Biological activities of dermatological interest by the water extract of the microalga Botryococcus braunii


The use of microalgae in the skin care market is already established although the scientific rationale for their benefit was not clearly defined. In this work, the biological activities of dermatologic interest of the water extract from the microalga Botryococcus braunii (BBWE) were evaluated by a battery of in vitro assays. At concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 0.001 % (w/v) BBWE promoted adipocytes differentiation by inhibiting hormone-sensitive lipase, thus promoting triglyceride accumulation in the cells. BBWE also induced gene expression of proteins involved in the maintenance of skin cells water balance such as aquaporin-3 (AQP3), filaggrin (FLG) and involucrin (INV). 0.1 % BBWE increased the gene expression of AQP3 of 2.6-folds, that of FLG and INV of 1.5- and 1.9-folds, respectively. Moreover, it induced the biosynthesis of collagen I and collagen III by 80 and 40 %, respectively, compared to the untreated control. BBWE antioxidant activity, evaluated by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, was of 43.5 μmol Trolox per gram of extract: a quite high value among those found for other microalgae extracts. BBWE inhibited the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene expression and the consequent nitrite oxide (NO) production under oxidative stress. At a concentration of 0.02 % BBWE reduced by 50 % the expression of iNOS and by about 75 % the NO production. Taken together, the results demonstrated that B. braunii water extract exerted an array of biological activities concurring with the skin health maintenance; therefore, it is a potential bioactive ingredient to be included in cosmetic products.

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This work was carried out in the framework of the project “Phytocosmetics: cosmetic formulations based on water-soluble extracts from microalgae with replenishing action on skin tissue” funded by Institute of Foreign Commerce (ICE) and Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI).

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Correspondence to Vincenzo Fogliano.

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Buono, S., Langellotti, A.L., Martello, A. et al. Biological activities of dermatological interest by the water extract of the microalga Botryococcus braunii . Arch Dermatol Res 304, 755–764 (2012).

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  • Botryococcus braunii
  • Adipocyte differentiation
  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Hydration activity
  • iNOS