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Scientists Identify Mechanisms of Beta-Carotene and PreventivePhotoaging

Scientists Identify Mechanisms of Beta-Carotene and Preventive Photoaging

SAN DIMAS, Calif.Scientists from DSM Nutritional Products are identifying the mechanisms of the carotenoid beta-carotene and how it helps reduce photoagingskin damage from expose to sunlight. In a study appearing in Free Radic Biol Med, (37:654-70, 2004), the scientists demonstrated beta-carotene can inhibit UVA-induced matrix metalloprotease (MMP) 1 and 10 expression in human skin keratinocytes by a singlet oxygen-dependent mechanism.

Researchers mimicked the exposure of human skin to sunlight in an in vitro model with human skin keratinocytes. The cells were cultured in the presence or absence of physiological doses of beta-carotene and then irradiated with UVA, the major fraction of light responsible for photoaging. Changes in messenger RNA or selected protein of several MMPs were analyzed after the UVA exposure. Beta-carotene suppressed UVA-induction of MMP-1, MMP-3 and MMP-10, which represent matrix metalloprotease crucially involved in degradation of the extracellular matrix during premature skin aging. The suppression involved 1-O2 quenching in the cells by beta-carotene, but not the provitamin A function of the carotenoid. In, addition, scientists showed that UVA rapidly destroys beta-carotene in the cells, indicating that the carotenoid has to be replenished after sunlight exposure.

Beta-carotene supplementation has also been reported to alleviate the symptoms of photosensitization and has a mild sunscreen effect.

Recently the same carotenoid researcher from DSM (, in collaboration with other experts, demonstrated beta-carotene reduced UVA-induced oxidative stress (Free Radic Biol Med 34:456-64, 2003) and inhibited of photoagingassociated mitochondrial DNA mutations in skin fibroblasts by betacarotene (Photochem Photobiol Sci 2:655-9, 2003). Thus, the published anti-photoaging effects of beta-carotene at physiological levels add further to its photoprotective functions.

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