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Oxidative defense in cultured human skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes from sun‐exposed and non‐exposed skin

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Skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes cultivated from chronically light‐exposed skin sites have higher levels of the protective protein ferritin than cells derived from unexposed areas of the body, suggesting an adaptive response of cells exposed to chronic external insults. In the same line, ferritin levels were always found to be 2‐to 7‐fold higher in epidermal keratinocytes than in the underlying dermal fibroblasts of the same person thus providing the keratinocyte with continuous protection by the higher cellular ferritin content. The activation of ferritin by oxidative stress including UVA radiation could represent an important cellular defense mechanism that operates in human skin. Following low fluences of UVA radiation (2–4×105 J/m2), ferritin levels increased by 20–30% in normal adult skin fibroblasts and showed a subsequent decrease at higher UVA fluences. In contrast, skin keratinocytes were not perturbed by UVA radiation exposure except for very high fluences (1.25× 106 J/m2) where slight decreases in cellular ferritin were noted in 7 of the 12 cell lines. Fibroblasts derived from light‐exposed skin sites that possessed higher levels of cellular ferritin were highly protected against UVA‐induced membrane damage as measured by lactate dehydrogenase release compared with fibroblasts from nonexposed body sites with lower levels of ferritin. It is clear from our results that ferritin plays an important role in protection at the cellular level in human skin cells, but the role of this putative protective protein in vivo remains to be defined.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Dermatology, Photobiology Laboratory, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: 1995-06-01

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