Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation: Low Prevalence of Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP) but High Prevalence of Pneumocystis Dihydropteroate Synthase (Dhps) Gene Mutations in HIV-Infected Persons in Uganda.

Low Prevalence of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) but High Prevalence of Pneumocystis dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) Gene Mutations in HIV-Infected Persons in Uganda.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

PLoS One. 2012; 7(11): e49991
Taylor SM, Meshnick SR, Worodria W, Andama A, Cattamanchi A, Davis JL, Yoo SD, Byanyima P, Kaswabuli S, Goodman CD, Huang L,

Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection in patients infected with HIV, but its burden is incompletely characterized in those areas of sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is prevalent. We explored the prevalence of both PCP in HIV-infected adults admitted with pneumonia to a tertiary-care hospital in Uganda and of putative P. jirovecii drug resistance by mutations in fungal dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr). In 129 consecutive patients with sputum smears negative for mycobacteria, 5 (3.9%) were diagnosed with PCP by microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Concordance was 100% between Giemsa stain and PCR (dhps and dhfr). PCP was more prevalent in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV (11.4%) than in patients with known HIV (1.1%; p?=?0.007). Mortality at 2 months after discharge was 29% overall: 28% among PCP-negative patients, and 60% (3 of 5) among PCP-positive patients. In these 5 fungal isolates and an additional 8 from consecutive cases of PCP, all strains harbored mutant dhps haplotypes; all 13 isolates harbored the P57S mutation in dhps, and 3 (23%) also harbored the T55A mutation. No non-synonymous dhfr mutations were detected. PCP is an important cause of pneumonia in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV in Uganda, is associated with high mortality, and putative molecular evidence of drug resistance is prevalent. Given the reliability of field diagnosis in our cohort, future studies in sub-Saharan Africa can investigate the clinical impact of these genotypes.
HubMed – drug


Metformin Reduces Hepatic Expression of SIRT3, the Mitochondrial Deacetylase Controlling Energy Metabolism.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

PLoS One. 2012; 7(11): e49863
Buler M, Aatsinki SM, Izzi V, Hakkola J

Metformin inhibits ATP production in mitochondria and this may be involved in the anti-hyperglycemic effects of the drug. Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) is a mitochondrial protein deacetylase that regulates the function of the electron transport chain and maintains basal ATP yield. We hypothesized that metformin treatment could diminish mitochondrial ATP production through downregulation of SIRT3 expression. Glucagon and cAMP induced SIRT3 mRNA in mouse primary hepatocytes. Metformin prevented SIRT3 induction by glucagon. Moreover, metformin downregulated constitutive expression of SIRT3 in primary hepatocytes and in the liver in vivo. Estrogen related receptor alpha (ERR?) mediates regulation of Sirt3 gene by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1?). ERR? mRNA expression was regulated in a similar manner as SIRT3 mRNA by glucagon, cAMP and metformin. However, a higher metformin concentration was required for downregulation of ERR? than SIRT3. ERR? siRNA attenuated PGC-1? mediated induction of SIRT3, but did not affect constitutive expression. Overexpression of the constitutively active form of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) induced SIRT3 mRNA, indicating that the SIRT3 downregulation by metformin is not mediated by AMPK. Metformin reduced the hepatocyte ATP level. This effect was partially counteracted by SIRT3 overexpression. Furthermore, metformin decreased mitochondrial SIRT3 protein levels and this was associated with enhanced acetylation of several mitochondrial proteins. However, metformin increased mitochondrial mass in hepatocytes. Altogether, our results indicate that metformin attenuates mitochondrial expression of SIRT3 and suggest that this mechanism is involved in regulation of energy metabolism by metformin in the liver and may contribute to the therapeutic action of metformin.
HubMed – drug


A potential Peptide therapeutic derived from the juxtamembrane domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

PLoS One. 2012; 7(11): e49702
Boran AD, Seco J, Jayaraman V, Jayaraman G, Zhao S, Reddy S, Chen Y, Iyengar R

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is involved in many cancers and EGFR has been heavily pursued as a drug target. Drugs targeting EGFR have shown promising clinical results for several cancer types. However, resistance to EGFR inhibitors often occurs, such as with KRAS mutant cancers, therefore new methods of targeting EGFR are needed. The juxtamembrane (JXM) domain of EGFR is critical for receptor activation and targeting this region could potentially be a new method of inhibiting EGFR. We hypothesized that the structural role of the JXM region could be mimicked by peptides encoding a JXM amino acid sequence, which could interfere with EGFR signaling and consequently could have anti-cancer activity. A peptide encoding EGFR 645-662 conjugated to the Tat sequence (TE-64562) displayed anti-cancer activity in multiple human cancer cell types with diminished activity in non-EGFR expressing cells and non-cancerous cells. In nude mice, TE-64562 delayed MDA-MB-231 tumor growth and prolonged survival, without inducing toxicity. TE-64562 induced non-apoptotic cell death after several hours and caspase-3-mediated apoptotic cell death with longer treatment. Mechanistically, TE-64562 bound to EGFR, inhibited its dimerization and caused its down-regulation. TE-64562 reduced phosphorylated and total EGFR levels but did not inhibit kinase activity and instead prolonged it. Our analysis of patient data from The Cancer Genome Atlas supported the hypothesis that down-regulation of EGFR is a potential therapeutic strategy, since phospho- and total-EGFR levels were strongly correlated in a large majority of patient tumor samples, indicating that lower EGFR levels are associated with lower phospho-EGFR levels and presumably less proliferative signals in breast cancer. Akt and Erk were inhibited by TE-64562 and this inhibition was observed in vivo in tumor tissue upon treatment with TE-64562. These results are the first to indicate that the JXM domain of EGFR is a viable drug target for several cancer types.
HubMed – drug


Inflammatory cascades driven by tumor necrosis factor-alpha play a major role in the progression of acute liver failure and its neurological complications.

Filed under: Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

PLoS One. 2012; 7(11): e49670
Chastre A, Bélanger M, Beauchesne E, Nguyen BN, Desjardins P, Butterworth RF

Acute liver failure (ALF) due to ischemic or toxic liver injury is a clinical condition that results from massive loss of hepatocytes and may lead to hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a serious neuropsychiatric complication. Although increased expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) in liver, plasma and brain has been observed, conflicting results exist concerning its roles in drug-induced liver injury and on the progression of HE. The present study aimed to investigate the therapeutic value of etanercept, a TNF-? neutralizing molecule, on the progression of liver injury and HE in mice with ALF resulting from azoxymethane (AOM) hepatotoxicity.Mice were administered saline or etanercept (10 mg/kg; i.p.) 30 minutes prior to, or up to 6 h after AOM. Etanercept-treated ALF mice were sacrificed in parallel with vehicle-treated comatose ALF mice and controls. AOM induced severe hepatic necrosis, leading to HE, and etanercept administered prior or up to 3 h after AOM significantly delayed the onset of coma stages of HE. Etanercept pretreatment attenuated AOM-induced liver injury, as assessed by histological examination, plasma ammonia and transaminase levels, and by hepatic glutathione content. Peripheral inflammation was significantly reduced by etanercept as shown by decreased plasma IL-6 (4.1-fold; p<0.001) and CD40L levels (3.7-fold; p<0.001) compared to saline-treated ALF mice. Etanercept also decreased IL-6 levels in brain (1.2-fold; p<0.05), attenuated microglial activation (assessed by OX-42 immunoreactivity), and increased brain glutathione concentrations.These results indicate that systemic sequestration of TNF-? attenuates both peripheral and cerebral inflammation leading to delayed progression of liver disease and HE in mice with ALF due to toxic liver injury. These results suggest that etanercept may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the management of ALF patients awaiting liver transplantation. HubMed – drug


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