Combined effects of carotenoids and polyphenols in balancing the response of skin cells to uv irradiation

Glenda Calniquer, Marina Khanin, Hilla Ovadia, Karin Linnewiel-Hermoni, David Stepensky, Aviram Trachtenberg, Tanya Sedlov, Oleg Braverman, Joseph Levy, Yoav Sharoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Oral carotenoids and polyphenols have been suggested to induce photo-protective effects. The aim of the study was to test whether the combination of carotenoids and polyphenols produce greater protective effects from UV-induced damage to skin cells. Such damage is characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress; thus, the photo-protective effect can be partially explained by modulating the nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) and antioxidant response element/Nrf2 (ARE/Nrf2) transcription systems, known as important regulators of these two processes. Indeed, it was found in keratinocytes that carotenoids and polyphenols inhibit UVB-induced NFκB activity and release of cytokine IL-6. A combination of tomato extract with rosemary extract inhibited UVB-induced release of IL-6 more than each of the compounds alone. Moreover, this combination synergistically activated ARE/Nrf2 transcription systems. Inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNFα induce the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which leads to collagen breakdown; thus, it is important to note that carnosic acid reduced TNFα-induced MMP-1 secretion from human dermal fibroblasts. The in vitro results suggest beneficial effects of phytonutrient combinations on skin health. To assure that clinical experiments to prove such effects in humans are feasible, the human bioavailability of carotenoids from tomato extract was tested, and nearly a twofold increase in their plasma concentrations was detected. This study demonstrates that carotenoids and polyphenols cooperate in balancing UV-induced skin cell damage, and suggests that NFκB and ARE/Nrf2 are involved in these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1931
Issue number7
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2021


  • Antioxidant response element/Nrf2
  • Carnosic acid
  • Interleukin-6
  • Keratinocytes
  • Lycopene
  • MMP-1
  • NFκB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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