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Since the identification and cloning of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2R), several studies focused on the characterization of its physiological and pathological role. Initially, CB2R was considered as the peripheral cannabinoid receptor due to its detection in the rat spleen and leukocyte subpopulation in humans. Later, CB2R was identified in different brain regions significantly modifying the landscape and pointing out its role in a wide variety of central physiological functions and pathological conditions. Additional research also detected the expression of CB2R in neurons, microglia, and astroglia in different brain regions. Indeed, the findings collected to date support a significant function of CB2R in anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and additional neuropsychiatric disorders. This review gathers the most relevant literature regarding new advances about the role of CB2R in a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions, with special emphasis on its potential as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of different psychiatric disorders.
Phosphoinositides are membrane phospholipids involved in a variety of cellular processes like growth, development, metabolism, and transport. This review focuses on the maintenance of cellular homeostasis of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2), and phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3). The critical balance of these PIPs is crucial for regulation of neuronal form and function. The activity of PIP2 and PIP3 can be regulated through kinases, phosphatases, phospholipases and cholesterol microdomains. PIP2 and PIP3 carry out their functions either indirectly through their effectors activating integral signaling pathways, or through direct regulation of membrane channels, transporters, and cytoskeletal proteins. Any perturbations to the balance between PIP2 and PIP3 signaling result in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. This review will discuss the upstream modulators and downstream effectors of the PIP2 and PIP3 signaling, in the context of neuronal health and disease.
The cholesterol is a vital component of cell membranes and myelin sheaths, and a precursor for essential molecules such as steroid hormones. In humans, cholesterol is partially obtained through the diet, while the majority is synthesized in the body, primarily in the liver. However, the limited exchange between the central nervous system and peripheral circulation, due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier, necessitates cholesterol in the brain to be exclusively acquired from local de novo synthesis. This cholesterol is reutilized efficiently, rendering a much slower overall turnover of the compound in the brain as compared with the periphery. Furthermore, brain cholesterol is regulated independently from peripheral cholesterol. Numerous enzymes, proteins, and other factors are involved in cholesterol synthesis and metabolism in the brain. Understanding the unique mechanisms and pathways involved in the maintenance of cholesterol homeostasis in the brain is critical, considering perturbations to these processes are implicated in numerous neurodegenerative diseases. This review focuses on the developing understanding of cholesterol metabolism in the brain, discussing the sites and processes involved in its synthesis and regulation, as well as the mechanisms involved in its distribution throughout, and elimination from, the brain.
Altered immunity may have destructive consequences for the integrated central nervous system. This immune response often affects progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and/or psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In particular, schizophrenia pathogenesis may be mediated by multiple neuro-immune interaction pathways. Gut microbiota might affect the brain and/or immune function. Significant machineries of immunity are commonly affected by the commensal gut microbiota. Therefore, schizophrenia may be connected with the gut-immune system. In addition, the brain and immune systems cooperate on multiple levels. The brain could save several pieces of information about specific inflammation in a body. This immunological memory named “engrams”, also called memory traces, could restore the initial disease state, which may help to explain key features of schizophrenia. Based on this concept, therapeutic strategies for schizophrenia could be the modification of the gut microbiota. Probiotics and/or fecal microbiota transplantation are now emerging as the most promising treatments for the modification. More consideration of the roles of gut microbiota will conduct the further development of immune-based therapeutics for the prevention and/or treatments of psychiatric disorders.
The prevalence of metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is increasing rapidly worldwide due to the obesity epidemic. Advanced stages of the MAFLD, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis are affecting global health. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released by all cell types and are important in cell-to-cell communication and maintaining homeostasis, but they also play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases. EVs contain biological information such as lipids, proteins, messenger RNAs (mRNAs), small RNAs, and DNA, and they act on (distant) target cells. The cargo of EVs is dependent on the type and the state of the releasing cell. EVs have been proposed as biomarkers, prognostic, and even therapeutic agents, also in the context of liver diseases. This review aims to give an overview of the current knowledge on EVs in MAFLD, including the role and interaction of EVs with different cell types in the liver. Several aspects of EVs, including their origin, characteristics, cargo, and functions are reviewed. Moreover, the potential of EVs as targets for the treatment of MAFLD is discussed.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is considered one of the most aggressive tumors worldwide. The consumption of lipid-enriched diets, mainly high cholesterol, induces oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, leading to HCC progression. Moreover, fatty acids and cholesterol could display differential responses on immune cells inside the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) represent one of the most critical leukocytes in the tumor microenvironment (TME) displaying pro-tumoral responses and one of the mainly cholesterol donors to cancer cells. Immunotherapy or cholesterol regulators, alone or combined, would represent an effective strategy for HCC treatment. Nonetheless, steatotic etiology from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-HCC tumors has been unexpectedly resulting in highly aggressive behavior.
Cholestasis remains a partially characterized disease. Evidence has been gained that it is a systemic disease that begins in the liver but significantly impacts other organs and systems such as the kidney, heart, and intestine, among others. One of the primary damage mechanisms is the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which eventually leads to oxidative stress, impacting canalicular morphology and actin cytoskeleton changes that could worsen the problem. These characteristics are also observed in the kidney and intestine. The work focused on addressing the intestine effects of intrahepatic cholestasis induced by α-naphthyl isothiocyanate (ANIT) and the protective response of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF).
The 10- to 12-week-old CD1 male mice were treated with ANIT and then treated or not with HGF; intestine damage was addressed by histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC) of specific markers, oxidative stress, and apoptosis.
Results show changes in the intestine histology, particularly the colon and ileum, induced by the cholestasis. HGF treatment restored the histology presentation and reverted the oxidative damage, clearly indicating a healing response. This observation was supported by an increment in anti-inflammatory macrophages (CD163+) in the HGF treatment.
The data prove that HGF induces a protective and repairing response in the intestine under cholestatic challenges.
Worldwide the number of individuals being overweight or obese has dramatically increased during the last decades, which is also associated with a similar dramatic increase of individuals afflicted with metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia, hypertension, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Genetic predisposition may account for some of the increases in body weight and the development of metabolic disorders; however, much is probably also related to the changes in physical activity and dietary pattern. Indeed, results of epidemiological studies suggest that a ‘western-type dietary pattern’ composed of highly processed foods, sweetened foods, and beverages, all adding to a low fiber but high sugar and saturated fat intake, may increase the odd of developing overweight and metabolic disorders. Consumption of sugar, and especially, fructose has repeatedly been discussed to be a key contributor to the development of health disturbances including hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance as well as NAFLD. However, despite intense research effort, the question if and how (high) dietary fructose intake interferes with human health has not yet been fully answered also as findings are sometimes contradictory. In the present narrative review, results of recent studies assessing the effect of fructose consumption on the development of metabolic disorders including hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), hyperinsulinemia, and NAFLD as well as underlying molecular mechanisms are reviewed, thereby, aiming to further address the question if (high) fructose intake is a trigger of metabolic diseases.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by skin barrier disruption, type 2 immune dysregulation, chronic pruritus, and abnormal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Tapinarof, an aryl hydrocarbon receptor modulator, has been demonstrated to attenuate the development of AD in clinical studies. Recently, we found that tapinarof upregulated the expression of filaggrin and loricrin, which are essential proteins in skin barrier functions. Paradoxically, tapinarof induced interleukin (IL)-24 secretion by normal human keratinocytes. IL-24 is produced by T helper 2 lymphocytes and keratinocytes following stimulation by type 2 cytokines, and IL-24 is upregulated in the skin of patients with AD. Furthermore, IL-24 contributes to skin barrier disruption and hyperplasia in AD, and it may exacerbate skin inflammatory responses, itch, and S. aureus infection. In this review, we summarized the current findings regarding the detrimental role of IL-24 in AD, thereby suggesting that co-treatment of tapinarof with therapeutics that block IL-24 signaling may represent a promising strategy for managing AD.
Immunity is continuously evolving by evolutionary mechanisms shaped by pathogenic stimuli of different kinds. Man-made nanomaterials (NMs) have been developed in the last decades and represent a novel challenge for our immune system, especially when applied to medical science. Toxicological studies of such nanoparticles (NPs) revealed that size, shape, and surface chemistry are key parameters to understand their noxious effects on cellular mechanisms. Less is known on the immune reactions to NMs since prolonged exposure data are not so detailed as the results for acute administration. The importance of immunity to biocompatible NPs is underlined by their increasing use as drug or gene delivery carriers in common pharmaceutical preparations and vaccines. In the latter case, the immunomodulatory properties of NMs allow their use also as efficient adjuvants to enhance the innate immune response. In the current manuscript, the authors discuss the main concepts in this fast-growing field by restricting our view to NMs with consolidated application in biomedicine.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are a mesodermal stem cell population, with known self-renewal and multilineage differentiation properties. In the last century, MSCs have been widely used in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering approaches. MSCs initially were isolated from bone marrow aspirates, but currently have been identified in a great number of tissues of the human body. Besides their utilization in regenerative medicine, MSCs possess significant immunoregulatory/immunosuppressive properties, through interaction with the cells of innate and adaptive immunity. MSCs can exert their immunomodulatory properties with either cell-cell contact or via paracrine secretion of molecules, such as cytokines, growth factors and chemokines. Of particular importance, the MSCs’ immunomodulatory properties are explored as promising therapeutic strategies in immune-related disorders, such as autoimmune diseases, graft versus host disease, cancer. MSCs may also have an additional impact on coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), by attenuating the severe symptoms of this disorder. Nowadays, a great number of clinical trials, of MSC-mediated therapies are evaluated for their therapeutic potential. In this review, the current knowledge on cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in MSC-mediated immunomodulation were highlighted. Also, the most important aspects, regarding their potential application in immune-related diseases, will be highlighted. The broad application of MSCs has emerged their role as key immunomodulatory players, therefore their utilization in many disease situations is full of possibilities for future clinical treatment.
Both innate and adaptive immune cells exist in the skin, predominantly in the dermis layer. Recent studies have focused on how and which circadian rhythms contribute to maintain good health. Over recent years, we have gained a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control biological clocks and circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms maintain homeostasis by providing day and night information to various physiological functions of our body. However, excessively high immune system activity can lead to a risk of developing autoimmune or allergic diseases. Recently, increasing numbers of studies with human and mouse models have been conducted to investigate the mechanisms underlying circadian regulation of the skin homeostasis. In this review, circadian regulation in the skin will be discussed from different points of view. Skin is referred as the largest organ of the body and is directly exposed to the external environment, including large changes in diurnal temperature, light, and pathogens. Immune cells as well as skin cells are the ones protecting us from these stimulants. Associations of the circadian system and these cells have been revealed in many ways, however, the specific roles of the peripheral clocks in these cells remain unknown. Circadian regulation in the skin diseases is discussed specifically in atopic dermatitis and other skin allergic symptoms as well as psoriasis.
Dysregulation of cellular pH is frequent in solid tumours and provides potential opportunities for therapeutic intervention. The acidic microenvironment within a tumour can promote migration, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms. Pathways associated with the control of intracellular pH that are under consideration for intervention include carbonic anhydrase IX, the monocarboxylate transporters (MCT, MCT1 and MCT4), the vacuolar-type H+-ATPase proton pump, and the sodium-hydrogen exchanger 1. This review will describe progress in the development of inhibitors to these targets.
PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACs) are heterobifunctional molecules consisting of two ligands; an “anchor” to bind to an E3 ubiquitin ligase and a “warhead” to bind to a protein of interest, connected by a chemical linker. Targeted protein degradation by PROTACs has emerged as a new modality for the knock down of a range of proteins, with the first agents now reaching clinical evaluation. It has become increasingly clear that the length and composition of the linker play critical roles on the physicochemical properties and bioactivity of PROTACs. While linker design has historically received limited attention, the PROTAC field is evolving rapidly and currently undergoing an important shift from synthetically tractable alkyl and polyethylene glycol to more sophisticated functional linkers. This promises to unlock a wealth of novel PROTAC agents with enhanced bioactivity for therapeutic intervention. Here, the authors provide a timely overview of the diverse linker classes in the published literature, along with their underlying design principles and overall influence on the properties and bioactivity of the associated PROTACs. Finally, the authors provide a critical analysis of current strategies for PROTAC assembly. The authors highlight important limitations associated with the traditional “trial and error” approach around linker design and selection, and suggest potential future avenues to further inform rational linker design and accelerate the identification of optimised PROTACs. In particular, the authors believe that advances in computational and structural methods will play an essential role to gain a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of PROTAC ternary complexes, and will be essential to address the current gaps in knowledge associated with PROTAC design.
Breast cancer (BC) is the most ubiquitous cancer in women. Approximately 70–80% of BC diagnoses are positive for estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (ERα). The steroid hormone estrogen [17β-estradiol (E2)] plays a vital role both in the initiation and progression of BC. The E2-ERα mediated actions involve genomic signaling and non-genomic signaling. The specificity and magnitude of ERα signaling are mediated by interactions between ERα and several coregulator proteins called coactivators or corepressors. Alterations in the levels of coregulators are common during BC progression and they enhance ligand-dependent and ligand-independent ERα signaling which drives BC growth, progression, and endocrine therapy resistance. Many ERα coregulator proteins function as scaffolding proteins and some have intrinsic or associated enzymatic activities, thus the targeting of coregulators for blocking BC progression is a challenging task. Emerging data from in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that targeting coregulators to inhibit BC progression to therapy resistance is feasible. This review explores the current state of ERα coregulator signaling and the utility of targeting the ERα coregulator axis in treating advanced BC.
Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are aggressive tumors arising from different portions of the biliary tree and classified according to the anatomical location in intrahepatic (i) cholangiocarcinoma (CCA, iCCA), perihilar CCA (pCCA), and distal CCA (dCCA), gallbladder cancer (GBC), and ampulla of Vater cancer (AVC). Due to their silent behavior, BTCs are frequently diagnosed at advanced stages when the prognosis is poor. The available chemotherapeutic options are palliative and unfortunately, most patients will die from their disease between 6 and 18 months from diagnosis. However, over the last decade, amounting interest has been posed on the genomic landscape of BTCs and deep-sequencing studies have identified different potentially actionable driver mutations. Hence, the promising results of the early phase clinical studies with targeted agents against isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 mutation or fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR) 2 aberrations inintrahepatic tumors, and other agents against humanepidermal growth factor receptor (HER) 2 overexpression/mutations, neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) fusions or B-type Raf kinase (BRAF) mutations across different subtypes of BTCs, have paved the way for a “precision medicine” strategy for BTCs. Moreover, despite the modest results when used as monotherapy, beyond microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) tumors, immune checkpoint inhibitors are being evaluated in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy, possibly further expanding the therapeutic landscape of advanced BTCs. This review aims to provide an overview of the approved systemic therapies, the promising results, and the ongoing studies to explore the current and future directions of advanced BTC systemic treatment.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) remains a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Despite extensive studies, the heterogeneity of the risk factors as well as different disease mechanisms complicate the goals toward effective diagnosis and management. Recently, it has been shown that sex differences play a role in the prevalence and progression of NAFLD. In vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies revealed that the lower prevalence of NAFLD in premenopausal as compared to postmenopausal women and men is mainly due to the protective effects of estrogen and body fat distribution. It has been also described that males and females present differential pathogenic features in terms of biochemical profiles and histological characteristics. However, the exact molecular mechanisms for the gender differences that exist in the pathogenesis of NAFLD are still elusive. Lipogenesis, oxidative stress, and inflammation play a key role in the progression of NAFLD. For NAFLD, only a few studies characterized these mechanisms at the molecular level. Therefore, we aim to review the reported differential molecular mechanisms that trigger such different pathogenesis in both sexes. Differences in lipid metabolism, glucose homeostasis, oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis were discussed based on the evidence reported in recent publications. In conclusion, with this review, we hope to provide a new perspective for the development of future practice guidelines as well as a new avenue for the management of the disease.
Rational government of patient fluxes from primary care to hepatology clinic is a priority of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) research. Estimating pre-test probability of disease, risk of fibrosis progression, and exclusion of competing causes of liver disease must be addressed. Here we propose a novel taxonomic classification of NAFLD based on hepatic, pathogenic and systemic features of disease in the individual patient. The variable course of disease in any given patient remains a clinical enigma. Therefore, future studies will have to better characterize the role of genetic polymorphisms, family and personal history, diet, alcohol, physical activity and drugs as modifiers of the course of disease and clues to the early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. A better understanding of these, together with a taxonomic diagnosis, may prompt a more accurate personalization of care. For example, understanding the putative role of psycho-depression in NAFLD promises to revolutionize disease management in a proportion of cases. Similarly, sex differences in outcome and response to treatment are insufficiently characterized. More studies are awaited regarding those forms of NAFLD which occur secondary to endocrine derangements. The intersections between NAFLD and the lung must better be defined. These include the bi-directional associations of NAFLD and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep apnoea syndrome, as well as the totally unexplored chapter of NAFLD and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Finally, the therapeutic roles of intermittent fasting and anticoagulation must be assessed. In conclusion, over the last 20 years, NAFLD has taught us a lot regarding the pathogenic importance of insulin resistance, the limitations of correcting this in the treatment of NAFLD, the root causes of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, sex differences in disease and the role of nuclear receptors. However, the overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to reset the priorities of public health.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a substantial and growing problem worldwide and has become the second most common indication for liver transplantation as it may progress to cirrhosis and develop complications from portal hypertension primarily caused by advanced fibrosis and erratic tissue remodeling. However, elevated portal venous pressure has also been detected in experimental models of fatty liver and in human NAFLD when fibrosis is far less advanced and cirrhosis is absent. Early increases in intrahepatic vascular resistance may contribute to the progression of liver disease. Specific pathophenotypes linked to the development of portal hypertension in NAFLD include hepatocellular lipid accumulation and ballooning injury, capillarization of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, enhanced contractility of hepatic stellate cells, activation of Kupffer cells and pro-inflammatory pathways, adhesion and entrapment of recruited leukocytes, microthrombosis, angiogenesis and perisinusoidal fibrosis. These pathological events are amplified in NAFLD by concomitant visceral obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and dysbiosis, promoting aberrant interactions with adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and gut microbiota. Measurement of the hepatic venous pressure gradient by retrograde insertion of a balloon-tipped central vein catheter is the current reference method for predicting outcomes of cirrhosis associated with clinically significant portal hypertension and guiding interventions. This invasive technique is rarely considered in the absence of cirrhosis where currently available clinical, imaging and laboratory correlates of portal hypertension may not reflect early changes in liver hemodynamics. Availability of less invasive but sufficiently sensitive methods for the assessment of portal venous pressure in NAFLD remains therefore an unmet need. Recent efforts to develop new biomarkers and endoscopy-based approaches such as endoscopic ultrasound-guided measurement of portal pressure gradient may help achieve this goal. In addition, cellular and molecular targets are being identified to guide emerging therapies in the prevention and management of portal hypertension.
The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is a key regulator of blood pressure and electrolyte homeostasis. Besides its importance as regulator of the cardiovascular function, the RAS has also been associated to the modulation of higher brain functions, including cognition, memory, depression and anxiety. For many years, angiotensin II (Ang II) has been considered the major bioactive component of the RAS. However, the existence of many other biologically active RAS components has currently been recognized, with similar, opposite, or distinct effects to those exerted by Ang II. Today, it is considered that the RAS is primarily constituted by two opposite arms. The pressor arm is composed by Ang II and the Ang II type 1 (AT1) receptor (AT1R), which mediates the vasoconstrictor, proliferative, hypertensive, oxidative and pro-inflammatory effects of the RAS. The depressor arm is mainly composed by Ang-(1-7), its Mas receptor (MasR) which mediates the depressor, vasodilatory, antiproliferative, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Ang-(1-7) and the AT2 receptor (AT2R), which opposes to the effects mediated by AT1R activation. Central Ang-(1-7) is implicated in the control of the cardiovascular function, thus participating in the regulation of blood pressure. Ang-(1-7) also exerts neuroprotective actions through MasR activation by opposing to the harmful effects of the Ang II/AT1R axis. This review is focused on the expression and regulation of the Ang-(1-7)/MasR axis in the brain, its main neuroprotective effects and the evidence regarding its involvement in the pathophysiology of several diseases at cardiovascular and neurological level.
Dr. Francesco Bertoni Dr. Anastasios Stathis
Submission Deadline: October 31, 2021
Published Articles: 6
Prof. Lorenza Rimassa
Submission Deadline: September 30, 2021
Published Articles: 6
Dr. Carlos M. Ferrario Dr. Leanne Groban
Submission Deadline: December 31, 2020
Published Articles: 10
Dr. Didier Payen
Submission Deadline: December 31, 2021
Published Articles: 6
Dr. Alessandro Mantovani Dr. Giovanni Targher
Submission Deadline: July 31, 2020
Published Articles: 6
Dr. Dieter Kabelitz Dr. Zhinan Yin
Submission Deadline: December 31, 2021
Published Articles: 12
Dr. Brandon Lucke-Wold
Submission Deadline: September 30, 2022
Published Articles: 5
Dr. Amedeo Lonardo Dr. Giovanni Targher
Submission Deadline: June 01, 2020
Published Articles: 12
Dr. Wangxue Chen
Submission Deadline: August 31, 2021
Published Articles: 14
Prof. Noureddin Nakhostin Ansari
Submission Deadline: March 01, 2022
Published Articles: 4
Dr. Rhoda Au
Submission Deadline: June 20, 2020
Published Articles: 10
Dr. Gérard Chaouat Dr. Satish Kumar Gupta Dr. Nathalie Lédée
Submission Deadline: October 31, 2021
Published Articles: 17
Dr. Masutaka Furue
Submission Deadline: June 30, 2021
Published Articles: 8
Prof. Jose J. G. Marin
Submission Deadline: November 10, 2022
Published Articles: 5
Dr. Raymond Chuen-Chung Chang
Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023
Published Articles: 3
Dr. Floriana Morgillo Dr. Carminia Maria Della Corte
Submission Deadline: May 20, 2020
Published Articles: 9
Dr. Matthias Baud
Submission Deadline: July 31, 2021
Published Articles: 7
Dr. Ta-Yuan Chang Dr. Catherine Chang
Submission Deadline: September 30, 2021
Published Articles: 7