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Showing posts with label COPD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COPD. Show all posts

Monday, 11 December 2017

Cognitive Loss/Impaired Sensory Gating from HCN Channels - Recovered by PDE4 Inhibition or an α2A Receptor Agonist

Today we have a complex dysfunction, but we have a plausible understanding of the detailed biological underpinnings and several therapeutic options. It is relevant to people with autism who have impaired sensory gating (they find noises like a clock ticking annoying), and perhaps those who struggle with complex thought. It is very likely to be disturbed in some people with ADHD and many with schizophrenia.

Trouble in the Pre-Frontal Cortex


For a recap on sensory gating, here is an earlier post:-

Sensory Gating in Autism, Particularly Asperger's


Today’s dysfunction relates to HCN channels located on those tiny dendritic spines in a part of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex. These are a type of voltage gated potassium channel found in your brain and heart, there are 4 types, it looks to me that HCN2 is the key one today.
The pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is seen as the part of the brain most affected by mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD etc.), although medicine’s current understanding looks rather medieval to me.
These HCN channels can open when they are exposed to cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). When open, the information can no longer flow into the cell, and thus the network (created by numerous interacting neurons) is effectively disconnected.
By keeping these channels closed, it is thought that you can improve working memory and reducing distractibility. Now you might think distractibility is an odd word, and it is not a word I expected to encounter, what it really means is impaired sensory gating. This is a core feature of Asperger’s, ADHD and schizophrenia.
One of the key risk genes for schizophrenia, DISC1, also affects HCN channels and this may account for some of the cognitive deficit found in schizophrenia. High level thinking is particularly affected.  It is thought that loss of DISC1 function in the PFC would likely prevent proper PDE4 function, leading to a dysregulated build-up of cAMP in dendritic spines resulting in excessive opening of HCN channels


I did wonder how nicotine fits in, since in earlier post we saw that α7 nAChR agonists, like nicotine, improve sensory gating and indeed that people with schizophrenia tend to be smokers. It turns out that nicotine is also an HCN channel blocker. For a change, everything seems to fit nicely together. There are different ways to block HCN channels, some of which are indirect. One common ADHD drug, Guanfacine, keeps these channels closed, but in a surprising way.
Alpha-2A adrenergic receptors near the HCN channels, on those dendritic spines, inhibit the production of cAMP and the HCN channels stay closed, allowing the information to pass through into the cell, connecting the network. These Alpha-2A adrenergic  receptors are stimulated by a natural brain chemical norepinephrine, or by drugs like Guanfacine.
Stress appears to flood PFC neurons with cAMP, which opens HCN channels, temporarily disconnects networks, and impairs higher cognitive abilities.
This would explain why stress makes people’s sensory gating problems get worse. So someone with Asperger’s would get more distracted/disturbed at exam time at school for example, or when he goes for a job interview. Reducing stress is another method to improve sensory gating and indeed cognition. In Monty, aged 14 with ASD, the only time he exhibits significantly impaired sensory gating, is when he has stopped all his Polypill therapies for several days. I think stress/anxiety is what has changed and this opens those HCN channels. Then even the sound of someone eating food next to him makes him angry.
Excessive opening of HCN channels might underlie many lapses in higher cognitive function.
While the researchers at Yale patented the idea of HCN blockers to improve cognition, we can see how other existing ideas to improve cognition may indeed have the same mechanism, most notably PDE4 inhibitors.
The University of Maastricht holds patents on the use of Roflumilast, a PDE4 inhibitor, to improve cognition; most interestingly, this takes effect at one fifth of the COPD dosage, for which it is an approved drug. At high doses PDE4 inhibitors have annoying side effects, but at low doses they tend to be trouble-free.
One effect of a PDE4 inhibitor is that it reduces cAMP. So a PDE4 inhibitor acts indirectly like an HCN blocker.
Not surprisingly recent research showed that low doses of Roflumilast improves sensory gating in those affected by this issue.
So rather than waiting for a brain selective HCN blocker, the potential exists to use a one fifth dose of Roflumilast today. This is something that should indeed be investigated across different types of cognitive dysfunction.
There are numerous dysfunctions that can impair cognition and they can occur in different diagnosis. For example impaired autophagy is a key feature of Huntington’s, impaired remyelination defines multiple sclerosis, low levels of nerve growth factor are a key feature of Rett syndrome. Less severe dysfunctions of these processes occur in entirely different conditions.
It is thought that people with Alzheimer’s might benefit from PDE4 inhibition. If it was me, I would try it in all types of dementia or cognitive loss of any kind.

PDE4 Inhibitors
There have been many mentions of PDE4 inhibitors elsewhere in this blog. They are broadly anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, but currently only widely used to treat asthma in Japan and COPD in Western countries. COPD is a kind of very severe asthma.
Traditionally a PDE4 inhibitor is thought of as drug used to block the degradative action of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) on cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). That all sound complicated, just think of it as increasing cAMP.
Now cAMP is a messenger in many biological processes, one of which relates to PKA (Protein Kinase A). In autism we know that PKA, PKB and PKC are often disturbed. These PKs are very important because they have the ability to literally change the function of thousands of proteins in your body. This is similar to how epigenetic tags can switch on or switch off a particular gene. PKs, via a different mechanism we will look at in another post, change the function of proteins, so it is very important that you have the correct level of PKA, PKB and PKC.
We saw in a recent post that the Pitt Hopkins gene TCF4 is regulated by PKA and that under-expression of TCF4 is also a feature of some ID and schizophrenia. So more PKA, please.

You can use a PDE4 inhibitor to increase cAMP, which then increases PKA.

Other effects of PDE4 inhibitors
Today’s post is about sensory gating and the effect here of PDE4 inhibitors is via the effect of cAMP on those HCN channels in your tiny dendritic spines.
There are numerous other effects of PDE4 that may also be therapeutic. One interesting effect is that inhibition of PDE4 can mimic calorie restriction by activating AMPK/SIRT1 pathway.
Calorie restriction has just been shown in a large trial to be able to reverse type 2 diabetes, if initiated with a few years of the disease developing.
Humans have evolved based to periods of feast and famine. Periods of fasting may be therapeutic for many modern conditions.
Not surprisingly one side effect of PDE4 inhibitors is weight loss. Many psychiatric drugs cause troubling weight gain.

Acute administration of Roflumilast enhances sensory gating in healthy young humans in a randomized trial. 

Abstract

 

INTRODUCTION:

Sensory gating is a process involved in early information processing which prevents overstimulation of higher cortical areas by filtering sensory information. Research has shown that the process of sensory gating is disrupted in patients suffering from clinical disorders including attention deficit hyper activity disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors have received an increased interest as a tool to improve cognitive performance in both animals and man, including sensory gating.

METHODS:

The current study investigated the effects of the PDE4 inhibitor Roflumilast in a sensory gating paradigm in 20 healthy young human volunteers (age range 18-30 years). We applied a placebo-controlled randomized cross-over design and tested three doses (100, 300, 1000 μg).

RESULTS:

Results show that Roflumilast improves sensory gating in healthy young human volunteers only at the 100-μg dose. The effective dose of 100 μg is five times lower than the clinically approved dose for the treatment of acute exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). No side-effects, such as nausea and emesis, were observed at this dose. This means Roflumilast shows a beneficial effect on gating at a dose that had no adverse effects reported following single-dose administration in the present study.

CONCLUSION:

The PDE4 inhibitor Roflumilast has a favourable side-effect profile at a cognitively effective dose and could be considered as a treatment in disorders affected by disrupted sensory gating.


Background Information
Selective phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibition has been considered as a very promising target for cognition enhancement.
Roflumilast is a PDE4 inhibitor that has been developed by Takeda for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In recent year, Maastricht University has been collaborating with Takeda to develop Roflumilast for cognitive impairments
In 2015 Takeda sold COPD indication of Roflumilast to AstraZeneca, and ownership of IP for treatment of cognitive impairment returned to Maastricht University.
Compelling clinical results
A single administration of Roflumilast improves episodic memory in mice, and in young and elderly healthy subjects at a non-emetic dose
As shown in the figure, healthy (A) and memory impaired (B) elderly subjects showed better performances in the delayed recall of the Verbal Learning Task after roflumilast

Key Features and Advantages
Opportunities to reposition a clinically-proven safe compound with a well-established pharmacology.
Compelling preclinical and clinical evidences showing that Roflumilast effectively deliver to the brain to produce robust cognitive enhancement.
Pro-cognitive effects at low dose (5 times lower than COPD indication), which allows to circumvent the emetic effects commonly observed with other PDE4 inhibitors
Maastricht University has a strong IP protection extending to at least 2033.

PDE inhibitors in psychiatry--future options for dementia, depression and schizophrenia?

Author information

Abstract

Phosphodiesterases are key enzymes in cellular signalling pathways. They degrade cyclic nucleotides and their inhibition via specific inhibitors offers unique 'receptor-independent' opportunities to modify cellular function. An increasing number of in vitro and animal model studies point to innovative treatment options in neurology and psychiatry. This review critiques a selection of recent studies and developments with a focus on dementia/neuroprotection, depression and schizophrenia. Despite increased interest among the clinical neurosciences, there are still no approved PDE inhibitors for clinical use in neurology or psychiatry. Adverse effects are a major impediment for clinical approval. It is therefore necessary to search for more specific inhibitors at the level of different PDE sub-families and isoforms.


The current study found that brain cells in PFC contain ion channels called hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (HCN) that reside on dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions on neurons that are specialized for receiving information. These channels can open when they are exposed to cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). When open, the information can no longer flow into the cell, and thus the network is effectively disconnected. Arnsten said inhibiting cAMP closes the channels and allows the network to reconnect.
Guanfacine can strengthen the connectivity of these networks by keeping these channels closed, thus improving working memory and reducing distractibility," she said. "This is the first time we have observed the mechanism of action of a psychotropic medication in such depth, at the level of ion channels."
Arnsten said the excessive opening of HCN channels might underlie many lapses in higher cognitive function. Stress, for example, appears to flood PFC neurons with cAMP, which opens HCN channels, temporarily disconnects networks, and impairs higher cognitive abilities.
The study also found alpha-2A adrenergic receptors near the channels that inhibit the production of cAMP and allow the information to pass through into the cell, connecting the network. These receptors are stimulated by a natural brain chemical  norepinephrine or by medications like guanfacine.
 “Guanfacine can strengthen the connectivity of these networks by keeping these channels closed, thus improving working memory and reducing distractibility,” she said. “This is the first time we have observed the mechanism of action of a psychotropic medication in such depth, at the level of ion channels.”
Yale has submitted a patent application on the use of HCN blockers for the treatment of PFC cognitive deficits based on the data reported in the Cell paper.

The full Yale paper:

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is among the most evolved brain regions, contributing to our highest order cognitive abilities. It regulates behavior, thought, and emotion using working memory. Many cognitive disorders involve impairments of the PFC. A century of discoveries at Yale Medical School has revealed the neurobiology of PFC cognitive functions, as well as the molecular needs of these circuits. This work has led to the identification of therapeutic targets to treat cognitive disorders. Recent research has found that the noradrenergic α2A agonist guanfacine can improve PFC function by strengthening PFC network connections via inhibition of cAMP-potassium channel signaling in postsynaptic spines. Guanfacine is now being used to treat a variety of PFC cognitive disorders, including Tourette’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This article reviews the history of Yale discoveries on the neurobiology of PFC working memory function and the identification of guanfacine for treating cognitive disorders.

Molecular modeling suggests that, similarly to ZD 7288, nicotine and epibatidine directly bind to the inner pore of the HCN channels. It is therefore likely that nicotine severely influences rhythmogenesis and high cognitive functions in smokers.

Modulation of HCN channels in lateral septum by nicotine


Conclusion
I think many people stand to benefit from the drugs mentioned in today’s post, but for different biological reasons. A person with Pitt Hopkins may benefit from Roflumilast because it will upregulate PKA and then increase expression of their remaining TCF4 gene.
In a person with schizophrenia there are multiple reasons these drugs might help them and it will depend on which genes they have that are misexpressed (TCF4, DISC1 etc.).
In a person with idiopathic Asperger’s and impaired sensory gating it looks like the effect on HCN channels is what is important.
I think low dose Roflumilast has great potential for many. The Japanese drug Ibudilast very likely will provide similar benefits, but at what dosage?
PDE4 inhibitors do have side effects at higher doses in part because there are several different types of PDE4 (PDE4A, PDE4B, PDE4C etc) and different drugs effect different subtypes differently.
Ibudilast is used as a daily drug therapy for asthma in Japan and is being studied as a therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the US.
Roflumilast is sold by Astra Zeneca as Daxas/Daliresp but at a high dose of 500mcg to treat flare ups of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) it does cause troubling side effects, but it reduces your chance of dying from COPD.
The cognitive dose used in research is 100mcg. Higher doses had no cognitive/sensory gating benefit.
Further investigation of the ADHD drug Guanfacine should be made, because some of the people who benefit from a PDE4 inhibitor might get a similar effect from Guanfacine. People with Pitt Hopkins would not be in this category. A person with Asperger’s and impaired sensory dating should respond to Guanfacine, a cheap drug.
At the end of the day, choice of therapy will come down to side effects and cost. In the US, Roflumilast is expensive ($330), seven times more expensive than in some other countries; in the UK the price of the same 30 tablets is $50. One pack would be enough for 5 months at the suggested dose.




Thursday, 30 November 2017

Macrolide Antibiotics for Some Autism? Or better still, Azithromycin analogue CSY0073, or just Nystatin?




Magical Poland


Today’s post is about yet another reason why some people with autism might have a positive behavioral response while on antibiotics. Today it is the turn of macrolide-type antibiotics, which have proven immunomodulatory effects.

To get the immunomodulatory benefits, without worsening antibiotic resistance, a neat solution called CSY0073 is coming. Nystatin is another possibility.
One of the best papers happens to come from a pair of researchers from Lodz (Łódź, pronounced “Wudge”) in Poland. This blog has many Polish readers. 

I was recently helping my son, Monty aged 14 with ASD, with his geography presentation on Poland.  I used to travel quite a lot to Poland and I am familiar with its turbulent history. So today’s picture above is actually from Monty’s PowerPoint presentation on Poland. As musical backing, we added one of Chopin’s Polonaises, since Monty is the piano man and Chopin was born in Poland. Polonaise (Polonez) is the name of a type of Polish dance and yes, Monty did dance to the music for his classmates.
The Germans and the Russians have changed the make-up of Poland profoundly and someone has produced the animated map above to illustrate this (it should play automatically). Lodz used to be a textile city with a population one third Jewish, who were later exterminated.  Lviv (Lwów), another large and once Polish city, also had a large Jewish population which the Germans exterminated. Then the Soviets gave the then Lwów (Lviv) to Ukraine and deported the Polish population.  The Soviets gave the German city of Breslau to Poland and it became Wrocław; most Germans were deported and many Poles from Lviv were relocated there.
Gdansk (Danzig) changed hands as well and, as Monty informed his class, they even had their own currency. Few outside Poland will recall Gdansk was home to Lech Wałęsa and his Solidarity Movement.  Monty’s elder brother knows about Solidarity and Katyn (see below) and we agreed Lech will for sure not be on Vladimir Putin’s Christmas list. 


A very charismatic older Pole in Warsaw once told me “the Russians were our brothers, your friends you can chose”. Having also been to Russia many times in the early 1990s, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I should point out there are plenty of nice Russians too. An old Russian former naval commander in St Petersburg  once told me how his father always kept a packed bag by the front door at home, in case the NKVD (Stalin’s secret police) came knocking at the door in the middle of the night. Half a million Russians were taken during Stalin’s purges 1936-8. In 1940 the same NKVD perpetrated the Katyn massacre, when 22,000 Polish army officers, policemen and “intellectuals” were killed.  In a sad twist of fate in 2010 a Tupolev plane carrying the Polish president, senior politicians, senior army officers and other leading Poles to a commemoration of the Katyn massacre crashed in very bad weather trying to land at Smolensk.  The cockpit voice recorder showed that the crew were too intimidated by the President to divert the plane and be late for the ceremony, so they all died.  History repeated itself.
The Poles and Russians do share traumatic histories and many like drinking too much vodka. As Monty’s classmates learned, “vodka" is one diminutive form of the Slavic word voda (water). They like diminutives and you can even make your own.  The Russians have a diminutive of vodka, водочка (vodochka).
Back to science …

Macrolide Antibiotics 

Macrolide antibiotics are widely used across the world, the most popular ones are:-

As readers will know, you normally take an antibiotic short term to treat a bacterial infection.
It was discovered that this class of antibiotic also has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.  They became used long-term to treat conditions like cystic fibrosis, COPD (Chronic Oppressive Pulmonary Disease) and sometimes even asthma.
The problem is so-called “population antimicrobial resistance” associated with chronic macrolide use, which means these antibiotics can stop working for everyone else.
The good news is that not all macrolides have antibiotic properties and analogues (slightly different version) of both azithromycin and erythromycin are being developed to give the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, without risking antimicrobial resistance.
Of course what will happen is that the new drugs will be far more expensive than the old ones and so the old ones will continue to be used. Such is the world.
So first we will review the science showing these special properties of Azithromycin, which can apparently work wonders for some people with autism plus allergy, although the research below talks about other inflammatory diseases.
Here is the paper from Poland:-

 Macrolides are a group of antibiotics whose activity is ascribable to the presence of the macrolide ring, to which one or more deoxy sugars may be attached. Two properties are inherent in this group of antibiotics, the immunomodulatory and the anti-inflammatory actions, ensuring great efficacy in a wide spectrum of infections. Macrolides demonstrate several immunomodulatory activities both in vitro and in vivo. They can down-regulate prolonged inflammation, increase mucus clearance, prevent the formation of bacterial biofilm and either enhance or reduce activation of the immune system. According to given properties and exceptional effects on bacterial phatogens, the macrolide antimicrobial agents have been found to serve a unique role in the management of chronic airway disorders, including diffuse pan bronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Use of macrolides can result in clinical improvement in patients with severe, chronic inflammatory airway diseases, improving their spirometry indicators, gas exchange and overall quality of life. 
Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects Macrolides have a direct antimicrobial effect but more importantly, also modulate many components of the immune response. Because of this anti-inflammatory or immune modulating effect, macrolide antibiotics have been widely used as a maintenance treatment for various chronic inflammatory airway diseases [1]. Interest in the immunomodulatory effects of macrolides began with showing that in patients with bronchial asthma, requiring glucocorticoids administration, application of macrolide antibiotics allowed for reducing steroids dose [6]. This phenomenon is known as ‘sparing effect’.




After more than 30 years, macrolides still hold a vital place in our therapeutic armamentarium. They possess immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory actions extending their antibacterial activity. Indeed, they are able to suppress the “cytokine storm” of inflammation and confer an additional clinical benefit through their immunomodulatory properties. The majority of cells, involved in both the innate and adaptive immune responses, are influenced when macrolide antibiotics are administered.
Suppressing a cytokine storm is not easy. Atorvastatin can also do this.


Azithromycin as an immunomodulator

In addition to their antimicrobial properties, there are in vitro and animal data on the immunomodulatory or anti-inflammatory effects of macrolides.1 Effects in humans were initially reported in the treatment of diffuse panbronchiolitis, in which macrolides are associated with improved lung function and prognosis based largely on non-controlled trial data and retrospective studies.1 In cystic fibrosis, treatment for six months is associated with improved respiratory function and reduced respiratory exacerbations.11 Azithromycin produced a small increase in lung function (mean 8.8%) at seven months in patients treated for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome after lung transplant,12 but was no different compared to placebo for bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome after haematopoetic stem cell transplant.13

Azithromycin and other macrolides have also been proposed for use in sepsis and epidemic respiratory viral infections to prevent cytokine storm.1 It has been used for various respiratory and non-respiratory inflammatory conditions. However, this use has been controversial due to limited direct clinical evidence for many conditions, and concerns about increased antimicrobial resistance.1,14 New non-antibiotic macrolides may provide immunomodulatory benefits without contributing to antimicrobial resistance.14


Risks of population antimicrobial resistance associated with chronic macrolide use for inflammatory airway diseases.


Macrolide antibiotics have established efficacy in the management of cystic fibrosis and diffuse panbronchiolitis-uncommon lung diseases with substantial morbidity and the potential for rapid progression to death. Emerging evidence suggests benefits of maintenance macrolide treatment in more indolent respiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. In view of the greater patient population affected by these disorders (and potential for macrolide use to spread to disorders such as chronic cough), widespread use of macrolides, particularly azithromycin, has the potential to substantially influence antimicrobial resistance rates of a range of respiratory microbes. In this Personal View, I explore theories around population (rather than patient) macrolide resistance, appraise evidence linking macrolide use with development of resistance, and highlight the risks posed by injudicious broadening of their use, particularly of azithromycin. These risks are weighed against the potential benefits of macrolides in less aggressive inflammatory airway disorders. A far-sighted approach to maintenance macrolide use in non-cystic fibrosis inflammatory airway diseases is needed, which minimises risks of adversely affecting community macrolide resistance: combining preferential use of erythromycin and restriction of macrolide use to those patients at greatest risk represents an appropriately cautious management approach.  

Changes in macrolide resistance rates since the introduction of long-acting macrolides Although erythromycin has been used since the 1950s, rates of macrolide resistance among respiratory pathogens were consistently low worldwide until the late 1980s. Since then, macrolide resistance rates have risen sharply, coincident with the introduction of long acting macrolides, particularly azithromycin (see later) but also clarithromycin.







  Conclusions The development of novel, non-antibiotic macrolides with anti-inflammatory properties, including EM703107 and CSY0073, holds great promise for delivering the benefits of macrolide treatment without the associated risks of antimicrobial resistance in the future. Until then, use of long-term macrolide antibiotics to treat respiratory disorders must be prudent. The benefits shown with maintenance macrolides so far have been modest in COPD and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, and their use should be limited to patients with more difficult (and otherwise optimally managed) disease. For non-cystic fibrosis inflammatory airways diseases, combining the preferential use of erythromycin along with restriction of macrolide use to only those likely to derive the greatest benefit represents a clinically appropriate, and ecologically responsible, management approach.



CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:


Unlike azithromycin, CSY0073 had no antibacterial effects but it did have a similar anti-inflammatory profile to that of azithromycin. Hence, CSY0073 may have potential as a long-term treatment for patients with chronic lung diseases.
  

Tuebingen, Germany: – German-based pharmaceutical discovery company Synovo GmbH today announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted its anti-inflammatory drug with orphan (rare disease) status as a treatment for Cystic Fibrosis. Synovo refers to its candidate as CSY0073.
CSY0073 has been adjudged to provide an alternative to anti-inflammatory therapies that are also anti-bacterial, thus potentially contributing to a reduction in selection for antibiotic resistance. The drug is a novel compound that reduces inflammation and prevents recruitment of excess immune cells to diseased tissues. It is a non-antibacterial analog of the well-known antibiotic azithromycin, that is extensively used in many diseases of the lungs including Cystic Fibrosis.
  

Conclusion
We saw in earlier posts why beta lactam antibiotics might benefit some people with autism.
We came across the GLT-1 (EAAT2) transporter, the principal transporter that clears the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate from the extracellular space at synapses in the central nervous system. Glutamate clearance is necessary for proper synaptic activation and to prevent neuronal damage from excessive activation of glutamate receptors. EAAT2 is responsible for over 90% of glutamate reuptake within the brain. Beta lactam antibiotics, like penicillin, upregulate EAAT2/GLT-1 and so reduce glutamate.
I suggested that people with autism who improve on penicillin types antibiotics should get a similar effect from riluzole, which is now a generic drug.
People whose autism benefits while on macrolide antibiotics are benefitting from its immunomodulatory effects.
People with severe allergy and autism are likely to respond to long term moderate dose of macrolides. 
The problem of long term use of any antibiotic is that it contributes to the decline in its effectiveness for everyone else.
Some DAN-type doctors apparently do apparently give one year prescriptions for beta lactams.   I think these people likely should be on riluzole.
Some mainstream doctors prescribe moderate dose macrolide antibiotics long term to treat people with “over-active” immune responses. It appears many people with cystic fibrosis are treated long term with macrolide antibiotics.
I am informed that some people with autism and “over-active” immune responses respond very well behaviorally to long term use of macrolide antibiotics.
The best solution in the long run is for people to use non-antibiotic macrolides like CSY0073, from Synovo. If it turns to be very expensive, people will just use azithromycin.
In the meantime note there are other non-antibiotic macrolides sitting in the pharmacy. 
·        Nystatin is a non-antibiotic macrolide. As we know, DAN-type doctors widely prescribe Nystatin to treat “candida overgrowth” in autism. It is also a potassium channel (Kv1.3) blocker. 
·        The drugs  tacrolimus, pimecrolimus, and sirolimus, which are used as immunomodulators, are also non-antibiotic macrolides.

There look to be many interesting possibilities for those with autism and allergy/mast cell activation/ulcerative colitis/asthma etc. 
I wonder if the people with autism and allergy who respond to long-term Azithromycin use would see the same benefit from Nystatin?

Long term use of antibiotics will disrupt the gut microbiome, i.e. kill the good bacteria.  People should be aware of this and that in minimizing one problem, they may create another one. The non-antibiotic options are clearly best. If you have cystic fibrosis the advantages of an antibiotic clearly outweigh the disadvantages. 







Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Broccoli sprouts for all Diabetes and some COPD


This blog is about translating existing medical research into therapy for autism, but quite often the same research has clear application to other conditions.
Very often those conditions include diabetes, a common severe form of asthma (COPD - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and of course cancer.
Some readers of this blog are already applying some of these insights to improve their diabetes and indeed COPD. Type 2 diabetes is becoming very common and so more interest is being shown in better managing it. Sulforaphane from broccoli sprouts should benefit people with both Type1 and Type 2 diabetes, as more people are beginning to realize.

Cancer is a complex subject with many different molecular variants, but much of the science that needs to be applied is shared with autism. If you could master PAK1, RAS, PTEN, BCL2, P2X7, NRF2 etc you would be well placed to treat variants of both conditions. There is a surprising overlap between the existing drugs being repurposed for some autism and those being considered for some cancer (statins, metformin, propranolol, ivermectin etc.).




A chemical called sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, has previously demonstrated an ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic rats. Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and his colleagues wondered whether the same might be true for humans. To test the theory, his team gave 97 people with type 2 diabetes a concentrated dose of sulforaphane every day for three months, or a placebo. All but three people in the trial continued taking metformin. Those who didn’t take metformin were able to control their condition relatively well without it.

The concentration of sulforaphane given was around 100 times that found naturally in broccoli. “It was the same as eating around five kilograms of broccoli daily,” says Rosengren.

On average, those who received the broccoli extract saw their blood glucose reduce by 10 per cent more than those on the placebo. The extract was most effective in obese participants with “dysregulated” diabetes, whose baseline glucose levels were higher to start with.


Journal reference:


COPD is relevant to autism because it is epigenetic and features oxidative stress interfering in important biological processes, so there are some parallels with types of autism.

To ensure that the lungs function correctly, white blood cells called macrophages remove debris and bacteria that can build up in the lungs and cause infection.
This cleaning system is defective in smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a combination of emphysema and bronchitis – who suffer from frequent infections.

Now, researchers have figured out that a chemical pathway in the lungs called NRF2, involved in macrophage activation, is wiped out by smoking. They also found that sulforaphane, a plant chemical that is made by broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables when damaged, such as when chewed, can restore this pathway.

Journal reference:

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Nitrosative Stress, Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite










In this example of Brain Injury, developing oligodendrocytes are injured and killed by substances released from activated microglia, including nitric oxide and superoxide, which form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite has been found to kill these cells through the activation of the 12-lipoxygenase pathway for metabolizing arachidonic acid. Mitochondria may be involved in this pathway as a source of reactive oxygen species.


Much has been written in this blog about oxidative stress, which has now been extremely well researched in autism and more generally. Let’s recap oxidative stress.

The most knowledgeable researcher in this area is Abha Chauhan.  Based on her research and that of others we now know a great deal.  Recall that the body’s key antioxidant is called glutathione (GSH) and when it neutralizes a free radical GSH is converted to its oxidized form, glutathione disulfide (GSSG).  A good measure of oxidative stress is the ratio of  GSH/GSSG.


·        Autism is associated with deficits in glutathione antioxidant defence in selective regions of the brain.

·        In the cerebellum and temporal cortex from subjects with autism, GSH levels are significantly decreased by 34.2 and 44.6 %, with a concomitant increase in the levels of GSSG

·        There is also a significant decrease in the levels of total GSH (tGSH) by 32.9 % in the cerebellum, and by 43.1 % in the temporal cortex of subjects with autism.

·        In contrast, there was no significant change in GSH, GSSG and tGSH levels in the frontal, parietal and occipital cortices in autism

·        The redox ratio of GSH to GSSG was also significantly decreased by 52.8 % in the cerebellum and by 60.8 % in the temporal cortex of subjects with autism, suggesting glutathione redox imbalance in the brain of individuals with autism.

·        Disturbances in brain glutathione homeostasis may contribute to oxidative stress, immune dysfunction and apoptosis, particularly in the cerebellum and temporal lobe, and may lead to neurodevelopmental abnormalities in autism.


·        The activity of glutathione cysteine ligase (GCL), an enzyme for glutathione synthesis is impaired in autism.

·        The protein expression of its modulatory subunit GCLM was decreased in autism.

·        The activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione S-transferase were decreased in autism.



For those interested, GPx is a family of enzymes that catalyze the reaction that converts GSH to GCCG.  So in order to soak up those free radicals you need both GSH and GPx.

Glutathione cysteine ligase (GCL) is a key enzyme needed to make the antioxidant GSH.  Dysregulation of GCL enzymatic function and activity is known to be involved in many human diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, COPD, HIV/AIDS, cancer and autism.  Without sufficient GCL your body cannot make enough glutathione (GSH).


I did have some conversation with Abha Chauhan a few years ago when I found that NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), a known precursor to GSH, really does have a positive behavioral impact in autism.  She is clearly very nice, but not the type to make the leap to translating her science into therapy.

As I have shown there are many other treatable aspects of oxidative stress.

The chart below is my annotated version of the original by Professor Helmut Sies, the German “Redox Pioneer”.  He has published 500 scientific papers.




Nitrosative Stress


Finally to nitrogen.

Nitrogen is the most common pure element in the earth, making up 78.1% of the entire volume of the atmosphere.  Although nitrogen is non-toxic, when released into an enclosed space it can displace oxygen, and therefore presents an asphyxiation hazard. 

Nitrogen is an anesthetic agent. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is commonly known as laughing gas.  It is used in medicine for its unaesthetic and analgesic effects

It is also used as an oxidizer in rocket propellants, and in motor racing to increase the power output of engines, like Mad Max.

In humans we are dealing with Nitric Oxide (NO) and when things go wrong with peroxynitrite and then other Reactive nitrogen species (RNS).  In simple terms Reactive nitrogen species (RNS), like Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are bad news.

Nitric Oxide (NO) itself does lots of good things in your body.  Too much may not be good, but a little more can actually do you good.  NO is a potent vasodilator.

For over 130 years, nitroglycerin has been used to treat heart conditions, such as angina and chronic heart failure.  Nitroglycerin produces nitric oxide (NO). In hospital most patients will receive nitroglycerin during and after a heart attack, people at risk of a heart attack often carry nitroglycerin with them.

If you want to lower your blood pressure or an athlete wanting to legally improve exercise endurance you can increase Nitric Oxide (NO) via diet.  One easy way is to drink beetroot juice, as is common in endurance cycling.  In people with peroxynitrite-derived radicals this may be unwise, because they may have too much NO.



Peroxynitrite

The starting point for the production of those unhelpful Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) is this chemical reaction



NO (nitric oxide) + O2· (superoxide) → ONOO (peroxynitrite)



NO production is affected by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2).

Superoxide production is catalyzed by NADPH oxidase.

Superoxide also produces Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

NADPH oxidase is implicated in many diseases including schizophrenia and autism.

NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) activity decreases mitochondrial function (chain complex I).

Activated microglia (as found in autism) produce both nitric oxide and superoxide and are therefore a source of peroxynitrite.




This has started to get rather complicated. So those interested in NADPH should refer to the literature.


Peroxynitrite can directly react with various biological targets and components of the cell including lipids, thiols, amino acid residues, DNA bases, and low-molecular weight antioxidants.


Additionally peroxynitrite can react with other molecules to form additional types of RNS including nitrogen dioxide (·NO2) and dinitrogen trioxide (N2O3) as well as other types of chemically reactive free radicals.



Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease

I have referred on this blog to Abha Chauhan’s mammoth book on oxidative stress in autism on several occasions.  A work of similar quality but this time on Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite, is the paper below, by Hungarian Pal Pacher, who works at the US National Institute of Health’s Section on Oxidative Stress Tissue Injury.  He looks like a citation generating machine.

You could spend a long time reading this paper, but in summary peroxynitrite and its derived products have a negative effect on a very wide range of conditions including all the common neurological conditions, inflammatory diseases and again diabetes.  The answer would be peroxynitrite scavengers.



The discovery that mammalian cells have the ability to synthesize the free radical nitric oxide (NO) has stimulated an extraordinary impetus for scientific research in all the fields of biology and medicine. Since its early description as an endothelial-derived relaxing factor, NO has emerged as a fundamental signaling device regulating virtually every critical cellular function, as well as a potent mediator of cellular damage in a wide range of conditions. Recent evidence indicates that most of the cytotoxicity attributed to NO is rather due to peroxynitrite, produced from the diffusion-controlled reaction between NO and another free radical, the superoxide anion. Peroxynitrite interacts with lipids, DNA, and proteins via direct oxidative reactions or via indirect, radical-mediated mechanisms. These reactions trigger cellular responses ranging from subtle modulations of cell signaling to overwhelming oxidative injury, committing cells to necrosis or apoptosis. In vivo, peroxynitrite generation represents a crucial pathogenic mechanism in conditions such as stroke, myocardial infarction, chronic heart failure, diabetes, circulatory shock, chronic inflammatory diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. Hence, novel pharmacological strategies aimed at removing peroxynitrite might represent powerful therapeutic tools in the future. Evidence supporting these novel roles of NO and peroxynitrite is presented in detail in this review.


Some excerpts:-


·        The different events set in motion by the initial generation of peroxynitrite indicate that potent peroxynitrite decomposition catalysts and PARP inhibitors might represent useful therapeutic agents for debilitating chronic inflammatory diseases

·        In summary, available evidence indicates that NO plays dichotomous roles (promotion vs. suppression) in tumor initiation and progression. The activation of angiogenesis and the induction of DNA mutations represent key aspects of the procarcinogenic effects of NO. Peroxynitrite is emerging as a major NO-derived species responsible for DNA damage, mainly through guanine modifications and the inhibition of DNA repair enzymes. In chronic inflammatory states, the identification of 8-nitroguanine in tissues indicates that nitrative DNA damage consecutive to overproduction of NO and peroxynitrite may represent an essential link between inflammation and carcinogenesis.

·        In summary, the different studies listed above indicate that small amounts of NO produced by eNOS in the vasculature during the early phase of brain ischemia are essential to limit the extent of cerebral damage, whereas higher concentrations of NO, generated initially by nNOS and later by iNOS, exert essentially neurotoxic effects in the ischemic brain. Evidence that such toxicity depends, in large part, on the rapid reaction of NO with locally produced superoxide to generate peroxynitrite will be now exposed
  

·        NO is produced by all brain cells including neurons, endothelial cells, and glial cells (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia) by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent NOS isoforms. Physiologically NOS in neurons (nNOS, type I NOS) and endothelial cells (eNOS, type III NOS) produce nanomolar amounts of NO for short periods in response to transient increases in intracellular Ca2+, which is essential for the control of cerebral blood flow and neurotransmission and is involved in synaptic plasticity, modulation of neuroendocrine functions, memory formation, and behavioral activity (491, 890, 1229). The brain produces more NO for signal transduction than the rest of the body combined, and its synthesis is induced by excitatory stimuli. Consequently, NO plays an important role in amplifying toxicity in the CNS. Indeed, under various pathological conditions associated with inflammation (e.g., neurodegenerative disorders and cerebral ischemia), large amounts of NO are produced in the brain as a result of the induced expression of iNOS (type II NOS) in glial cells, phagocytes, and vascular cells, which can exert various deleterious roles (39, 491, 890). Thus NO may be a double-edged sword, exerting protective effects by modulating numerous physiological processes and complex immunological functions in the CNS on one hand and on the other hand mediating tissue damage (446, 491, 890). The detailed discussion of the role of NO in the pathophysiology of various neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), just mentioning a few, is the subject of numerous excellent recent overviews (77, 145, 194, 219, 491, 890, 1003, 1205, 1433) and beyond the scope of this paper. Here we cover only the role of peroxynitrite and protein nitration, which are likely responsible for most deleterious effects of NO in neurodegenerative disorders.


·        Peroxynitrite formation has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, MS, ALS, and traumatic brain injury (reviewed in Refs. 194, 608, 1119, 1284). Nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity has been found in early stages of all of these diseases in human autopsy samples as well as in experimental animal models. Increased nitrite, nitrate, and free nitrotyrosine has been found to be present in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and proposed to be useful marker of neurodegeneration (168; reviewed in Refs. 608, 1119, 1284). Once formed in the diseased brain, peroxynitrite may exert its toxic effects through multiple mechanisms, including lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial damage, protein nitration and oxidation, depletion of antioxidant reserves (especially glutathione), activation or inhibition of various signaling pathways, and DNA damage followed by the activation of the nuclear enzyme PARP (608, 1119, 1284).


·        Uric acid has proven to be a useful inhibitor of tyrosine nitration (although it is not a direct peroxynitrite scavenger) (1271) and has been shown to protect the blood-brain barrier and largely prevent the entry of inflammatory cells into the CNS (566, 567). Additionaly, it also prevented CNS injury after inflammatory cells have already migrated into the CNS (1141). Urate has also proven beneficial in reducing the morbidity associated with viral infections (710, 1141). Interestingly, in humans there is an inverse correlation between affliction with gout and MS (710, 1195). Numerous studies have reported lower levels of uric acid in MS patients favoring the view that reduced uric acid in MS is secondary to its “peroxynitrite scavenging” activity during inflammatory disease, rather than a primary deficiency (reviewed in Ref. 694). These studies have also suggested that serum uric acid levels could be used as biomarkers for monitoring disease activity in MS

  

·        Recent evidence suggests that mitochondrial complex I inhibition may be the central cause of sporadic PD and that derangements in complex I lead to α-synuclein aggregation, which contributes to the demise of dopamine neurons (293). Accumulation and aggregation of α-synuclein may further facilitate the death of dopamine neurons through impairments in protein handling and detoxification (293). As already mentioned above, both mitochondrial complex I and synuclein can be targets for peroxynitrite-induced protein nitration


·        The significance of this intricate interplay may have important ramifications not only for ALS but also for PD and AD (6, 58, 1102). Reactive astrocytes are common hallmark of neurodegeneration, and these results suggest that peroxynitrite may play an important role in promoting this phenotype as well as causing the degeneration of neurons. In ALS, the transformation of astrocytes into a reactive phenotype may explain why ALS is progressive, causing the relentless death of neighboring motor neurons. Interfering in such a cascade to stop the progressive death of motor neurons would not necessarily cure ALS but may keep it from being a death sentence.


·        There is accumulating evidence suggesting that increased oxidative stress and excessive production of NO might contribute to the development of HD by damaging neighboring neurons (reviewed in Refs. 63, 163). Accordingly, increased iNOS expression was observed in neuronal, glial, and vascular cells from brains of HD patients and mouse models of disease (206, 491). Similarly, numerous studies have demonstrated increased 3-NT formation in brain tissues (neurons, glia, and/or vasculature) of mice transgenic for the HD mutation, rats injected into the striatum with quinolinic acid (rat model of HD), and HD patients (300302, 427, 1022, 1023, 1096, 1117). Importantly, both NOS inhibitors and peroxynitrite scavengers decreased neuronal damage, improved disease progression, and also decreased brain 3-NT content in experimental models (301, 1022, 1117). These results suggest that peroxynitrite might be an important mediator of oxidative damage associated with HD.


·        The pathogenetic role of peroxynitrite in TBI is supported by evidence demonstrating increased brain 3-NT levels following TBI in experimental mouse and rat models (9294, 423, 507, 508, 898, 1171, 1360), and by the beneficial effects of NOS inhibitor and peroxynitrite scavengers in reducing neuronal injury and improving neurological recovery following injury (423, 508, 898).Collectively, multiple lines of evidence discussed above provide strong support for the important role of peroxynitrite formation and/or protein nitration in neurodegenerative disorders and suggest that the neutralization of this reactive species may offer significant therapeutic benefits in patients suffering from these devastating diseases.


·        Collectively, the evidence reviewed above support the view that peroxyntrite-induced damage plays an important role in numerous interconnected aspects of the pathogenesis of diabetes and diabetic complications. Neutralization of RNS or inhibition of downstream effector pathways including PARP activation may represent a promising strategy for the prevention or reversal of diabetic complications.

·        In conclusion, multiple lines of evidence discussed above and listed in Table 4 suggest that peroxynitrite plays an important role in various forms of cardiovascular dysfunction and injury; pharmacological neutralization of this reactive oxidant or targeting the downstream effector pathways may represent a promising strategy to treat various cardiovascular disorders.


·        In summary, circulatory shock is a leading cause of death in intensive care units. Considerable improvement in our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of shock over the past 20 years makes it now a reasonable expectation that novel, efficient mechanism-based therapies will emerge in the near future. Considerable evidence now exists that overproduction of NO and superoxide, triggering the generation of large amounts of peroxynitrite, is a central aspect of shock pathophysiology. In addition to direct cytotoxic effects such as the peroxidation of lipids, proteins, and DNA, peroxynitrite also occupies a critical position in a positive feedback loop of inflammatory injury, by (directly or indirectly, via PARP activation) activating proinflammatory signaling and by triggering the recruitment of phagocytes within injured tissues, leading to further NO, superoxide, and peroxynitrite production, which will progressively amplify the initial inflammatory reactions (see sect. VID, Fig. 14). These various observations support the view that future strategies reducing peroxynitrite or its precursors might have a considerable therapeutic impact in clinical circulatory shock.


Peroxynitrite Scavengers


We have already covered two substances in this blog that are potential Peroxynitrite Scavengers:-


Calcium Folinate

This is Roger’s magic pill to treat his Cerebral Folate Deficiency, but it may have application far beyond this, likely rare, condition, for those that tolerate it.

Tetrahydrofolic acid, or tetrahydrofolate, is a folic acid derivative. It has the potential to quench those peroxynitrite-derived radicals.




The presumed protective effect of folic acid on the pathogenesis of cardiovascular, hematological and neurological diseases and cancer has been associated with the antioxidant activity of folic acid. Peroxynitrite (PON) scavenging activity and inhibition of lipid peroxidation (LPO) of the physiological forms of folate and of structurally related compounds were tested. It was found that the fully reduced forms of folate, i.e. tetrahydrofolate (THF) and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), had the most prominent antioxidant activity. It appeared that their protection against LPO is less pronounced than their PON scavenging activity. The antioxidant activity of these forms of folic acid resides in the pterin core, the antioxidant pharmacophore is 4-hydroxy-2,5,6-triaminopyrimidine. It is suggested that an electron donating effect of the 5-amino group is of major importance for the antioxidant activity of 4-hydroxy-2,5,6-triaminopyrimidine. A similar electron donating effect is probably important for the antioxidant activity of THF and 5-MTHF.


Uric Acid

Uric acid has proven to be a useful inhibitor of tyrosine nitration.  It was thought to be a scavenger of peroxynitrite, but our clever Pal from Hungary tells thatit is not a direct peroxynitrite scavenger ….Numerous studies have reported lower levels of uric acid in MS patients favoring the view that reduced uric acid in MS is secondary to its “peroxynitrite scavenging” activity during inflammatory disease, rather than a primary deficiency”.

An old paper:-



Uric acid, the naturally occurring product of purine metabolism, is a strong peroxynitrite scavenger, as demonstrated by the capacity to bind peroxynitrite but not nitric oxide (NO) produced by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cells of a mouse monocyte line. In this study, we used uric acid to treat experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in the PLSJL strain of mice, which develop a chronic form of the disease with remissions and exacerbations. Uric acid administration was found to have strong therapeutic effects in a dose-dependent fashion. A regimen of four daily doses of 500 mg/kg uric acid was required to promote long-term survival regardless of whether treatment was initiated before or after the clinical symptoms of EAE had appeared. The requirement for multiple doses is likely to be caused by the rapid clearance of uric acid in mice which, unlike humans, metabolize uric acid a step further to allantoin. Uric acid treatment also was found to diminish clinical signs of a disease resembling EAE in interferon-γ receptor knockout mice. A possible association between multiple sclerosis (MS), the disease on which EAE is modeled, and uric acid is supported by the finding that patients with MS have significantly lower levels of serum uric acid than controls. In addition, statistical evaluation of more than 20 million patient records for the incidence of MS and gout (hyperuricemic) revealed that the two diseases are almost mutually exclusive, raising the possibility that hyperuricemia may protect against MS.



Here we have a paper with the link to Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4,), also known as sapropterin, covered in an old post:-




Interactions of peroxynitrite with uric acid in the presence of ascorbate and thiols: Implications for uncoupling endothelial nitric oxide synthase

It has been suggested that uric acid acts as a peroxynitrite scavenger although it may also stimulate lipid peroxidation. To gain insight into how uric acid may act as an antioxidant, we used electron spin resonance to study the reaction of uric acid and plasma antioxidants with ONOO-. Peroxynitrite reacted with typical plasma concentrations of urate 16-fold faster than with ascorbate and 3-fold faster than cysteine. Xanthine but not other purine-analogs also reacted with peroxynitrite. The reaction between ONOO- and urate produced a carbon-centered free radical, which was inhibited by either ascorbate or cysteine. Moreover, scavenging of ONOO- by urate was significantly increased in the presence of ascorbate and cysteine. An important effect of ONOO- is oxidation of tetrahydrobiopterin, leading to uncoupling of nitric oxide synthase. The protection of eNOS function by urate, ascorbate and thiols in ONOO(-)-treated bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) was, therefore, investigated by measuring superoxide and NO using the spin probe 1-hydroxy-3-methoxycarbonyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-pyrrolidine (CMH) and the NO-spin trap Fe[DETC]2. Peroxynitrite increased superoxide and decreased NO production by eNOS indicating eNOS uncoupling. Urate partially prevented this effect of ONOO- while treatment of BAECs with the combination of either urate with ascorbate or urate with cysteine completely prevented eNOS uncoupling caused by ONOO-. We conclude that the reducing and acidic properties of urate are important in effective scavenging of peroxynitrite and that cysteine and ascorbate markedly augment urate's antioxidant effect by reducing urate-derived radicals.


Xanthine oxidase (XO, sometimes 'XAO') is a form of xanthine oxidoreductase, a type of enzyme that generates reactive oxygen species.[2] These enzymes catalyze the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and can further catalyze the oxidation of xanthine to uric acid. These enzymes play an important role in the catabolism of purines in some species, including humans.





Because xanthine oxidase is a metabolic pathway for uric acid formation, the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol is used in the treatment of gout.


Inhibition of xanthine oxidase has been proposed as a mechanism for improving cardiovascular health.  A study found that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) had a decrease in oxidative stress, including glutathione oxidation and lipid peroxidation, when xanthine oxidase was inhibited using allopurinol.


Reactive nitrogen species, such as peroxynitrite that xanthine oxidase can form, have been found to react with DNA, proteins, and cells, causing cellular damage or even toxicity. Reactive nitrogen signaling, coupled with reactive oxygen species, have been found to be a central part of myocardial and vascular function, explaining why xanthine oxidase is being researched for links to cardiovascular health.


We also should recall that abnormalities are common in autism.





So perhaps allopurinol for those with too much uric acid?  Perhaps this is a good marker for peroxynitrites ?





Conclusion

As is often the case there some contradiction in the science.  Is NO good for you or not?  Are both high and low uric acid actually indicating the same biological problem.

It looks like the research into very expensive BH4 therapy might be better directed into peroxynitrite scavengers.

I think we have found the reason why so many people with autism respond to Leucovorin (calcium folinate) and, unlike in our friend Roger, it may not be because of cerebral folate deficiency.

It looks like many other chronic conditions from diabetes to COPD to schizophrenia might also benefit from  calcium folinate.

Before I forget, in the Helmut Sies oxidative stress graphic I did highlight selenium.  The GPx enzymes contain selenium and if there is selenium deficiency the body's key antioxidant mechanism will be compromised. According to Abha Chauhan's book,  "Likewise, levels of exogenous antioxidants were also found to be reduced in autism, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A in plasma, and zinc and selenium in erythrocytes (James et al., 2004)".  This might suggest adding a little extra selenium.

I think Allopurinol is worth a look for some autism.  Allopurinol does indeed reduce reactive nitrogen species in COPD (severe asthma), as suggested above.



“These results suggest that oral administration of the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol reduces airway reactive nitrogen species production in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects. This intervention may be useful in the future management of chronic "