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Spinelli F.R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Di Franco M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Metere A.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | Conti F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 3 more authors.
Drug Development Research | Year: 2014

Postmarketing Phase IV Chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and increased morbidity and mortality for cardiovascular events. Asymmetric dimethyl arginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, contributes to the impairment of endothelial function, the earlier and reversible stage of atherosclerotic plaque formation. Since tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibits enzymatic degradation of ADMA, anti-TNF agents could restore its physiological level. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of TNF inhibitors on ADMA serum levels in patients with RA. Our results suggest a possible effect of anti-TNF drugs on ADMA serum levels; longer studies would be necessary to confirm the role ADMA in assessing cardiovascular risk in RA. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Capoccia S.,Section of Behavioural Neuroscience | Berry A.,Section of Behavioural Neuroscience | Bellisario V.,Section of Behavioural Neuroscience | Vacirca D.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | And 3 more authors.
Neural Plasticity | Year: 2013

A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological stress is a major risk factor for psychiatric disorders. The basic mechanisms are still under investigation but involve changes in neuroendocrine-immune interactions, ultimately affecting brain plasticity. In this study we characterized central and peripheral effects of different stressors, applied for different time lengths, in adult male C57BL/6J mice. We compared the effects of repeated (7 versus 21 days) restraint stress (RS) and chronic disruption of social hierarchy (SS) on neuroendocrine (corticosterone) and immune function (cytokines and splenic apoptosis) and on a marker of brain plasticity (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF). Neuroendocrine activation did not differ between SS and control subjects; by contrast, the RS group showed a strong neuroendocrine response characterized by a specific time-dependent profile. Immune function and hippocampal BDNF levels were inversely related to hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis activation. These data show a fine modulation of the crosstalk between central and peripheral pathways of adaptation and plasticity and suggest that the length of stress exposure is crucial to determine its final outcome on health or disease. © 2013 Sara Capoccia et al.


Straface E.,Section of Cell Aging and Degeneration | Gambardella L.,Section of Cell Aging and Degeneration | Metere A.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | Marchesi A.,Bambino Gesu Hospital | And 7 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2010

Kawasaki disease (KD) is a rare and often undiagnosed disease, at least in the western countries. It is characterized by an inflammatory acute febrile vasculitis of medium sized arteries with a propensity to damage the coronary arteries. It normally occurs in the early childhood and the diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms. During the progression of the disease thrombocytosis is usually detected. This can exert a pathogenetic role in the cardiovascular complications occurring in KD. In the present work peripheral blood plasma and platelets from twelve naïve patients with KD were analyzed in order to detect possible pathogenetic determinants or progression markers. Morphological, biochemical and flow cytometrical methods have been used. With respect to age-matched healthy donors, we found an increase of platelet activation markers, i.e. degranulation, phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization and leukocyte-red cell-platelet aggregates. Some significant alterations that could represent suitable diagnostic determinants have also been detected in patient plasma: (i) decreased antioxidant power, (ii) decreased levels of asymmetric dymethylarginine (ADMA), a naturally occurring chemical interfering with the production of nitric oxide, and (iii) increased levels of soluble P-Selectin and soluble annexin V. Since PS externalizing platelets are known to exert a pro-coagulant activity, our data suggest the hypothesis that increased risk of vascular complications in KD could depend on platelet stimulation and defective apoptosis probably related to nitrosative stress. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Di Franco M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Spinelli F.R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Metere A.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | Gerardi M.C.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 6 more authors.
Mediators of Inflammation | Year: 2012

Objectives. Impaired endothelial function represents the early stage of atherosclerosis, which is typically associated with systemic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). As modulators of endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, asymmetric-dimethylarginine (ADMA) and apelin might be measured in the blood of RA patients to detect early atherosclerotic changes. We conducted a prospective, case-control study to investigate serum ADMA and apelin profiles of patients with early-stage RA (ERA) before and after disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy. Methods. We enrolled 20 consecutively diagnosed, treatment-naïve patients with ERA and 20 matched healthy controls. Serum ADMA and apelin levels and the 28-joint disease activity scores (DAS28) were assessed before and after 12 months of DMARDs treatment. All patients underwent ultrasonographic assessment for intima-media tickness (IMT) evaluation. Results. In the ERA group, ADMA serum levels were significantly higher than controls at baseline (P = 0.007) and significantly decreased after treatment (P = 0.012 versus controls). Baseline serum apelin levels were significantly decreased in this group (P = 0.0001 versus controls), but they were not significantly altered by treatment. IMT did not show significant changes. Conclusions. ERA is associated with alterations of serum ADMA and apelin levels, which might be used as biomarkers to detect early endothelial dysfunction in these patients. © 2012 Manuela Di Franco et al.


Spinelli F.R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Metere A.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | Barbati C.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | Pierdominici M.,Section of Biomarkers in Degenerative Diseases | And 6 more authors.
Mediators of Inflammation | Year: 2013

Endothelial dysfunction has been detected in RA patients and seems to be reversed by control of inflammation. Low circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been described in many conditions associated with increased cardiovascular risk, including RA. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of inhibition of TNF on EPCs in RA patients. Seventeen patients with moderate-severe RA and 12 sex and age-matched controls were evaluated. Endothelial biomarkers were tested at baseline and after 3 months. EPCs were identified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells by cytofluorimetry using anti-CD34 and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor-receptor 2. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) was tested by ELISA and flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) by ultrasonography. Circulating EPCs were significantly lower in RA patients than in controls (P=0.001). After 3 months EPCs increased significantly (P=0.0006) while ADMA levels significantly decreased (P=0.001). An inverse correlation between mean increase in EPCs number and mean decrease of DAS28 after treatment was observed (r=-0.56, P=0.04). EPCs inversely correlated with ADMA (r=-0.41, P=0.022). No improvement of FMD was detected. Short-term treatment with anti-TNF was able to increase circulating EPCs concurrently with a proportional decrease of disease activity suggesting that therapeutic intervention aimed at suppressing the inflammatory process might positively affect the endothelial function. © 2013 F. R. Spinelli et al.

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