environmentally induce damage. Wrinkle formation is a striking feature of intrinsic and photo-induced skin aging, which are both associated with oxidative stress and inflammatory response. The present study was undertaken to identify the mechanisms responsible for the anti-wrinkle effects of MLB, and thus, we investigated whether magnesium lithospermate B (MLB) from Salvia miltiorrhiza BUNGE associated with wrinkle formation caused by intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging using Sprague-Dawley rats aged 5 and 20 months and ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated human skin fibroblasts cells, respectively. The results obtained showed that the oral administration of MLB significantly upregulated the level of type I procollagen and downregulated the activities and expressions of matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs) in rat skin. In fibroblasts, MLB suppressed the transactivation of nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) and activator protein 1(AP-1), which are the two transcription factors responsible for MMP expression, by suppressing oxidative stress and the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Our results show that the antioxidant effect of MLB is due to the direct scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and its inhibitory effects on NF-kB-dependent inflammation genes, such as, cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase. MLB was found to reverse both age- and UVB-related reductions in skin procollagen levels by suppressing the expressions and activities of NF-kB and AP-1-dependent MMPs by modulating ROS generation and the MAPK signaling pathway. We suggest that MLB potentially has anti-wrinkle and anti-skin aging effects.
PMCID: PMC4123883  PMID: 25099178
9.  Identification of the dichotomous role of age-related LCK in calorie restriction revealed by integrative analysis of cDNA microarray and interactome 
Age  2012;35(4):1045-1060.
Among the many experimental paradigms used for the investigation of aging, the calorie restriction (CR) model has been proven to be the most useful in gerontological research. Exploration of the mechanisms underlying CR has produced a wealth of data. To identify key molecules controlled by aging and CR, we integrated data from 84 mouse and rat cDNA microarrays with a protein–protein interaction network. On the basis of this integrative analysis, we selected three genes that are upregulated in aging but downregulated by CR and two genes that are downregulated in aging but upregulated by CR. One of these key molecules is lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK). To further confirm this result on LCK, we performed a series of experiments in vitro and in vivo using kidneys obtained from aged ad libitum-fed and CR rats. Our major significant findings are as follows: (1) identification of LCK as a key molecule using integrative analysis; (2) confirmation that the age-related increase in LCK was modulated by CR and that protein tyrosine kinase activity was decreased using a LCK-specific inhibitor; and (3) upregulation of LCK leads to NF-κB activation in a ONOO− generation-dependent manner, which is modulated by CR. These results indicate that LCK could be considered a target attenuated by the anti-aging effects of CR. Integrative analysis of cDNA microarray and interactome data are powerful tools for identifying target molecules that are involved in the aging process and modulated by CR.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9426-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3705109  PMID: 22828953
Aging; Calorie restriction; cDNA microarray; Differentially expressed genes; Interactome; LCK
10.  Daumone fed late in life improves survival and reduces hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in mice 
Aging Cell  2014;13(4):709-718.
The liver is one of the most susceptible organs to aging, and hepatic inflammation and fibrosis increase with age. Chronic inflammation has been proposed as the major molecular mechanism underlying aging and age-related diseases, whereas calorie restriction has been shown to be the most effective in extending mammalian lifespan and to have anti-aging effects through its anti-inflammatory action. Thus, it is necessary to develop effective calorie restriction mimetics. Daumone [(2)-(6R)-(3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyltetrahydropyran-2-yloxy)heptanoic acid], a pheromone secreted by Caenorhabditis elegans, forces them to enter the dauer stage when facing inadequate conditions. Because Caenorhabditis elegans live longer during the dauer stage under energy deprivation, it was hypothesized that daumone may improve survival in mammals by mimicking calorie restriction. Daumone (2 mg kg−1 day−1) was administered orally for 5 months to 24-month-old male C57BL/6J mice. Daumone was found to reduce the risk of death by 48% compared with age-matched control mice, and the increased plasma insulin normally presented in old mice was significantly reduced by daumone. The increased hepatic hypertrophy, senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity, insulin resistance, lipid accumulation, inflammation, oxidative stress, and fibrosis in old mice were significantly attenuated by daumone. From a mechanistic view, daumone reduced the phosphorylation of the IκBα and upregulation of Rela and Nfkbia mRNA in the livers of old mice. The anti-inflammatory effect of daumone was confirmed in lipopolysaccharide-induced liver injury model. Oral administration of daumone improves survival in mice and delivers anti-aging effects to the aged liver by modulating chronic inflammation, indicating that daumone could be developed as an anti-aging compound.
PMCID: PMC4326938  PMID: 24796965
aging; inflammation; insulin resistance; liver; longevity; pheromones
11.  β–Hydroxy β–Methylbutyrate Improves Dexamethasone-Induced Muscle Atrophy by Modulating the Muscle Degradation Pathway in SD Rat 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102947.
Skeletal muscle atrophy results from various conditions including high levels of glucocorticoids, and β–hydroxy β–methylbutyrate (HMB; a metabolite of leucine) is a potent therapeutical supplement used to treat various muscle disorders. Recent studies have demonstrated that HMB inhibits dexamethasone-induced atrophy in cultured myotubes, but its effect on dexamethasone-induced muscle atrophy has not been determined in vivo. In the present study, we investigated the effect of HMB on dexamethasone-induced muscle atrophy in rats. Treatment with dexamethasone weakened grip strengths and increased muscle damage as determined by increased serum creatine kinase levels and by histological analysis. Dexamethasone treatment also reduced both soleus and gastrocnemius muscle masses. However, HMB supplementation significantly prevented reductions in grip strengths, reduced muscle damage, and prevented muscle mass and protein concentration decrease in soleus muscle. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that dexamethasone markedly increased levels of MuRF1 protein, which causes the ubiquitination and degradation of MyHC. Indeed, dexamethasone treatment decreased MyHC protein expression and increased the ubiquitinated-MyHC to MyHC ratio. However, HMB supplementation caused the down-regulations of MuRF1 protein and of ubiquitinated-MyHC. Furthermore, additional experiments provided evidence that HMB supplementation inhibited the nuclear translocation of FOXO1 induced by dexamethasone, and showed increased MyoD expression in the nuclear fractions of soleus muscles. These findings suggest that HMB supplementation attenuates dexamethasone-induced muscle wasting by regulating FOXO1 transcription factor and subsequent MuRF1 expression. Accordingly, our results suggest that HMB supplementation could be used to prevent steroid myopathy.
PMCID: PMC4102592  PMID: 25032690
12.  A key role for neuropeptide Y in lifespan extension and cancer suppression via dietary restriction 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4517.
Knowledge of genes essential for the life-extending effect of dietary restriction (DR) in mammals is incomplete. In this study, we found that neuropeptide Y (Npy), which mediates physiological adaptations to energy deficits, is an essential link between DR and longevity in mice. The lifespan-prolonging effect of lifelong 30% DR was attenuated in Npy-null mice, as was the effect on the occurrence of spontaneous tumors and oxidative stress responses in comparison to wild-type mice. In contrast, the physiological processes activated during adaptation to DR, including inhibition of anabolic signaling molecules (insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1), modulation of adipokine and corticosterone levels, and preferential fatty acid oxidation, were unaffected by the absence of Npy. These results suggest a key role for Npy in mediating the effects of DR. We also provide evidence that most of the physiological adaptations to DR could be achieved in mice without Npy.
PMCID: PMC3970128  PMID: 24682105
13.  Short-Term Caloric Restriction Does Not Reduce Bone Mineral Density in Rats with Early Type 2 Diabetes 
Endocrinology and Metabolism  2014;29(1):70-76.
The effect of caloric restriction (CR) in the setting of diabetes on bone metabolism has not yet been fully studied. The aim of this study is to determine if short-term CR alters bone mass and metabolism in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rats, an animal model of type 2 diabetes.
Four groups (n=5) were created: OLETF rats with food ad libitum (AL), OLETF rats with CR, Long-Evans Tokusima Otsuka (LETO) rats with food AL, and LETO rats with CR. The CR condition was imposed on 24-week-old male rats using a 40% calorie reduction for 4 weeks. The effect of CR on femoral bone mineral density (BMD) was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Serum markers were measured by immunoassay.
After 4 weeks of CR, body weight decreased in both strains. The BMD decreased in LETO rats and was maintained in OLETF rats. After adjustment for body weight, BMD remained lower in LETO rats (P=0.017) but not OLETF rats (P=0.410). Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels decreased in LETO rats (P=0.025) but not in OLEFT rats (P=0.347). Serum leptin levels were reduced after CR in both strains, but hyperleptinemia remained in OLETF rats (P=0.009). CR increased 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in OLETF rats (P=0.009) but not in LETO rats (P=0.117). Additionally, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α levels decreased only in OLETF rats (P=0.009).
Short-term CR and related weight loss were associated with decreases of femoral BMD in LETO rats while BMD was maintained in OLETF rats. Short-term CR may not alter bone mass and metabolism in type 2 diabetic rats.
PMCID: PMC3970278  PMID: 24741457
Caloric restriction; Bone density; Diabetes mellitus, type 2
14.  Synthesis of PPAR-γ Activators Inspired by the Marine Natural Product, Paecilocin A 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(2):926-939.
A series of N-substituted phthalimide derivatives were synthesized based on a pharmacophore study of paecilocin A (a natural PPAR-γ agonist) and synthetic leads. The introduction of hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups to the phthalimide skeleton yielded compounds 3–14. Compound 7 showed significant PPAR-γ activation in a luciferase assay using rat liver Ac2F cells. Docking simulations showed that a free hydroxyl group on the phthalimide head and a suitable hydrophilic tail, including a phenyl linker, were beneficial for PPAR-γ activation. Compound 7 and rosiglitazone concentration-dependently activated PPAR-γ with EC50 values of 0.67 μM and 0.028 μM, respectively. These phthalimide derivatives could be further investigated as a new class of PPAR-γ ligands.
PMCID: PMC3944523  PMID: 24531188
PPAR-γ; diabetes; phthalimide; luciferase assay; docking simulation; cell proliferation
15.  Mitochondrial iron accumulation with age and functional consequences 
Aging cell  2008;7(5):706-716.
During the aging process, an accumulation of non-heme iron disrupts cellular homeostasis and contributes to the mitochondrial dysfunction typical of various neuromuscular degenerative diseases. Few studies have investigated the effects of iron accumulation on mitochondrial integrity and function in skeletal muscle and liver tissue. Thus, we isolated liver mitochondria (LM), as well as quadriceps-derived subsarcolemmal mitochondria (SSM) and interfibrillar mitochondria (IFM), from male Fischer 344× Brown Norway rats at 8, 18, 29 and 37 months of age. Non-heme iron content in SSM, IFM and LM was significantly higher with age, reaching a maximum at 37 months of age. The mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) was more susceptible to the opening in aged mitochondria containing high levels of iron (i.e. SSM and LM) compared to IFM. Furthermore, mitochondrial RNA oxidation increased significantly with age in SSM and LM, but not in IFM. Levels of mitochondrial RNA oxidation in SSM and LM correlated positively with levels of mitochondrial iron, whereas a significant negative correlation was observed between the maximum Ca2+ amounts needed to induce mPTP opening and iron contents in SSM, IFM and LM. Overall, our data suggest that age-dependent accumulation of mitochondrial iron may increase mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage, thereby enhancing the susceptibility to apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC3849824  PMID: 18843794
mitochondrial aging; mitochondrial iron homeostasis; mitochondrial permeability transition pore; mitochondrial RNA; oxidative stress; skeletal muscle subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar mitochondria
16.  Potent Anti-Diabetic Effects of MHY908, a Newly Synthesized PPAR α/γ Dual Agonist in db/db Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78815.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α/γ dual agonists have been developed to alleviate metabolic disorders and have the potential to be used as therapeutic agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In this study, we investigated the effects of a newly synthesized PPAR α/γ dual agonist, 2-[4-(5-chlorobenzo [d] thiazol-2-yl) phenoxy]-2-methylpropanoic acid (MHY908) on type 2 diabetes in vitro and in vivo. To obtain initial evidence that MHY908 acts as a PPAR α/γ dual agonist, ChIP and reporter gene assays were conducted in AC2F rat liver cells, and to investigate the anti-diabetic effects and molecular mechanisms, eight-week-old, male db/db mice were allowed to eat ad libitum, placed on calorie restriction, or administered MHY908 (1 mg or 3 mg/kg/day) mixed in food for 4 weeks. Age-matched male db/m lean mice served as non-diabetic controls. It was found that MHY908 enhanced the binding and transcriptional activity of PPAR α and γ in AC2F cells, and it reduced serum glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels, however increased adiponectin levels without body weight gain. In addition, MHY908 significantly improved hepatic steatosis by enhancing CPT-1 levels. Remarkably, MHY908 reduced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation in the livers of db/db mice, and subsequently reduced insulin resistance. The study shows MHY908 has beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes by simultaneously activating PPAR α/γ and improving ER stress, and suggests that MHY908 could have a potent anti-diabetic effect as a PPAR α/γ dual agonist, and potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3828319  PMID: 24244369
17.  The Novel PPAR α/γ Dual Agonist MHY 966 Modulates UVB–Induced Skin Inflammation by Inhibiting NF-κB Activity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76820.
Ultraviolet B (UVB; 290~320nm) irradiation-induced lipid peroxidation induces inflammatory responses that lead to skin wrinkle formation and epidermal thickening. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α/γ dual agonists have the potential to be used as anti-wrinkle agents because they inhibit inflammatory response and lipid peroxidation. In this study, we evaluated the function of 2-bromo-4-(5-chloro-benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl) phenol (MHY 966), a novel synthetic PPAR α/γ dual agonist, and investigated its anti-inflammatory and anti-lipid peroxidation effects. The action of MHY 966 as a PPAR α/γ dual agonist was also determined in vitro by reporter gene assay. Additionally, 8-week-old melanin-possessing hairless mice 2 (HRM2) were exposed to 150 mJ/cm2 UVB every other day for 17 days and MHY 966 was simultaneously pre-treated every day for 17 days to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved. MHY 966 was found to stimulate the transcriptional activities of both PPAR α and γ. In HRM2 mice, we found that the skins of mice exposed to UVB showed significantly increased pro-inflammatory mediator levels (NF-κB, iNOS, and COX-2) and increased lipid peroxidation, whereas MHY 966 co-treatment down-regulated these effects of UVB by activating PPAR α and γ. Thus, the present study shows that MHY 966 exhibits beneficial effects on inflammatory responses and lipid peroxidation by simultaneously activating PPAR α and γ. The major finding of this study is that MHY 966 demonstrates potential as an agent against wrinkle formation associated with chronic UVB exposure.
PMCID: PMC3793945  PMID: 24130794
18.  Anti-Wrinkle and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Active Garlic Components and the Inhibition of MMPs via NF-κB Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73877.
Skin aging is a multisystem degenerative process caused by several factors, such as, UV irradiation, stress, and smoke. Furthermore, wrinkle formation is a striking feature of photoaging and is associated with oxidative stress and inflammatory response. In the present study, we investigated whether caffeic acid, S-allyl cysteine, and uracil, which were isolated from garlic, modulate UVB-induced wrinkle formation and effect the expression of matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP) and NF-κB signaling. The results obtained showed that all three compounds significantly inhibited the degradation of type І procollagen and the expressions of MMPs in vivo and attenuated the histological collagen fiber disorder and oxidative stress in vivo. Furthermore, caffeic acid and S-allyl cysteine were found to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation by modulating the activities of NF-κB and AP-1, and uracil exhibited an indirect anti-oxidant effect by suppressing cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expressions levels and downregulating transcriptional factors. These results suggest that the anti-wrinkle effects of caffeic acid, S-allyl cysteine, and uracil are due to anti-oxidant and/or anti-inflammatory effects. Summarizing, caffeic acid, S-allyl cysteine, and uracil inhibited UVB-induced wrinkle formation by modulating MMP via NF-κB signaling.
PMCID: PMC3774756  PMID: 24066081
19.  Urushiol Induces Apoptosis via a p53-dependent Pathway in Human Gastric Cancer Cells 
Journal of Cancer Prevention  2013;18(2):169-176.
Urushiols are mixtures of olefinic catechols which is isolated from the sap of Korean lacquer tree (Rhus vernicifera Stokes). The aim of this study was to determine the anticancer effects of urushiol in human gastric adenocarcinoma cell lines.
The cytotoxicity of urushiols was assessed by MTT assays on the two gastric adenocarcinoma cell lines, MKN-45 (wild type of p53) and MKN-28 (mutant type of p53). We also examined the action mechanisms of urushiol by analyzing its effects on cell cycle progression and apoptosis induction.
The cytotoxic results from MTT assays indicated that urushiol inhibited human gastric cancer cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, with IC50 values of approximately 15 and 20 μg/ml on MKN-45 and MKN-28 cells, respectively. Urushiol mediated cell death on these two cancer cell lines through different pathways. Urushiol induced apoptosis on MKN-45 cells, concomitant with apoptotic nuclear change, DNA fragmentation, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and apoptotic body formation via extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. However, no apoptotic features were induced by urushiol treatment on MKN-28 cells. Urushiol induced cytostatic cell growth inhibition via upregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p21WAF1/CIP1 and p27KIP1 proteins and down-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 and 4 proteins in a p53-independent manner.
These data provide evidence that urushiol has the potential to be used as a chemotherapeutic agent in human gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC4189456  PMID: 25337543
Urushiol; Gastric cancer cells; Apoptosis; G1 arrest
20.  Attenuation of age-related changes in FOXO3a activity and the PI3K/Akt pathway by short-term feeding of ferulate 
Age  2011;34(2):317-327.
Ferulate (4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid) is a well-known phenolic compound that scavenges free radicals and exerts anti-inflammatory effects. Forkhead box O3a (FOXO3a), a transcription factor that plays important roles in aging processes, decreases with age and is negatively regulated through phosphorylation by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling. The present study investigated the efficacy of short-term ferulate feeding on age-related changes in PI3K/Akt/FOXO3a and upstream insulin signaling pathways in aged rats. In addition, changes in manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and catalase expression were examined because of their dependence on PI3K/Akt/FOXO3a activity. Short-term feeding experiments were done with a diet containing ferulate that was given to aged rats at doses of 3 or 6 mg kg−1 day−1 for 10 days. Results showed that FOXO3a activity was increased in the ferulate-fed old group compared with the control old group. Also, ferulate suppressed the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway that is responsible for FOXO3a inhibition in aged rats. Plasma insulin levels and the upstream insulin signaling pathway were also modulated by ferulate correspondingly with PI3K/Akt/FOXO3a activity. The age-related decrease in two major antioxidant enzymes, MnSOD and catalase, was blunted by ferulate, which was accompanied by FOXO3a transcriptional activity. The significance of the present study is the finding that short-term feeding of ferulate effectively modulates age-related renal FOXO3a, PI3K/Akt and insulin signaling pathways, and MnSOD and catalase expression, all of which may be beneficial for attenuating the aging process.
PMCID: PMC3312622  PMID: 21468671
Ferulate; FOXO3a; Aging; PI3K/Akt; MnSOD; Catalase
21.  Molecular Study of Dietary Heptadecane for the Anti-Inflammatory Modulation of NF-kB in the Aged Kidney 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59316.
Heptadecane is a volatile component of Spirulina platensis, and blocks the de novo synthesis of fatty acids and ameliorates several oxidative stress-related diseases. In a redox state disrupted by oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory genes are upregulated by the activation of NF-kB via diverse kinases. Thus, the search and characterization of new substances that modulate NF-kB are lively research topics. In the present study, heptadecane was examined in terms of its ability to suppress inflammatory NF-kB activation via redox-related NIK/IKK and MAPKs pathway in aged rats. In the first part of the study, Fischer 344 rats, aged 9 and 20 months, were administered on average approximately 20 or 40 mg/Kg body weight over 10 days. The potency of heptadecane was investigated by examining its ability to suppress the gene expressions of COX-2 and iNOS (both NF-κB-related genes) and reactive species (RS) production in aged kidney tissue. In the second part of the study, YPEN-1 cells (an endothelial cell line) were used to explore the molecular mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory effect of heptadecane by examining its modulation of NF-kB and NF-kB signal pathway. Results showed that heptadecane exhibited a potent anti-oxidative effect by protecting YPEN-1 cells from tert-butylhydroperoxide induced oxidative stress. Further molecular investigations revealed that heptadecane attenuated RS-induced NF-kB via the NIK/IKK and MAPKs pathways in YPEN-1 cells and aged kidney tissues. Based on these results, we conclude that heptadecane suppresses age-related increases in pro-inflammatory gene expressions by reducing NF-kB activity by upregulating the NIK/IKK and MAPKs pathways induced by RS. These findings provide molecular insight of the mechanisms by which heptadecane exerts its antiinflammatory effect in aged kidney tissues. We conclude that heptadecane suppresses age-related increases in pro-inflammatory gene expressions then travel upstream set by step by reducing NF-kB activity by downregulating the NIK/IKK and MAPKs pathways induced by RS.
PMCID: PMC3608635  PMID: 23555655
22.  Ginsenoside Rd inhibits the expressions of iNOS and COX-2 by suppressing NF-κB in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells and mouse liver 
Journal of Ginseng Research  2013;37(1):54-63.
Ginsenoside Rd is a primary constituent of the ginseng rhizome and has been shown to participate in the regulation of diabetes and in tumor formation. Reports also show that ginsenoside Rd exerts anti-oxidative effects by activating anti-oxidant enzymes. Treatment with ginsenoside Rd decreased nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-challenged RAW264.7 cells and in ICR mouse livers (5 mg/kg LPS; LPS + ginsenoside Rd [2, 10, and 50 mg/kg]). Furthermore, these decreases were associated with the down-regulations of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and of nuclear factor (NF)-κB activity in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that ginsenoside Rd treatment decreases; 1) nitric oxide production (40% inhibition); 2) PGE2 synthesis (69% to 93% inhibition); 3) NF-κB activity; and 4) the NF-κB-regulated expressions of iNOS and COX-2. Taken together, our results suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of ginsenoside Rd are due to the down-regulation of NF-κB and the consequent expressional suppressions of iNOS and COX-2.
PMCID: PMC3659628  PMID: 23717157
Panax ginseng; Ginsenoside Rd; Inducible nitric oxide synthase; Cyclooxygenase-2; Prostaglandin E2
23.  Mechanism of Ang II involvement in activation of NF-κB through phosphorylation of p65 during aging 
Age  2011;34(1):11-25.
Angiotensin II (Ang II), a major effector of the renin–angiotensin system, is now recognized as a pro-inflammatory mediator. This Ang II signaling, which causes transcription of pro-inflammatory genes, is regulated through nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). At present, the molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of aging on Ang II signaling and NF-κB activation are not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to document altered molecular events involved in age-related changes in Ang II signaling and NF-κB activation. Experimentations were carried out using kidney tissues from Fischer 344 rats at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age, and the rat endothelial cell line, YPEN-1 for the detailed molecular work. Results show that increases in Ang II and Ang II type 1 receptor during aging were accompanied by the generation of reactive species. Increased Ang II activated NF-κB by phosphorylating IκBα and p65. Increased phosphorylation of p65 at Ser 536 was mediated by the enhanced phosphorylation of IκB kinase αβ, while phosphorylation site Ser 276 of p65 was mediated by upregulated mitogen-activated and stress-activated protein kinase-1. These altered molecular events in aged animals were partly verified by experiments using YPEN-1 cells. Collectively, our findings provide molecular insights into the pro-inflammatory actions of Ang II, actions that influence the phosphorylation of p65-mediated NF-κB activation during aging. Our study demonstrates the age-related pleiotropic nature of the physiologically important Ang II can change into a deleterious culprit that contributes to an increased incidence of many chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and dementia.
PMCID: PMC3260361  PMID: 21318332
Ang II; Aging; NF-κB; p65 phosphorylation; Inflammation
24.  Correction: Inhibitory Effect of mTOR Activator MHY1485 on Autophagy: Suppression of Lysosomal Fusion 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):10.1371/annotation/e3163ad5-f3d8-4a21-b3e1-f2033a76f9db.
PMCID: PMC3567894
25.  Inhibitory Effect of mTOR Activator MHY1485 on Autophagy: Suppression of Lysosomal Fusion 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43418.
Autophagy is a major degradative process responsible for the disposal of cytoplasmic proteins and dysfunctional organelles via the lysosomal pathway. During the autophagic process, cells form double-membraned vesicles called autophagosomes that sequester disposable materials in the cytoplasm and finally fuse with lysosomes. In the present study, we investigated the inhibition of autophagy by a synthesized compound, MHY1485, in a culture system by using Ac2F rat hepatocytes. Autophagic flux was measured to evaluate the autophagic activity. Autophagosomes were visualized in Ac2F cells transfected with AdGFP-LC3 by live-cell confocal microscopy. In addition, activity of mTOR, a major regulatory protein of autophagy, was assessed by western blot and docking simulation using AutoDock 4.2. In the result, treatment with MHY1485 suppressed the basal autophagic flux, and this inhibitory effect was clearly confirmed in cells under starvation, a strong physiological inducer of autophagy. The levels of p62 and beclin-1 did not show significant change after treatment with MHY1485. Decreased co-localization of autophagosomes and lysosomes in confocal microscopic images revealed the inhibitory effect of MHY1485 on lysosomal fusion during starvation-induced autophagy. These effects of MHY1485 led to the accumulation of LC3II and enlargement of the autophagosomes in a dose- and time- dependent manner. Furthermore, MHY1485 induced mTOR activation and correspondingly showed a higher docking score than PP242, a well-known ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor, in docking simulation. In conclusion, MHY1485 has an inhibitory effect on the autophagic process by inhibition of fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes leading to the accumulation of LC3II protein and enlarged autophagosomes. MHY1485 also induces mTOR activity, providing a possibility for another regulatory mechanism of autophagy by the MHY compound. The significance of this study is the finding of a novel inhibitor of autophagy with an mTOR activating effect.
PMCID: PMC3425474  PMID: 22927967

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