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Photochem Photobiol. 2001 Dec;74(6):825-8.

The influence of UV exposure on 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX production in skin.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Orebro Medical Center Hospital, Sweden.


The skin of nude mice was exposed to erythemogenic doses of UV radiation, which resulted in erythema with edema. An ointment containing 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) was topically applied on mouse and human skin. Differences in the kinetics of protoporphyrin accumulation were investigated in normal and UV-exposed skin. At 24 and 48 h after UV exposure, skin produced significantly less protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) than skin unexposed to UV. Human skin on body sites frequently exposed to solar radiation (the lower arm) also produced less PpIX than skin exposed more rarely to the sun (the upper arm). It is concluded that UV radiation introduces persisting changes in the skin, relevant to its capability of producing PpIX from ALA. The observed differences in ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence may be the result of altered penetration of ALA through the stratum corneum or altered metabolizing ability of normal and UV-exposed skin (or both).

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