Cristiana Barbi

University of Bologna, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Publications (18)79.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Objectivesp53 Gene variants BstUI RFLP at codon 72 in exon 4, 16 bp tandem repeat in intron 3 and MspI RFLP in intron 6, which code for two functionally different protein isoforms, have been shown to modulate susceptibility to different types of human neoplasms.Methodsp53 genotype was assessed in 90 CRC patients, 321 age-matched controls and 322 centenarians.ResultsThe p53 codon 72 arginine, the p53 16 bp deletion, and the MspI RFLP were significantly more frequent in CRC patients in comparison to the controls and to the centenarians (odd ratio 1.44 and 1.93). In the CRC group, the BstUI RFLP polymorphism was the more frequent combination (62.2%), and it was significantly associated with highly infiltrating (p < 0.01), poorly differentiated (p < 0.01), and metastatic (p < 0.05) tumours.Our findings indicate that the p53 codon 72 polymorphisms are associated with a higher risk of CRC and are associated with more advanced and undifferentiated tumours.
    European journal of surgical oncology: the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology 01/2009; · 2.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell death is as important as cell proliferation for cell turn-over, and susceptibility to cell death is affected by a number of parameters that change with time. A time-dependent derangement of such a crucial process, or even the simple cell loss mediated by cell death impinges upon aging and longevity. In this review we will discuss how cell death phenomena are modulated during aging and what is their possible role in the aging process. We will focus on apoptosis and autophagy, which affect mostly proliferating and post-mitotic cells, respectively, and on mitochondrial degradation in long living cells. Since the "decisional process" that leads the cell to death is very complex, we will also discuss the possibility to address this topic with a systems biology approach.
    Current pharmaceutical design 02/2008; 14(3):226-36. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell death is as important as cell proliferation for cell turn-over, and susceptibility to cell death is affected by a number of parameters that change with time. A time-dependent derangement of such a crucial process, or even the simple cell loss mediated by cell death impinges upon aging and longevity. In this review we will discuss how cell death phenomena are modulated during aging and what is their possible role in the aging process. We will focus on apoptosis and autophagy, which affect mostly proliferating and post-mitotic cells, respectively, and on mitochondrial degradation in long living cells. Since the “decisional process” that leads the cell to death is very complex, we will also discuss the possibility to address this topic with a systems biology approach.
    Current Pharmaceutical Design 12/2007; 14(3):226-236. · 3.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most active catechin present in green tea, demonstrated to have chemopreventive action and to kill cancer cells selectively. As a previous study found that catechins could compete with 17-beta-estradiol for binding to estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), we asked whether EGCG could regulate ERalpha action. We used MCF-7, a breast carcinoma cell line having a high level of ERalpha expression. The cells were treated with various EGCG concentrations and cell viability was evaluated by MTT assay. ERalpha and pS2 expression were analyzed by RT-PCR after RNA extraction. To better define EGCG action in relation to ERalpha, we studied EGCG cytotoxicity on MCF-7 resistant to tamoxifen (MCF-7tam), MCF-7 treated with 10(-7)M ICI 182,780 for 8 days and on MDA-MB-231, a cell line that lacked ERalpha by flow cytometry (FCM). Both ERalpha and pS2 mRNA were expressed in samples treated with low EGCG concentration (30 microg/ml). At this concentration, no cell change was detectable. In contrast, pS2 expression was lost in samples treated with 100 microg/ml EGCG for 24h, indicating ERalpha alteration. EGCG cytotoxicity was lower when ERalpha was not present (MDA-MB-231) or inactivated (by tamoxifen or ICI 182,780). Functionally active ERalpha may have a role in EGCG cytotoxicity, increasing the sensitivity to the drug. As higher EGCG concentrations also killed cells resistant to tamoxifen or treated by 10(-7)M ICI 182,780, EGCG ought to be better investigated in breast carcinoma cells treated with drugs targeted to steroid receptors, as a potential complement of therapy.
    Cancer Detection and Prevention 02/2007; 31(6):499-504. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The search for longevity genes has greatly developed in recent years basing on the idea that a consistent part of longevity is determined by genetics. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify possible genetic determinants of human aging and longevity, but studies on humans are limited by a series of critical restrictions. For this reason, most of the studies in this field have been, and still are, performed on animal models, basing on the assumption that fundamental biological mechanisms are highly conserved throughout evolution and that, accordingly, extrapolation from model systems to humans is quite reasonable. Indeed, many comparative data obtained on single genes or gene families fit with this assumption. However, it is also clear that, despite such a basic conservative scenario, major changes also occurred in evolution, particularly regarding biological regulatory processes and integration between and among pathways. This consideration raises the fundamental question of the transferability of the results obtained from model systems to humans. In this review, we discuss the differences between animal models and men regarding the genetics of aging and longevity, and the possible reasons that can explain such discrepancies, with a particular emphasis on the phenomena of conservation and evolvability of biological systems. Finally we will suggest a possible strategy to identify putative longevity genes basing on their position inside conserved metabolic structures
    Invertebrate Survival Journal. 01/2007;
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    ABSTRACT: A common polymorphism at codon 72 in p53 gene leads to an arginine to proline aminoacidic substitution which affects in an age-dependent manner the susceptibility of cells to undergo apoptosis after oxidative stress. Here we report that dermal fibroblasts from Proline allele carriers (Pro+) display a higher expression of p21WAF1 gene, in both basal conditions and after treatment with doxorubicin or camptothecin. This phenomenon is accompanied by a lower susceptibility of Pro+ cells to undergo apoptosis, a lower capability to over cross G1-S transition and an increased propensity to express markers of cell senescence, with respect to fibroblasts from Arginine homozygotes (Pro-). All these phenomena are particularly evident in cells from centenarians. We conclude that the functional difference between the two p53 codon 72 alleles exerts a broad impact on the capability of cell from aged people to respond to stressors such as cytotoxic drugs.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 10/2005; 4(9):1264-71. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A common arginine to proline polymorphism is harboured at codon 72 of the human p53 gene. In this investigation, we found that fibroblasts and lymphocytes isolated from arginine allele homozygote centenarians and sexagenarians (Arg+) undergo an oxidative-stress-induced apoptosis at a higher extent than cells obtained from proline allele carriers (Pro+). At variance, the difference in apoptosis susceptibility between Arg+ and Pro+ is not significant when cells from 30-year-old people are studied. Further, we found that Arg+ and Pro+ cells from centenarians differ in the constitutive levels of p53 protein and p53/MDM2 complex, as well as in the levels of oxidative stress-induced p53/Bcl-xL complex and mitochondria-localised p53. Consistently, all these differences are less evident in cells from 30-year-old people. Finally, we investigated the in vivo functional relevance of the p53 codon 72 genotype in a group of old patients (66-99 years of age) affected by acute myocardial ischaemia, a clinical condition in which in vivo cell death occurs. We found that Arg+ patients show increased levels of Troponin I and CK-MB, two serum markers that correlate with the extent of the ischaemic damage in comparison to Pro+ patients. In conclusion, these data suggest that p53 codon 72 polymorphism contributes to a genetically determined variability in apoptotic susceptibility among old people, which has a potentially relevant role in the context of an age-related pathologic condition, such as myocardial ischaemia.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 10/2004; 11(9):962-73. · 8.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The arginine to proline substitution at codon 72 represents a common aminoacidic polymorphism of the p53 protein. Recent data suggest that p53 codon 72 may modulate the response to cancer therapy. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the p53 codon 72 genotype, evaluated in the tumor tissue and in the disease-free lymph node, is related to differences in disease-free and overall survival among breast cancer-affected patients. We assessed the p53 codon 72 genotype in DNA from disease-free lymph nodes and neoplastic tissues obtained from 67 women affected by breast cancer who underwent surgical resection at the Bologna Breast Cancer Surgical Unit from 1993 to 1995. We found that the retention of the p53 codon 72 arginine allele in the tumor tissue of proline/arginine heterozygous breast cancer patients is associated with statistically significant reduced disease-free and overall survivals. Our findings suggest that the genotyping for p53 codon 72 locus in both the tumor tissue and in the lymph node of breast cancer patients could contribute to identify a subset of arginine/proline heterozygous patients who have a reduced survival that is associated with the specific retention of the arginine allele in the tumor tissue.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2003; 9(13):4860-4. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) gene encodes a putative mitochondrial NAD-dependent deacetylase (SIRT3) which belongs to the evolutionary conserved family of sirtuin 2 proteins. Studies in model organisms have demonstrated that SIR2 genes control lifespan, while no data are available regarding a possible role of SIRT3 in human longevity. By analysing the genotype-specific survival function relevant to the G477T marker of SIRT3, we found that in males the TT genotype increases (p=0.0272), while the GT genotype decreases (p=0.0391) survival in the elderly. Since SIRT3 lies in a chromosomal region (11p15.5) where four genes potentially associated with longevity are located (HRAS1, Insulin-like Growth Factor 2, Proinsulin, and Tyrosine Hydroxylase) we tested for linkage-disequilibrium between G477T alleles and alleles of the above genes. The disequilibrium was not significant in any case, thus suggesting that SIRT3 itself, or a gene strictly linked to SIRT3, may have a role in human longevity.
    Experimental Gerontology 11/2003; 38(10):1065-70. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A wide difference in the susceptibility to undergo in vitro apoptosis exists among individuals, and this fact has potential implications in predicting the in vivo response to apoptotic agents, such as those employed in chemotherapy. In this report, we addressed the question whether the natural variability at p53 locus (the proline-arginine substitution at codon 72) affects the capacity of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects to undergo in vitro apoptosis in response to the cytotoxic drug cytosine arabinoside. We found that cells from subjects carrying the arginine/arginine genotype undergo in vitro apoptosis at a higher extent in comparison to those from arginine/proline subjects. This finding suggests that naturally occurring genetic variability at p53 gene explains part of the inter-individual difference in the in vitro susceptibility to a chemotherapeutic drug, thus resulting as an eligible predictor marker of in vivo response to chemotherapy and its adverse effects.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2003; 299(4):539-41. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Centenarians are people who escaped from major common diseases, including cancer, and reached the extreme limits of human life-span. The analysis of demographic data indicates that cancer incidence and mortality show a levelling off around the age of 85-90 years, and suggests that oldest old people and centenarians are protected from cancer onset and progression. In this paper, we review data of recent literature on the distribution in centenarians of germ-line polymorphisms, which are supposed to affect the individual susceptibility to cancer (p53, HRAS1, BRCA1, glutathione transferases, cytochrome oxidases, steroid-5 alpha-reductase enzyme type II). Moreover, we add new data on two p53 polymorphisms in a total of 1086 people of different age, including 307 centenarians. In addition, we put forth the hypothesis that the remodelling of the immune system occurring with age is capable of creating a hostile environment for the growth of cancer cells in these exceptional individuals. We conclude that future studies on centenarians regarding the germ-line variability of genes involved in the control of the immune response, including apoptosis (ApoJ), are likely to be of fundamental importance in understanding the basic mechanisms for cancer, aging and their complex relationship.
    Experimental Gerontology 10/2002; 37(10-11):1263-71. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human HRAS1 belongs to an evolutionarily-conserved family of genes which enrolls among its members the yeast RAS2, a gene which regulates stress response and longevity in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this paper we report that the frequency of the a3 allele of HRAS1 3'variable number tandem repeat (HRAS1 3'VNTR) decreases in centenarians in respect to young people, and we estimate that during aging a3 carriers have a relative mortality risk of 1.126 (95% CI=1.044-1.213). We propose that the germ-line variability at the HRAS1 locus impacts on the individual's capacity to reach the extreme limits of human life-span. Furthermore, we provide suggestive evidence that a3 HRAS1 3'VNTR allele and inherited variants of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA haplogroups) do not affect independently human longevity, thus recalling the nucleus-mitochondrion interaction which regulates stress response and life-span in the yeast.
    Gene 04/2002; 286(1):121-6. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The susceptibility to undergo apoptosis of fresh human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from three groups of healthy donors of different ages: young people (19–40 years), old people (65–85 years) and centenarians was assessed. Apoptosis was induced by 2-deoxy-d-ribose (dRib), an agent which induces apoptosis in quiescent PBMCs by interfering with cell redox status and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Our major finding is that an inverse correlation emerged between the age of the donors and the propensity of their PBMCs to undergo dRib-induced apoptosis. PBMCs from old people and centenarians also showed an increased resistance to dRib-induced glutathione depletion and a decreased tendency to lose MMP. The anti-apoptotic molecule Bcl-2 was similarly expressed in PBMCs from the three age groups. Moreover, the plasma level of the stable product of transglutaminase, ε(γ-glutamyl)lysine isodipeptide, a marker of total body apoptotic rate, was decreased in centenarians compared to young and elderly people. On the whole, these findings suggest that physiological aging is characterised by a decreased tendency to undergo apoptosis, a phenomenon likely resulting from adaptation to lifelong exposure to damaging agents, such as reactive oxygen species, and may contribute to one of the major phenomena of immunosenescence, i.e. the progressive accumulation of memory/effector T cells.
    Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 01/2001; · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gender accounts for important differences in the incidence and prevalence of a variety of age-related diseases. Considering people of far advanced age, demographic data document a clear-cut prevalence of females compared to males, suggesting that sex-specific mortality rates follow different trajectories during aging. In the present investigation, we report data from a nationwide study on Italian centenarians (a total of 1162 subjects), and from two studies on centenarians living in two distinct zones of Italy, i.e., the island of Sardinia (a total of 222 subjects) and the Mantova province (Northern Italy) (a total of 43 subjects). The female/male ratio was about 2:1 in Sardinia, 4:1 in the whole of Italy, and about 7:1 in the Mantova province. Thus, a complex interaction of environmental, historical and genetic factors, differently characterizing the various parts of Italy, likely plays an important role in determining the gender-specific probability of achieving longevity. Gender differences in the health status of centenarians are also reported, and an innovative score method to classify long-lived people in different health categories, according to clinical and functional parameters, is proposed. Our data indicate that not only is this selected group of people, as a whole, highly heterogeneous, but also that a marked gender difference exists, since male centenarians are less heterogeneous and more healthy than female centenarians. Immunological factors regarding the age-related increase in pro-inflammatory status, and the frequency of HLA ancestral haplotypes also show gender differences that likely contribute to the different strategies that men and women seem to follow to achieve longevity. Concerning the different impact of genetic factors on the probability of reaching the extreme limits of the human life-span, emerging evidence (regarding mtDNA haplogroups, Thyrosine Hydroxilase, and IL-6 genes) suggests that female longevity is less dependent on genetics than male longevity, and that female centenarians likely exploited a healthier life-style and more favorable environmental conditions, owing to gender-specific cultural and anthropological characteristics of the Italian society in the last 100 years.
    Aging (Milan, Italy) 05/2000; 12(2):77-84.
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    ABSTRACT: We have studied the role of changes in mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi) in two widely-used models of apoptosis, such as dexamethasone-treated rat thymocytes and U937 human cells treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha and cycloheximide. To dissipate DeltaPsi, we used low concentrations of valinomycin, unable per se to induce apoptosis, and demonstrated that the decline in DeltaPsi exerts opposite effects in the two models. Indeed, in U937 cells, depolarization of mitochondria increased apoptosis, which decreased in rat thymocytes. This leads to the suggestion that disruption of DeltaPsi plays opposite roles depending on the experimental model. In U937 cells, the drop of DeltaPsi is a possible contributory cause for the apoptotic process; in rat thymocytes, it could be a limiting factor. We propose that these opposite effects could be due to the different ATP requirement of each apoptotic pathway.
    FEBS Letters 04/2000; 469(2-3):186-90. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    The American Journal of Human Genetics 01/2000; 65(6):1782-5. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Under an evolutionary perspective, antigens can be considered nothing else than chronic stressors that constituted the major selective pressure for immune system emergence and evolution. In this review, recent data are discussed under the hypothesis that human immunosenescence is the consequence of the continuous attrition caused by chronic antigenic overload/stress. The advantage of this theoretical approach is that a unifying hypothesis is proposed, which tries to fill in the current gap between the conceptualizations concerning the mechanisms which counteract aging and favor longevity in invertebrates and vertebrates. The hypothesis is that the immune system is, at a higher level of biological organization and complexity, the counterpart of the anti-stress response network identified in invertebrates as the major determinant of survival. We argue that some of the most important characteristics of immunosenescence, i.e. the accumulation and the clonal expansion of memory and effector T cells, the reduction/exhaustion of naive T cells, and the shrinkage of T cell repertoire, are compatible with this assumption. Thus, immunosenescence can be envisaged as a global reduction of the “immunological space.” Concomitantly, immunosenescence results in the progressive generation of cellular mosaicism which is the consequence of the heterogeneous replicative histories and telomere shortening of T and B cell subsets, as well as hemopoietic stem cells. Most of the parameters affected by immunosenescence appear to be under genetic control, and future research on biomarkers should address this point. On the whole, immunosenescence can be taken as a proof that the beneficial effects of the immune system, devoted to the neutralization of dangerous/harmful agents early in life and in adulthood, turn to be detrimental late in life, in a period largely not foreseen by evolution. This perspective fits with basic assumptions of evolutionary theories of aging, such as antagonistic pleiotropy.
    Experimental Gerontology 01/2000; · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    The American Journal of Human Genetics 02/1999; 64(1):292-5. · 11.20 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

678 Citations
79.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2008
    • University of Bologna
      • Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine DIMES
      Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1999
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      • Department of Biomedical, Metabolical and Neurosciences
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy