Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Effect of a Color Tattoo on the Local Skin Redox Regulatory Network: An N-of-1 Study

Version 1 : Received: 13 June 2020 / Approved: 14 June 2020 / Online: 14 June 2020 (04:13:53 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 1 December 2020 / Approved: 2 December 2020 / Online: 2 December 2020 (11:05:29 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Free Radical Research 2021
DOI: 10.1080/10715762.2021.1912340


Biomedical aspects of tattooing have been extensively discussed in literature, however pathophysiological effects of tattoo inks in the human body are still unexplored. Oxidative stress is considered responsible for the adverse effects of tattooing, however no experimental evidence for tattoo ink-related oxidative stress in the human body currently exists. The aim was to examine the effect of a blue tattoo on skin redox regulatory network (RRN) parameters in a single human subject. Skin surface oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) was analyzed with a PH60F flat probe. Interstitial and intracellular fluid enriched capillary blood from the tattoo and the control area was extracted and analyzed with I2/KI-stabilized microORP, nitrocellulose redox permanganometry (NRP), carbonato-cobaltate (III) formation-derived H2O2 dissociation rate assay, 1,2,3-trihydroxybenzene autoxidation assay, thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) assay and 5,5,’-dithio-bis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB)-based determination of free thiol content in low molecular weight and protein precipitate fractions. Surface ORP analysis revealed a greater antioxidant capacity of tattooed skin in comparison with the control (CTR). Capillary blood analysis confirmed greater reductive capacity in the tattoo sample both by microORP (-4.33mV vs CTR) and NRP (+10.8%). Hydrogen peroxide dissociation rate (+11.8%), and protein sulfhydryl content (+8.5%) were increased, and lipid peroxidation (-15%) was reduced in the tattoo sample in comparison with the CTR. In this N-of-1 study, RRN of tattooed skin was shifted towards a more reductive state with all parameters indicating reduced levels of oxidative stress in comparison with nontattooed skin. The local antioxidant effect of copper(II) phthalocyanine provides one possible explanation of the observed effects.


Tattoo; Tattoo ink; Oxidative stress; Phthalocyanine; Skin



Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 2 December 2020
Commenter: Jan Homolak
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Parts of the introduction were amended to better describe what is currently known about the subject, analyses were extended and additional validation experiments were conducted to provide the information on the expected methodological variation alongside the observed differences. Figures were amended accordingly. The results pertaining to NRP measurements were corrected. The idea of the first capillary blood drop sampling to obtain interstitial and intracellular fluid enriched sample was more clearly described.
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