Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Online ISSN : 1347-5223
Print ISSN : 0009-2363
ISSN-L : 0009-2363
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Amino Acids and Their N-Acetylated Derivatives Maintain the Skin’s Barrier Function
Hiroki OhnariMasatoshi SekiyaEiji NaruTaku OguraOsamu SakataYasuko Obata
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2021 Volume 69 Issue 7 Pages 652-660


The hydrocarbon-chain packing structure of intercellular lipids in the stratum corneum (SC) is critical to the skin’s barrier function. We previously found that formation of V-shaped ceramide reduces the barrier function of skin. There are few agents, apart from ceramides and fatty acids that can improve the orthorhombic packing (Orth) ratio of the intercellular lipid packing structure. In this study, we investigated agents that directly increase the Orth ratio. We selected an intercellular lipid model consisting of ceramide, cholesterol, and palmitic acid and performed differential scanning calorimetry. We focused on natural moisturizing factor components in the SC, and therefore investigated amino acids and their derivatives. The results of our intercellular lipid model-based study indicate that N-acetyl-L-hydroxyproline (AHYP), remarkably, maintains the lamellar structure. We verified the effect of AHYP on the lamellar structure and hydrocarbon chain packing structure of intercellular lipids using time-resolved X-ray diffraction measurements of human SC. We also determined the direct physicochemical effects of AHYP on the Orth ratio of the hydrocarbon-chain packing structure. Hence, the results of our human SC study suggest that AHYP preserves skin barrier function by maintaining the hydrocarbon-chain packing structure of intercellular lipids via electrostatic repulsion. These findings will facilitate the development of skincare formulation that can maintain the skin’s barrier function.

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