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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.

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.

Elgebaly, S. A., C. Van Buren, R. Todd, R. Poston, R. K. Arafa, N. El-Khazragy, D. Kreutzer, M. A. Rabie, A. F. Mohamed, L. A. Ahmed, et al., "Cyclocreatine Phosphate: A Novel Bioenergetic/Anti-Inflammatory Drug That Resuscitates Poorly Functioning Hearts and Protects against Development of Heart Failure.", Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 16, issue 3, 2023. Abstract

Irreversible myocardial injury causes the exhaustion of cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) contributing to heart failure (HF). Cyclocreatine phosphate (CCrP) was shown to preserve myocardial ATP during ischemia and maintain cardiac function in various animal models of ischemia/reperfusion. We tested whether CCrP administered prophylactically/therapeutically prevents HF secondary to ischemic injury in an isoproterenol (ISO) rat model. Thirty-nine rats were allocated into five groups: control/saline, control/CCrP, ISO/saline (85 and 170 mg/kg/day s.c. for 2 consecutive days), and ISO/CCrP (0.8 g/kg/day i.p.) either administrated 24 h or 1 h before ISO administration (prophylactic regimen) or 1 h after the last ISO injection (therapeutic regimen) and then daily for 2 weeks. CCrP protected against ISO-induced CK-MB elevation and ECG/ST changes when administered prophylactically or therapeutically. CCrP administered prophylactically decreased heart weight, hs-TnI, TNF-α, TGF-β, and caspase-3, as well as increased EF%, eNOS, and connexin-43, and maintained physical activity. Histology indicated a marked decrease in cardiac remodeling (fibrin and collagen deposition) in the ISO/CCrP rats. Similarly, therapeutically administered CCrP showed normal EF% and physical activity, as well as normal serum levels of hs-TnI and BNP. In conclusion, the bioenergetic/anti-inflammatory CCrP is a promising safe drug against myocardial ischemic sequelae, including HF, promoting its clinical application to salvage poorly functioning hearts.

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.

El-Sahar, A. E., N. A. Shiha, N. S. El Sayed, and L. A. Ahmed, "Alogliptin Attenuates Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Neuroinflammation in Mice Through Modulation of TLR4/MYD88/NF-κB and miRNA-155/SOCS-1 Signaling Pathways.", The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 24, issue 2, pp. 158-169, 2021. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Endotoxin-induced neuroinflammation plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis and progression of various neurodegenerative diseases. A growing body of evidence supports that incretin-acting drugs possess various neuroprotective effects that can improve learning and memory impairments in Alzheimer's disease models. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate whether alogliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, has neuroprotective effects against lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment in mice as well as the potential mechanisms underlying these effects.

METHODS: Mice were treated with alogliptin (20 mg/kg/d; p.o.) for 14 days, starting 1 day prior to intracerebroventricular LPS injection (8 μg/μL in 3 μL).

RESULTS: Alogliptin treatment alleviated LPS-induced cognitive impairment as assessed by Morris water maze and novel object recognition tests. Moreover, alogliptin reversed LPS-induced increases in toll-like receptor 4 and myeloid differentiation primary response 88 protein expression, nuclear factor-κB p65 content, and microRNA-155 gene expression. It also rescued LPS-induced decreases in suppressor of cytokine signaling gene expression, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) content, and phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein expression in the brain.

CONCLUSION: The present study sheds light on the potential neuroprotective effects of alogliptin against intracerebroventricular LPS-induced neuroinflammation and its associated memory impairment via inhibition of toll-like receptor 4/ myeloid differentiation primary response 88/ nuclear factor-κB signaling, modulation of microRNA-155/suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 expression, and enhancement of cAMP/phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein signaling.