Effect of a Blueberry-Derived Antioxidant Matrix on Infrared-A Induced Gene Expression in Human Dermal Fibroblasts

August 2017 | Volume 16 | Issue 8 | Supplement Individual Articles | 125 | Copyright © August 2017

Susanne Grether-Beck PhD,a Jean Krutmann MD,a Katherine Wilkens MPAP,b and Kasey D’Amato MPAPb

aIUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Düsseldorf, Germany bAirelle Skincare, LLC, Los Angeles, CA


There is compelling evidence that Infrared A (IRA) from natural sunlight contributes to photoaging of human skin by inducing the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) expression in human dermal fibroblasts. Corresponding mechanistic studies have shown that IRA does so by increasing the production of reactive oxygen species in irradiated cells. In the present study, we therefore asked if treatment of primary human skin fibroblasts with a blueberry-derived antioxidant matrix (BerrimatrixTM), which is employed as an active ingredient in commercially available skin care products that are topically applied, can prevent IRA-induced MMP-1 expression in these cells. In this in vitro study, we have found that this antioxidant containing matrix is well tolerated by fibroblast over a broad concentration range and that it efficiently prevents IRA-induced MMP-1 mRNA expression. It may thus be speculated that topical application of this antioxidant containing matrix may be efficient in protecting human skin against IRA-induced wrinkle formation.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(8 Suppl 2):s125-128.


Previous studies indicate that human skin is a target for infrared A radiation (IRA).1 Infrared A (IRA) irradiation leads to increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1), an enzyme involved in wrinkle formation in human dermis after treatment with physiological IRA doses.1 In addition, IRA irradiation results in a decrease of the skin´s vitamin content.1Mechanistic studies have shown that IRA exerts these effects through the generation of oxidative stress in human skin fibroblasts, indicating the possibility that appropriate antioxidant may be able to prevent IRA-induced gene expression in this cell type. To this end, we studied a water-soluble extract made from blueberry plants grown along the coast of Maine (BerrimatrixTM). This antioxidant matrix contains polyphenols, vitamins, and other natural ingredients. In order to test whether this antioxidant matrix is able to prevent IRA-induced damage in human dermal fibroblasts, these cells were pre-incubated (24 hours) and post-incubated (24 hours) in the presence or absence of the extract. IRA-induced expression of MMP-1 has been assessed as read-out.


Cell CultureHuman dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) prepared from neonatal foreskin were cultured in EMEM (PAA Laboratories GmbH, Kölbe, Germany) supplemented with 5% fetal calf serum (FCS, Invitrogen, Karlsruhe, Germany), 1% L-glutamine, 1% non-essential amino acids (Invitrogen, Karlsruhe, Germany), and 1 % streptomycin/amphotericin B (Invitrogen, Karlsruhe, Germany) in a humidified atmosphere containing 5% CO2 for 4 days until they reached confluence as described.1 For all studies, only early passage (<12) fibroblasts have been used to avoid changes in their original phenotype during subculture. Cells were kept in 6 well plates for culture and irradiation.Viability TestingIn order to test the concentrations to be applied on the human dermal fibroblasts, dose response studies have been performed. Viability of the cells during a period of 48 hours in the presence and absence of the antioxidant matrix has been assessed as read-out.Cytotoxicity of the antioxidant matrix was evaluated using the MTT colorimetric assay according to Mosmann as described earlier.2,3 MTT (3-(4, 5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2, 5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide), the classical tetrazolium salt, turns bright blue and may form an insoluble precipitate when reduced in a cell either enzymatically or through direct reaction with NADH or NADPH. So, loss of coloring indicates diminished cell metabolism and increased toxicity.Human dermal fibroblasts were seeded in 96-well plates at 3.000 cells/200 μl in each well. The next day the cells were treated with the substances of interest for 48 hours. After 45 hours the medium was supplemented with 25 μl of MTT (2 mg/ml phosphate-buffered saline) and the mixture was incubated for another 3 hours. Finally, solutions were removed, formazan crystals were dissolved in 200 μl of Me2SO and absorption was measured using a microplate reader (Monochromator