Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seed-derived peptides WVYY and PSLPA modulate the Nrf2 signaling pathway in human keratinocytes

PLoS One. 2024 May 23;19(5):e0298487. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0298487. eCollection 2024.


Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seeds are used widely for cosmetic and therapeutic applications, and contain peptides with substantial therapeutic potential. Two key peptides, WVYY and PSLPA, extracted from hemp seed proteins were the focal points of this study. These peptides have emerged as pivotal contributors to the various biological effects of hemp seed extracts. Consistently, in the present study, the biological effects of WVYY and PSLPA were explored. We confirmed that both WVYY and PSLPA exert antioxidant and antibacterial effects and promote wound healing. We hypothesized the involvement of the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway in these observed effects, given that Nrf2 is reported to be a central player in the regulation of these observed effects. Molecular-level investigations unequivocally confirmed the role of the Nrf2 signaling pathway in the observed effects of WVYY and PSLPA, specifically their antioxidant effects. Our study highlights the therapeutic potential of hemp seed-derived peptides WVYY and PSLPA, particularly with respect to their antioxidant effects, and provides a nuanced understanding of their effects. Further, our findings can facilitate the investigation of targeted therapeutic applications and also underscore the broader significance of hemp extracts in biological contexts.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants* / chemistry
  • Antioxidants* / pharmacology
  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes* / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes* / metabolism
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2* / metabolism
  • Peptides* / chemistry
  • Peptides* / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Seeds* / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Antioxidants
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Peptides
  • Plant Proteins
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Plant Extracts

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Advanced Technology Center Plus (ATC+, 20017936, Development of growth factors and antibody drugs using plant cell‑based platform technology and global sales expansion of fragrance materials.) funded By the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE, Korea).