Interleukin-12 suppresses ultraviolet radiation-induced apoptosis by inducing DNA repair

Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;4(1):26-31. doi: 10.1038/ncb717.


Induction of apoptosis of keratinocytes by ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a protective phenomenon relevant in limiting the survival of cells with irreparable DNA damage. Changes in UV-induced apoptosis may therefore have significant impact on photocarcinogenesis. We have found that the immunomodulatory cytokine IL-12 suppresses UV-mediated apoptosis of keratinocytes both in vitro and in vivo. IL-12 caused a remarkable reduction in UV-specific DNA lesions which was due to induction of DNA repair. In accordance with this, IL-12 induced the expression of particular components of the nucleotide-excision repair complex. Our results show that cytokines can protect cells from apoptosis induced by DNA-damaging UV radiation by inducing DNA repair, and that nucleotide-excision repair can be manipulated by cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects*
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • DNA Repair / drug effects*
  • DNA Repair / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology*
  • Keratinocytes / pathology*
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / prevention & control
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interleukin-12