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Int J Mol Med. 2016 Aug;38(2):627-34. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2016.2626. Epub 2016 Jun 6.

Apigenin inhibits UVA-induced cytotoxicity in vitro and prevents signs of skin aging in vivo.

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Korea Institute for Skin and Clinical Sciences, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.
GeneCellPharm Incorporated, Venture Center II, Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do 361-951, Republic of Korea.
Department of Dermatology, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.


Apigenin (4',5,7-trihydroxyflavone) is a flavone that has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of apigenin on skin and found that, in experiments using cells, apigenin restored the viability of normal human dermal fibroblasts (nHDFs), which had been decreased by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the UVA range. Using a senescence-associated (SA)-β-gal assay, we also demonstrate that apigenin protects against the UVA-induced senescence of nHDFs. Furthermore, we found that apigenin decreased the expression of the collagenase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, in UVA-irradiated nHDFs. UVA, which has been previously identified as a photoaging-inducing factor, has been shown to induce MMP-1 expression. The elevated expression of MMP-1 impairs the collagen matrix, leading to the loss of elasticity and skin dryness. Therefore, we examined the clinical efficacy of apigenin on aged skin, using an apigenin‑containing cream for clinical application. Specifically, we measured dermal density, skin elasticity and the length of fine wrinkles in subjects treated with apigenin cream or the control cream without apigenin. Additionally, we investigated the effects of the apigenin-containing cream on skin texture, moisture and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). From these experiments, we found that the apigenin‑containing cream increased dermal density and elasticity, and reduced fine wrinkle length. It also improved skin evenness, moisture content and TEWL. These results clearly demonstrate the biological effects of apigenin, demonstrating both its cellular and clinical efficacy, and suggest that this compound holds promise as an anti-aging cosmetic ingredient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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