Publications by authors named "Domniki Fragou"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Global DNA methylation levels in white blood cells of patients with chronic heroin use disorder. A prospective study.

Toxicol Rep 2021 6;8:337-342. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Department of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Background: Increasing scientific evidence shows the significant role of epigenetic mechanisms in drug use disorder, abstinence and relapse. Studies on human subjects are limited compared to those on animals, for various reasons such as poly-substance abuse, high drop-out rate and technical difficulties.

Objectives: Our goal was to evaluate whether a monitored abstinence period of 21 days could induce changes in global DNA methylation in chronic heroin users.

Method: In the current study, we present data on global DNA methylation on a set of 18 male patients with chronic heroin use disorder, carefully selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, who were hospitalized and closely monitored during a 21-day detoxification program, one of the few where no opioid agonist is administered. The participants were sampled twice, once upon enrolment to the program and once upon completion.

Results: According to our results, no difference in global DNA methylation was detected between samples collected upon enrolment and samples collected upon completion of the program.

Conclusion: The findings of this study do not rule out the possibility that the 21-day abstinence period was not long enough to observe changes in global DNA methylation, or that abstinence induced site-specific methylation changes (but not global changes), that certainly merit further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2021.02.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892979PMC
February 2021

The association of female and male infertility with telomere length (Review).

Int J Mol Med 2019 Aug 31;44(2):375-389. Epub 2019 May 31.

Laboratory of Toxicology, Medical School, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece.

Telomere length (TL) has long been associated with aging, as telomeres serve as protective caps of chromosomes, and are thus deeply involved in the preservation of genome integrity and are vital to cellular functions. Traditionally, a strong link connects aging and infertility in both sexes, with an earlier onset in females. Over the past decade, telomeres have attracted increasing attention due to the role they play in fertility. In this review, we investigated the potential positive or negative association between relative TL and different factors of female and male infertility. A systematic search of the PubMed database was conducted. Out of the 206 studies identified, 45 were reviewed as they fulfilled the criteria of validity and relevance. Following an analysis and a comparison of the study outcomes, several clear trends were observed. The majority of female infertility factors were associated with a shorter TL, with the exception of endometriosis, premature ovarian failure and clear cell carcinoma that were associated with a longer TL and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which revealed conflicting results among several studies, leading to ambiguous conclusions. Male infertility factors were associated with a shorter TL. Although this review can provide an outline of general trends in the association of TL with infertility factors, further epidemiological and original research studies are required to focus on investigating the basis of these varying lengths of telomeres.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2019.4225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6605974PMC
August 2019

Smoking and DNA methylation: Correlation of methylation with smoking behavior and association with diseases and fetus development following prenatal exposure.

Food Chem Toxicol 2019 Jul 4;129:312-327. Epub 2019 May 4.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Electronic address:

Among epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation has been widely studied with respect to many environmental factors. Smoking is a common factor which affects both global and gene-specific DNA methylation. It is supported that smoking directly affects DNA methylation, and these effects contribute to the development and progression of various diseases, such as cancer, lung and cardiovascular diseases and male infertility. In addition, prenatal smoking influences the normal development of the fetus via DNA methylation changes. The DNA methylation profile and its smoking-induced alterations helps to distinguish current from former smokers and non-smokers and can be used to predict the risk for the development of a disease. This review summarizes the DNA methylation changes induced by smoking, their correlation with smoking behavior and their association with various diseases and fetus development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2019.04.059DOI Listing
July 2019

CYP polymorphisms and pathological conditions related to chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides.

Toxicol Rep 2017 26;4:335-341. Epub 2017 May 26.

Research Group of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics, Faculty of Pharmacy, School of Health Sciences, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

The association between genetic variations in the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family genes and pathological conditions related to long-term exposure to organochlorine compounds (OCs) deserves further elucidation. OCs are persistent organic pollutants with bioaccumulative and lipophilic characteristics. They can act as endocrine disruptors and perturb cellular mechanisms. Prolonged exposure to OCs has been associated with different pathological manifestations. CYP genes are responsible for transcribing enzymes essential in xenobiotic metabolism. Therefore, polymorphisms in these genetic sequences a. alter the metabolic pathways, b. induce false cellular responses, and c. may provoke pathological conditions. The main aim of this review is to define the interaction between parameters a, b and c at a mechanistic/molecular level, with references in clinical cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2017.05.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5615117PMC
May 2017

Worldwide legislative challenges related to psychoactive drugs.

Daru 2017 Jun 2;25(1):14. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

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

The discovery of a "new" psychoactive substance is a relatively exceptional event, while the regulatory response usually involved the assessment of risks to public health and inclusion of the novel substance in the national list of controlled substances. However, in recent years we have witnessed the rapid emergence of new chemical substances, which elude international control and pose a challenge to existing processes and a threat to the credibility of control systems. We currently review and present characteristics of these legal and illegal new substances and issues regarding their global monitoring and regulatory measures already taken, or in the process of being taken, for their control. The concept of prohibition applied in active substance-related legislation is rather hazard ridden as balance is required between the ban on substances of potential therapeutic use and the access on the market of high-risk substances. Current and future laws regarding psychoactive compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40199-017-0180-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455135PMC
June 2017

Epigenetically modified nucleotides in chronic heroin and cocaine treated mice.

Toxicol Lett 2014 Sep 23;229(3):451-7. Epub 2014 Jul 23.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece. Electronic address:

Epigenetic changes include the addition of a methyl group to the 5' carbon of the cytosine ring, known as DNA methylation, which results in the generation of the fifth DNA base, namely 5-methylcytosine. During active or passive demethylation, an intermediate modified base is formed, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. We have currently quantified 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the liver and brain of mice treated with cocaine or heroin, using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Our results show that global 5-methylcytosine levels are not affected by heroin or cocaine administration, neither in the liver nor in the brain. However, 5-hydroxymethylcytosine levels are reduced in the liver following cocaine administration, while they are not affected by cocaine in the brain or by heroin administration in the liver and the brain. Elucidation of the epigenetic phenomena that takes place with respect to drug abuse and addiction, via quantitative analysis of different modified bases, may enable a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and may lead to more personalized and effective treatment options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.07.023DOI Listing
September 2014

Recent advances in the bioanalysis of modified nucleotides in epigenetic studies.

Bioanalysis 2013 Dec;5(23):2947-56

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124, Greece.

Epigenetic alterations, such as DNA methylation, are involved in the pathogenesis of various diseases, the toxicity of diverse agents, the process of aging, the development of stem cells and numerous other mechanisms. DNA methylation is one of the most well-studied epigenetic alterations in mammals. Nevertheless, the scientific interest is now focusing on novel modified nucleotides with potential regulatory roles, such as 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. We currently present and discuss novel bioanalytical strategies developed for the determination of various modified nucleotides in epigenetic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/bio.13.270DOI Listing
December 2013

Bioanalysis young investigator: award 2013.

Bioanalysis 2013 Jun;5(11):1341-5

Nutrition & Food Science Department, XaRTA, INSA. Pharmacy School, University of Barcelona. Av. Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/bio.13.96DOI Listing
June 2013

Effect of chronic heroin and cocaine administration on global DNA methylation in brain and liver.

Toxicol Lett 2013 Apr 20;218(3):260-5. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Drug abuse is associated with epigenetic changes, such as histone modifications and DNA methylation. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of chronic cocaine and heroin administration on global DNA methylation in brain and liver. Male, 8 week old, C57BL/6J mice received heroin in a chronic 'intermittent' escalating dose paradigm, or cocaine in a chronic escalating dose 'binge' paradigm, which mimic the human pattern of opioid or cocaine abuse respectively. Following sacrifice, livers and brains were removed and DNA was extracted from them. The extracted DNA was hydrolyzed and 2'-deoxycytidine and 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine were determined by HPLC-UV. The % 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine content of DNA was significantly higher in the brain compared to the liver. There were no differences between the control animals and the cocaine or heroin treated animals in neither of the tissues examined, which is surprising since cocaine administration induced gross morphological changes in the liver. Moreover, there was no difference in the % 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine content of DNA between the cocaine and the heroin treated animals. The global DNA methylation status in the brain and liver of mice chronically treated with cocaine or heroin remains unaffected, but this finding cannot exclude the existence of anatomical region or gene-specific methylation differences. This is the first time that global DNA methylation in the liver and whole brain has been studied following chronic cocaine or heroin treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxlet.2013.01.022DOI Listing
April 2013

Alterations in serum MMP and TIMP concentrations following chronic heroin abuse.

Toxicol Mech Methods 2013 Jun 16;23(5):377-81. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology and.

Unlabelled: Abstract Context: Although opiate abuse is known to affect matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), data on these enzymes and their tissue inhibitors in heroin addicts are scarce.

Objective: In the present study, we determined serum concentrations of MMP-2, MMP-9, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2 in heroin users, and compared them with healthy individuals. We evaluated whether 21 d of abstinence are adequate to reverse the effect of opiates and we compared seropositive with seronegative, for anti-HCV antibodies, heroin users.

