Abstract— Glutathione depletion of cultured human skin fibroblasts by treatment with buthionine‐S,R‐sulfoximine (BSO) sensitises them to radiation at a series of defined wavelengths throughout the solar UV range. We now show that there is a close quantitative correlation between cellular glutathione content (as depleted by BSO) and sensitivity to radiation at 365 nm. A weaker correlation is observed when cells are depleted of glutathione using diethylmaleimide. Both fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes derived from the same foreskin biopsy are sensitised to radiation at 313 nm by glutathione depletion. However, the keratinocytes are sensitised to a much lesser extent, an observation which agrees quantitatively with the higher residual levels of cellular glutathione remaining after maximum depletion by BSO (approximately 25% for the keratinocytes vs less than 5% for the fibroblasts). At low to intermediate fluence levels, 10 mM cysteamine present during irradiation at 302 nm is able to almost completely reverse the sensitising effects of glutathione depletion suggesting that the endogenous thiol protects against radiation at this wavelength by a free radical scavenging mechanism. At 313 nm, the sensitisation is not reversed by cysteamine suggesting that glutathione plays a more specific role in protection against radiation at longer wavelengths. Xeroderma pigmentosum group A fibroblasts (excision deficient) are also sensitised to radiation at 313 and 365 nm by depletion of glutathione but since the sensitization is less than that observed for the normal strain, we cannot conclude that glutathione protects against a sector of DNA damage susceptible to excision repair. The results provide further evidence that endogenous glutathione is involved in protecting human skin cells against a wide range of solar radiation damage and suggest that while free radical scavenging is involved at the shortest wavelength (302 nm) tested, a more specific role of glutathione is involved in protection against radiation at longer wavelengths.
Photochemistry & Photobiology – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1988
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