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Keywords:

  • melanocyte;
  • pigments;
  • hydroquinone;
  • complexion coloration

Abstract:  Modulation of melanogenesis in the melanocytes can be achieved using chemicals that share structural homologies with the substrate tyrosine and as thus competitively inhibit the catalytic function of tyrosinase. We have developed a new tyrosinase inhibitor, deoxyArbutin (dA), based on this premise. DeoxyArbutin demonstrates effective inhibition of mushroom tyrosinase in vitro with a Ki that is 10-fold lower that hydroquinone (HQ) and 350-fold lower than arbutin. In a hairless, pigmented guinea pig model, dA demonstrated rapid and sustained skin lightening that was completely reversible within 8 weeks after halt in topical application. In contrast, HQ induced a short but unsustained skin lightening effect whereas kojic acid and arbutin exhibit no skin lightening effect. Results from a panel of safety tests supported the overall establishment of dA as an actionable molecule. In a human clinical trial, topical treatment of dA for 12 weeks resulted in a significant or slight reduction in overall skin lightness and improvement of solar lentigines in a population of light skin or dark skin individuals, respectively. These data demonstrate that dA has potential tyrosinase inhibitory activity that can result in skin lightening and may be used to ameliorate hyperpigmentary lesions.