[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest both in basic and clinical research regarding the field of cell therapy for coronary heart disease (CHD). Several preclinical models of CHD have suggested that regenerative properties of stem and progenitor cells might help restoring myocardial functions in the event of cardiac diseases. Here, we summarize different types of stem/progenitor cells that have been tested in experimental and clinical settings of cardiac regeneration, from embryonic stem cells to induced pluripotent stem cells. Then, we provide a comprehensive description of the most common cell delivery strategies with their major pros and cons and underline the potential of tissue engineering and injectable matrices to address the crucial issue of restoring the three-dimensional structure of the injured myocardial region. Due to the encouraging results from preclinical models, the number of clinical trials with cell therapy is continuously increasing and includes patients with CHD and congestive heart failure. Most of the already published trials have demonstrated safety and feasibility of cell therapies in these clinical conditions. Several studies have also suggested that cell therapy results in improved clinical outcomes. Numerous ongoing clinical trials utilizing this therapy for CHD will address fundamental issues concerning cell source and population utilized, as well as the use of imaging techniques to assess cell homing and survival, all factors that affect the efficacy of different cell therapy strategies.
Journal of Cardiology 07/2013; · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: UVB radiation causes about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers by damaging DNA either directly or indirectly by increasing levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Skin, chronically exposed to both endogenous and environmental pro-oxidant agents, contains a well-organised system of chemical and enzymatic antioxidants. However, increased or prolonged free radical action can overwhelm ROS defence mechanisms, contributing to the development of cutaneous diseases. Thus, new strategies for skin protection comprise the use of food antioxidants to counteract oxidative stress. Resveratrol, a phytoalexin from grape, has gained a great interest for its ability to influence several biological mechanisms like redox balance, cell proliferation, signal transduction pathways, immune and inflammatory response. Therefore, the potential of resveratrol to modify skin cell response to UVB exposure could turn out to be a useful option to protect skin from sunlight-induced degenerative diseases. To investigate into this matter, HaCaT cells, a largely used model for human skin keratinocytes, were treated with 25 or 100 µM resveratrol for 2 and 24 hours prior to UVB irradiation (10 to 100 mJ/cm(2)). Cell viability and molecular markers of proliferation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and autophagy were analyzed. In HaCaT cells resveratrol pretreatment: reduces UVB-induced ROS formation, enhances the detrimental effect of UVB on HaCaT cell vitality, increases UVB-induced caspase 8, PARP cleavage, and induces autophagy. These findings suggest that resveratrol could exert photochemopreventive effects by enhancing UVB-induced apoptosis and by inducing autophagy, thus reducing the odds that damaged cells could escape programmed cell death and initiate malignant transformation.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e80728. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensitized candidates for heart transplant usually end up on a long waiting list and have an increased risk of rejection, graft loss, and incidence of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. An increasing number of studies have demonstrated the negative effect of preformed and posttransplant antibodies on graft survival. Thus, in sensitized patients, the combination of new, appropriate, desensitization protocols, and monitoring of posttransplant development of donor-specific antibodies may improve short-term and long-term outcomes. Introduction of more-sensitive and more-specific techniques for antibody detection provides a valid tool for assessing the degree of pretransplant HLA histocompatibility, and, therefore, predicting the results of crossmatch in sensitized patients, which are difficult to transplant. Currently, there are no accurate and standard methods to determine the functional characteristics of antibodies detected by solid-phase assay and, therefore, to predict their clinical relevance. Therefore, the future of heart transplantation requires a better understanding of tissue typing techniques and the effect of anti-HLA antibodies on clinical outcome to prevent discrimination against sensitized patients at the time of organ allocation.
Experimental and clinical transplantation : official journal of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation. 06/2012; 10(3):209-18.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skin is exposed to both endogenous and environmental oxidant agents, leading to the harmful generation of reactive oxygen species. Particular interest has been pointed on plant antioxidants, such as resveratrol, because of their wide-ranging biological activity and clinical potential. Resveratrol exerts antioxidant, metabolism-regulating and pro-apoptotic/anti-cancer effects on a variety of experimental models and has been suggested to protect skin from ultraviolet-induced photodamaging and photoaging. In parallel, also the biological significance of p66Shc, a member of the Src Homologue and Collagene homologue family with redox activity, is getting further attention. Because of the striking intersection among the activities of resveratrol with those of p66Shc, we investigated whether resveratrol would activate p66Shc in human immortalised keratinocytes (HaCaT cells), a well known and largely used model for skin keratinocytes. HaCaT cells were treated with resveratrol (10-150 μm) for different times. The effect of resveratrol on the proliferation of HaCaT cells and the activation of ERK1/2, AKT, and p66Shc was investigated by cell counting, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, and western blot analysis of total or immunoprecipitated cell extracts. In HaCaT cells, resveratrol induces dose- and time-dependent growth arrest, p66Shc-Ser36 phosphorylation, ERK1/2 phosphorylation and AKT dephosphorylation. Finally, we showed that resveratrol-induced p66Shc-Ser36 phosphorylation is dependent on ERK1/2 activation. Interestingly, these resveratrol-induced molecular effects were associated with reduced adhesion and reversible growth arrest rather than cell death pathways. This is the first evidence linking resveratrol with p66Shc and suggests that p66Shc may contribute to the effect of resveratrol on cell proliferation and function in the outermost layer of the skin.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a major health problem especially when associated to concomitant diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Hyperglycemia with an overwhelming generation of oxygen radicals and formation of glycation end-products exacerbates oxidation-sensitive mechanisms activated by tissue ischemia. Administration of autologous bone marrow cells (BMC) is an increasing notable intervention to induce therapeutic angiogenesis, ameliorated by metabolic intervention (MT). Recently, hemangioblasts (HS) with functional properties were isolated.
The effects of integrate regimen with intravenous BMC, HS, and MT (1.0% vitamin E, 0.05% vitamin C, and 6% l-arginine) were examined in the ischemic hindlimb of ApoE(-/-) diabetic and non-diabetic. Blood flow ratio was monitored by use of a laser Doppler blood flowmeter. Capillary density was determined in sections of the adductor and semimembranous muscles with antibody against CD31.
BMC or HS alone, and BMC plus HS increased blood flow and capillary densities and decreased interstitial fibrosis. These effects were amplified by additional MT, at least in part, through the nitric oxide pathway, reduction of systemic oxidative stress and macrophage infiltration. Investigation of molecular mechanisms in bone marrow (BM)-derived progenitor cells from mice revealed that BMC therapy and, more consistently, in combination with MT ameliorated functional activity via decreased cellular senescence and increased telomerase and chemokine CXCR4 activities. Telomerase activity was also increased by HS alone or HS+MT and, more consistently, by BMC+HS alone or in combination with MT.
Intravenous autologous BMC and HS intervention together with MT increased therapeutic angiogenesis in the ApoE(-/-) diabetic mouse hindlimb.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prostatic cancer may remain organ-confined indefinitely; in a number of patients, however it gives rise to clinical symptoms and death. The biological behaviour of this tumour mostly remains difficult to predict. A promising tool for diagnosis and prognosis of some human tumours is the chromatin assembly factor-1 (CAF-1), involved in the control of higher order chromatin organization. The aim was to explore the role of CAF-1/p60 protein as a new prognostic marker for prostatic cancer.
The expression of CAF-1/p60 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting in a selected series of prostatic cancers and in prostatic cancer cell lines. Results were compared with clinicopathological data and outcome of patients. CAF-1/p60 was expressed in all cases, with a linear increase from low-grade tumours (Gleason score <7) to high-grade prostatic cancers (Gleason score >7). By comparing results with follow-up data, a significant association between overexpression of CAF-1/p60 and unfavourable behaviour of prostatic cancer emerged, and its predictive value was independent of classical prognostic factors.
In our series of cases, overexpression of CAF-1/p60 characterized prostatic cancers with a worse prognosis. CAF-1/p60 has a potential role as a new reliable prognostic biomarker for prostatic cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In cultured prostate cancer cells cAMP blocks proliferation and induces neuroendocrine differentiation. Pyk2 expression inversely correlates with malignancy of prostate cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the interaction between cAMP and Pyk2 in the prostate. EPN cells, a line derived from human normal prostate expressing Pyk2, and EPN-PKM3 cells, an EPN clone bearing a Pyk2 kinase-negative mutant, were adopted as model system. cAMP inhibited cell growth in both prostate cell lines, and activated Pyk2, but not ERK1/2, in EPN cells. cAMP treatment, abolished the activation of AKT1, an important component of the pro-survival pathway, in the EPN cells but not in EPN-PKM3 cells. Finally, upon cAMP treatment, EPN and EPN-PKM3 cells exhibited different expression patterns of HOX genes, an important network controlling cell identity. These data demonstrated for the first time that Pyk2 and cAMP interact in regulating prostate cell functions and in "keeping" prostate identity.
Cancer biology & therapy 04/2009; 8(3):236-42. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sulfhydryl angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors exert antiatherosclerotic effects in preclinical models and antioxidant effects in patients. However, whether ACE inhibitors have any clinically significant antiatherogenic effects remains still debated.
In mildly hypertensive patients, we evaluated the effect of the sulfhydryl ACE inhibitor zofenopril in comparison with the carboxylic ACE inhibitor enalapril on carotid atherosclerosis (intima-media thickness [IMT] and vascular lumen diameter) and systemic oxidative stress (nitrite/nitrate, asymmetrical dimethyl-l-arginine, and isoprostanes).
In 2001, we started a small prospective randomized clinical trial on 48 newly diagnosed mildly hypertensive patients with no additional risk factors for atherosclerosis (eg, hyperlipidemia, smoke habit, familiar history of atherosclerosis-related diseases or diabetes). Patients were randomly assigned either to the enalapril (20 mg/d, n = 24) or the zofenopril group (30 mg/d, n = 24); the planned duration of the trial was 5 years. Carotid IMT and vascular lumen diameter were determined by ultrasonography for all patients at baseline and at 1, 3, and 5 years. Furthermore, nitrite/nitrate, asymmetrical dimethyl-l-arginine, and isoprostane levels were measured.
In our conditions, IMT of the right and left common carotid arteries was similar at baseline in both groups (P = NS). Intima-media thickness measurements until 5 years revealed a significant reduction in the zofenopril group but not in the enalapril group (P < .05 vs enalapril-treated group). This effect was coupled with a favorable nitric oxide/oxidative stress profile in the zofenopril group.
Long-term treatment with the sulfhydryl ACE inhibitor zofenopril besides its blood pressure-lowering effects may slow the progression of IMT of the carotid artery in newly diagnosed mildly hypertensive patients.
American heart journal 01/2009; 156(6):1154.e1-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To date, there is no report on the effect of antioxidants on endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). This study shows that in vitro incubation of EPCs with vitamin C and E reverted the already well documented lowering effect of TNF-alpha on EPC number and increased p-p38 expression levels. In order to document major changes of gene expression levels and gain insight into signalling pathways, microarray analysis was performed and a significant variation of the expression of 5389 genes in EPCs following antioxidant treatment was detected. Also in vivo evidence is provided about the positive effect of antioxidant vitamins on EPCs, since vitamin C and E supplementation potentiated the physical training-induced increase of EPC number and VEGF levels. Together, these data indicate that antioxidant treatment ameliorates EPC number and causes major changes of gene expression within these cells in vitro. Furthermore, concomitant antioxidant supplementation and physical training in vivo raised the levels of circulating EPCs and serum VEGF more than physical training alone.
Free radical research 09/2008; 42(8):754-62. · 2.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) exerts a plethora of vascular beneficial effects. The NO-releasing beta-blocker nebivolol is a racemic mixture of D/L-enantiomers that displays negative inotropic as well as direct vasodilating activity. The in vivo antiatherogenic activity of therapeutic doses of the beta-blocker with antioxidant properties carvedilol (12.5mg/day) or nebivolol (5mg/day) was tested in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Animals received a 1% cholesterol-rich diet alone (controls) or mixed with drugs (treated animals) for 8 weeks. While it did not affect hyperlipidemia, nebivolol inhibited the development of atherosclerosis, expressed as computer-assisted imaging analysis of aortic area covered by lesions (23.3+/-4.1% in treated vs 38.2+/-6.4% in control animals, p<0.01). Differently, in our experimental condition of therapeutic drug doses, this antiatherogenic effect did not reach statistical significance in rabbits treated with carvedilol (32.5+/-5.1% aortic area covered by lesions, p=NS vs controls). Plasma nitrates increased in rabbits treated with nebivolol while both beta-blockers reduced LDL oxidation. Moreover, nebivolol induced a consistent increase of endothelial reactivity and aortic eNOS expression compared with control animals (p<0.05) and those receiving carvedilol (p<0.05). Since NO may exert beneficial effects in atherosclerosis, a NO-dependent mechanism could explain this data. These observations suggest that the NO-releasing beta-blocker, nebivolol, might represent an effective pharmacological approach for preventing atherosclerotic lesion progression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chemokines, originally discovered as mediators of directional migration of immune cells to sites of inflammation and injury, have a function beyond their role in leukocyte chemotaxis. Indeed, they participate in organ development, angiogenesis, tumourigenesis and, more importantly, in the immune response. The chemokine family characterized by four highly conserved cysteine amino acid residues, with two cysteine residues (C) and a non-cysteine amino acid (X) between them (CXC), is known for its ability to promote trafficking of various leukocytes and to regulate angiogenesis and vascular remodelling. Intriguingly, the presence or absence of a structural-functional domain constituted by glutamic acid-leucine-arginine motif that precedes the first cysteine amino acid residue accounts for their unique property to induce or inhibit angiogenesis (angiogenic or angiostatic activity). The ability of CXC chemokine receptor 3 to promote Th1-dependent immunity and, at the same time, inhibit angiogenesis (immunoangiostasis) is of critical importance for inducing tumour regression. Agents that are able to inhibit angiogenic activities or promote angiostatic activities of CXC chemokines are future targets for research on cancer treatment. Here, we review insights on CXC chemokines in the context of immunoangiostasis and vascular damage.
Cardiovascular Research 06/2008; 78(2):250-6. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) play a significant role in regeneration of damaged blood vessels. Levels and functional activities of EPCs are noticeable altered by risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) and compounds that can prevent or ameliorate EPC dysfunction are currently of special clinical interest. Here, we evaluate the effects of red wine (RW) on EPCs in C57BL/6J mice subjected to physical exercise. FACS computed counting showed a significant increase of EPC number (P<0.05) in mice after short-term supplementation with RW. VEGF serum concentration was significantly increased by physical training in the presence or absence of RW supplementation (P<0.001). These in vivo observations support previous in vitro observation of the beneficial effect of RW in the modulation of EPC levels.
International journal of cardiology 06/2008; 126(2):295-7. · 7.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The custom microenvironment 'vascular niche' is a potential therapeutic target for several pathophysiological conditions. Osteoblasts regulate the hematopoietic stem cell niche, and activation of the parathyroid hormone (PTH) receptor can increase the number of cells mobilized into the bloodstream.
C57Bl/6 mice were randomly assigned treatment with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), PTH, G-CSF plus PTH or saline. All mice underwent hindlimb ischemia. Blood flow was measured by laser Doppler imaging. Indices of capillary activity were determined by electron microscopy in muscle tissue. CD34(+) and Ki67(+) cells were detected and evaluated by immunofluorescence, apoptosis by TUNEL, surface antigen and endothelial progenitor cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, and vascular endothelial growth factor-164 and angiopoietin-1 expression by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Frozen bone marrow sections were stained for antigen-specific B cells and fibronectin and analyzed by confocal laser scanning microscopy.
Following mobilization induced by G-CSF treatment, mice also treated with PTH showed increases in blood flow, capillary density, nitrite/nitrate release, angiogenic factors and circulating progenitor cells, as well as reduced apoptosis, fibrosis, oxidative stress and inflammation in ischemic muscles. Furthermore, hematopoietic antigen-specific B cells in the bone marrow were also increased by G-CSF alone and in combination with PTH.
PTH might increase the efficiency of hematopoietic stem-cell-based therapy in a recognized model of peripheral ischemia. Our translational experimental therapeutic targeting of the vascular niche points to novel clinical targets for the hematopoietic stem-cell treatment of ischemic vascular diseases.
Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine 05/2008; 5(9):571-9. · 7.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteomics has unraveled important questions in the biology of cardiovascular disease and holds even greater promise for the development of novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. This approach may establish early detection strategies, and monitor responses to therapies. Technological advances (most notably blue native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, electrospray ionization, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), analysis of MALDI-derived peptides in Time-of-Flight (TOF) analyzers, and multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) and bioinformatics for data handling and interpretation allow a large-scale identification of peptide sequence and post-translational modifications. Moreover, combination of proteomic biomarkers with clinical phenotype, metabolite changes, and genetic haplotype information is promising for the physician assessment of individual cardiovascular risk profile.
Current Medicinal Chemistry 02/2008; 15(6):555-72. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene-environment interaction is behind the pathogenesis of most widespread diseases, and nutrition is among the environmental factors with the highest impact on human health. The mechanisms involved in the interaction between nutritional factors and the genetic background of individuals are still unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether resveratrol (RES), an antioxidant polyphenol of red wine, can influence the activity of PPARalpha in the rat hepatoma cell line McArdle-RH7777. PPARalpha is a transcriptional factor that regulates gene expression when activated by endogenous or exogenous long-chain fatty acids. Its activation results in significant protection from cardiovascular diseases in humans.
By means of the electromobility shift assay (EMSA), we observed that PPARalpha is redox-sensitive as it displays reduced DNA-binding activity following in vivo treatment of the cells with 1mmol/L diethylmaleate (DEM), a glutathione-depleting agent. This finding could be relevant considering the important role of redox balance in pathological and physiological processes. We also observed a dual effect of 100mumol/L RES on PPARalpha activity: it was able to prevent, to a large extent, the DEM-induced reduction of DNA-binding activity at earlier time points, when the effect of DEM was stronger, but it depressed PPARalpha activity at later time points, when the effect of DEM was greatly reduced.
A nutritional substance, such as RES, is able to influence the activity of gene-regulating factors, but the net effect is difficult to predict when the compound involved has multiple biological properties. Caution is therefore warranted before drawing conclusions about the potential benefits of RES for human health.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although prostate carcinoma is an aggressive cancer preferentially metastasizing to the bones, many prostate tumors remain localized and confined to the prostate indefinitely. Prediction of the behavior of anatomically localized and moderately differentiated prostate tumors remains difficult because of lack of prognostic markers. Cell motility is an important step in the progression of epithelial tumor toward invasive metastatic carcinomas and changes in the expression and function of adhesion molecules contribute to the acquisition of a more malignant phenotype. Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) is implicated in regulating the organization of actin cytoskeleton, a process critical for cell migration, mitosis, and tumor metastasis. In this report, we investigated whether Pyk2 played a role in the acquisition of an aggressive phenotype in prostate cell. Data reported here demonstrate that loss of Pyk2 kinase function results in induction of cell motility and migration in EPN cells, a line of non-transformed epithelial cells derived from human normal prostate tissue. Changes in motility and migration of prostate cells were associated with changes in the expression of several proteins involved in cell adhesion and reorganization of actin cytoskeleton. Ablation of Pyk2 kinase activity caused a dramatic decrease of the expression of E-cadherin and IRS1 and an increase of the expression of alpha5-integrin. In addition, a massive reorganization of actin cytoskeleton was observed. Our data indicate that Pyk2 plays a central role in the mechanism that regulate cell-cell and cell-substrate interaction and lack of its kinase activity induces prostate cells to acquire a malignant, migrating phenotype.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 11/2006; 209(1):74-80. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To analyse the association of the UCP2 gene, alone or in combination with the PPARgamma2 gene, with obesity.
Cross-sectional, case-control study.
From a working population of 4500 Italian Caucasian employees of the Italian telephone company participating in a firm-sponsored health screening programme, we selected all those with obesity [n = 122; body mass index (BMI) > or = 30 kg/m2]. For each case, three nonobese age- and sex-matched individuals were selected as controls from the same population (n = 374). Included in the study were also 76 severely obese (BMI > or = 40 kg/m2) patients consecutively admitted to the obesity clinic of the department. Diabetic individuals were excluded.
The -866G/A UCP2 and the Pro12Ala PPARgamma2 polymorphisms were determined on genomic DNA of the studied individuals. Several metabolic and anthropometric measures were also obtained, like plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and BMI.
BMI, plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides, total and HDL cholesterol were not significantly different in carriers and noncarriers of the -866G/A variant. No significant association was observed between the -866G/A UCP2 gene polymorphism and moderate or severe obesity. This was also observed when the UCP2 polymorphism was analysed in combination with the PPARgamma2 polymorphisms.
The -866G/A variants of the UCP2 gene are not associated with either obesity or other features of the metabolic syndrome in the studied groups of the Italian population. This negative finding is not modified after a combined analysis of the UCP2 polymorphism and the Pro12Ala polymorphism of PPARgamma2.