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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1996 Aug 28;1313(2):130-8.

Production and release of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) derived peptides by human melanocytes and keratinocytes in culture: regulation by ultraviolet B.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


It is demonstrated that ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation stimulates increased expression of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene which is accompanied by production and release of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) by both normal and malignant human melanocytes and keratinocytes. The production and release of both peptides are also stimulated by dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP) and interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) but not by endothelin-1 (ET-1) or tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a precursor of glutathione (GSH), an intracellular free radical scavenger, abolishes the UVB-stimulated POMC peptide production and secretion. Conclusions are as follows: (1) Cultured human cells of cutaneous origin, namely keratinocytes and melanocytes, can produce and express POMC; (2) POMC expression is enhanced by exposure to UVB, possibly through a cyclic AMP-dependent pathway; and (3) The action of UVB on POMC production may involve a cellular response to oxidative stress.

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