The global prevalence of dementia is as high as 24 million, and has been predicted to quadruple by the year 2050. In the US alone, Alzheimer disease (AD) - the most frequent cause of dementia characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function in particular the memory domain - causes estimated health-care costs of $ 172 billion per year. Key neuropathological hallmarks of the AD brain are diffuse and neuritic extracellular amyloid plaques - often surrounded by dystrophic neurites - and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. These pathological changes are frequently accompanied by reactive microgliosis and loss of neurons, white matter and synapses. The etiological mechanisms underlying these neuropathological changes remain unclear, but are probably caused by both environmental and genetic factors. In this review article, we provide an overview of the epidemiology of AD, review the biomarkers that may be used for risk assessment and in diagnosis, and give suggestions for future research. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The transcription factor Nrf2 (NF-E2-related factor 2) plays a vital role in maintaining cellular homeostasis, especially upon the exposure of cells to chemical or oxidative stress, through its ability to regulate the basal and inducible expression of a multitude of antioxidant proteins, detoxification enzymes and xenobiotic transporters. In addition, Nrf2 contributes to diverse cellular functions including differentiation, proliferation, inflammation and lipid synthesis and there is an increasing association of aberrant expression and/or function of Nrf2 with pathologies including cancer, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease. The activity of Nrf2 is primarily regulated via its interaction with Keap1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1), which directs the transcription factor for proteasomal degradation. Although it is generally accepted that modification (e.g. chemical adduction, oxidation, nitrosylation or glutathionylation) of one or more critical cysteine residues in Keap1 represents a likely chemico-biological trigger for the activation of Nrf2, unequivocal evidence for such a phenomenon remains elusive. An increasing body of literature has revealed alternative mechanisms of Nrf2 regulation, including phosphorylation of Nrf2 by various protein kinases (PKC, PI3K/Akt, GSK-3 beta, JNK), interaction with other protein partners (p21, caveolin-1) and epigenetic factors (micro-RNAs -144, -28 and -200a, and promoter methylation). These and other processes are potentially important determinants of Nrf2 activity, and therefore may contribute to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Here, we dissect evidence supporting these Keap1-dependent and -independent mechanisms of Nrf2 regulation. Furthermore, we highlight key knowledge gaps in this important field of biology, and suggest how these may be addressed experimentally. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Agonists of the nuclear receptor PPAR gamma are therapeutically used to combat hyperglycaemia associated with the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. In spite of being effective in normalization of blood glucose levels, the currently used PPAR gamma agonists from the thiazolidinedione type have serious side effects, making the discovery of novel ligands highly relevant. Natural products have proven historically to be a promising pool of structures for drug discovery, and a significant research effort has recently been undertaken to explore the PPAR gamma-activating potential of a wide range of natural products originating from traditionally used medicinal plants or dietary sources. The majority of identified compounds are selective PPAR gamma modulators (SPPARMs), transactivating the expression of PPAR gamma-dependent reporter genes as partial agonists. Those natural PPAR gamma ligands have different binding modes to the receptor in comparison to the full thiazolidinedione agonists, and on some occasions activate in addition PPAR alpha (e.g. genistein, biochanin A, sargaquinoic acid, sargahydroquinoic acid, resveratrol, amorphastilbol) or the PPAR gamma-dimer partner retinoid X receptor (RXR; e.g. the neolignans magnolol and honokiol). A number of in vivo studies suggest that some of the natural product activators of PPAR gamma (e.g. honokiol, amorfrutin 1, amorfrutin B, amorphastilbol) improve metabolic parameters in diabetic animal models, partly with reduced side effects in comparison to full thiazolidinedione agonists. The bioactivity pattern as well as the dietary use of several of the identified active compounds and plant extracts warrants future research regarding their therapeutic potential and the possibility to modulate PPAR gamma activation by dietary interventions or food supplements. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, have long been a subject of study in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) field due to their dramatic responses to the pathophysiology of the disease. With several large-scale genetic studies in the past year implicating microglial molecules in AD, the potential significance of these cells has become more prominent than ever before. As a disease that is tightly linked to aging, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that microglia of the AD brain share some phenotypes with aging microglia. Yet the relative impacts of both conditions on microglia are less frequently considered in concert. Furthermore, microglial "activation" and "neuroinflammation" are commonly analyzed in studies of neurodegeneration but are somewhat ill-defined concepts that in fact encompass multiple cellular processes. In this review, we have enumerated six distinct functions of microglia and discuss the specific effects of both aging and AD. By calling attention to the commonalities of these two states, we hope to inspire new approaches for dissecting microglial mechanisms. Published by Elsevier Inc.
