• Visuospatial imagery in Alzheimer disease.

    Publication Date: 01/06/1994, on Perceptual and motor skills
    by Grossi D, Becker JT, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.2466/pms.1994.78.3.867

    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the imagery ability of 8 "probable" Alzheimer disease patients using a standard task sensitive to the disruption of the imagery system. These patients were selected based on their good performance on a prerequisite clock-setting task, and with 8 matched control subjects were then required to compare the angles made by the hands on clock faces using only imagined stimuli. There were no significant differences between patients and controls in performance on the clock-imagery task. These data are consistent with models of information processing which postulate the relationships between visual imagery and a short-term memory store and include a central executive system for allocation of cognitive resources.

  • Effect of testing procedure on Corsi's block-tapping task in normal subjects and Alzheimer-type dementia.

    Publication Date: 01/06/1994, on Perceptual and motor skills
    by Trojano L, Chiacchio L, De Luca G, Fragassi NA, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.2466/pms.1994.78.3.859

    Corsi's block-tapping task was given to 30 normal subjects and 38 Alzheimer-type demented patients following two different procedures. The first is the most widely standardized (scoring criterion: 3 correct reproductions out of 5 sequences), while the second is more lenient since it does not require subjects to replicate a certain performance three times. Demented patients' scores were lower than those of controls in both conditions, and scores on the two tasks were significantly correlated for patients and controls. However, the requirement of replicating the visuospatial memory performances was more detrimental for demented patients than for controls so the two procedures cannot be considered equivalent.

  • Target cells modulate dopamine transporter gene expression during brain development.

    Publication Date: 09/05/1994, on Neuroreport
    by Perrone-Capano C, Tino A, di Porzio U

    We have analysed the expression of the dopamine transporter (DAT) gene and compared it with that of tyrosine hydroxylase, neuronal GABA transporter and synaptic vesicle monoamine transporter genes during pre- and post-natal development of rat mesencephalic dopaminergic (DA) neurones. Our results show that DAT transcripts are not detectable until embryonic day (E) 15, whilst those of the other genes analysed are already present at E12. In vitro, the level of DAT gene transcription in mesencephalic E13 DA neurones is increased in coculture with target striatal cells. Thus striatal targets cells regulate, at the transcriptional level, a key step of dopaminergic neurotransmission during DA neurone development.

  • Docosahexaenoic acid and signaling pathways in rabbit colon.

    Publication Date: 01/04/1994, on Molecular pharmacology
    by Calderaro V, Parrillo C, Balestrieri ML, Giovane A, Filippelli A, Rossi F

    The effects of one of the main components of fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on prostaglandin (PG) and Ca2+ signaling pathways were examined in intact mucosa and freshly isolated crypt cells of rabbit descending colon. Preincubation of serosal mucosa for 20 min with 1 microM DHA fully suppressed the short-circuit and transepithelial conductance increase induced by serosal addition of 10 microM arachidonic acid (AA). DHA at 1 microM also prevented the Cl- secretion promoted by 10 microM AA, as estimated by unidirectional 36Cl flux measurements (net flux = 0.68 +/- 0.30 versus -1.91 +/- 0.20 microEq/hr/cm2, four experiments, p < 0.001), whereas it did not affect the electrophysiological and ion flux responses to PGE2. Addition of 1 microM DHA to the serosal side of the mucosa also inhibited the PG cascade activation elicited by AA (PG synthesis and second messenger cAMP increase). In vitro assays of colonic cyclooxygenase activity showed that 1 microM DHA inhibited (with a 20-min lag) cyclooxygenase activity to the same extent as 5 microM indomethacin (approximately 82% and 80%, respectively). DHA also affected the Ca2+ signaling pathway; in isolated crypt cells, the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) dropped by 49 +/- 7.6% (mean +/- standard error, six experiments) after incubation with 1 microM DHA. The sustained phase of the [Ca2+]i response to 500 nM concentrations of the intracellular Ca(2+)-ATPase inhibitor thapsigargin was also inhibited within 150 sec upon 1 microM DHA addition (141 +/- 5.8 versus 243 +/- 8.2 nM [Ca2+]i mean +/- standard error, eight experiments, p < 0.01). The [Ca2+]i-lowering effect of DHA, which was not achieved by incubation with other free fatty acids, was not prevented by removal of Na+ from the incubation medium (-46 +/- 4.3% versus -47 +/- 3.8%, mean +/- standard error, four experiments), nor it was mediated by cAMP-, protein kinase C-, or calmodulin-dependent mechanisms. The incubation of highly purified basolateral membranes of crypt cells with 1 microM DHA for 1 min produced a 5-fold increase (IC50 = 0.25 microM) in the plasma membrane Ca(2+)-ATPase activity (34.3 +/- 2.73 versus 6.02 +/- 0.50 nmol/mg of protein/min, mean +/- standard error, four experiments, p < 0.0001), thus indicating that the DHA effects on the Ca2+ pathway were mediated mainly by an increase in plasma membrane Ca2+ pump activity. These findings suggest that DHA is a powerful modulator of the cellular response to activation of PG and Ca2+ signaling pathways.

  • Novel 3-beta-methoxysteroids from the Senegalese sponge Microscleroderma spirophora.

    Publication Date: 01/03/1994, on Steroids
    by Costantino V, Fattorusso E, Mangoni A, Aknin M, Gaydou EM

    The Senegalese sponge Microscleroderma spirophora has been found to produce exclusively very unusual 3 beta-methoxysteroids in place of the common 3 beta-hydroxysteroids. Six different methoxysteroids (three of which are novel compounds) have been isolated and identified by spectroscopic means (MS, IR, 1H and 13C NMR), and their taxonomic significance discussed. A new method for the determination of the configuration at C-24 in saturated 24-ethyl side chains is also proposed.

  • A critical review of mental imagery defects.

    Publication Date: 01/03/1994, on Brain and cognition
    by Trojano L, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1006/brcg.1994.1012

    A critical, clinical review of single-case reports and group studies on visual mental imagery deficits is offered. Neuropsychological findings demonstrate that mental imagery relies upon dissociable processes which are localized in left-hemisphere posterior areas. Imagery defects thus may often be associated with visual recognition and naming impairments. On the other hand, the right hemisphere seems to play an analogous role in imagery and perception. Current theoretical models of imagery do not appear fully capable of accounting for available clinical data.

  • Selective opioid dipeptides.

    Publication Date: 15/02/1994, on Biochemical and biophysical research communications
    by Temussi PA, Salvadori S, Amodeo P, Bianchi C, Guerrini R, Tomatis R, Lazarus LH, Picone D, Tancredi T
    DOI: 10.1006/bbrc.1994.1133

    The surprising change of selectivity induced by the change of chirality in peptides containing the tetrahydro-3-isoquinoline carboxylic acid (Tic) in second position, interpreted as a conformational preference induced on the Tyr-Xaa-Phe domain, can instead be attributed to the Tyr-Tic message domain. The relative spatial disposition of the aromatic ring of delta-selective non peptidic opiates is compatible with a message domain, in opioid peptides, of only two residues. This hypothesis was tested through the synthesis of Tyr-L-Tic-NH2, Tyr-D-Tic-NH2, Tyr-L-Tic-Ala-NH2, Tyr-L-Tic-Ala-OH and Tyr-D-Tic-Ala-NH2. Peptides containing Tyr-L-Tic- behave as very selective delta antagonists and those containing Tyr-DTic- as non selective agonists. This is the first case of opioid peptides containing a two-residue message domain and of opioid dipeptides with substantial opioid activity.

  • c-fos spontaneous expression during wakefulness is reversed during sleep in neuronal subsets of the rat cortex.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1994, on Journal of physiology, Paris
    by Grassi-Zucconi G, Giuditta A, Mandile P, Chen S, Vescia S, Bentivoglio M

  • Neurofilament proteins are synthesized in nerve endings from squid brain.

    Publication Date: 01/09/1993, on Journal of neurochemistry
    by Crispino M, Capano CP, Kaplan BB, Giuditta A

    It is generally believed that the proteins of the nerve endings are synthesized on perikaryal polysomes and are eventually delivered to the presynaptic domain by axoplasmic flow. At variance with this view, we have reported previously that a synaptosomal fraction from squid brain actively synthesizes proteins whose electrophoretic profile differs substantially from that of the proteins made in nerve cell bodies, axons, or glial cells, i.e., by the possible contaminants of the synaptosomal fraction. Using western analyses and immunoabsorption methods, we report now that (a) the translation products of the squid synaptosomal fraction include neurofilament (NF) proteins and (b) the electrophoretic pattern of the synaptosomal newly synthesized NF proteins is drastically different from that of the NF proteins synthesized by nerve cell bodies. The latter results exclude the possibility that NF proteins synthesized by the synaptosomal fraction originate in fragments of nerve cell bodies possibly contaminating the synaptosomal fraction. They rather indicate that in squid brain, nerve terminals synthesize NF proteins.

  • Protein synthesis in a synaptosomal fraction from squid brain.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1993, on Molecular and cellular neurosciences
    by Crispino M, Castigli E, Perrone Capano C, Martin R, Menichini E, Kaplan BB, Giuditta A
    DOI: 10.1006/mcne.1993.1046

    A synaptosomal fraction from squid brain containing a large proportion of well-presarved nerve terminals displays a high rate of [(35)S]methionine incorporation into protein. The reaction is dependent on time and protein concentration, is strongly inhibited by hypo-osmotic shock and cycloheximide, and is not affected by RNase. Chloramphenicol, an inhibitor of mitochondrial protein synthesis, partially inhibits the reaction. The ionic composition of the incubation medium markedly modulates the rate of [(35)S]methionine incorporation. Na(+) and K(+) ions are required for maximal activity, while complete inhibition is achieved by addition of the calcium ionophore A23187 and, to a substantial extent, by tetraethylammonium, ouabain, and high concentrations K(+). A thermostable inhibitor of synaptosomal protein synthesis is also present in the soluble fraction of squid brain. Using sucrose density gradient sedimentation procedures, cytoplasmic polysomes associated with nascent radiolabeled peptide chains have been identified in the synaptosomal preparation. Newly synthesized synaptosomal proteins are largely associated with a readily sedimented particulate fraction and may be resolved by gel electrophoresis into more than 30 discrete bands ranging in size from about 14 to 200 kDa. The electrophoretic pattern of the newly synthesized synaptosomal proteins is significantly different from the corresponding patterns displayed by the giant axon's axoplasm and by glial and nerve cell bodies (in the stellate nerve and ganglion, respectively). On the whole, these observations suggest that the nerve endings from squid brain are capable of protein synthesis.

  • The effects of gonadectomy and testosterone treatment on the Harderian gland of the green frog, Rana esculenta.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1993, on Cell and tissue research
    by Chieffi-Baccari G, D'Matteo L, d'Istria M, Minucci S, Serino I, Varriale B

    The effects of gonadectomy and testosterone treatment on the fine structure of the Harderian gland in male and female green frogs were investigated in different periods of the year. Gonadectomy, carried out when the glands are in the lowest secretory phase (September), causes degenerative changes consisting of a reduction of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, the appearance of autolysosomes, and an increase of nuclear heterochromatin. These effects can be prevented by testosterone treatment. No castration effects are found during the recovery (November) and enhancement (April-May) phases of secretory activity. The results suggest that the frog Harderian gland's sensitivity to testosterone changes during the annual cycle. The androgen dependence of the Harderian gland is correlated with the presence of androgen receptors in both male and female frogs.

  • Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy: description of an Italian kindred.

    Publication Date: 01/05/1993, on Italian journal of neurological sciences
    by Di Iorio G, Sanges G, Cerracchio A, Sampaolo S, Sannino V, Bonavita V

    Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is a heterogeneous group of genetic disorders characterized by progressive systemic deposition of extracellular amyloid fibrils, mainly affecting the peripheral nervous system (PNS). These disorders, inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, have frequently been described in various ethnic groups, but have rarely been reported in Italy. A 42 year-old man came to our observation for loss of pain and temperature sense in his legs. Clinical and laboratory data pointed to an amyloidotic polyneuropathy. This led us to discover a large italian kindred in which 19 members were affected by FAP. The diagnosis, established in 8 members on the clinical and laboratory findings, was ana-catamnestic in other 11. In this kindred the onset of the disease ranges from 35 to 50 years of age and the course is progressive and often fatal. The early symptoms are mainly related to autonomic disturbances and to peripheral neuropathy. Cardiac and renal involvement occurs frequently and may be life-threatening.

  • Solution structure of casokefamide.

    Publication Date: 31/03/1993, on Biochemical and biophysical research communications
    by Brantl V, Picone D, Amodeo P, Temussi PA
    DOI: 10.1006/bbrc.1993.1295

    Casokefamide (Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-D-Ala-Tyr-NH2) is a synthetic peptide derived from the beta-casomorphin sequence, designed to increase the resistance to gastric proteases. Casokefamide binds to both mu and delta-opioid receptors, while beta-casomorphins and its fragments are typical mu-opioid receptor agonists. Furthermore, casokefamide can affect gastric acid and pancreatic exocrine secretions and also gastrointestinal motility. We have undertaken a conformational study on this peptide based on NMR measurements in a DMSOd6/H2O cryomixture at 265 K and energy calculations. The predominant conformation is characterised by the absence of regular structures and intramolecular hydrogen bonds. The conformation of the message domain is reminiscent of the shape of several peptidic and non peptidic opiates, with the D-Ala2CH3 group sandwiched between Tyr1 and Phe3 aromatic rings.

  • Slowly progressive aphasia associated with surface dyslexia.

    Publication Date: 01/03/1993, on Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
    by Chiacchio L, Grossi D, Stanzione M, Trojano L

    We report an Italian patient affected by slowly progressive aphasia (SPA) lasting since four years when he first came to our observation. During the successive four years, we documented a progressive language decline resembling transcortical sensory aphasia, associated with a reading disorder corresponding to surface dyslexia, a form extremely rare in patients with native transparent language. His performance at standard intelligence tasks remained in the normal range, without any variation. CT scan showed left temporal atrophy. We emphasize the heterogeneity of the syndrome of SPA and suggest that it can represent one of the pictures of focal cortical degenerative disease, with variable onset, progression, and evolution.

  • Solution conformation of CCK9, a cholecystokinin analog.

    Publication Date: 15/02/1993, on Biochemical and biophysical research communications
    by Moroder L, D'Ursi A, Picone D, Amodeo P, Temussi PA

    Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a peptide hormone endowed with several important biological activities, both in the central and peripheral nervous system. Previous conformational studies have dealt mainly with its C-terminal octapeptide fragment (CCK8), which represents the shortest fully circulating form of this hormone. We have undertaken a detailed NMR conformational study in a DMSOd6/H2O cryomixture at 278 K of the CCK analog H-Arg-Asp-Tyr(SO3H)-Thr-Gly-Trp-Nle-Asp-PheNH2 (CCK9) which retains all the bioactivities of CCK8, but was found to be remarkably more stable in acidic media and unaffected by air oxidation due to Met replacements. The predominant conformation contains a gamma-turn centered on Thr4, separated by Gly5 from a helical segment that comprises the C-terminal residues.