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Concept: Epidermis


Morgellons disease is an emerging skin disease characterized by formation of dermal filaments associated with multisystemic symptoms and tick-borne illness. Some clinicians hypothesize that these often colorful dermal filaments are textile fibers, either self-implanted by patients or accidentally adhering to lesions, and conclude that patients with this disease have delusions of infestation. We present histological observations and electron microscopic imaging from representative Morgellons disease samples revealing that dermal filaments in these cases are keratin and collagen in composition and result from proliferation and activation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in the epidermis. Spirochetes were detected in the dermatological specimens from our study patients, providing evidence that Morgellons disease is associated with an infectious process.

Concepts: Medicine, Infectious disease, Medical terms, Collagen, Hospital, Skin, Epidermis, Keratin


A hydrophobic cuticle consisting of waxes and the polyester cutin covers the aerial epidermis of all land plants, providing essential protection from desiccation and other stresses. We have determined the enzymatic basis of cutin polymerization through characterization of a tomato extracellular acyltransferase, CD1, and its substrate, 2-mono(10,16-dihydroxyhexadecanoyl)glycerol. CD1 has in vitro polyester synthesis activity and is required for cutin accumulation in vivo, indicating that it is a cutin synthase.

Concepts: Plant, In vivo, In vitro, Annual plant, Epidermis, Bryophyte, Moss, Plant cuticle


BACKGROUND: Estrogen has been reported to accelerate cutaneous wound healing. This research studies the effect of young coconut juice (YCJ), presumably containing estrogen-like substances, on cutaneous wound healing in ovairectomized rats. METHODS: Four groups of female rats (6 in each group) were included in this study. These included sham-operated, ovariectomized (ovx), ovx receiving estradiol benzoate (EB) injections intraperitoneally, and ovx receiving YCJ orally. Two equidistant 1-cm full-thickness skin incisional wounds were made two weeks after ovariectomy. The rats were sacrificed at the end of the third and the fourth week of the study, and their serum estradiol (E2) level was measured by chemiluminescent immunoassay. The skin was excised and examined in histological sections stained with H&E, and immunostained using anti-estrogen receptor (ER-alpha an ER-beta) antibodies. RESULTS: Wound healing was accelerated in ovx rats receiving YCJ, as compared to controls. This was associated with significantly higher density of immunostaining for ER-alpha an ER-beta in keratinocytes, fibroblasts, white blood cells, fat cells, sebaceous gland, skeletal muscles, and hair shafts and follicles. This was also associated with thicker epidermis and dermis, but with thinner hypodermis. In addition, the number and size of immunoreactive hair follicles for both ER-alpha and ER-beta were the highest in the ovx+YCJ group, as compared to the ovx+EB group. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that YCJ has estrogen-like characteristics, which in turn seem to have beneficial effects on cutaneous wound healing.

Concepts: Wound healing, Healing, Estradiol, Skin, Dermis, Epidermis, Sebaceous gland, Coconut water


The objective of this study was to prepare a suitable formulation for dermal delivery of diflucortolone valerate (DFV) that would maintain the localization in skin layers without any penetration and to optimize efficiency of DFV. Drug-loaded lecithin/chitosan nanoparticles with high entrapment efficiency (86.8%), were successfully prepared by ionic interaction technique. Sustained release of DFV was achieved without any initial burst release. Nanoparticles were also incorporated into chitosan gel at different ratios for preparing a more suitable formulation for topical drug delivery with adequate viscosity. In ex-vivo permeation studies, nanoparticles increased the accumulation of DFV especially in the stratum corneum + epidermis of rat skin without any significant permeation. Retention of DFV from nanoparticle in chitosan gel formulation (0.01%) was twofold higher than commercial cream, although it contained ten times less DFV. Nanoparticles in gel formulations produced significantly higher edema inhibition in rats compared with commercial cream in in-vivo studies. Skin blanching assay using a chromameter showed vasoconstriction similar to that of the commercial product. There were no barrier function changes upon application of nanoparticles. In-vitro and in-vivo results demonstrated that lecithin/chitosan nanoparticles in chitosan gel may be a promising carrier for dermal delivery of DFV in various skin disorders.

Concepts: Colloid, Skin, Topical, Dermis, Epidermis, Keratin, Stratum corneum, Topical steroid


Skin hyperpigmentation is characterized by increased melanin synthesis and deposition that can cause significant psychosocial and psychological distress. Although several cytokine-receptor signaling cascades contribute to the formation of ultraviolet B-induced cutaneous hyperpigmentation, their possible involvement in other types of skin hyperpigmentation has never been clearly addressed. Since our continuous studies using skin specimens from more than 30 subjects with ethnic skin diversity emphasized a consistent augmentation in the expression of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and its receptor (Endothelin B receptor, ET-B) in hyperpigmented lesions, including senile lentigos (SLs), the precise function of ET-1 signaling was investigated in the present study. In line with previous studies, ET-1 significantly induced melanogenesis followed by increases in melanosome transport in melanocytes and in its transfer to keratinocytes while inhibition of ET-B function substantially depressed melanogenic ability in tissue-cultured SLs. Additionally, in agreement with a previous report that the formation of autophagosomes rather than melanosomes is stimulated according to starvation or defective melanosome production, ET-1 was found to remarkably augment the expression of components necessary for early melanosome formation, indicating its counteraction against autophagy-targeting melanosome degradation in melanocytes. Despite the lack of substantial impact of ET-1 on keratinocyte melanogenic functions, the expression of ET-1 was enhanced following melanosome uptake by keratinocytes. Taken together, our data suggest that ET-1 plays a substantial role in the development and/or maintenance of skin hyperpigmentation in reciprocal cooperation with increased melanosome incorporation.

