Transdermal nanotherapeutics: Panax quinquefolium polysaccharide nanoparticles attenuate UVB-induced skin cancer

Int J Biol Macromol. 2021 Jun 30;181:221-231. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.03.122. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to cause an imbalance of the endogenous antioxidant system leading to an increase in skin cancer. Panax quinquefolium (American ginseng) polysaccharides (GPS) can inhibit such an imbalance due to its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of topical formulations containing GPS nanoparticles (NPs) to inhibit UVB induced oxidative damage and skin cancer. Photoaging was conducted under UVB irradiation with a dose of 300 mJ/cm2 on SKH1 hairless mice. The treatment groups (n = 5) were as follows: sham control, native GPS, GPS NPs and fluorescent labeled GPS NPs. To compare the photoprotective performance, the topical formulations were applied before and after UVB induction (pre-treatment and post-treatment), followed by sacrificing the animals. Then, skin and blood samples were collected, and inflammatory cytokines production was measured using ELISA. Compared to the sham control, GPS NPs pre-treated mice skin and blood samples exhibited a significant lowering in all cytokine production. In addition, skin histology analysis showed that pre-treatment of GPS NPs prevented epidermal damage and proliferation. The results support that topical formulation containing GPS NPs can inhibit UVB induced oxidative damage and skin cancer.

Keywords: Cytokines; Panax quinquefolium; Photoaging; Photoprotective effect; Skin cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • Female
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Nanomedicine*
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Cytokines
  • Polysaccharides