Ultraviolet A irradiation induces NF-E2-related factor 2 activation in dermal fibroblasts: Protective role in UVA-induced apoptosis

Ayako Hirota, Yasuhiro Kawachi, Ken Itoh, Yasuhiro Nakamura, Xuezhu Xu, Tomohiro Banno, Takenori Takahashi, Masayuki Yamamoto, Fujio Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one of the most important environmental factors involved in the pathogenesis of skin aging and cancer. Many harmful effects of UV radiation are associated with the generation of reactive oxygen species, and cellular antioxidants act to prevent the occurrence and reduce the severity of UV-induced skin disorders. Transcription factor NF-E2-related Factor 2 (Nrf2) and its cytoplasmic anchor protein Kelch-like-ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) are central regulators of the cellular antioxidant response. In this study, we investigated the effects of UV irradiation on the activation of Nrf2 in dermal fibroblasts. We found that UVA irradiation, but not UVB, causes nuclear translocation and accumulation of Nrf2 by a factor of 6.5 as compared with unirradiated controls. The nuclear accumulation of Nrf2 induced by UVA was enhanced by the photosensitizer hematoporphyrin. To evaluate the protective role of Nrf2 against UVA radiation, we examined UVA-induced apoptosis using dermal fibroblasts derived from nrf2 or keap1 gene knockout mice. Whereas disruption of nrf2 increased the number of apoptotic cells following UVA irradiation by 1.7-fold, disruption of keap1 decreased the apoptotic cell number by half as compared with wild-type controls. These findings thus demonstrate that the Nrf2-Keap1 pathway plays an important role in the protection of the skin against UVA irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-832
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Keap1
  • Nrf2
  • UVA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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