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Personale tecnico amministrativo presso: Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita sede ex-Scienze Biomediche

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2020 - Rare Co-occurrence of Beta-Thalassemia and Pseudoxanthoma elasticum: Novel Biomolecular Findings [Articolo su rivista]
Boraldi, F.; Lofaro, F. D.; Costa, S.; Moscarelli, P.; Quaglino, D.

A number of beta-thalassemia patients, independently from the type of beta-thalassemia (β0 or β+) and blood transfusion requirements, may develop, after puberty, dermal, cardiovascular, and ocular complications associated with an ectopic mineralization phenotype similar to that observed in another rare genetic disorder, namely, Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). To date, the causes of these alterations in beta-thalassemia patients are not known, but it has been suggested that they could be the consequence of oxidative stress-driven epigenetic regulatory mechanisms producing an ABCC6 down-regulation. Since, in the last years, several genes have been associated to the ectopic mineralization phenotype, this study, for the first time, applied, on beta-thalassemia patients with ectopic mineralization phenotype, a multigene testing strategy. Selection of genes to be analyzed was done on the basis of (i) their genetic involvement in calcification diseases or (ii) their role in calcium-phosphate equilibrium. Although, due to the rarity of these conditions, a limited number of patients was analyzed, the detection of pathogenic variants represents the proof of concept that PXE and beta-thalassemia traits co-occur on a genetic basis and that, in addition to causative mutations, functional polymorphisms may further influence connective tissue manifestations. The use of a multigene-based next-generation sequencing represents a useful time- and cost-effective approach, allowing to identify sequence variants that might improve prognostic assessment and better management of these patients, especially in the current era of precision medicine aiming to identify individual optimal care based on a unique personal profile.

2016 - Innovative Flow Cytometry Allows Accurate Identification of Rare Circulating Cells Involved in Endothelial Dysfunction [Articolo su rivista]
Boraldi, Federica; Bartolomeo, Angelica; DE BIASI, Sara; Orlando, Stefania; Costa, Sonia; Cossarizza, Andrea; Quaglino, Daniela

Introduction Although rare, circulating endothelial and progenitor cells could be considered as markers of endothelial damage and repair potential, possibly predicting the severity of cardiovascu- lar manifestations. A number of studies highlighted the role of these cells in age-related dis- eases, including those characterized by ectopic calcification. Nevertheless, their use in clinical practice is still controversial, mainly due to difficulties in finding reproducible and accurate methods for their determination. Methods Circulating mature cells (CMC, CD45-, CD34+, CD133-) and circulating progenitor cells (CPC, CD45dim, CD34bright, CD133+) were investigated by polychromatic high-speed flow cytometry to detect the expression of endothelial (CD309+) or osteogenic (BAP+) differentia- tion markers in healthy subjects and in patients affected by peripheral vascular manifesta- tions associated with ectopic calcification. Results This study shows that: 1) polychromatic flow cytometry represents a valuable tool to accu- rately identify rare cells; 2) the balance of CD309+ on CMC/CD309+ on CPC is altered in patients affected by peripheral vascular manifestations, suggesting the occurrence of vas- cular damage and low repair potential; 3) the increase of circulating cells exhibiting a shift towards an osteoblast-like phenotype (BAP+) is observed in the presence of ectopic calcification. Conclusion Differences between healthy subjects and patients with ectopic calcification indicate that this approach may be useful to better evaluate endothelial dysfunction in a clinical context.

2014 - Can APOE and MTHFR polymorphisms have an influence on the severity of cardiovascular manifestations in Italian Pseudoxanthoma elasticum affected patients? [Articolo su rivista]
Boraldi, Federica; Costa, Sonia; Rabacchi, Claudio; Ciani, Miriam; Vanakker, Olivier; Quaglino, Daniela

Background: The clinical phenotype of Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) affected patients, although progressive with age, is very heterogeneous, even in the presence of identical ABCC6 mutations, thus suggesting the occur- rence of modifier genes. Beside typical skin manifestations, the cardiovascular (CV) system, and especially the peripheral vasculature, is frequently and prematurely compromised. Methods and results: A cohort of 119 Italian PXE patients has been characterized for apolipoprotein E (APOE) and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphisms by PCR. The severity of the clinical phe- notype has been quantified according to the Phenodex PXE International score system. Statistical analysis (chi2 test, odd ratio, regression analysis, analysis of variance) were done by GraphPad. Data demonstrate that the fre- quency of APOE alleles is similar in PXE patients and in healthy subjects and that the allelic variant E2 confers a protection against the age-related increase of CV manifestations. By contrast, PXE patients are characterized by high frequency of the MTHFR-T677T polymorphism. With age, CV manifestations in T677T, but also in C677T, pa- tients are more severe than those associated with the C677C genotype. Interestingly, compound heterozygosity for C677T and A1298C polymorphisms is present in 70% of PXE patients. Conclusions: PXE patients may be screened for these polymorphisms in order to support clinicians for a better management of disease-associated CV complications.

2011 - Elastic fiber abnormalities in a case of Beals Sindrome [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Guerra, Deanna; Costa, Sonia; Quaglino, Daniela

Abnormalieties in dermal and vascular elastic fibers in a patient affected by Beal Syndrome are described at the ultrastrutural level. The tissue-specific involvement of GAGs are also discussed.

2011 - Rearrangements of the ABCC6 gene in Italian patients with PXE [Abstract in Rivista]
Guerra, Deanna; Costa, Sonia; J., Roggiani; Rabacchi, Claudio; CALANDRA BUONAURA, Sebastiano; I., PASQUALI RONCHETTI; Quaglino, Daniela

The objective of this study was to search for the deletion of exon 24 and exons 24-27 that had been previously reported in Italian patients affected by pseudoxanthoma elasticum, anb autosomal recessive disorder characterized by calcification and fragmentation of elastic fibers as a conseguence of mutations in the ABCC6 gene. To detect deletions in the ABCC6 gene the development and use of long range PCR procedure using appropriately designed primers are described.