Publications by authors named "Anna Palumbo"

64 Publications

Impact of Microbial Colonization of Polystyrene Microbeads on the Toxicological Responses in the Sea Urchin .

Environ Sci Technol 2021 Jun 21;55(12):7990-8000. Epub 2021 May 21.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, Naples 80121, Italy.

The sea urchin was exposed to either virgin or biofilm-covered polystyrene microbeads (micro-PS, 45 μm) in order to test the effect of microbial colonization on the uptake, biodistribution, and immune response. The biofilm was dominated by bacteria, as detected by scanning electron microscopy and 16S rRNA sequencing. A higher internalization rate of colonized micro-PS inside sea urchins compared to virgin ones was detected, suggesting a role of the plastisphere in the interaction. Colonized and virgin micro-PS showed the same biodistribution pattern by accumulating mainly in the digestive system with higher levels and faster egestion rates for the colonized. However, a significant increase of catalase and total antioxidant activity was observed only in the digestive system of colonized micro-PS-exposed individuals. Colonized micro-PS also induced a significant decrease in the number of coelomocytes with a significant increase in vibratile cells, compared to control and virgin micro-PS-exposed animals. Moreover, a general time-dependent increase in the red/white amoebocytes ratio and reactive oxygen species and a decrease in nitrogen ones were observed upon exposure to both colonized and virgin micro-PS. Overall, micro-PS colonization clearly affected the uptake and toxicological responses of the Mediterranean sea urchin in comparison to virgin micro-PS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c00618DOI Listing
June 2021

Enriched Music-supported Therapy for chronic stroke patients: a study protocol of a randomised controlled trial.

BMC Neurol 2021 Jan 12;21(1):19. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Cognition and Brain Plasticity Unit, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, 08907, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Residual motor deficits of the upper limb in patients with chronic stroke are common and have a negative impact on autonomy, participation and quality of life. Music-Supported Therapy (MST) is an effective intervention to enhance motor and cognitive function, emotional well-being and quality of life in chronic stroke patients. We have adapted the original MST training protocol to a home-based intervention, which incorporates increased training intensity and variability, group sessions, and optimisation of learning to promote autonomy and motivation.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial will be conducted to test the effectiveness of this enriched MST (eMST) protocol in improving motor functions, cognition, emotional well-being and quality of life of chronic stroke patients when compared to a program of home-based exercises utilizing the Graded Repetitive Arm Supplementary Program (GRASP). Sixty stroke patients will be recruited and randomly allocated to an eMST group (n = 30) or a control GRASP intervention group (n = 30). Patients will be evaluated before and after a 10-week intervention, as well as at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome of the study is the functionality of the paretic upper limb measured with the Action Research Arm Test. Secondary outcomes include other motor and cognitive functions, emotional well-being and quality of life measures as well as self-regulation and self-efficacy outcomes.

Discussion: We hypothesize that patients treated with eMST will show larger improvements in their motor and cognitive functions, emotional well-being and quality of life than patients treated with a home-based GRASP intervention.

Trial Registration: The trial has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov and identified as NCT04507542 on 8 August 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-02019-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7801568PMC
January 2021

Developing a Framework for Designing and Deploying Technology-Assisted Rehabilitation Post Stroke: A Qualitative Study.

Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2020 Nov 2. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

Rusk Rehabilitation, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016. Currently at Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287.

Objective: Many unmet rehabilitation needs of patients with stroke can be addressed effectively using technology. However, technological solutions have not yet been seamlessly incorporated into clinical care. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine how to bridge the gaps between the recovery process, technology, and clinical practice to impact stroke rehabilitation meaningfully.

Design: Semi-structured interviews using a grounded theory approach with purposive sampling of 17 diverse expert providers in acute care, inpatient, and outpatient stroke rehabilitation settings. Common themes were identified from qualitative analyses of the transcribed conversations to develop a guiding framework from the emerging concepts.

Results: Four core themes emerged that addressed major barriers in stroke rehabilitation and technology-assisted solutions to overcome these barriers: 1) accessibility to quality rehabilitation, 2) adaptability to patient differences, 3) accountability or compliance with rehabilitation, and 4) engagement with rehabilitation.

Conclusion: The results suggest a four-pronged framework, the A3E framework which stands for Accessibility, Adaptability, Accountability and Engagement, to comprehensively address existing barriers in providing rehabilitation services. This framework can guide technology developers and clinicians in designing and deploying technology-assisted rehabilitation solutions for post-stroke rehabilitation, particularly using tele-rehabilitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PHM.0000000000001634DOI Listing
November 2020

Insights into the Light Response of : Involvement of Ovothiol.

Mar Drugs 2020 Sep 20;18(9). Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Napoli, Italy.

Diatoms are one of the most widespread groups of microalgae on Earth. They possess extraordinary metabolic capabilities, including a great ability to adapt to different light conditions. Recently, we have discovered that the diatom produces the natural antioxidant ovothiol B, until then identified only in clams. In this study, we investigated the light-dependent modulation of ovothiol biosynthesis in . Diatoms were exposed to different light conditions, ranging from prolonged darkness to low or high light, also differing in the velocity of intensity increase (sinusoidal square-wave distribution). The expression of the gene encoding the key ovothiol biosynthetic enzyme, , was upregulated by high sinusoidal light mimicking natural conditions. Under this situation higher levels of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide as well as ovothiol and glutathione increase were detected. No ovoA modulation was observed under prolonged darkness nor low sinusoidal light. Unnatural conditions such as continuous square-wave light induced a very high oxidative stress leading to a drop in cell growth, without enhancing ovoA gene expression. Only one of the inducible forms of nitric oxide synthase, , was upregulated by light with consequent production of NO under sinusoidal light and darkness conditions. Our data suggest that ovothiol biosynthesis is triggered by a combined light stress caused by natural distribution and increased photon flux density, with no influence from the daily light dose. These results open new perspectives for the biotechnological production of ovothiols, which are receiving a great interest for their biological activities in human model systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/md18090477DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551349PMC
September 2020

Transphyletic conservation of nitric oxide synthase regulation in cephalochordates and tunicates.

Dev Genes Evol 2020 11 24;230(5-6):329-338. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Napoli, Villa Comunale, 80121, Napoli, Italy.

Nitric oxide synthase is ubiquitously present in metazoans and is involved in a wide range of biological processes. Three distinct Nos genes have been so far identified in vertebrates exhibiting a complex expression pattern and transcriptional regulation. Nevertheless, although independent events of Nos duplication have been observed in several taxa, only few studies described the regulatory mechanisms responsible for their activation in non-vertebrate animals. To shed light on the mechanisms underlying neuronal-type Nos expression, we focused on two non-vertebrate chordates: the cephalochordate Branchiostoma lanceolatum and the tunicate Ciona robusta. Here, throughout transphyletic and transgenic approaches, we identified genomic regions in both species acting as Nos functional enhancers during development. In vivo analyses of Nos genomic fragments revealed their ability to recapitulate the endogenous expression territories. Therefore, our results suggest the existence of evolutionary conserved mechanisms responsible for neuronal-type Nos regulation in non-vertebrate chordates. In conclusion, this study paves the way for future characterization of conserved transcriptional logic underlying the expression of neuronal-type Nos genes in chordates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00427-020-00668-3DOI Listing
November 2020

Being an obstetrics and gynaecology resident during the COVID-19: Impact of the pandemic on the residency training program.

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2020 Oct 1;253:48-51. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy.

Objective: to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the obstetrics and gynecology residency training program in Italy.

Study Design: This was a cross-sectional survey study aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the obstetrics and gynecology residency training program in Italy. An online survey with 45 questions was sent and completed anonymously by residents after accepting an informed consent. The invitation to the online survey was sent to all the Italian residents in obstetrics and gynecology. Those on maternity leave at the time of the study were excluded. Residents were asked about their routinely activity before the COVID-19 pandemic, and to report the reduction in their clinical practice. They were also asked about psychological impact of COVID-19 on their clinical practice.

Results: 933 Italian residents in obstetrics and gynecology, were invited for this survey study. Four-hundred and seventy-six (51 %) completed the survey and were included in the study. Three-hundred and eighty-seven (81.3 %) were female, and 89 (18.7 %) were male. Residents age ranged from 25 to 42. In 71,8 % (342/476) of the cases residents work in a COVID-19 reference Hospitals. One-hundred and eighty-four out of 76 residents (38.6 %) were tested on RT-PCR assay of nasal and pharyngeal swab specimens, and of them 12/184 (6.5 %) were positive to SARS-COV-2. Regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), 267 (56.1 %) reported to receive adequate device, and 379 (79.6 %) felt to be well informed about prevention and management protocols. Three-hundred and thirty-one residents (69.5 %) reported to have managed COVID-19 positive patients. For 54,7 % of respondent residents, training activity in general decreased significantly during the COVID-19 epidemic. A one-third reduction was reported in 31,4 % of the cases, whereas a total suspension of the training in 9,9 % of the cases. In 89,3 % of cases the reduction was caused by the reorganization of work. Anxiety about the professional future was reported in 84 % of the residents, and 59 % of them had the perception that their training was irreversibly compromised.

Conclusions: Among Italian residents in obstetrics and gynecology, COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a significant training impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.07.057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395645PMC
October 2020

How sea urchins face microplastics: Uptake, tissue distribution and immune system response.

Environ Pollut 2020 Sep 28;264:114685. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Plastic pollution represents one of the major threats to the marine environment. A wide range of marine organisms has been shown to ingest microplastics due to their small dimensions (less than 1 mm). This negatively affects some biological processes, such as feeding, energy reserves and reproduction. Very few studies have been performed on the effect of microplastics on sea urchin development and virtually none on adults. The aim of this work was to evaluate the uptake and distribution of fluorescent labelled polystyrene microbeads (micro-PS) in the Mediterranean sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the potential impact on circulating immune cells. Differential uptake was observed in the digestive and water vascular systems as well as in the gonads based on microbeads size (10 and 45 μm in diameter). Treatment of sea urchins with particles of both sizes induced an increase of the total number of immune cells already after 24 h. No significant differences were observed among immune cell types. However, the ratio between red and white amoebocytes, indicative of sea urchin healthy status, increased with both particles. This effect was detectable already at 24 h upon exposure to smaller micro-PS (10 μm). An increase of intracellular levels of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species was observed at 24 h upon both micro-PS exposure, whereas at later time these levels became comparable to those of controls. A significant increase of total antioxidant capacity was observed after treatment with 10 μm micro-PS. Overall data provide the first evidence on polystyrene microbeads uptake and tissue distribution in sea urchins, indicating a stress-related impact on circulating immune cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114685DOI Listing
September 2020

Antioxidant and immune response of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus to different re-suspension patterns of highly polluted marine sediments.

Mar Environ Res 2020 Sep 3;160:104978. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Marine pollution due to disused industrial activities is a major threat to ecosystems and human health, for example through the effects of re-suspension of toxic substances that are present in contaminated sediments. Here, we examined the effects of different re-suspension patterns of polluted sediments from the site of national interest Bagnoli-Coroglio, on the immune system of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. An indoor experiment was set up exposing sea urchins for 34 days to such sediments and evaluating the effects of two patterns of water turbulence, mimicking natural storms at sea. One group of animals experienced an "aggregated" pattern of turbulence, consisting in two events, each lasting 2 days, separated by only 3 calm days, while a second group experienced two events of turbulence separated by 17 calm days (spaced pattern). At different times from the beginning of the experiment, coelomic fluid was collected from the animals and immune cells were examined for cell count and morphology, oxidative stress variables, and expression of genes involved in metal detoxification, stress response and inflammation. Our results highlighted that the aggregated pattern of turbulence was more noxious for sea urchins. Indeed, their immune system was altered, over the exposure time, as indicated by the increase of red amoebocytes number. Moreover, despite of an increase of the antioxidant power, animals from this group displayed a very significant ROS over-production at the end of the experiment. Conversely, animals in the spaced condition activated a different immune response, mainly having phagocytes as actors, and were able to partially recover from the received stress at the end of the experiment. No changes in the expression of genes related to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses were observed in both groups. By contrast, a down-regulation of various metallothioneins (4, 6, 7 and 8) in the group subjected to aggregated pattern was observed, while metallothionein 8 was up-regulated in the animals from the group exposed to the spaced pattern of turbulence. This work provides the first evidence of how sea urchins can respond to different re-suspension patterns of polluted sediments by modulating their immune system functions. The present data are relevant in relation to the possible environmental restoration of the study site, whose priorities include the assessment of the effects of marine pollution on local organisms, among which P. lividus represents a key benthic species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.104978DOI Listing
September 2020

Difficult caesarean section: A literature review.

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2020 Mar 7;246:72-78. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Magna Grecia" University, Viale Europa, Loc., Germaneto, 88100, Catanzaro, Italy.

Background: Caesarean section (CS) is usually perceived as a simple and safe alternative to natural birth, but in some instances can be technically difficult with consequent health hazards for both the mother and the fetus. We have proposed an evidence-based literature review of the most common difficult CS scenarios, with the aim to provide useful information about their management, possible prevention and resolution of complications.

Methods: We identified articles through a reserch in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Ovid MEDLINE for studies published between 1979 and 2019. We included the best available evidence, such as RCTs, non-randomised controlled clinical trials, case-control studies, cohort studies, and case series. About sixty articles were included in this review, four hundred and thirty-six were excluded after reviewing the title or abstract or because they weren't in English.

Findings: The possible causes of "difficult" caesarean sections were divided into four categories: difficult access to the lower uterine segment; complicated fetal extraction, laceration or organ damage and abnormal placentation.

Conclusions: Knowing in advance the potential technical difficulties and resulting risks allows the surgeon to plan appropriate strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2019.12.026DOI Listing
March 2020

First evidence of ovothiol biosynthesis in marine diatoms.

Free Radic Biol Med 2020 05 11;152:680-688. Epub 2020 Jan 11.

Dept. of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, 80121, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Ovothiols are histidine-derived thiols that are receiving a great interest for their biological activities in human model systems. Thanks to the position of the thiol group on the imidazole ring of histidine, these compounds exhibit unusual antioxidant properties. They have been revealing a very promising pharmacological potential due to their anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-fibrotic activities not always related to their antioxidant power. Ovothiols occur in three differentially methylated forms (A, B and C), isolated from ovary, eggs and biological fluids of many marine invertebrates, mollusks, microalgae, and pathogenic protozoa. These molecules are synthesized by two enzymes: the sulfoxide synthase OvoA and the sulfoxide lyase OvoB. OvoA catalyzes the insertion of the sulfur atom of cysteine on the imidazole ring of histidine, leading to the formation of a sulfoxide intermediate. This is then cleaved by OvoB, giving 5-thiohistidine, finally methylated on the imidazole ring thanks to the methyltransferase domain of OvoA. Recent studies have shown that OvoA homologs are encoded in a wide variety of genomes suggesting that ovothiol biosynthesis is much more widespread in nature than initially thought. Here we have investigated the OvoA occurrence in diatoms, one of the most abundant group of microalgae, dominating marine and freshwater environments. They are considered a very good model system for both biology/photophysiology studies and for biotechnological applications. We have performed comparative sequence and phylogenetic analyses of OvoA from diatoms, highlighting a high degree of conservation of the canonical domain architecture in the analyzed species, as well as a clear clustering of OvoA in the two different morphological groups, i.e. centric and pennate diatoms. The in silico analyses have also revealed that OvoA gene expression is modulated by growth conditions. More importantly, we have characterized the thiol fraction from cultures of the coastal centric diatom Skeletonema marinoi, providing the first evidence of ovothiol B biosynthesis in diatoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.01.010DOI Listing
May 2020

Ocean acidification affects biological activities of seaweeds: A case study of Sargassum vulgare from Ischia volcanic CO vents.

Environ Pollut 2020 Apr 17;259:113765. Epub 2019 Dec 17.

Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt; Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research Group (IMPRES) Department of Biology, Groenenborgerlaan 171, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

We utilized volcanic CO vents at Castello Aragonese off Ischia Island as a natural laboratory to investigate the effect of lowered pH/elevated CO on the bioactivities of extracts from fleshy brown algae Sargassum vulgare C. Agardh. We analysed the carbohydrate levels, antioxidant capacity, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anticancer properties and antimutagenic potential of the algae growing at the acidified site (pH ∼ 6.7) and those of algae growing at the nearby control site Lacco Ameno (pH∼8.1). The results of the present study show that the levels of polysaccharides fucoidan and alginate were higher in the algal population at acidified site. In general, extracts for the algal population from the acidified site showed a higher antioxidant capacity, antilipidperoxidation, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anticancer activities and antimutagenic potential compared to the control population. The increased bioactivity in acidified population could be due to elevated levels of bioactive compounds of algae and/or associated microbial communities. In this snapshot study, we performed bioactivity assays but did not characterize the chemistry and source of presumptive bioactive compounds. Nevertheless, the observed improvement in the medicinal properties of S. vulgare in the acidified oceans provides a promising basis for future marine drug discovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113765DOI Listing
April 2020

Probing the Interactions of Sulfur-Containing Histidine Compounds with Human Gamma-Glutamyl Transpeptidase.

Mar Drugs 2019 Nov 20;17(12). Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Dept. of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, 80121 Naples, Italy.

Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is a cell surface enzyme involved in glutathione metabolism and maintenance of redox homeostasis. High expression of GGT on tumor cells is associated with an increase of cell proliferation and resistance against chemotherapy. GGT inhibitors that have been evaluated in clinical trials are too toxic for human use. We have previously identified ovothiols, 5(Nπ)-methyl-thiohistidines of marine origin, as non-competitive-like inhibitors of GGT that are more potent than the known GGT inhibitor, 6-diazo-5-oxo-l-norleucine (DON), and are not toxic for human embryonic cells. We extended these studies to the desmethylated form of ovothiol, 5-thiohistidine, and confirmed that this ovothiol derivative also acts as a non-competitive-like GGT inhibitor, with a potency comparable to ovothiol. We also found that both 5-thiohistidine derivatives act as reversible GGT inhibitors compared to the irreversible DON. Finally, we probed the interactions of 5-thiohistidines with GGT by docking analysis and compared them with the 2-thiohistidine ergothioneine, the physiological substrate glutathione, and the DON inhibitor. Overall, our results provide new insight for further development of 5-thiohistidine derivatives as therapeutics for GGT-positive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/md17120650DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6949936PMC
November 2019

Sulfur-containing histidine compounds inhibit γ-glutamyl transpeptidase activity in human cancer cells.

J Biol Chem 2019 10 2;294(40):14603-14614. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, 80121 Naples, Italy

γ-Glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is an enzyme located on the surface of cellular membranes and involved in GSH metabolism and maintenance of redox homeostasis. High GGT expression on tumor cells is associated with increased cell proliferation and resistance against chemotherapy. GGT inhibitors evaluated so far in clinical trials are too toxic for human use. In this study, using enzyme kinetics analyses, we demonstrate that ovothiols, 5(π)-methyl thiohistidines of marine origin, act as noncompetitive inhibitors of GGT, with an apparent of 21 μm, when we fixed the concentrations of the donor substrate. We found that these compounds are more potent than the known GGT inhibitor 6-diazo-5-oxo-l-norleucine and are not toxic toward human embryonic cells. In particular, cellular process-specific fluorescence-based assays revealed that ovothiols induce a mixed cell-death phenotype of apoptosis and autophagy in GGT-overexpressing cell lines, including human liver cancer and chronic B leukemic cells. The findings of our study provide the basis for further development of 5-thiohistidines as therapeutics for GGT-positive tumors and highlight that GGT inhibition is involved in autophagy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA119.009304DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779435PMC
October 2019

Living in future ocean acidification, physiological adaptive responses of the immune system of sea urchins resident at a CO vent system.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jul 2;672:938-950. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

The effects of ocean acidification, a major anthropogenic impact on marine life, have been mainly investigated in laboratory/mesocosm experiments. We used the CO vents at Ischia as a natural laboratory to study the long-term effects of ocean acidification on the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus population resident in low-pH (7.8 ± 0.2) compared to that at two control sites (pH 8.02 ± 0.00; 8.02 ± 0.01). The novelty of the present study is the analysis of the sea urchin immune cells, the sentinels of environmental stress responses, by a wide-ranging approach, including cell morphology, biochemistry and proteomics. Immune cell proteomics showed that 311 proteins were differentially expressed in urchins across sites with a general shift towards antioxidant processes in the vent urchins. The vent urchin immune cells showed higher levels of total antioxidant capacity, up-regulation of phagosome and microsomal proteins, enzymes of ammonium metabolism, amino-acid degradation, and modulation of carbon metabolism proteins. Lipid-hydroperoxides and nitric oxide levels were not different in urchins from the different sites. No differences in the coelomic fluid pH, immune cell composition, animal respiration, nitrogen excretion and skeletal mineralogy were observed. Our results reveal the phenotypic plasticity of the immune system of sea urchins adapted to life at vent site, under conditions commensurate with near-future ocean acidification projections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.005DOI Listing
July 2019

Antifibrotic Effect of Marine Ovothiol in an Model of Liver Fibrosis.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018 17;2018:5045734. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy.

Liver fibrosis is a complex process caused by chronic hepatic injury, which leads to an excessive increase in extracellular matrix protein accumulation and fibrogenesis. Several natural products, including sulfur-containing compounds, have been investigated for their antifibrotic effects; however, the molecular mechanisms underpinning their action are partially still obscure. In this study, we have investigated for the first time the effect of ovothiol A, -methyl-5-thiohistidine, isolated from sea urchin eggs on an murine model of liver fibrosis. Mice were intraperitoneally injected with carbon tetrachloride (CCl) to induce liver fibrosis and treated with ovothiol A at the dose of 50 mg/kg 3 times a week for 2 months. Treatment with ovothiol A caused a significant reduction of collagen fibers as observed by histopathological changes and serum parameters compared to mice treated with control solution. This antifibrotic effect was associated to the decrease of fibrogenic markers involved in liver fibrosis progression, such as the transforming growth factor (TGF-), the -smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and the tissue metalloproteinases inhibitor (TIMP-1). Finally, we provided evidence that the attenuation of liver fibrosis by ovothiol A treatment can be regulated by the expression and activity of the membrane-bound -glutamyl-transpeptidase (GGT), which is a key player in maintaining intracellular redox homoeostasis. Overall, these findings indicate that ovothiol A has significant antifibrotic properties and can be considered as a new marine drug or dietary supplement in potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/5045734DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6311726PMC
February 2019

Topsoil and urban dust pollution and toxicity in Taranto (southern Italy) industrial area and in a residential district.

Environ Monit Assess 2018 Dec 28;191(1):43. Epub 2018 Dec 28.

