Opuntia ficus-indica (OFI) is a cactus species widely used as an anti-inflammatory, antilipidemic, and hypoglycemic agent. It has been shown that OFI extract (OFIE) inhibits oxidative stress in animal models of diabetes and hepatic disease; however, its antioxidant mechanism remains largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that OFIE exhibited potent antioxidant activity through the activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and the downstream antioxidant enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), which inhibited the generation of reactive oxygen species in keratinocytes challenged with tumor necrosis factor α or benzo[α]pyrene. The antioxidant capacity of OFIE was canceled in NRF2 knockdown keratinocytes. OFIE exerted this NRF2-NQO1 upregulation through activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Moreover, the ligation of AHR by OFIE upregulated the expression of epidermal barrier proteins: filaggrin and loricrin. OFIE also prevented TH2 cytokine-mediated downregulation of filaggrin and loricrin expression in an AHR-dependent manner because it was canceled in AHR knockdown keratinocytes. Antioxidant OFIE is a potent activator of AHR-NRF2-NQO1 signaling and may be beneficial in treating barrier-disrupted skin disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics