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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Apr;102(4):470-5.

Dose-response effects of acute ultraviolet irradiation on antioxidants and molecular markers of oxidation in murine epidermis and dermis.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


There has not as yet been an integrated, comprehensive study of the responses of dermis and epidermis in vivo to a wide range of ultraviolet (UV) doses, encompassing all major antioxidants and a sensitive marker of oxidative damage. We have irradiated hairless mice with simulated solar light at doses of 2, 5, 12.5, and 25 J/cm2 combined UVA and UVB (0.8 to 10 MED) and measured enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants as well as lipid hydroperoxides in both epidermis and dermis to elucidate the response of cutaneous antioxidant defense mechanisms to UV stress. Among the nonenzymic antioxidants two different dose-response patterns were seen. Ascorbate was rapidly depleted at doses between 0 and 5 J/cm2 but was less affected between 5 and 25 J/cm2. In contrast, glutathione, ubiquinol/one, and alpha-tocopherol levels remained approximately equal to control levels between 0 and 5 J/cm2, then decreased to varying degrees from 5 to 25 J/cm2; ubiquinol was almost completely depleted, whereas alpha-tocopherol dropped only 30%. The concentration of lipid hydroperoxides increased throughout the dose range. These results may be explained partly by direct destruction of some antioxidants by UV light, partly by the separate antioxidant functions of the compounds, and partly by recycling of some antioxidants (e.g., alpha-tocopherol) at the expense of others (e.g., ubiquinol). Even at the lowest dose (0.8 MED) lipid hydroperoxide formation was observed. Among the enzymic antioxidants, superoxide dismutase activity decreased significantly (to 63.6% of initial activity for epidermis and 51.5% for dermis at 25 J), whereas activities of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase decreased slightly. Catalase activity decreased dramatically at doses above 5 J (to 11.8% of initial activity in epidermis and 27.7% in dermis at 25 J). The dramatic loss of catalase is almost entirely accounted for by direct destruction by the simulated solar light, but superoxide dismutase was unaffected by direct exposure; hence its destruction must be due to indirect effects, either mediated by free radicals or other harmful species formed upon irradiation. At low doses of UV light many components of the cutaneous antioxidant system were damaged, whereas at high doses all components were damaged and some were almost completely destroyed.

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