Various health effects have been attributed to the ginsenoside metabolite 20-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol (GPD); however, its effect on ultraviolet (UV)-induced matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 expression and the mechanism underlying this effect are unknown. We examined the inhibitory effect of GPD on UV-induced MMP-1 expression and its mechanisms in human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). GPD attenuated UV-induced MMP-1 expression in HDFs and suppressed the UV-induced phosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p70S6K without inhibiting the activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Akt, which are well-known upstream kinases of mTOR. GPD augmented the phosphorylation of liver kinase B1 (LKB1) and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which are inhibitors of mTOR, to a greater extent than UV treatment alone. Similar to GPD, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-d-ribofuranosyl 5′-monophosphate (AICAR), an activator of AMPK, augmented UV-induced AMPK phosphorylation to a greater extent than UV treatment alone, resulting in the inhibition of MMP-1 expression. AICAR also decreased the phosphorylation of mTOR and p70S6K. However, compound C, an antagonist of AMPK, increased MMP-1 expression. In HDF cells with AMPK knock-down using shRNA, MMP-1 expression was increased. These results indicate that AMPK activation plays a key role in MMP-1 suppression. Additionally, the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) inhibitor, H-89, antagonized GPD-mediated MMP-1 suppression via the inhibition of LKB1. Our results suggest that the suppressive activity of GPD on UV-induced MMP-1 expression is due to the activation of AMPK as a downstream of the PKA-LKB1 pathway. J. Cell. Biochem. 115: 1702–1711, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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