Publications

2022
C Bergmann, A Poli, I Agache, R Bianchini, HJ Bax, M Castells, S Crescioli, D Dombrowicz, D Ferastraoaru, E Fiebiger, HJ Gould, K Hartmann, E Izquierdo, G Jordakieva, DH Josephs, M Jutel, F Levi-Schaffer, L de Las Vecillas, MT Lotze, G Osborn, M Pascal, F Redegeld, D Rosenstreich, F Roth-Walter, CB Schmidt-Weber, M Shamji, EH Steveling, MC Turner, E Untersmayr, E Jensen-Jarolim, and SN Karagiannis. 2022. “AllergoOncology: Danger signals in Allergology and Oncology. A European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) Position Paper.” Allergy. Abstract
The immune system interacts with many nominal 'danger' signals, endogenous danger-associated (DAMP), exogenous pathogen (PAMP) and allergen (AAMP)-associated molecular pattern molecules. The immune context under which these are received can promote or prevent immune activating or inflammatory mechanisms and may orchestrate diverse immune responses in allergy and cancer. Each can act either by favouring a respective pathology or by supporting the immune response to confer protective effects, depending on acuity or chronicity. In this Position Paper under the collective term danger signals or DAMPs, PAMPs, and AAMPs, we consider their diverse roles in allergy and cancer and the connection between these in AllergoOncology. We focus on their interactions with different immune cells of the innate and adaptive immune system and how these promote immune responses with juxtaposing clinical outcomes in allergy and cancer. While danger signals present potential targets to overcome inflammatory responses in allergy, these may be reconsidered in relation to a history of allergy, chronic inflammation and autoimmunity linked to the risk of developing cancer, and with regards to clinical responses to anti-cancer immune and targeted therapies. Cross-disciplinary insights in AllergoOncology derived from dissecting clinical phenotypes of common danger signal pathways may improve allergy and cancer clinical outcomes.
Riccardo Serra, Antonella Mangraviti, Noah L Gorelick, Tovi Shapira-Furman, Safwan Alomari, Arba Cecia, Namrata Darjee, Henry Brem, Yakir Rottenberg, Abraham J Domb, and Betty Tyler. 2022. “Combined intracranial Acriflavine, temozolomide and radiation extends survival in a rat glioma model.” European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics : official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V, 170, Pp. 179–186. Abstract
Glioblastomas have been historically difficult to treat with poor long-term survival. With novel strategies focused on targeting hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) regulatory pathways, recent evidence has shown that Acriflavine (ACF) can effectively target glioma invasiveness and recurrence. However, local delivery of ACF and its combinatory effects with Temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation therapy (XRT) have not yet been optimized. In this study we test a novel polymeric matrix that can gradually release ACF at the tumor bed site in combination with systemic TMZ and XRT. In vitro cytotoxicity assays of ACF in combination with TMZ and XRT were performed on rodent and human cell lines with CCK-8 and flow cytometry. In vitro drug release was measured and intracranial safety was assessed in tumor-free animals. Finally, efficacy was assessed in an intracranial gliosarcoma model and combination therapy with TMZ and XRT evaluated. Combination therapy of ACF, TMZ, and XRT was able to reduce cell viability and induce apoptosis in glioma cells. In vitro and in vivo release of ACF was measured in benchtop and animal models. Efficacy was established in an in vivo gliosarcoma model in which intracranial ACF (p < 0.01) significantly improved median survival and the combination therapy of ACF, TMZ and XRT (p < 0.01) significantly improved median survival and led to long-term survival (LTS). We provide evidence that ACF, combined with TMZ and XRT, led to LTS in an intracranial model of rat gliosarcoma. These findings, in combination with the use of a novel polymeric matrix that allows more gradual drug delivery, constitute a first step in the translation of this novel strategy to human use.
Pier Giorgio Puzzovio, Thayse R Brüggemann, Hadas Pahima, David Mankuta, Bruce D Levy, and Francesca Levi-Schaffer. 2022. “Cromolyn Sodium differentially regulates human mast cell and mouse leukocyte responses to control allergic inflammation.” Pharmacological research, Pp. 106172. Abstract
BACKGROUND: Cromolyn Sodium (CS) has been used in the past as an anti-allergy drug owing to its mast cell (MC) stabilizing properties that impair histamine release. However, additional mechanisms for its clinical actions are likely and might help to identify new roles for MCs and leukocytes in regulating inflammation. Here, using human cord blood-derived MCs (CBMCs), murine bone marrow-derived MCs (BMMCs) and eosinophils (BMEos), and in vivo mouse models of allergic inflammation (AI), additional actions of CS on MCs were determined. METHODS: The in vitro effects of CS on IgE-activated human and mouse MCs were assessed by measuring the levels of pro-inflammatory (tryptase, LTC(4), IL-8, CD48) and pro-resolution effectors (IL-10, CD300a, Annexin A1) before and after CS treatment. The in vivo effects of daily CS injections on parameters of inflammation were assessed using mouse models of allergic peritonitis (AP) (Ovalbumin/Alum- or Ovalbumin/S. aureus enterotoxin B) and allergic airways inflammation (AAI) (house dust mite (HDM)). RESULTS: In vitro, CS did not affect pro-inflammatory effectors but significantly increased the anti-inflammatory/pro-resolution CD300a levels and IL-10 release from IgE-activated CBMCs. BMMCs were not affected by CS. In vivo, CS injections decreased total cell and Eos numbers in the peritoneal cavity in the AP models and bronchoalveolar lavage and lungs in the AAI model. CS reduced EPX release from PAF-activated BMEos in vitro, possibly explaining the in vivo findings. CONCLUSION: Together, these results demonstrate immunomodulatory actions for CS in AI that are broader than only MC stabilization.
Yizhou Jiang, Limor Rubin, Tangming Peng, Linlin Liu, Xingan Xing, Philip Lazarovici, and Wenhua Zheng. 2022. “Cytokine storm in COVID-19: from viral infection to immune responses, diagnosis and therapy.” International journal of biological sciences, 18, 2, Pp. 459–472. Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak is emerging as a significant public health challenge. Excessive production of proinflammatory cytokines, also known as cytokine storm, is a severe clinical syndrome known to develop as a complication of infectious or inflammatory diseases. Clinical evidence suggests that the occurrence of cytokine storm in severe acute respiratory syndrome secondary to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is closely associated with the rapid deterioration and high mortality of severe cases. In this review, we aim to summarize the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the subsequent immunological events related to excessive cytokine production and inflammatory responses associated with ACE2-AngII signaling. An overview of the diagnosis and an update on current therapeutic regimens and vaccinations is also provided.
Leslie Rebibo, Marina Frušić-Zlotkin, Ron Ofri, Taher Nassar, and Simon Benita. 2022. “The dose-dependent effect of a stabilized cannabidiol nanoemulsion on ocular surface inflammation and intraocular pressure.” International journal of pharmaceutics, 617, Pp. 121627. Abstract
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that has a great clinical therapeutic potential. Few studies have been published on its efficacy in ocular inflammations while its impact on intraocular pressure (IOP), a major risk factor for glaucoma, remains unclear. Moreover, due to its lability and high lipophilicity, its formulation within a prolonged stable topical ophthalmic solution or emulsion able to penetrate the highly selective corneal barrier is challenging. Therefore, various CBD nanoemulsions (NEs) were designed and evaluated for stability in accelerated conditions. Further, the optimal formulation was tested on a murine LPS-induced keratitis inflammation model. Lastly, increasing CBD concentrations were topically applied, for two weeks, on mice eyes, for IOP measurement. CBD NEs exhibited optimal physicochemical characteristics for ocular delivery. A specific antioxidant was required to obtain the stable, final, formulation. In vivo, 0.4 to 1.6% CBD w/v reduced the levels of key inflammatory cytokines, depending on the concentration applied. These concentrations decreased or did not affect the IOP. Our results showed that a well-designed CBD ocular dosage form can be stabilized for an extended shelf life. Furthermore, the significant decrease in inflammatory cytokines levels could be exploited, provided that an adequate therapeutic dosage regimen is identified in humans.
