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  • Author: Fernando M Reis x
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Pasquale Florio, Pasquapina Ciarmela, Fernando M Reis, Paolo Toti, Letizia Galleri, Rosa Santopietro, E Tiso, Piero Tosi and Felice Petraglia

Objective: In the present study we evaluated the protein distribution and mRNA levels of inhibin α-subunit and its coreceptor betaglycan in endometrial adenocarcinoma.

Design: Two groups of postmenopausal women were studied: the first group had recently diagnosed endometrial adenocarcinoma (n = 16; age range 61–79 years), and the second group (n = 12; age range 64–78 years) had undergone hysterectomy for uterine prolapse and served as control.

Methods: Inhibin α-subunit and betaglycan gene expression and tissue distribution were evaluated by semiquantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively.

Results: Inhibin α-subunit and betaglycan mRNAs were expressed by both healthy and tumoral endometria, but their expression was significantly lower in endometrial carcinoma (P < 0.001, based on Student’s t test). Inhibin α-subunit expression was much weaker in the glands of tumours than in non-neoplastic specimens. Betaglycan protein was identified in the epithelial cells lining non-tumoral endometrium, and in endothelial cells of both normal and tumoral endometria. Well-differentiated neoplastic cells had a faint and scarce betaglycan staining, and poorly differentiated cells did not express betaglycan at all.

Conclusions: The lower inhibin α and betaglycan expression in endometrial adenocarcinoma suggests that the inhibin action may be disrupted. However, the expression of betaglycan in the endothelia of the tumour vasculature suggests that a selective vascular response to inhibin may be possible in these tumours.

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Michela Torricelli, Erika Ignacchiti, Alessia Giovannelli, Angelica Merola, Elisa Scarpetti, Giulia Calonaci, Enrico Picciolini, Pasquale Florio, Fernando M Reis, Elizabeth A Linton and Felice Petraglia

Objective: Corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and urocortin are two placental neuropeptides that are involved in the mechanisms of labour by modulating myometrial activity. Maternal plasma levels of both CRF and urocortin are increased at term and preterm labour, whilst those of CRF are reduced in women who are destined to experience post-term delivery. The present study evaluated maternal plasma levels in term and post-term pregnancies out of labour.

Design: A group of healthy pregnant women was enrolled and subdivided as follows: (i) at term out of labour (n = 19; 276 ± 0.7 days of gestation; samples collected at the time of elective caesarean section due to previous uterine surgery); (ii) post-term (n = 19; 291 ± 1.4 days of gestation), from whom samples were collected before induction of labour.

Methods: Urocortin and CRF measurements by radioimmunoassay; digital palpatory cervical examination and Bishop score computation; cervical length and funnelling presence assessment by transvaginal ultrasonography.

Results: Maternal plasma CRF concentrations were significantly (P < 0.05) lower whilst those of urocortin were unchanged in post-term compared with term pregnancy. However, CRF and urocortin levels were both significantly (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001 respectively) higher in pregnancies delivered within 12 h of labour induction than in those that remained undelivered, and were significantly correlated with the induction-delivery interval (CRF: r = −0.676, P = 0.0015; urocortin: r = −0.783, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: CRF and urocortin levels are decreased and unchanged, respectively, in post-term pregnancy when compared with term pregnancy. Both CRF and urocortin correlate with the time of labour onset after induction. Since CRF derives from the placenta, and urocortin from the fetus, the concerted expression of these neuropeptides appears to be relevant in determining the length of human gestation.

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Oliveira Flávia R, Marcelo Mamede, Mariana F Bizzi, Rocha Ana Luiza L, Cláudia N Ferreira, Karina B Gomes, Ana L Cândido and Fernando M Reis


To evaluate whether brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity is altered in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and whether BAT activity correlates with plasma levels of irisin, a myokine that can induce BAT formation.


We performed a cross-sectional study including women with PCOS (n = 45) and a healthy control group (n = 25) matched by age and body mass index (BMI).


BAT activity was measured using 18F-FDG positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) and plasma irisin levels were measured by a validated enzyme immunoassay.


Total BAT activity was significantly reduced in women with PCOS (maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax): median 7.4 g/mL, interquartile range 0.9–15.4) compared to controls (median 13.0 g/mL, interquartile range 4.7–18.4, P = 0.047). However, this difference was no longer significant after adjustment for waist circumference, a surrogate marker of central adiposity. In the PCOS group, BAT activity correlated negatively with BMI (Spearman’s r = −0.630, P = 0.000) and waist circumference (r = −0.592, P = 0.000) but not with plasma irisin levels.


BAT activity was reduced in women with PCOS possibly due to increased central adiposity. In PCOS women, BAT activity did not correlate with plasma irisin levels.