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J Invest Dermatol. 1997 Mar;108(3):302-6.

L-ascorbic acid inhibits UVA-induced lipid peroxidation and secretion of IL-1alpha and IL-6 in cultured human keratinocytes in vitro.

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Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Benjamin Franklin, Free University of Berlin, Germany.


We investigated the antioxidative effect of L-ascorbic acid on lipid peroxidation and on secretion and mRNA expression of IL-1alpha and IL-6 after UVA irradiation (20 J/cm2) in cultured human keratinocytes. Lipid peroxidation was measured by (i) high performance liquid chromatography with UV detection of malondialdehyde (MDA) at 256 nm and (ii) spectrometric measurement of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS). To evaluate UV-induced cytotoxicity, we assessed cell membrane damage by measuring lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. UVA-induced lipid peroxidation in cultured human keratinocytes was inhibited by ascorbic acid in a concentration-dependent manner: MDA protein equivalent was reduced by 47% (10(-6)), compared to keratinocytes not exposed to L-ascorbic acid (p < 0.05), and the TBARS showed a concentration-dependent decrease of 49% (10(-6) M) in L-ascorbic acid-supplemented cultures compared to controls (p < 0.05). LDH release was decreased by 45% in L-ascorbic acid-supplemented keratinocyte cultures, indicating protection against cell death (p < 0.05). L-Ascorbic acid was able to downregulate IL-1alpha mRNA expression in both UVA-irradiated and nonirradiated cells; however, IL-6 mRNA expression remained unaffected. The secretion of these cytokines was reduced nearly to normal in the presence of L-ascorbic acid. These findings indicate a major cell-protective effect of L-ascorbic acid on UVA-induced lipid peroxidation and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by UVA-irradiated human keratinocytes.

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