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Modulation of antioxidant defense by Alpinia galanga and Curcuma aromatica extracts correlates with their inhibition of UVA-induced melanogenesis

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Ultraviolet A (UVA) irradiation is suggested to contribute to melanogenesis through promoting cellular oxidative stress and impairing antioxidant defenses. An overproduction of melanin can be associated with melanoma skin cancer and hyperpigmentation. Therefore, developing effective antimelanogenic agents is of importance. Alpinia galanga (AG) and Curcuma aromatica (CA) are traditional medicinal plants widely used for skin problems. Hence, this study investigated the antimelanogenic effects of AG and CA extracts (3.8–30 μg/ml) by assessing tyrosinase activity, tyrosinase mRNA levels, and melanin content in human melanoma cells (G361) exposed to UVA. The roles in protecting against melanogenesis were examined by evaluating their inhibitory effects on UVA-induced cellular oxidative stress and modulation of antioxidant defenses including antioxidant enzymes, catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and intracellular glutathione (GSH). In addition, possible active compounds accountable for biological activities of the extracts were identified by thin layer chromatography (TLC)-densitometric analysis. Our study demonstrated that UVA (8 J/cm2) induced both tyrosinase activity and mRNA levels and UVA (16 J/cm2)-mediated melanin production were suppressed by the AG or CA extracts at noncytotoxic concentrations. Both extracts were able to protect against UVA-induced cellular oxidant formation and depletion of CAT and GPx activities and GSH content in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, TLC-densitometric analysis detected the presence of eugenol and curcuminoids in AG and CA, respectively. This is the first report representing promising findings on AG and CA extract-derived antityrosinase properties correlated with their antioxidant potential. Inhibiting cellular oxidative stress and improving antioxidant defenses might be the mechanisms by which the extracts yield the protective effects on UVA-dependent melanogenesis.

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Appreciation is expressed to the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and Siriraj Graduate Thesis Scholarship, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, and Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University for generous research funding and support. We thank Mrs. Srisamorn Sudtim and Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University for valuable technical assistance related to the UV device.

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Correspondence to Uraiwan Panich.

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Panich, U., Kongtaphan, K., Onkoksoong, T. et al. Modulation of antioxidant defense by Alpinia galanga and Curcuma aromatica extracts correlates with their inhibition of UVA-induced melanogenesis. Cell Biol Toxicol 26, 103–116 (2010).

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