Since skin is the most superficial organ, skin aging is a complex process resulting from not only intrinsic factors (passage of time and genetic factors) but also extrinsic factors (UV irradiation and environmental pollutants). Important reasons for skin aging, such as wrinkling, sagging, and laxity, are a decreased number of fibroblasts and decreased synthesis of extracellular proteins in the dermis, as well as increased degradation of the collagenous matrix from UV irradiation and other environmental stresses. Fulvic acid is derived from humic substances, which are formed naturally during the decay of plant and animal residues. Fulvic acid has been shown to have chelating activity, to act as buffer solution, to have antimicrobial activity in vitro and to have an effect in treatment of eczema in vivo. We investigated the effect of fulvic acid on fibroblasts and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are responsible for degradation of collagen. Normal adult fibroblasts and calcein-AM were used in a cell viability study, and FITC-labeled collagen was used to evaluate MMP activity and inhibitory effect of fulvic acid. A concentration of 1% fulvic acid increased cell viability by 26.1% when compared with a control, and 5% fulvic acid did not show any cytotoxicity. In the presence of 0.25 units of MMP-8, the inhibition of collagen degradation was 47% in 1% fulvic acid (P < 0.01) and 61% in 5% fulvic acid (P < 0.01), and in the presence of 0.5 units of MMP-8, the inhibition of collagen degradation was 23% in 1% fulvic acid (P < 0.01) and 56% in 5% fulvic acid (P < 0.01). Our study suggests the possibility of an anti-aging effect of fulvic acid due to an increase in fibroblast viability and a prevention of collagen degradation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas