Lipids and proteins of skin cells are the most exposed to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation contained in sunlight. There is a growing need for natural compounds that will protect these sensitive molecules from damage, without harmful side effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of sea buckthorn seed oil on the redox balance and lipid metabolism in UV irradiated cells formed different skin layers to examine whether it had a protective effect. Human keratinocytes and fibroblasts were subjected to UVA (ultraviolet type A; 30 J/cm2
and 20 J/cm2
) or UVB (ultraviolet type B; 60 mJ/cm2
and 200 mJ/cm2
, respectively) radiation and treated with sea buckthorn seed oil (500 ng/mL), and the redox activity was estimated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and enzymatic/non-enzymatic antioxidants activity/level (using electron spin resonance (ESR), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and spectrophotometry). Lipid metabolism was measured by the level of fatty acids, lipid peroxidation products, endocannabinoids and phospholipase A2 activity (GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry), LC/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry), and spectrophotometry). Also, transcription factor Nrf2 (nuclear erythroid 2-related factor) and its activators/inhibitors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) and cannabinoid receptor levels were measured (Western blot). Sea buckthorn oil partially prevents UV-induced ROS generation and enhances the level of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as glutathione (GSH), thioredoxin (Trx) and vitamins E and A. Moreover, it stimulates the activity of Nrf2 leading to enhanced antioxidant enzyme activity. As a result, decreases in lipid peroxidation products (4-hydroxynonenal, 8-isoprostaglandin) and increases in the endocannabinoid receptor levels were observed. Moreover, sea buckthorn oil treatment enhanced the level of phospholipid and free fatty acids, while simultaneously decreasing the cannabinoid receptor expression in UV irradiated keratinocytes and fibroblasts. The main differences in sea buckthorn oil on various skin cell types was observed in the case of PPARs—in keratinocytes following UV radiation PPAR expression was decreased by sea buckthorn oil treatment, while in fibroblasts the reverse effect was observed, indicating an anti-inflammatory effect. With these results, sea buckthorn seed oil exhibited prevention of UV-induced disturbances in redox balance as well as lipid metabolism in skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes, which indicates it is a promising natural compound in skin photo-protection.
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