2003 Exp Dermatol 2003 Oct ;12 (5):537-45
L'Oreal Recherche, Paris, France. [email protected]

Carbohydrate expression and modification during keratinocyte differentiation in normal human and reconstructed epidermis

Using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled lectins we were able to demonstrate the presence of specific carbohydrate moieties in normal human and reconstructed epidermis. Evidence is provided that in both cases the strongly reduced lectin staining at the level of the stratum corneum is the result of a hindered accessibility of the lectins in this lipid-rich hydrophobic environment. Isolated corneocytes and purified cornified envelopes (CEs) exhibited clearly glycosylated structures reacting with distinct lectins. The presence of glycosidase activity, particularly in the upper layers of the epidermis characterized by an acidic environment (pH 5.5), indicates that modifications of the sugar residues might be important in epidermal homeostasis, barrier behavior and desquamation. Absent or strongly reduced glycosidase activity in the stratum corneum of reconstructed epidermis with an impaired pH gradient could be in part responsible for the reduced barrier function and the lack of desquamation in this model.