Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (675)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
more »
Document Types
1.  Probing Biased/Partial Agonism at the G Protein-Coupled A2B Adenosine Receptorˇ 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;90(3):297-306.
G protein-coupled A2B adenosine receptor (AR) regulates numerous important physiological functions, but its activation by diverse A2BAR agonists is poorly profiled. We probed potential partial and/or biased agonism in cell lines expressing variable levels of endogenous or recombinant A2BAR. In cAMP accumulation assays, both 5′-substituted NECA and C2-substituted MRS3997 are full agonists. However, only 5′-substituted adenosine analogs are full agonists in calcium mobilization, ERK1/2 phosphorylation and β-arrestin translocation. A2BAR overexpression in HEK293 cells markedly increased the agonist potency and maximum effect in cAMP accumulation, but less in calcium and ERK1/2. A2BAR siRNA silencing was more effective in reducing the maximum cAMP effect of non-nucleoside agonist BAY60-6583 than NECA's. A quantitative ‘operational model’ characterized C2-substituted MRS3997 as either balanced (cAMP accumulation, ERK1/2) or strongly biased agonist (against calcium, β-arrestin). N6-Substitution biased against ERK1/2 (weakly) and calcium and β-arrestin (strongly) pathways. BAY60-6583 is ERK1/2-biased, suggesting a mechanism distinct from adenosine derivatives. BAY60-6583, as A2BAR antagonist in MIN-6 mouse pancreatic β cells expressing low A2BAR levels, induced insulin release. This is the first relatively systematic study of structure-efficacy relationships of this emerging drug target.
PMCID: PMC4128710  PMID: 24853985
GPCR; adenosine receptor; purines; cyclic AMP; calcium; arrestin
2.  The phenotype of a knockout mouse identifies flavin-containing monooxygenase 5 (FMO5) as a regulator of metabolic ageing 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2015;96(3):267-277.
Graphical abstract
We report the production and metabolic phenotype of a mouse line in which the Fmo5 gene is disrupted. In comparison with wild-type (WT) mice, Fmo5−/− mice exhibit a lean phenotype, which is age-related, becoming apparent after 20 weeks of age. Despite greater food intake, Fmo5−/− mice weigh less, store less fat in white adipose tissue (WAT), have lower plasma glucose and cholesterol concentrations and enhanced whole-body energy expenditure, due mostly to increased resting energy expenditure, with no increase in physical activity. An increase in respiratory exchange ratio during the dark phase, the period in which the mice are active, indicates a switch from fat to carbohydrate oxidation. In comparison with WT mice, the rate of fatty acid oxidation in Fmo5−/− mice is higher in WAT, which would contribute to depletion of lipid stores in this tissue, and lower in skeletal muscle. Five proteins were down regulated in the liver of Fmo5−/− mice: aldolase B, ketohexokinase and cytosolic glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1) are involved in glucose or fructose metabolism and GPD1 also in production of glycerol 3-phosphate, a precursor of triglyceride biosynthesis; HMG-CoA synthase 1 is involved in cholesterol biosynthesis; and malic enzyme 1 catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of malate to pyruvate, in the process producing NADPH for use in lipid and cholesterol biosynthesis. Down regulation of these proteins provides a potential explanation for the reduced fat deposits and lower plasma cholesterol characteristic of Fmo5−/− mice. Our results indicate that disruption of the Fmo5 gene slows metabolic ageing via pleiotropic effects.
PMCID: PMC4509511  PMID: 26049045
Body weight; Cholesterol; Glucose; Malic enzyme 1; White adipose tissue
3.  Nuclear export of proteins and drug resistance in cancer 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;83(8):1021-1032.
The intracellular location of a protein is crucial to its normal functioning in a cell. Cancer cells utilize the normal processes of nuclear-cytoplasmic transport through the nuclear pore complex of a cell to effectively evade anti-neoplastic mechanisms. CRM1-mediated export is increased in various cancers. Proteins that are exported in cancer include tumor-suppressive proteins such as retinoblastoma, APC, p53, BRAC1, FOXO proteins, INI1/hSNF5, galectin-3, Bok, nucleophosmin, RASSF2, Merlin, p21CIP, p27KIP1, N-WASP/FAK, estradiol receptor and Tob, drug targets topoisomerase I and IIα and BCR-ABL, and the molecular chaperone protein Hsp90. Here, we review in detail the current processes and known structures involved in the export of a protein through the nuclear pore complex. We also discuss the export receptor molecule CRM1 and its binding to the leucine-rich nuclear export signal of the cargo protein and the formation of a nuclear export trimer with RanGTP. The therapeutic potential of various CRM1 inhibitors will be addressed, including leptomycin B, ratjadone, KOS-2464, and specific small molecule inhibitors of CRM1, N-azolylacrylate analogs, FOXO export inhibitors, valtrate, acetoxychavicol acetate, CBS9106, and SINE inhibitors. We will also discuss examples of how drug resistance may be reversed by targeting the exported proteins topoisomerase IIα, BCR-ABL, and galectin-3. As effective and less toxic CRM1 export inhibitors become available, they may be used as both single agents and in combination with current chemotherapeutic drugs. We believe that the future development of low-toxicity, small-molecule CRM1 inhibitors may provide a new approach to treating cancer.
PMCID: PMC4521586  PMID: 22209898
CRM1; Drug resistance; Nuclear export signal; Nuclear pore complex; Topoisomerase
4.  Metabolic profiling of praziquantel enantiomers 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;90(2):166-178.
Praziquantel (PZQ), prescribed as a racemic mixture, is the most readily available drug to treat schistosomiasis. In the present study, ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-QTOFMS) based metabolomics was employed to decipher the metabolic pathways and enantioselective metabolic differences of PZQ. Many phase I and four new phase II metabolites were found in urine and feces samples of mice 24h after dosing indicating that the major metabolic reaction encompassed oxidation, dehydrogenation, and glucuronidation. Differences in the formation of all these metabolites were observed between (R)-PZQ and (S)-PZQ. In an in vitro phase I incubation system, the major involvement of CYP3A, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19 in the metabolism of PZQ, and CYP3A, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19 exhibited different catalytic activity towards the PZQ enantiomers. Apparent Km and Vmax differences were observed in the catalytic formation of three mono-oxidized metabolites by CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 further supporting the metabolic differences for PZQ enantiomers. Molecular docking showed that chirality resulted in differences in location and conformation, which likely accounts for the metabolic differences. In conclusion, in silico, in vitro, and in vivo methods revealed the enantioselective metabolic profile of praziquantel.
PMCID: PMC4168258  PMID: 24821110
cytochromes P450; enantioselective metabolism; in silico metabolomics; praziquantel
5.  Interference with distinct steps of sphingolipid synthesis and signaling attenuates proliferation of U87MG glioma cells 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2015;96(2):119-130.
Graphical abstract
Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor, which, despite combined radio- and chemotherapy, recurs and is invariably fatal for affected patients. Members of the sphingolipid (SL) family are potent effectors of glioma cell proliferation. In particular sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and the corresponding G protein-coupled S1P receptors transmit proliferative signals to glioma cells. To investigate the contribution to glioma cell proliferation we inhibited the first step of de novo SL synthesis in p53wt and p53mut glioma cells, and interfered with S1P signaling specifically in p53wt U87MG cells. Subunit silencing (RNAi) or pharmacological antagonism (using myriocin) of serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT; catalyzing the first committed step of SL biosynthesis) reduced proliferation of p53wt but not p53mut GBM cells. In U87MG cells these observations were accompanied by decreased ceramide, sphingomyelin, and S1P content. Inhibition of SPT upregulated p53 and p21 expression and induced an increase in early and late apoptotic U87MG cells. Exogenously added S1P (complexed to physiological carriers) increased U87MG proliferation. In line, silencing of individual members of the S1P receptor family decreased U87MG proliferation. Silencing and pharmacological inhibition of the ATP-dependent cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) that facilitates S1P efflux in astrocytes attenuated U87MG growth. Glyburide-mediated inhibition of ABCA1 resulted in intracellular accumulation of S1P raising the possibility that ABCA1 promotes S1P efflux in U87MG glioma cells thereby contributing to inside-out signaling. Our findings indicate that de novo SL synthesis, S1P receptor-mediated signaling, and ABCA1-mediated S1P efflux could provide pharmacological targets to interfere with glioma cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4490581  PMID: 26002572
ABC transporter; Myriocin; p53; Proliferation; RNA interference; Sphingolipids
Biochemical pharmacology  2010;80(7):1007-1011.
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) combats cardiac stress by reducing blood pressure and ventricular fibrosis. Human BNP is inactivated by unknown cell surface proteases. N-terminal cleavage of mouse BNP by the renal protease meprin A was reported to increase inactivating degradation by a second protease named neprilysin. Since the sequence surrounding the meprin A cleavage site in BNP differs between species, we tested whether meprin A degrades human BNP. Using a recently developed proteolytic bioassay, the ability of various protease inhibitors to block the inactivation of BNP was measured. In rat kidney membranes, inhibitors of meprin A or neprilysin partially or completely blocked inactivation of rat BNP1-32 when added individually or in combination, respectively. In contrast, neither inhibitor alone or in combination prevented the inactivation of human BNP1-32 by human kidney membranes. Leupeptin, a serine protease inhibitor, totally blocked inactivation of human BNP by human membranes, substantially blocked the inactivation of rat BNP1-32 by human membranes, but had no effect on the inactivation of rat BNP1-32 by rat kidney membranes. Purified neprilysin reduced the bioactivity of rat BNP1-32 and human BNP. Digestion with both meprin and neprilysis caused the greatest reduction in rat BNP1-32 but had no effect on the bioactivity of human BNP1-32. We conclude that meprin A does not degrade BNP in humans and should not be considered a pharmacologic target of the natriuretic peptide system.
Graphical abstract
Sequential degradation by meprin and neprilysin is not involved in the inactivation of human B-type natriuretic peptide.
PMCID: PMC4495880  PMID: 20599787
cGMP; natriuretic peptide; B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP); natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPR-A); natriuretic peptide receptor B (NPR-B); guanylyl cyclase receptor A (GC-A)
7.  Targeting Matrix Metalloproteinases in Heart Disease: Lessons from Endogenous Inhibitors 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;90(1):7-15.
Basic pharmacological/transgenic studies have clearly demonstrated a cause-effect relationship between the induction and activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and adverse changes in the structure and function of the left ventricle (LV). Thus, regulation of MMP induction and/or activation would appear to be a potential therapeutic target in the context of cardiovascular disease, such as following myocardial infarction (MI). However, pharmacological approaches to inhibit MMPs have yet to be realized for clinical applications. The endogenous inhibitors of the MMPs (TIMPs) constitute a set of 4 small molecules with unique functionality and specificity. Thus, improved understanding on the function and roles of individual TIMPs may provide important insight into the design and targets for pharmacological applications in LV remodeling processes, such as MI. Therefore, the purpose of this review will be to briefly examine biological functions and relevance of the individual TIMPs in terms of adverse LV remodeling post-MI. Second is to examine the past outcomes and issues surrounding clinical trials targeting MMPs in the post MI context and how new insights into TIMP biology may provide new pharmacological targets. This review will put forward the case that initial pharmacological attempts at MMP inhibition were over-simplistic and that future strategies must recognize the diversity of this matrix proteolytic system and that lessons from TIMP biology may lead to future therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC4060262  PMID: 24780447
myocardial remodeling; tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases; fibroblasts; myocardial infarction
8.  Evaluation of a microfluidic based cell culture platform with primary human hepatocytes for the prediction of hepatic clearance in human 
Biochemical pharmacology  2009;78(6):625-632.
Integral to the discovery of new pharmaceutical entities is the ability to predict in vivo pharmacokinetic parameters from early stage in vitro data generated prior to the onset of clinical testing. Within the pharmaceutical industry, a whole host of assay methods and mathematical models exist to predict the in vivo pharmacokinetic parameters of drug candidates. One of the most important pharmacokinetic properties of new drug candidates predicted from these methods and models is the hepatic clearance. Current methods, while useful, are still limited in their predictive efficacy. In order to address this issue, we have established a novel microfluidic in vitro culture system, the patented HμREL® device. The device comprises multiple compartments that are designed to be proportional to the physiological architectures and enhanced with the consideration of flow. Here we demonstrate the functionality of the liver-relevant chamber in the HμREL® device, and the feasibility of utilizing our system for predicting hepatic clearance. Cryopreserved human hepatocytes from a single donor were seeded within the HμREL® device to predict the in vivo hepatic clearance (CLH) of six marketed model compounds (carbamazepine, caffeine, timolol, sildenafil, imipramine, and buspirone). The intrinsic clearance rates from static culture controls, as well as clearance rates from the HμREL® device were subsequently compared to in vivo data available from the literature.
PMCID: PMC4487512  PMID: 19463793
Microfluidic; Human hepatocyte; Hepatic clearance
9.  Regulators of endothelial and epithelial barrier integrity and function in acute lung injury 
Biochemical pharmacology  2009;77(12):1763-1772.
Permeability edema is a life-threatening complication accompanying acute lung injury (ALI), severe pneumonia and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can be associated with a reduced alveolar liquid clearance (ALC) capacity, a disruption of the alveolar epithelial barrier, and an increased capillary endothelial permeability. Bacterial and viral infections can directly promote pulmonary endothelial hyperpermeability and indirectly decrease the function and/or expression of ion transporters regulating ALC in type II alveolar epithelial cells, by means of inducing a strong inflammatory and oxidative stress response in the infected lungs. Apart from ventilation strategies, no standard treatment exists for permeability edema, making the search for novel regulators of endothelial and epithelial hyperpermeability and dysfunction important. Here, we present an overview of recently identified substances that inhibit and/or reverse endothelial barrier disruption and permeability or alveolar epithelial dysfunction: 1) zinc chelators, which were shown to attenuate the effects of oxidative stress on the pulmonary endothelium; 2) peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) ligands, which have been shown to exert antiinflammatory effects, by decreasing the expression of pro-inflammatory genes; 3) extracellular ATP, produced during inflammation, which induces a rapid and dose-dependent increase in transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) across pulmonary endothelial cells; 4) the lectin-like domain of TNF, which is spatially distinct from the receptor binding sites and which protects from hydrostatic and permeability edema and 5) Hsp90 inhibitors, which prevent and repair toxin-induced hyperpermeability. Unraveling the mechanism of action of these agents could contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies to combat permeability edema.
PMCID: PMC4474367  PMID: 19428331
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(4):490-502.
A deficiency of mitochondrial glutathione reductase (or GR2) is capable of adversely affecting the reduction of GSSG and increasing mitochondrial oxidative stress. BCNU [1, 3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea] is an anticancer agent and known inhibitor of cytosolic GR ex vivo and in vivo. Here we tested the hypothesis that a BCNU-induced GR2 defect contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and subsequent impairment of heart function. Intraperitoneal administration of BCNU (40 mg/kg) specifically inhibited GR2 activity by 79.8±2.7% in the mitochondria of rat heart. However, BCNU treatment modestly enhanced the activities of mitochondrial Complex I and other ETC components. The cardiac function of BCNU-treated rats was analyzed by echocardiography, revealing a systolic dysfunction associated with decreased ejection fraction, decreased cardiac output, and an increase in left ventricular internal dimension and left ventricular volume in systole. The respiratory control index of isolated mitochondria from the myocardium was moderately decreased after BCNU treatment, whereas NADH-linked uncoupling of oxygen consumption was significantly enhanced. Extracellular flux analysis to measure the fatty acid oxidation of myocytes indicated a 20% enhancement after BCNU treatment. When the mitochondria were immunoblotted with antibodies against GSH and UCP3, both protein S-glutathionylation of Complex I and expression of UCP3 were significantly up-regulated. Overexpression of SOD2 in the myocardium significantly reversed BCNU-induced GR2 inhibition and mitochondrial impairment. In conclusion, BCNU-mediated cardiotoxicity is characterized by the GR2 deficiency that negatively regulates heart function by impairing mitochondrial integrity, increasing oxidative stress with Complex I S-glutathionylation, and enhancing uncoupling of mitochondrial respiration.
PMCID: PMC4035428  PMID: 24704251
glutathione reductase; systolic dysfunction; mitochondria; oxidative stress; S-glutathionylation and Complex I
11.  Altered Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 and -9 Expression/Activity Links Placental Ischemia and Anti-angiogenic sFlt-1 to Uteroplacental and Vascular Remodeling and Collagen Deposition in Hypertensive Pregnancy 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(3):370-385.
Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy manifested as maternal hypertension and often fetal growth restriction. Placental ischemia could be an initiating event, but the linking mechanisms leading to hypertension and growth restriction are unclear. We have shown an upregulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) during normal pregnancy (Norm-Preg). To test the role of MMPs in hypertensive-pregnancy (HTN-Preg), maternal and fetal parameters, MMPs expression, activity and distribution, and collagen and elastin content were measured in uterus, placenta and aorta of Norm-Preg rats and in rat model of reduced uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP). Maternal blood pressure was higher, and uterine, placental and aortic weight, and the litter size and pup weight were less in RUPP than Norm-Preg rats. Western blots and gelatin zymography revealed decreases in amount and gelatinase activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in uterus, placenta and aorta of RUPP compared with Norm-Preg rats. Immunohistochemistry confirmed reduced MMPs in uterus, placenta and aortic media of RUPP rats. Collagen, but not elastin, was more abundant in uterus, placenta and aorta of RUPP than Norm-Preg rats. The anti-angiogenic factor soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1) decreased MMPs in uterus, placenta and aorta of Norm-Preg rats, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) reversed the decreases in MMPs in tissues of RUPP rats. Thus placental ischemia and anti-angiogenic sFlt-1 decrease uterine, placental and vascular MMP-2 and MMP-9, leading to increased uteroplacental and vascular collagen, and growth-restrictive remodeling in HTN-Preg. Angiogenic factors and MMP activators may reverse the decrease in MMPs and enhance growth-permissive remodeling in preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC4034157  PMID: 24704473
myometrium; placenta; blood vessels; Preeclampsia
12.  Fisetin inhibits human melanoma cell growth through direct binding to p70S6K and mTOR: findings from 3-D melanoma skin equivalents and computational modeling 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(3):349-360.
The incidence of melanoma continues to rise. Inspite of treatment advances, the prognosis remains grim once the disease has metastasized, emphasizing the need to explore additional therapeutic strategies. One such approach is through the use of mechanism-based dietary intervention. We previously showed that the flavonoid fisetin inhibits melanoma cell proliferation, in vitro and in vivo. Here, we studied fisetin-mediated regulation of kinases involved in melanoma growth and progression. Time-course analysis in 3-D melanoma constructs that transitioned from radial to vertical growth showed that fisetin treatment resulted in significant decrease in melanocytic lesions in contrast to untreated controls that showed large tumor nests and invading disseminated cells. Further studies in melanoma cultures and mouse xenografts showed that fisetin-mediated growth inhibition was associated with dephosphorylation of AKT, mTOR and p70S6K proteins. In silico modeling indicated direct interaction of fisetin with mTOR and p70S6K with favorable free energy values. These findings were validated by cell-free competition assays that established binding of fisetin to p70S6K and mTOR while little affinity was detected with AKT. Kinase activity studies reflected similar trend with % inhibition observed for p70S6K and mTOR at lower doses than AKT. Our studies characterized, for the first time, the differential interactions of any botanical agent with kinases involved in melanoma growth and demonstrate that fisetin inhibits mTOR and p70S6K through direct binding while the observed inhibitory effect of fisetin on AKT is mediated indirectly, through targeting interrelated pathways.
PMCID: PMC4116133  PMID: 24675012
Fisetin; AKT; mTOR; p70S6K; melanoma
13.  MK571 inhibits phase-2 conjugation of flavonols by Caco-2/TC7 cells, but does not specifically inhibit their apical efflux☆ 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2015;95(3):193-200.
Graphical abstract
MK571 is a multidrug resistance protein-2 (ABCC2, Mrp2) inhibitor and has been widely used to demonstrate the role of Mrp2 in the cellular efflux of drugs, xenobiotics and their conjugates. Numerous reports have described modulation of Caco-2 cellular efflux and transport of flavonoids in the presence of MK571. Since flavonoids are efficiently conjugated by Caco-2/TC7 cells, we investigated the effects of MK571 on the efflux of flavonoid conjugates. The flavonol aglycones kaempferol, quercetin and galangin were efficiently taken up, conjugated and effluxed by Caco-2/TC7 cells. Apically-applied MK571 caused significant reductions in both the apical and basolateral efflux of flavonol conjugates from Caco-2/TC7 monolayers. MK571 did not significantly alter the apical:basolateral efflux ratio for flavonol conjugates, however, which is not consistent with MK571 specifically inhibiting only apical Mrp2. Since MK571 decreased the total amounts of conjugates formed, and increased cellular flavonol aglycone concentrations, we explored the possibility that MK571 also inhibits phase-2 conjugation of flavonols. MK571 dose-dependently inhibited the intracellular biosynthesis of all flavonol glucuronides and sulphates by Caco-2 cells. MK571 significantly inhibited phase-2 conjugation of kaempferol by cell-free extracts of Caco-2, and production of kaempferol-4′-O-glucuronide was competitively inhibited. These data show that MK571, in addition to inhibiting MRP2, is a potential inhibitor of enterocyte phase-2 conjugation.
PMCID: PMC4428793  PMID: 25801004
Mrp2, multidrug resistance protein-2; Caco2, cancer of the colon cells; MDCKII, Madin–Darby canine kidney cells; ABC, ATP-binding cassette; Ap, apical; Bl, basolateral; HPLC, high pressure liquid chromatography; Q, quercetin; K, kaempferol; G, galangin; GlcA, glucuronide; S, sulphate; K-S-GlcA, kaempferol-sulfoglucuronide; K-4′-GlcA, kaempferol-4′-O-glucuronide; K-3-GlcA, kaempferol-3-O-glucuronide; K-7-GlcA, kaempferol-7-O-glucuronide; K-S, kaempferol-sulphate; Q-7-GlcA, quercetin-7-O-glucuronide; Q-3-GlcA, quercetin-3-O-glucuronide; Q-3′-GlcA, quercetin-3′-O-glucuronide; Q-4′-GlcA, quercetin-4′-O-glucuronide; Q-7-S, quercetin-7-O-sulphate; Q-3′-S, quercetin-3′-O-sulphate; G-5-GlcA, galangin-5-O-glucuronide; G-3-GlcA, galangin-3-O-glucuronide; G-7-GlcA, galangin-7-O-glucuronide; G-S, galangin sulphate; Flavonols; Flavonoids; MK571; Caco-2/TC7; Multidrug resistance protein 2; Phase-2 conjugation
14.  Role of human pregnane X receptor in high fat diet-induced obesity in pre-menopausal female mice 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(3):399-412.
Obesity is a complex metabolic disorder that is more prevalent among women. Until now, the only relevant rodent models of diet-induced obesity were via the use of ovariectomized (“postmenopausal”) females. However, recent reports suggest that the xenobiotic nuclear receptor pregnane X receptor (PXR) may contribute to obesity. Therefore, we compared the roles of mouse and human PXRs in diet-induced obesity between wild type (WT) and PXR-humanized (hPXR) transgenic female mice fed either control or high-fat diets (HFD) for 16 weeks. HFD-fed hPXR mice gained weight more rapidly than controls, exhibited hyperinsulinemia, and impaired glucose tolerance. Fundamental differences were observed between control-fed hPXR and WT females: hPXR mice possessed reduced estrogen receptor α (ERα) but enhanced uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) protein expression in white adipose tissue (WAT); increased protein expression of the hepatic cytochrome P450 3A11 (CYP3A11) and key gluconeogenic enzymes phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose 6-phosphatase, and increased total cholesterol. Interestingly, HFD ingestion induced both UCP1 and glucokinase protein expression in WT mice, but inhibited these enzymes in hPXR females. Unlike WT mice, CYP3A11 protein, serum 17β-estradiol levels, and WAT ERα expression were unaffected by HFD in hPXR females. Together, these studies indicate that the hPXR gene promotes obesity and metabolic syndrome by dysregulating lipid and glucose homeostasis while inhibiting UCP1 expression. Furthermore, our studies indicate that the human PXR suppresses the protective role of estrogen in metabolic disorders. Finally, these data identify PXR-humanized mice as a promising in vivo research model for studying obesity and diabetes in women.
PMCID: PMC4057797  PMID: 24721462
obesity; high-fat diet; pregnane X receptor; nuclear receptors; type 2 diabetes; females
15.  Targeted therapy of chronic myeloid leukemia 
Biochemical pharmacology  2010;80(5):584-591.
Inhibition of BCR-ABL with kinase inhibitors has become a well-accepted strategy for targeted therapy of Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and has been shown to be highly effective in controlling the disease. However, BCR-ABL kinase inhibitors do not efficiently kill leukemic stem cells (LSCs), indicating that this therapeutic strategy does not lead to a cure of CML. Development of curative therapies of CML require the identification of genes/pathways that play critical roles in survival and self-renewal of LSCs. Targeting of these key BCR-ABL downstream genes provides an opportunity to eradicate LSCs, as shown in our work that identifies the Alox5 gene as a key regulator of the function of CML LSCs. Immediate clinical trials are necessary to test the effectiveness of targeting a key BCR-ABL downstream gene in eradicating LSCs in CML patients. In this review, we will discuss current targeted therapies of CML using BCR-ABL kinase inhibitors, with a focus on the importance of developing a targeted therapy of CML through identification of target genes in CML LSCs.
PMCID: PMC4440481  PMID: 20470758
BCR-ABL; kinase inhibitor; leukemia stem cells; CML; targeted therapy
16.  Uridine-5′-triphosphate (UTP) reduces infarct size and improves rat heart function after myocardial infarct 
Biochemical pharmacology  2006;72(8):949-955.
We have previously found that uridine 5′-triphosphate (UTP) significantly reduced cardiomyocyte death induced by hypoxia via activating P2Y2 receptors. To explore the effect of UTP following myocardial infarction (MI) in vivo we studied four groups: sham with or without LAD ligation, injected with UTP (0.44 µg/kg i.v.) 30 min before MI, and UTP injection (4.4 µg/kg i.v.) 24 h prior to MI. Left ventricular end diastolic area (LVEDA), end systolic area (LVESA) fractional shortening (FS), and changes in posterior wall (PW) thickness were performed by echocardiography before and 24 h after MI. In addition, we measured different biochemical markers of damage and infarct size using Evans blue and TTC staining. The increase in LVEDA and LVESA of the treated animals was significantly smaller when compared to the MI rats (p < 0.01). Concomitantly, FS was higher in groups pretreated with UTP 30 min or 24 h (56 ± 14.3 and 36.7 ± 8.2%, p < 0.01, respectively). Ratio of infarct size to area at risk was smaller in the UTP pretreated hearts than MI rats (22.9 ± 6.6, 23.1 ± 9.1%, versus 45.4 ± 7.6%, respectively, p < 0.001). Troponin T and ATP measurements, demonstrated reduced myocardial damage. Using Rhod-2-AM loaded cardiomyocytes, we found that UTP reduced mitochondrial calcium levels following hypoxia. In conclusion, early or late UTP preconditioning is effective, demonstrating reduced infarct size and superior myocardial function. The resulting cardioprotection following UTP treatment post ischemia demonstrates a reduction in mitochondrial calcium overload, which can explain the beneficial effect of UTP.
PMCID: PMC4429760  PMID: 16939682
Heart protection; Ischemia; P2Y receptors
17.  Pharmacodynamics, Tissue Distribution, Toxicity Studies and Antitumor Efficacy of the Vascular Targeting Fusion Toxin VEGF121/rGel 
Biochemical pharmacology  2012;84(11):1534-1540.
As a part of an ongoing assessment of its mechanism of action, we evaluated the in vivo pharmacokinetics, tissue distribution, toxicity and antitumor efficacy of VEGF121/rGel, a novel fusion protein. Pharmacokinetic studies showed that VEGF121/rGel cleared from the circulation in a biphasic manner with calculated half-lives of 0.3 and 6 hours for the alpha and beta phases, respectively. Pharmacokinetic evaluation of 64Cu-DOTA-VEGF121/rGel showed relatively high blood retention 30 min after injection (26.6 ± 1.73 %ID/g), dropping to 11.8 ± 2.83 % and 0.82 ± 0.11 % ID/g at 60 and 240 minutes post injection, respectively. Tissue uptake studies showed that kidneys, liver and tumor had the highest drug concentrations 48 hrs after administration. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD), based on a QOD X5 i.v. administration schedule, was found to be 18 mg/kg with an LD50 of 25 mg/kg. Treatment of BALB/c mice with VEGF121/rGel at doses up to the MTD caused no alterations in hematologic parameters. However, AST and ALT parameters increased in a dose-related manner. The no-observable-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) was determined to be 20% of the MTD (3.6 mg/kg). VEGF121/rGel treatment of mice bearing orthotopically-placed MDA-MB-231 breast tumors caused increased vascular permeability of tumor tissue by 53% compared to saline-treated controls. Immunohistochemical analysis showed significant tumor hypoxia and necrosis as a consequence of vascular damage. In summary, VEGF121/rGel appears to be an effective therapeutic agent causing focused damage to tumor vasculature with minimal toxic effects to normal organs. This agent appears to be an excellent candidate for further clinical development.
Graphical Abstract (for review)
PMCID: PMC4423739  PMID: 23022224
Angiogenesis; Necrosis; Pharmacokinetics; Toxicology; VEGF; Vascular permeability
18.  Signaling of the p21-activated kinase (PAK1) coordinates insulin-stimulated actin remodeling and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle cells 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;92(2):380-388.
Skeletal muscle accounts for ~80% of postprandial glucose clearance, and skeletal muscle glucose clearance is crucial for maintaining insulin sensitivity and euglycemia. Insulin-stimulated glucose clearance/uptake entails recruitment of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane (PM) in a process that requires cortical F-actin remodeling; this process is dysregulated in Type 2 Diabetes. Recent studies have implicated PAK1 as a required element in GLUT4 recruitment in mouse skeletal muscle in vivo, although its underlying mechanism of action and requirement in glucose uptake remains undetermined. Toward this, we have employed the PAK1 inhibitor, IPA3, in studies using L6-GLUT4-myc muscle cells. IPA3 fully ablated insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation to the PM, corroborating the observation of ablated insulin-stimulated GLUT4 accumulation in the PM of skeletal muscle from PAK1−/− knockout mice. IPA3-treatment also abolished insulin-stimulated glucose uptake into skeletal myotubes. Mechanistically, live-cell imaging of myoblasts expressing the F-actin biosensor LifeAct-GFP treated with IPA3 showed blunting of the normal insulin-induced cortical actin remodeling. This blunting was underpinned by a loss of normal insulin-stimulated cofilin dephosphorylation in IPA3-treated myoblasts. These findings expand upon the existing model of actin remodeling in glucose uptake, by placing insulin-stimulated PAK1 signaling as a required upstream step to facilitate actin remodeling and subsequent cofilin dephosphorylation. Active, dephosphorylated cofilin then provides the G-actin substrate for continued F-actin remodeling to facilitate GLUT4 vesicle translocation for glucose uptake into the skeletal muscle cell.
PMCID: PMC4418524  PMID: 25199455
F-actin remodeling; Diabetes; PAK1; L6-GLUT4myc muscle cells; Skeletal muscle; GLUT4 vesicle exocytosis; Small Rho family GTPase; Rac1
19.  Telatinib reverses chemotherapeutic multidrug resistance mediated by ABCG2 efflux transporter in vitro and in vivo 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(1):52-61.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a phenomenon where cancer cells become simultaneously resistant to anticancer drugs with different structures and mechanisms of action. MDR has been shown to be associated with overexpression of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. Here, we report that telatinib, a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, enhances the anticancer activity of ABCG2 substrate anticancer drugs by inhibiting ABCG2 efflux transporter activity. Co-incubation of ABCG2-overexpressing drug resistant cell lines with telatinib and ABCG2 substrate anticancer drugs significantly reduced cellular viability, whereas telatinib alone did not significantly affect drug sensitive and drug resistant cell lines. Telatinib at 1 μM did not significantly alter the expression of ABCG2 in ABCG2-overexpressing cell lines. Telatinib at 1 μM significantly enhanced the intracellular accumulation of [3H]-mitoxantrone (MX) in ABCG2-overexpressing cell lines. In addition, telatinib at 1 μM significantly reduced the rate of [3H]-MX efflux from ABCG2-overexpressing cells. Furthermore, telatinib significantly inhibited ABCG2-mediated transport of [3H]-E217βG in ABCG2 overexpressing membrane vesicles. Telatinib stimulated the ATPase activity of ABCG2 in a concentration-dependent manner, indicating that telatinib might be a substrate of ABCG2. Binding interactions of telatinib were found to be in transmembrane region of homology modeled human ABCG2. In addition, telatinib (15 mg/kg) with doxorubicin (1.8 mg/kg) significantly decreased the growth rate and tumor size of ABCG2 overexpressing tumors in a xenograft nude mouse model. These results, provided that they can be translated to humans, suggesting that telatinib, in combination with specific ABCG2 substrate drugs may be useful in treating tumors that overexpress ABCG2.
PMCID: PMC3983711  PMID: 24565910
ABC transporter; ABCG2; multidrug resistance; telatinib; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
20.  Mammalian Flavin-Containing Monooxygenase (FMO) as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;89(1):141-147.
Flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) oxygenates drugs/xenobiotics containing a soft nucleophile through a C4a hydroperoxy-FAD intermediate. Human FMOs 1, 2 and 3, expressed in Sf9 insect microsomes, released 30–50% of O2 consumed as H2O2 upon addition of NADPH. Addition of substrate had little effect on H2O2 production. Two common FMO2 (the major isoform in the lung) genetic polymorphisms, S195L and N413K, were examined for generation of H2O2. FMO2 S195L exhibited higher “leakage”, producing much greater amounts of H2O2, than ancestral FMO2 (FMO2.1) or the N413K variant. S195L was distinct in that H2O2 generation was much higher in the absence of substrate. Addition of superoxide dismutase did not impact H2O2 release. Catalase did not reduce levels of H2O2 with either FMO2.1 or FMO3 but inhibited H2O2 generated by FMO2 allelic variants N413K and S195L. These data are consistent with FMO molecular models. S195L resides in the GxGxSG/A NADP+ binding motif, in which serine is highly conserved (76/89 known FMOs). We hypothesize that FMO, especially allelic variants such as FMO2 S195L, may enhance the toxicity of xenobiotics such as thioureas/thiocarbamides both by generation of sulfenic and sulfinic acid metabolites and enhanced release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the form of H2O2.
PMCID: PMC4116332  PMID: 24561181
flavin-containing monooxygenase; hydrogen peroxide; pulmonary FMO2; oxidative stress; genetic polymorphism
21.  Choline Transporter Hemizygosity Results in Diminished Basal Extracellular Dopamine Levels in Nucleus Accumbens and Blunts Dopamine Elevations Following Cocaine or Nicotine 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;86(8):1084-1088.
Dopamine (DA) signaling in the central nervous system mediates the addictive capacities of multiple commonly abused substances, including cocaine, amphetamine, heroin and nicotine. The firing of DA neurons residing in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and the release of DA by the projections of these neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), is under tight control by cholinergic signaling mediated by nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptors (nAChRs). The capacity for cholinergic signaling is dictated by the availability and activity of the presynaptic, high-affinity, choline transporter (CHT, SLC5A7) that acquires choline in an activity-dependent matter to sustain ACh synthesis. Here, we present evidence that a constitutive loss of CHT expression, mediated by genetic elimination of one copy of the Slc5a7 gene in mice (CHT+/−), leads to a significant reduction in basal extracellular DA levels in the NAc, as measured by in vivo microdialysis. Moreover, CHT heterozygosity results in blunted DA elevations following systemic nicotine or cocaine administration. These findings reinforce a critical role of ACh signaling capacity in both tonic and drug-modulated DA signaling and argue that genetically-imposed reductions in CHT that lead to diminished DA signaling may lead to poor responses to reinforcing stimuli, possibly contributing to disorders linked to perturbed cholinergic signaling including depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
PMCID: PMC4413453  PMID: 23939187
choline; transporter; dopamine; cocaine; nicotine; microdialysis
22.  GABAB receptor phosphorylation regulates KCTD12-induced K+ current desensitization 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;91(3):369-379.
GABAB receptors assemble from GABAB1 and GABAB2 subunits. GABAB2 additionally associates with auxiliary KCTD subunits (named after their K+ channel tetramerization-domain). GABAB receptors couple to heterotrimeric G–proteins and activate inwardly-rectifying K+ channels through the βγ subunits released from the G-protein. Receptor-activated K+ currents desensitize in the sustained presence of agonist to avoid excessive effects on neuronal activity. Desensitization of K+ currents integrates distinct mechanistic underpinnings. GABAB receptor activity reduces protein kinase-A activity, which reduces phosphorylation of serine-892 in GABAB2 and promotes receptor degradation. This form of desensitization operates on the time scale of several minutes to hours. A faster form of desensitization is induced by the auxiliary subunit KCTD12, which interferes with channel activation by binding to the G-protein βγ subunits. Here we show that the two mechanisms of desensitization influence each other. Serine-892 phosphorylation in heterologous cells rearranges KCTD12 at the receptor and slows KCTD12-induced desensitization. Likewise, protein kinase-A activation in hippocampal neurons slows fast desensitization of GABAB receptor-activated K+ currents while protein kinase-A inhibition accelerates fast desensitization. Protein kinase-A fails to regulate fast desensitization in KCTD12 knock-out mice or knock-in mice with a serine-892 to alanine mutation, thus demonstrating that serine-892 phosphorylation regulates KCTD12-induced desensitization in vivo. Fast current desensitization is accelerated in hippocampal neurons carrying the serine-892 to alanine mutation, showing that tonic serine-892 phosphorylation normally limits KCTD12-induced desensitization. Tonic serine-892 phosphorylation is in turn promoted by assembly of receptors with KCTD12. This cross-regulation of serine-892 phosphorylation and KCTD12 activity sharpens the response during repeated receptor activation.
PMCID: PMC4402209  PMID: 25065880
GABA-B; G-protein coupled receptor; GPCR; PKA; Kir3
23.  The End of Alzheimer’s disease - from biochemical pharmacology to ecopsychosociology: a personal perspective 
Biochemical pharmacology  2013;88(4):677-681.
The future of the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) field involves a more complete understanding not only the state of current scientific approaches, but also the linguistic and cultural context of preclinical and clinical research and policy activities. The challenges surrounding dementia are large and growing but are only part of broader social and health concerns. In this latter context, the current state of research in the AD area is reviewed together with necessary priorities in moving forward. Creating a more optimistic future will depend less on genetic and reductionist approaches and more on environmental and intergenerative approaches that will aid in recalibrating the study of AD from an almost exclusive focus on biochemical, molecular and genetic aspects to better encompass “real world” ecological and psychosocial models of health
PMCID: PMC3972274  PMID: 24304687
dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; psychosocial
24.  Microglial Dysfunction in Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;88(4):594-604.
Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, have long been a subject of study in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) field due to their dramatic responses to the pathophysiology of the disease. With several large-scale genetic studies in the past year implicating microglial molecules in AD, the potential significance of these cells has become more prominent than ever before. As a disease that is tightly linked to aging, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that microglia of the AD brain share some phenotypes with aging microglia. Yet the relative impacts of both conditions on microglia are less frequently considered in concert. Furthermore, microglial “activation” and “neuroinflammation” are commonly analyzed in studies of neurodegeneration but are somewhat ill-defined concepts that in fact encompass multiple cellular processes. In this review, we have enumerated six distinct functions of microglia and discuss the specific effects of both aging and AD. By calling attention to the commonalities of these two states, we hope to inspire new approaches for dissecting microglial mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3972294  PMID: 24445162
microglia; aging; Alzheimer’s disease; neuroinflammation; neurodegeneration
25.  Therapeutic Implications of the Prostaglandin Pathway in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Biochemical pharmacology  2014;88(4):565-572.
An important pathologic hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is neuroinflammation, a process characterized in AD by disproportionate activation of cells (microglia and astrocytes, primarily) of the non-specific innate immune system within the CNS. While inflammation itself is not intrinsically detrimental, a delicate balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory signals must be maintained to ensure that long-term exaggerated responses do not damage the brain over time. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) represent a broad class of powerful therapeutics that temper inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-mediated signaling pathways including prostaglandins, which are the principal mediators of CNS neuroinflammation. While historically used to treat discrete or systemic inflammatory conditions, epidemiologic evidence suggests that protracted NSAID use may delay AD onset, as well as decrease disease severity and rate of progression. Unfortunately, clinical trials with NSAIDs have thus far yielded disappointing results, including premature discontinuation of a large-scale prevention trial due to unexpected cardiovascular side effects. Here we review the literature and make the argument that more targeted exploitation of downstream prostaglandin signaling pathways may offer significant therapeutic benefits for AD while minimizing adverse side effects. Directed strategies such as these may ultimately help to delay the deleterious consequences of brain aging and might someday lead to new therapies for AD and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3972296  PMID: 24434190
Alzheimer’s disease; prostaglandin; neuroinflammation; cyclooxygenase; NSAID

Results 1-25 (675)