Scientific publications

Nanobody-based pannexin1 channel inhibitors reduce inflammation in acute liver injury

The opening of pannexin1 channels is considered as a key event in inflammation. Pannexin1 channel-mediated release of adenosine triphosphate triggers inflammasome signaling and activation of immune cells. By doing so, pannexin1 channels play an important role in several inflammatory diseases

Pannexin1 channels in the liver: an open enemy

Pannexin1 proteins form communication channels at the cell plasma membrane surface, which allow the transfer of small molecules and ions between the intracellular compartment and extracellular environment. In this way, pannexin1 channels play an important role in various cellular processes and diseases.

Pannexin1 channels-a potential therapeutic target in inflammation

An exaggerated inflammatory response is the hallmark of a plethora of disorders. ATP is a central signaling molecule that orchestrates the initiation and resolution of the inflammatory response by enhancing activation of the inflammasome, leukocyte recruitment and activation of T cells.

Mitochondria as the Target of Hepatotoxicity and Drug-Induced Liver Injury: Molecular Mechanisms and Detection Methods

One of the major mechanisms of drug-induced liver injury includes mitochondrial perturbation and dysfunction. This is not a surprise, given that mitochondria are essential organelles in most cells, which are responsible for energy homeostasis and the regulation of cellular metabolism.

Primary Human Hepatocyte Spheroids as Tools to Study the Hepatotoxic Potential of Non-Pharmaceutical Chemicals

Drug-induced liver injury, including cholestasis, is an important clinical issue and economic burden for pharmaceutical industry and healthcare systems. However, human-relevant in vitro information on the ability of other types of chemicals to induce cholestatic hepatotoxicity is lacking. This work aimed at investigating the cholestatic potential of non-pharmaceutical chemicals using primary human hepatocytes cultured in 3D spheroids.

Osteoarthritis: Mechanistic Insights, Senescence, and Novel Therapeutic Opportunities

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease. In the last years, the research community has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that led to the pathogenesis of the disease, trying to identify different molecular and clinical phenotypes along with the discovery of new therapeutic opportunities. Different types of cell-to-cell communication mechanisms have been proposed to contribute to OA progression, including mechanisms mediated by connexin43 (Cx43) channels or by small extracellular vesicles.

Extracellular vesicles enriched in connexin 43 promote a senescent phenotype in bone and synovial cells contributing to osteoarthritis progression

The accumulation of senescent cells is a key characteristic of aging, leading to the progression of age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA). Previous data from our laboratory has demonstrated that high levels of the transmembrane protein connexin 43 (Cx43) are associated with a senescent phenotype in chondrocytes from osteoarthritic cartilage.

Genome wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen identifies the coagulation factor IX (F9) as a regulator of senescence

During this last decade, the development of prosenescence therapies has become an attractive strategy as cellular senescence acts as a barrier against tumour progression. In this context, CDK4/6 inhibitors induce senescence and reduce tumour growth in breast cancer patients. However, even though cancer cells are arrested after CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment, genes regulating senescence in this context are still unknown limiting their antitumour activity.

Effects of Drugs Formerly Proposed for COVID-19 Treatment on Connexin43 Hemichannels

Over the past two years, azithromycin, chloroquine, dexamethasone, favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, remdesivir, ribavirin, and ritonavir have been proposed as drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is associated with prominent systemic inflammation. The current study aimed to investigate if Cx43 hemichannels, being key players in inflammation, could be affected by these drugs which were formerly designated as COVID-19 drugs.

Effects of Drugs Formerly Suggested for COVID-19 Repurposing on Pannexin1 Channels

Pannexin1 channels are put forward as interesting drug targets for the treatment of COVID-19 due to their key role in inflammation and their link to other viral infections. In the present study, we selected a panel of drugs previously tested in clinical trials as potential candidates for the treatment of COVID-19 early on in the pandemic, including hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin, dexamethasone, ribavirin, remdesivir, favipiravir, lopinavir, and ritonavir.

In Vitro Liver Toxicity Testing of Chemicals: A Pragmatic Approach

The liver is among the most frequently targeted organs by noxious chemicals of diverse nature. Liver toxicity testing using laboratory animals not only raises serious ethical questions, but is also rather poorly predictive of human safety towards chemicals.

Mechanisms Underlying Connexin Hemichannel Activation in Disease

Gap junctions and connexin hemichannels mediate intercellular and extracellular communication, respectively. While gap junctions are seen as the “good guys” by controlling homeostasis, connexin hemichannels are considered as the “bad guys”, as their activation is associated with the onset and dissemination of disease.

Canonical and Non-Canonical Roles of Connexin43 in Cardioprotection

Since the mid-20th century, ischemic heart disease has been the world’s leading cause of death. Developing effective clinical cardioprotection strategies would make a significant impact in improving both quality of life and longevity in the worldwide population.