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Tontodonati M.,Infectious Disease Unit | Tontodonati M.,University of Chieti Pescara | Cento V.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Polilli E.,Microbiology and Virology Unit | And 17 more authors.
New Microbiologica | Year: 2015

When treating HCV patients with conventional dual therapy in the current context of rapidly evolving HCV therapy, outcome prediction is crucial and HCV kinetics, as early as 48 hours after the start of treatment, may play a major role. We aimed at clarifying the role of HCV very early kinetics. We consecutively enrolled mono-infected HCV patients at 7 treatment sites in Central Italy and evaluated the predictive value of logarithmic decay of HCV RNA 48 hours after the start of dual therapy (Delta48). Among the 171 enrolled patients, 144 were evaluable for early and sustained virological response (EVR, SVR) prediction; 108 (75.0%) reached EVR and 84 (58.3%) reached SVR. Mean Delta48 was 1.68±1.22 log10 IU/ml, being higher in patients with SVR and EVR. Those genotype-1 patients experiencing a Delta48 >2 logs showed a very high chance of success (100% positive predictive value), even in the absence of rapid virological response (RVR). Evaluation of very early HCV kinetics helped identify a small but significant proportion of genotype-1 patients (close to 10%) in addition to those identified with RVR, who could be treated with dual therapy in spite of not reaching RVR. In the current European context, whereby sustainability of HCV therapy is a crucial issue, conventional dual therapy may still play a reasonable role in patients with good tolerance and early prediction of success. Source

Cascella R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Cascella R.,Emotest Laboratory | Strafella C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Gambardella S.,Neuromed IRCCS | And 6 more authors.
Electrophoresis | Year: 2016

The hypoacusia can be classified in two clinical forms: Syndromic (SHL) and Nonsyndromic (NSHL). In particular, the NSHL describes the 70-80% of hypoacusia cases and it is mainly due to genetic factors, which are causative of the deafness at the birth. The genetic hypoacusia presents different inheritance patterns: autosomal dominant (20%), autosomal recessive (80%), X-linked (1%), and mitochondrial (1%), respectively. To date, about 35 deafness-causative genes have been identified and most of them codify for connexin transmembrane proteins. Approximately 1:2500 children with NSHL carries mutations in the GJB2 and GJB6 (13q12) genes, which code for connexin 26 (Cx26) and connexin 30 (Cx30), respectively. In the Caucasian population, the most common mutations are 35delG, M34T and 167delT, and D13S1830. Given the frequency distribution of the four mutations in the Caucasian population and the pathogenic connection with NSHL, the development of accurate, rapid, and "low-cost" molecular assays should be strongly encouraged. To this purpose, we set up two different molecular assays (namely the Cx26 and Cx26-30 molecular assays) for the fast and inexpensive detection of 35delG, M34T, 167delT, and D13S1830 mutations. Both the molecular approaches showed to be accurate, sensitive, reproducible, and "low-cost" alternatives for the proper evaluation of the GJB2 and GJB6 genes, which are causative of NSHL. In conclusion, the Cx26 and Cx26-30 molecular assays can be applied to individual, preconception, prenatal, or postnatal screening for the causative-mutations of NSHL. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Source

Cascella R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Strafella C.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Ragazzo M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Zampatti S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 6 more authors.
Pharmacogenomics Journal | Year: 2015

One of the most successful applications of pharmacogenetics research is the genetic screening for HLA-B∗57:01, strongly associated with an increased risk to develop hypersensitivity reaction in HIV-positive patients following abacavir administration. Taking into consideration the limits of current genotyping methodologies, we have developed and validated (150 buccal swabs) an inexpensive pharmacogenetic approach for HLA-B∗57:01 typing. In our assay DNA extraction and amplification are combined in one single step (direct PCR protocol), which is performed directly on the biological sample without the need of extraction and sequencing passages. The amplicons obtained by direct PCR can be easily separated on the agarose gel under ultraviolet. As per our results, the direct PCR represents a good alternative to the traditional methods of HLA-B∗57:01 pharmacogenetic test, especially for those laboratories or countries where currently available approaches are often not available or not affordable. Furthermore it is an innovative approach, promoting a personalized, safer and cost-effective therapy. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Spitalieri P.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Talarico R.V.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Botta A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Murdocca M.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 8 more authors.
Cellular Reprogramming | Year: 2015

The generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from an autologous extraembryonic fetal source is an innovative personalized regenerative technology that can transform own-self cells into embryonic stem-like ones. These cells are regarded as a promising candidate for cell-based therapy, as well as an ideal target for disease modeling and drug discovery. Thus, hiPSCs enable researchers to undertake studies for treating diseases or for future applications of in utero therapy. We used a polycistronic lentiviral vector (hSTEMCCA-loxP) encoding OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and cMYC genes and containing loxP sites, excisible by Cre recombinase, to reprogram patient-specific fetal cells derived from prenatal diagnosis for several genetic disorders, such as myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), β-thalassemia (β-Thal), lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome (LDS), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), cystic fibrosis (CF), as well as from wild-type (WT) fetal cells. Because cell types tested to create hiPSCs influence both the reprogramming process efficiency and the kinetics, we used chorionic villus (CV) and amniotic fluid (AF) cells, demonstrating how they represent an ideal cell resource for a more efficient generation of hiPSCs. The successful reprogramming of both CV and AF cells into hiPSCs was confirmed by specific morphological, molecular, and immunocytochemical markers and also by their teratogenic potential when inoculated in vivo. We further demonstrated the stability of reprogrammed cells over 10 and more passages and their capability to differentiate into the three embryonic germ layers, as well as into neural cells. These data suggest that hiPSCs-CV/AF can be considered a valid cellular model to accomplish pathogenesis studies and therapeutic applications. © Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015. Source

Pantic B.,University of Padua | Borgia D.,University of Padua | Giunco S.,University of Padua | Malena A.,University of Padua | And 9 more authors.
Experimental Cell Research | Year: 2016

Primary human skeletal muscle cells (hSkMCs) are invaluable tools for deciphering the basic molecular mechanisms of muscle-related biological processes and pathological alterations. Nevertheless, their use is quite restricted due to poor availability, short life span and variable purity of the cells during in vitro culture. Here, we evaluate a recently published method of hSkMCs immortalization, relying on ectopic expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1), cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and telomerase (TERT) in myoblasts from healthy donors (n=3) and myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) patients (n=2). The efficacy to maintain the myogenic and non-transformed phenotype, as well as the main pathogenetic hallmarks of DM1, has been assessed. Combined expression of the three genes i) maintained the CD56(NCAM)-positive myoblast population and differentiation potential; ii) preserved the non-transformed phenotype and iii) maintained the CTG repeat length, amount of nuclear foci and aberrant alternative splicing in immortal muscle cells. Moreover, immortal hSkMCs displayed attractive additional features such as structural maturation of sarcomeres, persistence of Pax7-positive cells during differentiation and complete disappearance of nuclear foci following (CAG)7 antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) treatment. Overall, the CCND1, CDK4 and TERT immortalization yields versatile, reliable and extremely useful human muscle cell models to investigate the basic molecular features of human muscle cell biology, to elucidate the molecular pathogenetic mechanisms and to test new therapeutic approaches for DM1 in vitro. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. Source

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