Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Editorial: Neuronal Co-transmission
    Apergis-Schoute, J ; Burnstock, G ; Nusbaum, MP ; Parker, D ; Morales, MA ; Trudeau, L-E ; Svensson, E (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2019-03-26)
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    Iron overload and impaired iron handling contribute to the dystrophic pathology in models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
    Alves, FM ; Kysenius, K ; Caldow, MK ; Hardee, JP ; Chung, JD ; Trieu, J ; Hare, DJ ; Crouch, PJ ; Ayton, S ; Bush, A ; Lynch, GS ; Koopman, R (WILEY, 2022-03-06)
    BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathophysiology of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD, caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene), which is the most common and severe of the muscular dystrophies. To our knowledge, the distribution of iron, an important modulator of oxidative stress, has not been assessed in DMD. We tested the hypotheses that iron accumulation occurs in mouse models of DMD and that modulation of iron through the diet or chelation could modify disease severity. METHODS: We assessed iron distribution and total elemental iron using LA-ICP-MS on skeletal muscle cross-sections of 8-week-old Bl10 control mice and dystrophic mdx mice (with moderate dystrophy) and dystrophin/utrophin-null mice (dko, with severe dystrophy). In addition, mdx mice (4 weeks) were treated with either an iron chelator (deferiprone 150 mg/kg/day) or iron-enriched feed (containing 1% added iron as carbonyl iron). Immunoblotting was used to determine the abundance of iron- and mitochondria-related proteins. (Immuno)histochemical and mRNA assessments of fibrosis and inflammation were also performed. RESULTS: We observed a significant increase in total elemental iron in hindlimb muscles of dko mice (+50%, P < 0.05) and in the diaphragm of mdx mice (+80%, P < 0.05), with both tissues exhibiting severe pathology. Iron dyshomeostasis was further evidenced by an increase in the storage protein ferritin (dko: +39%, P < 0.05) and ferroportin compared with Bl10 control mice (mdx: +152% and dko: +175%, P < 0.05). Despite having features of iron overload, dystrophic muscles had lower protein expression of ALAS-1, the rate-limiting enzyme for haem synthesis (dko -44%, P < 0.05), and the haem-containing protein myoglobin (dko -54%, P < 0.05). Deferiprone treatment tended to decrease muscle iron levels in mdx mice (-30%, P < 0.1), which was associated with lower oxidative stress and fibrosis, but suppressed haem-containing proteins and mitochondrial content. Increasing iron via dietary intervention elevated total muscle iron (+25%, P < 0.05) but did not aggravate the pathology. CONCLUSIONS: Muscles from dystrophic mice have increased iron levels and dysregulated iron-related proteins that are associated with dystrophic pathology. Muscle iron levels were manipulated by iron chelation and iron enriched feed. Iron chelation reduced fibrosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) but also suppressed haem-containing proteins and mitochondrial activity. Conversely, iron supplementation increased ferritin and haem-containing proteins but did not alter ROS, fibrosis, or mitochondrial activity. Further studies are required to investigate the contribution of impaired ferritin breakdown in the dysregulation of iron homeostasis in DMD.
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    Lithium administered to pregnant, lactating and neonatal rats: entry into developing brain
    Chiou, SY-S ; Kysenius, K ; Huang, Y ; Habgood, MD ; Koehn, LM ; Qiu, F ; Crouch, PJ ; Varshney, S ; Ganio, K ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Saunders, NR (BMC, 2021-12-07)
    BACKGROUND: Little is known about the extent of drug entry into developing brain, when administered to pregnant and lactating women. Lithium is commonly prescribed for bipolar disorder. Here we studied transfer of lithium given to dams, into blood, brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in embryonic and postnatal animals as well as adults. METHODS: Lithium chloride in a clinically relevant dose (3.2 mg/kg body weight) was injected intraperitoneally into pregnant (E15-18) and lactating dams (birth-P16/17) or directly into postnatal pups (P0-P16/17). Acute treatment involved a single injection; long-term treatment involved twice daily injections for the duration of the experiment. Following terminal anaesthesia blood plasma, CSF and brains were collected. Lithium levels and brain distribution were measured using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry and total lithium levels were confirmed by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. RESULTS: Lithium was detected in blood, CSF and brain of all fetal and postnatal pups following lithium treatment of dams. Its concentration in pups' blood was consistently below that in maternal blood (30-35%) indicating significant protection by the placenta and breast tissue. However, much of the lithium that reached the fetus entered its brain. Levels of lithium in plasma fluctuated in different treatment groups but its concentration in CSF was stable at all ages, in agreement with known stable levels of endogenous ions in CSF. There was no significant increase of lithium transfer into CSF following application of Na+/K+ ATPase inhibitor (digoxin) in vivo, indicating that lithium transfer across choroid plexus epithelium is not likely to be via the Na+/K+ ATPase mechanism, at least early in development. Comparison with passive permeability markers suggested that in acute experiments lithium permeability was less than expected for diffusion but similar in long-term experiments at P2. CONCLUSIONS: Information obtained on the distribution of lithium in developing brain provides a basis for studying possible deleterious effects on brain development and behaviour in offspring of mothers undergoing lithium therapy.
