Production and release of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) derived peptides by human melanocytes and keratinocytes in culture: regulation by ultraviolet B

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1996 Aug 28;1313(2):130-8. doi: 10.1016/0167-4889(96)00063-8.


It is demonstrated that ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation stimulates increased expression of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene which is accompanied by production and release of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) by both normal and malignant human melanocytes and keratinocytes. The production and release of both peptides are also stimulated by dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP) and interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1 alpha) but not by endothelin-1 (ET-1) or tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a precursor of glutathione (GSH), an intracellular free radical scavenger, abolishes the UVB-stimulated POMC peptide production and secretion. Conclusions are as follows: (1) Cultured human cells of cutaneous origin, namely keratinocytes and melanocytes, can produce and express POMC; (2) POMC expression is enhanced by exposure to UVB, possibly through a cyclic AMP-dependent pathway; and (3) The action of UVB on POMC production may involve a cellular response to oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Endothelins / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / physiology*
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / metabolism
  • Melanocytes / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Cytokines
  • DNA Primers
  • Endothelins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Bucladesine
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate
  • Acetylcysteine