The use of multiple therapeutic agents in combination has become the primary strategy to treat drug resistant cancers. However, administration of combinatorial regimens is limited by the varying pharmacokinetics of different drugs, which results in inconsistent drug uptake and suboptimal drug combination at the tumor sites. Conventional combination strategies in aim to maximize therapeutic efficacy based on maximum tolerated dose does not account for the therapeutic synergism that is sensitive to both dosing and scheduling of multiple drugs. In the present review, we will discuss the development of multidrug-loaded nanoparticles against drug resistant cancers. Nanoparticle-based combination therapy against experimental multidrug resistant (MDR) cancer models will be summarized. In addition, we will highlight the recent advances in nanoparticle-based combination strategies against clinical cancer drug resistance, including co-encapsulation of drugs with different physicochemical properties, ratiometric control over drug loading, and temporal sequencing on drug release. These emerging strategies promise novel and better tailored combinatorial regimens for clinical cancer treatment. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 is the inducible isoform of the first and rate-limiting enzyme of heme degradation. Induction of HO-1 protects against the cytotoxicity of oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death. More recently, HO-1 has been recognized to have major immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been demonstrated in HO-1 knockout mice and a human case of genetic HO-1 deficiency. Beneficial protective effects of HO-1 in inflammation are not only mediated via enzymatic degradation of proinflammatory free heme, but also via production of the anti-inflammatory compounds bilirubin and carbon monoxide. The immunomodulatory role of HO-1 is associated with its cell type-specific functions in myeloid cells (eg. macrophages and monocytes) and in endothelial cells, as both cell types are crucially involved in the regulation of inflammatory responses. This review covers the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that are involved in HO-1 gene expression. In particular, it is discussed how redox-dependent transcriptional activators such as NF-E2 related factor 2 (Nrf2), NF-kappa B and AP-1 along with the transcription repressor BTB and CNC homologue 1 (Bach1) control the inducible HO-1 gene expression. The role of central pro- and anti-inflammatory cellular signaling cascades including p38 MAPK and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt in HO-1 regulation is highlighted. Finally, emerging strategies that apply targeted pharmacological induction of HO-1 for therapeutic interventions in inflammatory conditions are summarized. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Biochemical and genetic studies on cellular and animal models on the mechanism(s) of action of phytochemicals provide a functional explanation of how and why a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is considered healthy. It is not unusual to find molecules that protect against diseases, which greatly differ from a physiopathological point of view, such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Quercetin falls into this category and possesses a broad range of biological properties. Uptake, metabolism and circulating concentrations of quercetin and its metabolites suggest that a regular diet provides amounts of quercetin (10 mu M) by supplementation with quercetin-enriched foods or supplements. Multiple lines of experimental evidence suggest a positive association between quercetin intake and improved outcomes of inflammatory cardiovascular risk. The ameliorating effect of quercetin administration can be extended to other chronic inflammatory disorders but only if supplementation occurs in patients. Quercetin can be considered the prototype of a naturally-occurring chemopreventive agent because of its key roles in triggering the "hallmarks of cancer". However, several critical points must be taken into account when considering the potential therapeutic use of this molecule: (1) pharmacological versus nutraceutical doses applied, (2) specificity of its mechanism of action compared to other phytochemicals, and (3) identification of "direct" cellular targets. The design of specific clinical trials is extremely warranted to depict possible applications of quercetin in adjuvant cancer therapy. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) catalyzed poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is one of the earliest post-translational modification of proteins detectable at sites of DNA strand interruptions. The considerable recent progress in the science of PARP in the last decade and the discovery of a PARP superfamily (17 members) has introduced this modification as a key mechanism regulating a wide variety of cellular processes including among others transcription, regulation of chromatin dynamics, telomere homeostasis, differentiation and cell death. However, the most extensive studied and probably the best characterized role is in DNA repair where it plays pivotal roles in the processing and resolution of the damaged DNA. Although much of the focus has been on PARP1 in DNA repair, recent advances highlight the emergence of other DNA-dependent PARPs (i.e. PARP2, PARP3 and possibly Tankyrase) in this process. Here we will summarize the recent insights into the molecular functions of these PARPs in different DNA repair pathways in which they emerge as specific actors. Furthermore, the DNA repair functions of PARP1 have stimulated another area of intense research in the field with the development of potent and selective PARP1 inhibitors to promote genome instability and cell death in tumor cells. Their current use in clinical trials have demonstrated potentiation of antitumoral drugs and cytotoxicity in repair deficient tumor cells. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cancer cells are characterized by an increase in the rate of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and an altered redox environment compared to normal cells. Furthermore, redox regulation and redox signaling play a key role in tumorigenesis and in the response to cancer therapeutics. ROS have contradictory roles in tumorigenes is, which has important implications for the development of potential anticancer therapies that aim to modulate cellular redox levels. ROS play a causal role in tumor development and progression by inducing DNA mutations, genomic instability, and aberrant pro-tumorigenic signaling. On the other hand, high levels of ROS can also be toxic to cancer cells and can potentially induce cell death. To balance the state of oxidative stress, cancer cells increase their antioxidant capacity, which strongly suggests that high ROS levels have the potential to actually block tumorigenesis. This fact makes pro-oxidant cancer therapy an interesting area of study. In this review, we discuss the controversial role of ROS in tumorigenesis and especially elaborate on the advantages of targeting ROS scavengers, hence the antioxidant capacity of cancer cells, and how this can be utilized for cancer therapeutics. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are short peptidic molecules produced by most living creatures. They help unicellular organisms to successfully compete for nutrients with other organisms sharing their biological niche, while AMPs form part of the immune system of multicellular creatures. Thus, these molecules represent biological weapons that have evolved over millions of years as a result of an escalating arms race for survival among living organisms. All AMPs share common features, such as a small size, with cationic and hydrophobic sequences within a linear or cyclic structure. AMPs can inhibit or kill bacteria at micro molar concentrations, often by non-specific mechanisms; hence the appearance of resistance to these antimicrobials is rare. Moreover, AMPs can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including insidious microbes such as Acinetobacter baumannii and the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This review gives a detailed insight into a selection of the most prominent and interesting AMPs with antibacterial activity. In the near future AMPs, due to their properties and despite their ancient origin, should represent a novel alternative to antibiotics in the struggle to control pathogenic microorganisms and maintain the current human life expectancy. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Animal models have historically played a critical role in the exploration and characterization of disease pathophysiology, target identification, and in the in vivo evaluation of novel therapeutic agents and treatments. In the wake of numerous clinical trial failures of new chemical entities (NCEs) with promising preclinical profiles, animal models in all therapeutic areas have been increasingly criticized for their limited ability to predict NCE efficacy, safety and toxicity in humans. The present review discusses some of the challenges associated with the evaluation and predictive validation of animal models, as well as methodological flaws in both preclinical and clinical study designs that may contribute to the current translational failure rate. The testing of disease hypotheses and NCEs in multiple disease models necessitates evaluation of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PM/PD) relationships and the earlier development of validated disease-associated biomarkers to assess target engagement and NCE efficacy. Additionally, the transparent integration of efficacy and safety data derived from animal models into the hierarchical data sets generated preclinically is essential in order to derive a level of predictive utility consistent with the degree of validation and inherent limitations of current animal models. The predictive value of an animal model is thus only as useful as the context in which it is interpreted. Finally, rather than dismissing animal models as not very useful in the drug discovery process, additional resources, like those successfully used in the preclinical PM assessment used for the selection of lead NCEs, must be focused on improving existing and developing new animal models. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the Indian spice turmeric (associated with curry powder), has been linked with suppression of inflammation; angiogenesis; tumorigenesis; diabetes; diseases of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and neurological systems, of skin, and of liver; loss of bone and muscle; depression; chronic fatigue; and neuropathic pain. The utility of curcumin is limited by its color, lack of water solubility, and relatively low in vivo bioavailability. Because of the multiple therapeutic activities attributed to curcumin, however, there is an intense search for a "super curcumin" without these problems. Multiple approaches are being sought to overcome these limitations. These include discovery of natural curcumin analogues from turmeric; discovery of natural curcumin analogues made by Mother Nature; synthesis of "man-made" curcumin analogues; reformulation of curcumin with various oils and with inhibitors of metabolism (e.g., piperine); development of liposomal and nanoparticle formulations of curcumin; conjugation of curcumin prodrugs; and linking curcumin with polyethylene glycol. Curcumin is a homodimer of feruloyl-methane containing a methoxy group and a hydroxyl group, a heptadiene with two Michael acceptors, and an alpha,beta-diketone. Structural homologues, involving modification of all these groups are being considered. This review focuses on the status of all these approaches in generating a "super curcumin.". (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
While PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is altered in a variety of cancers including non small cell lung cancer, abnormalities in this pathway are more common in squamous cell lung carcinoma than in adenocarcinoma of the lung. Moreover, aberrant activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is one of the mechanisms of acquired resistance to EGFR-TK inhibitors in patients with adenocarcinoma carrying EGFR activating mutations. Several inhibitors of the PI3K pathway are undergoing evaluation in preclinical and clinical studies. These include pan and selective inhibitors of PI3K, AKT inhibitors, rapamycin and rapalogs for mTOR inhibition, dual mTORC1-mTORC2 inhibitors and dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitors. This review focuses on recent preclinical and clinical data on the efficacy of PI3K pathway inhibitors in NSCLC either as monotherapy approach or in combination with chemotherapy or with drugs that target other signaling transduction pathways. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Exosomes are bioactive vesicles derived from the cell's endosomal membrane system and secreted into surrounding body fluids. Exosomes contain cell and cell-state specific cargos of protein, mRNA and miRNA. Exosome formation, cargo content, and delivery to surrounding cells is of immense biological interest considering the role that exosomes are believed to play in various pathological conditions. They aid antigen presentation by immune cells and can exhibit either anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory properties depending on the parent antigen-presenting cell's conditioning. Viruses can hijack a host cell's exosomal machinery to evade host defense systems aiding in the trans-infection of viruses. Tumor derived exosomes may help establish an oncogenic niche systemically via delivery of protein, mRNA, and miRNA that can aid angiogenesis, cell proliferation, and cell survival. Exosomes have also been implicated in the spread of neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have shown that exosomes are selectively taken up by cells distal from their release. They can reprogram the recipient cells due to their active molecular cargo. Cell-lineage and state-specific exosomes imply that they may therefore harbor body fluid-based biomarkers of unparalleled accuracy, particularly for tissues that are difficult or impossible to access. Exosome-specific membrane proteins provide markers enabling exosome identity and selection, while cell type and cell condition-specific protein, mRNA and miRNA cargo provide a rich potential source of biomarkers. This review serves to provide an overview of the current state of the science in the burgeoning field of exosome biology. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cell secretion is a general process involved in various biological responses. Exosomes are part of this process and have gained considerable scientific interest in the past five years. Several steps through investigations across the last 20 years can explain this interest. First characterized during reticulocyte maturation, they were next evidenced as a key player in the immune response and cancer immunotherapy. More recently they were reported as vectors of mRNAs, miRNAs and also lipid mediators able to act on target cells. They are the only type of vesicles released from an intracellular compartment from cells in viable conditions. They appear as a vectorized signaling system operating from inside a donor cell towards either the periphery, the cytosol, or possibly to the nucleus of target cells. Exosomes from normal cells trigger positive effects, whereas those from pathological ones, such as tumor cells or infected ones may trigger non-positive health effects. Therefore regulating the biogenesis and secretion of exosomes appear as a pharmacological challenge to intervene in various pathophysiologies. Exosome biogenesis and molecular content, interaction with target cells, utilisation as biomarkers, and functional effects in various pathophysiologies are considered in this review. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been linked with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, antidiabetic, antirheumatic, and antiviral effects, but its optimum potential is limited by its lack of solubility in aqueous solvents and poor oral bioavailability. We employed a polymer-based nanoparticle approach to improve bioavailability. Curcumin was encapsulated with 97.5% efficiency in biodegradable nanoparticulate formulation based on poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and a stabilizer polyethylene glycol (PEG)-5000. Dynamic laser light scattering and transmission electron microscopy indicated a particle diameter of 80.9 nm. This curcumin, renamed from hereon "as curcumin (NP)", was characterized for its biological activity. In vitro curcumin (NP) exhibited very rapid and more efficient cellular uptake than curcumin. Estrase staining revealed that curcumin (NP) was at least as potent as or more potent than curcumin in inducing apoptosis of leukemic cells and in suppressing proliferation of various tumor cell lines. When examined by electrophoretic gel shift mobility assay, curcumin (NP) was more active than curcumin in inhibiting TNF-induced NF-kappa B activation and in suppression of NF-kappa B-regulated proteins involved in cell proliferation (cyclin D1), invasion (MMP-9), and angiogenesis (VEGF). In mice, curcumin (NP) was more bioavailable and had a longer half-life than curcumin. Overall we demonstrate that curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles formulation has enhanced cellular uptake, and increased bioactivity in vitro and superior bioavailability in vivo over curcumin. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Epigenetics refers to heritable changes that are not encoded in the DNA sequence itself, but play an important role in the control of gene expression. In mammals, epigenetic mechanisms include changes in DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs. Although epigenetic changes are heritable in somatic cells, these modifications are also potentially reversible, which makes them attractive and promising avenues for tailoring cancer preventive and therapeutic strategies. Burgeoning evidence in the last decade has provided unprecedented clues that diet and environmental factors directly influence epigenetic mechanisms in humans. Dietary polyphenols from green tea, turmeric, soybeans, broccoli and others have shown to possess multiple cell-regulatory activities within cancer cells. More recently, we have begun to understand that some of the dietary polyphenols may exert their chemopreventive effects in part by modulating various components of the epigenetic machinery in humans. In this article, we first discuss the contribution of diet and environmental factors on epigenetic alterations; subsequently, we provide a comprehensive review of literature on the role of various dietary polyphenols. In particular, we summarize the current knowledge on a large number of dietary agents and their effects on DNA methylation, histone modifications and regulation of expression of the non-coding miRNAs in various in vitro and in vivo models. We emphasize how increased understanding of the chemopreventive effects of dietary polyphenols on specific epigenetic alterations may provide unique and yet unexplored novel and highly effective chemopreventive strategies for reducing the health burden of cancer and other diseases in humans. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Initially discovered in 1938 as a "fertility factor." vitamin E now refers to eight different isoforms that belong to two categories, four saturated analogues (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) called tocopherols and four unsaturated analogues referred to as tocotrienols. While the tocopherols have been investigated extensively, little is known about the tocotrienols. Very limited studies suggest that both the molecular and therapeutic targets of the tocotrienols are distinct from those of the tocopherols. For instance, suppression of inflammatory transcription factor NF-kappa B, which is closely linked to tumorigenesis and inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, mammalian DNA polymerases and certain protein tyrosine kinases, is unique to the tocotrienols. This review examines in detail the molecular targets of the tocotrienols and their roles in cancer, bone resorption, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases at both preclinical and clinical levels. As disappointment with the therapeutic value of the tocopherols grows, the potential of these novel vitamin E analogues awaits further investigation (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are products of normal cellular metabolism and are known to act as second messengers. Under physiological conditions, ROS participate in maintenance of cellular 'redox homeostasis' in order to protect cells against oxidative stress. In addition, regulation of redox state is important for cell activation, viability, proliferation, and organ function. However, overproduction of ROS, most frequently due to excessive stimulation of either reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) by pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) or the mitochondrial electron transport chain and xanthine oxidase, results in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a deleterious process that leads to airway and lung damage and consequently to several respiratory inflammatory diseases/injuries, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Many of the known inflammatory target proteins, such as matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and cytosolic phospholipase A(2) (cPLA(2)), are associated with NADPH oxidase activation and ROS overproduction in response to pro-inflammatory mediators. Thus, oxidative stress regulates both key inflammatory signal transduction pathways and target proteins involved in airway and lung inflammation. In this review, we discuss mechanisms of NADPH oxidase/ROS in the expression of inflammatory target proteins involved in airway and lung diseases. Knowledge of the mechanisms of ROS regulation could lead to the pharmacological manipulation of antioxidants in airway and lung inflammation and injury. (c) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chemical compounds derived from plants have been used since the origin of human beings to counteract a number of diseases. Among them, the natural isoquinoline alkaloid berberine has been employed in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years with a wide range of pharmacological and biochemical effects. More recently, a growing body of reports supports the evidence that berberine has anticancer effects, being able to block the proliferation of and to kill cancer cells. This review addresses the properties and therapeutic use of berberine and focuses on the recent advances as promising anticancer drug lead. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.