Arrangement of ceramide [EOS] in a stratum corneum lipid model matrix: new aspects revealed by neutron diffraction studies.Eur Biophys J. 2008 Jul; 37(6):989-99.EB
The lipid matrix in stratum corneum (SC) plays a key role in the barrier function of the mammalian skin. The major lipids are ceramides (CER), cholesterol (CHOL) and free fatty acids (FFA). Especially the unique-structured omega-acylceramide CER[EOS] is regarded to be essential for skin barrier properties by inducing the formation of a long-periodicity phase of 130 angstroms (LPP). In the present study, the arrangement of CER[EOS], either mixed with CER[AP] and CHOL or with CER[AP], CHOL and palmitic acid (PA), inside a SC lipid model membrane has been studied for the first time by neutron diffraction. For a mixed CER[EOS]/CER[AP]/CHOL membrane in a partly dehydrated state, the internal membrane nanostructure, i.e. the neutron scattering length density profile in the direction normal to the surface, was obtained by Fourier synthesis from the experimental diffraction patterns. The membrane repeat distance is equal to that of the formerly used SC lipid model system composed of CER[AP]/CHOL/PA/ChS. By comparing both the neutron scattering length density profiles, a possible arrangement of synthetic long-chain CER[EOS] molecules inside a SC lipid model matrix is suggested. The analysis of the internal membrane nanostructure implies that one CER[EOS] molecule penetrates from one membrane layer into an adjacent layer. A 130 angstroms periodicity phase could not be observed under experimental conditions, either in CER/CHOL mixtures or in CER/CHOL/FFA mixture. CER[EOS] can be arranged inside a phase with a repeat unit of 45.2 angstroms which is predominately formed by short-chain CER[AP] with distinct polarity.