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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2005 October;140(5):505-14

Copyright © 2005 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Oxidative stress in the human epidermis

Schallreuter K. U. 1, 2

1 Unit of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology Department of Biomedical Sciences University of Bradford, Bradford, UK 2 Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in Association with the Ernst Moritz Arndt University Greifswald, Germany and University of Bradford, UK


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The skin represents with 1.8 m2 the largest organ of the human body protecting against water loss and physical, chemical and biological threats. Besides the important barrier function, the outer epidermal layer relies on a complicated well-tuned signalling network. One major role of the epidermal compartment is the maintenance of the redox balance, due to constant exposure of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this article the basic biochemistry for ROS generation and their effects on epidermal integrity and function is reviewed. Special emphasis is put forward to demonstrate the relevance of epidermal hydrogen peroxide as contributor to oxidative stress and cell signalling/transcription depending on the concentration of this ROS using the depigmentation disorder vitiligo as a model disease.

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