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Chem Biodivers. 2012 Aug;9(8):1500-7. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201200111.

Melanogenesis inhibitory activity of sesquiterpenes from Canarium ovatum resin in mouse B16 melanoma cells.

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College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, 1-8-14 Kanda Surugadai, Tokyo 101-8308, Japan.


Four known sesquiterpene alcohols, i.e., 1-4, ten triterpene alcohols, i.e., 5-14, and four triterpene acids, i.e., 15-18, were isolated from the MeOH extract of Canarium ovatum resin (elemi resin). Upon evaluation of the previously described compounds 1-18 on the melanogenesis in B16 melanoma cells induced with α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), three sesquiterpene alcohols, i.e., cryptomeridiol (1), 4-epicryptomeridiol (2), and cadin-1(14)-ene-7α,11-diol (4), exhibited inhibitory effects with 27.4-34.1 and 39.0-56.9% reduction of melanin content at 50 and 100 μM, respectively, with no or very low toxicity to the cells (80.9-103.9% of cell viability at 100 μM). Western-blot analysis revealed that compounds 1 and 2 reduced the protein levels of MITF (=microphtalmia-associated transcription factor), tyrosinase, and TRP-2 (=tyrosine-related protein 2), mostly in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that these compounds exhibit melanogenesis inhibitory activity on α-MSH-stimulated B16 melanoma cells by, at least in part, inhibiting the expression of MITF, followed by decreasing the expression of tyrosinase and TRP-2. Three sesquiterpene alcohols, i.e., 1, 2, and 4, are, therefore, considered to be valuable as potential skin-whitening agents.

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