Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Photochem Photobiol B. 2001 Oct;63(1-3):70-7.

Heat shock proteins in the photobiology of human skin.

Author information

  • 1University of Vienna, Division of Special and Environmental Dermatology, Department of Dermatology, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


All organisms respond to sudden environmental changes with the increased transcription of genes belonging to the family of heat shock proteins (hsps). Hsp-inducing stress factors include elevated temperatures, alcohol, heavy metals, oxidants, and agents leading to protein denaturation. The induction of heat shock proteins is followed by a transient state of increased resistance to further stress and the heat shock response is generally thought to represent an evolutionary conserved adaptive mechanism to cope with hostile environmental conditions. Since the skin as a barrier organ has to cope with the potentially harmful consequences of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), it appears reasonable to question whether hsps constitute a natural defence mechanism against UV. Hsps have been detected in resting as well as in stressed epidermal and dermal cells and overexpression of hsps is associated with increased resistance to UV-induced cell death. Furthermore, UV itself is able to induce the expression of specific hsps. Thus, hsps might provide an adaptive cellular response to increasing UV and enhancing the expression of hsps might turn out as a new way to deal with the immediate and long-term consequences of UV exposure. Prerequisite for the utilization of this concept is the development of non-toxic heat shock inducers and their evaluation for clinical efficacy and safety.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk