The Journal of biological chemistry

Low dose ultraviolet B irradiation increases hyaluronan synthesis in epidermal keratinocytes via sequential induction of hyaluronan synthases Has1-3 mediated by p38 and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) signaling.

PMID 23645665


Hyaluronan, a major epidermal extracellular matrix component, responds strongly to different kinds of injuries. This also occurs by UV radiation, but the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The effects of a single ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure on hyaluronan content and molecular mass, and expression of genes involved in hyaluronan metabolism were defined in monolayer and differentiated, organotypic three-dimensional cultures of rat epidermal keratinocytes. The signals regulating the response were characterized using specific inhibitors and Western blotting. In monolayer cultures, UVB increased hyaluronan synthase Has1 mRNA already 4 h postexposure, with a return to control level by 24 h. In contrast, Has2 and Has3 were persistently elevated from 8 h onward. Silencing of Has2 and especially Has3 decreased the UVB-induced accumulation of hyaluronan. p38 and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II pathways were found to be involved in the UVB-induced up-regulation of Has2 and Has3 expression, respectively, and their inhibition reduced hyaluronan deposition. However, the expressions of the hyaluronan-degrading enzymes Hyal1 and Hyal2 and the hyaluronan receptor Cd44 were also up-regulated by UVB. In organotypic cultures, UVB treatment also resulted in increased expression of both Has and Hyal genes and shifted hyaluronan toward a smaller size range. Histochemical stainings indicated localized losses of hyaluronan in the epidermis. The data show that exposure of keratinocytes to acute, low dose UVB increases hyaluronan synthesis via up-regulation of Has2 and Has3. The simultaneously enhanced catabolism of hyaluronan demonstrates the complexity of the UVB-induced changes. Nevertheless, enhanced hyaluronan metabolism is an important part of the adaptation of keratinocytes to radiation injury.