Using ultra-weak photon emission to determine the effect of oligomeric proanthocyanidins on oxidative stress of human skin

Journal Article

By: Eduard Van Wijk; Van Wijk, R; Bosman, S
Publication Name: J Photochem Photobiol B
Year: 2010

Exposure of skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation triggers oxidative stress in skin tissue that can lead to erythema, early skin aging or even cancer. It is suggested that oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), phytonutrients that belong to the polyphenol family have an anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory activity on the skin. Measuring ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) is a non-invasive, fairly-sensitive and convenient technique for continuously monitoring oxidative stress. The present study was undertaken to confirm anti-oxidant activity of the specific OPCs cream formulation in human skin by measuring UPE of skin. In the present study 25 healthy female subjects participated. As a baseline measurement of skin, UPE was recorded from the dorsal surface of the subjects' hands before (spontaneous UPE) and after exposure to UV (UV-induced UPE). The effects of the OPCs cream on spontaneous and UV-induced UPE were measured using a fractionated UV exposure protocol. UV exposure resulted in an increase in UPE from both hands. Repeat UV exposure also resulted in a long-term increase of spontaneous UPE. This is likely due to depletion of anti-oxidant capacity of skin resulting in sensitization of skin to UV. It was assessed by measuring spontaneous UPE at 80 min after each UV exposure. Application of the OPCs cream immediately after UV exposure resulted in a significant (approx. 30%) decrease in UV-induced UPE. Topical OPCs cream application also reduced sensitization of skin to UV following repeated UV exposure (i.e., reduced long-term increase in spontaneous UPE). This study indicates that the specific OPCs cream formulation significantly decreases UV-induced oxidative stress in human skin based on UPE measurement. It therefore suggests that regular use of this OPCs cream might protect skin from harmful effects of UV.

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