Conflicts of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
In vivo and in vitro approaches in understanding the differences between Caucasian and African skin types: specific involvement of the papillary dermis
Article first published online: 4 DEC 2012
© 2012 The International Society of Dermatology
International Journal of Dermatology
Special Issue: African Hair and Skin
Volume 51, Issue Supplement s1, pages 1–4, November 2012
How to Cite
Girardeau-Hubert, S., Pageon, H. and Asselineau, D. (2012), In vivo and in vitro approaches in understanding the differences between Caucasian and African skin types: specific involvement of the papillary dermis. International Journal of Dermatology, 51: 1–4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2012.05553.x
- Issue published online: 4 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 4 DEC 2012
Background Most of the identified differences between Caucasian and African skin types have been related to the superficial part of the skin, the epidermis. We investigated possible implications of the dermal compartment in cutaneous differences observed between Caucasians and Africans.
Methods In vivo and in vitro comparative studies were carried out using normal human skin biopsies and the corresponding in vitro reconstructed skin. Skin equivalents were developed with papillary fibroblasts isolated from the superficial dermis of both Caucasian and African skin types. Expression of major components of the dermal–epidermal junction (DEJ) was examined as a function of ethnicity.
Results Control histological examinations of skin biopsies showed that the African skin type had greater convoluted appearance of the DEJ than the Caucasian skin type. Immunostainings of type IV and VII collagens, laminin 5, and nidogen proteins at the DEJ were lower in African skin compared with Caucasian skin biopsies.
Conclusions This study brings together new elements on involvement of the papillary dermis in differences between Caucasian and African skin types. As fibroblasts from the superficial dermis cooperate with epidermal keratinocytes in producing protein of the membrane basal zone, present in vivo results suggest that papillary fibroblasts may play a part in the distinct features observed at the DEJ. In preliminary in vitro experiments, differences in several protein expressions contributing to the DEJ framework were found in reconstructed skin models made with papillary fibroblasts from both Caucasian and African skin types. Therefore, in vitro skin equivalents may be useful for better understanding of ethnic skin differences in the future.