, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 401–407

Saponified Evening Primrose Oil Reduces Melanogenesis in B16 Melanoma Cells and Reduces UV-Induced Skin Pigmentation in Humans

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11745-010-3405-4

Cite this article as:
Koo, JH., Lee, I., Yun, SK. et al. Lipids (2010) 45: 401. doi:10.1007/s11745-010-3405-4


This study was conducted to determine whether saponified evening primrose oil (sap-EPO) has the potential for use as a whitening agent and to investigate its underlying mechanisms of action. In B16 melanoma cells, sap-EPO dose-dependently inhibited isobutylmethylxanthine-induced melanogenesis with no cytotoxicity. This decrease in melanin production was correlated with reduced enzyme activity and decreased mRNA and protein levels of tyrosinase. The mRNA levels of tyrosinase-related proteins 1 and 2 decreased in response to treatment with sap-EPO, indicating that it regulated tyrosinase at the transcriptional level. Expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor was also decreased by sap-EPO as evidenced by decreased mRNA and protein levels. Additionally, topical application of sap-EPO resulted in efficient whitening of UVB-induced hyperpigmentation of human skin. Taken together, these results suggest that sap-EPO has the potential for use as a cosmetic whitening agent.


Saponification Evening primrose oil Melanogenesis B16 melanoma cells Skin UV 



5,6-Dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid


Evening primrose oil




Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor


Saponified evening primrose oil


Tyrosinase-related protein

Copyright information

© AOCS 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Medical School and Diabetes Research CenterChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuKorea
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, Medical School and Diabetes Research CenterChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuKorea

Personalised recommendations