Aging enhances maceration-induced ultrastructural alteration of the epidermis and impairment of skin barrier function

Takeo Minematsu, Yuko Yamamoto, Takashi Nagase, Ayumi Naito, Kimie Takehara, Shinji Iizaka, Kazunori Komagata, Lijuan Huang, Gojiro Nakagami, Tomoko Akase, Makoto Oe, Kotaro Yoshimura, Tadao Ishizuka, Junko Sugama, Hiromi Sanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Skin maceration is recognized as a risk factor for the development of certain skin lesions. In health care settings, incontinence-associated skin maceration is highly prevalent in the elderly. However, the effect of senescence on maceration has not been fully elucidated. Objective: To reveal the enhancement of the maceration-induced ultrastructural alteration and barrier function of the epidermis by aging. Methods: Skin maceration was reproduced by exposure to agarose gel in human and rat. The ultrastructural alterations in human and rat tissue were observed by transmission electron microscopy. The skin barrier function was evaluated by noninvasive methods in human, and by the transdermal penetration of small- and large-fluorescent molecules in rat. In order to reveal the effect of aging on the skin maceration, we compared these parameters between young and aged rats. Results: In macerated skin, we observed expansion of the interstices of the stratum corneum, spinosum, and basale of the epidermis; disruption of the intercellular lipid structure in the stratum corneum; a decreased number of cell processes in the stratum spinosum and basale. The transdermal penetration test in the rat using two types of fluorescein indicated that maceration disrupted skin barrier function. Furthermore, senescence-enhanced ultrastructural and functional alterations were revealed in the rodent studies. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that aging enhances skin maceration. Considering that maceration is a risk factor for the skin damage, the development of technology to promote skin barrier recovery after maceration in the elderly is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 06-2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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