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1.  Chloride Channel-Targeted Therapy for Secretory Diarrheas 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(6):888-894.
Secretory diarrheas caused by bacterial and viral enterotoxins remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Enterocyte Cl− channels represent an attractive class of targets for diarrhea therapy, as they are the final, rate-limiting step in enterotoxin-induced fluid secretion in the intestine. Activation of cyclic nucleotide and/or Ca2+ signalling pathways in secretory diarrheas increases the conductance of Cl− channels at the enterocyte luminal membrane, which include the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and Ca2+-activated Cl− channels (CaCCs). High-throughput screens have yielded several chemical classes of small molecule CFTR and CaCC inhibitors that show efficacy in animal models of diarrheas. Natural-product diarrhea remedies with Cl− channel inhibition activity have also been identified, with one product recently receiving FDA approval for HIV-associated diarrhea.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.005
PMCID: PMC3890324  PMID: 23992767
diarrhea; cholera; chloride channels; CFTR; CaCC; rotavirus
2.  The proton-coupled folate transporter: physiological and pharmacological roles 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(6):875-880.
Summary
Recent studies have identified the proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) as the mechanism by which folates are absorbed across the apical brush-border membrane of the small intestine and across the basolateral membrane of the choroid plexus into the cerebrospinal fluid. Both processes are defective when there are loss-of-function mutations in this gene as occurs in the autosomal recessive disorder hereditary folate malabsorption. Because this transporter functions optimally at low pH, antifolates are being developed that are highly specific for PCFT in order to achieve selective delivery to malignant cells within the acidic environment of solid tumors. PCFT has a spectrum of affinities for folates and antifolates that narrows and increases at low pH. Residues have been identified that play a role in folate and proton binding, proton coupling, and oscillation of the carrier between its conformational states.
PMCID: PMC4100332  PMID: 24383099
3.  Cell Therapy Approaches for Lung Diseases: Current Status 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2009;9(3):268-273.
Summary and recent advances
Recent findings suggest that embryonic stem cells and stem cells derived from adult tissues, including bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, could be utilized in repair and regeneration of injured or diseased lungs. This is an exciting and rapidly moving field that holds promise as a therapeutic approach for variety of lung diseases. Although initial emphasis was on engraftment of stem cells in lung, more, recent studies demonstrate that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can modulate local inflammatory and immune responses in mouse lung disease models including acute lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis. Further, based on initial reports of safety and efficacy following allogeneic administration of MSCs to patients with Crohn’s disease or with graft-versus-host disease, a recent trial has been initiated to study the effect of MSCs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Notably, several recent clinical trials have demonstrated potential benefit of autologous stem cell administration in patient with pulmonary hypertension. In this review, we will describe recent advances in cell therapy with the focus on MSCs and their potential roles in lung development and repair.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2009.03.002
PMCID: PMC4201364  PMID: 19349209
Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Lung; Cell Therapy; Tissue Bioengineering
4.  Biologically-Inspired Strategies for Combating Bacterial Biofilms 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):699-706.
Infections caused by bacterial biofilms are a significant global health problem, causing considerable patient morbidity and mortality and contributing to the economic burden of infectious disease. This review describes diverse strategies to combat bacterial biofilms, focusing firstly on small molecule interference with bacterial communication and signaling pathways, including quorum sensing and two-component signal transduction systems. Secondly we discuss enzymatic approaches to the degradation of extracellular matrix components to effect biofilm dispersal. Both these approaches are based upon non-microbicidal mechanisms of action, and thereby do not place a direct evolutionary pressure on the bacteria to develop resistance. Such approaches have the potential to, in combination with conventional antibiotics, play an important role in the eradication of biofilm based bacterial infections.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.07.004
PMCID: PMC3795836  PMID: 23871261
5.  Porous silicon advances in drug delivery and immunotherapy 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):834-841.
Biomedical applications of porous silicon include drug delivery, imaging, diagnostics and immunotherapy. This review summarizes new silicon particle fabrication techniques, dynamics of cellular transport, advances in the multistage vector approach to drug delivery, and the use of porous silicon as immune adjuvants. Recent findings support superior therapeutic efficacy of the multistage vector approach over single particle drug delivery systems in mouse models of ovarian and breast cancer. With respect to vaccine development, multivalent presentation of pathogen-associated molecular patterns on the particle surface creates powerful platforms for immunotherapy, with the porous matrix able to carry both antigens and immune modulators.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.06.006
PMCID: PMC3795885  PMID: 23845260
porous silicon; vaccine; immunotherapy; chemotherapeutics; drug delivery
6.  Antifungal therapy with an emphasis on biofilms 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):726-730.
Fungal infections are on the rise as advances in modern medicine prolong the lives of severely ill patients. Fungi are eukaryotic organisms and there are a limited number of targets for antifungal drug development; as a result the antifungal arsenal is exceedingly limited. Azoles, polyenes and echinocandins, constitute the mainstay of antifungal therapy for patients with life-threatening mycoses. One of the main factors complicating antifungal therapy is the formation of fungal biofilms, microbial communities displaying resistance to most antifungal agents. A better understanding of fungal biofilms provides for new opportunities for the development of urgently needed novel antifungal agents and strategies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.008
PMCID: PMC3795934  PMID: 24011516
7.  Emerging Trends in the Discovery of Natural Product Antibacterials 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):678-687.
This article highlights current trends and advances in exploiting natural sources for the deployment of novel and potent anti-infective countermeasures. The key challenge is to therapeutically target microbial pathogens exhibiting a variety of puzzling and evolutionary complex resistance mechanisms. Special emphasis is given to the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in the natural product antimicrobial drug discovery arena, and to emerging applications driven by advances in bioinformatics, chemical biology, and synthetic biology in concert with exploiting the microbial phenotype. These orchestrated efforts have identified a critical mass of lead natural antimicrobials chemical scaffolds and discovery technologies with high probability of successful implementation against emerging microbial pathogens.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.07.002
PMCID: PMC3795984  PMID: 23890825
multidrug resistance; natural antimicrobials; high throughput technologies; phenotypic based discovery; natural product biosynthesis; bioinformatics; genomics; synthetic biology
8.  Cyclodextrin derivatives as anti-infectives 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.007.
Cyclodextrin derivatives can be utilized as anti-infectives with pore-forming proteins as the targets. The highly efficient selection of potent inhibitors was achieved because per-substituted cyclodextrins have the same symmetry as the target pores. Inhibitors of several bacterial toxins produced by B. anthracis, S. aureus, C. perfringens, C. botulinum and C. difficile were identified from a library of ~200 CD derivatives. It was demonstrated that multi-targeted inhibitors can be found using this approach and could be utilized for the development of broad-spectrum drugs against various pathogens.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.007
PMCID: PMC3823528  PMID: 24011515
9.  Light based anti-infectives: ultraviolet C irradiation, photodynamic therapy, blue light, and beyond 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.009.
Owing to the worldwide increase in antibiotic resistance, researchers are investigating alternative anti-infective strategies to which it is supposed microorganisms will be unable to develop resistance. Prominent among these strategies, is a group of approaches which rely on light to deliver the killing blow. As is well known, ultraviolet light, particularly UVC (200–280nm), is germicidal, but it has not been much developed as an anti-infective approach until recently, when it was realized that the possible adverse effects to host tissue were relatively minor compared to its high activity in killing pathogens. Photodynamic therapy is the combination of non-toxic photosensitizing dyes with harmless visible light that together produce abundant destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS). Certain cationic dyes or photosensitizers have good specificity for binding to microbial cells while sparing host mammalian cells and can be used for treating many localized infections, both superficial and even deep-seated by using fiber optic delivered light. Many microbial cells are highly sensitive to killing by blue light (400–470 nm) due to accumulation of naturally occurring photosensitizers such as porphyrins and flavins. Near infrared light has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects against certain species. Clinical applications of these technologies include skin, dental, wound, stomach, nasal, toenail and other infections which are amenable to effective light delivery.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.009
PMCID: PMC3831650  PMID: 24060701
10.  Disruptive innovations: new anti-infectives in the age of resistance 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(5):10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.012.
This special issue of Current Opinion in Pharmacology is concerned with new developments in antimicrobial drugs and covers innovative strategies for dealing with microbial infection in the age of multi-antibiotic resistance. Despite widespread fears that many infectious diseases may become untreatable, disruptive innovations are in the process of being discovered and developed that may go some way to leading the fight-back against the rising threat. Natural products, quorum sensing inhibitors, biofilm disruptors, gallium-based drugs, cyclodextrin inhibitors of pore-forming toxins, anti-fungals that deal with biofilms, and light based antimicrobial strategies are specifically addressed. New non-vertebrate animal models of infection may facilitate high-throughput screening (HTS) of novel anti-infectives.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.08.012
PMCID: PMC3831660  PMID: 24012294
11.  Extracellular nucleotides as negative modulators of immunity 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2009;9(4):507-513.
Nucleotides are well known for being the universal currency of intracellular energy transactions, but over the last decade it has become clear that they are also ubiquitous extracellular messenger. In the immune system there is increasing awareness that nucleotides serve multiple roles as stimulants of lymphocyte proliferation, ROS generation, cytokine and chemokine secretion: in one word as pro-inflammatory mediators. However, although often neglected, extracellular nucleotides exert an additional more subtle function as negative modulators of immunity, or as immunedepressants. The more we understand the peculiar biochemical composition of the microenvironment generated at inflammatory sites, the more we appreciate how chronic exposure to low extracellular nucleotide levels affect immunity and inflammation. A deeper understanding of this complex network will no doubt help design more effective therapies for cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2009.06.021
PMCID: PMC4158611  PMID: 19628431
12.  Spatial control of cAMP Signalling in Health and Disease 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2011;11(6):649-655.
The cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate signalling pathway is now recognised to transduce signals in a compartmentalised manner such that individual stimuli only engage a subset of the pathway components that are physically constrained within defined subcellular locales, thus resulting in a precise functional outcome. As we are starting to appreciate the complexity of the spatial organisation and of the temporal regulation of this pathway, it is becoming clear that disruption of local signalling may lead to pathology and that local manipulation of cAMP signals may offer alternative approaches to treat disease.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2011.09.014
PMCID: PMC4126235  PMID: 22000603
13.  TB: the Yin and Yang of lipid mediators 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(4):641-645.
There is a growing appreciation of the diverse roles that lipid mediators play in modulating inflammatory responses during infection. In the case of tuberculosis, virulent mycobacteria induce host production of anti-inflammatory mediators, including lipoxins, which limit the host inflammatory response and lead to necrotic cell death of infected macrophages. Recent work using the zebrafish model suggests that, while excess anti-inflammatory lipoxins are host detrimental during mycobacterial infections, excess pro-inflammatory lipids also drive host susceptibility. The balance of these inflammatory states is influenced by common human genetic variation in Asia. Fuller understanding of the mechanisms of eicosanoid-mediated inflammatory imbalance during tuberculosis infection has important implications for the development of adjunctive therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.06.007
PMCID: PMC3756664  PMID: 23849093
14.  New pathways to control inflammatory responses in adipose tissue 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(4):613-617.
Obesity is chracterized by the presence of chronic inflammation in adipose tissue, particularly in the visceral compartment, that has been causally linked to development of obesity-associated co-morbidities. This link can be either direct or indirect, through induction of insulin resistance. This review summarizes recent evidence on potential pharmacological targets of adipose tissue inflammation, with emphasis on mediators that are being studied for invervention in chronic inflammatory diseases and are therefore viable therapeutical candidates. Specifically, we discuss evidence on the role of the inflammasome and its downstream products as a potential target for anti-inflammatory strategies as well as T regulatory cells and mediators involved in the resolution phase of inflammation, such as resolvins, protectins, annexin A1 and galectins as potential targets for novel agonist therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.04.008
PMCID: PMC3732512  PMID: 23648270
15.  Resolution Phase Lipid Mediators of Inflammation: Agonists of Resolution 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(4):632-640.
Lipid mediators are appreciated for their roles in leukocyte traffic required in host defense. With identification of novel resolution phase mediators, resolvins, protectins and maresins, these 3 families and their aspirin-triggered forms, given their potent stereoselective actions with human cells and animal disease models, are coined specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM). Stereochemistries of key SPM are established and several groups reported organic synthesis. Given availability, this 2 year-review period expands their potent pro-resolving and nonredundant actions. Collectively, they support the concept that return of acute inflammation involves active biosynthesis and SPM signaling towards homeostasis.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.05.012
PMCID: PMC3732499  PMID: 23747022
16.  Changes in macrophage phenotype as the immune response evolves 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(4):555-564.
Mononuclear phagocytic cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells, are widely distributed throughout our organs where they perform important homeostatic, surveillance and regenerative tasks. In response to infection or injury, the composition and number of mononuclear phagocytic cells changes remarkably, in part due to the recruitment of inflammatory monocytes from bone marrow. In infection or injury, macrophages and dendritic cells perform important innate and adaptive immune roles from the initial insult through repair and regeneration of the tissue and resolution of inflammation. Evidence from mouse models of disease has shown increasing complexity and subtlety to the mononuclear phagocytic system, which will be reviewed here. New studies show that in addition to monocytes, the resident populations of mononuclear phagocytes expand in disease states and play distinct but important roles in the immune response. Finally, new insights into these functionally diverse cells are now translating into therapeutics to treat human disease.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.05.013
PMCID: PMC3732570  PMID: 23747023
17.  Systems Biology: Personalized Medicine for the Future? 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2012;12(5):623-628.
Systems biology is actively transforming the field of modern health care from symptom-based disease diagnosis and treatment to precision medicine in which patients are treated based on their individual characteristics. Development of high-throughput technologies such as high-throughout sequencing and mass spectrometry has enabled scientists and clinicians to examine genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes, and other omics information in unprecedented detail. This “omics” information leads to a global profiling of health and disease, and providing new approaches for personalized health monitoring and preventative medicine. In this article, we review the efforts of systems biology in personalized medicine in the past 2 years, and discussed in detail achievements and concerns, as well as highlights and hurdles for future personalized health care.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2012.07.011
PMCID: PMC4076046  PMID: 22858243
18.  Pathogenesis, Current Treatments and Future Directions for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(3):377-385.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive interstitial lung disease (ILD) of unknown origin characterized by epithelial cell dysfunctions, accumulation of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts and relentless deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM). Improved diagnostic accuracy and better trial design have provided important insights from recent clinical trials. Perhaps the most important insight was the realization that “standard therapy” was actually harmful! This review summarizes the current understanding of the cell types that are altered in IPF and the pathogenic mechanisms that have been identified. It also reviews recent clinical trial results and interpretations. Finally, we highlight attractive biologic targets and therapies in development with recommendations for future therapeutic avenues.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.03.015
PMCID: PMC3686907  PMID: 23602652
19.  Emerging targets for novel therapy of asthma 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(3):324-330.
Significant advances in understanding the cell and molecular biology of inflammation and airway smooth muscle (ASM) contractility have identified several potential novel targets for therapies of asthma. New agents targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) including bitter taste receptors (TAS2R) agonists and prostaglandin EP4 receptor agonists elicit airway smooth muscle relaxation. The cAMP/PKA pathway continues to be a promising drug target with the emergence of new PDE inhibitors and a novel PKA target protein, HSP20, which mediates smooth muscle relaxation via actin depolymerization. Smooth muscle relaxation can also be elicited by inhibitors of the RhoA/Rho kinase pathway via inhibition of myosin light chain phosphorylation and actin depolymerization. Targeting epigenetic processes that control chromatin remodeling and RNA-induced gene silencing in airway cells also holds great potential for novel asthma therapy. Further investigation may identify agents that inhibit smooth muscle contraction and/or restrain or reverse obstructive remodeling of the airways.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.04.002
PMCID: PMC3686997  PMID: 23639507
20.  The pharmacological rationale for combining muscarinic receptor antagonists and β-adrenoceptor agonists in the treatment of airway and bladder disease☆ 
Current Opinion in Pharmacology  2014;16(100):31-42.
Highlights
•Muscarinic receptors increase smooth muscle tone in airways and urinary bladder.•β-Adrenoceptors relax smooth muscle tone and oppose muscarinic contraction.•Opposition involves transmitter release, signal transduction and receptor expression.•This supports the combined use of muscarinic antagonists and β-adrenoceptor agonists.
Muscarinic receptor antagonists and β-adrenoceptor agonists are used in the treatment of obstructive airway disease and overactive bladder syndrome. Here we review the pharmacological rationale for their combination. Muscarinic receptors and β-adrenoceptors are physiological antagonists for smooth muscle tone in airways and bladder. Muscarinic agonism may attenuate β-adrenoceptor-mediated relaxation more than other contractile stimuli. Chronic treatment with one drug class may regulate expression of the target receptor but also that of the opposing receptor. Prejunctional β2-adrenoceptors can enhance neuronal acetylcholine release. Moreover, at least in the airways, muscarinic receptors and β-adrenoceptors are expressed in different locations, indicating that only a combined modulation of both systems may cause dilatation along the entire bronchial tree. While all of these factors contribute to a rationale for a combination of muscarinic receptor antagonists and β-adrenoceptor agonists, the full value of such combination as compared to monotherapy can only be determined in clinical studies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2014.03.003
PMCID: PMC4071415  PMID: 24682092
21.  The roles of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in steroidogenesis 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2011;11(6):670-675.
The second messenger, cAMP, is one of the most important regulatory signals for control of steroidogenesis. This review focuses on current knowledge about regulation of cyclic nucleotides by phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in steroidogenic tissues. The first PDE known to directly regulate steroidogenesis was PDE2, the cGMP-stimulated PDE. PDE2 mediates ANP/cGMP-induced decreases in aldosterone production. Recently, the PDE8 family has been shown to control steroidogenesis in two tissues. Specifically, PDE8A regulates testosterone production by itself and in concert with additional IBMX-sensitive PDEs. PDE8B modulates basal corticosterone synthesis via acute and chronic mechanisms. In addition to cAMP-dependent pathways, cGMP signaling also can promote steroidogenesis, and PDE5 modulates this process. Finally, PDE mutations may lead to several human diseases characterized by abnormal steroid levels.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2011.09.003
PMCID: PMC4034742  PMID: 21962440
22.  p38 MAPK inhibitors, IKK2 inhibitors, and TNFα inhibitors in COPD 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2012;12(3):287-292.
COPD represents a major respiratory disorder, causing significant morbidity and mortality throughout the world. While therapies exist for COPD, they are not always effective, and many patients experience exacerbations and morbidity despite current therapies. Study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the underlying physiological manifestations of COPD has yielded multiple new targets for therapeutic intervention. In this review, we discuss signaling pathways involved in COPD pathogenesis and review clinical studies of p38 MAPK inhibitors, TNFα inhibitors, and IKK2 inhibitors as potential COPD therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2012.01.016
PMCID: PMC4030417  PMID: 22365729
airways disease; inflammation; irreversible airway obstruction; airway remodeling
23.  Menopause, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(2):186-191.
Women have coronary heart disease (CHD) later than men. This review describes studies of CHD risk factors or outcomes based on studies of premenopausal women followed through the menopause transition, and prospective cohort studies of younger or older women with CHD risk markers or disease outcomes in the context of their menopause history. Major early reports from both types of studies are included in order to put more recent work in context. Most attention has been paid to the Healthy Women Study (HWS), Study of Women’s Health across the Nation (SWAN), the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), and the Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS) because they continue to produce recent publications designed to distinguish the effect of age from the effect of menopause. Understanding these differences has important implications for women’s cardiovascular health, but remains incomplete. Transition studies have relatively short (<10 years) follow up and exclude women with surgical menopause. Cohort studies suggest that women with oophorectomy are at greater risk for CHD than intact women, pointing to a greater risk from testosterone deficiency than from estradiol levels.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.01.005
PMCID: PMC3646078  PMID: 23352690
24.  Therapy of obese patient with Cardiovascular Disease 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(2):200-204.
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is a significant public health concern. Obesity is associated with increased diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney disease, and associated morbidity and mortality. Despite the increasing public health problem of obesity, there is a dearth of effective treatment options. Following the FDA mandated withdrawal of sibutramine, the treatment options for obesity were limited to orlistat as the only pharmacological treatment option for long term management of obesity. Recently two new medications (Belviq and Qsymia) were approved by FDA for long term management of obesity. Many other anti-obesity drugs are under development. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be effective in the treatment of obesity and its comorbidities. The available data suggests that even modest weight loss improves diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. We summarize the treatment options for obesity and the efficacy of these options in ameliorating cardiovascular risk factors. We also focus on the recently approved anti-obesity drugs.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2012.12.006
PMCID: PMC3648585  PMID: 23332347
25.  Inflammation and Atherosclerosis: Direct Versus Indirect Mechanisms 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2013;13(2):154-160.
It is now widely accepted that the development of atherosclerotic lesions involves a chronic inflammatory response that includes both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. However, it is still unclear precisely what induces the inflammatory response. Furthermore, inflammation within the blood vessel can be divided into direct mechanisms where the primary inflammatory events occur within the intima of the blood vessel and contribute to both the initiation and progression of the plaques and indirect mechanisms where inflammation at non-vascular sites can contribute to the progression of the lesions. The direct mechanisms include lipid deposition and modification, influx of lipoprotein associated factors and microparticles derived from many different cell types, and possibly bacterial and viral infection of vascular cells. Indirect mechanisms derive from inflammation related to autoimmune diseases, smoking, respiratory infection, and pollution exposure, and possibly periodontal disease and gastric infection. The mechanisms include secretion of cytokines and other inflammatory factors into the circulation with subsequent uptake into the plaques, egress and recruitment of activated inflammatory cells, formation of dysfunctional HDL and cross reactive autoantibodies.
doi:10.1016/j.coph.2013.01.003
PMCID: PMC3654071  PMID: 23357128

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