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Your Environment. Your Health.

Caffeine and UVB Damage

Yu-Ying He, Ph.D.
University of Chicago
NIEHS Grant R01ES016936

According to recent findings from an NIEHS grantee at the University of Chicago, caffeine promotes UVB-apoptosis, or programmed cell death, of unrepaired keratinocytes thereby preventing carcinogenic transformation of the cells. Caffeine produces complex pharmacological actions and has been shown to be chemopreventive in non-melanoma skin cancer in humans and in mice.

These researchers investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the pro-apoptotic effect of caffeine on UVB-irradiated HaCaT keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of the skin. Pretreatment with caffeine increased UVB-induced apoptosis in the cultured keratinocytes. The experiments also showed that caffeine mediated to critical oncogenic pathways in skin tumorigenesis.

These findings build on previous work that demonstrated that coffee and regular exercise work together to kill off precancerous cells whose DNA has been damaged by UVB radiation.

Citation: Han W, Ming M, He YY. Caffeine Promotes Ultraviolet B-induced Apoptosis in Human Keratinocytes without Complete DNA Repair. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 1;286(26):22825-32.

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