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, Choong Hwan Lee, Sang Jun Lee, Kwan Hwa Park, Sung Joon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Food Research and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 May


  • B16 murine melanocytes
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Melanin
  • Melanogenesis
  • Microarray analysis
  • Puerarin
  • Tyrosinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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