Sex Bias in Experimental Immune-Mediated, Drug-Induced Liver Injury in BALB/c Mice: Suggested Roles for Tregs, Estrogen, and IL-6.

Sex bias in experimental immune-mediated, drug-induced liver injury in BALB/c mice: suggested roles for tregs, estrogen, and IL-6.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e61186
Cho J, Kim L, Li Z, Rose NR, Talor MV, Njoku DB

Immune-mediated, drug-induced liver injury (DILI) triggered by drug haptens is more prevalent in women than in men. However, mechanisms responsible for this sex bias are not clear. Immune regulation by CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs) and 17?-estradiol is crucial in the pathogenesis of sex bias in cancer and autoimmunity. Therefore, we investigated their role in a mouse model of immune-mediated DILI.To model DILI, we immunized BALB/c, BALB/cBy, IL-6-deficient, and castrated BALB/c mice with trifluoroacetyl chloride-haptenated liver proteins. We then measured degree of hepatitis, cytokines, antibodies, and Treg and splenocyte function.BALB/c females developed more severe hepatitis (p<0.01) and produced more pro-inflammatory hepatic cytokines and antibodies (p<0.05) than did males. Castrated males developed more severe hepatitis than did intact males (p<0.001) and females (p<0.05). Splenocytes cultured from female mice exhibited fewer Tregs (p<0.01) and higher IL-1? (p<0.01) and IL-6 (p<0.05) than did those from males. However, Treg function did not differ by sex, as evidenced by absence of sex bias in programmed death receptor-1 and responses to IL-6, anti-IL-10, anti-CD3, and anti-CD28. Diminished hepatitis in IL-6-deficient, anti-IL-6 receptor ?-treated, ovariectomized, or male mice; undetectable IL-6 levels in splenocyte supernatants from ovariectomized and male mice; elevated splenic IL-6 and serum estrogen levels in castrated male mice, and IL-6 induction by 17?-estradiol in splenocytes from naïve female mice (p<0.05) suggested that 17?-estradiol may enhance sex bias through IL-6 induction, which subsequently discourages Treg survival. Treg transfer from naïve female mice to those with DILI reduced hepatitis severity and hepatic IL-6.17?-estradiol and IL-6 may act synergistically to promote sex bias in experimental DILI by reducing Tregs. Modulating Treg numbers may provide a therapeutic approach to DILI. HubMed – drug


The Effect of Mycophenolate Mofetil on Disease Development in the gld.apoE (-/-) Mouse Model of Accelerated Atherosclerosis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e61042
Richez C, Richards RJ, Duffau P, Weitzner Z, Andry CD, Rifkin IR, Aprahamian T

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that is characterized by autoantibody production and inflammatory disease involving multiple organs. Premature atherosclerosis is a common complication of SLE and results in substantial morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The reasons for the premature atherosclerosis in SLE are incompletely understood, although chronic inflammation is thought to play an important role. There is currently no known preventative treatment of premature atherosclerosis in SLE. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunosuppressive agent that is commonly used for treatment of patients with SLE. In order to study the impact of this drug on murine lupus disease including premature atherosclerosis development, we treated gld.apoE(-/-) mice, a model of SLE and accelerated atherosclerosis, with MMF. We maintained seven-week old gld.apoE(-/-) mice on a high cholesterol Western diet with or without MMF. After 12 weeks on diet, mice receiving MMF showed decreased atherosclerotic lesion area compared to the control group. MMF treatment also improved the lupus phenotype, indicated by a significant decrease circulating autoantibody levels and ameliorating lupus nephritis associated with this model. This data suggests that the effects of MMF on the immune system may not only be beneficial for lupus, but also for inflammation driving lupus-associated atherosclerosis. HubMed – drug


Patents associated with high-cost drugs in australia.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e60812
Christie AF, Dent C, McIntyre P, Wilson L, Studdert DM

Australia, like most countries, faces high and rapidly-rising drug costs. There are longstanding concerns about pharmaceutical companies inappropriately extending their monopoly position by “evergreening” blockbuster drugs, through misuse of the patent system. There is, however, very little empirical information about this behaviour. We fill the gap by analysing all of the patents associated with 15 of the costliest drugs in Australia over the last 20 years. Specifically, we search the patent register to identify all the granted patents that cover the active pharmaceutical ingredient of the high-cost drugs. Then, we classify the patents by type, and identify their owners. We find a mean of 49 patents associated with each drug. Three-quarters of these patents are owned by companies other than the drug’s originator. Surprisingly, the majority of all patents are owned by companies that do not have a record of developing top-selling drugs. Our findings show that a multitude of players seek monopoly control over innovations to blockbuster drugs. Consequently, attempts to control drug costs by mitigating misuse of the patent system are likely to miss the mark if they focus only on the patenting activities of originators. HubMed – drug


One-Step Chromatographic Purification of Helicobacter pylori Neutrophil-Activating Protein Expressed in Bacillus subtilis.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e60786
Shih KS, Lin CC, Hung HF, Yang YC, Wang CA, Jeng KC, Fu HW

Helicobacter pylori neutrophil-activating protein (HP-NAP), a major virulence factor of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), is capable of activating human neutrophils to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secrete inammatory mediators. HP-NAP is a vaccine candidate, a possible drug target, and a potential in vitro diagnostic marker for H. pylori infection. HP-NAP has also been shown to be a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of allergic asthma and bladder cancer. Hence, an efficient way to obtain pure HP-NAP needs to be developed. In this study, one-step anion-exchange chromatography in negative mode was applied to purify the recombinant HP-NAP expressed in Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis). This purification technique was based on the binding of host cell proteins and/or impurities other than HP-NAP to DEAE Sephadex resins. At pH 8.0, almost no other proteins except HP-NAP passed through the DEAE Sephadex column. More than 60% of the total HP-NAP with purity higher than 91% was recovered in the flow-through fraction from this single-step DEAE Sephadex chromatography. The purified recombinant HP-NAP was further demonstrated to be a multimeric protein with a secondary structure of ?-helix and capable of activating human neutrophils to stimulate ROS production. Thus, this one-step negative chromatography using DEAE Sephadex resin can efficiently yield functional HP-NAP from B. subtilis in its native form with high purity. HP-NAP purified by this method could be further utilized for the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for H. pylori infection. HubMed – drug