[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells in the brain, protect neurons from reactive oxygen species (ROS) and provide them with trophic support, such as glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Thus, any damage to astrocytes will affect neuronal survival. In the present study, by activity-guided fractionation, we have purified from the desert plant Pulicaria incisa two protective compounds and determined their structures by spectroscopic methods. The compounds were found to be new chalcones—pulichalconoid B and pulichalconoid C. This is the first study to characterize the antioxidant and protective effects of these compounds in any biological system. Using primary cultures of astrocytes, we have found that pulichalconoid B attenuated the accumulation of ROS following treatment of these cells with hydrogen peroxide by 89% and prevented 89% of the H 2 O 2 -induced death of astrocytes. Pulichalconoid B exhibited an antioxidant effect both in vitro and in the cellular antioxidant assay in astrocytes and microglial cells. Pulichalconoid B also caused a fourfold increase in GDNF transcription in these cells. Thus, this chalcone deserves further studies in order to evaluate if beneficial therapeutic effect exists.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells in the brain, protect neurons from reactive oxygen species (ROS) and provide them with trophic support, such as glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Thus, any damage to astrocytes will affect neuronal survival. In the present study, by activity-guided fractionation, we have purified from the desert plant Pulicaria incisa two protective compounds and determined their structures by spectroscopic methods. The compounds were found to be new chalcones-pulichalconoid B and pulichalconoid C. This is the first study to characterize the antioxidant and protective effects of these compounds in any biological system. Using primary cultures of astrocytes, we have found that pulichalconoid B attenuated the accumulation of ROS following treatment of these cells with hydrogen peroxide by 89% and prevented 89% of the H2O2-induced death of astrocytes. Pulichalconoid B exhibited an antioxidant effect both in vitro and in the cellular antioxidant assay in astrocytes and microglial cells. Pulichalconoid B also caused a fourfold increase in GDNF transcription in these cells. Thus, this chalcone deserves further studies in order to evaluate if beneficial therapeutic effect exists.
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 01/2013; 2013:694398.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meconium ileus, intestinal obstruction in the newborn, is caused in most cases by CFTR mutations modulated by yet-unidentified modifier genes. We now show that in two unrelated consanguineous Bedouin kindreds, an autosomal-recessive phenotype of meconium ileus that is not associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by different homozygous mutations in GUCY2C, leading to a dramatic reduction or fully abrogating the enzymatic activity of the encoded guanlyl cyclase 2C. GUCY2C is a transmembrane receptor whose extracellular domain is activated by either the endogenous ligands, guanylin and related peptide uroguanylin, or by an external ligand, Escherichia coli (E. coli) heat-stable enterotoxin STa. GUCY2C is expressed in the human intestine, and the encoded protein activates the CFTR protein through local generation of cGMP. Thus, GUCY2C is a likely candidate modifier of the meconium ileus phenotype in CF. Because GUCY2C heterozygous and homozygous mutant mice are resistant to E. coli STa enterotoxin-induced diarrhea, it is plausible that GUCY2C mutations in the desert-dwelling Bedouin kindred are of selective advantage.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2012; 90(5):893-9. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biblical balm of Gilead (Commiphora gileadensis) was investigated in this study for anticancerous activity against tumor cell lines. The results obtained from ethanol-based extracts and from essential oils indicated that β-caryophyllene (trans-(1R,9S)-8-methylene-4,11,11-trimethylbicyclo[7.2.0]undec-4-ene) is a key component in essential oils extracted from the balm of Gilead. β-Caryophyllene can be found in spice blends, citrus flavors, soaps, detergents, creams, and lotions, as well as in a variety of food and beverage products, and it is known for its anti-inflammatory, local anaesthetic, and antifungal properties. It is also a potent cytotoxic compound over a wide range of cell lines. In the current paper, we found that Commiphora gileadensis stem extracts and essential oil have an antiproliferative proapoptotic effect against tumor cells and not against normal cells. β-caryophyllene caused a potent induction of apoptosis accompanied by DNA ladder and caspase-3 catalytic activity in tumor cell lines. In summary, we showed that C. gileadensis stems contain an apoptosis inducer that acts, in a selective manner, against tumor cell lines and not against normal cells.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2012; 2012:872394. · 1.72 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Astrocytes, the most abundant glial cells in the brain, protect neurons from reactive oxygen species (ROS) and provide them with trophic support, such as glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Thus, any damage to astrocytes will affect neuronal survival. In the present study, an infusion prepared from the desert plant Pulicaria incisa (Pi) was tested for its protective and antioxidant effects on astrocytes subjected to oxidative stress. The Pi infusion attenuated the intracellular accumulation of ROS following treatment with hydrogen peroxide and zinc and prevented the H(2)O(2)-induced death of astrocytes. The Pi infusion also exhibited an antioxidant effect in vitro and induced GDNF transcription in astrocytes. It is proposed that this Pi infusion be further evaluated for use as a functional beverage for the prevention and/or treatment of brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases in which oxidative stress plays a role.
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 01/2012; 2012:157598.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal-recessive high-grade axial myopia was diagnosed in Bedouin Israeli consanguineous kindred. Some affected individuals also had variable expressivity of early-onset cataracts, peripheral vitreo-retinal degeneration, and secondary sight loss due to severe retinal detachments. Through genome-wide linkage analysis, the disease-associated gene was mapped to ∼1.7 Mb on chromosome 3q28 (the maximum LOD score was 11.5 at θ = 0 for marker D3S1314). Sequencing of the entire coding regions and intron-exon boundaries of the six genes within the defined locus identified a single mutation (c.1523G>T) in exon 10 of LEPREL1, encoding prolyl 3-hydroxylase 2 (P3H2), a 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase that hydroxylates collagens. The mutation affects a glycine that is conserved within P3H isozymes. Analysis of wild-type and p.Gly508Val (c.1523G>T) mutant recombinant P3H2 polypeptides expressed in insect cells showed that the mutation led to complete inactivation of P3H2.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2011; 89(3):438-45. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuroinflammatory process plays a central role in the initiation and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and involves the activation of brain microglial cells. During the neuroinflammatory process, microglial cells release proinflammatory mediators such as cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO). In the present study, extracts from 66 different desert plants were tested for their effect on lipopolysaccharide (LPS) - induced production of NO by primary microglial cells. The extract of Achillea fragrantissima (Af), which is a desert plant that has been used for many years in traditional medicine for the treatment of various diseases, was the most efficient extract, and was further studied for additional anti-neuroinflammatory effects in these cells.
In the present study, the ethanolic extract prepared from Af was tested for its anti-inflammatory effects on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated primary cultures of brain microglial cells. The levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) secreted by the cells were determined by reverse transcriptase-PCR and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. NO levels secreted by the activate cells were measured using Griess reagent, ROS levels were measured by 2'7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCF-DA), MMP-9 activity was measured using gel zymography, and the protein levels of the proinflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and induced nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were measured by Western blot analysis. Cell viability was assessed using Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity in the media conditioned by the cells or by the crystal violet cell staining.
We have found that out of the 66 desert plants tested, the extract of Af was the most efficient extract and inhibited ~70% of the NO produced by the LPS-activated microglial cells, without affecting cell viability. In addition, this extract inhibited the LPS - elicited expression of the proinflammatory mediators IL-1β, TNFα, MMP-9, COX-2 and iNOS in these cells.
Thus, phytochemicals present in the Af extract could be beneficial in preventing/treating neurodegenerative diseases in which neuroinflammation is part of the pathophysiology.
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2011; 11:98. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α-Hederin, a natural triterpene saponin and its derivative kalopanaxsaponin I (ksI) exhibit cytotoxicity against various cancer cell lines and IN VIVO tumors. We studied the genetic variants contributing to the activity of these two anticancer compounds. Cell lines derived from 30 trios of European descent (Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Human, CEPH; CEU) and 30 trios of African descent (Yoruban, YRI) were used. Cytotoxicity was determined as inhibition of cell growth at increasing concentrations of α-hederin or ksI for 24 h. In comparison to the European, the Yoruban populations revealed a higher sensitivity to α-hederin and to ksI that can be attributed to several unique SNPs. These SNPs are located near 111 and 130 genes in the European and the Yoruban populations, respectively, raising the possibility that some of these genes contribute to the differential sensitivity to these compounds.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Excessive chloride secretion in sweat (hyperchlorhidrosis), leading to a positive sweat test, is most commonly indicative of cystic fibrosis yet is found also in conjunction with various metabolic, endocrine, and dermatological disorders. There is conflicting evidence regarding the existence of autosomal-recessive hyperchlorhidrosis. We now describe a consanguineous Israeli Bedouin kindred with autosomal-recessive hyperchlohidrosis whose sole symptoms are visible salt precipitates after sweating, a preponderance to hyponatremic dehydration, and poor feeding and slow weight gain at infancy. Through genome-wide linkage analysis, we demonstrate that the phenotype is due to a homozygous mutation in CA12, encoding carbonic anhydrase XII. The mutant (c.427G>A [p.Glu143Lys]) protein showed 71% activity of the wild-type enzyme for catalyzing the CO₂ hydration to bicarbonate and H(+), and it bound the clinically used sulfonamide inhibitor acetazolamide with high affinity (K(I) of 10 nM). Unlike the wild-type enzyme, which is not inhibited by chloride, bromide, or iodide (K(I)s of 73-215 mM), the mutant is inhibited in the submicromolar range by these anions (K(I)s of 0.37-0.73 mM).
The American Journal of Human Genetics 10/2010; 87(5):713-20. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The essential micronutrient selenium is found in proteins as selenocysteine (Sec), the only genetically encoded amino acid whose biosynthesis occurs on its cognate tRNA in humans. In the final step of selenocysteine formation, the essential enzyme SepSecS catalyzes the conversion of Sep-tRNA to Sec-tRNA. We demonstrate that SepSecS mutations cause autosomal-recessive progressive cerebellocerebral atrophy (PCCA) in Jews of Iraqi and Moroccan ancestry. Both founder mutations, common in these two populations, disrupt the sole route to the biosynthesis of the 21st amino acid, Sec, and thus to the generation of selenoproteins in humans.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 10/2010; 87(4):538-44. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate CYP1B1 gene mutations in Arab-Bedouin Israeli patients with primary congenital glaucoma (PCG).
Testing linkage to candidate genes using adjacent polymorphic markers and sequencing of genomic DNA samples by standard methods.
In 9 of 11 unrelated affected Israeli Bedouin families, PCG was associated with homozygosity of 3 different CYP1B1 mutations. As in Saudi Arabian families, the 3987G>A CYP1B1 substitution accounted for approximately 50% of cases. A novel CYP1B1 mutation, 8405G>A, was found in 2 unrelated families. In 2 consanguineous families, there was no evidence of homozygosity or mutations in CYP1B1.
CYP1B1 mutations account for the majority of cases of PCG in the Israeli Bedouin population. The most frequently found CYP1B1 mutation (3987G>A) in our study is also the commonest CYP1B1 mutation in the Saudi Arabian population, in line with the common genetic background of both populations. The absence of homozygosity in the CYP1B1 locus in the affected individuals in 2 consanguineous inbred families, suggests that other genes take part in the causation of congenital glaucomas. This is the first study describing the genetic basis of PCG among Israeli Arab-Bedouin individuals, in whom the frequency of the disease is the highest in the world. Further similar studies based on new diagnosed patients are needed to possibly prevent, screen, and treat (antenatal and postnatal) this sight-devastating childhood disease.
Journal of glaucoma 07/2009; 19(1):35-8. · 1.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (VLC-PUFA), arachidonic acid (ARA, 20:4omega-6) is a component of neuron tissues such as brain and retina cells and a primary substrate for the biosynthesis of biologically active eicosanoids. The green freshwater microalga Parietochloris incisa (Trebouxiophyceae) has been shown to accumulate an extraordinary high content of ARA-rich triacylglycerols. It was thus interesting to characterize the genes involved in lipid biosynthesis in this alga. We report here the identification of a cDNA encoding for a P. incisa PUFA elongase (PiELO1) and demonstrate that the expression of PiELO1 in yeast Saccharomyces cereviseae confers its elongase activity on C18 6 PUFA. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that PiELO1 is highly similar to functionally characterized 6 PUFA elongase genes from other green algae and lower plants. Quantitative real-time PCR expression studies showed that PiELO1 is upregulated under nitrogen starvation, the condition triggering and enhancing storage oil and ARA accumulation in P. incisa.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hydroponically cultivated Nigella sativa L. plants treated with methyl jasmonate (MeJA) showed a twelve-fold increase in levels of the monodesmosidic triterpene saponins alpha-hederin and kalopanaxsaponin I (KsI) in the leaves. We will demonstrate that these two saponins accounted for approximately 10% of the dry plant matter, of which 93% was KsI and 7% alpha-hederin. To address the molecular basis of saponin induction by MeJA, we cloned and characterized the beta-amyrin synthase gene (NsbetaAS1) encoding one of the key enzymes in triterpene saponin biosynthesis. As expected, NsbetaAS1 transcription was induced by MeJA and led to the production of beta-amyrin when over-expressed in yeast.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to study gene expression patterns of cultured cumulus cells from lean and overweight-obese polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients using genome-wide oligonucleotide microarray. The study included 25 patients undergoing in vitro fertilization and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection: 12 diagnosed with PCOS and 13 matching controls. Each of the groups was subdivided into lean (body mass index (BMI) < 24) and overweight (BMI > 27) subgroups. The following comparisons of gene expression data were made: lean PCOS versus lean controls, lean PCOS versus overweight PCOS, all PCOS versus all controls, overweight PCOS versus overweight controls, overweight controls versus lean controls and all overweight versus all lean. The largest number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs), with fold change (FC) |FC| >or= 1.5 and P-value < 0.01, was found in the lean PCOS versus lean controls comparison (487) with most of these genes being down-regulated in PCOS. The second largest group of DEGs originated from the comparison of lean PCOS versus overweight PCOS (305). The other comparisons resulted in a much smaller number of DEGs (174, 109, 125 and 12, respectively). In the comparison of lean PCOS with lean controls, most DEGs were transcription factors and components of the extracellular matrix and two pathways, Wnt/beta-catenin and mitogen-activated protein kinase. When comparing overweight PCOS with overweight controls, most DEGs were of pathways related to insulin signaling, metabolism and energy production. The finding of unique gene expression patterns in cumulus cells from the two PCOS subtypes is in agreement with other studies that have found the two to be separate entities with potentially different pathophysiologies.
Molecular Human Reproduction 01/2009; 15(2):89-103. · 4.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a maternally transmitted genomic-imprinting syndrome of mental retardation, hypotonia, and unique dysmorphism with elongated face. We mapped the disease-associated locus to approximately 7.27 Mb on chromosome 8q24 and demonstrated that the disease is caused by a missense mutation in the maternal copy of KCNK9 within this locus. KCNK9 is maternally transmitted (imprinted with paternal silencing) and encodes K(2P)9.1, a member of the two pore-domain potassium channel (K(2P)) subfamily. The mutation fully abolishes the channel's currents--both when functioning as a homodimer or as a heterodimer with K(2P)3.1.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2008; 83(2):193-9. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A consanguineous Israeli Bedouin kindred presented with an autosomal-recessive nonlethal phenotype of severe psychomotor retardation and extrapyramidal signs, dystonia, athetosis and ataxia, mild axial hypotonia, and marked global dementia with defects in verbal and expressive communication skills. Metabolic workup was normal except for mildly elevated blood lactate levels. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed increased density in the putamen, with decreased density and size of the caudate and lentiform nuclei. Reduced activity specifically of mitochondrial complex III and variable decrease in complex I activity were evident in muscle biopsies. Homozygosity of affected individuals to UQCRB and to BCSIL, previously associated with isolated complex III deficiency, was ruled out. Genome-wide linkage analysis identified a homozygosity locus of approximately 9 cM on chromosome 5q31 that was further narrowed down to 2.14 cM, harboring 30 genes (logarithm of the odds [LOD] score 8.82 at theta = 0). All 30 genes were sequenced, revealing a single missense (p.Ser45Phe) mutation in UQCRQ (encoding ubiquinol-cytochrome c reductase, complex III subunit VII, 9.5 kDa), one of the ten nuclear genes encoding proteins of mitochondrial complex III.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2008; 82(5):1211-6. · 11.20 Impact Factor