Modulating effects of oral administration of Lycii Fructus extracts on UVB-induced skin erythema: A Randomized, placebo-controlled study

Makoto Tsunenaga, Wensi Xu, Takumi Myojin, Toshiyuki Nakamura, Tatsuya Kon, Yoshimasa Nakamura, Osamu Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Severe UV exposure induces skin inflammation, causing erythema. Lycii Fructus (Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense) is a potential antioxidant agent with a high content of polyphenols, including rutin and chlorogenic acid. This study examined the effects of Lycii Fructus extract (LFE) on UVB-induced skin erythema in humans. Healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups and received UVB irradiation at 1.5 minimal erythemal dose (MED) on day 0 at three designated sites on their backs, and the skin color was measured until day 7. After an 8-week treatment with LFE (900 mg/day) or placebo, UVB irradiation (l.5 MED) was applied again at different sites on day 63. Skin color was continuously measured in each group until day 69. LFE tablet administration for 8 weeks significantly inhibited UVB-induced erythema formation and increased the MED by 13%. Erythema formation peaked on the first day after UVB irradiation, but gradually dissipated over the next several days. LFE tended to accelerate erythema disappearance. To determine the polyphenol responsible for the protection against UVB-induced skin damage, the effects of LFE-derived polyphenols and their metabolites on UVB-induced cytotoxicity were examined in vitro. The major intestinal metabolite of rutin and LFE significantly attenuated phototoxicity and in human keratinocyte HaCaT cells. Quercetin enhanced intracellular glutathione levels in HaCaT cells, even though LFE did not increase it. Together, the results showed that LFE inhibited erythema formation and accelerated erythema dissipation, possibly through its direct antioxidative action.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomedical Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Lycium Fructus extract
  • UV-induced skin damage
  • erythema
  • glutathione
  • polyphenols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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