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Abstract

It has been validated that ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation induced both squamous and basal cell carcinomas, as a tumor initiator and promoter. Opuntia humifusa is a member of the Cactaceae family which has been demonstrated in our previous study to have a chemopreventive effect in 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate induced skin carcinogenesis models. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the protective effects of O.humifusa against photocarcinogenesis. O. humifusa was administrated to mice as a dietary feeding, following exposure to UVB radiation (180 mJ/cm2) twice a week of 30 weeks for skin tumor development in hairless mice. Dietary O.humifusa inhibited UVB-induced epidermal hyperplasia, infiltration of leukocytes, level of myeloperoxidase and the levels of proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor- α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), in UVB exposed skin. Also, O.humifusa significantly inhibited both protein and mRNA expression level of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cyclin D1 compared to the non-O.humifusa treated group. Collectively, these results suggest that O.humifusa could inhibit photocarcinogenesis in mouse skin and that protective effect is associated with the inhibition of not only UVB-induced inflammatory responses involving COX-2, iNOS and proinflammatory cytokines, but also the down-regulation of UVB-induced cellular proliferation.