The protein p63 plays a significant role in the development of animal epithelium. p63 is a regulator of differentiation, senescence and adhesion programs in numerous mature epithelial tissues. In patients with a healthy epidermis, p63 maintains cell progenitor potential - the ability for cellular division to occur using the delayed differentiation program. It is also responsible for the protecting the epithelial phenotype from depletion in migrating cells, thus resulting in invasion and infiltration after altering its endogenous expression.
<bold>The aim of the study</bold> was to compare the number of cells with p63 protein expression and the presence of Ki67 proliferation marker in the epidermis in patients with chronic venous ulcerations versus those with properly healing wounds.
<bold>Material and methods.</bold> Study materials were comprised of biopsy samples collected from healthy volunteers and patients treated for venous ulcerations. The specimens were subjected to immunohistochemical staining using available monoclonal antibodies and were analyzed with an imaging analysis program which evaluated the expression indices of both proteins in areas of intensified cellular division, i.e. wound edges.
<bold>Results.</bold> The number of cells displaying protein expression in patients with chronic venous ulcerations was significantly lower in comparison to the values observed in healthy volunteers. This was determined during the intermediary phase of wound healing, the most pronounced phase of cellular response to injury.
<bold>Conclusions.</bold> Decreased epidermal p63 expression in patients with venous ulcerations suggests insufficient protein production for the maintenance of autoregeneration and long-lasting division; both are required for the supplementation of migrating cells. The above-mentioned phenomenon suggests that there may be a role for p63 in regulation of the healing process and pathophysiology of chronic venous leg ulcerations.
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