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1.  Tanshinone I Activates the Nrf2-Dependent Antioxidant Response and Protects Against As(III)-Induced Lung Inflammation In Vitro and In Vivo 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(14):1647-1661.
Aims: The NF-E2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway regulates the cellular antioxidant response and activation of Nrf2 has recently been shown to limit tissue damage from exposure to environmental toxicants, including As(III). In an attempt to identify improved molecular agents for systemic protection against environmental insults, we have focused on the identification of novel medicinal plant-derived Nrf2 activators. Results: Tanshinones [tanshinone I (T-I), tanshinone IIA, dihydrotanshinone, cryptotanshinone], phenanthrenequinone-based redox therapeutics derived from the medicinal herb Salvia miltiorrhiza, have been tested as experimental therapeutics for Nrf2-dependent cytoprotection. Using a dual luciferase reporter assay overexpressing wild-type or mutant Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1 (Keap1), we demonstrate that T-I is a potent Keap1-C151-dependent Nrf2 activator that stabilizes Nrf2 by hindering its ubiquitination. In human bronchial epithelial cells exposed to As(III), T-I displays pronounced cytoprotective activity with upregulation of Nrf2-orchestrated gene expression. In Nrf2 wild-type mice, systemic administration of T-I attenuates As(III) induced inflammatory lung damage, a protective effect not observed in Nrf2 knockout mice. Innovation: Tanshinones have been identified as a novel class of Nrf2-inducers for antioxidant tissue protection in an in vivo As(III) inhalation model, that is relevant to low doses of environmental exposure. Conclusion: T-I represents a prototype Nrf2-activator that displays cytoprotective activity upon systemic administration targeting lung damage originating from environmental insults. T-I based Nrf2-directed systemic intervention may provide therapeutic benefit in protecting other organs against environmental insults. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1647–1661.
PMCID: PMC3809600  PMID: 23394605
2.  Monocyte recruitment to endothelial cells in response to oscillatory shear stress 
Leukocyte recruitment to endothelial cells is a critical event in inflammatory responses. The spatial, temporal gradients of shear stress, topology, and outcome of cellular interactions that underlie these responses have so far been inferred from static imaging of tissue sections or studies of statically cultured cells. In this report, we developed micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors, comparable to a single endothelial cell (EC) in size, to link real-time shear stress with monocyte/EC binding kinetics in a complex flow environment, simulating the moving and unsteady separation point at the arterial bifurcation with high spatial and temporal resolution. In response to oscillatory shear stress (τ) at ± 2.6 dyn/cm2 at a time-averaged shear stress (τave) = 0 and 0.5 Hz, individual monocytes displayed unique to-and-fro trajectories undergoing rolling, binding, and dissociation with other monocyte, followed by solid adhesion on EC. Our study quantified individual monocyte/EC binding kinetics in terms of displacement and velocity profiles. Oscillatory flow induces up-regulation of adhesion molecules and cytokines to mediate monocyte/EC interactions over a dynamic range of shear stress ± 2.6 dyn/cm2 (P= 0.50, n= 10).—Hsiai, T. K., Cho, S. K., Wong, P. K., Ing, M., Salazar, A., Sevanian, A., Navab, M., Demer, L. L., Ho, C.-M. Monocyte recruitment to endothelial cells in response to oscillatory shear stress. FASEB J. 17, 1648–1657 (2003)
PMCID: PMC4108745  PMID: 12958171
micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS); cell tracking velocimetry; shear stress sensors; endothelial cells; monocytes
3.  Therapeutic Potential of Nrf2 Activators in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Nephropathy 
Diabetes  2011;60(11):3055-3066.
To determine whether dietary compounds targeting NFE2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation can be used to attenuate renal damage and preserve renal function during the course of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic nephropathy.
Diabetes was induced in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice by STZ injection. Sulforaphane (SF) or cinnamic aldehyde (CA) was administered 2 weeks after STZ injection and metabolic indices and renal structure and function were assessed (18 weeks). Markers of diabetes including blood glucose, insulin, polydipsia, polyuria, and weight loss were measured. Pathological alterations and oxidative damage in glomeruli were also determined. Changes in protein expression of the Nrf2 pathway, as well as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), fibronectin (FN), collagen IV, and p21/WAF1Cip1 (p21) were analyzed. The molecular mechanisms of Nrf2-mediated protection were investigated in an in vitro model using human renal mesangial cells (HRMCs).
SF or CA significantly attenuated common metabolic disorder symptoms associated with diabetes in Nrf2+/+ but not in Nrf2−/− mice, indicating SF and CA function through specific activation of the Nrf2 pathway. Furthermore, SF or CA improved renal performance and minimized pathological alterations in the glomerulus of STZ-Nrf2+/+ mice. Nrf2 activation reduced oxidative damage and suppressed the expression of TGF-β1, extracellular matrix proteins and p21 both in vivo and in HRMCs. In addition, Nrf2 activation reverted p21-mediated growth inhibition and hypertrophy of HRMCs under hyperglycemic conditions.
We provide experimental evidence indicating that dietary compounds targeting Nrf2 activation can be used therapeutically to improve metabolic disorder and relieve renal damage induced by diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3198067  PMID: 22025779

Results 1-3 (3)