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Author: Valerio Napolioni (60)


Feb
2018

Mitochondrial crista structure partitions vital cellular reactions and is precisely regulated by diverse cellular signals. Here, we show that, in Drosophila, mitochondrial cristae undergo dynamic remodeling among distinct subcellular regions and the Parkinson's disease (PD)-linked Ser/Thr kinase PINK1 participates in their regulation. Mitochondria increase crista junctions and numbers in selective subcellular areas, and this remodeling requires PINK1 to phosphorylate the inner mitochondrial membrane protein MIC60/mitofilin, which stabilizes MIC60 oligomerization.

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Dec
2017

A reduction in glucose metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) predicts conversion to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and tracks disease progression, signifying its importance in AD. We aimed to use decline in PCC glucose metabolism as a proxy for the development and progression of AD to discover common genetic variants associated with disease vulnerability.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of decline in PCC fludeoxyglucose F 18 ([F] FDG) positron emission tomography measured in Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative participants (n = 606).

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Oct
2017

The nicotinic system plays an important role in cognitive control and is implicated in several neuropsychiatric conditions. However, the contributions of genetic variability in this system to individuals' cognitive control abilities are poorly understood and the brain processes that mediate such genetic contributions remain largely unidentified. In this first large-scale neuroimaging genetics study of the human nicotinic receptor system (two cohorts, males and females, fMRI total= 1586, behavioral total= 3650), we investigated a common polymorphism of the high-affinity nicotinic receptor α4β2 (rs1044396 on thegene) previously implicated in behavioral and nicotine-related studies (albeit with inconsistent major/minor allele impacts).

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Oct
2017

Historical pathogen burdens are examined as possible triggers for genetic adaptation. Evidence of adaptation emerges for the acid phosphatase locus 1 (ACP1), interleukin-6 (IL6), interleukin-10 (IL10 ), human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphisms, along with a measure of heterozygosity over 783 alleles. Results are robust to controlling for the physical and historical environment humans faced, and to endogeneity of the historical pathogen burden measure.

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Dec
1969

The well-known insertion/deletion polymorphism (rs4646994) of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene has been previously associated with obesity, blood flow, muscular strength, and ACE enzyme activity. Despite the relevant role of ACE in homeostasis, few data are currently available on the relationship between rs4646994 and hydration status. Thus, we tested the association between the ACE Ins/Del polymorphism, body composition, and hydration status in a young Italian population.

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Dec
1969

Pediatric obesity develops when a complex biological predisposition collides with an obesogenic environment. To further elucidate the role of genetics in obesity onset, we performed a candidate-gene association study in a young and sportive Italian population by testing the association of functional polymorphisms in ACE (rs4646994), FTO (rs9939609), MC4R (rs17782313) and PPARG (rs1801282) genes with body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). We also tested the combinations of identified risk genotypes and epistatic interactions among them to determine the existence of cumulative effects in predicting the predisposition to gain weight.

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Jan
2017

T helper 9 (Th9) cells contribute to lung inflammation and allergy as sources of interleukin-9 (IL-9). However, the mechanisms by which IL-9/Th9 mediate immunopathology in the lung are unknown. Here we report an IL-9-driven positive feedback loop that reinforces allergic inflammation.

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Dec
2016

Defects in a form of noncanonical autophagy, known as LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP), lead to increased inflammatory pathology during fungal infection. Although LAP contributes to fungal degradation, the molecular mechanisms underlying LAP-mediated modulation of inflammation are unknown. We describe a mechanism by which inflammation is regulated during LAP through the death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1).

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Sep
2016

GNB5 encodes the G protein β subunit 5 and is involved in inhibitory G protein signaling. Here, we report mutations in GNB5 that are associated with heart-rate disturbance, eye disease, intellectual disability, gastric problems, hypotonia, and seizures in nine individuals from six families. We observed an association between the nature of the variants and clinical severity; individuals with loss-of-function alleles had more severe symptoms, including substantial developmental delay, speech defects, severe hypotonia, pathological gastro-esophageal reflux, retinal disease, and sinus-node dysfunction, whereas related heterozygotes harboring missense variants presented with a clinically milder phenotype.

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Aug
2016

Systemic inflammation participates to the complex healing process occurring after major surgery, thus directly affecting the surgical outcome and patient recovery. Total plasma N-glycome might be an indicator of inflammation after major surgery, as well as an anti-inflammatory therapy response marker, since protein glycosylation plays an essential role in the inflammatory cascade. Therefore, we assessed the effects of surgery on the total plasma N-glycome and the association with self-administration of postoperative morphine in two cohorts of patients that underwent major abdominal surgery.

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Mar
2016

Dysregulated inflammasome activation contributes to respiratory infections and pathologic airway inflammation. Through basic and translational approaches involving murine models and human genetic epidemiology, we show here the importance of the different inflammasomes in regulating inflammatory responses in mice and humans with cystic fibrosis (CF), a life-threatening disorder of the lungs and digestive system. While both contributing to pathogen clearance, NLRP3 more than NLRC4 contributes to deleterious inflammatory responses in CF and correlates with defective NLRC4-dependent IL-1Ra production.

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Dec
1969

High interindividual variability in postoperative opioid consumption is related to genetic and environmental factors. We tested the association between morphine consumption, postoperative pain, and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within opioid receptor μ 1 (OPRM1), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), uridine diphosphate glucose-glucuronosyltransferase-2B7, and estrogen receptor (ESR1) gene loci to elucidate genetic prediction of opioid consumption. We analyzed 20 SNPs in 201 unrelated Caucasian patients who underwent abdominal surgery and who were receiving postoperative patient-controlled analgesia-administered morphine.

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Dec
1969

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is an important zoonotic gastrointestinal pathogen responsible for foodborne disease worldwide. It is a successful enteric pathogen because it has developed virulence strategies allowing it to survive in a highly inflamed intestinal environment exploiting inflammation to overcome colonization resistance provided by intestinal microbiota. In this study, we used piglets featuring an intact microbiota, which naturally develop gastroenteritis, as model for salmonellosis.

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Nov
2017

Reply to Larcombe and Orr: Still seeing the big picture.

Brain Behav Immun 2017 Nov 21;66:416. Epub 2015 Sep 21.
Valerio Napolioni

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Jul
2015

The draft genome sequence of Italian specimens of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) was determined using a standard NGS (next generation sequencing) approach. The size of the assembled genome is comparable to that of Aedes aegypti; the two mosquitoes are also similar as far as the high content of repetitive DNA is concerned, most of which is made up of transposable elements. Although, based on BUSCO (Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologues) analysis, the genome assembly reported here contains more than 99% of protein-coding genes, several of those are expected to be represented in the assembly in a fragmented state.

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Jan
2016

Interleukin-6 (IL6) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is required for resistance against many pathogens. However, sustained IL6 activity can cause tissue damage in the periphery and brain. Previous studies have shown that populations in disease-endemic regions adapt by selecting the high-producing G-allele at the -174G>C (rs1800795) polymorphism, while others have linked increased IL6 to cognitive impairments.

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Nov
2015

Here, we describe a child, born from consanguineous parents, with clinical features of SHORT syndrome, high IGF1 levels, developmental delay, CNS defects, and marked progeroid appearance. By exome sequencing, we identified a new homozygous c.2201G>T missense mutation in the IGF1R gene.

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Jun
2015

Several recent lines of evidence are proving an important role for dopamine in the aging process and in the determination of life span. Components of the dopaminergic system may represent good candidates for longevity studies. Herein, we tested the possible association of the functional SLC6A3/DAT1 40-bp VNTR with life-expectancy in a healthy population of Central Italy (N = 993) by applying a genetic-demographic approach that takes into account the demographic information and different survival rates between sexes for modeling the survival of specific allele carriers in the population.

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Mar
2015

An increased understanding of the importance of microbiota in shaping the host's immune and metabolic activities has rendered fungal interactions with their hosts more complex than previously appreciated. It is now clear that a three-way interaction between host, fungi, and microbiota dictates the types of host-fungus relationship. Indeed, microbial dysbiosis predisposes to a variety of chronic fungal infections and diseases at local and distant sites.

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Dec
2014

Glyoxalase I (GLO1) is a homodimeric Zn(2+)-dependent isomerase involved in the detoxification of methylglyoxal and in limiting the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGE). We previously found the rs4746 A332 (Glu111) allele of the GLO1 gene, which encodes for glyoxalase I, associated with "unaffected sibling" status in families with one or more children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To identify and characterize this protective allele, we sequenced GLO1 exons and exon-intron junctions, detecting two additional SNPs (rs1049346, rs1130534) in linkage disequilibrium with rs4746.

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Nov
2014

The dysregulation of both immune and inflammatory responses occurring with aging is believed to substantially contribute to morbidity and mortality in humans. We have already reported the association of the functional Variable Number of Tandem Repeat (VNTR) at the Immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) enhancer HS1.2 with Immunoglobulin levels and with several autoimmune diseases.

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Oct
2014

Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics, frequently associated with psychiatric co-morbidities. Despite the significant level of heritability, the genetic architecture of TS still remains elusive. Herein, we investigated an Italian family where an 8-year-old boy, his father, and paternal uncle have a diagnosis of TS.

