Cytochrome P450 4A11 expression in human keratinocytes: effects of ultraviolet irradiation

Br J Dermatol. 2001 Nov;145(5):749-57. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04490.x.


Background: The skin is the major interface between the body and its environment. Directly and continuously exposed to a large variety of foreign agents and stimuli such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR), cutaneous cells are active sites of intense metabolism. The cytochromes P450 (P450) are a group of enzymes that play an important part in the protective role of the skin; they are a family of microsomal membrane-bound mono-oxygenases. These haem-containing proteins catalyse the insertion of an atom of molecular oxygen into the substrate. Although generally present at low levels, a certain number of these enzymes have now been characterized in mammalian skin as constitutive or inducible isoforms.

Objectives: To test the effects of UVR, a source of oxidative stress, on the expression of mRNA coding for several P450 isoforms (CYP), with particular reference to the CYP2E1 and CYP4A11 isoforms, which might play a role in lipid metabolism in human keratinocytes.

Methods: Human keratinocytes were cultured, irradiated and mRNA expression was analysed by gel electrophoresis after reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reactions. CYP proteins were determined from keratinocyte microsomal fractions by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoperoxidase staining. Thin layer chromatography was used to detect (omega-1)- and (omega)-hydroxylation of lauric acid in the microsomal fractions.

Results: mRNAs for CYP2E1, CYP1A1 and CYP3A5 were expressed in all the keratinocyte preparations tested; however, neither CYP3A4 nor CYP3A7 were detected, either in the presence or absence of UVR treatment. CYP19Aro, CYP2C19 and CYP26 were not expressed constitutively, although some induction of CYP19Aro was seen after combined UVB and UVA irradiation. CYP4A11 mRNA was not detected in any keratinocyte preparations either under control conditions or after UVB treatment. Nevertheless, in non-irradiated keratinocyte microsomes, two protein bands were immunoreactive with anti-CYP4A11 enzyme antibodies, one of which corresponds to CYP4A11 protein. UVA treatment of cultured keratinocytes induced CYP4A11 mRNA expression after 24 h, as well as an increase in immunoreactivity of the two protein bands. Although (omega-1)- and (omega)-hydroxylation of fatty acids is attributed to CYP2E1 and CYP4A11, respectively, in the liver or kidney, no omega-hydroxylation of lauric acid was observed in microsomal preparations from cultured keratinocytes.

Conclusions: However, CYP4A11 may participate in the defence mechanism against UVA-induced oxidative damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Gene Expression / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A