The polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone protects against ultraviolet radiation in an in vitro model of cutaneous photoaging

Dermatol Surg. 2004 Feb;30(2 Pt 1):189-95; discussion 196. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30060.x.


Background: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages skin through a variety of mechanisms, including the generation of free radicals. Gluconolactone is a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) that is capable of chelating metals and may also function by scavenging free radicals, thereby protecting skin from some of the damaging effects of UV radiation.

Objective: This study measured the ability of gluconolactone to protect against UV radiation-induced damage.

Methods: The ability of gluconolactone to prevent UV radiation-induced elastin promoter activation was determined in vitro using a transgenic model of cutaneous photoaging. Gluconolactone was also evaluated to determine its ability to promote the formation of sunburn cells in human skin after exposure to UV radiation.

Results: Gluconolactone provided up to 50% protection against UV radiation, as measured in our in vitro system, and did not significantly increase sunburn cells in human skin.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate the ability of the PHA gluconolactone to protect against UV radiation-induced elastin promoter activation. In addition, in vivo studies demonstrated that gluconolactone treatment does not result in a significant increase in sunburn cells. Further investigation of this and other PHAs is necessary to identify their potential role in preventing and repairing cutaneous photodamage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Gluconates / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lactones
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Middle Aged
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays* / adverse effects


  • Gluconates
  • Lactones
  • beta-glucono-1,5-lactone