The purpose of this study was to determine whether the rate of DNA synthesis in human skin could be increased by UVB radiation and to determine the potential for reversing the stimulatory effects of UVB radiation by alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO). Split-thickness facial skin was grafted onto athymic CD-1 Nu/Nu mice on the anterolateral dorsal surface. Following graft healing for 6 weeks, grafts were treated with 0%, 2%, or 5% DFMO (a potent inhibitor ofpolyamine biosynthesis) and subsequently irradiated with 0.15 J/cm2 of UVB light. Two days after UVB exposure, [3H]thymidine was injected and the grafts were dissected and counted. Ultraviolet radiation significantly increased thymidine incorporation, indicating increased DNA synthesis. The stimulatory effects of UV radiation were significantly reduced by topical application of 5% DFMO. Thus administration of DFMO most likely decreased the polyamine level and decreased the rate of DNA synthesis, which may have caused a decreased rate of epidermal proliferation. Thus the topical application of DFMO may prove beneficial for UVB exposure and other hypcrproliferativc states where a decrease in the rate of cell turnover might be desirable.
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