Prof. Daniela Monti

Participant code: UNIFI

Prof. Daniela Monti,

Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, University of Florence, Italy
University of Florence (UNIFI)

Group’s experience:
The group of University of Florence has been involved since many years in the field of bio-gerontology, and in the study of exceptional longevity in humans by exploring the centenarians as a model to address the biological basis of aging and longevity, with particular attention to immunology and genetics. Several nation-wide studies on centenarians have been organized by this group and about 300 of centenarians have been recruited. The group of University of Florence has also been involved since many years in the study of apoptosis, with particular attention to the alterations of the cell death process occurring during aging and in precocious aging syndromes such as Down’s Syndrome and Fanconi Anemia. This group has set up an original experimental model of apoptosis based on the use of 2-deoxy-D-Ribose, a reducing sugar able to induce cell death also in resting, quiescent lymphocytes, that are usually very resistant to apoptosis. This model allowed us to observe that lymphomonocytes from elderly people and centenarians have a lower susceptibility to apoptosis with respect to young people, and the same was observed for subjects with Down’s Syndrome or Fanconi Anemia. We recently focused on the study of mitochondrial damage during apoptosis by using a new cytofluorimetric method, able to evaluate the mitochondrial membrane potential at the single cell level. The lab has a large collection of lymphoid cells (immortalized and non immortalized), fibroblasts, plasma, sera and DNA from centenarians and younger subjects of different age. The group contributes expertise in the field of immunology of aging and longevity in humans, the main focus being apoptosis induced by oxidative stress and its evaluation by different approaches.

Personnel involved:

1) Daniela Monti, (F) PhD, Associate Professor of General Pathology, University of Florence and Professor of Immunology, Biotechnology School, University of Bologna, is working since several years on the immunological and genetical determinants of human ageing and longevity, with particular attention to oxidative stress and apoptosis.

2) Dr. Stefano Salvioli, (M) PhD. Experience in mitochondria role in human aging and longevity.

3) Dr. Miriam Capri, (F) PhD. Experience in cellular and molecular biology.

4) Dr. Elisa Cevenini, (F) medical biotechnology degree. Experience in flow-cytometry and molecular biology.

5) Dr. Silvia Alberti, (F) biological sciences degree. Experience in flow-cytometry and cellular biology.

6) Rita Ostan, (F) biological sciences student to be appointed. Experiments on apoptosis and oxidative stress.

Recent relevant pubblications:

1) Bonafè M, Olivieri F, Mari D, Baggio G, Mattace R, Berardelli M, Sansoni P, De Benedictis G, De Luca M, Marchegiani F, Cavallone L, Cardelli M, Giovagnetti S, Ferrucci L, Amadio L, Lisa R, Tucci P, Troiano L, Pini G, Gueresi P, Morellini M, Sorbi S, Passeri G, Barbi C, Valensin S, Monti D, Deiana L, Pes GM, Carru C, Franceschi C. P53 Codon 72 Polymorphism and Longevity:Additional Data on Centenarians from Continental Italy and Sardinia. American Journal of Human Genetics, 65:1782-1785, 1999
2) Monti D, Salvioli S, Capri M, Malori W, Straface E,Cossarizza A, Botti B, Piacentini M, Baggio G, Barbi B, Valensin S, Bonafè M, Franceschi C. Decreased susceptibility to oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy elderly and centenarians. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 121: 239-50 2000.
3) Bonafè M, Olivieri F, Cavallone L, Giovagnetti S, Marchegiani F, Cardelli M, Pieri C, Marra M, Antonicelli R, Lisa R, Rizzo M R, Paolisso G, Monti D, Franceschi C. A gender-dependent genetic predisposition to produce high levels of IL-6 is detrimental for longevity. European Journal of Immunology, 31, 2357-2361, 2001.

4) Salvioli S, Capri M, Scarcella E, Margherini S, Faranca I, Volterra V, De Ronchi D, Marini M, Bonafè M, Franceschi C, and Monti D. Age-dependent changes in the susceptibility to apoptosis of peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes with virgin or memory phenotype. Mechanism of Ageing and Development,124(4):409-18, 2003 Apr.

5) Bonafe M, Salvioli S, Barbi C, Trapassi C, Tocco F, Storci G, Invidia L, Vannini I, Rossi M, Marzi E, Mishto M, Capri M, Olivieri F, Antonicelli R, Memo M, Uberti D, Nacmias B, Sorbi S, Monti D, Franceschi C. The different apoptotic potential of the p53 codon 72 alleles increases with age and modulates in vivo ischaemia-induced cell death. Cell Death Differ., 2004 May 7.