Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Masahiro Sakagami


The complex pathobiologic mechanisms of emphysema are not fully understood, leaving this deadly disease without effective pharmacotherapy for a cure. This project hypothesized that the sulfated dehydropolymer of caffeic acid (CDSO3) exhibits Fe2+ chelation-based hypoxia inducible factor-1a (HIF-1a) up-regulatory protective activities against in vitro emphysematous cell death and for in vivo reversal of emphysema induced with SU5416, a vascular endothelial growth factor blocker.

Using in vitro chromogenic competitive inhibition assays, CDSO3 was shown to chelate Fe2+ (IC50 of 23 µM), but not Fe3+ ions. The trypan blue exclusion and lactate

dehydrogenase assays were then employed to examine the cytoprotective activities of CDSO3 against inflammatory, oxidative, elastolytic, and apoptotic cell death using alveolar macrophages, epithelial and endothelial cells. CDSO3 at 10 µM produced significant protective activities against these emphysematous cell deaths by 50-154 %. These protective effects were opposed by the addition of the HIF-1a inhibitors, CAY10585 and echinomycin, and excess Fe2+, but not Fe3+, ions.

Emphysema was then induced in rats following a subcutaneous injection of SU5416 at 20 mg/kg, after which CDSO3 at 60 µg/kg was administered to the lungs 3 times/week for two weeks. Treadmill exercise endurance (EE) was measured to assess the functional impairment, while lung tissues were removed for morphological assessments of alveolar airspace enlargement (MLI) and destruction (DI), as well as to measure protein levels using Western blot. SU5416 significantly impaired EE, MLI, and DI by 81 %, 47 %, and 5-fold, compared to the healthy animals, and these were significantly reversed by CDSO3 by 66, 74, and 87 %. CDSO3 treatment did not change the lung cytoplasmic expression of histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), HIF-1a, or a pro-apoptotic marker, BAX. However, induction with SU5416 significantly reduced VEGF expression by 52 % and increased cleaved caspase-3 expression by 1.5-fold, compared to the healthy animals, while CDSO3 normalized the expressions of both proteins in these emphysematous animals. However, when CDSO3 was pre-mixed with excess Fe2+, the reversal activities of CDSO3 were diminished. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated the Fe2+ chelation-based HIF-1a up-regulatory dependent in vitro and in vivo lung repairing efficacies for CDSO3 in emphysema.


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