A pilot study of the UVA-photoprotective potential of dehydrosilybin, isosilybin, silychristin, and silydianin on human dermal fibroblasts

  • Alena Rajnochová Svobodová
  • Eva Gabrielová
  • Jitka Ulrichová
  • Bohumil Zálešák
  • David Biedermann
  • Jitka VostálováEmail author
Original Paper


The exposure of naked unprotected skin to solar radiation may result in numerous acute and chronic undesirable effects. Evidence suggests that silymarin, a standardized extract from Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. seeds, and its major component silybin suppress UVB-induced skin damage. Here, we aimed to investigate the UVA-protective effects of silymarinʼs less abundant flavonolignans, specifically isosilybin (ISB), silychristin (SC), silydianin (SD), and 2,3-dehydrosilybin (DHSB). Normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF) pre-treated for 1 h with flavonolignans were then exposed to UVA light using a solar simulator. Their effects on reactive oxygen species (ROS), carbonylated proteins and glutathione (GSH) level, caspase-3 activity, single-strand breaks’ (SSBs) formation and protein level of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), and heat shock protein (HSP70) were evaluated. The most pronounced preventative potential was found for DHSB, a minor component of silymarin, and SC, the second most abundant flavonolignan in silymarin. They had significant effects on most of the studied parameters. Meanwhile, a photoprotective effect of SC was mostly found at double the concentration of DHSB. ISB and SD protected against GSH depletion, the generation of ROS, carbonylated proteins and SSBs, and caspase-3 activation, but had no significant effect on MMP-1, HO-1, or HSP70. In summary, DHSB and to a lesser extent other silymarin flavonolignans are potent UVA-protective compounds. However, due to the in vitro phototoxic potential of DHSB published elsewhere, further studies are needed to exclude phototoxicity for humans as well as to confirm our results on human skin ex vivo and in vivo.


Cell culture Flavonolignan UVA Oxidative damage Heat shock protein Metalloproteinase-1 



This work was financially supported by the Grant GACR 15-10897S, IGA_LF_2019_015, IGA_LF_2018_012, and the Institutional Support of Palacký University in Olomouc-RVO 61989592. We wish to thank Iveta Hatalová (University Hospital in Olomouc) for assistance with skin tissue donor recruitment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alena Rajnochová Svobodová
    • 1
  • Eva Gabrielová
    • 1
  • Jitka Ulrichová
    • 1
  • Bohumil Zálešák
    • 2
  • David Biedermann
    • 3
  • Jitka Vostálová
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and DentistryPalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Plastic and Aesthetic SurgeryUniversity Hospital OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Laboratory of Biotransformation, Institute of MicrobiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPragueCzech Republic

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