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J Invest Dermatol. 1999 Mar;112(3):303-9.

Induction of selected lipid metabolic enzymes and differentiation-linked structural proteins by air exposure in fetal rat skin explants.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Abstract

The epidermal permeability barrier of premature infants matures rapidly following birth. Previous studies suggest that air exposure could contribute to this acceleration, because: (i) development of a structurally and functionally mature barrier accelerates when fetal rat skin explants are incubated at an air-medium interface, and (ii) occlusion with a water-impermeable membrane prevents this acceleration. To investigate further the effects of air exposure on epidermal barrier ontogenesis, we compared the activities of several key enzymes of lipid metabolism and gene expression of protein markers of epidermal differentiation in fetal rat skin explants grown immersed versus air exposed. The rate-limiting enzymes of cholesterol (HMG CoA reductase) and ceramide (serine palmitoyl transferase) synthesis were not affected. In contrast, the normal developmental increases in activities of glucosylceramide synthase and cholesterol sulfotransferase, responsible for the synthesis of glucosylceramides and cholesterol sulfate, respectively, were accelerated further by air exposure. Additionally, two enzymes required for the final stages of barrier maturation and essential for normal stratum corneum function, beta-glucocerebrosidase, which converts glucosylceramide to ceramide, and steroid sulfatase, which desulfates cholesterol sulfate, also increased with air exposure. Furthermore, filaggrin and loricrin mRNA levels, and filaggrin, loricrin, and involucrin protein levels all increased with air exposure. Finally, occlusion with a water-impermeable membrane prevented both the air-exposure-induced increase in lipid enzyme activity, and the expression of loricrin, filaggrin, and involucrin. Thus, air exposure stimulates selected lipid metabolic enzymes and the gene expression of key structural proteins in fetal epidermis, providing a biochemical basis for air-induced acceleration of permeability barrier maturation in premature infants.

PMID:
10084306
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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