Università degli Studi di Teramo
Recent publications
Background Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a prevalent and severe clinical condition. Robust evidence suggests a gene-environment interplay in its etiopathogenesis, yet the underlying molecular clues remain only partially understood. In order to further deepen our understanding of OCD, it is essential to ascertain how genes interact with environmental risk factors, a cross-talk that is thought to be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. The human microbiota may be a key player, because bacterial metabolites can act as epigenetic modulators. We analyzed, in the blood and saliva of OCD subjects and healthy controls, the transcriptional regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene and, in saliva, also the different levels of major phyla. We also investigated the same molecular mechanisms in specific brain regions of socially isolated rats showing stereotyped behaviors reminiscent of OCD as well as short chain fatty acid levels in the feces of rats. Results Higher levels of oxytocin receptor gene DNA methylation, inversely correlated with gene expression, were observed in the blood as well as saliva of OCD subjects when compared to controls. Moreover, Actinobacteria also resulted higher in OCD and directly correlated with oxytocin receptor gene epigenetic alterations. The same pattern of changes was present in the prefrontal cortex of socially-isolated rats, where also altered levels of fecal butyrate were observed at the beginning of the isolation procedure. Conclusions This is the first demonstration of an interplay between microbiota modulation and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in OCD, opening new avenues for the understanding of disease trajectories and for the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Simple, cheap, and green exfoliation methods for the mass production of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are still required for their widespread adoption. In this context, this work presents a systematic study regarding the exfoliation of group VI transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) using 14 different food-derived phenolic compounds of different structural complexity. Phenolic compounds have demonstrated to successfully assist the liquid phase exfoliation conferring unique redox functionalities to the TMDs nanosheets. The most performant exfoliating agents have been carefully optimized and demonstrated to produce stable 2D nanoflakes dispersions with peculiar electrochemical properties. This work proves how properly selected natural stabilizing agents allow an effective TMDs exfoliation, giving rise to hybrid organic/inorganic nanomaterials with functional electrochemical and additional catalytic features. The reported approach opens new paths for the green production of exfoliated 2D functional nanomaterials for sensing, biosensing, and energy applications.
Studies of mitochondrial dynamics have identified an intriguing link between energy supply balance and mitochondrial architecture. This suggests that inappropriate culture conditions might inhibit mitochondrial functions, and affect embryonic development. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine whether in vitro culture (IVC) might affect mitochondrial function, distribution, organization (by Mitotracker Green), gene expression on RNA level (by qPCR), and protein expression and localization (by western blot and immunostaining) involved in regulation of mitochondrial functions. Mitochondria in 2-cell IVC embryos were less numerous compare to IN VIVO while the localization and distribution do not differ between the groups. Mitochondria of in vivo blastocysts formed elongated network along the cells, while in IVC were fragmented, rounded, and aggregated mainly in the perinuclear region. Additionally, mitochondria of IN VIVO embryos moved back and forth along their long axis on radial tracks, while in IVC blastocysts were much less active. mtDNA copy number in IVC blastocysts (92,336.65 ± 5860.04) was significantly lower than that of IN VIVO (169,103.92 ± 16,322.41; P < 0.02) as well as lower protein expressions responsible for mitochondrial fusion was observed in IVC blastocysts. Results indicate that in vitro culture affect on perturbations in mitochondrial number and function, which is associated with decreased developmental competence of in vitro produced mouse embryos.
Background/purpose: To investigate the association between the severity of spatial neglect and the changes of brain system segregation (i.e., the balance of between-network and within-network communication) after stroke. Methods: Twenty acute patients with stroke in the right hemisphere underwent neuropsychological and resting-state functional MRI evaluations. The severity of spatial neglect was quantified using the Center of Cancellation (CoC) scores of the Bells cancellation test. For each patient, resting-state functional connectivity (FC) matrices were assessed by implementing a brain parcellation of nine networks that included the visual, dorsal and ventral attention, sensorimotor, auditory, cingulo-opercular, language, fronto-parietal, and default mode networks. For each patient and each network, we then computed the System Segregation defined as the difference among the within network FC and between network FC (normalized by the within network FC). Finally, for each network, the CoC scores were correlated with the System Segregation. Results: The correlational analyses revealed a negative relationship between CoC and System Segregation in the dorsal and ventral attention, sensorimotor, and default mode networks (q<0.05 FDR-corrected). Patients with more severe spatial neglect exhibited lower System Segregation and vice versa. Conclusion: The loss of segregation in multiple and specific networks provides a functional framework for the deficits in spatial and non-spatial attention and motor/exploratory ability observed in neglect patients.
Objective: To report the clinical signs, histopathology results, and prognostic factors for outcomes following excision for feline insulinoma (INS). Study design: Retrospective study. Sample population: Twenty client-owned cats. Methods: Medical records from 2006 to 2020 were reviewed by Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology members for cats with hypoglycemia resulting from INS, with surgical excision and follow up. Clinical signs and histopathology results were summarized. Factors potentially related to disease-free interval (DFI), disease-related death (DRD), and overall survival time (OST) were analyzed with a Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Results: All cats were hypoglycemic on presentation with neurologic signs in 18 out of 20 and inappropriate insulin levels in 12/13. Excision of insulinomas resulted in immediate euglycemia or hyperglycemia in 18 cats. Eighteen cats survived to hospital discharge. The median time to death or last postoperative follow up was 664 days (range: 2-1205 days). Prognostic factors included age at presentation (for DFI); time to postoperative euglycemia (for DRD); preoperative and postoperative serum blood glucose concentrations; metastasis at the time of surgery (DFI and DRD), and histopathologic tumor invasion (for OST). The median OST for all cats was 863 days. The 1-, 2- and 3-year survival rates were 75%, 51%, and 10%, respectively. Conclusion: Excision of insulinoma resulted in euglycemia or hyperglycemia in most cats. Negative prognostic factors included young age, low serum glucose concentrations, metastasis at time of surgery, tumor invasion, and shorter time to euglycemia. Clinical significance: Surgical excision resulted in survival times comparable to those of canine INS.
The intradiaphragmatic localization of an abscess is rarely described in humans and in other animal domestic and wild species, and can be caused by penetrative traumas (i.e., firearm injuries). Here we describe two intradiaphragmatic abscesses in a hunted adult male wild boar (Sus scro-fa) pluck, associated with adhesion phenomena with the contiguous anatomical structures (pleural, phrenic, and glissonian serosas) and observed during the post mortem inspection, in accordance with the Reg. EU 627/2019. One of these lesions also presented a phreno-abdominal fistula. We found in cytopathological evaluation of the neoformations' content the presence of spheroidal bacterial soma, characterized by linearly concatenated "Streptococcus-like" aggregation pattern. Furthermore, microbi-ological assays revealed a polymicrobial pattern characterized by the presence of tel-luric microorganisms, some of which have a marked pyogenic action (Streptococcus suis type I, Sphingomonas paucimobilis, Carnobacterium divergens, and Lactobacillus sakei). Our results and collected evidence demonstrate the patho-genetic hypothesis of bacterial contamination secondary to penetrative trauma caused by a not-mortal projectile's wound, defining the inspective behaviour according to the cogent legislation. These lesions, in the reason of their potential relation to toxemia, bacteremia and septicemia phenomena, represent a sanitary risk that impose, from a normative point of view, the total condemnation of the carcass. These inspective implications, originating from the observation and interdisciplinary description of the anatomopathological and microbiological features of the lesions, are directly projected on the normative scenario, providing useful elements to guarantee the health of the consumer .
Kluyveromyces marxianus has the ability to contribute to the aroma profile of foods and beverages since it is able to produce several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In this study, 8 dairy K. marxianus strains, previously selected for their adhesion properties, were tested for VOCs production when grown in different conditions: planktonic, biofilm-detached, and MATS forming-cells. It was shown that biofilm-detached cells were mainly able to produce higher alcohols (64.57 mg/L), while esters were mainly produced by planktonic and MATS forming-cells (117.86 and 94.90 mg/L, respectively). Moreover, K. marxianus biofilm-detached cells were able to produce VOCs with flavor and odor impacts, such as ketons, phenols, and terpenes, which were not produced by planktonic cells. In addition, specific unique compounds were associated to the different conditions tested. Biofilm-detached cells were characterized by the production of 9 unique compounds, while planktonic and MATS forming-cells by 7 and 12, respectively. The obtained results should be exploited to modulate the volatilome of foods and beverages and improve the production of certain compounds at the industrial level. Further studies will be carried out to better understand the genetic mechanisms underlying the metabolic pathways activated under different conditions.
Mammary gland tumours have a significant impact on the health of dogs, requiring diagnostic tools to support clinicians to develop appropriate therapeutic strategies. Sonoelastography is an emerging technology that is able to define the stiffness of the tissue and has promising applications in the evaluation of mammary gland lesions. In the present study, strain elastography (STE) and shear-wave (SWE) elastography were compared in 38 mammary nodular lesions for their ability to define the histopathological features of canine mammary lesions. Among the techniques, SWE showed better repeatability (intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.876), whereas STE was found to be only acceptable (intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.456). Mammary nodular lesions showed a wide range of tissue stiffening with a similar mean value for STE and SWE in benign (4 ± 0.3 and 115.4 ± 12.6 kPa, respectively) and malignant lesions (3.8 ± 0.1 and 115.5 ± 4.5 kPa, respectively). A significant correlation was found between lesion fibrosis and STE (STE-I: r = 0.513, p < 0.001; STE-R: r = 0.591, p < 0.001) or SWE-S (r = 0.769; p < 0.001). In conclusion, SWE was reliable and correlated with fibrosis and was similar for both benign and malignant lesions, suggesting that other collateral diagnostic techniques should be considered in conjunction with SWE to characterize mammary nodular lesions in dogs.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is being questioned for its possible food transmission, due to several reports of the virus on food, outbreaks developed in food companies, as well as its origins linked to the wet market of Wuhan, China. The purpose of this review is to analyze the scientific evidence gathered so far on the relationship between food and the pandemic, considering all aspects of the food system that can be involved. The collected data indicate that there is no evidence that foods represent a risk for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In fact, even if the virus can persist on food surfaces, there are currently no proven cases of infection from food. Moreover, the pandemic showed to have deeply influenced the eating habits of consumers and their purchasing methods, but also to have enhanced food waste and poverty. Another important finding is the role of meat processing plants as suitable environments for the onset of outbreaks. Lessons learned from the pandemic include the correct management of spaces, food hygiene education for both food workers and common people, the enhancement of alternative commercial channels, the reorganization of food activities, in particular wet markets, and intensive farming, following correct hygiene practices. All these outcomes lead to another crucial lesson, which is the importance of the resilience of the food system. These lessons should be assimilated to deal with the present pandemic and possible future emergencies. Future research directions include further investigation of the factors linked to the food system that can favor the emergence of viruses, and of innovative technologies that can reduce viral transmission.
Mast cell tumour (MCT) is a common cutaneous and subcutaneous neoplasia in dogs. It can metastasise to lymph nodes (LNs), and this adversely affects the prognosis and treatment. The study aims to evaluate the SLN mapping of MCTs with radiographic indirect lymphography. Dogs that underwent clinical staging were prospectively enrolled. Lipiodol was injected around the MCT or the surgical scar. After 24 h, LNs that picked up contrast were radiographically assessed. Twenty-six dogs with 29 MCTs were included. MCTs were confirmed histologically, while SLNs were evaluated either by cytology and/or histology. SLNs were detectable in 23 dogs with 26 MCTs. Lymphatic vessels were visible in 19 MCTs. In nine MCTs, at least two SLNs picked up contrast. In particular, seven MCTs involved two SLNs, and two MCTs involved three different SLNs. In nine MCTs, at least a SLN was metastatic. This study indicates that the lymph drainage pattern of the MCTs may be different for each MCT, and more than one SLN can be involved. Indirect lymphangiography with Lipiodol allowed the detection of the SLN in 90% of MCTs. This provided clinically relevant information to remove the LN and stage the patient.
Antimicrobial resistance is a complex and widespread problem threatening human and animal health. In poultry farms, a wide distribution of resistant bacteria and their relative genes is described worldwide, including in Italy. In this paper, a comparison of resistance gene distribution in litter samples, recovered from four conventional and four antibiotic-free broiler flocks, was performed to highlight any influence of farming systems on the spreading and maintenance of resistance determinants. Conventional PCR tests, targeting the resistance genes related to the most used antibiotics in poultry farming, along with some critically important antibiotics for human medicine, were applied. In conventional farms, n. 10 out of n. 30 investigated genes were present in at least one sample, the most abundant fragments being the tet genes specific for tetracyclines, followed by those for aminoglycosides and chloramphenicol. All conventional samples resulted negative for colistin, carbapenems, and vancomycin resistance genes. A similar trend was observed for antibiotic-free herds, with n. 13 out of n. 30 amplified genes, while a positivity for the mcr-1 gene, specific for colistin, was observed in one antibiotic-free flock. The statistical analysis revealed a significant difference for the tetM gene, which was found more frequently in the antibiotic-free category. The analysis carried out in this study allowed us to obtain new data about the distribution of resistance patterns in the poultry industry in relation to farming types. The PCR test is a quick and non-expensive laboratory tool for the environmental monitoring of resistance determinants identifying potential indicators of AMR dissemination.
(1) Two-dimensional shear wave elastography (2D-SWE) employs an ultrasound impulse to produce transversely oriented shear waves, which travel through the surrounding tissue according to the stiffness of the tissue itself. The study aimed to assess the reliability of 2D-SWE for evaluating the elastosonographic appearance of the distal attachment of the fetlock joint capsule (DJC) in sound horses and in horses with osteoarthritis (OA) (2). According to a thorough evaluation of metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ), adult horses were divided in a sound Group (H) and in OA Group (P). Thereafter, a 2D-SWE of MCPJs was performed. Shear wave velocity (m/sec) and Young’s modulus (kPa) were calculated independently by two operators at each selected ROI. Statistical analysis was performed with R software. (3) Results: 2D-SWE had good–excellent inter-CC and intra-CC in both groups. Differences in m/s and kPa between Groups H and P were found in transverse scans with lower values in Group P. No correlation with age or DJC thickness was found. (4) Conclusions: 2D-SWE was repeatable and reproducible. In Group H, DJC was statistically stiffer than in Group P only in transverse scan. The technique showed poor sensitivity and specificity in differentiating fetlocks affected by OA.
Clinical staging is a fundamental step in the clinical assessment of canine cutaneous mast cell tumor (cMCT), and it is recommended to evaluate the tumor draining lymph node (eTDLN), perform diagnostic imaging, and fine needle aspiration (FNA) of the spleen and liver to determine the presence of metastatic disease, thereby refining the prognosis. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the prevalence of splenic and hepatic involvement in newly diagnosed canine low-grade cMCT (Patnaik grade I–II, Kiupel low-grade). Medical records of dogs that underwent a clinical staging work-up and surgical excision for a low-grade cMCT between December 2019 and December 2021 were reviewed at five veterinary centers. Only dogs with a histological diagnosis of low-grade cMCT, FNA or histology of the eTDLN, FNA of the spleen and liver, and one year of follow up were included. One hundred and thirty-six dogs met the inclusion criteria. Only 1 out of 136 dogs (0.7%) had the presence of visceral metastases at diagnosis, suggesting that the prevalence of visceral metastases in low-grade cMCT is extremely low. The results of this study are consistent with previous literature and suggest that after a diagnosis of low-grade cMCT, cytology of visceral organs may not represent an essential step in the clinical staging work-up.
Following the chicken meat quality decay remains a tricky procedure. On one hand, food companies need of fast and affordable methods to keep constant higher sensory and safety standards, on the other hand, food scientists and operators find difficult conjugating these exigencies by means of univocal parameters. Food quality definition itself is, in fact, a multi-layered and composite concept in which many features play a part. Thus, here we propose an index that relies on biogenic amines (BAs) evolution. These compounds may indirectly inform about microbial contamination and wrong management, production, and storage conditions of meat and meat products. In this study, three cuts of chicken meat (breast filets, drumsticks, and legs) packed under modified atmosphere, under vacuum, and in air-packaging, stored at +4°C (until to 15 days), were analyzed. Some BAs were combined in an index (BAI) and their evolution was followed. The Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Species assay (TBARS) was also used as a common reference method. Generally, BAI may better identify the beginning of quality impairment than lipid oxidation spreading. ANOVA statistical analysis has highlighted that the storage time is anyway the most detrimental factor for chicken decay when it is stored in refrigerated rooms (p > 0.01). Despite TBARS still remains a powerful tool for chicken goods, its exclusive use may not be enough to explain quality loss. On the contrary, BAI implementation in fresh meat can give a more complete information combining food safety exigencies with sensory attributes.
Nowadays, the interest in ancient wheat is increasing and this trend point towards the local production of crops and is connected to sustainability. In this study, two ancient wheat (Solina and Cappelli) and four modern (common and durum) varieties were cultivated in experimental fields sited at three different altitudes for three consecutive years in the Abruzzo region. The six wheat varieties were analysed by solid phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and a chemometric approach. 149 compounds, most of which are odor active, were identified in 109 wheat samples. Heritage wheat varieties showed a volatile organic compounds (VOCs) profile different from modern varieties along with a characteristic set of odor types. An 82% of correct classification was achieved for heritage wheat varieties. VOCs with floral and herbal odors were the most important odor scents for Solina classification, whereas waxy odor was the most important for Cappelli discrimination.
Although the etiopathogenesis of mental disorders is not fully understood, accumulating evidence support that clinical symptomatology cannot be assigned to a single gene mutation, but it involves several genetic factors. More specifically, a tight association between genes and environmental risk factors, which could be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms, may play a role in the development of mental disorders. Several data suggest that epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation, post-translational histone modification and interference of microRNA (miRNA) or long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) may modify the severity of the disease and the outcome of the therapy. Indeed, these changes may help to identify patients particularly vulnerable to mental disorders and may have potential utility as biomarkers to facilitate diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. This article summarizes the most relevant preclinical and human data showing how epigenetic modifications can be central to the therapeutic efficacy of antidepressant and/or antipsychotic agents, as possible predictor of drugs response.
Background Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common cutaneous inflammatory and pruritic diseases in dogs. Considering its multifactorial nature, AD can be a challenging disease to manage, and the therapeutic strategy must often be multimodal. In recent years, research has been moving toward the use of natural products which have beneficial effects on inflammation and itching, and no side effects. Cannabinoid receptors have been demonstrated to be expressed in healthy and diseased skin; therefore, one of the potential alternative therapeutic targets for investigating AD is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Objective To immunohistochemically investigate the expression of the cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R), and the cannabinoid-related receptors G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) in mast cells (MCs), macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs), T cells, and neutrophils of the skin of dogs with AD. Animals Samples of skin tissues were collected from eight dogs with AD (AD-dogs). Materials and methods The immunofluorescent stained cryosections of the skins of 8 dogs with AD having antibodies against CB2R, GPR55, TRPV1, TRPA1 were semiquantitatively evaluated. The inflammatory cells were identified using antibodies against tryptase (mast cells), ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (IBA1) (macrophages/DCs), CD3 (T cells), and calprotectin (neutrophils). The proportions of MCs, macrophages/DCs, T cells, and neutrophils expressing CB2R, GPR55, TRPV1 and TRPA1 were evaluated. Results The cells of the inflammatory infiltrate showed immunoreactivity (IR) for all or for some of the cannabinoid and cannabinoid-related receptors studied. In particular, MCs and macrophages/DCs showed CB2R-, GPR55-, TRPA1-, and TRPV1-IR; T cells showed CB2R-, GPR55- and TRPA1-IR, and neutrophils expressed GPR55-IR. Co-localization studies indicated that CB2R-IR was co-expressed with TRPV1-, TRPA1-, and GPR55-IR in different cellular elements of the dermis of the AD-dogs. Conclusions and clinical importance Cannabinoid receptor 2, and cannabinoid-related receptors GPR55, TRPV1 and TRPA1 were widely expressed in the inflammatory infiltrate of the AD-dogs. Based on the present findings, the ECS could be considered to be a potential therapeutic target for dogs with AD, and may mitigate itch and inflammation.
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894 members
Paola Pittia
  • Faculty of Bioscience
Giuseppe Marruchella
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Annunziata Mauro
  • Faculty of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment
Valentina Russo
  • Faculty of Bioscience and Agro-Food and Environmental Technology
Clemencia Chaves Lòpez
  • Department of Food Science
Via Renato Balzarini 1, 64100 Teramo, Teramo, Italy