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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Mar 1;70(5):393-407.

Inhibitory effects of plant extracts on tyrosinase, L-DOPA oxidation, and melanin synthesis.

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Division of Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea.


For medical, pharmacological, and cosmetic reasons, the demand for effective and safe depigmentating agents has increased. In this study, 101 plant extracts (methanol or water extracts) were screened for their inhibitory activities against tyrosinase, (L-3, 4,-dihydroxyphenylalanine) L-DOPA oxidation, and melanin biosynthesis in B16 mouse melanoma cells. Of the extracts examined, 31 showed over 50% inhibition of mushroom tyrosinase at a concentration of 666 microg/Ml, and 11 inhibited L-DOPA auto-oxidation at this concentration. In particular, extracts of Broussonetia kazinoki var. humilis (leaves and stems), Broussonetia papyrifera (leaves and bark), Cornus officinalis (fruit), Rhus javanica (gallnut), and Pinus densiflora (leaves) inhibited both tyrosinase activity and L-DOPA oxidation in a concentration-dependent manner. Seventeen plant extracts that inhibited tyrosinase were further tested for their inhibitory effects on melanogenesis. In B16 mouse melanoma cells, extracts of Acorus gramineus, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Morus bombycis, Perilla frutescens var. crispa, Quercus dentate (bark), Rhus javanica (gallnut), Schizopepon bryoniaefolius, or Sophora flavescens markedly inhibited (>50%) melanin synthesis at 50 microg/Ml. These plants represent a potential source of novel whitening agents for ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive skin.

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