The novel compound Sul-121 inhibits airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in experimental models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


COPD is characterized by persistent airflow limitation, neutrophilia and oxidative stress from endogenous and exogenous insults. Current COPD therapy involving anticholinergics, β2-adrenoceptor agonists and/or corticosteroids, do not specifically target oxidative stress, nor do they reduce chronic pulmonary inflammation and disease progression in all patients. Here, we explore the effects of Sul-121, a novel compound with anti-oxidative capacity, on hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and inflammation in experimental models of COPD. Using a guinea pig model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neutrophilia, we demonstrated that Sul-121 inhalation dose-dependently prevented LPS-induced airway neutrophilia (up to ~60%) and AHR (up to ~90%). Non-cartilaginous airways neutrophilia was inversely correlated with blood H2S, and LPS-induced attenuation of blood H2S (~60%) was prevented by Sul-121. Concomitantly, Sul-121 prevented LPS-induced production of the oxidative stress marker, malondialdehyde by ~80%. In immortalized human airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells, Sul-121 dose-dependently prevented cigarette smoke extract-induced IL-8 release parallel with inhibition of nuclear translocation of the NF-κB subunit, p65 (each ~90%). Sul-121 also diminished cellular reactive oxygen species production in ASM cells, and inhibited nuclear translocation of the anti-oxidative response regulator, Nrf2. Our data show that Sul-121 effectively inhibits airway inflammation and AHR in experimental COPD models, prospectively through inhibition of oxidative stress.

Platelet Dynamics during Natural and Pharmacologically Induced Torpor and Forced Hypothermia

Hibernation is an energy-conserving behavior in winter characterized by two phases: torpor and arousal. During torpor, markedly reduced metabolic activity results in inactivity and decreased body temperature. Arousal periods intersperse the torpor bouts and feature increased metabolism and euthermic body temperature. Alterations in physiological parameters, such as suppression of hemostasis, are thought to allow hibernators to survive periods of torpor and arousal without organ injury. While the state of torpor is potentially procoagulant, due to low blood flow, increased viscosity, immobility, hypoxia, and low body temperature, organ injury due to thromboembolism is absent. To investigate platelet dynamics during hibernation, we measured platelet count and function during and after natural torpor, pharmacologically induced torpor and forced hypothermia. Splenectomies were performed to unravel potential storage sites of platelets during torpor. Here we show that decreasing body temperature drives thrombocytopenia during torpor in hamster with maintained functionality of circulating platelets. Interestingly, hamster platelets during torpor do not express P-selectin, but expression is induced by treatment with ADP. Platelet count rapidly restores during arousal and rewarming. Platelet dynamics in hibernation are not affected by splenectomy before or during torpor. Reversible thrombocytopenia was also induced by forced hypothermia in both hibernating (hamster) and non-hibernating (rat and mouse) species without changing platelet function. Pharmacological torpor induced by injection of 5′-AMP in mice did not induce thrombocytopenia, possibly because 5′-AMP inhibits platelet function. The rapidness of changes in the numbers of circulating platelets, as well as marginal changes in immature platelet fractions upon arousal, strongly suggest that storage-and-release underlies the reversible thrombocytopenia during natural torpor. Possibly, margination of platelets, dependent on intrinsic platelet functionality, governs clearance of circulating platelets during torpor.

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