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1.  RNA-Seq analysis reveals new evidence for inflammation-related changes in aged kidney 
Oncotarget  2016;7(21):30037-30048.
Age-related dysregulated inflammation plays an essential role as a major risk factor underlying the pathophysiological aging process. To better understand how inflammatory processes are related to aging at the molecular level, we sequenced the transcriptome of young and aged rat kidney using RNA-Seq to detect known genes, novel genes, and alternative splicing events that are differentially expressed. By comparing young (6 months of age) and old (25 months of age) rats, we detected 722 up-regulated genes and 111 down-regulated genes. In the aged rats, we found 32 novel genes and 107 alternatively spliced genes. Notably, 6.6% of the up-regulated genes were related to inflammation (P < 2.2 × 10−16, Fisher exact t-test); 15.6% were novel genes with functional protein domains (P = 1.4 × 10−5); and 6.5% were genes showing alternative splicing events (P = 3.3 × 10−4). Based on the results of pathway analysis, we detected the involvement of inflammation-related pathways such as cytokines (P = 4.4 × 10−16), which were found up-regulated in the aged rats. Furthermore, an up-regulated inflammatory gene analysis identified the involvement of transcription factors, such as STAT4, EGR1, and FOSL1, which regulate cancer as well as inflammation in aging processes. Thus, RNA changes in these pathways support their involvement in the pro-inflammatory status during aging. We propose that whole RNA-Seq is a useful tool to identify novel genes and alternative splicing events by documenting broadly implicated inflammation-related genes involved in aging processes.
PMCID: PMC5058662  PMID: 27153548
aging; inflammation; RNA-Seq; differentially expressed genes; novel genes; alternative splicing; Gerotarget
2.  (Z)-5-(2,4-Dihydroxybenzylidene)thiazolidine-2,4-dione Prevents UVB-Induced Melanogenesis and Wrinkle Formation through Suppressing Oxidative Stress in HRM-2 Hairless Mice 
Background. Uncontrolled melanogenesis and wrinkle formation are an indication of photoaging. Our previous studies demonstrated that (Z)-5-(2,4-dihydroxybenzylidene)thiazolidine-2,4-dione (MHY498) inhibited tyrosinase activity and melanogenesis in vitro. Objective. To examine in vivo effects of MHY498 as an antiaging compound on UVB-induced melanogenesis and wrinkle formation, we topically applied MHY498 on dorsal skin of HRM-2 hairless mice. Methods. Using histological analysis, we evaluated effects of MHY498 on melanogenesis and wrinkle formation after UVB exposure. In addition, related molecular signaling pathways were examined using western blotting, fluorometric assay, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. MHY498 suppressed UVB-induced melanogenesis by inhibiting phosphorylation of CREB and translocation of MITF protein into the nucleus, which are key factors for tyrosinase expression. Consistently, tyrosinase protein levels were notably reduced in the dorsal skin of the hairless mice by MHY498 treatment. Furthermore, MHY498 inhibited UVB-induced wrinkle formation and collagen fiber destruction by increasing type 1 procollagen concentration and decreasing protein expression levels of MMPs, which play an essential role in collagen fiber degradation. As a mechanism, MHY498 notably ameliorated UVB-induced oxidative stress and NF-κB activation in the dermal skin of the hairless mice. Conclusion. Our study suggests that MHY498 can be used as a therapeutic or cosmetic agent for preventing uncontrolled melanogenesis and wrinkle formation.
PMCID: PMC4875997  PMID: 27242917
3.  Increased therapeutic efficacy of a newly synthesized tyrosinase inhibitor by solid lipid nanoparticles in the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation 
Hyperpigmentation caused by melanin overproduction is a major skin disorder in humans. Inhibition of tyrosinase, a key regulator of melanin production, has been used as an effective strategy to treat hyperpigmentation. In this study, we investigated the use of solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) as a highly effective and nontoxic means to deliver a newly synthesized potent tyrosinase inhibitor, MHY498, and to target melanocytes through the skin. MHY498-loaded SLNs (MHY-SLNs) were prepared by an oil-in-water emulsion solvent-evaporation method, and their morphological and physicochemical properties were characterized. MHY-SLNs showed a prolonged drug-release profile and higher skin permeation than that of MHY solution. In an in vivo evaluation of antimelanogenic activity, MHY-SLNs showed a prominent inhibitory effect against ultraviolet B-induced melanogenesis, resulting in no change in the skin color of C57BL/6 mouse, compared with that observed in an MHY solution-treated group and an untreated control group. The antimelanogenic effect of MHY-SLNs was further confirmed through Fontana–Masson staining. Importantly, MHY-SLNs did not induce any toxic effects in the L929 cell line. Overall, these data indicate that MHY-SLNs show promise in the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation.
PMCID: PMC5144896  PMID: 27980392
melanogenesis; hyperpigmentation; MHY498; solid lipid nanoparticles; skin delivery
4.  Role of Apigenin in Cancer Prevention via the Induction of Apoptosis and Autophagy 
Journal of Cancer Prevention  2016;21(4):216-226.
Apigenin (4′,5,7-trihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid commonly found in many fruits and vegetables such as parsley, chamomile, celery, and kumquats. In the last few decades, recognition of apigenin as a cancer chemopreventive agent has increased. Significant progress has been made in studying the chemopreventive aspects of apigenin both in vitro and in vivo. Several studies have demonstrated that the anticarcinogenic properties of apigenin occur through regulation of cellular response to oxidative stress and DNA damage, suppression of inflammation and angiogenesis, retardation of cell proliferation, and induction of autophagy and apoptosis. One of the most well-recognized mechanisms of apigenin is the capability to promote cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis through the p53-related pathway. A further role of apigenin in chemoprevention is the induction of autophagy in several human cancer cell lines. In this review, we discuss the details of apigenin, apoptosis, autophagy, and the role of apigenin in cancer chemoprevention via the induction of apoptosis and autophagy.
PMCID: PMC5207605  PMID: 28053955
Apigenin; Chemoprevention; Apoptosis; Autophagy
5.  Suppression of FoxO6 by lipopolysaccharide in aged rat liver 
Oncotarget  2015;6(33):34143-34157.
The beneficial role of FoxO during aging has been proposed for its promotion of resistance to oxidative stress and inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators. On the other hand, NF-κB is a pro-inflammatory transcription factor which is a key mediator of inflammatory cytokine generation. However, the correlation between FoxO6 and NF-κB during aging has not fully been explored.
The main purpose of the present study was to elucidate mechanisms underlying the protective role of FoxO6 in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis under potent pro-inflammatory conditions induced by LPS. Initial experimentation revealed that reduced FoxO6 activity during aging was caused by its phosphorylation, which suppressed its transcriptional activity in aged livers. Transfection with FoxO6-wt virus and FoxO6-siRNA in HepG2 cells revealed that FoxO6 phosphorylation by LPS leads to NF-κB activation via Akt and Pak1 pathways. Furthermore, Pak1 activity was increased in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase independent manner, and LPS-induced FoxO6 phosphorylation and FoxO6 inactivation were Pak1-dependent in nuclear fractions of cells. Further revealed Pak1 phosphorylation by LPS permitted interaction between FoxO6 and Akt.
Current study suggests FoxO6 phosphorylation facilitates the nuclear translocation of NF-κB via Akt and Pak1 pathways induced by LPS in aged rats.
PMCID: PMC4741442  PMID: 26506521
FoxO6; Pak1 pathway; aging; NF-κB; Akt; Gerotarget
6.  Age-related sensitivity to endotoxin-induced liver inflammation: Implication of inflammasome/IL-1β for steatohepatitis 
Aging Cell  2015;14(4):524-533.
Aging is associated with increased vulnerability to inflammatory challenge. However, the effects of altered inflammatory response on the metabolic status of tissues or organs are not well documented. In this study, we present evidence demonstrating that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced upregulation of the inflammasome/IL-1β pathway is accompanied with an increased inflammatory response and abnormal lipid accumulation in livers of aged rats. To monitor the effects of aging on LPS-induced inflammation, we administered LPS (2 mg kg−1) to young (6-month old) and aged (24-month old) rats and found abnormal lipid metabolism in only aged rats with increased lipid accumulation in the liver. This lipid accumulation in the liver was due to the dysregulation of PPARα and SREBP1c. We also observed severe liver inflammation in aged rats as indicated by increased ALT levels in serum and increased Kupffer cells in the liver. Importantly, among many inflammation-associated factors, the aged rat liver showed chronically increased IL-1β production. Increased levels of IL-1β were caused by the upregulation of caspase-1 activity and inflammasome activation. In vitro studies with HepG2 cells demonstrated that treatment with IL-1β significantly induced lipid accumulation in hepatocytes through the regulation of PPARα and SREBP1c. In summary, we demonstrated that LPS-induced liver inflammation and lipid accumulation were associated with a chronically overactive inflammasome/IL-1β pathway in aged rat livers. Based on the present findings, we propose a mechanism of aging-associated progression of steatohepatitis induced by endotoxin, delineating a pathogenic role of the inflammasome/IL-1β pathway involved in lipid accumulation in the liver.
PMCID: PMC4531067  PMID: 25847140
aging; IL-1β; inflammasome; inflammation; lipid accumulation; LPS
7.  Synthesis of Phthalimide Derivatives as Potential PPAR-γ Ligands 
Marine Drugs  2016;14(6):112.
Paecilocin A, a phthalide derivative isolated from the jellyfish-derived fungus Paecilomyces variotii, activates PPAR-γ (Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) in rat liver Ac2F cells. Based on a SAR (Structure-activity relationships) study and in silico analysis of paecilocin A-mimetic derivatives, additional N-substituted phthalimide derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for PPAR-γ agonistic activity in both murine liver Ac2F cells and in human liver HepG2 cells by luciferase assay, and for adipogenic activity in 3T3-L1 cells. Docking simulation indicated PD6 was likely to bind most strongly to the ligand binding domain of PPAR-γ by establishing crucial H-bonds with key amino acid residues. However, in in vitro assays, PD1 and PD2 consistently displayed significant PPAR-γ activation in Ac2F and HepG2 cells, and adipogenic activity in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes.
PMCID: PMC4926071  PMID: 27338418
PPAR-γ agonist; paecilocin A; type 2 diabetes; phthalimide; adipogenesis; 3T3-L1
8.  Molecular Inflammation: Underpinnings of Aging and Age-related Diseases 
Ageing research reviews  2008;8(1):18-30.
Recent scientific studies have advanced the notion of chronic inflammation as a major risk factor underlying aging and age-related diseases. In this review, low-grade, unresolved, molecular inflammation is described as an underlying mechanism of aging and age-related diseases, which may serve as a bridge between normal aging and age-related pathological processes. Accumulated data strongly suggest that continuous (chronic) up-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF-α, IL-1β, 6, COX-2, iNOS) are induced during the aging process due to an age-related redox imbalance that activates many pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including the NF-κB signaling pathway. These pro-inflammatory molecular events are discussed in relation to their role as basic mechanisms underlying aging and age-related diseases. Further, the anti-inflammatory actions of aging-retarding caloric restriction and exercise are reviewed. Thus, the purpose of this review is to describe the molecular roles of age-related physiological functional declines and the accompanying chronic diseases associated with aging. This new view on the role of molecular inflammation as a mechanism of aging and age-related pathogenesis can provide insights into potential interventions that may affect the aging process and reduce age-related diseases, thereby promoting healthy longevity.
PMCID: PMC3782993  PMID: 18692159
molecular inflammation; aging; calorie restriction; exercise; cytokines; oxidative stress; inflammatory diseases; age-related diseases; obesity; sarcopenia; dementia; atherosclerosis; cancer; osteoporosis
9.  FoxO1 regulates allergic asthmatic inflammation through regulating polarization of the macrophage inflammatory phenotype 
Oncotarget  2016;7(14):17532-17546.
Inflammatory monocyte and tissue macrophages influence the initiation, progression, and resolution of type 2 immune responses, and alveolar macrophages are the most prevalent immune-effector cells in the lung. While we were characterizing the M1- or M2-like macrophages in type 2 allergic inflammation, we discovered that FoxO1 is highly expressed in alternatively activated macrophages. Although several studies have been focused on the fundamental role of FoxOs in hematopoietic and immune cells, the exact role that FoxO1 plays in allergic asthmatic inflammation in activated macrophages has not been investigated. Growing evidences indicate that FoxO1 acts as an upstream regulator of IRF4 and could have a role in a specific inflammatory phenotype of macrophages. Therefore, we hypothesized that IRF4 expression regulated by FoxO1 in alveolar macrophages is required for established type 2 immune mediates allergic lung inflammation. Our data indicate that targeted deletion of FoxO1 using FoxO1-selective inhibitor AS1842856 and genetic ablation of FoxO1 in macrophages significantly decreases IRF4 and various M2 macrophage-associated genes, suggesting a mechanism that involves FoxO1-IRF4 signaling in alveolar macrophages that works to polarize macrophages toward established type 2 immune responses. In response to the challenge of DRA (dust mite, ragweed, and Aspergillus) allergens, macrophage specific FoxO1 overexpression is associated with an accentuation of asthmatic lung inflammation, whereas pharmacologic inhibition of FoxO1 by AS1842856 attenuates the development of asthmatic lung inflammation. Thus, our study identifies a role for FoxO1-IRF4 signaling in the development of alternatively activated alveolar macrophages that contribute to type 2 allergic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4951231  PMID: 27007158
FoxO1; asthma; eosinophilic lung inflammation; M2 macrophage phenotype; Immunology and Microbiology Section; Immune response; Immunity
10.  Inhibition of NF-κB-induced inflammatory responses by angiotensin II antagonists in aged rat kidney 
Experimental gerontology  2011;46(7):542-548.
In this study, we explored the mechanisms by which the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI), enalapril, and the Ang II receptor blocker (ARB), losartan suppress oxidative stress and NF-κB activation-induced inflammatory responses in aged rat kidney. The experimentations were carried out utilizing aged (24-month-old) Brown Norway x Fischer 344 (F1) male rats which were randomized into 3 groups and administered enalapril (40 mg/kg), losartan (30 mg/kg) or placebo for 6 months (daily p.o.). The level of reactive species (RS), peroxynitrite (ONOO−), GSH/GSSG and lipid peroxidation were measured. The activity of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, and gene expression of proteins in upstream signaling cascades were measured by electro-mobility shift assay (EMSA) and Western blotting. Enalapril and losartan differentially attenuated redox imbalance and the redox-sensitive transcription factor, NF-κB pathway. Furthermore, stimulation of the NF-κB activation pathway by phosphorylation of p65 was attenuated by both compounds. Moreover, mediation of phosphorylation of p65 by phosphorylation of IκB kinase αβ (IKKαβ) and mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 (MSK1), were also inhibited by enalapril and losartan. Finally, both compounds also lowered expression of NF-κB-dependent inflammatory genes, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2),) and inducible NO synthase (iNOS). Only losartan lowered levels of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). These findings indicate that enalapril and losartan differentially suppress inflammatory responses via inhibition of oxidative stress-induced NF-κB activation in aged rat kidney.
PMCID: PMC3104080  PMID: 21377515
11.  Morin attenuates tau hyperphosphorylation by inhibiting GSK3β 
Neurobiology of disease  2011;44(2):223-230.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the major form of age-related dementia and is characterized by progressive cognitive impairment, the accumulation of extracellular amyloid β-peptide (Aβ), and intracellular hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates in affected brain regions. Tau hyperphosphorylation and accumulation in neurofibrillary tangles is strongly correlated with cognitive deficits, and is apparently a critical event in the dementia process because mutations in tau can cause a tangle-only form of dementia called frontotemporal lobe dementia. Among kinases that phosphorylate tau, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) is strongly implicated in AD pathogenesis. In the present study, we established an ELISA to screen for agents that inhibit GSK3β activity and found that the flavonoid morin effectively inhibited GSK3β activity and blocked GSK3β-induced tau phosphorylation in vitro. In addition, morin attenuated Aβ-induced tau phosphorylation and protected human neuroblastoma cells against Aβ cytotoxicity. Furthermore, treatment of 3×Tg-AD mice with morin resulted in reductions in tau hyperphosphorylation and paired helical filament-like immunoreactivity in hippocampal neurons. Morin is a novel inhibitor of GSK3β that can reduce tau pathology in vivo and may have potential as a therapeutic agent in tauopathies.
PMCID: PMC3166962  PMID: 21782947
Alzheimer’s disease; GSK3β; Tau hyperphosphorylation; Morin
12.  Towards Al3+-Induced Manganese-Containing Superoxide Dismutase Inactivation and Conformational Changes: An Integrating Study with Docking Simulations 
Enzyme Research  2011;2011:307464.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD, EC plays an important antioxidant defense role in skins exposed to oxygen. We studied the inhibitory effects of Al3+ on the activity and conformation of manganese-containing SOD (Mn-SOD). Mn-SOD was significantly inactivated by Al3+ in a dose-dependent manner. The kinetic studies showed that Al3+ inactivated Mn-SOD follows the first-order reaction. Al3+ increased the degree of secondary structure of Mn-SOD and also disrupted the tertiary structure of Mn-SOD, which directly resulted in enzyme inactivation. We further simulated the docking between Mn-SOD and Al3+ (binding energy for Dock 6.3: −14.07 kcal/mol) and suggested that ASP152 and GLU157 residues were predicted to interact with Al3+, which are not located in the Mn-contained active site. Our results provide insight into the inactivation of Mn-SOD during unfolding in the presence of Al3+ and allow us to describe a ligand binding via inhibition kinetics combined with the computational prediction.
PMCID: PMC3112498  PMID: 21687640
13.  Oligonol Ameliorates CCl4-Induced Liver Injury in Rats via the NF-Kappa B and MAPK Signaling Pathways 
Oxidative stress is thought to be a key risk factor in the development of hepatic diseases. Blocking or retarding the reactions of oxidation and the inflammatory process by antioxidants could be a promising therapeutic intervention for prevention or treatment of liver injuries. Oligonol is a low molecular weight polyphenol containing catechin-type monomers and oligomers derived from lychee fruit. In this study, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of oligonol on carbon tetrachloride- (CCl4-) induced acute hepatic injury in rats. Oral administration of oligonol (10 or 50 mg/kg) reduced CCl4-induced abnormalities in liver histology and serum AST and serum ALT levels. Oligonol treatment attenuated the CCl4-induced production of inflammatory mediators, including TNF-α, IL-1β, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA levels. Western blot analysis showed that oligonol suppressed proinflammatory nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) p65 activation, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) as well as Akt. Oligonol exhibited strong antioxidative activity in vitro and in vivo, and hepatoprotective activity against t-butyl hydroperoxide-induced HepG2 cells. Taken together, oligonol showed antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects in CCl4-intoxicated rats by inhibiting oxidative stress and NF-κB activation via blockade of the activation of upstream kinases including MAPKs and Akt.
PMCID: PMC4699077  PMID: 26798422
14.  Increase in sphingolipid catabolic enzyme activity during aging 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2009;30(10):1454-1461.
To understand the contribution of sphingolipid metabolism and its metabolites to development and aging.
A systemic analysis on the changes in activity of sphingolipid metabolic enzymes in kidney, liver and brain tissues during development and aging was conducted. The study was conducted using tissues from 1-day-old to 720-day-old rats.
Catabolic enzyme activities as well as the level of sphingomyelinase (SMase) and ceramidase (CDase) were higher than that of anabolic enzyme activities, sphingomyelin synthase and ceramide synthase. This suggested an accumulation of ceramide and sphingosine during development and aging. The liver showed the highest neutral-SMase activity among the tested enzymes while the kidney and brain exhibited higher neutral-SMase and ceramidase activities, indicating a high production of ceramide in liver and ceramide/sphingosine in the kidney and brain. The activities of sphingolipid metabolic enzymes were significantly elevated in all tested tissues during development and aging, although the onset of significant increase in activity varied on the tissue and enzyme type. During aging, 18 out of 21 enzyme activities were further increased on day 720 compared to day 180.
Differential increases in sphingolipid metabolic enzyme activities suggest that sphingolipids including ceramide and sphingosine might play important and dynamic roles in proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis during development and aging.
PMCID: PMC4007327  PMID: 19749786
aging; sphingolipid; metabolism; sphingomyelinase; ceramidase; sphingomyelin synthase; ceramide synthase
15.  Src Tyrosine Kinase Activation by 4-Hydroxynonenal Upregulates p38, ERK/AP-1 Signaling and COX-2 Expression in YPEN-1 Cells 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0129244.
4-Hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), a major end product of lipid peroxidation, is highly reactive and involved in various cellular processes, such as inflammatory signaling. However, to date, the mechanistic roles of 4-HNE in inflammatory signaling related to protein tyrosine kinases have not been elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the interaction between 4-HNE and Src (a non-receptor tyrosine kinase) for its involvement in the molecular modulation of the inflammatory signaling pathway utilizing the YPEN-1 cell system. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that 4-HNE phosphorylates (activates) Src at Tyr416 via adduct formation. In addition, LC-MS/MS and a docking simulation model revealed an addiction site at the Cys248 residue of Src, resulting in the stimulation of downstream p38, ERK/AP-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) signaling in YPEN-1 cells. The role of 4-HNE-activated Src in downstream inflammatory signaling was further investigated using dasatinib (a Src inhibitor) and by siRNA knockdown of Src. p38 and ERK were directly regulated by Src, as revealed by immunoblotting of the phosphorylated forms of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which are key elements in the signaling transduction pathway initiated by Src. The study also shows that Src modulates the HNE-enhanced activation of AP-1 and the expression of COX-2 (a target gene of AP-1). Together, the results of this study show that 4-HNE stimulates Src tyrosine kinase in activation of the inflammation process.
PMCID: PMC4605600  PMID: 26466383
16.  The essential role of FoxO6 phosphorylation in aging and calorie restriction 
Age  2014;36(4):9679.