Materials And Methods: Twenty-six heroin-dependent male volunteers and an equal number of healthy individuals participated in this study. ELISA was used to assess the serum levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2. Heroin users were assessed both upon admission and upon completion of a 21-d detoxification program.

Results: Serum TIMP-1 concentrations were significantly lower and the ratios MMP-2/TIMP-1, MMP-9/TIMP-1 and MMP-2/TIMP-2 were significantly higher in heroin users compared to healthy individuals. Heroin users who were seropositive had lower MMP concentrations, as well as lower MMP/TIMP ratios, compared to those who were seronegative.

Discussion: Our results showed that in heroin-addicted individuals, and especially those who are positive for anti-HCV antibodies, the balance between MMPs and TIMPs in serum is disrupted and this disruption cannot be restored within 21 d of abstinence.

Conclusion: Chronic heroin abuse disrupts the balance between MMPs and TIMPs in serum and this effect is not reversible within 21 d of abstinence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/15376516.2012.758681DOI Listing
June 2013

Atypical antipsychotics: trends in analysis and sample preparation of various biological samples.

Bioanalysis 2012 May;4(8):961-80

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Atypical antipsychotics are increasingly popular and increasingly prescribed. In some countries, they can even be obtained over-the-counter, without a prescription, making their abuse quite easy. Although atypical antipsychotics are thought to be safer than typical antipsychotics, they still have severe side effects. Intoxications are not rare and some of them have a fatal outcome. Drug interactions involving atypical antipsychotics complicate patient management in clinical settings and the determination of the cause of death in fatalities. In view of the above, analytical strategies that can efficiently isolate atypical antipsychotics from a variety of biological samples and quantify them accurately, sensitively and reliably, are of utmost importance both for the clinical, as well as for the forensic toxicologist. In this review, we will present and discuss novel analytical strategies that have been developed from 2004 to the present day for the determination of atypical antipsychotics in various biological samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/bio.12.55DOI Listing
May 2012

Evaluation of 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine stability in hydrolyzed and nonhydrolyzed DNA by HPLC-UV.

Bioanalysis 2012 Feb;4(4):367-72

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Background: Although the determination of 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine (5-MedC) in various biological samples is gaining increasing scientific interest, there are no data available regarding its stability.

Results: We have currently evaluated the stability of 5-MedC and 2'-deoxycytidine (dC) at -20°C, both in hydrolyzed and nonhydrolyzed calf thymus DNA (CT DNA), as well as following repetitive freeze-thaw cycles. HPLC-UV was used for the accurate determination of the two 2'-deoxynucleosides. Statistical evaluation of the results revealed that 5-MedC and dC were stable in hydrolyzed CT DNA for at least 7 days and in nonhydrolyzed CT DNA for at least 65 days, when these were stored at -20°C. Furthermore, both 2'-deoxynucleosides were stable for at least three repetitive freeze-thaw cycles.

Conclusion: By using HPLC-UV, we have evaluated the stability of 5-MedC and dC under storage conditions and repetitive freeze-thaw cycles. Our results are informative about the way samples should be handled and stored in epigenetic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/bio.11.335DOI Listing
February 2012

Novel strategies for sample preparation in forensic toxicology.

Bioanalysis 2011 Sep;3(17):2019-46

Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

This paper provides a review of novel strategies for sample preparation in forensic toxicology. The review initially outlines the principle of each technique, followed by sections addressing each class of abused drugs separately. The novel strategies currently reviewed focus on the preparation of various biological samples for the subsequent determination of opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics and cannabinoids. According to our experience, these analytes are the most frequently responsible for intoxications in Greece. The applications of techniques such as disposable pipette extraction, microextraction by packed sorbent, matrix solid-phase dispersion, solid-phase microextraction, polymer monolith microextraction, stir bar sorptive extraction and others, which are rapidly gaining acceptance in the field of toxicology, are currently reviewed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/bio.11.168DOI Listing
September 2011

Epigenetic mechanisms in metal toxicity.

Toxicol Mech Methods 2011 May;21(4):343-52

Laboratory of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

The true understanding of epigenetics evolved over time as our knowledge on DNA methylation and chromatin modifications and their effects on gene expression increased. The current flurry of research on epigenetics and the increasing documentation of the effects of various environmental factors on DNA methylation, chromatin modification, as well as on the expression of small non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) have expanded the scope of research on the etiology of various diseases including cancer. The current review briefly discusses various molecular mechanisms of epigenetic regulation of gene expression, and expands the discussion with examples of heavy metal-induced alterations of gene expression and the associated epigenetic changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/15376516.2011.557878DOI Listing
May 2011