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1.  Snail1 Expression Is Required for Sarcomagenesis12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(5):413-421.
Snail1 transcriptional repressor is a major inducer of epithelial-to mesenchymal transition but is very limitedly expressed in adult animals. We have previously demonstrated that Snail1 is required for the maintenance of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), preventing their premature differentiation. Now, we show that Snail1 controls the tumorigenic properties of mesenchymal cells. Increased Snail1 expression provides tumorigenic capabilities to fibroblastic cells; on the contrary, Snail1 depletion decreases tumor growth. Genetic depletion of Snail1 in MSCs that are deficient in p53 tumor suppressor downregulates MSC markers and prevents the capability of these cells to originate sarcomas in immunodeficient SCID mice. Notably, an analysis of human sarcomas shows that, contrarily to epithelial tumors, these neoplasms display high Snail1 expression. This is particularly clear for undifferentiated tumors, which are associated with poor outcome. Together, our results indicate a role for Snail1 in the generation of sarcomas.
PMCID: PMC4198692  PMID: 24947186
EMT, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; MSC, mesenchymal stem cell; SMA, smooth muscle actin; PyrK, pyruvate kinase
2.  Correction: HPV Testing by cobas HPV Test in a Population from Catalonia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):10.1371/annotation/e228bdf4-d943-4d44-8e0f-d441dfa80260.
PMCID: PMC3808435
3.  Nitro-Oxidative Stress after Neuronal Ischemia Induces Protein Nitrotyrosination and Cell Death 
Ischemic stroke is an acute vascular event that obstructs blood supply to the brain, producing irreversible damage that affects neurons but also glial and brain vessel cells. Immediately after the stroke, the ischemic tissue produces nitric oxide (NO) to recover blood perfusion but also produces superoxide anion. These compounds interact, producing peroxynitrite, which irreversibly nitrates protein tyrosines. The present study measured NO production in a human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y), a murine glial (BV2), a human endothelial cell line (HUVEC), and in primary cultures of human cerebral myocytes (HC-VSMCs) after experimental ischemia in vitro. Neuronal, endothelial, and inducible NO synthase (NOS) expression was also studied up to 24 h after ischemia, showing a different time course depending on the NOS type and the cells studied. Finally, we carried out cell viability experiments on SH-SY5Y cells with H2O2, a prooxidant agent, and with a NO donor to mimic ischemic conditions. We found that both compounds were highly toxic when they interacted, producing peroxynitrite. We obtained similar results when all cells were challenged with peroxynitrite. Our data suggest that peroxynitrite induces cell death and is a very harmful agent in brain ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3747381  PMID: 23983901
4.  HPV Testing by cobas HPV Test in a Population from Catalonia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58153.
HPV testing in cervical cancer screening has been proposed as an alternative or complementary to cytology in women older than 30 years. However, adequate clinical sensitivity and specificity are crucial for a new test to be implemented. Hybrid Capture 2 (HC2) has proved good clinical performance in selecting women at risk for high-grade intraepithelial lesions with a high sensitivity and specificity. cobas HPV Test has been recently launched and its performance in different clinical settings needs to be determined.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the cobas HPV Test for the detection of cervical HPV infection in a population of women in Catalonia (Spain) using HC2 as a reference.
Materials and Methods
Cervical liquid cytology samples from 958 women have been studied. Sensitivity was analyzed in 60 samples from patients with a high-grade intraepithelial lesion (≥CIN2) on histology and specificity was determined in 898 samples from women with no ≥CIN2. All cases had HC2 and cobas HPV Test performed. Statistical analyses of sensitivity, specificity and comparison between HC2 and cobas HPV Test by a non-inferiority test were applied.
Sensitivity of HC2 and cobas HPV Test for detecting ≥CIN2 proved identical (98.3%) while specificity was 85.3% and 86.2% respectively. The non-inferiority test demonstrated that cobas HPV Test surpassed 90% sensitivity and 98% specificity of HC2.
The cobas HPV Test results fulfilled sensitivity and specificity requirements for HPV based cervical cancer screening and for the triage of minor cytological abnormalities, allowing its introduction in clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC3590124  PMID: 23483984
5.  B–helper neutrophils stimulate immunoglobulin diversification and production in the marginal zone of the spleen 
Nature Immunology  2011;13(2):170-180.
Neutrophils utilize immunoglobulins (Igs) to clear antigen, but their role in Ig production is unknown. Here we identified neutrophils around the marginal zone (MZ) of the spleen, a B cell area specialized in T-independent Ig responses to circulating antigen. Neutrophils colonized peri-MZ areas after post-natal mucosal colonization by microbes and enhanced their B-helper function upon receiving reprogramming signals from splenic sinusoidal endothelial cells, including interleukin 10 (IL-10). Splenic neutrophils induced Ig class switching, somatic hypermutation and antibody production by activating MZ B cells through a mechanism involving the cytokines BAFF, APRIL and IL-21. Neutropenic patients had fewer and hypomutated MZ B cells and less preimmune Igs to T-independent antigens, which indicates that neutrophils generate an innate layer of antimicrobial Ig defense by interacting with MZ B cells.
