A UV-Independent Topical Small-Molecule Approach for Melanin Production in Human Skin.
Mujahid N, Liang Y, Murakami R, Choi HG, Dobry AS, Wang J, Suita Y, Weng QY, Allouche J, Kemeny LV, Hermann AL, Roider EM, Gray NS, Fisher DE.
Cell Rep. 2017 Jun 13;19(11):2177-2184. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.05.042.
Darker skin photoypes are less likely to develop skin cancer in general and this can be explained by the higher density of melanin, more specifically eumelanin. Substances like afamelanotide stimulate melanogenesis (as MSH analogues) but these are systematically administered. Topical formulations are limited by the epidermal barrier.
What does this study add ?
A small molecule applied topically is capable of inducing melanogenesis. (it was studied in vivo in mice as well as in human skin (in surgical samples where skin was removed). When topically applied, pigment production was induced in Mc1r-deficient mice and normal human skin. Mcr1-deficient mice shows that the pigment production could not be induced by Ultraviolet light (UV).
How does it act ?
Microphthalmia-associated Transcription Factor (MITF) is a protein coded by the MITF gene, which is the master regulator of pigment gene expression. It acts through CRTC and CREB genes activity.
Salt-inducible Kinases (SIK) inhibit MITF activity; they can be inhibited by a topical skin permeable SIK-inhibitor.
A topical melanogenic cream could have benefits for UV protection and skin cancer prevention.
The article is available for free here: http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(17)30684-8?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124717306848%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
Article selected by Saurat JH, MD