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  • Very Long Chain Lipids Favor the Formation of a Homogeneous Phase in Stratum Corneum Model Membranes.

Very Long Chain Lipids Favor the Formation of a Homogeneous Phase in Stratum Corneum Model Membranes.

Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids (2020-11-11)
Adrian Paz Ramos, Joke A Bouwstra, Michel Lafleur
ABSTRACT

The stratum corneum (SC), the outermost layer of mammal epidermis, acts as a barrier dictating the rate of absorption of exogenous molecules through the skin, as well as to prevent excessive water loss from the body. The SC consists of protein-rich corneocytes embedded into a complex lipid mixture. The lipid fraction is mainly constituted of an equimolar mixture of ceramides (Cer), free fatty acids (FFA), and cholesterol (Chol), forming a solid phase in the intracellular space; this lipid phase is supposed to play a fundamental role in the SC barrier function. An unusual characteristic of this biological membrane is that its lipids generally bear very long acyl chains, with the 24-carbon long ones being the most abundant. In this work, we used Raman microspectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy to study the influence of the acyl chain length on the lipid mixing properties in SC model membranes. Our results revealed that the combination of ceramides and FFA bearing a very long chain is required for the formation of homogeneous lipid mixtures, while lipids with shorter chains (16-carbon and 20-carbon atom long) lead to domains with micrometer dimensions. It is proposed that the biological machinery necessary for acyl chain elongation occurring at the mammalian skin level is required to inhibit lipid phase separation, a critical feature in the proper barrier functioning.

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Lignoceric acid, ≥99% (GC)