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1.  Solvent effects in permeation assessed in vivo by skin surface biopsy 
BMC Dermatology  2003;3:5.
Background
Transdermal drug delivery has become an important means of drug administration. It presents numerous advantages but it is still limited by the small number of drugs with a suitable profile. The use of solvents that affect the skin barrier function is one of the classic strategies of penetration enhancement. Some of these solvents have well characterised actions on the stratum corneum, but the majority are still selected using empirical criteria. The objective of this work was to conduct a systematic study on the ability to affect skin permeation of solvents commonly used in transdermal formulations. An innovative methodology in this area was employed, consisting of the combination of skin surface biopsy with colorimetry.
Methods
The study compared in vivo differences in the permeation of a hydrophilic (methylene blue) and a lipophilic (Sudan III) dye, after treatment of the skin with different vehicles. Consecutive skin surface biopsies of each site were taken and the cumulative amounts of the dyes in the stripped stratum corneum were measured by reflectance colourimetry.
Results
Results indicate that the amount of methylene blue present in the stratum corneum varied significantly with different skin pre-treatments. Some solvents provided a 1.5 fold penetration enhancement but others decreased by almost half the permeation of the dye. The permeation of Sudan III was less significantly affected by solvent pre-treatment.
Conclusions
This study has only superficially explored the potential of the combination of skin surface biopsy and colourimetry, but the encouraging results obtained confirm that the methodology can be extended to the study of more complex formulations.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-3-5
PMCID: PMC317329  PMID: 14680512
2.  Prevalence of self-reported eczema in relation to living environment, socio-economic status and respiratory symptoms assessed in a questionnaire study 
BMC Dermatology  2003;3:4.
Background
Potential links between eczema and obstructive pulmonary diseases have been postulated. Previously we have reported the prevalence of upper and lower respiratory diseases and the relation to environmental and socio-economic factors in a randomly selected adult population in southern Sweden using a postal questionnaire.
In the present study we wanted to analyse the prevalence of eczema and its relation to socio-economic status, heredity factors and environmental factors in an adult population.
Methods
Self-reported eczema, upper and lower respiratory symptoms, asthma and Chronic Bronchitis Emphysema (CBE) were examined in 12,071 adults, aged 20–59 years, living in southern Sweden by using a postal questionnaire. There were comparable numbers of males and females in all age groups.
Multiple logistic regression analysis (forward conditional) was applied to estimate the association between the proposed risk factors (heredity, self-reported asthma and CBE, nasal symptoms, socio-economic group, environmental factors, age, gender and smoking habits) and self-reported eczema.
Results
The response rate was 70.1%. In all, 1240 subjects (14.6%) stated that they had eczema. In all age cohorts self-reported eczema was more frequently reported by women than by men (p < 0.05). The prevalence of self-reported eczema among the economically active population varied from 17.1% to 8.2% with the highest rates among assistant non-manual employees. However, when controlling for age, gender and risk occupation there was no association between low social position and eczema. Living close to heavy traffic (OR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.25–1.67) and living seaside (OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.01–1.35) but not urban/suburban living was associated with eczema. Heredity of eczema (OR = 5.77, 95% CI 5.02–6.64), self reported allergic rhinitis (OR = 2.31, 95% CI 2.00–2.68), self reported asthma (OR = 1.98, 95% CI 1.56–2.51) and self reported CBE (OR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.08–1.87) were all associated with eczema.
Conclusions
In this epidemiological study we see that self-reported eczema is a common disease in an adult population especially among women. Eczema seems to be linked to environment factors, obstructive pulmonary diseases and rhinitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-3-4
PMCID: PMC183835  PMID: 12859793
Eczema; environmental factors; genetic factors; socio-economy; postal questionnaire; respiratory symptoms; smoking.
3.  CD1a expression in psoriatic skin following treatment with propylthiouracil, an antithyroid thioureylene 
BMC Dermatology  2003;3:3.
