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Ahmed, L. A., S. A. EL-Maraghy, and S. M. Rizk, "Role of the KATP channel in the protective effect of nicorandil on cyclophosphamide-induced lung and testicular toxicity in rats.", Scientific reports, vol. 5, pp. 14043, 2015 Sep 25. Abstract

This study is the first to investigate the role of the KATP channel in the possible protection mediated by nicorandil against cyclophosphamide-induced lung and testicular toxicity in rats. Animals received cyclophosphamide (150 mg/kg/day, i.p.) for 2 consecutive days and then were untreated for the following 5 days. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was administered starting from the day of cyclophosphamide injection with or without glibenclamide (5 mg/kg/day, p.o.). Nicorandil administration significantly reduced the cyclophosphamide-induced deterioration of testicular function, as demonstrated by increases in the level of serum testosterone and the activities of the testicular 3β- hydroxysteroid, 17β-hydroxysteroid and sorbitol dehydrogenases. Furthermore, nicorandil significantly alleviated oxidative stress (as determined by lipid peroxides and reduced glutathione levels and total antioxidant capacity), as well as inflammatory markers (tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β), in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and testicular tissue. Finally, the therapy decreased the levels of fibrogenic markers (transforming growth factor-β and hydroxyproline) and ameliorated the histological alterations (as assessed by lung fibrosis grading and testicular Johnsen scores). The co-administration of glibenclamide (a KATP channel blocker) blocked the protective effects of nicorandil. In conclusion, KATP channel activation plays an important role in the protective effect of nicorandil against cyclophosphamide-induced lung and testicular toxicity.

Ahmed, L. A., H. A. Darwish, R. M. Abdelsalam, and H. A. A. Amin, "Role of Rho Kinase Inhibition in the Protective Effect of Fasudil and Simvastatin Against 3-Nitropropionic Acid-Induced Striatal Neurodegeneration and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Rats.", Molecular neurobiology, vol. 53, issue 6, pp. 3927-38, 2016 Aug. Abstract

3-Nitropropionic acid (3-NP)-induced neurotoxicity is an experimental model which mimics the pathology and motor abnormalities seen in Huntington's disease (HD) in human. The present investigation was directed to estimate the role of rho kinase (ROCK) inhibition in the possible protective effect of fasudil and simvastatin in 3-NP-induced striatal neurodegeneration in rats. Animals were injected s.c. with 3-NP (20 mg/kg/day) for 1 week with or without administration of fasudil (10 mg/kg/day, p.o.) or simvastatin (20 mg/kg/day, p.o.). At the end of experiment, motor and behavioral abnormalities were evaluated. Animals were then sacrificed for measurement of mitochondrial membrane potential as well as succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and caspase-3 activities in striatum. Moreover, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) level and protein expressions of proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α), ROCK, phosphorylated-Akt (p-Akt), endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase (eNOS and iNOS), Bax, and Bcl-2 were estimated. Finally, histological changes as demonstrated by striatum injury score, glial activation, and percentage of altered mitochondria were assessed. Both fasudil and simvastatin effectively inhibited 3-NP-induced behavioral, biochemical, and histological changes through inhibition of ROCK activity. However, fasudil provided more amelioration in histological changes, mitochondrial membrane potential and SDH activity in addition to p-Akt and PGC-1α protein expressions. The present study highlights a significant role of ROCK/p-Akt/eNOS pathway in the protective effects of fasudil and simvastatin on neurotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by 3-NP in rats. Thus, specific inhibition of ROCK may be considered a promising new approach in the management of HD.

Ahmed, L. A., A. A. Z. Obaid, H. F. Zaki, and A. M. Agha, "Role of oxidative stress, inflammation, nitric oxide and transforming growth factor-beta in the protective effect of diosgenin in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.", European journal of pharmacology, vol. 740, pp. 379-87, 2014 Oct 05. Abstract

Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive disease of various origins that is associated with right ventricular dysfunction. In the present study, the protective effect of diosgenin was investigated in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Pulmonary hypertension was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of monocrotaline (60 mg/kg). Diosgenin (100 mg/kg) was given by oral administration once daily for 3 weeks. At the end of the experiment, mean arterial blood pressure, electrocardiography and echocardiography were recorded. Rats were then sacrificed and serum was separated for determination of total nitrate/nitrite level. Right ventricles and lungs were isolated for estimation of oxidative stress markers, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, total nitrate/nitrite and transforming growth factor-beta contents. Myeloperoxidase and caspase-3 activities in addition to endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression were also determined. Moreover, histological analysis of pulmonary arteries and cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area was performed. Diosgenin treatment provided a significant improvement toward preserving hemodynamic changes and alleviating oxidative stress, inflammatory and apoptotic markers induced by monocrotaline in rats. Furthermore, diosgenin therapy prevented monocrotaline-induced changes in nitric oxide production, endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression as well as histological analysis. These findings support the beneficial effect of diosgenin in pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline in rats.

Ahmed, L. A., A. A. Z. Obaid, H. F. Zaki, and A. M. Agha, "Role of oxidative stress, inflammation, nitric oxide and transforming growth factor-beta in the protective effect of diosgenin in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.", European journal of pharmacology, vol. 740, pp. 379-87, 2014 Oct 05. Abstract

Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive disease of various origins that is associated with right ventricular dysfunction. In the present study, the protective effect of diosgenin was investigated in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Pulmonary hypertension was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of monocrotaline (60 mg/kg). Diosgenin (100 mg/kg) was given by oral administration once daily for 3 weeks. At the end of the experiment, mean arterial blood pressure, electrocardiography and echocardiography were recorded. Rats were then sacrificed and serum was separated for determination of total nitrate/nitrite level. Right ventricles and lungs were isolated for estimation of oxidative stress markers, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, total nitrate/nitrite and transforming growth factor-beta contents. Myeloperoxidase and caspase-3 activities in addition to endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression were also determined. Moreover, histological analysis of pulmonary arteries and cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area was performed. Diosgenin treatment provided a significant improvement toward preserving hemodynamic changes and alleviating oxidative stress, inflammatory and apoptotic markers induced by monocrotaline in rats. Furthermore, diosgenin therapy prevented monocrotaline-induced changes in nitric oxide production, endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression as well as histological analysis. These findings support the beneficial effect of diosgenin in pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline in rats.

Mohamed, Y. S., L. A. Ahmed, H. A. Salem, and A. M. Agha, "Role of nitric oxide and KATP channel in the protective effect mediated by nicorandil in bile duct ligation-induced liver fibrosis in rats.", Biochemical pharmacology, vol. 151, pp. 135-142, 2018 05. Abstract

Liver fibrosis is one of the most serious conditions affecting patients worldwide. In the present study, the role of nitric oxide and KATP channel was investigated for the first time in the possible protection mediated by nicorandil in bile duct ligation-induced liver fibrosis in rats. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg/day) was given orally 24 h after bile duct ligation for 14 days till the end of the experiment. Nicorandil group showed marked improvement in liver function tests, hepatic oxidative stress and inflammatory markers as well as inducible and endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein expressions. Furthermore, nicorandil administration led to significant decrement of phosphorylated protein kinase C, fibrosis and hepatic stellate cells activation as indicated by decreased alpha smooth muscle actin expression. Oral co-administration of glibenclamide (5 mg/kg/day) (a KATP channel blocker) with nicorandil mostly showed similar improvement though not reaching to that of nicorandil group. However, co-adminstration of L-NAME (15 mg/kg/day) (an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase) completely abolished the protective effects of nicorandil and produced more or less similar results to that of untreated bile duct ligated group. In conclusion, nicorandil is an effective therapy against the development of bile duct ligation-induced liver fibrosis in rats where nitric oxide plays a more prominent role in the protective effect of nicorandil than KATP channel opening.

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Ahmed, L. A., "Protective effects of magnesium supplementation on metabolic energy derangements in lipopolysaccharide-induced cardiotoxicity in mice.", European journal of pharmacology, vol. 694, issue 1-3, pp. 75-81, 2012 Nov 05. Abstract

Metabolic derangements and bioenergetic failure are major contributors to sepsis-induced multiple organ dysfunctions. Due to the well known role of magnesium (Mg) as a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions that involve energy creation and utilization, the present investigation was directed to estimate the cardioprotective effect of Mg supplementation in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced metabolic energy changes in mice. Oral doses of Mg aspartate (20 or 40 mg/kg) were administered once daily for 7 day. Mice were then subjected to a single intraperitoneal injection of LPS (2 mg/kg). Plasma was separated 3 h after LPS injection for determination of creatine kinase-MB activity. Animals were then sacrificed and the hearts were separated for estimation of tissue thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, reduced glutathione, lactate, pyruvate, adenine nucleotides, creatine phosphate and cardiac Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity. Finally, electron microscopic examination was performed to visualize the protective effects of Mg pretreatment on mitochondrial ultrastructure. In general, the higher dose of Mg was more effective than the lower dose in ameliorating creatine kinase-MB elevation and the state of oxidative stress, lactate accumulation, pyruvate reduction as well as preserving creatine phosphate, adenine nucleotides and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity. Moreover, the higher dose of Mg provided a significant cardioprotection against the mitochondrial ultrastructural changes. Mg therapy can afford a significant protection against metabolic energy derangements and mitochondrial ultrastructural changes induced by LPS cardiotoxicity in mice.

Al-Massri, K. F., L. A. Ahmed, and H. S. El-Abhar, "Pregabalin and lacosamide ameliorate paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy via inhibition of JAK/STAT signaling pathway and Notch-1 receptor.", Neurochemistry international, vol. 120, pp. 164-171, 2018 Nov. Abstract

Anticonvulsant drugs such as pregabalin (PGB) and lacosamide (LCM), exhibit potent analgesic effects in diabetic neuropathy; however, their possible role/mechanisms in paclitaxel (PTX)-induced peripheral neuropathy have not been elucidated, which is the aim of the present study. Neuropathic pain was induced in rats by injecting PTX (2 mg/kg, i. p) on days 0, 2, 4 and 6. Forty eight hours after the last dose of PTX, rats were treated orally with 30 mg/kg/day of either PGB or LCM for 21 days. Both therapies improved thermal hyperalgesia and cold allodynia induced by PTX. Interestingly, LCM therapy showed no motor impairment that was observed upon using PGB, as demonstrated using rotarod test. Treatment with PGB or LCM restored the sciatic nerve content of the depleted total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and nerve growth factor (NGF), and lessened the elevated contents of nuclear factor kappa B p65 (NF-kB p65), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and active caspase-3. On the molecular level, the drugs reduced the protein expression of Notch1 receptor, phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p-p38-MAPK), and the trajectory interleukin-6/phosphorylated janus kinase 2/phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (IL-6/p-JAK2/p-STAT3). Therefore, the current study demonstrated a pivotal role for LCM in the management of PTX-induced peripheral neuropathy similar to PGB, but without motor adverse effects via the inhibition of oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis, as well as IL-6/JAK/STAT pathway and Notch1 receptor over-expression.

Ahmed, L. A., S. M. Rizk, and S. A. EL-Maraghy, "Pinocembrin ex vivo preconditioning improves the therapeutic efficacy of endothelial progenitor cells in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.", Biochemical pharmacology, vol. 138, pp. 193-204, 2017 Aug 15. Abstract

Pulmonary hypertension is still not curable and the available current therapies can only alleviate symptoms without hindering the progression of disease. The present study was directed to investigate the possible modulatory effect of pinocembrin on endothelial progenitor cells transplanted in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Pulmonary hypertension was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of monocrotaline (60mg/kg). Endothelial progenitor cells were in vitro preconditioned with pinocembrin (25mg/L) for 30min before being i.v. injected into rats 2weeks after monocrotaline administration. Four weeks after monocrotaline administration, blood pressure, electrocardiography and right ventricular systolic pressure were recorded. Rats were sacrificed and serum was separated for determination of endothelin-1 and asymmetric dimethylarginine levels. Right ventricles and lungs were isolated for estimation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and transforming growth factor-beta contents as well as caspase-3 activity. Moreover, protein expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase in addition to myocardial connexin-43 was assessed. Finally, histological analysis of pulmonary arteries, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area and right ventricular hypertrophy was performed and cryosections were done for estimation of cell homing. Preconditioning with pinocembrin provided a significant improvement in endothelial progenitor cells' effect towards reducing monocrotaline-induced elevation of inflammatory, fibrogenic and apoptotic markers. Furthermore, preconditioned cells induced a significant amelioration of endothelial markers and cell homing and prevented monocrotaline-induced changes in right ventricular function and histological analysis compared with native cells alone. In conclusion, pinocembrin significantly improves the therapeutic efficacy of endothelial progenitor cells in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.

Essam, R. M., L. A. Ahmed, R. M. Abdelsalam, and A. S. El-Khatib, "Phosphodiestrase-1 and 4 inhibitors ameliorate liver fibrosis in rats: Modulation of cAMP/CREB/TLR4 inflammatory and fibrogenic pathways.", Life sciences, vol. 222, pp. 245-254, 2019. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Phosphodiestrase (PDE) enzymes are suggested to play a leading role in fibrogenesis of liver where studies showed the possible implication of PDE 1 & 4 in liver injury proposing them as possible targets for treating liver fibrosis.

AIM: The present study was designed to investigate, for the first time, the possible therapeutic effects of selective inhibitors of PDE-1 (vinpocetine) and PDE-4 (roflumilast) in liver fibrosis induced by diethylnitrosamine (DEN) in rats.

MAIN METHODS: Rats were given DEN (100 mg/kg, i.p.) once weekly for 6 weeks to induce liver fibrosis. Vinpocetine (10 mg/kg/day) or roflumilast (0.5 mg/kg/day) was then orally administered for 2 weeks.

KEY FINDINGS: Vinpocetine significantly suppressed the contents of hydroxyproline, transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) whereas roflumilast normalized them. Moreover, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) content and protein expressions of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) were markedly decreased whereas cAMP response element binding (CREB) protein expression was significantly elevated by both treatments. Additionally, vinpocetine and roflumilast up-regulated the gene expression of bone morphogenetic protein and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI) receptor where roflumilast showed better results. PDE1 and 4 activities were inhibited by vinpocetine and roflumilast, respectively. The superior results offered by roflumilast could be related to the higher cAMP level obtained relative to vinpocetine.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our study manifested the up-regulation of PDE enzymes (1 & 4) in liver fibrosis and addressed the therapeutic role of vinpocetine and roflumilast as PDEIs through a cAMP-mediated TLR4 inflammatory and fibrogenic signaling pathways.

Ahmed, L. A., H. A. Salem, A. S. Attia, and A. M. Agha, "Pharmacological preconditioning with nicorandil and pioglitazone attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats.", European journal of pharmacology, vol. 663, issue 1-3, pp. 51-8, 2011 Aug 01. Abstract

The present investigation was designed to study the cardioprotective effects of nicorandil and pioglitazone preconditioning in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion-induced hemodynamic, biochemical and histological changes in rats. Oral doses of nicorandil (3 or 6 mg/kg) and pioglitazone (10 or 20mg/kg) were administered once daily for 5 consecutive days. Rats were then subjected to myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (40 min/10 min). Heart rate and ventricular arrhythmias were recorded during ischemia/reperfusion progress. At the end of reperfusion, plasma creatine kinase-MB activity and total nitrate/nitrite were determined. In addition, lactate, adenine nucleotides, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, reduced glutathione and myeloperoxidase activity were estimated in the heart left ventricle. Finally, histological examination was performed to visualize the protective cellular effects of different pretreatments. Nicorandil (3 or 6 mg/kg) was effective in attenuating the ischemia/reperfusion-induced ventricular arrhythmias, creatine kinase-MB release, lactate accumulation and oxidative stress. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg) was more effective in improving the energy production and lowering the elevated myeloperoxidase activity. Both doses of pioglitazone (10 or 20 mg/kg) were equally effective in reducing lactate accumulation and completely counteracting the oxidative stress. Pioglitazone (10 mg/kg) was more effective in improving energy production and reducing ventricular arrhythmias, plasma creatine kinase-MB release and total nitrate/nitrite. It seems that selective mitochondrial K(ATP) channel opening by lower doses of nicorandil and pioglitazone in the present study provided more cardioprotection against ventricular arrhythmias and biochemical changes induced by ischemia/reperfusion. Histological examination revealed also better improvement by the lower dose of nicorandil than that of pioglitazone.

Attalla, D. M., L. A. Ahmed, H. F. Zaki, and M. M. Khattab, "Paradoxical effects of atorvastatin in isoproterenol-induced cardiotoxicity in rats: Role of oxidative stress and inflammation.", Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, vol. 104, pp. 542-549, 2018 Aug. Abstract

Atorvastatin (ATV) was previously shown to improve oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in several experimental and clinical studies yet other studies have reported a pro-oxidant and damaging effect upon ATV administration. The present study was directed to investigate the effect of ATV pre- and post-treatment in isoproterenol (ISO)-induced cardiotoxicity in rats. Myocardial damage was induced by ISO (5 mg/kg/day, s.c.) for 1 week. ATV (10 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was given for 2 weeks starting 1 week before or after ISO administration. ISO-treated rats showed significant alterations in electrocardiographic recordings, serum creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) level as well as oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers. Moreover, ISO administration resulted in endothelial dysfunction and significant histopathological damage. Pre-treatment with ATV aggravated ISO-induced cardiotoxicity. On the other hand, ATV post-treatment succeeded to significantly improve oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, endothelial dysfunction and myocardial degeneration. These results suggest that ATV might produce a synergistic pro-oxidant effect if given before or along with another pro-oxidant (ISO). Thus, caution should be applied upon the use of statin as a prophylactic therapy for primary cardiovascular disease prevention.

Rasheed, N. A. O., L. A. Ahmed, D. M. Abdallah, and B. M. El-Sayeh, "Paradoxical cardiotoxicity of intraperitoneally-injected epigallocatechin gallate preparation in diabetic mice", Scientific reports, vol. 8, pp. 7880, 1979 Oct, 2018. Abstract

It has been found that NADPH-dependent hydroxylation of dimethylaniline, aniline, p- and o-nitroanisol and lipid peroxidation is inhibited by the tyrosine-copper (II) complex (low molecular weight analog of superoxide dismutase), which is indicative of a possibility of superoxide radicals formation in these reactions. The inhibition of the above-mentioned reactions with Tyr2-Cu2+ is less pronounced or absent, if cumole hydroperoxide is used as cosubstrate instead of NADPH. Differences in the Tyr2-Cu2+ complex effects on the cumule hydroperoxide-dependent xenobiotics hydroxylation and lipid peroxidation catalyzed by various forms of cytochrome P-450, e. g. microsomal, soluble and incorporated into liposomes, have been found. The data obtained suggest that the efficiency of the inhibitory effect of the Tyr2-Cu2+ complex depends on the type of cosubstrates (NADPH, cumole hydroperoxide) and substrates used as well as on the form of cytochrome P-450.

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Elgebaly, S. A., R. Todd, D. L. Kreutzer, R. Christenson, N. El-Khazragy, R. K. Arafa, M. A. Rabie, A. F. Mohamed, L. A. Ahmed, and N. S. El Sayed, "Nourin-Associated miRNAs: Novel Inflammatory Monitoring Markers for Cyclocreatine Phosphate Therapy in Heart Failure.", International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 22, issue 7, 2021. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cyclocreatine phosphate (CCrP) is a potent bioenergetic cardioprotective compound known to preserve high levels of cellular adenosine triphosphate during ischemia. Using the standard Isoproterenol (ISO) rat model of heart failure (HF), we recently demonstrated that the administration of CCrP prevented the development of HF by markedly reducing cardiac remodeling (fibrosis and collagen deposition) and maintaining normal ejection fraction and heart weight, as well as physical activity. The novel inflammatory mediator, Nourin is a 3-KDa formyl peptide rapidly released by ischemic myocardium and is associated with post-ischemic cardiac inflammation. We reported that the Nourin-associated (marker of cell damage) and (marker of inflammation) are significantly upregulated in unstable angina patients and patients with acute myocardial infarction, but not in healthy subjects.

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that Nourin-associated and are upregulated in ISO-induced "HF rats" and that the administration of CCrP prevents myocardial injury (MI) and reduces Nourin gene expression in "non-HF rats".

METHODS: 25 male Wistar rats (180-220 g) were used: ISO/saline ( = 6), ISO/CCrP (0.8 g/kg/day) ( = 5), control/saline ( = 5), and control/CCrP (0.8 g/kg/day) ( = 4). In a limited study, CCrP at a lower dose of 0.4 g/kg/day ( = 3) and a higher dose of 1.2 g/kg/day ( = 2) were also tested. The Rats were injected SC with ISO for two consecutive days at doses of 85 and 170 mg/kg/day, respectively, then allowed to survive for an additional two weeks. CCrP and saline were injected IP (1 mL) 24 h and 1 h before first ISO administration, then daily for two weeks. Serum CK-MB (U/L) was measured 24 h after the second ISO injection to confirm myocardial injury. After 14 days, gene expression levels of and were measured in serum samples using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR).

RESULTS: While high levels of CK-MB were detected after 24 h in the ISO/saline rats indicative of MI, the ISO/CCrP rats showed normal CK-MB levels, supporting prevention of MI by CCrP. After 14 days, gene expression profiles showed significant upregulation of and by 8.6-fold and 8.7-fold increase, respectively, in the ISO/saline rats, "HF rats," compared to the control/saline group. On the contrary, CCrP treatment at 0.8 g/kg/day markedly reduced gene expression of miR-137 by 75% and of by 44% in the ISO/CCrP rats, "non-HF rats," compared to the ISO/Saline rats, "HF rats." Additionally, healthy rats treated with CCrP for 14 days showed no toxicity in heart, liver, and renal function.

CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest a role of Nourin-associated and in the pathogenesis of HF and that CCrP treatment prevented ischemic injury in "non-HF rats" and significantly reduced Nourin gene expression levels in a dose-response manner. The Nourin gene-based mRNAs may, therefore, potentially be used as monitoring markers of drug therapy response in HF, and CCrP-as a novel preventive therapy of HF due to ischemia.

Ahmed, L. A., "Nicorandil: A drug with ongoing benefits and different mechanisms in various diseased conditions.", Indian journal of pharmacology, vol. 51, issue 5, pp. 296-301, 2019. Abstract

Nicorandil is a well-known antianginal agent, which has been recommended as one of the second-line treatments for chronic stable angina as justified by the European guidelines. It shows an efficacy equivalent to that of classic antianginal agents. Nicorandil has also been applied clinically in various cardiovascular diseases such as variant or unstable angina and reperfusion-induced damage following coronary angioplasty or thrombolysis. Different mechanisms have been involved in the protective effects of nicorandil in various diseases through either opening of adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel or donation of nitric oxide (NO). The predominance or participation of any of these proposed mechanisms depends on the dose of nicorandil used, the location of diseased conditions, and if this mechanism is still functioning or not. The protection afforded by nicorandil has been shown to be mainly attributed to KATP channel opening in experimental models of myocardial and pulmonary fibrosis as well as renal injury or glomerulonephritis, whereas NO donation predominates as a mechanism of protection in hepatic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Therefore, in different diseased conditions, it is important to know which mechanism plays the major role in nicorandil-induced curative or protective effects. This can bring new insights into the proper use of selected medication and its recommended dose for targeting certain disease.

Mohamed, S. S., L. A. Ahmed, W. A. Attia, and M. M. Khattab, "Nicorandil enhances the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in isoproterenol-induced heart failure in rats.", Biochemical pharmacology, vol. 98, issue 3, pp. 403-11, 2015 Dec 01. Abstract

Stem cell transplantation has emerged as a promising technique for regenerative medicine in cardiovascular therapeutics. However, the results have been less than optimal. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether nicorandil could offer an additional benefit over bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy in isoproterenol-induced myocardial damage and its progression to heart failure in rats. Isoproterenol was injected subcutaneously for 2 consecutive days at doses of 85 and 170 mg/kg/day, respectively. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg/day) was then given orally with or without a single intravenous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell administration. Electrocardiography and echocardiography were recorded 2 weeks after the beginning of treatment. Rats were then sacrificed and the ventricle was isolated for estimation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-beta. Moreover, protein expressions of caspase-3, connexin-43 as well as endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthases were evaluated. Finally, histological studies of myocardial fibrosis and blood vessel density were performed and cryosections were done for estimation cell homing. Combined nicorandil/bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy provided an additional improvement compared to cell therapy alone toward reducing isoproterenol-induced cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and inflammation. Notably, combined therapy induced significant increase in angiogenesis and cell homing and prevented isoproterenol-induced changes in contractility and apoptotic markers. In conclusion, combined nicorandil/bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy was superior to cell therapy alone toward preventing isoproterenol-induced heart failure in rats through creation of a supportive environment for mesenchymal stem cells.

Ahmed, L. A., and S. A. EL-Maraghy, "Nicorandil ameliorates mitochondrial dysfunction in doxorubicin-induced heart failure in rats: possible mechanism of cardioprotection.", Biochemical pharmacology, vol. 86, issue 9, pp. 1301-10, 2013 Nov 01. Abstract

Despite of its known cardiotoxicity, doxorubicin is still a highly effective anti-neoplastic agent in the treatment of several cancers. In the present study, the cardioprotective effect of nicorandil was investigated on hemodynamic alterations and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by cumulative administration of doxorubicin in rats. Doxorubicin was injected i.p. over 2 weeks to obtain a cumulative dose of 18 mg/kg. Nicorandil (3 mg/kg/day) was given orally with or without doxorubicin treatment. Heart rate and aortic blood flow were recorded 24 h after receiving the last dose of doxorubicin. Rats were then sacrificed and hearts were rapidly excised for estimation of caspase-3 activity, phosphocreatine and adenine nucleotides contents in addition to cytochrome c, Bcl2, Bax and caspase 3 expression. Moreover, mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity, creatine kinase activity and oxidative stress markers were measured together with the examination of DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes. Nicorandil was effective in alleviating the decrement of heart rate and aortic blood flow and the state of mitochondrial oxidative stress induced by doxorubicin cardiotoxicity. Nicorandil also preserved phosphocreatine and adenine nucleotides contents by restoring mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation capacity and creatine kinase activity. Moreover, nicorandil provided a significant cardioprotection via inhibition of apoptotic signaling pathway, DNA fragmentation and mitochondrial ultrastructural changes. Interestingly, nicorandil did not interfere with cytotoxic effect of doxorubicin against the growth of solid Ehrlich carcinoma. In conclusion, nicorandil was effective against the development of doxorubicin-induced heart failure in rats as indicated by improvement of hemodynamic perturbations, mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural changes without affecting its antitumor activity.

Ahmed, L. A., and K. Al-Massri, "New Approaches for Enhancement of the Efficacy of Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Exosomes in Cardiovascular Diseases.", Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, 2022. Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain a major health concern worldwide, where mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) therapy gives great promise in their management through their regenerative and paracrine actions. In recent years, many studies have shifted from the use of transplanted stem cells to their secreted exosomes for the management of various CVDs and cardiovascular-related diseases including atherosclerosis, stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, peripheral arterial diseases, and pulmonary hypertension. In different models, MSC-derived exosomes have shown beneficial outcomes similar to cell therapy concerning regenerative and neovascular actions in addition to their anti-apoptotic, anti-remodeling, and anti-inflammatory actions. Compared with their parent cells, exosomes have also demonstrated several advantages, including lower immunogenicity and no risk of tumor formation. However, the maintenance of stability and efficacy of exosomes after in vivo transplantation is still a major concern in their clinical application. Recently, new approaches have been developed to enhance their efficacy and stability including their preconditioning before transplantation, use of genetically modified MSC-derived exosomes, or their utilization as a targeted drug delivery system. Herein, we summarized the use of MSC-derived exosomes as therapies in different CVDs in addition to recent advances for the enhancement of their efficacy in these conditions.

Rasheed, N. A. O., L. A. Ahmed, D. M. Abdallah, and B. M. El-Sayeh, "Nephro-toxic effects of intraperitoneally injected EGCG in diabetic mice: involvement of oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis", scientific reports, vol. 7, pp. 40617 , 2017.
Ahmed, L. A., A. A. Z. Obaid, H. F. Zaki, and A. M. Agha, "Naringenin adds to the protective effect of L-arginine in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats: favorable modulation of oxidative stress, inflammation and nitric oxide.", European journal of pharmaceutical sciences : official journal of the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 62, pp. 161-70, 2014 Oct 01. Abstract

The present study was directed to investigate the possible modulatory effect of naringenin when co-administered with L-arginine in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Pulmonary hypertension was induced by a single subcutaneous injection of monocrotaline (60 mg/kg). L-arginine (500 mg/kg) and naringenin (50 mg/kg) were orally administered daily, alone and in combination, for 3 weeks. Mean arterial blood pressure, electrocardiography and echocardiography were then recorded and rats were sacrificed and serum was separated for determination of total nitrate/nitrite level. Right ventricles and lungs were isolated for estimation of oxidative stress markers, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, total nitrate/nitrite and transforming growth factor-beta. Myeloperoxidase and caspase-3 activities in addition to endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression were also determined. Moreover, histological analysis of pulmonary arteries and cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area was performed. Combined therapy provided a significant improvement in L-arginine protective effect toward preserving hemodynamic changes and alleviating oxidative stress, inflammatory and apoptotic markers induced by monocrotaline treatment. Furthermore, combined therapy prevented monocrotaline-induced changes in endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression as well as histological analysis compared with either treatment alone. In conclusion, naringenin significantly adds to the protective effect of L-arginine in pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline in rats.

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KANDIL, E. S. R. A. A. A., R. H. Sayed, L. A. Ahmed, M. A. Abd El Fattah, and B. M. El-Sayeh, "Modulatory Role of Nurr1 Activation and Thrombin Inhibition in the Neuroprotective Effects of Dabigatran Etexilate in Rotenone-Induced Parkinson's Disease in Rats.", Molecular neurobiology, vol. 55, issue 5, pp. 4078-4089, 2018. Abstract

Recently, it has been shown that both decreased nuclear receptor-related 1 (Nurr1) expression and thrombin accumulation are involved in the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD). The new anticoagulant dabigatran etexilate (DE) is a direct thrombin inhibitor that owns benzimidazole group, which has been proposed to activate Nurr1. In the present study, we examined the neuroprotective effects of DE in rotenone model of PD. Rotenone was injected subcutaneously at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg every other day for 21 days. An oral regimen of DE (15 mg/kg) was started after the 5th rotenone injection following the manifestations of PD. Treatment of PD rats with DE mitigated rotenone-induced neuronal degeneration and restored striatal dopamine level with motor recovery. As well, DE enhanced Nurr1 expression in substantia nigra along with increasing transcriptional activation of Nurr1-controlled genes namely tyrosine hydroxylase, vascular monoamine transporter, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, and its receptor gene c-Ret, which are critical for development and maintenance of dopaminergic neurons. DE also suppressed thrombin accumulation in substantia nigra. Both effects probably contributed to repressing neurotoxic proinflammatory cytokines, which was manifested by decreased level of nuclear factor kappa beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha. In conclusion, the present results suggest that DE could possess significant neuroprotective and regenerative effects in a rotenone-induced PD animal model as consequence of Nurr1 activation and thrombin inhibition.

Al-Massri, K. F., L. A. Ahmed, and H. S. El-Abhar, "Mesenchymal stem cells therapy enhances the efficacy of pregabalin and prevents its motor impairment in paclitaxel-induced neuropathy in rats: Role of Notch1 receptor and JAK/STAT signaling pathway.", Behavioural brain research, vol. 360, pp. 303-311, 2019. Abstract

Peripheral neuropathy is a common adverse effect observed during the use of paclitaxel (PTX) as chemotherapy. The present investigation was directed to estimate the modulatory effect of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) on pregabalin (PGB) treatment in PTX-induced peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathic pain was induced in rats by injecting PTX (2 mg/kg, i.p) 4 times every other day. Rats were then treated with PGB (30 mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 21 days with or without a single intravenous administration of BM-MSCs. At the end of experiment, behavioral and motor abnormalities were assessed. Animals were then sacrificed for measurement of total antioxidant capacity (TAC), nerve growth factor (NGF), nuclear factor kappa B p65 (NF-κB p65), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and active caspase-3 in the sciatic nerve. Moreover, protein expressions of Notch1 receptor, phosphorylated Janus kinase 2 (p-JAK2), phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (p-STAT3), and phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p-p38-MAPK) were estimated. Finally, histological examinations were performed to assess severity of sciatic nerve damage and for estimation of BM-MSCs homing. Combined PGB/BM-MSCs therapy provided an additional improvement toward reducing PTX-induced oxidative stress, neuro-inflammation, and apoptotic markers. Interestingly, BM-MSCs therapy effectively prevented motor impairment observed by PGB treatment. Combined therapy also induced a significant increase in cell homing and prevented PTX-induced sciatic nerve damage in histological examination. The present study highlights a significant role for BM-MSCs in enhancing treatment potential of PGB and reducing its motor side effects when used as therapy in the management of peripheral neuropathy.

Al-Massri, K. F., L. A. Ahmed, and H. S. El-Abhar, "Mesenchymal stem cells in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A new challenging approach that requires further investigations.", Journal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, vol. 14, issue 1, pp. 108-122, 2020. Abstract

Chemotherapeutic drugs may disrupt the nervous system and cause chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) as side effects. There are no completely successful medications for the prevention or treatment of CIPN. Many drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsants have been used for symptomatic treatment of CIPN. Unfortunately, these drugs often give only partial relief or have dose-limiting side effects. Thus, the treatment of CIPN becomes a challenge because of failure to regenerate and repair the injured neurons. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy is a new attractive approach for CIPN. Evidence has demonstrated that MSCs play important roles in reducing oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and apoptosis, as well as mediating axon regeneration after nerve damage in several experimental studies and some clinical trials. We will briefly review the pathogenesis of CIPN, traditional therapies used and their drawbacks as well as therapeutic effects of MSCs, their related mechanisms, future challenges for their clinical application, and the additional benefit of their combination with pharmacological agents. MSCs-based therapies may provide a new therapeutic strategy for patients suffering from CIPN where further investigations are required for studying their exact mechanisms. Combined therapy with pharmacological agents can provide another promising option for enhancing MSC therapy success while limiting its adverse effects.

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KANDIL, E. S. R. A. A. A., R. H. Sayed, L. A. Ahmed, M. A. Abd El Fattah, and B. M. El-Sayeh, "Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha and nuclear-related receptor 1 as targets for neuroprotection by albendazole in a rat rotenone model of Parkinson's disease.", Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology, vol. 46, issue 12, pp. 1141-1150, 2019. Abstract

Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) and nuclear receptor related-1 (Nurr1) play pivotal roles in the development and survival of dopaminergic neurons, and deficiencies in these genes may be involved in Parkinson's disease (PD) pathogenesis. Recently, anthelminthic benzimidazoles were shown to promote HIF-1α transcription in vitro and were proposed to activate Nurr1 via their benzimidazole group. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the neuroprotective effects of albendazole (ABZ), an anthelminthic benzimidazole, in a rotenone model of Parkinson's disease (PD). Rotenone (1.5 mg/kg) was subcutaneously injected into rats every other day for a period of 21 days, resulting in the development of the essential features of PD. In addition to rotenone, ABZ (10 mg/kg) was administered orally starting from the 11th day. Treatment of rats with ABZ markedly mitigated rotenone-induced histological alterations in substantia nigra (SN), restored striatal dopamine (DA) level and motor functions and decreased the expression of α-synuclein (a disease marker protein). ABZ also enhanced expression of Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) in the SN along with its downstream target, vascular endothelial growth factor, promoting neuronal survival. Similarly, ABZ augmented nuclear receptor related-1 (Nurr1) expression in the SN and increased transcriptional activation of Nurr1-controlled genes, which are essential for regulation of DA synthesis; additionally, expression of neurotoxic proinflammatory cytokines that induce neuronal death was suppressed. In conclusion, the present study suggests that ABZ exerts a neuroprotective effect in a rotenone-induced PD model associated with HIF-1α and Nurr1 activation and thus may be a viable candidate for treating PD.

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Ahmed, L. A., M. B. Salem, S. H. Seif El-Din, N. M. El-Lakkany, H. O. Ahmed, S. M. Nasr, O. A. Hammam, S. S. Botros, and S. Saleh, "Gut microbiota modulation as a promising therapy with metformin in rats with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: Role of LPS/TLR4 and autophagy pathways.", European journal of pharmacology, vol. 887, pp. 173461, 2020. Abstract

Gut microbiota is a crucial factor in pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Therefore, targeting the gut-liver axis might be a novel therapeutic approach to treat NASH. This study aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of a probiotic (Lactobacillus reuteri) and metronidazole (MTZ) (an antibiotic against Bacteroidetes) either alone or in combination with metformin (MTF) in experimentally-induced NASH. NASH was induced by feeding rats high fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks. MTF (150 mg/kg/day) or L. reuteri (2x10 colony forming unit/day) were given orally for 8 weeks; meanwhile, MTZ (15 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was administered for 1 week. Treatment with L. reuteri and MTZ in combination with MTF showed additional benefit compared to MTF alone concerning lipid profile, liver function, oxidative stress, inflammatory and autophagic markers. Furthermore, combined regimen succeeded to modulate acetate: propionate: butyrate ratios as well as Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes fecal contents with improvement of insulin resistance (IR). Yet, the administration of MTF alone failed to normalize Bacteriodetes and acetate contents which could be the reason for its moderate effect. In conclusion, gut microbiota modulation may be an attractive therapeutic avenue against NASH. More attention should be paid to deciphering the crosstalk mechanisms linking gut microbiota to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to identify new therapeutic targets for this disease.

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El-Sawalhi, M. M., and L. A. Ahmed, "Exploring the protective role of apocynin, a specific NADPH oxidase inhibitor, in cisplatin-induced cardiotoxicity in rats.", Chemico-biological interactions, vol. 207, pp. 58-66, 2014 Jan 25. Abstract

Despite the clinical reports, few studies have focused on reducing the cardiotoxicity of cisplatin. In the present study, cardiotoxicity was examined after a single ip injection of cisplatin (7mg/kg) in rats. Apocynin was given in drinking water (600mg/L) for five successive days before and after cisplatin injection. At the end of the experiment, hemodynamic parameters were recorded, animals were sacrificed and serum creatine kinase-MB activity was determined. The whole ventricle was isolated for estimation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) content, NADPH oxidase, myeloperoxidase and caspase-3 activities in addition to nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) gene expressions. Furthermore, oxidative stress markers and antioxidant enzymes were measured in postmitochondrial and mitochondrial fractions. Mitochondrial membrane potential, nuclear DNA fragmentation and cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area were also evaluated. Apocynin was effective against cisplatin-induced decrement in heart rate and blood pressure. Moreover, pretreatment with apocynin notably ameliorated the state of oxidative stress, mitigated inflammation and preserved mitochondrial membrane potential. Apocynin provided also a significant cardioprotection as revealed by alleviating the overexpression of Nrf2, HO-1 and NF-κB, the elevation of caspase-3 activity, the prominent nuclear DNA fragmentation and the decreased cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area. This study highlights the potential role of apocynin in inhibiting cisplatin-induced hemodynamic changes, postmitochondrial and mitochondrial damage as indicated by improvement in the state of oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis.