Publications by authors named "Alessandra Piras"

86 Publications

Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV): A Preliminary Study on Antiviral Properties of Some Aromatic and Medicinal Plants.

Pathogens 2021 Mar 29;10(4). Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, 09042 Monserrato, Italy.

Plant products provide an alternative and successful source of lead compounds for the pharmaceutical industry. The present study was aimed to evaluate, in cell-based assays, the antiviral properties of essential oils obtained from plants that commonly grow in Sardinia, Italy, against a broad spectrum of RNA/DNA viruses. The essential oils of (Roth) G. Don ssp. (Willd.) Nyman, L., L., L., L., L., Mill., Mill., and Labill. were extracted by hydrodistillation and analyzed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Interestingly, the essential oil of showed moderate activity against bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), an enveloped RNA virus belonging to the family. BVDV is responsible for several clinical manifestations in bovines, including respiratory, gastroenteric, and reproductive diseases, with a significant economic impact. With the aim to individuate the constituent of the responsible for the biological activity, we tested the major components of the oil: camphene, β-pinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, cis-thujone, camphor, (E)-caryophyllene, and α-humulene. Here, we describe α-humulene as an active component that is non-cytotoxic and active against BVDV (EC = 36 µM). Its antiviral effects were evaluated using virucidal cytopathic effect inhibition and viral yield reduction assays. This is the first scientific report showing the anti BVDV effects of essential oil and α-humulene as the main active component.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10040403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8066157PMC
March 2021

seed extracts inhibit the islet amyloid polypeptide fibrils formations and α-amylase and α-glucosidase activity.

J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem 2021 Dec;36(1):517-524

Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

seeds have revealed to possess antioxidant properties, butyrylcholinesterase and xanthine oxidase inhibition activities. The literature has indicated a relationship between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and type-2 diabetes (T2D). Keeping this in mind, we have now evaluated the inhibitory properties of seed extracts on -amylase, -glucosidase enzyme activity and the Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (IAPP) fibrils formation. Three extracts from seeds of were evaluated for their enzyme inhibitory effect and IC values were calculated for all the extracts. The inhibition mode was investigated by Lineweaver-Burk plot analysis and the inhibition of IAPP aggregate formation was monitored. methanol seed extract appears as the most potent inhibitor of α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and for the IAPP fibril formation. Current findings indicate new potential of this extract that could be used for the identification or development of novel potential agents for T2D and AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14756366.2021.1874945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7850368PMC
December 2021

Anti-Aging Potential of Extracts from Seeds.

Plants (Basel) 2021 Jan 14;10(1). Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09042 Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy.

The aim of this study was to test the inhibitory effect of fruit extracts from on skin aging-related enzymes. The pulp extracts did not exert a significant enzyme inhibition while seed extracts from exhibit anti-elastase, anti-collagenase, and anti-tyrosinase activities. Tyrosinase was mildly inhibited while a stronger effect was observed with respect to elastase and collagenase inhibition. Alcoholic extracts provided better results than aqueous extracts. Among them, methanol extracts showed the prominent enzyme inhibitory activities being IC value for elastase and collagenase comparable and even better than the reference compound. The inhibition mode of the most active extracts was investigated by Lineweaver-Burk plot analysis. Seed extracts from were also investigated for their photo-protective effect by Mansur equation and the antioxidant activity of extract was evaluated in oxidative-stressed cells. To evaluate the safety of the extract, the effect on cell viability of human keratinocytes cells was analyzed. Methanol extract presented the best photo-protective effect and exerted an antioxidant activity in a cellular system with no cytotoxic effect. The overall results demonstrate that extracts are promising sources of bioactive compounds that could be used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical preparation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/plants10010151DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7828731PMC
January 2021

Theoretical and Experimental Study of the Excess Thermodynamic Properties of Highly Nonideal Liquid Mixtures of Butanol Isomers + DBE.

J Phys Chem B 2021 01 11;125(2):587-600. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, S.S. 554 Bivio Sestu, Monserrato, 09042 Cagliari, Italy.

Binary alcohol + ether liquid mixtures are of significant importance as potential biofuels or additives for internal combustion engines and attract considerable fundamental interest as model systems containing one strongly H-bonded self-associating component (alcohol) and one that is unable to do so (ether), but that can interact strongly as a H-bond acceptor. In this context, the excess thermodynamic properties of these mixtures, specifically the excess molar enthalpies and volumes ( and ), have been extensively measured. Butanol isomer + di--butyl ether (DBE) mixtures received significant attention because of interesting differences in their , changing from negative (1- and isobutanol) to positive (2- and -butanol) with increasing alkyl group branching. With the aim of shedding light on the differences in alcohol self-association and cross-species H-bonding, considered responsible for the observed differences, we studied representative 1- and 2-butanol + DBE mixtures by molecular dynamics simulations and experimental excess property measurements. The simulations reveal marked differences in the self-association of the two isomers and, while supporting the existing interpretations of the and in a general sense, our results suggest, for the first time, that subtle changes in H-bonded topologies may contribute significantly to the anomalous volumetric properties of these mixtures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c10076DOI Listing
January 2021

Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil of leaves.

Nat Prod Res 2020 Oct 28:1-5. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Exact Science, Djillali Liabes University, Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria.

Chemical composition determination and antibacterial effect of Essential Oil (EO) of leaves grown North West Algerian conditions were investigated. Antibacterial activity was evaluated by the technique of the paper disc diffusion. Extractions were carried out with Clevenger apparatus and EO compositions were investigated by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. The oxygenated monoterpenes (MO) were the class with the highest contents, represent 59% of the EO. A total of twenty-seven of these compounds were identified, the major components were 1,8-cineole (30.1%), α-terpynil acetate (21.6%), methyl eugenol (16.9%) of the total oil. The highest antibacterial power of the EO tested was recorded in with the zone diameter of inhibition 13.6 and 11.2 mm respectively and a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.25 mg/mL for both these two strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2020.1839450DOI Listing
October 2020

Antifungal activity and chemical composition of the essential oil from the aerial parts of two new L. chemotypes from Sardinia Island, Italy.

Nat Prod Res 2020 Aug 28:1-7. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Botany section, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

The chemical composition of two populations of L. one from the coastline and the other one from the mountainous area of Sardinia (Italy) was assessed. Two chemotypes were identified: limonene/α-pinene/(E)-nerolidol chemotype predominant in the coastline, and limonene/α-pinene/α-trans-bergamotene/humulene epoxide II chemotype common in plants growing in the mountainous area. In addition, our results showed that the sample growing in the coastline had a more promising antifungal activity. Furthermore, this sample was highly effective in inhibiting germ tube formation, at doses well below its MIC. Overall, this study shows that the edaphoclimatic characteristics play an important role on the essential oil composition and biological activity of L.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2020.1813136DOI Listing
August 2020

Waste salt from the manufacturing process of mullet bottarga as source of oil with nutritional and nutraceutical properties.

J Sci Food Agric 2020 Dec 14;100(15):5363-5372. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, Monserrato, Italy.

Background: The Sardinian food delicacy 'bottarga' is the final product of a number of treatments (salting and drying) on the ovaries of mullet (Mugil spp) and represents an important natural source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) with nutraceutical properties. During the salting process of mullet roes to obtain bottarga, huge amounts of waste salt are generated, rich in residual ovary material.

Results: We evaluated the lipid composition (main lipid components and fatty acids) and bioactivity of oil obtained from the ovary material separated from waste salt (waste salt oil). Oil was obtained by supercritical fluid extraction with carbon dioxide (SFE-CO ), an environmentally friendly separation technique. The lipid composition of waste salt oil was determined by carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance ( C-NMR) spectroscopy and reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector and an evaporative light scattering detector (HPLC-DAD/ELSD) chromatography. The oil was characterized by a relatively high level of n-3 PUFA (122 ± 7 g kg of oil), and these beneficial health compounds were mainly present in the form of wax esters. Waste salt oil showed a marked cytotoxic effect [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay] in cancer B16F10 melanoma cells, with a slight cytotoxic effect in normal cells (3T3 fibroblasts). Waste salt and its derivatives (salt oil and residual material after oil extraction) were also tested for the attractant effect and acceptability to insects (Ceratitis capitata) to gain preliminary information about their potential application for animal supplementation.

Conclusion: The results qualify waste salt as a potential resource for veterinary dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceutical applications. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.10584DOI Listing
December 2020

Chemical characterization and bioactivity of the essential oil from , a Sardinian endemism.

Nat Prod Res 2020 Jun 4:1-5. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

University of Coimbra, iCBR, Faculty of Pharmacy, Coimbra, Portugal.

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 substantially inhibited the expression of two key pro-inflammatory enzymes, iNOS and COX-2 (71% and 25% at 0.54 mg/mL). Furthermore, the oil had a promising antifungal activity being (MIC = 0.13 mg/mL) and the majority of dermatophytes (MIC = 0.13 mg/mL) the most susceptible fungi. Moreover, it significantly decreased the yeast-to-hypha transition (80% inhibition at 0.13 mg/mL) on long before showing inhibitory effects. Overall, these results show that could be applied in the treatment of fungal infections and associated inflammatory response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2020.1774764DOI Listing
June 2020

Antiproliferative and antiviral activity of methanolic extracts from Sardinian Maltese Mushroom ( L.).

Nat Prod Res 2019 Oct 17:1-5. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Unit of Biochemistry, University of Cagliari , Cagliari , Italy.

is a non-photosynthetic plant that grows in Mediterranean countries and that is amply used in the traditional medicine. The aim of this study was to extend previous studies on the chemical and biological properties of evaluating the potential antiviral and antiproliferative activity of the methanolic extract. The MTT assay was used for the cytotoxic studies against human cancer-derived cell lines, while both MTT and plaque reduction (PRT) methods were used to evaluate the potential inhibitory effect of the extract against a panel of mammal viruses. The results obtained showed no selective activity against any DNA and RNA virus but revealed an interesting antiproliferative activity against human leukaemia-derived cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2019.1678613DOI Listing
October 2019

QT and QT dispersion intervals in long-standing and moderately active rheumatoid arthritis: results from a multicentre cross-sectional study.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2020 May-Jun;38(3):516-522. Epub 2019 Aug 27.

UOC di Cardiologia Clinica e Interventistica, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Sassari, Italy.

Objectives: To define the prevalence of prolonged QT interval and QT dispersion (QTd) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and in a control population.

Methods: QT interval corrected by Bazett's formula (QTc) was calculated from standard 12-lead ECGs in 963 subjects free of previous cardiovascular events (646 RA patients and 317 controls strictly matched for age, sex and cardiovascular risk factors).

Results: RA patients (59.6±9.6 years, 68.1% females) had a long mean disease duration (10.6 years) and moderate disease activity (DAS28=3.68±1.23). QTc was 5 msec longer in RA patients than in controls (412±9 vs. 407±28 msec, p=0.013). However, the prevalence of QTc prolongation in RA patients and controls was not significantly different (5.3% vs. 6.3%, p=0.50). On the contrary, RA patients had a significantly greater QTd (42±26 vs. 35±18 msec, p<0.001) and a higher prevalence of increased QTd (33.3% vs. 18.3%, p<0.001) than controls. Furthermore, RA was independently associated to increased QTd [OR(95%CI)= 2.21(1.58-3.08), p=0.0001]. In the RA population, male gender and older age were independently associated with a higher prevalence of prolonged QTd.

Conclusions: In this cohort of long-standing and moderately active RA patients, RA showed longer QTc but similar prevalence of prolonged QTc and an increased QTd with a 1.8-fold higher prevalence of increased QTd than the control population. Further studies in larger prospective cohorts are warranted to investigate whether QTd prolongation predicts sudden cardiac death and other adverse cardiovascular outcomes in RA.
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September 2020

Effect of pressure variation on the efficiency of supercritical fluid extraction of wild carrot (Daucus carota subsp. maritimus) extracts.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2019 Sep 10;1125:121713. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Research Unit 13ES63, Applied Chemistry and Environment, Monastir University, Faculty of Sciences of Monastir, Monastir 5000, University of Monastir, Tunisia. Electronic address:

The present study was conducted to check the comparative qualities of essential oils prepared by hydrodistillation (HD) and supercritical fluid techniques. It constitutes the first attempt to investigate the chemical composition of Daucus carota subsp. maritimus extracts using supercritical fluid technology (SFE) as an environmentally clean innovative method of extraction. The effect of pressure on the nature of extractable substances from wild carrot has been performed at a constant temperature of 50 °C and two different pressures (100 and 300 bar). The experimental results showed that pressure had a significant enhancing effect on the fluid transport properties and therefore on yield values. The extraction yield increases from 1.167 to 2.986% while increasing pressure. The chemical compositions of the essential oils prepared by HD and SFE were analyzed on the basis of gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). Thus, we noticed that all analyzed samples were enriched in geranyl acetate and β‑bisabolene, and that the quantities of different identified substances were extremely sensitive to the extraction method and to the pressure variation in case of SFE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2019.121713DOI Listing
September 2019

Evaluation of the attractant effect and lipid profile modulation of natural fixed oils on the medfly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann).

Arch Insect Biochem Physiol 2018 Dec 9;99(4):e21508. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, Cagliari, Italy.

The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann, 1824; Diptera: Tephritidae), is a polyphagous pest in horticulture, mainly targeting Citrus fruits. Natural essential and fixed oils are currently under investigation for their broad-spectrum in pest control. To gain better knowledge about medfly behavior and biochemistry, we examined with behavioral and biochemical assays, the effects on C. capitata from six natural fixed oils obtained from vegetable (five) or animal (one) matrices using the eco-friendly supercritical CO extraction. Oils were obtained at 250/300 bar and 40°C from the seeds of Laurus nobilis and Citrus paradisi, the fruits of Myristica fragrans and Pistacia terebinthus, wheat germ, and mullet roes (marine oil). Behavioral experiments were performed by means of two-choice tests to analyze the oil attractant effect compared with control (water or standard diet). The fatty acid composition of oils and the total lipid and fatty acid profile of medflies were characterized by chromatographic techniques. Behavioral bioassays showed that fixed oil obtained from M. fragrans (nutmeg butter) was more attractive than other oils. Medflies fed (24 hr) on marine oil showed significant changes in the total lipid and fatty acid profile induced by oil ingestion without toxic effects. However, 56% mortality was observed in insects fed on M. fragrans oil and no biochemical changes ascribable to oil ingestion were detected in the medflies that survived. Our results advance knowledge about the behavioral and biochemical response of medflies to fixed oils and will be potentially useful in developing new pest management strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/arch.21508DOI Listing
December 2018

Multicenter randomized, double-blind controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of laser therapy for the treatment of severe oral mucositis induced by chemotherapy in children: laMPO RCT.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2018 08 4;65(8):e27098. Epub 2018 May 4.

Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Unit, IRCCS materno infantile Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy.

Objectives: To demonstrate the efficacy of laser photobiomodulation (PBM) compared to that of placebo on severe oral mucositis (OM) in pediatric oncology patients. The primary objective was the reduction of OM grade (World Health Organization [WHO] scale) 7 days after starting PBM. Secondary objectives were reduction of pain, analgesic consumption, and incidence of side effects.

Methods: One hundred and one children with WHO grade > 2 chemotherapy-induced OM were enrolled in eight Italian hospitals. Patients were randomized to either PBM or sham treatment for four consecutive days (days +1 to +4). On days +4, +7, and +11, OM grade, pain (following a 0-10 numeric pain rating scale, NRS) and need for analgesics were evaluated by an operator blinded to treatment.

Results: Fifty-one patients were allocated to the PBM group, and 50 were allocated to the sham group. In total, 93.7% of PBM patients and 72% of sham patients had OM grade < 3 WHO on day +7 (P = 0.01). A significant reduction of pain was registered on day +7 in the PBM versus sham group (NRS 1 [0-3] vs. 2.5 [1-5], P < 0.006). Reduced use of analgesics was reported in the PBM group, although it was not statistically significant. No significant adverse events attributable to treatment were recorded.

Conclusions: PBM is a safe, feasible, and effective treatment for children affected by chemotherapy-induced OM, as it accelerates mucosal recovery and reduces pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27098DOI Listing
August 2018

Prevalence and Determinants of Peripheral Microvascular Endothelial Dysfunction in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study.

Mediators Inflamm 2018 1;2018:6548715. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

UOC di Reumatologia, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Sassari, Sassari, Italy.

Objectives: To define the prevalence and determinants of peripheral microvascular endothelial dysfunction (ED) in a large series of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients free of previous cardiovascular events.

Materials And Methods: Data from 874 RA patients enrolled in the EDRA study (Endothelial Dysfunction Evaluation for Coronary Heart Disease Risk Estimation in Rheumatoid Arthritis-ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02341066) were analyzed. Log-transformed reactive hyperemia index (Ln-RHI) was evaluated by peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) using the EndoPAT2000 device: values of Ln-RHI < 0.51 were considered indicative of peripheral ED.

Results: Peripheral microvascular ED was documented in one-third of RA patients (33.5%); in multiple logistic regression analysis, ACPA negativity and higher triglycerides concentrations were independently associated with the presence of peripheral ED [OR (95% CI) = 1.708 (1.218-2.396), < 0.01 and OR (95% CI) = 1.005 (1.002-1.009), < 0.01, respectively]. Multiple regression analysis showed a positive correlation between Ln-RHI values and systolic blood pressure and HDL cholesterol levels; furthermore, higher values of Ln-RHI were associated with ACPA positivity, while smoking habit was associated with lower Ln-RHI values.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates for the first time a high prevalence of peripheral microvascular ED in patients with RA free of previous cardiovascular events that appear to be only partially driven by traditional cardiovascular risk factors. The association between ACPA negativity and ED warrants further exploration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/6548715DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5816852PMC
September 2018

Chemical and biomolecular analyses to discriminate three taxa of Pistacia genus from Sardinia Island (Italy) and their antifungal activity.

Nat Prod Res 2018 Dec 20;32(23):2766-2774. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

a Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Botany Section , University of Cagliari , Cagliari , Italy.

This work reports the results and the comparison concerning the chemical and biomolecular analyses and the antifungal activity of three wild Pistacia species (Anacardiaceae) from Sardinia. Volatile oils from leaves and twigs of Pistacia x saportae, Pistacia lentiscus and Pistacia terebinthus were characterised using GC-FID and GC-MS techniques and tested against some fungal strains. Two DNA nuclear regions (ITS and 5S-rRNA-NTS) were amplified through PCR technique and sequenced. The three **Pistacia have similar chemical profile, although there are some important quantitative differences. The analysis of ITS and 5S-rRNA-NTS regions, reveals a species-specific nucleotide variation among the three **taxa. This method could emerge as a powerful tool for the species identification, especially because the discrimination of these three **taxa appears difficult for non-expert botanists. Concerning the antifungal activity, P. lentiscus and P. x saportae show the highest activity against Cryptococcus neoformans, with a MIC value of 0.32 μL/mL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2017.1378211DOI Listing
December 2018

Fatty acids from high rate algal pond's microalgal biomass and osmotic stress effects.

Bioresour Technol 2017 Nov 12;244(Pt 1):860-864. Epub 2017 Aug 12.

Université de Monastir, Faculté des Sciences, Département de Chimie, UR Chimie Appliquée et Environnement, Bvd de l'Environnement, 5000 Monastir, Tunisia. Electronic address:

The extraction of oil from a wild microalgae biomass collected from a domestic wastewater treatment facility's high rate algal pond (HRAP) was investigated. An experiment plan was used to determine the most efficient extraction method, the optimal temperature, time and solvent system based on total lipids yield. Microwave-assisted extraction was the most efficient method whether in n-hexane or in a mixture of chloroform/methanol compared to Soxhlet, homogenization, and ultrasounds assisted extractions. This same wild biomass was cultivated in a photobioreactor (PBR) and the effect of osmotic stress was studied. The lipids extraction yield after 3days of stress increased by more than four folds without any significant loss of biomass, however, the quality of extracted total lipids in terms of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids was not affected by salinity change in the culture medium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2017.08.052DOI Listing
November 2017

Chemical composition of Lycium europaeum fruit oil obtained by supercritical CO extraction and evaluation of its antioxidant activity, cytotoxicity and cell absorption.

Food Chem 2017 Sep 6;230:82-90. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, SS 554, Km 4.5, 09042 Monserrato, CA, Italy.

We studied the total phenols and flavonoids, liposoluble antioxidants, fatty acid and triacylglycerol profiles, and oxidative status of oil obtained from Lycium europaeum fruits following supercritical CO extraction (at 30MPa and 40°C). Linoleic (52%), palmitic (18%), oleic (13%), and α-linolenic (6%) were the main oil fatty acids, while trilinolein and palmitodilinolein/oleodilinolein represented the main triacylglycerols. The oil was characterized by high levels of all-trans-zeaxanthin and all-trans-β-carotene (755 and 332μg/g of oil, respectively), α-tocopherol (308μg/g of oil), total phenols (13.6mg gallic acid equivalents/g of oil), and total flavonoids (6.8mg quercetin equivalents/g of oil). The oil showed radical scavenging activities (ABTS and DPPH assays) and inhibited Caco-2 cell growth. Moreover, the incubation of differentiated Caco-2 cells with a non-toxic oil concentration (100μg/mL) induced a significant intracellular accumulation of essential fatty acids. The results qualify L. europaeum oil as a potential source for food/pharmaceutical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.03.019DOI Listing
September 2017

Chemical variability in essential oils from Ruta species among seasons, and its taxonomic and ecological significance.

Nat Prod Res 2017 Oct 24;31(19):2329-2334. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

b Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences , University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato , Monserrato , Italy.

Leaf essential oils of 11 samples from Ruta montana, Ruta chalepensis subsp. latifolia and Ruta chalepensis subsp. angustifolia collected from two sites have been studied by GC/MS that allowed to identify 22, 25 and 12 components, respectively. The variability in the composition of essential oils among species and seasons was very high, and hence the existence of different chemotypes has been inferred. The major components were 2-undecanone, (E) caryophyllene, 2-nonanone and 2-methyloctyl acetate. Multivariate analysis of the 11 samples suggest that the main factors capable to influence the chemical composition of leaf essential oils was both the collection period and the geographical origin. 2-Undecanone seems to be the chemotaxonomic marker of Ruta genus. Furthermore, the formation of distinct clusters and sub-clusters at high distance also supports that the patterns of distribution of chemical constituents among seasons can be used in delimiting species and infraspecific taxa within the species complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2017.1303692DOI Listing
October 2017

Chemical characterisation and biological activity of leaf essential oils obtained from Pistacia terebinthus growing wild in Tunisia and Sardinia Island.

Nat Prod Res 2017 Nov 15;31(22):2684-2689. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

e CNC.IBILI, Faculty of Pharmacy , University of Coimbra , Coimbra , Portugal.

In the present work the chemical compositions, measured by GC and GC-MS, of the essential oils obtained by hydrodistillation from leaves of Pistacia terebinthus collected in Bizerte (Tunisia) and Baunei (Italy) are reported. Both essential oils possessed high content of monoterpene hydrocarbons (86.3% and 90.9%, respectively), being α-pinene (62.4 vs. 35.0)%, camphene (3.0 vs. 2.4)%, β-pinene (12.1 vs. 4.5)%, terpinolene (1.7 vs. 35.2)% and β-phellandrene (3.8 vs. 4.5)% the main components. The Tunisian essential oil exhibited higher antifungal activity than the Italian one. Cryptococcus neoformans and the majority of dermatophyte strains showed more sensitivity to the Tunisian oil, when compared to Candida strains, in particular Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum canis and Epidermophyton floccosum, with MIC and MLC values in the range (0.16-0.32) μL/mL. The results obtained support the use of the oil from Tunisia for the treatment of dermatophytosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2017.1289204DOI Listing
November 2017

Evaluation of antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibitory activities of the extracts of Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach fruits.

Nat Prod Res 2017 Dec 6;31(24):2900-2904. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

e Department of Biomedical Sciences , University of Cagliari , Monserrato , Italy.

Sarcopoterium spinosum fruits have been used to get extracts of different nature; two fixed oils were obtained by means of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) with CO at 250 bar and 40°C and using n-hexane in a Soxhlet extraction (SE) apparatus. Aqueous solutions: an aromatic water (AW) and a residual water (RW) were obtained by hydrodistillation (HD). In the RW, following have been identified: quercetin glucuronide, luteolin 7-O-glucuronide, isorhamnetin 3-O-glucuronide, quercetin sulfate and quercetin. Among all tested plant extracts, the RW had the highest content of polyphenol (378 mg GAE/g of weight) and of flavonoids (26 mg QE/g of weight), and the highest antioxidant activity, comparable to that of Trolox. It was also the most active extract of this series (IC = 0.292 mg/mL) in the tyrosinase activity assays performed with L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) as substrate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2017.1297994DOI Listing
December 2017

Cardiotoxicity from anthracycline and cardioprotection in paediatric cancer patients.

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown) 2016 May;17 Suppl 1 Special issue on Cardiotoxicity from Antiblastic Drugs and Cardioprotection:e55-e63

aDepartment of Medical Sciences 'Mario Aresu', University of Cagliari bGeneral Surgery and Medical-Surgery Specialities Department, University of Catania cDivision of Cardiology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori 'Fondazione Giovanni Pascale'-IRCCS, Naples, Italy.

Notwithstanding the steady progress in survival rates of children and adolescents suffering from cancer, the benefits associated with chemotherapy do not come without risks involving multiple organs and systems, including the cardiovascular apparatus. Anthracyclines-often administered in combination with radiation therapy and/or surgery-are the most used chemotherapeutic compounds in order to treat tumours and blood malignancies even in paediatric age. Being an important side-effect of anthracyclines, carduitoxicity may limit their efficacy during the treatment and induce long-term sequelae, observed even many years after therapy completion. The purpose of this review was to perform an overview about all the possible strategies to prevent and/or limit the anthracyclines adverse side-effects for the cardiovascular system in childhood cancer survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2459/JCM.0000000000000375DOI Listing
May 2016

Pathophysiology of cardiotoxicity induced by nonanthracycline chemotherapy.

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown) 2016 May;17 Suppl 1 Special issue on Cardiotoxicity from Antiblastic Drugs and Cardioprotection:e12-e18

aDepartment of Medical Sciences Mario Aresu, Unit of Medical Oncology bDepartment of Medical Sciences Mario Aresu, Unit of Cardiology and Angiology, University Hospital Cagliari, University of Cagliari, Cagliari cDivision of Cardiology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori 'Fondazione Giovanni Pascale' - IRCCS, Naples, Italy.

The risk and mechanism of chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity (CTX) vary depending on the type and intensity of the anticancer regimen. Myriad chemotherapeutic drugs produce adverse cardiovascular effects such as arterial hypertension, heart failure, and thromboembolic events. Among the numerous classes of these drugs, anthracyclines have been studied most extensively because of their overt cardiovascular effects and the high associated incidence of heart failure. However, CTX might also be caused by other types of chemotherapeutic agents, including alkylating agents (cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide), platinum agents, antimetabolites (5-fluorouracil, capecitabine), antibiotics (mitoxantrone, mitomycin, bleomycin), and antimicrotubule agents (taxanes). Here, we review the incidence, clinical impact, and potential mechanisms of CTX associated with nonanthracycline chemotherapy used for cancer patients. The published data support a marked increase in CTX risk, particularly with certain drugs such as 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin. Each anticancer regimen is associated with distinct modes of heart damage, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. However, the underlying mechanisms of CTX have been established only in a few cases, and only few nonanthracycline chemotherapeutics (mitoxantrone, mitomycin, ifosfamide) act through a recognizable mechanism and show a predictable dose dependence. Lastly, nonanthracycline chemotherapy can induce both chronic lesions, such as systolic dysfunction, and acute lesions, such as the ischemia that occurs within hours or days after treatment. An increased understanding of the incidence, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic targets of CTX induced by various nonanthracycline chemotherapeutic agents is clearly required.
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May 2016

Timing of the negative effects of trastuzumab on cardiac mechanics after anthracycline chemotherapy.

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging 2017 Feb 1;33(2):197-207. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

Trastuzumab (TZB) has been shown to be extremely effective in breast cancer patients over-expressing HER-2, but careful cardiac monitoring is required when TZB is administered with anthracyclines, since the combination can increase its toxicity. Myocardial deformation indexes associated with speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) have proven to be very sensitive in identifying early myocardial dysfunction. An observational, prospective study was designed to assess TZB-induced cardiac damage using STE in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer who had been sequentially treated with TZB following epirubicin (EPI). Conventional echocardiographic parameters and STE deformation indexes (longitudinal, radial, and circumferential strain/strain rate and apical rotation) were analyzed at baseline, after each EPI treatment, and 1 week after every other dose of TZB administration until 1 year follow up, in order to focus on the timing and extent of myocardial impairment. In the forty-five enrolled patients, a reduction in subendocardial function after EPI treatment was observed by a significant impairment of the global longitudinal strain/strain rate (GLS/SR), while a significant increase in the activity of the subepicardial fibers was highlighted by an increase in apical rotation. After the second TZB dose, a sudden reduction of the apical rotation was seen, together with circumferential and radial strain/SR. Most importantly, the extent to which the apical rotation increased and decreased was found to strictly correlate with the GLS reduction at follow up. We found that after EPI therapy, subendocardial function was impaired, even while a compensatory increase in apical rotation occurred. Following TZB treatment, we observed impairment in apical rotation, which seems to be the first sign of global LV dysfunction predicting GLS reduction found at the end of treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10554-016-0987-9DOI Listing
February 2017

Asymmetric dimethylarginine and arterial stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A case-control study.

J Int Med Res 2016 Sep;44(1 suppl):76-80

Rheumatology Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria of Sassari and University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy.

Objective: To investigate whether levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), as a measure of endothelial dysfunction, are higher in patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared with healthy control subjects. The relationships between ADMA and surrogate measures of arterial stiffness were evaluated.

Methods: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and healthy control subjects were recruited. ADMA was quantified via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Arterial stiffness was evaluated using pulse wave analysis.

Results: There was no significant difference in plasma ADMA concentration between patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 30) and healthy controls (n = 30). Aortic augmentation pressure was significantly higher in patients than in controls. C-reactive protein and Health Assessment Questionnaire score were independent predictors of arterial stiffness in patients. There was no relationship between ADMA concentration and aortic augmentation pressure in the study population as a whole.

Conclusions: Arterial stiffness appears to be increased in rheumatoid arthritis and independently associated with systemic inflammation and physical disability. ADMA concentration was not increased in this small group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared with healthy controls; nor was it associated with arterial stiffness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300060515593255DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5536534PMC
September 2016

Cardiotoxicity from anthracycline and cardioprotection in paediatric cancer patients.

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown) 2016 May;17 Suppl 1:S55-63

aDepartment of Medical Sciences 'Mario Aresu', University of Cagliari bGeneral Surgery and Medical-Surgery Specialities Department, University of Catania cDivision of Cardiology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori 'Fondazione Giovanni Pascale'-IRCCS, Naples, Italy.

Notwithstanding the steady progress in survival rates of children and adolescents suffering from cancer, the benefits associated with chemotherapy do not come without risks involving multiple organs and systems, including the cardiovascular apparatus. Anthracyclines-often administered in combination with radiation therapy and/or surgery-are the most used chemotherapeutic compounds in order to treat tumours and blood malignancies even in paediatric age. Being an important side-effect of anthracyclines, carduitoxicity may limit their efficacy during the treatment and induce long-term sequelae, observed even many years after therapy completion. The purpose of this review was to perform an overview about all the possible strategies to prevent and/or limit the anthracyclines adverse side-effects for the cardiovascular system in childhood cancer survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2459/JCM.0000000000000375DOI Listing
May 2016

Pathophysiology of cardiotoxicity induced by nonanthracycline chemotherapy.

J Cardiovasc Med (Hagerstown) 2016 May;17 Suppl 1:S12-8

aDepartment of Medical Sciences Mario Aresu, Unit of Medical Oncology bDepartment of Medical Sciences Mario Aresu, Unit of Cardiology and Angiology, University Hospital Cagliari, University of Cagliari, Cagliari cDivision of Cardiology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori 'Fondazione Giovanni Pascale' - IRCCS, Naples, Italy.

The risk and mechanism of chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity (CTX) vary depending on the type and intensity of the anticancer regimen. Myriad chemotherapeutic drugs produce adverse cardiovascular effects such as arterial hypertension, heart failure, and thromboembolic events. Among the numerous classes of these drugs, anthracyclines have been studied most extensively because of their overt cardiovascular effects and the high associated incidence of heart failure. However, CTX might also be caused by other types of chemotherapeutic agents, including alkylating agents (cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide), platinum agents, antimetabolites (5-fluorouracil, capecitabine), antibiotics (mitoxantrone, mitomycin, bleomycin), and antimicrotubule agents (taxanes). Here, we review the incidence, clinical impact, and potential mechanisms of CTX associated with nonanthracycline chemotherapy used for cancer patients. The published data support a marked increase in CTX risk, particularly with certain drugs such as 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin. Each anticancer regimen is associated with distinct modes of heart damage, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. However, the underlying mechanisms of CTX have been established only in a few cases, and only few nonanthracycline chemotherapeutics (mitoxantrone, mitomycin, ifosfamide) act through a recognizable mechanism and show a predictable dose dependence. Lastly, nonanthracycline chemotherapy can induce both chronic lesions, such as systolic dysfunction, and acute lesions, such as the ischemia that occurs within hours or days after treatment. An increased understanding of the incidence, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic targets of CTX induced by various nonanthracycline chemotherapeutic agents is clearly required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2459/JCM.0000000000000376DOI Listing
May 2016

Essential Oil Constituents and Antioxidant Activity of Asplenium Ferns.

J Chromatogr Sci 2016 Sep 10;54(8):1341-5. Epub 2016 May 10.

Department of Chemical and Geological Science, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato, S.P. Monserrato-Sestu km 0,700, Monserrato, CA, 09042, Italy.

Two fern species Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L. and Asplenium trichomanes L. collected from the Kroumiria region (Northwest of Tunisia) were individually submitted to hydrodistillation in a Clevenger type apparatus. Volatile organic compounds were identified by GC-MS and GC-FID. Thus, 35 compounds were identified in A. adiantum-nigrum essential oil accounting for 77.5% of the whole constituents dominated by palmitic acid (34.5%); however, only 29 volatiles were identified in A. trichomanes showing a high amount of phytol, an odorous diterpene alcohol, representing 14.4% of the total oil contents. The total phenolic content and the antioxidant effects of crude extracts from both pteridophytes were determined using Folin-Ciocalteu and 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical-scavenging assays, respectively. A. adiantum-nigrum ethyl acetate extract is shown to be lower in total phenolic contents (49.3 mg gallic acid equivalent/g) than similar extract from A. trichomanes (55.4 mg GAE/g).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chromsci/bmw071DOI Listing
September 2016

Microalgae from domestic wastewater facility's high rate algal pond: Lipids extraction, characterization and biodiesel production.

Bioresour Technol 2016 Apr 30;206:239-244. Epub 2016 Jan 30.

Université de Monastir, Faculté des Sciences, Département de Chimie, UR13ES63-Chimie Appliquée et Environnement, Bvd de l'Environnement, 5000 Monastir, Tunisia. Electronic address:

In this study, the harvesting of a biomass from a high rate algal pond (HRAP) of a real-scale domestic wastewater treatment facility and its potential as a biomaterial for the production of biodiesel were investigated. Increasing the medium pH to 12 induced high flocculation efficiency of up to 96% of the biomass through both sweep flocculation and charge neutralization. Lipids extracted by ultrasounds from this biomass contained around 70% of fatty acids, with palmitic and stearic acids being the most abundant. The extract obtained by supercritical CO2 contained 86% of fatty acids. Both conventional solvents extracts contained only around 10% of unsaturated fats, whereas supercritical CO2 extract contained more than 40% of unsaturated fatty acids. This same biomass was also subject to direct extractive-transesterification in a microwave reactor to produce fatty acid methyl esters, also known as, raw biodiesel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2016.01.082DOI Listing
April 2016

Endodontic infection and endothelial dysfunction are associated with different mechanisms in men and women.

J Endod 2015 May 19;41(5):594-600. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

Introduction: To investigate the potential link between apical periodontitis (AP) and cardiovascular (CV) function, inflammation markers, endothelial flow reserve (EFR), and levels of asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), the endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), were measured in young adults with AP aged 20-40 years of both sexes.

Methods: Forty men and 41 women (31 ± 5.71 years) free from periodontal disease, CV disease, and traditional CV risk factors were enrolled in the study. Twenty men and 21 women had AP; 40 healthy individuals matched for age, sex, and physical characteristics were also recruited as controls. All subjects underwent dental and complete physical examination, electrocardiography, conventional and tissue Doppler imaging echocardiography, and measurement of EFR. Interleukin (IL)-2, tumor necrosis factor alpha, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and ADMA were also assessed. Data were analyzed using the 2-tailed Student t test, the Pearson t test (or the Spearman t test for nonparametric variables), and multivariate linear regression analysis.

Results: Echocardiography excluded any morphologic and functional cardiac alteration in all the subjects studied. Patients with AP of both sexes showed a significant reduction in EFR (P < .05) and a significant increase in IL-2 (men: P < .01, women: P < .05), whereas ROS were increased significantly only in women (P < .05). ADMA levels were unchanged in women with AP, but they were significantly increased in men (P < .05). A significant direct correlation between ADMA and IL-2 (r = 0.67, P < .001) and an inverse correlation between ADMA and EFR (r = -0.42, P < .05) in men and a significant inverse correlation between ROS and EFR (r = -0.71, P < .01) in female patients were observed.

Conclusions: The presence of chronic inflammation in young adults with AP may cause early endothelial dysfunction documented by the reduced EFR. AP in men may influence the metabolism of NOS, whereas in women it appears to implicate a more direct detrimental mechanism. This difference is sex dependent and may be attributable to the protective action of estrogen in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joen.2015.01.037DOI Listing
May 2015

Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of essential oil from aerial parts of Teucrium flavum L. subsp. flavum growing spontaneously in Tunisia.

Nat Prod Res 2015 17;29(24):2336-40. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

b Laboratory of Botany and Plant Ecology, Faculty of Sciences of Bizerta , 7021 Jarzouna, Bizerta , Tunisia.

The objectives of this study were to chemically characterise and evaluate the antioxidant potential of the essential oil from Teucrium flavum L. subsp. flavum growing spontaneously in Tunisia. The volatile oil was extracted by hydrodistillation of the aerial parts in a Clevenger type apparatus. Forty constituents were identified via GC and GC-MS analysis. β-caryophyllene (32.5%) and α-humulene (17.8%) were the most abundant components. The evaluation of free radical scavenging activity using stable DPPH free radical showed that the volatile oil exhibits a moderate antioxidant activity and reduces DPPH to 50% at EC50 value of 1230 μg mL(-1).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2015.1010162DOI Listing
January 2016
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