1. Academic Validation
  2. Effects of tea polyphenols on UVA-induced melanogenesis via inhibition of α-MSH-MC1R signalling pathway

Effects of tea polyphenols on UVA-induced melanogenesis via inhibition of α-MSH-MC1R signalling pathway

  • Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2022 Apr;39(2):327-335. doi: 10.5114/ada.2022.115890.
Jiaoquan Chen 1 Huaping Li 1 Bihua Liang 1 Huilan Zhu 1


  • 1 Department of Dermatology, Guangzhou Institute of Dermatology, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

Introduction: Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation is a major environmental factor affecting photoaging, which is characterized by skin wrinkle formation and hyperpigmentation. Although many factors are involved in the melanogenesis progress, UV is thought to play a major role in tanning. The pathway of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-melanocortin receptor 1 (MC1R) is associated with UV-induced melanogenesis. Thus, α-MSH antagonists may have applications in the prevention of melanogenesis.

Aim: To investigate the effects of tea Polyphenols (TPS) on pigmentation, and further explore the underlying mechanism.

Material and methods: Human keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT) cells and Human epidermal melanocytes (HEM) were exposed to UVA and treated with different concentrations of TPS or Nonapeptide-1 acetate salt (N-1A). Then, cell viability, melanin content, and Tyrosinase activity of both kinds of cells were detected. Quantification of α-MSH in HaCaT cells and HEM cells determined by ELISA assays. Immunohistochemistry of HEM cells was employed to further investigate the expression of melanogenesis-related proteins.

Results: The different concentrations of TPS were found to decrease the melanin content, Tyrosinase activity and melanogenesis-related proteins such as microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase-related protein (TRP)1, and TRP2. Besides, TPS inhibited α-MSH-MC1R signalling through directly suppressed α-MSH expression rather than the down-regulated expression level of MC1R.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that TPS may be a potential whitening agent for use in cosmetics and the medical treatment of hyperpigmentation disorders.


UV; melanogenesis; tea polyphenols; α-MSH-MC1R.