Mary Carmen Valenzano

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Wynnewood, Oklahoma, United States

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Publications (25)96.45 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Delivery of a pharmacologically effective drug dosage to a target tissue is critical. Barrett's epithelia are a unique challenge for drug delivery of orally administered zinc due to rapid transit down the esophageal lumen, incomplete absorptive differentiation of these epithelia, and the use of proton-pump inhibitor drugs abrogating intestinal uptake of supplemental zinc. Methods: Barrett's esophagus patients were administered oral zinc gluconate (26 mg zinc twice daily) for 14 days prior to biopsy procurement. Barrett's biopsies were analyzed for total zinc content by atomic absorption spectroscopy and by western immunoblot for cellular proteins known to be regulated by zinc. Results: Cellular levels of both the Znt-1 transport protein and the alpha isoform of PKC were over 50% lower in the zinc treatment group. Conclusion: Oral zinc administration can result in effective delivery of zinc to Barrett's epithelia with resulting effects on intracellular signal transduction.
    Therapeutic delivery 03/2014; 5(3):257-64.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Earlier work by our group and others has documented improvement of epithelial barrier function in human gastrointestinal models. Here we tested zinc's ability to improve a renal epithelial model. Our aim was to compare the functional and structural effects of zinc on the tight junctional (TJ) complexes of these two very distinct epithelial cell types. Zinc's ability to achieve barrier enhancement in very different epithelial cell types by action upon distinct molecular targets in each epithelial model may suggest a fundamental general role for supplemental zinc in epithelial barrier improvement throughout the body. METHODS: Cell layers were exposed to 50 or 100 μM zinc on both cell surfaces for 48 h followed by measurement of transepithelial electrical resistance (Rt) and transepithelial (14)C-mannitol flux (Jm). TJ proteins in cell layers were analyzed by Western immunoblot. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Zinc supplementation improved the basal TJ barrier function of LLC-PK1 renal cell layers, exemplified by increased Rt and decreased Jm. These zinc-induced changes were also accompanied by decreased NaCl dilution potentials. Of the tight junctional proteins that were tested (occludin, claudins 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and tricellulin), we did not observe a zinc-induced change in abundance of any of them, in detergent-soluble fractions of lysates of confluent differentiated cell layers. However, examination of cytosolic fractions showed concentration-dependent increases in the levels of claudins -2 and -4 in this compartment as a result of supplemental zinc. The effects of supplemental zinc on the tight junctional complexes and barrier properties of this renal epithelial model are contrasted with zinc effects on the CACO-2 gastrointestinal model.
    Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) 05/2013; · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amid an increasing number of reports in the literature concerning epithelial barrier enhancement by various nutrient compounds, there has never been a study performing side-by-side comparisons of these agents in a single epithelial model. We compare five nutrient compounds (previously reported in various epithelial models to enhance barrier function) regarding their ability to increase transepithelial electrical resistance (Rt) and decrease transepithelial mannitol permeability (Jm) across LLC-PK1 renal epithelial cell layers. The effects of these nutrients on the abundance of various tight junctional proteins are also compared. In the overall group of nutrients tested - zinc, indole, quercetin, butyrate and nicotine - only nicotine failed to improve barrier function by either parameter. Nicotine also was without effect on tight junctional proteins. Quercetin simultaneously increased Rt and decreased Jm. Zinc, butyrate and indole only exhibited statistically significant enhancement of Rt. Each of these four effective nutrient compounds had unique patterns of effects on the panel of tight junctional proteins studied. No two compounds produced the same pattern of effects. This unique pattern of effects on tight junctional complex composition by each compound establishes the chance for additive or even synergistic improvement of barrier function by combinations of compounds. A synergistic effect of the combination of quercetin and zinc on Rt is shown.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e78775. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Zinc deficiency is known to result in epithelial barrier leak in the GI tract. Precise effects of zinc on epithelial tight junctions (TJs) are only beginning to be described and understood. Along with nutritional regimens like methionine-restriction and compounds such as berberine, quercetin, indole, glutamine and rapamycin, zinc has the potential to function as a TJ modifier and selective enhancer of epithelial barrier function. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of zinc-supplementation on the TJs of a well-studied in vitro GI model, CACO-2 cells. METHODS: Barrier function was assessed electrophysiologically by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance (R(t)), and radiochemically, by measuring transepithelial (paracellular) diffusion of (14)C-D-mannitol and (14)C-polyethyleneglycol. TJ composition was studied by Western immunoblot analyses of occludin, tricellulin and claudins-1 to -5 and -7. RESULTS: Fifty- and 100-μM zinc concentrations (control medium is 2 μM) significantly increase R(t) but simultaneously increase paracellular leak to D-mannitol. Claudins 2 and 7 are downregulated in total cell lysates, while occludin, tricellulin and claudins-1, -3, -4 and -5 are unchanged. Claudins-2 and -7 as well as tricellulin exhibit decreased cytosolic content as a result of zinc supplementation. CONCLUSIONS: Zinc alters CACO-2 TJ composition and modifies TJ barrier function selectively. Zinc is one of a growing number of "nutraceutical" substances capable of enhancing epithelial barrier function, and may find use in countering TJ leakiness induced in various disease states.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 08/2012; · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine if the observed paracellular sucrose leak in Barrett's esophagus patients is due to their proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use. The in vivo sucrose permeability test was administered to healthy controls, to Barrett's patients and to non-Barrett's patients on continuous PPI therapy. Degree of leak was tested for correlation with presence of Barrett's, use of PPIs, and length of Barrett's segment and duration of PPI use. Barrett's patients manifested a near 3-fold greater, upper gastrointestinal sucrose leak than healthy controls. A decrease of sucrose leak was observed in Barrett's patients who ceased PPI use for 7 d. Although initial introduction of PPI use (in a PPI-naïve population) results in dramatic increase in sucrose leak, long-term, continuous PPI use manifested a slow spontaneous decline in leak. The sucrose leak observed in Barrett's patients showed no correlation to the amount of Barrett's tissue present in the esophagus. Although future research is needed to determine the degree of paracellular leak in actual Barrett's mucosa, the relatively high degree of leak observed with in vivo sucrose permeability measurement of Barrett's patients reflects their PPI use and not their Barrett's tissue per se.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 06/2012; 18(22):2793-7. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with defects in intestinal barriers that rely upon cellular tight junctions. Thus, identifying genes that could be targeted to enforce tight junctions and improve barrier function may lead to new treatment strategies for IBD. This preclinical study aimed to evaluate an hypothesized role for the tumor suppressor gene Bin1 as a modifier of the severity of experimental colitis. We ablated the Bin1 gene in a mosaic mouse model to evaluate its effects on experimental colitis and intestinal barrier function. Gross pathology, histology and inflammatory cytokine expression patterns were characterized and ex vivo physiology determinations were conducted to evaluate barrier function in intact colon tissue. Bin1 attenuation limited experimental colitis in a sexually dimorphic manner with stronger protection in female subjects. Colitis suppression was associated with an increase in basal transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and a decrease in paracellular transepithelial flux, compared to control wild-type animals. In contrast, Bin1 attenuation did not affect short circuit current, nor did it alter the epithelial barrier response to non-inflammatory permeability enhancers in the absence of inflammatory stimuli. Bin1 is a genetic modifier of experimental colitis that controls the paracellular pathway of transcellular ion transport regulated by cellular tight junctions. Our findings offer a preclinical validation of Bin1 as a novel therapeutic target for IBD treatment.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 04/2012; 57(7):1813-21. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The beneficial effects of caloric restriction in increasing longevity and forestalling age-related diseases are well known. Dietary restriction of methionine also renders similar benefits. We recently showed in a renal epithelial cell culture system that reduction of culture medium methionine by 80% resulted in altered tight junctional (TJ) claudin composition and also improved epithelial barrier function (51). In the current study, we examined the effect of dietary restriction of methionine on TJ barrier function in rat gastrointestinal tissue to see whether this phenomenon also holds true in a tissue model and for a different epithelial cell type. After 28 days on methionine-restricted (MR) diet, rats showed small but significant reductions in the plasma and (intracellular) colonocyte levels of methionine. Colon mucosal sheets from rats on the MR diet showed increased transepithelial electrical resistance with concomitant decrease in paracellular diffusion of (14)C-D-mannitol, suggesting improved barrier function relative to rats on control diet. This improved barrier function could not be explained by changes in colon crypt length or frequency. Neither was the colonocyte mitotic index nor the apoptotic frequency altered significantly. However, TJ composition/structure was being altered by the MR diet. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis showed an increase in the abundance of claudin-3 and an apparent change in the posttranslational modification of occludin, data reinforcing a paracellular barrier alteration. Overall, our data suggest that reduction in dietary intake of methionine results in improved epithelial barrier function by inducing altered TJ protein composition.
    AJP Cell Physiology 11/2010; 299(5):C1028-35. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate omeprazole-induced transepithelial gastric leak and its effects on the permeability of the peptides bradykinin and oxytocin. Rat gastric corpus tissue was isolated and mounted in an Ussing chamber apparatus to evaluate the permeability of (3)H-bradykinin, (3)H-oxytocin, and (14)C-EDTA in the presence or absence of omeprazole. Thin-layer chromatography was performed to identify any metabolic breakdown products of the peptides resulting from permeation through the gastric tissue, and thereby calculate the true flux of the peptide. The flux rate of intact (3)H-bradykinin increased substantially after omeprazole addition (109.5%) compared to the DMSO vehicle control (14%). No corresponding change in flux of intact (3)H-oxytocin was observed under the same conditions (11.9% and 6.4% in the DMSO- and omeprazole-treated conditions, respectively). After exposure to omeprazole, the flux rate of (14)C-EDTA also increased dramatically (122.3%) compared to the DMSO condition (36.3%). The omeprazole-induced gastric leak allows for transmucosal permeability to charged molecules as well as non-electrolytes. This induced leak will allow certain peptides to permeate.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 03/2010; 16(9):1097-103. · 2.43 Impact Factor
  • M Gabello, M C Valenzano, M Barr, P Zurbach, J M Mullin
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    ABSTRACT: Previous animal and patient-based studies have shown that omeprazole induces a transepithelial paracellular gastric leak. This study reports on the potential for an omeprazole-induced leak of drugs with narrow therapeutic windows. Ussing chamber experiments investigated the effects of omeprazole on rat gastric corpus permeability to the drugs, digoxin and phenytoin. Digoxin (780 MW) permeated the gastric mucosa at an accelerated rate in the presence of omeprazole. This leak could contribute to dangerous elevations of blood digoxin levels in certain situations. Omeprazole was found to have no effect on the flux rate of phenytoin (252 MW). The tight-junctional leak generated by omeprazole thus exhibits specificity to the types of molecules it allows to permeate through the gastric mucosa. This leak may pose a clinical danger by increasing drug uptake into the bloodstream, a phenomenon which would act synergistically with the effect of omeprazole on inhibiting liver cytochrome P450s that remove drugs from the bloodstream, thereby elevating drug blood levels.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 07/2009; 55(5):1255-63. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite their remarkable safety profile and lack of clinical side effects, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) induce a transmucosal gastric leak to non-electrolyte probes of various sizes. The exvivo addition of PPIs to isolated rat gastric corpus increases transmucosal permeability in a dose-dependent manner, which corresponds with PPIs’ dose-dependent inhibition of acid secretion. Upon the addition of omeprazole, lansoprazole, or esomeprazole, a small decrease in transepithelial resistance and the concomitant stimulation of short circuit current was observed. Additionally, transepithelial flux of 14C-[d]-mannitol (MW 182.17) across the gastric mucosa increased by a mean of 68% immediately following the addition of 200μM omeprazole. This flux increase was bidirectional. Omeprazole also increased the paracellular permeability to larger radiolabeled probes, including 14C-sucrose (MW 342.3) and 14C-polyethylene glycol (MW 4,000) by 118% and 350%, respectively. However, the flux of still larger probes, 10,000 and 70,000MW dextrans, was not increased. Because PPIs are so widely used and are assumed to be innocuous, this transmucosal gastric leak must be further investigated, as it may carry considerable biomedical implications.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 07/2009; 54(7):1408-1417. · 2.55 Impact Factor
  • James M Mullin, Sonja M Skrovanek, Mary Carmen Valenzano
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    ABSTRACT: The relative abundance of various claudin proteins of LLC-PK(1) renal epithelial tight junctions (TJs) is modulated by culturing the cells in a medium that is sharply reduced in the sulfur-containing amino acids, cysteine, cystine, and methionine. The functional result is an epithelial barrier that has a higher transepithelial electrical resistance and a decreased paracellular leak to D-mannitol (i.e., improved barrier function). This is accomplished without affecting the culture's confluent cell density, its short circuit current, or its hallmark differentiated property, Na(+)-dependent sugar transport. The implications of being able to enhance epithelial TJ barrier function by nutritional means are discussed, particularly in light of the ability of methionine-restrictive diets to enhance life span and forestall age-related morbidity.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 06/2009; 1165:99-112. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Melissa Gabello, Mary Carmen Valenzano, Maura Barr, James M. Mullin
    Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). · 12.82 Impact Factor
  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 04/2009; 69(5). · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the most widely used drug classes in the US and are now frontline medications for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and dyspepsia. In a previous work, we observed that a transmucosal, upper gastrointestinal (GI) leak exists in Barrett's oesophagus (BO) patients. PPI medications are commonly used by Barrett's patients. To examine if the PPI, esomeprazole, affects the barrier function of the upper GI tract. The sucrose permeability test (SPT) was used to assess the possible effect of the PPI, esomeprazole, on upper GI leak in 37 first-time-presenting GERD patients and 25 healthy controls. Esomeprazole induced a significant transmucosal leak in the upper GI tract of patients taking the drug for the first time. The leak occurred quickly, within days of first taking the drug. The leak was also reversed within days of stopping the medication. This is the first patient-based study showing that a PPI compromises upper GI barrier function. There are potential implications for transmucosal leak of other medications that a patient on a PPI may be taking, as well as possible leak of endogenous peptides/proteins. The clinical consequences of this phenomenon are currently unknown, but are potentially important.
    Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 09/2008; 28(11-12):1317-25. · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the presence of Na+-dependent, active, sugar transport in Barrett's epithelia as an intestinal biomarker, based on the well-documented, morphological intestinal phenotype of Barrett's esophagus (BE). We examined uptake of the nonmeta-bolizable glucose analogue, alpha-methyl-D-glucoside (AMG), a substrate for the entire sodium glucose cotransporter (SGLT) family of transport proteins. During upper endoscopy, patients with BE or with uncomplicated gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) allowed for duodenal, gastric fundic, and esophageal mucosal biopsies to be taken. Biopsies were incubated in bicarbonate-buffered saline (KRB) containing 0.1 mmol/L 14C-AMG for 60 min at 20 centigrade. Characterized by abundant SGLT, duodenum served as a positive control while gastric fundus and normal esophagus, known to lack SGLT, served as negative controls. Duodenal biopsies accumulated 249.84+/-35.49 (SEM) picomoles AMG/microg DNA (n=12), gastric fundus biopsies 36.20+/-6.62 (n=12), normal esophagus 12.10+/-0.59 (n=3) and Barrett's metaplasia 29.79+/-5.77 (n=8). There was a statistical difference (P<0.01) between biopsies from duodenum and each other biopsy site but there was no statistically significant difference between normal esophagus and BE biopsies. 0.5 mmol/L phlorizin (PZ) inhibited AMG uptake into duodenal mucosa by over 89%, but had no significant effect on AMG uptake into gastric fundus, normal esophagus, or Barrett's tissue. In the absence of Na+ (all Na+ salts replaced by Li+ salts), AMG uptake in duodenum was decreased by over 90%, while uptake into gastric, esophageal or Barrett's tissue was statistically unaffected. Despite the intestinal enterocyte phenotype of BE, Na+-dependent, sugar transport activity is not present in these cells.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 04/2008; 14(9):1365-9. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    S Skrovanek, M C Valenzano, J M Mullin
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    ABSTRACT: Restriction of sulfur-containing amino acids (SCAA) has been shown to elicit a similar increase in life span and decrease in age-related morbidity as caloric restriction. The singular importance of epithelial barrier function in both physiological homeostasis and prevention of inflammation raised the issue of examining the effect of SCAA restriction on epithelial tight junction structure and permeability. Using a well-described in vitro, epithelial model, the LLC-PK(1) renal epithelial cell line, we studied the effects of SCAA restriction in culture medium. Reduction of methionine by 90%, cysteine by 50%, and total elimination of cystine resulted in dramatically lower intracellular pools of these amino acids and their metabolite, taurine, but the intracellular pools of the non-SCAA were all elevated. Cell growth and differentiation were maintained, and both confluent cell density and transepithelial short circuit current were unaffected. Certain tight junctional proteins, such as occludin and claudins-1 and -2 were not altered. However, claudins-3 and -7 were significantly decreased in abundance, whereas claudins-4 and -5 were markedly increased in abundance. The functional result of these structural changes was improved barrier function, as evidenced by increased transepithelial electrical resistance and decreased transepithelial (paracellular) diffusion of D-mannitol.
    AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 10/2007; 293(3):R1046-55. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 04/2007; 65(5). · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using orally administered sucrose as a probe of gastrointestinal permeability, this study focused on determining whether Barrett's metaplasia exhibits a paracellular transepithelial leak to small nonelectrolytes. Subjects in five separate classes (nonendoscoped, asymptomatic controls; endoscoped, asymptomatic controls; gastroesophageal reflux disease without mucosal complications; grossly visible esophagitis; and Barrett's esophagus) consumed a sucrose solution at bedtime and collected all overnight urine. Urine volume was measured and sucrose concentration was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Patients with Barrett's were observed to exhibit a transepithelial leak to sucrose whose mean value was threefold greater than that seen in healthy control subjects or patients with reflux but without any mucosal defect. A parallel study of claudin tight junction proteins in endoscopy biopsy samples showed that whereas Barrett's metaplasia contains dramatically more claudin-2 and claudin-3 than is found in normal esophageal mucosa, it is markedly lower in claudins 1 and 5, indicating very different tight junction barriers.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences 01/2007; 51(12):2326-36. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although ras mutations have been shown to affect epithelial architecture and polarity, their role in altering tight junctions remains unclear. Transfection of a valine-12 mutated ras construct into LLC-PK1 renal epithelia produces leakiness of tight junctions to certain types of solutes. Transepithelial permeability of D-mannitol increases sixfold but transepithelial electrical resistance increases >40%. This indicates decreased paracellular permeability to NaCl but increased permeability to nonelectrolytes. Permeability increases to D-mannitol (Mr 182), polyethylene glycol (Mr 4000), and 10,000-Mr methylated dextran but not to 2,000,000-Mr methylated dextran. This implies a "ceiling" on the size of solutes that can cross a ras-mutated epithelial barrier and therefore that the increased permeability is not due to loss of cells or junctions. Although the abundance of claudin-2 declined to undetectable levels in the ras-overexpressing cells compared with vector controls, levels of occludin and claudins 1, 4, and 7 increased. The abundance of claudins-3 and -5 remained unchanged. An increase in extracellular signal-regulated kinase-2 phosphorylation suggests that the downstream effects on the tight junction may be due to changes in the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. These selective changes in permeability may influence tumorigenesis by the types of solutes now able to cross the epithelial barrier.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 12/2005; 16(12):5538-50. · 4.55 Impact Factor
  • Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 04/2005; 61(5). · 4.90 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

159 Citations
96.45 Total Impact Points


  • 2003–2013
    • Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
      Wynnewood, Oklahoma, United States
  • 2009
    • Saint Joseph's University (PA, USA)
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Princeton University
      • Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 2005
    • Villanova University
      Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States