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Br J Dermatol. 1999 Jun;140(6):1031-7.

Higher susceptibility to apoptosis following ultraviolet B irradiation of xeroderma pigmentosum fibroblasts is accompanied by upregulation of p53 and downregulation of bcl-2.

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Department of Dermatology, Kobe University School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


Apoptosis plays an important part as a defence mechanism in eliminating damaged cells. Among the complex factors which regulate apoptosis, the p53 tumour suppressor protein which is induced by DNA damage has been suggested to play a crucial part. Cells from xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) patients, which are defective in nucleotide excision repair, express higher levels of p53 and are highly susceptible to cell death after ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. To examine the relationships between DNA damage, p53 and apoptosis, normal and XP group A fibroblasts were exposed to UVB, and expressions of molecules involved in apoptosis were examined. Apoptosis of XP and normal cells was clearly detected at 48 h after irradiation with UVB at doses of 5 and 40 mJ/cm2, respectively. Cells were positive by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labelling (TUNEL) staining under these exposure conditions. At 6 h after irradiation, p53 protein expression was induced in normal and XP cells at minimal doses of 10 and 2.5 mJ/cm2, respectively. Bcl-2 protein, an inhibitor of apoptosis, was downregulated prior to cell death following UVB exposure at doses that induced apoptosis in both cell types. These results suggest that DNA damage due to UVB induces apoptosis by upregulating proapoptotic molecules such as p53, and by downregulating anti-apoptotic molecules such as Bcl-2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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