Alpha pinene modulates UVA-induced oxidative stress, DNA damage and apoptosis in human skin epidermal keratinocytes

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This study aims to evaluate the protective effect of alpha pinene (AP), an essential oil monoterpene, against ultraviolet-A (UVA; 320–400nm) induced cellular damages in human skin epidermal keratinocytes (HaCaT cells).

Materials and methods:

In this study, HaCaT cells were subjected to single UVA-irradiation (10J/cm2) in the presence and absence of AP (30μM) then different cellular end points were analyzed. The protective effect of AP against UVA-induced cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT-based metabolic assay. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), alteration of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), DNA single- and double strand breaks (SSBs and DSBs) and apoptotic morphological changes during different treatment conditions were measured by fluorescence microscopy and spectrofluorometry. Modulatory role of AP against UVA-mediated inflammatory markers expression, nucleotide excision repair (NER) proteins and apoptotic markers expression during AP and/or UVA treatment were studied by western blot.

Key findings:

Pretreatment with AP prevented UVA-induced cytotoxicity, generation of ROS, lipid peroxidation and DNA stand breaks probably through its antioxidant property. AP also inhibited UVA-induced inflammatory mediators such as NF-κB, TNF-α and IL-6 expression in HaCaT cells. Further, AP modulates NER proteins via activation of p53 and p21 thereby subsequently prevent the formation of UVA-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs). We also noticed that AP inhibits apoptotic cell death by preventing UVA-induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential through modulating Bax/Bcl-2 expression in HaCaT cells.


The present findings suggest that AP prevent UVA-induced oxidative stress, inflammation, DNA damages and apoptosis in human skin cells.

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