Skin-lightening effect of a polyphenol extract from Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit on UV-induced pigmentation

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Dec;72(12):3211-8. doi: 10.1271/bbb.80421. Epub 2008 Dec 7.


To investigate the physiological functions of polyphenols from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit, the effects on melanogenesis were studied. The crude polyphenol concentrated extract from acerola (C-AP) was used to examine the skin-lightening effect on brownish guinea pigs which had been subjected to controlled UVB irradiation. The results show that C-AP significantly lightened the UVB-irradiated skin pigmentation. Furthermore, treatment with C-AP reduced the content of melanin in B16 melanoma cells, suggesting that the in vivo skin-lightening effect of C-AP was due to the suppression of melanin biosynthesis in melanocytes. In addition, we found that C-AP could effectively inhibit mushroom tyrosinase activity, the main constituents responsible for this effect being thought to be such anthocyanins as cyanidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (C3R) and pelargonidin-3-alpha-O-rhamnoside (P3R). This result indicates that the skin-lightening effect of C-AP can be partly attributed to the suppression of melanogenesis through the inhibition of tyrosinase activity in melanocytes. An oral ingestion of C-AP may therefore be efficacious for reducing UVB-induced hyper-pigmentation by inhibiting the tyrosinase in melanocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Agaricales / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epidermis / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Magnoliopsida / chemistry*
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanosomes / drug effects
  • Melanosomes / metabolism
  • Melanosomes / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects*
  • Skin Pigmentation / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays* / adverse effects


  • Flavonoids
  • Melanins
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase