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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 8, pp. 1539-1550

β-Carotene interference with UVA-induced gene expression by multiple pathways

Karin Wertz, Nicole Seifert, Petra Buchwald Hunziker, Georges Riss, Adrian Wyss, Willi Hunziker and Regina Goralczyk

Department of Human Nutrition and Health, DSM Nutritional Products, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland

UVA exposure causes skin photoaging by singlet oxygen (1O2)-mediated induction of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). We assessed whether β-carotene, a carotenoid known as 1O2 quencher and retinoic acid (RA) precursor, interferes with UVA-induced gene regulation and prevents UVA-induced gene regulation in HaCaT human keratinocytes. HaCaT cells accumulated β-carotene in a time- and dose-dependent manner. UVA irradiation massively reduced the cellular β-carotene contents. β-Carotene suppressed UVA induction of MMP-1, MMP-3, and MMP-10 - three major MMPs involved in photoaging. HaCaT cells produced weak retinoid activity from β-carotene, as demonstrated by mild up-regulation of retinoid receptor RARβ and activation of an RARE-dependent reporter gene. Of the 568 UVA-regulated genes, β-carotene reduced the UVA effect for 143, enhanced it for 180, and did not interact with UVA for 245 genes. The pathways regulated β-carotene in interaction with UVA were characterized by genes involved in growth factor signaling, stress response, apoptosis, cell cycle, extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation, tanning, and inflammation.
In conclusion, β-carotene at physiological concentrations interacted with UVA effects by multiple mechanisms that included, but were not restricted to, 1O2 quenching. With our results, we provide a mechanistic basis for the long-known and clinically established photoprotective effects of β-carotene in human skin.