National Research Council of Italy

Institute of Biosciences and BioResources

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The Institute of Biosciences and BioResources (IBBR) URT at the Institute of Hospitalization and Care Scientific Neuromed Mediterranean Neurological Institute (IRCCS Neuromed) was established in order to consolidate the bio-agro-food pole in the Molise Region. The collaboration between the two organizations, IBBR and IRCCS Neuromed, will benefit from the established expertise and it will be an opportunity for the development of new knowledge and for the promotion of technological innovation.

The main goal of the URT at IRCCS Neuromed, is to investigate the association between health and proper nutrition by analyzing human neuro and cardiovascular diseases using cellular and animal models.

The URT has been developed with the aim to develop and apply cutting-edge technologies to assess the effectiveness of nutraceuticals and health properties of bioactive molecules present in extravirgin olive oil EVOO, through in vitro and in vivo assays.

The EVOO, outstanding product in the food chain of Molise Region, is an integral part of the traditional Mediterranean diet and several studies attribute many of the benefits of this healthy diet for the unique characteristics of EVOO.

EVOO is different from all other vegetable oils normally used in the human diet, for the presence of some minor components which are responsible for the healthy effects. The nutritional benefits of olive oil are well established. Regular consumption of EVOO inhibits the development of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, stroke and hyperlipidaemia. The polyphenolic compounds present in the EVOO are known to have a neuroprotective role and several studies indicate a relationship between the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and a high content of animal fat or synthetic diet.

Active projects:

Identification of molecules with "health-promoting" and antioxidants activities derived from EVOO.

Recently it has been shown that EVOO polyphenols such as oleuropein protect the onset of several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity.

For this project it will be used a specific murine ES cell line deleted in the G6PD gene (G6pd delta ES). These cells were generated in our laboratory and are extremely sensitive to oxidative stress. G6PD is the first enzyme of the pentose phosphate pathway that, oxidizing glucose-6-phosphate, produces NADPH necessary for the elimination of intracellular reactive oxygen species. These ES cells undifferentiated or differentiated into neurons, will be used to develop a system to assess the activities "health-promoting" and antioxidant molecule derived from EVOO.

The beneficial activity of the identified molecules will be validated in vivo using different animal models of disorders of the nervous and cardiovascular systems available at the IRCCS Neuromed.

Identification of miRNAs present in leaves and fruits of olive with biological activity.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. These miRNAs are expressed in the cells and are also present in the extracellular vesicles derived from cells, known as exosomes. The exosomes act as mediators in cellular communication and are able to influence cell metabolism, acting on the expression of specific genes. Recently it has been shown that miRNA derived from plant species ingested with food, can accumulate in the serum and in human tissues and can regulate gene expression.

The project involves the analysis of transcriptomes total (mRNA, miRNA, ncRNA, lncRNA) from fruits and olive leaves. The identified miRNAs will be analyzed in systems to verify the biological activity and the ability to regulate gene expression.
miRNAs present in EVOO may also be used for the traceability of the products on the market and to establish with certainty whether the label corresponds to the declared product.

Analysis of the neuroprotective effects of curcumin.

It is well known that curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory. Some recent studies report that it is able to act on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The URT IBBR at Neuromed, has recently started with a pilot study aimed to identify the molecular mechanisms of the neuroprotective action of curcumin using both cellular systems and animal models of human neurodegenerative diseases.

IBBR people involved at the URT:

  • Stefania Filosa (Responsible)
  • Stefania Crispi
  • Anna Diglio
  • Daniela Cavaliere
Istituto di Bioscienze e Biorisorse (IBBR/CNR)
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