Table of Contents
ISRN Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 524781, 8 pages
Research Article

Effects of Hydroquinone on Cytoskeletal Organization and Intracellular Transport in Cultured Xenopus laevis Melanophores and Fibroblasts

1Cellectricon AB, Flöjelbergsgatan 8C, 431 37 Mölndal, Sweden
2Department of Zoology/Zoophysiology, Göteborg University, P.O. Box 463, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

Received 10 October 2011; Accepted 13 November 2011

Academic Editors: Y. Gachet, C. C. Uphoff, and Y. Zhang

Copyright © 2012 Sara Aspengren et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hydroquinone is used as a skin-lightening agent, it is also present in different chemical products and cigarette smoke. It is believed to inhibit melanin production in melanocytes by inhibiting the key enzyme tyrosinase. In the present study, we show that hydroquinone had severe effects on microtubules and actin filaments in cultured Xenopus laevis melanophores as studied by immunohistochemistry. It affected the intracellular transport of melanosomes, induced bundling of microtubules and disassembly of actin filaments at 10 and 50 μM, and at 100 μM proper adhesion to the substrate was lost. Effects occurred at lower concentrations than what previously has been stated to be cytotoxic, and the results show that tyrosinase is not the only cellular target. The cytoskeleton is of utmost importance for the function of all cells and across species. Our data has therefore to be considered in the discussions about the use of hydroquinone for bleaching of skin.