5 years ago

A new in vitro assay to test UVR protection of dermal extracellular matrix components by a flat spectrum sunscreen

The efficacy of topical sunscreens is currently assessed by crude, costly and time consuming in vivo assays. We have previously demonstrated that components of the dermal extracellular matrix (ECM), rich in UV-absorbing amino acids, are susceptible to damage by solar simulated radiation (SSR) in vitro. Here we developed an in vitro method to test the ability of sunscreens to protect fibrillin-rich microfibrils (FRM) and fibronectin, key components of the dermal ECM from UV-induced damage. Solutions of FRM or fibronectin were irradiated without protection, in the presence of a vehicle or a commercially-available flat-spectrum sunscreen. The effect of SSR on molecular structure was determined by atomic force microscopy (FRM) and SDS-PAGE (fibronectin). Following irradiation, FRM periodicity became bi-modally distributed (peaks: 40nm & 59nm) compared to the unimodal distribution in unexposed controls (peak: 50nm). Irradiation in the presence of flat-spectrum sunscreen protected against this change, maintaining the unimodal distribution. SSR induced significant aggregation of fibronectin (p=0.005), which was abrogated by sunscreen. These results demonstrate that this in vitro assay system is sufficiently sensitive to act as an initial/additional screen of sunscreen efficacy. We conclude that sunscreen can reduce UV-mediated damage of key dermal ECM in vitro and thereby prevent remodelling associated with photoageing.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1011134417304323

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