Clinical activity after fingolimod cessation: disease reactivation or rebound?
Publication Date: 31/05/2018, on European journal of neurology
by Frau J, Sormani MP, Signori A, Realmuto S, Baroncini D, Annovazzi P, Signoriello E, Maniscalco G, La Gioia S, Cordioli C, Frigeni B, Rasia S, Fenu G, Grasso R, Sartori A, Lanzillo R, Stromillo ML, Rossi S, Forci B, Cocco E,
There is debate as to whether the apparent rebound after fingolimod discontinuation is related to the discontinuation itself, or if it is due to the natural course of highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). We aimed to survey the prevalence of severe reactivation and rebound after discontinuation of fingolimod in a cohort of Italian patients with MS.
Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the proautophagic activity of Citrus flavonoids from Bergamot Polyphenol Fraction.
Publication Date: 31/05/2018, on Data in brief
by Janda E, Salerno R, Martino C, Lascala A, La Russa D, Oliverio M
Bergamot Polyphenol Fraction (BPF®) is a natural mixture of flavonoids extracted from processed bergamot fruits. It has been shown to counteract cardiovascular risk factors and to prevent liver steatosis in rats and patients. Hepatic effects of BPF correlate with its ability to stimulate liver autophagy. Six aglyconic flavonoids have been identified in the proautophagic fraction of the hydrolysis product of BPF (A-BPF): naringenin, hesperetin, eridictyol, diosmetin, apigenin and luteolin. We report here the output parameters of high resolution mass spectrometry analysis of these flavonoids and chemical structures of their parent compounds. The second set of data shows the proautophagic activity of BPF flavonoids in a hepatic cell line HepG2 analyzed by a flow cytometry approach. The method is based on the red to green fluorescence intensity ratio analysis of DsRed -LC3- GFP, which is stably expressed in HepG2 cells. Proportional analysis of ATG indexes allowed us to address a relative contribution of individual compounds to the proautophagic activity of the A-BPF mixture and evaluate if the effect was additive. Qualitative analysis of ATG indexes compared the effects of flavonoids at equal concentrations in the presence and absence of palmitic acid and chloroquine. The Excel files reporting the analysis of flow cytometry data are available in the public repository.
Cognitive performance in multiple sclerosis: the contribution of intellectual enrichment and brain MRI measures.
Publication Date: 26/05/2018, on Journal of neurology
by Santangelo G, Bisecco A, Trojano L, Sacco R, Siciliano M, d'Ambrosio A, Della Corte M, Lavorgna L, Bonavita S, Tedeschi G, Gallo A
Cognitive reserve (CR) is a construct that originates from the observation of poor correspondence between brain damage and clinical symptoms. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between cognitive reserve (CR), brain reserve (BR) and cognitive functions and to evaluate whether CR might attenuate/moderate the negative impact of brain atrophy and lesion load on cognitive functions in multiple sclerosis (MS). To achieve these aims, ninety-eight relapsing-remitting MS patients underwent the brief repeatable battery of neuropsychological tests and Stroop test (ST). CR was assessed by vocabulary-based estimate of lifetime intellectual enrichment. All patients underwent a 3T MRI to assess T2-lesion load and atrophy measures, including normalized gray matter and white matter (nWMV) volumes. The BR was evaluated by maximal lifetime brain volume expressed by intracranial volume (ICV). Hierarchical regressions were used to investigate whether higher BR and/or CR is related to better cognitive performances after controlling for potentially confounding factors. The ICV was not associated with any cognitive tests. Intellectual enrichment was positively associated with performance on tests assessing memory, attention and information processing speed, verbal fluency and inhibitory control. Significant relationship between nWMV and ST was moderated by intellectual enrichment. In conclusion, the findings suggested that CR seems to mitigate cognitive dysfunction in MS patients and can reduce the negative impact of brain atrophy on inhibitory control, relevant for integrity of instrumental activities of daily living.
Do medical complications impact long-term outcomes in prolonged disorders of consciousness?
Publication Date: 25/05/2018, on Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
by Estraneo A, Loreto V, Masotta Psy O, Pascarella A, Trojano L
to investigate medical complications (MC) occuring within 6 months post-injury in brain-injured patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (DoC) and to evaluate impact of MC on mortality and long-term clinical outcomes.
Autophagy-Associated Shrinkage of the Hepatopancreas in Fasting Male <i>Macrobrachium rosenbergii</i> Is Rescued by Neuropeptide F.
Publication Date: 24/05/2018, on Frontiers in physiology
by Thongrod S, Wanichanon C, Kankuan W, Siangcham T, Phadngam S, Morani F, Isidoro C, Sobhon P
Invertebrate neuropeptide F-I (NPF-I), much alike its mammalian homolog neuropeptide Y, influences several physiological processes, including circadian rhythms, cortical excitability, stress response, and food intake behavior. Given the role of autophagy in the metabolic stress response, we investigated the effect of NPF-1 on autophagy during fasting and feeding conditions in the hepatopancreas and muscle tissues of the male giant freshwater prawn . Starvation up-regulated the expression of the autophagy marker LC3 in both tissues. Yet, based on the relative levels of the autophagosome-associated LC3-II isoform and of its precursor LC3-I, the hepatopancreas was more responsive than the muscle to starvation-induced autophagy. Injection of NPF-I inhibited the autophagosome formation in the hepatopancreas of fasting prawns. Relative to the body weight, the muscle weight was not affected, while that of the hepatopancreas decreased upon starvation and NPF-1 treatment could largely prevent such weight loss. Thus, the hepatopancreas is the reserve organ for the nutrient homeostasis during starvation and NPF-I plays a crucial role in the balancing of energy expenditure and energy intake during starvation by modulating autophagy.
Nano-delivery systems for encapsulation of dietary polyphenols: an experimental approach for neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors.
Publication Date: 24/05/2018, on Biochemical pharmacology
by Squillaro T, Cimini A, Peluso G, Giordano A, Melone M
Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) and brain tumors are severe, disabling, and incurable disorders that represent a critical problem regarding human suffering and the economic burden on the healthcare system. Because of the lack of effective therapies to treat NDs and brain tumors, the challenge for physicians is to discover new drugs to improve their patients' quality of life. In addition to risk factors such as genetics and environmental influences, increased cellular oxidative stress has been reported as one of the potential common etiologies in both disorders. Given their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential, dietary polyphenols are considered to be one of the most bioactive natural agents in chronic disease prevention and treatment. Despite the protective activity of polyphenols, their inefficient delivery systems and poor bioavailability strongly limit their use in medicine and functional food. A potential solution lies in polymeric nanoparticle-based polyphenol delivery systems that are able to enhance their absorption across the gastrointestinal tract, improve their bioavailability, and transport them to target organs. In the present manuscript, we provide an overview of the primary polyphenols used for ND and brain tumor prevention and treatment by focusing on recent findings, the principal factors limiting their application in clinical practice, and a promising delivery strategy to improve their bioavailability.
Resveratrol interrupts the pro-invasive communication between Cancer Associated Fibroblasts and Cholangiocarcinoma cells.
Publication Date: 23/05/2018, on Cancer letters
by Thongchot S, Ferraresi A, Vidoni C, Loilome W, Yongvanit P, Namwat N, Isidoro C
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), the cancer arising from the epithelial cells of bile ducts, is a prototype of inflammatory-driven cancer. Cytokines released by cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a pivotal role in CCA progression, driving the epigenetic Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal transition and the growth and metastasization of CCA cells. Consistently, the conditioned medium from CCA-derived CAFs further stimulated the secretion of IL-6, and to a lesser extent of IL-8, by CCA cells. CCA has a poor prognosis, because of late diagnosis and of high resistance to radio- and chemo-therapy of CCA cells. Targeting the CAFs and their secretion could be an alternative option. We found that while IL-6 indeed promoted the cell migration of invasive CCA cells, the nutraceutical Resveratrol strongly counteracted this effect both in CCA cells and in immortalized cholangiocytes. More importantly, here we show that Resveratrol has the potential to abrogate the secretion of IL-6 by CAFs. While the conditioned medium from CAFs strongly induced IL-6 mediated motility of CCA cells, the conditioned medium from CAFs pre-treated with Resveratrol completely halted cancer cell motility and reverted the N-to E-cadherin switch in migrating cells. This effect was associated with stimulation of autophagy in the cancer cells. This is the first demonstration that CAFs secretory products directly affect the regulation of autophagy and consequently the behavior of CCA cells, and that a nutraceutical may revert the malignant phenotype of cancer cells by acting on CAFs metabolism and secretion.
High-level production of single chain monellin mutants with enhanced sweetness and stability in tobacco chloroplasts.
Publication Date: 18/05/2018, on Planta
by Castiglia D, Leone S, Tamburino R, Sannino L, Fonderico J, Melchiorre C, Carpentieri A, Grillo S, Picone D, Scotti N
Plastid-based MNEI protein mutants retain the structure, stability and sweetness of their bacterial counterparts, confirming the attractiveness of the plastid transformation technology for high-yield production of recombinant proteins. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes has dramatically increased the industrial demand for the development and use of alternatives to sugar and traditional sweeteners. Sweet proteins, such as MNEI, a single chain derivative of monellin, are the most promising candidates for industrial applications. In this work, we describe the use of tobacco chloroplasts as a stable plant expression platform to produce three MNEI protein mutants with improved taste profile and stability. All plant-based proteins were correctly expressed in tobacco chloroplasts, purified and subjected to in-depth chemical and sensory analyses. Recombinant MNEI mutants showed a protein yield ranging from 5% to more than 50% of total soluble proteins, which, to date, represents the highest accumulation level of MNEI mutants in plants. Comparative analyses demonstrated the high similarity, in terms of structure, stability and function, of the proteins produced in plant chloroplasts and bacteria. The high yield and the extreme sweetness perceived for the plant-derived proteins prove that plastid transformation technology is a safe, stable and cost-effective production platform for low-calorie sweeteners, with an estimated production of up to 25-30 mg of pure protein/plant.
Psychometric properties of the Italian version of the Cognitive Reserve Scale (I-CRS).
Publication Date: 04/05/2018, on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
by Altieri M, Siciliano M, Pappacena S, Roldán-Tapia MD, Trojano L, Santangelo G
The original definition of cognitive reserve (CR) refers to the individual differences in cognitive performance after a brain damage or pathology. Several proxies were proposed to evaluate CR (education, occupational attainment, premorbid IQ, leisure activities). Recently, some scales were developed to measure CR taking into account several cognitively stimulating activities. The aim of this study is to adapt the Cognitive Reserve Scale (I-CRS) for the Italian population and to explore its psychometric properties. I-CRS was administered to 547 healthy participants, ranging from 18 to 89 years old, along with neuropsychological and behavioral scales to evaluate cognitive functioning, depressive symptoms, and apathy. Cronbach's α, corrected item-total correlations, and the inter-item correlation matrix were calculated to evaluate the psychometric properties of the scale. Linear regression analysis was performed to build a correction grid of the I-CRS according to demographic variables. Correlational analyses were performed to explore the relationships between I-CRS and neuropsychological and behavioral scales. We found that age, sex, and education influenced the I-CRS score. Young adults and adults obtained higher I-CRS scores than elderly adults; women and participants with high educational attainment scored higher on I-CRS than men and participants with low education. I-CRS score correlated poorly with cognitive and depression scale scores, but moderately with apathy scale scores. I-CRS showed good psychometric properties and seemed to be a useful tool to assess CR in every adult life stage. Moreover, our findings suggest that apathy rather than depressive symptoms may interfere with the building of CR across the lifespan.
Targeted therapy of human glioblastoma via delivery of a toxin through a peptide directed to cell surface nucleolin.
Publication Date: 01/05/2018, on Journal of cellular physiology
by Dhez AC, Benedetti E, Antonosante A, Panella G, Ranieri B, Florio TM, Cristiano L, Angelucci F, Giansanti F, Di Leandro L, d'Angelo M, Melone M, De Cola A, Federici L, Galzio R, Cascone I, Raineri F, Cimini A, Courty J, Giordano A, Ippoliti R
Targeted anticancer therapies demand discovery of new cellular targets to be exploited for the delivery of toxic molecules and drugs. In this perspective, in the last few years, nucleolin has been identified as an interesting surface marker to be used for the therapy of glioblastoma. In this study, we investigated whether a synthetic antagonist of cell-surface nucleolin known as N6L, previously reported to decrease both tumor growth and tumor angiogenesis in several cancer cell lines, including glioblastoma cells, as well as endothelial cells proliferation, could be exploited to deliver a protein toxin (saporin) to glioblastoma cells. The pseudopeptide N6L cross-linked to saporin-S6 induced internalization of the toxin inside glioblastoma cancer cells. Our results in vitro demonstrated the effectiveness of this conjugate in inducing cell death, with an ID four orders of magnitude lower than that observed for free N6L. Furthermore, the preliminary in vivo study demonstrated efficiency in reducing the tumor mass in an orthotopic mouse model of glioblastoma.
Multiple Reaction Monitoring Tandem Mass Spectrometry Approach for the Identification of Biological Fluids at Crime Scene Investigations.
Publication Date: 01/05/2018, on Analytical chemistry
by Illiano A, Arpino V, Pinto G, Berti A, Verdoliva V, Peluso G, Pucci P, Amoresano A
Knowledge of the nature of biofluids at a crime scene is just as important as DNA test to link the nature of the biofluid, the criminal act, and the dynamics of the crime. Identification of methods currently used for each biological fluid (blood, semen, saliva, urine) suffer from several limitations including instability of assayed biomolecules, and low selectivity and specificity; as an example of the latter issue, it is not possible to discriminate between alpha-amylase 1 (present in saliva) and alpha-amylase 2 (present in semen and vaginal secretion. In this context, the aim of the work has been to provide a predictive protein signature characteristic of each biofluid by the recognition of specific peptides unique for each protein in a single analysis. A panel of four protein biomarkers for blood, four for saliva, five for semen, and two for urine has been monitored has been monitored by using a single multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-based method targeting concomitantly 46 different peptides. Then, The optimized method allows four biological matrices to be identified when present on their own or in 50:50 mixture with another biofluid. Finally, a valid strategy combining both DNA analysis and liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric multiple reaction monitoring (LC-MS-MRM) identification of biofluids on the same sample has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in forensic investigation of real trace evidence collected at a crime scene.
Aquaporin 4 expression in human skeletal muscle fiber types.
Publication Date: 01/05/2018, on Muscle & nerve
by Vizzaccaro E, Terracciano C, Rastelli E, Massa R
Aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of transmembrane proteins involved in the maintenance of osmotic gradients. AQP4 is abundant in skeletal muscle, where it seems to be associated with glycolytic metabolism. We investigated the pattern of expression of AQP4 in normal human myofibers relative to the main forms of myosin heavy chain (MHC).
Caged noble metals: Encapsulation of a cytotoxic platinum(II)-gold(I) compound within the ferritin nanocage.
Publication Date: 30/04/2018, on International journal of biological macromolecules
by Ferraro G, Petruk G, Maiore L, Pane F, Amoresano A, Cinellu MA, Monti DM, Merlino A
The encapsulation of Pt and Au-based anticancer agents within a protein cage is a promising way to enhance the selectivity of these potential drugs. Here a cytotoxic organometallic compound containing platinum(II) and gold(I) has been encapsulated within a ferritin nanocage (AFt). Inductively plasma coupled mass spectrometry data, collected to evaluate the amount of Pt and Au within the cage, indicate disruption of the starting heterobimetallic complex upon encapsulation within the nanocage. The drug-loaded protein (Pt(II)/Au(I)-AFt) has been characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism and X-ray diffraction analysis. Data indicate that the protein maintains its fold upon encapsulation of the metallodrug and that Au(I) and Pt(II)-containing fragments are encapsulated within the AFt cage, with Au(I) ion that binds the side chain of Cys126 and Pt(II) in the bulk, respectively. The in vitro cytotoxicity of Pt(II)Au(I)-AFt, as well as that of the free heterobimetallic complex, has been comparatively evaluated on human cervix and breast cancer cells and against cardiomyoblasts and keratinocytes non-tumorigenic cells. Our data demonstrate that it is possible to obtain a protein nanocarrier containing both Pt and Au atoms starting from a bimetallic compound, opening the way for the design and development of new potential drugs based on protein nanocarriers.
New insights on the functional role of URG7 in the cellular response to ER stress.
Publication Date: 28/04/2018, on Biology of the cell
by Armentano MF, Caterino M, Miglionico R, Ostuni A, Pace MC, Cozzolino F, Monti M, Milella L, Carmosino M, Pucci P, Bisaccia F
Up-regulated Gene clone 7 (URG7) is an ER resident protein, whose expression is upregulated in the presence of hepatitis B virus X antigen (HBxAg) during HBV infection. In virus-infected hepatocytes, URG7 shows an anti-apoptotic activity due to the PI3K/AKT signaling activation, does not seem to have tumorigenic properties, but it appears to promote the development and progression of fibrosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying URG7 activity remain largely unknown.
Microglial Phagocytosis and Its Regulation: A Therapeutic Target in Parkinson's Disease?
Publication Date: 27/04/2018, on Frontiers in molecular neuroscience
by Janda E, Boi L, Carta AR
The role of phagocytosis in the neuroprotective function of microglia has been appreciated for a long time, but only more recently a dysregulation of this process has been recognized in Parkinson's disease (PD). Indeed, microglia play several critical roles in central nervous system (CNS), such as clearance of dying neurons and pathogens as well as immunomodulation, and to fulfill these complex tasks they engage distinct phenotypes. Regulation of phenotypic plasticity and phagocytosis in microglia can be impaired by defects in molecular machinery regulating critical homeostatic mechanisms, including autophagy. Here, we briefly summarize current knowledge on molecular mechanisms of microglia phagocytosis, and the neuro-pathological role of microglia in PD. Then we focus more in detail on the possible functional role of microglial phagocytosis in the pathogenesis and progression of PD. Evidence in support of either a beneficial or deleterious role of phagocytosis in dopaminergic degeneration is reported. Altered expression of target-recognizing receptors and lysosomal receptor CD68, as well as the emerging determinant role of α-synuclein (α-SYN) in phagocytic function is discussed. We finally discuss the rationale to consider phagocytic processes as a therapeutic target to prevent or slow down dopaminergic degeneration.