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1.  Investigation of in vitro cytotoxicity of the redox state of ionic iron in neuroblastoma cells 
Background:
there is an intimate relation between transition metals and cell homeostasis due to the physiological necessity of metals in vivo. Particularly, iron (ferrous and ferric state) is utilized in many physiological processes of the cell but in excess has been linked with negative role contributing in many neurodegenerative processes.
Objective:
the aim of this study was to investigate which oxidation state of ionic iron (Ferrous (II) versus Ferric (III)) is more toxic to neuronal cells (SHSY5Y).
Materials and Methods:
The neuroblastoma (SHSY5Y) cells were exposed to varying concentration of ferric and ferrous iron. Morphological studies using immunofluorescence staining and microscopic analysis as confirmed by intracellular glutathione (GSH) test demonstrated oxidative stress to cells in iron microenvironment. In addition, MTT assay was performed to evaluate the viability and metabolic state of the cells.
Results:
the results showed that ferrous form has significantly higher toxicity compared to the ferric ionic state of higher concentration. In addition, microscopic analysis shows cell fenestration at higher concentrations and swelling at intermediate ferric dosages as demonstrated by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Interestingly, the addition of a differentiation inducing factor, trans-retinoic rcid (RA) retains significant viability and morphological features of the cells irrespective of the ionic state of the iron. AFM images revealed clustered aggregates arising from iron chelation with RA.
Conclusions:
the results indicate that Fe (II) has more toxic effects on cells. In addition, it could be an interesting finding with respect to the antioxidant properties of RA as a chelating agent for the neurodegenerative therapeutics.
doi:10.4103/0976-3147.102611
PMCID: PMC3505322  PMID: 23188983
AFM; glutathione; immunostaining; metallomics; MRI
2.  Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins are associated with disability, severity, and early progression in multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:70.
Background
Iron involvement/imbalance is strongly suspected in multiple sclerosis (MS) etiopathogenesis, but its role is quite debated. Iron deposits encircle the veins in brain MS lesions, increasing local metal concentrations in brain parenchyma as documented by magnetic resonance imaging and histochemical studies. Conversely, systemic iron overload is not always observed. We explored the role of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the main iron homeostasis genes in MS patients.
Methods
By the pyrosequencing technique, we investigated 414 MS cases [Relapsing-remitting (RR), n=273; Progressive, n=141, of which: Secondary (SP), n=103 and Primary (PP), n=38], and 414 matched healthy controls. Five SNPs in 4 genes were assessed: hemochromatosis (HFE: C282Y, H63D), ferroportin (FPN1: -8CG), hepcidin (HEPC: -582AG), and transferrin (TF: P570S).
Results
The FPN1-8GG genotype was overrepresented in the whole MS population (OR=4.38; 95%CI, 1.89-10.1; P<0.0001) and a similar risk was found among patients with progressive forms. Conversely, the HEPC -582GG genotype was overrepresented only in progressive forms (OR=2.53; 95%CI, 1.34-4.78; P=0.006) so that SP and PP versus RR yielded significant outputs (P=0.009). For almost all SNPs, MS disability score (EDSS), severity score (MSSS), as well as progression index (PI) showed a significant increase when comparing homozygotes versus individuals carrying other genotypes: HEPC -582GG (EDSS, 4.24±2.87 vs 2.78±2.1; P=0.003; MSSS, 5.6±3.06 vs 3.79±2.6; P=0.001); FPN1-8GG (PI, 1.11±2.01 vs 0.6±1.31; P=0.01; MSSS, 5.08±2.98 vs 3.85±2.8; P=0.01); HFE 63DD (PI, 1.63±2.6 vs 0.6±0.86; P=0.009). Finally, HEPC -582G-carriers had a significantly higher chance to switch into the progressive form (HR=3.55; 1.83-6.84; log-rank P=0.00006).
Conclusions
Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins, in the presence of local iron overload, might be responsible for suboptimal iron handling. This might account for the significant variability peculiar to MS phenotypes, particularly affecting MS risk and progression paving the way for personalized pharmacogenetic applications in the clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-70
PMCID: PMC3490944  PMID: 22883388
3.  Genetic Association and Altered Gene Expression of Mir-155 in Multiple Sclerosis Patients 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex autoimmune disease of the central nervous system characterized by chronic inflammation, demyelination, and axonal damage. As microRNA (miRNA)-dependent alterations in gene expression in hematopoietic cells are critical for mounting an appropriate immune response, miRNA deregulation may result in defects in immune tolerance. In this frame, we sought to explore the possible involvement of miRNAs in MS pathogenesis by monitoring the differential expression of 22 immunity-related miRNAs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of MS patients and healthy controls, by using a microbead-based technology. Three miRNAs resulted >2 folds up-regulated in MS vs controls, whereas none resulted down-regulated. Interestingly, the most up-regulated miRNA (mir-155; fold change = 3.30; P = 0.013) was previously reported to be up-regulated also in MS brain lesions. Mir-155 up-regulation was confirmed by qPCR experiments. The role of mir-155 in MS susceptibility was also investigated by genotyping four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mapping in the mir-155 genomic region. A haplotype of three SNPs, corresponding to a 12-kb region encompassing the last exon of BIC (the B-cell Integration Cluster non-coding RNA, from which mir-155 is processed), resulted associated with the disease status (P = 0.035; OR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.05–1.77), suggesting that this locus strongly deserves further investigations.
doi:10.3390/ijms12128695
PMCID: PMC3257096  PMID: 22272099
multiple sclerosis; miRNA; expression profile; mir-155; association analysis
4.  Custom CGH array profiling of copy number variations (CNVs) on chromosome 6p21.32 (HLA locus) in patients with venous malformations associated with multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:64.
Background
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disorder thought to result from an interaction between environmental and genetic predisposing factors which have not yet been characterised, although it is known to be associated with the HLA region on 6p21.32. Recently, a picture of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), consequent to stenosing venous malformation of the main extra-cranial outflow routes (VM), has been described in patients affected with MS, introducing an additional phenotype with possible pathogenic significance.
Methods
In order to explore the presence of copy number variations (CNVs) within the HLA locus, a custom CGH array was designed to cover 7 Mb of the HLA locus region (6,899,999 bp; chr6:29,900,001-36,800,000). Genomic DNA of the 15 patients with CCSVI/VM and MS was hybridised in duplicate.
Results
In total, 322 CNVs, of which 225 were extragenic and 97 intragenic, were identified in 15 patients. 234 known polymorphic CNVs were detected, the majority of these being situated in non-coding or extragenic regions. The overall number of CNVs (both extra- and intragenic) showed a robust and significant correlation with the number of stenosing VMs (Spearman: r = 0.6590, p = 0.0104; linear regression analysis r = 0.6577, p = 0.0106).
The region we analysed contains 211 known genes. By using pathway analysis focused on angiogenesis and venous development, MS, and immunity, we tentatively highlight several genes as possible susceptibility factor candidates involved in this peculiar phenotype.
Conclusions
The CNVs contained in the HLA locus region in patients with the novel phenotype of CCSVI/VM and MS were mapped in detail, demonstrating a significant correlation between the number of known CNVs found in the HLA region and the number of CCSVI-VMs identified in patients. Pathway analysis revealed common routes of interaction of several of the genes involved in angiogenesis and immunity contained within this region. Despite the small sample size in this pilot study, it does suggest that the number of multiple polymorphic CNVs in the HLA locus deserves further study, owing to their possible involvement in susceptibility to this novel MS/VM plus phenotype, and perhaps even other types of the disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-64
PMCID: PMC2880319  PMID: 20426824
5.  Factor XIIIA-V34L and Factor XIIIB-H95R Gene Variants: Effects on Survival in Myocardial Infarction Patients 
Molecular Medicine  2007;13(1-2):112-120.
It has been demonstrated recently that coagulation factor XIII (FXIII) plays an extraordinary role in myocardial healing after infarction, improving survival in a mouse model. Common FXIII gene variants (i.e. FXIIIA-V34L and FXIIIB-H95R) significantly influence the molecular activity. To evaluate whether there is a relationship between the two FXIII gene variants and survival in patients after myocardial infarction (MI), V34L and H95R were PCR-genotyped in a cohort of 560 MI cases and follow-up was monitored. Cases with ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI) were 416 (74.3%) and 374 of these were treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (89.9%). The remaining 144 patients showed non-ST-segment elevation MI (NSTEMI) at enrollment. The combined endpoint was the occurrence of death, re-infarction, and heart failure. Kaplan-Meier analysis at one year yielded an overall rate for adverse events of 24.5% with a lower incidence in the L34-carriers (28.8% vs 17.1%; log-rank, P = 0.00025), similar to that of the 416 STEMI (23.8%) being (28.0% and 16.9%; VV34- and L34-carriers respectively; log-rank, P = 0.001). Primary PCI-group had a slight lower incidence (22.9%) of adverse events (26.8% and 17.1%; VV34- and L34-carriers respectively; log-rank, P = 0.009). During hospitalization, 506 patients received PCI (374 primary PCI and 132 elective PCI). Significance was conserved also in the overall PCI-group (28.6% and 17.8%; VV34- and L34-carriers respectively; log-rank, P = 0.001). Similar findings were observed at 30 days follow-up. Cases carrying both FXIII variants had improved survival rate (log-rank, P = 0.019). On the other hand, minor bleeding complications were found increased in L34-carriers (P = 0.0001) whereas major bleeding complications were not. Finally, more direct evidence on the role of FXIII molecule on survival might come from the fact that despite significant FXIII antigen reductions observed in cases after MI, regardless the FXIII genotype considered, L34-carriers kept almost normal FXIII activity (VV34- vs L34-carriers; P < 0.001). We conclude that FXIII L34-allele improves survival after MI in all the groups analyzed, possibly through its higher activity associated with assumable positive effects on myocardial healing and recovered functions. Genetically determined higher FXIII activity might influence post-MI outcome. This paves the way for using FXIII molecules to improve myocardial healing, recovery of functions, and survival after infarction.
doi:10.2119/2006-00049.Gemmati
PMCID: PMC1869629  PMID: 17515963

Results 1-5 (5)