Improvement by sodium dl-α-tocopheryl-6-O-phosphate treatment of moisture-retaining ability in stratum corneum through increased ceramide levels.
ABSTRACT Sodium dl-α-tocopheryl-6-O-phosphate (1), a water-soluble derivative of vitamin E (dl-α-tocopherol, 2), exhibits protective effects against various type of skin damage. As reported herein, we found that topical application of 1 improves hygroscopicity and water holding capacity in the stratum corneum of hairless mice in vivo by increasing the ceramide content. In normal human epidermal keratinocytes, treatment with 1 increases ceramide levels and enhances gene expression of serine palmitoyltransferase, which catalyzes the first step of ceramide synthesis in vitro. In addition, 1 increases gene expressions of differentiation markers (transglutaminase 1, cytokeratin 10, involucrin and loricrin), and intracellular Ca(2+) concentrations. These results suggest that 1 could be an excellent agent for improving skin moisture-retention by enhancing ceramide synthesis through the induction of differentiation.