Potent low toxicity inhibition of human melanogenesis by novel indole-containing octapeptides

Elixir Institute of Regenerative Medicine, 5941 Optical Court, San Jose, CA 95138, USA.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Impact Factor: 4.66). 05/2012; 1820(10):1481-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2012.05.003
Source: PubMed


Abnormal production and accumulation of melanin are characteristics of a number of skin disorders, including postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. Our objective was to develop and validate novel oligopeptides with potent inhibitory activity against mushroom and human tyrosinase with minimal toxicity toward melanocytes, keratinocytes, and fibroblasts.
A library of short sequence oligopeptides was docked against the crystal structure of mushroom tyrosinase to screen for favorable binding free energies and direct interaction with the catalytic pocket. The inhibitory activity of the octapeptides and hydroquinone (HQ) was assessed using mushroom and human tyrosinase and melanin content via human primary melanocytes. Effects on cell viability and proliferation were determined using the MTT assay and cytotoxicity via trypan blue exclusion.
Octapeptides P16-18 outperformed HQ, the benchmark of hypopigmenting agents, in all tested categories. Prolonged incubation of human keratinocytes, fibroblasts, or melanocytes with 30-3000μM HQ led to 8- to 65-fold greater cell death than with octapeptides. After 6d of incubation with 30μM HQ, we observed 70±3% and 60±2% cell death in melanocytes and fibroblasts, respectively, versus minimal toxicity up to an octapeptide concentration of 3mM.
Octapeptides P16-18 are potent competitive tyrosinase inhibitors with minimal toxicity toward the major cell types of human skin.
The findings in our study suggest that all three novel octapeptides may serve as safe and efficacious replacements of HQ for the treatment of pigmentary disorders.

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    • "The hyperpigmentation of the epidermis and dermis has been demonstrated to depend on either increased numbers of melanocytes or the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme (9). The accumulation of excessive epidermal pigmentation results in various undesirable dermatological disorders, including melasma associated with age, freckling, age spots and sites of actinic damage (10). As the overproduction of melanin is an unexpected phenomenon, tyrosinase inhibitors have become increasingly important in medication and in cosmetics to prevent hyperpigmentation (11,12). "
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