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1.  Chemoproteomics-based design of potent LRRK2-selective lead compounds that attenuate Parkinson's disease-related toxicity in human neurons 
ACS chemical biology  2011;6(10):1021-1028.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK2) mutations are the most important cause of familial Parkinson's disease and non-selective inhibitors are protective in rodent disease models. Due to their poor potency and selectivity, the neuroprotective mechanism of these tool compounds has remained elusive so far and it is still unknown whether selective LRRK2 inhibition can attenuate mutant LRRK2-dependent toxicity in human neurons. Here, we employ a chemoproteomics strategy to identify potent, selective and metabolically stable LRRK2 inhibitors. We demonstrate that CZC-25146 prevents mutant LRRK2-induced injury of cultured rodent and human neurons with mid-nanomolar potency. These precise chemical probes further validate this emerging therapeutic strategy. They will enable more detailed studies of LRRK2-dependent signaling and pathogenesis and accelerate drug discovery.
doi:10.1021/cb2002413
PMCID: PMC3688284  PMID: 21812418
Chemical Proteomics; Drug Discovery; LRRK2; Parkinson's disease; Neurodegeneration; Sunitinib
2.  Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2)-Deficient Rats Exhibit Renal Tubule Injury and Perturbations in Metabolic and Immunological Homeostasis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66164.
Genetic evidence links mutations in the LRRK2 gene with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, for which no neuroprotective or neurorestorative therapies currently exist. While the role of LRRK2 in normal cellular function has yet to be fully described, evidence suggests involvement with immune and kidney functions. A comparative study of LRRK2-deficient and wild type rats investigated the influence that this gene has on the phenotype of these rats. Significant weight gain in the LRRK2 null rats was observed and was accompanied by significant increases in insulin and insulin-like growth factors. Additionally, LRRK2-deficient rats displayed kidney morphological and histopathological alterations in the renal tubule epithelial cells of all animals assessed. These perturbations in renal morphology were accompanied by significant decreases of lipocalin-2, in both the urine and plasma of knockout animals. Significant alterations in the cellular composition of the spleen between LRRK2 knockout and wild type animals were identified by immunophenotyping and were associated with subtle differences in response to dual infection with rat-adapted influenza virus (RAIV) and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Ontological pathway analysis of LRRK2 across metabolic and kidney processes and pathological categories suggested that the thioredoxin network may play a role in perturbing these organ systems. The phenotype of the LRRK2 null rat is suggestive of a complex biology influencing metabolism, immune function and kidney homeostasis. These data need to be extended to better understand the role of the kinase domain or other biological functions of the gene to better inform the development of pharmacological inhibitors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066164
PMCID: PMC3682960  PMID: 23799078
3.  Coffee Consumption and Risk of Breast Cancer: An Up-To-Date Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52681.
Objectives
This updated meta-analysis was conducted to assess the association between coffee consumption and breast cancer risk.
Methods
We conducted a systematic search updated July 2012 to identify observational studies providing quantitative estimates for breast cancer risk in relation to coffee consumption. Pooled relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using a random-effects model, and generalized least square trend estimation was used to assess dose–response relationships.
Results
A total of 26 studies (16 cohort and 10 case–control studies) on coffee intake with 49497 breast cancer cases were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled RR showed a borderline significant influence of highest coffee consumption (RR = 0.96; 95% CI 0.93–1.00), low-to moderate coffee consumption (RR = 0.99; 95% CI 0.95–1.04), or an increment of 2 cups/day of coffee consumption (RR = 0.98; 95% CI 0.97–1.00) on the risk of breast cancer. In stratified analysis, a significant inverse association was observed in ER-negative subgroup. However, no significant association was noted in the others.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that increased coffee intake is not associated with a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer, but we observe an inverse association in ER-negative subgroup analysis. More large studies are needed to determine subgroups to obtain more valuable data on coffee drinking and breast cancer risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052681
PMCID: PMC3537715  PMID: 23308117
4.  Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Compound Zhi Zhu Xiang in Rats 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether compound zhi zhu xiang (CZZX) exerts anxiolytic-like effects in rats. The animals were orally administered CZZX (0.75, 1.5, and 3 g/kg daily) for 10 days and tested in the elevated plus maze (EPM), Vogel conflict test (VCT), and open field. Repeated treatment with CZZX (3 g/kg/day, p.o.) significantly increased the percentage of both entries into and time spent on the open arms of the EPM compared with saline controls. In the VCT, repeated treatment with CZZX (1.5 and 3 g/kg/day, p.o.) significantly increased the number of punished licks. The drug did not change the total entries into the open arms of the EPM or interfere with water consumption or nociceptive threshold, discarding potential confounding factors in the two tests. In the open field, locomotion was not reduced, discarding the possible sedative effect of CZZX. In the binding assay, the binding of [3H] Ro 15-1788 (flumazenil) to the benzodiazepine binding site in washed crude synaptosomal membranes from rat cerebral cortex was affected by CZZX. These data indicate an anxiolytic-like profile of action for CZZX without sedative side effects, and this activity may be mediated by benzodiazepine binding site modulation at γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptors.
doi:10.1155/2012/701289
PMCID: PMC3368380  PMID: 22690249
5.  Rapid screening for chromosomal aneuploidies using array-MLPA 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:68.
Background
Chromosome abnormalities, especially trisomy of chromosome 21, 13, or 18 as well as sex chromosome aneuploidy, are a well-established cause of pregnancy loss. Cultured cell karyotype analysis and FISH have been considered reliable detectors of fetal abnormality. However, results are usually not available for 3-4 days or more. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) has emerged as an alternative rapid technique for detection of chromosome aneuploidies. However, conventional MLPA does not allow for relative quantification of more than 50 different target sequences in one reaction and does not detect mosaic trisomy. A multiplexed MLPA with more sensitive detection would be useful for fetal genetic screening.
Methods
We developed a method of array-based MLPA to rapidly screen for common aneuploidies. We designed 116 universal tag-probes covering chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, and Y, and 8 control autosomal genes. We performed MLPA and hybridized the products on a 4-well flow-through microarray system. We determined chromosome copy numbers by analyzing the relative signals of the chromosome-specific probes.
Results
In a blind study of 161 peripheral blood and 12 amniotic fluid samples previously karyotyped, 169 of 173 (97.7%) including all the amniotic fluid samples were correctly identified by array-MLPA. Furthermore, we detected two chromosome X monosomy mosaic cases in which the mosaism rates estimated by array-MLPA were basically consistent with the results from karyotyping. Additionally, we identified five Y chromosome abnormalities in which G-banding could not distinguish their origins for four of the five cases.
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates the successful application and strong potential of array-MLPA in clinical diagnosis and prenatal testing for rapid and sensitive chromosomal aneuploidy screening. Furthermore, we have developed a simple and rapid procedure for screening copy numbers on chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, and Y using array-MLPA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-68
PMCID: PMC3111339  PMID: 21575262

Results 1-5 (5)