Department of Biology, "Aldo Moro" Bari University, Via Orabona 4, -70125, Bari, Italy.

Adverse environmental conditions in the Taranto area (southern Italy) were investigated in studies of air, marine sediment, and human health. The present study aimed at providing unprecedented information on soil pollution and toxicity in a set of sites around recognized pollution sources in the Taranto area, since previous studies were focused on marine or air pollution, or on human health effects. The investigated area included a steel foundry and a power plant, as well as some sites located in an adjacent neighborhood. Surface soil samples and urban dust were collected and submitted to inorganic and organic analyses and tested for toxicity in two invertebrate bioassay models; a sea urchin (Sphaerechinus granularis) and an annelid (Caenorhabditis elegans). Inorganic analysis was carried out using ICP-MS for elemental composition for a total of 34 elements, whose levels were evaluated as a function of bioassay data analyzed through principal component analysis (PCA). Other analyses included asbestos search by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) and organic analysis for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and aliphatic compounds (C10-C40). Toxicity bioassays were carried out on a sea urchin (Sphaerechinus granularis), and an annelid (Caenorhabditis elegans). Sea urchin bioassays evaluated effects of topsoil or street dust sample exposures (0.1 to 0.5% dry wt/vol) on developing embryos and on sperm, and scored as (a) % developmental defects, (b) inhibition of fertilization success and offspring damage, and (c) frequencies of mitotic aberrations. C. elegans mortality assay displayed significant toxicity associated with soil samples. The overall effects of samples showed very high toxicity at four out of nine sites. These effects were consistent with the highest levels measured for metals and PAHs. Further studies of health effects related to dust exposures in residential areas are warranted. Graphical abstract ᅟ.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-018-7164-7DOI Listing
December 2018

Soil pollution and toxicity in an area affected by emissions from a bauxite processing plant and a power plant in Gardanne (southern France).

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2019 Apr 4;170:55-61. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Federico II Naples University, I-80126 Naples, Italy.

Soil pollution and toxicity have been investigated in the Gardanne area (southern France) at a range of sites around a recognized pollution source, a bauxite processing plant (BPP), and a power plant (PP). Soil samples were submitted to inorganic and organic analyses and tested for toxicity in two invertebrate models. Inorganic analysis was based on determining elemental concentrations by ICP-MS, encompassing a total of 26 elements including 13 rare earth elements (REEs), of the soil samples and their leachates after 24 or 48 h in seawater. Organic analyses were performed by measuring the sums of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and of total hydrocarbons (C-10 to C-40). Bioassays were carried out on the early life stages of three sea urchin species (Arbacia lixula, Paracentrotus lividus and Sphaerechinus granularis), and on a nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans). Sea urchin bioassays were evaluated by the effects of soil samples (0.1-0.5% dry wt/vol) on developing embryos and on sperm, and scored as: a) % developmental defects, b) inhibition of sperm fertilization success and offspring damage, and c) frequencies of mitotic aberrations. C. elegans 24 h-mortality assay showed significant toxicity associated with soil samples. The effects of soil samples showed heightened toxicity at two groups of sites, close to the BPP main entrance and around the PP, which was consistent with the highest concentrations found for metals and PAHs, respectively. Total hydrocarbon concentrations displayed high concentrations both close to BPP main entrance and to the PP. Further studies of the health effects of such materials in Gardanne are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.11.122DOI Listing
April 2019

Diatom bloom-derived biotoxins cause aberrant development and gene expression in the appendicularian chordate .

Commun Biol 2018 24;1:121. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

Departament de Genètica, Microbiologia i Estadística and Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio), Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona. Av. Diagonal 643, 08028, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Investigating environmental hazards than could affect appendicularians is of prime ecological interest because they are among the most abundant components of the mesozooplankton. This work shows that embryo development of the appendicularian is compromised by diatom bloom-derived biotoxins, even at concentrations in the same range as those measured after blooms. Developmental gene expression analysis of biotoxin-treated embryos uncovers an aberrant golf ball-like phenotype affecting morphogenesis, midline convergence, and tail elongation. Biotoxins induce a rapid upregulation of defensome genes, and considerable delay and silencing of zygotic transcription of developmental genes. Upon a possible future intensification of blooms associated with ocean warming and acidification, our work puts an alert on the potential impact that an increase of biotoxins may have on marine food webs, and points to defensome genes as molecular biosensors that marine ecologists could use to monitor the genetic stress of natural populations exposed to microalgal blooms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-018-0127-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123688PMC
August 2018

Effects of ocean acidification on the levels of primary and secondary metabolites in the brown macroalga Sargassum vulgare at different time scales.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Dec 28;643:946-956. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Most of the studies regarding the impact of ocean acidification on macroalgae have been carried out for short-term periods, in controlled laboratory conditions, thus hampering the possibility to scale up the effects on long-term. In the present study, the volcanic CO vents off Ischia Island were used as a natural laboratory to investigate the metabolic response of the brown alga Sargassum vulgare to acidification at different time scales. For long-term effects, algal populations naturally growing at acidified and control sites were compared. For short-term responses, in situ reciprocal transplants from control to acidified site and vice-versa were performed. Changes in the levels of sugars, fatty acids (FAs), amino acids (AAs), antioxidants, and phenolic compounds were examined. Our main finding includes variable metabolic response of this alga at different time scales to natural acidification. The levels of sugars, FAs, and some secondary metabolites were lower in the natural population at the acidified site, whereas the majority of AAs were higher than those detected in thalli growing at control site. Moreover, in algae transplanted from control to acidified site, soluble sugars (glucose and mannose), majority of AAs, and FAs increased in comparison to control plants transplanted within the same site. The differences in the response of the macroalga suggest that the metabolic changes observed in transplants may be due to acclimation that supports algae to cope with acidification, thus leading to adaptation to lowered pH in long time scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.176DOI Listing
December 2018

Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Marine Ovothiol A in an Model of Endothelial Dysfunction Induced by Hyperglycemia.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018 19;2018:2087373. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Centro Scienze dell'Invecchiamento-Medicina Traslazionale (CeSI-MeT), "G. d'Annunzio" University Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.

Chronic hyperglycemia is associated with oxidative stress and vascular inflammation, both leading to endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease that can be weakened by antioxidant/anti-inflammatory molecules in both healthy and diabetic subjects. Among natural molecules, ovothiol A, produced in sea urchin eggs to protect eggs/embryos from the oxidative burst at fertilization and during development, has been receiving increasing interest for its use as an antioxidant. Here, we evaluated the potential antioxidative/anti-inflammatory effect of purified ovothiol A in an cellular model of hyperglycemia-induced endothelial dysfunction employing human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) from women affected by gestational diabetes (GD) and from healthy mothers. Ovothiol A was rapidly taken up by both cellular systems, resulting in increased glutathione values in GD-HUVECs, likely due to the formation of reduced ovothiol A. In tumor necrosis factor--stimulated cells, ovothiol A induced a downregulation of adhesion molecule expression and decrease in monocyte-HUVEC interaction. This was associated with a reduction in reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and an increase in nitric oxide bioavailability. These results point to the potential antiatherogenic properties of the natural antioxidant ovothiol A and support its therapeutic potential in pathologies related to cardiovascular diseases associated with oxidative/inflammatory stress and endothelial dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/2087373DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932987PMC
October 2018

Biotic and environmental stress induces nitration and changes in structure and function of the sea urchin major yolk protein toposome.

Sci Rep 2018 03 15;8(1):4610. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy.

The major yolk protein toposome plays crucial roles during gametogenesis and development of sea urchins. We previously found that nitration of toposome increases in the gonads of a Paracentrotus lividus population living in a marine protected area affected by toxic blooms of Ostreospsis cf. ovata, compared to control populations. This modification is associated with ovatoxin accumulation, high levels of nitric oxide in the gonads, and a remarkable impairment of progeny development. However, nothing is known about the environmental-mediated-regulation of the structure and biological function of toposome. Here, we characterize through wide-ranging biochemical and structural analyses the nitrated toposome of sea urchins exposed to the bloom, and subsequently detoxified. The increased number of nitrated tyrosines in toposome of sea urchins collected during algal bloom induced structural changes and improvement of the Ca-binding affinity of the protein. After 3 months' detoxification, ovatoxin was undetectable, and the number of nitric oxide-modified tyrosines was reduced. However, the nitration of specific residues was irreversible and occurred also in embryos treated with metals, used as a proxy of environmental pollutants. The structural and functional changes of toposome caused by nitration under adverse environmental conditions may be related to the defective development of sea urchins' progeny.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22861-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854732PMC
March 2018

Nitric Oxide regulates mouth development in amphioxus.

Sci Rep 2017 08 16;7(1):8432. Epub 2017 Aug 16.

Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli, Villa Comunale 1, 80121, Napoli, Italy.

The development of the mouth in animals has fascinated researchers for decades, and a recent study proposed the modern view of recurrent evolution of protostomy and deuterostomy. Here we expanded our knowledge about conserved traits of mouth formation in chordates, testing the hypothesis that nitric oxide (NO) is a potential regulator of this process. In the present work we show for the first time that NO is an essential cell signaling molecule for cephalochordate mouth formation, as previously shown for vertebrates, indicating its conserved ancestral role in chordates. The experimental decrease of NO during early amphioxus Branchiostoma lanceolatum development impaired the formation of the mouth and gill slits, demonstrating that it is a prerequisite in pharyngeal morphogenesis. Our results represent the first step in the understanding of NO physiology in non-vertebrate chordates, opening new evolutionary perspectives into the ancestral importance of NO homeostasis and acquisition of novel biological roles during evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08157-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5559612PMC
August 2017

Comparative toxicity of seven rare earth elements in sea urchin early life stages.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2017 Sep 18;24(25):20803-20810. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Faculty of Fisheries, Ege University, Bornova, 35100, İzmir, Turkey.

The widespread use of rare earth elements (REEs) in a number of technological applications raises unanswered questions related to REE-associated adverse effects. We have previously reported on the multiple impact of some REEs on the early life stages of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. The present investigation was to evaluate REE toxicity to early life stages in two unrelated sea urchin species, Sphaerechinus granularis and Arbacia lixula. The comparative toxicities were tested of seven REEs, namely yttrium, lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, samarium, europium and gadolinium as chloride salts at concentrations ranging from 10 to 10 M. The evaluated endpoints included developmental defects and cytogenetic anomalies in REE-exposed embryos/larvae, and decreased fertilization success and offspring damage following sperm exposure. The results showed different toxicity patterns for individual REEs that varied according to test species and to treatment protocol, thus showing toxicity scaling for the different REEs. Further, the observed effects were compared with those reported for P. lividus either following embryo or sperm exposures. S. granularis showed a significantly higher sensitivity both compared to A. lixula and to P. lividus. This study provides clear-cut evidence for distinct toxicity patterns among a series of REEs. The differences in species sensitivity at micromolar REE levels may warrant investigations on species susceptibility to impacts along polluted coasts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9658-1DOI Listing
September 2017

Physiological and Biochemical Analyses Shed Light on the Response of to Ocean Acidification at Different Time Scales.

Front Plant Sci 2017 19;8:570. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Department of Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms, Stazione Zoologica Anton DohrnNaples, Italy.

Studies regarding macroalgal responses to ocean acidification (OA) are mostly limited to short-term experiments in controlled conditions, which hamper the possibility to scale up the observations to long-term effects in the natural environment. To gain a broader perspective, we utilized volcanic CO vents as a "natural laboratory" to study OA effects on at different time scales. We measured photosynthetic rates, oxidative stress levels, antioxidant contents, antioxidant enzyme activities, and activities of oxidative metabolic enzymes in growing at a natural acidified site (pH 6.7) compared to samples from a site with current pH (pH 8.2), used as a control one. These variables were also tested in plants transplanted from the control to the acidified site and . After short-term exposure, photosynthetic rates and energy metabolism were increased in together with oxidative damage. However, in natural populations under long-term conditions photosynthetic rates were similar, the activity of oxidative metabolic enzymes was maintained, and no sign of oxidative damages was observed. The differences in the response of the macroalga indicate that the natural population at the acidified site is adapted to live at the lowered pH. The results suggest that this macroalga can adopt biochemical and physiological strategies to grow in future acidified oceans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00570DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5396147PMC
April 2017

Molecular response of Sargassum vulgare to acidification at volcanic CO vents: insights from de novo transcriptomic analysis.

Mol Ecol 2017 Apr 6;26(8):2276-2290. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

Department of Integrative Marine Ecology, Center of Villa Dohrn - Benthic Ecology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Ischia, Naples, Italy.

Ocean acidification is an emerging problem that is expected to impact ocean species to varying degrees. Currently, little is known about its effect on molecular mechanisms induced in fleshy macroalgae. To elucidate genome wide responses to acidification, a transcriptome analysis was carried out on Sargassum vulgare populations growing under acidified conditions at volcanic CO vents and compared with populations in a control site. Several transcripts involved in a wide range of cellular and metabolic processes were differentially expressed. No drastic changes were observed in the carbon acquisition processes and RuBisCO level. Moreover, relatively few stress genes, including those for antioxidant enzymes and heat-shock proteins, were affected. Instead, increased expression of transcripts involved in energy metabolism, photosynthetic processes and ion homeostasis suggested that algae increased energy production to maintain ion homeostasis and other cellular processes. Also, an increased allocation of carbon to cell wall and carbon storage was observed. A number of genes encoding proteins involved in cellular signalling, information storage and processing and transposition were differentially expressed between the two conditions. The transcriptional changes of key enzymes were largely confirmed by enzymatic activity measurements. Altogether, the changes induced by acidification indicate an adaptation of growth and development of S. vulgare at the volcanic CO vents, suggesting that this fleshy alga exhibits a high plasticity to low pH and can adopt molecular strategies to grow also in future more acidified waters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.14034DOI Listing
April 2017

Heavy rare earth elements affect early life stages in Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula sea urchins.

Environ Res 2017 04 17;154:240-246. Epub 2017 Jan 17.

"Federico II" University of Naples, Department of Chemical Sciences, I-80126 Naples, Italy.

Background: Heavy rare earth elements (HREEs) have been scarcely studied for their toxicity, in spite of their applications in several technologies. Thus HREEs require timely investigations for their adverse health effects.

Methods: Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula embryos and sperm were exposed to trichloride salts of five HREEs (Dy, Ho, Er, Yb and Lu) and to Ce(III) as a light REE (LREE) reference to evaluate: 1) developmental defects (% DD) in HREE-exposed larvae or in the offspring of HREE-exposed sperm; 2) mitotic anomalies; 3) fertilization success; and 4) reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, and nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Nominal HREE concentrations were confirmed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Results: HREEs induced concentration-related DD increases in P. lividus and A. lixula larvae, ranging from no significant DD increase at 10M HREEs up to ≅100% DD at 10M HREE. Larvae exposed to 10M Ce(III) resulted in less severe DD rates compared to HREEs. Decreased mitotic activity and increased aberration rates were found in HREE-exposed P. lividus embryos. Significant increases in ROS formation and NO levels were found both in HREE-exposed and in Ce(III) embryos, whereas only Ce(III), but not HREEs resulted in significant increase in MDA levels. Sperm exposure to HREEs (10-10M) resulted in a concentration-related decrease in fertilization success along with increase in offspring damage. These effects were significantly enhanced for Dy(III), Ho(III), Er(III) and Yb(III), compared to Lu(III) and to Ce(III).

Conclusion: HREE-associated toxicity affected embryogenesis, fertilization, cytogenetic and redox endpoints showing different toxicities of tested HREEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.01.011DOI Listing
April 2017

Music Upper Limb Therapy-Integrated: An Enriched Collaborative Approach for Stroke Rehabilitation.

Front Hum Neurosci 2016 7;10:498. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University New York, NY, USA.

Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. It leads to a sudden and overwhelming disruption in one's physical body, and alters the stroke survivors' sense of self. Long-term recovery requires that bodily perception, social participation and sense of self are restored; this is challenging to achieve, particularly with a single intervention. However, rhythmic synchronization of movement to external stimuli facilitates sensorimotor coupling for movement recovery, enhances emotional engagement and has positive effects on interpersonal relationships. In this proof-of-concept study, we designed a group music-making intervention, Music Upper Limb Therapy-Integrated (MULT-I), to address the physical, psychological and social domains of rehabilitation simultaneously, and investigated its effects on long-term post-stroke upper limb recovery. The study used a mixed-method pre-post design with 1-year follow up. Thirteen subjects completed the 45-min intervention twice a week for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was reduced upper limb motor impairment on the Fugl-Meyer Scale (FMS). Secondary outcomes included sensory impairment (two-point discrimination test), activity limitation (Modified Rankin Scale, MRS), well-being (WHO well-being index), and participation (Stroke Impact Scale, SIS). Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test for differences between pre- and post-intervention, and 1-year follow up scores. Significant improvement was found in upper limb motor impairment, sensory impairment, activity limitation and well-being immediately post-intervention that persisted at 1 year. Activities of daily living and social participation improved only from post-intervention to 1-year follow up. The improvement in upper limb motor impairment was more pronounced in a subset of lower functioning individuals as determined by their pre-intervention wrist range of motion. Qualitatively, subjects reported new feelings of ownership of their impaired limb, more spontaneous movement, and enhanced emotional engagement. The results suggest that the MULT-I intervention may help stroke survivors re-create their sense of self by integrating sensorimotor, emotional and interoceptive information and facilitate long-term recovery across multiple domains of disability, even in the chronic stage post-stroke. Randomized controlled trials are warranted to confirm the efficacy of this approach.

Clinical Trial Registration: National Institutes of Health, clinicaltrials.gov, NCT01586221.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5053999PMC
October 2016

Subtle reproductive impairment through nitric oxide-mediated mechanisms in sea urchins from an area affected by harmful algal blooms.

Sci Rep 2016 05 19;6:26086. Epub 2016 May 19.

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy.

The health of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, a key species in the Mediterranean Sea, is menaced by several pressures in coastal environments. Here, we aimed at assessing the reproductive ability of apparently healthy P. lividus population in a marine protected area affected by toxic blooms of Ostreospsis cf. ovata. Wide-ranging analyses were performed in animals collected prior to and during the bloom, as well as at several times thereafter, during the reproductive season. Adults showed a low fertilization rate, along with high nitric oxide (NO) levels in the gonads and the nitration of the major yolk protein toposome, which is an important player in sea urchin development. Serious developmental anomalies were observed in the progeny, which persist several months after the bloom. NO levels were high in the different developmental stages, which also showed variations in the transcription of several genes that were found to be directly or indirectly modulated by NO. These results highlight subtle but important reproductive flaws transmitted from the female gonads to the offspring with the NO involvement. Despite a recovery along time after the bloom, insidious damages can be envisaged in the local sea urchin population, with possible reverberation on the whole benthic system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep26086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872146PMC
May 2016

Oxidative pathways in response to polyunsaturated aldehydes in the marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi (Bacillariophyceae).

J Phycol 2016 08 18;52(4):590-8. Epub 2016 May 18.

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn di Napoli, Villa Comunale I80121, Napoli, Italy.

Polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUA) have recently been shown to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and possibly reactive nitrogen species (RNS, e.g., peroxynitrite) in the diatom Skeletonema marinoi (S. marinoi), which produces high amounts of PUA. We now are attempting to acquire better understanding of which reactive molecular species are involved in the oxidative response of S. marinoi to PUA. We used flow cytometry, the dye dihydrorhodamine 123 (DHR) as the main indicator of ROS (but which is also known to partially detect RNS), and different scavengers and inhibitors of both nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and superoxide dismutase activity (SOD). Both the scavengers Tempol (for ROS) and uric acid (UA, for peroxynitrite) induced a lower DHR-derived green fluorescence in S. marinoi cells exposed to the PUA, suggesting that both reactive species were produced. When PUA-exposed S. marinoi cells were treated with the NO scavenger 2-4-carboxyphenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (cPTIO), an opposite response was observed, with an increase in DHR-derived green fluorescence. A higher DHR-derived green fluorescence was also observed in the presence of sodium tungstate (ST), an inhibitor of NO production via nitrate reductase. In addition, two different SOD inhibitors, 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME) and sodium diethyldithiocarbamate trihydrate (DETC), had an effect, with DETC inducing the strongest inhibition after 20 min. These results indicate the involvement of O2 (•) generation and SOD activity in H2 O2 formation (with downstream ROS generation dependent from H2 O2 ) in response to PUA exposure. This is relevant as it refines the biological impact of PUA and identifies the specific molecules involved in the response. It is speculated that in PUA-exposed S. marinoi cells, beyond a certain threshold of PUA, the intracellular antioxidant system is no longer able to cope with the excess of ROS, thus resulting in the observed accumulation of both O2 (•-) and H2 O2 . This might be particularly relevant for population dynamics at sea, during blooms, when cell lysis increases and PUA are released. It can be envisioned that in the final stages of blooms, higher local PUA concentrations accumulate, which in turn induces intracellular ROS generation that ultimately leads to cell death and bloom decay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpy.12421DOI Listing
August 2016

Comparative toxicities of selected rare earth elements: Sea urchin embryogenesis and fertilization damage with redox and cytogenetic effects.

Environ Res 2016 May 10;147:453-60. Epub 2016 Mar 10.

"Federico II" University of Naples, Department of Chemical Sciences, I-80126 Naples, Italy.

Background: Broad-ranging adverse effects are known for rare earth elements (REE), yet only a few studies tested the toxicity of several REE, prompting studies focusing on multi-parameter REE toxicity.

Methods: Trichloride salts of Y, La, Ce, Nd, Sm, Eu and Gd were tested in Paracentrotus lividus sea urchin embryos and sperm for: (1) developmental defects in either REE-exposed larvae or in the offspring of REE-exposed sperm; (2) fertilization success; (3) mitotic anomalies in REE-exposed embryos and in the offspring of REE-exposed sperm, and (4) reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, and malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) levels.

Results: REEs affected P. lividus larvae with concentration-related increase in developmental defects, 10(-6) to 10(-4)M, ranking as: Gd(III)>Y(III)>La(III)>Nd(III)≅Eu(III)>Ce(III)≅Sm(III). Nominal concentrations of REE salts were confirmed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Significant increases in MDA levels, ROS formation, and NO levels were found in REE-exposed embryos. Sperm exposure to REEs (10(-5) to 10(-4)M) resulted in concentration-related decrease in fertilization success along with increase in offspring damage. Decreased mitotic activity and increased aberration rates were detected in REE-exposed embryos and in the offspring of REE-exposed sperm.

Conclusion: REE-associated toxicity affecting embryogenesis, fertilization, cytogenetic and redox endpoints showed different activities of tested REEs. Damage to early life stages, along with redox and cytogenetic anomalies should be the focus of future REE toxicity studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.02.031DOI Listing
May 2016