Effects of glyceryl glucoside on AQP3 expression, barrier function and hydration of human skin

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;25(4):192-9. doi: 10.1159/000338190. Epub 2012 May 15.


Background/aim: Aquaporins (AQPs) present in the epidermis are essential hydration-regulating elements controlling cellular water and glycerol transport. In this study, the potential of glyceryl glucoside [GG; alpha-D-glucopyranosyl-alpha-(1->2)-glycerol], an enhanced glycerol derivative, to increase the expression of AQP3 in vitro and ex vivo was evaluated.

Methods: In vitro studies with real-time RT-PCR and FACS measurements were performed to test the induction by GG (3% w/v) of AQP3 mRNA and protein in cultured human keratinocytes. GG-containing formulations were applied topically to volunteer subjects and suction blister biopsies were analyzed to assess whether GG (5%) could penetrate the epidermis of intact skin, and subsequently upregulate AQP3 mRNA expression and improve barrier function.

Results: AQP3 mRNA and protein levels were significantly increased in cultured human keratinocytes. In the studies on volunteer subjects, GG significantly increased AQP3 mRNA levels in the skin and reduced transepidermal water loss compared with vehicle-controlled areas.

Conclusion: GG promotes AQP3 mRNA and protein upregulation and improves skin barrier function, and may thus offer an effective treatment option for dehydrated skin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aquaporin 3 / genetics*
  • Aquaporin 3 / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Water / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Glucosides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Water
  • Aquaporin 3