Baicalein inhibits melanogenesis through activation of the ERK signaling pathway
Baicalein is one of the major flavonoids in Scutellaria baicalensis. However, the effects of baicalein on melanogenesis are unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the depigmenting capacity of baicalein and to elucidate its mechanism of action. B16F10 mouse melanoma cells were used to examine the effect of baicalein on melanogenesis by measurement of melanin content and tyrosinase activity after treatment. To ascertain the baicalein activity, the effect on two protein kinases, ERK and Akt and downstream microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) were examined by Western blotting and RT-PCR. Baicalein significantly inhibited melanin synthesis in a concentration-dependent manner without cytotoxicity. Tyrosinase activity was also reduced. Baicalein decreased MITF and tyrosinase levels but did not decrease MITF mRNA. Western blotting showed that baicalein induced ERK activation. Using the specific ERK phosphorylation inhibitor, PD98059, we blocked the hypopigmentation effect, and also abrogated the baicalein-mediated activation of ERK. However, baicalein did not induce Akt activation. These results suggest that the ERK pathway is involved in the melanogenic signaling cascade, and that ERK activation by baicalein reduces melanin synthesis via MITF downregulation and is subsequent to the inhibition of tyrosinase synthesis.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Dermatology Department, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, P.R. China
Publication date: June 1, 2010
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- The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.
The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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