The Sphingosine and Phytosphingosine Ceramide Ratio in Lipid Models Forming the Short Periodicity Phase: An Experimental and Molecular Simulation Study

Andreea Nădăban, Chloe O. Frame, Dounia El Yachioui, Gerrit S. Gooris, Robert M. Dalgliesh, Marc Malfois, Christopher R. Iacovella, Annette L. Bunge, Clare McCabe, Joke A. Bouwstra

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Abstract

The lipids located in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC), play a crucial role in maintaining the skin barrier function. The primary components of the SC lipid matrix are ceramides (CERs), cholesterol (CHOL), and free fatty acids (FFAs). They form two crystalline lamellar phases: the long periodicity phase (LPP) and the short periodicity phase (SPP). In inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, there are changes in the SC CER composition, such as an increased concentration of a sphingosine-based CER (CER NS) and a reduced concentration of a phytosphingosine-based CER (CER NP). In the present study, a lipid model was created exclusively forming the SPP, to examine whether alterations in the CER NS:CER NP molar ratio would affect the lipid organization. Experimental data were combined with molecular dynamics simulations of lipid models containing CER NS:CER NP at ratios of 1:2 (mimicking a healthy SC ratio) and 2:1 (observed in inflammatory skin diseases), mixed with CHOL and lignoceric acid as the FFA. The experimental findings show that the acyl chains of CER NS and CER NP and the FFA are in close proximity within the SPP unit cell, indicating that CER NS and CER NP adopt a linear conformation, similarly as observed for the LPP. Both the experiments and simulations indicate that the lamellar organization is the same for the two CER NS:CER NP ratios while the SPP NS:NP 1:2 model had a slightly denser hydrogen bonding network than the SPP NS:NP 2:1 model. The simulations show that this might be attributed to intermolecular hydrogen bonding with the additional hydroxide group on the headgroup of CER NP compared with CER NS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLangmuir
Early online date25 Jun 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2024

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