University Cattolica

Cattolica Eraclea, Italy

University Cattolica

Cattolica Eraclea, Italy
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Ripoli C.,University Cattolica
Behavioural Brain Research | Year: 2017

For long time, the epidemiology of late-onset sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk factors has centered on adult life-style. Recent studies have, instead, focused on the role of early life experiences in progression of such disease especially in the context of prenatal and postnatal life. Although no single unfavorable environmental event has been shown to be neither necessary nor sufficient for AD development, it is possible that the sum of several environmentally induced effects, over time, contribute to its pathophysiology through epigenetic mechanisms. Indeed, epigenetic changes are influenced by environmental factors and have been proposed to play a role in multifactorial pathologies such as AD. At the same time, recent findings suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are one method that neurons use to translate transient stimuli into stable memories. Thus, the characteristics of epigenetics being a critical link between the environment and genes and playing a crucial role in memory formation make candidate epigenetic mechanisms a natural substrate for AD research. Indeed, independent groups have reported several epigenetically dysregulated genes in AD models; however, the role of epigenetic mechanisms in AD has remained elusive owing to contradictory results. Here, I propose that restricting the analysis of epigenetic changes specifically to subpopulations of neurons (namely, engram memory cells) might be helpful in understanding the role of the epigenetic process in the memory-related specific epigenetic code and might constitute a new template for therapeutic interventions against AD. © 2016


Hoogendam J.M.,University Utrecht | Ramakers G.M.J.,University Utrecht | Di Lazzaro V.,University Cattolica
Brain Stimulation | Year: 2010

During the last two decades, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has rapidly become a valuable method to investigate noninvasively the human brain. In addition, repetitive TMS (rTMS) is able to induce changes in brain activity that last after stimulation. Therefore, rTMS has therapeutic potential in patients with neurologic and psychiatric disorders. It is, however, unclear by which mechanism rTMS induces these lasting effects on the brain. The effects of rTMS are often described as LTD- or LTP-like, because the duration of these alterations seems to implicate changes in synaptic plasticity. In this review we therefore discuss, based on rTMS experiments and knowledge about synaptic plasticity, whether the physiologic basis of rTMS-effects relates to changes in synaptic plasticity. We present seven lines of evidence that strongly suggest a link between the aftereffects induced by rTMS and the induction of synaptic plasticity. It is, nevertheless, important to realize that at present it is impossible to demonstrate a direct link between rTMS on the one hand and synaptic plasticity on the other. Therefore, we provide suggestions for future, innovating research, aiming to investigate both the local effects of rTMS on the synapse and the effects of rTMS on other, more global levels of brain organization. Only in that way can the aftereffects of rTMS on the brain be completely understood. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Castagnola M.,University Cattolica
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2013

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with electrospray ionization (ESI) mass -spectrometry (MS) is a relevant technique for the detection and relative quantitation of naturally occurring peptides and proteins. The peptide/protein mass is determined by deconvolution of the ESI-MS spectrum, and the resolution can be better than 1:10,000 with the instruments currently available. Accurate mass measurement, coupled with sufficient resolution, makes it possible to greatly restrict the enormous number of possible molecular formulas that might be represented by a specific molecular mass. As soon as the protein mass has been unequivocally attributed to a specific structure by means of different enzymatic and chemical treatments, the m/z values detected in the ESI spectrum can be utilized to reveal the protein and to perform its relative quantitation, by the extracted ion current (XIC) procedure, in an unlimited number of samples. This chapter describes the HPLC-ESI-MS experimental conditions which allow detecting and quantifying-in human saliva-different S100 proteins and their isoforms.


Mainardi M.,University Cattolica | Fusco S.,University Cattolica | Grassi C.,University Cattolica
Neural Plasticity | Year: 2015

Hormones and peptides involved in glucose homeostasis are emerging as important modulators of neural plasticity. In this regard, increasing evidence shows that molecules such as insulin, insulin-like growth factor-I, glucagon-like peptide-1, and ghrelin impact on the function of the hippocampus, which is a key area for learning and memory. Indeed, all these factors affect fundamental hippocampal properties including synaptic plasticity (i.e., synapse potentiation and depression), structural plasticity (i.e., dynamics of dendritic spines), and adult neurogenesis, thus leading to modifications in cognitive performance. Here, we review the main mechanisms underlying the effects of glucose metabolism on hippocampal physiology. In particular, we discuss the role of these signals in the modulation of cognitive functions and their potential implications in dysmetabolism-related cognitive decline. © 2015 Marco Mainardi et al.


