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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2003 Jan-Apr;16(1):49-54.

Levels of enzymatic antioxidants activities in mononuclear cells and skin reactivity to sodium dodecyl sulphate.

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San Gallicano Dermatological Institute-IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


Chemical irritants are able to produce several biological modifications of the skin, including the direct or indirect production of cytokines and reactive oxygen species leading to an inflammatory reaction. This report examines the existence of a possible correlation between the skin sensitivity to the irritant sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) and the activity of the enzymatic antioxidants. In twenty-three healthy subjects the evaluation of the epidermal and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) activities of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and Catalase (Cat) demonstrate a significant correlation (r= 0,85 and p< 0,005 for SOD, and r= 0,87 and p< 0,0001 for Cat). Based on this result, on a further group of normal subjects (n=13) we studied the link between the threshold dose of skin reactivity to SDS and the activities of the enzymatic antioxidants in PBMCs. The degree of skin modification induced by SDS, applied at different concentrations for 24 hrs, was determined by means of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), Erythemal Index or by Visual Score (VS). The minimal dose of the irritant capable of inducing skin modifications, was significantly correlated with SOD (r=0,77) and Cat (r=0,81) activities in PBMCs, and the modification of TEWL or EI were inversely correlated with levels of antioxidants in PBMCs (r=-0,62 for SOD and r=-0,66 for Cat). Our results indicate that the skin reactivity to irritants can be modulated by the levels of antioxidants, and suggest a possible therapeutical approach in preventing irritant contact dermatitis.

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