Abstract : The presence of artificial light enables humans to be active 24 h a day. Many people across the globe live in a social culture that encourages staying up late to meet the demands of various activities, such as work and school. Sleep deprivation (SD) is a severe health problem in modern society. Meanwhile, as with cardiometabolic disease, there was an obvious tendency that coronary heart disease (CHD) to become a global epidemic chronic disease. Specifically, SD can significantly increase the morbidity and mortality of CHD. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for the effects of SD on CHD are multilayered and complex. Inflammatory response, lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and endothelial function all contribute to cardiovascular lesions. In this review, the effects of SD on CHD development are summarized, and SD-related pathogenesis of coronary artery lesions is discussed. In general, early assessment of SD played a vital role in preventing the harmful consequences of CHD.
Abstract : It is well known that dopamine transmission from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) modulates motivated behavior and reinforcement learning. Although dopaminergic neurons are the major type of VTA neurons, recent studies show that a significant proportion of the VTA contains GABAergic and type 2 vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT2)-positive neurons. The non-dopaminergic neurons are also critically involved in regulating motivated behaviors. Some VTA neurons appear to co-release two different types of neurotransmitters. They are VGLUT2-DA neurons, VGLUT2-GABA neurons and GABA-DA neurons. These co-releasing neurons show distinct features compared to the neurons that release a single neurotransmitter. Here, we review how VTA cell populations wire to the other brain regions and how these projections differentially contribute to motivated behavior through the distinct molecular mechanism. We summarize the activities, projections and functions of VTA neurons concerning motivated behavior. This review article discriminates VTA cell populations related to the motivated behavior based on the neurotransmitters they release and extends the classical view of the dopamine-mediated reward system.
Abstract : Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common supraventricular arrhythmia, and it corresponds highly with exercise intensity. Here, we induced AF in mice using acetylcholine (ACh)-CaCl2 for 7 days and aimed to determine the appropriate exercise intensity (no, low, moderate, high) to protect against AF by running the mice at different intensities for 4 weeks before the AF induction by ACh-CaCl2. We examined the AF-induced atrial remodeling using electrocardiogram, patch-clamp, and immunohistochemistry. After the AF induction, heart rate, % increase of heart rate, and heart weight/body weight ratio were significantly higher in all the four AF groups than in the normal control; highest in the high-ex AF and lowest in the low-ex (lower than the no-ex AF), which indicates that low-ex treated the AF. Consistent with these changes, G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K+ currents, which were induced by ACh, increased in an exercise intensity-dependent manner and were lower in the low-ex AF than the no-ex AF. The peak level of Ca2+ current (at 0 mV) increased also in an exercise intensity-dependent manner and the inactivation time constants were shorter in all AF groups except for the low-ex AF group, in which the time constant was similar to that of the control. Finally, action potential duration was shorter in all the four AF groups than in the normal control; shortest in the high-ex AF and longest in the low-ex AF. Taken together, we conclude that low-intensity exercise protects the heart from AF, whereas high-intensity exercise might exacerbate AF.
Abstract : Heart failure (HF) has become one of the severe public health problems. The detailed role of mitochondrial function in HF was still unclear. Benzoylaconine (BAC) is a traditional Chinese medicine, but its role in HF still needs to be explored. In this study, oxygen-glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/R) was executed to mimic the injury of H9C2 cells in HF. The viability of H9C2 cells was assessed via MTT assay. OGD/R treatment markedly decreased the viability of H9C2 cells, but BAC treatment evidently increased the viability of OGD/R-treated H9C2 cells. The apoptosis of H9C2 was enhanced by OGD/R treatment but suppressed by BAC treatment. The mitochondrial membrane potential was evaluated via JC-1 assay. BAC improved the mitochondrial function and suppressed oxidative stress in OGD/R-treated H9C2 cells. Moreover, Western blot analysis revealed that the protein expression of p-AMPK and PGC-1α were reduced in OGD/R-treated H9C2 cells, which was reversed by BAC. Rescue assays indicated that AMPK attenuation reversed the BAC-mediated protective effect on OGD/R-treated cardiomyocytes. Moreover, BAC alleviated myocardial injury in vivo. In a word, BAC modulated the mitochondrial function in OGD/R-induced cardiomyocyte injury by activation of the AMPK/PGC-1 axis. The findings might provide support for the application of BAC in the treatment of HF.
Abstract : Pyroptosis is an inflammatory form of programmed cell death that is linked with invading intracellular pathogens. Cardiac pyroptosis has a significant role in coronary microembolization (CME), thus causing myocardial injury. Tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA) has powerful cardioprotective effects. Hence, this study aimed to identify the effect of Tan IIA on CME and its underlying mechanism. Forty Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats were randomly grouped into sham, CME, CME + low-dose Tan IIA, and CME + high-dose Tan IIA groups. Except for the sham group, polyethylene microspheres (42 μm) were injected to establish the CME model. The Tan-L and Tan-H groups received intraperitoneal Tan IIA for 7 days before CME. After CME, cardiac function, myocardial histopathology, and serum myocardial injury markers were assessed. The expression of pyroptosis-associated molecules and TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB/NLRP3 cascade was evaluated by qRT-PCR, Western blotting, ELISA, and IHC. Relative to the sham group, CME group's cardiac functions were significantly reduced, with a high level of serum myocardial injury markers, and microinfarct area. Also, the levels of caspase-1 p20, GSDMD-N, IL-18, IL-1β, TLR4, MyD88, p-NF-κB p65, NLRP3, and ASC expression were increased. Relative to the CME group, the Tan-H and Tan-L groups had considerably improved cardiac functions, with a considerably low level of serum myocardial injury markers and microinfarct area. Tan IIA can reduce the levels of pyroptosis-associated mRNA and protein, which may be caused by inhibiting TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB/NLRP3 cascade. In conclusion, Tanshinone IIA can suppress cardiomyocyte pyroptosis probably through modulating the TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB/NLRP3 cascade, lowering cardiac dysfunction, and myocardial damage.
Abstract : Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a life-threatening disorder worldwide. Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) was shown to display a high level in the plasma of patients with AAA; however, its detailed functions underlying AAA pathogenesis are unclear. An in vitro AAA model was established in human aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) by angiotensin II (Ang-II) stimulation. Cell counting kit-8, wound healing, and Transwell assays were utilized for measuring cell proliferation and migration. RT-qPCR was used for detecting mRNA expression of FGF21 and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4). Western blotting was utilized for assessing protein levels of FGF21, ATF4, and markers for the contractile phenotype of HASMCs. ChIP and luciferase reporter assays were implemented for identifying the binding relation between AFT4 and FGF21 promoters. FGF21 and ATF4 were both upregulated in Ang-II-treated HASMCs. Knocking down FGF21 attenuated Ang-II-induced proliferation, migration, and phenotype switch of HASMCs. ATF4 activated FGF21 transcription by binding to its promoter. FGF21 overexpression reversed AFT4 silencing-mediated inhibition of cell proliferation, migration, and phenotype switch. ATF4 transcriptionally upregulates FGF21 to promote the proliferation, migration, and phenotype switch of Ang-II-treated HASMCs.
Abstract : Simultaneous myofibril and mitochondrial development is crucial for the cardiac differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Specifically, mitochondrial energy metabolism (MEM) development in cardiomyocytes is essential for the beating function. Although previous studies have reported that MEM is correlated with cardiac differentiation, the process and timing of MEM regulation for cardiac differentiation remain poorly understood. Here, we performed transcriptome analysis of cells at specific stages of cardiac differentiation from mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and human induced PSCs (hiPSCs). We selected MEM genes strongly upregulated at cardiac lineage commitment and in a time-dependent manner during cardiac maturation and identified the protein-protein interaction networks. Notably, MEM proteins were found to interact closely with cardiac maturation-related proteins rather than with cardiac lineage commitment-related proteins. Furthermore, MEM proteins were found to primarily interact with cardiac muscle contractile proteins rather than with cardiac transcription factors. We identified several candidate MEM regulatory genes involved in cardiac lineage commitment (Cck, Bdnf, Fabp4, Cebpα, and Cdkn2a in mESC-derived cells, and CCK and NOS3 in hiPSC-derived cells) and cardiac maturation (Ppargc1α, Pgam2, Cox6a2, and Fabp3 in mESC-derived cells, and PGAM2 and SLC25A4 in hiPSC-derived cells). Therefore, our findings show the importance of MEM in cardiac maturation.
Abstract : Gastric cancer stem cells (GCSCs) are a major cause of radioresistance and chemoresistance in gastric cancer (GC). Therefore, targeting GCSCs is regarded as a powerful strategy for the effective treatment of GC. Atorvastatin is a widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug that inhibits 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, a rate-limiting enzyme in the mevalonate pathway. The anticancer activity of atorvastatin, a repurposed drug, is being investigated; however, its therapeutic effect and molecular mechanism of action against GCSCs remain unknown. In this study, we evaluated the anticancer effects of atorvastatin on MKN45-derived GCSCs. Atorvastatin significantly inhibited the proliferative and tumorsphere-forming abilities of MKN45 GCSCs in a mevalonate pathway-independent manner. Atorvastatin induced cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase and promoted apoptosis by activating the caspase cascade. Furthermore, atorvastatin exerted an antiproliferative effect against MKN45 GCSCs by inhibiting the expression of cancer stemness markers, such as CD133, CD44, integrin α6, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1, Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog, through the downregulation of β-catenin, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, and protein kinase B activities. Additionally, the combined treatment of atorvastatin and sorafenib, a multi-kinase targeted anticancer drug, synergistically suppressed not only the proliferation and tumorsphere formation of MKN45 GCSCs but also the in vivo tumor growth in a chick chorioallantoic membrane model implanted with MKN45 GCSCs. These findings suggest that atorvastatin can therapeutically eliminate GCSCs.
Abstract : Benzimidazole anthelmintic agents have been recently repurposed to overcome cancers resistant to conventional therapies. To evaluate the anti-cancer effects of benzimidazole on resistant cells, various cell death pathways were investigated in 5-fluorouracil-resistant colorectal cancer cells. The viability of wild-type and 5-fluorouracil-resistant SNU-C5 colorectal cancer cells was assayed, followed by Western blotting. Flow cytometry assays for cell death and cell cycle was also performed to analyze the anti-cancer effects of benzimidazole. When compared with albendazole, fenbendazole showed higher susceptibility to 5-fluorouracil-resistant SNU-C5 cells and was used in subsequent experiments. Flow cytometry revealed that fenbendazole significantly induces apoptosis as well as cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase on both cells. When compared with wild-type SNU-C5 cells, 5-fluorouracil-resistant SNU-C5 cells showed reduced autophagy, increased ferroptosis and ferroptosis-augmented apoptosis, and less activation of caspase-8 and p53. These results suggest that fenbendazole may be a potential alternative treatment in 5-fluorouracil-resistant cancer cells, and the anticancer activity of fenbendazole does not require p53 in 5-fluorouracil-resistant SNU-C5 cells.
Eun Jeong Jang, Heejeong Kim, Seung Eun Baek et al.
Abstract : The increased expression of receptors for advanced glycation end-product (RAGE) is known as a key player in the progression of vascular remodeling. However, the precise signal pathways regulating RAGE expression in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in the injured vasculatures are unclear. Given the importance of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling in cell proliferation, we investigated the importance of MAPK signaling in high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1)-induced RAGE expression in VSMCs. In HMGB1 (100 ng/ml)-stimulated human VSMCs, the expression of RAGE mRNA and protein was increased in association with an increase in AGE-induced VSMC proliferation. The HMGB1-induced RAGE expression was attenuated in cells pretreated with inhibitors for ERK (PD98059, 10 μM) and p38 MAPK (SB203580, 10 μM) as well as in cells deficient in ERK and p38 MAPK using siRNAs, but not in cells deficient of JNK signaling. In cells stimulated with HMGB1, the phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK was increased. This increase in ERK and p38 MAPK phosphorylation was inhibited by p38 MAPK and ERK inhibitors, respectively, but not by JNK inhibitor. Moreover, AGE-induced VSMC proliferation in HMGB1-stimulated cells was attenuated in cells treated with ERK and p38 MAPK inhibitors. Taken together, our results indicate that ERK and p38 MAPK signaling are involved in RAGE expression in HMGB1-stimulated VSMCs. Thus, the ERK/p38 MAPK-RAGE signaling axis in VSMCs was suggested as a potential therapeutic target for vascular remodeling in the injured vasculatures.
Abstract : Fesoterodine, an antimuscarinic drug, is widely used to treat overactive bladder syndrome. However, there is little information about its effects on vascular K+ channels. In this study, voltage-dependent K+ (Kv) channel inhibition by fesoterodine was investigated using the patch-clamp technique in rabbit coronary artery. In whole-cell patches, the addition of fesoterodine to the bath inhibited the Kv currents in a concentration-dependent manner, with an IC50 value of 3.19 ± 0.91 μM and a Hill coefficient of 0.56 ± 0.03. Although the drug did not alter the voltage-dependence of steady-state activation, it shifted the steady-state inactivation curve to a more negative potential, suggesting that fesoterodine affects the voltage-sensor of the Kv channel. Inhibition by fesoterodine was significantly enhanced by repetitive train pulses (1 or 2 Hz). Furthermore, it significantly increased the recovery time constant from inactivation, suggesting that the Kv channel inhibition by fesoterodine is use (state)-dependent. Its inhibitory effect disappeared by pretreatment with a Kv 1.5 inhibitor. However, pretreatment with Kv2.1 or Kv7 inhibitors did not affect the inhibitory effects on Kv channels. Based on these results, we conclude that fesoterodine inhibits vascular Kv channels (mainly the Kv1.5 subtype) in a concentration- and use (state)-dependent manner, independent of muscarinic receptor antagonism.