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Table of Contents
Vol. 14, Suppl. 1, 2001
Issue release date: August 2001
Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol 2001;14(suppl 1):87–91

Oxidative Targets in the Stratum corneum

A New Basis for Antioxidative Strategies

Thiele J.J.
Department of Dermatology, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany

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As the outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum (SC) is continuously exposed to an oxidative environment, including air pollutants, ultraviolet radiation, chemical oxidants, and aerobic microorganisms. Human SC reveals characteristic antioxidant and protein oxidation gradients with increasing antioxidant depletion and protein oxidation towards the outer layers. SC antioxidants, lipids, and proteins are oxidatively modified upon treatments with ultraviolet A/ultraviolet B, ozone, and benzoyl peroxide. α-Tocopherol represents the predominating SC antioxidant with respect to its concentration and its unique susceptibility to the various oxidative challenges tested. In sites rich in sebaceous glands, α-tocopherol is physiologically delivered to the surface via secretion of sebum. Oxidative damage in the human SC represents an early pathophysiological event preceding barrier disruption and inflammation in environmentally challenged skin. Furthermore, oxidative gradients in SC proteins may have implications for the process of desquamation in human skin.

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  2. Cross CE, van der Vliet A, Louie S, Thiele JJ, Halliwell B: Oxidative stress and antioxidants at biosurfaces: Plants, skin and respiratory tract surfaces. Environ Health Perspect 1998;106(suppl 5): 1241–1251.
  3. Thiele JJ, Dreher F, Packer L: Antioxidant defense systems in skin; in Elsner P, Maibach H (eds): Drugs vs. Cosmetics: Cosmeceuticals? New York, Dekker, 2000, pp 145–188.
  4. Thiele JJ, Schroeter C, Hsieh SN, Podda M, Packer L: The antioxidant network of the stratum corneum; in Thiele JJ, Elsner P (eds): Oxidants and Antioxidants in Cutaneous Biology. Curr Probl Dermatol. Basel, Karger, 2001, vol 29, pp 26–42.
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  6. Traber MG, Sies H: Vitamin E in humans – Demand and delivery. Annu Rev Nutr 1996;16:321–347.
  7. Thiele JJ, Traber MG, Packer L: Depletion of human stratum corneum vitamin E: An early and sensitive in vivo marker of UV-induced photooxidation. J Invest Dermatol 1998;110:756–761.
  8. Bommannan D, Potts RO, Guy RH: Examination of stratum corneum barrier function in vivo by infrared spectroscopy. J Invest Dermatol 1990;95:403–408.
  9. Thiele JJ, Rallis M, Izquierdo-Pullido M, et al: Benzoyl peroxide depletes human stratum corneum antioxidants. J Invest Dermatol 1998;110:675A.
  10. Weber SU, Thiele JJ, Cross CE, Packer L: Vitamin C, uric acid and glutathione gradients in murine stratum corneum and their susceptibility to ozone exposure. J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:1128–1132.
  11. Thiele JJ, Traber MG, Tsang KG, Cross CE, Packer L: In vivo exposure to ozone depletes vitamins C and E and induces lipid peroxidation in epidermal layers of murine skin. Free Radic Biol Med 1997;23:385–391.

    External Resources

  12. Thiele JJ, Traber MG, Podda M, Tsang K, Cross CE, Packer L: Ozone depletes tocopherols and tocotrienols topically applied to murine skin. FEBS Lett 1997;401:167–170.

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  13. Thiele JJ, Traber MG, Polefka TG, Cross CE, Packer LP: Ozone exposure depletes vitamin E and induces lipid peroxidation in murine stratum corneum. J Invest Dermatol 1997;108:753–757.
  14. Haratake A, Uchida Y, Mimura K, Elias PM, Holleran WM: Intrinsically aged epidermis displays diminished UVB-induced alterations in barrier function associated with decreased proliferation. J Invest Dermatol 1997;108:319–323.
  15. Thiele JJ, Weber SU, Packer L: Sebaceous gland secretion is a major physiological route of vitamin E delivery to skin. J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:1006–1010.
  16. Blanc D, Saint-Leger D, Brandt J: An original procedure for quantification of cutaneous resorption of sebum. Arch Dermatol Res 1989;281:346–350.

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  17. Oliver CN, Ahn B-W, Moerman EJ, Goldstein S, Stadtman ER: Age-related changes in oxidized proteins. J Biol Chem 1987;262:5488.
  18. Thiele JJ, Hsieh SN, Briviba K, Sies H: Protein oxidation in human stratum corneum: Susceptibility of keratins to oxidation in vitro and presence of a keratin oxidation gradient in vivo. J Invest Dermatol 1999;113:335–339.
  19. Broekaert D, Cooreman K, Coucke P, et al: A quantitative histochemical study of sulphydryl and disulphide content during normal epidermal keratinization. Histochem J 1982;14:573–584.

    External Resources

  20. Egelrud T, Lundstroem A, Sondell B: Stratum corneum cell cohesion and desquamation in maintenance of the skin barrier; in Marzulli FN, Maibach HI (eds): Dermatotoxicology. Washington, Taylor & Francis, 1996, pp 19–27.
  21. Stadtman ER: Protein oxidation and aging. Science 1992;257:1220–1224.
  22. Watkinson A: Stratum corneum thiol protease (SCTP): A novel cysteine protease of late epidermal differentiation. Arch Dermatol Res 1999;291:260–268.

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