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Aug
2014

In geographical regions characterized by high pathogen prevalence, it has been shown that human populations tend to be characterized by lower levels of extraversion (E) and openness to experience (OtE). According to the "behavioral immune system" hypothesis, the reduction of extraversion and openness levels represents a behavioral defense against infections. Like the 'classical' immune system, the "behavioral immune system" could also be shaped by its underlying genetic background.

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Feb
2015

Recent evidence demonstrated a relevant role of adenosine deaminase (ADA) in replicative senescence of T cells through its capacity to modulate telomerase activity (TA). Herein, we tested the impact of the functional polymorphism ADA rs73598374:G>A (c.22G>A, p.

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Oct
2014

The duplication of the Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) region (7q11.23) is a copy number variant associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One of the most intriguing aspects is that the reciprocal microdeletion causes WBS, characterized by hypersociability, marked empathy, and a relative capacity in verbal short-term memory and language.

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Jan
2014

Cytokine gene variants are known to influence both infectious disease susceptibility and harm-avoidant behaviors, suggesting that these risk variants may be pleiotropically linked to instinctual disease-avoidant traits. The gamma-interferon (IFNG) +874 T>A polymorphism (rs2430561) is an ideal candidate gene variant for immune-behavioral studies. It is a functional SNP, regulating IFNG mRNA expression; it is known to modulate serotonergic activity and is therefore capable of modifying behavior; and it has previously been associated with increased susceptibility to malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy and Chagas disease.

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Dec
2012

Acid phosphatase (ACP₁) is a polymorphic enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of flavin-mononucleotide (FMN) to riboflavin and regulates the cellular concentration of flavin-adenine-dinucleotide (FAD) and, consequently, energy metabolism. Its activity is modulated by adenosine deaminase locus 1 (ADA₁) genotype. The aim of our work is to verify whether individuals with a high proportion of ACP₁ f-isozyme and carrying the ADA₁*2 allele, displaying the highest phosphatase activity, may have a higher life expectancy.

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Aug
2013

Autism genetics.

Behav Brain Res 2013 Aug 13;251:95-112. Epub 2013 Jun 13.
Antonio M Persico, Valerio Napolioni
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe neuropsychiatric disease with strong genetic underpinnings. However, genetic contributions to autism are extremely heterogeneous, with many different loci underlying the disease to a different extent in different individuals. Moreover, the phenotypic expression (i.

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May
2013

To assess the distribution of CDA activity from whole blood of 142 healthy subjects, determining its main predictors among genetic (six CDA SNPs) and physiological factors (age and gender). Moreover, we performed a kinetic study of the two CDA protein variants (Q27 and K27) determined by the rs2072671 SNP.
CDA activity was assessed by HPLC.

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Jun
2013

Telomerase, encoded by TERT, is the ribonucleoprotein polymerase that maintains telomere ends and it plays a crucial role in cellular senescence. TERT single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been associated both with various malignancies and telomere length (TL). The association of TERT SNPs with longevity remains uncertain and varies with ethnicity.

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Mar
2013

Converging lines of evidence point to the existence of immune dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which could directly affect several key neurodevelopmental processes. Previous studies have shown higher cytokine levels in patients with autism compared with matched controls or subjects with other developmental disorders. In the current study, we used plasma-cytokine profiling for 25 discordant sibling pairs to evaluate whether these alterations occur within families with ASD.

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May
2013

The association of TP53 P72R (rs1042522) with longevity remains uncertain and varies with ethnicity. Here, we tested its association with longevity in a cross-sectional population of Central Italy (18-106 years, N = 1,072), by integrating demographic information and frequency data to account for the different survival rates between sexes through the application of a genetic-demographic approach. rs1042522 affects females longevity, showing significant associations in Comparison 2 (Age Class 3 [>91 years] vs Age Class 2 [73-91 years]) under both additive (odds ratio [OR] 0.

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May
2013

Urinary p-cresol in autism spectrum disorder.

Neurotoxicol Teratol 2013 Mar-Apr;36:82-90. Epub 2012 Sep 10.
Antonio M Persico, Valerio Napolioni
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder with onset during early childhood and life-long consequences in most cases. It is characterized by impairment in social interaction and communication, as well as by restricted patterns of interest and stereotyped behaviors. The etiology of autism is highly heterogeneous, encompassing a large range of genetic and environmental factors.

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Dec
2012

Polyamines (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) are a family of molecules that derive from ornithine through a decarboxylation process. They are essential for cell growth and proliferation, stabilization of negative charges of DNA, RNA transcription, translation, and apoptosis. Recently, it has been demonstrated that exogenously administered spermidine promotes longevity in yeasts, flies, worms, and human cultured immune cells.

