Latest PUBLICATIONS

  • Impact of phytosterols on liver and distal colon metabolome in experimental murine colitis model: an explorative study.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2019, on Journal of enzyme inhibition and medicinal chemistry
    by Iaccarino N, Amato J, Pagano B, Di Porzio A, Micucci M, Bolelli L, Aldini R, Novellino E, Budriesi R, Randazzo A
    DOI: 10.1080/14756366.2019.1611802

    Phytosterols are known to reduce plasma cholesterol levels and thereby reduce cardiovascular risk. Studies conducted on human and animal models have demonstrated that these compounds have also anti-inflammatory effects. Recently, an experimental colitis model (dextran sulphate sodium-induced) has shown that pre-treatment with phytosterols decreases infiltration of inflammatory cells and accelerates mucosal healing. This study aims to understand the mechanism underlying the colitis by analysing the end-products of the metabolism in distal colon and liver excised from the same mice used in the previous work. In particular, an unsupervised gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and NMR based metabolomics approach was employed to identify the metabolic pathways perturbed by the dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) insult (i.e. Krebs cycle, carbohydrate, amino acids, and nucleotide metabolism). Interestingly, phytosterols were able to restore the homeostatic equilibrium of the hepatic and colonic metabolome.

  • A comparative assessment of metals and phthalates in commercial tea infusions: A starting point to evaluate their tolerance limits.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2019, on Food chemistry
    by Troisi J, Richards S, Symes S, Ferretti V, Di Maio A, Amoresano A, Daniele B, Aliberti F, Guida M, Trifuoggi M, De Castro O
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.02.115

    Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the word. Here we report the concentrations of metals and phthalates in 32 commercial tea packages. The data were used to estimate the average daily intake of metals and phthalates, and associated Hazard Quotients (HQ) were calculated in order to determine risk of non-cancerous health effects for adults consuming tea on a daily basis. Tea samples were chosen based on the sales network, the price, the marketing quality and the presence of filters in the packages. Relatively high median concentrations of Al (5240 µg/L), Ni (44 µg/L), and Mn (2919 µg/L) were detected. No metals or phthalates quantified in the tea infusions and soluble tea showed an HQ greater than 1, indicating no risk of non-cancerous health effects. The data presented herein may serve as a starting point to evaluate tolerance limits of metals and phthalate in the tea infusion.

  • Mass spectrometry based proteomics for the molecular fingerprinting of Fiano, Greco and Falanghina cultivars.

    Publication Date: 01/06/2019, on Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.)
    by Carpentieri A, Sebastianelli A, Melchiorre C, Pinto G, Staropoli A, Trifuoggi M, Amoresano A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2019.02.020

    The official methodologies used for the identification and comparison of vine cultivars are ampelography and ampelometry. These methodologies are essentially based on qualitative assessments or biometric dependent morphological features of the plant. The heterogeneity of cultivars and consequently the increasing demand for a more detailed product typization, led to the introduction of new methodologies for the varietal characterization. In this scenario, proteomics has already proved to be a very useful discipline for the typization of many kinds of edible products. In this paper, we present a proteomic study carried out on three cultivars of Vitis vinifera peculiar of south Italy (Campania) used for white wine production (Fiano, Greco and Falanghina) by advanced biomolecular mass spectrometry approach. Our data highlight variations in the proteomic profiles during ripening for each cultivar and between analyzed cultivars, thus suggesting a new way to outline the biomolecular signature of vines.

  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors in patients with X-linked retinoschisis: effects on macular morphology and function.

    Publication Date: 31/05/2019, on Ophthalmic genetics
    by Testa F, Di Iorio V, Gallo B, Marchese M, Nesti A, De Rosa G, Melillo P, Simonelli F
    DOI: 10.1080/13816810.2019.1616303

    : Currently there is no medical treatment for X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS). In many retinal dystrophies, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) are effectively used to reduce cystoid macular edema. Prospective studies investigating the effect of CAIs in patients with XLRS are needed for the evaluation of their efficacy in this disease. The purpose of our work is to investigate the effects on macular morphology and function of oral CAIs used for the treatment of foveal lesions in patients with XLRS. : Nineteen patients with a clinical diagnosis of XLRS were enrolled and prescribed oral CAIs for six months. We evaluated the therapeutic effect of CAIs with: best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, microperimetry (MP) and multifocal electroretinography (mfERG). : We observed a significant improvement of BCVA (p-value = 0.013), central retinal thickness (p-value = 0.004) and macular sensitivity (p-value<0.001). Moreover, in regards to mfERG responses, an increase of P1 wave amplitude was observed in three of the six rings. : Our data supports the efficacy of oral CAIs for the treatment of macular cyst-like lesions in XLRS patients. The recovery of a normal retinal anatomy by means of oral CAIs could be useful to create the optimal circumstances for gene therapy. The increase in macular sensitivity and in P1 wave amplitude confirmed that MP and mfERG provide with an unbiased and more sensitive understanding of how macular function may respond to the use of CAIs. Therefore, we recommend the use of MP and mfERG to assess the effect of therapy in XLRS.

  • Parkinson's disease management and impulse control disorders: current state and future perspectives.

    Publication Date: 31/05/2019, on Expert review of neurotherapeutics
    by Vitale C, Amboni M, Erro R, Picillo M, Pellecchia MT, Barone P, Trojano L, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1080/14737175.2019.1620603

    : Impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson's disease (PD) are a group of impulsive behaviors most often associated, but not limited to, dopamine replacement therapy (DRT), particularly the use of dopamine agonists (DA). ICDs can impair activities of daily living and have a strong negative impact on quality of life of patients and their families. : This review mainly focusses on the most common ICDs in the context of currently accepted management strategies for PD and emphasizes areas of controversy in need of further research. The authors further describe the concept of dopamine agonist withdrawal (DAWS) syndrome and its implication for the treatment of ICDs, the role of recently available antiparkinsonian drugs and routes of delivery, and non-pharmacological treatments. : When ICDs develop, proper management mainly consists of reducing, discontinuing or switching dopaminergic agents, especially of DA. In these scenarios, patients should be closely followed up as their motor condition may deteriorate along with occurrence of DAWS. Assessment of the presence and intensity of ICDs should be carried throughout the course of the disease and not only when a particular treatment is started or when the dosage is increased, since their occurrence is not linearly related to DRT alone.

  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Impair Vasculogenic Mimicry from Glioblastoma Cells.

    Publication Date: 29/05/2019, on Cancers
    by Pastorino O, Gentile MT, Mancini A, Del Gaudio N, Di Costanzo A, Bajetto A, Franco P, Altucci L, Florio T, Stoppelli MP, Colucci-D'Amato L
    DOI: 10.3390/cancers11060747

    Glioblastoma (GBM), a high-grade glioma (WHO grade IV), is the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Available treatment options for GBM involve a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy but result in a poor survival outcome. GBM is a high-vascularized tumor and antiangiogenic drugs are widely used in GBM therapy as adjuvants to control abnormal vasculature. Vasculogenic mimicry occurs in GBM as an alternative vascularization mechanism, providing a means whereby GBM can escape anti-angiogenic therapies. Here, using an in vitro tube formation assay on Matrigel, we evaluated the ability of different histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) to interfere with vasculogenic mimicry. We found that vorinostat (SAHA) and MC1568 inhibit tube formation by rat glioma C6 cells. Moreover, at sublethal doses for GBM cells, SAHA, trichostatin A (TSA), entinostat (MS275), and MC1568 significantly decrease tube formation by U87MG and by patient-derived human GBM cancer stem cells (CSCs). The reduced migration and invasion of HDACis-treated U87 cells, at least in part, may account for the inhibition of tube formation. In conclusion, our results indicate that HDACis are promising candidates for blocking vascular mimicry in GBM.

  • Effects of Long-Term Citrate Treatment in the PC3 Prostate Cancer Cell Line.

    Publication Date: 28/05/2019, on International journal of molecular sciences
    by Caiazza C, D'Agostino M, Passaro F, Faicchia D, Mallardo M, Paladino S, Pierantoni GM, Tramontano D
    DOI: 10.3390/ijms20112613

    Acute administration of a high level of extracellular citrate displays an anti-proliferative effect on both in vitro and in vivo models. However, the long-term effect of citrate treatment has not been investigated yet. Here, we address this question in PC3 cells, a prostate-cancer-derived cell line. Acute administration of high levels of extracellular citrate impaired cell adhesion and inhibited the proliferation of PC3 cells, but surviving cells adapted to grow in the chronic presence of 20 mM citrate. Citrate-resistant PC3 cells are significantly less glycolytic than control cells. Moreover, they overexpress short-form, citrate-insensitive phosphofructokinase 1 (PFK1) together with full-length PFK1. In addition, they show traits of mesenchymal-epithelial transition: an increase in E-cadherin and a decrease in vimentin. In comparison with PC3 cells, citrate-resistant cells display morphological changes that involve both microtubule and microfilament organization. This was accompanied by changes in homeostasis and the organization of intracellular organelles. Thus, the mitochondrial network appears fragmented, the Golgi complex is scattered, and the lysosomal compartment is enlarged. Interestingly, citrate-resistant cells produce less total ROS but accumulate more mitochondrial ROS than control cells. Consistently, in citrate-resistant cells, the autophagic pathway is upregulated, possibly sustaining their survival. In conclusion, chronic administration of citrate might select resistant cells, which could jeopardize the benefits of citrate anticancer treatment.

  • Retraction: The microRNA 15a/16-1 cluster down-regulates protein repair isoaspartyl methyltransferase in hepatoma cells: Implications for apoptosis regulation.

    Publication Date: 24/05/2019, on The Journal of biological chemistry
    by Sambri I, Capasso R, Pucci P, Perna AF, Ingrosso D
    DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RX119.009146

  • The thyroid hormone activating enzyme, type 2 deiodinase, induces myogenic differentiation by regulating mitochondrial metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

    Publication Date: 22/05/2019, on Redox biology
    by Sagliocchi S, Cicatiello AG, Di Cicco E, Ambrosio R, Miro C, Di Girolamo D, Nappi A, Mancino G, De Stefano MA, Luongo C, Raia M, Ogawa-Wong AN, Zavacki AM, Paladino S, Salvatore D, Dentice M
    DOI: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101228

    Thyroid hormone (TH) is a key metabolic regulator that acts by coordinating short- and long-term energy needs. Accordingly, significant metabolic changes are observed depending on thyroid status. Although it is established that hyperthyroidism augments basal energy consumption, thus resulting in an enhanced metabolic state, the net effects on cellular respiration and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) remain unclear. To elucidate the effects of augmented TH signal in muscle cells, we generated a doxycycline-inducible cell line in which the expression of the TH-activating enzyme, type 2 deiodinase (D2), is reversibly turned on by the "Tet-ON" system. Interestingly, increased intracellular TH caused a net shift from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis and a consequent increase in the extracellular acidification rate. As a result, mitochondrial ROS production, and both the basal and doxorubicin-induced production of cellular ROS were reduced. Importantly, the expression of a set of antioxidant genes was up-regulated, and, among them, the mitochondrial scavenger Sod2 was specifically induced at transcriptional level by D2-mediated TH activation. Finally, we observed that attenuation of oxidative stress and increased levels of SOD2 are key elements of the differentiating cascade triggered by TH and D2, thereby establishing that D2 is essential in coordinating metabolic reprogramming of myocytes during myogenic differentiation. In conclusion, our findings indicate that TH plays a key role in oxidative stress dynamics by regulating ROS generation. Our novel finding that TH and its intracellular metabolism act as mitochondrial detoxifying agents sheds new light on metabolic processes relevant to muscle physiology.

  • Fatigue in Parkinson's disease: Italian validation of the Parkinson Fatigue Scale and the Fatigue Severity Scale using a Rasch analysis approach.

    Publication Date: 22/05/2019, on Parkinsonism & related disorders
    by Siciliano M, Chiorri C, De Micco R, Russo A, Tedeschi G, Trojano L, Tessitore A
    DOI: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2019.05.028

    The Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS-9) and the Parkinson Fatigue Scale (PFS-16) are commonly used for assessing fatigue in Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we validated the Italian version of these scales, assessed their psychometric properties by Rasch analysis, and computed their optimal cut-off scores using clinical diagnosis of PD-related fatigue as the gold standard.

  • Senescence Phenomena and Metabolic Alteration in Mesenchymal Stromal Cells from a Mouse Model of Rett Syndrome.

    Publication Date: 21/05/2019, on International journal of molecular sciences
    by Squillaro T, Alessio N, Capasso S, Di Bernardo G, Melone MAB, Peluso G, Galderisi U
    DOI: 10.3390/ijms20102508

    Chromatin modifiers play a crucial role in maintaining cell identity through modulation of gene expression patterns. Their deregulation can have profound effects on cell fate and functions. Among epigenetic regulators, the MECP2 protein is particularly attractive. Mutations in the gene are responsible for more than 90% of cases of Rett syndrome (RTT), a progressive neurodevelopmental disorder. As a chromatin modulator, MECP2 can have a key role in the government of stem cell biology. Previously, we showed that deregulated MECP2 expression triggers senescence in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from (RTT) patients. Over the last few decades, it has emerged that senescent cells show alterations in the metabolic state. Metabolic changes related to stem cell senescence are particularly detrimental, since they contribute to the exhaustion of stem cell compartments, which in turn determine the falling in tissue renewal and functionality. Herein, we dissect the role of impaired MECP2 function in triggering senescence along with other senescence-related aspects, such as metabolism, in MSCs from a mouse model of RTT. We found that MECP2 deficiencies lead to senescence and impaired mitochondrial energy production. Our results support the idea that an alteration in mitochondria metabolic functions could play an important role in the pathogenesis of RTT.

  • Characterisation of the dynamic interactions between complex N-glycans and human CD22.

    Publication Date: 16/05/2019, on Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology
    by Di Carluccio C, Crisman E, Manabe Manabey Chem Sci Osaka-U Ac J YMMCSOAJ, Forgione RE, Lacetera A, Amato J, Pagano B, Randazzo A, Zampella A, Lanzetta R, Koichi F, Molinaro A, Crocker PR, Martin-Santamaria S, Marchetti R, Silipo A
    DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201900295

    CD22 (Siglec-2) is a B-cell surface inhibitory protein able to selectively recognize sialylated glycans, dampening autoimmune responses against self-antigens. We here characterize the dynamic recognition of complex-type N-glycans by human CD22, by means of orthogonal approaches including NMR spectroscopy, computational methods and biophysical assays. We provide novel molecular insights into the binding mode of sialoglycans in complex with h-CD22, highlighting the role of the sialic acid-galactose moieties in the recognition process, elucidating the conformational behaviour of complex-type N-glycans bound to Siglec-2 and dissecting the formation of CD22 homo-oligomers on the B-cell surface. Our results will enable the development of additional therapeutics able to modulate the activity of h-CD22 in autoimmune diseases and B-cell derived malignancies.

  • Intein-mediated protein trans-splicing expands adeno-associated virus transfer capacity in the retina.

    Publication Date: 15/05/2019, on Science translational medicine
    by Tornabene P, Trapani I, Minopoli R, Centrulo M, Lupo M, de Simone S, Tiberi P, Dell'Aquila F, Marrocco E, Iodice C, Iuliano A, Gesualdo C, Rossi S, Giaquinto L, Albert S, Hoyng CB, Polishchuk E, Cremers FPM, Surace EM, Simonelli F, De Matteis MA, Polishchuk R, Auricchio A
    DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav4523

    Retinal gene therapy with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors holds promises for treating inherited and noninherited diseases of the eye. Although clinical data suggest that retinal gene therapy is safe and effective, delivery of large genes is hindered by the limited AAV cargo capacity. Protein trans-splicing mediated by split inteins is used by single-cell organisms to reconstitute proteins. Here, we show that delivery of multiple AAV vectors each encoding one of the fragments of target proteins flanked by short split inteins results in protein trans-splicing and full-length protein reconstitution in the retina of mice and pigs and in human retinal organoids. The reconstitution of large therapeutic proteins using this approach improved the phenotype of two mouse models of inherited retinal diseases. Our data support the use of split intein-mediated protein trans-splicing in combination with AAV subretinal delivery for gene therapy of inherited blindness due to mutations in large genes.

  • Exploring cellular uptake, accumulation and mechanism of action of a cationic Ru-based nanosystem in human preclinical models of breast cancer.

    Publication Date: 07/05/2019, on Scientific reports
    by Piccolo M, Misso G, Ferraro MG, Riccardi C, Capuozzo A, Zarone MR, Maione F, Trifuoggi M, Stiuso P, D'Errico G, Caraglia M, Paduano L, Montesarchio D, Irace C, Santamaria R
    DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-43411-3

    According to WHO, breast cancer incidence is increasing so that the search for novel chemotherapeutic options is nowadays an essential requirement to fight neoplasm subtypes. By exploring new effective metal-based chemotherapeutic strategies, many ruthenium complexes have been recently proposed as antitumour drugs, showing ability to impact on diverse cellular targets. In the framework of different molecular pathways leading to cell death in human models of breast cancer, here we demonstrate autophagy involvement behind the antiproliferative action of a ruthenium(III)-complex incorporated into a cationic nanosystem (HoThyRu/DOTAP), proved to be hitherto one of the most effective within the suite of nucleolipidic formulations we have developed for the in vivo transport of anticancer ruthenium(III)-based drugs. Indeed, evidences are implicating autophagy in both cancer development and therapy, and anticancer interventions endowed with the ability to trigger this biological response are currently considered attractive oncotherapeutic approaches. Moreover, crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy, regulated by finely tuned metallo-chemotherapeutics, may provide novel opportunities for future improvement of cancer treatment. Following this line, our in vitro and in vivo preclinical investigations suggest that an original strategy based on suitable formulations of ruthenium(III)-complexes, inducing sustained cell death, could open new opportunities for breast cancer treatment, including the highly aggressive triple-negative subtype.

  • Epigenetic targeting of autophagy for cancer prevention and treatment by natural compounds.

    Publication Date: 02/05/2019, on Seminars in cancer biology
    by Vidoni C, Ferraresi A, Secomandi E, Vallino L, Dhanasekaran DN, Isidoro C
    DOI: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.04.006

    Despite the undeniable progress made in the last decades, cancer continues to challenge the scientists engaged in searching for an effective treatment for its prevention and cure. One of the malignant hallmarks that characterize cancer cell biology is the altered metabolism of sugars and amino acids. Autophagy is a pathway allowing the macromolecular turnover via recycling of the substrates resulting from the lysosomal degradation of damaged or redundant cell molecules and organelles. As such, autophagy guarantees the proteome quality control and cell homeostasis. Data from in vitro, in animals and in patients researches show that dysregulation of autophagy favors carcinogenesis and cancer progression, making this process an ineluctable target of cancer therapy. The autophagy process is regulated at genetic, epigenetic and post-translational levels. Targeting autophagy with epigenetic modifiers could represent a valuable strategy to prevent or treat cancer. A wealth of natural products from terrestrial and marine living organisms possess anti-cancer activity. Here, we review the experimental proofs demonstrating the ability of natural compounds to regulate autophagy in cancer via epigenetics. The hope is that in the near future this knowledge could translate into effective intervention to prevent and cure cancer.