Immacolata Sepe

Second University of Naples, Caserta, Campania, Italy

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Publications (11)29.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Folate therapy reduces, but does not normalize homocysteine (Hcy) levels, frequently elevated in chronic kidney disease (CKD). The mechanisms of this folate resistance are unknown. Cellular acquisition of folate is mediated by folate receptors (FRs), whose expression is also modulated by folate status, through an Hcy-dependent regulation mechanism involving heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein-E1 (hnRNP-E1). Our objective was to evaluate whether an alteration of the FR2 (the form present in nucleated blood cells) expression is present in CKD patients on haemodialysis (HD), and its susceptibility to folate treatment.MethodsA population of chronic uraemic patients on HD was enrolled, along with a control group, and studies on FR2 receptor expression and related items were performed in plasma and mononuclear cells from peripheral blood. A subgroup of patients was treated with methyltetrahydrofolate for 1 month.ResultsIn HD, there was a significant reduction in FR2 protein expression compared with controls, not correlated with Hcy concentrations, while its mRNA levels were significantly increased. After folate treatment, there was a significant mRNA decrease, in the absence of significant changes in receptor protein expression. hnRNP-E1 gene and protein expression levels increased pre-treatment, while decreased post-treatment.Conclusions In HD, FR2 expression is altered in peripheral mononuclear cells, since its levels are decreased and are not responsive to variations in Hcy concentration, while the intracellular machinery (receptor mRNA and hnRNP-E1), possibly triggering its regulation, is conserved. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms of folate resistance in uraemia.
    Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 02/2013; · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: H(2) S is the third endogenous gaseous mediator, after nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, possessing pleiotropic effects, including cytoprotection and anti-inflammatory action. We analyzed, in an in vitro model entailing monocyte adhesion to an endothelial monolayer, the changes induced by H(2) S on various potential targets, including cytokines, chemokines and proteases, playing a crucial role in inflammation and cell adhesion. Results show that H(2) S prevents the increase in monocyte adhesion induced by Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α). Under these conditions, downregulation of Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1, Chemokine C-C motif Receptor 2, and increase of Cluster of Differentiation 36 could be detected in monocytes. In endothelial cells, H(2) S treatment reduces the increase in Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 (MCP-1), Inter-Cellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1, and of A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase metallopeptidase domain 17 (ADAM17), both at the gene expression and protein levels. Cystathionine γ-lyase and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase, the major H(2) S forming enzymes, are downregulated in endothelial cells. In addition, H(2) S significantly reduces activation of ADAM17 by PMA in endothelial cells, with consequent reduction of both ADAM17-dependent TNF-α ectodomain shedding and MCP-1 release. In conclusion, H(2) S is able to prevent endothelial activation by hampering endothelial activation, triggered by TNF-α. The mechanism of this protective effect is mainly mediated by down-modulation of ADAM17-dependent TNF-converting enzyme (TACE) activity with consequent inhibition of soluble TNF-α shedding and its relevant MCP-1 release in the medium. These results are discussed in the light of the potential protective role of H(2) S in pro-inflammatory and pro-atherogenic processes, such as chronic renal failure. J. Cell. Biochem. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 01/2013; · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Uremia represents a state where hyperhomocysteinemia is resistant to folate therapy, thus undermining intervention trials' efficacy. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, in addition to folates (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, MTHF), was tested in a population of hemodialysis patients. The study is an open, parallel, intervention study. Ambulatory chronic hemodialysis patients. Clinically stable chronic hemodialysis patients, on hemodialysis since more than 3 months, undergoing a folate washout. Control group on standard therapy (n = 50). One group was treated with intravenous MTHF (MTHF group, n = 48). A second group was represented by patients treated with MTHF, and, during the course of 10 hemodialysis sessions, NAC was administered intravenous (MTHF + NAC group, n = 47). Plasma homocysteine measured before and after dialysis at the first and the last treatment. At the end of the study, there was a significant decrease in predialysis plasma homocysteine levels in the MTHF group and MTHF + NAC group, compared with the control group, but no significant difference between the MTHF group and MTHF + NAC group. A significant decrease in postdialysis plasma homocysteine levels in MTHF + NAC group (10.27 ± 0.94 μmol/L, 95% confidence interval: 8.37-12.17) compared with the MTHF group (16.23 ± 0.83, 95% confidence interval: 14.55-17.90) was present. In the MTHF + NAC group, 64% of patients reached a postdialysis homocysteine level <12 μmol/L, compared with 19% in the MTHF group and 16% in the control group. NAC therapy induces a significant additional decrease in homocysteine removal during dialysis. The advantage is limited to the time of administration.
    Journal of Renal Nutrition 01/2012; 22(5):507-514.e1. · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic renal failure and uremia represent states wherein high blood levels of homocysteine, a cardiovascular risk factor, are largely resistant to folate therapy. Indeed, normalization of homocysteine levels through vitamin administration is rarely achieved in this population, and this fact could explain, among other causes, the negative results of intervention trials designed to lower cardiovascular risk. Dialysis itself lowers homocysteine levels, albeit transitorily. N-acetylcysteine therapy could induce an additional decrease in homocysteine removal during dialysis, thus representing an alternative approach in the attempt to lower cardiovascular risk in these patients.
    Journal of Renal Nutrition 01/2012; 22(1):191-4. · 1.75 Impact Factor
  • Kidney International 11/2011; 80(10):1108-9. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) is a poisonous gas which can be lethal. However, it is also produced endogenously, thus belonging to the family of gasotransmitters along with nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. H(2)S is in fact involved in mediating several signaling and cytoprotective functions, for example in the nervous, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems, such as neuronal transmission, blood pressure regulation and insulin release, among others. When increased, it can mediate inflammation and apoptosis, with a role in shock. When decreased, it can be involved in atherosclerosis, hypertension, myocardial infarction, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, and gastric ulcer; it notably interacts with the other gaseous mediators. Cystathionine γ-lyase, cystathionine β-synthase, and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase are the principal enzymes involved in H(2)S production. We have recently studied H(2)S metabolism in the plasma of chronic hemodialysis patients and reported that its levels are significantly decreased. The plausible mechanism lies in the transcription inhibition of the cystathionine γ-lyase gene. The finding could be of importance considering that hypertension and high cardiovascular mortality are characteristic in these patients.
    Blood Purification 01/2011; 31(1-3):102-6. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide, H(2)S, is the third endogenous gas with cardiovascular properties, after nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. H(2)S is a potent vasorelaxant, and its deficiency is implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension and atherosclerosis. Cystathionine beta-synthase, cystathionine gamma-lyase, and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase catalyze H(2)S formation. Chronic kidney disease is characterized by high prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia, hypertension, and high cardiovascular mortality, especially in hemodialysis patients. H(2)S levels are decreased in hemodialysis patients through transcriptional deregulation of genes encoding for the H(2)S-producing enzymes. Potential implications relate to the pathogenesis of the manifestations of the uremic syndrome, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
    Journal of Renal Nutrition 09/2010; 20(5 Suppl):S11-4. · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide, H2S, is the third endogenous gas with cardiovascular properties (the others are nitric oxide and carbon monoxide). In fact, among other important signaling functions, H2S plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. Cystathionine ß-synthase, cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase are the principal enzymes devoted to H2S formation. We have recently shown that H2S levels are decreased in patients on chronic hemodialysis through the transcriptional deregulation of the CSE gene, hinting at the possibility that a link exists between this finding and hypertension and the high cardiovascular mortality typical of these patients.
    Journal of nephrology 01/2010; 23 Suppl 16:S92-6. · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulphide, H(2)S, is the third endogenous gas with putative cardiovascular properties, after nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. H(2)S is a vasorelaxant, while H(2)S deficiency is implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension and atherosclerosis. Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS), cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE) and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulphurtransferase (MPS) catalyze H(2)S formation, with different relative efficiencies. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by elevation of both plasma homocysteine and cysteine, which are substrates of these enzymes, and by a high prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular mortality, particularly in the haemodialysis stage. It is possible that the H(2)S-generating pathways are altered as well in this patient population. Plasma H(2)S levels were measured with a common spectrophotometric method. This method detects various forms of H(2)S, protein-bound and non-protein-bound. Blood sulphaemoglobin, a marker of chronic exposure to H(2)S, was also measured, as well as related sulphur amino acids, vitamins and transcriptional levels of relevant genes, in haemodialysis patients and compared to healthy controls. Applying the above-mentioned methodology, H(2)S levels were found to be decreased in patients. Sulphaemoglobin levels were significantly lower as well. Plasma homocysteine and cysteine were significantly higher; vitamin B(6), a cofactor in H(2)S biosynthesis, was not different. H(2)S correlated negatively with cysteine levels. CSE expression was significantly downregulated in haemodialysis patients. Transcriptional deregulation of genes encoding for H(2)S-producing enzymes is present in uraemia. Although the specificity of the method employed for H(2)S detection is low, the finding that H(2)S is decreased is complemented by the lower sulphhaemoglobin levels. Potential implications of this study relate to the pathogenesis of the uraemic syndrome manifestations, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
    Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 09/2009; 24(12):3756-63. · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent cardiovascular risk factor, according to most observational studies and to studies using the Mendelian randomization approach, utilizing the common polymorphism C677T of methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase. In contrast, the most recent secondary preventive intervention studies, in the general population and in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and uremia, which are all negative (with the possible notable exception of stroke), point to other directions. However, all trials use folic acid in various dosages as a means to reduce homocysteine levels, with the addition of vitamins B6 and B12. It is possible that folic acid has negative effects, which offset the benefits; alternatively, homocysteine could be an innocent by-stander, or a surrogate of the real culprit. The latter possibility leads us to the search for potential candidates. First, the accumulation of homocysteine in blood leads to an intracellular increase of S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy), a powerful competitive methyltransferase inhibitor, which by itself is considered a predictor of cardiovascular events. DNA methyltransferases are among the principal targets of hyperhomocysteinemia, as studies in several cell culture and animal models, as well as in humans, show. In CKD and in uremia, hyperhomocysteinemia and high intracellular AdoHcy are present and are associated with abnormal allelic expression of genes regulated through methylation, such as imprinted genes, and pseudoautosomal genes, thus pointing to epigenetic dysregulation. These alterations are susceptible to reversal upon homocysteine-lowering therapy obtained through folate administration. Second, it has to be kept in mind that homocysteine is mainly protein-bound, and its effects could be linked therefore to protein homocysteinylation. In this respect, increased protein homocysteinylation has been found in uremia, leading to alterations in protein function.
    Seminars in Dialysis 01/2009; 22(4):351-6. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide, (H2S), is an endogenous gas which exerts a protective function in several biological processes, including those involved in inflammation, blood pressure regulation, and energy metabolism. The enzymes involved in H2S production are cysthationine -synthetase, cysthationine -lyase and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase. Low plasma H2S levels have been found in chronic renal failure (CRF) in both humans and animal models. The mechanisms leading to H2S deficiency in CRF are linked to reduced gene expression of cysthationine -lyase. Intense research is currently under way to discover the link between low H2S levels, CRF progression and the uremic syndrome and to determine whether therapeutic interventions aimed at increasing H2S levels might benefit these patients.
    Giornale italiano di nefrologia: organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di nefrologia 30(2).