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Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Jul-Aug;17(4):153-66.

New advances on the functions of epidermal growth factor receptor and ceramides in skin cell differentiation, disorders and cancers.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UNMC/Eppley Cancer Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4525, USA.


Recent advances in understanding of the biological functions of the epidermal growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-EGFR) system and ceramide production for the maintenance of skin integrity and barrier function are reported. In particular, the opposite roles of EGFR and ceramide cascades in epithelial keratinocyte proliferation, migration and terminal differentiation are described. Moreover, the functions of ceramides in the epidermal permeability barrier are reviewed. The alterations in EGFR signaling and ceramide metabolism, which might be involved in the etiopathogenesis of diverse skin disorders and cancers, are described. New progress in understanding of skin organization, which might provide the basis for the design of new transcutaneous drug delivery techniques as well as for the development of new therapies of skin disorders and cancers, are reported.

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