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J Cell Physiol. 2004 Jul;200(1):155-66.

Low-dose UV-radiation sensitizes keratinocytes to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.

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Department of Pathology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


The impact of low-dose ultraviolet light (UV-light) on apoptotic susceptibility of keratinocytes (KCs) induced by TRAIL is unclear. Skin expresses a functional form of TRAIL, and while sun exposure influences TRAIL death receptors, a role for decoy receptors has not been evaluated. Unraveling mechanisms involving apoptotic sensitivity of KCs is important because skin is the first target of UV-light, and a site for commonly occurring cancers. Since apoptosis is a homeostatic process eliminating UV-light induced DNA damaged cells, elucidating molecular events regulating apoptosis enhances understanding of cutaneous photocarcinogenesis. Here we demonstrate low-dose UV-light enhances susceptibility of KCs to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Low-dose UV-light selectively reduces decoy receptors, without influencing death receptor levels. UV-induced enhanced apoptotic susceptibility was reduced by over-expression of decoy receptor TRAIL-R4, but not TRAIL-R3; or treatment with thiol compound pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), which also enhanced TRAIL-R4 levels. Besides influencing decoy receptors, low-dose UV-light plus TRAIL also synergistically promoted cytochrome c and Smac release from mitochondria. Inhibitors directed against caspases 2, 3, 8, and 9 reduced the synergistic apoptotic response following low-dose UV-light plus TRAIL exposure; as did forced over-expression of Bcl-x and dominant negative (DN) constructs of FADD and caspase 9. Thus, relative levels of decoy receptors significantly influence susceptibility of KCs to TRAIL-induced apoptosis with concomitant low-dose UV-light exposure; in addition to the apoptotic pathway mediated by mitochondrial permeabilization.

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