, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 303–315 | Cite as

Kojic acid scavenges free radicals while potentiating leukocyte functions including free radical generation

  • Yukie Niwa
  • Hirohiko Akamatsu
Original Articles


The effects of kojic acid, a compound that suppresses melanogenesis and is widely consumed in the Japanese diet with the belief that it is beneficial to health, were investigated on several aspects of leukocyte function. Kojic acid significantly decreased the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) (O 2 ), H2O2, OH) generated by neutrophil and by a cell-free ROS-generating system. In contrast, it significantly enhanced neutrophil phagocytosis and ROS generation, and lymphocyte proliferation stimulated by phytohemagglutinin. In addition, calcium concentration, [Ca2+]i in human neutrophils was increased in the presence of kojic acid. These results suggest that kojic acid is a favorable agent in terms of host defense in that it enhances a number of activities of leukocytes, but scavenges ROS excessively released from cells or generated in the tissues or blood vessels that are potentially injurious to host tissues.


Calcium H2O2 Reactive Oxygen Species Internal Medicine Free Radical 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukie Niwa
    • 1
  • Hirohiko Akamatsu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyKansai Medical UniversityMoriguchiJapan

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