Publications by authors named "Antonio Torsello"

49 Publications

Palmitoylethanolamide Modulation of Microglia Activation: Characterization of Mechanisms of Action and Implication for Its Neuroprotective Effects.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Mar 17;22(6). Epub 2021 Mar 17.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20900 Monza, Italy.

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous lipid produced on demand by neurons and glial cells that displays neuroprotective properties. It is well known that inflammation and neuronal damage are strictly related processes and that microglia play a pivotal role in their regulation. The aim of the present work was to assess whether PEA could exert its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects through the modulation of microglia reactive phenotypes. In N9 microglial cells, the pre-incubation with PEA blunted the increase of M1 pro-inflammatory markers induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), concomitantly increasing those M2 anti-inflammatory markers. Images of microglial cells were processed to obtain a set of morphological parameters that highlighted the ability of PEA to inhibit the LPS-induced M1 polarization and suggested that PEA might induce the anti-inflammatory M2a phenotype. Functionally, PEA prevented Ca transients in both N9 cells and primary microglia and antagonized the neuronal hyperexcitability induced by LPS, as revealed by multi-electrode array (MEA) measurements on primary cortical cultures of neurons, microglia, and astrocyte. Finally, the investigation of the molecular pathway indicated that PEA effects are not mediated by toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4); on the contrary, a partial involvement of cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2R) was shown by using a selective receptor inverse agonist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22063054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8002502PMC
March 2021

Association between renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors and risk of dementia: A meta-analysis.

Pharmacol Res 2021 Apr 24;166:105515. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Biostatistic Unit, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy; Department of Statistics and Quantitative Methods, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.

Objective: To evaluate the association of all RAAS inhibitors, ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) on dementia onset (any dementia, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia) using a meta-analytic approach.

Methods: A systematic MEDLINE search was carried out to identify all observational studies published up to the 30th September 2020 evaluating the association between RAAS inhibitors and risk of dementia. Studies were included if original investigations considering incident dementia cases, with ACEIs and/or ARBs as exposure and other antihypertensives (AHs) use as reference, and if reporting association estimates and relative variability measures. Random effect pooled relative risks (pRR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated according to DerSimonian and Laird's (DL) or to Hartung Knapp Sidik Jonkman (HKSJ) method depending on the number of studies and between-studies heterogeneity. A linear mixed meta-regression model (MM) was applied to take into account correlation among association estimates from the same study.

Results: 15 studies were included in the meta-analysis. ARBs but not ACEIs' use led to a significant reduction of the risk of any dementia (pRR 0.78, 95%CI 0.70-0.87) and Alzheimer's disease (pRR 0.73, 95%CI 0.60-0.90). Moreover, when compared to ACEIs, ARBs reduced of 14% the risk of any dementia (pRR 0.86, 95%CI 0.79-0.94).

Conclusions: ARBs but not ACEIs led to a reduction in the risk of any dementia. The difference between ARBs and ACEIs in terms of preventive effectiveness could be due to distinct profiles of antagonism towards independent receptor pathways or to differential influences on amyloid metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2021.105515DOI Listing
April 2021

Characterization of Synovial Cytokine Patterns in Bucket-Handle and Posterior Horn Meniscal Tears.

Mediators Inflamm 2020 22;2020:5071934. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Orthopedic Department, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy.

The specific etiology of meniscal tears, including the mechanism of lesion, location, and orientation, is considered for its contribution to subsequent joint cytokine responsiveness, healing outcomes, and by extension, appropriate lesion-specific surgical remediation. Meniscal repair is desirable to reduce the probability of development of posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) which is strongly influenced by the coordinate generation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines by the injured cartilage. We now present biochemical data on variation in cytokine levels arising from two particular meniscal tears: bucket-handle (BH) and posterior horn (PH) isolated meniscal tears. We selected these two groups due to the different clinical presentations. We measured the concentrations of TNF-, IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in knee synovial fluid of 45 patients with isolated meniscal lesions (BH tear, = 12; PH tear, = 33). TNF- levels were significantly ( < 0.05) greater in the BH group compared with the PH group, whereas IL-1 levels were significantly greater ( < 0.05) in the PH group compared with the BH group. Both BH and PH groups were consistent in presenting a positive correlation between concentrations of IL-6 and IL-1. A fundamental difference in IL-10 responsiveness between the two groups was noted; specifically, levels of IL-10 were positively correlated with IL-6 in the BH group, whereas in the PH group, levels of IL-10 were positively correlated with IL-1. Collectively, our data suggest a possible influence of the meniscal tear pattern to the articular cytokine responsiveness. This differential expression of inflammatory cytokines may influence the risk of developing PTOA in the long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/5071934DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7599409PMC
October 2020

Androgen Therapy in Neurodegenerative Diseases.

J Endocr Soc 2020 Nov 21;4(11):bvaa120. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease (AD), Parkinson disease (PD), multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington disease, are characterized by the loss of neurons as well as neuronal function in multiple regions of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Several studies in animal models have shown that androgens have neuroprotective effects in the brain and stimulate axonal regeneration. The presence of neuronal androgen receptors in the peripheral and central nervous system suggests that androgen therapy might be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. To illustrate, androgen therapy reduced inflammation, amyloid-β deposition, and cognitive impairment in patients with AD. As well, improvement in remyelination in MS have been reported; by comparison, only variable results are observed in androgen treatment of PD. In ALS, androgen administration stimulated motoneuron recovery from progressive damage and regenerated both axons and dendrites. Only a few clinical studies are available in human individuals despite the safety and low cost of androgen therapy. Clinical evaluations of the effects of androgen therapy on these devastating diseases using large populations of patients are strongly needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvaa120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7568521PMC
November 2020

Intranasal delivery of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles exerts immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects in a 3xTg model of Alzheimer's disease.

Stem Cells Transl Med 2020 09 4;9(9):1068-1084. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

The critical role of neuroinflammation in favoring and accelerating the pathogenic process in Alzheimer's disease (AD) increased the need to target the cerebral innate immune cells as a potential therapeutic strategy to slow down the disease progression. In this scenario, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have risen considerable interest thanks to their immunomodulatory properties, which have been largely ascribed to the release of extracellular vesicles (EVs), namely exosomes and microvesicles. Indeed, the beneficial effects of MSC-EVs in regulating the inflammatory response have been reported in different AD mouse models, upon chronic intravenous or intracerebroventricular administration. In this study, we use the triple-transgenic 3xTg mice showing for the first time that the intranasal route of administration of EVs, derived from cytokine-preconditioned MSCs, was able to induce immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects in AD. MSC-EVs reached the brain, where they dampened the activation of microglia cells and increased dendritic spine density. MSC-EVs polarized in vitro murine primary microglia toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype suggesting that the neuroprotective effects observed in transgenic mice could result from a positive modulation of the inflammatory status. The possibility to administer MSC-EVs through a noninvasive route and the demonstration of their anti-inflammatory efficacy might accelerate the chance of a translational exploitation of MSC-EVs in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sctm.19-0327DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7445021PMC
September 2020

JMV5656, a short synthetic derivative of TLQP-21, alleviates acid-induced lung injury and fibrosis in mice.

Pulm Pharmacol Ther 2020 06 20;62:101916. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

TLQP-21, a peptide encoded by the prohormone VGF, is expressed in neuroendocrine cells and can modulate inflammatory processes. Since TLQP-21 can bind the complement 3a receptor 1 on macrophages, interest has risen in this peptide as a potential drug for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), whose hospital mortality can reach 35-46%. Since no effective pharmacologic therapies are available, our aim was to exploit the potential of a short analog of TLQP-21(JMV5656) in order to modulate the inflammatory process in ARDS and the progression to pulmonary fibrosis in an experimental model of unilateral acid aspiration in mice. Mice were divided in 2 treatment groups. In the acute protocol, mice received intra-peritoneal injection of either vehicle or 0.6 mg/kg JMV5656 on experimental days 1 and 2, and ARDS was induced on day 3 under deep anesthesia by instillation of HCl (1.5 ml/kg of 0.1 M HCl in 0.9% NaCl) into the right lung; all measurements were performed 24 h later. In the subacute protocol, mice were treated as previously, but treatment with vehicle or JMV5656 was repeated also on day 4 and measurements were made 2 weeks later. Twenty-four hours after acid instillation, the total number of immune cell in the BAL rose sharply due primarily to an increase in the PMN population which increased from 1% up to 58% of total cell numbers. JMV5656 significantly reduced PMN recruitment into the alveolar space, but had no effects on cytokine levels in BAL. Two weeks after acid injury, static compliance of the right lung was significantly higher in the JMV5656-treated group compared to vehicle-treated group. Treatment with JMV5656 also blunted the acid-induced collagen deposition in the right lung. These results suggest that JMV5656 can ameliorate mechanical compliance, and reduce collagen deposition in acid-injured lungs in mice. This effect was likely due to the ability of JMV5656 to inhibit PMN recruitment in the injured lung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pupt.2020.101916DOI Listing
June 2020

Cisplatin-Induced Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction: Mechanisms and Counteracting Therapeutic Strategies.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Feb 13;21(4). Epub 2020 Feb 13.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Among the severe side effects induced by cisplatin chemotherapy, muscle wasting is the most relevant one. This effect is a major cause for a clinical decline of cancer patients, since it is a negative predictor of treatment outcome and associated to increased mortality. However, despite its toxicity even at low doses, cisplatin remains the first-line therapy for several types of solid tumors. Thus, effective pharmacological treatments counteracting or minimizing cisplatin-induced muscle wasting are urgently needed. The dissection of the molecular pathways responsible for cisplatin-induced muscle dysfunction gives the possibility to identify novel promising therapeutic targets. In this context, the use of animal model of cisplatin-induced cachexia is very useful. Here, we report an update of the most relevant researches on the mechanisms underlying cisplatin-induced muscle wasting and on the most promising potential therapeutic options to preserve muscle mass and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7072891PMC
February 2020

TLQP-21, A VGF-Derived Peptide Endowed of Endocrine and Extraendocrine Properties: Focus on In Vitro Calcium Signaling.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Dec 24;21(1). Epub 2019 Dec 24.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20900 Monza, Italy.

VGF gene encodes for a neuropeptide precursor of 68 kDa composed by 615 (human) and 617 (rat, mice) residues, expressed prevalently in the central nervous system (CNS), but also in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and in various endocrine cells. This precursor undergoes proteolytic cleavage, generating a family of peptides different in length and biological activity. Among them, TLQP-21, a peptide of 21 amino acids, has been widely investigated for its relevant endocrine and extraendocrine activities. The complement complement C3a receptor-1 (C3aR1) has been suggested as the TLQP-21 receptor and, in different cell lines, its activation by TLQP-21 induces an increase of intracellular Ca. This effect relies both on Ca release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and extracellular Ca entry. The latter depends on stromal interaction molecules (STIM)-Orai1 interaction or transient receptor potential channel (TRPC) involvement. After Ca entry, the activation of outward K-Ca-dependent currents, mainly the K currents, provides a membrane polarizing influence which offset the depolarizing action of Ca elevation and indirectly maintains the driving force for optimal Ca increase in the cytosol. In this review, we address the main endocrine and extraendocrine actions displayed by TLQP-21, highlighting recent findings on its mechanism of action and its potential in different pathological conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010130DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982260PMC
December 2019

Growth Hormone Secretagogues and the Regulation of Calcium Signaling in Muscle.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Sep 5;20(18). Epub 2019 Sep 5.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20900 Monza, Italy.

Growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) are a family of synthetic molecules, first discovered in the late 1970s for their ability to stimulate growth hormone (GH) release. Many effects of GHS are mediated by binding to GHS-R1a, the receptor for the endogenous hormone ghrelin, a 28-amino acid peptide isolated from the stomach. Besides endocrine functions, both ghrelin and GHS are endowed with some relevant extraendocrine properties, including stimulation of food intake, anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory effects, and protection of muscle tissue in different pathological conditions. In particular, ghrelin and GHS inhibit cardiomyocyte and endothelial cell apoptosis and improve cardiac left ventricular function during ischemia-reperfusion injury. Moreover, in a model of cisplatin-induced cachexia, GHS protect skeletal muscle from mitochondrial damage and improve lean mass recovery. Most of these effects are mediated by GHS ability to preserve intracellular Ca homeostasis. In this review, we address the muscle-specific protective effects of GHS mediated by Ca regulation, but also highlight recent findings of their therapeutic potential in pathological conditions characterized by skeletal or cardiac muscle impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769538PMC
September 2019

miRNA-218 Targets Lipin-1 and Glucose Transporter Type 4 Genes in 3T3-L1 Cells Treated With Lopinavir/Ritonavir.

Front Pharmacol 2019 30;10:461. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Metabolic complications represent a common and serious problem associated with HIV infection and combined Antiretroviral Therapy (cART). Alterations in body fat distribution are associated with significantly increased risks of (i) metabolic derangements, (ii) cardiovascular pathologies, and (iii) insulin resistance. A case control study showed that in subcutaneous adipose tissue from HIV-infected patients on cART presenting lipodystrophy (LS), the levels of miRNA-218 were upregulated and those of lipin-1, a putative target gene of miRNA-218, were downregulated compared with HIV-negative subjects. Lipin-1 is one of the most important factors linked to development of LS. Lipin-1, by controlling PPARγ2, regulates the expression of specific genes, such as that of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), required for maturation and maintenance of adipocytes. To determine whether lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/RTV) can modulate lipogenesis in adipocytes affecting miRNA-218 and lipin-1 mRNA expression, and to investigate the functional link between miRNA-218 and GLUT-4 mRNA expression. Differentiated 3T3-L1 cells were treated with various combinations of LPV/RTV, followed by measurements of cell viability, lipid accumulation, lipin-1 and GLUT-4 mRNA and miRNA-218 levels. Transfection of anti-miR-218 or a miRNA-218 mimic were used to investigate the role of miRNA-218 in lipogenesis. LPV/RTV treatment of 3T3-L1 cells did not affect the viability of differentiated 3T3-L1 cells, but caused (i) a significant decrease of lipid accumulation, (ii) an overexpression of miRNA-218, and (iii) a reduction of lipin-1 and GLUT-4 mRNA levels. The anti-miR-218 transfection of 3T3-L1 cells significantly ameliorated the adipogenic dysfunction and restored mRNA levels of lipin-1 and GLUT-4 consequent to LPV/RTV treatment. By contrast, 3T3-L1 cells transfected with a specific miRNA-218 mimic showed (i) an overexpression of miRNA-218, (ii) a reduced cellular lipid fraction, and (iii) decreased levels of mRNA for lipin-1 and GLUT-4. 3T3-L1 cells, treated with LPV/RTV, show altered lipid content due to increased miRNA-218 levels, which affects lipin-1 mRNA. Moreover, increased miRNA-218 levels were inversely correlated with changes in GLUT-4 expression, which suggests a role for miRNA-218 in mediating the insulin resistance consequent to cART.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2019.00461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524698PMC
April 2019

Angiotensin-(1-7) exerts a protective action in a rat model of ventilator-induced diaphragmatic dysfunction.

Intensive Care Med Exp 2019 Jan 18;7(1). Epub 2019 Jan 18.

Department of Medicine, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Background: Ventilator-induced diaphragmatic dysfunction (VIDD) is a common event during mechanical ventilation (MV) leading to rapid muscular atrophy and contractile dysfunction. Recent data show that renin-angiotensin system is involved in diaphragmatic skeletal muscle atrophy after MV. In particular, angiotensin-II can induce marked diaphragm muscle wasting, whereas angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) could counteract this activity. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of the treatment with Ang-(1-7) in a rat model of VIDD with neuromuscular blocking agent infusion. Moreover, we studied whether the administration of A-779, an antagonist of Ang-(1-7) receptor (Mas), alone or in combination with PD123319, an antagonist of AT2 receptor, could antagonize the effects of Ang-(1-7).

Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats underwent prolonged MV (8 h), while receiving an iv infusion of sterile saline 0.9% (vehicle) or Ang-(1-7) or Ang-(1-7) + A-779 or Ang-(1-7) + A-779 + PD123319. Diaphragms were collected for ex vivo contractility measurement (with electric stimulation), histological analysis, quantitative real-time PCR, and Western blot analysis.

Results: MV resulted in a significant reduction of diaphragmatic contractility in all groups of treatment. Ang-(1-7)-treated rats showed higher muscular fibers cross-sectional area and lower atrogin-1 and myogenin mRNA levels, compared to vehicle treatment. Treatment with the antagonists of Mas and Ang-II receptor 2 (AT2R) caused a significant reduction of muscular contractility and an increase of atrogin-1 and MuRF-1 mRNA levels, not affecting the cross-sectional fiber area and myogenin mRNA levels.

Conclusions: Systemic Ang-(1-7) administration during MV exerts a protective role on the muscular fibers of the diaphragm preserving muscular fibers anatomy, and reducing atrophy. The involvement of Mas and AT2R in the mechanism of action of Ang-(1-7) still remains controversial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40635-018-0218-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6338614PMC
January 2019

STIM Proteins and Orai Ca Channels Are Involved in the Intracellular Pathways Activated by TLQP-21 in RAW264.7 Macrophages.

Front Pharmacol 2018 27;9:1386. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

TLQP-21 is a neuropeptide which has been implicated in regulation of nociception and other relevant physiologic functions. Although recent studies identified C3a and gC1q receptors as targets for TLQP-21, its intracellular molecular mechanisms of action remain largely unidentified. Our aim was (i) to explore the intracellular signaling pathway(s) activated by JMV5656, a novel derivative of TLQP-21, in RAW264.7 macrophages, and (ii) to assess linkages of these pathways with its purported receptors. JMV5656 stimulated, in a dose-dependent fashion, a rapid and transient increase in intracellular Ca concentrations in RAW264.7 cells; repeated exposure to the peptide resulted in a lower response, suggesting a possible desensitization mechanism of the receptor. In particular, JMV5656 increased cytoplasmic Ca levels by a PLC-dependent release of Ca from the endoplasmic reticulum. STIM proteins and Orai Ca channels were activated and played a crucial role. In fact, treatment of the cells with U73122 and thapsigargin modulated the increase of intracellular Ca levels stimulated by JMV5656. Moreover, in RAW264.7 cells intracellular Ca increases did not occur through the binding of JMV5656 to the C3a receptor, since the increase of intracellular Ca levels induced by JMV5656 was not affected by specific siRNA against C3aR. In summary, our study provides new indications for the downstream effects of JMV5656 in macrophages, suggesting that it could activate receptors different from the C3aR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277904PMC
November 2018

Study of the Tissue Distribution of TLQP-21 in Mice Using [F]JMV5763, a Radiolabeled Analog Prepared via [F]Aluminum Fluoride Chelation Chemistry.

Front Pharmacol 2018 13;9:1274. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.

TLQP-21 is a neuropeptide that is involved in the control of several physiological functions, including energy homeostasis. Since TLQP-21 could oppose the early phase of diet-induced obesity, it has raised a huge interest, but very little is known about its mechanisms of action on peripheral tissues. Our aim was to investigate TLQP-21 distribution in brain and peripheral tissues after systemic administration using positron emission tomography. We report here the radiolabeling of NODA-methyl phenylacetic acid (MPAA) functionalized JMV5763, a short analog of TLQP-21, with [F]aluminum fluoride. Labeling of JMV5763 was initially performed manually, on a small scale, and then optimized and implemented on a fully automated radiosynthesis system. In the first experiment, mice were injected in the tail vein with [F]JMV5763, and central and peripheral tissues were collected 13, 30, and 60 min after injection. Significant uptake of [F]JMV5763 was found in stomach, intestine, kidney, liver, and adrenal gland. In the CNS, very low uptake values were measured in all tested areas, suggesting that the tracer does not efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier. Pretreatment with non-radioactive JMV5763 caused a significant reduction of tracer uptake only in stomach and intestine. In the second experiment, PET analysis was performed 10-120 min after i.v. [F]JMV5763 administration. Results were consistent with those of the determinations. PET images showed a progressive increase of [F]JMV5763 uptake in intestine and stomach reaching a peak at 30 min, and decreasing at 120 min. Our results demonstrate that F-labeling of TLQP-21 analogs is a suitable method to study its distribution in the body.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01274DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277862PMC
November 2018

Intra-Articular Cytokine Levels in Adolescent Patients after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear.

Mediators Inflamm 2018 28;2018:4210593. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

The treatment of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in children and adolescents is challenging. Preclinical and clinical studies investigated ACL repairing techniques in skeletally immature subjects. However, intra-articular bioenvironment following ACL tear has not yet been defined in skeletally immature patients. The aim of this study was to measure cytokine concentrations in the synovial fluid in adolescent population. Synovial levels of IL-1, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF- were measured in 17 adolescent patients (15 boys) with ACL tears who underwent ACL reconstruction including acute (5), subacute (7), and chronic (5) phases. Femoral growth plates were classified as "open" in three patients, "closing" in eight, and "closed" in six. Eleven patients presented an ACL tear associated with a meniscal tear. The mean Tegner and Lysholm scores (mean ± SD) of all patients were 8 ± 1 and 50.76 ± 26, respectively. IL-8, TNF-, and IL-1 levels were significantly greater in patients with "open" physes. IL-1ra and IL-1 levels were significantly higher in patients with ACL tear associated with a meniscal tear. Poor Lysholm scores were associated with elevated IL-6 and IL-10 levels. IL-10 levels positively correlated with IL-6 and IL-8 levels, whereas TNF- concentration negatively correlated with IL-6 levels. Skeletally immature patients with meniscal tears and open growth plates have a characteristic cytokine profile with particularly elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines including IL-8, TNF-, and IL-1. This picture suggests that the ACL tear could promote an intra-articular catabolic response in adolescent patients greater than that generally reported for adult subjects. The study lacks the comparison with synovial samples from healthy skeletally immature knees due to ethical reasons. Overall, these data contribute to a better knowledge of adolescent intra-articular bioenvironment following ACL injuries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/4210593DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6136581PMC
January 2019

Growth hormone secretagogues hexarelin and JMV2894 protect skeletal muscle from mitochondrial damages in a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia.

Sci Rep 2017 10 12;7(1):13017. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari "A. Moro", Bari, Italy.

Chemotherapy can cause cachexia, which consists of weight loss associated with muscle atrophy. The exact mechanisms underlying this skeletal muscle toxicity are largely unknown and co-therapies to attenuate chemotherapy-induced side effects are lacking. By using a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia, we here characterized the mitochondrial homeostasis in tibialis anterior cachectic muscle and evaluated the potential beneficial effects of the growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) hexarelin and JMV2894 in this setting. We found that cisplatin treatment caused a decrease in mitochondrial biogenesis (PGC-1α, NRF-1, TFAM, mtDNA, ND1), mitochondrial mass (Porin and Citrate synthase activity) and fusion index (MFN2, Drp1), together with changes in the expression of autophagy-related genes (AKT/FoxO pathway, Atg1, Beclin1, LC3AII, p62) and enhanced ROS production (PRX III, MnSOD). Importantly, JMV2894 and hexarelin are capable to antagonize this chemotherapy-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, our findings reveal a key-role played by mitochondria in the mechanism responsible for GHS beneficial effects in skeletal muscle, strongly indicating that targeting mitochondrial dysfunction might be a promising area of research in developing therapeutic strategies to prevent or limit muscle wasting in cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13504-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5638899PMC
October 2017

Involvement of PPARγ in the Anticonvulsant Activity of EP-80317, a Ghrelin Receptor Antagonist.

Front Pharmacol 2017 22;8:676. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Laboratory of Experimental Epileptology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModena, Italy.

Ghrelin, des-acyl ghrelin and other related peptides possess anticonvulsant activities. Although ghrelin and cognate peptides were shown to physiologically regulate only the ghrelin receptor, some of them were pharmacologically proved to activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) through stimulation of the scavenger receptor CD36 in macrophages. In our study, we challenged the hypothesis that PPARγ could be involved in the anticonvulsant effects of EP-80317, a ghrelin receptor antagonist. For this purpose, we used the PPARγ antagonist GW9662 to evaluate the modulation of EP-80317 anticonvulsant properties in two different models. Firstly, the anticonvulsant effects of EP-80317 were studied in rats treated with pilocarpine to induce (SE). Secondly, the anticonvulsant activity of EP-80317 was ascertained in the repeated 6-Hz corneal stimulation model in mice. Behavioral and video electrocorticographic (ECoG) analyses were performed in both models. We also characterized levels of immunoreactivity for PPARγ in the hippocampus of 6-Hz corneally stimulated mice. EP-80317 predictably antagonized seizures in both models. Pretreatment with GW9662 counteracted almost all EP-80317 effects both in mice and rats. Only the effects of EP-80317 on power spectra of ECoGs recorded during repeated 6-Hz corneal stimulation were practically unaffected by GW9662 administration. Moreover, GW9662 alone produced a decrease in the latency of tonic-clonic seizures and accelerated the onset of SE in rats. Finally, in the hippocampus of mice treated with EP-80317 we found increased levels of PPARγ immunoreactivity. Overall, these results support the hypothesis that PPARγ is able to modulate seizures and mediates the anticonvulsant effects of EP-80317.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00676DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5614981PMC
September 2017

Worth Remembering: Eugenio Müller, MD, 1933-2015.

Pediatr Endocrinol Rev 2016 Sep;14(1):4-8

Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry, Felsenstein Institute, Campus Rabin Petah-Tiqva, Israel.

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September 2016

Pharmacological and Biochemical Characterization of TLQP-21 Activation of a Binding Site on CHO Cells.

Front Pharmacol 2017 30;8:167. Epub 2017 Mar 30.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-BicoccaMonza, Italy.

VGF is a propeptide of 617 amino acids expressed throughout the central and the peripheral nervous system. VGF and peptides derived from its processing have been found in dense core vesicles and are released from neuronal and neuroendocrine cells via the regulated secretory pathway. Among VGF-derived neuropeptides, TLQP-21 (VGF) has raised a huge interest and is one of most studied. TLQP-21 is a multifunctional neuropeptide involved in the control of several physiological functions, potentially including energy homeostasis, pain modulation, stress responsiveness and reproduction. Although little information is available about its receptor and the intracellular mechanisms mediating its biological effects, recent reports suggest that TLQP-21 may bind to the complement receptors C3aR1 and/or gC1qR. The first aim of this study was to ascertain the existence and nature of TLQP-21 binding sites in CHO cells. Secondly, we endeavored to characterize the ligand binding to these sites by using a small panel of VGF-derived peptides. And finally, we investigated the influence of TLQP-21 on selected intracellular signaling pathways. We report that CHO cells express a single class of saturable and specific binding sites for TLQP-21 with an affinity and capacity of = 0.55 ± 0.05 × 10 M and 81.7 ± 3.9 fmol/mg protein, respectively. Among the many bioactive products derived from the C-terminal region of VGF that we tested, TLQP-21 was the most potent in stimulating intracellular calcium mobilization in CHO cells; this effect is primarily due to its C-terminal fragment (HFHH-10). TLQP-21 induced rapid and transient dephosphorylation of phospholipase Cγ1 and phospholipase A2. Generation of IP and diacylglycerol was crucial for TLQP-21 bioactivity. In conclusion, our results suggest that the receptor stimulated by TLQP-21 belongs to the family of the G-coupled receptors, and its activation first increases membrane-lipid derived second messengers which thereby induce the mobilization of Ca from the endoplasmic reticulum followed by a slower store-operated Ca entry from outside the cell.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00167DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5371653PMC
March 2017

Growth hormone secretagogues prevent dysregulation of skeletal muscle calcium homeostasis in a rat model of cisplatin-induced cachexia.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2017 Jun 10;8(3):386-404. Epub 2017 Mar 10.

Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

Background: Cachexia is a wasting condition associated with cancer types and, at the same time, is a serious and dose-limiting side effect of cancer chemotherapy. Skeletal muscle loss is one of the main characteristics of cachexia that significantly contributes to the functional muscle impairment. Calcium-dependent signaling pathways are believed to play an important role in skeletal muscle decline observed in cachexia, but whether intracellular calcium homeostasis is affected in this situation remains uncertain. Growth hormone secretagogues (GHS), a family of synthetic agonists of ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1a), are being developed as a therapeutic option for cancer cachexia syndrome; however, the exact mechanism by which GHS interfere with skeletal muscle is not fully understood.

Methods: By a multidisciplinary approach ranging from cytofluorometry and electrophysiology to gene expression and histology, we characterized the calcium homeostasis in fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle of adult rats with cisplatin-induced cachexia and established the potential beneficial effects of two GHS (hexarelin and JMV2894) at this level. Additionally, in vivo measures of grip strength and of ultrasonography recordings allowed us to evaluate the functional impact of GHS therapeutic intervention.

Results: Cisplatin-treated EDL muscle fibres were characterized by a ~18% significant reduction of the muscle weight and fibre diameter together with an up-regulation of atrogin1/Murf-1 genes and a down-regulation of Pgc1-a gene, all indexes of muscle atrophy, and by a two-fold increase in resting intracellular calcium, [Ca ] , compared with control rats. Moreover, the amplitude of the calcium transient induced by caffeine or depolarizing high potassium solution as well as the store-operated calcium entry were ~50% significantly reduced in cisplatin-treated rats. Calcium homeostasis dysregulation parallels with changes of functional ex vivo (excitability and resting macroscopic conductance) and in vivo (forelimb force and muscle volume) outcomes in cachectic animals. Administration of hexarelin or JMV2894 markedly reduced the cisplatin-induced alteration of calcium homeostasis by both common as well as drug-specific mechanisms of action. This effect correlated with muscle function preservation as well as amelioration of various atrophic indexes, thus supporting the functional impact of GHS activity on calcium homeostasis.

Conclusions: Our findings provide a direct evidence that a dysregulation of calcium homeostasis plays a key role in cisplatin-induced model of cachexia gaining insight into the etiopathogenesis of this form of muscle wasting. Furthermore, our demonstration that GHS administration efficaciously prevents cisplatin-induced calcium homeostasis alteration contributes to elucidate the mechanism of action through which GHS could potentially ameliorate chemotherapy-associated cachexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703021PMC
June 2017

JMV5656, A Novel Derivative of TLQP-21, Triggers the Activation of a Calcium-Dependent Potassium Outward Current in Microglial Cells.

Front Cell Neurosci 2017 23;11:41. Epub 2017 Feb 23.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca Monza, Italy.

TLQP-21 (TLQPPASSRRRHFHHALPPAR) is a multifunctional peptide that is involved in the control of physiological functions, including feeding, reproduction, stress responsiveness, and general homeostasis. Despite the huge interest in TLQP-21 biological activity, very little is known about its intracellular mechanisms of action. In microglial cells, TLQP-21 stimulates increases of intracellular Ca that may activate functions, including proliferation, migration, phagocytosis and production of inflammatory molecules. Our aim was to investigate whether JMV5656 (RRRHFHHALPPAR), a novel short analogue of TLQP-21, stimulates intracellular Ca in the N9 microglia cells, and whether this Ca elevation is coupled with the activation Ca-sensitive K channels. TLQP-21 and JMV5656 induced a sharp, dose-dependent increment in intracellular calcium. In 77% of cells, JMV5656 also caused an increase in the total outward currents, which was blunted by TEA (tetraethyl ammonium chloride), a non-selective blocker of voltage-dependent and Ca-activated potassium (K) channels. Moreover, the effects of ion channel blockers charybdotoxin and iberiotoxin, suggested that multiple calcium-activated K channel types drove the outward current stimulated by JMV5656. Additionally, inhibition of JMV5656-stimulated outward currents by NS6180 (4-[[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]methyl]-2H-1,4 benzothiazin-3(4H)-one) and TRAM-34 (triarylmethane-34), indicated that K3.1 channels are involved in this JMV5656 mechanisms of action. In summary, we demonstrate that, in N9 microglia cells, the interaction of JMV5656 with the TLQP-21 receptors induced an increase in intracellular Ca, and, following extracellular Ca entry, the opening of K3.1 channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2017.00041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5322282PMC
February 2017

Progressive Seizure Aggravation in the Repeated 6-Hz Corneal Stimulation Model Is Accompanied by Marked Increase in Hippocampal p-ERK1/2 Immunoreactivity in Neurons.

Front Cell Neurosci 2016 16;10:281. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Laboratory of Experimental Epileptology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModena, Italy; Department of Neurosciences, NOCSAE Hospital, AUSLModena, Italy.

The 6-Hz corneal stimulation test is used to screen novel antiepileptic molecules to overcome the problem of drug refractoriness. Although recognized as a standard test, it has been evaluated only recently in the attempt to characterize the putative neuronal networks involved in seizures caused by corneal stimulation. In particular, by recording from the CA1 region we previously established that the hippocampus participates to propagation of seizure activity. However, these findings were not corroborated by using markers of neuronal activation such as FosB/ΔFosB antigens. In view of this discrepancy, we performed new experiments to characterize the changes in levels of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases1/2 (p-ERK1/2), which are also used as markers of neuronal activation. To this aim, mice underwent corneal stimulation up to three different times, in three sessions separated by an interval of 3 days. To characterize a group in which seizures could be prevented by pharmacological treatment, we also considered pretreatment with the ghrelin receptor antagonist EP-80317 (330 μg/kg). Control mice were sham-treated. Video electrocorticographic (ECoG) recordings were obtained from mice belonging to each group of treatment. Animals were finally used to characterize the immunoreactivity for FosB/ΔFosB and p-ERK1/2 in the hippocampus. As previously shown, FosB/ΔFosB levels were highly increased throughout the hippocampus by the first induced seizure but, in spite of the progressively increased seizure severity, they were restored to control levels after the third stimulation. At variance, corneal stimulation caused a progressive increase in p-ERK1/2 immunoreactivity all over the hippocampus, especially in CA1, peaking in the third session. Predictably, EP-80317 administration reduced both duration and severity of seizures, prevented the increase in FosB/ΔFosB levels in the first session, and partially counteracted the increase in p-ERK1/2 levels in the third session. The vast majority of p-ERK1/2 immunopositive cells were co-labeled with FosB/ΔFosB antibodies, suggesting the existence of a relationship between the investigated markers in a subpopulation of neurons activated by seizures. These findings suggest that p-ERK1/2 are useful markers to define the aggravation of seizures and the response to anticonvulsant treatments. In particular, p-ERK1/2 expression clearly identified the involvement of hippocampal regions during seizure aggravation in the 6-Hz model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2016.00281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5159434PMC
December 2016

JMV2894, a novel growth hormone secretagogue, accelerates body mass recovery in an experimental model of cachexia.

Endocrine 2017 Oct 28;58(1):106-114. Epub 2016 Nov 28.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Oncologic patients subjected to chemotherapy frequently present aphagia, malnutrition, and cachexia. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether selected growth hormone secretagogues including hexarelin, JMV2894 and JMV2951 could antagonize body weight loss and wasting induced by cisplatin administration in rats. The three growth hormone secretagogues behaved as full agonists of the growth hormone secretagogues receptor both in terms of ability to stimulate calcium mobilization in Chinese hamster ovary cells and stimulation of growth hormone release in neonatal rats. Adult rats were (i) treated with vehicle throughout (controls), or (ii) treated with cisplatin (days 1-3) and a growth hormone secretagogues or vehicle, (days 1-12). Body weight and food consumption were measured daily. Although all growth hormone secretagogues caused initial transient acute increases in food intake, the total amount of food eaten by controls and growth hormone secretagogues treated groups over the 12 experimental days was not significantly different. All groups pre-treated with cisplatin lost up to 5-10 % body weight in the first 4 days; they subsequently gained weight at a rate comparable with controls. Interestingly, rats which received JMV2894 demonstrated a faster gain in body weight than any other growth hormone secretagogues treated group and at the end of the protocol reached a weight similar to that of controls. JMV2894 did not stimulate perirenal and epididymal fat accumulation but reduced MuRF mRNA levels in skeletal muscles. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that JMV2894 antagonizes cisplatin induced weight loss in rats and may prove useful in antagonizing cachexia associated with cancer and chemotherapy in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-016-1184-2DOI Listing
October 2017

Effects of ACL Reconstructive Surgery on Temporal Variations of Cytokine Levels in Synovial Fluid.

Mediators Inflamm 2016 29;2016:8243601. Epub 2016 May 29.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20900 Monza, Italy.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction restores knee stability but does not reduce the incidence of posttraumatic osteoarthritis induced by inflammatory cytokines. The aim of this research was to longitudinally measure IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α levels in patients subjected to ACL reconstruction using bone-patellar tendon-bone graft. Synovial fluid was collected within 24-72 hours of ACL rupture (acute), 1 month after injury immediately prior to surgery (presurgery), and 1 month thereafter (postsurgery). For comparison, a "control" group consisted of individuals presenting chronic ACL tears. Our results indicate that levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 vary significantly over time in reconstruction patients. In the acute phase, the levels of these cytokines in reconstruction patients were significantly greater than those in controls. In the presurgery phase, cytokine levels in reconstruction patients were reduced and comparable with those in controls. Finally, cytokine levels increased again with respect to control group in the postsurgery phase. The levels of IL-1β and TNF-α showed no temporal variation. Our data show that the history of an ACL injury, including trauma and reconstruction, has a significant impact on levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in synovial fluid but does not affect levels of TNF-α and IL-1β.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/8243601DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4903124PMC
August 2017

Characterization of synovial fluid cytokine profiles in chronic meniscal tear of the knee.

J Orthop Res 2017 02 2;35(2):340-346. Epub 2016 May 2.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Concentrations of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in synovial fluid samples collected from patients with chronic meniscal tears were investigated. An acute inflammatory response is generally reported 24-48 h after knee injury, but the largest body of data available in literature concerns anterior cruciate ligament injury and very little information is available about the balance of soluble factors in the synovial fluid of knees with chronic meniscal tears. Sixty-nine patients (46 males and 23 females) with meniscal tear that occurred more than 3 months earlier were enrolled. According to cartilage integrity assessment by arthroscopic examination, patients were assigned to one of the following groups: (i) no chondral damage (n = 18); (ii) chondral damage graded from I to II (n = 15); and (iii) chondral damage graded from III to IV (n = 37). In all groups, levels of IL-10 and inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-8 where greater compared with those reported in the intact population; by contrast, levels of IL-1ra and IL-1β were significantly lower. Interestingly, IL-6 levels were higher in female than male patients. Cytokine levels did not correlate with degree of chondral damage. IL-6 and IL-1ra levels positively correlated with IL-1β, and negatively correlated with TNF-α. Interestingly, levels of IL-1β and TNF-α were inversely correlated. Our data demonstrate increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α) in the chronic phase of meniscal trauma. This pro-inflammatory state is maintained in the joint from the time of initial injury to several months later and could be a key factor in hampering cartilage regeneration. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 35:340-346, 2017.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.23272DOI Listing
February 2017

Changes in subcutaneous adipose tissue microRNA expression in HIV-infected patients.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2014 Nov 25;69(11):3067-75. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Objectives: We evaluated the possibility that a pattern of abnormal microRNA (miRNA) expression could be fuelling the mechanisms causing HIV-associated lipodystrophy (HAL).

Methods: In this case-control study, samples of subcutaneous adipose tissue from eight consecutive HIV-infected patients on combination antiretroviral therapy with HAL (cases) were compared with those of eight HIV-negative subjects (controls). Human miRNA microarrays were used to probe the transcriptomes of the samples. Analysis of differentially expressed miRNAs was performed using DataAssist v2.0 software, applying a paired Student's t-test.

Results: Data showed that 21 miRNAs out of 754 were overexpressed in the patient group. Ten of these (i.e. miR-186, miR-199a-3p, miR-214, miR-374a, miR-487b, miR-532-5p, miR-628-5p, miR-874, miR-125-b-1* and miR-374b*) were up-regulated to a significant degree (fold change >2.5; P < 0.01). Eleven other miRNAs (i.e. miR-let-7d, miR-24, miR-30c, miR-125a-3p, miR-149, miR-191, miR-196-b, miR-218, miR-342-3p, miR-452 and miR-454*) were 2- to 2.5-fold more expressed in HIV+ samples than in controls. Levels of mRNA for lipin 1, the target of miR-218, were significantly lower in subcutaneous adipose tissue from HIV patients.

Conclusions: In adipocytes of HIV-infected patients, the up-regulation of specific miRNAs could lead to an increased 'activation' that might contribute to the pathogenesis of HAL by increasing cell turnover and/or promotion of apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dku264DOI Listing
November 2014

Protective but not anticonvulsant effects of ghrelin and JMV-1843 in the pilocarpine model of Status epilepticus.

PLoS One 2013 28;8(8):e72716. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

In models of status epilepticus ghrelin displays neuroprotective effects mediated by the growth hormone secretagogue-receptor 1a (GHS-R1a). This activity may be explained by anticonvulsant properties that, however, are controversial. We further investigated neuroprotection and the effects on seizures by comparing ghrelin with a more effective GHS-R1a agonist, JMV-1843. Rats were treated either with ghrelin, JMV-1843 or saline 10 min before pilocarpine, which was used to induce status epilepticus. Status epilepticus, developed in all rats, was attenuated by diazepam. No differences were observed among the various groups in the characteristics of pilocarpine-induced seizures. In saline group the area of lesion, characterized by lack of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity, was of 0.45 ± 0.07 mm(2) in the hippocampal stratum lacunosum-moleculare, and was accompanied by upregulation of laminin immunostaining, and by increased endothelin-1 expression. Both ghrelin (P<0.05) and JMV-1843 (P<0.01) were able to reduce the area of loss in glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining. In addition, JMV-1843 counteracted (P<0.05) the changes in laminin and endothelin-1 expression, both increased in ghrelin-treated rats. JMV-1843 was able to ameliorate neuronal survival in the hilus of dentate gyrus and medial entorhinal cortex layer III (P<0.05 vs saline and ghrelin groups). These results demonstrate diverse protective effects of growth hormone secretagogues in rats exposed to status epilepticus.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0072716PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3755992PMC
March 2014

Growth hormone secretagogues exert differential effects on skeletal muscle calcium homeostasis in male rats depending on the peptidyl/nonpeptidyl structure.

Endocrinology 2013 Oct 8;154(10):3764-75. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari, Via Orabona, 4, Campus, I-70125 Bari, Italy.

The orexigenic and anabolic effects induced by ghrelin and the synthetic GH secretagogues (GHSs) are thought to positively contribute to therapeutic approaches and the adjunct treatment of a number of diseases associated with muscle wasting such as cachexia and sarcopenia. However, many questions about the potential utility and safety of GHSs in both therapy and skeletal muscle function remain unanswered. By using fura-2 cytofluorimetric technique, we determined the acute effects of ghrelin, as well as of peptidyl and nonpeptidyl synthetic GHSs on calcium homeostasis, a critical biomarker of muscle function, in isolated tendon-to-tendon male rat skeletal muscle fibers. The synthetic nonpeptidyl GHSs, but not peptidyl ghrelin and hexarelin, were able to significantly increase resting cytosolic calcium [Ca²⁺]i. The nonpeptidyl GHS-induced [Ca²⁺]i increase was independent of GHS-receptor 1a but was antagonized by both thapsigargin/caffeine and cyclosporine A, indicating the involvement of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Evaluation of the effects of a pseudopeptidyl GHS and a nonpeptidyl antagonist of the GHS-receptor 1a together with a drug-modeling study suggest the conclusion that the lipophilic nonpeptidyl structure of the tested compounds is the key chemical feature crucial for the GHS-induced calcium alterations in the skeletal muscle. Thus, synthetic GHSs can have different effects on skeletal muscle fibers depending on their molecular structures. The calcium homeostasis dysregulation specifically induced by the nonpeptidyl GHSs used in this study could potentially counteract the beneficial effects associated with these drugs in the treatment of muscle wasting of cachexia- or other age-related disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2013-1334DOI Listing
October 2013

Acute and late changes in intraarticular cytokine levels following anterior cruciate ligament injury.

J Orthop Res 2013 Feb 6;31(2):315-21. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Orthopedic Department, San Gerardo Hospital, 20900 Monza, Italy.

Surgical reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) does not necessarily decrease the risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA). The inflammatory response and relative changes in pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines could participate in triggering the development of OA. To test this hypothesis we measured the concentrations of IL-1β, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α at different times after ACL rupture. The sample population consisted of 48 patients with ACL tear which were assigned to different groups according to the time elapsed from the injury: 22 acute (A), 7 early sub-acute (ESA), 11 late sub-acute (LSA), and 8 chronic (C). In group A, there were high levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8, whereas levels of IL-1ra and TNF-α were significantly lower than usually reported. IL-1β and IL-8 concentrations returned with time to normal levels in the ESA group. Interestingly, IL-1ra levels remained always significantly lower than normally reported levels, and TNF-α levels did not increase after trauma. Our data show increased level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) in the acute phase of inflammation which could be responsible for triggering cartilage catabolism and suggest that prompt neutralization of IL-6 and IL-8 accumulations in synovial fluid could help prevent development of OA in ACL-injured knees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.22208DOI Listing
February 2013

Novel domain-selective ACE-inhibiting activity of synthetic growth hormone secretagogues.

Pharmacol Res 2012 Oct 23;66(4):317-24. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via Cadore 48, 20900 Monza, Italy.

The mechanisms of cardiovascular protective effects of ghrelin and its synthetic analogs are still largely unknown. Our first aim was to ascertain whether or not natural and synthetic ligands of GHS-R1a are capable of interfering with the activity of the renin-angiotensin system. Second, since polymorphisms in the ACE gene have been associated with Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and ACE is potentially involved in brain β-amyloid degradation, we also investigated the state of ghrelin axis and inflammatory markers in patients with AD and vascular dementia (VaD). Desacyl ghrelin, hexarelin, EP80317, and GHRP-6 all significantly inhibited ACE activity in vitro; by comparison, the efficacies of ghrelin and MK-0677 were significantly lower, suggesting that ACE-inhibiting activity is unrelated to ligand affinity to GHS-R1a. ACE was capable of cleaving Aβin vitro, reducing its ability to aggregate in fibrillar Aβ. Interestingly, this protective effect of ACE was blunted by enalapril but not hexarelin or EP80317. Desacyl ghrelin levels were lower in VaD subjects compared with AD and control subjects, whereas ghrelin and TNF-α levels were similar in all groups. VaD subjects demonstrated greater levels of mRNA for GHS-R1a, PPAR-γ and CD36 in peripheral blood lymphocytes compared with other groups. In conclusion, some GHSs are effective ACE-inhibitors, and this activity may contribute to their cardiovascular effects. Hexarelin or EP80317 do not inhibit the N-domain of ACE, which is also involved in the metabolism of β-amyloid, suggesting the possibility of developing new antihypertensive drugs with improved therapeutic potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2012.06.006DOI Listing
October 2012