Acidic catalase in human skin in vivo: A new marker of permanent damage

Vittoria Maresca, Enrica Flori, Claudia Fabbri, Stefania Briganti, Giustino Mariani, Caterina Catricalà, Mauro Picardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malignant melanoma incidence is increasing rapidly in Western countries. Its prevention requires a deep knowledge of the biological basis of the neoplasm leading to the identification of new biological risk markers. In in-vitro and ex-vivo models we demonstrated that catalase was modified not only in its activity but also in its charge properties after ultraviolet A irradiation through pheomelanin. Here we focus on the electrophoretic behaviour of catalase in the human skin in vivo, in association with cutaneous phototype. Zymographic analysis of the enzyme on skin biopsies from Caucasian population (phototype I-IV), collected from the trunk in autumn-winter, to exclude possible influences of an acute photoexposure, evidenced a protein doublet, representing the coexistence of two active isoforms of catalase with different charge properties. In the skin from low-phototype subjects, the percent contribution of the more acidic component of the doublet was prevalent, inversely correlated with total melanin concentration in hair, and associated with a high number of melanocytic nevi. In summary, this study shows for the first time the existence of an acidic catalase in association with clinically defined risk characteristics in low phototype skin in vivo, contributing to the knowledge of a new biochemical marker of cutaneous photosusceptibility. Melanoma Res 19:372-378

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Cutaneous phototype
  • Hair melanin
  • Native catalase
  • Skin biopsies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Dermatology


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