Moison, R. M. W. and Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, G. M. J. Topical Antioxidant Vitamins C and E Prevent UVB-Radiation-Induced Peroxidation of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Pig Skin. Radiat. Res. 157, 402–409 (2002).
Eicosapentaenoic acid protects against UV-radiation-induced immunosuppression and photocarcinogenesis, but it is also prone to oxidative degradation, which may reduce or abolish its beneficial effects. The protective effect of topically applied vitamin E, vitamin C, or both against UVB-radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in the presence of eicosapentaenoic acid was investigated using an ex vivo pig skin model. Changes in the bioavailability of both antioxidants induced by UV radiation were studied in different skin compartments. The UVB-radiation dose used (25 kJ/m2) was similar to that required to induce immunosuppression in BALB/c mice. Exposure of pig skin with an epidermal eicosapentaenoic acid content of 1.0 ± 0.3 mol% to UVB radiation resulted in an 85% increase of epidermal lipid peroxidation (P < 0.005). Topical application of vitamin E or vitamin C 60 min prior to UVB irradiation resulted in a major increase in both antioxidants in the stratum corneum and viable epidermis (P < 0.05). Vitamin E and vitamin C completely protected against UVB-radiation-induced lipid peroxidation (P < 0.005), but compared to vitamin E, a 500-fold higher vitamin C dose was needed. UVB irradiation induced a vitamin E consumption of up to 100% in the stratum corneum and viable epidermis, and a vitamin C consumption of only 21% in the stratum corneum. Simultaneously applied vitamin E and vitamin C also completely protected against UVB-radiation-induced lipid peroxidation (P < 0.05), and lower antioxidant doses were needed compared to vitamin E or vitamin C alone. In the presence of vitamin C, epidermal vitamin E was more stable upon UVB irradiation (P < 0.05), suggesting interaction between vitamin E and vitamin C. In conclusion, topically applied vitamin E and/or vitamin C efficiently protect against UVB-radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in the presence of eicosapentaenoic acid. The beneficial biological effects of eicosapentaenoic acid may therefore be improved if vitamin E and/or vitamin C are present in sufficient amounts. The ex vivo pig skin model provides a useful tool for assessing short-term biochemical effects related to UVB radiation, without the use of living experimental animals.