Borago officinalis L. attenuates UVB-induced skin photodamage via regulation of AP-1 and Nrf2/ARE pathway in normal human dermal fibroblasts and promotion of collagen synthesis in hairless mice

Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 1:107:178-186. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.02.017. Epub 2018 Feb 27.


Ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation is regarded as the main cause of skin photodamage. After exposure to UVB irradiation, collagen degradation is accelerated by upregulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and collagen synthesis is decreased via downregulation of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 signaling. Borago officinalis L. (BO) is an annual herb with medicinal and culinary applications. Although BO has been demonstrated to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, its potential anti-photoaging effects have not been examined. In this study, we examined the protective effects of BO against skin photodamage in UVB-exposed normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDFs) in vitro and hairless mice in vivo. BO downregulated the expression of MMP-1, MMP-3, and IL-6, and enhanced TGF-β1 by modulating activator protein (AP-1) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2/antioxidant response element (Nrf2/ARE) signaling in UVB-irradiated NHDFs. We also found that dietary BO reduced wrinkle formation, epidermal thickness, and erythema in UVB-exposed skin. Moreover, skin hydration and collagen synthesis were improved by dietary BO treatment. Our results demonstrate that BO can be used in functional foods, cosmetic products, and medicines for prevention and treatment of UVB-induced skin photodamage.

Keywords: Borago officinalis L.; Collagen; Skin photodamage; UVB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidant Response Elements
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Borago / chemistry*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / pathology
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Collagen Type I
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Plant Extracts
  • Transcription Factor AP-1