Rama Ramanujam

University of Thessaly, Vólos, Thessalia, Greece

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Publications (8)39.08 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chios mastic gum (CMG) is a resin produced by the plant Pistacia lentiscus var. chia. CMG is used to extract the mastic gum essential oil (MGO). CMG and MGO consist of nearly 70 constituents and have demonstrated numerous and diverse biomedical and pharmacological properties including (a) eradication of bacteria and fungi that may cause peptic ulcers, tooth plaque formation and malodor of the mouth and saliva; (b) amelioration or dramatic reduction of symptoms of autoimmune diseases by inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory substances by activated macrophages, production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with active Crohn's disease, and suppression of production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in an asthma model in mice; (c) protection of the cardiovascular system by effectively lowering the levels of total serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides in rats, and protection of low-density lipoprotein from oxidation in humans; (d) induction of apoptosis in human cancer cells in vitro and extensive inhibition of growth of human tumors xenografted in immunodeficient mice; and (e) improvement of symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia. Collectively taken, these numerous and diverse medical and pharmaceutical properties of CMG and MGO warrant further research in an effort to enhance specific properties and identify specific constituent(s) that might be associated with each property.
    In vivo (Athens, Greece) 09/2012; 26(5):777-85. · 1.22 Impact Factor
  • Ref. No: US 20110283372, Year: 11/2011
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    ABSTRACT: In Barrett's esophagus (BE), the normal esophageal squamous epithelium is replaced with a specialized metaplastic columnar epithelium. BE is a premalignant lesion that can progress to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Currently, there are no early molecular indicators that would predict progression from BE to EAC. As the only permanent residents of the epithelium, stem cells have been implicated in this metaplastic progression. The aim of the present study was to determine the expression of doublecortin and CaM kinase-like-1 (DCAMKL-1) and other putative gastrointestinal stem cell markers in normal esophageal mucosa (NEM), BE, and EAC. Human NEM, BE, EAC, and multitissue microarrays were analyzed for DCAMKL-1, and immunohistochemically scored based on staining intensity and tissue involvement, with epithelia and stroma scored separately. Total RNA isolated from BE and paired NEM was subjected to real-time reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis for DCAMKL-1, leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor (LGR5), and Musashi-1 (Msi-1) mRNA expression. DCAMKL-1 was minimally expressed in squamous NEM, but increased in BE (with and without dysplasia) and EAC tissues. In EAC, we found increased stromal DCAMKL-1 staining compared to adjacent epithelia. Within the submucosa of dysplastic BE tissues, an increase in the endothelial cell expression of DCAMKL-1 was observed. Finally, an upregulation of DCAMKL-1, LGR5, and Msi-1 mRNA was seen in BE compared to squamous NEM. In the present study, we report the progressive increase of DCAMKL-1 expression in BE from dysplasia to EAC. Furthermore, there was an increase in putative stem cell markers DCAMKL-1, LGR5, and Msi-1 mRNA. Taken together, these data suggest that the regulation of resident stem cells might play an important role in the progression of BE to EAC.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 09/2011; 27(4):773-80. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is an exceptionally aggressive disease in great need of more effective therapeutic options. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays a key role in cancer invasion and metastasis, and there is a gain of stem cell properties during EMT. Here we report increased expression of the putative pancreatic stem cell marker DCAMKL-1 in an established KRAS transgenic mouse model of pancreatic cancer and in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Colocalization of DCAMKL-1 with vimentin, a marker of mesenchymal lineage, along with 14-3-3 σ was observed within premalignant PanIN lesions that arise in the mouse model. siRNA-mediated knockdown of DCAMKL-1 in human pancreatic cancer cells induced microRNA miR-200a, an EMT inhibitor, along with downregulation of EMT-associated transcription factors ZEB1, ZEB2, Snail, Slug, and Twist. Furthermore, DCAMKL-1 knockdown resulted in downregulation of c-Myc and KRAS through a let-7a microRNA-dependent mechanism, and downregulation of Notch-1 through a miR-144 microRNA-dependent mechanism. These findings illustrate direct regulatory links between DCAMKL-1, microRNAs, and EMT in pancreatic cancer. Moreover, they demonstrate a functional role for DCAMKL-1 in pancreatic cancer. Together, our results rationalize DCAMKL-1 as a therapeutic target for eradicating pancreatic cancers.
    Cancer Research 02/2011; 71(6):2328-38. · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 01/2011; 140(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stem cells are critical in maintaining adult homeostasis and have been proposed to be the origin of many solid tumors, including pancreatic cancer. Here we demonstrate the expression patterns of the putative intestinal stem cell marker DCAMKL-1 in the pancreas of uninjured C57BL/6 mice compared with other pancreatic stem/progenitor cell markers. We then determined the viability of isolated pancreatic stem/progenitor cells in isotransplantation assays following DCAMKL-1 antibody-based cell sorting. Sorted cells were grown in suspension culture and injected into the flanks of athymic nude mice. Here we report that DCAMKL-1 is expressed in the main pancreatic duct epithelia and islets, but not within acinar cells. Coexpression was observed with somatostatin, NGN3, and nestin, but not glucagon or insulin. Isolated DCAMKL-1+ cells formed spheroids in suspension culture and induced nodule formation in isotransplantation assays. Analysis of nodules demonstrated markers of early pancreatic development (PDX-1), glandular epithelium (cytokeratin-14 and Ep-CAM), and isletlike structures (somatostatin and secretin). These data taken together suggest that DCAMKL-1 is a novel putative stem/progenitor marker, can be used to isolate normal pancreatic stem/progenitors, and potentially regenerates pancreatic tissues. This may represent a novel tool for regenerative medicine and a target for anti-stem cell-based therapeutics in pancreatic cancer.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 08/2010; 299(2):G303-10. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is thought that small intestinal epithelia (IE) undergo continuous self-renewal primarily due to their population of undifferentiated stem cells. These stem cells give rise to transit amplifying (daughter/progenitor) cells, which can differentiate into all mature cell types required for normal gut function. Identification of stem cells in IE is paramount to fully understanding this renewal process. One major obstacle in gastrointestinal stem cell biology has been the lack of definitive markers that identify small intestinal stem cells (ISCs). Here we demonstrate that the novel putative ISC marker doublecortin and CaM kinase-like-1 (DCAMKL-1) is predominantly expressed in quiescent cells in the lower two-thirds of intestinal crypt epithelium and in occasional crypt-based columnar cells (CBCs). In contrast, the novel putative stem cell marker leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor (LGR5) is observed in rapidly cycling CBCs and in occasional crypt epithelial cells. Furthermore, functionally quiescent DCAMKL-1+ crypt epithelial cells retain bromo-deoxyuridine in a modified label retention assay. Moreover, we demonstrate that DCAMKL-1 is a cell surface expressing protein; DCAMKL-1+ cells, isolated from the adult mouse small intestine by fluorescence activated cell sorting, self-renew and ultimately form spheroids in suspension culture. These spheroids formed glandular epithelial structures in the flanks of athymic nude mice, which expressed multiple markers of gut epithelial lineage. Thus, DCAMKL-1 is a marker of quiescent ISCs and can be distinguished from the cycling stem/progenitors (LGR5+). Moreover, DCAMKL-1 can be used to isolate normal small intestinal stem cells and represents a novel research tool for regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.
    Stem Cells 09/2009; 27(10):2571-9. · 7.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A major factor that impedes the clinical success of cisplatin-based chemotherapy for cancer is cisplatin resistance by cancer cells. The sensitivity of parental HCT116 human colon cancer cell line and its isogenic gene-knockout sub-lines to cisplatin was determined by clonogenicity assay; furthermore, p53 activation, p21 expression, cell cycle arrest and senescence in these cells after cisplatin treatment were investigated. Parental cells were six times more resistant than 14-3-3sigma-knockout (sigma-KO) cells to cisplatin. Moreover, activation of p53, p53-dependent expression of p21 and p21-dependent senescence were observed in sigma-KO, but not parental cells after a treatment with a low cisplatin dose. A 14-3-3sigma-dependent mechanism inhibits p53 activation in parental cells treated with a low cisplatin dose, thereby blocking p21 expression that is essential for senescence and consequently conferring to the parental cells a significant degree of resistance to cisplatin.
    Anticancer research 07/2009; 29(6):2009-14. · 1.71 Impact Factor