Luciano Rosa

Department of Laboratories
Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù


Scopus Publications

Scopus Publications

  • Circulating Extracellular Vesicles Impair Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Differentiation Favoring Adipogenic Rather than Osteogenic Differentiation in Adolescents with Obesity
    Barbara Peruzzi, Enrica Urciuoli, Michela Mariani, Laura Chioma, Luigi Tomao, Ilaria Montano, Mattia Algeri, Rosa Luciano, Danilo Fintini, and Melania Manco

    Excess body weight has been considered beneficial to bone health because of its anabolic effect on bone formation; however, this results in a poor quality bone structure. In this context, we evaluated the involvement of circulating extracellular vesicles in the impairment of the bone phenotype associated with obesity. Circulating extracellular vesicles were collected from the plasma of participants with normal weight, as well as overweight and obese participants, quantified by flow cytometry analysis and used to treat mesenchymal stromal cells and osteoblasts to assess their effect on cell differentiation and activity. Children with obesity had the highest amount of circulating extracellular vesicles compared to controls. The treatment of mesenchymal stromal cells with extracellular vesicles from obese participants led to an adipogenic differentiation in comparison to vesicles from controls. Mature osteoblasts treated with extracellular vesicles from obese participants showed a reduction in differentiation markers in comparison to controls. Children with obesity who regularly performed physical exercise had a lower circulating extracellular vesicle amount in comparison to those with a sedentary lifestyle. This pilot study demonstrates how the high amount of circulating extracellular vesicles in children with obesity affects the bone phenotype and that physical activity can partially rescue this phenotype.

  • Relationship between glucose homeostasis and obesity in early life - A study of Italian children and adolescents
    Zhanna Balkhiyarova, Rosa Luciano, Marika Kaakinen, Anna Ulrich, Aleksey Shmeliov, Marzia Bianchi, Laura Chioma, Bruno Dallapiccola, Inga Prokopenko, and Melania Manco

    Oxford University Press (OUP)
    Abstract Epidemic obesity is the most important risk factor for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in youth as it is in adults. Obesity shares pathophysiological mechanisms with T2D and is likely to share part of the genetic background. We aimed to test if weighted genetic risk scores (GRSs) for T2D, fasting glucose (FG) and fasting insulin (FI) predict glycaemic traits and if there is a causal relationship between obesity and impaired glucose metabolism in children and adolescents. Genotyping of 42 SNPs established by genome-wide association studies for T2D, FG and FI was performed in 1660 Italian youths aged between 2 and 19 years. We defined GRS for T2D, FG and FI and tested their effects on glycaemic traits, including FG, FI, indices of insulin resistance/beta cell function and body mass index (BMI). We evaluated causal relationships between obesity and FG/FI using one-sample Mendelian randomization analyses in both directions. GRS-FG was associated with FG (beta = 0.075 mmol/l, SE = 0.011, P = 1.58 × 10−11) and beta cell function (beta = −0.041, SE = 0.0090 P = 5.13 × 10−6). GRS-T2D also demonstrated an association with beta cell function (beta = −0.020, SE = 0.021 P = 0.030). We detected a causal effect of increased BMI on levels of FI in Italian youths (beta = 0.31 ln (pmol/l), 95%CI [0.078, 0.54], P = 0.0085), while there was no effect of FG/FI levels on BMI. Our results demonstrate that the glycaemic and T2D risk genetic variants contribute to higher FG and FI levels and decreased beta cell function in children and adolescents. The causal effects of adiposity on increased insulin resistance are detectable from childhood age.

  • Calibrated automated thrombogram values in infants with cardiac surgery before and after cardiopulmonary bypass
    Alessandra Rizza, Giovina Di Felice, Rosa Luciano, Ottavia Porzio, Ombretta Panizzon, Maurizio Muraca, and Paola Cogo

    Elsevier BV
    INTRODUCTION Impaired thrombin generation has been associated to increase bleeding after cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), especially in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate standard coagulation assay, thrombin generation by calibrated automated thrombogram (CAT), thromboelastography (TEG) and procoagulant phospholipids (PPL) activity in infants undergoing cardiac surgery with CPB. MATERIALS AND METHODS Prospective observational study performed in children aged <24months undergoing cardiac surgery with CPB. Exclusion criteria were preoperative coagulopathy or anticoagulant therapy. Coagulation was evaluated by standard coagulation assays (prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen level, platelet count), TEG, CAT and PPL at anaesthesia induction (T1) and after 12h (T2). Perioperative bleeding management was performed according to the institutional guidelines. RESULTS Forty-nine children aged <24months were enrolled. At T1 ETP and peak height evaluated by CAT were significantly lower in infants aged <6months. Standard coagulation tests, TEG and PPL did not correlate with age. At T2 platelet count, plasmatic fibrinogen level, all TEG parameters, ETP and peak height by CAT were significantly impaired compared to baseline values (T1), despite allogeneic blood product transfusions. CONCLUSIONS Thrombin generation is significantly impaired in children affected by congenital heart disease, compared to healthy children and adults. CAT parameters resulted age-dependent, and thrombin generation is lower in infants aged <6months. After cardiac surgery with CPB, a coaugulopathy, revealed by CAT, TEG, but not by PT and aPTT assays, is persistent 12h after surgery despite transfusions of blood products.

  • A new index to simplify the screening of hypertension in overweight or obese youth
    P. Di Bonito, G. Valerio, L. Pacifico, C. Chiesa, C. Invitti, A. Morandi, C. Maffeis, M.R. Licenziati, M. Manco, E. Miraglia del Giudice,et al.

    Elsevier BV
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS Hypertension (HTH) is a frequent complication in pediatric obesity. To simplify the screening of HTH in overweight/obese (Ow/Ob) youth, we compared the performance of a new index (High Blood Pressure index, HBPi) with respect to the standard criteria of the IV Report [systolic BP (SBP) and/or diastolic BP (DBP) ≥95th percentile for age, gender and height]. We also compared the performance of HBPi with other simplified indices such as the BP/height ratio and the absolute height-specific BP thresholds. Ten pediatrics' outpatient centers participating in the "CARdiometabolic risk factors in ITALY study" provided medical records of 4225 Ow/Ob children and adolescents (age 6-16 years). METHODS AND RESULTS Centers were divided into two groups: training set (TS) (n = 2204 participants) and validation set (VS) (n = 2021 participants). The simplified HBPi (mmHg) was: (SBP/2 + DBP/10) - age + (1 × female gender). In the TS, a HBPi value ≥57 mmHg in both children and adolescents had high sensitivity (0.89), specificity (0.97), positive (0.89) and negative (0.97) predictive values in classifying youth at high risk of HTN compared with the IV Report. In the VS, the HBPi showed a better performance than high levels of BP/height ratio and height-specific BP thresholds in classifying individuals at risk of HTN: area under curves 0.95 (0.93-0.96), 0.80 (0.78-0.82), 0.76 (0.74-0.79), respectively; specificities 0.95 (0.94-0.96), 0.69 (0.67-0.72), 0.60 (0.57-0.62), respectively. CONCLUSIONS HBPi, combining SBP and DBP, gender and age, may help pediatricians to implement HTN screening in Ow/Ob youth.

  • Inside out the Ragbag of Glucose Intolerance in Obese Adolescents
    Claudia Brufani, Andrea Tura, Giorgio Bedogni, Rosa Luciano, Stefano Sbrignadello, Danilo Fintini, Marco Cappa, Ram Weiss, and Melania Manco

    S. Karger AG
    Background/Aims: The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is rising among obese adolescents in parallel with epidemic obesity. In some cases, IGT reverts to normal glucose tolerance (NGT) by the end of puberty. The aims of the present study were to investigate metabolic factors determining changes over time of glucose at 120 min (Glu120) following an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and to verify whether preserved β-cell glucose sensitivity (βCGS) protects against persistent IGT. Methods: We performed a cohort study of 153 severely obese children and adolescents evaluated with a 5-point OGTT at baseline and at follow-up with measurements of glucose, insulin, and C-peptide to estimate several empirical parameters of insulin sensitivity (includ ing oral glucose insulin sensitivity [OGIS] and OGTT-derived glucose effectiveness) and secretion. Results: At follow-up (range 0.9–4.8 year), 113 (73.9%) patients remained with NGT, 9 (5.9%) had IGT, and 28 (18.3%) had reverted to NGT; 3 NGT patients had developed IGT. In multivariable models, change in loge(βCGS) was inversely associated with time-related change in loge(Glu120), with (model 2) and without (model 1) correction for the change in loge(OGIS). Model 2 was more strongly associated with change in loge(Glu120). Conclusions: Changes in βCGS and insulin sensitivity were inversely associated with changes in Glu120 at follow-up, contributing a likely explanation for the reversal of IGT to NGT.

  • Percentiles of serum uric acid and cardiometabolic abnormalities in obese Italian children and adolescents
    Rosa Luciano, Blegina Shashaj, MariaRita Spreghini, Andrea Del Fattore, Carmela Rustico, Rita Wietrzykowska Sforza, Giuseppe Stefano Morino, Bruno Dallapiccola, and Melania Manco

    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    BackgroundTo investigate the association of serum uric acid (SUA) with cardiometabolic abnormalities in Caucasian overweight/obese children (<10 years of age) versus adolescents (≥10 years of age) by drawing age and gender specific percentiles of uric acid.MethodsCross-sectional evaluation of 1364 Caucasian overweight/obese patients (age 4.1–17.9 years; 726 males, 53%; 560 children, 41%).ResultsSUA levels were significantly lower in children than in adolescents (4.74 ± 1.05 vs. 5.52 ± 1.49 mg/dl, p < 0.001) and peaked in 12–14 years-old boys and 10–12 years-old girls.In children with levels of SUA in the highest quartile (N = 75, 13%), OR for high triglycerides was 4.145, 95% CI 1.506–11.407 (p = 0.009). In adolescents with SUA in the highest quartile (N = 274, 34%), ORs for insulin resistance was 2.399 (95%CI 1.4–4.113; p < 0.001); for impaired fasting glucose 2.184 (95% CI 0.877–5.441; p = 0.07); for impaired glucose tolerance 2.390 (95% CI 1.405–4.063; p = 0.001); and for high triglycerides 1.8, (95%CI 0.950–3.420; p = 0.05). Multivariable random-effect linear regression models demonstrated that waist circumference and age (p < 0.0001 for both) are the variables most significantly predicting SUA levels, followed by triglycerides (p = 0.005) and 2 h glucose (p = 0.03) while HOMA-IR and BMI z-score did not predict SUA.ConclusionsHigh uric acid is associated with metabolic abnormalities and particularly with waist circumference very early in childhood.

  • New perspectives in Glioblastoma: Nanoparticles-based approaches
    Rosa Luciano, Giulia Battafarano, Rossana Saracino, Michela Rossi, Antonio Perrotta, Melania Manco, Maurizio Muraca, and Andrea Fattore

    Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
    Glioblastoma multiforme represents one of the most aggressive tumor of central nervous system. Current therapy includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. These treatments are rarely curative and glioma are associated with a poor prognosis. Nanomedicine represents the most innovative branch of medicine since many studies demonstrated great advantage in the diagnosis and therapy of several diseases. In this review we will summarize the results obtained by the use of nanoparticles and extracellular vesicles in glioblastoma. A great interest is raising from these studies that underlined the efficacy and specificity of this treatment for glioma, reducing side-effects associated with conventional therapies.

  • Reference ranges of HOMA-IR in normal-weight and obese young Caucasians
    Blegina Shashaj, Rosa Luciano, Benedetta Contoli, Giuseppe Stefano Morino, Maria Rita Spreghini, Carmela Rustico, Rita Wietrzycowska Sforza, Bruno Dallapiccola, and Melania Manco

    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    AimsInsulin resistance (IR) may develop very early in life being associated with occurrence of cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRFs). Aim of the present study was to identify in young Caucasians normative values of IR as estimated by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) and cutoffs diagnostic of CMRFs.MethodsAnthropometrics and biochemical parameters were assessed in 2753 Caucasians (age 2–17.8 years; 1204 F). Reference ranges of HOMA-IR were defined for the whole population and for samples of normal-weight and overweight/obese individuals. The receiver operator characteristic analysis was used to find cutoffs of HOMA-IR accurately identifying individuals with any CMRF among total cholesterol and/or triglycerides higher than the 95th percentile and/or HDL cholesterol lower than the 5th for age and sex, impaired glucose tolerance, and alanine aminotransferase levels ≥40 U/l.ResultsOverweight/obese individuals had higher HOMA-IR levels compared with normal-weight peers (p < 0.0001) at any age. HOMA-IR index rose progressively with age, plateaued between age 13 and 15 years and started decreasing afterward. HOMA-IR peaked at age 13 years in girls and at 15 years in boys. The 75th percentile of HOMA-IR in the whole population (3.02; AUROC = 0.73, 95 % CI = 0.70–0.75), in normal-weight (1.68; AUROC = 0.76, 95 % CI = 0.74–0.79), and obese (3.42; AUROC = 0.71, 95 % CI = 0.69–0.72) individuals identified the cutoffs best classifying individuals with any CMRF.ConclusionsPercentiles of HOMA-IR varied significantly in young Caucasians depending on sex, age, and BMI category. The 75th percentile may represent an accurate cutoff point to suspect the occurrence of one or more CMRFs among high total cholesterol and triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and ALT ≥ 40 UI/l.

  • Nanoparticles-based treatment for bone metastasis
    Rossana Saracino, Rosa Luciano, Giulia Battafarano, Antonio Perrotta, Maurizio Muraca, and Andrea Del Fattore

    Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
    Bone is the principal site of metastasis for many carcinomas, including prostate. Once bone metastases are established, the chances of survival dramatically drop. Bone metastases place patients at increased risk of skeletal-related events, including pathologic fractures, bone pain and hypercalcemia. Indeed, skeletal metastases represent the prevalent cause of morbidity and mortality for many tumors. They are the result of interactions among tumour cells, bone marrow environment and bone cells (vicious cycle). In the last few years many efforts were undertaken to identify new therapeutic approaches for bone metastasis. Current therapies target the several players of bone vicious cycle. However many adverse effects are associated with these treatments. This review will focus on the new emerging sector of nanomedicine, that could be important to identify more specific and safe treatments for bone metastasis.

  • Biomarkers of Alzheimer disease, insulin resistance, and obesity in childhood
    R. Luciano, G. M. Barraco, M. Muraca, S. Ottino, M. R. Spreghini, R. W. Sforza, C. Rustico, G. S. Morino, and M. Manco

    American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
    OBJECTIVE: To answer the question of whether onset of insulin resistance (IR) early in life enhances the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD), serum levels of 2 molecules that are likely associated with development of AD, the amyloid β-protein 42 (Aβ42) and presenilin 1 (PSEN1), were estimated in 101 preschoolers and 309 adolescents of various BMI. METHODS: Participants (215 boys; 48.8%) were normal weight (n = 176; 40%), overweight (n = 135; 30.7%), and obese (n = 129; 29.3%). The HOmeostasis Model of IR (HOMA-IR), HOMA percent β-cell function (HOMA-β) and QUantitative Insulin-sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) were calculated. RESULTS: Obese adolescents had values of Aβ42 higher than overweight and normal-weight peers (190.2 ± 9.16 vs 125.9 ± 7.38 vs 129.5 ± 7.65 pg/mL; P < .0001) as well as higher levels of PSEN1 (2.34 ± 0.20 vs 1.95 ± 0.20 vs 1.65 ± 0.26 ng/mL; P < .0001). Concentrations of Aβ42 were significantly correlated with BMI (ρ = 0.262; P < .0001), HOMA-IR (ρ = 0.261; P < .0001) and QUICKI (ρ = −0.220; P < .0001). PSEN1 levels were correlated with BMI (ρ = 0.248; P < .0001), HOMA-IR (ρ = 0.242; P < .0001), and QUICKI (ρ = −0.256; P < .0001). Western blot analysis confirmed that PSEN1 assays measured the full-length protein. CONCLUSION: Obese adolescents with IR present higher levels of circulating molecules that might be associated with increased risk of developing later in elderly cognitive impairment, dementia, and AD.

  • Comparison of non-HDL-cholesterol versus triglycerides-to-HDL-cholesterol ratio in relation to cardiometabolic risk factors and preclinical organ damage in overweight/obese children: The CARITALY study
    P. Di Bonito, G. Valerio, G. Grugni, M.R. Licenziati, C. Maffeis, M. Manco, E. Miraglia del Giudice, L. Pacifico, M.C. Pellegrin, M. Tomat,et al.

    Elsevier BV
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS Lipid ratios to estimate atherosclerotic disease risk in overweight/obese children are receiving great attention. We aimed to compare the performance of non-high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) versus triglycerides-to-HDL-C ratio (Tg/HDL-C) in identifying cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRFs) or preclinical signs of organ damage in outpatient Italian overweight/obese children. METHODS AND RESULTS In this retrospective, cross-sectional study, 5505 children (age 5-18 years) were recruited from 10 Italian centers for the care of obesity, of which 4417 (78%) showed obesity or morbid obesity. Anthropometric, biochemical, and blood pressure variables were analyzed in all children. Liver ultrasound scan, carotid artery ultrasound, and echocardiography were performed in 1257, 601, and 252 children, respectively. The entire cohort was divided based on the 75th percentile of non-HDL-C (≥130 mg/dl) or Tg/HDL-C ratio (≥2.2). The odds ratio for insulin resistance, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, presence of liver steatosis, increased levels of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and concentric left ventricular hypertrophy (cLVH) was higher in children with high levels of Tg/HDL-C with respect to children with high levels of non-HDL-C. CONCLUSIONS In an outpatient setting of overweight/obese children, Tg/HDL-C ratio discriminated better than non-HDL-C children with CMRFs or preclinical signs of liver steatosis, and increased cIMT and cLVH.

  • Differential effects of extracellular vesicles secreted by mesenchymal stem cells from different sources on glioblastoma cells
    Andrea Del Fattore, Rosa Luciano, Rossana Saracino, Giulia Battafarano, Cristiano Rizzo, Luisa Pascucci, Giulio Alessandri, Augusto Pessina, Antonio Perrotta, Alessandra Fierabracci,et al.

    Informa Healthcare
    Background: Malignant glial tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme, account for 15 – 20% of pediatric CNS malignancies. They are most resistant to therapy and are associated with a poor prognosis. Objective: Given the ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to affect glioma growth, we investigated the effects of extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from MSCs on U87MG glioblastoma cells line. Methods: EVs were isolated from culture media of MSCs from different sources, including bone marrow (BM), umbilical cord (UC) and adipose tissue (AT) and added to U87MG culture. The internalization and the effects of BM-, UC- and AT-MSC-EVs on proliferation and apoptosis of tumor cells were evaluated. Results: Both confocal microscopy and FACS analysis showed internalization of EVs into tumor cells. BM- and UC-MSC-EVs decreased cell proliferation, while an opposite effect was observed with AT-MSC-EVs. Moreover, both BM- and UC-MSC-EVs induced apoptosis of glioblastoma cells, while AT-MSC-EVs had no effect. Loading UC-MSC-EVs with Vincristine further increased cytotoxicity when compared both to the free drug and to untreated EVs. Conclusions: Different effects of MSC-EVs on cancer cells were observed depending on their tissue of origin. Moreover, MSC-EVs can deliver antiblastic drugs to glioblastoma cells.

