John Libbey Eurotext

European Journal of Dermatology


Unstabilized DNA breaks in lymphocytes of patients with systemic sclerosis Volume 16, issue 3, May-June 2006


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Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani, 2, 35128 Padova, Italy, Laboratory of Human Genetics, San Bortolo Hospital, Vicenza, Italy
  • Key words: systemic sclerosis, digoxigenin-dUTP, micronuclei, anti-centromere, anti-topoisomerase I
  • Page(s) : 258-61
  • Published in: 2006

The clastogenic effects on DNA, proven by the presence of micronuclei (MN), and the protective cellular mechanisms normally used to stabilize DNA breaks were investigated in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). The frequency of micronucleated cells found in cultures of peripheral lymphocytes in patients was significantly higher than in the control group. The patient group with anti-centromere antibodies showed a significantly higher frequency of micronucleated cells than that observed in the patients with anti-topoisomerase I antibodies (4.22% versus 2.34%, p < 0.001). Moreover, we attempted to characterize MN for the presence or absence of DNA fragments with free 3’-OH ends by digoxigenin-dUTP (DIG-dUTP) using terminal deoxynucleotidil transferase. It was found that the frequency of MN containing DNA fragments with 3’-OH free ends (unstable fragments) increased in SSc patients compared to that observed in the control group. Moreover, this increase was significantly higher in lymphocytes of the patients with anti-centromere antibodies than in those with anti-topoisomerase I antibodies (35% versus 20.08%, p < 0.001). Our results indicate that in SSc patients there is an interference in the protective cellular mechanisms, normally stabilizing DNA breaks.