Chlortetracycline and melanin biopolymer - The risk of accumulation and implications for phototoxicity: An in vitro study on normal human melanocytes.


Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Silesia, Jagiellońska 4, PL 41-200, Sosnowiec, Poland. Electronic address: [Email]


Tetracyclines belong to antimicrobial classes with the highest consumption in veterinary medicine and agriculture, which leads to the contamination of the environment and food products, as well as to antibiotic resistance and adverse drug reactions. Chloro-derivatives of tetracyclines are thought to be relatively more phototoxic than others and belong to the most frequently cited drugs as photosensitizers. Melanins are heterogenous biopolymers determining skin, hair and eye colour. They are biosynthesized in a multistep process in melanocytes. Melanins, besides photoprotective and antioxidant properties, may also contribute to adverse skin drug reactions, which involve e.g. hyperpigmentation disorders and phototoxic reactions. Furthermore, they have the ability to form a drug-melanin complex, which leads to deposition of the drug or its metabolites in pigmented tissues. The aim of the study was to examine the ability of chlortetracycline to form a complex with melanin, as well as the effect of the drug on viability, antioxidant defence system and melanogenesis in normal human epidermal melanocytes exposed to the UVA radiation. The obtained results show for the first time that chlortetracycline forms a complex with melanin polymers, which creates a possibility of the drug accumulation in pigmented tissues. A simultaneous exposition of normal melanocytes to chlortetracycline and to the UVA radiation decreases cell viability, proportionally to the drug concentration and the irradiation time. The phototoxic effect appears to be related to the induction of oxidative stress in melanocytes, mainly through an increase of SOD and a decrease of the CAT activity. Chlortetracycline itself does not influence the melanin content or the activity of tyrosinase. The UVA radiation appeared to be a conditioning factor stimulating melanogenesis, whereas the presence of the drug augmented this effect.


Antioxidant enzymes,Chlortetracycline,Melanin,Melanocyte,Phototoxicity,Tyrosinase,

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