, Volume 298, Issue 5, pp 237-242
Date: 09 Aug 2006

Non-invasive study of gelatinases in sun-exposed and unexposed healthy human skin based on measurements in stratum corneum

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Gelatinases, which belong to the family of matrix metalloproteinases, degrade various components of skin, and may be involved in photoaging, since they are upregulated by low-dose UV exposure to the skin. However, their behavior in healthy human skin is still unclear. In the present study, gelatinases was specifically detected in stratum corneum (SC) of skin from sun-exposed sites, including the face, in healthy humans, but not in SC of skin from unexposed sites. Following experimental UVB irradiation of the abdomen in volunteers, gelatinases were detected in tape-stripped SC from the site for several weeks, and subsequently disappeared. The appearance of gelatinase in SC after a lag time consistent with SC turnover is considered to reflect upregulation of gelatinase expression in keratinocytes in response to UVB-exposure of the skin. A survey of gelatinases in facial SC samples collected by tape-stripping from the cheeks of 100 healthy women revealed that the enzyme was present in 90% of subjects. These results, taken together, suggest that gelatinase is constantly upregulated by sunlight in the facial epidermis of most women during their daily lives, and may be an etiological factor in photoaging, e.g., by promoting wrinkle formation.