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author:("Cardin, milda")
2.  Oxidative damage in the progression of chronic liver disease to hepatocellular carcinoma: An intricate pathway 
The histo-pathologic and molecular mechanisms leading to initiation and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are still ill-defined; however, there is increasing evidence that the gradual accumulation of mutations, genetic and epigenetic changes which occur in preneoplastic hepatocytes results in the development of dysplastic foci, nodules, and finally, overt HCC. As well as many other neoplasias, liver cancer is considered an “inflammatory cancer”, arising from a context of inflammation, and characterized by inflammation-related mechanisms that favor tumor cell survival, proliferation, and invasion. Molecular mechanisms that link inflammation and neoplasia have been widely investigated, and it has been well established that inflammatory cells recruited at these sites with ongoing inflammatory activity release chemokines that enhance the production of reactive oxygen species. The latter, in turn, probably have a major pathogenic role in the continuum starting from hepatitis followed by chronic inflammation, and ultimately leading to cancer. The relationship amongst chronic liver injury, free radical production, and development of HCC is explored in the present review, particularly in the light of the complex network that involves oxidative DNA damage, cytokine synthesis, telomere dysfunction, and microRNA regulation.
PMCID: PMC3964380  PMID: 24696595
Reactive oxygen species; Viral hepatitis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Telomere dysfunction; Cytokines; mitochondria; Antioxidant mechanisms; MicroRNA and circulating free DNA
3.  5-ASA colonic mucosal concentrations resulting from different pharmaceutical formulations in ulcerative colitis 
AIM: To compare the mucosal concentrations of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) resulting from different pharmaceutical formulations and analyse the influence of inflammation on the mucosal concentrations.
METHODS: The study included 130 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients receiving 5-ASA as pH-dependent-release formulations (73 patients), time-dependent-release formulations (11 patients), or pro-drugs (18 patients). In addition, 28 patients were receiving topical treatment (2-4 g/d) with pH-dependent-release formulations. Endoscopic biopsies were obtained from the sigmoid region during the colonoscopy. The 5-ASA concentrations (ng/mg) were measured in tissue homogenates using high-pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. The t test and Mann-Whitney test, when appropriate, were used for statistical analysis.
RESULTS: Patients receiving pH-dependent-release formulations showed significantly higher mucosal concentrations of 5-ASA (51.75 ± 5.72 ng/mg) compared with patients receiving pro-drugs (33.35 ± 5.78 ng/mg, P = 0.01) or time-dependent-release formulations (38.24 ± 5.53 ng/mg, P = 0.04). Patients with endoscopic remission had significantly higher mucosal concentrations of 5-ASA than patients with active disease (60.14 ± 7.95 ng/mg vs 35.66 ± 5.68 ng/mg, P = 0.02). Similar results were obtained when we compared patients with the histological appearance of remission and patients with active histological inflammation (67.53 ± 9.22 ng/mg vs 35.53 ± 5.63 ng/mg, P < 0.001). Significantly higher mucosal concentrations of 5-ASA were detected in patients treated with both oral and topical treatments in combination compared with patients who received oral treatment with pH-dependent-release formulations alone (72.33 ± 11.23 ng/mg vs 51.75 ± 5.72 ng/mg, P = 0.03).
CONCLUSION: IBD patients showed significant variability in mucosal 5-ASA concentrations depending on the type of formulation, and the highest mean concentration was achieved using pH-dependent-release formulations.
PMCID: PMC3769903  PMID: 24039359
5-aminosalicylic acid; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Mucosal concentration
4.  Autophagy and apoptosis-related genes in chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:118.
Dysregulation of autophagy is important in the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cancer. Several aspects of the biological role of autophagy are however still unclear and the relationship between apoptosis and autophagy, particularly in the liver has yet to be thoroughly explored. In this study we evaluated the expression of Beclin 1 (one of the main autophagocytic agents, which bridges autophagy, apoptosis and both differentiation), and both pro- (Bad, Bax) and anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL) factors in liver samples from patients with different stages of liver disease.
The study concerned 93 patients from 49 cases of chronic hepatitis (CH) (30 HCV and 19 HBV-related), 13 of cirrhosis (CIRR) (10 HCV and 3 HBV-related), 21 of hepatocellular carcinoma (both HCC and peritumoral tissues [PHCC]), and 10 controls (CONTR). Real-time PCR and Western blotting were used to measure mRNA and protein expression levels.
Beclin 1 mRNA levels were lower in HCC than in CH (P = 0.010) or CIRR (P = 0.011), and so were the Bcl-xL transcripts (P < 0.0001). Bad mRNA levels were higher in CH and CIRR than in CONTR, while Bax transcripts were increased in all tissues (P = 0.036). PHCC expressed the highest Bcl-2 mRNA levels. HBV-related CH tissues showed significantly higher Bcl-xL and Bad mRNA levels than HCV-related CH (P = 0.003 and P = 0.016, respectively).
High Beclin 1, Bcl-xL and Bad levels in CH and CIRR tissues suggest an interaction between autophagy and apoptosis in the early and intermediate stages of viral hepatitis. In HCC these processes seem to be downregulated, probably enabling the survival and growth of neoplastic hepatocytes.
PMCID: PMC3449193  PMID: 22928777
Autophagy; B and C virus infection; Beclin 1; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Pro- and anti-apoptotic factors.
5.  Disinfection of Ocular Cells and Tissues by Atmospheric-Pressure Cold Plasma 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33245.
Low temperature plasmas have been proposed in medicine as agents for tissue disinfection and have received increasing attention due to the frequency of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. This study explored whether atmospheric-pressure cold plasma (APCP) generated by a new portable device that ionizes a flow of helium gas can inactivate ocular pathogens without causing significant tissue damage.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We tested the APCP effects on cultured Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus and Herpes simplex virus-1, ocular cells (conjunctival fibroblasts and keratocytes) and ex-vivo corneas. Exposure to APCP for 0.5 to 5 minutes significantly reduced microbial viability (colony-forming units) but not human cell viability (MTT assay, FACS and Tunel analysis) or the number of HSV-1 plaque-forming units. Increased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) in exposed microorganisms and cells were found using a FACS-activated 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate probe. Immunoassays demonstrated no induction of thymine dimers in cell cultures and corneal tissues. A transient increased expression of 8-OHdG, genes and proteins related to oxidative stress (OGG1, GPX, NFE2L2), was determined in ocular cells and corneas by HPLC, qRT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
A short application of APCP appears to be an efficient and rapid ocular disinfectant for bacteria and fungi without significant damage on ocular cells and tissues, although the treatment of conjunctival fibroblasts and keratocytes caused a time-restricted generation of intracellular ROS and oxidative stress-related responses.
PMCID: PMC3303808  PMID: 22432007
6.  Antioxidative potential of a combined therapy of anti TNFα and Zn acetate in experimental colitis 
AIM: To evaluate whether combination therapy with anti-tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) antibody and Zn acetate is beneficial in dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) colitis.
METHODS: Colitis was induced in CD1-Swiss mice with 5% DSS for 7 d. The experimental mice were then randomised into the following subgroups: standard diet + DSS treated (induced colitis group); standard diet + DSS + subcutaneous 25 μg anti-TNFα treated group; Zn acetate treated group + DSS + subcutaneous 25 μg anti-TNFα; standard diet + DSS + subcutaneous 6.25 μg anti-TNFα treated group and Zn acetate treated group + DSS + subcutaneous 6.25 μg anti-TNFα. Each group of mice was matched with a similar group of sham control animals. Macroscopic and histological features were scored blindly. Homogenates of the colonic mucosa were assessed for myeloperoxidase activity as a biochemical marker of inflammation and DNA adducts (8OH-dG) as a measure of oxidative damage.
RESULTS: DSS produced submucosal erosions, ulcers, inflammatory cell infiltration and cryptic abscesses which were reduced in both groups of mice receiving either anti-TNFα alone or combined with zinc. The effect was more pronounced in the latter group (vs Zn diet, P < 0.02). Myeloperoxidase activity (vs controls, P < 0.02) and DNA adducts, greatly elevated in the DSS fed colitis group (vs controls, P < 0.05), were significantly reduced in the treated groups, with a more remarkable effect in the group receiving combined therapy (vs standard diet, P < 0.04).
CONCLUSION: DSS induces colonic inflammation which is modulated by the administration of anti-TNFα. Combining anti-TNFα with Zn acetate offers marginal benefit in colitis severity.
PMCID: PMC3203360  PMID: 22039323
Anti tumor necrosis factor α; Experimental colitis; Inflammatory bowel disease; Oxidative damage; Zinc
7.  Bax Inhibitor-1 down-regulation in the progression of chronic liver diseases 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:35.
Bax inhibitor-1 (BI-1) is an evolutionary conserved endoplasmic reticulum protein that, when overexpressed in mammalian cells, suppresses the apoptosis induced by Bax, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family. The aims of this study were: (1) to clarify the role of intrinsic anti- and pro-apoptotic mediators, evaluating Bax and BI-1 mRNA and protein expressions in liver tissues from patients with different degrees of liver damage; (2) to determine whether HCV and HBV infections modulate said expression.
We examined 62 patients: 39 with chronic hepatitis (CH) (31 HCV-related and 8 HBV-related); 7 with cirrhosis (6 HCV-related and 1 HBV-related); 13 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) [7 in viral cirrhosis (6 HCV- and 1 HBV-related), 6 in non-viral cirrhosis]; and 3 controls. Bax and BI-1 mRNAs were quantified by real-time PCR, and BI-1 protein expression by Western blot.
CH tissues expressed significantly higher BI-1 mRNA levels than cirrhotic tissues surrounding HCC (P < 0.0001) or HCC (P < 0.0001). Significantly higher Bax transcripts were observed in HCV-genotype-1-related than in HCV-genotype-3-related CH (P = 0.033). A positive correlation emerged between BI-1 and Bax transcripts in CH tissues, even when HCV-related CH and HCV-genotype-1-related CH were considered alone (P = 0.0007, P = 0.0005 and P = 0.0017, respectively).
BI-1 expression is down-regulated as liver damage progresses. The high BI-1 mRNAs levels observed in early liver disease may protect virus-infected cells against apoptosis, while their progressive downregulation may facilitate hepatocellular carcinogenesis. HCV genotype seems to have a relevant role in Bax transcript expression.
PMCID: PMC2873598  PMID: 20359348
8.  Tumor marker utility and prognostic relevance of cathepsin B, cathepsin L, urokinase-type plasminogen activator, plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1, CEA and CA 19-9 in colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:194.
Cathepsin B and L (CATB, CATL), urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its inhibitor PAI-1 play an important role in colorectal cancer invasion. The tumor marker utility and prognostic relevance of these proteases have not been evaluated in the same experimental setting and compared with that of CEA and CA-19-9.
Protease, CEA and CA 19-9 serum or plasma levels were determined in 56 patients with colorectal cancer, 25 patients with ulcerative colitis, 26 patients with colorectal adenomas and 35 tumor-free control patients. Protease, CEA, CA 19-9 levels have been determined by ELISA and electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, respectively; their sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic accuracy have been calculated and correlated with clinicopathological staging.
The protease antigen levels were significantly higher in colorectal cancer compared with other groups. Sensitivity of PAI-1 (94%), CATB (82%), uPA (69%), CATL (41%) were higher than those of CEA or CA 19-9 (30% and 18%, respectively). PAI-1, CATB and uPA demonstrated a better accuracy than CEA or CA 19-9. A combination of PAI-1 with CATB or uPA exhibited the highest sensitivity value (98%). High CATB, PAI-1, CEA and CA 19-9 levels correlated with advanced Dukes stages. CATB (P = 0.0004), CATL (P = 0.02), PAI-1 (P = 0.01) and CA 19-9 (P = 0.004) had a significant prognostic impact. PAI-1 (P = 0.001), CATB (P = 0.04) and CA 19-9 (P = 0.02) proved as independent prognostic variables.
At the time of clinical detection proteases are more sensitive indicators for colorectal cancer than the commonly used tumor markers. Determinations of CATB, CATL and PAI-1 have a major prognostic impact in patients with colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC2474636  PMID: 18616803
9.  Oxidative damage, pro-inflammatory cytokines, TGF-α and c-myc in chronic HCV-related hepatitis and cirrhosis 
AIM: To assess whether a correlation exists between oxidative DNA damage occurring in chronic HCV-related hepatitis and expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, TGF-α and c-myc.
METHODS: The series included 37 patients with chronic active HCV-related hepatitis and 11 with HCV-related compensated cirrhosis. Eight-hydroxydeoxyguanosine in liver biopsies was quantified using an electrochemical detector. The mRNA expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, TGF-α and c-myc in liver specimens was detected by semi-quantitative comparative RT-PCR.
RESULTS: TNF-α levels were significantly higher in hepatitis patients than in cirrhosis patients (P = 0.05). IL-1β was higher in cirrhosis patients (P = 0.05). A significant correlation was found between TNF-α and staging (P = 0.05) and between IL-1β levels and grading (P = 0.04). c-myc showed a significantly higher expression in cirrhosis patients (P = 0.001). Eight-hydroxydeoxyguanosine levels were significantly higher in cirrhosis patients (P = 0.05) and in HCV genotype 1 (P = 0.03). Considering all patients, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine levels were found to be correlated with genotype (P = 0.04) and grading (P = 0.007). Also multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated a significant correlation among the number of DNA adducts, TNF-α expression and HCV genotype (P = 0.02).
CONCLUSION: In chronic HCV-related liver damage, oxidative DNA damage correlates with HCV genotype, grading and TNF-α levels. As HCV-related liver damage progresses, TNF-α levels drop while IL-1β and c-myc levels increase, which may be relevant to liver carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4087686  PMID: 16610058
Oxidative DNA damage; Chronic HCV-related hepatitis; Inflammatory mediators

Results 1-9 (9)