2007 - 11

Chem Res Toxicol. 2007 Nov 1; [Epub ahead of print]

Quinone Formation as a Chemoprevention Strategy for Hybrid Drugs: Balancing Cytotoxicity and Cytoprotection.

Dunlap T, Chandrasena RE, Wang Z, Sinha V, Wang Z, Thatcher GR.

Cellular defense mechanisms that respond to damage from oxidative and electrophilic stress, such as from quinones, represent a target for chemopreventive agents. Drugs bioactivated to quinones have the potential to activate antioxidant/electrophile responsive element (ARE) transcription of genes for cytoprotective phase 2 enzymes such as NAD(P)H-dependent quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) but can also cause cellular damage. Two isomeric families of compounds were prepared, including the NO-NSAIDs (NO-donating nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) NCX 4040 and NCX 4016; one family was postulated to release a quinone methide on esterase bioactivation. The study of reactivity and GSH conjugation in model and cell systems confirmed the postulate. The quinone-forming family, including NCX 4040 and conisogenic bromides and mesylate, was rapidly bioactivated to a quinone, which gave activation of ARE and consequent induction of NQO1 in liver cells. Although the control family, including NCX 4016 and conisogenic bromides and mesylates, cannot form a quinone, ARE activation and NQO1 induction were observed, compatible with slower S N2 reactions with thiol sensor proteins, and consequent ARE-luciferase and NQO1 induction. Using a Chemoprevention Index estimate, the quinone-forming compounds suffered because of high cytoxicity and were more compatible with cancer therapy than chemoprevention. In the Comet assay, NCX 4040 was highly genotoxic relative to NCX 4016. There was no evidence that NO contributes to the observed biological activity and no evidence that NCX 4040 is an NO donor, instead, rapidly releasing NO 3 (-) and quinone. These results indicate a strategy for studying the quinone biological activity and reinforce the therapeutic attributes of NO-ASA through structural elements other than NO and ASA.

2007 - 10

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 Oct;134(4):1033-9.

Nitric oxide-donating aspirin (NCX 4016) inhibits neointimal thickening in a pig model of saphenous vein-carotid artery interposition grafting: a comparison with aspirin and morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1).

Wan S, Shukla N, Angelini GD, Yim AP, Johnson JL, Jeremy JY. Department of Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

OBJECTIVE: Despite its proven value in reducing thrombotic complications in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, aspirin does not reduce the incidence of late vein graft failure. It was suggested, therefore, that co-administration of nitric oxide with aspirin may compensate for these limitations. A drug class that fulfills this pharmacologic criterion is nitric oxide-donating aspirin (NCX 4016). METHODS: The effect of administration of the aspirin-nitric oxide adduct, NCX 4016, compared with those of aspirin alone and the nitric oxide donor, morpholinosydnonimine, alone (once daily for 1 month) on thickening of saphenous vein-carotid artery interposition grafts was investigated. RESULTS: NCX 4016, at 10 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1), inhibited neointimal thickness and area in porcine vein grafts. Aspirin alone (60 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)) and morpholinosydnonimine alone (1 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1)), also inhibited neointimal thickness and neointimal area, although they were less potent than NCX 4016. At 30 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1), aspirin had no effect. Compared with untreated controls, NCX 4016 had little effect on medial thickness or area at 10 mg/kg or 30 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) but had a significant effect at 60 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1). Aspirin alone and morpholinosydnonimine alone also inhibited medial thickness and area. NCX 4016 at 60 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) and aspirin at 60 mg x kg(-1) x d(-1) increased luminal area. CONCLUSIONS: The range of properties displayed by NCX 4016 (inhibition of neointima formation, gastroprotection, antithrombotic and antiatherogenic effects) renders them potentially useful in treating both early and late vein graft failure and indicates that a clinical study on this novel drug class in patients undergoing coronary bypass grafting is warranted.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Oct 12; [Epub ahead of print]

Roles of platelet and endothelial cell COX-1 in hypercholesterolemia-induced microvascular dysfunction.

Tailor A, Wood KC, Wallace JL, Specian RD, Granger DN. Molecular and Cellular Physiology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana, United States.

Aspirin is common preventative therapy in patients at risk for cardiovascular diseases, yet little is known about how aspirin protects the vasculature in hypercholesterolemia. The present study determines whether aspirin, NO-releasing aspirin (NCX-4016), a selective COX-1 inhibitor (SC560), or genetic deficiency of COX-1 prevents the inflammatory and prothrombogenic phenotype assumed by hypercholesterolemic (HC) venules. Aspirin or NCX-4016 (60 mg/kg) was administered orally for the last wk of a 2 wk HC diet. COX-1 deficient (COX-1(-/-)) and wild type (WT) mice were transplanted with WT (WT/COX(-1-/-)) or COX-1(-/-) (COX-1(-/-)/WT) bone marrow, respectively. HC-induced adhesion of platelets and leukocytes in murine intestinal venules, observed with intravital fluorescence microscopy, was greatly attenuated in aspirin-treated mice. Adhesion of aspirin-treated platelets in HC venules was comparable to untreated platelets, while adhesion of SC560-treated platelets was significantly attenuated. HC-induced leukocyte and platelet adhesion in COX-1(-/-)/WT chimeras were comparable to SC560-treated mice, while the largest reductions in blood cell adhesion were in WT/COX-1(-/-) chimeras. NCX-4016 treatment of platelet recipients or donors attenuated leukocyte and platelet adhesion independent of platelet COX-1 inhibition. Platelet- and endothelial cell-associated COX-1 promote microvascular inflammation and thrombogenesis during hypercholesterolemia, yet NO-releasing aspirin directly inhibits platelets independent of COX-1. Key words: Aspirin, NCX-4016, cyclooxygenase, platelets, leukocytes.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Sep;293(3):H1545-52. Epub 2007 May 25.

Cardioprotective effects of nitric oxide-aspirin in myocardial ischemia-reperfused rats.

Fu Y, Wang Z, Chen WL, Moore PK, Zhu YZ. Cardiovascular Biology Research Group, National University of Singapore.

In this study, the cardioprotective effects of nitric oxide (NO)-aspirin, the nitroderivative of aspirin, were compared with those of aspirin in an anesthetized rat model of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion. Rats were given aspirin or NO-aspirin orally for 7 consecutive days preceding 25 min of myocardial ischemia followed by 48 h of reperfusion (MI/R). Treatment groups included vehicle (Tween 80), aspirin (30 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)), and NO-aspirin (56 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)). NO-aspirin, compared with aspirin, displayed remarkable cardioprotection in rats subjected to MI/R as determined by the mortality rate and infarct size. Mortality rates for vehicle (n = 23), aspirin (n = 22), and NO-aspirin groups (n = 22) were 34.8, 27.3, and 18.2%, respectively. Infarct size of the vehicle group was 44.5 +/- 2.7% of the left ventricle (LV). In contrast, infarct size of the LV decreased in the aspirin- and NO-aspirin-pretreated groups, 36.7 +/- 1.8 and 22.9 +/- 4.3%, respectively (both P < 0.05 compared with vehicle group; P < 0.05, NO-aspirin vs. aspirin ). Moreover, NO-aspirin also improved ischemia-reperfusion-induced myocardial contractile dysfunction on postischemic LV developed pressure. In addition, NO-aspirin downregulated inducible NO synthase (iNOS; 0.37-fold, P < 0.01) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2; 0.61-fold, P < 0.05) gene expression compared with the vehicle group after 48 h of reperfusion. Treatment with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; 20 mg/kg), a nonselective NOS inhibitor, aggravated myocardial damage in terms of mortality and infarct size but attenuated effects when coadministered with NO-aspirin. L-NAME administration did not alter the increase in iNOS and COX-2 expression but did reverse the NO-aspirin-induced inhibition of expression of the two genes. The beneficial effects of NO-aspirin appeared to be derived largely from the NO moiety, which attenuated myocardial injury to limit infarct size and better recovery of LV function following ischemia and reperfusion.

Biochem Soc Trans. 2007 Oct;35(Pt 5):1364-8.

Novel agents for cancer prevention based on nitric oxide.

Rigas B. Division of Cancer Prevention, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5200, U.S.A.

NO (nitric oxide) biology has provided the impetus for the development of anticancer agents based on their ability to release NO. NO-NSAIDs (NO-donating non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), consisting of a conventional NSAID to which an NO-releasing moiety is covalently attached, are promising chemopreventive agents against cancer. Compared with their parent compounds, NO-NSAIDs are up to several hundred times more potent in inhibiting the growth of cancer cell lines and prevent colon and pancreatic cancer in animal models. Their chemopreventive effect is due to inhibition of proliferation, induction of cell death and inhibition of cell-cycle-phase transitions. NO-ASA (NO-aspirin), the best-studied NO-NSAID, induces oxidative stress in target cells. Major downstream signalling effects involve the Wnt, NOS2 (nitric oxide synthase 2), MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase), NF-kappaB (nuclear factor kappaB) and Nrf2 (nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45 subunit-related factor 2) pathways. NO-NSAIDs, particularly NO-ASA, appear to be safe compounds, as suggested by many animal and early human studies. An ongoing clinical trial is designed to determine whether NO-ASA can inhibit early stages of colon carcinogenesis in subjects at risk for colon cancer. It is clinical trials that will ultimately determine the role of NO-NSAIDs in cancer prevention and perhaps treatment.

2007 - 08

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Aug 30; [Epub ahead of print]

Nitroaspirin (NCX-4016), an NO Donor, is Antiangiogenic Through Induction of Loss of Redox-Dependent Viability and Cytoskeletal Reorganization in Endothelial Cells.

Parinandi NL, Sharma A, Eubank TD, Kaufman BF, Kutala VK, Marsh CB, Ignarro LJ, Kuppusamy P. Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of Cardiology and Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

We recently reported that NCX-4016, a derivative of aspirin containing a nitro moiety that releases nitric oxide (NO) in a sustained fashion in biologic systems, is a potent cytotoxic agent inhibiting the proliferation of cisplatin-resistant human ovarian cancer cells. Therefore, we hypothesize that NCX-4016 possesses antiangiogenic properties. Our study with the bovine lung microvascular endothelial cells (BLMVECs) revealed that NCX-4016 significantly induced the loss of redox-dependent cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner, as assayed by the redox-sensitive Alamar blue cell viability assay. Fluorescence microscopy of cells labeled with NO-specific fluorophore (DAF-FM) confirmed that NCX-4016 generated significant levels of intracellular NO. NO donors, including S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine, spermine NONOate, and isosorbide dinitrite, were less effective in causing loss of cell viability. Thiol-protectant, N-acetylcysteine, significantly attenuated the NCX-4016-induced loss of cell viability, suggesting the role of alteration of thiol-redox status therein. NCX-4016 also suppressed oxygen consumption, decreased transendothelial electrical resistance (EC barrier dysfunction), and induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization in BLMVECs. The in vitro assay with human umbilical vein ECs and BLMVECs revealed that NCX-4016, in a dose-dependent manner, significantly inhibited angiogenesis with almost complete inhibition at a 100-muM concentration, suggesting that NCX-4016 can act as an antiangiogenic drug.

2007 - 05

Int J Cardiol. 2007 May 31;118(2):164-9. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

Functional effects of nitric oxide-releasing aspirin on vein conduits of diabetic patients undergoing CABG.