Reem Smoum, Christeene Haj, Shira Hirsch, Alina Nemirovski, Zhannah Yekhtin, Benny Bogoslavsky, Gaganjyot Kaur Bakshi, Mukesh Chourasia, Ruth Gallily, Joseph Tam, and Raphael Mechoulam. 2022. “Fenchone Derivatives as a Novel Class of CB2 Selective Ligands: Design, Synthesis, X-ray Structure and Therapeutic Potential.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 27, 4. Abstract
A series of novel cannabinoid-type derivatives were synthesized by the coupling of (1S,4R)-(+) and (1R,4S)-(-)-fenchones with various resorcinols/phenols. The fenchone-resorcinol derivatives were fluorinated using Selectfluor and demethylated using sodium ethanethiolate in dimethylformamide (DMF). The absolute configurations of four compounds were determined by X-ray single crystal diffraction. The fenchone-resorcinol analogs possessed high affinity and selectivity for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. One of the analogues synthesized, 2-(2',6'-dimethoxy-4'-(2″-methyloctan-2″-yl)phenyl)-1,3,3-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-ol (1d), had a high affinity (K(i) = 3.51 nM) and selectivity for the human CB2 receptor (hCB2). In the [(35)S]GTP$\gamma$S binding assay, our lead compound was found to be a highly potent and efficacious hCB2 receptor agonist (EC(50) = 2.59 nM, E((max)) = 89.6%). Two of the fenchone derivatives were found to possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Molecular-modeling studies elucidated the binding interactions of 1d within the CB2 binding site.
Odelia Tepper, Itamar Peled, Yair Fastman, Adina Heinberg, Vera Mitesser, Ron Dzikowski, and Eylon Yavin. 2022. “FIT-PNAs as RNA-Sensing Probes for Drug-Resistant Plasmodium falciparum.” ACS sensors, 7, 1, Pp. 50–59. Abstract
Detecting RNA at single-nucleotide resolution is a formidable task. Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest form of malaria in humans and has shown to gain resistance to essentially all antimalarial drugs including artemisinin and chloroquine. Some of these drug resistances are associated with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Forced-intercalation peptide nucleic acids (FIT-PNAs) are DNA mimics that are designed as RNA-sensing molecules that fluoresce upon hybridization to their complementary (RNA) targets. We have previously designed and synthesized FIT-PNAs that target the C580Y SNP in the K13 gene of P. falciparum. In addition, we have now prepared FIT-PNAs that target the K76T SNP in the CRT gene of P. falciparum. Both SNPs are common ones associated with artemisinin and chloroquine drug resistance, respectively. Our FIT-PNAs are conjugated to a simple cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) that consists of eight d-lysines (dK(8)), which renders these FIT-PNAs cell-permeable to infected red blood cells (iRBCs). Herein, we demonstrate that FIT-PNAs clearly discriminate between wild-type (WT) strains (NF54-WT: artemisinin-sensitive or chloroquine-sensitive) and mutant strains (NF54-C580Y: artemisinin-resistant or Dd2: chloroquine-resistant) of P. falciparum parasites. Simple incubation of FIT-PNAs with live blood-stage parasites results in a substantial difference in fluorescence as corroborated by FACS analysis and confocal microscopy. We foresee FIT-PNAs as molecular probes that will provide a fast, simple, and cheap means for the assessment of drug resistance in malaria─a tool that would be highly desirable for the optimal choice of antimalarial treatment in endemic countries.
Yonit Yitzhak, Hanmant Gaikwad, Tommy Weiss-Sadan, Emmanuelle Merquiol, Boris Turk, and Galia Blum. 2022. “Improved Cathepsin Probes for Sensitive Molecular Imaging.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 27, 3. Abstract
Cysteine cathepsin proteases are found under normal conditions in the lysosomal compartments of cells, where they play pivotal roles in a variety of cellular processes such as protein and lipid metabolism, autophagy, antigen presentation, and cell growth and proliferation. As a consequence, aberrant localization and activity contribute to several pathologic conditions such as a variety of malignancies, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and other diseases. Hence, there is a resurgence of interest to expand the toolkit to monitor intracellular cathepsin activity and better ascertain their functions under these circumstances. Previous fluorescent activity-based probes (ABPs) that target cathepsins B, L, and S enabled detection of their activity in intact cells as well as non-invasive detection in animal disease models. However, their binding potency is suboptimal compared to the cathepsin inhibitor on which they were based, as the P1 positive charge was capped by a reporter tag. Here, we show the development of an improved cathepsin ABP that has a P1 positive charge by linking the tag on an additional amino acid at the end of the probe. While enhancing potency towards recombinant cathepsins, the new probe had reduced cell permeability due to additional peptide bonds. At a second phase, the probe was trimmed; the fluorophore was linked to an extended carbobenzoxy moiety, leading to enhanced cell permeability and superb detection of cathepsin activity in intact cells. In conclusion, this work introduces a prototype design for the next generation of highly sensitive ABPs that have excellent detection of cellular cathepsin activity.
Meir Bialer and Emilio Perucca. 2022. “Lorcaserin for Dravet Syndrome: A Potential Advance Over Fenfluramine?” CNS drugs, 36, 2, Pp. 113–122. Abstract
Lorcaserin, a selective serotonin 5-HT(2C) receptor agonist, was developed as an appetite suppressant with the rationale of minimizing the risk of cardiovascular toxicity associated with non-selective serotoninergic agents such as fenfluramine. Eight years after FDA approval, however, it was withdrawn from the market, when a large safety study suggested a potential cancer risk. Following in the fenfluramine footsteps and utilizing the repurposing approach coupled with the regulatory orphan drug designation, lorcaserin is currently in clinical development for the treatment of epilepsy. This potential novel indication builds on the evidence that 5-HT(2C) receptor stimulation can protect against seizures, and accounts at least in part for fenfluramine's antiseizure effects in Dravet syndrome models. In animal models, lorcaserin shows a narrower range of antiseizure activity than fenfluramine. In particular, lorcaserin is inactive in classical acute seizure tests such as maximal electroshock and subcutaneous pentylenetetrazole in mice and rats, and the 6-Hz stimulation model in mice. However, it is active in the GAERS absence seizure model, and in mutant zebrafish models of Dravet syndrome. Preliminary uncontrolled studies in patients with Dravet syndrome have yielded promising results, and a phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial is currently ongoing to assess its efficacy and safety in children and adults with Dravet syndrome.
Kumudesh Mishra, Mária Péter, Anna Maria Nardiello, Guy Keller, Victoria Llado, Paula Fernandez-Garcia, Ulf D Kahlert, Dinorah Barasch, Ann Saada, Zsolt Török, Gábor Balogh, Pablo V Escriba, Stefano Piotto, and Or Kakhlon. 2022. “Multifaceted Analyses of Isolated Mitochondria Establish the Anticancer Drug 2-Hydroxyoleic Acid as an Inhibitor of Substrate Oxidation and an Activator of Complex IV-Dependent State 3 Respiration.” Cells, 11, 3. Abstract
The synthetic fatty acid 2-hydroxyoleic acid (2OHOA) has been extensively investigated as a cancer therapy mainly based on its regulation of membrane lipid composition and structure, activating various cell fate pathways. We discovered, additionally, that 2OHOA can uncouple oxidative phosphorylation, but this has never been demonstrated mechanistically. Here, we explored the effect of 2OHOA on mitochondria isolated by ultracentrifugation from U118MG glioblastoma cells. Mitochondria were analyzed by shotgun lipidomics, molecular dynamic simulations, spectrophotometric assays for determining respiratory complex activity, mass spectrometry for assessing beta oxidation and Seahorse technology for bioenergetic profiling. We showed that the main impact of 2OHOA on mitochondrial lipids is their hydroxylation, demonstrated by simulations to decrease co-enzyme Q diffusion in the liquid disordered membranes embedding respiratory complexes. This decreased co-enzyme Q diffusion can explain the inhibition of disjointly measured complexes I-III activity. However, it doesn't explain how 2OHOA increases complex IV and state 3 respiration in intact mitochondria. This increased respiration probably allows mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to maintain ATP production against the 2OHOA-mediated inhibition of glycolytic ATP production. This work correlates 2OHOA function with its modulation of mitochondrial lipid composition, reflecting both 2OHOA anticancer activity and adaptation to it by enhancement of state 3 respiration.
