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Issue 5, 2012
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Effect of composition on water permeability of model stratum corneum lipid membranes

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Abstract

The stratum corneum (SC), composed of corneocytes and intercellular lipid membranes, is the outermost layer of the epidermis, and its main function is the regulation of water loss from the skin. The major components of the SC lipid membranes are ceramides (CER), cholesterol (CHOL), and free fatty acids (FFA), which are organized in multilamellar structures between corneocytes. The intercellular SC lipid membrane is believed to provide the main pathway for the transport of water and other substances through the skin. While changes in the composition of the SC lipid membranes have been shown to affect the organization of the lipid molecules, little is known about the effect of compositional changes on their water permeability. In this work, we study the effect of membrane composition on the water permeability of model SC lipid membranes using a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D). The QCM-D method enables the direct determination of the diffusivity (D), solubility (S), and permeability (P) of water through the model SC lipid membranes. We find that D and S weakly depend on the chain length of saturated fatty acids, while P shows no significant dependence. In contrast, the saturation level of free fatty acids and the structure of ceramide have significant influence on D and S, respectively, resulting in significant changes in P. By taking advantage of the dissipation monitoring capability of the QCM-D at multiple overtones, we find that the shear modulus (G) of the SC lipid membranes depends on its composition and decreases upon water absorption by the membranes.

Graphical abstract: Effect of composition on water permeability of model stratum corneum lipid membranes

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Aug 2011, accepted on 09 Nov 2011 and first published on 12 Dec 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06613G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 1539-1546
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    Effect of composition on water permeability of model stratum corneum lipid membranes

    M. H. Lee, B. Lim, J. W. Kim, E. J. An and D. Lee, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 1539
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06613G

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