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1.  Role of P2X7 and P2Y2 receptors on α-secretase-dependent APP processing: Control of amyloid plaques formation “in vivo” by P2X7 receptor 
Amyloid precursor protein (APP) is expressed in a large variety of neural and non-neural cells. The balance between non-pathogenic and pathologic forms of APP processing, mediated by α-secretase and β-secretase respectively, remains a crucial step to understand β-amyloid, Aβ42 peptide, formation and aggregation that are at the origin of the senile plaques in the brain, a characteristic hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In Neuro-2a, a neuroblastoma cell line that constitutively expresses APP, activation of the P2X7 receptor leads to reduction of α-secretase activity, the opposite effect being obtained by P2Y2 receptor activation.
The in vivo approach was made possible by the use of J20 mice, a transgenic mouse model of familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) expressing human APP mutant protein. This animal exhibits prominent amyloid plaques by six months of age. In vivo inhibition of the P2X7 receptor induced a significant decrease in the number and size of hippocampal amyloid plaques. This reduction is mediated by an increase in the proteolytic processing of APP through α-secretase activity, which correlates with an increase in the phosphorylated form of GSK-3, a less active form of this enzyme. The in vivo findings corroborate the therapeutic potential of P2X7 antagonists in the treatment of FAD.
PMCID: PMC4372621  PMID: 25848496
Alzheimer's disease; APP processing; α-Secretase; GSK-3; P2X7 receptor; P2Y2 receptor
2.  Pharmaceutical care in smoking cessation 
As a determining factor in various diseases and the leading known cause of preventable mortality and morbidity, tobacco use is the number one public health problem in developed countries. Facing this health problem requires authorities and health professionals to promote, via specific programs, health campaigns that improve patients’ access to smoking cessation services. Pharmaceutical care has a number of specific characteristics that enable the pharmacist, as a health professional, to play an active role in dealing with smoking and deliver positive smoking cessation interventions. The objectives of the study were to assess the efficacy of a smoking cessation campaign carried out at a pharmaceutical care center and to evaluate the effects of pharmaceutical care on patients who decide to try to stop smoking. The methodology was an open, analytical, pre–post intervention, quasi-experimental clinical study performed with one patient cohort. The results of the study were that the promotional campaign for the smoking cessation program increased the number of patients from one to 22, and after 12 months into the study, 43.48% of the total number of patients achieved total smoking cessation. We can conclude that advertising of a smoking cessation program in a pharmacy increases the number of patients who use the pharmacy’s smoking cessation services, and pharmaceutical care is an effective means of achieving smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC4319467  PMID: 25678779
community pharmacy; health campaign; tobacco cessation; nicotine replacement therapy
3.  Study of the effectiveness of first-line treatment in renal cell carcinoma 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(6):1167-1171.
The emergence of novel drugs corresponds with the determination of the effectiveness of the current treatments used in clinical practice. A retrospective observational study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of first-line treatments and to test the influence of the prognostic factors established using the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and the analysis of Mekhail’s study for two or more metastatic sites. The primary endpoints were median progression-free survival (mPFS) and median overall survival (mOS) times. A total of 65 patients were enrolled and the mPFS and mOS of the patients treated with sunitinib (n=51) were 9.0 and 20.1 months, respectively, and for the patients treated with temsirolimus (n=14) these were 3.0 and 6.2 months, respectively. In the poor-prognosis (PP) group, a difference of 1.2 months (P=0.049) was found in mPFS depending on the first-line treatment. A difference of 4.1 months (P=0.023) was also found in mPFS when classified by histology (clear verses non-clear cell) in the sunitinib-treatment group. When stratified by the prognostic group, differences of >7 months (P<0.001) were found between the groups. Therefore, it was concluded that the effectiveness of the treatments was reduced compared to previous studies and differences were found in the PP group when classified by first-line drug and histology. Additionally, the influence of prognostic factors on OS and the value of stratifying patients using these factors have been confirmed.
PMCID: PMC4179786  PMID: 25279217
renal cell cancer; effectiveness; sunitinib; temsirolimus; prognosis
4.  Synthesis of phenylazonaphtol-β-D-O-glycosides, evaluation as substrates for beta-glycosidase activity and molecular studies 
Phenylazonaphtol-β-D-O-glycosides are alternative substrates for the detection of enzymatic activity of β-glycosidases which are involved in various important processes. These azoic compounds are currently exploited as prodrugs for colonic disease due the presence of β-glycosidase activity in the gut flora and therefore allowing the release of the drug at the specific site.
Phenylazonaphtol-β-D-O-glucoside 3a and galactoside 3b were prepared via diazonium salt conditions under weak acidic conditions which do not compromise the O-glycosidic bond stability, by coupling reaction between 2-naphtol sodium salt with aminoglycosides 1a and 1b. The resulting phenylazonaphtol glycosides 2a and 2b were deprotected affording the phenylazonaphtol glycosides 3a and 3b in quantitative yield. The galactoside glycoside 3b was assayed as substrate for in vitro β-galactosidase enzymatic activity showing strong absorbance after releasing of the azoic chromophore. Also, docking studies were performed to determine the best pose as well as the interactions between the ligand and the residues located at the active site.
The methodology developed for synthesizing the phenylazonaphtol glycosides described proved to be convenient for generating azoic functionalities in the presence of glycosidic bonds and the glycosides suitable as alternative substrates and potentially useful prodrugs in the treatment of colonic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4074863  PMID: 24995152
β-galactosidase; Synthesis; Phenylazonaphtol glycoside; Substrate; Docking
5.  P2X receptors as targets for the treatment of status epilepticus 
Prolonged seizures are amongst the most common neurological emergencies. Status epilepticus is a state of continuous seizures that is life-threatening and prompt termination of status epilepticus is critical to protect the brain from permanent damage. Frontline treatment comprises parenteral administration of anticonvulsants such as lorazepam that facilitate γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) transmission. Because status epilepticus can become refractory to anticonvulsants in a significant proportion of patients, drugs which act on different neurotransmitter systems may represent potential adjunctive treatments. P2X receptors are a class of ligand-gated ion channel activated by ATP that contributes to neuro- and glio-transmission. P2X receptors are expressed by both neurons and glia in various brain regions, including the hippocampus. Electrophysiology, pharmacology and genetic studies suggest certain P2X receptors are activated during pathologic brain activity. Expression of several members of the family including P2X2, P2X4, and P2X7 receptors has been reported to be altered in the hippocampus following status epilepticus. Recent studies have shown that ligands of the P2X7 receptor can have potent effects on seizure severity during status epilepticus and mice lacking this receptor display altered seizures in response to chemoconvulsants. Antagonists of the P2X7 receptor also modulate neuronal death, microglial responses and neuroinflammatory signaling. Recent work also found altered neuronal injury and inflammation after status epilepticus in mice lacking the P2X4 receptor. In summary, members of the P2X receptor family may serve important roles in the pathophysiology of status epilepticus and represent novel targets for seizure control and neuroprotection.
PMCID: PMC3840793  PMID: 24324404
anticonvulsant; ATP; epilepsy; hippocampus; interleukin-1β; microglia; neuroprotection
6.  P2X7 receptor in epilepsy; role in pathophysiology and potential targeting for seizure control 
The P2X7 receptor is an ATP-gated non-selective cation-permeable ionotropic receptor selectively expressed in neurons and glia in the brain. Activation of the P2X7 receptor has been found to modulate neuronal excitability in the hippocampus and it has also been linked to microglia activation and neuroinflammatory responses. Accordingly, interest developed on the P2X7 receptor in disorders of the nervous system, including epilepsy. Studies show that expression of the P2X7 receptor is elevated in damaged regions of the brain after prolonged seizures (status epilepticus) in both neurons and glia. P2X7 receptor expression is also increased in the hippocampus in experimental epilepsy. Recent data show that mice lacking the P2X7 receptor display altered susceptibility to status epilepticus and that drugs targeting the P2X7 receptor have potent anticonvulsant effects. Together, this suggests that P2X7 receptor ligands may be useful adjunctive treatments for refractory status epilepticus or perhaps pharmacoresistant epilepsy. This review summarizes the evidence of P2X7 receptor involvement in the pathophysiology of epilepsy and the potential of drugs targeting this receptor for seizure control.
