Marco Ferrari

University of Insubria, Varese, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (40)145.56 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Treatment with statins requires close monitoring of serum creatine kinase (CK) levels to prevent myopathy, a common and potentially serious dose-dependent adverse effect of these drugs. We have investigated the correlation between elevated CK levels and polymorphisms in the genes encoding transporters involved in statin disposition. Patients with and without statin-induced elevated serum CK levels were genotyped for polymorphisms in SLCO1B1 (SLCO1B1 A388G and SLCO1B1 T521C), ABCB1 (ABCB1 C1236T and ABCB1 C3435T) and ABCG2 (ABCG2 C421A). Patients carrying SLCO1B1 T521C or ABCB1 C1236T single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) had an odds ratio (OR) for statin-induced elevated serum CK levels of 8.86 (p < 0.01) and 4.67 (p < 0.05), respectively, while patients carrying the SLCO1B1 A388G SNP had an OR of 0.24 (p < 0.05). An arbitrary score based on genotype combination discriminated patients with and without CK elevation at a specificity of 97 % and a sensitivity of 39 %. Genotyping of the SLCO1B1, ABCB1 and ABCG2 genes deserves consideration as a clinical approach to improve statin safety while concomitantly reducing the burden of blood tests for CK measurements.
    European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 03/2014; · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the relationships between common polymorphisms in CYP1A2 (CYP1A2(⁎)1C and (⁎)1F), CYP1A2-mRNA levels in circulating lymphocytes and clozapine(CLZ)-induced adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in 34 patients. Patients with ADRs had a higher frequency of CYP1A2 low activity allele combinations (8/12; 67%) and lower CYP1A2-mRNA levels than patients without ADRs (6/22; 27%, P=0.019).
    Psychiatry research. 12/2012; 200(2):1014-1017.
  • Psychiatry Research 12/2012; 200 (2):1014-1017. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the association between adverse reactions to catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors and the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A9 genotypes UGT1A9*1b and UGT1A9*3a, which were previously identified in individual cases of COMT inhibitor-induced toxicity. The study included 52 Parkinson's disease (PD) patients on COMT inhibitors without evidence of adverse reactions and 11 PD patients who had been withdrawn from COMT inhibitors due to adverse reactions. UGT1A9*1b was identified by direct sequencing of the PCR amplification of the gene and UGT1A9*3a was assayed by real-time PCR. The frequency of the *3a/*3a and *1/*3a genotype variants was 45.5 % in subjects with adverse reactions and 21.1 % in subjects without adverse reactions [overall UGT1A9*3a allele frequency 27.3 vs. 11.5 %, P = 0.087; odds ratio (OR) 2.87, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.94-8.77]. The frequency of genotype combinations leading to low glucuronosyltransferase activity (*3a/*3a irrespective of *1b or *1/*3a and *1/*1b) was 5.8 % in subjects without adverse reactions and 36.4 % in subjects with adverse reactions (P = 0.014; OR 9.33, 95 % CI 1.71-50.78). In PD patients UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A9 genotypes are associated with adverse reactions to COMT inhibitors, leading to treatment withdrawal. UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A9 genotyping may be a screening and/or diagnostic test to assist individualized treatments with COMT inhibitors.
    European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 04/2012; 68(11):1493-9. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated dopaminergic inhibition of CD4+CD25(high) regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg) in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with interferon (IFN)-β. MS patients were prospectively studied at baseline and during 1 year of IFN-β, and compared with healthy controls (HCs). Treg were separated by immunomagnetic sorting and the effect of dopamine (DA) on Treg was assessed in coculture experiments with homologous effector T lymphocytes (Teff). Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopaminergic receptors (DR) D3 and D5, and forkhead box protein P3 (FoxP3) mRNA were assessed by real-time PCR. Circulating CD4+ T cell subsets were assessed by flow cytometry. In coculture experiments, Treg inhibition of Teff proliferation was reduced by DA in HCs and completely abolished in MS patients at baseline. However, in patients after 12 months of IFN-β, Teff proliferation was impaired and DA had no more effect on Treg. In comparison to cells from HCs, Treg from MS patients at baseline had increased mRNA for DR D5 and TH (but not for DR D3). During treatment with IFN-β, both DR D5 and TH mRNA decreased down to values lower than those of cells from HCs. In comparison to HCs, MS patients had a higher frequency of circulating Treg, both at baseline and after IFN-β, while FoxP3 mRNA levels in Treg were similar in patients and HCs and did not show major changes during IFN-β. Dopaminergic inhibition of Treg in MS patients is suppressed during IFN-β treatment. Treg play a key role in the suppression of autoimmunity, thus the effect may have a therapeutic repercussion.
