Pond, C. D., Leachman, S. A. and Warters, R. L. Accumulation, Activation and Interindividual Variation of the Epidermal TP53 Protein in Response to Ionizing Radiation in Organ Cultured Human Skin. Radiat. Res. 161, 739–745 (2004).
In this study, we examined effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on organ cultured human foreskin and, in particular, on the epidermis. Diagnostic, therapeutic, natural environmental and incidental exposures to moderate to low doses of radiation are inevitable and, although information on cultured cells continues to accumulate, little is known about the effects of low-dose radiation on human tissues. Our hypothesis is that ex vivo organ cultured foreskin is a simple and reliable model to study the biochemical effects of low-dose radiation exposure on skin. A model such as this will aid in the identification and quantification of low-dose radiation-induced changes in proteins in human skin and may be useful in the development of a precise, non-invasive, and reliable assay of exposure. In this work, several aspects of skin responses to culture conditions and radiation were examined. The responses of epidermal TP53 from organ cultured skin irradiated in medium with and without serum were found to be similar. TP53 levels in organ cultured neonatal foreskin epidermis were then examined for baseline TP53 expression. After an initial increase at 4 h, the TP53 D01 signal returned to low steady-state levels for at least 72 h. Irradiated skin samples from different individuals revealed variations in the TP53 D01 signal. The dose and temporal response of dermis and epidermis to radiation were examined by Western blotting from 0 to 24 h after exposure. After irradiation and incubation, the epidermis was removed and assayed by Western blotting and was found to have increases in the TP53 D01 epitope and the TP53 phosphoserine 15 (TP53-S15p) epitope that reached a maximum at about 3 h. In the epidermis, doses of 1–5 cGy of radiation were detectable with the TP53 D01, and CDKN1A antibodies and doses greater than 10 cGy were detectable with the TP53-S15p antibody. When the dermis was compared to epidermis, it was found that dermis had a smaller response to radiation and more phosphorylated TP53.