Madecassoside inhibits melanin synthesis by blocking ultraviolet-induced inflammation

Molecules. 2013 Dec 16;18(12):15724-36. doi: 10.3390/molecules181215724.


Madecassoside (MA), a pentacyclic triterpene isolated from Centella asitica (L.), is used as a therapeutic agent in wound healing and also as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging agent. However, the involvement of MA in skin-pigmentation has not been reported. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of MA on ultraviolet (UV)-induced melanogenesis and mechanisms in a co-culture system of keratinocytes and melanocytes. MA significantly inhibited UVR-induced melanin synthesis and melanosome transfer in the co-culture system. These effects were further demonstrated by the MA-induced inhibition of protease-activated receptor-2 expression and its signaling pathway, cyclooxygenase-2, prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin F2 alpha in keratinocytes. The clinical efficacy of MA was confirmed on artificially tanned human skin. MA significantly reduced UV-induced melanin index at 8 weeks after topical application. Overall, the study demonstrated significant benefits of MA use in the inhibition of hyperpigmentation caused by UV irradiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biosynthetic Pathways / drug effects*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Dinoprost / biosynthesis
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanocytes / drug effects
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Melanins
  • Triterpenes
  • Dinoprost
  • madecassoside
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Dinoprostone