Pietro Di Cecco

Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (16)54.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recently, adrenomedullin (ADM) was defined as a new member of the adipokine family. ADM secreted by adipocytes, through its vasodilator and antioxidant actions, might be protective against metabolic syndrome-associated cardiovascular complications. The aim of the study was to assess plasma mid-regional (MR)-proADM levels in obese adolescents compared to normal-weight subjects and its relation with BMI, body composition and metabolic indices. Plasma MR-proADM was measured in 32 healthy adolescents [BMI z-score (mean ± SEM) = 0.6 ± 0.09 and 0.8 ± 0.07 in females and males, respectively] and in 51 age-matched obese adolescents [BMI z-score (mean ± SEM) = 2.8 ± 0.12 and 2.9 ± 0.08 in female and males, respectively] by a time-resolved amplified cryptate emission technology assay. Plasma MR-proADM levels resulted significantly higher in obese than in normal-weight adolescents (MR-proADM: 0.33 ± 0.1 vs 0.40 ± 0.1 nmol/L, p < 0.0001). Using univariate analysis, we observed that MR-proADM correlated significantly with BMI z-score (p < 0.0001), fat mass (p < 0.0001), circulating insulin (p < 0.004), HOMA-IR (p < 0.005), total cholesterol (p < 0.03) and LDL-cholesterol (p < 0.05). Including MR-proADM as response variable and its significant correlates into a multiple regression analysis, we observed that fat mass (p = 0.014) and BMI z-score (p = 0.036) were independent determinants of circulating MR-proADM. Our study shows for the first time that obese adolescents have higher circulating levels of MR-proADM compared with normal-weight, appropriate controls suggesting its important involvement in obese patients.
    European Journal of Nutrition 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00394-015-0938-6 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims/hypothesis Cardiac steatosis and myocardial insulin resistance elevate the risk of cardiac complications in obesity and diabetes. We aimed to disentangle the effects of circulating glucose, insulin and NEFA on myocardial triacylglycerol (TG) content and myocardial glucose uptake. Methods Twenty-two pigs were stratified according to four protocols: low NEFA+low insulin (nicotinic acid), high NEFA+low insulin (fasting) and high insulin+low NEFA +/- high glucose (hyperinsulinaemia-hyperglycaemia or hyperinsulinaemia-euglycaemia). Positron emission tomography, [U-C-13]palmitate enrichment techniques and tissue biopsies were used to assess myocardial metabolism. Heart rate and rate-pressure product (RPP) were monitored. Results Myocardial glucose extraction was increased by NEFA suppression and was similar in the hyperinsulinaemia-hypergylcaemia, hyperinsulinaemia-euglycaemia and nicotinic acid groups. Hyperglycaemia enhanced myocardial glucose uptake due to a mass action. Myocardial TG content was greatest in the fasting group, whereas hyperinsulinaemia had a mild effect. Heart rate and RPP increased in hyperinsulinaemia-euglycaemia, in which cardiac glycogen content was reduced. Heart rate correlated with myocardial TG and glycogen content. Conclusions/interpretation Elevated NEFA levels represent a powerful, self-sufficient promoter of cardiac TG accumulation and are a downregulator of myocardial glucose uptake, indicating that the focus of treatment should be to 'normalise' adipose tissue function to lower the risk of cardiac TG accumulation and myocardial insulin resistance. The observation that hyperinsulinaemia and nicotinic acid led to myocardial fuel deprivation provides a potential explanation for the cardiovascular outcomes reported in recent intensive glucose-lowering and NEFA-lowering clinical trials.
    Diabetologia 06/2014; 57(9). DOI:10.1007/s00125-014-3307-8 · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are often associated with the co-occurrence of coronary atherosclerosis and cardiac dysfunction. The aim of this study was to define the independent relationships between left ventricular dysfunction or ischaemia and patterns of myocardial perfusion and metabolism in type 2 diabetes. Twenty-four type 2 diabetic patients--12 with coronary artery disease (CAD) and preserved left ventricular function and 12 with non-ischaemic heart failure (HF)--were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to assess myocardial blood flow (MBF) at rest, after pharmacological stress and under euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemia. Insulin-mediated myocardial glucose disposal was determined with 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoroglucose PET. There was no difference in myocardial glucose uptake (MGU) between the healthy myocardium of CAD patients and the dysfunctional myocardium of HF patients. MGU was strongly influenced by levels of systemic insulin resistance in both groups (CAD, r = 0.85, p = 0.005; HF, r = 0.77, p = 0.01). In HF patients, there was an inverse association between MGU and the coronary flow reserve (r = -0.434, p = 0.0115). A similar relationship was observed in non-ischaemic segments of CAD patients. Hyperinsulinaemia increased MBF to a similar extent in the non-ischaemic myocardial of CAD and HF patients. In type 2 diabetes, similar metabolic and perfusion patterns can be detected in the non-ischaemic regions of CAD patients with normal cardiac function and in the dysfunctional non-ischaemic myocardium of HF patients. This suggests that insulin resistance, rather than diagnosis of ischaemia or left ventricular dysfunction, affects the metabolism and perfusion features of patients with type 2 diabetes.
    Diabetologia 07/2012; 55(9):2494-500. DOI:10.1007/s00125-012-2631-0 · 6.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular and metabolic vulnerability have an early developmental origin. We evaluated the potential influence of innate life factors, including the metabolism of the mother and the sex of the offspring, on cardiometabolic risk, including organ-specific insulin resistance, subclinical cardiac dysfunction, and DNA oxidative damage throughout the lifespan. Two female minipigs were studied during late pregnancy, and their offspring were restudied at the ages of 1 mo (n = 11), 6 mo (n = 9), and 9 mo (n = 10, 6 offspring and 4 age-matched animals). We measured insulin-mediated glucose disposal in skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, liver, and myocardium using (18)F-FDG PET; cardiac function using 2-dimensional strain echocardiography; and DNA damage using the comet assay. Glucose metabolism showed the 2 sows to have differences similar to those in their respective 1-mo-old offspring. Over time, compared with female animals, male animals developed myocardial insulin resistance (male animals vs. female animals: 34 ± 5 vs. 58 ± 8 μmol/min/kg at 6 mo, P = 0.03; 29 ± 8 vs. 60 ± 7 μmol/min/kg at 9 mo, P = 0.02). Cardiac function progressively deteriorated in male animals from 1 mo (radial strain, -60% ± 7%; strain rate, -5.4 ± 0.9 s(-1)) to 6 mo (radial strain, -41% ± 5%; strain rate, -2.5 ± 0.2 s(-1), P < 0.05 vs. 1 mo) and 9 mo (radial strain, -32% ± 5%; strain rate, -1.6 ± 0.2 s(-1), P < 0.01 vs. 1 mo) and was significantly different from that in female animals (radial strain, -48% ± 4%; strain rate, -3.1 ± 0.2 s(-1), P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). Oxidative damage was reduced in female animals and increased in male animals across age categories (P < 0.05). The metabolism of minipig offspring is influenced by maternal insulin sensitivity during early life stages. Sex-related effects prevail thereafter in healthy minipigs, documenting a precocious onset of cardiometabolic vulnerability in male offspring.
    Journal of Nuclear Medicine 12/2011; 52(12):1993-2000. DOI:10.2967/jnumed.111.087882 · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic hyperglycaemia aggravates obesity and diabetes mellitus. The use of glucose by body organs depends on several factors. We sought to investigate the role of blood flow, intrinsic tissue glucose clearance and blood glucose levels in regulating tissue glucose uptake under fasting conditions (FCs) and in response to acute hyperglycaemia (AH) in obese and type 2 diabetic rats. Thirty-six Zucker rats were studied by positron emission tomography to quantify perfusion and glucose uptake during FC and after AH in the liver, myocardium, skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue. Progressively higher glucose uptake rates were observed from lean to obese (p < 0.05) and to diabetic rats (p < 0.05) in all tissues during both FC and AH. In FC, they were increased of 7-18 times in obese rats and 11-30 times in diabetic rats versus controls. Tissue glucose uptake was increased by over 10-fold during AH in controls; this response was severely blunted in diseased groups. AH tended to stimulate organ perfusion in control rats. Tissue glucose uptake was a function of intrinsic clearance and glycaemia (mass action) in healthy animals, but the latter component was lost in diseased animals. Differences in perfusion did not account for those in glucose uptake. Each organ participates actively in the regulation of its glucose uptake, which is dependent on intrinsic tissue substrate extraction and extrinsic blood glucose delivery, but not on perfusion, and it is potently stimulated by AH. Obese and diabetic rats had an elevated organ glucose uptake but a blunted response to acute glucose intake.
    Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD 03/2011; 21(9):726-32. DOI:10.1016/j.numecd.2010.11.006 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enhanced release of triglycerides (TG) by the liver is implicated in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether a primary elevation in hepatic glucose utilization (HGU), as induced by an acute rise in circulating glucose values during physiological hyperinsulinemia, promotes TG synthesis in spite of the reduction in free fatty acids (FFA) levels. Glucose dose-response studies were conducted in anesthetized pigs using positron emission tomography (PET) to quantify HGU during fasting euglycemic conditions (EF), and under two-step hyperglycemic hyperinsulinemia (1st-HH +3.0, 2nd-HH +6.0 mmol/L over EF glucose values). Liver biopsies were obtained in three animals to evaluate the relationship between glucose exposure and hepatic fat content. Plasma glucose levels were progressively increased in the two-step studies, and otherwise stable within every hour of PET scanning. HGU increased almost fivefold with raising glucose levels, from 0.033 ± 0.009 in EF to 0.149 ± 0.043 in 1st-HH, p = 0.02, and to 0.138 ± 0.050 μmol/min/g in 2nd-HH, p = 0.03. Circulating TG concentrations increased by 50 and 100% in the two hyperglycemic conditions (p = 0.03 2nd-HH vs. EF), in spite of a 70% suppression in plasma FFA levels. The hepatic TG content paralleled the glucose loads. Plasma γ-glutamyl transferase (γ-GT) was increased by 17% (p < 0.05). A short-term elevation in circulating glucose levels within the physiological postprandial range was sufficient to increase HGU, resulting in a significant synthesis and release of TG by the liver, which was accompanied by an acute rise in γ-GT and liver fat content.
    Endocrine Research 01/2011; 36(1):9-18. DOI:10.3109/07435800.2010.534751 · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency (RF) ablation of arrhythmias induces myocardial damage and release of biomarkers. This study aimed to assess the kinetics of heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (h-FABP), a cytosolic protein released after myocardial injury incurred by both atrial and ventricular RF ablation, compared to other markers of myocardial injury. h-FABP, cTnI, CK-MB(mass) and myoglobin were evaluated in 30 patients with atrial or ventricular tachyarrhythmias before, immediately after and at 3, 6 and 24h after the procedure. h-FABP increased immediately after the procedure in all subjects (6.6 ± 1.2 μg/L vs 2.7 ± 0.3, p<0.001) but increased significantly only in ventricular ablations. The peak of h-FABP significantly correlates with the values of time for mean power of RF application in both the entire patient cohort and in ventricular ablations. h-FABP may be an early parameter for monitoring RF-induced lesions and the site of ablation was relevant for biomarker increase.
    Clinical biochemistry 10/2010; 43(15):1241-5. DOI:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2010.08.003 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of biomarker assay such as cardiac troponins and H-FABP is assuming a pivotal role not only in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with acute coronary syndromes. Radiofrequency (RF) ablation represents a widely used method for the non pharmacologic treatment of arrhythmias.We report a case of a patient complaining of life-threatening arrhythmias treated by RF in whom temporal changes of cardiac biomarkers was determined after the procedure.
    Recenti progressi in medicina 09/2010; 101(9):364-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Lectin-like oxidized-low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) is increasingly linked to atherosclerotic plaque formation and the soluble form of this receptor may reflect activities of disease. We investigated the associations among levels of sLOX-1, oxidized-low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), cytokines and the extension of atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Lipid, TNF-alpha, IL-6, C reactive protein (CRP), ox-LDL, peroxy radical and sLOX-1 levels were measured in 29 controls and 60 patients with CAD, 30 of which with one or two vessels involved (group 1), and 30 patients with three or four vessels involved (group 2). The serum levels of sLOX-1 were significantly and progressively higher in group 1 [611 (346-1,313) pg/ml, median (interquartile range)] and in group 2 [2,143 (824-3,201) pg/ml] than in control subjects [268 (111-767) pg/ml]. LOX-1 levels positively correlated with IL-6 (r = 0.38, P = 0.0042), TNF-alpha (r = 0.38, P = 0.0037), CRP levels (r = 0.32, P = 0.027) and age (r = 0.25, P = 0.048). In the multivariate analysis TNF-alpha resulted the only independent determinant of LOX-1 serum levels (beta-value = 0.304, P = 0.017). These findings suggest that sLOX-1 levels are up-regulated during CAD progression and are associated with inflammatory markers. The measurement of the circulating soluble form of this receptor may be potentially useful in predicting CAD progression in humans.
    Lipids 10/2008; 43(10):945-50. DOI:10.1007/s11745-008-3227-9 · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Primary aldosteronism is increasingly investigated in hypertension being associated with an elevated cardiovascular risk. Aldosterone has been reported to increase in the luteal phase in normal women but to our knowledge the influence of the ovarian cycle on the first screening for primary aldosteronism (that is, on the levels of plasma aldosterone and its relationship to PRA levels) was never investigated. We measured hormonal levels during one cycle in 26 low-renin mild hypertensive outpatients. LH, FSH, 17 beta-estradiol, progesterone, aldosterone and PRA were assayed at the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth days of the cycle after 30 min of recumbency. Aldosterone and PRA increased from the seventh (follicular phase) to twenty-first day (luteal phase) from 11.2 to 17.8 ng 100 ml(-1) and from 0.23 to 0.35 ng ml(-1) h(-1), respectively (both P=0.004) The proportion of patients with aldosterone >15 ng 100 ml(-1) significantly increased from the follicular to the luteal phase, (8/26 vs 19/25, P=0.018); a similar increase was found for Aldosterone-PRA Ratio >30 combined with either a minimum PRA value of 0.5 ng ml(-1) h(-1) or aldosterone >15 ng 100 ml(-1) (7/26 vs 16/25 and 7/26 vs 17/25 respectively, P<0.05). Aldosterone was positively related to PRA and progesterone. Higher aldosterone levels may be frequently encountered in the second part of the ovarian cycle in low-renin hypertensive women. This variability appears to be an important factor to be taken into account in the first-step laboratory screening for primary aldosteronism and should be considered in the process of standardization of the diagnostic work-up for this disease.
    Journal of Human Hypertension 09/2008; 23(2):130-5. DOI:10.1038/jhh.2008.109 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether hydroperoxide levels, an index of oxidative stress, predict cardiac and total death in patients with cardiovascular disease. Serum hydroperoxide levels were measured in 157 consecutive inpatients, followed during a mean follow-up of 20+/-0.3 months. Elevated oxidative stress resulted in an independent predictors for cardiac death, suggesting that hydroperoxide evaluation could provide an adjunctive estimate in the evaluation of prognosis in the cardiovascular clinical setting.
    International Journal of Cardiology 07/2006; 110(3):415-6. DOI:10.1016/j.ijcard.2005.08.046 · 6.18 Impact Factor
  • V Lubrano, P Di Cecco, G C Zucchelli
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    ABSTRACT: Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is reported to be the major enzymatic defence against free radicals and common oxidants. EC-SOD is the only extracellular form of SOD present at a high concentration in vascular intima. The aims of the present study were to elucidate the role of EC-SOD in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and evaluate its association with free radicals, inflammation and with the severity of the disease. The study included 36 consecutive subjects with CAD being treated in the Institute of Clinical Physiology (33 males, 3 females) and 19 controls (16 males, 2 females). Each subject, after cardiac catheterisation and coronariography, was evaluated for serum EC-SOD activity, peroxy radicals, high-sensitive interleukin-6 (hs-IL-6), high-sensitive tumour necrosis factor (hs-TNFa) and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) serum levels. The analysis of EC-SOD serum activity did not show any particular difference between patients and controls, while the serum levels of peroxy radicals, hs-IL-6 and hs-CRP showed a significant difference between the two groups (respectively: P<0.01, P<0.001, P<0.01). Moreover, enhancement of hs-IL-6 serum levels was also observed in severe disease (involvement of 3, 4 coronary arteries; P<0.05), while EC-SOD activity showed a slight increment in association with the number of arteries involved. hs-IL-6 concentrations were statistically significantly associated with peroxy radicals and CRP levels (respectively: P<0.05, r2=0.1; P<0.05, r2=0.14). The present study suggests a low effectiveness of EC-SOD activity in prevention against CAD and further confirms hs-IL-6 as a useful marker in diagnostic prevention and in clinical characterisation of CAD.
    Clinical and Experimental Medicine 07/2006; 6(2):84-8. DOI:10.1007/s10238-006-0100-0 · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The d-ROMs test for the evaluation of serum hydroperoxides (HP) is simple, reliable, and cheap. Furthermore, it can easily be adapted to automated analyzers. Changing from the manual to an automated procedure allows the simultaneous processing of a large number of samples in a greatly reduced time, avoiding manual handling of samples and reagents and reducing variability sources. This study was performed to adjust the manual procedure to a routine automated method in the clinical laboratory. We carried out the d-ROMs test in sera from 90 subjects of both sexes (34 men and 56 women) with age ranging from 20 to 80 years (mean 51+/-14 years). All subjects were free from acute or chronic inflammatory disease, immunological disease and history or evidence of malignancy. Subjects were not on vitamin and/or antioxidant therapies. The detection limit of the assay was 40 AU. Linearity was observed up to 475 AU. The recovery ranged between 97% and 105%. Within- and between-run imprecision was <5%. The mean HP value was 304+/-8 AU, with no significant difference between men (291+/-10 AU) and women (311+/-11 AU). A significant positive correlation was observed between age and HP in the whole population (r=0.4, p=0.0002). The automated test for the estimation of serum hydroperoxides represents a reliable and feasible procedure for increasing efficiency and reducing costs compared to the manual method, and is particularly suitable for evaluating oxidative stress in a variety of clinical conditions.
    Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 02/2006; 44(11):1372-5. DOI:10.1515/CCLM.2006.243 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endogenous ouabain (EO), which is structurally identical to the cardiac glycoside ouabain, has been isolated in human plasma. The substance EO has been implicated in states of volume expansion and in some types of arterial hypertension, especially as a factor of salt sensitivity of blood pressure. On the other hand, salt sensitivity has been described in low-renin hypertension. The aim of this study was to determine the response of plasma EO to acute sodium expansion in low-renin hypertension. We performed an acute intravenous sodium load (2 L of saline in 4 h) in 13 hypertensive subjects with low renin values (<0.65 ng/mL/h). We measured EO in plasma extracts by a radioimmunoassay and compared it with other endocrine parameters including atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), aldosterone (ALDO), cortisol (CORT), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and plasma renin activity (PRA). We found that EO showed only a mild nonsignificant decrease after saline infusion (from 938.8+/-218.8 pmol/L to 781.4+/-181.4 pmol/L ouabain equivalents), whereas ALDO and PRA significantly decreased (P<.0001; P<.05 respectively). The ANP significantly increased, as a marker of effective volume expansion (P<.01). At the end of the infusion, we found that EO was positively related to ACTH levels and to ALDO changes from baseline. Our results do not support the hypothesis that EO is stimulated in low-renin hypertension by acute salt-volume expansion. ACTH could be a factor modulating EO secretion in this condition.
    American Journal of Hypertension 08/2005; 18(7):906-9. DOI:10.1016/j.amjhyper.2005.01.007 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The determination of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) is commonly used for detecting the presence of residual thyroid tissue or cancer recurrence in patients treated for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance characteristics of a recently introduced fully automated chemiluminescent immunoassay, based on four monoclonal antibodies and which produces results in 40 min. Analytical sensitivity (0.01 micro g/l) was computed from 20 replicates of the zero calibrator and of the 'Tg-free' sample pool. Functional sensitivity (0.1 micro g/l at 20 coefficients of variation percent) was determined from the imprecision profile obtained by assaying ten serum pools. The reliability of the measurements in the low concentration range (Tg<1 micro g/l) has been checked by progressive dilution with the 'Tg-free' serum of a sample pool at 5.27 micro g/l; measured values were very close to the expected values (recovery 100-133%).Cut-off at the 99th percentile in DTC stage I 'disease-free' treated patients (n=53) was 0.16 micro g/l. Tg measurement in basal conditions during L-thyroxine suppression therapy and 5 days after recombinant human TSH stimulation was performed in 22 patients with DTC. In 80% of patients with basal Tg<0.1 micro g/l (12/15), Tg remained<0.1 micro g/l after stimulation, and in all of these Tg was<1 micro g/l. Our results have indicated the optimal analytical and clinical performance of this Tg immunoassay and encourage further studies on larger populations of patients with DTC.
    Journal of Endocrinology 08/2004; 182(2):287-94. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OR-39Key Words: Ouabain-Like-Factor, Salt, Renin