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Exp Dermatol. 2003 Aug;12(4):445-52.

Involvement of EGF receptor activation in the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 in HaCaT keratinocytes after UVB.

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Division of Dermatology, Clinical Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.


Because selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) suppressed the induction of skin tumors in mice by UV and as UV has been shown to induce expression of COX-2 in skin and cells, COX-2 may be crucial for photocarcinogenesis of the skin. We studied the mechanism of UVB-induced expression of COX-2 focusing on the signal transduction pathway involved. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) treatment of HaCaT cells induced expression of COX-2 and pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) partly inhibited the UVB-induced expression of COX-2 protein in HaCaT cells, suggesting that oxidative stress contributes to COX-2 induction. To examine the signaling pathways involved in the UVB-induced expression of COX-2 in HaCaT cells, we analysed the expression of COX-2 protein after treatment with various inhibitors of signaling molecules. Inhibition of EGFR by a specific inhibitor and by a neutralizing antibody suppressed the induction of COX-2 expression by UV. Although a neutralizing antibody to transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) suppressed COX-2 expression induced by TGF-alpha, it did not suppress COX-2 expression by UV, indicating that a direct activation of EGFR is involved. Treatment of cells at low temperature (4 degrees C) inhibited UVB-induced JNK activation, but it did not inhibit COX-2 expression by UV. Inhibitors of MEK, p38 MAP kinase and PI3-kinase, suppressed the induction of COX-2 expression by UV. In contrast, an erbB-2 inhibitor augmented the UVB-induced increase of COX-2 protein. These data indicate that oxidative stress in association with activation of EGFR, ERK, p38 MAP kinase, and PI3-kinase plays crucial roles in the UVB induction of expression of COX-2.

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