Lactoferrin and the lactoferrin-sophorolipids-assembly can be internalized by dermal fibroblasts and regulate gene expression1

Rulan Jiang, Yasushi A. Suzuki, Xiaogu Du, Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lactoferrin (Lf) is an iron-binding multifunctional protein, mainly present in external secretions. Lf is known to penetrate skin and may thus exert its multiple functions in skin. Sophorolipids (SLs) are glycolipid biosurfactants, which have been shown to enhance absorption of commercial bovine Lf (CbLf) in model skin via forming an assembly with CbLf. In this study, uptake and post-internalization localization of bovine Lf (bLf), CbLf, and human Lf (hLf) with or without forming assemblies with SLs in human dermal fibroblasts (HDFn) were determined using 125I-labeled Lfs and confocal microscopy, respectively. Our results show that all 3 Lfs were internalized by HDFn; although SLs did not significantly affect the uptake of Lfs, it changed Lf localization by accumulating Lfs in the perinuclear region. Furthermore, microarrays were used to investigate transcriptional profiling in HDFn in response to CbLf, SLs, or CbLf-SLs-assembly treatments. Transcriptome profiling indicates that CbLf may play roles in the protection of skin from oxidative stress, immunomodulatory activities, and enhancement of wound healing. The assembly had similar effects but dramatically modulated the transcription of some genes. SLs alone modified signaling pathways related to lipid metabolism, as well as synthesis of sex hormones and vitamins. Thus, CbLf may exert beneficial effects on skin, and these effects may be modulated by SLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Dermal fibroblasts
  • Gene expression
  • Internalization
  • Lactoferrin
  • Sophorolipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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