Quercetin is a naturally occurring polyphenol present in various fruits and vegetables. The bioactive properties of quercetin include anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic effects. However, the effect of quercetin on skin aging and the direct molecular targets responsible have remained largely unknown. Herein, we investigated the protective effect of quercetin against UV-mediated skin aging and the molecular mechanisms responsible. Treatment with quercetin suppressed UV-induced matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and prevented UV-mediated collagen degradation in human skin tissues. Quercetin exerted potent inhibitory effects towards UV-induced activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activity. Further examination of the upstream signaling pathways revealed that quercetin can attenuate UV-mediated phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N terminal kinases (JNK), protein kinase B (Akt), and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Kinase assays using purified protein demonstrated that quercetin can directly inhibit protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) kinase activity. Quercetin was observed to bind to PKCδ and JAK2 in pull-down assays. These findings suggest that quercetin can directly target PKCδ and JAK2 in the skin to elicit protective effects against UV-mediated skin aging and inflammation. Our results highlight the potential use of quercetin as a natural agent for anti-skin aging applications.
Keywords: JAK2; PKC-delta; quercetin; skin aging.