Planta Med 2012; 78(08): 767-771
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1298406
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

On The Novel Action of Melanolysis by a Leaf Extract of Aloe vera and Its Active Ingredient Aloin, Potent Skin Depigmenting Agents

Sharique A. Ali
1   Department of Biotechnology, Saifia Science College, Bhopal 462001, India
Jyoti M. Galgut
1   Department of Biotechnology, Saifia Science College, Bhopal 462001, India
Ram K. Choudhary
1   Department of Biotechnology, Saifia Science College, Bhopal 462001, India
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 24 September 2011
revised 27 February 2012

accepted 06 March 2012

Publication Date:
11 April 2012 (online)


The present study was carried out to investigate the effects of an Aloe vera leaf extract, along with its standard active ingredient aloin, on the isolated tail melanophores of Bufo melanostictus tadpoles, which are a type of disguised smooth muscle cells offering excellent in vitro opportunities for studying the effects of pharmacological and pharmaceutical agents. It was found that the leaf extract of A. vera and its active ingredient aloin induced powerful, dose-dependent, physiologically significant melanin aggregating effects in the isolated tail melanophores of B. melanostictus similar to those of adrenaline per se. These preliminary findings clearly demonstrate that the extract of A. vera and its active ingredient aloin cause melanin aggregation leading to skin lightening via alpha adrenergic receptor stimulation. The present study opens new vistas for the use of A. vera regarding its clinical application as a new nontoxic melanolytic agent for the treatment of hyperpigmentation.

  • References

  • 1 Aspengren S, Skold HN, Quirogo G, Martensson L, Wallin M. Noradrenaline and melatonin mediated regulation of pigment aggregation in fish melanophores. Pigment Cell Res 2003; 16: 59-64
  • 2 Kasukawa H, Sugimoto M, Oshima N, Fujii R. Receptor mechanism in fish chromatophores – VII. Muscarinic cholinoceptors and alpha adrenoceptors both mediating pigment aggregation, strangely coexist in Corydoras melanophores. Comp Biochem Physiol C 1985; 80: 211-215
  • 3 Fujii R, Miyashita Y, Fujii Y. Muscarinic cholinoceptors mediate neurally evoked pigment aggregation in glass catfish melanophores. J Neural Transm 1982; 54: 29-39
  • 4 Ali AS, Peter J, Ali SA. Role of cholinergic receptors in melanophore responses of amphibians. Acta Biol Hung 1995; 46: 61-73
  • 5 Ali SA, Peter J, Ali AS. Histamine receptors in the skin melanophores of Indian bullfrog Rana tigerina . Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 1998; 12: 229-234
  • 6 Salim S, Ali SA. Vertebrate melanophores as potential model for drug discovery and development: a review. Cell Mol Biol Lett 2011; 16: 162-200
  • 7 Ali SA, Sultan T, Galgut JM, Sharma R, Meitei KV, Ali AS. In vitro responses of fish melanophores to lyophilized extracts of Psoralea corylifolia seeds and pure psoralen. Pharm Biol 2010; 49: 422-427
  • 8 Aspengren S, Hedberg D, Sköld HN, Wallin M. New insights into melanosome transport in vertebrate pigment cells. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol 2009; 272: 245-302
  • 9 Smit N, Vicanova J, Pavel S. The hunt for natural skin whitening agents. Int J Mol Sci 2009; 10: 5326-5349
  • 10 Zandi K, Zadeh AM, Sartavi K, Rastian Z. Antiviral activity of Aloe vera against herpes simplex virus type 2: An in vitro study. Afr J Biotechnol 2007; 6: 1770-1773
  • 11 Yagi A, Kanbara T, Morinobu N. Inhibition of mushroom-tyrosinase by Aloe extract. Planta Med 1987; 53: 515-517
  • 12 Cheng TAN, Wenyuan ZHU, Yan LU. Aloin, cinnamic acid and sophorcarpidine are potent inhibitirs of tyrosinase. Chin Med J 2002; 115: 1859-1862
  • 13 Arunkumar S, Muthuselvam M. Analysis of phytochemical constituents and antimicrobial activities of Aloe vera L. against clinical pathogens. World J Agric Sci 2009; 5: 572-576
  • 14 Sharma V, Shukla VJ, Prajapati PK. Quantitative estimation of aloin from pharmaceutical dosage by HPTLC. Pharma Science Monitor 2011; 35: 1037-1046
  • 15 Bhattacharya SK, Parikh AK, Das PK. Effect of acetylcholine on melanophores of Rana tigrina . Experientia 1976; 32: 1039-1040
  • 16 Hogben LT, Slome D. The pigmentary effector system VI. The dual character of endocrine co-ordination in amphibian colour change. Proc R Soc London 1931; 108: 10-53
  • 17 Fernando MM, Grove DJ. Melanophore aggregation in the plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) II. In vitro effects of adrenergic drugs. Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol 1974; 48: 723-732
  • 18 Godding EW. Therapeutics of laxative agents with special reference to anthraquinones. Pharmacology 1976; 14: 78-101
  • 19 Anton R, Hagg-Berrurier MH. Therapeutic use of natural anthraquinones for other than laxative actions. Pharmacology 1976; 14: 104-112
  • 20 Andersson RG, Karlsson JO, Grundström N. Adrenergic nerves and the alpha 2-adrenoceptor system regulating melanosome aggregation within fish melanophores. Acta Physiol Scand 1984; 121: 173-179
  • 21 Karlsson JOG, Andersson RGG, Grundstrom N. Characterization of pigment aggregating α2 adrenoceptors of fish melanophores by use of different agonists after partial irreversible receptor inactivation. Br J Pharmacol 1989; 97: 222-228
  • 22 Puvabanditsin PMD, Vongtongsri RMD. Efficacy of Aloe vera cream in prevention and treatment of sunburn and suntan. J Med Assoc Thailand 2005; 88: 173-176