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


  • DNA damage and repair in a model of rat vascular injury.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2010 on Clinical science (London, England : 1979)
    by Forte A, Finicelli M, Grossi M, Vicchio M, Alessio N, Santé P, De Feo M, Cotrufo M, Berrino L, Rossi F, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1042/CS20090416

    Restenosis rate following vascular interventions still limits their long-term success. Oxidative stress plays a relevant role in this pathophysiological phenomenon, but less attention has been devoted to its effects on DNA damage and to the subsequent mechanisms of repair. We analysed in a model of arteriotomy-induced stenosis in rat carotids the time-dependent expression of DNA damage markers and of DNA repair genes, together with the assessment of proliferation and apoptosis indexes. The expression of the oxidative DNA damage marker 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine was increased at 3 and 7 days after arteriotomy, with immunostaining distributed in the injured vascular wall and in perivascular tissue. The expression of the DNA damage marker phospho-H2A.X was less relevant but increasing from 4 hrs to 7 days after arteriotomy, with immunostaining prevalently present in the adventitia and, to a lesser extent, in medial smooth muscle cells at the injury site. RT-PCR indicated a decrease of 8 out of 12 genes of the DNA repair machinery we selected from 4 hrs to 7 days after arteriotomy with the exception of increased Muyth and Slk genes (p<0.05). Western Blot revealed a decrease of p53 and catalase at 3 days after arteriotomy (p<0.05). A maximal 7% of BrdU-positive cells in endothelium and media occurred at 7 days after arteriotomy, while the apoptotic index peaked at 3 days after injury (p<0.05). Our results highlight a persistent DNA damage presumably related to a temporary decreased expression of the DNA repair machinery and of the antioxidant enzyme catalase, playing a role in stenosis progression.

  • A preamplification approach to GMO detection in processed foods.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2010 on Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry
    by Del Gaudio S, Cirillo A, Di Bernardo G, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1007/s00216-009-3199-5

    DNA is widely used as a target for GMO analysis because of its stability and high detectability. Real-time PCR is the method routinely used in most analytical laboratories due to its quantitative performance and great sensitivity. Accurate DNA detection and quantification is dependent on the specificity and sensitivity of the amplification protocol as well as on the quality and quantity of the DNA used in the PCR reaction. In order to enhance the sensitivity of real-time PCR and consequently expand the number of analyzable target genes, we applied a preamplification technique to processed foods where DNA can be present in low amounts and/or in degraded forms thereby affecting the reliability of qualitative and quantitative results. The preamplification procedure utilizes a pool of primers targeting genes of interest and is followed by real-time PCR reactions specific for each gene. An improvement of Ct values was found comparing preamplified vs. non-preamplified DNA. The strategy reported in the present study will be also applicable to other fields requiring quantitative DNA testing by real-time PCR.

  • Intra-brain microinjection of human mesenchymal stem cells decreases allodynia in neuropathic mice.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2010 on Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS
    by Siniscalco D, Giordano C, Galderisi U, Luongo L, Alessio N, Di Bernardo G, de Novellis V, Rossi F, Maione S
    DOI: 10.1007/s00018-009-0202-4

    Neuropathic pain is a very complex disease, involving several molecular pathways. Current available drugs are usually not acting on the several mechanisms underlying the generation and propagation of pain. We used spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain to assess the possible use of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) as anti-neuropathic tool. Human MSCs were transplanted in the mouse lateral cerebral ventricle. Stem cells injection was performed 4 days after sciatic nerve surgery. Neuropathic mice were monitored 7, 10, 14, 17, and 21 days after surgery. hMSCs were able to reduce pain-like behaviors, such as mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia, once transplanted in cerebral ventricle. Anti-nociceptive effect was detectable from day 10 after surgery (6 days post cell injection). Human MSCs reduced the mRNA levels of the pro-inflammatory interleukin IL-1beta mouse gene, as well as the neural beta-galactosidase over-activation in prefrontal cortex of SNI mice. Transplanted hMSCs were able to reduce astrocytic and microglial cell activation.

  • Dual role of parathyroid hormone in endothelial progenitor cells and marrow stromal mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2010 on Journal of cellular physiology
    by Di Bernardo G, Galderisi U, Fiorito C, Squillaro T, Cito L, Cipollaro M, Giordano A, Napoli C
    DOI: 10.1002/jcp.21976

    Hematopoietic stem cells derive regulatory information also from parathyroid hormone (PTH). To explore the possibility that PTH may have a role in regulation of other stem cells residing in bone marrow, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) we assessed the effect of this hormone on the in vitro behavior of MSCs and EPCs. We evidenced that MSCs were much more responsive to PTH than EPCs. PTH increased the proliferation rate of MSCs with a diminution of senescence and apoptosis. Taken together, our results may suggest a protective effect of PTH on MSCs that reduces stress phenomena and preserve genome integrity. At the opposite, PTH did not modify the fate of EPCs in culture.

  • Expression pattern of stemness-related genes in human endometrial and endometriotic tissues.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2009 on Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
    by Forte A, Schettino MT, Finicelli M, Cipollaro M, Colacurci N, Cobellis L, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.2119/molmed.2009.00068

    Endometriosis is a chronic disease characterized by the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue outside of the uterus with mixed traits of benign and malignant pathology. In this study we analyzed in endometrial and endometriotic tissues the differential expression of a panel of genes that are involved in preservation of stemness status and consequently considered as markers of stem cell presence. The expression profiles of a panel of 13 genes (SOX2, SOX15, ERAS, SALL4, OCT4, NANOG, UTF1, DPPA2, BMI1, GDF3, ZFP42, KLF4, TCL1) were analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in human endometriotic (n = 12) and endometrial samples (n = 14). The expression of SALL4 and OCT4 was further analyzed by immunohistochemical methods. Genes UTF1, TCL1, and ZFP42 showed a trend for higher frequency of expression in endometriosis than in endometrium (P < 0.05 for UTF1), whereas GDF3 showed a higher frequency of expression in endometrial samples. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that SALL4 was expressed in endometriotic samples but not in endometrium samples, despite the expression of the corresponding mRNA in both the sample groups. This study highlights a differential expression of stemness-related genes in ectopic and eutopic endometrium and suggests a possible role of SALL4-positive cells in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.

  • In vitro senescence of rat mesenchymal stem cells is accompanied by downregulation of stemness-related and DNA damage repair genes.

    Publication Date: 01/09/2009 on Stem cells and development
    by Galderisi U, Helmbold H, Squillaro T, Alessio N, Komm N, Khadang B, Cipollaro M, Bohn W, Giordano A
    DOI: 10.1089/scd.2008.0324

    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of particular interest because they are being tested using cell and gene therapies for a number of human diseases. MSCs represent a rare population in tissues. Therefore, it is essential to grow MSCs in vitro before putting them into therapeutic use. This is compromised by senescence, limiting the proliferative capacity of MSCs. We analyzed the in vitro senescence of rat MSCs, because this animal is a widespread model for preclinical cell therapy studies. After initial expansion, MSCs showed an increased growth doubling time, lost telomerase activity, and expressed senescence-associated beta-galactosidase. Senescence was accompanied by downregulation of several genes involved in stem cell self-renewal. Of interest, several genes involved in DNA repair also showed a significant downregulation. Entry into senescence occurred with characteristic changes in Retinoblastoma (RB) expression patterns. Rb1 and p107 genes expression decreased during in vitro cultivation. In contrast, pRb2/p130 became the prominent RB protein. This suggests that RB2/P130 could be a marker of senescence or that it even plays a role in triggering the process in MSCs.

  • Mesenchymal stem cells: a good candidate for restenosis therapy?

    Publication Date: 01/07/2009 on Current vascular pharmacology
    by Forte A, Galderisi U, Cipollaro M, Cascino A

    Restenosis is a pathophysiological phenomenon that can occur in patients submitted to revascularization procedures (bypass, endarterectomy, angioplasty), possibly resulting in new narrowing of injured vessels. Vascular restenosis remains a pressing clinical problem, despite the therapeutic strategies and devices developed so far. Stem cells hold a great potential for the regeneration of damaged tissues in cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies clearly indicated that different stem cell populations contribute to vascular remodeling after injury. Nevertheless, the exact role of vascular cell precursors in restenosis pathophysiology is not yet well defined, as heterogeneous and contrasting data are currently available. Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) are non-hematopoietic multi-potent stem-like cells able of differentiating into both mesenchymal and non-mesenchymal lineages. MSCs offer a series of advantages: a) they can be isolated from a small aspirate of bone marrow; b) extensively proliferate in vitro while preserving a normal karyotype and telomerase activity on several passages; c) express low immunogenicity and hence their use should not require a pharmacological immunosuppression. MSCs have an intrinsic ability to differentiate into functional cell types able to repair the diseased or injured tissue in which they are localised. For this reason, MSCs are currently under scrutiny for treatment of different cardiovascular diseases. Nevertheless, it has not yet been clearly determined whether MSCs can substantially contribute to a positive resolution of restenosis after vascular injury. This review will provide information about the mechanisms at the basis of vascular restenosis and the current knowledge of the role, positive or negative, played by MSCs in restenosis progression as highlighted by recent experimental protocols.

  • Ancient DNA and family relationships in a Pompeian house.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2009 on Annals of human genetics
    by Di Bernardo G, Del Gaudio S, Galderisi U, Cascino A, Cipollaro M
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2009.00520.x

    Archaeological, anthropological and pathological data suggest that thirteen skeletons found in a house at the Pompeii archaeological site, dated to 79 A.D., belong to one family. To verify this and to identify the relationships between these individuals, we analyzed DNA extracted from bone specimens. Specifically, hypervariable segment 1 (HVS1) of the human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region was amplified in two overlapping polymerase chain reactions and the sequences were compared to the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence. As independent controls, other polymorphic sites in HVS1, HVS2 and in the coding region were analyzed. We also amplified some short tandem repeats of the thirteen specimens. This study revealed that six of the thirteen individuals are indeed closely related.

  • Genes involved in regulation of stem cell properties: studies on their expression in a small cohort of neuroblastoma patients.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2009 on Cancer biology & therapy
    by Melone MA, Giuliano M, Squillaro T, Alessio N, Casale F, Mattioli E, Cipollaro M, Giordano A, Galderisi U

    Cancer stem cells have been isolated from many tumors. Several evidences prove that neuroblastoma contains its own stem cell-like cancer cells. We chose to analyze 20 neuroblastoma tumor samples in the expression of 13 genes involved in the regulation of stem cell properties to evaluate if their misregulation could have a clinical relevance. In several specimens we detected the expression of genes belonging to the OCT3/SOX2/NANOG/KLF4 core circuitry that acts at the highest level in regulating stem cell biology. This result is in agreement with studies showing the existence of malignant stem cells in neuroblastoma. We also observed differences in the expression of some stemness-related genes that may be useful for developing new prognostic analyses. In fact, preliminary data suggests that the presence/absence of UTF1 along with differences in BMI1 mRNA levels could distinguish low grade neuroblastomas from IV stage tumors.

  • Histone deacetylase inhibitors promote apoptosis and senescence in human mesenchymal stem cells.

    Publication Date: 01/05/2009 on Stem cells and development
    by Di Bernardo G, Squillaro T, Dell'Aversana C, Miceli M, Cipollaro M, Cascino A, Altucci L, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.1089/scd.2008.0172

    Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) have received a great amount of attention for their antitumoral properties. Suberoyl anilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and MS-275 are among the more promising HDACi for cancer treatments. Although these HDACi compounds exert low toxicity on normal cells, the therapies based on these molecules can cause side effects that can greatly impair the functions of the bone marrow microenvironment. This is a complex system that contains several types of stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We conducted comparative studies on the effects of SAHA and MS-275 on human MSCs in order to ascertain if these compounds can impair the physiology of MSCs. Both SAHA and MS-275 induced an arrest in the cell cycle along with the induction of apoptotic pathways as evidenced by flow cytometry, annexin assay, detection of activated caspase 9, and molecular analysis of Bax/Bcl-2 expression. The MS-275 treatment induced an increase of senescent cells, whereas in cells treated with SAHA, we detected a reduction of senescent cells compared to the control. We hypothesize that SAHA preferentially transactivates apoptotic genes, thereby inducing a great majority of the damaged cells to die by programmed cell death rather than senescence. Following the HDACi treatment, we observed a decrease in the expression of some genes that are involved in the regulation of stem cell properties. This suggests that SAHA and MS-275 could also be involved in the impairment of the stemness characteristics of MSCs. The phenomena that were induced by HDACi treatment were associated with an upregulation of several cyclin kinase inhibitors. By contrast, the p53-p21 pathway is apparently not involved in these processes.