• Memory for visuospatial patterns in Alzheimer's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/02/1993, on Psychological medicine
    by Grossi D, Becker JT, Smith C, Trojano L

    Immediate memory for visuospatial information was assessed in patients affected by Alzheimer-type dementia but with unimpaired visuo-perceptual functions. Patients were given two tasks: one was a traditional visuospatial memory task (Corsi's block tapping test), the second explored specifically immediate memory for visuospatial patterns. The experiment was conducted in two parallel groups of patients in Italy and the United States, each with its own appropriate sample of normal control subjects. Results showed a specific deficit of visual working memory in demented patients, even in a task in which control subjects achieved error-free performance. These data are interpreted in the light of the Working Memory Model, and suggest that in dementia the functions of the Visuospatial Scratchpad, unlike the functions of the verbal subsystems, may be impaired.

  • Copying procedures in focal brain-damaged patients.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1993, on Italian journal of neurological sciences
    by Trojano L, De Cicco G, Grossi D

    We aimed to ascertain whether non-apraxic, focal brain-damaged patients used abnormal constructional procedures. We tested a series of consecutive patients, classified according to lesion locus and side against a matched sample of normal volunteers. Subjects had to copy the Rey-Osterreith Figure, a complex and structured item that explores copying strategies. We used special testing and scoring methods to analyze different steps of the copy. Unlike the controls, the patients did not choose the central elements of the figure as guiding structures. All patient groups followed an equivalent "pathological", "piecemeal" procedure.

  • Long-term habituation to spatial novelty modifies posttrial synchronized sleep in rats.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1993, on Brain research bulletin
    by Montagnese P, Mandile P, Vescia S, Sadile AG, Giuditta A

    To assess the role of posttrial synchronized sleep in the processing of a nonassociative task, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats with chronically implanted cortical electrodes for EEG recording were exposed to a Làt-maze, and horizontal (HA; corner crossing) and vertical (VA; rearings) activities were monitored during two 10-min test trials made at a 3-h (experiment 1) or 24-h (experiment 2) interval. EEG conventional recording was taken during 3 h under baseline conditions (day 1), and following exposure to the maze (day 2), and analyzed as to the amount (a), number (n), and mean duration (d) of synchronized sleep (SS) episodes followed by wakefulness (SS-->W) or by paradoxical sleep (SS-->PS). In both experiments there was a significant intertrial decrement (long-term habituation: LTH) for horizontal activity (LTH-HA), vertical activity (LTH-VA), and emotionality (LTH-E). In experiment 1, in comparison to baseline values, the posttrial SS-->PS(a) increased, mainly for the appearance of SS-->PS episodes in the 1st h. SS-->W(a) also increased in the first h. Correlative analyses among behavioral and sleep parameters showed that SS-->PS(n) and (d) covaried positively with LTH-HA relative to the entire test, and with LTH-VA relative to the second part of the test in the third h. Negative correlations were present between SS-->PS(n) and (d), and LTH-E. In experiment 2, exposed rats showed a lower SS-->PS(n) in the first hour and an increased SS-->PS(d) in the second hour. No change was observed as to SS-->W episodes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  • Impaired drawing from memory in a visual agnosic patient.

    Publication Date: 01/11/1992, on Brain and cognition
    by Trojano L, Grossi D

    A case is reported of an associative visual agnosic patient who could not draw from memory objects he could recognize, even though he could copy drawings flawlessly. His ability to generate mental visual images was found to be spared, as was his ability to operate upon mental images. These data suggest that the patient could generate mental images but could not draw from memory because he did not have access to stored knowledge about pictorial attributes of objects. A similar functional impairment can be found in some other visual agnosic patients and in patients affected by optic aphasia. The present case allows a discussion of relationships among drawing from memory, imagery, and copying procedures.

  • Progressive rubella panencephalitis. Follow-up EEG study of a case.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1992, on Acta neurologica
    by Guizzaro A, Volpe E, Lus G, Bravaccio F, Cotrufo R, Paolozzi C

    Progressive rubella panencephalitis is a very rare slow virus disease of the nervous system. The authors present a case, concerning a young man, aged 20 years, died 11 months after the onset of the disease. The following peculiarities of the case are emphasized: 1) the clinical symptomatology and the evolution (myoclonus, lack of cerebellar impairment) could suggest the diagnosis of SSPE; 2) the EEG recordings showed epileptiform abnormalities, long latency diffuse periodic complexes and--during interferon therapy and simultaneously with a temporary clinical improvement--the appearance of short latency anterior periodic complexes.

  • Effect of castration and testosterone therapy on harderian gland protein patterns of the golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus).

    Publication Date: 01/07/1992, on Comparative biochemistry and physiology. B, Comparative biochemistry
    by Varriale B, Serino I, Minucci S, Chieffi G

    1. Sodium dodecyl sulphate 7-12% gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of male and female hamster Harderian gland whole homogenate shows a clear-cut sexual dimorphism, which consists of the presence of two male-specific glycoproteins (168 and 116 kDa) and two specific female proteins (210 and 190 kDa). 2. In the male, castration causes a significant decrease in the concentration of the two glycoprotein fractions. 3. Replacement therapy with testosterone propionate (T) restores the intact male pattern.

  • beta-Actin and beta-Tubulin are components of a heterogeneous mRNA population present in the squid giant axon.

    Publication Date: 01/04/1992, on Molecular and cellular neurosciences
    by Kaplan BB, Gioio AE, Capano CP, Crispino M, Giuditta A

    Previously, we have reported that the squid giant axon contains a heterogeneous population of polyadenylated mRNAs, as well as biologically active polyribosomes. To define the composition of this unique mRNA population, cDNA libraries were constructed to RNA obtained from the axoplasm of the squid giant axon and the parental cell bodies located in the giant fiber lobe. Here, we report that the giant axon contains mRNAs encoding beta-actin and beta-tubulin. The axonal location of these mRNA species was confirmed by in situ hybridization histochemistry, and their presence in the axoplasmic polyribosome fraction was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction methodology. Taken together, these findings establish the identity of two relatively abundant members of the axonal mRNA population and suggest that key elements of the cytoskeleton are synthesized de novo in the squid giant axon.

  • Testosterone induction of poly(A)(+)-RNA synthesis and [35S]methionine incorporation into proteins of Rana esculenta Harderian gland.

    Publication Date: 01/04/1992, on Molecular and cellular endocrinology
    by Varriale B, Chieffi-Baccari G, d'Istria M, Di Matteo L, Minucci S, Serino I, Chieffi G

    The role of androgens in the cyclic secretory activity of the Rana esculenta Harderian gland (HG) was studied. Total RNA showed a dramatic increase in October and May when the nuclear androgen receptors peak. During the resumption of the secretory activity a gradual increase of poly(A)(+)-RNA was detected; during the enhancement phase (May) a peak of the poly(A)(+)-RNA fraction was found. In in vitro experiments testosterone increased the incorporation of [3H]uridine into the poly(A)(+)-RNA fraction and also that of [35S]methionine into a newly synthesized protein fraction (100 kDa). The latter effect is prevented by the exposure of the cells to the antiandrogen, cyproterone acetate (CPA). These findings reveal that, besides hamsters, the HG is a target for androgens in the frog.

  • Conformational analysis of an opioid peptide in solvent media that mimic cytoplasm viscosity.

    Publication Date: 01/04/1992, on Biopolymers
    by Temussi PA, Picone D, Saviano G, Amodeo P, Motta A, Tancredi T, Salvadori S, Tomatis R
    DOI: 10.1002/bip.360320412

    Many neuropeptides exert their action between the presynaptic vesicles and postsynaptic transmembrane receptors, crossing different layers of specialized cytoplasm. Biomimetic media usually employed to study bioactive peptides do not reproduce the physico chemical environment of cytoplasm--in particular, the high viscosity of this biological fluid. Here we describe a conformational study of a delta-selective opioid peptide, deltorphin I, at variable temperatures in several biocompatible media characterized by varying values of viscosity and dielectric constant. It was found that only viscosity, among these parameters, induces ordered conformations; that is, it acts as a conformational sieve. This finding suggests that the high viscosity of the intersynaptic fluid contributes, in addition to the membrane catalysis proposed by Schwyzer, in overcoming the so-called entropic barrier to the transition state of peptide-receptor interaction by selecting ordered conformations prior to receptor interaction. The folded conformer found in the 80:20 (v:v) DMSOd6/H2O cryoprotective mixture at 265 K has a shape consistent with those of rigid nonpeptidic opiates.

  • Mallory stain may indicate differential rates of RNA synthesis: I. A seasonal cycle in the harderian gland of the green frog (Rana esculenta).

    Publication Date: 01/01/1992, on European journal of histochemistry : EJH
    by Chieffi Baccari G, Marmorino C, Minucci S, Di Matteo L, Varriale B, d'Istria M, Chieffi G

    When Mallory's trichrome stain is used, acinar nuclei of the Harderian gland of Rana esculenta display different affinities for the dye. Some of the orangiophilic nuclei show affinity for aniline blue (blue nuclei). In the Harderian gland of Rana esculenta their number and the intensity of staining with aniline blue may vary during the year. The affinity for aniline blue disappears following digestion of paraffin sections with RNAase, but not with DNAase or trypsin. Furthermore, in vitro incubation with [5, 6-3H]-Uridine shows a selective incorporation by the majority of blue nuclei. Therefore, the affinity for aniline blue is likely due to increased RNA synthesis. The increment of nuclear RNA shown by these methods is supported by the quantitative determination of total RNAs during the resumption (October) and enhancement (May) of secretory activity, when the percentage of blue nuclei of the acinar cells is at its highest levels of the year. The affinity of RNA-rich nuclei for aniline blue, while others are strictly orangiophil, is discussed on the basis of molecular structure of the dyes used in the staining mixture. Mallory's trichrome stain appears to be an useful tool for detecting changes in cell nuclear status.

  • Short-term memory and verbal learning with auditory phonological coding defect: a neuropsychological case study.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1992, on Brain and cognition
    by Trojano L, Stanzione M, Grossi D

    A patient is described with a rarely reported linguistic syndrome: he could repeat words but not nonwords. The patient produced semantic paraphasias in repetition and could read both words and nonwords flawlessly. His basic difficulties were localized in auditory phonological coding, identifying a clinical picture called "phonemic deafness." Short-term memory and verbal learning results suggested that a standard, selective short-term memory defect can be induced by auditory phonological coding deficits as well as by "pure" short-term memory capacity limitation and other phonological deficits. Findings also provided evidence that lexical-semantic code can allow normal verbal learning.

  • Solution structure of deltorphin I at 265 K: a quantitative NMR study.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1992, on Peptide research
    by Amodeo P, Motta A, Tancredi T, Salvadori S, Tomatis R, Picone D, Saviano G, Temussi PA

    Deltorphin I, a delta-selective opioid peptide, has been studied in a DMSOd6/H2O cryoprotective mixture by two-dimensional (2D) NMR spectroscopy in the temperature range 260 K to 305 K. The high viscosity of the solvent at low temperature mimics a distinctive physico-chemical feature of cytoplasm and allows the measurement of a NOESY spectrum rich in intra- and inter-residue effects. Backbone NOEs at 265 K can be calculated with good accuracy in terms of only two limiting conformers: one folded, with a mole fraction of 0.30, and another extended with a mole fraction of 0.70. This calculation is still a rough approximation of the complex conformational equilibria existing in solution but, to the best of our knowledge, is the first one for a flexible peptide, and represents an encouraging starting point for a quantitative evaluation of NMR data of small, flexible peptides in solution. The folded conformer consistent with observed NOEs has a shape surprisingly similar to those of unrelated, rigid, delta-selective opiates.

  • The active site of Sulfolobus solfataricus aspartate aminotransferase.

    Publication Date: 15/11/1991, on Biochimica et biophysica acta
    by Birolo L, Arnone MI, Cubellis MV, Andreotti G, Nitti G, Marino G, Sannia G

    Aspartate aminotransferase from the archaebacterium Sulfolobus solfataricus binds pyridoxal 5' phosphate, via an aldimine bond, with Lys-241. This residue has been identified by reducing the enzyme in the pyridoxal form with sodium cyanoboro[3H]hydride and sequencing the specifically labeled peptic peptides. The amino acid sequence centered around the coenzyme binding site is highly conserved between thermophilic aspartate aminotransferases and differs from that found in mesophilic isoenzymes. An alignment of aspartate aminotransferase from Sulfolobus solfataricus with mesophilic isoenzymes, attempted in spite of the low degree of similarity, was confirmed by the correspondence between pyridoxal 5' phosphate binding residues. Using this alignment it was possible to insert the archaebacterial aspartate aminotransferase into a subclass, subclass I, of pyridoxal 5' phosphate binding enzymes comprising mesophilic aspartate aminotransferases, tyrosine aminotransferases and histidinol phosphate aminotransferases. These enzymes share 12 invariant amino acids most of which interact with the coenzyme or with the substrates. Some enzymes of subclass I and in particular aspartate aminotransferase from Sulfolobus solfataricus, lack a positively charged residue, corresponding to Arg-292, which in pig cytosolic aspartate aminotransferase interacts with the distal carboxylate of the substrates (and determines the specificity towards dicarboxylic acids). It was confirmed that aspartate aminotransferase from Sulfolobus solfataricus does not possess any arginine residue exposed to chemical modifications responsible for the binding of omega-carboxylate of the substrates. Furthermore, it has been found that aspartate aminotransferase from Sulfolobus solfataricus is fairly active when alanine is used as substrate and that this activity is not affected by the presence of formate. The KM value of the thermophilic aspartate aminotransferase towards alanine is at least one order of magnitude lower than that of the mesophilic analogue enzymes.

  • Androgen receptor in the Harderian gland of Rana esculenta.

    Publication Date: 01/05/1991, on The Journal of endocrinology
    by d'Istria M, Chieffi-Baccari G, Di Matteo L, Minucci S, Varriale B, Chieffi G

    An androgen receptor has been identified in the cytosolic and nuclear extracts of the Harderian gland of the frog, Rana esculenta. A single class of high-affinity binding sites was found: Kd = 1.9 +/- 1.3 (S.D.) nmol/l (n = 26) for the cytosolic extract and Kd = 0.9 +/- 0.8 nmol/l (n = 15) for the nuclear extract. The presence of binding activity in both nuclear and cytosolic extracts and the low rate of ligand-receptor dissociation are characteristics that distinguish this receptor from a steroid-binding protein. The Kd did not show any sex difference and did not exhibit any secretory activity-related change. Binding in both cytosolic and nuclear extracts was specific for androgens (testosterone = 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone); oestradiol-17 beta showed a 30% cross-reaction; moreover, specific binding of [3H]oestradiol-17 beta was not detectable. The binding capacity of the Harderian gland increased progressively in both fractions from October to December, reaching a peak in May, and decreased suddenly during July to August. The lack of any morphological sex-related difference in the Harderian gland of the green frog might be accounted for by the high amount of circulating androgens as well as a similar concentration of androgen receptor in both sexes.

  • New insights on mu/delta selectivity of opioid peptides: conformational analysis of deltorphin analogues.

    Publication Date: 01/05/1991, on Biopolymers
    by Tancredi T, Temussi PA, Picone D, Amodeo P, Tomatis R, Salvadori S, Marastoni M, Santagada V, Balboni G
    DOI: 10.1002/bip.360310620

    The message domain of dermorphin (Tyr-D-Ala-Phe), a natural mu-opioid heptapeptide, has long been considered the main cause of the high mu selectivity of this peptide and of its analogues. The recent discovery, in the skin of Phyllomedusa sauvagei (i.e., the same natural source of dermorphin) and of Phyllomedusa bicolor of deltorphins, challenges this belief. Deltorphins, in fact, are three heptapeptides characterized by a message domain typical of mu-selective peptides, but endowed of an extremely high delta selectivity, the highest of all natural opioid peptides. A conformational analysis of dermorphin and deltorphins, based on nmr studies in DMSO and cryoprotective mixtures and internal energy calculations, showed that the enormous differences in receptor selectivity can be interpreted on the basis of receptor models for mu and delta opioids that recognize the same beta-turn in the N-terminal part, but discriminate for the conformation and polarity of the C-terminal part. Here we present the synthesis, biological activity, and conformational analysis in solution of three deltorphin analogues with very similar constitution, but with different net charge, different location of negative residues, or even without negative residues, which confirm these hypotheses and show that His4 can play a specific structural role.