Letizia Ragni

Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, The Marches, Italy

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Publications (4)14.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: N-acylethanolamides (NAEs) are hydrophobic molecules synthesized in many tissues. An increase in the plasma levels of NAEs has been observed in human diseases. Previous studies have suggested that NAEs could exert a protective effect against oxidative stress. Aim of the study was to investigate whether NAEs (oleoylethanolamide, palmitoylethanolamide and anandamide), differing for acyl chain length and unsaturation, exert a protective role against plasma lipid peroxidation triggered by incubation with Cu2+ or AAPH (2,2′-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride). Moreover, we investigated the effect of NAEs on the activity of HDL-associated paraoxonase (PON1), an enzyme involved in the antioxidant end anti-inflammatory role of human high density lipoproteins (HDL). The results demonstrated that the NAEs protect plasma lipids and PON1 activity against AAPH and/or copper-induced oxidation.
    BioFactors 01/2008; 33(3):201-9. DOI:10.1002/biof.5520330306 · 4.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquinone-10 plays a central role in energy production and its reduced form, ubiquinol-10 is also capable of acting as a potent radical scavenging antioxidant against membrane lipid peroxidation. Efficiency of this protection depends mostly on its localization in lipid bilayer. The intrinsic fluorescence of ubiquinol-10 and of the exogenous probe, Laurdan, has been used to determine the location of ubiquinol-10 in unilamellar liposomes of egg phosphatidylcholine (EggPC) and dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine. Laurdan fluorescence moiety is positioned at the hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface of the phospholipid bilayer and its parameters reflect the membrane polarity and microheterogeneity, which we have used to explore the coexistence of microdomains with distinct physical properties. In liquid-crystalline bilayers ubiquinol has a short fluorescence lifetime (0.4 ns) and a high steady-state anisotropy. In a concentration-dependent manner, ubiquinol-10 influences the Laurdan excitation, emission and generalized polarization measurements. In EggPC liposomes ubiquinol-10 induces a decrease in membrane water mobility near the probe, while in dimyristoyl liposomes a decrease in the membrane water content was found. Moreover the presence of ubiquinol results in the formation of coexisting phospholipid domains of gel and liquid-crystalline phases. The results indicate that ubiquinol-10 molecules are mainly located at the polar-lipid interface, inducing changes in the physico-chemical properties of the bilayer microenvironment.
    Photochemistry and Photobiology 11/2007; 84(1):209-14. DOI:10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00221.x · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: N-acylethanolamides are naturally occurring hydrophobic molecules usually present in a very small amount in many mammalian tissues and cells. The presence of N-acylethanolamides has also been demonstrated in human reproductive tracts and fluids, although their biological effects and molecular mechanisms of action are not yet completely elucidated. It is known that some N-acylethanolamides, such as oleoylethanolamide, have antioxidative properties. The aim of this study was to test whether oleoylethanolamide could protect sperm cells from reactive oxygen species-induced oxidative damage in cases of idiopathic infertility, because the excessive generation of these radicals was associated with this pathology. Our results show that 2.5 nM oleoylethanolamide in vitro supplementation significantly reduces DNA strand breaks both in fertile and infertile subjects. Moreover, oleoylethanolamide increases kinematic parameters, such as curvilinear velocity and amplitude of lateral head displacement and hyperactivation, both in the presence and in the absence of oxidative stress. Results of this study support the hypothesis of a possible protective action of oleoylethanolamide against reactive oxygen species, which could explain its beneficial effects on in vitro capacitated spermatozoa.
    Biology of Reproduction 05/2006; 74(4):659-65. DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.105.046060 · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The acylethanolamide anandamide (AEA) occurs in a variety of mammalian tissues and, as a result of its action on cannabinoid receptors, exhibits several cannabimimetic activities. Moreover, some of its effects are mediated through interaction with an ion channel-type vanilloid receptor. However, the chemical features of AEA suggest that some of its biological effects could be related to physical interactions with the lipidic part of the membrane. The present work studies the effect of AEA-induced structural modifications of the dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayer on phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity, which is strictly dependent on lipid bilayer features. This study, performed by 2-dimethylamino-(6-lauroyl)-naphthalene fluorescence, demonstrates that the effect of AEA on PLA2 activity is concentration-dependent. In fact, at low AEA/DPPC molar ratios (from R = 0.001 to R = 0.04), there is an increase of the enzymatic activity, which is completely inhibited for R = 0.1. X-ray diffraction data indicate that the AEA affects DPPC membrane structural properties in a concentration-dependent manner. Because the biphasic effect of increasing AEA concentrations on PLA2 activity is related to the induced modifications of membrane bilayer structural properties, we suggest that AEA-phospholipid interactions may be important to produce, at least in part, some of the similarly biphasic responses of some physiological activities to increasing concentrations of AEA.
    The Journal of Lipid Research 10/2005; 46(9):1953-61. DOI:10.1194/jlr.M500121-JLR200 · 4.42 Impact Factor

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