Beta-endorphin (BEP) producing neuron in the hypothalamus plays a key role in brining the stress axis to a state of homeostasis and maintaining body immune defense system. Long-term delivery of BEP to obtain beneficial effect on chemoprevention is challenging, since the peptide rapidly develop tolerance. Using rats as animal model, we show here that transplantation of beta-endorphin neurons into the hypothalamus suppressed carcinogens- and hormone-induced cancers in various tissues and prevented growth and metastasis of established tumors via activation of innate immune functions. Additionally, we show that intracerebroventricular administration of nanosphere-attached dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP) increased the number of BEP neurons in the hypothalamus, reduced the stress response, enhanced the innate immune function and prevented tumor cell growth, progression and metastasis. Beta-endorphin neuronal supplementation did not produce any deleterious effects on general health but was beneficial in suppressing age-induced alterations in physical activity, metabolic and immune functions. We conclude that the neuroimmune system has significant control over cancer growth and progression and that activation of the neuroimmune system via beta-endorphin neuronal supplementation/induction may have therapeutic value for cancer prevention and improvement of general health.
Exposure to alcohol, during development or adulthood, may result in damage to the nervous system, which underlies neurological and cognitive disruptions observed in patients with alcohol-related disorders, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and alcohol-use disorders (AUDs). Both clinical and preclinical evidence suggest microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, play a key role in modulating alcohol-induced neurotoxicity. Particularly, microglia are implicated in alcohol-induced neuroinflammation and in alcohol-induced increases in oxidative stress, which can lead to neuronal apoptosis. Recent studies also suggest a regenerative role for microglia in reestablishing homeostasis after alcohol exposure. These studies are summarized and reviewed in this chapter with emphasis on relevance to FASD and AUD.
Neurobehavioral and psychiatric disorders are complex diseases with a strong heritable component; however, to date, genome-wide association studies failed to identify the genetic loci involved in the etiology of these brain disorders. Recently, transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has emerged as an important factor playing a pivotal role in the inheritance of brain disorders. This field of research provides evidence that environmentally induced epigenetic changes in the germline during embryonic development can be transmitted for multiple generations and may contribute to the etiology of brain disease heritability. In this review, we discuss some of the most recent findings on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. We particularly discuss the findings on the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the heritability of alcohol-induced neurobehavioral disorders such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Early-life ethanol feeding (ELAF) alters the metabolic function of proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-producing neurons and the circadian expression of clock regulatory genes in the hypothalamus. We investigated whether the circadian mechanisms control the action of ELAF on metabolic signaling genes in POMC neurons. Gene expression measurements of Pomc and a selected group of metabolic signaling genes, Stat3, Sirt1, Pgc1-?, and Asb4 in laser-captured microdissected POMC neurons in the hypothalamus of POMC-enhanced green fluorescent protein mice showed circadian oscillations under light/dark and constant darkness conditions. Ethanol programmed these neurons such that the adult expression of Pomc, Stat3, Sirt, and Asb4 gene transcripts became arrhythmic. In addition, ELAF dampened the circadian peak of gene expression of Bmal1, Per1, and Per2 in POMC neurons. We crossed Per2 mutant mice with transgenic POMC-enhanced green fluorescent protein mice to determine the role of circadian mechanism in ELAF-altered metabolic signaling in POMC neurons. We found that ELAF failed to alter arrhythmic expression of most circadian genes, with the exception of the Bmal1 gene and metabolic signaling regulating genes in Per2 mutant mice. Comparison of the ELAF effects on the circadian blood glucose in wild-type and Per2 mutant mice revealed that ELAF dampened the circadian peak of glucose, whereas the Per2 mutation shifted the circadian cycle and prevented the ELAF dampening of the glucose peak. These data suggest the possibility that the Per2 gene mutation may regulate the ethanol actions on Pomc and the metabolic signaling genes in POMC neurons in the hypothalamus by blocking circadian mechanisms.
Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons, one of the major regulators of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, immune functions, and energy homeostasis, are vulnerable to the adverse effects of fetal alcohol exposure (FAE). These effects are manifested in POMC neurons by a decrease in Pomc gene expression, a decrement in the levels of its derived peptide ?-endorphin and a dysregulation of the stress response in the adult offspring. The HPA axis is a major neuroendocrine system with pivotal physiological functions and mode of regulation. This system has been shown to be perturbed by prenatal alcohol exposure. It has been demonstrated that the perturbation of the HPA axis by FAE is long-lasting and is linked to molecular, neurophysiological, and behavioral changes in exposed individuals. Recently, we showed that the dysregulation of the POMC system function by FAE is induced by epigenetic mechanisms such as hypermethylation of Pomc gene promoter and an alteration in histone marks in POMC neurons. This developmental programming of the POMC system by FAE altered the transcriptome in POMC neurons and induced a hyperresponse to stress in adulthood. These long-lasting epigenetic changes influenced subsequent generations via the male germline. We also demonstrated that the epigenetic programming of the POMC system by FAE was reversed in adulthood with the application of the inhibitors of DNA methylation or histone modifications. Thus, prenatal environmental influences, such as alcohol exposure, could epigenetically modulate POMC neuronal circuits and function to shape adult behavioral patterns. Identifying specific epigenetic factors in hypothalamic POMC neurons that are modulated by fetal alcohol and target Pomc gene could be potentially useful for the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat stress-related diseases in patients with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) is a precursor gene of the neuropeptide ?-endorphin in the hypothalamus and is known to regulate various physiological functions including stress response. Several recent reports showed that fetal alcohol exposure programs the hypothalamus to produce lower levels of POMC gene transcripts and to elevate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to stressful stimuli. We investigated the role of methyl CpG binding protein (MeCP2) in the effects of prenatal ethanol on POMC gene expression and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. Pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were fed between GD 7 and 21 with a liquid diet containing 6.7% alcohol, pair-fed with isocaloric liquid diet, or fed ad libitum with rat chow, and their male offsprings were used at 60 days after birth in this study. Fetal alcohol exposure reduced the level of POMC mRNA, but increased the level of DNA methylation of this gene in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus where the POMC neuronal cell bodies are located. Fetal alcohol exposed rats showed a significant increase in MeCP2 protein levels in POMC cells, MeCP2 gene transcript levels as well as increased MeCP2 protein binding on the POMC promoter in the arcuate nucleus. Lentiviral delivery of MeCP2 shRNA into the third ventricle efficiently reduced MeCP2 expression and prevented the effect of prenatal ethanol on POMC gene expression in the arcuate nucleus. MeCP2-shRNA treatment also normalized the prenatal ethanol-induced increase in corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) gene expression in the hypothalamus and elevated plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone hormone responses to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge. These results suggest that fetal alcohol programming of POMC gene may involve recruitment of MeCP2 on to the methylated promoter of the POMC gene to suppress POMC transcript levels and contribute to HPA axis dysregulation.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are a group of related conditions that arise from prenatal exposure to maternal consumption of the teratogen, ethanol. It has been estimated that roughly 1% of children in the US suffer from FASD (Sampson etal., 1997), though in some world populations, such as inhabitants of some poorer regions of South Africa, the rate can climb to as high as 20% (May etal., 2013). FASD are the largest cause of mental retardation in U.S. neonates, and ironically, are entirely preventable. FASD have been linked to major changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in lifelong impairments through mental disorders, retardation, and sensitivity to stress. FASD are linked to an impaired immune system which consequently leads to an elevated risk of cancer and other diseases. FASD arise from a complex interplay of genetic and epigenetic factors. Here, we review current literature on the topic to tease apart what is known in these areas particularly emphasizing HPA axis dysfunction and how this ties into new studies of transgenerational inheritance in FASD.
Chronic consumption of a large amount of alcohol disrupts the communication between nervous, endocrine, and immune system and causes hormonal disturbances that lead to profound and serious consequences at physiologic and behavioral levels. These alcohol-induced hormonal dysregulations affect the entire body and can result in various disorders such as stress abnormalities, reproductive deficits, body growth defect, thyroid problems, immune dysfunction, cancers, bone disease, and psychological and behavioral disorders. This review summarizes the findings from human and animal studies that provide consistent evidence on the various effects of alcohol abuse on the endocrine system.
Body and mind interact extensively with each other to control health. Emerging evidence suggests that chronic neurobehavioral stress can promote various tumor growth and progression. The biological reaction to stress involves a chemical cascade initiated within the central nervous system and extends to the periphery, encompassing the immune, endocrine, and autonomic systems. Activation of sympathetic nervous system, such as what happens in the "fight or flight" response, downregulates tumor-suppressive genes, inhibits immune function, and promotes tumor growth. On the other hand, an optimistic attitude or psychological intervention helps cancer patients to survive longer via increase in ?-endorphin neuronal suppression of stress hormone levels and sympathetic outflows and activation of parasympathetic control of tumor suppressor gene and innate immune cells to destroy and clear tumor cells.
Various features, components, and functions of the immune system present daily variations. Immunocompetent cell counts and cytokine levels present variations according to the time of day and the sleep-wake cycle. Moreover, different immune cell types, such as macrophages, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes, contain a circadian molecular clockwork. The biological clocks intrinsic to immune cells and lymphoid organs, together with inputs from the central pacemaker of the suprachiasmatic nuclei via humoral and neural pathways, regulate the function of cells of the immune system, including their response to signals and their effector functions. Consequences of this include, for example, the daily variation in the response to an immune challenge (e.g., bacterial endotoxin injection) and the circadian control of allergic reactions. The circadian-immune connection is bidirectional, because in addition to this circadian control of immune functions, immune challenges and immune mediators (e.g., cytokines) were shown to have strong effects on circadian rhythms at the molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels. This tight crosstalk between the circadian and immune systems has wide-ranging implications for disease, as shown by the higher incidence of cancer and the exacerbation of autoimmune symptoms upon circadian disruption.
As the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the compartment where disulfide bridges in secreted and cell surface proteins are formed, the disturbance of its redox state has profound consequences, yet regulation of ER redox potential remains poorly understood. To monitor the ER redox state in live cells, several fluorescence-based sensors have been developed. However, these sensors have yielded results that are inconsistent with each other and with earlier non-fluorescence-based studies. One particular green fluorescent protein (GFP)-based redox sensor, roGFP1-iL, could detect oxidizing changes in the ER despite having a reduction potential significantly lower than that previously reported for the ER. We have confirmed these observations and determined the mechanisms by which roGFP1-iL detects oxidizing changes. First, glutathione mediates the formation of disulfide-bonded roGFP1-iL dimers with an intermediate excitation fluorescence spectrum resembling a mixture of oxidized and reduced monomers. Second, glutathione facilitates dimerization of roGFP1-iL, which shifted the equilibrium from oxidized monomers to dimers, thereby increasing the molecules reduction potential compared with that of a dithiol redox buffer. We conclude that the glutathione redox couple in the ER significantly increased the reduction potential of roGFP1-iL in vivo by facilitating its dimerization while preserving its ratiometric nature, which makes it suitable for monitoring oxidizing and reducing changes in the ER with a high degree of reliability in real time. The ability of roGFP1-iL to detect both oxidizing and reducing changes in ER and its dynamic response in glutathione redox buffer between approximately -190 and -130 mV in vitro suggests a range of ER redox potentials consistent with those determined by earlier approaches that did not involve fluorescent sensors.
Prenatal alcohol exposure has been shown to increase offspring susceptibility to some chemical carcinogens. Whether prenatal exposure to alcohol makes the offspring more susceptible to the development of prostate cancer is not known. Therefore, we determined whether any functional abnormalities and increased cancer susceptibility exist in the prostate of fetal alcohol-exposed male rats during the adult period.
Prenatal exposure to ethanol (EtOH) reduces the expression of hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene, known to control various physiological functions including the organismal stress response. In this study, we determined whether the changes in POMC neuronal functions are associated with altered expressions of histone-modifying and DNA-methylating enzymes in POMC-producing neurons, because these enzymes are known to be involved in regulation of gene expression. In addition, we tested whether gestational choline supplementation prevents the adverse effects of EtOH on these neurons.
Circadian systems regulate the immune system by various molecular and physiological pathways. Disruption to the circadian temporality of these pathways is associated with disease formation and progression. Circadian clock genes have been shown to regulate pathways involved in cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and DNA damage response, as aberrant rhythms in these genes are associated with various diseases. However, there is growing evidence that specific circadian genes differentially regulate functional pathways of immunocompetent cells. To extend our previous findings of the role of Period 2 in regulating splenocyte rhythms, we report that mice carrying a mutation in the Period 1 gene (Per1(-/-) mice), involved in the negative limb of the molecular clock, display significantly altered rhythms of cytokine (eg, interferon-?) and cytolytic factors (eg, perforin and granzyme B) in splenic natural killer (NK) cells. Altered rhythms of NK cell immune factors were accompanied by changes in circadian expression of circadian clock genes, Bmal1 and Per2. In addition, Per1(-/-) circadian running-wheel activity rhythms remained rhythmic during constant darkness, although with a shortened free-running circadian period, suggesting primary involvement of peripheral molecular clocks. These findings indicate that the Per1 gene through NK cellular clocks modulates immune pathways.
We have previously shown that ethanol (EtOH) increases cellular apoptosis to developing neurons via the effects on oxidative stress of neurons directly and via increasing production of microglia-derived factors. To study further the mechanism of EtOH action on neuronal apoptosis, we determined the effects of 2 well-known PKA activators, dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), on EtOH-activated oxidative stress and apoptotic processes in the hypothalamic neurons in the presence and absence of microglial cells influence.
Neurobehavioral stress has been shown to promote tumor growth and progression and dampen the immune system. In this study, we investigated whether inhibiting stress hormone production could inhibit the development of mammary carcinoma and metastasis in a rat model of breast carcinogenesis. To enhance ?-endorphin (BEP), the endogenous opioid polypeptide that boosts immune activity and decreases stress, we generated BEP neurons by in vitro differentiation from fetal neuronal stem cells and transplanted them into the hypothalami of rats subjected to breast carcinogenesis. BEP-transplanted rats displayed a reduction in mammary tumor incidence, growth, malignancy rate, and metastasis compared with cortical cells-transplanted rats. BEP neuron transplants also reduced inflammation and epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the tumor tissues. In addition, BEP neuron transplants increased peripheral natural killer (NK) cell and macrophage activities, elevated plasma levels of antiinflammatory cytokines, and reduced plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines. Antimetastatic effects along with stimulation of NK cells and macrophages could be reversed by treatment with the opiate antagonist naloxone, the ?-receptor agonist metaproterenol, or the nicotine acetylcholine receptor antagonist methyllycaconitine. Together, our findings establish a protective role for BEP against the growth and metastasis of mammary tumor cells by altering autonomic nervous system activities that enhance innate immune function.
The primary physiological role of the circadian system is to synchronize and coordinate organ systems, particularly in response to dynamics in the environment. The immune system is under direct circadian control by systemic cues and molecular clocks within immune cells. The master circadian pacemaker called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) conveys timing information to the immune system through endocrine and autonomic pathways. These signals promote phase coherence of peripheral clocks in the immune system, and also govern daily variations in immune function. The coordination of immune response may compose an anticipatory state for optimal immune response. Interactions between circadian and immune systems are bidirectional, in that immune factors can modulate phasing of circadian clocks. Circadian disruption, such as environmental desynchronization and/or anomalous molecular clock functions, may lead to lack of system coordination, and particular vulnerabilities to infection and disease may develop.
Dopamine, through D2 receptor (D2R), is the major regulator of lactotrope function in the anterior pituitary gland. Both D2R isoforms, long (D2L) and short (D2S), are expressed in lactotropes. Although both isoforms can transduce dopamine signal, they differ in the mechanism that leads to cell response. The administration of D2R agonists, such as cabergoline, is the main pharmacological treatment for prolactinomas, but resistance to these drugs exists, which has been associated with alterations in D2R expression. We previously reported that dopamine and cabergoline induce apoptosis of lactotropes in primary culture in an estrogen-dependent manner. In this study we used an in vivo model to confirm the permissive action of estradiol in the apoptosis of anterior pituitary cells induced by D2R agonists. Administration of cabergoline to female rats induced apoptosis, measured by Annexin-V staining, in anterior pituitary gland from estradiol-treated rats but not from ovariectomized rats. To evaluate the participation of D2R isoforms in the apoptosis induced by dopamine we used lactotrope-derived PR1 cells stably transfected with expression vectors encoding D2L or D2S receptors. In the presence of estradiol, dopamine induced apoptosis, determined by ELISA and TUNEL assay, only in PR1-D2S cells. To study the role of p38 MAPK in apoptosis induced by D2R activation, anterior pituitary cells from primary culture or PR1-D2S were incubated with an inhibitor of the p38 MAPK pathway (SB203850). SB203580 blocked the apoptotic effect of D2R activation in lactotropes from primary cultures and PR1-D2S cells. Dopamine also induced p38 MAPK phosphorylation, determined by western blot, in PR1-D2S cells and estradiol enhanced this effect. These data suggest that, in the presence of estradiol, D2R agonists induce apoptosis of lactotropes by their interaction with D2S receptors and that p38 MAPK is involved in this process.
Microglia are the major inflammatory cells in the central nervous system and play a role in brain injuries as well as brain diseases. In this study, we determined the role of microglia in ethanols apoptotic action on neuronal cells obtained from the mediobasal hypothalamus and maintained in primary cultures. We also tested the effect of cAMP, a signaling molecule critically involved in hypothalamic neuronal survival, on microglia-mediated ethanols neurotoxic action.
Altered fetal programming because of a suboptimal in utero environment has been shown to increase susceptibility to many diseases later in life. This study examined the effect of alcohol exposure in utero on N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU)-induced mammary cancer risk during adulthood.
There are several reports showing evidence for the existence of high levels of prolactin (PRL) in alcoholic men and women. Alcohol-induced hyperprolactinemia has also been demonstrated in nonhuman primates and laboratory animals. Therefore, the clinical data as well as animal data suggest that ethanol consumption is a positive risk factor for hyperprolactinemia. In animal studies, it was found that chronic ethanol administration not only elevates plasma levels of PRL but also increases proliferation of pituitary lactotropes. Ethanol action on lactotropes involves crosstalk with estradiol-responsive signaling cascade or estradiol-regulated cell-cell communication. Additionally, it involves suppression of dopamine D2 receptors inhibition of G proteins and intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), modulation of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) isoforms and their receptors (TbetaRII), as well as factors secondary to TGF-beta actions, including production of beta-fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) from follicular-stellate cells. The downstream signaling that governs b-FGF production and secretion involves activation of the MAP kinase p44/42-dependent pathway. A coordinated suppression of D2 receptor- and TbetaRII receptor-mediated signaling as well as enhancement of bFGF activity might be critical for ethanol action on PRL production and cell proliferation in lactotropes.
