[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: CD133 is a hallmark of primitive myeloid progenitors. We have addressed whether human cord blood cells selected for CD133 can generate dendritic cells, and Langerhans cells in particular, in conditions that promote that generation from CD34(+) progenitors. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and anti-TGF-β1 antibody, respectively, were added in some experiments. With TGF-β, monocytoid cells were recognized after 7 days. Immunophenotypically immature dendritic cells were present at day 14. After 4 more days, the cells expressed CD54, CD80, CD83, and CD86 and were potent stimulators in mixed lymphocyte reaction; part of the cells expressed CD1a and langerin, but not Birbeck granules. Without TGF-β, only a small fraction of cells acquired a dendritic shape and expressed the maturation-related antigens, and lymphocytes were poorly stimulated. With anti-TGF-β, the cell growth was greatly hampered, CD54 and langerin were never expressed, and lymphocytes were stimulated weakly. In conclusion, CD133(+) progenitors can give rise in vitro, through definite steps, to mature, immunostimulatory dendritic cells with molecular features of Langerhans cells, although without Birbeck granules. Addition of TGF-β1 helps to stimulate cell growth and promotes the acquisition of mature immunophenotypical and functional features. Neither langerin nor Birbeck granules proved indispensable for lymphocyte stimulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In the body, connective tissues have a major function in sustaining mechanical stresses. On the other hand, mechanical forces are important factors for connective tissue homeostasis. Connective tissues dynamically interact with mechanical and gravitational stimuli, changing their mechanical properties through the continuous modification of their composition, and thus improving their function. In connective tissues, mechanical forces are major regulators of extracellular matrix turnover, strongly affecting the production of extracellular matrix proteins. On the contrary, unloading conditions, such as bed rest or space flight, have a negative effect on these tissues, with loss of mass and impairment of mechanical properties. Here we describe the effect of photomechanical stress, supplied by a pulsed Nd:YAG laser, on extracellular matrix production by fibroblasts and chondrocytes, and compare it with the effect produced by hypergravity conditions. Cell morphology and structure, extracellular matrix production, cell adhesion, cell energy metabolism have been studied in treated human fibroblasts and chondrocytes by using immunocytochemistry, fluorescence and autofluorescence microscopy.
The results show that photomechanical stress induce cytoskeleton remodelling, redistribution of membrane integrins, increase in production of ECM molecules, changes in cell energy metabolism. The effects are similar to those observed in the same cells exposed to cyclic hypergravitational stress (10×g).
No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · Microgravity - Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: It is well known that endothelial cells (ECs), which play a major role in cardiovascular system functioning, are very sensitive
to mechanical stimuli. It has been demonstrated that changes in inertial conditions (i.e. microgravity and hypergravity) can
affect both phenotypic and genotypic expression in ECs. In this report we describe the effects of hypergravity on ECs isolated
from bovine aorta (BAECs). ECs were repeatedly exposed to discontinuous hypergravity conditions (5 × 10min at 10×g with 10min at 1×g between sets), simulated in a hyperfuge. Then, cell morphology and metabolism were analyzed by autofluorescence techniques.
The phenotypic expression of cytoskeleton constituents (β-actin, vimentin, tubulin), adhesion and survival signals (integrins), mediators of inflammation and angiogenesis was evaluated
by immunocytofluorescence. Quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) with Low Density Arrays (LDAs) was used to evaluate modifications in gene
expression. After hypergravity exposure, no significant changes were observed in cell morphology and energy metabolism. Cells
remained adherent to the substratum, but integrin distribution was modified. Accordingly, the cytoskeletal network reorganized,
documenting cell activation. There was a reduction in expression of genes controlling vasoconstriction and inflammation. Proapoptotic
signals were downregulated. On the whole, the results documented that hypergravity exposure maintained EC survival and function
by activation of adaptive mechanisms.
No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Microgravity - Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Marfan syndrome (MFS) is an inherited disorder of connective tissue due to mutations in FBN1 (90%) and TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 (5 to 10%) genes. Clinical and differential diagnosis is difficult because of the inter- and intrafamiliar marked heterogeneity and the variable onset age of clinical manifestations. Among the disorders, in differential diagnosis, thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) and Ullrich scleroatonic muscular dystrophy (UCMD) are reported. We evaluate the possibility of utilizing autofluorescence (AF) analysis as a diagnostic tool in the clinical and/or differential diagnosis of MFS and related disorders and in the investigation of the molecular mechanisms involved. Both multispectral imaging autofluorescence microscopy (MIAM) and autofluorescence microspectroscopy (AMS) have been used to characterize AF emission of fibroblasts from patients affected by inherited connective tissue disorders. Our preliminary results show significant differences in AF emission between normal and pathological fibroblasts, suggesting possible improvement in diagnostics of connective tissue disorders by AF analysis.
No preview · Article · Sep 2008 · Journal of Biomedical Optics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Many studies demonstrated that mechanical stress is a key factor for tissue homeostasis, while unloading induce loss of mass and impairment of function. Because of their physiological function, muscle, connective tissue, bone and cartilage dynamically interact with mechanical and gravitational stress, modifying their properties through the continuous modification of their composition. Indeed, it is known that mechanical stress increases the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) components by cells, but the mechanotransduction mechanisms and the optimal loading conditions required for an optimal tissue homeostasis are still unknown. Considering the importance of cell activation and ECM production in tissue regeneration, a proper use of mechanical stimulation could be a powerful tool in tissue repair and tissue engineering. Studies exploring advanced modalities for supplying mechanical stimuli are needed to increase our knowledge on mechanobiology and to develop effective clinical applications. Here we describe the effect of photomechanical stress, supplied by a pulsed Nd:YAG laser on ECM production by cells of connective tissues. Cell morphology, production of ECM molecules (collagens, fibronectin, mucopolysaccharides), cell adhesion and cell energy metabolism have been studied by using immunofluorescence and autofluorescence microscopy. The results show that photomechanical stress induces cytoskeleton remodelling, redistribution of membrane integrins, increase in production of ECM molecules. These results could be of consequence for developing clinical protocols for the treatment of connective tissue dideases by pulsed Nd:YAG laser.
No preview · Article · Apr 2008 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs), the most potent antigen-presenting cells inducing specific immune responses, are involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this inflammatory disease, DCs increase in number, being particularly abundant in the shoulder regions
of plaques. Since the exposure to altered gravitational conditions results in a significant impairment of the immune function, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of hypergravity on both the function of DCs and their interactions with the vascular wall cells. Monocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy volunteers were sorted by CD14+ magnetic beads selection, cultured for 6days in medium supplemented with GM-CSF and IL-4, followed by a further maturation stimulus.
DC phenotype, assessed by flow cytometry, showed a high expression of the specific DC markers CD80, CD86, HLA-DR and CD83. The DCs obtained were then exposed to hypergravitational stimuli and their phenotype, cytoskeleton, ability to activate lymphocytes
and interaction with vascular wall cells were investigated. The findings showed that the exposure to hypergravity conditions resulted in a significant impairment of DC cytoskeletal organization, without affecting the expression of DC markers. Moreover, an increase in DC adhesion to human vascular smooth muscle cells and in their ability to activate lymphocytes was observed.
No preview · Article · Apr 2008 · Microgravity - Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Leukemia cell motility and transendothelial migration into extramedullary sites are regulated by angiogenic factors and are considered unfavorable prognostic factors in acute leukemias. We have studied cross talk among (1) the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1, FLT-1; (2) the human eag-related gene 1 (hERG1) K(+) channels; and (3) integrin receptors in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. FLT-1, hERG1, and the beta(1) integrin were found to form a macromolecular signaling complex. The latter mostly recruited the hERG1B isoform of hERG1 channels, and its assembly was necessary for FLT-1 signaling activation and AML cell migration. Both effects were inhibited when hERG1 channels were specifically blocked. A FLT-1/hERG1/beta(1) complex was also observed in primary AML blasts, obtained from a population of human patients. The co-expression of FLT-1 and hERG1 conferred a pro-migratory phenotype to AML blasts. Such a phenotype was also observed in vivo. The hERG1-positive blasts were more efficient in invading the peripheral circulation and the extramedullary sites after engraftment into immunodeficient mice. Moreover, hERG1 expression in leukemia patients correlated with a higher probability of relapse and shorter survival periods. We conclude that in AML, hERG1 channels mediate the FLT-1-dependent cell migration and invasion, and hence confer a greater malignancy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The aim of the present work is to determine whether mechanical stress caused by ultrasound (US) exposure affects osteoclastic precursor cells, thus addressing the hypothesis that mechanical strain-induced perturbation of preosteoclastic cell machinery can contribute to the occurrence of bone turnover alterations. Moreover, cell cytoskeleton was studied because of its supposed involvement in cell mechanotransduction.Our experimental model was the FLG 29.1 human cell line, previously characterized as an osteoclastic precursor model. Cell proliferation was quantified by trypan blue exclusion assay. Cell morpho-functional state was monitored by multispectral imaging autofluorescence microscopy. The expression of cytoskeletal components and markers of proliferation (Ki67) and osteoclastic differentiation (RANK) was analysed by immunocytochemistry.The findings demonstrated that US stimulation affects FLG 29.1 cell growth, depresses the expression of cytoskeletal components and markers of proliferation and differentiation, induces cell damage, thus supporting the hypothesis that US exposure inhibits osteoclastogenesis.These results have been compared with those obtained previously by exposure of FLG 29.1 cells to modelled hypogravity conditions. Finally, the possibility to utilize US stimulation for counteracting osteoporosis has been discussed.
Full-text · Article · May 2007 · Acta Astronautica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The exposure to microgravity conditions results in a significant impairment of the immune function. Many reports describe morphological and functional changes in T-lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophil granulocytes cultured in microgravity, both real and modeled, but very few studies have been made on the effect of microgravity on dendritic cells (DCs) and DC differentiation. DCs are able to process antigens and are the most efficient cells in presenting them to T-lymphocytes, thus giving a crucial contribution to the rise of an effective immune response.
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the maturation of DCs from monocytes of astronauts was altered postflight. Blood samples from a crew-member of the Eneide mission were collected before the flight, soon after the return to earth and one year after the mission. In order to generate DCs, monocytes were used as precursors. They were separated, cultured for 6 days in medium supplemented with granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin 4 (IL-4), then furtherly stimulated for 24 hours with a cocktail of cytokines. Differentiation was assessed by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence, assaying the expression of typical DC markers. Gene expression was analysed by RT-PCR. Morphological and functional characteristics were studied by autofluorescence microscopy.
The findings showed that the maturation of DCs from monocytes collected from the astronaut immediately postflight was altered. In comparison
with controls, significant differences were found in expression of DC markers, expression of genes involved in DC maturation, morphological and functional characteristics.
No preview · Article · Apr 2007 · Microgravity - Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The lymphadenectomy and extended lymphadenectomy procedures have been points of controversy in surgical oncology. The methods available for the detection of metastatic lymph nodes are numerous. These include lymphoscintigraphy and radiolabeled antibody detection, but in most cancers the currently used technique is sentinel lymph node identification, performed primarily through the use of immunohistochemistry. We propose the application of autofluorescence (AF)-based techniques for lymph node evaluation in colorectal and gastric tumors.
We studied 30 clinical cases: 15 colorectal cancers and 15 gastric cancers. All of the patients were in the advanced stages of the disease and were candidates for adjuvant therapy. Autofluorescence microspectroscopy and multispectral imaging autofluorescence microscopy have been used to analyze the AF emission of metastatic lymph node sections, excited with 365-nm wavelength radiation. The AF spectra were recorded in the range of 400-700 nm. Monochrome AF images were acquired sequentially through interference filters peaked at 450, 550, and 650 nm, and then combined together in a single red-green-blue image. The AF pattern and the emission spectrum of metastatic lymph nodes have unique characteristics that can be used to distinguish them from the normal ones.
The results, compared with standard histopathologic procedures and with specific staining methods, supplied a satisfactory validation of the proposed technique, revealing the possibility of improving the actual diagnostic procedures for malignant lymph node alterations.
With the development of appropriate instrumentation, the proposed technique could be particularly suitable in intrasurgical diagnosis of metastatic lymph nodes.
No preview · Article · Mar 2007 · Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular diseases are major health problems in astronauts and pilots. The basic problem in cardiovascular diseases is
the loss of function by vascular endothelium. It has been demonstrated that changes in inertial conditions (i.e. hypo- and
hypergravity) can affect both phenotypic and genotypic expression in endothelial cells. This report describes the effects
observed in endothelial cells from coronary post-capillary venules after repeated exposures to hypergravity conditions, alternating
with recovery periods. The results showed changes in gene expression, cell energy metabolism, morphology and cytoskeleton
No preview · Article · Aug 2006 · Microgravity - Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Laser welding of corneal tissue is an alternative technique to conventional suturing procedures in ophthalmic surgery. The welding effect is achieved after staining the wound with a chromophore (Indocyanine Green, shortly: ICG) and then irradiating it with a low power diode laser. We present a study on the healing process of corneal wounds using Multispectral Imaging Autofluorescence Microscopy (MIAM). This technique is based on the characterization of fluorescence arising from tissue components (autofluorescence): it is particularly useful in studying corneal tissue, because it is mainly composed of type I collagen, one of the most important endogenous fluorophores. Laser welding tests of the cornea were carried out on rabbits in which full thickness corneal cuts of about 5 mm were sutured using a diode laser emitting at 810 nm, with a power of 80 mW. Bioptic sections of rabbit corneas were examined in a follow up study of 90 days after surgery, and the results were complementary to histological analysis performed in previous studies. Autofluorescence images showed a faster healing process and a better reorganization of the architecture of stromal fibers, in comparison with conventional suturing procedures. MIAM technique can represent a new tool to study the morphology of corneal tissue, offering some real advantages with respect to standard histological analysis. In fact, it does not require any chemical manipulation of the samples, providing information on the biological structure by directly monitoring distribution and emission intensity of endogenous fluorophores.
No preview · Article · Feb 2006 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Bone is a dynamic tissue. Its continuous remodeling depends on the balance between bone formation and bone resorption. These two processes are carried out by specialized cells called osteoblast and ostreoclast respectively. The osteoclastic bone resorption consists in degradation of the mineral and collagen components of bone. The study of bone turnover requires accurate assessment of osteoclastic bone resorption, that becomes even more important in pathologic bone loss due to the uncoupling between bone formation and bone resorption. Osteoclastic activity is diffucult to measure. Many techniques, generally based on the detection of the resorbing lacunae (lacunae (pits) due to the bone degradation, allow to estimate bone resorption, but none of them quantitatively and directly measures the volume of resorbed bone. We propose a reliable and relatively simple method, based on contact surfact profilometry, to evaluate directly and quantitatively the volume of resorbed bone. The method has the following advantages: