Previous reports have demonstrated an increase in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity in response to UV radiation. These studies have essentially focused on the DNA-damaging fraction of solar UV radiation (UV-B and UV-C). In contrast, the effects of UV-A radiation (320–400 nm) on NF-κB are not well known. In this study, we present evidence that UV-A radiation induces a marked decrease in NF-κB DNA-binding activity in NCTC 2544 human keratinocytes. In addition, NCTC 2544 keratinocytes pretreated with UV-A fail to respond to NF-κB inducers. Moreover, UV-A radiation induces a decrease in NF-κB-driven luciferase reporter gene expression in NCTC 2544 keratinocytes. The expression of the gene encoding IκBα (IκB is the NF-κB inhibitor), which is closely associated with NF-κB activity, is also reduced (3-fold) upon UV-A treatment. Our results indicate that the UV-A-induced decrease in NF-κB DNA-binding activity is associated with a decrease in the levels of the p50 and p65 protein subunits. This is the first evidence that an oxidative stress, such as UV-A radiation, may induce a specific decrease in NF-κB activity in mammalian cells, probably through degradation of NF-κB protein subunits. These findings suggest that UV-A could modulate the NF-κB-dependent gene expression.

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