    NeuroImmunoModulation 04/2012; 19(5):283-92. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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    Psychiatry Research 04/2011; 189(3):483. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In search for biomarkers of neurodegeneration, increasing attention has been focussed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). In particular, PBMC from patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) have been suggested to carry apoptotic changes and alterations of neurotransmitter receptor expression, which may resemble those occurring in central nervous system neurons. We investigated the expression of apoptosis-related proteins Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 and the levels of dopaminergic receptors (DR) D3 and D5 mRNA in PBMC from 17 AD patients and 11 age-matched healthy subjects. Apoptosis-related proteins were assayed by standard Western blotting analysis and DR mRNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction techniques. PBMC from healthy subjects and from AD patients expressed Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 to about the same extent, and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio did not differ in the 2 groups. Levels of mRNA for DRD3 and DRD5 were similar in cells from healthy subjects and from AD patients. In conclusion, we found no evidence that PBMC from AD patients may express apoptosis-related proteins or DR mRNA to any different extent in comparison to cells from healthy subjects. These findings do not necessarily imply that immune cells cannot be exploited as biomarkers in AD (and in other central nervous system disorders). Future studies, however, should take into account the inherent complexity of the immune network.
    Alzheimer disease and associated disorders 01/2009; 23(1):88-90. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the endogenous dopaminergic/adrenergic system of lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients during treatment with interferon (IFN)-beta. Patients with relapsing-remitting MS undergoing IFN-beta treatment were prospectively studied during the first year of treatment. Circulating lymphocytes were obtained at baseline and after 1, 3, 6 and 12 months of treatment and assayed for catecholamine (CA) production and mRNA expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of CA), beta(2)-adrenoceptors (AR) and D2, D3 and D5 dopaminergic receptors (DR). In cells from patients treated with IFN-beta for 12 months the production of CA hugely increased and was less sensitive to IFN-gamma-induced inhibition. Expression of mRNA for TH, beta(2)-AR and DRD5 was already enhanced after 1 month and further increased up to 6-12 months of treatment. On the contrary, DRD2 mRNA progressively decreased and DRD3 mRNA did not significantly change over the whole study period. In MS patients IFN-beta treatment enhances the ability of lymphocytes to produce CA, and induces extensive modifications of both beta(2)-AR and DR-operated pathways. The clinical relevance of these effects deserves consideration.
    Experimental Neurology 10/2008; 214(2):315-21. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Angiotensin II, through the activation of angiotensin II type 1 receptors, plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis. Statins may interfere with the effects of angiotensin II. We have investigated the expression of angiotensin II type 1 receptor, angiotensin II type 2 receptor and angiotensinogen on circulating monocytes and T-lymphocytes from subjects at high risk for vascular events before and during simvastatin treatment, and healthy controls. In-vitro experiments were also performed to assess the ability of simvastatin to interfere with angiotensin II signalling. In comparison with controls, high-risk subjects had similar angiotensin II type 1 receptor expression on the cell membranes but significantly higher angiotensin II type 1 receptor mRNA levels at least in monocyte subsets whereas their expression on T cells was similar. Angiotensin II type 2 receptor mRNA expression was higher than controls in both monocytes and T lymphocytes. No differences were observed in angiotensinogen expression on monocytes while T lymphocytes of high-risk subjects show higher expression. One-month treatment of high-risk subjects with simvastatin resulted in a reduction of angiotensin II type 1 receptor mRNA without affecting angiotensin II type 2 receptor whereas angiotensinogen mRNA expression was reduced at least in monocytes. Incubation in vitro with simvastatin reduces the expression of angiotensin II type 1 receptor mRNA levels on monocytes from untreated subjects. Simvastatin induces down-regulation of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor, interferes with angiotensin II activity in immune cells and contributes to the anti-inflammatory profile of statins that can explain the therapeutic effects of these drugs.
