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J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Jan;129(1):162-6. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.182. Epub 2008 Jun 26.

Forskolin protects keratinocytes from UVB-induced apoptosis and increases DNA repair independent of its effects on melanogenesis.

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Pigment Cell Biology Section, Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Melanin pigments provide efficient protection against ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation but DNA repair also plays a key role in eliminating UV-induced damage and preventing the development of skin cancers. In this study, we demonstrate that forskolin (FSK), an agent that increases intracellular levels of cAMP, protects keratinocytes from UVB-induced apoptosis independently from the amount of melanin in the skin. FSK enhances the removal of the two major types of UVB-induced DNA damage, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and 6,4-photoproducts, by facilitating DNA repair. These findings suggest new preventive approaches with topical formulations of FSK or other bioactive agents that could be applied to the skin before sun exposure to increase its ability to repair DNA damage.

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