Structure and function of the stratum corneum extracellular matrix

J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Sep;132(9):2131-3. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.246.


The stratum corneum extracellular matrix (ECM) is enriched in lipids that are organized into lamellar bilayers, whose molecular architecture is now known. Although these bilayers are important for the permeability barrier, the ECM contains not only lipids but also enzymes, structural proteins, and antimicrobial peptides that impact barrier function. Yet, how such diverse components affect barrier function remains largely unknown. Static models of the epidermis may not do justice to the ECM, which is metabolically active, as it changes both structure and function as it transits to the surface.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Ceramides / chemistry*
  • Cholesterol / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Skin / chemistry*
  • Sphingolipids / chemistry*


  • Ceramides
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Sphingolipids
  • Cholesterol