Lorusso R, De Cicco G, Beghi C, Gherli T, Poli E, Corradi D, Maestri R, Bonadonna S, Mancini T, Giustina A. Experimental Cardiac Surgery Laboratory and Cardiac Surgery Unit, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy.

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is known to negatively affect biological properties of venous vasculature, and, particularly, to reduce endothelium-derived nitric oxide release. This condition might influence venous graft function following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). The aim of this study was to evaluate the functional effects of a NO-releasing aspirin (NORA) on vein grafts (VG) of diabetics and control patients undergoing elective CABG. METHODS: In 40 consecutive ischemic heart disease patients, the effects of NORA were tested on segments of saphenous vein conduits harvested during elective CABG. Twenty patients had type-2 DM (mean age 69+/-2), whereas 20 patients had no DM (NDM) and represented the control group (mean age 67+/-4). Functional responses were tested by exposing VGs to NORA and to standard vasoactive agents in an organ-bath preparation. Histological features of VGs were also assessed by light and electronic microscopy. RESULTS: Significant impairment of endothelial-dependent vasodilation (acetylcholine induced) was documented in VGs of DM subjects. NORA induced a significant and comparable vascular relaxation in all venous segments of NDM and DM patients (56+/-12% of maximal relaxation vs 61+/-11% in the control group, respectively). Histology showed variable extent of vascular layer and cellular abnormalities in VGs of diabetics (intimal hyperplasia, calcific deposition, endothelial cell degeneration) likely responsible of the endothelial functional impairment, whereas control group VG showed preserved structures. CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary study confirms the impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilative property of VGs in DM patients. It also indicates that NORA effectively induces vasodilation of VGs which was effective also in DM patients thereby representing a promising therapy for diabetics undergoing CABG with the use of VGs, although further studies are mandatory to conclusively assess the safety and benefits of this pharmacological agent.

Int J Cardiol. 2007 May 31;118(2):170-2. Epub 2006 Sep 25.

Nitric oxide-releasing aspirin: will it say NO to atherothrombosis?

Antoniades C, Tousoulis D, Stefanadis C.

Aspirin is a powerful anti-platelet drug widely used in patients with coronary atherosclerosis, but its side effects and especially its toxicity for gastrointestinal tract limit its usefulness in specific groups of patients. A new category of agents, nitric oxide-releasing aspirins (such as NCX-4016), seems to provide an alternative solution. Although this drug is still at phase II clinical trials, it has provided promising results until now. When administered in vivo, it is separated into an aspirin moiety and an NO-donating complex, providing both the antithrombotic effect of aspirin and the gastroprotective effect of NO. Additionally, it increases NO bioavailability as a vascular level, and it may have the antiatherogenic properties of endogenously produced NO. Finally, recent evidence suggests that it may also improve functional aspects of vein grafts used in CABG, with possible benefit on graft patency. However, the outcome of the large ongoing trials is needed before any conclusion is made about the role of NO-releasing aspirins in cardiovascular disease.

2007 - 04

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2007 Apr;23(2):129-33. Epub 2007 Jan 13.

Tissue factor and nitric oxide: a controversial relationship!

Dusse LM, Cooper AJ, Lwaleed BA. University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

Tissue factor (TF) is the primary physiological initiator of blood coagulation. TF has a high-affinity for factor (F) VII resulting in the formation of (TF:FVII:FVIIa) bimolecular complex which, in the presence of Ca(2+), increases the enzymatic activity of FVIIa towards its natural substrates, FIX and FX, generating their active forms FIXa and FXa, respectively. This eventually leads to thrombin generation and a fibrin clot formation. Up-regulation of TF in injured blood vessels and atherosclerotic plaque can lead to undesirable vascular thrombosis. Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical synthesized from L-arginine and molecular oxygen by nitric oxide synthases (NOS). NO participates in diverse physiological and pathophysiological process as an intra or extracellular messenger. A relationship between TF and NO has been proposed. Thus, models of TF regulation by NO has been studied in different cells and experimental animal models, but the results have been conflicting. The premise that NO donors can prevent TF expression in vivo has provided the foundation for a broad field of pharmacotherapeutics in vascular medicine. A new class of drugs combining a statin (inhibitors of coenzyme A reductase) with an NO-donating moiety has been described. The resulting drug, nitrostatin, has been suggested to increase the antithrombotic effects of native statin. However, it is questionable if NO release from these drugs had any significant role on TF inhibition. In summary, care must be taken in drawing conclusions about the relationship between NO and TF. Interpretation of NO studies must take several factors into consideration, including NO bioavailability, its half-life and inactivation, as well as the cell type and experimental model used.

Atherosclerosis. 2007 Apr;191(2):272-5. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Aspirin is a substrate for paraoxonase-like activity: implications in atherosclerosis.

Santanam N, Parthasarathy S. Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.

Paraoxonase 1 (PON 1) is an enzyme that is promiscuous in its ability to hydrolyze various types of substrates. It hydrolyzes aryl esters, phosphate esters, lactones, and reduces lipid peroxides to hydroxides. Aspirin is an aryl ester with a short plasma half life. We hypothesized that aspirin would be effectively hydrolyzed by PON 1 and many of its anti-atherogenic effects, at least in part, could be accounted for by its antioxidant product, salicylic acid. In this study, we determined the ability of human plasma and PON 1-rich HDL to hydrolyze acetyl ester of salicylic acid (aspirin). The ability of aspirin to compete for the hydrolysis of paraoxon and p-nitrophenylacetate was determined. In addition, nitrated aspirin was synthesized and tested directly for hydrolysis. Aspirin competed for the hydrolysis of paraoxon and p-nitrophenylacetate by HDL in a dose-dependent manner. Human plasma and HDL were also able to hydrolyse nitroaspirin and aspirin and release nitrosalicylic acid and salicylic acid, respectively. These findings suggest that salicylic acid might be generated in the plasma from aspirin. The ability of long-term treatment with aspirin to retard atherosclerosis might be dependent on the generation of free salicylic acid, a scavenger of free radicals.

J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Apr;23(2):188-95.

Susceptibility of the ocular lens to nitric oxide: implications in cataractogenesis.

Varma SD, Hegde KR. Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Oxides of nitrogen, such as nitric oxide (NO), are now biologically referred to as reactive nitrogen species. The generation of NO gives rise to several other reactive species, such as NO+, NO-, NO2, N2O3, and ONOO- and so forth, which are all capable of inflicting tissue damage. Indeed, NO generation is known to be associated with retinal degeneration and glaucoma. Its level has also been found to increase in the aqueous and vitreous humors in diabetes. We hypothesize that such an increase would have a detrimental effect on the biochemistry and metabolism of tissues, including the lens, bathed by the aqueous containing elevated levels of NO. The primary aim of our investigations was, therefore, to examine the susceptibility of the lens to damage by NO in vitro in the presence of nitroaspirin, a novel NO donating agent. The extent of physiologic damage to the lens was initially assessed by determining the integrity of its active transport mechanism. The overall status of tissue metabolism was determined by measuring the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels. The levels of glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide, reflecting the status of its antioxidant reserve, were also determined. That NO is indeed deleterious to the lens was apparent by the inhibition of the active transport of Rb(+). This was associated with a substantial decrease in the contents of ATP and GSH, the decrease in the latter directly suggesting that the NO effects are caused by oxidative stress. That the effects are caused by NO generated from nitroaspirin was proven by a substantial increase in NO level in the medium during incubation of the lenses with nitroaspirin, as compared to the controls. The results, therefore, were highly suggestive of a contribution of the oxides of nitrogen in cataract formation associated with diabetes and other aging diseases.

Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Apr 30;561(1-3):220-5. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Effect of aspirin, paracetamol and their nitric oxide donating derivatives on exudate cytokine and PGE2 production in zymosan-induced air pouch inflammation in rats.

Mamuk S, Melli M. Ankara University, School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, Morfoloji Binasi, Sihhiye 06100, Ankara, Turkey.

Effects of different doses of aspirin, compared to equimolar doses of nitric oxide (NO)-donating aspirin (NCX 4016), and of a single dose of paracetamol, compared to an equimolar dose of NO-donating paracetamol (NCX 701) were investigated in acute zymosan-induced air pouch inflammation in rats. Treatments were administered by orogastric route, and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) levels in the exudates were analysed 4 h after zymosan injection by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Aspirin, at 10, 30 and 100 mg/kg doses, increased IL-1beta levels in exudates, however, only the highest dose lead to a significant increase when compared to control, whereas a significant increase in TNF-alpha level was observed at all doses tested. NCX 4016, at equimolar doses for aspirin, i.e., 18.6, 55.8 and 186 mg/kg, respectively, did not cause any changes in exudate IL-1beta or TNF-alpha levels. These effects were significantly different, when aspirin was compared with the corresponding NCX 4016 group. Nevertheless, the ability of aspirin and NCX 4016 to inhibit PGE(2) synthesis in the exudate where comparable. Although paracetamol significantly increased exudate TNF-alpha level compared to the control group and NCX 701 group, neither paracetamol, nor NCX701 treatments changed the levels of exudate IL-1beta significantly. As expected, paracetamol and NCX 701 showed poor PGE(2) inhibition. At high doses, aspirin and NCX 4016
decreased the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in the exudate. However, this inhibition was not significantly different from the control group. Paracetamol and NO-paracetamol did not cause any change in the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in exudate. These results indicated that aspirin and NCX 4016 possessed different effects on cytokine production or release, despite the fact that both drugs inhibited the synthesis of PGE(2) in a similar way. Unlike paracetamol, which increased exudate TNF-alpha level, NCX 701 had no effect on TNF-alpha level in the exudates.

2007 - 03

Thromb Haemost. 2007 Mar;97(3):444-50.

Comment in: Thromb Haemost. 2007 Mar;97(3):331-3.

Prevention by NCX 4016, a nitric oxide-donating aspirin, but not by aspirin, of the acute endothelial dysfunction induced by exercise in patients with intermittent claudication.

Gresele P, Migliacci R, Procacci A, De Monte P, Bonizzoni E. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Perugia, Via Enrico dal Pozzo, I-06126 Perugia, Italy.

Ischemia/reperfusion damage evokes systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in patients with intermittent claudication. We compared the effects of aspirin with those of a nitric oxide-donating aspirin in preventing the acute, systemic endothelial dysfunction provoked by exercise-induced ischemia of the lower limbs in patients with intermittent claudication. In a prospective, randomized, single-blind, parallel-groups trial among 44 patients with intermittent claudication we compared four weeks of aspirin (100 mg o.d.) with NCX 4016 (800 mg b.i.d.). Primary end point was the exercise-induced changes in brachial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) at day 28; secondary end points were effort-induced changes of markers of neutrophil (plasma elastase) and endothelial (soluble VCAM-1) activation. Baseline FMD was comparable in the two groups, both on day 1 (pre-treatment: aspirin = 3.1 +/- 0.5%, nitroaspirin = 3.9 +/- 0.7%, p = NS), and on day 28 (aspirin = 3.4 +/- 0.7%, NCX 4016 = 3.2 +/- 0.6%, p = NS). Maximal treadmill exercise induced an acute worsening of FMD in both groups at baseline (aspirin = -1.15%, nitroaspirin = -1.76%); after four weeks treatment, the impairment of FMD induced by exercise was still present in the aspirintreated group (-1.46%) while it was abolished in the NCX 4016-treated group (+0.79%, p = 0.038 vs. aspirin). Similarly, exercise induced an increase of plasma elastase and of sVCAM-1 which were not affected by aspirin while they were suppressed by NCX 4016. Maximal treadmill exercise induces a systemic arterial endothelial dysfunction in patients with intermittent claudication. A nitric oxide-donating aspirin, but not aspirin, prevents effort-induced endothelial dysfunction.

2006 - 10

Drug News Perspect. 2006 Oct;19(8):485-9.

Chronicles in drug discovery.

Moral MA, Khurdayan VK, Bozzo J. Prous Science Medical Information Department, Barcelona, Spain.

Chronicles in Drug Discovery features special interest reports on advances in drug discovery and development. This month we focus on the progress of the ongoing search for safe and effective chemopreventive agents. Chemoprevention is a strategy to decrease the risk of developing cancer by using agents that prevent or abrogate carcinogenic processes. Bowman- Birk inhibitor concentrate, budesonide, NCX-4016 and statins are all undergoing investigation in the clinical setting as potential chemopreventive agents for head and neck, lung, colon and breast cancers, respectively. (c) 2006 Prous Science. All rights reserved.

2006 - 09

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;48(3):79-87.

Prevention of postischemic myocardial reperfusion injury by the combined treatment of NCX-4016 and Tempol.

Kutala VK, Khan M, Mandal R, Potaraju V, Colantuono G, Kumbala D, Kuppusamy P. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Nitric oxide (NO) plays a protective role in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, the concomitant production of superoxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) during I/R may diminish the bioavailability of NO and hence compromise the beneficial effects. The objective of this study was to investigate the protective effect of the coadministration of NCX-4016 [2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester] (an NO donor) with antioxidants Tempol, superoxide dismutase (SOD), or urate on I/R injury. Isolated rat hearts, perfused with Krebs-Henseleit buffer, were subjected to 30 minutes of global ischemia, followed by 45 minutes of reperfusion. Before the induction of ischemia, the hearts were infused for 1 minute with NCX-4016 (100 microM) either alone or in combination with Tempol (100 microM), SOD (200 U/mL), or urate (100 microM). Hearts pretreated with NCX-4016 showed a significantly enhanced recovery of function and decreased infarct size and LDH/CK release compared with the controls. However, treatment of hearts with NCX-4016 + Tempol, SOD, or urate showed a significantly enhanced recovery of heart function compared with NCX-4016 alone. The treatment of hearts with NCX-4016 + Tempol showed significantly enhanced NO generation and decreased ROS and dityrosine (a marker of peroxynitrite) formation. In conclusion, NCX-4016 in combination with Tempol demonstrated significant cardioprotection and, thus, may offer a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent I/R-mediated myocardial injury.

2006 - 08

Cardiovasc Drug Rev. 2006 Summer;24(2):148-68.

Pharmacologic profile and therapeutic potential of NCX 4016, a nitric oxide-releasing aspirin, for cardiovascular disorders.

Gresele P, Momi S. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

NCX 4016, 2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-[(nitrooxy)methyl]phenyl ester, is a new molecule in which a nitric oxide (NO)-releasing moiety is covalently linked to aspirin. After enzymatic metabolism, NCX 4016 releases both components. In vitro and in some animal models, these components exert their pharmacologic effects simultaneously. Nitric oxide (NO) is a small gaseous molecule that exerts several activities which may prevent atherothrombotic disorders. Moreover, it displays a protective activity on the gastric mucosa. NCX 4016 has been shown to inhibit platelet activation in vitro more effectively than aspirin, to inhibit smooth muscle cell proliferation, to exert an endothelial cell protective activity and to suppress the function of several inflammatory cells potentially involved in atherothrombosis. In animal models, NCX 4016 protected from platelet thromboembolism, prevented restenosis in atherosclerosis-prone animals, protected the heart from ischemia/reperfusion injury, and induced neoangiogenesis in critically ischemic limbs. Moreover, it displayed little or no gastric toxicity and appeared to protect stomach from noxious stimuli, including aspirin. NCX 4016 has been evaluated in healthy volunteers and found to inhibit platelet cyclo-oxygenase-1 (COX-1) similarly to or slightly less than aspirin, to raise the circulating levels of NO-degradation products, and to have little or no gastric toxicity in short term studies. In particular, in phase II studies, NCX 4016 had favorable effects on effort-induced endothelial dysfunction in intermittent claudication and on platelet-activation parameters elicited by short-term hyperglycemia in type II diabetics. In patients with type II diabetes the effects of NCX 4016 on microalbuminuria and on some hemodynamic parameters were promising. The pharmacokinetics of in vivo aspirin- and NO- released by NCX 4016, as well as the bioavailability of the two molecules, were not yet adequately studied. Also, the long-term tolerability of NCX 4016, as well as its possible effectiveness in preventing ischemic cardiovascular events and progression of atherosclerosis, should be explored.

Cell Cycle. 2006 Aug;5(15):1669-74. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Nitrogen oxide-releasing aspirin induces histone H2AX phosphorylation, ATM activation and apoptosis preferentially in S-phase cells: involvement of reactive oxygen species.

Tanaka T, Kurose A, Halicka HD, Huang X, Traganos F, Darzynkiewicz Z. Brander Cancer Research Institute and Department of Pathology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, USA.

Nitric oxide-releasing acetylsalicylic acid (NO-ASA; NO-aspirin) developed as an anti-inflammatory agent that was expected to avoid some of the adverse effects of aspirin (ASA), was recently shown to be cytotoxic to cells of different tumor lines. The cytotoxic properties and potency of NO-ASA are different than those of ASA which implies that the intracellular targets for NO-ASA and ASA, and their mechanism of action, are different. The aim of the present study was to reveal whether the cytotoxicity induced by NO-ASA is mediated by damage to DNA. We observed that even brief (1 h) treatment of human B-lymphoblastoid TK6 cells with >or=5 microM NO-ASA led to DNA damage revealed by the alkaline and neutral comet assays, histone H2AX phosphorylation on Ser 139, and ATM phosphorylation on Ser 1981, a marker of activation of this kinase. The induction of H2AX phosphorylation was preferential to S-phase cells. Exposure to >or=5 microM NO-ASA for over 3 h led to apoptosis, also preferentially of S-phase cells. Apoptosis was atypical; while chromatin was highly condensed there was no evidence of nuclear fragmentation nor were the cells positive in the TUNEL assay though they did express activated caspase-3. The induction of phosphorylation of H2AX on Ser 139 by NO-ASA was markedly attenuated in the presence of N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The data imply that the NO-ASA induces DNA damage through oxidative stress; the oxidation-generated lesions provide a signal for induction of H2AX phosphorylation during DNA replication, perhaps when the progressing replication forks collide with the primary lesions converting them to DNA double-strand breaks. Because neither induction of H2AX phosphorylation nor apoptosis were observed at equimolar concentrations of ASA, the NO moiety attached to ASA appeared to mediate these effects.

Apoptosis. 2006 Aug;11(8):1321-30.

Molecular characterization of cytotoxic and resistance mechanisms induced by NCX 4040, a novel NO-NSAID, in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

Rosetti M, Tesei A, Ulivi P, Fabbri F, Vannini I, Brigliadori G, Amadori D, Bolla M, Zoli W. Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo, Meldola, Italy.

Although non steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to be effective as chemopreventive agents, important side-effects limit their clinical use. A promising novel class of drugs, nitric oxide-donating NSAIDs (NO-NSAIDs), has been found to be more active than classical NSAIDs. This study explored the effect of the NO-donating aspirin derivative, NCX 4040, on three human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines (Capan-2, MIA PaCa-2 and T3M4). NCX 4040 activity was compared with that of NCX 4016 (an NO(2)-positional isomer of NCX 4040), SNAP (a standard NO-releasing molecule), NCX 4042 (denitrated analog of NCX 4040), and aspirin. NCX 4040 showed a striking cytocidal activity in all cell lines, already inducing significant percentages of apoptotic cells at 10 muM in Capan-2 cell lines. This study focused on the biological mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to NCX 4040, highlighting that the cytotoxic action of this drug may be due to the hyperexpression of Bax, its translocation to the mitochondria, the release of Cytochrome C, and the activation of caspases-9 and -3, overall in a p53-independent manner. Moreover, the use of a specific COX-2 inhibitor (NS 398) in the experimental models showed that COX-2 hyperexpression could partially explain the resistance mechanisms to NCX 4040.

J Submicrosc Cytol Pathol. 2006 Jun-Sep;38(2-3):149-54.

Ultracytochemical demonstration of soluble guanylate cyclase activation in rat aorta by NCX4016, a NO-releasing aspirin derivative.

Rambotti MG, Mariucci G, Tantucci M, Ambrosini MV.

Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Biochemical studies demonstrate that the NO-releasing-aspirin derivative (NCX4016) stimulates soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) activity and increases cyclic GMP (cGMP) in human platelet and monocytes by releasing NO. In the present study, an ultracytochemical technique for electron microscopy was used to investigate the effects of NCX4016 (2 mM) on sGC activity in rat thoracic aorta, using sodium nitroprusside (0.01 mM) as reference NO-donor. Guanylyl-imidodiphosphate sodium salt [Gpp(NH)p], a synthetic non-hydrolyzable analogue of GTP, was used as sGC substrate. NO-activated sGC released imidodiphosphate ions which were precipitated with lead ions, giving rise to deposits of electron-dense granules (reaction product). Ultracytochemistry allowed us to demonstrate that NCX4016 stimulated sGC activity in smooth muscle cells, and particularly in vascular endothelial cells, as sodium nitroprusside did. This result could explain the protective effects of chronic treatment with NCX4016 on aortic endothelium of diabetic rats demonstrated by scanning and transmission electron microscopy.

2006 - 06

Br J Pharmacol. 2006 Jun;148(4):517-26. Epub 2006 May 15.

Mechanism of action of novel NO-releasing furoxan derivatives of aspirin in human platelets.

Turnbull CM, Cena C, Fruttero R, Gasco A, Rossi AG, Megson IL. Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Incorporation of a nitric oxide (NO)-releasing moiety in aspirin can overcome its gastric side effects.We investigated the NO-release patterns and antiplatelet effects of novel furoxan derivatives of aspirin (B8 and B7) in comparison to existing antiplatelet agents. Cyclooxygenase (COX) activity was investigated in purified enzyme using an electron paramagnetic resonance-based technique. Concentration-response curves for antiplatelet agents +/- the soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor, ODQ (50 microM) were generated in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and washed platelets (WP) activated with collagen using turbidometric aggregometry. NO was detected using an isolated NO electrode. The furoxan derivatives of aspirin (B8, B7) and their NO-free furazan equivalents (B16, B15; all 100 microM) significantly inhibited COX activity (P < 0.01; n = 6) in vitro and caused aspirin-independent, cGMP-dependent inhibition of collagen-induced platelet aggregation in WP. B8 was more potent than B7 (PRP IC(50) = 0.62 +/- 0.1 microM for B8; 400 +/- 89 microM for B7; P < 0.0001. WP IC(50)s = 0.6 +/- 0.1 and 62 +/- 10 microM, respectively). The NO-free furazan counterparts were less potent antiplatelet agents (WP IC(50)s = 54 +/- 3 microM and 62 +/- 10 microM, respectively; P < 0.0001, B8 vs B16). Of the hybrids investigated, only B8 retained antiplatelet activity in PRP.NO release from furoxan-aspirin hybrids was undetectable in buffer alone, but was accelerated in the presence of either plasma or plasma components, albumin (4%), glutathione (GSH; 3 microM) and ascorbate (50 microM), the effects of which were additive for B7 but not B8. NO generation from furoxans was greatly enhanced by platelet extract, an effect that could largely be explained by the synergistic effect of intracellular concentrations of GSH (3 mM) and ascorbate (1 mM). We conclude that the decomposition of furoxan-aspirin hybrids to generate biologically active NO is catalysed by endogenous agents which may instil a potential for primarily intracellular delivery of NO. The blunting of the aspirin effects of furoxan hybrids is likely to be due to loss of the acetyl moiety in plasma; the observed antiplatelet effects are thereby primarily mediated via NO release. Compounds of this class might represent a novel means of inhibiting platelet aggregation by a combination of NO generation and COX inhibition.

Mol Cancer Ther. 2006 Jun;5(6):1530-8.

Nitric oxide-releasing aspirin and indomethacin are potent inhibitors against colon cancer in azoxymethane-treated rats: effects on molecular targets.

Rao CV, Reddy BS, Steele VE, Wang CX, Liu X, Ouyang N, Patlolla JM, Simi B, Kopelovich L, Rigas B. Department of Medicine, Hem-Onc Section, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

Nitric oxide-releasing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NO-NSAID) are promising chemoprevention agents; unlike conventional NSAIDs, they seem free of appreciable adverse effects, while they retain beneficial activities of their parent compounds. Their effect on colon carcinogenesis using carcinoma formation as an end point is unknown. We assessed the chemopreventive properties of NO-indomethacin (NCX 530) and NO-aspirin (NCX 4016) against azoxymethane-induced colon cancer. Seven-week-old male F344 rats were fed control diet, and 1 week later, rats received two weekly s.c. injections of azoxymethane (15 mg/kg body weight). Two weeks after azoxymethane treatment, rats (48 per group) were fed experimental diets containing NO-indomethacin (0, 40, or 80 ppm), or NO-aspirin (1,500 or 3,000 ppm), representing 40% and 80% of the maximum tolerated dose. All rats were killed 48 weeks after azoxymethane treatment and assessed for colon tumor efficacy and molecular changes in colonic tumors and normally appearing colonic mucosa of different dietary groups. Our results suggest that NO-indomethacin at 40 and 80 ppm and NO-aspirin at 3,000 ppm significantly suppressed both tumor incidence (P < 0.01) and multiplicity (P < 0.001). The degree of inhibition was more pronounced with NO-indomethacin at both dose levels (72% and 76% inhibition) than with NO-aspirin (43% and 67%). NO-indomethacin at 40 and 80 ppm and NO-aspirin at 3,000 ppm significantly inhibited the colon tumors' (P < 0.01 to P < 0.001) total cyclooxygenase (COX), including COX-2 activity (52-75% inhibition) and formation of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), PGF2alpha, and 6-keto-PGF1alpha, and TxB2 from arachidonic acid (53-77% inhibition). Nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS-2) activity and beta-catenin expression were suppressed in animals given NO-NSAID. In colonic crypts and tumors of animals fed these two NO-NSAIDs, there was a significant decrease in proliferating cell nuclear antigen labeling when compared with animals fed the control diet. The results of this study provide strong evidence that NO-NSAIDs possess strong inhibitory effect against colon carcinogenesis; their effect is associated with suppression of COX and NOS-2 activities and beta-catenin levels in colon tumors. These results pave the way for the rational design of human clinical trials.

2006 - 04

Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2006 Apr;5(2):121-31.

NO-NSAIDs: from inflammatory mediators to clinical readouts.

Fiorucci S, Antonelli E. University of Perugia, Italy.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 selective inhibitors (COXIBs) are widely used drugs. However, their use is hampered by gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and renal side effects. Nitric oxide (NO)-releasing NSAIDs, NO-NSAID, are a new class of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs generated by adding a nitroxybutyl or a nitrosothiol moiety to the parent NSAID via a short-chain ester linkage. While efficacy of nitrosothiol-NSAIDs still awaits investigation, nitroxybutyl-NO-NSAIDs have been extensively studied in humans. The combination of balanced inhibition of the two main COX isoforms with release of NO confers to NO-NSAIDs reduced gastrointestinal and cardiorenal toxicity. It is suggested that the NO, which is released as the compounds are broken down, may counteract the consequences of the NSAID-induced decrease in gastric mucosal prostaglandins. Recent clinical trials with NO-NSAIDs have provided data consistent with pre-clinical observations.

Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2006 Apr;5(2):115-9.

Nitric oxide and inflammation.

Cirino G, Distrutti E, Wallace JL. Department of Experimental Pharmacology, Universita di Napoli-Federico II, Napoli, Italy.

There are several pre-clinical studies on the involvement of NO in inflammation. From this large amount of information it is clear that virtually every cell and many immunological parameters are modulated by NO. Thus, the final outcome is that NO cannot be rigidly classified as an anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory molecule. This peculiar aspect of the pathophysiology of NO has hampered the development of new drugs based on the concepts developed. Recent therapeutic approach are targeted to increase endogenous NO by activating the gene and some promising early data are available. At the present stage one of the most promising approach in the inflammation field is represented by a new class of NO-releasing compounds namely NO-NSAIDs that have recently enrolled in phase 2 clinical studies.

Carcinogenesis. 2006 Apr;27(4):803-10. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

NO-donating aspirin induces phase II enzymes in vitro and in vivo.

Gao J, Kashfi K, Liu X, Rigas B. Division of Cancer Prevention, Department of Medicine, SUNY at Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.

Modulation of drug metabolizing enzymes, leading to facilitated elimination of carcinogens represents a successful strategy for cancer chemoprevention. Nitric oxide-donating aspirin (NO-ASA) is a promising agent for the prevention of colon and other cancers. We studied the effect of NO-ASA on drug metabolizing enzymes in HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma and Hepa 1c1c7 mouse liver adenocarcinoma cells and in Min mice treated with NO-ASA for 3 weeks. In these cell lines, NO-ASA induced the activity and expression of NAD(P)H:quinone oxireductase (NQO) and glutathione S-transferase (GST). Compared with untreated Min mice, NO-ASA increased in the liver the activity (nmol/min/mg; mean+/-SEM for all) of NQO (85+/-6 versus 128+/-11, P<0.05) and GST (2560+/-233 versus 4254+/-608, P<0.005) and also in the intestine but not in the kidney; the expression of NQO1 and GST P1-1 was also increased. NO-ASA had only a marginal effect on P450 1A1 and P450 2E1, two phase I enzymes. The release of NO from NO-ASA, determined with a selective microelectrode was paralleled by the induction of NQO1 and abrogated by NO scavengers; an exogenous NO donor also induced the expression of NQO1. NO-ASA induced concentration-dependently the translocation of Nrf2 into the nucleus as documented by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting; this paralleled the induction of NQO1 and GST P1-1. Thus NO-ASA induces phase II enzymes, at least in part, through the action of NO that it releases and by modulating the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway; this effect may be part of its mechanism of action against colon and other cancers.

2006 - 03

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006 Mar;316(3):1107-14. Epub 2005 Oct 31.

The effect of NCX4016 [2-acetoxy-benzoate 2-(2-nitroxymethyl)-phenyl ester] on the consequences of ischemia and reperfusion in the streptozotocin diabetic rat.

Burke SG, Wainwright CL, Vojnovic I, Warner T, Watson DG, Furman BL. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Strathclyde Institute for Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of chronic administration of NCX4016 [2 acetoxy-benzoate 2-(2-nitroxymethyl)-phenyl ester], a nitric oxide-releasing aspirin derivative on the consequences of coronary artery occlusion in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Rats were made diabetic by injection of streptozotocin (60 mg kg(-1)) and received insulin (2.5 U kg(-1) s.c.) daily for 4 weeks. Animals received vehicle (1 ml kg(-1) polyethylene glycol), aspirin (65.2 mg kg(-1)), NCX4016 (60 mg kg(-1)), or (iv) NCX4016 (120 mg kg(-1)) orally, once daily for the last 5 days before coronary artery occlusion (CAO). One hour after the last dose, pentobarbital-anesthetized rats were subjected to CAO for 30 min followed by 120-min reperfusion. Neither drug significantly modified initial hemodynamics or plasma glucose levels compared with vehicle treatment in either nondiabetic or diabetic rats. Neither drug modified the total ventricular premature beat (VPB) count in normal animals, although NCX4016, but not aspirin, reduced the total VPB count and the incidence of ventricular tachycardia in diabetic rats. In nondiabetic animals, both aspirin and NCX4016 reduced infarct size. However, in diabetic rats, infarct size was reduced only by the larger dose of NCX4016 (120 mg kg(-1)) but not by aspirin or the lower dose of NCX4016. These results demonstrate that the cardioprotective effects of NCX4016 are reduced in the presence of diabetes compared with the effects seen in nondiabetic animals. In summary, the present study confirms the protective effect of NCX4016 against ischemia-reperfusion injury in the normal rat heart and demonstrates for the first time its protective effect in the heart of streptozotocin-diabetic rats.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 7;103(10):3914-9. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

Comment in: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 21;103(12):4337-8.

Reversal to cisplatin sensitivity in recurrent human ovarian cancer cells by NCX-4016, a nitro derivative of aspirin.

Bratasz A, Weir NM, Parinandi NL, Zweier JL, Sridhar R, Ignarro LJ, Kuppusamy P. Center for Biomedical Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging, The Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Ovarian cancer is a gynecological malignancy that is commonly treated by cytoreductive surgery followed by cisplatin treatment. However, the cisplatin treatment, although successful initially, is not effective in the treatment of the recurrent disease that invariably surfaces within a few months of the initial treatment. The refractory behavior is attributed to the increased levels of cellular thiols apparently caused by the cisplatin treatment. This observation prompted us to choose a cytotoxic drug whose activity is potentiated by cellular thiols with enhanced specificity toward the thiol-rich cisplatin-resistant cells. We used NCX-4016 [2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester], a derivative of aspirin containing a nitro group that releases nitric oxide in a sustained fashion for several hours in cells and in vivo, and we studied its cytotoxic efficacy against human ovarian cancer cells (HOCCs). Cisplatin-sensitive and cisplatin-resistant (CR) HOCCs were treated with 100 microM NCX-4016 for 6 h, and/or 0.5 microg/ml cisplatin for 1 h and assayed for clonogenecity. NCX-4016 significantly reduced the surviving fractions of cisplatin-sensitive (63 +/- 6%) and CR (70 +/- 10%) HOCCs. NCX-4016 also caused a 50% reduction in the levels of cellular glutathione in CR HOCCs. Treatment of cells with NCX-4016 followed by cisplatin showed a significantly greater extent of toxicity when compared with treatment of cells with NCX-4016 or cisplatin alone. In conclusion, this study showed that NCX-4016 is a potential inhibitor of the proliferation of CR HOCCs and thus might specifically kill cisplatin-refractory cancer cells in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.

2005 - 12

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005 Dec;315(3):1331-7. Epub 2005 Sep 6.

Direct and irreversible inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 by nitroaspirin (NCX 4016).

Corazzi T, Leone M, Maucci R, Corazzi L, Gresele P. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Perugia, Via Enrico dal Pozzo, 06126, Perugia, Italy.

Benzoic acid, 2-(acetyl-oxy)-3-[(nitrooxy)methyl]phenyl ester (NCX 4016), a new drug made by an aspirin molecule linked, through a spacer, to a nitric oxide (NO)-donating moiety, is now under clinical testing for the treatment of atherothrombotic conditions. Aspirin exerts its antithrombotic activity by irreversibly inactivating platelet cyclooxygenase (COX)-1. NCX 4016 in vivo undergoes metabolism into deacetylated and/or denitrated metabolites, and it is not known whether NCX 4016 needs to liberate aspirin to inhibit COX-1, or whether it can block it as a whole molecule. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of NCX 4016 and its analog or metabolites on platelet COX-1 and whole blood COX-2 and on purified ovine COX (oCOX)-1 and oCOX-2. In particular, we have compared the mechanism by which NCX 4016 inhibits purified oCOX enzymes with that of aspirin using a spectrophotometric assay. All the NCX 4016 derivatives containing acetylsalicylic acid inhibited the activity of oCOX-1 and oCOX-2, whereas the deacetylated metabolites and the nitric oxide-donating moiety were inactive. Dialysis experiments showed that oCOX-1 inhibition by NCX 4016, similar to aspirin, is irreversible. Reversible COX inhibitors (indomethacin) or salicylic acid incubated with the enzyme before NCX 4016 prevent the irreversible inhibition of oCOX-1 by NCX 4016 as well as by aspirin. In conclusion, our data show that NCX 4016 acts as a direct and irreversible inhibitor of COX-1 and that the presence of a spacer and NO-donating moiety in the molecule slows the kinetics of COX-1 inhibition by NCX 4016, compared with aspirin.

2005 - 11

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2005 Nov;15(8):278-82.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase: a promiscuous therapeutic target for cardiovascular drugs?

Muzaffar S, Shukla N, Jeremy JY. Department of Cardiac Surgery, Bristol Heart Institute, Bristol Royal Infirmary, University of Bristol, BS2 8HW Bristol, UK.

The increased expression and activity of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase complex has emerged as a major common factor in the etiology of all forms of cardiovascular diseases since the upregulation of intravascular NADPH oxidase results in the formation of superoxide (O(2)(-)), which in turn promotes vasculopathy. An ever-increasing number of drugs commonly used in cardiovascular medicine have been shown to influence NADPH oxidase expression and activity. These include nitric oxide donors, nitroaspirin, eicosanoids, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, corticosteroids, antioxidants, and specific inhibitors. The objective of this review is to discuss these drugs in relation to the mechanisms underlying their effects on NADPH oxidase activity and the expression and therapeutic implications of these effects.

2005 - 08

J Submicrosc Cytol Pathol. 2005 Aug;37(2):205-13.

Ultrastructural investigations on protective effects of NCX 4016 (nitroaspirin) on macrovascular endothelium in diabetic Wistar rats.

Ambrosini MV, Mariucci G, Rambotti MG, Tantucci M, Covarelli C, De Angelis L, Del Soldato P. Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy.

The effect of a nitric oxide-donating aspirin derivative, 2-acetoxy-benzoate 3-(nitroxy-methyl)phenyl ester (NCX 4016), and aspirin on the aortic endothelium of diabetic rats was investigated by using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Control and streptozotocin-treated rats were used. Metabolic control was assessed by measuring blood and urine metabolites, and 24-h urine volume. The ultrastructural study was performed after 7 weeks of diabetes and 6 weeks of therapy. Streptozotocin treatment induced a persistent hyperglycemia which was not influenced by the pharmacological treatments. Values of blood metabolites were in line with the diabetic status. Both scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed that aortic endothelium was severely damaged in all diabetic rats except for the NCX 4016 treated ones. Our data document the protective effects of NCX 4016 on the vascular endothelium of diabetic rats. Since aspirin had no protective action, NCX 4016 may have exerted its beneficial action by releasing nitric oxide.

2005 - 03

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 15;102(11):4185-90. Epub 2005 Mar 7.

Nitroaspirin corrects immune dysfunction in tumor-bearing hosts and promotes tumor eradication by cancer vaccination.

De Santo C, Serafini P, Marigo I, Dolcetti L, Bolla M, Del Soldato P, Melani C, Guiducci C, Colombo MP, Iezzi M, Musiani P, Zanovello P, Bronte V. Department of Oncology and Surgical Sciences, Oncology Section, Padua University, 35128 Padua, Italy.

Active suppression of tumor-specific T lymphocytes can limit the immune-mediated destruction of cancer cells. Of the various strategies used by tumors to counteract immune attacks, myeloid suppressors recruited by growing cancers are particularly efficient, often resulting in the induction of systemic T lymphocyte dysfunction. We have previously shown that the mechanism by which myeloid cells from tumor-bearing hosts block immune defense strategies involves two enzymes that metabolize L-arginine: arginase and nitric oxide (NO) synthase. NO-releasing aspirin is a classic aspirin molecule covalently linked to a NO donor group. NO aspirin does not possess direct antitumor activity. However, by interfering with the inhibitory enzymatic activities of myeloid cells, orally administered NO aspirin normalized the immune status of tumor-bearing hosts, increased the number and function of tumor-antigen-specific T lymphocytes, and enhanced the preventive and therapeutic effectiveness of the antitumor immunity elicited by cancer vaccination. Because cancer vaccines and NO aspirin are currently being investigated in independent phase I/II clinical trials, these findings offer a rationale to combine these treatments in subjects with advanced neoplastic diseases.

Thromb Haemost. 2005 Mar;93(3):535-43.

Nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel versus aspirin plus clopidogrel against platelet thromboembolism and intimal thickening in mice.

Momi S, Pitchford SC, Alberti PF, Minuz P, Del Soldato P, Gresele P. Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Clopidogrel plus aspirin is the treatment of choice for patients undergoing percutaneous, coronary interventions with stenting, but it does not prevent restenosis. NCX-4016, a nitric oxide-releasing aspirin (nitroaspirin), exerts a wider range of antiplatelet actions compared to aspirin, superior antithrombotic activity and reduces restenosis after arterial injury in animals. The aim of the present study was to compare the combination of nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel with aspirin plus clopidogrel in a model of platelet pulmonary thromboembolism, bleeding and intimal thickening in mice. Drugs were administered orally for 5 days; the antithrombotic effects were evaluated against collagen plus epinephrine-induced pulmonary thromboembolism, the haemorrhagic effects by tail transection bleeding time and the effects on neointima proliferation by histomorphology of photochemically injured femoral arteries. Lung platelet emboli were reduced significantly and more effectively by nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel (-56%, p<0.05 vs control) than by aspirin plus clopidogrel (-26%, p<0.05 vs control). Ex vivo platelet aggregation was inhibited maximally by nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel. Aspirin plus clopidogrel strikingly prolonged the bleeding time while nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel induced a lesser prolongation. Nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel significantly reduced intimal thickening of the femoral artery while aspirin plus clopidogrel was ineffective. Nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel is more effective and less prohaemorrhagic than aspirin plus clopidogrel in mice; provided these data are confirmed in other animal models, nitroaspirin plus clopidogrel may represent a new regimen to be tested in patients undergoing coronary revascularization procedures.

2005 - 02

Curr Drug Targets Cardiovasc Haematol Disord. 2005 Feb;5(1):65-74.

Erratum in: Curr Drug Targets Cardiovasc Haematol Disord. 2006 Mar;6(1):69. Gustavo, Reichenbach [corrected to Reichenbach, Gustavo]; Stefania, Momi [corrected to Momi, Stefania]; Paolo, Gresele [corrected to Gresele, Paolo].

Nitric oxide and its antithrombotic action in the cardiovascular system.

Reichenbach G, Momi S, Gresele P. Department of Chemistry, Universita, Perugia, Italy.

Nitric oxide (NO) is a small gaseous molecule with an odd number of electrons and is rather soluble in hydrophobic phases. It was once known for its toxicity in the environment and for its applications in meat curing. After 1980 its importance was discovered in many physiological fields such as vascular regulation, neuronal communication, cytotoxic action by macrophages in bacterial infections etc. On the other side NO is involved in toxic shock, DNA damage and many pathological conditions. In 1992 the journal Science designated it as "molecule of the year" and in the last years there has been an explosion of publications on the subject. The publications are concerned with the spectroscopic characterisation of NO derivatives, with the reactivity of NO with Myoglobin, Cytochrome and Hemoglobin and in particular with the chemical activities and biological applications of nitric oxide donors and nitric oxide scavengers. All such researches have produced until now many patents. The most famous products are Viagra and nitroglycerine (Trinitrin). Particular attention is given to the applications of NO to cardiovascular and hematological disorders. To this aim the authors examine the physiologic activities of NO and the mechanism of its antiplatelet, vasodilatory and antiproliferative action. Studies in animals and humans are also reported. Another section examines the drugs that increase the endogenous production of NO and modulate its activities. The last part is dedicated to the novel antithrombotic agent Nitroaspirin. Methods for NO detection will also be examined.

2005 - 01

Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Jan 31;508(1-3):7-13. Epub 2004 Dec 28.

NSAIDs increase GM-CSF release by human synoviocytes: comparison with nitric oxide-donating derivatives.

Zacharowski P, Breese E, Wood E, Del Soldato P, Warner T, Mitchell J. Cardiac, Vascular and Inflammation Research, The William Harvey Research Institute, Bart's and The London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat the condition of rheumatoid arthritis, where levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are elevated in the synovial fluid. NO-NSAIDs are a new class of cyclooxygenase (COX)-inhibitors developed by coupling a nitric oxide (NO)-donating moiety to conventional NSAIDs. We show that, in cytokine-treated synoviocytes (from non-rheumatic patients), NO-naproxen and NO-flurbiprofen like their parent compounds concentration-dependently reduce the levels of PGE2 (an index of COX-2 activity), with a corresponding rise in the release of GM-CSF. Unlike acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), NO-ASA reduces the levels of PGE2, without increasing GM-CSF release, although cell viability is reduced at the highest concentration (1 mM). The effects of NSAIDs and NO-NSAIDs on GM-CSF release were attributable to the PGE2 mediated cyclic (c) AMP pathway because PGE2 reversed the effects of COX blockade. Second, phosphodiesterase inhibitors 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) and Ro-201724 (both of which elevate cAMP levels) decreased GM-CSF release, in the presence of PGE2. Finally, neither sodium nitroprusside nor zaprinast (both of which elevate cGMP levels) affected GM-CSF or PGE2 release. Our findings demonstrate that GM-CSF is regulated by NSAIDs and NO-NSAIDs via inhibition of COX and appears to be mediated via the cAMP pathway. NO-ASA is the exception, because it does not increase GM-CSF release, although at millimolar concentrations cell viability is reduced.

2004 - 11

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Nov;24(11):2082-7. Epub 2004 Sep 2.

Nitric oxide-releasing aspirin derivative, NCX 4016, promotes reparative angiogenesis and prevents apoptosis and oxidative stress in a mouse model of peripheral ischemia.

Emanueli C, Van Linthout S, Salis MB, Monopoli A, Del Soldato P, Ongini E, Madeddu P. Molecular and Cellular Medicine, National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems, Alghero, Italy.

BACKGROUND: Recently, nitric oxide (NO) donors have been developed that mimic the physiological intracellular release of NO. We evaluated whether one of these new compounds, consisting of aspirin coupled to an NO-releasing moiety (NCX 4016), would protect limbs from supervening arterial occlusion. METHODS AND RESULTS: Mice were assigned to receive regular chow or chow containing NCX 4016 or aspirin (both at 300 mumol/kg body weight, daily) throughout the 3-week experimental period. One week after randomization, they underwent surgical excision of the left femoral artery. Limb blood flow recovery (laser Doppler flowmetry) was accelerated by NCX 4016 as compared with aspirin or vehicle (P<0.05). In controls, histological analysis revealed a 35% increase in the capillary density of ischemic muscles compared with contralateral ones, indicative of spontaneousangiogenesis. Neovascularization was enhanced by NCX 4016 (91%; P<0.05 versus vehicle), but not by aspirin (51%; P=NS versus vehicle). Furthermore, NCX 4016 reduced endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis (4.3+/-1.0 versus 8.7+/-2.0 in aspirin and 12.6+/-3.3 ECs/1000 cap in vehicle; P<0.05 for either comparison) as well as caspase-3 mRNA levels in ischemic muscles ([caspase-3/GAPDH]*100 = 0.09+/-0.04 versus 2.30+/-0.44 in aspirin and 2.30+/-0.32 in vehicle; P<0.01 for either comparison). Nitrite levels and the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione were selectively increased in ischemic muscles by NCX 4016. Vascular endothelial growth factor-A expression was reduced by aspirin, with this effect being blunted by NCX 4016. CONCLUSIONS: Pretreatment with the new oral NO-releasing aspirin derivative stimulates reparative angiogenesis and prevents apoptosis and oxidative stress, thereby alleviating the consequences of supervening arterial occlusion.

2004 - 08

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Aug 4;44(3):635-41.

Comment in: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Aug 4;44(3):642-3.

Co-administration of nitric oxide-aspirin (NCX-4016) and aspirin prevents platelet and monocyte activation and protects against gastric damage induced by aspirin in humans.

Fiorucci S, Mencarelli A, Meneguzzi A, Lechi A, Renga B, del Soldato P, Morelli A, Minuz P. Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that NCX-4016 may have broader anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects as well as better gastric tolerability than aspirin in humans. BACKGROUND: NCX-4016 is an aspirin derivative containing a nitric oxide-releasing moiety that prevents platelet activation and modulates tissue factor (TF) expression and cytokine release from lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated monocytes. METHODS: This was a blind-observer, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in which 48 healthy subjects were randomized to receive NCX-4016 800 mg twice a day, NCX-4016 800 mg twice a day plus aspirin 325 mg, aspirin 325 mg, or placebo for 21 days. RESULTS: Similar to aspirin alone, NCX-4016 effectively inhibited platelet aggregation induced by 0.6 mmol/ arachidonic acid, clot-stimulated thromboxane (TX) B2 generation in whole blood, and urinary excretion of 11-dehydro-TXB2. Unlike aspirin alone, the administration of NCX-4016 significantly inhibited TF expression in monocytes stimulated ex vivo with 10 micromol/l LPS (determined by flow-cytometry analysis of TF on CD14 positive cells). NCX-4016 also inhibited the rapid TF expression induced in monocytes by a proteinase activated receptor agonist (thrombin receptor activator protein, 2 micromol/l) as well as LPS-induced expression of CD11b . Ex vivo, release of MCP-1 and interleukin-6 were significantly inhibited by NCX-4016, but not by aspirin. NCX-4016 was not associated with gastric damage, and significantly reduced gastric injury when co-administered with aspirin, although both drugs reduced gastric PGE2 production to the same extent. CONCLUSIONS: NCX-4016 is equally effective as aspirin in inhibiting cyclooxygenase activity. However, NCX-4016 causes less gastric damage and prevents monocyte activation. Larger multicenter trials are warranted to establish clinical efficacy and safety of NCX-4016.

Circulation. 2004 Aug 31;110(9):1140-7. Epub 2004 Aug 23.

Nitroaspirins and morpholinosydnonimine but not aspirin inhibit the formation of superoxide and the expression of gp91phox induced by endotoxin and cytokines in pig pulmonary artery vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells.

Muzaffar S, Shukla N, Angelini G, Jeremy JY. Bristol Heart Institute, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK..

BACKGROUND: Although nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are ineffective in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), inhalational NO has proved to be useful. NO-donating NSAIDs may therefore be more effective in treating ARDS than NSAIDs alone. Because oxidant stress is central to the pathophysiology of ARDS, the effect of nitroaspirins (NCX 4016, NCX 4040, and NCX 4050) compared with morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1; an NO donor) and aspirin (ASA) on superoxide (O2*-) formation and gp91phox (an active catalytic subunit of NADPH oxidase) expression in pig pulmonary artery vascular smooth muscle cells (PAVSMCs) and endothelial cells (PAECs) was investigated. METHODS AND RESULTS: Cultured PAVSMCs and PAECs were incubated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and interleukin (IL)-1alpha (with or without NO-ASA, SIN-1, or ASA) for 16 hours, and O2*- release was measured by use of the reduction of ferricytochrome c. The expression of gp91(phox) was assessed by use of Western blotting. LPS, TNF-alpha, and IL-1alpha all stimulated the formation of O2*- and expression of gp91(phox) in both PAVSMCs and PAECs, an effect inhibited by NADPH oxidase inhibitors, diphenyleneiodonium, and apocynin. SIN-1, NCX 4016, and NCX 4050 but not ASA alone inhibited the formation of O2*- and expression of gp91(phox). CONCLUSIONS: LPS and cytokines promote the formation of O2*- in PAVSMCs and PAECs through an augmentation of NADPH oxidase activity, which in turn is prevented by NO. Thus, NO may play a protective role in preventing excess O2*- formation, but its negation by O2*- may augment the progress of ARDS. The inhibitory effect of nitroaspirins suggests that they may be therapeutically useful in treating ARDS through the suppression of NADPH oxidase upregulation and O2*- formation.

2004 - 07

J Immunol. 2004 Jul 15;173(2):874-82.

Nitric oxide regulates immune cell bioenergetic: a mechanism to understand immunomodulatory functions of nitric oxide-releasing anti-inflammatory drugs.

Fiorucci S, Mencarelli A, Distrutti E, Baldoni M, del Soldato P, Morelli A. Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia, Universita degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

The 2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester (NCX-4016) is a NO-releasing derivative of aspirin. In this study, we provide evidence that NCX-4016 delivered to PMBC-derived T lymphocytes and monocytes causes a transitory inhibition of cell respiration and approximately 50% reduction of cellular ATP, which translates in a time-reversible inhibition of cell proliferation and IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, and IFN-gamma secretion. Exposure of lymphocytes and monocytes to aspirin, 2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(hydroxymethyl)phenyl ester (NCX-4017), a non-NO-releasing analog of NCX-4016, and cyclooxygenase inhibitors, reduced PG formation, but has no effect on cytokine/chemokine release. In contrast, delivering NO with (z)-1-[2-(2-aminoethyl)-N-(2-ammonioethyl)amino] diazen-1-ium-1,2 diolate (DETA-NO) reproduced most of the metabolic and anti-cytokine activities of NCX-4016. Scavenging NO with hemoglobin or adding selective substrates of complex II, III, and IV of the mitochondrial respiratory chain reverses NCX-4016' inhibitory activities. Exposure to DETA-NO and NCX-4016 enhances glucose uptake, glycolytic rate, and lactate generation in CD3/CD28-costimulated lymphocytes, while reduced citric acid cycle intermediates. These effects were not reproduced by selective and nonselective cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors. In summary, we demonstrated that exposure of lymphocytes to NCX-4016 causes a metabolic hypoxia that inhibits lymphocyte reactivity to costimulatory molecules, providing a potential counteregulatory mechanism to control activated immune system.

2004 - 06

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Jun;309(3):1174-82. Epub 2004 Feb 4.

Cooperation between aspirin-triggered lipoxin and nitric oxide (NO) mediates antiadhesive properties of 2-(Acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester (NCX-4016) (NO-aspirin) on neutrophil-endothelial cell adherence.

Fiorucci S, Distrutti E, Mencarelli A, Rizzo G, Lorenzo AR, Baldoni M, Del Soldato P, Morelli A, Wallace JL. Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Endoscopia Digestiva, Policlinico Monteluce, 06100 Perugia, Italy.

2-(Acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester (NCX-4016) is a nitric oxide (NO)-releasing derivative of aspirin that inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX) activity and releases NO. Acetylation of COX-2 by aspirin activates a transcellular biosynthetic pathway that switches eicosanoid biosynthesis from prostaglandin E(2) to 15-epi-lipoxin (LX)A(4) or aspirin-triggered lipoxin (ATL). Here, we demonstrate that exposure of neutrophil (PMN)/human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) cocultures to aspirin and NCX-4016 triggers ATL formation and inhibits cell-to-cell adhesion induced by endotoxin (LPS) and interleukin (IL)-1beta by 70 to 90%. However, although selective and nonselective COX-2 inhibitors (celecoxib, rofecoxib, and naproxen) or N-t-butoxycarbonylmethionine-leucine-phenylalanine (Boc-1), an LXA(4) receptor antagonist, reduced the antiadhesive properties of aspirin by approximately 70%, antiadhesive effects of NCX-4016 were only marginally affected ( approximately 30%) by COX inhibitors and Boc-1, implying that COX-independent mechanisms mediate the antiadhesive properties of NCX-4016. Indeed, NCX-4016 causes a long-lasting (up to 12 h) release of NO and cGMP accumulation in HUVEC. Scavenging NO with 10 mM hemoglobin, in the presence of celecoxib, reduced the antiadhesive properties of NCX-4016 by approximately 80%. Confirming a role for NO, the NO donor diethylenetriamine-NO also inhibited PMN/HUVEC adhesion by approximately 80%. NCX-4016, but not aspirin, decreased DNA binding of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) on gel shift analysis and HUVEC's overexpression of CD54 and CD62E induced by LPS/IL-1beta. Reduction of binding of the two NF-kappaB subunits p50-p50 and p50-p65 was reversed by dithiothreitol, implying S-nitrosylation as mechanism of inhibition. In summary, our results support that ATL and NO are formed at the PMN/HUVEC interface after exposure to NCX-4016 and mediate the antiadhesive properties of this compound.

2004 - 05

Life Sci. 2004 May 14;74(26):3291-305.

Nitric oxide release and distribution following oral and intraperitoneal administration of nitroaspirin (NCX 4016) in the rat.

Carini M, Aldini G, Orioli M, Piccoli A, Rossoni G, Maffei Facino R. Istituto Chimico Farmaceutico Tossicologico, University of Milan, Viale Abruzzi 42, 20131 Milan, Italy.

