Tissue Eng Regen Med.  2020 Feb;17(1):15-23. 10.1007/s13770-019-00220-z.

Pigmentation Effect of Rice Bran Extract in Hair Follicle-Like Tissue and Organ Culture Models

  • 1Department of Medical Biotechnology (BK21 Plus Team), Dongguk University, 32 Dongguk-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, 10326, Republic of Korea


Melanogenesis is a biological process resulting in the production of melanin pigment, which plays an important role in the prevention of sun-induced skin injury and determines the hair and skin color. Melanin has the ability to block ultraviolet radiation and scavenge free oxygen radicals, thus protecting the skin from their harmful effects. Agents that increase melanin synthesis in melanocytes may reduce the risk of photodamage and skin cancer. Hence, various approaches have been proposed to increase the synthesis of melanin.
The current study aimed to develop a three-dimensional hair follicle-like tissue (HFLT) model with human dermal papilla, melanocytes, and outer root sheaths cells. This model showed enhanced melanogenesis-related protein expression after rice bran ash extract (RBE) treatment. Next, we investigated the melanogenic effect of RBE in the HFLT and compared the results to those of hair follicle (HF) organ culture model.
RBE was found to significantly increase the expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor, a key transcription factor involved in melanin production, in both HFLT and organ culture models. Results showed that melanogenesis-related protein expression levels were higher in the RBE group compared to those in the control group. Similar results were obtained by immunohistochemistry.
Our data suggested that RBE promotes melanin biosynthesis. Taken together, this simple in vitro HFLT model system has the potential to provide significant insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms of HF melanogenesis, and hence can be used for controlled evaluation of the efficacy of new materials for melanogenesis.


Melanogenesis; Pigmentation; Hair follicle; Skin injury; Melanin
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