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November 1991

n-Alkanes in the Skin-Reply

Author Affiliations

Dermatology Service (190) Fort Miley Veterans Affairs Medical Center 4150 Clement St San Francisco, CA 94121

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(11):1728. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680100131022

In Reply.—  In their comments on our earlier editorial,1 Küster et al provide further valuable information that may help to resolve the issue regarding the endogenous-vs-exogenous origin of epidermal n-alkanes. They now provide biochemical data on two phenotypic subgroups of autosomal recessive ichthyosis, which do not differ in their content of n-alkanes, although the alkane content of both subsets was greater than the normal subsets. We agree with the authors that photodensitometric quantitation underestimates n-alkanes of shorter chain lengths due to the volatilization of shorter chain n-alkanes during the charring procedure. Since approximately half of scale n-alkanes will have a chain length less than or equal to C25,2 the true values for n-alkanes in both of their subgroups as well as in their normal subgroups are likely to be considerably higher. Thus, we believe that laboratories that rely solely on photodensitometry