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Breast cancer remains the most common female malignancy and metastasis is the leading cause of death in breast cancer patients. Oldenlandia diffusa has been empirically and extensively used as an adjuvant therapy for metastatic breast cancer patients in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with proven efficacy. However, its anti-metastasis mechanism has been poorly revealed.

Multiple molecular biology experiments as well as network pharmacology, bioinformatics analysis were conducted to investigate the anti-metastasis mechanism of Oldenlandia diffusa in breast cancer.

We demonstrated that ethanol extract of Oldenlandia diffusa (EEOD) significantly inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis of high-metastatic breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-453, while having no obvious cytotoxic effect on multiple nonmalignant cells. Furthermore, EEOD remarkably suppressed the migration and invasion capacities of the above breast cancer cells by modulating the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway. More importantly, EEOD also significantly inhibited breast cancer metastasis in zebrafish xenotransplantation model in vivo. Network pharmacology and bioinformatics analysis further demonstrated that EEOD yielded 12 candidate compounds and 225 potential targets, and shared 85 putative targets associated with breast cancer metastasis. Mechanistically, RNA sequencing and experimental validation results suggested that EEOD might inhibit breast cancer metastasis by attenuating the expression of caveolin-1 (Cav-1) as overexpression of Cav-1 could weaken the anti-metastasis efficacy of EEOD.

Overall, our findings proved that EEOD could inhibit breast cancer metastasis by attenuating the expression of Cav-1, highlighting the use of EEOD as an adjunctive therapy for metastatic breast cancer patients. This study also provides novel insights into network pharmacology and bioinformatics analysis as effective tools to illuminate the scientific basis of TCM.


Lithium (Li+) ion due to its excellent bioactivity is one of the most well-studied element in bone-tissue engineering. In this study, we fabricated nanohydroxyapatite (nHAp) doped with Li+ ions (5?mol% Li+:nHAp) and co-doped with lanthanide ions. We investigated the effects of nHAp, 5?mol% Li+:nHAp or Li+ alone, on osteogenic differentiation of human Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells (hASCs), their proliferation, mitochondrial dynamics and apoptosis. Moreover, we monitored cell proliferation after treatment with samarium (III) (Sm3+) and europium (III) (Eu3+) ions co-doped 5?mol% Li+:nHAp as well as their luminescent property. The hASCs treated with 5?mol% Li+:nHAp and Li+ ions proliferated more rapidly and differentiated effectively than control cells without undergoing apoptosis. Both, 5?mol% Li+:nHAp and Li+ ions improved osteogenic differentiation of hASCs. Moreover they decreased expression of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta) while increased beta-catenin mRNA level. In addition, Li+, nHAp and 5?mol% Li+:nHAp improved mitochondrial dynamics and enhanced expression of neural differentiation marker genes. Collectively, the study indicates on pro-osteogenic and anti-apoptotic properties of nHAp doped with Li+ and Li+ alone. Moreover, unique properties of 5?mol% Li+:nHAp and 5?mol% Li+:nHAp co-doped with rare earth ions, such as Sm3+ and Eu3+ have shed a promising light on their potential application in theranostics.

Therapeutic potential of endothelial progenitor cells in a rat model of epilepsy: Role of autophagy

Posted by N N. Shahin, M M. Safar, S M. Rizk, et al. on 2019-02-27 18:16:05


Epilepsy is one of the most well-known neurological conditions worldwide. One-third of adult epileptic patients do not respond to antiepileptic drugs or surgical treatment and therefore suffer from the resistant type of epilepsy. Stem cells have been given substantial consideration in the field of epilepsy therapeutics. The implication of pathologic vascular response in sustained seizures and the eminent role of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in maintaining vascular integrity tempted us to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of EPCs in a pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced rat model of epilepsy. Modulation of autophagy, a process that enables neurons to maintain an equilibrium of synthesis, degradation and subsequent reprocessing of cellular components, has been targeted. Intravenously administered EPCs homed into the hippocampus and amended the deficits in memory and locomotor activity. The cells mitigated neurological damage and the associated histopathological alterations and boosted the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. EPCs corrected the perturbations in neurotransmitter activity and enhanced the expression of the downregulated autophagy proteins light chain protein-3 (LC-3), beclin-1, and autophagy-related gene-7 (ATG-7). Generally, these effects were comparable to those achieved by the reference antiepileptic drug, valproic acid. In conclusion, EPCs may confer therapeutic effects against epilepsy and its associated behavioural and biochemical abnormalities at least in part via the upregulation of autophagy. The study warrants further research in experimental and clinical settings to verify the prospect of using EPCs as a valid therapeutic strategy in patients with epilepsy.


The combination of pharmacological hypothermia - dihydrocapsaicin (DHC) and intra-arterial regional cooling infusions (RCI) was found to enhance the efficiency of hypothermia and efficacy of hypothermia-induced neuroprotection in acute ischemic stroke. The aim of this study was to explore whether the combination could induce a long-term neuroprotective effects, as well as the underlying mechanism.

Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2?h using intraluminal hollow filament. The ischemic rats were randomized to receive pharmacological hypothermia by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of DHC, physical hypothermia by RCI of 6?ml cold saline (4℃), the combination, and no treatment. Over a 21-day period, brain damage was determined by infarct volume with MRI, and neurological deficit with grid-walking and beam balance tests. Blood brain barrier (BBB) was assessed by Evans-Blue (EB) contents. Inflammatory cytokines were determined in peri-infarct area by antibody array and ELISA.

The combination of DHC and RCI reduced (p?<?0.05) infarct volume and neurologic deficit after stroke. BBB leakage and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF-alpha) were significantly decreased (p?<?0.05) because of the combination, while protective cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) were increased (p?<?0.05) in the peri-infarct area.

The combination approach enhanced the efficacy of hypothermia-induced neuroprotection following ischemic stroke. Our findings provide a hint to translate the combination method from bench to bedside.


Evidence indicates that adverse experiences in early life may be a factor for immune disturbances leading to the depression in adulthood. Recently, a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of depression has been assigned to the activation of the brain Nod-like receptor pyrin-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. We investigated the impact of chronic treatment with antidepressant drugs on the behavioral disturbances and the levels of proinflammatory factors in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of adult male rats after prenatal stress exposure. Next, we explored the involvement of the NLRP3 inflammasome-related pathways in the mechanism of antidepressant action. Our study confirmed that chronic antidepressant treatment attenuated depression-like disturbances and exerted an anxiolytic action. All antidepressants diminished the prenatal stress-induced increase in IL-1beta in both brain areas, while IL-18 only in the hippocampus. Moreover, tianeptine administration diminished the increase in CCR2 levels in both brain areas, while in the hippocampus, tianeptine, along with venlafaxine CCL2 and iNOS levels. Next, we observed that in the hippocampus, tianeptine and fluoxetine suppressed upregulation of TLR4. Furthermore, venlafaxine suppressed NFkB p65-subunit phosphorylation, while fluoxetine enhanced the IкB level. Importantly, in the hippocampus, all antidepressants normalized evoked by stress changes in caspase-1 level, while tianeptine and venlafaxine also affect the levels of ASC and NLRP3 subunits. Our results provide new evidence that chronic administration of antidepressants exerts anti-inflammatory effects more pronounced in the hippocampus, through suppression of the NLRP3 inflammasome activation. These effects are accompanied by an improvement in the behavioral dysfunctions evoked by prenatal stress.

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