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Ethanolic Extract of Hippocampus abdominalis Exerts Anti-Melanogenic Effects in B16F10 Melanoma Cells and Zebrafish Larvae by Activating the ERK Signaling Pathway

1
Department of Marine Life Science, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea
2
Department of Biochemistry, College of Oriental Medicine, Dong-Eui University, Busan 47227, Korea
3
Nerina Co., Seonghwa-ro 9-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju 63158, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cosmetics 2020, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics7010001
Received: 27 November 2019 / Revised: 16 December 2019 / Accepted: 16 December 2019 / Published: 18 December 2019
The big belly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis), a well-known ingredient of traditional medicine, possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-fatigue, and anti-thrombotic properties, and also increases male fertility. This study demonstrates that the ethanolic extract of dried H. abdominalis (EEHA) has anti-melanogenic effects in B16F10 melanoma cells and zebrafish larvae. EEHA significantly reduced the α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-induced melanogenesis in B16F10 melanoma cells without causing cytotoxicity. At a concentration of 200 µg/mL, EEHA had significant anti-melanogenic activity in zebrafish larvae, accompanied by a severe reduction in the heart rate (118 ± 17 heartbeats/min) compared to that of the untreated group (185 ± 8 heartbeats/min), indicating that EEHA induces cardiotoxicity at high concentrations. Below 100 µg/mL, EEHA significantly reduced melanogenesis in zebrafish larvae in the presence or absence of α-MSH, while the heart rate remained unaltered. Additionally, EEHA downregulated the release of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and the phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in B16F10 melanoma cells, which inhibited microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), leading to the inhibition of tyrosinase activity. EEHA also increased the phosphorylation of extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK). The ERK inhibitor PD98059 interfered with the anti-melanogenic activity of EEHA in B16F10 melanoma cells and zebrafish larvae, indicating that the ERK signaling pathway might regulate the anti-melanogenic properties of EEHA. Altogether, we conclude that EEHA represses the cAMP–CREB–MITF axis, which consequently inhibits tyrosinase-mediated melanogenesis. We propose that at low concentrations, EEHA can serve as a promising anti-melanogenic agent that could be used to prepare whitening cosmetics and for treating melanogenic disorders. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hippocampus abdominalis; melanogenesis; tyrosinase; extracellular-signal regulated kinase Hippocampus abdominalis; melanogenesis; tyrosinase; extracellular-signal regulated kinase
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Molagoda, I.M.N.; Choi, Y.H.; Lee, S.; Sung, J.; Lee, C.R.; Lee, H.G.; Lim, J.; Lee, K.-J.; Jeon, Y.-J.; Ma, J.; Kim, G.-Y. Ethanolic Extract of Hippocampus abdominalis Exerts Anti-Melanogenic Effects in B16F10 Melanoma Cells and Zebrafish Larvae by Activating the ERK Signaling Pathway. Cosmetics 2020, 7, 1.

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