Benedetta Mazzinghi

Ospedale Pediatrico Meyer Firenze, Florens, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (48)243.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In children, sporadic nephrotic syndrome can be related to a genetic cause, but to what extent genetic alterations associate with resistance to immunosuppression is unknown. In this study, we designed a custom array for next-generation sequencing analysis of 19 target genes, reported as possible causes of nephrotic syndrome, in a cohort of 31 children affected by sporadic steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome and 38 patients who exhibited a similar but steroid-sensitive clinical phenotype. Patients who exhibited extrarenal symptoms, had a familial history of the disease or consanguinity, or had a congenital onset were excluded. We identified a genetic cause in 32.3% of the children with steroid-resistant disease but zero of 38 children with steroid-sensitive disease. Genetic alterations also associated with lack of response to immunosuppressive agents in children with steroid-resistant disease (0% of patients with alterations versus 57.9% of patients without alterations responded to immunosuppressive agents), whereas clinical features, age at onset, and pathologic findings were similar in steroid-resistant patients with and without alterations. These results suggest that heterogeneous genetic alterations in children with sporadic forms of nephrotic syndrome associate with resistance to steroids as well as immunosuppressive treatments. In these patients, a comprehensive screening using such an array may, thus, be useful for genetic counseling and may help clinical decision making in a fast and cost-efficient manner.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of the genetic defect underlying early-onset diabetes is important for determining the specific diabetes subtype, which would then permit appropriate treatment and accurate assessment of recurrence risk in offspring. Given the extensive genetic and clinical heterogeneity of the disease, high-throughput sequencing might provide additional diagnostic potential when Sanger sequencing is ineffective. Our aim was to develop a targeted next-generation assay able to detect mutations in several genes involved in glucose metabolism. All 13 known MODY genes, genes identified from a genome-wide linkage study or genome-wide association studies as increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and genes causing diabetes in animal models, were included in the custom panel. We selected a total of 102 genes by performing a targeting re-sequencing in 30 patients negative for mutations in the GCK, HNF1α, HNF4α, HNF1β and IPF1 genes at the Sanger sequencing analysis. Previously unidentified variants in the RFX6 gene were found in three patients and in two of them we also detected rare variants in WFS1 and ABCC8 genes. All patients showed a good therapeutic response to dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors. Our study reveals that next-generation sequencing provides a highly sensitive method for identification of variants in new causative genes of diabetes. This approach may help in understanding the molecular etiology of diabetes and in providing more personalized treatment for each genetic subtype.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 22 July 2014; doi:10.1038/tpj.2014.37.
    The pharmacogenomics journal. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In CKD, the risk of kidney failure and death depends on the severity of proteinuria, which correlates with the extent of podocyte loss and glomerular scarring. We investigated whether proteinuria contributes directly to progressive glomerulosclerosis through the suppression of podocyte regeneration and found that individual components of proteinuria exert distinct effects on renal progenitor survival and differentiation toward a podocyte lineage. In particular, albumin prevented podocyte differentiation from human renal progenitors in vitro by sequestering retinoic acid, thus impairing retinoic acid response element (RARE)-mediated transcription of podocyte-specific genes. In mice with Adriamycin nephropathy, a model of human FSGS, blocking endogenous retinoic acid synthesis increased proteinuria and exacerbated glomerulosclerosis. This effect was related to a reduction in podocyte number, as validated through genetic podocyte labeling in NPHS2.Cre;mT/mG transgenic mice. In RARE-lacZ transgenic mice, albuminuria reduced retinoic acid bioavailability and impaired RARE activation in renal progenitors, inhibiting their differentiation into podocytes. Treatment with retinoic acid restored RARE activity and induced the expression of podocyte markers in renal progenitors, decreasing proteinuria and increasing podocyte number, as demonstrated in serial biopsy specimens. These results suggest that albumin loss through the damaged filtration barrier impairs podocyte regeneration by sequestering retinoic acid and promotes the generation of FSGS lesions. Our findings may explain why reducing proteinuria delays CKD progression and provide a biologic rationale for the clinical use of pharmacologic modulators to induce regression of glomerular diseases.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 08/2013; Nov(24(11)):1756-68. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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    Giornale italiano di nefrologia: organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di nefrologia 09/2012; 29(5):514-518.
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of microRNA (miRNA) to the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis is not well understood. Here, we investigated whether miRNA modulates the fibrotic process in Munich Wistar Fromter (MWF) rats, which develop spontaneous progressive nephropathy. We analyzed the expression profile of miRNA in microdissected glomeruli and found that miR-324-3p was the most upregulated. In situ hybridization localized miR-324-3p to glomerular podocytes, parietal cells of Bowman's capsule, and most abundantly, cortical tubules. A predicted target of miR-324-3p is prolyl endopeptidase (Prep), a serine peptidase involved in the metabolism of angiotensins and the synthesis of the antifibrotic peptide N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline (Ac-SDKP). In cultured tubular cells, transient transfection with a miR-324-3p mimic reduced Prep protein and activity, validating Prep as a target of this miRNA. In MWF rats, upregulation of miR-324-3p associated with markedly reduced expression of Prep in both glomeruli and tubules, low urine Ac-SDKP, and increased deposition of collagen. ACE inhibition downregulated glomerular and tubular miR-324-3p, promoted renal Prep expression, increased plasma and urine Ac-SDKP, and attenuated renal fibrosis. In summary, these results suggest that dysregulation of the miR-324-3p/Prep pathway contributes to the development of fibrosis in progressive nephropathy. The renoprotective effects of ACE inhibitors may result, in part, from modulation of this pathway, suggesting that it may hold other potential therapeutic targets.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 07/2012; 23(9):1496-505. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies implicated the existence in adult human kidney of a population of renal progenitors with the potential to regenerate glomerular as well as tubular epithelial cells and characterized by coexpression of surface markers CD133 and CD24. Here, we demonstrate that CD133+CD24+ renal progenitors can be distinguished in distinct subpopulations from normal human kidneys based on the surface expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, also known as CD106. CD133+CD24+CD106+ cells were localized at the urinary pole of Bowman's capsule, while a distinct population of scattered CD133+CD24+CD106- cells was localized in the proximal tubule as well as in the distal convoluted tubule. CD133+CD24+CD106+ cells exhibited a high proliferative rate and could differentiate toward the podocyte as well as the tubular lineage. By contrast, CD133+CD24+CD106- cells showed a lower proliferative capacity and displayed a committed phenotype toward the tubular lineage. Both CD133+CD24+CD106+ and CD133+CD24+CD106- cells showed higher resistance to injurious agents in comparison to all other differentiated cells of the kidney. Once injected in SCID mice affected by acute tubular injury, both of these populations displayed the capacity to engraft within the kidney, generate novel tubular cells, and improve renal function. These properties were not shared by other tubular cells of the adult kidney. Finally, CD133+CD24+CD106- cells proliferated upon tubular injury, becoming the predominating part of the regenerating epithelium in patients with acute or chronic tubular damage. These data suggest that CD133+CD24+CD106- cells represent tubular-committed progenitors that display resistance to apoptotic stimuli and exert regenerative potential for injured tubular tissue.
    Stem Cells 05/2012; 30(8):1714-25. · 7.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: • To compare the frequency of T regulatory cells (Tregs) in peripheral blood of patients (pPB) affected by renal cell carcinoma (RCC) both with the frequency of Tregs found in PB of healthy donors (hPB) and that of Tregs present in tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). To verify in vitro the inhibitory activity of tumour isolated Tregs on the effector T cells and, finally, to assess the prognostic role of Treg frequency determination. • Treg frequency in hPB, pPB and TILs was evaluated in 30 patients and 20 healthy controls by measuring both membrane-CD25 and intracytoplasmic-Foxp3 expression by flow cytometry. • Treg inhibitory activity was evaluated by an in vitro proliferation assay performed on total, CD25-depleted mononuclear cells (MNC) and CD25-depleted MNC cultured in the presence of purified CD25(+) Tregs. • Finally, Treg frequency in pPB and TIL were correlated with conventional prognostic factors and scores of University of California Los Angeles and Kattan predictive models. • Treg frequency was higher in TILs than in pPB (P= 0.002), whereas there were no important differences between hPB and pPB. CD25(+) cells isolated either from PB and tumours showed the ability to significantly suppress in vitro both proliferation and interferon-γ production by CD25-depleted MNC, thus demonstrating that they are active Tregs. • Treg frequency was found to significantly correlate both with pathological stage (pPB, P= 0.03; TIL, P= 0.04) and nuclear grade (TIL, P= 0.005), both for UCLA and Kattan models (all: P < 0.05 for both pPB and TIL). • Treg frequency is significantly higher in TIL than in pPB of patients with RCC. Tregs showed in vitro an inhibitory activity on effector T cells isolated from kidney tumours. The increase in both peripheral and intratumoral Tregs in subjects affected with RCC were associated with worse prognosis.
    BJU International 05/2011; 107(9):1500-6. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glomerular diseases account for 90% of end-stage kidney disease. Podocyte loss is a common determining factor for the progression toward glomerulosclerosis. Mature podocytes cannot proliferate, but recent evidence suggests that they can be replaced by renal progenitors localized within the Bowman's capsule. Here, we demonstrate that Notch activation in human renal progenitors stimulates entry into the S-phase of the cell cycle and cell division, whereas its downregulation is required for differentiation toward the podocyte lineage. Indeed, a persistent activation of the Notch pathway induced podocytes to cross the G(2)/M checkpoint, resulting in cytoskeleton disruption and death by mitotic catastrophe. Notch expression was virtually absent in the glomeruli of healthy adult kidneys, while a strong upregulation was observed in renal progenitors and podocytes in patients affected by glomerular disorders. Accordingly, inhibition of the Notch pathway in mouse models of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis ameliorated proteinuria and reduced podocyte loss during the initial phases of glomerular injury, while inducing reduction of progenitor proliferation during the regenerative phases of glomerular injury with worsening of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Taken altogether, these results suggest that the severity of glomerular disorders depends on the Notch-regulated balance between podocyte death and regeneration provided by renal progenitors.
    Stem Cells 09/2010; 28(9):1674-85. · 7.70 Impact Factor
  • Elena Lazzeri, Benedetta Mazzinghi, Paola Romagnani
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    ABSTRACT: Following any injury, various intracellular and intercellular pathways must be activated and coordinated if tissue integrity and homeostasis need to be restored. In most injuries, repair results in once-functional tissue becoming a patch of cells and disorganized extracellular matrix that is referred to as a scar. However, most adult organs of the body, including the kidney, have the potential to regenerate functional tissues if appropriate conditions are restored. In this review, we highlight the burst of recent knowledge leading to discovery of regenerative mechanisms also in adult kidneys. A large body of evidence has recently shown that the parietal epithelium of the Bowman's capsule represents a reservoir of renal progenitors in adult kidney. The discovery of a hierarchical population of renal progenitors within the Bowman's capsule which can generate novel podocytes and also proximal tubular cells provides a new point of view for the understanding of renal physiology. In addition, the observation that renal progenitors can also generate hyperplastic glomerular lesions opens up a novel view of the pathogenesis of different types of glomerular disorders, which may at least in part result from abnormal regenerative responses to podocyte injury.
    Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension 05/2010; 19(3):248-53. · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During kidney allograft rejection, CXC chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10)-CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) trafficking between peripheral blood and tissues initiates alloresponse and perpetuates a self-inflammatory loop; thus, CXCL10-CXCR3 axis could represent a pharmacologic target. In this perspective, immunosuppressors targeting graft-resident cells, beside immune cells, could be very advantageous. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists exhibit considerable immunomodulatory properties. This study aimed to investigate whether elocalcitol and BXL-01-0029 could decrease the expression of CXCL10 in activated renal tubular cells in vitro and thus be useful in kidney allograft rejection treatment. Experiments were performed in human tubular renal cells stimulated with interferon-gamma + tumor necrosis factor-alpha with and without VDR agonists, tacrolimus, sirolimus, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, cyclosporin A and mycophenolate mofetil. CXCL10 protein secretion and gene expression were measured by ELISA and by quantitative PCR. Specific inhibitors were used to investigate intracellular pathways involved in tubular cells activation. For IC(50) determination and comparison, dose-response curves with VDR agonists, tacrolimus and mycophenolic acid were performed. Elocalcitol and BXL-01-0029 inhibited CXCL10 secretion by renal cells, without affecting cell viability, while almost all the immunosuppressors were found to be ineffective, except for tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil. BXL-01-0029 was the most potent drug and, notably, it was found to be capable of allowing reduction in tacrolimus-inhibitory doses. Our data suggest that BXL-01-0029 could potentially be a dose-reducing agent for conventional immunosuppressors in kidney rejection management.
    Transplant International 03/2010; 23(9):914-23. · 3.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glomerular injury can involve excessive proliferation of glomerular epithelial cells, resulting in crescent formation and obliteration of Bowman's space. The origin of these hyperplastic epithelial cells in different glomerular disorders is controversial. Renal progenitors localized to the inner surface of Bowman's capsule can regenerate podocytes, but whether dysregulated proliferation of these progenitors contributes to crescent formation is unknown. In this study, we used confocal microscopy, laser capture microdissection, and real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR to demonstrate that hypercellular lesions of different podocytopathies and crescentic glomerulonephritis consist of three distinct populations: CD133(+)CD24(+)podocalyxin (PDX)(-)nestin(-) renal progenitors, CD133(+)CD24(+)PDX(+)nestin(+) transitional cells, and CD133(-)CD24(-)PDX(+)nestin(+) differentiated podocytes. In addition, TGF-beta induced CD133(+)CD24(+) progenitors to produce extracellular matrix, and these were the only cells to express the proliferation marker Ki67. Taken together, these results suggest that glomerular hyperplastic lesions derive from the proliferation of renal progenitors at different stages of their differentiation toward mature podocytes, providing an explanation for the pathogenesis of hyperplastic lesions in podocytopathies and crescentic glomerulonephritis.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 10/2009; 20(12):2593-603. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular basis for the exquisite sensitivity of testicular germ cell tumours of adolescents and adults (TGCTs), ie seminomas and non-seminomatous germ cell tumours, to chemo/radiotherapy has not been fully clarified so far. It has been suggested that it may be dependent on factors involved in the regulation of apoptosis. Seladin-1 is a multi-functional protein involved in various biological processes, including apoptosis. The aim of our study was to assess the expression of seladin-1 in different histological types of TGCTs, known to have varying treatment sensitivity, in order to establish whether this protein may influence cisplatin responsiveness in vitro. Seladin-1 expression levels, both at the mRNA and at the protein level, were higher in the adjacent normal parenchyma than in the pathological counterparts. In tumoural tissues, the level of expression differed among TGCT histological types. The highest tumour-expression level was found in teratoma, whereas the lowest was detected in seminoma, corresponding to the different chemo/and radiosensitivities of these tumour types. In common with other cancers, in TGCT-derived cell lines seladin-1 showed anti-apoptotic properties through inhibition of caspase-3 activation. We confirmed our results using a non-seminomatous cell line model (NT2) before and after differentiation with retinoic acid. Significantly higher seladin-1 expression was observed in the differentiated derivatives (teratoma) and an inverse relationship was found between seladin-1 expression and the amount of cleaved caspase-3. Seladin-1 silencing or overexpression in this cell line supports involvement of seladin-1 in cisplatin responsiveness. Seladin-1 silencing was associated with greater cisplatin responsiveness demonstrated by decreased cell viability and increased expression of apoptotic markers. In contrast, overexpression of seladin-1 was associated with a higher survival rate and a clear anti-apoptotic effect. In conclusion, we have demonstrated for the first time an important role for seladin-1 in the biology of TGCTs and provided new insights into cisplatin responsiveness of these tumours.
    The Journal of Pathology 09/2009; 219(4):491-500. · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is characterized by a sudden impairment of kidney function, which results in the retention of urea and other nitrogenous waste products and in the perturbation of extracellular fluid volume as well as electrolyte and acid-base homeostasis. The dysfunction and apoptosis of tubular epithelial cells are of key importance for the pathophysiological consequences of AKI. However, a growing body of evidence supports the contribution of altered renal vascular structure and function in potentially initiating and extending the initial tubular injury. Vascular injury and dysfunction result in alterations of renal oxygenation and hemodynamics that may have long-term effects in regards to renal function, predisposing to chronic kidney disease. There is growing evidence that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) may improve vascular regeneration in different ischemic organs, and recent data suggest that EPCs are mobilized after acute renal ischemia and recruited in ischemic kidney areas and can ameliorate AKI through both paracrine effects and repair of injured microvasculature. The loss of endothelial cell function may represent an important therapeutic target, in which EPCs may show potential importance in ameliorating the acute and chronic effects of ischemic AKI.
    Blood Purification 03/2009; 27(3):261-70. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Depletion of podocytes, common to glomerular diseases in general, plays a role in the pathogenesis of glomerulosclerosis. Whether podocyte injury in adulthood can be repaired has not been established. Here, we demonstrate that in the adult human kidney, CD133+CD24+ cells consist of a hierarchical population of progenitors that are arranged in a precise sequence within Bowman's capsule and exhibit heterogeneous potential for differentiation and regeneration. Cells localized to the urinary pole that expressed CD133 and CD24, but not podocyte markers (CD133+CD24+PDX- cells), could regenerate both tubular cells and podocytes. In contrast, cells localized between the urinary pole and vascular pole that expressed both progenitor and podocytes markers (CD133+CD24+PDX+) could regenerate only podocytes. Finally, cells localized to the vascular pole did not exhibit progenitor markers, but displayed phenotypic features of differentiated podocytes (CD133-CD24-PDX+ cells). Injection of CD133+CD24+PDX- cells, but not CD133+CD24+PDX+ or CD133-CD24- cells, into mice with adriamycin-induced nephropathy reduced proteinuria and improved chronic glomerular damage, suggesting that CD133+CD24+PDX- cells could potentially treat glomerular disorders characterized by podocyte injury, proteinuria, and progressive glomerulosclerosis.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 01/2009; 20(2):322-32. · 8.99 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
243.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Ospedale Pediatrico Meyer Firenze
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2003–2012
    • University of Florence
      • • Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica
      • • Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Sperimentali e Cliniche
      • • Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute
      Florens, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2009
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • Department of Pathology
      Nijmegen, Provincie Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2006
    • University of Verona
      • Section of Haematology
      Verona, Veneto, Italy