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J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Aug;119(2):499-506.

Ultraviolet irradiation alters transforming growth factor beta/smad pathway in human skin in vivo.

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1
Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0609, USA.

Abstract

Solar ultraviolet irradiation damages human skin and causes premature skin aging and skin cancer. As transforming growth factor beta plays an important role in regulating cell growth and extracellular matrix synthesis, we investigated expression of transforming growth factor beta isoforms, transforming growth factor beta receptors, and transforming growth factor beta regulated Smad transcription factors following irradiation with an ultraviolet B source and solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation of human skin in vivo. Full-thickness, sun-protected adult human skin expressed transforming growth factor beta1, beta2, and beta3 transcripts in a ratio of 1:5:3, as determined by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Northern analysis demonstrated that the ultraviolet irradiation (2 minimal erythema dose) caused moderate (2-3-fold) gradual increases of transforming growth factor beta1 and beta3 mRNA expression during 3 d post exposure. In contrast, expression of transforming growth factor beta2 mRNA, the predominant form of transforming growth factor beta in human skin, decreased within 4 h after ultraviolet irradiation. In situ hybridization revealed transforming growth factor beta1, beta2, and beta3 mRNA expression in cells throughout the epidermis and the dermis in nonirradiated skin. Following ultraviolet or solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation, transforming growth factor beta1 and beta3 mRNA were increased and transforming growth factor beta2 mRNA was reduced throughout the epidermis and dermis. No significant changes were observed in transforming growth factor beta type I receptor mRNA expression after ultraviolet irradiation. In contrast, transforming growth factor beta type II receptor mRNA expression was reduced 60% within 4 h following ultraviolet exposure in human skin in vivo. Transforming growth factor beta type II receptor mRNA levels remained reduced for 8 h and recovered by 24 h post ultraviolet. In situ hybridization revealed that ultraviolet or solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation caused loss of transforming growth factor beta type II receptor mRNA in basal and suprabasal cells in the epidermis and dermal cells. In addition, no significant changes were observed in Smad2, Smad3, and Smad4 expression after ultraviolet irradiation. In contrast, ultraviolet and solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation rapidly induced gene expression of Smad7, which antagonizes the actions of the transforming growth factor beta/Smad pathway. Smad7 mRNA induction occurred throughout the epidermis and dermal cells as determined by in situ hybridization. Ultraviolet irradiation also caused reduced DNA binding of Smad3/4 in human skin in vivo. Reduced Smad3/4 DNA binding was observed within 4 h following irradiation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ultraviolet and solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation alter the transforming growth factor beta/Smad pathway in human skin in vivo. Ultraviolet induction of Smad7 and reduction of transforming growth factor beta2 and transforming growth factor beta type II receptor should diminish transforming growth factor beta signaling, and probably contribute to the decrease of transforming growth factor beta regulated type I and type III procollagen gene expression observed in ultraviolet and solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiated human skin in vivo.

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