National Institute for Cardiovascular Research

Bologna, Italy

National Institute for Cardiovascular Research

Bologna, Italy
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Fornero S.,University of Turin | Bassino E.,University of Turin | Ramella R.,University of Turin | Gallina C.,University of Turin | And 8 more authors.
BioMed Research International | Year: 2014

The chromogranin-A peptide catestatin modulates a wide range of processes, such as cardiovascular functions, innate immunity, inflammation, and metabolism. We recently found that the cardiac antiadrenergic action of catestatin requires a PI3K-dependent NO release from endothelial cells, although the receptor involved is yet to be identified. In the present work, based on the cationic properties of catestatin, we tested the hypothesis of its interaction with membrane heparan sulphate proteoglycans, resulting in the activation of a caveolae-dependent endocytosis. Experiments were performed on bovine aortic endothelial cells. Endocytotic vesicles trafficking was quantified by confocal microscopy using a water-soluble membrane dye; catestatin colocalization with heparan sulphate proteoglycans and caveolin 1 internalization were studied by fluorimetric measurements in live cells. Modulation of the catestatin-dependent eNOS activation was assessed by immunofluorescence and immunoblot analysis. Our results demonstrate that catestatin (5 nM) colocalizes with heparan sulphate proteoglycans and induces a remarkable increase in the caveolae-dependent endocytosis and caveolin 1 internalization, which were significantly reduced by both heparinase and wortmannin. Moreover, catestatin was unable to induce Ser1179 eNOS phosphorylation after pretreatments with heparinase and methyl-β-cyclodextrin. Taken together, these results highlight the obligatory role for proteoglycans and caveolae internalization in the catestatin-dependent eNOS activation in endothelial cells. © 2014 Sara Fornero et al.

Bassino E.,University of Turin | Fornero S.,University of Turin | Gallo M.P.,University of Turin | Gallina C.,University of Turin | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Catestatin (Cst) is a 21-amino acid peptide deriving from Chromogranin A. Cst exerts an overall protective effect against an excessive sympathetic stimulation of cardiovascular system, being able to antagonize catecholamine secretion and to reduce their positive inotropic effect, by stimulating the release of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells. Moreover, Cst reduces ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, improving post-ischemic cardiac function and cardiomyocyte survival. To define the cardioprotective signaling pathways activated by Cst (5 nM) we used isolated adult rat cardiomyocytes undergoing simulated I/R. We evaluated cell viability rate with propidium iodide labeling and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) with the fluorescent probe JC-1. The involvement of Akt, GSK3β, eNOS and phospholamban (PLN) cascade was studied by immunofluorescence. The role of PI3K-Akt/NO/ cGMP pathway was also investigated by using the pharmacological blockers wortmannin (Wm), L-NMMA and ODQ. Our experiments revealed that Cst increased cell viability rate by 65% and reduced cell contracture in I/R cardiomyocytes. Wm, L-NMMA and ODQ limited the protective effect of Cst. The protective outcome of Cst was related to its ability to maintain MMP and to increase AktSer473 , GSK3βSer9, PLNThr17 and eNOS Ser1179 phosphorylation, while treatment with Wm abolished these effects. Thus, the present results show that Cst is able to exert a direct action on cardiomyocytes and give new insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in its protective effect, highlighting the PI3K/NO/cGMP pathway as the trigger and the MMP preservation as the end point of its action. © 2015 Bassino et al.

Penna C.,University of Turin | Penna C.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | Brancaccio M.,University of Turin | Tullio F.,University of Turin | And 9 more authors.
Basic Research in Cardiology | Year: 2014

Melusin is a muscle-specific protein which interacts with β1 integrin cytoplasmic domain and acts as chaperone protein. Its overexpression induces improved resistance to cardiac overload delaying left ventricle dilation and reducing the occurrence of heart failure. Here, we investigated possible protective effect of melusin overexpression against acute ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury with or without Postconditioning cardioprotective maneuvers. Melusin transgenic (Mel-TG) mice hearts were subjected to 30-min global ischemia followed by 60-min reperfusion. Interestingly, infarct size was reduced in Mel-TG mice hearts compared to wild-type (WT) hearts (40.3 ± 3.5 % Mel-TG vs. 59.5 ± 3.8 % WT hearts; n = 11 animals/group; P < 0.05). The melusin protective effect was also demonstrated by measuring LDH release, which was 50 % lower in Mel-TG compared to WT. Mel-TG hearts had a higher baseline level of AKT, ERK1/2 and GSK3β phosphorylation, and displayed increased phospho-kinases level after I/R compared to WT mice. Post-ischemic Mel-TG hearts displayed also increased levels of the anti-apoptotic factor phospho-BAD. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of PI3K/AKT (Wortmannin) and ERK1/2 (U0126) pathways abrogated the melusin protective effect. Notably, HSP90, a chaperone known to protect heart from I/R injury, showed high levels of expression in the heart of Mel-TG mice suggesting a possible collaboration of this molecule with AKT/ERK/GSK3β pathways in the melusin-induced protection. Postconditioning, known to activate AKT/ERK/GSK3β pathways, significantly reduced IS and LDH release in WT hearts, but had no additive protective effects in Mel-TG hearts. These findings implicate melusin as an enhancer of AKT and ERK pathways and as a novel player in cardioprotection from I/R injury. © 2014 European Union.

PubMed | National Institute for Cardiovascular Research, University of Angers, University of Parma and University of Bologna
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A | Year: 2015

One of the main cause of ineffective cell therapy in repairing the damaged heart is the poor yield of grafted cells. To overcome this drawback, rats with 4-week-old myocardial infarction (MI) were injected in the border zone with human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) conveyed by poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microcarriers (PAMs) releasing hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (GFsPAMs). According to treatments, animals were subdivided into different groups: MI_ADSC, MI_ADSC/PAM, MI_GFsPAM, MI_ADSC/GFsPAM, and untreated MI_V. Two weeks after injection, a 31% increase in ADSC engraftment was observed in MI_ADSC/PAM compared with MI_ADSC (p<0.05). A further ADSC retention was obtained in MI_ADSC/GFsPAM with respect to MI_ADSC (106%, p<0.05) and MI_ADSC/PAM (57%, p<0.05). A 130% higher density of blood vessels of medium size was present in MI_ADSC/GFsPAM compared with MI_ADSC (p<0.01). MI_ADSC/GFsPAM also improved, albeit slightly, left ventricular remodeling and hemodynamics with respect to the other groups. Notably, ADSCs and/or PAMs, with or without HGF/IGF-1, trended to induce arrhythmias in electrically driven, Langendorff-perfused, hearts of all groups. Thus, PAMs releasing HGF/IGF-1 markedly increase ADSC engraftment 2 weeks after injection and stimulate healing in chronically infarcted myocardium, but attention should be paid to potentially negative electrophysiological consequences.

Muscari C.,University of Bologna | Muscari C.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | Giordano E.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | Giordano E.,University of Bologna | And 6 more authors.
Medical Hypotheses | Year: 2013

In tumors intermittent hypoxia has been reported to be more representative than normoxia or continuous exposure to low oxygen concentrations. Intermittent hypoxia is thought to increase tumor resistance against both anti-cancer therapy and the sustained ischemia that randomly occurs because of the dynamic nature of tumor vasculature. Here, we hypothesize that the molecular mechanisms underlying intermittent hypoxia in tumor cells share some triggers, modulators, and end-effectors of the intermittent episodes of ischemia and reperfusion that characterize ischemic preconditioning and postconditioning. These are among the most effective maneuvers protecting cells from ischemia-reperfusion injury. If this hypothesis were confirmed, several well-investigated molecular mediators of pre/post-conditioning could be explored as therapeutic targets against tumor malignancy. For examples, drugs that completely block the cardioprotection induced by ischemic preconditioning, such as mitochondrial potassium ATP channel inhibitors or mitochondrial permeability transition pore openers, could be extraordinarily efficient in counteracting the adaptations of tumor cells and cancer stem cells to intermittent hypoxia. As a consequence, this strategy should be effective in blunting tumor capacity to progress toward malignancy and survive in ischemic conditions. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Cetrullo S.,University of Bologna | Facchini A.,University of Bologna | Stanic I.,University of Bologna | Stanic I.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | And 4 more authors.
Amino Acids | Year: 2010

Recent studies have shown that aldosterone may play a critical role in the transition to heart failure and that heart is a direct target of the action of aldosterone, which can provoke hypertrophy and apoptosis of isolated cardiomyocytes and also increase the expression of genes that favor tissue fibrosis. Early work from this and other laboratories has established a link between the aliphatic polyamines and cardiac hypertrophy, while more recently an involvement of polyamines even in cell death and survival has emerged. In the present study we have treated cardiac cells, i.e. rat H9c2 cardiomyoblasts and neonatal cardiomyocytes, with (D,L)-2-(difluoromethyl)ornithine, a specific inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis, to investigate the effects of polyamines in relation to the hypertrophic, pro-fibrotic and pro-apoptotic actions of aldosterone. The results indicate that inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis may prevent or attenuate the adverse actions of aldosterone, by modulating the expression of genes related to cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis, as well as the levels of proteins and the activities of enzymes that control apoptosis. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

Pasini A.,University of Bologna | Bonafe F.,University of Bologna | Govoni M.,University of Bologna | Guarnieri C.,University of Bologna | And 5 more authors.
Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2013

Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are stromal mesenchymal stem cells isolated from lipoaspirates, and they display a broad potential to differentiate toward different lineages. The role of epigenetics in regulating the expression of their lineage-specific genes is under evaluation, however till date virtually nothing is known about the relative significance of cardiac-specific transcription factor genes in human ADSCs. The aim of this study was to investigate DNA promoter methylation and relevant histone modifications involving MEF-2C, GATA-4, and Nkx2.5 in native human ADSCs. CpG sites at the transcription start in their promoters were found unmethylated using methylation-specific PCR. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed low levels of total acetylated H3 histone (acH3) and high levels of trimethylated lysine 27 in H3 histone (H3K27me3) which were associated with both GATA-4 and Nkx2.5 promoters, indicating their transcriptional repressive chromatin arrangement. On the other hand, the opposite was apparent for MEF-2C promoter. Accordingly, MEF-2C-but not GATA-4 and Nkx2.5-transcripts were evidenced in native human ADSCs. These results suggest that the chromatin arrangement of these early cardiac regulatory genes could be explored as a level of intervention to address the differentiation of human ADSCs toward the cardiac lineage. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Muscari C.,University of Bologna | Muscari C.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | Giordano E.,National Institute for Cardiovascular Research | Giordano E.,University of Bologna | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Biomedical Science | Year: 2013

The efficiency of regenerative medicine can be ameliorated by improving the biological performances of stem cells before their transplantation. Several ex-vivo protocols of non-damaging cell hypoxia have been demonstrated to significantly increase survival, proliferation and post-engraftment differentiation potential of stem cells. The best results for priming cultured stem cells against a following, otherwise lethal, ischemic stress have been obtained with brief intermittent episodes of hypoxia, or anoxia, and reoxygenation in accordance with the extraordinary protection afforded by the conventional maneuver of ischemic preconditioning in severely ischemic organs. These protocols of hypoxic preconditioning can be rather easily reproduced in a laboratory; however, more suitable pharmacological interventions inducing stem cell responses similar to those activated in hypoxia are considered among the most promising solutions for future applications in cell therapy. Here we want to offer an up-to-date review of the molecular mechanisms translating hypoxia into beneficial events for regenerative medicine. To this aim the involvement of epigenetic modifications, microRNAs, and oxidative stress, mainly activated by hypoxia inducible factors, will be discussed. Stem cell adaptation to their natural hypoxic microenvironments (niche) in healthy and neoplastic tissues will be also considered. © 2013 Muscari et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Cetrullo S.,University of Bologna | Tantini B.,University of Bologna | Facchini A.,University of Bologna | Pignatti C.,University of Bologna | And 3 more authors.
Amino Acids | Year: 2011

Recent studies report that the primary transmitter of sympathetic nervous system norepinephrine (NE), which is actively produced in failing human heart, is able to induce apoptosis of rat cardiomyocytes. Apoptotic cell death of cardiomyocytes is involved in several cardiovascular diseases including ischemia, hypertrophy and heart failure, therefore representing a potential therapeutic target. The natural occurring polyamines, putrescine, spermidine and spermine, are biogenic amines involved in many cellular processes, including apoptosis. Thus, we have studied the involvement of polyamines in the apoptosis of cardiac cells induced by the treatment with NE. The results indicate that NE caused an early induction of the activity of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the first enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, followed by a later increase of apoptotic cell death. This effect was prevented in the presence of α-difluoromethylornithine, an irreversible inhibitor of ODC. Moreover, the study of some key signal transduction pathways revealed an involvement of AMP-activated protein kinase, AKT and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases, in the modulation by polyamines of the response of cardiomyocytes to NE. In fact, polyamine-depleted cells showed an altered activation pattern of these kinases that may contrast apoptosis and appeared to result from a differential effect on the specific phosphatases that dephosphorylate and switch off these signaling proteins. In conclusion, these results indicate that in cardiac cells polyamines are involved in the execution of the death program activated by NE, and suggest that their apoptosis facilitating action is mediated by a network of specific phosphatases and kinases. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Cetrullo S.,University of Bologna | Tantini B.,University of Bologna | Flamigni F.,University of Bologna | Pazzini C.,University of Bologna | And 4 more authors.
Nutrients | Year: 2012

Apoptosis is a programmed cell death that plays a critical role in cell homeostasis. In particular, apoptosis in cardiomyocytes is involved in several cardiovascular diseases including heart failure. Recently autophagy has emerged as an important modulator of programmed cell death pathway. Recent evidence indicates that saturated fatty acids induce cell death through apoptosis and this effect is specific for palmitate. On the other hand, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been implicated in the protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiac ischemic damage and myocardial dysfunction. In the present study we show that n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) treatment to culture medium of H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts protects cells against palmitate-induced apoptosis, as well as counteracts palmitate-mediated increase of autophagy. Further investigation is required to establish whether the antiautophagic effect of EPA may be involved in its cytoprotective outcome and to explore the underlying biochemical mechanisms through which palmitate and EPA control the fate of cardiac cells. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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