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    ABSTRACT: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a common liver disease in recent decades. No effective treatment is currently available. Probiotics and natural functional food may be promising therapeutic approaches to this disease. The present study aims to investigate the efficiency of the anthraquinone from Cassia obtusifolia L. (AC) together with cholesterol-lowering probiotics (P) to improve high-fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD in rat models and elucidate the underlying mechanism. Cholesterol-lowering probiotics were screened out by MRS-cholesterol broth with ammonium ferric sulfate method. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed with HFD and subsequently administered with AC and/or P. Lipid metabolism parameters and fat synthesis related genes in rat liver, as well as the diversity of gut microbiota were evaluated. The results demonstrated that, compared with the NAFLD rat, the serum lipid levels of treated rats were reduced effectively. Besides, cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), low density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R) and farnesoid X receptor (FXR) were up-regulated while the expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) was reduced. The expression of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR)-α protein was significantly increased while the expression of PPAR-γ and sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) was down-regulated. In addition, compared with HFD group, in AC, P and AC+P group, the expression of intestinal tight-junction protein occludin and zonula occluden-1 (ZO-1) were up-regulated. Furthermore, altered gut microbiota diversity after the treatment of probiotics and AC were analysed. The combination of cholesterol-lowering probiotics and AC possesses a therapeutic effect on NAFLD in rats by up-regulating CYP7A1, LDL-R, FXR mRNA and PPAR-α protein produced in the process of fat metabolism while down-regulating the expression of HMGCR, PPAR-γ and SREBP-1c, and through normalizing the intestinal dysbiosis and improving the intestinal mucosal barrier function.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Plenty of studies have established that dysregulation of autophagy plays an essential role in cancer progression. The autophagy-related proteins have been reported to be closely associated with human cancer patients' prognosis. We explored the expression dynamics and prognostic value of autophagy-related protein ULK1 by immunochemistry (IHC) method in two independent cohorts of nasopharygeal carcinoma (NPC) cases. The X-tile program was applied to determine the optimal cut-off value in the training cohort. This derived cutoff value was then subjected to analysis the association of ULK1 expression with patients' clinical characteristics and survival outcome in the validation cohort and overall cases. High ULK1 expression was closely associated with aggressive clinical feature of NPC patients. Furthermore, high expression of ULK1 was observed more frequently in therapeutic resistant group than that in therapeutic effective group. Our univariate and multivariate analysis also showed that higher ULK1 expression predicted inferior disease-specific survival (DSS) (P<0.05). Consequently, a new clinicopathologic prognostic model with 3 poor prognostic factors (ie, ULK1 expression, overall clinical stage and therapeutic response) could significantly stratify risk (low, intermediate and high) for DSS in NPC patients (P<0.001). These findings provide evidence that, the examination of ULK1 expression by IHC method, could serve as an effective additional tool for predicting therapeutic response and patients' survival outcome in NPC patients.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Since 2011, transcutaneous bone-anchored auditory implants have been an alternative to the classic percutaneous implant (Baha) for bilateral conductive/mixed hearing loss that cannot be corrected by surgery. Recently, a new transcutaneous device has been approved for clinical use. Its internal component is made of the classic titanium Baha fixture, coupled to a 27 mm diameter subcutaneous circular magnet. The external component includes a second circular magnet 29 mm in diameter and a digital sound processor. To date, there are no reports describing the results of the application of this device. The aim of the present study is to report on the anatomical and functional results of transcutaneous Baha implantation in three patients: two adults, one with syndromic aural atresia and one with bilateral conductive hearing loss due to bilateral tympanomastoidectomy, and an 8-year-old child with non-syndromic aural atresia. No major intraoperative or postoperative complications were observed. The three patients tolerated the external magnet, with no signs of skin irritation. Functional results were good: median unaided free-field PTA (0.5-3 kHz) was 50 dB HL (range = 41-66 dB HL); with the transcutaneous Baha median PTA (0.5-3 kHz) was 27 dB HL (range = 25-30 dB HL) and median gain was 25 dB HL (range = 11-39 dB HL). Preliminary results encourage use of the device as a valuable alternative to other implantable devices in these patients. To ensure the success of treatment, several precautions are suggested including gradually increasing use during the first post-operative months to favour skin adaptation to magnet pressure. In addition to skin reactions, in a paediatric age most concerns are related to the curvature of the skull, which may induce tenting of the skin over the internal magnet.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica: organo ufficiale della Società italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale

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    Rome, Italy
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