Defining the mode of action of hydrocortisone on stem cell fate decisions in the epidermis

Grantee: Kim Jensen, Professor, BRIC, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Amount: DKK 2,754,990

Long-term topical application of steroids such as hydrocortisone have severe skin side effects. Here treatments lead to thinning of the outer layer of the skin, reduced production of natural moisturisers and an increased risk of skin ulceration.

We hypothesise that an increased understanding of how hydrocortisone exerts its effect on skin cells will help us understand why hydrocortisone treatment causes these adverse effects and also aid the development of treatments that can bypass these.

Here we propose to take advantage of exciting new methods we have developed, where we can measure how cells behave within the skin and thereby quantify exactly how hydrocortisone affects cell turnover. This analysis will be combined with detailed studies for how hydrocortisone function at the mechanistic level in order to identify potential new therapeutic targets. Such therapies could be used to help patients receiving long-term hydrocortisone treatment.