Antiphotoaging effect of chitooligosaccharides on human dermal fibroblasts


  • Conflicts of interest:

    None declared.


Prof Se-Kwon Kim, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, Pukyong National University, 599-1, Daeyeon 3-dong, Busan 608-737, Korea.

Tel: +82 51 629 7094

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In the present study, the effect of 3–5 kDa chitooligosaccharide (COS) on homeostasis between the expression of collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and collagen synthesis was investigated using ultraviolet (UV)-A irradiated dermal fibroblasts.


UV protection imparted by 3–5 kDa COS was measured by examining the UV absorption spectrum. Collagenase MMP secretion was examined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The levels of collagenases and collagen synthetic markers were determined by employing the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis.


The 3–5 kDa COS not only absorbed UV-A and UV-B light but also inhibited collagenase (MMP-1, MMP-8, and MMP-13) and gelatinase (MMP-2 and MMP-9) MMP expression. The suppression of MMP expression was found to be due to an increase in expression of the tissue inhibitors of MMP (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2. Treatment with 3–5 kDa COS enhanced collagen synthetic markers such as procollagen, type I, III, and IV collagens in UV-A-irradiated dermal fibroblasts. Furthermore, the effects of 3–5 kDa COS on collagen degradation and collagen synthesis in UV-A irradiated dermal fibroblasts were regulated via the inhibition of activating protein-1 (AP-1) signaling.


Our results suggest that 3–5 kDa COS can be used to develop as topical applications for antiphotoaging cosmeceuticals as it enhances collagen synthesis.