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1.  Identification of fibrillin 1 gene mutations in patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) without Marfan syndrome 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:23.
Background
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most frequent congenital heart disease with frequent involvement in thoracic aortic dilatation, aneurysm and dissection. Although BAV and Marfan syndrome (MFS) share some clinical features, and some MFS patients with BAV display mutations in FBN1, the gene encoding fibrillin-1, the genetic background of isolated BAV is poorly defined.
Methods
Ten consecutive BAV patients [8 men, age range 24–42 years] without MFS were clinically characterized. BAV phenotype and function, together with evaluation of aortic morphology, were comprehensively assessed by Doppler echocardiography. Direct sequencing of each FBN1 exon with flanking intron sequences was performed on eight patients.
Results
We detected three FBN1 mutations in two patients (aged 24 and 25 years) displaying aortic root aneurysm ≥50 mm and moderate aortic regurgitation. In particular, one patient had two mutations (p.Arg2726Trp and p.Arg636Gly) one of which has been previously associated with variable Marfanoid phenotypes. The other patient showed a pArg529Gln substitution reported to be associated with an incomplete MFS phenotype.
Conclusions
The present findings enlarge the clinical spectrum of isolated BAV to include patients with BAV without MFS who have involvement of FBN1 gene. These results underscore the importance of accurate phenotyping of BAV aortopathy and of clinical characterization of BAV patients, including investigation of systemic connective tissue manifestations and genetic testing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-15-23
PMCID: PMC3937520  PMID: 24564502
Bicuspid aortic valve; Aortic disease; Aneurysm; Marfan syndrome; Fibrillin-1
3.  Desmoglein-2-Integrin Beta-8 Interaction Regulates Actin Assembly in Endothelial Cells: Deregulation in Systemic Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68117.
Background
The inability of endothelial cells of patients affected by the diffuse form of Systemic sclerosis (SSc) to perform angiogenesis is a marker of the disease. We previously demonstrated that desmoglein-2 reduction is a major difference between (SSc)-microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) and normal (N)-MVECs. Here we investigated the role of desmoglein-2 in human N-MVECs and SSc-MVECs angiogenesis.
Methodology/principal findings
Angiogenesis was studied by Matrigel invasion, capillary morphogenesis in vitro and Matrigel plug assay in vivo. Gene profiling was studied by Affymetrix technology and signal transduction by Western blotting. Colocalization was validated by immunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy. SiRNAs were used to validate the roles of specific molecules. We observed that desmoglein-2 co-localizes with integrin-beta8 in N-MVECs. This complex is required to signal through Rac, FAK, SMAD1/5 and MAP-kinases, promoting an angiogenic program. Inhibition of desmoglein-2 by DSG2-siRNA impaired actin stress fibres formation, capillary morphogenesis in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo. Transcriptome profiling after DSG2 inhibition revealed alterations of several genes involved in actin organization. siRNA inhibition of integrin-beta8 and RAC2 also resulted into capillary morphogenesis impairment in N-MVECs, due to reduced expression of the same actin-assembly genes that were down-regulated by DSG2 silencing. SSc-MVECs showed down-regulation of the same genes in DSG2-siRNA treated N-MVECs, suggesting that impairment of desmoglein-2/integrin-beta8 complex contributes to angiogenesis derangement in SSc. Transfection of DSG2 in SSc-MVEC partially restored their angiogenic properties in vitro.
Conclusions/significance
We have shown that impairment of actin assembly as a result of desmoglein-2/integrin-beta8 complex formation is a major factor contributing to angiogenesis deregulation in Systemic sclerosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068117
PMCID: PMC3708925  PMID: 23874518
4.  A meta-analysis of potential risks of low levels of protein Z for diseases related to vascular thrombosis 
Thrombosis and haemostasis  2010;103(4):749-756.
Summary
The relationship between protein Z levels and thrombosis is controversial. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available studies to assess the association between protein Z and vascular thrombotic diseases. We conducted an electronic literature search through MedLine, Embase, Google Scholar, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library, bibliographies of retrieved articles and abstracts of congresses up to October, 2009. Studies were included if they analysed protein Z levels in patients with vascular thrombotic diseases. After the review process, 28 case-control studies (33 patient cohorts), including 4,218 patients with thrombotic diseases and 4,778 controls, were selected for analysis. The overall analysis using a random-effects model showed that low protein Z levels were associated with an increased risk of thrombosis (odds ratio [OR] 2.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.05–4.12; p<0.00001). On subgroup analysis, a significant association was found between low protein Z levels and arterial vascular diseases (OR 2.67, 95%CI 1.60–4.48; p=0.0002), pregnancy complications (OR 4.17, 95%CI 2.31–7.52; p<0.00001), and venous thromboembolic diseases (OR 2.18, 95%CI 1.19–4.00; p=0.01). The results of this meta-analysis are consistent with a role for protein Z deficiency in thrombotic diseases, including arterial thrombosis, pregnancy complications and venous thromboembolism.
doi:10.1160/TH09-09-0645
PMCID: PMC3692349  PMID: 20076855
Protein Z; thrombosis; coagulation; meta-analysis
5.  Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine Levels and 6-Year Change in Peripheral Nerve Function and Neurological Signs 
Background:
Low vitamin B12 and high homocysteine (Hcy) levels are common in older adults and may be associated with worse neurological function. The aim of this study is to determine whether changes in B12 or Hcy levels are associated with longitudinal changes in peripheral nerve function and clinical neurological signs and symptoms.
Methods:
Participants aged 60 years and older at baseline (n = 678; 72.2 ± 6.2 years; 43.5% male) were from the InCHIANTI Study. Low B12 (<260 pmol/L) and high Hcy (≥13 μmol/L) were measured at baseline and 3-year follow-up. Neurological function was assessed by peroneal nerve conduction amplitude (compound motor action potential) and velocity, neurological examination, and peripheral neuropathy symptoms at baseline, 3-year, and 6-year follow-up.
Results:
At baseline, 43.8% had low B12 levels and 58.6% had high Hcy levels. Over 6 years, 12.4% declined to poor compound motor action potential (<1 mV) and 42.1% declined to poor nerve conduction velocity (<40 m/s). In mixed models analyses, sustained high Hcy was associated with worse compound motor action potential compared with sustained normal Hcy (p = .04), adjusting for demographics, diabetes, and folate level. Participants whose Hcy level became high at follow-up were more likely to become unable to detect monofilament at 6-year follow-up compared with those with sustained normal Hcy (odds ratio: 5.4; 95% CI: 1.5–19.0), adjusting for demographics, diabetes, body mass index, and peripheral arterial disease. There was no association with vitamin B12 level or with symptoms.
Conclusions:
High Hcy may be associated with worse sensory and motor peripheral nerve function. Because poor nerve function has been associated with lower strength and physical performance, these results have important implications for disability in older adults.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glr202
PMCID: PMC3326240  PMID: 22156506
Vitamin B12; Homocysteine; Peripheral nerve function; Neurological signs
6.  WNP: A Novel Algorithm for Gene Products Annotation from Weighted Functional Networks 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38767.
Predicting the biological function of all the genes of an organism is one of the fundamental goals of computational system biology. In the last decade, high-throughput experimental methods for studying the functional interactions between gene products (GPs) have been combined with computational approaches based on Bayesian networks for data integration. The result of these computational approaches is an interaction network with weighted links representing connectivity likelihood between two functionally related GPs. The weighted network generated by these computational approaches can be used to predict annotations for functionally uncharacterized GPs. Here we introduce Weighted Network Predictor (WNP), a novel algorithm for function prediction of biologically uncharacterized GPs. Tests conducted on simulated data show that WNP outperforms other 5 state-of-the-art methods in terms of both specificity and sensitivity and that it is able to better exploit and propagate the functional and topological information of the network. We apply our method to Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast and Arabidopsis thaliana networks and we predict Gene Ontology function for about 500 and 10000 uncharacterized GPs respectively.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038767
PMCID: PMC3386258  PMID: 22761703
7.  Risk and Determinants of Dementia in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Brain Subcortical Vascular Changes: A Study of Clinical, Neuroimaging, and Biological Markers—The VMCI-Tuscany Study: Rationale, Design, and Methodology 
Dementia is one of the most disabling conditions. Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia (VaD) are the most frequent causes. Subcortical VaD is consequent to deep-brain small vessel disease (SVD) and is the most frequent form of VaD. Its pathological hallmarks are ischemic white matter changes and lacunar infarcts. Degenerative and vascular changes often coexist, but mechanisms of interaction are incompletely understood. The term mild cognitive impairment defines a transitional state between normal ageing and dementia. Pre-dementia stages of VaD are also acknowledged (vascular mild cognitive impairment, VMCI). Progression relates mostly to the subcortical VaD type, but determinants of such transition are unknown. Variability of phenotypic expression is not fully explained by severity grade of lesions, as depicted by conventional MRI that is not sensitive to microstructural and metabolic alterations. Advanced neuroimaging techniques seem able to achieve this. Beside hypoperfusion, blood-brain-barrier dysfunction has been also demonstrated in subcortical VaD. The aim of the Vascular Mild Cognitive Impairment Tuscany Study is to expand knowledge about determinants of transition from mild cognitive impairment to dementia in patients with cerebral SVD. This paper summarizes the main aims and methodological aspects of this multicenter, ongoing, observational study enrolling patients affected by VMCI with SVD.
