Modulating skin colour: role of the thioredoxin and glutathione systems in regulating melanogenesis

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Lu, Yaoying
Tonissen, Kathryn F
Di Trapani, Giovanna
Griffith University Author(s)
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2021
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Abstract

Different skin colour among individuals is determined by the varying amount and types of melanin pigment. Melanin is produced in melanocytes, a type of dendritic cell located in the basal layer of the epidermis, through the process of melanogenesis. Melanogenesis consists of a series of biochemical and enzymatic reactions catalysed by tyrosinase and other tyrosinase-related proteins, leading to the formation of two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Melanogenesis can be regulated intrinsically by several signalling pathways, including the cAMP/PKA, SCF/c-kit and Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathways. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the major extrinsic factor in the regulation of melanogenesis, through the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants or antioxidant systems, with the ability to scavenge ROS, may decrease melanogenesis. This review focuses on the two main cellular antioxidant systems, the thioredoxin (Trx) and glutathione (GSH) systems, and discusses their roles in melanogenesis. In the Trx system, high levels/activities of thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) are correlated with melanin formation. The GSH system is linked with regulating pheomelanin formation. Exogenous addition of GSH has been shown to act as a depigmenting agent, suggesting that other antioxidants may also have the potential to act as depigmenting agents for the treatment of human hyperpigmentation disorders.

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Bioscience Reports

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© 2021 The Author(s). This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Biochemistry and cell biology

antioxidants

glutathione

hyperpigmentation

melanogenesis

thioredoxin

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Lu, Y; Tonissen, KF; Di Trapani, G, Modulating skin colour: role of the thioredoxin and glutathione systems in regulating melanogenesis, Bioscience Reports, 2021

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