The changes of epidermal calcium gradient and transitional cells after prolonged occlusion following tape stripping in the murine epidermis

Sung Ku Ahn, Sang Min Hwang, Shao Jun Jiang, Eung Ho Choi, Seung Hun Lee

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Disruption of the epidermal permeability barrier causes an immediate loss of the calcium gradient, and barrier recovery is parallel with the restoration of the calcium gradient in the epidermis. Artificial restoration of the barrier function by occlusion with a water vapor-impermeable membrane abrogate the expected increase in lipid synthesis and retard the barrier recovery, as well as block the normalization of the epidermal calcium gradient. To clarify the long-term effects of occlusion after acute barrier perturbation, we studied the calcium distribution and epidermal keratinocytes response after occlusion with a water vapor-impermeable membrane immediately following tape stripping in the murine epidermis. Acute barrier disruption caused an immediate depletion of most calcium ions in the upper epidermis, obliterating the normal calcium gradient. When the skin barrier function was artificially corrected by occlusion, the return of calcium ions to the epidermis was blocked. After 2 h of air exposure or occlusion, the density of epidermal calcium precipitates remained negligible. The transitional cell layers appeared with occlusion, but not or negligibly with air exposure. By 6 h though, calcium precipitates could be seen, the density of the calcium precipitates with occlusion was more sparse than with air exposure. With the air exposure, the thickness of the stratum corneum had normalized and the calcium gradient nearly recovered to normal after 24 h. The longer the occlusion period, the greater was the increase of transitional cells. By 60 h of occlusion, the thickness of the stratum corneum had increased and the transitional cell layers had disappeared, in parallel with the calcium gradient which was almost normalized. These results show that prolonged occlusion of tape-stripped epidermis induced transitional cells and delayed the restoration of the epidermal calcium gradient, the stratum corneum was then restored, transitional cells having disappeared, in parallel with normalization of the epidermal calcium gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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