Epilobium angustifolium extract demonstrates multiple effects on dermal fibroblasts in vitro and skin photo-protection in vivo
Stress-induced fibroblast senescence is thought to contribute to skin aging. Ultraviolet light (UV) radiation is the most potent environmental risk factor in these processes. An Epilobium angustifolium (EA) extract was evaluated for its capacity to reverse the senescent response of normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDF) in vitro and to exhibit skin photo-protection in vivo. The HPLC-UV-MS analysis of the EA preparation identified three major polyphenol groups: tannins (oenothein B), phenolic acids (gallic and chlorogenic acids) and flavonoids. EA extract increased the cell viability of senescent NHDF induced by serum deprivation. It diminished connective tissue growth factor and fibronectin gene expressions in senescent NHDF. Down-regulation of the UV-induced release of both matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -3 and the tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1 and -2, and also down-regulation of the gene expression of hyaluronidase 2 were observed in repeatedly UV-irradiated NHDF after EA extract treatment. Interestingly, EA extract diminished the down-regulation of sirtuin 1 dampened by UV-irradiation. The application of EA extract using a sub-irritating dose protected skin against UV-induced erythema formation in vivo. In summary, EA extract diminished stress-induced effects on NHDF, particularly on connective tissue growth factor, fibronectin and matrix metalloproteinases. These results collectively suggest that EA extract may possess anti-aging properties and that the EA polyphenols might account for these benefits.