Impact of Ayurvedic drug Tinospora cordifolia in hyperlipidemia induced dysbiosis

Gut microbiota broadly impacts human health, but urinary microbial metabolites remain largely undefined. The concentration of microbial metabolites can be directly correlated with microbial populations in the human gut to define disease states. Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers ex Hook. F. & Thoms is being used for ages in the Indian ayurvedic system of medicine and it has hypolipidemic and hypoglycaemic activity. Present study investigate the MS-based metabolomics variations of possible gut microbiota associated metabolites in hyperlipidemia (HPL) and HPL treated with Tinospora cordifolia extract (TCE) (TRT). Twenty-four HPL male patients and 10 age-matched controls (HLT) were enrolled. Early morning fasting blood and urine samples were collected on days 0 and 14th of TCE treatment and subjected to lipid profiling and Q-TOF-MS analysis. Multivariate analysis showed urinary levels of urocanic acid, hydroxyphenylacetate, linolenic acid, phenylpropionate, hypoxanthine, and indole acetate produced by Peptostreptococcs asaccharolyticus, Clostridium difficile, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Bifidobacterium, Subdoligranulum, Lactobacillus, Clostridium sporogenes, E. coli were depleted in HPL patients as compared to healthy controls. In contrast, levels of serotonin, acetylleucine, hippuric acid, and arabinitol were found to be increased (>2.0 fold, p<0.005). However, TCE treatment reverted the levels of these metabolites and therefore, gut microflora. Also, Cloacibacterium haliotis, Lactobacillus, Clostridium, and Bifidobacterium population decreased in HPL patients. Increased secretion of yeast or Candida albicans associated metabolites was because of their increased population. Hence, TCE treatment enhanced the growth of useful gut microbiota in hyperlipidemia patients.

Genome-wide mutation/SNP analysis, biological characteristics, and Pan-India prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern

The origin of COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, was traced to Wuhan, China. Thereafter, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) evolved into various variants owing to genome-wide mutations, causing emergence of multiple variants, including Variant of Interest and Variant of Concern. Here, we discuss genomic architecture of SARS-CoV-2, as well as its multiple variants- alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, along with their biological properties, such as transmissibility, reduction in antibody-mediated neutralization, virulence, disease severity, vaccine effectiveness, and the prevalence across the India vis-à-vis world. Our data on VOC, pooled from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data up to 31 October 2021, shows around 89% prevalence of delta VOC across various Indian States. Whereas alpha, beta, and gamma variants show 10.44%, 0.57%, and 0.11% prevalence, respectively. Compared with global scale, the reported Indian prevalence of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta are 0.40%, 0.63%, 0.04%, and 1.7%, respectively. Furthermore, prevalent vaccines of various natures show significantly reduced effectiveness against these VOCs, necessitating urgent need for development of effective prophylactic vaccines and potential therapy to contain the pandemic.

Novel Inhibitors of malarial aspartyl proteases, plasmepsin II and IV: In silico design and validation studies

In the dire need of novel inhibitors of enzymes, computational approaches have significantly expedited the drug discovery process. Aspartic protease enzymes of Plasmodium falciparum such as plasmepsin II (PfPlm II) and plasmepsin IV (PfPlm IV) have been recognized as an attractive drug target for antimalarial drug discovery. In line with this, we performed high-throughput screening of 316 novel compounds based on validated pharmacophore i.e., hydroxyethylamine (HEA) and piperazine against both PfPlm II and PfPlm IV. The obtained hit compound-protein complexes were subjected for molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at 200ns and found stable. Thermodynamic energy calculated for the complexes also supported compound’s stability within the binding pocket of plasmepsins. The results of our study strongly support an immediate validation of the virtually screened hits in biological systems.

A comprehensive review on therapeutic properties of Mustard Oil and Olive Oil

Plants and their extracts have been extensively studied for their efficacy in therapeutic applications. Their Essential Oils (EOs) are responsible for the majority of biological properties such as anticancer, antibacterial and antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardio-protective. The utilization of natural compounds is gaining a lot of attention these days. These oils act as natural alternatives to the modern medical system to cure the illness that occurs in the biological system. This review provides an overview of the impact of the two most important plant-based oils: Mustard oil and Olive oil, the role of their components in different biological activities leading to their therapeutic applications. Their intake provides health benefits by controlling the symptoms of the diseases that involve cancer, bacterial infections, inflammation, cardiovascular, and some other common diseases. Most of the results come from in vitro and in vivo studies. However, their use in clinical studies is very little known.

Clinical status of potential drugs used for COVID-19 treatment and recent advances in new therapeutics – A review

COVID-19, a perilous disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, has brought a massive damage to humankind, and turned into a global catastrophe. It was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and since then has been a constant source of worry for the scientists and the medical world, due to the carnage it has caused globally. Extensive clinical studies are being carried to explore drug therapy and prophylaxis to combat this pestilence.  It is still an excessively big challenge for the scientists and pharmacological industry to develop potential drugs for the treatment of this deadly virus. At present though no specific drug has been identified as a perfect cure for this zoonotic disease, medical practitioners are using the therapy of repurposing of drugs for the treatment. Systemic research was carried out through e-resources to identify drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. A recent proposal of 2-DG drug as a cure for COVID-19 has also been discussed in this review.

Testosterone in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a leading cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide with more than 1.5 million deaths occurring annually. Males have been known to be more susceptible to tuberculosis than females. Sex hormones could be an important factor governing this gender bias. Here, we discuss the evidence that testosterone may be a crucial factor in male susceptibility to tuberculosis considering that testosterone impairs important factors which have a significant bearing on the outcome of tuberculosis. We also discuss possible underlying mechanisms through which testosterone modulates the immune response that is necessary for host resistance to tuberculosis. We discuss various models that have helped to uncover the role of testosterone in the outcome of infection by M. tuberculosis. Studying the role of testosterone on the various components that constitute the immune response to the disease have provided valuable insights into the sexual dichotomy observed in male bias in tuberculosis morbidity.

A comparative study of isothermal nucleic acid amplification methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection at point-of-care

COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has put most of the world under lockdown. Despite approved vaccines, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have remained on the rise. Rapid diagnosis and necessary public health measures are still key parts to contain the pandemic. Here, the colorimetric isothermal nucleic acid amplification tests (iNAATs) for SARS-CoV-2 detection based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), cross-priming amplification (CPA), and polymerase spiral reaction (PSR) were designed and compared in performance for the first time. The findings showed that, for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 genomic-RNA, LAMP outperformed both CPA and PSR, exhibiting the limit of detection (LOD) of roughly 43.14 copies/reaction. The results can be read with the naked eye within 45 minutes, without cross-reactivity to closely related coronaviruses. The direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in simulated specimens by iNAATs was also successful. Additionally, the lyophilized reagents for LAMP reactions maintained the sensitivity and LOD of the liquid assays. The colorimetric LAMP assay was validated using clinical samples, showing 98.1% sensitivity and 100% specificity upon using extracted samples and 82.4% sensitivity and 86.2% specificity upon using unextracted specimens. The results indicate that the direct colorimetric LAMP assay developed is highly suitable for detecting SARS-CoV-2 at point-of-care.

Resistin and visfatin: ‘connecting threads’ of immunity, energy modulations and male reproduction

Adipokines, mostly produced by white adipose tissues, have been established to be endocrine factors which are also essential in energy homeostasis. More recently, their contribution in fertility regulation has been recommended. Resistin as well as visfatin are unique adipocyte-derived signaling chemicals whose expressions enhance in advanced obesity and are implicated in insulin resistance as well as type-2 diabetes. They are also found to be immune modulators and may participate in aggravating inflammatory responses which may partly explain obesity-mediated systemic inflammation. They are yet much less explored adipokines with potential to regulate metabolic rate, immune homeostasis as well as fertility. These adipokines are shown to be expressed in the hypothalamus in an area in charge of energy balance. Evidence suggest that they can potentially affect the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis thereby modulating reproductive functions. They are also found to be expressed highly by the testes. In rodents, resistin and visfatin may positively modulate Leydig cell number and steroidogenesis. Additionally, visfatin exists in the human spermatozoa and may play role in the sperm maturation. However, reports on the impact of resistin and visfatin on human male fertility are inconsistent. In this article, we review the available literature on the role resistin and visfatin on male reproduction and integrate the mechanisms to discuss if they act as sensor for body energy dyshomeostatis and modulate male reproductive functions as per the metabolic status.

Chemerin and male reproduction: ‘a tangled rope’ connecting metabolism and inflammation

Adipokines are peptides produced mainly by the fat tissue adipocytes and their levels are sensitive to alterations in metabolic state. While there is little known about the impact of adipokines on male reproductive control, both animal-based experimental data and clinical research suggest that they can influence numerous male fertility indices. Chemerin is a newly found adipokine which is generally recognized as a chemoattractant and chemokine. Chemerin has been correlated with inflammatory reactions and metabolic imbalances, as seen in various metabolic syndromes. A sex dimorphic chemerin expression pattern has also been shown with greater levels in men in comparison to women. Chemerin can thus be offered as a potential new candidate in the connection among metabolic disorders, inflammation and male reproduction. The present article explores the multidimensional metabolic and inflammatory roles of chemerin and discusses its impact upon the male reproduction.

Orexins: the ‘multitasking’ neuropeptides in the energy metabolism and immune regulation of male reproduction

Orexins are hypothalamus-derived neuropeptides with versatile functions. The most explored domains of orexins’ functions are their influence on the central nervous system (CNS) implicated in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness cycle, food intake behavior, energy homeostasis, and cognitive processes. Orexins reportedly bear two isoforms, orexin-A (OXA) and orexin-B (OXB), that act via their specific G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), OX1R and OX2R. These peptides also play vital roles in various other peripheral organs where they regulate metabolism, neuroendocrine functions, blood pressure, as well as reproductive functions. Interestingly orexins also exhibit immuno-regulatory, anti-inflammatory properties and facilitate the mechanism of obesity resistance. Recent research has also shed light on significant role of orexins, in particular orexin A, in regulating reproductive functions in male since the Leydig cells, Sertoli cells, germ cells in various stages of the development, and even the epididymis and penis, manifest the OXA receptor. It will be intriguing to explore the properties of the orexins in reversing obesity, downregulation of inflammatory responses and mediation of male reproductive functions. The present article thus reviews these multitudinous properties of orexins and comprehends the possible connection among the behavioral, metabolic, anti-inflammatory functions of orexins with their roles in male reproduction.