Publications by authors named "Ruirui Lu"

39 Publications

JAK/STAT pathway promotes the progression of diabetic kidney disease via autophagy in podocytes.

Eur J Pharmacol 2021 Jul 24;902:174121. Epub 2021 Apr 24.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, The Second Aliated Hospital, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, PR China. Electronic address:

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is one of the major microvascular complications of diabetes and an important cause of end-stage renal disease. Previous studies have shown that the damage to podocyte autophagy is related to the pathogenesis of DKD, and this damage is closely mediated by the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transductors and the transcription (STAT) signaling pathway. Here, the underlying molecular mechanism of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway regulating podocyte autophagy was investigated. In the present study, compared to controls, DKD mice showed glomerular hypertrophy, increased kidney weight/weight ratio, and increased urinary protein levels, as well as decreased desmin and synaptopodin expression. Meanwhile, levels of triglyceride, total cholesterol, reduced glutathione, and malondialdehyde were also increased in the serum of DKD mice. Further, a lower number of autophagosomes, reduced expression of MAP1LC3 (LC3) in glomeruli, and increased expression of JAK/STAT pathway-related proteins, namely JAK1, JAK2, STAT1, STAT3, STAT5, and STAT6, were observed in DKD mice. In the in vitro experiments, we observed impaired autophagy, enhanced apoptosis, and activated JAK/STAT pathway in podocytes under high glucose conditions. Studies using ruxolitinib inhibitors have showed that suppression of the JAK/STAT pathway in podocytes subjected to high glucose could increase autophagic flux and autophagy-related protein expression. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that high glucose inhibits autophagy by activating the JAK/STAT pathway in mice and podocytes, thereby preventing the efficient removal of damaged proteins and organelles from the body to prevent apoptosis, and ultimately aggravating the progression of podocyte injury and DKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174121DOI Listing
July 2021

Integrated Fecal Microbiome and Serum Metabolomics Analysis Reveals Abnormal Changes in Rats with Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy and the Intervention Effect of Zhen Wu Tang.

Front Pharmacol 2020 27;11:606689. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN), an autoimmune renal disease with complicated pathogenesis, is one of the principal reasons for end-stage renal disease in the clinic. Evidence has linked apparent alterations in the components of the microbiome and metabolome to renal disease in rats. However, thus far, there is insufficient evidence that supports the potential relationship between gut microbiome, circulating metabolites, and IgAN. This study was designed to probe the effects of IgAN on intestinal microecology and metabolic phenotypes and to understand the possible underlying mechanisms. Fecal and serum samples were collected from IgAN rats. Composition of the gut microbiota and biochemical changes in the metabolites was analyzed using 16S rDNA sequencing and untargeted metabolomics. The IgAN rats exhibited renal insufficiency and increased concentration of 24-h urine protein, in addition to deposition of IgA and IgG immune complexes in the kidney tissues. There was a disturbance in the balance of gut microbiota in IgAN rats, which was remarkably associated with renal damage. Marked changes in microbial structure and function were accompanied by apparent alterations in 1,403 serum metabolites, associated with the disorder of energy, carbohydrate, and nucleotide metabolisms. Administration of Zhen Wu Tang ameliorated microbial dysbiosis and attenuated the renal damage. Besides, treatment with Zhen Wu Tang modulated the metabolic phenotype perturbation in case of gut microbiota dysbiosis in IgAN rats. In conclusion, these findings provided a comprehensive understanding of the potential relationship between the intestinal microbiota and metabolic phenotypes in rats with IgAN. Elucidation of the intestinal microbiota composition and metabolic signature alterations could identify predictive biomarkers for disease diagnosis and progression, which might contribute to providing therapeutic strategies for IgAN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.606689DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7872959PMC
January 2021

Functional Coupling of Slack Channels and P2X3 Receptors Contributes to Neuropathic Pain Processing.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jan 2;22(1). Epub 2021 Jan 2.

Institut für Pharmakologie und Klinische Pharmazie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany.

The sodium-activated potassium channel Slack (K1.1, Slo2.2, or Kcnt1) is highly expressed in populations of sensory neurons, where it mediates the sodium-activated potassium current (I) and modulates neuronal activity. Previous studies suggest that Slack is involved in the processing of neuropathic pain. However, mechanisms underlying the regulation of Slack activity in this context are poorly understood. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings we found that Slack-mediated I in sensory neurons of mice is reduced after peripheral nerve injury, thereby contributing to neuropathic pain hypersensitivity. Interestingly, Slack is closely associated with ATP-sensitive P2X3 receptors in a population of sensory neurons. In vitro experiments revealed that Slack-mediated I may be bidirectionally modulated in response to P2X3 activation. Moreover, mice lacking Slack show altered nocifensive responses to P2X3 stimulation. Our study identifies P2X3/Slack signaling as a mechanism contributing to hypersensitivity after peripheral nerve injury and proposes a potential novel strategy for treatment of neuropathic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010405DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7795269PMC
January 2021

Evaluation of Wearable Sensor Devices in Parkinson's Disease: A Review of Current Status and Future Prospects.

Parkinsons Dis 2020 23;2020:4693019. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Department of Neurology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430022, China.

Parkinson's disease (PD) decreases the quality of life of the affected individuals. The incidence of PD is expected to increase given the growing aging population. Motor symptoms associated with PD render the patients unable to self-care and function properly. Given that several drugs have been developed to control motor symptoms, highly sensitive scales for clinical evaluation of drug efficacy are needed. Among such scales, the objective and continuous evaluation of wearable devices is increasingly utilized by clinicians and patients. Several electronic technologies have revolutionized the clinical monitoring of PD development, especially its motor symptoms. Here, we review and discuss the recent advances in the development of wearable devices for bradykinesia, tremor, gait, and myotonia. Our aim is to capture the experiences of patients and clinicians, as well as expand our understanding on the application of wearable technology. In so-doing, we lay the foundation for further research into the use of wearable technology in the management of PD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/4693019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530475PMC
September 2020

Zhen-Wu-Tang Protects IgA Nephropathy in Rats by Regulating Exosomes to Inhibit NF-κB/NLRP3 Pathway.

Front Pharmacol 2020 16;11:1080. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is one of the most frequent kinds of primary glomerulonephritis characterized by IgA immune complexes deposition and glomerular proliferation. Zhen-wu-tang (ZWT), a well-known traditional Chinese formula has been reported to ameliorate various kidney diseases. However, its pharmacological mechanism remains unclear. Exosomes have been described in diverse renal diseases by mediating cellular communication but rarely in the IgAN. The purpose of the present study is to explore whether the underlying mechanisms of the effect of ZWT on IgAN is correlated to exosomes. Our results demonstrated that in human renal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2) stimulated by lipopolysaccharide, exosomes are obviously released after ZWT-containing serum treatment especially with 10% ZWT. In addition, once released, HK-2-derived exosomes were uptaked by human mesangial cells (HMC), which impeded the activation of NF-κB/NLRP3 signaling pathway to exert anti-inflammatory effects in a lipopolysaccharide induced proliferation model. Moreover, IgAN rat model was established by bovine serum albumin, CCL mixed solution and LPS. We found that 10% ZWT could significantly promote the release of exosomes from HK-2 and inhibit HMC proliferation to improve inflammation. Thus HK-2-derived exosomes treated with 10% ZWT (ZWT-EXO) were administered to the rats by tail vein injection. Our results showed that ZWT-EXO decreased the levels of 24 h proteinuria, urinary erythrocyte, IgA deposition in glomerulus and renal pathological injury which ameliorated the kidney damage. In addition, ZWT was able to dramatically promote secretion of exosomes in renal tissues while blocked NF-κB nuclear translocation as well as activation of NLRP3 inflammasome, leading to the inhibition of IL-1β and caspase-1. In conclusion, our study reveal that ZWT has protective effects on IgAN by regulating exosomes secretion to inhibit the activation of NF-κB/NLRP3 pathway, thereby attenuating the renal dysfunction. These findings may provide a new therapeutic target for the treatment of IgAN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.01080DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7381112PMC
July 2020

Protective role of Astragaloside IV in chronic glomerulonephritis by activating autophagy through PI3K/AKT/AS160 pathway.

Phytother Res 2020 Dec 29;34(12):3236-3248. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

The Second Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

Astragaloside IV(AS-IV), a saponin purified from Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bge.var.mongholicus (Bge.) Hsiao, has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the underlying mechanisms in treating chronic glomerular nephritis (CGN) have not been fully understood. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential mechanism of AS-IV on CGN. CGN rats were administrated with AS-IV at 10 mg·kg ·d (ASL) and 20 mg·kg ·d (ASH). Twenty four hour proteinuria, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and serum creatinine (SCr) were detected. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining were performed to evaluate the kidney lesion. Transmission electron microscope and GFP-RFP-LC3 transfection assay were used to monitor the effect of AS-IV on autophagy. IL-6 and IL-1β were detected. The expression of CyclinD1, PI3K/AKT/AS160 pathway and autophagy related proteins were detected by Western Blot. The results demonstrated that AS-IV improved kidney function, ameliorated kidney lesion, and diminished inflammatory in CGN rats. Further, both in vivo and vitro study demonstrated that AS-IV inhibited the proliferation of mesangial cells. AS-IV further displayed a remarkable effect on inhibiting the activation of PI3K/AKT/AS160 pathway and improved the activation of autophagy in vivo and vitro. These results suggested that AS-IV is a potential therapeutic agent for CGN and merits further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6772DOI Listing
December 2020

Structural basis of GPBAR activation and bile acid recognition.

Nature 2020 11 22;587(7834):499-504. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Department of Pathology of Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, and Department of Biophysics, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.

The G-protein-coupled bile acid receptor (GPBAR) conveys the cross-membrane signalling of a vast variety of bile acids and is a signalling hub in the liver-bile acid-microbiota-metabolism axis. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structures of GPBAR-G complexes stabilized by either the high-affinity P395 or the semisynthesized bile acid derivative INT-777 at 3 Å resolution. These structures revealed a large oval pocket that contains several polar groups positioned to accommodate the amphipathic cholic core of bile acids, a fingerprint of key residues to recognize diverse bile acids in the orthosteric site, a putative second bile acid-binding site with allosteric properties and structural features that contribute to bias properties. Moreover, GPBAR undertakes an atypical mode of activation and G protein coupling that features a different set of key residues connecting the ligand-binding pocket to the G-coupling site, and a specific interaction motif that is localized in intracellular loop 3. Overall, our study not only reveals unique structural features of GPBAR that are involved in bile acid recognition and allosteric effects, but also suggests the presence of distinct connecting mechanisms between the ligand-binding pocket and the G-protein-binding site in the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2569-1DOI Listing
November 2020

Salvianolic acid B attenuates epithelial-mesenchymal transition in renal fibrosis rats through activating Sirt1-mediated autophagy.

Biomed Pharmacother 2020 Aug 22;128:110241. Epub 2020 May 22.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510006, PR China. Electronic address:

Renal fibrosis is a kind of progressive kidney disease leading to end-stage renal damage. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is one of the crucial features of renal fibrosis. Salvianolic acid B (SalB), isolated from traditional Chinese medicine Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae, has been proved to be suitable for renal protection. The aims of this study are to investigate the pharmacological effects of SalB on renal fibrosis and explore the underlying mechanisms. In vivo, our study showed that SalB could improve kidney dysfunction and reduce the expression of EMT-related proteins, including fibronectin (FN), α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). In addition, SalB activated autophagy and up-regulated the expression of Sirt1. In vitro, our study showed that SalB reversed EMT in TGF-β1-induced human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2 cells). Further mechanism studies showed that the inhibition of Sirt1 and autophagy could reverse the protective effect of SalB on the EMT process in TGF-β1-induced HK-2 cells. Taken together, this study demonstrated that SalB attenuates EMT in the process of renal fibrosis through activating Sirt1-mediated autophagy, and Sirt1 could be a key target for treatment of renal fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110241DOI Listing
August 2020

Neuropathic and cAMP-induced pain behavior is ameliorated in mice lacking CNGB1.

Neuropharmacology 2020 07 6;171:108087. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Institute of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Goethe University, 60438, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels, which are directly activated by cAMP and cGMP, have long been known to play a key role in retinal and olfactory signal transduction. Emerging evidence indicates that CNG channels are also involved in signaling pathways important for pain processing. Here, we found that the expression of the channel subunits CNGA2, CNGA3, CNGA4 and CNGB1 in dorsal root ganglia, and of CNGA2 in the spinal cord, is transiently altered after peripheral nerve injury in mice. Specifically, we show using in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time RT-PCR that CNG channels containing the CNGB1b subunit are localized to populations of sensory neurons and predominantly excitatory interneurons in the spinal dorsal horn. In CNGB1 knockout (CNGB1) mice, neuropathic pain behavior is considerably attenuated whereas inflammatory pain behavior is normal. Finally, we provide evidence to support CNGB1 as a downstream mediator of cAMP signaling in pain pathways. Altogether, our data suggest that CNGB1-positive CNG channels specifically contribute to neuropathic pain processing after peripheral nerve injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108087DOI Listing
July 2020

Paeoniflorin Inhibits Mesangial Cell Proliferation and Inflammatory Response in Rats With Mesangial Proliferative Glomerulonephritis Through PI3K/AKT/GSK-3β Pathway.

Front Pharmacol 2019 9;10:978. Epub 2019 Sep 9.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

Mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is the most common type of chronic kidney disease in China, characterized by mesangial cell proliferation and inflammatory response. Paeoniflorin, an effective composition extracted from Alba, has been used for various kinds of kidney diseases. However, there are no studies reporting the effects of paeoniflorin on MPGN. The present study aims to investigate whether paeoniflorin plays a role in MPGN and confirm the underlying molecular mechanisms. Our results manifested that paeoniflorin strongly restrained 24 h urinary protein and promoted renal function and dyslipidemia in a MPGN rat model. Moreover, paeoniflorin attenuated mesangial cell proliferation and inflammation both in MPGN rats and human mesangial cells (HMCs) treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In detail, paeoniflorin decreased the number of mesangial cells and expressions of proliferation marker Ki67 in MPGN rats. Paeoniflorin also inhibited HMC proliferation and blocked cell cycle progression. In addition, the contents of inflammatory factors and the expressions of macrophage marker iNOS were decreased after paeoniflorin treatment. Furthermore, we found that the protective effect of paeoniflorin was accompanied by a strong inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β pathway. Paeoniflorin enhanced the inhibitory effect of PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and suppressed the activated effect of PI3K agonist insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) on PI3K/AKT/GSK-3β pathway. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that paeoniflorin ameliorates MPGN by inhibiting mesangial cell proliferation and inflammatory response through the PI3K/AKT/GSK-3β pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2019.00978DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745507PMC
September 2019

Renoprotective effects of artemisinin and hydroxychloroquine combination therapy on IgA nephropathy via suppressing NF-κB signaling and NLRP3 inflammasome activation by exosomes in rats.

Biochem Pharmacol 2019 11 26;169:113619. Epub 2019 Aug 26.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. Electronic address:

Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is an autoimmune kidney disease with complex pathogenesis leading to end-stage renal damage. The prime pathological characteristics of IgAN are IgA immune complexes deposition accompany with mesangial cell proliferation and urine protein elevation. Artemisinin (ART) is extracted from traditional Chinese medicine Artemisia annua L. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a classical antimalarial drug applied in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Both of them possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. The purpose of this research was to investigate the pharmacological effects of ART combined with HCQ (AH) and discuss thoroughly the potential molecular mechanisms in IgAN. In vivo, our results demonstrated that AH could efficiently ameliorate kidney damage by improving kidney dysfunction and reducing the levels of 24 h urine protein, IgA and IgG immune complexes deposition in glomerulus of IgAN rats. Interestingly, AH obviously promoted the secretion of exosomes in renal tissues, inhibited the expressions of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling and NLRP3 inflammasome-related proteins, including IκB-α, p-p65, NLRP3, ASC, IL-1β and caspase-1 in IgAN rats. In vitro, further mechanistic study illustrated that exosomes derived from human renal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2) were significantly enhanced by AH, which could be utterly taken up in human mesangial cells (HMCs) and inhibited the activation of NF-κB pathway and NLRP3 inflammasome after AH intervention. However, GW4869 interdicted the promotive effect of AH on exosomes from HK-2 cells and the suppression of exosomes on NF-κB/NLRP3 activation in HMCs. Taken together, this study demonstrated that there was an inhibitory effect of AH therapy on NF-κB/NLRP3 signaling via mediating exosomes release in IgAN rats, which provided an alternative approach for IgAN treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2019.08.021DOI Listing
November 2019

Zhen-wu-tang ameliorates membranous nephropathy rats through inhibiting NF-κB pathway and NLRP3 inflammasome.

Phytomedicine 2019 Jun 2;59:152913. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, 232 WaiHuan East Road, Guangzhou University Town, Guangzhou 510006, PR China. Electronic address:

Background: Zhen-wu-tang (ZWT), a traditional herbal formula, has been widely used for the treatment of kidney diseases in clinics, but the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been fully understood.

Purpose: Inflammation mediated podocyte injury has been reported to constitute a crucial part in the pathogenesis of membranous nephropathy (MN). The current study was designed to evaluate the effect of ZWT on MN related to nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway and NLRP3 inflammasome.

Methods: The main components of ZWT were identified by 3D-ultra performance liquid chromatography (3D-UPLC) assay. A MN rat model induced by cationic-bovine serum albumin (C-BSA) and podocytes stimulated by TNF-α were used in this study. The 24 h urine protein, serum total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG), as well as kidney histology were measured to evaluate kidney damage. The expressions of IgG and complement 3 (C3), and the co-localization of NLRP3 and ASC were detected by immunofluorescence. The expressions of podocyte injury related protein desmin, podocin were measured by immunohistochemistry and western blot. Cell vitality of cultured podocytes was detected by MTT assay, as apoptosis assay was measured via flow cytometry. The protein expressions of p-p65, p-IκBα, NLRP3, Caspase-1, IL-1β were detected by western blot.

Results: Our results showed that ZWT significantly ameliorated kidney damage in MN model rats by decreasing the levels of 24 h urine protein, TC and TG. ZWT also improved renal histology and reduced the expressions of IgG and C3 in glomerulus. In addition, ZWT lessened the expressions of desmin, but increased podocin expression in vivo and vitro. ZWT protected cultured podocytes by maintaining cell vitality and inhibiting apoptosis. Moreover, we found that ZWT suppressed the expressions of NLRP3, Caspase-1, IL-1β and the co-localization of NLRP3 and ASC. Furthermore, the inhibition of NLRP3 inflammasome under ZWT treatment were accompanied by down-regulation of NF-κB pathway, as the p-p65 and p-IκBα protein expression were reduced.

Conclusions: Our present study indicates that the inhibition of NF-κB pathway and NLRP3 inflammasome might be the potential mechanisms for the therapeutic effects of ZWT against MN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2019.152913DOI Listing
June 2019

Immunosuppressive effect of artemisinin and hydroxychloroquine combination therapy on IgA nephropathy via regulating the differentiation of CD4+ T cell subsets in rats.

Int Immunopharmacol 2019 May 7;70:313-323. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. Electronic address:

Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is an autoimmune kidney disease with complex pathogenesis leading to end-stage renal damage. The crucial pathological characteristic in IgAN is IgA immune complexes deposition accompany with mesangial cell proliferation and mesangial matrix expansion. Artemisinin (ART) is isolated from traditional Chinese medicine Artemisia annua L. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a classical antimalarial drug used to treat autoimmune diseases. Both of them possess immunosuppressive, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory features. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacological effects of ART combined with HCQ (AH) and explore the underlying mechanisms in IgAN. In vivo, our results showed that AH could significantly improve kidney dysfunction, decrease mesangial matrix expansion as well as immune complexes in mesangial area visualized by H&E and PAS staining. The depositions of IgA immune complexes and complement 3 (C3) were obviously reduced after AH treatment by immunofluorescence. Interestingly, the morphology of kidney and spleen was significantly swelled but reverted by AH in IgAN rats. Further mechanistic study showed that the higher proportions of the Th2 and Th17 cells were reduced but the lower differentiation of Th1 and Treg cells subsets were promoted by AH. Taken together, this study demonstrated that there was an immunosuppressive effect of AH therapy on IgAN rats via regulating the differentiation of CD4+ T cell subsets, which provided an alternative approach for IgAN treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2019.02.056DOI Listing
May 2019

Distinct functions of soluble guanylyl cyclase isoforms NO-GC1 and NO-GC2 in inflammatory and neuropathic pain processing.

Pain 2019 Mar;160(3):607-618

Pharmakologisches Institut für Naturwissenschaftler, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

A large body of evidence indicates that nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP signaling essentially contributes to the processing of chronic pain. In general, NO-induced cGMP formation is catalyzed by 2 isoforms of guanylyl cyclase, NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase 1 (NO-GC1) and 2 (NO-GC2). However, the specific functions of the 2 isoforms in pain processing remain elusive. Here, we investigated the distribution of NO-GC1 and NO-GC2 in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the behavior of mice lacking either isoform in animal models of pain. Using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we demonstrate that both isoforms are localized to interneurons in the spinal dorsal horn with NO-GC1 being enriched in inhibitory interneurons. In dorsal root ganglia, the distribution of NO-GC1 and NO-GC2 is restricted to non-neuronal cells with NO-GC2 being the major isoform in satellite glial cells. Mice lacking NO-GC1 demonstrated reduced hypersensitivity in models of neuropathic pain, whereas their behavior in models of inflammatory pain was normal. By contrast, mice lacking NO-GC2 exhibited increased hypersensitivity in models of inflammatory pain, but their neuropathic pain behavior was unaltered. Cre-mediated deletion of NO-GC1 or NO-GC2 in spinal dorsal horn neurons recapitulated the behavioral phenotypes observed in the global knockout. Together, these results indicate that cGMP produced by NO-GC1 or NO-GC2 in spinal dorsal horn neurons exert distinct, and partly opposing, functions in chronic pain processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001440DOI Listing
March 2019

Human adenovirus type 17 from species D transduces endothelial cells and human CD46 is involved in cell entry.

Sci Rep 2018 09 7;8(1):13442. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

Institute for Virology and Microbiology, Center for Biomedical Education and Research (ZBAF), Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany.

More than 70 human adenoviruses with type-dependent pathogenicity have been identified but biological information about the majority of these virus types is scarce. Here we employed multiple sequence alignments and structural information to predict receptor usage for the development of an adenoviral vector with novel biological features. We report the generation of a cloned adenovirus based on human adenovirus type 17 (HAdV17) with high sequence homology to the well characterized human adenovirus type 37 (HAdV37) that causes epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). Our study revealed that human CD46 (CD46) is involved in cell entry of HAdV17. Moreover, we found that HAdV17 infects endothelial cells (EC) in vitro including primary cells at higher efficiencies compared to the commonly used human adenovirus type 5 (HAdV5). Using a human CD46 transgenic mouse model, we observed that HAdV17 displays a broad tropism in vivo after systemic injection and that it transduces ECs in this mouse model. We conclude that the HAdV17-based vector may provide a novel platform for gene therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128842PMC
September 2018

Zhen-wu-tang protects against podocyte injury in rats with IgA nephropathy via PPARγ/NF-κB pathway.

Biomed Pharmacother 2018 May 22;101:635-647. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, 232 East WaiHuan Road, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510006 China. Electronic address:

Zhen-wu-tang (ZWT) has been widely applied in chronic kidney diseases. However, the mechanism of ZWT remains unclear. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors-γ (PPARγ) is known as a protective factor for podocyte and kidney function. This study is aimed to investigate the protective effects of ZWT on IgA nephropathy (IgAN) in rats against podocyte injury and the underlying mechanism related to PPARγ. IgAN model rats were induced by administering bovine serum albumin, lipopolysaccharide, and carbon tetrachloride. ZWT at two doses and GW9662 (PPARγ antagonist) was administered once daily for 4 weeks respectively. Cultured podocyte induced by LPS were used to evaluate the podocyte-protective effect and related mechanism of ZWT in vitro. Results showed that ZWT observably reduced proteinuria and hematuria excretion, as well as the levels of blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, serum uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, but increased the contents of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, ameliorating renal function and hyperlipidemia state in IgAN rats. Besides, both ZWT administration groups alleviated kidney pathological lesion, macrophage infiltration, IgA and C3 deposition in glomeruli. To further demonstrate the protective effects of ZWT, we found that podocyte damage was markedly ameliorated with ZWT treatments in IgAN rats and LPS-induced podocyte injury model by suppressing the expressions of desmin, reducing podocyte apoptosis and augmenting nephrin and podocin levels. Moreover, ZWT inhibited the phosphorylation of NF-κB and IκBα, simultaneously upregulated PPARγ. However, GW9662 made no difference in all the above effects compared to the model group, and was reversed by ZWT in vitro study. In conclusion, these results demonstrated that ZWT ameliorated IgAN-induced podocyte injury via upregulation PPARγ and the underlying mechanism might involve the inhibition of NF-κB pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2018.02.127DOI Listing
May 2018

Immunosuppressive effects of hydroxychloroquine and artemisinin combination therapy via the nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway in lupus nephritis mice.

Exp Ther Med 2018 Mar 5;15(3):2436-2442. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

Department of Pharmacology, College of Chinese Materia Medica, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, P.R. China.

Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most common and severe manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus, leading to permanent renal damage and chronic kidney disease. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) serves a protective role against lupus-associated clinical manifestations and medical complications; however, it results in numerous adverse reactions, limiting its long-term use. The aim of the present study was to investigate the combined effect of HCQ and artemisinin (ART) on LN, and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. An LN mouse model was prepared, and the animals were administered prednisone (PDS; serving as a positive control), high-dose HCQ (H-HCQ) or low-dose HCQ combined with ART (L-HCQ + ART) once daily for 8 weeks. The body weight, serum biochemical parameters, immune and inflammatory indicators, renal and spleen histological alterations, and mRNA expression levels of Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) were analyzed. It was observed that L-HCQ + ART and H-HCQ ameliorated the LN-induced body weight decrease, and significantly decreased the levels of anti-double stranded DNA, antinuclear antibodies, immunoglobulin G, interferon γ, tumor necrosis factor-α and transforming growth factor-β1, as well as improved the kidney and spleen pathology, when compared with the model group. In addition, L-HCQ + ART and H-HCQ treatments induced KLF15 upregulation and NF-κB downregulation. These results indicated that treatment with L-HCQ + ART exerted renoprotective effects by regulating the expression levels of cytokines, KLF15 and NF-κB. This combination treatment may have a similar immunosuppressive effect as PDS and H-HCQ, and may be a promising alternative for LN treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/etm.2018.5708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5795753PMC
March 2018

Paeoniflorin ameliorates Adriamycin-induced nephrotic syndrome through the PPARγ/ANGPTL4 pathway in vivo and vitro.

Biomed Pharmacother 2017 Dec 30;96:137-147. Epub 2017 Sep 30.

Department of Pharmacology, College of Chinese Materia Medica, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, PR China. Electronic address:

Paeoniflorin (PF), an effective composition that is extracted from Radix Paeoniae Alba, plays a role in protecting against various kidney diseases. However, the mechanism of PF on nephrotic syndrome (NS) remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the protective role of PF on Adriamycin (ADR)-induced NS in vivo and vitro as well as its potential mechanism. In animal study, PF significantly decreased the levels of 24-h urine protein, blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, total cholesterol and triglycerides in NS rats, but increased the total protein and albumin levels. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining revealed that the kidney lesion was resolved upon PF treatment. After treatment with PF, the morphology and number of podocytes in renal tissue were restored to normal. PF increased expression of synaptopodin and decreased expression of desmin, demonstrating a protective effect in podocyte injury. Further studies revealed that PF upregulated Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and restrained Angiopointin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) in kidney tissue. In vitro study, PF reduced Caspase3 and Bax and increased Bcl-2, indicating that the apoptosis rate of podocytes induced by ADR was reduced by PF. Furthermore, PF ameliorated podocyte injury by upregulating synaptopodin and reducing desmin. In accordance with animal study, PF downregulated ANGPTL4 by activating PPARγ. However, the therapeutic effects of PF were reversed by GW9662 (PPARγ inhibitor), likely by suppressing ANGPTL4 degradation. In general, these results demonstrate that PF has a good therapeutic effect on NS by activating PPARγ and subsequently inhibiting ANGPTL4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2017.09.105DOI Listing
December 2017

K3.1 channels modulate the processing of noxious chemical stimuli in mice.

Neuropharmacology 2017 Oct 18;125:386-395. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

Pharmakologisches Institut für Naturwissenschaftler, Goethe-Universität, Fachbereich Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität Witten/Herdecke, ZBAF, 58453 Witten, Germany.

Intermediate conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (K3.1) have been recently implicated in pain processing. However, the functional role and localization of K3.1 in the nociceptive system are largely unknown. We here characterized the behavior of mice lacking K3.1 (K3.1) in various pain models and analyzed the expression pattern of K3.1 in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and the spinal cord. K3.1 mice demonstrated normal behavioral responses in models of acute nociceptive, persistent inflammatory, and persistent neuropathic pain. However, their behavioral responses to noxious chemical stimuli such as formalin and capsaicin were increased. Accordingly, formalin-induced nociceptive behavior was increased in wild-type mice after administration of the K3.1 inhibitor TRAM-34. In situ hybridization experiments detected K3.1 in most DRG satellite glial cells, in a minority of DRG neurons, and in ependymal cells lining the central canal of the spinal cord. Together, our data point to a specific inhibitory role of K3.1 for the processing of noxious chemical stimuli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.08.021DOI Listing
October 2017

Effect of Maxing Shigan Tang on H1N1 Influenza A Virus-Associated Acute Lung Injury in Mice.

Intervirology 2016 4;59(5-6):267-274. Epub 2017 May 4.

School of Chinese Materia Medica, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guanzhou, China.

Objective: This study is aimed at examining the effects of Maxing Shigan Tang (MST) treatment on H1N1-associated acute lung injury (ALI) and exploring the possible mechanism.

Material And Methods: Mice were randomly divided into a control group, model group, peroxisomal proliferator activator receptor γ (PPARγ) inhibition group (PPARγ-), PPARγ activation group (PPARγ+), and MST group. Influenza A (H1N1) virus of the Fort Monmouth 1 (FM1) strain was used to induce an ALI mice model. Hematoxylin and eosin staining was performed to investigate the effect of MST treatment on H1N1-associated ALI. Cell apoptosis of lung tissues of each group were conducted through transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling methods. Moreover, the expression level of caspase 3, activity of caspase 3, and serum level of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α of each group were also analyzed. Finally, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting analysis were carried out to detect angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) expression level.

Results: We found that mice infected with the FM1 strain of H1N1 influenza A virus developed severe ALI, and MST could improve H1N1-induced ALI. Moreover, MST decreased lung cell apoptosis and reduced the serum content of TNF-α. In addition, MST significantly induced the ANGPTL4 expression in H1N1-induced ALI.

Conclusion: MST improves H1N1-associated ALI maybe through targeting ANGPTL4 in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000458726DOI Listing
May 2017

Rab7-a novel redox target that modulates inflammatory pain processing.

Pain 2017 07;158(7):1354-1365

Institute of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Chronic pain is accompanied by production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in various cells that are important for nociceptive processing. Recent data indicate that ROS can trigger specific redox-dependent signaling processes, but the molecular targets of ROS signaling in the nociceptive system remain largely elusive. Here, we performed a proteome screen for pain-dependent redox regulation using an OxICAT approach, thereby identifying the small GTPase Rab7 as a redox-modified target during inflammatory pain in mice. Prevention of Rab7 oxidation by replacement of the redox-sensing thiols modulates its GTPase activity. Immunofluorescence studies revealed Rab7 expression to be enriched in central terminals of sensory neurons. Knockout mice lacking Rab7 in sensory neurons showed normal responses to noxious thermal and mechanical stimuli; however, their pain behavior during inflammatory pain and in response to ROS donors was reduced. The data suggest that redox-dependent changes in Rab7 activity modulate inflammatory pain sensitivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000920DOI Listing
July 2017

Targeting CYP2J to reduce paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathic pain.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 11 17;113(44):12544-12549. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES (Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, Entwicklung und Sicherheit), University Hospital, Goethe-University, D-60590 Frankfurt, Germany.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathic pain (CIPNP) is a severe dose- and therapy-limiting side effect of widely used cytostatics that is particularly difficult to treat. Here, we report increased expression of the cytochrome-P-epoxygenase CYP2J6 and increased concentrations of its linoleic acid metabolite 9,10-EpOME (9,10-epoxy-12Z-octadecenoic acid) in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) of paclitaxel-treated mice as a model of CIPNP. The lipid sensitizes TRPV1 ion channels in primary sensory neurons and causes increased frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents in spinal cord nociceptive neurons, increased CGRP release from sciatic nerves and DRGs, and a reduction in mechanical and thermal pain hypersensitivity. In a drug repurposing screen targeting CYP2J2, the human ortholog of murine CYP2J6, we identified telmisartan, a widely used angiotensin II receptor antagonist, as a potent inhibitor. In a translational approach, administration of telmisartan reduces EpOME concentrations in DRGs and in plasma and reverses mechanical hypersensitivity in paclitaxel-treated mice. We therefore suggest inhibition of CYP2J isoforms with telmisartan as a treatment option for paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613246113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5098623PMC
November 2016

Study the toxicity to Microcystis aeruginosa induced by TiO₂ nanoparticles photocatalysis under UV light.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2015 Apr 21;94(4):484-9. Epub 2015 Feb 21.

Department of Chemistry, School of Sciences, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, 430070, People's Republic of China.

In the present study, the biological effect of TiO2 nanoparticles on cyanobacteria cells was studied using Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) as a model. Nano-TiO2 as a photo-catalysts agent used for water treatment may pose a risk to ecosystems, especially for the water organisms such as cyanobacteria. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images provided that with the increasing of photocatalytic time, slime layer on the cell surface was damaged and sunk. Attenuated total reflectance fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy revealed that the vibration peaks of C-C, C-H, C=O, P=O weakened within 12 h. According to the dynamic analysis of the infrared peaks, the damage on the cell groups under nano-TiO2 photocatalysis with different time periods was analyzed. The concentrations of K(+), Ca(2+), Mg(2+) released from the cells were measured, which indicated that nano-TiO2 photocatalysis have changed the cell membrane permeability and fluidity of M. aeruginosa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00128-015-1492-xDOI Listing
April 2015

Slack channels expressed in sensory neurons control neuropathic pain in mice.

J Neurosci 2015 Jan;35(3):1125-35

Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Zentrum für Biomedizinische Ausbildung und Forschung, 58453 Witten, Germany, Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, Entwicklung und Sicherheit, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Slack (Slo2.2) is a sodium-activated potassium channel that regulates neuronal firing activities and patterns. Previous studies identified Slack in sensory neurons, but its contribution to acute and chronic pain in vivo remains elusive. Here we generated global and sensory neuron-specific Slack mutant mice and analyzed their behavior in various animal models of pain. Global ablation of Slack led to increased hypersensitivity in models of neuropathic pain, whereas the behavior in models of inflammatory and acute nociceptive pain was normal. Neuropathic pain behaviors were also exaggerated after ablation of Slack selectively in sensory neurons. Notably, the Slack opener loxapine ameliorated persisting neuropathic pain behaviors. In conclusion, Slack selectively controls the sensory input in neuropathic pain states, suggesting that modulating its activity might represent a novel strategy for management of neuropathic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2423-14.2015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6605535PMC
January 2015

Nox2-dependent signaling between macrophages and sensory neurons contributes to neuropathic pain hypersensitivity.

Pain 2014 Oct 17;155(10):2161-70. Epub 2014 Aug 17.

Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Goethe University Medical School, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, ZBAF, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany. Electronic address:

Emerging lines of evidence indicate that production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at distinct sites of the nociceptive system contributes to the processing of neuropathic pain. However, the mechanisms underlying ROS production during neuropathic pain processing are not fully understood. We here detected the ROS-generating nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase isoform Nox2 in macrophages of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in mice. In response to peripheral nerve injury, Nox2-positive macrophages were recruited to DRG, and ROS production was increased in a Nox2-dependent manner. Nox2-deficient mice displayed reduced neuropathic pain behavior after peripheral nerve injury, whereas their immediate responses to noxious stimuli were normal. Moreover, injury-induced upregulation of tumor necrosis factor α was absent, and activating transcription factor 3 induction was reduced in DRG of Nox2-deficient mice, suggesting an attenuated macrophage-neuron signaling. These data suggest that Nox2-dependent ROS production in macrophages recruited to DRG contributes to neuropathic pain hypersensitivity, underlining the observation that Nox-derived ROS exert specific functions during the processing of pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2014.08.013DOI Listing
October 2014

Lack of effect of a P2Y6 receptor antagonist on neuropathic pain behavior in mice.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2014 Sep 18;124:389-95. Epub 2014 Jul 18.

Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, ZBAF, Universität Witten/Herdecke, 58453 Witten, Germany. Electronic address:

Accumulating evidence indicates that various subtypes of purinergic receptors (P2X and P2Y receptor families) play an essential role in the development and the maintenance of neuropathic pain. However, there is only limited data available about the role of P2Y6 receptors in pain processing. Here we detected P2Y6 receptor immunoreactivity in primary afferent neurons of mice and observed an upregulation in response to peripheral nerve injury. However, systemic and intrathecal administration of the P2Y6 receptor antagonist MRS2578 failed to affect the injury-induced neuropathic pain behavior. Our results suggest that P2Y6 receptors, in contrast to other purinergic receptor subtypes, are not critically involved in nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain processing in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2014.07.009DOI Listing
September 2014

Phosphodiesterase 2A localized in the spinal cord contributes to inflammatory pain processing.

Anesthesiology 2014 Aug;121(2):372-82

From the Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, -entwicklung und -sicherheit, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (W.K-.G., R.L., A.B., D.T., J.E.L., N.L., N.F., G.G., A.S.); Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Zentrum für Biomedizinische Ausbildung und Forschung, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany (R.L., C.I.R., A.S.); and Institut für Klinische Neuroanatomie, Neuroscience Center, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (J.S., D.D.T.). Current address: Institut für Neuroradiologie, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (A.B.).

Background: Phosphodiesterase 2A (PDE2A) is an evolutionarily conserved enzyme that catalyzes the degradation of the cyclic nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, and/or cyclic guanosine monophosphate. Recent studies reported the expression of PDE2A in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, pointing to a potential contribution to the processing of pain. However, the functions of PDE2A in spinal pain processing in vivo remained elusive.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry, laser microdissection, and quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction experiments were performed to characterize the localization and regulation of PDE2A protein and messenger RNA in the mouse spinal cord. Effects of the selective PDE2A inhibitor, BAY 60-7550 (Cayman Chemical, Ann Arbor, MI), in animal models of inflammatory pain (n = 6 to 10), neuropathic pain (n = 5 to 6), and after intrathecal injection of cyclic nucleotides (n = 6 to 8) were examined. Also, cyclic adenosine monophosphate and cyclic guanosine monophosphate levels in spinal cord tissues were measured by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.

Results: The authors here demonstrate that PDE2A is distinctly expressed in neurons of the superficial dorsal horn of the spinal cord, and that its spinal expression is upregulated in response to hind paw inflammation. Administration of the selective PDE2A inhibitor, BAY 60-7550, increased the nociceptive behavior of mice in animal models of inflammatory pain. Moreover, BAY 60-7550 increased the pain hypersensitivity induced by intrathecal delivery of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, but not of cyclic guanosine monophosphate, and it increased the cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels in spinal cord tissues.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that PDE2A contributes to the processing of inflammatory pain in the spinal cord.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000000270DOI Listing
August 2014

Oxidant-induced activation of cGMP-dependent protein kinase Iα mediates neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury.

Antioxid Redox Signal 2014 Oct 5;21(10):1504-15. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

1 Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt , Frankfurt am Main, Germany .

Aims: Emerging lines of evidence indicate that oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide exert specific signaling functions during the processing of chronic pain. However, the mechanisms by which oxidants regulate pain processing in vivo remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase Iα (cGKIα), which can be activated by oxidants independently of cGMP, serves as a primary redox target during pain processing.

Results: After peripheral nerve injury, oxidant-induced cGKIα activation is increased in dorsal root ganglia of mice. Knock-in (KI) mice in which cGKIα cannot transduce oxidant signals demonstrated reduced neuropathic pain behaviors after peripheral nerve injury, and reduced pain behaviors after intrathecal delivery of oxidants. In contrast, acute nociceptive, inflammatory, and cGMP-induced pain behaviors were not impaired in these mice.

Innovation: Studying cGKIα KI mice, we provide the first evidence that oxidants activate cGKIα in sensory neurons after peripheral nerve injury in vivo.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that oxidant-induced activation of cGKIα specifically contributes to neuropathic pain processing, and that prevention of cGKIα redox activation could be a potential novel strategy to manage neuropathic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ars.2013.5585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158966PMC
October 2014

BKCa channels expressed in sensory neurons modulate inflammatory pain in mice.

Pain 2014 Mar 11;155(3):556-565. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Pharmakologie, Toxikologie und Klinische Pharmazie, Institut für Pharmazie, Tübingen, Germany Pharmakologisches Institut, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BKCa) channels are important regulators of neuronal excitability. Although there is electrophysiological evidence for BKCa channel expression in sensory neurons, their in vivo functions in pain processing have not been fully defined. Using a specific antibody, we demonstrate here that BKCa channels are expressed in subpopulations of peptidergic and nonpeptidergic nociceptors. To test a functional association of BKCa channel activity in sensory neurons with particular pain modalities, we generated mice in which BKCa channels are ablated specifically from sensory neurons and analyzed their behavior in various models of pain. Mutant mice showed increased nociceptive behavior in models of persistent inflammatory pain. However, their behavior in models of neuropathic or acute nociceptive pain was normal. Moreover, systemic administration of the BKCa channel opener, NS1619, inhibited persistent inflammatory pain. Our investigations provide in vivo evidence that BKCa channels expressed in sensory neurons exert inhibitory control on sensory input in inflammatory pain states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2013.12.005DOI Listing
March 2014

Direct intrathecal drug delivery in mice for detecting in vivo effects of cGMP on pain processing.

Methods Mol Biol 2013 ;1020:215-21

Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Intrathecal delivery of drugs is an important method in pain research in order to investigate pain-relevant effects in the spinal cord in vivo. Here, we describe a method of intrathecal drug delivery by direct lumbar puncture in mice. The procedure does not require surgery, is rapidly performed, and does not produce neurological deficits. If cGMP analogs are injected, a state of transient hindpaw hypersensitivity can be induced which is quantifiable by measurement of hindpaw withdrawal latency in response to mechanical stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-62703-459-3_14DOI Listing
December 2013