Publications by authors named "Michela Festa"

34 Publications

Different mechanisms underlie IL-6 release in chemosensitive and chemoresistant ovarian carcinoma cells.

Am J Cancer Res 2020 1;10(8):2596-2602. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry "Schola Medica Salernitana", University of Salerno 84081 Baronissi, Italy.

Interleukin (IL)-6 has been detected in serum and ascites from patients affected by epithelial ovarian cancers, and also in some human ovarian cancer cell lines. To investigate the role of IL-6 in ovarian lesions, we first measured its levels in serum samples of 24 healthy donors and in 17 and 9 patients affected by ovarian carcinomas and ovarian benign cysts respectively. IL-6 levels were significantly higher than healthy donors in serum samples from ovarian cancer patients, but not in benign ovarian cysts. We then investigated the mechanism of IL-6 production in two cell lines obtained from the same patient with high grade serous ovarian carcinoma before (PEA1) and after (PEA2) development of cisplatinum resistance. The levels of intracellular IL-6, analysed by western blotting, did not relevantly differ in the two cell lines, and they did not change after the cell treatment with an AKT inhibitor. Although the interleukin was present in supernatants from both cell lines, its concentration in the supernatant of chemoresistant cells was significantly higher than chemosensitive cells. Interestingly, exposure to the AKT inhibitor resulted in a reduced IL-6 release in PEA1, but not in PEA2 cells. These results let infer different mechanisms of IL-6 release in chemoresistant and chemosensitive cell lines, and contribute new insights in ovarian cancer biology that suggest more in depth studies about the role of AKT in IL-6 release and in development of chemoresistance.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7471370PMC
August 2020

BAG3 Protein Is Involved in Endothelial Cell Response to Phenethyl Isothiocyanate.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018 31;2018:5967890. Epub 2018 May 31.

Department of Pharmacy (DIFARMA), University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano, Italy.

Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a cruciferous vegetable-derived compound, is a versatile cancer chemopreventive agent that displays the ability to inhibit tumor growth during initiation, promotion, and progression phases in several animal models of carcinogenesis. In this report, we dissect the cellular events induced by noncytotoxic concentrations of PEITC in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). In the early phase, PEITC treatment elicited cells' morphological changes that comprise reduction in cell volume and modification of actin organization concomitantly with a rapid activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Downstream to PI3K, PEITC also induces the activity of Rac1 and activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), well-known regulators of actin cytoskeleton dynamics. Interestingly, PEITC modifications of the actin cytoskeleton were abrogated by pretreatment with JNK inhibitor, SP600125. JNK signaling led also to the activation of the c-Jun transcription factor, which is involved in the upregulation of several genes; among them is the BAG3 protein. This protein, a member of the BAG family of heat shock protein (Hsp) 70 cochaperones, is able to sustain survival in different tumor cell lines and neoangiogenesis by directly regulating the endothelial cell cycle. Furthermore, BAG3 is involved in maintaining actin folding. Our findings indicate that BAG3 protein expression is induced in endothelial cells upon exposure to a noncytotoxic concentration of PEITC and its expression is requested for the recovery of normal cell size and morphology after the stressful stimuli. This assigns an additional role for BAG3 protein in the endothelial cells after a stress event.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/5967890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6000881PMC
October 2018

Chemical composition and in vitro cytotoxic activity of the essential oils of Stachys rupestris and Salvia heldreichiana, two endemic plants of Turkey.

Nat Prod Commun 2013 Nov;8(11):1637-40

Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Salerno, Via Ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy.

The chemical composition of the essential oils of two endemic plants of Turkey, Stachys rupestris Montbret et Aucher ex Benth. and Salvia heldreichiana Boiss. ex Benth., were obtained by hydrodistillation and studied by GC and GC-MS. In all, 46 compounds were identified, 22 for S. rupestris accounting for 94.6% of the total oil and 30 for S. heldreichiana, accounting for 91.9% of the total oil. The presence of diterpenoids (50.7%) characterized the oil from S. rupestris, while S. heldreichiana oil was rich in oxygenated sesquiterpenes (78.9%).The essential oils were evaluated for their in vitro potential cytotoxic activity on three human cancer cell lines. The oil of S. rupestris showed the higher antiproliferative activity against PC-3 and MCF-7 cancer cell lines.
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November 2013

Cycloartane glycosides from Astragalus plumosus var. krugianus and evaluation of their antioxidant potential.

Fitoterapia 2014 Jan 9;92:211-8. Epub 2013 Nov 9.

Ege University, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, Bornova, 35100 Izmir, Turkey. Electronic address:

The methanol extracts of Astragalus plumosus var. krugianus Chamb. & Matthews afforded sixteen cycloartane glycosides among which krugianoside A, was never reported before. All compounds were evaluated for their cytotoxic activity in human skin fibroblast WS1 cells. For compounds exhibiting no significant effect on WS1 viability, the antioxidant potential was examined. Compounds 1 and 8 prevented elevation of ROS induced by t-BOOH, suggesting the potential activity of these compounds to protect fibroblasts from oxidative stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2013.10.018DOI Listing
January 2014

The complex understanding of Annexin A1 phosphorylation.

Cell Signal 2014 Jan 5;26(1):173-8. Epub 2013 Oct 5.

Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Technická 5, Prague 6, 166 28, Czech Republic. Electronic address:

Annexin A1 (ANXA1) is the first characterized member of the annexins superfamily. It binds the cellular membrane phospholipids in Ca(2+) regulated manner. Annexin A1 has been found in several tissues and many physiological roles as hormones secretion, vesiculation, inflammatory response, apoptosis and differentiation have been shown. Its subcellular localization and binding with many partner proteins are altered accordingly with its physiological role. The Annexin A1 membrane localization is crucial for binding to receptors, suggesting a paracrine and juxtacrine extracellular action. Annexin A1 is subjected to several post-translational modifications. In particular the protein is phosphorylated on several residues both on the N-terminal functional domain and on the C-terminus core. Different kinases have been identified as responsible for the phosphorylation status of selective residues. The specific change in the phosphorylation status on the different sites alters ANXA1 localization, binding properties and functions. This review shows the physiological relevance of the ANXA1 phosphorylation leading to the conclusion that numerous and different roles of Annexin A1 could be associated with different phosphorylations to alter not only intracellular localization and bindings to its partners but also the extracellular receptor interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.09.020DOI Listing
January 2014

Steroidal glycosides with antiproliferative activities from Digitalis trojana.

Phytother Res 2014 Apr 31;28(4):534-8. Epub 2013 May 31.

Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Yeditepe, 34755, Kayisdagi, Istanbul, Turkey.

The phytochemical investigation of Digitalis trojana led to the isolation of two cardiac glycosides (1, 2), one pregnane glycoside (3), three furostanol type saponins (4-6), along with three cleroindicins (7-9), four phenylethanoid glycosides (10-13), two flavonoids (14, 15) and two phenolic acid derivatives (16, 17). The structure elucidation of the isolates was carried out by NMR experiments as well as ESI-MS. The cytotoxic activity of compounds 1-13 against a small panel of cancer cell lines, namely MCF-7, T98G, HT-29, PC-3, A375 and SH-SY5Y, was investigated. Compounds 1-6 showed antiproliferative activity against human breast MCF-7 and colon HT-29 cancer cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 8.3 to 50 μM. In order to understand the mechanism involved in the cell death, the active compounds were tested as pro-apoptotic agents using propidium iodide staining by flow cytometry method. No significant increase was observed in the apoptosis of the MCF-7 and HT-29 cancer cells. Moreover, the effects of the active compounds on cell proliferation were assessed on the same cancer cell lines by cell cycle analysis of DNA content using flow cytometry. No significative changes were observed in the cell cycle of MCF-7, while significant changes in G2 /M cell cycle phase of HT-29 cells were observed after treatment with digitalin (1), cariensoside (3) and 22-O-methylparvispinoside B (6) at 10 μM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ptr.5012DOI Listing
April 2014

Cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione-based antiproliferative agents: design, synthesis, and cytotoxic evaluation.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2013 Apr 30;32:24. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Salerno, via Ponte Don Melillo, Fisciano, SA, 84084, Italy.

Background: Tumors are diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and, in spite of the progress of medicine over the years, continue to represent a major threat to the health, requiring new therapies. Several synthetic compounds, such as those derived from natural sources, have been identified as anticancer drugs; among these compounds quinone represent the second largest class of anticancer agents in use. Several studies have shown that these act on tumor cells through several mechanisms. An important objective of this work is to develop quinoidscompounds showing antitumor activity, but with fewer side effects. The parachinone cannabinol HU-331, is a small molecule that with its core 4-hydroxy-1,4-benzoquinone, exhibits a potent and selective cytotoxic activity on different tumor cell lines. A series of derivatives 3-hydroxy-1,4-benzochinoni were thus developed through HU-331 chemical modifications. The purpose of the work is to test the ability of the compounds to induce proliferative inhibition and study the mechanisms of cell death.

Methods: The antitumor activities were evaluated in vitro by examining their cytotoxic effects against different human cancer cell lines. All cell lines tested were plated in 96-multiwell and treated with HU-100-V at different concentrations and cell viability was evaluated byMTT assay. Subsequently via flow cytometry (FACS) it was possible to assess apoptosis by the system of double labeling with PI and Annexin-V, and the effect of the compounds on ROS formation by measuring the dichlorofluorescein fluorescence.

Results: The substitution by n-hexyl chain considerably enhanced the bioactivity of the compounds. In details, 2-hexyl-5-hydroxycyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione (V), 2,5-Dimethoxy-3-hexyl-2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-dione (XII) and 2-hydroxy-5-methoxy-3-hexyl-cyclohexa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione (XIII) showed most prominent cytotoxicity against almost human tumour cell lines. Compound V was further subjected to downstream apoptotic analysis, demostrating a time-dependent pro-apoptotic activity on human melanoma M14 cell line mediated by caspases activation and poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP) protein cleavage.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that 2-hexyl-5-idrossicicloesa-2,5-diene-1,4-dione can be a promising compound for the design of a new class of antineoplastic derivatives.Carmen Petronzi, Michela Festa, Antonella Peduto and Maria Castellano: equally contributed equally to this work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-9966-32-24DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3666920PMC
April 2013

HPLC-ESIMS(n) profiling, isolation, structural elucidation, and evaluation of the antioxidant potential of phenolics from Paepalanthus geniculatus.

J Nat Prod 2012 Apr 17;75(4):547-56. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy.

The methanol extract of the flowers of Paepalanthus geniculatus Kunth. showed radical-scavenging activity in the TEAC assay. An analytical approach based on HPLC-ESIMS(n) was applied to obtain the metabolite profile of this extract and led to the rapid identification of 19 polyphenolic compounds comprising flavonoids and naphthopyranones. The new naphthopyranone (10, 16), quercetagetin (1, 5, 7, 13), and galetine derivatives (9, 11, 17, 19), and a flavonol glucoside cyclodimer in the truxillate form (12), were identified. Compounds 2, 6, and 7 showed the highest antioxidant capacity and ability to affect the levels of intracellular ROS in human prostate cancer cells (PC3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np200604kDOI Listing
April 2012

Triterpene glycosides from Astragalus angustifolius.

Planta Med 2012 May 21;78(7):720-9. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ege University, Bornova, Izmir, Turkey.

Six new cycloartane-type (1- 6) and four new oleanane-type (7- 10) triterpene glycosides were isolated from Astragalus angustifolius Lam., together with five known triterpene glycosides. Their structures were established by the extensive use of 1D and 2D-NMR experiments along with ESIMS and HRMS analysis. Compounds 1- 3 are glycosides of cycloastragenol, while compounds 4- 6 show the C-24 epimer of cycloastragenol as aglycone, encountered for the first time in nature. All compounds were evaluated for their antiproliferative activity in Hela, H-446, HT-29, and U937 cell lines. Only compound 8 displayed a weak activity with IC (50) values of 36 and 50 µM against Hela and HT-29 cell lines, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0031-1298337DOI Listing
May 2012

Antiproliferative steroidal glycosides from Digitalis ciliata.

Fitoterapia 2012 Apr 8;83(3):554-62. Epub 2012 Jan 8.

Salerno University, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.

Two new compounds, a furostanol glycoside (1) and a pregnane glycoside (4), along with eight known compounds, belonging to the classes of spirostane (2,3), pregnane (5-7) and cardenolide (8-10) glycosides, were isolated from the seeds of Digitalis ciliata. Their structures were elucidated by 1D and 2D-NMR experiments as well as ESI-MS analysis. For the first time pregnane glycosides of the diginigenin series have been isolated from D. ciliata. The cytotoxic effects of compounds 1-10 on cell viability of several cancer cell lines, namely human breast cancer (MCF-7), human glioblastoma (T98G), human lung adenocarcinoma (A549), human colon carcinoma (HT-29), and human prostate cancer (PC-3) cell lines were evaluated. Compounds 1, 4, 7 and 8 showed antiproliferative effects against MCF-7, HT-29 and A549 cancer cells with IC₅₀ values ranging from 8.3 to 20 μM. The effects of compounds 1-10 on cell proliferation were evaluated on these three cancer cell lines by cell cycle analysis of DNA content using flow cytometry. Compounds 7, 8 and 10 induced significant changes in G₂/M cell cycle phase of all analyzed cells. The obtained results indicate that compounds 7, 8 and 10 are cytostatic compounds effective in reducing cell proliferation by inducing accumulation of the cells in the G₂/M phase of the cell cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2011.12.020DOI Listing
April 2012

Xanthohumol induces apoptosis in human malignant glioblastoma cells by increasing reactive oxygen species and activating MAPK pathways.

J Nat Prod 2011 Dec 23;74(12):2505-13. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.

The effect of the biologically active prenylated chalcone and potential anticancer agent xanthohumol (1) has been investigated on apoptosis of the T98G human malignant glioblastoma cell line. Compound 1 decreased the viability of T98G cells by induction of apoptosis in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Apoptosis induced by 1 was associated with activation of caspase-3, caspase-9, and PARP cleavage and was mediated by the mitochondrial pathway, as exemplified by mitochondrial depolarization, cytochrome c release, and downregulation of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 protein. Xanthohumol induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), an effect that was reduced by pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). Intracellular ROS production appeared essential for the activation of the mitochondrial pathway and induction of apoptosis after exposure to 1. Oxidative stress due to treatment with 1 was associated with MAPK activation, as determined by ERK1/2 and p38 phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 was attenuated using NAC to inhibit ROS production. After treatment with 1, ROS provided a specific environment that resulted in MAPK-induced cell death, with this effect reduced by the ERK1/2 specific inhibitor PD98059 and partially inhibited by the p38 inhibitor SB203580. These findings suggest that xanthohumol (1) is a potential chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np200390xDOI Listing
December 2011

Iridoid, phenylethanoid and flavonoid glycosides from Sideritis trojana.

Fitoterapia 2012 Jan 15;83(1):130-6. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

Yeditepe University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy, TR-34755, Kayisdagi, Istanbul, Turkey.

From the MeOH extract of Sideritis trojana, a new iridoid glycoside, 10-O-(E)-feruloylmelittoside (1) was obtained in addition to four known iridoid glycosides [melittoside (2), 10-O-(E)-p-coumaroylmelittoside (3), stachysosides E (4) and G (5)]. Moreover, five phenylethanoid glycosides [verbascoside (6), isoacteoside (7), lamalboside (8), leonoside A (9), isolavandulifolioside (10), three flavone glycosides (isoscutellarein 7-O-[6'''-O-acetyl-β-allopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-glucopyranoside (11), 4'-O-methyisoscutellarein 7-O-[6'''-O-acetyl-β-allopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-glucopyranoside (12), 3'-hydroxy-4'-O-methyisoscutellarein 7-O-[6'''-O-acetyl-β-allopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-glucopyranoside (13) and a benzylalcohol derivative (di-O-methylcrenatin) were obtained and identified. The structures were elucidated on the basis of NMR and HRMS data. All compounds were tested for their antioxidant activity by in vitro TEAC assay and some of them exhibited moderate activity (0.97-1.44 mM) when compared with the reference compound (quercetin 1.86 mM). Glycosides 6-13, the most active compounds in the TEAC assay, were also tested by flow cytometry to evaluate their ability to affect the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human prostate cancer cells (PC3).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2011.10.003DOI Listing
January 2012

Triterpenoid constituents from the roots of Paeonia rockii ssp. rockii.

J Nat Prod 2011 Oct 28;74(10):2116-21. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084, Fisciano (SA), Italy.

An investigation of a chloroform-soluble extract from the roots of Paeonia rockii ssp. rockii yielded three new noroleanane triterpenoids (1-3) together with 19 known compounds. Their structures were established by analysis of the spectroscopic data. The effects of this chloroform-soluble extract and its major constituents on cell proliferation and apoptosis of a panel of human cancer cell lines (melanoma M-14, colon cancer HT-29, breast cancer MCF-7) were evaluated by the MTT bioassay and propidium iodide staining, respectively, in comparison with normal human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293). Two of the triterpenoids, betulinic acid (4) and oleanolic acid (5), and the crude extract were cytotoxic and induced apoptosis selectively in the M-14 melanoma cell line. This effect was reversed by the caspase-inhibitor z-VAD-fmk, suggesting that such action is mediated by caspase-3 activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np200359vDOI Listing
October 2011

Interconverting flavanone glucosides and other phenolic compounds in Lippia salviaefolia Cham. ethanol extracts.

Phytochemistry 2011 Nov 24;72(16):2052-61. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Institute of Chemistry, São Paulo State University, CP 355, CEP 14801-970 Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

Four interconverting flavanone glycosides [(2R)- and (2S)-3',4',5,6-tetrahydroxyflavanone 7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, and (2R)- and (2S)-3',4',5,8-tetrahydroxyflavanone 7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside], in addition to eight known flavonoids [naringenin, asebogenin, sakuranetin, 6-hydroxyluteolin 7-O-β-D-glucoside, (2R)- and (2S)-eriodictyol 7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, aromadendrin and phloretin], three phenylpropanoid glycosides [forsythoside B, alyssonoside and verbascoside] and the epoxylignan lariciresinol 4'-O-β-D-glucopyranoside were isolated and identified in the EtOH extract of the aerial parts of Lippia salviaefolia Cham. The phytochemical study herein was guided by preliminary antioxidant tests, namely, β-carotene protection and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging activity. The crude extracts, their active fractions and the isolated compounds were assayed against intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and human embryonic kidney HEK-293 and human melanoma M14 cancer cell growth. Aromadendrin and phloretin were able to counteract elevation of ROS induced by the oxidant t-butylhydroperoxide (t-BOOH) in HEK-293 cells, whereas phloretin strongly protected HEK-293 cells from ROS damage at 1 μM. Additionally, phloretin exhibited a significant growth inhibitory effect at 20-40 μM in both HEK-293 and M14 cells and induced a concentration dependent apoptosis at 20 μM in M14 cells, suggesting a selective action towards malignant cells. Due to their equilibria, the four interconverting flavanone glycosides were studied using 1D and 2D NMR, HPLC-CD-PDA and HRMS analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.07.004DOI Listing
November 2011

Neuroinflamm-aging and neurodegenerative diseases: an overview.

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets 2011 Aug;10(5):621-34

Neurophysiopathology Unit, S. Luca Hospital, Vallo della Lucania, Italy.

Neuroinflammation is considered a chronic activation of the immune response in the central nervous system (CNS) in response to different injuries. This brain immune activation results in various events: circulating immune cells infiltrate the CNS; resident cells are activated; and pro-inflammatory mediators produced and released induce neuroinflammatory brain disease. The effect of immune diffusible mediators on synaptic plasticity might result in CNS dysfunction during neuroinflammatory brain diseases. The CNS dysfunction may induce several human pathological conditions associated with both cognitive impairment and a variable degree of neuroinflammation. Furthermore, age has a powerful effect on enhanced susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases and age-dependent enhanced neuroinflammatory processes may play an important role in toxin generation that causes death or dysfunction of neurons in neurodegenerative diseases This review will address current understanding of the relationship between ageing, neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disease by focusing on the principal mechanisms by which the immune system influences the brain plastic phenomena. Also, the present review considers the principal human neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders caused by aging and neuroinflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/187152711796235014DOI Listing
August 2011

Neuroinflammation and ageing: current theories and an overview of the data.

Rev Recent Clin Trials 2011 Sep;6(3):189-203

Neurophysiopathology Unit, S. Luca Hospital, Vallo della Lucania (Sa), Italy.

The increase in the average lifespan and the consequent proportional growth of the elderly segment of society has furthered the interest in studying ageing processes. Ageing may be considered a multifactorial process derived from the interaction between genetic and environmental factors including lifestyle. There is ample evidence in many species that the maximum age attainable (maximum lifespan potential, MLSP) is genetically determined and several mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms are associated with longevity. This review will address the current understanding of the relationship between ageing and several factors both genetics and life style related. Firstly we focused on the most reliable and commonly shared theories which attempt to explain the phenomenon of ageing as the genetic, cellular, neuroendocrine, immunological and free-radicals related theories. Many studies have shown that most of the phenotypic characteristics observed in the aging process are the result of the occurrence, with age, of a low grade chronic pro-inflammatory status called "inflammaging", partially under genetic control. The term indicate that aging is accompanied by a low degree of chronic inflammatory, an up-regulation of inflammatory response and that inflammatory changes are common to many age-related diseases. In this review special attention was dedicated to diseases related to age as atherosclerosis, cancer and Alzheimer disease. Despite the fact that in recent years many theories about ageing have been developed, we are still far from a full understanding of the mechanisms underlying the ageing process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/157488711796575577DOI Listing
September 2011

Sesquiterpene coumarins from Ferula gumosa.

J Nat Prod 2010 Nov 20;73(11):1958-62. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Biotechnology Research Center and School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

A new sesquiterpene coumarin, gumosin (1), two new sesquiterpene coumarin glycosides, gumosides A (2) and B (3), and 10 known compounds, namely, cauferoside (4), feselol (5), conferoside, ferilin, ferocaulidin, ligupersin A, conferol, and daucosterol, and the phenolic compounds acantrifoside E and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid 4-(6-O-sulfo)glucopyranoside, were isolated from a methanolic extract of Ferula gumosa roots. The structures of 1-3 were elucidated by spectroscopic data interpretation. The cytotoxic activity of the sesquiterpene coumarin derivatives was evaluated against a small panel of cancer cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np100487jDOI Listing
November 2010

Recent clinical aspects of hyperprolactinemia induced by antipsychotics.

Rev Recent Clin Trials 2011 Jan;6(1):52-63

Mental Health Unit-District 44 - ASL Napoli 1, University of Salerno, Italy.

This review will address the current understanding of the relationship between hyperprolactinemia and antipsychotic drugs. Hyperprolactinemia is a frequent but often neglected side effect of typical, but also of many atypical antipsychotics. Release of PRL from lactotrope cells is influenced by several factors, such as stress, physical and sexual activity and food assumption. PRL secretion is regulated by hypothalamic-pituitary portal system and its homeostasis is the result of a complex balance between stimulating and inhibitory factors, both endogeneous and esogeneous. The main physiological control mechanism of secretion is played by the inhibitory action of dopamine. Conversely, among stimulation factors, serotonin is probably the main modulator of PRL release. An high number of drugs may cause PRL increase too, such as drugs that reduce dopaminergic functions at SNC level, or drugs with an antagonistic action towards dopaminergic receptors and those increasing serotonergic neurotransmission. Hyperprolactinemia is one of the most frequent endocrine pathologies of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Antipsychotics (AP) are the most common cause of druginduced hyperprolactinemia. Not all AP have the same impact on inducing hyperprolactinemia. In this review we will focus on the subdivision of AP in 'PRL-raising' (stimulators) and 'PRL-sparing' (sparers) and on their differences in inducing hyperprolactinemia. Finally we evaluated different complications in patients with antipsychotics induced hyperprolactinemia that may cause not only short-term side effects but also important systemic long-term effects. At the end of the review we finally report the possible options of treatment considering however that at present there are no ideal therapies or evaluations, and decisions have to be made on a case by case basis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/157488711793980138DOI Listing
January 2011

Potential therapeutic effects of vitamin e and C on placental oxidative stress induced by nicotine: an in vitro evidence.

Open Biochem J 2010 Jun 24;4:77-82. Epub 2010 Jun 24.

Dipartimento di Psicologia, Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza" Via dei Marsi 78, (00185) Roma.

