Major photoproducts induced by carcinogenic ultraviolet (UV) radiation are the cylobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4) photoproducts (6-4 PPs). 8-Hydroxy-2 -deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) is also a DNA base-modified product generated by reactive oxygen species in conditions of ultraviolet stress, Although UVB-induced CPDs and 6-4 PPs have been investigated in animal and human skin, little is known about the role of 8-OHdG in UVB-induced human skin damage or carcinogenesis. Normal human skin from three volunteers was exposed to UV radiation, and the time course of induction and removal of 8-OHdG was examined by immunohistochemical analysis with catalysed signal amplification on formalin-fixed paraffin sections. Formation of CPDs and 6-4 PPs was also examined by immunostaining on the same skin specimens. Control epidermis with no exposure to UV radiation showed little nuclear staining of 8-OHdG, but an increased level of 8-OHdG was clearly observed in epidermis biopsied after irradiation. Induced 8-OHdG can rapidly be removed from nucleus during the first 24-48 h, as the staining intensity diminished gradually, almost reaching the control level by 72-96 h after irradiation. Staining for CPDs or 6-4 PPs revealed induction of these photoproducts in human skin, although 6-4 PP-positive cells disappeared more rapidly than those that stained for CPDs or 8-OHdG. Together with protective effect of antioxidants, our results indicate that not only CPDs and 6-4 PPs but also 8-OHdG may play a significant part in UV carcinogenesis.