50 research outputs found

    The molecular signature of therapeutic mesenchymal stem cells exposes the architecture of the hematopoietic stem cell niche synapse

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    BACKGROUND: The hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) niche of the bone marrow is comprised of HSCs, osteoblasts, endothelial cells and a stromal component of non-hematopoietic multipotent cells of mesenchymal origin named "mesenchymal stem cells" (MSCs). RESULTS: Here we studied the global transcriptional profile of murine MSCs with immuno-therapeutic potential and compared it with that of 486 publicly available microarray datasets from 12 other mouse tissues or cell types. Principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering identified a unique pattern of gene expression capable of distinctively classifying MSCs from other tissues and cells. We then performed an analysis aimed to identify absolute and relative abundance of transcripts in all cell types. We found that the set of transcripts uniquely expressed by MSCs is enriched in transcription factors and components of the Wnt signaling pathway. The analysis of differentially expressed genes also identified a set of genes specifically involved in the HSC niche and is complemented by functional studies that confirm the findings. Interestingly, some of these genes play a role in the maintenance of HSCs in a quiescent state supporting their survival and preventing them from proliferating and differentiating. We also show that MSCs modulate T cell functions in vitro and, upon in vivo administration, ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). CONCLUSION: Altogether, these findings provide novel and important insights on the mechanisms of T cell function regulation by MSCs and help to cement the rationale for their application in the treatment of autoimmune diseases

    Sphingomyelin as a myelin biomarker in CSF of acquired demyelinating neuropathies

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    Fast, accurate and reliable methods to quantify the amount of myelin still lack, both in humans and experimental models. The overall objective of the present study was to demonstrate that sphingomyelin (SM) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients affected by demyelinating neuropathies is a myelin biomarker. We found that SM levels mirror both peripheral myelination during development and small myelin rearrangements in experimental models. As in acquired demyelinating peripheral neuropathies myelin breakdown occurs, SM amount in the CSF of these patients might detect the myelin loss. Indeed, quantification of SM in 262 neurological patients showed a significant increase in patients with peripheral demyelination (p\u2009=\u20093.81\u2009*\u200910\u2009-\u20098) compared to subjects affected by non-demyelinating disorders. Interestingly, SM alone was able to distinguish demyelinating from axonal neuropathies and differs from the principal CSF indexes, confirming the novelty of this potential CSF index. In conclusion, SM is a specific and sensitive biomarker to monitor myelin pathology in the CSF of peripheral neuropathies. Most importantly, SM assay is simple, fast, inexpensive, and promising to be used in clinical practice and drug development

    the heritage of glatiramer acetate and its use in multiple sclerosis

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    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressively debilitating disease of the central nervous system. Treatment of MS involves disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) to reduce the incidence of relapses and prevent disease progression. Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone®) was the first of the currently approved DMTs to be tested in human subjects, and it is still considered a standard choice for first-line treatment. The mechanism of action of glatiramer acetate appears to be relatively complex and has not been completely elucidated, but it is likely that it involves both immunomodulating and neuroprotective properties. The efficacy of glatiramer acetate 20 mg/mL once daily as first-line treatment in relapsing-remitting MS is well established, with ample evidence of efficacy from both placebo-controlled and active-comparator controlled clinical trials as well as real-world studies. There is also a considerable body of evidence indicating that the efficacy of glatiramer acetate is maintained in the long term. Clinical trial and real-world data have also consistently shown glatiramer acetate to be safe and well tolerated. Notably, glatiramer acetate has a good safety profile in women planning a pregnancy, and is not associated with foetal toxicity. Until recently, glatiramer acetate was only approved as 20 mg/mL once daily, but a new formulation with less frequent administration, 40 mg/mL three times weekly, has been developed and is now approved in many countries, including Italy. This review examines the mechanism of action, clinical efficacy, safety and tolerability of glatiramer acetate to provide suggestions for optimizing the use of this drug in the current MS therapeutic scenario

    Opinion, knowledge, and clinical experience with functional neurological disorders among Italian neurologists: results from an online survey

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    Background: Functional neurological disorders (FND) are disabling medical conditions commonly seen in neurological practice. Neurologists play an essential role in managing FND, from establishing a diagnosis to coordination of multidisciplinary team-based treatment for patients. With this study, we investigated the knowledge and the clinical experience of Italian neurologists in managing patients with FND. Methods: Members of the Italian Society of Neurology were invited via e-mail to participate in this ad hoc online survey; 492 questionnaires were returned completed. Results: The term "Functional neurological disorders" in reference to FND was used more frequently than other psychological (e.g., psychogenic or conversion), or descriptive terms (e.g., non-organic or stress-related). When speaking with patients, the respondents stated that they preferred explaining symptoms based on abnormal functioning of the nervous system than discussing mental illness and that they would refer their patient to a psychologist rather than to a psychiatrist. Few considered that physiotherapy and psychiatric interventions are useful approaches to treating FND. Some believed that patients simulate their symptoms. Conclusions: Overall, the responses suggest that knowledge about scientific advances in FND is somewhat sparse. A psychiatric-centered view of FND opens the way to an approach in which neurobiological and psychological aspects constitute essential factors of the condition. In this context, professional education could improve understanding of FND and optimize patient management

    Pregnancy and fetal outcomes after Glatiramer Acetate exposure in patients with multiple sclerosis: a prospective observational multicentric study.

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    BACKGROUND: Only few studies have assessed safety of in utero exposure to glatiramer acetate (GA). Following a previous study assessing the safety of interferon beta (IFNB) pregnancy exposure in multiple sclerosis (MS), we aimed to assess pregnancy and fetal outcomes after in utero exposure to GA, using the same dataset, with a specific focus on the risk of spontaneous abortion. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We recruited MS patients, prospectively followed-up in 21 Italian MS Centres, for whom a pregnancy was recorded in the period 2002–2008. Patients were divided into 2 groups: drug-exposed pregnancies (EP: suspension of the drug less than 4 weeks from conception); non-exposed pregnancies (NEP: suspension of the drug at least 4 weeks from conception or never treated pregnancies). All the patients were administered a structured interview which gathered detailed information on pregnancy course and outcomes, as well as on possible confounders. Multivariate logistic and linear models were used for treatment comparisons. RESULTS: Data on 423 pregnancies were collected, 17 were classified as EP to GA, 88 as EP to IFNB, 318 as NEP. Pregnancies resulted in 16 live births in the GA EP, 75 live births in the IFNB EP, 295 live births in the NEP. GA exposure was not significantly associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion (OR = 0.44;95% CI 0.044-4.51;p = 0.49). Mean birth weight and length were not significantly different in pregnancies exposed to GA than in non exposed pregnancies (p = 0.751). The frequency of preterm delivery, observed in 4 subjects exposed to GA (25% of full term deliveries), was not significantly higher in pregnancies exposed to GA than in those non exposed (p > 0.735). These findings were confirmed in the multivariate analysis. There were neither major complications nor malformations after GA exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Data in our cohort show that mother’s GA exposure is not associated with a higher frequency of spontaneous abortion, neither other negative pregnancy and fetal outcomes. Our findings point to the safety of in utero GA exposure and can support neurologists in the therapeutic counselling of MS women planning a pregnancy

    Genome-wide Analyses Identify KIF5A as a Novel ALS Gene

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    To identify novel genes associated with ALS, we undertook two lines of investigation. We carried out a genome-wide association study comparing 20,806 ALS cases and 59,804 controls. Independently, we performed a rare variant burden analysis comparing 1,138 index familial ALS cases and 19,494 controls. Through both approaches, we identified kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A) as a novel gene associated with ALS. Interestingly, mutations predominantly in the N-terminal motor domain of KIF5A are causative for two neurodegenerative diseases: hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG10) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT2). In contrast, ALS-associated mutations are primarily located at the C-terminal cargo-binding tail domain and patients harboring loss-of-function mutations displayed an extended survival relative to typical ALS cases. Taken together, these results broaden the phenotype spectrum resulting from mutations in KIF5A and strengthen the role of cytoskeletal defects in the pathogenesis of ALS.Peer reviewe

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    Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MRI in the Study of Brain Tumors. Comparison Between the Extended Tofts-Kety Model and a Phenomenological Universalities (PUN) Algorithm

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    Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) is a well-established technique for studying blood\ue2\u80\u93brain barrier (BBB) permeability that allows measurements to be made for a wide range of brain pathologies, including multiple sclerosis and brain tumors (BT). This latter application is particularly interesting, because high-grade gliomas are characterized by increased microvascular permeability and a loss of BBB function due to the structural abnormalities of the endothelial layer. In this study, we compared the extended Tofts-Kety (ETK) model and an extended derivate class from phenomenological universalities called EU1 in 30 adult patients with different BT grades. A total of 75 regions of interest were manually drawn on the MRI and subsequently analyzed using the ETK and EU1 algorithms. Significant linear correlations were found among the parameters obtained by these two algorithms. The means of R2 obtained using ETK and EU1 models for high-grade tumors were 0.81 and 0.91, while those for low-grade tumors were 0.82 and 0.85, respectively; therefore, these two models are equivalent. In conclusion, we can confirm that the application of the EU1 model to the DCE-MRI experimental data might be a useful alternative to pharmacokinetic models in the study of BT, because the analytic results can be generated more quickly and easily than with the ETK model
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