Anti-inflammation activities of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in response to UV radiation suggest potential anti-skin aging activity

Mar Drugs. 2014 Oct 14;12(10):5174-87. doi: 10.3390/md12105174.


Certain photosynthetic marine organisms have evolved mechanisms to counteract UV-radiation by synthesizing UV-absorbing compounds, such as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). In this study, MAAs were separated from the extracts of marine green alga Chlamydomonas hedleyi using HPLC and were identified as porphyra-334, shinorine, and mycosporine-glycine (mycosporine-Gly), based on their retention times and maximum absorption wavelengths. Furthermore, their structures were confirmed by triple quadrupole MS/MS. Their roles as UV-absorbing compounds were investigated in the human fibroblast cell line HaCaT by analyzing the expression levels of genes associated with antioxidant activity, inflammation, and skin aging in response to UV irradiation. The mycosporine-Gly extract, but not the other MAAs, had strong antioxidant activity in the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. Furthermore, treatment with mycosporine-Gly resulted in a significant decrease in COX-2 mRNA levels, which are typically increased in response to inflammation in the skin, in a concentration-dependent manner. Additionally, in the presence of MAAs, the UV-suppressed genes, procollagen C proteinase enhancer (PCOLCE) and elastin, which are related to skin aging, had increased expression levels equal to those in UV-mock treated cells. Interestingly, the increased expression of involucrin after UV exposure was suppressed by treatment with the MAAs mycosporine-Gly and shinorine, but not porphyra-334. This is the first report investigating the biological activities of microalgae-derived MAAs in human cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Chlamydomonas / chemistry
  • Chlorophyta / chemistry
  • Cyclohexanols / chemistry
  • Cyclohexanols / pharmacology*
  • Cyclohexanones / chemistry
  • Cyclohexanones / pharmacology
  • Cyclohexylamines / chemistry
  • Cyclohexylamines / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Elastin / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / chemistry
  • Glycine / pharmacology
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Amino Acids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Cyclohexanones
  • Cyclohexylamines
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • PCOLCE protein, human
  • mycosporine-2-glycine
  • porphyra-334
  • Elastin
  • shinorine
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Glycine