Vita Direnzo

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Apulia, Italy

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Publications (15)47.56 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Identifying markers of cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis (MS) is extremely challenging since it means supplying potential biomarkers for neuroprotective therapeutic strategies.
    Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). 08/2014;
  • American Academy of Neurology 2014; 04/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of our project was to perform an exploratory analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteomic profiles of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, collected in different phases of their clinical course, in order to investigate the existence of peculiar profiles characterizing the different MS phenotypes. The study was carried out on 24 Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), 16 Relapsing Remitting (RR) MS, 11 Progressive (Pr) MS patients. The CSF samples were analysed using the Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Time Of Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer in linear mode geometry and in delayed extraction mode (m/z range: 1000-25000 Da). Peak lists were imported for normalization and statistical analysis. CSF data were correlated with demographic, clinical and MRI parameters. The evaluation of MALDI-TOF spectra revealed 348 peak signals with relative intensity ≥1% in the study range. The peak intensity of the signals corresponding to Secretogranin II and Protein 7B2 were significantly upregulated in RRMS patients compared to PrMS (p<0.05), whereas the signals of Fibrinogen and Fibrinopeptide A were significantly downregulated in CIS compared to PrMS patients (p<0.04). Additionally, the intensity of the Tymosin β4 peak was the only signal to be significantly discriminated between the CIS and RRMS patients (p = 0.013). Although with caution due to the relatively small size of the study populations, and considering that not all the findings remained significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons, in our opinion this mass spectrometry evaluation confirms that this technique may provide useful and important information to improve our understanding of the complex pathogenesis of MS.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e103984. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 47-year-old woman with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), treated with natalizumab for 14 months, reported dysphagia. Brain MRI demonstrated small fluid-attenuated inversion recovery-hyperintense T1-hypointense unenhancing lesions of the right pons and left medulla initially interpreted as new MS plaques (figure 1), but increased and became confluent over 3 months (figure 2). CSF demonstrated the presence of JC virus (4015 DNA copies).
    Neurology 10/2013; 81(16):1470-1471. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) on interferon β (IFNβ) efficacy in MS patients is still an object of controversy. To evaluate the clinical response to IFNβ during NAb-positive (NAb+) and NAb-negative (NAb-) statuses on a large population of relapsing remitting (RR) MS patients were followed up to 5 years. Sera from 567 RR MS patients treated with IFNβ for 2-5 years were collected every 6-12 months and evaluated for NAb presence by a cytopathic effect assay. The relapse rate and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score were assessed at baseline and every 6 months for each patient. A NAb+ status was defined after two consecutive positive titers of NAbs >/= 20 neutralizing units (NU)/mL. Multivariate models were used to analyze the relapse rate, the time to first relapse, the time to confirmed EDSS score 4 during NAb+ and NAb- statuses. A propensity score (PS) matching analysis was performed to assess the robustness of the multivariate models. Fourteen percent of patients became NAb+ during the follow-up. A significant increase of the relapse rate (IRR = 1.38; p = 0.0247) and decrease of the time to 1st relapse (IRR = 1.51; p = 0.0111) were found during NAb+ periods. The PS matching analysis, in a selected cohort of patients, demonstrated a negative trend of NAbs on the time to reach the milestone EDSS 4 (IRR = 2.94; p = 0.0879). This long-term post-marketing observational study further confirms that the occurrence of NAbs significantly affects the risk of disease worsening in IFNβ- treated RRMS.
    Journal of Neurology 02/2013; · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Load-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) abnormalities of brain activity during performance of attention tasks have been described in definite multiple sclerosis (MS). No data are available in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) suggestive of MS. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this research is to evaluate in CIS patients the fMRI pattern of brain activation during an attention task and to explore the effect of increasing task load demand on neurofunctional modifications. METHODS: Twenty-seven untreated CIS patients and 32 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) underwent fMRI while performing the Variable Attentional Control (VAC) task, a cognitive paradigm requiring increasing levels of attentional control processing. Random-effects models were used for statistical analyses of fMRI data. RESULTS: CIS patients had reduced accuracy and greater reaction time at the VAC task compared with HCs (p=0.007). On blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)-fMRI, CIS patients had greater activity in the right parietal cortex (p=0.0004) compared with HCs. Furthermore, CIS patients had greater activity at the lower (p=0.05) and reduced activity at the greater (p=0.04) level of attentional control demand in the left putamen, compared with HCs. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the failure of attentional control processing in CIS. The load-related fMRI dysfunction of the putamen supports the role of basal ganglia in the failure of attention observed at the earliest stage of MS.
    Multiple Sclerosis 01/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    European Journal of Neurology 10/2012; 19(10):e117-8. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Elevated homocysteine (Hcy) levels exert several neurotoxic actions and vascular dysfunctions that may be involved in pathogenesis and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The effective role of Hcy in MS however remains to be determined. The aim of this work was to compare plasma Hcy levels in MS patients and neurological disease controls (NDC) and to evaluate their relationships with clinical and demographic variables. In this cross-sectional study, we examined plasma Hcy levels in 217 patients with MS [53 clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) suggestive of MS, 134 relapsing remitting (RR), 23 secondary progressive (SP) and seven primary progressive (PP) MS], recruited among patients attending a tertiary clinical center in southern Italy and in 219 age/sex-matched controls. Median Hcy levels were slightly higher in MS patients compared to NDC (9.1 μmol/l; range, 3.4-35.9 vs. 8.6, range 3.5-27.4; p = 0.02). Median Hcy concentrations were increased in males more than in females in the MS population (10.4 vs. 8.4; p < 0.0001), whereas no differences across genders were found in NDC (9.1 vs. 8.5). Hcy levels were higher in male MS patients compared to the male NDC patients (p = 0.001). Patients with CIS had lower Hcy (7.5 μmol/l; p = 0.004) compared to patients with RR (9.5 μmol/l), SP (10.1 μmol/l) and PP (9.9 μmol/l). Median Hcy concentration was higher in patients with disease duration longer than 22 months (9.7 vs. 8.6 μmol/l; p = 0.02). Plasma Hcy levels are increased in patients with definite MS. Higher Hcy levels are associated with male sex, suggesting a role of Hcy in neurodegenerative processes of MS, which are prominent in male patients.
    Journal of Neurology 03/2012; 259(10):2105-10. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Natalizumab reduces the relapse rate and magnetic resonance imaging activity in patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). So far the influence of natalizumab on cognitive functions and fatigue in MS remains uncertain. The aim of this prospective, open-label, observational study was to evaluate the possible effects of natalizumab on cognition and fatigue measures in RRMS patients treated for up to two years. Cognitive performances were examined by the Rao's Brief Repeatable Battery (BRB), the Stroop test (ST) and the Cognitive Impairment Index (CII), every 12 months. Patients who failed in at least 3 tests of the BRB and the ST were classified as cognitively impaired (CI). Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) was administered every 12 months to assess patient's self-reported fatigue. One hundred and 53 patients completed 1 and 2 year-natalizumab treatment, respectively. After 1 year of treatment the percentage of CI patients decreased from 29% (29/100) at baseline to 19% (19/100) (p = 0.031) and the mean baseline values of CII (13.52±6.85) and FSS (4.01±1.63) scores were significantly reduced (10.48±7.12, p<0.0001 and 3.61±1.56, p = 0.008). These significant effects were confirmed in the subgroup of patients treated up to two years. These results demonstrate that a short-term NTZ treatment may significantly improve cognitive performances and fatigue in RRMS patients.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35843. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Urate is a natural antioxidant and may prevent CNS tissue damage and the clinical manifestations of experimental autoimmune encephalitis. Results from clinical studies are conflicting and the contribution of urate to the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) remains uncertain. To evaluate serum urate levels in MS patients and their relationships with clinical, demographic and MRI variables. Levels of non-fasting serum uric acid and creatinine were determined by an automated enzymatic assay and glomerular filtration rate was assessed in 245 MS patients, in 252 age/sex-matched neurological controls (NC) and in 59 Healthy controls (HC). Median serum urate levels did not differ between MS patients (3.8 mg/dL), HC (4.0 mg/dl) and NC (4.0 mg/dL). Serum urate levels were lower in females than in males in all groups (p = <0.0001). In female-MS, serum urate levels (3.2 mg/dL) were lower compared to those in female HC (3.8; p = 0.01) and NC (3.5 mg/dL; p = 0.02), whereas in male-MS they(4.8 mg/dL) did not differ from those in male HC (4.5 mg/dl) and NC (4.8 mg/dL). Urate concentrations trended to be lower in Clinically isolated syndromes suggestive of MS (3.7 mg/dL) and in relapsing MS (3.7 mg/dL), compared to patients with progressive MS (4.4 mg/dL; p = 0.06), and in patients with an annual relapse rate (ARR) >2 (3.3 mg/dL) than in those with an ARR ≤2: 3.9 mg/dL; p = 0.05). Significant lower serum urate levels were found in females than in males in all clinical MS subtypes (p<0.01), separately evaluated. Female sex (beta: -0.53; p<0.00001) was the most significant determinant of serum urate concentrations in MS patients on multivariate regression analysis. Our findings suggest that low urate levels could be of significance in predominantly inflammatory phases of MS even at the early stage and mainly in females.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40608. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A female/male (F/M) ratio increase over time in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients was demonstrated in many countries around the world. So far, a direct comparison of sex ratio time-trends among MS populations from different geographical areas was not carried out. In this paper we assessed and compared sex ratio trends, over a 60-year span, in MS populations belonging to different latitudinal areas. Data of a cohort of 15,996 (F = 11,290; M = 4,706) definite MS with birth years ranging from 1930 to 1989 were extracted from the international MSBase registry and the New Zealand MS database. Gender ratios were calculated by six decades based on year of birth and were adjusted for the F/M born-alive ratio derived from the respective national registries of births. Adjusted sex ratios showed a significant increase from the first to the last decade in the whole MS sample (from 2.35 to 2.73; p = 0.03) and in the subgroups belonging to the areas between 83° N and 45° N (from 1.93 to 4.55; p<0.0001) and between 45° N to 35° N (from 1.46 to 2.30; p<0.05) latitude, while a sex ratio stability over time was found in the subgroup from areas between 12° S and 55° S latitude. The sex ratio increase mainly affected relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. Our results confirm a general sex ratio increase over time in RRMS and also demonstrate a latitudinal gradient of this increase. These findings add useful information for planning case-control studies aimed to explore sex-related factors responsible for MS development.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(10):e48078. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of biomarkers able to improve the differential diagnosis between multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is challenging because of a different prognosis and response to treatment. Growing evidence indicates that brain and CSF N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) concentration is a useful marker for characterising different phases of axonal pathology in demyelinating diseases, and preliminary studies suggest that increased serum NAA levels may be a telltale sign of acute neuronal damage or defective NAA metabolism in oligodendrocytes. To evaluate whether serum and CSF NAA concentration differs in patients with MS and NMO. Observational, multicentre, prospective, cross sectional study. Serum samples were collected from 48 relapsing-remitting MS, 32 NMO and 76 age matched healthy controls. Coeval CSF samples were available for all MS and for 8/32 NMO patients. NAA was measured in serum and CSF by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. MS patients showed higher serum and CSF NAA levels than NMO patients, and higher serum NAA levels than healthy controls (p<0.001). High serum NAA values, exceeding the 95th percentile of serum NAA values in healthy controls, were found in 100% of patients with MS and in no patient with NMO. No differences in serum NAA levels were found between NMO and healthy controls. In MS, serum and CSF NAA levels correlated with disability score. Determination of serum and CSF NAA levels may represent a suitable tool in the diagnostic laboratory workup to differentiate MS and NMO.
    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 05/2011; 82(12):1355-9. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are a few and conflicting results from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) pertaining to the influence of gender in response to currently used disease modifying drugs in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Observational studies may be especially valuable for answering effectiveness questions in subgroups not studied in RCTs. To conduct a post-marketing analysis aimed to evaluate the gender effect on Interferon beta (IFNbeta) treatment response in a cohort of relapsing (RR) MS patients. A cohort of 2570 IFNbeta-treated RRMS was prospectively followed for up to 7 years in 15 Italian MS Centers. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess gender differences for risk of reaching 1st relapse and risk of progression by 1 point on Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. Gender effects were also explored by a propensity score (PS) matching algorithm, and a tree-growing technique. The multivariate Cox Regression analyses showed that male patients had a significant (p=0.0097) lower risk for 1st relapse and a trend (p=0.0897) for a higher risk to reach 1 point EDSS progression than females. The PS matched multivariate Cox Regression confirmed these results. The RECPAM analysis showed that male sex conferred a significant reduction in the risk for 1st relapse (HR=0.86; 95% CI=0.76-0.98; p=0.0226) in the subgroup with a low pre-treatment number of bouts, and a significant increase in the risk for 1 point EDSS progression (HR=1.33; 95% CI: 1.00-1.76; p<0.05) in the subgroup with a delayed treatment, but a still young age at the start of treatment. The results of this exploratory analysis seem to suggest that male patients do not respond to IFNbeta treatment in the same way of females.
    Journal of the neurological sciences 08/2009; 286(1-2):109-13. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune illness of the central nervous system. For many years the inflammatory manifestations of MS were treated using only corticosteroids. Since the 1990s the results of several clinical trials with immunomodulatory agents have changed the therapeutic approach to this disease. Interferon beta (IFNbeta)-1b represents the pioneer of those therapies. There is growing evidence from clinical trials on relapsing-remitting MS and clinically isolated syndromes suggestive of MS that IFNbeta-1b reduces the frequency and severity of relapses and the development of new and active brain lesions as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. Long-term data suggest a persistent efficacy of IFNbeta-1b on disease activity and a positive effect in slowing disability worsening. Furthermore a reduction of relapse rate and a slight positive effect on the progression were demonstrated when IFNbeta-1b was administered to still-active secondary progressive MS. IFNbeta-1b therapy is well tolerated and relatively free of long-term side effects. In spite of the emergence of new agents for the treatment of MS, IFNbeta-1b still remains a first-line therapy with a fundamental role in all stages of the disease.
    Targets & therapy 02/2009; 3:369-76.
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing interest in the use of observational data to estimate treatment effects in chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The main results derived from postmarketing evaluations, in the last 2 years, of short-and long-term disease modifying drugs (DMDs) effectiveness will be reported in this Review. Moreover, some of the methodological improvements that may be useful to enhance the quality of observational studies will also be discussed.
    Neurological Sciences 09/2008; 29 Suppl 2:S225-6. · 1.41 Impact Factor