Oral supplementation of L-glutathione prevents ultraviolet B-induced melanogenesis and oxidative stress in BALB/c mice

Exp Anim. 2019 Nov 6;68(4):541-548. doi: 10.1538/expanim.19-0017. Epub 2019 Jun 26.


Dietary antioxidant supplements such as L-glutathione have gained considerable attention in dermatology and cosmeceutical fields. L-glutathione possesses antiaging, antimelanogenic, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. This study aimed to investigate the inhibitory effects of L-glutathione on melanogenesis activity and oxidative stress in ultraviolet B (UVB)-irradiated BALB/c mice. Eighteen female BALB/c mice were randomly divided into 3 groups: a control group (n=6), a group without UVB irradiation and L-glutathione administration; a UVB irradiated group (n=6), a group irradiated with a UVB dose of 250 mJ/cm2 for 3 min; and a treatment group (n=6), a group irradiated with UVB and treated with 100 mg/kg of L-glutathione by oral gavage. Treatment was given for 14 days, and UVB irradiation was given on days 9, 11, and 13. Oral L-glutathione significantly (P<0.05) reduced lipid peroxidation and elevated superoxide dismutase activity the and glutathione level. L-glutathione also inhibited melanin content and tyrosinase activity significantly (P<0.05) as compared with the UVB-irradiated group. Histopathological examination also showed that L-glutathione reduced the deposition of melanin pigment in the basal layer of the epidermis as compared with that in UVB-irradiated mice. All in all, the present study demonstrated that L-glutathione has the potential to be developed as a photoprotection agent against UVB-induced oxidative stress and melanogenesis.

Keywords: L-glutathione; melanogenesis; oxidative stress; photoprotection; ultraviolet B (UVB).

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Female
  • Glutathione / administration & dosage
  • Glutathione / pharmacology*
  • Melanins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Melanins / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Melanins
  • Glutathione