Rutin and ascorbic acid cooperation in antioxidant and antiapoptotic effect on human skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts exposed to UVA and UVB radiation

Arch Dermatol Res. 2019 Apr;311(3):203-219. doi: 10.1007/s00403-019-01898-w. Epub 2019 Feb 19.


The combination of ascorbic acid and rutin is frequently used in oral preparations. However, despite numerous protective effects of each component individually, their combined effect on ultraviolet (UV)-irradiated skin cells has never been evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the combined effect of ascorbic acid and rutin on human keratinocytes and fibroblasts exposed to UVA and UVB radiation. Skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts exposed to UVA and UVB radiation were treated with ascorbic acid or/and rutin. The total antioxidant properties of both components, as well as their effect on cellular pro- and antioxidant status, lipid and protein oxidation, transmembrane transport, and pro-inflammatory and pro/antiapoptotic protein expression were measured. The combination of ascorbic acid and rutin had higher antioxidant properties compared to the activity of the single compound alone, and showed a stronger effect against UV-induced reactive oxygen species generation. The ascorbic acid and rutin combination also showed increased antioxidant enzyme activity (catalase, superoxide dismutase, thioredoxin reductase), which was impaired following UV irradiation. Moreover, ascorbic acid additional stimulated UV-induced bilitranslocase activity responsible for rutin transport, and therefore favored rutin effect on Nrf2 pathway, simultaneously differentiating the reaction of keratinocytes and fibroblasts. In keratinocytes, Nrf2 is strongly activated, while in fibroblasts decreased Nrf2 activity was observed. Used mixture, also significantly silenced UV-induced expression of pro-inflammatory factor NFκB and pro-apoptotic proteins such as caspases 3, 8, and 9. These results showed that ascorbic acid and rutin are complementary in their antioxidant actions, transport and signaling functions. Their combined antioxidant, antiinflammatory and antiapoptotic actions suggest rutin and ascorbic acid are a potentially cytoprotective team against UV-induced skin damage.

Keywords: Ascorbic acid; Redox balance; Rutin; Skin cells; UV radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Ceruloplasmin / metabolism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Keratinocytes / radiation effects
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Rutin / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NF-kappa B
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Rutin
  • Ceruloplasmin
  • bilitranslocase
  • Ascorbic Acid