Silibinin inhibits ultraviolet B radiation-induced mitogenic and survival signaling, and associated biological responses in SKH-1 mouse skin.

Research paper by Mallikarjuna M Gu, Sivanandhan S Dhanalakshmi, Sarumathi S Mohan, Rana P RP Singh, Rajesh R Agarwal

Indexed on: 16 Apr '05Published on: 16 Apr '05Published in: Carcinogenesis


Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation is a complete skin carcinogen causing DNA damage as a tumor-initiating event and activating signaling cascades that play a critical role in its tumor-promoting potential. Recently we reported that a naturally occurring flavonoid, silibinin, protects UVB-induced skin damages and prevents photocarcinogenesis. Here we examined silibinin efficacy on acute and chronic UVB-caused mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and AKT activation and associated biological responses in SKH-1 hairless mouse skin. A single UVB exposure at 180 mJ/cm2 dose resulted in varying degrees of ERK1/2, JNK1/2, MAPK/p38 and AKT phosphorylation at various time-points in mouse skin; however, topical application of silibinin prior to or immediately after UVB exposure, or its dietary feeding strongly inhibited the activation of these molecules at all the time-points examined. Stronger effects of silibinin towards inhibition of UVB-caused phosphorylation of MAPKs and AKT were also observed in a chronic UVB (180 mJ/cm2/day for 5 days) exposure protocol. Immunohistochemical analysis of chronically exposed skin sections showed that silibinin treatment in all three protocols increases UVB-induced p53-positive cells and decreases UVB-caused cell proliferation, apoptotic and sunburn cells. These findings suggest that silibinin inhibits UVB-induced MAPK and AKT signaling and increases p53 in mouse skin, and that these effects of silibinin possibly lead to a decrease in UVB-caused proliferation and apoptosis, which might, in part, be responsible for its overall efficacy against photocarcinogenesis.