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Paola Cipriani - Top 30 Publications

The role of extracellular matrix components in angiogenesis and fibrosis: Possible implication for Systemic Sclerosis.

Extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a crucial role in the regulation of both physiological and pathological angiogenesis. ECM homeostasis and function is ensuring by the tightly regulation of the different ECM components including, collagens, proteoglycans and a variety of different glycoproteins. An altered expression of the above ECM molecules as well as an imbalance between the action of matrix remodeling enzymes and their tissue inhibitors is known to be responsible for impaired angiogenesis and fibrosis. Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by micro-angiopathy, failure of reparative angiogenesis, and excessive fibrosis of the skin and various internal organs, dues to an increased production of ECM. A comprehensive search through Medline/PubMed and Scopus was performed for English-language original papers, using the keywords related to ECM components and SSc. This review will analyze the role played by ECM components in the deregulation of angiogenic mechanisms and in the persistence of a pro-fibrotic phenotype, during SSc. A better knowledge of these processes might provide information about molecules, which could be considered targets for future pro-angiogenic and/or anti-fibrotic therapies.

Scleroderma fibroblasts suppress angiogenesis via TGF-β/caveolin-1 dependent secretion of pigment epithelium-derived factor.

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterised by tissue fibrosis and vasculopathy with defective angiogenesis. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) plays a major role in tissue fibrosis, including downregulation of caveolin-1 (Cav-1); however, its role in defective angiogenesis is less clear. Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a major antiangiogenic factor, is abundantly secreted by SSc fibroblasts. Here, we investigated the effect of TGF-β and Cav-1 on PEDF expression and the role of PEDF in the ability of SSc fibroblasts to modulate angiogenesis.

PTP4A1 promotes TGFβ signaling and fibrosis in systemic sclerosis.

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by fibrosis of skin and internal organs. Protein tyrosine phosphatases have received little attention in the study of SSc or fibrosis. Here, we show that the tyrosine phosphatase PTP4A1 is highly expressed in fibroblasts from patients with SSc. PTP4A1 and its close homolog PTP4A2 are critical promoters of TGFβ signaling in primary dermal fibroblasts and of bleomycin-induced fibrosis in vivo. PTP4A1 promotes TGFβ signaling in human fibroblasts through enhancement of ERK activity, which stimulates SMAD3 expression and nuclear translocation. Upstream from ERK, we show that PTP4A1 directly interacts with SRC and inhibits SRC basal activation independently of its phosphatase activity. Unexpectedly, PTP4A2 minimally interacts with SRC and does not promote the SRC-ERK-SMAD3 pathway. Thus, in addition to defining PTP4A1 as a molecule of interest for TGFβ-dependent fibrosis, our study provides information regarding the functional specificity of different members of the PTP4A subclass of phosphatases.

Macrophage activation syndrome in Still's disease: analysis of clinical characteristics and survival in paediatric and adult patients.

Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a reactive form of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, complicating Still's disease, both in paediatric and adult patients. In this work, we aimed to investigate clinical picture and outcome of Still's disease patients developing MAS. We performed a retrospective analysis of patients, both paediatrics and adults, affected by Still's disease attending our department. During the follow-up, each patient was investigated for MAS occurrence and possible predictors, clinical and laboratory factors, were analysed. We evaluated 50 patients affected by Still's disease, 21 paediatric and 29 adult patients. Ten patients experienced MAS (five adult and five paediatric patients) and its development significantly reduced the survival rate when compared with patients without this complication (p < 0.0001). The analysis of possible predictors showed that high-value systemic score (p = 0.03) and high levels of serum ferritin (p = 0.002) were independently associated with an increased likelihood of MAS. MAS occurrence significantly reduced survival rate in both paediatric and adult patients affected by Still's disease. The high levels of serum ferritin and an elevated systemic score, at the time of diagnosis, were significantly associated with MAS.

Biologic drugs in adult onset Still's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

Biological drugs, mainly interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 antagonists, but also tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, have been used in the treatment of adult onset Still's disease patients (AOSD).

Advances in immunopathogenesis of macrophage activation syndrome during rheumatic inflammatory diseases: toward new therapeutic targets?

Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a severe, hyperinflammatory life-threatening syndrome, generally complicating different rheumatic diseases. Despite the severity of the disease, little is known about the pathogenic mechanisms and, thus, possible targeted therapies in the management of these patients. Areas covered: In this review, we aimed to update the current pathogenic knowledge of MAS, during rheumatic diseases, focusing mainly on immunologic abnormalities and on new possible therapeutic strategies. Expert commentary: The difficult pathogenic scenario of MAS, in which genetic defects, predisposing diseases, and triggers are mixed together with the high mortality rate, make it difficult to manage these patients. Although most efforts have been focused on investigating the disease in children, in recent years, several studies are trying to elucidate the possible pathogenic mechanism in adult MAS patients. In this context, genetic and immunological studies might lead to advances in the knowledge of pathogenic mechanisms and possible new therapeutic targets. In the future, the results of ongoing clinical trials are awaited in order to improve the management and, thus, the survival of these patients.

Prevalence of type 2 diabetes and impaired fasting glucose in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis: Results from a cross-sectional study.

Although the better management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has significantly improved the long-term outcome of affected patients, a significant proportion of these may develop associated comorbidities including cardiometabolic complications. However, it must be pointed out that a comprehensive cardiometabolic evaluation is still poorly integrated into the management of RA patients, due to a limited awareness of the problem, a lack of appropriate clinical studies, and optimal strategies for cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction in RA. In addition, although several studies investigated the possible association between traditional CV risk factors and RA, conflicting results are still available.On this basis, we planned this cross-sectional study, aimed at investigating the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in RA patients compared with age- and gender- matched control individuals. Furthermore, we analyzed the role of both traditional and RA-related CV risk factors in predicting T2D and IFG.We observed an increased prevalence of T2D in RA patients when compared with age- and gender-matched controls. Regression analyses demonstrated that the presence of high blood pressure (HBP), a longer disease duration, and exposure to corticosteroids (CCS) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of being classified as T2D. In addition, we observed an increased prevalence of IFG in RA patients when compared with age- and gender-matched controls. Regression analyses demonstrated that a higher body mass index (BMI), the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS), higher levels of total cholesterol, the presence of radiographic damage, and higher serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of presenting IFG.In this cross-sectional study, we observed an increased prevalence of T2D and IFG in an Italian cohort of RA patients when compared with age- and gender-matched control individuals. Interestingly, both RA-specific features, such as disease duration, CCS exposure, and radiographic damage, and traditional CV risk factors, such as HBP and MetS, were significantly associated with glucose metabolism abnormalities.

Computed Tomography and MR Imaging in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

The clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is supported by imaging findings. MR imaging, in particular, can allow an early diagnosis to determine a target therapy that can stop or at least slow the disease progression.

International consensus: What else can we do to improve diagnosis and therapeutic strategies in patients affected by autoimmune rheumatic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritides, systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, antiphospholipid syndrome and Sjogren's syndrome)?: The unmet needs and the clinical grey zone in autoimmune disease management.

Autoimmune diseases are a complex set of diseases characterized by immune system activation and, although many progresses have been done in the last 15years, several unmet needs in the management of these patients may be still identified. Recently, a panel of international Experts, divided in different working groups according to their clinical and scientific expertise, were asked to identify, debate and formulate a list of key unmet needs within the field of rheumatology, serving as a roadmap for research as well as support for clinicians. After a systematic review of the literature, the results and the discussions from each working group were summarised in different statements. Due to the differences among the diseases and their heterogeneity, a large number of statements was produced and voted by the Experts to reach a consensus in a plenary session. At all the steps of this process, including the initial discussions by the steering committee, the identification of the unmet needs, the expansion of the working group and finally the development of statements, a large agreement was attained. This work confirmed that several unmet needs may be identified and despite the development of new therapeutic strategies as well as a better understanding of the effects of existing therapies, many open questions still remain in this field, suggesting a research agenda for the future and specific clinical suggestions which may allow physicians to better manage those clinical conditions still lacking of scientific clarity.

Poor clinical response in rheumatoid arthritis is the main risk factor for diabetes development in the short-term: A 1-year, single-centre, longitudinal study.

Despite of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) provided different sets of recommendations for the management of cardiovascular risk in inflammatory arthritis patients, it must be pointed out that cardiometabolic comorbidity, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D), remains still underdiagnosed and undertreated in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Response to Interleukin-1 Inhibitors in 140 Italian Patients with Adult-Onset Still's Disease: A Multicentre Retrospective Observational Study.