Viki B. Swope

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The significance of melanotropic hormones as physiologic regulators of cutaneous pigmentation in humans is still controversial. Until recently, no direct effect for melanotropins could be demonstrated on human melanocytes. Here we present conclusive evidence that alpha-melanotropin (alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, alpha-MSH) and the related hormone(More)
The melanocortin 1 receptor gene is a main determinant of human pigmentation, and a melanoma susceptibility gene, because its variants that are strongly associated with red hair color increase melanoma risk. To test experimentally the association between melanocortin 1 receptor genotype and melanoma susceptibility, we compared the responses of primary human(More)
Epidermal melanocytes are skin cells specialized in melanin production. Activation of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) on melanocytes by α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) induces synthesis of the brown/black pigment eumelanin that confers photoprotection from solar UV radiation (UVR). Contrary to keratinocytes, melanocytes are slow proliferating(More)
Cutaneous pigmentation is the major photoprotective mechanism against the carcinogenic and aging effects of UV. Epidermal melanocytes synthesize the pigment melanin, in the form of eumelanin or pheomelanin. Synthesis of the photoprotective eumelanin by human melanocytes is regulated mainly by the melanocortins alpha-melanocortin (alpha-MSH) and(More)
We have successfully established normal neonatal and adult human melanocyte cultures in a growth medium containing the physiologic mitogens basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF; 0.6 ng/ml), endothelin-1 (endo-1; 10 nM), and alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH; 10 nM). The latter two factors replaced the commonly used mitogens(More)
The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), a G(s) protein-coupled receptor, has an important role in human pigmentation. We investigated the regulation of expression and activity of the MC1R in primary human melanocyte cultures. Human β-defensin 3 (HBD3) acted as an antagonist for MC1R, inhibiting the α-melanocortin (α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone(More)
Cultured epidermal keratinocytes provide an abundant supply of biologic material for wound treatment. Because restoration of barrier function is a definitive criterion for efficacy of wound closure and depends on the lipids present in the epidermis, we analyzed lipid composition of the epidermis in cultured skin substitutes in vitro and after grafting to(More)
We report the effects of two factors, donor age and anatomical site, on the proliferation and melanization of human melanocytes (MC) derived from (1) neonatal foreskins, (2) adult foreskins, or (3) adult breast or arm skin. Two different growth media have been used for this purpose. Medium I supports the long-term proliferation of neonatal MC, and medium II(More)
Beginning in the last decade of the twentieth century, the fields of pigment cell research and melanoma have witnessed major breakthroughs in the understanding of the role of melanocortins in human pigmentation and the DNA damage response of human melanocytes to solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). This began with the cloning of the melanocortin 1 receptor(More)
Exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) is the main etiological factor for skin cancer, including melanoma. Cutaneous pigmentation, particularly eumelanin, afforded by melanocytes is the main photoprotective mechanism, as it prevents UV-induced DNA damage in the epidermis. Therefore, maintaining genomic stability of melanocytes is crucial for(More)