Li Li

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States

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Publications (18)88.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have shown that the in vitro hepatic microsomal metabolism of pyranocoumarin compound decursinol angelate (DA) to decursinol (DOH) exclusively requires cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, whereas the conversion of its isomer decursin (D) to DOH can be mediated by CYP and esterase(s). To provide insight into specific isoforms involved, here we show with recombinant human CYP that 2C19 was the most active at metabolizing D and DA in vitro followed by 3A4. With carboxylesterases (CES), D was hydrolyzed by CES2 but not CES1, and DA was resistant to both CES1 and CES2. In human liver microsomal (HLM) preparation, the general CYP inhibitor 1-aminobenzotriazole (ABT) and respective competitive inhibitors for 2C19 and 3A4, (+)-N-3-benzylnirvanol (NBN) and ketoconazole substantially retarded the metabolism of DA and, to a lesser extent, of D. In healthy human subjects from a single-dose pharmacokinetic (PK) study, 2C19 extensive metabolizer genotype (2C19*17 allele) tended to have less plasma DA AUC0-48h and poor metabolizer genotype (2C19*2 allele) tended to have greater DA AUC0-48h. In mice given a single dose of D/DA, pretreatment with ABT boosted the plasma and prostate levels of D and DA by more than an order of magnitude. Taken together, our findings suggest that CYP isoforms 2C19 and 3A4 may play a crucial role in the first pass liver metabolism of DA and, to a lesser extent, that of D in humans. Pharmacogenetics with respect to CYP genotypes and interactions among CYP inhibitor drugs and D/DA should therefore be considered in designing future translation studies of DA and/or D.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The American Journal of Chinese Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN) is a major medicinal herb used in Korea and several other Asian countries. Traditionally, its dried root has been used to treat anemia, pain, infection, and articular rheumatism, most often through boiling in water to prepare the dosage forms. AGN extract or AGN-containing herbal mixtures are sold in the USA and globally as dietary supplements for pain killing, memory enhancement, and post-menopausal symptom relief. Decursin (D) and its isomer decursinol angelate (DA) are the major chemicals in the alcoholic extracts of the root of AGN. The anti-cancer activity of AGN alcoholic extract has been established in a number of animal cancer models, including a transgenic model of prostate carcinogenesis. Cell culture structure-activity studies have uncovered distinct cellular and molecular effects of D and DA vs. their pyranocoumarin core decursinol (DOH) with respect to cancer cells and those associated with their microenvironment. Pharmacokinetic (PK) study by us and others in rodent models indicated that DOH is the major and rapid in vivo first pass liver metabolite of D and DA. Cognizant of metabolic differences among rodents and humans, we carried out a first-in-human PK study of D/DA to inform the translational relevance of efficacy and mechanism studies with rodent models. The combined use of rigorous animal tests and human PK studies can provide stronger scientific rationale to inform design and execution of translational studies to move AGN toward evidence-based herbal medicine.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The ethanol extract of Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN) root has promising anti-cancer and other bioactivities in rodent models. It is currently believed that the pyranocoumarin isomers decursin (D) and decursinol angelate (DA) contribute to these activities. We and others have documented that D and DA were rapidly converted to decursinol (DOH) in rodents. However, our in vitro metabolism studies suggested that D and DA might be metabolized differently in humans. To test this hypothesis and address a key question for human translatability of animal model studies of D and DA or AGN extract, we conducted a single oral dose human pharmacokinetic study of D and DA delivered through an AGN-based dietary supplement Cogni.Q (purchased from Quality of Life Labs, Purchase, NY) in twenty healthy subjects, i.e., 10 men and 10 women, each consuming 119 mg D and 77 mg DA from 4 vegicaps. Analyses of plasma samples using UHPLC-MS/MS showed mean time to peak concentration (Tmax) of 2.1, 2.4 and 3.3 h and mean peak concentration (Cmax) of 5.3, 48.1 and 2,480 nmol/L for D, DA and DOH, respectively. The terminal elimination half-life (t1/2) for D and DA was similar (17.4 and 19.3 h) and each was much longer than that of DOH (7.4 h). The mean area under the curve (AUC0-48h) for D, DA and DOH was estimated as 37, 335 and 27,579 h∙nmol/L, respectively. Gender-wise, men absorbed the parent compounds faster and took shorter time to reach DOH peak concentration. The human data supported an extensive conversion of D and DA to DOH, even though they metabolized DA slightly slower than rodents. Therefore, the data generated in rodent models concerning anti-cancer efficacy, safety, tissue distribution and pharmacodynamic biomarkers will likely be relevant for human translation. Trial Registration NCT02114957
    Preview · Article · Feb 2015 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN) root ethanol extract exerts anti-cancer activity in several allograft and xenograft models. Here we examined its chemopreventive efficacy through gavage administration against primary carcinogenesis in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model. Male C57BL/6 TRAMP mice and wild type littermates were given a daily gavage (5 mg/mouse, Monday-Friday) of AGN or vehicle, beginning at 8 wk of age (WOA). All mice were terminated at 24 WOA, unless earlier euthanasia was necessitated by large tumors. Whereas AGN-treated TRAMP mice decreased dorsolateral prostate lesion growth by 30% (P = 0.009), they developed fewer and smaller neuroendocrine-carcinomas (NE-Ca) (0.12 g/mouse) than vehicle-treated counterparts (0.81 g/mouse, P = 0.037). We analyzed the proteome and transcriptome of banked NE-Ca to gain molecular insights. Angiogenesis-antibody array detected a substantial reduction in AGN-treated NE-Ca of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF2), an angiogenesis stimulator. iTRAQ proteomics plus data mining suggested changes of genes upstream and downstream of FGF2 functionally consistent with AGN inhibiting FGF2/FGFR1 signaling at different levels of the transduction cascade. Moreover, AGN upregulated mRNA of genes related to immune responses, restored expression of many tumor suppressor genes, and prostate function and muscle differentiation genes. On the other hand, AGN down-regulated mRNA of genes related to neuron signaling, oncofetal antigens, inflammation, and mast cells, Wnt signaling, embryonic morphogenesis, biosynthesis, cell adhesion, motility, invasion, and angiogenesis. These changes suggest not only multiple cancer cell targeting actions of AGN but also impact on the tumor microenvironments such as angiogenesis, inflammation, and immune surveillance. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Molecular Carcinogenesis
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to investigate and compare the metabolic rate and profiles of pyranocoumarin isomers decursin and decursinol angelate using liver microsomes from humans and rodents, and to characterize the major metabolites of decursin and decursinol angelate in human liver microsomal incubations using LC-MS/MS. First, we conducted liver microsomal incubations of decursin and decursinol angelate in the presence or absence of NADPH. We found that in the absence of NADPH, decursin was efficiently hydrolyzed to decursinol by hepatic esterase(s), but decursinol angelate was not. In contrast, formation of decursinol from decursinol angelate was mediated mainly by cytochrome P450(s). Second, we measured the metabolic rate of decursin and decursinol angelate in liver S9 fractions from mice and humans. We found that human liver S9 fractions metabolized both decursin and decursinol angelate more slowly than those of the mouse. Third, we characterized the major metabolites of decursin and decursinol angelate from human liver microsomes incubations using HPLC-UV and LC-MS/MS methods and assessed the in vivo metabolites in mouse plasma from a one-dose PK study. Decursin and decursinol angelate have different metabolite profiles. Nine metabolites of decursin and nine metabolites of decursinol angelate were identified in human liver microsome incubations besides decursinol using a hybrid triple quadruple linear ion trap LC-MS/MS system, and many of them were later verified to be also present in plasma samples from rodent PK studies.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Planta Medica
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    ABSTRACT: Decursin and decursinol angelate are the major components in the alcoholic extract of the root of Angelica gigas Nakai. Our previous work convincingly demonstrated that both decursin and decursinol angelate were rapidly converted to decursinol in mice after administration by either oral gavage or i. p. injection. In the current study, we compared for the first time the plasma profiles of decursinol, when equal moles of decursin/decursinol angelate or decursinol were given to rats by oral gavage, and investigated the effect of different formulas and other chemicals in Angelica gigas extract on the bioavailability of decursinol. Our results show that gavage of decursinol led to a faster attainment of plasma decursinol peak (Tmax ~ 0.7 h) and much higher peak levels than an equal molar amount administered as decursin/decursinol angelate mixture or as Angelica gigas ethanol extract, resulting in 2-3 fold higher bioavailability as estimated by the area under the curve of the respective regimens (65 012 vs. 27 033 h · ng/mL for decursinol and decursin/decursinol angelate treatment groups, respectively). Compared to a formula based on ethanol-PEG400-Tween80, carboxyl methyl cellulose was a less optimized vehicle. In addition, we detected peak levels of decursin and decursinol angelate in the plasma of rats administered with decursin/decursinol angelate or Angelica gigas extract in the nM range (Tmax ~ 0.5 h) with a newly established sensitive UHPLC-MS/MS method. Furthermore, our data support the liver, instead of intestine, as a major organ site where decursin and decursinol angelate were hydrolyzed to decursinol with a S9 microsomal in vitro metabolism assay. Taken together, our study provided important PK, LC-MS/MS methodology, formulation and metabolism insights in a rodent model for the rational design of in vivo efficacy studies of the corresponding chemicals in the future.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Planta Medica

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Korean Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN) is a major medicinal herb used in Asian countries such as Korea and China. Traditionally, its dried root has been used to treat anemia, pain, infection and articular rheumatism in Korea, most often through boiling in water to prepare the dosage forms. The pyranocoumarin compound decursin and its isomer decursinol angelate (DA) are the major chemical components in the alcoholic extracts of the root of AGN. The in vitro anti-tumor activities of decursin and/or DA against prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, sarcoma, myeloma and leukemia have been increasingly reported in the past decade whereas the in vivo efficacy in mouse models was established only for a few organ sites. Preliminary pharmacokinetics study by us and others in rodent models indicated that decursinol (DOH), which has much less in vitro direct anti-cancer activities by itself, is the major and rapid in vivo hydrolysis metabolite of both decursin and DA. Besides decursin, DA and DOH, other chemical components in AGN such as polysaccharides and polyacetylenes have been reported to exert anti-cancer and anti-inflammation activities as well. We systematically reviewed the published literature on the anti-cancer and other bio-activities effects of AGN extract and decursin, DA and DOH, as well as other chemicals identified from AGN. Although a number of areas are identified that merit further investigation, one critical need is first-in-human studies of the pharmacokinetics of decursin/DA to determine whether humans differ from rodents in absorption and metabolism of these compounds.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: The pyranocoumarin compound decursin and its isomer decursinol angelate (DA) are the major hydrophobic phytochemicals in the root of Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN, Korean Angelica), a major traditional medicinal herb. The ethanol extract of AGN and especially the purified decursin and DA have been shown to exhibit antitumor activities by our collaborative team and others. Although decursinol has been identified as a major hydrolysis metabolite of decursin and DA in vivo in previous pharmacokinetic studies with mouse and rat, other recently published results sharply disputed this conclusion. In this study, we set up a practical method for the concurrent analysis of decursin, DA, and decursinol in mouse plasma and tumor tissues by liquid-liquid extraction and HPLC-UV and applied the method to several animal experiments. Plasma or tumor homogenate was extracted directly with ethyl acetate. The extraction efficiency for decursin/DA (quantitated together) and decursinol was between 82-95 % in both mouse plasma and tumor homogenate. The lower limit of quantitation (LLOQ) was approximately 0.25 µg/mL for decursin/DA and 0.2 µg/mL for decursinol in mouse plasma. In a pilot pharmacokinetic study, male C57BL/6 mice were given a single dose of 4.8 mg decursin/DA mixture (~240 mg/kg) per mouse either by oral gavage or intraperitoneal injection. Maximum plasma concentrations for decursin/DA and decursinol were 11.2 and 79.7 µg/mL, respectively, when decursin/DA was administered via intraperitoneal injection, and 0.54 and 14.9 µg/mL via oral gavage. Decursin/DA and decursinol contents in the tumor tissues from nude mouse xenografts correlated very well with those in plasma. Overall, our results confirm the conclusion that the majority of decursin/DA hydrolyze to decursinol in rodent models with a tiny fraction remaining as the intact compounds administered.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Planta Medica
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    ABSTRACT: Targeting androgen receptor (AR) signaling with agents distinct from current antagonist drugs remains a rational approach to the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). Our previous studies have shown that decursin and isomer decursinol angelate (DA), isolated from the Korean medicinal herb Angelica gigas Nakai, interrupt AR signaling and possess anti-PCa activities in vitro. In the LNCaP PCa cell model, these pyranoccoumarin compounds exhibit properties distinct from currently used antagonists (e.g., Casodex). However, both are rapidly de-esterified to decursinol, a partial AR agonist. We report here that a synthetic decursin analog, decursinol phenylthiocarbamate (DPTC), has greater in vivo stability than the parent compounds. DPTC-decursinol conversion was undetectable in mice. Furthermore, in LNCaP cells, DPTC decreased prostate specific antigen (PSA) expression, down-regulated AR abundance and mRNA and inhibited AR nuclear translocation. The effect of DPTC on AR and PSA mRNA and protein abundance was also observed in VCaP cells expressing wild type AR. DPTC inhibited growth of both PCa cell lines through G(1) cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, as did decursin and DA. Furthermore, i.p. administration of DPTC for 3 weeks suppressed the expression of AR target genes probasin and Nkx3.1 in mouse prostate glands. Overall, our data suggest that DPTC represents a prototype lead compound for development of in vivo stable and active novel decursin analogs for the prevention or therapy of PCa.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Investigational New Drugs

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: The transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) is the most widely used transgenic model for prostate cancer chemoprevention studies. Although two lobe-specific lineages of carcinogenesis have been described, the molecular mechanisms are still poorly defined. Here, we concurrently profiled the proteome of dorsal-lateral (DLP) and ventral (VP) prostate lobes of both TRAMP and littermate WT C57BL/6 mice of 18 wk by 2-D LC-MALDI-TOF/TOF with iTRAQ labeling. A total of 483 and 748 proteins were identified at critical false discovery rates of 1 and 5%. In WT mice, 84 proteins were found to have different expression levels between DLP and VP. In TRAMP mice, 118 proteins significantly changed in DLP and/or VP during TRAMP carcinogenesis. Among them, 55 and 36 proteins were uniquely changed in DLP or VP lobe, respectively, and 27 proteins in both DLP and LP lobe. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis was able to segregate proteins changed in two lobes into different pathway networks. In addition to serving as reference for prostate proteomic profiles, our data suggest that different sets of proteins are involved in the carcinogenesis in DLP versus VP in the TRAMP model.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Proteomics

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2011 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: The gallotannin penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose (PGG) has many biological activities including in vivo anti-cancer efficacy. We present in this paper a scaled-up protocol for its preparation in high purity from tannic acid by acidic methanolysis with typical yield of 15%. We also describe a method for the analysis of PGG in mouse plasma by HPLC and its application in preliminary pharmacokinetic studies. A liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) protocol was optimized for the extraction of PGG from mouse plasma. The extraction efficiency for PGG at 1 μg/mL in mouse plasma was 70.0±1.3% (n=5). The limit of detection (LOD) for PGG was approximately 0.2 μg/mL. Preliminary pharmacokinetic parameters of PGG following a single i.p. injection with 5% ethanol/saline vehicle in mice were established. The peak plasma PGG concentrations (C(max)) were approximately 3-4 μM at a dose of 0.5 mg per mouse (∼20 mg/kg) at 2 h post-injection (T(max)).
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis
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    ABSTRACT: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6-penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose (PGG) is a polyphenolic compound highly enriched in a number of medicinal herbals. Several in vitro and a handful of in vivo studies have shown that PGG exhibits multiple biological activities which implicate a great potential for PGG in the therapy and prevention of several major diseases including cancer and diabetes. Chemically and functionally, PGG appears to be distinct from its constituent gallic acid or tea polyphenols. For anti-cancer activity, three published in vivo preclinical cancer model studies with PGG support promising efficacy to selectively inhibit malignancy without host toxicity. Potential mechanisms include anti-angiogenesis; anti-proliferative actions through inhibition of DNA replicative synthesis, S-phase arrest, and G(1) arrest; induction of apoptosis; anti-inflammation; and anti-oxidation. Putative molecular targets include p53, Stat3, Cox-2, VEGFR1, AP-1, SP-1, Nrf-2, and MMP-9. For anti-diabetic activity, PGG and analogues appear to improve glucose uptake. However, very little is known about the absorption, pharmacokinetics, and metabolism of PGG, or its toxicity profile. The lack of a large quantity of highly pure PGG has been a bottleneck limiting in vivo validation of cancer preventive and therapeutic efficacies in clinically relevant models.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2009 · Pharmaceutical Research

Publication Stats

160 Citations
88.82 Total Impact Points


  • 2013-2015
    • Texas Tech University
      Lubbock, Texas, United States
  • 2011-2015
    • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
      • Department of Biomedical Sciences
      El Paso, Texas, United States
  • 2009-2011
    • University of Minnesota Duluth
      • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Duluth, Minnesota, United States