Laboratory of Neurobiology of Movement Disorders INM

Pozzilli, Italy

Laboratory of Neurobiology of Movement Disorders INM

Pozzilli, Italy
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Siciliano G.,University of Pisa | Carlesi C.,University of Pisa | Pasquali L.,University of Pisa | Piazza S.,University of Pisa | And 5 more authors.
CNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2010

Owing to uncertainty on the pathogenic mechanisms underlying motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) riluzole remains the only available therapy, with only marginal effects on disease survival. Here we review some of the recent advances in the search for disease-modifying drugs for ALS based on their putative neuroprotective effetcs. A number of more or less established agents have recently been investigated also in ALS for their potential role in neuroprotection and relying on antiglutamatergic, antioxidant or antiapoptotic strategies. Among them Talampanel, beta-lactam antibiotics, Coenzyme Q10, and minocycline have been investigated. Progress has also been made in exploiting growth factors for the treatment of ALS, partly due to advances in developing effective delivery systems to the central nervous system. A number of new therapies have also been identified, including a novel class of compounds, such as heat-shock protein co-inducers, which upregulate cell stress responses, and agents promoting autophagy and mitochondriogenesis, such as lithium and rapamycin. More recently, alterations of mRNA processing were described as a pathogenic mechanism in genetically defined forms of ALS, as those related to TDP-43 and FUS-TLS gene mutations. This knowledge is expected to improve our understanding of the pathogenetic mechanism in ALS and developing more effective therapies. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Pasquali L.,University of Pisa | Ruffoli R.,University of Pisa | Fulceri F.,University of Pisa | Pietracupa S.,Laboratory of Neurobiology of Movement Disorders INM | And 4 more authors.
CNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2010

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by loss of motor neurons both in the brain and spinal cord, which dramatically reduces life expectancy. ALS occurs either in familial ALS or, more frequently, in sporadic ALS forms. Several mechanisms have been postulated to underlie motor neuron death. In the present paper, starting from some of the genes related to familial ALS, we overview and discuss their potential role in modifying of the physiological clearance of altered proteins and organelles in motor neurons. Special emphasis is placed on the role of autophagy, which seems to prevail as a protein clearing system over other multienzymatic pathways such as the proteasome within motor neurons. The evidence which links an altered autophagy to the onset of motor neuron death proposes that this biochemical pathway might represent a final common mechanism underlying both inherited and sporadic forms of ALS. In light of these findings we also analyze the potential significance of a novel association between ALS, altered autophagy, and mutations of nuclear proteins such as TAR-DNA-Binding Protein 43 and fused in sarcoma/translated in liposarcoma. Such an association appears to be critical since it is now well demonstrated that all sporadic and most familiar forms of ALS are characterized by altered deposition and mislocalization of TAR-DNA-Binding Protein 43. These novel insights into the pathogenesis of ALS may lead to the identification of novel strategies to promote motor neuron survival. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.


Pasquali L.,University of Pisa | Ruggieri S.,Laboratory of Neurobiology of Movement Disorders INM | Murri L.,University of Pisa | Paparelli A.,University of Pisa | And 2 more authors.
Parkinsonism and Related Disorders | Year: 2010

In eukaryotic cells intracellular components are mainly degraded by autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Autophagy is more flexible compared with the ubiquitin-proteasome system and it is involved in the degradation of long-lived proteins and organelles, such as mitochondria, which cannot be degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome. Although autophagy is able to compensate for ubiquitin-proteasome dysfunction, the opposite does not occur. Autophagy is frequently involved in neurodegeneration; however, there is no consensus on its role in cell survival, as it can be either neuroprotective or neurotoxic. With respect to dopaminergic neurons, there is evidence that autophagy occurs during damage to substantia nigra neurons such as in Parkinson's disease. Moreover, a variety of inherited forms of Parkinson's disease are characterized by mutated proteins that belong to the autophagy pathway. Inhibition of autophagy precipitates dopaminergic cell death, whereas autophagy activation rescues the death of nigral dopaminergic neurons induced by proteasome inhibitors. Taken together, this evidence suggests that autophagy improves the survival of dopaminergic cells. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Giannessi F.,University of Pisa | Scavuzzo M.C.,University of Pisa | Giambelluca M.A.,University of Pisa | Fornai F.,University of Pisa | And 3 more authors.
Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine | Year: 2015

Several studies reported that chronic alcohol consumption alters the intestinal mucosa barrier, and subsequent entrance of endotoxins into the bloodstream. In many tissues endotoxin exposure causes the expression of calprotectin (CP) and the receptor for advanced glycation -end products (RAGE). In this study we investigated whether chronic alcohol administration causes expression of CP and RAGE in mouse testis. The distribution of free and loosely bound Zn2+ (FLB-Zn2+) in the testicular tissues was also evaluated. Alcohol-induced testicular damage was documented by measuring testosterone blood levels and by light and electron microscope studies. Twenty mice were treated daily for three weeks with 3.0g/kg of a 25% solution of alcohol. Ten mice were treated in the same period of time with a solution of maltose dextrins, isocaloric to alcohol. Twenty untreated mice were used as controls. Alcohol treated mice showed diffuse expression of CP and RAGE in the interstitial cells. RAGE was found also in the basal compartment of the seminiferous tubules. Depletion of FLB-Zn2+ was observed in the adluminal compartment of the seminiferous tubules. Expression of CP and RAGE was not found in control mice and maltose dextrin treated mice. Our results indicated novel mechanisms by which alcohol acts in testis. Indeed, CP and RAGE may cause the generation of oxidants and inflammatory mediators, with negative impact on testicular functions. Depletion of FLB-Zn2+ may contribute to the dysregulation of spermatogenesis. © 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

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