Antagonistic effects of extract from leaves of ginkgo biloba on glutamate neurotoxicity. (1/2175)

AIM: To determine whether the extract of leaves of Ginkgo biloba L (EGb) and several active constituents of EGb have protective effects against glutamate (Glu)-induced neuronal damage. METHODS: Microscopy and image analysis of nucleus areas in the arcuate nuclei (AN) of mice were made. The neuronal viability in primary cultures from mouse cerebral cortex was assessed using MTT [3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide] staining and the intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) of single neuron was measured using Fura-2. RESULTS: EGb (2.5 mg.L-1) and its constituent ginkgolide B (Gin B, 2 mg.L-1) protected the neuronal viability against Glu-induced injury, and prevented the Glu-induced elevation in [Ca2+]i. EGb (3-10 attenuated the decrease of nucleus areas in arcuate nuclei induced by Glu (1, s.c.). CONCLUSION: EGb and Gin B prevent neurons from Glu neurotoxicity through reduction of the rise in [Ca2+]i.  (+info)

A common pharmacophore for cytotoxic natural products that stabilize microtubules. (2/2175)

Taxol (paclitaxel), a complex diterpene obtained from the Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia, is arguably the most important new drug in cancer chemotherapy. The mechanism of cytotoxic action for paclitaxel-i.e., the stabilization of microtubules leading to mitotic arrest-is now shared by four recently identified natural products, eleutherobin, epothilones A and B, and discodermolide. Their ability to competitively inhibit [3H]paclitaxel binding to microtubules strongly suggests the existence of a common binding site. Recently, we have developed nonaromatic analogues of paclitaxel that maintain high cytotoxicity and tubulin binding (e.g., nonataxel). We now propose a common pharmacophore that unites paclitaxel, nonataxel, the epothilones, eleutherobin, and discodermolide, and rationalizes the extensive structure-activity relationship data pertinent to these compounds. Insights from the common pharmacophore have enabled the development of a hybrid construct with demonstrated cytotoxic and tubulin-binding activity.  (+info)

On the complexities of ceramide changes in cells undergoing apoptosis: lack of evidence for a second messenger function in apoptotic induction. (3/2175)

The generation of cellular ceramides as a second messenger has been implicated as a regulatory and required step for the induction of apoptosis. In this study, we have applied a recently developed mass spectrometric technique to the determination of changes in physiological ceramide levels during apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor plus cycloheximide in U937 cells and the chemical agents anisomycin or geranylgeraniol in HL-60 cells. The mass spectrometric method has significant advantages over traditional methods for ceramide quantitation in that it determines the relative abundance of all ceramide species present in complex biological lipid mixtures individually and simultaneously. We quantitiated ceramides ranging from C14 to C26, finding that their basal levels and relative distribution varied significantly, both within and between different cell types. However, we were not able to detect any significant changes in either total ceramide content or species distribution until 1 h or more post-stimulation with any of these treatments, by which time the cells were in an advanced stage of apoptosis. Differences were also seen between all three treatments in the ceramide species distribution observed in these late stages of apoptosis. These data indicate that in vivo ceramide generation occurs as a consequence of apoptosis rather than as an essential second messenger involved in its induction. They also pose new questions about the potential roles that certain ceramide species may play in the late stages of apoptosis, and demonstrate a clear need to utilize the resolving power of mass spectrometry-based assays in any future investigations into the biological function of ceramides.  (+info)

Inhibition of GABA-gated chloride channels by 12,14-dichlorodehydroabietic acid in mammalian brain. (4/2175)

1. 12,14-dichlorodehydroabietic acid (12,14-Cl2DHA) reduced GABA-stimulated uptake of 36Cl- into mouse brain synaptoneurosomes suggesting inhibition of mammalian GABA(A) receptor function. 2. 12,14-Cl2DHA did not affect the binding of [3H]-muscimol to brain membranes but displaced specifically bound [3H]-EBOB. The inhibitory effect on [3H]-EBOB binding was not reversible. 12,14-Cl2DHA reduced the availability of [3H]-EBOB binding sites (Bmax) without changing the KD of the radioligand for remaining sites. 12,14-Cl2DHA did not affect the rate of association of [3H]-EBOB with its chloride channel receptor, but increased the initial rate of [3H]-EBOB dissociation. 3. 12,14-Cl2DHA enhanced the incidence of EPSCs when rapidly applied to cultured rat cortical neurones. Longer exposures produced block of IPSCs with marked increases in the frequency of EPSCs and min EPSCs. 12,14-Cl2DHA also irreversibly suppressed chloride currents evoked by pulses of exogenous GABA in these cells. 4. Ultimately, 12,14-Cl2DHA inhibited all synaptic traffic and action currents in current clamped cells indicating that, in contrast to picrotoxinin (which causes paroxysmal bursting), it is not fully selective for the GABA(A) receptor-chloride channel complex. 5. The depolarizing block seen with 12,14-Cl2DHA in amphotericin-perforated preparations implicates loss of Ca2+ buffering in the polarity change and this may account for inhibition of spontaneous action potentials. 6. Our investigation demonstrates that 12,14-Cl2DHA blocks GABA-dependent chloride entry in mammalian brain and operates as a non-competitive insurmountable GABA(A) antagonist. The mechanism likely involves either irreversible binding of 12,14-Cl2DHA to the trioxabicyclooctane recognition site or a site that is allosterically coupled to it. We cannot exclude, however, the possibility that 12,14-Cl2DHA causes localized proteolysis or more extensive conformational change within a critical subunit of the chloride channel.  (+info)

A non-pungent triprenyl phenol of fungal origin, scutigeral, stimulates rat dorsal root ganglion neurons via interaction at vanilloid receptors. (5/2175)

1. A [3H]-resiniferatoxin (RTX) binding assay utilizing rat spinal cord membranes was employed to identify novel vanilloids in a collection of natural products of fungal origin. Of the five active compounds found (scutigeral, acetyl-scutigeral, ovinal, neogrifolin, and methyl-neogrifolin), scutigeral (Ki=19 microM), isolated from the edible mushroom Albatrellus ovinus, was selected for further characterization. 2. Scutigeral induced a dose-dependent 45Ca uptake by rat dorsal root ganglion neurons with an EC50 of 1.6 microM, which was fully inhibited by the competitive vanilloid receptor antagonist capsazepine (IC50=5.2 microM). 3. [3H]-RTX binding isotherms were shifted by scutigeral (10-80 microM) in a competitive manner. The Schild plot of the data had a slope of 0.8 and gave an apparent Kd estimate for scutigeral of 32 microM. 4. Although in the above assays scutigeral mimicked capsaicin, it was not pungent on the human tongue up to a dose of 100 nmol per tongue, nor did it provoke protective wiping movements in the rat (up to 100 microM) upon intraocular instillation. 5. In accord with being non-pungent, scutigeral (5 microM) did not elicit a measurable inward current in isolated rat dorsal root ganglion neurons under voltage-clamp conditions. It did, however, reduce the proportion of neurons (from 61 to 15%) that responded to a subsequent capsaicin (1 microM) challenge. In these neurons, scutigeral both delayed (from 27 to 72 s) and diminished (from 5.0 to 1.9 nA) the maximal current evoked by capsaicin. 6. In conclusion, scutigeral and its congeners form a new chemical class of vanilloids, the triprenyl phenols. Scutigeral promises to be a novel chemical lead for the development of orally active, non-pungent vanilloids.  (+info)

A novel aromatic-ring-hydroxylating dioxygenase from the diterpenoid-degrading bacterium Pseudomonas abietaniphila BKME-9. (6/2175)

Pseudomonas abietaniphila BKME-9 is able to degrade dehydroabietic acid (DhA) via ring hydroxylation by a novel dioxygenase. The ditA1, ditA2, and ditA3 genes, which encode the alpha and beta subunits of the oxygenase and the ferredoxin of the diterpenoid dioxygenase, respectively, were isolated and sequenced. The ferredoxin gene is 9. 2 kb upstream of the oxygenase genes and 872 bp upstream of a putative meta ring cleavage dioxygenase gene, ditC. A Tn5 insertion in the alpha subunit gene, ditA1, resulted in the accumulation by the mutant strain BKME-941 of the pathway intermediate, 7-oxoDhA. Disruption of the ferredoxin gene, ditA3, in wild-type BKME-9 by mutant-allele exchange resulted in a strain (BKME-91) with a phenotype identical to that of the mutant strain BKME-941. Sequence analysis of the putative ferredoxin indicated that it is likely to be a [4Fe-4S]- or [3Fe-4S]-type ferredoxin and not a [2Fe-2S]-type ferredoxin, as found in all previously described ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases. Expression in Escherichia coli of ditA1A2A3, encoding the diterpenoid dioxygenase without its putative reductase component, resulted in a functional enzyme. The diterpenoid dioxygenase attacks 7-oxoDhA, and not DhA, at C-11 and C-12, producing 7-oxo-11, 12-dihydroxy-8,13-abietadien acid, which was identified by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance, UV-visible light, and high-resolution mass spectrometry. The organization of the genes encoding the various components of the diterpenoid dioxygenase, the phylogenetic distinctiveness of both the alpha subunit and the ferredoxin component, and the unusual Fe-S cluster of the ferredoxin all suggest that this enzyme belongs to a new class of aromatic ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases.  (+info)

Immunosuppressant PG490 (triptolide) inhibits T-cell interleukin-2 expression at the level of purine-box/nuclear factor of activated T-cells and NF-kappaB transcriptional activation. (7/2175)

PG490 (triptolide) is a diterpene triepoxide with potent immunosuppressive and antiinflammatory properties. PG490 inhibits interleukin(IL)-2 expression by normal human peripheral blood lymphocytes stimulated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and antibody to CD3 (IC50 of 10 ng/ml), and with PMA and ionomycin (Iono, IC50 of 40 ng/ml). In Jurkat T-cells, PG490 inhibits PMA/Iono-stimulated IL-2 transcription. PG490 inhibits the induction of DNA binding activity at the purine-box/antigen receptor response element (ARRE)/nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NF-AT) target sequence but not at the NF-kappaB site. PG490 can completely inhibit transcriptional activation at the purine-box/ARRE/NF-AT and NF-kappaB target DNA sequences triggered by all stimuli examined (PMA, PMA/Iono, tumor necrosis factor-alpha). PG490 also inhibits PMA-stimulated activation of a chimeric transcription factor in which the C-terminal TA1 transactivation domain of NF-kappaB p65 is fused to the DNA binding domain of GAL4. In 16HBE human bronchial epithelial cells, IL-8 expression is regulated predominantly by NF-kappaB, and PG490 but not cyclosporin A can completely inhibit expression of IL-8. The mechanism of PG490 inhibition of cytokine gene expression differs from cyclosporin A and involves nuclear inhibition of transcriptional activation of NF-kappaB and the purine-box regulator operating at the ARRE/NF-AT site at a step after specific DNA binding.  (+info)

PG490 (triptolide) cooperates with tumor necrosis factor-alpha to induce apoptosis in tumor cells. (8/2175)

Progress in the treatment of solid tumors has been slow and sporadic. The efficacy of conventional chemotherapy in solid tumors is limited because tumors frequently have mutations in the p53 gene. Also, chemotherapy only kills rapidly dividing cells. Members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family, however, induce apoptosis regardless of the p53 phenotype. Unfortunately, the cytotoxicity of TNF-alpha is limited by its activation of NF-kappaB and activation of NF-kappaB is proinflammatory. We have identified a compound called PG490, that is composed of purified triptolide, which induces apoptosis in tumor cells and sensitizes tumor cells to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. PG490 potently inhibited TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappaB. PG490 also blocked TNF-alpha-mediated induction of c-IAP2 (hiap-1) and c-IAP1 (hiap-2), members of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family. Interestingly, PG490 did not block DNA binding of NF-kappaB, but it blocked transactivation of NF-kappaB. Our identification of a compound that blocks TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappaB may enhance the cytotoxicity of TNF-alpha on tumors in vivo and limit its proinflammatory effects.  (+info)