In recent years there has been an increase in use of botanicals with antioxidant properties as skin photoprotective agents. Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruit possesses strong antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. Recently, we have shown that pomegranate-derived products rich in anthocyanidins and ellagitannins inhibit UVB-mediated activation of nuclear factor kappa B and modulate UVA-mediated cell proliferation pathways in normal human epidermal keratinocytes. In this study, we evaluated the effect of polyphenol-rich pomegranate fruit extract (POMx) on UVB-induced oxidative stress and photoaging in human immortalized HaCaT keratinocytes. Our data show that pretreatment of HaCaT cells with POMx (10-40 microg mL(-1)) inhibited UVB (15-30 mJ cm(-2))-mediated (1) decrease in cell viability, (2) decrease in intracellular glutathione content and (3) increase in lipid peroxidation. Employing immunoblot analysis we found that pretreatment of HaCaT cells with POMx inhibited UVB-induced (1) upregulation of MMP-1, -2, -7 and -9, (2) decrease in TIMP-1, (3) phosphorylation of MAPKs and (iv) phosphorylation of c-jun, whereas no effect was observed on UVB-induced c-fos protein levels. These results suggest that POMx protects HaCaT cells against UVB-induced oxidative stress and markers of photoaging and could be a useful supplement in skin care products.