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Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019 May 8;12:323-331. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S197946. eCollection 2019.

Protective effects of glycerol and xylitol in keratinocytes exposed to hyperosmotic stress.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
MTA-SZTE Dermatological Research Group, Szeged, Hungary.
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.
Unit of Cell Pharmacology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.


Purpose: Our goal was to study whether glycerol and xylitol provide protection against osmotic stress in keratinocytes. Methods: The experiments were performed on HaCaT keratinocytes. Hyperosmotic stress was induced by the addition of sorbitol (450, 500 and 600 mOsm). Both polyols were applied at two different concentrations (glycerol: 0.027% and 0.27%, xylitol: 0.045% and 0.45%). Cellular viability and cytotoxicity were assessed, intracellular Ca2+ concentration was measured, and the RNA expression of inflammatory cytokines was determined by means of PCR. Differences among groups were analyzed with one-way ANOVA and Holm-Sidak post-hoc test. When the normality test failed, Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance on ranks, followed by Dunn's method for pairwise multiple comparison was performed. Results: The higher concentrations of the polyols were effective. Glycerol ameliorated the cellular viability while xylitol prevented the rapid Ca2+ signal. Both polyols suppressed the expression of IL-1α but only glycerol decreased the expression of IL-1β and NFAT5. Conclusions: Glycerol and xylitol protect keratinocytes against osmotic stress. Despite their similar chemical structure, the effect of these polyols displayed differences. Hence, joint application of glycerol and xylitol may be a useful therapeutic approach for different skin disorders.


glycerol; hyperosmotic stress; intracellular calcium concentration; xylitol

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