Background  10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA) is a major fatty acid component of royal jelly, which has been reported to have a variety of beneficial pharmacological characteristics. However, the effects of 10-HDA on skin photoageing and its potential mechanism of action are unclear.

Objective  We investigated the protective effects of 10-HDA on ultraviolet (UV) A-induced damage in human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). We then explored the inhibitory effects of 10-HDA on UVA-induced matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expression and elucidated the signalling pathways controlling MMPs inhibition.

Methods  Primary human dermal fibroblasts were exposed to UVA. Cell proliferation, cellular senescent state and collagen content were analysed using CCK-8, senescence-associated β-galactosidase staining and Sircol collagen assay, respectively. Fluorometric assays were performed to detect the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cells. The mRNA levels of MMP-1, MMP-3 and type I (α1) collagen were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. Western blot was applied to detect the expression of MMP-1, MMP-3, JNK and p38 MAPK.

Results  HDFs treated with 10-HDA were significantly protected from UVA-induced cytotoxicity, ROS, cellular senescence and stimulated collagen production. Moreover, 10-HDA suppressed the UVA-induced expression of MMP-1 and MMP-3 at both the transcriptional and protein levels. Treatment with 10-HDA also reduced the UVA-induced activation of the JNK and p38 MAPK pathways.

Conclusion  The data obtained in this study provide evidence that 10-HDA could prevent UVA-induced damage and inhibit MMP-1 and MMP-3 expressions. Therefore, 10-HDA may be a potential agent for the prevention and treatment of skin photoageing.