V. Shumeiko, Y. Paltiel, G. Bisker, Z. Hayouka, and O. Shoseyov. 2021. “A nanoscale paper-based near-infrared optical nose (NIRON).” Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 172. Publisher's Version Abstract
Electronic noses (e-nose) and optical noses (o-nose) are two emerging approaches for the development of artificial olfactory systems for flavor and smell evaluation. The current work leverages the unique optical properties of semiconducting single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to develop a prototype of a novel paper-based near-infrared optical nose (NIRON). We have drop-dried an array of SWCNTs encapsulated with a wide variety of peptides on a paper substrate and continuously imaged the emitted SWCNTs fluorescence using a CMOS camera. Odors and different volatile molecules were passed above the array in a flow chamber, resulting in unique modulation patterns of the SWCNT photoluminescence (PL). Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) measurements performed in parallel confirmed the direct binding between the vapor molecules and the peptide-SWCNTs. PL levels measured before and during exposure demonstrate distinct responses to the four tested alcoholic vapors (ethanol, methanol, propanol, and isopropanol). In addition, machine learning tools directly applied to the fluorescence images allow us to distinguish between the aromas of red wine, beer, and vodka. Further, we show that the developed sensor can detect limonene, undecanal, and geraniol vapors, and differentiate between their smells utilizing the PL response pattern. This novel paper-based optical biosensor provides data in real-time, and is recoverable and suitable for working at room temperature and in a wide range of humidity levels. This platform opens new avenues for real-time sensing of volatile chemical compounds, odors, and flavors. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
V. Shumeiko, E. Malach, Y. Helman, Y. Paltiel, G. Bisker, Z. Hayouka, and O. Shoseyov. 2021. “A nanoscale optical biosensor based on peptide encapsulated SWCNTs for detection of acetic acid in the gaseous phase.” Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, 327. Publisher's Version Abstract
Biosensors play a key role in almost every field of human activity – ranging from biomedical diagnosis and point-of-care health monitoring to environmental monitoring and forensics. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are one of the most promising materials for near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence-based biosensing. Herein, we develop a reusable, drop-casted, real-time optical biosensor based on peptide-encapsulated SWCNTs for the detection of low concentrations of acetic acid in the air, at room temperature. While detection of NIR signal usually requires expensive and bulky equipment, here we use the (6,5) SWCNTs chirality whose peak fluorescence lies within the range of 970 nm – 1050 nm, enabling the usage of low cost and compact silicon-based detectors. We demonstrate the detection of wine spoilage based on excess gaseous acetic acid using peptide-wrapped SWCNT sensors down to 0.05% (v/v) acetic acid concentrations. Our results open new avenues for gas phase detection using NIR fluorescent SWCNT nanosensors. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
V. Stoeger, A.-K. Holik, K. Hölz, T. Dingjan, J. Hans, J.P. Ley, G.E. Krammer, M.Y. Niv, M.M. Somoza, and V. Somoza. 2020. “Bitter-Tasting Amino Acids l-Arginine and l -Isoleucine Differentially Regulate Proton Secretion via T2R1 Signaling in Human Parietal Cells in Culture.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 68, 11, Pp. 3434-3444. Publisher's Version Abstract
This study aimed at identifying whether the bitter-tasting amino acids l-arginine (l-ARG) and l-isoleucine (l-ILE) differentially regulate mechanisms of gastric acid secretion in human parietal cells (HGT-1 cells) via activation of bitter taste sensing receptors (T2Rs). In a first set of experiments, involvement of T2Rs in l-ARG and l-ILE-modulated proton secretion was demonstrated by co-treatment of HGT-1 cells with T2R antagonists. Subsequent whole genome screenings by means of cDNA arrays revealed T2R1 as a prominent target for both amino acids. Next, the functional role of T2R1 was verified by means of a T2R1 CRISPR-Cas9 knock-out approach. Here, the effect of l-ARG on proton secretion decreased by 65.7 ± 21.9% and the effect of l-ILE increased by 93.2 ± 24.1% in HGT-1 T2R1 ko versus HGT-1 wt cells (p < 0.05). Overall, our results indicate differential effects of l-ARG and l-ILE on proton secretion in HGT-1 cells and our molecular docking studies predict distinct binding for these amino acids in the binding site of T2R1. Further studies will elucidate whether the mechanism of differential effects involves structure-specific ligand-biased signaling of T2R1 or additional cellular targets. Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.
Y. Ben Shoshan-Galeczki and M.Y. Niv. 2020. “Structure-based screening for discovery of sweet compounds.” Food Chemistry, 315. Publisher's Version Abstract
Sweet taste is a cue for calorie-rich food and is innately attractive to animals, including humans. In the context of modern diets, attraction to sweetness presents a significant challenge to human health. Most known sugars and sweeteners bind to the Venus Fly Trap domain of T1R2 subunit of the sweet taste heterodimer. Because the sweet taste receptor structure has not been experimentally solved yet, a possible approach to finding sweet molecules is virtual screening using compatibility of candidate molecules to homology models of sugar-binding site. Here, the constructed structural models, docking and scoring schemes were validated by their ability to rank known sweet-tasting compounds higher than properties-matched random molecules. The best performing models were next used in virtual screening, retrieving recently patented sweeteners and providing novel predictions. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
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. Publisher's Version 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.
T. Assa-Glazer, J. Gorelick, N. Sela, A. Nyska, N. Bernstein, and Z. Madar. 2020. “Cannabis Extracts Affected Metabolic Syndrome Parameters in Mice Fed High-Fat/Cholesterol Diet.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 5, 3, Pp. 202-214. Publisher's Version Abstract
Introduction: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with metabolic syndrome, which often includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Several studies in mice and humans have implicated the involvement of the gut microbiome in NAFLD. While cannabis may potentially be beneficial for treating metabolic disorders such as NAFLD, the effects of cannabis on liver diseases and gut microbiota profile are yet to be addressed. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic effects of cannabis strains with different cannabinoid profiles on NAFLD progression. Materials and Methods: NAFLD was induced by feeding mice a high-fat/cholesterol diet (HFCD) for 6 weeks. During this period, cannabis extracts were administrated orally at a concentration of 5 mg/kg every 3 days. Profile of lipids, liver enzymes, glucose tolerance, and gene expression related to carbohydrate lipid metabolism and liver inflammation were analyzed. The effect of cannabis strains on microbiota composition in the gut was evaluated. Results: A cannabidiol (CBD)-rich extract produced an increase in inflammatory related gene expression and a less diverse microbiota profile, associated with increased fasting glucose levels in HFCD-fed mice. In contrast, mice receiving a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich extract exhibited moderate weight gain, improved glucose response curves, and a decrease in liver enzymes. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the administration of cannabis containing elevated levels of THC may help ameliorate symptoms of NAFLD, whereas administration of CBD-rich cannabis extracts may cause a proinflammatory effect in the liver, linked with an unfavorable change in the microbiota profile. Our preliminary data suggest that these effects are mediated by mechanisms other than increased expression of the endocannabinoid receptors cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and CB2. © Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2020.
A. Badihi, M. Frušić-Zlotkin, Y. Soroka, S. Benhamron, T. Tzur, T. Nassar, and S. Benita. 2020. “Topical nano-encapsulated cyclosporine formulation for atopic dermatitis treatment: Topical cyclosporine NCs for AD.” Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 24. Publisher's Version Abstract
Systemic cyclosporine A (CsA) therapy shows efficacy in the treatment of recalcitrant severe atopic dermatitis (AD) but elicits severe side-effects. Thus, a topical formulation of CsA nanocapsules (NCs), able to potentially bypass these drawbacks, was developed. CsA-NCs were shown to enhance drug penetration into the various layers of porcine ear skin. Furthermore, the encapsulated CsA was biologically active, as shown in vitro on mouse splenocytes, reflected by inhibition of both cell proliferation and of interleukin (IL)-2 secretion. Ex-vivo efficacy was demonstrated on human skin organ culture by markedly reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion. Finally, CsA-NCs topical formulation elicited improved efficacy in terms of better preservation of the skin barrier integrity, a decrease of the systemic pro-inflammation markers and reduced skin inflammation. The overall results suggest that this original topical platform may provide a novel therapeutic tool of clinical significance compared to the existing topical therapeutic drugs in AD. © 2019 Elsevier Inc.
S. Ron-Doitch and R. Kohen. 2020. “The cutaneous physiological redox: Essential to maintain but difficult to define.” Antioxidants, 9, 10, Pp. 1-12. Publisher's Version Abstract
Skin is a unique tissue, possessing extremely efficient protective and regulative mechanisms, similar only to the gut and lungs. These tissues serve as an interface with the environment and are exposed to stressors from both endogenous and exogenous sources. Interestingly, all these stressors lead downstream to a cellular production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other electrophiles, which, in turn could have deleterious outcomes for the living organism. Hence, such tissues should always maintain a “high-alert” condition in order to cope with these various insults. Nevertheless, a moderate production of ROS induced by stressors could actually be beneficial, although it is impossible to predict if and which exposure would lead to which outcome. Consequently, a parameter which would indicate the skin’s readiness to cope with continuously fluctuating conditions is required. It has been proposed that the redox status may serve as a suitable indicator. In this opinion manuscript, we argue that the redox status is a vague parameter that is difficult to characterized and quantify due to its extremely dynamic nature. The common convention that the redox status is composed solely of the balance between oxidants and reductants (ROS and antioxidants) is also thought-provoking. Since this parameter in vivo behaves in a dynamic and complex manner, it better fits the description of a process, rather than an individual parameter. We suggest that the homeostatic modulation of the physiological redox (PR) should be in focus, rather than the redox status parameter itself. It is further suggested that low molecular weight antioxidants (LMWA) are, in fact, rather insignificant concerning the PR maintenance, and that the major contributors to this delicate modulation are regulative, protein-based systems such as the protective phase II antioxidant enzymes. Moreover, we show that skin microbiome and cutaneous advanced lipid peroxidation end-products (ALEs) take part in sustaining the cutaneous PR homoeostasis via activation of the Nrf2–Keap1 protective pathway. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
E.C. Broner, H. Onallah, T. Tavor Re'em, B. Davidson, and R. Reich. 2020. “Role of the Exosome Secretion Machinery in Ovarian Carcinoma: In Vitro and in Vivo Models.” Journal of Oncology, 2020. Publisher's Version Abstract
Objective. We recently reported on the expression and clinical role of molecules that mediate exosome secretion in high-grade serous carcinoma. In the present study, the biological role of these molecules was analyzed. Methods. OVCAR8 and ES-2 ovarian carcinoma cells were studied using a combination of CRISPR/Cas9 technology and two 3D in vitro models-spheroids emulating effusions and alginate scaffolds representing solid lesions. Isolation of exosomes was validated by electron microscopy. TSAP6, NSMASE2, RAB27A, and RAB27B mRNA and protein levels were analyzed using qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Tumor aggressiveness was studied in vitro using scratch assay, invasion assay, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity assay and in vivo using a mouse model. Results. In OVCAR8 cells, mRNA expression of TSAP6 and RAB27A was significantly higher in spheroids compared to scaffolds, whereas the opposite was true for NSMASE2 mRNA. In ES-2 cells, TSAP6 and RAB27B mRNA expression was significantly higher in spheroids versus scaffolds. In addition, nSMase2 and TSAP6 protein expression was significantly higher in scaffolds compared to spheroids. CRISPR-edited cells with silencing of NSMASE2, TSAP6, and RAB27A/B had reduced migration, invasion, and MMP activity. Additionally, knockout (KO) of these molecules resulted in significantly diminished exosome secretion. In vivo assay showed that when injected to mice, OVCAR8 RAB27A/B KO cells, as opposed to control OVCAR8 cells, did not form ascites or visible tumor lesions and had reduced MMP expression. Conclusion. The present study provides evidence that different models for culturing ovarian carcinoma cells affect the expression of molecules mediating exosome secretion and that these molecules have a tumor-promoting role. Silencing these molecules may consequently have therapeutic relevance in this cancer. © 2020 Esther Channah Broner et al.
D. Robinson, S. Ritter, L. Zadik-Weiss, H. Ounallah-Saad, N. Abu-Ahmad, R. Kashkoosh, M. Yassin, and R. Or. 2020. “Bridging the accessibility gap of cannabinoid medicine and Arabic culture.” Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, 11, 1. Publisher's Version Abstract
Arabs are a large minority group in the Israeli society. With the increasing use of medical cannabis throughout Israel due to changing governmental policies, the interactions of the Arab society with medical cannabis becomes of scientific and medical relevance. Recreational cannabis use is considered haram (forbidden) in Islam. However, most religious scholars agree that medical cannabis usage might be justified as zarurat (emergency and life-saving, therefore allowed) use. Obstacles to medical cannabis use within the Arabic population may relate to language barrier and/or cultural barriers. There are few Arabic-speaking web-based medical-cannabis support groups, and little official information about it is available in the Arabic language. In order for the full benefits of medical cannabis to reach the entire Israeli population, a government-sponsored web-based educational program is necessary in Hebrew and Arabic, both of which are among the nation's official languages, thereby contributing to the equalization of health resource accessibility. © 2020 Robinson et al. This is an open-access article. All its content, except where otherwise noted, is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
O. Almogi-Hazan and R. Or. 2020. “Cannabis, the endocannabinoid system and immunity—the journey from the bedside to the bench and back.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21, 12, Pp. 1-17. Publisher's Version Abstract
The Cannabis plant contains numerous components, including cannabinoids and other active molecules. The phyto-cannabinoid activity is mediated by the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids affect the nervous system and play significant roles in the regulation of the immune system. While Cannabis is not yet registered as a drug, the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines for the treatment of various conditions has led many countries to authorize their clinical use. However, the data from basic and medical research dedicated to medical Cannabis is currently limited. A variety of pathological conditions involve dysregulation of the immune system. For example, in cancer, immune surveillance and cancer immuno-editing result in immune tolerance. On the other hand, in autoimmune diseases increased immune activity causes tissue damage. Immuno-modulating therapies can regulate the immune system and therefore the immune-regulatory properties of cannabinoids, suggest their use in the therapy of immune related disorders. In this contemporary review, we discuss the roles of the endocannabinoid system in immunity and explore the emerging data about the effects of cannabinoids on the immune response in different pathologies. In addition, we discuss the complexities of using cannabinoid-based treatments in each of these conditions. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
S. Ritter, L. Zadik-Weiss, O. Almogi-Hazan, and R. Or. 2020. “Cannabis, one health, and veterinary medicine: Cannabinoids' role in public health, food safety, and translational medicine.” Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, 11, 1. Publisher's Version Abstract
Public health is connected to cannabis with regard to food, animal feed (feed), and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the use of phytocannabinoids should be examined from a One Health perspective. Current knowledge on medical cannabis treatment (MCT) does not address sufficiently diseases which are of epidemiological and of zoonotic concern. The use of cannabinoids in veterinary medicine is illegal in most countries, mostly due to lack of evidence-based medicine. To answer the growing need of scientific evidence-based applicable medicine in both human and veterinary medicine, a new approach for the investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids must be adopted. A model that offers direct study of a specific disease in human and veterinary patients may facilitate development of novel therapies. Therefore, we urge the regulatory authorities-the ministries of health and agriculture (in Israel and worldwide)-to publish guidelines for veterinary use due to its importance to public health, as well as to promote One Health-related preclinical translational medicine studies for the general public health. © 2020 Ritter et al. This is an open-access article. All its content, except where otherwise noted, is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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. Publisher's Version 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 (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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. Publisher's Version 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.