Synthesis and structure-activity relationships of 2-amino-3-carboxy-4-phenylthiophenes as novel atypical protein kinase C inhibitors.
ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) isoforms are required for both TNF- and VEGF-induced breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) and endothelial permeability to 70kDa dextran or albumin. A chemical library screen revealed a series of novel small molecule phenylthiophene based inhibitors of aPKC isoforms that effectively block permeability in cell culture and in vivo. In an effort to further elucidate the structural requirements of this series of inhibitors, we detail in this study a structure-activity relationship (SAR) built on screening hit 1, which expands on our initial pharmacophore model. The biological activity of our analogues was evaluated in models of bona fide aPKC-dependent signaling including NF?B driven-gene transcription as a marker for an inflammatory response and VEGF/TNF-induced vascular endothelial permeability. The EC50 for the most efficacious inhibitors (6, 32) was in the low nanomolar range in these two cellular assays. Our study demonstrates the key structural elements that confer inhibitory activity and highlights the requirement for electron-donating moieties off the C-4 aryl moiety of the 2-amino-3-carboxy-4-phenylthiophene backbone. These studies suggest that this class has potential for further development into small molecule aPKC inhibitors with therapeutic efficacy in a host of diseases involving increased vascular permeability and inflammation.
Project description:Pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors such as VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) contribute to the loss of the BRB (blood-retinal barrier) and subsequent macular oedema in various retinal pathologies. VEGF signalling requires PKC? [conventional PKC (protein kinase C)] activity; however, PKC? inhibition only partially prevents VEGF-induced endothelial permeability and does not affect pro-inflammatory cytokine-induced permeability, suggesting the involvement of alternative signalling pathways. In the present study, we provide evidence for the involvement of aPKC (atypical PKC) signalling in VEGF-induced endothelial permeability and identify a novel class of inhibitors of aPKC that prevent BRB breakdown in vivo. Genetic and pharmacological manipulations of aPKC isoforms were used to assess their contribution to endothelial permeability in culture. A chemical library was screened using an in vitro kinase assay to identify novel small-molecule inhibitors, and further medicinal chemistry was performed to delineate a novel pharmacophore. We demonstrate that aPKC isoforms are both sufficient and required for VEGF-induced endothelial permeability. Furthermore, these specific, potent, non-competitive, small-molecule inhibitors prevented VEGF-induced tight junction internalization and retinal endothelial permeability in response to VEGF in both primary culture and in rodent retina. The results of the present study suggest that aPKC inhibition with 2-amino-4-phenyl-thiophene derivatives may be developed to preserve the BRB in retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or uveitis, and the BBB (blood-brain barrier) in the presence of brain tumours.
Project description:Changes in permeability of retinal blood vessels contribute to macular edema and the pathophysiology of numerous ocular diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, and macular degeneration. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces retinal permeability and macular thickening in these diseases. However, inflammatory agents, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), also may drive vascular permeability, specifically in patients unresponsive to anti-VEGF therapy. Recent evidence suggests VEGF and TNF-α induce permeability through distinct mechanisms; however, both require the activation of atypical protein kinase C (aPKC). We provide evidence, using genetic mouse models and therapeutic intervention with small molecules, that inhibition of aPKC prevented or reduced vascular permeability in animal models of retinal inflammation. Expression of a kinase-dead aPKC transgene, driven by a vascular and hematopoietic restricted promoter, reduced retinal vascular permeability in an ischemia-reperfusion model of retinal injury. This effect was recapitulated with a small-molecule inhibitor of aPKC. Expression of the kinase-dead aPKC transgene dramatically reduced the expression of inflammatory factors and blocked the attraction of inflammatory monocytes and granulocytes after ischemic injury. Coinjection of VEGF with TNF-α was sufficient to induce permeability, edema, and retinal inflammation, and treatment with an aPKC inhibitor prevented VEGF/TNF-α-induced permeability. These data suggest that aPKC contributes to inflammation-driven retinal vascular pathology and may be an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Increased retinal vascular permeability contributes to macular edema, a leading cause of vision loss in eye pathologies such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and central retinal vein occlusions. Pathological changes in vascular permeability are driven by growth factors such as VEGF and pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-?. Identifying the pro-barrier mechanisms that block vascular permeability and restore the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) may lead to new therapies. The cAMP-dependent guanine nucleotide exchange factor (EPAC) exchange-protein directly activated by cAMP promotes exchange of GTP in the small GTPase Rap1. Rap1 enhances barrier properties in human umbilical endothelial cells by promoting adherens junction assembly. We hypothesized that the EPAC-Rap1 signaling pathway may regulate the tight junction complex of the BRB and may restore barrier properties after cytokine-induced permeability. Here, we show that stimulating EPAC or Rap1 activation can prevent or reverse VEGF- or TNF-?-induced permeability in cell culture and in vivo Moreover, EPAC activation inhibited VEGF receptor (VEGFR) signaling through the Ras/MEK/ERK pathway. We also found that Rap1B knockdown or an EPAC antagonist increases endothelial permeability and that VEGF has no additive effect, suggesting a common pathway. Furthermore, GTP-bound Rap1 promoted tight junction assembly, and loss of Rap1B led to loss of junctional border organization. Collectively, our results indicate that the EPAC-Rap1 pathway helps maintain basal barrier properties in the retinal vascular endothelium and activation of the EPAC-Rap1 pathway may therefore represent a potential therapeutic strategy to restore the BRB.
Project description:Diabetes-induced breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) has been linked to hyperglycemia-induced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and is likely mediated by an increase in oxidative stress. We have shown that VEGF increases permeability of retinal endothelial cells (REC) by inducing expression of urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). The purpose of this study was to define the role of superoxide anion in VEGF/uPAR expression and BRB breakdown in diabetes. Studies were performed in streptozotocin diabetic rats and mice and high glucose (HG) treated REC. The superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic tempol blocked diabetes-induced permeability and uPAR expression in rats and the cell permeable SOD inhibited HG-induced expression of uPAR and VEGF in REC. Inhibiting VEGFR blocked HG-induced expression of VEGF and uPAR and GSK-3? phosphorylation in REC. HG caused ?-catenin translocation from the plasma membrane into the cytosol and nucleus. Treatment with HG-conditioned media increased REC paracellular permeability that was blocked by anti-uPA or anti-uPAR antibodies. Moreover, deletion of uPAR blocked diabetes-induced BRB breakdown and activation of MMP-9 in mice. Together, these data indicate that diabetes-induced oxidative stress triggers BRB breakdown by a mechanism involving uPAR expression through VEGF-induced activation of the GSK3?/?-catenin signaling pathway.
Project description:The purpose of these experiments was to determine the specific role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown that characterizes the early stages of vascular dysfunction in diabetes. Based on our data showing that high glucose increases nitric oxide, superoxide, and nitrotyrosine formation in retinal endothelial cells, we hypothesized that excess formation of ROS causes BRB breakdown in diabetes. Because ROS are known to induce increases in expression of the well-known endothelial mitogen and permeability factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) we also examined their influence on the expression of VEGF and its downstream target urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). After 2 weeks of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, analysis of albumin leakage confirmed a prominent breakdown of the BRB. This permeability defect was correlated with significant increases in the formation of nitric oxide, lipid peroxides, and the peroxynitrite biomarker nitrotyrosine as well as with increases in the expression of VEGF and uPAR. Treatment with a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor (N-omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, 50 mg/kg/day) or peroxynitrite scavenger (uric acid, 160 mg/kg/day) blocked the breakdown in the BRB and prevented the increases in formation of lipid peroxides and tyrosine nitration as well as the increases in expression of VEGF and uPAR. Taken together, these data indicate that early diabetes causes breakdown of the BRB by a mechanism involving the action of reactive nitrogen species in promoting expression of VEGF and uPAR.
Project description:Retinal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) induces neurodegenaration as well as blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown causing vascular permeability. Whereas the neuronal death has been extensively studied, the molecular mechanisms related to BRB breakdown in IR injury remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the early changes in tight junctional (TJ) proteins in response to IR injury. Ischemia-reperfusion injury was induced in male rat retinas by increasing the intraocular pressure for 45?minutes followed by natural reperfusion. The results demonstrate that IR injury induced occludin Ser490 phosphorylation and ubiquitination within 15?minutes of reperfusion with subsequent vascular permeability. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a rapid increase in occludin Ser490 phosphorylation and loss of Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) protein, particularly in arterioles. Ischemia-reperfusion injury also rapidly induced the activation and phosphorylation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) at tyrosine 1175. Blocking vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) function by intravitreal injection of bevacizumab prevented VEGFR-2 activation, occludin phosphorylation, and vascular permeability. These studies suggest a novel mechanism of occludin Ser490 phosphorylation and ubiquitination downstream of VEGFR2 activation associated with early IR-induced vascular permeability.
Project description:Blood vessels in the central nervous system (CNS) develop unique features, but the contribution of CNS neurons to regulating those features is not fully understood. We report that inhibiting spontaneous cholinergic activity or reducing starburst amacrine cell numbers prevents invasion of endothelial cells into the deep layers of the retina and causes blood-retinal-barrier (BRB) dysfunction in mice. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which drives angiogenesis, and Norrin, a Wnt ligand that induces BRB properties, are decreased after activity blockade. Exogenous VEGF restores vessel growth but not BRB function, whereas stabilizing beta-catenin in endothelial cells rescues BRB dysfunction but not vessel formation. We further identify that inhibiting cholinergic activity reduces angiogenesis during oxygen-induced retinopathy. Our findings demonstrate that neural activity lies upstream of VEGF and Norrin, coordinating angiogenesis and BRB formation. Neural activity originating from specific neural circuits may be a general mechanism for driving regional angiogenesis and barrier formation across CNS development.
Project description:Regulation of vascular permeability plays a major role in the pathophysiology of visually threatening conditions such as retinal vein occlusion and diabetic retinopathy. Principally, several factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), are up-regulated or induced in response to hypoxia thus adversely affecting the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), resulting in retinal edema and neovascularisation. Furthermore, current evidence supports a dysregulation of the inner retinal neural-vascular integrity as a critical factor driving retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death and visual loss. The principal objective of this study was to interrogate whether Substance P (SP), a constitutive neurotransmitter of amacrine and ganglion cells, may protect against N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced excitotoxic apoptosis of ganglion cells and VEGF-induced vessel leakage in the retina. Tight junctional protein expression and a Vascular Permeability Image Assay were used to determine vascular integrity in vitro. The protective effect of SP on RGC was established in ex vivo retinal explants and in vivo murine models. After NMDA administration, a reduction in TUNEL+ cells and a maintained number of Brn-3a+ cells were found, indicating an inhibition of RGC apoptosis mediated by SP. Additionally, SP maintained endothelial tight junctions and decreased VEGF-induced vascular permeability. In conclusion, administration of SP protects against NMDA apoptosis of RGC and VEGF-induced endothelial barrier breakdown.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the mechanism of the unique beneficial effect of intravitreal steroid therapy on diabetic macular edema, we investigated the effect of locally administered triamcinolone acetonide (TA) on the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and its receptors in retinas of rats with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. We then correlated the expression of these proteins with breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB). RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Thirty-two eyes of 16 diabetic and nondiabetic rats were divided into four groups. TA was injected into the vitreous of the right eye, and saline was injected into the left eye (control) 3.5 weeks after induction of diabetes. Retinas were harvested 48 h following treatment. mRNA and protein expression of VEGF-A, VEGF-A receptor 1 (fms-like tyrosine kinase [FLT]-1), and VEGF-A receptor 2 (fetal liver kinase [FLK]-1) were determined by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. BRB permeability was quantitated by measuring extravasated endogenous albumin and retinal thickness. RESULTS: Diabetes-induced retinal thickness and albumin extravasation were significantly reduced in TA-treated diabetic retinas to a level similar to that in sham-treated nondiabetic eyes. A close correlation between albumin leakage and increased expression of both Vegf-a and Flk-1 was noted in the diabetic retinas. TA downregulated the expression of Vegf-a and Flk-1 but upregulated the expression of Flt-1. TA did not alter the expression of these genes in nondiabetic retinas. CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal injection of TA stabilizes the BRB in association with regulation of Vegf-a, Flk-1, and Flt-1 expression in retinas in the early stages of diabetes.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Oxidative stress is a key pathogenic factor in diabetic retinopathy. We previously showed that lovastatin mitigates blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown in db/db mice. The purpose of this study is to determine the mechanisms underlying the salutary effects of lovastatin in diabetic retinopathy.<h4>Research design and methods</h4>Expression of NADPH oxidase (Nox) 4, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha; production of reactive oxygen species (ROS); and retinal vascular permeability were measured in cultured retinal capillary endothelial cells (RCECs) and in db/db mice treated with lovastatin.<h4>Results</h4>Expressions of Nox4 and VEGF were significantly increased in retinas of db/db mice and reduced by lovastatin treatment. In cultured RCECs, hypoxia and high glucose upregulated mRNA and protein expression of Nox4, ROS generation, and VEGF level. These changes were abrogated by pretreatment with lovastatin or NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium chloride. Overexpression of Nox4 increased basal level of ROS generation, HIF-1alpha, and VEGF expression in RCECs. In contrast, blockade of Nox4 activity using adenovirus-expressing dominant-negative Nox4 abolished hypoxia- and high-glucose-induced ROS production and VEGF expression. Moreover, inhibition of Nox4 attenuated hypoxia-induced upregulation of HIF-1alpha and high-glucose-elicited phosphorylation of STAT3. Finally, depletion of Nox4 by adenovirus-delivered Nox4 small interfering RNA significantly decreased retinal NADPH oxidase activity and VEGF expression and reduced retinal vascular premeability in db/db mice.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Activation of Nox4 plays an important role in high-glucose- and hypoxia-mediated VEGF expression and diabetes-induced BRB breakdown. Inhibition of Nox4, at least in part, contributes to the protective effects of lovastatin in diabetic retinopathy.