Erez Berman, Iris Noyman, Mordekhay Medvedovsky, Dana Ekstein, and Sara Eyal. 2022. “Not your usual drug-drug interactions: Monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics may interact with antiseizure medications.” Epilepsia, 63, 2, Pp. 271–289. Abstract
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have emerged as the fastest growing drug class. As such, mAbs are increasingly being co-prescribed with other drugs, including antiseizure medications (ASMs). Although mAbs do not share direct targets or mechanisms of disposition with small-molecule drugs (SMDs), combining therapeutics of both types can increase the risk of adverse effects and treatment failure. The primary goal of this literature review was identifying mAb-ASM combinations requiring the attention of professionals who are treating patients with epilepsy. Systematic PubMed and Embase searches (1980-2021) were performed for terms relating to mAbs, ASMs, drug interactions, and their combinations. Additional information was obtained from documents from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Evidence was critically appraised - key issues calling for clinicians' consideration and important knowledge gaps were identified, and practice recommendations were developed by a group of pharmacists and epileptologists. The majority of interactions were attributed to the indirect effects of cytokine-modulating antibodies on drug metabolism. Conversely, strong inhibitors or inducers of drug-metabolizing enzymes or drug transporters could potentially interact with the cytotoxic payload of antibody-drug conjugates, and ASMs could alter mAb biodistribution. In addition, mAbs could potentiate adverse ASM effects. Unfortunately, few studies involved ASMs, requiring the formulation of class-based recommendations. Based on the current literature, most mAb-ASM interactions do not warrant special precautions. However, specific combinations should preferably be avoided, whereas others require monitoring and potentially adjustment of the ASM doses. Reduced drug efficacy or adverse effects could manifest days to weeks after mAb treatment onset or discontinuation, complicating the implication of drug interactions in potentially deleterious outcomes. Prescribers who treat patients with epilepsy should be familiar with mAb pharmacology to better anticipate potential mAb-ASM interactions and avoid toxicity, loss of seizure control, or impaired efficacy of mAb treatment.
Tal Israeli, Yael Riahi, Perla Garzon, Ruy Andrade Louzada, Joao Pedro Werneck-de-Castro, Manuel Blandino-Rosano, Roni Yeroslaviz-Stolper, Liat Kadosh, Sharona Tornovsky-Babeay, Gilad Hacker, Nitzan Israeli, Orly Agmon, Boaz Tirosh, Erol Cerasi, Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, and Gil Leibowitz. 2022. “Nutrient Sensor mTORC1 Regulates Insulin Secretion by Modulating $\beta$-Cell Autophagy.” Diabetes, 71, 3, Pp. 453–469. Abstract
The dynamic regulation of autophagy in $\beta$-cells by cycles of fasting-feeding and its effects on insulin secretion are unknown. In $\beta$-cells, mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is inhibited while fasting and is rapidly stimulated during refeeding by a single amino acid, leucine, and glucose. Stimulation of mTORC1 by nutrients inhibited the autophagy initiator ULK1 and the transcription factor TFEB, thereby preventing autophagy when $\beta$-cells were continuously exposed to nutrients. Inhibition of mTORC1 by Raptor knockout mimicked the effects of fasting and stimulated autophagy while inhibiting insulin secretion, whereas moderate inhibition of autophagy under these conditions rescued insulin secretion. These results show that mTORC1 regulates insulin secretion through modulation of autophagy under different nutritional situations. In the fasting state, autophagy is regulated in an mTORC1-dependent manner, and its stimulation is required to keep insulin levels low, thereby preventing hypoglycemia. Reciprocally, stimulation of mTORC1 by elevated leucine and glucose, which is common in obesity, may promote hyperinsulinemia by inhibiting autophagy.
Liad Hinden, Aviram Kogot-Levin, Joseph Tam, and Gil Leibowitz. 2022. “Pathogenesis of diabesity-induced kidney disease: role of kidney nutrient sensing.” The FEBS journal, 289, 4, Pp. 901–921. Abstract
Diabetes kidney disease (DKD) is a major healthcare problem associated with increased risk for developing end-stage kidney disease and high mortality. It is widely accepted that DKD is primarily a glomerular disease. Recent findings however suggest that kidney proximal tubule cells (KPTCs) may play a central role in the pathophysiology of DKD. In diabetes and obesity, KPTCs are exposed to nutrient overload, including glucose, free-fatty acids and amino acids, which dysregulate nutrient and energy sensing by mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 and AMP-activated protein kinase, with subsequent induction of tubular injury, inflammation, and fibrosis. Pharmacological treatments that modulate nutrient sensing and signaling in KPTCs, including cannabinoid-1 receptor antagonists and sodium glucose transporter 2 inhibitors, exert robust kidney protective effects. Shedding light on how nutrients are sensed and metabolized in KPTCs and in other kidney domains, and on their effects on signal transduction pathways that mediate kidney injury, is important for understanding the pathophysiology of DKD and for the development of novel therapeutic approaches in DKD and probably also in other forms of kidney disease.
Lijun Ge, Shuyuan Liu, Limor Rubin, Philip Lazarovici, and Wenhua Zheng. 2022. “Research Progress on Neuroprotection of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 towards Glutamate-Induced Neurotoxicity.” Cells, 11, 4. Abstract
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its binding proteins and receptors are widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), proposing IGF-1-induced neurotrophic actions in normal growth, development, and maintenance. However, while there is convincing evidence that the IGF-1 system has specific endocrine roles in the CNS, the concept is emerging that IGF-I might be also important in disorders such as ischemic stroke, brain trauma, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, etc., by inducing neuroprotective effects towards glutamate-mediated excitotoxic signaling pathways. Research in rodent models has demonstrated rescue of pathophysiological and behavioral abnormalities when IGF-1 was administered by different routes, and several clinical studies have shown safety and promise of efficacy in neurological disorders of the CNS. Focusing on the relationship between IGF-1-induced neuroprotection and glutamate-induced excitatory neurotoxicity, this review addresses the research progress in the field, intending to provide a rationale for using IGF-I clinically to confer neuroprotective therapy towards neurological diseases with glutamate excitotoxicity as a common pathological pathway.
Menachem Gross, Fadi Ashqar, Ronit Vogt Sionov, Michael Friedman, Ron Eliashar, Batya Zaks, Irith Gati, Danielle Duanis-Assaf, Mark Feldman, and Doron Steinberg. 2022. “Sustained release varnish containing chlorhexidine for prevention of Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation on voice prosthesis surface: an in vitro study.” International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology, 25, 1, Pp. 177–187. Abstract
OBJECTIVES: In this study, we aimed to develop a novel, sustained release varnish (SRV) for voice prostheses (VP) releasing chlorhexidine (CHX), for the prevention of biofilm formation caused by the common oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans on VP surfaces. METHODS: This study was performed in an in vitro model as a step towards future in vivo trials. VPs were coated with a SRV containing CHX (SRV-CHX) or SRV alone (placebo-SRV) that were daily exposed to S. mutans. The polymeric materials of SRV were composed of ethylcellulose and PEG-400. Biofilm formation was assessed by DNA quantification (qPCR), crystal violet staining, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and kinetics experiments. RESULTS: The amount of DNA in the biofilms formed by S. mutans on VP surfaces coated once with SRV-CHX (1.024 ± 0.218 ng DNA/piece) was 58.5 ± 8.8% lower than that of placebo-SRV-coated VPs (2.465 ± 0.198 ng DNA/piece) after a 48-h exposure to S. mutans (p = 0.038). Reduced biofilm mass on SRV-CHX-coated VPs was visually confirmed by CLSM and SEM. CV staining of SRV-CHX single-coated VPs that have been exposed to S. mutans nine times showed a 98.1 ± 0.2% reduction in biofilm mass compared to placebo-SRV-coated VPs (p = 0.003). Kinetic experiments revealed that SRV-CHX triple-coated VPs could delay bacterial growth for 23 days. CONCLUSIONS: Coating VPs with SRV-CHX has an inhibitory effect on biofilm formation and prevents bacterial growth in their vicinities. This study is a proof-of-principle that paves the way for developing new clinical means for reducing both VPs' bacterial biofilm formation and device failure.
Iris Noyman, Dana Ekstein, Firas Fahoum, Moshe Herskovitz, Ilan Linder, Bruria Ben Zeev, and Sara Eyal. 2022. “Using nirmatrelvir/ritonavir in patients with epilepsy: An update from the Israeli chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy.” Epilepsia. Abstract
Presented herein are recommendations for use of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir in patients with epilepsy, as issued by the Steering Committee of the Israeli chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy. The recommendations suggest that patients on moderate-to-strong enzyme-inducing antiseizure medications (ASMs) and everolimus should not be treated with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir; rectal diazepam may be used as an alternative to buccal midazolam; doses of ASMs that are cytochrome P450 (CYP3A4) substrates might be adjusted; and patients treated with combinations of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and ASMs that are CYP3A4 substrates or lamotrigine should be monitored for drug efficacy and adverse drug reactions.
2021
Aniv Mann Brukner, Sarah Billington, Mony Benifla, Tot Bui Nguyen, Hadas Han, Odeya Bennett, Tal Gilboa, Dana Blatch, Yakov Fellig, Olga Volkov, Jashvant D. Unadkat, Dana Ekstein, and Sara Eyal. 2021. “Abundance of P-glycoprotein and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein Measured by Targeted Proteomics in Human Epileptogenic Brain Tissue.” Molecular Pharmaceutics, 18, 6, Pp. 2263–2273. Abstract
Our goal was to measure the absolute differential abundance of key drug transporters in human epileptogenic brain tissue and to compare them between patients and at various distances from the epileptogenic zone within the same patient. Transporter protein abundance was quantified in brain tissue homogenates from patients who underwent epilepsy surgery, using targeted proteomics, and correlations with clinical and tissue characteristics were assessed. Fourteen brain samples (including four epileptogenic hippocampal samples) were collected from nine patients. Among the quantifiable drug transporters, the abundance (median, range) ranked: breast cancer resistance protein (ABCG2/BCRP; 0.55, 0.01-3.26 pmol/g tissue) > P-glycoprotein (ABCB1/MDR1; 0.30, 0.02-1.15 pmol/g tissue) > equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (SLC29A1/ENT1; 0.06, 0.001-0.35 pmol/g tissue). The ABCB1/ABCG2 ratio (mean 0.27, range 0.08-0.47) was comparable with literature values from nonepileptogenic brain tissue (mean 0.5-0.8). Transporter abundance was lower in the hippocampi than in the less epileptogenic neocortex of the same patients. ABCG2/BCRP and ABCB1/MDR1 expression strongly correlated with that of glucose transporter 1 (SLC2A1/GLUT1) (r = 0.97, p < 0.001; r = 0.90, p < 0.01, respectively). Low transporter abundance was found in patients with overt vascular pathology, whereas the highest abundance was seen in a sample with normally appearing blood vessels. In conclusion, drug transporter abundance highly varies across patients and between epileptogenic and less epileptogenic brain tissue of the same patient. The strong correlation in abundance of ABCB1/MDR1, ABCG2/BCRP, and SLC2A1/GLUT1 suggests variation in the content of the functional vasculature within the tissue samples. The epileptogenic tissue can be depleted of key drug transport mechanisms, warranting consideration when selecting treatments for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.
Wei-Hua Chiu, Lora Kovacheva, Ruth E Musgrove, Hadar Arien-Zakay, James B Koprich, Jonathan M Brotchie, Rami Yaka, Danny Ben-Zvi, Menachem Hanani, Jochen Roeper, and Joshua A Goldberg. 2021. “$\alpha$-Synuclein-induced Kv4 channelopathy in mouse vagal motoneurons drives nonmotor parkinsonian symptoms.” Science advances, 7, 11. Abstract
No disease-modifying therapy is currently available for Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease. The long nonmotor prodromal phase of PD is a window of opportunity for early detection and intervention. However, we lack the pathophysiological understanding to develop selective biomarkers and interventions. By using a mutant $\alpha$-synuclein selective-overexpression mouse model of prodromal PD, we identified a cell-autonomous selective Kv4 channelopathy in dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) neurons. This functional remodeling of intact DMV neurons leads to impaired pacemaker function in vitro and in vivo, which, in turn, reduces gastrointestinal motility, a common early symptom of prodromal PD. We identify a chain of events from $\alpha$-synuclein via a biophysical dysfunction of a specific neuronal population to a clinically relevant prodromal symptom. These findings will facilitate the rational design of clinical biomarkers to identify people at risk for developing PD.
Muna Aqawi, Ronit Vogt Sionov, Ruth Gallily, Michael Friedman, and Doron Steinberg. 2021. “Anti-Bacterial Properties of Cannabigerol Toward Streptococcus mutans.” Frontiers in microbiology, 12, Pp. 656471. Abstract
Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) is a gram-positive facultatively anaerobic bacterium and the most common pathogen associated with tooth caries. The organism is acid tolerant and can undergo physiological adaptation to function effectively in acid environments such as carious dental plaque. Some cannabinoids have been found to have potent anti-microbial activity against gram-positive bacteria. One of these is the non-psychoactive, minor phytocannabinoid Cannabigerol (CBG). Here we show that CBG exhibits anti-bacterial activities against S. mutans. CBG halts the proliferation of planktonic growing S. mutans, which is affected by the initial cell density. High-resolution scanning electron microscopy showed that the CBG-treated bacteria become swollen with altered membrane structures. Transmission electron microscopy provided data showing that CBG treatment leads to intracellular accumulation of membrane structures. Nile red, DiOC2(3) and laurdan staining demonstrated that CBG alters the membrane properties, induces membrane hyperpolarization, and decreases the membrane fluidity. CBG-treated bacteria showed increased propidium iodide uptake and reduced calcein AM staining, suggesting that CBG increases the membrane permeability and reduces the metabolic activity. Furthermore, CBG prevented the drop in pH caused by the bacteria. In summary, we present here data showing the mechanisms by which CBG exerts its anti-bacterial effect against S. mutans.
Mark Feldman, Ronit Vogt Sionov, Raphael Mechoulam, and Doron Steinberg. 2021. “Anti-Biofilm Activity of Cannabidiol against Candida albicans.” Microorganisms, 9, 2. Abstract
Candida albicans is a common fungal pathogen in humans. Biofilm formation is an important virulence factor of C. albicans infections. We investigated the ability of the plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to inhibit the formation and removal of fungal biofilms. Further, we evaluated its mode of action. Our findings demonstrate that CBD exerts pronounced time-dependent inhibitory effects on biofilm formation as well as disruption of mature biofilm at a concentration range below minimal inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations. CBD acts at several levels. It modifies the architecture of fungal biofilm by reducing its thickness and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production accompanied by downregulation of genes involved in EPS synthesis. It alters the fungal morphology that correlated with upregulation of yeast-associated genes and downregulation of hyphae-specific genes. Importantly, it represses the expression of C. albicans virulence-associated genes. In addition, CBD increases ROS production, reduces the intracellular ATP levels, induces mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization, modifies the cell wall, and increases the plasma membrane permeability. In conclusion, we propose that CBD exerts its activity towards C. albicans biofilm through a multi-target mode of action, which differs from common antimycotic agents, and thus can be explored for further development as an alternative treatment against fungal infections.