Carvone Decreases Melanin Content by Inhibiting Melanoma Cell Proliferation via the Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) Pathway

Wesuk Kang, Dabin Choi, Soyoon Park, Taesun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Melanin, which determines the color of the skin and hair, is initially synthesized to protect the skin from ultraviolet light; however, excessive melanin pigmentation caused by abnormal cell proliferation can result in various melanocytic lesions. Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is known to regulate cell cycle progression and consequently to inhibit the division of abnormally proliferating cells. In this work, we aimed to test whether carvone, a scent compound from plants, inhibits proliferation and subsequently reduces melanin content of melanoma cells and to determine whether its beneficial effects are mediated by the cAMP pathway. We found that carvone decreases melanin content and inhibits melanoma cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner. Meanwhile, it inhibited the activation of cell cycle-associated proteins such as cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1). Of note, the beneficial effects of carvone were abrogated by cAMP inhibition. Our findings indicate potential benefits of carvone for the treatment of melanomas and presumably other hyperpigmentation-related dermatological disorders such as melasmas, lentigines, and excessive freckles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5191
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by Business for Startup growth and technological development (TIPS Program) funded by the Korea Ministry of SMEs and Startups in 2020 (No. S2807319) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. 2019R1A2C2003340).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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