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Qanungo S.,Medical University of South Carolina | Uys J.D.,Medical University of South Carolina | Manevich Y.,Medical University of South Carolina | Distler A.M.,Case Western Reserve University | And 9 more authors.
Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy | Year: 2014

First-line therapy for pancreatic cancer is gemcitabine. Although tumors may initially respond to the gemcitabine treatment, soon tumor resistance develops leading to treatment failure. Previously, we demonstrated in human MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells that N-acetyl-. l-cysteine (NAC), a glutathione (GSH) precursor, prevents NFκB activation via S-glutathionylation of p65-NFκB, thereby blunting expression of survival genes. In this study, we documented the molecular sites of S-glutathionylation of p65, and we investigated whether NAC can suppress NFκB signaling and augment a therapeutic response to gemcitabine in vivo. Mass spectrometric analysis of S-glutathionylated p65-NFκB protein in vitro showed post-translational modifications of cysteines 38, 105, 120, 160 and 216 following oxidative and nitrosative stress. Circular dichroism revealed that S-glutathionylation of p65-NFκB did not change secondary structure of the protein, but increased tryptophan fluorescence revealed altered tertiary structure. Gemcitabine and NAC individually were not effective in decreasing MIA PaCa-2 tumor growth in vivo. However, combination treatment with NAC and gemcitabine decreased tumor growth by approximately 50%. NAC treatment also markedly enhanced tumor apoptosis in gemcitabine-treated mice. Compared to untreated tumors, gemcitabine treatment alone increased p65-NFκB nuclear translocation (3.7-fold) and DNA binding (2.5-fold), and these effects were blunted by NAC. In addition, NAC plus gemcitabine treatment decreased anti-apoptotic XIAP protein expression compared to gemcitabine alone. None of the treatments, however, affected extent of tumor hypoxia, as assessed by EF5 staining. Together, these results indicate that adjunct therapy with NAC prevents NFκB activation and improves gemcitabine chemotherapeutic efficacy. © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Orban T.,Case Western Reserve University | Johnson W.M.,Case Western Reserve University | Dong Z.,Polgenix, Inc. | Maeda T.,Case Western Reserve University | And 6 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes adult-onset blindness. There are 2 forms of this progressive disease: wet and dry. Currently there is no cure for AMD, but several treatment options have startedtoemerge making early detection critical for therapeutic success. Analysis of the eyes of Abca4-/- Rdh8-/- mice that display light-induced retinal degeneration indicates that 11-cis-retinal and doco-sahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels were significantly de-creasedascompared with the eyes of control dark-adapted C57BL/6J mice. In addition, exposure to intense light correlated with higher levels of prostaglandin G2 in the eyes of Abca4-/- Rdh8-/- mice. Intense light exposure also lowered DHA levels in the eyes of wild-type C57BL/6J mice without discernible retinal degeneration. Analysis of human serum from patients with AMD recapitulated these dysregulated DHA levels and revealed dysregulation of arachidonic acid (AA) levels as well (∼32% increase in patients with AMD compared with average levels in healthy individuals). From these observations, we then built a statistical model that included levels of DHA and AA from human serum. This model had a 74% probability of correctly identifying patients with AMD from controls. Addition of a genetic analysis for one of the most prevalent amino acid substitutions in the age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 gene linked to AMD, Ala69→Ser, did not improve the statistical model. Thus, we have characterized a reliable method with the potential to detect AMD without a genetic component, paving the way for a larger-scale clinical evaluation. Our studies on mouse models along with the analysis of human serum suggest that our small molecule-based model may serve as an effective tool to estimate the risk of developing AMD. © FASEB.

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