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Laboratory of Pharmacognosy  

Lab. Dell'Agli

 

Responsabile Team
Dr. Mario Dell'Agli, Assistant Professor, mario.dellagli@unimi.it

Collaborators
Dr.ssa Elisa Colombo, Research Assistant, elisa.colombo1@unimi.it
Dr. Enrico Sangiovanni, Ph.D. student, enrico.sangiovanni@unimi.it
Dr.ssa Cecilia Brunelli, Degree in Drug Biotechnology, ceciliabrunelli@hotmail.com

 

Research activity

The research activity of the laboratory is devoted to the study of natural products derived from medicinal or edible plants. The approach combines pharmacological and phytochemical investigations, in order to connect a biological effect to a specific chemical entity. The main area of interest can be condensed as follows:

1) Anti-inflammatory activity of plant polyphenols

Several biological assays have been developed for investigating the effects of plant extracts and isolated compounds on proteinease involved in gastro-intestinal inflammation, such as elastase and metalloproteinase-9 activity. The research is also focused on the effects of natural compounds against other pro-inflammatory mediators, including the expression of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-Selectin), growth factors and cytokines secretion, and NF-kB driven transcription and nuclear translocation in a variety of human cell lines and tissues.

2) Screening of plant extracts for the discovery of new antimalarials

Plasmepsins II and IV, two aspartic proteases specifically present in the food vacuole of Plasmodium falciparum and other plasmodia, represent one of the pharmacological targets for the discovery of new antimalarials. The assay for testing the activity of the recombinant forms of these two proteins were developed and used for the screening of natural products. Several natural compounds are selected by the ethnopharmacological approach.

3) Topic activity of plant products

This research is directed to identify plant constituent to be topically applied for cosmetic purpose or for their anti-inflammatory activity. cAMP-phosphodiesterase inhibitors, which are able to stimulate lipolysis in the adipose tissue, may be used in formulations for the treatment of localized adiposity. In addition, several methods to test in vitro the anti-inflammatory activity of natural compounds in human keratinocytes have been recently developed.

 

Techniques

Bioguided-fractionation of crude extracts

Extraction, isolation and purification of natural compounds

Maintenance of cell cultures, and transient transfection

DNA and RNA extraction

PCR, RT-PCR, and electrophoresis

ELISA assays

Preparation of recombinant proteins and purification by FPLC

HPLC and LC-MS/MS analysis

In vivo studies to test anti-inflammatory activity at the gastro-intestinal level

In vitro test for measuring antioxidant activity in cells and tissues (ORAC, SOD, CAT, MDA, FRAP, DPPH)

 

Selected publications

  1. L. Verotta, M. Dell’Agli, A. Giolito, M. Guerrini, P. Cabalion and E. Bosisio (2001) In vitro Antiplasmodial Activity of Extracts of Tristaniopsis Species (Myrtaceae) and Identification of the Active Constituents: Ellagic Acid and 3,4,5 Trimethoxyphenyl-(6’-O-galloyl)-O-b-D-glucopyranoside. Journal of Natural products. 64:603-607.
  2. S. Bellosta, M. Dell’Agli, M. Canavesi, N. Mitro, M. Monetti, M. Crestani, L. Verotta, N. Fuzzati, F. Bernini, E. Bosisio (2003) Inhibition of metalloproteinase-9 activity and gene expression by polyphenolic compounds isolated from the bark of Tristaniopsis calobuxus (Myrtaceae). Cellular and Molecular LifeSciences (CMLS), 60:1440-1448.
  3. Mario Dell’Agli, Alessandra Buscialà and Enrica Bosisio (2004) Vascular effects of wine polyphenols Cardiovascular research.63:593-602.
  4. Mario Dell’Agli, Stefano Bellosta, Luca Rizzi, Germana V. Galli, Monica Canavesi, Filippo Rota, Rachele Parente, Enrica Bosisio, Sergio Romeo (2005) A structure-activity study for the inhibition of metalloproteinase-9 activity and gene expression by analogues of gallocatechin-3-gallate. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 62:2896-2903.
  5. Mario Dell’Agli, Germana V. Galli, Esther Dal Cero, Federica Belluti, Riccardo Matera, Elisa Zironi, Giampiero Pagliuca, Enrica Bosisio (2008) Potent inhibition of human phosphodiesterase-5 by icariin derivatives. Journal of natural Products71:1513-1517.
  6. Mario Dell’Agli, Rossana Fagnani, Germana V. Galli, Omar Maschi, Federica Gilardi, Stefano Bellosta, Maurizio Crestani, Enrica Bosisio, Emma De Fabiani, Donatella Caruso (2010) Olive oil phenols modulate the expression of metalloproteinase-9 in THP-1 cells by acting on nuclear factor-kB signaling. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry58:2246-2252.
  7. Mario Dell’Agli, Germana V. Galli, Michela Bulgari, Nicoletta Basilico, Sergio Romeo, Deepak Bhattacharya, Donatella Taramelli, Enrica Bosisio (2010) Ellagitannins of the fruit rind of pomegranate (Punica Granatum) antagonize in vitro the host inflammatory response mechanisms involved in the onset of malaria Malaria Journal 9:208.
  8. Mario Dell’Agli, Rossana Fagnani, Germana V. Galli, Omar Maschi, Federica Gilardi, Stefano Bellosta, Maurizio Crestani, Enrica Bosisio, Emma De Fabiani, Donatella Caruso (2010) Olive oil phenols modulate the expression of metalloproteinase-9 in THP-1 cells by acting on nuclear factor-kB signaling. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry58:2246-2252.
  9. Mario Dell’Agli, Chiara Di Lorenzo, Mihaela Badea, Enrico Sangiovanni, Lorena Dima, Enrica Bosisio, Patrizia Restani (2013) Plant food supplements with anti-inflammatory properties: a systematic review (I). Critical reviews in Food Science and Nutrition53:403-413.
  10. Elisa Colombo, Enrico Sangiovanni, Mario Dell’Agli (2013) A review on the anti-inflammatory activity of Pomegranate in the gastro-intestinal tract Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative medicine 2013:247145.

 

Links

http://users.unimi.it/csr/

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