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Publications (7)17.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Momordica foetida Schumach. et Thonn. (Cucurbitaceae) is a perennial climbing herb with tendrils, found in swampy areas in Central Uganda. Antidiabetic and antilipogenic activities were reported for some Momordica species, however the mechanism of action is still unknown. Oxidative stress may represent an important pathogenic mechanism in obesity-associated metabolic syndrome. The present study evaluated free radical scavenging capacity of different concentrations of aqueous, methanolic and dichloromethane leaf extracts of Momordica foetida Schumach. et Thonn. and the ability of these extracts to inhibit in vitro plasma lipid peroxidation; in addition, healthy human adipose mesenchymal stem cell cultures were used in order to test the hypothesis that these extracts may affect adipocyte differentiation. Results obtained in this study suggested that aqueous extract might be useful in preventing metabolic syndrome.
    Molecules 01/2013; 18(3):3241-9. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to chemical pollution can cause significant damage to plants by imposing conditions of oxidative stress. Plants combat oxidative stress by inducing antioxidant metabolites, enzymatic scavengers of activated oxygen and heat shock proteins. The accumulation of these proteins, in particular heat shock protein 70 and heme oxygenase, is correlated with the acquisition of thermal and chemical adaptations and protection against oxidative stress. In this study, we used Pinus pinaster Ait. collected in the areas of Priolo and Aci Castello representing sites with elevated pollution and reference conditions, respectively. The presence of heavy metals and the levels of markers of oxidative stress (lipid hydroperoxide levels, thiol groups, superoxide dismutase activity and expression of heat shock protein 70, heme oxygenase and superoxide dismutase) were evaluated, and we measured in field-collected needles the response to environmental pollution. P. pinaster Ait. collected from a site characterized by industrial pollution including heavy metals had elevated stress response as indicated by significantly elevated lipid hydroperoxide levels and decreased thiol groups. In particular, we observed that following a chronic chemical exposure, P. pinaster Ait. showed significantly increased expression of heat shock protein 70, heme oxygenase and superoxide dismutase. This increased expression may have protective effects against oxidative stress and represents an adaptative cellular defence mechanism. These results suggest that evaluation of heme oxygenase, heat shock protein 70 and superoxide dismutase expression in P. pinaster Ait. could represent a useful tool for monitoring environmental contamination of a region and to better understand mechanisms involved in plant defence and stress tolerance.
    Environmental Science and Pollution Research 06/2012; 19(9):3850-8. · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, there is increasing interest in the in vivo protective effects of natural antioxidants found in dietary plants against oxidative damage caused by free radical species. Oxidative stress has been invoked as a causative agent in cancer and epidemiological data suggest that the consumption of fruits and vegetables may be associated with a lower incidence of cancer. The fruit of the Olea europaea L. and olive oil contain hundreds of phytochemicals and its extracts have recently been shown to exhibit antioxidant properties, due to the action of oleuropein. In view of these considerations, in this study, we investigated the effects of oleuropein on LNCaP and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines and on BPH-1 non-malignant cells. Oleuropein reduces cell viability and induces thiol group modifications, γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase, reactive oxygen species, pAkt and heme oxygenase-1. Exposing cell cultures to oleuropein induces an antioxidant effect on BPH-1 cells and a pro-oxidant effect on cancer cells. Our results confirm the beneficial properties of olive oil and oleuropein, suggesting its possible use as an adjuvant agent in the treatment of prostatitis, in order to prevent the transformation of hypertrophic to cancerous cells.
    International Journal of Oncology 04/2012; 41(1):31-8. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effect of cyanidin-3-O-β-glucoside on an experimental model of partial/transient cerebral ischemia in the rats in order to verify the effectiveness of both pre- and posttreatments. Cyanidin-3-O-β-glucoside-pretreated rats were injected with 10 mg/Kg i.p. 1 h before the induction of cerebral ischemia; in posttreated rats, the same dosage was injected during reperfusion (30 min after restoring blood flow). Cerebral ischemia was induced by bilateral clamping of common carotid arteries for 20 min. Ischemic rats were sacrificed immediately after 20 min ischemia; postischemic reperfused animals were sacrificed after 3 or 24 h of restoring blood flow. Results showed that treatment with cyanidin increased the levels of nonproteic thiol groups after 24 h of postischemic reperfusion, significantly reduced the lipid hydroperoxides, and increased the expression of heme oxygenase and γ-glutamyl cysteine synthase; a significant reduction in the expression of neuronal and inducible nitric oxide synthases and the equally significant increase in the endothelial isoform were observed. Significant modifications were also detected in enzymes involved in metabolism of endogenous inhibitors of nitric oxide. Most of the effects were observed with both pre- and posttreatments with cyanidin-3-O-β-glucoside suggesting a role of anthocyanin in both prevention and treatment of postischemic reperfusion brain damage.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2012; 2012:285750. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer (PC) are prostate chronic diseases that require a long period for development from a small lesion to clinical manifestation. PC is the most common cancer in men in Europe and the Americas. Tumor growth and metastasis depend upon the development of neovasculature around the tumor. This process, called angiogenesis, may be regulated by NO, and thus modulation of NO production could play an important role in tumor progression. Recent studies report the involvement of DDAH, an enzyme which metabolizes the endogenous NOS inhibitor ADMA, in the development of tumor vasculature. The aim of the present study was to verify the involvement of the DDAH/NOS pathway in the progression of prostate cancer. The effect of the NOS inhibitor L-NAME was evaluated in the human prostate cancer cell line LnCap and in BPH-1 cells which represent benign prostatic hypertrophy. Higher DDAH-2, eNOS, iNOS and VEGF expression was found in LnCap cells compared to BPH-1 cells. L-NAME treatment of LnCap cells resulted in a reduction in VEGF, iNOS and eNOS expression. VEGF, iNOS and eNOS inhibition is a promising approach for targeting tumor vasculature and certain NOS inhibitors could potentially serve as experimental agents for treatment of certain chemoresistant tumors, including prostate tumors. Moreover, since in our experimental conditions L-NAME was unable to reduce DDAH activity and expression, it is plausible to hypothesize the development of a targeted polypharmacological approach by developing dual and specific inhibitors of DDAH and NOS to better control NO biosynthesis.
    International Journal of Oncology 06/2011; 39(5):1303-10. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To verify the involvement of free radicals in tumor progression and to investigate the effects of an ethanolic extract of Ruta Chalepensis L. and of rutin in blood of patients with colon cancer. Leaves of Ruta Chalepensis L. were collected in the area around Catania (Italy). For the preparation of the ethanol extract of leaves, an exhaustive extraction of 100 g of the drug was carried out in Soxhlet with 800 ml of 95% ethanol. Fifty-six patients with colorectal cancer were randomly selected for this study; among these, 34 were affected by an early stage (T1 N0 M0 according to scale), while 22 were affected by an advanced stage (T4, N1-2, M0) of cancer. Data obtained from these patients were compared with those of a control group consisting of 20 healthy subjects. Plasma of each sample was used for determining non-proteic antioxidant capacity, thiol groups, lipid hydroperoxides and nitrite/nitrate levels, evaluated by spectrophotometric tests. In addition, percentage of haemolysis was evaluated incubating (for 2 hours at 37 degrees C) erythrocyte suspension with a free radical donor (50 mM 2,2'-azobis-amidino propane chloridrate), in the presence or absence of ethanolic extract of Ruta Chalepensis L. (250 microg/ml) or rutin (1 mM). Non-proteic antioxidant capacity was significantly lower in cancerous patients than in healthy subjects (p < 0.001). This decrease was stage-related. In fact, non-proteic antioxidant capacity resulted lower in advanced than in early colorectal cancer (p < 0.001). The same significant stage-related decrease was observed in plasma thiol groups (p < 0.001). Coherently with the decrease in non-proteic antioxidant capacity and thiol groups, higher levels of lipid hydroperoxides and nitrite/nitrate were observed in patients with colorectal cancer with respect to healthy subjects (p < 0.001) and the increase in these markers of oxidative stress was related to the cancer stadiation. Neoplastic patients also showed an increased percentage of oxidative hemolysis respect to controls and the haemolytic damage was correlated with the stage of colon cancer. Both the extract of Ruta Chalepensis L. and rutin were able to protect erythrocytes from oxidative stress induced by the free radical donor, but the extract of Ruta Chalepensis L. was more effective than rutin. This protective effect was significant only in erythrocytes from patients with early colorectal group, whereas no significant modification was induced by Ruta Chalepensis L. or rutin in red blood cells from advanced colorectal cancer patients exposed to the same experimental conditions. Oxidative stress correlates with colon cancer stadiation and both the extract of Ruta chalepensis and rutin are able to protect red blood cells from radical-induced damage. However, their effects are significant in early stages of cancer. So these natural antioxidants might be usefull to prevent carcinogenesis and/or tumor progression.
    European review for medical and pharmacological sciences 02/2011; 15(2):181-91. · 1.09 Impact Factor
  • Resuscitation 01/2011; 82. · 4.10 Impact Factor