PMCID: PMC3544219  PMID: 23320131
Adenosine 5’-triphosphate; anticonvulsant; epilepsy; hippocampal sclerosis; interleukin 1 beta; status epilepticus
7.  The Specificity Protein Factor Sp1 Mediates Transcriptional Regulation of P2X7 Receptors in the Nervous System* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2012;287(53):44628-44644.
Background: Purinergic P2X7 receptors regulate proliferation, differentiation, and cell death in both the CNS and non-CNS tissues.
Results: Sp1 factor activates the P2rx7 promoter. This regulation is abolished by SP1 binding sites mutation, Sp1 knockdown, and mithramycin A treatment.
Conclusion: Sp1 regulates the expression of P2X7 receptor.
Significance: Learning how P2X7 expression is controlled is crucial for understanding P2X7-mediated brain processes in health and disease.
P2X7 receptors are involved not only in physiological functions but also in pathological brain processes. Although an increasing number of findings indicate that altered receptor expression has a causative role in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, little is known about how expression of P2rx7 gene is controlled. Here we reported the first molecular and functional evidence that Specificity protein 1 (Sp1) transcription factor plays a pivotal role in the transcriptional regulation of P2X7 receptor. We delimited a minimal region in the murine P2rx7 promoter containing four SP1 sites, two of them being highly conserved in mammals. The functionality of these SP1 sites was confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis and Sp1 overexpression/down-regulation in neuroblastoma cells. Inhibition of Sp1-mediated transcriptional activation by mithramycin A reduced endogenous P2X7 receptor levels in primary cultures of cortical neurons and astrocytes. Using P2rx7-EGFP transgenic mice that express enhanced green fluorescent protein under the control of P2rx7 promoter, we found a high correlation between reporter expression and Sp1 levels in the brain, demonstrating that Sp1 is a key element in the transcriptional regulation of P2X7 receptor in the nervous system. Finally, we found that Sp1 mediates P2X7 receptor up-regulation in neuroblastoma cells cultured in the absence of serum, a condition that enhances chromatin accessibility and facilitates the exposure of SP1 binding sites.
PMCID: PMC3531778  PMID: 23139414
Gene Expression; Neurobiology; Neuroscience; Purinergic Receptor; Sp1; Nervous System; P2X7 Receptor; Transcriptional Regulation
8.  Effectiveness of the bevacizumab-irinotecan regimen in the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme: Comparison with other second-line treatments without this regimen 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(5):1114-1118.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted to analyse the effectiveness of bevacizumab and irinotecan (BVZ/CPT-11) as a second-line treatment in patients with primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in comparison with a control group that were not administered BVZ/CPT-11 at the first recurrence. The difference in overall survival (OS) between the two groups was used as a predictor of effectiveness. OS was calculated according to prognostic factors and gender. A total of 28 and 32 patients were enrolled in the BVZ/CPT-11 cohort and control group, respectively. The median OS was 17.94 months (95% CI, 14.91–20.96) in the BVZ/CPT-11 treatment cohort and 10.97 months (95% CI, 7.65–14.30) in the control cohort. The results obtained on the effectiveness of BVZ/CPT-11 treatment in patients with primary GBM are consistent with data from previous studies. No significant differences were identified in OS based on prognostic factors; therefore, the latter cannot be used to select patients who would incur the greatest benefits from BVZ/CPT-11 treatment.
PMCID: PMC3499589  PMID: 23162662
glioblastoma; bevacizumab; irinotecan; effectiveness
9.  FPGA-Based Multiprocessor System for Injection Molding Control 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(10):14068-14083.
The plastic industry is a very important manufacturing sector and injection molding is a widely used forming method in that industry. The contribution of this work is the development of a strategy to retrofit control of an injection molding machine based on an embedded system microprocessors sensor network on a field programmable gate array (FPGA) device. Six types of embedded processors are included in the system: a smart-sensor processor, a micro fuzzy logic controller, a programmable logic controller, a system manager, an IO processor and a communication processor. Temperature, pressure and position are controlled by the proposed system and experimentation results show its feasibility and robustness. As validation of the present work, a particular sample was successfully injected.
PMCID: PMC3545607  PMID: 23202036
smart-sensor; sensor network; FPGA; plastic injection molding
10.  Knowledge management for systems biology a general and visually driven framework applied to translational medicine 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:38.
To enhance our understanding of complex biological systems like diseases we need to put all of the available data into context and use this to detect relations, pattern and rules which allow predictive hypotheses to be defined. Life science has become a data rich science with information about the behaviour of millions of entities like genes, chemical compounds, diseases, cell types and organs, which are organised in many different databases and/or spread throughout the literature. Existing knowledge such as genotype - phenotype relations or signal transduction pathways must be semantically integrated and dynamically organised into structured networks that are connected with clinical and experimental data. Different approaches to this challenge exist but so far none has proven entirely satisfactory.
To address this challenge we previously developed a generic knowledge management framework, BioXM™, which allows the dynamic, graphic generation of domain specific knowledge representation models based on specific objects and their relations supporting annotations and ontologies. Here we demonstrate the utility of BioXM for knowledge management in systems biology as part of the EU FP6 BioBridge project on translational approaches to chronic diseases. From clinical and experimental data, text-mining results and public databases we generate a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) knowledge base and demonstrate its use by mining specific molecular networks together with integrated clinical and experimental data.
We generate the first semantically integrated COPD specific public knowledge base and find that for the integration of clinical and experimental data with pre-existing knowledge the configuration based set-up enabled by BioXM reduced implementation time and effort for the knowledge base compared to similar systems implemented as classical software development projects. The knowledgebase enables the retrieval of sub-networks including protein-protein interaction, pathway, gene - disease and gene - compound data which are used for subsequent data analysis, modelling and simulation. Pre-structured queries and reports enhance usability; establishing their use in everyday clinical settings requires further simplification with a browser based interface which is currently under development.
PMCID: PMC3060864  PMID: 21375767
11.  Identification of two common variants contributing to serum apolipoprotein B levels in Mexicans 
Although the Mexican population has a high predisposition to dyslipidemias and premature coronary artery disease, this population is underinvestigated for the genetic factors conferring the high susceptibility.
Methods and Results
First, we investigated apolipoprotein B (apoB) levels in Mexican extended families with familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL) using a two-step testing strategy. In the screening step, we screened 5,721 SNPs for linkage signals with apoB. In the test step, we analyzed the 130 SNPs residing in regions of suggestive linkage signals for association with apoB. We identified significant associations with two SNPs, rs1424032 (P=6.07×10−6) and rs1349411 (P=2.72×10−4), that surpassed the significance level for the number of tests performed in the test step (P<3.84×10−4). Second, these SNPs were tested for replication in Mexican hyperlipidemic cases-control samples. The same risk alleles as in the FCHL families were significantly associated (P<0.05) with apoB in the case-control samples. The rs1349411 resides near the apoB mRNA editing enzyme (APOBEC1) involved in the processing of APOB mRNA in the small intestine. The rs1424032 resides in a highly conserved non-coding region predicted to function as a regulatory element.
We identified two novel variants, rs1349411 and rs1424032, for serum apoB levels in Mexicans.
PMCID: PMC2809779  PMID: 19965785
association; lipids; apolipoproteins; cardiovascular disease and Mexican population
12.  FPGA-Based Fused Smart-Sensor for Tool-Wear Area Quantitative Estimation in CNC Machine Inserts 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;10(4):3373-3388.
Manufacturing processes are of great relevance nowadays, when there is a constant claim for better productivity with high quality at low cost. The contribution of this work is the development of a fused smart-sensor, based on FPGA to improve the online quantitative estimation of flank-wear area in CNC machine inserts from the information provided by two primary sensors: the monitoring current output of a servoamplifier, and a 3-axis accelerometer. Results from experimentation show that the fusion of both parameters makes it possible to obtain three times better accuracy when compared with the accuracy obtained from current and vibration signals, individually used.
PMCID: PMC3274225  PMID: 22319304
tool-wear area; vibration monitoring; current monitoring; smart-sensor; FPGA
13.  Bipolar hip hemiarthroplasty in a patient with an above knee amputation: a case report 
The treatment of an above knee amputee who has sustained a fracture of femoral neck is a challenge for both the orthopaedic surgeon and the rehabilitation team. We present a case of such a patient and discuss different difficulties in his treatment.
PMCID: PMC2734558  PMID: 19646230

Results 1-13 (13)