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
Resume Download
Chiara Terracciano


  • The myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) gene product zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) is associated with sarcomeres and normally localized in DM2 patients' muscles.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2010 on Neuropathology and applied neurobiology
    by Massa R, Panico MB, Caldarola S, Fusco FR, Sabatelli P, Terracciano C, Botta A, Novelli G, Bernardi G, Loreni F
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2010.01068.x

    Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is caused by a [CCTG]n intronic expansion in the zinc finger protein 9 (ZNF9) gene. As for DM1, sharing with DM2 a similar phenotype, the pathogenic mutation involves a transcribed but untranslated genomic region, suggesting that RNA toxicity may have a role in the pathogenesis of these multisystem disorders by interfering with common cellular mechanisms. However, haploinsufficiency has been described in DM1 and DM2 animal models, and might contribute to pathogenesis. The aim of the present work was therefore to assess ZNF9 protein expression in rat tissues and in human muscle, and ZNF9 subcellular distribution in normal and DM2 human muscles.

  • In AbetaPP-overexpressing cultured human muscle fibers proteasome inhibition enhances phosphorylation of AbetaPP751 and GSK3beta activation: effects mitigated by lithium and apparently relevant to sporadic inclusion-body myositis.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2010 on Journal of neurochemistry
    by Terracciano C, Nogalska A, Engel WK, Askanas V
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06461.x

    Muscle fiber degeneration in sporadic inclusion-body myositis (s-IBM) is characterized by accumulation of multiprotein aggregates, including aggregated amyloid-beta (Abeta)-precursor protein 751 (AbetaPP751), Abeta, phosphorylated tau, and other 'Alzheimer-characteristic' proteins. Proteasome inhibition is an important component of the s-IBM pathogenesis. In brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and AD transgenic-mouse models, phosphorylation of neuronal AbetaPP695 (p-AbetaPP) on Thr668 (equivalent to T724 of AbetaPP751) is considered detrimental because it increases generation of cytotoxic Abeta and induces tau phosphorylation. Activated glycogen synthase kinase3beta (GSK3beta) is involved in phosphorylation of both AbetaPP and tau. Lithium, an inhibitor of GSK3beta, was reported to reduce levels of both the total AbetaPP and p-AbetaPP in AD animal models. In relation to s-IBM, we now show for the first time that (1) In AbetaPP-overexpressing cultured human muscle fibers (human muscle culture IBM model: (a) proteasome inhibition significantly increases GSK3beta activity and AbetaPP phosphorylation, (b) treatment with lithium decreases (i) phosphorylated-AbetaPP, (ii) total amount of AbetaPP, (iii) Abeta oligomers, and (iv) GSK3beta activity; and (c) lithium improves proteasome function. (2) In biopsied s-IBM muscle fibers, GSK3beta is significantly activated and AbetaPP is phosphorylated on Thr724. Accordingly, treatment with lithium, or other GSK3beta inhibitors, might benefit s-IBM patients.

  • Late-onset MNGIE without peripheral neuropathy due to incomplete loss of thymidine phosphorylase activity.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2009 on Neuromuscular disorders : NMD
    by Massa R, Tessa A, Margollicci M, Micheli V, Romigi A, Tozzi G, Terracciano C, Piemonte F, Bernardi G, Santorelli FM
    DOI: 10.1016/j.nmd.2009.08.013

    Mitochondrial NeuroGastroIntestinal Encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by severe gastrointestinal dysmotility, cachexia, peripheral neuropathy, ptosis, ophthalmoplegia, and leukoencephalopathy with early onset and severe prognosis. Mutations in the TYMP/ECGF1 gene cause a loss of thymidine phosphorylase catalytic activity, disrupting the homeostasis of intramitochondrial nucleotide pool. We report a woman with a very late onset of MNGIE, lacking peripheral neuropathy. Thymidine phosphorylase activity was markedly reduced in cultured fibroblasts, but only mildly reduced in buffy coat, where the defect is usually detected, and plasma thymidine was mildly increased compared to typical MNGIE patients. TYMP/ECGF1 analysis detected two heterozygous mutations, including a novel missense mutation. These findings indicate that a partial loss of thymidine phosphorylase activity may induce a late-onset and incomplete MNGIE phenotype.

