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Special Issue "Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Genji Imokawa
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Guest Editor
Center for Bioscience Research & Education, Utsunomiya University, 350 Mine Utsunomiya, Tochigi 321-8505, Japan
Interests: photo-aging/fibroblast biology; atopic dermatitis/sphingolipid metabolism; melanogenesis/melanocyte biology; keratinization/keratinocyte biology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Skin symptoms frequently seen in the elderly, such as dry, roughened, dirty, pigmented, and less resilient skin, distinctly resemble those of atopic dermatitis patients. Although it is obvious that the molecular mechanisms underlying the respective pathophysiology of each are completely different, a comparative reseach approach would provide a deep insight into the better understanding of related molecular mechanisms. For instance, while it has been established that ceramide deficiency in the stratum corneum is manily responsible for dry skin, more precise molecular mechanisms involved in ceramide deficiency are distinct from each other between aged skin and atopic dry skin, and are not yet fully elucidated. This Special Issue on “Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis” aims to provide a summary of those emerging fields, with an emphasis on novel developments in anti-aging and anti-atopic products, and novel results on different types of skin aging and pathophysiological molecular mechanisms of atopic dermatitis. This Special Issue will publish original research articles, as well as mini and full reviews, including perspectives in the field on the current understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in skin aging, photo-aging and atopic dermatitis. Manuscripts on the molecular mechanisms of new or old skin anti-aging products and anti-atopic agents, the introduction of ideas for new skin anti-aging or anti-atopic agents, and new techniques for measuring the level of skin aging and atopic dermatitis severity, are all welcome.

Prof. Dr. Genji Imokawa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • skin aging
  • photo-aging
  • atopic dermatitis
  • ceramide
  • dry skin
  • melanosis
  • wrinkling

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Regulatory T Cells Exhibit Interleukin-33-Dependent Migratory Behavior during Skin Barrier Disruption
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(14), 7443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22147443 - 12 Jul 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress immune responses and maintain immunological self-tolerance and homeostasis. We currently investigated relationships between skin barrier condition and Treg behavior using skin barrier-disrupted mice. Skin barrier disruption was induced by repeated topical application of 4% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) [...] Read more.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) suppress immune responses and maintain immunological self-tolerance and homeostasis. We currently investigated relationships between skin barrier condition and Treg behavior using skin barrier-disrupted mice. Skin barrier disruption was induced by repeated topical application of 4% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) on mice. The number of CD4+ forkhead box protein P3 (Foxp3)+ Tregs was higher in 4% SDS-treated skins than in controls. This increasing was correlated with the degree of acanthosis. The numbers of interleukin (IL)-10+ and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β+ Tregs also increased in 4% SDS-treated skins. Localization of IL-33 in keratinocytes shifted from nucleus to cytoplasm after skin barrier disruption. Notably, IL-33 promoted the migration of Tregs in chemotaxis assay. The skin infiltration of Tregs was cancelled in IL-33 neutralizing antibody-treated mice and IL-33 knockout mice. Thus, keratinocyte-derived IL-33 may induce Treg migration into barrier-disrupted skin to control the phase transition between healthy and inflammatory conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Article
The Attenuated Secretion of Hyaluronan by UVA-Exposed Human Fibroblasts Is Associated with Up- and Downregulation of HYBID and HAS2 Expression via Activated and Inactivated Signaling of the p38/ATF2 and JAK2/STAT3 Cascades
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 2057; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22042057 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Little is known about the effects on hyaluronan (HA) metabolism of UVA radiation. This study demonstrates that the secretion of HA by human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) is downregulated by UVA, accompanied by the down- and upregulation of mRNA and protein levels of the [...] Read more.
Little is known about the effects on hyaluronan (HA) metabolism of UVA radiation. This study demonstrates that the secretion of HA by human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) is downregulated by UVA, accompanied by the down- and upregulation of mRNA and protein levels of the HA-synthesizing enzyme (HAS2) and the HA-degrading protein, HYaluronan Binding protein Involved in HA Depolymerization(HYBID), respectively. Signaling analysis revealed that the exposure distinctly elicits activation of the p38/MSK1/CREB/c-Fos/AP-1 axis, the JNK/c-Jun axis, and the p38/ATF-2 axis, but downregulates the phosphorylation of NF-kB and JAK/STAT3. A signal inhibition study demonstrated that the inhibition of p38 significantly abrogates the UVA-accentuated mRNA level of HYBID. Furthermore, the inhibition of STAT3 significantly downregulates the level of HAS2 mRNA in non-UVA exposed HDFs. Analysis using siRNAs demonstrated that transfection of ATF-2 siRNA but not c-Fos siRNA abrogates the increased protein level of HYBID in UVA-exposed HDFs. An inhibitor of protein tyrosine phosphatase but not of protein serine/threonine phosphatase restored the diminished phosphorylation level of STAT3 at Tyr 705, accompanied by a significant abolishing effect on the decreased mRNA expression level of HAS2. Silencing with a protein tyrosine phosphatase PTP-Meg2 siRNA revealed that it abrogates the decreased phosphorylation of STAT3 at Tyr 705 in UVA-exposed HDFs. These findings suggest that the UVA-induced decrease in HA secretion by HDFs is attributable to the down- and upregulation of HAS2 and HYBID expression, respectively, changes that are mainly ascribed to the inactivated signaling of the STAT3 axis due to the activated tyrosine protein phosphatase PTP-Meg2 and the activated signaling of the p38/ATF2 axis, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Article
Increased Regulatory T Cells and Decreased Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Induced by High CCL17 Levels May Account for Normal Incidence of Cancers among Patients with Atopic Dermatitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 2025; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22042025 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 756
Abstract
The incidence of cancers in atopic dermatitis (AD) is not increased, although the Th2-dominant environment is known to downregulate tumor immunity. To gain mechanistic insights regarding tumor immunity in AD, we utilized CCL17 transgenic (TG) mice overexpressing CCL17, which is a key chemokine [...] Read more.
The incidence of cancers in atopic dermatitis (AD) is not increased, although the Th2-dominant environment is known to downregulate tumor immunity. To gain mechanistic insights regarding tumor immunity in AD, we utilized CCL17 transgenic (TG) mice overexpressing CCL17, which is a key chemokine in AD. Tumor formation and lung metastasis were accelerated in CCL17 TG mice when melanoma cells were injected subcutaneously or intravenously. Flow cytometric analysis showed increases in regulatory T cells (Tregs) in lymph nodes in CCL17 TG mice with high mRNA levels of IL-10 and Foxp3 in tumors, suggesting that Tregs attenuated tumor immunity. The frequency of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), however, was significantly decreased in tumors of CCL17 TG mice, suggesting that decreased MDSCs might promote tumor immunity. Expression of CXCL17, a chemoattractant of MDSCs, was decreased in tumors of CCL17 TG mice. Depletion of Tregs by the anti-CD25 antibody markedly reduced tumor volumes in CCL17 TG mice, suggesting that tumor immunity was accelerated by the decrease in MDSCs in the absence of Tregs. Thus, CCL17 attenuates tumor immunity by increasing Tregs and Th2 cells, while it decreases MDSCs through reductions in CXCL17, which may work as a “safety-net” to reduce the risk of malignant tumors in the Th2-dominant environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Article
Sphingomyelin Deacylase, the Enzyme Involved in the Pathogenesis of Atopic Dermatitis, Is Identical to the β-Subunit of Acid Ceramidase
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8789; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21228789 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
A ceramide deficiency in the stratum corneum (SC) is an essential etiologic factor for the dry and barrier-disrupted skin of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Previously, we reported that sphingomyelin (SM) deacylase, which hydrolyzes SM and glucosylceramide at the acyl site to yield [...] Read more.
A ceramide deficiency in the stratum corneum (SC) is an essential etiologic factor for the dry and barrier-disrupted skin of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Previously, we reported that sphingomyelin (SM) deacylase, which hydrolyzes SM and glucosylceramide at the acyl site to yield their lysoforms sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) and glucosylsphingosine, respectively, instead of ceramide and/or acylceramide, is over-expressed in AD skin and results in a ceramide deficiency. Although the enzymatic properties of SM deacylase have been clarified, the enzyme itself remains unidentified. In this study, we purified and characterized SM deacylase from rat skin. The activities of SM deacylase and acid ceramidase (aCDase) were measured using SM and ceramide as substrates by tandem mass spectrometry by monitoring the production of SPC and sphingosine, respectively. Levels of SM deacylase activity from various rat organs were higher in the order of skin > lung > heart. By successive chromatography using Phenyl-5PW, Rotofor, SP-Sepharose, Superdex 200 and Shodex RP18-415, SM deacylase was purified to homogeneity with a single band of an apparent molecular mass of 43 kDa with an enrichment of > 14,000-fold. Analysis by MALDI-TOF MS/MS using a protein spot with SM deacylase activity separated by 2D-SDS-PAGE allowed its amino acid sequence to be determined and identified as the β-subunit of aCDase, which consists of α- and β-subunits linked by amino bonds and a single S-S bond. Western blotting of samples treated with 2-mercaptoethanol revealed that, whereas recombinant human aCDase was recognized by antibodies to the α-subunit at ~56 kDa and ~13 kDa and the β-subunit at ~43 kDa, the purified SM deacylase was detectable only by the antibody to the β-subunit at ~43 kDa. Breaking the S-S bond of recombinant human aCDase with dithiothreitol elicited the activity of SM deacylase with ~40 kDa upon gel chromatography. These results provide new insights into the essential role of SM deacylase expressed as an aCDase-degrading β-subunit that evokes the ceramide deficiency in AD skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Article
Synthesis of Kisspeptin-Mimicking Fragments and Investigation of their Skin Anti-Aging Effects
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8439; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21228439 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 866
Abstract
In recent years, a number of active materials have been developed to provide anti-aging benefits for skin and, among them, peptides have been considered the most promising candidate due to their remarkable and long-lasting anti-wrinkle activity. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the [...] Read more.
In recent years, a number of active materials have been developed to provide anti-aging benefits for skin and, among them, peptides have been considered the most promising candidate due to their remarkable and long-lasting anti-wrinkle activity. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the relationship between the secretion of emotion-related hormones and skin aging. Kisspeptin, a neuropeptide encoded by the KISS1 gene, has gained attention in reproductive endocrinology since it stimulates the reproductive axis in the hypothalamus; however, the effects of Kisspeptin on skin have not been studied yet. In this study, we synthesized Kisspeptin-10 and Kisspeptin-E, which are biologically active fragments, to mimic the action of Kisspeptin. Next, we demonstrated the anti-aging effects of the Kisspeptin-mimicking fragments using UV-induced skin aging models, such as UV-induced human dermal fibroblasts (Hs68) and human skin explants. Kisspeptin-E suppressed UV-induced 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) stimulation leading to a regulation of skin aging related genes, including type I procollagen, matrix metalloproteinases-1 (MMP-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and IL-8, and rescued the skin integrity. Taken together, these results suggest that Kisspeptin-E could be useful to improve UV-induced skin aging by modulating expression of stress related genes, such as 11β-HSD1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Review

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Review
The Implications of Pruritogens in the Pathogenesis of Atopic Dermatitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 7227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22137227 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a prototypic inflammatory disease that presents with intense itching. The pathophysiology of AD is multifactorial, involving environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, skin barrier function, and immune responses. A recent understanding of pruritus transmission provides more information about the role of [...] Read more.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a prototypic inflammatory disease that presents with intense itching. The pathophysiology of AD is multifactorial, involving environmental factors, genetic susceptibility, skin barrier function, and immune responses. A recent understanding of pruritus transmission provides more information about the role of pruritogens in the pathogenesis of AD. There is evidence that pruritogens are not only responsible for eliciting pruritus, but also interact with immune cells and act as inflammatory mediators, which exacerbate the severity of AD. In this review, we discuss the interaction between pruritogens and inflammatory molecules and summarize the targeted therapies for AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Review
Immunological Aspects of Skin Aging in Atopic Dermatitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 5729; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22115729 - 27 May 2021
Viewed by 750
Abstract
The cutaneous immune response is important for the regulation of skin aging well as for the development of immune-mediated skin diseases. Aging of the human skin undergoes immunosenescence with immunological alterations and can be affected by environmental stressors and internal factors, thus leading [...] Read more.
The cutaneous immune response is important for the regulation of skin aging well as for the development of immune-mediated skin diseases. Aging of the human skin undergoes immunosenescence with immunological alterations and can be affected by environmental stressors and internal factors, thus leading to various epidermal barrier abnormalities. The dysfunctional epidermal barrier, immune dysregulation, and skin dysbiosis in the advanced age, together with the genetic factors, facilitate the late onset of atopic dermatitis (AD) in the elderly, whose cases have recently been on the rise. Controversial to the healthy aged skin, where overproduction of many cytokines is found, the levels of Th2/Th22 related cytokines inversely correlated with age in the skin of older AD patients. As opposed to an endogenously aged skin, the expression of the terminal differentiation markers significantly increases with age in AD. Despite the atenuated barrier disturbances in older AD patients, the aged skin carries an impairment associated with the aging process, which reflects the persistence of AD. The chronicity of AD in older patients might not directly affect skin aging but does not allow spontaneous remission. Thus, adult- and elderly subtypes of AD are considered as a lifelong disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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Review
Cutting Edge of the Pathogenesis of Atopic Dermatitis: Sphingomyelin Deacylase, the Enzyme Involved in Its Ceramide Deficiency, Plays a Pivotal Role
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1613; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22041613 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized clinically by severe dry skin and functionally by both a cutaneous barrier disruption and an impaired water-holding capacity in the stratum corneum (SC) even in the nonlesional skin. The combination of the disrupted barrier and water-holding functions in [...] Read more.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized clinically by severe dry skin and functionally by both a cutaneous barrier disruption and an impaired water-holding capacity in the stratum corneum (SC) even in the nonlesional skin. The combination of the disrupted barrier and water-holding functions in nonlesional skin is closely linked to the disease severity of AD, which suggests that the barrier abnormality as well as the water deficiency are elicited as a result of the induced dermatitis and subsequently trigger the recurrence of dermatitis. These functional abnormalities of the SC are mainly attributable to significantly decreased levels of total ceramides and the altered ceramide profile in the SC. Clinical studies using a synthetic pseudo-ceramide (pCer) that can function as a natural ceramide have indicated the superior clinical efficacy of pCer and, more importantly, have shown that the ceramide deficiency rather than changes in the ceramide profile in the SC of AD patients plays a central role in the pathogenesis of AD. Clinical studies of infants with AD have shown that the barrier disruption due to the ceramide deficiency is not inherent and is essentially dependent on postinflammatory events in those infants. Consistently, the recovery of trans-epidermal water loss after tape-stripping occurs at a significantly slower rate only at 1 day post-tape-stripping in AD skin compared with healthy control (HC) skin. This resembles the recovery pattern observed in Niemann–Pick disease, which is caused by an acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) deficiency. Further, comparison of ceramide levels in the SC between before and after tape-stripping revealed that whereas ceramide levels in HC skin are significantly upregulated at 4 days post-tape-stripping, their ceramide levels remain substantially unchanged at 4 days post-tape-stripping. Taken together, the sum of these findings strongly suggests that an impaired homeostasis of a ceramide-generating process may be associated with these abnormalities. We have discovered a novel enzyme, sphingomyelin (SM) deacylase, which cleaves the N-acyl linkage of SM and glucosylceramide (GCer). The activity of SM deacylase is significantly increased in AD lesional epidermis as well as in the involved and uninvolved SC of AD skin, but not in the skin of patients with contact dermatitis or chronic eczema, compared with HC skin. SM deacylase competes with aSMase and β-glucocerebrosidase (BGCase) to hydrolyze their common substrates, SM and GCer, to yield their lysoforms sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) and glucosylsphingosine (GSP), respectively, instead of ceramide. Consistently, those reaction products (SPC and GSP) accumulate to a greater extent in the involved and uninvolved SC of AD skin compared with chronic eczema or contact dermatitis skin as well as HC skin. Successive chromatographies were used to purify SM deacylase to homogeneity with a single band of ≈43 kDa and with an enrichment of >14,000-fold. Analysis of a protein spot with SM deacylase activity separated by 2D-SDS-PAGE using MALDI-TOF MS/MS allowed its amino acid sequence to be determined and to identify it as the β-subunit of acid ceramidase (aCDase), an enzyme consisting of α- and β-subunits linked by amino-bonds and a single S-S bond. Western blotting of samples treated with 2-mercaptoethanol revealed that whereas recombinant human aCDase was recognized by antibodies to the α-subunit at ≈56 and ≈13 kDa and the β-subunit at ≈43 kDa, the purified SM deacylase was detectable only by the antibody to the β-subunit at ≈43 kDa. Breaking the S-S bond of recombinant human aCDase with dithiothreitol elicited the activity of SM deacylase with an apparent size of ≈40 kDa upon gel chromatography in contrast to aCDase activity with an apparent size of ≈50 kDa in untreated recombinant human aCDase. These results provide new insights into the essential role of SM deacylase as the β-subunit aCDase that causes the ceramide deficiency in AD skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Skin Aging and Atopic Dermatitis)
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