Protective effect of crocin on ultraviolet B‑induced dermal fibroblast photoaging

Mol Med Rep. 2018 Aug;18(2):1439-1446. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2018.9150. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation induces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in the aging of dermal fibroblasts. Crocin, a bioactive constituent of Crocus sativus, possesses anti‑oxidation effects. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the protective effect of crocin on UVB‑induced dermal fibroblast photoaging. Human dermal fibroblasts were isolated and cultured with different concentrations of crocin prior to and following exposure to UVB irradiation. The senescent phenotypes of cells were evaluated, including cell proliferation, cell cycle, senescence‑associated β‑galactosidase (SA‑β‑gal) expression, intracellular ROS, expression of antioxidant protein glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX‑1) and extracellular matrix protein collagen type 1 (Col‑1). Crocin rescued the cell proliferation inhibited by UVB irradiation, prevented cell cycle arrest and markedly decreased the number of SA‑β‑gal‑positive cells. In addition, crocin reduced UVB‑induced ROS by increasing GPX‑1 expression and other direct neutralization effects. Furthermore, crocin promoted the expression of the extracellular matrix protein Col‑1. Crocin could effectively prevent UVB‑induced cell damage via the reduction of intracellular ROS; thus, it could potentially be used in the prevention of skin photoaging.

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Collagen Type I / agonists
  • Collagen Type I / genetics
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Crocus / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Foreskin / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / genetics
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / agonists
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin Aging / drug effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • beta-Galactosidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Collagen Type I
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Carotenoids
  • crocin
  • glutathione peroxidase GPX1
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • beta-Galactosidase