Distribution of glycolipid and unsaturated fatty acids in human hair.

PMID 25103523


It has been recognized that human hair lipids play crucial roles in the integrity of cells and matrices, while the details of distribution and structure of the minor lipids are hardly known. Here we investigated the lipids at the hair surface, at the interface between cuticle and cortex and in the interior of hair (cortex, medulla and melanin granules). Hair lipids and fatty acids and their metabolites were detected and characterized by using infrared spectroscopy and several mass spectrometry techniques (FTIR, ToF-SIMS, GCMS, and ESI-MS). As a result, it was found that unsaturated fatty acids were present more in the cortex of hair than at the hair surface. At the interface between cuticle and cortex, it is suggested that steryl glycoside-like lipids containing N-acetylglucosamine were present, and contributing to the adhesion between the cuticle and cortex of hair. Oxidative metabolites derived from integral fatty acids such as linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids were found in the hair bulb and melanin granules. Especially the oxidative metabolites of alpha-linolenic acid were integrated into the lipids non-covalently and tightly bound to melanin granules (namely, melanin lipids) and suggested as being involved in the biosynthetic processes of melanosome.