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Int J Tissue React. 2001;23(2):51-8.

Induction of heat shock protein synthesis in human skin fibroblasts in response to oxidative stress: regulation by a natural antioxidant from rosemary extract.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Section, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Chemistry, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, 95100 Catania, Italy.


Reactive oxygen species have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the severe connective tissue damage present in several photodermatologic disorders, including drug-induced phototoxicity, porphyrias and photoaging. Oxidative stress has been shown to alter the expression of mammalian antioxidant enzymes and to enhance numerous transcription factors, including nuclear factor-kappa B, stress-activated protein kinase and heat shock factor. The latter represents the transcription factor for the synthesis of cytoprotective proteins called heat shock proteins. In this study, we investigated the role of oxidative stress and sulfdryl (SH) groups in the induction of HSP70 in human skin fibroblasts and the effect of antioxidants. We found that significant HSP70 induction occurred after exposure to HOOH and this was associated with marked perturbation in protein and nonprotein SH groups and with a considerable increase in protein carbonyl levels. Treatment with a natural antioxidant from rosemary extract provided notable protection against stress-induced modifications of cellular SH and carbonyl content, maintaining functional levels of cytoprotective heat shock protein 70. Our results point to the possible involvement of redox mechanisms in the heat shock signal transduction pathway, which may play an important regulatory role in the genetic mechanisms of tolerance to oxidative stress. Exogenous supplementation of an antioxidant hydrophilic extract from rosemary could have cosmetic benefits and may represent an efficient tool to minimize free radical-induced skin damage.

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