Milk thistle extract protects against UV damage

February 5, 2013

Silibinin, the milk thistle extract, protects against UV-induced photoaging and skin cancer, a recent study suggests.

 

Silibinin, the milk thistle extract, protects against UV-induced photoaging and skin cancer, a recent study suggests.

Investigators with the University of Colorado Cancer Center conducted a pair of studies demonstrating the impact of silibinin on UV-affected cells, according to a news release.

The first study included human skin cells that were exposed to UVA radiation. The cells were treated with silibinin, and found that the rate at which UVA-damaged cells died increased significantly. The study demonstrated that pretreatment with the milk thistle extract led to a higher release of reactive oxygen species within the UVA-exposed skin cells, which thus led to higher rates of cell death.

In the second study, conducted by the same authors, researchers demonstrated that silibinin protects skin cells from UVB radiation damage by increasing the cells’ expression of interleukin-12, which works to repair damaged cells.

“When you have a cell affected by UV radiation, you either want to repair it or kill it so that it cannot go on to cause cancer. We show that silibinin does both,” study author Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D., says in a statement.

The studies were published in Photochemistry and Photobiology and Molecular Carcinogenesis, respectively.