Artocarpus plants have been a focus of constant attention due to the potential for skin whitening agents. In the in vitro experiment, compounds from the Artocarpus plants, such as artocarpanone, norartocarpetin, artocarpesin, artogomezianol, andalasin, artocarbene, and chlorophorin showed tyrosinase inhibitory activity. Structure-activity investigations revealed that the 4-substituted resorcinol moiety in these compounds was responsible for their potent inhibitory activities on tyrosinase. In the in vitro assay, using B16 melanoma cells, the prenylated polyphenols isolated from Artocarpus plants, such as artocarpin, cudraflavone C, 6-prenylapigenin, kuwanon C, norartocarpin, albanin A, cudraflavone B, and brosimone I showed potent inhibitory activity on melanin formation. Structure-activity investigations revealed that the introduction of an isoprenoid moiety to a non-isoprenoid-substituted polyphenol enhanced the inhibitory activity of melanin production in B16 melanoma cells. In the in vivo investigation, the extract of the wood of Artocarpus incisus and a representative isolated compound from it, artocarpin had a lightening effect on the skin of guinea pigs' backs. Other in vivo experiments using human volunteers have shown that water extract of Artocarpus lakoocha reduced the melanin formation in the skin of volunteers. These results indicate that the extracts of Artocarpus plants are potential sources for skin whitening agents.
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