Psoralen photochemotherapy (PUVA) is one of the most efficient treatment regimens for psoriasis and other skin diseases. In order to evaluate keratinocyte-specific PUVA effects, we investigated the impact of clinically relevant PUVA doses on whn, the 'nude' gene. This transcription factor plays an important role in epidermal homeostasis, and epidermal whn over-expression results in a psoriasis-like phenotype. We demonstrated a persistent down-regulation of whn mRNA 48-72 h after PUVA treatment but not after UVA alone. Using transgenic animals, we also demonstrated dose-dependent down-regulation of whn promoter activity. Finally, whn-null ('nude') keratinocytes were more resistant to PUVA-induced suppression of DNA synthesis than wild-type cells. Our results suggest that whn suppression may be involved in mediating the anti-proliferative effect of PUVA on keratinocytes. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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