• Ranolazine Attenuates Trastuzumab-Induced Heart Dysfunction by Modulating ROS Production.

    Publication Date: 06/02/2018, on Frontiers in physiology
    by Riccio G, Antonucci S, Coppola C, D'Avino C, Piscopo G, Fiore D, Maurea C, Russo M, Rea D, Arra C, Condorelli G, Di Lisa F, Tocchetti CG, De Lorenzo C, Maurea N
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00038

    The ErbB2 blocker trastuzumab improves survival in oncologic patients, but can cause cardiotoxicity. The late Na+ current inhibitor ranolazine has been shown to counter experimental HF, including doxorubicin cardiotoxicity (a condition characterized by derangements in redox balance), by lowering the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since ErbB2 can modulate ROS signaling, we tested whether trastuzumab cardiotoxicity could be blunted by ranolazine via redox-mediated mechanisms. Trastuzumab decreased fractional shortening and ejection fraction in mice, but ranolazine prevented heart dysfunction when co-administered with trastuzumab. Trastuzumab cardiotoxicity was accompanied by elevations in natriuretic peptides and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) mRNAs, which were not elevated with co-treatment with ranolazine. Trastuzumab also increased cleavage of caspase-3, indicating activation of the proapoptotic machinery. Again, ranolazine prevented this activation. Interestingly, Neonatal Rat Ventricular Myocytes (NRVMs), labeled with MitoTracker Red and treated with trastuzumab, showed only a small increase in ROS compared to baseline conditions. We then stressed trastuzumab-treated cells with the beta-agonist isoproterenol to increase workload, and we observed a significant increase of probe fluorescence, compared with cells treated with isoproterenol alone, reflecting induction of oxidative stress. These effects were blunted by ranolazine, supporting a role for Na inhibition in the regulation of redox balance also in trastuzumab cardiotoxicity.

  • Verapamil Inhibits Ser202/Thr205 Phosphorylation of Tau by Blocking TXNIP/ROS/p38 MAPK Pathway.

    Publication Date: 05/02/2018, on Pharmaceutical research
    by Melone MAB, Dato C, Paladino S, Coppola C, Trebini C, Giordana MT, Perrone L
    DOI: 10.1007/s11095-017-2276-2

    Oxidative stress is a hallmark of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and promotes tau phosphorylation. Since Thioredoxin Interacting protein (TXNIP), the inhibitor of the anti-oxidant system of Thioredoxin, is up regulated in the hippocampus of AD patients, we investigated whether TXNIP plays a role in promoting tau phosphorylation and whether Verapamil, an inhibitor of TXNIP expression, prevents TXNIP downstream effects.

  • Fingolimod reduces the clinical expression of active demyelinating lesions in MS.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2018, on Multiple sclerosis and related disorders
    by Signoriello E, Landi D, Monteleone F, Saccà F, Nicoletti CG, Buttari F, Sica F, Marfia GA, Di Iorio G, Lus G, Centonze D
    DOI: 10.1016/j.msard.2018.02.002

    Fingolimod is a modulator of Central and peripheral sphingosine pathways, which is currently approved for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In animal models it reduces inflammation, but it is also able to potentiate glutamatergic transmission and synaptic plasticity. We aimed to explore whether Fingolimod is able to modify the clinical expression of new demyelinating lesions with respect to IFNβ-1a in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) patients suboptimal responders to IFNβ-1a.

  • The renal lesions in Bardet-Biedl Syndrome: history before and after the discovery of BBS genes.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2018, on Giornale italiano di nefrologia : organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di nefrologia
    by Viggiano D, Zacchia M, Simonelli F, Di Iorio V, Anastasio P, Capasso G, De Santo NG

  • Cognitive and behavioral disorders in Parkinson's disease: an update. I: cognitive impairments.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2018, on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Papagno C, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-017-3154-8

    Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor symptoms such as rigidity, rest tremor, and bradykinesia. However, a growing body of evidence demonstrated that PD encompasses several non-motor disturbances as well, such as cognitive impairment. Cognitive defects can be present since early stages of the disease but tend to dominate the clinical picture as the disease progresses. Around 40% of patients with PD present with cognitive impairments in several cognitive domains including attention, working memory and executive functions, language, visuospatial skills, and episodic memory; in later stages of the disease, cognitive defects and associated behavioral disorders concur to determine clinically relevant PD-associated dementia. Part of these defects is ascribed to a dopamine-dependent dysfunction of fronto-striatal pathways, but there is a considerable heterogeneity in the cognitive impairments as well as a suggestion of the role of other neurotransmitter systems, such as the cholinergic one, mainly responsible for Parkinson-dementia syndrome. In this paper, we review recent literature with particular attention to the last 5 years on the main cognitive deficits described in PD patients as well as on the hypothesized neuro-functional substrate of such impairments. Finally, we provide some suggestions on how to test cognitive functions in PD appropriately.

  • Human Milk and Donkey Milk, Compared to Cow Milk, Reduce Inflammatory Mediators and Modulate Glucose and Lipid Metabolism, Acting on Mitochondrial Function and Oleylethanolamide Levels in Rat Skeletal Muscle.

    Publication Date: 30/01/2018, on Frontiers in physiology
    by Trinchese G, Cavaliere G, De Filippo C, Aceto S, Prisco M, Chun JT, Penna E, Negri R, Muredda L, Demurtas A, Banni S, Berni-Canani R, Mattace Raso G, Calignano A, Meli R, Greco L, Crispino M, Mollica MP
    DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00032

    Milk from various species differs in nutrient composition. In particular, human milk (HM) and donkey milk (DM) are characterized by a relative high level of triacylglycerol enriched in palmitic acid in sn-2 position. These dietary fats seem to exert beneficial nutritional properties through N-acylethanolamine tissue modulation. The aim of this study is to compare the effects of cow milk (CM), DM, and HM on inflammation and glucose and lipid metabolism, focusing on mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics in skeletal muscle, which is the major determinant of resting metabolic rate. Moreover, we also evaluated the levels of endocannabinoids and N-acylethanolamines in liver and skeletal muscle, since tissue fatty acid profiles can be modulated by nutrient intervention. To this aim, rats were fed with CM, DM, or HM for 4 weeks. Then, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were analyzed. Pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in serum and skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle was also processed to estimate mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics, oxidative stress, and antioxidant/detoxifying enzyme activities. Fatty acid profiles, endocannabinoids, and N-acylethanolamine congeners were determined in liver and skeletal muscle tissue. We demonstrated that DM or HM administration reducing inflammation status, improves glucose disposal and insulin resistance and reduces lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle. Moreover, HM or DM administration increases redox status, and mitochondrial uncoupling, affecting mitochondrial dynamics in the skeletal muscle. Interestingly, HM and DM supplementation increase liver and muscle levels of the N-oleoylethanolamine (OEA), a key regulator of lipid metabolism and inflammation. HM and DM have a healthy nutritional effect, acting on inflammatory factors and glucose and lipid metabolism. This beneficial effect is associated to a modulation of mitochondrial function, efficiency, and dynamics and to an increase of OEA levels in skeletal muscle.

  • Autosomal dominant myopia associated to a novel P4HA2 missense variant and defective collagen hydroxylation.

    Publication Date: 24/01/2018, on Clinical genetics
    by Napolitano F, Di Iorio V, Testa F, Tirozzi A, Reccia MG, Lombardi L, Farina O, Simonelli F, Gianfrancesco F, Di Iorio G, Melone MAB, Esposito T, Sampaolo S
    DOI: 10.1111/cge.13217

