Teresa De Santis

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Apulia, Italy

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Publications (16)36.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The primary objective of this study was to compare expression of maternal transcripts in bovine oocyte populations with differential developmental competence: oocytes from prepubertal and pubertal animals; and oocytes from small (3-4 mm) and large (6-10 mm) follicles from pubertal animals. All transcripts were examined in oocytes prior to and after in vitro maturation (IVM). Genes were selected based on their known maternal effect in mouse (ZAR1, STELLA, HSF1, MATER/NLRP5 and its paralogue NLRP9), or their identification as markers of oocyte maturation, either involved in redox metabolism (PRDX1, PRDX2) or meiotic progression (AURKA). Total or polyadenylated forms of the transcripts were followed by reverse transcription coupled to real-time PCR. Six polyadenylated transcripts were found significantly reduced after maturation irrespective of donor age or follicle diameter (p<0.05). Within these six polyadenylated transcripts, ZAR1, NLRP9, HSF1, PRDX1 and PRDX2 were significantly reduced in oocytes from prepubertal animals compared to adult animals (p<0.05). A younger age was also associated with lower abundance (total form) of PRDX2/PRDX1 irrespective of maturation. Total HSF1, PRDX1 and polyadenylated NLRP9 showed a tendency (p values from 0.053 to 0.08) for a higher detection in oocytes from small follicles, thus encouraging further investigation of the follicle diameter model. However, at the present time, follicle size did not significantly affect expression of transcripts examined. In conclusion, this study demonstrates differences in the maternal store of RNA and its regulation during IVM which is dependent on donor age.
    Reproduction in Domestic Animals 02/2011; 46(1):e23-30. · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanism of fertilization remains largely enigmatic in mammals. Most studies exploring the molecular mechanism underlying fertilization have been restricted to a single species, generally the mouse, without a comparative approach. However, the identification of divergences between species could allow us to highlight key components in the mechanism of fertilization. In the pig, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and polyspermy rates are high, and spermatozoa penetrate easily through the zona pellucida (ZP). In contrast, IVF rates are low in the horse, and polyspermy is scarce. Our objective was to develop a comparative strategy between these two divergent models. First, we compared the role of equine and porcine gametes in the following five functions using intraspecific and interspecific IVF: ZP binding, acrosome reaction, penetration through the ZP, gamete fusion, and pronucleus formation. Under in vitro conditions, we showed that the ZP is a determining element in sperm-ZP attachment and penetration, whereas the capacity of the spermatozoa is of less importance. In contrast, the capacity of the spermatozoa is a key component of the acrosome reaction step. Second, we compared the composition and structure of the equine and porcine ZP. We observed differences in the number and localization of the ZP glycoproteins and in the mesh-like structure of the ZP between equine and porcine species. These differences might correlate with the differences in spermatozoal attachment and penetration rates. In conclusion, our comparative approach allows us to identify determining elements in the mechanism of fertilization.
    Biology of Reproduction 08/2009; 81(5):856-70. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) plays an important role in cells involved in calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis by directly sensing changes in the extracellular Ca2+ ion concentration. We previously reported the localization and quantitative expression of CASR protein in human oocytes. In this study, we examined the expression and the functional role of CASR during oocyte meiotic maturation in a large mammal animal model, the horse. As in humans, CASR protein was found to be expressed in equine oocytes and cumulus cells. Western-blot analysis revealed a single 130 kDa band in denuded oocytes and a doublet of 130-120 kDa in cumulus cells. CASR labeling was observed by confocal microscopy in cumulus cells and in oocytes on the plasma membrane and within the cytoplasm at all examined stages of meiosis. Functionally, the CASR allosteric effector NPS R-467, in the presence of 2.92 mM external Ca2+, increased oocyte maturation rate in a dose-dependent manner and its stimulatory effect was attenuated by pre-treatment with the CASR antagonist NPS 2390. NPS R-467 had no effect in suboptimal external Ca2+ (0.5 mM), indicating that it requires higher external Ca2+ to promote oocyte maturation. In oocytes treated with NPS R-467, CASR staining increased at the plasmalemma and was reduced in the cytosol. Moreover, NPS R-467 increased the activity of MAPK, also called ERK, in cumulus cells and oocytes. These results provide evidence of a novel signal transduction pathway modulating oocyte meiotic maturation in mammals in addition to the well-known systemic hormones.
    Reproduction 07/2009; 138(3):439-52. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mu-opioid receptor (MOR) is expressed in bovine, human, equine and canine oocytes, and in seasonal breeders, it is expressed with higher intensity during the anoestrous phase. Supplementation of in vitro maturation (IVM) medium with opioid agents, agonists or antagonists, was shown to affect oocyte maturation in several species such as rat, bovine and equine. This study reports the effects of supplementing IVM medium with naloxone (Nx), an opioid antagonist, on nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation rate of oocytes recovered from anoestrous bitches. Cytoplasmic maturation was examined in terms of mitochondrial (mt) distribution. In order to confirm the receptor-mediated action of Nx, in oocytes of anoestrous bitches, MOR expression was analyzed by Western blot. Cumulus-oocyte complexes, recovered from the ovaries of bitches in anoestrous, were cultured in vitro and Nx was added at the concentrations of 1 x 10(-6), 1 x 10(-8) and 1 x 10(-10) M. The rate of oocytes resuming meiosis after culture in presence of 1 x 10(-6) M Nx (29%) was significantly higher than that of oocytes of control group (12%; p < 0.05). However, treatment with Nx did not affect mt distribution pattern. In denuded oocytes and in corresponding cumulus cells, a doublet of 65 and 50 kDa was observed. We conclude that, in oocytes of anoestrous bitches, MOR is expressed and Nx significantly improves nuclear maturation rate. Further studies should be performed to elucidate the expression of other opioid receptors, such as delta and kappa, and possible interactive effects of their antagonists on canine oocyte maturation.
    Reproduction in Domestic Animals 07/2009; 44 Suppl 2:263-8. · 1.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Equine cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were analyzed by means of 13 lectins to evaluate their glycoconjugate patterns and to verify differences between COCs recovered with compact (Cp) and expanded (Exp) cumulus. Cumulus cells showed a similar staining pattern in both Cp and Exp COCs with all lectins used, except for a higher reactivity with SNA and GSA II in Cp COCs and SBA in Exp COCs. The zona pellucida (ZP) showed (1) uniform staining with MAL II, RCA(120), and SBA in both Cp and Exp COCs, (2) trilaminar binding pattern with WGA as well as higher Con A reactivity in the outer region of both types of COCs, (3) uniform staining with PNA only in Exp COCs, (4) uniform and trilaminar binding pattern with SNA in Cp and Exp COCs, respectively, and (5) major reactivity with GSA II in Exp COCs. Ooplasm showed similar staining intensity with Con A, HPA, GSA I-B(4), and WGA in both Cp and Exp COCs, with stronger reactivity to GSA II in Exp COCs, whereas SNA, UEA I, and LTA binding sites were present only in Cp COCs. Oocyte cortical granules of both Cp and Exp COCs reacted with Con A and WGA. These results suggest that, in the mare, viable (Cp) and atretic (Exp) COCs display different glycoconjugate staining pattern, which may account for the different maturation and developmental competence of COCs.
    Theriogenology 05/2009; 72(3):300-9. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the mitochondrial (mt) distribution in canine ovarian oocytes examined at recovery time, as related to the reproductive cycle stage, and in oviductal oocytes. Ovarian Germinal Vesicle (GV) stage oocytes were recovered from bitches in anestrous (A, n=2), follicular phase (F, n=4), ovulation (O, n=2), early luteal (EL, n=7) and mid/late luteal phase (MLL, n=2). Oviductal GV, metaphase I (MI) or MII stage oocytes were recovered from six bitches between 56 and 110 h after ovulation. Mitochondria were revealed by using MitoTracker Orange CMTM Ros and confocal microscopy. In ovarian oocytes, three mt distribution patterns were found: (I) small aggregates diffused throughout the cytoplasm; (II) diffused tubular networks; (III) pericortical tubular networks. Significantly higher rates of oocytes showing heterogeneous mt patterns (II+III) were obtained from bitches in F (75%) and in O (96%) compared with bitches in A (31%; F vs. A: P<0.05; O vs. A: P<0.001), in EL (61%; O vs. EL: P<0.01), or in MLL (0%; F vs. MLL: P<0.05; O vs. MLL: P<0.001). Fluorescence intensity did not vary according to mt distribution pattern except that it was lower in oocytes recovered in EL phase and showing small mt aggregations (P<0.001). The majority of ovulated MII stage oocytes (79%) showed diffused tubular mt network. We conclude that mt distribution pattern of canine ovarian immature oocytes changes in relation to reproductive cycle stage and that patterns observed in oocytes recovered from bitches in periovulatory phases are heterogeneous and similar to those of in vivo matured oocytes.
    Animal reproduction science 03/2009; 117(1-2):166-77. · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malassezia spp. may act as opportunistic skin pathogens in humans and animals. Malassezia pachydermatis proliferation and phospholipase production may play a pathogenic role in the occurrence of skin lesions in dogs. This study investigates the presence of mu-opioid receptor (MOR) in M. pachydermatis strains isolated from healthy dogs and dogs with skin lesions and its effects on phospholipase activity (p.a.). P.a. of 64 M. pachydermatis isolates was evaluated using different concentrations of naloxone (Nx), a MOR antagonist. Isolates were divided into Group A (i.e., 40 isolates from 26 dogs with dermatitis) and Group B (i.e., 24 isolates from 12 healthy dogs). The MOR expression was analyzed by Western blot and immunofluorescence. A statistically higher p.a. than that of the controls was found with isolates in Group A at a Nx concentration of 10(-6) M (P<0.05). No isolate in Group B displayed p.a. in either control samples or in the presence of any Nx concentration. Immunoblotting revealed two positive MOR immunoreactive bands of approximately 65 and 98 kDa. MOR expression and localization was also demonstrated by immunofluorescence in isolates from Groups A and B. This study provides the first evidence of MOR expression on M. pachydermatis cell membranes pointing to its possible role in modulating p.a. production in isolates from dogs with skin lesions.
    Medical mycology: official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology 03/2009; 48(1):73-8. · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lipid droplets (LDs) and mitochondria in the ooplasm are essential for energy production required for maturation, fertilization and embryo development. This study investigates the correlations between cytoplasmic LDs polar aggregation and: (1) nuclear maturation (Experiment 1); (2) mitochondrial (mt) distribution pattern and localization (Experiment 2); (3) fertilization and embryonic development after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI; Experiment 3) in equine oocytes recovered from slaughtered mares and matured in vitro. Morphologically normal oocytes were selected after culture and categorized as having polar (P) aggregation or uniform (U) distribution of LDs. In Experiment 1, the maturation rate was significantly higher in P compared with U oocytes (69%, 40/58 vs. 32%, 13/41; P<0.001). In Experiment 2, it was observed that P and U oocytes showed heterogeneous mt distribution at comparable rates (68%, 25/37 vs. 50%, 2/4 for P and U respectively; NS). Moreover, only in 8/25 (32%) of P oocytes, LDs overlapped with mt aggregates in the area containing meiotic spindle. In Experiment 3, normal fertilization (51%, 19/37 vs. 60%, 6/10, for P and U) and cleavage rates (83%, 20/24 vs. 67%, 4/6, for P and U) did not differ between groups, also in oocytes with LDs located nearby the polar body. Overall, P aggregation of LDs was related to cumulus expansion at collection. In conclusion, in equine matured oocytes, P aggregation of LDs is related with cumulus expansion and nuclear maturation. However, it is not related with heterogeneous mt distribution and cannot be considered a predictive indicator for normal fertilization and embryo development.
    Theriogenology 01/2009; 71(7):1093-104. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The micro-opioid receptor (MOR) was identified in equine oocytes, cumulus and granulosa cells. By RT-PCR, a 441bp fragment was observed. By immunoblotting, a 65 kDa band was detected in samples of winter anestrous whereas in cells recovered in breeding season, two bands, 65 and 50 kDa, were found. The 65 kDa band was significantly more intense in winter anestrous specimens. In samples recovered in the breeding season, this band significantly decreased with the raise of follicle size and was heavier in compact oocytes and cumulus cells. The protein was localized on the oolemma and within the cytoplasm of oocytes and cumulus cells. In vitro oocyte maturation rate (MR), analyzed by confocal microscopy for nuclear chromatin, microfilaments and microtubules, was reduced after the addition of 3 x 10(-8) M beta-endorphin in medium without additional hormones. Inhibitory effects of 10(-3) M Naloxone in oocytes collected in anestrous and spring transition were observed, both in presence and absence of hormones added to culture medium. Increased MRs were observed in oocytes collected in anestrous and cultured in presence of 10(-8) M Naloxone. The exposure to 10(-3) M Naloxone induced significant intracellular calcium increases in cumulus cells recovered all over the year. beta-Endorphin 3 x 10(-8) M induced significant calcium increases only in cumulus cells recovered in fall transition and anestrous. Naloxone 10(-8) M did not induce intracellular calcium modifications. We conclude that the MOR is differentially expressed in equine cumulus-oocyte complexes in the different seasons of the year and plays a role in the seasonal regulation of meiotic competence of equine oocytes.
    Molecular Reproduction and Development 09/2008; 75(8):1229-46. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CF (cystic fibrosis) is a disease caused by mutations within the CFTR (CF transmembrane conductance regulator) gene. The most common mutation, DeltaF508 (deletion of Phe-508), results in a protein that is defective in folding and trafficking to the cell surface but is functional if properly localized in the plasma membrane. We have recently demonstrated that overexpression of the PDZ protein NHERF1 (Na(+)/H(+)-exchanger regulatory factor 1) in CF airway cells induced both a redistribution of DeltaF508CFTR from the cytoplasm to the apical membrane and the PKA (protein kinase A)-dependent activation of DeltaF508CFTR-dependent chloride secretion. In view of the potential importance of the targeted up-regulation of NHERF1 in a therapeutic context, and since it has been demonstrated that oestrogen treatment increases endogenous NHERF1 expression, we tested the hypothesis that oestrogen treatment can increase NHERF1 expression in a human bronchiolar epithelial CF cell line, CFBE41o(-), with subsequent rescue of apical DeltaF508CFTR chloride transport activity. We found that CFBE41o(-) cells do express ERs (oestrogen receptors) in the nuclear fraction and that beta-oestradiol treatment was able to significantly rescue DeltaF508CFTR-dependent chloride secretion in CFBE41o(-) cell monolayers with a peak between 6 and 12 h of treatment, demonstrating that the DeltaF508CFTR translocated to the apical membrane can function as a cAMP-responsive channel, with a significant increase in chloride secretion noted at 1 nM beta-oestradiol and a maximal effect observed at 10 nM. Importantly, knock-down of NHERF1 expression by transfection with siRNA (small interfering RNA) for NHERF1 inhibited the beta-oestradiol-dependent increase in DeltaF508CFTR protein expression levels and completely prevented the beta-oestradiol-dependent rescue of DeltaF508CFTR transport activity. These results demonstrate that beta-oestradiol-dependent up-regulation of NHERF1 significantly increases DeltaF508CFTR functional expression in CFBE41o(-) cells.
    Biology of the Cell 08/2008; 100(7):399-412. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interleukin-1 (IL-1) system is thought to be involved in periovulatory events in the mare. Previous in vivo studies have demonstrated that IL-1beta induces oocyte maturation, but depresses the pregnancy rate 14 days after ovulation. To better understand the role of IL-1 in oocyte maturation and fertilization, the effects of IL-1 on the in vitro maturation rate of equine oocytes in pure follicular fluid were evaluated and fertilization rate assessed following intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Oocytes collected from slaughterhouse ovaries were cultured in four different media for 30 h prior to fertilization. Two experiments were performed, each using three maturation media as the experimental treatments. Medium 1 was pure follicular fluid from subordinate follicles. Medium 2 was medium 1 plus 50 ng/ml recombinant human IL-1beta. Medium 3 was pure follicular fluid collected from mares administered crude equine gonadotropin (CEG). Medium 4 was medium 2 plus 50 ng/ml of recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist. Media 1, 2 and 3 were compared in experiment 1. In experiment 2, media 1, 2 and 4 were compared. After maturation, metaphase II oocytes were submitted to microinjection and assessed for signs of fertilization. In experiment 1, 101 oocytes were evaluated. The rate of polar body extrusion was 66, 51 and 68% and the proportions of normally fertilized oocytes after ICSI were 40, 18 and 38% for media 1, 2 and 3, respectively. In experiment 2, 122 oocytes were evaluated. The rate of polar body extrusion was 55, 48 and 42% and the proportions showing normal fertilization after ICSI were 14, 25 and 29% for media 1, 2 and 4, respectively. There was no positive effect of IL-1beta on maturation in both experiments, but the fertilization rate and percentage of embryos reaching four-cell were low in the presence of IL-1beta, indicating that this cytokine may interfere with fertilization and early embryo development.
    Animal Reproduction Science 08/2008; 106(3-4):431-9. · 1.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To analyze the effects of GnRH agonists versus antagonists on mitochondrial distribution and activity in human mature oocytes. Randomized research experimental study. Academic basic research laboratory and hospital-based fertility center. Two hundred twenty-five supernumerary mature oocytes from 44 patients. Fluorescent staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy on oocytes after the use of either GnRH agonist (group A) or GnRH antagonist (group B). Oocyte mitochondrial distribution pattern and activity using MitoTracker Orange CMTM Ros. More oocytes showing polarized mitochondrial distribution pattern were found in group A than in group B (35% vs. 14%). In group B, hCG rather than GnRH agonist, for ovulation induction, resulted in more oocytes showing heterogeneous (57% vs. 14%), in particular polarized (24% vs. 0) mitochondrial distribution. In groups A and B, fluorescence intensity did not vary according to mitochondrial distribution pattern. However, fluorescence intensity was higher in oocytes with polarized and large granules configurations in group B compared to group A. The GnRH agonist and antagonist may have different effects on oocyte mitochondrial distribution pattern and activity. The GnRH antagonist may induce mitochondrial hyperactivity, which may be detrimental to the oocyte.
    Fertility and sterility 04/2008; 91(1):249-55. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • Animal Reproduction Science - ANIM REPROD SCI. 01/2008; 107(3):334-335.
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the expression of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) protein in human oocytes at the germinal vesicle (GV) and metaphase I (MI) and II (MII) stages. Prospective study. Academic basic research laboratory and hospital-based fertility center. Immature and supernumerary mature oocytes (n = 118) excluded from intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment. Immunofluorescence and Western blot with a primary antibody against human CaSR. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) together with quantitative image analysis used to measure the fluorescence intensity variations in oocytes at GV, MI, and MII stages. The CaSR expression pattern as evaluated by immunostaining in denuded oocytes and cumulus cells, CLSM, and three-dimensional image reconstructions; quantitative analysis at the equatorial plane of the oocyte. We identified CaSR in human oocytes and cumulus cells. The fluorescence intensity within the oocyte varied with the developmental stage, with the greatest increase at the MI stage. The present study demonstrates for the first time the expression and localization of CaSR protein in human oocytes. Increased CaSR protein expression in the MI stage suggests that it may be involved in the regulation of human oocyte development and maturation.
    Fertility and sterility 05/2006; 85 Suppl 1:1240-7. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • Reproduction Fertility and Development 12/2004; 17(2):290-290. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background information Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease caused by mutations within the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The most common mutation, ΔF508, results in a protein that is defective in folding and trafficking to the cell surface but is functional if properly localized in the plasma membrane. We have recently demonstrated that over-expression of the PDZ protein NHERF1 in (Na<sup>+</sup>/H<sup>+</sup>-exchanger regulatory factor 1) CF airway cells induced both a redistribution of ΔF508CFTR from the cytoplasm to the apical membrane and the PKA-dependent activation of ΔF508CFTR-dependent chloride secretion. In view of the potential importance of the targeted up-regulation of NHERF1 in a therapeutic context and since it has been demonstrated that estrogen treatment increases endogenous NHERF1 expression, we tested the hypothesis that the estrogen treatment can increase NHERF1 expression in a human bronchiolar epithelial CF cell line, CFBE41o<sup>-</sup>, with a subsequent rescue of apical ΔF508CFTR chloride transport activity. Results : We found that CFBE41o<sup>-</sup> cells do express estrogen receptors in the nuclear fraction and that β-estradiol treatment was able to significantly rescue the ΔF508CFTR-dependent chloride secretion in CFBE41o<sup>-</sup> cell monolayers, demonstrating that the ΔF508CFTR translocated to the apical membrane can function as a cAMP-responsive channel. Importantly, knock-down of NHERF1 expression by transfection with siRNA for NHERF1 inhibited the β-estradiol-dependent increase of ΔF508CFTR protein expression levels and completely prevented the β-estradiol-dependent rescue of ΔF508CFTR transport activity. Conclusions . These results demonstrate that β-estradiol-dependent up-regulation of NHERF1 significantly increases ΔF508CFTR functional expression in CFBE41o- cells.