Researchers report in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Lipid Research that they have made synthetic lipids called pseudoceramides that are involved in skin cell growth and could be used in treating skin diseases in which skin cells grow abnormally.
Ceramides are lipids found in the outermost skin layer called the stratum corneum, which is made of dead skin cells and mainly serves as a physical barrier. Ceramides' main biological function is to control how skin cells grow and differentiate – a process through which skin cells become specialized.
Scientists have created in the laboratory synthetic ceramides, called pseudoceramides, to treat skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema characterized by red, flaky and very itchy skin; psoriasis, a disease that causes red scaly patches on the skin; and glucocorticoid-induced epidermal atrophy, in which the skin shrinks due to skin cell loss.
Jeung-Hoon Lee and colleagues have developed a new series of pseudoceramides and examined their effects on skin cells. They found that three pseudoceramides called K6PC-4, K6PC-5, and K6PC-9 significantly increased the amount of proteins produced when skin cells differentiate. These results were obtained both on cultured skin cells and on a reconstituted epidermis. K6PC-4, K6PC-5, and K6PC-9 may be used to treat skin diseases arising from abnormal growth of skin cells, the scientists concluded.
Article: “Novel synthetic ceramide derivatives increase intracellular calcium levels and promote epidermal keratinocyte differentiation,” by Yoo Bin Kwon, Chang Deok Kim, Jong-Kyung Youm, Hyung Sub Gwak, Byeong Deog Park, Seung Hun Lee, Saewha Jeon, Bo Joong Kim, Young-Joon Seo, Jang-Kyu Park, and Jeung-Hoon Lee