Cutaneous exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major causative factor in skin carcinogenesis, and improved molecular strategies for efficacious chemoprevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are urgently needed. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling has been shown to drive skin inflammation, photoimmunosuppression, and chemical carcinogenesis. Here we have examined the feasibility of genetic and pharmacological antagonism targeting cutaneous TLR4 for the suppression of UV-induced NF-κB and AP-1 signaling in keratinocytes and mouse skin. Using immunohistochemical and proteomic microarray analysis of human skin, we demonstrate for the first time that a significant increase in expression of TLR4 occurs in keratinocytes during the progression from normal skin to actinic keratosis, also detectible during further progression to squamous cell carcinoma. Next, we demonstrate that siRNA-based genetic TLR4 inhibition blocks UV-induced stress signaling in cultured keratinocytes. Importantly, we observed that resatorvid (TAK-242), a molecularly targeted clinical TLR4 antagonist, blocks UV-induced NF-κB and MAP kinase/AP-1 activity and cytokine expression (Il-6, Il-8, and Il-10) in cultured keratinocytes and in topically treated murine skin. Taken together, our data reveal that pharmacological TLR4 antagonism can suppress UV-induced cutaneous signaling, and future experiments will explore the potential of TLR4-directed strategies for prevention of NMSC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Immunohistochemical data generated by the Tissue Acquisition and Cellular/Molecular Analysis Shared Resource (TACMASR) shown in Fig. were supported by the University of Arizona Cancer Center Support Grant, NIH CA023074. All other data were generated with the support of the following NIH grants: NCI P01 CA027502, R03 CA167580, and pilot funding from the University of Arizona Skin Cancer Institute (SCI).