Simone Barbero

Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova, Liguria, Italy

Are you Simone Barbero?

Claim your profile

Publications (17)70.92 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines have been involved in cellular processes associated to malignant transformation such as proliferation, migration and angiogenesis. The expression of five CXC chemokine receptors and their main ligands was analysed by RT-PCR in 31 human astrocytic neoplasms. The mRNAs for all the receptors analysed were identified in a high percentage of tumours, while their ligands showed lower expression. CXCR4 and SDF1 were the most frequently mRNA identified (29/31 and 13/31 of the gliomas studied, respectively). Thus, we further analysed the cell localization of CXCR4 and SDF1 in immunohistochemistry experiments. We show a marked co-localization of CXCR4 and SDF1 in tumour cells, mainly evident in psudolpalisade and microcystic degeneration areas and in the vascular endothelium. In addition, hSDF1α induced a significant increase of DNA synthesis in primary human glioblastoma cell cultures and chemotaxis in a glioblastoma cell line.These results provide evidence of the expression of multiple CXC chemokines and their receptors in brain tumours and that in particular CXCR4 and SDF1 sustain proliferation and migration of glioma cells to promote malignant progression.
    Neurochemistry International 11/2006; 49(5):423-432. · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infects the brain and causes a progressive encephalopathy in 20 to 30% of infected children and adults called AIDS dementia complex. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies suggests a role for the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120, as a mediator of neurotoxicity. However, the site of interaction of gp120 with neurons and astrocytes to mediate neuronal death is still unknown. Recently the chemokine receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, have been identified as co-receptors together with CD4 for HIV-1 entry into the target cells, suggesting a possible role for these receptors in the pathogenesis of the HIV-1 infection in the brain. Here we report the expression of CCR5 and CXCR4 in many different rat brain areas. We also found both receptors in cultured type I astrocytes demonstrating that glial cells may represent an important target for chemokines in vivo. Indeed, the functional capacity of CXCR4 receptor in astrocytes was demonstrated showing that SDF 1α induced an increase of intracellular calcium concentration.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 02/2006; 876(1):201 - 209. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ovarian cancer (OC) is the leading cause of death in gynecologic diseases in which there is evidence for a complex chemokine network. Chemokines are a family of proteins that play an important role in tumor progression influencing cell proliferation, angiogenic/angiostatic processes, cell migration and metastasis, and, finally, regulating the immune cells recruitment into the tumor mass. We previously demonstrated that astrocytes and glioblastoma cells express both the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its ligand stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), and that SDF-1alpha treatment induced cell proliferation, supporting the hypothesis that chemokines may play an important role in tumor cells' growth in vitro. In the present study, we report that CXCR4 and SDF-1 are expressed in OC cell lines. We demonstrate that SDF-1alpha induces a dose-dependent proliferation in OC cells, by the specific interaction with CXCR4 and a biphasic activation of ERK1/2 and Akt kinases. Our results further indicate that CXCR4 activation induces EGF receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation that in turn was linked to the downstream intracellular kinases activation, ERK1/2 and Akt. In addition, we provide evidence for cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase (c-Src) involvement in the SDF-1/CXCR4-EGFR transactivation. These results suggest a possible important "cross-talk" between SDF-1/CXCR4 and EGFR intracellular pathways that may link signals of cell proliferation in ovarian cancer.
    Experimental Cell Research 09/2005; 308(2):241-53. · 3.56 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines are a family of proteins that have pleiotropic biological effects. They are well known to regulate the recruitment and trafficking of leukocytes to sites of inflammation. Chemokines are grouped into four classes based on the positions of key cysteine residues: C, CC, CXC, and CX3C. Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), the ligand of the CXCR4 receptor, is a CXC chemokine and is a highly conserved gene. Ovarian cancer typically disseminates widely in the abdomen, a characteristic that limits curative therapy. The mechanisms that promote ovarian cancer proliferation are incompletely understood. We studied a human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line (OC 314) and investigated the role of CXCR4 activation by SDF-1 in human ovarian cancer. We demonstrate that CXCR4 and SDF-1 mRNA are expressed in OC 314. We show that SDF-1alpha induces proliferation in ovarian cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, we demonstrate that the SDF-1-dependent proliferation correlates to the phosphorylation and activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2, which in turn are correlated to epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor transactivation. In fact, AG1478, a specific inhibitor of the EGF receptor kinase, blocked both SDF-1alpha-dependent proliferation and ERK1/2 activation.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 01/2005; 1030:162-9. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC) is a compound displaying antioxidant, pro-oxidant and metal chelator properties in different cell types. It has been described that PDTC may exert either anti-apoptotic or apoptotic activity. Moreover it is known that this agent regulates the activity of redox-sensitive transcription factors, such as AP-1 and NF-kappaB. Using cerebellar granule cells (CGCs), a well-described model of neuronal primary cultures, we investigated the effects of different concentrations of this compound on cell viability and the intracellular mechanisms involved. PDTC used at concentrations, as low as 1 microM, exerts cytotoxic effects on CGC through the activation of the apoptotic machinery with a maximal efficacy for concentration of 10 microM. The PDTC-dependent apoptosis is correlated to a biphasic and long-lasting increase of AP-1 binding to the DNA, apparently without affecting the NF-kappaB whose activity was reduced only at much higher concentrations (100 microM). PDTC treatment enhanced ERK phosphorylation (maximal effect 1h) and p38 phosphorylation (maximal effect 7h) that was accompanied by an increase of both mRNA and protein of c-Jun. In conclusion the results presented show that PDTC exerts apoptotic effects on CGC, that are correlated to the activation of stress-pathways, involving mainly AP-1 and MAPKs.
    Neurochemistry International 08/2003; 43(1):31-8. · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we describe the role of chemokine receptor CXCR4 activation by its natural ligand, the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor (SDF-1) (CXCL12), in glioblastoma cell growth in vitro. We show that both CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and SDF-1 mRNA are expressed in several human glioblastoma multiforme tumor tissues and in two human glioblastoma cell lines, U87-MG and DBTRG-05MG. These cells are able to secrete SDF-1 under basal conditions, and the rate of secretion is highly increased after lipopolysaccharide or 1% fetal bovine serum treatment. Exogenous SDF-1alpha induces proliferation in a dose-dependent manner in both cell lines. Moreover, we observed that SDF-1alpha-dependent proliferation is correlated with phosphorylation and activation of both extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 and Akt and that these kinases are independently involved in glioblastoma cell proliferation. The role of CXCR4 stimulation in glioblastoma cell growth is further demonstrated by the ability of human monoclonal CXCR4 antibody (clone 12G5) to inhibit the SDF-1alpha-induced proliferation as well as the proliferation induced by SDF-1-releasing treatments (lipopolysaccharide and 1% fetal bovine serum). These data support a role for SDF-1alpha in the regulation of glioblastoma growth in vitro, likely through an autocrine/paracrine mechanism.
    Cancer Research 05/2003; 63(8):1969-74. · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study of chemokine role in the CNS indubitably represents an important step to understanding many aspects of brain pathology, physiology and development. Here we discuss our recent research on the expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors in brain tissues and in cultured CNS cells, with particular regard to the CXCL12/SDF-1-CXCR4 system. We showed their expression in both glial and neuronal cells in basal conditions and their modulation upon stimulation. We demonstrated that CXCL12/SDF-1 in vitro act as a growth factor for astrocytes by stimulating their proliferation, a phenomenon that could represent the basis of pathological conditions such as gliosis and malignant transformation. We investigated the signal transduction pathways, identifying in the sequential activation of G-protein-PI-3Kinase-ERK1/2 the main signaling cascade linked to the CXCL12/SDF-1-induced proliferation in astrocytes.
    Toxicology Letters 05/2003; 139(2-3):181-9. · 3.15 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many activities of neuronal cells, such as synaptic transmission, inflammation, neuroprotection, and neurotoxicity, are regulated by the activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB). In resting cells, NF-kappaB activity is present both in the cytoplasm, as an inducible-inactive complex, and in the nucleus as a constitutive form. The activation of its inducible form is related to processing of IkappaB(s), which occurs through the proteasome. To understand whether NF-kappaB is involved in the survival of cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) maintained under conditions of mild depolarization (25 mM KCl), these cells were treated with different proteasome inhibitors. The results presented show that these pharmacological tools reduce CGC survival with changes in nuclear morphology and induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PSI-induced apoptosis is reverted by inhibitors of transcription and translation, as well as by specific caspase inhibitors. These issues are also associated with a redistribution of NF-kappaB, in that a reduced amount of nuclear NF-kappaB and an increased p65 cytoplasmic level have been observed. Finally, we propose that, at least in part, p65 metabolism could also be regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome complex. Altogether, the results presented define an important role for NF-kappaB in maintainig CGC survival.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2002; 973:402-13. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines are a family of proteins that chemoattract and activate cells by interacting with specific receptors on the surface of their targets. They are grouped into four classes based on the position of key cysteine residues: C, CC, CXC, and CX3C. Stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF1), the ligand of the CXCR4 receptor, is a CXC chemokine involved in chemotaxis and brain development that also acts as coreceptor for HIV-1 infection. It has been proposed that CXCR4 is overexpressed and required for proliferation in human brain tumor cells. We previously demonstrated that CXCR4 and SDF1 are expressed in culture of cortical type I rat astrocytes, cortical neurons, and cerebellar granule cells. In this study, we analyzed the expression of CXCR4 and SDF1 in four human brain tumor tissues, showing that CXCR4 is expressed in all tumors analyzed, whereas SDF1 is expressed only in two tumor tissues. We also investigated the possible functions of CXCR4 expressed in rat type I cortical astrocytes, demonstrating that SDF1alpha stimulates the proliferation of these cells in vitro. Moreover, we studied by western blot the intracellular pathway involved in cell proliferation, demonstrating that SDF1alpha induces the ERK1/2 phosphorylation that is reduced by the PD98059 compound, an MEK inhibitor.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2002; 973:60-9. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many activities of neuronal cells, such as synaptic transmission, inflammation, neuroprotection, and neurotoxicity, are regulated by the activity of the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). In resting cells, NF-κB activity is present both in the cytoplasm, as an inducible-inactive complex, and in the nucleus as a constitutive form. The activation of its inducible form is related to processing of IκB(s), which occurs through the proteasome. To understand whether NF-κB is involved in the survival of cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) maintained under conditions of mild depolarization (25 mM KCl), these cells were treated with different proteasome inhibitors. The results presented show that these pharmacological tools reduce CGC survival with changes in nuclear morphology and induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PSI-induced apoptosis is reverted by inhibitors of transcription and translation, as well as by specific caspase inhibitors. These issues are also associated with a redistribution of NF-κB, in that a reduced amount of nuclear NF-κB and an increased p65 cytoplasmic level have been observed. Finally, we propose that, at least in part, p65 metabolism could also be regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome complex. Altogether, the results presented define an important role for NF-κB in maintainig CGC survival.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 11/2002; 973(1):402 - 413. · 4.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines represent key factors in the outburst of the immune response, by activating and directing the leukocyte traffic, both in lymphopoiesis and in immune surveillance. Neurobiologists took little interest in chemokines for many years, until their link to acquired immune deficiency syndrome-associated dementia became established, and thus their importance in this field has been neglected. Nevertheless, the body of data on their expression and role in the CNS has grown in the past few years, along with a new vision of brain as an immunologically competent and active organ. A large number of chemokines and chemokine receptors are expressed in neurons, astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes, either constitutively or induced by inflammatory mediators. They are involved in many neuropathological processes in which an inflammatory state persists, as well as in brain tumor progression and metastasis. Moreover, there is evidence for a crucial role of CNS chemokines under physiological conditions, similar to well known functions in the immune system, such as proliferation and developmental patterning, but also peculiar to the CNS, such as regulation of neural transmission, plasticity and survival.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 10/2002; 82(6):1311-29. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated the role of the HIV-1 protein Tat in AIDS-associated dementia, by studying its toxicity on rat cortical and hippocampal neurons in vitro. We evaluated the involvement of astroglial cells and of caspase transduction pathway in determining Tat toxicity. Here we report that synthetic Tat(1-86) induced apoptotic death on cultured rat neurons in a time-dependent manner that was not influenced by glial coculture, and that was abolished by blocking caspase transduction pathway. A microfluorimetric analysis on the Tat excitatory properties on neurons, and its effect on intracellular calcium concentrations, revealed that Tat(1-86) induced increase in cytoplasmic free calcium concentrations in rat hippocampal and cortical neurons. This effect required extracellular calcium and was differently reduced by voltage dependent calcium channel blockers and both NMDA and non-NMDA glutamate receptors antagonists. Furthermore, we observed that Tat(1-86)-treated neurons showed increased sensitivity to the glutamate excitotoxicity. Thus, the Tat-induced neuronal injury seems to occur through a direct interaction of the protein with neurons, requires activation of caspases, and is likely to derive from Tat(1-86)-induced calcium loads and disruption of glutamatergic transmission.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2001; 288(2):301-8. · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines are a family of proteins associated with the trafficking of leukocytes in physiological immune surveillance and inflammatory cell recruitment in host defence. They are classified into four classes based on the positions of key cystiene residues: C, CC, CXC, and CX3C. Chemokines act through both specific and shared receptors that all belong to the superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors. Besides their well-established role in the immune system, several recent reports have demonstrated that these proteins also play a role in the central nervous system (CNS). In the CNS, chemokines are constitutively expressed by microglial cells, astrocytes, and neurons, and their expression can be increased after induction with inflammatory mediators. Constitutive expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors has been observed in both developing and adult brains, and the role played by these proteins in the normal brain is the object of intense study by many research groups. Chemokines are involved in brain development and in the maintenance of normal brain homeostasis; these proteins play a role in the migration, differentiation, and proliferation of glial and neuronal cells. The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 and its receptor, CXCR4, are essential for life during development, and this ligand–receptor pair has been shown to have a fundamental role in neuron migration during cerebellar formation. Chemokine and chemokine receptor expression can be increased by inflammatory mediators, and this has in turn been associated with several acute and chronic inflammatory conditions. In the CNS, chemokines play an essential role in neuroinflammation as mediators of leukocyte infiltration. Their overexpression has been implicated in different neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, trauma, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, tumor progression, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-associated dementia. An emerging area of interest for chemokine action is represented by the communication between the neuroendocrine and the immune system. Chemokines have hormone-like actions, specifically regulating the key host physiopathological responses of fever and appetite. It is now evident that chemokines and their receptors represent a plurifunctional family of proteins whose actions on the CNS are not restricted to neuroinflammation. These molecules constitute crucial regulators of cellular communication in physiological and developmental processes.
    Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 08/2001; 22(3):147-184. · 7.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), the ligand of the CXCR4 receptor, is a chemokine involved in chemotaxis and brain development that also acts as co-receptor for HIV-1 infection. We previously demonstrated that CXCR4 and SDF-1alpha are expressed in cultured type-I cortical rat astrocytes, cortical neurones and cerebellar granule cells. Here, we investigated the possible functions of CXCR4 expressed in rat type-I cortical astrocytes and demonstrated that SDF-1alpha stimulated the proliferation of these cells in vitro. The proliferative activity induced by SDF-1alpha in astrocytes was reduced by PD98059, indicating the involvement of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) in the astrocyte proliferation induced by CXCR4 stimulation. This observation was further confirmed showing that SDF-1alpha treatment selectively activated ERK1/2, but not p38 or stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK). Moreover, both astrocyte proliferation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation, induced by SDF-1alpha, were inhibited by pertussis toxin (PTX) and wortmannin treatment indicating the involvement of a PTX sensitive G-protein and of phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase in the signalling of SDF-1alpha. In addition, Pyk2 activation represent an upstream components for the CXCR4 signalling to ERK1/2 in astrocytes. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating a proliferative effect for SDF-1alpha in primary cultures of rat type-I astrocytes, and showing that the activation of ERK1/2 is responsible for this effect. These data suggest that CXCR4/SDF-1 should play an important role in physiological and pathological glial proliferation, such as brain development, reactive gliosis and brain tumour formation.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 07/2001; 77(5):1226-36. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) promotes the survival of several populations of neurons, including sensory and motor neurons. It is mainly produced by Schwann cells and astrocytes and exerts its biological function via a specific membrane receptor. We recently determined the nuclear localization of CNTF in producing cells, after transfection and in the heterologous system of Xenopus oocytes. In the present paper, we describe in detail the techniques for the detection of CNTF in the nucleus of rat astrocytes, transfected cells, isolated nuclei and injected Xenopus oocytes.
    Brain Research Protocols 08/2000; 5(3):273-81. · 1.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chemokines are a family of proteins that chemoattract and activate cells by interacting with specific receptors on the surface of their targets. The chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1, (SDF1), binds to the seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled CXCR4 receptor and acts to modulate cell migration, differentiation, and proliferation. CXCR4 and SDF1 are reported to be expressed in various tissues including brain. Here we show that SDF1 and CXCR4 are expressed in cultured cortical type I rat astrocytes, cortical neurons, and cerebellar granule cells. In cortical astrocytes, prolonged treatment with lipopolysaccharide induced an increase of SDF1 expression and a down-regulation of CXCR4, whereas treatment with phorbol esters did not affect SDF1 expression and down-modulated CXCR4 receptor expression. We also demonstrated the ability of human SDF1alpha (hSDF1alpha) to increase the intracellular calcium level in cultured astrocytes and cortical neurons, whereas in the same conditions, cerebellar granule cells did not modify their intracellular calcium concentration. Furthermore, in cortical astrocytes, the simultaneous treatment of hSDF1alpha with the HIV-1 capside glycoprotein gp120 inhibits the cyclic AMP formation induced by forskolin treatment.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 12/1999; 73(6):2348-57. · 3.97 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infects the brain and causes a progressive encephalopathy in 20 to 30% of infected children and adults called AIDS dementia complex. Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies suggests a role for the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120, as a mediator of neurotoxicity. However, the site of interaction of gp120 with neurons and astrocytes to mediate neuronal death is still unknown. Recently the chemokine receptors, CCR5 and CXCR4, have been identified as co-receptors together with CD4 for HIV-1 entry into the target cells, suggesting a possible role for these receptors in the pathogenesis of the HIV-1 infection in the brain. Here we report the expression of CCR5 and CXCR4 in many different rat brain areas. We also found both receptors in cultured type I astrocytes demonstrating that glial cells may represent an important target for chemokines in vivo. Indeed, the functional capacity of CXCR4 receptor in astrocytes was demonstrated showing that SDF 1 alpha induced an increase of intracellular calcium concentration.
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/1999; 876:201-9. · 4.38 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
70.92 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2006
    • Università degli Studi di Genova
      • Department of Physics
      Genova, Liguria, Italy
  • 2005
    • Centro Biotecnologie Avanzate
      Genova, Liguria, Italy
  • 2002
    • Cancer Research Institute
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2001
    • CRO Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano
      • Division of Experimental Oncology 1
      Aviano, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 1999
    • University of Pavia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy