Giuseppe Di Iorio

Professor of Neurology

Name Giuseppe
Surname Di Iorio
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address II Division of Neurology & Center fo Rare Diseases Department of Medical Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic Sciences, and Aging, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Edificio 10 Via Sergio Pansini, 580131 Naples, Italy


  • Diagnostic contribution of magnetic resonance imaging in an atypical presentation of motor neuron disease.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2017 on Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery
    by Ugga L, Coppola C, Cocozza S, Saracino D, Caranci F, Tuccillo F, Signoriello E, Casertano S, Di Iorio G, Tedeschi E
    DOI: 10.21037/qims.2017.10.06

    Motor neuron disease (MND) is a neurodegenerative disease determining progressive and relentless motor deterioration involving both upper and lower motor neurons (UMN and LMN); several variants at onset are described. Here we describe a case of MND presenting as pure spastic monoparesis in which magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) gave a substantial contribution in confirming the diagnosis and assessing the severity of UMN involvement. An isolated pyramidal syndrome, with complete absence of LMN signs, is a rare phenotype in the context of MND (less than 4% of total cases), especially if restricted to only one limb. Several other elements made this case an unusual presentation of MND: the late age of onset (8th decade), the subacute evolution of symptoms (raising the suspicion of an ischemic or inflammatory, rather than degenerative, etiology), the patient's past medical history (achalasia, erythema nodosum), the increase of inflammatory indices. Conventional MRI showed no focal lesions that could explain the clinical features; therefore, we used advanced MR sequences. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) evaluation evidenced bilateral impairment of corticospinal tract (CST) diffusion metrics, with clear right-left asymmetry, pointing to a neurodegenerative etiology, which clinically appeared less likely at that time. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) showed a significant reduction of NAA/Cho + Cr ratio in the motor cortex (MC), further supporting the hypothesis of UMN degeneration. In conclusion, in this particular case of MND, whose nosographic framing has not been fully defined, advanced MRI techniques with DTI and MRS proved to be of great usefulness in confirming a diffuse UMN involvement, possibly at a more advanced stage than its clinical expression.

  • Diffuse glioblastoma resembling acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis.

    Publication Date: 01/10/2017 on Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery
    by Schettino C, Caranci F, Lus G, Signoriello E, Eoli M, Anghileri E, Pollo B, Melone MAB, Di Iorio G, Finocchiaro G, Ugga L, Tedeschi E
    DOI: 10.21037/qims.2017.06.09

    We report the case of a young man with sudden onset of diplopia after an upper respiratory tract infection. Based on the first radiological findings acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis, a variant of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, was suspected and treatment with high dose intravenous dexamethasone was started but it was stopped for intolerance. The patient clinically worsened, developing gait instability, ataxia and ophthalmoplegia; brain MRI performed 20 days later showed severe progression of the disease with subependymal dissemination. After brain biopsy of the right temporal lesion the histological diagnosis was glioblastoma. These findings suggest that MRI features of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis may dissimulate the diagnosis of diffuse glioma/glioblastoma. This case underscores the importance of considering diffuse glioma in the differential diagnosis of atypical signs and symptoms of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis and underlines the relevant role of integrating neuroradiologic findings with neuropathology.

  • Adult-onset brain tumors and neurodegeneration: Are polyphenols protective?

    Publication Date: 08/09/2017 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Squillaro T, Schettino C, Sampaolo S, Galderisi U, Di Iorio G, Giordano A, Melone MAB
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.26170

    Aging is a primary risk factor for both neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) and tumors such as adult-onset brain tumors. Since NDs and tumors are severe, disabling, progressive and often incurable conditions, they represent a pressing problem in terms of human suffering and economic costs to the healthcare systems. The current challenge for physicians and researchers is to develop new therapeutic strategies in both areas to improve the patients' quality of life. In addition to genetics and environmental stressors, the increase in cellular oxidative stress as one of the potential common etiologies has been reported for both disorders. Recently, the scientific community has focused on the beneficial effects of dietary antioxidant classes, known as nutraceuticals, such as carotenoids, vitamins, and polyphenols. Among these compounds, polyphenols are considered to be one of the most bioactive agents in neurodegeneration and tumor prevention. Despite the beneficial activity of polyphenols, their poor bioavailability and inefficient delivery systems are the main factors limiting their use in medicine and functional food. The development of polymeric nanoparticle-based delivery systems able to encapsulate and preserve polyphenolic compounds may represent a promising tool to enhance their stability, solubility, and cell membrane permeation. In the present review we provide an overview of the main polyphenolic compounds used for ND and brain tumor prevention and treatment that explores their mechanisms of action, recent clinical findings and principal factors limiting their application in medicine.

  • First study on the peptidergic innervation of the brain superior sagittal sinus in humans.

    Publication Date: 24/04/2017 on Neuropeptides
    by Sampaolo S, Liguori G, Vittoria A, Napolitano F, Lombardi L, Figols J, Melone MAB, Esposito T, Di Iorio G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.04.008

    The superior sagittal sinus (SSS) of the mammalian brain is a pain-sensitive intracranial vessel thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine headaches. Here, we aimed to investigate the presence and the potential co-localization of some neurotransmitters in the human SSS. Immunohistochemical and double-labeling immunofluorescence analyses were applied to paraformaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded, coronal sections of the SSS. Protein extraction and Western blotting technique were performed on the same material to confirm the morphological data. Our results showed nerve fibers clustered mainly in large bundles tracking parallel to the longitudinal axis of the sinus, close in proximity to the vascular endothelium. Smaller fascicles of fibers encircled the vascular lumen in a spiral fashion, extending through the subendothelial connective tissue. Isolated nerve fibers were observed around the openings of bridging veins in the sinus or around small vessels extending into the perisinusal dura. The neurotransmitters calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and neuropeptide Y (NPY) were found in parietal nerve structures, distributed all along the length of the SSS. Overall, CGRP- and TH-containing nerve fibers were the most abundant. Neurotransmitters co-localized in the same fibers in the following pairs: CGRP/SP, CGRP/NOS, CGRP/VIP, and TH/NPY. Western blotting analysis confirmed the presence of such neurosubstances in the SSS wall. Overall our data provide the first evidence of the presence and co-localization of critical neurotransmitters in the SSS of the human brain, thus contributing to a better understanding of the sinus functional role.

  • The level of 24-Hydroxycholesteryl Esters is an Early Marker of Alzheimer's Disease.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2017 on Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
    by Benussi L, Ghidoni R, Dal Piaz F, Binetti G, Di Iorio G, Abrescia P
    DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160930

    Cholesterol (C) brain accumulation seems to play a role in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol (24OH-C) is the predominant metabolite of brain C and its synthesis is believed to represent a way to remove excess C from neurons. Previous studies showed that 24OH-C level is altered in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. Only one study demonstrated that 24OH-C esterification is altered in neurodegenerative diseases, i.e., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Herein we analyzed the level of 24OH-C esters (% 24OH-CE) in i) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and homologous serum of AD (n = 13) and controls (n = 8); ii) plasma from AD (n = 30), controls (n = 30), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) converting to AD (n = 34), and stable MCI (n = 40). The % 24OH-CE in CSF positively correlated with that in homologous serum and was lower in both CSF and blood from AD patients as compared to controls; moreover, the plasma value of % 24OH-CE was lower in MCI conv-AD than in non-converters. Kaplan Meier Survival curves revealed a significant anticipation of the disease onset in AD and MCI conv-AD subjects with the lowest % 24OH-CE values. In conclusion, the reduction of % 24OH-CE in AD and MCI conv-AD, as well as the anticipation of the disease in patients with the lowest % 24OH-CE, support a role of the cholesterol/lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase axis in AD onset/progression. Thus, targeting brain cholesterol metabolism could be a valuable strategy to prevent AD associated cognitive decline.

  • A cluster of progranulin C157KfsX97 mutations in Southern Italy: clinical characterization and genetic correlations.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2017 on Neurobiology of aging
    by Coppola C, Saracino D, Puoti G, Lus G, Dato C, Le Ber I, Pariente J, Caroppo P, Piccoli E, Tagliavini F, Di Iorio G, Rossi G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.10.008

    Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a group of neurodegenerative diseases displaying high clinical, pathologic, and genetic heterogeneity. Several autosomal dominant progranulin (GRN) mutations have been reported, accounting for 5%-10% of FTLD cases worldwide. In this study, we described the clinical characteristics of 7 Italian patients, 5 with a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia behavioral variant and 2 of corticobasal syndrome (CBS), carrying the GRN deletion g.101349_101355delCTGCTGT, resulting in the C157KfsX97 null mutation, and hypothesized the existence of a founder effect by means of haplotype sharing analysis. We performed plasma progranulin dosage, GRN gene sequencing, and haplotype sharing study, analyzing 10 short tandem repeat markers, spanning a region of 11.08 Mb flanking GRN on chromosome 17q21. We observed shared alleles among 6 patients for 8 consecutive short tandem repeat markers spanning a 7.29 Mb region. Therefore, also with this particular mutation, the elevated clinical variability described among GRN-mutated FTLD cases is confirmed. Moreover, this is the first study reporting the likely existence of a founder effect for C157KfsX97 mutation in Southern Italy.

  • Rasagiline for sleep disorders in patients with Parkinson's disease: a prospective observational study.

    Publication Date: 29/09/2016 on Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment
    by Schettino C, Dato C, Capaldo G, Sampaolo S, Di Iorio G, Melone MA
    DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S116476

    Rasagiline is a selective, irreversible monoamine oxidase B inhibitor that ameliorates the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) by inhibiting striatal dopamine metabolism. There is also evidence that monoamine oxidase B inhibitors increase melatonin levels in the pineal gland and may have a beneficial effect on sleep disorders, which are a common feature in patients with PD.

  • The genetic basis of undiagnosed muscular dystrophies and myopathies: Results from 504 patients.

    Publication Date: 05/07/2016 on Neurology
    by Savarese M, Di Fruscio G, Torella A, Fiorillo C, Magri F, Fanin M, Ruggiero L, Ricci G, Astrea G, Passamano L, Ruggieri A, Ronchi D, Tasca G, D'Amico A, Janssens S, Farina O, Mutarelli M, Marwah VS, Garofalo A, Giugliano T, Sanpaolo S, Del Vecchio Blanco F, Esposito G, Piluso G, D'Ambrosio P, Petillo R, Musumeci O, Rodolico C, Messina S, Evilä A, Hackman P, Filosto M, Di Iorio G, Siciliano G, Mora M, Maggi L, Minetti C, Sacconi S, Santoro L, Claes K, Vercelli L, Mongini T, Ricci E, Gualandi F, Tupler R, De Bleecker J, Udd B, Toscano A, Moggio M, Pegoraro E, Bertini E, Mercuri E, Angelini C, Santorelli FM, Politano L, Bruno C, Comi GP, Nigro V
    DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002800

    To apply next-generation sequencing (NGS) for the investigation of the genetic basis of undiagnosed muscular dystrophies and myopathies in a very large cohort of patients.

  • Lymphocytosis as a response biomarker of natalizumab therapeutic efficacy in multiple sclerosis.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2016 on Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)
    by Signoriello E, Lanzillo R, Brescia Morra V, Di Iorio G, Fratta M, Carotenuto A, Lus G
    DOI: 10.1177/1352458515604381

    Natalizumab is an effective therapy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), as it reduces lymphocyte transmigration through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and induces lymphocytosis.

  • Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase in brain: Does oxidative stress influence the 24-hydroxycholesterol esterification?

    Publication Date: 01/04/2016 on Neuroscience research
    by La Marca V, Maresca B, Spagnuolo MS, Cigliano L, Dal Piaz F, Di Iorio G, Abrescia P
    DOI: 10.1016/j.neures.2015.09.008

    24-Hydroxycholesterol (24OH-C) is esterified by the enzyme lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We report here that the level of 24OH-C esters was lower in CSF of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis than in healthy subjects (54% vs 68% of total 24OH-C, p=0.0005; n=8). Similarly, the level of 24OH-C esters in plasma was lower in patients than in controls (62% vs 77% of total 24OH-C; p=0.0076). The enzyme amount in CSF, as measured by densitometry of the protein band revealed by immunoblotting, was about 4-fold higher in patients than in controls (p=0.0085). As differences in the concentration of the LCAT stimulator Apolipoprotein E were not found, we hypothesized that the reduced 24OH-C esterification in CSF of patients might depend on oxidative stress. We actually found that oxidative stress reduced LCAT activity in vitro, and 24OH-C effectively stimulated the enzyme secretion from astrocytoma cells in culture. Enhanced LCAT secretion from astrocytes might represent an adaptive response to the increase of non-esterified 24OH-C percentage, aimed to avoid the accumulation of this neurotoxic compound. The low degree of 24OH-C esterification in CSF or plasma might reflect reduced activity of LCAT during neurodegeneration.