BioMed Research International
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Aged keratinocytes have diminished proliferative capacity and hyaluronan (HA) cell coats, which are losses that contribute to atrophic skin characterized by reduced barrier and repair functions. We formulated HA-phospholipid (phosphatidylethanolamine, HA-PE) polymers that form pericellular coats around cultured dermal fibroblasts independently of CD44 or RHAMM display. We investigated the ability of these HA-PE polymers to penetrate into aged mouse skin and restore epidermal function in vivo. Topically applied Alexa647-HA-PE penetrated into the epidermis and dermis, where it associated with both keratinocytes and fibroblasts. In contrast, Alexa647-HA was largely retained in the outer cornified layer of the epidermis and quantification of fluorescence confirmed that significantly more Alexa647-HA-PE penetrated into and was retained within the epidermis than Alexa647-HA. Multiple topical applications of HA-PE to shaved mouse skin significantly stimulated basal keratinocyte proliferation and epidermal thickness compared to HA or vehicle cream alone. HA-PE had no detectable effect on keratinocyte differentiation and did not promote local or systemic inflammation. These effects of HA-PE polymers are similar to those reported for endogenous epidermal HA in youthful skin and show that topical application of HA-PE polymers can restore some of the impaired functions of aged epidermis.