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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Oct;1778(10):2350-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2008.06.017. Epub 2008 Jul 4.

Lanolin-derived lipid mixtures mimic closely the lipid composition and organization of vernix caseosa lipids.

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Department of Drug Delivery Technology, Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


The aim of the present study was to use semi-synthetic lipid mixtures to mimic the complex lipid composition, organization and thermotropic behaviour of vernix caseosa (VC) lipids. As VC shows multiple protecting and barrier supporting properties before and after birth, it is suggested that a VC substitute could be an innovative barrier cream for barrier deficient skin. Lanolin was selected as the source of the branched chain sterol esters and wax esters--the main lipid classes of VC. Different lipid fractions were isolated from lanolin and subsequently mixed with squalene, triglycerides, cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids to generate semi-synthetic lipid mixtures that mimic the lipid composition of VC, as established by high-performance thin-layer chromatography. Differential scanning calorimetry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy investigations revealed that triglycerides play an important role in the (lateral) lipid organization and thermotropic behaviour of the synthetic lipid mixtures. Excellent resemblance of VC lipids was obtained when adding unsaturated triglycerides. Moreover, these lipid mixtures showed similar long range ordering as VC. The optimal lipid mixture was evaluated on tape-stripped hairless mouse skin in vivo. The rate of barrier recovery was increased and comparable to VC lipid treatment.

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