Chiara Terracciano

Researcher of Neurology

Name Chiara
Surname Terracciano
Institution Policlinico Tor Vergata
Telephone +39 06 209 02 270
Telephone 2 +39 06 725 96 020
Mobile +39 328 265 67 29
Address University of Rome Tor Vergata Via Montpellier 1 00133 Rome, Italy
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Chiara Terracciano


  • Sleep disorders in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (Kennedy's disease): a controlled polysomnographic and self-reported questionnaires study.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2014 on Journal of neurology
    by Romigi A, Liguori C, Placidi F, Albanese M, Izzi F, Uasone E, Terracciano C, Marciani MG, Mercuri NB, Ludovisi R, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1007/s00415-014-7293-z

    No data are available regarding the occurrence of sleep disorders in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). We investigated the sleep-wake cycle in SBMA patients compared with healthy subjects. Nine SBMA outpatients and nine age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls were evaluated. Subjective quality of sleep was assessed by means of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The Epworth Sleepiness Scale was used in order to evaluate excessive daytime sleepiness. All participants underwent a 48-h polysomnography followed by the multiple sleep latency test. Time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency were significantly lower in SBMA than controls. Furthermore, the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was significantly higher in SBMA than controls. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA: AHI >5/h) was evident in 6/9 patients (66.6 %). REM sleep without atonia was evident in three patients also affected by OSA and higher AHI in REM; 2/9 (22.2 %) SBMA patients showed periodic limb movements in sleep. The global PSQI score was higher in SBMA versus controls. Sleep quality in SBMA is poorer than in controls. OSA is the most common sleep disorder in SBMA. The sleep impairment could be induced both by OSA or/and the neurodegenerative processes involving crucial areas regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Vitamin D deficiency in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2013 on Journal of neurology
    by Terracciano C, Rastelli E, Morello M, Celi M, Bucci E, Antonini G, Porzio O, Tarantino U, Zenobi R, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1007/s00415-013-6984-1

    Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multisystemic disorder affecting, among others, the endocrine system, with derangement of steroid hormones functions. Vitamin D is a steroid recognized for its role in calcium homeostasis. In addition, vitamin D influences muscle metabolism by genomic and non-genomic actions, including stimulation of the insulin-like-growth-factor 1 (IGF1), a major regulator of muscle trophism. To verify the presence of vitamin D deficit in DM1 and its possible consequences, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), calcium, parathormone (PTH), and IGF1 levels were measured in 32 DM1 patients and in 32 age-matched controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) and proximal muscle strength were also measured by DXA and a handheld dynamometer, respectively. In DM1 patients, 25(OH)D levels were reduced compared to controls, and a significant decrease of IGF1 was also found. 25(OH)D levels inversely correlated with CTG expansion size, while IGF1 levels and muscle strength directly correlated with levels of 25(OH)D lower than 20 and 10 ng/ml, respectively. A significantly higher percentage of DM1 patients presented hyperparathyroidism as compared to controls. Calcium levels and BMD were comparable between the two groups. Oral administration of cholecalciferol in 11 DM1 patients with severe vitamin D deficiency induced a normal increase of circulating 25(OH)D, ruling out defects in intestinal absorption or hepatic hydroxylation. DM1 patients show a reduction of circulating 25(OH)D, which correlates with genotype and may influence IGF1 levels and proximal muscle strength. Oral supplementation with vitamin D should be considered in DM1 and might mitigate muscle weakness.

  • Differential features of muscle fiber atrophy in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2013 on Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA
    by Terracciano C, Celi M, Lecce D, Baldi J, Rastelli E, Lena E, Massa R, Tarantino U
    DOI: 10.1007/s00198-012-1990-1

    We demonstrated that osteoporosis is associated with a preferential type II muscle fiber atrophy, which correlates with bone mineral density and reduced levels of Akt, a major regulator of muscle mass. In osteoarthritis, muscle atrophy is of lower extent and related to disease duration and severity.

