The epidermis and its barrier(s)

Published on June 2, 2014   41 min
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Hello. I am Gopi Menon, and I have been involved in research on skin barrier for over 25 years. And it's indeed a privilege and an honor to be presenting this topic for the Henry Stewart series of talks.
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Let us start with why barrier is so important and interesting. The outermost layer of skin-- stratum corneum-- is impermeable to water. It prevents efflux and influx of water to and from the body. This barrier allows survival in the dessicating environment on land, while still allowing evaporative cooling. Unlike the other successful land-living organisms, like the insects, which have a rigid cuticle coated with hydrocarbons, mammals developed and evolved a flexible and highly responsive barrier, based on a protein lipid composite structure. The formation and maintenance of this barrier is regulated by a multitude of internal and external factors, and many aspects of these are still being discovered, even as we speak.