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Cell Signal. 2017 Dec;40:99-115. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2017.09.004. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Recent development of signaling pathways inhibitors of melanogenesis.

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PharmaCenter Bonn, Pharmaceutical Institute, Pharmaceutical Chemistry I, University of Bonn, An der Immenburg 4, D-53121 Bonn, Germany. Electronic address:
College of Pharmacy and Institute of Drug Research and Development, Chungnam National, University, Daejeon 34134, Republic of Korea.


Human skin, eye and hair color rely on the production of melanin, depending on its quantity, quality, and distribution, Melanin plays a monumental role in protecting the skin against the harmful effect of ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress from various environmental pollutants. However, an excessive production of melanin causes serious dermatological problems such as freckles, solar lentigo (age spots), melasma, as well as cancer. Hence, the regulation of melanin production is important for controlling the hyper-pigmentation. Melanogenesis, a biosynthetic pathway to produce melanin pigment in melanocyte, involves a series of intricate enzymatic and chemical catalyzed reactions. Several extrinsic factors include ultraviolet radiation and chemical drugs, and intrinsic factors include molecules secreted by surrounding keratinocytes or melanocytes, and fibroblasts, all of which regulate melanogenesis. This article reviews recent advances in the development of melanogenesis inhibitors that directly/indirectly target melanogenesis-related signaling pathways. Efforts have been made to provide a description of the mechanism of action of inhibitors on various melanogenesis signaling pathways.


Hyperpigmentation; Inhibitors; Melanin; Melanogenesis; Melasma; Tyrosinase; Whitening agents

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