Drug resistance during chemotherapy is the major obstacle to the successful treatment of many cancers. Here, we report that inhibition of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) may be a promising strategy to combat chemoresistance. Nrf2 is a critical transcription factor regulating a cellular protective response that defends cells against toxic insults from a broad spectrum of chemicals. Under normal conditions, the low constitutive amount of Nrf2 protein is maintained by the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein1 (Keap1)-mediated ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation system. Upon activation, this Keap1-dependent Nrf2 degradation mechanism is quickly inactivated, resulting in accumulation and activation of the antioxidant response element (ARE)-dependent cytoprotective genes. Since its discovery, Nrf2 has been viewed as a 'good' transcription factor that protects us from many diseases. In this study, we demonstrate the dark side of Nrf2: stable overexpression of Nrf2 resulted in enhanced resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents including cisplatin, doxorubicin and etoposide. Inversely, downregulation of the Nrf2-dependent response by overexpression of Keap1 or transient transfection of Nrf2-small interfering RNA (siRNA) rendered cancer cells more susceptible to these drugs. Upregulation of Nrf2 by the small chemical tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) also enhanced the resistance of cancer cells, indicating the feasibility of using small chemical inhibitors of Nrf2 as adjuvants to chemotherapy to increase the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the strategy of using Nrf2 inhibitors to increase efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents is not limited to certain cancer types or anticancer drugs and thus can be applied during the course of chemotherapy to treat many cancer types.
OBJECTIVETo determine whether dietary compounds targeting NFE2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation can be used to attenuate renal damage and preserve renal function during the course of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic nephropathy.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSDiabetes was induced in Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2−/− mice by STZ injection. Sulforaphane (SF) or cinnamic aldehyde (CA) was administered 2 weeks after STZ injection and metabolic indices and renal structure and function were assessed (18 weeks). Markers of diabetes including blood glucose, insulin, polydipsia, polyuria, and weight loss were measured. Pathological alterations and oxidative damage in glomeruli were also determined. Changes in protein expression of the Nrf2 pathway, as well as transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), fibronectin (FN), collagen IV, and p21/WAF1Cip1 (p21) were analyzed. The molecular mechanisms of Nrf2-mediated protection were investigated in an in vitro model using human renal mesangial cells (HRMCs).RESULTSSF or CA significantly attenuated common metabolic disorder symptoms associated with diabetes in Nrf2+/+ but not in Nrf2−/− mice, indicating SF and CA function through specific activation of the Nrf2 pathway. Furthermore, SF or CA improved renal performance and minimized pathological alterations in the glomerulus of STZ-Nrf2+/+ mice. Nrf2 activation reduced oxidative damage and suppressed the expression of TGF-β1, extracellular matrix proteins and p21 both in vivo and in HRMCs. In addition, Nrf2 activation reverted p21-mediated growth inhibition and hypertrophy of HRMCs under hyperglycemic conditions.CONCLUSIONSWe provide experimental evidence indicating that dietary compounds targeting Nrf2 activation can be used therapeutically to improve metabolic disorder and relieve renal damage induced by diabetes.
Endogenous chromophores in human skin serve as photosensitizers involved in skin photocarcinogenesis and photoaging. Absorption of solar photons, particularly in the UVA region, induces the formation of photoexcited states of skin photosensitizers with subsequent generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), organic free radicals and other toxic photoproducts that mediate skin photooxidative stress. The complexity of endogenous skin photosensitizers with regard to molecular structure, pathways of formation, mechanisms of action, and the diversity of relevant skin targets has hampered progress in this area of photobiology and most likely contributed to an underestimation of the importance of endogenous sensitizers in skin photodamage. Recently, UVA-fluorophores in extracellular matrix proteins formed posttranslationally as a consequence of enzymatic maturation or spontaneous chemical damage during chronological and actinic aging have been identified as an abundant source of light-driven ROS formation in skin upstream of photooxidative cellular stress. Importantly, sensitized skin cell photodamage by this bystander mechanism occurs after photoexcitation of sensitizers contained in skin structural proteins without direct cellular photon absorption thereby enhancing the potency and range of phototoxic UVA action in deeper layers of skin. The causative role of photoexcited states in skin photodamage suggests that direct molecular antagonism of photosensitization reactions using physical quenchers of photoexcited states offers a novel chemopreventive opportunity for skin photoprotection.
The high mortality and disability of diabetic nonhealing skin ulcers create an urgent need for the development of more efficacious strategies targeting diabetic wound healing. In the current study, using human clinical specimens, we show that perilesional skin tissues from patients with diabetes are under more severe oxidative stress and display higher activation of the nuclear factor-E2–related factor 2 (NRF2)–mediated antioxidant response than perilesional skin tissues from normoglycemic patients. In a streptozotocin-induced diabetes mouse model, Nrf2−/− mice have delayed wound closure rates compared with Nrf2+/+ mice, which is, at least partially, due to greater oxidative DNA damage, low transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and high matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) expression, and increased apoptosis. More importantly, pharmacological activation of the NRF2 pathway significantly improves diabetic wound healing. In vitro experiments in human immortalized keratinocyte cells confirm that NRF2 contributes to wound healing by alleviating oxidative stress, increasing proliferation and migration, decreasing apoptosis, and increasing the expression of TGF-β1 and lowering MMP9 under high-glucose conditions. This study indicates an essential role for NRF2 in diabetic wound healing and the therapeutic benefits of activating NRF2 in this disease, laying the foundation for future clinical trials using NRF2 activators in treating diabetic skin ulcers.
Redox dysregulation in cancer cells represents a chemical vulnerability that can be targeted by prooxidant redox intervention. Dietary constituents that contain an electrophilic Michael acceptor pharmacophore may therefore display promising chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic anti-cancer activity. Here, we demonstrate that the cinnamon-derived dietary Michael acceptor trans-cinnamic aldehyde (CA) impairs melanoma cell proliferation and tumor growth. Feasibility of therapeutic intervention using high doses of CA (120 mg/kg, p.o., q.d., 10 days) was demonstrated in a human A375 melanoma SCID-mouse xenograft model. Low micromolar concentrations (IC 50 < 10 μM) of CA, but not closely related CA-derivatives devoid of Michael acceptor activity, suppressed proliferation of human metastatic melanoma cell lines (A375, G361, LOX) with G1 cell cycle arrest, elevated intracellular ROS, and impaired invasiveness. Expression array analysis revealed that CA induced an oxidative stress response in A375 cells, up-regulating heme oxygenase-1 (HMOX1), sulfiredoxin 1 homolog (SRXN1), thioredoxin reductase 1 (TXNRD1), and other genes including the cell cycle regulator and stress-responsive tumor suppressor gene cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A), a key mediator of G1 phase arrest. CA, but not Michael-inactive derivatives, inhibited NFκB transcriptional activity and TNFα-induced IL-8 production in A375 cells. These findings support a previously unrecognized role of CA as a dietary Michael acceptor with potential anticancer activity.
N-Substituted pyrroles (1), 2-furaldehyde (2), and N-substituted 2-formylpyrroles (3), formed in pentose (hexose) Maillard systems, were identified as components of extraordinary polycondensation activity. The polycondensation was studied in model experiments with 2), and N-(2-methoxycarbonylethyl)pyrrole (1b)/2-furaldehyde (2), respectively. MALDI-TOF-MS spectra indicated regular oligomers of up to 15-30 methine-bridged N-methyl(or N-2-methoxycarbonylethyl)pyrroles. With participation of aldehyde 2, furan rings instead of pyrrole rings were incorporated. The oligomers 5-11 were isolated and identified by MS and NMR techniques. A complementary experiment with N-methyl-2-[ 13 C]formylpyrrole ([ 13 CHO]-3a)/N-methylpyrrole (1a) was performed. The relevance of the new (type II) melanoidin-like oligomers/polymers in Maillard reactions is discussed and, in conclusion, a corresponding structure for native melanoidins is proposed. The oligomers 5, 6, 8, and 9 were tested for antioxidative activity in an iron(III) thiocyanate assay. Keywords: Model compounds for melanoidins; pyrroles from pentoses and hexoses; β-dicarbonyl pathway of the Maillard reaction; polycondensation of N-methylpyrrole with N-methyl-2-formylpyrrole (N-methyl-2-[ 13 C]formylpyrrole) or 2-formylfuran; polycondensation of N-(2-methoxycarbonylethyl)pyrrole with N-(2-methoxycarbonylethyl)-2-formylpyrrole or 2-formylfuran; MALDI-TOF-MS analysis of melanoidin-like oligomers/polymers; antioxidative activity of oligomeric model compounds
Endogenous UVA-chromophores may act as sensitizers of oxidative stress underlying cutaneous photoaging and photocarcinogenesis, but the molecular identity of non-DNA key chromophores displaying UVA-driven photodyamic activity in human skin remains largely undefined. Here we report that 6-formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ), a tryptophan photoproduct and endogenous high affinity aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, acts as a nanomolar photosensitizer potentiating UVA-induced oxidative stress irrespective of AhR ligand activity. In human HaCaT and primary epidermal keratinocytes, photodynamic induction of apoptosis was elicited by the combined action of solar simulated UVA and FICZ, whereas exposure to the isolated action of UVA or FICZ did not impair viability. In a human epidermal tissue reconstruct, FICZ/UVA-cotreatment caused pronounced phototoxicity inducing keratinocyte cell death, and FICZ photodynamic activity was also substantiated in a murine skin exposure model. Array analysis revealed pronounced potentiation of cellular heat shock, ER stress, and oxidative stress response gene expression observed only upon FICZ/UVA-cotreatment. FICZ photosensitization caused intracellular oxidative stress, and comet analysis revealed introduction of formamidopyrimidine-DNA glycosylase (FPG)-sensitive oxidative DNA lesions suppressible by antioxidant cotreatment. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the endogenous AhR ligand FICZ displays nanomolar photodynamic activity representing a molecular mechanism of UVA-induced photooxidative stress potentially operative in human skin.
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