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1.  Basal and post-ischemic vascular compliance in children/adolescents born small for gestational age 
Intrauterine growth restriction plays a powerful role in influencing later susceptibility to certain chronic diseases, such as hypertension. Endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness are early events in the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). We have studied vascular compliance in small for gestational age (SGA) children/adolescents in comparison with that in appropriate for gestational age (AGA) subjects.
We monitored blood pressure, vascular resistance and compliance in 82 children–adolescents (52 SGA, 30 AGA), by means of pulse wave analysis (CR 2000 HDI) at the radial level, before and after 3 min of ischemic stress at the brachial level.
In the children/adolescents born SGA we found a significant increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and vascular resistance in the basal condition; the large and small vessels were stiffer. After ischemia we observed an increased vascular response in the SGA children/adolescents: there was a great diminution of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and a larger increase of the elasticity of the conduit and resistance vessels.
These data show that the SGA group presented some early signs of arterial wall functional disorders. More pediatric data are needed for the evaluation by non-invasive techniques of vascular function in children–adolescents at risk of CVD.
PMCID: PMC3407354  PMID: 22572870
Hypertension; Small for gestational age; Vascular disease; Arterial stiffness
2.  The presence of bacteria species in semen and sperm quality 
To verify the prevalence of semen bacterial contamination and whether the contamination could decrease sperm quality.
Spermiogram, semen culture, and sperm transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis were performed. TEM data were elaborated using a mathematical formula that calculates a fertility index (FI)—able to define patients as fertile or infertile—and the percentage of sperm apoptosis, immaturity and necrosis. We aligned the amino acid sequence of beta-tubulin with protein of the most frequent species isolated from semen.
Patients were divided according to the contaminating species; in each group, we observed fertile individuals, in whom the semen quality was similar to that of controls and infertile men whose sperm quality was significantly decreased, in terms of motility, FI, apoptosis and necrosis. Partial homology between β-tubulin and bacterial proteins was observed.
Sperm bacterial contamination is quite frequent and could contribute to the deterioration of the sperm quality of infertile men.
PMCID: PMC2649329  PMID: 19089609
Bacteria; Semen quality; Spermatozoa; TEM

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