2012 Volume 35 Issue 12 Pages 2198-2203
trans-Caffeic acid stearyl ester (TCASE) from the root cortex of Paeonia suffruticosa ANDREWS is a traditional medicinal herb that has several beneficial properties. However, the inhibitory effect of TCASE on melanogenesis has not been explored. In the cell viability assay, TCASE did not show a cytotoxic effect at a dose of 65 µM for 48 h in B16, HaCaT and Hs68 cells. TCASE considerably inhibits melanin synthesis, and reduces intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels, tyrosinase activity and L-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-alanine (DOPA) oxidase activity in a concentration-dependent manner in the presence of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) in B16 cells, and the inhibition efficiency of TCASE exceeds that of ascorbic acid and arbutin. TCASE reduces melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R), microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein-2 (TRP-2) and TRP-1 mRNA and protein levels in B16 cells. Based on the findings, TCASE is posited to inhibit melanogenesis signaling while suppressing cAMP levels and, subsequently, MC1R, MITF, tyrosinase, TRP-2 and TRP-1 down-regulation, resulting in the suppression of tyrosinase activity, DOPA oxidase activity and melanin synthesis.