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A highly sensitive biological assay for determining the photoprotective efficacy of sunscreen


The protective effect of sunscreens has been extensively evaluated in vivo as a measure of erythema induced in human skin and is expressed as Sun Protection Factor (SPF). In vitro alternatives that use human cells might overcome the limitations of testing on human beings. Here is proposed a broad and accurate in vitro approach for evaluating the efficacy of commercial sunscreens even under environmental conditions. This Cell dosimeter allowed the determination of Sun Protection Factor for DNA (DNA-SPF), using specific DNA repair enzymes and antibodies, and Sun Protection Factor for Lethal Damage (LD-SPF), by measuring cell viability and apoptosis induced after the irradiation of human cells. The use of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) cells, which are deficient in DNA repair,rendered this assay more sensitive. The results revealed significant protection against the effects elicited by UVB radiation, however there was no efficient protection from DNA lesions and cell death induced by UVA radiation or natural sunlight. This work demonstrates the environmental application of this biodosimeter for measuring UV-induced biological damage to human cells and support the need of better evaluation of the UVA protection efficacy conferred by commercial sunscreens, in terms of induction of DNA lesions and cell death. (AU)

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