• Melanin;
  • Black yeast fungi;
  • Proliferation;
  • Differentiation;
  • Keratinocytes;
  • Fibroblasts


The effects of melanin preparations from black yeast fungi (BYF) on the proliferation and differentiation of normal cultivated human skin keratinocytes and embryonic pulmonary fibroblasts have been investigated. Melanin preparations in the range of 5–0.1 μg/ml were optimally active, with a more pronounced effect on keratinocyte than on fibroblast proliferation. Of 17 dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN) natural melanin preparations and two commercial dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) melanin preparations, only one preparation—DOPA melanin (of animal origin) significantly stimulated proliferation of keratinocytes at 5 μg/ml; four preparations (DHN melanin from BYF) significantly inhibited proliferation of these cells at 5 or 1 μg/ml. The remaining preparations had no significant effect. Similarly, of the 17 preparations of DHN melanin from BYF, one preparation significantly stimulated fibroblast proliferation, and four significantly inhibited proliferation at 5 μg/ml, one at all the concentrations, and three from 1 down to 0.1 μg/ml. These melanin preparations were also shown to affect the in vitro differentiation of keratinocytes.