Chronic exposure of human skin to solar UV radiation leads to serious dermal damages, a hallmark of photoaging. In vivo, acute UV radiation has been shown previously to induce various matrix-degrading proteases. Among them, matrix metalloproteinase–1 (MMP-1) has been suggested to be involved in skin photodamage. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of solar-simulated radiation (SSR) on MMP-1 production in normal human skin cells. SSR exposure of human skin reconstructed in vitro comprising both a differentiated epidermis and a fibroblast-populated dermal equivalent led to an increase in MMP-1 production, which was abolished when epidermis was removed immediately after SSR exposure. In addition, SSR exposure of differentiated keratinocytes grown on an acellular collagen gel did not induce MMP-1 production. Experiments on cell cultures grown on plastic confirmed that keratinocytes failed, in contrast with fibroblasts, to produce MMP-1 in response to SSR exposure. However, when conditioned medium from SSR-exposed keratinocytes was added to human fibroblasts in culture, MMP-1 production was induced. Altogether, these data show that MMP-1 production observed after SSR exposure involved the release of soluble epidermal factors, which could modulate its production by dermal fibroblasts.
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Vol. 79 • No. 6