on Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany)
by Squillaro T, Finicelli M, Alessio N, Del Gaudio S, Di Bernardo G, Melone MAB, Peluso G, Galderisi U
Base excision repair (BER) is a frontline repair mechanism that operates through the G phase of the cell cycle, which ensures the genome integrity by repairing thousands of DNA lesions due to endogenous and exogenous agents. Its correct functioning is fundamental for cell viability and the health of the organism. Uracil is one of the most prevalent lesions that appears in DNA arising by spontaneous or enzymatic deamination of cytosine or misincorporation of the deoxyuridine 5'-triphosphate nucleotide (dUTP) in place of deoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate (dTTP) during DNA replication. In the first pathway, the uracil will preferentially pair with adenine, leading to C:G → T:A transition. When uracil in DNA arises from misincorporation of dUTP instead of dTTP, this process will result in A:U pairs. Organisms counteract the mutagenic effects of uracil in DNA using the BER repair system, which is mediated by a member of the uracil-DNA glycosylase (UDG) superfamily. Several assays evaluating the in vitro BER enzyme activity have been described so far. Some of these measure the BER activity by an oligonucleotide incision assay using radiolabeled duplex oligo. Others use circular double-stranded DNA substrates containing a defined lesion. The novelty of our method resides in its rapidity and safety (radioactive free detection) as well as in the possibility of having a reliable quantitative determination of UDG activity in both cell and tissue extracts. We also demonstrated the effectiveness of our method in assessing UDG activity in cell lines with a reduced DNA repair capacity and in different kinds of tissues. KEY MESSAGES: • Base excision repair is a fundamental repair mechanism ensuring the genome integrity. • Uracil is one of the most prevalent lesions that appears in DNA. • The mutagenic effects of uracil in DNA are mitigated by the uracil-DNA glycosylase. • Several assays evaluating the in vitro BER activity have been described so far. • A safe and quantitative assay evaluating the in vitro UDG activity is required.
on Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)
by Squillaro T, Finicelli M, Peluso G, Galderisi U
on Journal of cellular physiology
by Di Cristo F, Finicelli M, Digilio FA, Paladino S, Valentino A, Scialò F, D'Apolito M, Saturnino C, Galderisi U, Giordano A, Melone MAB, Peluso G
Mitochondrial dysfunction seems to play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD). We assessed possible neuroprotective actions of meldonium, a small molecule affecting mitochondrial fuel metabolism, in in vitro and in vivo HD models. We found that meldonium was able to prevent cytotoxicity induced by serum deprivation, to reduce the accumulation of mutated huntingtin (mHtt) aggregates, and to upregulate the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) in mHTT-expressing cells. The PGC-1α increase was accompanied by the increment of mitochondrial mass and by the rebalancing of mitochondrial dynamics with a promotion of the mitochondrial fusion. Meldonium-induced PGC-1α significantly alleviated motor dysfunction and prolonged the survival of a transgenic HD Drosophila model in which mHtt expression in the nervous system led to progressive motor performance deficits. Our study strongly suggests that PGC-1α, as a master coregulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, energy homeostasis, and antioxidant defense, is a potential therapeutic target in HD.
on Journal of cellular physiology
by Finicelli M, Squillaro T, Di Cristo F, Di Salle A, Melone MAB, Galderisi U, Peluso G
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is defined as the co-occurrence of metabolic risk factors that includes insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and visceral obesity. The clinical significance of MetS consists of identifying a subgroup of patients sharing a common physiopathological state predisposing to chronic diseases. Clinical and scientific studies pinpoint lifestyle modification as an effective strategy aiming to reduce several features accountable for the risk of MetS onset. Among the healthy dietary patterns, the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) emerges in terms of beneficial properties associated with longevity. Current evidence highlights the protective effect exerted by MedDiet on the different components of MetS. Interestingly, the effect exerted by polyphenols contained within the representative MedDiet components (i.e., olive oil, red wine, and nuts) seems to be accountable for the beneficial properties associated to this dietary pattern. In this review, we aim to summarize the principal evidence regarding the effectiveness of MedDiet-polyphenols in preventing or delaying the physiopathological components accountable for MetS onset. These findings may provide useful insights concerning the health properties of MedDiet-polyphenols as well as the novel targets destined to a tailored approach to MetS.
by Valentino A, Calarco A, Di Salle A, Finicelli M, Crispi S, Calogero RA, Riccardo F, Sciarra A, Gentilucci A, Galderisi U, Margarucci S, Peluso G
Cancer cells reprogram their metabolism to maintain both viability and uncontrolled proliferation. Although an interplay between the genetic, epigenetic and metabolic rewiring in cancer is beginning to emerge, it remains unclear how this metabolic plasticity occurs. Here, we report that in prostate cancer cells (PCCs) microRNAs (miRNAs) greatly contribute to deregulation of mitochondrial fatty acid (FA) oxidation via carnitine system modulation. We provide evidence that the downregulation of hsa-miR-124-3p, hsa-miR-129-5p and hsa-miR-378 induced an increase in both expression and activity of CPT1A, CACT and CrAT in malignant prostate cells. Moreover, the analysis of human prostate cancer and prostate control specimens confirmed the aberrant expression of miR-124-3p, miR-129-5p and miR-378 in primary tumors. Forced expression of the miRNAs mentioned above affected tumorigenic properties, such as proliferation, migration and invasion, in PC3 and LNCaP cells regardless of their hormone sensitivity. CPT1A, CACT and CrAT overexpression allow PCCs to be more prone on FA utilization than normal prostate cells, also in the presence of high pyruvate concentration. Finally, the simultaneous increase of CPT1A, CACT and CrAT is fundamental for PCCs to sustain FA oxidation in the presence of heavy lipid load on prostate cancer mitochondria. Indeed, the downregulation of only one of these proteins reduces PCCs metabolic flexibility with the accumulation of FA-intermediate metabolites in the mitochondria. Together, our data implicate carnitine cycle as a primary regulator of adaptive metabolic reprogramming in PCCs and suggest new potential druggable pathways for prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.
on Journal of cellular physiology
by Rinaldi B, Finicelli M, Donniacuo M, Bernardo GD, Gritti G, Gaudio SD, Forte A, Peluso G, Cipollaro M, Rossi F, Galderisi U
Restenosis is a complex pathophysiological disease whose causative mechanisms are not fully understood. Previous studies allowed us to demonstrate the efficacy of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) transplantation in limiting the pathophysiological remodeling in a model of arteriotomy-induced (re) stenosis. In the current research we studied the effectiveness of G-CSF treatment on male rate rats that were subjected carotid arteriotomy in order to evaluate a potentially effective non-invasive strategy that recapitulates the MSC-mediated recovery of injured vessels. WKY male rats were subjected carotid arteriotomy and given a nine day treatment (3 days pre- to 6 days post-arteriotomy) with G-CSF or saline. Carotids were harvested 7 and 30 days following arteriotomy (early- and late-phase, respectively). Although morphometrical analysis did not reveal differences in lumen narrowing between G-CSF- and PBS-carotids 30 days following arteriotomy, we detected a noticeable conservative effect of G-CSF treatment on vascular wall morphology. Histological and molecular analysis revealed an increase in cellularity within the tunica media with a concomitant increase of the VSMCs differentiation markers both at early- and late-phases of (re) stenotic response in G-CSF-treated carotids (Sm22-alpha, Myocd, and Smtn). These findings were accompanied by the downregulation of oxidative stress-related genes in G-CSF-injured rats. The effect exerted by G-CSF in our model of arteriotomy-induced (re) stenosis seemed support the recovery of the architecture of the tunica media of injured vessels by: (i) inducing VSMCs differentiation; and (ii) limiting the oxidative-stress response induced by arteriotomy.
by Finicelli M, Benedetti G, Squillaro T, Pistilli B, Marcellusi A, Mariani P, Santinelli A, Latini L, Galderisi U, Giordano A
The events leading to breast cancer (BC) progression or recurrence are not completely understood and new prognostic markers aiming at identifying high risk-patients and to develop suitable therapy are highly demanded. Experimental evidences found in cancer cells a deregulated expression of some genes involved in governance of stem cell properties and demonstrated a relationship between stemness genes overexpression and poorly differentiated BC subtypes. In the present study 140 primary invasive BC specimens were collected. The expression profiles of 13 genes belonging to the OCT3/SOX2/NANOG/KLF4 core circuitry by RT-PCR were analyzed and any correlation between their expression and the BC clinic-pathological features (CPfs) and prognosis was investigated. In our cohort (117 samples), NANOG, GDF3 and SOX2 significantly correlated with grade 2, Nodes negative status and higher KI67 proliferation index, respectively (p=0.019, p=0.029, p= 0.035). According to multivariate analysis, SOX2 expression resulted independently associated with increased risk of recurrence (HR= 2,99; p= p=0,004) as well as Nodes status (HR=2,44; p=0,009) and T-size >1 (HR=1,77; p=0,035). Our study provides further proof of the suitable use of stemness genes in BC management. Interestingly, a prognostic role of SOX2, which seems to be a suitable marker of early recurrence irrespective of other clinicopathological features.
on Clinical science (London, England : 1979)
by Forte A, Della Corte A, Grossi M, Bancone C, Provenzano R, Finicelli M, De Feo M, De Santo LS, Nappi G, Cotrufo M, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M
Previous studies on BAV (bicuspid aortic valve)-related aortopathy, whose aetiology is still debated, have focused mainly on severe dilatations. In the present study, we aimed to detect earlier signs of aortopathy. Specimens were collected from the 'concavity' (lesser curvature) and the 'convexity' (greater curvature) of mildly dilated AAs (ascending aortas; diameter ≤4 cm) with stenotic TAV (tricuspid aortic valve) or BAV and from donor normal aortas. Specimens were submitted to morphometry, immunohistochemistry and differential gene-expression analysis, focusing on SMC (smooth muscle cell) phenotype, remodelling, MF (myofibroblast) differentiation and TGFβ (transforming growth factor β) pathway. Smoothelin and myocardin mRNAs decreased in all the samples from patients, with the exception of those from BAV convexity, where a change in orientation of smoothelin-positive SMCs and an increase of α-SMA (α-smooth muscle actin) mRNA occurred. Dilated aortas from BAV and TAV patients showed both shared and distinct alterations concerning the TGFβ pathway, including an increased TGFβ and TGFβR2 (TGFβ receptor 2) expression in both groups and a decreased TGFβR1 expression in BAV samples only. Despite a decrease of the mRNA coding for the ED-A (extra domain-A) isoform of FN (fibronectin) in the BAV convexity, the onset of the expression of the corresponding protein in the media was observed in dilated aortas, whereas the normal media from donors was negative for this isoform. This discrepancy could be related to modifications in the intima, normally expressing ED-A FN and showing an altered structure in mild aortic dilatations in comparison with donor aorta. Our results suggest that changes in SMC phenotype and, likely, MF differentiation, occur early in the aortopathy associated with valve stenosis. The defective expression of TGFβR1 in BAV might be a constitutive feature, while other changes we reported could be influenced by haemodynamics.
on Cardiovascular drugs and therapy
by Forte A, Rinaldi B, Sodano L, Berrino L, Rossi F, Finicelli M, Grossi M, Cobellis G, Botti C, De Feo M, Santè P, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M
Restenosis is a complex and heterogeneous pathophysiological phenomenon occurring in patients submitted to revascularization procedures. Previous studies proved the antirestenotic properties of injected allogenic mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in an experimental model of rat carotid (re)stenosis induced through arteriotomy. In this study we describe some of the effects subsequent to MSC treatment of rats submitted to carotid arteriotomy and possibly responsible for their antirestenotic effect.
on Histology and histopathology
by Forte A, Della Corte A, Grossi M, Finicelli M, Bancone C, Provenzano R, Pepino P, Nappi GA, De Feo M, Galderisi U, Cotrufo M, Cipollaro M
Knowledge of the characteristics of the normal human aorta has been constrained by lack of data on fresh aortic tissue, especially from healthy individuals. In this study, the gene expression and morphological characteristics of the thoracic ascending aorta (AA) of healthy organ donors have been evaluated, with the aim of providing reference data for the analysis of pathological AAs. We analysed by RT-PCR the differential expression of mRNAs coding for myocardin, smoothelin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and the ED-A isoform of fibronectin (ED-A FN) in AA specimens from donors, integrating the results with immunohistochemical analysis of the same targets. Morphological and morphometric characteristics of the AAs were also evaluated. In order to account for possible regional variations in wall structure, the convexity of the aortic profile was compared to the concavity. No differences in gene expression occurred for any of the target genes between the concavity and the convexity of AAs. Immunohistochemistry revealed a different distribution of total FN and of its ED-A isoform in the media and in the intima. Smoothelin is expressed by the majority of cells in the media, with some positive cells also in the intima. Alpha-SMA is expressed in all the tunicae. Immunohistochemistry also revealed in the convexity of 50% of AAs the presence of discrete areas in the subadventital media with altered structure and cell morphology and with altered gene expression, resulting positive for ED-A FN and alpha-SMA, but not for smoothelin, indicating the occurrence of early lesions also in macroscopically healthy AAs.