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Exp Dermatol. 2009 Jul;18(7):643-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00841.x. Epub 2009 Feb 19.

Activators of PPARs and LXR decrease the adverse effects of exogenous glucocorticoids on the epidermis.

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Department of Dermatology, UCSF and VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.


While glucocorticoids (GC) exert beneficial effects (anti-inflammatory), they also have adverse effects on the epidermis including decreased epidermal differentiation, decreased keratinocyte proliferation, and decreased cutaneous permeability barrier homeostasis. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop strategies to prevent these GC toxicities using simultaneous topical treatments in clobetasol-treated mice. While a triple-lipid mixture of stratum corneum lipids (ceramide, free fatty acid and cholesterol) was previously shown to reverse the GC-induced abnormality in cutaneous barrier function [J Invest Dermatol, 120 (2003) 456], this lipid mixture did not prevent the GC-induced abnormalities in either keratinocyte proliferation or differentiation. As activators of PPARalpha, beta/delta, gamma and LXR, regulate keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation and improve permeability barrier homeostasis, we next assessed the effects of these activators during concurrent GC treatment. Co-application of either ciglitazone (PPARgamma activator), clofibrate (PPARalpha activator) or 22R (OH) cholesterol (LXR activator) with clobetasol prevented the decrease in involucrin, filaggrin and loricrin expression. By contrast, a PPARbeta/delta activator (GW501516) normalized only the expression of involucrin and filaggrin but not loricrin. Moreover, topical application of PPARalpha, beta/delta or LXR activators partially prevented the decrease in keratinocyte proliferation in GC-treated murine skin, as measured using PCNA, while no effect was seen after co-treatment with PPARgamma activators. Finally, PPARgamma and PPARbeta/delta activators but not PPARalpha and LXR activators improved permeability barrier homeostasis in GC-treated mice. Together, these studies demonstrate that PPAR and LXR activators can prevent several of the adverse effects of topical GC on the epidermis.

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