Epidemiology shows a relationship between solar exposure and all types of skin cancer. Understanding the mechanisms of skin cancer requires knowledge of the photomolecular events that occur within the relevant epidermal cell typesin vivo. Studies to date have focused on UVR-induced DNA lesions in keratinocytes, the majority epidermal cell population which gives rise to most skin cancers.
Malignant melanoma, arising from melanocytes (5%–10% of epidermal cells), accounts for most skin cancer deaths. We report on new techniques to detect DNA photolesions in human epidermal melanocytesin situ. Previously nonexposed buttock skin of volunteers of skin types I/II was exposed to clinically relevant doses of narrow bandwidth UVB (300 nm) and UVA (320 nm, 340 nm, 360 nm) radiation. Biopsies were taken immediately afterwards and processed for routine histology.
Microscope sections were prepared and double-stained with fluorescent-tagged monoclonal antibodies for thymine dimers and melanocytes. UVR dose–response curves for dimer levels within melanocyte nuclei were determined by image analysis and compared with dimer levels in adjacent basal cell keratinocytes. Our data show that UVB and UVA readily induce thymine dimers in melanocytes at levels that are comparable with those found in adjacent keratinocytes. This new technique will enable melanocyte specific studies, such as DNA repair kinetics, to be donein vivo.
Young, A.R., Potten, C.S., Nikaido, O., Parsons, P.G., Boenders, J., Ramsden, J.M. and Chadwick, C.A., 1998. Human melanocytes and keratinocytes exposed to UVB or UVA in vivo show comparable levels of thymine dimers. Journal of investigative dermatology, 111(6), pp.936-940.
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