Publications

2020
A. Talhami, A. Swed, S. Hess, O. Ovadia, S. Greenberg, A. Schumacher-Klinger, D. Rosenthal, D.E. Shalev, M. Hurevich, P. Lazarovici, A. Hoffman, and C. Gilon. 2020. “Cyclizing Painkillers: Development of Backbone-Cyclic TAPS Analogs.” Frontiers in Chemistry, 8. Abstract
Painkillers are commonly used medications. Native peptide painkillers suffer from various pharmacological disadvantages, while small molecule painkillers like morphine are highly addictive. We present a general approach aimed to use backbone-cyclization to develop a peptidomimetic painkiller. Backbone-cyclization was applied to transform the linear peptide Tyr-Arg-Phe-Sar (TAPS) into an active backbone-cyclic peptide with improved drug properties. We designed and synthesized a focused backbone-cyclic TAPS library with conformational diversity, in which the members of the library have the generic name TAPS c(n-m) where n and m represent the lengths of the alkyl chains on the nitrogens of Gly and Arg, respectively. We used a combined screening approach to evaluate the pharmacological properties and the potency of the TAPS c(n-m) library. We focused on an in vivo active compound, TAPS c(2-6), which is metabolically stable and has the potential to become a peripheral painkiller being a full μ opioid receptor functional agonist. To prepare a large quantity of TAPS c(2-6), we optimized the conditions of the on-resin reductive alkylation step to increase the efficiency of its SPPS. NMR was used to determine the solution conformation of the peptide lead TAPS c(2-6). © Copyright © 2020 Talhami, Swed, Hess, Ovadia, Greenberg, Schumacher-Klinger, Rosenthal, Shalev, Hurevich, Lazarovici, Hoffman and Gilon.
A. Zacharia, D. Saidemberg, C.T. Mannully, N.M. Kogan, A. Shehadeh, R. Sinai, A. Zucker, R. Bruck-Haimson, N. Goldstein, Y. Haim, C. Dani, A. Rudich, and A. Moussaieff. 2020. “Distinct infrastructure of lipid networks in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues in overweight humans.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 112, 4, Pp. 979-990. Abstract
Background: Adipose tissue plays important roles in health and disease. Given the unique association of visceral adipose tissue with obesity-related metabolic diseases, the distribution of lipids between the major fat depots located in subcutaneous and visceral regions may shed new light on adipose tissue-specific roles in systemic metabolic perturbations. Objective: We sought to characterize the lipid networks and unveil differences in the metabolic infrastructure of the 2 adipose tissues that may have functional and nutritional implications. Methods: Paired visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were obtained from 17 overweight patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery. Ultra-performance LC-MS was used to measure 18,640 adipose-derived features; 520 were putatively identified. A stem cell model for adipogenesis was used to study the functional implications of the differences found. Results: Our analyses resulted in detailed lipid metabolic maps of the 2 major adipose tissues. They point to a higher accumulation of phosphatidylcholines, triacylglycerols, and diacylglycerols, although lower ceramide concentrations, in subcutaneous tissue. The degree of unsaturation was lower in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) phospholipids, indicating lower unsaturated fatty acid incorporation into adipose tissue. The differential abundance of phosphatidylcholines we found can be attributed at least partially to higher expression of phosphatidylethanolamine methyl transferase (PEMT). PEMT-deficient embryonic stem cells showed a dramatic decrease in adipogenesis, and the resulting adipocytes exhibited lower accumulation of lipid droplets, in line with the lower concentrations of glycerolipids in VAT. Ceramides may inhibit the expression of PEMT by increased insulin resistance, thus potentially suggesting a functional pathway that integrates ceramide, PEMT, and glycerolipid biosynthetic pathways. Conclusions: Our work unveils differential infrastructure of the lipid networks in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues and suggests an integrative pathway, with a discriminative flux between adipose tissues. Copyright © The Author(s) on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2020.
S. Udi, L. Hinden, M. Ahmad, A. Drori, M.R. Iyer, R. Cinar, M. Herman-Edelstein, and J. Tam. 2020. “Dual inhibition of cannabinoid CB1 receptor and inducible NOS attenuates obesity-induced chronic kidney disease.” British Journal of Pharmacology, 177, 1, Pp. 110-127. Abstract
Background and Purpose: Obesity, an important risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), affects the kidneys by two main molecular signalling pathways: the endocannabinoid/CB1 receptor system, whose activation in obesity promotes renal inflammation, fibrosis, and injury, and the inducible NOS (iNOS), which generates ROS resulting in oxidative stress. Hence, a compound that inhibits both peripheral CB1 receptors and iNOS may serve as an effective therapeutic agent against obesity-induced CKD. Experimental Approach: Here, we describe the effect of a novel peripherally restricted, orally bioavailable dual CB1 receptor/iNOS antagonist, MRI-1867 (3 mg·kg−1), in ameliorating obesity-induced CKD, and compared its metabolic and renal efficacies to a stand-alone peripheral CB1 receptor antagonist (JD5037; 3 mg·kg−1), iNOS antagonist (1400W; 10 mg·kg−1), and pair feeding. Mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity were treated orally with these compounds or vehicle (Veh) for 28 days. Standard diet-fed mice treated with Veh served as controls. Key Results: Enhanced expression of CB1 receptors and iNOS in renal tubules was found in human kidney patients with obesity and other CKDs. The hybrid inhibitor ameliorated obesity-induced kidney morphological and functional changes via decreasing kidney inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and renal injury. Some of these features were independent of the improved metabolic profile mediated via inhibition of CB1 receptors. An additional interesting finding is that these beneficial effects on the kidney were partially associated with modulating renal adiponectin signalling. Conclusions and Implications: Collectively, our results highlight the therapeutic relevance of blocking CB1 receptors and iNOS in ameliorating obesity-induced CKD. © 2019 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society
A. Altberg, R. Hovav, N. Chapnik, and Z. Madar. 2020. “Effect of dietary oils from various sources on carbohydrate and fat metabolism in mice.” Food and Nutrition Research, 64, Pp. 1-12. Abstract
Background: Dietary oils differ in their fatty acid composition and the presence of additional microcompo-nents (antioxidants, etc.). These differences are thought to invoke different biochemical pathways, thus affecting fats and carbohydrates metabolism differently. Olive oil (OO) and soybean oil (SO) are common vegetable oils in the local cuisine. Peanuts oils of local varieties are viewed as potential sources of dietary vegetable oils, especially in the food industry. Objective: We examined the effect of four different dietary vegetable oils on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in mice. The selected oils were OO, high in oleic acid, extracted from cultivated high oleic acid peanut (C-PO), regular peanut oil (PO), and SO. Design: In this study, 32 male C57BL/6J mice were randomly divided into four groups (n = 8 in each group) and were fed with four different diets enriched with 4% (w/w) dietary vegetable oils (OO, C-PO, PO, or SO). After 10 weeks, the mice were sacrificed. Western blot was used to examine proteins such as phospho-AMP-activated protein kinase (p-AMPK), ace-tyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36), and Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), whereas real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to examine the expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1C), fatty acid synthase (FAS), glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase), and CD36 transcripts. Results: In mice-fed SO, lipid accumulation was predominately in adipose tissue, accompanied a tendency decrease in insulin sensitivity. Mice-fed OO had lower plasma triglycerides (TG) and increased hepatic CD36 gene expression. The C-PO group presented lower messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in the liver for all examined genes: SREBP-1c, FAS, G6Pase, and CD36. There were no significant differences in weight gain, plasma cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, hepatic ACC, SIRT1, AMPK, and CD36 protein levels or in liver function among the diets. Discussion: It seems that as long as fat is consumed in moderation, oil types may play a lesser role in the metabolism of healthy individuals. Conclusion: This finding has the potential to increase flexibility in choosing oil types for consumption. © 2020 Anna Altberg et al.
The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of the lipid component in self-emulsifying drug delivery systems on the oral absorption of major cannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). The investigated lipids were either long chain triglycerides (LCT) or medium chain triglycerides (MCT) with different composition, fatty acid chain length, degree of saturation and their absorption pathway to the systemic circulation. Formulations were developed with the purpose of creating thermodynamically stable oil-in-water nano emulsions/suspensions with particle size of 50 nm or less which carry the lipophilic drug and increase water solubility. Following a methodic screening of suitable excipients in-vitro, leading formulations based on sesame oil or MIGLYOL® 812N (Type I LCT/MCT SNEDDS) and cocoa butter or tricaprin (Type II LCT/MCT SNEDDS) were investigated in the freely moving rat model. Results in rat model demonstrated that the effect of each type of lipid on bioavailability of cannabinoids is not straightforwardly anticipated. The differences in the effect of LCT and MCT on absorption was not substantial for Type I formulations, however, more prominent for Type II formulations. This unpredictable behavior in-vivo demonstrates the importance of investigating each vehicle pre-clinically, following the in-vitro development. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
D. Izgelov, A.J. Domb, and A. Hoffman. 2020. “The effect of piperine on oral absorption of cannabidiol following acute vs. chronic administration.” European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 148. Abstract
Piperine is an alkaloid naturally found in black pepper with a myriad of pharmacological attributes. Piperine's most far reaching indication is drug absorption enhancment, with supportive data regarding its ability to inhibit first pass effect mechanisms. However, alongside these findings, the role of piperine as an absorption enhancer is undermined with publications stating an apparent effect of a metabolic inducer. The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of repeated administration of piperine in a lipid-based formulation, on oral absorption of cannabidiol (CBD), compared to acute piperine dosing. The effect of piperine on CBD absorption was determined pre-clinically in the freely moving rat model. Results of this work demonstrated that there was no significant difference in piperine's effect, when given chronically or in a single dose regimen. Both groups resulted in approximate 2.5-fold increase in oral bioavailability of CBD compared to control group without piperine. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
S. El-Atawneh, S. Hirsch, R. Hadar, J. Tam, and A. Goldblum. 2020. “Erratum: Prediction and experimental confirmation of novel peripheral cannabinoid-1 receptor antagonists (J. Chem. Inf. Model. (2019) 59:9 (3996-4006) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b00577).” Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 60, 10, Pp. 5282. Abstract
In Section 3.1. “Characteristics of the Models”, page 4000, eq 1 of the “Enrichment Factor” should be (Equation presented). © 2020 American Chemical Society.
E.M. Rock, M.T. Sullivan, S.A. Collins, H. Goodman, C.L. Limebeer, R. Mechoulam, and L.A. Parker. 2020. “Evaluation of repeated or acute treatment with cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) or CBDA methyl ester (HU-580) on nausea and/or vomiting in rats and shrews.” Psychopharmacology, 237, 9, Pp. 2621-2631. Abstract
Rationale: When acutely administered intraperitoneally, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), its acidic precursor cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and a stable methyl ester of CBDA (HU-580) reduce lithium chloride (LiCl)–induced conditioned gaping in male rats (a selective preclinical model of acute nausea) via activation of the serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptor. Objectives: To utilise these compounds to manage nausea in the clinic, we must determine if their effectiveness is maintained when injected subcutaneously (s.c) and when repeatedly administered. First, we compared the effectiveness of each of these compounds to reduce conditioned gaping following repeated (7-day) and acute (1-day) pretreatments and whether these anti-nausea effects were mediated by the 5-HT1A receptor. Next, we assessed whether the effectiveness of these compounds can be maintained when administered prior to each of 4 conditioning trials (once per week). We also evaluated the ability of repeated CBD (7 days) to reduce LiCl-induced vomiting in Suncus murinus. Finally, we examined whether acute CBD was equally effective in male and female rats. Results: Both acute and repeated (7 day) s.c. administrations of CBD (5 mg/kg), CBDA (1 μg/kg) and HU-580 (1 μg/kg) similarly reduced LiCl-induced conditioned gaping, and these effects