[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) can affect post-translational processes, thus being responsible for decreased farnesylation and geranylgeranylation of intracellular small G proteins such as Ras, Rho and Rac, essential for cell survival and proliferation. In this regard, recent in vitro and in vivo studies suggest a possible role for both statins and farnesyl transferase inhibitors in the treatment of malignancies. Within such a context, the aim of our study was to investigate effects of either simvastatin (at concentrations of 1, 15, and 30 μm) or the farnesyl transferase inhibitor R115777 (at concentrations of 0.1, 1, and 10 μm), on two cultures of human non-small lung cancer cells, adenocarcinoma (GLC-82) and squamous (CALU-1) cell lines. In particular, we evaluated actions of these two drugs on phosphorylation of the ERK1/2 group of mitogen-activated protein kinases and on apoptosis, plus on cell numbers and morphology. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Western blotting was used to detect ERK phosphorylation, and to assess apoptosis by evaluating caspase-3 activation; apoptosis was also further assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) assay. Cell counting was performed after trypan blue staining. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: In both GLC-82 and CALU-1 cell lines, simvastatin and R115777 significantly reduced ERK phosphorylation; this effect, which reached the greatest intensity after 36 h treatment, was paralleled by a concomitant induction of apoptosis, documented by significant increase in both caspase-3 activation and TUNEL-positive cells, associated with a reduction in cell numbers. Our results thus suggest that simvastatin and R115777 may exert, in susceptible lung cancer cell phenotypes, a pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative activity, which appears to be mediated by inhibition of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signalling cascade.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Omalizumab is a humanized monoclonal anti-IgE antibody approved in 2005 by the European Medicine Agency (EMA) for the treatment of severe persistent allergic asthma, which remains inadequately controlled despite optimal therapy with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β₂-adrenergic agonists. Within this context, the present observational study refers to 16 patients currently treated with omalizumab at the Respiratory Unit of "Magna Græcia" University Hospital located in Catanzaro, Italy, whose anti- IgE therapy was started in the period included between March 2007 and February 2010, thus lasting at least 10 months. After 40 weeks of add-on treatment with omalizumab, very relevant decreases were detected, in comparison with pre-treatment mean (± standard deviation) values, in monthly exacerbation numbers (from 1.1 ± 0.6 to 0.2 ± 0.4; p < 0.01) and oral corticosteroid consumption (from 22.6 ± 5.0 to 1.2 ± 2.9 mg/day of prednisone; p < 0.01). These changes were associated with stable improvements in lung function, expressed as increases of both FEV1 (from 53.6 ± 14.6% to 77.0 ± 14.9% of predicted values; p < 0.01) and FEV1/FVC ratio (from 56.3 ± 9.5% to 65.8 ± 9.2%; p < 0.01). Moreover, in 5 patients who persistently had increased numbers of eosinophils (mean ± SD: 15.9 ± 8.0% of total WBC count; absolute number: 1,588.0 ± 956.9/μl) despite a long-lasting therapy with inhaled and systemic corticosteroids, the peripheral counts of these cells decreased down to near normal levels (mean ± SD: 6.3 ± 2.3% of total WBC count; absolute number: 462.0 ± 262.3/μl) after 16 weeks of treatment with omalizumab. Therefore, this descriptive evaluation confirms the efficacy of add-on omalizumab therapy in selected patients with exacerbation-prone, chronic allergic uncontrolled asthma, requiring a continuous intake of oral corticosteroids.
International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics 12/2011; 49(12):713-21. · 1.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Omalizumab is a humanized monoclonal anti-IgE antibody recently approved for the treatment of severe allergic asthma. This drug inhibits allergic responses by binding to serum IgE, thus preventing interaction with cellular IgE receptors. Omalizumab is also capable of downregulating the expression of high affinity IgE receptors on inflammatory cells, as well as the numbers of eosinophils in both blood and induced sputum. The clinical effects of omalizumab include improvements in respiratory symptoms and quality of life, paralleled by a reduction of asthma exacerbations, emergency room visits, and use of systemic corticosteroids and rescue bronchodilators. Omalizumab is relatively well-tolerated, and only rarely induces anaphylactic reactions. Therefore, this drug represents a valid option as add-on therapy for patients with severe persistent allergic asthma inadequately controlled by high doses of standard inhaled treatments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is one of the most frequently involved pathogens in bacterial exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the airways, the main tissue target of NTHi is bronchial epithelium, where this pathogen can further amplify the inflammatory and structural changes induced by proinflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate, in primary cultures of human bronchial epithelial cells, the effects of NTHi on signal transduction pathways, apoptotic events and chemokine production activated by TNF-alpha. Moreover, we also evaluated the effects exerted on such cellular and molecular phenomena by a corticosteroid drug. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation was analyzed by Western blotting, using an anti-phospho-p38 MAPK monoclonal antibody. Apoptosis was assayed by active caspase-3 expression. Interleukin-8 (IL-8/CXCL8) was detected in cell-free culture supernatants by ELISA. TNF-alpha induced a significant increase in p38 MAPK phosphorylation. NTHi was able to potentiate the stimulatory actions of TNF-alpha on caspase-3 expression and, to a lesser extent, on IL-8 secretion. These effects were significantly (P less than 0.01) inhibited by a pharmacological pre-treatment with budesonide. These results suggest that TNF-alpha is able to stimulate, via activation of p38 MAPK signalling pathway, IL-8 release and airway epithelial cell apoptosis; the latter effect can be markedly potentiated by NTHi. Furthermore, budesonide can be very effective in preventing, through inhibition of p38 MAPK phosphorylation, both structural and proinflammatory changes elicited in bronchial epithelium by TNF-alpha and NTHi.
International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 01/2010; 23(2):471-9. · 2.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Omalizumab is a humanized monoclonal anti-IgE antibody recently approved for the treatment of severe allergic asthma. This drug inhibits allergic responses by binding to serum IgE, thus preventing their interactions with cellular IgE receptors. Omalizumab is also capable of downregulating the expression of high-affinity IgE receptors on inflammatory cells, as well as the numbers of eosinophils in both blood and induced sputum. The clinical effects of omalizumab include relevant improvements in respiratory symptoms and quality of life, paralleled by a marked reduction of asthma exacerbations, emergency room visits, and use of systemic corticosteroids and rescue bronchodilators. Omalizumab is relatively well tolerated, and only rarely induces anaphylactic reactions. Therefore, this drug represents a valid option as add-on therapy for patients with severe persistent allergic asthma, inadequately controlled by high doses of standard inhaled treatments.
Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease 01/2009; 2(6):409-21.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both interleukin-6 (IL-6) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) are crucially involved in fibrotic events that characterize interstitial lung diseases (ILD). Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate in primary cultures of normal and fibrotic human lung fibroblasts (HLF), exposed to either IL-6 or TGF-beta1, the effects on phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and cell growth of IL-6 signalling inhibition, performed by the IL-6 receptor superantagonist Sant7.
MAPK phosphorylation was detected by Western blotting, HLF viability and proliferation were evaluated using the trypan blue staining and the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, respectively.
Sant7, at a concentration of 1 microg/mL, was capable of significantly inhibiting HLF proliferation and MAPK phosphorylation induced by cell exposure to IL-6 (100 ng/mL) or TGF-beta1 (10 ng/mL), whose actions were more evident in fibrotic cells.
These findings suggest that, in HLFs derived from patients with ILDs, the proliferative mechanisms activated by TGF-beta1 are at least in part mediated by an increased release of IL-6, leading to phosphorylation-dependent MAPK activation. Such preliminary findings may thus open new therapeutic perspectives for fibrogenic ILDs, based on inhibition of signal transduction pathways stimulated by the IL-6 receptor.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Airway smooth muscle (ASM) plays a key role in bronchomotor tone, as well as in structural remodeling of the bronchial wall. Therefore, ASM contraction and proliferation significantly participate in the development and progression of asthma. Many contractile agonists also behave as mitogenic stimuli, thus contributing to frame a hyperresponsive and hyperplastic ASM phenotype. In this review, the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in excitation-contraction coupling and ASM cell growth will be outlined. Indeed, the recent advances in understanding the basic aspects of ASM biology are disclosing important cellular targets, currently explored for the implementation of new, more effective anti-asthma therapies.
Respiratory Medicine 07/2008; 102(8):1173-81. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis, which are involved in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis, may activate the p38 subgroup of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression of the phosphorylated, active form of p38 MAPK (phospho-p38) in the lungs of COPD patients. Surgical specimens were obtained from 18 smokers with COPD at different stages of disease severity, plus nine smoking and eight nonsmoking subjects with normal lung function. Phospho-p38+ cells were quantified by immunohistochemistry in both alveolar spaces and alveolar walls. Moreover, a Western blot analysis of phospho-p38 and total p38alpha isoform expressed by alveolar macrophages was performed. Phospho-p38+ alveolar macrophages and phospho-p38+ cells in alveolar walls were increased in patients with severe and mild/moderate COPD, compared with smoking and nonsmoking controls. Moreover, they were inversely correlated to values of forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) and FEV(1)/forced vital capacity. Western blot analysis showed that phosphorylated p38, but not the total p38alpha isoform, was specifically increased in alveolar macrophages from COPD patients. Activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The present findings suggest that this protein may be a suitable pharmacological target for therapeutic intervention.
European Respiratory Journal 02/2008; 31(1):62-9. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) is crucially involved in the fibrotic events characterizing interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), as well as in the airway remodeling process typical of asthma. Within such a context, the aim of our study was to investigate, in primary cultures of normal and fibrotic human lung fibroblasts (HLFs), the effects of TGF-beta1 on mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation, cell proliferation, and production of interleukins 6 (IL-6) and 11 (IL-11), in the presence or absence of a pretreatment with budesonide (BUD). MAPK phosphorylation was detected by Western blotting, cell viability and proliferation were evaluated using Trypan blue staining and [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation assay, respectively, and the release of IL-6 and IL-11 into cell culture supernatants was assessed by ELISA. TGF-beta1 (10 ng/ml) significantly stimulated MAPK phosphorylation (P < 0.01), and also enhanced cell proliferation as well as the secretion of both IL-6 and IL-11, which reached the highest increases at the 72nd h of cell exposure to this growth factor. All such effects were prevented by BUD (10(-8) M) and, with the exception of IL-6 release, also by a mixture of MAPK inhibitors. Therefore, our findings suggest that the fibrotic action exerted by TGF-beta1 in the lung is mediated at least in part by MAPK activation and by an increased synthesis of the profibrogenic cytokines IL-6 and IL-11; all these effects appear to be prevented by corticosteroids via inhibition of MAPK phosphorylation.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 03/2007; 210(2):489-97. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory tract infections caused by both viruses and/or atypical bacteria are involved in the pathogenesis of asthma. In particular, several viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus and influenza/parainfluenza viruses may favour the expression of the asthmatic phenotype, being also implicated in the induction of disease exacerbations. Within this pathological context, a significant role can also be played by airway bacterial colonizations and infections due to Chlamydiae and Mycoplasms. All these microbial agents probably interfere with complex immunological pathways, thus contributing to induce and exacerbate asthma in genetically predisposed individuals.
Respiratory Medicine 06/2006; 100(5):775-84. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: COPD is a widespread inflammatory respiratory disorder characterized by a progressive, poorly reversible airflow limitation. Currently available therapies are mostly based on those used to treat asthma. However, such compounds are not able to effectively reduce the gradual functional deterioration, as well as the ongoing airway and lung inflammation occurring in COPD patients. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the efficacy of the existing drug classes and to develop new treatments, targeting the main cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis. These therapeutic strategies will be highlighted in the present review.
International Journal of COPD 02/2006; 1(3):321-34.