Curcumin nanoparticles as a photoprotective adjuvant

Nagasai C. Adusumilli, Breanne Mordorski, Joshua Nosanchuk, Joel M. Friedman, Adam J. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


With rising skin cancer rates and interest in preventing photoaging, adjuvants for sunscreens are in high demand. The potential of curcumin has been posited due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound healing properties. In prior studies, curcumin decreased UV-induced inflammation, apoptotic changes in human keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts, and the expression of matrix metalloproteinases. However, curcumin's utility has been hindered by poor aqueous solubility and rapid degradation in vivo. To overcome these limitations, we synthesized curcumin nanoparticles (curc-np), which offer sustained topical delivery and enhanced bioavailability. Curc-np and controls were applied to the skin of BALB/c mice prior to UVB irradiation. Twenty-four hours later, mice pretreated with curc-np showed less erythema, induration and scale compared to controls. Histopathology showed fewer sunburn cells, and TUNEL assay indicated decreased apoptosis in curc-np treated mice. Immunohistochemistry illustrated less p53 expression in skin pretreated with curc-np. Furthermore, cytokine analysis revealed significantly less IL-6 and significantly greater anti-inflammatory IL-10 in skin of curc-np-treated mice as compared to controls. Taken together, our results reinforce curcumin's established anti-inflammatory effects in the skin and highlight its potential as a photoprotective adjuvant when delivered through nanoparticles. Further investigation alongside sunscreens against UV-induced damage is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-709
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • apoptosis
  • cytokines
  • diarylheptanoids
  • drug delivery systems
  • sunscreening agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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