Anti-glycation activities of phenolic constituents from Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) flower in vitro and on human explants

Molecules. 2015 Feb 19;20(3):3549-64. doi: 10.3390/molecules20033549.


Glycation is an ageing reaction of naturally occurring sugars with dermal proteins, with clinical signs appearing in vivo around age 30, and increasing steadily/regularly with age. The suppleness of the dermis is affected by the formation of bridges between proteins and sugars (Maillard's reaction). The accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in skin plays a very important role in skin ageing. Therefore, natural compounds or extracts that possess antiglycation activities may have great anti-ageing potential. In the present study, Silybum marianum flower extract (SMFE) was demonstrated to possess antiglycation activity. We found that SMFE inhibits glycation reaction between BSA and glucose. In addition, antiglycation activity of SMFE was confirmed in a human skin explants model. SMFE reduced Nε-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML) expression, whereas SMFE stimulated fibrillin-1 expression compared to treatment with methyglyoxal. An active ingredient contributing to the observed activities was identified as silibinin. The antiglycation activity of silibinin was dose-dependent. The beneficial effects of silibinin may be applied to prevention or management of AGE-mediated pathologies, targeting in a pleiotropic and complementary way the biochemical and cellular bases of skin aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillins
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism
  • Glycosylation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk Thistle / chemistry*
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Silybin
  • Silymarin / metabolism
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Irritancy Tests / methods


  • Antioxidants
  • FBN1 protein, human
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillins
  • Flavonoids
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Silymarin
  • Silybin