Rapid Clinical Assessment of Skin Barrier Function by Corneocytes Nanotexture

Grantee: Edwin En-Te Hwu, Associate Professor, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Amount: DKK 2,824,593

The severity of atopic dermatitis (AD) is closely correlated to skin barrier.

In recent years, the nanoscale anatomy (nanotexture) on corneocytes surface was explored through atomic force microscopes (AFMs), hinting.

The number of circular nano-objects yielded a biomarker called dermal texture index (DTI). Furthermore, clinical studies revealed that the DTI is closely associated with skin barrier function.

AFMs can measure tape-stripped corneocytes nanotexture without any sample preparations. However, conventional AFMs suffer from low throughput at a high cost and limited usability in a clinical setting.

Recently, we have pioneered a unique AFM technique and we would like to integrate DTI analysis for skin barrier function assessment. This project aims to develop a tailor-made Dermal AFM that has ten times higher throughput than conventional AFMs and is easy to use in clinical environments.

The project is coordinated from DTU Health Technology and is performed in collaboration with hospitals in Denmark, Netherlands and Taiwan for AD severity assessment and skin sample acquisition.

Different regions AD nanotexture data (Europe and Asia) facilitate optimization of DTI to assess AD in a subclinical phase, as well as courses and pharmacotherapy effectiveness quantitatively. The Dermal AFM may also, in future research projects, pave the way for unveiling the science behind the corneocyte nanotexture formation.