24S,25-Epoxycholesterol is formed in a shunt of the mevalonate pathway that produces cholesterol. It is one of the most potent known activators of the liver X receptors and can inhibit sterol regulatory element-binding protein processing. Until recently analysis of 24S,25-epoxycholesterol at high sensitivity has been precluded by its thermal lability and lack of a strong chromophore. Here we report on the analysis of 24S,25-epoxycholesterol in rodent brain where its level was determined to be of the order of 0.4-1.4?g/g wet weight in both adult mouse and rat. For comparison the level of 24S-hydroxycholesterol in brain of both rodents was of the order of 20?g/g, while that of cholesterol in mouse was 10-20mg/g. By exploiting knockout mice for the enzyme oxysterol 7?-hydroxylase (Cyp7b1) we show that this enzymes is important for the subsequent metabolism of the 24S,25-epoxide.
VGF (nonacronymic) is a neuropeptide precursor that plays multiple roles in regulation of energy balance, reproduction, hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and pain. Data from a number of pain models showed significant up-regulation of VGF in sensory neurons. TLQP-21, one of the VGF-derived neuropeptides, has been shown to induce a hyperalgesic response when injected subcutaneously into the hind paw of mice. However, the precise role of VGF-derived neuropeptides in neuropathic pain and the molecular identity of the receptor for VGF-derived peptides are yet to be investigated. Here we identified gC1qR, the globular heads of the C1q receptor, as the receptor for TLQP-21 using chemical cross-linking combined with mass spectrometry analysis. TLQP-21 caused an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) levels in rat macrophages and microglia. Inoculation of TLQP-21-stimulated macrophages into rat hind paw caused mechanical hypersensitivity. The increase in intracellular Ca(2+) levels in macrophages was attenuated by either siRNA or neutralizing antibodies against gC1qR. Furthermore, application of the gC1qR-neutralizing antibody to rats with partial sciatic nerve ligation resulted in a delayed onset of nerve injury-associated mechanical hypersensitivity. These results indicate that gC1qR is the receptor for TLQP-21 and plays an important role in chronic pain through activation of macrophages. Because direct association between TLQP-21 and gC1qR is required for activation of macrophages and causes hypersensitivity, disrupting this interaction may be a useful new approach to develop novel analgesics.
HIV-associated sensory neuropathy is the most frequent manifestation of HIV disease, afflicting 40-50% of patients whose HIV disease is otherwise controlled by antiretroviral therapy. It often presents with significant neuropathic pain and is consistently associated with previous exposure to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors including stavudine (d4T), which is widely used in resource-limited settings. Here we investigated complex pain-related behaviours associated with d4T treatment using ethologically relevant thigmotaxis and burrowing behaviours in adult rats. Detailed neuropathological response was also examined using neurochemistry, electron microscopy, and proteomics. After 2 intravenous injections of d4T (50 mg/kg, 4 days apart), rats developed hind paw mechanical hypersensitivity, which plateaued at 21 days after initial d4T injection, a time that these animals also had significant changes in thigmotaxis and burrowing behaviours when compared to the controls; reductions in hind paw intraepidermal nerve fibre density and CGRP/IB4 immunoreactivity in L5 spinal dorsal horn, suggesting injury to both the peripheral and central terminals of L5 dorsal root ganglion neurons; and increases in myelinated and unmyelinated axon diameters in the sural nerve, suggesting axonal swelling. However, no significant glial and inflammatory cell response to d4T treatment was observed. Sural nerve proteomics at 7 days after initial d4T injection revealed down-regulated proteins associated with mitochondrial function, highlighting distal axons vulnerability to d4T neurotoxicity. In summary, we have reported complex behavioural changes and a distinctive neuropathology in a clinically relevant rat model of d4T-induced sensory neuropathy that is suitable for further pathophysiological investigation and preclinical evaluation of novel analgesics.
Oxysterols are present in mammalian brain at ng/g-?g/g levels while cholesterol is present at the mg/g level. This makes oxysterol analysis of brain challenging. In an effort to meet this challenge we have developed, and validated, an isolation method based on solid phase extraction and an analytical protocol involving oxidation/derivatisation (i.e., charge-tagging) followed by nano-flow liquid chromatography (nano-LC) combined with tandem mass spectrometry utilising multi-stage fragmentation (MS(n)). The oxidation/derivatisation method employed improves detection limits by two orders of magnitude, while nano-LC-MS(n) provides separation of isomers and allows oxysterol quantification. Using this method 13 different oxysterols have been identified in rat brain including 24S-hydroxycholesterol, 24S,25-epoxycholesterol and 7?,26-dihydroxycholest-4-en-3-one. The level of 24S-hydroxycholesterol in rat brain was determined to be 20.3±3.4 ?g/g and quantitative estimates were made for the other oxysterols identified. The presence of a large excess of cholesterol over oxysterol in brain raises the problem of autoxidation during sterol isolation and sample preparation. Thus, in parallel to identification studies, the degree of cholesterol autoxidation occurring during sterol isolation and analysis has been evaluated with the aid of [(2)H(7)]-labelled cholesterol and cholesterol autoxidation products identified.
The use of polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) as an excipient in oral formulations can have profound and differing effects on drug bioavailability in men and women; therefore an understanding of the pharmacokinetics of this excipient is required. A direct injection electrospray selected ion monitoring mass spectrometry methodology was developed and validated for the quantitation of PEG 400 excreted in human urine after oral administration. The most abundant ions corresponding to PEG 400 oligomers at m/z 365, 409, 453, 497, 541, and 585 were used for selected ion monitoring (SIM). Pre-dose urine of volunteers was spiked with various amounts of PEG 400 to generate calibration curves over the concentration range 2.5-90 ?g/mL for all SIM channels. The relative standard deviations of intra- and inter-day analysis of PEG 400 in human urine were lower than 11.8% and bias percentage was less than 9.7%. This specific method for relative quantitation of PEG 400 was then used to analyse urine samples with minimal sample preparation. Urine samples of twelve healthy volunteers (six men and six women) who received 0.75 g and 1.5 g PEG 400 on two separate occasions were collected over 24h. On average 36.5% of the orally administered dose of PEG 400 was recovered in the urine of the volunteers, with no significant difference observed between men and women.
In addition to cholesterol-lowering properties, statins exhibit lipid-independent immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory actions. However, high concentrations are typically required to induce these effects in vitro, raising questions concerning therapeutic relevance. We present evidence that endothelial cell sensitivity to statins depends upon shear stress. Using heme oxygenase-1 expression as a model, we demonstrate differential heme oxygenase-1 induction by atorvastatin in atheroresistant compared with atheroprone sites of the murine aorta. In vitro, exposure of human endothelial cells to laminar shear stress significantly reduced the statin concentration required to induce heme oxygenase-1 and protect against H(2)O(2)-mediated injury. Synergy was observed between laminar shear stress and atorvastatin, resulting in optimal expression of heme oxygenase-1 and resistance to oxidative stress, a response inhibited by heme oxygenase-1 small interfering RNA. Moreover, treatment of laminar shear stress-exposed endothelial cells resulted in a significant fall in intracellular cholesterol. Mechanistically, synergy required Akt phosphorylation, activation of Kruppel-like factor 2, NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), increased nitric-oxide synthase activity, and enhanced HO-1 mRNA stability. In contrast, heme oxygenase-1 induction by atorvastatin in endothelial cells exposed to oscillatory flow was markedly attenuated. We have identified a novel relationship between laminar shear stress and statins, demonstrating that atorvastatin-mediated heme oxygenase-1-dependent antioxidant effects are laminar shear stress-dependent, proving the principle that biomechanical signaling contributes significantly to endothelial responsiveness to pharmacological agents. Our findings suggest statin pleiotropy may be suboptimal at disturbed flow atherosusceptible sites, emphasizing the need for more specific therapeutic agents, such as those targeting Kruppel-like factor 2 or Nrf2.
In this study two regions of embryonic (E11) mouse central nervous system (CNS) have been profiled for their unesterified sterol content. Using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-mass spectrometry (MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS(n)) low levels of oxysterols (estimated 2-165 ng g(-1) wet weight) were identified in cortex (Ctx) and spinal cord (Sc). The identified oxysterols include 7 alpha-, 7 beta-, 22R-, 24S-, 25- and 27-hydroxycholesterol; 24,25- and 24,27-dihydroxycholesterol; and 24S,25-epoxycholesterol. Of these, 24S-hydroxycholesterol is biosynthesised exclusively in brain. In comparison to adult mouse where the 24S-hydroxycholesterol level is about 40 microg g(-1) in brain the level of 24S-hydroxycholesterol reported here (estimated 26 ng g(-1) in Ctx and 13 ng g(-1) in Sc) is extremely low. Interestingly, the level of 24S,25-epoxycholesterol in both CNS regions (estimated 165 ng g(-1) in Ctx and 91 ng g(-1) in Sc) is somewhat higher than the levels of the hydroxycholesterols. This oxysterol is formed in parallel to cholesterol via a shunt of the mevalonate pathway and its comparatively high abundance may be a reflection of a high rate of cholesterol synthesis at this stage of development. Levels of cholesterol (estimated 1.25 mg g(-1) in Ctx and 1.15 mg g(-1) in Sc) and its precursors were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In both CNS regions cholesterol levels were found to be lower than those reported in the adult, but in relation to cholesterol the levels of cholesterol precursors were higher than found in adult indicating a high rate of cholesterol synthesis. In summary, our data provide evidence for the presence of endogenous oxysterols in two brain regions of the developing CNS. Moreover, while most of the enzymes involved in hydroxysterol synthesis are minimally active at E11, our results suggest that the mevalonate pathway is significantly active, opening up the possibility for a function of 24S,25-epoxycholesterol during brain development.
Liver X receptors (Lxr? and Lxr?) are ligand-dependent nuclear receptors critical for ventral midbrain neurogenesis in vivo. However, no endogenous midbrain Lxr ligand has so far been identified. Here we used LC/MS and functional assays to identify cholic acid as a new Lxr ligand. Moreover, 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol (24,25-EC) was found to be the most potent and abundant Lxr ligand in the developing mouse midbrain. Both Lxr ligands promoted neural development in an Lxr-dependent manner in zebrafish in vivo. Notably, each ligand selectively regulated the development of distinct midbrain neuronal populations. Whereas cholic acid increased survival and neurogenesis of Brn3a-positive red nucleus neurons, 24,25-EC promoted dopaminergic neurogenesis. These results identify an entirely new class of highly selective and cell type-specific regulators of neurogenesis and neuronal survival. Moreover, 24,25-EC promoted dopaminergic differentiation of embryonic stem cells, suggesting that Lxr ligands may thus contribute to the development of cell replacement and regenerative therapies for Parkinsons disease.
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