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Bioactive Natural Compounds for Therapeutics and Nutraceutical Applications

A topical collection in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This collection belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

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Editors


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Collection Editor
CICECO–Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: biorefinery; biomass valorization; green extraction methodologies; natural compounds; phenolic compounds; lipophilic compounds; HPLC-MS
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Collection Editor
Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, UMR CNRS 8638, Faculty of Pharmacy, Paris Descartes University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 4 avenue de l’Observatoire, 75006 Paris, France
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University-Sofia, 2 Dunav Str., Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: mast cell; inflammation; degranulation; allergy; histamine; G protein-coupled receptor; IgE; cytokine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, natural compounds have been rediscovered as valuable and effective drug candidates, being increasingly recognized as new emerging ingredients/additives in therapeutics for the management of different acute and chronic diseases and nutraceutical applications. Consequently, natural resources, including, e.g., plants, algae, fungi, and all biomass processing by-products, have been widely exploited as sources of bioactive natural compounds, and a great effort has been devoted to the extraction, characterization, and biological activity evaluation of novel valuable natural compounds, focused particularly in the discovery of new therapeutics or nutraceutics. This Topical Collection on “Bioactive Natural Compounds for Therapeutics and Nutraceutical Applications” welcomes original research and reviews in the field, with focus on the extraction and characterization of new natural bioactive components and their potential for therapeutics or nutraceutical applications, including but not limited to the recent developments on the study of the structure–bioactivity relationship and the incorporation of bioactive compounds in novel functional matrices.

Dr. Sonia A.O. Santos
Prof. Dr. Armando J. D. Silvestre
Dr. Raphael Grougnet
Dr. Vessela Balabanova
Collection Editors

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Published Papers (43 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

16 pages, 4030 KiB  
Article
The Protective Role of Magnoliae Flos in Preventing Ovotoxicity and Managing Ovarian Function: An In Vitro and In Vivo Study
by Mi Ra Kim, Dong-Il Kim, Sung Yun Park, Hyo Jin Kang, Sun-Dong Park and Ju-Hee Lee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(12), 6456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25126456 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Magnoliae Flos (MF) is a medicinal herb widely employed in traditional medicine for relieving sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, headaches, and toothaches. Here, we investigated the potential preventive effects of MF extract (MFE) against 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD)-induced ovotoxicity in ovarian cells and a mouse model [...] Read more.
Magnoliae Flos (MF) is a medicinal herb widely employed in traditional medicine for relieving sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, headaches, and toothaches. Here, we investigated the potential preventive effects of MF extract (MFE) against 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD)-induced ovotoxicity in ovarian cells and a mouse model of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). The cytoprotective effects of MFE were assessed using CHO-K1 or COV434 cells. In vivo, B6C3F1 female mice were intraperitoneally injected with VCD for two weeks to induce POI, while MFE was orally administered for four weeks, beginning one week before VCD administration. VCD led to a significant decline in the viabilities of CHO-K1 and COV434 cells and triggered excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and apoptosis specifically in CHO-K1 cells. However, pretreatment with MFE effectively prevented VCD-induced cell death and ROS generation, while also activating the Akt signaling pathway. In vivo, MFE increased relative ovary weights, follicle numbers, and serum estradiol and anti-Müllerian hormone levels versus controls under conditions of ovary failure. Collectively, our results demonstrate that MFE has a preventive effect on VCD-induced ovotoxicity through Akt activation. These results suggest that MFE may have the potential to prevent and manage conditions such as POI and diminished ovarian reserve. Full article
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11 pages, 2114 KiB  
Article
The Inhibition of TREK-1 K+ Channels via Multiple Compounds Contained in the Six Kamikihito Components, Potentially Stimulating Oxytocin Neuron Pathways
by Kanako Miyano, Miki Nonaka, Masahiro Sakamoto, Mika Murofushi, Yuki Yoshida, Kyoko Komura, Katsuya Ohbuchi, Yoshikazu Higami, Hideaki Fujii and Yasuhito Uezono
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(9), 4907; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25094907 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 593
Abstract
Oxytocin, a significant pleiotropic neuropeptide, regulates psychological stress adaptation and social communication, as well as peripheral actions, such as uterine contraction and milk ejection. Recently, a Japanese Kampo medicine called Kamikihito (KKT) has been reported to stimulate oxytocin neurons to induce oxytocin secretion. [...] Read more.
Oxytocin, a significant pleiotropic neuropeptide, regulates psychological stress adaptation and social communication, as well as peripheral actions, such as uterine contraction and milk ejection. Recently, a Japanese Kampo medicine called Kamikihito (KKT) has been reported to stimulate oxytocin neurons to induce oxytocin secretion. Two-pore-domain potassium channels (K2P) regulate the resting potential of excitable cells, and their inhibition results in accelerated depolarization that elicits neuronal and endocrine cell activation. We assessed the effects of KKT and 14 of its components on a specific K2P, the potassium channel subfamily K member 2 (TREK-1), which is predominantly expressed in oxytocin neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). KKT inhibited the activity of TREK-1 induced via the channel activator ML335. Six of the 14 components of KKT inhibited TREK-1 activity. Additionally, we identified that 22 of the 41 compounds in the six components exhibited TREK-1 inhibitory effects. In summary, several compounds included in KKT partially activated oxytocin neurons by inhibiting TREK-1. The pharmacological effects of KKT, including antistress effects, may be partially mediated through the oxytocin pathway. Full article
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17 pages, 1260 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Phenolic Compounds in Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Granada (Spain) and Evaluation of Its Neuroprotective Action
by María Asunción López-Bascón, Inmaculada Moscoso-Ruiz, Rosa Quirantes-Piné, Raquel del Pino-García, Gloria López-Gámez, Andrea Justicia-Rueda, Vito Verardo and José L. Quiles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(9), 4878; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25094878 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 542
Abstract
The olive oil sector is a fundamental food in the Mediterranean diet. It has been demonstrated that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with a high content of phenolic compounds is beneficial in the prevention and/or treatment of many diseases. The [...] Read more.
The olive oil sector is a fundamental food in the Mediterranean diet. It has been demonstrated that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with a high content of phenolic compounds is beneficial in the prevention and/or treatment of many diseases. The main objective of this work was to study the relationship between the content of phenolic compounds and the in vitro neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activity of EVOOs from two PDOs in the province of Granada. To this purpose, the amounts of phenolic compounds were determined by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (HPLC–MS) and the inhibitory activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzymes by spectrophotometric and fluorimetric assays. The main families identified were phenolic alcohols, secoiridoids, lignans, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. The EVOO samples with the highest total concentration of compounds and the highest inhibitory activity belonged to the Picual and Manzanillo varieties. Statistical analysis showed a positive correlation between identified compounds and AChE and COX-2 inhibitory activity, except for lignans. These results confirm EVOO’s compounds possess neuroprotective potential. Full article
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2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

14 pages, 3103 KiB  
Article
Glycyrol Prevents the Progression of Psoriasis-like Skin Inflammation via Immunosuppressive and Anti-Inflammatory Actions
by Yuanyuan Liu, Yanxia Fu, Ziwei Zhu, Shanzao Chen, Li Tong and Qun Wei
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(24), 17335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242417335 - 11 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1216
Abstract
Glycyrol (GC) is one natural active product. Imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like Balb/c mouse models were established. The model mice were intraperitoneally injected with cyclosporine A (CsA) and GC for 8 days followed by a series of biological detections. GC had little toxicity according to the [...] Read more.
Glycyrol (GC) is one natural active product. Imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like Balb/c mouse models were established. The model mice were intraperitoneally injected with cyclosporine A (CsA) and GC for 8 days followed by a series of biological detections. GC had little toxicity according to the levels of peripheral blood cells, hemoglobin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and serum creatinine (CRE), while CsA significantly increased the levels of BUN and CRE. GC decreased the splenic index and reduced the expressions of IL-6, IL-23, and CXCL-3 in the model mice and IL-6, CXCL-1, and CXCL-2 in the inflammatory HaCaT cells. The half inhibition concentration (IC50) of GC on HaCaT cells was 29.72 μmol/L, resulting in improved apoptosis, enhanced expressions of p21, BAX, and BIK, and reduced expressions of BCL-2. GC is an immunosuppressive agent against psoriasis-like symptoms by anti-inflammatory effects, which provides a strategy for the discovery of anti-psoriatic natural products. Full article
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27 pages, 1567 KiB  
Review
Ferroptosis: Emerging Role in Diseases and Potential Implication of Bioactive Compounds
by Giuseppe Tancredi Patanè, Stefano Putaggio, Ester Tellone, Davide Barreca, Silvana Ficarra, Carlo Maffei, Antonella Calderaro and Giuseppina Laganà
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(24), 17279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242417279 - 8 Dec 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1889
Abstract
Ferroptosis is a form of cell death that is distinguished from other types of death for its peculiar characteristics of death regulated by iron accumulation, increase in ROS, and lipid peroxidation. In the past few years, experimental evidence has correlated ferroptosis with various [...] Read more.
Ferroptosis is a form of cell death that is distinguished from other types of death for its peculiar characteristics of death regulated by iron accumulation, increase in ROS, and lipid peroxidation. In the past few years, experimental evidence has correlated ferroptosis with various pathological processes including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Ferroptosis also is involved in several types of cancer because it has been shown to induce tumor cell death. In particular, the pharmacological induction of ferroptosis, contributing to the inhibition of the proliferative process, provides new ideas for the pharmacological treatment of cancer. Emerging evidence suggests that certain mechanisms including the Xc system, GPx4, and iron chelators play a key role in the regulation of ferroptosis and can be used to block the progression of many diseases. This review summarizes current knowledge on the mechanism of ferroptosis and the latest advances in its multiple regulatory pathways, underlining ferroptosis’ involvement in the diseases. Finally, we focused on several types of ferroptosis inducers and inhibitors, evaluating their impact on the cell death principal targets to provide new perspectives in the treatment of the diseases and a potential pharmacological development of new clinical therapies. Full article
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18 pages, 4405 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Anti-Osteoporotic Potential of Daucosterol: Impact on Osteoclast and Osteoblast Activities
by Sumin Lee, Jae-Hyun Kim, Minsun Kim, Sooyeon Hong, Hoyeon Park, Eom Ji Kim, Eun-Young Kim, Chungho Lee, Youngjoo Sohn and Hyuk Sang Jung
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16465; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216465 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1092
Abstract
Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition characterized by reduced bone mass and density, leading to compromised structural integrity of the bones. While conventional treatments, such as bisphosphonates and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have been employed to mitigate bone loss, their effectiveness is often [...] Read more.
Osteoporosis is a debilitating condition characterized by reduced bone mass and density, leading to compromised structural integrity of the bones. While conventional treatments, such as bisphosphonates and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have been employed to mitigate bone loss, their effectiveness is often compromised by a spectrum of adverse side effects, ranging from gastrointestinal discomfort and musculoskeletal pain to more severe concerns like atypical fractures and hormonal imbalances. Daucosterol (DC), a natural compound derived from various plant sources, has recently garnered considerable attention in the field of pharmacology. In this study, we investigated the anti-osteoporosis potential of DC by characterizing its role in osteoclasts, osteoblasts, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced osteoporosis. The inhibitory effect of DC on osteoclast differentiation was determined by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining, F-actin ring formation by fluorescent staining, and bone resorption by pit formation assay. In addition, the calcification nodule deposition effect of osteoblasts was determined by Alizarin red S staining. The effective mechanisms of both cells were verified by Western blot and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). To confirm the effect of DC in vivo, DC was administered to a model of osteoporosis by intraperitoneal administration of LPS. The anti-osteoporosis effect was then characterized by micro-CT and serum analysis. The results showed that DC effectively inhibited osteoclast differentiation at an early stage, promoted osteoblast activity, and inhibited LPS-induced bone density loss. The results of this study suggest that DC can treat osteoporosis through osteoclast and osteoblast regulation, and therefore may be considered as a new therapeutic alternative for osteoporosis patients in the future. Full article
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13 pages, 1110 KiB  
Article
Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells and CD4+ T Cells
by Alessia Furgiuele, Franca Marino, Emanuela Rasini, Massimiliano Legnaro, Alessandra Luini, Maria Giulia Albizzati, Alessia di Flora, Barbara Pacchetti and Marco Cosentino
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914880 - 4 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1286
Abstract
Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa L., is widely used in therapy for the treatment of different diseases and as an adjuvant drug. Our aim was to assess the effects of CBD on proinflammatory cytokine production and cell proliferation in [...] Read more.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa L., is widely used in therapy for the treatment of different diseases and as an adjuvant drug. Our aim was to assess the effects of CBD on proinflammatory cytokine production and cell proliferation in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and on CD4+ T lymphocyte differentiation, and, furthermore, to test CBD’s ability to affect the functional properties of regulatory T cells (Treg). Experiments were performed on isolated PBMCs and purified CD4+ T lymphocytes obtained from the buffy coats of healthy subjects. Cytokines produced by CD4+ T cells were evaluated by flow cytometry and intracellular cytokine staining techniques. PBMC cytokine production was measured by an ELISA assay. Real-time PCR was used to assess the mRNA expression of cytokines and the key transcription factors (TFs) of CD4+ T cells. Finally, the proliferation of PBMC and CD4+ T effector cells (Teff), alone and in the presence of Treg, was assessed by flow cytometry. Results showed that CBD affects both the frequency of IL-4-producing CD4+ and of IFN-γ/IL-17-producing cells and dramatically decreases the mRNA levels of all TFs. Stimuli-induced cytokine mRNA expression was decreased while protein production was unaffected. CBD was unable to affect the ability of Treg to prevent Teff cell proliferation while it slightly increased PBMC proliferation. In conclusion, CBD may inhibit the expression of proinflammatory cytokines; however, the effect of CBD on cell proliferation suggests that this cannabinoid exerts a complex activity on human PBMCs and CD4+ T cells which deserves further investigation. Full article
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20 pages, 8170 KiB  
Article
Holothurian Wall Hydrolysate Ameliorates Cyclophosphamide-Induced Immunocompromised Mice via Regulating Immune Response and Improving Gut Microbiota
by Chen Yan, Huiru Qu, Xinli Li and Bin Feng
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(16), 12583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241612583 - 9 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Some biologically active compounds isolated from sea cucumbers stimulate the body’s immune response by activating immune cells. Immune function is closely related to the integrity intestinal barrier and balanced gut microbiota. However, it is unknown whether the daily administration of holothurian wall hydrolysate [...] Read more.
Some biologically active compounds isolated from sea cucumbers stimulate the body’s immune response by activating immune cells. Immune function is closely related to the integrity intestinal barrier and balanced gut microbiota. However, it is unknown whether the daily administration of holothurian wall hydrolysate (HWH) ameliorated intestinal dysbiosis and barrier injury induced by immunodeficiency. This study aimed to investigate the immunomodulatory effect and the underlying mechanism of HWH in cyclophosphamide (CTX)-induced immunocompromised mice. BALB/c mice received CTX (80 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) once a day for 3 days to induce immunodeficiency, and then they received the oral administration of HWH (80 or 240 mg/kg) or levamisole hydrochloride (LH, 40 mg/kg, positive control), respectively, once a day for 7 days. We utilized 16S rRNA sequencing for microbial composition alterations, histopathological analysis for splenic and colonic morphology, Western blotting for expressions of tight junction proteins (TJs), and quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR for measurements of pro-inflammatory cytokines. HWH attenuated the immune organ damage induced by CTX, increased the secretions of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and promoted the recovery of goblet cells and the production of TJs (claudin-1, occludin, and ZO-1) in the colon of the immunocompromised mice. Moreover, HWH promoted the growth of beneficial microorganisms such as Lactobacillus, Lachnospiraceae, Christensenellaceae, and Bifidobacterium, while it suppressed the populations of Ruminococcus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. These results demonstrate that HWH elicits intestinal mucosal immunity, repairs the damage to intestinal mucosal integrity, and normalizes the imbalanced intestinal microbial profiles in immunocompromised mice. It may be helpful to identify the biological activities of HWH to support its potential use in new prebiotics, immunomodulatory agents, and medical additives for intestinal repair. Full article
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16 pages, 10203 KiB  
Article
Hyperoside as a UV Photoprotective or Photostimulating Compound—Evaluation of the Effect of UV Radiation with Selected UV-Absorbing Organic Compounds on Skin Cells
by Anna Moukova, Lukas Malina, Hana Kolarova and Robert Bajgar
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(12), 9910; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24129910 - 8 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1669
Abstract
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a non-ionizing radiation, which has a cytotoxic potential, and it is therefore necessary to protect against it. Human skin is exposed to the longer-wavelength components of UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from the sun. In the present paper, we [...] Read more.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a non-ionizing radiation, which has a cytotoxic potential, and it is therefore necessary to protect against it. Human skin is exposed to the longer-wavelength components of UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from the sun. In the present paper, we focused on the study of eight organic UV-absorbing compounds: astragalin, beta-carotene, 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, hyperoside, 3-(4-methylbenzylidene)camphor, pachypodol, and trans-urocanic acid, as possible protectives of skin cells against UVA and UVB radiation. Their protective effects on skin cell viability, ROS production, mitochondrial membrane potential, liposomal permeability, and DNA integrity were investigated. Only some of the compounds studied, such as trans-urocanic acid and hyperoside, had a significant effect on the examined hallmarks of UV-induced cell damage. This was also confirmed by an atomic force microscopy study of morphological changes in HaCaT cells or a study conducted on a 3D skin model. In conclusion, hyperoside was found to be a very effective UV-protective compound, especially against UVA radiation. Commonly used sunscreen compounds such as 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, and 3-(4-methylbenzylidene)camphor turned out to be only physical UV filters, and pachypodol with a relatively high absorption in the UVA region was shown to be more phototoxic than photoprotective. Full article
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14 pages, 1148 KiB  
Communication
Exploiting the Integrated Valorization of Eucalyptus globulus Leaves: Chemical Composition and Biological Potential of the Lipophilic Fraction before and after Hydrodistillation
by Cátia. S. D. Oliveira, Patrícia Moreira, Maria T. Cruz, Cláudia M. F. Pereira, Artur M. S. Silva, Sónia A. O. Santos and Armando J. D. Silvestre
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076226 - 25 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1408
Abstract
E. globulus leaves have been mainly exploited for essential oil recovery or for energy generation in industrial pulp mills, neglecting the abundance of valuable families of extractives, namely, triterpenic acids, that might open new ways for the integrated valorization of this biomass. Therefore, [...] Read more.
E. globulus leaves have been mainly exploited for essential oil recovery or for energy generation in industrial pulp mills, neglecting the abundance of valuable families of extractives, namely, triterpenic acids, that might open new ways for the integrated valorization of this biomass. Therefore, this study highlights the lipophilic characterization of E. globulus leaves before and after hydrodistillation, aiming at the integrated valorization of both essential oils and triterpenic acids. The lipophilic composition of E. globulus leaves after hydrodistillation is reported for the first time. Extracts were obtained by dichloromethane Soxhlet extraction and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In addition, their cytotoxicity on different cell lines representative of the innate immune system, skin, liver, and intestine were evaluated. Triterpenic acids, such as betulonic, oleanolic, betulinic and ursolic acids, were found to be the main components of these lipophilic extracts, ranging from 30.63–37.14 g kg−1 of dry weight (dw), and representing 87.7–89.0% w/w of the total content of the identified compounds. In particular, ursolic acid was the major constituent of all extracts, representing 46.8–50.7% w/w of the total content of the identified compounds. Other constituents, such as fatty acids, long-chain aliphatic alcohols and β-sitosterol were also found in smaller amounts in the studied extracts. This study also demonstrates that the hydrodistillation process does not affect the recovery of compounds of greatest interest, namely, triterpenic acids. Therefore, the results establish that this biomass residue can be considered as a promising source of value-added bioactive compounds, opening new strategies for upgrading pulp industry residues within an integrated biorefinery context. Full article
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41 pages, 4185 KiB  
Review
Overview of BPH: Symptom Relief with Dietary Polyphenols, Vitamins and Phytochemicals by Nutraceutical Supplements with Implications to the Prostate Microbiome
by Kendal L. Stewart and Edwin D. Lephart
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065486 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6800
Abstract
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an age-related disorder, which is one of the most prevalent and costly benign neoplasms in men with over 94 million cases worldwide. Starting before or around 50 years of age, there is a linear increase in prostate volume [...] Read more.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an age-related disorder, which is one of the most prevalent and costly benign neoplasms in men with over 94 million cases worldwide. Starting before or around 50 years of age, there is a linear increase in prostate volume and BPH symptoms, which are influenced by changes in hormonal, inflammatory, growth factors, cell receptor signaling, diet, physical activity, and the microbiome of the prostate that leads to cellular proliferation. While current pharmaceutical or surgical treatments are currently available, each treatment has serious side effects. This dilemma has motived men to seek treatment without negative side effects from medicinal plants such as botanicals, phytochemicals, and vitamins that have established safety records. This narrative overview focuses on several botanicals, phytochemicals and vitamins that are widely used in the treatment of BPH and emphasizes how, in some cases, combinations of these natural ingredients may provide better BPH symptom relief compared to utilization of a single medicinal plant product (monotherapy). Finally, this overview highlights in vitro, in vivo animal studies and mainly clinical data of journal reports published in the past 5 years from January 2018 to January 2023 on BPH and nutraceuticals. Notably, there is an evolving perspective or rethinking of the role that medicinal phytochemicals and natural vitamins usage play; that is, they may hold promise or are likely to alleviate BPH symptoms. Full article
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32 pages, 2935 KiB  
Review
Proanthocyanidins: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Intestinal Action Mechanisms in the Prevention and Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
by Rocío Redondo-Castillejo, Alba Garcimartín, Marina Hernández-Martín, María Elvira López-Oliva, Aránzazu Bocanegra, Adrián Macho-González, Sara Bastida, Juana Benedí and Francisco J. Sánchez-Muniz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065369 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3077
Abstract
The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of risk factors, such as central obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and arterial hypertension, which increase the probability of causing premature mortality. The consumption of high-fat diets (HFD), normally referred to high-saturated fat diets, is a major driver [...] Read more.
The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of risk factors, such as central obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and arterial hypertension, which increase the probability of causing premature mortality. The consumption of high-fat diets (HFD), normally referred to high-saturated fat diets, is a major driver of the rising incidence of MS. In fact, the altered interplay between HFD, microbiome, and the intestinal barrier is being considered as a possible origin of MS. Consumption of proanthocyanidins (PAs) has a beneficial effect against the metabolic disturbances in MS. However, there are no conclusive results in the literature about the efficacy of PAs in improving MS. This review allows a comprehensive validation of the diverse effects of the PAs on the intestinal dysfunction in HFD-induced MS, differentiating between preventive and therapeutic actions. Special emphasis is placed on the impact of PAs on the gut microbiota, providing a system to facilitate comparison between the studies. PAs can modulate the microbiome toward a healthy profile and strength barrier integrity. Nevertheless, to date, published clinical trials to verify preclinical findings are scarce. Finally, the preventive consumption of PAs in MS-associated dysbiosis and intestinal dysfunction induced by HFD seems more successful than the treatment strategy. Full article
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41 pages, 1487 KiB  
Review
Depression and Its Phytopharmacotherapy—A Narrative Review
by Lukasz Dobrek and Krystyna Głowacka
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(5), 4772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054772 - 1 Mar 2023
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 9487
Abstract
Depression is a mental health disorder that develops as a result of complex psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrinological disturbances. This disease presents with mood disturbances, persistent sadness, loss of interest and impaired cognition, which causes distress to the patient and significantly affects the ability to function and [...] Read more.
Depression is a mental health disorder that develops as a result of complex psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrinological disturbances. This disease presents with mood disturbances, persistent sadness, loss of interest and impaired cognition, which causes distress to the patient and significantly affects the ability to function and have a satisfying family, social and professional life. Depression requires comprehensive management, including pharmacological treatment. Because pharmacotherapy of depression is a long-term process associated with the risk of numerous adverse drug effects, much attention is paid to alternative therapy methods, including phytopharmacotherapy, especially in treating mild or moderate depression. Preclinical studies and previous clinical studies confirm the antidepressant activity of active compounds in plants, such as St. John’s wort, saffron crocus, lemon balm and lavender, or less known in European ethnopharmacology, roseroot, ginkgo, Korean ginseng, borage, brahmi, mimosa tree and magnolia bark. The active compounds in these plants exert antidepressive effects in similar mechanisms to those found in synthetic antidepressants. The description of phytopharmacodynamics includes inhibiting monoamine reuptake and monoamine oxidase activity and complex, agonistic or antagonistic effects on multiple central nervous system (CNS) receptors. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the anti-inflammatory effect is also important to the antidepressant activity of the plants mentioned above in light of the hypothesis that immunological disorders of the CNS are a significant pathogenetic factor of depression. This narrative review results from a traditional, non-systematic literature review. It briefly discusses the pathophysiology, symptomatology and treatment of depression, with a particular focus on the role of phytopharmacology in its treatment. It provides the mechanisms of action revealed in experimental studies of active ingredients isolated from herbal antidepressants and presents the results of selected clinical studies confirming their antidepressant effectiveness. Full article
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18 pages, 4748 KiB  
Article
Neuroprotective Effects of Ethanol Extract of Polyscias fruticosa (EEPF) against Glutamate-Mediated Neuronal Toxicity in HT22 Cells
by Baskar Selvaraj, Tam Thi Le, Dae Won Kim, Bo Hyun Jung, Ki-Yeon Yoo, Hong Ryul Ahn, Phuong Thien Thuong, Thi Thu Thuy Tran, Ae Nim Pae, Sang Hoon Jung and Jae Wook Lee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3969; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043969 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2403
Abstract
In traditional herbal medicine, the Polyscias fruticosa has been frequently used for the treatment of ischemia and inflammation. Oxidative stress mediated by elevated glutamate levels cause neuronal cell death in ischemia and various neurodegenerative diseases. However, so far, the neuroprotective effects of this [...] Read more.
In traditional herbal medicine, the Polyscias fruticosa has been frequently used for the treatment of ischemia and inflammation. Oxidative stress mediated by elevated glutamate levels cause neuronal cell death in ischemia and various neurodegenerative diseases. However, so far, the neuroprotective effects of this plant extract against glutamate-mediated cell death have not been investigated in cell models. The current study investigates the neuroprotective effects of ethanol extracts of Polyscias fruticosa (EEPF) and elucidates the underlying molecular mechanisms of EEPFs relevant to neuroprotection against glutamate-mediated cell death. The oxidative stress-mediated cell death was induced by 5 mM glutamate treatment in HT22 cells. The cell viability was measured by a tetrazolium-based EZ-Cytox reagent and Calcein-AM fluorescent dye. Intracellular Ca2+ and ROS levels were measured by fluorescent dyes, fluo-3 AM and 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCF-DA), respectively. Protein expressions of p-AKT, BDNF, p-CREB, Bax, Bcl-2, and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) were determined by western blot analysis. The apoptotic cell death was measured by flow cytometry. The in vivo efficacy of EEPF was evaluated using the Mongolian gerbil mouse by surgery-induced brain ischemia. EEPF treatment showed a neuroprotective effect against glutamate-induced cell death. The EEPF co-treatment reduced the intracellular Ca2+ and ROS and apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, it recovered the p-AKT, p-CREB, BDNF, and Bcl-2 levels decreased by glutamate. The EEPF co-treatment suppressed the activation of apoptotic Bax, the nuclear translocation of AIF, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway proteins (ERK1/2, p38, JNK). Further, EEPF treatment significantly rescued the degenerative neurons in the ischemia-induced Mongolian gerbil in vivo model. EEPF exhibited neuroprotective properties that suppress glutamate-mediated neurotoxicity. The underlying mechanism of EEPF is increasing the level of p-AKT, p-CREB, BDNF, and Bcl-2 associated with cell survival. It has therapeutic potential for the treatment of glutamate-mediated neuropathology. Full article
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14 pages, 4501 KiB  
Article
Curcumin Ameliorates Particulate Matter-Induced Pulmonary Injury through Bimodal Regulation of Macrophage Inflammation via NF-κB and Nrf2
by Min Kook Lee, Hyo Dam Kim, Suk Hee Lee and Jin Hyup Lee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 1858; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24031858 - 17 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
The direct effects of particulate matter (PM) on lung injury and its specific molecular mechanisms are unclear. However, experimental evidence has shown that oxidative stress-mediated inflammation in macrophages is the main pathological outcome of PM exposure. Curcumin has been reported to protect organs [...] Read more.
The direct effects of particulate matter (PM) on lung injury and its specific molecular mechanisms are unclear. However, experimental evidence has shown that oxidative stress-mediated inflammation in macrophages is the main pathological outcome of PM exposure. Curcumin has been reported to protect organs against the disturbance of homeostasis caused by various toxic agents through anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects. However, the protective action of curcumin against PM-induced pulmonary inflammation and the underlying mechanism have not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, we established a PM-induced pulmonary inflammation mouse model using the intratracheal instillation method to investigate the protective ability of curcumin against PM-induced pulmonary inflammation. Compared to the mice treated with PM only, the curcumin-treated mice showed alleviated alveolar damage, decreased immune cell infiltration, and reduced proinflammatory cytokine production in both lung tissue and BALF. To evaluate the underlying mechanism, the mouse macrophage cell line RAW264.7 was used. Pretreatment with curcumin prevented the production of PM-induced proinflammatory cytokines by deactivating NF-κB through the suppression of MAPK signaling pathways. Furthermore, curcumin appears to attenuate PM-induced oxidative stress through the activation of Nrf2 and downstream antioxidant signaling. Our findings demonstrate that curcumin protects against PM-induced lung injury by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammatory activation in macrophages. Full article
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28 pages, 2293 KiB  
Article
Pulsatilla vulgaris Inhibits Cancer Proliferation in Signaling Pathways of 12 Reporter Genes
by Grażyna Łaska, Elwira Sieniawska, Magdalena Maciejewska-Turska, Łukasz Świątek, David S. Pasco and Premalatha Balachandran
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(2), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24021139 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1851
Abstract
This study aimed to examine if methanolic extracts of Pulsatilla vulgaris Mill. can inhibit HeLa cell proliferation through the modulation of cancer-related signaling pathways. The cytotoxicity and chemical composition of P. vulgaris leaves and root extracts were also determined. Research showed that root [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine if methanolic extracts of Pulsatilla vulgaris Mill. can inhibit HeLa cell proliferation through the modulation of cancer-related signaling pathways. The cytotoxicity and chemical composition of P. vulgaris leaves and root extracts were also determined. Research showed that root extract of P. vulgaris inhibited 12 signaling pathways in a cervical cancer cell line and the most potent activation inhibition was observed for MYC, Notch, Wnt, E2F, Ets, Stat3, Smad, Hdghog, AP-1, and NF-κB, at a concentration of 40 µg/mL. The methanolic extracts of P. vulgaris enhanced apoptotic death and deregulated cellular proliferation, differentiation, and progression toward the neoplastic phenotype by altering key signaling molecules required for cell cycle progression. This is the first study to report the influence of P. vulgaris on cancer signaling pathways. Additionally, our detailed phytochemical analysis of the methanolic extracts of P. vulgaris gives a conclusion that compounds, which strongly suppressed the growth and proliferation of HeLa cancer cells were mainly triterpenoid saponins accompanied by phenolic acids. Full article
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2022

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15 pages, 2381 KiB  
Article
Oxidative Stress Amelioration of Novel Peptides Extracted from Enzymatic Hydrolysates of Chinese Pecan Cake
by Jiaojiao Zhang, Shaozhen Wu, Qingqing Wang, Qinjie Yuan, Yane Li, Patricia Reboredo-Rodríguez, Alfonso Varela-López, Zhiping He, Fenghua Wu, Hao Hu and Xingquan Liu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(20), 12086; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232012086 - 11 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2011
Abstract
Pecan (Carya cathayensis) is an important economic crop, and its hydrolyzed peptides have been evidenced to reduce the effect of oxidative stress due to their antioxidant capacity. Hence, the protocols of ultrafiltration and gel filtration chromatography were established to obtain bioactive [...] Read more.
Pecan (Carya cathayensis) is an important economic crop, and its hydrolyzed peptides have been evidenced to reduce the effect of oxidative stress due to their antioxidant capacity. Hence, the protocols of ultrafiltration and gel filtration chromatography were established to obtain bioactive peptides from by-products of C. cathayensis (pecan cake). As measured by DPPH/ABTS radical scavenging, the peptides with less molecular weight (MW) possess higher antioxidant capacity. PCPH-III (MW < 3 kDa) presented higher radical scavenging capacity than PCPH-II (3 kDa < MW < 10 kDa) and PCPH-I (MW > 10 kDa) measured by DPPH (IC50: 111.0 μg/ mL) and measured by ABTs (IC50: 402.9 μg/mL). The secondary structure and amino acid composition varied by their MW, in which PCPH-II contained more α-helices (26.71%) and β-sheets (36.96%), PCPH-III contained higher ratios of β-turns (36.87%), while the composition of different secondary of PCPH-I was even 25 ± 5.76%. The variation trend of α-helix and random experienced slightly varied from PCPH-I to PCPH-II, while significantly decreased from PCPH-II to PCPH-III. The increasing antioxidant capacity is followed by the content of proline, and PCPH-III had the highest composition (8.03%). With regard to the six peptides identified by LC-MS/MS, two of them (VYGYADK and VLFSNY) showed stronger antioxidant capacity than others. In silico molecular docking demonstrated their combining abilities with a transcription factor Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) and speculated that they inhibit oxidative stress through activating the Keap1-Nrf2-ARE pathway. Meanwhile, increased activity of SOD and CAT—antioxidant markers—were found in H2O2-induced cells. The residue of tyrosine was demonstrated to contribute the most antioxidant capacity of VYGYADK and its position affected less. This study provided a novel peptide screening and by-product utilization process that can be applied in natural product developments. Full article
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18 pages, 3387 KiB  
Article
Calebin A, a Compound of Turmeric, Down-Regulates Inflammation in Tenocytes by NF-κB/Scleraxis Signaling
by Anna-Lena Mueller, Aranka Brockmueller, Ajaikumar B. Kunnumakkara and Mehdi Shakibaei
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031695 - 1 Feb 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2825
Abstract
Calebin A (CA) is one of the active constituents of turmeric and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Excessive inflammation and cell apoptosis are the main causes of tendinitis and tendinopathies. However, the role of CA in tendinitis is still unclear and needs to [...] Read more.
Calebin A (CA) is one of the active constituents of turmeric and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Excessive inflammation and cell apoptosis are the main causes of tendinitis and tendinopathies. However, the role of CA in tendinitis is still unclear and needs to be studied in detail. Tenocytes in monolayer or 3D-alginate cultures in the multicellular tendinitis microenvironment (fibroblast cells) with T-lymphocytes (TN-ME) or with TNF-α or TNF-β, were kept without treatment or treated with CA to study their range of actions in inflammation. We determined that CA blocked TNF-β-, similar to TNF-α-induced adhesiveness of T-lymphocytes to tenocytes. Moreover, immunofluorescence and immunoblotting showed that CA, similar to BMS-345541 (specific IKK-inhibitor), suppressed T-lymphocytes, or the TNF-α- or TNF-β-induced down-regulation of Collagen I, Tenomodulin, tenocyte-specific transcription factor (Scleraxis) and the up-regulation of NF-κB phosphorylation; thus, its translocation to the nucleus as well as various NF-κB-regulated proteins was implicated in inflammatory and degradative processes. Furthermore, CA significantly suppressed T-lymphocyte-induced signaling, similar to TNF-β-induced signaling, and NF-κB activation by inhibiting the phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα (an NF-κB inhibitor) and IκB-kinase activity. Finally, inflammatory TN-ME induced the functional linkage between NF-κB and Scleraxis, proposing that a synergistic interaction between the two transcription factors is required for the initiation of tendinitis, whereas CA strongly attenuated this linkage and subsequent inflammation. For the first time, we suggest that CA modulates TN-ME-promoted inflammation in tenocytes, at least in part, via NF-κB/Scleraxis signaling. Thus, CA seems to be a potential bioactive compound for the prevention and treatment of tendinitis. Full article
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15 pages, 1671 KiB  
Article
Resveratrol Treatment Prevents Increase of Mast Cells in Both Murine OVA Enteritis and IL-10−/− Colitis
by Sabrina Bilotta, Julian Arbogast, Nadine Schart, Maurice Frei and Axel Lorentz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031213 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2905
Abstract
Mast cells are involved in allergic and other inflammatory diseases. The polyphenol resveratrol is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and may be used as nutraceutical in mast cell associated diseases. We analyzed the effect of resveratrol on mast cells in vivo in ovalbumin-induced [...] Read more.
Mast cells are involved in allergic and other inflammatory diseases. The polyphenol resveratrol is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and may be used as nutraceutical in mast cell associated diseases. We analyzed the effect of resveratrol on mast cells in vivo in ovalbumin-induced allergic enteritis as well as experimental colitis in IL-10−/− mice which received resveratrol via drinking water. Treatment with resveratrol prevented the increase in mast cells in both allergic enteritis and chronic colitis in duodenum as well as in colon. Further, it delayed the onset of diseases symptoms and ameliorated diseases associated parameters such as tissue damage as well as inflammatory cell infiltration in affected colon sections. In addition to the findings in vivo, resveratrol inhibited IgE-dependent degranulation and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α in IgE/DNP-activated as well as in LPS-activated bone marrow-derived mast cells. These results indicate that resveratrol may be considered as an anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory plant-derived component for the prevention or treatment of mast cell-associated disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Full article
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2021

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20 pages, 24515 KiB  
Article
β-Caryophyllene Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Angiogenesis in Colorectal Cancer Models
by Saad S. Dahham, Yasser Tabana, Muhammad Asif, Marawan Ahmed, Dinesh Babu, Loiy E. Hassan, Mohamed B. Khadeer Ahamed, Doblin Sandai, Khaled Barakat, Arno Siraki and Amin M. S. A. Majid
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910550 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4480
Abstract
Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP), a naturally occurring sesquiterpene abundantly found in cloves, hops, and cannabis, is the active candidate of a relatively new group of vascular-inhibiting compounds that aim to block existing tumor blood vessels. Previously, we have reported the anti-cancer properties of BCP by [...] Read more.
Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP), a naturally occurring sesquiterpene abundantly found in cloves, hops, and cannabis, is the active candidate of a relatively new group of vascular-inhibiting compounds that aim to block existing tumor blood vessels. Previously, we have reported the anti-cancer properties of BCP by utilizing a series of in-vitro anti-tumor-related assays using human colorectal carcinoma cells. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of BCP on in-vitro, ex-vivo, and in-vivo models of anti-angiogenic assays and evaluate its anti-cancer activity in xenograft tumor (both ectopic and orthotopic) mice models of human colorectal cancer. Computational structural analysis and an apoptosis antibody array were also performed to understand the molecular players underlying this effect. BCP exhibited strong anti-angiogenic activity by blocking the migration of endothelial cells, tube-like network formation, suppression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion from human umbilical vein endothelial cells and sprouting of rat aorta microvessels. BCP has a probable binding at Site#0 on the surface of VEGFR2. Moreover, BCP significantly deformed the vascularization architecture compared to the negative control in a chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay. BCP showed a remarkable reduction in tumor size and fluorescence molecular tomography signal intensity in all the mice treated with BCP, in a dose-dependent relationship, in ectopic and orthotopic tumor xenograft models, respectively. The histological analysis of the tumor from BCP-treated mice revealed a clear reduction of the density of vascularization. In addition, BCP induced apoptosis through downregulation of HSP60, HTRA, survivin, and XIAP, along with the upregulation of p21 expressions. These results suggest that BCP acts at multiple stages of angiogenesis and could be used as a promising therapeutic candidate to halt the growth of colorectal tumor cells. Full article
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16 pages, 2820 KiB  
Article
Combinations of Piperine with Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin as a Multifunctional System
by Anna Stasiłowicz, Natalia Rosiak, Ewa Tykarska, Maciej Kozak, Jacek Jenczyk, Piotr Szulc, Joanna Kobus-Cisowska, Kornelia Lewandowska, Anita Płazińska, Wojciech Płaziński and Judyta Cielecka-Piontek
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 4195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22084195 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3062
Abstract
Piperine is an alkaloid that has extensive pharmacological activity and impacts other active substances bioavailability due to inhibition of CYP450 enzymes, stimulation of amino acid transporters and P-glycoprotein inhibition. Low solubility and the associated low bioavailability of piperine limit its potential. The [...] Read more.
Piperine is an alkaloid that has extensive pharmacological activity and impacts other active substances bioavailability due to inhibition of CYP450 enzymes, stimulation of amino acid transporters and P-glycoprotein inhibition. Low solubility and the associated low bioavailability of piperine limit its potential. The combination of piperine with 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) causes a significant increase in its solubility and, consequently, an increase in permeability through gastrointestinal tract membranes and the blood–brain barrier. X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) were used to characterize interactions between piperine and HP-β-CD. The observed physicochemical changes should be combined with the process of piperine and CD system formation. Importantly, with an increase in solubility and permeability of piperine as a result of interaction with CD, it was proven to maintain its biological activity concerning the antioxidant potential (2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate assay), inhibition of enzymes essential for the inflammatory process and for neurodegenerative changes (hyaluronidase, acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase). Full article
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2020

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20 pages, 1577 KiB  
Article
Phlorotannins from Fucus vesiculosus: Modulation of Inflammatory Response by Blocking NF-κB Signaling Pathway
by Marcelo D. Catarino, Ana Silva, Maria T. Cruz, Nuno Mateus, Artur M. S. Silva and Susana M. Cardoso
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186897 - 20 Sep 2020
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 2974
Abstract
Due to their large spectrum of bioactive properties, much attention has recently been drawn to phlorotannins—i.e., phenolic compounds characteristic from brown macroalgae. This study aimed to evaluate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of F. vesiculosus phlorotannin extracts and purified fractions. Overall, the crude [...] Read more.
Due to their large spectrum of bioactive properties, much attention has recently been drawn to phlorotannins—i.e., phenolic compounds characteristic from brown macroalgae. This study aimed to evaluate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of F. vesiculosus phlorotannin extracts and purified fractions. Overall, the crude extract and its ethyl acetate fraction (EtOAc) showed good radical scavenging activity, particularly towards nitric oxide (NO). Subsequent subfractions of EtOAc (F1 to F9) with different molecular weights were then shown to inhibit lipopolysaccharide-induced NO production in macrophages, with stronger effects being observed for fractions of lower MWs. Of the three intracellular markers analyzed, inducible NO synthase showed the highest sensitivity to almost all the phlorotannin-rich samples, followed by interleukin 1β and cyclooxygenase 2, which was only inhibited by F2. Furthermore, this subfraction inhibited the phosphorylation and degradation of inhibitory protein κBα, thus preventing the activation of NF-κB and blocking the inflammatory cascade at the transcriptional level. This sample was characterized by the presence of a major compound with a deprotonated molecular ion at m/z 507 with a fragmentation pattern coherent with that of a phlorotannin derivative. Overall, this work unveiled some of the mechanistic aspects behind the anti-inflammatory capacity of phlorotannins from F. vesiculosus, endorsing its use as a possible natural source of anti-inflammatory compounds. Full article
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17 pages, 1047 KiB  
Review
Plant-Derived Substances in the Fight Against Infections Caused by Candida Species
by Ibeth Guevara-Lora, Grazyna Bras, Justyna Karkowska-Kuleta, Miriam González-González, Kinga Ceballos, Wiktoria Sidlo and Maria Rapala-Kozik
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(17), 6131; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21176131 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3218
Abstract
Yeast-like fungi from the Candida genus are predominantly harmless commensals that colonize human skin and mucosal surfaces, but under conditions of impaired host immune system change into dangerous pathogens. The pathogenicity of these fungi is typically accompanied by increased adhesion and formation of [...] Read more.
Yeast-like fungi from the Candida genus are predominantly harmless commensals that colonize human skin and mucosal surfaces, but under conditions of impaired host immune system change into dangerous pathogens. The pathogenicity of these fungi is typically accompanied by increased adhesion and formation of complex biofilms, making candidal infections challenging to treat. Although a variety of antifungal drugs have been developed that preferably attack the fungal cell wall and plasma membrane, these pathogens have acquired novel defense mechanisms that make them resistant to standard treatment. This causes an increase in the incidence of candidiasis and enforces the urgent need for an intensified search for new specifics that could be helpful, alone or synergistically with traditional drugs, for controlling Candida pathogenicity. Currently, numerous reports have indicated the effectiveness of plant metabolites as potent antifungal agents. These substances have been shown to inhibit growth and to alter the virulence of different Candida species in both the planktonic and hyphal form and during the biofilm formation. This review focuses on the most recent findings that provide evidence of decreasing candidal pathogenicity by different substances of plant origin, with a special emphasis on the mechanisms of their action. This is a particularly important issue in the light of the currently increasing frequency of emerging Candida strains and species resistant to standard antifungal treatment. Full article
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27 pages, 10738 KiB  
Review
Ursolic Acid-Based Derivatives as Potential Anti-Cancer Agents: An Update
by Vuyolwethu Khwaza, Opeoluwa O. Oyedeji and Blessing A. Aderibigbe
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5920; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165920 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 89 | Viewed by 7026
Abstract
Ursolic acid is a pharmacologically active pentacyclic triterpenoid derived from medicinal plants, fruit, and vegetables. The pharmacological activities of ursolic acid have been extensively studied over the past few years and various reports have revealed that ursolic acid has multiple biological activities, which [...] Read more.
Ursolic acid is a pharmacologically active pentacyclic triterpenoid derived from medicinal plants, fruit, and vegetables. The pharmacological activities of ursolic acid have been extensively studied over the past few years and various reports have revealed that ursolic acid has multiple biological activities, which include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, etc. In terms of cancer treatment, ursolic acid interacts with a number of molecular targets that play an essential role in many cell signaling pathways. It suppresses transformation, inhibits proliferation, and induces apoptosis of tumor cells. Although ursolic acid has many benefits, its therapeutic applications in clinical medicine are limited by its poor bioavailability and absorption. To overcome such disadvantages, researchers around the globe have designed and developed synthetic ursolic acid derivatives with enhanced therapeutic effects by structurally modifying the parent skeleton of ursolic acid. These structurally modified compounds display enhanced therapeutic effects when compared to ursolic acid. This present review summarizes various synthesized derivatives of ursolic acid with anti-cancer activity which were reported from 2015 to date. Full article
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36 pages, 6413 KiB  
Review
Cinnamic Acid Derivatives and Their Biological Efficacy
by Ngonidzashe Ruwizhi and Blessing Atim Aderibigbe
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5712; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165712 - 9 Aug 2020
Cited by 206 | Viewed by 13625
Abstract
The role played by cinnamic acid derivatives in treating cancer, bacterial infections, diabetes and neurological disorders, among many, has been reported. Cinnamic acid is obtained from cinnamon bark. Its structure is composed of a benzene ring, an alkene double bond and an acrylic [...] Read more.
The role played by cinnamic acid derivatives in treating cancer, bacterial infections, diabetes and neurological disorders, among many, has been reported. Cinnamic acid is obtained from cinnamon bark. Its structure is composed of a benzene ring, an alkene double bond and an acrylic acid functional group making it possible to modify the aforementioned functionalities with a variety of compounds resulting in bioactive agents with enhanced efficacy. The nature of the substituents incorporated into cinnamic acid has been found to play a huge role in either enhancing or decreasing the biological efficacy of the synthesized cinnamic acid derivatives. Some of the derivatives have been reported to be more effective when compared to the standard drugs used to treat chronic or infectious diseases in vitro, thus making them very promising therapeutic agents. Compound 20 displayed potent anti-TB activity, compound 27 exhibited significant antibacterial activity on S. aureus strain of bacteria and compounds with potent antimalarial activity are 35a, 35g, 35i, 36i, and 36b. Furthermore, compounds 43d, 44o, 55g–55p, 59e, 59g displayed potent anticancer activity and compounds 86f–h were active against both hAChE and hBuChE. This review will expound on the recent advances on cinnamic acid derivatives and their biological efficacy. Full article
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15 pages, 6067 KiB  
Article
Tomatine Displays Antitumor Potential in In Vitro Models of Metastatic Melanoma
by Simona Serratì, Letizia Porcelli, Stefania Guida, Anna Ferretta, Rosa Maria Iacobazzi, Tiziana Cocco, Immacolata Maida, Gabriella Tamasi, Claudio Rossi, Michele Manganelli, Stefania Tommasi, Amalia Azzariti and Gabriella Guida
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(15), 5243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155243 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3528
Abstract
There is a growing interest in the cytotoxic effects of bioactive glycoalkaloids, such as α-tomatine on tumor cells. Here, for the first time, we determine the antitumor potential of tomatine, a mixture of α-tomatine and dehydrotomatine, in metastatic melanoma (MM) cell lines harboring [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest in the cytotoxic effects of bioactive glycoalkaloids, such as α-tomatine on tumor cells. Here, for the first time, we determine the antitumor potential of tomatine, a mixture of α-tomatine and dehydrotomatine, in metastatic melanoma (MM) cell lines harboring different BRAF and MC1R variants. We performed cytotoxicity experiments and annexin-V/propidium iodide staining to assess the apoptotic/necrotic status of the cells. ER stress and autophagy markers were revealed by Western Blot, whereas antiangiogenic and vascular-disrupting effects were evaluated through a capillary tube formation assay on matrigel and by ELISA kit for VEGF release determination. Cell invasion was determined by a Boyden chamber matrigel assay. Tomatine reduced 50% of cell viability and induced a concentration-dependent increase of apoptotic cells in the range of 0.5–1 μM in terms of α-tomatine. The extent of apoptosis was more than two-fold higher in V600BRAF-D184H/D184H MC1R cells than in BRAF wild-type cells and V600BRAF-MC1R wild-type cell lines. Additionally, tomatine increased the LC3I/II autophagy marker, p-eIF2α, and p-Erk1/2 levels in BRAF wild-type cells. Notably, tomatine strongly reduced cell invasion and melanoma-dependent angiogenesis by reducing VEGF release and tumor-stimulating effects on capillary tube formation. Collectively, our findings support tomatine as a potential antitumor agent in MM. Full article
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35 pages, 3433 KiB  
Review
Lessons from Exploring Chemical Space and Chemical Diversity of Propolis Components
by Trong D. Tran, Steven M. Ogbourne, Peter R. Brooks, Norberto Sánchez-Cruz, José L. Medina-Franco and Ronald J. Quinn
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 4988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21144988 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 5788
Abstract
Propolis is a natural resinous material produced by bees and has been used in folk medicines since ancient times. Due to it possessing a broad spectrum of biological activities, it has gained significant scientific and commercial interest over the last two decades. As [...] Read more.
Propolis is a natural resinous material produced by bees and has been used in folk medicines since ancient times. Due to it possessing a broad spectrum of biological activities, it has gained significant scientific and commercial interest over the last two decades. As a result of searching 122 publications reported up to the end of 2019, we assembled a unique compound database consisting of 578 components isolated from both honey bee propolis and stingless bee propolis, and analyzed the chemical space and chemical diversity of these compounds. The results demonstrated that both honey bee propolis and stingless bee propolis are valuable sources for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical development. Full article
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21 pages, 1807 KiB  
Review
Molecular Targets of Natural Products for Chondroprotection in Destructive Joint Diseases
by Thanasekaran Jayakumar, Periyakali Saravana Bhavan and Joen-Rong Sheu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 4931; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21144931 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3307
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis that occurs in an aged population. It affects any joints in the body and degenerates the articular cartilage and the subchondral bone. Despite the pathophysiology of OA being different, cartilage resorption is still a [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis that occurs in an aged population. It affects any joints in the body and degenerates the articular cartilage and the subchondral bone. Despite the pathophysiology of OA being different, cartilage resorption is still a symbol of osteoarthritis. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are important proteolytic enzymes that degrade extra-cellular matrix proteins (ECM) in the body. MMPs contribute to the turnover of cartilage and its break down; their levels have increased in the joint tissues of OA patients. Application of chondroprotective drugs neutralize the activities of MMPs. Natural products derived from herbs and plants developed as traditional medicine have been paid attention to, due to their potential biological effects. The therapeutic value of natural products in OA has increased in reputation due to their clinical impact and insignificant side effects. Several MMPs inhibitor have been used as therapeutic drugs, for a long time. Recently, different types of compounds were reviewed for their biological activities. In this review, we summarize numerous natural products for the development of MMPs inhibitors in arthritic diseases and describe the major signaling targets that were involved for the treatments of these destructive joint diseases. Full article
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35 pages, 1486 KiB  
Review
Nutraceuticals in the Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
by José L. Sánchez-Gloria, Horacio Osorio-Alonso, Abraham S. Arellano-Buendía, Roxana Carbó, Adrián Hernández-Díazcouder, Carlos A. Guzmán-Martín, Ivan Rubio-Gayosso and Fausto Sánchez-Muñoz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 4827; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21144827 - 8 Jul 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5548
Abstract
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a severe disease characterized by the loss and obstructive remodeling of the pulmonary arterial wall, causing a rise in pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance, which is responsible for right heart failure, functional decline, and death. Although [...] Read more.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a severe disease characterized by the loss and obstructive remodeling of the pulmonary arterial wall, causing a rise in pulmonary arterial pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance, which is responsible for right heart failure, functional decline, and death. Although many drugs are available for the treatment of this condition, it continues to be life-threatening, and its long-term treatment is expensive. On the other hand, many natural compounds present in food have beneficial effects on several cardiovascular conditions. Several studies have explored many of the potential beneficial effects of natural plant products on PAH. However, the mechanisms by which natural products, such as nutraceuticals, exert protective and therapeutic effects on PAH are not fully understood. In this review, we analyze the current knowledge on nutraceuticals and their potential use in the protection and treatment of PAH, as well as whether nutraceuticals could enhance the effects of drugs used in PAH through similar mechanisms. Full article
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18 pages, 1922 KiB  
Article
Norditerpenoids with Selective Anti-Cholinesterase Activity from the Roots of Perovskia atriplicifolia Benth.
by Sylwester Ślusarczyk, F. Sezer Senol Deniz, Renata Abel, Łukasz Pecio, Horacio Pérez-Sánchez, José P. Cerón-Carrasco, Helena den-Haan, Priyanka Banerjee, Robert Preissner, Edward Krzyżak, Wiesław Oleszek, Ilkay E. Orhan and Adam Matkowski
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(12), 4475; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21124475 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3143
Abstract
Inhibition of cholinesterases remains one of a few available treatment strategies for neurodegenerative dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. The current study was inspired by previous data on anticholinesterase properties of diterpenoids from Perovskia atriplicifolia and other Lamiaceae species. The acetylcholinesterase [...] Read more.
Inhibition of cholinesterases remains one of a few available treatment strategies for neurodegenerative dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. The current study was inspired by previous data on anticholinesterase properties of diterpenoids from Perovskia atriplicifolia and other Lamiaceae species. The acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibition by the three new natural compounds—(1R,15R)-1-acetoxycryptotanshinone (1), (1R)-1-acetoxytanshinone IIA (2), and (15R)-1-oxoaegyptinone A (3)—as well as, new for this genus, isograndifoliol (4) were assessed. Three of these compounds exhibited profound inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and much weaker inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). All compounds (14) selectively inhibited BChE (IC50 = 2.4, 7.9, 50.8, and 0.9 µM, respectively), whereas only compounds 3 and 4 moderately inhibited AChE (IC50 329.8 µM and 342.9 µM). Molecular docking and in silico toxicology prediction studies were also performed on the active compounds. Natural oxygenated norditerpenoids from the traditional Central Asian medicinal plant P. atriplicifolia are selective BChE inhibitors. Their high potential makes them useful candidate molecules for further investigation as lead compounds in the development of a natural drug against dementia caused by neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
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20 pages, 5249 KiB  
Article
Purified Tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze) Flower Saponins Induce the p53-Dependent Intrinsic Apoptosis of Cisplatin-Resistant Ovarian Cancer Cells
by Ning Ren, Lianfu Chen, Bo Li, Gary O. Rankin, Yi Charlie Chen and Youying Tu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(12), 4324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21124324 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2478
Abstract
Ovarian cancer is currently ranked at fifth in cancer deaths among women. Patients who have undergone cisplatin-based chemotherapy can experience adverse effects or become resistant to treatment, which is a major impediment for ovarian cancer treatment. Natural products from plants have drawn great [...] Read more.
Ovarian cancer is currently ranked at fifth in cancer deaths among women. Patients who have undergone cisplatin-based chemotherapy can experience adverse effects or become resistant to treatment, which is a major impediment for ovarian cancer treatment. Natural products from plants have drawn great attention in the fight against cancer recently. In this trial, purified tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze) flower saponins (PTFSs), whose main components are Chakasaponin I and Chakasaponin IV, inhibited the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer cell lines A2780/CP70 and OVCAR-3. Flow cytometry, caspase activity and Western blotting analysis suggested that such inhibitory effects of PTFSs on ovarian cancer cells were attributed to the induction of cell apoptosis through the intrinsic pathway rather than extrinsic pathway. The p53 protein was then confirmed to play an important role in PTFS-induced intrinsic apoptosis, and the levels of its downstream proteins such as caspase families, Bcl-2 families, Apaf-1 and PARP were regulated by PTFS treatment. In addition, the upregulation of p53 expression by PTFSs were at least partly induced by DNA damage through the ATM/Chk2 pathway. The results help us to understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of PTFSs on preventing and treating platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Full article
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19 pages, 4268 KiB  
Article
Chrysosplenol d, a Flavonol from Artemisia annua, Induces ERK1/2-Mediated Apoptosis in Triple Negative Human Breast Cancer Cells
by Sophia J. Lang, Michael Schmiech, Susanne Hafner, Christian Paetz, Katharina Werner, Menna El Gaafary, Christoph Q. Schmidt, Tatiana Syrovets and Thomas Simmet
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 4090; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21114090 - 8 Jun 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3973
Abstract
Triple negative human breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive cancer subtype with poor prognosis. Besides the better-known artemisinin, Artemisia annua L. contains numerous active compounds not well-studied yet. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode-array and mass spectrometric detection (HPLC-DAD-MS) was used for the [...] Read more.
Triple negative human breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive cancer subtype with poor prognosis. Besides the better-known artemisinin, Artemisia annua L. contains numerous active compounds not well-studied yet. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode-array and mass spectrometric detection (HPLC-DAD-MS) was used for the analysis of the most abundant compounds of an Artemisia annua extract exhibiting toxicity to MDA-MB-231 TNBC cells. Artemisinin, 6,7-dimethoxycoumarin, arteannuic acid were not toxic to any of the cancer cell lines tested. The flavonols chrysosplenol d and casticin selectively inhibited the viability of the TNBC cell lines, MDA-MB-231, CAL-51, CAL-148, as well as MCF7, A549, MIA PaCa-2, and PC-3. PC-3 prostate cancer cells exhibiting high basal protein kinase B (AKT) and no ERK1/2 activation were relatively resistant, whereas MDA-MB-231 cells with high basal ERK1/2 and low AKT activity were more sensitive to chrysosplenol d treatment. In vivo, chrysosplenol d and casticin inhibited MDA-MB-231 tumor growth on chick chorioallantoic membranes. Both compounds induced mitochondrial membrane potential loss and apoptosis. Chrysosplenol d activated ERK1/2, but not other kinases tested, increased cytosolic reactive oxygen species (ROS) and induced autophagy in MDA-MB-231 cells. Lysosomal aberrations and toxicity could be antagonized by ERK1/2 inhibition. The Artemisia annua flavonols chrysosplenol d and casticin merit exploration as potential anticancer therapeutics. Full article
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12 pages, 917 KiB  
Article
Cost Effective Use of a Thiosulfinate-Enriched Allium sativum Extract in Combination with Chemotherapy in Colon Cancer
by Jose Manuel Perez-Ortiz, Eva Maria Galan-Moya, Miguel Angel de la Cruz-Morcillo, Juan Francisco Rodriguez, Ignacio Gracia, Maria Teresa Garcia and Francisco Javier Redondo-Calvo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082766 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4065
Abstract
In this work, we sought to investigate the effects of a thiosulfinate-enriched garlic extract, co-administered with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or oxaliplatin chemotherapy, on the viability of colon cancer cells (Caco-2 and HT-29). We also addressed the economic feasibility of a new combined treatment of [...] Read more.
In this work, we sought to investigate the effects of a thiosulfinate-enriched garlic extract, co-administered with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or oxaliplatin chemotherapy, on the viability of colon cancer cells (Caco-2 and HT-29). We also addressed the economic feasibility of a new combined treatment of this thiosulfinate-enriched garlic extract, with oxaliplatin that could reduce the dosage and costs of a monotherapy. The thiosulfinate-enriched garlic extract not only enhanced the impact of 5-FU and oxaliplatin (500 µM) in decreasing Caco-2 and HT-29 viability, but also showed a higher effect than standard 5-FU and oxaliplatin chemotherapy as anti-cancer agents. These results provided evidences for the combination of lyophilized garlic extract and 5-FU or oxaliplatin as a novel chemotherapy regimen in colon cancer cells that may also reduce the clinical therapy costs. Full article
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16 pages, 20463 KiB  
Article
Anemarrhenae asphodeloides rhizoma Extract Enriched in Mangiferin Protects PC12 Cells against a Neurotoxic Agent-3-Nitropropionic Acid
by Agnieszka Piwowar, Nina Rembiałkowska, Anna Rorbach-Dolata, Arnold Garbiec, Sylwester Ślusarczyk, Agnieszka Dobosz, Anna Długosz, Zofia Marchewka, Adam Matkowski and Jolanta Saczko
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072510 - 4 Apr 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3970
Abstract
The rhizome of Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a brain function-improving herb, is a promising source of neuroprotective substances. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protective action of xanthones from A. asphodeloides rhizomes on the PC12 [...] Read more.
The rhizome of Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a brain function-improving herb, is a promising source of neuroprotective substances. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protective action of xanthones from A. asphodeloides rhizomes on the PC12 cell line exposed to the neurotoxic agent—3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP). The xanthone-enriched fraction of the ethanolic extract of A. asphodeloides (abbreviated from now on as XF, for the Xanthone Fraction), rich in polyphenolic xanthone glycosides, in concentrations from 5 to 100 μg/mL, and 3-NP in concentrations from 2.5 to 15 mM, were examined. After 8, 16, 24, 48, and 72 h of exposure of cells to various combinations of 3-NP and XF, the MTT viability assay was performed and morphological changes were estimated by confocal fluorescence microscopy. The obtained results showed a significant increase in the number of cells surviving after treatment with XF with exposure to neurotoxic 3-NP and decreased morphological changes in PC12 cells in a dose and time dependent manner. The most effective protective action was observed when PC12 cells were pre-incubated with the XF. This effect may contribute to the traditional indications of this herb for neurological and cognitive complaints. However, a significant cytotoxicity observed at higher XF concentrations (over 10 µg/mL) and longer incubation time (48 h) requires caution in future research and thorough investigation into potential adverse effects. Full article
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16 pages, 2022 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Cytotoxicity Assessment of the Lipophilic Fractions of Different Morphological Parts of Acacia dealbata
by Cátia S. D. Oliveira, Patrícia Moreira, Judite Resende, Maria T. Cruz, Cláudia M. F. Pereira, Artur M. S. Silva, Sónia A. O. Santos and Armando J. D. Silvestre
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051814 - 6 Mar 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3653
Abstract
Acacia dealbata biomass, either from forest exploitation or from the management of invasive species, can be a strategic topic, namely as a source of high-value compounds. In this sense, the present study aimed at the detailed characterization of the lipophilic components of different [...] Read more.
Acacia dealbata biomass, either from forest exploitation or from the management of invasive species, can be a strategic topic, namely as a source of high-value compounds. In this sense, the present study aimed at the detailed characterization of the lipophilic components of different morphological parts of A. dealbata and the evaluation of their cytotoxicity in cells representative of different mammals’ tissues. The chemical composition of lipophilic extracts from A. dealbata bark, wood and leaves was evaluated using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Terpenic compounds (representing 50.2%–68.4% of the total bark and leaves extracts, respectively) and sterols (60.5% of the total wood extract) were the main components of these extracts. Other constituents, such as fatty acids, long-chain aliphatic alcohols, monoglycerides, and aromatic compounds were also detected in the studied extracts. All the extracts showed low or no cytotoxicity in the different cells tested, demonstrating their safety profile and highlighting their potential to be used in nutraceutical or pharmaceutical applications. This study is therefore an important contribution to the valorization of A. dealbata, demonstrating the potential of this species as a source of high value lipophilic compounds. Full article
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13 pages, 7435 KiB  
Article
Physcion-Matured Dendritic Cells Induce the Differentiation of Th1 Cells
by Yun-Ho Hwang, Su-Jin Kim and Sung-Tae Yee
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051753 - 4 Mar 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2830
Abstract
In addition to their use as colorants, anthraquinone derivatives have numerous medical applications, for example, as antibacterial and antiinflammatory agents. We confirmed that physcion (an anthraquinone derivative) induces TNF-alpha production by macrophages and increased the expressions of surface molecules (CD40, CD80, and CD86) [...] Read more.
In addition to their use as colorants, anthraquinone derivatives have numerous medical applications, for example, as antibacterial and antiinflammatory agents. We confirmed that physcion (an anthraquinone derivative) induces TNF-alpha production by macrophages and increased the expressions of surface molecules (CD40, CD80, and CD86) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II. Based on these results, we hypothesized that physcion might induce the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) to antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and decided to conduct in vitro experiments using bone-marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs). Physcion was not toxic to DCs and increased the expression of surface molecules (e.g., CD40, CD80, CD86, and MHC II) and the production of cytokines (e.g., IL-12p70, IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha), but not of IL-10. To confirm that DCs matured by physcion induce T-cell-immune responses, naive CD4+ T cells were treated with physcion-treated DCs or their supernatants. Physcion induced the maturation of DCs, which promoted the polarization of Th1 cells. Our results show physcion-induced DC maturation via TLR4, and that mature DCs promote the differentiation of Th1 cells without affecting the differentiation of Th2 cells. These findings show that physcion has potential use as a treatment for inflammatory diseases associated with Th1/Th2 cell imbalance. Full article
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13 pages, 1962 KiB  
Article
Cordycepin Resensitizes T24R2 Cisplatin-Resistant Human Bladder Cancer Cells to Cisplatin by Inactivating Ets-1 Dependent MDR1 Transcription
by Sang-Seok Oh, Ki Won Lee, Hamadi Madhi, Jin-Woo Jeong, Soojong Park, Minju Kim, Yerin Lee, Hyun-Tak Han, Cheol Hwangbo, Jiyun Yoo and Kwang Dong Kim
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051710 - 2 Mar 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3597
Abstract
Tumor cell resistance to anti-cancer drugs is a major obstacle in tumor therapy. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of cordycepin-mediated resensitization to cisplatin in T24R2 cells, a T24-derived cell line. Treatment with cordycepin or cisplatin (2 μg/mL) alone failed to induce [...] Read more.
Tumor cell resistance to anti-cancer drugs is a major obstacle in tumor therapy. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of cordycepin-mediated resensitization to cisplatin in T24R2 cells, a T24-derived cell line. Treatment with cordycepin or cisplatin (2 μg/mL) alone failed to induce cell death in T24R2 cells, but combination treatment with these drugs significantly induced apoptosis through mitochondrial pathways, including depolarization of mitochondrial membranes, decrease in anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1, and increase in pro-apoptotic proteins Bak and Bax. High expression levels of MDR1 were the cause of cisplatin resistance in T24R2 cells, and cordycepin significantly reduced MDR1 expression through inhibition of MDR1 promoter activity. MDR1 promoter activity was dependent on transcription factor Ets-1 in T24R2 cells. Although correlation exists between MDR1 and Ets-1 expression in bladder cancer patients, active Ets-1, Thr38 phosphorylated form (pThr38), was critical to induce MDR1 expression. Cordycepin decreased pThr-38 Ets-1 levels and reduced MDR1 transcription, probably through its effects on PI3K signaling, inducing the resensitization of T24R2 cells to cisplatin. The results suggest that cordycepin effectively resensitizes cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cells to cisplatin, thus serving as a potential strategy for treatment of cancer in patients with resistance to anti-cancer drugs. Full article
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26 pages, 4921 KiB  
Review
New Insights into the Biological and Pharmaceutical Properties of Royal Jelly
by Saboor Ahmad, Maria Graça Campos, Filippo Fratini, Solomon Zewdu Altaye and Jianke Li
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020382 - 8 Jan 2020
Cited by 136 | Viewed by 15838
Abstract
Royal jelly (RJ) is a yellowish-white and acidic secretion of hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of nurse bees used to feed young worker larvae during the first three days and the entire life of queen bees. RJ is one of the most appreciated and [...] Read more.
Royal jelly (RJ) is a yellowish-white and acidic secretion of hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of nurse bees used to feed young worker larvae during the first three days and the entire life of queen bees. RJ is one of the most appreciated and valued natural product which has been mainly used in traditional medicines, health foods, and cosmetics for a long time in different parts of the world. It is also the most studied bee product, aimed at unravelling its bioactivities, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-aging, immunomodulatory, and general tonic action against laboratory animals, microbial organisms, farm animals, and clinical trials. It is commonly used to supplement various diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we highlight the recent research advances on the main bioactive compounds of RJ, such as proteins, peptides, fatty acids, and phenolics, for a comprehensive understanding of the biochemistry, biological, and pharmaceutical responses to human health promotion and life benefits. This is potentially important to gain novel insight into the biological and pharmaceutical properties of RJ. Full article
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2019

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18 pages, 1822 KiB  
Review
Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder
by Pit Shan Chong, Man-Lung Fung, Kah Hui Wong and Lee Wei Lim
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010163 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 76 | Viewed by 39398
Abstract
Depression is a common and severe neuropsychiatric disorder that is one of the leading causes of global disease burden. Although various anti-depressants are currently available, their efficacies are barely adequate and many have side effects. Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s mane mushroom, [...] Read more.
Depression is a common and severe neuropsychiatric disorder that is one of the leading causes of global disease burden. Although various anti-depressants are currently available, their efficacies are barely adequate and many have side effects. Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s mane mushroom, has been shown to have various health benefits, including antioxidative, antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihyperglycemic, and hypolipidemic effects. It has been used to treat cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Bioactive compounds extracted from the mycelia and fruiting bodies of H. erinaceus have been found to promote the expression of neurotrophic factors that are associated with cell proliferation such as nerve growth factors. Although antidepressant effects of H. erinaceus have not been validated and compared to the conventional antidepressants, based on the neurotrophic and neurogenic pathophysiology of depression, H. erinaceus may be a potential alternative medicine for the treatment of depression. This article critically reviews the current literature on the potential benefits of H. erinaceus as a treatment for depressive disorder as well as its mechanisms underlying the antidepressant-like activities. Full article
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16 pages, 3477 KiB  
Article
Mechanistic Insights into Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis Mediated by Tannic Acid in Human Liver Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
by Priscilla Mhlanga, Pearl O. Perumal, Anou M. Somboro, Daniel G. Amoako, Hezekiel M. Khumalo and Rene B. Khan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246145 - 5 Dec 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 4007
Abstract
The study investigated the cytotoxic effect of a natural polyphenolic compound Tannic acid (TA) on human liver hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells and elucidated the possible mechanisms that lead to apoptosis and oxidative stress HepG2 cell. The HepG2 cells were treated with TA for [...] Read more.
The study investigated the cytotoxic effect of a natural polyphenolic compound Tannic acid (TA) on human liver hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells and elucidated the possible mechanisms that lead to apoptosis and oxidative stress HepG2 cell. The HepG2 cells were treated with TA for 24 h and various assays were conducted to determine whether TA could induce cell death and oxidative stress. The cell viability assay was used to determine the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), caspase activity and cellular ATP were determined by luminometry. Microscopy was employed to determine deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) integrity, while thiobarbituric acid (TBARS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) assays were used to elucidate cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), respectively. Western blotting was used to confirm protein expression. The results revealed that tannic acid induced caspase activation and increased the presence of cellular ROS and RNS, while downregulating antioxidant expression. Tannic acid also showed increased cell death and increased DNA fragmentation. In conclusion, TA was able to induce apoptosis by DNA fragmentation via caspase-dependent and caspase-independent mechanism. It was also able to induce oxidative stress, consequently contributing to cell death. Full article
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18 pages, 3900 KiB  
Article
Bovine Lactoferrin Pre-Treatment Induces Intracellular Killing of AIEC LF82 and Reduces Bacteria-Induced DNA Damage in Differentiated Human Enterocytes
by Maria Stefania Lepanto, Luigi Rosa, Antimo Cutone, Mellani Jinnett Scotti, Antonietta Lucia Conte, Massimiliano Marazzato, Carlo Zagaglia, Catia Longhi, Francesca Berlutti, Giovanni Musci, Piera Valenti and Maria Pia Conte
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225666 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3289
Abstract
LF82, a prototype of adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC), is able to adhere to, invade, survive and replicate into intestinal epithelial cells. LF82 is able to enhance either its adhesion and invasion by up-regulating carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM-6), the main cell [...] Read more.
LF82, a prototype of adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC), is able to adhere to, invade, survive and replicate into intestinal epithelial cells. LF82 is able to enhance either its adhesion and invasion by up-regulating carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM-6), the main cell surface molecule for bacterial adhesion, and its intracellular survival by inducing host DNA damage, thus blocking the cellular cycle. Lactoferrin (Lf) is a multifunctional cationic glycoprotein of natural immunity, exerting an anti-invasive activity against LF82 when added to Caco-2 cells at the moment of infection. Here, the infection of 12 h Lf pre-treated Caco-2 cells was carried out at a time of 0 or 3 or 10 h after Lf removal from culture medium. The effect of Lf pre-treatment on LF82 invasiveness, survival, cell DNA damage, CEACAM-6 expression, apoptosis induction, as well as on Lf subcellular localization, has been evaluated. Lf, even if removed from culture medium, reduced LF82 invasion and survival as well as bacteria-induced DNA damage in Caco-2 cells independently from induction of apoptosis, modulation of CEACAM-6 expression and Lf sub-cellular localization. At our knowledge, this is the first study showing that the sole Lf pre-treatment can activate protective intracellular pathways, reducing LF82 invasiveness, intracellular survival and cell–DNA damages. Full article
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16 pages, 3741 KiB  
Article
The Positive Effects of Grifola frondosa Heteropolysaccharide on NAFLD and Regulation of the Gut Microbiota
by Xin Li, Feng Zeng, Yifan Huang and Bin Liu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(21), 5302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20215302 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 4670
Abstract
: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major public health problem in many countries. In this study, the ability of Grifola frondosa heteropolysaccharide (GFP) to ameliorate NAFLD was investigated in rats fed a high-fat diet (HFD). The molecular mechanisms modulating the expression [...] Read more.
: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major public health problem in many countries. In this study, the ability of Grifola frondosa heteropolysaccharide (GFP) to ameliorate NAFLD was investigated in rats fed a high-fat diet (HFD). The molecular mechanisms modulating the expression of specific gene members related to lipid synthesis and conversion, cholesterol metabolism, and inflammation pathways were determined. The components of the intestinal microflora in rats were analyzed by high-throughput next-generation 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Supplementation with GFP significantly increased the proportions of Allobaculum, Bacteroides, and Bifidobacterium and decreased the proportions of Acetatifactor, Alistipes, Flavonifractor, Paraprevotella, and Oscillibacter. In addition, Alistipes, Flavonifractor, and Oscillibacter were shown to be significant cecal microbiota according to the Spearman’s correlation test between the gut microbiota and biomedical assays (|r| > 0.7). Histological analysis and biomedical assays showed that GFP treatments could significantly protect against NAFLD. In addition, Alistipes, Flavonifractor, and Oscillibacter may play vital roles in the prevention of NAFLD. These results suggest that GFP could be used as a functional material to regulate the gut microbiota of NAFLD individuals. Full article
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15 pages, 2756 KiB  
Article
Ursolic Acid Suppresses Cholesterol Biosynthesis and Exerts Anti-Cancer Effects in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
by Geon-Hee Kim, Sang-Yeon Kan, Hyeji Kang, Sujin Lee, Hyun Myung Ko, Ji Hyung Kim and Ji-Hong Lim
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4767; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194767 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 4068
Abstract
Abnormally upregulated cholesterol and lipid metabolism, observed commonly in multiple cancer types, contributes to cancer development and progression through the activation of oncogenic growth signaling pathways. Although accumulating evidence has shown the preventive and therapeutic benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs for cancer management, the [...] Read more.
Abnormally upregulated cholesterol and lipid metabolism, observed commonly in multiple cancer types, contributes to cancer development and progression through the activation of oncogenic growth signaling pathways. Although accumulating evidence has shown the preventive and therapeutic benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs for cancer management, the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs is needed for treatment of cancer as well as metabolism-related chronic diseases. Ursolic acid (UA), a natural pentacyclic terpenoid, suppresses cancer growth and metastasis, but the precise underlying molecular mechanism for its anti-cancer effects is poorly understood. Here, using sterol regulatory element (SRE)-luciferase assay-based screening on a library of 502 natural compounds, this study found that UA activates sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2). The expression of cholesterol biosynthesis-related genes and enzymes increased in UA-treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. The UA increased cell cycle arrest and apoptotic death in HCC cells and reduced the activation of oncogenic growth signaling factors, all of which was significantly reversed by cholesterol supplementation. As cholesterol supplementation successfully reversed UA-induced attenuation of growth in HCC cells, it indicated that UA suppresses HCC cells growth through its cholesterol-lowering effect. Overall, these results suggested that UA is a promising cholesterol-lowering nutraceutical for the prevention and treatment of patients with HCC and cholesterol-related chronic diseases. Full article
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