M Giuliano

Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (78)330.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The study included 309 HIV-infected pregnant women receiving a lamivudine-containing antiretroviral regimen from week 25 of gestational age until 6 months postpartum, during breastfeeding. Twenty-seven of them (8.7%) were hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) positive; at baseline, hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels >3 log10 IU/mL (with a median level of 6.2 log10 IU/mL) were found in 10 women, who at one, three and six months postpartum had median levels of 5.2 log10 IU/mL, 4.5 log10 IU/mL and 2.8 log10 IU/mL, respectively. Twenty-four of the 30 breast milk samples evaluated had undetectable HBV DNA and the other six had values between 15 and 155 IU/mL. Median lamivudine concentrations were 1070 ng/mL in serum and 684 ng/mL in breast milk. Among the 24 HBV-exposed children with available samples, 16 always tested negative, four had a transient infection, one had an undetermined status and three (12.5%) first tested positive at Month 12 or Month 24. Among the children born to the HBV-uninfected mothers of the same cohort, the rate of HBsAg positivity at 12-24 months was 2% (4/196). Our finding of the absence of significative levels of HBV DNA in the breast milk of co-infected mothers supports the present recommendations for breastfeeding in HBV-infected women. Horizontal transmission can be hypothesized for the infections detected in children at 12-24 months. Children born to HBV-positive mothers remained at higher risk of postnatal HBV acquisition compared to those born to HBV-negative women.
    Journal of Viral Hepatitis 09/2014; · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common type of bone cancer, with a peak incidence in the early childhood. Emerging evidence suggests that treatments targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs) within a tumor can halt cancer and improve patient survival. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the maintenance of the CSC phenotype, thus, identification of CSC-related miRNAs would provide information for a better understanding of CSCs. Downregulation of miRNA-29 family members (miR-29a/b/c; miR‑29s) was observed in human OS, however, little is known about the functions of miR-29s in human OS CSCs. Previously, during the characterization of 3AB-OS cells, a CSC line selected from human OS MG63 cells, we showed a potent downregulation of miR-29b. In this study, after stable transfection of 3AB-OS cells with miR-29b-1, we investigated the role of miR-29b-1 in regulating cell proliferation, sarcosphere-forming ability, clonogenic growth, chemosensitivity, migration and invasive ability of 3AB-OS cells, in vitro. We found that, miR-29b-1 overexpression consistently reduced both, 3AB-OS CSCs growth in two- and three-dimensional culture systems and their sarcosphere- and colony-forming ability. In addition, while miR-29b-1 overexpression sensitized 3AB-OS cells to chemotherapeutic drug-induced apoptosis, it did not influence their migratory and invasive capacities, thus suggesting a context-depending role of miR-29b-1. Using publicly available databases, we proceeded to identify potential miR-29b target genes, known to play a role in the above reported functions. Among these targets we analyzed CD133, N-Myc, CCND2, E2F1 and E2F2, Bcl-2 and IAP-2. We also analyzed the most important stemness markers as Oct3/4, Sox2 and Nanog. Real-time RT-PCR and western-blot analyses showed that miR-29b-1 negatively regulated the expression of these markers. Overall, the results show that miR-29b-1 suppresses stemness properties of 3AB-OS CSCs and suggest that developing miR-29b-1 as a novel therapeutic agent might offer benefits for OS treatment.
    International Journal of Oncology 08/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cannabinoids have been reported to possess anti-tumorigenic activity in cancer models although their mechanism of action is not well understood. Here, we show that the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 (WIN)-induced apoptosis in colon cancer cell lines is accompanied by endoplasmic reticulum stress induction. The formation of acidic vacuoles and the increase in LC3-II protein indicated the involvement of autophagic process which seemed to play a pro-survival role against the cytotoxic effects of the drug. However, the enhanced lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) blocked the autophagic flux after the formation of autophagosomes as demonstrated by the accumulation of p62 and LC3, two markers of autophagic degradation. Data also provided evidence for a role for nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) in cannabinoid signalling. PPARγ expression, at both protein and mRNA levels, was significantly down-regulated after WIN treatment and its inhibition, either by specific antagonists or by down-regulation via gene silencing, induced effects on cell viability as well as on ER stress and autophagic markers similar to those obtained in the presence of WIN. Moreover, the observation that the increase in p62 level and the induction of LMP were also modified by PPARγ antagonists seemed to indicate that PPARγ down-regulation was crucial to determinate the block of autophagic flux, thus confirming the critical role of PPARγ in WIN action. In conclusion, at our knowledge, our results are the first to show that the reduction of PPARγ levels contributes to WIN-induced colon carcinoma cell death by blocking the pro-survival autophagic response of cells.
    Apoptosis 04/2014; · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 is a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist with anticancer potential. Experiments were performed to determine the effects of WIN on proliferation, cell cycle distribution, and programmed cell death in human osteosarcoma MG63 and Saos-2 cells. Results show that WIN induced G2/M cell cycle arrest, which was associated with the induction of the main markers of ER stress (GRP78, CHOP and TRB3). In treated cells we also observed the conversion of the cytosolic form of the autophagosome marker LC3-I into LC3-II (the lipidated form located on the autophagosome membrane) and the enhanced incorporation of monodansylcadaverine and acridine orange, two markers of the autophagic compartments such as autolysosomes. WIN also induced morphological effects in MG63 cells consisting in an increase in cell size and a marked cytoplasmic vacuolization. However, WIN effects were not associated with a canonical apoptotic pathway, as demonstrated by the absence of specific features, and only the addition of TRAIL to WIN-treated cells led to apoptotic death probably mediated by up-regulation of the tumor suppressor factor PAR-4, whose levels increased after WIN treatment, and by the translocation of GRP78 on cell surface.
    International journal of biological sciences 01/2014; 10(5):466-78. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma is a highly metastatic tumor affecting adolescents, for which there is no second-line chemotherapy. As suggested for most tumors, its capability to overgrow is probably driven by cancer stem cells (CSCs), and finding new targets to kill CSCs may be critical for improving patient survival. TP53 is the most frequently mutated tumor-suppressor gene in cancers and mutant p53 protein (mutp53) can acquire gain-of-function (GOF) strongly contributing to malignancy. Studies thus far have not shown p53-GOF in osteosarcoma. Here, we investigated TP53 gene status/role in 3AB-OS cells -a highly aggressive CSC line previously selected from human osteosarcoma MG63 cells- to evaluate its involvement in promoting proliferation, invasiveness, resistance to apoptosis and stemness. By RT-PCR, methylation specific PCR, fluorescent in situ hybridization, DNA sequence, western blot and immunofluorescence analyses we have shown that -in comparison to parental MG63 cells where TP53 gene is hypermethylated, rearranged and in single copy- in 3AB-OS cells TP53 is unmethylated, rearranged and in multiple copies, and mutp53 (p53-R248W/P72R) is post-translationally modified and with nuclear localization. p53-R248W/P72R-knockdown by short-interfering RNA reduced the growth and replication rate of 3AB-OS cells markedly increasing cell cycle inhibitor levels and sensitized 3AB-OS cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by DR5 upregulation; moreover it strongly decreased the levels of stemness and invasiveness genes. We have also found that ectopic expression of p53-R248W/P72R in MG63 cells promoted cancer stem-like features, as high proliferation rate, sphere formation, clonogenic growth, high migration and invasive ability; furthermore it strongly increased the levels of stemness proteins. Overall, the findings suggest the involvement of p53-R248W/P72R at the origin of the aberrant characters of the 3AB-OS cells with the hypothesis that its GOF can be at the root of the dedifferentiation of MG63 cells into CSCs.
    Bone 12/2013; · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the impact on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) tropism of uncontrolled virus exposure during 2 years of intermittent highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The Istituto Superiore di Sanità-Pulsed Antiretroviral Therapy (ISS-PART) randomized study compared the outcome of 2 years of structured treatment interruptions (STIs) versus standard continuous treatment in first-line HAART responder subjects. The STI schedule consisted of five STIs of 1, 1, 2, 2, and 3 months, respectively, separated by four periods of 3-month therapy. In the present study, coreceptor tropism was assessed in 12 patients of the STI arm at different time points over a period of 2 years. Tropism was determined on DNA and RNA by V3 loop region sequencing. The Geno2pheno algorithm (false-positive rate, FPR: 20 %) was used for data interpretation. At baseline, 9/12 subjects (75.0 %) had CCR5-tropic viruses in their HIV. Three had a CXCR4-tropic virus. Ten patients maintained the same coreceptor in DNA after 2 years, whereas in two patients, a shift occurred (one R5-X4, one X4-R5). In a patient with an R5 virus at baseline, a transient change to X4 tropism was seen in the rebounding virus during STI. Changes in tropism were not associated with the amplitude and duration of virus exposure during STIs, residual viremia at baseline, or the development of resistance mutations in the RT region. Our preliminary results suggest that viral replication, observed after short periods of treatment interruption, is not enough to drive the evolution of HIV tropism.
    European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 12/2013; 32(12):1565-70. · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Retinoblastoma is the most common intraocular malignancy of childhood. In developing countries, treatment is limited, long-term survival rates are low and current chemotherapy causes significant morbidity to pediatric patients and significantly limits dosing. Therefore there is an urgent need to identify new therapeutic strategies to improve the clinical outcome of patients with retinoblastoma. Here, we investigated the effects of two natural compounds okadaic acid (OKA) and parthenolide (PN) on human retinoblastoma Y79 cells. For the first time we showed that OKA/PN combination at subtoxic doses induces potent synergistic apoptotic effects accompanied by lowering in p-Akt levels, increasing in the stabilized forms of p53 and potent decrease in pS166-Mdm2. We also showed the key involvement of PTEN which, after OKA/PN treatment, potently increased before p53, thus suggesting that p53 activation was under PTEN action. Moreover, after PTEN-knockdown p-Akt/ pS166Mdm2 increased over basal levels and p53 significantly lowered, while OKA/PN treatment failed both to lower p-Akt and pS166-Mdm2 and to increase p53 below/over their basal levels respectively. OKA/PN treatment potently increased ROS levels whereas decreased those of GSH. Reducing cellular GSH by l-butathionine-[S,R]-sulfoximine treatment significantly anticipated the cytotoxic effect exerted by OKA/PN. Furthermore, the effects of OKA/PN treatment on both GSH content and cell viability were less pronounced in PTEN silenced cells than in control cells. The results provide strong suggestion for combining a treatment approach that targets the PTEN/Akt/Mdm2/p53 pathway.
    Cancer biology & therapy 08/2013; 14(10). · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Notch is a family of transmembrane receptors whose activation through proteolytic cleavage by γ-secretase targets genes which participate in cell development, differentiation and tumorigenesis. Notch signaling is constitutively activated in various cancers, including breast cancer and its upregulation is usually related with poor clinical outcomes. Therefore, targeting Notch signaling with γ-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) is considered a promising strategy for cancer treatment. We report that the γ-secretase inhibitor-I (GSI-I) sensitizes human breast cancer cells to apoptosis mediated by tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). The antiproliferative GSI-I/TRAIL synergism was stronger in ER-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells compared with ER-positive MCF-7 cells. In MDA-MB-231 cells, GSI-I treatment induced upregulation of DR4 and DR5 TRAIL receptors. This effect seemed to be related to the activation of the transcription factor AP1 that was a consequence of Notch inhibition, as demonstrated by Notch-1 silencing experiments. Combined treatment induced loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential and activation of caspases. GSI-I alone and/or GSI-I/TRAIL combination also induced a significant decrease in the levels of some survival factors (survivin, c-IAP-2, Bcl-xL, BimEL and pAKT) and upregulation of pro-apoptotic factors BimL, BimS and Noxa, enhancing the cytotoxic potential of the two drugs. Taken together, these results indicate for the first time that GSI-I/TRAIL combination could represent a novel and potentially effective tool for breast cancer treatment.
    International Journal of Oncology 05/2013; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three new triorganotin(IV) complexes of valproic acid (vp1, Me3Sn-valproate; vp2, Bu3Sn-valproate; vp3, Ph3Sn-valproate) have been synthesized and investigated by spectroscopic and biological methods. An anionic, monodentate valproate ligand was observed, ester-like coordinating the tin atom on a tetra-coordinated, monomeric environment. The structures, though, can distort towards a penta-coordination, as a consequence of a long range O···Sn interaction. Crystallographic and NMR findings confirm this situation both in solid state and solution. Biological finding evidenced a clear cytotoxic action of the complexes in hepatocellular carcinoma cell cultures: one of the complexes induced an 80% cell viability reduction after 24h treatment in HepG2 cells. This effect was accompanied by the appearance of biochemical signs of apoptosis. In Chang liver cells, the same compound induced only modest effects, suggesting a potential use as anti-cancer drug. Preliminary evaluations on hyperacetylation state of histone H3 in tributyltin-valproate treated HepG2 cells showed an increase in Ac-H3 (histone H3 acetylated at lys-9 and lys-14), suggesting that the compound maintains the deacetylation inhibition activity of its ligand valproate.
    Journal of inorganic biochemistry 04/2013; 125C:16-25. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Finding new treatments targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs) within a tumor seems to be critical to halt cancer and improve patient survival. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive tumor affecting adolescents, for which there is no second-line chemotherapy. Uncovering new molecular mechanisms underlying the development of osteosarcoma and origin of CSCs is crucial to identify new possible therapeutic strategies. Here, we aimed to characterize genetically and molecularly the human osteosarcoma 3AB-OS CSC line, previously selected from MG63 cells and which proved to have both in vitro and in vivo features of CSCs. Classic cytogenetic studies demonstrated that 3AB-OS cells have hypertriploid karyotype with 71-82 chromosomes. By comparing 3AB-OS CSCs to the parental cells, array CGH , Affymetrix microarray and TaqMan® Human MicroRNA Array analyses identified 49 copy number variations, 3,512 dysregulated genes and 189 differentially expressed miRNAs. Some of the chromosomal abnormalities and mRNA/miRNA expression profiles appeared to be congruent with those reported in human osteosarcomas. Bioinformatic analyses selected 196 genes and 46 anticorrelated miRNAs involved in carcinogenesis and stemness. For the first time, a predictive network is also described for two miRNA family (let-7/98 and miR-29a,b,c) and their anticorrelated mRNAs (MSTN, CCND2, Lin28B, MEST, HMGA2 and GHR), which may represent new biomarkers for osteosarcoma and may pave the way for the identification of new potential therapeutic targets. J. Cell. Physiol. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 11/2012; · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In myeloid malignancies, the neoplastic clone outgrows normal hematopoietic cells toward BM failure. This event is also sustained by detrimental stromal changes, such as BM fibrosis and osteosclerosis, whose occurrence is harbinger of a dismal prognosis. We show that the matricellular protein SPARC contributes to the BM stromal response to myeloproliferation. The degree of SPARC expression in BM stromal elements, including CD146(+) mesenchymal stromal cells, correlates with the degree of stromal changes, and the severity of BM failure characterizing the prototypical myeloproliferative neoplasm primary myelofibrosis. Using Sparc(-/-) mice and BM chimeras, we demonstrate that SPARC contributes to the development of significant stromal fibrosis in a model of thrombopoietin-induced myelofibrosis. We found that SPARC deficiency in the radioresistant BM stroma compartment impairs myelofibrosis but, at the same time, associates with an enhanced reactive myeloproliferative response to thrombopoietin. The link betwen SPARC stromal deficiency and enhanced myeloid cell expansion under a myeloproliferative spur is also supported by the myeloproliferative phenotype resulting from the transplantation of defective Apc(min) mutant hematopoietic cells into Sparc(-/-) but not WT recipient BM stroma. Our results highlight a complex influence of SPARC over the stromal and hematopoietic BM response in myeloproliferative conditions.
    Blood 09/2012; 120(17):3541-54. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, cannabinoids (the active components of Cannabis sativa) and their derivatives have received considerable interest due to findings that they can affect the viability and invasiveness of a variety of different cancer cells. Moreover, in addition to their inhibitory effects on tumor growth and migration, angiogenesis and metastasis, the ability of these compounds to induce different pathways of cell death has been highlighted. Here, we review the most recent results generating interest in the field of death mechanisms induced by cannabinoids in cancer cells. In particular, we analyze the pathways triggered by cannabinoids to induce apoptosis or autophagy and investigate the interplay between the two processes. Overall, the results reported here suggest that the exploration of molecular mechanisms induced by cannabinoids in cancer cells can contribute to the development of safe and effective treatments in cancer therapy.
    International Journal of Oncology 05/2012; 41(2):407-13. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diorganotin(IV) complexes of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (H(2)NAC; (R)-2-acetamido-3-sulfanylpropanoic acid) have been synthesized and their solid and solution-phase structural configurations investigated by FTIR, Mössbauer, (1)H, (13)C and (119)Sn NMR spectroscopy. FTIR results suggested that in R(2)Sn(IV)NAC (R = Me, Bu, Ph) complexes NAC(2-) behaves as dianionic tridentate ligand coordinating the tin(IV) atom, through ester-type carboxylate, acetate carbonyl oxygen atom and the deprotonated thiolate group. From (119)Sn Mössbauer spectroscopy it could be inferred that the tin atom is pentacoordinated, with equatorial R(2)Sn(IV) trigonal bipyramidal configuration. In DMSO-d(6) solution, NMR spectroscopic data showed the coordination of one solvent molecule to tin atom, while the coordination mode of the ligand through the ester-type carboxylate and the deprotonated thiolate group was retained in solution. DFT (Density Functional Theory) study confirmed the proposed structures in solution phase as well as the determination of the most probable stable ring conformation. Biological investigations showed that Bu(2)SnCl(2) and NAC2 induce loss of viability in HCC cells and only moderate effects in non-tumor Chang liver cells. NAC2 showed lower cytotoxic activity than Bu(2)SnCl(2), suggesting that the binding with NAC(2-) modulates the marked cytotoxic activity exerted by Bu(2)SnCl(2). Therefore, these novel butyl derivatives could represent a new class of anticancer drugs.
    Journal of inorganic biochemistry 07/2010; 104(7):750-8. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this article, we demonstrate that the synthetic cannabinoid R-(+)-(2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(4-morpholinyl)methyl]pyrol[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)-(1-naphthalenyl) methanone mesylate (WIN 55,212-2) sensitizes human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells to apoptosis mediated by tumor necrosis-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL). The apoptotic mechanism induced by treatment with WIN/TRAIL combination involved the loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential and led to the activation of caspases. In HCC cells, WIN treatment induced the up-regulation of TRAIL death receptor DR5, an effect that seemed to be related to the increase in the level of p8 and CHOP, two factors implicated in cellular stress response and apoptosis. This relationship was suggested by the observation that the down-regulation of p8 or CHOP by specific small interfering RNAs attenuated both WIN-mediated DR5 up-regulation and the cytotoxicity induced by WIN/TRAIL cotreatment. Moreover, WIN induced a significant decrease in the levels of some survival factors (survivin, c-inhibitor of apoptosis protein 2, and Bcl-2) and in particular in that of the active phosphorylated form of AKT. This event seemed to be dependent on the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma whose level significantly increased after WIN treatment. Therefore, both the induction of DR5 via p8 and CHOP and the down-regulation of survival factors seem to be crucial for the marked synergistic effects induced by the two drugs in HCC cells. Taken together, the results reported in this article indicate that WIN/TRAIL combination could represent a novel important tool for the treatment of HCC.
    Molecular pharmacology 02/2010; 77(5):854-63. · 4.53 Impact Factor
  • Ejc Supplements - EJC SUPPL. 01/2010; 8(5):37-37.
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    ABSTRACT: Paclitaxel (PTX) and beta-lapachone (LPC) are naturally occurring compounds that have shown a large spectrum of anticancer activity. In this article we show for the first time that PTX/LPC combination induces potent synergistic apoptotic effects in human retinoblastoma Y79 cells. Combination of suboptimal doses of PTX (0.3 nM) and LPC (1.5 microM) caused biochemical and morphological signs of apoptosis at 48 h of treatment. These effects were accompanied by potent lowering in inhibitor of apoptosis proteins and by activation of Bid and caspases 3 and 6 with lamin B and PARP breakdown. PTX/LPC combination acted by favoring p53 stabilization through a lowering in p-Akt levels and in ps166-MDM2, the phosphorylated-MDM2 form that enters the nucleus and induces p53 export and degradation. Treatment with wortmannin or transfection with a dominant negative form of Akt anticipated at 24 h the effects induced by PTX/LPC, suggesting a protective role against apoptosis played by Akt in Y79 cells. In line with these results, we demonstrated that Y79 cells contain constitutively active Akt, which forms a cytosolic complex with p53 and MDM2 driving p53 degradation. PTX/LPC treatment induced a weakness of Akt-MDM2-p53 complex and increased nuclear p53 levels. Our results suggest that phospho-Akt lowering is at the root of the apoptotic action exerted by PTX/LPC combination and provide strong validation for a treatment approach that targets survival signals represented by phospho-Akt and inhibitor of apoptosis proteins.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 11/2009; 222(2):433-43. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to determine the modifications of the mutational archive in proviral HIV-1 DNA occurring during 24 months of intermittent or continuous highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The study population included subjects enrolled in the Istituto Superiore di Sanità Pulsed Antiretroviral Therapy (ISS PART) clinical trial. All of these patients were on first-line HAART and had plasma HIV-1 RNA below 50 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL. A genotypic resistance test was performed on HIV-1 DNA extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) at baseline and after 24 months of follow-up. Resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) were defined according to the International AIDS Society (IAS) USA classification. Sixty-nine subjects were included in the study [36 enrolled in arm A of the ISS PART (continuous HAART) and 33 enrolled in arm B (intermittent HAART)]. No major modifications of the mutational archive were found in either group after 24 months of follow-up, in terms of both the proportion of subjects with mutations and the total number of mutations. In this patient population, the mutational archive in HIV-1 DNA extracted from PBMC was stable for 24 months, irrespective of HAART modality, whether continuous or intermittent.