The metabolic fate of nitric oxide (NO) released from nitroaspirin, benzoic acid, 2-(acetyloxy)-3-[(nitrooxy)methyl]phenyl ester (NCX 4016), the lead compound of a new class of NO-releasing non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NO-NSAIDs), has been studied in the rat following p.o. and i.p. administration of 100 mg/kg, by monitoring in plasma the bioactive storage forms of NO (S-nitrosothiols, RS-NO) and its oxidation products (nitrites/nitrates, NOx) by a chemiluminescent assay. In parallel, plasma was analyzed for unchanged drug and metabolites by reverse-phase HPLC. In orally treated rats, no unchanged drug is observed in the 0-24 h interval post-dosing, but only salicylic acid (SA), NOx and RS-NO. The time-course of SA formation parallels that of plasma NOx (plateau after 6 h). Nitrosothiols in plasma are detectable at 1 h, peak at 4 h post-administration, and decline thereafter. The results relative to i.p. administration show a more pronounced and rapid NO delivery (peak of both NOx and RS-NO at 1 h and plateau between 1 and 2 h), still coincident with the peak of SA, and the presence in plasma of NCX 4015 (a metabolite of NCX 4016 which still bears the nitrate function). In myocardial tissue from p.o. treated rats, no drug or metabolites were ever detected, and the NOx levels were always in the range of the controls. Conversely, following i.p. treatment, we observed a rapid compartmentalization within the heart of the unchanged drug, which rapidly disappears in favour of its breakdown products NCX 4015 and SA, with a concomitant rise in myocardial NOx levels up to 2 h. To check the stability of NCX 4016 in the acidic gastric milieu and to explain the different distribution of the drug following p.o. or i.p. administration, the gastric content of the orally-treated animals at different post-dosing times was analysed by HPLC. The unchanged drug was detected up to 8 h post-dosing (levels slowly decreased with time), and the only metabolite to be detected was the O-deacetylated derivative (NCX 4023), which was present in low concentrations up to 4 h post-dosing. This indicates that NCX 4016 does not undergo biotransformation in the upper part of gastrointestinal tract (no direct release of NO in this district) and that the stomach acts as a reservoir for the drug.

2004 - 04

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2004 Apr;86(3):444-9.

The influence on human osteoblasts in vitro of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which act on different cyclooxygenase enzymes.

Evans CE, Butcher C. Medical School, University of Manchester, Manchester, England.

There is increasing evidence that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can adversely affect bone repair. We have, therefore, studied the in vitro effects of NSAIDs, which differentially inhibit cyclooxygenases (COX), the prostaglandin/thromboxane synthesising enzymes, on human osteoblasts. Indomethacin and the new nitric oxide (NO)-donating NSAIDs block the activity of both COX-1 and COX-2. Indomethacin and 5,5-dimethyl-3-(3 fluorophenyl)-4-(4 methylsulphonal) phenyl-2 (5H)-furanone (DFU) reduced osteoblast numbers in a dose-dependant manner and increased collagen synthesis and alkaline phosphatase activity. The reduction in osteoblast numbers was not caused by loss of adhesion and was reversible. Neither NSAID influenced DNA synthesis. There was no difference between the effects of indomethacin and DFU. NO-NSAIDs did not affect cell numbers. These results suggest that care should be taken when administering NSAIDs to patients with existing skeletal problems and that NO-NSAIDs may be safer.

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2004 Apr 16;35(2):277-87.

Chemiluminescence and LC-MS/MS analyses for the study of nitric oxide release and distribution following oral administration of nitroaspirin (NCX 4016) in healthy volunteers.

Carini M, Aldini G, Orioli M, Piccoli A, Tocchetti P, Facino RM. Istituto Chimico Farmaceutico Tossicologico, University of Milan, Viale Abruzzi 42, 20131 Milan, Italy.

The metabolic fate of nitric oxide (NO) released from nitroaspirin, benzoic acid, 2-(acetyloxy)-3-[(nitrooxy)methyl]phenyl ester (NCX 4016), the lead compound of a new class of NO-releasing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NO-NSAIDs) has been studied in eight healthy male Caucasian subjects following p.o. administration of 1600 mg (single dose), by monitoring at different times in plasma the bioactive storage forms of NO, S-nitrosothiols (RSNO) and its oxidation products (NOx). Plasma levels of NOx and RSNO and urinary levels of NOx were determined by an ozone-based chemiluminescent assay using a sensitive Nitric Oxide Analyzer (LOQ: 10 pmol NO injected). In parallel plasma samples were analyzed by a newly developed LC-MS/MS method for analysis of NCX 4015, the metabolite bearing the nitrate ester function. Using MS/MS with multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) in negative ion mode for NCX 4015 and the internal standard (NCX 4015- 13C-D2) it was possible to detect with sufficient accuracy and precision the metabolite in plasma with a quantification limit of 78.1 ng ml(-1). Concentration versus time profile of plasma NCX 4015 gave a Cmax value of 161.94 +/- 47.4 ng ml(-1) and a tmax 4.5 +/- 1 h. The results indicate that both NOx and RSNO (these last for the first time determined in vivo in man following oral administration of a NO-donor drug) are effective plasma markers of NO release in vivo, the latter being an earlier indicator of NO distribution (tmax 2.0 +/- 0.6 h versus 5.4 +/- 1.2 h).

Can J Gastroenterol. 2004 Apr;18(4):229-36.

Mechanisms of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastrointestinal injury and repair: a window of opportunity for cyclooxygenase-inhibiting nitric oxide donors.

Perini R, Fiorucci S, Wallace JL. Mucosal Inflammation Research Group, University of Calgary, Alberta.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) cause damage in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract by impairing the ability of the mucosa to resist and respond to injury. Many of these effects of NSAIDs can be attributed to their ability to suppress mucosal prostaglandin synthesis. Selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 are less likely to disrupt mucosal defence and do not interfere with platelet aggregation. Thus, their use is associated with a reduced incidence of serious GI adverse events; however, a significant risk of such events still persists. At least in animal models, selective COX-2 inhibitors interfere with ulcer healing to the same extent as conventional NSAIDs. In contrast, COX-inhibiting nitric oxide donors (CINODs) produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects comparable or superior to those of NSAIDs, but with greatly reduced GI toxicity. Unlike NSAIDs and selective COX-2 inhibitors, CINODs do not interfere with ulcer healing. Moreover, because CINODs suppress the activity of both COX-1 and COX-2, they do not share with selective COX-2 inhibitors the lack of cardioprotection afforded by significant suppression of platelet aggregation. Because of their safety profile, CINODs may be particularly useful for long term prevention applications, such as for colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease.

2004 - 03

J Pharm Sci. 2004 Mar;93(3):521-31.

Polymorphism of NCX4016, an NO-releasing derivative of acetylsalicylic acid.

Foppoli A, Sangalli ME, Maroni A, Gazzaniga A, Caira MR, Giordano F. Universita di Milano, Istituto di Chimica Farmaceutica e Tossicologica, viale Abruzzi 42, 20131 Milan, Italy.

NCX4016 [2-acetoxybenzoic acid 3'-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester] is a recently developed nitrooxy-derivative of aspirin with improved antiinflammatory, analgesic, and antithrombotic activity as well as increased gastrointestinal safety. Systematic polymorphic screening performed with different solvents and preparation methods resulted in the identification of two polymorphs, designated Forms I and II. They were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, powder X-ray diffraction, thermal analyses, and infrared spectroscopy; the crystal structure of polymorph I was solved by single-crystal X-ray analysis and compared with that of aspirin. Finally, intrinsic dissolution rate studies and calculations according to the melting data method were performed to assess the thermodynamic relationship between the two polymorphs.

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2004 Mar;286(3):G437-43. Epub 2003 Oct 16.

Antioxidant activity of nitro derivative of aspirin against ischemia-reperfusion in hamster cheek pouch microcirculation.

Bertuglia S, Giusti A, Del Soldato P. Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca Institute of Clinical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Trieste 41, 56100 Pisa, Italy.

Aspirin that has been chemically combined with a nitric oxide (NO) donor (NCX-4016) has been shown to inhibit cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin generation while maintaining the inhibitory effects of aspirin. The possible role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the action of NCX-4016 in ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) has not been studied. Furthermore, we were interested in comparing the effects of a conventional NO donor [2,2'-hydroxynitrosohydrazino-bis-etanamine (DETA/NO)] and NCX-4016 at the microvascular level in the hamster cheek pouch visualized by using an intravital fluorescent microscopy technique. Microvascular injury was assessed by measuring diameter change, the perfused capillary length (PCL), and leukocyte adhesion. Animals were treated with NCX-4016 (100 mg/kg or 30 mg.kg(-1).day(-1) for 5 days po) or DETA-NO (0.5 mg/kg). Mean arterial blood pressure increased slightly but significantly after NCX-4016 treatment. During 5- and 15-min reperfusion, lipid peroxides in the systemic blood increased by 72 and 89% vs. baseline, respectively, and were still higher than in basal conditions after 30-min reperfusion in the I/R group. Pretreatment with NCX-4016 maintained ROS at normal levels; increased arteriolar diameter, blood flow, and PCL; and decreased leukocyte adhesion (P < 0.05). DETA-NO decreased ROS during 30-min reperfusion; however, later there was a significant increase during reperfusion. DETA-NO decreased leukocyte adhesion (P < 0.05) but microvascular permeability increased after 30 min of reperfusion. In conclusion, NCX-4016 attenuates oxidative stress and prevents arteriolar constriction during I/R, whereas DETA-NO increases lipid peroxides in the systemic blood and permeability after reperfusion.

2004 - 01

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2004 Jan;286(1):G76-81.

Comment in: Can J Gastroenterol. 2004 Nov;18(11):697-8.

Aspirin, but not NO-releasing aspirin (NCX-4016), interacts with selective COX-2 inhibitors to aggravate gastric damage and inflammation.

Wallace JL, Zamuner SR, McKnight W, Dicay M, Mencarelli A, del Soldato P, Fiorucci S. Mucosal Inflammation Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.

Aceylation of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 by aspirin can trigger the formation of 15(R)-epilipoxin A4, or aspirin-triggered lipoxin (ATL). ATL exerts protective effects in the stomach. Selective COX-2 inhibitors block ATL synthesis and exacerbate aspirin-induced gastric damage. Nitric oxide-releasing aspirins, including NCX-4016, have antiplatelet effects similar to aspirin but do not cause gastric damage. In the present study, we examined whether or not NCX-4016 triggers ATL synthesis and/or upregulates gastric COX-2 expression and the effects of coadministration of NCX-4016 with a selective COX-2 inhibitor on gastric mucosal injury and inflammation. Rats were given aspirin or NCX-4016 orally and either vehicle or a selective COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) intraperitoneally. Gastric damage was blindly scored, and granulocyte infiltration into gastric tissue was monitored through measurement of myeloperoxidase activity. Gastric PG and ATL synthesis was measured as was COX-2 expression. Whereas celecoxib inhibited gastric ATL synthesis and increased the severity of aspirin-induced gastric damage and inflammation, coadministration of celecoxib and NCX-4016 did not result in damage or inflammation. NCX-4016 did not upregulate gastric COX-2 expression nor did it trigger ATL synthesis (in contrast to aspirin). Daily administration of aspirin for 5 days resulted in significantly less gastric damage than that seen with a single dose, as well as augmented ATL synthesis. Celecoxib reversed this effect. In contrast, repeated administration of NCX-4016 failed to cause gastric damage, whether given alone or with celecoxib. These studies support the notion that NCX-4016 may be an attractive alternative to aspirin for indications such as cardioprotection, including in individuals also taking selective COX-2 inhibitors.

2003 - 10 11 12

CNS Drug Rev. 2003 Fall;9(3):227-52.

Antinociception and the new COX inhibitors: research approaches and clinical perspectives.

Herrero JF, Romero-Sandoval EA, Gaitan G, Mazario J. Departamento de Fisologia, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid, Spain.

New generations of cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors are more potent and efficacious than their traditional parent compounds. They are also safer than the classic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are starting to be used not only for low to moderate intensity pain, but also for high intensity pain. Three different strategies have been followed to improve the pharmacological profile of COX inhibitors: 1. Development of COX-2 selective inhibitors. This is based on the initial hypothesis that considered COX-2 as the enzyme responsible for the generation of prostaglandins only in inflammation, and, therefore, uniquely responsible for inflammation, pain and fever. Initial expectations gave rise to controversial results, still under discussion. The second generation of these compounds is being developed and should contribute to clarifying both their efficacy and the specific functions of the COX enzymes. 2. Modified non-selective COX inhibitors. Molecules like nitro-NSAIDs or tromethamine salt derivatives have been synthesized considering that both COX-1 and COX-2 are responsible for the synthesis of prostaglandins involved either in homeostatic functions or inflammation. Nitroaspirin, nitroparacetamol or dexketoprofen trometamol are some examples of molecules that are already showing an important clinical efficacy. The modifications performed in their structures seem to lower the unwanted side effects as well as to enhance their analgesic efficacy. 3. Combined therapy of classic NSAIDs with other drugs. This strategy looks for improvements in the incidence of adverse effects or to take advantage of the synergistic enhancement of their therapeutic effects. Some of the molecules resulting from these strategies are very valuable as therapeutic agents and open a wide range of possibilities in the treatment of high intensity pain, including neuropathic pain, and opiate sparing therapy.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Nov 28;311(4):897-903.

Effect of nitric oxide-donating agents on human monocyte cyclooxygenase-2.

Corazzi T, Leone M, Roberti R, Del Soldato P, Gresele P. Section of Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Perugia, Via Enrico dal Pozzo, 06126, Perugia, Italy.

COX-2 is involved in inflammation and ischemic cardiovascular disease. As NO regulates COX activity in various cells, we investigated the effect of NO-donors and the novel NO-aspirin NC-4016 on human monocyte COX-2. Whole blood was incubated with LPS and PGE(2) was measured in plasma as an index of monocyte COX-2 activity. Serum TxB(2) was assessed as an index of platelet COX-1 activity. SNP, DetaNONOate, and NO-aspirin inhibited dose-dependently PGE(2) production while aspirin was ineffective. The guanylyl-cyclase inhibitor ODQ partially reversed the suppression of COX-2 activity by NO-aspirin, demonstrating a role of cGMP increase. NC-4016 and aspirin inhibited platelet COX-1 comparably while NO-donors were ineffective. COX-2 expression was not affected by NO-donors or NO-aspirin while aspirin or the selective COX-2-inhibitor DUP697 increased it. In conclusion, Nitroaspirin inhibits monocyte COX-2 activity by a cGMP-dependent mechanism. This might represent an advantage over aspirin, given the possible detrimental role of COX-2 in cardiovascular disease.

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003 Oct;55(10):1351-7.

Single oral dose study of two isosorbide-based aspirin prodrugs in the dog.

Gilmer JF, Murphy MA, Shannon JA, Breen CG, Ryder SA, Clancy JM. Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

The objective of this study was to compare two aspirin prodrugs, isosorbide diaspirinate (ISDA) and a nitroaspirin (ISMNA), with aspirin in terms of effects on dog platelet function after administration of a single oral dose. Groups of six dogs were administered ISDA (2mg kg(-1)), ISMNA (4 mg kg(-1)) or aspirin (2mg kg(-1)). Blood was sampled at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24 h post-dosing and evaluated for capacity to generate post-clotting thromboxane (TX)B2. The aggregation response to arachidonic acid (AA) (100 microM), ADP (30 microM) or collagen (10 microg mL(-1)) was estimated at each time-point using the whole blood impedance method. Plasma ISMN following oral administration of ISMNA was also measured and compared with plasma ISMN following administration of a physical mixture of ISMN and aspirin. ISDA administration (2 mg kg(-1)) was associated with a significant reduction (P <>90%) post-dosing and persistent inhibition of AA-induced platelet aggregation. ISDA administration caused a more marked depression of post-clotting TXB2 levels than aspirin in this study, although its ability to inhibit platelet aggregation was less consistent than that of aspirin. The nitroaspirin ISMNA was least effective at inhibiting platelet aggregation response or TXB2 production. The ISMN AUC(0-24 h) for the ISMNA-treated dogs was 77% of that for the physical mix-treated dogs and the tmax was delayed. This study indicates that the two aspirin esters cause aspirin-like effects on platelet function, probably through aspirin release, when administered orally to dogs.

2003 - 09

Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Sep 5;477(1):59-68.

Nitric oxide-releasing aspirin inhibits vasoconstriction in perfused tail artery of normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats.

Rossoni G, Manfredi B, Del Soldato P, Polvani G, Berti F. Department of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

The aim of this study was to investigate the capacity of the 2-(acetyloxy)benzoic acid 3-(nitrooxymethyl)phenyl ester (NCX 4016), a nitric oxide (NO)-releaser derivative of aspirin, to decrease blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and to counteract the adrenergic vasoconstriction in perfused tail artery of these animals. Oral treatment for 10 consecutive days with NCX 4016 (100 micromol/kg) in SHR and their genetic controls Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats resulted in a reduction of blood pressure in SHR but not in WKY rats. In SHR, the NCX 4016 treatment increased the serum nitrite/nitrate and diminished the serum thromboxane B2, whereas aspirin did not change blood pressure but abolished the serum thromboxane B2. Perfused tail arteries excised from vehicle-treated SHR exhibited a significant impairment of endothelium-dependent vasorelaxant function. These vessels, prepared from SHR or WKY rats treated orally with NCX 4016 (10, 30 and 100 micromol/kg for 7 consecutive days), revealed a dose-dependent decrease in vasoconstriction in response to transmural nerve stimulation and norepinephrine, whereas aspirin was ineffective. Furthermore, in tail arteries of both SHR and WKY rats treated orally with NCX 4016 (100 micromol/kg for 7 consecutive days), the cGMP increased significantly. In conclusion, NCX 4016, by releasing NO and increasing cGMP in vascular tissue, reduces sympathetic-mediated vasoconstriction in resistance vessels and lowers blood pressure in SHR.

Inflamm Res. 2003 Sep;52(9):359-65.

Nitric oxide-releasing aspirin protects gastric mucosa against ethanol damage in rats with functional ablation of sensory nerves.

Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Kania J, Konturek SJ, Hahn EG. First Department of Medicine, University Erlangen-Nuernberg, D-91064 Erlangen, Germany.

OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN: The aim of the present study was to investigate, whether sensory nerves are involved in the gastroprotection induced by NO releasing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NO-NSAID). MATERIAL: Studies were performed in Wistar rats with intact or inactivated sensory nerves by pretreatment with large dose of capsaicin (125 mg/kg sc). TREATMENTS: Acute gastric lesions were induced by 100% ethanol (100% EtOH). 1 h before exposure to 100% EtOH, rats received vehicle, aspirin (ASA) or NO-releasing aspirin (NO-ASA) in the same dose (50 mg/kg). The animals were killed 1 h after exposure to 100% EtOH. METHODS: Determinations were made of gastric mucosal injury, mucosal gastric blood flow, mucosal mRNA expression of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), zinc copper superoxide dismutase (SOD) and heat shock protein (HSP70) by RT-PCR and protein expression for HSP70 by Western blotting. RESULTS: Pretreatment with ASA aggravated the acute gastric injury induced by 100% EtOH, whereas pre-treatment with NO-ASA led to a significant reduction in this injury. Administration of 100% EtOH was accompanied by a pronounced upregulation of HSP70, which was reduced by ASA, but enhanced by NO-ASA application. Sensory deactivation with capsaicin enhanced acute ethanol lesions and led to a significant attenuation in HSP70 expression. In contrast to ASA, NO-ASA attenuated gastric mucosal lesions and significantly upregulated HSP70 expression despite blockade of sensory nerves. NO-ASA, but not ASA, caused an upregulation of SOD and GPx mRNA in gastric mucosa with or without sensory denervation. CONCLUSIONS: NO-ASA protects gastric mucosa even after blockade of sensory nerves due to the upregulation of HSP70 expression and attenuation of the oxidative injury resulting from strong upregulation of genes for antioxidant enzymes.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Sep 16;100(19):10937-41. Epub 2003 Sep 5.

Interaction of a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor with aspirin and NO-releasing aspirin in the human gastric mucosa.

Fiorucci S, Santucci L, Wallace JL, Sardina M, Romano M, del Soldato P, MorelliA. Clinica di Gastroenterologia ed Epatologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Universita di Perugia, Italy.

In addition to inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX)-1-derived prostanoid biosynthesis, aspirin acetylates COX-2, enabling the conversion of arachidonic acid to 15(R)-epi lipoxin A4, or aspirin-triggered lipoxin (ATL). Selective COX-2 inhibitors block ATL formation and exacerbate mucosal injury in rats treated with aspirin. In the present study, we have examined whether inhibition of COX-2 activity in healthy volunteers taking aspirin exacerbates gastric mucosal injury and if such an effect would be prevented by NCX-4016, a NO-releasing derivative of aspirin. Thirty-two volunteers were randomized to receive 2 wk of treatment with NCX-4016 (800 mg twice a day) or aspirin (100 mg once a day) alone or in combination with 200 mg of celecoxib twice a day. Mucosal damage was assessed by endoscopy. The mean mucosal injury score was 5.8 +/- 1.8 in subjects treated with aspirin and 2.4 +/- 0.7 (P < 0.01 vs. aspirin) in subjects treated with NCX-4016. Administration of celecoxib increased the injury score in volunteers treated with aspirin (9.9 +/- 1.9) but not in subjects taking NCX-4016 (1.5 +/- 0.8). Aspirin and NCX-4016 caused a comparable suppression of serum thromboxane B2 levels and increased urinary excretion of ATL. Celecoxib inhibited endotoxin-induced prostaglandin E2 generation in whole blood by approximately 80% and abolished ATL formation. These findings suggests that (i) aspirin and NCX-4016 trigger ATL formation in humans, (ii) celecoxib inhibits ATL formation and exacerbates the mucosal injury caused by low doses of aspirin, and (iii) the NO-donating moiety of NCX-4016 protects the gastric mucosa even in the presence of suppression of COX-1 and COX-2.

Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Sep;4(9):1126-39.

NCX-4016 NicOx.

Di Napoli M, Papa F. Neurological Section, SMDN-Center for Cardiovascular Medicine and Cerebrovascular Disease Prevention, 41 Via Trento, I-67039-Sulmona, AQ, Italy.

NCX-4016 is a nitric oxide-aspirin conjugate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is under investigation by NicOx for the potential treatment of cardiovascular disorders and colon cancer. In April 2002, a phase II clinical trial was initiated in symptomatic peripheral arterial disease, and in March 2003, the University of Michigan was awarded a grant by the NIH to conduct a phase II trial in individuals at risk of colon cancer.