Inhibition of atopic dermatitis by topical application of silymarin in NC/Nga mice

Int Immunopharmacol. 2008 Oct;8(10):1475-80. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2008.06.004. Epub 2008 Jun 30.


Silymarin has been known to inhibit chemical-induced irritant contact dermatitis. In the present study, we report that topical application of silymarin suppresses dust mite extract (DPE)-induced atopic dermatitis (AD) in NC/Nga mice. Repeated topical application of ears with DPE caused AD-like skin lesions in NC/Nga mice. However, silymarin reduced AD-like skin lesions in these mice, resulting in decreased ear swelling and leukocyte infiltration into the ear. Moreover, our results showed that mast cell infiltration into the ear was suppressed by silymarin treatment in DPE-treated NC/Nga mice. Silymarin also reduced plasma level of IL-4 and IgE in these mice. Further study demonstrated that the mRNA expression of IL-4 was increased and that of IFN-gamma was decreased by DPE treatment in the ears of NC/Nga mice. However, DPE-induced changes in IL-4 and IFN-gamma mRNA expression were reversed by silymarin. DPE-induced increase in TNF-alpha mRNA expression was also suppressed by silymarin treatment. The results presented in this report suggest that silymarin might be beneficial for the treatment of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice
  • Pyroglyphidae / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Silymarin / therapeutic use*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Silymarin