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Maria Teresa Cruz

Maria Teresa Cruz
Faculty of Pharmacy and Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology University of Coimbra

PhD

About

195
Publications
88,838
Reads
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8,045
Citations
Introduction
Currently I am focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in peripheral and central inflammation with a special focus on macrophages and dendritic cells, aiming to: i) screen anti-inflammatory drugs from natural resources; ii) develop non-animal approaches for immunotoxicity risk assessment; iii) develop immunotherapy strategies based on dendritic cells.
Additional affiliations
January 1996 - present
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 1994 - present
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Principal Investigator

Publications

Publications (195)
Article
Natural mineral waters (NMWs) emerge from the earth as springs and their beneficial therapeutic effect has been empirically recognized in different countries. Portugal has diverse NMW resources that are sought for the relief of different afflictions including dermatological complications. However, there is a lack of scientific validation supporting...
Article
Full-text available
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting elderly people worldwide. Currently, there are no effective treatments for AD able to prevent disease progression, highlighting the urgency of finding new therapeutic strategies to stop or delay this pathology. Several plants exhibit potential as source of safe and mul...
Article
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A phlorotannin extract was obtained from Himanthalia elongata, revealing a profile rich in fucophlorethol-type and carmalol-type compounds. When subjected to simulated gastrointestinal digestion, its levels of total phlorotannins and antioxidant activity, measured in vitro via NO● and O2●− scavenging assays, were reduced, thus suggesting that these...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is one of the most common skin diseases with a high prevalence rate of 15%-20% over the general population. This high prevalence results in a large cost for the healthcare system and greatly affects the quality of life of the affected patients, highlighting the relevance for the development of preventiv...
Article
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Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are key events in the initiation and/or progression of several diseases, are correlated with alterations at ER-mitochondria contact sites, the so-called "Mitochondria-Associated Membranes" (MAMs). These intracellular structures are also implicated in NLRP3 inflammasome activatio...
Article
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The photoprotective skincare segment is in high demand to meet consumer concerns on UV-induced skin damage, with a recent trend towards sunscreen alternatives with a natural origin. In this study, the use of natural ingredients, either from terrestrial or marine origin, in a panel of 444 sunscreen commercial formulations (2021) was analyzed. Ingred...
Article
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Eucalyptus globulus is planted extensively for pulp, paper and wood production. Although bioactive compounds obtained from its biomass are used as cosmetics ingredients, the skin effects were not yet fully explored. In order to fill this gap, this work aimed to study the protective effect against skin damage provided by the essential oil (EO) obtai...
Article
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The use of sunscreens is an established and recommended practice to protect skin from solar-induced damage. Around 30 UV filters can be used in sunscreen products in the European Union, which ought to follow the requirements of the regulation 1223/2009 to ensure their efficacy and safety for humans. Nevertheless, low photostability and putative tox...
Article
Background Propolis is a bee product used since ancient times due to its diverse biological applications. We aimed to investigate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of Brazilian propolis in THP-1 cells stimulated with 1‐fluoro‐2,4‐dinitrobenzene (DNFB) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Methods Cell viability was assessed by resazurin assay, a...
Article
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Portuguese lavenders remain undervalued in global markets due to the lack of high-quality end-products and scarcity of scientific-based studies validating their bioactive potential. Moreover, chemical variability is frequent in these species, and can compromise both safety and efficacy. In the present study, the anti-inflammatory potential of L. lu...
Article
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Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) is a crucial component of the cellular machinery responsible for Ca2+ homeostasis. The selective inhibition of SERCA by thapsigargin (TG) leads to perturbations in Ca2+ signaling, which can trigger endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. The unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway is activated in response...
Article
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Lavandula viridis L´Hér. is an endemic Iberian species with a high essential oil yield and a pleasant lemon scent. Despite these interesting features, this species remains unrecognized and poorly explored by the food and pharmaceutical industries. Nevertheless, it has been valued in traditional medicine being used against flu, circulatory problems...
Article
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The aim of this study is to demonstrate the antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-migratory potential of the essential oil of Teucrium scordium subsp. scordioides (Schreb.) Arcang, a plant widely used in traditional medicine in Sardinia. The oil was rich in germacrene D (25.1%), δ-cadinene (12.9%) and alloaromadendrene (11.3%). The yeast Cryptococ...
Article
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The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid‐19) first appeared in Wuhan and has so far killed more than four million people worldwide. Men are more affected than women by Covid‐19, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind these differences are largely unknown. One plausible explanation is that differences in sex hormones could partially accou...
Article
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Seaweeds are one of the largest producers of biomass in the marine environment and a source of multiple bioactive metabolites with valuable health benefits. Among these, phlorotannins have been widely recognized for their promising bioactive properties. The potential antitumor capacity of Fucus vesiculosus-derived phlorotannins remains, however, po...
Article
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Fungal infections remain a major health concern with aromatic plants and their metabolites standing out as promising antifungal agents. The present study aims to assess, for the first time, the antifungal and anti-inflammatory potential of Bupleurum subsp. paniculatum (Brot.) H.Wolff essential oil from Portugal. The oil obtained by hydrodistillatio...
Article
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The use of calendula for its lenitive properties’ dates to the XII century. This plant contains several bioactive compounds, including terpenoids, terpenes, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Calendula flower extract is used in soothing cosmetics, such as after-sun, sensitive skin and eye contour products. The anti-inflammator...
Article
Ethnopharmacological relevance Artemisia campestris L. is widely used in traditional medicine for their anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. A. campestris subsp. maritima Arcang., a halophyte plant (“madorneira” or “erva-lombrigueira” in Portugal), is traditionally used for gastric disorders, rheumatism and hy...
Article
Objectives Propolis is a bee-made product used for centuries due to its diverse biological properties, including its immunomodulatory action. This work aimed at investigating whether propolis may affect monocyte functions challenged with retinoic acid (RA), B subunit of Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (EtxB), human melanoma-associated anti...
Article
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Coffee brews have High Molecular Weight (HMW) compounds with described immunostimulatory activity, namely polysaccharides and melanoidins. Melanoidins are formed during roasting and are modified during brews technological processing. In addition, brews have Low Molecular Weight (LMW) compounds, namely free chlorogenic acids and caffeine, with well-...
Article
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Dendritic cell (DC)-based antitumor vaccines have proven to be a safe approach, but often fail to generate robust results between trials. Translation to the clinic has been hindered in part by the lack of standard operation procedures for vaccines production, namely the definition of optimal culture conditions during ex-vivo DC differentiation. Her...
Article
Pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest cancers with a very short rate of survival and commonly without symptoms in its early stage. This absence of symptoms can lead to a late diagnosis associated with an advanced metastasis process, for which therapy is not effective. Although with extensive research in this field, the 5-year survival rate...
Article
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common forms of dementia in the elderly. Currently, there are over 50 million cases of dementia worldwide and it is expected that it will reach 136 million by 2050. AD is described as a neurodegenerative disease that gradually compromises memory and learning capacity. Patients often exhibit brain glucose...
Article
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Crepis vesicaria subsp. taraxacifolia (Cv) of Asteraceae family is used as food and in traditional medicine. However there are no studies on its nutritional value, phenolic composition and biological activities. In the present work, a nutritional analysis of Cv leaves was performed and its phenolic content and biological properties evaluated. The n...
Article
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In light of Medical Hydrology, thermal waters (TW) are all-natural mineral waters that emerge inside a thermal resort and have therapeutic applications. Their beneficial effect has been empirically recognized for centuries, being indicated for symptom alleviation and/or treatment of several diseases, almost all associated with inflammation. Indeed,...
Article
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic and cyclic mental disorder, characterized by unusual mood swings between mania/hypomania and depression, raising concern in both scientific and medical communities due to its deleterious social and economic impact. Polypharmacy is the rule due to the partial effectiveness of available drugs. Disease course is ofte...
Article
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Thymus albicans is an endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula with a vulnerable conservation status. In an attempt to contribute to the valorization of this species, the present study brings new insights on the antifungal and anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of T. albicans essential oil. The antifungal activity of the oil and its major compou...
Article
As the body's first line of defense, the skin is the organ most frequently exposed to chemicals present in personal hygiene products, household products, or materials used in the work environment. In this context, skin disorders account for more than 40 % of all occupational and work-related diseases, constituting a significant public health burden...
Article
In the last decade, immunotherapy led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of numerous malignancies. Alongside with monoclonal antibodies blocking programmed cell death receptor-1 (PD-1)/PD-L1 and cytotoxic T- lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) immune checkpoints, cell-based approaches such as CAR-T cells and dendritic cell (DC) vaccines have strongly c...
Article
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Experimental evidence highlights nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) as a molecular target in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The well-known effect of electrophilic cysteine-reactive skin allergens on Nrf2-activation led to the hypothesis that these compounds could have a therapeutic role in AD. This was further supported by the neuroprote...
Article
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Background The field of cancer immunotherapy is growing at a fast pace, with new developments in this field leading to a change in cancer therapy. Dendritic cells (DCs) are one of the central tools in cellular anti-tumour immunotherapy and the production of clinical grade monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs) is the most frequent approach for antitumor vac...
Article
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Due to their large spectrum of bioactive properties, much attention has recently been drawn to phlorotannins-i.e., phenolic compounds characteristic from brown macroalgae. This study aimed to evaluate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of F. vesiculosus phlorotannin extracts and purified fractions. Overall, the crude extract and its e...
Article
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Allergic contact dermatitis is a common occupational disease that manifests as a cell-mediated hypersensitivity reaction following skin exposure to small reactive chemicals termed haptens. Haptens penetrate the stratum corneum and covalently modify proteins in the epidermis, inducing intracellular stress, which further leads to the release of damag...
Article
Thermal therapy has gained popularity over the years, and Portugal is one of the richest European countries in mineral therapeutic waters. The interest in the use of these natural mineral waters (NMW) for dermatologic purposes is continuously growing but there is a lack of scientific studies supporting its health benefits. The study aims to investi...
Article
Allergic contact dermatitis is the most frequent manifestation of immunotoxicity in humans with a prevalence rate of 15% to 20% over general population. Skin sensitization is a complex end point that was for a long time being evaluated using animal testing. Great efforts have been made to completely substitute the use of animals and replace them by...
Article
Full-text available
The common therapeutic indications of Portuguese Natural Mineral Waters (NMWs) are primarily for respiratory, rheumatic and musculoskeletal systems. However, these NMWs have been increasingly sought for dermatologic purposes. Opposing to what is observed in the major European Thermal Centres, there are few scientific evidences supporting the use of...
Article
Aromatic and medicinal plants, such as those from the Apiaceae family, and their metabolites, namely essential oils are of great industrial interest and a source of biologically relevant compounds. Essential oils are the major resource obtained during the hydrodistillation of aromatic plants, however, this process also originates high amounts of re...
Article
Santolina insularis is a Sardinian endemism that is widely used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was obtained with a yield of 2.7% and is mainly characterized by β-phellandrene (22.6%), myrcene (11.4%) and artemisia ketone (7.6%). The oil significantly reduced NO production without affecting macrophages viability. In addition, it substant...
Article
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The protozoan Giardia lamblia is the most common cause of parasitic gastrointestinal infection worldwide. The parasite developed sophisticated, yet not completely disclosed, mechanisms to escape immune system and growth in the intestine. To further understand the interaction of G. lamblia with host immune cells, we investigated the ability of paras...
Article
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Introdução: A doença bipolar é um distúrbio mental com origem no conceito “mania”. Trata-se de uma patologia crónica, de natureza cíclica, caracterizada pelo aparecimento de episódios alternados de mania/ hipomania com episódios de eutimia/depressão. Com este artigo pretendemos identificar novas abordagens terapêuticas para o tratamento da doença b...
Article
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Acacia dealbata biomass, either from forest exploitation or from the management of invasive species, can be a strategic topic, namely as a source of high-value compounds. In this sense, the present study aimed at the detailed characterization of the lipophilic components of different morphological parts of A. dealbata and the evaluation of their cy...
Article
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Throughout the last decades, dendritic cell (DC)-based anti-tumor vaccines have proven to be a safe therapeutic approach, although with inconsistent clinical results. The functional limitations of ex vivo monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) commonly used in these therapies are one of the pointed explanations for their lack of robustness. There...
Article
Full-text available
Dendritic cells (DCs) are central players in the immune system, with an exquisite capacity to initiate and modulate immune responses. These functional characteristics have led to intense research on the development of DC-based immunotherapies, particularly for oncologic diseases. During recent decades, DC-based vaccines have generated very promisin...
Article
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in the elderly and, despite the tremendous efforts researchers have put into AD research, there are no effective options for prevention and treatment of the disease. The best way to reach this goal is to clarify the mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of AD. In the last few y...
Article
Ethnopharmacological relevance: Santolina species are widely used in traditional medicine in the Mediterranean region for their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, digestive, and analgesic properties. S. impressa, a Portuguese endemism, is traditionally recognized for its beneficial anti-inflammatory properties in several gastrointest...
Article
Full-text available
Apple pomace is a by-product of apple processing industries with low value and thus frequent disposal, although with valuable compounds. Acidified hot water extraction has been suggested as a clean, feasible, and easy approach for the recovery of polyphenols. This type of extraction allowed us to obtain 296 g of extract per kg of dry apple pomace,...
Article
e14009 Background: Dendritic cells (DCs) are one of the central tools in cellular anti-tumor immunotherapy, being characterized by their capacity for acquiring and processing antigens and ability to produce strong antitumor immune responses. The production of clinical grade ex-vivo monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs) is the most frequent approach for ant...
Article
Full-text available
Fungal infections remain a burden worldwide, thus underpinning the need for effective new therapeutic approaches. In the present study, the antifungal effect of the essential oils of two thyme species, Thymus camphoratus and Thymus carnosus, used in traditional medicine in Portugal, as well as their major compounds was assessed. A special focus was...
Article
Recent evidence suggests that phosphatidylserine (PS) and its oxidized species drive the clearance of apoptotic cells by macrophages with putative immune response modulation. However, it is not clear whether PS and oxidized PS differentially modulate at molecular level the functional responses of macrophages. Therefore, we proposed in this work to...
Article
The therapeutic potential of essential oils is widely recognized since antiquity, due to their antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory properties. In particular, their physicochemical characteristics, such as lipophilicity and permeation enhancement effect have sparked attention for the development of innovative lipid nan...
Article
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Editorial to the research topic "The Physiology of Inflammation – The Final Common Pathway to Disease"
Article
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Myocardial ischaemia is associated with an exacerbated inflammatory response, as well as with a deregulation of intercellular communication systems. Macrophages have been implicated in the maintenance of heart homeostasis and in the progression and resolution of the ischaemic injury. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between car...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dendritic cells (DCs) are unique antigen presenting cells that are used in cancer immunotherapy, with more than 20 years of clinical trials in this field. The production of clinical grade monocyte-derived DCs is highly desired and globally performed, with a large space for improvement and development of clinical standard operating procedures (CSOP)...
Chapter
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Dendritic cells (DCs) and natural killer (NK) cells are both part of the innate immune system, also playing crucial functions in the regulation of adaptive immune responses. In recent years, numerous works have demonstrated that DCs and NK cells mutually influence each other with major consequences in the type and effectiveness of elicited immune r...
Article
Over the past few years, exosomes, a class of extracellular vesicles (EVs), have emerged as key players for inter-cellular communication ultimately modulating the behavior of target cells with countless outcomes. Nevertheless, the potential role of exosomes as vaccine adjuvants remains largely unexplored. Herein, we hypothesized that exosomes deriv...
Article
Ethnopharmacological relevance: Acanthus mollis is a plant native to the Mediterranean region, traditionally used as diuretic, anti-inflammatory and soothing of the mucous membranes of the digestive and urinary tract and externally as healing of wounds and burns, also demonstrating analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. However, studies focus...