were blocked by 5HT1A receptor antagonism. When administered over 4 weekly conditioning trials, the anti-nausea effectiveness of each of these compounds was also maintained. Repeated CBD (5 mg/kg, s.c.) maintained its anti-emetic efficacy in S. murinus. Acute CBD (5 and 20 mg/kg, s.c.) administration reduced LiCl-induced conditioned gaping similarly in male and female rats. Conclusion: When administered repeatedly (7 days), CBD, CBDA and HU-580 did not lose efficacy in reducing nausea and continued to act via agonism of the 5-HT1A receptor. When administered across 4 weekly conditioning trials, they maintained their effectiveness in reducing LiCl-induced nausea. Repeated CBD also reduced vomiting in shrews. Finally, CBD’s anti-nausea effects were similar in male and female rats. This suggests that these cannabinoids may be useful anti-nausea and anti-emetic treatments for chronic conditions, without the development of tolerance. © 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
Y.F. Zhu, K. Linher-Melville, M.J. Niazmand, M. Sharma, A. Shahid, K.L. Zhu, N. Parzei, J. Sidhu, C. Haj, R. Mechoulam, and G. Singh. 2020. “An evaluation of the anti-hyperalgesic effects of cannabidiolic acid-methyl ester in a preclinical model of peripheral neuropathic pain.” British Journal of Pharmacology, 177, 12, Pp. 2712-2725. Abstract
Background and Purpose: Chronic neuropathic pain (NEP) is associated with growing therapeutic cannabis use. To promote quality of life without psychotropic effects, cannabinoids other than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabidiol, including cannabidiol and its precursor cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), are being evaluated. Due to its instability, CBDA has been understudied, particularly as an anti-nociceptive agent. Adding a methyl ester group (CBDA-ME) significantly enhances its stability, facilitating analyses of its analgesic effects in vivo. This study examines early treatment efficacy of CBDA-ME in a rat model of peripherally induced NEP and evaluates sex as a biological variable. Experimental Approach: After 14 consecutive days of intraperitoneal CBDA-ME administration at 0.01, 0.1 and 1 μg·kg−1, commencing 1 day after surgically implanting a sciatic nerve-constricting cuff to induce NEP, the anti-nociceptive efficacy of this cannabinoid was assessed in male and female Sprague–Dawley rats relative to vehicle-treated counterparts. In females, 2 and 4 μg·kg−1 daily doses of CBDA-ME were also evaluated. Behavioural tests were performed for hind paw mechanical and thermal withdrawal thresholds once a week for 8 weeks. At endpoint, in vivo electrophysiological recordings were obtained to characterize soma threshold changes in primary sensory neurons. Key Results: In males, CBDA-ME elicited a significant concentration-dependent chronic anti-hyperalgesic effect, also influencing both nociceptive and non-nociceptive mechanoreceptors, which were not observed in females at any of the concentrations tested. Conclusion and Implications: Initiating treatment of a peripheral nerve injury with CBDA-ME at an early stage post-surgery provides anti-nociception in males, warranting further investigation into potential sexual dimorphisms underlying this response. © 2020 The British Pharmacological Society
O. Almogi-Hazan, I. Khuja, S. Ritter, and R. Or. 2020. “The highs and lows of cannabis in cancer treatment and bone marrow transplantation.” Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, 11, 1. Abstract
In the last decade, we have observed an increased public and scientific interest in the clinical applications of medical cannabis. Currently, the application of cannabinoids in cancer patients is mainly due to their analgesic and anti-emetic effects. The direct effects of phyto-cannabinoids on cancer cells are under intensive research, and the data remain somewhat inconsistent. Although anti-proliferative properties were observed in vitro, conclusive data from animal models and clinical trials are lacking. Since immunotherapy of malignant diseases and bone marrow transplantation are integral approaches in hemato-oncology, the immuno-modulatory characteristic of cannabinoids is a fundamental aspect for consideration. The effect of cannabinoids on the immune system is presently under investigation, and some evidence for its immunoregulatory properties has been shown. In addition, the interaction of cannabinoids and classical cytotoxic agents is a subject for further investigation. Here we discuss the current knowledge of cannabinoid-based treatments in preclinical models and the limited data in oncological patients. Particularly, we address the possible contradiction between the direct anti-tumor and the immune-modulatory effects of cannabinoids. Better understanding of the mechanism of cannabinoids influence is essential to design therapies that will allow cannabinoids to be incorporated into the clinic. © 2020 Gonen and Amital. This is an open-access article. All its content, except where otherwise noted, is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
M. Haim Zada, A. Kumar, O. Elmalak, E. Markovitz, R. Icekson, and A.J. Domb. 2020. “In vitro and in vivo degradation behavior and the long-term performance of biodegradable PLCL balloon implants.” International journal of pharmaceutics, 574, Pp. 118870. Abstract
Biodegradable poly(l-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) (PLCL) are used to prepare inflatable balloon implants in treating rotator-cuff injuries and tissue separation. These balloon implants act as a temporary spacer for tissues, while reducing pain and allowing rehabilitation after surgery. It is essential to ensure that each balloon fulfill two requirements after implantation: (1) display a well-defined degradation profile, and (2) remain unaffected by premature rapture or leakage. Storage also affects the stability of a polymer-based implant. Since the balloons are implanted into humans, it is essential to understand their in vitro and in vivo degradation along with their physicochemical properties. It is unpredictable if balloon storage on their performance. Therefore, the in vitro and in vivo degradation behavior of PLCL balloons was examined during one year, and the information obtained was used to correlate reliability under prolonged storage conditions. We investigated changes in weight, melting temperature (Tm), molecular weight distribution (Mw, Mn and PDI), crystallinity (Χ), optical activity [α], and inherent viscosity (η) of the balloons during the entire degradation time. We also examined the molecular properties of the balloons under annealing and extreme temperature conditions, such as the combined effect of temperature and humidity that simulate various storage conditions. We have concluded that degradation of the PLCL balloons is slow, and they remain stable during the test period. Results reveal that the balloons retain their molecular properties under long-term storage, annealing, and extreme temperature conditions. The balloons did not show any variation from reference samples, and they exhibited a constant stability profile even after shelf-storage of more than 3 years. These findings can serve as a case study for evaluating various other biodegradable materials. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
E. Abramov and N. Garti. 2020. “Incorporation of curcumin in liquid nanodomains embedded into polymeric films for dermal application.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. Abstract
Liquid nanovehicles are gaining interest in drug delivery because of the high solubilization capacity of bioactives at their interface and enhanced permeation of compounds across physiological membranes. However, the dermal application of liquid nanovehicles is still limited. The goal of this research is to develop a dermal delivery system based on embedding of liquid nanovehicles into polymeric films, which will allow controlled release of the nanodroplets with the solubilized drug. In this study, we describe the incorporation of empty and curcumin-loaded nanodomains into polymeric film. The novel technology results in formation of homogeneous, transparent and elastic films with high (up to 85 wt%) loading capacity of nanodomains. The fundamental structural characterizations show that nanodomain structures embedded in the dry film are spontaneously reformed during the dermal application with similar droplets size of 10 nm. Ex-vivo release studies were performed on Franz diffusion cells and demonstrated a significant permeation of curcumin through the pig skin. This novel film technology can serve as a “solid platform reservoir” for liquid nanovehicles which enables controlled release of nanodroplets with solubilized bioactive. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
A. Fluksman, E. Steinberg, N. Orehov, E. Shai, A. Lahiani, J. Katzhendler, C. Marcinkiewicz, P. Lazarovici, and O. Benny. 2020. “Integrin α2β1-Targeted Self-Assembled Nanocarriers for Tumor Bioimaging.” ACS Applied Bio Materials, 3, 9, Pp. 6059-6070. Abstract
Recent developments in near-infrared (NIR) dyes and imaging modalities enable tumor fluorescent images in preclinical and clinical settings. However, NIR dyes have several drawbacks, and therefore, there is an unmet diagnostic need for NIR dye encapsulation in appropriate pharmaceutical nanocarriers with targeting abilities for the purpose of achieving effective diagnosis and image-guided surgeries. Because integrin receptors are established diagnostic targets, the cyclic Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides, recognizing the αVβ3 integrin, have been extensively investigated for radiology and bioimaging of tumors. However, the Lys(Arg)-Thr-Ser [K(R)TS] cyclic peptides, selective for collagen receptors α1β1/α2β1 integrins, which are overexpressed in many tumors, were not yet investigated and therefore used here for tumor bioimaging with a unique α2β1-integrin-targeted nanocarrier, encapsulating the indocyanine green NIR dye. We synthesized three kinds of peptides: two cyclic RTS peptides functional only in the cyclic conformation and a linear peptide lacking the cyclic cysteine constrained RTS loop. We used them for the preparation of integrin-targeted self-assembled nanocarriers (ITNCs), referred to as OF5 and OF27, and a nontargeted control nanocarrier, referred to as OF70. Their selective association was demonstrated with α2β1 integrin expressing cell cultures and three-dimensional tumor spheroids and by competition with a α2β1 selective disintegrin. Cytotoxicity experiments in vitro demonstrated the safety of the ITNCs. The targeting potential and the biodistribution of the ITNCs, applied intravenously in A431 tumor-bearing nude mice, were evaluated in vivo using NIR bioimaging. Time-dependent biodistributions indicated that the ITNC OF27 showed higher fluorescent signals in main tissues, with no cytotoxic effects to major organs, and presented higher accumulation in tumors. Cumulatively, these results highlight the potential of the ITNC OF27 as an optical and innovative pharmaceutical bioimaging system, suitable for integrin α2β1 receptor in vivo tumor targeting and visualization in the NIR region. © 2020 American Chemical Society.
D. Izgelov, M. Freidman, and A. Hoffman. 2020. “Investigation of cannabidiol gastro retentive tablets based on regional absorption of cannabinoids in rats.” European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 152, Pp. 229-235. Abstract
The cannabis plant has been widely researched for many therapeutic indications and found to be effective in many chronic conditions such as epilepsy, neuropathic or chronic pain and more. However, biased opinion against compounds of the plant, regulatory as well as compounding challenges have led to very few approved cannabinoid medicinal products. Those formulations which are approved are dosed several times a day, creating an unmet need for controlled release (CR) formulations of cannabinoids. Conventional CR formulations rely on prolonged absorption of the drug, including absorption from the colon. The purpose of this work is to investigate regional absorption of major cannabinoids THC and CBD from the colon and develop a suitable CR formulation. As hypothesized by researchers, THC and CBD have poor absorption from the colon compared to small intestine, suggesting that these compounds have a narrow absorption window. The suggested CR formulation examined in-vitro was a floating gastro retentive tablet based on egg albumin matrix, gas generating agents and surfactants. In-vivo investigation of CBD containing formulation in the freely moving rat model proved a prolonged absorption phase with a substantial increase in bioavailability compared to CBD solution. The findings of this paper answer a crucial question regarding potential application of CR dosage forms for cannabinoids and shed light on the regional intestinal absorption of these compounds. Ultimately, these results cement the way for future development of cannabinoid gastro retentive dosage forms. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
A. Basu and A.J. Domb. 2020. “Ion Exchange Nanoparticles for Ophthalmic Drug Delivery.” Bioconjugate Chemistry. Abstract
We report here on ion-exchange polymeric nanoparticles from a linear copolymer of maleic anhydride methyl vinyl ether esterified with 30% octadecanol. The side chains for the polymer structure were optimized through metadynamics simulations, which revealed the use of octadecanol esters generates ideal free energy surfaces for drug encapsulation and release. Nanoparticles were synthesized using a solvent evaporation-precipitation method by mixing the polymer solution in acetone into water; upon acetone evaporation, a nanodispersion with an average particle size of ∼150 nm was obtained. Gentamicin sulfate, possessing five amino groups, was spontaneously entrapped in the nanocarrier by ionic interactions. Encapsulation efficiency increases significantly with the increase in pH and ionic strength. In vivo results demonstrate high gentamicin (GM) content in the enteric chamber (AUC 8207 ± 1334 (μg min)/mL) compared to 3% GM solution (AUC 2024 ± 438 (μg min)/mL). The formulation was also able to significantly extend the release of gentamicin when applied to rabbit cornea. These anionic nanoparticles can be used for extended-release of other cationic drugs. © 2020 American Chemical Society.}, funding_text 1=his work was supported by a grant from Teva Pharm. Industries, affiliated with the David Bloom Center for Pharmacy and The Alex Grass Center for Drug Design. A.B. would like to thank the planning and budget commission (PBC) of Israel for providing Postdoctoral Fellowships.
B. Elena-Herrmann, E. Montellier, A. Fages, R. Bruck-Haimson, and A. Moussaieff. 2020. “Multi-platform NMR Study of Pluripotent Stem Cells Unveils Complementary Metabolic Signatures towards Differentiation.” Scientific Reports, 10, 1. Abstract
Stem cells, poised to revolutionize current medicine, stand as major workhorses for monitoring changes in cell fate. Characterizing metabolic phenotypes is key to monitor in differentiating cells transcriptional and epigenetic shifts at a functional level and provides a non-genetic means to control cell specification. Expanding the arsenal of analytical tools for metabolic profiling of cell differentiation is therefore of importance. Here, we describe the metabolome of whole pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) using high‐resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS), a non-destructive approach for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) analysis. The integrated 1H NMR analysis results in detection of metabolites of various groups, including energy metabolites, amino acids, choline derivatives and short chain fatty acids. It unveils new metabolites that discriminate PSCs from differentiated counterparts and directly measures substrates and co-factors of histone modifying enzymes, suggesting that NMR stands as a strategic technique for deciphering metabolic regulations of histone post-translational modifications. HR-MAS NMR analysis of whole PSCs complements the much used solution NMR of cell extracts. Altogether, our multi-platform NMR investigation provides a consolidated picture of PSC metabolic signatures and of metabolic pathways involved in differentiation. © 2020, The Author(s).
A. Lahiani, D. Haham-Geula, D. Lankri, S. Cornell-Kennon, E.M. Schaefer, D. Tsvelikhovsky, and P. Lazarovici. 2020. “Neurotropic activity and safety of methylene-cycloalkylacetate (MCA) derivative 3-(3-allyl-2-methylenecyclohexyl) propanoic acid.” ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 11, 17, Pp. 2577-2589. Abstract
Polyneuropathy is a disease involving multiple peripheral nerves injuries. Axon regrowth remains the major prerequisite for plasticity, regeneration, circuit formation, and eventually functional recovery and therefore, regulation of neurite outgrowth might be a candidate for treating polyneuropathies. In a recent study, we synthesized and established the methylene-cycloalkylacetate (MCAs) pharmacophore as a lead for the development of a neurotropic drug (inducing neurite/axonal outgrowth) using the PC12 neuronal model. In the present study we extended the characterizations of the in vitro neurotropic effect of the derivative 3-(3-allyl-2-methylenecyclohexyl) propanoic acid (MCA-13) on dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord neuronal cultures and analyzed its safety properties using blood biochemistry and cell counting, acute toxicity evaluation in mice and different in vitro “off-target” pharmacological evaluations. This MCA derivative deserves further preclinical mechanistic pharmacological characterizations including therapeutic efficacy in in vivo animal models of polyneuropathies, toward development of a clinically relevant neurotropic drug. © 2020 American Chemical Society
S.M. Ayoub, R. Smoum, M. Farag, H. Atwal, S.A. Collins, E.M. Rock, C.L. Limebeer, F. Piscitelli, F.A. Iannotti, A.H. Lichtman, F. Leri, V. Di Marzo, R. Mechoulam, and L.A. Parker. 2020. “Oleoyl alanine (HU595): a stable monomethylated oleoyl glycine interferes with acute naloxone precipitated morphine withdrawal in male rats.” Psychopharmacology, 237, 9, Pp. 2753-2765. Abstract
Rationale: Oleoyl glycine, a little studied fatty acid amide similar in structure to anandamide, interferes with nicotine addiction in mice and acute naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal (MWD) in rats. Because endogenous oleoyl glycine is subject to rapid enzymatic deactivation, we evaluated the potential of more stable analogs to interfere with opiate withdrawal. Objectives: The potential of monomethylated oleoyl glycine (oleoyl alanine, HU595) to interfere with somatic and aversive effects of acute naloxone-precipitated MWD, its duration, and mechanism of action was assessed in male Sprague Dawley rats. The potential of dimethylated oleoyl glycine (HU596) to interfere with the aversive effects of naloxone-precipitated MWD was also investigated. Results: Oleoyl alanine (HU595) interfered with somatic and aversive effects produced by naloxone-precipitated MWD at equivalent doses (1 and 5 mg/kg, i.p.) as we have reported for oleoyl glycine; however, oleoyl alanine produced a longer lasting (60 min) interference, yet did not produce rewarding or aversive effects on its own and did not modify locomotor activity. HU596 was not effective. The interference with aversive effects of naloxone-precipitated MWD by oleoyl alanine was prevented by both a PPARα antagonist and a CB1 receptor antagonist. Accordingly, the compound was found to inhibit FAAH and activate PPARα in vitro. Finally, oleoyl alanine also reduced acute naloxone-precipitated MWD anhedonia, as measured by decreased saccharin preference. Conclusions: Oleoyl alanine (also an endogenous fatty acid) may be a more stable and effective treatment for opiate withdrawal than oleoyl glycine. © 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
D. Izgelov, E. Davidson, D. Barasch, A. Regev, A.J. Domb, and A. Hoffman. 2020. “Pharmacokinetic investigation of synthetic cannabidiol oral formulations in healthy volunteers.” European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 154, Pp. 108-115. Abstract
Recent advances in the research of medicinal cannabis has placed the non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) at the front of scientific research. The reasons behind this popularity is the compound's therapeutic properties, alongside a safe profile of administration lacking addictive properties such as euphoric state of mind and a wide dosing range. Oral administration of CBD is challenging due to poor solubility in the gastro-intestinal system and susceptibility to extensive first pass metabolism. As a result, the practice in clinic and investigational trials is to administer cannabinoids in edible oils or oil-based solutions. Nonetheless, reported pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids and CBD in particular are not uniform among research groups and are affected by the vehicle of administration. The purpose of the work presented here is to investigate oral absorption processes of synthetic CBD when given in different oral formulations in healthy volunteers. The study design was a three way, blind, cross-over single administration study of 12 healthy male volunteers. CBD was administered in powder form, dissolved in sesame oil and in self-nano-emulsifying drug delivery system (SNEDDS). Administration of CBD in lipid-based vehicles resulted in a significant increase in Cmax and AUC of CBD, as compared to powder form. Overall plasma exposure of CBD did not differ between sesame oil vehicle and the SNEDDS formulation. However, administration of CBD in pure oil resulted in two absorption behaviors of early and delayed absorption among subjects, as opposed to SNEDDS platform that resulted in a uniform early absorption profile. Results of this trial demonstrate the importance of solubilization process of lipophilic drugs such as CBD and demonstrated the ability of the nano formulation to achieve a reliable, predictable PK profile of the drug. These findings offer a standardized oral formulation for the delivery of cannabinoids and contribute data for the growing field of cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
N. Kumar, N. Eghbarieh, T. Stein, A.I. Shames, and A. Masarwa. 2020. “Photoredox-Mediated Reaction of gem-Diborylalkenes: Reactivity Toward Diverse 1,1-Bisborylalkanes.” Chemistry - A European Journal, 26, 24, Pp. 5360-5364. Abstract
The use of gem-diborylalkenes as radical-reactive groups is explored for the first time. These reactions provide an efficient and general method for the photochemical conversion of gem-diborylalkenes to rapidly access 1,1-bisborylalkanes. This method exploits a novel photoredox decarboxylative radical addition to gem-diborylalkenes to afford α-gem-diboryl carbon-centered radicals, which benefit from additional stability by virtue of an interaction with the empty p-orbitals on borons. The reaction offers a highly modular and regioselective approach to γ-amino gem-diborylalkanes. Furthermore, EPR spectroscopy and DFT calculations have provided insight into the radical mechanism underlying the photochemistry reaction and the stability of the bis-metalated radicals, respectively. © 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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