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Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Jun 29;17(7). pii: E1026. doi: 10.3390/ijms17071026.

Fernblock (Polypodium leucotomos Extract): Molecular Mechanisms and Pleiotropic Effects in Light-Related Skin Conditions, Photoaging and Skin Cancers, a Review.

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Pathology Department, School of Medicine, Universidad de Málaga, Malaga 29071, Spain.
Biology Department, Sciences School, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain.
Dermatology Service, Hospital San Jorge, Huesca 22004, Spain.
Biology Department, Sciences School, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid 28049, Spain.
Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Medicine Department, Alcalá University, Madrid 28805, Spain.


Healthier life styles include increased outdoors time practicing sports and walking. This means increased exposure to the sun, leading to higher risk of sunburn, photoaging and skin cancer. In addition to topical barrier products, oral supplementations of various botanicals endowed with antioxidant activity are emerging as novel method of photoprotection. Polypodium leucotomos extract (PL, commercial name Fernblock(®), IFC Group, Spain) is a powerful antioxidant due to its high content of phenolic compounds. PL is administered orally, with proven safety, and it can also be used topically. Its mechanisms include inhibition of the generation and release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by ultraviolet (UV) light. It also prevents UV- and ROS-induced DNA damage with inhibition of AP1 and NF-κB and protection of natural antioxidant enzyme systems. At the cellular level, PL decreases cellular apoptosis and necrosis mediated UV and inhibits abnormal extracellular matrix remodeling. PL reduces inflammation, prevents immunosuppression, activates tumor suppressor p53 and inhibits UV-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme expression. In agreement with increased p53 activity, PL decreased UV radiation-induced cell proliferation. PL also prevents common deletions mitochondrial DNA damage induced by UVA, and MMP-1 expression induced Visible Light and Infrared Radiation. These cellular and molecular effects are reflected in inhibitions of carcinogenesis and photoaging.


DNA; Polypodium leucotomos extract; antioxidant; immunosuppression; infrared (IR); oral; photoaging; photocarcinogenesis; photoprotection; ultraviolet (UV) radiation; visible light (VIS) radiation

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