Researchers unlock secrets of stratum corneum

May 2, 2012

Researchers in Sweden have successfully described the function and structure of the topmost layer of skin at the molecular level, creating new possibilities for large-scale drug delivery via the skin and also opening the door for greater understanding of skin diseases.

Solna, Sweden - Researchers in Sweden have successfully described the function and structure of the topmost layer of skin at the molecular level, creating new possibilities for large-scale drug delivery via the skin and also opening the door for greater understanding of skin diseases.

The research team, from Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm, developed a new and experimental approach, in which the scientists rapidly froze skin samples and studied the samples under a low-temperature electron microscope. The results have revealed the secrets of skin’s perviousness, which may significantly increase the number of drugs administered via the skin, rather than via pills or injections, News Medical reports.

Aside from the implications on drug development, the study also opens the door for new understanding of how skin diseases manifest themselves in the outer layer. Researchers hope that a new understanding of the molecular level of skin will lead to new and improved treatments.

"This may be a breakthrough for dermatology," said Lars Norlén, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator and associate professor at Karolinska’s Dermatology and Venerology Unit. "Our team has devoted the past 20 years to unlocking the mysteries of the stratum corneum. Understanding how this protective barrier has developed is an important step towards explaining why life on land exists and is even possible.”

The study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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