In the gradual process of evolution, plants have developed natural sun protecting substances that enable continuous survival under direct and intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation. As part of our studies of plant-derived pigments that might constitute an alternative to conventional sunscreens, we have tested the ethanolic extracts of roots, stalks, and inflorescences of populations of wild Cichorium endivia subsp. divaricatum (Asteraceae) in terms of protection against sunburn, and in prevention of UVB-induced pyrimidine dimer formation and IL-6 mRNA expression in the human keratinocyte cell line, HaCaT. Using ELISA technique for detection of pyrimidine dimers and RT-PCR for detection of IL-6, we found that the ethanolic extract of C. endivia roots absorbs radiation in the UVB spectrum and partially prevents induction of pyrimidine dimers and IL-6 expression. Application of the root extract on the skin prior to UVB irradiation totally prevented erythema. Our findings suggest that C. endivia extracts might possess sun-protective qualities that make them useful as sunscreens.
- Pyrimidine dimer formation
- UVB irradiation