The cross-talk between electrophiles, antioxidant defence and the endocannabinoid system in fibroblasts and keratinocytes after UVA and UVB irradiation

J Dermatol Sci. 2016 Feb;81(2):107-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2015.11.005. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Background: UV, including UVA and UVB radiation, is one of the most ubiquitous environmental stress factors to human skin and leads to redox imbalance and, consequently, photoaging and cancer development. The aim of the study was to verify which skin cells, keratinocytes or fibroblasts, were more susceptible to UVA or UVB irradiation.

Objective: Keratinocytes and fibroblasts were subjected to UVA and UVB irradiation.

Methods: The redox potential (superoxide anion generation and antioxidant level/activity), electrophile level and endocannabinoid system were estimated.

Results: The results presented in this paper demonstrate a strong relationship between UV-induced oxidative stress and changes in the endocannabinoid system. Simultaneously, in irradiated cells, the transcription factors Nrf1, Nrf2 and NFκB are activated to varying degrees. Fibroblasts have a greater susceptibility to ROS generation and transcription factor activation after both UVA and UVB irradiation than keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are more sensitive to changes in the electrophile levels connected with oxidative stress compared to fibroblasts.

Conclusion: The differences demonstrated in the response of the tested cells to UV irradiation allow for a better understanding of the mechanisms occurring in the human skin, which may be exploited for future therapies in dermatology.

Keywords: Fibroblasts; Keratinocytes; Nrf2; ROS; UV radiation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Communication / radiation effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / radiation effects
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects*
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Endocannabinoids
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NF-kappa B
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • NRF1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Respiratory Factor 1
  • Superoxides