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Cattolica Eraclea, Italy

Hoogendam J.M.,University Utrecht | Ramakers G.M.J.,University Utrecht | Di Lazzaro V.,University Cattolica
Brain Stimulation | Year: 2010

During the last two decades, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has rapidly become a valuable method to investigate noninvasively the human brain. In addition, repetitive TMS (rTMS) is able to induce changes in brain activity that last after stimulation. Therefore, rTMS has therapeutic potential in patients with neurologic and psychiatric disorders. It is, however, unclear by which mechanism rTMS induces these lasting effects on the brain. The effects of rTMS are often described as LTD- or LTP-like, because the duration of these alterations seems to implicate changes in synaptic plasticity. In this review we therefore discuss, based on rTMS experiments and knowledge about synaptic plasticity, whether the physiologic basis of rTMS-effects relates to changes in synaptic plasticity. We present seven lines of evidence that strongly suggest a link between the aftereffects induced by rTMS and the induction of synaptic plasticity. It is, nevertheless, important to realize that at present it is impossible to demonstrate a direct link between rTMS on the one hand and synaptic plasticity on the other. Therefore, we provide suggestions for future, innovating research, aiming to investigate both the local effects of rTMS on the synapse and the effects of rTMS on other, more global levels of brain organization. Only in that way can the aftereffects of rTMS on the brain be completely understood. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Castagnola M.,University Cattolica
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2013

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with electrospray ionization (ESI) mass -spectrometry (MS) is a relevant technique for the detection and relative quantitation of naturally occurring peptides and proteins. The peptide/protein mass is determined by deconvolution of the ESI-MS spectrum, and the resolution can be better than 1:10,000 with the instruments currently available. Accurate mass measurement, coupled with sufficient resolution, makes it possible to greatly restrict the enormous number of possible molecular formulas that might be represented by a specific molecular mass. As soon as the protein mass has been unequivocally attributed to a specific structure by means of different enzymatic and chemical treatments, the m/z values detected in the ESI spectrum can be utilized to reveal the protein and to perform its relative quantitation, by the extracted ion current (XIC) procedure, in an unlimited number of samples. This chapter describes the HPLC-ESI-MS experimental conditions which allow detecting and quantifying-in human saliva-different S100 proteins and their isoforms.

Torino F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Barnabei A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | De Vecchis L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Appetecchia M.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | And 2 more authors.
Endocrine-Related Cancer | Year: 2012

Cytotoxic anticancer treatment may induce amenorrhea or menopause to a variable extent. These side effects may not only impair or impede fertility but also cause sexual dysfunction, bone loss, and menopausal symptoms, with a strikingly negative effect on quality of life in many women. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a recommended adjuvant endocrine treatment option in postmenopausal patients affected by early breast cancer (EBC) but are contraindicated in premenopausal women and in those with residual ovarian function. Women over 40 years of age with chemotherapy-induced amenorrhea (CIA) and routine hormonal levels consistent with menopause may receive an AI as adjuvant endocrine treatment. For these women, the tools available to identify menopause do not appear to be completely reliable. This review focused on the pathophysiology of ovarian toxicity induced by cytotoxic agents and on potentially useful methods to diagnose chemotherapy-induced menopause in patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy for endocrine-responsive EBC. Moreover, practical approaches are proposed to distinguish true menopausal women, who would benefit from AIs, from those with transient or persistent CIA. © 2012 Society for Endocrinology.

Torino F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Barnabei A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | de Vecchis L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Salvatori R.,Johns Hopkins University | Corsello S.M.,University Cattolica
Oncologist | Year: 2012

Specific human monoclonal antibodies antagonize cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (anti-CTLA-4 mAbs), a negative regulator of the immune system, inducing unrestrained T-cell activation. In patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma, one of these agents, ipilimumab, produced considerable disease control rates and, for the first time, a clear improvement in overall survival outcomes. However, accumulating clinical experience with anti-CTLA-4 mAbs identified a novel syndrome of autoimmune and autoinflammatory side effects, designated as "immune-related adverse events," including mainly rash, colitis, and hepatitis. Autoimmune hypophysitis has emerged as a distinctive side effect induced by anti-CTLA-4 mAbs. This condition may be life threatening because of adrenal insufficiency if not promptly recognized, but it may easily be diagnosed and treated if clinically suspected. Hypopituitarism caused by these agents is rarely reversible and prolonged or life-long substitutive hormonal treatment is often required. The precise mechanism of injury to the pituitary triggered by anti-CTLA-4 mAbs is yet to be fully elucidated. © AlphaMed Press.

Corsello S.M.,University Cattolica | Barnabei A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Marchetti P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | De Vecchis L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2013

Context: In recent years, progress has been made in cancer immunotherapy by the development of drugs acting as modulators of immune checkpoint proteins, such as the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4(CTLA4) and programmed death-1 (PD-1), two co-inhibitory receptors thatareexpressed on T cells upon activation. These molecules play crucial roles in maintaining immune homeostasis by down-regulating T-cell signaling, thereby preventing unbridled T-cell proliferation while maintaining tolerance to self-antigens, such as tumor-associated antigens. CTLA4 blockade through systemic administration of the CTLA4-blocking antibody ipilimumab was shown to confer significant survival benefit and prolonged stable disease in patients affected by advanced cutaneous melanoma. Other immune checkpoint inhibitors are under clinical evaluation. However, immune checkpoint blockade can lead to the breaking of immune self-tolerance, thereby inducing a novel syndrome of autoimmune/autoinflammatory side effects, designatedas "immune-related adverse events," mainly including rash, colitis, hepatitis, and endocrinopathies. Data Acquisition: We searched the medical literature using the words "hypophysitis," "hypopituitarism," "thyroid," "adrenal insufficiency," and "endocrine adverse events" in association with "immune checkpoint inhibitors," "ipilimumab," "tremelimumab," "PD-1," and "PD-1-L." Evidence Synthesis: The spectrum of endocrine disease experienced by patients treated with ipilimumab includes most commonly hypophysitis, more rarely thyroid disease or abnormalities in thyroid function tests, and occasionally primary adrenal insufficiency. Hypophysitis has emerged as a distinctive side effect of CTLA4-blocking antibodies, establishing a new form of autoimmune pituitary disease. This condition, if not promptly recognized, may be life-threatening (due to secondary hypoadrenalism). Hypopituitarism caused by these agents is rarely reversible, and prolonged or lifelong substitutive hormonal treatment is often required. The precise mechanism of injury to the endocrine system triggered by these drugs is yet to be fully elucidated. Conclusions: Although reports of endocrine side effects caused by cancer immune therapy are abundant, their exact prevalence and mechanism are unclear. Well-designed correlative studies oriented to finding and validating predictive factors of autoimmune toxicity are urgently needed. Copyright © 2013 by The Endocrine Society.

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