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Aberrantly high expression of the CUB and zona pellucida-like domain-containing protein 1 (CUZD1) in mammary epithelium leads to breast tumorigenesis.

The peptide hormone prolactin (PRL) and certain members of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family play central roles in mammary gland development and physiology, and their dysregulation has been implicated in mammary tumorigenesis. Our recent studies have revealed that the CUB and zona pellucida-like domain-containing protein 1 (CUZD1) is a critical factor for PRL-mediated activation of the transcription factor STAT5 in mouse mammary epithelium. CUZD1 controls production of a specific subset of the EGF family growth factors and consequent activation of their receptors. Here, we found that consistent with this finding, CUZD1 overexpression in non-transformed mammary epithelial HC11 cells increases their proliferation and induces tumorigenic characteristics in these cells. When introduced orthotopically in mouse mammary glands, these cells formed adenocarcinomas, exhibiting elevated levels of STAT5 phosphorylation and activation of the EGF signaling pathway. Selective blockade of STAT5 phosphorylation by pimozide, a small-molecule inhibitor, markedly reduced the production of the EGF family growth factors and inhibited PRL-induced tumor cell proliferation in vitro. Pimozide administration to mice also suppressed CUZD1-driven mammary tumorigenesis in vivo. Analysis of human MCF7 breast cancer cells indicated that CUZD1 controls the production of the same subset of EGF family members in these cells as in the mouse. Moreover, pimozide treatment reduced the proliferation of these cancer cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that overexpression of CUZD1, a regulator of growth factor pathways controlled by PRL and STAT5, promotes mammary tumorigenesis. Blockade of the STAT5 signaling pathway downstream of CUZD1 may offer a therapeutic strategy for managing breast tumors.

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A systematic review of evidence-based treatment strategies for obsessive-compulsive disorder resistant to first-line pharmacotherapy.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) are first-line treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, a significant proportion of patients do not respond satisfactorily to first-choice treatments. Several options have been investigated for the management of resistant patients.

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Neuroleptics as therapeutic compounds stabilizing neuromuscular transmission in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease.

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STAT3 and STAT5A are potential therapeutic targets in castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Mechanisms of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) are not well understood, thus hindering rational-based drug design. Activation of STAT3/5A, key components of the JAK/STAT pathway, is implicated in aggressive PC, yet their clinical relevance in CRPC remains elusive. Here, we evaluated the possible role of STAT3/5A in CRPC using immunological, quantitative mRNA expression profiling, and pharmacological methods. We observed a strong nuclear immunoreactivity for STAT3 and STAT5A in 93% (n=14/15) and 80% (n=12/15) of CRPC cases, respectively, compared with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). We demonstrated that PC cells express varying levels of STAT3 and STAT5A transcripts. In addition, we demonstrate that pimozide, a psychotropic drug and an indirect inhibitor of STAT5, attenuated PC cells growth, and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, our analysis of the PC public data revealed that the STAT3/5A genes were frequently amplified in metastatic CRPC. These findings suggest that STAT3/5A potentially serves as a predictive biomarker to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of a cancer drug targeting the JAK/STAT pathway. Since the JAK/STAT and AR pathways are suggested to be functionally synergistic, inhibition of the JAK/STAT signaling alone or together with AR may lead to a novel treatment modality for patients with advanced PC.

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In silico repurposing of antipsychotic drugs for Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia and represents one of the highest unmet requirements in medicine today. There is shortage of novel molecules entering into market because of poor pharmacokinetic properties and safety issues. Drug repurposing offers an opportunity to reinvigorate the slowing drug discovery process by finding new uses for existing drugs. The major advantage of the drug repurposing approach is that the safety issues are already investigated in the clinical trials and the drugs are commercially available in the marketplace. As this approach provides an effective solution to hasten the process of providing new alternative drugs for AD, the current study shows the molecular interaction of already known antipsychotic drugs with the different protein targets implicated in AD using in silico studies.

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The STAT3 inhibitor pimozide impedes cell proliferation and induces ROS generation in human osteosarcoma by suppressing catalase expression.

Currently, there is a considerable need to develop new treatments for osteosarcoma (OS), a very aggressive bone cancer. The activation of STAT3 signaling is positively associated with poor prognosis and aggressive progression in OS patients. Our previous study reported that the FDA-approved antipsychotic drug pimozide had anti-tumor activity against hepatocellular carcinoma and prostate cancer cells by suppressing STAT3 activity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the specific effect of pimozide on OS cells and the underlying molecular mechanism. Pimozide inhibited cell proliferation, colony formation, and sphere formation capacities of the OS cells in a dose-dependent manner, inducing G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest. Pimozide reduced the percentage of side population cells representing cancer stem-like cells and enhanced the sensitivity of OS cells to 5-FU induced proliferative inhibition. In addition, pimozide induced apoptosis of U2OS cells, which showed increased expression of cleaved-PARP, a marker of programmed cell death. Moreover, pimozide suppressed Erk signaling in OS cells. Importantly, pimozide induced ROS generation by downregulating the expression of the antioxidant enzyme catalase (CAT). NAC treatment partially reversed the ROS generation and cytotoxic effects induced by pimozide. CAT treatment attenuated the pimozide-induced proliferation inhibition. The decrease of CAT expression induced by pimozide was potentially mediated through the suppression of cellular STAT3 activity in OS cells. Thus, pimozide may be a novel STAT3 inhibitor that suppresses cellular STAT3 activity to inhibit OS cells or stem-like cells and is a novel potential anti-cancer agent in OS treatment.

