The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, noted that recent research has suggested the that cacao consumption may be linked to beneficial effects for human health and “especially with the improved condition of the skin.”
Indeed, earlier in vitro and in vivo studies led by the same group had hinted that cacao could block the growth of skin cancer growth and reduce skin inflammation, said the team – led by led by senior researcher Ki Won Lee from Seoul National University.
“Although there is accumulating evidence that cacao consumption can improve the skin health, the molecular mechanisms responsible for these beneficial effects have not been thoroughly investigated,” said the Korean research team.
“Here, we report that oral administration of cacao powder (CP) attenuates UVB-induced skin wrinkling by the regulation of genes involved in dermal matrix production and maintenance,” they said.
Lee and colleagues first examined the protective effect of CP on UVB-induced wrinkle formation in hairless mice, before investigating gene expression profiles using RNA sequencing analysis in comparison with several other well-known food materials used to modify skin health, they said.
“Oral administration of CP reduced UVB-induced wrinkle formation and prevented UVB-induced collagen degradation in hairless mice,” the authors wrote.
“We also used a human equivalent skin model and primary human skin fibroblasts, and found that CP inhibits UVB-induced MMP-1 expression in both models,” they said.
Transcriptome analysis then revealed that 788 genes were down- or upregulated in the CP supplemented group, compared with the UVB-irradiated mouse skin controls.
Among the differentially expressed genes, cathepsin G and serpin B6c play important roles in UVB-induced skin wrinkle formation, Lee et al commented – adding that gene regulatory network analysis also identified “several candidate regulators responsible for the protective effects of CP supplementation against UVB-induced skin damage.”
“These results suggest that cacao extract may offer a protective effect against photoaging by inhibiting the breakdown of dermal matrix, which leads to an overall reduction in wrinkle formation,” the team concluded.
“In addition, our clinical study shows that CP (4 g/day for 24 weeks) significantly reduces wrinkle formation without side effects (data not shown),” they added.
Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology
Volume 136, Issue 5, Pages 1012–1021, doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2015.11.032
“Oral Supplementation with Cocoa Extract Reduces UVB-Induced Wrinkles in Hairless Mouse Skin”
Authors: Jong-Eun Kim