Marina Melone

Professor of Neurology
Director of the CIRN

Name Marina
Surname Melone
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Telephone +39 081 566 6810
Mobile +39 333 956 6365
E-Mail marina.melone@unicampania.it
Address Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic Sciences, and Aging, 2nd Division of Neurology, Center for Rare Diseases, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Napoli, Italy
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Marina Melone

Member PUBLICATIONS

  • Verapamil Inhibits Ser202/Thr205 Phosphorylation of Tau by Blocking TXNIP/ROS/p38 MAPK Pathway.

    Publication Date: 05/02/2018 on Pharmaceutical research
    by Melone MAB, Dato C, Paladino S, Coppola C, Trebini C, Giordana MT, Perrone L
    DOI: 10.1007/s11095-017-2276-2

    Oxidative stress is a hallmark of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and promotes tau phosphorylation. Since Thioredoxin Interacting protein (TXNIP), the inhibitor of the anti-oxidant system of Thioredoxin, is up regulated in the hippocampus of AD patients, we investigated whether TXNIP plays a role in promoting tau phosphorylation and whether Verapamil, an inhibitor of TXNIP expression, prevents TXNIP downstream effects.

  • Autosomal dominant myopia associated to a novel P4HA2 missense variant and defective collagen hydroxylation.

    Publication Date: 24/01/2018 on Clinical genetics
    by Napolitano F, Di Iorio V, Testa F, Tirozzi A, Reccia MG, Lombardi L, Farina O, Simonelli F, Gianfrancesco F, Di Iorio G, Melone MAB, Esposito T, Sampaolo S
    DOI: 10.1111/cge.13217

    We recently described a complex multisystem syndrome in which mild-moderate myopia segregated as an independent trait. A plethora of genes has been related to sporadic and familial myopia. More recently, in Chinese patients severe myopia (MYP25, OMIM:617238) has been linked to mutations in P4HA2 gene. Seven family members complaining of reduced distance vision especially at dusk underwent complete ophthalmological examination. Whole exome sequencing was performed to identify the gene responsible for myopia in the pedigree. Moderate myopia was diagnosed in the family which was associated to the novel missense variant c.1147A>G p.(Lys383Glu) in the prolyl 4-hydroxylase,alpha-polypeptide 2 (P4HA2) gene, which catalyzes the formation of 4-hydroxyproline residues in the collagen strands. In vitro studies demonstrated P4HA2 mRNA and protein reduced expression level as well as decreased collagen hydroxylation and deposition in mutated fibroblast primary cultures compared to healthy cell lines. This study suggests that P4HA2 mutations may lead to myopic axial elongation of eyeball as a consequence of quantitative and structural alterations of collagen. This is the first confirmatory study which associates a novel dominant missense variant in P4HA2 with myopia in Caucasian patients. Further studies in larger cohorts are advisable to fully clarify genotype-phenotype correlations.

  • Vacuolated PAS-positive lymphocytes as an hallmark of Pompe disease and other myopathies related to impaired autophagy.

    Publication Date: 07/12/2017 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Pascarella A, Terracciano C, Farina O, Lombardi L, Esposito T, Napolitano F, Franzese G, Panella G, Tuccillo F, la Marca G, Bernardini S, Boffo S, Giordano A, Melone MAB, Di Iorio G, Sampaolo S
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.26365

    Autosomal recessive Pompe disease is a lysosomal disorder caused by mutations of the acid-α-glucosidase (GAA) gene. Deficiency of GAA enzyme leads to glycogen accumulation and autophagy impairment in cardiac and skeletal muscles, but also in lymphocytes. Since an effective therapy is available, a rapid, sensitive and specific test is crucial to early identify affected subjects. Number of lymphocytes containing PAS-positive vacuoles was evaluated on blood films from 72 consecutive adult patients with hyperckemia and/or muscle weakness, 13 genetically confirmed late-onset-Pompe-disease (LOPD) and 13 of their offspring. GAA activity, measured on dried blood spot (DBS) in all patients inversely correlated with number of PAS-positive lymphocytes. More than 4 PAS-positive lymphocytes were found in 11 out of the 72 patients (6 new diagnosis of LOPD, 3 different glycogen storage myopathies, 1 glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, 1 caveolinopathy), in all 13 LOPD patients and in the 13 LOPD offspring. These latter resulted to have all a single GAA mutation but low GAA levels. Immunostaining with the autophagy markers LC3 and p62 confirmed the autophagic nature of lymphocytes vacuoles. ROC curve assessment of PAS-positive lymphocytes disclosed 100% of sensitivity and 94% of specificity in recognizing both compound heterozygous and heterozygous GAA carriers. The other myopathies with more than 4 PAS-positive lymphocytes appeared to be all related to impaired autophagy, which seems to be responsible of PAS-positive vacuolated lymphocytes formation. Quantification of PAS-positive lymphocytes in blood films is useful to identify autophagic vacuolar myopathies and should be routinely used as first level test for Pompe disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Localization of neuroglobin in the brain of R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease.

    Publication Date: 03/11/2017 on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Cardinale A, Fusco FR, Paldino E, Giampà C, Marino M, Nuzzo MT, D'Angelo V, Laurenti D, Straccia G, Fasano D, Sarnataro D, Squillaro T, Paladino S, Melone MAB
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-017-3168-2

    Neuroglobin (Ngb) is expressed in the central and peripheral nervous system, cerebrospinal fluid, retina, and endocrine tissues where it is involved in binding O2 and other gasotransmitters. Several studies have highlighted its endogenous neuroprotective function. Huntington's disease (HD), a dominant hereditary disease, is characterized by the gradual loss of neurons in discrete areas of the central nervous system. We analyzed the expression of Ngb in the brain tissue of a mouse model of HD, in order to define the role of Ngb with respect to individual cell type vulnerability in HD and to gender and age of mice. Our results showed different expressions of Ngb among neurons of a specific region and between different brain regions. We evidenced a decreased intensity of Ngb at 13 weeks of age, compared to 7 weeks of age. The double immunofluorescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments showed that the co-localization between Ngb and huntingtin at the subcellular level was not close enough to account for a direct interaction. We also observed a different expression of Ngb in the striatum, depending on the sex and age of animals. These findings provide the first experimental evidence for an adaptive response of Ngb in HD, suggesting that Ngb may exert neuroprotective effects in HD beyond its role in reducing sensitivity to oxidative stress.

  • Identification of the first dominant mutation of LAMA5 gene causing a complex multisystem syndrome due to dysfunction of the extracellular matrix.

    Publication Date: 01/10/2017 on Journal of medical genetics
    by Sampaolo S, Napolitano F, Tirozzi A, Reccia MG, Lombardi L, Farina O, Barra A, Cirillo F, Melone MAB, Gianfrancesco F, Iorio GD, Esposito T
    DOI: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2017-104555

    The laminin alpha 5 gene (LAMA5) plays a master role in the maintenance and function of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in mammalian tissues, which is critical in developmental patterning, stem cell niches, cancer and genetic diseases. Its mutations have never been reported in human disease so far. The aim of this study was to associate the first mutation in LAMA5 gene to a novel multisystem syndrome.

  • 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.

  • Resveratrol protects neuronal-like cells expressing mutant Huntingtin from dopamine toxicity by rescuing ATG4-mediated autophagosome formation.

    Publication Date: 19/05/2017 on Neurochemistry international
    by Vidoni C, Secomandi E, Castiglioni A, Melone MAB, Isidoro C
    DOI: 10.1016/j.neuint.2017.05.013

    Parkinsonian-like motor deficits in Huntington's Disease (HD) patients are associated with abnormal dopamine neurotransmission in the striatum. Dopamine metabolism leads to the formation of oxidized dopamine quinones that exacerbates mitochondrial dysfunction with production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that eventually lead to neuronal cell death. We have previously shown that dopamine-induced oxidative stress triggers apoptotic cell death in dopaminergic neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells hyper-expressing the mutant polyQ Huntingtin (polyQ-Htt) protein. Dopamine toxicity was paralleled by impaired autophagy clearance of the polyQ-Htt aggregates. In this study, we found that Dopamine affects the stability and function of ATG4, a redox-sensitive cysteine-protein involved in the processing of LC3, a key step in the formation of autophagosomes. Resveratrol, a dietary polyphenol with anti-oxidant and pro-autophagic properties, has shown neuroprotective potential in HD. Yet the molecular mechanism through which Resveratrol can protect HD cells against DA is not known. Here, we show that Resveratrol prevents the generation of ROS, restores the level of ATG4, allows the lipidation of LC3, facilitates the degradation of polyQ-Htt aggregates and protects the cells from Dopamine toxicity. The present findings provide a mechanistic explanation of the neuroprotective activity of Resveratrol and support its inclusion in a therapeutic regimen to slow down HD progression.

  • Multiple spinal nerve enlargement and SOS1 mutation: further evidence of overlap between Neurofibromatosis type 1 and Noonan phenotype.

    Publication Date: 29/04/2017 on Clinical genetics
    by Santoro C, Giugliano T, Melone MAB, Cirillo M, Schettino C, Bernardo P, Cirillo G, Perrotta S, Piluso G
    DOI: 10.1111/cge.13047

    Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) has long been considered a well-defined, recognizable monogenic disorder, with neurofibromas constituting a pathognomonic sign. This dogma has been challenged by recent descriptions of patients with enlarged nerves or paraspinal tumors, suggesting that neurogenic tumors and hypertrophic neuropathy may be a complication of Noonan syndrome with multiple lentigines or RASopathy phenotype. We describe a 15-year-old boy, whose mother previously received clinical diagnosis of NF1 due to presence of bilateral cervical and lumbar spinal lesions resembling plexiform neurofibromas and features suggestive of Noonan syndrome. NF1 molecular analysis was negative in the mother. The boy presented with Noonan features, multiple lentigines and pectus excavatum. NGS analysis of all RASopathy genes identified p.Ser548Arg missense mutation in SOS1 in the boy, confirmed in his mother. Brain and spinal MRI scans were negative in the boy. No heart involvement or deafness was observed in proband or mother. This is the first report of a SOS1 mutation associated with hypertrophic neuropathy resembling plexiform neurofibromas, a rare complication in Noonan phenotypes with mutations in RASopathy genes. Our results highlight the overlap between RASopathies, suggesting that NF1 diagnostic criteria need rethinking. Genetic analysis of RASopathy genes should be considered when diagnosis is uncertain.

  • 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.