Publications by authors named "Tiziana Franceschetti"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The potential role of adult stem cells in the management of the rheumatic diseases.

Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis 2017 Jul 20;9(7):165-179. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Arthritis & Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Aberdeen Centre for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Adult stem cells are considered as appealing therapeutic candidates for inflammatory and degenerative musculoskeletal diseases. A large body of preclinical research has contributed to describing their immune-modulating properties and regenerative potential. Additionally, increasing evidence suggests that stem cell differentiation and function are disrupted in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. Clinical studies have been limited, for the most part, to the application of adult stem cell-based treatments on small numbers of patients or as a 'salvage' therapy in life-threatening disease cases. Nevertheless, these preliminary studies indicate that adult stem cells are promising tools for the long-term treatment of rheumatic diseases. This review highlights recent knowledge acquired in the fields of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell therapy for the management of systemic sclerosis (SSc), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and the potential mechanisms mediating their function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1759720X17704639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5502944PMC
July 2017

MicroRNA-433 Dampens Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling, Impacting Circadian Rhythm and Osteoblastic Gene Expression.

J Biol Chem 2016 Oct 22;291(41):21717-21728. Epub 2016 Aug 22.

From the Center for Molecular Medicine, UConn Health, Farmington, Connecticut 06030

Serum glucocorticoids play a critical role in synchronizing circadian rhythm in peripheral tissues, and multiple mechanisms regulate tissue sensitivity to glucocorticoids. In the skeleton, circadian rhythm helps coordinate bone formation and resorption. Circadian rhythm is regulated through transcriptional and post-transcriptional feedback loops that include microRNAs. How microRNAs regulate circadian rhythm in bone is unexplored. We show that in mouse calvaria, miR-433 displays robust circadian rhythm, peaking just after dark. In C3H/10T1/2 cells synchronized with a pulse of dexamethasone, inhibition of miR-433 using a tough decoy altered the period and amplitude of Per2 gene expression, suggesting that miR-433 regulates rhythm. Although miR-433 does not directly target the Per2 3'-UTR, it does target two rhythmically expressed genes in calvaria, Igf1 and Hif1α. miR-433 can target the glucocorticoid receptor; however, glucocorticoid receptor protein abundance was unaffected in miR-433 decoy cells. Rather, miR-433 inhibition dramatically enhanced glucocorticoid signaling due to increased nuclear receptor translocation, activating glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional targets. Last, in calvaria of transgenic mice expressing a miR-433 decoy in osteoblastic cells (Col3.6 promoter), the amplitude of Per2 and Bmal1 mRNA rhythm was increased, confirming that miR-433 regulates circadian rhythm. miR-433 was previously shown to target Runx2, and mRNA for Runx2 and its downstream target, osteocalcin, were also increased in miR-433 decoy mouse calvaria. We hypothesize that miR-433 helps maintain circadian rhythm in osteoblasts by regulating sensitivity to glucocorticoid receptor signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M116.737890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5076840PMC
October 2016

Pathway analysis of microRNA expression profile during murine osteoclastogenesis.

PLoS One 2014 15;9(9):e107262. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Center for Molecular Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, United States of America.

To design novel therapeutics against bone loss, understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating osteoclastogenesis is critical. Osteoclast formation and function are tightly regulated by transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. This stringent regulation is crucial to prevent excessive or insufficient bone resorption and to maintain bone homeostasis. microRNAs (miRNAs) are key post-transcriptional regulators that repress expression of target mRNAs controlling osteoclast proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Disruption of miRNA-mediated regulation alters osteoclast formation and bone resorption. Prior studies profiled miRNA expression in murine osteoclast precursors treated with RANKL for 24 hours. However, a more complete miRNA signature, encompassing early, mid and late stages of osteoclastogenesis, is wanting. An Agilent microarray platform was used to analyze expression of mature miRNAs in an enriched population of murine bone marrow osteoclast precursors (depleted of B220+ and CD3+ cells) undergoing 1, 3, or 5 days of RANKL-driven differentiation. Expression of 93 miRNAs, changed by >2 fold during early, mid, and late stages of osteoclastogenesis, were identified and sorted into 7 clusters. We validated the function and expression of miR-365, miR-451, and miR-99b, which were found in distinct clusters. Inhibition of miR-365 increased osteoclast number but decreased osteoclast size, while miR-99b inhibition decreased both osteoclast number and size. In contrast, overexpression of miR-451 had no effect. Computational analyses predicted mTOR, PI3 kinase/AKT, cell-matrix interactions, actin cytoskeleton organization, focal adhesion, and axon guidance pathways to be top targets of several miRNA clusters. This suggests that many miRNA clusters differentially expressed during osteoclastogenesis converge on some key functional pathways. Overall, our study is unique in that we identified miRNAs differentially expressed during early, mid, and late osteoclastogenesis in a population of primary mouse bone marrow cells enriched for osteoclast progenitors. This novel data set contributes to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating the complex process of osteoclast differentiation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0107262PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4164525PMC
January 2016

Pro-chondrogenic effect of miR-221 and slug depletion in human MSCs.

Stem Cell Rev Rep 2014 Dec;10(6):841-55

Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 74, 44121, Ferrara, Italy.

In this study we have inhibited the expression of two negative regulators of chondrogenesis, Slug transcription factor (TF) and the small non-coding single stranded RNA microRNA-221 (miR-221), in human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Our aim was test a new approach to guide the cells toward a chondrocyte - like phenotype, without the employment of differentiating agents, in the prospect of their clinical applications for cell-based cartilage tissue engineering. We have characterized these manipulated cells by gene expression analysis at the RNA and protein levels. We demonstrated that decreased miR-221 or Slug induced an increase of chondrogenic markers, including collagen type II (Col2A1), and the positive chondrogenic TFs Sox9 and TRPS1. Slug and TRPS1 are not direct targets of miR-221 since their expression was not affected by miR-221 content. Further, we showed by gene expression and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation analyses that i. miR-221 is positively regulated by Slug in hMSCs, where Slug and miR-221 high levels hamper cell differentiation, and ii. TRPS1 contributes to maintaining low levels of miR-221, both in hMSCs committed toward chondrogenesis by Slug depletion and in chondrocytes, where the low levels of miR-221 and Slug allow a chondrogenic phenotype.Taken together, our data may be relevant both to understand yet unknown miRNA - TF regulatory loops in cartilage biology and to establish new strategies based on a siRNA approach for cartilage tissue engineering.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12015-014-9532-1DOI Listing
December 2014

miR-29 promotes murine osteoclastogenesis by regulating osteoclast commitment and migration.

J Biol Chem 2013 Nov 1;288(46):33347-60. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

From the Center for Molecular Medicine and.

Osteoclast differentiation is regulated by transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational mechanisms. MicroRNAs are fundamental post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. The function of the miR-29 (a/b/c) family in cells of the osteoclast lineage is not well understood. In primary cultures of mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages, inhibition of miR-29a, -29b, or -29c diminished formation of TRAP (tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive) multinucleated osteoclasts, and the osteoclasts were smaller. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that all miR-29 family members increased during osteoclast differentiation, in concert with mRNAs for the osteoclast markers Trap (Acp5) and cathepsin K. Similar regulation was observed in the monocytic cell line RAW264.7. In stably transduced RAW264.7 cell lines expressing an inducible miR-29 competitive inhibitor (sponge construct), miR-29 knockdown impaired osteoclastic commitment and migration of pre-osteoclasts. However, miR-29 knockdown did not affect cell viability, actin ring formation, or apoptosis in mature osteoclasts. To better understand how miR-29 regulates osteoclast function, we validated miR-29 target genes using Luciferase 3'-UTR reporter assays and specific miR-29 inhibitors. We demonstrated that miR-29 negatively regulates RNAs critical for cytoskeletal organization, including Cdc42 (cell division control protein 42) and Srgap2 (SLIT-ROBO Rho GTPase-activating protein 2). Moreover, miR-29 targets RNAs associated with the macrophage lineage: Gpr85 (G protein-coupled receptor 85), Nfia (nuclear factor I/A), and Cd93. In addition, Calcr (calcitonin receptor), which regulates osteoclast survival and resorption, is a novel miR-29 target. Thus, miR-29 is a positive regulator of osteoclast formation and targets RNAs important for cytoskeletal organization, commitment, and osteoclast function. We hypothesize that miR-29 controls the tempo and amplitude of osteoclast differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.484568DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3829182PMC
November 2013

Utilization of transgenic models in the evaluation of osteogenic differentiation of embryonic stem cells.

Connect Tissue Res 2013 26;54(4-5):296-304. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Department of Reconstructive Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center , Farmington, CT , USA .

Previous studies reported that embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can be induced to differentiate into cells showing a mature osteoblastic phenotype by culturing them under osteo-inductive conditions. It is probable that osteogenic differentiation requires that ESCs undergo differentiation through an intermediary step involving a mesenchymal lineage precursor. Based on our previous studies indicating that adult mesenchymal progenitor cells express α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA), we have generated ESCs from transgenic mice in which an αSMA promoter directs the expression of red fluorescent protein (RFP) to mesenchymal progenitor cells. To track the transition of ESC-derived MSCs into mature osteoblasts, we have utilized a bone-specific fragment of rat type I collagen promoter driving green fluorescent protein (Col2.3GFP). Following osteogenic induction in ESCs, we have observed expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and subsequent mineralization as detected by von Kossa staining. After 1 week of osteogenic induction, ESCs begin to express αSMARFP. This expression was localized to the peripheral area encircling a typical ESC colony. Nevertheless, these αSMARFP positive cells did not show activation of the Col2.3GFP promoter, even after 7 weeks of osteogenic differentiation in vitro. In contrast, Col2.3GFP expression was detected in vivo, in mineralized areas following teratoma formation. Our results indicate that detection of ALP activity and mineralization of ESCs cultured under osteogenic conditions is not sufficient to demonstrate osteogenic maturation. Our study indicates the utility of the promoter-visual transgene approach to assess the commitment and differentiation of ESCs into the osteoblast lineage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/03008207.2013.814646DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893759PMC
March 2014

Immature osteoblast lineage cells increase osteoclastogenesis in osteogenesis imperfecta murine.

Am J Pathol 2010 May 26;176(5):2405-13. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

Department of Reconstructive Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.

This study addressed the role of impairment of osteoblastic differentiation as a mechanism underlying pathophysiology of the osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). We hypothesized that combination of impaired osteogenic differentiation with increased bone resorption leads to diminished bone mass. By introducing visual markers of distinct stages of osteoblast differentiation, pOBCol3.6GFP (3.6GFP; preosteoblast) and pOBCol2.3GFP (2.3GFP; osteoblast/osteocytes), into the OIM model, we assessed osteoblast maturation and the mechanism of increased osteoclastogenesis. Cultures from oim/oim;2.3GFP mice showed a marked reduction of cells expressing GFP relative to +/+;2.3GFP littermates. No significant difference in expression of 3.6GFP between the +/+ and oim/oim mice was observed. Histological analysis of the oim/oim;3.6GFP mice showed an increased area of GFP-positive cells lining the endocortical surface compared with +/+;3.6GFP mice. In contrast GFP expression was similar between oim/oim;2.3GFP and +/+;2.3GFP mice. These data indicate that the osteoblastic lineage is under continuous stimulation; however, only a proportion of cells attain the mature osteoblast stage. Indeed, immature osteoblasts exhibit a stronger potential to support osteoclast formation and differentiation. We detected a higher Rankl/Opg ratio and higher expression of TNF-alpha in sorted immature osteoblasts. In addition, increased osteoclast formation was observed when osteoclast progenitors were cocultured with oim/oim-derived osteoblasts compared with osteoblasts derived from +/+ mice. Taken together, our data indicate that osteoblast lineage maturation is a critical aspect underlying the pathophysiology of OI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2353/ajpath.2010.090704DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861105PMC
May 2010

SLUG: a new target of lymphoid enhancer factor-1 in human osteoblasts.

BMC Mol Biol 2010 Feb 3;11:13. Epub 2010 Feb 3.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Biology Section, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 74, 44100 Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Background: Lymphoid Enhancer Factor-1 (Lef-1) is a member of a transcription factor family that acts as downstream mediator of the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathway which plays a critical role in osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. In a search for Lef-1 responsive genes in human osteoblasts, we focused on the transcriptional regulation of the SLUG, a zinc finger transcription factor belonging to the Snail family of developmental proteins. Although the role of SLUG in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cell motility during embryogenesis is well documented, the functions of this factor in most normal adult human tissues are largely unknown. In this study we investigated SLUG expression in normal human osteoblasts and their mesenchymal precursors, and its possible correlation with Lef-1 and Wnt/beta-catenin signalling.

Results: The experiments were performed on normal human primary osteoblasts obtained from bone fragments, cultured in osteogenic conditions in presence of Lef-1 expression vector or GSK-3beta inhibitor, SB216763. We demonstrated that the transcription factor SLUG is present in osteoblasts as well as in their mesenchymal precursors obtained from Wharton's Jelly of human umbilical cord and induced to osteoblastic differentiation. We found that SLUG is positively correlated with RUNX2 expression and deposition of mineralized matrix, and is regulated by Lef-1 and beta-catenin. Consistently, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, used to detect the direct Lef/Tcf factors that are responsible for the promoter activity of SLUG gene, demonstrated that Lef-1, TCF-1 and TCF4 are recruited to the SLUG gene promoter "in vivo".

Conclusion: These studies provide, for the first time, the evidence that SLUG expression is correlated with osteogenic commitment, and is positively regulated by Lef-1 signal in normal human osteoblasts. These findings will help to further understand the regulation of the human SLUG gene and reveal the biological functions of SLUG in the context of bone tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2199-11-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834684PMC
February 2010

Influence of obstetric factors on osteogenic potential of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2009 Oct 5;7:106. Epub 2009 Oct 5.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Biology Section, University of Ferrara, Italy.

Wharton's jelly from the umbilical cord is a noncontroversial source of mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) with high plasticity, proliferation rate and ability to differentiate towards multiple lineages. WJMSCs from different donors have been characterized for their osteogenic potential. Although there is large evidence of WJMSCs plasticity, recently scientific debate has focused on MSCs selection, establishing predictable elements to discriminate the cells with most promising osteoprogenitor cell potential.In the present study a comparative study between the presence of osteoblastic markers and different parameters that pertain to both the newborn and the mother was performed. Umbilical cords were collected after all patients signed the informed consent and local ethical commettee approved the study. Obstetric parameters, including baby's gender and birth weight, mother's age at delivery, gestational stage at parturition and mode of delivery were examined. After characterization and expansion, WJMSCs were analyzed for two osteoblastic markers, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and the expression level of RUNX-2 transcription factor, and for their ability to deposit mineralized matrix after osteogenic induction.We found that osteoblastic potential was not influenced by baby's gender and mode of delivery. On the contrary, the highest degree of osteoblastic potential has been shown by WJMSCs with RUNX-2 high basal levels, selected from umbilical cords of the heaviest term babies.Even if further evaluation is required, our hypothesis is that our findings may help in selecting the optimal umbilical cord donors and in collecting high potential Wharton's jelly-derived osteoprogenitors efficiently.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1477-7827-7-106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2761393PMC
October 2009

Slug gene expression supports human osteoblast maturation.

Cell Mol Life Sci 2009 Nov 11;66(22):3641-53. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Biology Section, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 74, 44100, Ferrara, Italy.

This study aims to define the function of Slug transcription factor in human normal osteoblasts (hOBs). To date, Slug is considered exclusively a marker of malignancy in bone tissue. Here, we identified, for the first time, a role for Slug in hOBs using a knockdown approach. We demonstrated that Slug is positively correlated with osteoblast markers, including Runx2, osteopontin, osteocalcin, Collagen type 1, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling mediators, and mineral deposition. At the same time, Slug silencing potentiates the expression of Sox-9, a factor indispensable for chondrogenic development. These data, with the finding that Slug is in vivo recruited by the promoters of Runx2 and Sox-9 genes, suggest that, in hOBs, Slug may act both as positive and negative transcriptional regulator of Runx2 and Sox-9 genes, respectively. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that Slug functions as a novel regulator of osteoblast activity and may be considered a new factor required for osteoblast maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-009-0149-5DOI Listing
November 2009

Identification of differentially expressed genes between osteoblasts and osteocytes.

Bone 2009 Oct 17;45(4):682-92. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

Department of Reconstructive Sciences, MC 3705, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington, CT 06032, USA.

Osteocytes represent the most abundant cellular component of mammalian bones with important functions in bone mass maintenance and remodeling. To elucidate the differential gene expression between osteoblasts and osteocytes we completed a comprehensive analysis of their gene profiles. Selective identification of these two mature populations was achieved by utilization of visual markers of bone lineage cells. We have utilized dual GFP reporter mice in which osteocytes are expressing GFP (topaz) directed by the DMP1 promoter, while osteoblasts are identified by expression of GFP (cyan) driven by 2.3 kb of the Col1a1 promoter. Histological analysis of 7-day-old neonatal calvaria confirmed the expression pattern of DMP1GFP in osteocytes and Col2.3 in osteoblasts and osteocytes. To isolate distinct populations of cells we utilized fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS). Cell suspensions were subjected to RNA extraction, in vitro transcription and labeling of cDNA and gene expression was analyzed using the Illumina WG-6v1 BeadChip. Following normalization of raw data from four biological replicates, 3444 genes were called present in all three sorted cell populations: GFP negative, Col2.3cyan(+) (osteoblasts), and DMP1topaz(+) (preosteocytes and osteocytes). We present the genes that showed in excess of a 2-fold change for gene expression between DMP1topaz(+) and Col2.3cyan(+) cells. The selected genes were classified and grouped according to their associated gene ontology terms. Genes clustered to osteogenesis and skeletal development such as Bmp4, Bmp8a, Dmp1, Enpp1, Phex and Ank were highly expressed in DMP1topaz(+)cells. Most of the genes encoding extracellular matrix components and secreted proteins had lower expression in DMP1topaz(+) cells, while most of the genes encoding plasma membrane proteins were increased. Interestingly a large number of genes associated with muscle development and function and with neuronal phenotype were increased in DMP1topaz(+) cells, indicating some new aspects of osteocyte biology. Although a large number of genes differentially expressed in DMP1topaz(+) and Col2.3cyan(+) cells in our study have already been assigned to bone development and physiology, for most of them we still lack any substantial data. Therefore, isolation of osteocyte and osteoblast cell populations and their subsequent microarray analysis allowed us to identify a number or genes and pathways with potential roles in regulation of bone mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2009.06.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2731004PMC
October 2009

Synthesis, characterization of strontium-bile acid salts and their bioactivity vs. the anti-osteoporosis drug strontium ranelate.

J Inorg Biochem 2009 Jun 25;103(6):891-7. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Via Luigi Borsari 46, 44100 Ferrara, Italy.

The strontium salts Sr(cholate)2, (Compound 1), Sr(dehydrocholate)2, (Compound 2) and Sr3(3-dehydrocholanoyliden-L-tartrate)2, (Compound 3) have been prepared and characterized. The potential anti-osteoporotic activity of these compounds was tested on human primary osteoblasts (hOBs) and human primary osteoclasts (hOCs) in comparison with the bioactivity of strontium ranelate, previously registered as drug in the treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Our results led to the hypothesis that the tested compounds, particularly Compound 2, may have requirements for modulating skeletal tissue regeneration or at least down regulating the loss of bone mass. In fact, all tested compounds have been shown to induce maturation in human primary osteoblasts (hOBs) and apoptosis of human primary osteoclasts (hOCs) at the same time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2009.03.006DOI Listing
June 2009
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