Oral Supplementation with Cocoa Extract Reduces UVB-Induced Wrinkles in Hairless Mouse Skin

J Invest Dermatol. 2016 May;136(5):1012-1021. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2015.11.032. Epub 2016 Feb 15.


Cacao beans contain various bioactive phytochemicals that could modify the pathogeneses of certain diseases. Here, we report that oral administration of cacao powder (CP) attenuates UVB-induced skin wrinkling by the regulation of genes involved in dermal matrix production and maintenance. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 788 genes are down- or upregulated in the CP supplemented group, compared with the UVB-irradiated mouse skin controls. Among the differentially expressed genes, cathepsin G and serpin B6c play important roles in UVB-induced skin wrinkle formation. Gene regulatory network analysis also identified several candidate regulators responsible for the protective effects of CP supplementation against UVB-induced skin damage. CP also elicited antiwrinkle effects via inhibition of UVB-induced matrix metalloproteinases-1 expression in both the human skin equivalent model and human dermal fibroblasts. Inhibition of UVB-induced activator protein-1 via CP supplementation is likely to affect the expression of matrix metalloproteinases-1. CP supplementation also downregulates the expression of cathepsin G in human dermal fibroblasts. 5-(3',4'-Dihydroxyphenyl)-γ-valerolactone, a major in vivo metabolite of CP, showed effects similar to CP supplementation. These results suggest that cacao extract may offer a protective effect against photoaging by inhibiting the breakdown of dermal matrix, which leads to an overall reduction in wrinkle formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cacao*
  • Collagen / drug effects*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Random Allocation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Aging / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / genetics
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Plant Extracts
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Collagen
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1