Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 300, Issue 6, pp 325–329 | Cite as

LPS induces melanogenesis through p38 MAPK activation in human melanocytes

  • Joo Hee Ahn
  • Sun Hee Jin
  • Hee Young Kang
Short Communication


We have observed that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces pigmentation in melanocytes and in this study have examined whether these responses are mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. LPS appears to stimulate the pigmentation of melanocytes and cultured skin. LPS was found to induce the expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and tyrosinase protein in cells. Stimulation of melanocytes with LPS led to time dependent phosphorylation of p38 MAPK. Furthermore, p38 MAPK functionally regulated the LPS-induced melanin formation in melanocytes; a p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, almost completely attenuated the LPS-mediated up-regulation of melanin synthesis and induction of MITF and tyrosinase expression. These findings indicate that activation of p38 MAPK plays an important role in LPS-induced melanogenesis by up-regulating MITF and tyrosinase expression.


Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase Melanogenesis 



This work was supported by the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF). Grant funded by the Korean government (MOST) (R13-2003-019) and the “GRRC” Project of Gyeonggi Provincial Government, Republic of Korea.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyAjou University School of MedicineSuwonSouth Korea

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