Choi, Maggie P.K.; Chan, Kelvin C.; Leung, Hei Wun; Huie, Carmen W. (Elsevier, 2003)
The feasibility of employing aqueous non-ionic surfactant solutions as an alternative solvent system in pressurized liquid extraction (PLE) is demonstrated for the first time using the roots of American ginseng as model solid samples. When compared to the use of pure water or methanol, the presence of a common non-ionic surfactant (Triton X-100) in water at a concentration above its critical micelle concentration was shown to enhance the amount of pharmacologically active ingredients (ginsenosides) extracted from ginseng roots. The advantages of using aqueous non-surfactant solutions were also demonstrated by comparing extraction performances between ultrasonic-assisted extraction and PLE methods. Furthermore, the combination of PLE and cloud point extraction was shown to be a new and effective approach for the rapid sample preconcentration of herbal materials prior to analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography.
Yague, Ernesto; Armesilla, Angel Luis; Harrison, Georgina; Elliott, James; Sardini, Alessandro; Higgins, Christopher F.; Raguz, Selina (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2003)
Multidrug resistance in acute myeloid leukemia is often conferred by overexpression of P-glycoprotein, encoded by the MDR1 gene. We have characterized the key regulatory steps in the development of multidrug resistance in K562 myelogenous leukemic cells. Unexpectedly, up-regulation of MDR1 levels was not due to transcriptional activation but was achieved at two distinct post-transcriptional steps, mRNA turnover and translational regulation. The short-lived (half-life 1 h) MDR1 mRNA of naive cells (not exposed to drugs) was stabilized (half-life greater than 10 h) following short-term drug exposure. However, this stabilized mRNA was not associated with translating polyribosomes and did not direct P-glycoprotein synthesis. Selection for drug resistance, by long-term exposure to drug, led to resistant lines in which the translational block was overcome such that the stabilized mRNA was translated and P-glycoprotein expressed. The absence of a correlation between steady-state MDR1 mRNA and P-glycoprotein levels was not restricted to K562 cells but was found in other lymphoid cell lines. These findings have implications for the avoidance or reversal of multidrug resistance in the clinic.
Anderson, Stephen I.; Behrendt, Barbara; Machesky, Laura M.; Insall, Robert H.; Nash, Gerard B. (Wiley Interscience, 2003)
Neutrophils migrate rapidly by co-ordinating regulation of their beta2-integrin adhesion with turnover of filamentous F-actin. The seven-protein Arp2/3 complex regulates actin polymerisation upon activation by proteins of the WASP-family. To investigate links between actin polymerisation, adhesion, and migration, we used a novel osmotic-shock method to load neutrophils with peptides: (1). WASP-WA and Scar-WA (which incorporate the actin- and Arp2/3-binding regions of WASP and Scar1), to compete with endogenous WASP-family members; (2). proline rich motifs (PRM) from the ActA protein of L. monocytogenes or from vinculin, which bind vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a regulator of cytoskeleton assembly. In a flow system, rolling-adherent neutrophils were stimulated with formyl tri-peptide. This caused rapid immobilisation, followed by migration with increasing velocity, supported by activated beta2-integrin CD11b/CD18. Loading ActA PRM (but not vinculin PRM) caused concentration-dependent reduction in migration velocity. At the highest concentration, unstimulated neutrophils had elevated F-actin and were rigid, but could not change their F-actin content or shape upon stimulation. Scar-WA also caused marked reduction in migration rate, but WASP-WA had a lesser effect. Scar-WA did not modify activation-dependent formation of F-actin or change in shape. However, a reduction in rate of downregulation of integrin adhesion appeared to contribute to impaired migration. These studies show that interference in cytoskeletal reorganisation that follows activation in neutrophils, can impair regulation of integrin function as well as motility. They also suggest a role of the Arp2/3 complex and WASP-family in co-ordinating actin polymerisation and integrin function in migrating neutrophils.
Jones, Sarah; Howl, John D. (Taylor & Francis (Informa Healthcare), 2003)
The past decade has witnessed a rapid expansion of our understanding of the biological roles of cannabinoids and their cognate receptors. It is now certain that Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the principle psychoactive component of the Cannabis sativa plant, binds and activates membrane receptors of the 7-transmembrane domain, G-protein-coupled superfamily. Several putative endocannabinoids have since been identified, including anandamide, 2-arachidonyl glycerol and noladin ether. Synthesis of numerous cannabinomimetics has also greatly expanded the repertoire of cannabinoid receptor ligands with the pharmacodynamic properties of agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists. Collectively, these ligands have proven to be powerful tools both for the molecular characterisation of cannabinoid receptors and the delineation of their intrinsic signalling pathways. Much of our understanding of the signalling mechanisms activated by cannabinoids is derived from studies of receptors expressed by tumour cells; hence, this review provides a succinct summary of the molecular pharmacology of cannabinoid receptors and their roles in tumour cell biology. Moreover, there is now a genuine expectation that the manipulation of cannabinoid receptor systems may have therapeutic potential for a diverse range of human diseases. Thus, this review also summarises the demonstrated antitumour actions of cannabinoids and indicates possible avenues for the future development of cannabinoids as antitumour agents.
Smyth, M.S.; Martin, Jan H.; Pettitt, T.; Symonds, A. (Springer Wien, 2003)
Bovine enterovirus (BEV), along with other enteroviruses and the rhinoviruses, has a hydrophobic pocket within structural protein VP1. In the crystal structures of these viruses there is electron density commensurate with a non-protein molecule within the pocket. These molecules, termed pocket factors, have been shown to stabilise the capsid and their removal from the pocket is a necessary prerequisite to uncoating. The pocket factors have been proposed, from the electron densities and uncoating studies, to be short chain fatty acids. In order to identify the pocket factor of BEV, we have grown and purified the virus in an identical manner to that used for the crystal structure determination and have performed a lipophilic extraction. Palmitic acid, C16:0, was the most abundant accounting for 40.8% by mass of the lipophilic extract (39.3 mol%). Myristic acid C14:0, was next most abundant at 18.5% by mass (20.0 mol%). In addition, we have identified other fatty acids in smaller proportions. We have therefore shown that BEV contains saturated fatty acid pocket factors of varying chain length. We have also compared the profile of the fatty acyl chain composition of BEV with those for uninfected BHK-21 cell plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum extracts.
Bates, Ruth L.; Payne, Sarah J.; Drury, S.L.; Nelson, Paul N.; Isenberg, D.A.; Murphy, John J.; Frampton, Geoffrey (SAGE Publications, 2003)
We have recently described the novel autoantigen plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and clinical significance of anti-PAI-1 autoantibodies in patients with SLE. Autoantibodies to recombinant PAI-1 were measured in retrospective sera of 48 lupus patients by immunoassay in order to assess their clinical significance. This showed that 71% of sera from 48 lupus patients had significantly elevated anti-PAI-1 autoantibodies as compared with normal control subjects (P < 0.0001). There was a weak but significant (P < 0.043) correlation with anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. In longitudinal studies, autoantibodies against PAI-1 correlated with clinical parameters measured by the BILAG disease activity index including global clinical score. Our study demonstrates the high frequency of novel autoantibodies to PAI-1 in patients with lupus. The serial clinical correlations with anti-PAI-1 autoantibodies also support the hypothesis that these autoantibodies may play a pathogenic role in lupus.
A World Health Organisation survey indicated that about 70-80% of the world populations rely on non-conventional medicine mainly of herbal sources in their primary healthcare. In recent years, we have witnessed the increasing growth in popularity of over-the-counter (OTC) health foods, nutraceuticals, and medicinal products from plants or other natural sources in developed countries. This indirectly indicates that the public is not satisfied with their orthodox medical (OM) treatment. Such increase in popularity has also brought concerns and fears over the professionalism of practitioners, and quality, efficacy and safety of their treatment methods and products from herbal and natural sources available in the market. Over the past decade several news-catching episodes in developed communities indicated adverse effects, sometimes life threatening, allegedly arisen consequential to taking of OTC herbal products or traditional medicines from various ethnic groups. These OTC products may be contaminated with excessive or banned pesticides, microbial contaminants, heavy metals, chemical toxins, and for adulterated with orthodox drugs. Excessive or banned pesticides, heavy metals and microbial contaminants may be related to the source of these herbal materials, if they are grown under contaminated environment or during collection of these plant materials. Chemical toxins may come from unfavourable or wrong storage conditions or chemical treatment due to storage. The presence of orthodox drugs can be related to unprofessional practice of manufacturers. Some of these environment related factors can be controlled by implementing standard operating procedures (SOP) leading to Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Supply Practice (GSP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for producing these medicinal products from herbal or natural sources. The public's belief that herbal and natural products are safer than synthetic medicines can only be ascertained by imposing regulatory standards on these products that should be manufactured using these Good Practices. Using Chinese medicines, as examples, this paper illustrate how advances in chemical and biomedical analysis would help to detect intentional and unintentional toxic contaminants in herbal substances. The paper also summarises how modernization and progress are being carried out to get the best out of Chinese medicines for public healthcare.
Nelson, Paul N.; Carnegie, P.R.; Martin, Jan H.; Ejtehadi, H. Davari; Hooley, Paul; Roden, Denise A.; Rowland-Jones, S.; Warren, Phil; Astley, S.J.; Murray, Paul G. (BMJ Publishing, 2003)
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are a family of viruses within our genome with similarities to present day exogenous retroviruses. HERVs have been inherited by successive generations and it is possible that some have conferred biological benefits. However, several HERVs have been implicated in certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. This article demystifies these retroviruses by providing an insight into HERVs, their means of classification, and a synopsis of HERVs implicated in cancer and autoimmunity. Furthermore, the biological roles of HERVs are explored.
Wang, Weiguang; McLeod, Howard; Cassidy, James (Wiley InterScience, 2003)
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is the major chemotherapeutic component for colorectal cancer (CRC) and other types of solid tumours. Resistance of cancer cells to 5-FU is considered the major obstacle for successful chemotherapy. NF-kappaB is a transcription factor. Cancer cells with high NF-kappaB nuclear activity demonstrate robust chemo- and radio-resistance. We demonstrated that nuclear NF-kappaB activity in CRC cell lines, DLD-1 and RKO(WT), was significantly induced by 5-FU in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. 5-FU induced IkappaBalpha degradation and promoted both NF-kappaB nuclear translocation and its DNA binding activity. 5-FU treatment did not influence the activities of AP-1, AP-2, Oct-1, SP-1, CRE-B and TFIID. Disulfiram (DS), a clinically used anti-alcoholism drug, strongly inhibited constitutive and 5-FU-induced NF-kappaB activity in a dose-dependent manner. DS inhibited both NF-kappaB nuclear translocation and DNA binding activity but had no effect on 5-FU-induced IkappaBalpha degradation. Used in combination, DS significantly enhanced the apoptotic effect of 5-FU on DLD-1 and RKO(WT) cell lines and synergistically potentiated the cytotoxicity of 5-FU to both cell lines. DS also effectively abolished 5-FU chemoresistance in a 5-FU resistant cell line H630(5-FU) in vitro. As DS has extensive preclinical and clinical experience, translating its anticancer usage from in vitro study to clinical trials is relatively straightforward.
Darnton, S.J.; Archer, V.R.; Stocken, D.D.; Mulholland, P.J.; Casson, A.G.; Ferry, David R. (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2003)
PURPOSE: Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus remains an aggressive disease with a poor prognosis, even after curative-intent surgery. This article analyzes the impact of preoperative chemotherapy with mitomycin, ifosfamide, and cisplatin (MIC) on a cohort of 68 patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From 1988 to 1994, 68 patients with potentially operable squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus were entered onto two phase II trials of neoadjuvant chemotherapy with mitomycin 6 mg/m2, ifosfamide 3 g/m2, and cisplatin 50 mg/m2 and received between two and four cycles of treatment at 3-weekly intervals. Two patients were removed from the analysis when they were found to have malignancy other than squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. RESULTS: Forty (61%) of 66 patients had a radiologic response to chemotherapy (18 complete responses and 22 partial responses), and 52 (79%) of 66 patients went on to have the primary tumor resected. There were nine pathologic complete responders, seven of whom remain fit and well after at least 60 months of follow-up. The overall median survival was 12.4 months (95% confidence interval, 9.6 to 18.8 months). The complete response and node-negative patients survived significantly longer than those in other categories (log-rank chi2 = 18.8; P <.001): on average 13 months longer than the node-positive or nonresected category (22.0 v 9.4 months). The toxicity of the regimen was low. CONCLUSION: MIC is an easily administered, well-tolerated, and efficacious regimen as neoadjuvant therapy for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. These results warrant further investigation.
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