Carboxyfullerene, a water-soluble carboxylic acid derivative of a fullerene, which acts as a free-radical scavenger, was investigated as a protective agent against ultraviolet-light-induced damage in human keratinocytes. First, we demonstrate that carboxyfullerene is not cytotoxic for these cells. In addition, this compound significantly reduces the ultraviolet-B-induced inhibition of keratinocyte proliferation and protects keratinocytes from apoptosis caused by ultraviolet B irradiation in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. Furthermore, the percentage of cells with depolarized mitochondria is significantly lower in ultraviolet-B-irradiated keratinocytes pretreated with carboxyfullerene than in cells provided with diluent alone. Carboxyfullerene also protects human keratinocytes from apoptosis induced by exposure to deoxy-D-ribose, a sugar that causes cell death through a pathway involving oxidative stress. On the other hand, ultraviolet B downregulates bcl-2 levels in human keratinocytes, and carboxyfullerene fails to prevent this effect. These results suggest that carboxyfullerene protects human keratinocytes from ultraviolet B damage possibly via a mechanism interfering with the generation of reactive oxygen species from depolarized mitochondria without the involvement of bcl-2.
- Ultraviolet radiation
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