    HIV Medicine 06/2009; 10(8):477-81. · 3.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel cancer stem-like cell line (3AB-OS), expressing a number of pluripotent stem cell markers, was irreversibly selected from human osteosarcoma MG-63 cells by long-term treatment (100 days) with 3-aminobenzamide (3AB). 3AB-OS cells are a heterogeneous and stable cell population composed by three types of fibroblastoid cells, spindle-shaped, polygonal-shaped, and rounded-shaped. With respect to MG-63 cells, 3AB-OS cells are extremely smaller, possess a much greater capacity to form spheres, a stronger self-renewal ability and much higher levels of cell cycle markers which account for G1-S/G2-M phases progression. Differently from MG-63 cells, 3AB-OS cells can be reseeded unlimitedly without losing their proliferative potential. They show an ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCG2-dependent phenotype with high drug efflux capacity, and a strong positivity for CD133, marker for pluripotent stem cells, which are almost unmeasurable in MG-63 cells. 3AB-OS cells are much less committed to osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation than MG-63 cells and highly express genes required for maintaining stem cell state (Oct3/4, hTERT, nucleostemin, Nanog) and for inhibiting apoptosis (HIF-1alpha, FLIP-L, Bcl-2, XIAP, IAPs, and survivin). 3AB-OS may be a novel tumor cell line useful for investigating the mechanisms by which stem cells enrichment may be induced in a tumor cell line. The identification of a subpopulation of cancer stem cells that drives tumorigenesis and chemoresistance in osteosarcoma may lead to prognosis and optimal therapy determination. Expression patterns of stem cell markers, especially CD133 and ABCG2, may indicate the undifferentiated state of osteosarcoma tumors, and may correlate with unfavorable prognosis in the clinical setting.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 02/2009; 219(2):301-13. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has recently been shown that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in different tumour cell lines. In the current study, the effects of WIN 55,212-2 (WIN), a synthetic and potent cannabinoid receptor agonist, are investigated in hepatoma HepG2 cells and a possible signal transduction pathway is proposed. In these cells, WIN induces a clear apoptotic effect which was accompanied by up-regulation of the death-signalling factors Bax, Bcl-X(S), t-Bid and down-regulation of the survival factors survivin, phospho-AKT, Hsp72 and Bcl-2. Moreover, WIN-induced apoptosis is associated with JNK/p38 MAPK pathway activation and mitochondrial depolarisation demonstrated by a cytofluorimetric assay. The results also show that in HepG2 cells WIN markedly increases the level of the transcription factor PPARgamma in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The addition of the PPARgamma antagonists GW9662 and T0070907 significantly reduces the effects of the drug on both cell viability and the levels of survivin, phospho-AKT and phospho-BAD, suggesting that PPARgamma plays a key role in WIN-induced apoptosis. Altogether, the results seem to indicate a potential therapeutic role of WIN in hepatic cancer treatment.
    Biochimie 12/2008; 91(4):457-65. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Paclitaxel (PTX) is an anticancer drug currently in phase II clinical trials. This study shows for the first time that low doses of PTX (5 nM) potently induce apoptosis in human retinoblastoma Y79 cells. The effect of PTX is accompanied by a potent induction of E2F1 which appears to play a critical role in the effects induced by PTX. PTX induced a dose- and time-dependent effect, with G2/M arrest, cyclines A, E and B1 accumulation and a marked modification in the status of Cdc2-cyclin B1 complex, the major player of the G2/M checkpoint. Apoptosis followed G2/M arrest. An early and prolonged increase in p53 expression with its stabilization by phosphorylation and acetylation and its nuclear translocation occurred. Consistently, PTX increased p21WAF1, bax and MDM2 levels, suggesting that p53 is transcriptionally active. p53 accumulated following both E2F1 up-regulation and increase in the levels of p14ARF which interacts with MDM2 preventing ubiquitination and proteosomal degradation of p53. Both extrinsic (E2F1/Fas/JNK/caspase-2 activation) and intrinsic (Bcl-2 phosphorylation, Bid fragmentation and Bax increase) pathways seemed to be involved. Loss of mitochondrial potential and activation of apoptosome and executive caspase-3,-6 and-7 was shown. Incubation with either the irreversible pan-caspase inhibitors Z-VAD-FMK, or SP600125, a selective inhibitor of JNK, or pifithrin alpha, a potent p53 inhibitor, significantly inhibited the effects induced by PTX.
    International Journal of Oncology 11/2008; 33(4):677-87. · 2.66 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
330.03 Total Impact Points


  • 1989–2014
    • Istituto Superiore di Sanità
      • • Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation
      • • Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-mediated Diseases
      • • Department of Technology and Health
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1984–2014
    • Università degli Studi di Palermo
      • • Dipartimento di Biomedicina Sperimentale e Neuroscienze Cliniche (BioNeC)
      • • Dipartimento di Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (Di.Bi.M.I.S.)
      Palermo, Sicily, Italy