[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TNF-like ligand 1A (TL1A), a recently recognized member of the TNF superfamily, and its death domain receptor 3 (DR3), firstly identified for their relevant role in T lymphocyte homeostasis, are now well-known mediators of several immune-inflammatory diseases, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to inflammatory bowel diseases to psoriasis, whereas no data are available on their involvement in sarcoidosis, a multisystemic granulomatous disease where a deregulated T helper (Th)1/Th17 response takes place.
In this study, by flow cytometry, real-time PCR, confocal microscopy and immunohistochemistry analyses, TL1A and DR3 were investigated in the pulmonary cells and the peripheral blood of 43 patients affected by sarcoidosis in different phases of the disease (29 patients with active sarcoidosis, 14 with the inactive form) and in 8 control subjects.
Our results demonstrated a significant higher expression, both at protein and mRNA levels, of TL1A and DR3 in pulmonary T cells and alveolar macrophages of patients with active sarcoidosis as compared to patients with the inactive form of the disease and to controls. In patients with sarcoidosis TL1A was strongly more expressed in the lung than the blood, i.e., at the site of the involved organ. Additionally, zymography assays showed that TL1A is able to increase the production of matrix metalloproteinase 9 by sarcoid alveolar macrophages characterized, in patients with the active form of the disease, by reduced mRNA levels of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1.
These data suggest that TL1A/DR3 interactions are part of the extended and complex immune-inflammatory network that characterizes sarcoidosis during its active phase and may contribute to the pathogenesis and to the progression of the disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukemia is one of the leading journals in hematology and oncology. It is published monthly and covers all aspects of the research and treatment of leukemia and allied diseases. Studies of normal hemopoiesis are covered because of their comparative relevance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional abnormalities of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells may be related to the microtubular network of cell cytoskeleton; specifically tubulin involvement in cells after B-cell receptor engagement. As microtubule inhibitors could represent a therapeutic strategy for CLL, this study investigated the capability of nocodazole, a synthetic depolymerizing agent, to kill CLL leukaemic cells. We demonstrated that nocodazole was highly specific for the in vitro induction of apoptosis in leukaemic cells from 90 CLL patients, without affecting the viability of T-cells and/or mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) recovered from the same patients. Nocodazole was observed to overcome the pro-survival signals provided by MSCs. Competing with ATP for the nucleotide-binding site, nocodazole has been observed to turn off the high basal tyrosine phosphorylation of leukaemic cells mediated by the Src-kinase Lyn. Considering that most anti-microtubule drugs have limited clinical use because of their strong toxic effects, the high selectivity of nocodazole for leukaemic cells in CLL and its capability to bypass microenvironmental pro-survival stimuli, suggests the use of this inhibitor for designing new therapeutic strategies in CLL treatment.
British Journal of Haematology 03/2014; 165(5). DOI:10.1111/bjh.12815 · 4.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Looking to the sustained psoriatic arthritis (PsA) joint as a model of local human inflammation, this study was designed to assess the T lymphocyte signal transduction pathways potentially involved in this chronic immune-mediated inflammatory process, as characterized by direct ex vivo analysis of T helper (Th)-17 T effector (Teff) cell phenotypes in synovial fluid (SF) and peripheral blood (PB) of clinically active PsA patients. The reverse-phase protein arrays (RPPA) technique was employed to identify STAT3, STAT1, JAK1, JAK2, PKCδ and ERK1/2 phosphoprotein levels on total T cell lysates in SF samples of PsA patients. Frequencies of T CD4(+)IL-17A-F(+) and T CD4(+)IL-23R(+) Th17 cells were quantified in SF and matched PB of PsA patients by flow cytometry and compared with PB of healthy controls (HC). Increased levels of JAK1, STAT3, STAT1 and PKCδ phosphoproteins were found in SF T cells of PsA patients, compared with PB of HC. The expansion of T CD4(+)IL-17A-F(+) cells, as well as of T CD4(+) cells expressing IL-23Rp19 (T CD4(+) IL-23R(+)), considered as the pathogenic phenotype of effector Th17 cells, was found to be confined to the joints of PsA patients, as the frequencies of both populations were significantly higher in SF than in matched PB, or in PB of HC. In conclusion, T lymphocyte signal transduction pathway mapping revealed an enhanced activation of JAK1/STAT3/STAT1 and PKCδ phosphoproteins that may drive the local inflammatory process, characterized by the in vivo expansion of T CD4(+)IL-17A-F(+) and T CD4(+)IL-23R(+) Th17 Teff cells in SF of clinically active joints of PsA patients.