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    The role of the blood-brain barrier in hypertension
    Setiadi, A ; Korim, WS ; Elsaafien, K ; Yao, ST (WILEY, 2018-03-01)
    NEW FINDINGS: What is the topic of this review? This review highlights the importance of the blood-brain barrier in the context of diseases involving autonomic dysfunction, such as hypertension and heart failure. What advances does it highlight? It highlights the potential role of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leucocytes and angiotensin II in disrupting the blood-brain barrier in cardiovascular diseases. Advances are highlighted in our understanding of neurovascular unit cells, astrocytes and microglia, with a specific emphasis on their pathogenic roles within the brain. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a crucial barrier that provides both metabolic and physical protection to an immune-privileged CNS. The BBB has been shown to be disrupted in hypertension. This review addresses the importance of the BBB in maintaining homeostasis in the context of diseases related to autonomic dysfunction, such as hypertension. We highlight the potentially important roles of the immune system and neurovascular unit in the maintenance of the BBB, whereby dysregulation may lead to autonomic dysfunction in diseases such as heart failure and hypertension. Circulating leucocytes and factors such as angiotensin II and pro-inflammatory cytokines are thought ultimately to downregulate endothelial tight junction proteins that are a crucial component of the BBB. The specific mechanisms underlying BBB disruption and their role in contributing to autonomic dysfunction are not yet fully understood but are a growing area of interest. A greater understanding of these systems and advances in our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms causing BBB disruption will allow for the development of future therapeutic interventions in the treatment of autonomic imbalance associated with diseases such as heart failure and hypertension.
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    Necroptosis Resumes Apoptosis in Hippocampus but Not in Frontal Cortex
    Nikseresht, S ; Khodagholi, F ; Dargahi, L ; Ahmadiani, A (WILEY, 2017-12-01)
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    Type-I interferons in Parkinson's disease: innate inflammatory response drives fate of neurons in model of degenerative brain disorder: An editorial comment on 'Type-I interferons mediate the neuroinflammatory response and neurotoxicity induced by rotenone'
    Kanninen, KM ; White, AR (WILEY, 2017-04-01)
    Read the commented article 'Type-I interferons mediate the neuroinflammatory response and neurotoxicity induced by rotenone' on page 75.
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    Type-I interferons mediate the neuroinflammatory response and neurotoxicity induced by rotenone
    Main, BS ; Zhang, M ; Brody, KM ; Kirby, FJ ; Crack, PJ ; Taylor, JM (WILEY, 2017-04-01)
    Evidence from post-mortem human brains, animal studies and cell culture models has implicated neuroinflammation in the aetiology of chronic neuropathologies including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Although the neuroinflammatory response is considered detrimental in contributing to these pathologies, the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. The type-I interferons (IFNs) have been well characterised in the periphery and are known to initiate/modulate the immune response. Recently, they have been implicated in ageing and we have also demonstrated increased type-I IFN expression in post-mortem human Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease brains. We hypothesise that the type-I IFNs are key drivers of the damaging, self-perpetuating pro-inflammatory response that contributes to these chronic neuropathologies. In support of this, we have recently confirmed in models of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease that mice lacking the type-I IFN receptor (IFNAR1), display an attenuated neuroinflammatory response with subsequent neuroprotection. To further investigate type-I IFN-mediated neuroinflammation and the specific CNS cell types involved, this study treated primary cultured wild-type and IFNAR1-/- neurons or mixed glia with the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor, rotenone. Wild-type neurons and glia treated with 3 nM and 25 nM rotenone, respectively, exhibited a pro-inflammatory response, including increased type-I IFN expression that was attenuated in cells lacking IFNAR1. Reduced type-I IFN signalling in IFNAR1-/- neurons also conferred protection against caspase-3-mediated rotenone-induced cell death. Further, this reduced pro-inflammatory response in the IFNAR1-/- glia subsequently diminished their neurotoxic effects to wild-type neurons. In support of this, we confirmed that therapeutically targeting the type-I IFN glial response to rotenone through a specific IFNAR1 blocking monoclonal antibody was neuroprotective. Our data has confirmed that both neurons and glia contribute to the pro-inflammatory response induced by rotenone with attenuation of this response beneficial in reducing neuronal cell death. Read the Editorial Comment for this article on page 9.
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    Type-1 Interferons Contribute to the Neuroinflammatory Response and Disease Progression of the MPTP Mouse Model of Parkinson's Disease
    Main, BS ; Zhang, M ; Brody, KM ; Ayton, S ; Frugier, T ; Steer, D ; Finkelstein, D ; Crack, PJ ; Taylor, JM (WILEY, 2016-09-01)
    Type-1 interferons (IFNs) are pleiotropic cytokines with a critical role in the initiation and regulation of the pro-inflammatory response. However, the contribution of the type-1 IFNs to CNS disorders, specifically chronic neuropathologies such as Parkinson's disease is still unknown. Here, we report increased type-1 IFN signaling in both post mortem human Parkinson's disease samples and in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model. In response to MPTP, mice lacking the type-1 IFN receptor (IFNAR1(-/-) ) displayed decreased type-1 IFN signaling, an attenuated pro-inflammatory response and reduced loss of dopaminergic neurons. The neuroprotective potential of targeting the type-1 IFN pathway was confirmed by reduced neuroinflammation and DA cell death in mice treated with a blocking monoclonal IFNAR1 (MAR-1) antibody. The MPTP/MAR-1 treated mice also displayed increased striatal dopamine levels and improved behavioural outcomes compared to their MPTP/IgG controls. These data, implicate for the first time, a deleterious role for the type-1 IFNs as key modulators of the early neuroinflammatory response and therefore the neuronal cell death in Parkinson's disease. GLIA 2016;64:1590-1604.
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    Review article: Role of magnesium sulphate in the management of Irukandji syndrome: A systematic review
    Rathbone, J ; Franklin, R ; Gibbs, C ; Williams, D (WILEY, 2017-02-01)
    Signs of Irukandji syndrome (IS) suggest an underlying catecholamine storm with research demonstrating that Carukia barnesi venom causes a significant rise in adrenaline/noradrenaline serum levels. A systematic review was undertaken to ascertain the current evidence in treating IS with magnesium salts. A literature search was conducted using Scopus, Medline and ScienceDirect. Further articles were discarded via title description and/or abstract details. The remaining were read in full, and those identified as not having sufficient information regarding magnesium and patient outcomes were removed. Nine articles were identified. One article was a randomised controlled trial, which concluded that there appears to be no beneficial difference between those patients who received the magnesium sulphate (MgSO4 ) and those who received the placebo and recommended against the use of MgSO4 in IS. Of the remaining eight, one reported the failure of MgSO4 and the remaining seven were case series reporting varying success in its use. This systematic review found insufficient evidence to support any clear recommendation regarding the use of magnesium, but nor was there clear evidence to recommend against its use in IS. Two case series describe significant reduction in key symptoms and hypertension but are a non-randomised albeit prospective series with the limitations accompanying this. The reporting of recrudescence of symptoms with reduction of dose does suggest a dose-response relationship. The evidence for the use of MgSO4 is at best anecdotal, and further research is required to either confirm its benefit or confirm the randomised controlled trial.