Bruno Varriale

Professor Applied Biology

Name Bruno
Surname Varriale
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address Department of Experimental Medicine, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Via Costantinopoli 16, 80138, Naples, Italy
Bruno Varriale


  • Effects of curcumin and its adjuvant on TPC1 thyroid cell line.

    Publication Date: 30/03/2019 on Chemico-biological interactions
    by Esposito T, Lucariello A, Hay E, Contieri M, Tammaro P, Varriale B, Guerra G, De Luca A, Perna A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cbi.2019.03.031

    Previous studies have demonstrated that different curcumin extracts are able to influence cell metabolic activity vitality in human papillary thyroid carcinoma TPC-1 cells. We continued the study using the most effective extract and adding other nutraceuticals such as piperine and vitamin E, in order to define the possible role of these in modulating the genetic expression of cell markers and to understand the effectiveness in modulating the regression of cancer phenotype. Cells were treated with one extract of curcumin (Naturex Ultimate Botanical Benefits), with Piperine (Piper Longum, A.C.E.F.) and Vitamin E (Dry Vitamin E-Acetate 50% DC, BASF) alone and in combination, dissolved in the culture medium, for 48 h. Treatment with the different nutraceuticals is able to influence cell cycle regulators (cyclin D1, β-catenin, p21, p53) and activators or inhibitors of apoptosis (BAX, pro-caspase3, Bcl-2). They are able to influence cell cycle distribution and metabolic activity vitality. The inhibitory effect of curcumin, piperine and vitamin E on cell proliferation involves different markers, and in particular inhibits β-catenin, cyclinD1 and p53, making them candidates for a possible use in alternative therapies although further studies are needed.

  • Effects of different extracts of curcumin on TPC1 papillary thyroid cancer cell line.

    Publication Date: 15/02/2018 on BMC complementary and alternative medicine
    by Perna A, De Luca A, Adelfi L, Pasquale T, Varriale B, Esposito T
    DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2125-9

    The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. The vast majority of TCs (> 90%) originate from follicular cells and are defined as differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC) and the two histological subtypes are the papillary TC with its variants and the follicular TC. Curcumin possesses a wide variety of biological functions, and thanks to its properties, it has gained considerable attention due to its profound medicinal values (Prasad, Gupta, Tyagi, and Aggarwal, Biotechnol Adv 32:1053-1064, 2014). We have undertaken the present work in order to define the possible role of curcumin in modulating the genetic expression of cell markers and to understand the effectiveness of this nutraceutical in modulating the regression of cancer phenotype.

  • Effects of low-carbohydrate diet therapy in overweight subjects with autoimmune thyroiditis: possible synergism with ChREBP.

    Publication Date: 14/09/2016 on Drug design, development and therapy
    by Esposito T, Lobaccaro JM, Esposito MG, Monda V, Messina A, Paolisso G, Varriale B, Monda M, Messina G
    DOI: 10.2147/DDDT.S106440

    The thyroid is one of the metabolism regulating glands. Its function is to determine the amount of calories that the body has to burn to maintain normal weight. Thyroiditides are inflammatory processes that mainly result in autoimmune diseases. We have conducted the present study in order to have a clear picture of both autoimmune status and the control of body weight. We have evaluated the amount of either thyroid hormones, or antithyroid, or anti-microsomal, or anti-peroxidase antibodies (Abs) in patients with high amounts of Abs. In a diet devoid of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, fruit, and rice), free from goitrogenic food, and based on body mass index, the distribution of body mass and intracellular and extracellular water conducted for 3 weeks gives the following results: patients treated as above showed a significant reduction of antithyroid (-40%, P<0.013), anti-microsomal (-57%, P<0.003), and anti-peroxidase (-44%, P<0,029) Abs. Untreated patients had a significant increase in antithyroid (+9%, P<0.017) and anti-microsomal (+30%, P<0.028) Abs. Even the level of anti-peroxidase Abs increased without reaching statistical significance (+16%, P>0064). With regard to the body parameters measured in patients who followed this diet, reduction in body weight (-5%, P<0.000) and body mass index (-4%, P<0.000) were observed. Since 83% of patients with high levels of autoantibodies are breath test positive to lactase with a lactase deficit higher than 50%, this fact led us to hypothesize a correlation with carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein and therefore a possible role of carbohydrate metabolism in the development and maintenance of autoimmune thyroiditis associated with body weight increase and slower basic metabolism.

  • A novel diagnostic method to detect truncated neurofibromin in neurofibromatosis 1.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2015 on Journal of neurochemistry
    by Esposito T, Piluso G, Saracino D, Uccello R, Schettino C, Dato C, Capaldo G, Giugliano T, Varriale B, Paolisso G, Di Iorio G, Melone MA
    DOI: 10.1111/jnc.13396

    Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant genetic condition caused by dominant loss-of-function mutations of the tumor suppressor gene NF1 that encodes neurofibromin, a negative regulator of RAS activity. Mutation analysis of NF1 located at 17q11.2 has been hampered by the large size of the gene, the high rate of new mutations, the lack of mutational clustering, and the presence of several homologous loci. To date, about 80% of the reported NF1 mutations are predicted to result in protein truncation, but very few studies have correlated the causative NF1 mutation with its effect at the protein level. We evaluated a novel diagnostic method to detect truncated forms of neurofibromin in a large cohort of unrelated subjects suspected of having NF1, according to the NIH consensus criteria. Western blot analysis was carried out on protein extracts from patients' leukocytes to highlight the possible presence of altered neurofibromin as a result of mutations in NF1. Truncated neurofibromin was identified in 274/336 patients (81%), confirming the usefulness and reproducibility of the proposed diagnostic approach. Our methodology can be routinely applied in the diagnostic setting, thanks to its simplicity and reliability. Combined with molecular approaches, it may increase the accuracy and efficiency of NF1 genetic testing. We evaluated a novel diagnostic method to detect truncated forms of neurofibromin in patients fulfilling the clinical criteria for Neurofibromatosis 1. Western blot analysis identified truncated neurofibromin in 274/336 patients (81%). Our results indicate that the proposed technique is cheap and reliable, and could ideally be performed as a preliminary biochemical screening before molecular analysis of the NF1 gene.

  • Hormonal regulation and characterization of MHG30 gene, a desaturase-like gene of hamster harderian gland.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2015 on The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
    by Esposito T, Tammaro P, Paolisso G, Varriale B
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2015.07.010

    The harderian gland (HG) is an orbital gland of the vast majority of land vertebrates. In the Syrian hamster these glands display a marked sexual dimorphism. Here we present data on a male specific clone named MHG30. The MHG30 cDNA (1470 bp) has significant sequence homologies with human #15μ10#Δ6-desaturase enzymes. The expression of MHG30 has been found in male HG and in the liver of both sexes, no other tissue showing the presence of MHG30 mRNA. Castration brings the MHG30 levels below detectable level in about 7 days. In in vitro cultures of male hamster HG cells, androgens (A) determine an enhancement of MHG30 expression in a time-dependent manner. Conversely, a continuous decrement has been observed in control cells and in cells treated with A plus flutamide (F) or with A and cycloheximide (Cy). Incubation of cells in cultures supplemented with desamethason (Dex) or thyroid hormone (T3) also increases MHG30 expression while 17β-estradiol prevents the stimulatory effect exerted by A, Dex and T3. Findings strongly suggest that the MHG30 gene could be involved in supporting the sexual dimorphism and its expression is likely triggered by a series of hormonal interactions.

  • Regulation of flavin-containing mono-oxygenase (Fmo3) gene expression by steroids in mice and humans.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2014 on Hormone molecular biology and clinical investigation
    by Esposito T, Varriale B, D'Angelo R, Amato A, Sidoti A
    DOI: 10.1515/hmbci-2014-0012

    Abstract Flavin-containing mono-oxygenases (FMOs) are a family of microsomal chemical- and drug-metabolizing enzymes. FMO3 is a major FMO form in adult mouse and human liver. FMO3 mutations have been associated with the incidence and severity of trimethylaminuria (TMAU), a metabolic disorder characterized by the inability of the affected individual to metabolize the odorous trimethylamine to its non-odorous N-oxide. In addition to this primary genetic form, there are other forms of TMAU that support the hypothesis that FMO3 activity may be modulated by steroid hormones. To understand the molecular mechanism involved in the regulation of Fmo3 gene expression by steroid hormones, we performed this study in an in vitro cellular system, mouse liver cells, and on the human FMO3 gene. Dexamethasone, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, thyroid hormone, and progesterone had no effect on the accumulation of Fmo3 mRNA. The use of increased concentration of theophylline inhibited estrogen receptor α (ERα)-mediated transcription of Fmo3 mRNA. 17β-Estradiol inhibited Fmo3 mRNA accumulation. The use of ICI 164,384 abolished the inhibitory effect induced by estrogen. Gel-shift analyses showed a binding in the 5' region of the Fmo3 gene. This binding was abrogated by an excess of a cDNA containing an estrogen-responsive element. An estrogen-binding site was also present in the first intron of the human gene, as demonstrated by the gel-shift assay. Supershift experiments confirmed the binding of ERα in both mouse and human samples. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed the binding of ERα in the promoter region of mouse Fmo3 and in the first intron of the human FMO3 gene. Thus, 17β-estradiol plays a fundamental role in the regulation of Fmo3 gene transcription.

  • FMO3 allelic variants in Sicilian and Sardinian populations: trimethylaminuria and absence of fish-like body odor.

    Publication Date: 25/02/2013 on Gene
    by D'Angelo R, Esposito T, Calabrò M, Rinaldi C, Robledo R, Varriale B, Sidoti A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.12.047

    The N-oxygenation of amines by the human flavin-containing monooxygenase (form 3) (FMO3) represents an important means for the conversion of lipophilic nucleophilic heteroatom-containing compounds into more polar and readily excreted products. In healthy individuals, virtually all Trimethylamine (TMA) are metabolized to Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the FMO3 gene have been described and result in an enzyme with decreased or abolished functional activity for TMA N-oxygenation thus leading to TMAU, or fish-like odor syndrome. Three coding region variants, c. G472A (p.E158K) in exon 4, c. G769A (p.V257M) in exon 6, and c.A923G (p.E308G) in exon 7, are common polymorphisms identified in all population examined so far and are associated with normal or slightly reduced TMA N-oxygenation activity. However, simultaneous occurrence of 158K and 308G variants results in a more pronounced decrease in FMO3 activity. A fourth polymorphism, c. G1424A (p.G475D) in exon 9, less common in the general population, was observed in individuals suffering severe or moderate trimethylaminuria. The aim of this study was to determine the allelic and genotypic distributions of these four FMO3 variants in 528 healthy individuals collected from the Sicilian and Sardinian populations together with haplotype and linkage analyses. Finally, we present data on the genotype-phenotype correlation by ESI-MS/MS TMA/TMAO urinary determination in 158KK/308EG individuals. Variant 158K shows the same frequency in Sicilian and Sardinian populations while variant 257M was not observed in the Sardinian sampling. No significant differences were found for 308G and 475D variants among two populations. Cis-linkage between 158K and 308G was confirmed with the compound variant (158K-308G) being found in a proportion of 0.9% and 0.3% of Sicilian subjects, and 0.01% and 0.5% in Sardinian population. Urinary determination of TMA/TMAO ratio in 158KK/308EG individuals showed a considerable reduction in FMO3 activity although they do not show the classical features of trimethylaminuria as a strong body odor and breath. Our data support the conclusion that trimethylaminuria is not always accompanied by a fish-like odor, despite the coexistence in the same individual of the two variants 158K and 308G, and other factors account for the expression of that phenotype.

  • Estrogen receptor polymorphism, estrogen content and idiopathic scoliosis in human: a possible genetic linkage.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2009 on The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
    by Esposito T, Uccello R, Caliendo R, Di Martino GF, Gironi Carnevale UA, Cuomo S, Ronca D, Varriale B
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2009.04.010

