Role of Thiol Compounds in Mammalian Melanin Pigmentation. II. Glutathione and Related Enzymatic Activities

J Invest Dermatol. 1982 Dec;79(6):422-4. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12530631.


Previously, we reported evidence suggesting that, in addition to tyrosinase, glutathione-reductase plays an important role in the regulation and control of the biosynthetic activity of melanocytes. Further investigations were performed on a mammal presenting a well-defined genotype for coat pigmentation, the mutant mouse [subline C57 BL (6J)], namely the nonagouti black (a/a) mutant and the yellow (Ay/a) mutant showing, respectively, pure uniform eumelanin and phaeomelanin pigmentation. Analysis of thiol compounds and glutathione-related enzyme levels in mouse skin gave similar results to those found in tortoise-shell guinea pig skin. The observed differences in the glutathione and glutathione-related enzyme content between black and yellow (or red) skin provide evidence that the increase of glutathione-reductase activity in the environment of the melanocytes may stimulate the pigment cells to produce phaeomelanin instead of eumelanin pigment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / analysis
  • Glutathione Reductase / analysis
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Melanins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Skin / enzymology*
  • Skin Pigmentation*


  • Melanins
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Glutathione Reductase
  • Glutathione