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Planta Med. 2009 Nov;75(14):1505-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1185803. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

Torilin from Torilis japonica inhibits melanin production in alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone-activated B16 melanoma cells.

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College of Pharmacy & Research Center for Bioresource and Health, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea.


Epidermal melanocytes synthesize melanin pigments and transfer them to keratinocytes, which is responsible for skin pigmentation. However, abnormal accumulation of melanin pigments causes hyperpigmentation disorders, which are substantially improved with treatment of tyrosinase inhibitor. In our ongoing study, Torilis japonica DC. (Umbelliferae) was found to inhibit melanin production. A goal of this study is to elucidate the hypopigmenting principle of T. japonica. A sesquiterpene structure of torilin was isolated from the plant extracts via bioassay-guided phytochemical analysis. Torilin dose-dependently inhibited melanin production, with an IC(50) value of 25 microM, in alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH)-activated B16 melanoma cells. Arbutin, a positive control of skin whitener, also inhibited alpha-MSH-induced melanin production with an IC(50) value of 170 microM. As to the mode of action, torilin downregulated alpha-MSH-induced protein levels of tyrosinase without directly inhibiting catalytic activity of the enzyme. Taken together, this study shows that torilin contributes to the hypopigmenting principle of T. japonica, and suggests its pharmacological potential in melanin-associated hyperpigmentation disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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