    Idiopathic scoliosis (IS) is a largely diffused disease in human population but its pathogenesis is still unknown. There is a relationship between scoliotic phenotype and the patient age, since in the early stage the pathology shows a ratio of 50% between male and female teenagers. During puberty the sex ratio is 8.4/1 (female/male), suggesting a sex-conditioned manifestation of the disease. Genetic inheritance of idiopathic scoliosis is still unclear although some authors claim for its X-linked dominant inheritance. There is large agreement in considering the IS as a sex-conditioned disease, in terms of steroid content and their receptor activity, although no evidence has been found yet. The blood content of 17beta-estradiol in teenagers with IS shows lower levels than teenagers of the same age without IS. Also testosterone and progesterone content are lower in IS girls with respect to the control girls. Furthermore, we extracted DNA from white blood cells of IS patients and their relatives until the third generation in order to examine estrogen receptor alpha polymorphisms, considering this tool a plausible molecular marker for IS prognosis. In this respect, we identified four polymorphisms in the exons encoding for the steroid binding domain and two other in the trans-activation domain. Our results show a clear relationship with clinical manifestation of IS.

  • Hormonal regulation and characterisation of the aldehyde oxidase-like gene of hamster Harderian gland.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2008 on The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
    by Esposito T, Dominguez P, Varriale B
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.09.009

    The HG is a compound tubulo-alveolar gland located in the orbital cavity of the majority of vertebrates. In the golden hamster it shows a clear cut sexual dimorphism in both morphological and biochemical parameters such as cell types, protein pattern, lipid metabolism, porphyrin content, steroid hormone receptor expression. In a previous study we found that in primary culture of male hamster Harderian gland (HG), androgens (A) increase the MHG07 (male Harderian gland) expression and this effect is abrogated by both flutamide and cycloheximide. The present study represents a deeper analysis on MHG07 regulation by other members of steroid/thyroid hormone superfamily. Estrogens (E) impair the stimulatory effect of A and after the addition of a pure anti-estrogen, ICI 164,384, the negative effect of E is abrogated. Dexamethasone (Dex), used alone or in combination with A negatively affect the MHG07 expression. Also T(3) increases the expression of MHG07 mRNA. Progesterone (P) does not affect the expression of MHG07 mRNA. The use of cycloheximide abrogates the effect of steroids, suggesting that the latter act through their own receptors. Dose-response experiments show that low steroid concentrations (10(-12)M) are sufficient to affect the MHG07 expression. It is argued that the expression of MHG07 is under a highly coordinate relationship between androgen, estrogen, glucocorticoid, retinoic acid and thyroid hormones.

  • Transcription factor expression, RNA synthesis and NADPH-diaphorase across the rat brain and exposure to spatial novelty.

    Publication Date: 22/11/2007 on Behavioural brain research
    by Romanelli P, Di Matteo L, Cobellis G, Varriale B, Menegazzi M, Gironi Carnevale UA, Ruocco LA, Sadile AG
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.06.021

    The molecular hypothesis of learning and memory processes is based on changes in synaptic weights in neural networks. Aim of this study was to map neural traces of exposure to a spatial novelty were mapped by (i) the transcription factors (TFs) c-fos, c-jun and jun-B using Northern blot and immunocytochemistry (ICC), (ii) RNA synthesis by (3)H-uridine autoradiography and RNA level, (iii) NADPH-diaphorase (NADPH-d) expression by histochemistry. Thus, adult male albino rats were exposed to a Làt-maze and sacrificed at different times. Non-exposed rats served as controls. The latter showed a low constitutive expression of TF, RNA synthesis and NADPH-d across the brain. Northern blots showed a three-fold increase in TFs in exposed versus non-exposed rats in the cerebral cortex. ICC showed in exposed rats several TFs positive cells in the granular and pyramidal layers of the hippocampus and later in all layers of the somatosensory cortex, in the granular layer of the cerebellar cortex. The TF-positivity was stronger in rats exposed for the first time, and was time and NMDA-dependent. Autoradiography for RNA synthesis showed positive cells in the ependyma, hippocampus and cerebellum 6h after testing, and in the somatosensory cortex 24h later. In addition, exposure to novelty induced NADPH-d in the dorsal hippocampus, the caudate-putamen, all the layers of the somatosensory cortex. and the cerebellum. The positivity was absent immediately after exposure, appeared within 2h and disappeared 24h later. A strong neuronal discharge by the convulsant pentylenetetrazol, strongly induced TFs but not din not affect NADPH-d 2h later. Thus, data suggest that the processing of spatial and emotional components of experience activates neural networks across different organization levels of the CNS.