Anti-melanogenic effects of glucosylceramides and elasticamide derived from rice oil by-products in melanoma cells, melanocytes, and human skin

J Food Biochem. 2022 Oct;46(10):e14353. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.14353. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Glucosylceramides (GlcCer), which are present in many edible plants, suppress melanin production in mouse melanocytes. Rice GlcCer consist of multiple molecules that comprise different types of sphingoid bases as well as diverse lengths and stereotypes of free fatty acids. Adjacent to the GlcCer fraction, there are free ceramides (Cer) as minor constituents. However, the anti-melanogenic activities of individual GlcCer and Cer remain unknown. Therefore, we herein isolated 13 GlcCer and elasticamide, a Cer [AP] from the gummy by-products of rice bran oil, and examined their anti-melanogenic activities. In theophylline-induced melanogenesis in B16 melanoma cells, GlcCer [d18:2(4E,8Z)/18:0], GlcCer [d18:2(4E,8Z)/20:0], and elasticamide significantly suppressed melanin production with IC50 values of 6.6, 5.2, and 3.9 μM, respectively. Elasticamide, but not GlcCer [d18:2 (4E,8Z)/20:0], suppressed melanogenesis in human 3D-cultured melanocytes and the expression of tyrosinase-related protein 1 in normal human melanocytes. Based on these results, we conducted a clinical trial on the effects of rice ceramide extract (Oryza ceramide®), containing 1.2 mg/day of GlcCer and 56 μg/day of elasticamide, on UV-B-induced skin pigmentation. The ingestion of Oryza ceramide® for 8 weeks significantly suppressed the accumulation of melanin 7 days after UV irradiation (1288 and 1546 mJ/cm2 ·S). Rice-derived GlcCer and elasticamide, which exhibited anti-melanogenic activities, were suggested to contribute to the suppressive effects of Oryza ceramide® on UV-induced skin pigmentation. Although the mechanisms underlying the anti-melanogenic activities of GlcCer remain unclear, elasticamide was identified as a promising Cer that exhibits anti-melanogenic activity. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The anti-melanogenic activities of rice-derived GlcCer and elasticamide currently remain unclear. We herein demonstrated the inhibitory effects of individual GlcCer and elasticamide on melanogenesis in melanoma cells, melanocytes, and human skin.

Keywords: B16 melanoma; elasticamide; glucosylceramide; melanin; rice bran oil; tanning; tyrosinase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes
  • Amides
  • Animals
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Ceramides / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / pharmacology
  • Glucosylceramides / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Melanins
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Melanocytes / radiation effects
  • Melanoma* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / metabolism
  • Oryza*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rice Bran Oil / metabolism
  • Rice Bran Oil / pharmacology
  • Theophylline / metabolism
  • Theophylline / pharmacology


  • Alkanes
  • Amides
  • Ceramides
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Glucosylceramides
  • Melanins
  • Plant Extracts
  • elasticamide
  • Theophylline
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Rice Bran Oil