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Regulation of cutaneous drug-metabolizing enzymes and cytoprotective gene expression by topical drugs in human skin in vivo.

Author(s): Smith G, Ibbotson SH, Comrie MM, Dawe RS, Bryden A, Ferguson J, Wolf CR

Affiliation(s): Biomedical Research Centre and Photobiology Unit, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK. gillian.smith@cancer.org.uk

Publication date & source: 2006-08, Br J Dermatol., 155(2):275-81.

BACKGROUND: Individuality in the expression and regulation of hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) and cytoprotective (CP) genes is an important determinant of treatment response. There is increasing evidence that many DMEs and CP genes are also expressed in human skin. Responses to topical drugs used to treat common skin diseases, such as psoriasis, are unpredictable and may potentially be rationalized, at least in part, by interindividual differences in cutaneous DME and CP gene expression. OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether three topical drugs [coal tar, all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) and clobetasol 17-propionate] used in routine clinical practice modulated the expression of a variety of DME and CP genes [cytochrome P450s, glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) and drug transporters] in healthy human skin in vivo. METHODS: Healthy adult volunteers (n = 30) were invited to participate in the study. Each subject was randomly allocated to receive two of the three study chemicals and one control site application. Crude coal tar (n = 13), atRA (n = 14) or clobetasol 17-propionate (n = 10) was applied under occlusion to photoprotected buttock skin for 96 h. A vehicle control (white soft paraffin) was also applied under the same conditions at an adjacent site in all subjects. Full-thickness punch biopsies (4-mm diameter) were then taken from treated and control sites. Total RNA was extracted and reverse transcribed into cDNA, which was used as a template in subsequent real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis, where fluorescent output was directly proportional to input cDNA concentration. Triplicate measurements of skin mRNA expression were made from each sample, and the arithmetic mean values taken. After logarithmic transformation, the paired t-test was used to compare values between treated and control skin. RESULTS: Cytochrome P450s CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, CYP2C18, quinone reductase (NQO-1), GSTP1, gamma-glutamyl cysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS), glutathione peroxidase-1 (GPx-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were induced by coal tar; CYP26, NADPH P450 reductase (CPR), GSTP1 and HO-1 by atRA; and CYP3A5 by clobetasol 17-propionate. In contrast, CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 expression was suppressed by atRA, and gamma-GCS and MRP1 by clobetasol 17-propionate. Marked interindividual variation in gene regulation by topical drugs was seen for the majority of genes examined. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that topical drugs can modulate DME gene expression in human skin in vivo and indicate that variation in the expression and regulation of these genes may be a determinant of individuality in response to topical therapies for common skin diseases.

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