Background
The antithyroid thioureylenes, propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (MMI), are effective in the treatment of patients with plaque psoriasis. The mechanism of action of the drugs in psoriasis is unknown. Since the drugs reduce circulating IL-12 levels in patients with Graves' hyperthyroidism, the effect of propylthiouracil on CD1a expression in psoriatic lesions was examined in biopsy samples of patients with plaque psoriasis. CD1a is a marker of differentiated skin antigen presenting cells (APC, Langerhans cells). Langerhans cells and skin monocyte/macrophages are the source of IL-12, a key cytokine involved in the events that lead to formation of the psoriatic plaque.
Methods
Biopsy specimens were obtained from six patients with plaque psoriasis who were treated with 300 mg propylthiouracil (PTU) daily for three months. Clinical response to PTU as assessed by PASI scores, histological changes after treatment, and CD1a expression in lesional skin before and after treatment were studied.
Results
Despite significant improvement in clinical and histological parameters the expression of CD1a staining cells in the epidermis did not decline with propylthiouracil treatment.
Conclusions
It appears that the beneficial effect of propylthiouracil in psoriasis is mediated by mechanisms other than by depletion of skin antigen-presenting cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-3-3
PMCID: PMC169161  PMID: 12841851
4.  Altered decorin expression of systemic sclerosis by UVA1 (340–400 nm) phototherapy: Immunohistochemical analysis of 3 cases 
BMC Dermatology  2003;3:2.
Background
Ultraviolet A1 (340–400 nm, UVA1) phototherapy is highly effective in sclerotic lesions of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Histological evaluation of skin specimens obtained before and after UVA1 phototherapy revealed loosening of collagen bundles and the appearance of small collagen fibers. We have previously shown that UVA1 irradiation induced collagenase in vitro study by using SSc fibroblasts. The increased levels of mRNA and protein of decorin in SSc fibroblasts were reported. In this study, we focus on the lesional expression of small dermatan sulfate proteoglycan, decorin that has a role of binding to collagen and fibrillogenesis.
Case presentation
We employed immunohistochemical analysis of decorin before and after UVA1 phototherapy. The skin specimens from three patients who were effectively treated with UVA1 phototherapy were analysed. Monoclonal antibody 6B6 as the specific reactivity to decorin was used. The increased decorin was focally accumulated in the newly synthesized collagen fibers in the sclerotic lesion of SSc. After UVA1 phototherapy, decorin was decreased in upper to middle dermis, although decorin was slightly increased in papillary dermis.
Conclusions
These results suggest that decreased and normalized levels of accumulated decorin may relate to the efficacy of sclerotic lesions in UVA1 phototherapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-3-2
PMCID: PMC153525  PMID: 12689342
5.  Psoriasin (S100A7) expression is altered during skin tumorigenesis 
BMC Dermatology  2003;3:1.
Background
Psoriasin (S100A7) expression has previously been associated with psoriasiform hyperplasia as well as with tumor progression in breast cancer. Its expression profile for different stages of skin lesions is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between psoriasin (S100A7) and tumor progression in skin.
Methods
Psoriasin was assessed by immunohistochemistry and levels of expression determined by semi-quantitative scoring in skin biopsies from 50 patients. The cohort included normal skin, actinic keratosis, squamous carcinoma in-situ, invasive squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Results
In normal skin, psoriasin was rarely detected in epidermis but was expressed in underlying adnexae. In abnormal epidermis psoriasin was frequently expressed in abnormal keratinocytes in actinic keratosis, in-situ and invasive squamous cell carcinoma, but was rarely observed in the basal epidermal layer or in superficial or invasive basal cell carcinoma. The highest levels of expression were seen within squamous carcinoma in-situ. Significantly reduced levels of expression were observed in both unmatched (p = 0.0001) and matched (p < 0.004) invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Psoriasin expression within abnormal squamous lesions correlated with mitotic count (r = 0.54, p = 0.0036), however no significant relation was found with the intensity of dermal inflammatory cell infiltrates assessed within each pathology.
Conclusion
These results suggest that altered psoriasin expression occurs in abnormal epidermis and that downregulation may be related to the onset of invasion in squamous cell carcinoma in skin.
doi:10.1186/1471-5945-3-1
PMCID: PMC151671  PMID: 12600274

Results 1-5 (5)