Background: The stratum corneum (SC), as the skin layer most exposed to various environmental factors, is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. Due to the high lipid content of the SC, lipophilic antioxidants such as α-tocopherol are expected to play a major role in scavenging reactive oxidant intermediates produced during oxidative stress. Objectives: Since the skin of atopic dermatitis patients has an impaired barrier function, we wondered if they were more susceptible to environmental oxidative stress than healthy subjects. Methods: SC was collected by scraping the forearm of 14 healthy volunteers and 14 patients with atopic dermatitis; then, α-tocopherol and lipid peroxide concentrations were assessed by high-performance liquid chromatography and ferrous oxidation, respectively. Results: The SC from atopic patients showed a higher concentration of α-tocopherol (16.1 ± 2.2 nmol/g) as compared to healthy controls (7.7 ± 0.9 nmol/g; p < 0.01), as well as a slightly but significantly lower concentration of lipid peroxides (1,353 ± 128 and 1,818 ± 154 nmol/g for atopic dermatitis patients and healthy controls, respectively; p < 0.05). Conclusions: These results show that the SC of atopic dermatitis patients exhibits a significantly less pronounced oxidative state. This may be the consequence of an increase in cutaneous antioxidant defences due to chronic inflammation.

Elias PM: Stratum corneum architecture, metabolic activity and interactivity with subjacent cell layers. Exp Dermatol 1996;5:191–201.
Wolf R, Wolf D, Ruocco V: Vitamin E: The radical protector. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 1998;10:103–117.
Thiele JJ, Schroeter C, Hsieh SN, Podda M, Packer L: The antioxidant network of the stratum corneum. Curr Probl Dermatol 2001;29:26–42.
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.
Nachbar F, Korting HC: The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin. J Mol Med 1995;73:7–17.
Halliwell B, Gutteridge JMC: Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine, ed 3. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999.
Thiele JJ, Traber MG, Packer L: Depletion of human stratum corneum vitamin E: An early and sensitive in vivo marker of UV induced photo-oxidation. J Invest Dermatol 1998;110:756–761.
Thiele JJ, Packer L: Non-invasive measurement of α-tocopherol gradients in human stratum corneum by HPLC analysis of sequential tape strippings. Methods Enzymol 1999;300:413–419.
Borirakchanyavat K, Kurban AK: Atopic dermatitis. Clin Dermatol 2000;18:649–655.
Leung DY: Atopic dermatitis: New insights and opportunities for therapeutic intervention. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000;105:860–876.
Yokoi K, Yokoi N, Kinoshita S: Impairment of ocular surface epithelium barrier function in patients with atopic dermatitis. Br J Ophthalmol 1998;82:797–800.
Di Nardo A, Wertz P, Giannetti A, Seidenari S: Ceramide and cholesterol composition of the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol 1998;78:27–30.
Sorg O, Tran C, Carraux P, Didierjean L, Saurat JH: Retinol and retinyl ester epidermal pools are not identically sensitive to UVB irradiation and antioxidant protective effect. Dermatology 1999;199:302–307.
Nourooz-Zadeh J, Tajaddini-Sarmadi J, Wolff SP: Measurement of plasma hydroperoxide concentrations by the ferrous oxidation-xylenol orange assay in conjunction with triphenylphosphine. Anal Biochem 1994;220:403–409.
Shindo Y, Witt E, Han D, Epstein W, Packer L: Enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants in epidermis and dermis of human skin. J Invest Dermatol 1994;102:122–124.
Hata TR, Scholz TA, Ermakov IV, McClane RW, Khachik F, Gellermann W, Pershing LK: Non-invasive raman spectroscopic detection of carotenoids in human skin. J Invest Dermatol 2000;115:441–448.
Leung DY, Soter NA: Cellular and immunologic mechanisms in atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44:S1–S12.
Seguchi T, Cui CY, Kusuda S, Takahashi M, Aisu K, Tezuka T: Decreased expression of filaggrin in atopic skin. Arch Dermatol Res 1996;288:442–446.
Fuchs J, Zollner TM, Kaufmann R, Podda M: Redox-modulated pathways in inflammatory skin diseases. Free Radiol Biol Med 2001;30:337–353.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.