Skin whitening capability of shikimic acid pathway compound

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016;20(6):1214-20.


Objective: To examine the skin whitening capabilities of shikimic acid pathway compounds and find the most effective molecule to be used as the active ingredient for skin whitening products.

Materials and methods: Skin whitening is the practice of using chemical substances to lighten skin tone by the lessening the concentration of melanin. The whitening efficacy of shikimic acid pathway compounds was evaluated. Eight compounds in the shikimic acid pathway were chosen for this study: benzoic acid, p-coumaric acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, quinic acid, shikimic acid, orcinol monohydrate, and phenyl pyruvic acid. We measured the tyrosinase inhibitory capacity of the compounds in the animal model of zebrafish and also evaluated the compounds' anti-oxidant activities using the DPPH radical scavenging, and ABTS+ free radical scavenging tests. Compounds' cytotoxicity effects were also evaluated.

Results: Amongst eight shikimic acid pathway compounds used in this study, shikimic acid was the most potent tyrosinase-inhibitor and the most efficient compound to be used as an active ingredient for skin whitening. Shikimic acid revealed a good radical scavenging activity (RAS) with low cell toxicity.

Conclusions: Promising results obtained in this study may open a new window of opportunity to introduce another compound to be used in the skin-whiting cosmetics industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Melanins / metabolism*
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism*
  • Shikimic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Zebrafish


  • Melanins
  • Shikimic Acid
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase