Repetitive exposure of the skin to UV radiation induces various harmful changes, such as thickening, wrinkle formation, inflammation and carcinogenesis. A variety of natural compounds and synthetic compounds have been studied to determine whether they can prevent UV-induced harmful effects. In this study, we investigated the effect of a novel compound, Melanocin A, which was isolated from Eupenicillium shearii F80695, on UV-induced premature skin aging. First, we studied the effect of Melanocin A on UV-induced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)–9 expression in an immortalized human keratinocyte cell line, HaCaT, in vitro. Acute UV irradiation induced MMP-9 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels and Melanocin A suppressed this expression in a dose-dependent manner. We then investigated the effect of Melanocin A on UV-induced skin changes in hairless mice in vivo. Chronic exposure of hairless mouse dorsal skin to UV increased skin thickness and induced wrinkle formation and the gelatinase activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Moreover, Melanocin A significantly suppressed UV-induced morphologic skin changes and MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression. Taken together, these results show that Melanocin A can prevent the harmful effects of UV that lead to skin aging. Therefore, we suggest that Melanocin A should be viewed as a potential therapeutic agent for preventing and/or treating premature skin aging.
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Vol. 82 • No. 2