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Dravet syndrome is an infant-onset epileptic encephalopathy with multiple seizure types that are often refractory to conventional therapies. Treatment with standard benzodiazepines like clobazam, in combination with valproate and stiripentol, provides only modest seizure control. While benzodiazepines are a first-line therapy for Dravet syndrome, they are limited by their ability to only modulate synaptic receptors. Unlike benzodiazepines, neuroactive steroids potentiate a wider-range of GABA receptors. The synthetic neuroactive steroid SGE-516 is a potent positive allosteric modulator of both synaptic and extrasynaptic GABA receptors. Prior work demonstrated anticonvulsant activity of SGE-516 in acute seizure assays in rodents. In this study, we evaluated activity of SGE-516 on epilepsy phenotypes in the Scn1a mouse model that recapitulates many features of Dravet syndrome, including spontaneous seizures, premature death and seizures triggered by hyperthermia. To evaluate SGE-516 in Scn1a mice, we determined the effect of treatment on hyperthermia-induced seizures, spontaneous seizure frequency and survival. SGE-516 treatment protected against hyperthermia-induced seizures, reduced spontaneous seizure frequency and prolonged survival in the Scn1a mice. This provides the first evidence of SGE-516 activity in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, and supports further investigation of neuroactive steroids as potential anticonvulsant compounds for refractory epilepsies.
Oxysterols are oxygenated derivatives of cholesterol formed in the human body or ingested in the diet. By modulating the activity of many proteins [e.g., liver X receptors (LXRs), oxysterol-binding proteins (OSBPs), some ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters], oxysterols can affect many cellular functions and influence various physiological processes (e.g., cholesterol metabolism, membrane fluidity regulation, intracellular signaling pathways). Therefore, the role of oxysterols is also important in pathological conditions (e.g., atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus type 2, neurodegenerative disorders). Finally, current evidence suggests that oxysterols play a role in malignancies such as breast, prostate, colon, and bile duct cancer. This review summarizes the physiological importance of oxysterols in the human body with a special emphasis on their roles in various tumors.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
With some advances in modern medicine (such as cancer chemotherapy, broad exposure to antibiotics, and immunosuppression), the incidence of opportunistic fungal pathogens such as has increased. Cases of drug resistance among these pathogens have become more frequent, requiring the development of new drugs and a better understanding of the targeted enzymes. Sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) is a cytochrome P450 enzyme required for biosynthesis of sterols in eukaryotic cells and is the major target of clinical drugs for managing fungal pathogens, but some of the CYP51 key features important for rational drug design have remained obscure. We report the catalytic properties, ligand-binding profiles, and inhibition of enzymatic activity of CYP51 by clinical antifungal drugs that are used systemically (fluconazole, voriconazole, ketoconazole, itraconazole, and posaconazole) and topically (miconazole and clotrimazole) and by a tetrazole-based drug candidate, VT-1161 (oteseconazole: ()-2-(2,4-difluorophenyl)-1,1-difluoro-3-(1-tetrazol-1-yl)-1-(5-(4-(2,2,2-trifluoroethoxy)phenyl)pyridin-2-yl)propan-2-ol). Among the compounds tested, the first-line drug fluconazole was the weakest inhibitor, whereas posaconazole and VT-1161 were the strongest CYP51 inhibitors. We determined the X-ray structures of CYP51 complexes with posaconazole and VT-1161, providing a molecular mechanism for the potencies of these drugs, including the activity of VT-1161 against and , pathogens that are intrinsically resistant to fluconazole. Our comparative structural analysis outlines phylum-specific CYP51 features that could direct future rational development of more efficient broad-spectrum antifungals.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Cholesterol metabolism is vital for brain function. Previous work in cultured cells has shown that a number of psychotropic drugs inhibit the activity of 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7), an enzyme that catalyzes the final steps in cholesterol biosynthesis. This leads to the accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7DHC), a molecule that gives rise to oxysterols, vitamin D, and atypical neurosteroids. We examined levels of cholesterol and the cholesterol precursors desmosterol, lanosterol, 7DHC and its isomer 8-dehydrocholesterol (8DHC), in blood samples of 123 psychiatric patients on various antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs, and 85 healthy controls, to see if the observations in cell lines hold true for patients as well. Three drugs, aripiprazole, haloperidol and trazodone increased circulating 7DHC and 8DHC levels, while five other drugs, clozapine, escitalopram/citalopram, lamotrigine, olanzapine, and risperidone, did not. Studies in rat brain verified that haloperidol dose-dependently increased 7DHC and 8DHC levels, while clozapine had no effect. We conclude that further studies should investigate the role of 7DHC and 8DHC metabolites, such as oxysterols, vitamin D, and atypical neurosteroids, in the deleterious and therapeutic effects of psychotropic drugs. Finally, we recommend that drugs that increase 7DHC levels should not be prescribed during pregnancy, as children born with DHCR7 deficiency have multiple congenital malformations.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Cholesterol synthesis is among the oldest metabolic pathways, consisting of the Bloch and Kandutch-Russell branches. Following lanosterol, sterols of both branches are proposed to be dedicated to cholesterol. We challenge this dogma by mathematical modeling and with experimental evidence. It was not possible to explain the sterol profile of testis in cAMP responsive element modulator tau (Crem τ) knockout mice with mathematical models based on textbook pathways of cholesterol synthesis. Our model differs in the inclusion of virtual sterol metabolizing enzymes branching from the pathway. We tested the hypothesis that enzymes from the cytochrome P450 (CYP) superfamily can participate in the catalysis of non-classical reactions. We show that CYP enzymes can metabolize multiple sterols in vitro, establishing novel branching points of cholesterol synthesis. In conclusion, sterols of cholesterol synthesis can be oxidized further to metabolites not dedicated to production of cholesterol. Additionally, CYP7A1, CYP11A1, CYP27A1, and CYP46A1 are parts of a broader cholesterol synthesis network.
Cytochrome P450 (P450 or CYP) 46A1 is expressed in brain and has been characterized by its ability to oxidize cholesterol to 24S-hydroxycholesterol. In addition, the same enzyme is known to further oxidize 24S-hydroxycholesterol to the 24,25- and 24,27-dihydroxy products, as well as to catalyze side-chain oxidations of 7α-hydroxycholesterol and cholestanol. As precursors in the biosynthesis of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol has not been found to be a substrate of P450 46A1 and desmosterol has not been previously tested. However, 24-hydroxy-7-dehydrocholesterol was recently identified in brain tissues, which prompted us to reexamine this enzyme and its potential substrates. Here we report that P450 46A1 oxidizes 7-dehydrocholesterol to 24-hydroxy-7-dehydrocholesterol and 25-hydroxy-7-dehydrocholesterol, as confirmed by LC-MS and GC-MS. Overall, the catalytic rates of formation increased in the order of 24-hydroxy-7-dehydrocholesterol < 24-hydroxycholesterol < 25-hydroxy-7-dehydrocholesterol from their respective precursors, with a ratio of 1:2.5:5. In the case of desmosterol, epoxidation to 24S,25-epoxycholesterol and 27-hydroxylation was observed, at roughly equal rates. The formation of these oxysterols in the brain may be of relevance in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, desmosterolosis, and other relevant diseases, as well as in signal transduction by lipids.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
OBJECTIVE - This study investigated the dietary effect of including pigmented rice bran with or without plant sterols on lipid profiles during energy restriction-induced weight loss in overweight and obese adults not taking cholesterol-lowering medication. In addition, the study examined the effect of intervention on biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation.
