Photo-Induced Events in the Human Melanocytic System: Photoaggression and Photoprotection

Authors

  • JEAN-PIERRE CESARINI

    Corresponding author
    1. INSERM, Fondation Ophtalmologique A. de Rothschild, 25, rue Manin, 75940 Paris, France
      Addroaa roprint roquoets to J.-P. C'oenrini, INSERM LR'I'PH, Fonda lion Rothschild, 25–28, rue Manin 75840 Paris, h'ranre.
    Search for more papers by this author

Addroaa roprint roquoets to J.-P. C'oenrini, INSERM LR'I'PH, Fonda lion Rothschild, 25–28, rue Manin 75840 Paris, h'ranre.

Abstract

The human skin is submitted to solar, essentially ultraviolet radiation (UVR), aggressions, and develops, for sufficient doses, erythema and pigmentation. The individual sun-sensitivity depends on the nature and the quantity of melanins present in the epidermis. These parameters are inherited as genetic traits which account for the large variations of the constitutive and adaptive pigmentation encountered in the caucasian populations. From red-haired skin-sensitive individuals, to dark-haired sun-resistant individuals, phaeomelanins (red) and eumelanins (black) are mixed in variable proportions. Pure melanins extracted from red hairs and black hairs behave differently when submitted to ultraviolet radiations: phaeomelanins develop aggressive species of molecules responsible for DNA damages, mutations, and cell death. On the contrary, eumelanins are less toxic for the major cellular metabolisms. The sun-sensitive populations suffer from more skin cancer of all types than the dark ones. In particular, they are exposed significantly to higher risk of melanoma and to the risk of bearing more nevi following large solar exposures early in the life.

Ancillary