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The colorful spectrum of Tourette syndrome and its medical, surgical and behavioral therapies.

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder, more common in males than females, with onset before age 18. TS is characterized by multiple motor tics and one or more vocal/phonic tics, persisting for more than a year. Tics are unvoluntary, abrupt, rapid, repetitive, but non-rhythmic movements or sounds (vocalizations). They are preceded by an inner urge. Tics can be temporarily suppressed, but this leads to a powerful re-emergence. The performance of tics results in immediate but transient relief. Motor and vocal tics are classified as simple or complex. Tics emerge many times during the day and display spontaneous fluctuations in frequency, type, severity and complexity. Tics improve during concentration, worsen during relaxation or when under stress and occasionally are persistent in sleep. Psychiatric comorbidities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and others frequently are present. Patients, families and teachers benefit from receiving instruction regarding the character of TS and its specific symptoms and from receiving counseling. Pharmacological treatment is not always necessary. Atypical antipsychotics (e.g. risperidone, ziprasidone, olanzapine, aripiprazole) are often the first-line treatment; typical antipsychotics (e.g. haloperidol, pimozide, fluphenazine), benzodiazepines (clonazepam) and tetrabenazine are employed less frequently. Alpha adrenergic agonists (clonidine, guanfacine), the selective noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitor, atomoxetine, and the amphetamine-like stimulant, methylphenidate, are useful in patients with tics and ADHD; selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors can be useful in individuals with tics and OCD. Botulinum toxin can be effective in focal tics. In severe, treatment-resistant TS, deep brain stimulation may be beneficial.

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The T-cell leukemia-associated ribosomal RPL10 R98S mutation enhances JAK-STAT signaling.

Several somatic ribosome defects have recently been discovered in cancer, yet their oncogenic mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we investigated the pathogenic role of the recurrent R98S mutation in ribosomal protein L10 (RPL10 R98S) found in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). The JAK-STAT signaling pathway is a critical controller of cellular proliferation and survival. A proteome screen revealed overexpression of several Jak-Stat signaling proteins in engineered RPL10 R98S mouse lymphoid cells, which we confirmed in hematopoietic cells from transgenic Rpl10 R98S mice and T-ALL xenograft samples. RPL10 R98S expressing cells displayed JAK-STAT pathway hyper-activation upon cytokine stimulation, as well as increased sensitivity to clinically used JAK-STAT inhibitors like pimozide. A mutually exclusive mutation pattern between RPL10 R98S and JAK-STAT mutations in T-ALL patients further suggests that RPL10 R98S functionally mimics JAK-STAT activation. Mechanistically, besides transcriptional changes, RPL10 R98S caused reduction of apparent programmed ribosomal frameshifting at several ribosomal frameshift signals in mouse and human Jak-Stat genes, as well as decreased Jak1 degradation. Of further medical interest, RPL10 R98S cells showed reduced proteasome activity and enhanced sensitivity to clinical proteasome inhibitors. Collectively, we describe modulation of the JAK-STAT cascade as a novel cancer-promoting activity of a ribosomal mutation, and expand the relevance of this cascade in leukemia.Leukemia advance online publication, 14 November 2017; doi:10.1038/leu.2017.225.

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Interventions for Neuropathic Pain: An Overview of Systematic Reviews.

Numerous interventions for neuropathic pain (NeuP) are available, but its treatment remains unsatisfactory. We systematically summarized evidence from systematic reviews (SRs) of randomized controlled trials on interventions for NeuP. Five electronic databases were searched up to March 2015. Study quality was analyzed using A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews. The most common interventions in 97 included SRs were pharmacologic (59%) and surgical (15%). The majority of analyzed SRs were of medium quality. More than 50% of conclusions from abstracts on efficacy and approximately 80% on safety were inconclusive. Effective interventions were described for painful diabetic neuropathy (pregabalin, gabapentin, certain tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs], opioids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants), postherpetic neuralgia (gabapentin, pregabalin, certain TCAs, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, opioids, sodium valproate, topical capsaicin, and lidocaine), lumbar radicular pain (epidural corticosteroids, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation [rTMS], and discectomy), cervical radicular pain (rTMS), carpal tunnel syndrome (carpal tunnel release), cubital tunnel syndrome (simple decompression and ulnar nerve transposition), trigeminal neuralgia (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, and pimozide for refractory cases, rTMS), HIV-related neuropathy (topical capsaicin), and central NeuP (certain TCAs, pregabalin, cannabinoids, and rTMS). Evidence about interventions for NeuP is frequently inconclusive or completely lacking. New randomized controlled trials about interventions for NeuP are necessary; they should address safety and use clear diagnostic criteria.

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Effects of Pimozide Derivatives on pSTAT5 in K562 Cells.

STAT5 is a transcription factor, a member of the STAT family of signaling proteins. STAT5 is involved in many types of cancer, including chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), in which this protein is found constitutively activated as a consequence of BCR-ABL expression. The neuroleptic drug pimozide was recently reported to act as an inhibitor of STAT5 phosphorylation and is capable of inducing apoptosis in CML cells in vitro. Our research group has synthesized simple derivatives of pimozide with cytotoxic activity and that are able to decrease the levels of phosphorylated STAT5. In this work we continued the search for novel STAT5 inhibitors, synthesizing compounds in which the benzoimidazolinone ring of pimozide is either maintained or modified, in order to obtain further structure-activity relationship information for this class of STAT5 inhibitors. Two compounds of the series showed potent cytotoxic activity against BCR-ABL-positive and pSTAT5-overexpressing K562 cells and were able to markedly decrease the levels of phosphorylated STAT5.

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