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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jun;60(6):1374-82. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201501026. Epub 2016 Apr 13.

Dietary proanthocyanidins inhibit UV radiation-induced skin tumor development through functional activation of the immune system.

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Departments of Dermatology and Environmental Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Comprehensive Cancer Center and Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, AL, USA.


The incidence of skin cancer is equivalent to the incidence of malignancies in all other organs combined. The main risk factor for this disease is overexposure of the skin to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV irradiation induces inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and suppression of the immune system in the skin, which together contribute to carcinogenesis. The use of dietary phytochemicals shows great promise as a complementary and alternative strategy for skin cancer prevention. Grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) have been tested extensively for their anti-skin cancer effect using in vivo animal models. Supplementation of an AIN76A control diet with GSPs (0.2 and 0.5%, w/w) significantly inhibits UV radiation-induced skin tumor development as well as malignant transformation of papillomas to carcinoma in mice. The inhibition of UVB-induced skin tumor development by GSPs is mediated through interrelated mechanisms of action including: (i) inhibition of inflammation, (ii) rapid repair of damaged DNA, and (iii) stimulation of immune system. Additionally, the chemopreventive effects of GSPs involve DNA repair-dependent functional activation of antigen-presenting cells and stimulation of CD8(+) effector T cells. These effects of GSPs could be useful in attenuation of the adverse effects of UV radiation and may have health benefits in humans.


Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers; Dendritic cells; Skin cancer; T cells; Ultraviolet radiation

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