The phototherapeutic effects of visible red light on skin have been extensively investigated, but the underlying biological mechanisms remain poorly understood. We aimed to elucidate the protective mechanism of visible red light in terms of DNA repair of UV-induced oxidative damage in normal human dermal fibroblasts. The protective effect of visible red light on UV-induced DNA damage was identified by several assays in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional cell culture systems. With regard to the protective mechanism of visible red light, our data showed alterations in base excision repair mediated by growth arrest and DNA damage inducible, alpha (GADD45A). We also observed an enhancement of the physical activity of GADD45A and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1) by visible red light. Moreover, UV-induced DNA damages were diminished by visible red light in an APE1-dependent manner. On the basis of the decrease in GADD45A-APE1 interaction in the activating transcription factor-2 (ATF2)-knockdown system, we suggest a role for ATF2 modulation in GADD45A-mediated DNA repair upon visible red light exposure. Thus, the enhancement of GADD45A-mediated base excision repair modulated by ATF2 might be a potential protective mechanism of visible red light.
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