There have been a few studies that examined the oxidative stress effects of nicotine during pregnancy and lactation. The adverse effect of prenatal smoking exposure on human fetal development and growth has been a major public health issue. Active or passive smoking during pregnancy can result in a wide variety of adverse outcomes, including intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), prematurity, stillbirth, and the sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking in pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of attention deficit and learning problems in childhood. Some studies argued that as a principal component of tobacco smoke, nicotine alone is responsible for the majority of negative reproductive outcomes. Nicotine and its major metabolite cotinine can cross the placental barrier. The level of nicotine in fetal tissues was found to be equal to or greater than the plasma nicotine level in the mothers. The oxidative stress induce by nicotine has been increasingly postulated as a major contributor to endothelial dysfunction. A large body of research has investigated the potential role of antioxidant nutrients in the prevention of endothelial dysfunction in women. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to assess the potential benefit of antioxidant supplementation on markers of placental oxidative stress in an in vitro model of endothelial dysfunction induced by nicotine, since it was previously found that nicotine is able to trigger the placental secretion of stress molecules. In this regard, we evaluated the effects of vitamin C, vitamin E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), alone or in combination, in placental villi culture after exposure to nicotine. The effect of antioxidant nutrients on trophoblast cells proliferation and vitality was also evaluated. The results obtained suggest that in a patho-physiological condition, such as endothelial dysfunction induced by nicotine, the deleterious effect of reactive oxygen species may be counteracted by an antioxidant therapy, and there is the need to investigate the optimum dosing and timing of antioxidants administration, since an inappropriate antioxidant treatment in pregnant women may have deleterious consequences, reducing placental cells proliferation until to cell death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874091X01004010077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911599PMC
June 2010

IKK{gamma} protein is a target of BAG3 regulatory activity in human tumor growth.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Apr 5;107(16):7497-502. Epub 2010 Apr 5.

Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Center, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0723, USA.

BAG3, a member of the BAG family of heat shock protein (HSP) 70 cochaperones, is expressed in response to stressful stimuli in a number of normal cell types and constitutively in a variety of tumors, including pancreas carcinomas, lymphocytic and myeloblastic leukemias, and thyroid carcinomas. Down-regulation of BAG3 results in cell death, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are still elusive. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanism of BAG3-dependent survival in human osteosarcoma (SAOS-2) and melanoma (M14) cells. We show that bag3 overexpression in tumors promotes survival through the NF-kappaB pathway. Indeed, we demonstrate that BAG3 alters the interaction between HSP70 and IKKgamma, increasing availability of IKKgamma and protecting it from proteasome-dependent degradation; this, in turn, results in increased NF-kappaB activity and survival. These results identify bag3 as a potential target for anticancer therapies in those tumors in which this gene is constitutively expressed. As a proof of principle, we show that treatment of a mouse xenograft tumor model with bag3siRNA-adenovirus that down-regulates bag3 results in reduced tumor growth and increased animal survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0907696107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2867736PMC
April 2010

The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor R-roscovitine down-regulates Mcl-1 to override pro-inflammatory signalling and drive neutrophil apoptosis.

Eur J Immunol 2010 Apr;40(4):1127-38

MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Successful resolution of inflammation requires inflammatory cells such as neutrophils to undergo apoptosis prior to non-inflammatory phagocytosis by professional phagocytes. Recently, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors (e.g. R-roscovitine) have been shown to induce neutrophil apoptosis and enhance the resolution of inflammation. Interestingly, NF-kappaB and MAPK pathways and key endogenous survival proteins (typified by Mcl-1) are involved in the regulation of neutrophil apoptosis and, in cancer-cell lines, have been implicated as possible targets of CDK inhibitors. Here, we demonstrate that R-roscovitine over-rides TNF-alpha and LPS-induced survival (determined by morphological examination and binding of fluorescently labelled annexin-V) of isolated peripheral blood neutrophils. This effect did not appear to be mediated via effects on early markers of neutrophil activation (e.g. surface marker expression, shape change, aggregation and superoxide anion generation), by direct inhibition of NF-kappaB activation (assessed by cytoplasmic IkappaBalpha proteolysis and NF-kappaB p65 subunit translocation) and ERK activation (determined by specific ERK phosphorylation) but due to down-regulation (at protein and mRNA level) of the survival protein Mcl-1 but not the pro-apoptotic bcl-2 homologue Bim. These findings suggest that key endogenous survival proteins may be the targets of CDK inhibitors and consequently may be of critical importance in the resolution of inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.200939664DOI Listing
April 2010

Saponins and polyphenols from Fadogia ancylantha (makoni tea).

J Nat Prod 2010 Feb;73(2):247-51

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, University of Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084, Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.

Three new saponins (1-3) and a known saponin, together with four known polyphenolic compounds, have been isolated from the fermented and dried leaves of Fadogia ancylantha (Makoni tea). The structures of compounds 1-3 were established by analysis of their spectroscopic data. Both an ethanol-water extract of F. ancylantha and its phenolic constituents showed significant free-radical-scavenging and antimicrobial activities. No cytotoxicity, as evaluated by analysis of hypodiploid nuclei in HUVEC cells using propidium iodide staining, was observed for either the plant crude extract or its constituents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/np900466xDOI Listing
February 2010

R-roscovitine sensitizes anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis via regulation of IKK/NF-kappaB pathway.

Int J Cancer 2009 Jun;124(11):2728-36

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.

Among thyroid carcinomas, highly aggressive undifferentiated or anaplastic carcinomas still await effective therapeutic strategies. R-roscovitine is a novel cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor in clinical trials as anti-cancer agent. We have investigated the effects of R-roscovitine on proliferation and apoptosis of 4 thyroid cancer cell lines with different degrees of malignancy. R-roscovitine induced cell cycle arrest in G2/M phase in all cells analyzed possibly by inhibiting the CDK1-cyclin B1 complex. However, the compound was unable to induce a significant cell apoptosis. R-roscovitine has been shown to sensitize cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We report that R-roscovitine sensitized thyroid cell lines to TRAIL-induced apoptosis with the highest degree of synergism observed in the most undifferentiated cancer cells. Apoptosis was associated with the activation of caspases. In thyroid cancers, NF-kappaB is constitutively activated contributing to the proliferation of malignant cells. Accordingly, we observed that R-roscovitine inhibited p65 expression and nuclear translocation. Moreover, IKKbeta over-expression inhibited R-roscovitine- and TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The combined treatment also caused down-regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins transcriptionally regulated by NF-kappaB. Finally, R-roscovitine up-regulated expression of DR5 TRAIL receptors. These results demonstrate that undifferentiated thyroid carcinoma cells can be effectively killed by a combination treatment of subtoxic doses of R-roscovitine and TRAIL. R-roscovitine sensitization of TRAIL-induced apoptosis appears to be mediated by the inhibition of the IKK/NF-KB pathway leading to down-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes and up-regulation of TRAIL death receptors. The combination of R-roscovitine and TRAIL may represent a novel approach to the treatment of anaplastic thyroid carcinomas resistant to conventional chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.24260DOI Listing
June 2009

Molecular modelling studies, synthesis and biological activity of a series of novel bisnaphthalimides and their development as new DNA topoisomerase II inhibitors.

Bioorg Med Chem 2009 Jan 18;17(1):13-24. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Salerno, via Ponte Don Melillo, variante 11C, 84084 Fisciano, Italy.

A series of bisnaphthalimide derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for growth-inhibitory property against HT-29 human colon carcinoma. The N,N'-bis[2-(5-nitro-1,3-dioxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-benz[de]-isoquinolin-2-yl)]propane-2-ethanediamine (9) and the N,N'-Bis[2-(5-nitro-1,3-dioxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-benz[de]-isoquinolin-2-yl)]butylaminoethyl]-2-propanediamine (12) derivatives emerged as the most potent compounds of this series. Molecular modelling studies indicated that the high potency of 12, the most cytotoxic compound of the whole series, could be due to larger number of intermolecular interactions and to the best position of the naphthalimido rings, which favours pi-pi stacking interactions with purine and pyrimidine bases in the DNA active site. Moreover, 12 was designed as a DNA topoisomerase II poison and biochemical studies showed its effect on human DNA topoisomerase II. We then selected the compounds with a significant cytotoxicity for apoptosis assay. Derivative 9 was able to induce significantly apoptosis (40%) at 0.1 microM concentration, and we demonstrated that the effect on apoptosis in HT-29 cells is mediated by caspases activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2008.11.024DOI Listing
January 2009

Effects of FR235222, a novel HDAC inhibitor, in proliferation and apoptosis of human leukaemia cell lines: role of annexin A1.

Eur J Cancer 2008 Mar 4;44(5):740-9. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Università di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.

FR235222, a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), at 50nM caused accumulation of acetylated histone H4, inhibition of cell proliferation and G1 cycle arrest accompanied by increase of p21 and down-regulation of cyclin E in human promyelocytic leukaemia U937 cells. The compound was also able to increase the protein and mRNA levels of annexin A1 (ANXA1) without effects on apoptosis. Similar effects were observed in human chronic myelogenous leukaemia K562 cells and human T cell leukaemia Jurkat cells. Cycle arrest and ANXA1 expression, without significant effects on apoptosis, were also induced by different HDACi like suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and trichostatin-A (TSA). FR235222 at 0.5 microM stimulated apoptosis of all leukaemia cell lines associated to an increased expression of the full-length (37kDa) protein and the appearance of a 33kDa N-terminal cleavage product in both cytosol and membrane. These results suggest that ANXA1 expression may mediate cycle arrest induced by low doses FR235222, whereas apoptosis induced by high doses FR235222 is associated to ANXA1 processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2008.01.023DOI Listing
March 2008

Cl-IB-MECA inhibits human thyroid cancer cell proliferation independently of A3 adenosine receptor activation.

Cancer Biol Ther 2008 Feb 14;7(2):278-84. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Biomedical Section, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.

A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) agonists have been reported to modulate cellular proliferation. This work was aimed to investigate the expression and the possible implication of A3AR in the human thyroid carcinomas. Normal thyroid tissue samples did not express A3 adenosine receptor, while primary thyroid cancer tissues expressed high level of A3AR, as determined by immunohistochemistry analysis. In human papillary thyroid carcinoma cell line, NPA, at concentrations > or =10 microM, the A3AR-selective agonist 2-chloro-N(6)-(3-iodobenzyl)adenosine-5'-N-methylcarboxamide (Cl-IB-MECA) produced inhibition of cell growth, by blocking the G(1) cell cycle phase in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. This effect was well correlated with a reduction of protein expression of cyclins D1 and E2 after 24 hours of Cl-IB-MECA treatment. Moreover Cl-IB-MECA induced dephosphorylation of ERK1/2 in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, which in turn inhibits cell proliferation. The effect of Cl-IB-MECA was not prevented by A3AR antagonists, MRS1191 or MRS1523 or FA385. Furthermore, neither nucleoside transporter inhibitors, Dypiridamole and NBTI, nor the A1, A2A and A2B receptors antagonists were able to block the response to Cl-IB-MECA. Although Cl-IB-MECA has been shown to influence cell death and survival in other systems through an A3AR-mediated mechanism, in NPA cells the growth inhibition induced by micromolar concentrations of Cl-IB-MECA is not related to A3AR activation and hence that its effects on human papillary carcinoma cell line seem to be independent of the presence of this receptor subtype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cbt.7.2.5301DOI Listing
February 2008

Apoptosis inhibition in cancer cells: a novel molecular pathway that involves BAG3 protein.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2007 15;39(7-8):1337-42. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, via ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy.

Stress-induced apoptosis regulates neoplasia pathogenesis and response to therapy. Indeed, cell transformation induces a stress response, that is overcome, in neoplastic cells, by alterations in apoptosis modulators; on the other hand, antineoplastic therapies largely trigger the apoptosis stress pathway, whose impairment results in resistance. Therefore, the study of the roles of apoptosis-modulating molecules in neoplasia development and response to therapy is of key relevance for our understanding of these processes. Among molecules that regulate apoptosis, a role is emerging for BAG3, a member of the BAG co-chaperone protein family. Proteins that share the BAG domain are characterized by their interaction with a variety of partners (heat shock proteins, steroid hormone receptors, Raf-1 and others), involved in regulating a number of cellular processes, including proliferation and apoptosis. BAG3, also known as CAIR-1 or Bis, forms a complex with the heat shock protein (Hsp) 70. This assists polypeptide folding, can mediate protein delivery to proteasome and is able to modulate apoptosis by interfering with cytochrome c release, apoptosome assembly and other events in the death process. It has been recently shown that, in human primary lymphoid and myeloblastic leukemias and other neoplastic cell types, BAG3 expression sustains cell survival and underlies resistance to therapy, through downmodulation of apoptosis. This review summarizes findings that assign an apoptotic role to BAG3 in some neoplastic cell types and identify the protein as a candidate target of therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2007.03.007DOI Listing
October 2007

Oxalomalate affects the inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and activity.

Life Sci 2007 Mar 22;80(14):1282-91. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Dipartimento di Farmacologia Sperimentale, Università di Napoli Federico II, via D. Montesano 49, 80131-Napoli, Italy.

Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is an homodimeric enzyme which produces large amounts of nitric oxide (NO) in response to inflammatory stimuli. Several factors affect the synthesis and catalytic activity of iNOS. Particularly, dimerization of NOS monomers is promoted by heme, whereas an intracellular depletion of heme and/or L-arginine considerably decreases NOS resistance to proteolysis. In this study, we found that oxalomalate (OMA, oxalomalic acid, alpha-hydroxy-beta-oxalosuccinic acid), an inhibitor of both aconitase and NADP-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase, inhibited nitrite production and iNOS protein expression in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated J774 macrophages, without affecting iNOS mRNA content. Furthermore, injection of OMA precursors to LPS-stimulated rats also decreased nitrite production and iNOS expression in isolated peritoneal macrophages. Interestingly, alpha-ketoglutarate or succinyl-CoA administration reversed OMA effect on NO production, thus correlating NO biosynthesis with the anabolic capacity of Krebs cycle. When protein synthesis was blocked by cycloheximide in LPS-activated J774 cells treated with OMA, iNOS protein levels, evaluated by Western blot analysis and (35)S-metabolic labelling, were decreased, suggesting that OMA reduces iNOS biosynthesis and induces an increase in the degradation rate of iNOS protein. Moreover, we showed that OMA inhibits the activity of the iNOS from lung of LPS-treated rats by enzymatic assay. Our results, demonstrating that OMA acts regulating synthesis, catalytic activity and degradation of iNOS, suggest that this compound might have a potential role in reducing the NO overproduction occurring in some pathological conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2006.12.008DOI Listing
March 2007

Synthesis and antiproliferative properties of N3/8-disubstituted 3,8-diazabicyclo[3.2.1]octane analogues of 3,8-bis[2-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)pyridin-4-yl]methyl-piperazine.

Eur J Med Chem 2007 Mar 5;42(3):293-306. Epub 2006 Dec 5.

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Università di Salerno, Via ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy.

A series of novel N(3/8)-disubstituted-3,8-diazabicyclo[3.2.1]octanes in order to improve the in vitro activity of the prototype 3,8-bis[2-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)pyridyl-4-yl)methylpiperazine (1) were synthesized and evaluated by assays of growth inhibition against several tumor cell lines. Compounds 2a,b,f and m demonstrated not only growth-inhibitory activities against leukemia cancer cells, but also fairly good activities against the growth of certain solid tumors. Among them, 2a is the most potent one with IC(50) values in the low micromolar range. Moreover, compound 2a has been selected for in vitro testing on MCF-7 cell to evaluate the mode of action of this lead compound.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmech.2006.11.013DOI Listing
March 2007