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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Jul;21(6):795-801.

Expression of apoptosis regulatory proteins p53 and Bcl-2 in skin of patients with chronic renal failure on maintenance haemodialysis.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Minya University, Al-Minya, Egypt.



Chronic renal failure results in multi-organ system derangement including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, endocrinal, blood and dermatological abnormalities. Maintenance of skin homeostasis requires a delicate balance between proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. p53 and Bcl-2 proteins play a central role in the regulation of apoptosis.


Evaluation of the expression of apoptosis regulatory proteins p53 and Bcl-2 in apparently normal skin of patients, with chronic renal failure on maintenance haemodialysis, with respect to their role in the apoptotic process.


Biopsy specimens were obtained from 10 patients with chronic renal failure on maintenance haemodialysis, as well as seven age-matched control subjects. Computer-assisted image analysis was employed to measure epidermal thickness in H&E-stained sections. Immunoperoxidase technique was also used to demonstrate p53 and Bcl-2 proteins and the TUNEL technique for detection of apoptotic cells in these specimens.


The mean epidermal thickness was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) in patients than controls. Meanwhile, no apoptotic cells were detected in the epidermis of patients. On the other hand, a statistically significant difference was observed in both p53 (P = 0.0001) and Bcl-2 expression (P = 0.0003) when comparing patients and controls. Expression of p53 (2.74 +/- 0.84) and Bcl-2 (3.45 +/- 1.35) proteins was higher in skin samples obtained from patients with chronic renal failure and on maintenance haemodialysis than those from control cases (0.5 +/- 0.96 and 0.8 +/- 0.6, respectively). Moreover, Bcl-2 expression in patients was observed in basal as well as squamous cell layers of skin, whereas in control subjects it was confined to the basal cell layer only.


These findings suggest that an alteration in the proliferation/apoptosis balance may be present in the skin of such patients.

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