Real-time monitoring of oxidative stress in live mouse skin

J Invest Dermatol. 2014 Jun;134(6):1701-1709. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.428. Epub 2013 Oct 15.


Oxidative stress is involved in many age-associated diseases, as well as in the aging process itself. The development of interventions to reduce oxidative stress is hampered by the absence of sensitive detection methods that can be used in live animals. We generated transgenic mice expressing ratiometric redox-sensitive green fluorescent protein (roGFP) in the cytosol or mitochondria of several tissues, including skin epidermal keratinocytes. Crossbreeding into hairless albino mice allowed noninvasive optical measurement of skin oxidative state. Topical application of hydrogen peroxide emulsion shifted the keratinocyte redox state toward oxidation within minutes and could be observed in real time by fluorescence ratio imaging. Exposing skin to 365 nm UVA radiation oxidized roGFP localized in keratinocyte mitochondria, but not when roGFP was localized in the cytosol. This suggests that significant amounts of the endogenous photosensitizers that mediate UVA-induced oxidative stress are located in the mitochondria. UVR is the major environmental cause of skin aging and UVA-mediated oxidative stress has been associated with the development of wrinkles in humans. Direct measurements of redox state in defined cell compartments of live animals should be a powerful and convenient tool for evaluating treatments that aim to modulate oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Emulsions
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • Transgenes
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Emulsions
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxygen