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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2013 May;12(5):911-22. doi: 10.1039/c3pp25326k.

Investigation of the phototoxicity and cytotoxicity of naproxen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in human fibroblasts.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università degli Studi di Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are widely used in the treatment of pain and inflammation associated with several diseases. Naproxen, 2-(6-methoxy-2-naphthyl) propionic acid (NAP), belongs to this pharmacological class and appears to be associated with a high incidence of both photoallergic and phototoxic reactions. In this study, using human fibroblasts, we examined the biological effects of NAP photosensitization induced by UVA, the predominant UV component of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface. We showed that NAP or UVA alone have no cytotoxic effects at the concentrations and doses used in this study. The same result was observed when cells were pre-incubated with NAP but irradiated without NAP. In marked contrast, exposure of cells in the presence of NAP led to a drastic reduction of cell viability. These results suggest that the phototoxicity is mainly due to irradiation of extracellular NAP that damages cell membranes. Moreover, we showed that NAP itself led to a low but reproducible production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), to protein modifications by lipid peroxidation-derived aldehydes, to p38 phosphorylation and to the slowing-down of DNA replication, while UVA treatment alone showed no effects. NAP photosensitization with UVA led to protein S-glutathionylation, oxidation of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), oxidation of cellular tryptophan, phosphorylation of Chk1 and inhibition of DNA replication. However, using small interfering RNA to down regulate Chk1 expression in cells, we showed that Chk1 is not required to slow the S-phase down. Nevertheless, inhibition of Chk1, but not of p38, sensitized the cells to the phototoxic effects of NAP. Collectively, our data suggest that the interaction of NAP with the cells triggers oxidative damage and a replication stress, which are exacerbated by UVA radiation. As oxidative and replication stress-induced genome instability are important factors in aging and tumor predisposition, it is of interest to evaluate the consequence of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like naproxen, on genomic instability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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