Samuele Scurati

University of Milan, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (12)53.57 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Myelin is a membrane characterized by high lipid content to facilitate impulse propagation. Changes in myelin fatty acid (FA) composition have been associated with peripheral neuropathy, but the specific role of peripheral nerve FA synthesis in myelin formation and function is poorly understood. We have found that mice lacking sterol regulatory element-binding factor-1c (Srebf1c) have blunted peripheral nerve FA synthesis that results in development of peripheral neuropathy. Srebf1c-null mice develop Remak bundle alterations and hypermyelination of small-caliber fibers that impair nerve function. Peripheral nerves lacking Srebf1c show decreased FA synthesis and glycolytic flux, but increased FA catabolism and mitochondrial function. These metabolic alterations are the result of local accumulation of two endogenous peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (Pparα) ligands, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphatidylcholine and 1-stearoyl-2-oleyl-sn-glycerol-3-phosphatidylcholine. Treatment with a Pparα antagonist rescues the neuropathy of Srebf1c-null mice. These findings reveal the importance of peripheral nerve FA synthesis to sustain myelin structure and function. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell metabolism 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2015.02.016 · 16.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Both F(2)-isoprostanes (8-iso-PGF(2alpha)), a well-known marker of oxidative stress, and thromboxanes A(2) (TXA(2)) are involved in atherosclerosis through LDL oxidation and platelet activation. Different aspects of the pathology can be described by 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) and TXA(2) so it is important to determine both their concentrations to monitor the disease progression and/or therapy effects. We developed a simple and sensitive method based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, using electrospray ionization in negative-ion mode, for the simultaneous measurement of the concentration of 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) and 11-dehydro thromboxane B(2) (11-DH-TXB(2)), a TXA(2) metabolite. This method was applied to analyze urine samples collected overnight from 15 atherosclerotic patients, with documented carotid artery sclerosis (CAS), and from 20 controls. The detection limit was 0.097pg/microL for 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) and 0.375pg/microL for 11-DH-TXB(2), with a linear range of 0.78-25pg/microL; the inter- and intraday imprecision was <5% for both metabolites. These analytes were higher in CAS (P<0.005 vs controls) and were positively correlated in patients but not in controls, even after adjustment for age and gender (r=0.60; P=0.032). This highly sensitive, precise, and rapid method allows for the simultaneous determination of 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) and 11-DH-TXB(2) in human urine samples in order to evaluate oxidative stress and platelet aggregation.
    Analytical Biochemistry 10/2009; 397(2):168-74. DOI:10.1016/j.ab.2009.10.014 · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We determined total Purkinje cell (PC) numbers in cerebella of wild-type (+/+) and heterozygous (rl/+) reeler mice of either sex during early postnatal development; in parallel, we quantified levels of neuroactive steroids in the cerebellum with mass spectrometry. We also quantified reelin mRNA and protein expression with RT-PCR and Western blotting. PC numbers are selectively reduced at postnatal day 15 (P15) in rl/+ males in comparison to +/+ males, +/+ females, and rl/+ females. Administration of 17beta-estradiol (17beta-E) into the cisterna magna at P5 increases PC numbers in rl/+ males, but not in the other groups; conversely, estrogen antagonists 4-OH-tamoxifen or ICI 182,780 reduce PC numbers in +/+ and rl/+ females, but have no effect in males. Testosterone (T) levels at P5 are much higher in males than in females, reflecting the perinatal testosterone surge in males. In addition, rl/+ male cerebella at P5 show a peculiar hormonal profile in comparison with the other groups, consisting of increased levels of T and 17beta-E, and decreased levels of dihydrotestosterone. RT-PCR analysis indicated that heterozygosity leads to a 50% reduction of reelin mRNA in the cerebellum in both sexes, as expected, and that 17beta-E upregulates reelin mRNA, particularly in rl/+ males; reelin mRNA upregulation is associated with an increase of all major reelin isoforms. These effects may represent a novel model of how reelin deficiency interacts with variable perinatal levels of neuroactive steroids, leading to gender-dependent differences in genetic vulnerability.
    Neurobiology of Disease 10/2009; 36(1):103-115. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2009.07.001 · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inflammation might represent a second hit for anti-phospholipid antibody (aPL)-mediated thrombosis. Inflammatory responses have been linked to gene polymorphisms of several cytokines and Toll Like Receptors (TLRs). We examined IL1 beta, TNFalpha, TGFbeta, IL6, IFN gamma, IL10, tlr4 gene polymorphisms in a family with several members positive for IgG anti-beta2 glycoprotein I (beta 2GPI) antibodies but with recurrent thrombosis in one member only. Lupus anticoagulant, anti-cardiolipin, anti-beta 2GPI IgG/IgM antibodies, IL1beta, TNFalpha, TGF beta1, IL6, IL10, IFN gamma, tlr4 gene polymorphisms (by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction) in addition to standard thrombophilic risk factors and cytokine serum levels (IL-1 beta, TNFalpha, IL-10) were evaluated. Recurrent thrombotic events was reported only in the proband, but not in three healthy siblings persistently positive for IgG anti-beta2GPI antibodies, respectively. The wild type tlr4 gene and cytokine polymorphisms associated with a high pro-inflammatory response (IL-1 beta promoter-511C/T; TNFalpha G/A; TGFbeta+10T/C, +25C/G; IL-6 -174C/G) were found only in the proband. Serum cytokine levels were normal. This case report confirms that protective tlr4 gene polymorphisms are more frequent in asymptomatic aPL carriers. In line with the role of inflammatory mediators as second hits for aPL-associated thrombosis, the polymorphisms of cytokines linked to higher inflammatory response were found in the proband only.
    Journal of Autoimmunity 02/2009; 32(1):60-3. DOI:10.1016/j.jaut.2008.11.002 · 7.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A satisfactory management to ensure a full restoration of peripheral nerve after trauma is not yet available. Using an experimental protocol, in which crush injury was applied 1 cm above the bifurcation of the rat sciatic nerve for 20 s, we here demonstrate that the levels of neuroactive steroids, such as pregnenolone and progesterone (P) metabolites (i.e. dihydroprogesterone, DHP, and tetrahydroprogesterone, THP) present in injured sciatic nerve were significantly decreased. On this basis, we have focused our attention on DHP and its direct precursor, P, analyzing whether these two neuroactive steroids may have neuroprotective effects on biochemical, functional and morphological alterations occurring during crush-induced degeneration-regeneration. We demonstrate that DHP and/or P counteract biochemical alterations (i.e. myelin proteins and Na(+),K(+)-ATPase pump) and stimulate reelin gene expression. These two neuroactive steroids also counteract nociception impairment, and DHP treatment significantly decreases the up-regulation of myelinated fibers' density occurring in crushed animals. Altogether, these observations suggest that DHP and P (i.e. two neuroactive steroids interacting with progesterone receptor) may be considered protective agents in case of nerve crush injury.
    Neuroscience 07/2008; 155(3):673-85. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.06.034 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A (CMT1A) represents 80% of all the demyelinating hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies. As recently suggested, neuroactive steroids may have a role in a therapeutic strategy for peripheral neuropathies, including CMT1A. To this aim, an accurate qualitative and quantitative analysis of neuroactive steroid levels in this disease could be extremely important to define effective pharmacological strategies. We here analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry the levels of neuroactive steroids present in the sciatic nerve of male and female peripheral myelin protein 22 transgenic rats (PMP22(tg) rats; i.e., an experimental model of CMT1A) and of the corresponding wild-type littermates. We observed that, both in PMP22(tg) rats and in the wild types, the levels of neuroactive steroids, such as progesterone, tetrahydroprogesterone (THP), isopregnanolone (3beta,5alpha-THP), testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and 5alpha-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol (3alpha-diol) are sexually dimorphic. It is interesting to note that the levels of 3beta,5alpha-THP and of 3alpha-diol, which are exclusively detectable in sciatic nerve of female and male rats, respectively, are strongly decreased in PMP22(tg) rats. 3beta,5alpha-THP and 3alpha-diol are modulators of gamma-amino butyric acid A receptor. Thus, the present findings may be considered an interesting background for experiments aimed to evaluate the possible therapeutic effects of modulators of this neurotransmitter receptor in male and female PMP22(tg) rats.
    Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 04/2008; 34(3):249-53. DOI:10.1007/s12031-007-9029-3 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nervous system is a target for physiological and protective effects of neuroactive steroids. Consequently, the assessment of their levels in nervous structures under physiological and pathological conditions is a top priority. To this aim, identification and quantification of pregnenolone (PREG), progesterone (PROG), dihydroprogesterone (DHP), tetrahydroprogesterone (THP), testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), 5alpha-androstan-3alpha, 17beta-diol (3alpha-diol), 17alpha- and 17beta-estradiol (17alpha-E and 17beta-E) by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has been set up. After validation, this method was applied to determine the levels of neuroactive steroids in central (i.e., cerebral cortex, cerebellum and spinal cord) and peripheral (i.e., brachial nerve) nervous system of control and diabetic rats. In controls only the brachial nerve had detectable levels of all these neuroactive steroids. In contrast, 17alpha-E in cerebellum, 17alpha-E, 17beta-E, DHP and THP in cerebral cortex, and 17alpha-E, 17beta-E and DHP in spinal cord were under the detection limit. Diabetes, induced by injection with streptozotocin, strongly affected the levels of some neuroactive steroids. In particular, the levels of PREG, PROG and T in cerebellum, of PROG, T and 3alpha-diol in cerebral cortex, of PROG, DHT and 3alpha-diol in spinal cord and of PREG, DHP, THP, T, DHT and 3alpha-diol in brachial nerve were significantly decreased. In conclusion, the data here reported demonstrate that the LC-MS/MS method allows the assessment of neuroactive steroids in the nervous system with high sensitivity and specificity and that diabetes strongly affects their levels, providing a further basis for new therapeutic tools based on neuroactive steroids aimed at counteracting diabetic neuropathy.
    Neurochemistry International 03/2008; 52(4-5):560-8. DOI:10.1016/j.neuint.2007.06.004 · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autism is a disorder characterized by impaired social skills, repetitive and stereotypic behaviors, impairments in planning and attention, and altered cognitive functioning. Twin studies support a strong genetic component. Males are affected more frequently than females by a ratio of 4:1. One hypothesis to explain the skewed sex ratio in autism is the “extreme male brain” theory, according to which elevated fetal testosterone levels lead to increased risk of developing social and communication deficits. A neurobiological interpretation of this theory posits that gonadal hormones modulate the penetrance of genetic mutations associated with autism. Male heterozygous reeler (rl/+) mice show a decreased number of Purkinje cells (PC) in the cerebellum, while female rl/+ do not show any PC loss. We have shown that this loss of PCs is already observable at postnatal day 15 (P15), while there is no corresponding loss of granule cells. Since PCs regulate proliferation of granule cell precursors, PC loss in male rl/+ likely occurs after the main period of granule cell neurogenesis. Moreover, analysis of PC numbers in individual cerebellar lobules indicates that the PC loss in the male rl/+ is more pronounced in the lateral hemispheres than in the vermis, as observed in human autistic subjects. We have shown that early postnatal treatment with the estrogen receptor agonist 17-β-Estradiol (17βΕ2) increases PC numbers in male rl/+ but has no effect in female rl/+ or male/female wt mice; conversely, treatments with the estrogen receptor antagonists 4-OH-Tamoxifen or ICI 182,780 selectively reduce PC numbers in female rl/+, but have no effect in male rl/+ or wt mice. We hypothesized that the PC loss in the male rl/+ is due to an imbalance of estrogen/testosterone tissue levels. Consistent with this hypothesis, mass spectrometric analysis of the concentrations of neuroactive steroids in the cerebellum at P5 does indeed indicate that male rl/+ mice have significantly increased levels of testosterone (T) and decreased levels of dehydrotestosterone (DHT), compared wt males or rl/+ females. Real-Time PCR analysis of aromatase, the enzyme that catalyzes the formation of estradiol from testosterone, does not reveal significant differences between young rl/+ and wt mice of either sex, thus suggesting this steroidogenic enzyme is not implicated in the loss of PCs. Our results support the male rl/+ mouse as a model of neuropathological, and possibly also behavioural alterations in autism. The molecular pathways involved in mediating the action of sex steroids on PCs could represent candidate signaling pathways in ASD and potentially lead to new therapeutic targets.
    Society for Neuroscience, 2007., San Diego, USA; 11/2007
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    ABSTRACT: The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are transcriptional regulators of glucose and lipid metabolism. They are activated by natural ligands, such as fatty acids, and are also targets of synthetic antidiabetic and hypolipidemic drugs. By using cell-based reporter assays, we studied the transactivation activity of two enantiomeric ureidofibrate-like derivatives. In particular, we show that the R-enantiomer, (R)-1, is a full agonist of PPARγ, whereas the S-enantiomer, (S)-1, is a less potent partial agonist. Most importantly, we report the x-ray crystal structures of the PPARγ ligand binding domain complexed with the R- and the S-enantiomer, respectively. The analysis of the two crystal structures shows that the different degree of stabilization of the helix 12 induced by the ligand determines its behavior as full or partial agonist. Another crystal structure of the PPARγ·(S)-1 complex, only differing in the soaking time of the ligand, is also presented. The comparison of the two structures of the complexes with the partial agonist reveals significant differences and is suggestive of the possible coexistence in solution of transcriptionally active and inactive forms of helix 12 in the presence of a partial agonist. Mutation analysis confirms the importance of Leu465, Leu469, and Ile472 in the activation by (R)-1 and underscores the key role of Gln286 in the PPARγ activity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2007; 282(23):17314-24. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M702316200 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we have assessed the effect of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and 5alphaandrostan-3alpha, 17beta-diol (3alpha-diol) therapies on diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes was induced in adult male rats by the injection of streptozotocin and resulted in decreased T and increased 3alpha-diol levels in plasma and in decreased levels of pregnenolone and DHT in the sciatic nerve. Moreover, a reduced expression of the enzyme converting Tinto DHT (i.e., the 5alpha-reductase) also occurs at the level of sciatic nerve, suggesting that the decrease of DHT levels could be due to an impairment of this enzyme. Chronic treatment for 1 month with DHT or 3alpha-diol increased tail nerve conduction velocity and partially counteracted the increase of thermal threshold induced by diabetes. Treatment with DHT increased tibial Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity and the expression of myelin protein P0 in the sciatic nerve.DHT, 3alpha-diol and T reversed the reduction of intra-epidermal nerve fiber density induced by diabetes. These observations indicate that T metabolites can reverse behavioral, neurophysiological, morphological and biochemical alterations induced by peripheral diabetic neuropathy.
    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 06/2007; 64(9):1158-68. DOI:10.1007/s00018-007-7002-5 · 5.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of coronary artery disease as a consequence of its high content of antioxidants, namely, hydroxytyrosol (HT) and oleuropein aglycone (OleA), typical of virgin olive oil. Because intercellular and vascular cell adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 and VCAM-1) and E-selectin are crucial for endothelial activation, the role of the phenolic extract from extra virgin olive oil (OPE), OleA, HT, and homovanillyl alcohol (HVA) on cell surface and mRNA expression in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) was evaluated. OPE strongly reduced cell surface expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 at concentrations physiologically relevant (IC50 < 1 microM), linked to a reduction in mRNA levels. OleA and HT were the main components responsible for these effects. HVA inhibited cell surface expression of all the adhesion molecules, whereas the effect on mRNA expression was weaker. These results supply new insights on the protective role of olive oil against vascular risk through the down-regulation of adhesion molecules involved in early atherogenesis.
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 05/2006; 54(9):3259-64. DOI:10.1021/jf0529161 · 3.11 Impact Factor