Anna Maria Giuffrida-Stella

University of Catania, Catania, Sicily, Italy

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Publications (17)54.28 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are mostly undefined; however, excitotoxic injury and astrogliosis may contribute to motor neuron (MN) degeneration. Group I metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors are over-expressed in reactive astrocytes in ALS, but the functional significance of this over-expression is presently unknown. We examined the role of group I mGlu receptors on excitotoxic death of spinal cord MNs grown in cultures enriched of astrocytes bearing a reactive phenotype. A prolonged exposure to the selective non-competitive mGlu5 receptor antagonist MPEP reduced AMPA-mediated toxicity and cobalt uptake in MNs. Expression levels of the GluR1 (but not GluR2) AMPA receptor subunit and levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were reduced in mixed spinal cord cultures pretreated with MPEP. In addition, neuroprotection by MPEP was less than additive with that produced by a neutralizing anti-BDNF antibody and a treatment with exogenous BDNF masked the protective effect of MPEP, suggesting that mGlu5 receptors and BDNF converge in facilitating excitotoxic MN death. The protective effect of MPEP was absent in cultures with a reduced number of astrocytes. We suggest that blocking astrocytic mGlu5 receptors is a potential therapeutic strategy in ALS.
    Neurobiology of Disease 06/2011; 42(3):252-64. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2011.01.013 · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • V Spina-Purrello · D Patti · A M Giuffrida-Stella · V G Nicoletti ·
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    ABSTRACT: The enzyme poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) has a leader role in the DNA damage survey mechanisms by its nick-sensor function, but it is also involved in the early events of the programmed cell death, particularly during inflammatory injury, as a coactivator of NF-kB. In the present study, we evaluated the PARP involvement in the mechanisms of protection and/or cell death in rat astroglial cell cultures during the early phase of proinflammatory commitment after lipopolysaccharide and interferon gamma treatment. According with the recent findings that PARP-1 phosphorylation by MAPK/ERK-2 pathway seems to modulate PARP activation, in time course experiments we demonstrated that a very early PARP activation and expression is able to trigger a cell death pathway, DNA damage independent, during strong proinflammatory insults, maintaining its role of guardian of the genome stability only during the normal cell cycling.
    Neurochemical Research 09/2008; 33(12):2583-92. DOI:10.1007/s11064-008-9835-1 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fragile X (FRAX) syndrome is a common inherited form of mental retardation resulting from the lack of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) expression. The consequences of FMRP absence in the mechanism underlying mental retardation are unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that glutamate receptor (GluR) expression might be altered in FRAX syndrome. Initial in situ hybridization and Western blotting experiments did not reveal differences in mRNA levels and protein expression of AMPA and NMDA subunits and metabotropic glutamate subtype 5 (mGlu5) receptors between control and Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice during postnatal development. However, a detergent treatment (1% Triton X-100) revealed a selective reduction of mGlu5 receptor expression in the detergent-insoluble fraction of synaptic plasma membranes (SPMs) from KO mice, with no difference in the expression of NR2A, GluR1, GluR2/3, GluR4, and Homer proteins. mGlu5 receptor expression was also lower in Homer immunoprecipitates from Fmr1 KO SPMs. Homer, but not NR2A, mGlu5, and GluR1, was found to be less tyrosine phosphorylated in Fmr1 KO than control mice. Our data indicate that, in FRAX syndrome, a reduced number of mGlu5 receptors are tightly linked to the constituents of postsynaptic density and, in particular, to the constitutive forms of Homer proteins, with possible consequent alterations in synaptic plasticity.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 10/2005; 25(39):8908-16. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0932-05.2005 · 6.34 Impact Factor
  • Anna Maria Giuffrida-Stella ·

    Neurochemical Research 03/2004; 29(3). DOI:10.1023/B:NERE.0000014987.48536.2a · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogens are recognized as neuroprotective and neurotrophic agents in the central nervous system. They are involved in neuronal differentiation and survival and promote neural development. Estrogen receptors alpha (ER-alpha) and beta (ER-beta) are predominantly expressed in neurons, whereas their presence in glial cells in vivo is more controversial. Changes in their expression during development have been described in different brain areas, but little is known about their presence in the spinal cord. We have carried out an immunohistochemical study in an attempt to analyze the expression of both ERs in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes of the rat spinal cord and their modifications during postnatal development. RT-PCR analysis of whole spinal cord extracts from 4-, 12-, and 25-day-old and adult rats indicated changes in the expression of both receptors during maturation. Immunohistochemistry of slices of the lumbar tract revealed that in an area of the ventral spinal cord that does not contain neuronal cell bodies, but mainly fibers and glial cells, both ER-alpha and ER-beta can be detected. Immunostaining is clearly nuclear, and, in the case of ER-alpha, both markedly positive and weakly labeled cells can be identified. ER-alpha is expressed during early development to progressively decline in the adult stage. In contrast, the ER-beta signal is low and peaks at postnatal day 25, whereas it is almost undetectable at other ages. Colocalization studies revealed that, at postnatal day 25, ER-alpha and ER-beta are expressed in astrocytes (identified by the specific marker glial fibrillar acidic protein) and oligodendrocytes (labeled by antimyelin 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase). The present results confirm the expression of ER-alpha and ER-beta in glial cells in vivo and suggest that, also in the spinal cord, glial cells may contribute to the effects of estrogen during development.
    Neuroendocrinology 06/2003; 77(5):334-40. DOI:10.1159/000070899 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is a constitutively expressed and calcium-dependent enzyme. Despite predominantly expressed in neurons, nNOS has been also found in astrocytes, although at lower expression levels. We have studied the regulation of nNOS expression in cultured rat astrocytes from cortex and spinal cord by Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. nNOS was not detectable in cultured astrocytes grown in serum-containing medium (SCM), but was highly expressed after serum deprivation. Accordingly, calcium-dependent NOS activity and both intracellular nitrite levels and nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity after glutamate stimulation were higher in serum-deprived astrocytes than in cells grown in SCM. Serum deprivation induced a modification of astrocytes morphology, from flat to stellate. nNOS up-regulation was also observed in reactive astrocytes of rat hippocampi after electrically induced status epilepticus, as demonstrated by double-labeling experiments. Thus, nNOS upregulation occurs in both in vitro stellate and in vivo reactive astrocytes, suggesting a possible involvement of glial nNOS in neurological diseases characterized by reactive gliosis.
    Neurochemical Research 05/2003; 28(3-4):607-15. DOI:10.1023/A:1022841911265 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An ectopic reentrance into the cell cycle with ensuing DNA replication is required for neuronal apoptosis induced by beta-amyloid. Here, we investigate the repertoire of DNA polymerases expressed in beta-amyloid-treated neurons, and their specific role in DNA synthesis and apoptosis. We show that exposure of cultured cortical neurons to beta-amyloid induces the expression of DNA polymerase-beta, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and the p49 and p58 subunits of DNA primase. Induction requires the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases. The knockdown of the p49 primase subunit prevents beta-amyloid-induced neuronal DNA synthesis and apoptosis. Similar effects are observed by knocking down DNA polymerase-beta or by using dideoxycytidine, a preferential inhibitor of this enzyme. Thus, the reparative enzyme DNA polymerase-beta unexpectedly mediates a large component of de novo DNA synthesis and apoptotic death in neurons exposed to beta-amyloid. These data indicate that DNA polymerases become death signals when erratically expressed by differentiated neurons.
    The FASEB Journal 01/2003; 16(14):2006-8. DOI:10.1096/fj.02-0422fje · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    P Dell'Albani · M.A. Kahn · R Cole · D F Condorelli · A M Giuffrida-Stella · J de Vellis ·
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    ABSTRACT: Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) have pleiotropic actions on many cell types. In the presence of these factors, oligodendroglia respond by enhanced survival when deprived of trophic factors or in the presence of the cytotoxic cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). To determine whether these two oligodendroglial survival factors converge in their signaling cascades, we examined their JAK/STAT pathways in enriched oligodendrocyte (OL) progenitors and in the progenitor OL cell line, central glia-4 (CG-4). Cytokine pathways such as JAK/STAT have been characterized extensively in hematopoietic cells; however, it is increasingly evident that the same cytokines that play a role in hematopoiesis also play a role during development and injury of the central nervous system. This is the first study that clearly defines the presence and activation of JAK/STAT proteins in OL progenitors and compares the signal transduction pathway of two well-known oligodendroglial survival factors. In this study, we report that PDGF- and CNTF-induced OL progenitors responded with a rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of JAK1, JAK2, STAT1alpha/beta, and STAT3. We feel that these identified JAK/STAT signaling molecules play a large role in the cellular response to these factors. Because both PDGF and CNTF enhance OL progenitor survival, these JAK/STATs may play a role in regulating this important cellular process.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 11/1998; 54(2):191-205. DOI:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4547(19981015)54:23.0.CO;2-9 · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • V G Nicoletti · E A Tendi · A Console · A Privitera · R F Villa · N Ragusa · A M Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study we analyzed the age-dependent changes of mRNA levels for cytochrome c oxidase and FoF1-ATP synthase subunits in rat cerebral cortex and cerebellum. To establish whether the regulation of expression is transcriptional or post-transcriptional, the results were compared to those related to protein subunits levels, of the same enzymatic complexes, previously observed. The different patterns of age-related changes of mRNA subunits, in particular the lower increments, compared with those related to protein subunits, indicate that post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulation might be involved in the coordinated expression of the various subunits of each complex. Northern blotting analyses of RNA from the cerebellum of rats at the various ages, showed also differences in age-dependent patterns of transcription between cerebral cortex and cerebellum. Moreover, the major age-dependent changes of mitochondrial-encoded subunits, compared with the nuclear-encoded ones, previously observed at proteins level, occur also during transcription.
    Neurochemical Research 02/1998; 23(1):55-61. DOI:10.1023/A:1022449403619 · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • V.G. Nicoletti · E.A. Tendi · C Lalicata · S Reale · R.F. Villa · N Ragusa · A.M. Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: The levels of subunits I, II/III, and IV of cytochrome c oxidase and of subunits alpha, beta and gamma of F(0)F(1)-ATP synthase in inner mitochondrial membrane proteins purified from cerebral cortex of rat at 2, 6, 12, 18, 24, 26 months of age were analyzed by Western blot. Age-related changes in the content of subunits, encoded either in mitochondrial or nuclear DNA, were observed.
    Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 01/1996; 22 Suppl 1:509-13. DOI:10.1016/0167-4943(96)86991-3 · 1.85 Impact Factor
  • D.F. Condorelli · N Belluardo · G Mudò · P Dell'Albani · X.H. Jiang · A.M. Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: In the present investigation we address the question of whether one of the responses to increased neuronal activity is a modification of the expression of the different subunits of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA)-selective glutamate receptors (GluR-1, GluR-2, GluR-3). Thus, we used two different models of generalized status epilepticus, as widespread elevated neuronal activity, to study in vivo responses of the AMPA receptor mRNA expression in rat forebrain. By Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization, we show that one of the delayed responses to LiCl/pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus is a dramatic change in the mRNA level of some subunits of AMPA-selective glutamate receptors. These effects, which appear between 6 and 12 h after the drug treatment, are subunit and brain region specific. The most striking example of differential expression of the three examined GluR mRNAs can be observed in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. In this specific brain subregion an increase of GluR-3 mRNA level is induced 12 h after LiCl/pilocarpine treatment, while a clear decrease in GluR-1 mRNA level and no significant change in GluR-2 mRNA level can be observed in the same area under these experimental conditions. Both the GluR-1 decrease and the GluR-3 increase are transient effects and a return to basal level can be observed after 48-72 h. In the CA1 layer of the hippocampus, a parallel decrease of both GluR-1 and GluR-3 expression is found 12-24 h after drug treatment, followed by a recovery of the expression to control values at 48 h. In kainate-induced epilepsy we could reproduce the late increase (12-24 h) in GluR-3 mRNA in the dentate gyrus; however, under this experimental condition, no clear decrease of GluR-1 expression can be observed in this area. A general decrease in mRNA level for the AMPA receptor subunits (GluR-1-3) in the hippocampal layers, in particular in CA3 and CA4 subfields, was also observed. In conclusion the results reported in the present paper reveal a specific regulation of GluR gene expression in the granule cells of the hippocampal dentate gyrus and stimulate further investigation on the functional role of the GluR-3 subunit in the receptor-channel complex.
    Neurochemistry International 11/1994; 25(4):367-76. DOI:10.1016/0197-0186(94)90144-9 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have used primary neuronal cultures prepared from fetal cerebral hemispheres to investigate the effects of different glutamate receptor agonists and antagonists on the expression of transcription factor encoding genes, such as c-fos, fosB, c-jun, junB, junD, c-myc, and zif/268. The addition of glutamate (100 microM) to the culture medium rapidly activated c-fos, fosB, c-jun, junB and zif/268 gene expression, reaching the maximal level at 30-60 minutes for zif/268 and at 60 minutes for the other genes. The onset of fosB mRNA accumulation was slightly delayed in comparison to the other genes. No clear induction was found for junD and c-myc. Different glutamate receptor agonists, such as NMDA, kainate, quisqualate, trans-(+/-)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (t-ACPD) and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA) were able to increase c-fos, c-jun, and zif-268 mRNA levels with rapid and transient kinetics similar to those observed after glutamate treatment. Similar results were obtained for junB and fosB after kainate and quisqualate stimulation. Pretreatment with MK-801, a non competitive NMDA antagonist, produced an almost complete inhibition of glutamate-driven expression of transcription factor genes, thus suggesting that NMDA receptor plays a major role in glutamate induced-gene expression. On the contrary the kainate/AMPA receptor antagonist, DNQX, did not influence glutamate induced-gene expression. Under the conditions used in the present study, NMDA was effective in inducing the simultaneous activation of several IEGs even when added to the culture medium containing millimolar concentration of magnesium. When experiments were performed in Krebs solution, NMDA was effective in stimulating zif/268 and c-fos mRNAs only in the absence of Mg2+, while glutamate activated c-fos and zif/268 both in the presence and absence of magnesium ions. As expected, NMDA effect was fully inhibited by MK-801. The level of AP-1 DNA binding activity, as measured by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, increased after addition of glutamate and NMDA to cultured neurons and such increase was antagonized by the pretreatment with MK-801.
    Neurochemical Research 05/1994; 19(4):489-99. DOI:10.1007/BF00967329 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several age-dependent modifications of inner mitochondrial membrane and synaptosomal plasma membrane proteins from different brain regions of 4-, 12-, 18- and 24-month-old male Wistar rats, were observed. Some proteins, identified by immunoblotting assay as various subunits of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes and calmodulin, were particularly impaired. Chronic treatment with CDP-choline at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight per day for 28 days caused significant changes in the amounts of several of the above mentioned proteins. Most of the proteins, which decreased during aging, showed a significant increase after CDP-choline treatment compared with the corresponding control values at the same age. The effect of CDP-choline might be due to: the increased availability of cytidylic nucleotides, which in the brain are present in limited amounts compared to the other nucleotides; the increased content of total adenine nucleotides; the improvement of brain energy metabolism.
    International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 03/1993; 11(1):83-93. DOI:10.1016/0736-5748(93)90037-E · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • Roberto F. Villa · Leena Turpeenoja · Grazia Magrì · Antonella Gorini · Nicol� Ragusa · Anna Maria Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of hypoxia on the protein composition of mitochondria from cerebral cortex of rats at 4, 12, and 24 months of age was investigated. The proteins were separated by electrophoresis on SDS polyacrylamide gels and the percent content was evaluated by measuring the optical density of the stained gels. The results demonstrate that hypoxic treatment causes a decrease in the amount of some proteins as follows: the 90 and the 16 kDa Mw proteins at 4 months; the 82 and the 79 kDa Mw proteins at 24 months; the 52-49, 35 and 20 kDa at all ages investigated; the 44 kDa protein at 4 and 12 months and the 28 kDa protein at 4 and 24 months of age. Our results show that hypoxic conditions affect mitochondrial protein composition to a greater extent than aging alone.
    Neurochemical Research 08/1991; 16(7):821-6. DOI:10.1007/BF00965692 · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Roberto F. Villa · Leena Turpeenoja · G Magrì · Antonella Gorini · Nicol� Ragusa · Anna Maria Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of hypoxia on the protein composition of synaptic plasma membranes (SPM) isolated from cerebral cortex of rats at 4, 12, and 24 months of age was investigated. The proteins were separated by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the percent content was evaluated by measuring the optical density of the stained gels. After hypoxic treatment various proteins showed significant changes. Some proteins were only affected at 4 and 12 months of age and not at 24 months. The various modified proteins may be identified according to their molecular weight, as follows: the 18 kDa protein with calmodulin; the 23 kDa protein with D3 subunits; the 28 kDa protein could contain the delta subunit of the Ca2+ channel. The changes in the amount of some SPM proteins during hypoxia is consistent with the alteration in membrane polarization and neurotransmission observed in this condition. The effect of aging at the synaptosomal level seems to be a selective process; after hypoxia the age-related changes of many proteins are more pronounced.
    Neurochemical Research 08/1991; 16(7):827-32. DOI:10.1007/BF00965693 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Results of experiments in cell cultures suggested that epidermal growth factor might influence an early stage of astroglial or neuronal cell differentiation. In order to evaluate this hypothesis the effects of subcutaneous and intracerebral treatment with epidermal growth factor on glutamine synthetase, an astroglial marker enzyme, and glutamate decarboxylase activity, a marker enzyme of GABAergic neurons, were investigated during postnatal development of mouse brain. Epidermal growth factor, at the dose used, induced the well-known effects of the in vivo treatment, such as a decrease in body weight and a precocious incisor eruption and eyelid opening. A decrease in forebrain and cerebellum wet weight was also observed. However, repeated epidermal growth factor treatment, during early postnatal life, failed to influence glutamine synthetase activity in forebrain or cerebellum, while a significant decrease was observed in the brain stem. No effect of epidermal growth factor on forebrain glutamate decarboxylase activity was observed. Although epidermal growth factor receptors have been detected in the newborn rodent brain, the role of this growth factor in brain development remains to be elucidated.
    International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 02/1990; 8(1):1-8. DOI:10.1016/0736-5748(90)90018-W · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • A Vanella · R F Villa · A Gorini · A Campisi · A M Giuffrida-Stella ·
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    ABSTRACT: The specific activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and cytochrome oxidase (COX) in light and heavy synaptic mitochondria from rat cerebral cortex at different ages (4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 months) have been measured. The specific activity of COX was significantly higher in light synaptic mitochondria than in heavy ones at all ages examined. However, no significant difference during aging was shown. A marked decrease of SOD in light and heavy synaptic mitochondria during aging was observed.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 03/1989; 22(3):351-5. DOI:10.1002/jnr.490220316 · 2.59 Impact Factor