Antimicrobial Activity and Probable Mechanisms of Action of Medicinal Plants of Kenya: Withania Somnifera, Warbugia Ugandensis, Prunus Africana and Plectrunthus Barbatus.

Antimicrobial Activity and Probable Mechanisms of Action of Medicinal Plants of Kenya: Withania somnifera, Warbugia ugandensis, Prunus africana and Plectrunthus barbatus.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e65619
Mwitari PG, Ayeka PA, Ondicho J, Matu EN, Bii CC

Withania somnifera, Warbugia ugandensis, Prunus africana and Plectrunthus barbatus are used traditionally in Kenya for treatment of microbial infections and cancer. Information on their use is available, but scientific data on their bioactivity, safety and mechanisms of action is still scanty. A study was conducted on the effect of organic extracts of these plants on both bacterial and fungal strains, and their mechanisms of action. Extracts were evaluated through the disc diffusion assay. Bacteria and yeast test strains were cultured on Mueller-Hinton agar and on Sabouraud dextrose agar for the filamentous fungi. A 0.5 McFarland standard suspension was prepared. Sterile paper discs 6 mm in diameter impregnated with 10 µl of the test extract (100 mg/ml) were aseptically placed onto the surface of the inoculated media. Chloramphenicol (30 µg) and fluconazole (25 µg) were used as standards. Discs impregnated with dissolution medium were used as controls. Activity of the extracts was expressed according to zone of inhibition diameter. MIC was determined at 0.78-100 mg/ml. Safety studies were carried using Cell Counting Kit 8 cell proliferation assay protocol. To evaluate extracts mechanisms of action, IEC-6 cells and RT-PCR technique was employed in vitro to evaluate Interleukin 7 cytokine. Investigated plants extracts have both bactericidal and fungicidal activity. W. ugandensis is cytotoxic at IC50<50 µg/ml with MIC values of less than 0.78 mg/ml. Prunus africana shuts down expression of IL 7 mRNA at 50 µg/ml. W. somnifera has the best antimicrobial (1.5625 mg/ml), immunopotentiation (2 times IL 7 mRNA expression) and safety level (IC50>200 µg/ml). Fractions from W. ugandensis and W. somnifera too demonstrated antimicrobial activity. Mechanisms of action can largely be attributed to cytotoxicity, Gene silencing and immunopotentiation. Use of medicinal plants in traditional medicine has been justified and possible mechanisms of action demonstrated. Studies to isolate and characterize the bioactive constituents continue. HubMed – drug


Prenatal Nicotine and Maternal Deprivation Stress De-Regulate the Development of CA1, CA3, and Dentate Gyrus Neurons in Hippocampus of Infant Rats.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e65517
Wang H, Gondré-Lewis MC

Adverse experiences by the developing fetus and in early childhood are associated with profound effects on learning, emotional behavior, and cognition as a whole. In this study we investigated the effects of prenatal nicotine exposure (NIC), postnatal maternal deprivation (MD) or the combination of the two (NIC+MD) to determine if hippocampal neuron development is modulated by exposure to drugs of abuse and/or stress. Growth of rat offspring exposed to MD alone or NIC+MD was repressed until after weaning. In CA1 but not CA3 of postnatal day 14 (P14) pups, MD increased pyramidal neurons, however, in dentate gyrus (DG), decreased granule neurons. NIC had no effect on neuron number in CA1, CA3 or DG. Unexpectedly, NIC plus MD combined caused a synergistic increase in the number of CA1 or CA3 neurons. Neuron density in CA regions was unaffected by treatment, but in the DG, granule neurons had a looser packing density after NIC, MD or NIC+MD exposure. When septotemporal axes were analyzed, the synergism of stress and drug exposure in CA1 and CA3 was associated with rostral, whereas MD effects were predominantly associated with caudal neurons. TUNEL labeling suggests no active apoptosis at P14, and doublecortin positive neurons and mossy fibers were diminished in NIC+MD relative to controls. The laterality of the effect of nicotine and/or maternal deprivation in right versus left hippocampus was also analyzed and found to be insiginificant. We report for the first time that early life stressors such as postnatal MD and prenatal NIC exposure, when combined, may exhibit synergistic consequences for CA1 and CA3 pyramidal neuron development, and a potential antagonistic influence on developing DG neurons. These results suggest that early stressors may modulate neurogenesis, apoptosis, or maturation of glutamatergic neurons in the hippocampus in a region-specific manner during critical periods of neurodevelopment. HubMed – drug


Hypoxia-Induced Cytotoxic Drug Resistance in Osteosarcoma Is Independent of HIF-1Alpha.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e65304
Adamski J, Price A, Dive C, Makin G

Survival rates from childhood cancer have improved dramatically in the last 40 years, such that over 80% of children are now cured. However in certain subgroups, including metastatic osteosarcoma, survival has remained stubbornly poor, despite dose intensive multi-agent chemotherapy regimens, and new therapeutic approaches are needed. Hypoxia is common in adult solid tumours and is associated with treatment resistance and poorer outcome. Hypoxia induces chemotherapy resistance in paediatric tumours including neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, in vitro, and this drug resistance is dependent on the oxygen-regulated transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). In this study the effects of hypoxia on the response of the osteosarcoma cell lines 791T, HOS and U2OS to the clinically relevant cytotoxics cisplatin, doxorubicin and etoposide were evaluated. Significant hypoxia-induced resistance to all three agents was seen in all three cell lines and hypoxia significantly reduced drug-induced apoptosis. Hypoxia also attenuated drug-induced activation of p53 in the p53 wild-type U2OS osteosarcoma cells. Drug resistance was not induced by HIF-1? stabilisation in normoxia by cobalt chloride nor reversed by the suppression of HIF-1? in hypoxia by shRNAi, siRNA, dominant negative HIF or inhibition with the small molecule NSC-134754, strongly suggesting that hypoxia-induced drug resistance in osteosarcoma cells is independent of HIF-1?. Inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway using the inhibitor PI-103 did not reverse hypoxia-induced drug resistance, suggesting the hypoxic activation of Akt in osteosarcoma cells does not play a significant role in hypoxia-induced drug resistance. Targeting hypoxia is an exciting prospect to improve current anti-cancer therapy and combat drug resistance. Significant hypoxia-induced drug resistance in osteosarcoma cells highlights the potential importance of hypoxia as a target to reverse drug resistance in paediatric osteosarcoma. The novel finding of HIF-1? independent drug resistance suggests however other hypoxia related targets may be more relevant in paediatric osteosarcoma. HubMed – drug


Pregabalin attenuates excitotoxicity in diabetes.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e65154
Huang CW, Lai MC, Cheng JT, Tsai JJ, Huang CC, Wu SN

Diabetes can exacerbate seizures and worsen seizure-related brain damage. In the present study, we aimed to determine whether the standard antiepileptic drug pregabalin (PGB) protects against pilocarpine-induced seizures and excitotoxicity in diabetes. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into either a streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes group or a normal saline (NS) group. Both groups were further divided into subgroups that were treated intravenously with either PGB (15 mg/kg) or a vehicle; all groups were treated with subcutaneous pilocarpine (60 mg/kg) to induce seizures. To evaluate spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS), PGB-pretreated rats were fed rat chow containing oral PGB (450 mg) for 28 consecutive days; vehicle-pretreated rats were fed regular chow. SRS frequency was monitored for 2 weeks from post-status epilepticus day 15. We evaluated both acute neuronal loss and chronic mossy fiber sprouting in the CA3 area. In addition, we performed patch clamp recordings to study evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (eEPSCs) in hippocampal CA1 neurons for both vehicle-treated rats with SRS. Finally, we used an RNA interference knockdown method for Kir6.2 in a hippocampal cell line to evaluate PGB’s effects in the presence of high-dose ATP. We found that compared to vehicle-treated rats, PGB-treated rats showed less severe acute seizure activity, reduced acute neuronal loss, and chronic mossy fiber sprouting. In the vehicle-treated STZ rats, eEPSC amplitude was significantly lower after PGB administration, but glibenclamide reversed this effect. The RNA interference study confirmed that PGB could counteract the ATP-sensitive potassium channel (KATP)-closing effect of high-dose ATP. By opening KATP, PGB protects against neuronal excitotoxicity, and is therefore a potential antiepileptogenic in diabetes. These findings might help develop a clinical algorithm for treating patients with epilepsy and comorbid metabolic disorders. HubMed – drug