Latest PUBLICATIONS

  • Regression-based normative data and equivalent scores for Trail Making Test (TMT): an updated Italian normative study.

    Publication Date: 07/12/2018, on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Siciliano M, Chiorri C, Battini V, Sant'Elia V, Altieri M, Trojano L, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-018-3673-y

    The Trail Making Test (TMT) is widely used to assess psychomotor speed and attentional set-shifting. Since the regression-based norms and equivalent scores (ESs) for the TMT Italian version trace back to more than 20 years ago, we aimed at providing updated normative data for basic (Part A and Part B) and derived (Score B-A and Score B/A) TMT scores collected in a larger sample with an extended age range.

  • Treatment with direct-acting antivirals improves the clinical outcome in patients with HCV-related decompensated cirrhosis: results from an Italian real-life cohort (Liver Network Activity-LINA cohort).

    Publication Date: 06/12/2018, on Hepatology international
    by Gentile I, Scotto R, Coppola C, Staiano L, Amoruso DC, De Simone T, Portunato F, De Pascalis S, Martini S, Macera M, Viceconte G, Tosone G, Buonomo AR, Borgia G, Coppola N
    DOI: 10.1007/s12072-018-9914-6

    Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are safe and effective for the treatment of HCV infection. However, data regarding their efficacy in patients with Child-Pugh B cirrhosis are scarce and their capability in improving liver function is debated. The aim of our study was to assess the clinical benefits of treatment with DAA in subjects with Child-Pugh B cirrhosis.

  • TRIM8-driven transcriptomic profile of neural stem cells identified glioma-related nodal genes and pathways.

    Publication Date: 05/12/2018, on Biochimica et biophysica acta. General subjects
    by Venuto S, Castellana S, Monti M, Appolloni I, Fusilli C, Fusco C, Pucci P, Malatesta P, Mazza T, Merla G, Micale L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2018.12.001

    We recently reported TRIM8, encoding an E3 ubiquitin ligase, as a gene aberrantly expressed in glioblastoma whose expression suppresses cell growth and induces a significant reduction of clonogenic potential in glioblastoma cell lines.

  • Late adult-onset adrenomyeloneuropathy evolving with atypical severe frontal lobe syndrome: Importance of neuroimaging.

    Publication Date: 05/12/2018, on Radiology case reports
    by Dato C, Capaldo G, Terracciano C, Napolitano F, D'Amico A, Pappatà S, Santorelli FM, Di Iorio G, Sampaolo S, Melone MA
    DOI: 10.1016/j.radcr.2018.11.007

    X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is a rare inherited metabolic disease affecting the nervous system and the adrenal glands. It is caused by a mutation of the gene, resulting in the impaired degradation of very long-chain fatty acids and their subsequent accumulation in several organs and tissues. X-ALD is notable for its high phenotypical variability, that includes isolated adrenocortical insufficiency, slowly progressive myelopathy with paraparesis, ataxia, and peripheral neuropathy to severe childhood cerebral forms. Here, we describe the case of an X-ALD patient with a p.Gly343Val mutation in gene, who presented in adulthood with a spinal syndrome of mild severity, and later developed a progressive cognitive and behavioral syndrome. Our patient showed a striking correlation between clinical phenotype and neuroimaging, including a brain fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography that displayed an atypical cerebral glucose metabolism.

  • Next Generation Molecular Diagnosis of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias: An Italian Cross-Sectional Study.

    Publication Date: 04/12/2018, on Frontiers in neurology
    by D'Amore A, Tessa A, Casali C, Dotti MT, Filla A, Silvestri G, Antenora A, Astrea G, Barghigiani M, Battini R, Battisti C, Bruno I, Cereda C, Dato C, Di Iorio G, Donadio V, Felicori M, Fini N, Fiorillo C, Gallone S, Gemignani F, Gigli GL, Graziano C, Guerrini R, Gurrieri F, Kariminejad A, Lieto M, Marques LourenḈo C, Malandrini A, Mandich P, Marcotulli C, Mari F, Massacesi L, Melone MAB, Mignarri A, Milone R, Musumeci O, Pegoraro E, Perna A, Petrucci A, Pini A, Pochiero F, Pons MR, Ricca I, Rossi S, Seri M, Stanzial F, Tinelli F, Toscano A, Valente M, Federico A, Rubegni A, Santorelli FM
    DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00981

    Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) refers to a group of genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative motor neuron disorders characterized by progressive age-dependent loss of corticospinal motor tract function, lower limb spasticity, and weakness. Recent clinical use of next generation sequencing (NGS) methodologies suggests that they facilitate the diagnostic approach to HSP, but the power of NGS as a first-tier diagnostic procedure is unclear. The larger-than-expected genetic heterogeneity-there are over 80 potential disease-associated genes-and frequent overlap with other clinical conditions affecting the motor system make a molecular diagnosis in HSP cumbersome and time consuming. In a single-center, cross-sectional study, spanning 4 years, 239 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of HSP underwent molecular screening of a large set of genes, using two different customized NGS panels. The latest version of our targeted sequencing panel () comprises 118 genes known to be associated with HSP. Using an in-house validated bioinformatics pipeline and several tools to predict mutation pathogenicity, we obtained a positive diagnostic yield of 29% (70/239), whereas variants of unknown significance (VUS) were found in 86 patients (36%), and 83 cases remained unsolved. This study is among the largest screenings of consecutive HSP index cases enrolled in real-life clinical-diagnostic settings. Its results corroborate NGS as a modern, first-step procedure for molecular diagnosis of HSP. It also disclosed a significant number of new mutations in ultra-rare genes, expanding the clinical spectrum, and genetic landscape of HSP, at least in Italy.

  • Preparation, structure, cytotoxicity and mechanism of action of ferritin-Pt(II) terpyridine compound nanocomposites.

    Publication Date: 03/12/2018, on Nanomedicine (London, England)
    by Ferraro G, Pica A, Petruk G, Pane F, Amoresano A, Cilibrizzi A, Vilar R, Monti DM, Merlino A
    DOI: 10.2217/nnm-2018-0259

    A Pt(II)-terpyridine compound, bearing two piperidine substituents at positions 2 and 2' of the terpyridine ligand (1), is highly cytotoxic and shows a mechanism of action distinct from cisplatin. 1 has been incorporated within the ferritin nanocage (AFt).

  • Bi-cephalic parietal and cerebellar direct current stimulation interferes with early error correction in prism adaptation: Toward a complex view of the neural mechanisms underlying visuomotor control.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2018, on Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
    by Panico F, Sagliano L, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2018.09.020

    Prism Adaptation (PA) represents a valid tool to assess short-term visuomotor plasticity. Two adaptive processes are involved during PA: recalibration, contributing to early error compensation, and spatial realignment, contributing to after-effect development. Classical models on PA posit that adaptive mechanisms underlying PA rely on segregated regions in the brain. Indeed, they ascribe recalibration to the activity of the Posterior Parietal Cortex (PPC) and spatial realignment to the activity of the Cerebellum. The present experiment challenges the idea of a clear-cut separation of the role of the brain areas involved in PA, proposing an interpretation in terms of interrelated brain regions. To this purpose we interfered with the activity of the PPC and the Cerebellum by means of complementary protocols of stimulation. Bi-cephalic transcranial Direct Current Stimulation was delivered simultaneously on the PPC and the Cerebellum during PA in two groups of participants receiving real stimulation with opposite polarities (anode on PPC and cathode on Cerebellum or vice-versa) and in a control group (Sham stimulation). Differences in mean errors between groups were analyzed. Results show that the two groups of real stimulation exhibited larger displacements in early error compensation compared to the Sham Group, but they did not differ from each other. No group difference was found in late error compensation and after-effect. In conclusion, the present findings provide the first direct evidence that a brain circuit connecting the PPC and the Cerebellum is involved in early stages of visuomotor adaptation, and pave the way for updating classical models of PA.

  • No evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3) and disability improvement after alemtuzumab treatment for multiple sclerosis: a 36-month real-world study.

    Publication Date: 01/12/2018, on Journal of neurology
    by Prosperini L, Annovazzi P, Boffa L, Buscarinu MC, Gallo A, Matta M, Moiola L, Musu L, Perini P, Avolio C, Barcella V, Bianco A, Farina D, Ferraro E, Pontecorvo S, Granella F, Grimaldi LME, Laroni A, Lus G, Patti F, Pucci E, Pasca M, Sarchielli P,
    DOI: 10.1007/s00415-018-9070-x

    In this retrospective, multicenter, real-world study we collected clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of all patients (n = 40) with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) treated with alemtuzumab according to a "free-of-charge" protocol available before the drug marketing approval in Italy. Almost all (39/40) started alemtuzumab after discontinuing multiple disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) because of either lack of response or safety concerns. We considered the proportion of alemtuzumab-treated patients who had no evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3) and disability improvement over a 36-month follow-up period. NEDA-3 was defined as absence of relapses, disability worsening, and MRI activity. Disability improvement was defined as a sustained reduction of ≥ 1-point in Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. At follow-up, 18 (45%) patients achieved NEDA-3, 30 (75%) were relapse-free, 33 (82.5%) were EDSS worsening-free, and 25 (62.5%) were MRI activity-free. Eleven (27.5%) patients had a sustained disability improvement. We found no predictor for the NEDA-3 status, while the interaction of higher EDSS score by higher number of pre-alemtuzumab relapses was associated with a greater chance of disability improvement (odds ratio 1.10, p = 0.049). Our study provides real-world evidence that alemtuzumab can promote clinical and MRI disease remission, as well as disability improvement, in a significant proportion of patients with RRMS despite prior multiple DMT failures. The drug safety profile was consistent with data available from clinical trials.

  • Ovarian cancer cell-derived lysophosphatidic acid induces glycolytic shift and cancer-associated fibroblast-phenotype in normal and peritumoral fibroblasts.

    Publication Date: 29/11/2018, on Cancer letters
    by Radhakrishnan R, Ha JH, Jayaraman M, Liu J, Moxley KM, Isidoro C, Sood AK, Song YS, Dhanasekaran DN
    DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2018.11.023

    Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a critical role in cancer progression, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Molecular events that confer CAF-phenotype to predecessor-cells are not fully understood. We demonstrate here that the ovarian cancer cell-conditioned medium (OCC-CM) induces CAF-phenotype in MRC5 lung-fibroblasts and it can be mimicked by LPA. While OCC-CM and LPA stimulated the expression of cellular CAF-markers by 3-days, they induced aerobic glycolysis, a metabolic marker for CAF, by 6 hrs. OCC-CM/LPA-induced glycolysis in lung (MRC5) as well as ovarian fibroblasts (NOF151) was inhibited by the LPA-receptor antagonist, Ki16425. Ovarian cancer patient-derived ascitic fluid-induced aerobic glycolysis in both NFs and Ovarian CAFs and it was inhibited by Ki16425. Further analysis indicated that LPA upregulated HIF1α-levels and the silencing of HIF1α attenuated LPA-induced glycolysis in both NOFs and CAFs. These results establish LPA-induced glycolytic-shift as the earliest, potentially priming event, in NF to CAF-transition. These findings also identify a role for LPA-LPAR-HIF1α signaling-hub in the maintenance of the glycolytic-phenotype in CAFs. Our results provide evidence that targeted inhibition of LPA-mediated metabolic reprogramming in CAFs may represent an adjuvant therapy in ovarian cancer.

  • Thrombus aspiration in hyperglycemic ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients: clinical outcomes at 1-year follow-up.

    Publication Date: 29/11/2018, on Cardiovascular diabetology
    by Sardu C, Barbieri M, Balestrieri ML, Siniscalchi M, Paolisso P, Calabrò P, Minicucci F, Signoriello G, Portoghese M, Mone P, D'Andrea D, Gragnano F, Bellis A, Mauro C, Paolisso G, Rizzo MR, Marfella R
    DOI: 10.1186/s12933-018-0795-8

    We evaluate whether the thrombus aspiration (TA) before primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) may improve STEMI outcomes in hyperglycemic patients.

  • The E3 Ubiquitin Ligases TRIM17 and TRIM41 Modulate α-Synuclein Expression by Regulating ZSCAN21.

    Publication Date: 27/11/2018, on Cell reports
    by Lassot I, Mora S, Lesage S, Zieba BA, Coque E, Condroyer C, Bossowski JP, Mojsa B, Marelli C, Soulet C, Tesson C, Carballo-Carbajal I, Laguna A, Mangone G, Vila M, Brice A, Desagher S
    DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.11.002

    Although accumulating data indicate that increased α-synuclein expression is crucial for Parkinson disease (PD), mechanisms regulating the transcription of its gene, SNCA, are largely unknown. Here, we describe a pathway regulating α-synuclein expression. Our data show that ZSCAN21 stimulates SNCA transcription in neuronal cells and that TRIM41 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase for ZSCAN21. In contrast, TRIM17 decreases the TRIM41-mediated degradation of ZSCAN21. Silencing of ZSCAN21 and TRIM17 consistently reduces SNCA expression, whereas TRIM41 knockdown increases it. The mRNA levels of TRIM17, ZSCAN21, and SNCA are simultaneously increased in the midbrains of mice following MPTP treatment. In addition, rare genetic variants in ZSCAN21, TRIM17, and TRIM41 genes occur in patients with familial forms of PD. Expression of variants in ZSCAN21 and TRIM41 genes results in the stabilization of the ZSCAN21 protein. Our data thus suggest that deregulation of the TRIM17/TRIM41/ZSCAN21 pathway may be involved in the pathogenesis of PD.

  • Tailoring a lead-like compound targeting multiple G-quadruplex structures.

    Publication Date: 27/11/2018, on European journal of medicinal chemistry
    by Amato J, Platella C, Iachettini S, Zizza P, Musumeci D, Cosconati S, Pagano A, Novellino E, Biroccio A, Randazzo A, Pagano B, Montesarchio D
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2018.11.058

    A focused library of analogs of a lead-like G-quadruplex (G4) targeting compound (4), sharing a furobenzoxazine naphthoquinone core and differing for the pendant groups on the N-atom of the oxazine ring, has been here analyzed with the aim of developing more potent and selective ligands. These molecules have been tested vs. topologically different G4s by the G4-CPG assay, an affinity chromatography-based method for screening putative G4 ligands. The obtained results showed that all these compounds were able to bind several G4 structures, both telomeric and extra-telomeric, thus behaving as multi-target ligands, and two of them fully discriminated G4 vs. duplex DNA. Biological assays proved that almost all the compounds produced effective DNA damage, showing marked antiproliferative effects on tumor cells in the low μM range. Combined analysis of the G4-CPG binding assays and biological data led us to focus on compound S4-5, proved to be less cytotoxic than the parent compound 4 on normal cells. An in-depth biophysical characterization of the binding of S4-5 to different G4s showed that the here identified ligand has higher affinity for the G4s and higher ability to discriminate G4 vs. duplex DNA than 4. Molecular docking studies, in agreement with the NMR data, suggest that S4-5 interacts with the accessible grooves of the target G4 structures, giving clues for its increased G4 vs. duplex selectivity.

  • Clogging the Ubiquitin-Proteasome Machinery with Marine Natural Products: Last Decade Update.

    Publication Date: 26/11/2018, on Marine drugs
    by Della Sala G, Agriesti F, Mazzoccoli C, Tataranni T, Costantino V, Piccoli C
    DOI: 10.3390/md16120467

    The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP) is the central protein degradation system in eukaryotic cells, playing a key role in homeostasis maintenance, through proteolysis of regulatory and misfolded (potentially harmful) proteins. As cancer cells produce proteins inducing cell proliferation and inhibiting cell death pathways, UPP inhibition has been exploited as an anticancer strategy to shift the balance between protein synthesis and degradation towards cell death. Over the last few years, marine invertebrates and microorganisms have shown to be an unexhaustive factory of secondary metabolites targeting the UPP. These chemically intriguing compounds can inspire clinical development of novel antitumor drugs to cope with the incessant outbreak of side effects and resistance mechanisms induced by currently approved proteasome inhibitors (e.g., bortezomib). In this review, we report about (a) the role of the UPP in anticancer therapy, (b) chemical and biological properties of UPP inhibitors from marine sources discovered in the last decade, (c) high-throughput screening techniques for mining natural UPP inhibitors in organic extracts. Moreover, we will tell about the fascinating story of salinosporamide A, the first marine natural product to access clinical trials as a proteasome inhibitor for cancer treatment.

  • Neuro-Immune Hemostasis: Homeostasis and Diseases in the Central Nervous System.

    Publication Date: 26/11/2018, on Frontiers in cellular neuroscience
    by De Luca C, Colangelo AM, Alberghina L, Papa M
    DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00459

    Coagulation and the immune system interact in several physiological and pathological conditions, including tissue repair, host defense, and homeostatic maintenance. This network plays a key role in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) by involving several cells (CNS resident cells, platelets, endothelium, and leukocytes) and molecular pathways (protease activity, complement factors, platelet granule content). Endothelial damage prompts platelet activation and the coagulation cascade as the first physiological step to support the rescue of damaged tissues, a flawed rescuing system ultimately producing neuroinflammation. Leukocytes, platelets, and endothelial cells are sensitive to the damage and indeed can release or respond to chemokines and cytokines (platelet factor 4, CXCL4, TNF, interleukins), and growth factors (including platelet-derived growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor) with platelet activation, change in capillary permeability, migration or differentiation of leukocytes. Thrombin, plasmin, activated complement factors and matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), furthermore, activate intracellular transduction through complement or protease-activated receptors. Impairment of the neuro-immune hemostasis network induces acute or chronic CNS pathologies related to the neurovascular unit, either directly or by the systemic activation of its main steps. Neurons, glial cells (astrocytes and microglia) and the extracellular matrix play a crucial function in a "tetrapartite" synaptic model. Taking into account the neurovascular unit, in this review we thoroughly analyzed the influence of neuro-immune hemostasis on these five elements acting as a functional unit ("pentapartite" synapse) in the adaptive and maladaptive plasticity and discuss the relevance of these events in inflammatory, cerebrovascular, Alzheimer, neoplastic and psychiatric diseases. Finally, based on the solid reviewed data, we hypothesize a model of neuro-immune hemostatic network based on protein-protein interactions. In addition, we propose that, to better understand and favor the maintenance of adaptive plasticity, it would be useful to construct predictive molecular models, able to enlighten the regulating logic of the complex molecular network, which belongs to different cellular domains. A modeling approach would help to define how nodes of the network interact with basic cellular functions, such as mitochondrial metabolism, autophagy or apoptosis. It is expected that dynamic systems biology models might help to elucidate the fine structure of molecular events generated by blood coagulation and neuro-immune responses in several CNS diseases, thereby opening the way to more effective treatments.

  • Genome-wide mapping of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine reveals accumulation of oxidatively-generated damage at DNA replication origins within transcribed long genes of mammalian cells.

    Publication Date: 20/11/2018, on Nucleic acids research
    by Amente S, Di Palo G, Scala G, Castrignanò T, Gorini F, Cocozza S, Moresano A, Pucci P, Ma B, Stepanov I, Lania L, Pelicci PG, Dellino GI, Majello B
    DOI: 10.1093/nar/gky1152

    8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) is one of the major DNA modifications and a potent pre-mutagenic lesion prone to mispair with 2'-deoxyadenosine (dA). Several thousand residues of 8-oxodG are constitutively generated in the genome of mammalian cells, but their genomic distribution has not yet been fully characterized. Here, by using OxiDIP-Seq, a highly sensitive methodology that uses immuno-precipitation with efficient anti-8-oxodG antibodies combined with high-throughput sequencing, we report the genome-wide distribution of 8-oxodG in human non-tumorigenic epithelial breast cells (MCF10A), and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). OxiDIP-Seq revealed sites of 8-oxodG accumulation overlapping with γH2AX ChIP-Seq signals within the gene body of transcribed long genes, particularly at the DNA replication origins contained therein. We propose that the presence of persistent single-stranded DNA, as a consequence of transcription-replication clashes at these sites, determines local vulnerability to DNA oxidation and/or its slow repair. This oxidatively-generated damage, likely in combination with other kinds of lesion, might contribute to the formation of DNA double strand breaks and activation of DNA damage response.