Publications by authors named "Marco Franchi"

46 Publications

Lumican Inhibits In Vivo Melanoma Metastasis by Altering Matrix-Effectors and Invadopodia Markers.

Cells 2021 Apr 8;10(4). Epub 2021 Apr 8.

CNRS UMR 7369, Matrice Extracellulaire et Dynamique Cellulaire, 51100 Reims, France.

It was reported that lumican inhibits the activity of metalloproteinase MMP-14 and melanoma cell migration in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, Snail triggers epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and the metastatic potential of cancer cells. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the effect of lumican on Mock and Snail overexpressing melanoma B16F1 cells in vivo. Lung metastasis was analyzed after intravenous injections of Mock-B16F1 and Snail-B16F1 cells in Lum and Lum mice. At day 14, mice were sacrificed, and lungs were collected. The number of lung metastatic nodules was significantly higher in mice injected with Snail-B16F1 cells as compared to mice injected with Mock-B16F1 cells confirming the pro-metastatic effect of Snail. This effect was stronger in Lum mice as compared to Lum, suggesting that endogenous lumican of wild-type mice significantly inhibits metastasis to lungs. Scanning electron and confocal microscopy investigations demonstrated that lumican inhibits the development of elongated cancer cell phenotypes which are known to develop invadopodia releasing MMPs. Moreover, lumican was shown to affect the expression of cyclin D1, cortactin, vinculin, hyaluronan synthase 2, heparanase, MMP-14 and the phosphorylation of FAK, AKT, p130 Cas and GSK3α/β. Altogether, these data demonstrated that lumican significantly inhibits lung metastasis in vivo, as well as cell invasion in vitro, suggesting that a lumican-based strategy targeting Snail-induced metastasis could be useful for melanoma treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells10040841DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8068222PMC
April 2021

A guide to the composition and functions of the extracellular matrix.

FEBS J 2021 Feb 19. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.

Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a dynamic 3-dimensional network of macromolecules that provides structural support for the cells and tissues. Accumulated knowledge clearly demonstrated over the last decade that ECM plays key regulatory roles since it orchestrates cell signaling, functions, properties and morphology. Extracellularly secreted as well as cell-bound factors are among the major members of the ECM family. Proteins/glycoproteins, such as collagens, elastin, laminins and tenascins, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronan, and their cell receptors such as CD44 and integrins, responsible for cell adhesion, comprise a well-organized functional network with significant roles in health and disease. On the other hand, enzymes such as matrix metalloproteinases and specific glycosidases including heparanase and hyaluronidases contribute to matrix remodeling and affect human health. Several cell processes and functions, among them cell proliferation and survival, migration, differentiation, autophagy, angiogenesis, and immunity regulation are affected by certain matrix components. Structural alterations have been also well associated with disease progression. This guide on the composition and functions of the ECM gives a broad overview of the matrisome, the major ECM macromolecules, and their interaction networks within the ECM and with the cell surface, summarizes their main structural features and their roles in tissue organization and cell functions, and emphasizes the importance of specific ECM constituents in disease development and progression as well as the advances in molecular targeting of ECM to design new therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15776DOI Listing
February 2021

Long filopodia and tunneling nanotubes define new phenotypes of breast cancer cells in 3D cultures.

Matrix Biol Plus 2020 May 25;6-7:100026. Epub 2020 Jan 25.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Patras, Greece.

Cancer cell invasion into the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) takes place when cell-cell junctions are disrupted upon epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Both cancer cell-stroma and cell-cell crosstalk are essential to support the continuous tumor invasion. Cancer cells release microvesicles and exosomes containing bioactive molecules and signal peptides, which are recruited by neighboring cells or carried to distant sites, thus supporting intercellular communication and cargo transfer. Besides this indirect communication mode, cancer cells can develop cytoplasmic intercellular protrusions or tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), which allow the direct communication and molecular exchange between connected distinct cells. Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) we show for the first time that MDA-MB-231 (high metastatic potential) and shERβ MDA-MB-231 (low metastatic potential) breast cancer cells cultured on fibronectin and collagen type I or 17β-estradiol (E2) develop TNTs and very long flexible filopodia. Interestingly, the less aggressive shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells treated with E2 in 3D collagen matrix showed the highest development of TNTs and filopodia. TNTs were often associated to adhering exosomes and microvesicles surfing from one cell to another, but no filopodia exhibited vesicle-like cytoplasmic structures on their surface. Moreover, E2 affected the expression of matrix macromolecules and cell effectors mostly in the presence of ERβ. Our novel data highlights the significance of matrix substrates and the presence of E2 and ERβ in the formation of cellular protrusion and the production of surface structures, defining novel phenotypes that unravel nodal reports for breast cancer progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mbplus.2020.100026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852320PMC
May 2020

miR-200b restrains EMT and aggressiveness and regulates matrix composition depending on ER status and signaling in mammary cancer.

Matrix Biol Plus 2020 May 22;6-7:100024. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Patras, Greece.

Secreted microRNAs (miRNAs) reside in a complex regulatory network with extracellular matrix (ECM) macromolecules, which affect cell-cell communication, therefore miRNA expression highlights its significance in several aspects of human diseases, including cancer. miRNA-mediated regulation of breast cancer has received considerable attention due to evidence that shows miRNAs to mediate estrogen receptor (ER) status, metastasis, chemoresistance and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). miR-200b is a pluripotent miRNA, which is inversely regulated by ERα and ERβ in mammary cancer. It has been identified as tumor suppressor and EMT inhibitor serving as a critical biomarker, as its expression in breast tumor determines the disease-free survival, thus highlighting its roles in breast cancer invasion and metastasis. The main goal of this study was to investigate the role of miR-200b in modulating the behavior of breast cancer cells with different ER status. We demonstrate that estrogen signaling through ERs reduces miR-200b expression levels in ERα-positive breast cancer cells. Moreover, miR-200b upregulation reduces the aggressive phenotype of ERβ-positive breast cancer cells by inhibiting cell invasiveness and motility, followed by ECM reorganization as well as cytoskeletal and morphological changes concluded from deep inspection of cell topography. Future investigation towards the mechanistic perspective of miR-200b effects in the behavior of aggressive mammary cancer cells appears rewarding in order to expand our understanding of miR-200b as a novel mediator beyond breast cancer diagnosis and pharmaceutical targeting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mbplus.2020.100024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852204PMC
May 2020

The action of hyaluronan in functional properties, morphology and expression of matrix effectors in mammary cancer cells depends on its molecular size.

FEBS J 2021 Jan 29. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece.

Breast cancer constitutes a heterogeneous disease. The expression profiles of estrogen receptors (ERs), as well as the expression patterns of extracellular matrix (ECM) macromolecules, determine its development and progression. Hyaluronan (HA) is an ECM molecule that regulates breast cancer cells' properties in a molecular size-dependent way. Previous studies have shown that 200-kDa HA fragments modulate the functional properties, morphology, and expression of several matrix mediators of the highly metastatic ERα /ERβ MDA-MB-231 cells. In order to evaluate the effects of HA fragments (< 10, 30 and 200-kDa) in ERβ-suppressed breast cancer cells, the shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells were used. These cells are less aggressive when compared with MDA-MB-231 cells. To this end, the functional properties, the morphology, and the expression of the molecules associated with breast cancer cells metastatic potential were studied. Notably, both cell proliferation and invasion were significantly reduced after treatment with 200-kDa HA. Moreover, as assessed by scanning electron microscopy, 200-kDa HA affected cellular morphology, and as assessed by qPCR, upregulated the epithelial marker Ε-cadherin. The expression profiles of ECM mediators, such as HAS2, CD44, and MMP7, were also altered. On the other hand, cellular migration and the expression levels of syndecan-4 (SDC-4) were not significantly affected in contrast to our observations regarding MDA-MB-231 cells. These novel data demonstrate that the molecular size of the HA determines its effects on ERβ-suppressed breast cancer cells and that 200-kDa HA exhibits antiproliferative effects on these cells. A deeper understanding of this mechanism may contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies against breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15734DOI Listing
January 2021

ΕGFR/ERβ-Mediated Cell Morphology and Invasion Capacity Are Associated with Matrix Culture Substrates in Breast Cancer.

Cells 2020 10 8;9(10). Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, 26504 Patras, Greece.

Breast cancer accounts for almost one in four cancer diagnoses in women. Studies in breast cancer patients have identified several molecular markers, indicators of aggressiveness, which help toward more individual therapeutic approaches. In triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression is associated with increased metastatic potential and worst survival rates. Specifically, abnormal EGFR activation leads to altered matrix metalloproteinases' (MMPs) expression and, hence, extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation, resulting in induced migration and invasion. The use of matrix substrates for cell culture gives the opportunity to mimic the natural growth conditions of the cells and their microenvironment, as well as cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of EGFR inhibition, estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) and different matrix substrates [type I collagen and fibronectin (FN)] on the functional properties, expression of MMPs and cell morphology of ERβ-positive TNBC cells and shERβ ones. Our results highlight EGFR as a crucial regulator of the expression and activity levels of MMPs, while ERβ emerges as a mediator of MMP7 and MT1-MMP expression. In addition, the EGFR/ERβ axis impacts the adhesion and invasion potential of breast cancer cells on collagen type I. Images obtained by scanning electron microscope (SEM) from cultures on the different matrix substrates revealed novel observations regarding various structures of breast cancer cells (filopodia, extravesicles, tunneling nanotubes, etc.). Moreover, the significant contribution of EGFR and ERβ in the morphological characteristics of these cells is also demonstrated, hence highlighting the possibility of dual pharmacological targeting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9102256DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7601637PMC
October 2020

Extracellular Matrix-Mediated Breast Cancer Cells Morphological Alterations, Invasiveness, and Microvesicles/Exosomes Release.

Cells 2020 09 4;9(9). Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, 35129 Padova, Italy.

Breast cancer is a leading disease in women. Several studies are focused to evaluate the critical role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in various biochemical and molecular aspects but also in terms of its effect on cancer cell morphology and therefore on cancer cell invasion and metastatic potential. ECM fibrillar components, such as collagen and fibronectin, affect cell behavior and properties of mammary cancer cells. The aim of this study was to investigate using the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) how the highly invasive MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, interplaying with ECM substrates during cell migration/invasion, modify their morphological characteristics and cytoplasmic processes in relation to their invasive potential. In particular we reproduced and analyzed how natural structural barriers to cancer cell invasion, such as the basement membrane (Matrigel) and fibrillar components of dermis (fibronectin as well as the different concentrations/array of type I collagen), could induce morphological changes in 3D cultures. Interestingly, we demonstrate that, even with different effects, all collagen concentrations/arrays lead to morphological alterations of breast cancer cells. Intriguingly, the elongated mesenchymal shaped cells were more prominent in 3D cultures with a dense and thick substrate (thick Matrigel, high concentrated collagen network, and densely packed collagen fibers), even though cells with different shape produced and released microvesicles and exosomes as well. It is therefore evident that the peri-tumoral collagen network may act not only as a barrier but also as a dynamic scaffold which stimulates the morphological changes of cancer cells, and modulates tumor development and metastatic potential in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9092031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564980PMC
September 2020

Evaluation of lumican effects on morphology of invading breast cancer cells, expression of integrins and downstream signaling.

FEBS J 2020 11 31;287(22):4862-4880. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale et Biologie Moléculaire, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France.

The small leucine-rich proteoglycan lumican regulates estrogen receptors (ERs)-associated functional properties of breast cancer cells, expression of matrix macromolecules, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. However, it is not known whether the ER-dependent lumican effects on breast cancer cells are related to the expression of integrins and their intracellular signaling pathways. Here, we analyzed the effects of lumican in three breast cancer cell lines: the highly metastatic ERβ-positive MDA-MB-231, cells with the respective ERβ-suppressed (shERβMDA-MB-231), and lowly invasive ERα-positive MCF-7/c breast cancer cells. Scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, real-time PCR, western blot, and cell adhesion assays were performed. Lumican effects on breast cancer cell morphology were also investigated in 3-dimensional collagen cultures. Lumican treatment induced cell-cell contacts and cell grouping and inhibited microvesicles and microvilli formation. The expression of the cell surface adhesion receptor CD44, its isoform and variants, hyaluronan (HA), and HA synthases was also investigated. Lumican inhibited the expression of CD44 and HA synthases, and its effect on cell adhesion revealed a major role of α1, α2, α3, αVβ3, and αVβ5 integrins in MDA-MB-231 cells, but not in MCF-7/c cells. Lumican upregulated the expression of α2 and β1 integrin subunits both in MDA-MB-231 and in shERβMDA-MB-231 as compared to MCF-7/c cells. Downstream signaling pathways for integrins, such as FAK, ERK 1/2 MAPK 42/44, and Akt, were found to be downregulated by lumican. Our data shed light to the molecular mechanisms responsible for the anticancer activity of lumican in invasive breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15289DOI Listing
November 2020

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and invadopodia markers in breast cancer: Lumican a key regulator.

Semin Cancer Biol 2020 05 8;62:125-133. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

CNRS UMR 7369, Matrice Extracellulaire et Dynamique Cellulaire, Reims, France; Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne, Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale et Biologie Moléculaire, Reims, France. Electronic address:

A great hallmark of breast cancer is the absence or presence of estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ, with a dominant role in cell proliferation, differentiation and cancer progression. Both receptors are related with Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) since there is a relation between ERs and extracellular matrix (ECM) macromolecules expression, and therefore, cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions. The endocrine resistance of ERα endows epithelial cells with increased aggressiveness and induces cell proliferation, resulting into a mesenchymal phenotype and an EMT status. ERα signaling may affect the transcriptional factors which govern EMT. Knockdown or silencing of ERα and ERβ in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells respectively, provoked pivotal changes in phenotype, cellular functions, mRNA and protein levels of EMT markers, and consequently the EMT status. Mesenchymal cells owe their migratory and invasive properties to invadopodia, while in epithelial cells, lamellipodia and filopodia are mostly observed. Invadopodia, are actin-rich protrusions of plasma membrane, promoting proteolytic degradation of ECM and tumor invasion. Cortactin and MMP-14 govern the formation and principal functions of invadopodia. In vitro experiments proved that lumican inhibits cortactin and MMP-14 expression, alters the formation of lamellipodia and transforms mesenchymal cells into epithelial-like. Conclusively, lumican may inhibit or even reverse the several metastatic features that EMT endows in breast cancer cells. Therefore, a lumican-based anti-cancer therapy which will pharmacologically target and inhibit EMT might be interesting to be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.08.003DOI Listing
May 2020

Role of heparanase in tumor progression: Molecular aspects and therapeutic options.

Semin Cancer Biol 2020 05 23;62:86-98. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Viale G. Colombo 3, 35121, Padova, Italy. Electronic address:

Heparanase (HPSE) is an endoglycosidase that catalyses the cutting of the side chains of heparan-sulphate proteoglycans (HS), thus determining the remodelling of the extracellular matrix and basement membranes, as well as promoting the release of different HS-related molecules as growth factors, cytokines and enzymes. Ever since the HPSE was identified in the late 1980s, several experimental studies have shown that its overexpression was instrumental in increasing tumor growth, metastatic dissemination, angiogenesis and inflammation. More recently, HPSE involvment has also been demonstrated in mediating tumor-host crosstalk, in inducing gene transcription, in the activation of signaling pathways and in the formation of exosomes and in autophagy. All of these activities (enzymatic and non-enzymatic) together make heparanase a multifunctional molecule that increases the aggressiveness and chemo-resistance of tumor cells. Conversely, heparanase gene-silencing or tumor treatment with compounds that inhibit heparanase activity have been shown to significantly attenuate tumor progression in different animal models of tumorigenesis, further emphasizing the therapeutic potential of anti-heparanase therapy for several types of neoplasms. This review focuses on present knowledge and recent development in the study of heparanase in cancer progression as well as on novel mechanisms by which heparanase regulates tumor metastasis and chemo-resistance. Moreover, recent advances in strategies for its inhibition as a potential therapeutic option will be discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.07.014DOI Listing
May 2020

Molecular size-dependent specificity of hyaluronan on functional properties, morphology and matrix composition of mammary cancer cells.

Matrix Biol Plus 2019 Aug 5;3:100008. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece.

High levels of hyaluronan (ΗΑ), a major extracellular matrix (ECM) glycosaminoglycan, have been correlated with poor clinical outcome in several malignancies, including breast cancer. The high and low molecular weight HΑ forms exert diverse biological functions. Depending on their molecular size, ΗΑ forms either promote or attenuate signaling cascades that regulate cancer progression. In order to evaluate the effects of different ΗΑ forms on breast cancer cells' behavior, ΗΑ fragments of defined molecular size were synthesized. Breast cancer cells of different estrogen receptor (ER) status - the low metastatic, ERα-positive MCF-7 epithelial cells and the highly aggressive, ERβ-positive MDA-MB-231 mesenchymal cells - were evaluated following treatment with HA fragments. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that HA fragments critically affect the morphology of breast cancer cells in a molecular-size dependent mode. Moreover, the ΗΑ fragments affect cell functional properties, the expression of major ECM mediators and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (ΕΜΤ) markers. Notably, treatment with 200 kDa ΗΑ increased the expression levels of the epithelial marker Ε-cadherin and reduced the expression levels of HA synthase 2 and mesenchymal markers, like fibronectin and snail2/slug. These novel data suggest that the effects of HA in breast cancer cells depend on the molecular size and the ER status. An in-depth understanding on the mechanistic basis of these effects may contribute on the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the pharmacological targeting of aggressive breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mbplus.2019.100008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7852304PMC
August 2019

Collagen Fiber Array of Peritumoral Stroma Influences Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition and Invasive Potential of Mammary Cancer Cells.

J Clin Med 2019 Feb 7;8(2). Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, 26110 Patras, Greece.

Interactions of cancer cells with matrix macromolecules of the surrounding tumor stroma are critical to mediate invasion and metastasis. In this study, we reproduced the collagen mechanical barriers in vitro (i.e., basement membrane, lamina propria under basement membrane, and deeper bundled collagen fibers with different array). These were used in 3D cell cultures to define their effects on morphology and behavior of breast cancer cells with different metastatic potential (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) using scanning electron microscope (SEM). We demonstrated that breast cancer cells cultured in 2D and 3D cultures on different collagen substrates show different morphologies: i) a globular/spherical shape, ii) a flattened polygonal shape, and iii) elongated/fusiform and spindle-like shapes. The distribution of different cell shapes changed with the distinct collagen fiber/fibril physical array and size. Dense collagen fibers, parallel to the culture plane, do not allow the invasion of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, which, however, show increases of microvilli and microvesicles, respectively. These novel data highlight the regulatory role of different fibrillar collagen arrays in modifying breast cancer cell shape, inducing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, changing matrix composition and modulating the production of extracellular vesicles. Further investigation utilizing this in vitro model will help to demonstrate the biological roles of matrix macromolecules in cancer cell invasion in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8020213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406296PMC
February 2019

Hyaluronan: molecular size-dependent signaling and biological functions in inflammation and cancer.

FEBS J 2019 08 21;286(15):2883-2908. Epub 2019 Feb 21.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece.

Hyaluronan (HA) is a linear nonsulfated glycosaminoglycan of the extracellular matrix that plays a pivotal role in a variety of biological processes. High-molecular weight HA exhibits different biological properties than oligomers and low-molecular weight HA. Depending on their molecular size, HA fragments can influence cellular behavior in a different mode of action. This phenomenon is attributed to the different manner of interaction with the HA receptors, especially CD44 and RHAMM. Both receptors can trigger signaling cascades that regulate cell functional properties, such as proliferation migration, angiogenesis, and wound healing. HA fragments are able to enhance or attenuate the HA receptor-mediated signaling pathways, as they compete with the endogenous HA for binding to the receptors. The modulation of these pathways could be crucial for the development of pathological conditions, such as inflammation and cancer. The primary goal of this review is to critically present the importance of HA molecular size on cellular signaling, functional cell properties, and morphology in normal and pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms could contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.14777DOI Listing
August 2019

Proteoglycan Chemical Diversity Drives Multifunctional Cell Regulation and Therapeutics.

Chem Rev 2018 09 11;118(18):9152-9232. Epub 2018 Sep 11.

Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College , Thomas Jefferson University , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 10107 , United States.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) constitutes a highly dynamic three-dimensional structural network comprised of macromolecules, such as proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans (PGs/GAGs), collagens, laminins, fibronectin, elastin, other glycoproteins and proteinases. In recent years, the field of PGs has expanded rapidly. Due to their high structural complexity and heterogeneity, PGs mediate several homeostatic and pathological processes. PGs consist of a protein core and one or more covalently attached GAG chains, which provide the protein cores with the ability to interact with several proteins. The GAG building blocks of PGs significantly influence the chemical and functional properties of PGs. The primary goal of this comprehensive review is to summarize major achievements and paradigm-shifting discoveries made on the PG/GAG chemistry-biology axis, focusing on structural variability, structure-function relationships, metabolic, molecular, and epigenetic mechanisms underlying their synthesis. Recent insights related to exosome biogenesis, degradation, and cell signaling, their status as diagnostic tools and potential pharmacological targets in diseases as well as current applications in nanotechnology and biotechnology are addressed. Moreover, issues related to docking studies, molecular modeling, GAG/PG interaction networks, and their integration are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00354DOI Listing
September 2018

Estrogen receptor beta as epigenetic mediator of miR-10b and miR-145 in mammary cancer.

Matrix Biol 2017 12 8;64:94-111. Epub 2017 Aug 8.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Res. Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Patras 26110, Greece. Electronic address:

Even though the role of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in the modulation of breast cancer cells' behavior is thoroughly studied, the biological functions of its isoform, ERβ, are less elucidated. The suppression of ERβ in the aggressive ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells resulted in the inhibition of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and major changes in the basic functional properties and expression levels of certain matrix components of breast cancer cells. This arrest in metastatic potential of breast cancer cells suggests the contribution of ERβ in the induction of a more aggressive phenotype in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The epigenetic alterations are responsible for the ability of the tumor cells to metastasize. Here, we report for the first time that the suppression of ERβ in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells leads to significant changes in the expression profiles of specific microRNAs, including miR-10b, miR-200b and miR-145. Growth of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells in estrogen-free medium has a diverse impact on miRNA expression and the behavior of these cells, suggesting the specific effect of estradiol on the miRNA expression profile depending on the ER status of breast cancer cells. Enhanced miR-10b expression or silencing of miR-145 clearly revealed that these microRNAs can regulate the functional properties, EMT program and the expression of major matrix components known to be implicated in breast cancer aggressiveness. Our data revealed that miR-10b is strongly implicated in the regulation of functional properties, EMT program and Erk1/2 signaling in shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells, thus affecting the extracellular matrix (ECM) composition, including syndecan-1, proteolytic behavior, especially MMP2, MMP7 and MMP9 expression and subsequently the aggressiveness of these cells. Accordingly, the inhibition of miR-145 expression significantly increased the aggressiveness of shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells and induced EMT. Moreover, miR-145 inhibition resulted in important changes in the gene and protein levels of ECM mediators, such as HER2 and several MMPs, whereas it significantly increased the phosphorylated levels of Erk1/2 kinases in these cells, suggesting the crucial role of miR-145 in this signaling pathway. These novel results suggest that the alterations in cell behavior and in ECM composition caused by the suppression of ERβ in MDA-MB-231 cells are closely related to certain epigenetic miRNA-induced alterations. Targeting the ERβ-regulated miR-10b and miR-145 is a promising tool for diagnosis and pharmaceutical targeting in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2017.08.002DOI Listing
December 2017

Lumican effectively regulates the estrogen receptors-associated functional properties of breast cancer cells, expression of matrix effectors and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

Sci Rep 2017 03 23;7:45138. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne, Laboratoire de Biochimie Médicale et Biologie Moléculaire, Reims, France.

