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

Inhibition of cholesterol and sphingolipid synthesis causes paradoxical effects on permeability barrier homeostasis.

Cholesterol, fatty acid, and sphingolipid synthesis are required for barrier homeostasis, as demonstrated by studies where synthesis of these species is stimulated in parallel with barrier repair. Moreover, blockade of synthesis of these lipids with inhibitors of two of the rate-limiting enzymes, HMGCoA reductase (lovastatin, fluvastatin) and serine palmitoyl transferase (beta-chloroalanine), alters the kinetics of barrier repair. Whereas these studies demonstrated a requirement for these lipids individually, we asked here whether these lipids are required in either an additive or cooperative fashion. We applied each class of inhibitor alone or the two classes of inhibitors together to acetone-treated skin, or each class separately to essential fatty acid deficient murine skin. When fluvastatin or beta-chloroalanine was applied individually to acetone-treated skin, each caused a delay in the early or late stages of barrier recovery, respectively (assessed as transepidermal water loss). However, when applied together they caused no further worsening at the early time point and a paradoxical improvement at the later time points. This improvement correlated with an accelerated return of sphingolipids, which was perhaps due to a global stimulation of lipid synthesis induced by HMGCoA reductase inhibitors. In essential fatty acid deficient animals, inhibition of HMGCoA reductase caused drastic worsening of both clinical appearance and barrier function, but beta-chloroalanine caused a paradoxical improvement, which correlated with a significant reduction in epidermal sphingolipids. These results are consistent with a requirement for both cholesterol and sphingolipids for barrier homeostasis, and also with the suggestion that both of these lipids must be present (with free fatty acids) for optimal barrier function.[1]


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