BACKGROUND Psilocybin may have antidepressant properties, but direct comparisons between psilocybin and established treatments for depression are lacking. METHODS In a phase 2, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial involving patients with long-standing, moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder, we compared psilocybin with escitalopram, a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, over a 6-week period. Patients were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive two separate doses of 25 mg of psilocybin 3 weeks apart plus 6 weeks of daily placebo (psilocybin group) or two separate doses of 1 mg of psilocybin 3 weeks apart plus 6 weeks of daily oral escitalopram (escitalopram group); all the patients received psychological support. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in the score on the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology–Self-Report (QIDS-SR-16; scores range from 0 to 27, with higher scores indicating greater depression) at week 6. There were 16 secondary outcomes, including QIDS-SR-16 response (defined as a reduction in score of >50%) and QIDS-SR-16 remission (defined as a score of ≤5) at week 6. RESULTS A total of 59 patients were enrolled; 30 were assigned to the psilocybin group and 29 to the escitalopram group. The mean scores on the QIDS-SR-16 at baseline were 14.5 in the psilocybin group and 16.4 in the escitalopram group. The mean (±SE) changes in the scores from baseline to week 6 were −8.0±1.0 points in the psilocybin group and −6.0±1.0 in the escitalopram group, for a between-group difference of 2.0 points (95% confidence interval [CI], −5.0 to 0.9) (P=0.17). A QIDS-SR-16 response occurred in 70% of the patients in the psilocybin group and in 48% of those in the escitalopram group, for a between-group difference of 22 percentage points (95% CI, −3 to 48); QIDS-SR-16 remission occurred in 57% and 28%, respectively, for a between-group difference of 28 percentage points (95% CI, 2 to 54). Other secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses were not corrected for multiple comparisons. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the trial groups. CONCLUSIONS On the basis of the change in depression scores on the QIDS-SR-16 at week 6, this trial did not show a significant difference in antidepressant effects between psilocybin and escitalopram in a selected group of patients. Secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses of these outcomes lacked correction for multiple comparisons. Larger and longer trials are required to compare psilocybin with established antidepressants.
In this paper, we focus on the camelid nanobodies as a revolutionary therapy that can guide efforts to discover new drugs for Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The small size property makes nanobodies capable of penetrating efficiently into tissues and recognizing cryptic antigens. Strong antigen affinity and stability in the gastrointestinal tract allow them to be used via oral administration. In fact, the use of nanobodies as inhalant can be directly delivered to the target organ, conferring high pulmonary drug concentrations and low systemic drug concentrations and minimal systemic side effects. For that, nanobodies are referred as a class of next-generation antibodies. Nanobodies permit the construction of multivalent formats that may achieve ultra-high neutralization potency and then may prevent mutational escape and can neutralize a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Due to their distinctive characteristics, nanobodies can be of great use in the development of promising treatment or preventive strategies against SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this review, the state-of-the-art of camel nanobodies design strategies against the virus including SARS-CoV-2 are critically summarized. The application of general nanotechnology was also discussed to mitigate and control emerging SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Skeletal muscle is a major determinant of systemic metabolic homeostasis that plays a critical role in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. By contrast, despite being a major user of fatty acids, and evidence that muscular disorders can lead to abnormal lipid deposition (e.g., nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in myopathies), our understanding of skeletal muscle regulation of systemic lipid homeostasis is not well understood. Here we show that skeletal muscle Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) coordinates pathways central to systemic lipid homeostasis under basal conditions and in response to nutrient overload. Mice with skeletal muscle–specific KLF15 deletion demonstrated (a) reduced expression of key targets involved in lipid uptake, mitochondrial transport, and utilization, (b) elevated circulating lipids, (c) insulin resistance/glucose intolerance, and (d) increased lipid deposition in white adipose tissue and liver. Strikingly, a diet rich in short-chain fatty acids bypassed these defects in lipid flux and ameliorated aspects of metabolic dysregulation. Together, these findings establish skeletal muscle control of lipid flux as critical to systemic lipid homeostasis and metabolic health.
Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) is expressed in B cells and innate immune cells, acting as an essential signaling element in multiple immune cell pathways. Selective BTK inhibition has the potential to target multiple immune-mediated disease pathways. Rilzabrutinib is an oral, reversible, covalent BTK inhibitor designed for immune-mediated diseases. We examined the pharmacodynamic profile of rilzabrutinib and its preclinical mechanisms of action. In addition to potent and selective BTK enzyme and cellular activity, rilzabrutinib inhibited activation and inflammatory activities of B cells and innate cells such as macrophages, basophils, mast cells, and neutrophils, without cell death (in human and rodent assay systems). Rilzabrutinib demonstrated dose-dependent improvement of clinical scores and joint pathology in a rat model of collagen-induced arthritis and demonstrated reductions in autoantibody-mediated FcγR signaling in vitro and in vivo, with blockade of rat Arthus reaction, kidney protection in mouse Ab-induced nephritis, and reduction in platelet loss in mouse immune thrombocytopenia. Additionally, rilzabrutinib inhibited IgE-mediated, FcεR-dependent immune mechanisms in human basophils and mast cell–dependent mouse models. In canines with naturally occurring pemphigus, rilzabrutinib treatment resulted in rapid clinical improvement demonstrated by anti-inflammatory effects visible within 2 wk and all animals proceeding to complete or substantial disease control. Rilzabrutinib is characterized by reversible covalent BTK binding, long BTK residence time with low systemic exposure, and multiple mechanistic and biological effects on immune cells. Rilzabrutinib’s unique characteristics and promising efficacy and safety profile support clinical development of rilzabrutinib for a broad array of immune-mediated diseases.
17β-Estradiol (E2) confers neuroprotection in preclinical models of spinal cord injury when administered systemically. The goal of this study was to apply E2 locally to the injured spinal cord for a sustained duration using poly(pro-E2) film biomaterials. Following contusive spinal cord injury in adult male mice, poly(pro-E2) films were implanted subdurally and neuroprotection was assessed using immunohistochemistry 7 days after injury and implantation. In these studies, poly(pro-E2) films modestly improved neuroprotection without affecting the inflammatory response when compared to the injured controls. To increase the E2 dose released, bolus-releasing poly(pro-E2) films were fabricated by incorporating unbound E2 into the poly(pro-E2) films. However, compared to the injured controls, bolus-releasing poly(pro-E2) films did not significantly enhance neuroprotection or limit inflammation at either 7 or 21 days post-injury. Future work will focus on developing poly(pro-E2) biomaterials capable of more precisely releasing therapeutic doses of E2.
Pabinafusp alfa (JR-141) is a novel enzyme drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier by transcytosis via transferrin receptors. In order to establish its efficacy and safety, a multicenter, single-arm, open-label phase 2/3 clinical trial was conducted in 28 Japanese patients with mucopolysaccharidosis II (MPS-II, Hunter syndrome) by intravenous administrations of 2.0 mg/kg of pabinafusp alfa for 52 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was changes in heparan sulfate (HS) concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Secondary endpoints included assessments of neurocognitive development for central efficacy, and changes in plasma HS and dermatan sulfate (DS) concentrations for peripheral efficacy. HS concentrations in the CSF significantly decreased from baseline to week 52 (p < 0.001), suggesting continuous inhibition of substrate accumulations in the CNS, i.e., hitherto unaddressed progressive neurodegeneration. Evaluations of neurocognitive developments showed positive changes in 21 of the 28 patients. Serum HS and DS concentrations, liver and spleen volumes, and other assessments suggested the peripheral efficacy of pabinafusp alfa was comparable to that of idursulfase. Drug-related adverse events were mild or moderate in severity, transient, and manageable. The results establish delivery across the BBB of pabinafusp alfa as an effective therapeutic for treating both the CNS and peripheral symptoms of patients with MPS-II.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by joint destruction and severe morbidity. Cigarette smoking (CS) can exacerbate the incidence and severity of RA. Although Th17 cells and the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) have been implicated, the mechanism by which CS induces RA development remains unclear. Here, using transcriptomic analysis, we show that microRNA-132 is specifically induced in Th17 cells in the presence of either AhR agonist or CS-enriched medium. miRNA-132 thus induced is packaged into extracellular vesicles produced by Th17 and acts as a proinflammatory mediator increasing osteoclastogenesis through the down-regulation of COX2. In vivo, articular knockdown of miR-132 in murine arthritis models reduces the number of osteoclasts in the joints. Clinically, RA patients express higher levels of miR-132 than do healthy individuals. This increase is further elevated by cigarette smoking. Together, these results reveal a hitherto unrecognized mechanism by which CS could exacerbate RA and further advance understanding of the impact of environmental factors on the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Non-invasive Gamma ENtrainment Using Sensory stimulation (GENUS) at 40Hz reduced Alzheimers disease (AD) pathology such as amyloid and tau levels, prevented cerebral atrophy and improved performance during behavioral testing in mouse models of AD. We report data from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (n = 15) in volunteers with probable mild AD after 4 months of one-hour daily 40Hz sensory stimulation (NCT 04055376) to assess safety, compliance, entrainment and possible effects on brain structure, function, sleep activity and cognitive function. 40Hz light and sound GENUS was well-tolerated and compliance was high in both groups. Electroencephalography recordings show that our novel 40Hz GENUS device safely and effectively induced 40Hz entrainment in participants with mild AD. After 3 months of daily stimulation, the 40Hz GENUS group showed reduced ventricular dilation and stabilization of the hippocampal size compared to the control group. Functional connectivity was found to improve in the default mode network as well as with the medial visual network after 3 months of stimulation. Furthermore, actigraphy recordings show that circadian rhythmicity also improved with 40Hz stimulation. Compared to controls, the active group performed better on the face-name association delayed recall test. These results suggest that 40Hz GENUS can be used safely at home daily and shows favorable outcomes on cognitive function, structure and functional MRI biomarkers of AD-related degeneration. These results support further evaluation of GENUS in larger and longer clinical trials to evaluate its potential as a novel disease modifying therapeutic for Alzheimers dementia.
In this report, one of the first known comparisons is made between antibody responses in individuals vaccinated against or infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Serum blood samples were collected from 7 individuals and tested with a surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT). Samples from six of those individuals were also tested with SARS-CoV-2 S1 IgM and IgG ELISA.The study includes men and women aged between 19 and 62 years old. Only one participant does not have a pre infection or vaccination sample. Post-vaccine samples were taken after the first vaccination. No boosters had been administered in the study cohort. The results indicate that 1 vaccination from either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can elicit an antibody response comparable to a natural infection.