Vitamin C, uric acid, and glutathione gradients in murine stratum corneum and their susceptibility to ozone exposure

Stefan Udo Weber, Jens J. Thiele, Carroll E Cross, Lester Packer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The stratum corneum has been recognized as the main cutaneous oxidation target of atmospheric ozone (O3), a major part of photochemical smog. This study reports the presence and distribution of vitamin C, glutathione, and uric acid in murine stratum corneum, and evaluates their susceptibility to acute environmental exposure to O3. Based on tape stripping and a modified extraction method with high performance liquid chromatography electrochemical analysis, we detected vitamin C (208.0 ± 82.5 pmol per 10 consecutive pooled tapes), glutathione (283.7 ± 96.3), and uric acid (286.4 ± 47.1) in murine stratum corneum as compared with only 16.5 ± 1.4 pmol α-tocopherol. Vitamin C, glutathione (both p < 00.001), and urate (p < 0.01) were found to exhibit a gradient with the lowest concentrations in the outer layers and a steep increase in the deeper layers. To investigate the effect of O3 exposure on hydrophilic antioxidants, we exposed SKH-1 hairless mice to O3 concentrations of 0, 0.8, 1, and 10 p.p.m., and stratum corneum was analyzed before and after exposure. Whereas mock exposure with 0 p.p.m, for 2 h had no significant effect, O3 doses of 1 p.p.m. for 2 h and above showed depletion of all three antioxidants. Vitamin C was decreased to 80% ± 15% of its pretreatment content (p<0.05), GSH to 41% ± 24% (p < 0.01), and uric acid to 44% ± 28% (p < 0.01). This report demonstrates the previously unrecognized role of hydrophilic antioxidants in the stratum corneum and provides further evidence that O3 induces oxidative stress in this outer skin layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1132
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Antioxidant
  • Oxidative stress
  • Skin
  • Skin barrier
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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