• Profiling the Tox21 Chemical Collection for Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition

      Li, Shuaizhang; Zhao, Jinghua; Huang, Ruili; Travers, Jameson; Klumpp-Thomas, Carleen; Yu, Wenbo; MacKerell, Alexander D; Sakamuru, Srilatha; Ooka, Masato; Xue, Fengtian; et al. (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 2021-04-12)
      Background: Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a biomarker of organophosphorous and carbamate exposure in environmental and occupational human health, has been commonly used to identify potential safety liabilities. So far, many environmental chemicals, including drug candidates, food additives, and industrial chemicals, have not been thoroughly evaluated for their inhibitory effects on AChE activity. AChE inhibitors can have therapeutic applications (e.g., tacrine and donepezil) or neurotoxic consequences (e.g., insecticides and nerve agents). Objectives: The objective of the current study was to identify environmental chemicals that inhibit AChE activity using in vitro and in silico models. Methods: To identify AChE inhibitors rapidly and efficiently, we have screened the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) 10K compound library in a quantitative high-throughput screening (qHTS) platform by using the homogenous cell-based AChE inhibition assay and enzyme-based AChE inhibition assays (with or without microsomes). AChE inhibitors identified from the primary screening were further tested in monolayer or spheroid formed by SH-SY5Y and neural stem cell models. The inhibition and binding modes of these identified compounds were studied with time-dependent enzyme-based AChE inhibition assay and molecular docking, respectively. Results: A group of known AChE inhibitors, such as donepezil, ambenonium dichloride, and tacrine hydrochloride, as well as many previously unreported AChE inhibitors, such as chelerythrine chloride and cilostazol, were identified in this study. Many of these compounds, such as pyrazophos, phosalone, and triazophos, needed metabolic activation. This study identified both reversible (e.g., donepezil and tacrine) and irreversible inhibitors (e.g., chlorpyrifos and bromophos-ethyl). Molecular docking analyses were performed to explain the relative inhibitory potency of selected compounds. Conclusions: Our tiered qHTS approach allowed us to generate a robust and reliable data set to evaluate large sets of environmental compounds for their AChE inhibitory activity. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP6993.
    • Targeting CAR-Nrf2 improves cyclophosphamide bioactivation while reducing doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in triple-negative breast cancer treatment.

      Stern, Sydney; Liang, Dongdong; Li, Linhao; Kurian, Ritika; Lynch, Caitlin; Sakamuru, Srilatha; Heyward, Scott; Zhang, Junran; Kareem, Kafayat Ajoke; Chun, Young Wook; et al. (American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2022-05-17)
      Cyclophosphamide (CPA) and doxorubicin (DOX) are key components of chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) although suboptimal outcomes are commonly associated with drug resistance and/or intolerable side-effects. Through an approach combining high-throughput screening and chemical modification, we developed CN06 as a dual activator of the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). CN06 enhances CAR-induced bioactivation of CPA (a prodrug) by provoking hepatic expression of CYP2B6, while repressing DOX-induced cytotoxicity in cardiomyocytes in vitro via stimulating Nrf2-antioxidant signaling. Utilizing a multicellular co-culture model incorporating human primary hepatocytes, TNBC cells, and cardiomyocytes, we show that CN06 increased CPA/DOX-mediated TNBC cell death via CAR-dependent CYP2B6 induction and subsequent conversion of CPA to its active metabolite 4-hydroxy-CPA, while protecting against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity by selectively activating Nrf2-antioxidant signaling in cardiomyocytes but not in TNBC cells. Further, CN06 preserves the viability and function of human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes by modulating antioxidant defenses, decreasing apoptosis, and enhancing the kinetics of contraction and relaxation. Collectively, our findings identify CAR and Nrf2 as novel combined therapeutic targets whereby CN06 holds the potential to improve the efficacy:toxicity ratio of CPA/DOX-containing chemotherapy.