PMCID: PMC3262910  PMID: 22197976
6.  Prediction of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN2+) using HPV DNA testing after a diagnosis of atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance (ASC-US) in Catalonia, Spain 
A protocol for cervical cancer screening among sexually active women 25 to 65 years of age was introduced in 2006 in Catalonia, Spain to increase coverage and to recommend a 3-year-interval between screening cytology. In addition, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) was offered as a triage test for women with a diagnosis of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US). HPV testing was recommended within 3 months of ASC-US diagnosis. According to protocol, HPV negative women were referred to regular screening including a cytological exam every 3 years while HPV positive women were referred to colposcopy and closer follow-up. We evaluated the implementation of the protocol and the prediction of HPV testing as a triage tool for cervical intraepithelial lesions grade two or worse (CIN2+) in women with a cytological diagnosis of ASC-US.
During 2007-08 a total of 611 women from five reference laboratories in Catalonia with a novel diagnosis of ASC-US were referred for high risk HPV (hrHPV) triage using high risk Hybrid Capture version 2. Using routine record linkage data, women were followed for 3 years to evaluate hrHPV testing efficacy for predicting CIN2+ cases. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the odds ratio for CIN2 +.
Among the 611 women diagnosed with ASC-US, 493 (80.7%) had at least one follow-up visit during the study period. hrHPV was detected in 48.3% of the women at study entry (mean age 35.2 years). hrHPV positivity decreased with increasing age from 72.6% among women younger than 25 years to 31.6% in women older than 54 years (p < 0.01).
At the end of the 3 years follow-up period, 37 women with a diagnosis of CIN2+ (18 CIN2, 16 CIN3, 2 cancers, and 1 with high squamous intraepithelial lesions -HSIL) were identified and all but one had a hrHPV positive test at study entry. Sensitivity to detect CIN2+ of hrHPV was 97.2% (95%confidence interval (CI) = 85.5-99.9) and specificity was 68.3% (95%CI = 63.1-73.2). The odds ratio for CIN2+ was 45.3 (95% CI: 6.2-333.0), when among ASC-US hrHPV positive women were compared to ASC-US hrHPV negative women.
Triage of ASC-US with hrHPV testing showed a high sensitivity for the detection of CIN2+ and a high negative predictive value after 3 years of follow-up. The results of this study are in line with the current guidelines for triage of women with ASC-US in the target age range of 25-65. Non adherence to guidelines will lead to unnecessary medical interventions. Further investigation is needed to improve specificity of ASC-US triage.
PMCID: PMC3332282  PMID: 22280073
Human papillomavirus (HPV); Diagnosis of atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance (ASC-US); Triage; cervical cancer screening; hrHC2 testing
7.  Snail1 Protein in the Stroma as a New Putative Prognosis Marker for Colon Tumours 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5595.
Over-expression of Snail1 gene transcriptional repressor promotes an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in epithelial tumour cell lines. Expression of Snail1 RNA has been associated to the pathogenesis of a number of malignancies; however, the lack of good monoclonal antibodies against this protein has precluded a definitive analysis of Snail1 protein. In this study, we aimed to determine the expression of this transcriptional factor in colorectal tumours. Using a Snail1 well-characterized monoclonal antibody developed in our laboratories we have analyzed by immunohistochemistry a cohort of 162 human colorectal tumours. Ninety tumours (56%) showed nuclear expression in the tumoral tissue and the adjacent stroma; in 34 (21%), Snail1 was detected just in the stroma, whereas in only 4 the expression of Snail1 was detected in the tumoral tissue and the stroma was negative. No correlation was found between the presence of Snail1 in the tumour and tumour stage; however, a trend (p = 0.054) was detected when the expression of this factor in the stroma was considered. Snail1 immunoreactivity in this compartment was associated with presence of distant metastasis (p = 0.006). Moreover, expression of Snail1 in the tumor stroma correlated with lower specific survival of cancer patients (p = 0.011). Interestingly, this correlation was also detected in stage I and II tumors. Therefore, our results indicate that the presence of nuclear Snail1 immunoreactive cells in the stroma may be an informative indicator of prognosis of colon tumours especially useful in those corresponding to lower stages and identify a new marker suitable to label activated stroma in colon tumours.
PMCID: PMC2680015  PMID: 19440385

Results 1-7 (7)