Differences in pyrimidine dimer removal between rat skin cells in vitro and in vivo

Erik Mullaart, Paul H.M. Lohman, Jan Vijg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Pyrimidine dimers, the most abundant type of DNA lesions induced by ultraviolet light (UV), are rapidly repaired in human skin fibroblasts in vitro. In the same cell type from rats, however, there is hardly any removal of such dimers. To investigate whether this low capacity of rat skin cells to repair lesions in their DNA is an inherent characteristic of this species or an artifact due to cell culturing, we measured the removal of UV-induced pyrimidine dimers from rat epidermal keratinocytes both in vitro and in vivo. Epidermal keratinocytes in vitro were unable to remove any dimers over the first 3 h after UV-irradiation, while only about 20% was removed during a repair period of 24 h. In this respect, these cells were not different from cultured rat fibroblasts. In contrast to the results obtained with keratinocytes in vitro, we observed a rapid repair of pyrimidine dimers in UV-irradiated keratinocytes in vivo over the first 3 h; this rapid repair phase was followed by a much slower repair phase between 3 and 24 h. These results are discussed in terms of the possibility that mammalian cells are able to switch from one DNA repair pathway to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-349
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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