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1.  Development of Novel Rifampicin-Derived P-Glycoprotein Activators/Inducers. Synthesis, In Silico Analysis and Application in the RBE4 Cell Model, Using Paraquat as Substrate 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e74425.
P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is a 170 kDa transmembrane protein involved in the outward transport of many structurally unrelated substrates. P-gp activation/induction may function as an antidotal pathway to prevent the cytotoxicity of these substrates. In the present study we aimed at testing rifampicin (Rif) and three newly synthesized Rif derivatives (a mono-methoxylated derivative, MeORif, a peracetylated derivative, PerAcRif, and a reduced derivative, RedRif) to establish their ability to modulate P-gp expression and activity in a cellular model of the rat’s blood–brain barrier, the RBE4 cell line P-gp expression was assessed by western blot using C219 anti-P-gp antibody. P-gp function was evaluated by flow cytometry measuring the accumulation of rhodamine123. Whenever P-gp activation/induction ability was detected in a tested compound, its antidotal effect was further tested using paraquat as cytotoxicity model. Interactions between Rif or its derivatives and P-gp were also investigated by computational analysis. Rif led to a significant increase in P-gp expression at 72 h and RedRif significantly increased both P-gp expression and activity. No significant differences were observed for the other derivatives. Pre- or simultaneous treatment with RedRif protected cells against paraquat-induced cytotoxicity, an effect reverted by GF120918, a P-gp inhibitor, corroborating the observed P-gp activation ability. Interaction of RedRif with P-gp drug-binding pocket was consistent with an activation mechanism of action, which was confirmed with docking studies. Therefore, RedRif protection against paraquat-induced cytotoxicity in RBE4 cells, through P-gp activation/induction, suggests that it may be useful as an antidote for cytotoxic substrates of P-gp.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074425
PMCID: PMC3753303  PMID: 23991219
2.  Differential Effects of Methyl-4-Phenylpyridinium Ion, Rotenone, and Paraquat on Differentiated SH-SY5Y Cells 
Journal of Toxicology  2013;2013:347312.
Paraquat (PQ), a cationic nonselective bipyridyl herbicide, has been used as neurotoxicant to modulate Parkinson's disease in laboratory settings. Other compounds like rotenone (ROT), a pesticide, and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) have been widely used as neurotoxicants. We compared the toxicity of these three neurotoxicants using differentiated dopaminergic SH-SY5Y human cells, aiming to elucidate their differential effects. PQ-induced neurotoxicity was shown to be concentration and time dependent, being mitochondrial dysfunction followed by neuronal death. On the other hand, cells exposure to MPP+ induced mitochondrial dysfunction, but not cellular lyses. Meanwhile, ROT promoted both mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal death, revealing a biphasic pattern. To further elucidate PQ neurotoxic mechanism, several protective agents were used. SH-SY5Y cells pretreatment with tiron (TIR) and 2-hydroxybenzoic acid sodium salt (NaSAL), both antioxidants, and Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, partially protected against PQ-induced cell injury. Additionally, 1-(2-[bis(4-fluorophenyl)methoxy]ethyl)-4-(3-phenyl-propyl)piperazine (GBR 12909), a dopamine transporter inhibitor, and cycloheximide (CHX), a protein synthesis inhibitor, also partially protected against PQ-induced cell injury. In conclusion, we demonstrated that PQ, MPP+, and ROT exerted differential toxic effects on dopaminergic cells. PQ neurotoxicity occurred through exacerbated oxidative stress, with involvement of uptake through the dopamine transporter and protein synthesis.
doi:10.1155/2013/347312
PMCID: PMC3654346  PMID: 23710172
3.  Influence of HTLV-1 on the clinical, microbiologic and immunologic presentation of tuberculosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:199.
Background
HTLV-1 is associated with increased susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and severity of tuberculosis. Although previous studies have shown that HTLV-1 infected individuals have a low frequency of positive tuberculin skin test (TST) and decreasing in lymphoproliferative responses compared to HTLV-1 uninfected persons, these studies were not performed in individuals with history of tuberculosis or evidence of M. tuberculosis infection. Therefore the reasons why HTLV-1 infection increases susceptibility to infection and severity of tuberculosis are not understood.The aim of this study was to evaluate how HTLV-1 may influence the clinical, bacteriologic and immunologic presentation of tuberculosis.
Methods
The study prospectively enrolled and followed 13 new cases of tuberculosis associated with HTLV-1 (cases) and 25 patients with tuberculosis without HTLV-1 infection (controls). Clinical findings, bacterial load in the sputum, x-rays, immunological response and death were compared in the two groups.
Results
There were no differences in the demographic, clinical and TST response between the two study groups. IFN-γ and TNF-α production was higher in unstimulated cultures of mononuclear cells of case than in control patients (p < 0.01). While there was no difference in IFN-γ production in PPD stimulated cultures, TNF-α levels were lower in cases than in controls (p = 0.01). There was no difference in the bacterial load among the groups but sputum smear microscopy results became negative faster in cases than in controls. Death only occurred in two co-infected patients.
Conclusion
While the increased susceptibility for tuberculosis infection in HTLV-1 infected subjects may be related to impairment in TNF-α production, the severity of tuberculosis in co-infected patients may be due to the enhancement of the Th1 inflammatory response, rather than in their decreased ability to control bacterial growth.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-199
PMCID: PMC3449207  PMID: 22925731
HTLV-1; Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Results 1-3 (3)