Dott. Eugenio Mocchegiani

Participant code: INRCA, Co-ordinator

Dr. Eugenio Mocchegiani, Immunology Centre,

(Section: Nutrition, Immunity and Ageing). Res. Dept. Italian National Research Centres on Ageing (I.N.R.C.A);

Via Birarelli 8, 60121 Ancona, Italy.

Group’s experience:

Dr. Eugenio Mocchegiani is directing the Section Nutrition Immunity and Ageing at the Immunology Centre, Res. Dept. INRCA, Ancona, Italy. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal “Biogerontology”. He has a very long experience in studying the role of nutritional factors in neuroendocrine-immune interactions during ageing and in age-related diseases (cancer, infections, dementia and cardiovascular diseases). In particular, his work is focused on a a trace element, i.e. zinc, because of its special relevance for the efficiency of many body homeostatic mechanisms, including the immune system. His previou work revealed that zinc is involved in the recovery of the immune efficiency in old individuals, in cancer and in infected patients as well as in Alzheimer’s subjects and in atherosclerosis patients. Such an efficiency is strictly related to the presence of other substances called zinc-binding proteins and of enzymes (SOD, PARP, iNOS) and proteins (chaperones) which require zinc co-ordination in the molecule for their activity or zinc finger motifs for DNA interacting molecules. Dr. Mocchegiani and his group has shown during the last few years that a zinc-binding protein (metallothionein) plays a key role in zinc homeostasis during ageing. MT increases in ageing, in cancer and infections. This fact provokes increased sequestratering of zinc as there is no concomitant net loss of zinc ions. At the same time, MT is unable to release zinc, as it would normally occur in young adult age, suggesting a possible deleterious role of MT in immunosenescence. This study has been performed at molecular and biochemical levels. Dr. Mocchegiani’s research current interest is direct towards the lack of zinc release from MT by nitric-oxide, towards chaperones, PARP-1. Following this expertise, Dr. Mocchegiani has published many papers and book chapters in this field, and has been guest editor of the book “The Neuroendocrine Immune Network in Ageing” (Series of Neuroimmune Biology Journal).

Personnel involved:

1. Dr. Eugenio Mocchegiani (M) Group leader. Scientific supervision, responsible WP1,2 and co-ordinator of the project.
2. Prof. Vittorio Saba (M) Head Clinical Pathology Division, INRCA Hospital, Ancona, Italy.

3. Dr. Linari Giorgio (M) (Appointment and development of the internet database).

4. Mrs. Nazzarena Gasparini (F) Technicians involved in cell culture.

5. Mr. Romeo Pierandrei (M) Technicians involved in the recruitment of the subjects.

6. Mr. Graziano Mazzarini (M) Techinicians expert of informatics.

7. Post-doctoral fellow to be appointed (Polymorphisms and molecular genetic).
8. Post-doctoral fellow to be appointed (Cytofluorimetry and cryo-preservation cell bank).
9. Fellowship to be appointed (RT-PCR and molecular biology).

Recent relevant publications:

1) Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Gasparini N, Bernardini G, Malavolta M, Menegazzi M, Cavalieri E, Muzzioli M, Ciampa AR, Suzuki H. The variations during the circadian cycle of liver CD1d-unrestricted NK1.1(+)TCRgamma/delta(+) cells lead to successful ageing. Role of metallothionein/IL-6/gp130/PARP-1 interplay in very old mice. Exp Gerontol., 39, 775-88, 2004.

2) Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Albanese F, Boccoli G, Saba V, Olivieri F, Franceschi C, Mocchegiani E. The -174G/C polymorphism of IL-6 is useful to screen old subjects at risk for atherosclerosis or to reach successful ageing.
Exp Gerontol. 39, 621-8, 2004.

3) Cipriano C, Giacconi R, Muzzioli M, Gasparini N, Orlando F, Corradi A, Cabassi E, Mocchegiani E. Metallothionein (I+II) confers, via c-myc, immune plasticity in oldest mice: model of partial hepatectomy/liver regeneration. Mech Ageing Dev. 124, 877-8, 2003.

4) Mocchegiani E, Muzzioli M, Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Gasparini N, Franceschi C, Gaetti R, Cavalieri E, Suzuki H. Metallothioneins/PARP-1/IL-6 interplay on natural killer cell activity in elderly: parallelism with nonagenarians and old infected humans. Effect of zinc supply. Mech Ageing Dev. 124, 459-68, 2003.

5) Pawelec G, Barnett Y, Forsey R, Frasca D, Globerson A, McLeod J, Caruso C, Franceschi C, Fulop T, Gupta S, Mariani E, Mocchegiani E, Solana R. T cells and aging, January 2002 update. Front Biosci. 1, 7:d1056-183, 2002.

6) Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Gasparini N, Orlando F, Stecconi R, Muzzioli M, Isani G, Carpene E. Metallothioneins (I+II) and thyroid-thymus axis efficiency in old mice: role of corticosterone and zinc supply. Mech Ageing Dev. 123, 675-94, 2002.
7) Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Cipriano C, Muzzioli M, Gasparini N, Morresi R, Stecconi R, Suzuki H, Cavalieri E, Mariani E. MtmRNA gene expression, vial IL-6 and glucocorticoids, as potential and genetic marker of immunosenescence: lessons from very old mice and humans. Exp. Gerontol. 349-357, 2002.
8) Mocchegiani E, Muzzioli M, Giacconi R. Zinc and immunoresistance to infections in ageing: new biological tools. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 21, 205-208, 2000.
9) Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Muzzioli M, ipriano C. Zinc infections and immunosenscence. Mech. Ageing Develop. 121, 21-35, 2000.