Lycium barbarum polysaccharide protects HSF cells against ultraviolet-induced damage through the activation of Nrf2

Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2018 May 1;23:18. doi: 10.1186/s11658-018-0084-2. eCollection 2018.


Background: Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) is considered an antioxidant agent. NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is an important regulator for protection against UV damage. In this study, we verified the performance of LBP and the correlation between LBP and Nrf2.

Methods: HSF cells were treated with LBP to determine dose and time dependencies. An antioxidant response element (ARE) reporter was designed to monitor the activity of the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway.

Results: For HSF cells, the optimal LBP treatment was 300 μg/ml for 3 h. The ARE-reporter assay showed that LBP could increase the robustness of p-Nrf2. Treatments with genistein and LY294002 reduced of nuclear p-Nrf2 after 24 h. LBP increased the level of nuclear Nrf2, which functions by both phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. Silencing Nrf2 led to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, lower cell viability, and decreased superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSP-PX) levels. This induced a higher level of lipid peroxide (LPO). However, LBP could decrease the levels of ROS and LPO and enhance the levels of SOD and GSP-PX.

Conclusion: LBP protects HSF cells against UV damage via the regulation of Nrf2.

Keywords: Lycium barbarum; Nrf2; Polysaccharide; Ultraviolet damage.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Genistein / pharmacology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Skin / cytology
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Chromones
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Morpholines
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • lycium barbarum polysaccharide
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • Genistein
  • Superoxide Dismutase