Safflower Seed Oil and Its Active Compound Acacetin Inhibit UVB-Induced Skin Photoaging

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Oct 28;30(10):1567-1573. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2003.03064.


Ultraviolet (UV) is one of the major factors harmful to skin health. Irradiation with ultraviolet accelerates the decline of skin function, causing the skin to have deep wrinkles, dryness, decreased procollagen production, and degradation of collagen. Novel materials are needed to prevent the aging of the skin by blocking the effects of UV. Safflower seed oil (Charthamus tinctorius L., SSO) contains significantly high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and phytochemicals. SSO has been traditionally used in China, Japan, and Korea to improve skin and hair. Our objective in this study was to determine the effect of SSO and its active compound acacetin on UVB-induced skin photoaging in HaCaT cells and human dermal fibroblasts (HDF). SSO inhibited UVB-induced matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) at both protein and mRNA levels in HaCaT cells and HDF. MMP-1 is known to play important roles in collagen degradation and wrinkle formation. Acacetin, a type of flavonoid, is present in SSO. Similar to SSO, acacetin also inhibited UVB-induced MMP-1 protein and mRNA levels in HaCaT cells and HDF. MMP-1 mRNA is primarily regulated by the mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Acacetin regulated the phosphorylation of JNK1/2 and c-jun, but did not inhibit the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38 and AKT. Taken together, these results indicate that SSO and its active compound acacetin can prevent UVB-induced MMP-1 expression, which leads to skin photoaging, and may therefore have therapeutic potential as an anti-wrinkle agent to improve skin health.

Keywords: MMP-1; Safflower seed oil; UVB; acacetin; anti-aging; skin wrinkle.

MeSH terms

  • Carthamus tinctorius / chemistry*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Flavones / pharmacology*
  • HaCaT Cells
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Safflower Oil / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Flavones
  • Safflower Oil
  • MMP1 protein, human
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 1
  • acacetin