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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acylceramide head group architecture affects lipid organization in synthetic ceramide mixtures.

The lipid organization in the upper layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC), is important for the skin barrier function. This lipid organization, including the characteristic 13 nm lamellar phase, can be reproduced in vitro with mixtures based on cholesterol, free fatty acids and natural as well as synthetic ceramides (CER). In human SC, nine CER classes have been identified (CER1-CER9). Detailed studies on the effect of molecular structure of individual ceramides on the SC lipid organization are only possible with synthetic lipid mixtures, as their composition can be accurately chosen and systematically modified. In the present study, small-angle X-ray diffraction was used to examine the organization in synthetic lipid mixtures of which the synthetic ceramide fraction was prepared with sphingosine-based CER1 or phytosphingosine-based CER9. The latter acylceramide contains an additional hydroxyl group at the sphingoid backbone. The results show that a gradual increase in CER1 level consistently promotes the formation of the 13 nm lamellar phase and that partial replacement of CER1 by CER9 does not affect the phase behavior. Interestingly, complete substitution of CER1 with CER9 reduces the formation of the long periodicity phase and results in phase separation of CER9.[1]


  1. Acylceramide head group architecture affects lipid organization in synthetic ceramide mixtures. de Jager, M., Gooris, G., Ponec, M., Bouwstra, J. J. Invest. Dermatol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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