Inactive cortisone is converted into active cortisol by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1). Excessive levels of active glucocorticoids could deteriorate skin barrier function; barrier impairment is also observed in aged skin. In this study, we aimed to determine whether permeability barrier impairment in the aged skin could be related to increased 11β-HSD1 expression. Aged humans (n = 10) showed increased cortisol in the stratum corneum (SC) and oral epithelium, compared to young subjects (n = 10). 11β-HSD1 expression (as assessed via immunohistochemical staining) was higher in the aged murine skin. Aged hairless mice (56-week-old, n = 5) manifested greater transepidermal water loss, lower SC hydration, and higher levels of serum inflammatory cytokines than the young mice (8-week-old, n = 5). Aged 11β-HSD1 knockout mice (n = 11), 11β-HSD1 inhibitor (INHI)-treated aged wild type (WT) mice (n = 5) and young WT mice (n = 10) exhibited reduced SC corticosterone level. Corneodesmosome density was low in WT aged mice (n = 5), but high in aged 11β-HSD1 knockout and aged INHI-treated WT mice. Aged mice exhibited lower SC lipid levels; this effect was reversed by INHI treatment. Therefore, upregulation of 11β-HSD1 in the aged skin increases the active-glucocorticoid levels; this suppresses SC lipid biosynthesis, leading to impaired epidermal permeability barrier.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korea government (MEST; grant No. NRF-2018R1A2B2005002).
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry