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J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Feb;124(2):304-7.

Ultraviolet B-induced DNA damage in human epidermis is modified by the antioxidants ascorbic acid and D-alpha-tocopherol.

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1
Klinik und Poliklinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie, Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität, Frauenlobstr. 9-11, 80337 Munich, Germany. marianne.placzek@lrz.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

DNA damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation is considered the main etiologic factor contributing to the development of skin cancer. Systemic or topical application of antioxidants has been suggested as a protective measure against UV-induced skin damage. We investigated the effect of long-term oral administration of a combination of the antioxidants ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and D-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in human volunteers on UVB-induced epidermal damage. The intake of vitamins C and E for a period of 3 mo significantly reduced the sunburn reaction to UVB irradiation. Detection of thymine dimers in the skin using a specific antibody revealed a significant increase of this type of DNA damage following UVB exposure. After 3 mo of antioxidant administration, significantly less thymine dimers were induced by the UVB challenge, suggesting that antioxidant treatment protected against DNA damage.

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