Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Purinergic signalling and diabetes
    Burnstock, G ; Novak, I (SPRINGER, 2013-09-01)
    The pancreas is an organ with a central role in nutrient breakdown, nutrient sensing and release of hormones regulating whole body nutrient homeostasis. In diabetes mellitus, the balance is broken-cells can be starving in the midst of plenty. There are indications that the incidence of diabetes type 1 and 2, and possibly pancreatogenic diabetes, is rising globally. Events leading to insulin secretion and action are complex, but there is emerging evidence that intracellular nucleotides and nucleotides are not only important as intracellular energy molecules but also as extracellular signalling molecules in purinergic signalling cascades. This signalling takes place at the level of the pancreas, where the close apposition of various cells-endocrine, exocrine, stromal and immune cells-contributes to the integrated function. Following an introduction to diabetes, the pancreas and purinergic signalling, we will focus on the role of purinergic signalling and its changes associated with diabetes in the pancreas and selected tissues/organ systems affected by hyperglycaemia and other stress molecules of diabetes. Since this is the first review of this kind, a comprehensive historical angle is taken, and common and divergent roles of receptors for nucleotides and nucleosides in different organ systems will be given. This integrated picture will aid our understanding of the challenges of the potential and currently used drugs targeted to specific organ/cells or disorders associated with diabetes.
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    Neuroinflammation and copper in Alzheimer's disease.
    Choo, XY ; Alukaidey, L ; White, AR ; Grubman, A (Hindawi Limited, 2013)
    Inflammation is the innate immune response to infection or tissue damage. Initiation of proinflammatory cascades in the central nervous system (CNS) occurs through recognition of danger associated molecular patterns by cognate immune receptors expressed on inflammatory cells and leads to rapid responses to remove the danger stimulus. The presence of activated microglia and astrocytes in the vicinity of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and mouse models implicates inflammation as a contributor to AD pathogenesis. Activated microglia play a critical role in amyloid clearance, but chronic deregulation of CNS inflammatory pathways results in secretion of neurotoxic mediators that ultimately contribute to neurodegeneration in AD. Copper (Cu) homeostasis is profoundly affected in AD, and accumulated extracellular Cu drives A β aggregation, while intracellular Cu deficiency limits bioavailable Cu required for CNS functions. This review presents an overview of inflammatory events that occur in AD in response to A β and highlights recent advances on the role of Cu in modulation of beneficial and detrimental inflammatory responses in AD.
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    Introduction and perspective, historical note
    Burnstock, G (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-11-21)
    P2 nucleotide receptors were proposed to consist of two subfamilies based on pharmacology in 1985, named P2X and P2Y receptors. Later, this was confirmed following cloning of the receptors for nucleotides and studies of transduction mechanisms in the early 1990s. P2X receptors are ion channels and seven subtypes are recognized that form trimeric homomultimers or heteromultimers. P2X receptors are involved in neuromuscular and synaptic neurotransmission and neuromodulation. They are also expressed on many types of non-neuronal cells to mediate smooth muscle contraction, secretion, and immune modulation. The emphasis in this review will be on the pathophysiology of P2X receptors and therapeutic potential of P2X receptor agonists and antagonists for neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders, visceral and neuropathic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, kidney failure, bladder incontinence and cancer, as well as disorders if the special senses, airways, skin, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems.
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    Non-Essential Role for TLR2 and Its Signaling Adaptor Mal/TIRAP in Preserving Normal Lung Architecture in Mice
    Ruwanpura, SM ; McLeod, L ; Lilja, AR ; Brooks, G ; Dousha, LF ; Seow, HJ ; Bozinovski, S ; Vlahos, R ; Hertzog, PJ ; Anderson, GP ; Jenkins, BJ ; Mora, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-29)
    Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and MyD88-adaptor like (Mal)/Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) play a critical role in transducing signals downstream of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family. While genetic ablation of the TLR4/MyD88 signaling axis in mice leads to pulmonary cell death and oxidative stress culminating in emphysema, the involvement of Mal, as well as TLR2 which like TLR4 also signals via MyD88 and Mal, in the pathogenesis of emphysema has not been studied. By employing an in vivo genetic approach, we reveal here that unlike the spontaneous pulmonary emphysema which developed in Tlr4(-/-) mice by 6 months of age, the lungs of Tlr2(-/-) mice showed no physiological or morphological signs of emphysema. A more detailed comparative analysis of the lungs from these mice confirmed that elevated oxidative protein carbonylation levels and increased numbers of alveolar cell apoptosis were only detected in Tlr4(-/-) mice, along with up-regulation of NADPH oxidase 3 (Nox3) mRNA expression. With respect to Mal, the architecture of the lungs of Mal(-/-) mice was normal. However, despite normal oxidative protein carbonylation levels in the lungs of emphysema-free Mal(-/-) mice, these mice displayed increased levels of apoptosis comparable to those observed in emphysematous Tlr4(-/-) mice. In conclusion, our data provide in vivo evidence for the non-essential role for TLR2, unlike the related TLR4, in maintaining the normal architecture of the lung. In addition, we reveal that Mal differentially facilitates the anti-apoptotic, but not oxidant suppressive, activities of TLR4 in the lung, both of which appear to be essential for TLR4 to prevent the onset of emphysema.
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    Expression and Cellular Distribution of Ubiquitin in Response to Injury in the Developing Spinal Cord of Monodelphis domestica
    Noor, NM ; Mollgard, K ; Wheaton, BJ ; Steer, DL ; Truettner, JS ; Dziegielewska, KM ; Dietrich, WD ; Smith, AI ; Saunders, NR ; Di Giovanni, S (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-04-23)
    Ubiquitin, an 8.5 kDa protein associated with the proteasome degradation pathway has been recently identified as differentially expressed in segment of cord caudal to site of injury in developing spinal cord. Here we describe ubiquitin expression and cellular distribution in spinal cord up to postnatal day P35 in control opossums (Monodelphis domestica) and in response to complete spinal transection (T10) at P7, when axonal growth through site of injury occurs, and P28 when this is no longer possible. Cords were collected 1 or 7 days after injury, with age-matched controls and segments rostral to lesion were studied. Following spinal injury ubiquitin levels (western blotting) appeared reduced compared to controls especially one day after injury at P28. In contrast, after injury mRNA expression (qRT-PCR) was slightly increased at P7 but decreased at P28. Changes in isoelectric point of separated ubiquitin indicated possible post-translational modifications. Cellular distribution demonstrated a developmental shift between earliest (P8) and latest (P35) ages examined, from a predominantly cytoplasmic immunoreactivity to a nuclear expression; staining level and shift to nuclear staining was more pronounced following injury, except 7 days after transection at P28. After injury at P7 immunostaining increased in neurons and additionally in oligodendrocytes at P28. Mass spectrometry showed two ubiquitin bands; the heavier was identified as a fusion product, likely to be an ubiquitin precursor. Apparent changes in ubiquitin expression and cellular distribution in development and response to spinal injury suggest an intricate regulatory system that modulates these responses which, when better understood, may lead to potential therapeutic targets.
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    The Need for Full Integration of Snakebite Envenoming within a Global Strategy to Combat the Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Way Forward
    Gutierrez, JM ; Warrell, DA ; Williams, DJ ; Jensen, S ; Brown, N ; Calvete, JJ ; Harrison, RA ; de Silva, J (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-06-01)
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    Increased Zinc and Manganese in Parallel with Neurodegeneration, Synaptic Protein Changes and Activation of Akt/GSK3 Signaling in Ovine CLN6 Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
    Kanninen, KM ; Grubman, A ; Meyerowitz, J ; Duncan, C ; Tan, J-L ; Parker, SJ ; Crouch, PJ ; Paterson, BM ; Hickey, JL ; Donnelly, PS ; Volitakis, I ; Tammen, I ; Palmer, DN ; White, AR ; Kahle, PJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-03-14)
    Mutations in the CLN6 gene cause a variant late infantile form of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL; Batten disease). CLN6 loss leads to disease clinically characterized by vision impairment, motor and cognitive dysfunction, and seizures. Accumulating evidence suggests that alterations in metal homeostasis and cellular signaling pathways are implicated in several neurodegenerative and developmental disorders, yet little is known about their role in the NCLs. To explore the disease mechanisms of CLN6 NCL, metal concentrations and expression of proteins implicated in cellular signaling pathways were assessed in brain tissue from South Hampshire and Merino CLN6 sheep. Analyses revealed increased zinc and manganese concentrations in affected sheep brain in those regions where neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration first occur. Synaptic proteins, the metal-binding protein metallothionein, and the Akt/GSK3 and ERK/MAPK cellular signaling pathways were also altered. These results demonstrate that altered metal concentrations, synaptic protein changes, and aberrant modulation of cellular signaling pathways are characteristic features in the CLN6 ovine form of NCL.
