[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increased rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events has been described during and immediately after earthquakes. In this regard, few data are available on long-term blood pressure control in hypertensive outpatients after an earthquake. We evaluated the long-term effects of the April 2009 L'Aquila earthquake on blood pressure levels, as detected by 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Before/after (mean±s.d. 6.9±4.5/14.2±5.1 months, respectively) the earthquake, the available 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring data for the same patients were extracted from our database. Quake-related daily life discomforts were evaluated through interviews. We enrolled 47 patients (25 female, age 52±14 years), divided into three groups according to antihypertensive therapy changes after versus before the earthquake: unchanged therapy (n=24), increased therapy (n=17) and reduced therapy (n=6). Compared with before the quake, in the unchanged therapy group marked increases in 24 h (P=0.004), daytime (P=0.01) and nighttime (P=0.02) systolic blood pressure were observed after the quake. Corresponding changes in 24 h (P=0.005), daytime (P=0.01) and nighttime (P=0.009) diastolic blood pressure were observed. Daily life discomforts were reported more frequently in the unchanged therapy and increased therapy groups than the reduced therapy group (P=0.025 and P=0.018, respectively). In conclusion, this study shows that patients with unchanged therapy display marked blood pressure increments up to more than 1 year after an earthquake, as well as long-term quake-related discomfort. Our data suggest that particular attention to blood pressure levels and adequate therapy modifications should be considered after an earthquake, not only early after the event but also months later.Hypertension Research advance online publication, 18 April 2013; doi:10.1038/hr.2013.37.
Hypertension Research 04/2013; · 2.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelium homeostasis alterations govern the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Several studies show that vitamins anti-oxidant proprieties rescue the endothelial functions adversely affected by oxidative stress in several diseases. We investigated the vitamin D anti-oxidant potential in human endothelial cells exposed to H(2)O(2) oxidative stress. Vitamin D protected endothelial cells against H(2)O(2) oxidative stress counteracting the superoxide anion generation, the apoptosis and blocking the extrinsic caspase cascade by positively controlling phospho-active ERKs level. MEKs/ERKs inhibitor U0126 reverted the vitamin D anti-oxidant effects. Characterizing the vitamin D downstream effector, we found that vitamin D up-regulated SirT-1 and reverted the SirT-1 down-regulation induced by H(2)O(2). ERKs activation by vitamin D strictly correlated with SirT-1 protein accumulation since both MEKs/ERKs inhibition and ERK1/2 silencing decreased SIRT-1. SirT-1 inhibition by Sirtinol reverted the vitamin D anti-oxidant effects. Thus, vitamin D significantly reduced the endothelial malfunction and damage caused by oxidative stress, through the activation of MEKs/ERKs/SirT-1 axis.
Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research 12/2012; · 3.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperuricemia is commonly associated with traditional risk factors such as dysglicemia, dyslipidemia, central obesity and abnormal blood pressure, i.e. the metabolic syndrome. Concordantly, recent studies have revived the controversy over the role of circulating uric acid, hyperuricemia, and gout as an independent prognostic factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In this regard, different studies also evaluated the possible role of xanthine inhibitors in inducing blood pressure reduction, increment in flow-mediated dilation, and improved cardiovascular prognosis in various patient settings. The vast majority of these studies have been conducted with either allopurinol or its active metabolite oxypurinol, i.e. two purine-like non-selective inhibitors of xanthine oxidase. More recently, the role of uric acid as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the possible protective role exerted by reduction of hyperuricemia to normal level have been evaluated by the use of febuxostat, a selective, non purine-like xanthine oxidase inhibitor. In this review, we will report current evidence on hyperuricemia in cardiovascular disease. The value of uric acid as a biomarker and as a potential therapeutic target for tailored old and novel "cardiometabolic" treatments will be also discussed.
Current pharmaceutical design 11/2012; · 4.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Raynaud phenomenon (RP) is an exaggerated and reversible vasospasm of small arteries triggered by cold or emotional stress. Primary RP (PRP) term is used when the underlying condition is unknown. An altered regulation in vascular tone and/or release of soluble mediators from activated platelets plays a role in PRP through an increased oxidative stress. We assessed platelet activation and oxidative stress in patients with PRP by measuring platelet PAC-1, an index of glycoprotein (Gp) IIb/IIIa receptor activation, thromboxane A(2) (TXA(2)), an index of platelet activation and 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2α) (8-epi-PGF(2α)), a marker of endogenous in vivo peroxidation.
Eighteen asymptomatic patients with PRP (age 41.37 ± 16.94 years; 17 women, 1 man) and 18 healthy subjects (age of 35.11 ± 13.16 years; 16 women, 2 men) were studied. PAC-1 was analysed by flow cytometry while circulating TXB(2) , a stable metabolite of TXA(2) and 8-epi-PGF(2α) levels were assessed by ELISA kit.
Our results show a significant platelet activation in PRP patients as indicated by increased PAC-1 expression (65.29 ± 15.24%; P < 0.001), TXB(2) (1477.83 ± 454.04 pg/mL; P= 0.003) and 8-epi-PGF(2α) circulating levels (42.50 ± 14.14 ng/mL; P < 0.001). An inverse correlation between the degree of PAC-1 expression and TXB(2) levels (r=-0.527; P= 0.02) was also found in PRP patients, suggesting that downregulation of GpIIb/IIIa receptor expression may occur during thrombocytopoiesis, as a consequence of the chronic exposure to increased TXB(2) concentration.
Our study for the first time shows a marked activation of GpIIb/IIIa receptor in asymptomatic patients with PRP and supports antiplatelet therapy in PRP patients.
Internal Medicine Journal 12/2010; 42(5):531-5. · 1.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immunoreaction for acrosin in different morphological types of human spermatozoa was evaluated by light microscopy in the semen of 68 male partners of infertile couples. The antigen had a cup-shaped distribution in the anterior region of the head in normal spermatozoa, and in those with an isolated abnormal mid-piece or tail. On the contrary acrosin was absent, or it did not show a cup-shaped immunostaining, in most spermatozoa with malformed heads with the exception of those with a large oval form. The assessment of immunoreaction for acrosin and of vitality of different morphological types of spermatozoa in the same ejaculates, suggested that the antigen was intrinsically absent in abnormal-headed but vital spermatozoa. It is concluded that an inherent lack, or an abnormal synthesis of acrosin during spermatogenesis is associated to the abnormal development of the spermatozoa head.Zusammenfassung: Mittels der Lichtmikroskopie wurde die Immunreaktion für Akrosin bei verschiedenen Formen menschlicher Spermatozoen im Sperma von 68 Männern aus einer infertilen Ehe untersucht. Es zeigte sich eine kappenförmige Verteilung des Antigens in der vorderen Region des normalen Spermatozotenkopfes und zwar bei einer isolierten Abnormalität des Mittelteils oder des Schwanzes. Im Gegensatz dazu fehlte Akrosin bzw. zeigte keine kappenförmige Immunfärbung bei den meisten Spermatozoen mit Fehlbildungen des Kopfes jedoch nicht bei den großen ovalen Formen. Die Beurteilung der Immunreaktion für Akrosin und der Vitalität bei den verschiedenen morphologischen Formen der Spermatozoen in den gleichen Ejakulaten legt es nahe, daß das Antigen wirklich abwesend war bei abnormalen Kopfformen, die jedoch vitalen Spermatozoen angehörten. Hieraus wird die Schlußfolgerung gezogen, daß ein angeborener Mangel oder eine abnormale Synthese des Akrosins während der Spermatogenese mit der abnormalen Entwicklung des Spermatozoenkopfes vergesellschaftet ist.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A direct immunofluorescence (DIF) test using sperm suspensions and F (ab')2 antisera was carried out on 30 patients with sperm-agglutinating (SA) activity and on 25 negative controls. Its results were related with the occurrence of SA activity in serum and seminal plasma, with the results of the indirect IF test and those of the direct IgG-MAR test. DIF test gave positive results in all patients with significant serum SA activity, even when it was undetectable in seminal plasma, except in 2 cases with serum IF-reactivity for IgM, and negative results in all controls. IgG were involved in IF-reactivity in 88.4% of positive cases and IgA in 42.3%. IgA were always found in association with sustained SA activity in seminal plasma. In these cases the IgG-MAR test might not result strongly positive, in spite of the high titre of SA activity in semen.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 500 infertile patients (250 with and 250 without left side varicocele) and 33 fertile men were evaluated as far as seminal parameters and the hormonal status were concerned. Sperm motility was constantly lower in infertile patients also when infertile group was compared to fertile one with the same sperm density. Serum testosterone levels were lower in infertile groups when compared to fertile men, and this confirms the existence of an androgenic deficit as a common finding in infertility associated or not to varicocele. FSH and LH increased (p less than 0.001) when sperm density dropped to less than 5 X 10(6) spermatozoa/ml. A negative correlation was found between both gonadotropins and sperm count (p less than 0.001), also after exclusion of azoo- and oligozoospermic (less than 5 X 10(6) spermatozoa/ml) patients (p less than 0.01). Gonadotropins were moreover tightly correlated between each other (p less than 0.001). Our data suggest that both gonadotropins are tightly tuned with sperm output and thus with the spermatogenic potential.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, protect vascular endothelium, and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. We sought to test the effect of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (FRDC) on endothelial function, insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, and blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). After a run-in phase, 19 hypertensives with IGT (11 males, 8 females; 44.8 +/- 8.0 y) were randomized to receive isocalorically either FRDC or flavanol-free white chocolate (FFWC) at 100 g/d for 15 d. After a wash-out period, patients were switched to the other treatment. Clinical and 24-h ambulatory BP was determined by sphygmometry and oscillometry, respectively, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), oral glucose tolerance test, serum cholesterol and C-reactive protein, and plasma homocysteine were evaluated after each treatment phase. FRDC but not FFWC ingestion decreased insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; P < 0.0001) and increased insulin sensitivity (quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, insulin sensitivity index (ISI), ISI(0); P < 0.05) and beta-cell function (corrected insulin response CIR(120); P = 0.035). Systolic (S) and diastolic (D) BP decreased (P < 0.0001) after FRDC (SBP, -3.82 +/- 2.40 mm Hg; DBP, -3.92 +/- 1.98 mm Hg; 24-h SBP, -4.52 +/- 3.94 mm Hg; 24-h DBP, -4.17 +/- 3.29 mm Hg) but not after FFWC. Further, FRDC increased FMD (P < 0.0001) and decreased total cholesterol (-6.5%; P < 0.0001), and LDL cholesterol (-7.5%; P < 0.0001). Changes in insulin sensitivity (Delta ISI - Delta FMD: r = 0.510, P = 0.001; Delta QUICKI - Delta FMD: r = 0.502, P = 0.001) and beta-cell function (Delta CIR(120) - Delta FMD: r = 0.400, P = 0.012) were directly correlated with increases in FMD and inversely correlated with decreases in BP (Delta ISI - Delta 24-h SBP: r = -0.368, P = 0.022; Delta ISI - Delta 24-h DBP r = -0.384, P = 0.017). Thus, FRDC ameliorated insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function, decreased BP, and increased FMD in IGT hypertensive patients. These findings suggest flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa food products may have a positive impact on CVD risk factors.
Journal of Nutrition 10/2008; 138(9):1671-6. · 4.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C-reactive protein (CRP) is the first acute phase protein that has been described in the literature. It is phylogenetically ancient and - with serum amyloid P - belongs to proteins named as “pentraxin”. After being considered a marker of acute inflammation for several decades and fruitfully used in clinical practice, CRP has been recently considered as a potential contributor to inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis as well as a marker of cardiovascular risk. With regard to the first topic, inflammation is now believed to represent the underlying mechanism leading to the formation of human atheroma and favouring both the destabilization of vulnerable plaques and the formation of occlusive thrombi. In this regard, numerous studies indicated that modest changes in circulating CRP levels, as detected by highly sensitive methods, can be extremely useful in predicting cardiovascular and perhaps cerebrovascular diseases in apparently healthy individuals as well as in patients affected by atherosclerosis. Subjects manifesting with identical low density cholesterol and/or blood pressure levels have different rates of cardiovascular accidents on the basis of different circulating CRP concentrations. In addition, women with identical cardiovascular risk profiles developed more type 2 diabetes in the presence of higher circulating CRP levels and thereby are expected to display divergent cardiovascular prognosis. Therefore, even slight changes in circulating CRP concentrations - assuming that blood is collected appropriately and CRP is measured with correct methods - could help clinicians in defining individual cardiovascular risk. In this review, we have firstly described the current understanding of the structure of CRP, its function, and interaction with the vascular endothelial cell. Then, we have discussed how to measure circulating CRP and the more recent findings on the suggested role of circulating CRP as a novel cardiovascular risk factor.
Current Pharmaceutical Design 05/2007; 13(16):1631-1645. · 3.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C-reactive protein (CRP) is the first acute phase protein that has been described in the literature. It is phylogenetically ancient and - with serum amyloid P - belongs to proteins named as "pentraxin". After being considered a marker of acute inflammation for several decades and fruitfully used in clinical practice, CRP has been recently considered as a potential contributor to inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis as well as a marker of cardiovascular risk. With regard to the first topic, inflammation is now believed to represent the underlying mechanism leading to the formation of human atheroma and favouring both the destabilization of vulnerable plaques and the formation of occlusive thrombi. In this regard, numerous studies indicated that modest changes in circulating CRP levels, as detected by highly sensitive methods, can be extremely useful in predicting cardiovascular and perhaps cerebrovascular diseases in apparently healthy individuals as well as in patients affected by atherosclerosis. Subjects manifesting with identical low density cholesterol and/or blood pressure levels have different rates of cardiovascular accidents on the basis of different circulating CRP concentrations. In addition, women with identical cardiovascular risk profiles developed more type 2 diabetes in the presence of higher circulating CRP levels and thereby are expected to display divergent cardiovascular prognosis. Therefore, even slight changes in circulating CRP concentrations - assuming that blood is collected appropriately and CRP is measured with correct methods - could help clinicians in defining individual cardiovascular risk. In this review, we have firstly described the current understanding of the structure of CRP, its function, and interaction with the vascular endothelial cell. Then, we have discussed how to measure circulating CRP and the more recent findings on the suggested role of circulating CRP as a novel cardiovascular risk factor.
Current pharmaceutical design 02/2007; 13(16):1631-45. · 4.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past few years, a number of experimental evidences suggested the involvement of Fas Ligand (FasL) expressing Sertoli cells to induce apoptosis of Fas bearing germ cells. However, the FasL expression during testicular development and its cell specific localization within the testis is still a matter of debate. In the present study, we have monitored FasL expression during rat testis development by semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and evaluated cell specific localization of FasL expression, by in situ RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, on adult rat testis. RT-PCR analysis, performed on total RNA from rat testes obtained from 1 day up to 1-year-old animals, demonstrated the presence of FasL transcripts at all developmental stages examined. In situ RT-PCR analysis clearly indicated the presence of FasL mRNA in Sertoli cells of adult testis, while we could never detect FasL transcripts in germ cells. Immunohistochemistry experiments showed a strong immunostaining for FasL in Sertoli cells of adult testis and again, no immunopositivity was observed in germ cells. In conclusion, our data suggest that FasL expression in rat testis is present from the early postnatal days up to the adult, and the Sertoli cells is the main FasL expressing cell within the seminiferous tubule.
International Journal of Andrology 11/2004; 27(5):304-10. · 3.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelial cell activation (ECA) is an initiating event in atherosclerosis. Biochemical measures of ECA were evaluated in patients with erectile dysfunction (ED) associated or not associated with cardiovascular risk factors (VRFs) to assess whether ED is a sentinel of atherosclerosis.
Circulating soluble P-selectin, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and endothelin-1 concentrations were assessed in 45 men with ED but no VRFs, 45 men with ED associated with VRFs and 25 healthy men. Ultrasound intima-media thickness of carotid arteries and pharmacologically stimulated peak systolic velocity of cavernous arteries were used to assess vascular damage.
Measures of ECA were higher in men with ED but no VRFs than in controls (p <0.01) and all were comparable among groups of men with ED. Levels of endothelin-1 in men with ED and no VRFs versus healthy men of the same age resulted in the best independent predictor for ED after adjusting for the confounding effect of increased body mass index and smoking (OR 5.37, 95% CI 2.12 to 19.70). Intima-media thickness of carotid arteries was comparable in controls and in men with ED but no VRFs, and ruled out the bias of overt damage of large arteries in the latter. Peak systolic velocity of cavernous arteries excluded vasculogenic ED in the majority of patients with no VRFs.
Increased biochemical measures of ECA were associated with ED independent of coexisting VRFs and overt vascular damage, suggesting that ED is a sentinel of early atherosclerosis.
The Journal of Urology 04/2004; 171(4):1601-4. · 3.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictor, is released in response to several inflammatory cytokines after heart transplantation. The present study correlated patterns of myocardial ET-1 expression in heart biopsies with acute rejection, post-transplantation ischemic injury, and subsequent development of coronary vasculopathy.
Patterns of myocardial ET-1 expression were evaluated in 47 heart transplant recipients at 3 months after transplant. Transplant vasculopathy was documented by coronary angiography at 2 years after transplant. Expression of ET-1 was tabulated for both blood vessels and the interstitium. Vascular ET-1 expression was positive in 7/17 (41%) of patients with greater than grade 2 (International Society Heart Lung Transplant) rejection compared with 3/30 (10%) of patients with grade 0 and grade 1A rejection (P=0.02). Compared with patients with negative interstitial ET-1 expression (n=22), patients with positive interstitial ET-1 expression (n=25) had higher incidence of post-transplantation ischemic injury (52% versus 9%, P=0.002), lower mean episodes of acute rejection (> or = grade 2) during the first 3 months of transplant (1.09+/-0.66 versus 1.86+/-1.6, P=0.048), and more common vasculopathy at 2 years (50% versus 15%, P=0.02), and they tended to have worse survival (83.2% versus 100%, P=0.058).
Vascular ET-1 expression is likely to be associated with acute rejection. Interstitial ET-1 expression, however, is more likely to be associated with post-transplantation ischemic injury and subsequent development of coronary vasculopathy.