METHODS - A group of 24 overweight and obese adults (age: 43 ± 6 years, body mass index 32 ± 1 kg/m(2), 18 females) were randomized to a 25% calorie-restricted diet containing either pigmented rice bran (RB) or the RB with addition of plant sterols (RB+PS) snack bars for 8 weeks. The individualized nutrient-balanced diet contained ∼70% of daily energy needs assessed from indirect calorimetry measured resting energy expenditure (EE) and physical activity-related EE assessed using accelerometry. Anthropometrics, blood pressure, blood lipids, glucose, urinary F2-isoprostanes, C-reactive protein, insulin, and leptin were measured at baseline and after 8 weeks of intervention.
RESULTS - Participants lost approximately 4.7 ± 2.2 kg (p < 0.001). Weight loss was not significant between the RB+PS and RB group (p = 0.056). Changes in body fat corresponded to changes in body weight. Average decrease in total cholesterol was significantly higher in the RB+PS group than in the RB group (difference 36 ± 25 g/dL vs 7 ± 16 g/dL; p = 0.044). A similar pattern was observed for the decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (difference 22.3 ± 25.2 g/dL vs 4.4 ± 18.9 g/dL; p = 0.062). Changes in systolic blood pressure, serum levels of leptin, and F2-isoprostanes were significant between baseline values and after 8 weeks on the diet in both groups (p < 0.05) but did not differ between the 2 groups.
CONCLUSIONS - A nutrient-balanced and energy-restricted diet supplemented with rice bran and plant sterols resulted in a significant decrease in total and LDL cholesterol in overweight and obese adults.
A new mechanism for formation of 7-ketocholesterol was recently described involving cytochrome P-450 (CYP)7A1-catalyzed conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol into 7-ketocholesterol with cholesterol-7,8-epoxide as a side product. Some patients with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) and all patients with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLO) have markedly increased levels of 7-dehydrocholesterol in plasma and tissues. In addition, the former patients have markedly upregulated CYP7A1. We hypothesized that these patients may produce 7-ketocholesterol from 7-dehydrocholesterol with formation of cholesterol-7,8-epoxide as a side product. In accord with this hypothesis, two patients with CTX were found to have increased levels of 7-ketocholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol, as well as a significant level of cholesterol-7,8-epoxide. The latter steroid was not detectable in plasma from healthy volunteers. Downregulation of CYP7A1 activity by treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid reduced the levels of 7-ketocholesterol in parallel with decreased levels of 7-dehydrocholesterol and cholesterol-7,8-epoxide. Three patients with SLO were found to have markedly elevated levels of 7-ketocholesterol as well as high levels of cholesterol-7,8-epoxide. The results support the hypothesis that 7-dehydrocholesterol is a precursor to 7-ketocholesterol in SLO and some patients with CTX.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
7-Dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) is the most oxidizable lipid molecule reported to date, with a propagation rate constant for free radical peroxidation that is 200 times that of cholesterol. To better understand the high reactivity of 7-DHC and elucidate the reaction mechanism, we synthesized conjugated and skipped nonconjugated cholestadienols that would give one of the two putative pentadienyl-radical intermediates formed in 7-DHC peroxidation. The additional dienols include 6,8(9)-dienol, 5,8(14)-dienol, 6,8(14)-dienol, and the biologically important 8-dehydrocholesterol (8-DHC; 5,8(9)-dienol). We found that all of the dienols are significantly (at least 40 times) more reactive than cholesterol. Among them, dienols leading to the formation of the pentadienyl radical in ring B (termed endo-B) of the sterol are more reactive than those leading to the pentadienyl radical spanning rings B and C (termed exo-B). By comparing the oxysterol profile formed from 7-DHC and those formed from 8-DHC and 5,8(14)-dienol, products formed from abstraction of the hydrogen atoms at C-9 and C-14 (H-9 or H-14 mechanism) were clearly differentiated. When the oxidation was carried out in the presence of the good hydrogen atom donor α-tocopherol, the oxysterol profile of 7-DHC peroxidation differed distinctly from the profile observed in the absence of the antioxidant and resembles more closely the profile observed in biological systems. This study suggests that oxidative stress and the accumulation of oxysterols should be considered as two key factors in cholesterol biosynthesis or metabolism disorders, where dienyl sterol intermediates are accumulated.