Marianna Crispino

Professor of Physiology

Name Marianna
Surname Crispino
Institution University of Naples – Federico II
Telephone +39 081 235 5079
Address Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 80126, Naples, Italy
Marianna Crispino


  • The microRNA-29a Modulates Serotonin 5-HT7 Receptor Expression and Its Effects on Hippocampal Neuronal Morphology.

    Publication Date: 10/07/2019 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Volpicelli F, Speranza L, Pulcrano S, De Gregorio R, Crispino M, De Sanctis C, Leopoldo M, Lacivita E, di Porzio U, Bellenchi GC, Perrone-Capano C
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-019-01690-x

    miRNAs are master regulators of gene expression in diverse biological processes, including the modulation of neuronal cytoarchitecture. The identification of their physiological target genes remains one of the outstanding challenges. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the activation of serotonin receptor 7 (5-HT7R) plays a key role in regulating the neuronal structure, synaptogenesis, and synaptic plasticity during embryonic and early postnatal development of the central nervous system (CNS). In order to identify putative miRNAs targeting the 3'UTR of 5-HT7R mouse transcript, we used a computational prediction tool and detected the miR-29 family members as the only candidates. Thus, since miR-29a is more expressed than other members in the brain, we investigated its possible involvement in the regulation of neuronal morphology mediated by 5-HT7R. By luciferase assay, we show that miR-29a can act as a post-transcriptional regulator of 5-HT7R mRNA. Indeed, it downregulates 5-HT7R gene expression in cultured hippocampal neurons, while the expression of other serotonin receptors is not affected. From a functional point of view, miR-29a overexpression in hippocampal primary cultures impairs the 5HT7R-dependent neurite elongation and remodeling through the inhibition of the ERK intracellular signaling pathway. In vivo, the upregulation of miR-29a in the developing hippocampus parallels with the downregulation of 5-HT7R expression, supporting the hypothesis that this miRNA is a physiological modulator of 5-HT7R expression in the CNS.

  • Milk From Cow Fed With High Forage/Concentrate Ratio Diet: Beneficial Effect on Rat Skeletal Muscle Inflammatory State and Oxidative Stress Through Modulation of Mitochondrial Functions and AMPK Activity.

    Publication Date: 17/01/2019 on Frontiers in physiology
    by Trinchese G, Cavaliere G, Penna E, De Filippo C, Cimmino F, Catapano A, Musco N, Tudisco R, Lombardi P, Infascelli F, Messina G, Muredda L, Banni S, Monda M, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01969

    Milk and dairy products are relevant components of daily diet and are part of dietary recommendation in many countries due to their content of key nutrients. However, the relatively high content of saturated fat of the milk and its extensive usage for every age group raises concerns about its potential negative health effects. Therefore, in the last years, several researchers dedicated their attention to milk production and quality. Milk fatty acids profile depend on cow feeding and in particular on the type of forage and concentrate and forage/concentrate ratio. It was demonstrated that feeding dairy cows with a 70/30 forage/concentrate ratio yields milk with a low ω6:ω3 ratio and high CLA levels. In this work, we demonstrated that the supplementation of rats diet with this high forage milk (HFM) results, in the skeletal muscle of these animals, in a reduced lipid content and inflammation levels, and an improved mitochondrial lipid oxidation, and redox status through modulation of AMPK activity.

  • Long Feeding High-Fat Diet Induces Hypothalamic Oxidative Stress and Inflammation, and Prolonged Hypothalamic AMPK Activation in Rat Animal Model.

    Publication Date: 06/07/2018 on Frontiers in physiology
    by Cavaliere G, Viggiano E, Trinchese G, De Filippo C, Messina A, Monda V, Valenzano A, Cincione RI, Zammit C, Cimmino F, Catapano A, Sessa F, Messina G, Monda M, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00818

    The hypothalamus is a key brain region involved in the control of feeding and energy expenditure. Hypothalamic inflammation and oxidative stress are landmarks of both obesity and aging processes, although the molecular mechanisms are still unknown. Therefore, with the aim to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of energy homeostasis during aging, we evaluate the effects of long feeding high-fat diet (HFD) in rats, at different age, on modulation of hypothalamic molecular pathway, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Male Wistar rats were divided into two groups: control group, receiving standard diet (CD), and treated group, receiving HFD. Both groups were treated with the appropriate diet for 1, 3, 6, 12, or 18 weeks. We investigated energy balance and body composition, as well as lipid profile, homeostatic model assessment index, and inflammatory state in serum. Furthermore, we also analyzed, at hypothalamic level, inflammation and oxidative stress, and adenosine monophosphate-dependent kinase (AMPK) and pAMPK expression levels. Our data showed that aging and HFD induce increased energy intake and energy efficiency and decreased energy expenditure associated, at hypothalamic level, with inflammation and oxidative stress and activation of AMPK. Our results indicate that the age at which HFD feeding starts and the diet duration are critical in obesity development. The prolonged activation of hypothalamic AMPK may be related to the alterations in energy homeostasis.

  • DNA in Squid Synaptosomes.

    Publication Date: 19/04/2018 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Cefaliello C, Prisco M, Crispino M, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-018-1071-3

    The synthesis of brain metabolic DNA (BMD) is modulated by learning and circadian oscillations and is not involved in cell division or DNA repair. Data from rats have highlighted its prevalent association with the mitochondrial fraction and its lack of identity with mtDNA. These features suggested that BMD could be localized in synaptosomes that are the major contaminants of brain mitochondrial fractions. The hypothesis has been examined by immunochemical analyses of the large synaptosomes of squid optic lobes that are readily prepared and identified. Optic lobe slices were incubated with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and the isolated synaptosomal fraction was exposed to the green fluorescent anti-BrdU antibody. This procedure revealed that newly synthesized BrdU-labeled BMD is present in a significant percent of the large synaptosomes derived from the nerve terminals of retinal photoreceptor neurons and in synaptosomal bodies of smaller size. Synaptosomal BMD synthesis was strongly inhibited by actinomycin D. In addition, treatment of the synaptosomal fraction with Hoechst 33258, a blue fluorescent dye specific for dsDNA, indicated that native DNA was present in all synaptosomes. The possible role of synaptic BMD is briefly discussed.

  • Human Milk and Donkey Milk, Compared to Cow Milk, Reduce Inflammatory Mediators and Modulate Glucose and Lipid Metabolism, Acting on Mitochondrial Function and Oleylethanolamide Levels in Rat Skeletal Muscle.

    Publication Date: 30/01/2018 on Frontiers in physiology
    by Trinchese G, Cavaliere G, De Filippo C, Aceto S, Prisco M, Chun JT, Penna E, Negri R, Muredda L, Demurtas A, Banni S, Berni-Canani R, Mattace Raso G, Calignano A, Meli R, Greco L, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00032

    Milk from various species differs in nutrient composition. In particular, human milk (HM) and donkey milk (DM) are characterized by a relative high level of triacylglycerol enriched in palmitic acid in sn-2 position. These dietary fats seem to exert beneficial nutritional properties through N-acylethanolamine tissue modulation. The aim of this study is to compare the effects of cow milk (CM), DM, and HM on inflammation and glucose and lipid metabolism, focusing on mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics in skeletal muscle, which is the major determinant of resting metabolic rate. Moreover, we also evaluated the levels of endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines in liver and skeletal muscle, since tissue fatty acid profiles can be modulated by nutrient intervention. To this aim, rats were fed with CM, DM, or HM for 4 weeks. Then, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were analyzed. Pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in serum and skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle was also processed to estimate mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics, oxidative stress, and antioxidant/detoxifying enzyme activities. Fatty acid profiles, endocannabinoids, and N-acylethanolamine congeners were determined in liver and skeletal muscle tissue. We demonstrated that DM or HM administration reducing inflammation status, improves glucose disposal and insulin resistance and reduces lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle. Moreover, HM or DM administration increases redox status, and mitochondrial uncoupling, affecting mitochondrial dynamics in the skeletal muscle. Interestingly, HM and DM supplementation increase liver and muscle levels of the N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), a key regulator of lipid metabolism and inflammation. HM and DM have a healthy nutritional effect, acting on inflammatory factors and glucose and lipid metabolism. This beneficial effect is associated to a modulation of mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics and to an increase of OEA levels in skeletal muscle.

  • Information content of dendritic spines after motor learning.

    Publication Date: 15/01/2018 on Behavioural brain research
    by Viggiano D, Speranza L, Crispino M, Bellenchi GC, di Porzio U, Iemolo A, De Leonibus E, Volpicelli F, Perrone-Capano C
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.09.020

    Dendritic spines, small protrusions emerging from the dendrites of most excitatory synapses in the mammalian brain, are highly dynamic structures and their shape and number is continuously modulated by memory formation and other adaptive changes of the brain. In this study, using a behavioral paradigm of motor learning, we applied the non-linear analysis of dendritic spines to study spine complexity along dendrites of cortical and subcortical neural systems, such as the basal ganglia, that sustain important motor learning processes. We show that, after learning, the spine organization has greater complexity, as indexed by the maximum Lyapunov exponent (LyE). The positive value of the exponent demonstrates that the system is chaotic, while recurrence plots show that the system is not simply composed by random noise, but displays quasi-periodic behavior. The increase in the maximum LyE and in the system entropy after learning was confirmed by the modification of the reconstructed trajectories in phase-space. Our results suggest that the remodeling of spines, as a result of a chaotic and non-random dynamical process along dendrites, may be a general feature associated with the structural plasticity underlying processes such as long-term memory maintenance. Furthermore, this work indicates that the non-linear method is a very useful tool to allow the detection of subtle stimulus-induced changes in dendritic spine dynamics, giving a key contribution to the study of the relationship between structure and function of spines.

  • Milk from cows fed a diet with a high forage:concentrate ratio improves inflammatory state, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial function in rats.

    Publication Date: 28/12/2017 on Journal of dairy science
    by Cavaliere G, Trinchese G, Musco N, Infascelli F, De Filippo C, Mastellone V, Morittu VM, Lombardi P, Tudisco R, Grossi M, Monda V, Cutrignelli MI, Messina A, Calabrò S, Moni HB, Stradella L, Messina G, Monda M, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3168/jds.2017-13550

    Excessive energy intake may evoke complex biochemical processes characterized by inflammation, oxidative stress, and impairment of mitochondrial function that represent the main factors underlying noncommunicable diseases. Because cow milk is widely used for human nutrition and in food industry processing, the nutritional quality of milk is of special interest with respect to human health. In our study, we analyzed milk produced by dairy cows fed a diet characterized by a high forage:concentrate ratio (high forage milk, HFM). In view of the low n-6:n-3 ratio and high content of conjugated linoleic acid of HFM, we studied the effects of this milk on lipid metabolism, inflammation, mitochondrial function, and oxidative stress in a rat model. To this end, we supplemented for 4 wk the diet of male Wistar rats with HFM and with an isocaloric amount (82 kJ, 22 mL/d) of milk obtained from cows fed a diet with low forage:concentrate ratio, and analyzed the metabolic parameters of the animals. Our results indicate that HFM may positively affect lipid metabolism, leptin:adiponectin ratio, inflammation, mitochondrial function, and oxidative stress, providing the first evidence of the beneficial effects of HFM on rat metabolism.

  • Squid Giant Axons Synthesize NF Proteins.

    Publication Date: 02/05/2017 on Molecular neurobiology
    by Crispino M, Chun JT, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1007/s12035-017-0561-z

    Squid giant axon has been an excellent model system for studying fundamental topics in neurobiology such as neuronal signaling. It has been also useful in addressing the questions of local protein synthesis in the axons. Incubation of isolated squid giant axons with [(35)S]methionine followed by immunoprecipitation with a rabbit antibody against all squid neurofilament (NF) proteins demonstrates the local synthesis of a major 180 kDa NF protein and of several NF proteins of lower molecular weights. Their identification as NF proteins is based on their absence in the preimmune precipitates. Immunoprecipitates washed with more stringent buffers confirmed these results. Our data are at variance with a recent study based on the same experimental procedure that failed to visualize the local synthesis of NF proteins by the giant axon and thereby suggested their exclusive derivation from nerve cell bodies (as reported by Gainer et al. in Cell Mol Neurobiol 37:475-486, 2017). By reviewing the pertinent literature, we confute the claims that mRNA translation is absent in mature axons because of a putative translation block and that most proteins of mature axons are synthesized in the surrounding glial cells. Given the intrinsic axonal capacity to synthesize proteins, we stress the glial derivation of axonal and presynaptic RNAs and the related proposal that these neuronal domains are endowed with largely independent gene expression systems (as reported by Giuditta et al. in Physiol Rev 88:515-555, 2008).

  • Butyrate Regulates Liver Mitochondrial Function, Efficiency, and Dynamic, in Insulin Resistant Obese Mice.

    Publication Date: 21/02/2017 on Diabetes
    by Mollica MP, Raso GM, Cavaliere G, Trinchese G, De Filippo C, Aceto S, Prisco M, Pirozzi C, Di Guida F, Lama A, Crispino M, Tronino D, Di Vaio P, Canani RB, Calignano A, Meli R
    DOI: 10.2337/db16-0924

    Fatty liver, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction are key pathophysiological features of insulin resistance and obesity. Butyrate, produced by fermentation in the large intestine by gut microbiota, and its synthetic derivative, the N-(1-carbamoyl-2-phenyl-ethyl) butyramide, FBA, have been demonstrated to be protective against insulin resistance and fatty liver.Here, hepatic mitochondria were identified as the main target of the beneficial effect of both butyrate-based compounds in reverting insulin resistance and fat accumulation in diet induced obese mice. In particular, butyrate and FBA improved respiratory capacity and fatty acid oxidation, activating AMPK-ACC pathway, and promoted inefficient metabolism, as shown by the increase in proton leak. Consistently, both treatments increase utilization of substrates, especially fatty acids, leading to the reduction of intracellular lipid accumulation and oxidative stress. Finally, the shift of mitochondrial dynamic toward fusion by butyrate and FBA resulting in the improvement not only of mitochondrial cell energy metabolism but also of glucose homeostasis.In conclusion, butyrate and its more palatable synthetic derivative, FBA, modulating mitochondrial function, efficiency and dynamic, can be considered a new therapeutic strategy to counteract obesity and insulin resistance.

  • Effects of an High-Fat Diet Enriched in Lard or in Fish Oil on the Hypothalamic Amp-Activated Protein Kinase and Inflammatory Mediators.

    Publication Date: 09/06/2016 on Frontiers in cellular neuroscience
    by Viggiano E, Mollica MP, Lionetti L, Cavaliere G, Trinchese G, De Filippo C, Chieffi S, Gaita M, Barletta A, De Luca B, Crispino M, Monda M
    DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00150

    The high fat diet (HFD) rich in lard induces obesity, inflammation and oxidative stress, and the deregulation of hypothalamic nuclei plays an important role in this mechanism. One important factor involved in the food intake and inflammation is adenosine monophosphate-dependent kinase (AMPK), a serine/threonine kinase activated by phosphorylation. Omega (ω)3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are dietary compounds known to attenuate the obesity-related diseases, although the molecular mechanisms underlying their actions in the hypothalamus are not completely understood. We hypothesized that the beneficial effects of PUFA may be mediated by AMPK in the hypothalamus. To this aim, rats were fed a control diet (CD), or isocaloric HFD containing either fish oil (FD; rich in ω3-PUFA) or lard for 6 weeks, and the activation of AMPK, inflammatory state (IKKβ, TNF-α) and oxidative stress were analyzed in the hypothalamus. In addition, we also studied serum lipid profile, homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index, and pro-inflammatory parameters. Our results showed, at the hypothalamic level of LD-fed rats, an increase of AMPK activation, inflammation and oxidative stress, while no modifications were detected in FD-fed animals compared to CD. In addition body weight gain, serum lipid profile, pro-inflammatory parameters and insulin resistance were reduced in FD animals compared to LD. In conclusion, our data indicate that the substitution of saturated by unsaturated fatty acids in the diet has beneficial effects on modulation of hypothalamic inflammation and function in obesity, underlying, at hypothalamic level, the interaction among insulin and/or leptin resistance, AMPK activation and hyperphagia.