  • p62/SQSTM1 is overexpressed and prominently accumulated in inclusions of sporadic inclusion-body myositis muscle fibers, and can help differentiating it from polymyositis and dermatomyositis.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2009 on Acta neuropathologica
    by Nogalska A, Terracciano C, D'Agostino C, King Engel W, Askanas V
    DOI: 10.1007/s00401-009-0564-6

    p62, also known as sequestosome1, is a shuttle protein transporting polyubiquitinated proteins for both the proteasomal and lysosomal degradation. p62 is an integral component of inclusions in brains of various neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer disease (AD) neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and Lewy bodies in Parkinson disease. In AD brain, the p62 localized in NFTs is associated with phosphorylated tau (p-tau). Sporadic inclusion-body myositis (s-IBM) is the most common progressive muscle disease associated with aging, and its muscle tissue has several phenotypic similarities to AD brain. Abnormal accumulation of intracellular multiprotein inclusions, containing p-tau in the form of paired helical filaments, amyloid-beta, and several other "Alzheimer-characteristic proteins", is a characteristic feature of the s-IBM muscle fiber phenotype. Diminished proteasomal and lysosomal protein degradation appear to play an important role in the formation of intra-muscle-fiber inclusions. We now report that: (1) in s-IBM muscle fibers, p62 protein is increased on both the protein and the mRNA levels, and it is strongly accumulated within, and as a dense peripheral shell surrounding, p-tau containing inclusions, by both the light- and electron-microscopy. Accordingly, our studies provide a new, reliable, and simple molecular marker of p-tau inclusions in s-IBM muscle fibers. The prominent p62 immunohistochemical positivity and pattern diagnostically distinguish s-IBM from polymyositis and dermatomyositis. (2) In normal cultured human muscle fibers, experimental inhibition of either proteasomal or lysosomal protein degradation caused substantial increase of p62, suggesting that similar in vivo mechanisms might contribute to the p62 increase in s-IBM muscle fibers.

  • Preferential central nucleation of type 2 myofibers is an invariable feature of myotonic dystrophy type 2.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2008 on Muscle & nerve
    by Pisani V, Panico MB, Terracciano C, Bonifazi E, Meola G, Novelli G, Bernardi G, Angelini C, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1002/mus.21122

    The clinical features of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2) may present striking similarity, whereas, in some cases, the DM2 phenotype may be so mild that the diagnosis may be missed. Therefore, the identification of disease-specific histopathological patterns for DM1 and DM2 may help clinicians to correctly address genetic studies. We performed a comparative morphological and morphometric analysis on muscle biopsies from 10 DM1 and 11 DM2 patients, comparing type 1 and type 2 fibers as to: fiber type predominance, transverse diameter, atrophy and hypertrophy factors, and prevalence of central nuclei. In DM1 cases we observed preferential type 1 fiber atrophy and a higher prevalence of central nucleation among type 1 fibers in all cases. In DM2 muscle biopsies, high rates of atrophic and hypertrophic type 2 fibers were observed in most cases, and preferential central nucleation in type 2 fibers was present in all cases. As opposed to DM1, in which type 1 fibers display most of the histological changes, preferential atrophy and hypertrophy of type 2 fibers may be considered as markers of DM2. A higher prevalence of central nuclei among hypertrophic type 2 fibers has a predictive value for the diagnosis of DM2. Thus, morphometric and fiber type-based histological analysis of muscle biopsies may help differentiate between DM1 and DM2 and guide molecular analysis.

  • In inclusion-body myositis muscle fibers Parkinson-associated DJ-1 is increased and oxidized.

    Publication Date: 15/09/2008 on Free radical biology & medicine
    by Terracciano C, Nogalska A, Engel WK, Wojcik S, Askanas V
    DOI: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.05.030

    Sporadic inclusion-body myositis (s-IBM) is the most common muscle disease of older persons. The muscle-fiber molecular phenotype exhibits similarities to both Alzheimer-disease (AD) and Parkinson-disease (PD) brains, including accumulations of amyloid-beta, phosphorylated tau, alpha-synuclein, and parkin, as well as evidence of oxidative stress and mitochondrial abnormalities. Early-onset autosomal-recessive PD can be caused by mutations in the DJ-1 gene, leading to its inactivation. DJ-1 has antioxidative and mitochondrial-protective properties. In AD and PD brains, DJ-1 is increased and oxidized. We studied DJ-1 in 17 s-IBM and 18 disease-control and normal muscle biopsies by: (1) immunoblots of muscle homogenates and mitochondrial fractions; (2) real-time PCR; (3) oxyblots evaluating DJ-1 oxidation; (4) light- and electron-microscopic immunocytochemistry. Compared to controls, in s-IBM muscle fibers DJ-1 was: (a) increased in the soluble fraction, monomer 2-fold (P = 0.01), and dimer 2.8-fold (P = 0.004); (b) increased in the mitochondrial fraction; (c) highly oxidized; and (d) aggregated in about 15% of the abnormal muscle fibers. DJ-1 mRNA was increased 3.5-fold (P = 0.034). Accordingly, DJ-1 might play a role in human muscle disease, and thus not be limited to human CNS degenerations. In s-IBM muscle fibers, DJ-1 could be protecting these fibers against oxidative stress, including protection of mitochondria.

  • Upper motor neuron involvement in X-linked recessive bulbospinal muscular atrophy.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2007 on Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Pachatz C, Terracciano C, Desiato MT, Orlacchio A, Mori F, Rocchi C, Bernardi G, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2006.10.006

    Clinicopathological findings of X-linked recessive bulbospinal muscular atrophy (SBMA) are indicative of lower motor neuron and primary sensory neuron involvement. The aim of our study was to investigate the presence of subclinical upper motor neuron (UMN) dysfunction in this disease.

  • Overexpression of ErbB2 and ErbB3 receptors in Schwann cells of patients with Charcot-Marie-tooth disease type 1A.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2006 on Muscle & nerve
    by Massa R, Palumbo C, Cavallaro T, Panico MB, Bei R, Terracciano C, Rizzuto N, Bernardi G, Modesti A
    DOI: 10.1002/mus.20460

    Axon-derived neuregulins (NRGs) are a family of growth factors whose binding to ErbB tyrosine kinase receptors promotes the maturation, proliferation and survival of Schwann cells (SCs). Correct NRG/ErbB signaling is essential for the homeostasis of axonal-glial complexes and seems to play a role in peripheral nerve repair. The potential involvement of ErbB receptors in human peripheral neuropathies has not been clarified. Therefore, we assessed the immunoreactivity for EGFR (ErbB1), ErbB2, and ErbB3 in nerve biopsies from patients with different forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, type 1, (CMT1), as compared to others with inflammatory neuropathies and controls. The most notable changes consisted in the overexpression of ErbB2 and ErbB3 by SCs of nerves from CMT1A patients. These findings are consistent with an impairment of SC differentiation and expand the molecular phenotype of CMT1A. The upregulation of these receptors may play a role in the inhibition of myelination or in the promotion of recurrent demyelination and axonal damage.

  • Subacute demyelinating polyneuropathy in B-cell lymphoma with IgM antibodies against glycolipid GD1b.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2005 on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Marfia GA, Pachatz C, Terracciano C, Leone G, Bernardini S, Bernardi G, Massa R
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-005-0500-z

    Peripheral neuropathy associated with IgM monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance is a common disorder, while the association of paraproteinaemic neuropathies with haematological malignancies is far less frequent. We report a 76-year-old patient with a subacute and rapidly progressive sensorimotor demyelinating polyneuropathy causing sensory ataxia, painful paraesthesias and marked motor and sensory deficit in four limbs. Monoclonal gammopathy of IgM type associated with a rectal low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma was detected. Research for anti-MAG and antiganglioside autoantibodies including anti-GM1 and anti-GQ1b evidenced a high titre of IgM antibodies against the disialosyl group of GD1b. This is the first report on a paraproteinaemic polyneuropathy with IgM autoantibodies against glycolipid GD1b associated with B-cell lymphoma. The IgM type of these autoantibodies suggests that they represent all or part of the paraprotein produced by lymphoma cells.