Corneocyte Size and Cell Renewal: Effects of Aging and Sex Hormones

  • Razvigor Darlenski
  • Enzo Berardesca
  • Joachim W. Fluhr
Living reference work entry


Epidermal barrier function resides almost entirely in the outermost skin layer – stratum corneum (SC). Aging process results in certain structural and functional changes in SC morphology. The epidermis shows a linear decrease in thickness with age. The reduction in epidermal population size suggests that there may be also a decrease in the rate on production of epidermal cells and the apparent lengthening of the SC renewal time. The lengthening of the turnover implies a reduction in the desquamation rate, but this is not as large as thought. The reason for this might be the increase of corneocyte size during aging. There is a correlation and an inverse relationship between SC turnover and dimensions of corneocytes.

Sex hormones exhibit certain effects on SC structure and functions. A decreased sebum content of the forehead in menopausal women and higher SC hydration of the forehead in late menopausal women were observed. SC sphingolipid content and synthesis were decreased with the decrease of the effect of sex hormones with age. Aged epidermal permeability barrier shows decreased cohesion as well as delayed barrier repair with age under stress conditions. Significantly smaller corneocytes in premenopausal women vs. postmenopausal women or men were witnessed and are likely to be attributed to the different levels of female sex hormones. These effects were decreased when hormone replacement therapy was introduced in postmenopausal women.


Stratum Corneum Hormonal Replacement Therapy Dansyl Chloride Cholesterol Sulfate Facial Wrinkle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Razvigor Darlenski
    • 1
  • Enzo Berardesca
    • 2
  • Joachim W. Fluhr
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology and VenereologyTokuda Hospital SofiaSofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.San Gallicano Dermatological InstituteRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyCharité University ClinicBerlinGermany

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