Get access

Protective Effect of Sanguinarine on Ultraviolet B-mediated Damages in SKH-1 Hairless Mouse Skin: Implications for Prevention of Skin Cancer


email: (Nihal Ahmad)


Excessive exposure of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly its UVB component (280–320 nm), to human skin is the major cause of skin cancers. UV exposure also leads to the development of precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis and elicits a variety of other adverse effects such as sunburn, inflammation, hyperplasia, immunosuppression and skin aging. Therefore, there is a need to intensify our efforts towards the development of novel mechanism-based approaches/agents for the protection of UVB-mediated damages. Chemoprevention is being investigated as a potential approach for the management of UV damages including skin cancer. We have earlier shown that sanguinarine, a benzophenanthridine alkaloid, inhibits UVB exposure-mediated damages in HaCaT keratinocytes. In this study, to determine the relevance of our in vitro findings to in vivo situations, we assessed the effects of sanguinarine on UVB-mediated damages in SKH-1 hairless mice. Our data demonstrated that a topical application of sanguinarine (5 μmol 0.3 mL−1 ethanol per mouse), either as a pretreatment (30 min prior to UVB) or posttreatment (5 min after UVB), resulted in a significant decrease in UVB-mediated increases in skin edema, skin hyperplasia and infiltration of leukocytes. Further, sanguinarine treatments (pre and post) also resulted in a significant decrease in UVB mediated (1) generation of H2O2 and (2) increases in the protein levels of markers of tumor promotion/proliferation viz. ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Kiel antigen-67. Based on this data, we suggest that sanguinarine could be developed as an agent for the management of conditions elicited by UV exposure including skin cancer. However, further detailed studies are needed to support this suggestion.