Changes in the activities of FoxOs caused by phosphorylation, acetylation, or ubiquitination induce expressional changes in the genes involved in the modulation of oxidative stress by modifying histones and chromatins and can substantially alter cellular functions during aging and age-related diseases. However, the precise role that FoxO6, a novel member of the FoxO class of transcription factors, plays in the aging kidney has not been determined. The purpose of this study was to determine the role played by FoxO6 in the maintenance of redox homeostasis in HEK293T cells and aged kidney tissues isolated from ad libitum (AL)-fed and 40 % calorie restriction (CR) rats. The results obtained from AL-fed rats showed that diminished FoxO6 activity during aging was caused by FoxO6 phosphorylation, which disabled its transcriptional activity. In contrast, CR rats were found to have significantly higher FoxO6 activities and maintained redox balance. To determine the molecular mechanism responsible for FoxO6 modification by age-related oxidative stress, we examined H2O2-treated HEK293T cells in which FoxO6 was inactivated by phosphorylation and found that H2O2-induced oxidative stress promoted FoxO6 phosphorylation via PI3K/Akt signaling. The results of this study show that the protective role of FoxO6 in the aging process may in part be related to its ability to attenuate oxidative stress by upregulating catalase expression, as shown in CR. This delineation of the role of FoxO6 expands understanding of the pathological and physiological mechanisms of aging.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-014-9679-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4150907  PMID: 25007762
FoxO6; Phosphorylation; PI3K/Akt pathway; Aging; Caloric restriction; Oxidative stress
17.  Omega-3 fatty acids induce Ca2+ mobilization responses in human colon epithelial cell lines endogenously expressing FFA4 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2015;36(7):813-820.
Free fatty acid receptor 4 (FFA4; formerly known as GPR120) is the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. FFA4 has been found to express in the small intestines and colons of mice and humans. In this study we investigate the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on FFA4 in human colon epithelial cells in vitro.
HCT116 and HT-29 human colon epithelial cell lines endogenously expressing FFA4 were used. Intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) was measured in fura 2-AM-loaded cells with fluorescence spectrophotometry. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to detect FFA4.
Ten to 100 μmol/L of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids α-linolenic acid (αLA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) induced dose-dependent [Ca2+]i increase in HCT116 and HT-29 cells, whereas docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) had no effect. In addition, the omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid and γ-linoleic acid also dose-dependently increase [Ca2+]i, but the mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid and saturated fatty acids such as stearic acid and palmitic acid had no effect. In HCT116 and HT-29 cells, the αLA-induced [Ca2+]i increase was partially inhibited by pretreatment with EGTA, phospholipase C inhibitor edelfosine, cADPR inhibitors 8-bro-cADPR or DAB, and abolished by pretreatment with Ca2+ATPase inhibitor thapsigargin, but was not affected by Gi/o protein inhibitor PTX or IP3R inhibitor 2-APB.
Omega-3 and omega-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18-20) induce Ca2+ mobilization responses in human colonic epithelial cells in vitro through activation of FFA4 and PTX-insensitive Gi/o protein, followed by Ca2+ release from thapsigargin-sensitive Ca2+ stores and Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC4648116  PMID: 26005911
long-chain fatty acid; omega-3; α-linolenic acid; FFA4; Ca2+ mobilization; cADPR; human colon epithelial cells
18.  Profiling Age-Related Epigenetic Markers of Stomach Adenocarcinoma in Young and Old Subjects 
Cancer Informatics  2015;14:47-54.
The purpose of our study is to identify epigenetic markers that are differently expressed in the stomach adenocarcinoma (STAD) condition. Based on data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we were able to detect an age-related difference in methylation patterns and changes in gene and miRNA expression levels in young (n = 14) and old (n = 70) STAD subjects. Our analysis identified 323 upregulated and 653 downregulated genes in old STAD subjects. We also found 76 miRNAs with age-related expression patterns and 113 differentially methylated genes (DMGs), respectively. Our further analysis revealed that significant upregulated genes (n = 35) were assigned to the cell cycle, while the muscle system process (n = 27) and cell adhesion-related genes (n = 57) were downregulated. In addition, by comparing gene and miRNA expression with methylation change, we identified that three upregulated genes (ELF3, IL1β, and MMP13) known to be involved in inflammatory responses and cell growth were significantly hypomethylated in the promoter region. We further detected target candidates for age-related, downregulated miRNAs (hsa-mir-124–3, hsa-mir-204, and hsa-mir-125b-2) in old STAD subjects. This is the first report of the results from a study exploring age-related epigenetic biomarkers of STAD using high-throughput data and provides evidence for a complex clinicopathological condition expressed by the age-related STAD progression.
PMCID: PMC4406278  PMID: 25983541
stomach adenocarcinoma; age; TCGA; RNAseq; miRNA; DNA methylation
19.  Essential oils purified from Schisandrae semen inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α-induced matrix metalloproteinase-9 activation and migration of human aortic smooth muscle cells 
The migration of vascular smooth muscle cells from the tunica media to the subendothelial region may be a key event in the development of atherosclerosis after arterial injury. In this study, we investigated the potential mechanisms underlying the anti-atherosclerotic effects of Schisandrae Semen essential oil (SSeo) in human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs).
Metalloproteinase-2/9 (MMP-2/9) activity was evaluated by gelatin zymography and gelatinase activity assay kit. The possible mechanisms underlying SSeo-mediated reduction of by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced cell invasion and inhibition of secreted and cytosolic MMP-9 production in HASMCs were investigated.
Our results indicate that SSeo treatment has an inhibitory effect on activation as well as expression of MMP-9 induced by TNF-α in HASMCs in a dose-dependent manner without significant cytotoxicity. SSeo attenuated nuclear translocation of TNF-α-mediated nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and blocked degradation of the NF-κB inhibitor proteins as well as the production of reactive oxygen species. SSeo also reduced TNF-α-induced production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 and inhibited inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 expression in HASMCs. Furthermore, the Matrigel migration assay showed that SSeo effectively reduced TNF-α-induced HASMC migration compared with that in the control group.
Taken together, these results suggest that SSeo treatment suppresses TNF-α-induced HASMC migration by selectively inhibiting MMP-9 expression, which was associated with suppression of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that SSeo has putative potential anti-atherosclerotic activity.
PMCID: PMC4323209  PMID: 25651915
Schisandrae semen essential oil; HASMCs; Invasion; MMP-9; NF-κB
20.  Cytotoxic effects of solvent-extracted active components of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge on human cancer cell lines 
Herbal extracts and dietary supplements may be extracted from the medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine, and are used increasingly commonly worldwide for their benefits to health and quality of life. Thus, ensuring that they are safe for human consumption is a critical issue for the preparation of plant extracts as dietary supplements. The present study investigated extracts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (S. miltiorrhiza), traditionally used in Asian countries to treat a variety of conditions, as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in functional foods. Dried S. miltiorrhiza root was extracted with various solvents and under varying extraction conditions, and the effects of the extracts on the viability of five human cancer cell lines were compared. Extracts obtained using 100% ethanol and 100% acetone as solvents exhibited more potent effects compared with extracts obtained using 70 and 30% aqueous ethanol. Furthermore, the active components of S. miltiorrhiza ethanol extracts, known as tanshinones, were investigated. Dihydrotanshinone I was observed to exhibit a higher cytotoxic potential compared with the other tanshinones in the majority of the examined cell lines. Conversely, cryptotanshinone exhibited weak anti-cancer activity. In summary, the results of the present study suggest that the active components obtained from an ethanol extract of S. miltiorrhiza possess the potential to be used as ingredients in functional and health care foods that may be used to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapeutics in the prevention and/or treatment of cancer.
PMCID: PMC4353753  PMID: 25780445
Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge; extraction; tanshinones; cancer
21.  Therapeutic Effects of S-Petasin on Disease Models of Asthma and Peritonitis 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2015;23(1):45-52.
To explore the anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects of extracts of Petasites genus, we studied the effects of s-petasin, a major sesquiterpene from Petasites formosanus (a butterbur species) on asthma and peritonitis models. In an ovalbumin-induced mouse asthma model, s-petasin significantly inhibited the accumulations of eosinophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes in bronchoalveolar fluids. S-petasin inhibited the antigen-induced degranulation of β-hexosamidase but did not inhibit intracellular Ca2+ increase in RBL-2H3 mast cells. S-petasin inhibited the LPS induction of iNOS at the RNA and protein levels in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Furthermore, s-petasin inhibited the production of NO (the product of iNOS) in a concentration-dependent manner in the macrophages. Furthermore, in an LPS-induced mouse model of peritonitis, s-petasin significantly inhibited the accumulation of polymorpho nuclear and mononuclear leukocytes in peritoneal cavity. This study shows that s-petasin in Petasites genus has therapeutic effects on allergic and inflammatory diseases, such as, asthma and peritonitis through degranulation inhibition in mast cells, suppression of iNOS induction and production of NO in macrophages, and suppression of inflammatory cell accumulation.
PMCID: PMC4286749  PMID: 25593643
S-petasin; Anti-allergy; Anti-inflammation; COX-2; Degranulation; Mast Cell; Macrophage
22.  Age-related inflammation and insulin resistance: a review of their intricate interdependency 
Archives of Pharmacal Research  2014;37(12):1507-1514.
Chronic inflammation is a major risk factor underlying aging and the associated diseases of aging; of particular interest is insulin resistance during aging. Chronic inflammation impairs normal lipid accumulation, adipose tissue function, mitochondrial function, and causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which lead to insulin resistance. However, some studies show that insulin resistance itself amplifies chronic inflammation. The activity of the insulin-dependent Akt signaling pathway is highlighted because of its decrease in insulin-sensitive organs, like liver and muscle, which may underlie insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, and its increased levels in non-metabolic organs, such as kidney and aorta. In that the prevalence of obesity has increased substantially for all age groups in recent years, our review summarizes the data showing the involvement of chronic inflammation in obesity-induced insulin resistance, which perpetuates reciprocal interactions between the chronic inflammatory process and increased adiposity, thereby accelerating the aging process.
PMCID: PMC4246128  PMID: 25239110
Insulin resistance; Molecular inflammation; Aging
23.  Modulation of Colitis-associated Colon Tumorigenesis by Baicalein and Betaine 
Journal of Cancer Prevention  2014;19(3):153-160.
In this review, we will summarize the current understanding of modulation of colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis by two natural products, baicalein and betaine, which have anti-inflammatory activities. Baicalein and betaine have been shown to provide various health benefits to organism in many ways. Baicalein is a phenolic flavonoid derived originally from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi. From ancient times, baicalein has widely been used in oriental medicines as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapy. Betaine, trimethylglycine, is an essential biochemical molecule of the methionine/homocysteine cycle and is synthesized by conversion of choline. Betaine is an important human nutrient obtained from various foods including sugar beet and lycium. Betaine has provided various health benefits including disease prevention. However, the action mechanisms of their activity remain poorly understood. Recent studies reported the effects of baicalein and betaine on cytotoxicity against colon cancer cells and chemically induced colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis in mice. Administrations of baicalein and betaine containing diets significantly inhibited the incidence of tumors and hyperplasia with down-regulation of inflammation. Therefore, baicalein and betaine might be applicable to the prevention of inflammation-associated colon carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4189507  PMID: 25337584
Baicalein; Betaine; Inflammatory bowel disease; Colon cancer; Azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate model
24.  Anti-Wrinkle Effect of Magnesium Lithospermate B from Salvia miltiorrhiza BUNGE: Inhibition of MMPs via NF-kB Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102689.
Skin is in direct contact with the environment and therefore undergoes aging as a consequence of environmentally induce damage. Wrinkle formation is a striking feature of intrinsic and photo-induced skin aging, which are both associated with oxidative stress and inflammatory response. The present study was undertaken to identify the mechanisms responsible for the anti-wrinkle effects of MLB, and thus, we investigated whether magnesium lithospermate B (MLB) from Salvia miltiorrhiza BUNGE associated with wrinkle formation caused by intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging using Sprague-Dawley rats aged 5 and 20 months and ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated human skin fibroblasts cells, respectively. The results obtained showed that the oral administration of MLB significantly upregulated the level of type I procollagen and downregulated the activities and expressions of matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs) in rat skin. In fibroblasts, MLB suppressed the transactivation of nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) and activator protein 1(AP-1), which are the two transcription factors responsible for MMP expression, by suppressing oxidative stress and the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Our results show that the antioxidant effect of MLB is due to the direct scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and its inhibitory effects on NF-kB-dependent inflammation genes, such as, cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase. MLB was found to reverse both age- and UVB-related reductions in skin procollagen levels by suppressing the expressions and activities of NF-kB and AP-1-dependent MMPs by modulating ROS generation and the MAPK signaling pathway. We suggest that MLB potentially has anti-wrinkle and anti-skin aging effects.
PMCID: PMC4123883  PMID: 25099178
25.  Identification of the dichotomous role of age-related LCK in calorie restriction revealed by integrative analysis of cDNA microarray and interactome 
Age  2012;35(4):1045-1060.
Among the many experimental paradigms used for the investigation of aging, the calorie restriction (CR) model has been proven to be the most useful in gerontological research. Exploration of the mechanisms underlying CR has produced a wealth of data. To identify key molecules controlled by aging and CR, we integrated data from 84 mouse and rat cDNA microarrays with a protein–protein interaction network. On the basis of this integrative analysis, we selected three genes that are upregulated in aging but downregulated by CR and two genes that are downregulated in aging but upregulated by CR. One of these key molecules is lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK). To further confirm this result on LCK, we performed a series of experiments in vitro and in vivo using kidneys obtained from aged ad libitum-fed and CR rats. Our major significant findings are as follows: (1) identification of LCK as a key molecule using integrative analysis; (2) confirmation that the age-related increase in LCK was modulated by CR and that protein tyrosine kinase activity was decreased using a LCK-specific inhibitor; and (3) upregulation of LCK leads to NF-κB activation in a ONOO− generation-dependent manner, which is modulated by CR. These results indicate that LCK could be considered a target attenuated by the anti-aging effects of CR. Integrative analysis of cDNA microarray and interactome data are powerful tools for identifying target molecules that are involved in the aging process and modulated by CR.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9426-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3705109  PMID: 22828953
Aging; Calorie restriction; cDNA microarray; Differentially expressed genes; Interactome; LCK

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