Combination of amino acids reduces pigmentation in B16F0 melanoma cells

Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Apr;30(4):677-81. doi: 10.1248/bpb.30.677.


Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, play significant roles in numerous physiological events in mammals. As the effects of amino acids on melanogenesis have yet to be demonstrated, the present study was conducted to identify whether amino acids, in particular alanine, glycine, isoleucine and leucine, influence melanogenesis in B16F0 melanoma cells. Glycine and L-isoleucine, but not D-isoleucine, reduced melanogenesis in a concentration-dependent manner without any morphological changes in B16F0 melanoma cells. L-Alanine and L-leucine, but not D-alanine and D-leucine, also reduced melanogenesis without any morphological changes in B16F0 melanoma cells. However these amino acids did not show a concentration-dependency. Combination of L-alanine and the other amino acids, particularly 4 amino acids combination, had an additive effect on the inhibition of melanogenesis compared with single treatment of L-alanine. None of the amino acids affected the activity of tyrosinase, a key enzyme in melanogenesis. These results suggest that L-alanine, glycine, L-isoleucine and L-leucine, but not the D-form amino acids, have a hypopigmenting effect in B16F0 melanoma cells, and that these effects are not due to the inhibition of tyrosinase activity. Combination of these 4 amino acids had the additive effect on hypopigmentation that was as similar as that of kojic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Mice
  • Pigmentation / drug effects*


  • Amino Acids