European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 231, Issue 1, pp 75–83

Effects of the isoflavone puerarin and its glycosides on melanogenesis in B16 melanocytes

  • Young-Mi Choi
  • Hee-jin Jun
  • Kevin Dawson
  • Raymond L. Rodriguez
  • Mi Ran Roh
  • Jungae Jun
  • Chung-Hyo Choi
  • Jae-Hoon Shim
  • ChoongHwan Lee
  • Sang Jun Lee
  • Kwan-Hwa Park
  • Sung-Joon Lee
Original Paper


We investigated the effects of puerarin (8-C-glucosyl-7,4′-dihydroxy isoflavone), an isoflavone found in Kudzu roots (Pueraria lobata), and its glycosides (enzymatically synthesised, water-soluble derivatives of puerarin) on melanogenesis in vitro. Puerarin and its glycosides reduced mushroom tyrosinase activity by 88 and 67% at 4.8 mM, respectively, in a concentration-dependent manner. The puerarin glycosides were less effective than puerarin at the same concentration but showed a comparable inhibitory effect at a concentration at which puerarin is insoluble in water. In cultured B16 melanocytes, the melanin content was reduced significantly; moreover, tyrosinase activity was inhibited significantly by both puerarin and its glycosides when added at a concentration of 480 μM. DNA microarray and RT-PCR analyses showed significant downregulation of the expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and its target genes. The protein expression of MITF and tyrosinase was also downregulated significantly by 40 and 50%, respectively. Our findings suggest that puerarin and its glycosides cause hypopigmentation via dual mechanisms: by inhibiting tyrosinase activity directly and by altering the expression of melanogenesis-related genes, such as MITF and tyrosinase. Therefore, puerarin and its glycosides may have potential for the development of functional cosmetics causing hypopigmentation.


Puerarin Melanogenesis Hypopigmentation Tyrosinase Melanin B16 murine melanocytes Microarray analysis 

Supplementary material

217_2010_1251_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (340 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPT 339 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Young-Mi Choi
    • 1
  • Hee-jin Jun
    • 1
  • Kevin Dawson
    • 2
  • Raymond L. Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Mi Ran Roh
    • 1
  • Jungae Jun
    • 1
  • Chung-Hyo Choi
    • 3
  • Jae-Hoon Shim
    • 3
  • ChoongHwan Lee
    • 4
  • Sang Jun Lee
    • 5
  • Kwan-Hwa Park
    • 3
  • Sung-Joon Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Food Bioscience and Technology, College of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyKorea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Laboratory for High Performance Computing and InformaticsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Agricultural BiomaterialsSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Division of Bioscience and BiotechnologyKonkuk UniversitySeoulKorea
  5. 5.Food Research InstituteAmorepacific Corporation R&D CenterYouginKorea

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