Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum L.) contain high levels of anthocyanin polyphenols, which have beneficial effects on health, owing to their antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived substances with estrogenic activity, which could have beneficial effects on the skin. Estradiol secretion decreases during menopause, reducing extracellular matrix (ECM) component production by skin fibroblasts. Using a normal human female skin fibroblast cell line (TIG113) and ovariectomized rats, the present study investigated whether an anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant extract (BCE) and four blackcurrant anthocyanins have novel phytoestrogenic activities that could benefit the skin in menopausal women. In TIG113 cells, a microarray and the Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis showed that 1.0 μg/mL of BCE upregulated the expression of many estrogen signaling-related genes. A quantitative RT-PCR analysis confirmed that BCE (1.0 or 10.0 μg/mL) and four types of anthocyanins (10 μM) altered the mRNA expression of ECM proteins and enzymes involved in ECM turnover. Immunofluorescence staining indicated that the anthocyanins stimulated the expression of ECM proteins, such as collagen (types I and III) and elastin. Dietary administration of 3% BCE to ovariectomized rats for 3 months increased skin levels of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. This is the first study to show that blackcurrant phytoestrogens have beneficial effects on skin experimental models.
Keywords: anthocyanin; blackcurrant; ovariectomized rat; phytoestrogen; skin.