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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

versión On-line ISSN 1414-431X


Photochemistry and photobiology of actinic erythema: defensive and reparative cutaneous mechanisms. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1997, vol.30, n.5, pp.561-575. ISSN 1414-431X.

Sunlight is part of our everyday life and most people accept it as beneficial to our health. With the advance of our knowledge in cutaneous photochemistry, photobiology and photomedicine over the past four decades, the terrestrial solar radiation has become a concern of dermatologists and is considered to be a major damaging environmental factor for our skin. Most photobiological effects (e.g., sunburn, suntanning, local and systemic immunosuppression, photoaging or dermatoheliosis, skin cancer and precancer, etc.) are attributed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and more particularly to UVB radiation (290-320 nm). UVA radiation (320-400 nm) also plays an important role in the induction of erythema by the photosensitized generation of reactive oxygen species (singlet oxygen (1O2), superoxide (O2.-) and hydroxyl radicals (.OH)) that damage DNA and cellular membranes, and promote carcinogenesis and the changes associated with photoaging. Therefore, research efforts have been directed at a better photochemical and photobiological understanding of the so-called sunburn reaction, actinic or solar erythema. To survive the insults of actinic damage, the skin appears to have different intrinsic defensive mechanisms, among which antioxidants (enzymatic and non-enzymatic systems) play a pivotal role. In this paper, we will review the basic aspects of the action of UVR on the skin: a) photochemical reactions resulting from photon absorption by endogenous chromophores; b) the lipid peroxidation phenomenon, and c) intrinsic defensive cutaneous mechanisms (antioxidant systems). The last section will cover the inflammatory response including mediator release after cutaneous UVR exposure and adhesion molecule expression

Palabras clave : sunburn; antioxidant; DNA photodamage; reactive oxygen species; UV radiation.

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