M B Franci

Università degli Studi di Siena, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (28)

  • Article · Apr 2016
  • Article · Apr 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous observations showed a condition of low bone turnover and decreased osteoblast activity in both type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus (DM1 and DM2). Sclerostin is a secreted Wnt antagonist produced by osteocytes that regulates osteoblast activity and thus bone turnover. Its levels increase with age and are regulated by PTH. The aim of the present study was to evaluate circulating sclerostin levels in patients with DM1 or DM2 with normal renal function and to analyze its relationship with PTH, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and bone turnover markers. DESIGN, AND SETTING: This was a cross-sectional study conducted at a clinical research center. Forty DM2 and 43 DM1 patients were studied and compared with a reference control group (n = 83). In the overall cohort, sclerostin levels were higher in males than in females and significantly increased with age in both genders. The positive correlation between sclerostin and age was maintained in DM1 but not in DM2 patients. Moreover, sclerostin levels were higher in DM2 than in controls or DM1 patients, and this difference persisted when adjustments were made for age and body mass index. Consistent with previous clinical and experimental observations, sclerostin was negatively associated with PTH in nondiabetic patients (r = -0.30; P < 0.01), independently of age and gender. Conversely, an opposite but nonsignificant trend between PTH and sclerostin was observed in both DM1 (r = 0.26; P = 0.09) and DM2 (r = 0.32; P = 0.07) cohorts. These findings suggest that sclerostin is increased in DM2. Moreover, the transcriptional suppression of sclerostin production by PTH might be impaired in both DM1 and DM2.
    Full-text available · Article · Mar 2012 · The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several studies have reported that females with Rett's syndrome frequently have marked decreases in bone mineral density (BMD). However, the pathogenesis of impaired bone status in RTT girls remains controversial. This study aimed to investigate whether ghrelin, an orexigenic peptide secreted by the stomach, was associated with body composition parameters, bone mineral density and quantitative ultrasound (QUS) in girls with Rett's syndrome. In 123 Rett girls (13.6±8.2 years) and in 55 similar age range controls we evaluated ghrelin serum levels, 25OHD, quantitative ultrasound parameters at phalanxes by Bone Profiler-IGEA (amplitude dependent speed of sound: AD-SoS and bone transmission time: BTT), total body bone mineral density (BMD-WB) by Hologic QDR 4500. Whole body mineral content (BMC-WB), BMC-WB/height, fat mass (FM), fat percentage and lean mass (LM) were determined by using the same DXA device. We found that serum ghrelin levels were significantly higher in the Rett patients with respect to the control group (p<0.05). In Rett girls ghrelin serum levels were inversely correlated with both age (R(2)=0.17, p<0.001) and BMI (R(2)=0.14, p<0.001). Moreover, in Rett subjects the values of BMD-WB, BMC-WB, BMC-WB/height and QUS parameters were significantly lower than in control subjects. Fat mass and lean mass were lower in Rett subjects than in controls, but the difference reached the statistical significance only for lean mass. In Rett girls ghrelin serum levels were not predictors of bone status. Instead, we found that in Rett subjects, lean mass, age and 25OHD were significant independent predictors of BMC-WB/h, whereas both age and height were independent predictors of BMD-WB. Moreover, AD-SoS was predicted by age, fat percentage and height; while BTT was predicted only by height. In conclusion, our findings indicate that ghrelin levels were higher in Rett girls with respect to healthy controls, and negatively associated with both DXA and QUS parameters. However, in our study ghrelin was not found to be an independent predictor of bone mass, so supporting the hypothesis that ghrelin is elevated in Rett subjects in a compensatory manner.
    Article · Jan 2012 · Bone
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori (HP) infection might have negative effects on the semen parameters of infertile men. We explored the possibility that this infection can influence systemic and seminal levels of ghrelin and obestatin, hormones mainly produced by the stomach. Ghrelin and obestatin exert many activities, including the regulation of reproductive biology, and are present in many organs and fluids, including human semen. In 78 men, we determined HP infection and cytotoxin-associated gene A protein (CagA) status by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting, semen quality following World Health Organization guidelines, and ghrelin and obestatin levels in the blood stream (47 subjects) and semen by radioimmunoassay. Twenty-seven men (34.6%) were infected (HP+) and 11 out of 27 infected men (40.7%) were seropositive for CagA (CagA+). Sperm motility was significantly reduced in HP+/CagA+ men compared with HP+/CagA- men (P < .01). Ghrelin semen levels were decreased in HP+ men compared with uninfected individuals (P < .05), whereas they were increased in HP+/CagA+ men compared with HP+/CagA- subjects (P < .01). Ghrelin semen concentrations in HP+/CagA- men were lower than those measured in uninfected subjects (P < .001). Semen obestatin concentration was increased, in a nonsignificant manner, in HP+/CagA+ men. The obestatin levels were approximately 4 times higher than those of ghrelin in semen and approximately half the levels of ghrelin in serum specimens of all the analyzed groups. No significant differences were found in systemic levels of ghrelin and obestatin in HP+ to uninfected individuals. HP infection may influence the ghrelin seminal concentrations, probably as a response to a negative effect of infection on the semen quality.
    Full-text available · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of Andrology
  • Franco Bagnoli · Martina Casucci · Annalisa Rossetti · [...] · Maria Beatrice Franci
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vitamin D has an important role in bone-metabolism (and its deficiency can cause preterm osteopenia, craniotabe and rickets), but it has also non-calcitropic functions. In fact, vitamin D deficiency is correlated to chronic kidney disease, respiratory infections, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, Crohn disease and neonatal hypocalcemia. Because of the vitamin D deficiency is a global problem, its role as a drug is fundamental for the human health in all ages.
    Article · Oct 2011 · The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine: the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians
  • Conference Paper · Mar 2011
  • G Martini · L Gennari · D Merlotti · [...] · R Nuti
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paget's disease of bone (PDB) is a focal disorder of bone remodeling characterized by increased osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. Even though increasing evidence indicates enhanced nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) signaling as a common mechanism involved in PDB and other related disorders, few studies investigated circulating osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor of activator of NF-kB-ligand (RANKL) levels in PDB patients. In this study we explored the relationships between OPG or RANKL levels and bone turnover markers in a group of patients with PDB, before and after intravenous bisphosphonate treatment (pamidronate 60 mg). Both OPG and RANKL were markedly elevated in PDB patients with respect to control groups (healthy or osteoporotic postmenopausal women and elderly men) and were positively associated with bone turnover markers. Higher levels of these cytokines were observed in polyostotic than monostotic PDB cases. The ratio between RANKL and OPG was more than 3-fold higher in PDB patients than in controls. Interestingly, in the group of patients treated with pamidronate, we found an increase in OPG levels that become statistically significant after 3 and 6 months from treatment. A trend toward a decrease in RANKL levels after treatment was also observed. The RANKL/OPG ratio was significantly reduced after 3 and 6 months of therapy. In contrast, in patients classified as non-responders, OPG and RANKL levels after pamidronate infusion did not significantly differ with respect to pre-treatment values. Thus, the positive effect of amino bisphosphonates in the treatment of PDB may be due to either direct or indirect suppression of RANKL-induced bone resorption through decreased RANKL and increased OPG production.
    Article · Mar 2007 · Bone
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently the third generation aromatase inhibitors have proved their efficacy and tolerability compared with tamoxifen in the adjuvant treatment of women with hormone responsive early breast cancer. However, there is some concern about the possible negative impact of these drugs on bone. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of the steroidal aromatase inactivator exemestane on bone turnover markers and on bone mineral density (BMD). Seventy postmenopausal women (62.0+/-8.9 years) with completely resected breast cancer and who were disease-free following 2-3 years on tamoxifen were randomly assigned to continue tamoxifen (n=36) or switch to exemestane (n=34). Sixty-one patients completed the 2-year study period. Bone alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP) and the carboxy-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX) were measured at baseline and after 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. BMD at lumbar spine (BMD-LS), at femoral neck (BMD-FN), at total hip (BMD-T) and at whole body (BMD-WB) were measured at 6-monthly intervals. Exemestane-treated women showed significant (p<0.01) increases with respect to baseline in both B-ALP and CTX. The difference between the 2 groups reached the statistical significance at month 6 for CTX (p<0.05) and at month 9 for B-ALP (p<0.01). Moreover, the exemestane-treated women showed an early decrease in PTH serum levels (-20.4%, p<0.01 at month 6). In the E group, the percentage changes were -2.37 (p<0.05) BMD-LS, -1.24 (p<0.05) BMD-FN, -1.1 (n.s.) BMD-T, -1.03 (n.s.) BMD-WB at month 12 and -2.99 (p<0.01) BMD-LS, -1.92 (p<0.01) BMD-FN, -2.01 (p<0.05) BMD-T, -1.3 (n.s.) BMD-WB at month 24. The tamoxifen group did not show significant changes in BMD. The differences between the two groups were significant at all skeletal sites except BMD-WB. Our data suggest that switching postmenopausal women from tamoxifen to exemestane causes a marked increase in bone turnover markers with a consequent reduction in BMD. These findings could be due to both the direct effect of exemestane and to the loss of the protective effect of tamoxifen. Therefore, the postmenopausal women switched from tamoxifen to exemestane should be monitored for bone loss especially if other risk factors for osteoporosis are present.
    Full-text available · Article · Jan 2007 · Bone
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanisms underlying the skeletal resistance to PTH in patients on chronic hemodialysis (CHD) are not yet fully clarified. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANK-L) modulate the genesis and activity of osteoclasts, however their role in renal osteodystrophy pathogenesis has not been clarified so far. The present study aimed to evaluate OPG and RANK-L serum levels in hemodialysis patients and whether OPG/RANK-L system could have a role in the skeletal resistance to PTH. In fasting blood samples obtained from 60 patients (36 males and 24 females) on CHD for at least 2 yr and from 40 healthy subjects of similar age and gender distribution as controls (CTRs), we measured serum OPG, RANK-L, bone alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP), N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx), PTH(1-84), calcium and phosphate. In 30 of 60 hemodialysis patients, a blood sample was also drawn soon after the dialytic session. Serum levels of RANK-L, but not OPG, showed a slight but significant (p<0.05) decrease after the dialytic session. OPG resulted being about six times higher in CHD patients than in CTRs (38.7 +/- 16.2 vs 6.3 +/- 0.17 pg/ml), whereas RAN K-L serum levels were only slightly increased with respect to controls (0.88 +/- 0.47 vs 0.64 +/- 0.38 pmol/l). CHD patients showed serum PTH(1-84) and bone turnover higher than in CTRs. No correlation was found between OPG/RANK-L system and PTH or bone turnover markers. Instead, in the patients with high osteoclast activity (no.=21) OPG/RANK-L ratio was correlated (r=-0.41, p<0.01) with NTx serum levels, whereas in patients with decreased osteoclast activity (no.=39) no relationship was found. In conclusion, our findings showed that, although both OPG and RANK-L are accumulated in hemodialysis patients, only RANK-L and the balance between OPG and RANK-L seem to be related to osteoclast activity.
    Article · Jul 2005 · Journal of endocrinological investigation
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Up until now, there was little known about the use of bone resorption markers in the assessment of bone status in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF). The present study evaluated the ability of a new immunoassay for N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen to assess bone turnover in a group of hemodialyzed patients. METHODS: The following parameters were measured in a fasting blood sample from 111 patients on maintenance hemodialysis for at least 2 years and in 120 healthy subjects: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, BALP, PTH, and N-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (NTx-ELISA, OSTEOMARK NTx Siero-Ostex International). RESULTS: Serum PTH, BALP, and NTx were significantly higher (P<0.001) in hemodialyzed (HD) patients than in healthy subjects. In HD patients, PTH was correlated to BALP and NTx (r=0.40 and 0.55, respectively). When combining PTH and BALP serum levels, 17 patients showed high turnover (HT) and 65 were found to have a normal to low turnover (N-LT). In HT patients, serum NTx and dialytic age were significantly (P<0.01) higher than in N-LT patients. Moreover, even after adjusting for age, body mass index, dialytic age, and calcium-vitamin D treatment, serum NTx discriminated between HT and N-LT with a sensitivity of 97.6% and a specificity of 90.9%. CONCLUSION: Although bone biopsy remains the reference method for the diagnosis of renal osteodystrophy, the combined use of markers of bone resorption and bone formation could improve the clinical management of renal bone diseases.
    Article · May 2003 · European Journal of Internal Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although several studies have reported a lower risk of osteoporotic fracture in hypercholesterolemic patients treated with statins, so far longitudinal studies on the effects of statins on bone are lacking. The aim of the present study was to evaluate bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover changes induced by 1-year simvastatin treatment on postmenopausal women. Thirty consecutive postmenopausal hypercholesterolemic women (61.2 +/- 4.9 years) were treated for 12 months with 40 mg/day simvastatin and 30 normocholesterolemic age-matched postmenopausal women provided control data. In all subjects, at baseline and at 3-month intervals, serum lipids, calcium, phosphate, total and bone alkaline phosphatase (Bone-ALP), and carboxy-terminal fragment of type I collagen (CTx) were measured in a fasting blood sample. At baseline and after 6 and 12 months BMD was measured at lumbar spine (BMD-LS) and at femur (BMD-Ftot) and at femoral neck (BMD-Fn) by DXA. In the simvastatin-treated group Bone-ALP showed a significant increase (P < 0.05) with respect to baseline from the sixth month, whereas serum CTx showed a weak and nonsignificant increase over the study period. In treated women BMD-LS, BMD-Fn, and BMD-Ftot increased respectively by 1.1, 0.9, and 0.4% at Month 6; and by 2.8, 1.0, and 0.8% at Month 12. In controls BMD-LS, BMD-Fn, and BMD-Ftot at the end of the study period decreased by 1.6, 1.4, and 1.2%, respectively. The difference between controls and simvastatin-treated patients was significant (P < 0.05) for both BMD-LS and BMD-Fn only at Month 12. In conclusion our results, although obtained from a small sample of postmenopausal hypercholesterolemic women, suggest a probable positive effect of simvastatin on bone formation and BMD.
    Article · Apr 2003 · Bone
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amino bisphosphonates represent one of the most important advances in the management of Paget's and other metabolic bone diseases. Although their mechanism of action has not yet been completely clarified, they seem to inhibit the mevalonate pathway and so they could interfere with cholesterol synthesis. The present study aimed to evaluate cholesterol and lipoprotein serum levels in patients with Paget's bone disease treated with intravenous pamidronate. The study included 20 consecutive patients (mean age, 67.6 +/- 11.0 years) with Paget's bone disease for at least 1 year, who needed intravenous amino bisphosphonate treatment; 12 patients with inactive Paget's bone disease served as controls. The patients with active Paget's bone disease underwent three cycles (every 3 months) of treatment with 60 mg of intravenous pamidronate. Controls were given a saline infusion following the same administration schedule. In all subjects total alkaline phosphatase (total ALP), bone alkaline phosphatase (bone ALP), total cholesterol (TC), tryglycerides (TG), and high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C and LDL-C, respectively) were measured before infusions (pamidronate or saline) at baseline and at 3-month intervals up to 9 months. In the control group no significant changes were observed through the study period for any of the biochemical parameters. In the pamidronate-treated patients, both bone ALP and total ALP significantly fell at the end of the study. In patients with active treatment, at the end of the study period HDL-C significantly (P < 0.05) increased by 10.3%, whereas LDL-C significantly (P < 0.05) decreased by 5.5%. In these patients TC showed a negative trend without reaching statistical significance, whereas the HDL-C/LDL-C ratio rose 16.2% above the basal value and TC/HDL-C decreased by 12.5%. In conclusion, pamidronate given intravenously seems to be able to induce a prolonged shifting in circulating cholesterol from the LDL-C to the HDL-C from associated with a weak decrease in total cholesterol, thus producing a possible improvement in the atherosclerotic risk index.
    Article · Jan 2003 · Bone
  • Conference Paper · Sep 2002
  • Article · Jun 2002 · Digestive and Liver Disease
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone loss characterizes both primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) and osteoporosis (OP) but with a different histologic pattern, and this could partially explain the different fracture incidence in these two populations. Quantitative ultrasound (QUS), influenced by bone structural parameters other than bone mineral density (BMD), could evidence these differences, opening new perspectives in the evaluation of patients with metabolic bone diseases. The aim of the present study was to investigate the usefulness of QUS graphic trace parameters, assessed at the phalanx, in discriminating between PHPT bone disease and osteoporosis. We studied 34 patients with PHPT (mean age 59.7 ± 12.7 years), 35 patients with OP (mean age 60.6 ± 7.1 years) and 34 healthy subjects as controls (mean age 59.1 ± 9.4 years). In all subjects QUS measurements were performed at the phalanx with a Bone Profiler (IGEA, Italy), obtaining the amplitude-dependent speed of sound (AD-SoS), fast wave amplitude (FWA), signal dynamic (SDy), bone transmission time (BTT) and ultrasound bone profile index (UBPI). Moreover, serum calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone (PTH), bone isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP) and ionized calcium were measured in all subjects in the morning under fasting conditions. In PHPT patients BTT was correlated with PTH, ionized calcium and B-ALP levels (r=–0.47, –0.57 and –0.44, respectively; p <0.01), whereas FWA, SDy and UBPI correlated only with B-ALP (r=–0.43, –0.46 and –0.50, respectively; p <0.01). Moreover, FWA, SDY and UBPI were significantly (p<0.01) lower and BTT significantly (p<0.001) higher in OP than in PHPT patients. UBPI, BTT, FWA and the BTT/FWA ratio, but not SDy, were able to discriminate between the two groups (area under the curve =0.66, 0.69, 0.67 and 0.81, respectively). Our findings show that ultrasound signal parameters are differently influenced by bone changes characterizing primary hyperparathyroidism or osteoporosis. This suggests that the QUS signal could be a useful instrument in discriminating and studying some of the bone alterations typical of metabolic bone diseases.
    Article · Mar 2002 · Osteoporosis International
  • Article · Jan 2002 · Osteoporosis International
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study evaluated bone status and bone turnover in 82 females (ages 2-21 years) with the Rett Syndrome (RS) and 82 age-matched controls. Bone mineral density (BMD) by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the ultradistal and proximal radius and ultrasonographic (QUS) parameters at the calcaneus [speed of sound(SOS), broadband ultrasound attenuation(BUA), and stiffness] and at the phalanxes (amplitude dependent speed of sound: AD-SOS) were measured. We also measured serum calcium, phosphate, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and biochemical markers of bone turnover. DXA and QUS parameters were significantly lower in patients with RS compared with controls and, among RS alone, in those treated with anticonvulsants and in those who are nonambulatory. Ambulatory RS patients showed QUS and DXA parameters significantly greater than nonambulatory patients but significantly lower than controls. Patients with RS treated with anticonvulsants presented QUS and DXA parameters lower than those of other RS. In RS patients, walking significantly influences BMD-UD, BMD-P, SOS. BUA. and Stiffness. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was significantly lower in RS than in controls. These results suggest that ambulatory status, to a major extent, and anticonvulsant therapy certainly play an important role in the reduction of bone mass and bone quality, but they cannot completely explain the altered bone status. Whatever the cause, girls with RS present abnormal bone status with an increase in the risk of fracture.
    Article · Dec 2001 · Calcified Tissue International
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The problem of the water content of pollen is reconsidered, especially the distinction between ''partially hydrated pollen'' (PH pollen), pollen with a water content greater than 30%, and ''partially dehydrated pollen'' (PD pollen), which has a water content of less than 30%. Both types have been found even in systematically contiguous groups or the same genus. Partially hydrated pollen, encountered in at least 40 families of angiosperms, has the advantage of germinating quickly, normally in a few minutes to less than an hour. Dispersal of highly hydrated pollen also occurs in orchids but for a different reason, i.e. to enable packaging of massulae. The disadvantage of pollen dispersed with a high water content is that water is readily lost and the pollen may desiccate and die unless it has biochemical or anatomical devices to retain water or phenological strategies, such as flowering when temperatures are not too high and when relative humidity is high. Most pollen of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms studied has, however, been found partially dehydrated.
    Full-text available · Article · Nov 2001 · Calcified Tissue International
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Risk factors for acquiring Helicobacter pylori infection include hygienic, social, and environmental conditions. Some of these conditions usually change over time. We therefore investigated the existence of risk factors in a group of teenagers living in a place with the same environmental characteristics, in which hygienic and crowding conditions have not changed significantly in the last 20 years. A group of 164 students, mostly borne in 1977, attending four different schools, were examined serologically for H. pylori infection and CagA status. The importance of the risk factors for the transmission of the infection were evaluated by the chi2 test. P values <0.05 were considered significant. Twenty-two students (13.4%) were H. pylori seropositive. Students attending teachers' college and high school of arts were infected significantly more often than those attending high school (P = 0.011 and P = 0.012, respectively). Students who smoked and students whose parents had a manual job had an increased risk of acquiring the infection (P = 0.002, and P = 0.036, respectively). Crowding conditions and the presence of domestic animals were close to being statistically significant. Other factors, such as gender, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, sharing the bed with adults as a child, presence of a sexual partner, and a family history of peptic ulcer and gastric cancer, did not increase the risk of infection. The prevalence of seropositivity for CagA was similar in the various risk groups. Manual job of parents and smoking were the most important factors for acquiring H. pylori infection.
    Full-text available · Article · Apr 2001 · The New Microbiologica: official journal of the Italian Society for Medical Virology (SIVIM)