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1.  Circulating IGF-I and IGFBP3 levels control human colonic stem cell function and are disrupted in diabetic enteropathy 
Cell stem cell  2015;17(4):486-498.
The role of circulating factors in regulating colonic stem cells (CoSCs) and colonic epithelial homeostasis is unclear. Individuals with long-standing type 1 diabetes (T1D) frequently have intestinal symptoms, termed diabetic enteropathy (DE), though its etiology is unknown. Here, we report T1D patients with DE exhibit abnormalities in their intestinal mucosa and CoSCs, which fail to generate in vitro mini-guts. Proteomic profiling of T1D+DE patient serum revealed altered levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and its binding protein-3 (IGFBP3). IGFBP3 prevented in vitro growth of patient-derived organoids via binding its receptor TMEM219, in an IGF-1-independent manner, and disrupted in vivo CoSC function in a preclinical DE model. Restoration of normoglycemia in patients with long-standing T1D via kidney-pancreas transplantation or in diabetic mice by treatment with an ecto-TMEM219 recombinant protein normalized circulating IGF-1/IGFBP3 levels and reestablished CoSC homeostasis. These findings demonstrate that peripheral IGF-1/IGFBP3 control CoSCs and their dysfunction in DE.
PMCID: PMC4826279  PMID: 26431183
colonic stem cells; IGF-I; IGFBP3; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes; diabetic enteropathy; hyperglycemia; uremia; kidney transplantation; pancreas transplantation; diabetic nephropathy
2.  Acinar Cell Carcinoma of the Pancreas: Overview of Clinicopathologic Features and Insights into the Molecular Pathology 
Acinar cell carcinomas (ACCs) of the pancreas are rare pancreatic neoplasms accounting for about 1–2% of pancreatic tumors in adults and about 15% in pediatric subjects. They show different clinical symptoms at presentation, different morphological features, different outcomes, and different molecular alterations. This heterogeneous clinicopathological spectrum may give rise to difficulties in the clinical and pathological diagnosis with consequential therapeutic and prognostic implications. The molecular mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of ACCs are still not completely understood, although in recent years, several attempts have been made to clarify the molecular mechanisms involved in ACC biology. In this paper, we will review the main clinicopathological and molecular features of pancreatic ACCs of both adult and pediatric subjects to give the reader a comprehensive overview of this rare tumor type.
PMCID: PMC4469112  PMID: 26137463
pancreas; acinar cell carcinoma; morphology; immunohistochemistry; molecular pathology
In the pancreas, poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas include small cell carcinoma and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma and are rare; data regarding their pathologic and clinical features are very limited.
One hundred and seven pancreatic resections originally diagnosed as poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas were reassessed using the classification and grading (mitotic rate/Ki67 index) criteria put forth by the WHO in 2010 for the gastroenteropancreatic system. Immunohistochemical labeling for neuroendocrine and acinar differentiation markers was performed. Sixty-three cases were reclassified, mostly as well differentiated neuroendocrine tumor or acinar cell carcinoma, and eliminated. The clinicopathologic features and survival of the remaining 44 poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas were further assessed.
The mean patient age was 59 years (range, 21–82) and the male/female ratio was 1.4. Twenty-seven tumors were located in the head of the pancreas, 3 in the body and 11 in the tail. The median tumor size was 4 cm (range, 2–18). Twenty-seven tumors were large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas and 17 were small cell carcinomas (mean mitotic rate, 37/10 HPF and 51/10 HPF; mean Ki67 index, 66% and 75%, respectively). Eight tumors had combined components, mostly adenocarcinomas. In addition, 2 tumors had components of well differentiated neuroendocrine tumor. Eighty-eight percent of the patients had nodal or distant metastatic disease at presentation and an additional 7% developed metastases subsequently. Follow-up information was available for 43 patients; 33 died of disease with a median survival of 11 months (range, 0–104); 8 were alive with disease, with a median follow-up of 19.5 months (range, 0–71). The 2-year and 5-year survival rates were 22.5% and 16.1%, respectively.
Poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma of the pancreas is a highly aggressive neoplasm, with frequent metastases and poor survival. Most patients die within less than a year. Most (61%) are large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas. Well differentiated neuroendocrine tumor and acinar cell carcinoma are often misdiagnosed as poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma, emphasizing that diagnostic criteria need to be clearly followed to ensure accurate diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3977000  PMID: 24503751
Pancreas; neuroendocrine; carcinoma; small cell; large cell; high-grade; poorly differentiated
4.  Islet Transplantation Stabilizes Hemostatic Abnormalities and Cerebral Metabolism in Individuals With Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;37(1):267-276.
Islets after kidney transplantation have been shown to positively affect the quality of life of individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) by reducing the burden of diabetes complications, but fewer data are available for islet transplantation alone (ITA). The aim of this study was to assess whether ITA has a positive impact on hemostatic and cerebral abnormalities in individuals with T1D.
Prothrombotic factors, platelet function/ultrastructure, and cerebral morphology, metabolism, and function have been investigated over a 15-month follow-up period using ELISA/electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and neuropsychological evaluation (Profile of Mood States test and paced auditory serial addition test) in 22 individuals with T1D who underwent ITA (n = 12) or remained on the waiting list (n = 10). Patients were homogeneous with regard to metabolic criteria, hemostatic parameters, and cerebral morphology/metabolism/function at the time of enrollment on the waiting list.
At the 15-month follow-up, the group undergoing ITA, but not individuals with T1D who remained on the waiting list, showed 1) improved glucose metabolism; 2) near-normal platelet activation and prothrombotic factor levels; 3) near-normal cerebral metabolism and function; and 4) a near-normal neuropsychological test.
ITA, despite immunosuppressive therapy, is associated with a near-normalization of hemostatic and cerebral abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3867995  PMID: 24026546
5.  Mixed Exocrine-Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the Nasal Cavity: Clinico-Pathologic and Molecular Study of a Case and Review of the Literature 
Head and Neck Pathology  2012;7(1):76-84.
Sinonasal intestinal-type adenocarcinomas (ITACs) are rare neoplasms histologically resembling intestinal adenocarcinomas. Although a neuroendocrine differentiation in ITACs has been described, true mixed exocrine-neuroendocrine carcinomas, neoplasms in which each component represents at least 30 % of the lesion, are extremely rare and their molecular alterations are largely unknown. We describe herein the clinico-pathologic features, the methylation profile, chromosomal gains and losses, and mutation analysis of KRAS, BRAF and p53 in a nasal mixed exocrine-neuroendocrine carcinoma resected in a 79-year-old man. The tumor was composed of an ITAC and a poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma. Both exocrine and neuroendocrine components were CK8, CK20, CDX2 and p53 positive, and CK7 and TTF1 negative. The neuroendocrine component also showed immunoreactivity for chromogranin A, synaptophysin, serotonin and glicentin. Gains and losses were found at following chromosome regions: 17p13 (TP53), 14q24 (MLH3), 19q13 (KLK3), 5q21 (APC), 7q21 (CDK6), 9q34 (DAPK1), 12p13 (TNFRSF 1A, CDKN1B), 13q12 (BRCA2), 17p13.3 (HIC1), 18q21 (BCL2), and 22q12 (TIMP3). Aberrant methylation was detected only in the neuroendocrine component and involved APC and DAPK1 genes. No mutation of KRAS (exons 2–4), BRAF (exon 15), and p53 (exons 4–10) was found in both components. The results suggest a monoclonal origin of the tumor from a pluripotent cell undergoing a biphenotypic differentiation and that the neuroendocrine differentiation may be from an exocrine to an endocrine pathway. We have also reviewed the literature on sinonasal mixed exocrine-neuroendocrine carcinomas to give to the reader a comprehensive overview of these very rare tumor types.
PMCID: PMC3597157  PMID: 22740238
Intestinal-type adenocarcinomas; Neuroendocrine carcinoma; Nasal cavity; Mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma; Molecular profile
6.  The Ontogeny of the Endocrine Pancreas in the Fetal/Newborn Baboon 
The Journal of endocrinology  2012;214(3):289-299.
Erratic regulation of glucose metabolism including hyperglycemia is a common condition of premature infants and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
To examine histological and ultra-structural differences in the endocrine pancreas in fetal (throughout gestation) and neonatal baboons.
Twelve fetal baboons were delivered at 125 days (d) gestational age (GA), 140dGA, or 175dGA. Eight animals were delivered at term (185dGA); half were fed for 5d. Seventy-three non-diabetic adult baboons were used for comparison. Pancreatic tissue was studied utilizing light microscopy, confocal imaging and electron microscopy.
The fetal and neonatal endocrine pancreas islet architecture became more organized as GA advanced. The percent areas of α-β-δ-cell type were similar within each fetal and newborn GA (NS), but were higher than the adults (P<0.05) regardless of GA. The ratio of β-cells within the islet (whole and core) increased with gestation (P<0.01). Neonatal baboons who survived for 5 days (feeding), had a 2.5-fold increase in pancreas weight compared to their counterparts euthanized at birth (P=0.01). Endocrine cells were found amongst exocrine ductal and acinar cells in 125,140 and 175dGA fetuses. Subpopulation of cells that co-expressed trypsin and glucagon/insulin show the presence of cells with mixed endo-exocrine lineage in fetuses.
The fetal endocrine pancreas has no prevalence of a of α-β-δ-cell type with larger endocrine cell percent areas than adults. Cells with mixed endocrine/exocrine phenotype occur during fetal development. Developmental differences may play a role in glucose homeostasis during the neonatal period and may have long term implications.
PMCID: PMC3686495  PMID: 22723715
Insulin; glucagon; fetus; islet cells; primates
7.  Targeting the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis mobilizes autologous hematopoietic stem cells and prolongs islet allograft survival via PD-L1 
Antagonism of CXCR4 disrupts the interaction between the CXCR4 receptor on HSCs and the CXCL12 expressed by stromal cells in the bone marrow, which subsequently results in the shedding of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to the periphery. Due to their profound immunomodulatory effects, HSCs have emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for autoimmune disorders. We sought to investigate the immunomodulatory role of mobilized autologous HSCs, via target of the CXCR4-CXL12 axis, to promote engraftment of islet cell transplantation. Islets from BALB/c mice were transplanted beneath the kidney capsule of hyperglycemic C57BL/6 mice, and treatment of recipients with CXCR4 antagonist resulted in mobilization of HSCs and in prolongation of islet graft survival. Addition of Rapamycin to anti-CXCR4 therapy further promoted HSC mobilization and islet allograft survival, inducing a robust and transferable host hyporesponsiveness, while administration of an ACK2 (anti-CD117) mAb halted CXCR4 antagonist-mediated HSC release and restored allograft rejection. Mobilized HSCs were shown to express high levels of the negative co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1, and HSCs extracted from WT mice, but not from PD-L1 KO, suppressed the in vitro alloimmune response. Moreover, HSC mobilization in PD-L1 KO mice failed to prolong islet allograft survival. Targeting the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis thus mobilizes autologous HSCs and promotes long-term survival of islet allografts via a PD-L1-mediated mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3404615  PMID: 21131428
Diabetes; CXCR4-CXCL12 axis; islet transplantation; stem cells
8.  Mixed Adenoneuroendocrine Carcinomas (MANECs) of the Gastrointestinal Tract: An Update 
Cancers  2012;4(1):11-30.
The systematic application of immunohistochemical techniques to the study of tumors has led to the recognition that neuroendocrine cells occur rather frequently in exocrine neoplasms of the gut. It is now well known that there is a wide spectrum of combinations of exocrine and neuroendocrine components, ranging from adenomas or carcinomas with interspersed neuroendocrine cells at one extreme to classical neuroendocrine tumors with a focal exocrine component at the other. In addition, both exocrine and neuroendocrine components can have different morphological features ranging, for the former, from adenomas to adenocarcinomas with different degrees of differentiation and, for the latter, from well differentiated to poorly differentiated neuroendocrine tumors. However, although this range of combinations of neuroendocrine and exocrine components is frequently observed in routine practice, mixed exocrine-neuroendocrine carcinomas, now renamed as mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinomas (MANECs), are rare; these are, by definition, neoplasms in which each component represents at least 30% of the lesion. Gastrointestinal MANECs can be stratified in different prognostic categories according to the grade of malignancy of each component. The present paper is an overview of the main clinicopathological, morphological, immunohistochemical and molecular features of this specific rare tumor type.
PMCID: PMC3712682  PMID: 24213223
adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma; mixed exocrine-neuroendocrine carcinoma; gut
9.  Ectopic submandibular thyroid tissue with a coexisting normally located multinodular goitre: case report and review of the literature 
BMJ Case Reports  2009;2009:bcr07.2009.2136.
The simultaneous finding of submandibular ectopic thyroid tissue and functional orthotopic thyroid gland is an extremely rare event. The present report describes the case of a woman presenting with a left submandibular mass, distant from a palpable multinodular goitre. Ultrasonography showed an ovoidal solid mass adjacent to the lower margin of the left submandibular gland. Cytological specimens showed colloid material and thyroid follicular cells with no malignant features. A preoperative CT scan demonstrated a very thin connection between the thyroid and the submandibular mass. The patient underwent total thyroidectomy and excision of the submandibular mass. The histopathological diagnosis of the thyroid tissue was multinodular goitre, and the submandibular mass was ectopic thyroid tissue showing a hyperplastic pattern. The main differential diagnosis of the submandibular mass was a metastasis from a well differentiated cancer. This case illustrates that an ectopic thyroid off the midline may not necessarily be a metastasis from a thyroid cancer.
PMCID: PMC3028457  PMID: 22140407
10.  Altered Insulin Receptor Signalling and β-Cell Cycle Dynamics in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e28050.
Insulin resistance, reduced β-cell mass, and hyperglucagonemia are consistent features in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We used pancreas and islets from humans with T2DM to examine the regulation of insulin signaling and cell-cycle control of islet cells. We observed reduced β-cell mass and increased α-cell mass in the Type 2 diabetic pancreas. Confocal microscopy, real-time PCR and western blotting analyses revealed increased expression of PCNA and down-regulation of p27-Kip1 and altered expression of insulin receptors, insulin receptor substrate-2 and phosphorylated BAD. To investigate the mechanisms underlying these findings, we examined a mouse model of insulin resistance in β-cells – which also exhibits reduced β-cell mass, the β-cell-specific insulin receptor knockout (βIRKO). Freshly isolated islets and β-cell lines derived from βIRKO mice exhibited poor cell-cycle progression, nuclear restriction of FoxO1 and reduced expression of cell-cycle proteins favoring growth arrest. Re-expression of insulin receptors in βIRKO β-cells reversed the defects and promoted cell cycle progression and proliferation implying a role for insulin-signaling in β-cell growth. These data provide evidence that human β- and α-cells can enter the cell-cycle, but proliferation of β-cells in T2DM fails due to G1-to-S phase arrest secondary to defective insulin signaling. Activation of insulin signaling, FoxO1 and proteins in β-cell-cycle progression are attractive therapeutic targets to enhance β-cell regeneration in the treatment of T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3227614  PMID: 22140505
11.  Proteomics Reveals Novel Oxidative and Glycolytic Mechanisms in Type 1 Diabetic Patients' Skin Which Are Normalized by Kidney-Pancreas Transplantation 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9923.
In type 1 diabetes (T1D) vascular complications such as accelerated atherosclerosis and diffused macro-/microangiopathy are linked to chronic hyperglycemia with a mechanism that is not yet well understood. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) worsens most diabetic complications, particularly, the risk of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease is increased several fold.
Methods and Findings
We evaluated protein regulation and expression in skin biopsies obtained from T1D patients with and without ESRD, to identify pathways of persistent cellular changes linked to diabetic vascular disease. We therefore examined pathways that may be normalized by restoration of normoglycemia with kidney-pancreas (KP) transplantation. Using proteomic and ultrastructural approaches, multiple alterations in the expression of proteins involved in oxidative stress (catalase, superoxide dismutase 1, Hsp27, Hsp60, ATP synthase δ chain, and flavin reductase), aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (ACBP, pyruvate kinase muscle isozyme, and phosphoglycerate kinase 1), and intracellular signaling (stratifin-14-3-3, S100-calcyclin, cathepsin, and PPI rotamase) as well as endothelial vascular abnormalities were identified in T1D and T1D+ESRD patients. These abnormalities were reversed after KP transplant. Increased plasma levels of malondialdehyde were observed in T1D and T1D+ESRD patients, confirming increased oxidative stress which was normalized after KP transplant.
Our data suggests persistent cellular changes of anti-oxidative machinery and of aerobic/anaerobic glycolysis are present in T1D and T1D+ESRD patients, and these abnormalities may play a key role in the pathogenesis of hyperglycemia-related vascular complications. Restoration of normoglycemia and removal of uremia with KP transplant can correct these abnormalities. Some of these identified pathways may become potential therapeutic targets for a new generation of drugs.
PMCID: PMC2848014  PMID: 20360867
12.  Solitary fibrous tumor of the male breast: a case report and review of the literature 
Extrapleural solitary fibrous tumors are very rare and occasionally they appear in extraserosal soft tissues or parenchymatous organs. In such cases the right preoperative diagnosis is often difficult and challenging, because both radiological and cytological examinations are not exhaustive. For these reasons, surgical excision is frequently the only way to reach the correct diagnosis and to achieve definitive treatment. A few cases of solitary fibrous tumors have been also described in the breast. Although rare, this lesion opens difficulties in preoperative diagnosis entering in differential diagnosis with other benign lesions as well as with breast cancer. In this article we describe a case of a solitary fibrous tumor of the breast in a 49-year-old man. Problems related to differential diagnosis and the possible pitfalls that can be encountered in the diagnostic iter of such rare tumor are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2266749  PMID: 18254983

Results 1-12 (12)