Epidermal regeneration and occlusion
van de Kerkhof PC, de Mare S, Arnold WP, van Erp PE
Disruption of the stratum corneum, by tape stripping or chemical injury, results in epidermal recovery of the skin barrier. In human skin, 40-48 h after surface trauma, epidermal proliferation is maximal. In a previous study in mice, occlusion with plastic or the hydrocolloid Duoderm proved to inhibit the regenerative response. The aim of the present investigation was to find out whether occlusion modulates epidermal proliferation following removal of the stratum corneum in normal healthy volunteers by sellotape stripping. Epidermal proliferation was assessed, using a multiparameter approach, by measuring ornithine decarboxylase activity, keratin 16 expression and DNA synthesis. Following tape stripping without subsequent occlusion, ornithine decarboxylase activity, keratin 16 expression and DNA synthesis were induced to the same extent as observed in previous studies. However, in contrast to the experiments in mice, no indication of a modulation of these responses was observed by the application of the hydrocolloids Duoderm and Comfeel. In human skin, a direct effect of the artificial restoration of the skin barrier on epidermal regeneration remains unsubstantiated.