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1.  Calcium micro-depositions in jugular truncular venous malformations revealed by Synchrotron-based XRF imaging 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6540.
It has been recently demonstrated that the internal jugular vein may exhibit abnormalities classified as truncular venous malformations (TVMs). The investigation of possible morphological and biochemical anomalies at jugular tissue level could help to better understand the link between brain venous drainage and neurodegenerative disorders, recently found associated with jugular TVMs. To this end we performed sequential X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyses on jugular tissue samples from two TVM patients and two control subjects, using complementary energies at three different synchrotrons. This investigation, coupled with conventional histological analyses, revealed anomalous micro-formations in the pathological tissues and allowed the determination of their elemental composition. Rapid XRF analyses on large tissue areas at 12.74 keV showed an increased Ca presence in the pathological samples, mainly localized in tunica adventitia microvessels. Investigations at lower energy demonstrated that the high Ca level corresponded to micro-calcifications, also containing P and Mg. We suggest that advanced synchrotron XRF micro-spectroscopy is an important analytical tool in revealing biochemical changes, which cannot be accessed by conventional investigations. Further research on a larger number of samples is needed to understand the pathogenic significance of Ca micro-depositions detected on the intramural vessels of vein walls affected by TVMs.
PMCID: PMC4187013  PMID: 25286775
2.  Acute oxygenation changes on ischemic foot of a novel intermittent pneumatic compression device and of an existing sequential device in severe peripheral arterial disease 
Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) improves haemodynamics in peripheral arterial disease (PAD), but its effects on foot perfusion were scarcely studied. In severe PAD patients we measured the foot oxygenation changes evoked by a novel intermittent IPC device (GP), haemodynamics and compliance to the treatment. Reference values were obtained by a sequential foot-calf device (SFC).
Twenty ischemic limbs (Ankle-Brachial Index = 0.5 ± 0.2) of 12 PAD patients (7 male, age: 74.5 ± 10.8 y) with an interval of 48 ± 2 hours received a 35 minute treatment in supine position with two IPC devices: i) a Gradient Pump (GP), which slowly inflates a single thigh special sleeve and ii) an SFC (ArtAssist®, ACI Medical, San Marcos, CA, USA), which rapidly inflates two foot-calf sleeves. Main outcome measure: changes of oxygenated haemoglobin at foot (HbO2foot) by continuous near-infrared spectroscopy recording and quantified as area-under-curve (AUC) for periods of 5 minutes. Other measures: haemodynamics by echo-colour Doppler (time average velocity (TAV) and blood flow (BF) in the popliteal artery and in the femoral vein), patient compliance by a properly developed form.
All patients completed the treatment with GP, 9 with SFC. HbO2foot during the working phase, considered as average value of the 5 minutes periods, increased with GP (AUC 458 ± 600 to 1216 ± 280) and decreased with SFC (AUC 231 ± 946 to −1088 ± 346), significantly for most periods (P < 0.05). The GP treatment was associated to significant haemodynamic changes from baseline to end of the treatment (TAV = 10.2 ± 3.3 to 13.5 ± 5.5 cm/sec, P = 0.004; BF = 452.0 ± 187.2 to 607.9 ± 237.8 ml/sec, P = 0.0001), not observed with SFC (TAV = 11.2 ± 3.4 to 11.8 ± 4.3 cm/sec; BF = 513.8 ± 203.7 to 505.9 ± 166.5 ml/min, P = n.s.). GP obtained a higher score of patient compliance (P < 0.0001).
A novel IPC thigh device, unlike a traditional SFC device, increased foot oxygenation in severe PAD, together with favourable haemodynamic response and high compliance to the treatment under the present experimental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3978124  PMID: 24684834
Intermittent pneumatic compression devices; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Peripheral vascular disease; Perfusion; Critical limb ischemia
3.  Modulation of Circulating Cytokine-Chemokine Profile in Patients Affected by Chronic Venous Insufficiency Undergoing Surgical Hemodynamic Correction 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:473765.
The expression of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines has been reported in in vitro/ex vivo settings of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), but the identification of circulating mediators that might be associated with altered hemodynamic forces or might represent innovative biomarkers is still missing. In this study, the circulating levels of 31 cytokines/chemokines involved in inflammatory/angiogenic processes were analysed in (i) CVI patients at baseline before surgical hemody namic correction, (ii) healthy subjects, and (iii) CVI patients after surgery. In a subgroup of CVI patients, in whom the baseline levels of cytokines/chemokines were analyzed in paired blood samples obtained from varicose vein and forearm vein, EGF, PDGF, and RANTES were increased at the varicose vein site as compared to the general circulation. Moreover, while at baseline, CVI patients showed increased levels of 14 cytokines/chemokines as compared to healthy subjects, 6 months after surgery, 11 cytokines/chemokines levels were significantly reduced in the treated CVI patients as compared to the CVI patients before surgery. Of note, a patient who exhibited recurrence of the disease 6 months after surgery, showed higher levels of EGF, PDGF, and RANTES compared to nonrecurrent patients, highlighting the potential role of the EGF/PDGF/RANTES triad as sensitive biomarkers in the context of CVI.
PMCID: PMC3984831  PMID: 24741602
4.  Inhibitory Effect of Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compounds on Cytokines Released by Chronic Venous Disease Patient-Derived Endothelial Cells 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:423407.
Large vein endothelium plays important roles in clinical diseases such as chronic venous disease (CVD) and thrombosis; thus to characterize CVD vein endothelial cells (VEC) has a strategic role in identifying specific therapeutic targets. On these bases we evaluated the effect of the natural anti-inflammatory compounds α-Lipoic acid and Ginkgoselect phytosome on cytokines/chemokines released by CVD patient-derived VEC. For this purpose, we characterized the levels of a panel of cytokines/chemokines (n = 31) in CVD patients' plasma compared to healthy controls and their release by VEC purified from the same patients, in unstimulated and TNF-α stimulated conditions. Among the cytokines/chemokines released by VEC, which recapitulated the systemic profile (IL-8, TNF-α, GM-CSF, INF-α2, G-CSF, MIP-1β, VEGF, EGF, Eotaxin, MCP-1, CXCL10, PDGF, and RANTES), we identified those targeted by ex vivo treatment with α-Lipoic acid and/or Ginkgoselect phytosome (GM-CSF, G-CSF, CXCL10, PDGF, and RANTES). Finally, by investigating the intracellular pathways involved in promoting the VEC release of cytokines/chemokines, which are targeted by natural anti-inflammatory compounds, we documented that α-Lipoic acid significantly counteracted TNF-α-induced NF-κB and p38/MAPK activation while the effects of Ginkgo biloba appeared to be predominantly mediated by Akt. Our data provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of CVD pathogenesis, highlighting new potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3893784  PMID: 24489443
5.  GM-CSF Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity on Endothelial Cells Derived from Chronic Venous Disease Patients 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:561689.
Twenty patients affected by chronic venous disease (CVD) in tertiary venous network and/or saphenous vein were analyzed before surgical ablation by echo-color-doppler for the hemodynamic parameters reflux time (RT) and resistance index (RI), a negative and a positive prognostic factor, respectively. RT and RI were next correlated with relevant in vitro parameters of venous endothelial cells (VEC) obtained from surgical specimens, such as cell migration in response to serum gradient, proliferation index, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 expression, as well as cytokines release. Of interest, ICAM-1 expression in patient-derived VEC cultures correlated positively with RT and negatively with RI. Moreover, RT showed a positive correlation with the baseline osteoprotegerin (OPG) expression by VEC and an inverse correlation with VEC proliferation index. On the other hand, RI correlated positively with TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) expression. Among the cytokines released by VEC, GM-CSF showed a positive correlation with VEC proliferation and TRAIL expression and a negative correlation with OPG, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression. Since in vitro recombinant GM-CSF induced VEC proliferation and counteracted the induction of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and OPG upon exposure to TNF-α, our data suggest an anti-inflammatory activity of GM-CSF on venous endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3845402  PMID: 24327798
6.  An ultrasound model to calculate the brain blood outflow through collateral vessels: a pilot study 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:81.
The quantification of the flow returning from the head through the cervical veins and the collaterals of the internal jugular vein (IJV), is becoming of prominent interest in clinical practice. We developed a novel model to calculate the cerebral venous return, normalized to the arterial inflow, in the different segments of the IJV.
We assessed, by established Echo Colour Doppler (ECD) methodology, the head inflow (HBinF) defined as the sum of common carotids and vertebral arteries, as well as the cerebral flow (CBF) defined as the sum of internal carotid and vertebral arteries. We also assessed the head outflow (HBoutF) defined as the sum of the measurements at the junction of the IJV and the vertebral veins. In addition, we also calculated the collateral flow index (CFI) by estimating the flow which re-enters directly into the superior vena cava as the amount of blood extrapolated by the difference between the HBinF and the HBoutF. We preliminarily tested the model by comparing ten healthy controls (HC) with ten patients affected by chronic cerebral spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), a condition characterized by some blockages in the IJV which are bypassed by collateral circulation.
In HC the HBinF was 956+-105ml/min, whereas the HBoutF was > 90% of the HBinF, leading to a final CFI value of 1%. The last result shows that a very small amount of blood is drained by the collaterals. In upright we confirmed a reduction of the outflow through the IJV which increased CFI to 9%. When we applied the model to CCSVI, the HBinF was not significantly different from controls. In supine, the flow of CCSVI patients in the IJV junction was significantly lower (p < 0.001) while the correspondent CFI value significantly increased (61%, p < 0.0002).
Our preliminary application of the novel model in the clinical setting suggests the pivotal role of the collateral network in draining the blood into the superior vena cava under CCSVI condition.
PMCID: PMC3720253  PMID: 23845008
Chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency; CCSVI; Internal jugular vein; IJV; Echo colour doppler; Model; Ultrasound; Haemodynamics; Cerebral outflow
7.  Muscle oxygen consumption by NIRS and mobility in multiple sclerosis patients 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:52.
The study of muscle metabolism by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been poorly implemented in multiple sclerosis (MS). Aims of the study were to compare resting muscle oxygen consumption (rmVO2) at gastrocnemius in MS patients and in age-matched healthy controls (HC) measured using NIRS, and to evaluate its possible relationship with patients’ mobility.
Twenty-eight consecutively enrolled MS patients (male, n = 16; age = 42.7 ± 14.0 y, Relapsing-Remitting, n = 19; Primary-Progressive, n = 9) and 22 HC (male, n = 13; age = 36.0 ± 8.2 y) were studied during rest applying the NIRS probes at gastrocnemius, producing a venous occlusion at the thigh using a cuff, and analyzing the slope of the total hemoglobin to calculate rmVO2. Mobility was assessed by a 6-Minute Walking Test and 6-Minute Walking Distance (6MWD) was recorded.
rmVO2 was higher in MS compared to HC (0.059 ± 0.038 vs 0.039 ± 0.016 mlO2/min/100 g, P < 0.003), not different in clinical subtypes, not correlated to patients’ characteristics (age, disease duration, Expanded Disability Status Scale, resting heart rate, skinfold thickness), and significantly higher in patients with lower walking ability (6MWD < 450 m, n = 12) compared to those at better performance (respectively, 0.072 ± 0.043 vs 0.049 ± 0.032 mlO2/min/100 g, P = 0.03).
rmVO2 values, significantly higher in MS patients compared to HC, and in low versus high performing patients, might represent a marker of peripheral adaptations occurred to sustain mobility, as observed in other chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3717115  PMID: 23718840
Multiple sclerosis; Muscle metabolism; Non-invasive; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Oxygen consumption
8.  Theranostic Implications of Nanotechnology in Multiple Sclerosis: A Future Perspective 
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:160830.
Multiple Sclerosis is a multifactorial disease with several pathogenic mechanisms and pathways. Successful MS management and medical care requires early accurate diagnosis along with specific treatment protocols based upon multifunctional nanotechnology approach. This paper highlights advances in nanotechnology that have enabled the clinician to target the brain and CNS in patient with multiple sclerosis with nanoparticles having therapeutic and imaging components. The multipartite theranostic (thera(py) + (diag)nostics) approach puts forth strong implications for medical care and cure in MS. The current nanotheranostics utilize tamed drug vehicles and contain cargo, targeting ligands, and imaging labels for delivery to specific tissues, cells, or subcellular components. A brief overview of nonsurgical nanorepair advances as future perspective is also described. Considering the potential inflammatory triggers in MS pathogenesis, a multifunctional nanotechnology approach will be needed for the prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3546454  PMID: 23346386
9.  Efficacy and safety of venous angioplasty of the extracranial veins for multiple sclerosis. Brave dreams study (brain venous drainage exploited against multiple sclerosis): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:183.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system with a disabling progressive course. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) has recently been described as a vascular condition characterized by restricted venous outflow from the brain, mainly due to blockages of the internal jugular and azygos veins. Despite a wide variability among studies, it has been found to be associated with MS. Data from a few small case series suggest possible improvement of the clinical course and quality of life by performing percutaneous balloon angioplasty (PTA) of the stenotic veins.
Study design and methods
This is a multicenter, randomized, parallel group, blinded, sham-controlled trial to assess the efficacy and safety of PTA. Participants with relapsing remitting MS or secondary progressive MS and a sonographic diagnosis of CCSVI will be enrolled after providing their informed consent. Each participant will be centrally randomized to receive catheter venography and PTA or catheter venography and sham PTA. Two primary end points with respect to efficacy at 12 months are (1) a combined end point obtained through the integration of five functional indicators, walking, balance, manual dexterity, bladder control, and visual acuity, objectively measured by instruments; and (2) number of new brain lesions measured by T2-weighted MRI sequences. Secondary end points include annual relapse rate, change in Expanded Disability Status Scale score, proportion of patients with zero, one or two, or more than two relapses; fatigue; anxiety and depression; general cognitive state; memory/attention/calculus; impact of bladder incontinence; and adverse events. Six hundred seventy-nine patients will be recruited. The follow-up is scheduled at 12 months. Patients, treating neurologists, trained outcome assessors, and the statistician in charge of data analysis will be masked to the assigned treatment.
The study will provide an answer regarding the efficacy of PTA on patients’ functional disability in balance, motor, sensory, visual and bladder function, cognitive status, and emotional status, which are meaningful clinical outcomes, beyond investigating the effects on inflammation. In fact, an important part of patients’ expectations, sustained and amplified by anecdotal data, has to do precisely with these functional aspects.
Trial registration NCT01371760
PMCID: PMC3567958  PMID: 23034121
Multiple sclerosis; Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency; Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty; Functional disability
10.  Investigation of in vitro cytotoxicity of the redox state of ionic iron in neuroblastoma cells 
there is an intimate relation between transition metals and cell homeostasis due to the physiological necessity of metals in vivo. Particularly, iron (ferrous and ferric state) is utilized in many physiological processes of the cell but in excess has been linked with negative role contributing in many neurodegenerative processes.
the aim of this study was to investigate which oxidation state of ionic iron (Ferrous (II) versus Ferric (III)) is more toxic to neuronal cells (SHSY5Y).
Materials and Methods:
The neuroblastoma (SHSY5Y) cells were exposed to varying concentration of ferric and ferrous iron. Morphological studies using immunofluorescence staining and microscopic analysis as confirmed by intracellular glutathione (GSH) test demonstrated oxidative stress to cells in iron microenvironment. In addition, MTT assay was performed to evaluate the viability and metabolic state of the cells.
the results showed that ferrous form has significantly higher toxicity compared to the ferric ionic state of higher concentration. In addition, microscopic analysis shows cell fenestration at higher concentrations and swelling at intermediate ferric dosages as demonstrated by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Interestingly, the addition of a differentiation inducing factor, trans-retinoic rcid (RA) retains significant viability and morphological features of the cells irrespective of the ionic state of the iron. AFM images revealed clustered aggregates arising from iron chelation with RA.
the results indicate that Fe (II) has more toxic effects on cells. In addition, it could be an interesting finding with respect to the antioxidant properties of RA as a chelating agent for the neurodegenerative therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3505322  PMID: 23188983
AFM; glutathione; immunostaining; metallomics; MRI
11.  Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins are associated with disability, severity, and early progression in multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:70.
Iron involvement/imbalance is strongly suspected in multiple sclerosis (MS) etiopathogenesis, but its role is quite debated. Iron deposits encircle the veins in brain MS lesions, increasing local metal concentrations in brain parenchyma as documented by magnetic resonance imaging and histochemical studies. Conversely, systemic iron overload is not always observed. We explored the role of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the main iron homeostasis genes in MS patients.
By the pyrosequencing technique, we investigated 414 MS cases [Relapsing-remitting (RR), n=273; Progressive, n=141, of which: Secondary (SP), n=103 and Primary (PP), n=38], and 414 matched healthy controls. Five SNPs in 4 genes were assessed: hemochromatosis (HFE: C282Y, H63D), ferroportin (FPN1: -8CG), hepcidin (HEPC: -582AG), and transferrin (TF: P570S).
The FPN1-8GG genotype was overrepresented in the whole MS population (OR=4.38; 95%CI, 1.89-10.1; P<0.0001) and a similar risk was found among patients with progressive forms. Conversely, the HEPC -582GG genotype was overrepresented only in progressive forms (OR=2.53; 95%CI, 1.34-4.78; P=0.006) so that SP and PP versus RR yielded significant outputs (P=0.009). For almost all SNPs, MS disability score (EDSS), severity score (MSSS), as well as progression index (PI) showed a significant increase when comparing homozygotes versus individuals carrying other genotypes: HEPC -582GG (EDSS, 4.24±2.87 vs 2.78±2.1; P=0.003; MSSS, 5.6±3.06 vs 3.79±2.6; P=0.001); FPN1-8GG (PI, 1.11±2.01 vs 0.6±1.31; P=0.01; MSSS, 5.08±2.98 vs 3.85±2.8; P=0.01); HFE 63DD (PI, 1.63±2.6 vs 0.6±0.86; P=0.009). Finally, HEPC -582G-carriers had a significantly higher chance to switch into the progressive form (HR=3.55; 1.83-6.84; log-rank P=0.00006).
Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins, in the presence of local iron overload, might be responsible for suboptimal iron handling. This might account for the significant variability peculiar to MS phenotypes, particularly affecting MS risk and progression paving the way for personalized pharmacogenetic applications in the clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3490944  PMID: 22883388
12.  Endothelial Cells Obtained from Patients Affected by Chronic Venous Disease Exhibit a Pro-Inflammatory Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39543.
The inflammatory properties of vein endothelium in relation to chronic venous disease (CVD) have been poorly investigated. Therefore, new insights on the characteristics of large vein endothelium would increase our knowledge of large vessel physiopathology.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Surgical specimens of veins were obtained from the tertiary venous network (R3) and/or saphenous vein (SF) of patients affected by CVD and from control individuals. Highly purified venous endothelial cell (VEC) cultures obtained from CVD patients were characterized for morphological, phenotypic and functional properties compared to control VEC. An increase of CD31/PECAM-1, CD146 and ICAM-1 surface levels was documented at flow cytometry in pathological VEC with respect to normal controls. Of note, the strongest expression of these pro-inflammatory markers was observed in VEC obtained from patients with more advanced disease. Similarly, spontaneous cell proliferation and resistance to starvation was higher in pathological than in normal VEC, while the migratory response of VEC showed an opposite trend, being significantly lower in VEC obtained from pathological specimens. In addition, in keeping with a higher baseline transcriptional activity of NF-kB, the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines osteoprotegerin (OPG) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was higher in pathological VEC cultures with respect to control VEC. Interestingly, there was a systemic correlation to these in vitro data, as demonstrated by higher serum OPG and VEGF levels in CVD patients with respect to normal healthy controls.
Taken together, these data indicate that large vein endothelial cells obtained from CVD patients exhibit a pro-inflammatory phenotype, which might significantly contribute to systemic inflammation in CVD patients.
PMCID: PMC3380919  PMID: 22737245
13.  Venous angioplasty in multiple sclerosis: neurological outcome at two years in a cohort of relapsing-remitting patients 
Functional Neurology  2012;27(1):55-59.
An open study was conducted with the aim of reporting long-term clinical outcome of endovascular treatment for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Twenty-nine patients with clinically definite relapsing-remitting MS underwent percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for CCSVI, outside a clinical relapse. All the patients were regularly observed over at least two years before the first endovascular treatment and for at least two years after it (mean post-procedure follow up 30.6±6.1 months). The following clinical outcome measures were used: annual relapse rate and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. All the patients were observed intensively (mean 6 hours) on the day of the endovascular treatment to monitor for possible complications (bleeding, shock, heart attack, death).
We compared the annual relapse rate before and after treatment (in the two years before and the two years after the first endovascular treatment) and the EDSS score recorded two years before versus two years after the treatment.
Overall, 44 endovascular procedures were performed in the 29 patients, without complications. Thirteen of the 29 patients (45%) underwent more than one treatment session because of venous re-stenosis: 11 and two patients underwent two and three endovascular treatments respectively.
The annual relapse rate of MS was significantly lower post-procedure (0.45±0.62 vs 0.76±0.99; p=0.021), although it increased in four patients. The EDSS score two years after treatment was significantly lower compared to the EDSS score recorded at the examination two years before treatment (1.98±0.92 vs 2.27±0.93; p=0.037), although it was higher in four patients. Endovascular treatment of concurrent CCSVI seems to be safe and repeatable and may reduce annual relapse rates and cumulative disability in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Randomized controlled studies are needed to further assess the clinical effects of endovascular treatment of CCSVI in MS.
PMCID: PMC3812752  PMID: 22687168
multiple sclerosis; neurological outcome; venous angioplasty
14.  Screening for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) using ultrasound. Recommendations for a protocol  
Functional Neurology  2012;26(4): 229 - 248 .
Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) is a syndrome characterized by stenoses or obstructions of the internal jugular and/or azygos veins with disturbed flow and formation of collateral venous channels. Ultrasound and venographic studies of the internal jugular and azygos venous systems in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have demonstrated a high prevalence of CCSVI (mean 71%, range 0–100%; n=1336) associated with activation of collaterals. By contrast, ultrasound and venographic examinations of normal controls and patients without MS have demonstrated a much lower prevalence (mean 7.1%, range 0–22%; n=505).
Ultrasound in the form of duplex scanning uses a combination of physiological measurements as well as anatomical imaging and has been used for the detection of CCSVI by different centers with variable results. A high prevalence of obstructive lesions, ranging from 62% to 100%, has been found by some teams in patients with MS compared with a low prevalence (0–25%) in controls. However, others have reported absence of these lesions or a lower prevalence (16–52%). This variability could be the result of differences in technique, training, experience or criteria used.
In order to ensure a high reproducibility of duplex scanning with comparable accuracy between centers a detailed protocol with standard methodology and criteria is needed. Also, standardization of the method of reporting of duplex measurements and other findings will facilitate validation of the proposed criteria by different centers. The aim of this document is to produce recommendations for such a protocol and indicate what future research is needed in order to address areas of uncertainty.
PMCID: PMC3814564  PMID: 22364944
chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency ;  consensus conference ;  Doppler ultrasound ;  multiple sclerosis
15.  Hypoperfusion of brain parenchyma is associated with the severity of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis: a cross-sectional preliminary report 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:22.
Several studies have reported hypoperfusion of the brain parenchyma in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. We hypothesized a possible relationship between abnormal perfusion in MS and hampered venous outflow at the extracranial level, a condition possibly associated with MS and known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).
We investigated the relationship between CCSVI and cerebral perfusion in 16 CCSVI MS patients and 8 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Subjects were scanned in a 3-T scanner using dynamic susceptibility, contrast-enhanced, perfusion-weighted imaging. Cerebral blood flow (CBF), cerebral blood volume (CBV) and mean transit time (MTT) were measured in the gray matter (GM), white matter (WM) and the subcortical GM (SGM). The severity of CCSVI was assessed according to the venous hemodynamic insufficiency severity score (VHISS) on the basis of the number of venous segments exhibiting flow abnormalities.
There was a significant association between increased VHISS and decreased CBF in the majority of examined regions of the brain parenchyma in MS patients. The most robust correlations were observed for GM and WM (r = -0.70 to -0.71, P < 0.002 and P corrected = 0.022), and for the putamen, thalamus, pulvinar nucleus of thalamus, globus pallidus and hippocampus (r = -0.59 to -0.71, P < 0.01 and P corrected < 0.05). No results for correlation between VHISS and CBV or MTT survived multiple comparison correction.
This pilot study is the first to report a significant relationship between the severity of CCSVI and hypoperfusion in the brain parenchyma. These preliminary findings should be confirmed in a larger cohort of MS patients to ensure that they generalize to the MS population as a whole. Reduced perfusion could contribute to the known mechanisms of virtual hypoxia in degenerated axons.
PMCID: PMC3059278  PMID: 21385345
16.  A seasonal periodicity in relapses of multiple sclerosis? A single-center, population-based, preliminary study conducted in Bologna, Italy 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:105.
Temporal, i.e., 24-hour, weekly, and seasonal patterns in the occurrence of acute cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events are well documented; however, little is known about temporal, especially seasonal, variation in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its relapses. This study investigated, by means of a validated chronobiological method, whether severe relapses of MS, ones requiring medical specialty consultation, display seasonal differences, and whether they are linked with seasonal differences in local meteorological variables.
We considered 96 consecutive patients with severe MS relapse (29 men, 67 women, mean age 38.5 ± 8.8 years), referred to the Multiple Sclerosis Center, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy, between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. Overall, we analyzed 164 relapses (56 in men, 108 in women; 115 in patients aged < 40 years, 49 in patients ≥40 years). Relapses were more frequent in May and June (12.2% each) and the least frequent in September (3.7%). Chronobiological analysis showed a biphasic pattern (major peak in May-June, secondary peak in November-December, p = 0.030). Analysis of monthly mean meteorological data showed a significant seasonal pattern in ambient temperature (peak in July, p < 0.001), relative humidity (peak in January, p < 0.001), and wind speed (peak in June, p = 0.011).
In this Italian setting, we found a biphasic pattern (peaks in spring and autumn) in severe MS relapses requiring medical consultation by doctors of the MS specialty center, apparently unrelated to meteorological variables. Confirmations of the findings on larger multi-center populations residing in different climatic conditions are needed to further explore the potential seasonality of MS relapses and associated environmental triggers.
PMCID: PMC2988761  PMID: 21040535
17.  Custom CGH array profiling of copy number variations (CNVs) on chromosome 6p21.32 (HLA locus) in patients with venous malformations associated with multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:64.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disorder thought to result from an interaction between environmental and genetic predisposing factors which have not yet been characterised, although it is known to be associated with the HLA region on 6p21.32. Recently, a picture of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), consequent to stenosing venous malformation of the main extra-cranial outflow routes (VM), has been described in patients affected with MS, introducing an additional phenotype with possible pathogenic significance.
In order to explore the presence of copy number variations (CNVs) within the HLA locus, a custom CGH array was designed to cover 7 Mb of the HLA locus region (6,899,999 bp; chr6:29,900,001-36,800,000). Genomic DNA of the 15 patients with CCSVI/VM and MS was hybridised in duplicate.
In total, 322 CNVs, of which 225 were extragenic and 97 intragenic, were identified in 15 patients. 234 known polymorphic CNVs were detected, the majority of these being situated in non-coding or extragenic regions. The overall number of CNVs (both extra- and intragenic) showed a robust and significant correlation with the number of stenosing VMs (Spearman: r = 0.6590, p = 0.0104; linear regression analysis r = 0.6577, p = 0.0106).
The region we analysed contains 211 known genes. By using pathway analysis focused on angiogenesis and venous development, MS, and immunity, we tentatively highlight several genes as possible susceptibility factor candidates involved in this peculiar phenotype.
The CNVs contained in the HLA locus region in patients with the novel phenotype of CCSVI/VM and MS were mapped in detail, demonstrating a significant correlation between the number of known CNVs found in the HLA region and the number of CCSVI-VMs identified in patients. Pathway analysis revealed common routes of interaction of several of the genes involved in angiogenesis and immunity contained within this region. Despite the small sample size in this pilot study, it does suggest that the number of multiple polymorphic CNVs in the HLA locus deserves further study, owing to their possible involvement in susceptibility to this novel MS/VM plus phenotype, and perhaps even other types of the disease.
PMCID: PMC2880319  PMID: 20426824
19.  Oxidative Stress and Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Review of Upstream and Downstream Antioxidant Therapeutic Options 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(1):65-74.
Free radicals are common outcome of normal aerobic cellular metabolism. In-built antioxidant system of body plays its decisive role in prevention of any loss due to free radicals. However, imbalanced defense mechanism of antioxidants, overproduction or incorporation of free radicals from environment to living system leads to serious penalty leading to neuro-degeneration. Neural cells suffer functional or sensory loss in neurodegenerative diseases. Apart from several other environmental or genetic factors, oxidative stress (OS) leading to free radical attack on neural cells contributes calamitous role to neuro-degeneration. Though, oxygen is imperative for life, imbalanced metabolism and excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation end into a range of disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, aging and many other neural disorders. Toxicity of free radicals contributes to proteins and DNA injury, inflammation, tissue damage and subsequent cellular apoptosis. Antioxidants are now being looked upon as persuasive therapeutic against solemn neuronal loss, as they have capability to combat by neutralizing free radicals. Diet is major source of antioxidants, as well as medicinal herbs are catching attention to be commercial source of antioxidants at present. Recognition of upstream and downstream antioxidant therapy to oxidative stress has been proved an effective tool in alteration of any neuronal damage as well as free radical scavenging. Antioxidants have a wide scope to sequester metal ions involved in neuronal plaque formation to prevent oxidative stress. In addition, antioxidant therapy is vital in scavenging free radicals and ROS preventing neuronal degeneration in post-oxidative stress scenario.
PMCID: PMC2724665  PMID: 19721819
ROS; oxidative stress; antioxidants; neurodegenerative diseases; rns; amyloid; catalase; phagocytes.
20.  Human Internal Jugular Valve M-mode Ultrasound Characterization 
Current Neurovascular Research  2013;11(2):149-155.
In humans the mechanism governing the internal jugular vein (IJV) valve opening and closure is still unclear. M-mode is used in echo-cardiology for the heart valves assessment. Sometimes it was performed also in deep peripheral veins and in vena cava assessment, but never in the IJV valve. Aim of the present study is to investigate the IJV valves physiology in healthy volunteers, by means of both B and M-mode ultrasound.
Eighty-three (83) healthy volunteers (35 Male, 48 Female, 25.7±6.7 y.o.), for a total of 166 IJVs, were enrolled. The entire cohort underwent IJVs high-resolution B and M-mode evaluation, in standardized postural and respiratory conditions. Presence, motility, and number of cusps, as well as their opening and closure mechanism have been assessed.
Bilateral valve absence occurred in 13/83 (16%), whereas at least a one side absence was recorded in 38/83 (46‰ of the cohort) (p<0.0356). Valve leaflets were always mobile and respectively bi-cusps in 34%, or mono-cusp in 27%. The latter was significantly more frequent on the left side (35%) than on the right side (19%) (p<0.0013).
In supine, M-mode valve opening was synchronous with the cardiac cycle.
To the contrary, in an upright position, the valve remained always open and saddled to the wall, independently from the cardiac cycle.
In healthy subjects, the IJV valve leaflets are always mobile, but the significant rate of mono and bilateral absence could suggest a progressive phylogenetic importance loss of such apparatus. M-mode ultrasound enhances the characterization of IJV valve, for this reason it should be taken into consideration to routinely add it to the cerebral venous return investigation.
PMCID: PMC4031920  PMID: 24712644
Cerebral venous return; duplex; internal jugular vein; M-mode; vein valves.

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