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    Biometals in rare neurodegenerative disorders of childhood
    Parker, SJ ; Koistinaho, J ; White, AR ; Kanninen, KM (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-03-25)
    Copper, iron, and zinc are just three of the main biometals critical for correct functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). They have diverse roles in many functional processes including but not limited to enzyme catalysis, protein stabilization, and energy production. The range of metal concentrations within the body is tightly regulated and when the balance is perturbed, debilitating effects ensue. Homeostasis of brain biometals is mainly controlled by various metal transporters and metal sequestering proteins. The biological roles of biometals are vastly reviewed in the literature with a large focus on the connection to neurological conditions associated with ageing. Biometals are also implicated in a variety of debilitating inherited childhood disorders, some of which arise soon following birth or as the child progresses into early adulthood. This review acts to highlight what we know about biometals in childhood neurological disorders such as Wilson's disease (WD), Menkes disease (MD), neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), and neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA). Also discussed are some of the animal models available to determine the pathological mechanisms in these childhood disorders, which we hope will aid in our understanding of the role of biometals in disease and in attaining possible therapeutics in the future.
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    Link between Cancer and Alzheimer Disease via Oxidative Stress Induced by Nitric Oxide-Dependent Mitochondrial DNA Overproliferation and Deletion
    Aliev, G ; Obrenovich, ME ; Tabrez, S ; Jabir, NR ; Reddy, VP ; Li, Y ; Burnstock, G ; Cacabelos, R ; Kamal, MA (HINDAWI LTD, 2013-01-01)
    Nitric oxide- (NO-) dependent oxidative stress results in mitochondrial ultrastructural alterations and DNA damage in cases of Alzheimer disease (AD). However, little is known about these pathways in human cancers, especially during the development as well as the progression of primary brain tumors and metastatic colorectal cancer. One of the key features of tumors is the deficiency in tissue energy that accompanies mitochondrial lesions and formation of the hypoxic smaller sized mitochondria with ultrastructural abnormalities. We speculate that mitochondrial involvement may play a significant role in the etiopathogenesis of cancer. Recent studies also demonstrate a potential link between AD and cancer, and anticancer drugs are being explored for the inhibition of AD-like pathology in transgenic mice. Severity of the cancer growth, metastasis, and brain pathology in AD (in animal models that mimic human AD) correlate with the degree of mitochondrial ultrastructural abnormalities. Recent advances in the cell-cycle reentry of the terminally differentiated neuronal cells indicate that NO-dependent mitochondrial abnormal activities and mitotic cell division are not the only important pathogenic factors in pathogenesis of cancer and AD, but open a new window for the development of novel treatment strategies for these devastating diseases.
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    Differential Effects of Allergen Challenge on Large and Small Airway Reactivity in Mice
    Donovan, C ; Royce, SG ; Esposito, J ; Tran, J ; Ibrahim, ZA ; Tang, MLK ; Bailey, S ; Bourke, JE ; Fehrenbach, H (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-09-06)
    The relative contributions of large and small airways to hyperresponsiveness in asthma have yet to be fully assessed. This study used a mouse model of chronic allergic airways disease to induce inflammation and remodelling and determine whether in vivo hyperresponsiveness to methacholine is consistent with in vitro reactivity of trachea and small airways. Balb/C mice were sensitised (days 0, 14) and challenged (3 times/week, 6 weeks) with ovalbumin. Airway reactivity was compared with saline-challenged controls in vivo assessing whole lung resistance, and in vitro measuring the force of tracheal contraction and the magnitude/rate of small airway narrowing within lung slices. Increased airway inflammation, epithelial remodelling and fibrosis were evident following allergen challenge. In vivo hyperresponsiveness to methacholine was maintained in isolated trachea. In contrast, methacholine induced slower narrowing, with reduced potency in small airways compared to controls. In vitro incubation with IL-1/TNFα did not alter reactivity. The hyporesponsiveness to methacholine in small airways within lung slices following chronic ovalbumin challenge was unexpected, given hyperresponsiveness to the same agonist both in vivo and in vitro in tracheal preparations. This finding may reflect the altered interactions of small airways with surrounding parenchymal tissue after allergen challenge to oppose airway narrowing and closure.