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Laschi M.,University of Siena | Tinti L.,Toscana Life science Foundation | Braconi D.,University of Siena | Millucci L.,University of Siena | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Cellular Physiology | Year: 2012

Alkaptonuria (AKU) results from defective homogentisate1,2-dioxygenase (HGD), causing degenerative arthropathy. The deposition of ochronotic pigment in joints is so far attributed to homogentisic acid produced by the liver, circulating in the blood and accumulating locally. Human normal and AKU osteoarticular cells were tested for HGD gene expression by RT-PCR, mono- and 2D-Western blotting. HGD gene expression was revealed in chondrocytes, synoviocytes, osteoblasts. Furthermore, HGD expression was confirmed by Western blotting, that also revealed the presence of five enzymatic molecular species. Our findings indicate that AKU osteoarticular cells produce the ochronotic pigment in loco and this may strongly contribute to induction of ochronotic arthropathy. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Marchetti P.,University of Pisa | Lupi R.,Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana | Bugliani M.,University of Pisa | Kirkpatrick C.L.,University of Geneva | And 13 more authors.
Diabetologia | Year: 2012

Aims/hypothesis Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a major incretin, mainly produced by the intestinal L cells, with beneficial actions on pancreatic beta cells.However,while in vivo only very small amounts of GLP-1 reach the pancreas in bioactive form, some observations indicate that GLP-1 may also be produced in the islets. We performed comprehensive morphological, functional and molecular studies to evaluate the presence and various features of a local GLP-1 system in human pancreatic islet cells, including those from type 2 diabetic patients. Methods The presence of insulin, glucagon, GLP-1, proconvertase (PC) 1/3 and PC2 was determined in human pancreas by immunohistochemistry with confocal microscopy. Islets were isolated from non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic donors. GLP-1 protein abundance was evaluated by immunoblotting and matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionisation-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry. Single alpha and beta cell suspensions were obtained by enzymatic dissociation and FACS sorting. Glucagon and GLP-1 release were measured in response to nutrients.Results Confocal microscopy showed the presence of GLP-1- like and PC1/3 immunoreactivity in subsets of alpha cells, whereas GLP-1 was not observed in beta cells. The presence of GLP-1 in isolated islets was confirmed by immunoblotting, followed by mass spectrometry. Isolated islets and alpha (but not beta) cell fractions released GLP-1, which was regulated by glucose and arginine. PC1/3 (also known as PCSK1) gene expression was shown in alpha cells. GLP-1 release was significantly higher from type 2 diabetic than from nondiabetic isolated islets. Conclusions/interpretation We have shown the presence of a functionally competent GLP-1 system in human pancreatic islets, which resides in alpha cells and might be modulated by type 2 diabetes. © Springer-Verlag 2012.

Simonelli S.,University of Milan | Tinti C.,Toscana Life science Foundation | Salvini L.,Toscana Life science Foundation | Tinti L.,Toscana Life science Foundation | And 7 more authors.
Biologicals | Year: 2013

Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is the enzyme responsible for cholesterol esterification in plasma. Mutations in the LCAT gene leads to two rare disorders, familial LCAT deficiency and fish-eye disease, both characterized by severe hypoalphalipoproteinemia associated with several lipoprotein abnormalities. No specific treatment is presently available for genetic LCAT deficiency. In the present study, recombinant human LCAT was expressed and tested for its ability to correct the lipoprotein profile in LCAT deficient plasma. The results show that rhLCAT efficiently reduces the amount of unesterified cholesterol (-30%) and promotes the production of plasma cholesteryl esters (+210%) in LCAT deficient plasma. rhLCAT induces a marked increase in HDL-C levels (+89%) and induces the maturation of small preβ-HDL into alpha-migrating particles. Moreover, the abnormal phospholipid-rich particles migrating in the LDL region were converted in normally sized LDL. © 2013 The International Alliance for Biological Standardization.

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