Publications by authors named "Demetrios Petrakis"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Obesity ‑ a risk factor for increased COVID‑19 prevalence, severity and lethality (Review).

Mol Med Rep 2020 Jul 5;22(1):9-19. Epub 2020 May 5.

Laboratory of Toxicology, Medical School, University of Crete, 71409 Heraklion, Greece.

Coronaviruses (CoVs), enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses, are a group of viruses that cause infections in the human respiratory tract, which can be characterized clinically from mild to fatal. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) is the virus responsible. The global spread of COVID‑19 can be described as the worst pandemic in humanity in the last century. To date, COVID‑19 has infected more than 3,000,000 people worldwide and killed more than 200,000 people. All age groups can be infected from the virus, but more serious symptoms that can possibly result in death are observed in older people and those with underlying medical conditions such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Novel data report more severe symptoms and even a negative prognosis for the obese patients. A growing body of evidence connects obesity with COVID‑19 and a number of mechanisms from immune system activity attenuation to chronic inflammation are implicated. Lipid peroxidation creates reactive lipid aldehydes which in a patient with metabolic disorder and COVID‑19 will affect its prognosis. Finally, pregnancy‑associated obesity needs to be studied further in connection to COVID‑19 as this infection could pose high risk both to pregnant women and the fetus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2020.11127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7248467PMC
July 2020

Towards effective COVID‑19 vaccines: Updates, perspectives and challenges (Review).

Int J Mol Med 2020 Jul 6;46(1):3-16. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Forensic Sciences and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece.

In the current context of the pandemic triggered by SARS-COV-2, the immunization of the population through vaccination is recognized as a public health priority. In the case of SARS‑COV‑2, the genetic sequencing was done quickly, in one month. Since then, worldwide research has focused on obtaining a vaccine. This has a major economic impact because new technological platforms and advanced genetic engineering procedures are required to obtain a COVID‑19 vaccine. The most difficult scientific challenge for this future vaccine obtained in the laboratory is the proof of clinical safety and efficacy. The biggest challenge of manufacturing is the construction and validation of production platforms capable of making the vaccine on a large scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2020.4596DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255458PMC
July 2020

Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for COVID‑19 (Review).

Int J Mol Med 2020 Jul 14;46(1):17-26. Epub 2020 Apr 14.

I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), 119146 Moscow, Russia.

In view of the emerging COVID‑19 pandemic caused by SARS‑CoV‑2 virus, the search for potential protective and therapeutic antiviral strategies is of particular and urgent interest. Zinc is known to modulate antiviral and antibacterial immunity and regulate inflammatory response. Despite the lack of clinical data, certain indications suggest that modulation of zinc status may be beneficial in COVID‑19. In vitro experiments demonstrate that Zn2+ possesses antiviral activity through inhibition of SARS‑CoV RNA polymerase. This effect may underlie therapeutic efficiency of chloroquine known to act as zinc ionophore. Indirect evidence also indicates that Zn2+ may decrease the activity of angiotensin‑converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), known to be the receptor for SARS‑CoV‑2. Improved antiviral immunity by zinc may also occur through up‑regulation of interferon α production and increasing its antiviral activity. Zinc possesses anti‑inflammatory activity by inhibiting NF‑κB signaling and modulation of regulatory T‑cell functions that may limit the cytokine storm in COVID‑19. Improved Zn status may also reduce the risk of bacterial co‑infection by improving mucociliary clearance and barrier function of the respiratory epithelium, as well as direct antibacterial effects against S. pneumoniae. Zinc status is also tightly associated with risk factors for severe COVID‑19 including ageing, immune deficiency, obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, since these are known risk groups for zinc deficiency. Therefore, Zn may possess protective effect as preventive and adjuvant therapy of COVID‑19 through reducing inflammation, improvement of mucociliary clearance, prevention of ventilator‑induced lung injury, modulation of antiviral and antibacterial immunity. However, further clinical and experimental studies are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2020.4575DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255455PMC
July 2020

Pesticides, cognitive functions and dementia: A review.

Toxicol Lett 2020 Jun 4;326:31-51. Epub 2020 Mar 4.

Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, University Hospital of Larissa, Greece; Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece. Electronic address:

Pesticides are widely-used chemicals commonly applied in agriculture for the protection of crops from pests. Depending on the class of pesticides, the specific substances may have a specific set of adverse effects on humans, especially in cases of acute poisoning. In past years, evidence regarding sequelae of chronic, low-level exposure has been accumulating. Cognitive impairment and dementia heavily affect a person's quality of life and scientific data has been hinting towards an association between them and antecedent chronic pesticide exposure. Here, we reviewed animal and human studies exploring the association between pesticide exposure, cognition and dementia. Additionally, we present potential mechanisms through which pesticides may act neurotoxically and lead to neurodegeneration. Study designs rarely presented homogeneity and the estimation of the exposure to pesticides has been most frequently performed without measuring the synergic effects and the possible interactions between the toxicants within mixtures, and also overlooking low exposures to environmental toxicants. It is possible that a Real-Life Risk Simulation approach would represent a robust alternative for future studies, so that the safe exposure limits and the net risk that pesticides confer to impaired cognitive function can be examined. Previous studies that evaluated the effect of low dose chronic exposure to mixtures of pesticides and other chemicals intending to simulate real life exposure scenarios showed that hormetic neurobehavioral effects can appear after mixture exposure at doses considered safe for individual compounds and these effects can be exacerbated by a coexistence with specific conditions such as vitamin deficiency. However, there is an overall indication, derived from both epidemiologic and laboratory evidence, supporting an association between exposure to neurotoxic pesticides and cognitive dysfunction, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxlet.2020.03.005DOI Listing
June 2020

Endocrine Disruptors Leading to Obesity and Related Diseases.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 10 24;14(10). Epub 2017 Oct 24.

Department of Forensic Sciences and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

The review aims to comprehensively present the impact of exposure to endocrine disruptors (EDs) in relation to the clinical manifestation of obesity and related diseases, including diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, carcinogenesis and infertility. EDs are strong participants in the obesity epidemic scenery by interfering with cellular morphological and biochemical processes; by inducing inflammatory responses; and by presenting transcriptional and oncogenic activity. Obesity and lipotoxicity enhancement occur through reprogramming and/or remodeling of germline epigenome by exposure to EDs. Specific population groups are vulnerable to ED exposure due to current dietary and environmental conditions. Obesity, morbidity and carcinogenicity induced by ED exposure are an evolving reality. Therefore, a new collective strategic approach is deemed essential, for the reappraisal of current global conditions pertaining to energy management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101282DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664782PMC
October 2017

Obesity, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Related Health Problems.

Adv Exp Med Biol 2017 ;960:81-110

Department of Forensic Sciences and Toxicology, Medical School, University of Crete, Voutes, 71003, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

The present review aims to delve into persistent organic pollutants (POPs) , as xenobiotics, in correlation to human health. POPs exhibit a group of common characteristics, including lipophilicity, persistence to decomposition and bioaccumulation in tissues. POPs have been thoroughly studied by former researchers, as they offer a particular interest in the elucidation of metabolic, endocrine and immune perturbation caused by their synergy with intracellular mechanisms. Herein particular focus is attributed to the relationship of POPs with obesity provocation. Obesity nowadays receives epidemic dimensions, as its prevalence elevates in an exponential degree. POPs-induced obesity rotates around interfering in metabolic and endocrinal procedures and interacting with peroxisome-proliferator and retinoic receptors. Moreover, polymorphisms in CYP gene families exert a negative result, as they incapacitate detoxification of POPs. Obesity could be deemed as a multidimensional condition, as various factors interact to lead to an obesogenic result. Therefore, concomitant disorders may occur, from mild to lethal, and get intensified due to POPs exposure. POPs exact function mechanisms remain rather enigmatic, thus further investigation should be prospectively performed, for a more lucid picture of this issue, and, consequently for the establishment of alternative solutions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48382-5_4DOI Listing
September 2017