Astilbin decreases proliferation and improves differentiation in HaCaT keratinocytes

Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Sep:93:713-720. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.05.127. Epub 2017 Jul 9.


Psoriasis is a common chronic dermatosis characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation accompanied by inflammatory reactions. Pathological changes upset the balance between keratinocyte proliferation, differentiation, and death in psoriatic lesions, suggesting that molecules with topical anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferation and anti-angiogenesis abilities may be useful for its treatment. The flavonoid astilbin is the major active component extracted from the rhizome of Smilax glabra, which has been widely used in China to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Here, we investigate the potential of astilbin as a treatment for psoriasis. We reveal that astilbin inhibits the growth of HaCaT keratinocytes. Detailed study shows that astilbin leads to S phase arrest of the cell cycle by induction of p53 and p21 and activated-AMPK. Additionally, astilbin induced keratinocyte differentiation correlated with suppression of keratin 5 (KRT5) and KRT14 proteins (the markers of epidermal basal layer) and induction KRT1 and KRT10 proteins (occurring in the upper layers). Moreover, astilbin regulates the expression of VEGF in human HaCaT keratinocytes. These results suggest that astilbin may be a promising agent for psoriasis treatment.

Keywords: Astilbin; HaCaT; Keratinocyte differentiation; Psoriasis; VEGF.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • China
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / metabolism
  • Flavonols / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • Rhizome / chemistry
  • S Phase / drug effects
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Flavonols
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • astilbin
  • Keratins