Francesco Violi

Francesco Violi

Italy - Rome


Francesco Violi has been President of the Italian Societies of Internal Medicine and Thrombosis and Haemostasis and President of the Academic College of Internal Medicine. Right now, he is Professor Emeritus at Sapienza University of Rome. His main scientific interests are thrombosis and oxidative stress. He performed the first clinical trial with ticlopidine in patients with acute coronary syndromes and discovered that Nox2 is a powerful vasoconstrictive enzyme by studying children with chronic granulomatous disease. Renaissance art and running are enjoyable moments of his life. His motto is “There is not a truth on which we can definitively seat".


- Sapienza University

Areas of expertise

- Thrombosis


Cardiovascular disease, wine and thrombosis

Cardiovascular disease, wine, and thrombosis

Atherosclerosis and its sequelae are the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Oxidation of LDL is believed to initiate an inflammatory status within the vessel wall with ensuing infiltration of monocytes ultimately engulfing arterial sub-intima upon transforming macrophages-derived foam cells. NOX2, the most important enzyme devoted to reactive oxidant species (ROS) production by innate immune cells and platelets, has been suggested to play a key role in atherosclerosis. Thus, in patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), who are genetically NOX2 deficient, atherosclerotic burden is less marked compared to controls.[1] The role of oxidative stress has been documented by the reduction of macrophages within arterial wall upon administration of the antioxidant Vitamin E in patients with carotid atherosclerosis undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Even if trials with antioxidant supplements provided equivocal data, antioxidants other than vitamin E or C may be of usefulness for cardiovascular disease prevention. In this context, polyphenol-rich nutrients may be of interest as they could lower atherosclerotic burden acting at several levels including the thrombotic process. Wine, for instance, is a polyphenol rich nutrient, that has been shown to exert antioxidant and antithrombotic effects in vitro and in vivo by interfering with activation of platelets.[2] These findings may provide a biological plausibility to observational studies documenting that a moderate consumption of wine, i.e., about 2 glasses/day, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease without interfering with mortality. However, the alcohol content of wine should be carefully considered when wine is chronically assumed as alcohol may have deleterious effects on cardiovascular system via translocation of bacteria or bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharide. Thus, even if the beneficial effects of wine for prevention of cardiovascular disease should wisely considered for the lack of randomized clinical trials, its polyphenol content may be an important tool to develop new molecules as anti-atherothrombotic agents.



1) Violi F. et al. (2013) Reduced atherosclerotic burden in subjects with genetically determined low oxidative stress. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 33: 406-412, doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300438

2) Pignatelli P. et al.  (2006) Polyphenols synergistically inhibit oxidative stress in subjects given red and white wine. Atherosclerosis 188: 77-83, doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2005.10.025