Tacconelli E.,University Cattolica | Johnson A.P.,Public Health England
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy | Year: 2011

Screening of patients for carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) coupled with interventions such as contact isolation is widely regarded as a means of reducing rates of MRSA infection and inter-patient transmission. Recent studies in the Netherlands have shown that introduction of a national guideline in which uncomplicated carriage is treated with mupirocin nasal ointment and chlorhexidine soap solution, and complicated carriage is treated using the same regimen supplemented with two oral antibiotics, was successful, with up to 80% of patients being decolonized. Increased success was seen in patients, particularly those with complicated carriage, whose treatment adhered closely to the guideline. As the Netherlands has a low level of MRSA, further work is required to see if this regimen will be as effective at reducing carriage in countries with higher rates of endemic MRSA, where re-colonization may be expected to occur more often. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.


Podda M.V.,University Cattolica | Grassi C.,University Cattolica
Pflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology | Year: 2014

Cyclic nucleotides play fundamental roles in the central nervous system (CNS) under both physiological and pathological conditions. The impact of cAMP and cGMP signaling on neuronal and glial cell functions has been thoroughly characterized. Most of their effects have been related to cyclic nucleotide-dependent protein kinase activity. However, cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels, first described as key mediators of sensory transduction in retinal and olfactory receptors, have been receiving increasing attention as possible targets of cyclic nucleotides in the CNS. In the last 15 years, consistent evidence has emerged for their expression in neurons and astrocytes of the rodent brain. Far less is known, however, about the functional role of CNG channels in these cells, although several of their features, such as Ca 2+ permeability and prolonged activation in the presence of cyclic nucleotides, make them ideal candidates for mediators of physiological functions in the CNS. Here, we review literature suggesting the involvement of CNG channels in a number of CNS cellular functions (e.g., regulation of membrane potential, neuronal excitability, and neurotransmitter release) as well as in more complex phenomena, like brain plasticity, adult neurogenesis, and pain sensitivity. The emerging picture is that functional and dysfunctional cyclic nucleotide signaling in the CNS has to be reconsidered including CNG channels among possible targets. However, concerted efforts and multidisciplinary approaches are still needed to get more in-depth knowledge in this field. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.


Torino F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Barnabei A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | de Vecchis L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Salvatori R.,Johns Hopkins University | Corsello S.M.,University Cattolica
Oncologist | Year: 2012

Specific human monoclonal antibodies antagonize cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (anti-CTLA-4 mAbs), a negative regulator of the immune system, inducing unrestrained T-cell activation. In patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma, one of these agents, ipilimumab, produced considerable disease control rates and, for the first time, a clear improvement in overall survival outcomes. However, accumulating clinical experience with anti-CTLA-4 mAbs identified a novel syndrome of autoimmune and autoinflammatory side effects, designated as "immune-related adverse events," including mainly rash, colitis, and hepatitis. Autoimmune hypophysitis has emerged as a distinctive side effect induced by anti-CTLA-4 mAbs. This condition may be life threatening because of adrenal insufficiency if not promptly recognized, but it may easily be diagnosed and treated if clinically suspected. Hypopituitarism caused by these agents is rarely reversible and prolonged or life-long substitutive hormonal treatment is often required. The precise mechanism of injury to the pituitary triggered by anti-CTLA-4 mAbs is yet to be fully elucidated. © AlphaMed Press.


Corsello S.M.,University Cattolica | Barnabei A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Marchetti P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | De Vecchis L.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2013

Context: In recent years, progress has been made in cancer immunotherapy by the development of drugs acting as modulators of immune checkpoint proteins, such as the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4(CTLA4) and programmed death-1 (PD-1), two co-inhibitory receptors thatareexpressed on T cells upon activation. These molecules play crucial roles in maintaining immune homeostasis by down-regulating T-cell signaling, thereby preventing unbridled T-cell proliferation while maintaining tolerance to self-antigens, such as tumor-associated antigens. CTLA4 blockade through systemic administration of the CTLA4-blocking antibody ipilimumab was shown to confer significant survival benefit and prolonged stable disease in patients affected by advanced cutaneous melanoma. Other immune checkpoint inhibitors are under clinical evaluation. However, immune checkpoint blockade can lead to the breaking of immune self-tolerance, thereby inducing a novel syndrome of autoimmune/autoinflammatory side effects, designatedas "immune-related adverse events," mainly including rash, colitis, hepatitis, and endocrinopathies. Data Acquisition: We searched the medical literature using the words "hypophysitis," "hypopituitarism," "thyroid," "adrenal insufficiency," and "endocrine adverse events" in association with "immune checkpoint inhibitors," "ipilimumab," "tremelimumab," "PD-1," and "PD-1-L." Evidence Synthesis: The spectrum of endocrine disease experienced by patients treated with ipilimumab includes most commonly hypophysitis, more rarely thyroid disease or abnormalities in thyroid function tests, and occasionally primary adrenal insufficiency. Hypophysitis has emerged as a distinctive side effect of CTLA4-blocking antibodies, establishing a new form of autoimmune pituitary disease. This condition, if not promptly recognized, may be life-threatening (due to secondary hypoadrenalism). Hypopituitarism caused by these agents is rarely reversible, and prolonged or lifelong substitutive hormonal treatment is often required. The precise mechanism of injury to the endocrine system triggered by these drugs is yet to be fully elucidated. Conclusions: Although reports of endocrine side effects caused by cancer immune therapy are abundant, their exact prevalence and mechanism are unclear. Well-designed correlative studies oriented to finding and validating predictive factors of autoimmune toxicity are urgently needed. Copyright © 2013 by The Endocrine Society.


Castagnola M.,University Cattolica | Castagnola M.,CNR Institute of Chemistry of Molecular Recognition | Cabras T.,University of Cagliari | Vitali A.,CNR Institute of Chemistry of Molecular Recognition | And 2 more authors.
Trends in Biotechnology | Year: 2011

Although very attractive for noninvasive specimen collection, saliva has not yet been considered a relevant bodily fluid for the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases. The functional roles of specific salivary peptides and proteins have also not yet been studied in detail. Recent proteomic analysis of human whole saliva has shown that salivary biomarkers could contribute to the detection of local and systemic diseases, provided the standardization of proper sampling procedures exists. Recently, interesting and novel functions for different families of specific secretory peptides and proteins have been demonstrated, which could be a basis for the design of peptidomimetics with relevant biotechnological applications. In this review, we focus on the most recent advances in analysing salivary proteins and their potential application in biotechnology. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Ripoli C.,University Cattolica | Cocco S.,University Cattolica | Li Puma D.D.,University Cattolica | Piacentini R.,University Cattolica | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Intracellular accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) protein has been proposed as an early event in AD pathogenesis. In patients with mild cognitive impairment, intraneuronal Aβ immunoreactivity was found especially in brain regions critically involved in the cognitive deficits of AD. Although a large body of evidence demonstrates that Aβ42 accumulates intraneuronally (inAβ), the action and the role of Aβ42 buildup on synaptic function have been poorly investigated. Here, we demonstrate that basal synaptic transmission and LTP were markedly depressed following Aβ42 injection into the neuron through the patch pipette. Control experiments performed with the reverse peptide (Aβ42-1) allowed us to exclude that the effects of inAβ depended on changes in oncotic pressure. To further investigate inAβsynaptotoxicity we used an Aβ variant harboring oxidized methionine in position 35 that does not cross the neuronal plasma membrane and is not uploaded from the extracellular space. This Aβ42 variant had no effects on synaptic transmission and plasticity when applied extracellularly, but induced synaptic depression and LTP inhibition after patch-pipette dialysis. Finally, the injection of an antibody raised against human Aβ42 (6E10) in CA1 pyramidal neurons of mouse hippocampal brain slices and autaptic microcultures did not, per se, significantly affect LTP and basal synaptic transmission, but it protected against the toxic effects of extracellular Aβ42. Collectively, these findings suggest that Aβ42-induced impairment of glutamatergic synaptic function depends on its internalization and intracellular accumulation thus paving the way to a systemic proteomic analysis of intracellular targets/partners of Aβ42. © 2014 the authors.

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