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Topical treatment with liposomes containing T4 endonuclease V protects human skin in vivo from ultraviolet-induced upregulation of interleukin-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.Wolf, Peter; Maier, Harald; Müllegger, Robert R; Chadwick, Caroline A; Hofmann-Wellenhof, Rainer; Soyer, H Peter; Hofer, Angelika; Smolle, Josef; Horn, Michael; Cerroni, Lorenzo; et al. (2000-01)Exposing human skin to ultraviolet radiation causes DNA damage, sunburn, immune alterations, and eventually, skin cancer. We wished to determine whether liposomes containing a DNA repair enzyme could prevent any of the acute effects of irradiation when applied after ultraviolet exposure. Fifteen human patients with a prior history of skin cancer were exposed to two minimal erythema doses of ultraviolet radiation on their buttock skin. Liposomes containing T4 endonuclease V or heat-inactivated enzyme were applied immediately and at 2, 4, and 5 h after ultraviolet irradiation. Transmission electron microscopy after anti-T4 endonuclease V-staining and immunogold labeling on biopsies taken at 6 h after ultraviolet exposure revealed that the enzyme was present within cells in the skin. Immunohistochemical DNA damage studies suggested a trend toward improved DNA repair at the active T4 endonuclease V liposome-treated test sites. Although the active T4 endonuclease V liposomes did not significantly affect the ultraviolet-induced erythema response and microscopic sunburn cell formation, they nearly completely prevented ultraviolet-induced upregulation of interleukin-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha RNA message and of interleukin-10 protein. These studies demonstrate that liposomes can be used for topical intracellular delivery of small proteins to human skin and suggest that liposomes containing DNA repair enzymes may provide a new avenue for photoprotection against some forms of ultraviolet-induced skin damage.