Intact epidermal barrier function is crucial for survival and is associated with the presence of gradients of both calcium ion concentration and electric potential. Although many molecules, including ion channels and pumps, are known to contribute to maintenance of these gradients, the mechanisms involved in epidermal calcium ion dynamics have not been clarified. We have established that a variety of neurotransmitters and their receptors, originally found in the brain, are expressed in keratinocytes and are also associated with barrier homeostasis. Moreover, keratinocytes and neurons show some similarities of electrochemical behaviour. As mathematical modelling and computer simulation have been employed to understand electrochemical phenomena in brain science, we considered that a similar approach might be applicable to describe the dynamics of epidermal electrochemical phenomena associated with barrier homeostasis. Such methodology would also be potentially useful to address a number of difficult problems in clinical dermatology, such as ageing and itching. Although this work is at a very early stage, in this essay, we discuss the background to our approach and we present some preliminary results of simulation of barrier recovery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology