Publications by authors named "Elena Conte"

39 Publications

Gain-of-Function STIM1 L96V Mutation Causes Myogenesis Alteration in Muscle Cells From a Patient Affected by Tubular Aggregate Myopathy.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2021 26;9:635063. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

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

Tubular Aggregate Myopathy (TAM) is a hereditary ultra-rare muscle disorder characterized by muscle weakness and cramps or myasthenic features. Biopsies from TAM patients show the presence of tubular aggregates originated from sarcoplasmic reticulum due to altered Ca homeostasis. TAM is caused by gain-of-function mutations in STIM1 or ORAI1, proteins responsible for Store-Operated-Calcium-Entry (SOCE), a pivotal mechanism in Ca signaling. So far there is no cure for TAM and the mechanisms through which or gene mutation lead to muscle dysfunction remain to be clarified. It has been established that post-natal myogenesis critically relies on Ca influx through SOCE. To explore how Ca homeostasis dysregulation associated with TAM impacts on muscle differentiation cascade, we here performed a functional characterization of myoblasts and myotubes deriving from patients carrying STIM1 L96V mutation by using fura-2 cytofluorimetry, high content imaging and real-time PCR. We demonstrated a higher resting Ca concentration and an increased SOCE in STIM1 mutant compared with control, together with a compensatory down-regulation of genes involved in Ca handling (. Differentiating STIM1 L96V myoblasts persisted in a mononuclear state and the fewer multinucleated myotubes had distinct morphology and geometry of mitochondrial network compared to controls, indicating a defect in the late differentiation phase. The alteration in myogenic pathway was confirmed by gene expression analysis regarding early () and late () differentiation markers together with mitochondrial markers (. We provided evidences of mechanisms responsible for a defective myogenesis associated to TAM mutant and validated a reliable cellular model usefull for TAM preclinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2021.635063DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952532PMC
February 2021

Oxtr/TRPV1 expression and acclimation of skeletal muscle to cold-stress in male mice.

J Endocrinol 2021 May;249(2):135-148

Department of Pharmacy-Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

We explored the involvement of oxytocin receptor (Oxtr)/transient-receptor-potential-vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) genes and oxytocin (Oxt) on the adaptation of skeletal muscle to cold stress challenge in mice. Oxtr expression in hypothalamic paraventricular (PVN), supraoptic nuclei (SON), and hippocampus (HIPP) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry in parallel with the measurement of circulating Oxt. The Oxtr and TRPV1 gene expressions in soleus (SOL) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles were investigated by RT-PCR. Histological studies of the cardiac muscle after cold stress were also performed. Male mice (n = 15) were divided into controls maintained at room temperature (RT = 24°C), exposed to cold stress (CS) at T = 4°C for 6 h , and 5 days. Immunohistochemical studies showed that Oxtr protein expression increased by two-fold (P = 0.01) in PVN and by 1.5-fold (P = 0.0001) in HIPP after 6 h- and 5 days of CS but decreased by 2-fold (P = 0.026) in SON in 5 days. Both Oxtr and TRPV1 gene expression increased after 6 h and 5 days of CS in SOL and TA muscles. Oxtr vs TRPV1 gene expression in SOL and TA muscles evaluated by regression analysis was linearly correlated following CS at 6 h and 5 days but not at control temperature of 24 ± 1°C, supporting the hypothesis of coupling between these genes. The circulating levels of Oxt are unaffected after 6 h of CS but decreased by 0.2-fold (P = 0.0141) after 5 days-CS. This is the first report that Oxtr and TRPV1 expressions are upregulated in response to cold acclimation in skeletal muscle. The up-regulation of Oxtr in PVN and HIPP balances the decrease of circulating Oxt.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/JOE-20-0346DOI Listing
May 2021

Pathomechanisms of a Mutation Found in a Russian Family Suffering From Becker's Myotonia.

Front Neurol 2020 4;11:1019. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

Myotonia congenita (MC) is a rare muscle disease characterized by sarcolemma over-excitability inducing skeletal muscle stiffness. It can be inherited either as an autosomal dominant (Thomsen's disease) or an autosomal recessive (Becker's disease) trait. Both types are caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene, encoding for ClC-1 chloride channel. We found a ClC-1 mutation, p.G411C, identified in Russian patients who suffered from a severe form of Becker's disease. The purpose of this study was to provide a solid correlation between G411C dysfunction and clinical symptoms in the affected patient. We provide clinical and genetic information of the proband kindred. Functional studies include patch-clamp electrophysiology, biotinylation assay, western blot analysis, and confocal imaging of G411C and wild-type ClC-1 channels expressed in HEK293T cells. The G411C mutation dramatically abolished chloride currents in transfected HEK cells. Biochemical experiments revealed that the majority of G411C mutant channels did not reach the plasma membrane but remained trapped in the cytoplasm. Treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 reduced the degradation rate of G411C mutant channels, leading to their expression at the plasma membrane. However, despite an increase in cell surface expression, no significant chloride current was recorded in the G411C-transfected cell treated with MG132, suggesting that this mutation produces non-functional ClC-1 chloride channels. These results suggest that the molecular pathophysiology of G411C is linked to a reduced plasma membrane expression and biophysical dysfunction of mutant channels, likely due to a misfolding defect. Chloride current abolition confirms that the mutation is responsible for the clinical phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.01019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500137PMC
September 2020

Ergogenic Effect of BCAAs and L-Alanine Supplementation: Proof-of-Concept Study in a Murine Model of Physiological Exercise.

Nutrients 2020 Jul 30;12(8). Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Orabona 4-Campus, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Background: Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, valine) account for 35% of skeletal muscle essential amino acids (AAs). As such, they must be provided in the diet to support peptide synthesis and inhibit protein breakdown. Although substantial evidence has been collected about the potential usefulness of BCAAs in supporting muscle function and structure, dietary supplements containing BCAAs alone may not be effective in controlling muscle protein turnover, due to the rate-limiting bioavailability of other AAs involved in BCAAs metabolism.

Methods: We aimed to evaluate the in vivo/ex vivo effects of a 4-week treatment with an oral formulation containing BCAAs alone (2:1:1) on muscle function, structure, and metabolism in a murine model of physiological exercise, which was compared to three modified formulations combining BCAAs with increasing concentrations of L-Alanine (ALA), an AA controlling BCAAs catabolism.

Results: A preliminary pharmacokinetic study confirmed the ability of ALA to boost up BCAAs bioavailability. After 4 weeks, (BCAAs + 2ALA) had the best protective effect on mice force and fatigability, as well as on muscle morphology and metabolic indices.

Conclusion: Our study corroborates the use of BCAAs + ALA to support muscle health during physiological exercise, underlining how the relative BCAAs/ALA ratio is important to control BCAAs distribution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12082295DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468919PMC
July 2020

Corrigendum to "Ion Channels Involvement in Neurodevelopmental Disorders" [Neuroscience 440C (2020) 337-359].

Neuroscience 2020 Sep 29;443:233. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.07.026DOI Listing
September 2020

Changes in Expression and Cellular Localization of Rat Skeletal Muscle ClC-1 Chloride Channel in Relation to Age, Myofiber Phenotype and PKC Modulation.

Front Pharmacol 2020 15;11:714. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

The ClC-1 chloride channel 1 is important for muscle function as it stabilizes resting membrane potential and helps to repolarize the membrane after action potentials. We investigated the contribution of ClC-1 to adaptation of skeletal muscles to needs induced by the different stages of life. We analyzed the ClC-1 gene and protein expression as well as mRNA levels of protein kinase C (PKC) alpha and theta involved in ClC-1 modulation, in soleus (SOL) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of rats in all stage of life. The cellular localization of ClC-1 in relation to age was also investigated. Our data show that during muscle development ClC-1 expression differs according to phenotype. In fast-twitch EDL muscles ClC-1 expression increased 10-fold starting at 7 days up to 8 months of life. Conversely, in slow-twitch SOL muscles ClC-1 expression remained constant until 33 days of life and subsequently increased fivefold to reach the adult value. Aging induced a downregulation of gene and protein ClC-1 expression in both muscle types analyzed. The mRNA of PKC-theta revealed the same trend as ClC-1 except in old age, whereas the mRNA of PKC-alpha increased only after 2 months of age. Also, we found that the ClC-1 is localized in both membrane and cytoplasm, in fibers of 12-day-old rats, becoming perfectly localized on the membrane in 2-month-old rats. This study could represent a point of comparison helpful for the identification of accurate pharmacological strategies for all the pathological situations in which ClC-1 protein is altered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243361PMC
May 2020

Ion Channels Involvement in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Neuroscience 2020 08 28;440:337-359. Epub 2020 May 28.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Italy. Electronic address:

Inherited and sporadic mutations in genes encoding for brain ion channels, affecting membrane expression or biophysical properties, have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by epilepsy, cognitive and behavioral deficits with significant phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Over the years, the screening of a growing number of patients and the functional characterization of newly identified mutations in ion channels genes allowed to recognize new phenotypes and to widen the clinical spectrum of known diseases. Furthermore, advancements in understanding disease pathogenesis at atomic level or using patient-derived iPSCs and animal models have been pivotal to orient therapeutic intervention and to put the basis for the development of novel pharmacological options for drug-resistant disorders. In this review we will discuss major improvements and critical issues concerning neurodevelopmental disorders caused by dysfunctions in brain sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride and ligand-gated ion channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.05.032DOI Listing
August 2020

Functional Study of Novel Bartter's Syndrome Mutations in ClC-Kb and Rescue by the Accessory Subunit Barttin Toward Personalized Medicine.

Front Pharmacol 2020 17;11:327. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

Type III and IV Bartter syndromes (BS) are rare kidney tubulopathies caused by loss-of-function mutations in the and genes coding respectively for the ClC-Kb chloride channels and accessory subunit barttin. ClC-K channels are expressed in the Henle's loop, distal convoluted tubule, and cortical collecting ducts of the kidney and contribute to chloride absorption and urine concentration. In our Italian cohort, we identified two new mutations in , G167V and G289R, in children affected by BS and previously reported genetic variants, A242E, a chimeric gene and the deletion of the whole . All the patients had hypokalemia and metabolic alkalosis, increased serum renin and aldosterone levels and were treated with a symptomatic therapy. In order to define the molecular mechanisms responsible for BS, we co-expressed ClC-Kb wild type and channels with point mutations with barttin in HEK 293 cells and characterized chloride currents through the patch-clamp technique. In addition, we attempted to revert the functional defect caused by BS mutations through barttin overexpression. G167V and A242E channels showed a drastic current reduction compared to wild type, likely suggesting compromised expression of mutant channels at the plasma membrane. Conversely, G289R channel was similar to wild type raising the doubt that an additional mutation in another gene or other mechanisms could account for the clinical phenotype. Interestingly, increasing ClC-K/barttin ratio augmented G167V and A242E mutants' chloride current amplitudes towards wild type levels. These results confirm a genotype-phenotype correlation in BS and represent a preliminary proof of concept that molecules functioning as molecular chaperones can restore channel function in expression-defective ClC-Kb mutants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00327DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7092721PMC
March 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

Oxytocin/Osteocalcin/IL-6 and NGF/BDNF mRNA Levels in Response to Cold Stress Challenge in Mice: Possible Oxytonic Brain-Bone-Muscle-Interaction.

Front Physiol 2019 27;10:1437. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Department of Pharmacy-Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

Oxytocin (Oxt), osteocalcin (Ost), and NGF/BDNF have a role in bone homeostasis, reproduction, and cognition. Oxt/Ost is required for muscle repair. We investigated gene response of muscle and the inter-organ communication following cold stress (CS). The mRNA quantity of , , , , , , , , , , and genes in bone, brain, soleus (SOL), and (TA) muscles from adult mice following CS were investigated. The myosin heavy-chain , , , and gene expression were investigated. Mice were maintained at = 23°C or 4°C for 6 h and 5-days (5d). CS mice did not show signs of muscle degeneration. An upregulation of and genes by 2 and 1.5 folds, respectively, in TA after 6 h CS and by 4 and 22 folds in SOL muscle after 6 h and 5d CS, respectively, was observed; while after 6 h CS was downregulated in either muscle. was unaffected, while after 5d CS was upregulated in TA. was downregulated in SOL by 0.9-folds at 5d. Following 5d CS, and genes were upregulated, respectively, by 1 and 1.5 folds in SOL. A downregulation of , respectively, by 0.96 and 0.88-folds after 6 h and 5d CS in SOL and was also downregulated by 0.88-fold after 5d CS in TA. and were not affected. Changes in the expression levels of genes in TA and SOL muscles, bone, and brain following CS were regulated by IL6 and Oxt. CS potentiates the slow-twitch phenotype of SOL which is in line with the metabolic need of this muscle, and the potentiation of the slow-twitch phenotype in TA. Oxt and IL6 coordinate a phenotype-dependent tonic effect of slow-twitch muscle and Oxt regulates the inter-organ interaction between brain and SOL muscle. Muscle tropism is maintained by NGF signaling following CS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6890828PMC
November 2019

Elucidating the Contribution of Skeletal Muscle Ion Channels to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in search of new therapeutic options.

Sci Rep 2019 02 28;9(1):3185. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

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

The discovery of pathogenetic mechanisms is essential to identify new therapeutic approaches in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Here we investigated the role of the most important ion channels in skeletal muscle of an ALS animal model (MLC/SOD1) carrying a mutated SOD1 exclusively in this tissue, avoiding motor-neuron involvement. Ion channels are fundamental proteins for muscle function, and also to sustain neuromuscular junction and nerve integrity. By a multivariate statistical analysis, using machine learning algorithms, we identified the discriminant genes in MLC/SOD1 mice. Surprisingly, the expression of ClC-1 chloride channel, present only in skeletal muscle, was reduced. Also, the expression of Protein Kinase-C, known to control ClC-1 activity, was increased, causing its inhibition. The functional characterization confirmed the reduction of ClC-1 activity, leading to hyperexcitability and impaired relaxation. The increased expression of ion channel coupled AMPA-receptor may contribute to sustained depolarization and functional impairment. Also, the decreased expression of irisin, a muscle-secreted peptide protecting brain function, may disturb muscle-nerve connection. Interestingly, the in-vitro application of chelerythrine or acetazolamide, restored ClC-1 activity and sarcolemma hyperexcitability in these mice. These findings show that ion channel function impairment in skeletal muscle may lead to motor-neuron increased vulnerability, and opens the possibility to investigate on new compounds as promising therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39676-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6395744PMC
February 2019

A long-term treatment with taurine prevents cardiac dysfunction in mdx mice.

Transl Res 2019 02 28;204:82-99. Epub 2018 Sep 28.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari "A. Moro", Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Taurine is an amino acid abundantly present in heart and skeletal muscle. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder in which the absence of dystrophin leads to skeletal muscle wasting and heart failure. An altered taurine metabolism has been described in dystrophic animals and short-term taurine administration exerts promising amelioration of early muscular alterations in the mdx mouse model of DMD. To reinforce the therapeutic and nutraceutical taurine potential in DMD, we evaluated the effects of a long-term treatment on cardiac and skeletal muscle function of mdx mice in a later disease stage. Taurine was administered in drinking water (1 g/kg/day) to wt and mdx mice for 6 months, starting at 6 months of age. Ultrasonography evaluation of heart and hind limb was performed, in parallel with in vivo and ex vivo functional tests and biochemical, histological and gene expression analyses. 12-month-old mdx mice showed a significant worsening of left ventricular function parameters (shortening fraction, ejection fraction, stroke volume), which were significantly counteracted by the taurine treatment. In parallel, histologic signs of damage were reduced by taurine along with the expression of proinflammatory myocardial IL-6. Interestingly, no effects were observed on hind limb volume and percentage of vascularization or on in vivo and ex vivo muscle functional parameters, suggesting a tissue-specific action of taurine in relation to the disease phase. A trend toward increase in taurine was found in heart and quadriceps from treated animals, paralleled by a slight decrease in mdx mice plasma. Our study provides evidences that taurine can prevent late heart dysfunction in mdx mice, further corroborating the interest on this amino acid toward clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2018.09.004DOI Listing
February 2019

[Bartter syndrome, severe rare orphan kidney disease: a step towards therapy through pharmacogenetic and epidemiological studies].

G Ital Nefrol 2018 May;35(3)

Dipartimento di Farmacia - Scienze del Farmaco, Università di Bari, Italia.

Bartter syndromes (BS) types 1-5 are rare salt-losing tubulopathies presenting with overlapping clinical phenotypes including marked salt wasting and hypokalemia leading to polyuria, polydipsia, volume contraction, muscle weakness and growth retardation. These diseases are due to an impairment of sodium, potassium, chloride reabsorption caused by mutations in genes encoding for ion channel or transporters expressed in specific nephron tubule segments. Particularly, BS type 3 is a clinically heterogeneous form caused by mutations in CLCNKB gene which encodes the ClC-Kb chloride channel involved in NaCl reabsorption in the renal tubule. Specific therapy for BS is lacking and the only pharmacotherapy up today available is purely symptomatic and characterized by limiting side effects. The improvement of our understanding of the phenotype/genotype correlation and of the precise pathogenic mechanisms associated with BS type 3 as well as the pharmacological characterization of ClC-K chloride channels are fundamental to design therapies tailored upon patients' mutation. This mini review focused on recent studies representing relevant forward steps in the field as well as noteworthy examples of how basic and clinical research can cooperate to gain insight into the pathophysiology of this renal channelopathy, paving the way for a personalized therapy.
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May 2018

Effect of a long-term treatment with metformin in dystrophic mdx mice: A reconsideration of its potential clinical interest in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Biochem Pharmacol 2018 08 21;154:89-103. Epub 2018 Apr 21.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy - Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

The pharmacological stimulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) via metabolic enhancers has been proposed as potential therapeutic strategy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Metformin, a widely-prescribed anti-hyperglycemic drug which activates AMPK via mitochondrial respiratory chain, has been recently tested in DMD patients in synergy with nitric oxide (NO)-precursors, with encouraging results. However, preclinical data supporting the use of metformin in DMD are still poor, and its actions on skeletal muscle appear controversial. Therefore, we investigated the effects of a long-term treatment with metformin (200 mg/kg/day in drinking water, for 20 weeks) in the exercised mdx mouse model, characterized by a severe mechanical-metabolic maladaptation. Metformin significantly ameliorated histopathology in mdx gastrocnemius muscle, in parallel reducing TGF-β1 with a recovery score (r.s) of 106%; this was accompanied by a decreased plasma matrix-metalloproteinase-9 (r.s. 43%). In addition, metformin significantly increased mdx diaphragm twitch and tetanic tension ex vivo (r.s. 44% and 36%, respectively), in spite of minor effects on in vivo weakness. However, no clear protective actions on dystrophic muscle metabolism were observed, as shown by the poor metformin effect on AMPK activation measured by western blot, on the expression of mechanical-metabolic response genes analyzed by qPCR, and by the lack of fast-to-slow fiber-type-shift assessed by SDH staining in tibialis anterior muscle. Similar results were obtained in the milder phenotype of sedentary mdx mice. The lack of metabolic effects could be, at least partly, due to metformin inability to increase low mdx muscle levels of l-arginine, l-citrulline and taurine, found by HPLC. Our findings encourage to explore alternative, metabolism-independent mechanisms of action to differently repurpose metformin in DMD, supporting its therapeutic combination with NO-sources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2018.04.022DOI Listing
August 2018

Evaluation of Short and Long Term Cold Stress Challenge of Nerve Grow Factor, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Osteocalcin and Oxytocin mRNA Expression in BAT, Brain, Bone and Reproductive Tissue of Male Mice Using Real-Time PCR and Linear Correlation Analysis.

Front Physiol 2017 11;8:1101. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

The correlation between the and , Osteocalcin-/ and Oxytocin- genes, was challenged investigating their mRNA levels in 3 months-old mice after cold-stress (CS). Uncoupling protein-1 ( was used as positive control. Control mice were maintained at room temperature T = 25°C, CS mice were maintained at T = 4°C for 6 h and 5-days ( = 15 mice). RT-PCR experiments showed that and genes were up-regulated after 6 h CS in brown adipose tissues (BAT), respectively, by 2 and 1.5-folds; was upregulated also after 5-days, while and genes were downregulated after 6 h and 5-days CS in BAT. and were upregulated in bone and testis following 5-days, and in testis after 6 h CS. was instead up-regulated in bone following 5-days CS and down-regulated in testis. was upregulated by 16 and 3-fold in bone and BAT, respectively, following 5-days CS. was upregulated after 6 h in brain, while ( gene was downregulated. gene was upregulated by 5-fold following 5-days CS in bone. was upregulated by 0.5 and 0.3-fold, respectively, following 6 h and 5-days CS in brain. and were downregulated in testis and in BAT. The changes in the expression levels of control genes vs. genes following 6 h and 5-days CS were correlated in all tissues, but not in BAT. Correlation in BAT was improved eliminating data. The correlation in brain was lost eliminating data. In sum, potentiation in BAT after cold stress is associated with early -response in the same tissue and trophic action in bone and testis. In contrast, BDNF exerts bone and neuroprotective effects. Similarly to ( signaling is enhanced in bone and BAT while it may exert local neuroprotective effects thought its receptor. regulates the adaptation to CS through a feed-back loop in BAT. regulates the gene-response to CS through a feed-forward loop in brain. Overall these results expand the understanding of the physiology of these molecules under metabolic thermogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5768886PMC
January 2018

Visceral Fat Dysfunctions in the Rat Social Isolation Model of Psychosis.

Front Pharmacol 2017 8;8:787. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.

Medication with neuroleptics has been associated with adipose tissue dysfunctions and, in particular, with increased visceral fat amount. However, several studies suggested that antipsychotic treatment might not be the main responsible of fat mass accumulation, as this has been also described in not treated psychotic patients. One of the most used "drug-free" rodent models of psychosis is the social isolation rearing of young adult rats, which provides a non-pharmacologic method of inducing long-term alterations reminiscent of symptoms seen in psychotic patients. Recent data highlighted a crucial role of redox imbalance in adipose tissue dysfunctions, in terms of decreased antioxidant defense and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we investigated possible oxidative stress-related biomolecular alterations associated with visceral fat increase in 7 week isolated rats. To this purpose, we quantified total and visceral fat amount by using dual-energy X-ray (DEXA) absorptiometry. On visceral fat, we analyzed the expression of specific ROS-producer genes (), antioxidant enzymes ( and ) and oxidative stress-induced damage markers (, and ). The impact of oxidative stress on beta3-adrenergic receptors (), at both mRNA and protein level, was also assessed. We found that 7 weeks of social isolation induced an increase in total and visceral fat, associated with a decrease in (mRNA and protein) as well as mRNA levels and an enhanced expression of (mRNA and protein) and mRNA. No differences were detected in mRNA levels between grouped and isolated animals. Elevations in , , and expression in visceral fat of isolated animals accounted for oxidative stress-related damage in this tissue, further associated with a significant increase in mRNA and protein. Our results provide a novel understanding of the pathological link existing among psychosocial stress-induced psychosis, adipose tissue dysfunctions and redox imbalance, opening new therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of alterations in peripheral tissues associated with this mental disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00787DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682313PMC
November 2017

Ryanodine channel complex stabilizer compound S48168/ARM210 as a disease modifier in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice: proof-of-concept study and independent validation of efficacy.

FASEB J 2018 02 3;32(2):1025-1043. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Pharmacology Unit, Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Muscle fibers lacking dystrophin undergo a long-term alteration of Ca homeostasis, partially caused by a leaky Ca release ryanodine (RyR) channel. S48168/ARM210, an RyR calcium release channel stabilizer (a Rycal compound), is expected to enhance the rebinding of calstabin to the RyR channel complex and possibly alleviate the pathologic Ca leakage in dystrophin-deficient skeletal and cardiac muscle. This study systematically investigated the effect of S48168/ARM210 on the phenotype of mdx mice by means of a first proof-of-concept, short (4 wk), phase 1 treatment, followed by a 12-wk treatment (phase 2) performed in parallel by 2 independent laboratories. The mdx mice were treated with S48168/ARM210 at two different concentrations (50 or 10 mg/kg/d) in their drinking water for 4 and 12 wk, respectively. The mice were subjected to treadmill sessions twice per week (12 m/min for 30 min) to unmask the mild disease. This testing was followed by in vivo forelimb and hindlimb grip strength and fatigability measurement, ex vivo extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and diaphragm (DIA) force contraction measurement and histologic and biochemical analysis. The treatments resulted in functional (grip strength, ex vivo force production in DIA and EDL muscles) as well as histologic improvement after 4 and 12 wk, with no adverse effects. Furthermore, levels of cellular biomarkers of calcium homeostasis increased. Therefore, these data suggest that S48168/ARM210 may be a safe therapeutic option, at the dose levels tested, for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).-Capogrosso, R. F., Mantuano, P., Uaesoontrachoon, K., Cozzoli, A., Giustino, A., Dow, T., Srinivassane, S., Filipovic, M., Bell, C., Vandermeulen, J., Massari, A. M., De Bellis, M., Conte, E., Pierno, S., Camerino, G. M., Liantonio, A., Nagaraju, K., De Luca, A. Ryanodine channel complex stabilizer compound S48168/ARM210 as a disease modifier in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice: proof-of-concept study and independent validation of efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201700182RRRDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5888399PMC
February 2018

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

Risk of Myopathy in Patients in Therapy with Statins: Identification of Biological Markers in a Pilot Study.

Front Pharmacol 2017 27;8:500. Epub 2017 Jul 27.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy and Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo MoroBari, Italy.

Statin therapy may induce skeletal muscle damage ranging from myalgia to severe rhabdomyolysis. Our previous preclinical studies showed that statin treatment in rats involves the reduction of skeletal muscle ClC-1 chloride channel expression and related chloride conductance (gCl). An increase of the activity of protein kinase C theta (PKC theta) isoform, able to inactivate ClC-1, may contribute to destabilize sarcolemma excitability. These effects can be detrimental for muscle function leading to drug-induced myopathy. Our goal is to study the causes of statin-induced muscle side effects in patients at the aim to identify biological markers useful to prevent and counteract statin-induced muscle damage. We examined 10 patients, who experienced myalgia and hyper-CK-emia after starting statin therapy compared to 9 non-myopathic subjects not using lipid-lowering drugs. Western Blot (WB) analysis showed a 40% reduction of ClC-1 protein and increased expression of phosphorylated PKC in muscle biopsies of statin-treated patients with respect to untreated subjects, independently from their age and statin type. Real-time PCR analysis showed that despite reduction of the protein, the ClC-1 mRNA was not significantly changed, suggesting post-transcriptional modification. The mRNA expression of a series of genes was also evaluated. MuRF-1 was increased in accord with muscle atrophy, MEF-2, calcineurin (CN) and GLUT-4 transporter were reduced, suggesting altered transcription, alteration of glucose homeostasis and energy deficit. Accordingly, the phosphorylated form of AMPK, measured by WB, was increased, suggesting cytoprotective process activation. In parallel, mRNA expression of Notch-1, involved in muscle cell proliferation, was highly expressed in statin-treated patients, indicating active regeneration. Also, PGC-1-alpha and isocitrate-dehydrogenase increased expression together with increased activity of mitochondrial citrate-synthase, measured by spectrophotometric assay, suggests mitochondrial biogenesis. Thus, the reduction of ClC-1 protein and consequent sarcolemma hyperexcitability together with energy deficiency appear to be among the most important alterations to be associated with statin-related risk of myopathy in humans. Thus, it may be important to avoid statin treatment in pathologies characterized by energy deficit and chloride channel malfunction. This study validates the measure of ClC-1 expression as a reliable clinical test for assessing statin-dependent risk of myopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5529355PMC
July 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

Contractile efficiency of dystrophic mdx mouse muscle: in vivo and ex vivo assessment of adaptation to exercise of functional end points.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2017 Apr 5;122(4):828-843. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy and Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy;

Progressive weakness is a typical feature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients and is exacerbated in the benign mdx mouse model by in vivo treadmill exercise. We hypothesized a different threshold for functional adaptation of mdx muscles in response to the duration of the exercise protocol. In vivo weakness was confirmed by grip strength after 4, 8, and 12 wk of exercise in mdx mice. Torque measurements revealed that exercise-related weakness in mdx mice correlated with the duration of the protocol, while wild-type (WT) mice were stronger. Twitch and tetanic forces of isolated diaphragm and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were lower in mdx compared with WT mice. In mdx, both muscle types exhibited greater weakness after a single exercise bout, but only in EDL after a long exercise protocol. As opposite to WT muscles, mdx EDL ones did not show any exercise-induced adaptations against eccentric contraction force drop. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the maladaptation of genes involved in metabolic and structural remodeling, while damage-related genes remained significantly upregulated and angiogenesis impaired. Phosphorylated AMP kinase level increased only in exercised WT muscle. The severe histopathology and the high levels of muscular TGF-β1 and of plasma matrix metalloproteinase-9 confirmed the persistence of muscle damage in mdx mice. Therefore, dystrophic muscles showed a partial degree of functional adaptation to chronic exercise, although not sufficient to overcome weakness nor signs of damage. The improved understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying maladaptation of dystrophic muscle paves the way to a better managment of DMD patients. We focused on the adaptation/maladaptation of dystrophic mdx mouse muscles to a standard protocol of exercise to provide guidance in the development of more effective drug and physical therapies in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The mdx muscles showed a modest functional adaptation to chronic exercise, but it was not sufficient to overcome the progressive in vivo weakness, nor to counter signs of muscle damage. Therefore, a complex involvement of multiple systems underlies the maladaptive response of dystrophic muscle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00776.2015DOI Listing
April 2017

Nerve Growth Factor, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Osteocalcin Gene Relationship in Energy Regulation, Bone Homeostasis and Reproductive Organs Analyzed by mRNA Quantitative Evaluation and Linear Correlation Analysis.

Front Physiol 2016 13;7:456. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

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

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)/Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and osteocalcin share common effects regulating energy, bone mass, reproduction and neuronal functions. To investigate on the gene-relationship between NGF, BDNF, and Osteocalcin we compared by RT-PCR the transcript levels of and as well as of their receptors , and in brain, bone, white/brown adipose tissue (WAT/BAT) and reproductive organs of 3 months old female and male mice. Brain and bone were used as positive controls for NGF/BDNF and Osteocalcin respectively. The role of oxitocin() and its receptor() was also investigated. expression shows an opposite trend compared to . / expression is 50% higher in BAT than brain, in both genders, but lower in bone. In contrast, expression in bone is higher than in brain, but low in BAT/WAT. We found gene expressed in brain in both genders, but expression is low in brain and BAT/WAT. As expected, gene is expressed in bone. gene was markedly expressed in brain, in the ovaries and in fat and bone in both genders. is highly expressed in reproductive tissues and mRNA levels are respectively 300, 100, and 50% higher in testis/ovaries/uterus than in brain. In contrast, BDNF genes are not expressed in reproductive tissues. As expected, is expressed in testis but not in the ovaries/uterus. A significant correlation was found between the expression levels of the gene ligands and their receptors in brain, BAT and testis suggesting a common pathway of different genes in these tissues in either male and female. Changes in the expression levels of , or genes may mutually affect the expression levels of the others. Moreover, it may be possible that different ligands may operate through different receptor subtypes. and failed to show significant correlation. The up-regulation of / in BAT is consistent with NGF as an energy regulator and with BDNF regulating bone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061807PMC
October 2016

Statin-induced myotoxicity is exacerbated by aging: A biophysical and molecular biology study in rats treated with atorvastatin.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2016 09 1;306:36-46. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy & Drug Sciences, University of Bari - Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Statin-induced skeletal muscle damage in rats is associated to the reduction of the resting sarcolemmal chloride conductance (gCl) and ClC-1 chloride channel expression. These drugs also affect the ClC-1 regulation by increasing protein kinase C (PKC) activity, which phosphorylate and close the channel. Also the intracellular resting calcium (restCa) level is increased. Similar alterations are observed in skeletal muscles of aged rats, suggesting a higher risk of statin myotoxicity. To verify this hypothesis, we performed a 4-5-weeks atorvastatin treatment of 24-months-old rats to evaluate the ClC-1 channel function by the two-intracellular microelectrodes technique as well as transcript and protein expression of different genes sensitive to statins by quantitative real-time-PCR and western blot analysis. The restCa was measured using FURA-2 imaging, and histological analysis of muscle sections was performed. The results show a marked reduction of resting gCl, in agreement with the reduced ClC-1 mRNA and protein expression in atorvastatin-treated aged rats, with respect to treated adult animals. The observed changes in myocyte-enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) expression may be involved in ClC-1 expression changes. The activity of PKC was also increased and further modulate the gCl in treated aged rats. In parallel, a marked reduction of the expression of glycolytic and mitochondrial enzymes demonstrates an impairment of muscle metabolism. No worsening of restCa or histological features was found in statin-treated aged animals. These findings suggest that a strong reduction of gCl and alteration of muscle metabolism coupled to muscle atrophy may contribute to the increased risk of statin-induced myopathy in the elderly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2016.06.032DOI Listing
September 2016

Multidisciplinary study of a new ClC-1 mutation causing myotonia congenita: a paradigm to understand and treat ion channelopathies.

FASEB J 2016 10 20;30(10):3285-3295. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Department of Pharmacy, Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy.

Myotonia congenita is an inherited disease that is characterized by impaired muscle relaxation after contraction caused by loss-of-function mutations in the skeletal muscle ClC-1 channel. We report a novel ClC-1 mutation, T335N, that is associated with a mild phenotype in 1 patient, located in the extracellular I-J loop. The purpose of this study was to provide a solid correlation between T335N dysfunction and clinical symptoms in the affected patient as well as to offer hints for drug development. Our multidisciplinary approach includes patch-clamp electrophysiology on T335N and ClC-1 wild-type channels expressed in tsA201 cells, Western blot and quantitative PCR analyses on muscle biopsies from patient and unaffected individuals, and molecular dynamics simulations using a homology model of the ClC-1 dimer. T335N channels display reduced chloride currents as a result of gating alterations rather than altered surface expression. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the I-J loop might be involved in conformational changes that occur at the dimer interface, thus affecting gating. Finally, the gene expression profile of T335N carrier showed a diverse expression of K channel genes, compared with control individuals, as potentially contributing to the phenotype. This experimental paradigm satisfactorily explained myotonia in the patient. Furthermore, it could be relevant to the study and therapy of any channelopathy.-Imbrici, P., Altamura, C., Camerino, G. M., Mangiatordi, G. F., Conte, E., Maggi, L., Brugnoni, R., Musaraj, K., Caloiero, R., Alberga, D., Marsano, R. M., Ricci, G., Siciliano, G., Nicolotti, O., Mora, M., Bernasconi, P., Desaphy, J.-F., Mantegazza, R., Camerino, D. C. Multidisciplinary study of a new ClC-1 mutation causing myotonia congenita: a paradigm to understand and treat ion channelopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201500079RDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5024700PMC
October 2016

In vivo longitudinal study of rodent skeletal muscle atrophy using ultrasonography.

Sci Rep 2016 Feb 1;6:20061. Epub 2016 Feb 1.

Department of Biomedical Sciences &Human Oncology, Polyclinic Biological Research Institute, University of Bari Aldo Moro, P.zza Giulio Cesare 11, Bari, 70124 Italy.

Muscle atrophy is a widespread ill condition occurring in many diseases, which can reduce quality of life and increase morbidity and mortality. We developed a new method using non-invasive ultrasonography to measure soleus and gastrocnemius lateralis muscle atrophy in the hindlimb-unloaded rat, a well-accepted model of muscle disuse. Soleus and gastrocnemius volumes were calculated using the conventional truncated-cone method and a newly-designed sinusoidal method. For Soleus muscle, the ultrasonographic volume determined in vivo with either method was linearly correlated to the volume determined ex-vivo from excised muscles as muscle weight-to-density ratio. For both soleus and gastrocnemius muscles, a strong linear correlation was obtained between the ultrasonographic volume and the muscle fiber cross-sectional area determined ex-vivo on muscle cryosections. Thus ultrasonography allowed the longitudinal in vivo evaluation of muscle atrophy progression during hindlimb unloading. This study validates ultrasonography as a powerful method for the evaluation of rodent muscle atrophy in vivo, which would prove useful in disease models and therapeutic trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep20061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735519PMC
February 2016

Effects of Nandrolone in the Counteraction of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy in a Mouse Model of Muscle Disuse: Molecular Biology and Functional Evaluation.

PLoS One 2015 11;10(6):e0129686. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Section of Pharmacology, Dept. of Pharmacy & Drug Sciences, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Bari, Italy.

Muscle disuse produces severe atrophy and a slow-to-fast phenotype transition in the postural Soleus (Sol) muscle of rodents. Antioxidants, amino-acids and growth factors were ineffective to ameliorate muscle atrophy. Here we evaluate the effects of nandrolone (ND), an anabolic steroid, on mouse skeletal muscle atrophy induced by hindlimb unloading (HU). Mice were pre-treated for 2-weeks before HU and during the 2-weeks of HU. Muscle weight and total protein content were reduced in HU mice and a restoration of these parameters was found in ND-treated HU mice. The analysis of gene expression by real-time PCR demonstrates an increase of MuRF-1 during HU but minor involvement of other catabolic pathways. However, ND did not affect MuRF-1 expression. The evaluation of anabolic pathways showed no change in mTOR and eIF2-kinase mRNA expression, but the protein expression of the eukaryotic initiation factor eIF2 was reduced during HU and restored by ND. Moreover we found an involvement of regenerative pathways, since the increase of MyoD observed after HU suggests the promotion of myogenic stem cell differentiation in response to atrophy. At the same time, Notch-1 expression was down-regulated. Interestingly, the ND treatment prevented changes in MyoD and Notch-1 expression. On the contrary, there was no evidence for an effect of ND on the change of muscle phenotype induced by HU, since no effect of treatment was observed on the resting gCl, restCa and contractile properties in Sol muscle. Accordingly, PGC1α and myosin heavy chain expression, indexes of the phenotype transition, were not restored in ND-treated HU mice. We hypothesize that ND is unable to directly affect the phenotype transition when the specialized motor unit firing pattern of stimulation is lacking. Nevertheless, through stimulation of protein synthesis, ND preserves protein content and muscle weight, which may result advantageous to the affected skeletal muscle for functional recovery.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129686PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466268PMC
May 2016

Does hydrogen bonding contribute to lipoperoxidation-dependent membrane fluidity variation? An EPR-spin labeling study.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2015 Oct 14;1848(10 Pt A):2040-9. Epub 2015 May 14.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

This study is aimed at making clear the relationship between oxidative stress of the phospholipid bilayer and membrane fluidity. Di-(hydroperoxylinoleoyl)-phosphatidylcholine (diHpLPC) was used as a highly hydroperoxidized and unsaturated phospholipid species in order to investigate the issue. Hydrophylic Interaction Liquid Chromatography-ElectroSpray Ionization-Mass Spectrometry (HILIC-ESI-MS) and NMR spectroscopy were employed to define the structure of the peroxidized phospholipid as 1-(9-hydroperoxy-10c,12t)octadecadienoyl-2-(9t,11c-13-hydroperoxy)octadecadienoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine. This phospholipid's ability to form vesicular structures was confirmed by Sepharose 4B gel filtration and Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) of its aqueous suspensions. Fatty acid misalignment and fluidity gradient were studied in the bilayer of both supported planar bilayers (SPB) and multilamellar vesicles (MLV) made of different DLPC/diHpLPC mixtures by means of spin labelling-EPR spectroscopy of either n-DSPC or 3-doxylcholestane spin labels embedded in the membranes. It was found that diHpLPC increases both fatty acid misalignment and rigidification with increasing molar ratio in spite of increasing unsaturation of the fatty acid core. Basing on our observations, the observed ability of pure diHpLPC to form rigid and disordered SPB and MLV bilayers is proposed to be dependent on the cross bridging of oxidized linoleoyl chains by mutual hydrogen bonding of hydroperoxyl groups. However, the contribution to the observed overall rigidification of the model membranes by trans double bonds in the peroxidized chains should not be neglected, as a second membrane fluidity effector also arising from lipid peroxidation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2015.05.005DOI Listing
October 2015

The phospholipidomic signatures of human blood microparticles, platelets and platelet-derived microparticles: a comparative HILIC-ESI-MS investigation.

Lipids 2015 Jan 11;50(1):71-84. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", Via E. Orabona 4, 70126, Bari, Italy,

The phospholipidomic signatures of human blood microparticles and platelets, evaluated by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization--mass spectrometry, were compared. The phospholipidome of platelet-derived microparticles, obtained by platelets stimulation with a mixture of Ca(II), thrombin and collagen, was also considered for the comparison. Platelets, blood microparticles and platelet-derived microparticles displayed qualitatively similar phospholipidomes, all based on eight major phospholipid classes, namely: phosphatidylcholines, diacyl- and plasme(a)nyl-phosphatidylethanolamines, phosphatidylserines, phosphatidylinositols, sphingomyelins and lyso forms of phosphatidylcholines and phosphatidylethanolamines. However, while the phospholipidomes of platelets and platelet-derived microparticles were found to be generally similar also from a quantitative point of view, a higher relative incidence of species bearing polyunsaturated side chains, especially in phospholipid classes sharing the choline head (i.e. phosphatidylcholines and lyso-phosphatidylcholines), was observed in the case of blood microparticles. As a further peculiar feature, never reported before, the relative abundance of lyso-phosphatidylcholines among the eight identified phospholipid classes was found to be significantly higher in the lipid extracts of blood microparticles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11745-014-3975-7DOI Listing
January 2015

Calcium homeostasis is altered in skeletal muscle of spontaneously hypertensive rats: cytofluorimetric and gene expression analysis.

Am J Pathol 2014 Oct 30;184(10):2803-15. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Hypertension is often associated with skeletal muscle pathological conditions related to function and metabolism. The mechanisms underlying the development of these pathological conditions remain undefined. Because calcium homeostasis is a biomarker of muscle function, we assessed whether it is altered in hypertensive muscles. We measured resting intracellular calcium and store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) in fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers from normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) by cytofluorimetric technique and determined the expression of SOCE gene machinery by real-time PCR. Hypertension caused a phenotype-dependent dysregulation of calcium homeostasis; the resting intracellular calcium of extensor digitorum longus and soleus muscles of SHRs were differently altered with respect to the related muscle of normotensive animals. In addition, soleus muscles of SHR showed reduced activity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and decreased sarcolemmal calcium permeability at rest and after SOCE activation. Accordingly, we found an alteration of the expression levels of some SOCE components, such as stromal interaction molecule 1, calcium release-activated calcium modulator 1, and transient receptor potential canonical 1. The hypertension-induced alterations of calcium homeostasis in the soleus muscle of SHRs occurred with changes of some functional outcomes as excitability and resting chloride conductance. We provide suitable targets for therapeutic interventions aimed at counterbalancing muscle performance decline in hypertension, and propose the reported calcium-dependent parameters as indexes to predict how the antihypertensive drugs could influence muscle function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2014.06.020DOI Listing
October 2014