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Barbaro B.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Toietta G.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Maggio R.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Arciello M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2014

The use of the products derived from the olive tree on human health dates back centuries. In several civilizations, the olive tree had and still has a very strong cultural and religious symbolism. Notably, the official seal and emblem of the World Health Organization features the rod of Asclepius over a world map surrounded by olive tree branches, chosen as a symbol of peace and health. Recently, accumulating experimental, clinical and epidemiological data have provided support to the traditional beliefs of the beneficial effect provided by olive derivates. In particular, the polyphenols present in olive leaves, olives, virgin (unrefined) olive oil and olive mill waste are potent antioxidant and radical scavengers with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we review the positive impact on human health of oleuropein, the most prevalent polyphenol present in olives. In addition, we provide data collected in our laboratory on the role of oleuropein in counteracting lipid accumulation in a mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


PubMed | National Research Council Italy, University of Florence, Francesco Balsano Foundation and Italian National Cancer Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal of molecular sciences | Year: 2014

The use of the products derived from the olive tree on human health dates back centuries. In several civilizations, the olive tree had and still has a very strong cultural and religious symbolism. Notably, the official seal and emblem of the World Health Organization features the rod of Asclepius over a world map surrounded by olive tree branches, chosen as a symbol of peace and health. Recently, accumulating experimental, clinical and epidemiological data have provided support to the traditional beliefs of the beneficial effect provided by olive derivates. In particular, the polyphenols present in olive leaves, olives, virgin (unrefined) olive oil and olive mill waste are potent antioxidant and radical scavengers with anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we review the positive impact on human health of oleuropein, the most prevalent polyphenol present in olives. In addition, we provide data collected in our laboratory on the role of oleuropein in counteracting lipid accumulation in a mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.


PubMed | University of Rome La Sapienza, National Research Council Italy and Francesco Balsano Foundation
Type: Clinical Trial | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2014

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with hepatic and extrahepatic manifestations, including immunological disorders. Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) is often characterized by cholesterol and lipid metabolism alterations, leading to hepatic steatosis. Cholesterol metabolism, in fact, is crucial for the viral life cycle. Recent works described that a higher dietary cholesterol intake is associated with the progression of HCV-related liver disease. CHC patients have increased levels of T helper 17 (Th17)-cells, a lymphocytic population involved in the pathogenesis of liver inflammation and autoimmune hepatitis. The balance between Th17 and regulatory T (Treg) cells is crucial for chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. Th17-cell differentiation is deeply influenced by the activation LXRs, nuclear receptors modulating cholesterol homeostasis. Moreover, HCV may affect these nuclear receptors, and cholesterol metabolism, through both direct and indirect mechanisms. On these bases, we hypothesized that modulation of cholesterol levels through Normocaloric Low Cholesterol Diet (NLCD) may represent an innovative strategy to reduce the progression of HCV infection, through the modulation of peripheral Th17/Treg balance. To this end, we performed a pilot study to investigate whether a Normocaloric Low Cholesterol Diet may be able to modulate Th17/Treg balance in patients affected by chronic HCV infection. After 30 days of NLCD CHC patients showed a significant reduction in Th17 cells frequency, which correlated with strong reduction of IL-17 and IL-22 serum levels. At the same time, we appreciated an increase in the percentage of Treg cells, thus improving Treg/Th17 balance. Moreover, we observed an increased expression of LXRs and their target genes: SREBP-1c and ABCA-1. In conclusion, NLCD finely regulates Th17/Treg balance, improving immune system response in CHC patients. This study could pave the way for new treatments of CHC patients, suggesting that change in lifestyle could support the management of these patients, promoting well-being and possibly hindering disease progression.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02038387.


PubMed | University of Rome Tor Vergata, CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, Francesco Balsano Foundation and Instituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione Gpascale
Type: | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2016

HCV life cycle is strictly correlated with the hepatocyte lipid metabolism; moreover, the progression of HCV chronic hepatitis is accelerated by the presence of liver steatosis. Among the steatogenic genes deregulated during the HCV infection one of the most attractive is the Small Heterodimer Protein 1 (SHP1; NR0B2), that is involved in a remarkable number of metabolic functions. HCV NS5A is an essential and integral component of the HCV membranous-web replicon complex (RC) and plays an essential role to transfer the viral genome from the RCs to the surface of the lipid droplets (LDs) that, in turn, play a key function during HCV life cycle.With the help of a HCV infection model, we demonstrate a functional interaction between SHP1 and HCV NS5A protein. SHP1 silencing (siSHP1) reversed the pro-oncogenic effects of HCV infection, inducing a significant decrease in liver lipid accumulation and in NS5A protein expression. Moreover, siSHP1 causes a strong modulation of some genes involved in HCV-related EMT, such as: HNF4, a central regulators of hepatocyte differentiation, E-Cadherin, SNAILs.Our data suggest that SHP1 results not only to be strictly connected to the pathogenesis of HCV-related liver steatosis, but also to its progression towards the liver transformation.


Gori M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Barbaro B.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Barbaro B.,University of L'Aquila | Arciello M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2014

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) ranges from simple steatosis to steatohepatitis, which may progress to fibrosis, and cirrhosis, leading eventually to hepatocarcinoma development. Recently, cases of hepatocarcinoma have been diagnosed in steatotic patients without nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis. The p53 protein, besides its function as tumor suppressor, is emerging as an important regulator of cellular metabolism, but its role in steatosis remains unclear. We induced steatosis in HepG2 (wt-p53) and Huh7.5.1 (Y220C-mutant p53) cells using free fatty acids. We observed a different modulation of p53, different intracellular lipid content, and similar down-regulation of the de novo lipid synthesis genes but opposite modulation of the fatty acid β-oxidation pathway between HepG2 and Huh7.5.1. Accordingly, we found a diverse amount of apoptosis and reactive oxygen species between the two cell lines. Transfection of the wt-p53 in Huh7.5.1 cells reverted the different lipid metabolism behavior observed in these cells. In conclusion, unlike the wt-p53, the Y220C mutant provides a specific protection against steatosis and potentially against its progression. Our findings highlight for the first time an unknown role of a p53 mutant in the setting of steatosis. Being this mutation very frequent in human cancers, this study could be a breakthrough in explaining the occurrence of hepatocarcinoma in steatotic patients without NASH and cirrhosis. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Matteucci C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Minutolo A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Minutolo A.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Marino-Merlo F.,Messina University | And 5 more authors.
Life Sciences | Year: 2015

Abstract Aims: The present study addresses the issue of enhanced apoptotic response to AZT following co-treatmentwith an NF-kB inhibitor. Main methods: To investigate this issue, different cell lines were assayed for susceptibility to AZT-mediated apoptosiswithout orwith the addition of the NF-kB inhibitor Bay-11-7085. For further investigation, U937 cellswere selected as good-responder cells to the combination treatment with 32 or 128 μM AZT, and 1 μM Bay-11-7085. Inhibition of NF-kB activation by Bay-11-7085 in cells treated with AZT was assayed through Western blot analysis of p65 expression and by EMSA. Involvement of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis in mechanisms underlying the improved effect of AZT following Bay-11-7085 co-treatment, was evaluated by assaying the cytochrome c release and the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) status using the JC-1 dye. Moreover, the transcriptional activity of both anti- and pro-apoptotic genes in U937 cells after combination treatment was quantitatively evaluated through real-time PCR. Key findings: We found that the combined treatment induced high levels of cytochrome c release and of MMP collapse in association with evident changes in the expression of both anti- and pro-apoptotic genes of the Bcl-2 family. Overexpression of Bcl-2 significantly suppressed the sensitization of U937 cells to an enhanced apoptotic response to AZT following co-treatment with the NF-kB inhibitor. Significance: The new findings suggest that a combination regimen based on AZT plus an NF-kB inhibitor could represent a new chemotherapeutic tool for retrovirus-related pathologies. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc.


Gori M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Arciello M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Arciello M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Balsano C.,Francesco Balsano Foundation
BioMed Research International | Year: 2014

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a metabolic-related disorder ranging from steatosis to steatohepatitis, which may progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The influence of NAFLD on HCC development has drawn attention in recent years. HCC is one of the most common malignant tumors and the third highest cause of cancer-related death. HCC is frequently diagnosed late in the disease course, and patient's prognosis is usually poor. Early diagnosis and identification of the correct stage of liver damage during NAFLD progression can contribute to more effective therapeutic interventions, improving patient outcomes. Therefore, scientists are always searching for new sensitive and reliable markers that could be analysed through minimally invasive tests. MicroRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that act as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Several studies identified specific miRNA expression profiles associated to different histological features of NAFLD. Thus, miRNAs are receiving growing attention as useful noninvasive diagnostic markers to follow the progression of NAFLD and to identify novel therapeutic targets. This review focuses on the current knowledge of the miRNAs involved in NAFLD and related HCC development, highlighting their diagnostic and prognostic value for the screening of NAFLD patients. © 2014 Manuele Gori et al.


Arciello M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Arciello M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Gori M.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Balsano C.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Balsano C.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity | Year: 2013

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection produces several pathological effects in host organism through a wide number of molecular/metabolic pathways. Today it is worldwide accepted that oxidative stress actively participates in HCV pathology, even if the antioxidant therapies adopted until now were scarcely effective. HCV causes oxidative stress by a variety of processes, such as activation of prooxidant enzymes, weakening of antioxidant defenses, organelle damage, and metals unbalance. A focal point, in HCV-related oxidative stress onset, is the mitochondrial failure. These organelles, known to be the "power plants" of cells, have a central role in energy production, metabolism, and metals homeostasis, mainly copper and iron. Furthermore, mitochondria are direct viral targets, because many HCV proteins associate with them. They are the main intracellular free radicals producers and targets. Mitochondrial dysfunctions play a key role in the metal imbalance. This event, today overlooked, is involved in oxidative stress exacerbation and may play a role in HCV life cycle. In this review, we summarize the role of mitochondria and metals in HCV-related oxidative stress, highlighting the need to consider their deregulation in the HCV-related liver damage and in the antiviral management of patients. © 2013 Mario Arciello et al.


Minutolo A.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Conti B.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | Grelli S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Viscomi C.,Francesco Balsano Foundation | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Hepatitis C virus infection leads to a wide spectrum of liver diseases ranging from mild chronic hepatitis to end-stage cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. An intriguing aspect of the HCV infection is its close connection with lipid metabolism playing an important role in the HCV life cycle and in its pathogenesis. HCV is known to be a hepatotropic virus; however, it can also infect peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The goal of the current investigation is to compare the adipogenesis profile of liver tissues to lymphocytes of HCV infected patients, in order to understand if PBMCs may reflect the alterations of intracellular pathways occurring during HCV-related liver steatosis. Using the Human Adipogenesis PCR Array, gene expression was analyzed in liver samples and PBMCs of chronic HCV+, HBV+ and Healthy Donors (HDs) patients. We observed a similar modulation of lipid metabolism in HCV+ and HBV+liver tissues and lymphoid, cells suggesting that PBMCs reflect the liver adipogenesis deregulation related to infection, even if the two viruses have a different impact in the regulation of the adipogenesis mechanisms. In particular, some genes involved in lipid metabolism and inflammation, as well as in cell transformation, were up-regulated, in a similar way, in both HCV models analyzed. Interestingly, these genes were positively correlated to virological and hepatic functional parameters of HCV+ patients. On the contrary, HBV+ patients displayed a completely different profile. PBMCs of HCV+ patients seem to be useful model to study how HCV-related lipid metabolism deregulation occurs in liver. The obtained data suggest some molecules as new possible biomarkers of HCV-related liver damage progression. © 2014 Minutolo et al.


PubMed | University of Rome La Sapienza, University of Rome Tor Vergata and Francesco Balsano Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Biometals : an international journal on the role of metal ions in biology, biochemistry, and medicine | Year: 2015

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a pathology that includes a wide variety of clinical conditions ranging from simple steatosis to end-stage liver diseases. Despite the huge amount of researches, the molecular basis of NAFLD are still not fully understood. Recently, it was suggested a role for p53 in NAFLD pathogenesis. Among its targets there is Synthesis of Cytochrome c Oxidase 2 (SCO2), a copper chaperone, involved in both aerobic respiration and metal cellular excretion. Copper seems to play a role in NAFLD. It was demonstrated a low hepatic copper content in NAFLD patients, which correlates with metabolic syndrome parameters. Copper homeostasis deregulation, in fact, seems to be related to lipid metabolism alteration and insulin resistance. Here we provide evidence on the role of p53 in the modulation of copper homeostasis, in an experimental model of NAFLD. We used two different hepatoma cell lines, HepG2 and Huh 7.5.1, characterized by the presence of wt p53 and its Y220C mutant, respectively, treated with a free fatty acids (FFAs) solution. Interestingly, p53 activation correlated with the intracellular copper level maintenance. We demonstrated that, in hepatoma cell lines, core domain mutant Y220C of p53 affects the modulation of SCO2 and Copper transporter 1 (CTR1), influencing, in this way, intracellular copper homeostasis in presence of FFAs accumulation, and that the 220 residue of the protein is crucial for such control. The role of p53 we highlighted may have deep implications in clinical conditions where copper homeostasis is deregulated.

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