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1.  Awaking Blood Pressure Surge and Progression to Microalbuminuria in Type 2 Normotensive Diabetic Patients 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2015;2016:5876792.
Background. We investigated the predictive value of morning blood pressure surge (MBPS) on the development of microalbuminuria in normotensive adults with a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Methods. Prospective assessments of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and urinary albumin excretion were performed in 377 adult patients. Multivariate-adjusted Cox regression models were used to assess hazard ratios (HRs) between baseline and changes over follow-up in MBPS and the risk of microalbuminuria. The MBPS was calculated as follows: mean systolic BP during the 2 hours after awakening minus mean systolic BP during the 1 hour that included the lowest sleep BP. Results. After a mean follow-up of 6.5 years, microalbuminuria developed in 102 patients. An increase in MBPB during follow-up was associated with an increased risk of microalbuminuria. Compared to individuals in the lowest tertile (−0.67 ± 1.10 mmHg), the HR and 95% CI for microalbuminuria in those in the highest tertile of change (24.86 ± 6.92 mmHg) during follow-up were 17.41 (95% CI 6.26–48.42); p for trend <0.001. Mean SD MBPS significantly increased in those who developed microalbuminuria from a mean [SD] of 10.6 [1.4] to 36.8 [7.1], p < 0.001. Conclusion. An increase in MBPS is associated with the risk of microalbuminuria in normotensive adult patients with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4707331  PMID: 26824045
2.  Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: Role of MicroRNA Changes 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2015;2016:7292564.
Heart failure (HF) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are two growing and related diseases in general population and particularly in elderly people. In selected patients affected by HF and severe dysfunction of left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF), with left bundle brunch block, the cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator (CRT) is the treatment of choice to improve symptoms, NYHA class, and quality of life. CRT effects are related to alterations in genes and microRNAs (miRs) expression, which regulate cardiac processes involved in cardiac apoptosis, cardiac fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy and angiogenesis, and membrane channel ionic currents. Different studies have shown a different prognosis in T2DM patients and T2DM elderly patients treated by CRT-D. We reviewed the literature data on CRT-D effect on adult and elderly patients with T2DM as compared with nondiabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC4655265  PMID: 26636106
3.  Assessing Nephrological Competence among Geriatricians: A Proof of Concept Internet Survey 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0141388.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is highly prevalent in the elderly and negatively impacts survival and health status. Thus, nephrological competence is mandatory for a skilled geriatrician. The present study aimed to assess nephrological competence in a sample of geriatricians recruited through a web survey. To this aim, a 12-items questionnaire was produced by an expert panel of nephrologists and geriatricians and was available online for members of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (SIGG). Two-hundred-eighty-seven geriatricians volunteered to fill in the questionnaire. The majority of them indirectly estimated the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) using mainly the Cockroft-Gault (C-G) formula. Selected nephrological exams, such as urinary Na and serum D-vitamin measurements, did not qualify as routine exams although the majority of geriatricians supplemented their patients with fat-soluble secosteroids. Ten percent of geriatricians asked for nephrological consultation only for stage 5 CKD patients and 30,9% only for stage 4 or 5. Erythropoietin supplementation was common practice for the majority of geriatricians, while only one third of them systematically used a procedure intended to prevent the contrast induced nephropathy (CIN). Finally, an alleged 50% adherence to the international guidelines for the management of CKD patients emerged from the questionnaire. Overall, results from this survey strongly recommend promoting nephrological education among geriatricians. Didactic standards for in training geriatricians need to be updated and the cooperation between geriatrics and nephrological societies promoted.
PMCID: PMC4631491  PMID: 26528530
4.  Gender and telomere length: Systematic review and meta-analysis☆ 
Experimental gerontology  2013;51:15-27.
It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory.
We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression.
Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p = 1.00) or cell type (p = 0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error.
Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.
PMCID: PMC4523138  PMID: 24365661
Gender; Telomere length; Systematic review and meta-analysis; Measurement methods; Epidemiology
5.  Insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, but not metabolic syndrome phenotype, predict 9 years mortality in older adults 
Atherosclerosis  2014;235(2):538-545.
Although metabolic syndrome (MS) is a typical condition of middle-aged/older person, the association between MS and mortality risk has not been confirmed in people over 65 years. We hypothesized that while in the elderly MS phenotype might lose its value in predicting mortality risk, the two core factors of MS, i.e. insulin resistance (IR) and low-grade systemic inflammation (LGSI) would not.
1011 community-dwelling older individuals (InCHIANTI study) were included. MS phenotype was defined by NCEP-ATP-III criteria. IR was calculated by HOMA; high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was measured by ELISA. Subjects were divided into four groups based on presence/absence of IR (HOMA ≥2.27) and LGSI (hs-CRP ≥ 3g/L): Group 1: no IR/LGSI (reference); Group 2: LGSI only; Group 3: IR only; Group 4: IR+LGSI. Hazard Ratios (HR) for 9-years cardiovascular (CVD) and total mortality, according to IR/LGSI groups, were estimated in subjects with (n.311) and without MS by Cox model.
31.8% of subjects with MS phenotype had no IR, 45.3% had no LGSI; moreover, 51% of subjects with both IR and LGSI didn’t display the MS phenotype. MS phenotype was not associated with CVD (HR:1.29; 95%C.I.:0.92–1.81) or total (HR:1.07; 95%C.I.:0.86–1.34) mortality risk, whereas the presence of IR plus LGSI was associated with increased CVD (no MS: HR 2.07, 95%CI:1.12–3.72; MS: HR 9.88, 95%CI:2.18–4), and overall (no MS: HR 1.72, 95%CI:1.001–3.17; MS: HR 1.51, 95%CI:1.02–2.28) mortality risk. The presence of IR (HR: 6.90, 95%CI:1.45–32) or LGSI (HR 7.56, 95%CI:1.63–35) was associated with CVD mortality, only among individuals with MS phenotype.
Among community dwelling older individuals, IR and LGSI, but not MS phenotype, was associated with 9-years overall and CVD mortality risk. Since a reduced “overlap” between MS phenotype and its physiopathological core (IR and LGSI) might be present with aging, we suggest that the definition of MS might be more holistic in advanced age, and probably comprise the measurement of IR and LGSI.
PMCID: PMC4156965  PMID: 24956526
Insulin Resistance; C Reactive Protein; Mortality; Metabolic Syndrome; Elderly
6.  The Cytokinome Profile in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0134594.
Understanding the dynamics of the complex interaction network of cytokines, defined as ‘‘cytokinome’’, can be useful to follow progression and evolution of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from its early stages as well as to define therapeutic strategies. Recently we have evaluated the cytokinome profile in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and/or chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection and/or cirrhosis suggesting specific markers for the different stages of the diseases. Since T2D has been identified as one of the contributory cause of HCC, in this paper we examined the serum levels of cytokines, growth factors, chemokines, as well as of other cancer and diabetes biomarkers in a discovery cohort of patients with T2D, chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and/or CHC-related HCC comparing them with a healthy control group to define a profile of proteins able to characterize these patients, and to recognize the association between diabetes and HCC. The results have evidenced that the serum levels of some proteins are significantly and differently up-regulated in all the patients but they increased still more when HCC develops on the background of T2D. Our results were verified also using a separate validation cohort. Furthermore, significant correlations between clinical and laboratory data characterizing the various stages of this complex disease, have been found. In overall, our results highlighted that a large and simple omics approach, such as that of the cytokinome analysis, supplemented by common biochemical and clinical data, can give a complete picture able to improve the prognosis of the various stages of the disease progression. We have also demonstrated by means of interactomic analysis that our experimental results correlate positively with the general metabolic picture that is emerging in the literature for this complex multifactorial disease.
PMCID: PMC4520685  PMID: 26226632
7.  The ictal bradycardia syndrome: A case report☆ 
We report a case of a 56-year-old man affected by frontal lobe seizures who has developed bradycardia followed by asystole. The patient had a positive family history for epilepsy. In fact, the mother, brothers, and one sister had epilepsy. Furthermore, the patient's two brothers suddenly died of unspecified heart disease at the ages of 26 and 53, respectively. The patient also experienced syncope once or twice a year. Three similar epileptic seizures, without the recurrence of asystole, were registered after pacemaker implantation.
PMCID: PMC4468352  PMID: 26101747
Ictal bradycardia; Asystole; Syncope; Epileptic seizure; Pacemaker
8.  Metabolic syndrome is associated with a poor outcome in patients affected by outflow tract premature ventricular contractions treated by catheter ablation 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of metabolic syndrome (MS) on outcome of catheter ablation (CA) for treatment of frequent premature ventricular contraction beats (PVCs) originating from right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT), left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) or coronary cusps (CUSPs), in patients with normal ventricular systolic function and absence of cardiac structural disease.
In this multicentre prospective study we evaluated 90 patients with frequent PVCs originating from RVOT (n = 68), LVOT (n = 19) or CUSPs (n = 3), treated with CA. According to baseline diagnosis they were divided in patients with MS (n = 24) or without MS (n = 66). The study endpoint was a composite of recurrence of acute or delayed outflow tract ventricular arrhythmia: acute spontaneous or inducible outflow tract ventricular arrhythmia recurrence or recurrence of outflow tract PVCs in holter monitoring at follow up.
Patients with MS compared to patients without MS showed a higher acute post-procedural recurrence of outflow tract PVCs (n = 8, 66.6%, vs. n = 6, 9.0%, p = 0.005). At a mean follow up of 35 (17-43) months survival free of recurrence of outflow tract PVCs was lower in patients with baseline MS compared to patients without MS diagnosis (log-rank test, p < 0.001). In cox regression analysis, only MS was independently associated with study endpoint (HR = 9.655 , 95% CI 3.000-31.0.68 , p < 0.001).
MS is associated with a higher recurrence rate of outflow tract PVCs after CA in patients without structural heart disease.
PMCID: PMC4364311  PMID: 25480761
9.  Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Bioactivity Plays a Prosurvival Role in Older Participants 
The aim of this study was to address the intriguing issue of the role of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 system in longevity looking at the role of different components of IGF system. Vital status was ascertained in 1,197 men and women aged greater than or equal to 65 years from the InCHIANTI study. Hormonal levels were categorized into quartiles, and ratio of IGF-1 to IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1 was calculated. The relationship between hormones and mortality was tested by Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for age, sex, and confounders. During the 8-year follow-up period, 240 died and 957 survived. Lowest quartiles of IGF-1 and IGFBP-1 were considered as reference. Compared with the lowest quartiles, IGF-1 in upper quartiles was a negative predictor of mortality independent of age and sex (p = .01) but not independent of IGFBP-1 and other confounders. IGFBP-1 in second–third quartiles was negatively associated and that in the fourth quartiles was positively associated with risk of death. IGF-1/IGFBP-1 ratio in the lowest quartiles was a strong positive predictor of mortality, in age- and sex-adjusted model (p = .005), and independent of additional confounders (p = .037). High IGFBP-1 and low IGF-1/IGFBP-1 ratio are associated with all-cause mortality in older population.
PMCID: PMC3805296  PMID: 23671288
IGF-1 bioactivity; IGF-binding proteins; Mortality; Older participants.
10.  Comorbidities and Crash Involvement among Younger and Older Drivers 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94564.
Previous studies identified comorbidities as predictors of older driver performance and driving pattern, while the direct impact of comorbidities on road crash risk in elderly drivers is still unknown. The present study is a cross-sectional aimed at investigating the association between levels of comorbidity and crash involvement in adult and elderly drivers. 327 drivers were stratified according to age range in two groups: elderly drivers (age ≥70 years old, referred as older) and adult drivers (age <70 years old, referred as younger). Driving information was obtained through a driving questionnaire. Distance traveled was categorized into low, medium and high on the basis of kilometers driven in a year. CIRS-illness severity (IS) and CIRS-comorbidity indices (CI) in all populations were calculated. Older drivers had a significantly higher crash involvements rate (p = .045) compared with the younger group based on the number of licensed drivers. Dividing comorbidity indices into tertiles among all licensed subjects, the number of current drivers significantly decreased (p<.0001) with increasing level of comorbidity. The number of current drivers among older subjects significantly decreased with increasing comorbidity level (p = .026) while no difference among younger group was found (p = .462). Among younger drivers with increasing comorbidity level, the number of road accidents significantly increased (p = .048) and the logistic regression analysis showed that comorbidity level significantly associated with crash involvement independent of gender and driving exposure. Older subjects with high level of comorbidity are able to self-regulate driving while comorbidity burden represents a significant risk factor for crash involvements among younger drivers.
PMCID: PMC3983211  PMID: 24722619
11.  Association of Plasma Selenium Concentrations with Total IGF-1 Among Older Community-Dwelling Adults: the InCHIANTI Study 
Background and Aims
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) stimulates cell proliferation and inhibits cell apoptosis. Recent studies underline its importance as anabolic hormone and nutritional marker in older individuals. IGF-1 synthesis and bioactivity are modulated by nutritional factors including selenium intake. However, whether circulating IGF-1 levels are positively influenced by plasma selenium, one of the most important human antioxidants, is still unknown.
Selenium and total IGF-1 were measured in 951 men and women ≥65 years from the InCHIANTI study, Tuscany, Italy.
Means (SD) of plasma selenium and total IGF-1 were 0.95 (0.15) µmol/L and 113.4 (31.2) ng/mL, respectively. After adjustment for age and sex, selenium levels were positively associated with total IGF-1 (ß ± SE: 43.76±11.2, p=0.0001).After further adjustment for total energy and alcohol intake, serum alanine amino transferase (ALT), congestive heart failure, selenium remained significantly associated with IGF-1 (β ± SE: 36.7 ± 12.2, p=0.003). The association was still significant when IL-6 was introduced in the model (β ± SE: 40.1 ± 12.0, p=0.0008).
We found an independent, positive and significant association between selenium and IGF-1 serum levels in community dwelling older adults.
PMCID: PMC3963695  PMID: 20416996
aging; total IGF-1; selenium
13.  Reduction of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation by Blunting Daily Acute Glucose Fluctuations in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(10):2076-2082.
Evaluate the effects of two dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-4) inhibitors, sitagliptin and vildagliptin, known to have different efficacy on mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE), on oxidative stress, and on systemic inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes.
A prospective, randomized, open-label PROBE design (parallel group with a blinded end point) study was performed in 90 patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by metformin. The study assigned 45 patients to receive sitagliptin (100 mg once daily; sitagliptin group) and 45 patients to receive vildagliptin (50 mg twice daily; vildagliptin group) for 12 weeks. MAGE, evaluated during 48 h of continuous subcutaneous glucose monitoring, allowed an assessment of daily glucose fluctuations at baseline and after 12 weeks in all patients. Assessment of oxidative stress (nitrotyrosine) and systemic levels of inflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-18 was performed at baseline and after 12 weeks in all patients.
HbA1c, fasting and postprandial glucose, MAGE, and inflammatory and oxidative stress markers were similar between the groups at baseline. After 12 weeks, MAGE (P < 0.01) was lower in the vildagliptin group than in the sitagliptin group. After treatment, HbA1c and postprandial glucose evidenced similar changes between the groups (P = NS). Vildagliptin treatment was associated with a stronger decrease in nitrotyrosine (P < 0.01), IL-6 (P < 0.05), and IL-18 (P < 0.05) than sitagliptin treatment. Nitrotyrosine and IL-6 changes significantly correlated with changes in MAGE but not in fasting glucose and HbA1c.
MAGE reduction is associated with reduction of oxidative stress and markers of systemic inflammation in type 2 diabetic patients. These effects were greater in the vildagliptin group than in the sitagliptin group.
PMCID: PMC3447848  PMID: 22688551
14.  Association of Genetic Variation in Adaptor Protein APPL1/APPL2 Loci with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71391.
The importance of genetics and epigenetic changes in the pathogenesis of non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been increasingly recognized. Adiponectin has a central role in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism and controlling inflammation in insulin-sensitive tissues and low adiponectin levels have been linked to NAFLD. APPL1 and APPL2 are adaptor proteins that interact with the intracellular region of adiponectin receptors and mediate adiponectin signaling and its effects on metabolism. The aim of our study was the evaluation of a potential association between variants at APPL1 and APPL2 loci and NAFLD occurrence. The impact on liver damage and hepatic steatosis severity has been also evaluated. To this aim allele frequency and genotype distribution of APPL1- rs3806622 and -rs4640525 and APPL2-rs 11112412 variants were evaluated in 223 subjects with clinical diagnosis of NAFLD and compared with 231 healthy subjects. The impact of APPL1 and APPL2 SNPs on liver damage and hepatic steatosis severity has been also evaluated. The minor-allele combination APPL1-C/APPL2-A was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD (OR = 2.50 95% CI 1.45–4.32; p<0.001) even after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), triglycerides and adiponectin levels. This allele combination carrier had higher plasma alanine aminotransferase levels (Diff = 15.08 [7.60–22.57] p = 0.001) and an increased frequency of severe steatosis compared to the reference allele combination (OR = 3.88; 95% CI 1.582–9.531; p<0.001). In conclusion, C-APPL1/A-APPL2 allele combination is associated with NAFLD occurrence, with a more severe hepatic steatosis grade and with a reduced adiponectin cytoprotective effect on liver.
PMCID: PMC3747137  PMID: 23977033
15.  Pulse wave velocity is associated with muscle mass decline: Health ABC study 
Age  2011;34(2):469-478.
Age-related mechanisms that lead to sarcopenia are not entirely understood. Basal leg blood flow declines with aging by augmented sympathetic vasoconstriction and arterial stiffening, thus a dysfunction in blood vessel dynamics may have an independent role on sarcopenia. We determined whether pulse wave velocity (PWV), marker of arterial stiffness, was associated with skeletal muscle decline. Observational cohort study of older adults(70–79 years) living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA or Memphis, TN, USA. Analyses included 2,405 participants. Correlations among muscle parameters including skeletal muscle density and intermuscular adipose tissue using mid-thigh CT scans were assessed. Linear mixed models tested the association between the change in the sarcopenic index (SI) (assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) over time and baseline PWV independently of multiple confounders. SI was defined: appendicular lean mass/squared height and calculated at every follow-up (n = 6). Baseline PWV was significantly higher in black women compared to white women (930 ± 431 vs. 843 ± 366; p = 0.0001), while there were no significant differences between black and white men (943 ± 402 vs. 911 ± 375; p = 0.1786). Baseline analyses showed an independent negative association between PWV and muscle parameters after adjusting for confounders in both genders. The PWV-by-race interaction was significant in women and analyses are reported separately by race. Prospective mixed models showed that PWV was an independent determinant of the SI in all men (β = −0.1043; p = 0.0065) and in white women (β = −0.1091; p = 0.0192). In analyses examining the effect of arterial stiffness on limb lean mass over time, PWV correlated with lower leg (β = −0.2196; p = 0.0002)and arm mass (β = −0.0985; p = 0.0011) in all men and lower leg mass(β = −0.1608; p = 0.0027)in white women. In older persons, arterial stiffening is associated with skeletal muscle mass decline differently for race and gender.
PMCID: PMC3312626  PMID: 21479573
Aging; Sarcopenia; Pulse wave velocity; Vascular stiffness
16.  A/ASP/VAL allele combination of IGF1R, IRS2, and UCP2 genes is associated with better metabolic profile, preserved energy expenditure parameters, and low mortality rate in longevity 
Age  2011;34(1):235-245.
A large array of gene involved in human longevity seems to be in relationship with insulin/IGF1 pathway. However, if such genes interact each other, or with other genes, to reduce the age-related metabolic derangement and determine the long-lived phenotype has been poorly investigated. Thus, we tested the role of interchromosomal interactions among IGF1R, IRS2, and UCP2 genes on the probability to reach extreme old age in 722 unrelated Italian subjects (401 women and 321 men; mean age, 62.83 ± 25.30 years) enrolled between 1998 and 1999. In particular, the G/A-IGF1R, Gly/Asp-IRS2, and Ala/Val-UCP2 allele combination was tested for association with longevity, metabolic profile and energy expenditure parameters. The effect on all-cause and cause-specific mortality rate was also assessed after a mean follow-up of 6 years. The analysis revealed that AAV allele combination is associated with a decreased all-cause mortality risk (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.63–0.91; p = 0.03) and with a higher probability to reach the extreme of old age (OR, 3.185; 95% CI, 1.63–6.19; p = 0.0006). The analysis also revealed lower HOMA-IR (Diff, −0.532, 95% CI, 0.886–0.17; p = 0.003), higher respiratory quotient (Diff, 0.0363, 95% CI, 0.014–0.05; p = 0.001), and resting metabolic rate (Diff, 101.80693, 95% CI, −5.26–204.278; p = 0.038) for AAV allele combination. In conclusion, A-IGF1R/Asp-IRS2/Val-UCP2 allele combination is associated with a decreased all-cause mortality risk and with an increased chance of longevity. Such an effect is probably due to the combined effect of IGF1R, IRS2, and UCP2 genes on energy metabolism and on the age-related metabolic remodeling capacity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9210-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3260360  PMID: 21340542
IGF1R/IRS2/UCP2 haplotype; Metabolic profile; Energy expenditure; Longevity; Mortality rate
17.  Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 Inhibition May Facilitate Healing of Chronic Foot Ulcers in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2012;2012:892706.
The pathophysiology of chronic diabetic ulcers is complex and still incompletely understood, both micro- and macroangiopathy strongly contribute to the development and delayed healing of diabetic wounds, through an impaired tissue feeding and response to ischemia. With adequate treatment, some ulcers may last only weeks; however, many ulcers are difficult to treat and may last months, in certain cases years; 19–35% of ulcers are reported as nonhealing. As no efficient therapy is available, it is a high priority to develop new strategies for treatment of this devastating complication. Because experimental and pathological studies suggest that incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 may improves VEGF generation and promote the upregulation of HIF-1α through a reduction of oxidative stress, the study evaluated the effect of the augmentation of GLP-1, by inhibitors of the dipeptidyl peptidase-4, such as vildagliptin, on angiogenesis process and wound healing in diabetic chronic ulcers. Although elucidation of the pathophysiologic importance of these aspects awaits further confirmations, the present study evidences an additional aspect of how DPP-4 inhibition might contribute to improved ulcer outcome.
PMCID: PMC3503302  PMID: 23197976
18.  Cytokinome Profile of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and/or Chronic Hepatitis C Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39486.
Both type 2 diabetes (T2D) and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection are associated with increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Cytokines are known to play an important role not only in the mechanisms of insulin resistance and glucose disposal defects but also in the pathological processes occurring in the liver during viral infection. We evaluated the serum levels of many cytokines, chemokines, adipokines and growth factors in patients with type 2 diabetes, CHC, CHC-related cirrhosis, CHC and type 2 diabetes and CHC-related cirrhosis and type 2 diabetes by BioPlex assay. The obtained data evidenced that the serum levels of some proteins are significantly up-regulated in all the patients or in those with only one disease and are often higher, even if in different amounts, when both diseases are associated. In particular, our results can be useful for the clinical monitoring of patients because they give specific information in regard to the progression from CHC to LC and CHD to LCD. Moreover, some molecules have shown significant correlations with clinical/biochemical data, suggesting the possibility to define mini-panels that can be used as specific markers for the different disease staging. However, our observations demonstrate that an integrated approach is much more powerful than isolated measurements to evaluate specific stages of these two complex pathologies (type 2 diabetes and chronic CHC hepatitis) alone or when they are concomitant in a patient. In fact it has emerged as an accurate, simple, specific, noninvasive, reproducible and less expensive method that, in future, could be included in routine clinical practice to monitor the association of type 2 diabetes and/or CHC to liver cirrhosis and, possibly, to cancer, and to improve the prognosis of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3379982  PMID: 22745767
19.  Effects of PPARs Agonists on Cardiac Metabolism in Littermate and Cardiomyocyte-Specific PPAR-γ –Knockout (CM-PGKO) Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35999.
Understanding the molecular regulatory mechanisms controlling for myocardial lipid metabolism is of critical importance for the development of new therapeutic strategies for heart diseases. The role of PPARγ and thiazolidinediones in regulation of myocardial lipid metabolism is controversial. The aim of our study was to assess the role of PPARγ on myocardial lipid metabolism and function and differentiate local/from systemic actions of PPARs agonists using cardiomyocyte-specific PPARγ –knockout (CM-PGKO) mice. To this aim, the effect of PPARγ, PPARγ/PPARα and PPARα agonists on cardiac function, intra-myocyte lipid accumulation and myocardial expression profile of genes and proteins, affecting lipid oxidation, uptake, synthesis, and storage (CD36, CPT1MIIA, AOX, FAS, SREBP1-c and ADPR) was evaluated in cardiomyocyte-specific PPARγ –knockout (CM-PGKO) and littermate control mice undergoing standard and high fat diet (HFD). At baseline, protein levels and mRNA expression of genes involved in lipid uptake, oxidation, synthesis, and accumulation of CM-PGKO mice were not significantly different from those of their littermate controls. At baseline, no difference in myocardial lipid content was found between CM-PGKO and littermate controls. In standard condition, pioglitazone and rosiglitazone do not affect myocardial metabolism while, fenofibrate treatment significantly increased CD36 and CPT1MIIA gene expression. In both CM-PGKO and control mice submitted to HFD, six weeks of treatment with rosiglitazone, fenofibrate and pioglitazone lowered myocardial lipid accumulation shifting myocardial substrate utilization towards greater contribution of glucose. In conclusion, at baseline, PPARγ does not play a crucial role in regulating cardiac metabolism in mice, probably due to its low myocardial expression. PPARs agonists, indirectly protect myocardium from lipotoxic damage likely reducing fatty acids delivery to the heart through the actions on adipose tissue. Nevertheless a direct non- PPARγ mediated mechanism of PPARγ agonist could not be ruled out.
PMCID: PMC3338561  PMID: 22563432
20.  Mediterranean Diet and Mobility Decline in Older Persons 
Experimental gerontology  2010;46(4):303-308.
We examined whether adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet has positive effects on mobility assessed over a nine-year follow-up in a representative sample of older adults. This research is part of the InCHIANTI Study, a prospective population-based study of older persons in Tuscany, Italy. The sample for this analysis included 935 women and men aged 65 years and older. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed at baseline by the standard 10-unit Mediterranean diet score (MDS). Lower extremity function was measured at baseline, and at the 3, 6 and 9-year follow-up visits using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). At baseline, higher adherence to Mediterranean diet was associated with better lower body performance. Participants with higher adherence experienced less decline in SPPB score, which was of 0.9 points higher (p<.0001) at the 3-year-follow, 1.1 points higher (p= 0.0004) at the 6-year follow-up and 0.9 points higher (p= 0.04) at the 9-year follow-up compared to those with lower adherence. Among participants free of mobility disability at baseline, those with higher adherence had a lower risk (HR=0.71,95%CI=0.51–0.98, p=0.04) of developing new mobility disability. High adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a slower decline of mobility over time in community dwelling older persons. If replicated, this observation is highly relevant in terms of public health.
PMCID: PMC3056167  PMID: 21111801
Mediterranean diet; mobility; SPPB; aging
21.  Potential role of TCF7L2 gene variants on cardiac sympathetic/parasympathetic activity 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2010;18(12):1333-1338.
Variants in transcription factor 7-like 2 (266096218TCF7L2266096218USuser266096218Gene names have been italicized per house style. Please check and confirm whether there are other instances that need to be italicized or instances where italics have been inappropriately applied.) gene have been found strongly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as with an impairment of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) signalling chain. In rats, stimulation of central GLP-1 receptors increases heart rate and activates autonomic regulatory neurons. We aimed to evaluate the potential role of TCF7L2 gene polymorphisms on sympathovagal response in relation to changes in plasma insulin and/or GLP-1 concentration after glucose ingestion. Genotyping was performed for rs12255372 and rs7903146 TCF7L2 gene variants in 250 non-related healthy volunteers (mean age 27±3 years). Consistent with previous reports, both single-nucleotide polymorphisms were in strong linkage disequilibrium (D′=0.87, r2=0.76). A subset of 167 patients underwent an oral glucose tolerance test while a continuous recording of heart rate variability was performed. At baseline, no differences in fasting plasma insulin, in GLP-1 levels and in LF/HF (low frequency/high frequency) ratio between the three genotypes were found. Along with glucose ingestion TT subjects had lower INSAUC (insulin area under curve), as well as higher LF/HFAUC (LF/HF area under curve) values. No difference in GLP-1AUC (GLP-1 area under curve) between TCF7L2 gene variants was found. A multivariate analysis including multiple covariates showed that only INSAUC, GLP-1AUC and TCF7L2 gene variants were independently associated with LF/HFAUC. In conclusion, TT genotype of rs12255372 and rs7903146 TCF7L2 gene variants is associated with lower insulin secretion and higher cardiosympathetic activity. Moreover, such effect is independent of GLP-1 and insulin plasma concentrations suggesting a potential role of such gene variants in increasing cardiovascular risk through enhanced sympathetic nervous system activity.
PMCID: PMC3002850  PMID: 20648057
gene polymorphism; glucose metabolism; cardiac electrophisiology
22.  Relationships Between Daily Acute Glucose Fluctuations and Cognitive Performance Among Aged Type 2 Diabetic Patients 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(10):2169-2174.
The mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE) is a significant determinant of overall metabolic control as well as increased risk for diabetes complications. Older individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have moderate cognitive deficits and structural changes in brain tissue. Considering that poor metabolic control is considered a deranging factor for cognitive performance in diabetic patients, we evaluated whether the contributions of MAGE to cognitive status in older patients with type 2 diabetes were independent from the main markers of glycemic control, such as sustained chronic hyperglycemia (A1C), postprandial glycemia (PPG), and fasting plasma glucose (FPG).
In 121 older patients with type 2 diabetes, 48-h continuous subcutaneous glucose monitoring (CSGM) were assessed. MAGE and PPG were evaluated during CSGM. The relationship of MAGE to performance on cognitive tests was assessed, with adjustment for age, glycemic control markers, and other determinants of cognitive status. The cognitive tests were a composite score of executive and attention functioning and the Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE).
MAGE was significantly correlated with MMSE (r = 0.83; P < 0.001) and with cognition composite score (r = 0.68; P < 0.001). Moreover, MAGE was associated with the MMSE (P < 0.001) and cognition composite score (P < 0.001) independently of age, sex, BMI, waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio, drug intake, physical activity, mean arterial blood pressure, FPG, PPG, and A1C.
MAGE during a daily period was associated with an impairment of cognitive functioning independent of A1C, FPG, and PPG. The present data suggest that interventional trials in older patients with type 2 diabetes should target not only A1C, PPG, and FPG but also daily acute glucose swings.
PMCID: PMC2945154  PMID: 20573753
23.  Altered Oxido-Reductive State in the Diabetic Heart: Loss of Cardioprotection due to Protein Disulfide Isomerase 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(9-10):1012-1021.
Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, in part explained by endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) prevents stressed cardiomyocytes apoptosis. We hypothesized that diabetes impairs PDI function by an alteration in its oxido-reductive state. Myocardial biopsies harvested from the anterolateral left ventricular wall from diabetic (n = 7) and nondiabetic (n = 8) patients were used to assess PDI expression and cardiomyocyte death. A mouse model of diabetes (streptozotocin injection, 130 mg/mL) was used to study PDI expression and its redox state after ischemia/reperfusion injury induced by 30-min occlusion of the left anterior coronary artery followed by reperfusion. Transthoracic echocardiography was performed to assess cardiac remodeling after 1 wk. Western blot analysis was used to analyze PDI expression, and methoxy-polyethyleneglycol-maleimide was used to assess its redox state. Dehydroascorbate (DHA) administration was used to restore the PDI redox state. Diabetic patients had a greater number of transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells than nondiabetic patients despite a greater myocardial PDI expression suggesting altered PDI function. Diabetic mice had a worse postinfarction remodeling associated with an altered PDI redox state. DHA treatment restored functional PDI redox state and ameliorated post–myocardial infarction remodeling. An increase in PDI levels with a paradoxical decrease of its active form occurs in the diabetic heart after ischemia and may explain the lack of protective effects of PDI in diabetes. Restoration of PDI redox state prevents adverse remodeling. The potential significance of these findings deserves to be validated in a clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC3188861  PMID: 21637911
24.  Rosiglitazone and Cognitive Stability in Older Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes and Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(8):1706-1711.
Studies have suggested that insulin resistance plays a role in cognitive impairment in individuals with type 2 diabetes. We aimed to determine whether an improvement in insulin resistance could explain cognitive performance variations over 36 weeks in older individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and type 2 diabetes.
A total of 97 older individuals (mean ± SD age 76 ± 6 years) who had recently (<2 months) started an antidiabetes treatment of metformin (500 mg twice a day) (n = 30) or metformin (500 mg/day)+rosiglitazone (4 mg/day) (n = 32) or diet (n = 35) volunteered. The neuropsychological test battery consisted of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Rey Verbal Auditory Learning Test (RAVLT) total recall, and Trail Making Tests (TMT-A and TMT-B) performed at baseline and every 12 weeks for 36 weeks along with clinical testing.
At baseline, no significant differences were found between groups in clinical or neuropsychological parameters. Mean ± SD values in the entire population were as follows: A1C 7.5 ± 0.5%, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) 8.6 ± 1.3 mmol/l, fasting plasma insulin (FPI) 148 ± 74 pmol/l, MMSE 24.9 ± 2.4, TMT-A 61.6 ± 42.0, TMT-B 162.8 ± 78.7, the difference between TMT-B and TMT-A [DIFFBA] 101.2 ± 58.1, and RAVLT 24.3 ± 2.1. At follow-up, ANOVA models tested changes in metabolic control parameters (FPI, FPG, and A1C). Such parameters improved in the metformin and metformin/rosiglitazone groups (Ptrend < 0.05 in both groups). ANCOVA repeated models showed that results for the metformin/rosiglitazone group remained stable for all neuropsychological tests, and results for the diet group remained stable for the MMSE and TMT-A and declined for the TMT-B (Ptrend = 0.024), executive efficiency (DIFFBA) (Ptrend = 0.026), and RAVLT memory test (Ptrend = 0.011). Results for the metformin group remained stable for the MMSE and TMTs but declined for the RAVLT (Ptrend = 0.011). With use of linear mixed-effects models, the interaction term, FPI × time, correlated with cognitive stability on the RAVLT in the metformin/rosiglitazone group (β = −1.899; P = 0.009).
Rosiglitazone may protect against cognitive decline in older individuals with type 2 diabetes and MCI.
PMCID: PMC2909046  PMID: 20435794
25.  Common Variation in the FTO Gene Alters Diabetes-Related Metabolic Traits to the Extent Expected Given Its Effect on BMI 
Diabetes  2008;57(5):1419-1426.
Common variation in the FTO gene is associated with BMI and type 2 diabetes. Increased BMI is associated with diabetes risk factors, including raised insulin, glucose, and triglycerides. We aimed to test whether FTO genotype is associated with variation in these metabolic traits.
We tested the association between FTO genotype and 10 metabolic traits using data from 17,037 white European individuals. We compared the observed effect of FTO genotype on each trait to that expected given the FTO-BMI and BMI-trait associations.
Each copy of the FTO rs9939609 A allele was associated with higher fasting insulin (0.039 SD [95% CI 0.013–0.064]; P = 0.003), glucose (0.024 [0.001– 0.048]; P = 0.044), and triglycerides (0.028 [0.003– 0.052]; P = 0.025) and lower HDL cholesterol (0.032 [0.008 – 0.057]; P = 0.009). There was no evidence of these associations when adjusting for BMI. Associations with fasting alanine aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl-transferase, LDL cholesterol, A1C, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure were in the expected direction but did not reach P < 0.05. For all metabolic traits, effect sizes were consistent with those expected for the per allele change in BMI. FTO genotype was associated with a higher odds of metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 1.17 [95% CI 1.10 –1.25]; P = 3 × 10−6).
FTO genotype is associated with metabolic traits to an extent entirely consistent with its effect on BMI. Sample sizes of >12,000 individuals were needed to detect associations at P < 0.05. Our findings highlight the importance of using appropriately powered studies to assess the effects of a known diabetes or obesity variant on secondary traits correlated with these conditions.
PMCID: PMC3073395  PMID: 18346983

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