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  RESEARCH ACTIVITY > BioPaSCT - Biology and Pathology of Soft Connective Tissues, Modena  
BioPaSCT - Biology and Pathology of Soft Connective Tissues, Modena
Research Group

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Department of Life Sciences
via Campi, 287 - 41125 Modena

Background and specific aims

The biology and pathology of the extracellular matrix is investigated focusing on the alterations occurring on the elastic component of skin and blood vessels during ageing or in acquired and in genetic diseases. Changes in the characteristics of extracellular matrix are known to influence not only the mechanical properties of connective tissue, but also cell phenotype. Therefore, primary cultures of human dermal fibroblasts are investigated to better understand the role of these cells in connective homeostasis in physio-pathological processes (i.e. ageing; hypoxia, serum deprivation); or in acquired (Sclerodermia; Dupuytren) and in genetic diseases [Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), PXE-like disorders, -Thalassemia]. In particular, the research group is contributing to the understanding of the pathogenesis of PXE, a disease characterized by calcium and phosphate deposition within elastic fibres, (from the discovery of PXE gene to the disclosure of molecules involved in the metabolism of inorganic pyrophosphate).

Other research interests focus on the evaluation of biocompatibility and cytotoxicity parameters for tissue implants and on the characterization of molecular and cellular alterations occurring in different models of cell death after exposure the environmental noxae.

Research projects

- Biology and pathology of elastic fibers;

- Pathogenesis and mutational analysis of Pseudoxanthoma elasticum and PXE-like diseases;

- Genetic and acquired diseases associated with ectopic calcification;

- Aging of connective tissues in ex-vivo and in-vitro models;

- Proteome analysis of human dermal fibroblasts in primary culture in different experimental conditions. 

Facilities and equipment

Cell culture; structural analysis (light and electron microscopy, fluorescence and confocal microscopy, AFM); flow cytometry; DNA sequencing; proteome analysis (2D-PAGE); mass spectrometry.

Figure 1 Human dermal fibroblasts analysed by: atomic force (A), transmission electron (B); confocal (C) and light microscopy (D). Proteome map of human dermal fibroblast (E; http://www.bio-mol.unisi.it/cgi-bin/2d/2d_view_map.cgi)
Figure 2 Structural analysis of: elastin-like peptide (A); mitochondrion in cancer cell (B); mineralized elastin fibres (C). Spectrum of new mutations associated with PXE (D).

Recent pubblications
Histology-directed and imaging mass spectrometry: An emerging technology in ectopic calcification. - Taverna D; Boraldi F; De Santis G; Caprioli RM; Quaglino D - BONE. 74: 83-94 ( 2015 )
Donor's age and replicative senescence favour the in-vitro mineralization potential of human fibroblasts - Boraldi F, Bartolomeo A, Di Bari C, Cocconi A, Quaglino D - Exp Gerontol. 72: 218-226 ( 2015 )
Structural characterization and biological properties of the amyloidogenic elastin-like peptide (VGGVG)3. - Moscarelli P; Boraldi F; Bochicchio B; Pepe A; Salvi AM; Quaglino D. - Matrix Biol. 36: 15-27 ( 2014 )

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Last update: august 29th 2017 h 11:14
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Società Italiana per lo studio del Connettivo - 2008
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