Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has variety of deleterious effects on mammalian skin, and triggers several causative factors such as DNA damage, inflammation, immune suppression and genetic and epigenetic alterations which leads to the development of skin cancer. Earlier, we have shown that the deficiency of interleukin (IL)-12, an immunoregulatory cytokine, enhances photocarcinogenesis in mice through inhibition of repair of damaged DNA. In further studies we have tried to explore and examine the effect of IL-12 on epigenetic regulators in UV-exposed skin and UV-induced skin tumors using IL-12 knock out (IL-12 KO) mice as an in vivo animal model. The exposure of IL-12 KO mice with UVB (200 mJ/cm2) radiation resulted in higher levels of DNA methylation, DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt) activity, Ten-eleven translocations (TETs), a family of methylcytosine dioxygenase, histone deacetylases (HDAC), and lower levels of histone acetylase (HAT) activity than their wild type counterparts. To verify that IL-12 deficiency is associated with DNA hypermethylation and higher HDAC activity in UVB exposed skin, IL-12-KO mice were treated with endotoxin-free murine rIL-12 (50 ng/mouse/100 μl PBS; subcutaneous injection) 3 h before UVB exposure. Our results indicate that significant reduction in the levels of global DNA methylation, Dnmt and HDAC activity were observed compared with non-rIL-12 treated mice. Conversely, UVB exposed IL-12 wild type mice were treated with anti-IL-12 antibody (500 ng/mouse/100 μl PBS; subcutaneous injection). This treatment resulted in increased levels of DNA methylation, Dnmt and HDAC activities. These observations were also noted and compared between skin tumors from IL-12 KO mice and their wild type counterparts. To further explore the role of IL-12 deficiency on epigenetic modification-mediated photocarcinogenesis, we determined its effect on methylated and unmethylated levels of tumor suppressor genes, such as p16INK4a and RASSF1A, in UV-exposed skin and UV-induced skin tumors. It was observed that the levels of methylated tumor suppressor genes were higher in IL-12 KO mice skin than their wild type counterparts. Together, these findings indicate that IL-12 deficiency promotes: (i) DNA hypermethylation, (ii) HDAC activity and (iii) silencing of tumor suppressor genes in UV exposed mice and that makes the mice more susceptible to UV radiation-induced skin cancer risk. Together, these observations suggest that augmentation of IL-12 should be considered as a strategy for the prevention and treatment of UV radiation-induced skin cancer risk.

Citation Format: Ram Prasad, Tripti Singh, Santosh K. Katiyar. Interleukin-12 deficiency increases modulation of epigenetic regulators and silencing of tumor suppressor genes in UVB-exposed mouse skin and skin tumors. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 4055.