Lutein and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids with potent antioxidant properties protecting the skin from acute photodamage. This study extended the investigation to chronic photodamage and photocarcinogenesis. Mice received either a lutein/zeaxanthin-supplemented diet or a standard nonsupplemented diet. Dorsal skin of female Skh-1 hairless mice was exposed to UVB radiation with a cumulative dose of 16,000 mJ/cm(2) for photoaging and 30,200 mJ/cm(2) for photocarcinogenesis. Clinical evaluations were performed weekly, and the animals were sacrificed 24 h after the last UVB exposure. For photoaging experiments, skin fold thickness, suprapapillary plate thickness, mast cell counts and dermal desmosine content were evaluated. For photocarcinogenesis, samples of tumors larger than 2 mm were analyzed for histological characterization, hyperproliferation index, tumor multiplicity, total tumor volume and tumor-free survival time. Results of the photoaging experiment revealed that skin fold thickness and number of infiltrating mast cells following UVB irradiation were significantly less in lutein/zeaxanthin-treated mice when compared to irradiated animals fed the standard diet. The results of the photocarcinogenesis experiment were increased tumor-free survival time, reduced tumor multiplicity and total tumor volume in lutein/zeaxanthin-treated mice in comparison with control irradiated animals fed the standard diet. These data demonstrate that dietary lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation protects the skin against UVB-induced photoaging and photocarcinogenesis.
(c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.