[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We intended to verify the safety of the freshwater values established for cadmium by the European Community and the Italian Ministry of Health in drinking water (5 μ g/L) and sewage waters (20 μ g/L). Therefore, we chronically exposed the newt Triturus carnifex to 5 μ g/L and 20 μ g/L doses of cadmium, respectively, during 3 and 9 months and verified the effects on the adrenal gland. We evaluated the serum concentrations of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), corticosterone, aldosterone, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. During the 3-month exposure, both doses of cadmium decreased ACTH and corticosterone serum levels and increased aldosterone and epinephrine serum levels. During the 9-month exposure, the 5 μ g/L dose decreased ACTH and increased aldosterone and epinephrine serum levels; the 20 μ g/L dose decreased norepinephrine and epinephrine serum levels, without affecting the other hormones. It was concluded that (1) chronic exposure to the safety values established for cadmium disrupted the adrenal gland activity and (2) the effects of cadmium were related both to the length of exposure and the dose administered. Moreover, our results suggest probable risks to human health, due to the use of water contaminated by cadmium.
BioMed research international. 01/2013; 2013:424358.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Celiac disease (CD) is an intestinal inflammatory condition that develops in genetically susceptible individuals after exposure to dietary wheat gliadin. The role of post-translational modifications of gliadin catalyzed by tissue transglutaminase (tTG) seems to play a crucial role in CD. However, it remains to be established how and where tTG is activated in vivo. We have investigated whether gliadin peptides modulate intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and tTG activity.
We studied Ca2+ homeostasis in Caco-2 cells by single cell microfluorimetry. Under our conditions, A-gliadin peptides 31–43 and 57–68 rapidly mobilized Ca2+ from intracellular stores. Specifically, peptide 31–43 mobilized Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria, whereas peptide 57–68 mobilized Ca2+ only from mitochondria. We also found that gliadin peptide-induced Ca2+ mobilization activates the enzymatic function of intracellular tTG as revealed by in situ tTG activity using the tTG substrate pentylamine-biotin. Moreover, we demonstrate that peptide 31–43, but not peptide 57–68, induces an increase of tTG expression. Finally, we monitored the expression of glucose-regulated protein-78 and of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-homologous protein, which are two biochemical markers of ER-stress, by real-time RT-PCR and western blot. We found that chronic administration of peptide 31–43, but not of peptide 57–68, induces the expression of both genes.
By inducing Ca2+ mobilization from the ER, peptide 31–43 could promote an ER-stress pathway that may be relevant in CD pathogenesis. Furthermore, peptides 31–43 and 57–68, by activating intracellular tTG, could alter inflammatory key regulators, and induce deamidation of immunogenic peptides and gliadin–tTG crosslinking in enterocytes and specialized antigen-presenting cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In celiac disease (CD), gluten, the disease-inducing toxic component in wheat, induces the secretion of IgA-class autoantibodies
which target tissue transglutaminase (tTG). These autoantibodies are produced in the small-intestinal mucosa, and, during
gluten consumption, they can also be detected in patients’ serum but disappear slowly from the circulation on a gluten-free
diet. Interestingly, after adoption of a gluten-free diet the serum autoantibodies disappear from the circulation more rapidly
than the small-intestinal mucosal autoantibody deposits. The finding of IgA deposits on extracellular tTG in the liver, kidney,
lymph nodes and muscles of patients with CD indicates that tTG is accessible to the gut-derived autoantibodies. Although the
specific autoantibody response directed against tTG is very characteristic in celiac patients, their role in the immunopathology
of the celiac mucosal lesion is a matter of debate. Here we report a brief summary of anti-tTG antibody effects demonstrating
that these antibodies are functional and not mere bystanders in the disease pathogenesis. In fact, they inhibit intestinal
epithelial cell differentiation, induce intestinal epithelial cell proliferation, increase epithelial permeability and activate
monocytes and disturb angiogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies are specifically produced in the small-intestinal mucosa of celiac disease (CD) patients. It is now recognized that these antibodies, acting on cell-surface tTG, may play an active role in CD pathogenesis triggering an intracellular response via the activation of different signal transduction pathways. In this study, we report that anti-tTG antibodies, both commercial and from a CD patient, induce a rapid Ca(2+) mobilization from intracellular stores in Caco-2 cells. We characterized the mechanism of Ca(2+) release using thapsigargin and carbonylcyanide-p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone, which are able to deplete specifically endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria of Ca(2+), respectively. Our data highlight that both pathways of calcium release were involved, thus indicating that the spectrum of cellular responses downstream can be very wide. In addition, we demonstrate that the increased Ca(2+) level in the cells evoked by anti-tTG antibodies was sufficient to activate tTG, which is normally present as a latent protein due to the presence of low Ca(2+) and to the inhibitory effect of GTP/GDP. Herein, we discuss the importance of intracellular tTG activation as central in the context of CD pathogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human bones, recovered from excavations, are an important biological archive of information. In particular, the analysis of the collagen fraction is useful for paleodietary reconstruction, via light stable isotopes, and for (14)C dating. Generally, collagen extraction procedures do not prevent loss of integrity of proteins. As a consequence, information about the state-of-remains preservation is unavailable. Here we describe a "soft" nondestructive CH(3)COOH-based method to recover collagen from archaeological bones, and also to obtain material for successive isotopic analyses. Our isotopic measurements on the extracts indicate that the CH(3)COOH-based method of extraction may be routinely employed in the context of paleodiet studies. In addition, we propose that biochemical characterization by denaturant electrophoresis and Western blot on CH(3)COOH extracts may be used as a bone collagen quality indicator.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Celiac disease is characterized by the secretion of IgA-class autoantibodies that target tissue transglutaminase (tTG). It is now recognized that anti-tTG antibodies are functional and not mere bystanders in the pathogenesis of celiac disease. Here we report that interaction between anti-tTG antibodies and extracellular membrane-bound tTG inhibits peptide 31-43 (but not peptide 57-68) uptake by cells, thereby impairing the ability of p31-43 to drive Caco-2 cells into S-phase. This effect did not involve tTG catalytic activity. Because anti-tTG antibodies interfered with epidermal growth factor endocytosis, we assume that they exert their effect by reducing peptide 31-43 endocytosis. Our results suggest that cell-surface tTG plays a hitherto unknown role in the regulation of gliadin peptide uptake and endocytosis.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2010; 1802(9):717-27. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Celiac disease is a permanent intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat gluten and to similar barley and rye proteins that occurs in genetically susceptible subjects. After ingestion, degraded gluten proteins reach the small intestine and trigger an inappropriate T cell-mediated immune response, which can result in intestinal mucosal inflammation and extraintestinal manifestations. To date, no pharmacological treatment is available to gluten-intolerant patients, and a strict, life-long gluten-free diet is the only safe and efficient treatment available. Inevitably, this may produce considerable psychological, emotional, and economic stress. Therefore, the scientific community is very interested in establishing alternative or adjunctive treatments. Attractive and novel forms of therapy include strategies to eliminate detrimental gluten peptides from the celiac diet so that the immunogenic effect of the gluten epitopes can be neutralized, as well as strategies to block the gluten-induced inflammatory response. In the present paper, we review recent developments in the use of enzymes as additives or as processing aids in the food biotechnology industry to detoxify gluten.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-transglutaminase antibodies are the diagnostic markers of coeliac disease. A role is suggested for infectious agents in the production of anti-transglutaminase antibodies. The aim was to measure positive anti-transglutaminase antibody levels in children with infectious diseases and to compare immunological and biological characteristics of the anti-transglutaminase antibodies derived from these children with that from coeliac patients. Two hundred and twenty-two children suffering from infectious diseases were enrolled prospectively along with seven biopsy-proven coeliacs. Serum samples were tested for anti-transglutaminase antibodies and anti-endomysium antibodies; positive samples were tested for coeliac-related human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ2/8 and anti-viral antibodies. Purified anti-transglutaminase antibodies from the two study groups were tested for urea-dependent avidity, and their ability to induce cytoskeletal rearrangement and to modulate cell-cycle in Caco-2 cells, using phalloidin staining and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation assays, respectively. Nine of 222 children (4%) tested positive to anti-transglutaminase, one of whom also tested positive for anti-endomysium antibodies. This patient was positive for HLA-DQ2 and was diagnosed as coeliac following intestinal biopsy. Of the eight remaining children, two were positive for HLA-DQ8. Levels of anti-transglutaminase returned to normal in all subjects, despite a gluten-containing diet. Purified anti-transglutaminase of the two study groups induced actin rearrangements and cell-cycle progression. During an infectious disease, anti-transglutaminase antibodies can be produced temporarily and independently of gluten. The infection-triggered anti-transglutaminase antibodies have the same biological properties as that of the coeliacs, with the same in-vivo potential for damage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that seminal vesicle protein IV (SV-IV) and its 1-70 N-terminal fragment have anti-inflammatory activity and modulate anti-thrombin III (AT) activity. Moreover, mass spectrometry analysis of purified SV-IV has shown that the protein was found to be highly heterogeneous and 14% of the total SV-IV molecules are truncated forms, of particular interest the 1-16, 1-17, and 1-18 peptides. In this work we report experimental data which demonstrate that the 1-16 peptide (P1-16) possesses a marked effect on the AT activity by preventing the formation of the thrombin-AT complex. We found that the formation of thrombin-AT complex is markedly decreased in the presence of P1-16 used at equimolar concentration with thrombin as evaluated with SDS-PAGE. We also monitored the conformational changes of thrombin in the presence of different P1-16 concentrations, and calculated the K(d) of thrombin/P1-16 system by circular dichroism technique. The probable interaction sites of P1-16 with thrombin have been also evaluated by molecular graphics and computational analyses. These results have potential implications in the treatment of sterility and thrombotic diseases.
Experimental and Molecular Medicine 11/2008; 40(5):541-9. · 2.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increase of VPAC receptor s binding to the (16)gamma-glutamyl diaminopropane vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP-DAP) agonist, a vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) structural analogue containing a positive charge at position 16, has confirmed the importance of a positive charge at this site. By investigating the effect of distance from the peptide backbone Calpha of a positive charge in position 16, data are reported here concerning: (i) a novel chemical method used for the synthesis of a new family of (16)gamma-glutamyl diamine VIP derivatives differing among them for single carbon atoms and including diaminoethane (VIP-DAE2), diaminopropane (VIP-DAP3), diaminobutane (VIP-DAB4), diaminopentane (VIP-DAP5), and diaminohexane (VIP-DAH6); (ii) functional characterization of these compounds on human VPAC1 and VPAC2 receptors. In more detail, the EC50 and IC50 values, when measured as a function of the alkylic chain length, show in more detail, that the use of VIP-DAB4 derivative changes the IC50 but not the EC50, thus indicating on hVPAC2 receptor an unexpected relationship between binding and activity that differs from that obtained on hVPAC1.
Journal of Peptide Science 02/2008; 14(1):102-9. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Seminal vesicle protein 4 (SV-IV) is a highly flexible molecule that in aqueous solution behaves as a concentration-dependent self-associating system in which the degree of association (monomer <--> dimer <--> trimer equilibrium) seems to be related to its biological activities. This review reports the functional role of SV-IV in seminal clotting exerted through the modulation of inflammation, hemostasis, and sperm protection against the damage induced by immunological or reactive oxygen species during the long journey of spermatozoa in the female genital tract.
