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J Invest Dermatol. 2009 May;129(5):1258-70. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.354. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Inhibition of UVB-induced skin tumor development by drinking green tea polyphenols is mediated through DNA repair and subsequent inhibition of inflammation.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.


Consumption of green tea polyphenols (GTPs) in drinking water prevents photocarcinogenesis in mice; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying this effect have not been fully elucidated. Using IL-12p40 knockout (KO) mice and their wild-type counterparts and an established photocarcinogenesis protocol, we found that although administration of GTPs (0.2%, w/v) in drinking water significantly reduced UVB-induced tumor development in wild-type mice, this treatment had a nonsignificant effect in IL-12-KO mice. GTPs resulted in reduction in the levels of markers of inflammation (cyclooxygenase-2, prostaglandin E(2), proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and cyclin D1) and proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1beta) in chronically UVB-exposed skin and skin tumors of wild-type mice but less effective in IL-12p40-KO mice. UVB-induced DNA damage (cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers) was resolved rapidly in GTPs-treated wild-type mice than untreated wild-type mice and this resolution followed the same time course as the GTPs-induced reduction in the levels of inflammatory responses. This effect of GTPs was less pronounced in IL-12-KO mice. The above results were confirmed by treatment of IL-12-KO mice with murine recombinant IL-12 and treatment of wild-type mice with neutralizing anti-IL-12 antibody. To our knowledge, it is previously unreported that prevention of photocarcinogenesis by GTPs is mediated through IL-12-dependent DNA repair and a subsequent reduction in skin inflammation.

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