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Circulation. 1999 Jun 1;99(21):2757-64.

Significance of myocytes with positive DNA in situ nick end-labeling (TUNEL) in hearts with dilated cardiomyopathy: not apoptosis but DNA repair.

Author information

1
Second Department of Internal Medicine, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The presence of apoptotic myocytes has been reported in human hearts with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) on the basis of a positive finding of DNA in situ nick end-labeling (TUNEL). However, ultrastructural evidence of myocyte apoptosis has not been obtained.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

A total of 80 endomyocardial biopsies were obtained from right and left ventricles of 20 patients with DCM and 20 normal control subjects. TUNEL-positive myocytes were found by light microscope in 15% of DCM specimens (controls, 0%, P<0.05), and the percentage of TUNEL-positive myocytes per section in DCM was 1. 0+/-2.7% (mean+/-SD). According to TUNEL at the electron microscopic level (EM-TUNEL), immunogold particles, which label DNA breaks with 3'-OH terminals, were markedly accumulated in the bizarre-shaped nuclei, with widespread clumping of chromatin (so-called "hypertrophied nuclei") of the myocytes obtained from DCM. Their ultrastructure was neither apoptotic nor necrotic but rather that of living cells. Taq polymerase-based DNA in situ ligation assay, which detects double-stranded DNA fragments more specifically than TUNEL, did not detect a positive reaction in any case. In mirror sections, all of the TUNEL-positive myocytes in DCM simultaneously expressed proliferating cell nuclear antigen, which is required for both DNA replication and repair, but Ki-67, a replication-associated antigen, was completely negative in all cases, which appeared to rule out cell proliferation activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most of the TUNEL-positive myocytes in hearts with DCM are not apoptotic but rather living cells with increasing activity of DNA repair.

PMID:
10351969
DOI:
10.1161/01.cir.99.21.2757
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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