Callicarpa longissima extract, carnosol-rich, potently inhibits melanogenesis in B16F10 melanoma cells

J Nat Med. 2016 Jan;70(1):28-35. doi: 10.1007/s11418-015-0933-5. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


Cosmetic industries focus on developing materials and resources that regulate skin pigmentation. Melanin, the major pigment in human skin, protects the skin against damage from ultraviolet light. An ethanolic extract of the leaves of Callicarpa longissima inhibits melanin production in B16F10 mouse melanoma cells by suppressing microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) gene expression. Following purification and analysis using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), NMR, and biochemical assays, carnosol was determined to be responsible for the major inhibitory effect of the C. longissima extract on melanin production. Carnosol is an oxidative product of carnosic acid, whose presence in the extract was also confirmed by an authentic reference. The carnosol and carnosic acid content in the extract was approximately 16% (w/w). These results suggest that C. longissima is a novel, useful, and attractive source of skin-whitening agents.

Keywords: B16F10; Carnosic acid; Carnosol; MITF; Melanogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abietanes / chemistry
  • Abietanes / metabolism
  • Abietanes / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Callicarpa / chemistry*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor / biosynthesis*
  • Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor / genetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Skin Lightening Preparations / pharmacology
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects


  • Abietanes
  • Melanins
  • Microphthalmia-Associated Transcription Factor
  • Plant Extracts
  • Skin Lightening Preparations
  • carnosol
  • salvin