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December 1963

Further Studies of Epidermal Mucopolysaccharides

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.

Arch Dermatol. 1963;88(6):706-708. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590240030006

An improved method is described for the isolation from horny layers of a fraction with a high mucopolysaccharide content. The yields were about 0.5%-1 % per gram of horny layer extracted.

In the fractions isolated from scales of patients with psoriasis or ichthyosiform erythroderma the hexosamine was mostly in combined form; in callus it was largely free. The fractions contained varying amounts of sulfate. The material was split by elastase, but was resistant to hyaluronidase. The findings are compatible with the assumption that psoriatic scales contain chondroitin sulfate B (dermatan sulfate).

Homogenates of guinea pig skin are capable of splitting acetylhexosamine from crude chondroitin sulfate. The question of the existence of hyaluronidase-like enzymes in skin cannot be regarded as settled.

The disturbed mucopolysaccharide metabolism in the psoriatic epidermis may be due to an abnormal substrate, an enzymatic deficiency, or both. These possibilities are open for experimental study.