Retinoic acid (RA) has been effective for improving wrinkles. However, it has also been reported that RA induces skin irritation. In this study, we explored new botanical compounds that show RA-like activity, but do not induce inflammation in vitro. Keratinocytes were maintained in a confluent condition and induced differentiation. Under this condition keratinocytes were treated with many botanical extracts and their morphological change were observed and compared with RA-treated. We found that silybin, which is a major flavonolignan from Silybum Marianum seeds, induced RA-like morphological change and prevented differentiation. We showed that silybin, like RA, reduced the expression of keratinocyte terminal differentiation markers and stimulated the expression of basement membrane component proteins. In contrast, silybin, unlike RA, did not stimulate the secretion of IL-1α, which is a skin irritation mediator. These results suggest that silybin has RA-like activity on keratinocytes and has the potential to improve winkle without inducing skin irritation.
2009 by The Editorial Secretariat of JCBN