UVB exposure, a major factor in the development of skin cancer, has differential sex effects. Tomato product consumption reduces the intensity of UVB-induced erythema in humans, but the mechanisms are unknown.Methods and results:
Four-week-old SKH-1 hairless mice (40 females, 40 males) were divided into two feeding groups (control or with 10% tangerine tomatoes naturally rich in UV-absorbing phytoene and phytofluene) and two UV exposure groups (with or without UV). After 10 weeks of feeding, the UV group was exposed to a single UV dose and sacrificed 48 h later. Blood and dorsal skin samples were taken for carotenoid analysis. Dorsal skin was harvested to assess sex and UV effects on carotenoid deposition, inflammation (skinfold thickness, myeloperoxidase levels), and DNA damage (cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, p53). Females had significantly higher levels of both skin and blood carotenoids relative to males. UV exposure significantly reduced skin carotenoid levels in females but not males. Tomato consumption attenuated acute UV-induced increases in CPD in both sexes, and reduced myeloperoxidase activity and percent p53 positive epidermal cells in males.Conclusion:
Tangerine tomatoes mediate acute UV-induced skin damage in SKH-1 mice via reduced DNA damage in both sexes, and through reduced inflammation in males.