In a previous clinical study, the moisture content in the stratum corneum of healthy Japanese women who consumed a beverage rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) made from red wine extract was found to be higher than that in the control group. This finding suggested that OPCs can increase skin moisture content. In this study, we determined the expression level of aquaporin-3 (AQP3) in keratinocytes to elucidate the mechanism by which compounds in red wine grape increase moisture content in stratum corneum. Through in vitro studies, we confirmed that normal human epidermal keratinocytes (NHEK) incubated with red wine induced AQP3 expression. Furthermore, the supplementation of red wine fractions enriched in OPC was shown to increase AQP3 expression. Besides, the component of OPC-rich fractions that upregulated AQP3 expression was found to be a gallic acid (GA)-binding flavan-3-ol, particularly oligomeric compounds. We found that GA-binding OPC were able to upregulate AQP3 expression and that these compounds were enriched in red wine. Our findings might suggest that the mechanism of enhancement of moisture content in stratum corneum by red wine might be via the upregulation of AQP3 expression in the epidermal keratinocytes.
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