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Aug
2012

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter whose functions are mediated by five receptors expressed in several organs and tissues. Dopaminergic system dysfunctions are involved in the etiology or treatment of several pathological conditions, including drug addiction. Alcohol dependence (AD) is a widespread psychiatric disorder, affecting 5.

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Dec
1969

The PTPN22 rs2476601 polymorphism is associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); nonetheless, the association is weaker or absent in some southern European populations. The aim of the study was to evaluate the association between the PTPN22 rs2476601 polymorphism and RA in Italian subjects and to compare our results with those of other European countries, carrying out a meta-analysis of European data.
A total of 396 RA cases and 477 controls, all of Italic ancestry, were genotyped for PTPN22 rs2476601 polymorphism.

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Nov
2011

The CDA 79A>C (K27Q, rs2072671) functional SNP has recently shown a crucial role in the pharmacogenetics of cytidine-based anticancer drugs widely administered to different subsets of patients. Current gold standard in screening for the CDA rs2072671 is the sequence-based genotyping method. Here we developed a novel, rapid Allele-Specific PCR method for CDA rs2072671 genotyping.

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Nov
2011

Aging is a complex phenotype with multiple determinants but a strong genetic component significantly impacts on survival to extreme ages. The dysregulation of immune responses occurring with increasing age is believed to contribute to human morbidity and mortality. Conversely, some genetic determinants of successful aging might reside in those polymorphisms for the immune system genes regulating immune responses.

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Sep
2011

Apolipoprotein E (APOE) functional haplotypes determined by rs429358 and rs7412 SNPs have been extensively studied and found to be one of the most consistent association in human longevity studies. However, the search for longevity-determining genes in human has largely neglected the operation of genetic interactions.
APOE haplotypes have been determined for 1072 unrelated healthy individuals from Central Italy, 18-106 years old, divided into three gender-specific age classes defined according to demographic information and accounting for the different survival between sexes.

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Aug
2011

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe, complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and restricted and stereotyped patterns of interests and behaviors. Recent evidence has unveiled an important role for calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling in the pathogenesis of ASD. Post-mortem studies of autistic brains have pointed toward abnormalities in mitochondrial function as possible downstream consequences of altered Ca(2+) signaling, abnormal synapse formation, and dysreactive immunity.

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Apr
2011

Since the pioneer experiments conducted by Friedrich Miescher in 1861, extraordinary advances have been achieved in the field of DNA handling. Today nucleic acids can be extracted from any type of biological material such as tissues, cells and viruses. Moreover, increasing knowledge of human genome is paving the way to an effective employment of pharmacogenomics and genetic-based predictive tests in medicine.

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Mar
2011

Haptoglobin (HP), which scavenges free, cell-toxic hemoglobin and has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory function in extravascular tissues, may represent an excellent candidate gene to investigate the life-span expectancy.
HP 1/2 polymorphism has been determined for 1072 (569 females, 503 males) unrelated healthy individuals from Central Italy, 18-106 years old, divided into three gender-specific age classes defined according to demographic information and accounting for the different survivals between sexes. HP*1F/S subtyping was also performed to check the possible existence for a preferential advantage of HP*1F or HP*1S allele.

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Aug
2011

The PTPN22 gene, located on chromosome 1p13, encoding lymphoid protein tyrosine phosphatase (LYP), plays a crucial role in the negative control of T lymphocyte activation. Since the age-related change in T-cell signal transduction may be one of the most important causes of cell-mediated immune response decline with ageing, we performed a population-based association study to test whether the PTPN22 1858C>T (R620W) functional polymorphism affects the ability to survive to old age and to reach even exceptional life expectancy. 892 unrelated healthy individuals (age range 8-106 years, 403 males and 489 females) from central Italy were studied.

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Mar
2011

The integrin-β 3 gene (ITGB3), located on human chromosome 17q21.3, was previously identified as a quantitative trait locus (QTL) for 5-HT blood levels and has been implicated as a candidate gene for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We performed a family-based association study in 281 simplex and 12 multiplex Caucasian families.

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Feb
2011

Long-term stored (LTS) whole blood collection can be an important source of DNA without collection costs, but there is a lack of information on methods useful to extract genomic DNA from such type of biological material. Here we report a simple and fast revisited phenol/chloroform extraction method from LTS whole blood. Protocol reliability was assessed by comparison with proteinase K and silica-gel membrane spin column-based DNA extraction methods using LTS -20 °C whole blood from 1980, and by testing it on 82 whole blood samples, collected from 1980 to 1995, with high quality (A(260/280) = 1.

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