Ferulic acid, a phenolic phytochemical, inhibits UVB-induced matrix metalloproteinases in mouse skin via posttranslational mechanisms

J Nutr Biochem. 2012 May;23(5):443-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.01.009. Epub 2011 May 4.


Matrix metalloproteinases MMP-2 and -9 are known to be overexpressed in ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated skin tissues and contribute to the acceleration of photoaging and the development of skin cancer. But the specific molecular mechanisms that can control or interfere with the expression and regulation of these MMP-2 and -9 activities in skin are not clearly understood. The aim of the present study was to analyze the suppressive effects of ferulic acid (FA), an abundant phenolic compound present in various dietary and medicinal plants, on UVB radiation-induced MMP-2 and -9 activities in mouse skin. For attenuation of chronic UVB irradiation damage to skin, inhibition of MMP-2 and -9 protein expression was detected using immunohistochemistry analysis. However, the in situ suppressive effects of FA did not interfere with the transcription or translation of MMP-2 and -9, suggesting that its action could be mediated via the proteasome pathway. Histological analyses showed that FA attenuates the degradation of collagen fibers, abnormal accumulation of elastic fibers and epidermal hyperplasia induced by UVB, demonstrating the functional and physiological relevance of FA effects in UVB-irradiated skin tissues. Together, our findings provide a novel and increased insight into the in vivo action of FA and suggest a possible clinical application in skin pathophysiological conditions associated with overexpression of MMP-2 and -9.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coumaric Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Coumaric Acids
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors
  • ferulic acid
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Mmp2 protein, mouse
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Mmp9 protein, mouse