Nuclear factor-kappa B and effector molecules in photoaging

Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2022 Jun;41(2):187-193. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2022.2081702. Epub 2022 Jun 5.


Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) has important but complex functions in the photoaging of the human skin. This protein complex is activated upon UV irradiation and plays a key role in the signalling pathway of the inflammatory cascade. NF-κB induces the expression of various proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1). These proinflammatory cytokines can in turn stimulate the activation of NF-κB, forming a vicious cycle. These processes cause chronic inflammation and contribute to skin ageing. In addition, the activation of NF-κB upregulates the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and leads to the degradation of structural proteins in the dermis. NF-κB disrupts the barrier function of the skin under prolonged and repeated UV stimulations in these ways. Such activity causes chronic skin damage, followed by the formation of wrinkles, dryness, roughness, laxity, and other photoaging manifestations. This study on the NF-κB signalling pathway and effector molecules provides a new perspective to understand and prevent photoaging.

Keywords: Nuclear factor-kappa B; interleukin-1; matrix metalloproteinases; skin ageing; tumour necrosis factor.

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin Aging*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha