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Pharmaceuticals, Volume 17, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 143 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The advent of CRISPR/Cas technologies has enabled us to manipulate the genetic code with various possibilities. However, controlling the dose, time, and location of action remains a significant challenge in the application of said technologies. Small molecules offer a simple and cost-effective way to regulate biological processes. This review explores the various mechanisms by which the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery can be influenced with the help of small molecules. While the indirect influence on the machinery by small molecules is discussed, the primary focus is on direct interactions between small molecules and (engineered) Cas9 or sgRNA. These findings highlight the promise of small-molecule-mediated control of CRISPR/Cas9 activity for developing more precise, efficient, and controllable genome-editing strategies. View this paper
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14 pages, 1653 KiB  
Article
Association between Prescribing and Intoxication Rates for Selected Psychotropic Drugs: A Longitudinal Observational Study
by Matej Dobravc Verbič, Iztok Grabnar and Miran Brvar
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010143 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 862
Abstract
Psychotropic prescription drugs are commonly involved in intoxication events. The study’s aim was to determine a comparative risk for intoxication in relation to prescribing rates for individual drugs. This was a nationwide observational study in Slovenian adults between 2015 and 2021. Intoxication events [...] Read more.
Psychotropic prescription drugs are commonly involved in intoxication events. The study’s aim was to determine a comparative risk for intoxication in relation to prescribing rates for individual drugs. This was a nationwide observational study in Slovenian adults between 2015 and 2021. Intoxication events with psychotropic drugs were collected from the National Register of intoxications. Dispensing data, expressed in defined daily doses, were provided by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia. Intoxication/prescribing ratio values were calculated. The correlation between trends in prescribing and intoxication rates was assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient. In total, 2640 intoxication cases with psychotropic prescription drugs were registered. Anxiolytics and antipsychotics were the predominant groups. Midazolam, chlormethiazole, clonazepam, sulpiride, and quetiapine demonstrated the highest risk of intoxication, while all antidepressants had a risk several times lower. The best trend correlation was found for the prescribing period of 2 years before the intoxication events. An increase of 1,000,000 defined daily doses prescribed resulted in an increase of fifty intoxication events for antipsychotics, twenty events for antiepileptics, and five events for antidepressants. Intoxication/prescribing ratio calculation allowed for a quantitative comparison of the risk for intoxication in relation to the prescribing rates for psychotropic drugs, providing additional understanding of their toxicoepidemiology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Adverse Drug Reactions)
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27 pages, 2723 KiB  
Review
Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Pharmacology, Chemical Constituents, and Application for Dental Health
by Meiny Faudah Amin, Taufiq Ariwibowo, Salsabila Aqila Putri and Dikdik Kurnia
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010142 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1325
Abstract
Moringa oleifera L., commonly known as Kelor in Indonesia and miracle tree in English, has a rich history of utilization for medicinal, nutritional, and water treatment purposes dating back to ancient times. The plant is renowned for its abundance of vitamins, minerals, and [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera L., commonly known as Kelor in Indonesia and miracle tree in English, has a rich history of utilization for medicinal, nutritional, and water treatment purposes dating back to ancient times. The plant is renowned for its abundance of vitamins, minerals, and various chemical constituents, making it a valuable resource. Among its notable pharmacological properties are its effectiveness as an anti-diabetic, anti-diarrheal, anti-helmintic, anti-leishmanial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant agent. In this comprehensive review, we delve into the extensive pharmacological applications and phytochemical constituents of M. oleifera and its application in dental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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14 pages, 1902 KiB  
Article
Toxicity and Toxicokinetics of a Four-Week Repeated Gavage of Levamisole in Male Beagle Dogs: A Good Laboratory Practice Study
by Jiahui Zhang, Junxiang Wang, Lingfan Chen, Xiangbin Yu, Shuihua Zhang and Yue Yu
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010141 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 856
Abstract
Levamisole (LVM) is considered an immunomodulatory agent that has the potential to treat various cancer and inflammation diseases. However, there is still much debate surrounding the toxicokinetic and toxicological information of LVM. Therefore, it is crucial to assess its toxicity to provide useful [...] Read more.
Levamisole (LVM) is considered an immunomodulatory agent that has the potential to treat various cancer and inflammation diseases. However, there is still much debate surrounding the toxicokinetic and toxicological information of LVM. Therefore, it is crucial to assess its toxicity to provide useful data for future human LVM risk assessments. In this study, a barrier environment was established under the guidance of good laboratory practice (GLP) at the Fujian Center for New Drug Safety Evaluation. Male beagle dogs were orally administered with 5, 15, and 30 mg/kg of LVM daily for four weeks. Toxicity assessment was based on various factors such as mortality, clinical signs, food and water consumption, body weight, body temperature, electrocardiogram, ophthalmological examination, hematology, serum biochemistry, organ/body coefficients, histopathological study, and toxicokinetic analysis. The results of this study showed that LVM did not exhibit any significant toxicological effects on beagle dogs at the exposure levels tested. A no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of LVM was set at 30 mg/kg/day for male beagle dogs, which is equivalent to a 12-fold clinical dose in humans. Moreover, the repeated exposure to LVM for four weeks did not lead to any bioaccumulation. These findings provide valuable insights for future human LVM risk assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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12 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of the Anxiolytic Properties of Tofisopam and Diazepam: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Crossover, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
by Andrzej Kokoszka
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010140 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 934
Abstract
New clinical reports have recently been published on tofisopam—an anxiolytic drug currently registered as a benzodiazepine—after a long break in this research area. Neurobiological studies concerning its properties, which differ from those of benzodiazepines, are underway. The analyses presented in this study aimed [...] Read more.
New clinical reports have recently been published on tofisopam—an anxiolytic drug currently registered as a benzodiazepine—after a long break in this research area. Neurobiological studies concerning its properties, which differ from those of benzodiazepines, are underway. The analyses presented in this study aimed to compare the effects of tofisopam, diazepam, and a placebo in the treatment of anxiety symptoms. A total of 66 outpatients (43 women and 23 men) with generalized anxiety disorder aged 19 to 74 years (M = 41.4; SD = 13.2) were randomized in three groups receiving (1) tofisopam (50 mg three times a day), (2) diazepam (5 mg three times a day), or (3) a placebo for 2 weeks. Then, throughout a 2-week washout period, the patients were monitored for withdrawal symptoms. During the last 2 weeks, the effects of tofisopam (50 mg three times a day) and diazepam (5 mg three times a day) were compared (crossover design). The mean improvement on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale was significantly higher in both the tofisopam and diazepam groups compared to the placebo group. There were no significant differences between the effects of diazepam and tofisopam, whereas adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms occurred less frequently in the tofisopam group. Tofisopam did not impair cognitive abilities, and related withdrawal symptoms resembled those of the placebo. If larger future studies corroborate these findings, tofisopam should be classified as a homophtalazine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Behavioral Psychopharmacology)
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16 pages, 3303 KiB  
Review
Harnessing Biomaterials for Safeguarding Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy: An Artful Expedition in Mitigating Adverse Effects
by Zhaozhao Chen, Yu Hu and Heng Mei
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010139 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 980
Abstract
Chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy has emerged as a groundbreaking approach in cancer treatment, showcasing remarkable efficacy. However, the formidable challenge lies in taming the formidable side effects associated with this innovative therapy, among which cytokine release syndrome (CRS), immune effector [...] Read more.
Chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy has emerged as a groundbreaking approach in cancer treatment, showcasing remarkable efficacy. However, the formidable challenge lies in taming the formidable side effects associated with this innovative therapy, among which cytokine release syndrome (CRS), immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS) and on-target off-tumor toxicities (OTOT) are typical representatives. Championing the next frontier in cellular immunotherapy, this comprehensive review embarks on an artistic exploration of leveraging biomaterials to meticulously navigate the intricate landscape of CAR-T cell therapy. Unraveling the tapestry of potential toxicities, our discourse unveils a symphony of innovative strategies designed to elevate the safety profile of this revolutionary therapeutic approach. Through the lens of advanced medical science, we illuminate the promise of biomaterial interventions in sculpting a safer and more efficacious path for CAR-T cell therapy, transcending the boundaries of conventional treatment paradigms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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13 pages, 2464 KiB  
Review
Microbial Biosurfactants: Antimicrobial Activity and Potential Biomedical and Therapeutic Exploits
by Patricia Puyol McKenna, Patrick J. Naughton, James S. G. Dooley, Nigel G. Ternan, Patrick Lemoine and Ibrahim M. Banat
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010138 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1493
Abstract
The rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens worldwide has raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of conventional antibiotics. This can be observed in ESKAPE pathogens, among others, whose multiple resistance mechanisms have led to a reduction in effective treatment options. Innovative strategies aimed at mitigating [...] Read more.
The rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens worldwide has raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of conventional antibiotics. This can be observed in ESKAPE pathogens, among others, whose multiple resistance mechanisms have led to a reduction in effective treatment options. Innovative strategies aimed at mitigating the incidence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens encompass the potential use of biosurfactants. These surface-active agents comprise a group of unique amphiphilic molecules of microbial origin that are capable of interacting with the lipidic components of microorganisms. Biosurfactant interactions with different surfaces can affect their hydrophobic properties and as a result, their ability to alter microorganisms’ adhesion abilities and consequent biofilm formation. Unlike synthetic surfactants, biosurfactants present low toxicity and high biodegradability and remain stable under temperature and pH extremes, making them potentially suitable for targeted use in medical and pharmaceutical applications. This review discusses the development of biosurfactants in biomedical and therapeutic uses as antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents, in addition to considering the potential synergistic effect of biosurfactants in combination with antibiotics. Furthermore, the anti-cancer and anti-viral potential of biosurfactants in relation to COVID-19 is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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0 pages, 1460 KiB  
Review
Investigation of Potential Drug Targets Involved in Inflammation Contributing to Alzheimer’s Disease Progression
by Catherine Sharo, Tianhua Zhai and Zuyi Huang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010137 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1247
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease has become a major public health issue. While extensive research has been conducted in the last few decades, few drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s disease. There is still an urgent need for understanding the disease pathogenesis, [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease has become a major public health issue. While extensive research has been conducted in the last few decades, few drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s disease. There is still an urgent need for understanding the disease pathogenesis, as well as identifying new drug targets for further drug discovery. Alzheimer’s disease is known to arise from a build-up of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques as well as tangles of tau proteins. Along similar lines to Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation in the brain is known to stem from the degeneration of tissue and build-up of insoluble materials. A minireview was conducted in this work assessing the genes, proteins, reactions, and pathways that link brain inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. Existing tools in Systems Biology were implemented to build protein interaction networks, mainly for the classical complement pathway and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), to rank the protein targets according to their interactions. The top 10 protein targets were mainly from the classical complement pathway. With the consideration of existing clinical trials and crystal structures, proteins C5AR1 and GARBG1 were identified as the best targets for further drug discovery, through computational approaches like ligand–protein docking techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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17 pages, 444 KiB  
Review
Natural Products for Cancer Prevention and Interception: Preclinical and Clinical Studies and Funding Opportunities
by Edward R. Sauter and Altaf Mohammed
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010136 - 20 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1955
Abstract
Multiple agents derived from natural products (NPs) have been evaluated for cancer prevention and interception, either alone or in combination. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is very interested in advancing research to identify additional agents that, alone or in combination, may prove useful [...] Read more.
Multiple agents derived from natural products (NPs) have been evaluated for cancer prevention and interception, either alone or in combination. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is very interested in advancing research to identify additional agents that, alone or in combination, may prove useful in cancer prevention. Below, we provide an overview of NP studies in cancer prevention and interception, both individual agents and combination interventions. Given that findings from many preclinical studies evaluating individual agents have generally not been confirmed in human studies, our focus with individual NPs in this review is on studies involving humans, especially clinical trials. Fewer combination intervention studies have been conducted, so we have broadened our review to include preclinical studies. We conclude with how the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) within the NCI is providing funding to encourage the research community to propose natural product studies in cancer prevention and interception to advance the field. Full article
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17 pages, 4591 KiB  
Article
Harmaline to Human Mitochondrial Caseinolytic Serine Protease Activation for Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Treatment
by Morena Miciaccia, Francesca Rizzo, Antonella Centonze, Gianfranco Cavallaro, Marialessandra Contino, Domenico Armenise, Olga Maria Baldelli, Roberta Solidoro, Savina Ferorelli, Pasquale Scarcia, Gennaro Agrimi, Veronica Zingales, Elisa Cimetta, Simone Ronsisvalle, Federica Maria Sipala, Paola Loguercio Polosa, Cosimo Gianluca Fortuna, Maria Grazia Perrone and Antonio Scilimati
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010135 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1130
Abstract
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), affecting children aged 4–7 years, is a rare, aggressive tumor that originates in the pons and then spreads to nearby tissue. DIPG is the leading cause of death for pediatric brain tumors due to its infiltrative nature and [...] Read more.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), affecting children aged 4–7 years, is a rare, aggressive tumor that originates in the pons and then spreads to nearby tissue. DIPG is the leading cause of death for pediatric brain tumors due to its infiltrative nature and inoperability. Radiotherapy has only a palliative effect on stabilizing symptoms. In silico and preclinical studies identified ONC201 as a cytotoxic agent against some human cancer cell lines, including DIPG ones. A single-crystal X-ray analysis of the complex of the human mitochondrial caseinolytic serine protease type C (hClpP) and ONC201 (PDB ID: 6DL7) allowed hClpP to be identified as its main target. The hyperactivation of hClpP causes damage to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and cell death. In some DIPG patients receiving ONC201, an acquired resistance was observed. In this context, a wide program was initiated to discover original scaffolds for new hClpP activators to treat ONC201-non-responding patients. Harmaline, a small molecule belonging to the chemical class of β-carboline, was identified through Fingerprints for Ligands and Proteins (FLAP), a structure-based virtual screening approach. Molecular dynamics simulations and a deep in vitro investigation showed interesting information on the interaction and activation of hClpP by harmaline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Medicines for Rare Pediatric Diseases II)
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20 pages, 6972 KiB  
Article
Exploring Potentilla nepalensis Phytoconstituents: Integrated Strategies of Network Pharmacology, Molecular Docking, Dynamic Simulations, and MMGBSA Analysis for Cancer Therapeutic Targets Discovery
by Mallari Praveen, Ihsan Ullah, Ricardo Buendia, Imran Ahmad Khan, Mian Gul Sayed, Rahmul Kabir, Mashooq Ahmad Bhat and Muhammad Yaseen
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010134 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1178
Abstract
Potentilla nepalensis belongs to the Rosaceae family and has numerous therapeutic applications as potent plant-based medicine. Forty phytoconstituents (PCs) from the root and stem through n-hexane (NR and NS) and methanolic (MR and MS) extracts were identified in earlier studies. However, the PCs [...] Read more.
