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Piceatannol Inhibits P. acnes–Induced Keratinocyte Proliferation and Migration by Downregulating Oxidative Stress and the Inflammatory Response

  • Tingting Zhu
  • Fumin Fang
  • Dongjie Sun
  • Shuyun Yang
  • Xiaoping Zhang
  • Xiuqin YuEmail author
  • Li YangEmail author
Original Article


The Cutibacterium acnes (also called Propionibacterium acnes, P. acnes)-induced proliferation and migration of keratinocytes contribute to acne vulgaris (AV), which is a common inflammatory skin disease that causes physical and psychological impairments. Piceatannol (3, 5, 3′, 4′-tetrahydroxy-trans-stilbene, PCT) is naturally present in many human diets and plays antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles that inhibit cell proliferation and migration. We aimed to analyse the functions and underlying mechanisms of PCT in P. acnes-stimulated keratinocytes. First, PCT showed no toxicity against the normal human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT but inhibited P. acnes-induced HaCaT cell proliferation. Next, PCT promoted the nuclear translocation and target gene transcription of the antioxidant transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), thereafter decreasing intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. In addition, PCT inhibited the nuclear translocation of p65 [a subunit of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB)] and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). Finally, a transfection assay showed that PCT inhibited P. acnes-induced HaCaT cell proliferation and migration by activating the antioxidant Nrf2 pathway and inhibiting the inflammatory NF-κB pathway. Our data suggested that PCT alleviated P. acnes-induced HaCaT cell proliferation and migration through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles, suggesting the potential of PCT to treat AV.


acne vulgaris Propionibacterium acnes Piceatannol nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 anti-inflammation 


Funding Information

This study was partly supported by the National Science Foundation of China (no. 81560506, U1402223, 81460469 and 81760559).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyFirst Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical UniversityKunmingChina
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyThe People’s Hospital of BaoshanBaoshan CityChina
  4. 4.Department of Dermatology, Henan Provincial People’s HospitalThe People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouChina

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