Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Journal Articles

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    The impact of fingolimod on Treg function in brain ischaemia
    (John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2023) Malone, Kyle; Shearer, Jennifer A.; Waeber, Christian; Moore, Anne C.; Irish Research Council; Health Research Board; European Regional Development Fund
    Fingolimod has generally shown neuroprotective effects in stroke models. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fingolimod modulates T-cell cytokine production towards a regulatory phenotype. Second, we investigated how fingolimod altered the Treg suppressive function and the sensitivity of effector T cells to regulation. Mice that had underwent the permanent electrocoagulation of the left middle cerebral artery received saline or fingolimod (0.5 mg/kg) daily for 10-days post-ischaemia. Fingolimod improved neurobehavioural recovery compared to saline control and increased Treg frequency in the periphery and brain. Tregs from fingolimod-treated animals had a higher expression of CCR8. Fingolimod increased the frequencies of CD4+ IL-10+ , CD4+ IFN-γ+ and CD4+ IL-10+ IFN-γ+ cells in spleen and blood, and CD4+ IL-17+ cells in the spleen, with only minor effects on CD8+ T-cell cytokine production. Treg from post-ischaemic mice had reduced suppressive function compared to Treg from non-ischaemic mice. Fingolimod treatment rescued this function against saline-treated but not fingolimod-treated CD4+ effector T cells. In conclusion, fingolimod seems to improve the suppressive function of Treg post-stroke while also increasing the resistance of CD4+ effector cells to this suppression. Fingolimod's capacity to increase both effector and regulatory functions may explain the lack of consistent improvement in functional recovery in experimental brain ischaemia.
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    DNA vaccination via RALA nanoparticles in a microneedle delivery system induces a potent immune response against the endogenous prostate cancer stem cell antigen
    (Acta Materialia Inc, 2019) Cole, Grace; Ali, Ahlam A.; McErlean, Emma; Mulholland, Eoghan J.; Short, Amy; McCrudden, Cian M.; McCaffrey, Joanne; Robson, Tracy; Kett, Vicky L.; Coulter, Jonathan A.; Dunne, Nicholas J.; Donnelly, Ryan F.; McCarthy, Helen O.; Prostate Cancer UK, (S12-006)
    Castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) remains a major challenge for healthcare professionals. Immunotherapeutic approaches, including DNA vaccination, hold the potential to harness the host's own immune system to mount a cell-mediated, anti-tumour response, capable of clearing disseminated tumour deposits. These anti-cancer vaccines represent a promising strategy for patients with advanced disease, however, to date DNA vaccines have demonstrated limited efficacy in clinical trials, owing to the lack of a suitable DNA delivery system. This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of a two-tier delivery system incorporating cationic RALA/pDNA nanoparticles (NPs) into a dissolvable microneedle (MN) patch for the purposes of DNA vaccination against prostate cancer. Application of NP-loaded MN patches successfully resulted in endogenous production of the encoded Prostate Stem Cell Antigen (PSCA). Furthermore, immunisation with RALA/pPSCA loaded MNs elicited a tumour-specific immune response against TRAMP-C1 tumours ex vivo. Finally, vaccination with RALA/pPSCA loaded MNs demonstrated anti-tumour activity in both prophylactic and therapeutic prostate cancer models in vivo. This is further evidence that this two-tier MN delivery system is a robust platform for prostate cancer DNA vaccination. Statement of Significance: This research describes the development and utilisation of our unique microneedle (MN) DNA delivery system, which enables penetration through the stratum corneum and deposition of the DNA within the highly immunogenic skin layers via a dissolvable MN matrix, and facilitates cellular uptake via complexation of pDNA cargo into nanoparticles (NPs) with the RALA delivery peptide. We report for the first time on using the NP-MN platform to immunise mice with encoded Prostate Stem Cell Antigen (mPSCA) for prostate cancer DNA vaccination. Application of the NP-MN system resulted in local mPSCA expression in vivo. Furthermore, immunisation with the NP-MN system induced a tumour-specific cellular immune response, and inhibited the growth of TRAMP-C1 prostate tumours in both prophylactic and therapeutic challenge models in vivo. © 2019 Acta Materialia Inc.
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    The future of pharmacology education: A global outlook
    (Taylor & Francis, 2024-01-29) Guilding, Clare; Kelly-Laubscher, Roisin; White, Paul
    Pharmacology educators play a unique role in higher education, at the intersection of basic biological, and clinical sciences. They teach a on wide range of courses including undergraduate and postgraduate medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, osteopathy, veterinary science and biomedical science. Note that this is far from an exhaustive list. Significant changes have taken place in pharmacology education in response to advances in pharmacology, developments in educational approaches and learning technologies, changes in healthcare education delivery, and the massification and internationalization of higher education. These challenge the educator, whose role is increasingly recognized as encompassing teaching, leadership and scholarly activity. The future of pharmacology education depends on our ability to navigate these changes. We argue that there are sets of interrelated knowledge, skill, and attribute competencies that pharmacology educators must master to ultimately enable their students to succeed, discussed in detail in the following sections.
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    Siponimod as a novel inhibitor of retinal angiogenesis: In vitro and in vivo evidence of therapeutic efficacy
    (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2023-08-01) Alshaikh, Rasha A.; Gamal Eldin Zaki, Rania; Salah El Din, Rania A.; Ryan, Katie B.; Waeber, Christian; Irish Research Council
    Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors control endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and survival. Evidence of the ability of S1P receptor modulators to influence multiple endothelial cell functions suggests their potential use for antiangiogenic effect. The main purpose of our study was to investigate the potential of siponimod for the inhibition of ocular angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. We investigated the effects of siponimod on the metabolic activity (thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide assay), cell toxicity (lactate dehydrogenase release), basal proliferation and growth factor–induced proliferation (bromodeoxyuridine assay), and migration (transwell migration assay) of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMEC). The effects of siponimod on HRMEC monolayer integrity, barrier function under basal conditions, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-induced disruption were assessed using the transendothelial electrical resistance and fluorescein isothiocyanate–dextran permeability assays. Siponimod’s effect on TNF-α–induced distribution of barrier proteins in HRMEC was investigated using immunofluorescence. Finally, the effect of siponimod on ocular neovascularization in vivo was assessed using suture-induced corneal neovascularization in albino rabbits. Our results show that siponimod did not affect endothelial cell proliferation or metabolic activity but significantly inhibited endothelial cell migration, increased HRMEC barrier integrity, and reduced TNF-α–induced barrier disruption. Siponimod also protected against TNF-α–induced disruption of claudin-5, zonula occludens-1, and vascular endothelial–cadherin in HRMEC. These actions are mainly mediated by sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 modulation. Finally, siponimod prevented the progression of suture-induced corneal neovascularization in albino rabbits. In conclusion, the effects of siponimod on various processes known to be involved in angiogenesis support its therapeutic potential in disorders associated with ocular neovascularization.
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    The effect of fingolimod on regulatory T cells in a mouse model of brain ischaemia
    (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021) Malone, Kyle; Diaz Diaz, Andrea C.; Shearer, Jennifer A.; Moore, Anne C.; Waeber, Christian; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council; Health Research Board; European Commission
    Background: The role of the immune system in stroke is well-recognised. Fingolimod, an immunomodulatory agent licensed for the management of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, has been shown to provide benefit in rodent models of stroke. Its mechanism of action, however, remains unclear. We hypothesised fingolimod increases the number and/or function of regulatory T cells (Treg), a lymphocyte population which promotes stroke recovery. The primary aim of this study was to rigorously investigate the effect of fingolimod on Tregs in a mouse model of brain ischaemia. The effect of fingolimod in mice with common stroke-related comorbidities (ageing and hypercholesteremia) was also investigated. Methods: Young (15–17 weeks), aged C57BL/6 mice (72–73 weeks), and ApoE?/? mice fed a high-fat diet (20–21 weeks) underwent permanent electrocoagulation of the left middle cerebral artery. Mice received either saline or fingolimod (0.5 mg/kg or 1 mg/kg) at 2, 24, and 48 h post-ischaemia via intraperitoneal injection. Another cohort of young mice (8–9, 17–19 weeks) received short-term (5 days) or long-term (10 days) fingolimod (0.5 mg/kg) treatment. Flow cytometry was used to quantify Tregs in blood, spleen, and lymph nodes. Immunohistochemistry was used to quantify FoxP3+ cell infiltration into the ischaemic brain. Results: Fingolimod significantly increased the frequency of Tregs within the CD4+ T cell population in blood and spleen post-ischaemia in all three mouse cohorts compared to untreated ischemic mice. The highest splenic Treg frequency in fingolimod-treated mice was observed in ApoE?/? mice (9.32 ± 1.73% vs. 7.8 ± 3.01% in young, 6.09 ± 1.64% in aged mice). The highest circulating Treg frequency was also noted in ApoE?/? mice (8.39 ± 3.26% vs. 5.43 ± 2.74% in young, 4.56 ± 1.60% in aged mice). Fingolimod significantly increased the number of FoxP3+ cells in the infarct core of all mice. The most pronounced effects were seen when mice were treated for 10 days post-ischaemia. Conclusions: Fingolimod increases Treg frequency in spleen and blood post-ischaemia and enhances the number of FoxP3+ cells in the ischaemic brain. The effect of fingolimod on this regulatory cell population may underlie its neuroprotective activity and could be exploited as part of future stroke therapy.