[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Urocanic acid (UCA) is a major UVR-absorbing skin molecule that undergoes trans to cis photoisomerization in the epidermis following UVR exposure. Murine studies have established that cis-UCA is an important mediator of UVR-induced immune suppression, but little is known about its signaling pathway. We have previously demonstrated that treatment of normal human epidermal keratinocytes with cis-UCA resulted in increased synthesis of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and cell death. Here, using immortalized human keratinocytes, we report that cis-UCA but not trans-UCA generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a dose-dependent manner and that the natural antioxidant α-tocopherol can reduce this ROS generation, subsequent PGE(2) release, and apoptotic cell death. Western blot analysis revealed that cis-UCA leads to a transient phosphorylation of EGFR as well as downstream mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38. Pharmacological inhibition of their activity attenuated PGE(2) release induced by cis-UCA. After transient activation, cis-UCA downregulated EGFR protein expression that corresponded to activation of caspase-3. In addition, pretreatment with α-tocopherol inhibited EGFR downregulation and caspase-3 activation induced by cis-UCA. These results suggest that cis-UCA exerts its effects on human keratinocytes via intracellular ROS generation that modulates EGFR signaling and subsequently induces PGE(2) synthesis and apoptotic cell death.
Full-text Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Investigative Dermatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Urocanic acid (UCA) is a major epidermal chromophore that undergoes trans to cis isomerization after ultraviolet radiation (UVR). cis-UCA suppresses cell-mediated immunity. Recent studies suggest that cis-UCA binds to serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) 2A (5-HT(2A)) receptor and that antagonists of 5-HT(2A) and the platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor can block cis-UCA-induced immune suppression in mice. Here, we examined the involvement of 5-HT(2A) and PAF receptors in the ability of cis-UCA to stimulate immunomodulatory mediator production in primary human keratinocytes. Using real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), PAF but not 5-HT(2A) receptor mRNA was constitutively expressed in primary human keratinocytes. Treatment with cis-UCA increased prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and IL-6 secretion, whereas 5-HT only stimulated IL-6 production. Pretreatment with a 5-HT receptor antagonist partially inhibited IL-6 increase by 5-HT, but did not inhibit mediator production by cis-UCA. Similarly, a PAF receptor antagonist did not inhibit cis-UCA-induced increase in PGE(2). Intracellular calcium mobilization studies using a human epithelial cell line stably transfected with PAF receptor also showed little evidence that cis-UCA stimulated PAF receptor and it did not bind to this receptor. Thus, cis-UCA stimulates mediator production by a pathway that is independent of these receptors in human keratinocytes, and these cells may not be the major target for cis-UCA-induced immune suppression.
Full-text Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Investigative Dermatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: It is well established that solar UV radiation (UVR) suppresses cutaneous cell-mediated immunity in humans. trans-Urocanic acid (trans-UCA) is a major UVR-absorbing skin molecule that undergoes a photoisomerization to its cis-isomer following UVR exposure. Animal studies have demonstrated that cis-UCA plays a role in UVR-induced immune suppression, but the molecular mechanisms of action of cis-UCA are not fully understood. In this study, we examined changes in gene expression and synthesis of cytokines and PGE2 following UCA treatment of primary human keratinocytes. A limited microarray analysis of keratinocytes from two donors indicated that approximately 400 genes were induced by solar-simulated radiation (SSR), 16 of which were also up-regulated by cis-UCA. In contrast, trans-UCA had little or no effect on gene expression. The genes up-regulated by both cis-UCA and SSR were associated with apoptosis, cell growth arrest, cytokines, and oxidative stress. Further studies using primary keratinocytes from four new donors showed that PG-endoperoxide synthase-2 was dramatically induced by cis-UCA, resulting in an enhanced secretion of PGE2 into the cell culture supernatant. cis-UCA also increased cytokine protein production such as that of TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 in a dose-dependent manner. SSR had the same effect as cis-UCA, but trans-UCA had no effect. In addition, activation of NF-kappaB and lipid peroxidation were induced by cis-UCA and SSR, but not trans-UCA, suggesting possible upstream events of the gene expression changes. The data suggest that the induction of immune suppression by cis-UCA may involve the initiation of gene transcription of immunomodulatory mediators in primary human keratinocytes.
Full-text Article · Aug 2008 · The Journal of Immunology