Hydrocortisone cream intended for atopic eczema often produces unwanted side effects after long-term use. These side effects are essentially due to repeated percutaneous administration of the medication for skin dermatitis, as atopic eczema is a relapsing disorder. Hence, there is a need to develop a new hydrocortisone formulation that will deliver the drug more effectively and require a reduced dosing frequency; therefore, the side effects could be minimized. In this study, a hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) lyogel system based on 80% organic and 20% aqueous solvents containing 1% hydrocortisone was formulated. The hydrocortisone lyogel physicochemical characteristics, rheological properties, stability profile, and in vitro Franz cell drug release properties, as well as the in vivo therapeutic efficacies and dermal irritancy in Balb/c mice were investigated. The HPMC lyogel appeared clear and soft and was easy to rub on the skin. The lyogel also showed a higher drug release profile compared with commercial hydrocortisone cream. Similar to the cream, HPMC lyogels exhibited pseudoplastic behavior. From the mouse model, the hydrocortisone lyogel showed higher inflammatory suppressive effects than the cream. However, it did not reduce the transepidermal water loss as effectively as the control did. The dermal irritancy testing revealed that the hydrocortisone lyogel caused minimal irritation. In conclusion, HPMC lyogel is a promising vehicle to deliver hydrocortisone topically, as it showed a higher drug release in vitro as well as enhanced therapeutic efficacy in resolving eczematous inflammatory reaction compared with commercial cream.
Orotic acid (OA) nanoparticles were prepared using the freeze-drying method. The antihypertensive activity and antioxidant capacity of OA and orotic acid-loaded gum arabic nanoparticles (OAGANPs) were examined using the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), nitric oxide (NO), and β-carotene assays, as well as the quantification of total phenolic content (TPC). The DPPH and NO scavenging activities of OAGANPs were significantly higher than those of the OA solution. The β-carotene bleaching assay of OAGANPs showed a dose-dependent trend, while 500 μg/ml was significantly more effective than the other concentrations, which exerted 63.4% of the antioxidant activity. The in vitro antihypertensive assay revealed that the OAGANPs exhibited the most potent ACE inhibition activity, when compared to the OA solution. Hence, results revealed the potential of preparing the OA as a nanoparticle formulation in enhancing the antioxidant and antihypertensive properties compared to the OA solution.
SPRY domain- and SOCS box-containing proteins SPSB1, SPSB2, and SPSB4 interact with inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), causing the iNOS to be polyubiquitinated and targeted for degradation. Inhibition of this interaction increases iNOS levels, and consequently cellular nitric oxide (NO) concentrations, and has been proposed as a potential strategy for killing intracellular pathogens. We previously described two DINNN-containing cyclic peptides (CP1 and CP2) as potent inhibitors of the murine SPSB-iNOS interaction. In this study, we report the crystal structures of human SPSB4 bound to CP1 and CP2 and human SPSB2 bound to CP2. We then used these structures to design a new inhibitor in which an intramolecular hydrogen bond was replaced with a hydrocarbon linkage to form a smaller macrocycle while maintaining the bound geometry of CP2 observed in the crystal structures. This resulting pentapeptide SPSB-iNOS inhibitor (CP3) has a reduced macrocycle ring size, fewer nonbinding residues, and includes additional conformational constraints. CP3 has a greater affinity for SBSB2 ( KD = 7 nM as determined by surface plasmon resonance) and strongly inhibits the SPSB2-iNOS interaction in macrophage cell lysates. We have also determined the crystal structure of CP3 in complex with human SPSB2, which reveals the structural basis for the increased potency of CP3 and validates the original design.
Safe immunostimulants (adjuvants) are essential for the development of highly potent peptide-based vaccines. This study examined for the first time whether fluorinated lipids could stimulate humoral immunity in vivo when conjugated to peptide antigen. The impact of fluorination on humoral immunity was tested using a library of peptide-based vaccine candidates against the group A streptococcus (GAS). The fluorinated constructs stimulated similar mouse IgG titers to those elicited by complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) and were higher than those produced in mice that received the nonfluorinated constructs.
The interaction between natural occurring inhibitors and targeted membrane proteins could be an alternative medicinal strategy for the treatment of metabolic syndrome, notably, obesity. In this study, we identified malabaricones A-C and E (1-4) isolated from the fruits of Myristica cinnamomea King as natural inhibitors for sphingomyelin synthase (SMS), a membrane protein responsible for sphingolipid biosynthesis. Having the most promising inhibition, oral administration of compound 3 exhibited multiple efficacies in reducing weight gain, improving glucose tolerance, and reducing hepatic steatosis in high fat diet-induced obesity mice models. Liver lipid analysis revealed a crucial link between the SMS activities of compound 3 and its lipid metabolism in vitro and in vivo. The nontoxic nature of compound 3 makes it a suitable candidate in search of drugs which can be employed in the treatment and prevention of obesity.
Infection with Toxoplasma gondii is widespread and important in humans, especially pregnant women and immunosuppressed patients. A panel of tests is usually required for diagnosis toxoplasmosis. Excretory secretory antigen (ESA) is highly immunogenic, and thus it is a good candidate for investigation into new infection markers. ESA was prepared from tachyzoites of RH strain of T. gondii by mice intraperitoneal infection. Sera were obtained from several categories of individuals who differed in their status of anti-Toxoplasma IgM, IgG and IgG avidity antibodies. The ESA was subjected to SDS-PAGE, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and Western blot analysis. Antigenic bands of approximate molecular weights of 12, 20 and 30 kDa, when probed with anti-human IgM-HRP and IgA-HRP, showed good potential as infection markers. The highest sensitivity of the bands was 98.7% with combination of IgM and IgA blots with sera of patients with anti-Toxoplasma IgM+ IgG+. The specificities were 84% and 70% with sera from other infections and healthy controls in IgM blots and IgA blots respectively. By mass spectrometry, the 12 kDa protein was identified as thioredoxin. The two top proteins identified for 20 kDa molecule were microneme protein 10 and dense granule protein 7; whereas that for 30 kDa were phosphoglycerate mutase 1 and phosphoglycerate mutase.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injury in crashes with heavy vehicles due to substantial differences in vehicle mass, the degree of protection and speed. There is a considerable difference in height between motorcycles and trucks; motorcycles are viewed by truck drivers from downward angles, and shorter distances between them mean steeper downward angles. Hence, we anticipated that the effects of motorcycle conspicuity treatments would be different for truck drivers. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the effects of motorcycle conspicuity treatments on the identification and detection of motorcycles by truck drivers. Two complementary experiments were performed; the first experiment assessed the impact of motorcycle sensory conspicuity on the ability of un-alerted truck drivers to detect motorcycles, and the second experiment assessed the motorcycle cognitive conspicuity to alerted truck drivers. The sensory conspicuity was measured in terms of motorcycle detection rates by un-alerted truck drivers when they were not anticipating a motorcycle within a realistic driving scene, while the cognitive conspicuity was determined by the time taken by alerted truck drivers to actively search for a motorcycle. In the first experiment, the participants were presented with 10 pictures and were instructed to report the kinds of vehicles that were presented in the pictures. Each picture was shown to the participants for 600ms. In the second experiment, the participants were presented with the same set of pictures and were instructed to respond by clicking the right button on a mouse as soon as they detected a motorcycle in the picture. The results indicate that the motorcycle detection rate increases, and the response time to search for a motorcycle decreases, as the distance between the targeted motorcycle and the viewer decreases. This is true regardless of the type of conspicuity treatment used. The use of daytime running headlights (DRH) was found to increase the detection rate and the identification of a motorcycle by a truck driver at a farther distance, but effect deteriorates as the distance decreases. The results show that the detection rate and the identification of a motorcyclist wearing a black helmet with a reflective sticker increases as the distance between the motorcycle and the truck decreases. We also found that a motorcyclist wearing a white helmet and a white outfit is more identifiable and detectable at both shorter and longer distances. In conclusion, although this study provides evidence that the use of appropriate conspicuity treatments enhances motorcycle conspicuity to truck drivers, we suggest that more attention should be paid to the effect of background environment on motorcycle conspicuity.
Natural plant extracts offer a promising hope in the prevention/treatment of cancer arising from genetic mutations. This study evaluated in vitro and in vivo mutagenic and antimutagenic effects of aqueous fraction of Myristica fragrans (AFMF) leaves on TA100 strain of Salmonella typhimurium and Mus musculus (Male Swiss albino mice), respectively. The antioxidant activity of AFMF against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), total phenolic and flavonoid contents were determined, followed by its phytochemical elucidation using the Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography technique (UPLC). The mutagenicity of AFMF at 4, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 µg/well was <2.0 in S. typhimurium and the induced micronucleated polychromatic and normochromatic erythrocytes at 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 mg/kg were not significantly different from the negative control (p≥0.05). The mutagenic activity of benzo[a]pyrene and cyclophosphamide was significantly suppressed above 50.0% throughout the tested concentrations. Fifty percent of the free radicals from DPPH were scavenged by AFMF at 0.11 mg/ml. Total phenolic and flavonoid contents of AFMF were 51.0 mg GAE/g and 27 mg QE/g, respectively. Rutin was elucidated by the UPLC technique, and thereby suspected to be the phytochemical responsible for the observed antimutagenic activity. Thus far, AFMF seems to contain a promising chemotherapeutic agent for the prevention of genetic damage that is crucial for cancer development.
The aim of the present study was to analyze the immunolocalization of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and IGF-2 and their receptors in the oviduct and uterus of control and diabetic mice. Sexually mature female ICR mice aged 6-8 weeks were rendered diabetic by streptozotocin (200 mg/kg, administered intraperitoneally). Oviductal and uterine tissues were obtained from the superovulated control and diabetic mice at 48, 72 and 96 h post-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatment. Localization of IGF-1, IGF-2, IGF-1R and IGF-2R was determined by immunohistochemistry and a semi-quantitative scoring of immunolabelling was performed using a standardized 5-point system. The immunohistochemical scorings for both IGF-1 and IGF-1R were significantly decreased in the oviducts of diabetic mice at 96 h post-hCG treatment. The scores for IGF-2 were significantly increased in the oviducts of diabetic mice at 48 and 72 h post-hCG treatment, and for IGF-2R at 72 h post-hCG treatment. However, there was no significant difference in the scores of IGFs and their receptors in the uterus of control and diabetic mice. In conclusion, the oviductal immunolabelling for IGFs and their receptors was significantly altered by maternal diabetes, which may be of importance in the pathogenesis of preimplantation diabetic embryopathy.
Glucose and steroids have been used in the treatment of children with Reye's syndrome, while carnitine and coenzyme Q10 have been the subject of some recent studies which suggest that these agents may have a role in the treatment of Reye's syndrome and Reye-like syndrome due to margosa oil poisoning. Because of the paucity of causes of Reye's syndrome seen at any one centre, the clinical variability of the disease, and limited knowledge of definite aetiologic factors, controlled clinical trials are not easy to carry out or to interpret in human cases. These caveats were overcome by evaluation of these four treatment modalities in an established margosa-oil-induced animal model of Reye's syndrome. Effectiveness of the treatment modalities was determined from clinical response and histopathologic parameters (grading of light microscopic fatty changes and ultrastructural changes in the hepatocytes). Results show that carnitine per se produces a small improvement in survival, but statistically, more significant benefit is seen with glucose administration. Carnitine plus 10% dextrose appears to produce better results. Evaluation of coenzyme Q10 and carnitine on histopathologic parameters in the liver after a sublethal dose of margosa oil showed no obvious ameliorating effect on liver pathology. Steroids (dexamethasone/methylprednisolone) had no beneficial effects in reducing mortality, affecting glycogen storage or lipid accumulation. Changes in the mitochondria, ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum were unaltered from the groups treated with margosa oil alone. While glucose and carnitine supplements appear to be beneficial, the other modes of therapy do not seem to hold much promise in the treatment of Reye-like syndrome in the margosa-oil-induced animal model.
Plasmodium knowlesi can cause potentially life threatening human malaria. The Plasmodium merozoite surface protein-142 (MSP-142) is a potential target for malaria blood stage vaccine, and for diagnosis of malaria. Two epitope mapping techniques were used to identify the potential epitopes within P. knowlesi MSP-142. Nine and 14 potential epitopes were identified using overlapping synthetic peptide library and phage display library, respectively. Two regions on P. knowlesi MSP-142 (amino acid residues 37-95 and residues 240-289) were identified to be the potential dominant epitope regions. Two of the prominent epitopes, P10 (TAKDGMEYYNKMGELYKQ) and P31 (RCLLGFKEVGGKCVPASI), were evaluated using mouse model. P10- and P31-immunized mouse sera reacted with recombinant P. knowlesi MSP-142, with the IgG isotype distribution of IgG2b>IgG1>IgG2a>IgG3. Significant higher level of cytokines interferon-gamma and interleukin-2 was detected in P31-immunized mice. Both P10 and P31 could be the suitable epitope candidates to be used in malaria vaccine designs and immunodiagnostic assays, provided further evaluation is needed to validate the potential uses of these epitopes.
The low potency of cobra antivenom has been an area of concern in immunotherapy for cobra envenomation. This study sought to investigate factors limiting the neutralizing potency of cobra antivenom, using a murine model. We examined the immunological reactivity and neutralizing potency of a Thai polyvalent antivenom against the principal toxins of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom and two related Asiatic cobra venom α-neurotoxins. The antivenom possesses moderate neutralizing potency against phospholipases A2 (P, potency of 0.98mg/mL) and moderately weak neutralizing potency against long-chain α-neurotoxins (0.26-0.42mg/mL) but was only weakly effective in neutralizing the short-chain α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins (0.05-0.08mg/mL). The poor neutralizing potency of the antivenom on the low molecular mass short-chain neurotoxins and cardiotoxins is presumably the main limiting factor of the efficacy of the cobra antivenom. Our results also showed that phospholipase A2, which exhibited the highest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was most effectively neutralized, whereas N. sumatrana short-chain neurotoxin, which exhibited the lowest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was least effectively neutralized by the antivenom. These observations suggest that low immunoreactivity (low ELISA reactivity and avidity) is one of the reasons for poor neutralization of the cobra venom low molecular mass toxins. Nevertheless, the overall results show that there is a lack of congruence between the immunological reactivity of the toxins toward antivenom and the effectiveness of toxin neutralization by the antivenom, indicating that there are other factors that also contribute to the weak neutralization capacity of the antivenom. Several suggestions have been put forward to overcome the low efficacy of the cobra antivenom. The use of a 'proper-mix' formulation of cobra venoms as immunogen, whereby the immunogen mixture used for hyperimmunization contains a mix of various types of α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins in sufficient amount, may also help to improve the efficacy and broaden the neutralization spectrum of the antivenom.
Snake envenomation is a serious public health threat in many rural areas of Asia and Africa. Antivenom has hitherto been the definite treatment for snake envenomation. Owing to a lack of local production of specific antivenom, most countries in these regions fully depend on foreign supplies of antivenoms. Often, the effectiveness of the imported antivenoms against local medically important species has not been validated. This study aimed to assess cross-neutralizing capacity of a recently developed polyvalent antivenom, Hemato Polyvalent Snake Antivenom (HPAV), against venoms of a common viper and some pit vipers from Southeast Asia. Neutralisation assays showed that HPAV was able to effectively neutralize lethality of the common Southeast Asian viperid venoms examined (Calloselasma, Crytelytrops, Popeia, and Daboia sp.) except for Tropidolaemus wagleri venom. HPAV also effectively neutralized the procoagulant and hemorrhagic activities of all the venoms examined, corroboratively supporting the capability of HPAV in neutralizing viperid venoms which are principally hematoxic. The study also indicated that HPAV fully prevented the occurrence of hematuria and proteinuria in mice envenomed with Thai Daboia siamensis venom but was only partially effective against venoms of Myanmar D. siamensis. Thus, HPAV appears to be useful against its homologous venoms and venoms from Southeast Asian viperids including several medically important pit vipers belonging to the Trimeresurus complex. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of HPAV as a paraspecific antivenom for treatment of viperid envenomation in Southeast Asian region requires further assessment from future clinical trials.
The proteome of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom was investigated by shotgun analysis and a combination of ion-exchange chromatography and reverse phase HPLC. Shotgun analysis revealed the presence of 39 proteins in the venom while the chromatographic approach identified 37 venom proteins. The results indicated that, like other Asiatic cobra venoms, N. sumatrana contains large number of three finger toxins and phospholipases A2, which together constitute 92.1% by weight of venom protein. However, only eight of the toxins can be considered as major venom toxins. These include two phospholipases A2, three neurotoxins (two long neurotoxins and a short neurotoxin) and three cardiotoxins. The eight major toxins have relative abundance of 1.6-27.2% venom proteins and together account for 89.8% (by weight) of total venom protein. Other venom proteins identified include Zn-metalloproteinase-disintegrin, Thaicobrin, CRISP, natriuretic peptide, complement depleting factors, cobra venom factors, venom nerve growth factor and cobra serum albumin. The proteome of N. sumatrana venom is similar to proteome of other Asiatic cobra venoms but differs from that of African spitting cobra venom. Our results confirm that the main toxic action of N. sumatrana venom is neurotoxic but the large amount of cardiotoxins and phospholipases A2 are likely to contribute significantly to the overall pathophysiological action of the venom. The differences in toxin distribution between N. sumatrana venom and African spitting cobra venoms suggest possible differences in the pathophysiological actions of N. sumatrana venom and the African spitting cobra venoms, and explain why antivenom raised against Asiatic cobra venom is not effective against African spitting cobra venoms.
Envenomation by hump-nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale, Hh) in Sri Lanka has caused significant morbidity and mortality, attributed to 35% of total venomous snakebites. In Southwestern India (Kerala), H. hypnale was increasingly identified as a dangerous and common source of envenomation, second to the Russell's viper but ahead of the cobra bites. Unfortunately, there is still no specific antivenom to date. This study aims to investigate the immunological properties of the venom and to assess the feasibility of specific Hh antivenom production as well as the development of a diagnostic assay. Hh venom elicited satisfactory titers of anti-Hh IgG in rabbits after 3rd immunization. The anti-Hh IgG, isolated with caprylic acid precipitation method, was effective in neutralizing the venom lethality (potency=48 LD(50) per ml IgG) as well as its procoagulant, hemorrhagic and necrotic effects, indicating the possibility to produce the specific antivenom using the common immunization regime. Cross-reactivity studies using indirect ELISA showed that anti-Hh IgG cross-reacted extensively with several Asiatic crotalid venoms, particularly that of Calloselasma rhodostoma (73.6%), presumably due to the presence of venom antigens common to both snakes. Levels of immunological cross-reactivity were vastly reduced with double-sandwich ELISA. Further work demonstrated that the assay was able to distinguish and quantify venoms of H. hypnale, Daboia russelii and Echis carinatus sinhaleyus (three common local viperid) used to spike human sera at various concentrations. The assay hence may be a useful investigating tool for diagnosing biting species and studying the time course profile of venom concentrations in blood.
Hypnale hypnale (hump-nosed pit viper) is a medically important venomous snake in Sri Lanka and Southwestern India. Bite of this snake may result in hemostatic dysfunction, acute kidney injury and death. Clinical studies indicated that the locally available polyvalent antivenoms produced in India are not effective against hump-nosed pit viper envenoming. Hence, there is an urgent need to search for effective antivenom. In this paper, we examined the ability of Calloselasma rhodostoma (Malayan pit viper) monovalent antivenom and the Hemato polyvalent antivenom (both produced by Thai Red Cross Society, TRCS) to neutralize the lethality and toxic effects of H. hypnale venom, as C. rhodostoma is considered a sister taxon of H. hypnale. In vitro neutralization studies showed that the Hemato polyvalent antivenom effectively neutralized the lethality of H. hypnale venom (1.52mgvenom/mL antivenom) as well as the hemorrhagic, procoagulant and necrotic activities of the venom. The monovalent C. rhodostoma antivenom could also neutralize the lethality and toxic activities of the venom, but the potency was lower. The Hemato polyvalent antivenom also effectively protected mice from the lethal and local effects of H. hypnale venom in an in vivo rodent model of envenoming. Furthermore, the polyvalent antivenom could also effectively neutralize the venom of Daboia russelii (2.50mgvenom/mL antivenom), another common cause of snake bites in Sri Lanka and South India. These findings suggested that the Hemato polyvalent antivenom may be beneficial in the antivenom treatment of H. hypnale envenoming.
Dengue virus (DENV) has emerged as a major economic concern in developing countries, with 2.5 billion people believed to be at risk. Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) lining the circulatory system from heart to end vessels perform crucial functions in the human body, by aiding gas exchange in lungs, gaseous, nutritional and its waste exchange in all tissues, including the blood brain barrier, filtration of fluid in the glomeruli, neutrophil recruitment, hormone trafficking, as well as maintenance of blood vessel tone and hemostasis. These functions can be deregulated during DENV infection. In this study, BALB/c mice infected with DENV serotype 2 were analyzed histologically for changes in major blood vessels in response to DENV infection. In the uninfected mouse model, blood vessels showed normal architecture with intact endothelial monolayer, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. In the infected mouse model, DENV distorted the endothelium lining and disturbed the smooth muscle, elastic laminae and their supporting tissues causing vascular structural disarrangement. This may explain the severe pathological illness in DENV-infected individuals. The overall DENV-induced damages on the endothelial and it's supporting tissues and the dysregulated immune reactions initiated by the host were discussed.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is one of the viruses that cause hand, foot and mouth disease. Its viral capsid protein 1 (VP1), which contains many neutralization epitopes, is an ideal target for vaccine development. Recently, we reported the induction of a strong immune response in rabbits to a truncated VP1 fragment (Nt-VP1t) displayed on a recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) capsid protein. Protective efficacy of this vaccine, however, can only be tested in mice, since all EV71 animal models thus far were developed in mouse systems. In this study, we evaluated the type of immune responses against the protein developed by adult BALB/c mice. Nt-VP1t protein induced high levels of VP1 IgG antibody production in mice. Purified VP1 antigen stimulated activation, proliferation and differentiation of splenocytes harvested from these mice. They also produced significant levels of IFN-γ, a Th1-related cytokine. Taken together, Nt-VP1t protein is a potent immunogen in adult mice and our findings provide the data needed for testing of its protective efficacy in mouse models of EV71 infections.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a widely abused herbal drug preparation in Southeast Asia. It is often consumed as a substitute for heroin, but imposing itself unknown harms and addictive burdens. Mitragynine is the major psychostimulant constituent of kratom that has recently been reported to induce morphine-like behavioural and cognitive effects in rodents. The effects of chronic consumption on non-drug related behaviours are still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the effects of chronic mitragynine treatment on spontaneous activity, reward-related behaviour and cognition in mice in an IntelliCage® system, and compared them with those of morphine and Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). We found that chronic mitragynine treatment significantly potentiated horizontal exploratory activity. It enhanced spontaneous sucrose preference and also its persistence when the preference had aversive consequences. Furthermore, mitragynine impaired place learning and its reversal. Thereby, mitragynine effects closely resembled that of morphine and THC sensitisation. These findings suggest that chronic mitragynine exposure enhances spontaneous locomotor activity and the preference for natural rewards, but impairs learning and memory. These findings confirm pleiotropic effects of mitragynine (kratom) on human lifestyle, but may also support the recognition of the drug's harm potential.