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Molecules

Current research reports and chronological list of recent articles..




Molecules is an open access journal of synthetic organic chemistry and natural product chemistry.

The publisher is MDPI Publishing. The copyright and publishing rights of specialized products listed below are in this publishing house. This is also responsible for the content shown.

To search this web page for specific words type "Ctrl" + "F" on your keyboard (Command + "F" on a Mac). Then: type the word you are searching for in the window that pops up!

Additional research articles see Current Chemistry Research Articles. Magazines with similar content (chemistry of natural producrs and compounds):

 - Amino Acids.

 - Biomacromolecules.

 - BMC Structural Biology.

 - Chemistry of Natural Compounds.

 - Journal of Natural Products.

 - Natural Product Reports.



Molecules - Abstracts



Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3337: Influence of 40 Hz and 100 Hz Vibration on SH-SY5Y Cells Growth and Differentiation—A Preliminary Study

(1) Background: A novel bioreactor platform of neuronal cell cultures using low-magnitude, low-frequency (LMLF) vibrational stimulation was designed to discover vibration influence and mimic the dynamic environment of the in vivo state. To better understand the impact of 40 Hz and 100 Hz vibration on cell differentiation, we join biotechnology and advanced medical technology to design the nano-vibration system. The influence of vibration on the development of nervous tissue on the selected cell line SH-SY5Y (experimental research model in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) was investigated. (2) Methods: The vibration stimulation of cell differentiation and elongation of their neuritis were monitored. We measured how vibrations affect the morphology and differentiation of nerve cells in vitro. (3) Results: The highest average length of neurites was observed in response to the 40 Hz vibration on the collagen surface in the differentiating medium, but cells response did not increase with vibration frequency. Also, vibrations at a frequency of 40 Hz or 100 Hz did not affect the average density of neurites. 100 Hz vibration increased the neurites density significantly with time for cultures on collagen and non-collagen surfaces. The exposure of neuronal cells to 40 Hz and 100 Hz vibration enhanced cell differentiation. The 40 Hz vibration has the best impact on neuronal-like cell growth and differentiation. (4) Conclusions: The data demonstrated that exposure to neuronal cells to 40 Hz and 100 Hz vibration enhanced cell differentiation and proliferation. This positive impact of vibration can be used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. It is planned to optimize the processes and study its molecular mechanisms concerning carrying out the research.
Datum: 23.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3336: Cyanide Biodegradation by Trichoderma harzianum and Cyanide Hydratase Network Analysis

Cyanide is a poisonous and dangerous chemical that binds to metals in metalloenzymes, especially cytochrome C oxidase and, thus, interferes with their functionalities. Different pathways and enzymes are involved during cyanide biodegradation, and cyanide hydratase is one of the enzymes that is involved in such a process. In this study, cyanide resistance and cyanide degradation were studied using 24 fungal strains in order to find the strain with the best capacity for cyanide bioremediation. To confirm the capacity of the tested strains, cyano-bioremediation and the presence of the gene that is responsible for the cyanide detoxification was assessed. From the tested organisms, Trichoderma harzianum (T. harzianum) had a significant capability to resist and degrade cyanide at a 15 mM concentration, where it achieved an efficiency of 75% in 7 days. The gene network analysis of enzymes that are involved in cyanide degradation revealed the involvement of cyanide hydratase, dipeptidase, carbon–nitrogen hydrolase-like protein, and ATP adenylyltransferase. This study revealed that T. harzianum was more efficient in degrading cyanide than the other tested fungal organisms, and molecular analysis confirmed the experimental observations.
Datum: 23.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3322: Cloning and Functional Characterization of Two Germacrene A Oxidases Isolated from Xanthium sibiricum

Sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) from the cocklebur Xanthium sibiricum exhibit significant anti-tumor activity. Although germacrene A oxidase (GAO), which catalyzes the production of Germacrene A acid (GAA) from germacrene A, an important precursor of germacrene-type STLs, has been reported, the remaining GAOs corresponding to various STLs’ biosynthesis pathways remain unidentified. In this study, 68,199 unigenes were studied in a de novo transcriptome assembly of X. sibiricum fruits. By comparison with previously published GAO sequences, two candidate X. sibiricum GAO gene sequences, XsGAO1 (1467 bp) and XsGAO2 (1527 bp), were identified, cloned, and predicted to encode 488 and 508 amino acids, respectively. Their protein structure, motifs, sequence similarity, and phylogenetic position were similar to those of other GAO proteins. They were most strongly expressed in fruits, according to a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and both XsGAO proteins were localized in the mitochondria of tobacco leaf epidermal cells. The two XsGAO genes were cloned into the expression vector for eukaryotic expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the enzyme reaction products were detected by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods. The results indicated that both XsGAO1 and XsGAO2 catalyzed the two-step conversion of germacrene A (GA) to GAA, meaning they are unlike classical GAO enzymes, which catalyze a three-step conversion of GA to GAA. This cloning and functional study of two GAO genes from X. sibiricum provides a useful basis for further elucidation of the STL biosynthesis pathway in X. sibiricum.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3334: Polycyclic Phenol Derivatives from the Leaves of Spermacoce latifolia and Their Antibacterial and α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity

Three new polycyclic phenol derivatives, 2-acetyl-4-hydroxy-6H-furo [2,3-g]chromen-6-one (1), 2-(1′,2′-dihydroxypropan-2′-yl)-4-hydroxy-6H-furo [2,3-g][1]benzopyran-6-one (2) and 3,8,10-trihydroxy-4,9-dimethoxy-6H-benzo[c]chromen-6-one (8), along with seven known ones (3–7, 9 and 10) were isolated for the first time from the leaves of Spermacoce latifolia. Their structures were determined by spectroscopic analysis and comparison with literature-reported data. These compounds were tested for their in vitro antibacterial activity against four Gram-(+) bacteria: Staphyloccocus aureus (SA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Bacillus cereus (BC), Bacillus subtilis (BS), and the Gram-(−) bacterium Escherichia coli. Compounds 1, 2, 5 and 8 showed antibacterial activity toward SA, BC and BS with MIC values ranging from 7.8 to 62.5 µg/mL, but they were inactive to MRSA. Compound 4 not only showed the best antibacterial activity against SA, BC and BS, but it further displayed significant antibacterial activity against MRSA (MIC 1.95 µg/mL) even stronger than vancomycin (MIC 3.9 µg/mL). No compounds showed inhibitory activity toward E. coli. Further bioassay indicated that compounds 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 showed in vitro α-glucosidase inhibitory activity, among which compound 9 displayed the best α-glucosidase inhibitory activity with IC50 value (0.026 mM) about 15-fold stronger than the reference compound acarbose (IC50 0.408 mM). These results suggested that compounds 4, 8 and 9 were potentially highly valuable compounds worthy of consideration to be further developed as an effective anti-MRSA agent or effective α-glucosidase inhibitors, respectively. In addition, the obtained data also supported that S. latifolia was rich in structurally diverse bioactive compounds worthy of further investigation, at least in searching for potential antibiotics and α-glucosidase inhibitors.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3323: New Screening Protocol for Effective Green Solvents Selection of Benzamide, Salicylamide and Ethenzamide

New protocol for screening efficient and environmentally friendly solvents was proposed and experimentally verified. The guidance for solvent selection comes from computed solubility via COSMO-RS approach. Furthermore, solute-solvent affinities computed using advanced quantum chemistry level were used as a rationale for observed solvents ranking. The screening protocol pointed out that 4-formylomorpholine (4FM) is an attractive solubilizer compared to commonly used aprotic solvents such as DMSO and DMF. This was tested experimentally by measuring the solubility of the title compounds in aqueous binary mixtures in the temperature range between 298.15 K and 313.15 K. Additional measurements were also performed for aqueous binary mixtures of DMSO and DMF. It has been found that the solubility of studied aromatic amides is very high and quite similar in all three aprotic solvents. For most aqueous binary mixtures, a significant decrease in solubility with a decrease in the organic fraction is observed, indicating that all systems can be regarded as efficient solvent-anti-solvent pairs. In the case of salicylamide dissolved in aqueous-4FM binary mixtures, a strong synergistic effect has been found leading to the highest solubility for 0.6 mole fraction of 4-FM.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3331: Chemical Modification of Biomarkers through Accelerated Degradation: Implications for Ancient Plant Identification in Archaeo-Organic Residues

Biochemical and biomolecular archaeology is increasingly used to elucidate the consumption, use, origin, and trade of plants in the past. However, it can be challenging to use biomarkers to identify the taxonomic origin of archaeological plants due to limited knowledge of molecular survival and degradation for many key plant compounds in archaeological contexts. To gain a fundamental understanding of the chemical alterations associated with chemical degradation processes in ancient samples, we conducted accelerated degradation experiments with essential oil derived from cedar (Cedrus atlantica) exposed to materials commonly found in the archaeological record. Using GC-MS and multivariate analysis, we detected a total of 102 compounds across 19 treatments that were classified into three groups. The first group comprised compounds that were abundant in fresh cedar oil but would be unlikely to remain in ancient residues due to rapid degradation. The second group consisted of compounds that remained relatively stable or increased over time, which could be potential biomarkers for identifying cedar in archaeological residues. Compounds in the third group were absent in fresh cedar oil but were formed during specific experiments that could be indicative for certain storage conditions. These results show that caution is warranted for applying biomolecular profiles of fresh plants to ancient samples and that carefully designed accelerated degradation experiments can, at least in part, overcome this limitation.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3332: Histone Deacetylase Inhibitory Activity and Antiproliferative Potential of New [6]-Shogaol Derivatives

Twenty newly synthesized derivatives of [6]-shogaol (4) were tested for inhibitory activity against histone deacetylases. All derivatives showed moderate to good histone deacetylase inhibition at 100 µM with a slightly lower potency than the lead compound. Most potent inhibitors among the derivatives were the pyrazole products, 5j and 5k, and the Michael adduct with pyridine 4c and benzothiazole 4d, with IC50 values of 51, 65, 61 and 60 µM, respectively. They were further evaluated for isoform selectivity via a molecular docking study. Compound 4d showed the best selectivity towards HDAC3, whereas compound 5k showed the best selectivity towards HDAC2. The potential derivatives were tested on five cancer cell lines, including human cervical cancer (HeLa), human colon cancer (HCT116), human breast adenocarcinoma cancer (MCF-7), and cholangiocarcinoma (KKU100 and KKU-M213B) cells with MTT-based assay. The most active histone deacetylase inhibitor 5j exhibited the best antiproliferative activity against HeLa, HCT116, and MCF-7, with IC50 values of 8.09, 9.65 and 11.57 µM, respectively, and a selective binding to HDAC1 based on molecular docking experiments. The results suggest that these compounds can be putative candidates for the development of anticancer drugs via inhibiting HDACs.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3329: Energetic Bio-Activation of Some Organic Molecules and Their Antioxidant Activity in the Pulp of the Moroccan Argan Tree «Argania spinosa L.»

Argania spinosa L. Skeels is an emblematic tree in Morocco, known worldwide for its medicinal and nutritional value. Its fruits contain kernels used to prepare an edible oil, the leaves are used to feed livestock, and its wood is used as fuel. If the oil acquires high importance, the other components of the fruit of the argan are undervalued. Our objective is to invest the waste of the argan industry. Particularly, our study aimed to assess the effect of thermal activation of argan pulp on its therapeutic value, its phenolic profile and its functional and physicochemical properties. After heat treatment, the HPLC analysis for the average total phenolic content varied from 2% to 37%, depending on temperature. The antioxidant activity was increased with heat treatment. Higher values of antioxidant activity, polyphenol and pigment content were recorded at 70 °C. Functional properties analysis indicated that water solubility index and water absorption capacity were significantly affected by heat stress. Physicochemical analysis showed that moisture content, titratable acidity and soluble solids were affected.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3330: Thermo-Responsive ZnPc-g-TiO2-g-PNIPAM Photocatalysts Sensitized with Phthalocyanines for Water Purification under Visible Light

A novel thermo-responsive 2,9(10),16(17),23(24)-tetrakis[(3-carboxyacrylamide) phthalocyaninato] zinc (ZnPc)-g-TiO2-g-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) photocatalyst modified with phthalocyanines was prepared. The photocatalyst exhibited thermo-responsive properties due to the introduction of PNIPAM, which performed recovery for reuse above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST, about 26 °C). ZnPc-g-TiO2-g-PNIPAM effectively expanded the light response range to the visible light region and inhibited the recombination of electron–hole pairs, which enhanced the performance of the photocatalyst. As expected, ZnPc-g-TiO2-g-PNIPAM (0.3 g/L) exhibited excellent photocatalytic performance for the removal of Rhodamine B (RhB, 1.0 × 10−5 mol/L) and methylene blue (MB, 1.0 × 10−5 mol/L) under visible light, which reached 97.2% and 88.6% at 20 °C within 40 min, respectively. Furthermore, the influence of temperature upon photocatalytic performance was also investigated. When the temperature increased from 20 °C to 45 °C, the removal of RhB decreased by approximately 53.8%. The stability of the photocatalyst demonstrated that the photocatalytic activity was still above 80% for the removal of RhB after 3 cycles. Above all, this work provided an intelligent thermally responsive photocatalyst based on phthalocyanine for water purification under visible light.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3327: Cannabidiol Improves Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in the Lungs of Rats with Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-derived compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is still an incurable disease. CBD has been suggested to ameliorate monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PH, including reduction in right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), a vasorelaxant effect on pulmonary arteries and a decrease in the white blood cell count. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of chronic administration of CBD (10 mg/kg daily for 21 days) on the parameters of oxidative stress and inflammation in the lungs of rats with MCT-induced PH. In MCT-induced PH, we found a decrease in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and glutathione level (GSH), an increase in inflammatory parameters, e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and cluster of differentiation 68 (CD68), and the overexpression of cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1-Rs, CB2-Rs). Administration of CBD increased TAC and GSH concentrations, glutathione reductase (GSR) activity, and decreased CB1-Rs expression and levels of inflammatory mediators such as TNF-α, IL -1β, NF-κB, MCP-1 and CD68. In conclusion, CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in MCT-induced PH. CBD may act as an adjuvant therapy for PH, but further detailed preclinical and clinical studies are recommended to confirm our promising results.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3328: Metabolite Profiling of “Green” Extracts of Cynara cardunculus subsp. scolymus, Cultivar “Carciofo di Paestum” PGI by 1H NMR and HRMS-Based Metabolomics

Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus (L.), is a perennial plant widely cultivated in the Mediterranean area, known for its edible part named capitula or heads. Its functional properties are related to its high levels of polyphenolic compounds and inulin. “Carciofo di Paestum”, an Italian traditional cultivar, is a labeled PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) product of the Campania region, representing an important economic resource. So far, a few chemical investigations were performed on this cultivar, mainly focused on the analysis of methanol extracts. Due to the increasing use of food supplements, in this study, a comprehensive analysis of green extracts of Carciofo di Paestum” PGI heads was performed. EtOH, EtOH: H2O (80:20, 70:30, 60:40) extracts, as well as infusions and decoctions prepared according to Pharmacopeia XII were analyzed by LC-ESI/QExactive/MS/MS. A total of 17 compounds corresponding to caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, phenolics, flavonoids, and terpenoids were identified. The extracts were further submitted to NMR analysis to highlight the occurrence of primary metabolites. Both LCMS and NMR data were analyzed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA), showing significant differences among the extraction methods. Moreover, 5-caffeoylquinic acid and 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid were quantified in the extracts by LC-ESI/QTrap/MS/MS using the Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) method. Furthermore, the phenolic content, antioxidant activity, and α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of C. cardunculus var. scolymus “Carciofo di Paestum” extracts were evaluated.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3325: Insecticidal Activity of Organic Extracts of Solidago graminifolia and Its Main Metabolites (Quercetin and Chlorogenic Acid) against Spodoptera frugiperda: An In Vitro and In Silico Approach