Ethanol exposure during early life has been shown to permanently alter the circadian expression of clock regulatory genes and the beta-endorphin precursor proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene in the hypothalamus. Ethanol also alters the stress- and immune-regulatory functions of beta-endorphin neurons in laboratory rodents. Our aim was to determine whether the circadian clock regulatory Per2 gene modulates the action of ethanol on beta-endorphin neurons in mice.
Previous research in our laboratory has demonstrated robust circadian variations of cytokines and cytolytic factors in enriched NK cells from rat spleen, strongly suggesting these functions may be subject to circadian regulation. The SCN mediates timing information to peripheral tissues by both humoral and neural inputs. In particular, noradrenergic (NE) sympathetic nervous system (SNS) terminals innervate the spleen tissue communicating information between central and peripheral systems. However, whether these immune factors are subject to timing information conveyed through neural NE innervation to the spleen remained unknown. Indeed, we were able to characterize a circadian rhythm of NE content in the spleen, supporting the role of the SNS as a conveyor of timing information to splenocytes. By chemically producing a local splenic sympathectomy through guanethidine treatment, the splenic NE rhythm was abolished or shifted as indicated by a blunting of the expected peak at ZT7. Consequently, the daily variations of cytokine, TNF-?, and cytolytic factors, granzyme-B and perforin, in NK cells and splenocytes were altered. Only time-dependent mRNA expression of IFN-? was altered in splenocytes, but not protein levels in NK cells, suggesting non-neural entrainment cues may be necessary to regulate specific immune factors. In addition, the rhythms of clock genes and proteins, Bmal1 and Per2, in these tissues also displayed significantly altered daily variations. Collectively, these results demonstrate rhythmic NE input to the spleen acts as an entrainment cue to modulate the molecular clock in NK cells and other spleen cells possibly playing a role in regulating the cytokine and cytolytic function of these cells.
A randomised study was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of four topical medications individually and in combination to treat grade I acne vulgaris which is characterised by mild lesions (< 10 in one side of face) consisting of predominantly comedones with occasional pustules in oily skin. Maintaining the inclusion and exclusion criteria 100 patients were selected and divided into 5 groups to receive different topical drugs at random basis in the dermatology OPD. Topical medication given to them is mentioned below against each group: Group I--retinonic acid, group II--benzoyl peroxide, group III--clindamycin, group IV--cleanser and group V--all the four medications. The patients were observed for reduction in number of comedones, suppression of papulopustules with healing rate, effects on facial skin, and rate of recurrence. Results were observed according to the groups. In group I old acne was reduced in size and gradually cleared off (80%). Recurrence was few with appearance of new microcomedones which were cleared off within short time. Skin became smoother and fresh. Texture became lighter in colour. In group II whiteheads were reduced at about 70% in number. Rate of recurrence was normal. Skin became rough and dry. In group III pustular acne healed better and faster. In group IV acne of oily skin healed better and faster. Rate of recurrence was normal. Skin became fresh and oil-free. In group V reduction of lesions was very much significant (90%) with quick healing rate of the comedones. Recurrence was normal but delayed. Skin became smoother, finer and fresher. So, combination therapy is better. Cleanser is always helpful even without medications.
Natural killer (NK) cell dysfunction is associated with hyperresponse of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) to immune challenge and with a loss of beta-endorphin (BEP) neurons in fetal alcohol exposed animals. Recently, we established a method to differentiate neural stem cells into BEP neurons using cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-elevating agents in cultures. Hence, we determined whether in vitro differentiated BEP neurons could be used for reversing the compromised stress response and immune function in fetal alcohol exposed rats.
The bodys internal system to control the daily rhythm of the bodys functions (i.e., the circadian system), the bodys stress response, and the bodys neurobiology are highly interconnected. Thus, the rhythm of the circadian system impacts alcohol use patterns; at the same time, alcohol drinking also can alter circadian functions. The sensitivity of the circadian system to alcohol may result from alcohols effects on the expression of several of the clock genes that regulate circadian function. The stress response system involves the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain and the adrenal glands, as well as the hormones they secrete, including corticotrophin-releasing hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, and glucocorticoids. It is controlled by brain-signaling molecules, including endogenous opioids such as ?-endorphin. Alcohol consumption influences the activity of this system and vice versa. Finally, interactions exist between the circadian system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and alcohol consumption. Thus, it seems that certain clock genes may control functions of the stress response system and that these interactions are affected by alcohol.
The antidiabetic effect of seeds of Strychnos potatorum Linn. was evaluated in a model of diabetes mellitus using streptozotocin (40 mg/kg b.w., i.p.). Changes in fasting blood sugar were estimated periodically for 12 weeks along with weekly measurement of body weight, food and water intake for 4 weeks. The antidiabetic effects were compared with glipizide as the reference hypoglycemic drug. Strychnos potatorum Linn. (100 mg/kg p.o.) significantly reduced fasting blood sugar, the effects being comparable with glipizide (40 mg/kg, p.o.), an established hypoglycemic drug. It also increased body weight along with decreased food and water intake in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Taken together, Strychnos potatorum Linn. shows promise as an effective hypoglycemic compound worthy of future pharmacological investigations.
Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase prolactin (PRL) production and cell proliferation of pituitary lactotropes. It also causes a reduction in the lactotropes response to dopaminergic agents and a differential expression of dopamine 2 receptor short (D2S) and long (D2L) isoforms in the pituitary. However, the role of each of these D2 receptor isoforms and its coupled G protein in mediation of ethanol actions on lactotropes is not known. We have addressed this issue by comparing ethanol effects on the level of PRL production gene transcription rate cellular protein, G proteins and cell proliferation in enriched lactotropes and lactotrope-derived PR1 cells containing various D2 receptor isoforms. Additionally, we determined the effects of G protein blockade on ethanol-induced PRL production and cell proliferation in these cells. We show here that the D2 receptor, primarily the D2S isoform, is critically involved in the regulation of ethanol actions on PRL production and cell proliferation in lactotropes. We also present data to elucidate that the presence of the pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive D2S receptor is critical to mediate the ethanol stimulatory action on Gs and the ethanols inhibitory action on Gi3 protein in lactotropes. Additionally, we provide evidence for the existence of an inhibitory action of Gi3 on Gs that is under the control of the D2S receptor and is inhibited by ethanol. These results suggest that ethanol via the inhibitory action on D2S receptor activity suppresses Gi3 repression of Gs expression resulting in stimulation of PRL synthesis and cell proliferation in lactotropes.
Animals exposed to alcohol during the developmental period develop many physiological and behavioral problems because of neuronal loss in various brain areas including the hypothalamus. Because alcohol exposure is known to induce oxidative stress in developing neurons, we tested whether hypothalamic cells from the fetal brain exposed to ethanol (EtOH) may alter the cell-cell communication between neurons and microglia, thereby leading to increased oxidative stress and the activation of apoptotic processes in the neuronal population in the hypothalamus.
Animals exposed to alcohol during the developmental period develop circadian disturbances and metabolic problems that often persist during their adult period. In order to study whether alcohol and the circadian clock interact to alter metabolic signaling in the hypothalamus, we determined whether postnatal alcohol feeding in mice permanently alters metabolic sensing in the hypothalamus. Furthermore, we evaluated whether the effect of circadian disruption via Period 2 (Per2) gene mutation prevents alcohols effects on metabolic signaling in the hypothalamus.
We summarize here our new discovery that the endogenous opioid peptide ?-endorphin (BEP), by virtue of reducing body stress and maintaining active immune system, as well as, balancing the levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, destroys tumor cells and stops them from being transformed into metastatic cancer cells.
Neurons containing proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides, known to control stress axis, metabolic, and immune functions, have a lower function in patients with a family history of alcoholism, raising the possibility that alcohol effects on the POMC system may transmit through generations. Here we describe epigenetic modifications of Pomc gene that transmit through generation via male germline and may be critically involved in alcoholism-inherited diseases.
In the natural killer (NK) cells, ?-opiate receptor (DOR) and ?-opioid receptor (MOR) interact in a feedback manner to regulate cytolytic function with an unknown mechanism. Using RNK16 cells, a rat NK cell line, we show that MOR and DOR monomer and dimer proteins existed in these cells and that chronic treatment with a receptor antagonist reduced protein levels of the targeted receptor but increased levels of opposing receptor monomer and homodimer. The opposing receptor-enhancing effects of MOR and DOR antagonists were abolished following receptor gene knockdown by siRNA. Ethanol treatment increased MOR and DOR heterodimers while it decreased the cellular levels of MOR and DOR monomers and homodimers. The opioid receptor homodimerization was associated with an increased receptor binding, and heterodimerization was associated with a decreased receptor binding and the production of cytotoxic factors. Similarly, in vivo, opioid receptor dimerization, ligand binding of receptors, and cell function in immune cells were promoted by chronic treatment with an opiate antagonist but suppressed by chronic ethanol feeding. Additionally, a combined treatment of an MOR antagonist and a DOR agonist was able to reverse the immune suppressive effect of ethanol and reduce the growth and progression of mammary tumors in rats. These data identify a role of receptor dimerization in the mechanism of DOR and MOR feedback interaction in NK cells, and they further elucidate the potential for the use of a combined opioid antagonist and agonist therapy for the treatment of immune incompetence and cancer and alcohol-related diseases.
Prolonged subjection to unstable work or lighting schedules, particularly in rotating shift-workers, is associated with an increased risk of immune-related diseases, including several cancers. Consequences of chronic circadian disruption may also extend to the innate immune system to promote cancer growth, as NK cell function is modulated by circadian mechanisms and plays a key role in lysis of tumor cells. To determine if NK cell function is disrupted by a model of human shift-work and jet-lag, Fischer (344) rats were exposed to either a standard 12:12 light-dark cycle or a chronic shift-lag paradigm consisting of 10 repeated 6-h photic advances occurring every 2 d, followed by 5-7 d of constant darkness. This model resulted in considerable circadian disruption, as assessed by circadian running-wheel activity. NK cells were enriched from control and shifted animals, and gene, protein, and cytolytic activity assays were performed. Chronic shift-lag altered the circadian expression of clock genes, Per2 and Bmal1, and cytolytic factors, perforin and granzyme B, as well as the cytokine, IFN-?. These alterations were correlated with suppressed circadian expression of NK cytolytic activity. Further, chronic shift-lag attenuated NK cell cytolytic activity under stimulated in vivo conditions, and promoted lung tumor growth following i.v. injection of MADB106 tumor cells. Together, these findings suggest chronic circadian disruption promotes tumor growth by altering the circadian rhythms of NK cell function.
It is becoming increasingly clear that stressful life events can affect cancer growth and metastasis by modulating nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. The purpose of this review is to briefly describe the process by which stress may potentiate carcinogenesis and how reducing body stress may prevent cancer growth and progression. The opioid peptide ?-endorphin plays a critical role in bringing the stress axis to a state of homeostasis. We have recently shown that enhancement of endogenous levels of ?-endorphin in the hypothalamus via ?-endorphin neuron transplantation suppresses stress response, promotes immune function, and reduces the incidence of cancer in rat models of prostate and breast cancers. The cancer-preventive effect of ?-endorphin is mediated through the suppression of sympathetic neuronal function, which results in increased peripheral natural killer cell and macrophage activities, elevated levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines. ?-endorphin inhibition of tumor progression also involves alteration in the tumor microenvironment, possibly because of suppression of catecholamine and inflammatory cytokine production, which are known to alter DNA repair, cell-matrix attachments, angiogenic process, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Thus, ?-endorphin cell therapy may offer some therapeutic value in cancer prevention.
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