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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Nov 15;1349(2):171-81.

Oxidative damage of human skin lipids. Dependence of lipid peroxidation on sterol concentration.

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  • 1Institut für Physiologische Chemie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Germany.


Photoprotection against sunburn and associated irradiation-induced damages of the human skin is mainly attributed to the darkening of the biochrome melanin by its oxidation. Human skin lipids were examined for an additional protection by sterols. Lipid vesicles prepared from extracted human skin lipids as well as from mixtures of typical lipids of the stratum corneum were irradiated by UV light in the presence and absence of oxygen. The oxidative degradation of various lipids was measured by quantitative HPTLC, by the dichlorofluorescein fluorescent assay, by the thiobarbituric acid assay and a novel luminol-based chemiluminescence technique. Electron spin resonance was used to look for certain radical intermediates. The results indicate, that sterols, mainly free cholesterol, with their high concentration in the lipid barrier of the stratum corneum (up to 50 mol%) effectively compete with the peroxidation of other human skin lipids (ceramides and free fatty acids).

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