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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jul 23;99(15):10025-30. Epub 2002 Jul 15.

Regional analysis of p53 mutations in rheumatoid arthritis synovium.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Abstract

The p53 tumor suppressor protein plays a central role in cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, and apoptosis. Recent studies indicate that DNA damage and somatic mutations in the p53 gene can occur because of genotoxic stress in many tissues, including the skin, colon, and synovium. Although somatic mutations in the p53 gene have been demonstrated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue and synoviocytes, no information is available on the location or extent of p53 mutations. Using microdissected RA synovial tissue sections, we observed abundant p53 transition mutations, which are characteristic DNA damage caused by oxidative stress. p53 mutations, as well as p53 mRNA expression, were located mainly in the synovial intimal lining rather than the sublining (P < 0.01). Clusters of p53 mutant subclones were observed in some microdissected regions, suggesting oligoclonal expansion. Because IL-6 gene expression is regulated by wild-type p53, IL-6 mRNA expression in microdissected tissues was quantified by using real-time PCR. The regions with high rates of p53 mutations contained significantly greater amounts of IL-6 mRNA compared with the low mutation samples (P < 0.02). The microdissection findings suggest that p53 mutations are induced in RA synovial tissues by inflammatory oxidative stress. This process, as in sun-exposed skin and inflamed colonic epithelium, provides some of the mutant clones with a selective growth advantage. A relatively low percentage of cells containing p53 mutations can potentially affect neighboring cells and enhance inflammation through the elaboration of proinflammatory cytokines.

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