doi:10.1155/2012/608013
PMCID: PMC3328954  PMID: 22550606
8.  Ventilatory and ECMO treatment of H1N1-induced severe respiratory failure: results of an Italian referral ECMO center 
Background
Since the first outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by H1N1 virus in Mexico, several reports have described the need of intensive care or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) assistance in young and often healthy patients. Here we describe our experience in H1N1-induced ARDS using both ventilation strategy and ECMO assistance.
Methods
Following Italian Ministry of Health instructions, an Emergency Service was established at the Careggi Teaching Hospital (Florence, Italy) for the novel pandemic influenza. From Sept 09 to Jan 10, all patients admitted to our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Emergency Department with ARDS due to H1N1 infection were studied. All ECMO treatments were veno-venous. H1N1 infection was confirmed by PCR assayed on pharyngeal swab, subglottic aspiration and bronchoalveolar lavage. Lung pathology was evaluated daily by lung ultrasound (LUS) examination.
Results
A total of 12 patients were studied: 7 underwent ECMO treatment, and 5 responded to protective mechanical ventilation. Two patients had co-infection by Legionella Pneumophila. One woman was pregnant. In our series, PCR from bronchoalveolar lavage had a 100% sensitivity compared to 75% from pharyngeal swab samples. The routine use of LUS limited the number of chest X-ray examinations and decreased transportation to radiology for CT-scan, increasing patient safety and avoiding the transitory disconnection from ventilator. No major complications occurred during ECMO treatments. In three cases, bleeding from vascular access sites due to heparin infusion required blood transfusions. Overall mortality rate was 8.3%.
Conclusions
In our experience, early ECMO assistance resulted safe and feasible, considering the life threatening condition, in H1N1-induced ARDS. Lung ultrasound is an effective mean for daily assessment of ARDS patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-2
PMCID: PMC3022902  PMID: 21223541
9.  Determinants to optimize response to clopidogrel in acute coronary syndrome 
The inhibition of platelet function by antiplatelet therapy determines the improvement of the survival of patients with clinically evident cardiovascular disease. Clopidogrel in combination with aspirin is the recommended standard of care for reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndromes undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. However, major adverse cardiovascular events including stent thrombosis occur in patients taking clopidogrel and aspirin. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high post-treatment platelet reactivity on antiplatelet treatment is associated with increased risk of adverse clinical events. Clopidogrel requires conversion to active metabolite by cytochrome P450 isoenzymes. The active metabolite inhibits ADP-stimulated platelet activation by irreversibly binding to P2Y12 receptors. Recently, the loss-of-function CYP2C19*2 allele has been associated with decreased metabolization of clopidogrel, poor antiaggregant effect, and increased cardiovascular events. In high risk vascular patients, the CYP2C19*2 polymorphism is a strong predictor of adverse cardiovascular events and particularly of stent thrombosis. Prospective studies evaluating if an antiplatelet treatment tailored on individual characteristics of patients, CYP2C19*2 genotypes, platelet phenotype, drug–drug interaction, as well as traditional and procedural risk factors, are now urgently needed for the identification of therapeutic strategies providing the best benefit for the single subject.
PMCID: PMC3513207  PMID: 23226041
antiplatelet therapy; clopidogrel; cytochrome P450 2C19 loss-of-function polymorphism; major adverse cardiovascular events; percutaneous coronary interventions
10.  Gene expression profile of rat left ventricles reveals persisting changes following chronic mild exercise protocol: implications for cardioprotection 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:342.
Background
Epidemiological studies showed that physical exercise, specifically moderate lifelong training, is protective against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Most experimental work has focused into the effects and molecular mechanisms underlying intense, rather than mild exercise, by exploring the acute effect of training. Our study aims at investigating the cardioprotective effect of mild chronic exercise training and the gene expression profile changes at 48 hrs after the exercise cessation. Rats were trained at mild intensity on a treadmill: 25 m/min, 10%incline, 1 h/day, 3 days/week, 10 weeks; about 60% of the maximum aerobic power. By Affymetrix technology, we investigated the gene expression profile induced by exercise training in the left ventricle (LV) of trained (n = 10) and control (n = 10) rats. Cardioprotection was investigated by ischemia/reperfusion experiments (n = 10 trained vs. n = 10 control rats).
Results
Mild exercise did not induce cardiac hypertrophy and was cardioprotective as demonstrated by the decreased infarct size (p = 0.02) after ischemia/reperfusion experiments in trained with respect to control rats. Ten genes and 2 gene sets (two pathways) resulted altered in LV of exercised animals with respect to controls. We validated by real-time PCR the increased expression of four genes: similar to C11orf17 protein (RGD1306959), caveolin 3, enolase 3, and hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha. Moreover, caveolin 3 protein levels were higher in exercised than control rats by immunohistochemistry and Western Blot analysis. Interestingly, the predicted gene similar to C11orf17 protein (RGD1306959) was significantly increased by exercise. This gene has a high homology with the human C11orf17 (alias: protein kinase-A interacting protein 1 or breast cancer associated gene 3). This is the first evidence that this gene is involved in the response to the exercise training.
Conclusion
Our data indicated that few, but significant, genes characterize the gene expression profile of the rat LV, when examined 48 hrs since the last training section and that mild exercise training determines cardioprotection without the induction of hypertrophy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-342
PMCID: PMC2907697  PMID: 19643001
11.  Predictors of Vitamin B6 and Folate Concentrations in Older Persons: The InCHIANTI Study 
Clinical chemistry  2006;52(7):1318-1324.
Background
Low dietary intake and low serum concentrations of vitamin B6 and/or folate are associated with increased risk of vascular events, possibly because of their association with inflammation, which plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases.
Methods
Using data from 1320 participants in the population-based InCHIANTI study (586 men and 734 women; median age, 69 years; range, 21–102 years) for whom complete data on folate, vitamin B6, inflammatory markers, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) C677T sequence variant, and important covariates were available, we evaluated the association of inflammatory markers with circulating concentrations of vitamin B6 and folate, independently of dietary vitamin intake, circulating vitamin concentrations, and MTHFR C677T sequence variant.
Results
According to multiple linear regression analysis, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 receptor were strongly and negatively associated with circulating vitamin B6 but not with folate concentrations, independent of age, sex, serum creatinine, serum albumin, total energy intake, smoking history, dietary nutrient intake, and circulating homocysteine and vitamin concentrations. Serum folate concentrations were related to MTHFR 677 TT genotype in persons with folate intake in the lowest tertile (<221.2 μg/day). Vitamin C and retinol intakes were strongly and positively associated with serum folate concentrations independent of age, sex, serum creatinine, serum albumin, total energy intake, smoking history, homocysteine plasma concentrations, dietary nutrient intakes, serum vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 concentrations, and MTHFR C677T sequence variant.
Conclusions
Low serum vitamin B6, but not serum folate, concentrations are independent correlates of the proinflammatory state, and both are influenced by antioxidant reserves.
doi:10.1373/clinchem.2005.066217
PMCID: PMC2645619  PMID: 16690736
12.  Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis 
Objective To systematically review all the prospective cohort studies that have analysed the relation between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of chronic diseases in a primary prevention setting.
Design Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Data sources English and non-English publications in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to 30 June 2008.
Studies reviewed Studies that analysed prospectively the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of diseases; 12 studies, with a total of 1 574 299 subjects followed for a time ranging from three to 18 years were included.
Results The cumulative analysis among eight cohorts (514 816 subjects and 33 576 deaths) evaluating overall mortality in relation to adherence to a Mediterranean diet showed that a two point increase in the adherence score was significantly associated with a reduced risk of mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.94). Likewise, the analyses showed a beneficial role for greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 0.87 to 0.95), incidence of or mortality from cancer (0.94, 0.92 to 0.96), and incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (0.87, 0.80 to 0.96).
Conclusions Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in health status, as seen by a significant reduction in overall mortality (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), incidence of or mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (13%). These results seem to be clinically relevant for public health, in particular for encouraging a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for primary prevention of major chronic diseases.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a1344
PMCID: PMC2533524  PMID: 18786971
13.  Cardiovascular evaluation, including resting and exercise electrocardiography, before participation in competitive sports: cross sectional study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):88-92.
Objective To evaluate the clinical usefulness of complete preparticipation cardiovascular screening in a large cohort of sports participants.
Design Cross sectional study of data over a five year period.
Setting Institute of Sports Medicine in Florence, Italy.
Participants 30 065 (23 570 men) people seeking to obtain clinical eligibility for competitive sports.
Main outcome measures Results of resting and exercise 12 lead electrocardiography.
Results Resting 12 lead ECG patterns showed abnormalities in 1812 (6%) participants, with the most common abnormalities (>80%) concerning innocent ECG changes. Exercise ECG showed an abnormal pattern in 1459 (4.9%) participants. Exercise ECG showed cardiac anomalies in 1227 athletes with normal findings on resting ECG. At the end of screening, 196 (0.6%) participants were considered ineligible for competitive sports. Among the 159 participants who were disqualified at the end of the screening for cardiac reasons, a consistent proportion (n=126, 79.2%) had shown innocent or negative findings on resting 12 lead ECG but clear pathological alterations during the exercise test. After adjustment for possible confounders, logistic regression analysis showed that age >30 years was significantly associated with an increased risk of being disqualified for cardiac findings during exercise testing.
Conclusions Among people seeking to take part in competitive sports, exercise ECG can identify those with cardiac abnormalities. Follow-up studies would show if disqualification of such people would reduce the incidence of CV events among athletes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a346
PMCID: PMC2453296  PMID: 18599474
14.  Genetics of cardiovascular disease 
Linkage studies and genome-wide linkage analyses, which use polymorphic DNA markers throughout the genome, provide a useful method for identifying genes related to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Many genome-wide linkage studies have contributed to identify quantitative genetic loci influencing variables involved in the pathogenesis of CVD.
Meta-analyses of genetic studies provide the measure of association studies, so contributing to identify candidate genes which might influence the susceptibility to the disease. Really, candidate genes have been investigated, in relation to lipid metabolism (APOE), fibrinolytic proteins (PAI-1), renin-angiotensyn system (ACE) and homocysteine metabolism (MTHFR). Recently, genome-wide panels of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), based on the use of SNPs spread throughout the genome, are also becoming available. This approach contributes to finely investigate the gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in CVD, and to look for the involvement of genetic polymorphisms in drug response.
PMCID: PMC2781194  PMID: 22460848
linkage studies; genome-wide association studies; genetic predisposition
15.  Cardiovascular evaluation, including resting and exercise electrocardiography, before participation in competitive sports: cross sectional study 
Objective To evaluate the clinical usefulness of complete preparticipation cardiovascular screening in a large cohort of sports participants.
Design Cross sectional study of data over a five year period.
Setting Institute of Sports Medicine in Florence, Italy.
Participants 30 065 (23 570 men) people seeking to obtain clinical eligibility for competitive sports.
Main outcome measures Results of resting and exercise 12 lead electrocardiography.
Results Resting 12 lead ECG patterns showed abnormalities in 1812 (6%) participants, with the most common abnormalities (>80%) concerning innocent ECG changes. Exercise ECG showed an abnormal pattern in 1459 (4.9%) participants. Exercise ECG showed cardiac anomalies in 1227 athletes with normal findings on resting ECG. At the end of screening, 196 (0.6%) participants were considered ineligible for competitive sports. Among the 159 participants who were disqualified at the end of the screening for cardiac reasons, a consistent proportion (n=126, 79.2%) had shown innocent or negative findings on resting 12 lead ECG but clear pathological alterations during the exercise test. After adjustment for possible confounders, logistic regression analysis showed that age >30 years was significantly associated with an increased risk of being disqualified for cardiac findings during exercise testing.
Conclusions Among people seeking to take part in competitive sports, exercise ECG can identify those with cardiac abnormalities. Follow-up studies would show if disqualification of such people would reduce the incidence of CV events among athletes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a346
PMCID: PMC2453296  PMID: 18599474
16.  Role of C677T and A1298C MTHFR, A2756G MTR and -786 C/T eNOS Gene Polymorphisms in Atrial Fibrillation Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(6):e495.
Background
Hyperhomocysteinemia has been suggested to play a role in the NonValvular Atrial Fibrillation (NVAF) pathogenesis. Polymorphisms in genes coding for homocysteine (Hcy) metabolism enzymes may be associated with hyperhomocysteinemia and NVAF.
Methodologies
456 NVAF patients and 912 matched controls were genotyped by an electronic microchip technology for C677T and A1298C MTHFR, A2756G MTR, and -786C/T eNOS gene polymorphisms. Hcy was determined by an immunoassay method.
Principal Findings
The genotype distribution of the four polymorphisms as well as genotype combinations did not differ in patients and controls. Hcy was higher in patients than in controls (15.2, 95%CI 14.7–15.7 vs 11.3, 95%CI 11.0–11.6 µmol/L; p<0.0001). In both populations, a genotype-phenotype association (p<0.0001) between Hcy and C677T MTHFR polymorphism was observed; in controls a significant (p = 0.029) association between tHcy and −786C/T eNOS polymorphism was also observed. At the multivariate analysis the NVAF risk significantly increased in the upper quartiles of Hcy compared to the lowest: OR from 2.8 (1.68–4.54 95%CI) in Q2 to 12.9 (7.96–21.06 95%CI) in Q4.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrated the four polymorphisms, although able, at least in part, to affect Hcy, were not associated with an increased risk of NVAF per se or in combination.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000495
PMCID: PMC1876814  PMID: 17551576
17.  A model of anti-angiogenesis: differential transcriptosome profiling of microvascular endothelial cells from diffuse systemic sclerosis patients 
The objective of this work was to identify genes involved in impaired angiogenesis by comparing the transcriptosomes of microvascular endothelial cells from normal subjects and patients affected by systemic sclerosis (SSc), as a unique human model disease characterized by insufficient angiogenesis. Total RNAs, prepared from skin endothelial cells of clinically healthy subjects and SSc patients affected by the diffuse form of the disease, were pooled, labeled with fluorochromes, and hybridized to 14,000 70 mer oligonucleotide microarrays. Genes were analyzed based on gene expression levels and categorized into different functional groups based on the description of the Gene Ontology (GO) consortium to identify statistically significant terms. Quantitative PCR was used to validate the array results. After data processing and application of the filtering criteria, the analyzable features numbered 6,724. About 3% of analyzable transcripts (199) were differentially expressed, 141 more abundantly and 58 less abundantly in SSc endothelial cells. Surprisingly, SSc endothelial cells over-express pro-angiogenic transcripts, but also show up-regulation of genes exerting a powerful negative control, and down-regulation of genes critical to cell migration and extracellular matrix-cytoskeleton coupling, all alterations that provide an impediment to correct angiogenesis. We also identified transcripts controlling haemostasis, inflammation, stimulus transduction, transcription, protein synthesis, and genome organization. An up-regulation of transcripts related to protein degradation and ubiquitination was observed in SSc endothelial cells. We have validated data on the main anti-angiogenesis-related genes by RT-PCR, western blotting, in vitro angiogenesis and immunohistochemistry. These observations indicate that microvascular endothelial cells of patients with SSc show abnormalities in a variety of genes that are able to account for defective angiogenesis.
doi:10.1186/ar2002
PMCID: PMC1779372  PMID: 16859528

Results 1-17 (17)