  • Immunoregulatory effects of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles on T lymphocytes
    Andrea Del Fattore, Rosa Luciano, Luisa Pascucci, Bianca Maria Goffredo, Ezio Giorda, Margherita Scapaticci, Alessandra Fierabracci, and Maurizio Muraca

    SAGE Publications
    The immunomodulatory activity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is largely mediated by paracrine factors. We have recently shown that the immunosuppressive effects of MSCs on B lymphocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) culture can be reproduced by extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from MSC culture supernatants. Here we investigated the effect of bone marrow-derived MSC-EVs on T cells on PBMC cultures stimulated with anti-CD3/CD28 beads. Stimulation increased the number of proliferating CD3+ cells as well as of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Coculture with MSCs inhibited the proliferation of CD3+ cells, with no significant changes in apoptosis. Addition of MSC-EVs to PBMCs did not affect proliferation of CD3+ cells, but induced the apoptosis of CD3+ cells and of the CD4+ subpopulation and increased the proliferation and the apoptosis of Tregs. Moreover, MSC-EV treatment increased the Treg/Teff ratio and the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 concentration in culture medium. The activity of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an established mediator of MSC immunosuppressive effects, was increased in supernatants of PBMCs cocultured with MSCs, but was not affected by the presence of MSC-EVs. MSC-EVs demonstrate immunomodulatory effects on T cells in vitro. However, these effects and the underlying mechanisms appear to be different from those exhibited by their cells of origin.

  • Zinc-α<inf>2</inf>-glycoprotein is associated with insulin resistance in children
    Gloria Maria Barraco, Rosa Luciano, and Melania Manco

    TO THE EDITOR: We read with great interest the article by Balaz et al. (1), published in the April 2014 issue of the Journal. The authors investigated the association of zinc-a2-glycoprotein (ZAG) with obesity and insulin metabolism, finding a positive association between ZAG mRNA in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and both whole-body (as estimated by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp) and adipocytes insulin sensitivity. Given that ZAG is selectively present in subcutaneous and not in visceral adipose tissue, the authors speculated that this association is independent of obesity (1). The silencing of the ZAG gene in primary human adipocytes impaired both the cell oxidative metabolism (trough the reduced expression of PGC1a mRNA) and the insulin action (i.e., down-regulating the expression of insulin receptor substrate 1 and glucose transporter type 4; 1). No data are available in literature about circulating levels of ZAG and its relationship with indexes of adiposity and insulin resistance in childhood.

  • Recent advances in mesenchymal stem cell immunomodulation: The role of microvesicles
    Alessandra Fierabracci, Andrea Del Fattore, Rosa Luciano, Marta Muraca, Anna Teti, and Maurizio Muraca

    SAGE Publications
    Mesenchymal stem cells are the most widely used cell phenotype for therapeutic applications, the main reasons being their well-established abilities to promote regeneration of injured tissues and to modulate immune responses. Efficacy was reported in the treatment of several animal models of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and, in clinical settings, for the management of disorders such as GVHD, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. The effects of mesenchymal stem cells are believed to be largely mediated by paracrine signals, and several secreted molecules have been identified as contributors to the net biological effect. Recently, it has been recognized that bioactive molecules can be shuttled from cell to cell packed in microvesicles, tiny portions of cytoplasm surrounded by a membrane. Coding and noncoding RNAs are also carried in such microvesicles, transferring relevant biological activity to target cells. Several reports indicate that the regenerative effect of mesenchymal stem cells can be reproduced by microvesicles isolated from their culture medium. More recent evidence suggests that the immunomodulatory effects of mesenchymal stem cells are also at least partially mediated by secreted microvesicles. These findings allow better understanding of the mechanisms involved in cell-to-cell interaction and may have interesting implications for the development of novel therapeutic tools in place of the parent cells.

  • Recently discovered adipokines and cardio-metabolic comorbidities in childhood obesity
    Gloria Barraco, Rosa Luciano, Michela Semeraro, Pedro Prieto-Hontoria, and Melania Manco

    White adipose tissue (WAT) asset, in terms of cell number, fat storage capacity and endocrine function, is largely determined in early stages of life and is pivotal for shaping the WAT pro-inflammatory behavior. WAT derived adipokines have been shown to play a main role in several cardio-metabolic abnormalities of obesity. This review focuses on the most recently identified adipokines, namely adipocyte-fatty acid-binding protein, chemerin, fibroblast growth factor-21, lipocalin-2, omentin-1 and vaspin; their role in the pathogenesis of obesity and associated cardio-metabolic abnormalities; and on their adaptive response to body weight change. Evidence consistently suggests a pathogenic role for A-FABP, chemerin and FGF-21. Nevertheless, large population studies are needed to verify whether they can be useful to predict the risk of cardio-metabolic abnormalities in adulthood and/or monitor the clinical response to therapeutic interventions.

  • Altered B cell homeostasis and toll-like receptor 9- driven response in type 1 diabetes carriers of the C1858T PTPN22 allelic variant: Implications in the disease pathogenesis
    Elena Gianchecchi, Antonino Crinò, Ezio Giorda, Rosa Luciano, Valentina Perri, Anna Lo Russo, Marco Cappa, M. Manuela Rosado, and Alessandra Fierabracci

    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the destruction of pancreatic beta cells by autoreactive T cells. Among the genetic variants associated with type 1 diabetes, the C1858T (Lyp) polymorphism of the protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) gene alters the function of T cells but also of B cells in innate and adaptive immunity. The Lyp variant was shown to diminish interferon production and responses upon Toll-like receptor stimulation in macrophages and dendritic cells, possibly leading to uncontrolled infections as triggers of the diabetogenic process. The aim of this study was to unravel the yet uncharacterized effects that the variant could exert on the immune and autoimmune responses, particularly regarding the B cell phenotype, in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of diabetic patients and healthy controls in basal conditions and after unmethylated bacterial DNA CpG stimulation. The presence of the Lyp variant resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of transitional B cells in C/T carriers patients and controls compared to C/C patients and controls, in C/T carrier patients compared to C/C controls and in C/T carrier patients compared to C/C patients. A significant reduction in the memory B cells was also observed in the presence of the risk variant. After four days of CpG stimulation, there was a significant increase in the abundance of IgM+ memory B cells in C/T carrier diabetics than in C/C subjects and in the groups of C/T carrier individuals than in C/C individuals. IgM− memory B cells tended to differentiate more precociously into plasma cells than IgM+ memory B cells in heterozygous C/T subjects compared to the C/C subjects. The increased Toll-like receptor response that led to expanded T cell-independent IgM+ memory B cells should be further investigated to determine the putative contribution of innate immune responses in the disease pathogenesis.

  • Insulin dynamics in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome and normal glucose tolerance across categories of body mass index
    Melania Manco, Lidia Castagneto-Gissey, Eugenio Arrighi, Annamaria Carnicelli, Claudia Brufani, Rosa Luciano, and Geltrude Mingrone

    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Background Evidence favours insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia as the predominant, perhaps primary, defects in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of the present study was to evaluate insulin metabolism in young women with PCOS but normal glucose tolerance as compared with age, body mass index and insulin resistance-matched controls to answer the question whether women with PCOS hypersecrete insulin in comparison to appropriately insulin resistance-matched controls. Research Design and Methods Sixty-nine cases were divided according to their body mass index (BMI) in normal-weight (N = 29), overweight (N = 24) and obese patients (N = 16). Controls were 479 healthy women (age 16–49 y). Whole body Insulin Sensitivity (WBISI), fasting, and total insulin secretion were estimated following an oral glucose tolerance test (C-peptide deconvolution method). Results Across classes of BMI, PCOS patients had greater insulin resistance than matched controls (p<0.0001 for all the comparisons), but they showed higher fasting and total insulin secretion than their age, BMI and insulin resistance-matched peers (p<0.0001 for all the comparisons). Conclusion Women with PCOS show higher insulin resistance but also larger insulin secretion to maintain normal glucose homeostasis than age-, BMI- and insulin resistance-matched controls.

  • Endocrine autoimmunity in Turner syndrome
    Armando Grossi, Antonino Crinò, Rosa Luciano, Antonietta Lombardo, Marco Cappa, and Alessandra Fierabracci

    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    BackgroundTurner syndrome is caused by numeric and structural abnormalities of the X chromosome. An increased frequency of autoimmunity as well as an elevated incidence of autoantibodies was observed in Turner patients. The aim of this study was to conduct a retrospective analysis of the incidence of autoimmunity in 66 Italian patients affected by Turner syndrome.MethodsSixty-six unselected and consecutive Italian Turner patients were recruited. The association between age, karyotype and the presence of clinical/pre-clinical autoimmune disorders and of autoantibodies was examined.ResultsOut of the 66 Turner patients, 26 had thyroid autoimmune disorders (39.4%), 14 patients had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with clinical or subclinical hypothyroidism (21.2%) and 12 patients had circulating anti-thyroid antibodies, echographic pattern of diffuse hypoechogenicity and normal thyroid hormone levels (18.2%). None were affected by Graves’ disease. We analyzed the overall incidence of thyroid autoimmunity within the 3 different age groups 0–9.9, 10–19.9 and 20–29.9 years. No statistically significant difference was observed in the incidence of thyroid autoimmunity within the age-groups (χ2-test p > 0.05).Out of the 66 patients, 31 patients had the 45,X karyotype; within this first group 14 out of 31 patients were affected by autoimmune thyroid disease. A second group of 29 patients included 19 patients with mosaicism, 5 patients with deletions and 5 patients with ring chromosome; out of these 29 patients 7 were affected by autoimmune thyroid disease. A third group included 6 patients with X isochromosome; 5 out of 6 were affected by autoimmune thyroid disease. A statistically significant difference in the frequency of thyroid autoimmunity within the different karyotype groups was observed (χ2-test p = 0.0173).When comparing the X isochromosome group with the pooled group of other karyotypes, of note, the frequency of thyroid autoimmunity was statistically higher in the X isochromosome group (Fisher exact test p = 0.0315).ConclusionsOur data confirm a high frequency of thyroid autoimmunity in Italian Turner patients. Patients with X isochromosome are more prone to develop thyroid autoimmunity. Further, an early assay of autoantibodies and monitoring thyroid hormones is fundamental for detecting hypothyroidism earlier and start adequate replacement therapy.

  • Analysis of the autoimmune regulator gene in patients with autoimmune non-APECED polyendocrinopathies
    Alessia Palma, Elena Gianchecchi, Melania Palombi, Rosa Luciano, Pierluigi Di Carlo, Antonino Crinò, Marco Cappa, and Alessandra Fierabracci

    Elsevier BV
    The pathogenesis of autoimmunity was derived from a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene. AIRE gene variants and, in particular, heterozygous loss-of-function mutations were also discovered in organ-specific autoimmune disorders, possibly contributing to their etiopathogenesis. It was suggested that even predisposition to develop certain autoimmune conditions may be derived from AIRE gene polymorphisms including S278R and intronic IVS9+6 G>A. In this study we unravel the hypothesis on whether AIRE gene variants may predispose individuals to associated autoimmune conditions in 41 Italian patients affected by non-APECED autoimmune polyendocrinopathies. We could not detect any heterozygous mutations of the AIRE gene. Although a trend of association was observed, heterozygous polymorphisms S278R and IVS9+6 G>A were detected in patients without statistically significant prevalence than in controls. Their putative contribution to autoimmune polyendocrinopathies and their predictive value in clinical strategies of disease development could be unravelled by analysing a larger sample of diseased patients and healthy individuals.

  • Insulin Sensitivity from Preschool to School Age in Patients with Severe Obesity
    Melania Manco, Maria Rita Spreghini, Rosa Luciano, Cecilia Pensini, Rita Wietrzycowska Sforza, Carmela Rustico, Marco Cappa, and Giuseppe Stefano Morino

    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Background Insulin sensitivity decreases at puberty transition, but little information has been provided on its earlier time-course. Aim of the present study was to describe the time-course of insulin sensitivity in severely obese children at the transition from preschool to school age. Research design and methods Retrospective study of a cohort of 47 severely obese [Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥99° percentile] preschoolers evaluated twice, once between 2 and 6 years of age, and once before age 8. Glucose tolerance, Whole Body Insulin Sensitivity Index (WBISI), Insulinogenic Index (IGI); β-cell demand index (BCDI) and Insulin Secretion-Sensitivity Index 2 (ISSI-2) were longitudinally estimated during the oral glucose tolerance test. Results After a median follow-up of 2.23 (1–4.52) y, obese patients showed significant decrease in WBISI (p<0.0001), and increase in fasting (p = 0.005) and 2 h glucose (2HG, p = 0.001). One child in preschool age and 4 school age children presented with 2HG between 7.8–11.1 mmol/l. Best predictors of WBISI, 2HG and BCDI in the school age were changes in BMI z-score (R2 = 0.309; p = 0.002; β = −0.556), ISSI-2 (R2 = 0.465; p<0.0001; β = −0.682), and BMI z-score (R2 = 0.246; p = 0.008; 0.496), respectively. Conclusions In morbidly obese children, insulin sensitivity seems to decline even before pubertal transition, but changes in total adiposity can only partially explain this variation.

