[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soft-tissue mineralization is a tightly regulated process relying on the activity of systemic and tissue-specific inhibitors and promoters of calcium precipitation. Many of these, such as matrix gla protein (MGP) and osteocalcin (OC), need to undergo carboxylation to become active. This post-translational modification is catalyzed by the gammaglutamyl carboxylase GGCX and requires vitamin K (VK) as an essential co-factor. Recently, we described a novel phenotype characterized by aberrant mineralization of the elastic fibers resulting from mutations in GGCX. Because of the resemblance with pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a prototype disorder of elastic fiber mineralization, it was coined the PXE-like syndrome. As mutations in GGCX negatively affect protein carboxylation, it is likely that inactive inhibitors of calcification contribute to ectopic mineralization in PXE-like syndrome. Because of the remarkable similarities with PXE, we performed a comparative study of various forms of VK-dependent proteins in serum, plasma (using ELISA), and dermal tissues (using immunohistochemistry) of PXE-like and PXE patients using innovative, conformation-specific antibodies. Furthermore, we measured VK serum concentrations (using HPLC) in PXE-like and PXE samples to evaluate the VK status. In PXE-like patients, we noted an accumulation of uncarboxylated Gla proteins, MGP, and OC in plasma, serum, and in the dermis. Serum levels of VK were normal in these patients. In PXE patients, we found similar, although not identical results for the Gla proteins in the circulation and dermal tissue. However, the VK serum concentration in PXE patients was significantly decreased compared with controls. Our findings allow us to conclude that ectopic mineralization in the PXE-like syndrome and in PXE results from a deficient protein carboxylation of VK-dependent inhibitors of calcification. Although in PXE-like patients this is due to mutations in the GGCX gene, a deficiency of the carboxylation co-factor VK is at the basis of the decreased activity of calcification inhibitors in PXE.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in ABCC6 cause pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a heritable disease that affects elastic fibers. Thus far, >200 mutations have been characterized by various PCR-based techniques (primarily direct sequencing), identifying up to 90% of PXE-causing alleles. This study wanted to assess the importance of deletions and insertions in the ABCC6 genomic region, which is known to have a high recombinational potential. To detect ABCC6 deletions/insertions, which can be missed by direct sequencing, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was applied in PXE patients with an incomplete genotype. MLPA was performed in 35 PXE patients with at least one unidentified mutant allele after exonic sequencing and exclusion of the recurrent exon 23-29 deletion. Six multi-exon deletions and four single-exon deletions were detected. Using MLPA in addition to sequencing, we expanded the ABCC6 mutation spectrum with 9 novel deletions and characterized 25% of unidentified disease alleles. Our results further illustrate the instability of the ABCC6 genomic region and stress the importance of screening for deletions in the molecular diagnosis of PXE.
Journal of Human Genetics 02/2010; 55(2):112-7. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is an inherited disorder characterized by calcification of elastic fibres leading to dermatological and vascular alterations associated to premature aged features and to life threatening clinical manifestations. The severity of the disease is independent from the type of mutation in the ABCC6 gene, and it has been suggested that local and/or systemic factors may contribute to the occurrence of clinical phenotype. The redox balance in the circulation of 27 PXE patients and of 50 healthy subjects of comparable age was evaluated by measuring the advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), the lipid peroxidation derivatives (LOOH), the circulating total antioxidant status (TAS), the thiol content and the extracellular superoxide dismutase activity (EC-SOD). Patients were diagnosed by clinical, ultrastructural and molecular findings. Compared to control subjects, PXE patients exhibited significantly lower antioxidant potential, namely circulating TAS and free thiol groups, and higher levels of parameters of oxidative damage, as LOOH and of AOPP, and of circulating EC-SOD activity. Interestingly, the ratio between oxidant and antioxidant parameters was significantly altered in PXE patients and related to various score indices. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that several parameters of oxidative stress are modified in the blood of PXE patients and that the redox balance is significantly altered compared to control subjects of comparable age. Therefore, in PXE patients the circulating impaired redox balance may contribute to the occurrence of several clinical manifestations in PXE patients, and/or to the severity of disease, thus opening new perspectives for their management.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2008; 1782(7-8):474-81. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data on six patients with a Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE)-like phenotype, characterized by excessive skin folding (resembling cutis laxa) and a deficiency of the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors (II, VII, IX, and X) are presented. A comparison is made between the clinical, ultrastructural, and molecular findings in these patients and those seen in classic PXE and cutis laxa, respectively. Clinical overlap with PXE is obvious from the skin manifestations of yellowish papules or leathery plaques with dot-like depressions at presentation, angioid streaks and/or ocular peau d'orange, and fragmentation and calcification of elastic fibers in the dermis. Important phenotypic differences with PXE include much more severe skin laxity with spreading toward the trunk and limbs with thick, leathery skin folds rather than confinement to flexural areas, and no decrease in visual acuity. Moreover, detailed electron microscopic analyses revealed that alterations of elastic fibers as well as their mineralization were slightly different from those in classic PXE. Molecular analysis revealed neither causal mutations in the ABCC6 gene (ATP-binding cassette subfamily C member 6), which is responsible for PXE, nor in VKORC1 (vitamin K 2,3 epoxide reductase), known to be involved in vitamin K-dependent factor deficiency. However, the GGCX gene (gamma-glutamyl carboxylase), encoding an enzyme important for gamma-carboxylation of gla-proteins, harbored mutations in six out of seven patients analyzed. These findings all support the hypothesis that the disorder indeed represents a separate clinical and genetic entity, the molecular background of which remains to be unraveled.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology 04/2007; 127(3):581-7. · 6.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a genetic disease characterized by calcification and fragmentation of elastic fibres of the skin, cardiovascular system and eye, caused by mutations of the ABCC6 gene, which encodes the membrane transporter MRP6. The pathogenesis of the lesions is unknown. Based on studies of similar clinical and histopathological damage present in haemolytic disorders, our working hypothesis is that PXE lesions may result from chronic oxidative stress occurring in PXE cells as a consequence of MRP6 deficiency. Our results show that PXE fibroblasts suffer from mild chronic oxidative stress due to the imbalance between production and degradation of oxidant species. The findings also show that this imbalance results, at least in part, from the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) with overproduction of H2O2. Whether mitochondrial dysfunction is the main factor responsible for the oxidative stress in PXE cells remains to be elucidated. However, mild chronic generalized oxidative stress could explain the great majority of structural and biochemical alterations already reported in PXE.
The Journal of Pathology 02/2006; 208(1):54-61. · 7.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cultured fibroblasts from the dermis of normal subjects and of Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) patients were analysed for enzyme activity, protein and mRNA expression of metalloproteases (MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-9, MT1-MMP) and of their specific inhibitors (TIMP-1, TIMP-2 and TIMP-3). MMP-3, MMP-9 and TIMP-3 mRNAs and proteins failed to be detected in both the medium and the cell layer of both controls and PXE patients. MMP-2 mRNA was significantly more expressed in PXE than in control cell lines, whereas MT1-MMP, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 mRNAs appeared unchanged. MMP-2 was significantly higher in the cell extracts from PXE fibroblasts than in control cells, whereas differences were negligible in the cell medium. Data suggest that PXE fibroblasts have an increased proteolytic potential, and that MMP-2 may actively contribute to connective tissue alterations in this genetic disorder.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2005; 1741(1-2):42-7. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a rare heritable disorder caused by mutations of the ABCC6 gene, is characterized by fragmentation and mineralization of elastic fibres. We determined the extent of degradation of elastin by measuring and comparing the amount of desmosines in plasma and urine of PXE patients, healthy carriers and normal subjects.
Using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF) we measured the amount of desmosines in the urine of 46 individuals (14 PXE patients, 17 healthy carriers and 15 controls) and in the plasma of 56 subjects (18 PXE patients, 23 healthy carriers and 15 controls). Pseudoxanthoma elasticum patients and carriers were identified by clinical, structural and molecular biology analyses.
The urinary excretion of desmosines was two-fold higher in PXE patients than in controls (P < 0.01); the values for healthy carriers were intermediate between those of PXE patients and controls. A very similar trend between patients and their relatives was observed for plasma desmosines. There was a significant correlation between the amount of the desmosines in plasma and urine. Moreover, a positive correlation was observed between urinary desmosine content and age of the patients as well as between urinary desmosine content and severity of clinical manifestations.
Both the urinary and plasma desmosine concentrations indicate that elastin degradation is higher in PXE patients and, to a lesser extent, in healthy carriers than in normal subjects. Data seem to indicate that the amount of elastin breakdown products correlates with the age of patients as well as with the severity of the disease.
European Journal of Clinical Investigation 03/2004; 34(2):156-64. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A significant number of patients diagnosed with beta-thalassaemia develop clinical and histopathological manifestations similar to those of an inherited disorder called Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). The inherited PXE is caused by mutations in the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily C (CFTR/MRP), member 6 (ABCC6) gene and is characterized by mineralized elastic fibres in dermal, vascular and ocular tissues. As no disease-causing variant was found in the ABCC6 gene of 10 beta-thalassaemia patients with a PXE-like phenotype, the present study suggests that the PXE-like symptoms in these beta-thalassaemic patients are not related to ABCC6 mutations.
British Journal of Haematology 10/2003; 122(5):852-4. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is a complex multifactorial process still far from being completely understood. The aim of the present study was to compare the proteome of in vitro cultured dermal fibroblasts from healthy subjects of different ages (i.e. 15 +/- 2, 41 +/- 4 and 82 +/- 3 years old). Proteins of the cell layer were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis and protein identification was performed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry; moreover, synthetic gels were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed by Melanie 3 software. Our study did not reveal any protein typical of any one age group. On the other hand, we observed 38 proteins exhibiting more than three-fold reproducible variations with aging, some (45%) being reduced such as F-actin capping protein alpha1, proteasome subunit alpha type 3, heat shock protein 27, ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase isozyme L1, mitochondrial thioredoxin-dependent peroxide reductase, cathepsin B, glutathione S-transferase P, cyclophilin A and calgizzarin. In contrast, T-complex protein 1, probable protein disulfide isomerase ER60, phosphoglycerate kinase 1, Ran-specific GTPase-activating protein, proteasome subunit alpha type 5, triosephosphate isomerase and superoxide dismutase (Mn) increased with age. Furthermore, annexin 1, elongation factor 1beta, proteasome activator complex subunit 1, phosphoglycerate mutase, superoxide dismutase (Cu-Zn) and cofilin, exhibited the highest levels in adult cells; whereas, septin 2 homolog, RNA-binding protein regulatory subunit and ATP synthase D chain revealed the lowest values in adults. The present investigation, underlining the complexity of the aging process, highlights the role of synthetic and degradative pathways in modulating the whole cell machinery and emphasizes that metabolic impairment with age could depend partly on different expression of a number of genes and leading to an imbalance among functional proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Normal human skin fibroblasts were grown in a three-dimensional collagen gel or in monolayer in the presence or absence of high molecular weight hyaluronan (HA) to assess the influence of extracellular HA on cell-matrix interactions. HA incorporated into the collagen gel or added to the culture medium did not modify lattice retraction with time. The effect was independent from HA molecular weight (from 7.5 x 10(5) to 2.7 x 10(6) Da) and concentration (from 0.1 up to 1 mg/ml). HA did not affect shape and distribution of fibroblasts within the gel, whereas it induced the actin filaments to organise into thicker cables running underneath the plasma membrane. The same phenomenon was observed in fibroblasts grown in monolayer. By contrast, vimentin cytoskeleton and cell-substrate focal adhesions were not modified by exogenous HA. The number of fibroblasts attached to HA-coated dishes was always significantly lower compared to plastic and to collagen type I-coated plates. By contrast, adhesion was not affected by soluble HA added to the medium nor by anti-CD44 and anti-RHAMM-IHABP polyclonals. After 24-h seeding on collagen type I or on plastic, cells were large and spread. Conversely, cells adherent to HA-coated surfaces were long, thin and aligned into rows; alcian blue showed that cells were attached to the plastic in between HA bundles. Therefore, normal human skin fibroblasts exhibit very scarce, if any, adhesion to matrix HA, either soluble or immobilised. Moreover, even at high concentration, HA molecules do not exert any visco-mechanical effect on lattice retraction and do not interfere with fibroblast-collagen interactions nor with focal adhesion contacts of fibroblasts with the substrate. This is probably relevant in organogenesis and wound repair. By contrast, HA greatly modifies the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton, suggesting that CD44-mediated signal transduction by HA may affect cell locomotion and orientation, as indicated by the fusiform shape of fibroblasts grown in the presence of immobilised HA. A role of HA in cell orientation could be relevant for the deposition of collagen fibrils in regeneration and tissue remodelling.
Tissue and Cell 03/2003; 35(1):37-45. · 1.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low and high molecular weight hyaluronan (HA) was added to adult human fibroblasts grown in monolayer to assess its influence on CD44 expression, its internalisation and effect on cell growth. CD44 expression on the surface of in vitro fibroblasts was not modified by different concentrations of FCS, whereas it was sensitive to cell cycle, being higher in the growing than in the resting phase. Independently from molecular weight, upon addition of exogenous HA (from 0.1 up to 1 mg/mL) to fibroblasts in the growing phase, a slight but constant decrease of the expression of CD44 on the surface of fibroblasts was observed; moreover, HA induced a rearrangement of CD44 into patches in close relationship with the terminal regions of stress fibers, which became thicker and more rigid after a few hours from the addition of HA to the medium. Fluorescent HA, added to the culture medium, rapidly attached to the plasma membrane and in less than two minutes was observed within cells, partly in association with its receptor CD44. By the contemporary use of neutral red, which accumulates into functional lysosomes, the great majority of internalised HA was found within lysosomes. HA receptor RHAMM-IHABP was rather homogeneously localised within the cytoplasm of normal growing fibroblasts. Upon addition of HA, the RHAMM-IHABP distribution became discontinuous around the nucleus. Addition of HA to fibroblasts induced a significant inhibition of cell growth, which was dependent on HA concentration and irrespective of HA molecular weight, at least in the ranges tested. Results show that extra-cellular HA is rapidly taken up by human dermal fibroblasts together with its CD44 receptor, and transported mostly to the lysosomes. Both low and high molecular weight HA induced down-regulation of cell proliferation, which would seem to be mediated by HA catabolism.
European journal of histochemistry: EJH 02/2003; 47(1):63-73. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital haemolytic anaemia may be associated with pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE)-like clinical manifestations.
The cardiovascular system of 14 homozygous and double heterozygous beta-thalassaemia patients with skin and retinal vessel alterations similar to those in genetic PXE was analysed over a period of 12 years and compared with that of 13 relatives (five sets of parents, one single parent, two thalassaemic brothers), and that of the control group composed of 16, age- and sex-matched, thalassaemic patients.
All patients with clinical PXE-like skin lesions exhibited, by light and electron microscopy, dermal alterations and mineralization of elastic fibres identical to those typical of inherited PXE. None of the relatives and none of the control group showed clinical or structural findings of PXE. The follow-up started in 1988. After 12 years of clinical observation, six patients showed dramatic progression of skin involvement, angioid streaks had progressed in two subjects. One patient had recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding and underwent partial stomach removal for gastric artery aneurysm, one underwent colon resection for intestinal infarct, one patient had a transitory ischaemic attack, one died after an intracranial haemorrhage, two patients died from cardiovascular disease and one from neoplasia.
Thalassaemic patients with PXE-like skin lesions also manifest PXE-like vessel alterations that progress with time. Considering the severe outcome of these lesions, accurate monitoring should be routinely performed on the cardiovascular system of thalassaemic patients with PXE-like skin manifestations.
European Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/2002; 32(9):700-6. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand the pathogenetics of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), we performed a mutational analysis of ATP-binding cassette subfamily C member 6 (ABCC6) in 122 unrelated patients with PXE, the largest cohort of patients yet studied. Thirty-six mutations were characterized, and, among these, 28 were novel variants (for a total of 43 PXE mutations known to date). Twenty-one alleles were missense variants, six were small insertions or deletions, five were nonsense, two were alleles likely to result in aberrant mRNA splicing, and two were large deletions involving ABCC6. Although most mutations appeared to be unique variants, two disease-causing alleles occurred frequently in apparently unrelated individuals. R1141X was found in our patient cohort at a frequency of 18.8% and was preponderant in European patients. ABCC6del23-29 occurred at a frequency of 12.9% and was prevalent in patients from the United States. These results suggested that R1141X and ABCC6del23-29 might have been derived regionally from founder alleles. Putative disease-causing mutations were identified in approximately 64% of the 244 chromosomes studied, and 85.2% of the 122 patients were found to have at least one disease-causing allele. Our results suggest that a fraction of the undetected mutant alleles could be either genomic rearrangements or mutations occurring in noncoding regions of the ABCC6 gene. The distribution pattern of ABCC6 mutations revealed a cluster of disease-causing variants within exons encoding a large C-terminal cytoplasmic loop and in the C-terminal nucleotide-binding domain (NBD2). We discuss the potential structural and functional significance of this mutation pattern within the context of the complex relationship between the PXE phenotype and the function of ABCC6.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2001; 69(4):749-64. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a rare genetic disorder clinically characterized by skin, cardiovascular and eye manifestations, mainly due to calcification and fragmentation of elastic fibres. Although infrequent, complications during pregnancy in women affected by PXE have been reported. The aim of the present study was to compare structural features of placentae at term from 14 control and 15 PXE-affected women, in order to better understand if and how abnormal mineral and/or matrix accumulation might affect placental function in PXE. In all cases, pregnancy, fetus growth and delivery were normal. Both gross and light microscopy examination did not reveal dramatic differences between placentae of PXE patients and controls, with regard to weight, dimensions, infarcts, thrombi, inflammatory lesions or vessels. However, necrotic changes and mineralization appeared statistically more pronounced in PXE. By electron microscopy the most remarkable differences between PXE and control placentae were observed in the localization and morphology of mineral precipitates; a significant higher deposition of mineral precipitates was observed associated with the "matrix"-type fibrinoid and among collagen fibrils, especially on the maternal side. Immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of vitronectin and fibronectin associated with the PXE-specific mineralizations and the absence of mineralization on the small and scarce elastic fibres in either controls or in PXE.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Perichondrium-periosteum, being of collagen and elastic fiber, is regarded as a bone growth regulating factor. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of collagen and elastic fibers on bone growth, by interfering with the fiber assembly in growing chicks upon administration of DL-penicillamine (DL-PNA). Our findings demonstrated that DL-PNA determined relevant modifications in the perichondrium-periosteum, as shown by histochemical, histomorphometrical,biochemical and ultrastructural analysis. This chemical has been shown to inhibit the formation of desmosine cross-links in elastin and to induce an increase of elastin associated microfibrils. On the contrary, the collagen network and the biochemical collagen markers were not affected. These changes resulted in a dramatically reduced growth of long bones in comparison with control. Perichondrial-periosteal regulation of bone growth may be mediated by mechanical and biological factors. This study demonstrates a microstructural change in the perichondrium-periosteum with decreased elastin and increased elastic microfibrils content in penicillamine treated chicks. The mechanism linking changes in the perichondrium-periosteum with altered growth still needs to be elucidated.
Journal of Orthopaedic Research 06/2001; 19(3):398-404. · 2.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), an inherited disorder of unknown pathogenesis, is characterized by elastic fiber mineralization, collagen fibril alterations, and accumulation of thread material in the extracellular space. PXE-like clinical lesions have been described in patients with beta-thalassemia.
Dermal lesions in these two genetic disorders were compared by light and electron microscopy and by immunocytochemistry.
In both disorders, elastic fiber polymorphism, fragmentation, and mineralization were structurally identical. Elastic fiber mineralization in beta-thalassemia was associated with vitronectin, bone sialoprotein, and alkaline phosphatase, similar to what was observed in inherited PXE. Furthermore, abnormalities of collagen fibrils and filament aggregates were identical in both disorders. In both inherited and beta-thalassemia-associated PXE, unrelated gene defects seem to induce cell metabolic abnormalities that lead to identical clinical and structural phenotypes.
Data indicate that patients with beta-thalassemia may undergo important alterations of connective tissues, a better understanding of which may help in preventing clinical complications.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 02/2001; 44(1):33-9. · 4.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), an inherited disorder of unknown pathogenesis, is characterized by elastic fiber mineralization, collagen fibril alterations, and accumulation of thread material in the extracellular space. PXE-like clinical lesions have been described in patients with β-thalassemia. Objective and Methods: Dermal lesions in these two genetic disorders were compared by light and electron microscopy and by immunocytochemistry. Results: In both disorders, elastic fiber polymorphism, fragmentation, and mineralization were structurally identical. Elastic fiber mineralization in β-thalassemia was associated with vitronectin, bone sialoprotein, and alkaline phosphatase, similar to what was observed in inherited PXE. Furthermore, abnormalities of collagen fibrils and filament aggregates were identical in both disorders. In both inherited and β-thalassemia-associated PXE, unrelated gene defects seem to induce cell metabolic abnormalities that lead to identical clinical and structural phenotypes. Conclusion: Data indicate that patients with β-thalassemia may undergo important alterations of connective tissues, a better understanding of which may help in preventing clinical complications. (J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44:33-9.)
Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology - J AMER ACAD DERMATOL. 01/2001; 44(1):33-39.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously demonstrated that the rat thymus undergoes a progressive remodelling long before the appearance of typical signs of involution [Quaglino, D., Capri, M., Bergamini, G., Euclidi, E., Zecca, L., Franceschi, C., Pasquali Ronchetti, I., 1998. Age-dependent remodelling of rat thymus. Morphological and cytofluorimetric analysis from birth up to one year of age. Eur. J. Cell. Biol. 76, 156-166]. To focus better on the complex remodelling that occurs in the rat immune system during the first year of life, we analysed the phenotype profile of thymocytes, and T lymphocytes from mesenteric lymph nodes and peripheral blood of the same animals by flow cytometry. Two experimental sets were performed simultaneously using the same animal strain, but starting and ending the study at different ages (15 days up to 300 days in the first experimental set, and 90 days up to 360 days of life in the second). In the rat these ages appear to be crucial not only for developmental, maturative and early involutional processes of the thymus, but also of the entire immune system. The main findings were the following: (1) in the thymus, CD8(-)CD4(-) cells increased, CD5(+)alphabeta TCR(-) and CD8(+)CD4(+) thymocytes decreased, while the most mature cell subset appeared well preserved with ageing; (2) in the lymph nodes, T helper and T cytotoxic lymphocytes decreased in the most aged animals. Memory/activated CD4(+)CD45RC(-) T cells decreased, while naive/resting CD4(+)CD45RC(+) cells increased in the youngest animals and decreased in the oldest. CD8(+)CD45RC(-) and CD8(+)CD45RC(+) lymphocytes showed a complex age-dependent trend, and (3) in peripheral blood, minor modifications were evident, such as an age-dependent increase in the alphabeta TCR(+)CD25(+) cell subset. Some of these changes were related to the developmental process, while others could likely be interpreted as early signs of immunosenescence. The role of these modifications in immune system is discussed within the framework of the remodelling hypothesis of immunosenescence. The age-dependent changes in these three lymphoid compartments, however, appear to be different and only partially overlapping, thus suggesting that the maturational, developmental and ageing processes have distinct characteristics in the central and peripheral lymphoid organs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a heritable disorder characterized by calcification of elastic fibres in skin, arteries and retina that results in dermal lesions with associated laxity and loss of elasticity, arterial insufficiency and retinal haemorrhages leading to macular degeneration. PXE is usually found as a sporadic disorder, but examples of both autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant forms of PXE have been observed. Partial manifestations of the PXE phenotype have also been described in presumed carriers in PXE families. Linkage of both dominant and recessive forms of PXE to a 5-cM domain on chromosome 16p13.1 has been reported (refs 8,9). We have refined this locus to an 820-kb region containing 6 candidate genes. Here we report the exclusion of five of these genes and the identification of the first mutations responsible for the development of PXE in a gene encoding a protein associated with multidrug resistance (ABCC6).