Background/Aims: Free amino acids (FAAs) and urea, present inside the corneocytes, can be important indicators of skin condition. However, due to the lack of a standard extraction protocol for FAAs from corneocytes, conflicting research results have been reported. Therefore, the purpose of this study was (1) to standardize the extraction protocol and (2) to investigate FAA profiles in healthy young and healthy old volunteers, as well as in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients. Methods: Skin samples were collected from four groups (healthy young, healthy old, and psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients) with 5 volunteers per group. Corneocytes were isolated and examined microscopically. FAAs and urea were extracted from the isolated corneocytes, and their amounts were quantified using LC-ESI/MS/MS (after derivatization with Fmoc-Cl) and colorimetric methods, respectively. Results: The micrographs of the corneocytes showed no morphological features attributable to age or disease conditions. The highest and lowest concentrations of total FAAs and urea were observed in the healthy old group and the healthy young group, respectively. Unlike the other FAAs and urea, citrulline was found at a higher level in the healthy young group than in the disease groups. Conclusion: This study suggests that the levels of FAAs and urea in the skin are affected by age and skin conditions (healthy/diseased). However, further studies are needed to show the effects of different skin conditions on the levels of FAAs and urea.

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