Advanced Biotechnology Center

Genova, Italy

Advanced Biotechnology Center

Genova, Italy
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Armirotti A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Damonte G.,University of Genoa
Proteomics | Year: 2010

Over the last years, top-down (TD) MS has gained a remarkable space in proteomics, rapidly trespassing the limit between a promising approach and a solid, established technique. Several research groups worldwide have implemented TD analysis in their routine work on proteomics, deriving structural information on proteins with the level of accuracy that is impossible to achieve with classical bottom-up approaches. Complete maps of PTMs and assessment of single aminoacid polymorphisms are only a few of the results that can be obtained with this technique. Despite some existing technical and economical limitations, TD analysis is at present the most powerful instrument for MS-based proteomics and its implementation in routine workflow is a rapidly approaching turning point in proteomics. In this review article, the state-of-the-art of TD approach is described along with its major advantages and drawbacks and the most recent trends in TD analysis are discussed. References for all the covered topics are reported in the text, with the aim to support both newcomers and mass spectrometrists already introduced to TD proteomics. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Narcisi R.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Narcisi R.,University of Genoa | Quarto R.,University of Genoa | Ulivi V.,Italian National Cancer Institute | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2012

Cell-based cartilage resurfacing requires ex vivo expansion of autologous articular chondrocytes. Defined culture conditions minimize expansion-dependent phenotypic alterations but maintenance of the cells' differentiation potential must be carefully assessed. Transforming growth factor β-1 (TGF β-1) positively regulates the expression of several cartilage proteins, but its therapeutic application in damaged cartilage is controversial. Thus we evaluated the phenotypic outcomes of cultured human articular chondrocytes exposed to TGF β-1 during monolayer expansion in a serum-free medium. After five doublings cells were transferred to micromass cultures to assess their chondrogenic differentiation, or replated in osteogenic medium. Immunocytostainings of micromasses of TGF-expanded cells showed loss of aggrecan and type II collagen. Positivity was evidenced for RAGE, IHH, type X collagen and for apoptotic cells, paralleling a reduction of BCL-2 levels, suggesting hypertrophic differentiation. TGF β-1-exposed cells also evidenced increased mRNA levels for bone sialoprotein, osteopontin, matrix metalloproteinase-13, TIMP-3, VEGF and SMAD7, enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity and pyrophosphate availability. Conversely, SMAD3 mRNA and protein contents were reduced. After osteogenic induction, only TGF-expanded cells strongly mineralized and impaired p38 kinase activity, a contributor of chondrocytes' differentiation. To evaluate possible endochondral ossification progression, we seeded the chondrocytes on hydroxyapatite scaffolds, subsequently implanted in an in vivo ectopic setting, but cells failed to reach overt ossification; nonetheless, constructs seeded with TGF-exposed cells displayed blood vessels of the host vascular supply with enlarged diameters, suggestive of vascular remodeling, as in bone growth. Thus TGF-exposure during articular chondrocytes expansion induces a phenotype switch to hypertrophy, an undesirable effect for cells possibly intended for tissue-engineered cartilage repair. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Bachmeier B.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bachmeier B.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Fichtner I.,Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine | Killian P.H.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in industrialized countries. Systemic treatment of breast cancer is effective at the beginning of therapy. However, after a variable period of time, progression occurs due to therapy resistance. Artesunate, clinically used as anti-malarial agent, has recently revealed remarkable anti-tumor activity offering a role as novel candidate for cancer chemotherapy. We analyzed the anti-tumor effects of artesunate in metastasizing breast carcinoma in vitro and in vivo. Unlike as expected, artesunate induced resistance in highly metastatic human breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231. Likewise acquired resistance led to abolishment of apoptosis and cytotoxicity in pre-treated MDA-MB-231 cells. In contrast, artesunate was more cytotoxic towards the less tumorigenic MDA-MB-468 cells without showing resistance. Unraveling the underlying molecular mechanisms, we found that resistance was induced due to activation of the tumor progression related transcription factors NFκB and AP-1. Thereby transcription, expression and activity of the matrix-degrading enzyme MMP-1, whose function is correlated with increased invasion and metastasis, was up-regulated upon acquisition of resistance. Additionally, activation of the apoptosis-related factor NFκB lead to increased expression of ant-apoptotic bcl2 and reduced expression of pro-apoptotic bax. Application of artesunate in vivo in a model of xenografted breast cancer showed, that tumors growth was not efficiently abolished as compared to the control drug doxorubicin. Taken together our in vitro and in vivo results correlate well showing for the first time that artesunate induces resistance in highly metastatic breast tumors. © 2011 Bachmeier et al.

Giunti D.,National Research Council Italy | Parodi B.,National Research Council Italy | Usai C.,National Research Council Italy | Vergani L.,University of Genoa | And 7 more authors.
Stem Cells | Year: 2012

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) display a remarkable ability to modulate the immune response and protect the central nervous system mainly through the release of soluble factors in a paracrine fashion, affecting the functional behavior of cells in the tissues. Here we investigated the effect of the interaction between MSC and microglia in vitro, and we dissected the molecular and cellular mechanisms of this crosstalk. We demonstrated that MSC impair microglia activation by inflammatory cues through the inhibition of the expression and release of inflammatory molecules and stress-associated proteins. We showed that MSC significantly increase microglial expression and release of molecules associated with a neuroprotective phenotype such as CX3CR1, nuclear receptor 4 family, CD200 receptor, and insulin growth factor 1. Interestingly, MSC can enhance functional changes on microglia as depicted by the increase of intracellular calcium concentration and phagocytic activity. This last event is associated with an increased expression of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-2, an innate immune receptor involved in phagocytosis in the absence of inflammation. The observed effects on CX3CR1-expressing microglia are due to the release of CX3CL1 by MSC, driven by inflammatory signals, as demonstrated by the reversal of the observed results when CX3CL1 expression was silenced in MSC or its release was blocked. Finally, we showed that exogenous CX3CL1 induce phenotypic and functional changes of microglia similar to those induced by MSC. These findings demonstrate that MSC instruct, through the release of CX3CL1, microglia responsiveness to proinflammatory signals by modulating constitutive "calming" receptors, typically expressed by "steady-state microglia" thus switching microglia from a detrimental phenotype to a neuroprotective one. © AlphaMed Press.

Uccelli A.,University of Genoa | Uccelli A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Benvenuto F.,University of Genoa | Laroni A.,University of Genoa | Giunti D.,University of Genoa
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology | Year: 2011

Bone marrow (BM) derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) differentiate into cells of the mesodermal lineage but also, under certain experimental circumstances, into cells of the neuronal and glial lineage. Their therapeutic translation has been significantly boosted by the demonstration that MSC display significant also anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic features. These properties have been exploited in the effective treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis where the inhibition of the autoimmune response resulted in a significant neuroprotection. A significant rescue of neural cells has been achieved also when MSC were administered in experimental brain ischemia and in animals undergoing brain or spinal cord injury. In these experimental conditions BM-MSC therapeutic effects are likely to depend on paracrine mechanisms mediated by the release of growth factors, anti-apoptotic molecules and anti-inflammatory cytokines creating a favorable environment for the regeneration of neurons, remyelination and improvement of cerebral flow. For potential clinical application BM-MSC offer significant practical advantages over other types of stem cells since they can be obtained from the adult BM and can be easily cultured and expanded in vitro under GMP conditions displaying a very low risk of malignant transformation. This review discusses the targets and mechanisms of BM-MSC mediated neuroprotection. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Uccelli A.,Ophthalmology and Genetics | Uccelli A.,University of Genoa | Uccelli A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Mancardi G.,Ophthalmology and Genetics | Mancardi G.,University of Genoa
Current Opinion in Neurology | Year: 2010

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The recent advances in our understanding of stem cell biology, the availability of innovative techniques that allow large-scale acquisition of stem cells, and the increasing pressure from the multiple sclerosis (MS) patient community seeking tissue repair strategies have launched stem cell treatments as one of the most exciting and difficult challenges in the MS field. Here, we provide an overview of the current status of stem cell research in MS focusing on secured actuality, reasonable hopes and unrealistic myths. RECENT FINDINGS: Results obtained from small clinical studies with transplantation of autologous hematopoietic stem cells have demonstrated that this procedure is feasible and possibly effective in severe forms of MS but tackles exclusively inflammation without affecting tissue regeneration. Results from preclinical studies with other adult stem cells such as mesenchymal stem cells and neural precursor cells have shown that they may be a powerful tool to regulate pathogenic immune response and foster tissue repair through bystander mechanisms with limited cell replacement. However, the clinical translation of these results still requires careful evaluation. CONCLUSION: Current experimental evidence suggests that the sound clinical exploitation of stem cells for MS may lead to novel strategies aimed at blocking uncontrolled inflammation, protecting neurons and promoting remyelination but not at restoring the chronically deranged neural network responsible for irreversible disability typical of the late phase of MS. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Laroni A.,University of Genoa | Novi G.,University of Genoa | De Rosbo N.K.,University of Genoa | De Rosbo N.K.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology | Year: 2013

The diagnosis of a neurological disease of the central nervous system (CNS) is often associated with the anticipation of an irreversible and untreatable disability. This is the case also of multiple sclerosis (MS) where approved treatments effectively modulate the autoimmune attack to myelin antigens, but poorly affect neurodegeneration and do not promote tissue repair. Thus, stem cell-based therapies are increasingly being considered a possible strategy for diseases of the CNS. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), the safety of which has been demonstrated in the last 20 years through clinical trials and case studies, are of particular interest in view not only of their neuroprotective, but also of their immunomodulatory properties. Here, we review the therapeutic features of MSC that make them relevant in the treatment of CNS illnesses and discuss the pioneer clinical experience with MSC-based therapy in neurological diseases. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Uccelli A.,University of Genoa | Uccelli A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Prockop D.J.,Texas A&M University
Current Opinion in Immunology | Year: 2010

The adult stem/progenitor cells from bone marrow and other tissues referred to as mesenchymal stem cells or multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) display a significant therapeutic plasticity as reflected by their ability to enhance tissue repair and influence the immune response both in vitro and in vivo. In this review we will focus on the paradigmatic preclinical experience achieved testing MSCs in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model for multiple sclerosis. We will emphasize how the paradigm changed over time from the original prediction that MSCs would enhance tissue repair through their transdifferentiation into somatic cells to the current paradigm that they can produce therapeutic benefits without engraftment into the injured tissues. The data will be reviewed in terms of the potentials of MSCs for therapy of autoimmune diseases. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Uccelli A.,University of Genoa | Uccelli A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Laroni A.,University of Genoa | Freedman M.S.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2011

The rationale for use of adult stem cells as a treatment for neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis arose from the hope that they had the capacity to foster repair of the CNS through tissue integration and differentiation into neural cells. Evidence from preclinical studies suggested that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a subset of adult progenitor cells, are an effective therapy in preclinical animal models of neurological diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model for multiple sclerosis, and stroke. In experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, intravenous injection of MSCs ameliorates clinical course and decreases demyelination, immune infiltrates, and axonal loss. Surprisingly, these effects do not require full CNS engraftment by MSCs, but rely on the capacity of MSCs to inhibit pathogenic immune responses and release neuroprotective and pro-oligodendrogenic molecules favouring tissue repair. These results led to the conclusion that therapeutic use of MSCs should initially focus on individuals with multiple sclerosis and persistent inflammation. Small clinical studies in different neurological diseases have suggested that MSCs are safe, paving the road for larger phase 2 studies addressing the effect of MSCs on clinical outcomes and markers of disease activity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Uccelli A.,University of Genoa | Uccelli A.,Advanced Biotechnology Center | Laroni A.,University of Genoa | Freedman M.S.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Multiple Sclerosis Journal | Year: 2013

The unmet need for therapies capable of repairing the central nervous system (CNS) damage occurring in many diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS) has sparked the interest of the neurological community for stem cell-based therapies. An exhaustive amount of preclinical data has shown that the intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), a subset of progenitor cells isolated from many mesodermal tissues, effectively ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS, through the release of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective molecules. Based on these results, several small pilot clinical trials in subjects with advanced MS have demonstrated that MSC administration is safe and provided an early signal of clinical effectiveness. The current aim of clinicians and scientists interested in the development of MSC-based strategies for the treatment of MS is to have the ultimate demonstration in large clinical trials that MSC can inhibit CNS inflammation and foster tissue repair as realized clinically, with functional recovery, or visualized by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). © The Author(s) 2012.

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