Biological response of human diploid keratinocytes to quinone-producing compounds: Role of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1

Cesira Foppoli, Federico De Marco, Carla Blarzino, Marzia Perluigi, Chiara Cini, Raffaella Coccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and quinones are known to determine redox balance alteration, oxidative stress and carcinogenicity. Keratinocytes of the human epidermis, a tissue particularly exposed to oxidant stimuli, possess a wide range of antioxidant and detoxifying mechanisms aimed to avoid oxidative damage of the tissue. In the present study, we evaluate the response of diploid and transformed human keratinocytes to exposure to l-dopa and tetrahydropapaveroline (THP), catechol compounds susceptible to undergo oxidation to form quinones with concomitant production of reactive oxygen species. We demonstrated that these compounds elicit up-regulation of intracellular antioxidant enzymes, in a different degree in normal cells with respect to transformed ones. Normal diploid keratinocytes adequately scavenge toxic substances through the activation of several, concurrent pathways. Conversely, in transformed cells, the whole oxidative burden must be detoxified by the limited set of conserved pathways that, accordingly, have to be highly activated. The biological response to catechol toxicity appears to rely on the pathway of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1). In conclusion, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 confirms its antioxidant and detoxifying role contributing to the capacity of keratinocytes to protect epidermis against oxidative stress. Being retained in almost any cell, it represents a mechanism of general relevance in cell physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-863
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Human keratinocytes
  • NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase
  • Quinones
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Tetrahydropapaveroline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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