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Topic review
Updated time: 06 May 2021
Submitted by: Barbara Costa
Definition: Neuroactive steroids are potent modulators of microglial functions and are capable of counteracting their excessive reactivity. This action has mainly been ascribed to neuroactive steroids released from other sources, as microglia have been defined unable to produce neurosteroids de novo. Unexpectedly, immortalized murine microglia recently exhibited this de novo biosynthesis; herein, de novo neurosteroidogenesis was characterized in immortalized human microglia. The results demonstrated that C20 and HMC3 microglial cells constitutively express members of the neurosteroidogenesis multiprotein machinery—in particular, the transduceosome members StAR and TSPO, and the enzyme CYP11A1. Moreover, both cell lines produce pregnenolone and transcriptionally express the enzymes involved in neurosteroidogenesis. The high TSPO expression levels observed in microglia prompted us to assess its role in de novo neurosteroidogenesis. TSPO siRNA and TSPO synthetic ligand treatments were used to reduce and prompt TSPO function, respectively. The TSPO expression downregulation compromised the de novo neurosteroidogenesis and led to an increase in StAR expression, probably as a compensatory mechanism.
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Topic review
Updated time: 25 May 2021
Submitted by: Rosa Muñoz-Cano
Definition: Adenosine is a nucleoside involved in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. Its effects are mediated through its binding to G protein-coupled receptors: A1, A2a, A2b and A3. The receptors differ in the type of G protein they recruit, in the effect on adenylyl cyclase (AC) activity and the downstream signaling pathway triggered. Adenosine can produce both an enhancement and an inhibition of mast cell degranulation, indicating that adenosine effects on these receptors is controversial and remains to be clarified.
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Topic review
Updated time: 17 May 2021
Submitted by: Patrizia Pagliara
Definition: Allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) is a calcium-binding scaffold/adaptor protein often associated with inflammatory diseases. Originally cloned from active macrophages in humans and rats, this gene has also been identified in other vertebrates and in several invertebrate species. Among metazoans, AIF-1 protein sequences remain relatively highly conserved. Generally, the highest expression levels of AIF-1 are observed in immunocytes, suggesting that it plays a key role in immunity. In mammals, the expression of AIF-1 has been reported in different cell types such as activated macrophages, microglial cells, and dendritic cells. Its main immunomodulatory role during the inflammatory response has been highlighted. Among invertebrates, AIF-1 is involved in innate immunity, being in many cases upregulated in response to biotic and physical challenges. AIF-1 transcripts result ubiquitously expressed in all examined tissues from invertebrates, suggesting its participation in a variety of biological processes, but its role remains largely unknown.
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Topic review
Updated time: 07 May 2021
Submitted by: Matej Žnidarič
Definition: Hair loss (HL), also known as alopecia or baldness, is a common clinical disorder that affects millions of people worldwide and often causes a significant source of patient distress.
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Topic review
Updated time: 24 May 2021
Submitted by: A.S.N.. Reddy
Definition: Alternative splicing (AS) is a vital post-transcriptional modulator of gene expression that amplifies the proteome diversity and regulates many physiological processes essential for mounting responses to stresses in plants.
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Topic review
Updated time: 14 May 2021
Definition: Andean blueberry (Vaccinium floribundum Kunth), also known as mortiño, is a promising wild berry of the family Ericaceae that grows spontaneously in the Andean regions of Ecuador. The demand for these small (~8 mm diameter), black, and round fruits has been increasing due to their antioxidant characteristic, similar to other Vaccinium species, such as cranberry, blueberry, or bilberry, mostly related to the high content of (poly) phenolic compounds.
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Topic review
Updated time: 31 May 2021
Submitted by: Anthony Bouter
Definition: Muscular dystrophies constitute a group of genetic disorders that cause weakness and progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass. Among them, Miyoshi muscular dystrophy 1 (MMD1), limb girdle muscular dystrophy type R2 (LGMDR2/2B), and LGMDR12 (2L) are characterized by mutation in gene encoding key membrane-repair protein, which leads to severe dysfunctions in sarcolemma repair. Cell membrane disruption is a physiological event induced by mechanical stress, such as muscle contraction and stretching. Like many eukaryotic cells, muscle fibers possess a protein machinery ensuring fast resealing of damaged plasma membrane. Members of the annexins A (ANXA) family belong to this protein machinery. ANXA are small soluble proteins, twelve in number in humans, which share the property of binding to membranes exposing negatively-charged phospholipids in the presence of calcium (Ca2+). Many ANXA have been reported to participate in membrane repair of varied cell types and species, including human skeletal muscle cells in which they may play a collective role in protection and repair of the sarcolemma. Here, we discuss the participation of ANXA in membrane repair of healthy skeletal muscle cells and how dysregulation of ANXA expression may impact the clinical severity of muscular dystrophies.
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Topic review
Updated time: 31 May 2021
Submitted by: Noelia Tena
Definition: The antioxidant activity of anthocyanins in food is well known. Numerous antioxidant assays have been proposed to measure the capacity of anthocyanins to prevent the oxidation process that naturally occurs. Different solvents, temperatures, and pH levels are applied in each assay, and these factors should be taken into account in order to obtain useful and reproducible results. The concentration and the structure of these compounds are directly related to their antioxidant capacity and their environment. However, the effectiveness of the anthocyanin ingestion against diseases is also influenced by its bioavailability. Novel methodologies that simulate the digestion process have been developed in order to facilitate the current knowledge of anthocyanins bioavailability. Studies highlight the potential synergy effect between parent compounds and their derivatives (metabolites, conjugated products, and microbe-generated metabolites).
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Topic review
Updated time: 10 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Suresh Mickymaray
Definition: The prevalence of fungal infections is growing at an alarming pace and the pathogenesis is still not clearly understood. Recurrence of these fungal diseases is often due to their evolutionary avoidance of antifungal resistance. The development of suitable novel antimicrobial agents for fungal diseases continues to be a major problem in the current clinical field. Hence, it is urgently necessary to develop surrogate agents that are more effective than conventional available drugs. Among the remarkable innovations from earlier investigations on natural-drugs, flavonoids are a group of plant-derived substances capable of promoting many valuable effects on humans. The identification of flavonoids with possible antifungal effects at small concentrations or in synergistic combinations could help to overcome this problem. A combination of flavonoids with available drugs is an excellent approach to reduce the side effects and toxicity.
Entry Collection : Biopharmaceuticals
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Topic review
Updated time: 10 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Tomasz M. Karpinski
Definition: The incidence of fungal infections has been steadily increasing in recent years. Systemic mycoses are characterized by the highest mortality. At the same time, the frequency of infections caused by drug-resistant strains and new pathogens e.g., Candida auris increases. An alternative to medicines may be essential oils, which can have a broad antimicrobial spectrum. Rich in the essential oils are plants from the Lamiaceae family.
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