Online ISSN : 1347-5231
Print ISSN : 0031-6903
ISSN-L : 0031-6903
大野 祐介
ジャーナル フリー

2017 年 137 巻 10 号 p. 1201-1208


 The primary function of the skin is to act as a permeability barrier that prevents water loss from inside the body and external invasion such as by pathogens, harmful substances, and allergens. Lipids play a critical role in skin barrier formation by forming multi-lamellar structures in the stratum corneum, the outermost cell layer of the epidermis. Ceramide, the backbone of sphingolipids, accounts for more than 50% of the stratum corneum lipids. Acylceramides are epidermis-specific ceramide species essential for skin barrier formation. Decreases in acylceramide levels and changes in ceramide composition and chain-length are associated with such cutaneous disorders as ichthyosis, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Acylceramide consists of a long-chain base and an amide-linked ultra-long-chain fatty acid (ULCFA, 28-36 carbon chain), which is ω-hydroxylated and esterified with linoleic acid. Although the molecular mechanism by which acylceramide is generated has not been fully understood for decades, we recently identified two genes, CYP4F22 and PNPLA1, involved in acylceramide synthesis and elucidated the entire biosynthetic pathway of acylceramide: the synthesis of ULCFA by ELOVL1 and ELOVL4, ω-hydroxylation of the ULCFA by CYP4F22, amide-bond formation with a long-chain base by CERS3, and transacylation of linoleic acid from triacylglycerol to ω-hydroxyceramide by PNPLA1 to generate acylceramide. CYP4F22 and PNPLA1 are the causative genes of ichthyosis. We demonstrated that mutations of CYP4F22 or PNPLA1 markedly reduced acylceramide production. Our recent findings provide important insights into the molecular mechanisms of skin barrier formation and of ichthyosis pathogenesis.

© 2017 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
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