Valeria Calcaterra

University of Pavia, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (117)228.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Fetal endoscopic tracheal occlusion in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) may reduce pulmonary hypertension and ameliorate postnatal cardiac output. The effects of sustained early (ETO) and late (LTO) tracheal occlusion on left ventricular (LV) cells in the lamb model have not been described. Materials and methods: CDH was created in lambs at 70 days' gestation (term=145 days). ETO (85 days) or LTO (105 days) was sustained till term. After cesarean section (140 days) fetuses were euthanized and hearts harvested. LV myocardial cells were studied by histological and immunofluorescence (TGF-beta 1, endothelin-1) assays in CDH, ETO, LTO and the control group (two subjects per group). Small intramyocardial arteries were evaluated by traditional histology. Results: LV myocardial histology in CDH and LTO was similar. ETO induced LV myocardial cell enlargement and increased endothelin-1 and TGF-beta 1 staining; a weaker immunofluorescence signal was observed in LTO compared with ETO. Myocardial vascular wall thickness was greater in CDH than in controls. ETO was associated with a vascular wall thickness within the range of controls. Conclusion: With only two fetuses in each group, only an explorative evaluation was possible. The time point at which TO is performed seems to have an effect on cardiac morphology. Functional studies as well as confirmation in clinical samples is mandatory.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Prenatal Diagnosis
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of the study Weight loss surgery (WLS) is efficacious for long-term weight reduction and reduces overall mortality in severely obese patients. The mechanisms implicated for long-term weight loss are not fully understood. Proposed mechanisms include changes in gut hormones and brain regulation of appetite and satiety. We report long-term ghrelin and leptin profiles and changes in food preference and eating behavior after WLS in two adolescents. Patients and methods Two obese females (15 years and 14 years-4 months, respectively) who did not respond to lifestyle changes, including dietary intervention and physical exercise, in combination with medical therapy, underwent robotic-assisted gastroplication. Anthropometric measurements, food habits and eating behavior, metabolic and hormonal changes during long-term post surgical follow-up were monitored. Results Long-term weight reduction was obtained in both patients, with a significant decrease in waist circumference. Resting energy expenditure showed a decrease over time, with a respiratory quotient that increased showing a shift from oxidation of a high fat diet before surgery to oxidation of a mixed diet two and three years later. Both subjects improved their eating habits and lifestyle. Co-morbiditiy resolution was also noted. Increased pre-prandial ghrelin levels were reported in both girls as well as higher post-prandial ghrelin and a leptin drop compared with pre-surgery values. Conclusion Persistent weight loss after gastroplication is associated with a favorable change in gut hormones and food preferences. The role of hormonal and sensory components in long-term results seems crucial. A multidisciplinary approach and continuous nutritional care is mandatory for weight maintenance and consolidation of changes, particularly in adolescence.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Prenatal heart adaptations to congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) could help define postnatal outcome. Methods We retrospectively analyzed post-mortem tissues from fetuses with severe CDH (n = 7). Histology and immunohistochemical distribution of desmin, muscle actin [HHF35], endothelin-1 [ET-1] and TGF-β were evaluated. Results In the atrium, desmin, HHF35, ET-1, TGF-β were found expressed only in preterm CDH. Dishomogeneous ventricular distribution of cardiac growth factors were detected in term CDH. The cardiomyocyte nucleus/cytoplasmatic ratio in CDH was higher compared with controls (p = 0.01). Small intramyocardial artery density and vascular wall thickness was increased in CDH compared with controls (p = 0.03 and p < 0.01). In comparison with the ventricles, the interventricular septum showed a greater vessel density (p = 0.01) and a greater vascular wall thickness, particularly compared with the CDH right ventricle (p = 0.02). Conclusion Left ventricle immaturity seems to be a cardiac adaptive response of severe CDH in utero.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Fetal and pediatric pathology
  • G Pelizzo · F Costanzo · E Andreatta · V Calcaterra
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital pulmonary airway malformations (CPAMs) include cystic and non-cystic lung lesions. These represent about 30-40% of developmental lung bud anomaly lesions mainly diagnosed during pregnancy or in newborn infants; or sometimes they remain undetected until adult life. The malformation usually presents as a sporadic, non hereditary lung abnormality, with no predilection for the right or left lung, sex or race. CPAMs vary in their histological features, epidemiological and clinical presentation, severity and prognosis, supporting the embryologic hypothesis of arrested lung growth during branching morphogenesis. The existence of "hybrid" forms underline the possible common pathogenic mechanism involved in the development of different lesion types; a genetic role has also been proposed in abnormal lung development. Influence of the natural history on pre- and post-natal management is relevant. Surgical resection is the standard of therapy for symptomatic CPAMs, while the management of asymptomatic cases remains controversial. The potential risk of infection and malignancy in CPAMs justifies complete surgical resection in the first year of life; while long term follow-up is required in children who do not undergo surgery. A multidisciplinary team including gynecologists, neonatologists, radiologists, pediatricians and pediatric surgeons is recommended in pre-, post-natal management and in the post surgical follow- up of all children with CPAMs.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Minerva Pediatrica
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Aortopulmonary collateral arteries are an uncommon variant of alternative blood supply in cases of complex congenital heart disease. Although surgery may still be the classic approach for this condition, mini-invasive endovascular occlusion has been recently attempted as an alternative less traumatic procedure. Children born to women with epilepsy are at increased risk of congenital malformations. Case presentation: A cardiovascular malformation in a 6-year-old white boy with prenatal exposure to carbamazepine is described. At birth, he underwent atrial-ventricular septal defects repair. At 6 years of age, he was diagnosed to have an aberrant aortopulmonary artery from the descending aorta. He presented with recurrent respiratory infections and no cardiovascular signs, but there was associated right upper lobe hyperperfusion. Collateral percutaneous plug embolization was performed because of risk for cardiorespiratory infections, pulmonary hypertension and atrioventricular dilatation. The post-releasing control showed a complete occlusion of the aberrant artery. A chest radiogram and computed tomography showed normalization of vascular pattern of his right lung at 9-months follow-up. No complications and no respiratory infections in the first follow-up year were observed. A good growth gain was obtained. Conclusions: Plug embolization in an aortopulmonary collateral artery is an interesting alternative to surgery and is suitable for children with minor congenital heart disease and without severe respiratory and/or cardiovascular symptoms. Management and long-term pediatric multidisciplinary follow-up is recommended. Prenatal exposure to carbamazepine could be considered in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of the malformation.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Medical Case Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) expanded in vitro have been proposed as a potential therapy for congenital or acquired skin defects in pediatrics. The aim of this pre-clinical study was to investigate the effects of intradermal injections of MSC in experimental cutaneous wound repair comparing allogeneic and autologous adipose stem cells (ASCs) and autologous bone marrow-mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs). Mesenchymal stromal cells were in vitro expanded from adipose and BM tissues of young female New Zealand rabbits. MSCs were characterized for plastic adhesion, surface markers, proliferation and differentiation capacity. When an adequate number of cells (ASCs 10 × 10(6) and BM-MSCs 3 × 10(6), because of their low rate of proliferation) was reached, two skin wounds were surgically induced in each animal. The first was topically treated with cell infusions, the second was used as a control. The intradermal inoculation included autologous or allogeneic ASCs or autologous BM-MSCs. For histological examination, animals were sacrificed and wounds were harvested after 11 and 21 days of treatment. Rabbit ASCs were isolated and expanded in vitro with relative abundance, cells expressed typical surface markers (CD49e, CD90 and CD29). Topically, ASC inoculation provided more rapid wound healing than BM-MSCs and controls. Improved re-epithelization, reduced inflammatory infiltration and increased collagen deposition were observed in biopsies from wounds treated with ASCs, with the best result in the autologous setting. ASCs also improved restoration of skin architecture during wound healing. The use of ASCs may offer a promising solution to treat extended wounds. Pre-clinical studies are however necessary to validate the best skin regeneration technique, which could be used in pediatric surgical translational research.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Interest in animal-assisted therapy has been fuelled by studies supporting the many health benefits. The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of an animal-assisted therapy program on children response to stress and pain in the immediate post-surgical period. Forty children (3-17 years) were enrolled in the randomised open-label, controlled, pilot study. Patients were randomly assigned to the animal-assisted therapy-group (n = 20, who underwent a 20 min session with an animal-assisted therapy dog, after surgery) or the standard-group (n = 20, standard postoperative care). The study variables were determined in each patient, independently of the assigned group, by a researcher unblinded to the patient's group. The outcomes of the study were to define the neurological, cardiovascular and endocrinological impact of animal-assisted therapy in response to stress and pain. Electroencephalogram activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, cerebral prefrontal oxygenation, salivary cortisol levels and the faces pain scale were considered as outcome measures. After entrance of the dog faster electroencephalogram diffuse beta-activity (> 14 Hz) was reported in all children of the animal-assisted therapy group; in the standard-group no beta-activity was recorded (100% vs 0%, p<0.001). During observation, some differences in the time profile between groups were observed for heart rate (test for interaction p = 0.018), oxygen saturation (test for interaction p = 0.06) and cerebral oxygenation (test for interaction p = 0.09). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were influenced by animal-assisted therapy, though a higher variability in diastolic pressure was observed. Salivary cortisol levels did not show different behaviours over time between groups (p=0.70). Lower pain perception was noted in the animal-assisted group in comparison with the standard-group (p = 0.01). Animal-assisted therapy facilitated rapid recovery in vigilance and activity after anaesthesia, modified pain perception and induced emotional prefrontal responses. An adaptative cardiovascular response was also present. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02284100.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: AFSCs show significant differences in the expression of genes involved in muscular (PAX3), chondrogenic (HOXD4) and osteogenic (HOXC8) determination at different phases of the experiment. Indeed, PAX3, HOXD4 and HOXC8 have a dramatic increase in expression four weeks after the induction of MMC. To standardize the gene expression results, the CT mean of housekeeping genes GAPDH and ACTB has been used
    Full-text · Dataset · Jun 2015
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    Full-text · Dataset · May 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal cord development results in spinal cord damage responsible for myelomeningocele (MMC). Amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AFSCs) have emerged as a potential candidate for applications in regenerative medicine. However, their differentiation potential is largely unknown as well as the molecular signaling orchestrating the accurate spinal cord development. In this study, fetal lambs underwent surgical creation of neural tube defect and its subsequent repair. AFSCs were isolated, cultured and characterized at the 12th (induction of MMC), 16th (repair of malformation), and 20th week of gestation (delivery). After performing open hysterectomy, AF collections on fetuses with sham procedures at the same time points as the MMC creation group have been used as controls. Cytological analyses with the colony forming unit assay, XTT and alkaline-phosphatase staining, qRT-PCR gene expression analyses (normalized with aged match controls) and NMR metabolomics profiling were performed. Here we show for the first time the metabolomics and molecular signature variation in AFSCs isolated in the sheep model of MMC, which may be used as diagnostic tools for the in utero identification of the neural tube damage. Intriguingly, PAX3 gene-proved to be involved in the murine model for spina bifida-is modulated in AFSCs reaching the peak of expression at 16 weeks of gestation, 4 weeks after the intervention. Our data strongly suggest that AFSCs reorganize their differentiation commitment in order to generate PAX3-expressing progenitors to counteract the MMC induced in the sheep model. The gene expression signature of AFSCs highlights the plasticity of these cells reflecting possible alterations of embryonic development.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Pediatric Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Prenatal surgery represents a multifactorial stressor event for mother and fetus. The stress response to fetal surgery was evaluated by measuring maternal plasma and amniotic fluid (AF) cortisol levels in the myelomeningocele (MMC) sheep model. Subjects and methods: Pregnant ewes (n = 8) underwent general anesthesia for MMC-induction (step 1: 75 d gestation), surgical defect repair (step 2: 110 d gestation), and delivery (step 3: 140 d gestation). Maternal blood samples were taken before surgery (surgical stage T1), after laparotomy and uterine exposure (surgical stage T2), at the end of the procedure (surgical stage T3). Fetal stress was evaluated by measuring cortisol levels in AF after hysterotomy at steps 1-3. Results: Maternal cortisol concentrations at T2 and T3 increased compared with T1 (p = 0.019 and p = 0.046). AF cortisol response increased from 1 to 3 surgical steps and during pregnancy. The AF cortisol level was lower than maternal serum levels (induction p < 0.001; repair p < 0.001; caesarean section p < 0.001). Conclusions: Hysterotomy was the most stressful event in the ewes. Fetuses seemed to be partially protected from the high maternal cortisol levels. The fetal stress response to prenatal surgery increased with gestational age. Pain perception development, fetal maturation, and "pain memory" are probably associated with this increase.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Fetal endoscopic tracheal occlusion has been proposed as a prenatal intervention to ameliorate congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) prognosis. Tracheal occlusion (TO) prevents pulmonary fluid egress, leading to tissue expansion, reversal of lung hypoplasia and potential maturation. Fetal lung maturity strongly correlates with amniotic fluid (AF) phospholipidic composition. In this preliminary study, we characterized the AF phospholipidic profile in CDH-induced, TO-treated and healthy fetal lambs, in order to define the prenatal treatment benefits of TO on lung maturity. CDH induction was performed at 70 days' gestation, TO was carried out at 102 days' and caesarean section at 136 days' gestation. AF samples, taken at 102-136 days' gestation, were evaluated using mass spectrometry (the analysis focused on phosphatidylcholines (PCs) and sphingomyelins (SMs)). The most abundant phosphatidylcholine species retrieved in healthy AF was POPC (PC18:1/16:0), while the level of DPPC (PC16:0/16:0) was extremely low, at both gestational ages. CDH induction caused a decrease in POPC and many other PCs. A substantial return of some PCs (particularly POPC, PC(34:2), PC(18:0/16:0) to a more physiological level was prompted by TO. SMs were unaltered. The AF phospholipidic profile could provide prenatal prognostic markers of CDH, and a possible indices of lung maturation after fetal treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Proteome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background The main hydrosoluble metabolites in three different human congenital pulmonary malformations are described by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Methods Bronchogenic cyst (BC), congenital lobar emphysema (CLE) and intrapulmonary sequestration (IPS), were analyzed with respect to a control sample. The extracted metabolites were submitted to high resolution (1)H NMR-spectroscopy. Results Congenital lung malformations showed free choline, phosphocoline and myoinositol high levels. IPS and CLE were found increased in Lactic Acid/Glucose ratio. Lactic acid and glucose values resulted to be more elevated in control sample. Conclusions Congenital lung lesions showed different metabolomic profiles usefull for early diagnosis.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims Similarly to diabetes type 2, patients with obesity show insulin resistance, autonomic and vascular abnormalities associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We tested whether arterial dysfunction in obese children may have a functional nature, reversible with appropriate interventions (eg by reduction of sympathetic activity), or else results from anatomic arterial modifications (likely irreversible). For this purpose, we tested whether deep-breathing (an intervention known to transiently reduce sympathetic activity) could acutely improve arterial function, hence showing a functional abnormality. Methods and results 130 obese children and 67 age-matched healthy normal-weight control children, were recruited. Arterial function was measured by augmentation index (AIx), by direct analysis of blood pressure contour and by pulse wave velocity (PWV), during spontaneous and controlled breathing. Markers of metabolic syndrome were evaluated at baseline. AIx showed increased values in obese male participants as compared with the control group. Slow breathing acutely reduced Aix in obese children, to a greater extent than in normal-weight control children. Similarly, blood pressure contour showed higher values in obese children that were significantly attenuated by slow breathing. Baseline PWV was not altered in obese participants. Markers of metabolic syndrome correlated with AIx and PWV. Conclusions Obese subjects showed impaired arterial function. The acute improvement in vascular abnormalities with reduction in sympathetic activity indicates that this alteration was largely functional, likely related to initial autonomic dysfunction and to metabolic abnormalities. As a consequence, this study provides a rationale for strategies aiming at preventing arterial function deterioration in the early ages.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Tracheal occlusion (TO) stimulates lung growth in fetuses affected with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) although the processes involved in lung maturation still remain unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the metabolomic profile of amniotic fluid (AF) following TO in fetal lamb model in order to obtain an indirect view of mechanisms involved in pulmonary reversal hypoplasia and biochemical maturity in response to fetal TO. Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry was performed on lamb AF samples at: age I (70 days' gestation); age II (102 days' gestation); age III (136 days' gestation). CDH was induced at age I and TO at age II. Betaine, choline, creatinine were found significantly increased during gestation in the control group. The CDH group showed choline (p =0.007) and creatinine (p =0.004) decreases during pregnancy. In the TO group choline and creatinine profiles were restored. Alveolar tissue and fetal global growth ameliorated after TO. Metabolomics provided useful information on biochemical details during lung maturation. Metabolomic profiling would help to identify the best time to perform TO, in order to increase survival of CDH affected patients.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Purpose: The study was designed to assess the utility and controversies surrounding the usage of 5-mm instruments in paediatric robotic surgery. Adequate, delicate instruments for surgery in very narrow spaces are still lacking. Material and methods: Thirty children underwent elective abdominal robotic surgery. Working sites, assembly and operative time, hospital stay, advantages, complications and shortcomings are reported. Results: Interventions were performed in the following anatomical sites: 11 upper abdominal, nine pelvic, ten renal procedures. The majority of procedures required two operative trocars. A 2-3 mm accessory port was necessary for operations in the renal area and upper abdomen. The ports had to be placed at least 3 cm from the costal margins and superior iliac spines and at an angle of at least 130° with respect to the camera trocar. This configuration allowed intra-corporal knotting, vessel ligation and dissection with instruments in the inverted position. Operative times and hospital stays were similar to those reported for 8 mm-instruments. Conclusion: The use of 5-mm instruments was advantageous in renal and pelvic sites. The benefits in upper abdominal surgery need further evaluation, particularly in patients weighing <10 kg. Smaller sized instruments with high endowrist dexterity would resolve the problems encountered in paediatric robotic-assisted surgery using 5-mm instruments.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Minimally Invasive Therapy & Allied Technologies

  • No preview · Article · Sep 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative effect of music listening has not been established in pediatric age. Response on postoperative distress and pain in pediatric day care surgery has been evaluated. Forty-two children were enrolled. Patients were randomly assigned to the music-group (music intervention during awakening period) or the non-music group (standard postoperative care). Slow and fast classical music and pauses were recorded and played via ambient speakers. Heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, glucose and cortisol levels, faces pain scale and Face, Legs, Activity, Cry, Consolability (FLACC) Pain Scale were considered as indicators of response to stress and pain experience. Music during awakening induced lower increase of systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. The non-music group showed progressive increasing values of glycemia; in music-group the curve of glycemia presented a plateau pattern (P<0.001). Positive impact on reactions to pain was noted using the FLACC scale. Music improves cardiovascular parameters, stress-induced hyperglycemia. Amelioration on pain perception is more evident in older children. Positive effects seems to be achieved by the alternation of fast, slow rhythms and pauses even in pediatric age.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Pediatric reports
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    ABSTRACT: A child’s pain needs to be addressed and understood as a sensory and emotional experience, through which “invisible” things can be discovered. The perception of a child’s pain and its psychological, interpersonal and somatic consequences need dedicated support and management during medical treatment. Without adequate support and management, which give suffering a precise meaning, the suffering of children remains a primitive injustice. This article closely examines and looks at possible ways to approach the reception and care of suffering children. The importance of communication of the diagnosis as a decisive moment in the life of the whole family is the focus. We discussed the role of welcoming, listening and processing the thoughts concerning the disease to be able to accept, without running away from the suffering derived from the painful experience.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Background Acute cerebellitis (AC) is the most common neurological complication of varicella. Nevertheless, it has been scarcely studied. The objective of this study were to asses the occurrence of AC among children hospitalized for varicella and to analyze its specific clinical picture and outcome. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of children admitted to the hospital for varicella between 1st October 2003 and 1st June 2013 and we compared our results with literature. Children were all unvaccinated for varicella. Results In our case series, AC was found out in 48 out of 457 patients (10.5%). The highest frequency of AC was observed in children from 1 to 5 years of age (60.9%). The most characteristic symptom of AC was a broad-based gait disturbance that progressed gradually over the course of a few days (95.8%). Other common symptoms included slurred speech (37.5%), vomiting (31.25%), headache (29.16%), dysmetry (25%) and tremor (22.91%). After a long hospitalization (median of 11 days), all but one children were dismissed without invalidating sequelae. Conclusions Data from this study may help to better address the problem of varicella cerebellar complications in hospitalized children and to monitor changes over time caused by an increase in vaccination coverage.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Italian Journal of Pediatrics