[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups have been associated with the expression of mitochondrial-related diseases and with metabolic alterations, but their role has not yet been investigated in morbid obese Caucasian subjects. Therefore, we investigated the association between mitochondrial haplogroups and morbid obesity in patients from southern Italy. The mtDNA D-loop of morbid obese patients (n = 500; BMI > 40 kg/m(2)) and controls (n = 216; BMI < 25 kg/m(2)) was sequenced to determine the mtDNA haplogroups. The T and J haplogroup frequencies were higher and lower, respectively, in obese subjects than in controls. Women bearing haplogroup T or J had twice or half the risk of obesity. Binomial logistic regression analysis showed that haplogroup T and systolic blood pressure are risk factors for a high degree of morbid obesity, namely, BMI > 45 kg/m(2) and in fact together account for 8% of the BMI. In conclusion, our finding that haplogroup T increases the risk of obesity by about two-fold, suggests that, besides nuclear genome variations and environmental factors, the T haplogroup plays a role in morbid obesity in our study population from southern Italy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternal obesity and nutrient excess in utero increase the risk of future metabolic diseases. The mechanisms underlying this process are poorly understood, but probably include genetic, epigenetic alterations and changes in fetal nutrient supply. We have studied the microRNA (miRNA) expression profile in amnion from obese and control women at delivery to investigate if a specific miRNA-signature is associated with obesity. The expression profile of 365 human miRNAs was evaluated with the TaqMan Array in amnion from 10 obese and 5 control (pre-pregnancy BMI>30 and <25 kg/m(2), respectively) women at delivery. Target genes and miRNA-regulated pathways were predicted by bioinformatics. Anthropometric and biochemical parameters were also measured in mothers and newborns. Seven miRNAs were expressed only in obese women (miR-422b, miR-219, miR-575, miR-523, miR-579, miR-618, miR-659), while 13 miRNAs were expressed at a higher level and 12 at a lower level in obese women than in controls. MicroRNAs significantly downregulated the neurotrophin, cancer/ErbB, mTOR, insulin, adipocytokine, actin cytoskeleton and MAPK signaling pathways. In conclusion, we show that the miRNA profile is altered in amnion during obesity and hypothesize that this could affect pathways important for placental growth and function thereby contributing to increase the newborn's risk of future metabolic diseases.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 2 July 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.121.
No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · International journal of obesity (2005)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternal obesity is associated to increased fetal risk of obesity and other metabolic diseases. Human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells (hA-MSC) have not been characterized in obese women. The aim of this study was to isolate and compare hA-MSC immunophenotypes from obese (Ob-) and normal weight control (Co-) women to identify alterations possibly predisposing the fetus to obesity. We enrolled 16 Ob- and 7 Co-women at delivery (mean/SEM pre-pregnancy BMI: 40.3/1.8 kg/m<sup>2</sup> and 22.4/1.0 kg/m<sup>2</sup>, respectively) and 32 not pregnant women. hA-MSCs were phenotyped by flow cytometry; several maternal and newborn clinical and biochemical parameters were also measured. The expression of membrane antigen CD13 was higher on Ob-hA-MSCs than on Co-hA-MSCs (P=0.0043). Also serum levels of CD13 at delivery were higher in Ob- versus Co-pregnant women and correlated with CD13 antigen expression on Ob-hA-MSCs (r<sup>2</sup>=0.84, P<0.0001). Adipogenesis induction experiments revealed that Ob-hA-MSCs had a higher adipogenic potential than Co-hA-MSCs as witnessed by higher PPARγ and aP2 mRNA levels (P=0.02 and P=0.03, respectively) at post-induction day 14 associated with increased CD13 mRNA levels from baseline to day 4 post-induction (P<0.05). Adipogenesis was similar in the two sets of hA-MSCs after CD13 silencing, whereas it was increased in Co-hA-MSCs after CD13 overexpression. CD13 expression was high also in Ob-h-MSCs from umbilical cords or visceral adipose tissue of not pregnant women. In conclusion, antigen CD13, by influencing the adipogenic potential of hA-MSCs could be an in-utero risk factor for obesity. Our data strengthen the hypothesis that high levels of serum and MSC CD13 are obesity markers.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Stem cells and development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type 2 Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY2) is a monogenic autosomal disease characterized by a primary defect in insulin secretion and hyperglycemia. It results from GCK gene mutations that impair enzyme activity. Between 2006 and 2010, we investigated GCK mutations in 66 diabetic children from southern Italy with suspected MODY2. Denaturing High Performance Liquid Chromatography (DHPLC) and sequence analysis revealed 19 GCK mutations in 28 children, six of which were novel: p.Glu40Asp, p.Val154Leu, p.Arg447Glyfs, p.Lys458_Cys461del, p.Glu395_Arg397del and c.580-2A>T. We evaluated the effect of these 19 mutations using bioinformatic tools such as Polymorphism Phenotyping (Polyphen), Sorting Intolerant From Tolerant (SIFT) and in silico modelling. We also conducted a functional study to evaluate the pathogenic significance of seven mutations that are among the most severe mutations found in our population, and have never been characterized: p.Glu70Asp, p.His137Asp, p.Phe150Tyr, p.Val154Leu, p.Gly162Asp, p.Arg303Trp and p.Arg392Ser. These seven mutations, by altering one or more kinetic parameters, reduced enzyme catalytic activity by >40%. All mutations except p.Glu70Asp displayed thermal-instability, indeed >50% of enzyme activity was lost at 50°C/30 min. Thus, these seven mutations play a pathogenic role in MODY2 insurgence. In conclusion, this report revealed six novel GCK mutations and sheds some light on the structure-function relationship of human GCK mutations and MODY2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adipose tissues show selective gene expression patterns, to whom microRNAs (miRNAs) may contribute. We evaluated in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) from obese and nonobese females, both miRNA and protein expression profiles, to identify miRNA/protein target pairs associated with obesity (metabolic pathways miRNA-deregulated during obesity). Obese and nonobese females [BMI 42.2 ± 1.6 and 23.7 ± 1.2 kg/m(2) (mean ± SEM), respectively] were enrolled in this study. Notably, most miRNAs were down-expressed in obese tissues, whereas most of the proteins from the investigated spots were up-expressed. Bioinformatics integration of miRNA expression and proteomic data highlighted two potential miRNA/protein target pairs: miR-141/YWHAG (tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, gamma polypeptide) and miR-520e/RAB11A (Ras-related protein RAB-11A); the functional interaction between these miRNAs and their target sequences on the corresponding mRNAs was confirmed by luciferase assays. Both RAB11A and YWHAG proteins are involved in glucose homeostasis; YWHAG is also involved in lipid metabolism. Hence, the identified miRNA/protein target pairs are potential players in the obese phenotype.
No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Proteome Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MiRNAs play a relevant role in regulating gene expression in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions including autoimmune disorders. MiRNAs are also important in the differentiation and function of the mouse intestinal epithelium. Our study was aimed to look for miRNA-based modulation of gene expression in celiac small intestine, and particularly for genes involved in cell intestinal differentiation/proliferation mechanisms. A cohort of 40 children (20 with active CD, 9 on a gluten-free diet (GFD), and 11 controls), were recruited at the Paediatrics Department (University of Naples Federico II). The expression of 365 human miRNAs was quantified by TaqMan low-density arrays. We used bioinformatics to predict putative target genes of miRNAs and to select biological pathways. The presence of NOTCH1, HES1, KLF4, MUC-2, Ki67 and beta-catenin proteins in the small intestine of CD and control children was tested by immunohistochemistry. The expression of about 20% of the miRNAs tested differed between CD and control children. We found that high miR-449a levels targeted and reduced both NOTCH1 and KLF4 in HEK-293 cells. NOTCH1, KLF4 signals and the number of goblet cells were lower in small intestine of children with active CD and in those on a GFD than in controls, whereas more nuclear beta-catenin staining, as a sign of the WNT pathway activation, and more Ki67 staining, as sign of proliferation, were present in crypts from CD patients than in controls.
In conclusion we first demonstrate a miRNA mediated gene regulation in small intestine of CD patients. We also highlighted a reduced NOTCH1 pathway in our patients, irrespective of whether the disease was active or not. We suggest that NOTCH pathway could be constitutively altered in the celiac small intestine and could drive the increased proliferation and the decreased differentiation of intestinal cells towards the secretory goblet cell lineage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maturity onset diabetes of the young type 2 (or GCK MODY) is a genetic form of diabetes mellitus provoked by mutations in the glucokinase gene (GCK).
We screened the GCK gene by direct sequencing in 30 patients from South Italy with suspected MODY. The mutation-induced structural alterations in the protein were analyzed by molecular modeling. The patients' biochemical, clinical and anamnestic data were obtained. Mutations were detected in 16/30 patients (53%); 9 of the 12 mutations identified were novel (p.Glu70Asp, p.Phe123Leu, p.Asp132Asn, p.His137Asp, p.Gly162Asp, p.Thr168Ala, p.Arg392Ser, p.Glu290X, p.Gln106_Met107delinsLeu) and are in regions involved in structural rearrangements required for catalysis. The prevalence of mutation sites was higher in the small domain (7/12: approximately 59%) than in the large (4/12: 33%) domain or in the connection (1/12: 8%) region of the protein. Mild diabetic phenotypes were detected in almost all patients [mean (SD) OGTT = 7.8 mMol/L (1.8)] and mean triglyceride levels were lower in mutated than in unmutated GCK patients (p = 0.04).
The prevalence of GCK MODY is high in southern Italy, and the GCK small domain is a hot spot for MODY mutations. Both the severity of the GCK mutation and the genetic background seem to play a relevant role in the GCK MODY phenotype. Indeed, a partial genotype-phenotype correlation was identified in related patients (3 pairs of siblings) but not in two unrelated children bearing the same mutation. Thus, the molecular approach allows the physician to confirm the diagnosis and to predict severity of the mutation.