In silico prediction of the cosmetic whitening effects of naturally occurring lead compounds

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of tyrosinase inhibitors is important, not only for the treatment of skin hyperpigmentation disorders, such as melasma, but also for the production of cosmetic whitening effects. The aim of this study was the in silico prediction of the naturally occurring lead compounds in three commonly used skin-whitening herbs: Ampelopsis japonica, Lindera aggregata, and Ginkgo biloba. The active ingredients responsible for the whitening effect of these herbs remain largely unknown. The tyrosinase binding affinities and skin permeation, skin irritancy, and corrosive properties of 43 natural constituents of the three herbs were predicted by docking simulations using Surflex-Dock and the QSAR-based Dermal Permeability Coefficient Program (DERMWIN™) and Skin Irritation Corrosion Rules Estimation Tool (SICRET) implemented in Toxtree. Nine constituents of the three herbs were found to have more advanced binding energies than the gold standard whitening agents, arbutin and kojic acid, but 40 were indicative of at least one skin sensitization alert, and many exhibited poor skin permeability. Linderagalactone c and (+)-n-methyllaurotetanine were found to have the strongest prospects for use in topical formulations, as they achieved high predicted tyrosinase binding scores and displayed good skin permeation properties and minimal potential for skin sensitization and irritation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1294
Number of pages8
JournalNatural Product Communications
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Ampelopsis japonica
  • Computer-aided drug discovery
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Lindera aggregata
  • Tyrosinase


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