Pentacyclic triterpenes from Terminalia arjuna show multiple benefits on aged and dry skin

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(2):71-81. doi: 10.1159/000351387. Epub 2013 Sep 5.


Background: Pentacyclic triterpenoids improve epidermal barrier function and induce collagen production. Here, their effects on cutaneous aging by means of objective instrumental measurements were elucidated.

Methods: Reconstituted human epidermis, cultivated keratinocytes and fibroblasts were incubated with Terminalia arjuna triterpenes (T. arjuna bark extract), and mRNA and protein expression of various genes was determined using microarray analysis, qRT-PCR and ELISA techniques. Clinical efficacy of T. arjuna bark extract versus vehicle control cream was elucidated in 30 patients and transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration and elasticity were measured. Another 30 female patients in their postmenopausal phase were treated with a similar regime, and skin sebum content, cutaneous blood microcirculation and skin density/echogenicity were assessed.

Results: Incubation with T. arjuna triterpenes increased FGF-2, TSP-1, TGF-β and CTGF expression, and VEGF secretion in vitro. Elevated lactate dehydrogenase release upon sodium dodecyl sulphate challenge was reversed by the application of T. arjuna bark extract. T. arjuna bark extract decreased TEWL, improved skin moisturization, reduced scaliness and led to significantly improved skin elasticity. Also, increases in blood microflow and skin sebum content as well as improved skin thickness/echogenicity were noted on postmenopausal skin, resulting in visible reduction of sagging skin on the jowls as demonstrated by digital photography.

Conclusion: T. arjuna bark extract appears as an innovative active ingredient that exerts versatile antiaging properties in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Microcirculation / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Plant Bark
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Postmenopause
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Swine
  • Terminalia*
  • Water / metabolism


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Water