Nicola Celli

CMNS Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, Chieta, Abruzzo, Italy

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Publications (14)72.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Cholestasis is a liver disorder characterized by impaired bile flow, reduction of bile acids (BAs) in the intestine, and retention of BAs in the liver. The farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is the transcriptional regulator of BA homeostasis. Activation of FXR by BAs reduces circulating BA levels in a feedback mechanism, repressing hepatic cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1), the rate-limiting enzyme for the conversion of cholesterol to BAs. This mechanism involves the hepatic nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner and the intestinal fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 19 and 15. We investigated the role of activation of intestine-specific FXR in reducing hepatic levels of BAs and protecting the liver from cholestasis in mice. We generated transgenic mice that express a constitutively active FXR in the intestine. Using FXR gain- and loss-of-function models, we studied the roles of intestinal FXR in mice with intrahepatic and extrahepatic cholestasis. Selective activation of intestinal FXR induced FGF15 and repressed hepatic Cyp7a1, reducing the pool size of BAs and changing the BA pool composition. Activation of intestinal FXR protected mice from obstructive extrahepatic cholestasis after bile duct ligation or administration of α-naphthylisothiocyanate. In Mdr2(-/-) mice, transgenic expression of activated FXR in the intestine protected against liver damage, whereas absence of FXR promoted progression of liver disease. Activation of FXR transcription in the intestine protects the liver from cholestasis in mice by inducing FGF15 expression and reducing the hepatic pool of BA; this approach might be developed to reverse cholestasis in patients.
    Gastroenterology 11/2011; 142(2):355-65.e1-4. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol homeostasis is critical for cellular proliferation. Liver X receptor (LXR) alpha and beta are the nuclear receptors responsible for regulation of cholesterol metabolism. In physiological conditions, high intracellular cholesterol levels cause increased synthesis of oxysterols, which activate LXR, thus triggering a transcriptional response for cholesterol secretion and catabolism. Here we employed a mouse model of partial hepatectomy (PH) to dissect the molecular pathways connecting cholesterol homeostasis, cellular proliferation, and LXR. First, we show that hepatic cholesterol content increases after PH, whereas the entire LXR transcriptome is down-regulated. Although LXR messenger RNA (mRNA) levels are unmodified, LXR target genes are significantly down-regulated on day 1 after PH and restored to control levels on day 7, when the liver reaches normal size. The inactivation of LXR following PH is related to the reduced oxysterol availability by way of decreased synthesis, and increased sulfation and secretion. On the contrary, cholesterol synthesis is up-regulated, and extracellular matrix remodeling is enhanced. Second, we show that reactivation of LXR by way of a synthetic ligand determines a negative modulation of hepatocyte proliferation. This effect is sustained by the reactivation of hepatic cholesterol catabolic and secretory pathways, coupled with a significant reduction of cholesterol biosynthesis. Our data unveil a previously unrecognized and apparently paradoxical scenario of LXR modulation. During liver regeneration LXR activity is abated in spite of increasing intracellular cholesterol levels. Turning off LXR-transcriptional pathways is crucial to guaranteeing the requisite intracellular cholesterol levels of regenerating hepatocytes. In line with this hypothesis, pharmacological LXR reactivation during PH significantly reduces liver regeneration capacity.
    Hepatology 04/2010; 51(4):1334-44. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The in vitro biochemical stability of caffeic acid phenethyl ester in rat and human plasma was investigated and compared with the stability of other caffeic acid esters (chlorogenic acid and rosmarinic acid). The incubation of the compounds in rat plasma for up to 6 h showed that caffeic acid phenethyl ester, but not the other compounds, was hydrolyzed, whereas human plasma did not affect the stability of all the assayed compounds. The products in rat plasma were caffeic acid and an unknown compound, which was identified by mass spectrometry as caffeic acid ethyl ester, produced by transesterification in the presence of ethanol used as vehicle for standard compounds. Specific inhibitors of different plasma esterases allowed the identification of a carboxylesterase as the enzyme involved in the metabolism of caffeic acid phenethyl ester. The oral administration in rats of caffeic acid phenethyl ester in the presence of both ethanol and 2-(2-ethoxyethoxy)ethanol gave rise to a dramatic increase of caffeic acid, as well as low levels of caffeic acid phenethyl ester, caffeic acid ethyl ester, and caffeic acid 2-(2-ethoxyethoxy)ethyl ester, in urine collected within 24 h after treatment. These results suggest that caffeic acid phenethyl ester is hydrolyzed also in vivo to caffeic acid as the major metabolite and that its biological activities should be more properly assayed and compared with those of caffeic acid, its bioactive hydrolysis product. Moreover, alcohols should be carefully used in vivo as solvents for caffeic acid phenethyl ester, since they can give rise to new bioactive caffeic acid esters.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 05/2007; 55(9):3398-407. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aplidin-resistant IGROV-1/APL cells were derived from the human ovarian cancer IGROV-1 cell line by exposing the cells to increasing concentration of Aplidin for eight months, starting from a concentration of 10 nM to a final concentration of 4 microM. IGROV-1/APL cell line possesses five fold relative resistance to Aplidin. IGROV-1/APL resistant cell line shows the typical MDR phenotype: (1) increased expression of membrane-associated P-glycoprotein, (2) cross-resistance to drugs like etoposide, doxorubicin, vinblastine, vincristine, taxol, colchicin and the novel anticancer drug Yondelis (ET-743). The Pgp inhibitor cyclosporin-A restored the sensitivity of IGROV-1/APL cells to Aplidin by increasing the drug intracellular concentration. The resistance to Aplidin was not due to the other proteins, such as LPR-1 and MRP-1, being expressed at the same level in resistant and parental cell line. The finding that cells over-expressing Pgp are resistant to Aplidin was confirmed in CEM/VLB 100 cells, that was found to be 5-fold resistant to Aplidin compared to the CEM parental cell line.
    Cancer biology & therapy 01/2006; 4(12):1325-30. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is one of the most bioactive compounds of propolis, a resinous substance collected and elaborated by honeybees. A new liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometric method was developed and validated for its determination in rat plasma and urine, using taxifolin as internal standard. After sample preparation by liquid/liquid extraction with ethyl acetate, chromatographic separations were carried out with an ODS-RP column using a binary mobile phase gradient of acetonitrile in water. Detection was performed using a turboionspray source operated in negative ion mode and by multiple reaction monitoring. The method was validated, showing good selectivity, sensitivity (LOD = 1 ng/ml), linearity (5-1000 ng/ml; r > or = 0.9968), intra- and inter-batch precision and accuracy (< or =14.5%), and recoveries (94-106%) in both plasma and urine. Stability assays have shown that CAPE is rapidly hydrolysed by plasmatic esterases, which are however inhibited by sodium fluoride. The method was applied to the determination of CAPE levels in rat plasma and urine after oral administration, showing that CAPE is rapidly absorbed and excreted in urine both as unmodified molecule and as glucuronide conjugate.
    Journal of Chromatography B 11/2004; 810(1):129-36. · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A sensitive and highly specific liquid chromatographic method with electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometric detection (LC-ESI-MS/MS) is reported for the determination in human plasma, whole blood and urine of Aplidin (APL), a novel depsipeptide derived from the tunicate Aplidium albicans with a potent cytotoxic activity under investigation in clinical studies. Didemnin B was used as internal standard and, after protein precipitation with acetonitrile and liquid-liquid extraction with chloroform, APL was separated by liquid chromatography using a reversed-phase C18 column and a linear gradient of acetonitrile in water (both containing 0.5% formic acid). Detection was performed using a turboionspray source operated in positive ion mode and by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM; m/z 1111 --> 295 for APL and m/z 1113 --> 297 for didemnin B). The method was linear (r > or = 0.9933) over the range 1-250 ng/ml, with intra- and inter-batch precision and accuracy below 12.2% (except at LLOQ < or = 15.4%) for both plasma and urine. Recoveries were moderate, ranging from 54 to 70% in plasma and blood, and from 46 to 60% in urine, for both APL and didemnin B. The LOD was 0.25 ng/ml for both matrices. APL resulted stable in the different matrices at least for 6 h (both at room temperature and 37 degrees C), after freeze and thaw cycles and long term storage at -20 degrees C. The method allowed demonstrating that APL is in a dynamic equilibrium between plasma and blood cells. Moreover, the method was successfully applied to the pharmacokinetic study of Aplidin in cancer patients.
    Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 03/2004; 34(3):619-30. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cytotoxic effect of Aplidin was investigated on fresh leukaemia cells derived from children with B-cell-precursor (BCP) acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) by using stromal-layer culture system and on four cell lines, ALL-PO, Reh, ALL/MIK and TOM-1, derived from patients with ALL with different molecular genetic abnormalities. In ALL cell lines Aplidin was cytotoxic at nanomolar concentrations. In the ALL cell lines the drug-induced cell death was clearly related to the induction of apoptosis and appeared to be p53-independent. Only in ALL-PO 20 nM Aplidin treatment caused a block of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion and downregulation of VEGF-mRNA, but Aplidin cytotoxicity does not seem to be related to VEGF inhibition since the sensitivity of ALL-PO cells to Aplidin is comparable to that observed for the other cells used. Aplidin induced a G(1) and a G(2) M block in ALL cell lines. In patient-derived leukaemia cells, Aplidin induced a strong cytotoxicity evidenced in a stroma-supported immunocytometric assay. Cells from children with genetic abnormalities such as t(9;22) and t(4;11) translocations, associated with an inferior treatment outcome, were sensitive to Aplidin to the same extent as that observed in other BCP-ALL cases. Aplidin exerted a strong cell killing effect (>88%) against primary culture cells from five relapsed ALL cases, at concentrations much lower than those reported to be achieved in plasma of patients receiving Aplidin at recommended doses. Taken together these data suggest that Aplidin could be a new anticancer drug to be investigated in ALL patients resistant to available therapy.
    British Journal of Cancer 08/2003; 89(4):763-73. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glutathione S-transferase of Ochrobactrum anthropi (OaGST), a bacterium isolated from soils contaminated by xenobiotic pollutants, was recently purified, cloned and characterised in our laboratories. The recombinant OaGST (rOaGST), highly expressed in Escherichia coli, when purified by glutathione-affinity chromatography and then analysed by electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), has evidenced a disulphide bond with glutathione (S-glutathiolation), which was removable by reduction with 2-mercaptoethanol. Enzymatic digestion of rOaGST with endoproteinase Glu-C, followed by liquid chromatography (LC)-ESI-MS analyses of the peptide mixtures under both reducing and not reducing conditions, have shown that glutathione was covalently bound to the Cys10 residue of rOaGST. Furthermore, LC-ESI-MS analyses of overexpressed rOaGST in Escherichia coli crude extracts, with and without incubation with glutathione, have not shown any S-glutathiolation of the recombinant enzyme.
    Journal of Chromatography B 05/2003; 787(2):405-13. · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry method for the qualitative and quantitative determination of the secoiridoid oleuropein and its bioactive metabolite hydroxytyrosol in rat plasma and urine. Samples were prepared by liquid-liquid extraction using ethyl acetate with a recovery for both compounds of about 100% in plasma and about 60% in urine. The chromatographic separation was performed with a RP-ODS column using a water-acetonitrile linear gradient. The calibration curve was linear for both biophenols over the range 2.5-1000 ng/ml (LOD 1.25 ng/ml) for plasma and 5-1000 ng/ml (LOD 2.5 ng/ml) for urine. Plasma concentrations of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol were measured after oral administration of a single dose (100 mg/kg) of oleuropein. Analysis of treated rat plasma showed the presence of unmodified oleuropein, reaching a peak value of 200 ng/ml within 2 h, with a small amount of hydroxytyrosol, whereas in urine, both compounds were mainly found as glucuronides.
    Journal of Chromatography B 03/2003; 785(1):47-56. · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate structural relationship between amphibian and mammalian GSTs the complete amino acid sequence of the major form of glutathione transferase present in toad liver (Bufo bufo) was determined. The enzyme subunit is composed of 210 amino acid residues corresponding to a molecular mass of 24,178 Da. In comparison with the primary structure of amphibian bbGSTP1-1, toad liver GST showed 54% sequence identity. On the other hand, toad liver GST showed about 45-55% sequence identity when compared with other pi class GST and less then 25% identity with GST of other classes. Amino acid residues involved in the H site and in the key and lock structure of the toad enzyme are significantly different from those of bbGSTP1-1 and other mammalian pi class GST. On the basis of its structural and immunological properties the toad liver GST, indicated as bbGSTP2-2, could represent the prototype of a subset of the pi family.
    The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 11/2002; 34(10):1286-90. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three members of the protease-activated receptor family, PAR1, PAR3 and PAR4, are activated when thrombin cleaves the receptor N-terminus, exposing a tethered ligand. Proteases other than thrombin can also cleave PAR family members and, depending upon whether this exposes or removes the tethered ligand, either activate or disable the receptor. For example, on human platelets PAR1 is disabled by cathepsin G, although aggregation still occurs because cathepsin G can activate PAR4. The present studies examine the interaction of cathepsin G and a second neutrophil protease, elastase, with PAR3 using two model systems: COS-7 cells transfected with human PAR3 and mouse platelets, which express PAR3 and PAR4, but not PAR1. In contrast to human platelets, cathepsin G did not aggregate murine platelets, and prevented their activation only at low thrombin concentrations. Elastase had no effect on thrombin responses in mouse platelets, but when added to COS cells expressing human PAR3, both cathepsin G and elastase prevented activation of phospholipase C by thrombin. Notably, this inhibition occurred without loss of the binding sites for two monoclonal antibodies that flank the tethered ligand on human PAR3. We therefore conclude that 1) exposure to cathepsin G disables signaling through human PAR3, and prevents murine PAR3 from serving its normal role, which is to facilitate PAR4 cleavage at low thrombin concentrations, 2) elastase disables human, but not murine, PAR3, 3) in contrast to human PAR4, mouse PAR4 will not support platelet aggregation in response to cathepsin G, and 4) the inactivation of human PAR3 by cathepsin G and elastase involves a mechanism other than amputation of the tethered ligand domain. These results extend the range of possible interactions between PAR family members and proteases, and provide further support for species-specific differences in the interaction of these receptors with proteases other than thrombin.
    Thrombosis and Haemostasis 04/2001; 85(3):533-8. · 5.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is the most abundant heterocyclic amine formed in meat and fish during cooking and can be used as a model compound for this class of chemicals possibly involved in human carcinogenesis. Knowing the exposure to heterocyclic amines is important for establishing their role in human diseases. Serum albumin (SA) and globin (Gb) adducts were first tested as biomarkers of exposure to PhIP in male Fischer 344 rats given oral doses of 0.1, 0.5, 1 and 10 mg/kg. Blood samples were collected 24 hr after treatment and PhIP released from SA and Gb after acidic hydrolysis was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. PhIP-SA and Gb adducts increased linearly with the dose. Studies on 35 volunteers with different dietary habits exhibited that diet was a major determinant in the formation of both adducts. PhIP-SA adducts were significantly higher in meat consumers than in vegetarians (6.7 +/- 1.6 and 0.7 +/- 0.3 fmol/mg SA; respectively, mean +/- SE; p = 0.04, Mann-Whitney U test). The Gb adduct pattern was quantitatively lower but paralleled SA (3 +/- 0.8 in meat consumers and 0.3 +/- 0.1 in vegetarians). PhIP-SA adducts were no different in smokers and in non-smokers. The results show for the first time that PhIP-blood protein adducts are present in humans not given the synthetic compound. Both biomarkers appear to be suitable for assessing dietary exposure and internal PhIP dose and may be promising tools for studying the role of heterocyclic amines in the etiology of colon cancer and other diseases.
    International Journal of Cancer 11/2000; 88(1):1-6. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aplidine (dehydrodidemnin B) is a new marine-derived depsipeptide with a powerful cytotoxic activity, which is under early clinical investigation in Europe and in the US. In order to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of this novel drug, an HPLC–tandem mass spectrometry method was developed for the determination of aplidine in biological samples. Didemnin B, a hydroxy analogue, was used as internal standard. After protein precipitation with acetonitrile and extraction with chloroform, aplidine was chromatographed with a RP octadecylsilica column using a water–acetonitrile linear gradient in the presence of formic acid at the flow-rate of 500 μl/min. The method was linear over a 5–100 ng/ml range (LOD=0.5 ng/ml) in plasma and over a 1.25–125 ng/ml range (LOD=0.2 ng/ml) in urine with precision and accuracy below 14.0%. The intra- and inter-day precision and accuracy were below 12.5%. The extraction procedure recoveries for aplidine and didemnin B were 69% and 68%, respectively in plasma and 91% and 87%, respectively in urine. Differences in linearity, LOQ, LOD and recoveries between plasma and urine samples seem to be matrix-dependent. The applicability of the method was tested by measuring aplidine in rat plasma and urine after intravenous treatment.
    Journal of chromatography. B, Biomedical sciences and applications 09/1999;
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    Current Biology 07/1999; 9(11):R391-3. · 9.49 Impact Factor