Maria Luisa Balestrieri

Professor of Biochemistry

Name Maria Luisa
Surname Balestrieri
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and General Pathology, University of Campania "L. Vanvitelli", Via L. De Crecchio 7, 80138 Naples, Italy
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Maria Luisa Balestrieri


  • Abdominal Fat SIRT6 Expression and Its Relationship with Inflammatory and Metabolic Pathways in Pre-Diabetic Overweight Patients.

    Publication Date: 06/03/2019 on International journal of molecular sciences
    by D'Onofrio N, Pieretti G, Ciccarelli F, Gambardella A, Passariello N, Rizzo MR, Barbieri M, Marfella R, Nicoletti G, Balestrieri ML, Sardu C
    DOI: 10.3390/ijms20051153

    The role of sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) in adipose abdominal tissue of pre-diabetic (pre-DM) patients is poorly known. Here, we evaluated SIRT6 expression in visceral abdominal fat of obese pre-diabetic patients and the potential effects of metformin therapy. Results indicated that obese pre-DM subjects showed low SIRT6 protein expression and high expression of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ), and sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1 (SREBP-1). Obese pre-DM patients showed high values of glucose, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), C reactive protein (CRP), nitrotyrosine, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), and low values of insulin ( < 0.05). Of note, abdominal fat tissue of obese pre-DM patients treated with metformin therapy presented higher SIRT6 expression and lower NF-κB, PPAR-γ, and SREBP-1 expression levels compared to pre-DM control group. Collectively, results show that SIRT6 is involved in the inflammatory pathway of subcutaneous abdominal fat of obese pre-DM patients and its expression responds to metformin therapy.

  • Effects of metformin therapy on COronary endothelial DYsfunction in prediabetic patients With stable angina and Non Obstructive Coronary Artery Stenosis: The CODYCE Multicenter Prospective Study.

    Publication Date: 22/02/2019 on Diabetes care
    by Sardu C, Paolisso P, Sacra C, Mauro C, Minicucci F, Portoghese M, Rizzo MR, Barbieri M, Sasso FC, D'Onofrio N, Balestrieri ML, Calabrò P, Paolisso G, Marfella R
    DOI: 10.2337/dc18-2356

    To evaluate the effect of metformin therapy on coronary endothelial function and major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in patients with prediabetes with stable angina and nonobstructive coronary stenosis (NOCS).

  • Thrombus Aspiration in Hyperglycemic Patients With High Inflammation Levels in Coronary Thrombus.

    Publication Date: 05/02/2019 on Journal of the American College of Cardiology
    by Sardu C, D'Onofrio N, Mauro C, Balestrieri ML, Marfella R
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.10.074
  • Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Buffalo Milk δ-Valerobetaine.

    Publication Date: 20/01/2019 on Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
    by D'Onofrio N, Balestrieri A, Neglia G, Monaco A, Tatullo M, Casale R, Limone A, Balestrieri ML, Campanile G
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b07166

    δ-Valerobetaine (δVB), a constitutive metabolite of ruminant milk, is produced in the rumen from free dietary Nε-trimethyllysine occurring ubiquitously in vegetable kingdom. Biological role of δVB is poorly known. Here, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of buffalo milk δVB was tested in vitro during high-glucose (HG)-induced endothelial damage. Results indicated that δVB (0.5 mM) ameliorated the HG cytotoxicity (0.57±0.02 vs. 0.41±0.018 O.D. (P<0.01). Buffalo milk extracts enriched with δVB showed significant efficacy in decreasing reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, and cytokine release during HG treatment compared to milk extracts alone (P<0.05). δVB reduced the HG-activated inflammatory signal by modulating SIRT1 (0.96±0.05 vs. 0.85±0.04 AU), SIRT6 (0.82±0.04 vs. 0.61±0.03 AU), and NF-κB (0.85±0.03 vs. 1.23±0.03 AU) (P<0.05). On the whole, our data show the first evidence of δVB efficacy in reducing endothelial oxidative stress and inflammation, suggesting a potential role of this betaine as a novel dietary compound with health-promoting properties.

  • Correction to: Thrombus aspiration in hyperglycemic ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients: clinical outcomes at 1-year follow-up.

    Publication Date: 27/12/2018 on Cardiovascular diabetology
    by Sardu C, Barbieri M, Balestrieri ML, Siniscalchi M, Paolisso P, Calabrò P, Minicucci F, Signoriello G, Portoghese M, Mone P, D'Andrea D, Gragnano F, Bellis A, Mauro C, Paolisso G, Rizzo MR, Marfella R
    DOI: 10.1186/s12933-018-0804-y

    Following publication of the original article [1], the authors reported an error in Acknowledgment section. The last sentence should read as "All authors have read and approval the submission to Cardiovascular Diabetology.

  • Thrombus aspiration in hyperglycemic ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients: clinical outcomes at 1-year follow-up.

    Publication Date: 29/11/2018 on Cardiovascular diabetology
    by Sardu C, Barbieri M, Balestrieri ML, Siniscalchi M, Paolisso P, Calabrò P, Minicucci F, Signoriello G, Portoghese M, Mone P, D'Andrea D, Gragnano F, Bellis A, Mauro C, Paolisso G, Rizzo MR, Marfella R
    DOI: 10.1186/s12933-018-0795-8

    We evaluate whether the thrombus aspiration (TA) before primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) may improve STEMI outcomes in hyperglycemic patients.

  • Ruminant meat and milk contain δ-valerobetaine, another precursor of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) like γ-butyrobetaine.

    Publication Date: 15/09/2018 on Food chemistry
    by Servillo L, D'Onofrio N, Giovane A, Casale R, Cautela D, Castaldo D, Iannaccone F, Neglia G, Campanile G, Balestrieri ML
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.03.114

    Quaternary ammonium compounds containing N-trimethylamino moiety, such as choline derivatives and carnitine, abundant in meat and dairy products, are metabolic precursors of trimethylamine (TMA). A similar fate is reported for N-trimethyllysine and γ-butyrobetaine. With the aim at investigating the metabolic profile of such metabolites in most employed animal dietary sources, HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses on ruminant and non-ruminant milk and meat were performed. Results demonstrate, for the first time, the presence of δ-valerobetaine, occurring at levels higher than γ-butyrobetaine in all ruminant samples compared to non-ruminants. Demonstration of δ-valerobetaine metabolic origin, surprisingly, showed that it originates from rumen through the transformation of dietary N-trimethyllysine. These results highlight our previous findings showing the ubiquity of free N-trimethyllysine in vegetable kingdom. Furthermore, δ-valerobetaine, similarly to γ-butyrobetaine, can be degraded by host gut microbiota producing TMA, precursor of the proatherogenic trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), unveiling its possible role in the biosynthetic route of TMAO.

  • Inflammatory Cytokines and SIRT1 Levels in Subcutaneous Abdominal Fat: Relationship With Cardiac Performance in Overweight Pre-diabetics Patients.

    Publication Date: 21/08/2018 on Frontiers in physiology
    by Sardu C, Pieretti G, D'Onofrio N, Ciccarelli F, Paolisso P, Passavanti MB, Marfella R, Cioffi M, Mone P, Dalise AM, Ferraraccio F, Panarese I, Gambardella A, Passariello N, Rizzo MR, Balestrieri ML, Nicoletti G, Barbieri M
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01030

    In obese patients the superficial adipose tissue expresses cytokines, and sirtuins, that may affect myocardial function. In this study, we investigated the effect of metformin therapy added to a hypocaloric diet on the inflammatory pattern and cardiac performance (MPI) in obese patients with pre-diabetic condition. Fifty-eight obese patients that were enrolled for abdominoplastic surgery were divided into patients with pre-diabetic condition (n 40) and normo-glycemic patients (n18). Patients with pre-diabetic condition were randomly assigned to metformin therapy added to a hypocaloric diet (group 1, n 20) or to a hypocaloric diet therapy alone (group 2, n20). Patients with normo-glycemic condition were assigned to a hypocaloric diet therapy. During enrollment, obese patients with a pre-diabetic condition (group 1 and 2) presented higher glucose values, lower values of insulin, and higher values of the homeostasis model for the assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) than obese patients with normo-glycemic condition(group 3). In addition, they had higher values of C Reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL6), and lower values of sirtuin 1(SIRT1). In the 12th month of the follow-up, metformin therapy induced in patients with pre-diabetic condition (group 1) a significant reduction of glucose values, HOMA-IR, and inflammatory markers such as CRP (1.04 ± 0.48 vs. 0.49 ± 0.02 mmol/L, < 0.05), IL6 (4.22 ± 0.45 vs. 3.33 ± 0.34 pg/ml, < 0.05), TNFα (6.95 ± 0.59 vs. 5.15 ± 0.44 pg/ml, < 0.05), and Nitrotyrosine (5,214 ± 0,702 vs. 2,151 ± 0,351 nmol/l, < 0.05). This was associated with a significant reduction of Intima-media thickness (1.01 ± 0.15 vs. 0.86 ± 0.15 mm, < 0.05), Septum (14 ± 2.5 vs. 10.5 ± 2 mm, < 0.05), Posterior wall (11 ± 1.5 vs. 8 ± 1 mm, < 0.05), LV mass (192.5 ± 49.5 vs. 133.2 ± 37.6 g, < 0.05) and of MPI (0.58 ± 0.03 vs. 0.38 ± 0.02, < 0.05). At 12 months of follow-up, group 2 experienced only a reduction of cholesterol (4.15 ± 0.94 vs. 4.51 ± 0.88 mmol/L, < 0.05) and triglycerides (1.71 ± 1.18 vs. 1.83 ± 0.54 mmol/L, < 0.05). At 12 months of follow-up, group 3 experienced a significant reduction of inflammatory markers, and also of echographic parameters, associated with amelioration of myocardial performance. To date, IL6 expression was related to higher values of left ventricle mass (-value 0.272, -value 0.039), and to higher IMT (-value 0.272, -value 0.039), such as those observed for CRP (-value 0.308, -value 0.021), for glucose blood values (-value 0.449, -value 0.001), and for HOMA-IR (-value 0.366, -value 0.005). An inverse correlation was found between subcutaneous fat expression of SIRT1 and myocardial performance index (-value-0.236, -value 0.002). In obese patients with pre-diabetic condition a metformin therapy may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and this may be associated with the amelioration of the cardiac performance. Clinical research trial number: NCT03439592.

  • Carnitine Precursors and Short-Chain Acylcarnitines in Water Buffalo Milk.

    Publication Date: 24/07/2018 on Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
    by Servillo L, D'Onofrio N, Neglia G, Casale R, Cautela D, Marrelli M, Limone A, Campanile G, Balestrieri ML
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b02963

    Ruminants' milk contains δ-valerobetaine originating from rumen through the transformation of dietary N-trimethyllysine. Among ruminant's milk, the occurrence of δ-valerobetaine, along with carnitine precursors and metabolites, has not been investigated in buffalo milk, the second most worldwide consumed milk, well-known for its nutritional value. HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of bulk milk revealed that the Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk contains δ-valerobetaine at levels higher than those in bovine milk. Importantly, we detected also γ-butyrobetaine, the l-carnitine precursor, never described so far in any milk. Of interest, buffalo milk shows higher levels of acetylcarnitine, propionylcarnitine, butyrylcarnitine, isobutyrylcarnitine, and 3-methylbutyrylcarnitine (isovalerylcarnitine) than cow milk. Moreover, buffalo milk shows isobutyrylcarnitine and butyrylcarnitine at a 1-to-1 molar ratio, while in cow's milk this ratio is 5 to 1. Results indicate a peculiar short-chain acylcarnitine profile characterizing buffalo milk, widening the current knowledge about its composition and nutritional value.

  • Ophthalmic acid is a marker of oxidative stress in plants as in animals.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2018 on Biochimica et biophysica acta
    by Servillo L, Castaldo D, Giovane A, Casale R, D'Onofrio N, Cautela D, Balestrieri ML
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2018.01.015

    Ophthalmic acid (OPH), γ-glutamyl-L-2-aminobutyryl-glycine, a tripeptide analogue of glutathione (GSH), has recently captured considerable attention as a biomarker of oxidative stress in animals. The OPH and GSH biosynthesis, as well as some biochemical behaviors, are very similar. Here, we sought to investigate the presence of OPH in plants and its possible relationship with GSH, known to possess multiple functions in the plant development, growth and response to environmental changes.