Publications by authors named "Rossella Tozzi"

9 Publications

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Central obesity, smoking habit, and hypertension are associated with lower antibody titres in response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

Diabetes Metab Res Rev 2021 May 6. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Aims: To explore variables associated with the serological response following COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

Methods: Eighty-six healthcare workers adhering to the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 were enrolled in January-February 2021. All subjects underwent two COVID-19 mRNA vaccine inoculations (Pfizer/BioNTech) separated by 3 weeks. Blood samples were collected before the 1st and 1-4 weeks after the second inoculation. Clinical history, demographics, and vaccine side effects were recorded. Baseline anthropometric parameters were measured, and body composition was performed through dual-energy-X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Higher waist circumference was associated with lower antibody (Ab) titres (R = -0.324, p = 0.004); smokers had lower levels compared to non-smokers [1099 (1350) vs. 1921 (1375), p = 0.007], as well as hypertensive versus normotensive [650 ± 1192 vs. 1911 (1364), p = 0.001] and dyslipideamic compared to those with normal serum lipids [534 (972) vs 1872 (1406), p = 0.005]. Multivariate analysis showed that higher waist circumference, smoking, hypertension, and longer time elapsed since second vaccine inoculation were associated with lower Ab titres, independent of BMI, age. and gender.

Conclusions: Central obesity, hypertension, and smoking are associated with lower Ab titres following COVID-19 vaccination. Although it is currently impossible to determine whether lower SARS-CoV-2 Abs lead to higher likelihood of developing COVID-19, it is well-established that neutralizing antibodies correlate with protection against several viruses including SARS-CoV-2. Our findings, therefore, call for a vigilant approach, as subjects with central obesity, hypertension, and smoking could benefit from earlier vaccine boosters or different vaccine schedules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dmrr.3465DOI Listing
May 2021

Beyond weight loss in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the role of carbohydrate restriction.

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2021 Jul;24(4):349-353

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Purpose Of Review: The low fat diet (LFD) is currently the first choice to treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) alongside with physical activity. However, low carbohydrate diets (LCDs) and ketogenic diets have gained attention lately, thanks to their favourable impact in reducing intrahepatic triglyceride content. We therefore aimed at providing an update on recent evidence evaluating the hepatoprotective effects of such dietary interventions.

Recent Findings: Novel findings confirmed previous evidence by showing beneficial effects on liver fat content reduction for both LFDs and LCDs. The further restriction of carbohydrates to less than 50 g/day, usually leading to ketosis, confirmed to produce an improvement in NAFLD, with very low-calorie ketogenic diets possibly proving particularly beneficial thanks to the significant weight loss that can be obtained.

Summary: Most of the latest evidence shows that carbohydrate restriction plays a fundamental role in the modulation of lipid metabolism leading to similar efficacy in improving NAFLD compared with LFDs. The hepatoprotective role of carbohydrate restriction appears to be boosted when ketogenesis is induced, when the total calorie intake is extremely reduced, or, possibly, when dietary interventions have reduced content in free sugars, making such interventions valuable tools to deal with NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000762DOI Listing
July 2021

Ketogenic Diet as a Preventive and Supportive Care for COVID-19 Patients.

Nutrients 2021 Mar 20;13(3). Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Severe obesity is associated with an increased risk of admission to intensive care units and need for invasive mechanical ventilation in patients with COVID-19. The association of obesity and COVID-19 prognosis may be related to many different factors, such as chronic systemic inflammation, the predisposition to severe respiratory conditions and viral infections. The ketogenic diet is an approach that can be extremely effective in reducing body weight and visceral fat in the short term, preserving the lean mass and reducing systemic inflammation. Therefore, it is a precious preventive measure for severely obese people and may be considered as an adjuvant therapy for patients with respiratory compromise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13031004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003632PMC
March 2021

Case Report: Pituitary Morphology and Function Are Preserved in Female Patients With Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Under Pharmacological Treatment.

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2020 8;11:613054. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension is a neurological disorder primarily affecting overweight women of childbearing age. It is often characterized by radiologic evidence of empty sella (ES), which is in turn frequently associated with pituitary dysfunction, with the somatotropic axis most commonly affected. No recent evidence is available relative to the presence of pituitary hormone deficiencies in adult patients with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) under pharmacological therapy. We therefore explored pituitary function and morphology in a small cohort of female patients with IIH treated with acetazolamide. Fifteen female patients aged 42 ± 13 years with IIH lasting between 12 and 18 months were evaluated. All patients were affected by recurrent headaches in addition to visual changes of variable severity. IIH diagnosis was made after exclusion of other causes of raised intracranial pressure, and a specific ophthalmological evaluation was conducted to assess for the presence of papilledema. No particular endocrinological disturbances were detected during the enrolment visits, except for a high obesity prevalence (87%, BMI 35.16 ± 8.21 kg/m), one case of total thyroidectomy for papillary thyroid carcinoma and two patients with irregular menses and mild hirsutism. All the participants underwent a pituitary MRI with contrast, and two different operators performed pituitary measurements in coronal and sagittal scans for morphologic assessment. Blood samples for the anterior pituitary axis evaluation were collected, and the somatotropic axis was further evaluated with a GHRH + Arginine test; other dynamic tests were performed in case of suspected hormonal deficiency. Despite ES being found in 73% of the patients, pituitary volume was preserved, ranging from 213.85 to 642.27mm (389.20 ± 125.53mm); mean coronal pituitary height was 4.53 ± 1.33 mm. Overall, baseline anterior pituitary hormones levels were within normal ranges, and none of the patients with ES had an altered response to the GHRH + arginine stimulation test. We found one patient suffering from iatrogenic hyperthyroidism and two diagnosed with subclinical primary hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Two young patients were suspected of having polycystic ovary syndrome, and they were therefore further investigated. In conclusion, this case series shows that, despite the high prevalence of ES, the pituitary function of IIH patients treated with acetazolamide is preserved. To date, there is no evidence regarding the trend over time or upon treatment discontinuation in regard to the pituitary function of patients with IIH, and it is therefore not possible to infer whether our finding would be replicable in such settings. We therefore suggest an endocrine follow-up over time in order to monitor for potential pituitary dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.613054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819854PMC
May 2021

Nickel Sensitivity Is Associated with GH-IGF1 Axis Impairment and Pituitary Abnormalities on MRI in Overweight and Obese Subjects.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Dec 20;21(24). Epub 2020 Dec 20.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena, 324, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Nickel (Ni) is a ubiquitous metal, the exposure of which is implied in the development of contact dermatitis (nickel allergic contact dermatitis (Ni-ACD)) and Systemic Ni Allergy Syndrome (SNAS), very common among overweight/obese patients. Preclinical studies have linked Ni exposure to abnormal production/release of Growth Hormone (GH), and we previously found an association between Ni-ACD/SNAS and GH-Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) axis dysregulation in obese individuals, altogether suggesting a role for this metal as a pituitary disruptor. We herein aimed to directly evaluate the pituitary gland in overweight/obese patients with signs/symptoms suggestive of Ni allergy, exploring the link with GH secretion; 859 subjects with overweight/obesity and suspected of Ni allergy underwent Ni patch tests. Among these, 106 were also suspected of GH deficiency (GHD) and underwent dynamic testing as well as magnetic resonance imaging for routine follow up of benign diseases or following GHD diagnosis. We report that subjects with Ni allergies show a greater GH-IGF1 axis impairment, a higher prevalence of Empty Sella (ES), a reduced pituitary volume and a higher normalized T2 pituitary intensity compared to nonallergic ones. We hypothesize that Ni may be detrimental to the pituitary gland, through increased inflammation, thus contributing to GH-IGF1 axis dysregulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249733DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766406PMC
December 2020

Blood SIRT1 Shows a Coherent Association with Leptin and Adiponectin in Relation to the Degree and Distribution of Adiposity: A Study in Obesity, Normal Weight and Anorexia Nervosa.

Nutrients 2020 Nov 14;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 14.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Physiopathology, Food Science and Endocrinology, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is a sensor of cell energy availability, and with leptin and adiponectin, it regulates metabolic homeostasis. Widely studied in tissues, SIRT1 is under evaluation as a plasmatic marker. We aimed at assessing whether circulating SIRT1 behaves consistently with leptin and adiponectin in conditions of deficiency, excess or normal fat content. Eighty subjects were evaluated: 27 with anorexia nervosa (AN), 26 normal-weight and 27 with obesity. Bloodstream SIRT1, leptin and adiponectin (ELISA), total and trunk fat mass (FM) %, abdominal visceral adipose tissue, liver steatosis and epicardial fat thickness (EFT) were assessed. For each fat store, the coefficient of determination (R) was used to evaluate the prediction capability of SIRT1, leptin and adiponectin. Plasma SIRT1 and adiponectin coherently decreased with the increase of FM, while the opposite occurred with leptin. Mean levels of each analyte were different between groups ( < 0.005). A significant association between plasma variables and FM depots was observed. SIRT1 showed a good predictive strength for FM, particularly in the obesity group, where the best R was recorded for EFT (R = 0.7). Blood SIRT1, adiponectin and leptin behave coherently with FM and there is synchrony between them. The association of SIRT1 with FM is substantially superimposable to that of adiponectin and leptin. Given its homeostatic roles, SIRT1 may deserve to be considered as a plasma clinical/biochemical parameter of adiposity and metabolic health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12113506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696683PMC
November 2020

Beneficial effects of the ketogenic diet on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A comprehensive review of the literature.

Obes Rev 2020 08 24;21(8):e13024. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver disease, characterized by hepatic fat accumulation and possible development of inflammation, fibrosis, and cancer. The ketogenic diet (KD), with its drastic carbohydrate reduction, is a now popular weight loss intervention, despite safety concerns on a possible association with fatty liver. However, KDs were also reported to be beneficial on hepatic pathology, with ketone bodies recently proposed as effective modulators of inflammation and fibrosis. If the beneficial impact of weight loss on NAFLD is established, less is known on the effect of macronutrient distribution on such outcome. In a hypocaloric regimen, the latter seems not to be crucial, whereas at higher calorie intake, macronutrient ratio and, theoretically, ketosis, may become important. KDs could positively impact NAFLD for their very low carbohydrate content, and whether ketosis plays an additional role is unknown. Indeed, several mechanisms may directly link ketosis and NAFLD improvement, and elucidating these aspects would pave the way for new therapeutic strategies. We herein aimed at providing an accurate revision of current literature on KDs and NAFLD, focusing on clinical evidence, metabolic pathways involved, and strict categorization of dietary interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7379247PMC
August 2020

Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet: A Safe and Effective Tool for Weight Loss in Patients With Obesity and Mild Kidney Failure.

Nutrients 2020 Jan 27;12(2). Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Very low-calorie ketogenic diets (VLCKD) are an effective and increasingly used tool for weight loss. Traditionally considered high protein, ketogenic diets are often looked at with concern by clinicians due to the potential harm they pose to kidney function. We herein evaluated the efficacy and safety of a VLCKD in patients with obesity and mild kidney failure. A prospective observational real-life study was conducted on ninety-two patients following a VLCKD for approximately 3 months. Thirty-eight had mild kidney failure and fifty-four had no renal condition and were therefore designated as control. Anthropometric parameters, bioelectrical impedance and biochemistry data were collected before and at the end of the dietary intervention. The average weight loss was nearly 20% of initial weight, with a significant reduction in fat mass. We report an improvement of metabolic parameters and no clinically relevant variation regarding liver and kidney function. Upon stratification based on kidney function, no differences in the efficacy and safety outcomes were found. Interestingly, 27.7% of patients with mild renal failure reported normalization of glomerular filtrate after dietary intervention. We conclude that, when conducted under the supervision of healthcare professionals, a VLCKD is an effective and safe treatment for weight loss in patients with obesity, including those affected by mild kidney failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12020333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071259PMC
January 2020

Overweight and obese patients with nickel allergy have a worse metabolic profile compared to weight matched non-allergic individuals.

PLoS One 2018 28;13(8):e0202683. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background: A lack of balance between energy intake and expenditure due to overeating or reduced physical activity does not seem to explain entirely the obesity epidemic we are facing, and further factors are therefore being evaluated. Nickel (Ni) is a ubiquitous heavy metal implied in several health conditions. Regarding this, the European Food Safety Authority has recently released an alert on the possible deleterious effects of dietary Ni on human health given the current levels of Ni dietary intake in some countries. Pre-clinical studies have also suggested its role as an endocrine disruptor and have linked its exposure to energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis dysregulation. Ni allergy is common in the general population, but preliminary data suggest it being even more widespread among overweight patients.

Objectives: The aim of this study has been to evaluate the presence of Ni allergy and its association with the metabolic and endocrine profile in overweight and obese individuals.

Methods: We have evaluated 1128 consecutive overweight and obese outpatients. 784 were suspected of being allergic to Ni and 666 were assessed for it. Presence of Ni allergy and correlation with body mass index (BMI), body composition, metabolic parameters and hormonal levels were evaluated.

Results: We report that Ni allergy is more frequent in presence of weight excess and is associated with worse metabolic parameters and impaired Growth Hormone secretion.

Conclusions: We confirm that Ni allergy is more common in obese patients, and we report for the first time its association with worse metabolic parameters and impaired function of the GH-IGF1 axis in human subjects.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202683PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6112671PMC
February 2019