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis 03/2007; 33(1):53-9. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Native Factor V is an anticoagulant, but when activated by thrombin, Factor X or platelet proteases, it becomes a procoagulant. Due to these double properties, Factor V plays a crucial role in the regulation of coagulation/anticoagulation balance. Factor V Leiden (FVL) disorder may lead to thrombophilia. Whether a reduction in the activation of Factor V or Factor V Leiden may correct the disposition to thrombophilia is unknown. Therefore we tested SV-IV Peptide 1-16 (i.e. a peptide derived by seminal protein vescicle number IV, SV-IV) to assess its capacity to inhibit the procoagulant activity of normal clotting factor V or Factor V Leiden (FVL). We found that SV-IV protein has potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and also exerts procoagulant activity. In the present work we show that the SV-IV Peptide 1-16, incubated with plasma containing normal Factor V or FVL plasma for 5 minutes reduces the procoagulant capacity of both substances. This is an anticoagulant effect whereas SV-IV protein is a procoagulant. This activity is effective both in terms of the coagulation tests, where coagulation times are increased, and in terms of biochemical tests conducted with purified molecules, where Factor X activation is reduced. Peptide 1-16 was, in the pure molecule system, first incubated for 5 minutes with purified Factor V then it was added to the mix of phosphatidylserine, Ca2+, Factor X and its chromogenic molecule Chromozym X. We observed a more than 50% reduction in lysis of chromogenic molecule Chromozym X by Factor Xa, compared to the sample without Peptide 1-16. Such reduction in Chromozym X lysis, is explained with the reduced activation of Factor X by partial inactivation of Factor V by Peptide 1-16. Thus our study demonstrates that Peptide 1-16 reduces the coagulation capacity of Factor V and Factor V Leiden in vitro, and, in turn, causes factor X reduced activation.
Journal of Translational Medicine 02/2007; 5:69. · 3.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, we have utilized the transglutaminase (TGase) enzyme to modify the primary structure of VIP with diamminopropane (DAP) at the level of the Gln16. We have investigated the conformational stability of VIP and VIP–DAP in solution by limited proteolysis experiments. The VIP–DAP appears to be more resistant to the proteolytic attack of trypsin, thus indicating that the derivatization in position 16 is able to stabilize the structure of the peptide. However, we have studied their role in cell cycle modulation and antioxidant activity in the oropharyngeal epidermoid carcinoma KB cells.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 08/2006; 1070(1):167 - 172. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structural features of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and of its Gln16-diaminopropane derivative (VIP-DAP) in solution were investigated by limited proteolysis experiments with trypsin and thermolysin. The proteolysis of the native peptide by both proteinases takes place near the residues in positions 12 and 21/22, suggesting that these amino acids are embedded in segments more flexible than the rest of the molecule. VIP-DAP appears to be more resistant to the proteolytic attack of trypsin, indicating that the derivatization in position 16 is able to stabilize the structure of the peptide. Moreover, the analysis of the mass spectra of the proteolytic mixtures supports the evidence that the derivatization is also able to protect Met17 against oxidation. From these data it can be concluded that VIP in solution under physiological conditions is characterized by the presence of segments with secondary structure, linked together by "hinge" regions that confer flexibility to the peptide, whereas VIP-DAP is embedded in a more rigid conformation, more suitable to receptor interaction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial porins enhance the thrombin activity upon chromogen substrate chromozym. Should porin-dependent enhancement of thrombin activity take place also upon fibrinogen in vivo, this might greatly increase the fibrin production which, in turn, might lead to blood vessel obstruction. In this study, we demonstrate fibrin hyperproduction in a simplified coagulative system, consisting of fibrinogen and thrombin-pure molecules, in the presence of bacterial porins. In particular, bacterial porins, in the presence of thrombin, significantly increased the fibrin production compared with thrombin alone. Also, fibrin hyperproduction took place even in the presence of the thrombin inhibitors antithrombin III (AT III) or alpha2 macroglobulin (alpha2M). However, the thrombin-fibrinogen reaction in the presence of AT III or alpha2M did not generate fibrin, unless porins were present. In conclusion, porins not only enhance thrombin activity but also inhibit the antithrombin activity exerted by AT III or alpha2M. We hypothesize that, because of porins activity, fibrin is largely generated due to thrombin hyperactivation. Moreover, further fibrin is produced by thrombin, which is not blocked by two serpins for the presence of porins. These results might be relevant as to the occurrence of disseminated intravascular coagulation in sepsis by gram-negative bacteria, which are known to produce porins.
International Journal of Experimental Pathology 09/2005; 86(4):241-5. · 2.04 Impact Factor