Acta biochimica et biophysica Sinica

Hyperpigmentation mechanism of methyl 3,5-di-caffeoylquinate through activation of p38 and MITF induction of tyrosinase.

PMID 26018825


Methyl 3,5-di-caffeoylquinate (3,5-diCQM) has been used for the treatment of various diseases in oriental medicine, but its effect on melanogenesis has not been reported yet. In this study, the molecular mechanism of 3,5-diCQM-induced melanogenesis was investigated. It was found that 3,5-diCQM induced synthesis of melanin pigments in murine B16F10 melanoma cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Treatment of cells with 3,5-diCQM for 48 h increased extracellular and intracellular melanin production and tyrosinase activity. The expressions of tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TRP1), and TRP2 were up-regulated in a dose-dependent manner 48 h after 3,5-diCQM treatment. Western blot analysis showed that 3,5-diCQM increased the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and cAMP responsive element binding as well as the expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor. In addition, 3,5-diCQM-stimulated cAMP production, and 3,5-diCQM-induced tyrosinase activity and melanin synthesis were attenuated by H89, a protein kinase A inhibitor. These results suggested that 3,5-diCQM-mediated activation of the p38 pathway may represent a novel approach for an effective therapy for vitiligo and hair graying.