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Vitamin E inhibits the UVAI induction of “light” and “dark” cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, and oxidatively generated DNA damage, in keratinocytes

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posted on 2019-08-06, 15:11 authored by George J. Delinasios, Mahsa Karbaschi, Marcus S. Cooke, Antony R. Young
Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced DNA damage has acute, and long-term adverse effects in the skin. This damage arises directly by absorption of UVR, and indirectly via photosensitization reactions. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of vitamin E on UVAI-induced DNA damage in keratinocytes in vitro. Incubation with vitamin E before UVAI exposure decreased the formation of oxidized purines (with a decrease in intracellular oxidizing species), and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD). A possible sunscreening effect was excluded when similar results were obtained following vitamin E addition after UVAI exposure. Our data showed that DNA damage by UVA-induced photosensitization reactions can be inhibited by the introduction of vitamin E either pre- or post-irradiation, for both oxidized purines and CPD (including so-called “dark” CPDs). These data validate the evidence that some CPD are induced by UVAI initially via photosensitization, and some via chemoexcitation, and support the evidence that vitamin E can intervene in this pathway to prevent CPD formation in keratinocytes. We propose the inclusion of similar agents into topical sunscreens and aftersun preparations which, for the latter in particular, represents a means to mitigate on-going DNA damage formation, even after sun exposure has ended.


The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Stiefel Laboratories, UK. The authors also acknowledge financial support from the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre award to Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.



Scientific Reports, 2018, 8, Article number: 423

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A correction to this article is available online at This article contains a typographical error in the Introduction section, “This spectral region penetrates the skin deeper that UVB (280–320 nm), readily reaching the dermal collagen and elastic fibres2.” should read: “This spectral region penetrates the skin deeper than UVB (280–320 nm), readily reaching the dermal collagen and elastic fibres2.” Additionally, this Article contains errors in Reference 24, which is incorrectly given as: Tewari, A., Lahmann, C., Sarkany, R., Bergemann, J. & Young, A. R. Human erythema and matrix metalloproteinase-1 mRNA induction, in vivo, share an action spectrum which suggests common chromophores. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 11, 216–223 (2012). The correct reference is listed below as ref. 1. Reference 1. Tewari, A., Grage, M. M. L., Harrison, G. I., Sarkany, R. & Young, A. R. UVA1 is skin deep: molecular and clinical implications. Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 12, 95–103 (2013).



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