Silymarin: Friend or foe of UV exposed keratinocytes?

Eszter Fidrus, Zoltán Ujhelyi, Pálma Fehér, Csaba Hegedus, Eszter Anna Janka, György Paragh, Gábos Vasas, I. Bácskay, E. Remenyik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The application of natural plant extracts in UV-protection is popular and intensively studied. Silymarin (from Silibum marianum), a naturally occurring polyphenol, has recently received attention due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects. However, its role in the UV-mediated keratinocyte cell response is still controversial. In this study, we investigated the effects of Silibum marianum extracts with different origins and formulations on UVA-exposed HaCaT keratinocytes in vitro. Our results show, that silymarin treatment caused an inverse dose-dependent photosensitivity relationship (at higher doses, a decrease in cell viability and ROS production) after UVA exposure. The attenuation of the UVA-induced ROS generation after silymarin treatment was also observed. Moreover, silymarin pre-treatment increased the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer photolesions in keratinocytes after UVA exposure. These results indicated the dual role of silymarin in UVA-exposed keratinocytes. It scavenges ROS but still induces phototoxicity. Based on our results dermatological applications of silymarin and related compounds should be considered very carefully.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1652
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Antioxidant
  • CPD photolesions
  • Photosensitivity
  • Silymarin
  • UVA radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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  • Cite this

    Fidrus, E., Ujhelyi, Z., Fehér, P., Hegedus, C., Janka, E. A., Paragh, G., Vasas, G., Bácskay, I., & Remenyik, E. (2019). Silymarin: Friend or foe of UV exposed keratinocytes? Molecules, 24(9), [1652].