M Baldini

The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, United States

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Publications (24)133.05 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The presence of selected toxic heavy metals, such as cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg), was investigated in fish and seafood products, namely, blue mussel, carpet shell clam, European squid, veined squid, deep-water rose shrimp, red mullet, European seabass, gilthead seabream, Atlantic cod, European hake, Atlantic bluefin tuna and swordfish so as to assess their human exposure through diet. Metals were detected by quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Q-ICP-MS) and hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry (Hg-AAS). Measurements of Cd, Pb and Hg were performed by means of analytical methods validated in compliance with UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025 [2005. General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. Milano (Italy): UNI Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione]. The exposure assessment was undertaken matching the levels of Cd, Pb and total Hg with consumption data related to fish and seafood products selected for this purpose. In order to establish human health implications, the estimated weekly intakes (EWIs) for Cd, Pb and Hg were compared with the standard tolerable weekly intakes (TWI) for Cd and provisional tolerable weekly intakes (PTWIs) for Pb and Hg stipulated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). The found metal concentrations were largely below the maximum levels (MLs) established at the European Union level with the exception of Cd. This metal exceeded the MLs in squid, red mullet, European hake and Atlantic cod. Squid and blue mussel showed the highest Pb concentrations which accounted for 60% and 10% of the MLs, respectively. Highest Hg levels were found in predatory fish. The concentrations of Hg in swordfish, Atlantic bluefin tuna and red mullet accounted for 50%, 30% and 30% of the MLs, respectively. The EWIs for Cd, Pb and Hg related to the consumption of fish and seafood products by the median of the Italian total population accounted for 20%, 1.5% and 10% of the standard TWI for Cd as well as PTWIs for Pb and Hg, respectively. Furthermore, the EWIs estimated using consumption data concerning Italian consumers did not exceed the standard TWI and PTWIs, except for Cd at 95th percentile.
    Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: A polymorphism in the promoter region of the CD14 gene, C-159T, has been shown to be associated with increased levels of soluble CD14 (sCD14) and decreased serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) and the expression of a more severe atopic phenotype in previous studies. To test if these associations are consistently found in different populations and different age groups, we genotyped 2048 children of different age groups as well as 888 adults from different regions of Germany for the CD14 C-159T polymorphism. While an association between this promoter polymorphism and levels of sCD14 could be confirmed in our study population (CC: 1017 ng/ml vs TT: 1370 ng/ml, P = 0.03), no association between CD14 C-159T genotypes and IgE levels or the prevalence of atopic diseases was seen. The lack of association between CD14 genotypes and IgE as well as atopic outcomes in this large German study population seems to indicate that CD14 genotypes may not directly be involved in the development of allergies during childhood.
    Allergy 06/2004; 59(5):520-5. · 6.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple genetic studies have shown linkage of atopy-related phenotypes to chromosome 5q31. In this region several candidate genes for atopy are localized such as the Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13, but also CD14, a receptor for LPS. Recently, a functional CD14 promoter polymorphism was related to total and specific IgE responsiveness. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in a large German birth cohort. Atopy-related phenotypes were longitudinally carefully evaluated in over 800 children from birth to the age of 10 years. Yearly visits included standardized interviews, physical examinations and determination of total and specific IgE antibodies. Pulmonary function tests and histamine provocations were performed at the age of seven. Eight-hundred and seventy-two children of the Multicenter Allergy Study (MAS) cohort were genotyped using melting curve and restriction digest analyses. CD14-159 allele frequencies were consistent with previous reports, however, no association of the SNP with asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, total or specific IgE levels could be observed. The CD14-159 SNP might not play a major role in the development of atopy in German children.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 03/2003; 33(2):166-9. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although widely practiced for over 80 years, the role of specific immunotherapy (SIT) in pediatric asthma treatment is still controversial. We assessed the effects of a 3-year period of subcutaneous administration of a standardized preparation of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (D pt) on the respiratory health in a group of asthmatic children monosensitized to house dust mite (HDM). A randomized clinical trial was performed after 1-year run-in period. Fifteen children receiving SIT for HDM and 14 controls (four drop-outs), matched for age, allergen sensitization, asthma severity, lung function, and non-specific bronchial reactivity (BHR), were studied during the 3-year treatment period. During the whole trial, respiratory symptoms, pharmacological and respiratory function parameters were regularly evaluated. Skin prick tests and methacholine challenge were performed at the beginning and end of the study. In the SIT group significant improvement in asthmatic symptoms and marked reduction in drug intake was observed. The SIT group also showed a significant decrease in non-specific bronchial BHR. No new sensitivity occurred during the study period in the SIT group only. No major local or systemic side-effects were reported during the study. Our results confirm that SIT is effective in asthmatic children sensitive to mites. It is associated with a decrease in BHR and it may prevent the development of new sensitizations in monosensitized subjects.
    Allergy 10/2002; 57(9):785-90. · 6.00 Impact Factor
  • M Baldini, D Vercelli, F D Martinez
    Allergy 04/2002; 57(3):188-92. · 6.00 Impact Factor
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    Allergy 03/2002; 57(3):188 - 192. · 6.00 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2002; 109(1). · 11.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A variety of definitions of asthma and atopy traits have been used in genetic studies. The variables used may be correlated, increasing the likelihood of type I error. We sought to clarify and quantify phenotypes that may be characterized by related traits. Principal components and factor analysis were applied to the correlation matrix of asthma and atopy traits before linkage analysis. Factor analysis was performed on 468 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white children enrolled in the Tucson Children's Respiratory Study, with complete information on 24 items, including skin test response to 7 allergens, total serum IgE levels, presence or absence of asthma attacks, wheezing episodes, hay fever, and cough. Factor score coefficients were then applied to all siblings (n = 877), and quantitative factor scores were derived. Single-point and multipoint nonparametric sib-pair analyses were performed to assess linkage to markers on chromosome 5q31-33. Analyses were also performed for individual items. Two main factors were identified: Factor I had high loadings on atopic items, including skin test responses, IgE, and hay fever, and Factor II had high loadings that included asthma diagnosis, wheezing, cough, and Alternaria species skin test response. Factors I and II were correlated at an r value of 0.19. For the quantitative factor scores, significant single-point linkage (P < .0001) was demonstrated only for atopic Factor I, and a peak multipoint LOD score of 2.7 was seen for marker D5S479. Multipoint LOD scores for individual items were 1.1 or less. These analyses suggest evidence for a locus or loci mapping to chromosome 5q31-33 associated with this composite atopic phenotype.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 11/2001; 108(5):772-80. · 11.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A naturally occurring polymorphism in the coding region of the human IL3 gene leads to a change in amino acid residue 8 from proline to serine. We sought to determine whether the 2 different forms of IL-3 varied in function. These different forms are available as recombinant proteins (recombinant human IL-3/proline 8 [rhIL-3/P8] and recombinant human IL-3/serine 8 [rhIL-3/S8]). The erythroleukemic cell line TF-1 was incubated with varying concentrations of rhIL-3/P8 or rhIL-3/S8 to determine the capacity of each type of IL-3 to induce proliferation. Human leukocytes were primed with rhIL-3/P8 or rhIL-3/S8 for up to 24 hours and then stimulated with anti-IgE and assessed for leukotrienes (LTs), IL-4, and TNF-alpha. Proliferation of TF-1 cells was induced by both forms of IL-3 at 48 and 72 hours but to a greater degree by rhIL-3/P8. In contrast, the mean fold increase over control values of LT and IL-4 production was higher after priming the cells with rhIL-3/S8 versus rhIL-3/P8. Additionally, TNF-alpha production was greater (and reached significance only) for rhIL-3/S8. This activity was independent of IgE and thus directly stimulated by IL-3. Studies with basophil-enriched and basophil-depleted cell preparations revealed that LT production was evident only from the former and TNF-alpha only from the latter. We conclude that the 2 naturally occurring forms of human IL-3 have similar spectra of activities on cells with IL-3 receptors, but the 2 forms have reversed relative efficacies for promoting proliferation (rhIL-3/P8 > rhIL-3/S8) compared with priming or inducing mediator secretion (rhIL-3/S8 > rhIL-3/P8).
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 04/2001; 107(3):505-10. · 11.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Total IgE levels are known to be under genetic control. Linkage studies have indicated that one or more loci on chromosome 5q may control total IgE, as well as asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to non-specific stimuli. Our group has undertaken a systematic analysis of chromosome 5q, and has recently characterized five single nucleotide polymorphisms at position -1619, -1359, -1145, -809, and -159 in the promoter of the gene encoding CD14, the myeloid pattern recognition receptor that is critical for efficient innate immune responses to lipopolysaccharide and bacterial ligands. Individuals homozygous for the three major CD14 haplotypes found in the Children Respiratory Study population (n = 390) were analyzed for serum levels of total IgE and soluble CD14. A strong inverse correlation was found between these two parameters, i.e. carriers of the -1359T/-1145A/-159C haplotype had the highest levels of IgE, and the lowest levels of sCD14. Conversely, carriers of the -1359G/-1145G/-159T haplotype had the highest levels of sCD14 and the lowest IgE values. Our results suggest that genetic variation in CD14, a key gene of innate immunity, may modulate the effects that exposure to bacterial ligands has on the development of Th2 responses.
    Journal of Endotoxin Research 02/2001; 7(1):45-8. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Total IgE levels are known to be under genetic control. Linkage studies have indicated that one or more loci on chromosome 5q may control total IgE, as well as asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to nonspecific stimuli. Our group has undertaken a systematic analysis of chromosome 5q, and has recently characterized five single nucleotide polymorphisms at position -1619, -1359, -1145, -809 and -159 in the promoter of the gene encoding CD14, the myeloid pattern recognition receptor that is critical for efficient innate immune response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and bacterial ligands. Carriers of the major CD14 haplotypes were analyzed for serum levels of IgE and soluble CD14. In vitro IgE synthesis was assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with IL-4 in the presence or absence of LPS or anti-CD14 monoclonal antibodies. An inverse correlation was found between serum levels of IgE and soluble CD14. On the other hand, in vitro IL-4-dependent IgE synthesis was strongly upregulated by LPS, but suppressed by anti-CD14 monoclonal antibodies. Our results highlight the complex role played by monocytes in IgE regulation.
    International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 01/2001; 124(1-3):20-4. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether CT-guided mucociliary clearance studies allow differentiation between bronchiectasis associated with primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and those unrelated to congenital or genetically transmitted defects. Fifteen children aged 4-18 years with a CT diagnosis of bronchiectasis were included in the study. Six had PCD, while in nine cases no congenital disorder was demonstrated. CT showed bronchiectasis in 26 (29%) of 90 lung regions. Radiolabelled aerosol studies were conducted globally for each lung and on the regions affected by bronchiectasis. Global half-time of activity (t 1/2) values of patients with PCD were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than those with bronchiectasis unrelated to congenital disorders. Among the 26 lung regions in which CT demonstrated bronchiectasis, regional clearance was abnormal in 24 cases. Patients with PCD showed no statistically significant difference between regional and global t 1/2 values. Patients with bronchiectasis unrelated to congenital disorders showed significantly higher regional t 1/2 values in the affected regions with respect to the corresponding global pulmonary t 1/2 (P < 0.06). The combination of morphological CT information with functional data concerning the clearance of radiolabelled aerosol adds to our understanding of pulmonary impairment in children with bronchiectasis. In particular, regional studies allow the recognition of different mucociliary clearance patterns in bronchiectasis associated with PCD and those unrelated to congenital or genetically transmitted defects.
    Pediatric Radiology 09/2000; 30(9):632-7. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased levels of total serum IgE are a strong risk factor for the development of asthma. IgE is also involved in host defenses against parasites and fungi. Linkage of total serum IgE with markers located close to the 3 Mb cluster of cytokine genes in chromosome 5q31 has been reported. IL-4 or IL-13 are regarded as essential for IgE synthesis. We tested whether polymorphisms in the IL-13 gene might explain the linkage between chromosome 5q31 and total serum IgE levels. We used denaturing HPLC to detect polymorphisms in overlapping PCR fragments of the IL-13 gene including promoter and 3' untranslated regions. After sequencing was performed to identify the locations of the polymorphisms, PCR and primer-induced restriction site assays were used to genotype subjects in 3 unselected populations. We report here 7 polymorphisms (6 novel) in IL-13. Four of these polymorphisms are tightly linked to a variant in the terminal portion of the coding region of the gene that results in a predicted amino acid change in residue 130 (Arg130Gln). The Gln form is strongly associated (P =.000002) with increased serum IgE levels in 3 different populations comprising a total of 1399 children. Two additional polymorphisms in the promoter region of IL-13 are more loosely linked to Arg130Gln and are also less significantly associated with total serum IgE levels. These data suggest that the Arg130Gln polymorphism in IL-13, or others in close linkage with it, is associated with the development of the elevated serum IgE phenotype.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 04/2000; 105(3):506-13. · 11.25 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - J ALLERG CLIN IMMUNOL. 01/2000; 105(1).
  • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2000; 105(1). · 11.25 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Genetics 09/1999; 56(2):164-5. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Total serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels are genetically regulated, but the mechanism of inheritance is not well understood. Cytokines produced by T-helper (Th)1 and Th2 lymphocytes control IgE synthesis. Bacterial antigens may favor the development of Th1 cells from naive CD4-positive T cells through a CD14-dependent pathway. CD14 is constitutively expressed on the surface of monocytes and macrophages, and is also present in serum in a soluble form (sCD14). The CD14 gene maps to chromosome 5q31.1, a candidate region for loci regulating total serum IgE. We hypothesized that genetic variants in the CD14 gene could influence Th-cell differentiation and thus total serum IgE. We identified a C-to-T transition at base pair -159 from the major transcription start site (CD14/-159). Among 481 children recruited from a general population sample, frequency of allele C was 51.4%. TT homozygotes had significantly higher sCD14 levels than did carriers of both the CC and CT genotypes (P = 0.01). TT homozygotes also had significantly lower levels of IgE than did carriers of the other two genotypes, but differences were significant only among children who were skin test-positive to local aeroallergens (P = 0.004). There was no association between CD14/-159 and either interleukin (IL)-4 or interferon (IFN)-gamma responses by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. However, IFN-gamma and IL-4 responses were positively and negatively correlated, respectively, with serum sCD14 levels. We conclude that CD14/-159 plays a significant role in regulating serum sCD14 levels and total serum IgE levels.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 06/1999; 20(5):976-83. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although peripheral blood eosinophilia is strongly associated with the risk of developing asthma, genetic determinants of eosinophilia have not been extensively studied. We used sib-pair analysis to assess linkage of circulating eosinophils (as a percent of total white blood cells [WBC]) to nine markers located in chromosome 5q31-33. The study was divided into two phases. Of 246 sib pairs available for the first phase, 35 were classified as low concordant (LC) (both sibs had <= 2% circulating eosinophils), 18 were defined as high concordant (HC) (both sibs had 5% or more circulating eosinophils), and 26 were defined as discordant (one sib had <= 2% and the other sib had 5% or more circulating eosinophils). Significant evidence for linkage among low concordant sib pairs was found for several markers in the region under study, with a peak for marker D5S500 (proportion of alleles shared identical by descent [ibd] = 0.68 +/- 0.05 [mean +/- SE], p = 0.0004). A cross-validating study was done in which an additional 19 sib pairs that were low concordant for circulating eosinophils were studied. Evidence for linkage was also observed in this subset. Results were independent of current wheezing, total serum IgE levels, and other potential confounders. A multipoint analysis done for all low-concordant sib pairs available showed that the maximal logarithm of the odds favoring genetic linkage (LOD) score (2.4, p = 0.0004) was observed in correspondence with marker D5S658. We conclude that a locus or loci may be present in chromosome 5q31-33 that controls for circulating eosinophils as a proportion of total WBC.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 01/1999; 158(6):1739-44. · 11.99 Impact Factor
  • Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 01/1998; 80:79.
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    ABSTRACT: The beta2-adrenergic receptor (beta2AR) agonists are the most widely used agents in the treatment of asthma, but the genetic determinants of responsiveness to these agents are unknown. Two polymorphic loci within the coding region of the beta2AR have been recently described at amino acids 16 and 27. It has been reported that glycine at codon 16 (Gly-16) is associated with increased agonist-promoted downregulation of the beta2AR as compared with arginine-16 (Arg-16). The form of the receptor with glutamic acid at codon 27 (Glu-27), on the other hand, has been shown to be resistant to downregulation when compared with glutamine-27 (Gln-27), but only when coexpressed with Arg-16. To assess if different genotypes of these two polymorphisms would show differential responses to inhaled beta2AR agonists, we genotyped 269 children who were participants in a longitudinal study of asthma. Spirometry was performed before and after administration of 180 microg of albuterol, and a positive response was considered an increase of >15.3% predicted FEV1. There was marked linkage disequilibrium between the two polymorphisms, with 97.8% of all chromosomes that carried Arg-16 also carrying Gln-27. When compared to homozygotes for Gly-16, homozygotes for Arg-16 were 5.3 times (95% confidence interval 1.6-17.7) and heterozygotes for beta2AR-16 were 2.3 times (1.3-4.2) more likely to respond to albuterol, respectively. Similar trends were observed for asthmatic and nonasthmatic children, and results were independent of baseline lung function, ethnic origin, and previous use of antiasthma medication. No association was found between the beta2AR-27 polymorphism and response to albuterol. These results may explain some of the variability in response to therapeutic doses of albuterol in children.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 12/1997; 100(12):3184-8. · 13.77 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
133.05 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2004
    • The University of Arizona
      • • Respiratory Center
      • • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 1994–2002
    • Università di Pisa
      • • Department of Biology
      • • Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
      Pisa, Tuscany, Italy