Anti-Pigmentation Effects of Eight Phellinus linteus-Fermented Traditional Crude Herbal Extracts on Brown Guinea Pigs of Ultraviolet B-Induced Hyperpigmentation

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Mar 28;28(3):375-380. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1711.11043.


We have previously found that mycelia culture broth of eight kinds of traditional herbal extracts fermented with Phellinus linteus (previously named as 8-HsPLCB) not only inhibited melanin and tyrosinase activity, but also reduced the contents of melanogenesis-related proteins, including tyrosinase and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor, in 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine-stimulated B16F0 melanoma cells. For a further study, the effect of 8-HsPLCB against skin pigmentation in brown guinea pigs with ultraviolet B (UVB)-induced hyperpigmentation was investigated. 8-HsPLCB (3%) and arbutin (2%) as positive controls were applied topically twice daily for 4 weeks to the hyperpigmented areas. 8-HsPLCB showed skin-lightening effect as effective as arbutin, one of the most widely used in whitening cosmetics. Melanin index values as the degree of pigmentation showed a significant reduction week by week post 8-HsPLCB treatment and then substantially reduced by 4 weeks. The degree of depigmentation after 4 weeks of topical application with 8-HsPLCB was 32.2% as compared with before treatment (0 week). Moreover, using Fontana-Masson staining and hematoxylin-eosin staining, 8-HsPLCB reduced melanin pigmentation in the basal layer of the epidermis and epidermal thickness changes exposed to the UV-B irradiation as compared with non-treatment and vehicle treatment. The intensity of the skin-lightening effect of 8-HsPLCB was similar to arbutin. These results suggest that the skin-lightening effect of 8-HsPLCB might be resulted from inhibition of melanin synthesis by tyrosinase in melanocytes. To conclude, 8-HsPLCB treatment showed reduction of the melanin pigment and histological changes induced by UV irradiation in brown guinea pigs.

Keywords: Fermentation; UV radiation; epidermal thickness; melanin index; skin-whitening effect.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arbutin / pharmacology
  • Basidiomycota / chemistry*
  • Epidermis / diagnostic imaging
  • Epidermis / drug effects
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Fermented Foods and Beverages*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hyperpigmentation / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanins / radiation effects
  • Melanocytes / drug effects
  • Models, Animal
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phellinus
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Lightening Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Melanins
  • Phellinus linteus extract
  • Plant Extracts
  • Skin Lightening Preparations
  • Arbutin
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase