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J Invest Dermatol. 1998 Dec;111(6):1103-8.

Chimeric human epidermal reconstructs to study the role of melanocytes and keratinocytes in pigmentation and photoprotection.

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  • 1Dermatology Laboratory, University Victor Ségalen Bordeaux II, France.


Chimeric epidermal reconstructs made with Negroid melanocytes and Caucasoid keratinocytes (or vice versa) were studied before and after UVB irradiation to understand the respective roles of these cells in tanning and photoprotection, especially lipoperoxidation and enzymatic defences against free radicals. Using this approach, we have confirmed overall the theory of the epidermal melanin unit. We have also shown that melanocytes of poorly tanning Caucasoids, which have a comparatively higher content of unsaturated fatty acids in their cell membrane, are more prone to the peroxidative effects of UV light, and that keratinocytes participate in photoprotection via phototype-dependent antioxidant enzyme activities, especially for catalase.

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