Publications by authors named "Karl G Hofbauer"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Protective effects of an anti-melanocortin-4 receptor scFv derivative in lipopolysaccharide-induced cachexia in rats.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2013 Mar 22;4(1):79-88. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Cachexia is a complex syndrome defined by weight loss due to an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass with or without loss of body fat. It is often associated with anorexia. Numerous results from experimental studies suggest that blockade of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) could be an effective treatment for anorexia and cachexia. In a previous study, we reported the basic pharmacological properties of a blocking anti-MC4R mAb 1E8a and its scFv derivative in vitro and in vivo.

Methods: In the present study, we further characterized the mode of action of the 1E8a scFv, evaluated its pharmacokinetic properties in mice, and assessed its therapeutic potential in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cachexia model in rats.

Results: In vitro, scFv enhanced the efficacy of the endogenous inverse agonist Agouti-related protein. After intravenous (i.v.) administration in mice, the scFv penetrated the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and reached its central sites of action: the scFv brain-serum concentration ratios increased up to 15-fold which suggests an active uptake into brain tissue. In telemetry experiments, i.v. administration of the scFv in rats was well tolerated and only induced slight cardiovascular effects consistent with MC4R blockade, i.e., a small decrease in mean arterial pressure and heart rate. In the model of LPS-induced anorexia, i.v. administration of scFv 1E8a prevented anorexia and loss of body weight. Moreover, it stimulated a myogenic response which may contribute to the preservation of muscle mass in cachexia.

Conclusion: The pharmacological profile of scFv 1E8a suggests its potential value in the treatment of cachexia or anorexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13539-012-0084-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581610PMC
March 2013

Antibodies raised against different extracellular loops of the melanocortin-3 receptor affect energy balance and autonomic function in rats.

J Recept Signal Transduct Res 2010 Dec;30(6):444-53

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Melanocortin receptors (MCR) play an important role in the regulation of energy balance and autonomic function. In the present studies, we used active immunization against peptide sequences from the first and the third extracellular loop (EL1 and EL3) of the MC3R to generate selective antibodies (Abs) against this MCR subtype in rats. Immunization with the EL1 peptide resulted in Abs that enhanced the effects of the endogenous ligand α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), whereas immunization with the EL3 peptide resulted in Abs acting as non-competitive antagonists. The phenotype of immunized rats chronically instrumented with telemetry transducers was studied under four different conditions: a high-fat diet was followed by standard lab chow, by fasting, and finally by an intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Under high-fat diet, food intake and body weight were higher in the EL3 than in the EL1 or the control group. Blood pressure was increased in EL3 rats and locomotor activity was reduced. Plasma concentrations of triglycerides, insulin, and leptin tended to rise in the EL3 group. After switching to standard lab chow, the EL1 group showed a small significant increase in blood pressure that was more pronounced and associated with an increase in heart rate during food restriction. No differences between the EL1 or the EL3 group were observed after LPS injection. These results show that immunization against the MC3R resulted in the production of Abs with positive or negative allosteric properties. The presence of such Abs induced small changes in metabolic and cardiovascular parameters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10799893.2010.534485DOI Listing
December 2010

A pharmacologically active monoclonal antibody against the human melanocortin-4 receptor: effectiveness after peripheral and central administration.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2010 May 29;333(2):478-90. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

The hypothalamic melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) is a constituent of an important pathway regulating food intake and energy expenditure. We produced a monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the N-terminal domain of the MC4R and evaluated its potential as a possible therapeutic agent. This mAb (1E8a) showed specific binding to the MC4R in human embryonic kidney 293 cells expressing the human MC4R and blocked the activity of the MC4R under basal conditions and after stimulation with alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH). The inverse agonist action of Agouti-related protein was significantly enhanced in the presence of mAb 1E8a. After a single intracerebroventricular injection into the third ventricle, mAb 1E8a (1 microg) increased 24-h food intake in rats. After 7 days of continuous intracerebroventricular administration, mAb 1E8a increased food intake, body weight, and fat pad weight and induced hyperglycemia. Because the complete mAb was ineffective after intravenous injection, we produced single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) derived from mAb 1E8a. In pharmacokinetic studies it was demonstrated that these scFvs crossed the blood-brain barrier and reached the hypothalamus. Consequently, the scFv 1E8a increased significantly food intake and body weight in rats after intravenous administration (300 mug/kg). The pharmacological profile of mAb 1E8a and the fact that its scFv was active after peripheral administration suggest that derivatives of anti-MC4R mAbs may be useful in the treatment of patients with anorexia or cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.109.163279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202465PMC
May 2010

Anti-melanocortin-4 receptor autoantibodies in obesity.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009 Mar 2;94(3):793-800. Epub 2008 Dec 2.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Background: The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) is part of an important pathway regulating energy balance. Here we report the existence of autoantibodies (autoAbs) against the MC4R in sera of obese patients.

Methods: The autoAbs were detected after screening of 216 patients' sera by using direct and inhibition ELISA with an N-terminal sequence of the MC4R. Binding to the native MC4R was evaluated by flow cytometry, and pharmacological effects were evaluated by measuring adenylyl cyclase activity.

Results: Positive results in all tests were obtained in patients with overweight or obesity (prevalence, 3.6%) but not in normal weight patients. The selective binding properties of anti-MC4R autoAbs were confirmed by surface plasmon resonance and by immunoprecipitation with the native MC4R. Finally, it was demonstrated that these autoAbs increased food intake in rats after passive transfer via intracerebroventricular injection.

Conclusion: These observations suggest that inhibitory anti-MC4R autoAbs might contribute to the development of obesity in a small subpopulation of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2008-1749DOI Listing
March 2009

Antibodies as pharmacologic tools for studies on the regulation of energy balance.

Nutrition 2008 Sep 26;24(9):791-7. Epub 2008 Jul 26.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Objective: Active immunization in rats may serve several purposes: the production of a disease-like phenotype, the generation of pharmacologic tools, and the development of clinically useful therapies. We selected the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) as a target because its blockade could provide a treatment for anorexia and cachexia.

Methods: We used a sequence of the N-terminal (NT) domain of the MC4R as an antigen. Rats immunized against the NT peptide produced specific MC4R antibodies (Abs) that were purified and characterized in vitro and in vivo.

Results: The Abs acted as inverse agonists and reduced under basal conditions the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate in HEK-293 cells expressing the human MC4R. Rats immunized against the NT peptide developed a phenotype consistent with hypothalamic MC4R blockade, i.e., increased food intake and body weight, liver and fat-pad weights, hepatic steatosis, and increased plasma triacylglycerols. With a high-fat diet, plasma insulin levels were significantly increased. In separate experiments an increase in food intake was observed after injection of purified MC4R Abs into the third ventricle. When lipopolysaccharide was administered in NT-immunized rats the reduction of food intake was partly prevented in this model of cytokine-induced anorexia.

Conclusion: Our results show that active immunization of rats against the MC4R resulted in the generation of specific Abs that stimulated food intake by acting as inverse agonists of the hypothalamic MC4R. Pharmacologically active monoclonal MC4R Abs could be the starting point for the development of novel treatments for patients with anorexia or cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2008.06.001DOI Listing
September 2008

Academic institutions and industry: bridging the gap.

Authors:
Karl G Hofbauer

Expert Opin Drug Discov 2008 Apr;3(4):369-73

Professor for Applied Pharmacology University of Basel, Biozentrum/Pharmazentrum, Klingelbergstrasse 50-70, CH 4056 Basel, Switzerland +41 61 267 1645 ; +41 61 267 2208 ;

Academic institutions and industry are separate entities but strongly depend on each other. As innovation is their common interest, the exchange of scientific information and of highly qualified scientists is essential for their success. However, there are serious obstacles for the mobility of scientists between academic institutions and industry. These institutions have different goals and objectives that determine the working conditions. In the present article, several terms describing the characteristics of work in either institution are presented and discussed. Whereas academic life seems to proceed in circles around a topic of interest, life in industry may be best described by vectors that can rapidly change size and direction. Scientists moving between academic institutions and industry need a high degree of flexibility to adapt to the different environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/17460441.3.4.369DOI Listing
April 2008

Antibodies against the melanocortin-4 receptor act as inverse agonists in vitro and in vivo.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2007 Jun 22;292(6):R2151-8. Epub 2007 Feb 22.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Functionally active antibodies (Abs) against central G-protein-coupled receptors have not yet been reported. We selected the hypothalamic melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R) as a target because of its crucial role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. A 15 amino acid sequence of the N-terminal (NT) domain was used as an antigen. This peptide showed functional activity in surface plasmon resonance experiments and in studies on HEK-293 cells overexpressing the human MC4-R (hMC4-R). Rats immunized against the NT peptide produced specific antibodies, which were purified and characterized in vitro. In HEK-293 cells, rat anti-NT Abs showed specific immunofluorescence labeling of hMC4-R. They reduced the production of cAMP under basal conditions and after stimulation with a synthetic MC4-R agonist. Rats immunized against the NT peptide developed a phenotype consistent with MC4-R blockade, that is, increased food intake and body weight, increased liver and fat pad weight, and elevated plasma triglycerides. In a separate experiment in rats, an increase in food intake could be produced after injection of purified Abs into the third ventricle. Similar results were obtained in rats injected with anti-NT Abs raised in rabbits. Our data show for the first time that active immunization of rats against the NT sequence of the MC4-R results in specific Abs, which appear to stimulate food intake by acting as inverse agonists in the hypothalamus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00878.2006DOI Listing
June 2007

The obesity epidemic: current and future pharmacological treatments.

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2007 ;47:565-92

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum/Pharmazentrum, University of Basel, CH 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

The unabated rise in the prevalence of obesity is a challenge for global health care systems. Efforts to reverse this trend by dietary or behavioral counseling have not been successful, which has stimulated efforts to find a role for pharmacotherapy. Currently only a small number of antiobesity drugs are approved for long-term use and only a few compounds are in clinical development. Despite recent progress in the understanding of the regulation of energy balance, drug discovery has been less productive than expected. In the present review, the clinically available antiobesity agents are discussed. Examples of drug candidates that are currently in development are given and the possible future range of antiobesity agents is illustrated by the targets being addressed in drug discovery. Finally, the efficacy of antiobesity agents and their value in the treatment of obesity are assessed in comparison with other therapeutic approaches, such as surgery and changes in lifestyle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.47.120505.105256DOI Listing
April 2007

Peripheral administration of a melanocortin 4-receptor inverse agonist prevents loss of lean body mass in tumor-bearing mice.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2006 May 25;317(2):771-7. Epub 2006 Jan 25.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Cachexia affects many different chronically ill patient populations, including those with cancer. It results in loss of body weight, particularly of lean body mass (LBM), and is estimated to be responsible for over 20% of all cancer-related deaths. Currently, available drugs are ineffective, and new therapies are urgently needed. Melanocortin 4-receptor (MC4-R) blockade has been shown recently to be effective in preventing cancer cachexia in rodent models. In the present study, we have tested a MC4-R blocker, ML00253764 [2-{2-[2-(5-bromo-2-methoxyphenyl)-ethyl]-3-fluorophenyl}-4,5-dihydro-1H-imidazolium hydrochloride] (Vos et al., 2004), in vitro and in vivo. In membranes of human embryonic kidney 293 cells expressing human MC4-R, ML00253764 displaced [Nle(4), d-Phe(7)]-alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone binding with an IC(50) of 0.32 microM. At concentrations above 1 microM, ML00253764 decreased cAMP accumulation (maximal reduction of -20%) indicative of inverse agonist activity. ML00253764 was administered twice daily (15 mg/kg s.c.) for 13 days to C57BL6 mice bearing s.c. Lewis lung carcinoma tumors. Food intake and body weight were measured, and body composition was assessed using magnetic resonance relaxometry. ML00253764 stimulated light-phase food intake relative to vehicle-treated controls (p < 0.05), although no effect was observed on 24-h food intake. During the 21 days of the experiment, the LBM of tumor vehicle-treated mice decreased (p < 0.05). In contrast, the tumor-bearing mice treated with ML00253764 maintained their LBM. These data support the view that MC4-R blockade may be a suitable approach for the treatment of cancer cachexia and that MC4-R inverse agonists may have potential as drug candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.105.097725DOI Listing
May 2006

Cardiovascular responses to melanocortin 4-receptor stimulation in conscious unrestrained normotensive rats.

Peptides 2006 Feb 7;27(2):438-43. Epub 2005 Nov 7.

Chair for Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum/Pharmazentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50-70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

In the present studies, we used a non-selective melanocortin MC3/4 receptor agonist (HP228) and a novel selective melanocortin MC4 receptor (MC4-R) agonist (MK-cpd1) to study the cardiovascular, temperature, locomotor and feeding responses to melanocortin receptor stimulation in comparison to sibutramine in rats instrumented with a telemetry transmitter. Moreover, norepinephrine turnover rates in heart and brown adipose tissue were determined. HP228 (1, 3 and 10mg/kg, i.p.) reduced 24h food intake dose-dependently and increased heart rate and mean arterial pressure (maximal differences: +60+/-8beats/min and +8+/-1mmHg, means+/-S.E.M., p<0.001 and p<0.01, respectively). After 10mg/kg HP228 showed a three-fold increase in norepinephrine turnover in the heart. The selective MC4-R agonist MK-cpd1 tended to decrease 24h food intake only at the highest dose tested (10mg/kg, i.p., p=0.06) and increased both heart rate (+17+/-4 and +22+/-5beats/min at 3 and 10mg/kg, p<0.01) and mean arterial pressure (+4+/-1mmHg at 10mg/kg, p<0.05). Sibutramine reduced food intake at all doses tested (1, 3 and 10mg/kg, i.p.). It did not change mean arterial pressure significantly, and increased heart rate only at the highest dose tested (+36+/-6beats/min, p<0.05). If also observed in humans, the pharmacological profile of MC4-R agonists would not offer a significant therapeutic advantage over currently used appetite suppressants such as sibutramine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2005.01.026DOI Listing
February 2006

Central administration of small interfering RNAs in rats: a comparison with antisense oligonucleotides.

Eur J Pharmacol 2005 Oct 6;522(1-3):30-7. Epub 2005 Oct 6.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.

To date there are only few reports of the use of small interfering RNA (siRNA) in whole animals and most of these are restricted to systemic application of siRNAs targeting the liver. In our present studies we have investigated whether siRNAs can be used against a central target after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) application and compared their effects with those of antisense oligonucleotides. For this purpose we designed different siRNA and antisense oligonucleotide molecules against the rat hypothalamic melanocortin MC(4) receptor and selected the siRNA and antisense oligonucleotide with the highest efficacy in vitro. We observed that siRNA, encompassing the same gene sequence as antisense oligonucleotides, induced a stronger inhibition of melanocortin MC(4) receptor expression than antisense oligonucleotides. When fluorescence-labeled siRNA were applied i.c.v. in rats no label was detected in brain tissue in spite of the use of cell detergents to improve the delivery. In contrast to these findings the i.c.v. administered fluorescence-labeled antisense oligonucleotides reached the brain structures expressing melanocortin MC(4) receptor and were taken up by the cells in these areas. In summary it seems as if 'naked' antisense oligonucleotides have an advantage over 'naked' siRNA for experiments in vivo. The development of optimized vector systems seems to be a prerequisite before siRNA can be regarded as a suitable experimental tool for in vivo studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.08.021DOI Listing
October 2005

Stimulation of NPY Y2 receptors by PYY3-36 reveals divergent cardiovascular effects of endogenous NPY in rats on different dietary regimens.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2004 Jan 9;286(1):R138-42. Epub 2003 Oct 9.

Applied Pharmacology, Biozentrum, Pharmazentrum, University of Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.

In the present experiments the gut hormone peptide YY3-36 (PYY3-36), which inhibits neuropeptide Y (NPY) release, was used as a tool to study the cardiovascular effects of endogenous NPY under different dietary regimens in rats instrumented with a telemetry transmitter. In a first experiment, rats were placed on a standard chow diet ad libitum and in a second experiment on a high-fat diet ad libitum. After 6 wk, PYY3-36 (300 microg/kg) or vehicle was injected intraperitoneally. In a third experiment, PYY3-36 or vehicle was administered after 14 days of 50% restriction of a standard chow diet. In food-restricted rats, PYY3-36 increased mean arterial pressure (7 +/- 1 mmHg, mean +/- SE, P < 0.001 vs. saline, 1-way repeated-measures ANOVA with Bonferroni t-test) and heart rate (22 +/- 4 beats/min, P < 0.001) during 3 h after administration. Conversely, PYY3-36 did not influence mean arterial pressure (0 +/- 1 mmHg) and heart rate (-8 +/- 5 beats/min) significantly in rats on a high-fat diet. Rats fed standard chow diet ad libitum showed an intermediate response (mean arterial pressure 4 +/- 1 mmHg, P < 0.05, and heart rate 5 +/- 2 beats/min, not significant). Thus, in our studies, divergent cardiovascular responses to PYY3-36 were observed in rats on different dietary regimens. These findings suggest that the cardiovascular effects of PYY3-36 depend on the hypothalamic NPY release, which is increased after chronic food restriction and decreased during a high-fat diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00374.2003DOI Listing
January 2004