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Exp Dermatol. 2012 Aug;21(8):635-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2012.01531.x.

Up-regulation of melanin synthesis by the antidepressant fluoxetine.

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State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.


Fluoxetine, a member of the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is a potent antidepressant commonly used in clinical practice. Here, we report that fluoxetine increases cellular tyrosinase (TYR) activity, enhances the protein levels of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), TYR and tyrosinase-related protein-1 (TRP-1) and eventually leads to a dramatic increase in melanin production in both murine B16F10 melanoma cells and normal human melanocytes (NHMCs). In well-characterized C57BL/6 mouse models, systemic application of fluoxetine increased hair pigmentation by up-regulating hair follicular MITF, TYR, TRP-1 and tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2) protein levels. Using a serotonin 1A receptor (SR1A) antagonist and RNA interference (RNAi) technique, we revealed that SR1A appears to be one of the involved pathways in the fluoxetine-induced melanogenesis in B16F10 cells. These results suggest that fluoxetine may hold a significant therapeutic potential for treating skin hypopigmentation disorders, and SR1A may serve as a novel target in modulating melanogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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