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1.  TSLP: A Key Regulator of Asthma Pathogenesis 
Drug discovery today. Disease mechanisms  2012;9(3-4):10.1016/j.ddmec.2012.09.003.
Asthma is a complex disorder of the airways that is characterized by T helper type 2 (Th2) inflammation. The pleiotrophic cytokine TSLP has emerged as an important player involved in orchestrating the inflammation seen in asthma and other atopic diseases. Early research elucidated the role of TSLP on CD4+ T cells, and recent work has revealed the impact of TSLP on multiple cell types. Furthermore, TSLP plays an important role in the sequential progression of atopic dermatitis to asthma, clarifying the key role of TSLP in the pathogenesis of asthma, a finding with therapeutic implications.
PMCID: PMC3859144  PMID: 24348685
2.  Antiestrogen Resistance and the Application of Systems Biology 
Understanding the molecular changes that drive an acquired antiestrogen resistance phenotype is of major clinical relevance. Previous methodologies for addressing this question have taken a single gene/pathway approach and the resulting gains have been limited in terms of their clinical impact. Recent systems biology approaches allow for the integration of data from high throughput “-omics” technologies. We highlight recent advances in the field of antiestrogen resistance with a focus on transcriptomics, proteomics and methylomics.
PMCID: PMC3607389  PMID: 23539064
Systems biology; breast cancer; estrogens; antiestrogens
3.  Modulation of Asthma Pathogenesis by Nitric Oxide Pathways and Therapeutic Opportunities 
Asthma, a chronic airway inflammatory disease is typically associated with high levels of exhaled nitric oxide (NO). Over the past decades, extensive research has revealed that NO participates in a number of metabolic pathways that contribute to animal models of asthma and human asthma. In asthmatic airway, high levels of NO lead to greater formation of reactive nitrogen species (RNS), which modify proteins adversely affecting functional activities. In contrast, high levels of NO are associated with lower than normal levels of S-nitrosothiols, which serve a bronchodilator function in the airway. Detailed mechanistic studies have enabled the development of compounds that target NO metabolic pathways, and provide opportunities for novel asthma therapy. This review discusses the role of NO in asthma with the primary focus on therapeutic opportunities developed in recent years.
PMCID: PMC3749883  PMID: 23976894
4.  Modulation of Estrogen Chemical Carcinogenesis by Botanical Supplements used for Postmenopausal Women’s Health 
Breast cancer risk has been associated with long-term estrogen exposure including traditional hormone therapy (HT, formally hormone replacement therapy). To avoid traditional HT and associated risks, women have been turning to botanical supplements such as black cohosh, red clover, licorice, hops, dong gui, and ginger to relieve menopausal symptoms despite a lack of efficacy evidence. The mechanisms of estrogen carcinogenesis involve both hormonal and chemical pathways. Botanical supplements could protect women from estrogen carcinogenesis by modulating key enzymatic steps [aromatase, P4501B1, P4501A1, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging] in estradiol metabolism leading to estrogen carcinogenesis as outlined in Figure 1. This review summarizes the influence of popular botanical supplements used for women’s health on these key steps in the estrogen chemical carcinogenesis pathway, and suggests that botanical supplements may have added chemopreventive benefits by modulating estrogen metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3818722  PMID: 24223609
Our studies indicate that expression of antioxidative stress enzymes is upregulated by Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) in breast epithelial cell lines, providing protection against the genotoxic effects of estrogens and against estrogen-induced mammary tumorigenesis. This upregulation of antioxidative stress enzymes requires Estrogen Receptor beta (ERβ) and human homolog of Xenopus gene which Prevents Mitotic Catastrophe (hPMC2). Further studies indicate that hPMC2 has a functional exonuclease domain that is required for upregulation of antioxidative stress enzymes by SERMs and repair of estrogen-induced abasic sites.
PMCID: PMC3685422  PMID: 23795205
6.  An in vitro–in vivo model of epithelial mesenchymal transition in triple negative breast cancer 
The loss of epithelial expression markers by neoplastic breast cancer cells in the primary tumor is believed to play a pivotal role during breast cancer metastasis. This phenomenon is the hallmark of the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) process. Gene expression microarrays were performed to investigate key functional elements on an in vitro metastasis model derived from human breast epithelial cells (MCF10F) treated with 17 beta estradiol. We identified groups of SLUG associated genes modulated during EMT.
PMCID: PMC3622948  PMID: 23585768
7.  Catechol-O-methyltransferase: characteristics, polymorphisms and role in breast cancer 
Catechol estrogens are carcinogenic, probably because of their estrogenicity and potential for further oxidative metabolism to reactive quinones. Estrogenic quinones cause oxidative DNA damage as well as form mutagenic depurinating adenine and guanine adducts. O-Methylation by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) blocks their estrogenicity and prevents their oxidation to quinones. A single gene encodes both membrane bound (MB) and soluble (S) forms of COMT. The COMT gene contains 34 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The valine108 (S-COMT)/158 (MB-COMT) SNP encodes a low activity form of COMT and has been widely studied as a putative risk factor for breast cancer, with inconsistent results. Investigations of two other SNPs in the promoter of MB-COMT that may affect its expression have also provided mixed results. Future studies on the role of COMT in breast cancer should incorporate measurement of biomarkers that reflect COMT activity and its protective effects.
PMCID: PMC3665426  PMID: 23734165
8.  SIGIRR, a negative regulator of colon tumorigenesis 
Inappropriate activation of the Toll-IL-1R (TL-IL-1) signaling by commensal bacteria contributes to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases and colitis-associated cancer. Recent studies have identified SIGIRR as a negative regulator of TL-IL-1 signaling. It dampens intestinal inflammation and tumorigenesis in the colon. In this review, we will discuss the role of SIGIRR in different cell types and the mechanisms underlying its tumor suppressor function.
PMCID: PMC3331713  PMID: 22529873
9.  MicroRNAs and Gastroenterological Cancers 
MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that control gene expression. In doing so, they functionally contribute to the maintenance of cellular processes as well as several important features related to cancer development and progression such as cell growth control, differentiation and apoptosis. In fact, recent studies have shown that microRNAs are suitable and effective cancer-related biomarkers since they display altered expression profiles in cancers versus normal tissue. In addition, microRNAs have been associated with cancer progression and outcome. In this review, the current state of knowledge microRNA expression and function in relation to gastroenterological cancers will be addressed. Moreover, the mechanisms to alter their expression and the potential application of microRNAs in clinical settings will also be highlighted. Finally, the challenges involved in translating microRNA research to the clinic will be discussed.
PMCID: PMC3349158  PMID: 22582080
10.  Modulation of gastrointestinal inflammation and colorectal tumorigenesis by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) 
Critical physiological roles of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) include the regulation glucose and lipid homeostasis, cellular differentiation, and modulation of inflammation. The potential for targeting PPARβ/δ for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases or cancer, is compromised because of major inconsistencies in the literature. This is due primarily to uncertainty regarding the effect of PPARβ/δ and its activation on cell proliferation, apoptosis and cell survival. This review summarizes both the confirmed and conflicting mechanisms that have been described for PPARβ/δ and the potential for targeting this nuclear receptor for the prevention and treatment of colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3352671  PMID: 22611424
11.  HIV and SIV Associated Thrombocytopenia: An Expanding Role for Platelets in the Pathogenesis of HIV 
Thrombocytopenia is common in HIV and SIV infection, and is often associated with disease progression. HIV and SIV-associated thrombocytopenia arise through multiple mechanisms, including decreased platelet production, increased platelet destruction due to HIV-mimetic anti-platelet antibodies, and increased use of activated platelets. Activated platelets have the potential to contribute to the pathogenesis of HIV and SIV by interacting directly with inflammatory cells and endothelium and by releasing soluble immunomodulatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC3346281  PMID: 22577463
12.  Platelet storage and transfusions: new concerns associated with an old therapy 
Platelet transfusion has long been practiced with rudimentary knowledge about optimal storage conditions and their implications for efficacy and, particularly, safety. Recent concerns about complications such as inflammation, thrombosis and altered recipient immunity have been raised about platelet transfusion. This review will discuss recent important findings that have raised these issues about platelet transfusion associated morbidity, mortality and the possible role of platelet storage in these associations.
PMCID: PMC3361759  PMID: 22662018
13.  New Insights into the Molecular Basis of the Antiphospholipid Syndrome 
Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by the presence of circulating antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) that promote thrombosis, pregnancy complications and cardiovascular diseases. Alterations in the function of vascular cells induced by aPL underlie these outcomes. This review will discuss recent findings that indicate a novel mechanism by which aPL antagonize endothelial cell production of nitric oxide and thereby promote thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3389810  PMID: 22773925
14.  Inflammasomes and Intestinal Tumorigenesis 
Colorectal cancer is a major health problem in developed countries. Chronic intestinal inflammation predisposes individuals to the development of colorectal cancer. The intracellular NOD-like receptors (NLRs) have emerged as crucial regulators of intestinal inflammation and colorectal tumorigenesis. Activation of several NLRs leads to the formation of a protein complex called the inflammasome, which then triggers the activation of the cysteine protease caspase-1 and the downstream maturation and secretion of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β and -18. Defective inflammasome signaling in the gut contributes to colitis and colorectal tumorigenesis by increasing the permeability of the epithelial barrier, dysregulating the proliferation of epithelial cells, and inducing oncogenic mediators. In this review, we discuss our current knowledge on how the inflammasome protects against colorectal tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3388509  PMID: 22768019
Nlrp3; Inflammasome; Colitis; Colorectal tumorigenesis
15.  Fixing ryanodine receptor Ca2+ leak - a novel therapeutic strategy for contractile failure in heart and skeletal muscle 
A critical component in regulating cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility is the release of Ca2+ via ryanodine receptor (RyR) Ca2+ release channels in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). In heart failure and myopathy, the RyR has been found to be excessively phosphorylated or nitrosylated and depleted of the RyR-stabilizing protein calstabin (FK506 binding protein 12/12.6). This remodeling of the RyR channel complex results in an intracellular SR Ca2+ leak and impaired contractility. Despite recent advances in heart failure treatment, there are still devastatingly high mortality rates with this disease. Moreover, pharmacological treatment for muscle weakness and myopathy is nearly nonexistent. A novel class of RyR-stabilizing drugs, rycals, which reduce Ca2+ leak by stabilizing the RyR channels due to preservation of the RyR-calstabin interaction, have recently been shown to improve contractile function in both heart and skeletal muscle. This opens up a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of contractile failure in the cardiac and skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC2989530  PMID: 21113427
16.  Highly Specific Modulators of Protein Kinase C Localization: Applications to Heart Failure 
Heart failure (HF) in which the blood supply does not match the body's needs, affects 10% of the population over 65 years old. The protein kinase C (PKC) family of kinases has a key role in normal and disease states. Here we discuss the role of PKC in HF and focus on the use of specific PKC regulators to identify the mechanism leading to this Pathology and potential leads for therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2998291  PMID: 21151743
17.  Refilling Intracellular Calcium Stores 
Within the cardiac cell, the movements of calcium ions are tightly regulated by a number of regulatory proteins including pumps, and channels. The sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) is in large part responsible for orchestrating these movements for the normal functioning of the cardiomyocyte. Alterations of SR regulatory proteins in failing hearts leads to abnormal Ca2+ homeostasis and consequently to a deficient contractile state. This review focuses on the roles of SR Ca2+ regulators in disease states and novel strategies for therapeutic targeting of these pathways.
PMCID: PMC3001621  PMID: 21170146
Calcium; Heart failure; Sarcoplasmic Reticulum; SERCA2a
18.  Promises and pitfalls in cell replacement therapy for heart failure 
Symptomatic heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome with a poor prognosis. Many efforts have been made to develop new therapeutic strategies to improve prognosis associated with heart failure. In this context, different stem cell populations for cardiac regenerative therapy have been examined recently. Here we discuss the potential strategies for using stem cells in cardiac regenerative therapy and the barriers that remain before an effective cell-based cardiac regenerative therapy can be employed clinically.
PMCID: PMC3003923  PMID: 21180399
19.  Mechanisms underlying heart failure 
PMCID: PMC3014588  PMID: 21218151
20.  Targeting G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) in Heart Failure 
In the human body, over 1000 different G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) mediate a broad spectrum of extracellular signals at the plasma membrane, transmitting vital physiological features such as pain, sight, smell, inflammation, heart rate and contractility of muscle cells. Signaling through these receptors is primarily controlled and regulated by a group of kinases, the GPCR kinases (GRKs), of which only seven are known and thus, interference with these common downstream GPCR regulators suggests a powerful therapeutic strategy. Molecular modulation of the kinases that are ubiquitously expressed in the heart has proven GRK2, and also GRK5, to be promising targets for prevention and reversal of one of the most severe pathologies in man, chronic heart failure (HF). In this article we will focus on the structural aspects of these GRKs important for their physiological and pathological regulation as well as well known and novel therapeutic approaches that target these GRKs in order to overcome the development of cardiac injury and progression of HF.
PMCID: PMC3014615  PMID: 21218155
21.  Regulation of mitochondrial processes: a target for heart failure 
Cardiac mitochondria, the main source of energy as well as free radicals, are vital organelles for normal functioning of the heart. Mitochondrial number, structure, turnover and function are regulated by processes such as mitochondrial protein quality control, mitochondrial fusion and fission and mitophagy. Recent studies suggest that abnormal changes in these mitochondrial regulatory processes may contribute to the pathology of heart failure (HF). Here we discuss these processes and their potential as therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3026286  PMID: 21278905
22.  Rethinking Resynch: Exploring Mechanisms of Cardiac Resynchroniztion Beyond Wall Motion Control 
Cardiac resynchronization (CRT) is a widely used clinical treatment for heart failure patients with depressed function and discoordinate contraction due to conduction delay. It is unique among heart failure treatments as it both acutely and chronically enhances systolic function yet also prolongs survival. While improved chamber mechano-energetics has been considered a primary mechanism for CRT benefit, new animal model data are revealing novel and in many instances unique cellular and molecular modifications from the treatment. Examples of these changes are the reversal of marked regional heterogeneity of the transcriptome and stress kinase signaling, improved ion channel function involved with electrical repolarization, enhanced sarcomere function and calcium handling and upregulation of beta-adrenergic responses, and improved mitochondrial energetic efficiency associated with targeted changes in the mitochondrial proteome. Exploration of these mechanisms may reveal key insights into how CRT can indeed get the failing heart to contract more and perform more work, yet not worsen long-term failure. These changes may provide a more biological marker for both the appropriate patients for CRT as well as point the way for new therapeutic avenues for heart failure in general.
PMCID: PMC3026569  PMID: 21278834
23.  Developing small molecules to inhibit kinases unkind to the heart: p38 MAPK as a case in point 
Over the last 40 years targeting G protein-coupled receptors and their ligands has had a major impact on the treatment of cardiovascular disease. However, the last decade has seen little progress and focus has shifted, particularly in the field of cancer biology, to downstream kinases. This review focuses on the kinases within the heart that become active during myocardial infarction and heart failure and contribute to cardiac dysfunction, with a special emphasis on p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK).
PMCID: PMC3026592  PMID: 21278838
24.  Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent Protein Kinase II in Heart Failure 
PMCID: PMC3077766  PMID: 21503275
25.  The Role of Phospholipase A2-derived Mediators in Obesity 
Obesity has become an epidemic and its prevalence is increasing exponentially. A great deal of focus has been given to understanding the molecular processes that regulate obesity. The characterization of phospholipase A2s, especially adipose-specific PLA2, have lead to a proposed role of their downstream products in the progression of obesity and obesity related disorders. This review summarizes recent developments in the role of PLA2 and their downstream effects in the development of metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3097474  PMID: 21603130

Results 1-25 (53)