Effects of Kojic acid, Arbutin and Vitamin C on cell viability and melanin synthesis in B16BL6 cells

  • Published : 2003.05.01


Melanin biosynthesis is a human defense mechanism to protect skin from UV irradiation and also determines colors of hair and skin. However, as a interest on skin-whitening increases, researches to prevent pigmentation and hypersynthesis of melanin in skin are being actively in progress. Active components used as a whitening agent in cosmeceuticals are kojic acid, arbutin, vitamin C and hydroquinone. However, until now, because comparison researches among them in the aspect of both melanin formation and cellular toxicity have not been performed, we can't exactly estimate merits and defects of them as a whitening agent. To this end, we performed experiments to compare their effects on cell viability and melanin formation. As a first step, in vitro tyrosinase inhibition assay was done. While kojic acid and hydroquinone showed strong inhibition activities(their IC$\_$50/s are all < 100uM), arbutin and vitamin C showed weak activities. IC$\_$50/s of arbutin and vitamin C are 100uM and 400∼500uM, respectively. In B16BL6 melanoma cells, like in vitro tyrosinase inhibition assay, arbutin and kojic acid showed more strong inhibition effect on melanin synthesis than vitamin C. And unlike arbutin, vitamin C and kojic acid induced cell death at high concentration. Although arbutin showed no cytotoxicity, it has side effect to induce morphological change at high concentration.. In this paper, we suggest both kojic acid and arbutin have stronger ability to inhibit melanogenesis than vitamin C. And they also have side effect, that is, kojic acid induces cell death like vitamin C and arbutin changes cell morphology respectively.



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