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Carmelo QUARTA

16 publication(s) since Septembre 2011:

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08/2014 | Faseb J   IF 5.5
Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism induces browning of white adipose tissue through impairment of autophagy and prevents adipocyte dysfunction in high-fat-diet-fed mice.
Armani A, Cinti F, Marzolla V, Morgan J, Cranston GA, Antelmi A, Carpinelli G, Canese R, Pagotto U, Quarta C, Malorni W, Matarrese P, Marconi M, Fabbri A, Rosano G, Cinti S, Young MJ, Caprio M

The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) controls adipocyte function, but its role in the conversion of white adipose tissue (WAT) into thermogenic fat has not been elucidated. We investigated responses to the MR antagonists spironolactone (spiro; 20 mg/kg/d) and drospirenone (DRSP; 6 mg/kg/d) in C57BL/6 mice fed a high-fat (HF) diet for 90 d. DRSP and spiro curbed HF diet-induced impairment in glucose tolerance, and prevented body weight gain and white fat expansion. Notably, either MR antagonist induced up-regulation of brown adipocyte-specific transcripts and markedly increased protein levels of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in visceral and inguinal fat depots when compared with the HF diet group. Positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance spectroscopy confirmed acquisition of brown fat features in WAT. Interestingly, MR antagonists markedly reduced the autophagic rate both in murine preadipocytes in vitro (10(-5) M) and in WAT depots in vivo, with a concomitant increase in UCP1 protein expression. Moreover, the autophagy repressor bafilomycin A1 (10(-8) M) mimicked the effect of MR antagonists, increasing UCP1 protein expression in primary preadipocytes. Hence, we showed that adipocyte MR regulates brown remodeling of WAT through a modulation of autophagy. These results provide a rationale for the use of MR antagonists to prevent the adverse metabolic consequences of adipocyte dysfunction.

2014 | PLoS ONE   IF 3.5
Multiple sleep alterations in mice lacking cannabinoid type 1 receptors.
Silvani A, Berteotti C, Bastianini S, Lo Martire V, Mazza R, Pagotto U, Quarta C, Zoccoli G

Cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors are highly expressed in the brain and play a role in behavior control. Endogenous cannabinoid signaling is modulated by high-fat diet (HFD). We investigated the consequences of congenital lack of CB1 receptors on sleep in mice fed standard diet (SD) and HFD. CB1 cannabinoid receptor knock-out (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice were fed SD or HFD for 4 months (n = 9-10 per group). Mice were instrumented with electroencephalographic (EEG) and electromyographic electrodes. Recordings were performed during baseline (48 hours), sleep deprivation (gentle handling, 6 hours), sleep recovery (18 hours), and after cage switch (insomnia model paradigm, 6 hours). We found multiple significant effects of genotype on sleep. In particular, KO spent more time awake and less time in non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREMS) and rapid-eye-movement sleep (REMS) than WT during the dark (active) period but not during the light (rest) period, enhancing the day-night variation of wake-sleep amounts. KO had slower EEG theta rhythm during REMS. REMS homeostasis after sleep deprivation was less effective in KO than in WT. Finally, KO habituated more rapidly to the arousing effect of the cage-switch test than WT. We did not find any significant effects of diet or of diet x genotype interaction on sleep. The occurrence of multiple sleep alterations in KO indicates important roles of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in limiting arousal during the active period of the day, in sleep regulation, and in sleep EEG in mice.

04/2013 | mol imaging biol   IF 3.1
Molecular imaging of neuroblastoma progression in TH-MYCN transgenic mice.
Quarta C, Cantelli E, Nanni C, Ambrosini V, D'ambrosio D, Di Leo K, Angelucci S, Zagni F, Lodi F, Marengo M, Weiss WA, Pession A, Tonelli R, Fanti S

PURPOSE: TH-MYCN transgenic mice represent a valuable preclinical model of neuroblastoma. Current methods to study tumor progression in these mice are inaccurate or invasive, limiting the potential of this murine model. The aim of our study was to assess the potential of small animal positron emission tomography (SA-PET) to study neuroblastoma progression in TH-MYCN mice. PROCEDURE: Serial SA-PET scans using the tracer 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoro-D-glucose ((18)F-FDG) have been performed in TH-MYCN mice. Image analysis of tumor progression has been compared with ex vivo evaluation of tumor volumes and histological features. RESULTS: [(18)F]FDG-SA-PET allowed to detect early staged tumors in almost 100 % of TH-MYCN mice positive for disease. Image analysis of tumor evolution reflected the modifications of the tumor volume, histological features, and malignancy during disease progression. Image analysis of TH-MYCN mice undergoing chemotherapy treatment against neuroblastoma provided information on drug-induced alterations in tumor metabolic activity. CONCLUSIONS: These data show for the first time that [(18)F]FDG-SA-PET is a useful tool to study neuroblastoma presence and progression in TH-MYCN transgenic mice.

2013 | Mol Metab
(11)C-meta-hydroxyephedrine PET/CT imaging allows in vivo study of adaptive thermogenesis and white-to-brown fat conversion.
Quarta C, Lodi F, Mazza R, Giannone F, Boschi L, Nanni C, Nisoli E, Boschi S, Pasquali R, Fanti S, Iozzo P, Pagotto U

Several lines of evidence suggest that novel pharmacological approaches aimed at converting white adipose tissue (WAT) into brown adipose tissue (BAT) may represent an effective therapeutic strategy for obesity and related disorders. ((18))F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) is the only positron emission tomography (PET) tracer commonly used to study BAT function, and so far no functional tools have been described to investigate in vivo white-to-brown fat conversion. In this report, we show that the PET tracer (11)C-meta-hydroxyephedrine ((11)C-MHED, a norepinephrine analogue) is a useful tool to investigate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity in BAT of lean and dietary obese mice. Moreover, we demonstrate that (11)C-MHED is a specific marker of the SNS-mediated thermogenesis in typical BAT depots, and that this tracer can detect in vivo WAT to BAT conversion.

08/2012 | J Mol Endocrinol   IF 3.5
Role of sex hormones in modulation of brown adipose tissue activity.
Quarta C, Mazza R, Pasquali R, Pagotto U

The recent demonstration that metabolically active brown adipose tissue (BAT) is present with a high prevalence in humans undoubtedly represents one of the major advancements in the field of metabolic research in the last few years. The increasing interest in BAT is justified by preclinical observations highlighting an important role of this tissue in energy dissipation and metabolic clearance of substrates from the blood. These findings imply that stimulation of BAT activity may represent a new therapeutic approach for obesity and associated comorbidities. However, before proposing BAT as a target organ for therapeutics in a clinical setting, many further notions about BAT function and modulation need to be explored. Keeping in mind the importance of sex dimorphism in energy metabolism control under physiological and pathological conditions, sex hormones may play a relevant role in the regulation of BAT activity in both males and females. Much of the evidence acquired in the past supports the concept of an important role for different sex hormones in BAT thermogenesis and indicates that this tissue mediates the ability of sex hormones to modulate energy balance. These findings make it plausible that a modified interaction between BAT and sex hormones may contribute to the development and the maintenance of obesity and associated metabolic complications.

09/2011 | trends mol med   IF 10.4
Energy balance regulation by endocannabinoids at central and peripheral levels.
Quarta C, Mazza R, Obici S, Pasquali R, Pagotto U

Dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a universal and, perhaps, causative feature of obesity. Central nervous system (CNS) circuits that regulate food intake were initially believed to be the targets for dysregulation. However, it is increasingly evident that endocannabinoids affect food intake, energy expenditure and substrate metabolism by acting on peripheral sites. Cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1r) antagonists can effectively treat obesity and associated metabolic alterations but, unfortunately, cause and exacerbate mood disorders. Drugs restricted to act on peripheral CB1rs might be safer and more effective, retaining the anti-obesity effects but lacking the adverse neurodepressive reactions. This review summarizes the emerging roles of the ECS in energy balance and discusses future pharmacological approaches for developing peripherally restricted CB1r antagonists.