Alina Heyfets

Tel Aviv University, Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel

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Publications (7)37.4 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Plasmodium and Schistosoma are two of the most common parasites in tropical areas. Deregulation of the immune response to Plasmodium falciparum, characterized by a Th1 response, leads to cerebral malaria (CM), while a Th2 response accompanies chronic schistosomiasis. The development of CM was examined in mice with concomitant Schistosoma mansoni and Plasmodium berghei ANKA infections. The effect of S. mansoni egg antigen injection on disease development and survival was also determined. Cytokine serum levels were estimated using ELISA. Statistical analysis was performed using t-test. The results demonstrate that concomitant S. mansoni and P. berghei ANKA infection leads to a reduction in CM. This effect is dependent on infection schedule and infecting cercariae number, and is correlated with a Th2 response. Schistosomal egg antigen injection delays the death of Plasmodium-infected mice, indicating immune involvement. This research supports previous claims of a protective effect of helminth infection on CM development. The presence of multiple parasitic infections in patients from endemic areas should therefore be carefully noted in clinical trials, and in the development of standard treatment protocols for malaria. Defined helminth antigens may be considered for alleviation of immunopathological symptoms.
    Malaria Journal 01/2010; 9:5. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study the effectiveness of methyl jasmonate (MJ) against cervical cancer cell lines was investigated. We show that MJ is cytotoxic to a range of cervical cancer lines including SiHa, CaSki and HeLa that carry human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA and wild type p53, and C33A that is negative for HPV and contains mutant p53. Primary human foreskin keratinocytes were almost resistant to the drug. Cytotoxicity of MJ was dose and time dependent, and associated mainly with the induction of cell death and to a less extent with inhibition of cell growth. Cell death induced by MJ displayed features characteristic to both apoptosis and necrosis, and was associated with different changes in the levels of p53, p21, bcl-2 and bax in the various cervical cancer lines. In conclusion, MJ a novel anticancer agent, acts via multiple pathways to induce death of cervical cancer cells, thus making it a promising candidate for treatment of cervical cancer.
    Cancer letters 08/2008; 271(1):34-46. · 5.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular bio-energetic metabolism and mitochondria are recognized as potential targets for anticancer agents, due to the numerous relevant peculiarities cancer cells exhibit. Jasmonates are anticancer agents that interact directly with mitochondria. The aim of this study was to identify mitochondrial molecular targets of jasmonates. We report that jasmonates bind to hexokinase and detach it from the mitochondria and its mitochondrial anchor-the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), as judged by hexokinase immunochemical and activity determinations, surface plasmon resonance analysis and planar lipid bilayer VDAC-activity analysis. Furthermore, the susceptibility of cancer cells and mitochondria to jasmonates is dependent on the expression of hexokinase, evaluated using hexokinase-overexpressing transfectants and its mitochondrial association. Many types of cancer cells exhibit overexpression of the key glycolytic enzyme, hexokinase, and its excessive binding to mitochondria. These characteristics are considered to play a pivotal role in cancer cell growth rate and survival. Thus, our findings provide an explanation for the selective effects of jasmonates on cancer cells. Most importantly, this is the first demonstration of a cytotoxic mechanism based on direct interaction between an anticancer agent and hexokinase. The proposed mechanism can serve to guide development of a new selective approach for cancer therapy.
    Oncogene 05/2008; 27(34):4636-43. · 8.56 Impact Factor
  • Alina Heyfets, Eliezer Flescher
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    ABSTRACT: The anti-cancer agent methyl jasmonate (MJ) acts in vitro and in vivo against various cancer cell lines, as well as leukemic cells from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. Given the importance of multi-agent combinations in cancer chemotherapy, the purpose of this study was to identify super-additive combinations of MJ and currently-available chemotherapeutic drugs. We identified such cooperative effects in six cell lines arising from different major types of malignancies, i.e., breast, lung, prostate and pancreas carcinomas as well as leukemia. The chemotherapeutic drugs tested were adriamycin, taxol, BCNU and cisplatin. For instance, MJ exhibited strong cooperative effects with BCNU in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic carcinoma cells. Furthermore, MJ enhanced significantly (pV=0.028) the anti-leukemic effect of adriamycin in vivo, in a CLL mouse model. Finally, MJ cooperated with the glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose in inducing death of several types of carcinoma cells. We conclude that administration of MJ with common chemotherapeutic drugs and glycolysis inhibitors bears a promise for effective anti-cancer therapy.
    Cancer Letters 07/2007; 250(2):300-10. · 5.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: No current treatment reliably affects the course of metastatic melanoma. Consequently, novel approaches to the control of metastasis are actively sought. The overall goal of the present study was to identify new anti-metastatic agents active against melanoma cells. Two directions were taken: 1. To determine whether the natural plant hormone methyl jasmonate, which kills cancer cells selectively, can suppress the characteristic metastatic behavior of B16-F10 melanoma cells; 2. To synthesize and identify novel jasmonate derivatives with better cytotoxic and anti-metastatic activities than methyl jasmonate. We found that methyl jasmonate suppressed B16-F10 cell motility and inhibited the development of experimental lung metastases of these cells. Furthermore, methyl jasmonate suppressed the motility of a sub-clone of these cells over-expressing P-glycoprotein and exhibiting multidrug resistance. The synthetic derivative Compound I (5,7,9,10-tetrabromo derivative of methyl jasmonate, the most active derivative) had greater cytotoxic potency (IC(50), 0.04 mM) than methyl jasmonate (IC(50), 2.6mM). Compound I prevented B16-F10 cell adhesion efficiently and inhibited the development of lung metastases at a much lower dose than methyl jasmonate. Natural and synthetic jasmonates have anti-metastatic actions. Further development of these agents for the suppression of metastasis in melanoma and other types of cancer is warranted.
    British Journal of Pharmacology 04/2007; 150(6):738-49. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Jasmonates are plant stress hormones that induce suppression of proliferation and death in cancer cells, while being selectively inactive towards non-transformed cells. Jasmonates can overcome apoptotic blocks and exert cytotoxic effects on drug-resistant cells expressing p53 mutations. Jasmonates induce a rapid depletion of ATP in cancer cells. Indeed, this steep drop occurs when no signs of cell death are detectable yet. Experiments using modulators of ATP synthesis via glycolysis or oxidative phosphorylation suggest that the latter is the pathway suppressed by jasmonates. Consequently, the direct effects of jasmonates on mitochondria were evaluated. Jasmonates induced cytochrome c release and swelling in mitochondria isolated from cancer cells but not from normal ones. Thus, the selectivity of jasmonates against cancer cells is rooted at the mitochondrial level, and probably exploits differences between mitochondria from normal versus cancer cells. These findings position jasmonates as promising anti-cancer drugs acting via energetic depletion in neoplastic cells.
    Journal of Bioenergetics 03/2007; 39(1):51-7. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We reported previously that jasmonates can kill human cancer cells. Many chemotherapeutic drugs induce mitochondrial membrane permeability transition, membrane depolarization, osmotic swelling, and release of cytochrome c, involving the opening of the permeability transition pore complex (PTPC). Because jasmonates exert their cytotoxic effects independent of transcription, translation, and p53 expression, we hypothesized that these compounds may act directly on mitochondria. Mitochondrial membrane depolarization was determined by flow cytometry, and cytochrome c release by Western blotting. Mitochondria were isolated by mechanical lysis and differential centrifugation. Cytotoxicity was measured by a tetrazolium-based assay, and mitochondrial swelling by spectrophotometry. Jasmonates induced membrane depolarization and cytochrome c release in intact human cancer cell lines. Jasmonates induced swelling in mitochondria isolated from Hep 3B hepatoma cells, but not in mitochondria isolated from 3T3 nontransformed cells or from normal lymphocytes, in a PTPC-mediated manner. Methyl jasmonate induced the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria isolated from cancer cell lines in a PTPC-mediated manner, but not from mitochondria isolated from normal lymphocytes. A correlation was found between cytotoxicity of methyl jasmonate and the percentage of leukemic cells in the blood of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Jasmonates induced membrane depolarization in CLL cells, and swelling and release of cytochrome c in mitochondria isolated from these cells. In conclusion, jasmonates act directly on mitochondria derived from cancer cells in a PTPC-mediated manner, and could therefore bypass premitochondrial apoptotic blocks. Jasmonates are promising candidates for the treatment of CLL and other types of cancer.
    Cancer Research 04/2005; 65(5):1984-93. · 8.65 Impact Factor