Potentilla nepalensis belongs to the Rosaceae family and has numerous therapeutic applications as potent plant-based medicine. Forty phytoconstituents (PCs) from the root and stem through n-hexane (NR and NS) and methanolic (MR and MS) extracts were identified in earlier studies. However, the PCs affecting human genes and their roles in the body have not previously been disclosed. In this study, we employed network pharmacology, molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations (MDSs), and MMGBSA methodologies. The SMILES format of PCs from the PubChem was used as input to DIGEP-Pred, with 764 identified as the inducing genes. Their enrichment studies have shown inducing genes’ gene ontology descriptions, involved pathways, associated diseases, and drugs. PPI networks constructed in String DB and network topological analyzing parameters performed in Cytoscape v3.10 revealed three therapeutic targets: TP53 from MS-, NR-, and NS-induced genes; HSPCB and Nf-kB1 from MR-induced genes. From 40 PCs, two PCs, 1b (MR) and 2a (MS), showed better binding scores (kcal/mol) with p53 protein of −8.6 and −8.0, and three PCs, 3a, (NR) 4a, and 4c (NS), with HSP protein of −9.6, −8.7, and −8.2. MDS and MMGBSA revealed these complexes are stable without higher deviations with better free energy values. Therapeutic targets identified in this study have a prominent role in numerous cancers. Thus, further investigations such as in vivo and in vitro studies should be carried out to find the molecular functions and interlaying mechanism of the identified therapeutic targets on numerous cancer cell lines in considering the PCs of P. nepalensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computer-Aided Drug Design and Drug Discovery)
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18 pages, 6800 KiB  
Article
Combination Treatment with Liposomal Doxorubicin and Inductive Moderate Hyperthermia for Sarcoma Saos-2 Cells
by Valerii E. Orel, Anatoliy G. Diedkov, Vasyl V. Ostafiichuk, Oleksandra O. Lykhova, Denys L. Kolesnyk, Valerii B. Orel, Olga Yo. Dasyukevich, Oleksandr Yu. Rykhalskyi, Serhii A. Diedkov and Anna B. Prosvietova
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010133 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 987
Abstract
Despite efforts in osteosarcoma (OS) research, the role of inductive moderate hyperthermia (IMH) in delivering and enhancing the antitumor effect of liposomal doxorubicin formulations (LDOX) remains unresolved. This study investigated the effect of a combination treatment with LDOX and IMH on Saos-2 human [...] Read more.
Despite efforts in osteosarcoma (OS) research, the role of inductive moderate hyperthermia (IMH) in delivering and enhancing the antitumor effect of liposomal doxorubicin formulations (LDOX) remains unresolved. This study investigated the effect of a combination treatment with LDOX and IMH on Saos-2 human OS cells. We compared cell viability using a trypan blue assay, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) measured by flow cytometry and pro-apoptotic Bax protein expression examined by immunocytochemistry in response to IMH (42 MHz frequency, 15 W power for 30 min), LDOX (0.4 μg/mL), and LDOX plus IMH. The lower IC50 value of LDOX at 72 h indicated increased accumulation of the drug in the OS cells. LDOX plus IMH resulted in a 61% lower cell viability compared to no treatment. Moreover, IMH potentiated the LDOX action on the Saos-2 cells by promoting ROS production at temperatures of <42 °C. There was a 12% increase in cell populations undergoing early apoptosis with a less heterogeneous distribution of Bax after combination treatment compared to those treated with LDOX (p < 0.05). Therefore, we determined that IMH could enhance LDOX delivery and its antitumor effect via altered membrane permeabilization, ROS generation, and a lower level of visualized Bax heterogeneity in the Saos-2 cells, suggesting the potential translation of these findings into in vivo studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Systems for the Delivery of Drugs and Contrast Agents)
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23 pages, 3803 KiB  
Article
Combination Therapy of Cuban Policosanol (Raydel®, 20 mg) and Intensive Exercise for 12 Weeks Resulted in Improvements in Obesity, Hypertension, and Dyslipidemia without a Decrease in Serum Coenzyme Q10: Enhancement of Lipoproteins Quality and Antioxidant Functionality in Obese Participants
by Kyung-Hyun Cho, Hyo-Seon Nam, Na-Young Kim, Myeong-Sung Lee and Dae-Jin Kang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010132 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1748
Abstract
Obesity and overweight, frequently caused by a lack of exercise, are associated with many metabolic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Aerobic exercise effectively increases the high-density lipoproteins-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and alleviates the triglyceride (TG) levels. The consumption of Cuban policosanol (Raydel [...] Read more.
Obesity and overweight, frequently caused by a lack of exercise, are associated with many metabolic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Aerobic exercise effectively increases the high-density lipoproteins-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and alleviates the triglyceride (TG) levels. The consumption of Cuban policosanol (Raydel®) is also effective in enhancing the HDL-C quantity and HDL functionality to treat dyslipidemia and hypertension. On the other hand, no study has examined the effects of a combination of high-intensity exercise and policosanol consumption in obese subjects to improve metabolic disorders. In the current study, 17 obese subjects (average BMI 30.1 ± 1.1 kg/m2, eight male and nine female) were recruited to participate in a program combining exercise and policosanol (20 mg) consumption for 12 weeks. After completion, their BMI, waist circumference, total fat mass, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) reduced significantly up to around −15%, −13%, −33%, −11%, and −13%, respectively. In the serum lipid profile, at Week 12, a significant reduction was observed in the total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) levels, up to −17% and −54% from the baseline, respectively. The serum HDL-C was elevated by approximately +12% from the baseline, as well as the percentage of HDL-C in TC, and HDL-C/TC (%), was enhanced by up to +32% at Week 12. The serum coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) level was increased 1.2-fold from the baseline in all participants at Week 12. In particular, the male participants exhibited a 1.4-fold increase from the baseline. The larger rise in serum CoQ10 was correlated with the larger increase in the serum HDL-C (r = 0.621, p = 0.018). The hepatic function parameters were improved; the serum γ-glutamyl transferase decreased at Week 12 by up to −55% (p < 0.007), while the aspartate aminotransferase and alanine transaminase levels diminished within the normal range. In the lipoprotein level, the extent of oxidation and glycation were reduced significantly with the reduction in TG content. The antioxidant abilities of HDL, such as paraoxonase (PON) and ferric ion reduction ability (FRA), were enhanced significantly by up to 1.8-fold and 1.6-fold at Week 12. The particle size and number of HDL were elevated up to +10% during the 12 weeks, with a remarkable decline in the TG content, glycation extent, and oxidation. The improvements in HDL quality and functionality were linked to the higher survivability of adult zebrafish and their embryos, under the co-presence of carboxymethyllysine (CML), a pro-inflammatory molecule known to cause acute death. In conclusion, 12 weeks of Cuban policosanol (Raydel®, 20 mg) consumption with high-intensity exercise displayed a significant improvement in blood pressure, body fat mass, blood lipid profile without liver damage, CoQ10 metabolism, and renal impairment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Substances, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation)
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15 pages, 6203 KiB  
Article
Rapamycin as a Potential Alternative Drug for Squamous Cell Gingiva Carcinoma (Ca9-22): A Focus on Cell Cycle, Apoptosis and Autophagy Genetic Profile
by Sofia Papadakos, Hawraa Issa, Abdulaziz Alamri, Abdullah Alamri and Abdelhabib Semlali
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010131 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Oral cancer is considered as one of the most common malignancies worldwide. Its conventional treatment primarily involves surgery with or without postoperative adjuvant therapy. The targeting of signaling pathways implicated in tumorigenesis is becoming increasingly prevalent in the development of new anticancer drug [...] Read more.
Oral cancer is considered as one of the most common malignancies worldwide. Its conventional treatment primarily involves surgery with or without postoperative adjuvant therapy. The targeting of signaling pathways implicated in tumorigenesis is becoming increasingly prevalent in the development of new anticancer drug candidates. Based on our recently published data, Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway, exhibits selective antitumor activity in oral cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing cancer cell apoptosis, autophagy, and cellular stress. In the present study, our focus is on elucidating the genetic determinants of Rapamycin’s action and the interaction networks accountable for tumorigenesis suppression. To achieve this, gingival carcinoma cell lines (Ca9-22) were exposed to Rapamycin at IC50 (10 µM) for 24 h. Subsequently, we investigated the genetic profiles related to the cell cycle, apoptosis, and autophagy, as well as gene–gene interactions, using QPCR arrays and the Gene MANIA website. Overall, our results showed that Rapamycin at 10 µM significantly inhibits the growth of Ca9-22 cells after 24 h of treatment by around 50% by suppression of key modulators in the G2/M transition, namely, Survivin and CDK5RAP1. The combination of Rapamycin with Cisplatin potentializes the inhibition of Ca9-22 cell proliferation. A P1/Annexin-V assay was performed to evaluate the effect of Rapamycin on cell apoptosis. The results obtained confirm our previous findings in which Rapamycin at 10 μM induces a strong apoptosis of Ca9-22 cells. The live cells decreased, and the late apoptotic cells increased when the cells were treated by Rapamycin. To identify the genes responsible for cell apoptosis induced by Rapamycin, we performed the RT2 Profiler PCR Arrays for 84 apoptotic genes. The blocked cells were believed to be directed towards cell death, confirmed by the downregulation of apoptosis inhibitors involved in both the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways, including BIRC5, BNIP3, CD40LG, DAPK1, LTA, TNFRSF21 and TP73. The observed effects of Rapamycin on tumor suppression are likely to involve the autophagy process, evidenced by the inhibition of autophagy modulators (TGFβ1, RGS19 and AKT1), autophagosome biogenesis components (AMBRA1, ATG9B and TMEM74) and autophagy byproducts (APP). Identifying gene–gene interaction (GGI) networks provided a comprehensive view of the drug’s mechanism and connected the studied tumorigenesis processes to potential functional interactions of various kinds (physical interaction, co-expression, genetic interactions etc.). In conclusion, Rapamycin shows promise as a clinical agent for managing Ca9-22 gingiva carcinoma cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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12 pages, 1019 KiB  
Article
Influence of Long-Term Anti-Seizure Medications on Redox Parameters in Human Blood
by Danijel Jakovljević, Milan Nikolić, Vesna Jovanović, Teodora Vidonja Uzelac, Aleksandra Nikolić-Kokić, Emilija Novaković, Čedo Miljević, Maja Milovanović and Duško Blagojević
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010130 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1245
Abstract
Background: Epilepsy is a chronic brain disease affecting millions of people worldwide, but little is known about the impact of anti-seizure medications on redox homeostasis. Methods: This study aimed to compare the effects of the long-term use of oral anti-seizure medications in monotherapy [...] Read more.
Background: Epilepsy is a chronic brain disease affecting millions of people worldwide, but little is known about the impact of anti-seizure medications on redox homeostasis. Methods: This study aimed to compare the effects of the long-term use of oral anti-seizure medications in monotherapy (lamotrigine, carbamazepine, and valproate) on antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, haemoglobin, and methaemoglobin content in erythrocytes, and concentrations of total proteins and thiols, nitrites, lipid peroxides and total glutathione in the plasma of epilepsy patients and drug-naïve patients. Results: The results showed that lamotrigine therapy led to lower superoxide dismutase activity (p < 0.005) and lower concentrations of total thiols (p < 0.01) and lipid peroxides (p < 0.01) compared to controls. On the other hand, therapy with carbamazepine increased nitrite levels (p < 0.01) but reduced superoxide dismutase activity (p < 0.005). In the valproate group, only a decrease in catalase activity was observed (p < 0.005). Canonical discriminant analysis showed that the composition of antioxidant enzymes in erythrocytes was different for both the lamotrigine and carbamazepine groups, while the controls were separated from all others. Conclusions: Monotherapy with anti-seizure medications discretely alters redox homeostasis, followed by distinct relationships between antioxidant components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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19 pages, 1331 KiB  
Article
The Adequacy of Anesthesia Guidance for Vitreoretinal Surgeries with Preemptive Paracetamol/Metamizole
by Michał Jan Stasiowski, Anita Lyssek-Boroń, Nikola Zmarzły, Kaja Marczak and Beniamin Oskar Grabarek
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010129 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 720
Abstract
Despite the possibility of postoperative pain occurrence, in some patients, vitreoretinal surgeries (VRSs) require performance of general anesthesia (GA). The administration of intraoperative intravenous rescue opioid analgesics (IROA) during GA constitutes a risk of perioperative adverse events. The Adequacy of Anesthesia (AoA) concept [...] Read more.
Despite the possibility of postoperative pain occurrence, in some patients, vitreoretinal surgeries (VRSs) require performance of general anesthesia (GA). The administration of intraoperative intravenous rescue opioid analgesics (IROA) during GA constitutes a risk of perioperative adverse events. The Adequacy of Anesthesia (AoA) concept consists of an entropy electroencephalogram to guide the depth of GA and surgical pleth index (SPI) to optimize the titration of IROA. Preemptive analgesia (PA) using cyclooxygenase-3 (COX-3) inhibitors is added to GA to minimize the demand for IROA and reduce postoperative pain. The current analysis evaluated the advantage of PA using COX-3 inhibitors added to GA with AoA-guided administration of IROA on the rate of postoperative pain and hemodynamic stability in patients undergoing VRS. A total of 165 patients undergoing VRS were randomly allocated to receive either GA with AoA-guided IROA administration with intravenous paracetamol/metamizole or with preemptive paracetamol or metamizole. Preemptive paracetamol resulted in a reduction in the IROA requirement; both preemptive metamizole/paracetamol resulted in a reduced rate of postoperative pain as compared to metamizole alone. We recommend using intraoperative AOA-guided IROA administration during VRS to ensure hemodynamic stability alongside PA using both paracetamol/metamizole to reduce postoperative pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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14 pages, 2686 KiB  
Article
Acute Kidney Injury Caused by Rhabdomyolysis Is Ameliorated by Serum Albumin-Based Supersulfide Donors through Antioxidative Pathways
by Mayumi Ikeda-Imafuku, Tatsuya Fukuta, Victor Tuan Giam Chuang, Tomohiro Sawa, Toru Maruyama, Masaki Otagiri, Tatsuhiro Ishida and Yu Ishima
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010128 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 823
Abstract
Oxidative stress is responsible for the onset and progression of various kinds of diseases including rhabdomyolysis-induced acute kidney injury (AKI). Antioxidants are, therefore, thought to aid in the recovery of illnesses linked to oxidative stress. Supersulfide species have been shown to have substantial [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is responsible for the onset and progression of various kinds of diseases including rhabdomyolysis-induced acute kidney injury (AKI). Antioxidants are, therefore, thought to aid in the recovery of illnesses linked to oxidative stress. Supersulfide species have been shown to have substantial antioxidative activity; however, due to their limited bioavailability, few supersulfide donors have had their actions evaluated in vivo. In this study, human serum albumin (HSA) and N-acetyl-L-cysteine polysulfides (NACSn), which have polysulfides in an oxidized form, were conjugated to create a supersulfide donor. HSA is chosen to be a carrier of NACSn because of its extended blood circulation and high level of biocompatibility. In contrast to a supersulfide donor containing reduced polysulfide in HSA, the NACSn-conjugated HSAs exhibited stronger antioxidant activity than HSA and free NACSn without being uptaken by the cells in vitro. The supersulfide donor reduced the levels of blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine significantly in a mouse model of rhabdomyolysis-induced AKI. Supersulfide donors significantly reduced the expression of oxidative stress markers in the kidney. These results indicate that the developed supersulfide donor has the therapeutic effect on rhabdomyolysis-induced AKI. Full article
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13 pages, 4635 KiB  
Article
Tocilizumab Exerts Anti-Tumor Effects on Colorectal Carcinoma Cell Xenografts Corresponding to Expression Levels of Interleukin-6 Receptor
by Yuan-Chiang Chung, Szu-Jung Chen, Chiu-Chen Huang, Wei-Chun Liu, Ming-Tsung Lai, Ting-Yu Kao, Wei-Shun Yang, Chien-Hui Yang, Chih-Ping Hsu and Jia-Feng Chang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010127 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 904
Abstract
The use of tocilizumab against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) has been demonstrated as inhibiting the progression of diverse cancers in vitro and in vivo. Nonetheless, evidence regarding the anti-tumor effects of tocilizumab on human colorectal carcinoma (CRC) corresponding to IL-6R expression levels remains [...] Read more.
The use of tocilizumab against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) has been demonstrated as inhibiting the progression of diverse cancers in vitro and in vivo. Nonetheless, evidence regarding the anti-tumor effects of tocilizumab on human colorectal carcinoma (CRC) corresponding to IL-6R expression levels remains scarce. To investigate the influence of IL-6R expression, SW480 and HT-29 cells inoculated subcutaneously into NU/NU mice were used as human CRC xenograft models with anti-IL-6R antibody (tocilizumab) therapy. The IL-6R expression levels, histology of CRC growth/invasiveness, and tumor growth-related signaling pathway were estimated by H&E and immunohistochemical staining. SW480 tumor cells with higher IL-6R expression levels showed better responsiveness in tocilizumab therapy than in the treated HT-29 group. Likewise, therapeutic effects of tocilizumab on the proliferative ability with mitotic index and Ki-67 expressions, invasiveness with MMP-9 proteinase expressions, and ERK 1/2 and STAT3 signaling transduction in the SW480 treatment group were superior to the HT-29 treatment group. In light of our results, IL-6R is the key indicator for the efficacy of tocilizumab treatment in CRC xenografts. From the perspective of precision medicine, tumor response to anti-IL-6R antibody therapy could be predicted on the basis of IL-6R expression levels. In this manner, tocilizumab may serve as a targeted and promising anti-CRC therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacological Treatment of Colorectal Cancer)
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38 pages, 8279 KiB  
Review
Recent Developments in Nanoparticle Formulations for Resveratrol Encapsulation as an Anticancer Agent
by Muhammad Ali, Viviana Benfante, Domenico Di Raimondo, Giuseppe Salvaggio, Antonino Tuttolomondo and Albert Comelli
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010126 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1548
Abstract
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that has gained considerable attention in the past decade due to its multifaceted therapeutic potential, including anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, its anticancer efficacy is impeded by low water solubility, dose-limiting toxicity, low bioavailability, and rapid hepatic metabolism. [...] Read more.
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound that has gained considerable attention in the past decade due to its multifaceted therapeutic potential, including anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. However, its anticancer efficacy is impeded by low water solubility, dose-limiting toxicity, low bioavailability, and rapid hepatic metabolism. To overcome these hurdles, various nanoparticles such as organic and inorganic nanoparticles, liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, solid lipid nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles, zinc oxide nanoparticles, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, carbon nanotubes, bioactive glass nanoparticles, and mesoporous nanoparticles were employed to deliver resveratrol, enhancing its water solubility, bioavailability, and efficacy against various types of cancer. Resveratrol-loaded nanoparticle or resveratrol-conjugated nanoparticle administration exhibits excellent anticancer potency compared to free resveratrol. This review highlights the latest developments in nanoparticle-based delivery systems for resveratrol, focusing on the potential to overcome limitations associated with the compound’s bioavailability and therapeutic effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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14 pages, 1659 KiB  
Article
Promising Effects of Montelukast for Critically Ill Asthma Patients via a Reduction in Delirium
by Yuan Li, Meilin Zhang, Shengnan Zhang and Guoping Yang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010125 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 852
Abstract
Background: Montelukast (MTK), a potent antagonist of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1, has shown therapeutic promise for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Delirium, a common complication in critically ill patients, lacks effective treatment. This study aims to explore the impact of pre-intensive care unit [...] Read more.
Background: Montelukast (MTK), a potent antagonist of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 1, has shown therapeutic promise for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Delirium, a common complication in critically ill patients, lacks effective treatment. This study aims to explore the impact of pre-intensive care unit (ICU) MTK use on in-hospital delirium incidence and, subsequent, prognosis in critically ill patients. Methods: A retrospective cohort study (n = 6344) was conducted using the MIMIC-IV database. After propensity score matching, logistic/Cox regression, E-value sensitivity analysis, and causal mediation analysis were performed to assess associations between pre-ICU MTK exposure and delirium and prognosis in critically ill patients. Results: Pre-ICU MTK use was significantly associated with reduced in-hospital delirium (OR: 0.705; 95% CI 0.497–0.999; p = 0.049) and 90-day mortality (OR: 0.554; 95% CI 0.366–0.840; p = 0.005). The association was more significant in patients without myocardial infarction (OR: 0.856; 95% CI 0.383–0.896; p = 0.014) and could be increased by extending the duration of use. Causal mediation analysis showed that the reduction in delirium partially mediated the association between MTK and 90-day mortality (ACME: −0.053; 95% CI −0.0142 to 0.0002; p = 0.020). Conclusions: In critically ill patients, MTK has shown promising therapeutic benefits by reducing the incidence of delirium and 90-day mortality. This study highlights the potential of MTK, beyond its traditional use in respiratory disease, and may contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for delirium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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28 pages, 2573 KiB  
Review
A Comprehensive Review on Deep Eutectic Solvents and Its Use to Extract Bioactive Compounds of Pharmaceutical Interest
by Cátia Ferreira and Mafalda Sarraguça
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010124 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
The extraction of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical interest from natural sources has been significantly explored in recent decades. However, the extraction techniques used were not very efficient in terms of time and energy consumption; additionally, the solvents used for the extraction were harmful [...] Read more.
The extraction of bioactive compounds of pharmaceutical interest from natural sources has been significantly explored in recent decades. However, the extraction techniques used were not very efficient in terms of time and energy consumption; additionally, the solvents used for the extraction were harmful for the environment. To improve the environmental impact of the extractions and at the same time increase the extraction yields, several new extraction techniques were developed. Among the most used ones are ultrasound-assisted extraction and microwave-assisted extraction. These extraction techniques increased the yield and selectivity of the extraction in a smaller amount of time with a decrease in energy consumption. Nevertheless, a high volume of organic solvents was still used for the extraction, causing a subsequent environmental problem. Neoteric solvents appeared as green alternatives to organic solvents. Among the neoteric solvents, deep eutectic solvents were evidenced to be one of the best alternatives to organic solvents due to their intrinsic characteristics. These solvents are considered green solvents because they are made up of natural compounds such as sugars, amino acids, and carboxylic acids having low toxicity and high degradability. In addition, they are simple to prepare, with an atomic economy of 100%, with attractive physicochemical properties. Furthermore, the huge number of compounds that can be used to synthesize these solvents make them very useful in the extraction of bioactive compounds since they can be tailored to be selective towards a specific component or class of components. The main aim of this paper is to give a comprehensive review which describes the main properties, characteristics, and production methods of deep eutectic solvents as well as its application to extract from natural sources bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical interest. Additionally, an overview of the more recent and sustainable extraction techniques is also given. Full article
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14 pages, 1798 KiB  
Article
Pharmacology of Veratrum californicum Alkaloids as Hedgehog Pathway Antagonists
by Madison L. Dirks and Owen M. McDougal
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010123 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 808
Abstract
Veratrum californicum contains steroidal alkaloids that function as inhibitors of hedgehog (Hh) signaling, a pathway involved in the growth and differentiation of cells and normal tissue development. This same Hh pathway is abnormally active for cell proliferation in more than 20 types of [...] Read more.
Veratrum californicum contains steroidal alkaloids that function as inhibitors of hedgehog (Hh) signaling, a pathway involved in the growth and differentiation of cells and normal tissue development. This same Hh pathway is abnormally active for cell proliferation in more than 20 types of cancer. In this current study, alkaloids have been extracted from the root and rhizome of V. californicum, followed by their separation into five fractions using high performance liquid chromatography. Mass spectrometry was used to identify the presence of twenty-five alkaloids, nine more than are commonly cited in literature reports, and the Bruker Compass Data Analysis software was used to predict the molecular formula for every detected alkaloid. The Gli activity of the raw extract and each fraction were compared to 0.1 µM cyclopamine, and fractions 1, 2, and 4 showed increased bioactivity through suppression of the Hh signaling pathway. Fractions 2 and 4 had enhanced bioactivity, but fraction 1 was most effective in inhibiting Hh signaling. The composition of fraction 1 consisted of veratrosine, cycloposine, and potential isomers of each. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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15 pages, 3490 KiB  
Article
Humoral and Cellular Immune Response after Three Doses of Sinopharm [Vero Cell]-Inactivated COVID-19 Vaccine in Combination with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Leads to Hybrid Immunity
by Marija Vukčević, Katarina Šerović, Mateja Despot, Aleksandra Nikolić-Kokić, Aleksandra Vujović, Milan Nikolić, Duško Blagojević, Tanja Jovanović and Dragana Despot
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010122 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 809
Abstract
Background: Several vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed and licensed to enhance the immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Similarly, previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to provide significant protection against severe infection and hospitalization. Methods: We investigated the effect of three doses of [...] Read more.
Background: Several vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed and licensed to enhance the immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Similarly, previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to provide significant protection against severe infection and hospitalization. Methods: We investigated the effect of three doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and SARS-CoV-2 infection on the specific immune response in 103 volunteers, measuring neutralizing antibodies, anti-S1 IgG, anti-RBD IgM, anti-N IgM, anti-N IgG antibodies, and INF γ. Results: Our results showed that the presence of cardiovascular diseases increased the level of anti-N-IgG antibodies, while endocrinological diseases decreased the level of neutralizing antibodies and anti-N IgG antibodies, suggesting that these diseases alter the effect of vaccine-induced immunity. In addition, there was a significant decrease in anti-S1 IgG levels at 6 months and in anti-N IgG levels 18 months post-infection, while neutralizing antibodies and INF γ levels were constant at 3, 6, and 18 months post-infection. Conclusions: Our results confirm the emergence of hybrid immunity, which is the strongest and most durable compared to natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity. Significant positive correlations were found between humoral and cellular immunity markers: neutralizing antibodies, anti-S1 IgG and anti-N IgG antibodies, and INF γ, indicating a unique coordinated response specific to COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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20 pages, 1033 KiB  
Article
Chemical Composition, Antioxidant, Anticancer, and Antibacterial Activities of Roots and Seeds of Ammi visnaga L. Methanol Extract
by Ibrahim M. Aziz, Rawan M. Alshalan, Humaira Rizwana, Fetoon Alkhelaiwi, Abdulaziz M. Almuqrin, Reem M. Aljowaie and Noorah A. Alkubaisi
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010121 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1032
Abstract
For centuries, plants and their components have been harnessed for therapeutic purposes, with Ammi visnaga L. (Khella) being no exception to this rich tradition. While existing studies have shed light on the cytotoxic and antimicrobial properties of seed extracts, there remains a noticeable [...] Read more.
For centuries, plants and their components have been harnessed for therapeutic purposes, with Ammi visnaga L. (Khella) being no exception to this rich tradition. While existing studies have shed light on the cytotoxic and antimicrobial properties of seed extracts, there remains a noticeable gap in research about the antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer potential of root extracts. This study seeks to address this gap by systematically examining methanol extracts derived from the roots of A. visnaga L. and comparing their effects with those of seed extracts specifically against breast cancer cells. Notably, absent from previous investigations, this study focuses on the comparative analysis of the antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer activities of both root and seed extracts. The methanol extract obtained from A. visnaga L. seeds demonstrated a notably higher level of total phenolic content (TPC) than its root counterpart, measuring 366.57 ± 2.86 and 270.78 ± 2.86 mg GAE/g dry weight of the dry extract, respectively. In the evaluation of antioxidant activities using the DPPH method, the IC50 values for root and seed extracts were determined to be 193.46 ± 17.13 μg/mL and 227.19 ± 1.48 μg/mL, respectively. Turning our attention to cytotoxicity against breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231), both root and seed extracts displayed similar cytotoxic activities, with IC50 values of 92.45 ± 2.14 μg/mL and 75.43 ± 2.32 μg/mL, respectively. Furthermore, both root and seed extracts exhibited a noteworthy modulation of gene expression, upregulating the expression of caspase and Bax mRNA levels while concurrently suppressing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes (Bcl-xL and Bcl-2), thereby reinforcing their potential as anticancer agents. A. visnaga L. seed extract outperforms the root extract in antimicrobial activities, exhibiting lower minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 3.81 ± 0.24 to 125 ± 7.63 μg/mL. This highlights the seeds’ potential as potent antibacterial agents, expanding their role in disease prevention. Overall, this study underscores the diverse therapeutic potentials of A. visnaga L. roots and seeds, contributing to the understanding of plant-derived extracts in mitigating disease risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Potential of Natural Products in Internal Diseases)
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11 pages, 437 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Evaluation of Drug–Drug Interaction Potential of Epetraborole, a Novel Bacterial Leucyl-tRNA Synthetase Inhibitor
by Afshin Shafiee and Sanjay Chanda
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010120 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 967
Abstract
Epetraborole (EBO) is a boron-containing inhibitor of bacterial leucyl-tRNA synthetase, with potent activity against nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and Gram-negative bacteria, including Burkholderia pseudomallei. EBO is being developed for the treatment of NTM lung disease and melioidosis, administered in combination with other therapeutic [...] Read more.
Epetraborole (EBO) is a boron-containing inhibitor of bacterial leucyl-tRNA synthetase, with potent activity against nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and Gram-negative bacteria, including Burkholderia pseudomallei. EBO is being developed for the treatment of NTM lung disease and melioidosis, administered in combination with other therapeutic agents in both diseases. Therefore, EBO and its major circulating metabolite M3 were evaluated in comprehensive drug–drug interaction (DDI) in vitro studies. The CYP inhibitory and substrate potential of EBO and M3 were assessed using hepatic microsomes. Stably transfected cells that expressed individual efflux or uptake transporters were used to determine whether EBO or M3 were substrates or inhibitors for these receptors. Stability studies indicated that EBO is a poor substrate for major CYP enzymes. Neither EBO nor M3 was a potent reversible or time-dependent inhibitor of major CYP enzymes. EBO was not an inducer of CYP1A2 mRNA, while it was a weak inducer of CYP2B6 and CYP3A4. EBO was a substrate only for OCT2. At clinically relevant concentrations, neither EBO nor M3 inhibited major human efflux or uptake transporters. Based on these data, at clinically relevant concentrations of EBO and M3, there is a low risk of victim or perpetrator DDI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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11 pages, 726 KiB  
Article
Functional Progression after Dose Suspension or Discontinuation of Nintedanib in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Real-Life Multicentre Study
by Barbara Ruaro, Andrea Salotti, Nicolò Reccardini, Stefano Kette, Beatrice Da Re, Salvatore Nicolosi, Umberto Zuccon, Marco Confalonieri, Lucrezia Mondini, Riccardo Pozzan, Michael Hughes, Paola Confalonieri and Francesco Salton
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010119 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Background. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic interstitial lung disease with rapidly progressive evolution and an unfavorable outcome. Nintedanib (NTD) is an antifibrotic drug that has been shown to be effective in slowing down the progression of the disease. The aim of [...] Read more.
Background. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic interstitial lung disease with rapidly progressive evolution and an unfavorable outcome. Nintedanib (NTD) is an antifibrotic drug that has been shown to be effective in slowing down the progression of the disease. The aim of our study was to examine the efficacy, especially in terms of the functional decline, and the safety profile of NTD in patients treated with the recommended dose and subjects who reduced or suspended the therapy due to the occurrence of adverse reactions. Methods. We conducted a real-life retrospective study based on the experience of NTD use in two centers between 2015 and 2022. Clinical data were evaluated at baseline, at 6 and 12 months after the NTD introduction in the whole population and in subgroups of patients who continued the full-dose treatment, at a reduced dosage, and at the discontinuation of treatment. The following data were recorded: the demographic features, IPF clinical features, NTD therapeutic dosage, tolerability and adverse events, pulmonary function tests (PFTs), the duration of treatment upon discontinuation, and the causes of interruption. Results. There were 54 IPF patients who were included (29.6% females, with a median (IQR) age at baseline of 75 (69.0–79.0) years). Twelve months after the introduction of the NTD therapy, 20 (37%) patients were still taking the full dose, 11 (20.4%) had reduced it to 200 mg daily, and 15 (27.8%) had stopped treatment. Gastrointestinal intolerance predominantly led to the dose reduction (13.0%) and treatment cessation (20.4%). There were two deaths within the initial 6 months (3.7%) and seven (13.0%) within 12 months. Compared to the baseline, the results of the PFTs remained stable at 6 and 12 months for the entire NTD-treated population, except for a significant decline in the DLCO (% predicted value) at both 6 (38.0 ± 17.8 vs. 43.0 ± 26.0; p = 0.041) and 12 months (41.5 ± 15.3 vs. 44.0 ± 26.8; p = 0.048). The patients who continued treatment at the full dose or a reduced dosage showed no significant differences in the FVC and the DLCO at 12 months. Conversely, those discontinuing the NTD exhibited a statistically significant decline in the FVC (% predicted value) at 12 months compared to the baseline (55.0 ± 13.5 vs. 70.0 ± 23.0; p = 0.035). Conclusions. This study highlights the functional decline of the FVC at 12 months after the NTD initiation among patients discontinuing therapy but not among those reducing their dosage. Full article
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15 pages, 2814 KiB  
Article
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of APPA (Apocynin and Paeonol) in Human Articular Chondrocytes
by Mercedes Fernández-Moreno, Tamara Hermida-Gómez, Nicholas Larkins, Alan Reynolds and Francisco J. Blanco
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010118 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint disease leading to cartilage loss and reduction in the joint space which results in pain. The current pharmacological treatment of OA is inadequate and pharmacological interventions focus on symptom management. APPA, a combination of apocynin (AP) and [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint disease leading to cartilage loss and reduction in the joint space which results in pain. The current pharmacological treatment of OA is inadequate and pharmacological interventions focus on symptom management. APPA, a combination of apocynin (AP) and paeonol (PA), is a potential drug for treating OA. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of APPA on the modulation of the inflammatory response in chondrocytes. Samples were incubated with IL-1β and APPA, and their responses to proinflammatory cytokines, catabolic mediators and redox responses were then measured. The effect of APPA on mitogenesis was also evaluated. Results show that APPA attenuated the expression of IL-8, TNF-α, MMP-3, MMP-13, SOD-2 and iNOS, resulting in the protection of human articular cartilage. APPA decreased PGC-1α gene expression induced by IL-1β. APPA did not modulate the gene expression of Mfn2, Sirt-1 or Sirt-3. The overall findings indicate that APPA may be an effective treatment for OA by targeting several of the pathways involved in OA pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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14 pages, 3062 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Patient-Reported Outcomes at 48 Months of Treatment with Dupilumab for Severe Atopic Dermatitis: A Single-Center Real-Life Experience with 126 Patients
by Francesca Barei, Martina Zussino, Simona Tavecchio, Luisa Angileri, Arianna Rizzo, Paolo Calzari, Angelo V. Marzano and Silvia Ferrucci
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010117 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 869
Abstract
Background: The main objective was to analyze patient-reported outcomes (PRO) trends over a four-year period in severe atopic dermatitis (AD) patients treated with dupilumab. Methods: data from 126 severe patients receiving dupilumab for at least 48 months were collected. The clinical scores assessed [...] Read more.
Background: The main objective was to analyze patient-reported outcomes (PRO) trends over a four-year period in severe atopic dermatitis (AD) patients treated with dupilumab. Methods: data from 126 severe patients receiving dupilumab for at least 48 months were collected. The clinical scores assessed included the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), Pruritus Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Sleep NRS, Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM), Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), and Atopic Dermatitis Control Tool (ADCT). Results: the study compellingly demonstrates dupilumab’s effectiveness in reducing EASI and improving PROs, with sustained enhancements observed beyond the initial twelve months of treatment. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses show that baseline factors do not significantly increase the risk of adverse outcomes related to Pruritus NRS, POEM, or ADCT at T48. The robust correlation between ADCT and other PROs suggests closely aligned changes. Conclusion: Dupilumab’s benefits endure beyond the first year, emphasizing its long-term efficacy, and consistently improves AD outcomes regardless of individual characteristics or clinical variables. ADCT appears to be a practical and versatile tool for the streamlined assessment of AD treatment outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Research in Pharmacological Therapies)
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11 pages, 222 KiB  
Article
Regular and Irregular Use and Reasons for Discontinuation of Solifenacin Therapy in Patients with Overactive Bladder Managed by Urologists
by Mateusz Małkowski, Agnieszka Almgren-Rachtan, Magdalena Olszanecka-Glinianowicz, Jerzy Chudek and Piotr Chłosta
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010116 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Solifenacin, a selective muscarinic receptor antagonist, is one of the best-tolerated and most effective medicines that relieve storage symptoms in patients with an overactive bladder (OAB). However, the persistence of solifenacin in daily clinical practice remains far below that reported in clinical trials. [...] Read more.
Solifenacin, a selective muscarinic receptor antagonist, is one of the best-tolerated and most effective medicines that relieve storage symptoms in patients with an overactive bladder (OAB). However, the persistence of solifenacin in daily clinical practice remains far below that reported in clinical trials. This study aimed to analyze the adherence of patients to the therapy and the reasons for solifenacin discontinuation and non-regular use in OAB patients managed by urologists. Data concerning non-compliance and the discontinuation of solifenacin, along with the reasons, were collected during two consecutive visits for 64,049 OAB outpatients. Over the two visits, 81.6% of the patients continued therapy, and 88.6% were taking solifenacin regularly. An age ≥ 75 yrs., the male sex, a rural or small-city dwelling, and a prescription of ≥10 mg predicted therapy continuation. The female sex, a higher education, a short or long duration of an OAB, and a non-idiopathic OAB predicted regular use. The persistence of nycturia and urinary incontinence during therapy predicted both discontinuation and non-regular use. Dissatisfaction with therapy was the most frequent reason for discontinuation. In conclusion, an initial prescription of solifenacin at a low dose reduces the chance of OAB symptom improvement and results in more frequent discontinuation. A high rate of discontinuation related to dissatisfaction suggests unrealistic expectations for OAB patients and insufficient education by urologists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
13 pages, 1653 KiB  
Article
Retrospective Study on Genetic Diversity and Drug Resistance among People Living with HIV at an AIDS Clinic in Beijing
by Yan-Ze Shi, Hui-Huang Huang, Xin-Hua Wang, Bing Song, Tian-Jun Jiang, Min-Rui Yu, Ze-Rui Wang, Rui-Ting Li, Yan-Mei Jiao, Xin Su and Fu-Sheng Wang
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010115 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 885
Abstract
(1) Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of genetic diversity and drug resistance mutations among people living with HIV (PLWH) attending clinics in Beijing. (2) Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on PLWH admitted to the Fifth Medical [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of genetic diversity and drug resistance mutations among people living with HIV (PLWH) attending clinics in Beijing. (2) Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on PLWH admitted to the Fifth Medical Center of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Hospital between 1 March 2013 and 31 July 2020. The participants were analyzed for pretreatment drug resistance (PDR) and acquired drug resistance (ADR). Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was utilized to amplify the pol gene from plasma RNA samples obtained from the participants. Genotypic and HIV drug resistance were determined using the Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database. Univariate and multifactorial logistic analyses were used to assess the risk factors for PDR. (3) Results: The overall prevalence rates of PDR and ADR were 12.9% and 27.8%, respectively. Individuals treated with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) exhibited the highest prevalence of mutations. Specific mutation sites, such as V179D for NNRTIs and M184V and K65R for nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), were identified as prevalent mutations. Individuals treated with efavirenz (EFV) and nevirapine (NVP) were found to be susceptible to developing resistance. The multifactorial regression analyses indicated that the factors of circulating recombination form (CRF) genotype CRF07-BC and a high viral load were associated with an increased risk of PDR. CRF01-AE and CRF07-BC were the most prevalent HIV genotypes in our study. (4) Conclusions: The distribution of HIV genotypes in Beijing is complex. There is a need for baseline screening for HIV drug resistance among ART-naive individuals, as well as timely testing for drug resistance among ART-experienced individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacology)
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19 pages, 7083 KiB  
Article
Cofilin Inhibitor Improves Neurological and Cognitive Functions after Intracerebral Hemorrhage by Suppressing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Related-Neuroinflammation
by Daniyah A. Almarghalani, Ghaith A. Bahader, Mohammad Ali, L. M. Viranga Tillekeratne and Zahoor A. Shah
Pharmaceuticals 2024, 17(1), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph17010114 - 15 Jan 2024
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Abstract
Neuroinflammation after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a crucial factor that determines the extent of the injury. Cofilin is a cytoskeleton-associated protein that drives neuroinflammation and microglia activation. A novel cofilin inhibitor (CI) synthesized and developed in our lab has turned out to be [...] Read more.
Neuroinflammation after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a crucial factor that determines the extent of the injury. Cofilin is a cytoskeleton-associated protein that drives neuroinflammation and microglia activation. A novel cofilin inhibitor (CI) synthesized and developed in our lab has turned out to be a potential therapeutic agent for targeting cofilin-mediated neuroinflammation in an in vitro model of ICH and traumatic brain injury. The current study aims to examine the therapeutic potential of CI in a mouse collagenase model of ICH and examine the neurobehavioral outcomes and its mechanism of action. Male mice were subjected to intrastriatal collagenase injection to induce ICH, and sham mice received needle insertion. Various concentrations (25, 50, and 100 mg/kg) of CI were administered to different cohorts of the animals as a single intravenous injection 3 h following ICH and intraperitoneally every 12 h for 3 days. The animals were tested for neurobehavioral parameters for up to 7 days and sacrificed to collect brains for hematoma volume measurement, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. Blood was collected for cofilin, TNF-α, and IL-1β assessments. The results indicated that 50 mg/kg CI improved neurological outcomes, reversed post-stroke cognitive impairment, accelerated hematoma resolution, mitigated cofilin rods/aggregates, and reduced microglial and astrocyte activation in mice with ICH. Microglia morphological analysis demonstrated that CI restored the homeostasis ramification pattern of microglia in mice treated with CI. CI suppressed endoplasmic reticulum stress-related neuroinflammation by inhibiting inflammasomes and cell death signaling pathways. We also showed that CI prevented synaptic loss by reviving the pre- and post-synaptic markers. Our results unveil a novel therapeutic approach to treating ICH and open a window for using CI in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microglia and Astrocytes as Drug Targets)
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