Spodoptera frugiperda (S. frugiperda) remains a global primary pest of maize. Therefore, new options to combat this pest are necessary. In this study, the insecticidal activity of three crude foliar extracts (ethanol, dichloromethane, and hexane) and their main secondary metabolites (quercetin and chlorogenic acid) of the species Solidago graminifolia (S. graminifolia) by ingestion bioassays against S. frugiperda larvae was analyzed. Additionally, the extracts were phytochemically elucidated by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) analysis. Finally, an in silico study of the potential interaction of quercetin on S. frugiperda acetylcholinesterase was performed. Organic extracts were obtained in the range from 5 to 33%. The ethanolic extract caused higher mortality (81%) with a half-maximal lethal concentration (LC50) of 0.496 mg/mL. Flavonoid secondary metabolites such as hyperoside, quercetin, isoquercetin, kaempferol, and avicularin and some phenolic acids such as chlorogenic acid, solidagoic acid, gallic acid, hexoside, and rosmarinic acid were identified. In particular, quercetin had an LC50 of 0.157 mg/mL, and chlorogenic acid did not have insecticidal activity but showed an antagonistic effect on quercetin. The molecular docking analysis of quercetin on the active site of S. frugiperda acetylcholinesterase showed a −5.4 kcal/mol binding energy value, lower than acetylcholine and chlorpyrifos (−4.45 and −4.46 kcal/mol, respectively). Additionally, the interactions profile showed that quercetin had π–π interactions with amino acids W198, Y235, and H553 on the active site.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3335: Design, Synthesis, Bioactivity Evaluation, Crystal Structures, and In Silico Studies of New α-Amino Amide Derivatives as Potential Histone Deacetylase 6 Inhibitors

Hydroxamate, as a zinc-binding group (ZBG), prevails in the design of histone deacetylase 6(HDAC6) inhibitors due to its remarkable zinc-chelating capability. However, hydroxamate-associated genotoxicity and mutagenicity have limited the widespread application of corresponding HDAC6 inhibitors in the treatment of human diseases. To avoid such side effects, researchers are searching for novel ZBGs that may be used for the synthesis of HDAC6 inhibitors. In this study, a series of stereoisomeric compounds were designed and synthesized to discover non-hydroxamate HDAC6 inhibitors using α-amino amide as zinc-ion-chelating groups, along with a pair of enantiomeric isomers with inverted L-shaped vertical structure as cap structures. The anti-proliferative activities were determined against HL-60, Hela, and RPMI 8226 cells, and 7a and its stereoisomer 13a exhibited excellent activities against Hela cells with IC50 = 0.31 µM and IC50 = 5.19 µM, respectively. Interestingly, there is a significant difference between the two stereoisomers. Moreover, an evaluation of cytotoxicity toward human normal liver cells HL-7702 indicated its safety for normal cells. X-ray single crystal diffraction was employed to increase insights into molecule structure and activities. It was found that the carbonyl of the amide bond is on the different side from the amino and pyridine nitrogen atoms. To identify possible protein targets to clarify the mechanism of action and biological activity of 7a, a small-scale virtual screen using reverse docking for HDAC isoforms (1-10) was performed and the results showed that HDAC6 was the best receptor for 7a, suggesting that HDAC6 may be a potential target for 7a. The interaction pattern analysis showed that the α-amino amide moiety of 7a coordinated with the zinc ion of HDAC6 in a bidentate chelate manner, which is similar to the chelation pattern of hydroxamic acid. Finally, the molecular dynamics simulation approaches were used to assess the docked complex’s conformational stability. In this work, we identified 7a as a potential HDAC6 inhibitor and provide some references for the discovery of non-hydroxamic acid HDAC6 inhibitors.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3333: Novel Oxime Synthesized from a Natural Product of Senecio nutans SCh. Bip. (Asteraceae) Enhances Vascular Relaxation in Rats by an Endothelium-Independent Mechanism

Senecio nutans Sch. Bip. and its constituents are reported to have antihypertensive effects. We isolated metabolite–1, a natural compound from S. nutans (4-hydroxy-3-(isopenten-2-yl)-acetophenone), and synthesized novel oxime – 1 (4-hydroxy-3-(isopenten-2-yl)-acetophenoxime) to evaluate their effect on vascular reactivity. Compounds were purified (metabolite–1) or synthetized (oxime–1) and characterized using IR and NMR spectroscopy and Heteronuclear Multiple Quantum Coherence (HMQC). Using pharmacological agents such as phenylephrine (PE) and KCl (enhancing contraction), acetylcholine (ACh), L-NAME (nitric oxide (NO) and endothelial function), Bay K8644-induced CaV1.2 channel (calcium channel modulator), and isolated aortic rings in an organ bath setup, the possible mechanisms of vascular action were determined. Pre-incubation of aortic rings with 10−5 M oxime–1 significantly (p < 0.001) decreased the contractile response to 30 mM KCl. EC50 to KCl significantly (p < 0.01) increased in the presence of oxime–1 (37.72 ± 2.10 mM) compared to that obtained under control conditions (22.37 ± 1.40 mM). Oxime–1 significantly reduced (p < 0.001) the contractile response to different concentrations of PE (10−7 to 10−5 M) by a mechanism that decreases Cav1.2-mediated Ca2+ influx from the extracellular space and reduces Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. At a submaximal concentration (10−5 M), oxime–1 caused a significant relaxation in rat aorta even without vascular endothelium or after pre-incubate the tissue with L-NAME. Oxime–1 decreases the contractile response to PE by blunting the release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores and blocking of Ca2+ influx by channels. Metabolite–1 reduces the contractile response to KCl, apparently by reducing the plasma membrane depolarization and Ca2+ influx from the extracellular space. These acetophenone derivates from S. nutans (metabolite–1 and oxime–1) cause vasorelaxation through pathways involving an increase of the endothelial NO generation or a higher bioavailability, further highlighting that structural modification of naturally occurring metabolites can enhance their intended pharmacological functions.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3324: Synthesis, Redox and Spectroscopic Properties of Pterin of Molybdenum Cofactors

Pterins are bicyclic heterocycles that are found widely across Nature and are involved in a variety of biological functions. Notably, pterins are found at the core of molybdenum cofactor (Moco) containing enzymes in the molybdopterin (MPT) ligand that coordinates molybdenum and facilitates cofactor activity. Pterins are diverse and can be widely functionalized to tune their properties. Herein, the general methods of synthesis, redox and spectroscopic properties of pterin are discussed to provide more insight into pterin chemistry and their importance to biological systems.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3326: A Multifield Study on Dimethyl Acetylenedicarboxylate: A Reagent Able to Build a New Cycle on Diaminoimidazoles

A new effective method for the synthesis of imidazo[1,5-b]pyridazines derivatives (yields = 68–89%) by the interaction of 1,2-diamino-4-phenylimidazole with DMAD, in methanol and in the presence of a catalytic amount of acetic acid, is proposed. The course of reaction has been examined by classical organic methods, HPLC-MS analysis, and quantum-chemical calculations.
Datum: 22.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3308: Production of 4-Deoxy-L-erythro-5-Hexoseulose Uronic Acid Using Two Free and Immobilized Alginate Lyases from Falsirhodobacter sp. Alg1

Falsirhodobacter sp. alg1 expresses two alginate lyases, AlyFRA and AlyFRB, to produce the linear monosaccharide 4-deoxy-L-erythro-5-hexoseulose uronic acid (DEH) from alginate, metabolizing it to pyruvate. In this study, we prepared recombinant AlyFRA and AlyFRB and their immobilized enzymes and investigated DEH production. Purified AlyFRA and AlyFRB reacted with sodium alginate and yielded approximately 96.8% DEH. Immobilized AlyFRA and AlyFRB were prepared using each crude enzyme solution and κ-carrageenan, and immobilized enzyme reuse in batch reactions and DEH yield were examined. Thus, DEH was produced in a relatively high yield of 79.6%, even after the immobilized enzyme was reused seven times. This method can produce DEH efficiently and at a low cost and can be used to mass produce the next generation of biofuels using brown algae.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3320: Antibacterial Effects of Commiphora gileadensis Methanolic Extract on Wound Healing

Commiphora gileadensis (CG) is a small tree distributed throughout the Middle East. It was traditionally used in perfumes in countries in this area. In Saudi Arabia, it was used to treat wounds burns and as an antidote to scorpion stings. This study aimed to evaluate the antimicrobial activity and cutaneous wound healing efficiency of the CG extracts using microbiological tests, rate of wound contraction and histopathological changes. CG pants were extracted using the methanol extraction technique; then, the methanolic extract was characterized using liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC–MS). Afterwards, a six-millimetre (mm) excision wound was induced in 60 male Balb/c mice. Mice were classified into two classes; each class consisted of three groups of 10 mice. In the non-infected wound class, the group I was assigned as control and received normal saline. Group II received gentamicin treatment, and group III treated with CG-methanolic extract. In the Staphylococcus aureus-infected class, group IV received normal saline, and groups V and VI were treated with gentamicin and CG-methanolic extract, respectively. The colonization of infected wounds was determined using colony-forming units (CFUs), and the percentage of wound contraction was measured in all groups. Finally, the histopathologic semi-quantitative determination of wound healing was evaluated by inflammatory cell infiltration, the presence of collagen fibres and granulation tissue, and the grade of re-epithelization. Composition analysis of the methanolic extract confirmed the presence of a high amount of ceramide (69%) and, to a lesser extent, hexosylceramide (18%) and phosphatidylethanolamine (7%) of the total amount. Additionally, there was a statistically significant difference between the percentage of wound contraction in the CG-treated and control groups in both Staphylococcus aureus-infected and non-infected wounds (p < 0.01). The colonization of the infected wounds was lower in the group treated with CG than in the control group (p < 0.01). In both non-infected and infected wounds, the CG-treated group showed significant statistical differences in inflammatory cell infiltration, collagen fibres, re-epithelization and granulation tissue formation compared with the control group (p < 0.01). The CG extract possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that induce wound healing.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3319: Updated Pharmacological Effects, Molecular Mechanisms, and Therapeutic Potential of Natural Product Geniposide

At present, the potential of natural products in new drug development has attracted more and more scientists’ attention, and natural products have become an important source for the treatment of various diseases or important lead compounds. Geniposide, as a novel iridoid glycoside compound, is an active natural product isolated from the herb Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (GJ) for the first time; it is also the main active component of GJ. Recent studies have found that geniposide has multiple pharmacological effects and biological activities, including hepatoprotective activity, an anti-osteoporosis effect, an antitumor effect, an anti-diabetic effect, ananti-myocardial dysfunction effect, a neuroprotective effect, and other protective effects. In this study, the latest research progress of the natural product geniposide is systematically described, and the pharmacological effects, pharmacokinetics, and toxicity of geniposide are also summarized and discussed comprehensively. We also emphasize the major pathways modulated by geniposide, offering new insights into the pharmacological effects of geniposide as a promising drug candidate for multiple disorders.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3318: Alkaline Soil Degradation and Crop Safety of 5-Substituted Chlorsulfuron Derivatives

Sulfonylurea herbicides can lead to serious weed resistance due to their long degradation times and large-scale applications. This is especially true for chlorsulfuron, a widely used acetolactate synthase inhibitor used around the world. Its persistence in soil often affects the growth of crop seedlings in the following crop rotation, and leads to serious environmental pollution all over the world. Our research goal is to obtain chlorsulfuron-derived herbicides with high herbicidal activities, fast degradation times, as well as good crop safety. On account of the slow natural degradation of chlorsulfuron in alkaline soil, based on the previously reported results in acidic soil, the degradation behaviours of 5-substituted chlorsulfuron analogues (L101–L107) were investigated in a soil with pH 8.39. The experimental data indicated that 5-substituted chlorsulfuron compounds could accelerate degradation rates in alkaline soil, and thus, highlighted the potential for rational controllable degradation in soil. The degradation rates of these chlorsulfuron derivatives were accelerated by 1.84–77.22-fold, compared to chlorsulfuron, and exhibited excellent crop safety in wheat and corn (through pre-emergence treatment). In combination with bioassay activities, acidic and alkaline soil degradation, and crop safety, it was concluded that compounds L104 and L107, with ethyl or methyl groups, are potential green sulfonylurea herbicides for pre-emergence treatment on wheat and corn. This paper provides a reference for the further design of new sulfonylurea herbicides with high herbicidal activity, fast, controllable degradation rates, and high crop safety.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3315: Computational Modelling and Sustainable Synthesis of a Highly Selective Electrochemical MIP-Based Sensor for Citalopram Detection

A novel molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) has been developed based on a simple and sustainable strategy for the selective determination of citalopram (CTL) using screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCEs). The MIP layer was prepared by electrochemical in situ polymerization of the 3-amino-4 hydroxybenzoic acid (AHBA) functional monomer and CTL as a template molecule. To simulate the polymerization mixture and predict the most suitable ratio between the template and functional monomer, computational studies, namely molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, were carried out. During the experimental preparation process, essential parameters controlling the performance of the MIP sensor, including CTL:AHBA concentration, number of polymerization cycles, and square wave voltammetry (SWV) frequency were investigated and optimized. The electrochemical characteristics of the prepared MIP sensor were evaluated by both cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) techniques. Based on the optimal conditions, a linear electrochemical response of the sensor was obtained by SWV measurements from 0.1 to 1.25 µmol L−1 with a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.162 µmol L−1 (S/N = 3). Moreover, the MIP sensor revealed excellent CTL selectivity against very close analogues, as well as high imprinting factor of 22. Its applicability in spiked river water samples demonstrated its potential for adequate monitoring of CTL. This sensor offers a facile strategy to achieve portability while expressing a willingness to care for the environment.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3314: Design, Cytotoxicity and Antiproliferative Activity of 4-Amino-5-methyl-thieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine-6-carboxylates against MFC-7 and MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Lines

Novel 4-amino-thieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine-6-carboxylates substituted at the second position were prepared by cyclocondensation of 2-amino-3-cyano-thiophene and aryl nitriles in an acidic medium. The design of the target compounds was based on structural optimization. The derivatives thus obtained were tested in vitro against human and mouse cell lines. The examination of the compound effects on BLAB 3T3 and MFC-10A cells showed that they are safe, making them suitable for subsequent experiments to establish their antitumor activity. The photoirritancy factor of the compounds was calculated. Using the MTT test, the antiproliferative activity to MCF-10A, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines was estimated. The best antiproliferative effect in respect to the MCF-7 cell line revealed compound 2 with IC50 4.3 ± 0.11 µg/mL (0.013 µM). The highest selective index with respect to MCF-7 cells was shown by compound 3 (SI = 19.3), and to MDA-MB-231 cells by compound 2 (SI = 3.7). Based on energy analysis, the most stable conformers were selected and optimized by means of density functional theory (DFT). Ligand efficiency, ligand lipophilicity efficiency and the physicochemical parameters of the target 4-amino-thienopyrimidines were determined. The data obtained indicated that the lead compound among the tested substances is compound 2.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3317: Enhanced Antioxidant, Hyaluronidase, and Collagenase Inhibitory Activities of Glutinous Rice Husk Extract by Aqueous Enzymatic Extraction

In this research, we aimed to compare the biological activities related to cosmeceutical applications of glutinous rice husk extracted by aqueous enzymatic extraction (AEE) and conventional solvent extraction. Cellulase enzymes were used to assist the extraction process. The vanillic and ferulic acid contents of each extract were investigated by high-performance liquid chromatography, and their antioxidant and anti-aging activities were investigated by spectrophotometric methods. The irritation effects of each extract were investigated by the hen’s egg test on chorioallantoic membrane. The rice husk extract from AEE using 0.5% w/w of cellulase (CE0.5) contained the significantly highest content of vanillic and ferulic acid (p < 0.05), which were responsible for its biological activities. CE0.5 was the most potent antioxidant via radical scavenging activities, and possessed the most potent anti-skin wrinkle effect via collagenase inhibition. Aside from the superior biological activities, the rice husk extracts from AEE were safer than those from solvent extraction, even when 95% v/v ethanol was used. Therefore, AEE is suggested as a green extraction method that can be used instead of the traditional solvent extraction technique given its higher yield and high quality of bioactive compounds. Additionally, CE0.5 is proposed as a potential source of natural antioxidants and anti-aging properties for further development of anti-wrinkle products.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3316: Antioxidant Properties and Aldehyde Reactivity of PD-L1 Targeted Aryl-Pyrazolone Anticancer Agents

Small molecules targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint are actively searched to complement the anticancer arsenal. Different molecular scaffolds have been reported, including phenyl-pyrazolone derivatives which potently inhibit binding of PD-L1 to PD-1. These molecules are structurally close to antioxidant drug edaravone (EDA) used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. For this reason, we investigated the capacity of five PD-L1-binding phenyl-pyrazolone compounds (1–5) to scavenge the formation of oxygen free radicals using electron spin resonance spectroscopy with DPPH/DMPO probes. In addition, the reactivity of the compounds toward the oxidized base 5-formyluracil (5fU) was assessed using chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and photodiode array detectors. The data revealed that the phenyl-pyrazolone derivatives display antioxidant properties and exhibit a variable reactivity toward 5fU. Compound 2 with a N-dichlorophenyl-pyrazolone moiety cumulates the three properties, being a potent PD-L1 binder, a robust antioxidant and an aldehyde-reactive compound. On the opposite, the adamantane derivative 5 is a potent PD-L1 binding with a reduced antioxidant potential and no aldehyde reactivity. The nature of the substituent on the phenyl-pyrazolone core modulates the antioxidant capacity and reactivity toward aromatic aldehydes. The molecular signature of the compound can be adapted at will, to confer additional properties to these PD-L1 binders.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3312: Accumulation, Directional Delivery and Release of Nanoparticles along a Nanofiber

Controllably accumulating and delivering nanoparticles (NPs) into specific locations are a central theme of nano-engineering and important for targeted therapy or bacteria removal. Here we present a technique allowing bidirectional accumulation, directional delivery and release of nanoparticles through two 980-nm-wavelength counter-propagating evanescent waves in an optical nanofiber (NF). Using 713-nm-diameter polystyrene NPs suspension and an 890-nm-diameter NF as an example, we experimentally and theoretically demonstrate that the NPs delivered along the NF surface in opposite directions are accumulated into the region where the scattering loss of the NPs is maximum, and about 90% of the incident optical field from both ends of the NF can be coupled into the region. Moreover, the accumulation region can be controlled by altering the incident optical power ratio of the two counter-propagating laser beams, while the accumulated NPs can be delivered and then released into the specific locations by turning off the two lasers.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3313: Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Mitrephora sirikitiae Leaf Extract and Isolated Lignans in RAW 264.7 Cells

Mitrephora sirikitiae Weeras., Chalermglin & R.M.K. Saunders has been reported as a rich source of lignans that contribute to biological activities and health benefits. However, cellular anti-inflammatory effects of M. sirikitiae leaves and their lignan compounds have not been fully elucidated. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory activities of methanol extract of M. sirikitiae leaves and their lignan constituents on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in RAW 264.7 mouse macrophage cells. Treatment of RAW 264.7 cells with the methanol extract of M. sirikitiae leaves and its isolated lignans, including (-)-phylligenin (2) and 3¢,4-O-dimethylcedrusin (6) significantly decreased LPS-induced prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO) productions. These inhibitory effects of the extract and isolated lignans on LPS-induced upregulation of PGE2 and NO productions were derived from the suppression of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) production, respectively. In addition, treatment with 2-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-6-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-3,7-dioxabicyclo[3.3.0]octane (3) and mitrephoran (5) was able to suppress LPS-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion and synthesis in RAW 264.7 cells. These results demonstrated that M. sirikitiae leaves and some isolated lignans exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity through the inhibition of secretion and synthesis of PGE2, NO, and TNF-α.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3311: Porphyrins as Chelating Agents for Molecular Imaging in Nuclear Medicine

Porphyrin ligands, showing a significant affinity for cancer cells, also have the ability to chelate metallic radioisotopes to form potential diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals. They can be applied in single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) to evaluate metabolic changes in the human body for tumor diagnostics. The aim of this paper is to present a short overview of the main metallic radionuclides complexed by porphyrin ligands and used in these techniques. These chelation reactions are discussed in terms of the complexation conditions and kinetics and the complex stability.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3309: Optimization of Nanohybrid Biosensors Based on Electro-Crosslinked Tannic Acid Capped Nanoparticles/Enzyme

Enzymes/Nanoparticles (NPs) bioconjugates are massively used nowadays to develop thin films for optical and electrochemical biosensors. Nevertheless, their full characterization as a thin coating onto electrodes remains little discussed, in particular the influence of NPs size and enzyme/NPs ratio used in the electrodeposition solution. In this study, GOx (160 kDa) and HRP (44 kDa) were used in association with tannic acid capped gold NPs (a series with sizes from 7 to 40 nm) to electrodeposit biosensor coatings, sensitive towards glucose and H2O2, respectively. The electrodeposition process was based on a mussel-inspired electro-crosslinking between gallol moieties of tannic acid (at the surface of NPs) and amine moieties of the enzymes. On one hand, the sensitivity of the GOx/NPs coatings depends strongly on the NP size and the enzyme/NPs molar ratio of the electrodeposition solution. An optimal sensitivity was obtained by electrodeposition of 11 nm NPs at a GOx/NPs molar ratio close to the theoretical value of the enzyme monolayer. On the other hand, a modest influence of the NPs size was found on the sensitivity in the case of the electrodeposited HRP/NPs coatings, reaching a plateau at the HRP/NPs molar ratio close to the value of the theoretical enzyme monolayer. In both cases, the enzyme/NPs molar ratio played a role in the sensitivity. To fully understand the parameters driving the biosensor sensitivity, a comprehensive evaluation of the colloidal state of the bioconjugates is proposed here.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3310: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Secoiridoids Modulate the Metabolic Activity of Dacarbazine Pre-Treated and Treatment-Naive Melanoma Cells

Nowadays, many individuals, whether healthy or diagnosed with disease, tend to expose themselves to various easily accessible natural products in hopes of benefiting their health and well-being. Mediterranean populations have traditionally used olive oil not only in nutrition but also in cosmetics, including skincare. In this study, the phenolic profile—composed of twelve compounds altogether, including the secoiridoids oleocanthal (OCAL) and oleacein (OCEIN)—of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from autochthonous cultivars from Croatia was determined using 1H qNMR spectroscopy and HPLC-DAD analysis, and its biological activity was investigated in melanoma cell lines. The EVOO with the highest OCEIN content had the strongest anti-cancer activity in A375 melanoma cells and the least toxic effect on the non-cancerous keratocyte cell line (HaCaT). On the other hand, pure OCAL was shown to be more effective and safer than pure OCEIN. Post-treatment with any of the EVOO phenolic extracts (EVOO-PEs) enhanced the anti-cancer effect of the anti-cancerous drug dacarbazine (DTIC) applied in pre-treatment, while they did not compromise the viability of non-cancerous cells. The metastatic melanoma A375M cell line was almost unresponsive to the EVOO-PEs themselves, as well as to pure OCEIN and OCAL. Our results demonstrate that olive oils and/or their compounds may have a potentially beneficial effect on melanoma treatment. However, their usage can be detrimental or futile, especially in healthy cells, due to inadequately applied concentrations/combinations or the presence of resistant cells.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3306: Mechanochemistry and Eco-Bases for Sustainable Michael Addition Reactions

The Michael addition reaction was revisited with a full focus on sustainability combined with efficiency, using mechanochemistry in mild conditions. First, the synthesis of cyclopentenone derivatives was chosen as a model reaction to find optimal conditions in mechanochemistry while using classical but weak bases. The reaction was efficient (84–95% yields), fast (2–6 h), solvent free, and required 0.1 equivalent of base. Aiming to reach greener conditions, classical bases were then replaced using new bio-sourced bases, called Eco-bases, that were easily prepared from plants and led to heterogeneous catalysts. The composition and structure of Eco-bases were characterized by MP-AES, XRPD, EBSD/EDS, HRTEM/EDX and ion chromatography. Interestingly, a high ratio of potassium was observed with the presence of K2Ca(CO3)2 for the most effective Eco-base. The new Eco-bases were used for the mechanical-assisted construction of functionalized alkenone derivatives. The versatility of the method has been successfully applied with good to excellent yields to different Michael donors and acceptors. Eco-bases were recycled and reused four times with the same performances. Combining Eco-bases and mechanochemistry in Michael addition reactions allowed reaching a maximum degree of sustainability (efficient, rapid, low catalyst loading, solvent-free reactions with bio-sourced catalysts) and participating in the development of mechanochemistry in sustainable chemistry.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3321: Materials Used for the Microencapsulation of Probiotic Bacteria in the Food Industry

Probiotics and probiotic therapy have been rapidly developing in recent years due to an increasing number of people suffering from digestive system disorders and diseases related to intestinal dysbiosis. Owing to their activity in the intestines, including the production of short-chain fatty acids, probiotic strains of lactic acid bacteria can have a significant therapeutic effect. The activity of probiotic strains is likely reduced by their loss of viability during gastrointestinal transit. To overcome this drawback, researchers have proposed the process of microencapsulation, which increases the resistance of bacterial cells to external conditions. Various types of coatings have been used for microencapsulation, but the most popular ones are carbohydrate and protein microcapsules. Microencapsulating probiotics with vegetable proteins is an innovative approach that can increase the health value of the final product. This review describes the different types of envelope materials that have been used so far for encapsulating bacterial biomass and improving the survival of bacterial cells. The use of a microenvelope has initiated the controlled release of bacterial cells and an increase in their activity in the large intestine, which is the target site of probiotic strains.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3305: Insights on the Bioaccessibility of Natural Pigments from Diatom Chaetoceros calcitrans

This study aimed to investigate the bioaccessibility of carotenoids and chlorophylls from the biomass of microalgae Chaetoceros calcitrans. The samples were submitted to an in vitro digestion protocol, and the compounds were determined by HPLC-PDA-MS/MS. A total of 13 compounds were identified in all tests. After in vitro digestion, the relative bioaccessibility of carotenoids and chlorophylls ranged from 4 to 58%. The qualitative profile of carotenoids reflected the initial sample, with all-E-zeaxanthin (57.2%) being the most bioaccessible compound, followed by all-E-neochrome (31.26%), the latter being reported for the first time in the micellar fraction. On the other hand, among the chlorophylls only pheophytin a (15.01%) was bioaccessible. Furthermore, a chlorophyll derivative (Hydroxypheophytin a’) was formed after in vitro digestion. Considering all compounds, xanthophylls (12.03%) and chlorophylls (12.22%) were significantly (p < 0.05) more bioaccessible than carotenes (11.22%). Finally, the considerable individual bioaccessibilities found, especially for zeaxanthin, demonstrate the bioactive potential of this bioresource. However, the large reduction in the totality of compounds after in vitro digestion suggests that additional technological strategies should be explored in the future to increase the efficiency of micellarization and enhance its bioactive effects.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3307: Three Diverse Granule Preparation Methods for Proteomic Analysis of Mature Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Starch Grain

Starch is the primary form of reserve carbohydrate storage in plants. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a monocot whose reserve starch is organized into compounded structures within the amyloplast, rather than a simple starch grain (SG). The mechanism governing the assembly of the compound SG from polyhedral granules in apposition, however, remains unknown. To further characterize the proteome associated with these compounded structures, three distinct methods of starch granule preparation (dispersion, microsieve, and flotation) were performed. Phase separation of peptides (aqueous trypsin-shaving and isopropanol solubilization of residual peptides) isolated starch granule-associated proteins (SGAPs) from the distal proteome of the amyloplast and the proximal ‘amylome’ (the amyloplastic proteome), respectively. The term ‘distal proteome’ refers to SGAPs loosely tethered to the amyloplast, ones that can be rapidly proteolyzed, while proximal SGAPs are those found closer to the remnant amyloplast membrane fragments, perhaps embedded therein—ones that need isopropanol solvent to be removed from the mature organelle surface. These two rice starch-associated peptide samples were analyzed using nano-liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (Nano-HPLC-MS/MS). Known and novel proteins, as well as septum-like structure (SLS) proteins, in the mature rice SG were found. Data mining and gene ontology software were used to categorize these putative plastoskeletal components as a variety of structural elements, including actins, tubulins, tubulin-like proteins, and cementitious elements such as reticulata related-like (RER) proteins, tegument proteins, and lectins. Delineating the plastoskeletal proteome begins by understanding how each starch granule isolation procedure affects observed cytoplasmic and plastid proteins. The three methods described herein show how the technique used to isolate SGs differentially impacts the subsequent proteomic analysis and results obtained. It can thus be concluded that future investigations must make judicious decisions regarding the methodology used in extracting proteomic information from the compound starch granules being assessed, since different methods are shown to yield contrasting results herein. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD032314.
Datum: 21.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3295: Enhancement of Haloperidol Binding Affinity to Dopamine Receptor Via Forming a Charge-Transfer Complex with Picric Acid and 7,7,8,8-Tetracyanoquinodimethane for Improvement of the Antipsychotic Efficacy

Haloperidol (HPL) is a typical antipsychotic drug used to treat acute psychotic conditions, delirium, and schizophrenia. Solid charge transfer (CT) products of HPL with 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ) and picric acid (PA) have not been reported till date. Therefore, we conducted this study to investigate the donor–acceptor CT interactions between HPL (donor) and TCNQ and PA (π-acceptors) in liquid and solid states. The complete spectroscopic and analytical analyses deduced that the stoichiometry of these synthesized complexes was 1:1 molar ratio. Molecular docking calculations were performed for HPL as a donor and the resulting CT complexes with TCNQ and PA as acceptors with two protein receptors, serotonin and dopamine, to study the comparative interactions among them, as they are important neurotransmitters that play a large role in mental health. A molecular dynamics simulation was ran for 100 ns with the output from AutoDock Vina to refine docking results and better examine the molecular processes of receptor–ligand interactions. When compared to the reactant donor, the CT complex [(HPL)(TCNQ)] interacted with serotonin and dopamine more efficiently than HPL only. CT complex [(HPL)(TCNQ)] with dopamine (CTtD) showed the greatest binding energy value among all. Additionally, CTtD complex established more a stable interaction with dopamine than HPL–dopamine.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3303: Unveiling the Hidden Therapeutic Potential of Carnosine, a Molecule with a Multimodal Mechanism of Action: A Position Paper

Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a naturally occurring endogenous dipeptide and an over-the-counter food supplement with a well-demonstrated multimodal mechanism of action that includes the detoxification of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, the down-regulation of the production of pro-inflammatory mediators, the inhibition of aberrant protein formation, and the modulation of cells in the peripheral (macrophages) and brain (microglia) immune systems. Since its discovery more than 100 years ago, a plethora of in vivo preclinical studies have been carried out; however, there is still substantial heterogeneity regarding the route of administration, the dosage, the duration of the treatment, and the animal model selected, underlining the urgent need for “coordinated/aligned” preclinical studies laying the foundations for well-defined future clinical trials. The main aim of the present position paper is to critically and concisely consider these key points and open a discussion on the possible “alignment” for future studies, with the goal of validating the full therapeutic potential of this intriguing molecule.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3288: Anti-Obesity Effect of Dyglomera® Is Associated with Activation of the AMPK Signaling Pathway in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Mice with High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity

Dyglomera® is an aqueous ethanol extract of the fruit pods of Dichrostachys glomerata, a Cameroonian spice. Several studies have shown its anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects. However, the underlying mechanisms for such effects remain unclear. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the anti-obesity effect of Dyglomera® and its underlying mechanisms in mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Our results revealed that Dyglomera® inhibited adipogenesis and lipogenesis by regulating AMPK phosphorylation in white adipose tissues (WATs) and 3T3-L1 adipocytes and promoted lipolysis by increasing the expression of lipolysis-related proteins. These results suggest that Dyglomera® can be used as an effective dietary supplement for treating obesity due to its modulating effect on adipogenesis/lipogenesis and lipolysis.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3282: Exploring the Chemical Properties and Biological Activity of Four New Zealand Monofloral Honeys to Support the Māori Vision and Aspirations