  • Recurrent hyperCKemia with normal muscle biopsy in a pediatric patient with neuromyelitis optica.

    Publication Date: 11/09/2012 on Neurology
    by Di Filippo M, Franciotta D, Massa R, Di Gregorio M, Zardini E, Gastaldi M, Terracciano C, Rastelli E, Gaetani L, Iannone A, Menduno P, Floridi P, Sarchielli P, Calabresi P
    DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182698d39
  • Periodic acid-Schiff staining on resin muscle sections: improvement in the histological diagnosis of late-onset Pompe disease.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2012 on Muscle & nerve
    by Terracciano C, Rastelli E, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1002/mus.22293
  • Association of HLA-DQB1∗05:02 and DRB1∗16 Alleles with Late-Onset, Nonthymomatous, AChR-Ab-Positive Myasthenia Gravis.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2012 on Autoimmune diseases
    by Testi M, Terracciano C, Guagnano A, Testa G, Marfia GA, Pompeo E, Andreani M, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1155/2012/541760

    An association of several HLA alleles with myasthenia gravis (MG) has been reported. Aim of this work was to analyze the HLA allele profile in a survey of 76 unselected Italian MG patients and in a subgroup characterized by disease onset after the age of 50 years, absence of thymoma, and presence of antiacetylcholine receptor antibodies. We defined this subgroup by the acronym LOAb. Typing was performed at low resolution for HLA-A, -B, and -DRB1 loci with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe (PCR-SSO); at high resolution for HLA-DQB1 locus by PCR with sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSPS). HLA allele frequencies were compared with 100 healthy controls. No correlation was observed between MG and the studied HLA class I alleles. On the contrary, a strong positive association was found for the HLA class II alleles DQB1∗05:02 (P(c) = 0.00768) and DRB1∗16 (P(c) = 0.0211) in the LOAb subgroup (n = 27) of MG patients. Association between DQB1∗05:02 and some subtypes of MG has been previously reported but not in patients with the LOAb characteristics. Therefore, the HLA allele DQB1∗05:02 might be considered as a susceptibility marker for LOAb among Italians.

  • Aberrant splicing and expression of the non muscle myosin heavy-chain gene MYH14 in DM1 muscle tissues.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2012 on Neurobiology of disease
    by Rinaldi F, Terracciano C, Pisani V, Massa R, Loro E, Vergani L, Di Girolamo S, Angelini C, Gourdon G, Novelli G, Botta A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2011.08.010

    Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a complex multisystemic disorder caused by an expansion of a CTG repeat located at the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of DMPK on chromosome 19q13.3. Aberrant messenger RNA (mRNA) splicing of several genes has been reported to explain some of the symptoms of DM1 including insulin resistance, muscle wasting and myotonia. In this paper we analyzed the expression of the MYH14 mRNA and protein in the muscle of DM1 patients (n=12) with different expansion lengths and normal subjects (n=7). The MYH14 gene is located on chromosome 19q13.3 and encodes for one of the heavy chains of the so called class II "nonmuscle" myosins (NMHCII). MYH14 has two alternative spliced isoforms: the inserted isoform (NMHCII-C1) which includes 8 amino acids located in the globular head of the protein, not encoded by the non inserted isoform (NMHCII-C0). Results showed a splicing unbalance of the MYH14 gene in DM1 muscle, with a prevalent expression of the NMHCII-C0 isoform more marked in DM1 patients harboring large CTG expansions. Minigene assay indicated that levels of the MBNL1 protein positively regulates the inclusion of the MYH14 exon 6. Quantitative analysis of the MYH14 expression revealed a significant reduction in the DM1 muscle samples, both at mRNA and protein level. No differences were found between DM1 and controls in the skeletal muscle localization of MYH14, obtained through immunofluorescence analysis. In line with the thesis of an "RNA gain of function" hypothesis described for the CTG mutation, we conclude that the alterations of the MYH14 gene may contribute to the DM1 molecular pathogenesis.

  • Early subclinical cochlear dysfunction in myotonic dystrophy type 1.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2011 on European journal of neurology
    by Pisani V, Tirabasso A, Mazzone S, Terracciano C, Botta A, Novelli G, Bernardi G, Massa R, Di Girolamo S
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03470.x

    Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is an autosomal-dominant inherited disorder clinically characterized by variable systemic manifestations. Among clinical features of the disease, 'precocious presbyacusis' has been previously reported. The underlying mechanism of this auditory impairment remains still poorly understood. Hearing is an active process located in the cochlea, where the outer hair cells (OHCs) play an important role in sound perception through a 'contractile' like movement resembling skeletal muscle fibers dynamics. OHCs status has not yet been investigated in DM1 patients. OHCs integrity can be assessed by measuring transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE), a non-invasive, repeatable, and objective quantitative tool.

  • Impaired autophagy in sporadic inclusion-body myositis and in endoplasmic reticulum stress-provoked cultured human muscle fibers.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2010 on The American journal of pathology
    by Nogalska A, D'Agostino C, Terracciano C, Engel WK, Askanas V
    DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.100050

    The hallmark pathologies of sporadic inclusion-body myositis (s-IBM) muscle fibers are autophagic vacuoles and accumulation of ubiquitin-positive multiprotein aggregates that contain amyloid-beta or phosphorylated tau in a beta-pleated sheet amyloid configuration. Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and 26S proteasome inhibition, also associated with s-IBM, putatively aggrandize the accumulation of misfolded proteins. However, autophagosomal-lysosomal pathway formation and function, indicated by autophagosome maturation, have not been previously analyzed in this system. Here we studied the autophagosomal-lysosomal pathway using 14 s-IBM and 30 disease control and normal control muscle biopsy samples and our cultured human muscle fibers in a microenvironment modified to resemble aspects of s-IBM pathology. We report for the first time that in s-IBM, lysosomal enzyme activities of cathepsin D and B were decreased 60% (P < 0.01) and 40% (P < 0.05), respectively. We also detected two indicators of increased autophagosome maturation, the presence of LC3-II and decreased mammalian target of rapamycin-mediated phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase. Moreover, in cultured human muscle fibers, ERS induction significantly decreased activities of cathepsins D and B, increased levels of LC3-II, decreased phosphorylation of p70S6 kinase, and decreased expression of VMA21, a chaperone for assembly of lysosomal V-ATPase. We conclude that in s-IBM muscle, decreased lysosomal proteolytic activity might enhance accumulation of misfolded proteins, despite increased maturation of autophagosomes, and that ERS is a possible cause of s-IBM-impaired lysosomal function. Thus, unblocking protein degradation in s-IBM muscle fibers may be a desirable therapeutic strategy.

  • Inverse correlation between VEGF and soluble VEGF receptor 2 in POEMS with AIDP responsive to intravenous immunoglobulin.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2010 on Muscle & nerve
    by Terracciano C, Fiore S, Doldo E, Manzari V, Marfia GA, Bernardi G, Massa R, Albonici L
    DOI: 10.1002/mus.21718

    POEMS (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M-band, and skin changes) syndrome is characterized by chronic progressive polyneuropathy and plasma-cell dyscrasia. A major diagnostic criterion of POEMS is elevation of circulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is believed to play a pathogenic role in this disease. We report a case of POEMS that presented as relapsing acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, in which complete remission after intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment was unexpectedly observed. At clinical nadir, the VEGF level was 30-fold higher, and the soluble form of VEGF receptor 2 (sVEGFR2), which acts as a decoy for VEGF, was 2.7-fold lower than normal. These changes combined might contribute to the pathogenesis of POEMS, inducing vascular permeability and tissue edema. At 9-month follow-up, during clinical remission, VEGF and sVEGFR2 were near normal values. sVEGFR2 reduction is a new finding in POEMS. IVIg treatment may benefit POEMS patients with acute neuropathy by downgrading VEGF release induced by inflammatory cytokines.