Mushroom Extract Reduces Excess Pigmentation in Skin Cells

Jenn Hoskins
24th April, 2024

Mushroom Extract Reduces Excess Pigmentation in Skin Cells

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study in China finds Tricholoma matsutake extract (PETM) safely reduces skin darkening
  • PETM works by blocking a specific pathway (JNK) involved in melanin production
  • Clinical trial shows PETM visibly lessens facial hyperpigmentation in women
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that causes darkening of the skin due to increased melanin production. It can be a source of cosmetic concern for many, and while there are treatments available, they often come with side effects and require long-term commitment. Researchers from Yunnan Baiyao Group Co., Ltd. have recently conducted a study[1] to explore a new treatment option that could potentially offer a safer and more effective way to manage hyperpigmentation. The study investigated the effects of a polysaccharides extract of Tricholoma matsutake (PETM) on melanin production, both at the cellular level and in a clinical setting. Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin color, and its overproduction can lead to hyperpigmentation[2]. The research aimed to determine whether PETM could be a viable alternative to conventional treatments, which include topical agents like hydroquinone and procedures such as chemical peels and laser therapy[2]. In the laboratory, the researchers used B16-F10 melanoma cells, a type of skin cell that can produce melanin, to create a model of induced melanogenesis, which is the process of melanin production. They treated these cells with 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP), a compound known to stimulate melanin production. The effects of PETM on these cells were then compared to α-arbutin, a standard depigmentary agent. The results were promising. PETM, at concentrations up to 0.5 mg/mL, did not affect the viability or motility of the cells, indicating that it was safe. More importantly, PETM significantly reduced the melanin content in the cells compared to the control group. It also downregulated the expression of key melanogenic factors, which are involved in the process of melanin synthesis[3]. Further analysis showed that PETM's depigmentary effects were due to its ability to inactivate the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway. JNK is one of the pathways that control the production of melanin[3]. The study found that when a JNK agonist, which activates the JNK pathway, was used, the inhibitory effects of PETM on melanogenesis could be reversed. This suggests that PETM's action is specific to this pathway. The study then moved from the lab to the clinic, where a placebo-controlled trial was conducted with Chinese females who had facial hyperpigmentation, a common concern in Asian skin types[4]. The participants applied PETM to their skin and were assessed for changes in facial pigmented spots, melanin index (a measure of skin coloration), and individual typology angle (ITA°), which is an indicator of skin color. Clinical findings revealed that PETM treatment led to a significant reduction in facial hyperpigmented spots and melanin index, and an improvement in ITA° value compared to the placebo group. These results indicate that PETM not only works at the cellular level but also translates into visible improvements in skin pigmentation in humans. The study by Yunnan Baiyao Group Co., Ltd. adds to the body of research on hyperpigmentation and its treatment. It ties together previous findings on the mechanisms of hyperpigmentation and the need for safer and more effective treatments[2]. By demonstrating the efficacy of PETM in both lab and clinical settings, the research provides a basis for the development of new therapies that could benefit those suffering from hyperpigmentation, especially considering the limitations and adverse effects associated with current treatments[2]. In conclusion, the research offers new hope for individuals with hyperpigmentation by introducing PETM as a novel agent that is both safe and effective. By targeting the JNK pathway, it presents a distinct mechanism of action that could be harnessed for future therapeutic formulations. As the global population becomes more diverse and the incidence of skin pigmentation disorders rises, such advancements in treatment options are both timely and crucial.



Main Study

1) Tricholoma matsutake polysaccharides suppress excessive melanogenesis via JNK-mediated pathway: Investigation in 8- methoxypsoralen induced B16-F10 melanoma cells and clinical study.

Published 30th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Management of hyperpigmentation: Current treatments and emerging therapies.

3) "Transcription physiology" of pigment formation in melanocytes: central role of MITF.

4) Characteristics and management of Asian skin.

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