    We recently described a complex multisystem syndrome in which mild-moderate myopia segregated as an independent trait. A plethora of genes has been related to sporadic and familial myopia. More recently, in Chinese patients severe myopia (MYP25, OMIM:617238) has been linked to mutations in P4HA2 gene. Seven family members complaining of reduced distance vision especially at dusk underwent complete ophthalmological examination. Whole exome sequencing was performed to identify the gene responsible for myopia in the pedigree. Moderate myopia was diagnosed in the family which was associated to the novel missense variant c.1147A>G p.(Lys383Glu) in the prolyl 4-hydroxylase,alpha-polypeptide 2 (P4HA2) gene, which catalyzes the formation of 4-hydroxyproline residues in the collagen strands. In vitro studies demonstrated P4HA2 mRNA and protein reduced expression level as well as decreased collagen hydroxylation and deposition in mutated fibroblast primary cultures compared to healthy cell lines. This study suggests that P4HA2 mutations may lead to myopic axial elongation of eyeball as a consequence of quantitative and structural alterations of collagen. This is the first confirmatory study which associates a novel dominant missense variant in P4HA2 with myopia in Caucasian patients. Further studies in larger cohorts are advisable to fully clarify genotype-phenotype correlations.


    Publication Date: 20/01/2018, on Experimental cell research
    by Gentile M, Russo R, Pastorino O, Cioffi S, Barbieri F, Illingworth EA, Grieco M, Chambery A, Colucci-D'Amato L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2018.01.025

    Angiogenesis is a process encompassing several steps such as endothelial cells proliferation, differentiation and migration to form a vascular network, involving different signal transduction pathways. Among these, ERK1/2 signaling mediates VEGF-dependent signaling pathway. Here we report that the water extract of Ruta graveolens (RGWE), widely known as a medicinal plant, is able to impair in a dose-dependent manner, cell network formation without affecting cell viability. Biochemical analysis showed that the major component of RGWE is rutin, unable to reproduce RGWE effect. We found that RGWE inhibits ERK1/2 phosphorylation and that this event is crucial in cell network formation since the transfection of HUVEC with a constitutively active MEK (caMEK), the ERK1/2 activator, induces a robust cell network formation as compared to untransfected and/or mock transfected cells and, more importantly, caMEK transfected cells became unresponsive to RGWE. Moreover, RGWE inhibits VEGF and nestin gene expression, necessary for vessel formation, and the caMEK transfection induces their higher expression. In conclusion, we report that RGWE is able to significantly impair vessels network formation without affecting cell viability, preventing ERK1/2 activation and, in turn, down-regulating VEGF and nestin expression. These findings point to RGWE as a potential therapeutic tool capable to interfere with pathologic angiogenesis.

  • Targeting BCL2 Gene Promoter G-quadruplex with a New Class of Furopyridazinone-Based Molecules.

    Publication Date: 18/01/2018, on ChemMedChem
    by Amato J, Pagano A, Capasso D, Di Gaetano S, Giustiniano M, Novellino E, Randazzo A, Pagano B
    DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201700749

    Targeting of G-quadruplex-forming DNA in BCL2 gene promoter to inhibit the expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein represents an attractive opportunity in cancer treatment. So far, efforts made in the discovery of molecules able to target BCL2 G-quadruplex mainly succeeded in the identification of ligands with poor drug-like properties. Here, a small series of furo[2,3-d]pyridazin-4(5H)-one derivatives were evaluated as a new class of drug-like G-quadruplex-targeting compounds. Biophysical studies showed that two derivatives could effectively bind to BCL2 G-quadruplex with good selectivity. Moreover, one of such ligands appreciably inhibited BCL2 gene transcription, with a substantial reduction of protein expression level, and showed significant cytotoxicity on the human T lymphoblastoid cell line Jurkat.

  • EGFR activation triggers cellular hypertrophy and lysosomal disease in NAGLU-depleted cardiomyoblasts, mimicking the hallmarks of mucopolysaccharidosis IIIB.

    Publication Date: 18/01/2018, on Cell death & disease
    by De Pasquale V, Pezone A, Sarogni P, Tramontano A, Schiattarella GG, Avvedimento VE, Paladino S, Pavone LM
    DOI: 10.1038/s41419-017-0187-0

    Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIB is an inherited lysosomal storage disease caused by the deficiency of the enzyme α-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGLU) required for heparan sulfate (HS) degradation. The defective lysosomal clearance of undigested HS results in dysfunction of multiple tissues and organs. We recently demonstrated that the murine model of MPS IIIB develops cardiac disease, valvular abnormalities, and ultimately heart failure. To address the molecular mechanisms governing cardiac dysfunctions in MPS IIIB, we generated a model of the disease by silencing NAGLU gene expression in H9C2 rat cardiomyoblasts. NAGLU-depleted H9C2 exhibited accumulation of abnormal lysosomes and a hypertrophic phenotype. Furthermore, we found the specific activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and increased phosphorylation levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) in NAGLU-depleted H9C2. The inhibition of either EGFR or ERKs, using the selective inhibitors AG1478 and PD98059, resulted in the reduction of both lysosomal aberration and hypertrophy in NAGLU-depleted H9C2. We also found increased phosphorylation of c-Src and a reduction of the hypertrophic response in NAGLU-depleted H9C2 transfected with a dominant-negative c-Src. However, c-Src phosphorylation remained unaffected by AG1478 treatment, posing c-Src upstream EGFR activation. Finally, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) protein was found overexpressed in our MPS IIIB cellular model, and its silencing reduced the hypertrophic response. These results indicate that both c-Src and HB-EGF contribute to the hypertrophic phenotype of NAGLU-depleted cardiomyoblasts by synergistically activating EGFR and subsequent signaling, thus suggesting that EGFR pathway inhibition could represent an effective therapeutic approach for MPS IIIB cardiac disease.

  • The betaine profile of cereal flours unveils new and uncommon betaines.

    Publication Date: 15/01/2018, on Food chemistry
    by Servillo L, D'Onofrio N, Giovane A, Casale R, Cautela D, Ferrari G, Castaldo D, Balestrieri ML
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.06.111

    We report the LC-ESI-MS/MS determination of betaines in commercial flours of cereals and pseudocereals most utilized in human nutrition. Results showed that glycine betaine, trigonelline, proline betaine, Nε-trimethyllysine were metabolites common to all examined flours, whereas an uncommon betaine, valine betaine, and glutamine betaine were present only in flours of barley, rye, oat, durum wheat, winter wheat, Triticum dicoccum and Triticum monococcum. Valine betaine and glutamine betaine, the latter never reported before in plants and animals, are not evenly distributed in the Poaceae family, but their presence or absence in flours depends on the subfamily to which the plant belongs. Interestingly, we also report for the first time the occurrence of pipecolic acid betaine (homostachydrine) and its precursor 1,2-N-methylpipecolic acid in rye flour. These two metabolites were not detected in any other cereal or pseudocereal flour, suggesting their potential role as markers of rye flour occurrence in cereal-based foods.

  • Information content of dendritic spines after motor learning.

    Publication Date: 15/01/2018, on Behavioural brain research
    by Viggiano D, Speranza L, Crispino M, Bellenchi GC, di Porzio U, Iemolo A, De Leonibus E, Volpicelli F, Perrone-Capano C
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.09.020

    Dendritic spines, small protrusions emerging from the dendrites of most excitatory synapses in the mammalian brain, are highly dynamic structures and their shape and number is continuously modulated by memory formation and other adaptive changes of the brain. In this study, using a behavioral paradigm of motor learning, we applied the non-linear analysis of dendritic spines to study spine complexity along dendrites of cortical and subcortical neural systems, such as the basal ganglia, that sustain important motor learning processes. We show that, after learning, the spine organization has greater complexity, as indexed by the maximum Lyapunov exponent (LyE). The positive value of the exponent demonstrates that the system is chaotic, while recurrence plots show that the system is not simply composed by random noise, but displays quasi-periodic behavior. The increase in the maximum LyE and in the system entropy after learning was confirmed by the modification of the reconstructed trajectories in phase-space. Our results suggest that the remodeling of spines, as a result of a chaotic and non-random dynamical process along dendrites, may be a general feature associated with the structural plasticity underlying processes such as long-term memory maintenance. Furthermore, this work indicates that the non-linear method is a very useful tool to allow the detection of subtle stimulus-induced changes in dendritic spine dynamics, giving a key contribution to the study of the relationship between structure and function of spines.

  • Effects of incretin treatment on cardiovascular outcomes in diabetic STEMI-patients with culprit obstructive and multivessel non obstructive-coronary-stenosis.

    Publication Date: 03/01/2018, on Diabetology & metabolic syndrome
    by Marfella R, Sardu C, Balestrieri ML, Siniscalchi M, Minicucci F, Signoriello G, Calabrò P, Mauro C, Pieretti G, Coppola A, Nicoletti G, Rizzo MR, Paolisso G, Barbieri M
    DOI: 10.1186/s13098-017-0304-3

    No proper data on prognosis and management of type-2 diabetic ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients with culprit obstructive lesion and multivessel non obstructive coronary stenosis (Mv-NOCS) exist. We evaluated the 12-months prognosis of Mv-NOCS-diabetics with first STEMI non-diabetics, and then Mv-NOCS-diabetics previously treated with incretin based therapy vs. a matched cohort of STEMI-Mv-NOCS never treated with such therapy.

  • Prospective memory is dysfunctional in migraine without aura.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2018, on Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache
    by Santangelo G, Russo A, Tessitore A, Garramone F, Silvestro M, Della Mura MR, Marcuccio L, Fornaro I, Trojano L, Tedeschi G
    DOI: 10.1177/0333102418758280

    Introduction Prospective memory is the ability to carry out a delayed intended action, so to maintain and retrieve future plans, goals and activities. Deficits of prospective memory negatively impact on patients and caregivers' everyday living and determine poor adherence to treatment. Since frontal regions are involved in both event- and time-based prospective memory tasks and are impaired in migraine without aura, defects of prospective memory might occur in migraine without aura patients; until now this issue has not been investigated. The aim of the current study was to explore time- versus event-based prospective memory in migraine without aura. Patients and methods Ninty-one consecutive migraine without aura patients and 84 healthy subjects were enrolled in the study. They underwent a standardized measure of prospective memory evaluating both time-based and event-based prospective memory, and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment assessing global cognitive status. Moreover, all participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory-II and a self-administered version of the Apathy Evaluation Scale, to assess severity of depressive symptoms and apathy, respectively. Results Migraine without aura and healthy subjects did not differ on demographic aspects (i.e. age, education and gender). However, individuals with migraine without aura demonstrated impaired prospective memory performance compared to healthy subjects, with a greater impairment demonstrated for the time-based tasks. Within the migraine without aura group, no significant association was found between prospective memory performance and clinical scores, apathy, and depression. Conclusions Individuals with migraine without aura experience particular difficulty executing a future intention; therefore, migraine without aura is associated with dysfunction of prospective memory.

  • Neuropsychological profile in parents of adult phenylketonuria patients.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2018, on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Santangelo G, Piscopo F, Santangelo F, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-017-3181-5

    Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a disorder caused by an inborn error of metabolism, causing cognitive and behavioral disorders when not treated. Heterozygotes (i.e., patients' parents) were described with low verbal intelligence quotient, but no study systematically investigated cognitive functions in PKU parents. To obtain a neuropsychological profile in heterozygotes, we compared cognitive performance of heterozygotes and healthy controls (HC) on cognitive battery. Twelve heterozygotes and 14 HCs underwent standardized neuropsychological tasks assessing frontal/executive functions, memory, and visuospatial abilities. No significant difference between heterozygotes and HC was found on demographic aspects. Heterozygotes performed worse than HC on immediate verbal recall, on test assessing set-shifting, divided attention, and sensitivity to processing speed. No difference was found on the remaining cognitive tests.In conclusions, we observed less efficient control/executive functions in heterozygotes when compared to HCs. Further studies in large sample of heterozygotes should be performed to confirm our results.