Scytonemin is a yellow-green ultraviolet sunscreen pigment present in different genera of aquatic and terrestrial blue-green algae, including marine cyanobacteria. In the present study, the anti-inflammatory activities of scytonemin were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Topical application of scytonemin inhibited 12-O
-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced ear swelling in BALB/c mice. The expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was also suppressed by scytonemin treatment in the TPA-treated ear of BALB/c mice. In addition, scytonemin inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of TNF-α and nitric oxide (NO) in RAW 264.7 cells, a murine macrophage-like cell line, and the mRNA expressions of TNF-α and iNOS were also suppressed by scytonemin in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Further study demonstrated that LPS-induced NF-κB activity was significantly suppressed by scytonemin treatment in RAW 264.7 cells. Our results also showed that the degradation of IκBα and nuclear translocation of the p65 subunit were blocked by scytonemin in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Collectively, these results suggest that scytonemin inhibits skin inflammation by blocking the expression of inflammatory mediators, and the anti-inflammatory effect of scytonemin is mediated, at least in part, by down-regulation of NF-κB activity. Our results also suggest that scytonemin might be used as a multi-function skin care ingredient for UV protection and anti-inflammation.
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