Concepts: Melanoma, Skin, Melanin, Epidermis, Human skin color, Skin anatomy, Melanocyte, Melanosome


The value of a leaf to a plant depends on the fate of its exported assimilates. When these are translocated and used in the growth of new leaves they contribute to further carbon assimilation. The result is that their value to the plant is greatest while they are young. In contrast, when assimilates are translocated to storage, assimilates produced early and late in the life of a leaf are of equal value. This arguments is developed in relation to the optimal distribution of mineral resources and defenses during the life of leaves.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Water, Fern, Epidermis, Leaf, Plant morphology, Chlorophyll, Gymnosperm


Caloric restriction (CR) is the most effective intervention known to enhance lifespan, but its effect on the skin is poorly understood. Here, we show that CR mice display fur coat remodeling associated with an expansion of the hair follicle stem cell (HFSC) pool. We also find that the dermal adipocyte depot (dWAT) is underdeveloped in CR animals. The dermal/vennule annulus vasculature is enlarged, and a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) switch and metabolic reprogramming in both the dermis and the epidermis are observed. When the fur coat is removed, CR mice display increased energy expenditure associated with lean weight loss and locomotion impairment. Our findings indicate that CR promotes extensive skin and fur remodeling. These changes are necessary for thermal homeostasis and metabolic fitness under conditions of limited energy intake, suggesting a potential adaptive mechanism.

Concepts: Angiogenesis, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Skin, Knowledge, Dermis, Epidermis, Skin anatomy, Fur


Keratin 16 (K16) is a cytoskeletal scaffolding protein highly expressed at pressure-bearing sites of the mammalian footpad. It can be induced in hyperproliferative states such as wound healing, inflammation and cancer. Here we show that the inactive rhomboid protease RHBDF2 (iRHOM2) regulates thickening of the footpad epidermis through its interaction with K16. K16 expression is absent in the thinned footpads of irhom2(-/-) mice compared with irhom2(+/+)mice, due to reduced keratinocyte proliferation. Gain-of-function mutations in iRHOM2 underlie Tylosis with oesophageal cancer (TOC), characterized by palmoplantar thickening, upregulate K16 with robust downregulation of its type II keratin binding partner, K6. By orchestrating the remodelling and turnover of K16, and uncoupling it from K6, iRHOM2 regulates the epithelial response to physical stress. These findings contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying hyperproliferation of the palmoplantar epidermis in both physiological and disease states, and how this ‘stress’ keratin is regulated.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene expression, Mutation, Wound healing, Skin, Epidermis, Keratin


The epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, forms a physical and antimicrobial shield to protect the body from environmental threats. Skin injury severely compromises the epidermal barrier and requires immediate repair. Dendritic epidermal T cells (DETC) reside in the murine epidermis where they sense skin injury and serve as regulators and orchestrators of immune responses. Here, we determined that TCR stimulation and skin injury induces IL-17A production by a subset of DETC. This subset of IL-17A-producing DETC was distinct from IFN-γ producers, despite similar surface marker profiles. Functionally, blocking IL-17A or genetic deletion of IL-17A resulted in delayed wound closure in animals. Skin organ cultures from Tcrd-/-, which lack DETC, and Il17a-/- mice both exhibited wound-healing defects. Wound healing was fully restored by the addition of WT DETC, but only partially restored by IL-17A-deficient DETC, demonstrating the importance of IL-17A to wound healing. Following skin injury, DETC-derived IL-17A induced expression of multiple host-defense molecules in epidermal keratinocytes to promote healing. Together, these data provide a mechanistic link between IL-17A production by DETC, host-defense, and wound-healing responses in the skin. These findings establish a critical and unique role of IL-17A-producing DETC in epidermal barrier function and wound healing.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Wound healing, Chromosome, Skin, Wound, Epidermis, Keratinocyte


Patients suffering from Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV), a rare inherited skin disease, display a particular susceptibility to persistent infection with cutaneous genus beta-human papillomavirus (beta-HPV), such as HPV type 8. They have a high risk to develop non-melanoma skin cancer at sun-exposed sites. In various models evidence is emerging that cutaneous HPV E6 proteins disturb epidermal homeostasis and support carcinogenesis, however, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood as yet. In this study we demonstrate that microRNA-203 (miR-203), a key regulator of epidermal proliferation and differentiation, is strongly down-regulated in HPV8-positive EV-lesions. We provide evidence that CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα), a differentiation-regulating transcription factor and suppressor of UV-induced skin carcinogenesis, directly binds the miR-203 gene within its hairpin region and thereby induces miR-203 transcription. Our data further demonstrate that the HPV8 E6 protein significantly suppresses this novel C/EBPα/mir-203-pathway. As a consequence, the miR-203 target ΔNp63α, a proliferation-inducing transcription factor, is up-regulated, while the differentiation factor involucrin is suppressed. HPV8 E6 specifically down-regulates C/EBPα but not C/EBPβ expression at the transcriptional level. As shown in knock-down experiments, C/EBPα is regulated by the acetyltransferase p300, a well-described target of cutaneous E6 proteins. Notably, p300 bound significantly less to the C/EBPα regulatory region in HPV8 E6 expressing keratinocytes than in control cells as demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. In situ analysis confirmed congruent suprabasal expression patterns of C/EBPα and miR-203 in non-lesional skin of EV-patients. In HPV8-positive EV-lesions both factors are potently down-regulated in vivo further supporting our in vitro data. In conclusion our study has unraveled a novel p300/C/EBPα/mir-203-dependent mechanism, by which the cutaneous HPV8 E6 protein may expand p63-positive cells in the epidermis of EV-patients and disturbs fundamental keratinocyte functions. This may drive HPV-mediated pathogenesis and may potentially also pave the way for skin carcinogenesis in EV-patients.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Transcription, Human papillomavirus, Epidermis