Menotti Calvani

National Research Council, Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (73)324.19 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a molecule derived from acetylation of carnitine in the mitochondria. Carnitine acetylation enables the function of CoA and facilitates elimination of oxidative products. Beyond this metabolic activity, ALC provides acetyl groups for acetylcholine synthesis, exerts a cholinergic effect and optimizes the balance of energy processes. Acetylcarnitine supplementation induces neuroprotective, neurotrophic and analgesic effects in the peripheral nervous system. In the recent studies, ALC, by acting as a donor of acetyl groups to NF-kb p65/RelA, enhanced the transcription of the GRM2 gene encoding the mGLU2 receptors, inducing long-term upregulation of the mGluR2, evidencing therefore that its long-term analgesic effects are dependent on epigenetic modifications. Several studies, including double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group studies and few open studies showed the effect of ALC in diseases characterized by neuropathies and neuropathic pain: the studies included diabetic neuropathy, HIV and antiretroviral therapy-induced neuropathies, neuropathies due to compression and chemotherapeutic agents. Double-blinded studies involved 1773 patients. Statistical evaluations evidenced reduction of pain, improvements of nerve function and trophism. In conclusion, ALC represents a consistent therapeutic option for peripheral neuropathies, and its complex effects, neurotrophic and analgesic, based on epigenetic mechanism, open new pathways in the study of peripheral nerve disease management.
    Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 08/2013; 13(8):925-36. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The metabolic alterations of cancer cells represent an opportunity for developing selective antineoplastic treatments. We investigated the therapeutic potential of ST1326, an inhibitor of carnitine-palmitoyl transferase 1A (CPT1A), the rate-limiting enzyme for fatty acid (FA) import into mitochondria.MethodsST1326 was tested on in vitro and in vivo models of Burkitt's lymphoma, in which c-myc, which drives cellular demand for FA metabolism, is highly overexpressed. We performed assays to evaluate the effect of ST1326 on proliferation, FA oxidation, and FA mitochondrial channeling in Raji cells. The therapeutic efficacy of ST1326 was tested by treating Eµ-myc mice (control: n = 29; treatment: n = 24 per group), an established model of c-myc-mediated lymphomagenesis. Experiments were performed on spleen-derived c-myc-overexpressing B cells to clarify the role of c-myc in conferring sensitivity to ST1326. Survival was evaluated with Kaplan-Meier analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided.ResultsST1326 blocked both long- and short-chain FA oxidation and showed a strong cytotoxic effect on Burkitt's lymphoma cells (on Raji cells at 72 hours: half maximal inhibitory concentration = 8.6 μM). ST1326 treatment induced massive cytoplasmic lipid accumulation, impairment of proper mitochondrial FA channeling, and reduced availability of cytosolic acetyl coenzyme A, a fundamental substrate for de novo lipogenesis. Moreover, treatment with ST1326 in Eµ-myc transgenic mice prevented tumor formation (P = .01), by selectively impairing the growth of spleen-derived primary B cells overexpressing c-myc (wild-type cells + ST1326 vs Eµ-myc cells + ST1326: 99.75% vs 57.5%, difference = 42.25, 95% confidence interval of difference = 14% to 70%; P = .01).Conclusions Our data indicate that it is possible to tackle c-myc-driven tumorigenesis by altering lipid metabolism and exploiting the neoplastic cell addiction to FA oxidation.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 03/2013; · 14.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acid synthase is a common phenotype to various human cancers including those of prostate, colon, lung, endometrium, and stomach. Increased fatty acid synthase levels have been detected in serum from patients with breast and pancreatic cancer. In this study, serum levels of fatty acid synthase were measured in colorectal cancer patients at different stages of disease. Consecutive 67 patients with colorectal cancer were enrolled in the study. Serum levels of fatty acid synthase were examined by ELISA test. The Kruskal-Wallis test and the χ (2) method for trend have been used to analyze data. Serum fatty acid synthase levels of patients belonging to three groups of stage disease are statistically different. The patients with stage III and IV have significantly higher serum levels of fatty acid synthase than patients with stage I-II. There is a positive trend in serum fatty acid synthase levels from stage I-II to stage III and IV of disease. Fatty acid synthase levels are associated with the stage of disease in patients with colorectal cancer.
    Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer 07/2011; 43(3):508-11.
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress has a central role in aging and in several age-linked diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. Mitochondria, as the main cellular source and target of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in aging, are recognized as very important players in the above reported diseases. Impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation has been reported in several aging tissues. Defective mitochondria are not only responsible of bioenergetically less efficient cells but also increase ROS production further contributing to tissues oxidative stress. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is a biomolecule able to limit age-linked mitochondrial decay in brain, liver, heart and skeletal muscles by increasing mitochondrial efficiency. Here the global changes induced by aging and by ALCAR supplementation to old rat on the mitochondrial proteome of rat liver has been analyzed by means of the two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Mass spectrometry has been used to identify the differentially expressed proteins. A significant age-related change occurred in 31 proteins involved in several metabolisms. ALCAR supplementation altered the levels of 26 proteins. In particular, ALCAR reversed the age-related alterations of 10 mitochondrial proteins relative to mitochondrial cristae morphology, to the oxidative phosphorylation and antioxidant systems, to urea cycle, to purine biosynthesis.
    Journal of proteomics 06/2011; 74(11):2536-47. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this work we report that carnitines, in particular acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC), are able to prolong the chronological aging of yeast cells during the stationary phase. Lifespan extension is significantly reduced in yca1 mutants as well in rho(0) strains, suggesting that the protective effects pass through the Yca1 caspase and mitochondrial functions. ALC can also prevent apoptosis in pro-apoptotic mutants, pointing to the importance of mitochondrial functions in regulating yeast apoptosis and aging. We also demonstrate that ALC attenuates mitochondrial fission in aged yeast cells, indicating a correlation between its protective effect and this process. Our findings suggest that ALC, used as therapeutic for stroke, myocardial infarction and neurodegenerative diseases, besides the well-known anti-oxidant effects, might exert protective effects also acting on mitochondrial morphology.
    Aging cell 08/2010; 9(4):570-9. · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A major component of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the insulin resistance. Only a few studies have evaluated the IRS-1 polymorphism at codon 972, sometimes in the absence of a control group, and with great variability in frequency (0-23% in PCOS vs. 0-17% in controls), and with no unequivocal relationships between the polymorphism and clinical or biochemical indexes. The aim of the work was to evaluate the frequency of the IRS-1 polymorphism at codon 972 in PCOS, and correlate it to clinical and biochemical indexes. We assessed the rs 1801278 polymorphic variant in the IRS-1 gene (Gly972Gly=wild-type; Gly972Arg=heterozygosity; Arg972Arg=homozygosity) in genomic DNA by restriction fragment length polymorphism. The study was conducted at an academic medical center with the participation of 65 women with PCOS and 27 age-matched healthy women (controls). Compared to controls, Gly972Arg was very frequent in PCOS (77% vs. 18%, p<0.0001); one PCOS woman was homozygous. Compared to wild-type PCOS, heterozygous PCOS women had only three significantly different indexes: higher fasting insulin, insulin resistance index, and lower 120 min OGTT glucose. Moreover, in the correlation analysis between any two clinical or biochemical variables, the Pearson's correlation coefficients were frequently of different magnitude in heterozygous PCOS versus wild-type PCOS. Overall, heterozygous PCOS had a greater number of statistically significant relationships between different clinical, metabolic and hormonal indexes: 44 direct and 9 inverse versus 6 and 3, respectively. The IRS-1 Gly972Arg has the highest frequency reported world-wide for PCOS women. This variant is associated with insulin resistance and higher fasting insulin in PCOS women.
    Hormone and Metabolic Research 03/2010; 42(8):575-84. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) supplementation to 3-month-old rats in normal-loading and unloading conditions has been here investigated by a combined morphological, biochemical and transcriptional approach to test whether ALCAR might cause a remodeling of the metabolic/contractile phenotype of soleus muscle. Morphological assessment demonstrated an increase of type I oxidative fiber content and cross-sectional area in ALCAR-treated animals both in normal-loading and in unloading conditions. ALCAR prevented loss of mitochondrial mass in unloaded animals whereas no ALCAR-dependent increase of mitochondrial mass occurred in normal-loaded muscle. Validated microarray analysis delineated an ALCAR-induced maintenance of a slow-oxidative expression program only in unloaded soleus muscle. Indeed, the muscle adjustment of the expression profile of factors underlying mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, protein turnover, fiber type differentiation and an adaptation of voltage-gated ion channel expression was distinguishable with respect to the loading status. This selectivity may suggest a key role of muscle loading status in the manifestation of ALCAR effects. The results extend to a broader level of biological informations the previous notion on ALCAR positive effect in rat soleus muscle during unloading and point to a role of ALCAR for the maintenance of its slow-oxidative fiber character.
    BioFactors 01/2010; 36(1):70-7. · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduction of cellular expression and activity of antioxidant proteins and the consequent increase of oxidative stress are fundamental causes for both the aging processes and neurodegenerative diseases. Oxidative stress has been implicated in mechanisms leading to neuronal cell injury in various pathological states of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive disorder with cognitive and memory decline, speech loss, personality changes and synapse loss. Many approaches have been undertaken to understand AD, but the heterogeneity of the etiologic factors makes it difficult to define the clinically most important factor determining the onset and progression of the disease. There is now evidence to suggest that networks of responses exist in the brain to detect and control diverse forms of stress. This is accomplished by a complex network of the so-called longevity assurance processes, which are composed of several genes termed vitagenes. Among these, heat shock proteins form a highly conserved system responsible for the preservation and repair of the correct protein conformation. Recent studies have shown that the heat shock response contributes to establish a cytoprotective state in a wide variety of human diseases, including inflammation, cancer, aging and neurodegenerative disorders. Given the broad cytoprotective properties of the heat shock response there is now strong interest in discovering and developing pharmacological agents capable of inducing the heat shock response. Acetylcarnitine (LAC) is proposed as a therapeutic agent for several neurodegenerative disorders, and there is evidence that LAC may play a critical role as a modulator of cellular stress response in health and disease states. In the present review we discuss the role of the heme oxygenase pathway in cellular stress response. We then review the evidence for the role of acetylcarnitine in modulating redox-dependent mechanisms leading to up-regulation of vitagenes in brain, and hence potentiate brain stress tolerance.
    05/2009: pages 39-52;
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    ABSTRACT: Overoxidation and subsequent inactivation of Peroxiredoxin III (PrxIII), a mitochondrial H2O2 scavenging enzyme, have been reported in oxidative stress conditions. No data are available in the literature about the presence of overoxidized forms of PrxIII in aged tissues. Liver mitochondria from 12-month-old rats and 28-month-old rats were here analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. A spot corresponding to the native form of PrxIII was present in adult and old rats with the same volume, whereas an additional, more acidic spot, of the same molecular weight of the native form, accumulated only in old rats. The acidic spot was identified, by MALDI-MS analysis, as a form of PrxIII bearing the cysteine of the catalytic site overoxidized to sulphonic acid. This modified PrxIII form corresponds to the irreversibly inactivated enzyme, here reported, for the first time, in aging. Three groups of 28-month-old rats treated with acetyl-l-carnitine were also examined. Reduced accumulation of the overoxidized PrxIII form was found in all ALCAR-treated groups.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2009; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study was designed to determine the short-term effect of acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) on symptoms of withdrawal in opiate-dependent subjects and animals and, in particular, on pain, given the efficacy of ALC in other typologies of pain. The study consists of 2 branches: a clinical study and a preclinical one, both with a randomized placebo-controlled design. Thirty subjects meeting clinical criteria for methadone dependence were consecutively recruited and treated with ALC 2 g/d or placebo for a 3-week detoxification period. Withdrawal symptoms and pain were evaluated through the Short Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome scale, and the Huskisson's analogue scale for pain. In the preclinical study, mice previously received a pretreatment (saline solution or morphine), and subsequently, each group was randomly divided in 4 subgroups that received a treatment of saline, methadone, ALC, or amitriptyline, respectively. Hot plate test and Writhing test were used to evaluate pain intensity. Average Short Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome total scores during the first 5 days of treatment resulted significantly higher in controls than in the ALC group (P < 0.05). Pain scores in the Huskisson's analogue scale were considerably lower in the group of patients taking ALC than in the control group after 1 week of ALC treatment until the end of the study. Results of the preclinical study show that the administration of methadone for 7 days in morphine-tolerant mice did not produce any modification of the pain threshold. By contrast, the 7-day coadministration of methadone and ALC in morphine-tolerant mice induced an analgesic effect evaluated 3 hours after the last injection. Acetyl-L-carnitine acted as an effective antihyperalgesic agent for relieving opiate-withdrawal hyperalgesia in animals and displayed clinical efficacy on other withdrawal symptoms such as muscular tension, muscular cramps, and insomnia. Considering its tolerability, the excellent side effect profile, the absence of significant interactions, and the lack of abuse potential, ALC can be considered as a useful pharmacological adjunct in the treatment of opiate withdrawal.
    Clinical neuropharmacology 10/2008; 32(1):35-40. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer Disease is the most common chronic neurodegenerative disorder associated with aging. Nevertheless, its pharmacological therapy is still an unresolved issue. In double-blind controlled studies, acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) demonstrated beneficial effects on Alzheimer's disease. However, the mechanisms behind its neuroprotective ability remain to be fully established. In this study, the effect of acetyl-L-carnitine on amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism was investigated by in vitro models, both in a neuroblastoma cell line and in primary hippocampal cultures. We found that ALC treatment stimulates alpha-secretase activity and physiological APP metabolism. In particular, ALC favors the delivery of ADAM10 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10, the most accredited candidate for alpha-secretase) to the post-synaptic compartment, and consequently positively modulates its enzymatic activity towards APP. Our findings suggest that the benefits of ALC reported in previous clinical studies are underscored by the specific biological mechanism of this compound on APP metabolism. In fact, ALC can directly influence the primary event in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis, i.e. the Amyloid beta cascade, promoting alpha-secretase activity and directly affecting the release of the non amyloidogenic metabolite.
    European Journal of Pharmacology 10/2008; 597(1-3):51-6. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several pathologies related to nervous tissue alterations are characterized by a chronic pain syndrome defined by persistent or paroxysmal pain independent or dependent on a stimulus. Pathophysiological mechanisms related to neuropathic disease are associated with mitochondrial dysfunctions that lead to an activation of the apoptotic cascade. In a model of peripheral neuropathy obtained by the loose ligation of the rat sciatic nerve, acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR; 100 mg/kg intraperitoneally [i.p.] twice daily for 14 days) was able to reduce hyperalgesia and apoptosis. In the present study, different mechanisms for the analgesic and the antineuropathic effect of ALCAR are described. The muscarinic blocker atropine (5 mg/kg i.p.) injected simultaneously with ALCAR did not antagonize the ALCAR antihyperalgesic effect on the paw-pressure test but significantly reduced the analgesic effect of ALCAR. Conversely, the antineuropathic effect of ALCAR was prevented by cotreatment with the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine (2 mg/kg i.p. twice daily for 14 days). A pharmacological silencing of the nicotinic receptors significantly reduced the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein-related protective effect of ALCAR on the apoptosis induced by ligation of the sciatic nerve. Taken together, these data highlight the relevance of nicotinic modulation in neuropathy treatment.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 09/2008; 87(1):200-7. · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperprolactinemia is associated with obesity. Furthermore, in human adipose tissue cultured in vitro, prolactin (PRL) inhibited lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity via functional PRL receptors. To study PRL and insulin ultradian rhythm and subcutaneous adipose tissue LPL mRNA and protein expressions in severely obese women before and after malabsorptive bariatric surgery. Seven severely obese, fertile women were studied twice, once before and the second time 1 year after bilio-pancreatic diversion (BPD), when the weight was stable for at least 3 months. Metabolizable energy intake and 24-h energy expenditure (EE) were measured. Fourier and PULSEFIT analyses were applied to 24-h hormonal time-series to study daily fluctuations and hormonal clearance. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Quantitative-competitive reverse transcriptase-PCR and western blot analysis were used to measure LPL gene expression. Spontaneous 24-h PRL secretion was significantly reduced after BPD (mean-daily release, 128.4 +/- 28.1 microg/l vs. 67.2 +/- 9.2 microg/l distribution volume (Vd/l.24 h), P = 0.02); insulin secretion also was significantly reduced (499.9 +/- 204.0 microg/Vd/l.24 h vs. 85.6 +/- 21.0 microg/Vd/l.24 h, P = 0.0001). Metabolizable energy/kg(FFM) did not change significantly after BPD. Twenty-four-hour EE, but not 24-h EE/FFM, was significantly decreased after BPD (P < 0.05). Insulin sensitivity significantly (P < 0.0001) increased after BPD from 21.41 +/- 1.92 to 68.62 +/- 5.03 micromol/kg(FFM)/min. LPL mRNA concentration (from 42.63 +/- 4.21% to 19.00 +/- 2.74% of cyclophilin mRNA, P = 0.001) as well as LPL protein level (from 8.94 +/- 2.73 to 3.16 +/- 1.05 as ratios of protein of interest vs. housekeeping protein, P = 0.038) significantly decreased after BPD. The major determinant of PRL secretion was insulin secretion, whereas the best predictors of LPL expression were insulin and PRL secretion rates. The restriction of lipid metabolizable energy rather than weight loss seems to be responsible for both reduction in PRL circulating levels and normalization of its secretion rhythm after bariatric surgery. Furthermore, the reduced adipose tissue LPL expression, being significantly correlated with the decrease in insulin and PRL, suggests a role of hyperinsulinemia and hyperprolactinemia in inducing and sustaining obesity.
    Obesity 07/2008; 16(8):1831-7. · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a frequent behavioral problem in young boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS), and its treatment is critical for improving social ability. The short-term efficacy of stimulant medications like methylphenidate (MPH) is well established in children with ADHD. FXS boys treated with MPH have improved attention span and socialization skills; however their mood becomes unstable at higher doses. Therefore, alternative pharmacological treatment of ADHD symptoms is desirable. A recent study showed that carnitine has a beneficial effect on the hyperactive-impulsive behavior in boys with ADHD without side effects. Our previous placebo-controlled trial indicated that L-acetylcarnitine (LAC) reduces hyperactivity in FXS boys. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of LAC in a larger sample of FXS boys with ADHD. The study design was randomized, double blind placebo controlled, parallel, and multicenter (with eight centers involved in Italy, France, and Spain). Sixty-three FXS males with ADHD (aged 6-13 years) were enrolled; 7 patients dropped out, 56 completed the one-year treatment, and 51 were included in the statistical analysis. Both groups improved their behavior, showing that psychosocial intervention has a significant therapeutic effect. However, we observed a stronger reduction of hyperactivity and improvement of social behavior in patients treated with LAC, compared with the placebo group, as determined by the Conners' Global Index Parents and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale. Our results show that LAC (20-50 mg/kg/day) represents a safe alternative to the use of stimulant drugs for the treatment of ADHD in FXS children.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 05/2008; 146(7):803-12. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of mildronate [3-(2,2,2-trimethylhydrazine) propionate] with the purified mitochondrial carnitine/acylcarnitine transporter reconstituted in liposomes has been studied. Mildronate, externally added to the proteoliposomes, strongly inhibited the carnitine/carnitine antiport catalyzed by the reconstituted transporter with an IC(50) of 560 muM. A kinetic analysis revealed that the inhibition is completely competitive, that is, mildronate interacts with the substrate-binding site. The half-saturation constant of the transporter for external mildronate (K(i)) is 530 muM. Carnitine/mildronate antiport has been measured as [(3)H]carnitine uptake into proteoliposomes containing internal mildronate or as [(3)H]carnitine efflux from proteoliposomes in the presence of external mildronate, indicating that mildronate is transported by the carnitine/acylcarnitine transporter and that the inhibition observed was due to the transport of mildronate in the place of carnitine. The intraliposomal half-saturation constant for mildronate transport (K(m)) has been determined. Its value, 18 mM, is much higher than the external half-saturation constant (K(i)) in agreement with the asymmetric properties of the transporter. In vivo, the antiport reaction between cytosolic (administered) mildronate and matrix carnitine may cause intramitochondrial carnitine depletion. This effect, together with the inhibition of the physiological transport, will lead to impairment of fatty acid utilization.
    Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology 03/2008; 22(1):8-14. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To clarify the pathogenesis of diabetes associated with mutations of the hemochromatosis (HFE) gene, 17 carriers, 9 normal glucose tolerant (NGT) and 8 diabetic, were evaluated in an interventional trial. At enrollment and after a 2-year bloodletting period, euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), liver histology (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score [NAS]), and liver iron content (LIC) were assessed. NGT subjects had significantly higher baseline insulin sensitivity (P <or= 0.001), secretion, and insulinogenic index (calculated from the OGTT) (P <or= 0.0001 for both) and lower LIC (P = 0.004) and NAS (P = 0.02) than diabetic patients. Baseline LIC correlated negatively with insulin secretion (NGT r(0) = -0.676, P <or= 0.0001; diabetes r(0) = -0.589, P = 0.02) and insulin sensitivity (M value) (NGT r(0) = -0.597, P = 0.009; diabetes r(0) = -0.535, P = 0.03) and positively with NAS (diabetes r(0) = 0.649, P = 0.007) and triglycerides (NGT r(0) = 0.563, P = 0.015). At month 24, circulating iron was reduced by 179 +/- 26% in NGT and 284 +/- 54% in diabetic subjects. Insulin secretion (NGT 20 +/- 4%; diabetes 33 +/- 7%) and insulin sensitivity (NGT 25 +/- 5%; diabetes 18 +/- 3%) increased. LIC decreased in both groups (NGT 126 +/- 42%; diabetes 61 +/- 13%), and NAS ameliorated (NGT 65.1 +/- 6.5 vs. 38.1 +/- 6.83; P <or= 0.0001; diabetes 2.1 +/- 10.7 vs. 69.9 +/- 10; P <or= 0.0001). Iron depletion ameliorates insulin secretion and sensitivity in NGT and diabetic carriers of HFE gene mutations. This amelioration occurs in parallel with decreased LIC and improved NAS. These results justify glucose tolerance testing and prophylactic iron depletion in asymptomatic carriers as well.
    Diabetes care 01/2008; 31(1):3-8. · 7.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: At the end of the 1980s, it was clearly demonstrated that cells produce nitric oxide and that this gaseous molecule is involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems, rather than simply being a toxic pollutant. In the CNS, nitric oxide has an array of functions, such as the regulation of synaptic plasticity, the sleep-wake cycle and hormone secretion. Particularly interesting is the role of nitric oxide as a Janus molecule in the cell death or survival mechanisms in brain cells. In fact, physiological amounts of this gas are neuroprotective, whereas higher concentrations are clearly neurotoxic.
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience 11/2007; 8(10):766-75. · 31.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carnitine palmitoyl transferase I (CPT1) catalyzes the transport of long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria for beta-oxidation. A link between CPT1 and apoptosis has been suggested on the basis of several experimental data. Nevertheless, results are contradictory about the effective role of CPT1 in cell survival control and cancer development. Conversely, Fatty acid synthase (FAS) enzyme, required for the synthesis of fatty acids, is found over-expressed in tumors and inhibition of FAS triggers apoptosis in human cancer cells. We have studied the tumor-specific modulation of CPT1 and FAS in human colorectal cancer (n = 11) and breast carcinomas (n = 24). CPT1 was significantly decreased in the cytoplasm of tumoral samples (p < or = 0.04), whereas FAS was increased (p < or = 0.04). A striking CPT1 nuclear localization was evident in the tumors (p < or = 0.04). In the nuclear environment the protein would modulate the levels of acetyl/acyl-CoA implicated in the regulation of gene transcription. At this purpose, we performed in vitro experiments using epithelial neoplastic (MCF-7, Caco-2, HepG2 cells) and non neoplastic cell lines (MCF-12F) confirming a nuclear localization of CPT1 protein exclusively in neoplastic cells. Moreover histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity showed significantly higher levels in nuclear extracts from neoplastic than from control cells. HDAC1 and CPT1 proteins coimmunoprecipitated in nuclear extracts from MCF-7 cells. The treatment with HDAC inhibitors such as trichostatin A and butyrate significantly decreased nuclear expression of CPT1 and its bond to HDAC1. We also identified the existence of CPT1A mRNA transcript variant 2 in MCF-7, beside to the classic isoform 1. The peculiar localization of CPT1 in the nuclei of human carcinomas and the disclosed functional link between nuclear CPT1 and HDAC1 propose a new role of CPT1 in the histonic acetylation level of tumors.
    Cancer biology & therapy 10/2007; 6(10):1606-13. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to evaluate ghrelin and growth hormone (GH) interactions and responses to a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)/arginine test in severe obesity before and after surgically-induced weight loss. Our study population included 11 severely obese women 39 +/- 12 years of age, with a mean BMI of 48.6 +/- 2.4 kg/m2, re-studied in a phase of stabilized body weight, with a BMI of 33.4 +/- 1.2 kg/m2, 18 months after having successfully undergone biliopancreatic diversion (BPD). A GHRH/arginine test was performed before and 18 months after BPD to evaluate ghrelin and GH interactions. Active ghrelin, measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA), and GH, measured by chemiluminescence assay, were assayed before and after the GHRH/arginine test. Fasting serum GH levels and GH area under the curve (AUC) significantly increased from 0.2 +/- 0.05 ng/mL to 1 +/- 0.3 ng/mL (p < 0.05) and from 514.76 +/- 98.7 ng/mL for 120 minutes to 1957.3 +/- 665.1 ng/mL for 120 minutes after bariatric surgery (p < 0.05), respectively. Although no significant change in fasting ghrelin levels was observed (573 +/- 77.9 before BPD vs. 574.1 +/- 32.7 after BPD), ghrelin AUC significantly increased from -3253.9 +/- 2180.9 pg/mL for 120 minutes to 1142.3 +/- 916.4 pg/mL for 120 minutes after BPD (p < 0.05). Fasting serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 concentration did not change significantly (133.6 +/- 9.9 ng/mL before vs. 153.3 +/- 25.2 ng/mL after BPD). Our study demonstrates that the mechanisms involved in ghrelin and GH secretion after the secretagogue stimulus (GHRH/arginine) are consistent with patterns observed in other populations.
    Obesity 09/2007; 15(8):2012-8. · 3.92 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
324.19 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2011
    • National Research Council
      • Institute of Protein Biochemistry IBP
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2010
    • Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
      • Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche ed Oncologia Umana (DIMO)
      Bari, Apulia, Italy
  • 2009
    • Tuscia University
      Viterbo, Latium, Italy
  • 2003–2009
    • University of Catania
      • Department of Chemical Sciences
      Catania, Sicily, Italy
    • CRO Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano
      Aviano, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2007
    • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2005–2007
    • Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
      • • School of Internal Medicine
      • • Institute of Internal and Geriatric Medicine
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale"
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
  • 2004–2007
    • The Catholic University of America
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
    • Sigma Tau Pharmaceuticals
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003–2007
    • University of Naples Federico II
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
  • 2006
    • University of Kentucky
      • Department of Chemistry
      Lexington, KY, United States
  • 2005–2006
    • University of Rome Tor Vergata
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2003–2006
    • Università degli Studi di Messina
      • Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale
      Messina, Sicily, Italy