Publications

M. Eger, M. Bader, D. Bree, R. Hadar, A. Nemerovski, J. Tam, D. Levy, C.G. Pick, and Y. Gabet. 2019. “Bone Anabolic Response in the Calvaria Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is Mediated by the Cannabinoid-1 Receptor.” Scientific Reports, 9, 1. Publisher's Version Abstract
Brain trauma was clinically associated with increased osteogenesis in the appendicular skeleton. We showed previously in C57BL/6J mice that mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) transiently induced bone formation in the femur via the cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor. Here, we subjected ICR mice to mTBI and examined the bone response in the skull using microCT. We also measured mast cell degranulation (MCD)72 h post-injury. Finally, we measured brain and calvarial endocannabinoids levels post-mTBI. mTBI led to decreased bone porosity on the contralateral (untouched) side. This effect was apparent both in young and mature mice. Administration of rimonabant (CB1 inverse agonist) completely abrogated the effect of mTBI on calvarial porosity and significantly reduced MCD, compared with vehicle-treated controls. We also found that mTBI resulted in elevated levels of anandamide, but not 2-arachidonoylglycerol, in the contralateral calvarial bone, whereas brain levels remained unchanged. In C57BL/6J CB1 knockout mice, mTBI did not reduce porosity but in general the porosity was significantly lower than in WT controls. Our findings suggest that mTBI induces a strain-specific CB1-dependent bone anabolic response in the skull, probably mediated by anandamide, but seemingly unrelated to inflammation. The endocannabinoid system is therefore a plausible target in management of bone response following head trauma. © 2019, The Author(s).
In this review, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in regulating energy and metabolic homeostasis. Endocannabinoids, via activating the cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1R), are commonly known as mediators of the thrifty phenotype hypothesis due to their activity in the central nervous system, which in turn regulates food intake and underlies the development of metabolic syndrome. Indeed, these findings led to the clinical testing of globally acting CB1R blockers for obesity and various metabolic complications. However, their therapeutic potential was halted due to centrally mediated adverse effects. Recent observations that highlighted the key role of the peripheral eCB system in metabolic regulation led to the preclinical development of various novel compounds that block CB1R only in peripheral organs with very limited brain penetration and without causing behavioral side effects. These unique molecules, which effectively ameliorate obesity, type II diabetes, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and chronic kidney disease in several animal models, are likely to be further developed in the clinic and may revive the therapeutic potential of blocking CB1R once again. © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
S. Azar, S. Sherf-Dagan, A. Nemirovski, M. Webb, A. Raziel, A. Keidar, D. Goitein, N. Sakran, O. Shibolet, J. Tam, and S. Zelber-Sagi. 2019. “Circulating Endocannabinoids Are Reduced Following Bariatric Surgery and Associated with Improved Metabolic Homeostasis in Humans.” Obesity Surgery, 29, 1, Pp. 268-276. Publisher's Version Abstract
Background: The endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays a key role in the development of obesity and its comorbidities. Limited information exists on the changes in circulating eCBs following bariatric surgery. Objectives: This study aims to (i) assess the circulating levels of eCBs and related molecules and (ii) examine the association between their levels and numerous clinical/metabolic features pre- and post-operatively. Methods: Sixty-five morbidly obese patients (age 42.78 ± 9.27 years; BMI 42.00 ± 5.01 kg/m 2 ) underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) surgery, and were followed up for 12 months. Data collected included anthropometrics and metabolic parameters. The serum levels of the eCBs, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), anandamide (AEA); and their related molecules, arachidonic acid (AA) and oleoylethanolamine (OEA) were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: Levels of 2-AG, AEA, and AA were reduced post operatively with no differences in serum OEA levels. The delta changes in eCB levels between pre- and post-operation were correlated with the delta of different metabolic parameters. Positive correlations were found between delta AA and waist circumference (WC) (r = 0.28, P < 0.05), free fat mass (r = 0.26, P < 0.05), SteatoTest score (r = 0.45, P < 0.05), and ALT (r = 0.32, P < 0.05). Delta AEA levels positively correlated with WC (r = 0.30, P < 0.05). Delta 2-AG levels positively correlated with total cholesterol (r = 0.27, P < 0.05), triglycerides (r = 0.55, P < 0.05), and SteatoTest score (r = 0.27, P < 0.05). Delta OEA levels negatively correlated with fasting glucose levels (r = − 0.27, P < 0.05). Conclusions: This study provides compelling evidence that LSG surgery induces reductions in the circulating 2-AG, AEA, and AA levels, and that these changes are associated with clinical benefits related to the surgery including reduced fat mass, hepatic steatosis, glucose, and improved lipid profile. © 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
M. Ben-David-Naim, A. Dagan, E. Grad, G. Aizik, M.M. Nordling-David, A.M. Clyne, Z. Granot, and G. Golomb. 2019. “Targeted siRNA nanoparticles for mammary carcinoma therapy.” Cancers, 11, 4. Publisher's Version Abstract
Non-viral, polymeric-based, siRNA nanoparticles (NPs) have been proposed as promising gene delivery systems. Encapsulating siRNA in targeted NPs could confer improved biological stability, extended half-life, enhanced permeability, effective tumor accumulation, and therapy. In this work, a peptide derived from apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB-P), the protein moiety of low-density lipoprotein, was used to target siRNA-loaded PEGylated NPs to the extracellular matrix/proteoglycans (ECM/PGs) of a mammary carcinoma tumor. siRNA against osteopontin (siOPN), a protein involved in breast cancer development and progression, was encapsulated into PEGylated poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) NPs using the double emulsion solvent diffusion technique. The NPs obtained possessed desired physicochemical properties including  200 nm size, a neutral surface charge, and high siOPN loading of  5 µg/mg. ApoB-P-targeted NPs exhibited both enhanced binding to isolated ECM and internalization by MDA-MB-231 human mammary carcinoma cells, in comparison to non-targeted NPs. Increased accumulation of the targeted NPs was achieved in the primary mammary tumor of mice xenografted with MDA-MB-231 mammary carcinoma cells as well as in the lungs, one of the main sites affected by metastases. siOPN NPs treatment resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth (similar bioactivity of both formulations), accompanied with significant reduction of OPN mRNA levels ( 40% knockdown of mRNA levels). We demonstrated that targeted NPs possessed enhanced tumor accumulation with increased therapeutic potential in mice models of mammary carcinoma © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
H. Pahima, P.G. Puzzovio, and F. Levi-Schaffer. 2019. “2B4 and CD48: A powerful couple of the immune system.” Clinical Immunology, 204, Pp. 64-68. Publisher's Version Abstract
The signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM) family of receptors (SLAMF) is a group of receptors belonging to the CD2 family. It is composed of several members expressed on many hematopoietic cells. Most of the receptors interact in a homophilic fashion with neighboring cells. Their distribution and binding properties, together with their ability to function as both activating and inhibitory receptors, put them as key players in the immune system regulation. Several SLAM family receptors have been extensively investigated. This review mainly focuses on CD244 (2B4 or SLAMF4,) and CD48, particularly as expressed by the key cells of allergy, mast cells and eosinophils. © 2018 Elsevier Inc.
M.T. Joy, E. Ben Assayag, D. Shabashov-Stone, S. Liraz-Zaltsman, J. Mazzitelli, M. Arenas, N. Abduljawad, E. Kliper, A.D. Korczyn, N.S. Thareja, E.L. Kesner, M. Zhou, S. Huang, T.K. Silva, N. Katz, N.M. Bornstein, A.J. Silva, E. Shohami, and S.T. Carmichael. 2019. “CCR5 Is a Therapeutic Target for Recovery after Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.” Cell, 176, 5, Pp. 1143-1157.e13. Publisher's Version Abstract
We tested a newly described molecular memory system, CCR5 signaling, for its role in recovery after stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). CCR5 is uniquely expressed in cortical neurons after stroke. Post-stroke neuronal knockdown of CCR5 in pre-motor cortex leads to early recovery of motor control. Recovery is associated with preservation of dendritic spines, new patterns of cortical projections to contralateral pre-motor cortex, and upregulation of CREB and DLK signaling. Administration of a clinically utilized FDA-approved CCR5 antagonist, devised for HIV treatment, produces similar effects on motor recovery post stroke and cognitive decline post TBI. Finally, in a large clinical cohort of stroke patients, carriers for a naturally occurring loss-of-function mutation in CCR5 (CCR5-Δ32) exhibited greater recovery of neurological impairments and cognitive function. In summary, CCR5 is a translational target for neural repair in stroke and TBI and the first reported gene associated with enhanced recovery in human stroke. © 2019 Elsevier Inc. Genetic and small molecule-based perturbation of CCR5 promotes functional recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury. © 2019 Elsevier Inc.
L. Magid, S. Heymann, M. Elgali, L. Avram, Y. Cohen, S. Liraz-Zaltsman, R. Mechoulam, and E. Shohami. 2019. “Role of CB2 Receptor in the Recovery of Mice after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Journal of Neurotrauma, 36, 11, Pp. 1836-1846. Publisher's Version Abstract
Cannabis is one of the most widely used plant drugs in the world today. In spite of the large number of scientific reports on medical marijuana, there still exists much controversy surrounding its use and the potential for abuse due to the undesirable psychotropic effects. However, recent developments in medicinal chemistry of novel non-psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids have indicated that it is possible to separate some of the therapeutic effects from the psychoactivity. We have previously shown that treatment with the endocannabinoid 2-AG, which binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors 1 h after traumatic brain injury in mice, attenuates neurological deficits, edema formation, infarct volume, blood-brain barrier permeability, neuronal cell loss at the CA3 hippocampal region, and neuroinflammation. Recently, we synthesized a set of camphor-resorcinol derivatives, which represent a novel series of CB2 receptor selective ligands. Most of the novel compounds exhibited potent binding and agonistic properties at the CB2 receptors with very low affinity for the CB1 receptor, and some were highly anti-inflammatory. This selective binding correlated with their intrinsic activities. HU-910 and HU-914 were selected in the present study to evaluate their potential effect in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In mice and rats subjected to closed-head injury and treated with these novel compounds, we showed enhanced neurobehavioral recovery, inhibition of tumor necrosis factor α production, increased synaptogenesis, and partial recovery of the cortical spinal tract. We propose these CB2 agonists as potential drugs for development of novel therapeutic modality to TBI. Copyright © 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
L. Friedman, R. Smoum, M. Feldman, R. Mechoulam, and D. Steinberg. 2019. “Does the Endocannabinoid Anandamide Affect Bacterial Quorum Sensing, Vitality, and Motility?” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 4, 2, Pp. 102-109. Publisher's Version Abstract
Introduction: The endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) is a neurotransmitter produced and released "on demand." Numerous studies have been conducted on AEA and on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), but none of them have investigated their effect on prokaryotes. Quorum sensing (QS) is a process of bacteria-bacteria communication. In this cross-Talk, the bacteria secrete and recognize signal molecules termed autoinducers (AIs). It has been shown that the QS system regulates expression of many physiological and virulence factors of bacteria. Materials and Methods: QS was measured using the bioluminescence property of the bacterium Vibrio harveyi. The effect of AEA on QS-related gene expression was measured using real-Time polymerase chain reaction. 0.18% agar plates were used for surface movement assay. Results: No dose response of AEA could be determined up to 100 μg/mL on bacterial growth either wild-Type (WT) V. harveyi or mutant strains. However on addition of AEA, QS was reduced significantly for WT and other V. harveyi strains mutated at different locations of the QS cascade (BB152; HAI-1 synthase mutant, BB886; Sensor-2-, BB170; Sensor-1-, MM30; AI-2). Genes related to the QS pathway, such as luxS, showed significant reduction in expression in the presence of AEA. Motility tests showed that continuous exposure to AEA reduced V. harveyi ability to spread on a soft agar surface, but pre-exposure to AEA did not have any effect on its motility. Conclusions: This study presents the first evidence that the endocannabinoid AEA affects specific functions of a prokaryotic organism (e.g., QS and motility). Our results present novel, not yet been observed biological functions of the ECS, namely as a possible line of defense against bacteria. © Copyright 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2019.
Y. Mostinski, D. Lankri, Y. Konovalov, R. Nataf, and D. Tsvelikhovsky. 2019. “Proline-promoted dehydroxylation of α-ketols.” Chemical Science, 10, 40, Pp. 9345-9350. Publisher's Version Abstract
A new single-step proline-potassium acetate promoted reductive dehydroxylation of α-ketols is reported. We introduce the unexplored reactivity of proline and, for the first time, reveal its ability to function as a reducing agent. The developed metal-free and open-flask operation generally results in good yields. Our protocol allows the challenging selective dehydroxylation of hydroxyketones without affecting other functional groups. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.
V. Vetvicka, G. Gover, H. Hayby, O. Danay, N. Ezov, Y. Hadar, and B. Schwartz. 2019. “Immunomodulating effects exerted by glucans extracted from the king oyster culinary-medicinal mushroom pleurotus eryngii (agaricomycetes) grown in substrates containing various concentrations of olive mill waste.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 21, 8, Pp. 765-781. Publisher's Version Abstract
We have recently demonstrated that we could enhance glucan content in Pleurotus eryngii following cultivation of the mushrooms on a substrate containing different concentrations of olive mill solid waste (OMSW). These changes are directly related to the content of OMSW in the growing substrate. Using dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mice model, we measured the colonic inflammatory response to the different glucan preparations. We found that the histology damaging score (HDS) resulting from DSS treatment reach a value of 11.8 ± 2.3 were efficiently downregulated by treatment with the fungal extracted glucans. Glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 20% OMSW downregulated to a HDS value of 6.4 ± 0.5 whereas those cultivated at 80% OMSW showed the strongest effects (5.5 ± 0.6). Similar downregulatory effects were obtained for expression of various intestinal cytokines. All tested glucans were equally effective in regulating the number of CD14/CD16 monocytes from 18.2 ± 2.7% for DSS to 6.4 ± 2.0 for DSS + glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 50% OMSW. We tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide- induced production of TNF-α, which demonstrated that stalk-derived glucans were more effective than caps-derived glucans. Isolated glucans competed with anti-Dectin-1 and anti-CR3 antibodies, indicating that they contain β-glucans recognized by these receptors. In conclusion, the most effective glucans in ameliorating IBD-associated symptoms induced by DSS treatment in mice were glucan extracts prepared from the stalk of P. eryngii grown at higher concentrations of OMSW. We conclude that these stress-induced growing conditions may be helpful in selecting more effective glucans derived from edible mushrooms. © 2019 by Begell House, Inc.
PURPOSE: Mechanisms related the crosstalk between adipocytes and colon cancer cells are still not clear. We hypothesize that molecules and adipocytokines generated from the adipose tissue of obese individuals accentuate the effect on the metabolic reprogramming in colon cancer cells, i.e. induce disarray in energy metabolism networks of the targeted affected colonic epithelial cells, prompting their malignant phenotype. METHODS: To explore the mechanistic behind this crosstalk we conducted a co-culture model system using human colon cancer cells having different malignant abilities and adipocytes from different depots and subjects. RESULTS: The results demonstrate that co-culturing aggressive colon cancer cells such as HM-7 cells, with Visceral or Subcutaneous adipocytes (VA or SA respectively) from lean/obese subjects significantly up-regulate the secretion of the adipokines IL-8, MCP1, and IL-6 from the adipocytes. Surprisingly, the response of co-culturing HM-7 cells with obese SA was substantially more significant. In addition, these effects were significantly more pronounced when using HM-7 cells as compared to the less malignant HCT116 colon cancer cells. Moreover, the results showed that HM-7 cells, co-cultured with VA or SA from obese subjects, expressed higher levels of fatty acid binding protein 4; thus, the conditioned media obtained from the wells contained HM-7 cells and adipocytes from obese subjects was significantly more efficient in promoting invasion of HM-7 cells. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that interaction between adipocytes and colon cancer cells, especially the highly malignant cells, results in metabolic alterations in colon cancer cells and in highly hypertrophy phenotype which characterized by increasing adipokines secretion from the adipocytes. © 2019 The Authors
A. Amrani, Y.O. Rosenberg, A. Meshoulam, W. Said-Ahmad, C. Turich, N. Luu, T. Jacksier, A. Stankiewicz, S. Feinstein, and A. Shurki. 2019. “Sulfur isotopic composition of gas-phase organic sulfur compounds provides insights into the thermal maturation of organic-rich rocks.” Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 259, Pp. 91-108. Publisher's Version Abstract
Volatile and gas phase organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs) are important components in subsurface reservoir fluids and despite their relatively low concentrations, can provide important information about organic matter origin, diagenetic transformation, thermal maturation, and oil and gas generation, expulsion, and migration. We present an approach for the utilization of VOSC concentration and compound specific S isotopes ratio (δ34S) data as a new geochemical tool to study natural gas origin and formation. We studied the formation pathways of VOSCs, their δ34S values, and interaction with an organic-rich sedimentary rock (or ‘source rock’) from the Ghareb Formation (Type II-S kerogen) deposited in an upwelling marine environment. The immature source rock was subjected to laboratory controlled thermal maturation. We used a semi-open, non-isothermal pyrolysis system heated between 200 and 440 °C, and analyzed the molecular composition and compound specific δ34S values of the evolved gases at various thermal maturity stages. Formation of VOSCs commenced at 206 °C, a temperature generally associated with less thermally mature systems, and typically before the onset of oil generation for similar organic-rich source rocks, allowing study of low thermal maturity conditions (∼0.3 %Roeq). Overall, the VOSCs obtained had δ34S values similar to the bulk kerogen values (mostly within 4‰). However, thiol (or mercaptan) δ34S values closely followed those of H2S (Δ34Sthiols-H2S = −1 ± 1‰) throughout the experiment. Ab-initio calculations for the S isotopic exchange between H2S and thiols were close to the experimental observations. This suggests that thiols rapidly attained equilibrium with H2S despite their very short residence time in the system (minutes to hours). Furthermore, throughout the experiment, the concentrations of the six different thiols were found to be proportional to the coexisting, concentration ratio of [H2]/[H2S]. The proportionality factors of the 6 different thiols strongly correlate with reported heats of formation (ΔHf°), further supporting the notion that the generation of thiols in the system rapidly reached equilibrium. At pyrolysis temperatures up to 350 °C, δ34S and concentration values of other VOSCs produced in the gas phase, including sulfides and thiophenes, probably represent generation from S-containing moieties in kerogen and bitumen with limited interaction with co-existing H2S. The reaction of hydrocarbons and H2S to produce VOSCs is inversely correlated with thermal stability, i.e. thiols > sulfides > thiophenes. Therefore, the δ34S values, concentrations and distributions of VOSCs can be utilized as a proxy for reaction extent and formation mechanism of petroleum and H2S, including primary generation by thermal maturation, or potentially other processes such as migration and thermochemical sulfate reduction. This work demonstrates a novel and useful geochemical tool to study the source and fate of natural gas in the subsurface. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
N.Y. Steinman and A.J. Domb. 2019. “Injectable pasty biodegradable polyesters derived from castor oil and hydroxyl-acid lactones.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 370, 3, Pp. 736-741. Publisher's Version Abstract
Pasty polymers offer a platform for injectable implants for drug delivery. A library of biodegradable pasty polymers was synthesized by bulk ring-opening polymerization of lactide, glycolide, trimethylene carbonate, or caprolactone using castor oil or 12-hydroxy stearic acid as hydroxyl initiators and stannous octoate as the catalyst. Some of the polymers behaved as Newtonian liquids. Pasty polymers of poly(caprolactone) and poly(trimethylene carbonate) were stable under physiologic conditions for over 1 month in vitro, whereas polymers of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) degraded within 10 days. These pasty polymers offer a platform for pasty injectable biodegradable carriers for drugs and fillers. Copyright © 2019 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Activated T cells are pathological in various autoimmune and inflammatory diseases including Psoriasis, and also in graft rejection and graft-versus-host-disease. In these pathological conditions, selective silencing of activated T cells through physiological receptors they express remains a clinical challenge. In our previous studies we found that activation of dopamine receptors (DRs) in resting human T cells activates these cells, and induces by itself many beneficial T cell functions. In this study, we found that normal human T cells express all types of DRs, and that expression of D1R, D4R and D5R increases profoundly after T cell receptor (TCR) activation. Interestingly, DR agonists shift the membrane potential (Vm) of both resting and activated human T cells, and induces instantaneous T cell depolarization within 15 seconds only. Thus, activation of DRs in T cells depolarize these immune cells, alike activation of DRs in neural cells. The skin of Psoriasis patients contains 20-fold more D1R+ T cells than healthy human skin. In line with that, 25-fold more D1R+ T cells are present in Psoriasis humanized mouse model. Highly selective D1-like receptor agonists, primarily Fenoldopam (Corlopam) – a D1-like receptor agonist and a drug used in hypertension, induced the following suppressive effects on activated T cells of Psoriasis patients: reduced chemotactic migration towards the chemokine SDF-1/CXCL12; reduced dramatically the secretion of eight cytokines: tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10; and reduced three T cell activation proteins/markers: CD69, CD28 and IL-2. Next, we invented a novel topical/dermal Fenoldopam formulation, allowing it to be spread on, and providing prolonged and regulated release in, diseased skin. Our novel topical/dermal Fenoldopam: reduced secretion of the eight cytokines by activated human T cells; reduced IL-1β and IL-6 secretion by human lipopolysaccharide-inflamed skin; eliminated preferentially >90% of live and large/proliferating human T cells. Together, our findings show for the first time that both resting and activated T cells are depolarized instantaneously via DRs, and that targeting D1-like receptors in activated T cells and inflamed human skin by Fenoldopam, in Psoriasis, and potentially in other T cell-mediated diseases, could be therapeutic. Validation in vivo is required. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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