Mannosylerythritol lipids ameliorate ultraviolet A-induced aquaporin-3 downregulation by suppressing c-Jun N-terminal kinase phosphorylation in cultured human keratinocytes
Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) are glycolipids and have several pharmacological efficacies. MELs also show skin-moisturizing efficacy through a yetunknown underlying mechanism. Aquaporin-3 (AQP3) is a membrane protein that contributes to the water homeostasis of the epidermis, and decreased AQP3 expression following ultraviolet (UV)-irradiation of the skin is associated with reduced skin moisture. No previous study has examined whether the skin-moisturizing effect of MELs might act through the modulation of AQP3 expression. Here, we report for the first time that MELs ameliorate the UVA-induced downregulation of AQP3 in cultured human epidermal keratinocytes (HaCaT keratinocytes). Our results revealed that UVA irradiation decreases AQP3 expression at the protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, but that MEL treatment significantly ameliorated these effects. Our mitogenactivated protein kinase inhibitor analysis revealed that phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but not extracellular signal-regulated kinase or p38, mediates UVA-induced AQP3 downregulation, and that MEL treatment significantly suppressed the UVA-induced phosphorylation of JNK. To explore a possible mechanism, we tested whether MELs could regulate the expression of peroxidase proliferatoractivated receptor gamma (PPAR-), which acts as a potent transcription factor for AQP3 expression. Interestingly, UVA irradiation significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of PPAR- in HaCaT keratinocytes, whereas a JNK inhibitor and MELs significantly rescued this effect. Taken together, these findings suggest that MELs ameliorate UVA-induced AQP3 downregulation in HaCaT keratinocytes by suppressing JNK activation to block the decrease of PPAR-. Collectively, our findings suggest that MELs can be used as a potential ingredient that modulates AQP3 expression to improve skin moisturization following UVA irradiation-induced damage.