Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Impaired barrier of inflammatory skin diseases

Focus in skin research

Joke Bouwstra

A strong focus in our skin research is to characterize in detail the impaired skin barrier properties in inflammatory skin diseases. Ultimately we aim to normalize this barrier. As lipids play a crucial role in the skin barrier, an important focus is to elucidate the lipid organization, lipid composition and epidermal lipid biosynthetic pathways in normal subjects and in patients with an inflammatory skin disease. We are using lipid model systems (including lipid membranes) and cultured human skin to unravel the changes in lipid skin barrier and lipid biosynthesis in the skin induced by inflammation (target finding). Moreover, we are studying enzymes involved the process of lipid biosynthesis in the skin at the mRNA, protein and activity level. Based on the changes in lipid biosynthesis and subsequent lipid composition we are developing novel formulations to enhance skin barrier repair. Formulations are evaluated in healthy subjects and patients. We make use of various analytical tools, including biophysical (neutron and X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy), chemical (LC/MS) and biochemical (SDS-PAGE, protein staining, qPCR, zymography) methods.

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