Taxifolin activates the Nrf2 anti-oxidative stress pathway in mouse skin epidermal JB6 P+ cells through epigenetic modifications

Haixue Kuang, Zhenqiu Tang, Chengyue Zhang, Zhibin Wang, Wenji Li, Chunjuan Yang, Qiuhong Wang, Bingyou Yang, Ah Ng Kong

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45 Scopus citations


Nuclear factor erythroid-2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a vital transcription factor that regulates the anti-oxidative defense system. Previous reports suggested that the expression of the Nrf2 gene can be regulated by epigenetic modifications. The potential epigenetic effect of taxifolin (TAX), a potent cancer chemopreventive agent, in skin cancer chemoprotection is unknown. In this study, we investigated how Nrf2 is epigenetically regulated by TAX in JB6 P+ cells. TAX was found to inhibit the 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced colony formation of JB6 P+ cells. TAX induced antioxidant response element (ARE)-luciferase activity in HepG2-C8 cells and upregulated mRNA and protein levels of Nrf2 and its downstream genes heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), in JB6 P+ cells. Furthermore, bisulfite genomic sequencing revealed that TAX treatment reduces the methylation level of the first 15 CpGs sites in the Nrf2 promoter. Western blotting showed that TAX inhibits the expression levels of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) and histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins. In summary, our results revealed that TAX can induce expression of Nrf2 and its downstream target genes in JB6 P+ cells by CpG demethylation. These finding suggest that TAX may exhibit a skin cancer preventive effect by activating Nrf2 via an epigenetic pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1546
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 17 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Epigenetics
  • JB6 P+ cells
  • Nrf2
  • Skin cancer
  • Taxifolin


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