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Mezzaroba N.,University of Trieste | Zorzet S.,University of Trieste | Secco E.,University of Trieste | Biffi S.,Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS Burlo Garofolo | And 18 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Current B-cell disorder treatments take advantage of dose-intensive chemotherapy regimens and immunotherapy via use of monoclonal antibodies. Unfortunately, they may lead to insufficient tumor distribution of therapeutic agents, and often cause adverse effects on patients. In this contribution, we propose a novel therapeutic approach in which relatively high doses of Hydroxychloroquine and Chlorambucil were loaded into biodegradable nanoparticles coated with an anti-CD20 antibody. We demonstrate their ability to effectively target and internalize in tumor B-cells. Moreover, these nanoparticles were able to kill not only p53 mutated/deleted lymphoma cell lines expressing a low amount of CD20, but also circulating primary cells purified from chronic lymphocitic leukemia patients. Their safety was demonstrated in healthy mice, and their therapeutic effects in a new model of Burkitt's lymphoma. The latter serves as a prototype of an aggressive lympho-proliferative disease. In vitro and in vivo data showed the ability of anti-CD20 nanoparticles loaded with Hydroxychloroquine and Chlorambucil to increase tumor cell killing in comparison to free cytotoxic agents or Rituximab. These results shed light on the potential of anti-CD20 nanoparticles carrying Hydroxychloroquine and Chlorambucil for controlling a disseminated model of aggressive lymphoma, and lend credence to the idea of adopting this therapeutic approach for the treatment of B-cell disorders. © 2013 Mezzaroba et al. Source

Tosi G.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Bondioli L.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Ruozi B.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Badiali L.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Neural Transmission | Year: 2011

The presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) makes extremely difficult to develop efficacious strategies for targeting contrast agents and delivering drugs inside the Central Nervous System (CNS). To overcome this drawback, several kinds of CNS-targeted nanoparticles (NPs) have been developed. In particular, we proposed poly-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) NPs engineered with a simil-opioid glycopeptide (g7), which have already proved to be a promising tool for achieving a successful brain targeting after i.v. administration in rats. In order to obtain CNS-targeted NPs to use for in vivo imaging, we synthesized and administrated in mice PLGA NPs with double coverage: near-infrared (NIR) probe (DY-675) and g 7. The optical imaging clearly showed a brain localization of these novel NPs. Thus, a novel kind of NIR-labeled NPs were obtained, providing a new, in vivo detectable nanotechnology tool. Besides, the confocal and fluorescence microscopy evidences allowed to further confirm the ability of g 7 to promote not only the rat, but also the mouse BBB crossing. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Biffi S.,Institute of Maternal and Child Health | Biffi S.,Optical Imaging Laboratory | Bortot B.,Institute of Maternal and Child Health | Carrozzi M.,Institute of Maternal and Child Health | Severini G.M.,Institute of Maternal and Child Health
Diagnostic Molecular Pathology | Year: 2011

In many mitochondrial diseases, different clinical manifestations are related to tissue-specific distribution of mutated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). In this study, we describe an assay for the determination of mutated mtDNA copy number in small clinical samples, using standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by SYBR Green real-time allelic-specific PCR [amplification refractory mutation system-quantitative PCR (ARMS-qPCR)]. To assess the degree of heteroplasmy in a patient harboring 2 cosegregating mtDNA mutations (4415A>G and 9922A>C) starting from picogram amounts of DNA, we first amplified the mutated target sequence by standard PCR, and then analyzed it by real-time ARMS-qPCR. To validate this method, we analyzed by real-time ARMS-qPCR the PCR amplification products derived from different mixtures containing known proportions of mutant and wild-type cloned mtDNA fragments. The correlation coefficient of 0.994 between expected and observed values for the percentage of mutant A4415G confirms that the relative proportion of mutated and wild-type mtDNA was maintained after the first PCR amplification. This method allows the precise quantification of heteroplasmic mutations in DNA samples extracted from hairs, urine, small stomach biopsies, and, more importantly, single-muscle fiber, with a limit of detection close to 0.5%. This nested real-time ARMS-PCR represents a rapid, efficient, and less expensive method for the detection and quantification of heteroplasmic mutant mtDNA, even in very small clinical samples. Copyright © 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Biffi S.,Optical Imaging Laboratory | Biffi S.,Institute for Maternal and Child Health | Dal Monego S.,Cluster in Biomedicine CBM scrl | Dullin C.,University of Gottingen | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Non-invasive in vivo imaging strategies are of high demand for longitudinal monitoring of inflammation during disease progression. In this study we present an imaging approach using near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging in combination with a polyanionic macromolecular conjugate as a dedicated probe, known to target L- and P-selectin and C3/C5 complement factors. Methodology/Principal Findings: We investigated the suitability of dendritic polyglycerol sulfates (dPGS), conjugated with a hydrophilic version of the indocyanine green label with 6 sulfonate groups (6S-ICG) to monitor sites of inflammation using an experimental mouse model of allergic asthma. Accumulation of the NIRF-conjugated dPGS (dPGS-NIRF) in the inflamed lungs was analyzed in and ex vivo in comparison with the free NIRF dye using optical imaging. Commercially available smart probes activated by matrix metalloproteinase's (MMP) and cathepsins were used as a comparative control. The fluorescence intensity ratio between lung areas of asthmatic and healthy mice was four times higher for the dPGS in comparison to the free dye in vivo at four hrs post intravenous administration. No significant difference in fluorescence intensity between healthy and asthmatic mice was observed 24 hrs post injection for dPGS-NIRF. At this time point ex-vivo scans of asthmatic mice confirmed that the fluorescence within the lungs was reduced to approximately 30% of the intensity observed at 4 hrs post injection. Conclusions/Significance: Compared with smart-probes resulting in a high fluorescence level at 24 hrs post injection optical imaging with dPGS-NIRF conjugates is characterized by fast uptake of the probe at inflammatory sites and represents a novel approach to monitor lung inflammation as demonstrated in mice with allergic asthma. © 2013 Biffi et al. Source

Benincasa M.,University of Trieste | Pelillo C.,University of Trieste | Zorzet S.,University of Trieste | Garrovo C.,Optical Imaging Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2010

Background. Bac7 is a proline-rich peptide with a potent in vitro antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Here we investigated its activity in biological fluids and in vivo using a mouse model of S. typhimurium infection. Results. The efficacy of the active 1-35 fragment of Bac7 was assayed in serum and plasma, and its stability in biological fluids analyzed by Western blot and mass spectrometry. The ability of the peptide to protect mice against Salmonella was assayed in a typhoid fever model of infection by determination of survival rates and bacterial load in liver and spleen of infected animals. In addition, the peptide's biodistribution was evaluated by using time-domain optical imaging. Bac7(1-35) retained a substantial in vivo activity showing a very low toxicity. The peptide increased significantly the number of survivors and the mean survival times of treated mice reducing the bacterial load in their organs despite its rapid clearance. Conclusions. Our results provide a first indication for a potential development of Bac7-based drugs in the treatment of salmonellosis and, eventually, other Gram-negative infections. The in vivo activity for this peptide might be substantially enhanced by decreasing its excretion rate or modifying the treatment schedule. © 2010 Benincasa et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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