Bone Metabolic Unit
The main research field of our laboratory is focused on the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in the development of age-related musculoskeletal diseases affecting bone and cartilage tissues. In particular, we studied the role of oxidative stress resulting in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) as occurs during the aging, on the bone loss observed in the senile osteoporosis and on osteoarthritis. We are also investigating the potential use of antioxidant compounds or protective molecules (like sexual steroid hormones) to restore the balance in bone/cartilage cellular activity impaired during aging.
Main research lines: In our laboratory in vivo and in vitro approaches are used.
In vivo studies: longitudinal studies are performed in experimental models of osteopenia (surgical gonadectomy, disuse or chronic inflammation) using non-invasive technologies like peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) to evaluate the bone mineral density and the biochemical markers of bone turnover. The same experimental models are used to study the possible involvement of the epigenetic mechanism in osteopenia (histone post translational modification, DNA methylation) and the trascriptomic profile of the genes involved in bone remodelling.
In vitro studies: primary/Immortalized cell lines of the osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteocytes and chondrocyte are used for the following studies:
• Effect of ROS on cellular viability, apoptosis, morphology, differentiation and of the protective role of endogenous and exogenous antioxidant compounds).
• Analysis of the intracellular pathways induced by ROS.
• Analysis of the protective role of the sexual steroids in the osteoblast/osteocytes/osteoclasts exposed to ROS or inflammatory stimuli and possible epigenetic mechanisms involved.
The main techniques used are the following: densitomentric analysis by pQCT , colorimetric and fluorimetric assays, gene espression profile (qPCR), Western blottings, DNA methylation analysis of CpG islands, global DNA methylation analysis (enzymatic restriction profile), global post-translational modification analysis (WB) and ChIP.
Grants: CARIPLO GIOVANI 2015- “Epigenetic in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of osteoporosis: new insights from in vitro and in vivo studies”. Project Leader: UNIMI (Single Partner), PI (Lavinia Casati), Duration: 3 years (from 01/04/2016 to 31/03/2019).
Research Team members: The group is composed by Dr Valeria Sibilia (Assistant Professor of Pharmacology), Francesca Pagani (Graduated Technician, Biologist) Lavinia Casati (post doc position, PhD in Morphological Sciences) and Serena Ceriotti ( PhD student in cotutoring with prof. Francesco Ferrucci)
National Collaborations: Fabio Celotti and Patrizia Limonta (DISFEB, UNIMI), Francesco Ferrucci (VESPA, UNIMI), Ugo Pazzaglia and Guido Zarattini (Dipartimento di Specialità Medico-Chirurgiche, Scienze Radiologiche e Sanità Pubblica, UNIBS), Roberto lo Scalzo (Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria). International Collaborations: Ramon Sendra (Universitat de Valencia Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular) and Lavoie Jean Pierre (University of Montreal, Canada).
Main instrumentation available to the group: Wallac - Victor 2 – Multilabel Counter, EPR, FACS – Partec, Master cycle gradient PCR /transluminator,pQCT Stratec Research SA, Laminar Flow cabinet, Cell incubator.
Contacts: Dr Valeria Sibilia (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), Tel. 02503 16979 –16980
Location: Via Vanvitelli 32, 20129, Milano