Research Papers:

Silibinin enhances the repair of ultraviolet B-induced DNA damage by activating p53-dependent nucleotide excision repair mechanism in human dermal fibroblasts

Ruth Guillermo-Lagae _, Gagan Deep, Harold Ting, Chapla Agarwal and Rajesh Agarwal

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:39594-39606. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5519

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Ruth Guillermo-Lagae1, Gagan Deep1,2, Harold Ting1, Chapla Agarwal1,2, Rajesh Agarwal1,2

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aurora, Colorado, USA

2University of Colorado Cancer Center, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Correspondence to:

Rajesh Agarwal, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: ultraviolet radiation B, photodamage, nucleotide excision repair, p53, silibinin

Received: June 03, 2015     Accepted: September 21, 2015     Published: October 03, 2015


Ultraviolet radiation B (UVB) is the main cause of DNA damage in epidermal cells; and if not repaired, this DNA damage leads to skin cancer. In earlier studies, we have reported that natural flavonolignan silibinin exerts strong chemopreventive efficacy against UVB-induced skin damage and carcinogenesis; however mechanistic studies are still being actively pursued. Here, we investigated the role of nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway in silibinin’s efficacy to repair UVB-induced DNA damage. Normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDFs) were exposed to UVB (1 mJ/cm2) with pre- or post- silibinin (100 μM) treatment, and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) formation/repair was measured. Results showed that post-UVB silibinin treatment accelerates DNA repair via activating the NER pathway including the expression of XPA (xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group A), XPB, XPC, and XPG. In UVB exposed fibroblasts, silibinin treatment also increased p53 and GADD45α expression; the key regulators of the NER pathway and DNA repair. Consistently, post-UVB silibinin treatment increased the mRNA transcripts of XPA and GADD45α. Importantly, silibinin showed no effect on UVB-induced DNA damage repair in XPA- and XPB-deficient human dermal fibroblasts suggesting their key role in silibinin-mediated DNA damage repair. Moreover, in the presence of pifithrin-α, an inhibitor of p53, the DNA repair efficacy of silibinin was compromised associated with a reduction in XPA and GADD45α transcripts. Together, these findings suggest that silibinin’s efficacy against UVB-induced photodamage is primarily by inhibiting NER and p53; and these findings further support silibinin’s usage as a potential inexpensive, effective, and non-toxic agent for skin cancer chemoprevention.

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