Dermal Damage from Ultraviolet Radiation
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Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is increasingly recognized as the cause of a vast number of changes in the skin of humans and animals. These include alterations at the molecular, cellular, tissue and systemic levels. In the recent past, much has been learned about the immediate effects in skin of acute UV exposure (i.e. sunburn) with its epidermal cell death, inflammation and vasodilation (1,2). With chronic exposure, many of the clinical and histologic effects can be seen only after decades. Visually, these are hyper-and hypopigmented macules, dry scaly, wrinkled skin with a variety of benign, pre-malignant and malignant neoplasms. All epidermal in origin, they lead, inexorably in humans, to the appearance we described as photo-aged (3). Underlying many of these visible manifestations are drastic changes in the dermis. These relate chiefly to destruction of mature collagen, with a compensatory overproduction of reticulin fibers, hyperplasia of elastic fibers eventuating in elastosis, increased levels of the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) comprising the ground substance and changes in the microvasculature. First described in actinically damaged humans (4,5), systematic investigation required an animal model.
KeywordsElastic Fiber Ground Substance Hairless Mouse Irradiate Animal Black Light
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