Many naturally occurring agents are believed to protect against UV-induced skin damage. In this study, we have investigated the effects of naringenin (NG), a naturally occurring citrus flavonone, on the removal of UVB-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) from the genome and apoptosis in immortalized p53-mutant human keratinocyte HaCaT cells. The colony-forming assay shows that treatment with NG significantly increases long-term cell survival after UVB irradiation. NG treatment also protects the cells from UVB-induced apoptosis, as indicated by the absence of the 180 base pair DNA ladders and the appearance of sub-G1 peak using agarose gel electrophoresis and flow cytometric analysis, respectively. The UVB-induced poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) cleavage, caspase activation and Bax/Bcl2 ratio were modulated following NG treatment, indicating an antiapoptotic effect of NG in UVB-damaged cells that occurs at least in part via caspase cascade pathway. Moreover, treatment of UVB-irradiated HaCaT cells with NG enhances the removal of CPD from the genome, as observed by both direct quantitation of CPD in genomic DNA and immuno-localization of the damage within the nuclei. The study provides a molecular basis for the action of NG as a promising natural flavonoid in preventing skin aging and carcinogenesis.
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