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Iron and skin health: iron stimulates skin function

  • T. HirobeEmail author
Part of the Human Health Handbooks no. 1 book series (HHH, volume 2)

Abstract

Iron (Fe) and the Fe (II) and Fe (III) dimer are important for normal development of the skin and its appendages such as hair and nails. Although iron is an essential trace metal, the mechanisms regulating iron uptake from the intestinal mucosa and the skin are not well understood. The skin is involved in regulating bodily iron content. Excess iron is lost through perspiration as well as hair and nail growth, but the mechanisms controlling these actions are also not well known. The human body contains 3–5 g of iron, of which up to 75% may be bound in haemoglobin, with lesser amounts in ferritin, myoglobin and transferrin. However, the minimal levels necessary for the structure and function of the skin seem to be quite low. A normal iron concentration is required for maintaining healthy epidermis, dermis, hair and nails. Fe (II) and Fe (III) dimers such as ferrous ferric chloride are very important for regulating proliferation and differentiation of mouse and human skin cells. Low ferrous ferric chloride concentrations can stimulate mammalian skin functions. Moreover, ferrous ferric chloride can stimulate fibroblast proliferation synergistically with low-molecular-weight collagen and melanocyte differentiation in combination with herbal medicines. Most importantly, ferrous ferric chloride can stimulate proliferation and differentiation of mouse and human skin cells from a distance without being added to the culture medium. These results suggest that ferrous ferric chloride is involved in regulating skin homeostasis through the regulation of the skin-cell turnover.

Keywords

keratinocyte fibroblast melanocyte hair epidermis 

Abbreviations

bFGF

Basic fibroblast growth factor

DBcAMP

Dibutyryl adenosine 3’:5’-cyclic monophosphate

DDW

Deionised and distilled water

FFC

Ferrous ferric chloride

MDM

Melanoblast-defined medium

MDMD

Melanocyte-proliferation medium

MDMDF

Melanoblast-proliferation medium

MDMF

Fibroblast-proliferation medium

MDMM

Melanocyte-differentiation medium

MSH

Melanocyte-stimulating hormone

NMF

Natural moisturizing factor

PKA

Protein kinase A

PKC

Protein kinase C

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

SOD

Superoxide dismutase

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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radiation Effect Mechanisms Research GroupNational Institute of Radiological SciencesAnagawa, Inage-ku, ChibaJapan

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