Honey production and export are significant contributors to the Aotearoa New Zealand economy, generating over 400 million dollars in revenue. Its main export is mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honey, which has a high commercial value due to its medicinal properties that are linked to its unique chemical composition. The compound methylglyoxal (MGO) has been identified as the main floral marker and is used as a quality indicator, often labelled as unique mānuka factor (UMF). However, the high demand for mānuka honey creates pressure on beekeepers and may have negative ecological consequences by favouring extensive mānuka monocultures to the detriment of other native species. There are other honeys native to New Zealand, such as kāmahi (Weinmannia racemosa), kānuka (Kunzea ericoides), rātā (Metrosideros robusta) and rewarewa (Knightia excelsa), that also have medicinal properties; however, they are less well known in the local and global market. Indigenous Māori communities envision the production and commercialization (locally and internationally) of these honeys as an opportunity to generate income and secure a sustainable future in alignment with their worldview (Te Ao Māori) and values (tikanga Māori). Diversifying the market could lead to a more sustainable income for beekeepers and reduce pressure on Māori and the conservation land, while supporting indigenous communities to realize their vision and aspirations. This manuscript provides an extensive review of the scientific literature, technical literature and traditional knowledge databases describing the plants of interest and their traditional medicinal uses (rongoā) and the chemical properties of each honey, potential floral markers and their biological activity. For each honey type, we also identify knowledge gaps and potential research avenues. This information will assist Māori beekeepers, researchers, consumers and other stakeholders in making informed decisions regarding future research and the production, marketing and consumption of these native monofloral honeys.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3279: Comparative Study of Sample Carriers for the Identification of Volatile Compounds in Biological Fluids Using Raman Spectroscopy

Vibrational spectroscopic techniques and especially Raman spectroscopy are gaining ground in substituting the officially established chromatographic methods in the identification of ethanol and other volatile substances in body fluids, such as blood, urine, saliva, semen, and vaginal fluids. Although a couple of different carriers and substrates have been employed for the biochemical analysis of these samples, most of them are suffering from important weaknesses as far as the analysis of volatile compounds is concerned. For this reason, in this study three carriers are proposed, and the respective sample preparation methods are described for the determination of ethanol in human urine samples. More specifically, a droplet of the sample on a highly reflective carrier of gold layer, a commercially available cuvette with a mirror to enhance backscattered radiation sealed with a lid, and a home designed microscope slide with a cavity coated with gold layer and covered with transparent cling film have been evaluated. Among the three proposed carriers, the last one achieved a quick, simple, and inexpensive identification of ethanol, which was used as a case study for the volatile compound, in the biological samples. The limit of detection (LoD) was found to be 1.00 μL/mL, while at the same time evaporation of ethanol was prevented.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3285: Analyses of Physical and Chemical Compositions of Different Medicinal Specifications of CRPV by Use of Multiple Instrumental Techniques Combined with Multivariate Statistical Analysis

Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium Viride (CRPV) is the processed product of Citrus reticulata Blanco. We systematically analyzed two CRPV types, Geqingpi (GQP) and Sihuaqingpi (SHQP), based on powder color, microscopic characteristics, and chemical composition. In addition, we characterized their constituents via ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-Exactive Orbitrap-MS). Both showed significant differences in their powder color and microscopic characteristics. Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic analysis results showed that the C=O peak absorption of carboxylic acids and their carbonyl esters in SHQP was higher than that of GQP, while the C-OH and C-H plane bending peaks of polysaccharides were lower than those of GQP. We analyzed these data via similarity analysis, PCA, and OPLS-DA. GQP and SHQP had large distinct differences. Based on the mass measurements for molecular and characteristic fragment ions, we identified 44 main constituents from CRPV, including different flavonoid glycosides and flavonoid aglycones in SHQP and GQP, respectively. We found luteolin-6-C-glucoside, orientin, rhoifolin, and pilloin solely in SHQP, and naringenin and hesperetin only in GQP. The peak area measurements showed GQP having a higher flavonoid glycoside (narirutin, hesperidin, etc.) content, whereas SHQP had a higher polymethoxyflavone (nobiletin, tangeretin, etc.) content. Since we holistically analyzed two CRPV types, the results can not only support future pharmacological research, but also provide a scientific basis for formulating more reasonable CRPV quality standards and guide its clinical potential as a precision medicine.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3284: Aging Process Effects on the Characteristics of Vacuum Residue Oxidation Products with the Addition of Crumb Rubber

This paper considers the effect of aging processes on viscoelastic characteristics of vacuum residue oxidation products modified with crumb rubber. Viscoelastic properties were compared to original bitumen raw material-vacuum residue and vacuum residue oxidation products during short-term and long-term aging. The complex shear modulus of the vacuum residue and its oxidation products decreased with an increase in temperature. Short-term aging resulted in increased shear modulus for all samples.The vacuum residue oxidation product modified with crumb rubber had the maximum values of the rutting parameter and fatigue parameter. There was an expansion of the temperature range of plasticity: for the vacuum residue oxidation product with crumb rubber, its value was 67.2 °C. The curves of the black diagram of the modified vacuum residue oxidation product are shifted towards smaller phase angles with the increase in the shear modulus, which indicates the increase in the stiffness and elasticity of the rubber bitumen binders. The vacuum residue oxidation product modified with crumb rubber corresponded to the rubber bitumen binder of the grade RBB 60/90, according to its physical and mechanical indicators.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3297: Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Honey in Neurological Disorders: The Role of Polyphenols

Honey is the principal premier product of beekeeping familiar to Homo for centuries. In every geological era and culture, evidence can be traced to the potential usefulness of honey in several ailments. With the advent of recent scientific approaches, honey has been proclaimed as a potent complementary and alternative medicine for the management and treatment of several maladies including various neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, etc. In the literature archive, oxidative stress and the deprivation of antioxidants are believed to be the paramount cause of many of these neuropathies. Since different types of honey are abundant with certain antioxidants, primarily in the form of diverse polyphenols, honey is undoubtedly a strong pharmaceutic candidate against multiple neurological diseases. In this review, we have indexed and comprehended the involved mechanisms of various constituent polyphenols including different phenolic acids, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals that manifest multiple antioxidant effects in various neurological disorders. All these mechanistic interpretations of the nutritious components of honey explain and justify the potential recommendation of sweet nectar in ameliorating the burden of neurological disorders that have significantly increased across the world in the last few decades.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3296: Visible Light-Driven Alkyne-Grafted Ethylene-Bridged Azobenzene Chromophores for Photothermal Utilization

Molecular photoswitches are considered to be important candidates in the field of solar energy storage due to their sensitive and reversible bidirectional optical response. Nevertheless, it is still a daunting challenge to design a molecular photoswitch to improve the low solar spectrum utilization and quantum yields while achieving charging and discharging of heat without solvent assistance. Herein, a series of visible-light-driven ethylene-bridged azobenzene (b-Azo) chromophores with different alkyne substituents which can undergo isomerization reactions promoted in both directions by visible light are reported. Their visible light responsiveness improves their solar spectrum utilization while also having high quantum yields. In addition, as the compounds are liquids, there is no need to dissolve the compounds in order to exploit this switching. The photoisomerization of b-Azo can be adjusted by alkyne-related substituents, and hexyne-substituted b-Azo is able to store and release photothermal energy with a high density of 106.1 J·g−1, and can achieve a temperature increase of 1.8 °C at a low temperature of −1 °C.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3286: Chemical Compounds of Berry-Derived Polyphenols and Their Effects on Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Cancer

Berry-derived polyphenols are bioactive compounds synthesized and secreted by several berry fruits. These polyphenols feature a diversity of chemical compounds, including phenolic acids and flavonoids. Here, we report the beneficial health effects of berry-derived polyphenols and their therapeutical application on gut-microbiota-related diseases, including inflammation and cancer. Pharmacokinetic investigations have confirmed the absorption, availability, and metabolism of berry-derived polyphenols. In vitro and in vivo tests, as well as clinical trials, showed that berry-derived polyphenols can positively modulate the gut microbiota, inhibiting inflammation and cancer development. Indeed, these compounds inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and also promote beneficial bacteria. Moreover, berry-derived polyphenols exhibit therapeutic effects against different gut-microbiota-related disorders such as inflammation, cancer, and metabolic disorders. Moreover, these polyphenols can manage the inflammation via various mechanisms, in particular the inhibition of the transcriptional factor Nf-κB. Berry-derived polyphenols have also shown remarkable effects on different types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, esophageal, and prostate cancer. Moreover, certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes and atherosclerosis were also managed by berry-derived polyphenols through different mechanisms. These data showed that polyphenols from berries are a promising source of bioactive compounds capable of modulating the intestinal microbiota, and therefore managing cancer and associated metabolic diseases. However, further investigations should be carried out to determine the mechanisms of action of berry-derived polyphenol bioactive compounds to validate their safety and examinate their clinical uses.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3283: Multitarget Action of Xanthones from Garcinia mangostana against α-Amylase, α-Glucosidase and Pancreatic Lipase

Digestive enzymes such α-amylase (AA), α-glucosidase (AG) and pancreatic lipase (PL), play an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids, being attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Garcinia mangostana is an interesting species because there have been identified xanthones with the potential to inhibit these enzymes. In this study, the multitarget inhibitory potential of xanthones from G. mangostana against AA, AG and PL was assessed. The methodology included the isolation and identification of bioactive xanthones, the synthesis of some derivatives and a molecular docking study. The chemical study allowed the isolation of five xanthones (1–5). Six derivatives (6–11) were synthesized from the major compound, highlighting the proposal of a new solvent-free methodology with microwave irradiation for obtaining aromatic compounds with tetrahydropyran cycle. Compounds with multitarget activity correspond to 2, 4, 5, 6 and 9, highlighting 6 with IC50 values of 33.3 µM on AA, 69.2 µM on AG and 164.4 µM on PL. Enzymatic kinetics and molecular docking studies showed that the bioactive xanthones are mainly competitive inhibitors on AA, mixed inhibitors on AG and non-competitive inhibitors on PL. The molecular coupling study established that the presence of methoxy, hydroxyl and carbonyl groups are important in the activity and interaction of polyfunctional xanthones, highlighting their importance depending on the mode of inhibition.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3281: Phytochemical Analysis, Antibacterial Activity and Modulating Effect of Essential Oil from Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels

One of the main global problems that affect human health is the development of bacterial resistance to different drugs. As a result, the growing number of multidrug-resistant pathogens has contributed to an increase in resistant infections and represents a public health problem. The present work seeks to investigate the chemical composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil of Syzygium cumini leaves. To identify its chemical composition, gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used. The antibacterial activity test was performed with the standard strains Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 25853 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 and multidrug-resistant clinical isolates E. coli 06, P. aeruginosa 24 and S. aureus 10. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined by serial microdilution as well as the verification of the modulating effect of the antibiotic effect. In this test, the oil was used in a subinhibitory concentration. The test reading was performed after 24 h of incubation at 37 °C. The results show that the major chemical constituent is α-pinene (53.21%). The oil showed moderate activity against E. coli ATCC 25922, with the MIC of 512 µg/mL; there was no activity against the other strains. The oil potentiated the effect of antibiotics demonstrating possible synergism when associated with gentamicin, erythromycin and norfloxacin against E. coli 06 and S. aureus 10.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3280: In Search of Synergistic Insect Repellents: Modeling of Muscarinic GPCR Interactions with Classical and Bitopic Photoactive Ligands

Insect vector-borne diseases pose serious health problems, so there is a high demand for efficient molecules that could reduce transmission. Using molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, we studied a series of compounds acting on human and insect muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs), a novel target of synergistic agents in pest control. We characterized early conformational changes of human M1 and fruit fly type-A mAChR G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in response to DEET, IR3535, and muscarine binding based on the MD analysis of the activation microswitches known to form the signal transduction pathway in class A GPCRs. We indicated groups of microswitches that are the most affected by the presence of a ligand. Moreover, to increase selectivity towards insects, we proposed a new, bitopic, photoswitchable mAChR ligand—BQCA-azo-IR353 and studied its interactions with both receptors. Modeling data showed that using a bitopic ligand may be a promising strategy in the search for better insect control.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3291: Insight into the Progress on Natural Dyes: Sources, Structural Features, Health Effects, Challenges, and Potential

(1) Background: Dyes play an important role in food, medicine, textile, and other industries, which make human life more colorful. With the increasing demand for food safety, the development of natural dyes becomes more and more attractive. (2) Methods: The literature was searched using the electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science, and SciFinder and this scoping review was carried out following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). (3) Results: 248 articles were included in this review. This review summarizes the research progress on natural dyes in the last ten years. According to structural features, natural dyes mainly include carotenoids, polyphenols, porphyrins, and alkaloids, and some of the newest dyes are summarized. Some pharmacological activities of carotenoids, anthocyanin, curcumin, and betalains in the last 10 years are summarized, and the biological effects of dyes regarding illumination conditions. The disadvantages of natural dyes, including sources, cost, stability, and poor bioavailability, limit their application. Here, some feasible strategies (potential resources, biotechnology, new extraction and separation strategies, strategies for improving stability) are described, which will contribute to the development and utilization of natural dyes. (4) Conclusion: Natural dyes show health benefits and potential in food additives. However, it is necessary for natural dyes to pass toxicity tests and quality tests and receive many regulatory approvals before their final entry into the market as food colorants or as drugs.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3278: Spectroscopic Characterization of 3-Aminoisoxazole, a Prebiotic Precursor of Ribonucleotides

The processes and reactions that led to the formation of the first biomolecules on Earth play a key role in the highly debated theme of the origin of life. Whether the first chemical building blocks were generated on Earth (endogenous synthesis) or brought from space (exogenous delivery) is still unanswered. The detection of complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium provides valuable support to the latter hypothesis. To gather more insight, here we provide the astronomers with accurate rotational frequencies to guide the interstellar search of 3-aminoisoxazole, which has been recently envisaged as a key reactive species in the scenario of the so-called RNA-world hypothesis. Relying on an accurate computational characterization, we were able to register and analyze the rotational spectrum of 3-aminoisoxazole in the 6–24 GHz and 80–320 GHz frequency ranges for the first time, exploiting a Fourier-transform microwave spectrometer and a frequency-modulated millimeter/sub-millimeter spectrometer, respectively. Due to the inversion motion of the −NH2 group, two states arise, and both of them were characterized, with more than 1300 lines being assigned. Although the fit statistics were affected by an evident Coriolis interaction, we were able to produce accurate line catalogs for astronomical observations of 3-aminoisoxazole.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3300: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Anti-Proliferative Potential of the Pyrazole Scaffold in the Design of Anticancer Agents

The current work presents an objective overview of the impact of one important heterocyclic structure, the pyrazole ring, in the development of anti-proliferative drugs. A set of 1551 pyrazole derivatives were extracted from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) database, together with their growth inhibition effects (GI%) on the NCI’s panel of 60 cancer cell lines. The structures of these derivatives were analyzed based on the compounds’ averages of GI% values across NCI-60 cell lines and the averages of the values for the outlier cells. The distribution and the architecture of the Bemis–Murcko skeletons were analyzed, highlighting the impact of certain scaffold structures on the anti-proliferative effect’s potency and selectivity. The drug-likeness, chemical reactivity and promiscuity risks of the compounds were predicted using AMDETlab. The pyrazole ring proved to be a versatile scaffold for the design of anticancer drugs if properly substituted and if connected with other cyclic structures. The 1,3-diphenyl-pyrazole emerged as a useful scaffold for potent and targeted anticancer candidates.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3287: Production and Analysis of the Physicochemical Properties of the Pyrolytic Oil Obtained from Pyrolysis of Different Thermoplastics and Plastic Mixtures

The constant search for the proper management of non-degradable waste in conjunction with the circular economy makes the thermal pyrolysis of plastics an important technique for obtaining products with industrial interest. The present study aims to produce pyrolytic oil from thermoplastics and their different mixtures in order to determine the best performance between these and different mixtures, as well as to characterize the liquid fraction obtained to analyze its use based on said properties. This was carried out in a batch type reactor at a temperature of 400 °C for both individual plastics and their mixtures, from which the yields of the different fractions are obtained. The liquid fraction of interest is characterized by gas chromatography and its properties are characterized by ASTM standards. The product of the pyrolysis of mixtures of 75% polystyrene and 25% polypropylene presents a yield of 82%, being the highest, with a viscosity of 1.12 cSt and a calorific power of 42.5 MJ/kg, which has a composition of compounds of carbon chains ranging between C6 and C20, for which it is proposed as a good additive agent to conventional fuels for industrial use.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3298: Interruptin C, a Radioprotective Agent, Derived from Cyclosorus terminans Protect Normal Breast MCF-10A and Human Keratinocyte HaCaT Cells against Radiation-Induced Damage

Radiotherapy is a common method to treat cancers, with the goal of maximizing the dose to tumors while minimizing the dose to normal tissues. Radioprotectors can reduce the toxicity to normal tissues during radiotherapy. Several plant-derived compounds can function as radioprotectors by scavenging free radicals. We investigated the radioprotective activity of interruptin C from the fern Cyclosorus terminans. The molecular mechanism of interruptin C’s activity in X-ray-irradiated cells was evaluated. Superoxide dismutase activity was examined to investigate the antioxidant enzyme activity. Clonogenic cell survival was also investigated following radiation exposure. DNA damage and cell cycle progression were detected using micronuclei formation assays. DNA repair after irradiation was analyzed in a γH2AX assay. The levels of the proteins related to the radioprotective responses were analyzed by Western blotting. Interruptin C increased the antioxidant enzyme activity and significantly decreased the DNA damage by reducing the γH2AX foci and micronucleus formation in irradiated MCF-10A normal breast and HaCaT human keratinocyte cells. The apoptotic protein levels decreased, whereas the antiapoptotic protein levels increased. Interruptin C pretreatment increased the survival rate of irradiated MCF-10A and HaCaT cells. Moreover, the compound did not promote the survival of MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T breast cancer cells. Therefore, interruptin C may exert radioprotective activity without enhancing cancer cell proliferation.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3293: N-Dealkylation of Amines

N-dealkylation, the removal of an N-alkyl group from an amine, is an important chemical transformation which provides routes for the synthesis of a wide range of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, bulk and fine chemicals. N-dealkylation of amines is also an important in vivo metabolic pathway in the metabolism of xenobiotics. Identification and synthesis of drug metabolites such as N-dealkylated metabolites are necessary throughout all phases of drug development studies. In this review, different approaches for the N-dealkylation of amines including chemical, catalytic, electrochemical, photochemical and enzymatic methods will be discussed.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3301: Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolomics of Phytocannabinoids from Non-Cannabis Plant Origins

Phytocannabinoids are isoprenylated resorcinyl polyketides produced mostly in glandular trichomes of Cannabis sativa L. These discoveries led to the identification of cannabinoid receptors, which modulate psychotropic and pharmacological reactions and are found primarily in the human central nervous system. As a result of the biogenetic process, aliphatic ketide phytocannabinoids are exclusively found in the cannabis species and have a limited natural distribution, whereas phenethyl-type phytocannabinoids are present in higher plants, liverworts, and fungi. The development of cannabinomics has uncovered evidence of new sources containing various phytocannabinoid derivatives. Phytocannabinoids have been isolated as artifacts from their carboxylated forms (pre-cannabinoids or acidic cannabinoids) from plant sources. In this review, the overview of the phytocannabinoid biosynthesis is presented. Different non-cannabis plant sources are described either from those belonging to the angiosperm species and bryophytes, together with their metabolomic structures. Lastly, we discuss the legal framework for the ingestion of these biological materials which currently receive the attention as a legal high.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3289: MoS2 as a Co-Catalyst for Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production: A Mini Review

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), with a two-dimensional (2D) structure, has attracted huge research interest due to its unique electrical, optical, and physicochemical properties. MoS2 has been used as a co-catalyst for the synthesis of novel heterojunction composites with enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen production under solar light irradiation. In this review, we briefly highlight the atomic-scale structure of MoS2 nanosheets. The top-down and bottom-up synthetic methods of MoS2 nanosheets are described. Additionally, we discuss the formation of MoS2 heterostructures with titanium dioxide (TiO2), graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), and other semiconductors and co-catalysts for enhanced photocatalytic hydrogen generation. This review addresses the challenges and future perspectives for enhancing solar hydrogen production performance in heterojunction materials using MoS2 as a co-catalyst.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3302: Polyphenols and Maillard Reaction Products in Dried Prunus spinosa Fruits: Quality Aspects and Contribution to Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Activity in Human Immune Cells Ex Vivo

Dried Prunus spinosa fruits (sloes) are folk phytotherapeutics applied to treat chronic inflammatory disorders. However, their pharmacological potential, activity vectors, and drying-related changes in bioactive components remain unexplored. Therefore, the present research aimed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of dried sloes in ex vivo models of human neutrophils and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs) and establish their main active components. It was revealed that the fruit extracts significantly and dose-dependently inhibited the respiratory burst, downregulated the production of elastase (ELA-2) and TNF-α, and upregulated the IL-10 secretion by immune cells under pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant stimulation. The slightly reduced IL-6 and IL-8 secretion was also observed. The structural identification of active compounds, including 45 phenolics and three Maillard reaction products (MRPs) which were formed during drying, was performed by an integrated approach combining LC-MS/MS, preparative HPLC isolation, and NMR studies. The cellular tests of four isolated model compounds (chlorogenic acid, quercetin, procyanidin B2, and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural), supported by statistical correlation studies, revealed a significant polyphenolic contribution and a slight impact of MRPs on the extracts’ effects. Moreover, a substantial synergy was observed for phenolic acids, flavonoids, condensed proanthocyanidins, and MPRs. These results might support the phytotherapeutic use of dried P. spinosa fruits to relieve inflammation and establish the quality control procedure for the extracts prepared thereof.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3292: A Comprehensive Review of Rosmarinic Acid: From Phytochemistry to Pharmacology and Its New Insight

Polyphenolic acids are the widely occurring natural products in almost each herbal plant, among which rosmarinic acid (RA, C18H16O8) is well-known, and is present in over 160 species belonging to many families, especially the Lamiaceae. Aside from this herbal ingredient, dozens of its natural derivatives have also been isolated and characterized from many natural plants. In recent years, with the increasing focus on the natural products as alternative treatments, a large number of pharmacological studies have been carried out to demonstrate the various biological activities of RA such as anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, anti-diabetes, anti-virus, anti-tumor, neuroprotection, hepatoprotection, etc. In addition, investigations concerning its biosynthesis, extraction, analysis, clinical applications, and pharmacokinetics have also been performed. Although many achievements have been made in various research aspects, there still exist some problems or issues to be answered, especially its toxicity and bioavailability. Thus, we hope that in the case of natural products, the present review can not only provide a comprehensive understanding on RA covering its miscellaneous research fields, but also highlight some of the present issues and future perspectives worth investigating later, in order to help us utilize this polyphenolic acid more efficiently, widely, and safely.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3299: Chemical Constituent Analysis of Ranunculus sceleratus L. Using Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Quadrupole-Orbitrap High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry

Ranunculus sceleratus L.(RS) has shown various pharmacological effects in traditional Chinese medicine. In our previous study, the positive therapeutic effect on α-naphthylisothiocyanate induced intrahepatic cholestasis in rats was obtained using TianJiu treatment with fresh RS. However, the chemical profile of RS has not been clearly clarified, which impedes the research progress on the therapeutic effect of RS. Herein, an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole Orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS) method was developed to rapidly separate and identify multiple constituents in the 80% methanol extract of RS. A total of sixty-nine compounds (19 flavonoids, 22 organic acids, 6 coumarins, 4 lignans, 14 nitrogenous compounds, and 4 anthraquinones) were successfully characterized. A total of 12 of these compounds were unambiguously identified by standard samples. Their mass spectrometric fragmentation pathways were investigated. It is worth noting that flavonoids and lignans were identified for the first time in RS. In this study, we successfully provide the first comprehensive report on identifying major chemical constituents in RS by UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap HRMS. The obtained results enrich the RS chemical profile, paving the way for further phytochemical study, quality control, and pharmacological investigation of RS.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3304: Comparison of Multivariate ANOVA-Based Approaches for the Determination of Relevant Variables in Experimentally Designed Metabolomic Studies

The use of chemometric methods based on the analysis of variances (ANOVA) allows evaluation of the statistical significance of the experimental factors used in a study. However, classical multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) has a number of requirements that make it impractical for dealing with metabolomics data. For this reason, in recent years, different options have appeared that overcome these limitations. In this work, we evaluate the performance of three of these multivariate ANOVA-based methods (ANOVA simultaneous component analysis—ASCA, regularized MANOVA–rMANOVA, and Group-wise ANOVA-simultaneous component analysis—GASCA) in the framework of metabolomics studies. Our main goals are to compare these various ANOVA-based approaches and evaluate their performance on experimentally designed metabolomic studies to find the significant factors and identify the most relevant variables (potential markers) from the obtained results. Two experimental data sets were generated employing liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) with different complexity in the design to evaluate the performance of the statistical approaches. Results show that the three considered ANOVA-based methods have a similar performance in detecting statistically significant factors. However, relevant variables pointed by GASCA seem to be more reliable as there is a strong similarity with those variables detected by the widely used partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) method.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3290: Increasing the Efficacy of Seproxetine as an Antidepressant Using Charge–Transfer Complexes

The charge transfer interactions between the seproxetine (SRX) donor and π-electron acceptors [picric acid (PA), dinitrobenzene (DNB), p-nitrobenzoic acid (p-NBA), 2,6-dichloroquinone-4-chloroimide (DCQ), 2,6-dibromoquinone-4-chloroimide (DBQ), and 7,7′,8,8′-tetracyanoquinodi methane (TCNQ)] were studied in a liquid medium, and the solid form was isolated and characterized. The spectrophotometric analysis confirmed that the charge–transfer interactions between the electrons of the donor and acceptors were 1:1 (SRX: π-acceptor). To study the comparative interactions between SRX and the other π-electron acceptors, molecular docking calculations were performed between SRX and the charge transfer (CT) complexes against three receptors (serotonin, dopamine, and TrkB kinase receptor). According to molecular docking, the CT complex [(SRX)(TCNQ)] binds with all three receptors more efficiently than SRX alone, and [(SRX)(TCNQ)]-dopamine (CTcD) has the highest binding energy value. The results of AutoDock Vina revealed that the molecular dynamics simulation of the 100 ns run revealed that both the SRX-dopamine and CTcD complexes had a stable conformation; however, the CTcD complex was more stable. The optimized structure of the CT complexes was obtained using density functional theory (B-3LYP/6-311G++) and was compared.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3294: Cherries and Blueberries-Based Beverages: Functional Foods with Antidiabetic and Immune Booster Properties

Nowadays, it is largely accepted that the daily intake of fruits, vegetables, herbal products and derivatives is an added value in promoting human health, given their capacity to counteract oxidative stress markers and suppress uncontrolled pro-inflammatory responses. Given that, natural-based products seem to be a promising strategy to attenuate, or even mitigate, the development of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and to boost the immune system. Among fruits, cherries and blueberries are nutrient-dense fruits that have been a target of many studies and interest given their richness in phenolic compounds and notable biological potential. In fact, research has already demonstrated that these fruits can be considered functional foods, and hence, their use in functional beverages, whose popularity is increasing worldwide, is not surprising and seem to be a promising and useful strategy. Therefore, the present review reinforces the idea that cherries and blueberries can be incorporated into new pharmaceutical products, smart foods, functional beverages, and nutraceuticals and be effective in preventing and/or treating diseases mediated by inflammatory mediators, reactive species, and free radicals.
Datum: 20.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3246: The Effects of Processing on Bioactive Compounds and Biological Activities of Sorghum Grains

Sorghum is ranked the fifth most commonly used cereal and is rich in many kinds of bioactive compounds. Food processing can affect the accumulation and decomposition of bioactive compounds in sorghum grains, and then change the biological activities of sorghum grains. The present review aims to analyze the effects of processing technologies on bioactive compounds and the biological activities of sorghum grains. Decortication reduces the total phenols, tannins, and antioxidant activity of sorghum grains. The effects of thermal processes on bioactive compounds and potential biological activities of sorghum grains are complicated due to thermal treatment method and thermal treatment conditions, such as extrusion cooking, which has different effects on the bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of sorghum due to extrusion conditions, such as temperature and moisture, and food matrices, such as whole grain and bran. Emerging thermal processes, such as microwave heating and high-pressure processing, could promote the release of bound phenolic substances and procyanidins, and are recommended. Biological processes can increase the nutritive and nutraceutical quality and reduce antinutritional compounds, except for soaking which reduces water-soluble compounds in sorghum.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3251: In Silico Analysis and Functional Characterization of Antimicrobial and Insecticidal Vicilin from Moth Bean (Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal) Seeds

Vicilin has nutraceutical potential and different noteworthy medicative health-promoting biotic diversions, and it is remarkable against pathogenic microorganisms and insects. In this study, Vigna aconitifolia vicilin (VacV) has been identified and characterized from the seed of Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal (Moth beans). LC-MS/MS analysis of VacV provided seven random fragmented sequences comprising 238 residues, showing significant homology with already reported Vigna radiata vicilin (VraV). VacV was purified using ammonium sulfate precipitation (60%) followed by size exclusion chromatography on Hi-Load 16/60 Superdex 200 pg column and anion-exchange chromatography (Hi trap Q FF column). Purified VacV showed a major ~50 kDa band and multiple lower bands on 12% sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) under both reduced and non-reduced conditions. After all, a three-dimensional molecular structure of VacV was predicted, which showed β-sheeted molecular conformation similar to crystallographic structure of VraV. All Vicilins from V. aconitifolia and other plants were divided into six sub-groups by phylogenetic analysis, and VacV shared a high degree of similarity with vicilins of Vigna radiata, Pisum sativum, Lupinus albus, Cicer arietinum and Glycine max. Additionally, VacV (20 μg) has significant growth inhibition against different pathogenic bacteria along strong antifungal activity (50 μg). Likewise, VacV (3.0 mg) produced significant growth reduction in Rice Weevil Sitophilus oryzae larvae after 9 days compared with control. Furthermore, by using MMT assay, the cytotoxicity effect of VacV on the growth of HepG2 liver cancerous cells was tested. VacV showed cytotoxicity against the HepG-2 line and the acquired value was 180 µg after 48 h. Finally, we performed molecular docking against caspase-3 protein (PDB ID: 3DEI) for VacV bioactive receptor interface residues. Hence, our results reveal that VacV, has nutraceutical potential and moth beans can be used as a rich resource of functional foods.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3250: Contemporary Developments and Emerging Trends in the Application of Spectroscopy Techniques: A Particular Reference to Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.)

The number of food frauds in coconut-based products is increasing due to higher consumer demands for these products. Rising health consciousness, public awareness and increased concerns about food safety and quality have made authorities and various other certifying agencies focus more on the authentication of coconut products. As the conventional techniques for determining the quality attributes of coconut are destructive and time-consuming, non-destructive testing methods which are accurate, rapid, and easy to perform with no detrimental sampling methods are currently gaining importance. Spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared (IR)spectroscopy, mid-infrared (MIR)spectroscopy, near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and Raman spectroscopy (RS) are gaining in importance for determining the oxidative stability of coconut oil, the adulteration of oils, and the detection of harmful additives, pathogens, and toxins in coconut products and are also employed in deducing the interactions in food constituents, and microbial contaminations. The objective of this review is to provide a comprehensive analysis on the various spectroscopic techniques along with different chemometric approaches for the successful authentication and quality determination of coconut products. The manuscript was prepared by analyzing and compiling the articles that were collected from various databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus and ScienceDirect. The spectroscopic techniques in combination with chemometrics were shown to be successful in the authentication of coconut products. RS and NMR spectroscopy techniques proved their utility and accuracy in assessing the changes in coconut oil’s chemical and viscosity profile. FTIR spectroscopy was successfully utilized to analyze the oxidation levels and determine the authenticity of coconut oils. An FT-NIR-based analysis of various coconut samples confirmed the acceptable levels of accuracy in prediction. These non-destructive methods of spectroscopy offer a broad spectrum of applications in food processing industries to detect adulterants. Moreover, the combined chemometrics and spectroscopy detection method is a versatile and accurate measurement for adulterant identification.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3255: Production of Prosaikogenin F, Prosaikogenin G, Saikogenin F and Saikogenin G by the Recombinant Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Saikosaponin and their Anti-Cancer Effect

The saponins of Bupleurum falcatum L., saikosaponins, are the major components responsible for its pharmacological and biological activities. However, the anti-cancer effects of prosaikogenin and saikogenin, which are glycoside hydrolyzed saikosaponins, are still unknown due to its rarity in plants. In this study, we applied two recombinant glycoside hydrolases that exhibit glycoside cleavage activity with saikosaponins. The two enzymes, BglPm and BglLk, were cloned from Paenibacillus mucilaginosus and Lactobacillus koreensis, and exhibited good activity between 30–37 °C and pH 6.5–7.0. Saikosaponin A and D were purified and obtained from the crude B. falcatum L. extract using preparative high performance liquid chromatography technique. Saikosaponin A and D were converted into saikogenin F via prosaikogenin F, and saikogenin G via prosaikogenin G using enzyme transformation with high β-glycosidase activity. The two saikogenin and two prosaikogenin compounds were purified using a silica column to obtain 78.1, 62.4, 8.3, and 7.5 mg of prosaikogenin F, prosaikogenin G, saikogenin F, and saikogenin G, respectively, each with 98% purity. The anti-cancer effect of the six highly purified saikosaponins was investigated in the human colon cancer cell line HCT 116. The results suggested that saikosaponins and prosaikogenins markedly inhibit the growth of the cancer cell line. Thus, this enzymatic technology could significantly improve the production of saponin metabolites of B. falcatum L.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3254: Natural Cryoprotective and Cytoprotective Agents in Cryopreservation: A Focus on Melatonin

Cryoprotective and cytoprotective agents (Cytoprotective Agents) are fundamental components of the cryopreservation process. This review presents the essentials of the cryopreservation process by examining its drawbacks and the role of cytoprotective agents in protecting cell physiology. Natural cryoprotective and cytoprotective agents, such as antifreeze proteins, sugars and natural deep eutectic systems, have been compared with synthetic ones, addressing their mechanisms of action and efficacy of protection. The final part of this article focuses melatonin, a hormonal substance with antioxidant properties, and its emerging role as a cytoprotective agent for somatic cells and gametes, including ovarian tissue, spermatozoa and spermatogonial stem cells.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3248: Anti-Obesity and Anti-Adipogenic Effects of Administration of Arginyl-Fructose-Enriched Jeju Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Extract in C57BL/6 Mice and in 3T3-L1 Preadipocytes Models

In our previous study, we reported that arginyl-fructose (AF), one of the Amadori rearrangement compounds (ARCs) produced by the heat processing of Korean ginseng can reduce carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting intestinal carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes in both in vitro and in vivo animal models. This reduced absorption of carbohydrate might be helpful to control body weight gain due to excessive carbohydrate consumption and support induced calorie restriction. However, the weight management effect, except for the effect due to anti-hyperglycemic action, along with the potential mechanism of action have not yet been determined. Therefore, the efforts of this study are to investigate and understand the possible weight management effect and mechanism action of AF-enriched barley extracts (BEE). More specifically, the effect of BEE on lipid accumulation and adipogenic gene expression, body weight gain, body weight, plasma lipids, body fat mass, and lipid deposition were evaluated using C57BL/6 mice and 3T3-L1 preadipocytes models. The formation of lipid droplets in the 3T3-L1 treated with BEE (500 and 750 µg/mL) was significantly blocked (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). Male C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat diet (30% fat) for 8 weeks with BEE (0.3 g/kg-body weight). Compared to the high fat diet control (HFD) group, the cells treated with BEE significantly decreased in intracellular lipid accumulation with concomitant decreases in the expression of key transcription factors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (CEBP/α), the mRNA expression of downstream lipogenic target genes such as fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), fatty acid synthase (FAS), and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c). Supplementation of BEE effectively lowered the body weight gain, visceral fat accumulation, and plasma lipid concentrations. Compared to the HFD group, BEE significantly suppressed body weight gain (16.06 ± 2.44 g vs. 9.40 ± 1.39 g, p < 0.01) and increased serum adiponectin levels, significantly, 1.6-folder higher than the control group. These results indicate that AF-enriched barley extracts may prevent diet-induced weight gain and the anti-obesity effect is mediated in part by inhibiting adipogenesis and increasing adiponectin level.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3253: Development of a Solid-Phase Extraction Method Based on Biocompatible Starch Polyurethane Polymers for GC-MS Analysis of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Ambient Water Samples

A new solid-phase extraction (SPE) method for the extraction, enrichment, and analysis of eight polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in water was developed. The current approach involves using a cross-linked starch-based polymer as an extraction adsorbent and determining the PBDE analytes of interest using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in negative chemical ionization mode (GC-NCI-MS). The starch-based polymer was synthesized by the reaction of soluble starch with 4,4′-methylene-bis-phenyldiisocyanate as a cross-linking agent in dry dimethylformamide. Various parameters impacting extraction efficiencies, such as adsorbent quantity, sample volumes, elution solvents and volumes, and methanol content, were carefully optimized. The 500 mg of starch-based polymer as an adsorbent used to extract 1000 mL of spiked water, presented high extraction recoveries of eight PBDEs. The linearity of the extraction process was investigated in the range of 1–200 ng L−1 for BDE-28, 47, 99, 100, and 5–200 ng L−1 for BDE-153, 154, 183, and 209, with coefficients of determination (r2) exceeding 0.990 for all PBDEs. The limits of detection (LODs) ranged from 0.06 to 1.42 ng L−1 (S/N = 3) and the relative standard deviation values (RSD) were between 3.6 and 9.5 percent (n = 5) under optimum conditions. The method was successfully used to analyze river and lake water samples, where it exhibited acceptable recovery values of 71.3 to 104.2%. Considering the excellent analytical performance and comparative cost advantage, we recommend the developed starch-based SPE method for routine extraction and analysis of PBDEs in water media.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3267: N-Butyrylated Hyaluronic Acid Achieves Anti-Inflammatory Effects In Vitro and in Adjuvant-Induced Immune Activation in Rats

Previously synthesized N-butyrylated hyaluronic acid (BHA) provides anti-inflammatory effects in rat models of acute gouty arthritis and hyperuricemia. However, the mechanism of action remains to be elucidated. Herein, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activities of BHA and the targeted signaling pathways were explored with LPS-induced RAW264.7 and an adjuvant-induced inflammation in a rat model. Results indicated that BHA inhibited the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6, reduced ROS production and down-regulated JAK1-STAT1/3 signaling pathways in LPS-induced RAW264.7. In vivo, BHA alleviated paw and joint swelling, decreased inflammatory cell infiltration in paw tissues, suppressed gene expressions of p38 and p65, down-regulated the NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways and reduced protein levels of TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6 in joint tissues of arthritis rats. This study demonstrated the pivotal role of BHA in anti-inflammation and anti-oxidation, suggesting the potential clinical value of BHA in the prevention of inflammatory arthritis and is worthy for development as a new pharmacological treatment.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3270: Coumarinolignans with Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and NF-κB Inhibitory Activities from the Roots of Waltheria indica

Seven new coumarinolignans, walthindicins A–F (1a, 1b, 2–5, 7), along with five known analogs (6, 8–11), were isolated from the roots of Waltheria indica. The structures of the new compounds are determined by detailed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), circular dichroism (CD) with extensive computational support, and mass spectroscopic data interpretation. Compounds were tested for their antioxidant activity in Human Cervical Cancer cells (HeLa cells). Compounds 1a and 6 showed higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) inhibitory activity at 20 μg/mL when compared with other natural compound-based antioxidants such as ascorbic acid. Considering the role of ROS in nuclear-factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation, compounds 1a and 6 were evaluated for NF-κB inhibitory activity and showed a concentration-dependent inhibition in Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells (Luc-HEK-293).
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3260: Enhanced Toxicity of Bisphenols Together with UV Filters in Water: Identification of Synergy and Antagonism in Three-Component Mixtures

Contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) localize in the biome in variable combinations of complex mixtures that are often environmentally persistent, bioaccumulate and biomagnify, prompting a need for extensive monitoring. Many cosmetics include UV filters that are listed as CECs, such as benzophenone derivatives (oxybenzone, OXYB), cinnamates (2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate, EMC) and camphor derivatives (4-methylbenzylidene-camphor, 4MBC). Furthermore, in numerous water sources, these UV filters have been detected together with Bisphenols (BPs), which are commonly used in plastics and can be physiologically detrimental. We utilized bioluminescent bacteria (Microtox assay) to monitor these CEC mixtures at environmentally relevant doses, and performed the first systematic study involving three sunscreen components (OXYB, 4MBC and EMC) and three BPs (BPA, BPS or BPF). Moreover, a breast cell line and cell viability assay were employed to determine the possible effect of these mixtures on human cells. Toxicity modeling, with concentration addition (CA) and independent action (IA) approaches, was performed, followed by data interpretation using Model Deviation Ratio (MDR) evaluation. The results show that UV filter sunscreen constituents and BPs interact at environmentally relevant concentrations. Of notable interest, mixtures containing any pair of three BPs (e.g., BPA + BPS, BPA + BPF and BPS + BPF), together with one sunscreen component (OXYB, 4MBC or EMC), showed strong synergy or overadditive effects. On the other hand, mixtures containing two UV filters (any pair of OXYB, 4MBC and EMC) and one BP (BPA, BPS or BPF) had a strong propensity towards concentration dependent underestimation. The three-component mixtures of UV filters (4MBC, EMC and OXYB) acted in an antagonistic manner toward each other, which was confirmed using a human cell line model. This study is one of the most comprehensive involving sunscreen constituents and BPs in complex mixtures, and provides new insights into potentially important interactions between these compounds.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3276: Selective Removal of the Emerging Dye Basic Blue 3 via Molecularly Imprinting Technique

A molecularly imprinting polymer (MIP) was synthesized for Basic Blue 3 dye and applied to wastewater for the adsorption of a target template. The MIPs were synthesized by bulk polymerization using methacrylic acid (MAA) and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA). Basic Blue 3 dye (BB-3), 2,2′-azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) and methanol were used as a functional monomer, cross linker, template, initiator and porogenic solvent, respectively, while non-imprinting polymers (NIP) were synthesized by the same procedure but without template molecules. The contact time was 25 min for the adsorption of BB-3 dye from 10 mL of spiked solution using 25 mg polymer. The adsorption of dye (BB-3) on the MIP followed the pseudo-second order kinetic (k2 = 0.0079 mg·g−1·min−1), and it was according to the Langmuir isotherm, with maximum adsorption capacities of 78.13, 85.4 and 99.0 mg·g−1 of the MIP at 283 K, 298 K and 313 K, respectively and 7 mg·g−1 for the NIP. The negative values of ΔG° indicate that the removal of dye by the molecularly imprinting polymer and non-imprinting polymer is spontaneous, and the positive values of ΔH° and ΔS° indicate that the process is endothermic and occurred with the increase of randomness. The selectivity of the MIP for BB-3 dye was investigated in the presence of structurally similar as well as different dyes, but the MIP showed higher selectivity than the NIP. The imprinted polymer showed 96% rebinding capacity at 313 K towards the template, and the calculated imprinted factor and Kd value were 10.73 and 2.62, respectively. In this work, the MIP showed a greater potential of selectivity for the template from wastewater relative to the closely similar compounds.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3247: Anion Binding by Fluorescent Ureido-Hexahomotrioxacalix[3]arene Receptors: An NMR, Absorption and Emission Spectroscopic Study

Fluorescent receptors (4a–4c) based on (thio)ureido-functionalized hexahomotrioxacalix[3]arenes were synthesised and obtained in the partial cone conformation in solution. Naphthyl or pyrenyl fluorogenic units were introduced at the lower rim of the calixarene skeleton via a butyl spacer. The binding of biologically and environmentally relevant anions was studied with NMR, UV–vis absorption, and fluorescence titrations. Fluorescence of the pyrenyl receptor 4c displays both monomer and excimer fluorescence. The thermodynamics of complexation was determined in acetonitrile and was entropy-driven. Computational studies were also performed to bring further insight into the binding process. The data showed that association constants increase with the anion basicity, and AcO−, BzO− and F− were the best bound anions for all receptors. Pyrenylurea 4c is a slightly better receptor than naphthylurea 4a, and both are more efficient than naphthyl thiourea 4b. In addition, ureas 4a and 4c were also tested as ditopic receptors in the recognition of alkylammonium salts.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3256: Never Cared for What They Do: High Structural Stability of Guanine-Quadruplexes in the Presence of Strand-Break Damage

DNA integrity is an important factor that assures genome stability and, more generally, the viability of cells and organisms. In the presence of DNA damage, the normal cell cycle is perturbed when cells activate their repair processes. Although efficient, the repair system is not always able to ensure complete restoration of gene integrity. In these cases, mutations not only may occur, but the accumulation of lesions can either lead to carcinogenesis or reach a threshold that induces apoptosis and programmed cell death. Among the different types of DNA lesions, strand breaks produced by ionizing radiation are the most toxic due to the inherent difficultly of repair, which may lead to genomic instability. In this article we show, by using classical molecular simulation techniques, that compared to canonical double-helical B-DNA, guanine-quadruplex (G4) arrangements show remarkable structural stability, even in the presence of two strand breaks. Since G4-DNA is recognized for its regulatory roles in cell senescence and gene expression, including oncogenes, this stability may be related to an evolutionary cellular response aimed at minimizing the effects of ionizing radiation.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3252: Effects of Spiro-Cyclohexane Substitution of Nitroxyl Biradicals on Dynamic Nuclear Polarization

Spiro-substituted nitroxyl biradicals are widely used as reagents for dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP), which is especially important for biopolymer research. The main criterion for their applicability as polarizing agents is the value of the spin–spin exchange interaction parameter (J), which can vary considerably when different couplers are employed that link the radical moieties. This paper describes a study on biradicals, with a ferrocene-1,1′-diyl-substituted 1,3-diazetidine-2,4-diimine coupler, that have never been used before as DNP agents. We observed a substantial difference in the temperature dependence between Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectra of biradicals carrying either methyl or spirocyclohexane substituents and explain the difference using Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculation results. It was shown that the replacement of methyl groups by spirocycles near the N-O group leads to an increase in the contribution of conformers having J ≈ 0. The DNP gain observed for the biradicals with methyl substituents is three times higher than that for the spiro-substituted nitroxyl biradicals and is inversely proportional to the contribution of biradicals manifesting the negligible exchange interaction. The effects of nucleophiles and substituents in the nitroxide biradicals on the ring-opening reaction of 1,3-diazetidine and the influence of the ring opening on the exchange interaction were also investigated. It was found that in contrast to the methyl-substituted nitroxide biradical (where we observed the ring-opening reaction upon the addition of amines), the ring opening does not occur in the spiro-substituted biradical owing to a steric barrier created by the bulky cyclohexyl substituents.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3244: Pharmacological Approaches to the Treatment of Dementia in Down Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Studies

Down Syndrome (DS) is considered the most frequent form of Intellectual Disability, with important expressions of cognitive decline and early dementia. Studies on potential treatments for dementia in this population are still scarce. Thus, the current review aims to synthesize the different pharmacological approaches that already exist in the literature, which focus on improving the set of symptoms related to dementia in people with DS. A total of six studies were included, evaluating the application of supplemental antioxidant therapies, such as alpha-tocopherol; the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drugs, such as donepezil; N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists, such as memantine; and the use of vitamin E and a fast-acting intranasal insulin. Two studies observed important positive changes related to some general functions in people with DS (referring to donepezil). In the majority of studies, the use of pharmacological therapies did not lead to improvement in the set of symptoms related to dementia, such as memory and general functionality, in the population with DS.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3272: GlycoTAIL and FlexiTAIL as Half-Life Extension Modules for Recombinant Antibody Fragments

Many therapeutic proteins are small in size and are rapidly cleared from circulation. Consequently, half-life extension strategies have emerged to improve pharmacokinetic properties, including fusion or binding to long-lasting serum proteins, chemical modifications with hydrophilic polymers such as PEGylation, or, more recently, fusion to PEG mimetic polypeptides. In the present study, two different PEG mimetic approaches, the GlycoTAIL and the FlexiTAIL, were applied to increase the hydrodynamic radius of antibody fragments of different sizes and valencies, including scFv, diabody, and scFv-EHD2 fusion proteins. The GlycoTAIL and FlexiTAIL sequences of varying lengths are composed of aliphatic and hydrophilic residues, with the GlycoTAIL furthermore comprising N-glycosylation sites. All modified proteins could be produced in a mammalian expression system without reducing stability and antigen binding, and all modified proteins exhibited a prolonged half-life and increased drug disposition in mice. The strongest effects were observed for proteins comprising a FlexiTAIL of 248 residues. Thus, the GlycoTAIL and FlexiTAIL sequences represent a flexible and modular system to improve the pharmacokinetic properties of proteins.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3277: An Osteosarcoma Stem Cell Potent Nickel(II)-Polypyridyl Complex Containing Flufenamic Acid

Apoptosis resistance is inherent to stem cell-like populations within tumours and is one of the major reasons for chemotherapy failures in the clinic. Necroptosis is a non-apoptotic mode of programmed cell death that could help bypass apoptosis resistance. Here we report the synthesis, characterisation, biophysical properties, and anti-osteosarcoma stem cell (OSC) properties of a new nickel(II) complex bearing 3,4,7,8-tetramethyl-1,10-phenanthroline and two flufenamic acid moieties, 1. The nickel(II) complex 1 is stable in both DMSO and cell media. The nickel(II) complex 1 kills bulk osteosarcoma cells and OSCs grown in monolayer cultures and osteospheres grown in three-dimensional cultures within the micromolar range. Remarkably, 1 exhibits higher potency towards osteospheres than the metal-based drugs used in current osteosarcoma treatment regimens, cisplatin and carboplatin, and an established anti-cancer stem cell agent, salinomycin (up to 7.7-fold). Cytotoxicity studies in the presence of prostaglandin E2 suggest that 1 kills OSCs in a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) dependent manner. Furthermore, the potency of 1 towards OSCs decreased significantly upon co-treatment with necrostatin-1 or dabrafenib, well-known necroptosis inhibitors, implying that 1 induces necroptosis in OSCs. To the best of our knowledge, 1 is the first compound to implicate both COX-2 and necroptosis in its mechanism of action in OSCs.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3271: Epithelial Sodium Channel Inhibition by Amiloride Addressed with THz Spectroscopy and Molecular Modeling

THz spectroscopy is important for the study of ion channels because it directly addresses the low frequency collective motions relevant for their function. Here we used THz spectroscopy to investigate the inhibition of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) by its specific blocker, amiloride. Experiments were performed on A6 cells’ suspensions, which are cells overexpressing ENaC derived from Xenopus laevis kidney. THz spectra were investigated with or without amiloride. When ENaC was inhibited by amiloride, a substantial increase in THz absorption was noticed. Molecular modeling methods were used to explain the observed spectroscopic differences. THz spectra were simulated using the structural models of ENaC and ENaC—amiloride complexes built here. The agreement between the experiment and the simulations allowed us to validate the structural models and to describe the amiloride dynamics inside the channel pore. The amiloride binding site validated using THz spectroscopy agrees with previous mutagenesis studies. Altogether, our results show that THz spectroscopy can be successfully used to discriminate between native and inhibited ENaC channels and to characterize the dynamics of channels in the presence of their specific antagonist.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3268: Study on Supramolecules in Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction

With the application of the concept of supramolecular chemistry to various fields, a large number of supramolecules have been discovered. The chemical components of traditional Chinese medicine have various sources and unique structures. During the high-temperature boiling process, various active components form supramolecules due to complex interactions. The supramolecular structure in a traditional Chinese medicine decoction can not only be used as a drug carrier to promote the absorption and distribution of medicinal components but may also have biological activities superior to those of single active ingredients or their physical mixtures. By summarizing the relevant research results over recent years, this paper introduces the research progress regarding supramolecules in various decoctions, laying a foundation for further research into supramolecules in traditional Chinese medicine decoctions, and provides a new perspective for revealing the compatibility mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine, guiding clinical medications, and developing new nanometers materials.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3273: Reuse of Food Waste: The Chemical Composition and Health Properties of Pomelo (Citrus maxima) Cultivar Essential Oils

The aim of the present study is to investigate the chemical profile, antioxidant activity, carbohydrate-hydrolysing enzyme inhibition, and hypolipidemic effect of essential oils (EOs) extracted from Sicilian Citrus maxima (pomelo) flavedo. Using gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis (GC-MS) we analysed the Eos of five cultivars of C. maxima, namely, ‘Chadock’, ‘Maxima’, ‘Pyriformis’, ‘Terracciani’, and ‘Todarii’, and their blends. The antioxidant activity was performed by using a multi-target approach using 2,2′-Azino-Bis-3-Ethylbenzothiazoline-6-Sulfonic acid (ABTS), 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), ferric reducing ability power (FRAP), and β-carotene bleaching tests. The α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and lipase-inhibitory activities were also assessed. GC-MS analyses revealed D-limonene as the main monoterpene hydrocarbon in all cultivars, albeit with different percentages in the range of 21.72–71.13%. A good content of oxygenated monoterpenes was detected for all cultivars, especially for ‘Todarii’. The analysis of the principal components (PCA), and related clusters (HCA), was performed to find chemo-diversity among the analysed samples. EOs from ‘Chadock’ and ‘Maxima’ were statistically similar to each other, and they differed from P3 in the smaller amount of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, while the oils from ‘Terracciani’ and ‘Todarii’ were found to be chemically and statistically different. ‘Chadock’ EO was the most active to scavenge radicals (IC50 values of 22.24 and 27.23 µg/mL in ABTS and DPPH tests, respectively). ‘Terracciani’ EO was the most active against both lipase and α-amylase, whereas the blends obtained by the combination (1:1 v/v) of C. maxima ‘Maxima’ + ‘Todarii’ were the most active against α-glucosidase. Generally, the blends did not exert a unique behaviour in potentiating or reducing the bioactivity of the pomelo EOs.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3266: Theoretical Studies on the Role of Guest in α-CL-20/Guest Crystals

The contradiction between energy and safety of explosives is better balanced by the host–guest inclusion strategy. To deeply analyze the role of small guest molecules in the host–guest system, we first investigated the intermolecular contacts of host and guest molecules through Hirshfeld surfaces, 2-D fingerprint plots and electrostatic interaction energy. We then examined the strength and nature of the intermolecular interactions between CL-20 and various small molecules in detail, using state-of-the-art quantum chemistry calculations and elaborate wavefunction analyses. Finally, we studied the effect of the small molecules on the properties of CL-20, using density functional theory (DFT). The results showed that the spatial arrangement of host and guest molecules and the interaction between host and guest molecules, such as repulsion or attraction, may depend on the properties of the guest molecules, such as polarity, oxidation, hydrogen content, etc. The insertion of H2O2, H2O, N2O, and CO2 had significant influence on the electrostatic potential (ESP), van der Waals (vdW) potential and chemical bonding of CL-20. The intermolecular interactions, electric density and crystal orbital Hamilton population (COHP) clarified and quantified the stabilization effect of different small molecules on CL-20. The insertion of the guest molecules improved the stability of CL-20 to different extents, of which H2O2 worked best.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3274: New Potential Pharmacological Targets of Plant-Derived Hydroxyanthraquinones from Rubia spp.

The increased use of polyphenols nowadays poses the need for identification of their new pharmacological targets. Recently, structure similarity-based virtual screening of DrugBank outlined pseudopurpurin, a hydroxyanthraquinone from Rubia cordifolia spp., as similar to gatifloxacin, a synthetic antibacterial agent. This suggested the bacterial DNA gyrase and DNA topoisomerase IV as potential pharmacological targets of pseudopurpurin. In this study, estimation of structural similarity to referent antibacterial agents and molecular docking in the DNA gyrase and DNA topoisomerase IV complexes were performed for a homologous series of four hydroxyanthraquinones. Estimation of shape- and chemical feature-based similarity with (S)-gatifloxacin, a DNA gyrase inhibitor, and (S)-levofloxacin, a DNA topoisomerase IV inhibitor, outlined pseudopurpurin and munjistin as the most similar structures. The docking simulations supported the hypothesis for a plausible antibacterial activity of hydroxyanthraquinones. The predicted docking poses were grouped into 13 binding modes based on spatial similarities in the active site. The simultaneous presence of 1-OH and 3-COOH substituents in the anthraquinone scaffold were emphasized as relevant features for the binding modes’ variability and ability of the compounds to strongly bind in the DNA-enzyme complexes. The results reveal new potential pharmacological targets of the studied polyphenols and help in their prioritization as drug candidates and dietary supplements.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3263: Weak Polyelectrolytes as Nanoarchitectonic Design Tools for Functional Materials: A Review of Recent Achievements

The ionization degree, charge density, and conformation of weak polyelectrolytes can be adjusted through adjusting the pH and ionic strength stimuli. Such polymers thus offer a range of reversible interactions, including electrostatic complexation, H-bonding, and hydrophobic interactions, which position weak polyelectrolytes as key nano-units for the design of dynamic systems with precise structures, compositions, and responses to stimuli. The purpose of this review article is to discuss recent examples of nanoarchitectonic systems and applications that use weak polyelectrolytes as smart components. Surface platforms (electrodeposited films, brushes), multilayers (coatings and capsules), processed polyelectrolyte complexes (gels and membranes), and pharmaceutical vectors from both synthetic or natural-type weak polyelectrolytes are discussed. Finally, the increasing significance of block copolymers with weak polyion blocks is discussed with respect to the design of nanovectors by micellization and film/membrane nanopatterning via phase separation.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3275: Enhancement of Cholinesterase Inhibition of Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd. Essential Oil by Microemulsions

This study aimed to investigate the chemical composition and reveal the selective inhibitory activity of Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd. essential oil (AGO) on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) compared to butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). The chemical composition of AGO was investigated by means of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Ellman’s method was used to determine the inhibitory activities against AChE and BChE. Microemulsion systems with desirable anticholinesterase effects were developed. Methyl cinnamate and 1,8-cineole were reported as the major component of AGO. The IC50 values of A. galanga oil against AChE and BChE were 24.6 ± 9.6 and 825.4 ± 340.1 µg/mL, respectively. The superior selectivity of AGO on AChE (34.8 ± 8.9) compared to galantamine hydrobromide (6.4 ± 1.5) suggested AGO to be an effective ingredient with fewer side effects for Alzheimer’s treatment. Interestingly, the microemulsion of AGO possessed significantly higher anticholinesterase activity than that of native oil alone. Therefore, microemulsion of AGO is a promising alternative approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3265: 3-(((1S,3S)-3-((R)-Hydroxy(4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)methyl)-4-oxocyclohexyl)methyl)pentane-2,4-dione: Design and Synthesis of New Stereopure Multi-Target Antidiabetic Agent

The chiral drug candidates have more effective binding affinities for their specific protein or receptor site for the onset of pharmacological action. Achieving all carbon stereopure compounds is not trivial in chemical synthesis. However, with the development of asymmetric organocatalysis, the synthesis of certain vital chiral drug candidates is now possible. In this research, we have synthesized 3-(((1S,3S)-3-((R)-hydroxy(4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)methyl)-4-oxocyclohexyl)methyl)pentane-2,4-dione (S,S,R-5) and have evaluated it potential as multi-target antidiabetic agent. The stereopure compound S,S,R-5 was synthesized with a 99:1 enantiomeric ratio. The synthesized compound gave encouraging results against all in vitro antidiabetic targets, exhibiting IC50 values of 6.28, 4.58, 0.91, and 2.36 in α-glucosidase, α-amylase, PTP1B, and DPPH targets, respectively. The molecular docking shows the binding of the compound in homology models of the respective enzymes. In conclusion, we have synthesized a new chiral molecule (S,S,R-5). The compound proved to be a potential inhibitor of the tested antidiabetic targets. With the observed results and molecular docking, it is evident that S,S,R-5 is a potential multitarget antidiabetic agent. Our study laid the baseline for the animal-based studies of this compound in antidiabetic confirmation.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3245: Pharmacokinetics, Prostate Distribution and Metabolic Characteristics of Four Representative Flavones after Oral Administration of the Aerial Part of Glycyrrhiza uralensis in Rats

(1) Background: The aerial part of G. uralensis had pharmacological effects against chronic non-bacterial prostatitis (CNP), and flavonoids are the main efficacy components. The purpose of this study was to obtain the pharmacokinetics, prostate distribution and metabolic characteristics of some flavonoids in rats. (2) Methods: The prototype flavones and the metabolites of four representative flavonoids, namely puerarin, luteolin, kaempferol and pinocembrin in plasma, prostate, urine and feces of rats were analyzed by UPLC-Q-Exactive Orbitrap-MS. In addition, the pharmacokinetic parameters in plasma and distribution of prostate of four components were analyzed by HPLC-MS/MS. (3) Results: In total, 22, 17, 22 and 11 prototype flavones were detected in the prostate, plasma, urine and feces, respectively. The metabolites of puerarin in the prostate are hydrolysis and glucose-conjugated products, the metabolites of kaempferol and luteolin in the prostate are methylation and glucuronidation, and the metabolites of pinocembrin in the prostate are naringenin, oxidation, sulfation, methylation and glucuronidation products. The t1/2 of puerarin, luteolin, kaempferol and pinocembrin was 6.43 ± 0.20, 31.08 ± 1.17, 18.98 ± 1.46 and 13.18 ± 0.72 h, respectively. The concentrations of the four flavonoids in prostate were ranked as kaempferol > pinocembrin > luteolin > puerarin. (4) Conclusions: Methylation and glucuronidation metabolites were the main metabolites detected in the prostate. A sensitive and validated HPLC–MS/MS method for simultaneous determination of puerarin, luteolin, kaempferol and pinocembrin in rat plasma and prostate was described, and it was successfully applied to the pharmacokinetic and prostate distribution studies.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3264: Directed Accumulation of Nitrogen Metabolites through Processing Endows Wuyi Rock Tea with Singular Qualities

The execution of specific processing protocols endows Wuyi rock tea with distinctive qualities produced through signature metabolic processes. In this work, tea leaves were collected before and after each of three processing stages for both targeted and untargeted metabolomic analysis. Metabolic profiles of processing stages through each processing stage of rotation, pan-firing and roasting were studied. Overall, 614 metabolites were significantly altered, predominantly through nitrogen- enriching (N) pathways. Roasting led to the enrichment of 342 N metabolites, including 34 lipids, 17 organic acids, 32 alkaloids and 25 amino acids, as well as secondary derivatives beneficial for tea quality. This distinctive shift towards enrichment of N metabolites strongly supports concluding that this directed accumulation of N metabolites is how each of the three processing stages endows Wuyi rock tea with singular quality.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3269: Quercetin Reduces Inflammation and Protects Gut Microbiota in Broilers

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of quercetin on inflammatory response and intestinal microflora in broiler chicken jejuna. A total of 120 broiler chickens were allocated into 3 groups: saline-challenged broilers fed a basal diet (CTR group), lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged broilers fed a basal diet (L group) and LPS-challenged broilers fed a basal diet supplemented with 200 mg/kg quercetin (LQ group). Our results showed that LPS significantly increased expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, interferon (IFN)-γ, toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, Bax, Caspase-3 and diamine oxidase activity (DAO), and decreased expression of zona occludens-1 (ZO-1), Occludin and Bcl-2 in the jejunum, while dietary quercetin prevented the adverse effects of LPS injection. LPS injection significantly decreased the number of Actinobacteria, Armatimonadetes and Fibrobacteriae at the phylum level when compared to the CTR group. Additionally, at genus level, compared with the CTR group, the abundance of Halomonas, Micromonospora, Nitriliruptor, Peptococcus, Rubellimicrobium, Rubrobacter and Slaclda in L group was significantly decreased, while dietary quercetin restored the numbers of these bacteria. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that dietary quercetin could alleviate inflammatory responses of broiler chickens accompanied by modulating jejunum microflora.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3262: Supramolecular Hybrids from Cyanometallate Complexes and Diblock Copolypeptide Amphiphiles in Water

The self-assembly of discrete cyanometallates has attracted significant interest due to the potential of these materials to undergo soft metallophilic interactions as well as their optical properties. Diblock copolypeptide amphiphiles have also been investigated concerning their capacity for self-assembly into morphologies such as nanostructures. The present work combined these two concepts by examining supramolecular hybrids comprising cyanometallates with diblock copolypeptide amphiphiles in aqueous solutions. Discrete cyanometallates such as [Au(CN)2]−, [Ag(CN)2]−, and [Pt(CN)4]2− dispersed at the molecular level in water cannot interact with each other at low concentrations. However, the results of this work demonstrate that the addition of diblock copolypeptide amphiphiles such as poly-(L-lysine)-block-(L-cysteine) (Lysm-b-Cysn) to solutions of these complexes induces the supramolecular assembly of the discrete cyanometallates, resulting in photoluminescence originating from multinuclear complexes with metal-metal interactions. Electron microscopy images confirmed the formation of nanostructures of several hundred nanometers in size that grew to form advanced nanoarchitectures, including those resembling the original nanostructures. This concept of combining diblock copolypeptide amphiphiles with discrete cyanometallates allows the design of flexible and functional supramolecular hybrid systems in water.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3243: Red Orange and Bitter Orange IntegroPectin: Structure and Main Functional Compounds

DRIFT, HPLC-MS, and SPME-GC/MS analyses were used to unveil the structure and the main functional compounds of red (blood) orange (Citrus sinensis) and bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). The IntegroPectin samples show evidence that these new citrus pectins are comprised of pectin rich in RG-I hairy regions functionalized with citrus biophenols, chiefly flavonoids and volatile molecules, mostly terpenes. Remarkably, IntegroPectin from the peel of fresh bitter oranges is the first high methoxyl citrus pectin extracted via hydrodynamic cavitation, whereas the red orange IntegroPectin is a low methoxyl pectin. C. aurantium IntegroPectin has a uniquely high concentration of adsorbed flavonoids, especially the flavanone glycosides hesperidin, naringin, and eriocitrin.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3259: Retronasal Aroma of Beef Pate Analyzed by a Chewing Simulator

In retronasal aroma, the targeted aroma compounds are released from food during chewing. The changes in the food structures during chewing strongly influence the release of the compounds, therefore affecting the perception of food. Here, the relationship between retronasal aroma and food deliciousness based on the physicochemical properties of aroma compounds was examined. We considered the consumption of solid foods and the effect of oral parameters in elderly people. Beef pate was used as a model food sample to study the effect of the release of aroma compounds under controlled in vitro mastication and salivation conditions using a chewing simulator. We identified the effects of coexisting ingredients such as beef fat on the time course behavior of the release of aroma compounds. In particular, the release of the middle types of aromas was significantly faster with stronger chewing force, and higher with a high fat content of the sample. In addition, a larger release intensity was observed when soy proteins were partially substituted for beef proteins. Using an appropriate model saliva, a change in the salting-out effect from the saliva composition was found to be a factor, which could explain the lowering of aroma sensation in an elderly person.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3261: A Simple and Reliable Dispersive Liquid-Liquid Microextraction with Smartphone-Based Digital Images for Determination of Carbaryl Residues in Andrographis paniculata Herbal Medicines Using Simple Peroxidase Extract from Senna siamea Lam. Bark

A simple and reliable dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (DLLME) coupled with smartphone-based digital images using crude peroxidase extracts from cassia bark (Senna siamea Lam.) was proposed to determine carbaryl residues in Andrographis paniculata herbal medicines. The method was based on the reaction of 1-naphthol (hydrolysis of carbaryl) with 4-aminoantipyrine (4-AP) in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, using peroxidase enzyme simple extracts from cassia bark as biocatalysts under pH 6.0. The red product, after preconcentration by DLLME using dichloromethane as extraction solvent, was measured for blue intensity by daily life smartphone-based digital image analysis. Under optimized conditions, good linearity of the calibration graph was found at 0.10–0.50 mg·L−1 (r2 = 0.9932). Limits of detection (LOD) (3SD/slope) and quantification (LOQ) (10SD/slope) were 0.03 and 0.09 mg·L−1, respectively, with a precision of less than 5%. Accuracy of the proposed method as percentage recovery gave satisfactory results. The proposed method was successfully applied to analyze carbaryl in Andrographis paniculata herbal medicines. Results agreed well with values obtained from the HPLC-UV method at 95% confidence level. This was simple, convenient, reliable, cost-effective and traceable as an alternative method for the determination of carbaryl.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3258: A Preliminary Study on the Concentration of Oxytetracycline and 4-Epi-Oxytetracycline in Sow Milk

Even though modern analytical chemistry has developed a methodology enabling evaluation of the presence of OTC in milk, data regarding its concentration in the material collected from lactating sows are missing. Therefore, this paper was intended to provide new data on the transmission of OTC and its epimer, 4-epi-oxytetracycline (4-epi-OTC), in the milk of lactating sows after a singular intramuscular administration of a long-acting form of the antibiotic. The determination of OTC and 4-epi-OTC was carried out using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS). The highest average concentration of antibiotic (1132.2 µgL−1) was observed in samples collected 1 day after the administration of the drug. The average OTC level at day 3 was 358 µgL−1. The average concentration of the antibiotic found on the 21st day was 12.3 µgL−1. The highest average concentration of 4-epi-OTC—i.e., 54 µgL−1—was noted 1 day after the administration. Amongst samples collected at day 3, the average level of the substance in question was 26.4 µgL−1. The average value observed at day 21 was 1.5 µgL−1. Our results indicated considerable OTC and 4-epi-OTC transmission into the milk of lactating sows.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3257: Equilibrium Studies of Iron (III) Complexes with Either Pyrazine, Quinoxaline, or Phenazine and Their Catecholase Activity in Methanol

Currently, catalysts with oxidative activity are required to create valuable chemical, agrochemical, and pharmaceutical products. The catechol oxidase activity is a model reaction that can reveal new oxidative catalysts. The use of complexes as catalysts using iron (III) and structurally simple ligands such as pyrazine (pz), quinoxaline (qx), and phenazine (fz) has not been fully explored. To characterize the composition of the solution and identify the abundant species which were used to catalyze the catechol oxidation, the distribution diagrams of these species were obtained by an equilibrium study using a modified Job method in the HypSpec software. This allows to obtain also the UV-vis spectra calculated and the formation constants for the mononuclear and binuclear complexes with Fe3+ including: [Fe(pz)]3+, [Fe2(pz)]6+, [Fe(qx)]3+, [Fe2(qx)]6+, [Fe(fz)]3+, and [Fe2(fz)]6+. The formation constants obtained were log β110 = 3.2 ± 0.1, log β210 = 6.9 ± 0.1, log β110 = 4.4 ± 0.1, log β210 = 8.3 ± 0.1, log β110 = 6.4 ± 0.2, and log β210 = 9.9 ± 0.2, respectively. The determination of the catechol oxidase activity for these complexes did not follow a traditional Michaelis–Menten behavior.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3249: Microarray Analysis of the Genomic Effect of Eugenol on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a highly adaptive human pathogen responsible for serious hospital- and community-acquired infectious diseases, ranging from skin and soft tissue infections, to complicated and life-threatening conditions such as endocarditis and toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The rapid development of resistance of this organism to available antibiotics over the last few decades has necessitated a constant search for more efficacious antibacterial agents. Eugenol (4-allyl-2-methoxyphenol) belongs to the class of chemical compounds called phenylpropanoids. It is a pure-to-pale yellow, oily liquid substance, mostly extracted as an essential oil from natural products such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, and bay leaf. Eugenol has previously been shown to have antimicrobial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). However, the mechanism of action of eugenol against MRSA has not, as yet, been elucidated; hence, the necessity of this study. Global gene expression patterns in response to challenge from subinhibitory concentrations of eugenol were analysed using the Agilent DNA microarray system to identify genes that can be used as drug targets—most importantly, essential genes involved in unique metabolic pathways elicited for bacterial survival. Transcriptomic analysis of fluctuating genes revealed those involved in amino acid metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, translational, and ribosomal pathways. In amino acid metabolism, for instance, the argC gene encodes for N-acetyl-gamma-glutamyl-phosphate reductase. The argC gene plays an important role in the biosynthesis of arginine from glutamate in the amino acid metabolic pathway. It is the enzyme that catalyses the third step in the latter reaction, and without this process the production of N-acetylglutamate 5-semialdehyde cannot be completed from the NADP-dependent reduction of N-acetyl-5-glutamyl phosphate, which is essential for the survival of some microorganisms and plants. This study enables us to examine complete global transcriptomic responses in MRSA when challenged with eugenol. It reveals novel information with the potential to further benefit the exploratory quest for novel targets against this pathogen, with a view to the development of efficacious antimicrobial agents for the treatment of associated infections.
Datum: 19.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3242: Preparation and Characterization of Controlled-Release Floating Bilayer Tablets of Esomeprazole and Clarithromycin

Controlled-release effervescent floating bilayer tablets reduce dosage frequency and improve patient compliance with enhanced therapeutic outcomes. Generally, two different tablets of clarithromycin and esomeprazole, respectively, are given for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection and it might be worth incorporating both in a single tablet. In the current study, controlled-release floating bilayer tablets of clarithromycin and esomeprazole (F1–F4) were developed with different rates of polymeric materials by a direct compression method. During the formulation, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis was performed for possible interactions between drugs and excipients. No interactions between drugs and excipients were noted. Moreover, the bilayer tablets’ thickness, diameter, friability, hardness, weight variation, dissolution, and percent purity were found within the acceptable limits. The floating lag time and total floating time of all formulations were found to be < 25 s and 24 h, respectively. The release of both the clarithromycin and esomeprazole started at the same time from the controlled-release floating bilayer tablets by anomalous non-Fickian diffusion, and the polymeric materials extended the drug release rate up to 24 h. In the case of F1, the results approached ideal zero-order kinetics. The dissolution profiles of the tested and reference tablet formulations were compared, but no significant differences were observed. It can be concluded that such controlled-release effervescent floating bilayer tablets can be efficiently used in clinical practice to reduce dosage frequency and increase patient compliance with continuous drug release for 24 h, which ultimately might enhance therapeutic efficacy.
Datum: 18.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3240: Stability of ZIF-8 Nanoparticles in Most Common Cell Culture Media

Zeolite imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) is a promising platform for drug delivery, and information regarding the stability of ZIF-8 nanoparticles in cell culture media is essential for proper interpretation of in vitro experimental results. In this work, we report a quantitative investigation of the ZIF-8 nanoparticle’s stability in most common cell culture media. To this purpose, ZIF-8 nanoparticles containing sterically shielded nitroxide probes with high resistance to reduction were synthesized and studied using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). The degradation of ZIF-8 in cell media was monitored by tracking the cargo leakage. It was shown that nanoparticles degrade at least partially in all studied media, although the degree of cargo leakage varies widely. We found a strong correlation between the amount of escaped cargo and total concentration of amino acids in the environment. We also established the role of individual amino acids in ZIF-8 degradation. Finally, 2-methylimidazole preliminary dissolved in cell culture media partially inhibits the degradation of ZIF-8 nanoparticles. The guidelines for choosing the proper cell culture medium for the in vitro study of ZIF-8 nanoparticles have been formulated.
Datum: 18.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3239: A Comparative Study on Relieving Exercise-Induced Fatigue by Inhalation of Different Citrus Essential Oils

Citrus essential oils (CEOs) possess physiological functions due to diverse aroma components. However, evidence for the effects of CEOs on exercise performance and exercise-induced fatigue is limited. The CEOs with discrepancies in components may exert different effects on the amelioration of exercise-induced fatigue. In this study, sweet orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oil (SEO), lemon (Citrus limon Osbeck) essential oil (LEO), and bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso and Poit) essential oil (BEO) were chosen to explore the effect on amelioration of exercise-induced fatigue. Our results demonstrated that SEO and LEO increased the swimming time by 276% and 46.5%, while BEO did not. Moreover, the three CEOs exerted varying effects on mitigating exercise-induced fatigue via inhibiting oxidative stress, protecting muscle injury, and promoting glucose-dependent energy supply. Accordingly, BEO showed the best efficiency. Moreover, the GC-MS and Pearson correlation analysis of BEO showed that the contents of the major components, such as (±)-limonene (32.9%), linalyl butyrate (17.8%), and linalool (7.7%), were significantly positively correlated with relieving exercise-induced fatigue.
Datum: 18.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3241: A Study on Pre-Oxidation of Petroleum Pitch-Based Activated Carbons for Electric Double-Layer Capacitors

Electric double-layer capacitors (EDLCs) are an excellent electrochemical energy storage system (ESS) because of their superior power density, faster charge–discharge ability, and longer cycle life compared to those of other EES systems. Activated carbons (ACs) have been mainly used as the electrode materials for EDLCs because of their high specific surface area, superior chemical stability, and low cost. Petroleum pitch (PP) is a graphitizable carbon that is a promising precursor for ACs because of its high carbon content, which is obtained as an abundant by-product during the distillation of petroleum. However, the processibility of PP is poor because of its stable structure. In this study, pre-oxidized PP-derived AC (OPP-AC) was prepared to investigate the effects of pre-oxidation on the electrochemical behaviors of PP. The specific surface area and pore size distribution of OPP-AC were lower and narrower, respectively, compared to the textural properties of untreated PP-derived AC (PP-AC). On the other hand, the specific capacitance of OPP-AC was 25% higher than that of PP-AC. These results revealed that pre-oxidation of PP induces a highly developed micropore structure of ACs, resulting in improved electrochemical performance.
Datum: 18.05.2022


Molecules, Vol. 27, Pages 3238: New Amphiphilic Ionic Liquids for the Demulsification of Water-in-Heavy Crude Oil Emulsion

This work aimed to use abietic acid (AA), as a widely available natural product, as a precursor for the synthesis of two new amphiphilic ionic liquids (AILs) and apply them as effective demulsifiers for water-in-crude oil (W/O) emulsions. AA was esterified using tetraethylene glycol (TEG) in the presence of p-toluene sulfonic acid (PTSA) as a catalyst obtaining the corresponding ester (AATG). AATG was reacted with 1-vinylimidazole (VIM) throughout the Diels–Alder reaction, forming the corresponding adduct (ATI). Following this, ATI was quaternized using alkyl iodides, ethyl iodide (EI), and hexyl iodide (HI) to obtain the corresponding AILs, ATEI-IL, and ATHI-IL, respectively. The chemical structure, surface activity, thermal stability, and relative solubility number (RSN) were investigated using different techniques. The efficiency of ATEI-IL and ATHI-IL to demulsify W/O emulsions in different crude oil: brine volumetric ratios were evaluated. ATEI-IL and ATHI-IL achieved promising results as demulsifiers. Their demulsification efficiency increased as the brine ratios decreased where their efficiency reached 100% at the crude oil: brine ratio (90:10), even at low concentrations.
Datum: 18.05.2022


 


Category: Current Chemistry Research

Last update: 28.03.2018.






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