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  1. Tay YL, Teah YF, Chong YM, Jamil MFA, Kollert S, Adenan MI, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2016 08 15;305:22-39.
    PMID: 27260674 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.05.022
    Mitragyna speciosa Korth is known for its euphoric properties and is frequently used for recreational purposes. Several poisoning and fatal cases involving mitragynine have been reported but the underlying causes remain unclear. Human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) encodes the cardiac IKr current which is a determinant of the duration of ventricular action potentials and QT interval. On the other hand, IK1, a Kir current mediated by Kir2.1 channel and IKACh, a receptor-activated Kir current mediated by GIRK channel are also known to be important in maintaining the cardiac function. This study investigated the effects of mitragynine on the current, mRNA and protein expression of hERG channel in hERG-transfected HEK293 cells and Xenopus oocytes. The effects on Kir2.1 and GIRK channels currents were also determined in the oocytes. The hERG tail currents following depolarization pulses were inhibited by mitragynine with an IC50 value of 1.62μM and 1.15μM in the transfected cell line and Xenopus oocytes, respectively. The S6 point mutations of Y652A and F656A attenuated the inhibitor effects of mitragynine, indicating that mitragynine interacts with these high affinity drug-binding sites in the hERG channel pore cavity which was consistent with the molecular docking simulation. Interestingly, mitragynine does not affect the hERG expression at the transcriptional level but inhibits the protein expression. Mitragynine is also found to inhibit IKACh current with an IC50 value of 3.32μM but has no significant effects on IK1. Blocking of both hERG and GIRK channels may cause additive cardiotoxicity risks.
  2. Chow PW, Abdul Hamid Z, Chan KM, Inayat-Hussain SH, Rajab NF
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2015 Apr 1;284(1):8-15.
    PMID: 25645895 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2015.01.016
    Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) are sensitive targets for benzene-induced hematotoxicity and leukemogenesis. The impact of benzene exposure on the complex microenvironment of HSCs and HPCs remains elusive. This study aims to investigate the mechanism linking benzene exposure to targeting HSCs and HPCs using phenotypic and clonogenic analyses. Mouse bone marrow (BM) cells were exposed ex vivo to the benzene metabolite, 1,4-benzoquinone (1,4-BQ), for 24h. Expression of cellular surface antigens for HSC (Sca-1), myeloid (Gr-1, CD11b), and lymphoid (CD45, CD3e) populations were confirmed by flow cytometry. The clonogenicity of cells was studied using the colony-forming unit (CFU) assay for multilineage (CFU-GM and CFU-GEMM) and single-lineage (CFU-E, BFU-E, CFU-G, and CFU-M) progenitors. 1,4-BQ demonstrated concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in mouse BM cells. The percentage of apoptotic cells increased (p < 0.05) following 1,4-BQ exposure. Exposure to 1,4-BQ showed no significant effect on CD3e(+) cells but reduced the total counts of Sca-1(+), CD11b(+), Gr-1(+), and CD45(+) cells at 7 and 12 μM (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the CFU assay showed reduced (p < 0.05) clonogenicity in 1,4-BQ-treated cells. 1,4-BQ induced CFU-dependent cytotoxicity by significantly inhibiting colony growth for CFU-E, BFU-E, CFU-G, and CFU-M starting at a low concentration of exposure (5μM); whereas for the CFU-GM and CFU-GEMM, the inhibition of colony growth was remarkable only at 7 and 12μM of 1,4-BQ, respectively. Taken together, 1,4-BQ caused lineage-related cytotoxicity in mouse HPCs, demonstrating greater toxicity in single-lineage progenitors than in those of multi-lineage.
  3. Muhsain SN, Lang MA, Abu-Bakar A
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2015 Jan 1;282(1):77-89.
    PMID: 25478736 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.11.010
    The intracellular level of bilirubin (BR), an endogenous antioxidant that is cytotoxic at high concentrations, is tightly controlled within the optimal therapeutic range. We have recently described a concerted intracellular BR regulation by two microsomal enzymes: heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1), essential for BR production and cytochrome P450 2A5 (CYP2A5), a BR oxidase. Herein, we describe targeting of these enzymes to hepatic mitochondria during oxidative stress. The kinetics of microsomal and mitochondrial BR oxidation were compared. Treatment of DBA/2J mice with 200mgpyrazole/kg/day for 3days increased hepatic intracellular protein carbonyl content and induced nucleo-translocation of Nrf2. HMOX1 and CYP2A5 proteins and activities were elevated in microsomes and mitoplasts but not the UGT1A1, a catalyst of BR glucuronidation. A CYP2A5 antibody inhibited 75% of microsomal BR oxidation. The inhibition was absent in control mitoplasts but elevated to 50% after treatment. An adrenodoxin reductase antibody did not inhibit microsomal BR oxidation but inhibited 50% of mitochondrial BR oxidation. Ascorbic acid inhibited 5% and 22% of the reaction in control and treated microsomes, respectively. In control mitoplasts the inhibition was 100%, which was reduced to 50% after treatment. Bilirubin affinity to mitochondrial and microsomal CYP2A5 enzyme is equally high. Lastly, the treatment neither released cytochrome c into cytoplasm nor dissipated membrane potential, indicating the absence of mitochondrial membrane damage. Collectively, the observations suggest that BR regulatory enzymes are recruited to mitochondria during oxidative stress and BR oxidation by mitochondrial CYP2A5 is supported by mitochondrial mono-oxygenase system. The induced recruitment potentially confers membrane protection.
  4. Rajah T, Chow SC
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2014 Jul 15;278(2):100-6.
    PMID: 24768707 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.04.014
    The caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbony (Cbz)-l-Val-Ala-Asp (OMe)-fluoromethylketone (z-VAD-FMK) has recently been shown to inhibit T cell proliferation without blocking caspase-8 and caspase-3 activation in primary T cells. We showed in this study that z-VAD-FMK treatment leads to a decrease in intracellular glutathione (GSH) with a concomitant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in activated T cells. The inhibition of anti-CD3-mediated T cell proliferation induced by z-VAD-FMK was abolished by the presence of low molecular weight thiols such as GSH, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and l-cysteine, whereas d-cysteine which cannot be metabolised to GSH has no effect. These results suggest that the depletion of intracellular GSH is the underlying cause of z-VAD-FMK-mediated inhibition of T cell activation and proliferation. The presence of exogenous GSH also attenuated the inhibition of anti-CD3-induced CD25 and CD69 expression mediated by z-VAD-FMK. However, none of the low molecular weight thiols were able to restore the caspase-inhibitory properties of z-VAD-FMK in activated T cells where caspase-8 and caspase-3 remain activated and processed into their respective subunits in the presence of the caspase inhibitor. This suggests that the inhibition of T cell proliferation can be uncoupled from the caspase-inhibitory properties of z-VAD-FMK. Taken together, the immunosuppressive effects in primary T cells mediated by z-VAD-FMK are due to oxidative stress via the depletion of GSH.
  5. Liow KY, Chow SC
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2013 Nov 1;272(3):559-67.
    PMID: 23933532 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2013.07.022
    The cathepsin B inhibitor, benzyloxycarbonyl-phenylalanine-alanine-chloromethylketone (z-FA-CMK) was found to be toxic and readily induced cell death in the human T cell line, Jurkat, whereas two other analogs benzyloxycarbonyl-phenylalanine-alanine-fluoromethylketone (z-FA-FMK) and benzyloxycarbonyl-phenylalanine-alanine-diazomethylketone (z-FA-DMK) were not toxic. The toxicity of z-FA-CMK requires not only the CMK group, but also the presence of alanine in the P1 position and the benzyloxycarbonyl group at the N-terminal. Dose-response studies showed that lower concentrations of z-FA-CMK induced apoptosis in Jurkat T cells whereas higher concentrations induced necrosis. In z-FA-CMK-induced apoptosis, both initiator caspases (-8 and -9) and effector caspases (-3, -6 and -7) were processed to their respective subunits in Jurkat T cells. However, only the pro-form of the initiator caspases were reduced in z-FA-CMK-induced necrosis and no respective subunits were apparent. The caspase inihibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-valine-alanine-aspartic acid-(O-methyl)-fluoromehylketone (z-VAD-FMK) inhibits apoptosis and caspase processing in Jurkat T cells treated with low concentration of z-FA-CMK but has no effect on z-FA-CMK-induced necrosis and the loss of initiator caspases. This suggests that the loss of initiator caspases in Jurkat T cells during z-FA-CMK-induced necrosis is not a caspase-dependent process. Taken together, we have demonstrated that z-FA-CMK is toxic to Jurkat T cells and induces apoptosis at low concentrations, while at higher concentrations the cells die of necrosis.
  6. Ismail N, Jambari NN, Zareen S, Akhtar MN, Shaari K, Zamri-Saad M, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2012 Mar 1;259(2):257-62.
    PMID: 22266348 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2012.01.003
    Asthma is associated with increased pulmonary inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. The current use of corticosteroids in the management of asthma has recently raised issues regarding safety and lack of responsiveness in 5-10% of asthmatic individuals. The aim of the present study was to investigate the therapeutic effect of a non-steroidal small molecule that has cysteinyl leukotriene (cysLT) inhibitory activity, upon attenuation of allergic lung inflammation in an acute murine model. Mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) and treated with several intraperitoneal doses (100, 20, 2 and 0.2mg/kg) of 2,4,6,-trihydroxy-3-geranylacetophenone (tHGA). Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed, blood and lung samples were obtained and respiratory function was measured. OVA sensitization increased pulmonary inflammation and pulmonary allergic inflammation was significantly reduced at doses of 100, 20 and 2mg/kg with no effect at the lowest dose of 0.2mg/kg. The beneficial effects in the lung were associated with reduced eosinophilic infiltration and reduced secretion of Th2 cytokines and cysLTs. Peripheral blood reduction of total IgE was also a prominent feature. Treatment with tHGA significantly attenuated altered airway hyperresponsiveness as measured by the enhanced pause (Penh) response to incremental doses of methacholine. These data demonstrate that tHGA, a synthetic non-steroidal small molecule, can prevent acute allergic inflammation. This proof of concept opens further avenues of research and development of tHGA as an additional option to the current armamentarium of anti-asthma therapeutics.
  7. Mustafa AM, Malintan NT, Seelan S, Zhan Z, Mohamed Z, Hassan J, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2007 Jul 1;222(1):25-32.
    PMID: 17490695
    This study is a result of an analysis of free and conjugated phytoestrogens daidzein, genistein, daidzin, genistin and coumesterol in human cord blood plasma using LCMS. Cord blood was collected from urban and rural populations of Malaysia (n=300) to establish a simple preliminary database on the levels of the analyzed compounds in the collected samples. The study also aimed to look at the levels of phytoestrogens in babies during birth as this may have a profound effect on the developmental process. The sample clean up was carried out by solid-phase extraction using C18 column and passed through DEAE sephadex gel before analysis by LCMS. The mean concentrations of total phytoestrogens were daidzein (1.4+/-2.9 ng/ml), genistein (3.7+/-2.8 ng/ml), daidzin (3.5+/-3.1 ng/ml), genistin (19.5+/-4.2 ng/ml) and coumesterol (3.3+/-3.3 ng/ml). Distribution of phytoestrogen was found to be higher in samples collected from rural areas compared to that of urban areas.
  8. Inayat-Hussain SH, Lubis SH, Sakian NI, Ghazali AR, Ali NS, El Sersi M, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2007 Mar;219(2-3):210-6.
    PMID: 17140616
    A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the effects of acute and chronic pesticide exposure on the plasma beta-glucuronidase enzyme activity among five patients of acute pesticide poisoning in Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Klang, 230 farmers in the MADA area, Kedah and 49 fishermen in Setiu, Terengganu. The duration of pesticide exposure among the patients was unknown, but the plasma samples from patients were collected on day one in the hospital. The duration of pesticide exposure among the farmers was between 1 and 45 years. The beta-glucuronidase activity was compared with plasma cholinesterase activity in the same individual. The plasma cholinesterase activity was measured using Cholinesterase (PTC) Reagent set kit (Teco Diagnostics, UK) based on colorimetric method, while the plasma beta-glucuronidase activity was measured fluorometrically based on beta-glucuronidase assay. The plasma cholinesterase activity was significantly reduced (p<0.05) among the patients (1386.786+/-791.291 U/L/min) but the inhibition in plasma cholinesterase activity among the farmers (7346.5+/-1860.786 U/L/min) was not significant (p>0.05). The plasma beta-glucuronidase activity among the farmers was significantly elevated (p<0.05) (0.737+/-0.425 microM/h) but not significant among the patients (p>0.05). The plasma cholinesterase activity was positively correlated with the plasma beta-glucuronidase activity among the farmers (r=0.205, p<0.01) but not among the patients (r=0.79, p>0.05). Thus, plasma beta-glucuronidase enzyme activity can be measured as a biomarker for the chronic exposure of pesticide. However, further studies need to be performed to confirm whether plasma beta-glucuronidase can be a sensitive biomarker for anticholinesterase pesticide poisoning.
  9. Lim JC, Goh FY, Sagineedu SR, Yong AC, Sidik SM, Lajis NH, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2016 07 01;302:10-22.
    PMID: 27089844 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.04.004
    Andrographolide (AGP) and 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide (DDAG), two main diterpenoid constituents of Andrographis paniculata were previously shown to ameliorate asthmatic symptoms in a mouse model. However, due to inadequacies of both compounds in terms of drug-likeness, DDAG analogues were semisynthesised for assessment of their anti-asthma activity. A selected analogue, 3,19-diacetyl-14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide (SRS27), was tested for inhibitory activity of NF-κB activation in TNF-α-induced A549 cells and was subsequently evaluated in a mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma. Female BALB/c mice, 6-8weeks old were sensitized on days 0 and 14, and challenged on days 22, 23 and 24 with OVA. Compound or vehicle (3% dimethyl sulfoxide) was administered intraperitoneally 1h before and 11h after each OVA aerosol challenge. On day 25, pulmonary eosinophilia, airway hyperresponsiveness, mucus hypersecretion, inflammatory cytokines such as IL-4, -5 and -13 in BAL fluid, gene expression of inflammatory mediators such as 5-LOX, E-selectin, VCAM-1, CCL5, TNF-α, AMCase, Ym2, YKL-40, Muc5ac, CCL2 and iNOS in animal lung tissues, and serum IgE were determined. SRS27 at 30μM was found to suppress NF-κB nuclear translocation in A549 cells. In the ovalbumin-induced mouse asthma model, SRS27 at 3mg/kg displayed a substantial decrease in pulmonary eosinophilia, BAL fluid inflammatory cytokines level, serum IgE production, mucus hypersecretion and gene expression of inflammatory mediators in lung tissues. SRS27 is the first known DDAG analogue effective in ameliorating inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in the ovalbumin-induced mouse asthma model.
  10. Tan HK, Muhammad TST, Tan ML
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2016 06 01;300:55-69.
    PMID: 27049118 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.03.017
    14-Deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrographolide (14-DDA), a major diterpenoid isolated from Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Nees, is known to be cytotoxic and elicits a non-apoptotic cell death in T-47D breast carcinoma cells. In this study, the mechanistic toxicology properties of 14-DDA in T-47D cells were further investigated. 14-DDA is found to induce the formation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) vacuoles and autophagosomes, with concurrent upregulation of LC3-II in the breast carcinoma cells. It stimulated an increase in cytosolic calcium concentration and caused a collapse in mitochondrial membrane potential in these cells. In addition, both DDIT3 and GADD45A, molecules implicated in ER stress pathway, were significantly upregulated. DDIT3 knockdown suppressed the formation of both ER vacuoles and autophagosomes, indicating that 14-DDA-induced ER stress and autophagy is dependent on this transcription factor. Collectively, it is possible that GADD45A/p38 MAPK/DDIT3 pathway is involved in the 14-DDA-induced ER-stress-mediated autophagy in T-47D cells.
  11. Ong LC, Tan YF, Tan BS, Chung FF, Cheong SK, Leong CO
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2017 08 15;329:347-357.
    PMID: 28673683 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2017.06.024
    Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are carbon-based nanomaterials that possess immense industrial potential. Despite accumulating evidence that exposure to SWCNTs might be toxic to humans, our understanding of the mechanisms for cellular toxicity of SWCNTs remain limited. Here, we demonstrated that acute exposure of short (1-3μm) and regular-length (5-30μm) pristine, carboxylated or hydroxylated SWCNTs inhibited cell proliferation in human somatic and human stem cells in a cell type-dependent manner. The toxicity of regular-length pristine SWCNT was most evidenced in NP69>CYT00086>MCF-10A>MRC-5>HaCaT > HEK-293T>HepG2. In contrast, the short pristine SWCNTs were relatively less toxic in most of the cells being tested, except for NP69 which is more sensitive to short pristine SWCNTs as compared to regular-length pristine SWCNTs. Interestingly, carboxylation and hydroxylation of regular-length SWCNTs, but not the short SWCNTs, significantly reduced the cytotoxicity. Exposure of SWCNTs also induced caspase 3 and 9 activities, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and significant apoptosis and necrosis in MRC-5 embryonic lung fibroblasts. In contrast, SWCNTs inhibited the proliferation of HaCaT human keratinocytes without inducing cell death. Further analyses by gene expression profiling and Connectivity Map analysis showed that SWCNTs induced a gene expression signature characteristic of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibition in MRC-5 cells, suggesting that SWCNTs may inhibit the HSP90 signaling pathway. Indeed, exposure of MRC-5 cells to SWCNTs results in a dose-dependent decrease in HSP90 client proteins (AKT, CDK4 and BCL2) and a concomitant increase in HSP70 expression. In addition, SWCNTs also significantly inhibited HSP90-dependent protein refolding. Finally, we showed that ectopic expression of HSP90, but not HSP40 or HSP70, completely abrogated the cytotoxic effects of SWCNTs, suggesting that SWCNT-induced cellular toxicity is HSP90 dependent. In summary, our findings suggest that the toxic effects of SWCNTs are mediated through inhibition of HSP90 in human lung fibroblasts and keratinocytes.
  12. Abdalla YOA, Nyamathulla S, Shamsuddin N, Arshad NM, Mun KS, Awang K, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2018 10 01;356:204-213.
    PMID: 30138658 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2018.08.014
    1'-S-1'-acetoxychavicol acetate (ACA) has been previously reported to reduce tumor volume in nude mice, at an effective dose of 1.56 mg/kg body weight. However, the detailed toxicological profile for ACA has not yet been performed. Herein, we investigated the toxicity of intravenous administration of ACA in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats, both acutely (with single doses of 2.00, 4.00 and 6.66 mg/kg body weight, for 14 days), and sub-acutely (with weekly injections of 0.66, 1.33, and 2.22 mg/kg, for 28 days). In both toxicity studies, treatment with ACA did not affect behavior, food/water intake or body weight, nor did it induce any changes in clinically relevant hematological and biochemical parameters or mortality, suggesting that the LD50 of ACA was higher than 6.66 mg/kg body weight, regardless of sex. Sub-acutely, there was however, mild focal inflammation of kidneys and lobular hepatitis, but these were not associated with significant functional adverse effects. Therefore, the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) for intravenous administration of ACA in the present 28-day sub-acute study was 2.22 mg/kg body weight, in both male and female rats. These findings provide useful information regarding the safety of ACA use in a healthy, non-tumor-bearing rat model.
  13. Tan JW, Israf DA, Harith HH, Md Hashim NF, Ng CH, Shaari K, et al.
    Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2017 03 15;319:47-58.
    PMID: 28167223 DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2017.02.002
    tHGA, a geranyl acetophenone compound originally isolated from a local shrub called Melicope ptelefolia, has been previously reported to prevent ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation in a murine model of allergic asthma by targeting cysteinyl leukotriene synthesis. Mast cells are immune effector cells involved in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases including asthma by releasing cysteinyl leukotrienes. The anti-asthmatic properties of tHGA could be attributed to its inhibitory effect on mast cell degranulation. As mast cell degranulation is an important event in allergic responses, this study aimed to investigate the anti-allergic effects of tHGA in cellular and animal models of IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation. For in vitro model of IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation, DNP-IgE-sensitized RBL-2H3 cells were pre-treated with tHGA before challenged with DNP-BSA to induce degranulation. For IgE-mediated passive systemic anaphylaxis, Sprague Dawley rats were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection of DNP-IgE before challenged with DNP-BSA. Both in vitro and in vivo models showed that tHGA significantly inhibited the release of preformed mediators (β-hexosaminidase and histamine) as well as de novo mediators (interleukin-4, tumour necrosis factor-α, prostaglandin D2 and leukotriene C4). Pre-treatment of tHGA also prevented IgE-challenged RBL-2H3 cells and peritoneal mast cells from undergoing morphological changes associated with mast cell degranulation. These findings indicate that tHGA possesses potent anti-allergic activity via attenuation of IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation and inhibition of IgE-mediated passive systemic anaphylaxis. Thus, tHGA may have the potential to be developed as a mast cell stabilizer for the treatment of allergic diseases in the future.
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