X-linked ichthyosis is a relatively common syndromic form of ichthyosis most often due to deletions in the gene encoding the microsomal enzyme, steroid sulfatase, located on the short area of the X chromosome. Syndromic features are mild or unapparent unless contiguous genes are affected. In normal epidermis, cholesterol sulfate is generated by cholesterol sulfotransferase (SULT2B1b), but desulfated in the outer epidermis, together forming a 'cholesterol sulfate cycle' that potently regulates epidermal differentiation, barrier function and desquamation. In XLI, cholesterol sulfate levels my exceed 10% of total lipid mass (≈1% of total weight). Multiple cellular and biochemical processes contribute to the pathogenesis of the barrier abnormality and scaling phenotype in XLI. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled The Important Role of Lipids in the Epidermis and their Role in the Formation and Maintenance of the Cutaneous Barrier. Guest Editors: Kenneth R. Feingold and Peter Elias.
Keywords: Cholesterol sulfate; Corneodesmosomes; Epidermal barrier function; Epidermal lipid metabolism; Steroid sulfatase; X-linked ichthyosis.
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