Allergy, asthma & immunology research

Pseudoceramide-containing physiological lipid mixture reduces adverse effects of topical steroids.

PMID 21461248


Various therapeutic approaches have been suggested for preventing or reducing the adverse effects of topical glucocorticoids, including skin barrier impairment. Previously, we have shown that impairment of skin barrier function by the highest potency topical glucocorticoid, clobetasol 17-propinate (CP), can be partially prevented by co-application of a physiological lipid mixture containing pseudoceramide, free fatty acids, and cholesterol (multi-lamellar emulsion [MLE]). Skin atrophic effects of CP were also partially reduced by MLE. In this study, the preventive effects of MLE on the lowest potency topical glucocorticoid, hydrocortisone (HC), were investigated using animal models. Anti-inflammatory activity of topical HC was evaluated using a 12-O-tetradecanoylphobol-13-acetate-induced skin edema model. Topical steroid induced adverse effects were evaluated using hairless mouse. The results showed that the anti-inflammatory activity was not altered by co-application of either MLE or hydrobase. However, co-application of MLE and 1.0% HC showed less impairment in the epidermal permeability barrier function, skin hydration, and skin surface pH compared with hydrobase. Stratum corneum integrity, evaluated by measuring trans-epidermal water loss after repeated tape stripping, showed less damage with MLE co-application. Long-term application of topical HC induced skin atrophy, measured by a reduction in skinfold and epidermal thickness and in the number of epidermal proliferating cell nucleus antigen (PCNA)-positive keratinocytes. Co-application of MLE did not affect the skinfold or epidermal thickness, but the number of PCNA-positive keratinocytes was less decreased with MLE use. These results suggest that co-application of MLE is effective in reducing the local adverse effects of low-potency topical glucocorticoids and supports the therapeutic efficacy of physiological lipid mixtures on skin barrier function.