Sonia Alcolea

Autonomous University of Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (9)41.21 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Prostacyclin (PGI2) plays a role in cancer progression but the mechanism is currently poorly understood. Additionally, no data are available about the prognostic value of the PGI2-pathway in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) therapy. We evaluated the expression of the PGI2-pathway in HNSCC patients. PGI2 production and PGI-Synthase (PGIS) expression, in terms of mRNA (RT-PCR) and protein (immunoblotting), were lower in tumor samples than in non-tumoral mucosa, whereas, as expected, COX-2 expression was increased in HNSCC tumor samples. Using local control of the tumor after radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy as a dependent variable, patients were classified in two categories of PGIS transcript-levels. The high-PGIS group had a significantly lower frequency of local and distant failure than the low-PGIS group, and the 5-year cancer-specific survival was higher [90.2% (CI 95%: 81.0-99.4%) vs 60.5% (CI 95%:44.4-76.6%)]. None of the four HNSCC cell lines analyzed expressed PGIS and therefore they did not produce PGI2. However, HNSCC conditioned media enhanced PGI2 production in endothelial cells (EC). The stable analog of PGI2, carbaprostacyclin (cPGI2), exerted little effect on HNSCC cell lines migration, and no effect on cell cycle distribution or proliferation rate after radiation injury was observed. Nevertheless, cPGI2 promoted EP-4-dependent in vitro angiogenesis. Von Willebrand factor expression (EC-marker) and capillary density were significantly higher in the group of patients with high-expression of PGIS. Our results indicate that PGIS expression was associated to radiotherapy efficiency. Although we do not provide direct evidence of a relationship between tumor vascularization and radiotherapy efficiency, our results suggest that the effect of PGI2 is related with its ability to promote vascularization. These results also support the concept that coadjuvant therapy with PGIS enhancers, such as retinoids, could have therapeutic value for HNSCC treatment.
    The Journal of Pathology 09/2014; · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the PGE2-pathway in human abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and its relationship with hypervascularization. We analyzed samples from patients undergoing AAA repair in comparison with those from healthy multiorgan donors. Patients were stratified according to maximum aorta diameter: low (LD, <55 mm), moderate (MD, 55-69.9 mm) and high diameter (HD, ≥70 mm). AAA was characterized by abundant microvessels in the media and adventitia with perivascular infiltration of CD45-positive cells. Like endothelial cell markers, COX-2 and m-PGES-1 transcripts were increased in AAA (4.4- and 1.4-fold, respectively). Both enzymes were localized in vascular cells and leukocytes, with maximal expression in the LD group, whereas leukocyte markers display a maximum in the MD-group, suggesting that the up-regulation of COX-2/mPGES-1 precedes maximal leukocyte infiltration. Plasma and in vitro tissue secreted levels of PGE2-metabolites were higher in AAA than in controls [plasma-controls 19.9±2.2, plasma-AAA: 38.8±5.5 pg/mL; secretion-NA: 16.5±6.4; secretion-AAA 72.9±6.4 pg/mg; mean±SEM]. EP-2 and EP-4 were overexpressed in AAA, EP-4 being the only EP substantially expressed and colocalized with mPGES-1 in the microvasculature. Additionally, EP-4 mediated PGE2-induced angiogenesis in vitro. We provide new data concerning mPGES-1 expression in human AAA. Our findings suggest the potential relevance of the COX-2/mPGES-1/EP-4 axis in the AAA-associated hypervascularization.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 10/2013; · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukotrienes (LT) play a role in inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Although some studies suggest that there are genes that determine variability of some LT-related phenotypes, the genetic influence on these phenotypes has not been evaluated. The relative contributions of genetic and environmental influences to the 5-lipoxygenase pathway-related phenotypes (5-Lipoxygenase, five lipoxygenase activating protein (FLAP), LTA(4)-hydrolase and LTC(4)-synthase expression, and LTB(4)-plasma concentration and LTB(4) production by stimulated whole blood) were assessed in a sample of 934 individuals in 35 extended families. Our design is based on extended families recruited through a probands with idiopathic thrombophilia. This strategy allows us the analysis of the effects of measured covariates (such as sex, age and smoking), genes, and environmental variables shared by members of a household. All of these phenotypes showed significant genetic contributions, with heritabilities ranging from 0.33 to 0.51 for enzyme expression and from 0.25 to 0.50 for LTB(4) production of the residual phenotypic variance. Significant phenotypic and genetic correlation among the LT-related traits was found. More importantly, FLAP and LTA(4)-hydrolase expression exhibit significant genetic correlations with arterial thrombosis, indicating that some of the genes that influence quantitative variation in these phenotypes also influence the risk of thrombosis. This is the first study that quantifies the genetic component of 5-Lipoxygenase pathway phenotypes. The high heritability of these traits and the significant genetic correlations between arterial thrombosis and some of these phenotypes suggest that the exploitation of correlated quantitative phenotypes will aid the search for susceptibility genes.
    Atherosclerosis 07/2012; 224(1):129-35. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) expression as a biologic marker to predict local control in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treated with radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. METHODS: The mRNA expression levels of the NF-κB family genes were determined with real-time-polymerase chain reaction in 77 patients with HNSCC treated with radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. RESULTS: The mRNA NF-κB (p65) expression in pretreatment tumors was significantly related to local control (p = .03). The 5-year local recurrence-free survival rate in patients with low-level NF-κB (p65) expression (n = 42) was 79.9%, and in patients with a high level of expression it was 42.1% (p = .001). In a multivariate analysis, the mRNA NF-κB (p65) expression level was the only variable related to local control of the tumor. CONCLUSION: Expression of the NF-κB (p65) gene may be a radiosensitivity marker for patients with a HNSCC. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012.
    Head & Neck 03/2012; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostaglandin (PG)E(2) is relevant in tumor biology, and interactions between tumor and stroma cells dramatically influence tumor progression. We tested the hypothesis that cross-talk between head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells and fibroblasts could substantially enhance PGE(2) biosynthesis. We observed an enhanced production of PGE(2) in cocultures of HNSCC cell lines and fibroblasts, which was consistent with an upregulation of COX-2 and microsomal PGE-synthase-1 (mPGES-1) in fibroblasts. In cultured endothelial cells, medium from fibroblasts treated with tumor cell-conditioned medium induced in vitro angiogenesis, and in tumor cell induced migration and proliferation, these effects were sensitive to PGs inhibition. Proteomic analysis shows that tumor cells released IL-1, and tumor cell-induced COX-2 and mPGES-1 were suppressed by the IL-1-receptor antagonist. IL-1α levels were higher than those of IL-1β in the tumor cell-conditioning medium and in the secretion from samples obtained from 20 patients with HNSCC. Fractionation of tumor cell-conditioning media indicated that tumor cells secreted mature and unprocessed forms of IL-1. Our results support the concept that tumor-associated fibroblasts are a relevant source of PGE(2) in the tumor mass. Because mPGES-1 seems to be essential for a substantial biosynthesis of PGE(2), these findings also strengthen the concept that mPGES-1 may be \a target for therapeutic intervention in patients with HNSCC.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 02/2012; 53(4):630-42. · 4.39 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis 01/2012; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxia affects vascular function and cell metabolism, survival, growth, and motility; these processes are partially regulated by prostanoids. We analyzed the effect of hypoxia and inflammation on key enzymes involved in prostanoid biosynthesis in human vascular cells. In human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), hypoxia and interleukin (IL)-1β synergistically increased prostaglandin (PG)I₂ but not PGE₂ release, thereby increasing the PGI₂/PGE₂ ratio. Concomitantly, these stimuli upregulated cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression (mRNA and protein) and COX activity. Interestingly, hypoxia enhanced PGI-synthase (PGIS) expression and activity in VSMC and human endothelial cells. Hypoxia did not significantly modify the inducible microsomal-PGE-synthase (mPGES)-1. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α-silencing abrogated hypoxia-induced PGIS upregulation. PGIS transcriptional activity was enhanced by hypoxia; however, the minimal PGIS promoter responsive to hypoxia (-131 bp) did not contain any putative hypoxia response element (HRE), suggesting that HIF-1 does not directly drive PGIS transcription. Serial deletion and site-directed mutagenesis studies suggested several transcription factors participate cooperatively. Plasma levels of the stable metabolite of PGI₂ and PGIS expression in several tissues were also upregulated in mice exposed to hypoxia. These data suggest that PGIS upregulation is part of the adaptive response of vascular cells to hypoxic stress and could play a role in counteracting the deleterious effect of inflammatory stimuli.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 02/2011; 52(4):720-31. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostanoids play a critical role in clinical areas such as inflammation, thrombosis, immune response, and cancer. Although some studies suggest that there are genes that determine variability of some prostanoid-related phenotypes, the genetic influence on these traits has not been evaluated. The relative contributions of genetic and environmental influences to the prostanoid biosynthetic pathway-related phenotypes, cyclooxygenase isoenzymes, microsomal-PGE-synthase-1 and TxA-synthase expression, and thromboxane-A(2) and prostaglandin-E(2) production by stimulated whole blood, were assessed in a sample of 308 individuals in 15 extended families. The effects of measured covariates (such as sex, age, and smoking), genes, and environmental variables shared by members of a household were quantified. Heritabilities ranging from 0.406 to 0.634 for enzyme expression and from 0.283 to 0. 751 for prostanoid production were found. These results demonstrate clearly the importance of genetic factors in determining variation in phenotypes that are components of the prostanoid biosynthetic pathways. The presence of such strong genetic effects suggest that it will be possible to localize previously unknown genes that influence quantitative variation in these phenotypes, some of which affect multiple aspects of cell biology, with important clinical implications.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 10/2009; 30(1):128-34. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is evidence that polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) can exert severe antineoplastic effects. Cross-talk between tumour cells and endothelial cells (ECs) is necessary for the accumulation of PMN around a tumour. This work reports the ability of two PMN-sensitive, human, permanent cell lines-colorectal adenocarcinoma (HT-29) and pharyngeal squamous-cell carcinoma (FaDu) cells-to act as inflammatory foci. PMNs were cytotoxic to both lines, the adhesion of the PMNs to the tumour cells being important in this effect. The tumour cells released appreciable amounts of IL-8 and GROalpha, and induced the transmigration of PMN through human microvascular-EC monolayers. Conditioning media associated with both lines induced the adhesion of PMN and the surface expression of ICAM-1 in microvascular-EC. In addition, FaDu-conditioning-medium strongly induced the production of proinflammatory cytokines by microvascular-EC. These results support the idea that tumour cells might normally induce a potent acute inflammatory response, leading to their own destruction.
    Mediators of Inflammation 01/2009; 2009:817498. · 3.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

23 Citations
41.21 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • Autonomous University of Barcelona
      Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2013
    • IIB Sant Pau
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2011–2012
    • IR-Sant Pau - Sant Pau Institute of Biomedical Research
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2009
    • Complutense University of Madrid
      • Departamento de Matemática Aplicada (Biomatematica)
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain