Tyrosinase is the key enzyme involved in melanogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro inhibitory effects of gnetin C, a resveratrol dimer isolated from melinjo (Gnetum gnemon) seeds, on tyrosinase activity and melanin biosynthesis in murine B16 cells. The inhibitory activities of gnetin C and resveratrol were shown to be almost equal against tyrosinase and melanin biosynthesis in the cells. The IC50 values of gnetin C activity against tyrosinase and melanin biosynthesis were 7.0 and 7.6 µM, respectively, whereas resveratrol demonstrated IC50 values of 7.2 and 7.3 µM, respectively. These results indicated that gnetin C inhibited melanogenesis, in a manner similar to that of resveratrol, by inhibiting tyrosinase and may therefore function as a new skin-whitening agent. However, the direct effects of gnetin C and resveratrol on murine tyrosinase activities were not equal. The IC50 value of resveratrol was 10.1 µM, while gnetin C only exhibited a 25.2% enzyme inhibition at 16 µM. The IC25 values for gnetin C and resveratrol were 15.5 and 4.0 µM, respectively. Therefore, it is suggested that the effects of gnetin C may be due to mechanisms other than the direct inhibition of tyrosinase activity.
2012 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan