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2.  Effects of miR-33a-5P on ABCA1/G1-Mediated Cholesterol Efflux under Inflammatory Stress in THP-1 Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109722.
The present study is to investigate whether inflammatory cytokines inhibit ABCA1/ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux by regulating miR-33a-5P in THP-1 macrophages. We used interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in the presence or absence of native low density lipoprotein (LDL) to stimulate THP-1 macrophages. THP-1 macrophages were infected by either control lentivirus vectors or lentivirus encoding miR-33a-5P or antisense miR-33a-5P. The effects of inflammatory cytokines, miR-33a-5P and antisense miR-33a-5P on intracellular lipids accumulation and intracellular cholesterol contents were assessed by oil red O staining and quantitative intracellular cholesterol assay. ApoA-I-mediated cholesterol efflux was examined using the fluorescent sterol (BODIPY-cholesterol). The gene and protein expressions of the molecules involved in cholesterol trafficking were examined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. Inflammatory cytokines or miR-33a-5P increased intracellular lipid accumulation and decreased apoA-I-mediated cholesterol efflux via decreasing the expression of ABCA1 and ABCG1 in the absence or presence of LDL in THP-1 macrophages. However, antisense miR-33a-5P reversed the effects of inflammatory cytokines on intracellular lipid accumulation, cholesterol efflux, and the expression of miR-33a-5P, ABCA1 and ABCG1 in the absence or presence of LDL in THP-1 macrophages. This study indicated that inflammatory cytokines inhibited ABCA1/ABCG1-mediated cholesterol efflux by up-regulating miR-33a-5P in THP-1 macrophages.
PMCID: PMC4201478  PMID: 25329888
3.  Histological characteristics and ultrastructure of polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament after the reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament in rabbits 
Polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament were the remnant of LARS ligament used for repairing posterior cruciate ligament obtained from operation. We want to study histological characteristics and ultrastructure of polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament after the reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament in rabbits. Therefore, we replaced the original ACL with polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament which was covering with the remnant of ACL in 9 rabbits (L-LARS group), while just only polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament were transplanted in 3 rabbits (LARS group) with the remnant of ACL. Compared with group LARS, inflammatory cell reaction and foreign body reaction were more significant in group L-LARS. Moreover, electron microscopy investigation showed the tissue near LARS fibers was highly cellular with a matrix of thin collagen fibrils (50-100 nm) in group L-LARS. These above findings suggest the polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament possess the high biocompatibility, which contributes to the polyethylene terephthalate LARS covered with recipient connective tissues.
PMCID: PMC4211754  PMID: 25356104
Anterior cruciate ligament; polyethylene terephthalate LARS ligament; biocompatibility
4.  Effects of lentiviral infection of mesenchymal stem cells on the expression of octamer transcription factor 4 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2014;10(5):2249-2254.
The present study aimed to investigate the effects of lentiviral infection of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUCMSCs) on the expression of octamer transcription factor 4 (Oct4). hUCMSCs were infected with lentivirus carrying the green fluorescent protein gene (GFP) at different multiplicities of infection (MOI), and the optimal MOI was determined by flow cytometry; the proliferation of non-infected and GFP-carrying lentivirus-infected hUCMSCs was evaluated by the MTT assay; and the expression of the Oct4 gene was measured by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunofluorescence staining in hUCMSCs cultured in vitro for eight weeks. Positive GFP staining of hUCMSCs was estimated at >75% at 48 h following infection with the GFP-carrying lentivirus (MOI = 20); no effect on hUCMSC proliferation was detected by the MTT assay following the infection; immunofluorescence analysis detected positive Oct4 expression in the cell nuclei at two and eight weeks of culture, while the relative expression of Oct4 assessed by qRT-PCR was 0.9075±0.0124. The GFP gene carried by the lentivirus was successfully expressed in hUCMSCs and had no significant effect on Oct4 expression, which lays a solid foundation for future studies investigating gene functions via the use of exogenous markers.
PMCID: PMC4199401  PMID: 25174942
green fluorescent protein; lentivirus; human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells; octamer transcription factor 4
5.  Utilization of Gene Expression Signature for Quality Control of Traditional Chinese Medicine Formula Si-Wu-Tang 
The AAPS Journal  2013;15(3):884-892.
The current study utilized a combined pharmacokinetic and genomic approach to demonstrate the feasibility of a new quality control method by using a panel of special differentially expressed genes (DEGs) as unique fingerprint to serve as marker of in vivo bioactivity for a representative traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula, Si-Wu-Tang (SWT). The method involves firstly obtaining possible in vivo active components, i.e., the “absorbable” components from the permeate of the Caco-2 monolayer model to simulate oral administration of two specific SWT products (CU-SWT, J-SWT), their component single herbs (Angelicae, Chuanxiong, Paeoniae, and Rehmanniae), and a standard mixture of active compounds (ferulic acid, ligustilide, senkyunolide A). Then, these respective absorbable components were incubated with MCF-7 cells to determine the gene expression profile using microarray processing/analysis as well as real-time PCR. From the available DEGs identified following the incubation, the magnitude of change in DEGs by real-time PCR was found to be consistent with that by microarray. The designated DEGs from the CU-SWT permeate were found to be distinct from other 19 products. Furthermore, the changes in the DEGs resulting from MCF-7 cells treated by eight replicate extracts of CU-SWT on three separate days were consistent. These results demonstrated sufficient specificity and consistency of the DEG panel which could serve as a unique bioactive “fingerprint” for the designated SWT product. The present method for DEG determination may be applied to other TCM products and with further definitive study can potentially provide a unique method for quality control of TCM in the future.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-013-9491-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3691416  PMID: 23703112
gene expression signature; pharmacokinetics; quality control; Si-Wu-Tang; traditional Chinese medicine
6.  Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Buffered Propranolol Sublingual Tablet (Promptol™)—Application of a New “Physiologically Based” Model to Assess Absorption and Disposition 
The AAPS Journal  2013;15(3):787-796.
Sublingual administration of certain buffered propranolol may improve the rate and extent of absorption compared to oral administration. The main objectives of this study were to (1) compare the plasma propranolol concentrations (Cp-prop) following sublingual administration of a specially buffered formulation (Promptol™) to that following oral administration of Inderal® and (2) evaluate the utility of a special pharmacokinetic model in describing the Cp-prop following sublingual administration. Eighteen healthy volunteers received 10 mg sublingual Promptol™ or oral Inderal®. Multiple Cp-prop were determined and their pharmacokinetics compared. Additional data following sublingual 40 mg Promptol™ or Inderal® were utilized for evaluation of a special advanced compartmental absorption and transit (ACAT) model. For model simulation, the physicochemical parameters were imported from AMET predictor, whereas the pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated and optimized by Gastroplus®. Based on this model, the quantity of drug absorbed via buccal/sublingual mucosa was estimated. Cp-prop was higher at earlier times with 3-fold greater relative bioavailability following sublingual Promptol™ compared to that from oral Inderal®. The special ACAT model provided excellent goodness of fit of Cp-prop-time curve and estimated a 56.6% increase in absorption rate from Promptol™ and higher initial Cp-prop compared to the regular formulation. The modified ACAT model provided a useful approach to describe sublingual absorption of propranolol and clearly demonstrated an improvement of absorption of Promptol™. The sublingual 10 mg Promptol™ achieved not only a similar systemic exposure as 30 mg oral Inderal® but an earlier effective Cp-prop which may be advantageous for certain clinical conditions.
PMCID: PMC3691420  PMID: 23605805
ACAT; buffered; pharmacokinetics; propranolol; sublingual
7.  Updates on the Clinical Evidenced Herb-Warfarin Interactions 
Increasing and inadvertent use of herbs makes herb-drug interactions a focus of research. Concomitant use of warfarin, a highly efficacious oral anticoagulant, and herbs causes major safety concerns due to the narrow therapeutic window of warfarin. This paper presents an update overview of clinical findings regarding herb-warfarin interaction, highlighting clinical outcomes, severity of documented interactions, and quality of clinical evidence. Among thirty-eight herbs, Cannabis, Chamomile, Cranberry, Garlic, Ginkgo, Grapefruit, Lycium, Red clover, and St. John's wort were evaluated to have major severity interaction with warfarin. Herbs were also classified on account of the likelihood of their supporting evidences for interaction. Four herbs were considered as highly probable to interact with warfarin (level I), three were estimated as probable (level II), and ten and twenty-one were possible (level III) and doubtful (level IV), respectively. The general mechanism of herb-warfarin interaction almost remains unknown, yet several pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic factors were estimated to influence the effectiveness of warfarin. Based on limited literature and information reported, we identified corresponding mechanisms of interactions for a small amount of “interacting herbs.” In summary, herb-warfarin interaction, especially the clinical effects of herbs on warfarin therapy should be further investigated through multicenter studies with larger sample sizes.
PMCID: PMC3976951  PMID: 24790635
8.  The anti-cancer agent SU4312 unexpectedly protects against MPP+-induced neurotoxicity via selective and direct inhibition of neuronal NOS 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2013;168(5):1201-1214.
Background and Purpose
SU4312, a potent and selective inhibitor of VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), has been designed to treat cancer. Recent studies have suggested that SU4312 can also be useful in treating neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we assessed neuroprotection by SU4312 against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+)-induced neurotoxicity and further explored the underlying mechanisms.
Experimental Approach
MPP+-treated neurons and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated zebrafish were used to study neuroprotection by SU4312. NOS activity was assayed in vitro to examine direct interactions between SU4312 and NOS isoforms.
Key Results
SU4312 unexpectedly prevented MPP+-induced neuronal apoptosis in vitro and decreased MPTP-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons, reduced expression of mRNA for tyrosine hydroxylase and impaired swimming behaviour in zebrafish. In contrast, PTK787/ZK222584, a well-studied VEGFR-2 inhibitor, failed to prevent neurotoxicity, suggesting that the neuroprotective actions of SU4312 were independent of its anti-angiogenic action. Furthermore, SU4312 exhibited non-competitive inhibition of purified neuronal NOS (nNOS) with an IC50 value of 19.0 μM but showed little or no effects on inducible and endothelial NOS. Molecular docking simulations suggested an interaction between SU4312 and the haem group within the active centre of nNOS.
Conclusions and Implication
SU4312 exhibited neuroprotection against MPP+ at least partly via selective and direct inhibition of nNOS. Because SU4312 could reach the brain in rats, our study also offered a support for further development of SU4312 to treat neurodegenerative disorders, particularly those associated with NO-mediated neurotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3594677  PMID: 23062100
SU4312; neuroprotection; Parkinson's disease; neuronal NOS; angiogenesis; MPP+
9.  Traditional Chinese medicinal formula Si-Wu-Tang prevents oxidative damage by activating Nrf2-mediated detoxifying/antioxidant genes 
Cell & Bioscience  2014;4:8.
Induction of Nrf2-mediated detoxifying/antioxidant genes has been recognized as an effective strategy for cancer chemoprevention. Si-Wu-Tang (SWT), comprising the combination of four herbs, Paeoniae, Angelicae, Chuanxiong and Rehmanniae, is one of the most popular traditional oriental medicines for women’s diseases. The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of SWT on Nrf2 pathway in vitro and in vivo and to identify the active component(s).
Cell viability and apoptosis were analyzed in the non-cancerous breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A after H2O2 treatment in the presence or absence of SWT using the Sulphorhodamine B assay, Annexin-V/Propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. SWT strongly reduced H2O2 -induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in MCF-10A cells. Expression of Nrf2 and Nrf2-regulated genes HMOX1 (heme oxygenase 1) and SLC7A11 (xCT) was evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR, Western Blot and immunocytochemistry. SWT strongly induced Nrf2-regulated genes at mRNA and protein levels and increased the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in MCF-10A cells. The in vivo pharmacodynamic effect of SWT was evaluated in healthy female Sprague–Dawley rats. Short-term oral administration of SWT (1,000 mg/kg per day for six consecutive days) to rats resulted in an increased expression of Nrf2-regulated genes Hmox1 and Slc7A11 in the liver detected by quantitative RT-PCR. Among nine compounds that have been identified previously in the SWT products, z-liguistilide was discovered as the main component responsible for the effect of Nrf2 activation using the antioxidant response element-luciferase reporter gene assay. Z-liguistilide was confirmed with a high potency to induce Nrf2-regulated genes and Nrf2 nuclear translocation.
Our results demonstrated that SWT and its component z-liguistilide are able to activate the Nrf2 pathway in non-cancerous cells and organs in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that SWT might be an orally effective and nontoxic agent for cancer chemoprevention.
PMCID: PMC3930016  PMID: 24507416
Cancer chemoprevention; Si-Wu-Tang; Z-liguistilide; ROS; Nrf2; Breast cancer; SLC7A11; HMOX1
10.  Bench to Bed Evidences for Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Interactions Involving Oseltamivir and Chinese Medicine 
Oseltamivir (OA), an ethyl ester prodrug of oseltamivir carboxylate (OC), is clinically used as a potent and selective inhibitor of neuraminidase. Chinese medicines have been advocated to combine with conventional drug for avian influenza. The current study aims to investigate the potential pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of a Chinese medicine formula, namely, Yin Qiao San and Sang Ju Yin (CMF1), commonly used for anti-influenza in combination with OA in both rat and human, and to reveal the underlined mechanisms. It was found that although Cmax, AUC and urinary recovery of OC, as well as metabolic ratio (AUCOC/AUCOA), were significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner following combination use of CMF1 and OA in rat studies (P < 0.01), such coadministration in 14 healthy volunteers only resulted in a trend of minor decrease in the related parameters. Further mechanistic studies found that although CMF1 could reduce absorption and metabolism of OA, it appears to enhance viral inhibition of OA (P < 0.01). In summary, although there was potential interaction between OA and CMF1 found in rat studies, its clinical impact was expected to be minimal. The coadministration of OA and CMF1 at the clinical recommended dosages is, therefore, considered to be safe.
PMCID: PMC3912631  PMID: 24527044
11.  Interaction of Carbamazepine with Herbs, Dietary Supplements, and Food: A Systematic Review 
Background. Carbamazepine (CBZ) is a first-line antiepileptic drug which may be prone to drug interactions. Systematic review of herb- and food-drug interactions on CBZ is warranted to provide guidance for medical professionals when prescribing CBZ. Method. A systematic review was conducted on six English databases and four Chinese databases. Results. 196 out of 3179 articles fulfilled inclusion criteria, of which 74 articles were reviewed and 33 herbal products/dietary supplement/food interacting with CBZ were identified. No fatal or severe interactions were documented. The majority of the interactions were pharmacokinetic-based (80%). Traditional Chinese medicine accounted for most of the interactions (n = 17), followed by food (n = 10), dietary supplements (n = 3), and other herbs/botanicals (n = 3). Coadministration of 11 and 12 of the studied herbal products/dietary supplement/food significantly decreased or increased the plasma concentrations of CBZ. Regarding pharmacodynamic interaction, Xiao-yao-san, melatonin, and alcohol increased the side effects of CBZ while caffeine lowered the antiepileptic efficacy of CBZ. Conclusion. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the documented interactions between CBZ and herbal products/food/dietary supplements which assists healthcare professionals to identify potential herb-drug and food-drug interactions, thereby preventing potential adverse events and improving patients' therapeutic outcomes when prescribing CBZ.
PMCID: PMC3760091  PMID: 24023584
12.  Protective effects of curcumin on retinal Müller cell in early diabetic rats 
To explore the effects and potential mechanisms of curcumin on retinal Müller cell in early diabetic rats.
Diabetic rats were induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ). Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly assigned into 4 groups: control group (naïve SD rats administered with a single intraperitoneal injection of citric buffer), diabetic group (STZ-diabetic rats), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) group (diabetic rats intraperitoneally administered with mixture of DMSO and normal saline, once a day) and curcumin group (diabetic rats intraperitoneally administered with curcumin, 80mg/kg, once a day). Three months after diabetes onset, malondialdehyde (MDA, indication of oxidative stress level) and reduced glutathione (GSH) in retina were detected with kits, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in retina was revealed by immunohistochemistry and Western blot, and retinal glutamine synthetase (GS) were observed by Western blot.
Compared with control group, retinal MDA was increased, and GSH was decreased in diabetic and DMSO groups (P<0.05, respectively). While, retinal MDA and GSH in curcumin group showed no difference compared with control group (P>0.05). Furthermore, up-regulation of retinal GFAP and down-regulation of retinal GS were detected in diabetic and DMSO groups, and no alteration could be observed in curcumin group revealed with Western blot. Compared with control group, retinal Müller cells showed significant increase in GFAP immunochemistry staining in diabetic and DMSO groups. Moreover, GFAP-positive staining was decreased in curcumin group compared with diabetic group.
Curcumin inhibits diabetic retinal oxidative stress, protects Müller cell, and prevents the down-regulation of GS in diabetic retina. Therefore, curcumin has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy (DR).
PMCID: PMC3755296  PMID: 23991371
diabetic retinopathy; curcumin; oxidative stress; Müller cell
13.  Transcriptional profiling of Chinese medicinal formula Si-Wu-Tang on breast cancer cells reveals phytoestrogenic activity 
Si-Wu-Tang (SWT), comprising the combination of four herbs, Paeoniae, Angelicae, Chuanxiong and Rehmanniae, is one of the most popular traditional oriental medicines for women’s diseases. In our previous study, the microarray gene expression profiles of SWT on breast cancer cell line MCF-7 were found similar to the effect of β-estradiol (E2) on MCF-7 cells in the Connectivity Map database.
Further data analysis was conducted to find the main similarities and differences between the effects of SWT and E2 on MCF-7 gene expression. The cell proliferation assay on MCF-7 (ER-positive) and MDA-MB-231 (ER-negative) cells were used to examine such estrogenic activity. The estrogenic potency of SWT was further confirmed by estrogen-responsive element (ERE) luciferase reporter assay in MCF-7 cells.
Many estrogen regulated genes strongly up-regulated by E2 were similarly up-regulated by SWT, e.g., GREB1, PGR and EGR3. Of interest with regard to safety of SWT, the oncogenes MYBL1 and RET were strongly induced by E2 but not by SWT. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed a highly concordant expression change in selected genes with data obtained by microarrays. Further supporting SWT’s estrogenic activity, in MCF-7 but not in MDA-MB-231 cells, SWT stimulated cell growth at lower concentrations (< 3.0 mg/ml), while at high concentrations, it inhibits the growth of both cell lines. The growth inhibitory potency of SWT was significantly higher in MDA-MB-231 than in MCF-7 cells. The SWT-induced cell growth of MCF-7 could be blocked by addition of the estrogen receptor antagonist tamoxifen. In addition, SWT was able to activate the ERE activity at lower concentrations. The herbal components Angelicae, Chuanxiong and Rehmanniae at lower concentrations (< 3.0 mg/ml) also showed growth-inducing and ERE-activating activity in MCF-7 cells.
These results revealed a new mechanism to support the clinical use of SWT for estrogen related diseases and possibly for cancer prevention. This study also demonstrated the feasibility of using microarray transcriptional profiling to discover phytoestrogenic components that are present in natural products.
PMCID: PMC3637310  PMID: 23305139
Phytoestrogens; Microarrays; Genomics; Chemoprevention; Breast cancer; Herbal medicines; Transcriptional profiling
14.  Comparison of Intestinal Absorption and Disposition of Structurally Similar Bioactive Flavones in Radix Scutellariae 
The AAPS Journal  2011;14(1):23-34.
Radix Scutellariae is a commonly used herbal medicine. Baicalein, wogonin, and oroxylin A are three major bioactive flavones in Radix Scutellariae and share similar chemical structures. The intestinal absorption and disposition of baicalein have been systematically investigated by our group before. In this study, the intestinal absorption and disposition of wogonin and oroxylin A were further explored and compared with the profiles of baicalein to find potential structure–activity relationship. Absorptive models including Caco-2 cell monolayer model and rat in situ single-pass intestinal perfusion model as well as in vitro enzymatic kinetic study were employed in the current study. The absorption of baicalein, wogonin, and oroxylin A were favorable with wogonin showing the highest permeability based on two absorptive models. However, three flavones underwent a fast and extensive phase II metabolism. The intestinal metabolism of three flavones exhibited species difference between human and rat. Oroxylin A demonstrated the highest intrinsic clearance of glucuronidation among three flavones. The multidrug resistance proteins might be involved in the efflux of their intracellularly formed conjugated metabolites. The pathway of intestinal absorption and disposition of B, W, and OA was similar. However, the extent of permeability and metabolism was different among three flavones which might be due to the number and position of the hydroxyl group.
PMCID: PMC3291185  PMID: 22167378
absorption; baicalein; disposition; oroxylin A; wogonin
15.  Aging-related kidney damage is associated with a decrease in klotho expression and an increase in superoxide production 
Age  2010;33(3):261-274.
The purpose of this study was to determine changes in klotho, endothelin (ET) receptors, and superoxide production in kidneys of aged rats and whether these changes are exacerbated in aged rats with cognitive impairment. Twenty aged rats (male, 27 months) were divided into an Old Impaired group (n = 9) and an Old Intact group (n = 11) according to a cognitive function test. A group of 12-month-old rats (n = 10) was used as a Young Intact group. Serum creatinine was increased significantly in the Old Impaired group, suggesting impaired renal function. Aged rats showed glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitialfibrosis. These pathological changes were markedly aggravated in the old cognitively impaired than in the old cognitively intact animals. Notably, aged rats demonstrated a significant decrease in klotho protein expression in renal cortex and medulla. Protein expression of IL-6, Nox2, ETa receptors and superoxide production were increased whereas mitochondrial SOD (MnSOD) and ETb receptors expression were decreased in kidneys of the aged rats. Interestingly, these changes were more pronounced in the old impaired than in the old intact rats. In conclusion, the aging-related kidney damage was exacerbated in aged rats with cognitive impairment. Klotho, ETB, and MnSOD were downregulated but ETa, IL-6, Nox2, and superoxide production were upregulated in the aging-related kidney damage. These changes were more pronounced in rats with cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3168600  PMID: 20830528
Aging; Klotho; Glomerusclerosis; ET receptor; Superoxide; Interleukin-6
16.  Hepatic Metabolism and Disposition of Baicalein via the Coupling of Conjugation Enzymes and Transporters—In Vitro and In Vivo Evidences 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(3):378-389.
Baicalein (Ba) was found to be subject to serious first-pass metabolism after oral administration. We previously revealed the important role of intestine in the low oral bioavailability of Ba. The present study aims to evaluate the hepatic metabolism and disposition of Ba. Ba was given to Sprague–Dawley rats through bolus or infusion via intravenous or intra-portal route of administrations. Both plasma and bile samples at different time intervals were obtained. Concentrations of Ba and potential metabolites in the collected samples were analyzed with HPLC/UV and identified by LC/MS/MS, respectively. Plasma concentration versus time profiles of Ba obtained from intravenous and intra-portal administrations were compared to estimate the extent of hepatic metabolism. In addition, transport studies of baicalein-7-glucuronide (BG), one of the major metabolites of Ba, were carried out using transfected cell systems overexpressing various human organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) isoforms to estimate the specific transporters involved in the hepatic disposition of Ba metabolites. The results showed that liver, in addition to intestine, also conferred extensive metabolism to Ba. Several mono- and di-conjugates of Ba, which were mainly glucuronides, sulfates, and methylates, were found in bile. The transport study demonstrated that besides MRPs and BCRP, human OATP2B1 and OATP1B3 in liver might also mediate the secretion of BG to bile. In summary, liver plays an important role in the metabolism of Ba and transport of its conjugated metabolites.
PMCID: PMC3160155  PMID: 21607811
baicalein; conjugation; hepatic metabolism; transporters
17.  A Mammalian Homologue of Drosophila Tumorous Imaginal Discs, Tid1, Mediates Agrin Signaling at the Neuromuscular Junction 
Neuron  2008;60(4):625-641.
Motoneuron-derived agrin clusters nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in mammalian muscle cells. We used two-hybrid screens to identify a protein, tumorous imaginal discs (Tid1), that binds to the cytoplasmic domain of muscle-specific kinase (MuSK), a major component of the agrin receptor. Like MuSK, Tid1 colocalizes with AChRs at developing, adult and denervated motor endplates. Knockdown of Tid1 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in skeletal muscle fibers dispersed synaptic AChR clusters and impaired neuromuscular transmission. In cultured myotubes, Tid1 knockdown inhibited AChR clustering, as well as agrin-induced activation of the Rac and Rho small GTPases and tyrosine phosphorylation of the AChR, without affecting MuSK activation. Tid1 knockdown also decreased Dok-7-induced clustering of AChRs. Overexpression of the N-terminal half of Tid1 induced agrin- and MuSK-independent phosphorylation and clustering of AChRs. These results demonstrate that Tid1 is an essential component of the agrin signaling pathway, crucial for synaptic development.
PMCID: PMC3225410  PMID: 19038220
18.  Intestinal absorbability of three Radix Puerariae isoflavones including daidzein, daidzin and puerarin 
Chinese Medicine  2011;6:41.
Radix Puerariae (Gegen) contains abundant isoflavones in the forms of glycosides and aglycones, such as daidzein, daidzin and puerarin. This study aims to investigate the intestinal absorbability and mechanism of these three structurally related isoflavones.
The bi-directional transport of these three isoflavones in Caco-2 monolayer model was performed to evaluate their absorbability and involvement of transporters in Transwell. In vitro incubation of daidzin and puerarin with rat intestinal microvilli preparation was conducted to estimate their potential form of absorption in vivo.
Daidzein demonstrated passive diffusion transport while puerarin did not. Daidzin showed basolateral-to-apical transport and the absorption extent could be reduced by 50% in the presence of MK571, a multidrug resistance-associated protein inhibitor (MRP). The in vitro incubation study of daidzin and puerarin indicated that daidzin was hydrolyzed to daidzein whereas puerarin remained unchanged.
While daidzein was transported more efficiently, puerarin was resistant to intestinal hydrolysis and inefficiently transported across intestinal epithelium. Daidzin demonstrated a low intestinal absorbability due to a significant efflux transport mediated by MRPs. Daidzin was likely to be hydrolyzed by intestinal microvilli and subsequently released daidzein for intestinal absorption.
PMCID: PMC3253046  PMID: 22108408
19.  Discovery of Molecular Mechanisms of Traditional Chinese Medicinal Formula Si-Wu-Tang Using Gene Expression Microarray and Connectivity Map 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18278.
To pursue a systematic approach to discovery of mechanisms of action of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we used microarrays, bioinformatics and the “Connectivity Map” (CMAP) to examine TCM-induced changes in gene expression. We demonstrated that this approach can be used to elucidate new molecular targets using a model TCM herbal formula Si-Wu-Tang (SWT) which is widely used for women's health. The human breast cancer MCF-7 cells treated with 0.1 µM estradiol or 2.56 mg/ml of SWT showed dramatic gene expression changes, while no significant change was detected for ferulic acid, a known bioactive compound of SWT. Pathway analysis using differentially expressed genes related to the treatment effect identified that expression of genes in the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) cytoprotective pathway was most significantly affected by SWT, but not by estradiol or ferulic acid. The Nrf2-regulated genes HMOX1, GCLC, GCLM, SLC7A11 and NQO1 were upreguated by SWT in a dose-dependent manner, which was validated by real-time RT-PCR. Consistently, treatment with SWT and its four herbal ingredients resulted in an increased antioxidant response element (ARE)-luciferase reporter activity in MCF-7 and HEK293 cells. Furthermore, the gene expression profile of differentially expressed genes related to SWT treatment was used to compare with those of 1,309 compounds in the CMAP database. The CMAP profiles of estradiol-treated MCF-7 cells showed an excellent match with SWT treatment, consistent with SWT's widely claimed use for women's diseases and indicating a phytoestrogenic effect. The CMAP profiles of chemopreventive agents withaferin A and resveratrol also showed high similarity to the profiles of SWT. This study identified SWT as an Nrf2 activator and phytoestrogen, suggesting its use as a nontoxic chemopreventive agent, and demonstrated the feasibility of combining microarray gene expression profiling with CMAP mining to discover mechanisms of actions and to identify new health benefits of TCMs.
PMCID: PMC3065471  PMID: 21464939
20.  Myocardial post-conditioning with Danshen-Gegen decoction protects against isoproterenol-induced myocardial injury via a PKCε/mKATP-mediated pathway in rats 
Chinese Medicine  2011;6:7.
Danshen-Gegen decoction (DG), a Chinese herbal formula, has been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment of coronary heart disease such as myocardial infarction. In the present study, we investigated the effect of DG post-conditioning on isoproterenol (ISO)-induced myocardial injury in rats.
ISO was injected intraperitoneally (200 mg/kg) to induce acute (2-6 hours) myocardial injury in adult female rats. DG (4 g/kg) was administered per oral immediately after the injection of ISO in the rats. Extent of myocardial injury was assessed by measurements of plasma enzyme activities. Myocardial mitochondrial glutathione antioxidant status, lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial calcium ion loading and cytochrome c release were also measured. Effects of inhibitors of protein kinase C-epsilon (PKCε) ranslocation and mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel (mKATP) on myocardial post-conditioning by DG were investigated.
ISO inflicted acute myocardial injury in the rats as evidenced by increased plasma enzyme activities. DG post-treatment alleviated the ISO-induced acute myocardial injury.
DG post-treatment protected the myocardium against ISO-induced acute injury in rats. The myocardial post-conditioning by DG is likely mediated by PKCε/mKATP signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3055215  PMID: 21320349
21.  Mouse RIC-3, an Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone, Promotes Assembly of the α7 Acetylcholine Receptor through a Cytoplasmic Coiled-Coil Domain 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2009;29(40):12625-12635.
RIC-3 (resistant to inhibitor of cholinesterase) is a transmembrane protein, found in invertebrates and vertebrates, that modulates the surface expression of a variety of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in neurons and other cells. To understand its mechanism of action, we investigated the cellular location, transmembrane topology and cellular mechanism by which RIC-3 facilitates α7 assembly and surface expression in cultured mammalian cells. We show that the mouse protein is targeted to the ER by the first 31 aa which act as a cleavable signal sequence. The mature protein is a single-pass type I transmembrane protein whose N terminus resides in the lumen of the ER with the coiled-coil domain in the cytoplasm. RIC-3, which binds both unfolded and folded α7 subunits, facilitates the surface expression of receptor principally by promoting the folding and assembly of the α7 subunits in the ER into fully polymerized receptor. Functional analysis shows that facilitation of surface expression of α7 in mammalian cells is reduced in RIC-3 mutants lacking the signal peptide, the lumenal segment or the coiled-coil domain, but not in mutants lacking the long C-terminal region downstream of the coiled-coil domain. We show that the coiled-coil domain of mRIC-3 is not required for the interaction of mRIC-3 with α7, but does mediate a homotypic interaction between molecules of mRIC-3. We suggest that efficient assembly of the homomeric α7 nAChR may thus require mRIC-3 self-association through the cytoplasmic coiled-coil domain and suggest a model by which this may occur.
PMCID: PMC3849731  PMID: 19812337
22.  Interspecies Comparison of Pharmacokinetics of the Novel Triazole Antifungal Agent SYN-2869 and Its Derivatives 
The pharmacokinetics and distribution in tissue of several novel triazole antifungal agents were studied in different animal species in order to select an appropriate lead compound. The purpose of the study was also to determine species differences in pharmacokinetics for SYN azoles to select the most appropriate species for secondary efficacy and toxicological evaluation of the selected compound. SYN-2836, SYN-2869, SYN-2903, and SYN-2921 were rapidly absorbed into the systemic circulation and reached maximum concentrations (Cmaxs) of 7.31 ± 2.53, 6.29 ± 0.85, 6.16 ± 0.39, and 3.41 ± 0.34 μg/ml, respectively, in BALB/c mice after administration of an oral dose of 50 mg/kg of body weight, with bioavailability being greater than 45% in all mice. The areas under the concentration-time curve from time zero to infinity (AUC0–∞s) after administration of a single intravenous dose of 20 mg/kg to mice varied between 25.0 and 63.6 μg · h/ml. The half-life was in the range of 4.5 to 6 h. In Sprague-Dawley rats there was no significant difference in AUC0–∞ after administration of a single intravenous dose of 20 mg/kg, but on oral administration, the bioavailability of SYN-2836 was extremely low, while that of SYN-2869 was only 14.7%. In New Zealand White rabbits the Cmax and the time to reach Cmax for SYN-2836 and SYN-2869 after administration of a single oral dose of 50 mg/kg were similar. There were significant differences in AUC0–∞ and half-life between SYN-2836 and SYN-2869. On the other hand, in beagle dogs the Cmax and AUC0–∞ of SYN-2836 after administration of a single oral dose of 30 mg/kg were 4.82 ± 1.54 μg/ml and 41.8 ± 15.7 μg · h/ml, respectively, which were threefold higher than those of SYN-2869. The concentrations of the SYN compounds in tissue indicated that the AUC0–∞s of SYN-2836, SYN-2869, SYN-2903, and SYN-2921 in mouse lungs were significantly different from each other. The ratios of the concentrations of the SYN azoles in lungs to those in plasma were also significantly different from those for itraconazole. Among the SYN azoles the highest concentration in the lungs was found for SYN-2869. The higher level of distribution of SYN-2869 into lung tissue was considered to contribute to the potent efficacy in respiratory tract infection models compared with the potency of itraconazole. Significant differences in the pharmacokinetics of these compounds were observed in different animal species, and selection of an animal model for further evaluation was based on results obtained from these studies.
PMCID: PMC89791  PMID: 10722490

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