Lumican is a small leucine-rich proteoglycan that has been shown to contribute in several physiological processes, but also to exert anticancer activity. On the other hand, it has been recently shown that knockdown of the estrogen receptor α (ERα) in low invasive MCF-7 (ERα+) breast cancer cells and the suppression of ERβ in highly aggressive MDA-MB-231 (ERβ+) cells significantly alter the functional properties of breast cancer cells and the gene expression profile of matrix macromolecules related to cancer progression and cell morphology. In this report, we evaluated the effects of lumican in respect to the ERs-associated breast cancer cell behaviour, before and after suppression of ERs, using scanning electron and confocal microscopies, qPCR and functional assays. Our data pinpointed that lumican significantly attenuated cell functional properties, including proliferation, migration and invasion. Furthermore, it modified cell morphology, inducing cell-cell junctions, evoked EMT/MET reprogramming and suppressed the expression of major matrix effectors (matrix metalloproteinases and EGFR) implicated in breast cancer progression. The effects of lumican were found to be related to the type of breast cancer cells and the ERα/β type. These data support the anticancer activity of lumican and open a new area for the pharmacological targeting of the invasive breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep45138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362815PMC
March 2017

Estrogen receptor beta modulates breast cancer cells functional properties, signaling and expression of matrix molecules.

Matrix Biol 2016 12 11;56:4-23. Epub 2016 May 11.

Biochemistry, Biochemical Analysis & Matrix Pathobiology Research Group, Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Patras, Greece; Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Patras, Greece. Electronic address:

Estrogen receptors have pivotal roles in breast cancer growth and progression. ERα has been clearly shown to play key role in hormone-dependent breast cancer properties, but little is known for the isoform ERβ. To evaluate the role of ERβ, we established stably transfected ERβ-suppressed MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells by knocking down the human ERβ gene, using specific shRNA lentiviral particles. As observed by scanning electron microscopy, the ERβ suppression induces significant phenotypic changes in these cells, as compared to the control cells. Notably, the down-regulation of ERβ decreases the expression of the mesenchymal markers fibronectin and vimentin, whereas it increases the expression levels of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and cell junctions. These alterations are followed by reduced levels of the functional cell properties that promote the aggressiveness of these cells, such as proliferation, migration, spreading capacity, invasion and adhesion on collagen I. Notably, the down-regulation of ERβ reduces the migration of breast cancer cells through the tyrosine kinase receptors EGFR/IGF-IR and the JAK/STAT signaling pathways. Moreover, ERβ has a crucial role on the gene expression of several matrix mediators, including the proteoglycans syndecans-2/-4 and serglycin, several matrix metalloproteinases, plasminogen activation system components and receptor tyrosine kinases. These data clearly show that ERβ plays a crucial role in the cell behavior and ECM composition of the highly aggressive MDA-MB-231 cells and opens a new area of research to further understand its role and to improve pharmaceutical targeting of the non-hormone dependent breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matbio.2016.05.003DOI Listing
December 2016

Collagen fibre and fibril ultrastructural arrangement of the superficial medial collateral ligament in the human knee.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2015 Dec 27;23(12):3674-82. Epub 2014 Sep 27.

Institute of Human Anatomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: The aim of the study was to investigate the collagen fibre ultrastructural arrangement and collagen fibril diameters in the superficial medial collateral ligament (sMCL) in the human knee. Considering sMCL's distinctive functions at different angles of knee flexion, it was hypothesized a significant difference between the collagen fibril diameters of each portion of the sMCL.

Methods: Fourteen sMCL from seven fresh males (by chance because of the availability) cadavers (median age 40 years, range 34-59 years) were harvested within 12 h of death. sMCLs were separated into two orders of regions for analysis. The first order (divisions) was anterior, central and posterior. Thereafter, each division was split into three regions (femoral, intermediate and tibial), generating nine portions. One sMCL from each cadaver was used for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and morphometric analyses, whereas the contralateral sMCL was processed for light microscopy (LM) or scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Results: LM and SEM analyses showed a complex tridimensional architecture, with the presence of wavy collagen fibres or crimps. TEM analysis showed significant differences in median collagen fibril diameter among portions inside the anterior, central and posterior division of the sMCL (p < 0.0001 within each division). Significant differences were also present among the median [interquartile range] collagen fibril diameters of anterior (39.4 [47.8-32.9]), central (38.5 [44.4-34.0]) and posterior (41.7 [52.2-35.4]) division (p = 0.0001); femoral (38.2 [45.0-32.7]), intermediate (40.3 [47.3-36.1]) and tibial (40.7 [55.0-32.2]) region (p = 0.0001).

Conclusions: Human sMCL showed a complex architecture that allows restraining different knee motions at different angles of knee flexion. The posterior division of sMCL accounted for the largest median collagen fibril diameter. The femoral region of sMCL accounted for the smallest median collagen fibril diameter. The presence of crimps in the medial collateral ligament, previously identified in the rat, was confirmed in humans (taking into consideration differences between these two species).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-014-3276-yDOI Listing
December 2015

Role of moderate exercising on Achilles tendon collagen crimping patterns and proteoglycans.

Connect Tissue Res 2013 26;54(4-5):267-74. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Department for Life Quality Studies, Faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Bologna , Bologna , Italy .

In this study, the morphological and morphometric changes in the collagen crimping pattern of Achilles tendon and metabolism/expression of tenocytes explanted from tendons of running (RUN) and sedentary (SED) rats were investigated to assess the effects of 12 weeks moderate running exercise. The number, the top angle width and the base length of each crimp in three different regions (proximal, central and distal) of RUN and SED tendons were measured with a polarized light microscope. The most significant morphometric differences in the crimps were detectable in the central region of the RUN tendons. In this region, crimps were fewer, larger and more flattened than those of other regions as a consequence of a functional adaptation of extracellular matrix to running, in order to increase tendon stiffness and force transmission efficiency. Conversely, the top angle width of the crimps reduced in proximal and distal regions of the RUN tendons, suggesting that these crimps might act as more reactive mechanical springs, able to store and improve the release of the stored strain energy in most loaded regions. Tenocytes explanted from Achilles tendons of both RUN and SED groups were cultured. Running influenced tenocytes which showed a significant increase in collagen type-I synthesis and proteoglycans production, suggesting enhancement of the loading transmission efficiency and facilitate inter-fibril and inter-fiber sliding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/03008207.2013.807808DOI Listing
March 2014

Alteration of proteoglycan sulfation affects bone growth and remodeling.

Bone 2013 May 28;54(1):83-91. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Section of Biochemistry, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Diastrophic dysplasia (DTD) is a chondrodysplasia caused by mutations in the SLC26A2 gene, leading to reduced intracellular sulfate pool in chondrocytes, osteoblasts and fibroblasts. Hence, proteoglycans are undersulfated in the cartilage and bone of DTD patients. To characterize the bone phenotype of this skeletal dysplasia we used the Slc26a2 knock-in mouse (dtd mouse), that was previously validated as an animal model of DTD in humans. X-rays, bone densitometry, static and dynamic histomorphometry, and in vitro studies revealed a primary bone defect in the dtd mouse model. We showed in vivo that this primary bone defect in dtd mice is due to decreased bone accrual associated with a decreased trabecular and periosteal appositional rate at the cell level in one month-old mice. Although the osteoclast number evaluated by histomorphometry was not different in dtd compared to wild-type mice, urine analysis of deoxypyridinoline cross-links and serum levels of type I collagen C-terminal telopeptides showed a higher resorption rate in dtd mice compared to wild-type littermates. Electron microscopy studies showed that collagen fibrils in bone were thinner and less organized in dtd compared to wild-type mice. These data suggest that the low bone mass observed in mutant mice could possibly be linked to the different bone matrix compositions/organizations in dtd mice triggering changes in osteoblast and osteoclast activities. Overall, these results suggest that proteoglycan undersulfation not only affects the properties of hyaline cartilage, but can also lead to unbalanced bone modeling and remodeling activities, demonstrating the importance of proteoglycan sulfation in bone homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2013.01.036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607217PMC
May 2013

Correlative microscopy of bone in implant osteointegration studies.

ScientificWorldJournal 2010 Nov 16;10:2238-47. Epub 2010 Nov 16.

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences and Physiopathology of the Locomotor Apparatus (S.A.U. e F.A.L.), Bologna University, Italy.

Routine morphological analyses usually include investigations by light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Each of these techniques provides specific information on tissue morphology and all the obtained results are then combined to give an in-depth morphological overview of the examined sample. The limitations of this traditional comparative microscopy lie in the fact that each technique requires a different experimental sample, so that many specimens are necessary and the combined results come from different samples. The present study describes a technical procedure of correlative microscopy, which allows us to examine the same bone section first by LM and then, after appropriate processing, by SEM or TEM. Thanks to the possibility of analyzing the same undecalcified bone sections both by LM and SEM, the approach described in the present study allows us to make very accurate evaluations of old/new bone morphology at the bone-implant interface.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2010.223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5763680PMC
November 2010

Contribution of glycosaminoglycans to the microstructural integrity of fibrillar and fiber crimps in tendons and ligaments.

ScientificWorldJournal 2010 Oct 1;10:1932-40. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Department of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy.

The biomechanical roles of both tendons and ligaments are fulfilled by the extracellular matrix of these tissues. In particular, tension is mainly transmitted and resisted by protein (collagen, elastin) fibers, whereas compression is opposed by water-soluble glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs spanning the interfibrillar spaces and interacting with fibrils through the interfibrillar proteoglycans also seem to play a part in transmitting and resisting tensile stresses. Both tendons and ligaments showing similar composition, but different functional roles and collagen array, exhibit periodic undulations of collagen fibers or crimps. Each crimp is composed of many knots of each single fibril or fibrillar crimps. Fibrillar and fiber crimps play a mechanical role in absorbing the initial loading during elongation of both tendons and ligaments, and in recoiling fibrils and fibers when tissues have to return to their original length. This study investigated whether GAGs covalently attached to proteoglycan core proteins directly affect the 3D microstructural integrity of fibrillar crimp regions and fiber crimps in both tendons and ligaments. Achilles tendons and medial collateral ligaments of the knee from eight female Sprague-Dawley rats (90 days old) incubated in a chondroitinase ABC solution to remove GAGs were observed under a scanning electron microscope (SEM). In addition, isolated fibrils of these tissues obtained by mechanical disruption were analyzed by a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Both Achilles tendons and medial collateral ligaments of the rats after chemical or mechanical removal of GAGs still showed crimps and fibrillar crimps comparable to tissues with a normal GAG content. All fibrils in the fibrillar crimp region always twisted leftwards, thus changing their running plane, and then sharply bent, changing their course on a new plane. These data suggest that GAGs do not affect structural integrity or fibrillar crimp functions that seem mainly related to the local fibril leftward twisting and the alternating handedness of collagen from a molecular to a supramolecular level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2010.192DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5763726PMC
October 2010

Collagen fibre arrangement and functional crimping pattern of the medial collateral ligament in the rat knee.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2010 Dec 25;18(12):1671-8. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences and Physiopathology of the Locomotor Apparatus, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio, 48, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

Ligaments have been described as multifascicular structures with collagen fibres cross-connecting to each other or running straight and parallel also showing a waviness or crimping pattern playing as a shock absorber/recoiling system during joint motions. A particular collagen array and crimping pattern in different ligaments may reflect different biomechanical roles and properties. The aim of the study was to relate the 3D collagen arrangement in the crimping pattern of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) to its functional role. The MCL is one of the most injured ligaments during sports activities and an experimental model to understand the rate, quality and composition of ligaments healing. A deep knowledge of structure-function relationship of collagen fibres array will improve the development of rehabilitation protocols and more appropriate exercises for recovery of functional activity. The rat MCL was analysed by polarized light microscopy, confocal laser microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Histomorphometric analysis demonstrated that MCL crimps have a smaller base length versus other tendons. SEM observations demonstrated that collagen fibres showing few crimps were composed of fibrils intertwining and crossing one another in the outer region. Confocal laser analyses excluded a helical array of collagen fibres. By contrast, in the core portion, densely packed straight collagen fibres ran parallel to the main axis of the ligament being interrupted both by planar crimps, similar to tendon crimps, and by newly described right-handed twisted crimps. It is concluded that planar crimps could oppose or respond exclusively to tensional forces parallel to the main ligament axis, whereas the right-handed twisted crimps could better resist/respond to a complex of tensional/rotational forces within the ligament thus opposing to an external rotation of tibia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-010-1084-6DOI Listing
December 2010

Tendon and ligament fibrillar crimps give rise to left-handed helices of collagen fibrils in both planar and helical crimps.

J Anat 2010 Mar 7;216(3):301-9. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Dipartimento di Scienze Anatomiche Umane e Fisiopatologia dell'Apparato, Locomotore, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Collagen fibres in tendons and ligaments run straight but in some regions they show crimps which disappear or appear more flattened during the initial elongation of tissues. Each crimp is formed of collagen fibrils showing knots or fibrillar crimps at the crimp top angle. The present study analyzes by polarized light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy the 3D morphology of fibrillar crimp in tendons and ligaments of rat demonstrating that each fibril in the fibrillar region always twists leftwards changing the plane of running and sharply bends modifying the course on a new plane. The morphology of fibrillar crimp in stretched tendons fulfills the mechanical role of the fibrillar crimp acting as a particular knot/biological hinge in absorbing tension forces during fibril strengthening and recoiling collagen fibres when stretching is removed. The left-handed path of fibrils in the fibrillar crimp region gives rise to left-handed fibril helices observed both in isolated fibrils and sections of different tendons and ligaments (flexor digitorum profundus muscle tendon, Achilles tendon, tail tendon, patellar ligament and medial collateral ligament of the knee). The left-handed path of fibrils represents a new final suprafibrillar level of the alternating handedness which was previously described only from the molecular to the microfibrillar level. When the width of the twisting angle in the fibrillar crimp is nearly 180 degrees the fibrils appear as left-handed flattened helices forming crimped collagen fibres previously described as planar crimps. When fibrils twist with different subsequent rotational angles (< 180 degrees ) they always assume a left-helical course but, running in many different nonplanar planes, they form wider helical crimped fibres.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01188.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829388PMC
March 2010

Influence of a zirconia sandblasting treated surface on peri-implant bone healing: An experimental study in sheep.

Acta Biomater 2009 Jul 31;5(6):2246-57. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

Human Anatomy Institute of the Department of Human Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy.

A sandblasting process with round zirconia (ZrO(2)) particles might be an alternative surface treatment to enhance the osseointegration of titanium dental implants. Our previous study on sheep compared smooth surface titanium implants (control) with implant surfaces sandblasted with two different granulations of ZrO(2). As the sandblasted surfaces proved superior, the present study further compared the ZrO(2) surface implant with other surface treatments currently employed: machined titanium (control), titanium oxide plasma sprayed (TPS) and alumina sandblasted (Al-SL) at different times after insertion (2, 4 and 12weeks). Twelve sheep were divided into three groups of four animals each and underwent implant insertion in tibia cortical bone under general anaesthesia. The implants with surrounding tissues were subjected to histology, histomorphometry, scanning electron microscopy and microhardness tests. The experimentation indicated that at 2weeks Zr-SL implants had the highest significant bone ingrowth (p<0.05) compared to the other implant surfaces, and a microhardness of newly formed bone inside the threads significantly higher than that of Ti. The present work shows that the ZrO(2) treatment produces better results in peri-implant newly formed bone than Ti and TPS processing, whereas its performance is similar to the Al-SL surface treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2009.01.024DOI Listing
July 2009

Structure relates to elastic recoil and functional role in quadriceps tendon and patellar ligament.

Micron 2009 Apr 19;40(3):370-7. Epub 2008 Oct 19.

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy.

Tendons and ligaments have similar but slightly different structure and composition. Crimps of tendons and ligaments are morphological structures related to the elastic functional properties of these connective tissues. Aim of this study was to investigate the morphological arrangement of collagen fibres, fibrils and crimping pattern of suprapatellar (rectus femoris tendon-RFT and vastus intermedius tendon-VIT) and infrapatellar connective tissues (patellar ligament-PL) to relate their structural aspects to their common function role of leg extension. RFT, VIT and PL were removed from knees of Sprague-Dawley rats and light and electron microscopy (TEM and SEM) performed. Sagittal sections showed that collagen array and crimping pattern were similar in RFT and PL but differed from VIT. Morphometric analysis confirmed that crimp number was about the same in RFT and PL (5.4+/-1.4 and 6.1+/-2.8 respectively), but it was almost three times higher in VIT (14.5+/-4.7). Similarly crimp top angle in RFT and PL (141.5+/-15.0 degrees and 146.2+/-12.2 degrees respectively) was significantly higher than in VIT (122.3+/-14.8 degrees ) and the crimp base length was more than twice as wide in RFT (75.5+/-22.6microm) and PL (72.3+/-28.9microm) than in VIT (36+/-14.1microm). The smaller, fewer and most crimped crimps in VIT show that this tendon has a greater elastic recoil and responds to higher forces as among quadriceps muscles the vastus intermedius belly contributes the most during knee extension. By contrast, RFT acting as a "stopper" tendon also plays a ligament role by limiting an excessive flexion of the joint during postural rest position of the knee.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micron.2008.10.004DOI Listing
April 2009

Different crimp patterns in collagen fibrils relate to the subfibrillar arrangement.

Connect Tissue Res 2008 ;49(2):85-91

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences and Physiopathology of Locomotor Apparatus, University of Bologna, Italy.

