Aloesin and arbutin inhibit tyrosinase activity in a synergistic manner via a different action mechanism

Arch Pharm Res. 1999 Jun;22(3):232-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02976355.


In this study, we present evidence that cotreatment of aloesin and arbutin inhibits tyrosinase activity in a synergistic manner by acting through a different action mechanism. Aloesin or arbutin similarly inhibited enzyme activity of human- and mushroom-tyrosinases with an IC50 value of 0.1 or 0.04 mM, respectively. Lineweaver-Burk plots of the enzyme kinetics data showed that aloesin inhibited tyrosinase activity noncompetitively with a Ki value of 5.3 mM, whereas arbutin did it competitively (Maeda, 1996). We then examined whether cotreatment of these agents inhibits the tyrosinase activity in a synergistic manner. The results showed that 0.01 mM aloesin in the presence of 0.03 mM arbutin inhibited activity of mushroom by 80% of the control value and the reverse was also true. The inhibitory effects were calculated to be synergistic according to the Bürgi method. Taken together, we suggest that aloesin along with arbutin inhibits in synergy melanin production by combined mechanisms of noncompetitive and competitive inhibitions of tyrosinase activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / drug effects
  • Agaricales / enzymology*
  • Arbutin / pharmacology*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Chromones / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / enzymology*
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / analysis
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Chromones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glucosides
  • Arbutin
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • aloesin