[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent data suggest that SRC family kinases (SFKs) could represent potential therapeutic targets for rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children. Here, we assessed the effect of a recently developed selective SFK inhibitor (a pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine derivative, called SI221) on RMS cell lines. SI221, which showed to be mainly effective against the SFK member YES, significantly reduced cell viability and induced apoptosis, without affecting non-tumor cells, such as primary human skin fibroblasts and differentiated C2C12 cells. Moreover, SI221 decreased in vitro cell migration and invasion and reduced tumor growth in a RMS xenograft model. SFK inhibition also induced muscle differentiation in RMS cells by affecting the NOTCH3 receptor-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) axis, which regulates the balance between proliferation and differentiation. Overall, our findings suggest that SFK inhibition, besides reducing RMS cell growth and invasive potential, could also represent a differentiation therapeutic strategy for RMS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brugada Syndrome (BS) is a polygenic inherited cardiac disease characterized by life-threatening arrhythmias and high incidence of sudden death. In this study, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to investigate specific changes in the plasma proteome of BS patients and family members sharing the same gene mutation (SCN5AQ1118X), with the aim to identify novel disease biomarkers. Our data demonstrate that the levels of several proteins were significantly altered in BS patients compared with controls. In particular, apolipoprotein E, prothrombin, vitronectin, complement-factor H, vitamin-D-binding protein, voltage-dependent anion-selective channel protein 3 and clusterin were considerably increased in plasma sample of BS patients, whereas alpha-1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen and angiotensinogen were considerably decreased; moreover, post-translational modifications of antithrombin-III were detected in all affected individuals. On the light of these results, we hypothesize that these proteins might be considered as potential markers for the identification of disease status in BS.
Frontiers in Bioscience 01/2013; 18(2):564-71. DOI:10.2741/4120 · 3.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Imatinib (IM) is considered the gold standard for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treatment, although resistance is emerging as a significant problem. The proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) play an important role in cell proliferation, survival, and resistance to glucocorticoid-mediated cell death. Several transcription factors such as NF-KB and AP-1 are activated in response to physiopathological increases and modulation of intracellular calcium levels. Our previous study demonstrated that lymphocytes from CML patients showed dysregulated calcium homeostasis and oxidative stress. Alteration in ionized calcium concentration in the cytosol has been implicated in the initiation of secretion, contraction, and cell proliferation. In this study, we hypothesized that IL-6, IL-8, NF-kB, AP-1, and intracellular calcium may be used as selective and prognostic factors to address the follow-up in CML patients treated with imatinib. Our results demonstrated a significant down-regulation in IL-6 and IL-8 release as well as NF-kB and AP-1 activation in lymphomonocytes from Imatinib-treated patients, compared to samples from untreated patients. In parallel, IM treatment, in vivo and in vitro, were able to modulate the intracellular calcium concentration of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of CML patients by acting at the level of InsP(3) receptor in the endoplasmic reticulum and at the level of the purinergic receptors on plasma membrane. The results of this study show that measurements of NF-kB, AP-1, IL-6, IL-8, and intracellular calcium in CML patients treated with Imatinib may give important information to the hematologist on diagnostic criteria and are highly predictive in patients with newly diagnosed CML.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a highly aggressive tumor of the serous membranes for which there is currently no effective curative modality. Recent data suggest that hyperactivation of the tyrosine kinase SRC has a key role in MM development and therefore this kinase represents an important molecular target for MM therapy. We tested new pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine SRC inhibitors on a panel of MM cell lines expressing the active form of SRC. These SRC inhibitors exerted a significant proapoptotic effect on MM cells without affecting the normal mesothelial cell line MET-5A, supporting a possible use of these SRC inhibitors for a safe treatment of MM. We also showed that SRC inhibitor-induced apoptosis occurred concomitantly with an increase in the nuclear stability of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27. This finding is remarkable considering that loss of nuclear p27 expression is a well-established adverse prognostic factor in MM, and p27 nuclear localization is crucial for its tumor-suppressive function. Consistently, SRC inhibition seems to promote the increase in p27 nuclear level also by inactivating the AKT kinase and downregulating cyclin D1, which would otherwise delay p27 nuclear import and provoke its cytoplasmic accumulation. To determine whether p27 stabilization has a direct role in apoptosis induced by SRC inhibition, we stably silenced the CDKN1B gene, encoding p27, in MSTO-211H and REN mesothelioma cells by transduction with lentiviral vectors expressing short hairpin RNAs against the CDKN1B transcript. Strikingly, p27 silencing was able to suppress the apoptosis induced by these SRC inhibitors in both MM cell lines, suggesting that p27 has a crucial proapoptotic role in MM cells treated with SRC inhibitors. Our findings reveal a new mechanism, dependent on p27 nuclear stabilization, by which SRC inhibition can induce apoptosis in MM cells and provide a new rationale for the use of SRC inhibitors in MM therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The steroid hormone testosterone has been found to be greatly reduced by opioids in different experimental and clinical conditions. The purpose of this study on male rats was to determine the effects of a single injection of morphine (5 mg/Kg) on persistent pain (formalin test) and the single or combined effects on p450-aromatase and 5-alpha reductase type 1 mRNA expression in the brain, liver and testis. Testosterone was determined in the plasma and in the brain, morphine was assayed in the plasma.
In the morphine-treated rats, there were increases of 5-alpha reductase mRNA expression in the liver and aromatase mRNA expression in the brain and gonads. Morphine was detected in the blood of all morphine-treated rats even though there were no clear analgesic affects in the formalin-treated animals three hours after treatment. Testosterone was greatly reduced in the plasma and brain in morphine-treated subjects.
It appears that morphine administration can induce long-lasting genomic effects in different body areas which contribute to the strong central and peripheral testosterone levels. These changes were not always accompanied by behavioral modifications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RB loss has long been recognized as the causative genetic alteration underlying retinoblastoma but it is increasingly evident that other alterations are required for the tumor to develop. Therefore, we set out to identify additional inheritable susceptibility markers and new potential preventive and therapeutic targets for retinoblastoma. We focused on the p16INK4A tumor suppressor gene because of its possible role in retinoblastoma pathogenesis and its involvement in predisposition to familial cancer. p16INK4A expression was analyzed in tumor samples from retinoblastoma patients by immunohistochemistry and in peripheral blood cells from both patients and their parents by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR). Since promoter methylation is a common mechanism regulating p16INK4A expression, the methylation status of its promoter was also analyzed in blood samples from patients and their parents by methylation-specific PCR. A downregulation of p16INK4A was observed in 55% of retinoblastoma patients. Interestingly, in 56% of the cases showing p16INK4A downregulation at least one of the patients' parents bore the same alteration in blood cells. Analysis of p16INK4A promoter methylation showed hypermethylation in most patients with p16INK4A downregulation and in the parents with the same alteration in p16INK4A expression. The finding that p16INK4A was downregulated both in patients and their parents suggests that this alteration could be a novel inheritable susceptibility marker to retinoblastoma. The observation that p16INK4A downregulation seems to be due to its promoter hypermethylation opens the way for the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies using demethylating agents.