Collagen fibril ultrastructure and course were examined in different connective tissues by PLM, SEM, TEM, and AFM. In tendons, collagen fibrils were large and heterogeneous with a straight subfibrillar arrangement. They ran densely packed, parallel, and straight changing their direction only in periodic crimps where fibrils showed a local deformation (fibrillar crimps). Other tissues such as aponeurosis, fascia communis, skin, aortic wall, and tendon and nerve sheaths showed thinner uniform fibrils with a helical subfibrillar arrangement. These fibrils appeared in parallel or helical arrangement following a wavy, undulating course. Ligaments showed large fibrils as in tendon, with fibrillar crimps but less packed. Thinner uniform-sized fibrils also were observed. Fibrillar crimps seem to be related to the subfibrillar arrangement being present only in large fibrils with a straight subfibrillar arrangement. These stiffer fibrils respond mainly to unidirectional tensional forces, whereas the flexible thinner fibrils with helical subfibrils can accommodate extreme curvatures without harm, thus responding to multidirectional loadings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03008200801913635DOI Listing
May 2008

Molecular recognition of metal complexes by DNA: a comparative study of the interactions of the parent complexes [PtCl(TERPY)]Cl and [AuCl(TERPY)]Cl2 with double stranded DNA.

Bioinorg Chem Appl 2005 :239-53

Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, via della Lastruccia 3, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence 50019, Italy.

The interactions of the parent complexes [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2) and [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl with DNA were analysed by various physicochemical methods. Surprisingly, these metal complexes produce different interaction patterns with DNA in spite of their profound structural similarity. Indeed, important modifications are detected in the characteristic UV-Vis bands of [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl upon addition of ct-DNA, while the spectrum of [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2) is almost unaffected. Gel electrophoresis studies confirm these findings: [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl - but not [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2) - retards significantly the mobility of the supercoiled form of the pHV14 plasmid after a short incubation time. Ultrafiltration studies indicate that the affinity of [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl for ct-DNA is significantly greater than that of [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2). On the other hand, both [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2) and [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl induce important changes in the CD spectrum of ct-DNA, at high concentration, and increase its T(m) value. Remarkably, the analysed metal-complex/DNA interaction patterns depend critically on the incubation times. We propose that [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl quickly intercalates DNA; then, formation of coordinative bonds progressively takes place with time. At variance, [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl(2) first interacts electrostatically with the DNA surface, with subsequent slow formation of some coordinative bonds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/BCA.2005.239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2267106PMC
June 2010

Influence of different implant surfaces on peri-implant osteogenesis: histomorphometric analysis in sheep.

J Periodontol 2007 May;78(5):879-88

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences and Physiopathology of Locomotory Apparatus, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Background: The present study investigated peri-implant osteogenesis and implant biologic fixation in different zirconia sandblasted endosseous titanium surfaces (SLA-60 and SLA-120) and a turned titanium surface (T) 2 and 4 weeks after surgery.

Methods: Seventy-two implant screws were implanted in tibia of six sheep. Histologic sections of implants (2 and 4 weeks after surgery) were analyzed with light microscopy for histomorphometric analysis of bone-to-implant contact (BIC), bone ingrowth (BI), and bone surface (BS/BV). Histologic blocks were used to perform bone microhardness studies next to the implants. Some implants were also observed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Results: In general, the highest values of BIC, BI, BS/BV, and Vickers hardness number (HV) were measured in SLA-60 samples, followed by SLA-120 and T implants. Two weeks after surgery, all the implants appeared biologically fixed by a newly formed woven bone arranged in thin bone trabeculae and filling the gap between implant and host bone. Four weeks after implantation, the thickness of the woven bone trabeculae had increased, especially around the SLA-60 and SLA-120 implants by a gradual deposition of parallel-fiber bone.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that, in the early period of peri-implant healing, the implant surface morphology that seemed to influence the increase of peri-implant osteogenesis, bone turnover, and peri-implant bone maturation was SLA-60. We suggest that this surface, characterized by moderately deep titanium cavities very similar to the osteocyte lacunae, could act as a microscopic scaffold for mesenchymal and/or osteoblast-like cells adhesion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1902/jop.2007.060280DOI Listing
May 2007

Collagen structure of tendon relates to function.

ScientificWorldJournal 2007 Mar 30;7:404-20. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Department of Human Anatomical Sciences and Physiopathology of Locomotor Apparatus, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone, designed to transmit forces and withstand tension during muscle contraction. Tendon may be surrounded by different structures: 1) fibrous sheaths or retinaculae; 2) reflection pulleys; 3) synovial sheaths; 4) peritendon sheaths; 5) tendon bursae. Tendons contain a) few cells, mostly represented by tenoblasts along with endothelial cells and some chondrocytes; b) proteoglycans (PGs), mainly decorin and hyaluronan, and c) collagen, mostly type I. Tendon is a good example of a high ordered extracellular matrix in which collagen molecules assemble into filamentous collagen fibrils (formed by microfibrils) which aggregate to form collagen fibers, the main structural components. It represents a multihierarchical structure as it contains collagen molecules arranged in fibrils then grouped in fibril bundles, fascicles and fiber bundles that are almost parallel to the long axis of the tendon, named as primary, secondary and tertiary bundles. Collagen fibrils in tendons show prevalently large diameter, a D-period of about 67 nm and appear built of collagen molecules lying at a slight angle (< 5 degrees). Under polarized light microscopy the collagen fiber bundles appear crimped with alternative dark and light transverse bands. In recent studies tendon crimps observed via SEM and TEM show that the single collagen fibrils suddenly changing their direction contain knots. These knots of collagen fibrils inside each tendon crimp have been termed "fibrillar crimps", and even if they show different aspects they all may fulfil the same functional role. As integral component of musculoskeletal system, the tendon acts to transmit muscle forces to the skeletal system. There is no complete understanding of the mechanisms in transmitting/absorbing tensional forces within the tendon; however it seems likely that a flattening of tendon crimps may occur at a first stage of tendon stretching. Increasing stretching, other transmission mechanisms such as an interfibrillar coupling via PGs linkages and a molecular gliding within the fibrils structure may be involved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2007.92DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5901217PMC
March 2007