  • Impact of severe sepsis on serum and urinary biomarkers of acute kidney injury in critically ill children: An observational study
    Matteo Di Nardo, Alessio Ficarella, Zaccaria Ricci, Rosa Luciano, Francesca Stoppa, Sergio Picardo, Stefano Picca, Maurizio Muraca, and Paola Cogo

    S. Karger AG
    Background/Aims: We hypothesized that sepsis could have an impact on the sensitivity of serum and urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and cystatin C (CysC) for acute kidney injury (AKI) diagnosis in critically ill children. Methods: Serum NGAL (sNGAL) and urinary NGAL (uNGAL) and CysC were measured daily in the first 48 h from pediatric intensive care unit admission in 11 consecutive critically ill children with severe sepsis; a single measurement was made in a population of 10 healthy controls undergoing minor ambulatory surgery to exclude possible biases in the laboratory methods. Results: uNGAL, serum CysC (sCysC), and urinary CysC (uCysC) levels were significantly increased in patients with septic AKI compared with septic patients without AKI, while sNGAL levels were not significantly different between septic patients with and without AKI. Median serum creatinine levels did not show significant differences between AKI and non-AKI patients. Conclusions: uNGAL, sCysC and uCysC were not altered by sepsis and were good predictors of AKI. In a septic state, sNGAL alone did not discriminate patients with AKI from those without AKI.

  • The immunosuppressive effect of mesenchymal stromal cells on B lymphocytes is mediated by membrane vesicles
    Manuela Budoni, Alessandra Fierabracci, Rosa Luciano, Stefania Petrini, Vincenzo Di Ciommo, and Maurizio Muraca

    SAGE Publications
    The immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stromal cells are the subject of increasing interest and of widening clinical applications, but the reproducibility of their effects is controversial and the underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified. We investigated the transfer of membrane vesicles, a recently recognized pathway of intercellular communication, as possible mediator of the interaction between mesenchymal stromal cells and B lymphocytes. Mesenchymal stromal cells exhibited a strong dose-dependent inhibition of B-cell proliferation and differentiation in a CpG-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell coculture system. We observed that these effects could be fully reproduced by membrane vesicles isolated from mesenchymal stromal cell culture supernatants in a dose-dependent fashion. Next, we evaluated the localization of fluorescently labeled membrane vesicles within specific cell subtypes both by flow cytometry and by confocal microscopy analysis. Membrane vesicles were found to be associated with stimulated B lymphocytes, but not with other cell phenotypes (T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, natural killer cells), in peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture. These results suggest that membrane vesicles derived from mesenchymal stromal cells are the conveyors of the immunosuppressive effect on B lymphocytes. These particles should be further evaluated as immunosuppressive agents in place of the parent cells, with possible advantages in term of standardization, safety, and feasibility.

  • Association between celiac disease and primary lactase deficiency
    M S Basso, R Luciano, F Ferretti, M Muraca, F Panetta, F Bracci, S Ottino, and A Diamanti

    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    Primary lactase deficiency (PLD) is a common inherited condition caused by a reduced activity of lactase. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms C/T-13910 and G/A-22018 upstream of the lactase gene are associated with lactase nonpersistence. In celiac disease (CD) patients, lactose intolerance could be due to secondary lactase deficiency and to PLD. The aim of this study were to evaluate the association of PLD and CD using genetic test, and to define the prevalence of PLD in celiac subjects compared with a control population. A total of 188 controls and 92 biopsy-proven CD patients were included in the study. More than 70% of all subjects were found homozygous for the polymorphisms. Differences in the prevalence of PLD were not found between CD patients and controls.In conclusions, the hereditary lactase deficiency is frequent in Italian CD children as in control population.

  • Development of a score based on urinalysis to improve the management of urinary tract infection in children
    Rosa Luciano, Simone Piga, Leonardo Federico, Marta Argentieri, Francesca Fina, Marina Cuttini, Emilia Misirocchi, Francesco Emma, and Maurizio Muraca

    Elsevier BV
    BACKGROUND The need for reducing unnecessary antibiotic treatment is being emphasized in the management of urinary tract infections (UTI), a disease frequent in childhood. An ideal test should provide early diagnosis without the waiting times of urine culture, but even a simple test of exclusion could significantly improve patient management. METHODS We evaluated the sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive value of automated microscopy IRIS iQ200 combined with the dipstick analyses in children with suspected UTI. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify the set of variables that best predict positive culture results and develop a numerical risk score. RESULTS Of 474 consecutive urine samples retrospectively analyzed, 69 were positive at urine culture with prevalence of infection of 14.6%. Parameters significantly associated with the presence of infection in multivariable analysis were age <1 year (p<0.001), leukocyte esterase ≥ 15×10^6/L (p<0.001), number of small particles (ASP) ≥ 5500 × 10^6/L (p<0.001) and bacteria ≥ 3 × 10^6/L (p=0.01). The derived score ranged from 0 to 10, with higher values indicating higher risk of UTI. The area under the score ROC curve was 79% (95% CI 0.72-0.85), and was better than those of the individual urinary chemical and microscopic analyses. CONCLUSIONS This routine method could improve the management of UTI in children by early identifying patients with low probability of infection, for whom antibiotic treatment can be withheld until the results of urine culture become available.