Effect of Ultraviolet Light on the Release of Neuropeptides and Neuroendocrine Hormones in the Skin: Mediators of Photodermatitis and Cutaneous Inflammation

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      Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation of the skin causes both inflammation and alterations in the skin immune system. There is increasing experimental evidence that UV-induced skin inflammation is influenced by the sensory nervous system and the neuroendocrine system in the skin. The resulting complex network of cytokines, chemokines, neuropeptides, neuropeptide-degrading enzymes, neurohormones, and other inflammatory mediators mediate photodermatitis and cutaneous inflammation. Neuropeptides such as substance P (SP) and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) are released from sensory nerves innervating the skin upon UV exposure. In addition, a variety of cells in the skin produce increased neuroendocrine hormones such as proopiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides and their receptors as well as neurotrophins after UV exposure. Neuropeptides and neurohormones are capable of directly or indirectly mediating UV-induced cutaneous neurogenic inflammation by the induction of vasodilatation, plasma extravasation, and augmentation of UV-induced cytokine, chemokine, or cellular adhesion molecule expression required for activation and traffiking of inflammatory cells into the inflamed tissue. Neuropeptides and neurotrophins may also play a role in the repair of cutaneous UV injury. In addition to proinflammatory effects, UV-induced neuropeptides and neurohormones such as CGRP and a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone may have immunosuppressive effects in the skin. This review will focus on the role that SP, CGRP, POMC peptides, and their receptors may play in modulating UV-induced inflammation in the skin.



      ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide), MC-R (melanocortin receptor), α-MSH (α-melanocyte- stimulating hormone), NEP (neutral endopeptidase), NKA (neurokinin A), NK-R (neurokinin receptor), POMC (proopiomelanocortin), SP (substance P)