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Didamoony, M. A., A. A. Soubh, A. M. Atwa, and L. A. Ahmed, "Innovative preconditioning strategies for improving the therapeutic efficacy of extracellular vesicles derived from mesenchymal stem cells in gastrointestinal diseases.", Inflammopharmacology, vol. 31, issue 6, pp. 2973-2993, 2023. Abstract

Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases have become a global health issue and an economic burden due to their wide distribution, late prognosis, and the inefficacy of recent available medications. Therefore, it is crucial to search for new strategies for their management. In the recent decades, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) therapy has attracted attention as a viable option for treating a myriad of GI disorders such as hepatic fibrosis (HF), ulcerative colitis (UC), acute liver injury (ALI), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to their regenerative and paracrine properties. Importantly, recent studies have shown that MSC-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) are responsible for most of the therapeutic effects of MSCs. In addition, EVs have revealed several benefits over their parent MSCs, such as being less immunogenic, having a lower risk of tumour formation, being able to cross biological barriers, and being easier to store. MSC-EVs exhibited regenerative, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and anti-fibrotic effects in different experimental models of GI diseases. However, a key issue with their clinical application is the maintenance of their stability and efficacy following in vivo transplantation. Preconditioning of MSC-EVs or their parent cells is one of the novel methods used to improve their effectiveness and stability. Herein, we discuss the application of MSC-EVs in several GI disorders taking into account their mechanism of action. We also summarise the challenges and restrictions that need to be overcome to promote their clinical application in the treatment of various GI diseases as well as the recent developments to improve their effectiveness. A representation of the innovative preconditioning techniques that have been suggested for improving the therapeutic efficacy of MSC-EVs in GI diseases. The pathological conditions in various GI disorders (ALI, UC, HF and NAFLD) create a harsh environment for EVs and their parents, increasing the risk of apoptosis and senescence of MSCs and thereby diminishing MSC-EVs yield and restricting their large-scale applications. Preconditioning with pharmacological agents or biological mediators can improve the therapeutic efficacy of MSC-EVs through their adaption to the lethal environment to which they are subjected. This can result in establishment of a more conducive environment and activation of numerous vital trajectories that act to improve the immunomodulatory, reparative and regenerative activities of the derived EVs, as a part of MSCs paracrine system. ALI, acute liver injury; GI diseases, gastrointestinal diseases; HF, hepatic fibrosis; HSP, heat shock protein; miRNA, microRNA; mRNA, messenger RNA; MSC-EVs, mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles; NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; UC, ulcerative colitis.

Didamoony, M. A., A. M. Atwa, and L. A. Ahmed, "Modulatory effect of rupatadine on mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes in hepatic fibrosis in rats: A potential role for miR-200a.", Life sciences, vol. 324, pp. 121710, 2023. Abstract

AIMS: Mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSC-EXOs) have emerged as a promising approach in regenerative medicine for management of different diseases. However, the maintenance of their efficacy after in vivo transplantation is still a major concern. The present investigation aimed to assess the modulatory effect of rupatadine (RUP) on MSC-EXOs in diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver fibrosis (LF), and to explore the possible underlying mechanisms.

MAIN METHODS: LF was induced in rats by i.p. injection of DEN (100 mg/kg) once per week for 6 successive weeks. Rats were then treated with RUP (4 mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 4 weeks with or without a single i.v. administration of MSC-EXOs. At the end of the experiment, animals were euthanized and serum and liver were separated for biochemical, and histological measurements.

KEY FINDINGS: The combined MSC-EXOs/RUP therapy provided an additional improvement towards inhibition of DEN-induced LF compared to MSC-EXOs group alone. These outcomes could be mediated through anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-necroptotic, and anti-fibrotic effects of RUP which created a more favorable environment for MSC-EXOs homing, and action. This in turn would enhance more effectively miR-200a expression which reduced oxidative stress, inflammation, necroptosis, and subsequently fibrosis as revealed by turning off TGF-β1/α-SMA expression, and hedgehog axis.

SIGNIFICANCE: The present findings reveal that RUP enhanced the anti-fibrotic efficacy of MSC-EXOs when used as a combined therapy. This was revealed through attenuation of PAF/RIPK3/MLKL/HMGB1, and TGF-β1/hedgehog signaling pathways with a significant role for miR-200a.

Didamoony, M. A., A. M. Atwa, E. A. Abd El-Haleim, and L. A. Ahmed, "Bromelain ameliorates D-galactosamine-induced acute liver injury: role of SIRT1/LKB1/AMPK, GSK3β/Nrf2 and NF-κB p65/TNF-α/caspase-8, -9 signalling pathways.", The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, vol. 74, issue 12, pp. 1765-1775, 2022. Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The present research focused on estimating, for the first time, the potential protective effects of bromelain against D-galactosamine-induced acute liver injury in rats as well as identifying the possible underlying mechanisms.

METHODS: Silymarin (100 mg/kg/day, p.o.) as a reference drug or bromelain (20 and 40 mg/kg/day, p.o.) were administered for 10 days, and on the 8th day of the experiment, a single dose of galactosamine (400 mg/kg/i.p.) induced acute liver injury.

KEY FINDINGS: Pretreatment with bromelain improved liver functions and histopathological alterations induced by galactosamine. Bromelain ameliorated oxidative stress by inducing SIRT1 protein expression and increasing LKB1 content. This resulted in phosphorylating the AMPK/GSK3β axis, which stimulated Nrf2 activation in hepatic cells and thus increased the activity of its downstream antioxidant enzymes [HO-1 and NQO1]. Besides, bromelain exerted significant anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing hepatic contents of TNF-α, NF-κB p65, as well as caspase-8 and caspase-9. The protective effects of bromelain40 were proved to be better than silymarin and bromelain20 in most of the assessed parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the significant hepatoprotective effects of bromelain against acute liver injury through modulation of SIRT1/LKB1/AMPK, GSK3β/Nrf2 signalling in addition to NF-κB p65/TNF-α/ caspase-8 and -9 pathway.

Didamoony, M. A., A. M. Atwa, and L. A. Ahmed, "A novel mechanistic approach for the anti-fibrotic potential of rupatadine in rat liver via amendment of PAF/NF-ĸB p65/TGF-β1 and hedgehog/HIF-1α/VEGF trajectories.", Inflammopharmacology, vol. 31, issue 2, pp. 845-858, 2023. Abstract

Hepatic fibrosis is one of the major worldwide health concerns which requires tremendous research due to the limited outcomes of the current therapies. The present study was designed to assess, for the first time, the potential therapeutic effect of rupatadine (RUP) in diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced liver fibrosis and to explore its possible mechanistic actions. For the induction of hepatic fibrosis, rats were treated with DEN (100 mg/kg, i.p.) once weekly for 6 consecutive weeks, and on the 6th week, RUP (4 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was administered for 4 weeks. Treatment with RUP ameliorated changes in body weights, liver indices, liver function enzymes, and histopathological alterations induced by DEN. Besides, RUP amended oxidative stress, which led to the inhibition of PAF/NF-κB p65-induced inflammation, and, subsequently, prevention of TGF-β1 elevation and HSCs activation as indicated by reduced α-SMA expression and collagen deposition. Moreover, RUP exerted significant anti-fibrotic and anti-angiogenic effects by suppressing Hh and HIF-1α/VEGF signaling pathways. Our results highlight, for the first time, a promising anti-fibrotic potential of RUP in rat liver. The molecular mechanisms underlying this effect involve the attenuation of PAF/NF-κB p65/TGF-β1 and Hh pathways and, subsequently, the pathological angiogenesis (HIF-1α/VEGF).