    Journal of Hypertension 07/2008; 26(6):1147-55. · 3.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our study investigated reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT(1)-R) expression in primed polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) of dyslipidaemic subjects over prolonged statin treatment. Sixteen untreated dyslipidaemic subjects with moderately increased cardiovascular risk (National Cholesterol Education Program, Adult Treatment Panel III) were studied before and during long-term (1 year) simvastatin treatment. Neutrophils from dyslipidaemic subjects generated more ROS in comparison with cells from healthy control subjects. After 1 year of simvastatin treatment, ROS production (delta N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe-induced generation and area under the curve) was significantly reduced. At baseline, AT1-R mRNA expression was also higher in dyslipidaemic subjects than in healthy controls and it was reduced after clinical treatment with simvastatin. In a subgroup of patients, a reduced angiotensin II-induced ROS generation was also observed upon clinical simvastatin treatment. Moreover, a direct effect of statin on the upregulated AT(1)-R expression was demonstrated in vitro in neutrophils of untreated dyslipidaemic subjects. A consistent reversion of pro-inflammatory oxidative functional response and reduction of AT(1)-R expression in primed PMNs was observed in patients during long-term statin treatment. The AT1-R reduction over treatment may contribute to the normalization of dysregulated neutrophil activation which occurs in the pre-clinical phase of atherosclerosis.
    European Heart Journal 06/2008; 29(9):1118-26. · 14.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder in which dopaminergic dysfunction and immune system abnormalities seem to coexist. Using real-time PCR, we determined mRNA expression of dopamine receptors (DRs) D1-5 in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) from 15 TS patients and 15 sex- and age-matched healthy controls (HCs). DRD5 mRNA levels in cells from TS were higher than in cells from HCs. In TS patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, DRD5 mRNA levels in PBLs showed a highly positive correlation with the severity of compulsive symptoms. DRD5 mRNA upregulation in PBLs from TS patients may represent a peripheral marker of dopaminergic dysfunction and supports the involvement of the immune system in TS.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 04/2008; 43(1):24-9. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lignans are plant polyphenols which may possess anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities. In particular, the lignan 7-hydroxymatairesinol (HMR/lignan, HMR) is a novel precursor of the mammalian lignan enterolactone (EL). In the present study, we investigated the estrogenicity of HMR and of EL in comparison to estradiol (E2), by measuring their effects on growth and apoptotic markers in the human estrogen-sensitive cell line MCF-7. HMR, EL and E2 concentration-dependently increased the percentage of MCF-7 cells in the S phase of the cell cycle, with the following relative potencies: E2 congruent with EL>HMR, and efficacies: E2>HMR>EL. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with either HMR, EL or E2 also increased the Bcl-2/Bax mRNA ratio. The effects of HMR and EL were reduced in the presence of the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist tamoxifene. We conclude that both HMR and its metabolite EL are endowed with estrogenic activity, which is likely to be exerted through the contribution of ER-dependent pathways and to target the same intracellular mechanisms acted upon by E2. The estrogenicity of HMR and EL is however milder than that of E2, as indicated by the lower potencies and efficacies of both lignans. The present results support the notion that dietary supplementation with HMR may result in a mild estrogenic activity, both directly and by providing a suitable source for endogenous EL.
    Pharmacological Research 09/2007; 56(2):140-7. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Statins may directly interfere with the effects of angiotensin (Ang) II, which is a key player in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis (ATH). Ang II promotes a wide array of detrimental processes including a prominent proinflammatory effect, increasingly regarded as a target for therapeutic intervention. Because the proinflammatory effects of Ang II are exerted mainly through the activation of Ang II type 1 receptors (AT1Rs) the present study was devised to investigate by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and flow cytometry techniques the expression of such receptors on circulating polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) from subjects at high risk for vascular events before and during treatment with simvastatin and in sex- and age-matched healthy controls. In vitro experiments were also performed to assess the ability of simvastatin to interfere with Ang II signaling in human PMNs. In comparison to controls, high-risk subjects had similar AT1R expression on the cell membranes but significantly higher AT1R messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels. Treatment of high-risk subjects with simvastatin for 30 days resulted in a reduction of AT1R mRNA down to the levels of cells from healthy subjects. In vitro, Ang II-induced activation of the guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-binding protein Rac 1 in human PMNs was inhibited by simvastatin. In conclusion, simvastatin induces downregulation of AT1R expression, interferes with Ang II activity in PMNs, and contributes to the antiinflammatory profile of statins that can explain the therapeutic effects of these drugs.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 06/2007; 49(5):299-305. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CD4+CD25+ regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) are specialized T cells playing a key role in the control of immune homeostasis. Here, we show that human Tregs constitutively express tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, EC, the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of catecholamines, and contain substantial amounts of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, which are released upon treatment with reserpine. Catecholamine release results in reduced production of interleukin-10 and transforming growth factor-beta by Tregs, and in down-regulation of Treg-dependent inhibition of effector T-lymphocyte (Teff) proliferation, which occurs without affecting the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha or interferon-gamma. Tregs and Teffs express on the cell membrane both D1-like and D2-like dopaminergic receptors to a similar extent (12%-29% of the cells). Catecholamine-dependent down-regulation of Tregs is, however, selectively reversed by pharmacological blockade of dopaminergic D1-like receptors, which in Tregs only (and not in Teffs) are also expressed at the level of mRNA and are functionally coupled to intracellular production of cAMP. These findings indicate that in human Tregs endogenous catecholamines subserve an autocrine/paracrine loop involving dopaminergic pathways and resulting in down-regulation of Treg function.
    Blood 02/2007; 109(2):632-42. · 9.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of thyroid deprivation on the autonomic modulation to the heart remain controversial. In this study in patients followed for thyroid carcinoma, we investigated (1) heart rate variability parameters and the baroreflex gain and (2) intracellular catecholamine levels in circulating lymphocytes during short-term hypothyroidism (phase 1) and after reinstitution of TSH-suppressive thyroid hormone replacement (phase 2). The RR interval value (p < 0.01) and systolic blood pressure (p < 0.05) were higher in phase 1 than in phase 2. The low-frequency/high-frequency (LF/HF) ratio was significantly lower in the hypothyroid state (p < 0.05), with a higher HF component (p < 0.05). After adjusting for mean RR interval in the regression model, the difference between the power of RR interval oscillations calculated in the two states was greater for the LF band (p = 0.005) and it was borderline significant for the HF band (p = 0.052). The baroreflex gain alpha(LF) index was similar in the two phases. The stimulus-induced cellular production of norepinephrine and epinephrine in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly higher in phase 2. The neurally-mediated influences on the sinus node and the study of intracellular catecholamine production suggest a reduced sympathoexcitation in hypothyroidism compared with the treatment phase. The early increase in blood pressure observed after thyroid hormone withdrawal is not due to impaired sensitivity of the baroreflex arc.
    Hormone Research 01/2007; 67(4):171-8. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The renin-angiotensin system plays a key role in the regulation of cardiovascular functions and in particular angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R)-operated pathways are involved in the modulation of inflammation in the vascular wall. In the present study we assessed the pattern of expression of AT1Rs on different human circulating leukocyte subsets. Venous blood was obtained from healthy male subjects. Leukocyte subsets were purified by immunomagnetic cell sorting or identified in whole blood using multiparametric cytometric analysis. RT-PCR analysis showed that AT1R mRNA was expressed in polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), monocytes, B-lymphocytes, and, to a lesser extent, T-lymphocytes. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the frequency of expression of AT1Rs was: PMNs>monocytes>or=B-lymphocytes>T-lymphocytes, while receptor density per positive cells was: PMNs>or=B-lymphocytes>T-lymphocytes>or=monocytes. AT1Rs are expressed on PMNs, monocytes, T- and B-lymphocytes, however the expression pattern is peculiar to each subset, possibly suggesting distinct roles in the various cell types. Investigating the expression and the functional role of AT1Rs on circulating leukocyte subsets, as well as their possible modifications in disease conditions before and after pharmacological treatments, is likely to provide novel clues to the comprehension of the mechanisms involved in the therapeutic efficacy of currently available agents.
    Regulatory Peptides 06/2006; 134(2-3):69-74. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of T regulatory (Treg) cells in human cancer has not yet been clarified. We assessed the presence and function of CD4+ and CD8+ Treg cell subsets in the peripheral blood of patients with lung cancer (LC) and pleural mesothelioma (PM). We found a low but significant increase in the number of CD4+ T cells with phenotype and functional features of Treg cells in LC patients compared to normal healthy controls (NHC). Furthermore, total CD4+ T cells from LC patients proliferated less than cells from controls, suggesting that the increase in the CD4+ Treg cell pool has functional importance. LC patients also showed an expansion of the CD8+CD28- T cell subset and these cells expressed Foxp3 mRNA, as recently observed in alloantigen-specific CD8+CD28- T suppressor cells. No variation of peripheral Treg cell subsets was found in patients with PM, a disease with a predominantly localized nature. However, the lack of correlation between cancer stage and the number or the function of peripheral Treg cells in LC patients refuted the hypothesis that these cells are involved in tumor spreading. A possible involvement of the peripheral Treg cell pool in cancer development and/or in inducing systemic immunosuppression in LC patients can be hypothesized.
    Human Immunology 01/2006; 67(1-2):1-12. · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2006; 7(3):549-549.
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    ABSTRACT: The authors report two cases of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor-induced asymptomatic hepatic dysfunction in women with Parkinson disease. The patients were genotyped for the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A9 gene (which encodes the main COMT inhibitor-metabolizing enzyme), and found to carry mutations leading to defective glucuronidation activity. This suggests that UGT1A9 poor metabolizer genotype(s) may be a predisposing factor for COMT inhibitor-induced hepatotoxicity.
    Neurology 01/2006; 65(11):1820-2. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interferon (IFN)-gamma plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), while IFN-beta may be able to modify the clinical course of the disease, eventually also by counterbalancing IFN-gamma-mediated effects. Catecholamines (CA) exert important effects on the immune response, both as transmitters between the nervous and the immune system, as well as autocrine/paracrine mediators in immune cells, and several lines of evidence support their involvement in MS. In particular, dysregulated production of CA seems to occur in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of MS patients. We assessed the effects of IFN-beta and IFN-gamma on endogenous CA in PBMCs. In cultured PBMCs stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), IFN-beta increased CA production and induced CA release in the culture medium, while IFN-gamma decreased both CA production and the expression of mRNA for the CA-synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. Coincubation with both IFNs prevented the inhibitory effect of IFN-gamma, as well as the stimulatory effect of IFN-beta. IFNs are the first physiological compounds shown to affect endogenous CA in PBMCs: in view of the role of CA-dependent mechanisms in the immune response, these findings may help to better understand the mechanisms of action of IFN-beta as an immunomodulatory drug in MS.
    Journal of Neuroimmunology 06/2005; 162(1-2):112-21. · 3.03 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

510 Citations
145.56 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2011
    • University of Insubria
      Varese, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2009
    • Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
      Varese, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2008
    • Azienda Ospedaliera S. Antonio Gallarate
      Gallarate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1997–1999
    • University of Pavia
      • Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics
      Pavia, Lombardy, Italy