Effect of saucerneol D on melanin production in cAMP-elevated melanocytes

Ji Young Yun, Eunmiri Roh, Jong Keun Son, Seung Ho Lee, Chang Seob Seo, Bang Yeon Hwang, Sang Bae Han, Youngsoo Kim

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Intracellular cAMP stimulates microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) induction in melanocytes through cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB), which plays a pivotal role in the gene expression of tyrosinase for melanin biosynthesis. In the present study, saucerneol D as a lignan constituent of Saururus chinensis (Saururaceae family) efficiently inhibited melanin production with IC50 values of 188-297 nM in B16 melanoma cells stimulated with α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) or other cAMP elevators. Moreover, saucerneol D down-regulated α-MSH-induced gene expression of tyrosinase at the transcription level in B16 cells, but it did not directly inhibit the catalytic activity of cell-free tyrosinase. As to the molecular basis of hypopigmenting action, saucerneol D inhibited α- MSH-induced phosphorylation of CREB in the cells, and sequentially suppressed MITF induction. Taken together, this study provides saucerneol D down-regulated the gene expression of tyrosinase, resulting in the inhibition of cAMP-induced melanin biosynthesis, and suggests pharmacological potential of the lignan structure in skin hyperpigmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1345
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pharmacal Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Hypopigmenting activity
  • Lignan structure
  • MITF induction
  • Saucerneol D
  • Tyrosinase expression

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    Yun, J. Y., Roh, E., Son, J. K., Lee, S. H., Seo, C. S., Hwang, B. Y., Han, S. B., & Kim, Y. (2011). Effect of saucerneol D on melanin production in cAMP-elevated melanocytes. Archives of Pharmacal Research, 34(8), 1339-1345. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12272-011-0814-8