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Trento, Italy

Mosca L.,Medical Genetics Unit | Rivieri F.,Genetics Unit | Tanel R.,St. Chiara Hospital | Bonfante A.,Medical Genetics Unit | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is an adult onset hereditary vascular disease with neurological manifestations. The classical clinical course is relentlessly progressive with early transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) or strokes, dementia and finally death in the mid-1960s. The disorder is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, with high penetrance and broad variable clinical course even within family. It is caused by mutations in the NOTCH3 gene; all causative mutations result in gain or loss of a cysteine residue within the extracellular domain, with exons 3 and 4 reported as hot spot mutational sites. Mutation analysis of the NOTCH3 gene was performed through direct sequencing of the 2–23 exons containing all EGF-like domains. Patients underwent genetic counselling pre and post testing. Here, we report two novel mutations located in exons 6 and 15 of the NOTCH3 gene; clinical description for the probands and for available relatives is enclosed. No reliable data on incidence or prevalence rates of this disease are available: it is therefore essential that the diagnosis is obtained in all suspected cases through the extensive analysis of the NOTCH3 gene and that all cases are brought to the attention of the scientific community. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Dal Pra I.,University of Verona | Armato U.,University of Verona | Chioffi F.,St. Chiara Hospital | Pacchiana R.,University of Verona | And 4 more authors.
NeuroMolecular Medicine

The excess vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) produced in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain can harm neurons, blood vessels, and other components of the neurovascular units (NVUs). But could astrocytes partaking in networks of astrocyte-neuron teams and connected to blood vessels of NVUs contribute to VEGF production? We have shown with cultured cerebral cortical normal (i.e., untransformed) adult human astrocytes (NAHAs) that exogenous amyloid-β peptides (Aβs) stimulate the astrocytes to make and secrete large amounts of Aβs and nitric oxide by a mechanism mediated through the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR). Here, we report that exogenous Aβs stimulate the NAHAs to produce and secrete even VEGF-A through a CaSR-mediated mechanism. This is indicated by the ability of Aβs to specifically bind the CaSR, and the capability of a CaSR activator, the “calcimimetic” NPS R-568, to imitate, and of the CaSR antagonist, “calcilytic” NPS 2143, to inhibit, the Aβs stimulation of VEGF-A production and secretion by the NAHAs. Thus, Aβs that accumulate in the AD brain may make the astrocytes that envelop and functionally collaborate with neurons into multi-agent AD-driving “machines” via a CaSR signaling mechanism(s). These observations suggest the possibility that CaSR allosteric antagonists such as NPS 2143 might impede AD progression. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Bonzanini M.,St. Chiara Hospital | Morelli L.,Center for Health Services of Trento | Bonandini E.M.,St. Chiara Hospital | Leonardi E.,St. Chiara Hospital | And 2 more authors.
Cancer Cytopathology

BACKGROUND: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is distinct from other breast cancers, because the tumor cells lack estrogen and progesterone receptors (hormone receptors) and also are negative for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). They comprise a heterogeneous group of tumors with various histologic features and clinical behaviors. High-grade, invasive ductal carcinoma not otherwise specified is the most frequent type, and a substantial fraction of TNBCs belongs to the basal-like tumor type. The purpose of this study was to determine whether some cytologic features could predict the triple phenotype of breast carcinoma. METHODS: Fine-needle aspiration cytology samples of 62 TNBCs were compared with samples of 82 hormone receptor-positive, high-grade, invasive carcinomas (HRBC) and with samples of 33 hormone receptor-negative, HER2 positive, invasive carcinomas (HER2BC) for the following cytomorphologic features: cellularity, necrosis, lymphocytes, syncytial clusters, tubular/ductal-like clusters, large bare nuclei, streaming within the clusters, and calcifications. Moreover, single cell features, such as cellular borders, cytoplasm, cytoplasmic vacuoles, nuclear pleomorphism, nucleoli, and type of chromatin pattern, were evaluated. Descriptive analyses and 2 multivariate regression models were performed to compare TNBC, HRBC, and HER2BC and to identify the cytologic factors that were associated with tumor type. RESULTS: TNBCs were more likely to have an abundant necrotic background, many lymphocytes, many syncytial clusters, and ill defined cell borders than non-TNBCs. A tubular/ductal pattern was observed only rarely in TNBCs. Multivariate logistic analysis indicated a 90.8% probability of identifying TNBC versus HRBC by the following cytologic variables: lymphocytes, ill defined cell borders and syncytial clusters, tubular/ductal clusters, cytoplasmic vacuoles, and cellular pleomorphism; whereas there was a 77.5% probability of identifying TNBC rather than HER2BC by the following variables: cellularity, ill defined cellular borders and syncytial clusters, and tubular/ductal clusters. CONCLUSIONS: Although TNBCs embrace a heterogeneous group of tumors, in this study, they exhibited some common cytologic features that can help to distinguish them from other high-grade breast carcinomas in daily practice. © 2011 American Cancer Society. Source

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