Temporal transcriptomic analysis of human primary keratinocytes exposed to β-naphthoflavone highlights the protective efficacy of skin to environmental pollutants


  • Quantin Paul
  • Patatian Angela
  • Floreani Maxime
  • Egles Christophe
  • Benech Philippe
  • Ficheux Hervé


  • Xenobiotics
  • Β-naphthoflavone
  • Protective response
  • Keratinocyte

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The skin covers almost the entire body and plays an important role in detoxification and elimination of xenobiotics. These processes are initiated following the binding of xenobiotics to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which leads to the expression of several detoxification enzymes. To gain some insights on their impacts on skin cells over time, a temporal transcriptional analysis using gene expression arrays was performed in human primary epidermal keratinocyte (HEK) cells exposed for 6, 24 and 48 h to β-naphthoflavone (βNF), a potent agonist of AhR. Our results demonstrated that expression of genes related to xenobiotic, inflammation, and extracellular matrix remodeling was increased upon βNF treatment from 6 h onwards. In contrast, the anti-oxidative response was seen mainly starting at 24 h. While some of the genes controlled by the epidermal differentiation complex was induced as soon as 6 h, expression of most of the S100 related genes located within the same chromosomal locus and keratin genes was increased at later times (24 and 48 h). Altogether our transcriptomic data highlight that following βNF exposure, HEK cells elicited a protective xenobiotic response together with the activation of inflammation and keratinocyte regeneration. Later on these processes were followed by the stimulation of anti-oxidant activity and terminal differentiation.

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