Immunologic Research 01/2014; 58(1). DOI:10.1007/s12026-013-8481-0 · 3.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CK2 is a pivotal pro-survival protein kinase in multiple myeloma that may likely impinge on bortezomib-regulated cellular pathways. In the present study, we investigated CK2 expression in multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, two bortezomib-responsive B cell tumors, as well as its involvement in bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity and signaling cascades potentially mediating bortezomib resistance. In both tumors, CK2 expression correlated with that of its activated targets NF-κB and STAT3 transcription factors. Bortezomib-induced proliferation arrest and apoptosis were significantly amplified by the simultaneous inhibition of CK2 with two inhibitors (CX-4945 and K27) in multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma cell lines, in a model of multiple myeloma bone marrow microenvironment and in cells isolated from patients. CK2 inhibition empowered bortezomib-triggered mitochondrial-dependent cell death. Phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 on Ser529 (a CK2 target site) and rise of the levels of the endoplasmic reticulum stress kinase/endoribonuclease Ire1α were markedly reduced upon CK2 inhibition, as were STAT3 phospho Ser727 levels. On the contrary, CK2 inhibition increased phospho Ser51 eIF2α levels and enhanced the bortezomib-dependent accumulation of poly-ubiquitylated proteins and of the proteotoxic stress-associated chaperone Hsp70. Our data suggest that CK2 over expression in multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma cells might sustain survival signaling cascades and can antagonize bortezomib-induced apoptosis at different levels. CK2 inhibitors could be useful in bortezomib-based combination therapies.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e75280. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0075280 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The malignant behavior of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells cannot be exclusively ascribed to
their intrinsic features, but also to factors originating from the surrounding microenvironment. At the
active sites of disease, such as bone marrow (BM) and secondary lymphatic tissues, CLL B cells
engage complex cellular and molecular interactions with stromal cells affecting their survival and
growth and conferring drug-resistance.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), isolated from the BM of 46 B-CLL patients, were first expanded
ex vivo and characterized through flow cytometry analysis and differentiation cultures (adipocytes and
osteocytes) and next co-cultured with fresh isolated CLL peripheral blood mononuclear cells. CLL B
cell apoptosis was measured after 7 days by annexin V/PI test. In presence of CLL-MSCs, we
observed a relevant extended survival of leukemic cells (60%±17.3 with MSCs vs 14%±11.7 with
medium alone), but not of normal B lymphocytes (30.2%±15 with MSCs vs 6.2%±5 with medium
alone). In presence of normal MSCs we observed similar effects (62.7%±9.3 with MSCs vs
24.9%±13.6 with medium alone), suggesting that MSCs both from normal healthy donor and CLL
patients were able to protect CLL B cells from spontaneous apoptosis.
Through a transwell system to avoid lymphocytes-MSCs direct contact, we observed that CLL B cell
survival in presence of MSCs was minimally reduced (60%±17.3 with MSCs vs 52.4%±23.5 with
MSCs in transwell system), suggesting that the anti-apoptotic effect is mainly ascribed to soluble
factors produced by MSCs.
Among several cytokines and chemokines expressed by MSCs, we evaluated CCL5 (RANTES),
known to be implicated in cancer progression. In our model, CLL-MSCs express very low mRNA
levels of CCL5, even after co-culture with neoplastic B cells. However, neoplastic B cells are highly
responsive to CCL5, showing a complete set of CCL5 receptors (CCR1, CCR3, CCR5), and after coculture
with MSCs there is a significant increase of CCR1 expression, leading to the preferential
infiltration and accumulation of leukemic clone inside bone marrow. Normal B cells, on the contrary,
display low levels of CCR3 and CCR5 with a significant down-regulation of CCR3 after co-culture with
Moreover, in order to identify other soluble factors responsible for the MSCs anti-apoptotic effect,
CLL-MSCs cytokine and chemokine secretion profile was evaluated before and after leukemic B cells
exposure using the Bio-PlexTM 27 Cytokine Assay. We observed a stronger increase of IL-8, IL-15,
CCL11 and CXCL10 production under co-culture conditions, suggesting a potential involvement of
these factors in leukemic B cell survival.
The evaluation of the cleavage pattern of PARP1 in 19 untreated patients co-cultured with CLL-MSCs
revealed a peculiar response of each CLL clone to the anti-apoptotic signals delivered by MSCs,
classifying CLL patients into responder and non-responder to microenvironmental pro-survival signals.
In conclusion, our data provide the rationale for tailored therapies which powerfully target the crosstalk
between malignant clone and marrow cells, particularly on patients carrying a clone more
sensitive to anti-apoptotic signals coming from the microenvironment. Employing an in vitro system
that closely approximates the in vivo bone marrow conditions is mandatory for determining CLL-niche
interactions involved in CLL cell survival.
Fifteenth international workshop on Chronic Lymphocytuc Leukemia; 09/2013
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The JAK/STAT pathway is altered in T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia. In all patients, leukemic LGLs display upregulation of phosphorylated STAT3 (P-STAT3) that activates expression of many antiapoptotic genes. To investigate the mechanisms maintaining STAT3 aberrantly phosphorylated using transcriptional protein and functional assays, we analyzed interleukin (IL)-6 and suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3), 2 key factors of the JAK/STAT pathway that induce and inhibit STAT3 activation, respectively. We showed that IL-6 was highly expressed and released by the patients' peripheral blood LGL-depleted population, accounting for a trans-signaling process. By neutralizing IL-6 or its specific receptor with specific antibodies, a significant reduction of P-STAT3 levels and, consequently, LGL survival was demonstrated. In addition, we found that SOCS3 was down-modulated in LGL and unresponsive to IL-6 stimulation. By treating neoplastic LGLs with a demethylating agent, IL-6-mediated SOCS3 expression was restored with consequent P-STAT3 and myeloid cell leukemia-1 down-modulation. Methylation in the SOCS3 promoter was not detectable, suggesting that an epigenetic inhibition mechanism occurs at a different site. Our data indicate that loss of the inhibitor SOCS3 cooperates with IL-6 to maintain JAK/STAT pathway activation, thus contributing to leukemic LGL survival, and suggest a role of demethylating agents in the treatment of this disorder.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral tolerance to tumor antigens (Ags) is a major hurdle for antitumor immunity. Draining lymph nodes are considered the privileged sites for Ag presentation to T cells and for the onset of peripheral tolerance. Here, we show that the spleen is fundamentally important for tumor-induced tolerance. Splenectomy restores lymphocyte function and induces tumor regression when coupled with immunotherapy. Splenic CD11b(+)Gr-1(int)Ly6C(hi) cells, mostly comprising proliferating CCR2(+)-inflammatory monocytes with features of myeloid progenitors, expand in the marginal zone of the spleen. Here, they alter the normal tissue cytoarchitecture and closely associate with memory CD8(+) T cells, cross-presenting tumor Ags and causing their tolerization. Because of its high proliferative potential, this myeloid cell subset is also susceptible to low-dose chemotherapy, which can be exploited as an adjuvant to passive immunotherapy. CCL2 serum levels in cancer patients are directly related to the accumulation of immature myeloid cells and are predictive for overall survival in patients who develop a multipeptide response to cancer vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In B-Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (B-CLL) kinase Lyn is overexpressed, active, abnormally distributed, and part of a cytosolic complex involving hematopoietic lineage cell-specific protein 1 (HS1). These aberrant properties of Lyn could partially explain leukemic cells' defective apoptosis, directly or through its substrates, for example, HS1 that has been associated to apoptosis in different cell types. To verify the hypothesis of HS1 involvement in Lyn-mediated leukemic cell survival, we investigated HS1 protein in 71 untreated B-CLL patients and 26 healthy controls. We found HS1 overexpressed in leukemic as compared to normal B lymphocytes (1.38±0.54 vs 0.86±0.29, p<0.01), and when HS1 levels were correlated to clinical parameters we found a higher expression of HS1 in poor-prognosis patients. Moreover, HS1 levels significantly decreased in ex vivo leukemic cells of patients responding to a fludarabine-containing regimen. We also observed that HS1 is partially localized in the nucleus of neoplastic B cells. All these data add new information on HS1 study, hypothesizing a pivotal role of HS1 in Lyn-mediated modulation of leukemic cells' survival and focusing, one more time, the attention on the BCR-Lyn axis as a putative target for new therapeutic strategies in this disorder.
PLoS ONE 06/2012; 7(6):e39902. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0039902 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein kinase CK2 promotes multiple myeloma cell growth by regulating critical signaling pathways. CK2 also modulates proper HSP90-dependent client protein folding and maturation by phosphorylating its co-chaperone CDC37. Because the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/unfolded protein response (UPR) is central in myeloma pathogenesis, we tested the hypothesis that the CK2/CDC37/HSP90 axis could be involved in UPR in myeloma cells.
We analyzed CK2 activity upon ER stress, the effects of its inactivation on the UPR pathways and on ER stress-induced apoptosis. The consequences of CK2 plus HSP90 inhibition on myeloma cell growth in vitro and in vivo and CK2 regulation of HSP90-triggered UPR were determined.
CK2 partly localized to the ER and ER stress triggered its kinase activity. CK2 inhibition reduced the levels of the ER stress sensors IRE1α and BIP/GRP78, increased phosphorylation of PERK and EIF2α, and enhanced ER stress-induced apoptosis. Simultaneous inactivation of CK2 and HSP90 resulted in a synergic anti-myeloma effect (combination index = 0.291) and in much stronger alterations of the UPR pathways as compared with the single inhibition of the two molecules. Cytotoxicity from HSP90 and CK2 targeting was present in a myeloma microenvironment model, on plasma cells from patients with myeloma and in an in vivo mouse xenograft model. Mechanistically, CK2 inhibition led to a reduction of IRE1α/HSP90/CDC37 complexes in multiple myeloma cells.
Our results place CK2 as a novel regulator of the ER stress/UPR cascades and HSP90 function in myeloma cells and offer the groundwork to design novel combination treatments for this disease.
Clinical Cancer Research 02/2012; 18(7):1888-900. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-1789 · 8.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alström Syndrome (ALMS) is a rare genetic disorder (483 living cases), characterized by many clinical manifestations, including blindness, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiomyopathy. ALMS is caused by mutations in the ALMS1 gene, encoding for a large protein with implicated roles in ciliary function, cellular quiescence and intracellular transport. Patients with ALMS have extensive fibrosis in nearly all tissues resulting in a progressive organ failure which is often the ultimate cause of death. To focus on the role of ALMS1 mutations in the generation and maintenance of this pathological fibrosis, we performed gene expression analysis, ultrastructural characterization and functional assays in 4 dermal fibroblast cultures from ALMS patients. Using a genome-wide gene expression analysis we found alterations in genes belonging to specific categories (cell cycle, extracellular matrix (ECM) and fibrosis, cellular architecture/motility and apoptosis). ALMS fibroblasts display cytoskeleton abnormalities and migration impairment, up-regulate the expression and production of collagens and despite the increase in the cell cycle length are more resistant to apoptosis. Therefore ALMS1-deficient fibroblasts showed a constitutively activated myofibroblast phenotype even if they do not derive from a fibrotic lesion. Our results support a genetic basis for the fibrosis observed in ALMS and show that both an excessive ECM production and a failure to eliminate myofibroblasts are key mechanisms. Furthermore, our findings suggest new roles for ALMS1 in both intra- and extra-cellular events which are essential not only for the normal cellular function but also for cell-cell and ECM-cell interactions.
PLoS ONE 04/2011; 6(4):e19081. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0019081 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acquisition of a procalcific phenotype by resident or circulating cells is important for calcification of atherosclerotic plaques, which is common in diabetes.
We aim to identify and characterize circulating calcifying cells, and to delineate a pathophysiological role for these cells in type 2 diabetes.
We demonstrate for the first time that a distinct subpopulation of circulating cells expressing osteocalcin and bone alkaline phosphatase (OC(+)BAP(+)) has procalcific activity in vitro and in vivo. The study of naïve patients with chronic myeloid leukemia indicated that OC(+)BAP(+) cells have a myeloid origin. Myeloid calcifying OC(+)BAP(+) cells (MCCs) could be differentiated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and generation of MCCs was closely associated with expression of the osteogenic transcription factor Runx2. In gender-mismatched bone marrow-transplanted humans, circulating MCCs had a much longer half-life compared with OC(-)BAP(-) cells, suggesting they belong to a stable cell repertoire. The percentage of MCCs was higher in peripheral blood and bone marrow of type 2 diabetic patients compared with controls but was lowered toward normal levels by optimization of glycemic control. Furthermore, diabetic carotid endoarterectomy specimens showed higher degree of calcification and amounts of cells expressing OC and BAP in the α-smooth muscle actin-negative areas surrounding calcified nodules, where CD68(+) macrophages colocalize. High glucose increased calcification by MCCs in vitro, and hypoxia may regulate MCC generation in vitro and in vivo.
These data identify a novel type of blood-derived procalcific cells potentially involved in atherosclerotic calcification of diabetic patients.
Circulation Research 03/2011; 108(9):1112-21. DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.234088 · 11.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sarcoidosis is characterised by a compartmentalisation of CD4(+) T helper 1 (Th1) lymphocytes and activated macrophages in involved organs, including the lung. Recently, Th17 effector CD4(+) T cells have been claimed to be involved in the pathogenesis of granuloma formation. The objective of this study was to investigate the involvement of Th17 cells in the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis.
Peripheral and pulmonary Th17 cells were evaluated by flow cytometry, real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry analyses and functional assays in patients with sarcoidosis in different phases of the disease and in control subjects.
Th17 cells were detected both in the peripheral blood (4.72 ± 2.27% of CD4(+) T cells) and in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) (8.81 ± 2.25% of CD4(+) T lymphocytes) of patients with sarcoidosis and T cell alveolitis. Immunohistochemical analysis of lung and lymph node specimens showed that interleukin 17 (IL-17)(+)/CD4(+) T cells infiltrate sarcoid tissues surrounding the central core of the granuloma. IL-17 was expressed by macrophages infiltrating sarcoid tissue and/or forming the granuloma core (7.88 ± 2.40% of alveolar macrophages). Analysis of some lung specimens highlighted the persistence of IL-17(+)/CD4(+) T cells in relapsed patients and their absence in the recovered cases. Migratory assays demonstrated the ability of the Th17 cell to respond to the chemotactic stimulus CCL20-that is, the CCR6 ligand (74.8 ± 8.5 vs 7.6 ± 2.8 migrating BAL lymphocytes/high-powered field, with and without CCL20, respectively).
Th17 cells participate in the alveolitic/granuloma phase and also to the progression towards the fibrotic phase of the disease. The recruitment of this cell subset may be driven by CCL20 chemokine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell therapy has developed as a complementary treatment for myocardial regeneration. While both autologous and allogeneic uses have been advocated, the ideal candidate has not been identified yet. Amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells are potentially a promising resource for cell therapy and tissue engineering of myocardial injuries. However, no information is available regarding their use in an allogeneic context. c-kit-sorted, GFP-positive rat AFS (GFP-rAFS) cells and neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (rCMs) were characterized by cytocentrifugation and flow cytometry for the expression of mesenchymal, embryonic and cell lineage-specific antigens. The activation of the myocardial gene program in GFP-rAFS cells was induced by co-culture with rCMs. The stem cell differentiation was evaluated using immunofluorescence, RT-PCR and single cell electrophysiology. The in vivo potential of Endorem-labeled GFP-rAFS cells for myocardial repair was studied by transplantation in the heart of animals with ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R), monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Three weeks after injection a small number of GFP-rAFS cells acquired an endothelial or smooth muscle phenotype and to a lesser extent CMs. Despite the low GFP-rAFS cells count in the heart, there was still an improvement of ejection fraction as measured by MRI. rAFS cells have the in vitro propensity to acquire a cardiomyogenic phenotype and to preserve cardiac function, even if their potential may be limited by poor survival in an allogeneic setting.