pp 1-15 | Cite as

In Vitro Methods to Simulate Pollution and Photo-Pollution Exposure in Human Skin Epidermis

  • Namita MisraEmail author
  • Laurent Marrot
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series


Tissue homeostasis of an individual is a finely orchestrated phenomenon that ensures integrity and steady state in health. Emerging evidence indicates that the environment, especially ambient air pollution, has a lasting impact on this equilibrium (Beelen et al., Lancet 383:785–795, 2014). Environmental pollution consists of diverse entities, namely, particulate matter (PM 2.5, PM 10), ozone, and UV rays, among others (Heroux et al., Int J Public Health 60:619–627, 2015). Understandably, skin epidermis is the first and the most exposed tissue to such a wide range of substances and bears the assault. Previous studies have established that exposure to atmospheric pollution aggravates several skin disorders as, for instance, eczema, acne, lentigines or macules, and wrinkles (Araviiskaia et al., J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 33:1496–1505, 2019). While pollutants can interact with skin surface, contamination of deep skin by particulate matter (either ultrafine particles or by some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) moieties) is also highly probable, particularly because PAH were detected in blood and inside the cortex of hair (Guo et al., Sci Total Environ 427–428:35–40, 2012; Palazzi et al., Environ Int 121:1341–1354, 2018). Importantly, concentrations of contaminant PAH in the blood are very low, in the nanomolar range (Neal et al., Reprod Toxicol 25:100–106, 2008); thus PAH levels in the skin might be in a similar range. Furthermore, it has been shown that some PAH (e.g., benzo[a]pyrene, indenopyrene) are phototoxic under UVA irradiation through a strong production of reactive oxygen species, ultimately leading to skin cancer in mice (Burke and Wei, Toxicol Ind Health 25:219–224, 2009). Since UVA1 (340–400 nm) can reach deep dermis, it can thus be assumed that photoactivation of PAH contaminants in living skin may locally induce a significant stress. In order to study the molecular mechanisms that are affected due to this exposure, there is an increasing need to develop reliable and diverse methods that simulate pollution exposure.


Epidermis Pollution Particulate matter Phototoxicity Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon Skin 



Pavithra Rajagopalan and Aditi Chatterjee (Institute of Bioinformatics, Bangalore) and Martine Zanini and Philippe Perez (L’Oréal Advanced Research, France) are deeply acknowledged for their help in preparing the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.L’Oréal Research and InnovationAulnay-sous-BoisFrance

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