Umberto Galderisi

Professor of Molecular Biology

Name Umberto
Surname Galderisi
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Telephone +39 081 566 75 85
Address Dept. of Experimental Medicine, Via Luigi De Crecchio 7 – 80138 Napoli, Italy
Umberto Galderisi


  • Low dose radiation induced senescence of human mesenchymal stromal cells and impaired the autophagy process.

    Publication Date: 10/04/2015 on Oncotarget
    by Alessio N, Del Gaudio S, Capasso S, Di Bernardo G, Cappabianca S, Cipollaro M, Peluso G, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.2692

    Low doses of radiation may have profound effects on cellular function. Individuals may be exposed to low doses of radiation either intentionally for medical purposes or accidentally, such as those exposed to radiological terrorism or those who live near illegal radioactive waste dumpsites.We studied the effects of low dose radiation on human bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC), which contain a subpopulation of stem cells able to differentiate in bone, cartilage, and fat; support hematopoiesis; and contribute to body's homeostasis.The main outcome of low radiation exposure, besides reduction of cell cycling, is the triggering of senescence, while the contribution to apoptosis is minimal. We also showed that low radiation affected the autophagic flux. We hypothesize that the autophagy prevented radiation deteriorative processes, and its decline contributed to senescence.An increase in ATM staining one and six hours post-irradiation and return to basal level at 48 hours, along with persistent gamma-H2AX staining, indicated that MSC properly activated the DNA repair signaling, though some damages remained unrepaired, mainly in non-cycling cells. This suggested that the impaired DNA repair capacity of irradiated MSC seemed mainly related to the reduced activity of a non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) system rather than HR (homologous recombination).

  • De-regulated expression of the BRG1 chromatin remodeling factor in bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells induces senescence associated with the silencing of NANOG and changes in the levels of chromatin proteins.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2015 on Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
    by Squillaro T, Severino V, Alessio N, Farina A, Di Bernardo G, Cipollaro M, Peluso G, Chambery A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.4161/15384101.2014.995053

    Stem cells have a peculiar chromatin architecture that contributes to their unique properties, including uncommitted status, multi/pluripotency and self-renewal. We analyzed the effect of the de-regulation of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) through the silencing and up-regulation of BRG1, which is the ATPase subunit of the complex. The altered expression of BRG1 promoted the senescence of MSC with suppression of the NANOG transcription, which is part of the transcriptional circuitry governing stem cell functions. To gain insight on the way NANOG was silenced, we evaluated how the de-regulated BRG1 expression affect the binding of activators and repressors on the NANOG promoter. We found 4 E2F binding motifs on NANOG promoter, which can be occupied by RB1 and RB2/P130. These are members of the retinoblastoma gene family. In MSC with a silenced BRG1, the relative binding of the 2 retinoblastoma proteins increased, and this was associated with the recruitment of DNMT1. This induced the methylation of CpG on the NANOG promoter. Opposingly, when a high level of BRG1 was present, the same E2F binding motifs were docking sites for BRG1, which induced chromatin compaction without CpG methylation but with increased histone deacetylation, associated with the presence of HDAC1 on E2F binding sites. Besides the sharp regulation of the NANOG expression, we evidenced, through proteomic analysis, that the de-regulation of the SWI/SNF function affected the expression of histones and other nuclear proteins involved in "nuclear architecture," suggesting that BRG1 may act as global regulator of gene expression.

  • Novel potential targets for prevention of arterial restenosis: insights from the pre-clinical research.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2014 on Clinical science (London, England : 1979)
    by Forte A, Rinaldi B, Berrino L, Rossi F, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1042/CS20140131

    Restenosis is the pathophysiological process occurring in 10-15% of patients submitted to revascularization procedures of coronary, carotid and peripheral arteries. It can be considered as an excessive healing reaction of the vascular wall subjected to arterial/venous bypass graft interposition, endarterectomy or angioplasty. The advent of bare metal stents, drug-eluting stents and of the more recent drug-eluting balloons, have significantly reduced, but not eliminated, the incidence of restenosis, which remains a clinically relevant problem. Biomedical research in pre-clinical animal models of (re)stenosis, despite its limitations, has contributed enormously to the identification of processes involved in restenosis progression, going well beyond the initial dogma of a primarily proliferative disease. Although the main molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying restenosis have been well described, new signalling molecules and cell types controlling the progress of restenosis are continuously being discovered. In particular, microRNAs and vascular progenitor cells have recently been shown to play a key role in this pathophysiological process. In addition, the advanced highly sensitive high-throughput analyses of molecular alterations at the transcriptome, proteome and metabolome levels occurring in injured vessels in animal models of disease and in human specimens serve as a basis to identify novel potential therapeutic targets for restenosis. Molecular analyses are also contributing to the identification of reliable circulating biomarkers predictive of post-interventional restenosis in patients, which could be potentially helpful in the establishment of an early diagnosis and therapy. The present review summarizes the most recent and promising therapeutic strategies identified in experimental models of (re)stenosis and potentially translatable to patients subjected to revascularization procedures.

  • Expression of stemness genes in primary breast cancer tissues: the role of SOX2 as a prognostic marker for detection of early recurrence.

    Publication Date: 30/10/2014 on Oncotarget
    by Finicelli M, Benedetti G, Squillaro T, Pistilli B, Marcellusi A, Mariani P, Santinelli A, Latini L, Galderisi U, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.1936

    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.

  • The gap between the physiological and therapeutic roles of mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2014 on Medicinal research reviews
    by Galderisi U, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1002/med.21322

    Several investigators have cultivated marrow stromal cells and have identified a population of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells expand extensively in vitro and exhibit multilineage differentiation potential. The lack of MSC-specific markers impedes identification of MSC functions. Further in vivo studies of these cells may elucidate the nature of MSCs. Although the nature of MSCs remains unclear, nonclonal stromal cultures are used as a source of putative MSCs for therapeutic purposes. Preclinical studies and clinical trials assumed that transplanted MSCs exert their effects through their differentiation properties or through the release of molecules that restore tissue functions and modulate immune cells. These studies reported contradictory results and failed to meet expectations. Thus, it is important to note that current protocols for MSC therapy are primarily based on the use of in vitro expanded nonclonal MSCs. Clearly defining the physiological features of in situ MSCs and the in vitro and in vivo properties of nonclonal cultures of stromal cells, which are often misidentified as pure stem cell cultures, may explain the reported failures of MSC therapy. This review will address these issues.

  • High grade glioblastoma is associated with aberrant expression of ZFP57, a protein involved in gene imprinting, and of CPT1A and CPT1C that regulate fatty acid metabolism.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2014 on Cancer biology & therapy
    by Cirillo A, Di Salle A, Petillo O, Melone MA, Grimaldi G, Bellotti A, Torelli G, De' Santi MS, Cantatore G, Marinelli A, Galderisi U, Peluso G
    DOI: 10.4161/cbt.28408

    The diagnosis of glioblastoma is still based on tumor histology, but emerging molecular diagnosis is becoming an important part of glioblastoma classification. Besides the well-known cell cycle-related circuitries that are associated with glioblastoma onset and development, new insights may be derived by looking at pathways involved in regulation of epigenetic phenomena and cellular metabolism, which may both be highly deregulated in cancer cells. We evaluated if in glioblastoma patients the high grade of malignancy could be associated with aberrant expression of some genes involved in regulation of epigenetic phenomena and lipid metabolism. We measured the mRNA levels of ZFP57, TRIM28, CPT1A, CPT1B, and CPT1C in a cohort of 80 patients divided in two groups: grade II and grade IV. We evidenced that high grade glioblastoma is associated with increased level of ZFP57, a protein involved in gene imprinting, and aberrant expression of CPT1A and CPT1C, regulators of fatty acid oxidation. Our study may pave the way to identify new markers that could be potentially useful for diagnosis and/or prognosis of glioblastoma.

  • Sera of overweight people promote in vitro adipocyte differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells.

    Publication Date: 09/01/2014 on Stem cell research & therapy
    by Di Bernardo G, Messina G, Capasso S, Del Gaudio S, Cipollaro M, Peluso G, Casale F, Monda M, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1186/scrt393

    Overweight status should not be considered merely an aesthetic concern; rather, it can incur health risks since it may trigger a cascade of events that produce further fat tissue through altered levels of circulating signaling molecules.

  • Genetic, epigenetic and stem cell alterations in endometriosis: new insights and potential therapeutic perspectives.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2014 on Clinical science (London, England : 1979)
    by Forte A, Cipollaro M, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1042/CS20130099

    Human endometrium is a highly dynamic tissue, undergoing periodic growth and regression at each menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a frequent chronic pathological status characterized by endometrial tissue with an ectopic localization, causing pelvic pain and infertility and a variable clinical presentation. In addition, there is well-established evidence that, although endometriosis is considered benign, it is associated with an increased risk of malignant transformation in approximately 1.0% of affected women, with the involvement of multiple pathways of development. Increasing evidence supports a key contribution of different stem/progenitor cell populations not only in the cyclic regeneration of eutopic endometrium, but also in the pathogenesis of at least some types of endometriosis. Evidence has arisen from experiments in animal models of disease through different kinds of assays (including clonogenicity, the label-retaining cell approach, the analysis of undifferentiation markers), as well as from descriptive studies on ectopic and eutopic tissue samples harvested from affected women. Changes in stem cell populations in endometriotic lesions are associated with genetic and epigenetic alterations, including imbalance of miRNA expression, histone and DNA modifications and chromosomal aberrations. The present short review mainly summarizes the latest observations contributing to the current knowledge regarding the presence and the potential contribution of stem/progenitor cells in eutopic endometrium and the aetiology of endometriosis, together with a report of the most recently identified genetic and epigenetic alterations in endometriosis. We also describe the potential advantages of single cell molecular profiling in endometrium and in endometriotic lesions. All these data can have clinical implications and provide a basis for new potential therapeutic applications.

  • Silencing of RB1 and RB2/P130 during adipogenesis of bone marrow stromal cells results in dysregulated differentiation.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2014 on Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.)
    by Capasso S, Alessio N, Di Bernardo G, Cipollaro M, Melone MA, Peluso G, Giordano A, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.4161/cc.27275

    Bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT) is different from fat found elsewhere in the body, and only recently have some of its functions been investigated. BMAT may regulate bone marrow stem cell niche and plays a role in energy storage and thermogenesis. BMAT may be involved also in obesity and osteoporosis onset. Given the paramount functions of BMAT, we decided to better clarify the human bone marrow adipogenesis by analyzing the role of the retinoblastoma gene family, which are key players in cell cycle regulation. Our data provide evidence that the inactivation of RB1 or RB2/P130 in uncommitted bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) facilitates the first steps of adipogenesis. In cultures with silenced RB1 or RB2/P130, we observed an increase of clones with adipogenic potential and a higher percentage of cells accumulating lipid droplets. Nevertheless, the absence of RB1 or RB2/P130 impaired the terminal adipocyte differentiation and gave rise to dysregulated adipose cells, with alteration in lipid uptake and release. For the first time, we evidenced that RB2/P130 plays a role in bone marrow adipogenesis. Our data suggest that while the inactivation of retinoblastoma proteins may delay the onset of last cell division and allow more BMSC to be committed to adipocyte, it did not allow a permanent cell cycle exit, which is a prerequisite for adipocyte terminal maturation.

  • Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins 4 and 7 released by senescent cells promote premature senescence in mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 07/11/2013 on Cell death & disease
    by Severino V, Alessio N, Farina A, Sandomenico A, Cipollaro M, Peluso G, Galderisi U, Chambery A
    DOI: 10.1038/cddis.2013.445

    Cellular senescence is the permanent arrest of cell cycle, physiologically related to aging and aging-associated diseases. Senescence is also recognized as a mechanism for limiting the regenerative potential of stem cells and to protect cells from cancer development. The senescence program is realized through autocrine/paracrine pathways based on the activation of a peculiar senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). We show here that conditioned media (CM) of senescent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contain a set of secreted factors that are able to induce a full senescence response in young cells. To delineate a hallmark of stem cells SASP, we have characterized the factors secreted by senescent MSC identifying insulin-like growth factor binding proteins 4 and 7 (IGFBP4 and IGFBP7) as key components needed for triggering senescence in young MSC. The pro-senescent effects of IGFBP4 and IGFBP7 are reversed by single or simultaneous immunodepletion of either proteins from senescent-CM. The blocking of IGFBP4/7 also reduces apoptosis and promotes cell growth, suggesting that they may have a pleiotropic effect on MSC biology. Furthermore, the simultaneous addition of rIGFBP4/7 increased senescence and induced apoptosis in young MSC. Collectively, these results suggest the occurrence of novel-secreted factors regulating MSC cellular senescence of potential importance for regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.