Constitutive expression of δN-p63α isoform in human thymus and thymic epithelial tumours

Marco Chilosi, Alberto Zamò, Antonietta Brighenti, Giorgio Malpeli, Licia Montagna, Paola Piccoli, Serena Pedron, Maurizio Lestani, Giorgio Inghirami, Aldo Scarpa, Claudio Doglioni, Fabio Menestrina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


p63, a member of the p53 family, is involved in the survival and differentiation of reserve/stem cells in different epithelia. To unveil the possible role of p63 in thymic physiology and pathology, we investigated the expression of p63 isoforms in normal thymus, thymomas and other mediastinal tumours. All samples were analysed using immunohistochemistry with three different antibodies: 4A4 antibody recognising all p63 isoforms, p40 antibody reacting only with truncated dominant-negative isoforms (ΔN-p63) and H-129 antibody recognising all alpha-isoforms. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and real-time PCR analyses were performed on RNA extracted from frozen samples of four thymomas and two primary-mediastinal large-B-cell lymphoma (PMLBCL). In normal thymus, ΔN-p63α was expressed in all cortical and medullary epithelial cells, with decreasing intensity in Hassall's corpuscles. This phenotype was conserved in neoplastic transformation since all 54 investigated thymomas (World Health Organization types A, AB, B1, B2, B3, C) expressed ΔN-p63α (virtually 100% cells). The predominance of ΔN-p63α isoform mRNA was confirmed by real-time PCR. Among other mediastinal tumours, ΔN-p63α was only expressed in those displaying either a stratified epithelial component (teratomas) or epidermoid differentiation (lung carcinoma). Among lymphomas, T-cell-precursor lymphomas did not express p63, whereas most PMLBCL expressed TA-p63α (7/8).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • p63
  • Real-time PCR
  • Thymic tumours
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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