The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology

Activation of neurokinin-1 receptor by substance P inhibits melanogenesis in B16-F10 melanoma cells.

PMID 23041339


Skin pigmentation plays a number of valuable roles and its regulation is a complex process that is controlled by different factors. Substance P (SP) regulates many biological functions, including neurogenic inflammation, pain, and stress. However, to date, the regulatory role of SP in the control of melanogenesis has not been elucidated. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of SP on melanogenesis and to elucidate its underlying mechanism(s). After treatment for 48 h in mouse B16-F10 melanoma cells, SP (1 and 10nM) significantly down-regulated tyrosinase activity and melanin content. Importantly, western blot analysis revealed the presence of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1 R) in B16-F10 cells and the activation of it after SP treatment. It was also found that preincubation with NK-1 receptor antagonist Spantide I could partially reversed SP-induced down-regulations of tyrosinase activity, melanin content and the expression of tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 1. Furthermore, SP could remarkably inhibit the expressions of microphtalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and p-p38 MAPK and stimulated p-p70 S6K1. These effects could also be partially reversed by the pretreatment with Spantide I. These results collectively suggested that SP inhibited melanogenesis in B16-F10 cells, which might be attributed to the fact that SP induces the activation of NK-1 receptor, stimulates the phosphorylation of p70 S6K1 and inhibits that of p38 MAPK, decreases the tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 1 expression through MITF, finally resulting in the suppression of melanogenesis. These observations in vitro indicated that the regulation of the SP/NK-1 receptor system might be a useful novel management for skin pigmentation.