New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Pharmaceutical Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 March 2024) | Viewed by 21572

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Dear Colleagues,

The first volume of this Special Issue was a great success (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/life/special_issues/Pharmaceutical_Sciences); therefore, we invite you to publish your research in the second volume of this Special Issue.

This Special Issue entitled “New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science–Volume II” will collect high-quality articles in the cutting-edge field of pharmaceutical sciences. We encourage all research groups covering relevant areas to contribute research articles and comprehensive reviews, reflecting the latest progress in their research field.

Prof. Dr. Ramón Cacabelos
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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 1792 KiB  
Article
Anxiolytic-like Activity, Antioxidant Properties, and Facilitatory Effects on the Short-Term Memory Retention of Molsidomine in Rats
by Liliana Mititelu-Tartau, Maria Bogdan, Liliana Lăcrămioara Pavel, Ciprian Rezus, Cezar Ilie Foia, Nicoleta Dima, Irina Luciana Gurzu, Ana-Maria Pelin and Beatrice Rozalina Buca
Life 2024, 14(3), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14030306 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Compelling evidence indicates that nitric oxide (NO) exerts a significant influence on the central nervous system, participates in the modulation of neurotransmitter release, contributes to the regulation of cognitive functions, and plays a crucial role in modulating various aspects of neural activity. We [...] Read more.
Compelling evidence indicates that nitric oxide (NO) exerts a significant influence on the central nervous system, participates in the modulation of neurotransmitter release, contributes to the regulation of cognitive functions, and plays a crucial role in modulating various aspects of neural activity. We aimed to explore the influence of two NO donors, molsidomine (MSD) and V-pyrro/NO, on the innate spontaneous psychomotor abilities and short-term memory in rats. Using an actimeter test, the locomotor activity, stress-sensitive behavior, and anxiety level were investigated. The influence on the animal`s cognitive functions was evaluated usingthe Y-maze test to assess the spontaneous alternation percentage, number of arms visited, number of alternations, and the preference index. Four distinct groups of five white male Wistar rats were exposed to the intraperitoneal treatments as follows: Control batch—0.3 mL/100 g of body weight saline solution, Mg batch—200 mg/kbwof magnesium chloride, MSD batch—1 mg/kbw of molsidomine, and V-pyrro/NO batch—5 mg/kbwof V-pyrro/NO. The intraperitoneal administration of MSD resulted in a significant reduction in spontaneous behavior and exploratory skills but was less pronounced than the positive control drug, magnesium chloride. Conversely, treatment with V-pyrro/NO led to only a slight decrease in horizontal movements during the actimeter test. MSD administration, but not V-pyrro/NO, notably increased the rate of spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze test. Additionally, the use of MSD resulted in an increase in the blood level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the intensification of the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase activity. In our experimental setup, we demonstrated that MSD exposure led to a decrease in spontaneous behavior, showed anxiolytic effects and antioxidant activity, and improved spatial memory acquisition in rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 3911 KiB  
Article
Nutlin-3 Loaded Ethosomes and Transethosomes to Prevent UV-Associated Skin Damage
by Elisabetta Esposito, Francesca Ferrara, Markus Drechsler, Olga Bortolini, Daniele Ragno, Sofia Toldo, Agnese Bondi, Alessandra Pecorelli, Rebecca Voltan, Paola Secchiero, Giorgio Zauli and Giuseppe Valacchi
Life 2024, 14(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14010155 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1036
Abstract
The skin’s protective mechanisms, in some cases, are not able to counteract the destructive effects induced by UV radiations, resulting in dermatological diseases, as well as skin aging. Nutlin-3, a potent drug with antiproliferative activity in keratinocytes, can block UV-induced apoptosis by activation [...] Read more.
The skin’s protective mechanisms, in some cases, are not able to counteract the destructive effects induced by UV radiations, resulting in dermatological diseases, as well as skin aging. Nutlin-3, a potent drug with antiproliferative activity in keratinocytes, can block UV-induced apoptosis by activation of p53. In the present investigation, ethosomes and transethosomes were designed as delivery systems for nutlin-3, with the aim to protect the skin against UV damage. Vesicle size distribution was evaluated by photon correlation spectroscopy and morphology was investigated by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, while nutlin-3 entrapment capacity was evaluated by ultrafiltration and HPLC. The in vitro diffusion kinetic of nutlin-3 from ethosomes and transethosomes was studied by Franz cell. Moreover, the efficiency of ethosomes and transethosomes in delivering nutlin-3 and its protective role were evaluated in ex vivo skin explants exposed to UV radiations. The results indicate that ethosomes and transethosomes efficaciously entrapped nutlin-3 (0.3% w/w). The ethosome vesicles were spherical and oligolamellar, with a 224 nm mean diameter, while in transethosome the presence of polysorbate 80 resulted in unilamellar vesicles with a 146 nm mean diameter. The fastest nutlin-3 kinetic was detected in the case of transethosomes, with permeability coefficients 7.4-fold higher, with respect to ethosomes and diffusion values 250-fold higher, with respect to the drug in solution. Ex vivo data suggest a better efficacy of transethosomes to promote nutlin-3 delivery within the skin, with respect to ethosomes. Indeed, nutlin-3 loaded transethosomes could prevent UV effect on cutaneous metalloproteinase activation and cell proliferative response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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23 pages, 3311 KiB  
Article
Psilocybin and Eugenol Reduce Inflammation in Human 3D EpiIntestinal Tissue
by Gregory Ian Robinson, Dongping Li, Bo Wang, Tahiat Rahman, Marta Gerasymchuk, Darryl Hudson, Olga Kovalchuk and Igor Kovalchuk
Life 2023, 13(12), 2345; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13122345 - 15 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2220
Abstract
Inflammation plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), by contributing to tissue damage and exacerbating the immune response. The investigation of serotonin receptor 2A (5-HT2A) ligands and transient receptor potential (TRP) channel ligands is of significant [...] Read more.
Inflammation plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), by contributing to tissue damage and exacerbating the immune response. The investigation of serotonin receptor 2A (5-HT2A) ligands and transient receptor potential (TRP) channel ligands is of significant interest due to their potential to modulate key inflammatory pathways, mitigate the pathological effects of inflammation, and offer new avenues for therapeutic interventions in IBD. This study investigates the anti-inflammatory effects of 5-HT2A ligands, including psilocybin, 4-AcO-DMT, and ketanserin, in combination with TRP channel ligands, including capsaicin, curcumin, and eugenol, on the inflammatory response induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ in human 3D EpiIntestinal tissue. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to assess the expression of pro-inflammatory markers TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and GM-CSF. Our results show that psilocybin, 4-AcO-DMT, and eugenol significantly reduce TNF-α and IFN-γ levels, while capsaicin and curcumin decrease these markers to a lesser extent. Psilocybin effectively lowers IL-6 and IL-8 levels, but curcumin, capsaicin, and 4-AcO-DMT have limited effects on these markers. In addition, psilocybin can significantly decrease MCP-1 and GM-CSF levels. While ketanserin lowers IL-6 and GM-CSF levels, there are no effects seen on TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-8, or MCP-1. Although synergistic effects between 5-HT2A and TRP channel ligands are minimal in this study, the results provide further evidence of the anti-inflammatory effects of psilocybin and eugenol. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of action and the feasibility of using these compounds as anti-inflammatory therapies for conditions like IBD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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11 pages, 445 KiB  
Article
Developmental Toxicity Study of DL-4-Hydroxy-4-Phenylhexanamide (DL-HEPB) in Rats
by José Melesio Cristóbal-Luna, María Angélica Mojica-Villegas, Sergio Enrique Meza-Toledo, Yuliana García-Martínez, Angélica Pérez-Juárez and Germán Chamorro-Cevallos
Life 2023, 13(8), 1714; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13081714 - 10 Aug 2023
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Antiepileptic drugs affect embryonic development when administered during pregnancy, generating severe alterations, such as as cleft lip, spina bifida, heart abnormalities, or neuronal alterations. The compound DL-4-hydroxy-4-phenylhexanamide (DL-HEPB), a phenyl alcohol amide structurally different from known anticonvulsants, has shown good anticonvulsant effects in [...] Read more.
Antiepileptic drugs affect embryonic development when administered during pregnancy, generating severe alterations, such as as cleft lip, spina bifida, heart abnormalities, or neuronal alterations. The compound DL-4-hydroxy-4-phenylhexanamide (DL-HEPB), a phenyl alcohol amide structurally different from known anticonvulsants, has shown good anticonvulsant effects in previous studies. However, its effects on intrauterine development are unknown. So, the purpose of this study was to determine the potential of DL-HEPB to produce alterations in conceptus. Pregnant Wistar rats were orally exposed to 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg of DL-HEPB during organogenesis, and their food consumption and weight gain were measured. On gestation day 21, pregnant females were euthanized to analyze the fetuses for external, visceral, and skeletal malformations. A significant decrease in food consumption and body weight was observed in mothers, without any other manifestation of toxicity. In fetuses, no external malformations, visceral, or skeletal abnormalities, were observed under the dose of 100 mg/kg, while the dose of 200 mg/kg caused malformations in low frequency in brain and kidneys. In view of the results obtained, DL-HEPB could be a good starting point for the design of new highly effective anticonvulsant agents, with much lower developmental toxicity than that shown by commercial anticonvulsants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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19 pages, 5617 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Evaluation of Nanofibrous and Film-Structured Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Inserts for Sustained Ocular Delivery: Pharmacokinetic Study in Rabbit’s Eye
by Shiva Taghe, Shahla Mirzaeei and Arian Ahmadi
Life 2023, 13(4), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13040913 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1824
Abstract
Conventional anti-infective eye drops are the most common forms of drugs prescribed for the management of topical ocular infections. Despite their convenience, topical eye drops face multiple challenges, including limited bioavailability and repetitive administration. The present study aimed to prepare, evaluate, and compare [...] Read more.
Conventional anti-infective eye drops are the most common forms of drugs prescribed for the management of topical ocular infections. Despite their convenience, topical eye drops face multiple challenges, including limited bioavailability and repetitive administration. The present study aimed to prepare, evaluate, and compare film-structured and nanofibrous ocular inserts using biocompatible polymers of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and polycaprolactone (PCL) to achieve sustained ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride (CIP) delivery. The nanofibrous formulations were prepared by electrospinning and glutaraldehyde crosslinking while the film formulation was prepared by solvent casting. Nanofibrous inserts had mean diameters in the range 330–450 nm. Both film and nanofibrous inserts were strong, although the nanofibers had higher flexibility. In vitro antibacterial efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli was observed for all formulations and cell viability of more than 70% confirmed their non-toxicity. In vitro release studies showed prolonged release of 2 days for the film and 5 days for the nanofibers compared with a 10-h release of CIP from the eye drop. Pharmacokinetic studies of rabbits’ eyes showed 4.5–5-folds higher AUC for the nanofiber formulations compared with the eye drop. Thus, prolonged-release film-structured and nanofibrous inserts are suitable carriers for ocular delivery of CIP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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21 pages, 5177 KiB  
Article
Bioactive Compounds and Signaling Pathways of Wolfiporia extensa in Suppressing Inflammatory Response by Network Pharmacology
by Juri Jin, Md. Helal Uddin Chowdhury, Md. Hafizur Rahman, Ki-Young Choi and Md. Adnan
Life 2023, 13(4), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13040893 - 27 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1762
Abstract
Wolfiporia extensa (WE) is a medicinal mushroom and an excellent source of naturally occurring anti-inflammatory substances. However, the particular bioactive compound(s) and mechanism(s) of action against inflammation have yet to be determined. Here, we studied anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds and their molecular mechanisms through [...] Read more.
Wolfiporia extensa (WE) is a medicinal mushroom and an excellent source of naturally occurring anti-inflammatory substances. However, the particular bioactive compound(s) and mechanism(s) of action against inflammation have yet to be determined. Here, we studied anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds and their molecular mechanisms through network pharmacology. Methanol (ME) extract of WE (MEWE) was used for GC-MS analysis to identify the bioactives, which were screened by following Lipinski’s rules. Public databases were used to extract selected bioactives and inflammation-related targets, and Venn diagrams exposed the common targets. Then, STRING and Cytoscape tools were used to construct protein-protein (PPI) network and mushroom-bioactives-target (M-C-T) networks. Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analysis were performed by accessing the DAVID database and molecular docking was conducted to validate the findings. The chemical reactivity of key compounds and standard drugs was explored by the computational quantum mechanical modelling method (DFT study). Results from GC-MS revealed 27 bioactives, and all obeyed Lipinski’s rules. The public databases uncovered 284 compound-related targets and 7283 inflammation targets. A Venn diagram pointed to 42 common targets which were manifested in the PPI and M-C-T networks. KEGG analysis pointed to the HIF-1 signaling pathway and, hence, the suggested strategy for preventing the onset of inflammatory response was inhibition of downstream NFKB, MAPK, mTOR, and PI3K-Akt signaling cascades. Molecular docking revealed the strongest binding affinity for “N-(3-chlorophenyl) naphthyl carboxamide” on five target proteins associated with the HIF-1 signaling pathway. Compared to the standard drug utilized in the DFT (Density Functional Theory) analysis, the proposed bioactive showed a good electron donor component and a reduced chemical hardness energy. Our research pinpoints the therapeutic efficiency of MEWE and this work suggests a key bioactive compound and its action mechanism against inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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14 pages, 1594 KiB  
Article
The Role of Mu Opioid Receptors in High Fat Diet-Induced Reward and Potentiation of the Rewarding Effect of Oxycodone
by Asif Iqbal, Abdul Hamid, Syed Muzzammil Ahmad and Kabirullah Lutfy
Life 2023, 13(3), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13030619 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1723
Abstract
Excessive high fat diet (HFD) consumption can induce food addiction, which is believed to involve the communication between the hypothalamus and mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons, originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). These brain areas are densely [...] Read more.
Excessive high fat diet (HFD) consumption can induce food addiction, which is believed to involve the communication between the hypothalamus and mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons, originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). These brain areas are densely populated with opioid receptors, raising the possibility that these receptors, and particularly mu opioid receptors (MORs), are involved in rewards elicited by palatable food. This study sought to investigate the involvement of MORs in HFD-induced reward and if there is any difference between male and female subjects in this response. We also assessed if exposure to HFD would alter the rewarding action of oxycodone, a relatively selective MOR agonist. The place conditioning paradigm was used as an animal model of reward to determine if short-time (STC, 2 h) or long-time (LTC, 16 h) conditioning with HFD induces reward or alters the rewarding action of oxycodone. Male and female C57BL/6J mice as well as MOR knockout and their wildtype littermates of both sexes were tested for basal place preference on day 1 and then conditioned with an HFD in one chamber and a regular chow diet (RCD) in another chamber for 2 h on alternate days. Three sets of STC were used, followed by a set of LTC. Each set of conditioning consisted of two conditioning with RCD and two conditioning with HFD. Mice were tested for place preference after each set of STC and again after LTC. Controls were conditioned with RCD in both conditioning chambers. Following the last place preference test, mice were treated with oxycodone and conditioned in the HFD-paired chamber and with saline in the RCD-paired chamber for one hour once a day to explore the possibility if the HFD could alter oxycodone reward. The result showed that HFD induced conditioned place preference (CPP) in male but not female subjects. However, oxycodone conditioning elicited reward in both male and female mice of the HFD group but not the control group, showing that prior conditioning with HFD potentiated the rewarding action of oxycodone. The latter response was mediated via MORs, as it was blunted in MOR knockout mice. Similarly, HFD-induced CPP was blunted in male MOR knockout mice, suggesting sexual dimorphism in this response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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Review

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32 pages, 5406 KiB  
Review
Advancement in Solubilization Approaches: A Step towards Bioavailability Enhancement of Poorly Soluble Drugs
by Lakshmi Kumari, Yash Choudhari, Preeti Patel, Ghanshyam Das Gupta, Dilpreet Singh, Jessica M. Rosenholm, Kuldeep Kumar Bansal and Balak Das Kurmi
Life 2023, 13(5), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13051099 - 27 Apr 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 6967
Abstract
A drug’s aqueous solubility is defined as the ability to dissolve in a particular solvent, and it is currently a major hurdle in bringing new drug molecules to the market. According to some estimates, up to 40% of commercialized products and 70–90% of [...] Read more.
A drug’s aqueous solubility is defined as the ability to dissolve in a particular solvent, and it is currently a major hurdle in bringing new drug molecules to the market. According to some estimates, up to 40% of commercialized products and 70–90% of drug candidates in the development stage are poorly soluble, which results in low bioavailability, diminished therapeutic effects, and dosage escalation. Because of this, solubility must be taken into consideration when developing and fabricating pharmaceutical products. To date, a number of approaches have been investigated to address the problem of poor solubility. This review article attempts to summarize several conventional methods utilized to increase the solubility of poorly soluble drugs. These methods include the principles of physical and chemical approaches such as particle size reduction, solid dispersion, supercritical fluid technology, cryogenic technology, inclusion complex formation techniques, and floating granules. It includes structural modification (i.e., prodrug, salt formation, co-crystallization, use of co-solvents, hydrotrophy, polymorphs, amorphous solid dispersions, and pH variation). Various nanotechnological approaches such as liposomes, nanoparticles, dendrimers, micelles, metal organic frameworks, nanogels, nanoemulsions, nanosuspension, carbon nanotubes, and so forth have also been widely investigated for solubility enhancement. All these approaches have brought forward the enhancement of the bioavailability of orally administered drugs by improving the solubility of poorly water-soluble drugs. However, the solubility issues have not been completely resolved, owing to several challenges associated with current approaches, such as reproducibility in large scale production. Considering that there is no universal approach for solving solubility issues, more research is needed to simplify the existing technologies, which could increase the number of commercially available products employing these techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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27 pages, 1808 KiB  
Review
Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Eugenol in Cancer: Recent Trends and Advancement
by Ipsa Padhy, Paramita Paul, Tripti Sharma, Sabyasachi Banerjee and Arijit Mondal
Life 2022, 12(11), 1795; https://doi.org/10.3390/life12111795 - 06 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3567
Abstract
Background: Cancer is, at present, among the leading causes of morbidity globally. Despite advances in treatment regimens for cancer, patients suffer from poor prognoses. In this context, the availability of vast natural resources seems to alleviate the shortcomings of cancer chemotherapy. The last [...] Read more.
Background: Cancer is, at present, among the leading causes of morbidity globally. Despite advances in treatment regimens for cancer, patients suffer from poor prognoses. In this context, the availability of vast natural resources seems to alleviate the shortcomings of cancer chemotherapy. The last decade has seen a breakthrough in the investigations related to the anticancer potential of dietary phytoconstituents. Interestingly, a handsome number of bioactive principles, ranging from phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, stilbenes, and terpenoids to organosulphur compounds have been screened for their anticancer properties. Among the phenylpropanoids currently under clinical studies for anticancer activity, eugenol is a promising candidate. Eugenol is effective against cancers like breast, cervical, lung, prostate, melanomas, leukemias, osteosarcomas, gliomas, etc., as evident from preclinical investigations. Objective: The review aims to focus on cellular and molecular mechanisms of eugenol for cancer prevention and therapy. Methods: Based on predetermined criteria, various scholarly repositories, including PubMed, Scopus, and Science Direct were analyzed for anticancer activities of eugenol. Results: Different biochemical investigations reveal eugenol inducing cytotoxicity, inhibiting phases of the cell cycles, programmed cell death, and auto-phagocytosis in studied cancer lines; thus, portraying eugenol as a promising anticancer molecule. A survey of current literature has unveiled the molecular mechanisms intervened by eugenol in exercising its anticancer role. Conclusion: Based on the critical analysis of the literature, eugenol exhibits vivid signaling pathways to combat cancers of different origins. The reports also depict the advancement of novel nano-drug delivery approaches upgrading the therapeutic profile of eugenol. Therefore, eugenol nanoformulations may have enormous potential for both the treatment and prevention of cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Pharmaceutical Science: 2nd Edition)
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