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1.  Age-Related Different Relationships between Ectopic Adipose Tissues and Measures of Central Obesity in Sedentary Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103381.
Accumulation of fat at ectopic sites has been gaining attention as pivotal contributor of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular complications. Intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT), located between skeletal muscle bundles and beneath muscle fascia, has been linked to physical inactivity, ageing and body mass index, but little is known about its relationship with the other AT compartments, in particular with increasing age. To address this issue, erector spinae IMAT, epicardial (EAT), intraabdominal (IAAT) and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were simultaneously measured by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and related to waist circumference measurements and age in 32 sedentary subjects without cardiovascular disease (18 men; 14 women; mean age 48.5±14 years). Fasting glucose, triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol were also assessed. We observed that, after dividing individuals according to age (≤ or >50 years), IMAT and EAT depots were significantly more expanded in older subjects (63.2±8.3 years) than in the younger ones (38.4±5.2 years) (p<0.001). Overall, both IMAT and EAT showed stronger positive associations with increasing age (β = 0.63 and 0.67, respectively, p<0.001 for both) than with waist circumference (β = 0.55 and 0.49, respectively, p<0.01 for both) after adjusting for gender. In addition, the gender-adjusted associations of IMAT and EAT with waist circumference and IAAT were significant in individuals ≤50 years only (p<0.05 for all) and not in the older ones. In contrast, no age-related differences were seen in the relationships of IAAT and SAT with waist circumference. Finally, serum triglycerides levels turned out not to be independently related with ectopic IMAT and EAT. In conclusion, the expansion of IMAT and EAT in sedentary subjects is more strongly related to age than waist circumference, and a positive association of these ectopic depots with waist circumference and IAAT amount can be postulated in younger individuals only.
PMCID: PMC4106895  PMID: 25051047
3.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Determined Visceral Fat Reduction Associates with Enhanced IL-10 Plasma Levels in Calorie Restricted Obese Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52774.
Obesity is characterized by a low grade chronic inflammation state. Indeed circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-6, are elevated in obese subjects, while anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, appear to be reduced. Cytokines profile improves after weight loss, but how visceral or subcutaneous fat loss respectively affect pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines plasma levels has not been precisely assessed. Therefore in the present study we correlated changes in circulating cytokine profile with quantitative changes in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots measured by an ad hoc Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) protocol before and after weight loss.
Materials and Methods
In 14 obese subjects, MRI determination of visceral and subcutaneous fat and plasma glucose, insulin, TNF-α IL-6, and IL-10 measurements were performed before and after a caloric restriction induced weight loss of at least 5% of the original body weight.
Weight loss improved insulin sensitivity (QUICKI Index: 0.35±0.03 vs 0.37±0.04; P<0.05), increased IL-10 (3.4±1.9 vs 4.6±1.0 pg/mL; P<0.03), and reduced TNF-α and IL-6 plasma levels (2.5±1.3 vs 1.6±1.5 pg/mL, P<0.0015, 2.3±0.4 vs 1.6±0.6 pg/mL, P<0.02 respectively). A significant correlation was observed between the amount of visceral fat loss and the percentage reduction in both TNF-α (r = 0.56, p<0.05) and IL-6 (r = 0.19 p<0.05) plasma levels. In a multiple regression analysis, the amount of visceral fat loss independently correlated with the increase in IL-10 plasma levels.
The reduction in visceral adipose tissue is the main driver of the improved inflammatory profile induced by weight loss.
PMCID: PMC3530499  PMID: 23300769
4.  The empowerment of translational research: lessons from laminopathies 
The need for a collaborative approach to complex inherited diseases collectively referred to as laminopathies, encouraged Italian researchers, geneticists, physicians and patients to join in the Italian Network for Laminopathies, in 2009. Here, we highlight the advantages and added value of such a multidisciplinary effort to understand pathogenesis, clinical aspects and try to find a cure for Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, Mandibuloacral dysplasia, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria and forms of lamin-linked cardiomyopathy, neuropathy and lipodystrophy.
PMCID: PMC3458975  PMID: 22691392
Laminopathies; Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy; Dilated Cardiomyopathy with Conduction Defects; Mandibuloacral Dysplasia; Familial Partial Lipodystrophy Type 2; Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome; Rare Diseases; Networking activity; interdisciplinary approach to diseases

Results 1-4 (4)