Potential risk to human skin cells from exposure to dicloran photodegradation products in water




Xu, Wei
Vebrosky, Emily N.
Armbrust, Kevin L.


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Exposure to sunlight and certain pesticides can induce phototoxic responses. Long- and short-term exposure to the photoactivated pesticides can cause a variety of skin diseases. However, assessment of pesticide phototoxicity on human skin is difficult. In the present study, human skin keratinocytes were cultured in several forms: monolayer cell sheet, three-dimensional culture, and keratinocyte-fibroblast co-culture. A common fungicide, dicloran (DC, 2,6‑dichloro‑4‑nitroaniline), was irradiated with simulated sunlight for 2 (DC-PD-2h) and 4 (DC-PD-4h) hours. Dicloran, and two purified intermediate photodegradation products, 2‑chloro‑1,4‑benzoquinone (CBQ) and 1,4‑benzoquinone (BQ), were applied in toxicity tests independently with the keratinocyte culture models. The cell migration, cell differentiation, pro-inflammatory molecule production, and dermal fibroblast cell activation were all measured in the keratinocytes treated with the chemicals described above. These parameters were used as references for dicloran phototoxicity assessment. Among all tested chemicals, the DC-PD-4h and BQ demonstrated elevated toxicities to the keratinocytes compared to dicloran based on our results. The application of DC-PD-4h or BQ significantly delayed the migration of keratinocytes in monolayer cell sheets, inhibited the keratinocyte differentiation, increased the production of pro-inflammatory molecules by 3D keratinocyte culture, and enhanced the ability of 3D cultured keratinocytes in the activation of co-cultured dermal fibroblast cells. In contrast, dicloran, DC-PD-2h, and CBQ showed minimal effects on the keratinocytes in all assays. The results suggested that the four-hour photodegraded dicloran was likely to induce inflammatory skin diseases in the natural human skin. The 1,4‑benzoquinone, which is the predominant degradation product detected following 4 h of irradiation, was the main factor for this response. Photoactivation increased the risk of skin exposed to dicloran in nature. Our models provided an efficient tool in the assessment of toxicity changes in pesticide following normal use practices under typical environmental conditions.



docloran, human skin, phototoxicity, inflammatory skin diseases



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Xu, W., Vebrosky, E.N. and Armbrust, K.L., 2018. Potential risk to human skin cells from exposure to dicloran photodegradation products in water. Environment international, 121, pp.861-870.