To find novel skin-whitening agents, the melanogenesis inhibitory action of gallic acid (GA) was investigated. In this current study, the effects of GA on mushroom tyrosinase, tyrosinase inhibitory activity, and melanin content were assessed in B16 melanoma cells (B16 cells). Results indicated that GA has a strong antityrosinase activity (IC50=3.59×10−6 M). Furthermore, data on murine tyrosinase activity and melanin biosynthesis revealed that GA effectively suppressed murine tyrosinase action and the amount of melanin. To investigate the relation between GA's inhibition of melanogenesis and antioxidant activity, the effect of GA on reactive species (RS) generation and the reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione (GSSG) ratio in were determined in B16 cells. Results indicated that GA effectively down-regulated the RS generation and enhanced the GSH/GSSG ratio. Based on these results, I propose that GA exerts antimelanogenic activity coupled with antioxidant properties by suppressing RS generation and maintaining a higher GSH/GSSG ratio.
2007 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan