University Of Tasmania

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Loss of Fas-Ligand Expression in Mouse Keratinocytes during UV Carcinogenesis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 12:10 authored by Ouhtit, A, Gorny, A, Muller, HK, Hill, LL, Owen-Schaub, L, Ananthaswamy, HN
Skin cells containing excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced DNA damage are eliminated by apoptosis that involves the p53 pathway and Fas/Fas-Ligand (Fas-L) interactions. To determine whether dysregulation of apoptosis plays a role in skin cancer development through disruption of Fas/Fas-L interactions, hairless SKH-hr1 mice were exposed to chronic UV irradiation from Kodacel-filtered FS40 lamps for 30 weeks. Their skin was analyzed for the presence of sunburn cells (apoptotic keratinocytes) and for Fas and Fas-L expression at various time points. A dramatic decrease in the numbers of morphologically identified sunburn cells and TUNEL-positive cells was detected as early as 1 week after chronic UV exposure began. After 4 weeks of chronic UV exposure, these cells were barely detectable. This defect in apoptosis was paralleled by an initial decrease in Fas-L expression during the first week of chronic UV irradiation and a complete loss of expression after 4 weeks. Fas expression, however, increased during the course of chronic UV exposure.p53 mutations were detected in the UV-irradiated epidermis as early as 1 week after irradiation began and continued to accumulate with further UV exposure. Mice exposed to chronic UV began to develop skin tumors after approximately 8 weeks, and all mice had multiple skin tumors by 24 weeks. Most of the tumors expressed Fas but not Fas-L. We conclude that chronic UV exposure may induce a loss of Fas-L expression and a gain in p53 mutations, leading to dysregulation of apoptosis, expansion of mutated keratinocytes, and initiation of skin cancer.


Publication title

American Journal of Pathology










Tasmanian School of Medicine


American Society for Investigative Pathology

Place of publication

Bethesda, MD, USA

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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