Tyrosinase is a multifunctional copper-containing oxidase which catalyses the oxidation
of tyrosine to produce melanin. The alteration in melanin biosynthesis occurs in many
diseases. The pigment has a protecting role against skin photo-carcinogenesis, but anomalous
melanin pigmentation is an aesthetic problem in human beings. Moreover, the formation of
neuromelanin in human brain could contribute to the neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s
disease. Finally, tyrosinase is also responsible for undesired browning in fruits and
vegetables. These topics encouraged the search for new inhibitors of this enzyme for
pharmaceutical, cosmetic and foods industries. This review is to report recent trends in the
discovery of tyrosinase inhibitors from plant sources, to provide a rationale for the continued
study of natural tyrosinase inhibitors, and to recognise the potential therapeutic rewards
associated with the identification of these agents.
Keywords: tyrosinase, melanogenesis, plant source, natural compounds.
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