Compound K induces expression of hyaluronan synthase 2 gene in transformed human keratinocytes and increases hyaluronan in hairless mouse skin

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Apr 2;316(2):348-55. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2004.02.046.


Ginsenosides, the major active ingredients of ginseng, have a variety of biomedical efficacies such as anti-aging, anti-oxidation, and anti-inflammatory activities. To understand the effects of compound K (20-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol), one of the major metabolites of ginsenosides, on the skin, we assessed the expression levels of about 100 transcripts in compound K-treated HaCaT cells using cDNA microarray analysis. One gene up-regulated by compound K was hyaluronan synthase2 (HAS2). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that compound K increased HAS2 mRNA in time- and dose-dependent manners. ELISA and immunocytochemistry using hyaluronan (HA)-binding protein showed that compound K effectively increased HA production in HaCaT cells. Finally, treatment of compound K on hairless mouse skin increased the amount of HA in the epidermis and papillary dermis. Our study suggests that topical application of compound K might prevent or improve the deteriorations, such as xerosis and wrinkles, partly ascribed to the age-dependent decrease of the HA content in human skin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Epidermis / anatomy & histology
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Ginsenosides / chemistry
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / biosynthesis*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Synthases
  • Hyaluronic Acid / biosynthesis*
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Skin / anatomy & histology
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Ginsenosides
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • ginsenoside M1
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • HAS2 protein, human
  • Has2 protein, mouse
  • Hyaluronan Synthases