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J Urol. 2006 Feb;175(2):739-43.

Involvement of ubiquitination and sumoylation in bladder lesions induced by persistent long-term low dose ionizing radiation in humans.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Institute of Urology, Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine.



We determined whether ubiquitination and sumoylation processes are up-regulated in bladder urothelium by chronic, long-term, persistent low doses of ionizing radiation in male patients with benign prostate hyperplasia and females with chronic cystitis living more than 19 years in 137Cs contaminated areas after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.


Bladder urothelial biopsies from 45 patients were subjected to histopathological and immunohistochemical study of Ub, SUMO1, SUMO E2 conjugating enzyme Ubc9, and the cell cycle inhibitors p53 and p27(Kip1).


Of 25 group 1 patients from radio contaminated areas chronic proliferative atypical cystitis (Chernobyl cystitis), featuring multiple foci of dysplasia, and carcinoma in situ were observed in 23 (92%) and 19 (76%), respectively, in addition to 1 small pTa grade 1 urothelial carcinoma. Chronic cystitis with areas of dysplasia and urothelial hyperplasia were detected in 2 (10%) and 3 (15%), respectively of the 20 patients in control group 2 from clean (without radio contamination) areas of Ukraine. Greatly increased levels of Ub, SUMO1, Ubc9 and p53 as well as decreased levels of p27(Kip1) were evident in patients in group 1 compared to those in group 2 (all p <0.001).


These findings support the hypothesis that up-regulated ubiquitination and sumoylation processes might be an adaptive response to unscheduled proteolysis of aberrant p53 and p27(Kip1) cell cycle regulators occurring with long-term low dose rate ionizing radiation exposure with a possible contribution to urothelial carcinogenesis.

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