Skin barrier impairment is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of atopic eczema (AE). The skin barrier is located in the stratum corneum (SC), consisting of corneocytes embedded in lipids. Ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids are the major lipid classes and are crucial for the skin barrier function, but their role in relation to AE is indistinct. Filaggrin is an epidermal barrier protein and common mutations in the filaggrin gene strongly predispose for AE. However, there is no strong evidence that filaggrin mutations are related to the reduced skin barrier in AE. In this study, electron diffraction is used in order to study the lipid organization of control SC and non-lesional SC of AE patients in vivo. An increased presence of the hexagonal lipid organization was observed in non-lesional SC of AE patients, indicating a less dense lipid organization. These changes correlate with a reduced skin barrier function as measured with transepidermal water loss but do not correlate with the presence of filaggrin mutations. These results are indicative for the importance of the lipid organization for a proper skin barrier function. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Janssens, M., Mulder, A. A., Van Smeden, J., Pilgram, G. S. K., Wolterbeek, R., Lavrijsen, A. P. M., … Bouwstra, J. A. (2013). Electron diffraction study of lipids in non-lesional stratum corneum of atopic eczema patients. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1828(8), 1814–1821. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2013.04.001