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March 1984

Diazacholesterol-Induced Ichthyosis in the Hairless Mouse: Assay for Comparative Potency of Topical Retinoids

Author Affiliations

From the Dermatology Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Department of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(3):342-347. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650390064013

• Although the new synthetic retinoids are effective when administered systemically, they have not been shown to be effective as topical agents. We compared the topical activity of six synthetic retinoids (two arotinoids, etretinate, all-trans- and 13-cis-tetrazole-retinamide, isotretinoin, and tretinoin) on tail skin in the diazacholesterol-fed mouse model of ichthyosis. Responses were assessed clinically and by measurement of stratum corneum thickness. Although the arotinoids dramatically reduced scaling, they were toxic at concentrations above 0.1%, as was etretinate at 1.0% or greater. Lower concentrations were effective without producing local or systemic toxic reactions. Clinical responses were paralleled by equivalent decrements in stratum corneum thickness, which also permitted quantitative comparisons. The order of potency for the retinoids was as follows: arotinoids, etretinate, tetrazole-retinamides, tretinoin = isotretinoin, vehicle. These results demonstrate that (1) the synthetic retinoids hold promise as topical agents; (2) irritation is not an absolute requirement for topical retinoid activity; and (3) the diazcholesterol-fed mouse offers a new assay of topical retinoid potency in a well-defined animal model of ichthyosis.

(Arch Dermatol 1984;120:342-347)

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