In European folk medicine, the fruits of Juniperus communis are used in the treatment of skin-related disorders such as skin infection, itching, and psoriasis. Previously, we reported that the EtOAc fraction of J. communis (EAJC) contained tyrosinase inhibition properties in vitro non-cellular experiment. The aim of this study was to evaluate anti-melanogenic effect of standardized EAJC on a hyperpigmentation animal model. Therapeutic effects of EAJC toward skin hyperpigmentation were confirmed by both in vivo experiment and in vitro cell-based assay. Skin depigmenting effect was detected by topical treatment of EAJC for 11 d to HRM-2 melanin-possessing hairless mice. Histologic findings including significantly decreased melanin depositions could be observed in dorsal skin samples of EAJC-treated group. In addition, the EAJC (50 µg/mL) attenuated melanin production through down-regulation of tyrosinase activity and protein expression in B16 murine melanoma cells. According to the phytochemical analysis, EAJC was found to contain hypolaetin-7-O-β-D-xylopyranoside and isoscutellarein-7-O-β-D-xylopyranoside as main components. Hypolaetin-7-O-β-D-xylopyranoside was responsible for the skin-lightening effect of EAJC by reducing the number of melanocytes in dorsal skins of HRM-2 mice. The present study provided direct experimental evidence for skin-lightening effect of EAJC in UV-irradiated hairless mouse model. Therapeutic attempts with the J. communis might be useful in the management of skin pigmentation-related diseases.
Keywords: HRM-2 melanin-possessing hairless mouse; Juniperus communis; anti-melanogenesis; hypolaetin-7-O-β-D-xylopyranoside; melanin content; tyrosinase inhibition.